Chapters 21 & 22

Chapter 21

“Claire, can I come in?” he stood outside the closed door and asked.

“Yes,” came a soft reply.

Walking in and sitting next to her on the mattress that was still on the floor, he took her hands and kissed them.

“Don’t be mad.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

“David, I just need time to think it over,” she said in exasperation.

“You know, I should be happy if you decide not to buy that house but I know you want a house of your own very badly.  You need to have it to feel secure for yourself and Amelia.  But have you ever thought about us?  You and me?  What do you want out of this relationship, Claire?”

“David, I thought you agreed that me getting a house for Amelia and myself would be a good idea?”

“Yes, but that was then.  Now it’s different.  What we’ve shared these past few days proved that this relationship is going places.  Don’t you feel it too, Claire?”

“I know if I agree to go to London with you, you will do everything possible to make me stay long term.  But I can’t shake off the fear of being left on my own again if things didn’t work out between us.  Jonathan told me before we got married that he would treat me like a princess and that I don’t have to work again if I don’t want to.  Life was rosy for the first year, till Amelia was born, even if he did control me to such an extent that I could hardly go anywhere without his permission or buy something without telling him first.”  She stared into space, remembering the past, willing herself not to shed a tear.

“I thought I could adapt to his ways until I found out he was cheating on me.  My whole world crashed around me all of a sudden when he came home one day and told me to pack up and leave.  I didn’t know what to do or where to go with my baby.  I suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized.  Thank God my parents were informed and they helped me to stand up for myself.  They said I had to do it for Amelia, and I did.”  He waited, knowing that she needed to get it all out of her system.

Clenching her fists as if she was trying to fight the demons in her, her voice had taken on a hard edge.  “I spent all my energy fighting him for some financial support for his daughter and made sure he sign over full custody of Amelia to me.  I had to fight hard for the apartment too.  He was too crafty but Dad helped me get the best divorce lawyer in town.  I decided then that I will not make myself vulnerable again.  That’s why I need to buy a house for us, that way, nobody can throw us out like he did.”

After a long pause, in a quiet voice David said, “And you think I would do that to you?” Though it shocked him to learn the extent of the pain she had gone through with her first marriage, he couldn’t help but feel hurt that she would think of him along the same line as her ex-husband.

Surprised at the hurt in his voice, she shot her head up to look at him.  “No, David, somehow when we met again at the pool, I have this feeling that you’d be everything that he’s not.  I’m sorry if I made you think that I don’t trust you.”  She gently touched his face.

“Then why won’t you let me take care of you and Amelia?”

She shrugged, “Maybe I just wanted some freedom, to do whatever I want for my daughter.”

“You’ll get your freedom, Claire.  I’ll never restrict you.  Even if you insist on buying a house on Mars I will travel in a space shuttle and help you set up home there.”

She smiled.

Deciding to change the topic to lighten up the mood, he continued, “Ok, let’s look at the plus side of the house: good location that is near your parents’ and Amelia’s school, good condition as it’s pretty new and well taken care of, neat lawn, cozy inside, bathroom in all the bedrooms, big library for your own collection of books, and I’m pretty sure the floor doesn’t creak,” he grinned wickedly at her.

She chuckled, “Alright.  Non-creaky floor is important, but I’m not sure I can afford it as I’m hoping to save enough for Amelia’s education.  After selling off the LA apartment, I still need to set aside some money for that and for a rainy day.  I’m still jobless, remember?”

“For the hundredth time Claire, let me say this again: let me take care of you and Amelia.  You know I won’t abandon you two.  You won’t be totally dependant on me as you will have your own house and your own savings, but let me take care of the rest.  All I want from you is for you to be by my side.  That’s all I ask of you.”

The last two lines were spoken with so much sincerity that she looked away for a moment, not sure what to say.  You’re hooked on him whether you like it or not, she told herself.  So why run?

Turning to look at him, she asked, “Where would that lead us, David?”

Smiling tenderly, “Anywhere you want us to go.”

“Ok, but I’m not going to London with you without the assurance that this is going to work out,” she looked at him with her big blue eyes.  She knew it was unfair of her to ask him for assurances when they didn’t even know how their future would pan out, but just the same she needed to hear some comforting words from him.

He stared at her for a moment before he realized what she was trying to say.  Jumping up from the mattress, he told her, “Wait here.  I’ll be back very soon.”  With that, he ran out and down the stairs.  Poking his head into the kitchen where her parents were with Amelia quietly eating some snacks, he asked to borrow Thomas’ car.

“Sure, son,” Thomas said as he threw the car key to him.

———————————————————————

“David, where are you?” Claire asked when he answered his phone.

“Town.”

“What are you doing there?  It’s been three hours since you left.  Are you coming back?” Claire sounded worried.

“Of course!  What kind of silly question is that?” he asked.  “Be back shortly,” he assured her before disconnecting the phone.

Claire stared at the phone with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Mommy, where’s Uncle David?” Amelia asked from where she sat doing some colouring with grandpa and grandma.

“He went to town,” Claire replied.

“I want to go to town too!”

“Uncle David will be back shortly, Amelia.”

“I want to go with Uncle David,” Amelia wailed.  Grandpa tried to shush her but she cried even louder, “I want Uncle David!”

“Amelia, stop this minute or you’ll have to take time-out,” Claire warned.  She could feel a headache coming and she was slowly losing her temper at her wailing child.  The girl sobbed quietly before running up the stairs with grandpa chasing after her.

“What’s wrong, Claire?” Jenny asked.  “Did you have a fight with David about the house?”

Since David left the house Claire had kept mostly to herself, knowing that Amelia was in good hands.  She stayed in her room to think through what she had said to him.  Did she really mean what she said about moving to London with him?  She decided then that she was ready to go anywhere with him.  She couldn’t wait to tell him that, but having waited for three hours for him to turn up had left her feeling irritated and edgy.  She kept trying to come up with a reason for his disappearance.

She looked at her mother and decided to tell her about her decision to follow David.  Jenny was happy to hear that and gave her daughter a hug, “You’ve made a wise choice, Claire.  He’s a good man, not just for you, but for Amelia too.  I’m so happy for you.”

Talking to her mother about her decision helped calm her down a little, so she went upstairs to look in on her daughter.  Amelia cuddled up with Winnie on the bed while grandpa read her a story.  Her eyes were still watery from crying and Claire felt sorry to have raised her voice at her.  Thomas left mother and daughter alone and went downstairs.

“Amelia, Uncle David will be back very soon,” Claire said softly as she stroked her daughter’s hair.

“Why can’t I go, Mommy?”

“Well, Uncle David has something important to do, that’s why you and mommy have to stay at home.”

“And now Uncle David is back,” came David’s voice from the doorway.  “Has my little Amie been a naughty girl?” he wagged a finger at Amelia as he approached them.  Amelia pushed her Winnie to one side and got up to hug him.  Putting the little girl back on the bed, he told her, “Amelia, it’s time for a little nap.  After that we’ll have dinner and a little walk, ok?”  She nodded and after finding a comfortable position, promptly fell asleep as it was way past her nap time.

Taking Claire by the hand, David led her to their room.

—————————————————————————–

Looking at the room they shared, David decided it wouldn’t do.  So he led her downstairs and told her parents they were going for a walk.  Claire limply followed him as he led her by the hand and walked out the house.  They walked towards the playground about five minutes down the road, in a quiet corner of the neighborhood.  There, he sat her down on a swing and crouched down in front of her.

“Claire, I’m not going back to London without you,” he started surely and clearly.

She raised an eyebrow.  “But you’re expected back in two days’ time.  The guys will be waiting for you to continue with work.”

“So will you come with me then?”

“It’s not so simple, David.  If I’m going to London, there’re lots of things I need to get done here first.  I can’t just pack up and leave.”

“Take it as a holiday first.  Then, when I have time to get away again, we’ll fly back and tie up the loose end, like sell your LA apartment.”

“Amelia has been travelling this past week without much rest in between.  I’m not sure she can take the long distance flight.”

“She can.  She sleeps well on the plane.  Kids adapt easily to their surrounding,” he assured her.  “Please come with me, Claire.  See what I can offer you.  If it’s not what you expected, you’re free to walk away, I won’t hold you back against your will,” he said earnestly as he searched her eyes for a hint of her feelings and saw confusion there.

“I’ll never be able to walk away from you, David.  Not now or ever,” she whispered after a while, feeling hurt that he would think her capable of doing that to him after what they’d shared

His lips curled into a smile that she loved so much.  “Then maybe it’s time I give you this.”  He reached inside his jacket and produced a red box.  Opening it, he took out a diamond solitaire ring, so brilliant that it sparkled in the afternoon sun.  Claire was speechless.  He then got down on one knee and proposed, “This is what I spent three hours searching for.  Something for the one I love.  Will you marry me, Claire?”

Still lost for words, Claire could only nod as tears fell from her lovely blue eyes.  David gently held her hand and slipped the ring onto her finger.  It fitted perfectly and he heaved a sigh of relief.  Brushing off the tears from her cheeks, he leant in to kiss her.  “I love you,” he whispered against her lips.

Claire felt her heart soar with love for the man kneeling in front of her.  Those three little words had made everything else inconsequential, even her fears and doubts about moving far away from the comfort of her homeland.  David was her home, she finally realized.

“I love you, too,” she managed to say amid quiet sobs of happiness.

————————————————————————–

“Woohoo!  Well done, David!  We only had to leave you alone for ten days and you managed to nab yourself a wife!” Urs shouted down the phone merrily.

David chuckled happily as he held the phone inches away from his ear.  “Well, I am after all a Divo!”

Both men shared a few more laughs before David got down to serious business.  He wanted Sam to help tidy up his apartment and make it comfortable for Claire and Amelia.  They would be flying in four days later, two days behind the scheduled date that he was supposed to be back but he knew the guys wouldn’t mind.  Urs assured him all would be done, including the stocking up of foodstuff and also toys for Amelia to play with.  Taking down their flight details, he promised to pick them up at the airport.

Before hanging up the phone, David told Urs not to tell anyone about it, except Sam.  He wanted to tell them all personally and Urs agreed, though he was itching to get on the phone with Sebastien and Carlos.  The only consolation for him was that he was allowed to tell Sam.  David’s secrecy about his engagement to Claire sort of reminded Urs about his own wedding when he couldn’t even tell Sam about it until the big day.  It was agony as he had to do a lot of things behind her back and it had caused some misunderstanding between them.  Now he had to keep David’s secret and he couldn’t wait till they arrived and the cat was out of the bag.

The moment Sam stepped into the house, Urs almost blurted out the good news until he saw Angel.  Remembering how she had picked up on everything he had told Sam about Claire previously, he decided to wait till he and Sam were alone again.  He could hardly concentrate on what Angel was telling him about her class, and he was wearing such a silly happy grin on his face that it made Angel curious.

“Daddy, why are you smiling at everything I’ve said?”

“Oh, umm, I thought you had a wonderful day, didn’t you?” he cuddled her closed to him on the sofa.

“No, I did not!  Tommy took my pencil and refused to give it back to me.  How can I be happy with that?” the little girl replied indignantly.

“Oh, I must have missed that part about the pencil.  So did Mrs Jones help you get it back?  Did she punish Tommy for being naughty?”

“Daddy, you weren’t paying attention!  I told you what Mrs Jones did.  I am not going to talk to you anymore!” turning angrily away from her daddy, she stood up and stomped upstairs to her room.

Urs stared at his daughter with an amused look on his face.

“Well, what was that all about?” Sam asked with her arms folded across her chest, looking amused too.

He walked over and pulled her into his arms, “Is that really our four-year-old daughter?  Sounds like a ten-year-old to me.”

“Well, you forgot she started talking at nine months, saying two and three syllabus words by her first birthday, and stringing simple sentences together even before she was two.”

“Yeah, wonder who she took after?” Urs remembered fondly the doctor’s surprise when they took Angel for her regular check-up when she was a year old and she had babbled away with things like, “Teddy bear!”

Sam stood in his embrace idly wondering if she should undo a couple of his shirt buttons until he announced, “Baby bear just got engaged.”

“Really?” she shrieked.  “Oh my!  When is the wedding?”  Buttons forgotten, she danced around clapping her hands like a little child.  Urs laughed.

“Not so soon.  He’s trying to get mother and daughter settled down here and wants us to help get his apartment ready for their arrival in four days’ time.”

“Wait till I tell Ginny and Joanne, they’ll be so happy for him.”

“You can’t tell them.”

“Why not?”

“He wants to tell the rest himself.  We’ll have to treat it like a secret mission.  Even Angel shouldn’t hear about it.”

So Mr and Mrs Buhler set to work planning how to get away for a shopping trip without having to bring the kids along and what they should get for Amelia’s room.

“Thanks, Gin.  We’ll pick up the kids at eight tomorrow night,” Sam hugged her best friend after leaving her kids with Ginny and Sebastien the next morning.

“No problem, Sam.  Have fun shopping and redoing your house,” Ginny replied as Sebastien stood next to her.

“Sure you don’t need help with the house?” Sebastien asked Urs.

“Nah, we’ll manage,” Urs simply said.

 

Chapter 22

“What do you mean he’s not going to be back tomorrow?” Carlos asked over the phone.

“Urs said he’s tied up and will only be back in another couple of days,” Sebastien answered.  Urs had told him to inform Carlos that David would not be back as scheduled and their work would have to be pushed back by a few more days and that was what he just did.

Sighing, Carlos thanked Sebastien before hanging up the phone.

“What’s the matter, love?” Joanne asked, looking concerned at the frown on her husband’s face.

“David wouldn’t be back as planned,” he simply said.

“So?”

“So it means we have to wait another few more days to tell the guys about our baby.  I don’t think I can wait any longer,” Carlos was getting exasperated.  After telling their parents, they had decided not to tell anyone else until the Divo clan had been informed, but he was dying to get it out of his system as he was bursting with pride about his achievement.

Joanne shook her head and smiled indulgently at him, “You know, our baby isn’t going anywhere, so what’s with another couple of days?”  Seeing his scowl, she laughed, “Come, Carlito, let your wife soothe away the worry lines on your face.”  And taking his hand, she led him into their bedroom.

There, she slowly unbuttoned his shirt, randomly flicking her tongue at the exposed skin.  She loved how his chest hair tickled her tongue and she could feel him taking a deep breath each time her moist tongue touched his hot sensitive skin.  She expertly worked him up as he stood in the middle of the room with his clothes strewn all over the floor.

With a grunt, he reached for her arms and pulled her up.  Backing her up against the dressing table after undressing her in record time, he began kissing her and teasing her mercilessly with his hands.  She wrapped her legs around his hips and welcomed him.  He gladly accepted the invitation and took her on a joyous ride, one that left them gasping for breath and calling out each other’s name at the same time.

“I think maybe we should get rid of the bed,” Joanne joked when they finally stopped panting and Carlos was still slumped against her on the dressing table.

He chuckled against her neck, “We still need the bed to sleep on.”

“Oh, why didn’t I think of that?”

————————————————————-

Claire packed whatever she thought she and Amelia might need for the trip to London.  They had flown back to LA after spending a few days with her parents.  The day when David proposed, they had a good talk and Claire decided not to buy Mrs Smith’s house since she wasn’t sure she and Amelia would be living in it.  She had agreed to travel with David on the tour until Amelia’s pre-school started.

She also agreed that Amelia should be schooled in London since that was where David would be based.  Ever since she realized that she couldn’t live without him, Claire had decided to trust him completely even if it meant losing some of her new-found independence.  Being without a house or an apartment to call her own bothered her a little but she knew deep inside that David would always take care of them.  All she needed to do was to be the best fiancée and subsequently the best wife that he could ever have.

David was touched that she had decided to trust him completely.  He knew it wasn’t an easy decision after all that she had gone through and it made him love and appreciate her even more.  He wanted to discuss Amelia’s future but decided to wait until they were both settled down in London before broaching the subject, and also the subject of having their own kids.  He was eager to start a family and even though he loved Amelia like his own daughter, he wanted more children.  Being with the Divo kids made him realize he loved being surrounded by little ones.

Claire’s parents were supportive of her decisions and warmly welcomed their future son-in-law by opening a bottle of fine wine as celebration.  David later called his parents to let them know of the good news and they too were happy for him, though they had not met Claire and Amelia yet.  He promised to bring them home the next time they return to the States.

Looking around the apartment and making sure all the windows were closed and nothing important were left behind, Claire turned to David and smiled.

“Looks like we’re all set to go,” she said.

“Are you sad to leave here?” he asked in a quiet tone, looking at her tenderly.

“No, just a little nervous about London.  You know, meeting your extended family over there.  What if I don’t fit in?” she finally voiced her apprehensions about London.

“You have nothing to worry about, except maybe the little ones.”

Claire laughed as she was told of the most embarrassing dinner he had ever had with the Divo kids and she couldn’t wait to meet Angel, his little angel.

“Come Amelia, let’s go,” he called out to the little girl who was quietly playing with Winnie and holding hands, they followed Claire out of the apartment and waited for her to lock up.  Soon they were in the cab and traveling to the airport.

On the long flight, Claire decided to broach the subject of his dream the other day they flew to New York.  David hesitated for a while before admitting that he had dreamt of Sandra and the accident.  He looked at her worriedly, afraid that she might unhappy that he was still thinking about Sandra.

Taking her hand, he told her, “I’m sorry, Claire.  Sandra might be my past, and though I try my best to move on, there are still memories of her that I won’t be able to get rid of totally.  Please don’t be angry if I suddenly have flashes of her or our time together.  I’m sure in time that would not happen anymore.”

Claire, her eyes showing nothing but compassion, kissed his lips and touched his face as she spoke, “You don’t have to apologise, David.  She was cruelly taken away from you and I don’t think that’s fair.  All you have of her now are memories of her, and knowing how much you really love her, how can I begrudge you for keeping true to your love for her?  I wouldn’t have fallen so deeply in love with you if you aren’t what you are, a loving and caring person.  We can talk about Sandra; in fact, I’d love to know more about her.  Perhaps through that, I will learn to love you the way that she loved you.”

“I’m not looking for her replacement, Claire.  You are what you are and I don’t expect you to be like her.  You will love me the way you do.  I just feel blessed to have met you.  You’re the best thing that ever happened to me since Sandra left.  And I’ll always love you and Amelia.  Always.”  His voice had grown hoarse from the emotions he felt rising up inside him and Claire caught a little tear trickling down his face with her finger.

“And I will always love you too,” she whispered, reaching forward to kiss him tenderly.

—————————————————————————-

Sam and Urs had spent two days decorating one of the guest rooms of David’s luxurious London apartment.  They painted the walls pink and put up curtains that had rainbows, stars and moon design.  They bought a pink children’s bed, with the headboard shaped and painted like a rainbow, and it had two pull out boxes below for toys.  Bed sheets, quilt and covers were also of the same rainbow theme, and so were the wardrobe, dresser and a study desk.  Sam was particularly impressed with her husband for getting a huge pink Care Bear which had a rainbow picture on it and placing it on the bed.

The side of the wall with the study desk was adorned with educational posters of animals as David had mentioned to them how Amelia loved animals.  They even added some children’s encyclopedias and story books to the shelf of the study desk.

Standing back with their arms wrapped around each other’s waist, they admired their work with a satisfied smile on their faces.

“Amelia’s room is done.  Let’s tackle the lovebirds’ nest,” Sam suggested with a cheeky grin.

Chuckling to themselves, they set to work re-decorating David’s room with new bed cover.  Instead of the black cover with pristine white sheets, they changed the cover to lavender color.  They placed dried lavender on beautiful small baskets on both bedside tables and in the bathroom.  Face and bath towels were changed to lavender colors too with David and Claire’s names sewn on their individual towels.  Sam had ordered the custom made towels and was very pleased with herself.  She had even considered changing their bathrobes to lavender too but Urs said that would be too cheesy and David might flip.

“It’s my intention to make him flip.  Look at the colors in this room, if you could even consider black and white as colors.  I wonder how Sandra felt when she had to stay here.  It just screams ‘Men!’ and that’s not the way to welcome his fiancée.  Remember how you decorated our room the way I like it?  Well, I’m sure Claire will love this room too.”

Luckily for David, Urs won the battle with the bathrobes as they settled for white with their names sewn on it.  However, Sam managed to win with the curtains as they were changed to lavender too.

Scented candles in beautiful holders were placed in strategic spots of the room to give it a romantic feel when lit up.  Even without the candles, the room was filled with the sweet scent of lavender.

Urs chuckled to himself as he imagine David’s look of horror at the transformation they had made to his room.  It was totally feminine now, and looked brighter than it was previously, which he was sure David wouldn’t like.  He liked his room dark so that he could sleep late and Urs wondered if his brother would be able to fall asleep at all with the brightness and the scent surrounding the room.

“Don’t worry.  Claire will help him sleep like a baby,” Sam winked.  They had one last shopping trip to do before their mission was complete and they set off to the supermarket with a list of things to buy, among them the finest champagne and red wine.

Totally exhausted but happy to have accomplished their task, they drove to Sebastien’s place to pick up their children.

“Have they been any trouble at all?” Sam asked.

“Not at all.  They’re so well-behaved sometimes I even wondered if they were here at all.  And you know what?  Even Nick has learnt to behave himself after spending those three days at Carlos’,” Ginny happily told them.

“Well, I guess Carlos must have a way with little children.  He’ll make a great daddy, I’m sure.”

“David will be back tomorrow evening.  Shall we have dinner at my place the day after tomorrow?” Urs suggested.

They all agreed so Sebastien set about calling Carlos to tell him about the plan.

“He’s coming back tomorrow night?  That’s great!  Yes, we’ll be there for dinner and I’ll supply the champagne” an over enthusiastic Carlos almost shouted over the phone.

Sebastien stared at his phone wondering what had got into his friend.  “Sure, I’ll see you both then.  And by the way, how’s everything going between you and Joanne?”

“Couldn’t be better!” Carlos replied before they ended their phone conversation.

“He must be very happy now that the kids are back with us.  He sounds like he’s just had one too many, our grandpa Divo,” Sebastien remarked to the others sitting around him.

Urs chuckled, “Can’t blame him.  One moment he’s alone with Joanne, the next he’s hit with three little ones, and sometimes even five.  He must have felt the pressure.  Just hope it hasn’t scared him off about having his own kids.”

—————————————————————————

Urs stood at the arrival hall waiting impatiently for David and his new family to arrive.  The flight was slightly delayed due to bad weather in LA but he didn’t have to wait too long.  David’s head showed up above the other passengers as he made his way towards Urs with Amelia in one hand and luggage in the other.  Claire walked alongside him towing another luggage behind her, with Winnie the Pooh strapped on to it.

“Good to see you again, my friend.  And congratulations, too,” Urs welcomed David with a warm embrace, patting him on his back.

“Thanks, Urs.  It’s good to be back,” David replied sincerely.  Turning to Claire, he put an arm around her waist and introduced her, “I hope you remember Claire Morgan.  You met her here at this same airport not too long ago.”

“Of course I do,” Urs replied before giving Claire a hug and kissed both her cheeks.  After congratulating her, he turned his attention to Amelia, “And this lovely little girl is Amelia, am I right,” he bent down to her height and smiled at her.  The little girl smiled and nodded before allowing Urs to hug her.

“Come on.  You must all be tired.”  With that, he herded them all out the airport and into the car.

On the way to David’s apartment, Urs made small talk that included both Claire and Amelia and Claire was impressed at how easily they had talked.  She knew that David and Urs were very close to each other, and David had told her about his special friendship with Sam.  She couldn’t wait to meet this fantastic lady that David spoke so much about and she felt a deep connection with her even though they had never met.

Urs dropped them off at the apartment after reminding them about dinner at his place the next day.

“Oh, er, David, I hope you like what we’ve done for you upstairs.  Sam and I worked our butts out tidying up the place for you,” Urs said with a mischievous grin on his face that made David uncomfortable.

“Sure.  Thanks for the help.  I really appreciate it,” David shut the car door with a puzzled look on his face.

Opening the door to his apartment, he stuck his head in to see if there were any surprises there.  Nothing.  Except for a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase sitting in the middle of the dining table to the right of the apartment.  Heaving a sigh of relief, he let the two girls in.

“Welcome to my home,” he proclaimed as he swept his arms out gallantly.

Claire and Amelia giggled at his theatrics before taking a little tour of the spacious living room and the open kitchen and dining area.

“Let’s go check out Amelia’s room,” he told them.  Taking the luggage, he led them into the room next to the master bedroom.  Opening it wide, he let them in before joining them just inside the door.

“Wow!  This is beautiful!” Claire exclaimed.

David was left speechless.  Amelia ran over to the bed and picked up the Care Bear.

“Is this mine, Uncle David?” she asked excitedly.

“Well, yes.  Everything here is yours, Amie,” David replied with a huge grin on his face.  Sam and Urs had done a fantastic job and he couldn’t wait to thank them for it.  Walking over to the bed, he pulled out the two storage boxes underneath it and to Amelia’s delight, they were filled with toys.

Claire looked at the toys and was impressed.   She could see they were very thoughtfully picked out as they were all educational toys.  She was even more impressed after checking out the study desk with the collection of books on the shelf.

“Your friends are precious, David.”

“I know.  That’s why I want you to meet and get to know them.”

With a huge grin on his face, he took her to their room, leaving Amelia to play with her new toys.  The moment the bedroom door was opened, his grin turned into a frown.

“Wow!  This is lovely!  I love it, David!” Claire declared and turned to hug him.  “Can you smell the flowers?  Did you tell them I love lavender?”

So this was what Urs’ grin was all about, David thought.  Seeing how happy his fiancée was, he decided he could forgive his friends for turning his masculine bedroom into something so feminine.  He hoped the curtains could block out the sunlight though, and that he could persuade Claire to remove those baskets of dried lavender from the bedside tables.  He wasn’t sure he could sleep with the overpowering scent of the flowers assaulting his senses.

Opening the bathroom door, he was almost afraid that it would be filled with more lavender.  Thankfully there was only a small basket of it on the vanity top.  Claire picked up the face towels and admired them.

“Look!  They have our names written on them, and the bath towels too.  How thoughtful,” she murmured to herself.  “Oh, I just love these candle holders,” she said as she fingered the candle holders on the vanity.  There were a couple more of those on the sides of the huge bath.

“I love this place, David.  Thank you.”  Claire gave David a long and passionate kiss that made him forget his uneasiness about the smell and color scheme of his room.  What the heck, it’s now Claire’s room as well, so what if it was feminine, he thought at the back of his mind as they kissed.

Breaking off from the kiss, Claire asked, “Can I talk to Sam now?  I want to thank her for all she and Urs had done for us.”

So David called Sam and let the girls talk as he checked on Amelia.

“Hi Sam, this is Claire.  I just wanted to thank you and Urs for decorating the rooms for us,” Claire said when David handled the phone over to her.

“Don’t mention it, Claire.  We had fun doing it, especially David’s room.  Did you notice how he looked when he saw his bedroom?” Sam was dying to know how David reacted to her work of art.

“Well, I think I saw a frown on his face.”

Sam laughed.  “That’s to be expected.  One moment his room was all black and white and smelling musky, the next it’s all lavender and sweet smelling.  Urs said he might have trouble falling asleep in his own bed now but I’m sure you’ll help him with that.”

Claire knew from the tone of Sam’s voice that she was teasing her and she giggled.  “I’ll try my best.”  They talked a little longer before saying good night and hung up.  Going over to Amelia’s room, she found her daughter and her fiancé in the bathroom.  Amelia was brushing her teeth as David looked on with a pink face towel in hand.  It had Amelia written on it and a teddy bear sewn next to the name.

“She’s so thoughtful,” Claire said as she admired the bathroom which was decorated with Finding Nemo stickers on the tiles and the sides of the bathtub.

Both of them put Amelia in bed and as David read her a story, Claire observed him from the corners of her eyes.  When he finished reading, he indulged Claire’s request by singing Over the Rainbow.  By the time the song was done, Amelia had drifted off to dreamland.

5 thoughts on “Chapters 21 & 22”

  1. When David left Claire in the bedroom, I knew he was going ring shopping. Perfect way to make her feel secure in their relationship. Love the way Sam and Urs decorated both bedrooms and bath, but I think David is going to have problems with the smell of the lavender.
    Good thing they are finally in London, I don’t know how much longer Carlos could wait to tell his news.

  2. Great story! Love to read more of it!

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