Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Day At The Beach

Chapter Forty-Four

When we finally got to bed, I couldn’t bear to take the opals off, for at least a while longer. Adam indulged me and frankly, I think he liked making love to me while I was wearing them.

We lit candles in the bedroom and the opals caught the fire and reflected it back to us, warm and brilliant. Our lovemaking was slow and tender this night; exquisite and intense.

We shared every breath, our hearts beat as one. Every inch of my body was responsive to his touch; alive and aware that I had never experienced anything like this before. My senses were reeling and as I later gently floated back to earth, I felt his warm arms around me as I sighed contentedly and I knew that I had finally come home.


I woke up to the sounds of Adam in the shower and I lay there, listening to him hum tunelessly, as he always did in the shower. I wondered briefly if it was actually a song or just sounds.

I felt wonderful and stretched my body under the exquisitely soft sheets. The sun was shining outside and I thought about the day that was in front of us. I was so happy that my family was here; that they felt comfortable enough to be here. I realized it was all due to Adam’s loving attitude, not only towards me, but to all of them. Even Derek had seemed comfortable last night.

I’m going to be a grandma! A young, hip grandma, but a grandma nonetheless!

That brought a huge grin to my face, which Adam saw as he came out of the bathroom, towel wrapped low around his hips. He leaned down to kiss me and he was still damp from the shower and smelled great. I ran my hand over his chest and my senses opened up to him, stirring not only my body, but my heart as well.

It wasn’t exactly sexual; I mean it was that, but it was so much more than that as well. I felt like for the first time, the fear that had been lurking in my heart and head was finally, completely and utterly gone.

Even after I knew that I loved him, even acknowledged that I loved him, it had still been there, in the back of my head; telling me not to get too carried away. But I couldn’t find any trace of that, anywhere. It’s like someone has erased all the internal pain and fear from me; and the realization struck me that the someone was Adam.

“Good morning my love,” he told me, kissing me again.

“Hi,” I said, lying there with what had to be a huge and silly grin on my face.

He sat down on the bed next to me and returned my grin. “You seem to be feeling well this morning. Did you sleep well?”

“Oh yeah,” I laughed. “Really well. What about you?”

“Very well, thank you very much!” he told me, leaning down for yet another kiss. “What would you like for breakfast?”

He had this comical, lecherous grin on his face that made me laugh uproariously.

“Why, you’re laughing at me! Oh no no no, you mustn’t offend my manhood, my dignity! C’mere, I must seek revenge,” he told me, yanking his towel off and diving into the bed with me. He had me laughing and screaming in a very short while.

And suddenly, it was all interrupted by the phone ringing. “You are very lucky, you’ll escape my wicked clutches this time!” he said as he climbed over me to answer the phone which was on the other side of the bed.

“Hello,” he said into the phone. “Why yes, she isn’t busy at all,” he told whoever it was and handed the phone to me. “Here love, for you.”

Since we had been interrupted yet again, I figured the odds were that it was my Mom or Dad.

“Hello,” I said, very unenthusiastically.

“I hear I missed a big party last night, but gee, you don’t have to sound so depressed about it,” Cassie’s voice said on the other end of the line.

“Cass!” I squealed. “It’s so good to hear your voice. How are you? I didn’t think you could call.”

“What, you think my dialing finger is broken or something?” I heard a pause on the other end and then something that might have been a sniff. I think.

“I uh, I just didn’t know what might be going on. You sound good!”

“Yeah, well I’m okay. They are experts here on torture and recovery! They have me sitting up for 4 hours a day now and they are doing exercises on my legs every day. And I even stood up, briefly, very briefly this morning, holding on to some bars.”

“Cass, that’s wonderful. You’re going to be fine, I know it. I can’t wait to see you on Saturday. I will be able to see you then won’t I? They are letting you have visitors,” I asked hopefully.

“Yeah, I think they’ll let me see you. Oh man, I hated not calling yesterday, but I couldn’t call early because they didn’t want me to spoil the surprise. Lissa and Adam wanted you to think that he didn’t know it was your birthday and then by last night, I knew there would be lots of people there and it was late and stuff, so I just waited until today.”

“Those two totally pulled it off, I was so surprised. I was actually even feeling a bit miffed that no one had called to wish me a happy birthday! The only thing that kept it from being perfect was that you weren’t here. I missed you so much.”

“I miss you too Sarah, I really do. I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.” She paused for a moment, and then cleared her throat. “SO, how is sunny California? Tell me all about it.”

I told her all about it, Adam’s house and his family and everything that had happened.

“So, you got some step-kids huh?”

“Cassie! We’re not married or anything,” I chastised, shocked that she would say that.

“Yeah, yeah. Yet!!!”

“Well, I’ve taken lots of pictures that I’ll show you. It really is beautiful here. And speaking of beautiful, how’s Dr. Gorgeous?” I swear I heard her blush over the phone. I also heard a huge sigh.

“As gorgeous as ever I‘m afraid. But he has stopped in every single day, which I hadn’t expected. And thanks to your basket of goodies, today he told me I smelled really nice. I had taken a shower using the ‘Cherry Blossom’ scent. He liked it!” and she started giggling then.

“Um hm. Good for you,” I told her and I decided I definitely like Dr. Gorgeous.

I heard a knock on a door there and Cassie asked me to hold on for a moment. I could smell something wonderful cooking downstairs, making my stomach rumble in an alarming way. Breakfast was sounding better and better.

“Hey Sarah, they are here for my physical therapy, so I gotta go. I’ll see you on Saturday?”

“Absolutely, I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I love you Cass!”

“Yeah, I love you too. See ya,” she said before the line went dead.

I sat there on the bed, holding the phone for a few minutes re-playing our conversation. She had sounded pretty good I thought, a bit wistful maybe, but that was to be expected.

I stood up and stretched again. I went over to the door and called down to Adam, “Hey, do I have time for a quick shower before breakfast?”

“Yes, it will be ready in about 20 minutes, so take your time,” he yelled back up to me. Then I heard the intercom come on and he added, “You know love, you can use this, that way you don’t have to yell.” I heard him giggling before the intercom went off.

Well! I thought and then I laughed too. I hadn’t even thought about the intercom and what’s wrong with yelling anyway! I walked over to the stereo and looked through all the CD choices available. I finally decided on The Best of Todd Rundgren and put it on. Todd started singing We Gotta Get You A Woman and I smiled. Perfect! I decided as I headed into the bathroom and turned on the shower.

I washed up quickly, deciding not to wash my hair since I’d probably swim later anyway. When I came out of the bedroom, I Saw The Light was on and I started singing and then danced a bit to it—it’s my favorite song on the album and it made me remember so many things from when I was young. Good times, Cassie and I playing it over and over, singing and having such good times.

I was really getting carried away with it, dancing around as I dug through my suitcase trying to figure out what to wear.

“You know, I really must clear out some storage space for you love,” Adam said.

I dropped the jeans I had been holding and spun around and saw Adam standing in the doorway, shoulder resting against the frame, watching me. He was barely controlling a laugh, I could tell. My eyes narrowed as I looked at him, just waiting for him to say something.

“Oh don’t stop on my account love,” he told me, motioning with his hands to me. “The dance was lovely, especially charming was the little wiggle you put into it. I’d love to see it again!” The smile came then, the dimple smile and his eyes lit up.

How on earth can I be upset with him when he looks at me like that? The truth is I can’t. “Oh, go away. Don’t you burn my breakfast!” I laughed. He laughed and turned around and headed down the stairs then. Whatever he had wanted up here in the first place evidently forgotten. I got dressed and headed downstairs, just waiting for another comment.

As soon as I walked into the kitchen, my nose caught the full scent of something deliciously wonderful and my mouth started watering.

“Um, what do I smell?”

“A frittata—salmon and asparagus and it will be done very soon. How does that sound?”

“Ooh lovely Adam. Can I help with anything?”

“Care to cut up that melon over there on the counter?” he asked, pointing to a honeydew melon sitting on a cutting board.

“Sure,” I told him, heading over to where the melon waited. I could still hear Todd singing from upstairs since I had forgotten to turn if off. “I had better go up and turn the stereo off,” I told him.

“No need to do that, just switch the speaker switch to ‘C’ and it will play down here.”

“Cool,” I said, running up there to do it. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the stereo, but sure enough, the place that said ‘Speakers’ had an A,B,C,D and E under it. I wondered where they all went to.

While I was at it, I added another couple of CD’s in the changer and then went back downstairs.

“You know, you’re going to have to show me all of this electronic stuff you’ve got in this house, I don’t know anything about it.”

“Of course. I’ve meant to do that, so sorry.” He was pulling the frittata out of the oven and sticking a knife into it to check to see if it was done. It evidently was as he set it on the counter and closed the oven door.

I finished cutting up the melon while he got the table set and poured us some coffee. We sat down to eat and it was wonderful. The frittata was delicious; the buttery rich egg mixture had pieces of moist salmon in it and tender-crisp asparagus. The melon was perfect with it and I ate entirely too much!

“I think I am really going to keep you around Adam. That was absolutely delicious.”

“What, only for my cooking?” he asked.

“Um, well you’re handy in a few other ways too, you know. Don’t sell yourself so cheaply Adam. You definitely have a few delectable talents!” I said, trying to sound sexy and enticing.

“Maybe we should get these dishes cleared away and go and try to describe some of them, hm?”

“Race you!” I told him.

Almost an hour later we were lying in bed, giggling and trying to catch our breath. It was almost 10:00 and everyone was due around 11:00.

“You know, for a guy in Italy who was so worried about not having enough strength to do this, you sure have surprised me,” I laughed.

“No one is more surprised than I am, let me tell you. Frankly, and I mean no offense to you, but well, it would just be a handy thing if I could look at you just once without becoming aroused. I am constantly worried someone like your father or even worse, Derek is going to see. You have me desiring you like a randy teenager,” he told me, looking at me with those gorgeous chocolate colored eyes. They were dark chocolate this morning and I could see the love reflected in them. It made him seem very vulnerable and I just wanted to take care of him.

“I—I’m sorry,” I said with a shrug. “I know that there really isn’t anything I can do about it, but if it helps any you aren’t the only one feeling that you know. And Adam, it just seems to get more intense all the time. Our lovemaking gets better and better and it just makes me more aware of you, of us together.”

“Well then, we are quite a pair aren’t we? A perfect pair.”

“Yes. Now, hadn’t we better get back up, again, and get ready for everyone?”

“Yes. And that reminds me, Lissa brought stuff yesterday for you to make potato salad today. She insisted it had to be you!”

“WHAT? That takes a long time, I mean we have to cook the potatoes and chop the veggies and stuff. C’mon!”

“Wait a moment, she cooked the potatoes yesterday, and they are in fridge. All you’ll have to do is chop them and put everything together. I believe all the other veggies are chopped already,“ he told me, holding out his hand to help me up out of the bed.

“Good grief!” I said, starting to pull my clothes back on.

“Love, you are going to be rather warm in those jeans today you know. Why don’t you put on some shorts instead?”

“Because someone didn’t tell me to bring any shorts, so I only put two pairs in my bag. I don’t have any others.”

“Well come on then, let’s go throw them in the washer; they’ll probably be done by the time everyone gets here.”

We gathered up enough stuff for a small load that would wash quickly and got them in. And Adam was right, they were done in time.

While they were washing I was putting the potato salad together. Lissa did have everything chopped, so it was easy to do. Adam kept peeking over my shoulder. I finally told him, “Look Adam, it’s no secret, look all you want, okay?” He giggled then, but he did stand there and watch me, which was much better than those covert looks I had been seeing.

“It’s just that Lissa was very specific it had to be you that made it. I thought there must be some secret or something. What’s in the seasoning packet you just put in?” he asked.

“Nope, she just likes my potato salad. Mind you, she is fully capable of making it herself! And the seasoning packet? Why, if I told you I’d have to kill you!” I teased. I got it finished and put it into the fridge. I saw that Mom had made baked beans yesterday, or at least they looked like hers. I pointed to them and asked, “Mom do those?”

“Yes and it made you father very happy. You’ll also find something in there that I am betting the boys will love called ‘Caramel Apple Salad’. She made that as well.”

“At least we will be eating well.”

“Yes, well the boys voted for pizza!” he said laughing.

“Of course!”

“Tamara is bringing a fruit salad and peach cobbler. That will go with the brownies I baked yesterday,” he said slyly.

“You really did bake brownies? After I saw the cake I thought that accounted for the smell, but I guess I was wrong!”

While we talked Adam was mixing up a couple of different concoctions. One was a mango salsa to go on the chicken he would grill and the other was a tomato salsa for tortilla chips. Both were wonderful, but I told him the tomato salsa needed to be hotter. He quirked an eyebrow at me and chopped up another fresh jalapeno. I rewarded him with a dazzling smile. And then a kiss, just to make sure I showed enough appreciation.

“Lissa said she hoped maybe we could play a game of softball later, that it’s sort of a tradition in your family. She said they all even brought gloves and things to play. I knew Lissa played some, but I didn’t realize you enjoyed it too.”

I could tell he was thinking about how badly I threw the Frisbee the other day. Inwardly I was laughing like a fool, but I managed to keep my face straight and said, “Yes, well it’s just something we like to do for fun. Its good exercise you know!”

“Well, it’ll be a good introduction for the boys actually. Mark likes to play and so does Tamara, so they are bringing some equipment as well.”

“Wonderful,” I said, struggling to keep my face straight.

The door bell rang and I ran up the stairs to open the door. I opened it wide and said “I’m so glad you’re here,” before I realized it wasn’t any family standing there. It was Rachel Tomlinson.

“Yes, well of course you are. But who are YOU anyway, the new maid? Where’s Adam? I need to see him immediately!” She pushed past me and stood looking about her in the foyer. She saw the living room to the left and headed in there. “Well? What are you waiting for, tell Adam I am here!”

“There is no need to tell Adam, I’m right here. What do you want Rachel? We have guests coming, so I don’t have time for any histrionics! And by the way, this is Sarah, you met her in Italy.”

She cast one more quick look at me and said, “Hm, if you say so. Darling, have you seen the new script revisions? Honestly, they are just a mess, a mess. I thought we should spend the day going over them.”

“No, that’s impossible. As I said, we have guests coming and we intend to enjoy our day with them, not rehearsing. And how did you know I was here anyway?”

“Just a guess darling. I did try calling you, but you didn’t answer. Since you are having a party I’ll just stick around. I could use a bit of cheering up!”

“Absolutely not Rachel. This is a family gathering and you are not family and are definitely NOT staying. Now, I’ll see you to the door. We’ll have rehearsal time in Dallas. And by the way, we’ve had those scripts for a couple of weeks, so you should have had ample time to work with it. Now, goodbye Rachel!” he said, practically dragging her to the door. When he opened it, Derek was just getting ready to ring the doorbell. Everyone was here now and was staring at Rachel. Lissa was apparently star struck; she had admired Rachel since she was a teenager. She stood there, her eyes big and just stared at Rachel, for once speechless. Which, given Rachel’s attitude was a good thing.

She turned around and said to Adam, “My, this does look like a fun gathering.” And then she spotted Mark and said, “Mark darling, I haven’t heard from you in simply ages, why don’t you give me a ring, maybe I’ll be nice and do one of your little pictures!” She waved and was off.

“WOW,” I mumbled, mostly to myself. What I was thinking was, what a bitch. Adam was looking at me strangely and put his arm around my waist.

“Are you alright love?” he whispered in my ear as everyone was coming in. I nodded yes, but it was a jerky movement. I sort of felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck and there was a strange bitter taste in my mouth. I smiled at him the best I could and hoped that no one noticed that my heart wasn’t quite in it.

My family were all talking about her but Mark and Tamara were watching Adam and me. Tamara came up to me and hugged me and said, “Don’t let her get to you Sarah; she’s nothing but a viper who loves to cause trouble. Adam can’t stand her, just know that.”

I tried again to smile, but I was still upset and it didn’t come off well. Luckily my family wasn’t paying any attention to me. Vivian hugged me as well and said, “Now where’s your beautiful smile darling? Do let me see it, it totally brightens my day!”

I tried again and this time it was better. “There you are. That woman is nothing, forget about her!”

Just then I felt a small hand tugging on mine and I looked down to see Tristan. “Hi Sarah, you look pretty today,” he said smiling at me. And for the first time I noticed he had his father’s dimple smile. I bent down to hug him and Geoff noticed and came for a hug as well. One couldn’t out do the other I thought with a smile.

I held on to the hands of each boy, one on each side and we made our way downstairs. The boys were anxious to get out there. This was a special day for them, they got to be out of school for this family day and they didn’t want to waste any of it. I went outside with them along with Lissa, Derek and Pam. Most of the others followed too. The boys had their Frisbee and Derek said he’d love to play with them.

“Are you really Sarah’s little boy?” Tristan asked. “You don’t look so little to me.”

“Yes, I sure am her little boy. And you know what? Even when you get big like me you’ll still be your Mom and Dad’s little boy, I promise! Now, let’s play with this Frisbee!”

“Well, okay,” Tristan answered, still not totally convinced. “But Sarah shouldn’t play with us, she can’t throw it.”

Derek looked at me and his eyes were sparkling with orneriness. “Yep, I know. I tried for a long time to teach her, but she just never got it!”

I shook my finger at him and laughed. Then I waved goodbye and went back to the terrace. The younger generation spent an hour out there on the beach playing with that Frisbee and better them than me I thought!

I went back inside to the kitchen where preparations were being made for our late lunch. Mom had the baked beans in the oven and Tamara was mixing together some iced tea. Adam and I both looked at it and then at each other. I didn’t know if either one of us could handle it I thought with disgust.

Adam asked Gerald and Dad if they would go out and get the grill lit so they could start cooking the meat. There was chicken, several varieties of sausages, hot dogs and hamburgers. We obviously were going to have plenty to eat. And I didn’t know if Mark could eat the way Derek and the Richland men could, and so on second thought, I hoped it was enough.

Adam went and put on some oldies music and The Beach Boys started singing Surfin’ Safari and it fit the mood perfectly. We all decided to eat outside, even though the table wasn’t big enough, but there were plenty of chairs. It was just too beautiful of a day to sit inside.

The chicken was almost done and Gerald moved it to the warming rack and put the sausages on and the hamburgers too. The hot dogs wouldn’t go on until the last minute since they cooked so quickly, but the smells coming from the grill had drawn a crowd. Even after the wonderful breakfast, the odor wafting from the cooking chicken was making my stomach rumble.

I looked around the terrace at everyone and my heart warmed. Adam’s and my parents were getting along really well and my family didn’t seem to be uncomfortable at all with Tamara or the boys, which made me truly happy. In reality, I couldn’t believe how comfortable I was with Tamara. I would never have thought before hand that it would be this way. Partly I think because she and Adam’s affection for one another is so apparent and you just know that there isn’t a shred of anything romantic in it. I can’t imagine these two together romantically, and yet there are two little boys running around here that tells me that there was. She and Mark seem so perfect for one another I thought as I watched them dancing to God Only Knows.

By the time the hot dogs came off the grill the boys were clamoring for food; we couldn’t have held them off with a brick wall. And Derek was as bad as Tristan and Geoff I thought with a laugh while watching his eyes light up at all the food.

And despite all the food, there really wasn’t that much left, maybe enough for dinner later. Tamara had brought the things to make home-made ice cream and she got the freezer going, saying everyone could just wait for dessert. We got the food put away and the mess cleaned up and then Lissa said, “Hey, it’s time for a ball game!”

In spite of all that had been eaten, everyone was game to play. We talked about teams for a minute and then Lissa said, “Let’s just play girls against the boys, it’ll be fun!”

Adam and Mark looked at each other, clearly alarmed about that. Adam said, “I don’t think that’s very fair. Really, we should just split up.” I saw him looking at me, obviously worried since he didn’t think I would be any good. I had to turn my face away so he wouldn’t see me smiling.

“No, no,” I said. It will be fun; after all, it’s just a game!” And so it was decided and the boys, being the magnanimous sports that they were let us girls bat first.

That was their first mistake.

Lissa led off, followed by Tamara, Pam, Mom, Vivian and finally me. Lissa got a triple, Tamara a double which brought Lissa in and then Pam hit a beautiful homer! The boys backed up a little then and started to sweat a bit. Mom and Vivian both got on base, although only because Mom walked. It was my turn at bat and I stood there at the plate, looking at Adam who was playing 3rd base and shortstop. He got the idea about what was going to happen. I could see it in the pained expression in his eyes.

I brought them both home and in fact was already across home plate before they had got the ball back in. Six runs in our first time at bat for us. This made the boys take it a little more seriously and after two more runs, they finally got us out.

When they came in, Derek gave Pam and high five and a “Good going babe!” and I’m positive I heard Adam exclaim sharply.

I’m a pitcher and a good one at that. Adam was the first up to bat and I had to decide whether to strike him out or not. It was a tough decision, for a whole, oh moment or so. One, two, and three, fast pitches and he was gone. With a stunned look on his face. I knew I would pay for that later, some way…

Dad was up next, and having been my pitching coach for my teenage years, he managed to get a double. The boys perked up a bit. Mark was next and got a single, but Tamara got dad out at 3rd. Gerald was up next and I struck him out. I didn’t really want to, but it was just too easy not to. Derek was up next, and like dad, he also knew how to hit off of me. He managed a homer, bringing Mark home as well. The score was now 8 – 2.

The boys were very determined now; they weren’t going to make it easy on us and played for all they were worth, which was good as far as I’m concerned. I hate massacres.

It was Tamara’s turn at bat and Mark, who was pitching tossed one in hard and fast. Tamara lobbed it over Adam’s head and made it to 2nd before dad got it in to stop her. Pam was up next and I know the boys all groaned. Pam had hit homers both times at bat. I could see resignation in their faces, but Pam unaccountably struck out. Totally not like her. She whispered to me that she couldn’t stand to see them lose so badly. I told her to snap out of it!

Mom got another double which brought Tamara in, and then Vivian struck out. So mom was on 2nd and I was at bat. I had only hit a double last time at bat, so they didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately for them, Mark sent a low outside pitch my way; just my kind of pitch and I hit it out again. As I ran around the bases, I could hear The Rascals singing Good Love and it made me feel buoyant, and I laughed as I hit home plate. Lissa was up next and only got to 1st and then it was Tamara’s turn. She swung and hit a pop fly and Adam caught it. And before Lissa could tag up, they got her out. The score was 10 – 2.

Both Tristan and Geoff batted, and I took it really easy on them honestly. Tristan got a hit but even moving slowly, I easily got it to 1st in time to get him out. And Geoff struck out. Next up was Adam. I looked at the man I loved, standing there and saw the determination in his eyes. I suspected that he had been carefully watching me pitch and thought he had it figured out, when my pitches break. And maybe he did because he got a hit, triple in fact. He knew better though than to push it because Tamara was a crack 3rd baseman and Lissa was catching, he wouldn’t have made it if he tried and he knew it.

Dad was up next and got another double which brought Adam in. Mark was up and hit a long high fly ball out to center field, which Pam caught. So ended that inning, the score 10 – 3.

It was getting redundant now and not much fun either. We played two more innings and the final score was 13 – 6. Not great. But the competitive spirit in me had a blast and was secretly happy. To their credit though, the men were all in good spirits. The men all drank beer and Tamara, Lissa and I joined them. The boys wanted to swim and I went in and put my suit on, as did Lissa, Pam and Tamara. Only Mom, Dad, Gerald and Vivian didn’t swim. The ice cream had frozen and they boys wanted some right away but Tamara told them they had to wait until dinner.

The sun was starting to set then and the view was beautiful. I walked out onto the beach and stood there, watching the gold and pink sweep across the heavens, followed closely by the purples and blues and thanked God for this precious day. I couldn’t remember a better one. Adam came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist for a quick snuggle.

“Happy love?” he murmured into my ear.

“Happier than I’ve ever been Adam. Thank you, for this day, for everything really.”

We heard the boys yelling then about being hungry. Adam laughed and said, “That’s my boys!” and we headed back to the terrace.

Tamara, Mom and Vivian were already getting the food back out and everyone was grabbing a plate. There were no leftovers that time and we made a good dent on the peach cobbler, brownies and ice cream. Our bellies full, no one had much energy left.

See You In September came on and Adam pulled me up to dance and Derek and Pam, Mark and Tamara did the same thing. That was followed by Put Your Head On My Shoulder and it was the perfect reason to get close. Several more slow songs played and by the time they were over, everyone was getting ready to leave.

Gerald and Vivian’s plane left at 7:00 am tomorrow, and so they had to leave for the airport in the morning at 4:00 am. We wouldn’t get a chance to see them again. When they were leaving, Vivian hugged me close and told me how much she looked forward to seeing me in March, at Angelica’s wedding. And she added, “You are perfect darling, don’t forget that.” I knew she was referring back to Rachel, but it still pleased me to hear it.

“Thank you Vivian. I have loved having this chance to get to know you. And thanks for putting up with all my family too!”

“Well there was nothing to put up with. They are wonderful. It gave us all a chance to get to know one another and after all, that is important in families!”

I watched them leave and I felt sad. They were so nice and I already felt like a part of the family; that I always would be.

Tamara and Mark left then, they boys falling asleep on their feet again practically. I would see them again I knew, so it was okay. And even when it was time for Mom, Dad, Lissa, Derek and Pam to leave it was okay. I would see them too. Even Derek and Pam would be home for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t wait. They would take a cab to the base tomorrow, since it was a military post we couldn’t go with them. I hugged and kissed them both and made them promise to take care of each other.

We were going to take Mom, Dad and Lissa to the airport and we would need to pick them up at 9:00 and we told them we would see them then. We were going to have to take Adam’s car, as well as the van to the airport. The van would have to be turned in, but it was okay. I watched them drive away with a smile on my face as I waved goodbye.

We closed the door and Adam set the alarm system. We walked down to our bedroom and I threw myself down on the bed with a sigh.

Adam said, “Now love, about that softball game…”

Uh oh…


Hope said...

Good Morning!

Can we say 'Gurlz Rule' today? LOL Okay, so we now know that Sarah has a sneaky, naughty side. Sorry to our men out there, that means you Rob and Matt!

And Rachel? This is the part I asked you not to hold against me, okay! ; )

It looked like I had another new poster or two last evening, so welcome Kahlea and Mari, don't be shy, jump in anytime!

Rene, I'll post the recipe for the cake next week. It really is the cake my mom made for for me each birthday as a kid. Unfortunately she died in 1979 and I haven't had it since. But it is such happy memories for me!

I was satounded by how much yesterday's story seemed to touch you all, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you all!

LISA said...


Anonymous said...

hey there,

did i miss something? isn't Tamara's partner called Mark and not Paul????


Hope said...

Why yes, you are right about Mark/Paul. His name is Mark, but this story was written awhile back and I had forgotten to change the name!

You get the prize for paying the best attention! Good work!

Jaime said...

I have not ever posted, but read this blog religiously! I love it and can hardly wait for the next entry!
I also am looking forward to the cake recipe, I have a 7 month old and 21 month old and I would love to try it out on them!
This is such a great story, I am so happy that you take the time to entertain us!

Hope said...

Welcome Jaime!

I am glad you enjoy the story and I hope you'll like the recipe when it's posted.

Please feel free to pop in and say a word or two any time you like!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Everyone!!!!

Poor Sarah, paybacks are a ....... BLAST!!!!!
Thanks Hope, for treating us to a family outing, in the middle of winter. Even though I now live in Tampa, I miss the annual family outings I enjoyed as a child. Being the oldest of 5 kids, we used to play our own baseball games ! Looking forward to the cake recipe, YUM! Kristin

Tara said...

Just wanted to pop in and say that I found your blog about a month ago and I am hooked... It is my favorite to read and you update often, which is nice. All in all a good story and very well written, too. Looking forward to reading more

Hope said...

Welcome Tara, glad you stopped in. Please jump in anytime, we love chatting.

Dominique said...

Another fabulous post Hope!

Your cake sounds like something my great grandmother used to was absolutely amazing! I think I need to whip that up this weekend! hehe

Girls Rule! Go athletic women! It's always fun to humble the males! :)

Matt said...

I demand a rematch.

Jen said...

Another great post, Hope!!! Sarah really needs to address with Adam how she could have responded to that witch, Rachel!!! The maid?? Sheesh!

Rachel said...

Good morning everyone!

Rachel from Seattle here. It has finally stopped snowing yay! The roads are finally clear too, no more white knuckle driving to work.

What a nice heart warming post this was this morning. It was cleansing for the soul. I loved the softball game sounded like a lot of fun. I'm sad to see Adam's parents go, they seemed so lovely.

Now about Rachel, and I'm not talking about me, She is a bitch with a capital B. I cant stand her, how dare she talk to Sarah like she is a maid or something. Please make her go away Hope, I wanted to just reach right through the screen and smack her if I could. Hmmm I wonder is she's the one causeing all the trouble. i think someone is a little jealous of Sarah.

Hope I Just remembered a question I was going to ask you the other day ago, how long has this story been in the making in your mind?
Thanks for the great post Ive gotten spoiled with two in a row.
Have a great day everyone!

Hope said...

Hey there Matt! You just name the day and Sarah's team will be there, lol.

Now Rachel, I knew she would upset you, but she was conceived long before you posted, so don't be too upset! ; ) And she certainly sounds as if she could cause problems, doesn't she? I guess we'll have to wait and see, shall we?

I have been thinking about this story for 20 years, back to the time when I actually lived in Italy. It has changed a bit over the years, but the essense of the story of is still the same.

Mehreen said...

This blog makes me so sad! (In a good way) I was in Italy for a semester 3 years, sigh...mi manca Firenze!! This blog also makes me hungry, thank god it's almost lunchtime, I feel like I'm developing a Richland appetite! I'm looking forward to Sarah going home, I hope the detectives found something in that tea!

Hope said...

Hey Mehreen,

I so understand about Italy, I miss it so much and Firenza was wonderful.

On my other blog, there are some stories on there about Italy, Trials of the Travelers and Vicenza and some pictures. They'll make you miss it even more, I promise.

Tigger said...

Good Morning Ya'll!

Greetings from the frozen land of Oklahoma. (How weird does that sound?)

Hey Matt, you really got me giggling!

Oh Hope, this entry was wonderful in so many ways. The softball game was awesome (sorry Matt), but what I loved the most was when Adam caught her dancing and was standing there watching, that was just too funny. And so much like a real couple, those little things that they do to each other. Mom says it's what makes a mariage work or not. Humor is key.

Jo said...

Funny, Hope. I found myself thinking the exact same thing. Girls Rule, Boys Drool! Had to know they were going to win. And I'm thinking Sarah won't be too terribly unhappy with Adam's revenge.

I loved the big "beach party" with all the families. Too bad Sarah and Adam didn't sic the families on that Rachel chick. She would have run for the hills! And, somehow, I don't think she would have been an asset to the girls' softball team.

I have learned, however, not to read these entries right before lunch time. Sarah's stomach isn't the only one grumbling!

Great post, Hope! Not that I'm at all surprised.

Antoinette said...

Hope, you are such an amazing writer, i'm so addicted to this blog!

I'm so jealous of their day at the beach today! I live in New Mexico and we are having a colder than normal winter and I'm definately ready for the summer to come and bring back my warm weather!

I have so much fun reading your entries, keep up the good work!

amy d said...

this was a keeper Hope, the whole entry was amazing. Tender, funny and happy, just the best!

reeneez said...

Hey Hope and everyone! I loved this post also. Thank you for all the detail and helping us to get to know everyone BUT especially for letting the girls rule!! LOL!! Rene

hayley said...

OMG Hope!

I adore how this ended, I can't just hear Adam saying that and I can picture the look on Sarah's face too. That of course is because you have magically made them so familiar and real for us.

I think Jo is right, Sarah won't mind Adam's retrobution too badly!

Fabulous, as usual...

tigger said...

You are so right Jo, they should have let Rachel be the backstop! Heheheh

I can't imagine that she would even consider playing, she might break a nail!

kmorales4 said...

Once again we have been blessed with a terrific post. Hope, you hava an amazing talent. I do however wonder, where will Sarah and Adam choose to live in if/when they settle down? California is fantastic and beautiful but Lissa will be attending school in Wichita and Sarah's job is there as well. Then there's Sarah's parents who aren't getting any younger. Adam may be used to being away from home and the boys, but his house is so amazing. He also mentioned previously that he hoped Sarah wouldn't want to leave to
Cali. Another thing that has me concerned is that person that's trying to harm Adam and Sarah. Aaargh, I can't take anymore suspence.

Gina said...

I agree kmorales, I'm wondering too about who ever has been causing problems. It's been quiet along that front, possibly too quiet don't you think? Maybe it's just that they are allowed a peaceful time in California, I don't know.

But it seems too good to be true. And--Hope did say that there would be some new challenges in California, but there really hasn't been anything like that happening, so far. Maybe something awful is about to happen.

Of course, Rachel was certainly a complication.

What does everyone think?

Rob said...

Ah Hope, that's not fair! Those girls took unfair advantage of the poor guys who were just trying to be nice and give them a bit of an advantage!

But seriously, love'd it today, excellent!

deena said...

Wow Hope, what a wonderful story. Like Tigger, I loved the part where he caught her dancing, it made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. And yeah, that is difficult here in my job, I work in a library! LOL

The family connection is great, I don't think it's boring at all. this is fantasy, it's supposed to be happy!

Becky said...

Hi everyone! Whoo Hooo! Gurlz Rule!!

An awesome post. It really reminds me of the summers when my brother & his family would come home to Washington for a few weeks vacation each summer. We would all get together at a park by the river and eat, play softball, etc. There were lots lots of us (I'm youngest of 8) It was so much fun and created so many wonderful memories.

Like Tigger and Deena I also loved the part when Adam catches Sarah dancing... that is such a real-life thing.

Thank you for today's entry as it brought back so many memories.


Macy said...

Hope, today's entry is just so heartwarming; it makes us feel incredibly good!

Love it, love the writing, love your style and sense of humor.

Would LOVE to read the book!

Anonymous said...

What a great day! We had posts 2 days in a row. I loved it! Even though I want to smack that Rachael. (the one in the story)LOL

Tigger said...

We love our Rachel!

Yeah, kick the one in the stories behind! Maybe I'll pounce on her!

She's going to cause lots of trouble, I just know it!

maryann said...

hi hope
i've never posted on a blog before, but i just had to on yours - i am simply loving it. saying that - i am half italian/half swiss - i live in switzerland now,but spent the end of my teenage years in firenze, which you described just beautifully - and so rightly! and your descriptions about the days in california make me think of and miss the states so much! i just loved those bbqs, the family gatherings and everything - thanks for bringing that back to me!

Rachel said...

Hi Becky

What part of Washington are you from?

Hope said...


Welcome to the blog and thanks for the wonderful comments.

Io abito en Vicenza per tre anni. E adored il mio tempo a Firenze ed era una cittĂ  bella, viva con colore e la gente era deliziosa.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope,
I've been reading for about a month now. AWESOME!!! I absolutely loved today's post. Loved the conflict with Rachel. I can't wait to see how that develops & how Sarah handles it all. I soooo look forward to each post & can't wait to read the ones from Adam's perspective!

Holly said...

I love the story line that this just keeps going! I'm glad Lissa wasn't there yet when Rachel entered, that could have been trouble!
I feel like I'm getting the Richland appetite for this blog, just can't get enough!

Asha said...

Hi Hope,
Even though this is my first time posting, I have been reading your story since the beginning and you're an amazing writer. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. Adam and his family seem perfect, can't wait to find out what happens next!

Holly said...

Hey Kristin,

Just out of curiosity, what part of Tampa are you in?

Anonymous said...

Hey ladies I am in Tampa also! The temp. has dropped a little tonight. Not as bad as Hope has it though!

Holly said...

I love the cool weather though! I turned off the AC and opened the windows.

I can't wait for Friday!

Becky said...


I live in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and RICHLAND!)and I was referring to the Columbia River.


Anonymous said...

Dear Hope,
This is the first time for me to post a comment, but I was so touched by this new entry - especially what Sarah says what it feels like to be with Adam: like finally coming home... this is just wonderful!
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I look forward to a new entry. As I live in Germany, I have to wait until the afternoon, and I get so unpatient that most time I end up reading older entries all over again (and enjoying them just as much as when reading them for the first time!).
Thank you for sharing this awesome story with us!

Hope said...

Good Morning All,

Gee, it feels weird not to post anything today. I guess I could...

Nah! I don't want to spoil Friday for you!

I wanted to welcome J, Asha and Andrea. I so happy you took the time to post. Thanks so much for the very kind words.

Ladies, Rob and Matt, we're getting international; we have Gerry from UK, Maryann who is in Switzerland and now Andrea from Germany! We can truly have a Global party, so lets get started!
In a manner of speaking anyway. And Im jealous of several of you, Rachel and Becky near one another in Washington and Holly and Kristin near Tampa. And--turning your A/C off indeed! You are teasing us!

Hey, it's getting all the way up to 36 today, above freezing! Balmy I declare! ; )

Hope said...

Oops! I forgot L, she lives near Tampa too!

Bad, bad Hope!

Rachel said...

Good morning everyone!
The snow is finally gone here yay, it has turned to rain now and we are up to 40 degrees! Im so sad there isnt a post today but it will only make tomorrow better.
Becky, my dad lives in Wenatchee so I'm over on that side of the mountains quite often. The Columbia River is so beautiful!
Have a great day everyone!
The nice Rachel

Tigger said...

Yeah, the NICE Rachel!

Wish we could start getting rid of some of the ice around here. but it's supposed to get a little warmer here too.

Alright Hope, it seems like they are going to be leaving California soon and nothing bad has happened, excetp for the bitchy Rachel. Was that the challenge?

Sandy said...

This post was so much fun to read. What I would give to live a day like that, with my parents there, beautiful ocean, great food, and everyone getting along! Not to mention the great lovin'! Hope you continue to amaze me. Great job!

Rachel said...

Hey Hope!
It's Rachel again, I just wanted to let you know that I have started to read your Hopeful Journey blog now and I just love reading all of your stories. I especially love the ones about Tiger what a smart cat he was with that vet! LOL that story had me in stitches. These stories have really given me an insight into to who you are as a person. To any of the regulars here who havent started reading it I fully recomend it!

Hope said...

Thank you Sandy and Rachel, the GOOD Rachel that is.

I'm glad you are enjoying the other site. I decided last summer that there were too many family stories that were getting forgotten or lost and that I needed to do something about it. I haven't posted too much lately on it because for some reason I have been consumed by Sarah and Adam! LOL

Jo said...

Ooh, you guys in Tampa and warm places are killing me! It's been snowing here in PA for the past hour and it's supposed to change to sleet and freezing rain. I just want to go home.

...or to Adam's house on the beach. Hm, Hope, could you write in a maid for them? I do windows!

Holly, too funny about having a "Richland appetite" for this story! LOL. Me too.

Oh and Hope, next time you have the urge to post a day early, JUST RUN WITH IT, GIRLIE!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope,

Loved the post!!!! It is my favorite read - and that is a huge compliment because I love to read.

I am asking a question (don't get mad at me) - Why isn't Sarah nicer to Adam? Or more romantic (like most girls are)?

I know she was a commitmnet phobe but come on - I think she needs to appreciate Adam more. Just a thought.

Again - thanks for the enjoyment this blog has brought.

BTW - I keep trying to create an account and cannot get the hang of it. The only way I can post is by anonymous and then I sign my name.

Detroit MI
God awful weather over here also!

Hope said...

Hi Carma,

I thing you have to remember that Sarah is just learning about love. She has been so scared in the past that she is still kind of unsure of HOW to act. But she will come around, I promise!

gator chick said...

I have to say that it is so refreshing to read a story that is about happiness. After all, isn't that what we are all after?

Hope, you make all of us want to be Sarah...even if just for a moment. You are truly talented!

All that said, I do like the suspense too! I'm waiting for another incident with the house or something. I'm a closet mystery/romance person!