Title: Little Ragdoll
Genre: Contemporary historical women's fiction
Setup: 18-year-old Adicia and 20-year-old Ricky were recently married in an convenience marriage to save Adicia from the much-older creep her parents were trying to force her to marry. Shortly after escaping Manhattan for Hudson Falls, NY, Ricky received a forwarded draft notice and will be going to Vietnam. They're in the Tunnel of Love at a county fair, and Adicia is offering her husband, who's in love with her, the chance to consummate their unconventional marriage before he has to leave in the morning. She has also just admitted she thinks she has a crush on him, even though she doesn't love him the way a wife loves a husband yet.
Adicia inches away from him. “Fine, if you’re not interested, you don’t have to accept my offer. I was just suggesting something I thought you might want while you still have the chance. I wasn’t gonna force you to do anything.”
He reaches over for her hand. “Hey, don’t be like that. You know I’d do anything to make you happy while I’m still here with you. I just know what happened to you with those two jerks before, and I need to make sure you’re offering this for the right reasons. I’ll still be your husband even if I go away without having consummated the marriage.”
She nods, looking ahead at the darkened water sadly. “Why does this water have to be so calm when in real life we’re swimming frantically against a mass of troubled waters that doesn’t seem like it’ll ever abate? And why did God, if he exists, have to punish me by showing me a glimpse of a happy ending and giving me a cute husband if I can’t even have either until I’ve been through yet another tribulation in my life? Other couples who are thrown together in an arranged marriage sleep together when they’re not in love yet. I guess I don’t deserve even that one consolation when you’re about to go away. I thought you loved me unconditionally, just the way I am. Who knows, maybe you’re just not man enough to want to do it. You rich intellectuals and limousine liberals really are all talk and no game when it comes to actually doing something you profess to care about so much.”
This last comment seizes his attention. “Is that what you think of me? I’ll show you who’s a man and not a mouse.”
Adicia feels butterflies in her stomach as Ricky takes her chin under his hand and gently kisses her. When he sees the awestruck smile on her face in the dark and that she’s not pulling away, he does it again for longer. He only separates himself from her when he sees the exit tunnel approaching, not wanting to get caught by the ride operator or anyone still walking around.
“How was that for someone you thought was a mouse and not a man?” he whispers as they’re walking back to the car.
“That was really nice,” she says giddily. “Now I know why they say that it feels so good and special when you’re with someone you really like, and not something someone’s forcing on you.”
“So I take it your offer to make a man of me is still open?”