Sammy was having a really crappy afternoon. She took her car in and Adam, their mechanic, who was a very good friend of Derek’s, told her it was a lost cause. He knew it was her father’s jeep and she loved it, but it was time.
“Sammy, everything is worn out. I don’t want you to waste your money on fixing this every few weeks, because that is where we are at. This will nickel and dime you to death, and I know that you can spend your money on better things!”
She sighed and agreed with him. He told her she could leave it there while she decided what to do. One of the other techs ran her home and she had to use the ranch truck until she found something else. She picked up Gracie and took her to ballet class. She had one more hour to do her errands before she had to pick her up.
She picked up her dry cleaning, but then had stopped by the bakery to pick up a pie that Lynn wanted her to give to Mike. She inspected the dress she had cleaned and it looked good. She had another date with a guy at the gym, Brett that she had been friendly with for the last several months. Tomorrow night would be their fourth date. She was nervous, but he was a nice guy. Her relationships never made it past this point because they either wanted sex or she compared them to Jake. She sighed as she ran over to the bakery, which was just down from the dry cleaners.
Lynn waved, “Thanks for taking this to Mike, I know it’s his favorite and when the customer cancelled, I didn’t want it to go to waste!”
Sammy laughed, “He will probably eat it for dinner! Thanks Lynn!” and dashed out of the building and over to Mike’s before she picked up Gracie.
She drove along, not really paying attention as a great song came on the radio. She pulled into the driveway, grabbed the box, and ran up to the back kitchen door, never noticing the strange vehicle by the garage.
She opened the door yelling, “Hey Mike I got your dinner! Plus you will be happy to know that I have to get a new car-” stopping mid-sentence as she turned to notice the men standing in the kitchen.
And not just any man, but the man that was her whole heart.
‘Oh shit, there she is!’ Jake’s heart was pounding in his chest. Mike was in shock to see them in the same room together and didn’t know what was going to happen. Kevin was standing to the side, intrigued by what could happen next. He observed that she really was as beautiful as the pictures he had seen.
Sammy stood there rooted to the spot, just looking at him. God, he was still so incredibly sexy and well, hot! She had never felt so many emotions running through her all at once. She could feel the tears forming in her eyes and didn’t know which emotion would win out in the end. After what felt like an eternity, he spoke.
She looked at him as he said her name and had this surge of love, pain and anger hit her right in the chest. She took a step towards him and then stopped. Anger won out and she walked to him as he smiled shyly and then she punched him as hard as she could in the face. The tears fell as she turned and fled the house and got back in the truck and drove away.
Mike and Kevin’s jaws dropped as they saw Jake’s head snap back. His hand went to his cheek where she had hit him and it was tender. She had a good punch and he actually saw a few stars when she hit him.
“Well, my friend, I think it’s safe to say that she is royally pissed at you!” Kevin said cheerfully as he sat his friend in a kitchen chair.
Mike tried hard not to laugh as he handed his son an ice pack. Jake was stunned, but it made him all the more determined to talk to her and make things right and tell her he loved her and only her.
He looked at his best friend and father and said, “It’s a small set back, but I know her and I will make her see that she still loves me.”
“You are one stubborn son of a bitch, Jake, but I admire your taste! And her right hook,” Kevin said as he laughed.
Mike just shook his head as he went into his office and called her, leaving a message, “Sammy, I am sorry that was how you found out he was back in town. I was actually going to call you tomorrow and let you know. He knows nothing about Gracie. Just call if you need anything…”
Sammy stopped the car a few miles away and had a huge cry alongside the road. She had no idea why she was crying, was it temper or was it pain? Her hand was throbbing and she flexed her fingers to ease some of the tightness that was forming. But at least the pain in her hand helped drown out the pain in her heart. She felt like she had been blindsided or betrayed by Mike.
But why? It was his son! He had every right to have him in his home. She just wished she would have known so she could have been prepared. She calmed down a little bit and looked at her knuckles and saw that they were red and a little swollen. He always did have a hard head, she thought. She saw she had a missed call and voice mail and realized that she didn’t even hear the phone ring in all this.
She picked it up and heard Mike apologize and explain some. She was exhausted as she realized she only had five minutes to get to the dance studio to get Gracie. She pulled back out on the road and drove faster than she normally would and just made it.
Gracie didn’t notice anything that was wrong on the way home as she babbled away telling Sammy everything that had happened in class.
“Hey Mommy, when do we go see that doctor person to test me? I forgot what you told me,” she asked with her incredible vocabulary.
She would still stun Sammy when she said things that were so wise beyond her years, “Well, babe, you go tomorrow. Is that still ok?”
“Do I miss school tomorrow?”
“Yes, Love, you won’t go tomorrow, but I will get you something special for dinner after. How does that sound?”
“Oh can I pick anything?” she pleaded.
“Well, how about that macaroni and cheese that you have to cook in the oven?”
“That’s what you want?!”
“Oh yes! I love that!”
And I know someone else that loves it too, she thought, I just punched him!
“Ok sweetie, I will tell Uncle Derek and Auntie Lynn. Remember you will be having dinner with them tomorrow.”
“I know you are going out on a date. Boys are yucky!”
Sammy smiled, “Yes, Baby, some of them are.”
They drove back listening to the radio. Sammy was preoccupied all evening but wouldn’t say anything until Gracie was in bed.
“Ok she is in bed, so spill it Sis!” Derek said.
Sammy sighed, “Well Adam said it’s official, and I have to get a new car.”
“That’s NOT it Sammy!” Lynn scolded her.
Sammy looked at her sister-in-law as she sat on the couch, rubbing her growing belly. She was so happy that they were finally having a child and a boy at that. Derek was over the moon and in just three more months, his son would be here.
She loved Lynn and they were very good friends. She and Derek had met when Jake and Sammy were juniors in college. She had just opened her bakery in town and Derek would go every day and buy something until he worked up enough nerve to ask her out. He finally grew a pair after what seemed like 20 dozen frosted sugar cookies were brought home. They married when Gracie was three months old and just celebrated their anniversary.
Sammy smiled at her and thought about how well she knew her. Lynn was a caring, nurturing person who was a loyal and fierce protector of those she loved. She was so much help when Gracie was born and when Derek and Sammy’s mom was diagnosed. She made sure that everyone ate and was upright the following whirlwind six months from when Sally Hills found out about her cancer diagnosis to when she died. Gracie was only 11 months old when she died. And so many times the pain would be so real and raw to Sammy that it would knock her straight on her ass. But Lynn was always there and along with Sammy’s best friend Kate, she managed to keep her head above water.
“Well?” Derek prompted.
“I dropped off the banana cream pie to Mike like Lynn asked me to and Jake was there…”
“Jake?! Like in Jacob Doogan?! Football player? Asshole?” Derek asked as he jumped up from the couch.
She nodded her head, looking at the floor.
“Oh Sammy honey, are you ok?” Lynn asked gently as she went over to her on the couch.
“I punched him…”
Lynn and Derek looked at each other, and then back at Sammy.
“Like how did you punch him?” Lynn asked.
Sammy got up and demonstrated to them how she did it.
Derek started laughing as she hugged his little sister, “God you really are a hot tempered redhead!!”
Lynn didn’t know quite what to say as she tried to disguise her laugh as a cough. Derek walked into the kitchen and when Lynn knew he was out of earshot, she asked again how she was.
Sammy looked at Lynn and she saw the tears in her eyes, “I don’t know...He looked so good, better than he did before! My heart immediately started beating different...Part of me wanted to just start screaming at him and tell him how much he hurt me, part wanted to jump in his arms and kiss him until we both couldn’t breathe and another part wanted to punch him and tell him that I hate him.”
“So punching won out? Did you say anything to him?”
“No, I couldn’t find my voice.”
“I know what your head is saying to you, but what about your heart? What does it say?”
“That I love him and I desperately want to kiss him…”
“And what about Gracie?”
“I have no fucking idea...I have no idea how long he is staying and what I should do.”
“Well is it a good thing that you have a date tomorrow night or not?”
“Good, a distraction is just what I need.”
Lynn patted her hand and let Sammy keep on thinking that it was a good idea. The poor man had no chance tomorrow night, not with Jake Doogan walking around in this city and Lynn knew it. Whether Sammy realized it or not was another story.