" I’ve never felt such a passion for someone in my life before. At the beginning I just thought that it was purely sexual, physical, then ... with time I realized that it was beyond that. It was a true feeling, it was a feeling that I couldn’t even get hold of. It surpasses my imagination, my vision of life ... the life I was undertaking at that moment.
I became lost, powerless, and totally dependent of her.
I couldn’t imagine a day without seeing her face, tasting her lips, smelling her perfume, and make love to her voluptuous body. Yeah, it was beyond my power, my limits, and my imagination. I had her under my skin. She was floating throughout my veins, my blood ... through every part of me. I was feeling deep love for her. A love that I’ve never experienced before, that I’ve never felt for my own wife.
I couldn’t control myself anymore, she was monopolizing me body and soul. And then, came that day, yes, that day at Philip’s when I knew who her father was. I couldn’t believe what she told me at that moment before leaving me, in that bathroom. I was on my knees, thoroughly confused. I couldn’t think of what would happen in the coming days.
I was messed up, twisted in my thoughts. I was having an affair with the daughter of my friend. That man whom I was friend with for more than fifteen years now, the one with whom I worked, shared secrets, admired ... I couldn’t believe it ... yeah I couldn’t believe that I fell in love with Philip’s daughter ... that I shared intimate moments with his own daughter.
How am I going to face that man? How am I going to tell him that I was in love with his own daughter?
Did he know the truth about Amy in the first place? Why didn’t she tell me that he was her father, I would have helped her!
This was what I told her the first time she told me about her father, I told her if she needed to find him, I would help her. Why didn’t she trust me on that? We would have found a way to him. I was totally lost in my thoughts because I truly loved her and if it came to face my friend I wouldn’t miss that chance of telling him the whole truth about Amy and I.
I genuinely thought of helping her the very moment she left the room. I couldn’t not let her find her own way to Philip, she needed my help even though she kept that only for her. There should be one person who had to help her find her way to her father ... and that person was going to be me. Yeah me.
I loved too much Amy to the point that I was ready to do whatever it takes me to satisfy her, to help her out, to be with her. She was so vulnerable and aimless. She didn’t know how ... how to tell him that she was his daughter.
How could I be so blind not to see it coming. How could I believe, even for a single moment, that she would be flirting with him or willing to have an affair with him. How could I be silly to think that, think that she would cheat on me? I must say that during that party, a lot of men were looking at her, at her perfect body, at her hazel eyes, at her long sandy hair, at her white skin ... the one I used to kiss ... and I couldn’t stand it.
Amy was mine, totally mine.
I loved her and I couldn’t share her with someone else. She knew that. When I remember that night, I still have remorse. I still regret accusing her of flirting with Philip, something that had never happened between them. How could I be so stupid ! How ! But the fact that I could open myself up to you, doctor, helps me a lot. It makes me just share those tormented thoughts, that I kept for a long time inside my heart, with you ... and only you "
I told my psychologist, then proceeded with the story.
She closed the door and left me alone in that bathroom. She closed the door and I felt all my world collapsing ... after what I just heard.
I was absent-minded for a short time just hearing the echo of the jazzy music coming through the door.
I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I couldn’t believe that Amy was Philips’ daughter.
That would mean that Philip and Mona Morgan were lovers a long time ago, probably before Philip knew Lauren.
At that moment, I started to have flashbacks of how Philip reacted when he saw Mona in my house the first time when Amy was sick and that would explain why he was asking questions about her that day at my office later when she left, then the second time when Mona and her husband came to say goodbye to Amy before going back to Phoenix.
He kept looking at Mona and Amy. Maybe he was trying to check whether Amy was his daughter or Jim Carlson’s.
Now I could solve the puzzle, all the pieces were clear to me. That would mean that Amy didn’t know about her father until her mother decided to tell her the truth recently. I didn’t know why Mona didn’t want to reveal the truth about Philip to Amy. Maybe a way to protect her or maybe she had another reason to hide the truth.
I didn’t know what to think.
That would also mean that Amy had recently known that Philip Johnson was her father. She was searching for a way to get to him, to tell him the truth ... something that she couldn’t do easily because he was married and she was probably afraid of being rejected.
Oh Amy ... my sweetest Amy ....
I stood up on my feet and turned to the sink, opened the tap and washed my face with cold water. I needed to get myself refreshed.
Then, I used the towel to wash my face and decided to come back to the party. I had to. I had to check up on her and see where she went.
Crazy and stubborn as she was, she might have already left the house. I knew that she wouldn’t be speaking to me after what I said to her or shall I say what I accused her of.
I didn’t care much of how she would react when we would meet again, the only thing that mattered was to check up on her. I felt so bad. I should have never said that to her. It was the jealous part of me speaking to her earlier, it wasn’t the reasonable and sensible part of myself.
Now I had to fix things the sooner, the better. I had to try at least. I knew how stubborn she was and how she would not want to speak to me again for the coming days because she was deeply hurt, but I had to push her to.
Oh Amy ... my dearest Amy ....
I went by the pool and started searching for her, looking around for a familiar face to recognize.
About twenty minutes should have passed after she left me back there. She wasn’t outside by the pool and I couldn’t see Lisa either.
I decided to call my daughter when I saw her coming to my direction, waving to me. She was accompanied by Eric, I guess.
- “Dad! Hey you’re here! I was searching for you. This is Eric, Eric, this is my father!” She turned to Eric, then to me when a shy smile slightly filled up her face.
- “Hello Eric, we’ve already met in Philip’s company!” I said shaking his hand.
- “Hello sir. I hope you’re enjoying yourself tonight.” He said shaking back my hand before he released it.
- “So you know each other. That’s cool.” She said enthusiastically.
I was not really focused on what Lisa was saying back then. I was waiting for her to ask about her friend Amy, because I couldn’t ask about her myself.
But nothing, she kept talking about how delicious was the food and how much she liked the party.
As for me, I couldn’t stand it any longer so I decided to ask about Amy, no matter what it takes. I started to really get worried about her as I couldn’t see her anywhere.
-“By the way, Lisa! Where is Amy? Have you seen her ?”
I tried to keep a neutral tone in order not to seem worried or too much curious about her friend.
- “Amy ! Euh ... we left her here earlier. She must be ...”
She spoke as her eyes scanned back and forth the place, to find Amy among people but she wasn’t to be found anywhere, when she added “I don’t know where she might be.”
- “I am just asking !” I replied in a neutral voice to hide my worry.
- “We will search for her dad. I guess Mr. Johnson and you are going to make a speech soon.”
- ” Yeah, it is Philip who will be giving a speech later on. Amy shouldn’t be missing that !”
- “Oh yeah, you’re right !” Her eyes still searching for her friend.
- ” If you excuse me, I saw someone I need to speak to. Catch you later on, Lisa. And Oh! Eric, it was nice seeing you!”
- ” It’s always a pleasure Mr. Richardson.” Eric replied smiling before I patted his shoulder and left them.
As I was searching for Amy inside the house where most of the guests were, I dialed her number hoping that she would pick up the phone.
I knew she wouldn’t though.
So I thought that maybe she would be outside, just in front of the house.
Nothing, she wasn’t there either.
I decided to go toward the garden where the cars were parked and look around.
I reached that part of the house as the light went to turn into a dimmer sjade of light when I recognized a familiar face standing not too far from where I was heading.
She was there alone near a car smoking a cigarette and drinking...drinking a bottle of wine. When she saw me approaching, she immediately hid the bottle behind the curve of her waist after wiping her cheeks.
She has been crying as her hazel eyes appeared to be puffy, watery and bloodshot.
What is wrong with her? Since when does she smoke? And why is she drinking a whole bottle of wine for God’s sake?
This is really excessive.
I don’t like it. At all.
- “You should come back inside Mr. Richardson ! You don’t have to worry for me I am fine! ” Her voice came in a slow pitch due to her being alteady intoxicated.
- ” Since when do you smoke Amy!? What is that you’re hiding behind your--you’ve been drinking, haven’t you? ”
I scolded her as I came closer to her and attempted to take the cigarette between her fingers, but she jerked her arm away.
- ” Who do you think you are, huh?! I am free to do whatever I want~ smoke, drink or whatever. Mind your own business Mr. R--”
I cut her off as she struggled to stand up still on her feet now that I came even closer next to her.
- ” You don’t have to drink or smoke Amy to feel alright. I won’t be going, do you hear me?” I snatched the cigarette from her hand, and threw it away. She stumbled on to get it back, but I just held her arm firmly for her not to fall on the grass, before making her stand still on her feet.
- ” How much wine have you been drinking? ”
My voice full of concern and worry as I kept looking at her hazel eyes while she tried to decipher my intentions deep through the blue of my eyes.
- ” Like you care Mr. Richardson!” she hissed.
The moment she tried to release her arm from my grasp, she stumbled again and fell on my chest, thoroughly unsteady when I grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards my chest, blocking her towards me, making her unable to move away from me.
She tilted her head up darting my eyes, and gave me a weak smile begging for my help.
I left one of my arms gripping her waist firmly while I used my right hand to wander onto the back line of her jaw, caressing it gently, looking deeply into her bloodshot eyes and pretending not to care about the smell of alcohol out of her breath.
She was in a real mess. First because of Philip. She didn’t know how to let him know about the fact that she is his daughter.
And second, she was so pissed off with me because of what happened earlier.
I can’t blame her. No I can’t. She had the right to be so angry at me, right now even hate me. I couldn’t blame her for that.
- ” Hey baby, everything will be okay, I am here now. Don’t worry, I am here now. But first, let me take this away from you, then we can agree on-”
I removed easily the bottle of wine away from her hand. As she didn’t protest, I added,
" What was I saying? Ah yes, I remember...then we’ll agree on what is going to happen with Philip. I will help you tell Philip the truth about yourself, I mean about you two, being father and daughter. ”
She grimaced at me, probably not quite catching what I was saying, or maybe not believing me, not taking into consideration my true intentions.
- ” Oh yeah? ” She raised a brow at me still not believing me.
- ” I am very serious Amy. Let me prove it you.” My tone tainted with more seriousness now.
- ” You don’t say! And have you thought of a good plan like the one you’ve been thinking about to tell your wife about us, you know, I presume?!”
Her tone mocking yet embedded with a kind of deception.
-” Enough of that now, Amy! I am very serious, I am going to help you. Why you keep not believing what I am saying to you!? ”
Exasperation very audible in my husky voice. She didn’t reply at first then let these two words out of her mouth in a shape of a sharp yell,
" Fuck you” before she attempted to get the bottle of wine back, when I raised immediately my arm high enough for her not to reach out for it, but instead still claiming the wine back, she shook my shoulders slightly back and forth in a way to get what she wanted.
At first I tried to get the bottle as far from where she was standing, but suddenly as her shakes became more unmanageable, the bottle slid from my arm to be partly shed on my suit.
- ” Hey, just slowly, slowly. It’s all on my suit now!” I gasped.
- “I am ... sorry ... I didn’t mean to spill the wine over your suit !” She stepped back unsteady, hiding her mouth with both hands as her eyes, filled up with embarrassment, widened at the sight of wine over my suit.
I didn’t know what to say to her as I just stood still, looking blankly at my partly wet suit, with separate stains of wine.
I then held her by the wrist and headed toward my car. I had to drive her back to my house, and I didn’t want any of Philip or the other co-workers to see her intoxicated.
She really needed to rest after what she has been through this evening. I unlocked the car, opened the back door and was about to let her in when I heard Lisa calling for me.
- “Dad! Amy! Where are you taking her?” she said, surprised as she kept looking at her friend, totally disconnected.
- “As you can see by yourself, your friend is intoxicated. She asked me to drive her back home because she needs to rest. She isn’t feeling good. Is this what you want Amy? ” I turned to Amy, hoping she would be saying the same.
I needed to seem credible to my daughter. Otherwise, she would suspect something going on between Amy and I.
Lisa was looking at Amy in disbelief and worry as she waited for her friend to respond.
She was confused and couldn’t understand why Amy drank a lot. I couldn’t risk keeping Lisa next to us for fear that Amy would reveal something to her when she nodded in agreement.
- ” I need to go back home Ma--Mr. Richardson. Please take me back home !” She begged me.
- ” See! I told you Lisa. I will get her back home while you go inside and tell Philip that I had to go back home because Amy was tired and needed to rest.” I convinced her, before adding ” and please Lisa, take this away or just put it somewhere near the beverages once inside” I handed her the bottle of wine. She took it from me, but was even more confused when she noticed that more than half of the bottle was already consumed.
- ” But Dad! I can’t keep her like that...all drained out. She is in a very bad shape. I will come with you !” she suggested.
- “No ... No you can’t come. I mean, you need to stay with Eric here and tell Philip what I told you, otherwise many people will start asking questions and I don’t want any of them to know what happened to your friend tonight. I will take care of her, Lisa. You don’t have to worry, okay? ”
- " I really don’t know what to say, Dad! She shouldn’t have drunk so much tonight, I mean I can’t even believe she did. I don’t know why she did though. She was fine earlier...I am so confused... I am so sorry Dad! ” Her voice full of worry.
- " Hey, Lisa! You don’t have to be sorry. She is going to be okay. She just have to rest.”
- “Are you sure you don’t want me to come, dad?”
- “Yes. Just stay here. If Philip asks about me, tell him I had to drive Amy back home, tell him what I just told you earlier. That she’s fine, okay?”
- “Okay, Dad. Thank you very much !”
- “Would you like me to come and take you back home later?”
- “Eric will do. I wouldn’t know what to do with her tonight, if you didn’t show up in the right time Dad! and Oh! Sorry for what happened to your suit! ” She said confusion in her voice.
- ” You don’t have to worry sweetheart. I need you to open the door for me”
Lisa helped me put Amy on the back seat before I started the car and left Philip’s house to head toward mine.
I was driving all way back home and from time to time checking up on her as she was not completely conscious mumbling words like where I was taking her and other times words I couldn’t get.
When we got home, I took her in my arms and headed directly toward her room. I opened the door then put her on the bed. She was asleep. I started to put off her shoes when I remembered that my daughter would come home later and check on her friend. I shouldn’t be doing that otherwise Lisa would suspect something going on between Amy and I.
I decided to leave her wearing her dress until Lisa came back and change her outfit. I grabbed a blanket from her closet and put it onto her, then sat next to her, running my hair in her disheveled sandy hair.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I was looking at her the whole time remembering what just happened few hours ago at Philip’s, about all the harsh things I said to her, the things I shouldn’t have told her in the first place, and I couldn’t stop blaming myself for that.
“Sorry baby ... I didn’t mean to hurt you tonight, I wasn’t meaning to say all this to you, believe me. I just love you Amy. Tonight I was so scared to lose you, so scared that you would go with another man, so scared of these feelings I have for you ... but the scariest thing of all would be of not having you anymore in my life.”
I needed to tell her what I was thinking at that moment in spite of the fact that she would not be listening to me.
I stayed next to her until I heard Eric’s car being parked in front of the house. I stood up and left immediately the room.
I met Lisa in the big hall, told her that Amy was in the guest room if she wanted to check on her before going to sleep, and asked her about Philip and how the party ended, she told me that she handled the situation well, before I wished her good night and headed upstairs to my room.
I put my suit in the laundry and wrote a note to Mrs. Douglas to inform Thomas, the driver, to bring it to the Laundromat tomorrow morning.
That night, I barely slept. I was thinking about Amy, about how everything started between us, how we fell in love, and how I reacted after knowing the truth about who her father was.
It must be half past six in the morning when I decided to go downstairs and check up on Amy. I was walking down the stairs when Lisa and I met.
- “You’re already awake Lisa?”
- “Actually, I didn’t sleep last night Dad. I was the whole time with Amy. She wasn’t feeling okay ... and I don’t know why!”
- “Oh ... I am sorry to hear that. Is she feeling better now?”
- “I guess, she was sick almost all night long and now she is finally asleep ... I guess she feels a little bit better ”
- “Do you want me to call a doctor?”
- “No need for one. She’s going to be alright. She needs some rest, that’s all. Going to sleep for a little while.”
- “Lisa ... no need to go to work today, I will take care of that. I will inform Philip that something came up and you two have to take the day off.”
- “But !”
I cutt her off adding, “I have a better idea. Today none of you will go to work ... we’ll go sailing in Esperanza!”
Lisa looked at me puzzled for a short moment not knowing exactly how to react nor what to say to what I was proposing.
She missed Esperanza surely, for it’s been ages since she didn’t go to the harbor after thr incident that took place a few years ago.
- ” Dad, I really would like to go, but I don’t think Mom would appreciate it! I mean if she knows about this, she will be very pissed”
- “I know, she surely won’t know about it,because it will be our secret. Are you in, Lisa?” I winked at her, waiting for her agreement.
- “Are you serious? You mean I can come on board another time after what happened?”
- “Yes, you got it! I think it’s high time to be on board again.”
I smiled warmly at my daughter.
- ” Sounds good. Thank you Dad.” Her voice full of excitement and enthusiasm.
- “Go and have some sleep now. I will wake you up in a few hours.”
She smiled at me, kissed me on the cheek before heading upstairs to her bedroom.
After Lisa left, I rushed to where Amy was to check up on her quickly, she was sleeping and didn’t notice I was nearby, watching over her for little time, before I decided to have breakfast.
Later, I headed to the beach for about half an hour before giving some time to the girls to get themselves prepared.
I took Max and Cookie with me to the beach. That morning, we were the only ones to wander about there, as the view was breathtaking watching early shades of light spread all over the remote horizon, melting away into the blue of the sky to finally be welcomed by the blue of the sea.
I swam for about half an hour then went back home. Mrs. Douglas was cleaning the living room when I came back. I asked her if the girls were awake. She said they were still sleeping. I told her to wake them up and get themselves prepared to go out with me.
Meanwhile, I went to my room to shower and get myself prepared for what was supposed to be a good day ahead of us, just Amy, Lisa and I.
I was thrilled to spend time with my daughter as well.
I hope that Amy and I will try to speak about what happened yesterday at Philip’s and try to figure out a plan to help her speak to her father.
While I was showering, flashbacks from my past started to surface, making me remember
what Lisa just told me earlier about whether she could come onto Esperanza another time or not.
I still remember that incident that took place six years ago when Lisa was fourteen and George was only seven.
We decided to go to the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park in Esperanza.
We decided to spend the day sailing in the deep blue with two friends of mine, Sam and Eddy, who know that area better than me. The two of them were captains and often visited that area of the Pacific Ocean. We decided to spend two nights on that island before coming back to the harbor.
We enjoyed ourselves a lot and then on our way back to Santa Barbara harbor, we almost witnessed death in front of our eyes.
It was summer back then and the weather was sunny yet a bit windy that day. Sam, Eddy, Carla and I were spending time together speaking about a variety of topics, Jason was having a nap in one of the cabins while Lisa and George were playing hide and seek.
Everything was going great until all I could remember was Lisa screaming George’s name.
As we all rushed to where Lisa was standing, our eyes drifted away to see George drowning in the deep water.
After that everything speeded up and all I can remember was my arms wrapped around my son’s body, as I could feel his heartbeat.
Hopefully, George was saved in the nick of time and didn’t die.
Lisa, instead, got traumatized as she witnessed how her little brother just fell down in front of her, and from where she was standing, she couldn’t do anything to save him.
He stumbled in one of the ropes and was projected outside the boat. Lisa screamed his name out, wailed and felt herself guilty for what happened to George that day. She wasn’t the only one feeling guilty, Carla and I felt guilty as were Sam and Eddy.
After that incident onboard, my wife Carla forbade my children to go on Esperanza another time and since then, nobody came back to the harbor. None of them except me.
I was the only one who wanted to come back to Esperanza. That boat meant a lot to me despite the bad event that took place years ago.
As for Carla, she begged me to sell Esperanza because of what could have happened to our son if we hadn’t managed to save him. She called it the cursed boat, and hated it from that day on.
It wasn’t cursed for me instead. It was a heritage that I owned from my father. It was my father’s gift for my mother, the woman he didn’t stop loving. That boat reminded me of my childhood, where we used to spend some time with my brothers and sisters sailing in the deep sea with our parents.
I couldn’t imagine myself selling such a family heritage. Esperanza was and is still a shelter for me. It was that place I would go to, each time I wasn’t feeling myself well. I could spend time there watching the sea, watching the waves tangling together for long hours and mediating.
Mediating about my life; that life I had; the fact that I got married at an early age with a young lady I barely knew; the fact that I was obligated to marry Carla because I had to be part of the family business; the fact that I thought I had real feelings for my wife which appeared to be not as strong enough as I though.
Carla had always been a good friend to me. I thought I was in love with her until I met Amy.
I thought I loved her until I felt what love really meant. I felt always a need to go to Esperanza and think about all what was happening to me. I had to have some time for myself to question my doubts and find answers to my fears.
For now, I had to get rid of that bad incident that happened six years ago and think of the lovely day we would spend onboard all together.
It should be a good day. I thought out loud.
It has to be a good one.
After about half an hour, I met with the girls in the living room. I felt that Amy didn’t want to come but was obliged to. She seemed a bit tired and it was all due to the quantity of wine she drank last night.
- “Good morning girls ! How are you feeling today? Better Amy? ” I looked at Lisa before turning to look at Amy.
- “We’re good. I told Amy about today plan. We’re ready Dad.” Lisa informed me.
- ” I’d like to...apologize to you Mr. Richardson for what happened yesterday evening at Mr. Johnson’s. I shouldn’t have--”
I cut her off right away as I didn’t want her to further explain herself in front of Lisa. She seemed very upset and I was the only one knowing the real reason behind the confusion in her eyes. It wasn’t something easy to handle. Knowing that your boss is your biological father. Not easy to cope with at all.
I am here baby. I am going to help you as I told you yesterday. You are not alone. Everything will be fine Amy, just trust me.
And by the way, it is me who has to be apologizing for all the pain I have caused you. I didn’t mean to upset you or hurt you. What happened had to happen somehow; Otherwise, I would have never known about the truth, I mean that Philip was your father. But now that I know, I promise you everything will be fine.
This is what I wanted to tell her. What my eyes were telling her, but she wasn’t looking at me, she kept avoiding my glances.
I wouldn’t blame her for that.
She had the right to be upset at me after all the stupid things I told her last night.
- ” No need to explain yourself Amy. You were feeling bad and needed some distractions. We got that. A thing you shouldn’t have done, not only for being a guest at Philip’s, but also for trying to get rid of your problems by drinking alcohol, which is not good at all and I presume you know that very well, don’t you? ”
I lectured her.
I know maybe I shouldn’t have done that because I wasn’t allowed to. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that because Lisa was with us. I was unable to think of this anymore. What should I say or shouldn’t I say to her.
Neverthless, I needed to lecture her. I needed to tell her the words she should have listened to yesterday evening. I had to tell her because I didn’t like seeing her intoxicated, drinking too much to deal with her struggle.
No, I didn’t like that. Not at all.
She must hate me right now for telling her my deepest thoughts.
I don’t give a shit. I’d better tell her that, than keep it to myself.
Hell yes. I had to do what I had to do.
Lisa remained silent, looking blankly at me as she didn’t know what to say to defend her friend. At the same time, she perfectly knew that what I had told Amy was the truth.
Amy, on the other hand, was looking at me now. Her hazel eyes didn’t get away from mine as her eyes darkened at the way I lectured her.
I knew she didn’t like that, but I didn’t care.
- ” What matters now, is today! And today is going to be a great day, we’re going to the harbor, to Esperanza, and we’re going to enjoy ourselves! I’ve already called Philip and informed him that you won’t be coming today ”
I announced and smiled at both of them, trying to easy things up.
After we arrived to the harbor and got in Esperanza. Lisa was showing the boat to Amy who was pretending to discover each part of it as if it was her first visit here.
She was looking at me from time to time and I felt somehow relieved because I assumed that it meant she missed me.
I took care of sailing while they were getting tanned. From where I was standing, I could watch at them talking and enjoying themselves. We sailed for about some time now then I decided that it was high time we had lunch. I anchored the boat before we prepared all together pasta and a salad, then Lisa went outside to set the table while Amy and I finished preparing the meal.
I waited for my daughter to go outside then started to speak in a low voice,
- “I would like to apologize again for what I told you yesterday at Philip’s. I didn’t mean to hurt you”
She looked at me without saying a word then carried on with mixing the salad.
- “Amy, I’m talking to you. The least thing you can do is answer me !” I whispered in a low voice.
- “I just don’t want to remember what you told me yesterday ! And most importantly, what you told me earlier in front of Lisa. You could have told me that in private! ” she hissed.
- “I did it on purpose because I didn’t like what you did yesterday. Now enough talking about earlier! how long will you keep giving me the cold shoulder?”
- ” I don’t know, we’ll see ”
her lips slightly lifted up, showing a smile on the curves of her lips.
She liked to play with me, keeping me distant yet so close. She needed little time to let things go.
Once Lisa came back inside, she finished helping Amy with the salad while I finished preparing pasta, before we all headed outside to get seated and have lunch.