Wednesday, January 31, 2007

As Days Go By

Chapter Fifty

I woke up fairly late; I guess my body just needed the rest. I didn’t have any more dreams, that I remembered anyway. It was almost 10:30 and I headed straight into the shower.

I thought about Cassie as I showered and hoped she was feeling better today; it was hard to see her so worn out yesterday. I was looking forward to spending several hours with her. I decided to call her before I went up to the hospital and see if she would like me to bring her something for lunch.

After the shower I ate a banana and some toast for breakfast. I put peanut butter on the toast and laughed at myself for still being a bit bent out of shape about it.

Mom was right, sometimes I can be so childish!

I knew I had to go and check my e-mail again and I would have done anything to avoid it. But luckily, there wasn’t anything else on there from our mystery poet and I was very thankful.

I did some housekeeping while waiting for mom and that helped to pass the time. I called Cass and was lucky enough to catch her between therapy sessions. She was delighted that I would bring her some lunch and asked for something spicy from Bangkok and I promised her that I would bring it.

Truthfully, I think she was more excited about the prospect of the food than seeing me! But I could totally relate, remembering the hospital food I thought with a smile.

When Mom got here she told me that she was going to drop me off at the hospital and then go get her hair done. I thought that was nice, she was giving Cass and me some private time. She didn’t want any Thai food, so I called in an order for Cass and I and we stopped to pick it up on the way.

It smelled wonderful in the car and the journey to the hospital seemed to take forever because of that. I was really very hungry and decided that was a good thing.

When Cassie saw me come in the room she smiled a mile wide and I could tell how happy she was to see the food! Er, I meant me of course.

“Ooh,” she exclaimed, her eyes bright and sparkling. “What do we have?”

“The appetizer platter of course, spicy fried rice, shrimp panang and the spicy beef stir fry you like! Think I have enough food here?” I laughed, setting it all out on her tray table which was pulled up to a chair where she was sitting. I pulled another chair up opposite of it and dug through the bag for chopsticks and napkins.

“Hey, where is your mom?” she asked, taking her first mouthful of spring roll and making a blissful face. “Mm!”

“She went to get her hair done. Actually, I think she just wanted to give us some time alone, which was cool I thought. How was therapy this morning? Yesterday you looked wiped-out!”

“It was better this morning, but I’ll be tired like that after this afternoon’s therapy. They have me on the parallel bars walking, and that just zaps my energy. That’s why I’ve got some time to rest today, before they have me do that again.”

“Um, I’m sure that is tiring,” I answered, taking a bit of the shrimp panang, mixed with a little of the spicy fried rice.

“Yeah, you know you don’t think about things like that—getting tired just by walking a few steps I mean. I never had any idea it would be like this. We walk around all our lives, so who would think that being flat on your back for a few weeks would make your body totally lose its strength and muscle control. It just amazes me really.”

“I’m just so grateful that you are recovering so quickly. I know that’s not always the case with spinal cord injuries…” I trailed off. I thought about people who never recovered and offered yet another hasty prayer of thanks to God for Cassie’s ability to recover.

“Yeah, it really could have been totally different.” She was thoughtful for a minute while she took a bite of the beef, which made her tongue tingle from the heat. “Whoa mama! This is hot! But very, very good,” she grinned, wiping fake sweat off of her brow.

I giggled and then asked, “So, how is Dr. Gorgeous?”

Cassie gave a muffled snort and then grinned wickedly. “Well, he’s hotter than this beef!”

“Cassie!” I exclaimed, “What have you been doing?” I tried to sound indignant or outraged, but it didn’t come off well and she called me on it.

“You better let Adam do the acting, okay, because you really stink at it!” she laughed.

“Okay, okay I’m not an actress. I get the point. But…back to the point which was Dr. Gorgeous! C’mon on Cass, spit it out!” Her laughing abruptly stopped and I realized that there was something serious about Cass and Dr. Gorman and whatever it was, I hoped she didn’t get hurt.

“He’s, uh, I’m – uh, I’ve never known anyone like him. He is so dedicated to what he does, but every once in a while he breaks out of the doctor mode and just talks, like, like a normal guy. I don’t have a crush on the doctor part of him, really I don’t. I mean, people say that often time’s patients develop crushes like that. He helped me so much as a doctor, and I am so very grateful, but my feelings are different than that,” she told me, utterly serious.

“How different Cassie? Tell me,” I urged her.

“We talk about things that don’t have anything to do with my injury or recovery. Like when he comes to see me now, I mean he always asks how I feel or what I’ve done, but he really isn’t my doctor any longer, those are just questions that get him here I think. Mostly we talk about who we are, what we do, our families. I love hearing about his – his dad was in WW II and was in Greece, where he met Eleni, Georgio’s mother. They had a whirlwind romance and he married her. Then it took almost 2 years to get her into the states, but they finally succeeded when she was pregnant with their first child. Georgio is the youngest of 10 kids!”

“So, his given name is Georgio then? And he’s single?”

“Yes, his name is Georgio and he was married, but she died almost 7 years ago. They didn’t have any children; she had leukemia for about 10 years, before she died from it. It sounds very sad, doesn’t it?”

“Yes. I would imagine that something like that is all the more frustrating when you are a doctor and can’t really do anything. So what else do you know about him?”

“Well, he’s 44 and as I said, the baby of the family. His oldest brother is almost 61. Both his parents are still living and spend about half of the year in Greece and half here. He has 5 brothers and 4 sisters and dozens of nieces and nephews and he dotes on all of them,” she told me as she was finishing her meal. She leaned back in the chair and laid her hand on her tummy, which even though she has been lying around for weeks, was as flat as ever. But then again, Cass never gains any weight! If you see her from behind, you would think she is a high school girl she is so lithe and petite.

We chatted for another hour until Mom came back, and Cassie’s mom and dad came in at the same time. Mom and I left shortly after that to give them time to visit and I promised Cassie I would talk to her later. I also told her I had a doctors appointment the next day and wasn’t sure when I would visit. I hugged her goodbye and it was so great doing that while she was actually sitting up in a chair!

Mom dropped me off at home a few minutes later and I wandered around aimlessly for awhile before picking up a book I had started to read before I went to Italy. That somehow seemed like a lifetime ago I marveled. So much had changed in my life since then, starting with Adam up on top of Monte Berico.

I had gone to Italy in the first place to see it again from a fresh perspective. I had enjoyed living there, it was wonderful, but there were things about it that were difficult too and I needed to lay some of those ghosts to rest.

Instead, I had met Adam and I found out that it wasn’t really necessary to let go of the old memories because I built so many new ones. Sometimes I guess it is best to let sleeping dogs lie I thought.

The thing about Adam is that he hasn’t only changed my life, but my family’s as well. Mostly by making me so happy, but it is so much more than that. He has been so welcoming of my family, of my life that it makes it so easy to be with him. There are no doubts lurking in my head or heart about the two of us and our ability to make this relationship work; it does work and will continue to work because it just fits!

I finally put the book down because I wasn’t getting any reading done anyway. I decided to put a CD on and then go and decide what to make for dinner. I looked through the CD’s, dismissing one after another before finally settling on The Beatles Yesterday and Today and when they started singing Baby You Can Drive My Car I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. At least it didn’t directly remind me of Adam…

Just then Bobby called and told me that his night instructor wasn’t going to be able to come in and he was taking the evening class, so not to make him anything for dinner. He wanted to know if I would be okay alone and if I wanted him to call mom and dad or anything.

I told him I was fine and I am. I’m getting impatient with everyone acting as if I’m fragile or something. I told him to eat what ever he wanted when he got home and that I’d see him later if I wasn’t up.

So the whole evening stretched ahead of me and it was amazing how lonely it felt. Before I went to Italy I loved these evenings, just chill-out time. Now I couldn’t imagine why I had loved them so much. Of course, I was working then, so down time in the evenings was so much more important. Now, I looked around me and groaned.

I suppose that my feeling of boredom was compounded by the fact that I couldn’t just hop in the car and go where I wanted to. I’m not even sure that I would, but if I could at least that would be an option.

I looked through my movies as spied the 6 movies of Adam’s that I have and briefly contemplated putting one in, but I knew that wouldn’t help anything. After watching River of Doubt last night I now see those movies differently; they are just characters that he has played, they aren’t him. Out of all of the movies I have seen him in I realized that I couldn’t think of a single one that is anything like him, the real Adam. I suddenly had the feeling that I would never enjoy watching one of his movies again because of that. Weird, I thought.

I spent the rest of the evening in the same state of mind, wandering aimlessly through the house looking for something to occupy my mind and never really finding anything. By 9:00 pm I had taken a long bath, performing all the necessary ablutions before a doctor’s visit and was curled up in bed, a cup of warm and fragrant cocoa steaming next to me on the nightstand.

The phone rang and I could have cried with joy when I saw it was Adam, even though the first thing I heard was a sneeze.

After greeting him I said, “Still sneezing?”

“Yes, but I’m going round to see the doctor in the morning; I was supposed to go this morning, but the doctor had some emergency. I think I just need some of my allergy medication. But I’ll be right as rain soon, I promise you. What about you, when are you seeing the doctor?”

“Tomorrow morning, and it can’t come too soon. I am really hoping she will let me drive Adam, I’m going stir crazy here,” I told him. While I was talking to him I was tracing the pattern on the comforter distractedly. I realized that I was fidgeting and abruptly stopped and then took a deep breath to try to pull myself back.

“Yes, I do understand love. How was Cassie today, did you have the nice long visit you were anticipating?”

“Yeah, yeah we did. She wanted some Thai food so we stopped at Bangkok and I brought her a feast and we both ate like greedy little pigs. It was very tasty, however not nearly so much fun because you weren’t here for me to poke fun at as I watch you try to eat with chopsticks!”

I heard his deep and warm chuckle and it made me feel a bit more comforted. I could almost imagine him here with me as he did it. “Well you know, I think I shall just have to practice and perhaps get a new start on it, shall I? Whatever would you laugh about then,” he teased.

“I’m sure I could find something,” I laughed. “How was your day?”

“Long and tedious, but ever so much better now. We ran through the scenes that we will film tomorrow, providing I can get through the scene without sneezing my bloody head off. I’m hopeful the doctor can help. I normally take a nasal spray that keeps me from this mess and it would be wonderful if the doctor can help. Uh love, the scene with Rachel, the um…” he trailed off.

“The love scene Adam?” I interjected.

“Uh yes. It looks like we are going to film it next week, while you are here. Are you going to be okay with that love?” I heard him sneeze again and then a quiet curse as he blew his nose. “Damn all this blasted dust. It’s everywhere, in everything.”

I smiled as I listened to him. Welcome to the mid-west I almost said, but I decided to keep that cynical comment to myself, he’d learn on his own all too soon. And then I thought about his question and what to tell him about it.

“Last night, I was bored before you called and I was flipping through the TV channels and I ran across River of Doubt. Cassie and I had seen it at the theater when it first came out, but I hadn’t seen it since then. So, I decided to watch it again. And I discovered something Adam; I realized it wasn’t you in the movie. I mean, uh, it was you, but it wasn’t Adam. Oh God, this sounds stupid, doesn’t it?” I asked, trying desperately to figure out how to say this to him.

“No, no love it doesn’t. Take your time, just say what’s on your mind,” he urged, somehow knowing I wasn’t done.

“I uh, realized that it was your body, but it was a different character. You were no more Nick in that movie than you were Sean in The Minute of the Miracle. Your body, your voice, but another character. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I realized that it is your job. In some way, even though you are portraying these people, they have nothing to do with who you are.”

I swear I heard him smile, as silly as that seems. “Yes, it is just my job, and sometimes it’s more difficult than others.” I knew he was referring to the scene with Rachel.

“I know Adam. I will be okay with that scene and any others in the future because I understand that it is your job, that it has nothing to do with your feelings for me or about us. That – that you don’t love or desire me any less because your character has to kiss Rachel Tomlinson. I will be okay with it all. I mean, part of me will hate it, but I’ll be okay.”

“Okay then, well remember you don’t have to be here to watch it. I - uh, actually it might be better if you see how it all goes together, it’s hardly romantic; people and cameras everywhere, stopping and starting as one of us has to move to get out of the others camera angle. Not romantic at all, I assure you. It’s all rather different when you see it in a theater; it looks so smooth and passionate.”

“Okay, we’ll see then. I’ll decide later if I want to watch it being filmed. Truthfully the day at the set in Vicenza was enough to show me that I could never do what you do!”

We were both quiet for a minute; I know I was thinking about him in Dallas, wondering what his life was like while I wasn’t with him. I looked over at Adams side of the bed and I reached out my hand to touch his pillow; it felt cold and austere without him and I had to be contented to know it would only be a few more nights before he’s home.

“Did you make yourself some dinner in your new kitchen?” I asked, trying to change the subject.

I heard him scoff on the other end of the phone and he said, “Yes, well if it can be called that. I made some pasta with garlic and olive oil sauce, simple and one of my favorites,” he told me.

I still loved hearing his voice, the way when he says ‘pasta’ it sounds like ‘pass tah’ with a very long a. It’s not only very sexy, it’s very endearing.

“Sounds good,” I told him. I realized food might have not been the best subject to bring up and I was right when he asked his next question.

“What did you have?”

I mentally groaned. "Oh, I just sort of snacked,” I told him and hoped he would let it go at that. He didn’t.

“Snacked? On what?”

“I just uh, made a sandwich.”

“Um hm. What kind of sandwich?” He wasn’t going to let it go, I could tell.

Fine, I decided. I’d tell him, serve him right! “A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, okay? Does it make you happy to hear that Adam,” I said and then I couldn’t help giggling.

I heard an exasperated sigh on the other end of the phone and then he chuckled. “Well, you did try to spare me.”

“Yes I did.”

“How’s Bobby? Did he have to eat PB&J as well?” he asked, and he was smiling, I could tell. I bet his dimples were showing I thought with a shiver.

“No, actually he had a class tonight and isn’t home yet. He can fend for himself, but actually there is lots of Goulash left over from last night. Our grandma’s recipe, and I made it!”

He laughed again and said, “I am aware that you can cook love. I’m sure it was delicious as well. Oh, and Sunni said to tell you hello. I saw her briefly this morning on my way to the meeting. She has lots to do right now, but we had a quick chat and she is glad to hear you are doing well.”

“That’s nice. It sounds like things are getting off to a good start there.”

“Yes, and I’ve saved the best for last. I’ll be home late Thursday night. I’m booked on the 10:22 pm flight into Wichita. So I’ll be home around midnight. How does that sound?”

I was stunned and over-whelmed with joy. And I couldn’t get a word out. I mean I tried, but when I opened my mouth, nothing.

“Love? Sarah are you alright?”

‘Yes,” I finally gasped. “YES, I am SO alright Adam. Oh, I am the happiest woman in the world. And how could you keep from telling me right away?”

I heard him chuckle and then he said, “Well, I mean you started straight off about my sneezing and I sort of forgot, you know?”

My eyes narrowed as I thought about that. “Forgot huh?”

“Yes, okay, no. I just wanted it to be the last thing I told you because I knew it would make you so happy. Think you’ll have better dreams tonight? I know I will.”

I would be happy with no dreams I thought, remembering the dream from the night before last. “Yeah, I hope I have the happiest of dreams. I know that I am the happiest of women.”

“And I am the happiest of men. I love you Sarah.”

“I love you too Adam. Goodnight,” I said, already missing him.

I hung up the phone and felt so much better.


I slept soundly and when I woke up, I felt very happy. Just knowing that it was already Wednesday and that I would see Adam tomorrow night did a lot for my attitude. I felt like running and laughing through the day and after a quick shower, I got dressed and went in to make myself some breakfast.

Bobby was already in the kitchen, sipping some juice. He didn’t drink coffee or actually any kind of caffeine but he was very kind, he already had some coffee brewing for me.

I poured some into a mug and sniffed appreciatively, then raised one eyebrow in query to him. “Do you know how to make coffee Bobby?”

“Ah, ‘fraid I’ll poison you or something cousin?” As soon as he said it his face blanched and he became immediately apologetic. “Damn Sarah, I’m sorry – I didn’t mean that, I mean, like it sounds. Are you okay?”

‘Um yeah, it’s alright Bobby, really. I think it’s just going to take some time for me to get past all that,” I told him as I poured some hazelnut cream into my steaming cup. I sat down at the table and said excitedly, “Hey, Adam will be home late tomorrow night, around midnight!”

“Hey, that’s great. I’ll pick him up so he doesn’t have to catch a cab.”

“Wonderful, as long as I’m with you. I can’t wait to see him!” I quipped, laughter bubbling over my words.

“It’s a deal. I don’t have classes on Friday’s until noon, so it won’t keep me up or anything,” he told me.

“You know, we’ll be gone the following week so the place is still yours to use. It gets you away from your Mom anyway,"  I joked.

“Yes, it does that. And yeah, I’ll stay, if it’s okay. It has shown me that I need to be on my own,” he admitted sheepishly. “I’ve been lazy; staying at mom’s all this time.”

“I can’t see how you could possibly have any love life like that, that’s for sure!”

“Um, didn’t really. Still don’t, but maybe it’s time to change that. I’ve just been so focused on building the dojo up and creating a client base that I’ve ignored all the other areas of my life. Shoot Sarah, I don’t even know where to find a girl friend!” he laughed.

“Well, I feel sure they are out there; especially after all they longing looks I saw cast your way at the movies the other night.” I patted his hand and added, “I really don’t think it’s going to be a problem for you!”

I watched a shy flush spread across his fair features; gorgeous dark hair, skin that like mine tans easily. But he had the very bluest eyes imaginable, deep azure. He got those from his Dad because all our family was like me, hazel or brown, with a bit of green thrown in occasionally. And at 6’4”, not to mention all the working out he does, his body ain’t too bad either. So he has a lot going for him and he’d discover that the more he got out and gave it a shot.

“I guess I don’t have to ask if Adam is excited. That man adores you Sarah. Actually, he kind of amazes me. I wouldn’t have thought that such a big movie star would be so, I don’t know – ordinary, so nice really. Was his family like that too?”

‘Yeah, they were. I felt so comfortable and so at home with them. You’ll like them too. They are all coming here for Thanksgiving. Of course, with you, Derek, Adam and all ‘the Richland men’ as he calls them, I’m not sure that there is anyway we can have enough food. That is if you want to come. Oh, and I forgot Mark, who seemed to hold his own with the Richland men,” I added with a laugh.

“Who’s Mark?”

“That’s Tamara’s partner. Mark Bonner,” I told him, waiting to see if the name meant anything to him.

“Why does that name sound familiar? Is he a movie star too?” he grinned.

“No, he’s a director. He directed River of Doubt.”
“Oh, THAT Mark Bonner. Won an Academy Award for it too, didn’t he?”

“Yep. And Tamara did the sets for that movie,” I stated, shaking my head in bemusement. “Quite a crowd, huh?”

“Damn Sarah, this is all amazing, you know that? Freakin’ amazing…”

I just grinned because I knew exactly how he felt. “Hungry? I’ll fix some breakfast, I’ve time before I go to the doctor.”

“Yeah, I’m always hungry, you know that! Do I have time for a shower?”

I nodded my head and he headed out of the kitchen. He had been such a big help to me, I’m not sure what I would have done without him. It was almost as good as having Derek here with me.

Bobby and Derek were the same age, even though he was technically my cousin. Loretta, Bobby’s mom is my Mom’s youngest sister. Bobby and Derek were inseparable growing up. Either they were here at my house or at Loretta’s; they were like two peas in a pod and were always together. They played little league together, football, basketball and finally karate. Then Derek went into the military after he graduated from high school and Bobby started developing his dream of his own dojo. That separation was very hard for them, but they each worked on their dreams which would eventually make them happy.

Derek’s was harder since he had went into the Army to try to please his dad, or maybe even get his attention, but it really didn’t work. Unfortunately Randy, my ex just managed to ignore everything about the kids, hardly ever remembering a birthday or Christmas. I hated that, for Derek and Lissa, that is, but I couldn’t change it, so I just tried to make things okay from me.

After we ate and got the kitchen squared away, Bobby went off to the dojo and I waited for mom, but luckily I didn’t have to wait for long. We went to the doctor’s office and I got right in there too.

As she looked at the newest x-ray, Dr. Crandal frowned a bit. “Well, it’s healed up another centimeter Sarah, that’s great. It looks much better. Any headaches, dizzy spells or anything else I should know about?”

I debated about whether I should tell her about the fainting spell the other day. I mean, it was caused by the shock of the e-mail, not my fractured skull. But what if the fractured skull made it more likely to have happened? And what if that still denotes a weakness; a valid reason why I shouldn’t drive yet. I decided I had to tell her and she listened all the way through, and then asked what all the notes were about, which of course led into the whole story.

“Goodness gracious Sarah,” she said. “What a mess.”

I nodded glumly, not anxious to hear whatever she had to add to her decision. She looked at the chart and her notes for a few minutes more, lightly tapping her pen against it as she read and thought. Finally she spoke up.

“All right, you’ve still not had any headaches?” I shook my head no. “No dizzy spells, other than what you stated?” Again I shook my head no. “Hm, okay, here’s what we are going to do. I’m going to allow you to drive again on a limited basis, with someone else in the car. And..” she looked at me directly in the eye, “And if you promise to pull over at the first sign of a problem, i.e. blurry vision, sudden onset of a headache, dizziness, vision flashing, anything, do you understand me Sarah?” One final nod of my head and she finished, “Okay, but Sarah, I just can’t stress how critical it is for you to watch all this carefully. If you do develop seizures,” she started, and held her hand up when I started to protest, “If you do, they happen so suddenly that you probably won’t have time to react Sarah. I’m only releasing you because you seem to be fine but I’m telling you that it will be several months before you are completely past any danger, okay?”

“Yes, I do understand that. And I will exercise true caution when I drive. I just hate feeling…I don’t know, maybe trapped is a good word. Not being able to get out when it suits me.”

“Well you are still only going to be able to do it when someone is with you. Is Adam here with you today?” She was still scribbling notes on my chart and didn’t look up until I answered her.

“No, he’s in Dallas. He’ll be home late tomorrow evening and then on Sunday I’ll be going with him to Dallas for a week or so.”

She frowned at me as she listened to me. “NO driving in Dallas, you aren’t familiar with it. And also, no night driving for awhile, sometimes the flashing lights of passing cars can cause problems. Alright, get out of here now. I’ll see you in two weeks, alright? Make sure you are here for that! Stop out at the desk and give this to Liz,” she told me, handing me a piece of paper with what were to me totally illegible notes on it.

I nodded and told her thanks and went out to give the note to Liz.

“Okay, she wants to see you two weeks from today, that’s November 1st. 10:00 am okay with you Sarah?”

“Yeah,” I told her and she set it up in the computer, and then filled out a card to give to me with the date and time on it. I put it into my wallet and waved at her as we left.

In the car I told Mom what she had told me. I suddenly found that now that she said I could drive, I was rather scared and didn’t really have any desire to. Go figure I thought!

Mom and I stopped and visited Cass for an hour or so and she cheered when I told her I could drive again. Each little step forward that we both made was a victory, for both of us and we both cried a bit.

When it was time for us to leave, Mom handed me her car keys and told me I was driving home. I looked at them, lying there in my hand and I started trembling. My eyes darted to Cass and she said, “Do it Sarah. You can do it!” I nodded briefly and headed out the door, but the whole walk to the car I was trying to figure out a way to get out of it.

I stood there at the car for several long moments trying to get up the courage to unlock the door. Mom was patient and gave me time think it through. I looked up at her, standing on the passenger side of the car and I knew she was going to make me do it.

“C’mon,” she said, “Open the door Sarah. You can do that can’t you?”

I nodded and did that. And suddenly what she said reminded me of Adam and his ‘one step at a time’ philosophy. I nodded again, to myself this time and opened the doors and we sat in the car.

Okay Sarah, put the key in.

My fingers only shook a little bit as I inserted the key in the lock and then turned it, bringing the engine to life.

Alright, take a few deep breaths and put the car into gear.

I moved the gearshift to the ‘R’ and after checking for oncoming traffic, I slowly let my foot off of the brake. We were moving and no catastrophe happened. I shifted into drive and we started home. And for the whole 10 minute trip I was tense, but it went fine. No problems of any kind. When we got home I sat for a moment in the driveway and tears started running freely down my face.

“It’s alright Sarah. You did it – that’s what is important here. You did it. Now, I’ve got to get home, your Dad and I are having some friends over for dinner and I need to get it started.”

I opened the door and got out of the car and found that my legs were a bit shaky, but it was okay, I still felt so proud for having done it. Mom hugged me tightly and reaffirmed that saying, “I’m so proud of you sweet pea! I’ll see you tomorrow.” And then she climbed into the car and was on her way, waving as she got to the end of the driveway.

I watched her make the turn at the corner and I waved again, even though she couldn’t see me and then I wiped away my tears and headed into the house.

Life was good.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Staying Busy Helps...Really

Chapter Forty-Nine

The phone was ringing insistently I thought as it finally penetrated my foggy brain. It was 10:30 and I had been sleeping soundly. Even though I knew it was still too early for Adam to be calling, my heart hoped otherwise, so I grabbed it and answered hello.

It was actually Lissa, calling to see how I was. That’s my darling girl, worried about how I was going to handle this. The funny thing was that this isn’t typically me to act like this. The difference is Adam and how much I love him.

We chatted for a few minutes and I heard all about a new guy she met on the Med Center tour when she went back to school after my accident.

“How come you didn’t tell me about him in California?” I asked her. It made me curious because she hasn’t really paid any attention to men the whole time she has been in school. She has always been so focused on the difficulties of getting through school and she always said she just didn’t have time for men.

“We just didn’t have that much time to chat, remember? And, I’m still not sure I’m up for this. Mom, I just don’t really have any spare time and when I start my internship next fall, that will be even truer. He’s a nice guy, really and I do like him. But I still don’t think this is wise, to start something I can’t really give attention to, you know?”

“Have you talked to him about this to find out what he thinks?” I asked her.

“Nooo, not really. I mean, he is a doctor himself, so he has to know what it’s going to be like,” she answered glumly.

“Probably. But I take it you have talked with him or saw him since the tour?”

I heard her smile across the phone lines, or satellites or whatever. “Yes, we’ve talked on the phone and we had dinner tonight. I had a great time.”

“Lissa, are you sure that part of your problems about this aren’t because of me and my ‘run away’ attitude for so many years?”

“I don’t think so mom. I really am being truthful, there just isn’t going to be much time after the fall. Heck, there isn’t much time now. You know I haven’t really had a social life since I came up here for school!” she laughed.

“Yes, I know Lissa. I understand that you only have so much time and how much of it is taken up with studies. But it can’t hurt to get away from that a bit.”

“I know that—that is why I went to dinner. It was fun Mom, it really was.” I heard her yawn and then giggle. “I think I had better get off the phone and try to catch a few hours sleep. Call me tomorrow and let me know how Adam is! Talk to you then. I love you Mom,” and the phone went click.

I sat there, holding onto the phone still and smiling. It would be nice for her to have someone in her life, but I also knew she was right; her schedule is the pits.

It was a little after 11:00. The house seemed quiet and I thought that Bobby had probably gone to bed. I got up and poured a glass of milk and plied a graham cracker with peanut butter and went back into the bedroom. I propped some pillows up behind my back and turned the TV on to see if I could find something to watch.

As I flipped through channel after channel I wondered why I continued to pay for cable when there was never anything on to watch. I ran past the movie channels and saw Adam’s face. It was River of Doubt and I started watching it. I had seen it at the theater when it first came out, but I hadn’t seen it since.

It was an engrossing movie about the breakdown of a marriage, of how trust wears away and is replaced by doubt. Adam plays the husband and Bobby Martin plays the lawyer who is secretly having an affair with Carole Chandler, who plays Adam’s estranged wife.

It was so strange to see Adam play that role. I mean, it’s Adam I’m seeing but he is so totally different, not Adam at all. I guess he was right when he told Detective Roberts that that was why they call it acting.

We tend to think about the roles actors play as an extension of themselves, and I’m sure that in some way they are at times. But this character was so totally different from Adam it felt odd to watch. I kept expecting to see my Adams expressions or actions and they just weren’t there. Despite the fact that it was a wonderful movie, it made me feel very sad.

I did pay attention to the sets in the movie though and they were gorgeous as well as very believable. That made me think about Tamara and I remembered that when we talked to her this morning I hadn’t told her about the tea. But I also hadn’t told Lissa or Mom and Dad, and that might just be for the best.

It seemed unreal that someone had gotten into my house and put something in the tea that we drank. I felt sort of violated, just knowing that they were in my house and had touched my things. I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not they had looked through the house or touched other things. The more I thought about it the queasier my stomach grew. I need to remember to tell Adam to only drink things that come in an unopened bottle, I thought.

It was almost 12:30 when the phone rang. The movie was just over and I was wandering the channels again searching for something to watch. I snatched the phone quickly and saw Adam’s name on the caller ID and I practically squealed with delight.

“Hi,” I answered.

“Hi yourself. Were you sleeping love?”

“No. I was just watching TV. Lissa called around 10:30 and woke me up, so I haven’t gotten back to sleep. How was your trip?”

“Lonely. But the flight was fine. I’m settled into some short term residence type of condo, and it’s not too bad. There’s even a kitchen, small but functional.” His description was interrupted by a sneeze. “Anyway, it will work fine for no longer than we will be here. The bathtub is a real disappointment though…” I heard another sneeze then.

“What’s up with the sneezing? Are you catching a cold?”

“Um no, I don’t think so. Actually I have allergies and it’s warm and windy and very dusty down here, so I think they are just bothering me a bit. I’ll get used to it, I’m sure.

Anyway, the ride from the airport was interesting. Krista picked me up and brought me here to the condo. She was actually quite pleasant and we had a nice chat.”

“I find that amazing. She always seems so …prickly I guess is a good word.’

“Yes, that’s been my idea as well but she was very nice and chatty. She is a film major at UCLA, but is taking the time off of school to work on this film. The opportunity came up for her and she said it was just too good to pass up. She is actually from Texas though and grew up with her grandparents. I guess her own parents are dead.”

“That’s sad. I’m glad the trip with her was pleasant.” I was still sort of amazed about it, but I was glad it had gone well. “Have you seen Sunni yet?”

“Nope. Probably tomorrow. We are having a script run through tomorrow morning, so I may see her there. I want to thank her again for helping me track you down!” he said.

“Yeah, that would be nice. I can’t wait to see her again. So what time are you going through the script?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t too early.

“Not until 10:00, so I’ll get some sleep, I promise you,” he laughed.

“I didn’t say anything about that!” I retorted.

“Yes, but you were thinking it, I could tell!” This was followed by another sneeze.

“Alright, I’m caught!” I chuckled and realized how happy I was, just being able to talk with him.

We chatted for a few more minutes and when we were both unable to hide our yawns, we decided to say good night.

“God Bella, I miss you. I want to feel your warm body lying next to mine,” he told me in a low and sexy voice.

“I know Adam, I miss you too. It’s horrible to be lying here in this bed without you. I’m wearing your shirt, the one I tore the button off of.”

“You are?”

“Yes, it sort of helps,” I told him. A tear trickled down my cheek and I was determined NOT to start crying. He didn’t need to hear that, it only makes it worse.

“Mm hm. Only 5 nights love, and then I should be home.” He paused for a moment and then continued, “I have to say it will be a very, very long 5 days!”

“Yes,” I murmured. “Well, goodnight Adam. I love you.”

I heard a quick intake of his breath and I wondered if he was surprised because I said it first?

“Yes, I love you too. I’ll call you later tonight.” I heard the line start humming then and I knew he had hung up. I managed to set the phone down on the night table before bursting into tears.


I woke up once more to the ringing telephone, but this time it was 9:45 and my Mom calling.

“Hey sweet pea. Are we going to go and see Cassie?” she asked me.

“Yeah, I do want to go. What time is good for you Mom?” I asked her, sitting up on the edge of the bed.

“How about an hour? Will that give you enough time to get ready?”

“Yes, that will be fine. See you then Mom,” I told her and then hung up the phone.

I sat on the side of the bed for a few more minutes, sort of mentally making a plan for the day. It felt weird, no Adam to think about feeding or, well, anything else. I went in and started the shower running and pulled Adams shirt off and held it up to my face for a moment.

I couldn’t really smell him anymore, only me, and that made me feel sad. I was already sad enough I decided, so I tossed the shirt down and hopped into the shower, determined to get out of my gloomy mood.

By the time I got out of the shower I was feeling better. I worked some gel into my hair and dried it a bit, the gel helping it not to frizz and it actually looked pretty good, softly curling, the way I looked best I decided. It was almost 10:30 and so I went and fixed myself a graham cracker with some peanut butter. I knew I had better take every opportunity to eat it while Adam wasn’t home.

See, there is something not so bad about his absence—I can eat all the peanut butter I wanted!

After I finished my cracker, I called Dr. Crandal’s office to make an appointment to see her this week. They could get me in Wednesday morning and I hoped that things would go well and I would be able to drive again! But I was worried that I was being overly optimistic.

Mom got there just as I was finishing the call and I verified with her that she could take me and she nodded yes, so the appointment was set and we headed off to see Cassie.

Cassie was again in therapy when we got there and as we sat there and waited, Mom and I chatted about their California visit and how well Adam and Lissa had arranged it.

It was all arranged before Adam and I even left for California it turns out. They had their tickets and all. Adam of course wanted to bring everyone out at his expense, but had gracefully accepted that they preferred to pay their own way. And they can afford it I know, but still, it was nice of Adam to try. Mom and Dad had bought Lissa’s ticket too and they all had such a good time apparently. Dad had especially liked the climate there; his arthritis hadn’t bothered him at all while they were there. He was looking forward to another visit.

I told Mom that Tamara and her family were going to come out for Thanksgiving and Mom seemed tickled about that. They had liked Tamara, which pleased them because they were a little worried how it would all go.

Cassie finally got back to the room, but she was dead tired. The physical therapy was work she told us; hard work. She didn’t really even have too much energy for talking and so our visit was pretty short. As I hugged her goodbye, I told her to call me later if she wanted and that I would be back tomorrow. She asked me if I could come around 1:00 because she didn’t have anymore therapy until 4:00 tomorrow so we could talk and I promised her I would.

Mom and I stopped at my favorite Mexican place for lunch, Felipes. I ordered the chilies rellanos and they were wonderful. I told mom about the hot sauce at the little Mexican restaurant in California and how everyone had watched as I tried it.

“And was it hot?” she asked.

“Deathly! But it was good. I wouldn’t have admitted it to Adam, but it was really almost too hot to enjoy, but it had a wonderful flavor. I brought a jar home, I’ve got to let Dad try it!”

Mom sat there and laughed, shaking her head in her merriment. “And why wouldn’t you have admitted it to Adam?” she asked, still laughing.

“Because, he thought it would be too hot for me. I wasn’t going to show him he was right. So I sat there and ate the whole bowl that they had brought. Every last bit of it in fact!” I giggled.

“Oh Sarah, sometimes you are just ridiculous. You and your competitiveness. It will be your downfall, I promise you. You need to be able to cry out when it’s appropriate and say that something is too much for you. Winning or being the winner has always been way too important to you. Look at the softball game out there. You even struck Adam out and that’s not the way to treat your man!”

I thought about what she said and how Adam had indeed made me pay for that, but it was all in fun. It’s just a part of me, I know, this need to win. Maybe it’s not the best part of me, but it kills me not to give everything my best, to not be in control.

They brought our food soon after that and we concentrated on eating. But I thought some more about what she had said and I knew deep down that she was right. I just didn’t necessarily know how to change it.

I asked Mom if we could stop at the bath shop so I could pick up some more of the bubble baths and shower gels. I still hadn’t replaced the vanilla spice that Adam liked, so it would be a nice surprise for him.

I love going in there and smelling all the different scents, but it bothers Mom’s allergies so we didn’t stay too long. And that made me think about Adam and all the sneezes last night. I hope he is right and it is just his allergies.

We got to my house and Mom dropped me off. I waved as she pulled out of the driveway and entered the code into the lock so I could go in the house. Bobby was at work and it just seemed so empty and lonely. Had it always been like this I wondered? Why had I never noticed it before?

I hunted around in the kitchen for something to fix for dinner and finally decided to make Grandma’s Goulash. I knew from when Bobby would stay the night with Derek as a kid that he loved that and it was also a comfort food for me. And I felt strongly that it was exactly what I needed.

I put the meat into the microwave to thaw out and started chopping vegetables and decided while I was at it that I might as well chop some for a salad as well. When I had them chopped up I put them into a zip bag in the fridge and by then the meat was done defrosting so I put it on to start cooking.

After I had the beef simmering with the spices I went into the family room to check my e-mail. I hadn’t checked it since before we went to California so I know there would be a lot in there.

After I go signed in I saw that my mailbox was almost full and I started pushing through it to immediately get rid of all the junk, which left about 20 that I either recognized or decided I needed to look at a bit more carefully. There was none from Jason and I was truly thankful for that. I would just feel better if I didn’t hear from hear.

There were lots of jokes and stories from friends and relatives; some that made me laugh and some I just groaned at. Then I found an e-mail that the return address on it was my own address, which was really weird. I hadn’t sent anything to myself. The subject line said: Facts you need to know.

I almost deleted it but something stopped me and a creepy feeling came over me. I sat there for a moment and debated what to do. I didn’t know that it had anything to do with anything, and yet something seemed weird. It was dated on last Friday, the day we came home from California, at 11:34 pm, so we were already home by then, but just barely.

I was still trying to decide what to do when Bobby came home.

I called out to him and told him I was in the family room and he came in, sniffing the spicy aroma of the meat cooking. He grinned as he walked in and said, “I smell something wonderful. Is that Grandma’s Goulash?” He was looking at me and added, “Sarah, what’s going on. You look like you've seen a ghost.”

“Hi Bobby. Yes, I’m making Goulash, Grandma’s recipe. I remembered you like it. But I have this strange e-mail here and I don’t know what to do about it.” I pointed to the screen, at the still unopened e-mail.

Bobby stared at the screen for a moment and commented, “It just looks like an ordinary e-mail. What’s the deal?”

“It has been sent to me from MY address Bobby. And I didn’t send it.” I finished, still sort of freaking out about it.

“Sarah, I don’t think you should open it. Or at least call those detectives and ask first, okay?”

“Yes, you’re probably right about that. I think I’ll call the detectives just in case. It’s probably nothing, but I’d rather make sure.” I got up to go get the card that had Detective Arnold's number on it. When I had it, I called her and briefly told her about the e-mail and she said that she and Detective Rodriguez would be over quickly.

Bobby was in showering, so while I waited for the detectives to arrive I went into the kitchen to check the simmering meat. I had pretty much lost my appetite, but I knew that Bobby would still eat so I wanted it to be palatable. I stirred the meat and added a little more water to it and threw in the onions, peppers and garlic. Lots of garlic actually, and then I set the timer for 60 minutes so I would know when to start on the noodles.

Bobby came out and grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and cracked it open when the door bell rang. He held his hand up to stop me before I rushed to answer it and said, “I’ll get it,” and then headed that way.

It was the detectives and I showed them into the family room and the computer.

“You are positive you didn’t send this?” they asked.

“No, I think I would remember that. Adam and I hadn’t even been home for long when it was sent.”

“So it wasn’t sent from inside the house?”

That thought sent a bolt of lightening through me and I quickly sat down on a nearby chair. I felt light-headed again and started fanning myself with a magazine.

Bobby watched me with concern on his face and I told him, “I’ll be okay,” and tried to smile. It had never occurred to me that it could have been sent from inside the house!

“Sarah, you do have an internet access account, so it could have been accessed from anywhere. That does mean though that someone has your log in and password. I remember you telling me that was in your purse. After this, I would suggest that you change it, maybe even get a new e-mail account all together. But let’s actually look at the message and see if there is even any reason to be concerned,” Detective Arnold told me.

I double-clicked on the e-mail in order to read it. It was another verse and read:

You think he loves you
Silly fool
History will repeat again
He gives nothing of himself
He will break your heart
He will bring you only pain

And that’s when I fainted—for the first time in my life.


I felt something cold across my forehead and wondered who had the window open because the breeze was chilly, and yet it felt strangely good. I opened my eyes then and saw three pairs of concerned eyes staring at me and it all came rushing back.

I had been sitting on a chair thank goodness so I had only fell back against the wall and not onto the floor, but I still felt like a fool. I wasn’t feeling over-heated any longer and that was good I thought. Probably very good.

I cleared my throat and said, “I think I’m okay, really.” And then a really frightening thought occurred to me and I asked, “You haven’t called an ambulance or anything like that have you?”

“No Sarah, we haven’t. How are you feeling? Should we call an ambulance?”

I shook my head no and I noticed that two times Detective Arnold had called me Sarah instead of Ms. Marcus as she had before. I wondered about it briefly, but then my focus was changed back to the e-mail.

“Can we turn on your printer so that we can print a copy of this? Every e-mail has an identifying address or unique signature on it and sometimes you can tell exactly where it was sent from. We’ll take it with us and see if our computer experts can figure that out.”

I nodded my head and reached over to turn the printer on. I whirred and clicked and made a few other electronic sounds before it was ready. Detective Rodriguez clicked the print icon and soon the printer was spewing out the page. Both detectives looked at it and then Detective Arnold put it into a folder and prepared to leave.

“Can I tell Adam about this?” I asked.

They looked at one another for a moment and that look had me scared. I had to tell Adam; I just couldn’t keep it from him.

“Sarah, are you positive that Adam couldn’t have sent it? Do you know what you were doing at that time?”

I immediately blushed, because I knew exactly what we were doing and I wasn’t going to tell them. But it was Bobby who saved the day when he said, “Actually, I was still here. I didn’t leave until a few minutes after midnight. Sarah, you were in the bath and Adam and I were eating pizza in the kitchen.”

I smiled at him, grateful for his help because I had totally forgotten about that. “That’s true, I had forgotten,” I told them. "I – I just can’t keep this from him, please don’t make me.”

“We do understand that Sarah,” Detective Arnold stated, casting a look at her partner. “I guess it will be okay.”

Bobby grabbed my hand and squeezed it, and I smiled at him. He and I walked them to the door and they left. I leaned against the door after I had closed it and breathed a sigh of relief. The timer went off in the kitchen right then and I told Bobby, “C’mon, let’s go make some Goulash!”

We got the Goulash done and the salad tossed together and half an hour later we sat down to eat. I still didn’t really have much of an appetite, but I ate some. Grandma’s Goulash always tastes good and I don’t often take the time to make it just for me.

“Sarah, when do you go back to the doctor?” Bobby asked me while buttering a piece of bread to sop up some of the sauce from the Goulash.

“I go on Wednesday morning. Why?”

“Well, I – I was just thinking about something. Don’t take this the wrong way or get upset or anything, but if the doctor says its okay, I would be glad to teach you some self-defense moves, you know? Nothing too complicated, just some basic moves. But only when the doctor says it’s okay.” He sat there looking at me as my face paled, I could feel it. It was apparent that he was worried he had done the wrong thing by suggesting that.

“I hadn’t really thought about something like that Bobby. But I guess, what’s the good of having a karate black belt in the house if I can’t learn anything?” I told him. Actually, it might not be a bad idea at all. “I’ll ask Dr. Crandal. I don’t know if I’m anywhere near ready to do something like that, although my ribs really don’t hurt me any more. I can’t speak for what’s going on with my head,” I laughed, tapping it with my hand.

“Good, good. I was thinking about just some really basic protection moves. You can have your doctor call me if she has any questions about it.”

“Thanks Bobby. I really appreciate your concern, and the fact that you are here right now. I think I would have freaked out if I had been here alone when I found that e-mail.”

We finished the meal and got things squared away in the kitchen. The whole evening stretched ahead of us and I finally let Bobby drag me out to see a movie. It wasn’t one of Adam’s; I don’t think I could have handled that. It was an exciting on-the-edge-of-your-seat movie and it really did occupy my mind for a few hours, which was good. And I really dreaded going back home to bed, to the bed that I now thought of as Adam’s and mine.

We stopped and got ice cream on the way home and it tasted good. I decided to go on the ice cream diet for the next few days. Nothing wrong with that, right?

But the empty bed still reminded me of Adam I thought forlornly. I decided to go in a take a long, hot bath and on impulse took the phone in with me. It was only 10:30, but I knew that Adam would be calling me and I didn’t want to miss the call.

I was ensconced on the bubbles when the phone rang and it was Adam. The first thing I heard was another sneeze, before he even got a hello out.

I listened as he cleared his throat and snuffled a couple of times. “You really do sound as if you have caught a cold Adam.”

“Hi love. No, it really is allergies. They’ve got me an appointment to see a doctor tomorrow. I’ll get some of my allergy medication and I’ll be fine. How was your day?” he asked, and I heard him blow his nose on the other end of the line. I had to giggle, glamorous movie star indeed! But then I remembered the e-mail and that thought quickly sobered me.

“I have to tell you something, and you aren’t going to like it, but I’ve already talked to the detectives, okay?”

“Oh God, what?”

“I got an e-mail today, from myself actually. Well, it was sent from my address on Friday night, around 11:30.”

“How can that be? How can you send yourself an e-mail?”

“Its just like regular mail, you just address it to yourself. It’s weird, I know, but it can happen,” I told him, listening to him snuffling again. I was positive he had a cold; I didn’t care what he thought.

“I’ll have to take your word for it. What did it say love?”

I repeated it to him, hating every word and how I knew it would make him feel. He was quiet for a minute as he thought about what I had told him. I finally asked him, “Are you all right Adam?”

“Yes, um yes. I – just, uh, how are you?”

“I’m okay. I mean, it took awhile, but I’m okay. Bobby and I went out to a movie after dinner and stopped for ice cream afterwards, and it helped to take my mind off of it. And he has offered to teach me some basic self-defense moves when Dr. Crandal says it’s okay. I go to see her on Wednesday morning, so we’ll see.”

“That’s a good idea, an excellent idea in fact.” He was quiet again before adding, “I’m so happy that Bobby is there with you. I can’t imagine how it must have felt when you saw that.”

“Yeah, it was a shock. I hadn’t opened it then actually. I had only saw that it came from my account and when it was sent and that really freaked me out. Then Bobby came in and we decided to call the detectives before we opened it.”

“Oh God,” he said again. “What did they say?”

“They read it and printed a copy to take with them. They might be able to tell where it was sent from by the IP address on it. They are checking it out. Look Adam, I’ve been thinking about it and whoever is doing this is just trying a new approach, to make me doubt you. But I don’t Adam, not at all. Okay?” When he didn’t say anything I asked again, “Do you understand that? I don’t doubt you.”

“I – I just don’t even know what to say about it. Thank you for not doubting me, but how can you help but to do exactly that?”

“If you were the one that received something like that about me, would you believe it?” I asked, and then thought about how flighty I was at first and he might very well believe it.

“No I wouldn’t because I know you.”

“All right then, I know you and I know how much you care about me. I don’t imagine why it said the things it did about your past, but I do believe you love me Adam. This has to be a past love interest Adam.”

“It sounds like it, but I honestly don’t know who it could be. I didn’t lie when I said there weren’t that many in the past and most have ended pretty amicably. Except for Rachel, which never really began or ended. Of course, she seems to feel otherwise.”

“Well, hopefully the detectives will be able to tell us more about it soon. Not everyone knows that you can trace e-mails like that, so we’ll see.” I felt like we needed to change the subject, I just couldn’t deal with this anymore tonight. “How was your day, the script run throughs?”

“They went fine. Rachel was here and acted as if nothing had happened in California. I saw Sunni briefly and she said to tell you hello. Krista took me to pick up the car I’ll be using while here and we chatted again. She just seems to have a different personality. She actually asked about my family and stuff and you. It’s amazing to me.”

“Well, that’s nice I guess. But I have to wonder about the personality change.”

“I don’t know, but it makes things a bit more pleasant on set. Oh and I forgot to mention the most important thing – I don’t work on Friday, so I’ll be home on Thursday night. Probably late, but I’ll be there love.”

A flush of warmth spread through me and I couldn’t wait until he was home. “So, only three more nights in this lonely bed? I am delighted about that,” I told him, keeping my voice low and as sexy as I could.

“Is it really? Lonely I mean? God, I miss you Bella. I miss holding you in my arms before we sleep and waking up next to you.” His voice was equally low and I knew how much we were both thinking of the other.

“Yes, it’s very lonely Adam.” My voice caught for a moment and the hated lump appeared again in my throat. I swallowed frantically trying to get it to go down, but it was futile. After this miserable afternoon and missing him so much, I just wanted to be with him badly.

“Me too love, so lonely.” He sneezed again and it was just what we needed to break our gloomy conversation.

I laughed and told him, “I personally cannot wait until you go to the doctor. Although, I do have a really cheery thought about you trying to do that love scene with Rachel right now and sneezing all over her!”

He giggled and I joined him. We were two naughty kids laughing about something terrible, but it was fun. “I guess it’s time to say goodnight,” I told him.

“Hm, I guess so. I’ll talk to you tomorrow love. Goodnight,” he said, echoing my words and we both hung up our phones.

Sleep amazingly came easily.


Authors Note:

Kristin sent me this picture of the cake she and her daughter made from the recipe I posted. I wanted to share! Kristin, thanks so much for sharing and making us all hungry!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Saying Goodbye

Chapter Forty-Eight
Adam talked to Bobby, who was only to happy to come and stay for awhile longer. I decided that I needed to go to the grocery store if I was going to have anything to feed him, but of course I had to wait until the installer’s were done in order for Adam to be able to leave the house.

Still not being able to drive was very frustrating. I really felt wonderful, not even any headaches. I was hopeful that when I see Dr. Crandal next week she will let me drive. I know that my mom and dad will be glad to help out and there are always taxis but I just want to be able to drive myself.

The installer’s weren’t done until almost 4:30, but at least that had given me time to go through the kitchen and figure out want I really needed. Plus, feeding Bobby for almost a week would definitely take more groceries. It cost me over a hundred dollars at the store, and when Adam looked at my determined face, he knew enough not to offer to pay for it.

Which was good I thought after I saw the bill for the security system; almost 5 thousand dollars, but it was state of the art. The monthly monitoring was going to be almost $120 all on its own. But there were motion sensor lights, an alarm system that included several hidden cameras and a voice recognition system that could be activated by either my voice or Adam’s.

Adam was quiet all the way through the grocery store, only shrugging when I asked him what he wanted for dinner. I think this must be the gloomy side of Adam that Tamara told me about. I understood that, but despite how Adam feels, life is going on. He is going to leave tomorrow evening and we are going to be apart for a week or so. I hated that; it felt like a part of myself would be gone, but the time would pass. I didn’t know anyway to get through it other than to just do it.

It didn’t feel quite the same as when I left Italy. I knew then that Adam and I wanted to be together again true, but things weren’t as evolved for us then. Now, we are together and our relationship now has many more different layers than it did then.

When I left Italy, we knew that we wanted to be together, that we wanted to learn more about one another. Now, we’re past that part, we have already started blending our lives, our family’s lives. We have a vision of the future, of where we are heading and there is a great deal of comfort in that I am finding. So when he goes away, I won’t be fretting if I will really see him again; I know that I will.

I was making some Pasta Carbonara for dinner when I heard Adam put some music on the stereo. I didn’t have a fancy system that had speakers all over the house, so he just turned it up a bit and headed into the kitchen. He had put on Diamond Rio’s One More Day and I smiled, although it was a wry kind of smile.

He came up behind me while I was browning the pancetta and shallots. He put his arms around me and laid his head against the side of mine. He didn’t say a word, just held me, which was almost worse. I am getting so used to these ordinary gestures between us; simple contacts that communicate our feelings for one another and I know that I was going to miss them terribly. I never wanted him to stop and yet it made it harder when he did them.

I set the wooden spoon down that I was using to stir the pancetta with and turned around in his arms; entwining my own around his neck. I stood up on tip toe to kiss him, a soft and gentle kiss and he sighed against my lips.

“Mm,” he murmured, leaning his forehead against mine. His arms wrapped more tightly around my waist, pulling me firmly against him. My belly lay flush up against his hips and I could feel him stiffening in response.

The title song came on then, One More Day and I listened to the lyrics for a moment.

I didn’t ask for money,
Or a mansion in Malibu,
I simply asked for one more day with you.
One more day,
One more time,
One more sunset maybe I’d be satisfied.
But then again,
I know what it would do,
Leave me wishing still for
One more day with you.

And I realized how precious this time with him was, this minute, this breathless moment.

I reached around behind me and turned the stove off, and then on second thought, moved the skillet off of the burner, and then I wrapped myself back around him. He reached down and lifted my hips and I wrapped my legs around his waist. Our mouths were fused together, hungrily fastened together as the kiss became deeper still.

He carried me into the bedroom and let me down near the bed. We stood there gazing into one another’s eyes for a long, breathless moment and the reflections in them told us all we needed to know; that we loved each other, that we each felt hopelessly lost about the coming separation.

Adam’s warm hands tenderly cupped my face, embracing it gently. His long fingers lovingly caressed my cheeks, before he bent his ardent lips to capture mine again. The kiss consumed us both, our lips clinging enticingly to one another’s.

He slowly unbuttoned my blouse, carefully pulling each button aside in order to kiss the soft skin below it, until he had it undone completely. He slid it slowly down my shoulders as his lips returned slowly to my lips, traveling hotly over my sensitive neck, bringing me shivers of delight. He pulled me against his body once again and I was enveloped in his warm arms. That kiss went on and on until I was practically senseless and knew only intense desire. But there was nothing hurried about his touch, his lips; they moved slowly, tantalizingly, making me yearn for all he could give me.

I felt his hands move to my back and leisurely unfasten my bra before they teased up and down my bare spine. His hands traveled back up to my shoulders and slid my straps down and slowly pulled the soft and lacy cups of my bra free from my breasts and then the bra fell away to the floor, following the shirt that was already forgotten.

His mouth stole wetly down to draw lazy circles around my nipples, making them long for his attention all the more. As his tongue flicked over those hardened bits of aching flesh I let out a low moan of desire, urging him on.

I felt his hands on the button of my jeans and then move to slide the zipper down smoothly. As his hands were sliding down my hips to tug my jeans off, his mouth was placing tormenting kisses along my quivering belly. As I stepped out of them, he took a step back and quickly pulled his own clothes off. I reached out to help and he brought my hands to his mouth so he could kiss them, drawing in my fingers one at a time and sucking them lightly. It was driving me mad with desire and I again reached for his jeans and he shook his head no and finished undressing while I stood there, watching him.

My breath caught in my throat as I saw his desire for me; standing upright proudly. Shivers of anticipation were tracking up and down my spine and I wanted to hurry to feel him inside of me.

We moved to the bed and he pulled me up next to him and again his tongue explored my mouth slowly; tracing the outline of my lips and then darting back in to delve deeply into my mouth.

Every move he was making was agonizingly slow, as if his sole purpose was to keep me on the edge of passion. He moved slowly to part my thighs with his hands and I felt his fingers reach out and gently explore my wet and throbbing flesh; as if to ensure that I was ready for him. I bucked against his hand when I felt his touch and as he gently slid his finger inside of me, my legs involuntarily closed and I felt the first delightful shudders of an orgasm take me. It was slow and sweet and his eyes never left mine as I came; the intimacy made me softly cry out his name.

He moved to push inside of my still quivering body and entered my aching folds slowly, pushing himself in as deeply as he could and stayed that way for a long moment.

He reached both hands up to capture mine and our fingers entwined intimately. Again his eyes traveled to mine and our gazes locked as he started moving inside of me. Each stroke was slow and intense; lingering tantalizingly at the entrance of passion, before thrusting deeply into me, again and again. He made love to me as if I were reverent; evoking passion so deeply within me that I felt light-headed. I only knew the feel of him, my senses fervently burning with desire as we stared into one another’s eyes. And then we were at the edge, locked together in the dance of passion, slowly climbing the peak and tumbling irresistibly over the edge.

Our eyes never left one others, even as the shudders of release took us and we gasped out one another’s names. Only then did he finally bring his mouth to mine, his kiss lingering softly against my lips. He rolled over and pulled me with him and we stayed that way, for the longest time, not speaking and listening to each others hearts as they beat achingly for the other.

No one had ever made love to me like that before I realized as the shivers and contractions of my body slowly subsided. I felt as if the whole thing was meant for my desire, my release. He had gone agonizingly slow, even when he certainly must have wanted not to. And his eyes had made love to mine as surely as his body had made love to mine.

I remember him pulling the covers up over us and sleep beckoning to me. Forgotten was dinner as I lie in his arms and soon we were both sleeping deeply.

I woke up around 2:00 am and it was my stomach that was growling. I slipped out of bed and found my robe hanging on the back of the door and put it on. I cautiously opened the door and headed to the kitchen.

The cold remains of our unfinished dinner sat staring at me from the stove and counter and I began to toss it all out. The pancetta was too far gone to save and it went down the garbage disposal without a second thought, as did the half-chopped vegetables. It didn’t take long before it was all done and I tried to decide what I wanted to eat.

It was between a bowl of cereal and my old standby—an apple and peanut butter. I was leaning up to reach for the peanut butter when Adam came into the kitchen. His hair was mussed, standing up in spots and he had a sleepy smile on his face.

“Please love, no peanut butter,” he asked as he came over and pulled me to him for a kiss.

“Okay,” I stated, deciding to take a stand. “Will you please tell me exactly what you have against peanut butter?”

“I – it’s just, uh, I just find it repulsive!” he told me, a shudder running through him.

“What do you find repulsive about it?” I could see that he really felt strongly about it and I was very curious. “Adam, please?”

“It’s just that when we were very small, sometimes that would be the only thing that we had to eat, us kids I mean. Mom and dad would be off at some village and they always kept jars of peanut butter on hand. I mean, before I learned to cook, there often wasn’t anything that would be safe for us. But there were always jars of peanut butter. I know it’s nutritious and all; but I just can’t stand it. Even just looking at it makes my stomach queasy. Stupid, I know,” he finished apologetically.

I thought about this for a few moments. I adore peanut butter. I can’t imagine not eating peanut butter. Compromise, that’s the only way to go here.

“All right Adam,” I answered. “Here is what we will do. As strongly as you despise it, I adore it. But I will only eat peanut butter when you aren’t around to see it. But I’m still buying it and having it in the house, okay? I’ll just try to remember that it makes you feel ill.”

He smiled, a rather sheepish smile true, but it was sincerely happy. “Thank you love. Now, I’m starving, so let me get us a bite together!” he said, digging through the cabinets gathering ingredients.

“I’ll just make us some pancakes, shall I?” he asked, pulling out ingredients to make them from scratch, which I hadn’t done for years. I’m not sure if I’ve grown lazy or just decided that the mixes were as good as anything I could come up with, but whatever, I always use a pancake mix.

While he got the batter ready I pulled syrup out of the cabinet and then the butter out of the fridge. I also grabbed the milk and poured myself a big glass, which Adam reached for and drank half of while smiling at me, his eyes twinkling.

I was watching him standing in the kitchen, wearing his bathrobe as he flipped pancakes. It was surprisingly sexy and very comforting. And the thought came to me that this time tomorrow he would be in Dallas and I wouldn’t.

A huge lump rose quickly in my throat and I turned away from him to swallow it down. I didn’t want him to see me upset that he was going; it would make an already difficult situation even worse. I got my emotions under control and went over to the stove, watching him pull the last of the pancakes off the griddle. There was an impossibly huge stack of them and I was positive we wouldn’t even be able to make a dent. I refilled my glass of milk and poured another for Adam and we sat down at the table to eat.

I was wrong though, we ate every last one of those pancakes and I certainly did my fair share. They were light and fluffy and utterly delicious and the maple syrup soaked right into them. I felt roly-poly by the time I pushed myself away from the table.

We quickly cleared the dishes up and got everything squared away in the kitchen. I turned the light off and we headed back into the bedroom and I noticed that it was a little after 3:00 as I crawled back into the chilly sheets of the bed.

Adam settled beside me and he turned the TV on, searching through the channels to find something to watch. We found about 50 channels with infomercials playing and a dozen sports events.

Great. I know what we’ll have on!

But surprisingly, Adam turned the set off and we sat there in the dim light of the lamp, with nothing to do. Adam put his arm around me and we were just quiet for a few minutes.

I could tell that something was on his mind and all I could do was just wait until he decided to speak. Luckily, I didn’t have too long to wait.

“I have never ever before wanted to not go to work on a film. But I don’t want to go this time. I don’t want to leave you behind.”

“I know Adam, but it won’t be for long. I will be okay and so will you. It just doesn’t feel like that right now.”

“Um, that is true. I’m going to speak to William about taking some time off in the spring, if possible. We can go to Angelica and Dumonde’s wedding and then wherever we want after that.”

“Who is William? I heard you mention his name in California.”

“He is my agent; he handles my bookings and schedule. I know that I am scheduled to work on a film early next January that will probably shoot for 6 - 7 weeks or so, but hopefully it will be done, or my part anyway by the 14th. How would you like to see Africa love?”

“I’d love to see Africa,” I told him. But I was wondering about my job and what the future held for me. Could I continue at my job and be content to let Adam go and make movies where ever he was scheduled? I trusted him completely, but I hated the thought of those long absences. And I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stay here now. I loved the house in California; I had felt at home there. But Lissa will be here, and Mom and Dad and Cassie. And the question was, would I even stay there or go with Adam? I didn’t know and there were so many questions that didn’t have any answers right now.

One day at a time Sarah!

“Tell me about Angelica and Dumonde. That name sounds French maybe?”

“Yes, it is a French name. Dumonde Darikhouran actually. His mother is French and his dad is from Burkina Fuso, where Dumonde’s home is. He is also a doctor and he and Angelica have been together for 15 years. I find it almost amusing that they are getting married; it just never seemed as if they would.”

“I have never heard of Burkina Fuso. Tell me about it. Have you ever been there?”

“Um, I haven’t ever been there. It is west of Niger, I know that much and it used to be a French protectorate. I think they had a lot of civil unrest before they became independent from France. I know also that it is an horribly poor country. Angelica and Dumonde spend as much time there as they do in the Sudan.”

“And Angelica is older than you I believe you told me?”

“Yes, she is 2 years older. From the time she was a toddler, mom and dad said she followed them around with an old stethoscope, listening to anything that moved. They always knew she would be a doctor.”

‘You told me they are in the Sudan didn’t you? Where at?” I asked. I knew very little about Africa, but I was interested in hearing more about it.

“Right now they are in a small village called Nod Amar, which is very near the town of Juba. The African droughts have been devastating to many areas of Africa and the Sudan is one of the hardest hit. The land is mostly arid and provides very little natural ability for farming. And in Darfur, thousands of people have died due to the systematic killings in villages. It is a very sad place. I worry greatly about Mom, Dad and Angelica. It is still not politically stable and outsiders are often viewed with fear and suspicion. But of course, they feel they are needed there and won’t leave, other than briefly for visits home or things like the medical conference.” Adam seemed sad as he told me all of this and given the new side of him Tamara told me about and that I was only beginning to see, I understood his fears.

I didn’t know what to say to that, so I was quiet. We both were and gradually we both were stifling yawns. After about the 3rd one I giggled and said, “Maybe we should try to get back to sleep.” I stretched up to kiss him and his warm lips met me halfway.

“I love you Adam,” I told him. Actually, my heart was over-flowing with love for him. I felt as if there weren’t adequate words to describe my feelings.

“I love you too. Goodnight Sarah,” he told me as we both scooted down into the bed. He put his arm under my head and I turned to lay with my hand resting on his chest and my leg thrown over his.

My fingers absentmindedly played through the soft and curly hair on his chest and I savored the feel of him. I realized how reluctant I was to go back to sleep; after all, tomorrow I would be alone in this bed. But even reluctance cannot hold out forever when sleep is determined to visit and soon, all too soon in fact I was asleep.


I woke up around 10:00 and l looked over at Adam who was still sleeping. I was still tired, but another vivid dream had woke me up. I shivered involuntarily as I remembered it.

Adam was alone in a room that I couldn’t see clearly. I think he was hurt and he was calling to me, but I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t tell what was wrong exactly, but he was very alone. The place was dark and dank and seemed very cold. I think I could see his breath. He seemed worn out and his calls were becoming more and more feeble and I knew it was terribly important that I find him. And I wasn’t alone, someone was helping me look for him but I didn’t know who it was. I couldn’t even tell if it was a man or woman. I only know that they were as desperate as I was to find him.

I shivered as I remembered the dream, how frantic I was to find him. And I couldn’t help but to wonder who was helping me? Is there someone out there who is on our side; someone who doesn’t want Adam hurt? If so, I wish I knew who they were.

I tried to lie there in the bed quietly and not squirm, but I finally realized that was futile and I was going to wake Adam up, so I slid cautiously toward the edge of the bed and sat up. I peeked over my shoulder and Adam was sleeping still so I got up and headed into the bathroom. I wanted to take a bath to dispel the chills from my strange dream.

I ran a bath and poured some magnolia scented bubble bath into the streaming water and inhaled the soothing fragrance. Pearlescent bubbles started growing in the water as if by magic and it made me think of the thousands of times I had performed this bath ritual, and how I almost always felt better afterward.

I turned the taps off and climbed into the tub, sinking down with a sigh. I had pulled my hair up into a pony tail on top of my head, so I laid back and let the relaxing warmth penetrate my chilled body. I closed my eyes and tried to remember more about the dream. It was so oddly disturbing and lucid and I felt as if there was something important about it that I needed to remember.

“Good morning love,” Adam’s sleepy voice said to me, only slightly disturbing my thoughts.

I looked up to see him standing in the doorway of the bathroom, staring at me with a drowsy look in his eyes.

“Good morning back. Did you get enough sleep?”

“Yes, I guess. I, uh, didn’t mean to disturb your bath though.”

“You’re not. I was just a bit chilly and so I decided to get into a warm bath,” I told him, shooing playful bubbles away from my face.

“You have no idea how adorable you look right now, do you? Your cheeks are pink and glowing and those lucky bubbles are hiding all your most delicious parts. I do believe I’m a bit jealous.” He was smiling at me and it melted my heart.

“Really? I had no idea!” I laughed.

“Why yes, I do believe I am a bit jealous indeed,” he said softly. His voice had taken on that husky tone that told me he was thinking about me in a more, shall we say exposed way?

“Hm. Perhaps they might share, if you asked nicely,” I teased him. I was serious but part of me wondered how on earth we could both possibly fit into this tub. I didn’t have to wonder for very long though.

We did fit. Really well!



When we climbed out of the tub my hair was soaking wet, but then so was his. But we were both smiling about it so I guess it was okay. There was also a veritable lake on the floor that all had to be cleaned up but we did it with huge smiles on our faces.

We both got dressed and headed into the kitchen to find some breakfast. Adam fixed scrambled eggs and I just smiled as I saw him adding some wine into them. I guess what works for omelet can work for the eggs as well. I made toast and grabbed a couple of bananas out of the fruit bowl to go with the eggs and toast.

We didn’t dawdle over it any; we wanted to get to the hospital to see Cass. I was so happy to see her yesterday and I couldn’t wait to see her again today. I hoped to spend a lot of time with her this week. Partly that would be out of guilt since I would be gone next week to Dallas with Adam. But I was so proud of Cassie; she had worked so hard to get better and her determination was admirable.

Our visit with her flew by; she had walked a few more steps and was again sitting up. Right before we left Dr. Gorman stopped in. I found that interesting since it was Sunday and it seemed unlikely to me that he would be doing any rounds, but what did I know. And then I noticed how he and Cass were looking at one another and it all made perfect sense. We said our goodbyes, and she got a little teary when Adam kissed her on the cheek.

“Hey,” he told her. “You need to work really hard because I want you to be able to come to Dallas before the movie is done so you can visit the set. You’ll get to meet Paul Hallenbach!”

“You know what? I don’t think he can hold a candle to Adam Richland!” she quipped to him and he smiled and ruffled her hair.

“See you Red,” he laughed and we waved goodbye and left the room, leaving Cassie’s mouth gaping open in surprise.

The rest of our day was spent quietly, curled up together watching TV. Around 5:00 Adam went in to fix some dinner, but neither of us had any appetite and so we just snacked on some crab dip and crackers that we had bought. Bobby wasn’t due until around 7:00, which was about the time that Adam was leaving for the airport.

My parents had offered to take us to the airport, but Adam had decided to catch a cab and go on his own. I think he thought it would be easier for us both, but the thought of it was ripping my heart out.

“Sarah, it’s not like you can go with me to the gate to wait. You have to leave me in the visitor’s area, so this is better, okay?”

No it wasn’t okay, but arguing hadn’t done any good. He finished packing up everything he needed, but he left quite a few things here, which in some ways made it worse. That really sounds silly I know, but it made it feel like this was his home too and it made me cry even harder. I tried to explain it to him; I know he thought I was being silly.

“Love, this is my home,” he said, tipping my chin up so he could look into my eyes. “As you said, my home is wherever you are.”

I nodded my head just as we heard the doorbell ring. It was only 6:30 and we looked at each other with puzzled expressions on our faces. I was almost too scared to open the door after the note yesterday morning, but when we looked out, it was Bobby, just a little bit early.

We all sat and chatted for a few minutes when the doorbell rang again and I know that I jumped at the sound. Bobby jumped up and said “I’ll get it,” and it turned out to be Mom and Dad coming to say goodbye.

But more than that, they wouldn’t hear of Adam taking a cab to the airport and were determined that he accepted a ride, and he finally agreed. And so that Mom and Dad wouldn’t have to come all the way over here from the airport, I decided to stay here.

At 7:15 Adam was ready and I walked out to the car with him, reluctant to say the words ‘goodbye’. I stood there, being held in his arms for one last time and I knew my heart was breaking. This was worse than when I left Italy because it was Adam leaving this time. I didn’t care if it was only for a week, it seemed like it would be forever to me.

“All right love. I’ll call you when I get settled in Dallas tonight. It will be late though, okay?”

“Yes,” I agreed, trying so hard not to fall completely apart. “I’ll be waiting, so it doesn’t matter how late it will be. I’ll be waiting…” I trailed off as he climbed into the car. I stood there in the reflections of the lights and waved and then watched as the darkness slowly swallowed them up and it was only Bobby and I standing out side in chilly night air.

“C’mon now Sarah, let’s get inside,” Bobby said, almost having to tug me into the house.

When I got inside I looked around me and the house seemed empty and bereft. Empty of Adam, of my love because he had taken my heart with him.

“Bobby, if you are hungry please feel free to get something to eat or just otherwise make yourself at home. I’m going to go on into my room okay? It’s been a really long day. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Hey Sarah, are you sure you don’t want to watch a movie or something,” he said, trying to help.

I shook my head no, I really only wanted to retreat to our room. It would be probably 4 hours or so before I heard from him and possibly even longer than that, depending on what was going to happen in Dallas. He didn’t even know where he was staying yet.

I went into the bedroom and quietly closed the door, staring around me at the empty room. I wandered into the closet and saw the shirt of Adam’s that I had ripped the button off of still lying on the shelf. I hadn’t fixed it yet, but that didn’t make any difference to me. I pulled my clothes off and slipped the shirt on. I could still just barely smell Adam on the shirt, but it was enough to comfort me and I curled up on the bed in the dark to wait until I could hear his voice. And sometime during that lonely vigil the phone rang and woke me up.