Christmas fell on a Thursday and Jake was thrilled when Sammy and Gracie flew out as soon as work and school were done. They decorated Jake’s place with Christmas cheer and lights. Jake loved it, never really decorating for the holidays before. He never saw much need being alone. He usually spent it with Kevin and then Kevin and Ashley when they got together.
Gracie wrote a letter to Santa saying where she was this year so he wouldn’t be confused. They went to dinner at Smitty and Lexi’s then to church before they arrived home to get ready for bed and watched a movie, ‘A Christmas Story’. It was a tradition that they always had, since she was little and Jake remembered.
Sammy was back between Jake’s legs as they watched the lights twinkle on the tree from the couch, holding each other. It had been a long time since they were together for Christmas and Sammy was content and happy to be there. They kissed and touched each other and as the clock struck midnight, Jake couldn’t take it anymore and gently, tenderly they made love with the music playing softly and the tree giving off the only light in the room.
Gracie and Sammy stayed until after the New Year, when the last home game was upon them. With only two losses on the season, Jake’s team was in first place and after today would have a bye week. He would go back to Colorado with Sammy and Gracie to relax before their playoff game.
Sore from taking a hell of a beating, Jake sat in an Epsom salt bath at home trying to ease some of the aches and was so grateful to have six days off. He took some pain relievers and climbed into bed, falling asleep almost instantly. Sammy felt terrible for him after watching the tackles he endured. Some of the linebackers were relentless in trying to stop him. They were all fighting for a chance to go to the playoffs.
Once Jake awoke the next morning, he felt better than he had and went to the kitchen to see his two favorite girls giggling as they ate.
“Hi Daddy. Ready to go home?”
“You bet! I just need to change and we can go,” He said kissing each of them on the head.
Gracie scampered off to change clothes and left her parents to look lovingly at each other.
“Are you sure you are ok? You took some nasty shots Baby…”
“Yeah, I’m ok. Let’s get ready to go back home.”
Sammy took his hand and led him to the bedroom where they changed to leave.
The next six days were fun. The little family went sledding, made snowmen, drank hot chocolate and enjoyed their time together. The next weeks were going to be ridiculously busy if the team advanced. Sammy was a little nervous about an upcoming interview that would run during the Super Bowl that a major sports network wanted to do on them and their story. It was big news since invitations had gone out. Jake assured her that they would have final say in the outcome and that eased her nerves.
Kevin and Ashley were there to help after the local team was knocked out in the first round and gave her hints on how the whole thing worked. She was so grateful as she navigated her way through this unknown world. And before they knew it, they had won every game and were playing in the Super Bowl.
Jake had gotten everyone tickets and were coming out to be there. Lynn’s mom was watching Matthew, but they all flew out together on a private plane Jake had arranged. Emma and Gracie were very excited and said they felt like movie stars as the stewardess gave them milk shakes.
Arriving in New Orleans was exciting, but finding a hotel room was another matter. Jake was so glad that he had booked a block of rooms in December just in case. He needed each and every one now. Mike and Abby had a room and so did Lynn and Derek, Kate and Joey, Kevin and Ashley, as well as Smitty and Lexi’s parents. Emily had gotten leave at the last minute and flew in. She stayed with Mike and Abby, just thankful that Jake was able to get one more ticket from another player.
Sammy had never in her life experienced anything like what they were seeing in that city. The amount of people was staggering, it seemed never ending. The excitement of the people around them was contagious and you couldn’t help but get swept up in it. Sammy, it seemed, was buying one of everything as a memento of this weekend.
The players were in a separate hotel and couldn’t see their families after three, with a very strict schedule. So right before their appointed time limit, Sammy pulled Jake into an empty room and gave him her special magic touch that seemed to help him play better.
He pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply, “You are incredible Baby!” Jake gushed.
She grinned at him as she helped him get his pants back on, “Just think about how we will celebrate when you win!”
They laughed and left the room, feeling like they did in high school when they made out behind the athletic sheds. They went back to the hotel in the hopes of getting some sleep for the long day ahead.