Monday, February 26, 2007

Finding Peace

Chapter Sixty

Tamara was waiting for us at LAX as promised and I hugged her tight when we got to where she was waiting. So did Adam. And I noticed that all 3 of us had tears in our eyes. Adam and I were so happy to come home but we hated the situation that precipitated it.

Adam and I had talked and relaxed a bit on the flight to LA and that helped us both a lot. I can’t even imagine what he must be feeling; the humiliation of the situation alone is absolutely daunting, having Rachel go on like that in front of everyone. But that wasn’t all that was bothering him I knew; he was very worried about me and the boys and how to make sure we all stayed safe.

“Adam, we’ll just have to be cautious, that’s all. Maybe since it’s someone from the set they will have to stay in Dallas and the visit to California will be okay?” I suggested.

“I hope that’s true. But the other side of that is that it’s someone on the movie, which is horrible. I can’t imagine that it’s someone I work with everyday. Sarah, I really don’t think it’s Rachel, do you?”

“No, I really don’t either. I can’t see her doing that to a rat or any animal. Not that her anger couldn’t get the best of her, it just seems too extreme for her, to actually touch something like a rat, even to kill it. But you know, we could be completely wrong Adam and the police are right and it is her.”

“I just keep thinking about everyone on the set and who could have the motivation to do it. Rachel is the only one I can think of. I don’t have any kind of history with anyone else, except for Lyle – I’ve known him for probably 15 years, but there isn’t any bad blood between us. We’ve always worked very well together. And not to mention all the delays and problems this causes the movie and the expense. All that affects Lyle negatively and I can’t see him doing it.”

“It makes sense that it’s someone from the movie in one way though Adam; whoever is doing this does know where we are. Not everyone does, other than Tamara and my family. And since this started before we met I have to assume that my family isn’t involved. And it could never be Tamara. That doesn’t leave many choices, you know? It’s just that no one stands out, no one seems likely except for Rachel and the only reason she seems likely is because she is vocal about her feelings. It would seem to me that whoever is doing this wouldn’t be so vocal. Except that sometimes it is the most obvious person.”

“Yes, well think of what Sherlock Holmes said in The Sign of the Four, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’” He smiled briefly and said, ”Yes I know that Sherlock Holmes wasn’t real, but there is certainly something to be said for the logic of that. What we need to figure out is who is improbable.”

“There are too many people who are improbable,” I said, thinking of the possibilities. “Rachel, Lyle, Tamara, all are improbable. For totally different reasons, but they are none the less improbable. But out of all the impossibles and improbables, they are the most likely, because of different circumstances, such as knowing where we were, which means they had opportunity. Heavens Adam, we could go around with this conversation and never solve a thing!”

“Yes, we could. Oh God Sarah, I just don’t know. If it’s not someone on the movie, how did they always know where we were? Someone from my past, I just don’t know about. No one comes to mind at all. Damn,” he said, running his hand through his hair for the hundredth time.

I reached up and smoothed down the curly locks that were displaced by his fingers. He caught my hand and brought it to his mouth and placed a soft kiss on it and I smiled at him as he did that. “Adam, we just have to keep focused on the fact that this will be solved and we will be okay. Don’t cut me out of your thoughts please; we have to keep talking, communicating about all this.”

He looked at me and our eyes locked for a minute; his were searching for acceptance in mine and I held steady under that gaze, wanting him to know that I didn’t doubt him or my feelings for him. His hand reached for mine and clasped it tightly, holding on to it for the rest of the flight even though we didn’t talk all that much.

Our flight landed 20 minutes later and we both were feeling a little better about things and of course we were delighted to be back in California. Tamara walked with us to the baggage claim area and we stood chatting about nothing in particular as we waited for the bags to come around on the carousel. I was impatient, I just wanted out of the airport and to get on the road home.

We were settled in the car and out on the highway before we started discussing the situation with the boys.

“I haven’t told them yet you are here; they would only have been upset that they couldn’t come to the airport with me, but that was out of the question since they have to go to school tomorrow. Adam, I know how important it is for you to have time with them and I don’t want to deny that. But…” she started, taking a deep breath before continuing, “BUT, I just don’t think I’m comfortable having them spend the night there. I know that will hurt you, but I just can’t let them. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, I do. I guess I even agree. It will be hard for them though, they always expect to stay with me. How do you want to tell them that they won’t be staying at my house?”

I was sitting in the back seat and watching them as they spoke. They both stayed calm and were united for the boys. I admired that a great deal – Randy and I had a hard time doing that for our kids. In the end, I just made the decisions and excluded him; frankly, I’m sure he liked it better that way. But Adam and Tamara were just discussing it, calmly trying to figure out a solution to the problem.

“I hate having to lie to them Tamara; on the other hand, if we just say that there won’t be any overnight visits this time will they accept it?”

“Probably not, but I could be wrong. I mean, I think its okay that they are there during the day; I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not even sure really why I’m so worried about night time. I’m sort of like you, I think whoever is doing this is on the movie set and probably will be working. But just in case, I think it’s a necessary precaution. Oh hell, I don’t even know what to do Adam. They are going to be crushed!” she said miserably.

“Adam, Tamara, I maybe have an idea?” I said, trying to think it through. “What time is the soccer game on Saturday?”

“Um, it’s at 8:30. What’s your idea Sarah?”

“Well, when we were here before Adam mentioned to me a drive up the coast. We could leave after the game, drive up Saturday, spend the night up there and maybe drive back on Sunday. I mean, if we are on the road surely they won’t be following us? What do you think?”

Adam perked up immediately. “Yes, that could work. We’ll be tired, it’s a long drive Sarah and the boys could get restless. But we could have fun.”

“That is a very long ride for them. How about something closer? The truth is that they won’t care too much where they go if they are with you. They have wanted to go to San Diego and see the ships down there. How about that? It’s a lot closer.” she suggested.

“Oh yes, the Maritime Museum or Sea World. They’ve mentioned it lots of times. There are lots of old historic ships down there. We could go to see that and spend some time on the beach with them. Sarah, how about that?”

“It sounds great to me. The Star of India is there I believe. Yes, I think that’s a great idea. Tamara, you would feel safe with that plan?”

“Yes, I’d be okay with that. Then they could have lots of time with you and we could just tell them they don’t need to stay the night on the other nights. They’ll complain, but it will be okay. It only leaves tomorrow night, Sunday and Monday night, right?”

“Yes. We go back to Texas on Tuesday. Adam, remember though that I have to fly to Wichita for a doctors appointment on Wednesday, but I’m only going to be gone for the day.”

“I hadn’t forgotten love. We’ll need to remember to book a flight for you. I think this is a wonderful plan. Thank you for suggesting it love,” he said, turning around and bestowing upon me the happiest smile I’ve seen out of him for a long time. He was beaming – literally.

“Well, the boys will be very happy, that’s for sure. And I feel okay with it. I really do,” Tamara stated, as if realizing that she really did feel okay about it.

We filled her in on Rachel’s outburst at the studio this afternoon and she shook her head as she was driving. “That’s ridiculous,” she said. “I really don’t think she is the one, but she only makes herself look more suspicious when she acts like that. What’s wrong with her anyway, besides being a bitch? Doesn’t she use her brains? Sheesh!”

“Apparently she just doesn’t think. She just vents. I understand her frustration, I really do, but you are so right, she doesn’t help herself a bit. They had to put handcuffs on her to keep her from attacking Adam,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief. “It was just crazy Tamara, that’s the only way to describe it. Kind of sad really.”

“I’m not feeling all that sympathetic for her Sarah; she brings this stuff on herself. She doesn’t have to act like that. Part of is just that she’s a drama queen. Look how she greeted Mark when she was at your house that day. The whole purpose was to draw attention to herself by talking about making one of ‘Marks little movies’. Frankly, I am so sick of Rachel Tomlinson!” Tamara exclaimed.

We pulled into Adam’s drive way then and I couldn’t believe how quickly the ride home was. I looked at the house and felt so excited to be there. Yes, something terrible had happened there, but lots of terrible things had happened since then and suddenly that one didn’t seem so bad.

Before we got out of the car Tamara asked, “Would you like to come to dinner tomorrow? You can be there when the boys get home, maybe even pick them up from school if you want. They’ll be thrilled.”

“Yes Tamara, that sounds lovely. Pot luck? I can bring something if you like,” Adam stated.

“No, you know what? I think I’ll order Chinese. Mark has been asking for Sing Wu’s all week, so we’ll do that. They’ll deliver and all we have to do is throw away the boxes afterwards!” she laughed. “Sound okay to you?”

“Sounds fine. We’ll see you then?” Adam asked.

“Yeah. I’m sure we’ll talk sometime tomorrow. Oh, I brought some groceries over before I went to the airport, so you at least have some basics in there, other than what is in the freezer that is. Bye,” she said, driving off.

We stood there and watched her drive off for a moment before heading to the door. It was amazingly warm out and I could smell the salty ocean breeze freshening the air. I couldn’t wait to hit the beach tomorrow. I had left my swim suit here when we left because I figured I’d need it here before I’d need it in Wichita again. And my shorts were still here as well as a few summer shirts. Still, my wardrobe would be limited while we were here, as far as casual, comfortable clothes that is.

Adam unlocked the front door and turned the alarm system off and we went into the house. I immediately felt at home and very glad to be there. In fact just being there brought a ridiculously silly smile to my face and I looked up at Adam and he shared the same silly grin. The only lights that were on were the lights in the stairway, but it was enough to show us the way down. I felt like yelling ‘race you to the bedroom’ but decided that was stupid since stairs were involved, but I sure didn’t waste any time heading for them and Adam was right on my heels.

Down one flight of stairs I practically flew to our bedroom. I opened the door and went in, feeling for the light next to the door. It came on and I blinked in the bright rush of light. It looked exactly the same and there were no traces or signs of the window being broken. I laid my bag down on the settee at the end of the bed and turned and waited while Adam did the same. I almost ran into his arms I was so eager to hold him.

Our mouths met in a long and slow kiss, achingly sweet and tender. I stood on tip toes and wrapped my arms around his neck and nestled my face against his warm neck and breathed his scent in deeply. His arms responded by pulling me tightly to him and as our hips pressed up against one another’s I felt his desire growing for me, which was good because I was very ready for him as well.

I reached for his shirt and started tugging it up over his chest and arms, finally working it over his head and then I let my hands roam over his bare chest, delighting in the firm texture of his skin beneath my questing fingers. I stopped and tickled his nipples until they were pebble-hard and then kissed them tenderly, taking the time to lick them lightly with the tip of my tongue. He moaned in response and I knew how much he liked it when I did that.

My hands slid down and I found the buttons on his jeans and unhurriedly worked each one loose until they were all open and then I slid his jeans and underwear down over his hips and legs. He kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his jeans and I licked my way down his belly, swirling little circles around his navel, making his belly quiver and contract with each stroke of my ardent tongue.

My tongue shifted downward to capture him between my lips and I slid my warm mouth down over the velvety length of him and I heard him gasp as I did it. Over and over my eager mouth glided over him, until his breathing was ragged and shaky. I felt his legs trembling and I knew he was almost at the point of no return, but I didn’t care and I didn’t stop; not until I felt his body shudder and contract with his release.

He pulled me up to him and captured my mouth in a long and lingering kiss and then I felt his tongue searching the warm recesses of my mouth which sent tingles down my spine and made my nipples stiffen until they were throbbing with need.

Adam’s mouth slid down over my jaw and he murmured against my neck, “Sarah, I love you,” over and over again and I moaned in response as I rubbed my hands over the muscled planes of his back.

He began unbuttoning my blouse and quickly had it off of me and then he slipped the straps of my bra down and pressed moist kisses over my shoulders and collar bones, his tongue licking at the hollow beneath the bones. He unfastened my bra and lifted the cups away from my breasts, the nipples standing firmly against the soft flesh of my rounded curves. He moved his hands to caress my breasts, lifting them gently as if weighing them in his hands and he rubbed his thumbs teasingly over my nipples. I moaned deep in my throat and then he bent his head to my breasts and his tongue lapped softly against those aching buds of desire and teased me until I felt unsteady on my feet; my legs shaking from the attempt to remain standing.

He picked me up and sat me down on the bed, laying me back and then unbuttoning my jeans, and then slid the zipper smoothly down. As he pulled those two garments down that were hampering his exploration my hands were bunching hand fulls of the comforter between clutched fingers in eager excitement. My breath kept catching in my throat as I waited impatiently for his touch, his caress.

I was a lucky girl because I didn’t have to wait long; he bent and placed kisses across my belly and my muscles contracted sharply as I drew a ragged breath in. He delved his tongue softly into my navel, tracing the edge lightly and I shivered; anticipation a tightly wound knot in my stomach.

His mouth moved leisurely down to the delta of soft curls that hid the moist treasure between my legs. He gently opened me with his thumbs, exposing the heated core of me and he looked up at me then, his eyes intensely focused on mine; his mouth poised above me before covering me with his warm lips. He suckled gently on me and licked delicately; his tongue making sensuous circles around the swollen knot of my desire.

I let out a loud moan as I felt the probing ministrations of his tongue and my head thrashed from side to side as I felt his loving attention on me and very soon his efforts were rewarded as I reached my peak; my body contracting wildly as I tripped over the edge to pleasure.

Adam crawled up the bed to lie next to me as I tried to get my ragged breathing under control. He pulled me gently into his warm arms and wrapped a leg protectively over me and I lay there, floating gently back to earth.

We held each other for awhile, until I was shivering from the cool room. “Cold love?” he asked me.

I nodded my head as it was snuggled against his shoulder, “Yes,” I said. “How about a warm bath?”

H lifted his head a bit and sort of pulled it back which enabled him to look down at me. He smiled his dimple smile then, which always warms my heart and said, “Your wish is my command. Did you bring the ball thingy” he teased, leaning down and bestowing a kiss on the tip of my nose.

“Well, as a matter of fact I did!”

“Extra batteries too?” he asked as he got up from the bed and pulled me with him.

“Um hm.”

Baths are now a favorite pastime. Just try getting us out of there!


Okay, okay – we did reluctantly get out later, after we were all wrinkled and completely worn out and sated. It was exactly what we needed, a peaceful interlude in which to allow us the time to sort of recoup our mental reserves. I can’t say that either one of us felt really safe necessarily, but the physical distance between Texas and us helped to at least give us an illusion that we were okay and that was critical right now.

It was after 2:00 am before we finally drifted off to sleep and both of us slept very well. We didn’t wake up until after 10:00 and when we did, we both laid there in the bed and stretched and cuddled for a few minutes before even thinking about getting out of the bed.

Finally my stomach rumbled which made us both laugh; it was always Adam’s stomach that alerted us that it was time to eat. I looked at him and giggled and he laughed and said, “You’re going to expect me to feed you aren't you?”

“Absolutely! It’s all your fault anyway; you’ve got me used to eating regularly plus,” I said, holding my hand up when he started to protest, “Plus, you wore me out last night, wore every bit of sustenance right out of my system. The least you can do is feed me!”

“Hmm, I guess I could,” he said, starting to trace little circles around my nipple with his finger. He placed a kiss on it then and only the next rumbling of my stomach swayed him from his teasing.

“You have been around me too much,” he remarked. “You’ve developed the Richland appetite!”

“Good God I hope not!” I retorted with a groan. “I’m in real trouble if I have.”

“No, I’m in real trouble, I’ll be constantly slaving away in the kitchen!” he grinned and I could tell that for some reason he liked that thought.

“And why does that thought please you so much?” I inquired.

“Because I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be, or anything I’d rather do. Well, except for maybe what goes on right here,” he said, again kissing my nipple playfully.

I giggled again and pointed to the door. “All right now, go and cook me a feast, I’m starving,” and his stomach chose that moment to rumble as well. “Ha!” I declared, “Now you’ll go I bet!”

He smiled and sat up on the edge of the bed. “All right, if you insist,” he said, stretching again as he sat there. “C’mon, let’s go see what Tamara brought for us to eat.”

We got up and dug through the luggage for robes, which for some reason we hadn’t bothered with last night. After we shrugged into them we padded off downstairs in our bare feet, excited to raid the fridge.

It looked like she had bought all the perishable staples and fruit and veggies we decided as we happily dug through the contents. And even though Adam was more that capable of creating something fabulous, we decided that speed was a priority and he cooked up a huge omelet and I sliced fruit and made toast. In between that he made coffee and we both waited impatiently for it to brew.

Adam opened the blinds and slid the doors back so that only the screens stood between us and outside. It was a beautiful day, the sky a startling shade of light blue with fluffy white clouds floating high over the ocean. The breeze was fairly strong, as is usual for the coast and it carried on it the fresh smell of salt and oceanic life. It made me want some seafood I told Adam with a laugh.

“All right, Monday we’ll go to a wonderful place that I know of, you’ll like it. It’s pretty dressy though; did you bring any nice dresses with you?”

“Not really. But, I need to do some shopping, because I need more shorts and stuff. I was thinking about calling Tamara and seeing if she could take me. Do you think she’ll mind?”

“You don’t want to shop with me?” he asked and I could see he was curious about that.

“Adam, honey, it’s a girl thing I guess. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but come on, do you really want to hang around dressing rooms while I try on clothes?”

“I guess not, really. I think Tamara would probably be delighted and I’m sure she would be more knowledgeable about the places to go to than I would anyway. Why don’t you call her?”

“If you’re sure you don’t mind, I will,” I told him, stopping to place a kiss on his mouth.

“Go ahead. I know when I’m not wanted,” he stated with a laugh, before pulling me to him for a hug.

I hugged him back and then turned to walk to the phone and he swatted my tush with a laugh. I looked at him and shook my finger and then picked up the phone. “What’s her number? I don’t know it yet?”

“Its number 3 on the speed dial. Press ‘3’ and then the talk button. It will do the rest,” he told me.

Tamara picked up on the second ring and we chatted for a few minutes before I asked her about shopping. She seemed genuinely happy to be asked and we agreed that she would be over in an hour. I told her I would see her then and hung up the phone.

“She didn’t ask to speak to me?” Adam inquired.

“No. Should she have?” I laughed.

“Guess not. How are the boys?”

“She said they are fine and excited. She also told them you would pick them up after school today and so if we’re not back yet, you’re on your own with them. Just take them back to her house she asked.” I watched his reaction to that, worrying that it would bother him, but he just nodded his head and seemed to be okay with it.

We ate our breakfast and got the kitchen cleaned up before heading upstairs to take a shower. He scrubbed my back in the shower and I felt his hands starting to get a little too friendly for the amount of time I had. I laughingly chastised him and we giggled. “Are you trying to sabotage my shopping trip?”

“Maybe delay is a better word. But I can tell you’re just not interested. I guess that means the honeymoon is over, huh?” he smiled, kissing me intently.

“I think you know better than that, silly man.” I wrapped my arms around him as the shower rained warmly down on us. “I love you so much Adam. I’m so happy to be home with you.”

“God yes, me too love. So happy.”

I was just drying my hair and putting on a little makeup when the doorbell rang. Adam went to get it while I got dressed and soon I joined them in the kitchen and we drank another cup of coffee before Tamara and I left.

“I hope I didn’t disrupt any plans you had today,” I told her, watching as we turned towards town and left the ocean view behind us.

“Yeah, I had a big plan today, you totally threw it off,” she laughed. At my apologetic look she quickly added “Oh no, I’m joking Sarah. I was going to clean out the kitchen cabinets. They are looking pretty bad and I knew that if Adam saw them I’d get ragged on. If you hadn’t noticed yet, he is a perfectionist as far as kitchens go. He’ll rearrange everything in your kitchen in Kansas soon, if he hasn’t already, I promise you!”

I laughed with her and said, “No, he hasn’t yet. Drives him crazy does it? Brother, he’s in for a tough spot at my house then! Those cabinets haven’t been organized since I moved in, years ago!”

“It’ll drive him crazy, it will. He’s not really a neat freak, but when it comes to the kitchen, he wants everything exactly where he thinks it should be, always has,” she said, shaking her head at some memory. “I think it had to do with control when he was growing up. They were virtual vagabonds Sarah and after Adam started cooking, I think he would always set up the kitchen where ever they were as sort of his constant; like sacred space maybe.”

“Tamara, does it bother you, they way they grew up I mean? It breaks my heart to hear him talk about so much of it. It just sounds so sad. Yet, he doesn’t seem too be resentful of it.”

“I think the thing is Sarah that they didn’t know anything different. It was the status quo to them; picking up and moving constantly, the kids sometimes scrounging for their next meal while Vivian and Gerald were already off in the bush with the locals, trying to save someone. Kids are remarkably resilient you know. But it has certainly made him determined to provide a stable environment for the boys and for that I’m so thankful.”

“Well, it certainly prepared him for his life now as well; moving from set to set, location to location while hardly batting an eye. It’s interesting, but I think it will get old quickly. I’m used to working and having a fairly constant life. Sometimes I wonder how well I’ll adapt to this life. Does that sound awful?” I asked her, watching her face for a reaction.

“No Sarah, it sounds realistic. Most people don’t have the luxury or the money to just pick up whenever and go somewhere different. I truly think Adam grows weary of it though. He seems to come home a lot more the past few years. It’s not about the money anymore or building a career. He has accomplished both of those things and he’ll never have to worry about them again. He can pick and choose when he wants to work and what movies he does. Not that many celebrities have that freedom. And so the past few years he takes roles that are interesting to him or that take him places he’d like to go or provide opportunities to work with someone special. I have the feeling that is going to be happening even more in the future. So be honest with him about how you feel. There isn’t too much that makes him happy quite as much as being home, especially with you I’ve noticed. Sarah, he is so happy, his face just radiates it.”

“I don’t want to hold him back though Tamara. I believe you are right about him loving to be home, but I think he likes working too. Doing nothing would drive him crazy after awhile I think.”

“Well, the same goes for you Sarah; your happiness and needs are no less important than his, you need to remember that. Maybe for awhile you’ll continue to work, or maybe not. But it’s something you two need to talk about,” she said, pulling into a shopping center parking lot and stopping the car. “Here we are, there are several great shops in here, boutiques really and if you’re looking for summer kinds of things, these are the places!”

I looked at several of the stores in sight. We were at a strip mall sort of place and there were lots of stores here I could see. There were lots of shoppers weaving to and fro along the walkways and stopping to look in the store windows, sometimes pointing at what was displayed. I couldn’t help but laugh at several places names’, ‘Misty’s Mystic Closet’ for one.

“That’s a Goth place,” she told me, “Lots of those kinds of places around here. I thought we would go into ‘Great Escapes’, I’ll bet you will like it. C’mon,” she said, heading down the strip a short ways and opening a door for us to enter.

Inside was a large shop that somehow managed to look intimate, mostly due to a savvy layout, sort of broken down into small sales areas. Jimmy Buffet was playing over the sound system and I smiled and immediately decided I liked the place.

“I’m surprised to see so many summer things on display, since it is fall. In Wichita you wouldn’t be able to find this kind of stuff,” I told her while looking through a rack of swimsuits.

“Yeah, but Sarah, it’s sort of summer here all the time. It never gets really cold here, so they sell this stuff all year long.”

I was pulling swimsuits out of a rack and already found two different ones I liked. “Oh dear,” I said, holding them up and trying to decide if I should try them both on or just skip them altogether. “I’m in trouble, there are too many things in here I’m going to like, I can already tell! Hey Tamara, are you as good at decorating people as you are sets? I may need some help,” I decided with a laugh.

“As far as I can tell, you do a pretty good job picking out clothes yourself. You obviously know what colors suit you and what styles. I don’t think I could help you a bit!” she told me, shaking her head. She pointed to the lime green two piece tankini I was holding up and said, “But I really like that one. With your tan it would look awesome!”

“But do you think I can pull off a two piece?” I asked, not so sure. I really liked this one, but I just wasn’t sure. It probably covered as much as a one piece did, but it just seemed weird for me to buy a two piece. The bra and bottoms were solid but the tank covering was made of net. It covered, and yet it didn’t.

“Sarah, it will look wonderful. It does have a very deeply cut back, but the top comes down to the top of the bottoms and the net will hid more than you think.” She looked at me and laughed, “But there isn’t too much that will need to be covered you know. Go on; try it on, just so we can see!”

I nodded my head; I was at least going to do that. Why do we always feel so bad about bathing suits I wonder? It wasn’t just me, even Cassie, all 98 pounds of her worried about how she looks. I think we women are unfair to ourselves, I really do. Of course, that didn’t change anything I thought wryly.

I tried it on and Tamara and I both loved it; I knew it was going home with me. And so did a half dozen pairs of shorts, 10 tops, two more summer dresses and a couple of pairs of Capri pants, all suitable for life on the beach I thought with a smile. I also walked out five hundred dollars poorer, but I didn’t care. I hadn’t bought new things like this in ages. I spotted a shoe store down the mall and told Tamara, “C’mon, I need some shoes too! Before I was done there I had purchased 3 new pairs of sandals that I loved. I was a very satisfied woman as we carried the purchases to the car and locked them into the trunk.

“C’mon,” Tamara said, heading off down the sidewalk. “Its ice cream time, THE best ice cream, I promise!”

Never one to turn down ice cream, I obediently followed her, pausing often to look in the shop windows as we went. I saw this funky little jewelry store called ‘Venus’ Fly Trap’ that I wanted to stop in and a music store and, oh God, and a lingerie store. I didn’t know what to do about that one. I didn’t know if I was comfortable buying lingerie with Adam’s ex-wife, it seemed kind of … weird, I guess.

She was right; it was THE best ice cream I thought as I indulged in two scoops, one chocolate cherry amaretto and the other cookies and cream. Tamara had coconut macaroon and chocolate espresso. We licked away at our cones like greedy kids, not wanting to waste a single drop and we laughed at our selves because of it.

I got into the jewelry store and looked around at the different and unique possibilities. I made several purchases, including a couple that I really giggled over and we left. If Tamara wondered about those strange purchases she didn’t say anything and we walked on down the mall. I decided to go past the lingerie store. Maybe that could be an Adam and I trip I thought smiling. Besides, it was going to take my MasterCard awhile to recover from all this I decided.

It was a little after five o’clock when we headed to Tamara’s after dropping off all my purchases at our house. Adam and the boys were already there, as was Mark. They were all playing a game on the Xbox, and all murmured hello and ignored us after that. Tamara looked at me and shrugged her shoulders and we headed out to the kitchen, to find the menu for Sing Wu’s.

Tamara poured us each a glass of icy cold white wine and raised her glass for a toast. “Men!” Tamara exclaimed with a laugh.

“Men!” I returned, laughing myself.


I'm going to be loading some pictures of my office this morning. It looks awesome!


dietgirl said...

Hi hope, I haven't read the post yet, But I wanted to stop by and wish you a happy birthday! Take care, I will read later when i get to work, I am sure its fabulous as always!!


x5head3pay said...

Happy Birthday Hope! This was a great post. I loved the awesome bedroom scene! It was - um - intense! (hee hee) Reading this at work is always a joy because I know my face gets red...

I am glad nothing bad happened in this post. These 2 people really needed a break from negativity. I hope that it's not Tamara because they really seem to have a decent relationship which is very cool.

Have a great day everyone - especially you Hope!

Lynne said...

Happy Happy Birthday TO MOM , TO MOM, A Happy Happy Birthday TO YOU!
YEA MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are now offically over the hill,
and getting younger every day. HAHAHAHA

Great post today! We all love you. BOO BEAR SNUGGLES.

Val said...

Great post again HOPE! I really enjoyed the shopping trip and the warm weather. My feet are cold this morning because my silly hubby turned the heat off, and it still gets pretty chilly overnight here in Alabama. But it's going to be warm today, probably high 60s low 70s. Woohoo! It's 52 out right now, but overnight it got my house kinda coolish.

I have to get the kids schooled so I can go deliver Girl Scout cookies with my daughter this afternoon. I have 11 boxes of yummy Girl Scout goodness that I'd better get delivered or they will be going straight to my hips!

Kristin said...

Happy Happy Birthday, Hope!!!!!! I hope it is all you hope it to be! Can't wait to see the pics of your office.

Very lusty little post today. I almost expected Richland the Pirate to make an appearance in nothing but an eye patch and hoop earring. LOL

On a personal note, thanks to all of you for your kind words regarding my mother's passing last week! The support you showed was very much appreciated!

Have an awesome day everybody!

Hope said...

Good Morning All!

I'm having a blast today, my office is such fun today. And Lynne and youngest grandson will soon be by to visit!

I had a lovely weekend, even though as is typical, I didn't get nearly enough accomplished, but what else is new?

I adored reading everyone's stories! Bravo to you all, you are magnificent!!! And it was all very interesting as well! I wonder if any of them are right?


I'm up for something liquid for lunch, anybody else?

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a great birthday!


Tara said...

Happy Birthday Hope! and as always another great post.

tigger said...

Hey Hope, I loved the pictures. You must work in a great place.

Have a happy, wonderful and bouncy day!

Loved the story today, pretty hot!

Hope said...

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes, I do appreciate them.

I just wanted to talk a little bit more about the stories on You Be the Author. I hope that you all enjoyed it as much as I did! They are just wonderful and to those who supported the persons who wrote the stories, thank you so much. I know it had to be a bit nerve-wracking to put a story up there, but they are all great and seeing the differnt and creative ways that you took the story was amazing.

Gee, maybe I should take every Friday off, huh?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!! Great Post! Kristie

x5head3pay said...

where's the liquid lunch? I NEED it right about now.

The first round is on me...

tita said...

Hola a todas!!!
Hope; Great post as usual.
I hope you have a happy happy birthday and be happy forever...
feliz cumpleaños, espero que te l a pases muy bien y que todo lo que tu esperes se realice...son mis deseos de corazón....

SandyOPKS said...

No, No NOOOO you can't be off on Fridays. What would we do without our Adam and Sarah fix. Great post, Hope! Happy Birthday. Is it ever going to warm up in Kansas??

Sandy said...

No more Fridays off Hope! But those who wrote their stories, please continue, they were fantastic! I love the pictures Hope. I see alot of the same things our girls bought for their Dad on his 50th. He also got a blow up walker with a little horn on it. It is so funny! Enjoy your special day.

kmorales4 said...

You got any tagalongs. They're my fave even if they do go to my thighs, weist, butt, arms. . .

Happy Birthday. Y que cumplas muchos más.

Everybody else,
When's lunch? I'm starving and the thought of girl scout cookies surely didn't help.

Lisa Lynn said...

Happy Birthday, Hope!

My 40th is coming up in about 6 weeks...and I know my sweet husband has big plans (though I am not allowed to ask what they are).

Thanks for the opportunity to do a little writing. It was alot of fun!


Hope said...

Gracias Tita. Espero que el día pase maravillosamente. Tengo suerte para tener tantas personas agradables en mi vida, aquí así como el sitio web.

Hope said...

Sandy OPKS, it is lovely here today. I think you all got some nasty weather up there though. It rained here a bit, but no frozen stuff thank heavens.

Katie, yes I want some liquid lunch and since it's my birthday, I'm inviting everyone here to Wichita for my fave place, Felipes for margaritas and munchies!

Karen, I hope to enjoy my day a great day, in fact I'm having a blast so far!

Lisa Lynn, don't get freaked out at the number, because that's all it is, a number so enjoy everything the hubby comes up with.

Kristin said...

Hope, does your liquid lunch have fishbowl size servings? If so, count me in! LOL

Hope said...

Kristin, really close to it, let me tell you!

Kristin said...

Wonderful! I have a crazy straw and am not afraid to use it! LOL

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Hope!
Yay for Margaritas today!
I loved the post today especially the shopping trip. It was a nice long post. I think we should do a you be the author once a week!

Hope said...

Certainly Rachel, as long as you plan to post a version of the story!

DayDreamer said...

Hi Hope, Happy Birthday. I'm so glad you are back.

I have exciting news. A friend of mine has invited me to go hiking with her in the Swiss Alps this June. And I'm going to go. I can't believe i'm going. I've never been away from my husband and children. I'm also nervous as heck. I have a LOT of weight to lose and need to get into great shape.

Gerry said...

Happy bday, Hope! All the best and dreams come true for you ;) I don't post regularly on here, but wanted to drop by and send you my good wishes. I anxiously follow the story though, it only gets me more curious. Great one!

Cheers from the UK..

Hope said...


One step at a time, literally! And drop by here for a little encouragement anytime.

And I'm so happy for you to go hiking. It is very beautiful there and I hope you will take lots of pictures and share them.

Gerry, it's always lovely when you drop by, pop in anytime!

My friend G and I are working on a web site for not only WMHD, but chat and any other story I decide to post. It will have a comments spot and of course, I'll have to have some stuff on there about Colin Firth! I anticipate it will be done in a month, maybe less. And DayDreamer, maybe you would like to post some of those pictures there?

I'll keep everyone informed about the site. The first few chapters of the new version of WMHD will probably be on there as well. But I'll keep everyone informed.

I feel like we have sort of developed a close-knit and supportive community and I look forward to sharing that in the future.

becky said...

Happy 50th Birthday, Hope! Wishing you long life, abundance, and a glorious writing career. Wishing you the opportunity for WMHD to be made into a movie with Colin Firth playing Adam! lol :) I really liked the love scenes today. Hot doesn't begin to describe them. It was fun coming up with a short story about Adam and Sarah (although I didn't post until 2:19 AM!) but it was in time for your birthday, Hope.

Thanks for sharing the pix


Hope said...

Well thank you Becky! I'm glad you enjoyed the er, love scenes today and I hope you didn't blush toooo much! LOL

I was glad to see your story, even if it was at an outrageous hour!

DayDreamer said...

Oooh, the new website sounds like it will be great.
Yes, I know one thing at a time... but i'm still nervous and freaking out. So much to do and think about. And then theirs my DH. this will be quite the adjustment. I'll definately share photos.

Hope said...

DayDreamer, I wish you would be able to dart down into Italy, but then I'm prejudiced. Don't get me wrong, I loved Switzerland too, but Italy is near and dear to me!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Hope. Hopefully you've had a wonderful Monday so far. Sorry I haven't posted in a while gang, been really busy with midterms and such, they're finally over though!!!

Hope, wonderful post! I'm so happy they got to have a normal day with nothing going wrong!

Can't wait until Wednesday.


Matt said...

Hello Ladies!

Boy Hope, you sure can put a tickle into a fella's britches!

Thank you ma'm!

DayDreamer said...

Hope, my DH has already said he wants us to start planning our trip to Italy. Although it's been so long since anyone in my family has been there, that I'll be starting from scratch when I plan that trip. Next summer (2008) will be my 15th wedding anniversary. It will be nice to spend it in Italy. I'll be in touch with you (probably more than you want me to), to get your opinion on our travel arrangements for that trip. :>) If you are willing to recommend places that is. :>)

Hope said...

DayDreamer, I want you to know that would hurt me so much to have to consult on Italy, LOL

I'm excited and we're not even started yet!

But here's a big hint for this site, Adam and Sarah are going to go back to Italy!

Hope said...

I have to share something with you all. Kristin, naughty little thing that she is sent me an e-card with Colin Firth on it. When I clicked on the link it took me to a Colin web site I had never seen. On the home page is has colin pictures that just revolve all the time, there must be at least fifty different ones.

It's mesmerizing, I can't stop looking at it. Sigh...

becky said...

Hope, please, please, please share the Colin link. I adore him and would love to see it!


catrina said...

Happy Birthday, Hope (though it's a little late)! I took the day off today and FINALLY got back into the gym. I loved today's post, and love the idea of "You Be the Author" days, as long as you tell us a little about Sarah and Adam AT LEAST three days a week. I need my fix! Hope y'all enjoyed the margaritas today!

Anonymous said...

Happy Day Hope....Sounds like it was a blast....and I loved the pics of your office you shared with us. Lunch sounded marvelous! darn it I was in the middle of payroll, darned people :0) think they *need* to get paid every Friday, hummmm sorta like my kids think they *need* to eat every day LOL.... ;-) This is such a wonderful, fun and comfortable place to escape to. Thank YOU all for your contributions to making it the *best* place to go and vist and just feel so at home!

Lori in WY

mary jane said...

Hope, Sorry Imissed your birthday earlier today I hope it was a blast. Love the pics of your office.
Great post today I think I am still blushing
Have a great week

Val said...

kmorales, I DO have tagalongs, TWO whole boxes! 3.50 a box! :D

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry that i missed your b-day earlier, hope! i hope you had a wonderful day.

thank you so much for your posts.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Hope!
Though I'm a bit late, I hope you had a great day. I didn't join in yesterday, wouldn't want to spoil the fun. Unfortunately I had a really bad day yesterday, serious crisis with my boyfriend, and it's still not sure if we'll stay together or not. I hope we will, I've never felt so much for anyone before, but right now chances are 50:50.
However, your post about Sarah and Adam raised my spirits a bit! Thanks for that!

Hope said...

Good Morning All!

Well, operation happy birthday was a huge success; my day was wonderful. Thank you all so much for being such huge contributors to that. It is awesome to be able to share a part of my days with you all, you are the best!

Becky, here is the Colin Firth website, but I warn you, it is dangerous! LOL

Kristin said...

Good Morning, All!

Hope, glad your birthday was a blast! They certainly should be cause for celebration each and every year. So glad you enjoyed the Colin card, and hope that Becky enjoys the link as well.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Just Dreamin' said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOPE! I remember we gave my dad a surprise 50th birthday party! I have two sisters and one brother, guess who did all the work, planning, decorating and cleaning up? Me, of course the oldest. It always falls on me! But I loved doing it! Has anyone been on an Alaskan cruise? I would love to get something like for my parents! They just celebrated their 25th anniversary, we gave them a party, but I feel I should give them something else! I have been to Italy, but not sure if my parents would like it or not. Any suggestions, Hope or anyone else out there?!

Hope said...

Hi Just Dreamin!

I have been to Alaska, but not on a cruise. I was in Anchorage and to Denali. It was very beautiful, I can heartily recommend it.

But Italy is SO much better, lol.

tita said...

Hello everybody;
Hope I'm glad to know that your birthday was perfect!!!
By the way your grammar in spanish is awesome!!!It seems to me that you remember more of Spanish than you want to admit.LOL.
Well, today is recipe day so this is one of my favorites. I hope you'll like it.

"Bittersweet chocolate Cream Pie"


Cream pie

1 (9-inch) piecrust, cooked and cooled completely
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus additional for garnish
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine or grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Whipped cream

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cream pie: In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour and sugar. Slowly whisk in about 1/4 cup of the milk to form a paste. Slowly add the remaining milk. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Pour into piecrust. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours until cold and set.

For the whipped cream: Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add the sugar and the vanilla, and whip just until stiff peaks form. Remove the plastic wrap from the pie and swirl the cream on top. Sprinkle with cocoa and serve.

Well I hope you guys enjoy it!!!!


Hope said...

Tita, that sounds yummy. But then, hey, it's chocolate!

Do you use Mexican chocolate or regular? Doesn't Mexican have cinnamon in it?

Some of my Spanish is better than other ones. I am also trying to relearn it a bit too.

tita said...

I know about the chocolate, and although it's really delicious with mexican chocolate you can try it with the regular one, I'm sure it will work because while I was living in L.A. I made it and it was a success!!