Chapter Four

 

They were back at the lighthouse after that first time being together.  Sweat cooled on their bodies but neither one bothered to care.  They were happy. 

Tony raised a hand and brushed a stray hair out of her eyes.  He stared at her as if he were memorizing her face, as if he would wake up and she would be gone.  His expression of awe nearly brought tears to Marah’s eyes.

“I love you Marah Lewis.”

She smiled, “And I love you Tony Santos.  Now and forever.”

He grinned mischievously, “I don’t know, I’ve given you enough reasons to hate me. But through it all it has always been you.”

Marah swallowed back her tears.  They had been through a lot.  But Marah was never happier then when she was with Tony.

Her reply was cut off by Tony’s kiss.  It was filled of all the passion and love they had for each other.  She never wanted this to end.

Just then she felt a sharp pain and looked down.  A small hole formed on her chest and blood flowed thick and red.  

“Oh God Marah!”  Tony cried out. 

But it was too late.  She could feel the life draining from her. 

*

Marah woke with a start, reaching for her chest.  But her tank top was clean and there was not a drop of blood in sight.

“Just a dream Marah” She said aloud to herself. 

“Marah Lewis you better get your rear in gear!  Else Collin is going to come get you himself.”

Marah tried to shake off the dream but she just couldn’t get Tony out of her mind.  It felt so real.  Like a beautiful memory marred by tragedy.  Kind of like their whole relationship. 

No use dwelling on it now, time to face the day.

***

The minute Marah entered the kitchen Collin began talking a mile a minute, only pausing long enough to shove in a bite of his pancake.

“We’re going to the lake today!  Jonathan and Sarah are comin’ too!  And Dad days he’s going to teach me how to fish.”  Collin was practically bouncing up and down with glee.  Inwardly Marah flinched.  She remembered her one and only fishing trip with dad.  It did NOT go well.

Reva looked over at her daughter.  She always seemed to know when Marah was upset.  “Sleep well Hon?”

Until that dream.  But still Marah attempted a semblance of a smile.  “Like a baby.”

Reva looked like she didn’t believe her.  Marah had to get out of there fast.

 “I better go get ready before Collin leaves without us.”

***

Across town Danny was sitting at his kitchen table enjoying his morning coffee while reading the sports section. 

“Damn Cubs lost again,”  He mumbled.

His daughter Hope looked up from her breakfast and looked aghast at her father’s comment.  “Daddy, don’t swear!”

Danny chuckled.  She may have the typical Santos looks but she was Michelle through and through, especially with her Vulcan hearing, “Sorry Sweetheart.”

Satisfied with his answer she went back to tackling her fruit.

“Okay I think I got everything.  Beach towels, umbrella, and three different kinds of sunscreen.  I keep thinking I forgot something though.”  Michelle was obviously in full-on mommy mode.   She also had enough paraphernalia for three families.

Danny automatically reached over to take the heavy beach bag out of her arms, “You shouldn’t be carrying all this Michelle.  It’s not good for you.”

Michelle huffed, “I’m pregnant Danny not an invalid.”

True but she was precious to him.  He remembered when she miscarried their first child, when she thought she was loosing Robbie, not to mention when they thought they lost baby Hope.  If he could he would have kept her in a plastic bubble for the entire nine months.  He’d have more luck winning the lottery.

He went over and wrapped his arms around his busy wife,”I know what you forgot.”

She looked at him with a grin, “Oh yeah?  What’s that?”

“You forgot to give your man a good morning kiss.” He even put a little pout in there for effect.

“In that case I better rectify that right away.”

Danny leaned down and kissed his wife.  He would never tire of simply kissing his wife.

“Oh MAN!  That is gross. ”  Robbie entered the room with a laugh. 

Michelle and Danny reluctantly broke apart and laughed.  “Sorry sport.  Couldn’t help myself.  By the way Cubs lost to St. Louis again.”

“Oh man that’s three in a row!” As Danny and Robbie started talking baseball Michelle cleaned up the remnants of breakfast and proceeded to get Hope ready to go.

“Okay gang.  Time to go!  Want to get there before the crowds.”  Didn’t have to tell them twice, they were both out the door before she even finished talking.

Danny focused on Michelle, “What time are you getting back?”

“Around noon I think.  It’s sure going to be a hot one today.  You calling Mr. Stevenson later?”

“Yeah.  Hope he has something to report.”

“I’m sure he will.”  And with that she gave him one final kiss then went to join the kids. 

***

The beach was already packed and it was just after nine. 

“Look there’s Sarah” Collin pointed then proceeded to tug Marah towards the waiting pair.

Jonathan got up and greeted Marah with a hug, “Hey little sis.  Glad you’re back!  Now Mom can get off my back for a while.”

Marah laughed.  They hadn’t always had a good brother/sister relationship but she tried reaching out after her mom told her that Tammy had died and they’d made some real progress. 

“Hello Jonathan,” She looked down and saw the dark-haired little girl clinging to his leg, “And this must be Sarah.”

She hunched down and held out her hand, “Hello I’m your Aunt Marah.”

The little girl hesitated but then slowly put her small hand in hers with a soft “Hello”.

“So you staying around long?” 

Jonathan’s question was innocent enough but Marah had no idea how to answer.  She had a life waiting for her in Paris.  But this was just as special. 

“We’ll see how it goes.  It’s up in the air at the moment.”

***

Hope grudgingly stood while his mother slathered sunscreen on her face.  Robbie stood by impatiently waiting for his chance to try out his new boogie board.  Then Hope spotted her friend Sarah from dance.

“Mommy who is that lady with Sarah?”

“What was that honey?” She looked over where Hope pointed and gasped.  She turned back to Hope, “That’s her Aunt Marah.  A long time ago she used to date your Uncle Tony.”  Date was such a tame word.  They fought and made up almost as much as Danny and her. 

“Oh.  Can we go say hi?”

Michelle didn’t see why not.  They used to be so close.  The two women in love with the Santos men.  She took her daughter’s hand and the trio headed down the beach towards the group.

***

She didn’t notice the newcomers until Sarah started waving.

“That’s Hope.  She’s in my tap class.”

Marah turned to greet the approaching group and was truly surprised by who it was. 

“Hello Marah. ”

Marah jumped from the beach towel and embraced her old friend.  “Michelle!  It’s so good to see you!”

“Good to see you too.  Your parents didn’t mention anything when I saw them at Towers the other night.  When did you get back?”

“Yesterday afternoon.  Last minute trip.  Thought I’d come back and catch up with the family.”

“Yeah me and Danny moved back for the same reason.  No matter where you go Springfield is home.”

Don’t I know it.

Well we didn’t want to intrude, Hope just wanted to say hello to Sarah.”

Marah waved off the comment, “It’s no intrusion.  Plus, I’d like to get caught up.  I’ve missed you.”

Michelle smiled and followed Marah to join the rest of the group.

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