Brian had a million questions running around his head, “Why had Sarah come all this way? How had she found him here in Boston?” He wanted answers, but at the same time the beatings in his heart were telling him otherwise.
Sarah was fast asleep on the elegant sofa with only her head to show above the blankets. In the night her hair had come lose and found all sorts of ways to arrange itself so that she would have a time getting it back to normal. She never saw Brian standing there watching her or felt the light kiss on her porcelain forehead.
Brian moved as quietly as he could in the kitchen attempting to cook something for breakfast. She deserved that much, after yesterdays mess with Petunia. “God forbid she ever comes back into this house,” he thought to himself. He wanted to give her the breakfast of a Queen, but all there really was were eggs, bread, coca and a few bits of bacon. Sooner or later he would have to shop.
Sarah was deep in a dream when she began to stir. The smells of Brian’s cooking had reached her nose and woken her with their temptations. She rose slowly to find herself lying on an elegant velvet sofa covered in the old quits of days gone by. Her feet soon touched the cool rug and as she stood, her dress fell into place with all sorts of wrinkles from her sleep.
“Oh goodness me, this won’t do at all,” She muttered to herself in thought. “I can’t go out like this.”
“Good morning,” said Brian as he interrupted Sarah of her thoughts, only to bring a small flush to her face.
“Morning,” Sarah replied a bit flustered at her appearance. “Sorry I’m in such a state….” she began till Brian cut her off.
“Don’t worry, we’ll think of something,” Brian finished for her with a proud smile of his own. He looked like a boy who’d just won first prize.
Sarah started to tell him something more in regards to the dress, but at that moment the eggs started to really cook and the bacon began to splatter grease all over.
Brian unfortunately got the brunt of his cooking with a few bits of raw egg dripping from his shirt and tiny grease spots on his face and hair.
“My you are a sight are you not?” Sarah remarked trying very hard not to giggle. She found the whole bit to be very amusing.
“I try,” Brian replied. “Never was much of a cook like Ma was.”
“Not to worry, I’m here to help.”
Brian wasn’t too sure he wanted Sarah’s help with cooking as he was more than capable of doing it himself, or so he wanted to think. With the eggs cooking fast and the bacon responding to the heat so much, he gave up on all the protests in his head.
He watched Sarah as she cooked, making it look effortlessly in her movements. It made it hard for him to concentrate on cooking the bacon. But somehow he managed and nothing burned, which for him at times was a miracle.
“Mmm, this is delicious, Brian,” said Sarah as she savored a bit of eggs and bacon together. “Where did you learn to cook?”
“Guess I got a bit of my real ma in me and Grace helped some. But most of the credit goes to Martha. She was my Grandma’s chamber maid, helped me out some with the basics when I moved in here some time ago.”
“That was real nice of her to do that for you,” Sarah answered after swallowing a few more bites of her meal.
“Sure was,” Brian smiled over at her for a moment as the rest of him went down memory lane. The times he’d come to Boston, baking the pie with Grace and Colleen, Martha’s good help in cooking, his Grandma’s generosity. He cherished all of those memories and held them dear. His Grandma had been gone some ten years, Grace he hadn’t heard much from since she took sick and dear Martha had gone into a home.
Brian hadn’t realized how much he’d been lost in his own memories till he felt a light touch on his arm.
“You alright?” Sarah asked with concern in her voice. Since she’d been watching him just now, the smile had faded some to a more somber look. It was something she hadn’t seen on him before.
“Yep,” Brian answered and gave her one of his best smiles. He really didn’t want to dig up the past right now, but a part of him knew he would have to sooner or later. Women always seem to want to know things and will pry until they get it.
Sarah tried to smile away what she saw in his eyes to show him that she was fine with his answer, but a part of her knew there were things he was hiding. She’d gotten that instinct about her over the years. Her own mother when she became ill didn’t come right out at say it, but Sarah had seen the pain behind the eyes. There was no hiding it and Brian wasn’t going to be able to hide for too much longer.
Brian sensed something in the air as Sarah quietly ate the rest of her meal before taking her dishes to the sink. He watched her movements as she scrubbed the plates and silverware before rinsing them and leaving them to dry.
His own meal was finished in silence before he followed her lead. When he had finished Sarah put herself right there in front him, looking at him with pleading eyes.
“Please don’t hide things from me,” she spoke softly. “Something’s bothering you and I want to hear what it is, good or bad, please tell me.”
“I can’t…” Brian started to say, but when she ran a hand gently down his cheek and rested it on the right side of his face he knew he couldn’t run. Looking into her eyes had been a mistake too and from there he knew she had him.
“Very well,” Brian said as he surrendered. “Let’s take a walk then shall we?”
Sarah followed Brian as he led her out the door and into the awaiting streets. She looked around her at the snow covered streets with the tall lampposts sticking straight out of them. They too had their own snow cover on them as well. She noticed the other people as they trudged through the snow carrying various packages and even those lucky enough to be pulled by a sleigh. It was quite different than what she saw in Georgia. There was no snow and people were a bit friendlier.
Brian at first clasped her hand in his own, before placing it after some blocks in the crock of his arm. He wanted her close by him, to feel her warmth next to him, and most of all he didn’t want to lose her too. It had been hard enough to say goodbye to Dr. Mike and Sully those years ago, along with Katie. Last he heard Katie had blossomed into beautiful debutante and was living happily in Kansas City. Dr. Mike and Sully had gotten along in their years and were facing the health problems that he had learned came with old age.
Grace was lost to childbirth, but had left behind a beautiful girl who Robert E cherished and protected more than anything. Her name was Heather.
Finally after several blocks Brian began to talk and let all that was on his chest out into the cold winter snow.
“I came here some ten years ago when Grandma Quinn fell ill. We hadn’t seen it right away as all of us had gathered together for Colleen’s graduation. But Ma didn’t miss a beat and you know how she can be. Although with all the fight in her she lost the battle.”
“I’m so sorry to hear,” Sarah said in a soft breath.
Brian squeezed her arm, “Thanks. During that time our whole family had trouble brought down on us and one night our carriage overturned in the streets. I had a nasty cut on my head, as Katie told me. Although that didn’t stop me from pursuing my dream of being a reporter and getting a job at the Boston Globe.”
Sarah smiled to herself at the last part; he had fight in him although to her way of thinking he was a bit stubborn for his own good.
“It was then that I decided to stay and say goodbye to the family and the comforts of Colorado Springs. At first it was an adjustment but over the years I’ve grown to love Boston as I’m sure Dr. Mike does as well.”
Sarah listened carefully to everything Brian had told her, the good the bad, everything. She wanted to comfort him each step of the way with hugs and kisses, but a lady she would do no such displays in the street. Her heart also knew that when he finished it would be her turn to visit the painful past that brought her here to him.
Brian led them her over to a snowy park bench before stopping and turning around to face her. He drew her in for a close hug wanting to the savor the moment between them.
“What brought you here to Boston?” Brian asked with a whisper into her ear. More importantly he wanted to know how she’d found him.
Sarah pulled back and braced herself for her story, which held a lot of pain in it that she didn’t want to visit. She took a deep breath and waited for what seemed like an eternity before she spoke.
“Ma and I moved back to Georgia some time ago, which you knew.” She looked up at him for a reassuring nod. “We were going to live with Ma’s sister. It was hard for her to go back after Pa died. Visiting all those familiar places again so soon got to be too much for her. I was certain she was going to break at any time. Then I would be nothing more than an orphan with no wear to go. But Ma’s sister said something to her one day about her melancholy moods, and that did the trick. In time Mama became the person I knew she was deep down, before we lost Pa. She improved greatly over the years and got more involved in things again. It was a real joy to see her like this. But that wasn’t always to be.”
Brian listened to every word that fell from Sarah’s lips before drawing her close to him again; knowing the rest of the story probably wasn’t going to be the best. He could see pain in her eyes that she’d hidden from him that was about to surface. The worst was yet to come.
Sarah did her best to tell of her mother’s illness and all she herself endured. She tried to be brave and hold face, but in the end crumbled. “After mama left me I felt as if I was alone in this world with no where to go,” she said as the tears began to fall. “I was of age then but not married, nor did I have a suitor. Men came calling sure but they all seemed to want the other girls in the room. More and more I felt so alone. Then one day my best friend showed me a romance in the Boston Globe. She wanted me to snap out of it, which worked for awhile. Then I saw your writing in the paper. It was as if a brick hit me in the chest. I never dreamed I’d see you again and here I was with evidence of where you were.”
Sarah paused for a moment to wipe her tears before she went on, “Jackie never understood when I told her I wanted to come here to find you. She chastised me at every turn and made me feel so small. The things she said to me were horrible. A part of me feared she was right and then another wanted so much to prove her wrong. So I stole away one night without so much as a note to her of where I was going. She would have stopped me for sure or my aunt, but I wanted none of that.”
Brian then looked down into her tear stained face drinking in the features of a woman who in her young life had lived through so much and was here telling him everything. He wanted to bandage all those wounds she carried and tell her everything would be alright. Yet he knew deep down that would never do, she had seen too much in life to believe any tales.
“They don’t even know you’re gone?” Brian asked with a small amount of concern. He’d be throttled if he pulled something like that.
“I suppose not, but what does it matter anyway. Staying there would have been for all the wrong reasons. I had some money saved up that I took with me to buy a train ticket here to Boston. Used most of it to get here, but I wasn’t going to turn back to the life that made me so miserable.”
“And here you are,” Brian spoke after moments of silence between them were nothing was said with words, only with their eyes. Pain deep down brought to the surface, finally after so many years of carrying it around. They were both free of pasts, some of which they cared not to remember. Other parts more pleasant that would always be cherished with each step of the way.
“Here I am,” Sarah replied, “With your arms to catch me when I fall.” Brian hugged her tightly then as if he never wanted to let go and if she did that she might disappear. And when he was sure she wouldn’t run he took her face in both his hands and gently kissed her at first and then more urgently.
Sarah felt herself melt as the warmth of his body covered hers and the intensity of his mouth grew from gentleness to a strong desire. She soon felt her knees go weak right there in the cold snow as his hands held her face in his own.
Brian almost didn’t feel her slipping as his desire just about over powered him, but next thing he knew she was about to land in the cold white snow around them. He reached down to catch her fall, only to fall himself.
“You don’t make it a habit to fall do you?” Sarah asked with a flirtatious smile.
“Nah, but if I do you’ll be there to catch me right?” Brian replied with a smile all his own that Sarah couldn’t ignore as she reached for his hand. In moments their snow covered bodies were facing each other again as they reached for each other in a kiss filled with desire and the promise of happy endings.
12-31-07 by seb