Blind Chances and Second Dates
She wasn't quite sure why she did it, why she liked it, but, no matter what she promised herself, it never stopped; she was addicted. The question was why though. It wasn't because she found science intriguing. It wasn't because she dreamed of a career standing in front of a green screen and smiling so wide her overly white teeth risked blinding the cameraman and crew. It wasn't because she had a secret affinity for primary colored power suits with shoulders pads thick enough to rival the dames on Dynasty during the show's heyday. After years of deliberation, the only reason she could find for her absolute love of the weather channel was the fact that she liked being reassured of life's unpredictability.
Everyone around her had a plan, knew exactly where their life was going, and flouted fate, dismissing it as something childish and a copout, but Marissa wasn't like that. Yes, she knew the immediate direction in which she was headed, but, if someone asked her where she saw herself ten years down the line, she would cock her head at a thoughtful angle, bite her lip, and ponder silently while they waited indefinitely for an answer. She didn't want to know everything about her future, because a part of the fun was letting life's curve balls come at you and swinging for the fences anyway, and, seeing that the world existed in a similar set of circumstances thanks to the fickleness of the weather, it reaffirmed her way of thinking.
After all, rain or shine, a human could not do a thing to change the weather; they could only adjust and adapt, and that was exactly how Marissa planned to live her life – rolling with the punches and making the most of them. Besides, if nothing else, fate, in its own strange way of working, had been kind to her. Through both good and bad times, everything in her life had led her to the very moment she was enjoying that afternoon, and, all things considered, it was a pretty damn good moment. She was a senior in college, she was constantly surrounded by friends, she was closer to her family than she had ever been previously in her life, she was healthy, and, most importantly, she was happy. In fact, if she did say so herself, there was absolutely nothing wrong about her life. Nothing at all.
"Do you know what's wrong with your life," Nina, her rather brassy, opinionated, and willful roommate, announced from her side of their large, overstuffed couch. Without waiting for Marissa to respond, she continued. "You haven't been in a relationship since you got here."
"There are more important things to worry about than boyfriends…or potential ones. Please, do not make me have a flash back to junior high here where my life revolved around boys."
"I know there are more important things than dating," her best friend argued. "However, there is nothing more important than sex."
When thinking about her friendship with her roommate, Marissa was really surprised at how close they were. Complete opposites, the two young women had basically nothing in common. Where she was tall with long, blonde hair, blue eyes, and tan skin, Nina was short and compact, had close cropped black hair, rich, dark eyes, and an almost ghostly complexion, While Marissa enjoyed the quiet in her life, spending her time reading, writing, going to museums, and sitting in the park on a beautiful sunny day, her best friend was anything but sedate. Nina enjoyed everything and anything loud, excelled at sports, drank beer with the most diehard frat boys, and hated down time. In essence, she was a man's woman, fitting in better with her male friends and fellow students than the female. Oh, and the petite woman was also going to school to become a sex therapist, the profession she had chosen for herself at the tender age of seven. So, when they had met for the first time three years before when they had moved into their dorm room together, a shy, timid, almost scared Marissa had been shocked to learn that the bold and confident woman she was going to be living with also enjoyed the weather channel. However, their reasoning was much different. While Marissa found it soothing and comforting, Nina believed weather, particularly that of the stormy variety, to be an aphrodisiac.
"I already told you that I'm never going to jump feet first into a sexual relationship with someone ever again. When I have sex again, it's going to be with someone I love, someone I trust, and someone who respects me." Muting the TV, the blonde twisted in her position on the couch, folded her legs underneath her, and locked her gaze onto that of her friend's. "We both know, because I told you all about it, how meaningless sex turned out for me last time. Not good. I might be a lot of things, but I'm not stupid, and I don't need to go down that road again to figure out it's something I don't like and don't want for myself."
"Exactly," Nina agreed with her. "That's why I'm setting you up on a blind date."
"I hate blind dates. Besides," she rationalized, "I thought the last one you set me up on was going to be the last. You know, Mr. Tattoos, the guy you said would become my soul mate within five minutes of my meeting him and instead ended up making me spend the night in the hospital because his pet snake bit me."
"I don't care what you say, that guy was limber. He would have been great in bed."
"Nina, listen to me," Marissa attempted to get her best friend to focus. "I need more than sex, which I know is a difficult concept for you to understand, for any relationship I'm going to be in to work. After all, look at what you have with Jamie. That's not all based upon sex, is it?"
"No," the raven haired woman agreed regrettably. "He's also good to me, buys me nice things."
"And he takes care of you when you're sick, carries your books to class for you, which I think is unbelievably sweet, and he always saves you the last slice of pizza."
Rolling her eyes, the future sex therapist dismissed her friend's claims with a wave of her slender hand. "Please, he only does that stuff because he's pussy whipped."
"Ugh," Marissa complained, standing up and giving the other woman a rough shove for good measure. "How many times have I asked you not to say that word?"
"What," Nina asked demurely, "are you offended by my use of the colloquial terminology for our genitalia?" Smirking, the black haired college student stood up and followed her taller companion around their small apartment, repeating her offensive statement. "Pussy whipped, pussy whipped, pus…"
"Fine, I'll go on the blind date, but only on one condition."
"And that would be what?"
Marissa glowered at her roommate. "That you never say that word again."
"Deal," the sex aficionado complied readily, clapping her hands together in excitement. "Just so you know, we're meeting them tomorrow night at that little French restaurant you like so much. Jamie and I thought it would be less awkward that way. He's a friend of Jamie's, so he should be equally as malleable and easy to control, and, if it makes you feel any more confident about the date, I didn't pick him out for you; Jamie did. And, oh," she added one last thing before disappearing into her room, "where something slutty. It's been a while since you were actively on the dating market, so you're going to need all the help you can get."
What she was feeling was ridiculous. Typically, a woman should feel slightly nervous before going out on a blind date, but Marissa had three reasons why she should not have been. For one, in the three years that she had known and been friends with Nina, her roommate had set her up on fourteen various blind dates. Every single one of them had ended in disaster, and they never lasted longer than two hours. Secondly, she wasn't going to be alone. Perhaps it was to make sure she didn't end up in the emergency room again or maybe it was because they were just curious busybodies, but, no matter what the reason, Nina and Jamie were going with her and her blind date, double dating with them, and she was grateful for their presence at her side. Finally, it should have made her feel better that the future sex therapist had not picked the guy she was going out with that night, but, because she respected Jamie and liked him as a friend, knowing that he had chosen her blind date for her made Marissa even more nervous, because, though she still had her doubts, there was a chance she could end up actually liking the guy, and then what would she do?
In typical anxious behavior, her palms were damp with perspiration, she was fidgeting as she walked from her car towards the designated spot she was to meet her three dining companions, and, if stopped and examined by a doctor, the physician would find that her pulse was elevated to a dangerously high level. At her apartment, she had left behind a mess of clothes, shoes, and various accessories in her bathroom. Unable to choose what she should wear, she had gone through almost her entire wardrobe. Obviously, she had not followed Nina's dressing advice, but that still left her unsure of which style she should dress in. Bold or serene, classy or fun, conservative or slightly wild, trendy or preppy? After an hour and a half of deliberation, she had decided upon something timeless: the little black dress. With heels that made her legs look a mile long, light, complimentary makeup that accentuated her blue eyes, high cheek bones, generous sprinkling of freckles, and plump lips, and jewelry that was understated and near and dear to her heart, she not only looked attractive, but she felt confident as well, a very important quality for a person to have when going on a blind date.
If nothing else, she could look forward to an evening alone at home once their dinner was finished. Like normal, Nina was going back to Jamie's apartment with him. Unlike most roommates, they only saw each other mainly during the day. The diminutive, dark haired woman kept all her things at their apartment, went home to study, and claimed the two bedroom flat as her place of legal residence, but Nina had not slept in her own bed in over a year, leaving Marissa with the apartment to herself every night. It probably helped keep their friendship as strong as it was, and, later that evening, it would help relax her after a night of putting on fake smiles and holding superficial conversations.
As she listened to the steady rhythm of her shoes, the click, tap, click of her heels against the pavement of the restaurant's driveway, Marissa made her way towards the group of three see saw standing together by Jamie's car. Though she and Nina often spent time together with the computer science major (her best friend could find something sexy about any man, and Jamie's shy, quiet nature was attractive to her, because he allowed her to wear the pants in their relationship and walk all over him), Marissa knew very little about his friends. In fact, thinking about it, she had never met a single one of them and, although she knew it was judgmental and slightly pretentious of her, she hoped her blind date had more of a backbone, a stronger personality, and, if she was really going to be honest with herself, looks to make a girl swoon.
"Trust me," Nina was reassuring someone, probably her blind date, "you're going to love her, and, if nothing else," Marissa heard her friend say, "she's got legs so long, you could probably wrap them around your waist twice and still be able to hold onto her thighs when you…"
Just as the rather sassy twenty one year old was about to get to the bread and butter of her promising images, her boyfriend, who had seen Marissa approach them, cleared his throat, nudged his friend, and all four of them fell silent as she and her blind date saw each other for the first time. Instantaneous attraction and energy, not to mention recognition, flared between them.
"Hey," he greeted her, and, as the words slipped from his firm yet what she knew to be gentle lips, everything else and everyone else around them seemed to melt away, seemed to cease existing at all. She smiled so brightly that the deep indigo blue of her eyes appeared to glow from within.
"Who are you?"
He came up to her side, slid his arm around her waist, and pulled her against him in a friendly hug, whispering his response into her ear. "Whoever you want me to be."
If it wouldn't have been for Jamie clearing his throat and Nina talking, she would have stayed in her date's arms for the rest of the night. He smelled faintly of cigarette smoke (a sure sign he was nervous as well), soap, and a sense of familiarity.
"Well this date is already starting out better than her last one," Nina quipped, laughing softly at her own joke. Taking the last inhale from her cigarette, she threw it to the ground and put it out with the toe of her leather boot. "Sorry about meeting you out here in the driveway, - I know it's not the most lust inducing place for your first looks at each other - but my genius of a boyfriend booked us a table in the non-smoking section, and I was going to spend every last minute we had while we waited for you smoking."
"It's alright. I actually have a thing for driveways," Marissa confessed. "I met the only boy I've ever loved in a driveway many years ago."
"And why haven't I heard that story before," the shorter of the two women demanded as the four them made their way to the entrance of the restaurant.
"Some things are just too special, too personal to share with anyone. And, besides," the blonde added as she communicated silently with a knowing glance towards her date, "it was a long time ago. We've both undoubtedly changed since then, that guy and I. We moved on and grown up. We'll just have to leave it to chance whether we ever meet again or not."
The blonde haired, blue eyed man beside her grinned crookedly, surprising her when he slipped his arm around her tiny waist and pulled her into his side.
As Jamie spoke with the maître-d', Nina turned to the couple behind her, the couple who were, supposedly meeting for the very first time that night, eyed them closely, and asked, "are you sure you two don't already know each other?"
"Unfortunately not," Marissa's blind date replied. Turning to her, he smiled for a second time, causing the nerves in her stomach to rapidly change to tremors of anticipation. "Hi, I'm Ryan, Ryan Atwood."
"Marissa Cooper," she returned, holding her hand out for her date to shake. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
It had been three years since they had seen each other. Whether or not it had been intentional, she wasn't sure, but she did know that neither of them went out of their way to spend time with each other after they had graduated from high school. Somehow, they had avoided taking any of the same classes their freshman, sophomore, and junior years, they had missed each other on their flights home for the holidays, and, even when she was in Newport, which was a rare thing in and of itself for her, they had somehow never accidentally run into each other at the beach, or the diner, or the mall. Over the years, her communication with Summer had decreased until they merely exchanged awkward emails every couple of months, so she never heard of him through her former best friend's comments about her boyfriend. Julie refused to mention his name, so she never got news of the Cohens and their adopted, second son from her Mom, and Caitlyn, even if she did care what was happening to their family's former friends, was never around. After three years of their lives being so connected as if fate had forced them to live as one, they had spent three years utterly apart, and, though she knew nothing of his present life, it didn't seem to change their natural connection to one another. Making their way towards their table together, hands still clasped, no other words were needed; silently, they had agreed to live in the present, forget the past, and take advantage of the future and what could truly be a second chance for them.
Oh, and the fact that they would be pulling the wool over their friends' eyes was not an added bonus at all.
"Come on in," Marissa invited Ryan as they stepped into the apartment she shared with Nina. "Sorry about the mess, but I'm working on a project, and my stuff is kind of…everywhere." Laughing, she motioned towards the cluttered living room with a simple wave of her graceful hand. "It's normally much neater than this, despite my roommate's best efforts, but it's easier for me to work on something when it's all spread out and in sight. My bedroom's clean though, so we can talk in there." Meeting his gaze, she blushed. "Unless that makes you feel uncomfortable." Tucking an errant lock of her fair hair behind her ear, she continued. "It's a big bed, and we'll both be fully dressed. I mean, we haven't talked in three years. Of course, nothing would happen. Um…"
"It's alright," he stopped her, putting her out of her self-inflicted, embarrassed misery. Nodding down the hall, he instructed her, "lead the way." Obliging, she moved down the narrow passageway with her ex behind her. "So, what exactly is this project you're working on? I can't believe you have something this big already to complete. It's only September."
"Welcome to my Senior Seminar course. I have a presentation this size due every Monday morning."
"I can't believe I don't already know this, but what is your major," Ryan asked her, his expression clearly curious. "I remember you being undecided during our senior year."
"Well, not all of us are as predictable as you. How are you enjoying your studies in architecture?"
As they crossed the threshold of her bedroom, he stopped and waited for her to turn the light on, pausing to take in the space. It was uncluttered, calming, and clearly an oasis away from the rest of the world for her. While they continued talking, Ryan winding his way around her room to look at the various knickknacks she had displayed, Marissa made her way into her bathroom to change.
"It's good," he answered, "doesn't leave me with much free time, but that was expected. I have an internship for the spring already lined up though, so I'm excited about that." Stopping at her bed, he picked up her Share Bear, held it in his hands, and smiled nostalgically. "I'm not the only predictable one though."
"What do you mean?" Her voice was muffled as if she was talking through fabric, and it only made him laugh softly to himself again.
"I bet if I walked into your bathroom right this minute, you would have clothes strewn all across it, because you couldn't make up your mind about what to wear tonight." When she reappeared in the room dressed in a simple, long nightgown, he pressed, "and your dress and shoes from tonight are no doubt tossed right on the floor along with half of everything else that belongs in your closet." Marissa could only roll her eyes in admittance. "See, I'm not the only obvious one. I remember everything about you, too."
They climbed into her bed together, Marissa sliding in quickly under the mounds of blankets on the right side and Ryan on the left, his legs crossed easily as he rested outside of the covers. There was no hesitation on either of their parts, no awkwardness, no questioning their actions.
"You still haven't told me what your major is."
"Surprisingly, it was my Mom who helped me finally pick it," she admitted, watching his face closely.
He didn't disappoint, wincing at the mere mention of Julie Cooper. "What, did she basically force you into what she thought you should do?"
"Good guess but no. I actually worked for her my last summer in Newport." Taking her hair and piling it up into a loose, messy ponytail, Marissa paused a moment in her story before continuing. "She would pay me to help her with advertising campaigns for the dating company she and Kirsten owned. I would brainstorm up the ideas, make the flyers and brochures, and come up with gimmicks to help get the company more attention. I was good at it, and it made me think 'why not make a career out of this?', so I did. I'm an advertising major, graphic arts minor."
"If you would have forced me to guess, I never would have picked that for you," Ryan admitted, "but it fits. You'd be able to sell a blind man a pair of reading glasses."
Nudging his shoulder playfully, she smiled widely at him. "Why thank you…I think."
"It was a compliment."
"Okay, so now it's my turn to ask you a question, right?"
"Anything you want to know."
"Tell me this," Marissa prompted him. "How on earth did you and Jaime ever become friends?" Before he could respond, she went on and quickly explained herself. "Don't get me wrong, I think he's a sweetheart, but he seems more Seth's speed than yours."
"I actually met Nina first," the future architect admitted. "We were on the same co-ed intramural football team freshman year, and, when we needed a score keeper, she got Jamie to do it. I didn't talk to him until the end of the season though. I needed a ride back to my dorm one night because I had gotten knocked around pretty good and was sore, and he was there for me, the first one to volunteer to help."
"That's Jamie for you. He'd do anything for anyone," she agreed with him. "Hard to believe he dates Nina though, isn't it?"
"They do seem like an odd pair," Ryan laughed, sharing her opinion. "But the two of you seem like an odd pair as well. How did you become friends?"
"We were assigned as roommates together freshman year. At first, there was little we could connect about, but, after a while, we started to click. We both enjoyed the weather channel, ate more ice cream than was healthy for any human being to consume, and had a soft spot for animals. As soon as we decided to disobey the rules and adopt a kitten our spring semester freshman year, we've been pretty much inseparable…well, except for at night when she's at Jamie's."
"She's at his place every night?"
"Yep, they're pretty much joined at the hip as soon as the sun goes down."
Smirking, Ryan teased, "well, they're joined at something, but I really don't want to think about it."
Ignoring him, she joked. "They're like pork chops and apple sauce, Chip and Dale, soap and water; they just go together and should never be separated."
For several seconds, neither of them spoke. Instead, he simply watched her closely, reading her expression, and making her blush. "And what about you?"
"What about me?"
"Do you have a partner in crime? Have you met your inseparable second half yet?"
"I don't know," Marissa answered, pushing herself down so that she was laying down flatly on her back. "Time will tell. What about you?"
"I'm working on it," Ryan answered, mimicking her position. If he was surprised when she started tugging the covers from beneath him, insinuating that she wanted him to climb inside, he didn't show it. Instead, he did as she wanted, kicked off his shoes and stripped off his shirt to remain in his dress pants and wife beater. Once he was under the blankets, she turned off her bedside lamp, bathing the room in darkness. "What are we doing?"
"It's too late for you to go home," she whispered, already drifting off to sleep. Joining her left hand with his right, she squeezed it once before saying, "good night."
He sighed, perfectly content for what felt like the first time in years, and closed his eyes. "Night."
Waking up the next morning, Marissa realized a very valuable lesson: not even a queen sized bed was big enough for two former lovers and current potential more-than-friends to sleep together in. She was intimately pressed up against her ex-boyfriend and more comfortable than she had ever been in her own bed before. Ryan was still laying on his back, but his left arm was wrapped around her body, holding her to him tightly, while her left leg was curled in between the two of his, cradled by his strong thighs, and held in place by his right hand, and her left hand was placed possessively low on his bare abdomen, his tank pushed up either naturally by his sleeping habits or by the work of her own persistent fingers. He was warm, he was safe, and he was oh so tempting.
Unwilling to pull away, she closed her eyes, snuggled deeper under the blankets, and decided to wait until Ryan woke up, leaving the decision of what they would do next in his hands. She had taken the first leap of faith and invited him to spend the night; the ball was in his court now. Mere moments later, she learned a second thing: Ryan was very quick to play his turn in the little game she had started the previous evening.
Softly, so softly for a moment she thought it was a whisper from their past or a mere memory of their time together tricking her mind, he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose. It was a delicate embrace, delicate and loving, and it made a wave of delight wash through her already humming body. But his touches did not stop there. In rapid succession, his lips moved across her face, brushing tender kisses upon her forehead, the lids of her eyes, the apples of her cheeks, the point of her chin, and, finally, her slightly parted lips. As soon as their mouths touched, her very responsive and very aroused eyes flew open to meet his eyes. Indigo striking azure.
"Is this okay?"
She could do nothing but nod her head yes, but it was all that he needed.
Smiling down upon her glowing face, Ryan joined their palates together for a second time. His kisses were slow and drugging, and it made her feel as if he was worshipping her mouth, savoring her. It had been years since she had been kissed like that, and, with Ryan holding her in his arms, she could finally admit that she had missed it. She had missed him.
Her lips felt swollen when he pulled away, separating them and effectively pulling a moan of displeasure from the back recesses of her throat. "I want to really kiss you," he confessed, letting go of her bare leg to cup and caress her jaw line. "I want to taste you again."
"Yes," Marissa agreed breathlessly, his words stirring a coil of passion deep within her that she hadn't experienced in almost four years.
Their noses brushed together when his mouth nudged her plump, lower lip, begging for her to open underneath him. When she did, he licked her parted lips, nibbled on their delicate flesh, sipped from her very essence until they both needed, craved, more. Dipping into her mouth, Ryan teased her, running their tongues together before twisting them together and kissing her with a savagery that spoke of their level of desire for each other.
Tearing apart breathlessly, he murmured, "I want to touch you. I want to take off all your clothes, I want to stare at your naked body, and I want to run my hands across every single inch of your impossibly soft skin."
"Please," she begged, already reaching for his own body to remove it of its clothes. "Please, Ryan."
"But that's not all," he stopped her, capturing her wandering fingers and curling his own around hers. "I want more than to see and touch your naked form." Swallowing thickly, his Adam's apple bobbing wildly in his throat, his pulse racing, his eyes imploring her, he declared, "I want to make love to you slowly, passionately, addictively all morning long this morning, tomorrow morning, and every morning I can."
Instead of saying anything in response, Marissa sat up in bed and peeled her nightgown over her head, tossing it aside to reveal that she had been naked the whole night underneath it, their gazes never breaking. Finally, she rejoined him under the covers, playfully covering his still clothed body with her bare one. "I don't know about that," she teased. "I think I better wait and see how this morning goes before I make any promises." Her words were light, and they made Ryan smile broadly. "Besides," she continued cheekily, "I'm not deciding anything until you take me on a second date, so you better make it…," she looked down at him briefly, breaking the connection their blue eyes had been sharing to grin appreciatively at his stirring body, "and this good."
"How about this morning?"
"What about it?"
"We'll make love," Ryan shared his plans, letting his fingers trail up and down her vulnerable and exposed sides, "we'll shower together," he continued, stopping his wandering hands on her hips where he squeezed her curves possessively, "we'll go back to my place so I can quickly change my clothes, and then," he whispered, kissing her softly, "I'll take you out for breakfast, and we'll have our second date."
"Pancakes are a good start," she taunted him, laughing gleefully when he, without word or notice, switched their positions, rolled them over, and pressed himself into her welcoming body, "but, if you want to impress me,…"
"I'm sure I'll be able to think of something."
Not allowing her to say anything else, he took her lips in his again as they worked together to remove his clothes. Neither of them would have predicted that they'd end up making love the morning after they were set up together on a blind date, but chance was smiling down upon them, and who were they to argue?
Hand in hand, Ryan and Marissa walked into a local diner several hours later. They had missed breakfast, but, luckily, the establishment frequented mainly by college students served pancakes all day long. They walked closely together, whispering intimately and sharing secret glances only they would understand, the image of the perfect couple. So engrossed in each other, they never noticed the very amused and arrogant smirk plastered across a petite, raven haired costumer's face as she watched them interact. It wasn't until they were passing by said woman's table, a booth she was sharing with her boyfriend, that they even noticed her presence, and they wouldn't have noticed her presence if she wouldn't have addressed them.
"Well, call me Chuck Woolery. Would you look at the two of you?"
"Hey Nina," Marissa greeted her roommate, offering the other woman a warm smile and somehow managing not to blush at the intense scrutiny her best friend was lavishing upon her. "Are you guys here for breakfast, too?"
"Oh," the blonde realized. This time she did turn a becoming shade of mortified pink.
"So, what brings the two of you by," Jamie took his cues from his girlfriend and pressed their friends for information. "We knew that you got along well enough last night, but we didn't realize that you made plans to spend time together today."
"It was a last minute thing," Ryan explained, not quite meeting the other man's eyes. "You know, spur of the moment."
"Too bad you don't do spur of the moment," Nina argued with him. "I've seen your calendar. Everything is scheduled weeks in advance. And you," she switched topics by turning her attention upon her roommate, "there's something different about you. You look all happy. It's oddly disconcerting and slightly frightening. I've never seen you like this before."
"You're seeing things. I'm exactly the same as I was last night."
"Anyway," the future architect attempted to sidetrack the woman eyeing them so closely, "we really have to be going. We just stopped by to pick up some food."
"Where are you guys off to," Jamie wanted to know.
"Ryan's taking me on a second date," Marissa confided, winking at her two friends. "I guess all your attempts to fix me up finally paid off. I owe you both one."
Quickly, they got their food and left the small diner, forgoing their plans to eat there because they wanted to be alone. If they stayed at the college restaurant, their friends would have joined them, asked too many questions, and, unsuccessfully, fished for information. However, there was nothing really to tell. After all, as far as Nina, Jamie, and everyone else at Berkeley were concerned, they had only met the day before after being set up on a blind date, and they were simply getting to know each other. It was up to chance if anything more would ever happen between them, but, for the first time in a long time, they both felt as if chance was on their side. Yes, their future was still as unpredictable as the weather, but, after three years apart to grow, mature, and learn who they were as individuals on their own, they had the tools to forecast and predict any storm that may be on their horizon so that they could be prepared for it when it struck. And, if nothing else, they had umbrellas to hold over one another's heads as they blindly walked into the tempest called life and love together. They were going to be just fine.