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Conventional Love Affair Breaks None Of The Rules

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Conventional Love Affair Breaks None Of The Rules

SCHAUMBURG, IL—A thoroughly ordinary love affair between Chicago-area suburbanites Stephen and Denise Feeney has broken none of the rules, shocking no one with its non-torrid abandon and lack of forbidden passion, it was reported Tuesday.

A Christmas 1997 photo of Stephen and Denise Feeney, whose run-of-the-mill love is no different from that of millions of other couples.

According to those familiar with the couple, the stable relationship between Stephen, 27, a Xerox copier-sales account manager, and Denise, 26, a buyer for Sears, continues to plod along steadily, provoking no vows of revenge from interloping outsiders sworn to keep the two apart at all costs.

The partnership between the at-times somewhat-enthusiastic lovers is expected to continue on its current, mild path for years and is unlikely ever to end in star-crossed, tragic heartbreak.

"My family has been very supportive of my marriage to Stephen," said Denise, speaking to reporters while doing a crossword puzzle in the mid-sized kitchen of the couple's mid-priced home. "They're always polite to him when we visit on holidays, so I guess they must like him well enough. They've never really said much about it, so, to the best of my knowledge, I'm not defying them in any way."

Many times, a blossoming love affair flouts conventionally held beliefs, daring to boldly violate taboos in its furious, fevered pursuit of ecstatic union. Such is not the case, however, with the Feeneys' romance. From the moment they met while working summer jobs for the same Elgin, IL, catering company in 1991, they have followed the path of sober propriety, achieving partially consuming intimacy by exercising caution and reserve, keeping a clear head at all times, and taking care to avoid rash, possibly regrettable decisions.

"When we got married, we decided to wait until I established myself as a regional assistant at Xerox before having our first child, Jessica, who is four now," Stephen said. "And once we could afford the down payment on a decent house in one of the better neighborhoods, we went ahead with our second child, little Bradley. It's important to start a family relatively early if you want to be able to give your kids the benefit of your prime years."

Stephen noted that, in choosing a neighborhood, he and Denise looked closely at the quality of the local schools. He also stressed the importance of timely diphtheria vaccinations.

The couple's level-headedness had been evident long before their wedding: A month after she and Stephen started dating, Denise sidestepped a potentially messy situation by quitting her community swing choir rather than pursuing a crush she had on a fellow member of the ensemble.

"I'm so glad I did the right thing," she said. "Stephen has proven to be a reliable provider for our family unit. Sticking with him has proven extremely well-advised in the long run."

Responding to a reporter's question, Denise said Stephen has never serenaded her from the street below her window, waking and angering the neighbors with a loud demonstration of the depth of his eternal love for her. "No, he's never done that," she said. "He did sing to me once, though, when I asked him to help me remember how the theme from PM Magazine went."

When asked if he kept any strands of Denise's hair under lock and key in a family-heirloom locket that he held close to his heart on a golden chain at all times like a precious treasure, Stephen said, "I don't really keep anything like that lying around, no. But I do have the receipts from our first shared credit card. They're in the filing cabinet in the den. Does that count?"

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