Sammy smiled and launched into everything about her daughter-their daughter; her pregnancy, first milestones, showing him pictures that were on her phone; her toddler years, first knowing that she was gifted and her life to date. She told him about learning to read at three, loving ballet and playing tennis, softball, swimming and of course horseback riding. He loved hearing everything about her.
“She is very much like you, Jake. She loves a lot of the same foods that you do-like the mac and cheese- and has your sweet tooth, she gets this look on her face when she is concentrating on something really hard, like the look you used to get when you would study the playbook in high school and college. Then she gets this light in her eyes when she laughs and I swear she can light up a room with her smile…just like you do…”
“Sammy, again I am so sorry that I wasn’t here, that I was a cowardly son of a bitch. I will make it up to you both, I promise!”
“Jake, just love her. That’s all she needs from you, Love.”
Jake nodded as he looked at her. They continued talking and catching up on everything as they ate through the courses. He told her all about football and what that world was like. He talked about traveling, workouts, cheering, success and the loneliness.
“What about that friend that was with you?”
“Kevin is an incredible man. We met up my rookie year and have been best friends ever since. He makes me rethink things and look at things from a different point of view. He is a couple years older than us, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
“I am happy you found a good friend. You found your Kate!”
He laughed, “I guess I did.”
“So…what about the women? I am sure there were plenty. No one caught your eye? In all those different cities?”
He took a deep breath, “There were women; I won’t lie to you Sammy. But it was all physical. My heart was never in it. It has always belonged to you.”
She looked at him and felt her heart swell.
Then she heard him ask, “What about you? You haven’t found someone?”
She looked down, “I have dated over the years, but nothing ever came of them. There was always something wrong with them, none of them were right for me-us.”
“What was wrong with them?” he asked, almost hating to hear what the answer might be.
“None of them were you…”
He heard the words and wondered what his next move should be. He raised her head and looked at her.
“I love you Samantha,” he whispered and leaned in to place a gentle kiss on her lips.
He pulled back and smiled at her in his dimpled way as she laid her hand on his, smiling back. She so desperately wanted to say it back to him, to let him know how she felt, but was scared of getting hurt again. She couldn’t help it. He knew that he had to work harder to make sure that she knew how much he loved her and he wouldn’t hurt her again.
He ordered some dessert for them to share and they ate, talking again. They could feel the pull between them as they ate and they moved closer together and started touching each other. At first it was just a touch on the hand, then a lingering graze on the arms, and then he laid his hand on her leg. The close proximity was killing them both as their senses were on high alert. He leaned in to kiss her and then all that did was stoke the fire between them.
They could see the desire in each other’s eyes and Jake called for the check. He paid the check and left a very large tip for the server who did exactly as Jake wanted, left them alone. He stood up and helped her on with her coat and walked outside in the cool night air. April could always be tricky in Colorado. You could have 70’s or snow. This was just a nice clear evening.
He walked her to the car and helped her in. They drove in silence until he commented on how late it was.
“Oh I didn’t realize it was after 11! We were there for almost four hours!” she exclaimed.
“I will take you home, Sammy,” he said as he took her hand in his, kissing it.
Her body was humming with his constant touch. They arrived at her house and saw that all the lights were off, except for the one over the kitchen sink that was always on at night. He turned off the car and went to help her out. He closed the door and got a strong whiff of her shampoo and he couldn’t take it anymore.
He kissed her softly but she could feel the demand behind it and his desperate need for more. Her legs were going weak as the kiss continued and was grateful that he wrapped his arms around her to hold her up. They kissed until they were panting from lack of air. He looked at her in the moonlight and was awed at how beautiful she was.
She blushed when he told her that.
“Do you want to stay?” she asked, still trying to regain her full brain function and knew that this wasn’t the best way to do that.
“More than you know, but I don’t want to push you…I am going to let you go upstairs and get in your room and think about if this is what you want. Turn the lights out when you are in bed. If you want me to spend the night, turn on that little lamp that you have next to your bed.”
“How do you know I still have that lamp?”
“Because it was your grandmother’s and I know you love that lamp,” he replied simply.
“If I turn the light on, how will you get up to me?”
“Just like I did in high school and college, climb the tree and walk that little balcony to the door to your room.”
She laughed and pulled him in for a kiss again. He felt her pull away and watched as she walked in the kitchen door. He waited by the car to see what would happen. After a minute, saw her light come on. He knew she was getting ready for bed and that made his pants tight at the thought of her getting undressed and he wasn’t with her. He knew she was teasing him and he deserved it, but he didn’t know how much longer he could hold on.
He was awakened from his little day dream as he saw the lights go out in her room. How long should he wait? He didn’t know how much time had passed, but he guessed it was about a minute and half and thought she wasn’t ready yet for that. He understood and walked back to the driver’s seat and was about to open the door when he looked up again and saw the faint glow of that little lamp. He broke into a big grin and went up to the big oak tree that was on the side of the house. He found the little wooden steps that he had nailed on years ago and hoped that they were not rotten. Re-injuring his leg by climbing a tree to sleep with a woman was not the way he wanted his career to end. But then again it wasn’t just any woman; it was the love of his life…the mother of his child and that thought made him smile.