I stared at Adam for a moment, my mind rushing 100 miles per hour. If he hadn’t been speaking with the boys, who had he been speaking with this morning?
“Yes, yes, I love you too and I can’t wait to see you. Soon, yes I promise. No, I haven’t told her yet, but I will. Okay, goodbye.”
Jason’s words in the e-mail came back to me then—what do I really know about him?
Who else would he say I love you too? That he can’t wait to see them?
This was something totally new to me—jealousy I mean, this irrational fear of betrayal by someone. I’ve never felt this way before and it occurred to me that was because I haven’t ever really cared for someone like I care about Adam.
Oh my God, I really do love him.
I was NOT prepared for this feeling of jealousy. I trust Adam, I mean the guy has went out of his way to let me know how much he cares about me, how much he desires me. I believe that, don’t I?
Yes, I do! I don’t know who he was talking with this morning, but it wasn’t to another girl friend.
I realized that I did believe that. Even though he is a wonderful actor, Adam is very transparent, or at least his emotions are and he does care for me.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly a gamut of thoughts can run wildly through your mind? In a few seconds I had totally ran through a full range of ideas, all while Adam was chewing his bite of sushi. But I was determined to get some answers I decided.
He frowned for a moment as he focused on why I had thought he had talked with the boys this morning, and then gradually a slow smile crept across his face.
“Ah, you must have heard me on the phone this morning?” he asked. “I was talking to a very special person, a woman actually.”
My eyes narrowed as I regarded him. He was teasing me now, I could tell by the look of innocence that was plastered across his face, except for his eyes which were twinkling in a merry sort of way.
I decided to play along, and besides I was extremely curious, I admit it. But it had to have been his mom or other family member, I‘d bet money on it!
“Really, a very special person you say?” I asked him, trying to keep a bit of an edge to my voice. “Why Adam, next thing you know you will tell me it was your mom!”
His face fell for a moment and he looked at me curiously. “Well, actually it was my mom. However did you guess her?”
I smiled at him then and said, “C’mon Adam, I heard you say you loved them and would see them soon. If it wasn’t the boys, it had to have been your mom!” I didn’t tell him about my brief fit of jealousy and I wasn’t going to!
“Um yes, well my parents are going to be in California next week for a conference in San Diego, so we thought it would be a good time for you to meet,” he finished hopefully. He was fidgeting with his chop sticks, something I hadn’t seen him do much of lately and I realized he was nervous, but whether about me meeting his parents or something else I couldn’t tell.
He stopped fidgeting then and looked at me. “You will come to California, won’t you?” he asked. His face was wearing his vulnerability like a clown wears his makeup—it was very apparent and appealing. It actually made me care even more for him, seeing him be so vulnerable, since I feel that way so often myself.
“I’d love to Adam, if Dr. Crandal says I can, that is.”
It obviously hadn’t occurred to him that Dr. Crandal might not allow me to go, I thought as I watched consternation play across his face. He frowned again then for moment and asked, “Your appointment is tomorrow, isn’t it?”
“Yes, at 9:45. Adam, I really want to go, to California I mean. I hope you know that. I just don’t know what she’ll say about it.” Frankly, I was getting very used to not going to work, which surprised me. I adore my job and I am a workaholic, truly. I wondered though if part of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have much of a life before now. Since Adam came into my life, I hated the thought of going back to work, or being anywhere that he wasn’t.
What on earth will I do when we get back to real life? I mean Adam working wherever in the world he might have to be and me here, at work, wishing constantly that I was with him. I had no doubt that is exactly how I would feel and the thought was depressing to me.
I sat there, pushing my sushi around on the beautiful white china plates with the electric blue Japanese script on them, and I suddenly realized I had lost my appetite. A huge lump had made its way to my throat and was threatening to choke me. I looked up at Adam and he was watching me intently, with that look that tells me he understands what I’m feeling.
He really throws me off balance when he does this. I've always thought I was fairly perceptive, but Adam has me beat totally. Cassie and I can sometimes finish each others sentences and sometimes we only have to look at one another to know exactly what the other is thinking. But we’ve been best friends forever and so it doesn’t seem unreasonable for us to do that.
But Adam and I hadn’t been together for more than a few hours when he first seemed to just pluck my thoughts right out of my head. It was slightly unnerving actually, mostly because he was always correct.
Adam reached across the table and covered my hand with his, stoking it gently, tracing little hearts on it with his thumb. I smiled when I noticed what he was doing, and I didn’t even know if he realized what he was doing.
“Well, we’ll just hope that all goes well tomorrow. If not, then we’ll make other plans,” he told me.
“Where are your parents right now?”
“The Sudan,” he said. “They are helping to set up a new clinic there, and part of the trip to San Diego is to gather some interest and hopefully raise some donations. Part of the problems Doctors Without Borders encounters is resistance from the medical community at large because so many of the problems are bigger than just medical problems. Sanitation and the ability to help the people to cultivate and produce their own food are huge factors. But before that can even happen they must have the ability and knowledge to reclaim arid land and provide irrigation and farming solutions. They are also unusually resistant to change, and many health or lifestyle changes are beyond their comprehension or ability to adapt. Without the proper teachers, volunteers and supplies, those things can’t happen; so many doctors see it as a losing battle. Not that they don’t care, it is just so gigantic of a problem, it’s difficult to even know where the most critical help is needed. The bottom line though is that it all takes money.”
“Mm, yes—evil, wicked, necessary money. The lament heard and felt by most of the world. How long will they be there?”
“For about a week, although the conference is only 3 days, so they can make the trip here if need be.”
“Adam, it is not necessary for you to baby sit me all this time. I will be fine on my own, really I will,” I told him and I felt exasperation creeping into my voice. I’m not an invalid and I hate being treated like one.
“Sarah, my being here has nothing to do with my feeling like you need to be ‘baby sat’. You are a big girl and I know you can take care of yourself. My reason for being here is because I want to be with you, wherever that may be. I love you Sarah, I want to spend time with you, and it’s as simple as that. I can’t bear the thought of waking up in the morning without you beside me, of not sharing quiet moments and meals, bubble baths and everything else.” He was quiet for a moment and sat staring down at our hands, hands that were still holding tightly to one another. “I know that we won’t always be able to be together, but for right now, I want to be with you. Please let me,” he finished softly, looking deeply into my eyes.
Hot tears stung my eyes as his simple request. I was speechless for a few moments, trying to figure out how in the world to answer that. Not because I was cynical about his motives, but because it hit me all at once how very much he cares, how deeply…
No one has ever cared about me so completely, other than my kids I think. No one has ever made me feel so cherished, so wanted. I looked into this amazing mans eyes, tears shining brightly in my own and I saw his were red-rimmed as well.
I couldn’t say a word, I was going to break down if I even attempted to speak, but I nodded solemnly, and tried very hard to smile. I wanted so badly to tell him that I loved him, he deserved to hear that, probably needed to hear that. Yet, the words just wouldn’t come. I opened my mouth, trying to form the words, words I wanted him to hear, but my voice failed me.
He looked at me and nodded and then reached across to me and tenderly placed his finger against my lips in the way he has when he wants me to just listen.
“Sarah, I know how you feel. It’s okay that you haven’t said it yet. You will, when you feel secure enough and until then, it’s fine, it really is. You show me you care about me a dozen different ways and your eyes are more expressive than words could ever be. Don’t cry now, it’s really okay,” he finished, tracing a tear down its path on my cheek with his finger. He wiped it away gently and smiled at me and I felt okay, that maybe it was going to work even if I couldn’t find the words.
“I bet you think that all I ever do is cry!” I told him, trying hard to laugh to lighten the mood.
He laughed then too and it was sort of infectious. My half-hearted laugh turned genuine and we passed the moment of my tears without further problems.
The phone rang then and I got up to answer it. I was gone for a few minutes and when I came back, Adam had his fork in his hand and he paused it mid-way to his mouth. He looked at me sheepishly, and then shrugged and resumed taking his bite. He had managed to eat more during the few minutes I was gone than he had for the whole rest of the meal with his chopsticks!
“Caught!” I exclaimed, wagging my finger at him and he laughed outright.
“I have many gifts,” he told me in a low and sexy voice. “Using chopsticks just doesn’t happen to be one of them!”
“So it would seem. You worked so hard just trying to get those few bites into your mouth. I’ve never seen anyone before who was so bad using chopsticks!” I giggled. “I mean honestly Adam, it’s not brain surgery!” I thought about some of those other gifts he has then and I felt a deep blush creep over my face and neck.
I ducked my head quickly, but not soon enough evidently because he leaned towards me and said intimately, “I shall be waiting impatiently to show you some of them!”
“Yes, I remember one or two of them,” I told him and I did, in startling recall. “Um, my parents are coming over in a little while; they want to check up on their baby girl. Sorry.”
“Because my parents are coming over. They’re still, um, concerned would be an appropriate word I guess.”
“Well of course they are. I’m not upset about it, I’m rather excited actually. It gives us a bit more chance to chat and get to know each other.”
“Oh yay,” I mumbled.
He smiled the dimple smile at me then and suddenly, I felt like all was right with the world. It would be fine, I decided. And, they won’t stay for more than an hour or so, surely!
We were just finishing getting the dishes into the dishwasher when the doorbell rang, and we headed off to let mom and dad in. My dad immediately noticed the new door lock and was fascinated with it. He and Adam spent 10 minutes playing with it, and mom and I laughed about it; boys and their toys! They never outgrow them it seems.
I decided I wanted some more iced tea and asked if anyone else did and they all said no, so I headed off to the kitchen to pour me a glass. It was actually the last in the pitcher and I tried to make a mental note to remember to make another later.
In the living room mom had sat down on the loveseat and I took the couch, curling my legs under me. Mom looked around the living room, taking in the art work and ‘knick-knacks’ that I have around. I know my house must seem foreign to her, but she never said anything about that. The focus point in the living room was the framed ‘Ecstasy’ print by Maxfield Parrish. Its rich blues, purples, browns and varied shades of creams made a stunning showpiece. It was framed in a copper frame with copper and deep, deep blue matting and it hung over the fireplace. I loved that painting, the joy on the face of the woman in it, the freedom of her pose against the canyon. The rest of the room was decorated with those colors; the couch and loveseat in a deep caramel color, with accent pillows in the blues and purples of the painting. A massive oval coffee table stood between the couch and the fireplace, its copper top gleaming whenever the fireplace was lit. The walls were a shade of caramel lighter than the furniture, except for the wall where the fireplace was which exactly matched the furniture. I also had a marvelous sculpture by Ross Mantanee that was 5 foot high. It was copper-glazed and was of a nude woman dancing gracefully, fluidly. It seemed to be alive, and it made me think of the Parrish print as soon as I saw it. I’d spent two thousand dollars on it, more than I had ever spent for something like that, but I felt good every single time I saw it. It sat on beautiful burnished oak hard-wood floors, which set it off exquisitely.
Dad and Adam came into the room and sat down, dad on the loveseat and Adam next to me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.
“Now that’s a great lock you got there sweetie, really reliable,” dad told me, giving his fatherly seal of approval. Or maybe it was just the guys seal of approval, I wasn’t sure.
“Yes, it seems quite…sturdy. I just hope I won’t forget the pass code to it or I’ll be in trouble. I’ll be calling Adam in some exotic location so that I can get into my own house!” I took a sip of my tea and then sat it down on the table.
Adam looked at me and grinned, but dad just nodded his head in agreement. Apparently it didn’t occur to him that Adam would ever not know the code.
That’s good. It means they like him!
We chatted about last night’s dinner and all the commotion it caused. It had been on the local news, Adam’s interview that is and was causing quite a stir in town. Mom told me that Aunt Birdie had enjoyed herself tremendously and thought that Adam was a ‘mighty fine young man’ and that I should actually try to hold onto this ‘fella’. I sighed, thinking that I loved Aunt Birdie a lot, but sometimes she is just a little too outspoken.
Dad asked if Lissa had gotten back to KC alright and I told him that she had. I also told them that she would be doing her internship here in Wichita. They were thrilled to hear it. Derek and Lissa are their only grandchildren and I know they long to see them more often.
“Did Derek mention to you that his unit might be going to Iraq next year?” mom asked me.
“NO!” I said, feeling panic rising in me. “No, he didn’t mention it. Oh my God…”
“It’s not for sure yet love, he probably just didn’t want to panic you while you weren’t feeling well. It might not even happen,” Adam interjected, pulling me to him a little bit tighter and rubbing his hand up and down my arm.
I was starting to feel kind of light-headed and queasy, which I attributed to the news. I sat there on the couch, unable to speak. This news stunned me—whether or not he actually goes, it’s a possibility, it always has been. His unit hadn’t been there yet, so it was their turn certainly.
“Sarah, when he does tell you, you simply must not react like this, do you hear me?” my mom said to me.
I sat there, trembling, feeling sicker and sicker and all I could think about was her telling me to behave. TO BEHAVE!
“Mother,” I began and I watched my dad sit up a little straighter. It was the ‘mother’ than did it. “I have always appreciated your ‘no-nonsense’ approach to the happenings in our lives, the good and the bad, but you nor anyone else will tell me how I should act or respond to this, do you hear me? This is my son we are talking about. Young people go over there and die! Everyday. This is your only grandson, is this what you want?” I was feeling breathless and my head was spinning terribly now. And I realized I was going to be sick. I jumped up with a mumbled, 'excuse me' and ran out of the room.
I managed to make it into the bathroom and slammed the door just in time. I was violently ill in the toilet, loosing my dinner and probably everything else in me. After I finished retching, I sat back on the floor, my head spinning and aching now in earnest. My ribs were killing me and my heart was beating to some fast-paced rhythm all its own.
I laid my head onto my drawn up knees and tried to focus on breathing slowly, hoping the nausea would abate. There was a soft knock on the door and I popped my head up and groaned.
“It’s Adam love. Can I come in?”
“No, just go away. I’m okay. I just want to sit here a little longer, alright?”
“Um, well I’m just a bit concerned. Please, let me help you get into bed, alright? Your parents have left and you really should be in bed.”
I sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to go away. “Okay, come on in,” I told him finally, reluctantly.
He came in and scooped me up off the floor and carried me into the bedroom and sat me gently on the bed. He knelt down in front of me and brushed the hair off of my face. The strands were damp, because I was sweating profusely.
“My God, you’re a clammy mess love,” he said, taking in my flushed face and glassy and teary eyes. My heart was still pounding too, but I didn’t mention that to him, afraid it would only cause more concern.
“C’mon, let’s get you undressed and into bed, shall we?” he said, while starting to pull my shoes off. He patiently undressed me and got me under the covers, then headed for the bathroom, telling me over his shoulder that he would be right back.
When he came out he was carrying a damp wash cloth and began to wipe my face and neck with it. The cool wetness of the cloth felt wonderful and I told him so.
I was feeling better by then, the dizziness had passed and since I had vomited, my stomach felt a good deal better as well. I remembered my parents then and felt a twinge of guilt.
“Are Mom and Dad still here?” As I said it, I remembered that Adam had just told me that they had left.
“No, they left. Your mother was very distressed, she was very sorry for upsetting you like that.”
“I’ll call her tomorrow. It’s not like me to lose my temper with her like that. She has always been very strong and ‘no-nonsense’ as I told her, but it just sat wrong tonight. Actually, I was already not feeling too well by that point.”
Adam nodded at me then and replied, “Yes, she knows that. It will be okay. I’m going to make sure all is locked up and the lights are off. Do you need anything, a glass of water perhaps?”
My mouth felt dry and I could still taste the bile remnants in it. “Yes, I would like a glass of water. No ice though.”
“Okay, I’ll be back soon.”
I laid back in the bed, appreciating its support and knew that my ribs were going to hurt miserably tomorrow. And of course, I had to see Dr. Crandal and there will not be anyway I can hide that from her. She’ll probably poke at them anyway I thought. I really dreaded that checkup tomorrow…
Adam came back in, carrying a glass of water which I gratefully took. I looked at it for a moment before cautiously taking a sip, letting the water slide down my parched throat. My stomach didn’t react adversely so I took another sip and watched Adam as he got undressed for bed, long lean muscles making me ache for him, even as awful as I felt right now. I closed my eyes and tried to think of something unpleasant, anything at all to get my mind off of him, but it didn’t work. I popped on eye open to peek at him as he went into the bathroom.
It wasn’t even quite 10:00 p.m., but I was stifling a huge yawn as Adam came out of the bathroom. He pulled the covers down and slid in between them, settling them back around us both.
“It’s still early Adam, it you want to watch TV; I doubt that it will bother me. I really can’t keep my eyes open any longer.”
“You’re sure it won’t bother you?” he asked, kissing me lightly.
“No, go ahead. I’ll probably be asleep before you can find some sports thing to watch, I promise you!” I sat my glass on the bedside table and felt my ribs screaming in protest. I couldn’t help the sharply drawn breath I took and Adam frowned as he looked at me.
“Are you sure you are alright love? We don’t need to phone the doctor or something?”
“NO! I mean, tomorrow is soon enough. Goodnight Adam,” I mumbled into my pillow, trying to get comfortable. Like that was going to happen!
“Alright. On second thought, I’ll turn some music on softly and work on my script for awhile, if you’re sure it won’t bother you. Goodnight then love.”
Adam got up and turned the small stereo on here in the bedroom and tuned it into some soft music, which was soothing. He grabbed his script and sat down in bed, placing the pillows behind his back and settled down to read.
The last song I heard was by Gloria Estefan and was called Along Came You. I had never heard it before and the lyrics seemed to fit my feelings perfectly.
“And as this feeling grows with every day
You awaken my heart heart so full
I fear that it may break
If we're ever apart
And though one day you'll be own your own
You know I always will be near you
As near as on the day you were born
Call on me, you know I'll hear you
You were sent to me
For one reason, I can tell you
You're here to show me what love can be
'Cause what did I know
Until along came you
To teach me about love
Oh yes, along came you
To teach me about love”
Yes, Adam was certainly teaching me about love, I thought with a sigh before I drifted to sleep.