A Highlight of “33’s Theo”

In my novel, “33’s Theo,” Shelly and Teddy had been friends at Harvard many years before the novel begins. Their relationship had never been serious, although at times they had thought that there was a possibility that it might escalate into something more. But it hadn’t, and eventually, whatever they once felt had gradually been dissipated once Shelly went back to New York and Teddy remained in Malden, where he remained at his engineering position until he retired, never remarrying.

So when Shelly met Teddy’s son, Ben, so many years later, it was not inconceivable that she could fall in love with him, being that he was only seven years her junior and that the chemistry they shared was strong and undeniable.

I especially like the part on Page 70 when Ben declares his love to Shelly. Anyone could see that it was completely mutual, although Shelly wanted to move slowly with their relationship to be completely sure it was all that they thought it to be!

Let’s listen in to this most relevant conversation between Shelly and Ben at Walden Pond, (I describe Walden Pond exactly as I remember it so many years ago when I visited there with George, the friend of mine, whom Teddy was modeled after.)

“Shelly smiled and watched as Ben parked at the next rest area. Before he took out his map to check the exit to Walden, he took Shelly in his arms and kissed her gently first on her cheek and then, gazing into her eyes, he kissed her passionately on her lips. Shelly returned the kiss, and then they just stared into each other’s eyes for a few moments.

“You know, I’m falling in love with you, Shelly. My father was a fool to let you go. I’m not my father, thank God. I’ll never let you get away.”

“If the last week reflects in any way what our future would be like, I’d never want to get away, Ben, but we have to take things more slowly. I want us to get to know each other better, take more time to fall more and more deeply in love. And, although so want to keep our relationship exciting and joyful, I want to save sex for marriage, if that’s what we want to do someday.”

“Shelly, I want you to know that that my intentions are entirely honorable, and if you want to take things slowly, that’s fine with me, but I have to tell you that I know what I want to fill the void in my life, and that’s you. I know already that I love you, Shelly, and both our lives could fit together, a perfect juxtaposition, in fact.”

“I know that, too, Ben,” she said, “but out of respect for Jim and the wonderful years we had together, I would want to wait more than a year until I remarry. Otherwise, I would feel guilty because I loved Jim very much , and we had a really happy life together as you and Lisa did.”

“ I do understand, Shelly. A year after Lisa died, I was still barely functioning. Time doesn’t exactly heal all things, but it allows you a more realistic perspective, and I do know now that loneliness for the rest of my life is not what anyone intended for me, least of all the God I deeply believe in and my late wife, whom I loved and respected deeply. So we’ll take it slowly, Shelly, but to seal that decision, I want a few more kisses and a promise that we have an understanding about our future together.”

“They kissed and Ben couldn’t help seeing the promise in Shelly’s eyes. Then she rested her head on Ben’s shoulder as they looked at the colorful late summer foliage around them and stared again into each other’s eyes.”

What will happen to Shelly and Ben? Will their love keep growing or will something or someone interfere with the development of that love?

I’ll tell you a little more if you check in with my next post!

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