Jake drove back to his childhood home and pulled in to see that his dad was already there. Kevin didn’t want to intrude on this personal moment, but felt like he should be there for Jake, just in case. He followed Jake as he stalked into the kitchen to find his dad sitting at the table reading the mail.
“Well, Dad, I think there is something you neglected to tell me!!” Jake yelled.
Mike knew exactly what he was talking about by the tone in his voice. He looked at his son and saw the pain in his eyes and sighed.
“Jake, I never meant to keep this from you. Sammy told me that she left you a voicemail to call her and I kept hoping that you would. But you never did so-“
“You should have fucking told me Dad! I missed out on five years!!” He roared back at him.
Mike was pissed at this point and stood up to face his son, “I did! Do you remember that playoff game that I went to in Texas? The first one you won? I had to buy a damn ticket to the game my own son played in! It took a lot of convincing to get security to let me go to the locker rooms after to try and talk to you. I finally made it down and you were pretty busy with two blondes, I believe it was, and you told me I would have to wait until tomorrow to talk. You had to celebrate and I quote, “didn’t have time to talk to you now” so I left. I was dismissed by my own son so he could have some fucking three way and I KNEW right there that they didn’t need you! That sweet little girl didn’t need you in her life and Sammy needed to move on and be happy!!”
Kevin’s phone rang and he went to the guest room he was in to answer it. The Doogan men stood there breathing heavy as they looked at each other, both of their eyes filled with pain and regret. Jake remembered the game he was talking about and was suddenly ashamed of his actions. He fell into a kitchen chair and put his head in his hands.
“Oh Dad…I am so sorry…Could I have fucked this up any more?”
Mike sat next to his son and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, “Son, just know that you now have a chance to make it right, to do right by your daughter…”
He looked at his dad with tears in his eyes, “She is so beautiful! And she is so smart! She had some IQ tests today.”
“I know, son. She is so incredibly special! And Sammy named her after your mom and Sally.”
Jake looked at his dad and smiled, “I bet Sally spoils her rotten too.”
“Oh Jake, Sally died about four years ago. She had a very aggressive form of stomach cancer and died within six months of being diagnosed… I am the only grandparent she has…”
Jake was shocked by his father’s words, “Oh my god…”
He could hardly contain the tears at that point as his dad hugged him. He really had liked Sally Hills. She was so sweet and kind and always made him and Mike feel like a part of their family since they were around so much.
Kevin had come out of the guest room and heard the last part of the conversation and his heart broke for them and for the beautiful woman he hadn’t officially met yet. He hated to interrupt but he needed to talk with Jake.
“Jake, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I need to go to the airport. Ashley fell walking Fish and broke her ankle badly and needs to have surgery. I need to get home.”
The two men pulled apart and looked at him, “Oh Damn Kev! I will stop and get you something to eat on the way.”
Kevin grabbed his bag and thanked Mike for everything. Mike told him to come back anytime, he was always welcome. The two men got in the car and sped down the road.
Sammy was still reeling after the store incident. Gracie babbled on as Sammy drove home. She helped unbuckle Gracie as she ran in ahead of her, leaving Sammy with the bags. She came in to hear Gracie yelling, “Auntie Lynn, I made two new friends today!!”
Sammy was putting away her purchases as Lynn came in and asked who they were.
“I am friends with Dr. Abby. She is so nice and really fun and pretty! We had so much fun at her office and she said I was one smart cookie!”
“You are a smart cookie! I agree with her! I am so glad you had fun with her! Who is your other friend?” Lynn asked.
“His name is Jake. Did you know that Mommy hit him?! I had to remind Mommy that hands are not for hitting!”
Lynn looked at Sammy with wide eyes, “New friend named Jake, huh. Gracie, why don’t you go watch TV and I will be there in a minute.”
Sammy turned around as Lynn hugged her, as she told the whole story to her. She teared up as she finished. Lynn told her to go take a shower and relax before her date. She nodded as she climbed the back stairs and turned on the hot water. She let the water ease the tension out of her and forget about her crazy day. She got out, dried her hair and pulled it back in a bun, then fixed her makeup. She slipped her dress over her head and put on her heels. She sprayed some perfume on, grabbed her good trench coat, purse and went downstairs. She kissed her daughter goodbye and told Lynn she would be back later.
She drove to the country club and had the valet park for her. She never let a man come to the house; she didn’t want to confuse Gracie by parading different men in and out. She went to the maitre’d stand and gave her name. Brett saw her, came by and hugged her.
“Sammy you look beautiful!” He said as he kissed her cheek.
“Thank you Brett. I am sorry that I am late. I got caught up with Gracie this afternoon,” she said as he led her to the bar for a drink.
They sat at the bar and had a glass of wine, talking. She thought he was a delightful man. He had a good sense of humor, was good looking and very smart as he owned his own business. They laughed and had quite a bit in common. She had a delightful evening with him. They drove to a local music club to listen to some live music and had a really good time.
The only problem was he wasn’t Jake. He didn’t give her butterflies or goosebumps. She wasn’t attracted to him in a romantic way. He would make a great match for someone, just not her. She had the sparks and fireworks with Jake and knew she wasn’t going to settle for anything less. And when she went to leave that night from the club, her feelings were proven right. He leaned in and kissed her, and while it was a nice warm kiss, there was no spark for her. There were no fireworks and her heart wasn’t beating out of her chest and she wasn’t left breathless. She smiled at him as she went to leave.
“Sammy, I am going away this week to that conference in San Diego, but when I come back, do you want to go out again? I really like you, Sammy and think we could have some fun together,” He asked as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Brett, I don’t know, my life is really complicated right now with my daughter and -” she was cut off as he kissed her again.
She really felt him put more meaning behind it and he pulled her closer. He pulled away after another minute and looked at her. There was still nothing for her, but she agreed to see him again when he got back. He told her to have a good week and he would call her when he got back. He helped her to her truck and watched as she drove away.
‘Why did I agree? I don’t feel anything for him other than friendship!’ she thought. She was mad at herself and at Jake for ruining her love life. She sighed as she had a week to get up the courage to break it off with him.
She pulled into the house driveway and parked. She went in, threw the dress to the floor, pulled on her pajamas and was asleep in minutes. She dreamed very vividly about her and Jake and not much clothing between them.