Sarah finished the steak dinner provided by the hospital and leaned back into the pillows to watch Howie finish his. “That was pretty good for hospital food.”
“Mmmm….very good,” agreed Howie as he finished his. Moving the table tray out of the way, he moved up on the bed to sit closer to his wife taking her hands in his. “You look like you feel better…back to your old self.”
“I do feel better. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was.”
“Promise me you’ll take it easy when you get home….try to nap when the babies are napping.”
“Only if you promise not to slip the sleeping pills into my milk at night to get me to sleep.”
“How did you know?” questioned Howie surprised.
“I saw them in the kitchen.”
“And you didn’t say anything?”
“No, because you were doing what you thought was best.” Sarah tucked her head staring at her hands in his and in a shy, little girl voice, said, “’D’, you’ve been so good to me through all of this. Thank you for not telling me to take a hike when I totally frustrated you.”
Sarah’s timidity melted Howie. Lifting her hand to his lips, he placed a feathery kiss on the back. “’Angel’, you don’t need to thank me for anything. I love you and Caroline and Dwaine are a wonderful reward.”
Sarah leaned to him to give him a quick kiss. “You’re so wonderful.”
“So are you.”
“What did you do while I slept?” asked Sarah leaning back.
Howie let go of her hands to play with her hair. “I hung around here for a while until the guys showed up. We talked for a little while and then Mami brought Jesse.”
Fear gripped her knowing how scared Jesse was of something happening. “Is she okay?”
“She is now. I took her down to the nursery and she saw Caroline and Dwaine through the window and she sat with you for a little while. Then I took her home…”
“Our place or your mother’s?”
“Ours. I helped her with her homework and we worked on the nursery getting it perfect for Caroline and Dwaine.”
“She’s so excited to be a big sis,” smiled Sarah.
“Yeah, she is but she’s scared too,” Howie smiled. “I let her sleep with me and we spent some quality cuddle time.”
“Russell never would cuddle with her. He barely would change her diaper,” sighed Sarah. “I just hope everything she’s been through doesn’t harm her in the long run.”
“Don’t worry about your daughter. She has a LOT of you in her.” Running his finger along her jaw line, he stopped at her chin and tilted her face to kiss her. “She’s a beautiful, confident, independent young lady…just like you.”
“That could be a bad thing, you know,” pointed out Sarah.
“I think it’s a very good thing,” cooed Howie as he kissed her again softly. “Some guys like women like that.”
“Uh huh, and those guys are nuts,” whispered Sarah as she put her hands on the sides of his face.
Bestowing quick pecks on her lips, he said, “Really? You think I’m nuts?”
“You must be to put up with all the crap I’ve put you through,” answered Sarah as she ran her fingers through his hair.
“I’m nuts alright….nuts about you and I’d do it all again and again and again. I love you, Sarah Taylor Dorough.”
“You’re certifiable, Howard Dwaine Dorough, but I love you.”
“Let me go cut out the lights. We need some couple time and the lights just aren’t getting it.”
Sarah smiled as she watched Howie move to the door to cut out the lights and close the door.
As Howie came back to her, she asked, “So you spent time with out little princess.”
“Yeah, and I told her she could skip school tomorrow,” said Howie hesitantly, worried what Sarah was going to say about it.
“It’s fine. Where is she today?”
“Our little princess had her second date…”
“With Alex?” smirked Sarah.
“And Nick and Brian and Kevin. They were going to pick her up at school this afternoon and take her wherever she wanted to go.”
“Bet ya they ended up at Disney.”
“No bet there. She’s been begging to go ever since Christmas. Alex is going to let her spend the night with him and I’m gonna give him a call in the morning to let him know what’s going on.”
“What if Dr. Rowe doesn’t release Caroline and Dwaine?”
“If they aren’t released, you will be and she can help her Mami get settled.”
“Depends on Caroline and Dwaine. We’re going to stay at ‘J’s so that you’ll be close by and can come in to nurse.”
“Why can’t I just stay here?”
“Because you’ll be more comfortable at Alex’s where we can get a good night’s sleep…together…in the same bed…you snuggled in your safe place next to me….my arms holding you tight against me.” He ran his hand through her hair watching her.
“Sounds really nice.”
“Nice?! NICE?!” he said feigning indignation. “Is THAT what you think of being in the arms of the man of your dreams….the man that you have been dreaming of since you started dreaming of your perfect man?”
Sarah laughed, “Okay…it sounds perfect.”
“That’s better,” pouted Howie.
“Why don’t you move so you can hold me now?”
“Mmm, hold you…your body next to mine…mine next to yours,” mused Howie as he stood and pulled his shirt off. “Your fingers dancing across my skin, touching spots only you know.”
“Uh huh,” purred Sarah as she scooted over to make room as he sat beside her.
Cupping her face, Howie closed the distance letting his lips cover hers. Slow caresses coaxing her into submission, her lips parted and he dove in to taste as his fingers tangled in her hair. They kissed, passionately, her hands holding on to him as he took her breath.
Breaking apart, Sarah put her head on his shoulder as she ran her fingers over his chest. “Did you leave me alone last night?”
“Would I do that?”
“Sheena stayed with you.”
Sarah was silent as they snuggled closer together. Softly, “’D’, I don’t think I thanked you for all of my gifts….mainly having Tim and Faith sing. I really wish I could have gotten to meet them.”
“You’ll get a chance to meet them when you’re back on your feet.”
“To get them to sing at ‘Tabu’, I agreed for you to open for them.”
“Am I gonna do my own stuff?”
“Some of it…the ballads…but you know enough country stuff to do a complete set.”
“What about a band?”
“Kevin and I have already talked about that.”
“How about our band from the Backstreet’s Back tour? They’re available and interested in backing you up.”
“I don’t know them.”
“I promise, you’ll like them. Tell you what. When we get home, I’ll find a copy of our ‘Homecoming’ video and you can hear them.”
“I think Becca has a copy of it,” yawned Sarah. “What about MY CD? When am I gonna promote it?”
guys and I have discussed it so stop worrying,” he said touching the tip of her
nose with his finger. “Business is NOT what I had in mind for us to talk about
tonight. Now, go back to sleep.”
”I’m not…” yawn, “tired.”
Howie laughed softly, “No, you aren’t the least bit tired, are you, ‘Angel’?”
can I...” yawn, “possibly be sleepy?” Another yawn and her voice was getting
heavier with sleep, “I slept for 36 hours.”
”You were exhausted, ‘Angel’.” Stroking her hair, he began to sing her favorite Spanish lullabies knowing she’d never give in on her own and he wanted her to rest. It didn’t take long before he recognized the signs of her sleep and he stopped singing. Placing a tender kiss on her forehead, he closed his eyes and quickly followed her into dreamland.
Chapter 71 Index