The next few weeks were cautious in the Doogan household. Jake was doing his best to help around the house and to be more active with his family. He was taking Gracie to school in the mornings, something that they both enjoyed. They talked and enjoyed their time together. She was still an amazing little girl and even though she was only in first grade, she was doing 4th and 5th grade level work. Jake believed they were doing a good job of keeping her grounded.
Between tennis lessons and riding her beloved Professor Lupin at the ranch, they did their best to remind her that she was still six years old. She played with Tara and Emma all the time and seemed like a normal little girl. Jake prayed every day that it would always be this easy as she got older.
Jake talked with Sammy again about being the law clerk for his Dad and she agreed. They had found a really wonderful woman in her late 40’s to nanny the kids while Sammy worked. She was a dream come true, helping with transportation of the kids and anything else Sammy needed. Peggy was wonderful with the kids and Sammy felt blessed to have found her.
Thanksgiving was not very fun that year. Smitty and Lexi couldn’t fly out. Smitty was still with Jake’s team and they had another day game in Atlanta and had to be there. Kevin and Ashley went out of town with their daughter, who was a year old, to visit her parents on Kevin’s few days off. Abby cooked for their small family at their house since Emily had to work as well. Derek and Lynn took Matthew and Lynn’s Mom on a vacation during that week. Lynn found out she was pregnant again a few months before and wanted a nice relaxing time on a beach. And since she found a good manager to run the bakery, Lynn wanted another baby and Derek was more than happy to oblige.
Sammy brought some fresh made bread, a pie and a vegetable dish to dinner. She stuck to her guns about not hosting. And she apologized to Abby, Mike and Emily for her outburst, but she was thinking about herself first and not everyone else, like she usually did. They understood her desire after the tumultuous almost two years they had together, but Mike and Abby couldn’t help but wonder if Sammy would ever snap out of whatever was going on with her.
Jake had been asking Sammy about going on a vacation during the week, just the two of them, but Sammy was reluctant to leave the kids during a holiday. Jake didn’t know what to do. He felt her drifting away and didn’t know how to stop it. He didn’t know if he could survive not having her in his life again every day. He loved her, deeply and wanted to make things right, he just didn’t know how.
Since Jake was healing well, he went on several sports shows and did interviews about his retirement and what was next for him. He talked about his other dream of becoming a lawyer and working with his Dad, so he was studying for the Bar Exam. He talked about loving his wife deeply and growing their family. Sammy was shocked by the comment and not sure how she felt about that.
All of their family and friends thought it was super romantic and thoughtful that Jake had declared his love for her to the entire world. They all hoped that Sammy realized what he felt for her and their life together.
Jake and Mike were working on a big case together the second week of December. Jake had taken the Bar the week before and was just waiting the long 30 day time frame for the results. He checked with Sammy to make sure that he was ok to work late and she agreed. They were not much better as a couple, still just as distant, not even touching to kiss. They hadn’t been together since that night he made a terrible mistake and used her as a vessel for his anger and frustration and not as a partner and lover.
Trish had stayed a little later that night to wait for the Chinese food they had ordered for dinner and to pay. Jake was pouring over law books for stats as Mike was reading the material he had found out loud to his new partner in crime. They stopped when a knock on the door interrupted them and saw Trish standing there with her eyes wide.
Mike chuckled, “Trish are you ok?”
Trish stumbled through the doorway when she was pushed by someone from behind.
“Trish!” Jake exclaimed and moved to help her when he stopped dead in his tracks after seeing Denise behind her with a gun pointed at the sweet woman’s back.
Jake was angry and scared at the same time, “What the hell are you doing Denise!!”