5:45 AM! The insidious beep of the alarm woke her and she quickly cut it off. Wanting to cuddle with Howie, she rolled over only to find his note….Gone for a run. XXOO. She gave a contented sigh as she snuggled into the covers where Howie had been. She could smell him and the sheets were still warm. A king size bed with MORE than enough room for another couple but they always slept as close as possible.
As she lay in the warmth of Howie’s spot, Sarah thought about the day ahead. They’d been home from California for a week and it had taken them both that week to get over the flu. During that week, so much had happened with their business that needed their attention. She knew Howie planned to go to Orlando to try to get caught up so she decided she’d go too. She really wanted to check on the youth center and Ilse was comfortable with the twins.
A whimper over the
baby monitor brought her out of her thoughts. Her day had started.
With her bathrobe wrapped around her, Sarah made her way to the nursery where she found D.J. wide awake.
”Hey there, little man,” cooed Sarah as she scooped the infant up. She was rewarded with wide eyes as she placed a kiss on his forehead. “You’re gonna wake your sister if you aren’t careful. We can’t have that, now can we?”
Sarah quickly changed D.J.’s diaper and then settled into the rocking chair. As the infant nursed, she sang to him softly stroking the dark fuzz. She adored her family but she was more than ready to get back to her life and no time like the present. Howie was headed to the foundation later so she decided to take Jesse to school and then go to the youth center.
“Good morning, Sarah,” greeted Ilse.
“Good morning. Would you please get Jesse up and ready for school? Howie’s out for a run this morning.”
“Also,” said Sarah as she burped D.J. “I’m going to take Jesse to school and then I’m going to the youth center. There’s plenty of milk in the freezer for the twins.”
The young nanny gave Sarah a skeptical look. “Does Howie know?”
Sarah grimaced knowing he wasn’t going to like it. “Not yet. I’ll tell him when he gets back.”
“Tell me what?” questioned Howie breathlessly as he leaned over to give Sarah a kiss.
Knowing Sarah’s decision wasn’t going to go over well, Ilse quickly excused herself to get Jesse ready for the day.
Howie took D.J. for Sarah and placed him in the bassinet as she fixed her gown. As he watched Caroline still sleeping, he felt Sarah’s arms wrap around his waist and her kisses on his back.
“How was your run?”
His first clue that she was up to something. She was avoiding his question.
“It was good but I missed you,” answered Howie turning his head to kiss her. “What did you need to tell me, ‘Angel’?”
“Nothing major, ‘D’. Let’s go get a shower together,” suggested Sarah seductively as she backed away pulling him by the hand.
Second clue she was up to something. She was trying to distract him with sex.
“Sarah, just tell
me what you’re up to.”
”What makes you think I’m up to something, ‘D’?” purred Sarah as she stepped back to him and began to play with his crucifix.
“Because you say it’s ‘nothing major’, you’re trying to distract me with a shower together, and now you’re playing with my necklace. I know you too well, ‘Angel’…..from the minute you said it was ‘nothing major’. Now, tell me what you’re up to,” insisted Howie.
Sarah gave a defeated sigh. “Fine. I’m going to the youth center.”
“Howie, I NEED to go. I need to get out of this apartment.”
“Fine, take Jesse to school and go visit Becca or Mami but you are NOT going to work. The doctor said six weeks and you just go over the flu.”
“So did you! In fact, you worked WHILE you had the flu.”
“But I didn’t give birth to twins. Sarah, please, we’ve already made love before the ‘all clear’. I don’t want to push our luck with your health.”
“Howie, I feel fine and I really need to go in. There are all kinds of problems I need to straighten out and I have to prepare the budget to present to the board in April.”
“Get Kryss to get you what you need.”
“Kryss has gone to Virginia with Dusty.”
“I’ll get one of the guys to go by then. You aren’t going to work. Now, I’m going to get a shower and then I’ll fix breakfast. Why don’t you go back to bed until Caroline wakes?”
“No, Howard! I’m going to get ready and go in. I’m perfectly fine and women have been having babies forever and gone back to work MUCH sooner. If you’re worried I’ll over-do, then go with me.”
“You know I can’t. I told Angie I’d come by the foundation today.”
“”Then you’ll just have to trust me.”
“It has NOTHING to do with trust. I know you….you’ll promise me not to do too much and you’ll mean it but you’ll get to the center, see the kids and everything that has to be done and want to have it done yesterday.”
“I wonder where I get THAT from?” mumbled Sarah.
“You’re not funny.”
“Wasn’t trying to be.” With determination, Sarah said, “I’m going to work and if I over-do, oh well….I guess I’ll sleep better tonight,” and left Howie standing in the middle of the nursery.
Howie shook his head and followed her to their bedroom only to have her slam the bathroom door in his face. Knowing full well she’d locked it too, he called out, “You know I love you even more when you’re being stubborn.”
The only response he got was the shower being turned on.
“Okay…fine. Have it your way. I’ll just go hide the keys to all the vehicles,” called Howie as he closed the bedroom door loudly and rushed back to stand by the bathroom door.
It worked. Seconds later, with a towel wrapped around herself, Sarah came rushing out calling, “HOWARD DWAINE DO….”
Grabbing her by the waist and cutting her off, Howie laughed, “GOTCHA!”
“Ooo!!! I HATE you,” fumed Sarah but she didn’t try to get away.
“No, you don’t,” smirked Howie nuzzling her neck and allowing his beard to tickle her. Guiding her into the bathroom, he said, “Let’s take that shower together now.”
“You ARE NOT going to change my mind, Howard,” but she whimpered as her towel fell to the floor and his fingers danced across her skin.
“I know,” he admitted. “You’ve made up your mind, ‘Angel’, and there’s no changing it,” he said as he placed feathery kisses along her shoulders. “I just want to be with my beautiful wife.”
“Uh huh,” answered Sarah skeptically.
“Really! I’m serious,” tried Howie as she turned to face him. He cradled her face in his hands and placed a kiss on her lips.
Sarah couldn’t resist Howie’s touch or his deep brown eyes even though she knew exactly what he was doing. Running her fingers through his unruly curls, she kissed him back and asked, “Aren’t you a little over-dressed for a shower?”
“A little but I can fix that,” and he quickly undressed.
Together, the couple stepped into the steady stream of water where Howie took her in his arms and kissed her. It was hard to tell if the steam was coming from the hot water or the couple as their hands roamed every inch, their tongues dancing erotically.
Howie took his time with Sarah, shampooing her hair, bathing her…giving her all the love and affection he truly felt for her. Yes, he was trying to get her to change her mind about going to work but he also knew that if she truly wanted to do it, he wouldn’t be able to change her mind.
Shower done, Howie took Sarah’s hands and led her out to where the fluffy, over-sized towels rested on the towel warmer. Taking one, he wrapped it around her and began to dry her off. When he was done, he wrapped her in her robe and placed a kiss on her forehead.
“I’ll be out in a couple of minutes. I need to shave.”
“’D’…..” Sarah started but he put a finger on her lips to stop her.
“I love you. Now go find something to wear,” and he pushed her to the door. As he watched her leave, he thought to himself, “Just let her think it was her idea.”
Howie emerged from the bathroom five minutes later to find Sarah standing out on the balcony. She’d lost a lot of weight since giving birth and with the flu but she still had a little more to lose and she covered it today with baggy jeans and an old UK Wildcats sweatshirt of Kevin’s. He could tell by the way she was standing and the fact that she was out on the balcony in the first place that he had succeeded in his plan.
Dressing quickly, Howie went out to join her. He stood beside her, their shoulders touching, and waited for her to speak.
It wasn’t long before she asked softly, “What time do you have to be at the foundation?”
“I told Angie I’d be there around ten-thirty but I can push it back.”
“Will you go with me to take Jess to school and swing by to pick up the stuff I need to do the paperwork that I’m behind on?”
“Are you going with me to the foundation?”
In a small, child-like voice, Sarah asked, “Do you mind?”
“You know I don’t, ‘Angel’,” soothed Howie as he turned to face her. Taking her hand in his, he kissed the back while he cupped her cheek with his other hand. “I know how much you hate being ‘cooped up but I worry about you. I don’t want you pushing yourself.”
“I’m not, ‘D’,….I promise….I….”
Howie stopped her again, this time with a kiss. “Shh, let’s finish getting ready. You’re gonna catch a cold being out here with your hair wet and no shoes.”
He started to lead her in but she stopped him and as he stood in front of her, she leaned her head against his chest and whispered, “I’m sorry, ‘D’. I know I aggravate you to no end.”
Howie chuckled softly as he lifted her chin to look into her eyes. “Yes, you do, but I love you just the way you are. I love your independence, your stubbornness, your big heart,” and he touched her chest with his finger. Watching her, he saw she was pouting and he touched the tip of her nose with his finger, “And I especially love your pout when you know I’ve out-maneuvered you.”
“You only managed it cuz I let you,” countered Sarah giving him a sassy smirk.
“Uh huh….you wouldn’t admit it anyway. Come on, I promised you breakfast.” Over the baby monitor, they both heard Caroline stirring so Howie said, “Go take care of the little princess and….”
“PAPI! MAMI!” shrieked Jesse as she burst into the room interrupting them.
Sarah groaned as Howie let go of her to catch Jesse in his arms.
Scolding her gently, Howie said, “How many times have we told you to knock first?”
Remorsefully, Jesse said, “I’m sorry.”
“Now, are you ready for school?”
“Yes sir, and HUNGRY too! Are you taking me to school?”
“Yes ma’am, and Mami is going with us. Now, scoot back out and let me finish getting ready,” smiled Howie as he gave her a kiss.
Jesse gave Sarah a kiss too before Howie set her down and she scurried away too.
Alone again, Howie took Sarah in his arms again giving her a kiss. “Looks like our day has started.”
“Looks like it. Howie….”
“You don’t have to say anything, ‘Angel’….it was a compromise….okay?”
“You know how much I love you?”
“Yep!!! As much as I love you. Let’s go.”
The couple kissed one more time before heading out arm in arm. Their day had started.
Chapter 88 Index