Christmas With Family

Chirstmas With Family
Sequel to Flight To Paradise
By Sarah
Chapter 4

        Sarah paced back and forth in her bedroom, waiting for Brian to get back with Nick from the airport.  She was going to go herself, or even go with Brian, but he insisted that she stay and watch Brian and Katie for the morning, then heíd take them for the afternoon.  Sarah glanced at the clock for what seemed like the hundredth time.
        "Come on, Brian, Nickís flight gets in at ten, not twelve," Sarah said anxiously.  She heard a car door slam and rushed to the window, but relaxed when she saw it was Harold, coming back from the grocery store with Jackie.  Sarah continued pacing until the phone rang.
        "Sarah?  What was Brianís phone call all about?"  Kevin asked.
Sarahís eyebrows furrowed in confusion.  "What phone call?"
        "He called me this morning, waking the entire house up, saying that there was a major problem and that I should be there at two this afternoon.  Whatís going on?"
        Sarahís eyes widened.  "Umm, Kevin, donít mind the message, its nothing.  Just stay home today, Iíll talk to Brian and weíll call you either later today or tomorrow, ok?"
        "Sure, I guess, are you sure nothingís wrong?"  Kevin asked.
        Sarah bit her lip as she walked to the window and saw Brianís car pull up in front of the house.  "Positive.  Listen, I have to go, Iíll talk to you later."
        "Ok, bye."
        Sarah hung up the phone and tossed it on the bed, hurrying downstairs.  She reached the door as Nick walked in with Brian, Nick carrying a sleeping Maggie.
        Sarah led him quietly to the guestroom theyíd set up for him and he laid Maggie on the bed, covering her with a light cover.  Sarah led Nick out of the room and into the living room where she finally got a good look at him.
        "Oh, Nick, Iím so sorry," Sarah said, giving him a hug.
        Nick practically fell forward, leaning on Sarah as tears started pouring down his face.  "She just left me, Sarah, she left me a note and said goodbye without even seeing me," he said.
        Sarah helped him sit down and calmed him down.  He finally decided, after an hour and a half of talking, that heíd go lie down and get some rest, seeming as he didnít get any the night before.  Sarah watched him go and sat exhaustedly in the recliner as Brian came in.
        "I canít believe this is happening," Brian said.
        Sarah shook her head and got up as Brian gestured for her to stand, then sat back down as he pulled her on his lap.
        "Heís taking it hard, he really loved Sheryl, and after only a few years of marriage, its surprising that she didnít include him on this.  She mustíve felt very strongly about this, otherwise she wouldíve done something to try to cure it," Sarah said, leaning her head on Brianís chest, relaxing as he stroked her hair.
        "I just canít believe its Nicky, I mean, out of everyone, he and Sheryl were the happiest when they got married.  Hell, they nearly eloped for Godís sake!  But now, Iím wondering if they were ever really made for each other like we all thought they were," Brian said, his voice taking on a pensive tone.
        Sarah nodded and looked up at Brian.  "What I donít understand is why she did it at such a horrible time.  I mean, he had no one around him.  His parents in LA, BJ in Europe again, Leslie in Australia, Aaron in Canada, and Angel in New York.  The whole Carter family is strewn across the globe and she chooses now to break the news to him, when she knew it would hit him hardest.  Nick is so broken up about it, Iím surprised Maggie hasnít sensed it yet.  He told me that when Sheryl dropped Maggie off at Day Care yesterday, Maggie said she gave her a big hug, started to cry, and said goodbye like she never had before.  She was saying goodbye to her daughter, Brian, and she never said goodbye to her husband, the one man sheís supposed to love for eternity.  The one man youíre supposed to love, cherish, honor, and be with until you die.  She threw away a life that could never be matched and now Nick is hurting more than heís ever known and he has no one that understands," Sarah said, her voice growing louder with each word, her emotions taking over her.
        "Shh, shh," Brian said, stopping her from continuing.  He rocked back and forth with her slowly and rubbed her back.  "Honey, I know you care about Nick a lot and I know you hate seeing him so upset and hurt, but bashing Sherylís name wonít help.  We just have to accept it and go on with out lives.  As hard as thatís going to be for Nick, he has to go on with his life."  Brianís voice gradually softened until it was almost a whisper and Sarah looked up at him.
        "Heís like my best friend, Brian, my brother, and heís hurting in ways only a few people can understand," she said, feeling a tear roll down her face.
        Brian kissed away the tear and then kissed her forehead.  "I know, baby, I know."
        Sarah was sitting in Brianís lap for a long time, until the phone interrupted them.
        "Hello?  Oh, hey, AJ, howís everything?"  Brian said, answering the phone.  He nodded and looked down at Sarah, who smiled.
        "Where are you now, AJ?"  She said into the mouthpiece.
        Brianís mouth dropped open and Sarah looked at him quizzically.  "What?  Whatís wrong?"  She asked.
        Brian handed her the phone and Sarah held it to her ear.  "Where are you AJ?"  She asked again.
        "I am approximately ten miles from Brianís as we speak.  I wasnít going to miss Christmas with everyone this year, no way," AJ said, excited.
        "Youíre kidding!"  Sarah exclaimed.
        "Nope, expect me in about a half-hour if these directions I have are correct."
        "Um, ok, see you then!"
        "Bye, Sarah!"
        Sarah hung up the phone and looked at Brian, pushing his jaw closed with one finger.  "Heís on his way," she said.
        Brian smiled and shook his head.  "I know that AJ is known for surprises, but this definitely tops them all."
Sarah nodded and stood up, holding her hands out to Brian and helping him stand.  "Iíll say.  Thatís two down, one to go.  Whereís Howie?"  She asked.
        Brian shrugged.  "I donít know.  The last letter I got from him, he was in Spain producing for an album compilation of the latest Latin stars.  Heís having fun, he and Sonya had a baby, too."
        "Really?  Thatís great, do you know if itís a boy or a girl?"  Sarah asked.
        Brian shrugged again.  "Havenít the slightest.  The letter was from when she was about four months pregnant, so their child would be about six months old, now.  He or she wasnít born too long after Katie."
        Sarah nodded and gave Brian a hug, then walked into the empty kitchen, pouring herself a glass of water.
She walked slowly to the back window, looking outside at the big backyard and at Brian while he ran around in circles, holding up a toy airplane.  Jackie and Harold were on the deck, laughing and talking while their grandson made airplane noises.  Jackie was holding Katie, who was lying on her stomach, fast asleep.  Sarah smiled, remembering when Brian was first born and Brian took over the job of the proud father.
        Sarah woke up to silence, the first in many days.  Brian was a slightly unfortunate baby, he had the worst case of the colic any doctor in Orlando had ever seen and he was almost always crying.  But, for some reason, there was no noise in the house that morning.  Sarah got out of bed and wrapped herself in her robe before walking downstairs.  She searched the ground floor and finally found Brian in the living room, holding his son on his chest, both fast asleep.  She smiled and got out the camera, taking a quick picture before the moment was ruined, then went upstairs and back to bed, falling asleep immediately.
        Sarah put the empty glass in the sink and walked upstairs to the room she and Brian were sharing.  She pulled the small photo album that she brought with her to show Jackie and opened it, leafing through the pages.  One of the first pictures was the picture of Brian and his son fast asleep on the couch.  Sarah turned the page and smiled at another picture of Brian and baby Brian.
        "Come on, Brian, say, ĎDadaí.  Come on, ĎDadaí," Brian said, speaking slowly.
Sarah chuckled as she walked in the room.  "Brian, heís not going to talk, heís too young."
        "Heíll talk, I know it, just give him a chance," Brian said, waving his hand to her.  "Come on, Bri, say it for Mommy.  ĎDa-daí," Brian said, separating the word into two syllables.
        Little Brian looked up from his toy truck and looked curiously at his father, almost contemplating what would happen if he said the word.
        "Do it for Mommy, Bri-Bri, say Dada," Brian repeated, looking into his sonís eyes.
        Baby Brianís eyes suddenly lit up and he looked at Sarah.  "Mommy!"  He exclaimed, holding out his arms.
        Sarah laughed as Brian sat back, a shocked look on his face.  She walked forward and picked little Brian up off the floor and gave him the cookie she had in her hand.
        "Never underestimate the power of a cookie, Littrell," she said, still laughing.
        Sarah smiled and turned the page again, coming to another picture, one of Brian and Brian, both of them wearing Santa outfits and grinning widely at the camera.  It was a Christmas present to Sarah when Brian was about two, right before Sarah had Katie.
        ĎIn fact, that was exactly three months before I had Katie,í Sarah thought.  ĎFebruary nineteenth, the day before Brianís birthday.  Imagine his surprise when I gave him a daughter as a birthday present,í she said to herself, chuckling.
        Sarah turned another page and found a picture of her and little Brian together, he was sitting on her lap, proudly holding out a gift wrapped box for his father, leaning back against Sarahís large stomach.
        ĎOh, I felt like I was going to pop that day,í she thought.  It was the day before she went into labor, two days before Brianís birthday, it was a pretend birthday party because she was going into the hospital on his birthday to have the baby.  ĎIt was ironic that I was due on Brianís birthday, very ironic.  Whoíd ever know?í
        "Hey, whatícha looking at?"  Brian asked as he walked in the room.
        Sarah looked up and smiled.  "The photo album I brought with me to show your mom.  I havenít showed it to her yet, but I know sheíll love it," she said.  She turned another page as Brian sat down next to her and started to laugh.
        "Hey, how did that one get in there?"  Brian exclaimed, pointing to a picture of him and little Brian in the small kiddie pool they set up in their backyard one summer.
        "I put it in there, silly.  I thought it was the funniest thing for you and Brian to be swimming in that thing, it was about a total of five inches of water, yet he still had a blast," Sarah said.
        "Daddy, watch!"  Brian exclaimed, stepping out of the kiddie pool.  He ran a few feet away from the pool, then turned around and ran towards it, jumping in and landing with a big splash.
        "Whoa!  Look at that, I think we have an Olympic swimmer in training here!"  Brian said, smiling at his son.
        "Whatís an olive pit swimmer?"  Brian asked innocently.
        Brian couldnít help but laugh and Sarah walked over, gathering her skirt as she squatted down next to them.
        "Whatís so funny?"  She asked, fingering her husbandís slightly pink nose, smiling at the sunburn that was forming after only a few hours outside.
        "Daddy said that Iím an olive pit swimmer in training, Mommy, and he started laughing at me," Brian said, crossing his arms and pouting.
        Sarah managed to keep a straight face by glaring at Brian.  "Brian, apologize to your son, he doesnít realize," she said sternly.
        "Iím sorry, Brian, its justÖ" Brian trailed off into another fit of laughter and Sarah shook her head.
        "Thatís it, sorry baby, but Daddyís going to his room for the rest of the day," Sarah said, hitting Brian lightly on the back of the head.
        "Hey, Iím getting punished?"  Brian asked, his laughter ceasing.
        "Yes, I canít believe you would laugh at our two year old son simply because he doesnít know the difference!"
        Brian reached over and pulled her into the pool, sitting her on his lap.  "Now what do you say, Mommy?"  He asked simply.
        Sarah tried to get up.  "My God, Brian, I am soaked!"  She exclaimed, struggling against his strong hands as they held her in place.
        "Not yet you arenít.  Hey Brian, show Mommy what you can do," Brian said, smiling at his son.  He watched as Brian hurried away from the pool, then ran back, jumping in and making a big splash, drenching Sarah thoroughly.
        "You are dead, Littrell, you are so dead," Sarah muttered, struggling against him to stand up.
        Brian smiled and pulled Sarah back into his lap, pulling her head to his.  "I love you when youíre angry," he whispered against her lips.  He kissed her softly and pulled her closer to him.
        "Ohh, Mommy, Daddy won the fight!"  Brian exclaimed, interrupting him.
        Sarah and Brian broke away and Sarah blushed.  "Brian, what did you just say?"
        "Daddy said that whenever you two fight and youíre gonna make up, you kiss and whoever kisses the other first won the fight," Brian explained, playing with his toy boat.
        Sarah turned her head to her husband, who was looking down and blushing.  "Uh, is that the phone I hear ringing?"  He asked.  He got up quickly, leaving Sarah by the pool, until she recovered and ran after him.
        Sarah laughed.  "That certainly was an interesting night," she said, turning the page.
        Brian smiled and leaned forward, kissing her neck.  "Iíll say," he mumbled, kissing down her neck and onto her shoulder.
        Sarah closed her eyes and tilted her head to the side, letting him have better access to her shoulder.  She felt his kisses last longer, softly sucking on spots where her clothes would normally hide, and then felt his lips travel to hers.  She kissed him, lightly at first, then more deeply as she got involved in it.  She dropped the photo album on the floor and placed her hands on Brianís shoulders as he made her lie back on the bed, crawling on top of her.  She felt him start on the buttons of her shirt when someone knocked on the door.
        "Uh, coming!"  Sarah called, crawling out from underneath Brian.  She left him on the bed and hurried to the door, fixing her shirt and skirt before opening the door.
        "Sarah, AJís here, and heís taken a liking to Katie, I take it he hasnít seen her?"  Jackie asked.
        Sarah shook her head and blushed slightly, walking out of the room and closing the door behind her.  "No, um, he knew I had Katie, but he never saw her, heís been away since last Fourth of July, that was when I first found out I was pregnant with her."  She explained as they walked downstairs together.  She smiled as she walked into the foyer and saw AJ holding Katie in his arms, rocking back and forth with her, humming quietly.
        "Hey, AJ," she said quietly, walking over to him.
        "Hey, thereís the little sister I know," he said, hugging her with one arm, still holding Katie with his other. "Sheís beautiful," he said, pulling away and looking down at Katie.
        "Isnít she?  Sheís such a sweet baby, Brian always calls her Daddyís little girl," Sarah said.
        AJ smiled and looked up at her.  "Whatís Katie short for?"
        Sarah smiled.  "Kathryn Jacqueline Littrell."
        AJ looked past Sarah and smiled.  "I knew they couldnít resist naming their daughter after Brianís mom," he said.
        Sarah turned her head and saw Jackie standing there, her eyes brimming with tears.  "Everytime I remember that, I feel so touched."
        Sarah smiled and took Katie out of AJ's arms and started walking with her slowly to the stairs.  "Well, you should, we named her that for a reason.  Iíll go get Brian, stay here," she said.  She walked up the stairs and into her bedroom, seeing Brian lying on the bed.
        "About time you got back here, I want to finish what we started," he said, walking over to her and kissing her forehead.
        "We canít, Brian, AJís here and Katieís sleeping and your mom is downstairs, along with your father and brother, and Nick is here too, with his daughter.  We canít, plain and simple," Sarah said with regret, walking to the crib that was set up near the window.  She placed Katie in and covered her with a light blanket, watching her sleep.
        "But Sarah, we havenít been together for so long," Brian said, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist.  Sarah felt his lips kissing her neck lightly, traveling to her shoulder slowly.
        "Brian, as much as I want to, we canít," Sarah said.
        Brian pulled her closer to him, pressing her back to his chest.  "But we havenít been together for nearly a year," he whispered, kissing the soft spot on the base of her neck.
        Sarah moaned quietly and closed her eyes, placing her hands on Brianís.  "Has it really been that long?"
        "Mm-mm," Brian replied, intensifying his kisses on her neck, moving to her collarbone and sucking harder than before.
        Sarahís mouth dropped open at the feel of his lips on her, but she knew they couldnít.  She pushed his head away from her and saw the pain in his eyes as he looked at her.
        "Iím sorry, baby, but we canít, you know we canít.  Maybe when we get home or some other time, when weíre alone, but not until then," she whispered, looking in his deep blue eyes and getting lost, only wanting him more.
        "I canít stand this, I canít have any alone time with you, weíre never together when we need to be, we never have anytime to spend on each other and no one else," Brian complained, walking away from her and running his hands through his hair.
        Sarah sighed and walking after him.  "I know, I know, but you know how much I wish we could have that kind of time.  We just donít, there isnít enough time in the day to see each other.  Oneís always rushing out the door while the other is on their way in.  Iím sorry, sweetie, I wish it could be different," she said, resting her hands on his shoulders and massaging them gently.  She worked her way down his back, feeling his tense muscles.  She leaned forward and kissed the back of his neck lightly, but backed away as she heard footsteps in the hall outside their room.  She hurried out of the room before she couldnít keep herself under control anymore.

Back   Next