Identity Series Book 2: I Am Sarah

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Chapter 30

I was standing on the bow of the Rebecca, practically dancing in anticipation despite the cold of the spray in my face and the snow in the air. I was bundled up in a heavy, waterproof coat that almost reached my feet. At any moment, according to George, we should be able to see the Statue of Liberty, which meant that we were home, albeit a little later than we had expected.

We had left Ireland on the first of November. Erik had spent innumerable hours trying to find out if he had any relatives in Cork, but his search was fruitless. I couldn’t tell if he was disappointed or not. He never said anything other than the results of his search.

The crew came back to Cork the last day of October after touring the island for a month and a half. Erik had insisted on paying for their trip—a bonus, he called it. We met them at the boat the morning after they got back, and we started our month-long trip across the Atlantic. For the most part, the weather cooperated, but there was a three-day time period where we’d had to drop anchor and ride out a storm somewhere east of the Caribbean. Other than that and the increasing cold as we traveled north up the coast of America, we didn’t have any problems except for my expanding waistline.

Sheryl and I had spent several days altering my wardrobe as my belly grew bigger, and I was beginning to feel like a cow. Erik, however, took every possible moment to tell me how beautiful I was, and he had even gone so far as to draw numerous pictures of me, some of them being less than modest depictions.

“Those are for me alone,” he’d said as justification of creating them. “No one else will ever see them, I promise.” When I’d argued that he shouldn’t even have drawn them, he had countered with, “Then Rodin shouldn’t have sculpted his ‘The Age of Bronze’ or Michelangelo his ‘David’ sculpture? There’s nothing wrong with nude art, Sarah. Especially when the artist has such a perfect model to work from.” His grin had silenced all my complaints after that.

“I wish it weren’t so wet up here,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me from behind. As always, his hands rested on my not-insignificant belly.


“Because I’d really like to draw you right now. You look stunning.”

It was at that moment that the little one within me decided to make his presence known with a violent kick or elbow jab or something. Erik chuckled and rubbed the spot where contact had been made.

“Active little fellow, isn’t he?”

“You have no idea,” I mumbled. Not only did I feel like a cow, I also felt like a punching bag. “Our child seems to think that performing acrobatics inside me is a perfect way to spend the hours from midnight to two in the morning. Every morning.” Erik laughed and tightened his arms around me.

“Look,” he said, pointing.

I grinned as Lady Liberty materialized in front of us, and I bounced on my toes. We were only a few miles from the marina and only an hour or so from home. I couldn’t wait to start turning Erik’s sterile apartment into something we could raise children in, and since it was December second, it was also time to start preparing for our first Christmas. I already knew what I was going to get Erik.

“We’re home,” I said, and I turned around, gave him a quick kiss, and scurried below decks, his laughter following me the entire way.

“Sheryl! I saw her!”

Sheryl turned from the counter and grinned. “Glad to be home?”

“You have no idea.” I took off the coat and draped it over a chair. “Are you sure you don’t want any help packing up?”

“No, I’ve got it. You just get ready to go home. We’ll take care of everything here.”

I rushed to her and hugged her tightly. “Thank you, Sheryl, for everything.”

She squeezed and then let me go and placed her hand on my belly. “You take care of your boys, now, hear me? Both of them.” We had all gotten in the habit of calling our baby a boy. I wasn’t sure what would happen if it turned out to be a girl.

“I will, and so will this one’s Aunt Sheryl and Uncle Xavier, right?”

“Not to mention Uncle Jared, Uncle Brice, and Uncle George,” she laughed. “You don’t think those three would let themselves be left out, do you?”

“Of course not, and I would never let that happen. You are all family now.” I smiled and kissed her cheek before entering our cabin. I changed into a warm, green, ankle-length woolen dress, and I was fixing my hair when Erik came in.

“We’re pulling into the marina, Sarah,” he said, leaning against the doorframe.

I stood up and looked at him. He had changed earlier, and he looked resplendent in a black wool suit with a red and blue striped tie. He had a small smile on his face, and when I returned it, he closed the distance between us and kissed me soundly before reaching into the closet and pulling out my black cloak and his overcoat. He helped me put the cloak on, put his coat on, and then said, “Let’s go home.”

“Yes, please,” I said, and he smiled. He took my hand, and we were walking up the stairs when a jolt told me we had docked. When we got on deck, George and Brice were giving directions to several men on the dock, tossing down ropes and doing other things I didn’t understand. As soon as Erik cleared his throat, though, they stopped what they were doing and looked at him.

“I just wanted to thank you all for everything you’ve done for us since this voyage started,” Erik said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better crew or for better friends. I also want you to know that any of you are welcome at our home at any time.”

I nodded my agreement as everyone surrounded us, handshakes, hugs, and well wishes going around. At one point, George took Erik aside and said something to him that I didn’t catch, but Erik nodded and answered, “Yes, sir, I understand.” George said something else and glanced at me. Erik said, “Yes, sir, I promise,” and shook George’s hand firmly. Then he turned to me and held out his hand. I gave everyone a last hug and walked to him, slipping my hand into his. He smiled brightly and led me down the gangplank.

The workers all nodded to us respectfully and went back to whatever it was they were doing. The snow was falling lightly, but there was already at least two inches along docks that no one had crossed in a while, and I shivered. Erik let go of my hand, put his arm around my shoulder, and pulled me close.


“A little. I’m not used to this weather yet.”

He chuckled as we walked through the marina toward the street. “Don’t worry. The car should already be warmed up. Sebastian said he’d have it ready to go.”

Sure enough, a few minutes later, we saw our friend leaning against the Spyder. The engine was running, and when he saw us, a smile stretched across his face. I pulled out of Erik’s embrace and hurried as fast as possible toward him. I threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly.

“Sebastian! I missed you!”

He hugged me back. “And I you, Sarah.” Then he held me at arm’s length. “Let me look at you.” He glanced at my belly, his smile still bright, and then he looked at Erik who had stopped behind me. Sebastian let me go and held out his hand. Erik shook it as our friend said, “Congratulations, Erik. You’ll make a great father.”

“Thank you, Sebastian. Is everything ready?”

Sebastian looked affronted for a moment, but his lips twitched, and I could tell he was trying not to smile again. “Of course it is! What, did you think I wouldn’t make sure everything was perfect for your homecoming? That’s insulting!”

Erik laughed. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just checking.”

Chuckling, Sebastian opened the passenger door of the car. “Allow me, Mrs. Desmond,” he said, bowing formally.

“Why, thank you, Mr. Holdaway,” I replied as I carefully got in. “You are too kind.”

He laughed and shut the door. It was wonderfully warm inside once the door was closed, and I watched as Erik and Sebastian talked for a few moments. Then Sebastian gave my husband something, and they shook hands again before our friend walked into the marina. When Erik got in, I asked, “What did he give you?”

Erik glanced at me with a smile. “You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”

He pulled out onto the street. I was expecting him to turn south when we reached Central Park, but he turned north instead.


“Yes, sweetheart?”

“Where are we going?”

He glanced at me as he merged into the traffic on Central Park West. “Home. I thought you knew that.”

I raised my eyebrows at him, and he smiled. “Erik?”


“Home is the other way.”

“Not anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

He just grinned. “You may as well settle in, Sarah. It’s a long drive.”

I tried to get him to tell me more, but he just said it was a surprise. We crossed over to Long Island and steadily made our way northeast. The snow was still falling, and it was beautiful. The route Erik drove took us through Brooklyn and Queens, along the northern coast of Long Island past Hempstead and Huntington. All told, it took over an hour before he turned off the main road in Northport.

“That,” he said, pointing to the left and then the right, “is Northport Bay, and that is Long Island Sound.”

We were driving on a narrow stretch of land that led to what was practically an island.

“Erik, where are we?”

“Asharoken, New York.” He pulled into a circular driveway and stopped in front of a house built partially of red brick and partially of stone with a gray slate roof. He looked at me, and his eyes sparkled. “Home.”


He got out of the car and opened my door. Taking my hand, he led me to the front door. I was overwhelmed. The house was stunning—two stories with white trim around the windows and doors, ivy covering a good portion of one wall I could see, and two red brick chimneys jutting up to the sky. I looked around, and saw what looked like stables off to our left and a small cottage to our right. There were so many trees that I felt like I was in Central Park. There were oak and maple and others that I didn’t know. They were all bare, but snow clung to the empty branches, and I felt like I was in a storybook, a princess coming home to her castle.

We got to the front door, and Erik unlocked and opened it. Then he turned to me and ran his hands up and down my arms. “Sarah? Tell me you like it.”

I looked at him, and tears formed at the uncertainty in his gaze. I smiled up at him and said, “Erik, I love it. It’s beautiful, but you didn’t have to do this.”

He grinned, and my heart skipped a beat at the joy on his face. He didn’t answer me but instead lifted me into his arms.

“Erik, what are you doing?”

“What do you mean? I’m carrying you over the threshold. It’s tradition.”

I laughed, and he stepped into our new home. He set me down and shut the door. “Welcome home, Mrs. Desmond,” he said, and then he kissed me. I clung to him as the kiss deepened, and then he pulled back. “Shall I give you the tour?” he said with a smile.

“Definitely,” I answered.

There were five bedrooms and a large room upstairs with east- and south-facing windows that had been set up as Erik’s studio. On the first floor, every room had floor-to-ceiling windows or doors, and on the second floor, the windows were almost that tall. The master bedroom had a fireplace, and there were already a cradle and crib in the nursery next to it. At the back of the house were employees’ quarters with three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a small kitchen. Erik said that he didn’t want me to have to do everything around the house, so the next day, we would start interviewing for a housekeeper, a groundskeeper, and a cook.

The house was completely furnished, and when I asked Erik about it, he said that Sebastian and Abigail had taken care of everything. All of my personal belongings had been brought from my father’s home, and Erik’s had been brought from his apartment. The items from the Rebecca would arrive the next day.

An hour later, we were standing in the enclosed back patio, looking out the tall windows toward Duck Island Harbor. A pier stretched out into the water, and I envisioned our children sitting on it, feet dangling over the edge and fishing poles in hand. The snow had stopped, and the yard was covered in an unbroken sheet of white. Erik was standing behind me, his hands resting on my belly, and I leaned back into him.

“Why?” I asked.

He shifted one arm to wrap around my chest. “Why what?”

“Why did you buy this house? What was wrong with your apartment?”

“I didn’t want to raise our child in an office building, Sarah. Yes, my apartment was fine for me, but not for a family.”

“What did you do with it?”

“The apartment? Sebastian is going to stay there. At least for the time being.” He chuckled. “I gave him a great rate on the rent.”

“Will you still have your gallery there?”

“Yes, that won’t change. I’ll still go into the City for business meetings and for my showings, but our children will breathe the fresh ocean air and be able to run around outside without fear of being hit by a car.” He sighed contentedly. “I want our children to have everything I never had, Sarah, and this is a start.”

I turned in his arms. “They will already have something you didn’t have, Erik. A father who loves them dearly.”

He smiled and kissed me again. “What did I ever do to deserve you?” he asked.

“You’re a good person, Erik. You deserve every good thing that happens to you. I keep telling you this.”

“I know you do, and I think I believe it.” He took my hand and led me into the living room where a fire was blazing in the fireplace. He sat me down on the couch. “Relax, and I’ll make something for supper.”

I laughed. “You? Cook?”

He grinned. “No. Abigail cooked a week’s worth of food. I think I can manage to heat something up.” He disappeared into the kitchen, and I stared into the fire, thinking about how blessed I was to have found Mr. Erik Desmond.

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