Become a Fan
When I Hear You Coming
By Debbie Bailey
Saturday, March 16, 2002
She heard his car pull up in her driveway. She raced to the window and pulled the curtain aside. She saw his dark blue Navigator, saw him step out of the driver's side. Her heart beat frantically in her chest. She hadn't seen him in weeks and he looked good enough to eat.
He was wearing his black leather jacket over faded blue jeans and a white tee-shirt. He wore black boots on his feet. They were the boots she had given him for his 28th birthday just two months before. His short black hair looked almost blue in the sunlight and he hadn't shaved. She loved it when he didn't shave. It made him look even more appealing to her. He was smiling as he grabbed his suitcase from the backseat. She saw him take out a bouquet of red roses too. She shut the curtain and ran outside to meet him.
"Sean!" she called and he turned and looked at her. His smile grew larger.
"Hey, babe!" He put his suitcase down on the ground as he closed the door to the truck and greeted her with open arms.
It felt wonderful to be next to him again. He smelled of the minty cologne that she loved so much on him. He was so tall and strong, his body a rock wall. She always felt safe with him.
"I miss you!" she told him as she clung to him.
"I miss you too, babe," he said softly as he held her to him. His blue eyes twinkled mischieviously at her.
"Can you stay awhile?" she asked him.
He nodded. "I can stay a few days, sure. I'd love to. I miss you so much." He dipped his head and found her lips with his own. He held her close to him, his body grinding into hers.
"Sean," she whispered his name. "I love you so much."
"I love you too, babe," he whispered back and his eyes smiled down at her.
Sean McBride watched her as she made lunch for them. She was standing at the sink, washing lettuce for their sandwiches. He couldn't get over how beautiful she was. Was it possible that she got more beautiful each time he saw her?
She was wearing a simple white sundress that showed off plenty of tanned, bare skin. Her legs were long and slender, her shoulders creamy and smooth. Her long blond hair hung down to the middle of her back in a straight, soft curtain. She turned and smiled at him and he fell in love with her all over again. Sometimes, she looked so sweet and innocent like a child and not the 25 year old woman that she really was. She had such incredible green eyes, so endearing to him. Her complexion was almost transluscent. She took good care of herself and he liked teasing her about all the girly things she kept in the bathroom.
He was in love with Angelica Brady, there was no doubt in his mind about that.
Guilt hit him in the stomach then, an iron fist that nearly made him double over from pain.
She smiled at him again. "I am so happy that you're here. I miss you so much when you're not here with me. I get so lonely without you."
He couldn't even look at her with being assauged by guilt again. He turned away from her and concentrated on looking at a painting on the wall.
He loved her house. He always had. It was small and cozy but well lived in. She loved to decorate and it showed in all the knicknacks and doo-dads that she had everywhere. She liked to tease him and complain that it was too much to clean sometimes but her house was spotless and neat. It wasn't overwhelming. Everything was just right, just like she was. He loved her just the way she was too. She made no demands, expected nothing from him. When he came to visit, she waited on him hand and foot. She was very nurturing and caring by nature. He adored that about her.
He took good care of her too. He helped her around the house and took her out to eat. He was always picking up little treasures for her just to see that smile of hers. That smile always made everything worthwhile.
She was smiling as she brought plates and napkins to the table. "I have all of your favorite food. I brought chicken cutlets for dinner tonight and..."
"Hey," he said softly and grabbed her hand. He pulled her down onto his lap. "Maybe I want to take you out to eat tonight. What do you have to say about that?"
She put her arms around him. "I'll go anywhere you want to go."
He brought his lips to hers and kissed her. "I love you," he said softly. "I love you so much."
"I love you too." She let him pull her closer and they kissed each other deeply.
He picked her up and began to put her down onto the table.
"Sean, your lunch is ready."
"That's okay," he told her as he began to pull the dress off of her. "I'd rather have you right now. I've missed this. I've missed you."
He drank in her deeply and forgot about his sandwich.
Later on, they were laying on the bed together over the soft blue comforter.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked her as he ran his fingers through her beautiful long hair.
"You." She smiled at him and cuddled closer next to him. "I haven't seen you in a month and I miss you. I wish we could be together more often but I know it's hard for you."
He felt the sledgehammer of guilt strike him again. "It is hard," he agreed with her softly. "I have to travel a lot. You know how it is."
She nodded. "I know and I understand. I just wish we could be together more often. Don't you?"
He swallowed loudly. "Of course I do, baby. You know I love you." He kissed the top of her head. "I always have since the minute I laid my eyes on you."
He could remember when they first met, when his eyes first found her sweet beauty and innocent charm. She was walking in the park, smiling as she always did. She stopped to watch the kids playing on the swings and seesaws and he watched her for awhile. He couldn't help but approach her. He couldn't just let her go. He had been to the park plenty of times with his own kids. He missed them. He missed the park.
He suddenly sat up, feeling the palpitations in his chest. He had been seeing Angelica for five months and had been separated from Carrie for six. They had two small children together. He missed Brandon and Amanda so much it took his breath away. He felt tears well up in his eyes. The guilt was killing him. He looked at Angelica and could see the look of concern on her face.
"Sean?" she said softly. "What is it? What's wrong?"
He shook his head. "Nothing. I have these pains in my chest."
Her eyes grew wider. "Do you want me to take you to the hospital?"
He shook his head again. There was the difference between her and Carrie. She was so caring. Carrie had never cared. She had tricked him into the pregnancy, swearing up and down that she had still been taking her birth control pills. She had stopped them and had become pregnant with his kids. Brandon and Amanda were twins, two adorable three year olds that he loved more than anything. He hadn't wanted marriage with her but he wanted to do the right thing by his children and give them a proper family. He had tried so hard with Carrie. They had separated and he had traveled a lot. The time away from her was bliss. He wanted to make his marriage work for the sake of his children but it was a lost cause. Carrie went out partying every night with her friends leaving him alone with the kids. Now Brandon and Amanda were with his parents and here he was, in the arms of another woman.
He looked at Angelica, at how sweet and beautiful she was. She was amazing, the most incredible woman he had ever known. Everything she did was an act of kindness. She never asked for anything. She was quiet and soft, a painter who worked from home and made a lot of money and gave a lot of it to charity. She was incredibly talented and warm and he loved her. God help him, he really did.
"Ang," he gasped her name and then he put his hand over his chest.
He heard the worry in her voice and the last thing he saw before he blacked out was her reaching for the phone.
She was pacing the waiting room with tears spilling down her cheeks. Sean was a young man and in excellent condition. He couldn't possibly have a heart attack.
She'd never been so afraid in her life.
Finally, the doctor came out to see her. He was tall and there was something reassuring about him. He smiled warmly at her.
"He's going to be fine," he told her and she let out a huge sigh of relief. "It wasn't his heart. He was just experiencing some chest pains as a result of stress. I would like to keep him in overnight for observation. He's going upstairs to a room and then you'll be welcome to visit with him."
She nodded and thanked him and watched him go back into the emergency room. Stress? Sean always seemed so laidback to her. Nothing ever seemed to bother him. Granted, she didn't see him all that often but he never gave her the feeling that he was under stress. Could it be from his job? He did travel a lot but he never complained about it. He worked for a national travel magazine and wrote about secret places in the United States all the time. That was how he had ended up in Colts Neck...and in her arms. He loved his work and derived great pleasure from it.
She went up to see him. He looked pale but other than that, he seemed to be fine.
He smiled weakly at her. "I'm sorry I scared you, Ang."
She sat on the edge of the bed and clasped his hand into hers. "Sean, I was so worried about you. Are you all right? You did scare me."
"I'm fine," he assured her. "I feel a lot better now. The doctor just wants to keep an eye on me tonight. I can get out tomorrow. I'll make it up to you. I swear that I will."
"I'm not worried about that. I just want you to feel better." She bent her head to kiss him. "I love you."
"I love you too, babe. You know I do." Guilt overtook him again. He squeezed her hand, knowing that he had to tell her about his family. What if he had died? He would have gone straight to Hell for lying to her. He would need to get in touch with his parents to let them know what happened to him. He missed his kids. He wanted to talk to them on the phone and hear them tell him how much they missed their daddy.
"What is it?" She heard how weak his voice sounded. She would do anything for him, anything at all. She clung to him, wanting to give him her strength.
"I love you," he told her. "I really do but there's something I need to tell you, something that I've been keeping from you."
"What is it?" She brushed the hair back from his forehead, always looking out for him. Always.
He brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed her fingertips gently. "I should have told you. I had a lot going on and I didn't want to think about it when I was with you. I love you so much. You make me happy. You really do. I can't stress that enough. I want you to believe that before I go any further."
"I do believe it. Honestly I do." She rested her head against his chest. "Is this okay? Am I hurting you?"
"No." He put his arms around her. "You could never hurt me, never." He held her close and took a deep breath. "Ang, look, I need to tell you this. I'm married...and I have kids too. My wife and I separated. Our marriage was never anything to brag about. She stopped taking her birth control pills when we were dating and...the only reason I married her was to give the kids a proper family. My kids mean the world to me. They're three years old, the both of them. They're..." He stopped talking when she picked her head up and looked at him.
Tears filled her eyes. "Sean, you have kids?"
He nodded. "Brandon and Amanda. They're twins. They're the most beautiful kids in the world. You'd love them if you saw them. They're gorgeous and they're so great too. I mean, they're really great. I love them so much, Ang, so much. Carrie, my wife, she isn't much of a mother. My folks have the kids now. She doesn't really want any part of them and that hurts me so much. I should have told you...I know that but I was afraid to. My personal life right now is a mess. I want to get a divorce but she won't let me have one. And yet, she doesn't want to be with me either. It's been really hard. I haven't seen you that much because I've been trying to spend as much time as I can with the kids. My folks love them and I know the kids love being there with them. But they're my kids and I need to make some kind of life with them. I need for you to understand why I haven't told you any of this. In the beginning, I felt guilty being with you. I was still married and I didn't want to compromise anything with my kids. But I fell in love with you and I wanted to be with you. I was hoping that you could come and meet my kids. You would love them. I know you would. I..."
He stopped talking and watched in horror as she burst into tears. She stood up and ran from the room, shaking her head as she did so.
Sean was stunned. He hadn't expected her to react like that. He wanted to get out of bed and go after her but he knew that he couldn't. The reason why he was in bed was because he'd been so stressed out over telling her. He would go and see her tomorrow when he was released from the hospital. That would give her time to cool down too.
He sighed as he closed his eyes. He couldn't even call her. He didn't even have a phone in his room.
Angelica made it home in one piece. She had been crying so hard during the drive that she had to pull over to the side of the road several times to get her bearings.
Sean was married. He had kids. He had never even told her this. It broke her heart to know that he had led her on, living a double life with her. She shook her head in disbelief over and over, not wanting to believe that it was true .
He would be released from the hospital tomorrow. She wanted to feel bad for leaving him alone but she couldn't. She was too heartbroken to even care but that was a lie too. She still cared and she still loved him.
She would pick him up at the hospital and bring him back to her house in the morning so that he could get his truck and his things and leave. She wanted him out of her life for good.
She couldn't stop crying. She didn't even feel like eating or painting. She threw herself down on the bed and cried herself to sleep.
Sean was surprised to see her back at the hospital early the next morning.
"How do you feel?" she asked softly, not even wanting to look at him.
"I feel better, thanks. I didn't think you'd come back. I didn't even have a phone to call you."
"You have your stuff at my house," she reminded him. "I'll take you back so that you can get everything and then you can leave."
"Ang, please don't do this. I was sure you'd understand."
"I don't want to talk about it." She tried desperately not to start crying again. "I will bring you back to get your stuff and then you have to go, Sean. I mean that. I never want to see you again."
"The doctor just told me that I need bedrest for a few days. I can't really go anywhere right now, honey."
"I am not your honey!" she said and a tear fell down her cheek. "And that is not my problem. You can stay at a hotel until you are able to go somewhere. You're not welcome to stay with me anymore."
He sighed deeply. "I love you, Angelica. You have to know that I do."
She broke down then. "Shut up, Sean. Just shut up. I don't want to hear anymore lies from you. I've known you for five months and not once did you ever mention your kids to me. You make me sick. What kind of father are you? How could you lie to me like that?"
"I told you, things were screwed up."
She nodded. "Yes, they were. With you they were. You should have told me. I would have asked you to bring your kids here with you. No wonder why you had chest pains. You couldn't live with the guilt, could you?"
He shook his head. His voice was soft when he said, "No, I couldn't."
"You jerk!" she cried and then punched him in his chest. "I want to hate you so much! You have no idea what this did to me! I cried all night last night. I couldn't eat a thing. All I kept thinking about is what you told me. You don't know what you meant to me! I lived for your visits! Everytime I heard you coming, I ran outside like a child, not wanting to wait a minute to throw my arms around you!"
"Ang..." He went to put his arms around her.
She slapped his hands away. "No, not ever again. Never again, Sean. I mean that. Are you ready? Let's go. I want you to go. I can't be with you another minute."
He sighed deeply and followed her outside into the corridor.
He tried to talk to her during the short drive to her house but she just kept telling him to shut up. She was still crying and he felt bad for that. She put the radio on and ignored him. He knew it was futile to talk to her.
They got to her house.
"Pack your stuff and leave," she told him.
"You made it perfectly clear to me that you want me to go," he said softly. He was hurt by the way she was acting. This wasn't the woman he knew and fell in love with. "I'll get my things and be out of your hair in a minute." He went into the bedroom to get his suitcase.
He looked around, and all the knicknacks and paintings and at how much they had all become a part of his life.
He went back into the kitchen where she was opening a can of soup.
"I'm going," he told her.
"Goodbye." She didn't even look at him.
She shook her head. "I don't want to hear it. Just go."
"I love you," he whispered.
She shook her head again and he couldn't see the fresh batch of tears that were falling down her cheeks.
"Did you hear me?"
She nodded and poured the soup into a saucepan.
"Can I call you?"
"Just go," she whispered.
And he did.
Sean's heart swelled in his chest when the kids ran up to him, throwing their arms around his legs.
"We missed you, Daddy!" Amanda told him as he scooped her up into his arms. She was so adorable with her long dark ringlets and big blue eyes.
"I missed you too, babycakes." He kissed her on the cheek. "Daddy missed you so much."
"We heard you coming, Daddy," Brandon told him when Sean picked him up in his arms next. "We heard your truck, Daddy. Grandma said you were here!"
Brandon had just got a haircut. His dark hair was cut really short against his head. He too had big blue eyes. They were so beautiful, his children.
"I'm here now, buddy. Daddy misses his two babies so much." He held them both close to him, reveling in having them near him again.
He looked up and saw his mother come into the livingroom. She was an attractive woman with shoulder length auburn hair and blue eyes. She had an apron over the floral printed dress she was wearing.
"Mom!" He put the kids down and went to her. "Hi Mom." He put his arms around her and gave her a hug.
"Sean." She pulled away from him and looked into his eyes. "What's wrong? You don't look well. You look so pale and tired. Are you okay, honey?"
He nodded and shrugged. "Yea, Mom, I'm fine. I am just tired. I was in the hospital for a night. I..."
"In the hospital?" she exclaimed. "Sean! Why didn't you call me?"
"I didn't want to worry you. I just had chest pains. The doctor said it was from stress."
"Chest pains? Stress? Sit down. Come here." She guided him to the couch.
"I'm fine, Mom, really. Stop worrying."
"It's my job to worry. You're my son. Now sit."
He did sit down then because he was still tired and he knew that arguing with her would be futile. He pulled the kids onto his lap.
Loretta McBride sat down next to her son. "Now tell me what's going on? What is it, Sean?"
"Mom, not now. Not in front of the kids. Please."
She nodded. "I understand. Let me go inside and make you a cup of tea. Are you hungry?"
"I'm starved. I haven't eaten in awhile."
"Come inside. I'll make you some lunch. The kids just ate."
Sean was reluctant to put the kids down. He hadn't seen them in weeks and he missed them so much. But he was hungry too and he wanted to talk to his mother about Angelica.
He put them down. "Daddy's going to have something to eat. When he's done, he'll play with you. I promise."
"Okay, Daddy!" they both said and went to watch a video of Arthur.
Sean went into the kitchen and sat down at the table. "Where's Dad?" he asked.
"He went fishing. He should be back soon." She put up the water for his tea. "Do you want to talk about it, dear?"
He nodded and scrubbed his hand down his face. "I really did a horrible thing to someone and I feel awful about it."
She smiled. "I can't imagine you hurting anyone. You're so kind hearted and sweet."
He laughed. "Yea, that's why Carrie screwed me."
"Hmmph. I never liked her, Sean. She was always so devious and self-centered. And what kind of mother doesn't want to be bothered with her kids? I'm not complaining since they're here and I adore them more than anything. Still, you marrying her was the biggest mistake you ever made. I know you wanted to do the right thing and I commend you for that. You're a good father and you deserve to have these kids."
She brought cups and saucers to the table. They were her good china. Sean knew that his mom loved everything to be nice and presentable. It reminded him of Angelica. He thought of her and his heart began to palpitate again. He put his hand over his chest.
"What is it, dear?" She put her hands on his shoulders. "Are you all right?"
He nodded. "I'm fine, Mom, really. The doctor wants me to stay in bed for a few days to rest."
"And you will. I'll take care of you."
He smiled. "Thanks."
"Did he give you any medication to take?"
He shook his head. "No. He just told me to relax and if it happens again to go see my regular doctor."
"Maybe you should anyway. It might be a good idea."
"I'm fine, Mom. Really, I am. It's just this whole situation I've been in. To be honest with you, I started seeing someone a few months ago. I didn't tell you about her because I wanted to keep it personal. I really love her. She's an incredible person and special to me. But I hurt her and now she doesn't want to see me anymore."
"Do you want to talk about it, dear?"
He nodded as she brought the tea kettle to the table. And he told her everything about Angelica.
She served him a sandwich for lunch and it reminded him of that day when he was with Ang and had to go to the emergency room. They never did get to eat. She had always looked out for him too.
Loretta sat down next to her son and patted his hand. "I'm sure she'll forgive you eventually. She sounds like a real sweet person. It just took her by surprise. Give her some time to let it sink in."
"I never meant to keep anything from her. I just didn't know where my life was going. I fell in love with her and had to be with her."
"It's understandable. From everything you just told me about her, she sounds very sweet and kind. That's what attracted you to her in the first place. Give her a few days and then call her, Sean. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you."
He shook his head. "How did my life get to be this way?"
"What way? You made a mistake by marrying Carrie but at least you got two beautiful kids out of it. And they love their daddy so much. You're a wonderful father. You've been blessed. I'm sure if you call Angelica she'll be willing to talk to you. She sounds like a special lady."
"She is," he assured her. "She's amazing."
She gave her son a hug. "Then call her. If she means that much to you, then call her. Now eat your lunch and go to bed. You need to take care of yourself."
Later on, Sean did go to lay down but the kids accompanied him. He read stories to them and then they all fell asleep.
He woke up before dinner to the sound of his cell phone ringing. He picked it up, expecting it to be Carrie, asking him for more money.
"Hello?" he spoke sleepily into the phone.
"Sean, it's Angelica." Her voice was so soft in his ears.
"Ang." He felt his heart going at it again. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I just called to see how you were doing. I guess I was a bit harsh with you and I just wanted to make sure that you were all right."
"I'm fine," he assured her. "I drove back to Pennsylvania to my folk's house. I wanted to see my kids so I came back. I had something to eat and rested for the afternoon. How are you?"
"I'm fine. I'm glad you're all right. I won't keep you. I'll let you go."
"Wait, Ang, please, don't hang up. Let's talk about this."
"I really have to go, Sean. I just wanted to check up on you. That's all."
"Ang, please. I was going to call you in a few days. I was going to give you a chance to cool off for awhile. I love you. I know you still love me. If you didn't you wouldn't have called. Please. Can't you give me another chance? We have something really special with each other. I could bring the kids down there to meet you. What do you say? Please, Ang."
There was silence for a moment and he thought that she had hung up. She said, "I can't do that, Sean. I do still love you but you lied to me and I can't forgive that. I wish you all the luck in the world and I want you to be happy. Please don't call me. It doesn't matter anymore."
By then, she did hang up.
He sighed as he shut the phone off. He wanted to throw something and thought better of it.
He turned and saw that Amanda was sitting up in bed. She was rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"Hey, babycakes. You're up." He grinned at her.
She smiled back at him. "Brandon is still sleeping. Grandma says he wears her out all the time. Are you sad, Daddy?"
He sat down on the edge of the bed. "A little bit, pumpkin, but not when I'm with you. I love you." He pulled her onto his lap and kissed her.
"I love you too, Daddy." She put her arms around his neck. "I'm glad you're here. I miss you when you're gone."
"I miss you too, babycakes. Want to go to the zoo tomorrow?"
Her eyes lit up. "Yea!! Can we go to McDonald's for lunch too?"
"Sure we can. We'll do anything you and your brother want to do. How's that?"
She giggled. "I love you, Daddy!"
"I love you too. We'd better get your brother up and go wash for dinner. It smells like Grandma is making meatloaf."
After dinner, Sean sat out on the front porch with his father. They were drinking beer and catching up on each other.
"So, tell me about this Angelica that you've been seeing," James McBride said to his son.
Sean looked at his dad. He had taken after him in many ways. He was big and strong and yet, a sweet, romantic guy at the same time. His dad worshipped his mom and brought her a single red rose every single day.
Sean told his dad everything. He made it known how he felt about her and that he wasn't convinced it was over between them.
"It's a lot for her to swallow," he agreed. "But if she's the person you say she is, then I'm sure everything will work out for the both of you. Maybe you could bring the kids to see her. She might like that. It might make her see why you did what you did. It's been hard for you, son. I know that much. Carrie hasn't made things easy. She certainly doesn't deserve these kids. You've had a rough time of it but you need to take care of yourself. You're too young to be in the hospital with chest pains. Your mother and I are very worried about you. We want you to stay here for as long as you have to and rest. Just let us help you out. Okay?"
Sean nodded. "It's just been hard with me away a lot. The kids need me. I wish I could be around for them more often."
"You know your mom and I love those kids more than anything. We love having them here, and you too. Things will work out for you, son. Please don't worry. You need to rest and that's what you'll do for awhile. Stop worrying and wandering and just take care of yourself."
Sean thought of Angelica then. He couldn't stop thinking of her. She was constantly on his mind. She had always taken care of him and he loved that nurturing side to her. She was incredible and he missed her.
He wondered what she was doing. He wished he was with her.
Angelica buried her face into the pillow and wept. She could still smell Sean's aftershave on her bed. She hadn't been able to stop crying.
Maybe she had become too dependent on Sean over the past few months. She was very shy and quiet and didn't have many friends. Her family was gone and she really had nobody left. He had come into her life and poured so much attention on her. He only came around every once in awhile when his schedule permitted but when he did come, it was perfect with them. He lavished her with attention and love and she liked that. She loved taking care of him too. She needed him and needed to be needed by him and he had hurt her.
She prided herself on being a kind and compassionate and forgiving soul but this was too much to take. She had nothing against his kids, would have even loved to meet them but the fact that he was still married and tied to another woman hurt her deeply. She couldn't accept his lies.
She suddenly got up and ripped the sheets from the bed. She grabbed them in her arms and took them to the laundry room. She wanted to wash them, wash his scent off of them. She wanted to be rid of him forever and move on with her life.
She knew that she never could. She loved Sean so much and it would take a lot more than laundry detergent to wash him off of her skin.
She couldn't stop crying. She loved him so much, had come to expect his visits that were far and few between. She thought of his blue eyes and his strong physique and all the other things that made him who he was. She wanted him back here so much. She didn't know how she could go on without him.
She broke down again and went back into the bedroom. She threw herself down onto the bed, even though there were no sheets or pillow cases on it. She cried herself to sleep again because she didn't know what else to do. Everything hurt, especially her heart. It was broken and she didn't think she'd ever be able to fix it again.
It was nice being with the kids. He had missed them so much while he was traveling. He took them to the zoo, the park, the movies. He spent as much time as he could with them while recovering from the effects of the stress. He wasn't ready to go back to work yet. He wanted to donate as much time as he could to be a father to his children. Being with them was the biggest stress reducer he knew of. He loved them so much. They were his pride and joy.
"Daddy, I love you so much!" Amanda told him one day when he had taken them to the park. "I don't ever want to see Mommy again and I don't want you to ever go away again. Please, Daddy, don't go away. Please stay. Please, Daddy. I love you so much."
Sean realized then that he couldn't go. It was bad enough that their own mother didn't want them anymore. He couldn't leave them. It was time to be a full time dad to his children. He decided then to follow his dream of writing a novel. He had always wanted to write one. This would give him the chance to do that and be with his kids.
But he still missed Angelica. He didn't call her, didn't want to hurt her anymore. He missed her desperately and thought about her constantly. But he knew it was over between them. It had been so wonderful while it lasted but he had to move on. He really had no choice.
Sean was outside washing his truck. The day had turned bright and clear and his folks had insisted on taking the kids out for the day so that he could have some time alone. He missed Brandon and Amanda but he took the time to get some writing done. He was pleased with the way his manuscript was coming but he needed a break from the computer. It was so nice outside and he couldn't resist. He decided to get some chores done just to break up the routine of his day.
He was very surprised when Carrie pulled up in her compact car. She was looking as chic as ever with her stylish blond hair and carefully made up face. She wore a smart looking black pantsuit and black high heels. She wore expensive jewelry and he could see the fresh manicure on her fingernails. She was so pretentious at times. It was one of the things about her that drove him nuts.
"Sean." She greeted him with her Cheshire cat smile.
"Carrie, what are you doing here?" He knew he didn't look his best in just his cut-off shorts. His body glistened with sweat under the sun.
"You're looking good." Her eyes traveled the length of his muscular body. "Real good."
"Thanks." He was surprised by the compliment. He threw the sponge he'd been holding into the bucket of soapy water that was by his feet. "What's going on?"
"How are the kids?"
His eyes narrowed at her. "You mean the ones that you refuse to acknowledge?"
"Sean..." her voice turned baby soft. She knew when to turn the charm on.
"Oh, Carrie, give it up. I know you don't give a damn about them."
"I know I made a mistake. Oh Sean." Her blue eyes welled up with tears. "I feel so bad for everything that's happened. I really mean that. I've been thinking and I miss you all. I want to try and be a family again. Can we, please?"
He laughed as he grabbed the hose and turned it on. He began to spray the suds off of his truck. "What a joke you are. You don't see your kids in months and now you feel bad? You don't deserve to see them. They're out with my folks anyway."
"Where'd they go?"
"That's really none of your business."
"Sean, I'm trying, really I am. Give me a chance, please." She pleaded to him with her baby blues.
"You had your chance." He shut the hose off and put it back on the ground. "I want a divorce, Carrie and I want my kids."
"Sean, I love you and I love them. Please, Sean, can't you see how much this means to me?"
His thoughts went to Angelica. Beautiful, sweet, adorable and kind Angelica. He missed her so much. She was so thoughtful and considerate, so gorgeous and special inside and out. He looked at Carrie and knew that there was no comparison. Carrie was sophisticated and haughty. Ang was down to earth and homespun. He missed her. He really did. He knew he was going to call her. He had to hear her voice, just one more time.
He glared at his wife. "Why are you really here?"
"I told you, I want us to be a family again."
Much to his surprise, she burst into tears.
"Oh Sean, I love you and I miss you. Please forgive me for what I did. Please?" She went to him and threw her arms around him. She reeked of White Linen.
He didn't know what to do. He was completely shocked by her actions, stunned into a state of disbelief. He wanted to believe her but it was impossible to. But he also felt himself wishing that maybe, just maybe, he could make his marriage work for the sake of the kids.
"Carrie," he whispered her name and gently pushed her away. "I'm sorry but it's too late. I can't do this to myself or the kids. I want a divorce. I've already met someone else and she means everything to me. So please, just give it up and let this go."
What he didn't mention was that it was over between himself and Angelica. But damn if he wasn't going to try and make things right with her again.
"Sean," she gasped and tried to hang on to him.
"I said no." His voice was stern with her. He knew what she was about. He knew the games she played, the masks she wore to get what she wanted.
"Sean!" she repeated and let the tears fall.
"Oh, give it up!" he said to her in an angry voice. "It's over!"
She pulled away, stunned. No one spoke to her in such a way. Who the hell did he think he was?
Her eyes narrowed and she did something next that not only shocked him but digusted him as well. She spat on him.
"We'll see," she said in a menacing voice. "We will just see about that."
He watched her as she got back into her car and drove away. He shook his head sadly. She was the biggest mistake he had ever made in his life. He couldn't wait to get rid of her once and for all.
He turned to go into the house. He was planning on calling Angelica. It had been a month since he had last talked to her. He needed to hear her voice desperately. She had always known just how to keep him sane.
Angelica stared at the blank canvas. She hadn't been able to paint since her break up with Sean. She hadn't been able to do much since she had thrown him out of her life. All she could do was sleep night and day.
She felt tears sting her eyes again. She'd been so overwhelmed with sadness since Sean had left.
She hadn't been able to focus at all on her painting. She would stare at the stark whiteness of her canvas waiting for the inspiration to hit and it never did.
"Oh Sean," she whispered as tears filled her eyes. "I miss you so much. When I heard you coming, it was the sweetest sound to my ears. Now, all I hear is the beating of my own broken heart."
She threw her paintbrush down and went into the bedroom. She lay down against the cool, crisp sheets and closed her eyes. Let sleep take her again so that she could forget for awhile.
She awoke sometime later to the sound of the telephone ringing. She sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes and reached for the phone.
"Hello?" she whispered into the receiver.
His voice sent her heart racing. She couldn't believe that it was him. After all this time, he was calling her again. The sound of his voice meant everything in the world to her.
"Sean," she spoke his name softly, desperately trying to fight the tears that threatened to come once again.
"Ang, how are you?"
She waited a second to answer because she was so overcome with shock at hearing his voice. "I...I'm fine. How are you? How are you feeling?"
"I'm better, thanks for asking. I took some time off from work to relax and spend some time with my..."
"Yes." He almost sounded guilty. He knew the lie still had to hurt her. "I quit my job too."
"Oh, you didn't!"
"Yes, I did. The traveling was wearing me out. I loved it but it was too much to be away from the family... the kids, I mean. Do you remember when I told you that I always wanted to write a novel? Well, I started it and it's coming along real nicely. I'm proud of it. I think it's going to get published by the end of the summer."
"Oh Sean, that's wonderful. I'm so happy for you.
Really, I am."
"I know you are. I appreciate that."
There was silence from both ends.
Say something, she silently begged him. Tell me that you still love me.
Say something, he silently wished. Let me know that you still love me.
"How are you?" he asked her. "How's your art going?"
She almost lied and told him that things were going well but she didn't.
"I haven't been painting much," she admitted. "I took a break from it."
"I see," he said thoughtfully. "I'm surprised to hear you say that. You love your work."
"I haven't been inspired lately so instead of forcing it, I just put it aside for awhile until the inspiration comes back."
"I completely understand how you feel."
There was silence again. Then he said to her, "I really miss you, Ang. I was hoping we could get together. Is that completely out of the question?"
She felt tears threaten her again. What was it about him that always turned her into a weeping baby?
"I don't think so, Sean. It wouldn't be right."
"What do you mean? I love you, Ang. I always have."
"You're married!" she pointed out. "That's something you neglected to tell me!" But the fact that he said those three magic words to her made her heart swell with happiness.
"I'm sorry. Please believe that. I never meant to hurt you. I just want things to go back to the way they were between us. I'd really love for you to meet my kids. They're so great and you would love them. I told them about you and they would love to meet you too. Please, Ang."
"That's not fair, using your kids to win me over. It won't work, Sean. I'm very sorry, really I am but I got over you. You need to get over me. Goodbye."
"Wait. Ang, please!"
But she had hung up. He was speaking to dead air.
He sighed heavily as he hung the phone up.
Angelica couldn't believe that she had done that, especially since she had been silently wishing for him to call her all along. She was still hurt and yet, she was so happy that he did call. She was completely confused by what she was feeling. And she realized that prehaps she had made a mistake the same way he did.
She picked the phone up and dialed his cell phone number. When he answered, her heart swelled in her chest again.
"Sean, I'm sorry. That was horrible of me. I didn't mean it. I'm just still hurting by what you did."
"It's okay, Ang." His voice was soft, always so soft. "I understand. I deserve to have you hate me. But I still love you. That hasn't changed one bit. I wanted to call you every single day but I guess I was afraid to because I knew how you were feeling. I just want you to know that I still care about you."
"I still care about you too," she admitted.
"Then why won't you see me? What can I do to convince you that it's the right thing to do?"
"Because it's not. Things changed between us. You lied to me and that hurt. I still love you, Sean. I've never gotten over you but I wish I could. Everyday I thought of calling you too and hoped that you would call me. I couldn't eat. I didn't want to paint. All I did was sleep to escape the hurt I was feeling. That's all I did. And now you did call me and I realize that things could never be the same between us. You have children to raise. Maybe you should think about fixing your marriage instead of making things right with me."
"My marriage is over, Ang. My wife was just here trying to get me to forgive her. It was all an act to her. You know what she did before she left? She spit on me. She's a psycho. I don't want my kids near her. They need to be around someone who's nurturing and kind, someone who will love them and take care of them. That someone is you, Ang."
"You don't want me. You want a nanny."
"That's not true . I want a wife. I want to marry you, Ang. I love you. God, you've got to believe that. You just have to."
"I'm sorry, Sean. I really am but I just can't. I want to jump back into your arms in the worst way but I can't set myself up to get hurt again. I'm sorry, Sean. I wish you all the happiness in the world. Please believe that."
"Ang, please." His voice was still soft but he was pleading with her now.
"Goodbye, Sean," she said quietly and hung up.
She sat and looked out the bedroom window for hours wondering if she had done the right thing. In her heart, she knew she did. It had to be over between them. But she still felt terrible. She loved him so much. She knew that she would never stop loving him.
"Daddy's sad," Brandon said when the summer was over. Sean's book, a mystery involving a detective and a lawyer, was on the New York Times bestseller list. It was exciting but he was still miserable. "I wish Daddy was happy again."
Sean smiled at his son as he picked him up and put him down on his lap. "I am happy, buddy. I have you and your sister."
"Then why don't you smile, Daddy?"
Sean did then. The divorce from Carrie was finally going through. It was what he wanted. Things were going his way and yet, all he could think about was Angelica. He hadn't spoken to her in months and he missed her desperately.
"Daddy's smiling." And he did. He kissed Brandon and pulled Amanda onto his lap then too. "Daddy loves his special angels very much."
His mother came out onto the porch where they were sitting. "Sean, honey, are you all right?"
He looked up at her. "I'm fine, Mom."
"Are you still going to look for a house now?"
"I can't stay here forever. I finally got back on my feet. It's time to move on."
She sat in the chair beside him. "You know you could stay here. You're more than welcome. Your father and I love you and the kids so much."
He grinned at her. "I know, Mom. It's just that I need to live my life and do what's right for me and the kids."
She nodded. "I completely understand. You look tired, honey. Why don't you go and lie down? I'll watch the kids for you."
He nodded back and put the kids down. He stood up and felt a shooting pain go through his arm.
He heard the concern in his mom's voice. "Mom?"
He looked at her and then fell over. The last thing he heard were her screams and the kids crying.
Angelica heard the phone ringing. She was in the bathroom toweling off from her shower. She wrapped the towel around her and went to answer the phone.
"Hello?" she asked softly.
"Is this Angelica?" The woman's voice on the other end was full of pain and tears.
"Yes. Who's this?"
"This is Loretta McBride, Sean's mother."
Angelica felt her heartbeat quicken in her chest. "Mrs. McBride, is everything all right?"
"No, everything is not all right. My son had a heart attack and he's in the hospital right now. He asked me to call you. He wants to see you. I know things didn't work out between the two of you but could you do an old lady a favor and make her son happy? Please." She began to cry.
Angelica felt tears come into her eyes. Sean had a heart attack. She couldn't believe it. He was such a healthy man, in such good shape. How could such a thing happen?
"He wants you to see him. Please, dear, will you come and see him?"
"Of course I will," she said softly. And she did.
Sean looked pale and weak when she visited him at the hospital. He was resting in bed, with a book opened on his lap but he wasn't reading.
"Ang," he whispered her name. "I heard you coming."
"Sean." She went to his bedside and touched his hand. "I am so sorry. Your mom called me."
"I know. I asked her to. I hope you don't mind."
"Of course not. I'm glad she did. I'm glad I could come see you."
"You look great." He smiled weakly at her.
"You look terrible," she said honestly.
He laughed. "Thanks. It was very minor and the doctor says I'm on the road to a full recovery. How are you?"
"Lousy," she admitted. "I miss you."
"I miss you too." He took her hand. "What are we going to do?"
"I don't know." She began to cry. "I still love you, Sean. I want to take care of you. I'm sorry for everything that's happened. I was so happy when your mom called me. I feel so bad for what's happened to you but I'm glad to be here. I love you."
He grinned at her. "I love you too, Ang. Please forgive me for what I did, please. Let's get together, baby. I want you so much. You make me so happy. Ang, I've missed you so much, honey."
She bent down to kiss him. "I'll stay and help out with the kids. I'll do anything I can for you, Sean. You know I will."
He nodded. "I know. That's why I fell in love with you. You're so caring, so sweet." His eyes began to get heavy. "I'm really tired, sweetheart. This has been such an ordeal."
"Rest," she whispered as she patted his hand. "I'll be here when you wake up."
"I heard you coming, Ang. I knew you would."
"And I'm never leaving you again, Sean. I'm never leaving you again."
He closed his eyes and slept.
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