“Now can we go out to the beach daddy, please,” Geoff asked. “I have to show Sarah, c’mon, please.”
“Okay, okay. First, get the sunscreen. Your mother will boil me if I don’t get it on you!” The boys ran off to the bathroom to get the sunscreen and Adam looked at me, taking in my fair skin and said, “You too. We definitely don’t want you to suffer sunburn.”
I had to laugh to myself because I am pretty fair, but I tan easily. That’s one of the reasons warm and vibrant colors look good on me, my skin is naturally golden. But I would put sunscreen on and I told him I had my own and went to get it.
I decided to put my swimming suit on while I was there and then I put my shorts on over it and headed downstairs. Adam had grabbed a huge blanket to take out with us and bottles of water. The boys were gathering toys, including their remote controlled cars. Tristan exclaimed, “Daddy, bring your car too!”
Adam looked at me sheepishly and shrugged. I had to laugh, boys and their toys, young or old, they are all the same!
“Okay guys, let’s get that sunscreen on, before you go out!” There was a collective groan from all 3 of them. I tried to look stern, and then ended up laughing.
God, I was having a good time.
Adam and I together got the boys covered and then I slathered the lotion over him, starting with his back. Unfortunately I found myself becoming aroused and by the time his back was done, he was feeling the same thing. He did his front side himself, as I stood there grinning wickedly. The boys were impatient, telling us how we were missing all the good waves and birds, and just everything!
Of course, he got the same pleasure when he rubbed the lotion over my back, and like him, I chose to put it on my own front side. I think the plan backfired on him though, I must admit to taking my time, rubbing the lotion in very slowly, smiling all the while as he watched. The look on his face was almost painful.
But it was finally finished, so the boys, the toys and I made it down to the beach, albeit much too slowly in the boys opinion.
It was gorgeous outside; the sky was a perfect blue, the color of, well, a perfect sky. It was clear and sparkling in the warm golden sunshine. There weren’t any clouds on the horizon, nothing but the sky, the bluish-green water and the golden sand as far as I could see. There were other houses scattered down the beach in both directions, but I didn’t even see anyone else out and when I asked Adam about that he said that this part of the beach was private.
Wow, I thought, imagine having your own beach. Amazing.
We spread the blanket down and then Geoff grabbed my hand and started pulling me out to the where the waves were rolling to shore, leaving a foamy wake behind them as they scampered back out.
“See Sarah, it’s really big, huh?” he asked me, kicking his bare feet in the water.
“Yes, it really is!” I agreed. The water was warmer than I thought as it slipped over my feet. Almost worth trying to swim in, I thought—well, almost. There were bits of seaweed floating in it though which didn’t look too pleasant.
Geoff and I continued down the beach, occasionally stamping our feet in the water and I saw a beautiful shell laying there in the foam. I stopped to pick it up to admire it. I don’t know anything about shells, but it was one of the kind that looks like a big cornucopia and its colors were pale creams and browns. I turned it over several times, wanting to make sure it didn’t have a current inhabitant. I held it up to my ear, to see if I could hear the ocean roaring inside it and I smiled when I did.
I held it out to Geoff and he giggled when he heard the sounds. “Do you like shells Sarah?”
“Yes I do. When I was a little girl I used to collect them. I had all kinds.”
“Really? Where did they go?”
“Um, I think my kids probably played with them, maybe they are lost, I just don’t know,” I told him.
He spotted another shell on the beach and ran to pick it up. But it had a crab hiding in it and in disgust he threw it down. “You got kids Sarah?” At my nod yes, he added, “How come you didn’t bring ‘em with you?”
“They are already grown up,” I told him, watching his eyes get big at that news.
“Really? You don’t play with them anymore?”
“Well no, not exactly,” I answered, wondering how to explain it. “You see, they don’t live with me any longer, because they are big.”
“Do they live with their daddy?”
I tried to hide my smile behind my hand. His earnest little face was endearing. He was thinking the situation through with all the logic of a 5 year old; it made perfect sense to him.
“No, they live in their own houses, like your mommy does.”
“Wow, they must be really big!”
“Yeah, they are. Maybe you’ll get to meet them sometime.”
“Yeah,” he echoed.
We wandered out a bit into the wake, letting the water wash over our bare legs and giggling. I wandered out a little farther, to where the water was up to about my knees and Geoff started urging me to come back. I turned to look at him and he had a funny look on his face.
“What’s the matter Geoff,” I asked, concerned about what could be wrong.
“Don’t go out too far Sarah. There’s something that lives in there, daddy told me.”
“What’s that?” I imagined he was thinking about sharks or something because his little face was definitely showing fear.
“It’s called the undertow.” His eyes were darting back and forth over the water, watching for it. “I ain’t never seen it, but it’ll grab you and take you way out there,” he said in a whisper, pointing to some far off place on the horizon.
“Okay, I’ll come back in then, but we’ll keep an eye out anyway, all right?”
He nodded and reached out his hand to hold mine. I realized we had wandered pretty far down the beach so I turned us around to head back toward where Adam and Tristan were playing with a Frisbee. Geoff saw them and tugged on my hand, urging me to hurry up and so we ran back to where the game was being played.
I laid my shell down on the blanket and ran over to get in the game. Adam was working with Geoff, teaching him how to throw the Frisbee and Geoff was catching on really well. Tristan was an old pro at it, throwing it better than I could, that’s for sure.
Geoff threw it to me and I caught it and turned to toss it to Tristan. As usual, the darn thing didn’t really go where I really wanted it to and Tristan exclaimed, “Hey daddy, you need to show Sarah how to throw it, huh?”
I started giggling then and told Adam, “Yeah, think you could teach me a few things?” I stood there, trying to look completely helpless and trying very hard not to laugh anymore.
Adam looked at me and actually blushed. Gosh, if only I had brought the camera down with me! Which gave me the perfect excuse to escape.
“Hey, you know what? I forgot the camera. Go ahead and play without me, I’ll be back soon!” I told them, heading off to the house.
I got my camera out of the bag and checked to make sure it had plenty of film. I also realized I hadn’t ever had the pictures from Italy developed; all the rolls were still in the camera case. I tried to make a mental note to take them to get done as soon as I could. I also checked my cell and saw that I had missed a call from my parents, so I took the time to call them back.
Everything was fine at home they said. Bobby was at my house and there hadn’t been any problems. Lissa and Derek had both called and I told mom that I would call them as soon as I got off the phone with her. Dad, who was on an extension asked if we had heard anything from the detectives and I told him no. Then mom wanted to know how the meeting went yesterday.
“It was great mom, really. His mom kind of looks like Julie Andrews, honestly. And his dad is very charming. We had dinner at Tamara’s and she is really very nice, we got along great. The boys are so polite and very sweet. They are here today with us and we’re out playing on the beach. It’s really beautiful here, gorgeous actually.”
“Are you taking some pictures?” Dad asked.
“That’s why I came back into the house, to get the camera. I had forgotten to take it earlier. The boys are out there playing Frisbee. I think they think I’m hopeless at it. Hah! Wait till I get a baseball in their hands, we’ll see who is hopeless!” I laughed. I had played ball for many years and then coached Lissa’s team through her ball-playing years!
Dad laughed too, he had been my coach when I was playing. He knew how well I could play. “Alright then sweetie, have a good time and we’ll talk to you soon,” he said and then he and mom chimed in together, “We love you and tell Adam hi for us!” and then the line went click and they were gone.
I took the phone with me outside and thought I’d call the kids from there. The boys (including Adam) were racing their remote controlled cars up and down the deserted beach, so I sat down on the blanket and dialed Lissa’s number.
She picked up on the third ring, right when I thought it was going to go to voice mail. She squealed into the phone she was so excited.
“Hey, how’s the California girl doing?” she asked.
“It’s amazing Lissa, just amazing. Adam’s house is beautiful and his family is great, especially Tamara. That went really well.” I told her the same things I had told mom and dad and she was really happy for me. I also told her about Adam being a fabulous cook and the pancakes that morning.
“Hey, where is he at? I want to talk to that man!” she demanded with a laugh.
“Right now his is playing with the boys; they are racing their remote controlled cars.”
“Adam has one too?”
“Yep! He and Derek will get along really well.”
“Put him on the phone, okay?” she asked.
“Sure!” I told her, and then to Adam, “Hey you, my daughter wants a word with you!”
Adam looked up from his car and tapped himself on the chest as if to say “ME?” and I nodded my head yes and held the phone out to him.
He took the phone and put it up to his ear. All I could hear was his end of the conversation, but that in itself was pretty good.
“Um why yes, I do actually cook. Well, you know we didn’t really stay in much when you were there, so I guess it just didn’t come up much.” Pause. “Yes, banana pecan, um hm.” Another pause. “Uh, well I really didn’t know that you liked them that much. I’ll certainly be glad to make them for you next time I see you. By the way, did you realize your mother cannot throw a Frisbee?”
This last was an attempt to change the subject. There was a much longer pause them, that was interspersed by Adam mumbling “Uh huh” and “Um” and “Yes” frequently, then a huge smile spread across his face, followed by, “Yes, you too. Talk to you later,” and then he handed the phone back to me, gave me a quick kiss and headed back to the cars.
Lissa was laughing hysterically when I put the phone back up to my ear. I listened for a moment and then finally asked her what was so funny.
“Well, when he brought that up about the Frisbee, I told him that if he thought that was bad, he should see you play baseball! There’s your chance mom, I cooked his goose, now all you’ll have to do is serve him!”
Now I was laughing too and Adam was looking over his shoulder at me, clearly concerned for my sanity. I waved at him and said, “Its okay, I’m fine, go ahead and play!”
Lissa and I chatted a bit longer, about Cassie and Derek and then all too soon it was time to go. After declarations of love, we both said goodbye. I sat there in the warm sun for a few minutes before trying Derek, but I got his answering machine, so I just left a message that all was well and told him to call me when he had the chance.
I folded the phone up and laid it down next to me and watched the boys for awhile. It was amazing how they were the “boys” to me, not “Adam and the boys”. He was like a kid with them, in the very best possible way. He was firm when he needed to be; he was an excellent father like that but he played and laughed with them and totally enjoyed himself.
That made me think about something I had always heard, that you are more patient with kids as you get older. That’s why grandparents always think their grand kids can do no wrong, you are more laid back, mellow and patient. But does it work that way when you are older and you have kids? Does that explain his great relationship with them? I wasn’t sure, but it was a joy to watch them all together.
We had been outside for a couple of hours now and I decided it was time for another coating of sun block, especially since the boys were sweating so much. They had on a +40, but still, I didn’t want to take chances. I first put more on myself, and then asked Adam to come and put more on my back. My sunscreen was only a +20, and yes, I know I should be using the heavy duty stuff; I get that lecture from Lissa all the time. But I wanted some tan!
I lay down on my stomach and Adam came and straddled me, rubbing the lotion in very thoroughly I thought. I chuckled; he made it as hard on himself as he did me—literally.
I grabbed the other bottle and pointed to the blanket and said, “Down now!” and he did exactly what I asked, and didn’t even mumble about it. After he was coated, we called the boys over, which was okay with them since the batteries were wearing down on their trucks. They submitted without too much trouble but I soon realized that was because they were hungry and were demanding lunch.
It was only around 1:00, but Adam was only too happy to get lunch himself—I’m sure he was hungry too. The boys wanted grilled hot dogs and chips, so off we headed to the kitchen, with Adam making a brief stop to light the gas grill to cook the hot dogs.
I found some cut up melon in the fridge and got it out as well as pickles, mustard and ketchup. I also found some lovely tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella and decided to make a salad. Even if the boys wouldn’t eat it, I would enjoy it.
The boys were out on the terrace with Adam while I was cutting up the cheese and tomatoes. I hunted through the cabinets until I found some good olive oil and some basil. It wasn’t fresh, but it would do I decided. I got it all mixed together and set it back in the fridge to chill a bit to help blend the flavors and took the hot dogs and a plate out to Adam. I thought the grill was probably hot enough by now.
The terrace and pool were beautiful. The pool itself was sitting down in the natural rock, of which the edges had been smoothed. There was a small water fall at one end and off to the side but attached, a hot tub, which I hadn’t seen earlier. The boys were paddling around in the shallow end of the pool under Adam’s watchful eyes when I handed him the hot dogs.
“Thank you love. Are you enjoying yourself?” he asked, kissing me softly.
I heard little giggles from the pool and we turned to find two pairs of eyes staring at us, ridiculous grins plastered on the faces belonging to them.
“Kiss her again daddy,” Geoff said, pointing his finger at us.
“Geoffrey! Don’t point, it isn’t polite,” Adam told him. So Geoff gave a thumbs up sign and Adam laughed.
“That’s more like it,” Adam declared, laughing in return.
I turned around to hide my smile, but Adam knew and kissed me on the neck. The boys cheered and when I turned around to look at them, they gave each other the high five!
I rolled my eyes and asked if we were going to eat out here at the table and all three of them voted yes, so I went back in to start rounding up what we would need. I was stacking plates and glasses when Adam came in briefly to make sure I was finding everything.
“No problem,” I told him, pointing to the pile of things on the counter. “Oops! I forgot, it’s not polite to point!”
“Hm yes. That was bad. Whatever shall I do with you?” he jested, nuzzling my neck again.
“Really Adam, you aren’t helping. Now go away,” I laughed.
He picked up a pile of things to take out and was half way to the door with we heard screams from the pool. Both of us made a run out the door in a panic.
The boys were fighting, screeching at one another and trying to hit what ever they could come into contact with.
“Hey,” Adam said. And louder when they didn’t respond, “HEY! What in bloody hell is going on? Tristan, why are you two fighting?”
When Adam raised his voice, both boys stopped and stared at him. I get the feeling that he doesn’t do that too often.
“Now both of you get out of that pool immediately.” When they had both gotten out, he asked them again what they were fighting about.
Both boys cast baleful looks at one another, and then Geoff looked at me. Tears welled up in his eyes and he hastily brushed them away. Tristan was blushing, bright red flowing down his small body. He was scuffing his foot back and forth on the deck, looking anywhere but at his dad.
“I will not ask you again, what are you fighting about?” Both boys knew that Adam meant business and finally Tristan spoke up, “He said he loves her and that he wanted you to marry her!”
“He said she was only being nice because she wants to marry you!” Geoff cried, tears again rolling down his face.
“Did not,” Tristan yelled.
“Did TOO,” Geoff yelled back.
At that point Geoff flew at Tristan and knocked him down. Adam grabbed them both and pulled them apart, but the two of them were madder than cats fighting over a mouse. It wasn’t pretty and I was stunned to have been the cause of the fight.
“Stop it, IMMEDIATELY!” Adam told them. He looked over at the hot dogs which were starting to burn on the grill. “Both of you, stay exactly where you are and do not say another word until I get the hot dogs off the grill. I MEAN it!”
Adam pulled the hot dogs off and looked around at me. I was just standing there; I didn’t know what to do. He handed me the plate and said, “Will you take this in and give us a couple of minutes? I’m sorry love…”
I nodded wordlessly and took the plate into the kitchen. I sat down at the table and thought about what had happened. I couldn’t help but feel responsible. Maybe I hadn’t paid enough attention to Tristan. I mean, Geoff was the one that showed an interest in getting to know me, so I had talked to him more than Tristan. But I had thought that it was best to let Tristan warm up to me in his own time, rather than try to force it. I understand that there isn’t some magic switch to turn on their affection, so I had just decided to go with the flow.
That had been a mistake, obviously. And now two little boys were in trouble because of it. I felt horrible.
I heard the door open a few minutes later and Adam and the boys came inside. Tristan and Geoff stood there looking at me for a minute and then said, “We’re sorry Sarah. We didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
I looked at Adam for a moment, trying to gauge how to respond to this. I had caused them the trouble, not the other way around. He was upset, but I couldn’t tell if it was with me or the boys, or even both.
I smiled at the boys, not a very bright smile but a smile nonetheless. “Thank you. It’s okay, really.” I looked up at Adam again and he quickly looked away, at the boys.
“Alright now. Both of you will go and sit in the patio room until we are ready to eat lunch. And not a word out of you!” Tristan and Geoff silently went into the patio room and sat down, out of eyesight. But they were quiet; we didn’t hear them say a word.
I was sitting in the chair, my arms crossed across my chest, rubbing up and down my arms. I felt chilled, or maybe just sick was a better way to express it. Adam still hadn’t said a word to me and suddenly I felt like crying.
“Sarah, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” he asked me. “I don’t understand why they did something like this, I just don’t understand. I’m so sorry.”
And then I understood his reticence—he was worried about me. Maybe even a bit ashamed of them. It should have been the other way around. They are just kids and I evidently didn’t handle it the right way.
“They’re kids Adam. They were each just standing up for what they believed. It got a little out of control, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. I’m the one who is sorry, I didn’t handle things right.”
“What—what do you mean you didn’t handle things right?”
“I mean, well, I just didn’t try as hard with Tristan, I wanted him to feel comfortable making friends in his own time. So when Geoff made friends right away, I accepted it and left Tristan on his own. I shouldn’t have handled it that way; I should have tried harder with Tristan. I’m the one who’s sorry Adam.”
“Nonsense. All this was about was Tristan seeing that Geoff liked you and he wanted to make him mad, nothing more.”
“Yes, probably because Tristan’s feelings were hurt or he was feeling jealous of my attention to Geoff.” I told him quietly. “Think about it.”
He let out a very long breath, thinking about what I had said. “Maybe, I just don’t know. But it doesn’t matter, they shouldn’t have been fighting, they know better.”
“Adam, come on, they are just kids. Do you mean to tell me that you and Aidan never fought? I know you did, that’s a part of growing up, standing your ground about something, whether you are right or wrong. Be proud of them both for fighting for their cause, if anything…”
I saw a glimmer of a smile then as he thought about my words. Finally, he nodded and said, “Perhaps you’re right. You’re sure you are okay? They didn’t scare you or anything?”
I knew what he was getting at, the remark about us getting married. But strangely, it didn’t really bother me. I was sort of beginning to see that as something that was going to happen, sooner or later. Still, I felt okay enough to tease him about it a bit!
“Yeah, the getting married thing huh? I think we should wait a few days anyway, we don’t want to shock them or anything!”
He saw the smile in my eyes and realized I was teasing, so he returned the favor. “Well, maybe just one day, give ‘em a little more time don’t you think?”
And we both laughed then, it would be okay. I was sure that there were little ears in the patio room listening to every word we were saying, but I needed to know how to handle Tristan. I motioned to Adam to come closer and whispered in his ear, “What do I do about Tristan? He is likely now especially to resent me since he got into trouble.”
“I think your first strategy was the right one love, I really do. Just give him some time, he will come around, I promise.”
“Okay, I’ll just keep on like I have been, but honestly, I don’t want to hurt him Adam.”
He hugged me and told me again it would all be okay. He tilted my face up to his and kissed me, a long lingering kiss that stirred me in so many ways. It wasn’t passionate, just very loving and it was just what I needed.
“Now, let’s see if these hot dogs are edible, shall we? Boys, lets get the food and stuff outside, I’m starving!” And with that, the boys ran in and everything got back to normal. Our lunch was pleasant, with both boys talking and no one acting hurt or mad and I inwardly heaved a sigh of relief.
After lunch the boys came in the patio room to watch Sponge Bob Squarepants on the TV. Adam and I laid out on the double lounge in the afternoon sun. We didn’t really talk too much, we just enjoyed the quiet.
When Sponge Bob was off, they came outside and we all swam in the pool, playing water polo and the afternoon was full of giggles. I played on Tristan’s team, at his insistence and we beat Adam and Geoff one of the games. We all had lots of fun.
When it came time for dinner, Adam grilled Pineapple-Mango chicken. I made macaroni and cheese (from scratch) and they loved it. They even ate their salad with few complaints. The chicken was to die for actually, really delicious.
All too soon, as far as the boys were concerned, it was their bedtime. We made them take a quick bath, which they both protested about. It didn’t make any sense to them since they had spent a lot of the day in the water, but Adam stood firm. By 9:00 they were in their beds and sleeping soundly.
I went into the bathroom to take a quick shower myself and Adam snuck into to join me. I soaked my suit in some cold water while we were in the shower and Adam exclaimed over the tan I had gotten. Just a little more golden, not burnt at all. I laughed and as his reward for the compliment, I let him spread moisturizing lotion on me.