Engagement – Ch.9C in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                  Originally written by Tom Austin

                                               Revised by Tom Austin


Content with what had he had heard Tyler and Brad walked along the dirt road.

Brad had a question of his own.

“How did you know I was madly in love your daughter”

“It was at the ballgame. Actually, it was a combination of things. First, it was the way Milly called you. It wasn’t the words exactly, but there was something special in the way she said them. Secondly, it was the way you responded to her voice. You seemed so glad to hear it, and see her. Thirdly, the dead give away or maybe I should say clincher, was your face. You were shaking hands with me, but it was the way you were looking at her. Have you any idea how you’re you intend to ask her?”

“Not a clue. To be honest when we first tried out that damn doorway Messenger told Milly about I had no intention of asking her to marry me. But ever since we arrived I’ve had this feeling that if I don’t ask her I’ll bust. I want her to be in my life, and I want to be part of hers. I want to be able to call her my wife”. They soon came within sight of the Shine household.

Tyler puffed on his pipe and offered some advice.

“I’d ask her, and ask her as soon as possible. I discovered when I was dating her mother the longer I put it off the harder the task became. And the longer I waited the more crumby I felt.” Then he handed him a ring. “I suspect you’ll need this. It’s a family heirloom. It was her grandmothers wedding ring. Now you’re fully equipped.”

Brad was flummoxed. “How did you know I didn’t have a ring?”

“A fathers instinct. Don’t worry. You’ll get one eventually too.”

As Tyler and Brad walked on the road Brad was on the side of the road where there wasn’t moonlight. He wanted the moonlight to augment Tyler’s poor night vision. Just before they turned towards the house Brad stepped into moonlight. He was soaked in nervous sweat.

“If you want my advice, I think you’d better ask her before you drown.Do you want me to send her out?”

“No. Just let me lean against the fence a couple of minutes. I need to collect my thoughts.”

All of a sudden Tyler broke into a run, and ran towards the house. As soon as he entered he noticed Milly and Tilly were still seated at the dining room table and were still talking.

“It’s Brad! I think he’s having an allergic reaction to something. Milly get out there and keep an eye on him. I’ll get my bag.”

Milly rocketed out the door, going as fast as she could to the shadowy figure now gripping the fence with both hands.

Tilly got flustered and worried.

“If anything happens to him I’ll never forgive myself.”

It was then she saw her husband sitting down, gripping a pipe in his teeth, reading a newspaper.

“Why aren’t you worried, why aren’t you getting your bag, and why are you sitting down reading a paper!”

“I can’t do anything for Brad. It all depends on what our daughter says.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“He’s proposing, or at least trying to.”

Tilly’s face had a blank expression then a look of happiness took over. “You know what this could mean – grandchildren!”

“Yup, that’s the way it usually works.”

“Aren’t you happy?”

“Yup. Thrilled beyond belief. Tickled pink” said Tyler like he didn’t care at all.

“Oh poo” said Tilly who was not thrilled at her husbands attitude and gave him a short Bronx cheer.


“BRAD!” screamed Milly. “What’s wrong?”

Brad leaned against a fence railing, then pushed himself away from it. He wanted to face Milly. Milly could see his shirt was soaked.

“I want to…I’ve got to ask you something.”

Milly could sense it was very something important.

“OK. Shoot.”

Brad got down one knee.

“Oh my god” she said quickly.

“Milly Shine, I love you, and want you in my life. Will you do me the honor of marrying me.” He pulled the ring from his pocket.

Milly was surprised, and put both her hands in front of her mouth.

She then had a mischievous smile and put her hands in her pockets.

“Can I have some time to think about it?’

“Certainly. Take all the time you need.”

Brad was not expecting this turn of events.

“Ok…I guess” said Milly.

“Huh?”

“Yes I will marry you”

Brad yelled “Yahoo!” at the top of his lungs which only served to wake the neighbors and start a dog barking. Milly put her arms around her fiancé’s neck, jumped up, and put her legs around his waist. Brad kissed her so passionately Milly she could feel goosebumps on the back of her neck, and her toes curl.

“You’ve never kissed me like that. Keep doing it and I’m going to get a panty puddle” she whispered.

“Do you want me to stop?”

“Hell no…Keep going!”

“You know what I want to do?” said Brad

“If it’s what I’m feeling I’m sorry but you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. I want to wait till it’s one hundred per cent legal. Why don’t we find a place a little more private. We’ve got some real talking to do.” With Milly legs firmly locked around Brads waist they walked down the road.


Milly and Brad snuck into her mom and dads house in the early hours of the morning. Brad insisted she take the guest room, and Milly was too tired to argue. Brad reminded her about the ring.

“Put it on the night table before you get undressed. I love you.”

“And I love you saying it”. She blew him a kiss and closed the guest room door.

Brad took off his shirt and crashed on the couch. The last thing he remembered was Tilly putting a blanket on him. “Thank you” she whispered and she gave Brad a peck on the cheek.


Tyler sat the breakfast table, looked over his glasses and noticed Brad stir. “Good Gravy its alive! You were right Tilly. We should have sold tickets”

“Very funny Dr. Jackhammer. How can you sleep with inhuman noise Tilly?”

“I know it’s very old technology but it works. Rubber ear plugs.”

“Is her ladyship alive, or is she still in the Land of Nod?”

Just then then guest room door opened.

“She’s alive, and she smells coffee. I’ll take mine black. Please”

“Morning dear, sleep well dear?” asked Tilly.

A wide sleepy smile took over her face. “You can bet the ranch on that.”

As Brad was putting on his shirt Tilly noticed some scratches on his back but wisely decided not to say anything. Brad rubbed his face and found he was need of a shave.

“Have you ever used a straight razor before?” asked Tyler.

“That’s the way I started shaving. All my old girlfriends appreciated the closeness of the shave.”

Milly heard the playful jab and playfully hissed and clawed at Brad.

Tilly noticed Milly was not wearing her ring.

“Is there anything we should know?”

“No. After I proposed Milly and I went into The Town to get the ring sized. We woke a jeweler and got it done.” said Brad.

“Last Night?” asked Tyler

“We pounded on his door till he opened up. Said something about “taking a flying leap at the moon”. He sized the ring. When he found out Milly was your daughter he told us to remind you about “The Lure” whatever that means.”

“Sounds like Joe Crangle. Every year your father has beaten him in some fishing contest” said Tilly.

“And since you asked about the ring we thought we’d re-enact the ring portion of last night. This will be the first time Milly has worn the ring”.

“Milly Shine, I love you, and want you in my life. Will you do me the honor of marrying me.”

Milly was surprised, and put both her hands in front of her mouth.

She then had a mischievous smile and put her hands in her pockets of her kimono.

“Can I have some time to think about it?’

“Certainly. Take all the time you need”

“Ok…I guess” said Milly.

“Huh ?”

“Yes I will marry you”

And they kissed, not quite as passionately as last night. Tilly had tears in her eyes.

“Yuck! It’s like kissing a porcupine. Have a shave. Please!”

Tyler couldn’t help but laugh.

“I think you been given your first orders by your soon to be wife.”

“And when you come back from removing that facial fungus, we’ll have a little chat about the arrangements” said Tilly.

“It’s at times like this I really wish we had a basement.”

“Why in heavens name would you want one of those.”

“So I can hide. You forget. I know what happens next. ”


Musings of Meg Sorick can be found Here!

Take a look at Meg Soricks Bucks County novel series Here!

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Reunion-Chapter 9b in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                                  Written by Tom Austin

After everyone was seated at the table Tyler said “I know there are probably a thousand questions but this is a meal of Thanksgiving. We’ve finally found our daughter, and we’re meeting the man who helped her become so very happy. Let’s leave the questions till after dinner shall we. And now I’d like to propose a toast”. He raised a glass of wine.

“To newly found friends and family. After so long we’re back together”.


Tyler dabbed any remaining gravy from the corners of his mouth with his napkin. He was about to compliment his wife on a delicious meal. But Brad beat him to it.

“Mrs. Shine, it’s been some time since I had a meal like that. It truly was terrific. On behalf of your Milly, your husband, and myself we thank you”.

Tilly blushed a bit at the unexpected praise.

“Why thank you, Bradley. Tyler hasn’t said anything like that in some time. But please call me Tilly and I won’t call you Bradley. Tyler told me quietly of your dislike for the name Bradley, and to a certain degree, I don’t blame you. I had a cousin named Bradley who was a perfect little horror”.

“You have a deal, Tilly. Now that we’ve finished dinner there is a question that I’d really appreciate an answer to.”

Milly turned to Brad and held his hand. She talked in hushed tones.

“Brad, please don’t ask. I don’t care what the answer is. They’re here and that’s all that counts”

“You used to be a doctor. Aren’t you the least bit curious?”.

“I’m pleading with you. I don’t want to know. Please don’t do this.” She squeezed his hand to show her desire not to know.

Tyler cleared his throat and spoke up. “I suspect you’re curious as to why we’re not dead. The answer is we don’t know why. All I remember is that Tilly” he touched her hand and continued. “Tilly and I were headed down a hill in a car when our brakes gave. We were about to go over a cliff. There is no way this accident should have been survivable, yet here we are”.

Brad interrupted. “But that doesn’t explain why -”

Milly looked very uncomfortable like she knew what was about to happen.

Tyler pointed his index finger straight at Brad.

“Look, I’ve been a teacher longer than you’ve been alive. You asked a question. Kindly allow me to continue giving you the full answer without interruption”.

“I apologize, sir. Please continue”.

“Much better. Now as I was saying here we are. All I remember is that Messenger suddenly appeared in the windshield. Then whoosh…we’re here. Apparently in the few seconds after the car left the cliff time slowed down and we had a very lengthy conversation with him. He asked us if we wanted to continue living. Then he asked if we wanted to live here. We both wanted to live, and by our estimate, we didn’t have any choice but to say yes to us living in The Second Realm. His first question was really a very stupid one. Our car was about to become the size of a tuna fish can, and he asks us if we want to live. He’s really a nice fellow once you get to know him. Still, a damn strange question if you ask me”.

“Milly and I had a similarly awkward first encounter with him. I was about to lose my apart-”

Tyler held up his hand and motioned to Brad to stop.

Milly had moved her chair closer to her mother. The two were talking very quietly. Girl talk had begun. The kind of girl talk only a mother and daughter could have. And to Tyler that meant just one thing: Retreat.

“Brad, it would seem our respective ladies are having a little pow-wow. Why don’t we don’t we go for a walk and stretch our legs. Shoot the breeze, or whatever they call it now”.

“That sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll join you”

Tyler excused himself from the table, leaned over to his living room chair  and grabbed a pouch of pipe tobacco. Brad was surprised to see a doctor who still smoked.

“It’s my only vise if you don’t count the Scotch”. Brad smiled.

“Don’t worry Dr. Shine. You’re forgiven. I used to have an uncle who smoked a pipe. The aroma from the pipe is quite pleasing”.

The two men exited the house without Tilly or Milly batting an eye.

They walked in silence toward a dirt road and picket fence. Tyler banged the bowl of the pipe on a fence post to knock the old, cold tobacco out. He then filled the bowl with fresh tobacco and lit it.

“That feels better. Now let’s down to brass tacks. You can stop blowing smoke up my ass. Start by being honest. So cut the bull”.

“I am being honest”.

“Look Brad. Being super polite goes only so far. The name is Tyler. I suggest you start using it. Now what’s going on between you and my daughter?

“Dr. – I mean Tyler. I first met Milly when her group was rotated to my department. There was something special about her. We had a patient we couldn’t do anything on but most basic tests. For some reason, I still don’t understand, Milly volunteered to watch the patient over an entire weekend. She even brought a DVD player to the hospital to watch a really old film. Sometimes -”

“Watch it, Brad. What’s “really old” to you isn’t “old” to me at all. Get my drift?”.

“Something in this film caused this person to react orally and physically. He started bowing at the TV set”.

As the sun set Tyler pulled out some glasses and plunked them on his nose. Brad noticed this.

“I’ve got crappy night vision. Can barely see anything at night. Go on”.

“Well, this fellow literally vanished, and Milly too”.

“Vanished? Don’t you mean you just couldn’t find him?”

“Nope. Vanished as into thin air. Milly initially rented an apartment near the hospital, but she disappeared. No one could find her. The police stopped looking after a few months. There was no trace of her”.

“Cops. Never cared for them. Couldn’t find their ass with a map. But you did find her. What’s so different about you?”

“Maybe it’s because I cared about her. I gave a damn. I found her living in a seedy part of the city. After I got evicted -”

“What for,” he said gruffly biting the stem of his pipe.

“My apartment was being converted into a condo”.

“Those damn things still around?”

“Look, the city you knew is now three times as big. The selection was really bad and Milly offered to let me stay for a while at her place”.

Tyler grunted. “So she made the first move. Good”

“Look Tyler. I’ve answered all your damn questions, so let’s stop the hostility festival. All I want from you is your permission to marry Milly”

“And if I said no. What would you do?

“Well I’d go back to living with her, but things wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t tell her you were the one who screwed her chance at happiness if that’s what you’re worried about. But like I said things wouldn’t be the same. And eventually, I’d move out. There’s no way on Gods green earth I would stay there forever if you said no”.

Brad wanted Tyler’s approval really badly.

“So let me see if I’ve got this right. You’d actually sacrifice your own happiness so she could be happy?”.

“Yes, sir.  I love her that much. And I’m sorry if asking permission is old or quaint. That’s just the way I was brought up, and that’s the kind of man I am”.

The two had been walking side by side. Suddenly Tyler put his hand on Brad’s chest and walked in front of Brad. The two were face to face, and there was a tear in his eye. Tyler placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Brad, you’re one special fellow. Sorry for the Attila The Hun imitation. I needed to know what kind of man my daughter had fallen in love with. It’s one of the things a father has to do”.

“So this was that good cop-bad cop stuff?”.

“Exactly”.

“Tyler, did anybody ever say you should have been a cop?

“Not till you suggested it. But you do have my permission“. 


Further musings of Meg can be found right here!

Take a look at Meg Soricks Bucks County novel series here!

Purchase her award-winning novel Three Empty Frames from Amazon

                                            Just click right here!