The next nine days continued the same way. Jake was in charge of Gracie while Sammy just healed, but she was recovering well. She had the stitches removed without any scarring, and built back up her strength. The bruising was so much better and the colors were fading nicely. Jake moved his stuff over and had it settled in the large closet. The new car that Jake had ordered had arrived with Sammy protesting over the cost.
“It’s a Mercedes!! That’s too much!”
“It’s one of the safest SUVs on the market! I will only have you and Gracie in the best and safest!”
She gave up and accepted it. Jake smirked and kissed her as he walked away.
Gracie ‘graduated’ from pre-k and everyone was there; Derek, Lynn, Mike and Jake. She was so happy and they went out for ice cream after the ceremony. The next day Jake flew to Texas to see his doctor and coaches. Sammy had no idea what to hope for. Did she want him to be healed enough to play again and leave her? Or did she want him to not be able to play and be miserable because of it? She was just so torn. They hadn’t discussed anything about the future; they were just going with whatever happens.
She and Gracie drove him to the airport and kissed them both, “I promise I will be back in a few days. I will call you every night before bed, ok? And as soon as I get back, we are going to the fair, ok? You call Grampy and see if he wants to go with us.”
Gracie nodded at her father as she sniffled. He kissed them both again and went inside the airport to catch his flight. Kevin picked him up and took him to his place to see Ashley. She was hobbling around with her boot, but doing so much better. He showed her all the pictures of Gracie and talked about her and Sammy nonstop. Ashley raised an eyebrow as she listened to him.
“Like her a little bit, do ya?” she asked with her southern drawl.
“I love them both so much. You need to come out and meet them!”
She agreed as she wondered when he would be proposing. She had never seen him like this and she was so happy to see it! They finished their evening as Kevin threw Jake the keys to Ashley’s car. She couldn’t drive yet so he was borrowing hers while he was here. He got home and opened the windows to let out the musty air. He sat on the couch and called the love of his life and daughter. They talked for a few minutes before he told them he loved them and hung up. He got out some clothes for tomorrow and called the local deli for some take out. He was going through the junk mail when his food arrived. He sat on the couch while he ate and watched some TV.
He was just about done when his phone rang. He looked and saw he had a text from Sammy. He opened it to see she had sent a picture. It was a picture of a deep purple silk and lace negligée with a message that read, ‘I went shopping today…can’t wait until you get home! I love you!’
He all but swallowed his tongue at the thought of her seeing her in that and called her.
“Hey Jake…” she said as she picked up.
“Are you trying to kill me?!”
“I didn’t do anything! I just sent you a picture of my shopping trip today.”
“You sent that to tease me! We haven’t been together since your accident and you know damn well that I am dying to be with you! When did you turn into such a tease?”
“Since I wanted to! Just a little reminder of what is waiting for you when you get back…”
“I love you Samantha”
“I love you too Jake. Good luck tomorrow, Baby…”
They hung up and he went to bed.
He ate some oatmeal for breakfast the next morning, then went to Dr. Mayford’s office to have an MRI and review the reports from the PT in Colorado. Jake waited about an hour for the radiologist to read the results. Dr. Mayford’s nurse called him into his office and had him sit.
“Jake, I am very pleased with the results and your progress! The PT’s report is amazing and I think I can safely say that you are almost 100%!”
He talked some more as he showed Jake the scans and reports. He said he would be calling his coach after this so when Jake arrived they knew his opinion. He thanked the doctor and walked out on cloud nine. He could still play if he passed the physical and drills they gave him tomorrow. He drove to the team’s facility and went in to meet with the coaching staff. They were pleased with the results and couldn’t wait to see him in action the next day. The GM of the team was in the meeting and said if he passed the drills tomorrow and they liked what they saw, he would start negotiations for a new contract with his agent. Jake thanked everyone and was going to leave when Coach McGill called him back.
“Jake, you look really good. How is everything going in Colorado? Did you mend things with your dad?”
“Coach, it has been amazing! My dad and I cleared up everything and our relationship is better than it has been in years. I am back with the love of my life and I have a daughter!”
Terry McGill sat in his chair stunned as Jake recounted the story of how he left her and never knew she was pregnant, but never stopped loving her. He finished the story by showing him all the pictures he had of Gracie and Sammy.
“I am speechless, right now Jake and you know that takes quite a bit for me! They are both beautiful. I am really happy for you. But this begs the question; do you still want to play here?”
“Yes I do. Sammy and I can figure out an arrangement that will work for us. I can’t ask her to leave Colorado; she helps run their family ranch. Plus Gracie will be starting school in August and needs to be at the school Sammy chose because of Gracie’s gifted designation. I will do the commuting.”
Terry nodded and was pleased by the changes he was seeing in the star of his team. They talked for a bit longer and then kicked Jake out so he could work. Jake went home, changed and went for a run. He came back, showered and went to one of his favorite restaurants for dinner. He needed some lean proteins for tomorrow. He had an early night in and was leaving when he heard his name being called. He turned and groaned to himself as he saw the blonde walking towards him with a smile on her face.
“Jake! How are you? I haven’t seen you around in weeks!” the blonde leaned in to try and give him a hug and kiss.
Jake leaned off to the side so that the encounter was awkward and she pulled back.
“Denise…I’m good, how are you?”
“Just missing my favorite player! Where have you been hiding?”
“Um…I have been back home rehabbing my knee. I am just back in town for some meetings…”
“Well, I am so glad you are taking a break. How about a nightcap at my place? I sure could use some of the magic that you have…” she said with a smirk as she ran her hand up his chest.
“Sorry Denise, I am with someone now.”
“What?! What about us?!”
He sighed, “Denise, there is no us. I told you that! I wasn’t looking for anything serious then!”
“But you are now!”
“You wouldn’t understand, and it’s not really any of your business. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is. Goodbye, I really have to go…”
And he turned, leaving her standing there. He hated doing that, but Denise wasn’t taking the hint when he ended it in early December. She was a nice woman, and would make someone happy, but he was in love with Sammy. She was always there, in the back of his mind.
Denise was a tall blonde woman with green eyes, big breasts and a drive to land a good looking man with lots of money. And Jake fit the bill for her. She hung out at lots of the clubs and restaurants that the athletes in town did so she could make sure to find what she was looking for. She did some sort of consulting with a company that sells office supplies, so she made her way around the area. They had a lot of fun the six months they were together and she didn’t disappoint in the bedroom either.
But while their relationship was purely physical for him, Denise had developed feelings for him. So when he broke it off, she didn’t take it well at first. He thought she had accepted it, the encounter today made him realize that she hadn’t. He got in Ashley’s car and drove back to his place. Just as he opened his door, his phone rang.
He smiled as he heard the little voice say, “Hi Daddy!! I made you a picture at camp today!! And I got to use clay that I can bring home! But first I have to paint it.”
“Oh Baby girl! I can’t wait to see it! Tell me what else you did today.”
He smiled as he listened to her talk about her day camp and that tomorrow they were going to do messy science projects outside.
“Grampy said that he was going to buy me an ice cream when we go to the fair when you get home. Can you buy me a hot dog?”
“I will buy you two hot dogs if you want! I miss you!”
“I miss you too. Mommy says I have to tell you good night now and get in bed. I love you Daddy. Sleep good!”
“I love you too Baby girl. I will see you soon!”
He heard Sammy get on the phone then, asking how the day went. He filled her in as he heard her tucking Gracie in and closing the door as she went down the stairs so she could talk.
“I’m happy for you Jake! That’s great that the doctor is giving you the green light. I hope tomorrow goes well too… I miss you Jake…I didn’t think I would this much, but I do.”
“I miss you too! It has been really hard and it’s only been like 38 hours! I can’t wait to see you! Oh Babe, the things I am going to do to you!”
She laughed as they talked for a few more minutes and then hung up, telling him she loved him. She went to bed, missing him in bed with her. She loved having the windows opened at night and now being the end of May, they would be open until well into September, unless it was too hot at night. She fell asleep watching the curtains move gently in the breeze, thinking of the man she loved.