Tonight's the night Jack told himself.  Tonight's the night I ask the love of my life to marry me

The night air was cool and Jack hurriedly stumbled out of his car rushing to gain the warmth of the Apartment building.

As he trudged up the steps, the click clacks of his newly bought designer shoes echoed throughout the narrow stairway.

Jacks apartment was on the top level of the four floored building. These steps had led Sam to his own haven for the past two years. They had led him to comfort when he got laid off from his job at the leather factory, they had carried him to safety when he had come home drunk after a nights worth of partying with friends. And now they lead him to what could be the best or worst day of his life.

Jack paused as he reached the door to the apartment.. Once he stepped in there was no turning back. Mentally he prepared himself to ask Cindy, who had been his girlfriend for four years, straight through college, to marry him.

The move into his apartment with Cindy had not been an easy one, with both their families being deeply into religion and firmly set in their ways. A woman sharing an apartment, let alone a bed, with a man out of wedlock was not to be desired.

But despite their parents arguments and admonishments they decided to take their relationship a step further. Despite what their families thought, their affinity had been entirely chaste.

Nervously Jack searched his pockets for his keys having somehow misplaced them on his way from the car to the door. Setting his briefcase on the Christmas themed welcome mat he rummaged through his pockets.

However instead of his keys Jack found an old piece of gum, given to him by the charming lady who worked in the office next to him; and his cellular phone which some how already had a few scratches on the screen, he had just gotten the phone last week.

"Aha! There they are" Jack muttered, feeling his keys buried underneath a days worth of rubbish stashed in his pocket.

Jack grimaced; somehow his keys had managed to tear a small hole in the seam of his pockets, managing to get stuck at the same time.

Jack flipped his pocket inside out and grasped the keys with both hands… He didn't want to have to rip a whole in his new pants. Jack tugged again with no luck.

Finally Jack decided to forget his pants and using all his might he managed to yank the keys out. However, the sudden motion caused the keys to go flying out of his hand, down railing, and into a nearby sewer.

"For crying out loud!" Jack said getting aggravated.

This was not the way his evening was supposed to be going. He was starting to get cold.

Giving up on the keys, Jack decided to knock on the door instead; there were more important matters for tonight.

Knock Knock Knock. Jack rapped on the door, shivering slightly from a cold gust of wind.

Jack waited for a minute with an ear pressed up against the door; listening for any signs of movement from inside.

Nothing.

Knock Knock Knock.. Jack pounded on the door again.

No answer.

Jack started to pace. "Where could Cindy be?"

Cindy was a part time student at the local university. Usually she'd arrive home hours before John.

Giving a sigh, Jack sat down with much effort and leaned his back on the door.

This was not turning out to be a good day.

Jack closed his eyes, and thought back to earlier this morning.

Because of Jacks decision to propose to Cindy, he decided on asking Mr.Dukton, his boss at a local computer developing center, for a raise.

~~~

"Mr. Dukton Sir?" Jack asked timidly, peeking his head around the mahogany wood that was his boss's door.

"Come in Mr. Andrews".

Timidly Jack stepped into "Mr. Duktons office"

Mr.Dukton also known as Ducky by Jacks co-workers, motioned to the empty wooden chair across from his rectangular desk, full with papers and pens and other gadgets.

Mr.Dukton turned slightly in his leather swivel chair to look Jack right in the eye..

Jack gulped.

"Well…get to it."  Mr.Dukton  snapped, his eyes glinting in a manner which made Jack want to jump out of the chair and run to his comfortable cubicle down the hall.

"Mr.Ducky- er..."  Jacked faked a cough; "Mr. Dukton, I've come to ask for a slight increase in my salary."

If possible Mr. Dukton looked even more annoyed.

"You see sir, my son Bryan has fallen ill, and with my wife, pregnant with triplets. A boost in my income could only benefit my family" Jack said with surprising ease.

For the past week Jack had been getting advice on how to get a raise from Ducky and from what he'd heard, Mr. Ducky was a family man. If he played his cards right he might even double his salary.

Jack put on a smile for show as his hand nervously fidgeted on his lap.

Mr.Dukton paused as if to consider it.

Jack took an inaudibly sigh of relief, "It looks like he bought it" Jack thought to himself.

Mr.Dukton straightened up.

"Jack I think a raise would be great, you've been a strong asset to our company. Except for one minor detail" He said stroking his Colonel Sanders like beard.

"What would that be sir?" Jack said fighting back a grin.

"You're fired."

~~

"Jack" Cindy said, shaking Jack on his shoulder. He was out like a light.

"Jack!"

"Mrphlemerg" Jack responded, slapping away her hand in a dreamy fit.

Cindy stooped down and smacked him in the face

"Jack! Wake up!"

"Julia?" "Jack said deliriously, noticing how dark and cold it was.

"Who's Julia? "

"No one," Jack said thinking of the lady who had a large supply of chewing gum.

"Jack its 12:00 get up," Cindy said grabbing his arm and hefting him up."What are you doing out here anyways?"

"Uh…Sleeping?"

"You lost your key again didn't you?"

Without waiting for a reply Cindy pulled out her own key and hurriedly unlocked the door.

Minutes later the couple sat at in front of the electric fire warming up. Jacks face was still tinged blue.

"I'm sorry again for being late, I didn't know the seminar would take so long , so I didn't bother to call your cell."

Jack nodded.

"Should I do it now?"  He thought to himself

Boldly Jack got on one knee and pulled from his pocket, the tiny box in which the engagement ring was enclosed.

"Cindy…Will you marry me?"

Cindy could only whisper "It's about time."

Hours later as the two stood on the balcony of their apartment; they sat watching the sun rise

"Jack hun?"

"Mmhmm?"

"Lets get married today. Lets elope" Cindy said her eyes shining.

Jack froze.

"We can't."

"And just why not" Cindy said placing her hands on her hips.

"Because… I'll be in the hospital."

~

"Fired?! How can that be?!" Jack thought to himself.

"Er... Sir…why would I be fired… Mr. Dukton, Sir. I only-

"Is it a common trait for a manger to allow poor liars to be in control their business, let alone give them raises?" Mr. Dukton asked.

"I think not" he answered, before Jack could say a word.

"However, Mr. Andrews. I have a proposition for you"

"A proposition Sir?"

"You see, my son …yes my real son, not my imaginary one… is in need of a kidney." Mr. Dukton smiled, " and I think  yours would do just fine."

Of course I'd be willing to give you your job back, with your mentioned raise in salary if you were to accept".

Jack gulped. "I'm ready when you are."