X is for Xander

Returning, she found Jax pulling on a tight pink t-shirt proclaiming “It’s an Anime thing, you wouldn’t understand.

“Hey honey, that was the ring guy.”

Scrunching her eyes, Cynthia asked, “What ring guy?”

“Umn, the one we were to causally come across in the vendor room and then I go down on one knee there and ask you to marry me, and then we pick out your engagement ring and our wedding rings.” Jax rubbed his neck. “And that would have been a disaster. I don’t know what I was thinking, putting you on the spot like that in public. Anyway, he is wanting to shut down for dinner and was wondering if we were coming by soon. I … well, I am going to go meet his assistant at the table and we are going to put together a selection and then, once Xander finishes his dinner, we’ll come up here and let you pick things out. Is that okay?” Jax used his puppy dog eyes like he always did when he did something he shouldn’t have as he shuffled toward the door.

Cynthia held up her hand. “Wait, you actually had a plan?”

“Um, yes?”

“You actually called ahead to arrange to buy rings.” Cindy was agog. “Who are you, and how far in advance did you plan this?”

“Hmm, it was part of the plan when I asked you to come to the con with me. I saw the vendor on the website when I was making reservations, and it went from there.”

“Jax, that was like, three months ago.”


“What else is planned? A quiet dinner in the hotel room afterwards by candlelight?”

Jax shifted from foot to foot, looking abashed, “How did you know?”

His fiancee rushed across the room to hug him fiercely. Burying herself in his chest, she whispered, “I never knew you were a romantic. You do so many things off the cuff, I’m never sure if you really mean it.” She drew back, tears streaming down her face, making Jax feel very uncomfortable. “The public question would have sucked, don’t do that. E.V.E.R. Okay?”

Jax smiled down at her. “Okay.” He wiped a few of the tears away. “But the ring guy coming up, and food?”

“Wonderful. You are the most wonderful man in the whole world!”

Quickly kissing her, Jax opened the door. “I’ll be back soon. Why don’t you read some of the books we brought with us until I get back?”

“It’s what I always do while you are at a con.”

“So you get to do it where I can see you this time.” He tapped her nose while standing in the hallway. “I can get used to you attending conventions, just to let you know, even if you never leave the room. I love you.”

“I love you, too, you goofus.”

Once the door was closed, Jax pulled out his phone while taking huge strides down the hall to the elevators. Speaking at the black square, he asked, “Jeeves, what is the nearest Italian restaurant? No, wait. Mexican. Delivery.” He pushed the button on the wall to start the long wait for an elevator. The phone listed several places nearby, he scrolled through until he found one with delivery to the hotel. He was just finishing up his order when the elevator doors opened.

“Going up?” Someone in the small crowd asked.

“I think going up is the only way I will be able to down,” he said, stepping sideways into the lift, swimming toward the back through the ocean of flesh.

“Sure enough,” can the random answer.


Several hours later Jax sat across from the love of his life, for real this time, staring into her chocolate eyes and thanking his lucky stars. He had fallen in love for the first time in high school (middle school crushes do not count), the second time he lost his heart was Freshman year of college – and that one had been his biggest mistake (fortunately the antibiotics cleared his system), then again in Junior year. Him and Joyce might have made it the distance, but she wasn’t willing to leave the mid-west and his only job opportunities were at the coasts. She refused to follow even when he got her job interviews in her field paying her more than she was making in the town where she had grown up and given her more opportunity for advancement. He kept in touch for a couple years through social media, bleeding at every post like a love-sick idiot, until, one day, he was delivering product to at-home medical transcribers for a new corporate client and met Cynthia. He had remember previously running across her at a library event featuring the classic Vampire Hunter D, so they talked about that while he showed her how the new equipment worked. Before he left, she mentioned a dollar theater running anime nights on Wednesday and invited him.

One thing led to another.

Now he sat across from the most amazing woman in the world. Her eyes sparked like the three stones in the Tardis blue ring on her left hand. Xander had taken their measurements to make a set of matching wedding rings and promised them by the end of the summer convention season. Knowing the promptness of crafters who sell at conventions, Jax figured he would get the rings by Christmas.

Cynthia kept looking up at him, through the purple candles set into muetre skull candlestick holders he found when racing through the vendor room to catch the assistant before the convention closed the vendor room for the night. By the time the ring merchant finished his dinner and returned, the Mexican place had delivered to the front desk and Jax picked up the food on the way by. The candlesticks day-of-death theme tying into a Mexican tradition was a pure coincidence but made everything looked well-planned and coordinated. A perfect night for his perfect woman to remember.


A to Z Short Story List Breakdown

Rainbow Spectrum (A to F)
Marathon Party (G to M)
Trigger: Cutting (N to Q)
Bookstore Sort (R to T)

Panic at the Convention (U to Z)
4/24/2019 – U is for Uniform
4/25/2019 – V is for Volunteer
4/26/2019 – W is for Weasels
4/27/2019 – X is for Xander
4/28/2019 – Y is for Yuengling
4/29/2019 – Z is for Zillion

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