Chapter 30

Howie had tried to call AJ’s house while he waited but had gotten the answering machine which only served to put him on edge once more.  Now as the plane made its way through the darkening skies, he stared out the window wondering if he was already a daddy.  Sarah had been afraid that something would happen while he was gone.  What if it had been instinct, a woman’s intuition that had told her to be worried and not her hormones?  He’d fussed at her for being a brat.  He’d never forgive himself if something had happened to her.

“Stop it, damnit.  She’s okay,” he told himself.  ”You talked to her earlier and she was fine. Kevin was right, AJ would have called if something had happened.”

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his wallet and opened it to the picture he kept of Sarah.  His mind wandered through his memories of their time together.  Someone had once told him to find a new way to love her every day; advice he had taken to heart and tried to live by ever since, even when she aggravated him to no end. 

“Is that your wife?” asked a kind voice over his shoulder.

Startled, Howie looked up to see the stewardess standing beside him.  “Yeah, it is,” he answered, a love-sick smile on his face.

“How long have you been away from her?”

Howie blushed.  “You’re going to think I’m crazy but…only for the day.  I flew to Huntsville this morning for a business meeting and I’m headed home now.”

“You must love her a great deal.”

“She’s my world.”

“Any children?”

“We have a daughter by Sarah….” Seeing the stewardess get a puzzled look, he explained, “That’s my wife.  Jesse is her daughter by her first marriage but I adopted her and Sarah is pregnant with twins now.  That’s why I’m anxious to get home.”

“When is she due?” asked the stewardess as she sat in the empty seat across the aisle from Howie.

“End of February but the doctor put her to bed at the first of the year because she had started to dilate.  She had a check-up today, the first one I’ve missed, and I feel like a heel.”

“I’m sure she understands.  Is she alone?”

“No, my best friend is with her at his house and he took her to the doctor for me.  Are we going to be delayed landing?  I had promised her I’d be home for dinner but that’s not going to happen.”

The stewardess smiled as the ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ sign dinged on.  “We’re making our final approach now and we’ll be on the ground in about ten minutes.  Your wife is a very lucky lady to have someone who loves her the way you do.”

“Thank you but we’re both blessed to have each other.”  Howie realized that the stewardess had distracted him to help pass the time and he reached over to take her hand.  “And thank you for passing the time.”

“You’re welcome and my name is Shelia.”

“I’m …..”

“I know who you are, Mr. Dorough.  My daughter is a fan.”

“Please, call me Howie then.”

“Howie then.  As soon as you clear the door, you can cut your cell phone back on.  I’ll bet there’s a message from Sarah waiting for you,” reassured Shelia as she patted his arm.  “I need to get back to my post.”

“Thank you again, Shelia,” smiled Howie as she went back to the stewardess’ station.  Looking once more at his picture of Sarah, he said softly, “I’m on my way, ‘Angel’,” and he put his wallet back in his pocket.

The landing was smooth and Shelia came to get Howie so that he could leave first as soon as they were ready to let the passengers off.  Before he left, he got Shelia’s address so that he could mail her daughter a picture to thank her for all she had done.

Stepping off the plane, he pulled his cell phone out, cut it on, and sure enough, there was a new voice message.  He smiled as he pressed the button to listen and started walking.

“Hey, ‘D’…sorry I missed your call.  Stop worrying… and yes, I can hear it in your voice.  I’m perfectly fine.  Alex has been great with Jesse and don’t worry about dinner, Denise is fixing something.  We’ll see you when you get here.  I love you!”

Deleting the message, Howie slipped the phone back in his pocket and hurried through the airport to get his car.  He had a beautiful woman waiting for him and he ached to tell her just how much he loved her.

Chapter 31            Index