Sara was lying on the bed in the jail bungalow, fast asleep.
Stephen rubbed her stomach lightly as he watched her. She was just
starting to show, and Stephen couldn’t keep his hand from touching
her tummy. He’d been rubbing for over an hour now. He wiped tears
from his face, making sure Sara didn’t wake up and see him. He
didn’t want her to see him cry ever again. He’d promised her that.
Now he wasn’t so sure he could keep that promise. But he was going
The next morning, Sara woke up with Stephen lying close to
her, his hand resting on her stomach.
“Stephen,” Sara whispered, “Stephen.”
“Good morning baby,” he said, his eyes still closed.
“Good morning to you sleepy face. Did you sleep well?”
“The only time I get any sleep is when you visit,” Stephen said
smiling, his eyes finally opening.
“I hate to hear that honey,” Sara said, rolling towards him, “it
must be so horrible.”
“Shhh,” Stephen put his finger to his lips, “We said we wouldn’t
discuss any of that.”
“I know,” she said, suddenly making a pained face.
“What is it?” Stephen sat up.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” Sara answered, jumping off the
bed in her nightgown and darting into the bathroom.
“Baby?” Stephen got off the bed and stood in the bathroom
door. Sara was throwing up.
“You all right baby? Something I said?” Stephen tried to joke.
“Funny,” Sara said, her face still in the toilet, “It’s morning
“Can I get you anything?”
“A glass of water.”
Stephen went into the kitchenette. He got some bottled water
that Sara had bought for the refrigerator, filled a glass and walked
back to the bathroom where Sara was now brushing her teeth.
“Thanks honey,” she said, taking the glass.
“You want to lie down?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Sara handed Stephen the glass back and went to the
bed, “I’m sorry about this.”
“Why? Don’t be sorry. Let me take care of you. I never get to do
that. All you do is take care of me.”
“That’s not true Stephen. Besides, I like taking care of you. You
know that.” Sara held her hand out.
“Just let me do it,” Stephen said, taking her hand and guiding
her to the bed, “So I can do something good.”
“You are good Stephen.” Sara shut her eyes as Stephen laid
her down gently against the pillow.
“I love you Sara,” he said as he bent over and kissed the tip of
Stephen walked over to the kitchen, turning around once to look
at Sara again. She was so beautiful, even more now that she was
pregnant. He turned the faucet in the sink on and starting
washing their dinner dishes from the night before.
* * *
“I’m not going to go to the Inn’s Stephen.” Sara and Stephen
were having baked chicken, rice pilaf, a hearty mixed salad and
glasses of water for dinner at the little table in the kitchenette. Sara
liked to cook him a healthy, delicious meal when she was there. She
knew how bad the prison food was.
“I just don’t feel up to it.”
“But you didn’t go last month,” he pointed out.
“I know. I wanted to, but because of our friends wanting to go
too, I couldn’t. But I don’t feel I can handle all the driving.”
“So you’re staying?”
“This is a treat,” Stephen took a sip of his water.
“For me too. But it means I can’t call Jack. And he’ll be
“So tell him you forgot.”
“You just don’t forget to call your husband. Especially when you
do it every month.” Sara pushed her rice around the plate with her
“I guess not,” Stephen said dejectedly.
“Oh honey, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up.”
“No, you should. It’s your life. It’s your whole life.”
“You are a part of that Stephen. Of my whole life.” Sara got up
from the table and stood behind Stephen, wrapping her arms around
“This is getting complicated isn’t it?” he asked.
“I guess. I think it was complicated to begin with, but somehow
we handled it. The baby just added to the complication.”
“Baby,” Stephen got up and hugged her, “I’m scared for you.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Sara pulled her head back and looked
up at him, “It’ll work out. I don’t want you to have to worry about
anything. You have enough.”
“I have nothing Sara. Only you.” He pulled her towards him
Jack didn’t pick up Sara at the airport. She knew he had a Sunday meeting, so she knew not to expect him. But she still felt disappointed. She had to lug her bags through the airport, and she was so tired. Ever since she’d been sick in the bungalow, she’d felt queasy.
When she arrived home, she was surprised that all the lights in the house were on. She dropped her bags by the door and walked towards the kitchen.
“In here,” he answered.
Sara entered the kitchen. Jack was standing over the counter eating a sandwich. All the meat and cheese and lettuce and bread and dressings were still laying open on the counter.
“That looks pretty good,” Sara said. She took two slices of the rye bread that was out and started to make herself a sandwich.
“Hello to you too,” Jack said bitterly, part of his sandwich still in his mouth.
“Sorry sweetie. I’m famished. Must be the pregnancy thing.” Sara leaned over and kissed Jack’s cheek.
“I suppose. I guess forgetting to call your husband can also be blamed on the pregnancy thing.”
“I’m sorry,” Sara said, carefully watching her hands, “I was just so tired when I got to the last Inn.”
“Really? I’m so sorry dear. So when you got to the Inn, at whatever time, you just went right to bed?” Jack wasn’t going to let up. Something was going on with Sara other than her pregnancy. He wanted to know what the hell was going on.
“Jack,” Sara finally looked at him as confidently as she could, “what are you asking?”
“Well, when I called the Eden Moon, they told me that you weren’t staying there. The manager who answered the phone said she hadn’t even seen you.”
“I didn’t stay at the Eden Moon Jack,” she said, “I stayed at the Rocky Moon. I stayed at the Eden last time. And when I stopped in the Eden Moon, Michele, who I am sure answered the phone, wasn’t there since it was over eight hours earlier.”
“Ok. But why didn’t you call me?” Jack stared at her coolly.
“I told you Jack, I was tired. I’m sorry. I really am.”
“I was worried Sara,” Jack finished his sandwich and finally put his arms around her. It seemed like the right thing to do. He hadn’t accused her of anything, but what if he was wrong for having these doubts.
“I know. It was selfish. I got morning sickness and just felt nauseous the entire time. I love you, you know that.”
“I know. I just couldn’t help making things up.” Jack released her and started to put food back in the refrigerator.
“Making things up? Like what.” Sara took a bite of her sandwich.
“I was just being stupid.”
“Did you think I had an accident? Oh, Jack, I’m sorry. I’ll never do that again. I’ll do anything I can to let you know where I am. Especially now that I’m pregnant.”
“Actually, I didn’t think you were in an accident. It didn’t occur to me. I just had all kinds of thoughts. It’s not important now,” Jack said as he thumbed through some mail on the counter.
“Oh,” Sara replied. She didn’t want to ask him what he’d thought she was doing. She knew exactly what he was thinking, and there was no reason to get into it.
“I’m going to take a shower honey, are you okay?” Jack stroked her shoulder.
“Yea, I’m fine. I’ll clean the rest of this up. Go ahead.”
“Ok. I’ll see you upstairs.” Jack left the kitchen, and as he ascended the stairs, he had mixed feelings. He’d always trusted his wife completely. Why all of a sudden was he having doubts?
Sara finished her sandwich, but she was nauseated. It wasn’t because of the baby, but rather all the lying. It made her sick. After she cleaned up the kitchen, she quickly looked through the unopened mail and left it on the counter. She didn’t want to deal with it either. She turned the kitchen light off and walked into the alcove. Jack, thankfully, had taken her bags up already. She traipsed up the stairs and went into the bedroom. Jack was sitting in bed reading a book.
“That was quick,” she said as she sat on the bed and pulled her shoes off.
“I’m tired,” he replied.
“Me too. I’ll only be a minute.” Sara got up and went into the bathroom. After she’d changed and brushed her teeth, she came out of the bathroom and the lights in the bedroom were off.
“Jack,” she said as she made her way to the bed.
“You’re asleep already? We hardly talked.”
“Sorry Sara. I have a big day tomorrow.”
“All right,” Sara got in the bed next to him, “hug?”
“Sure,” he said reluctantly. He rolled over, hugged her and rolled back.
“Love you,” she said.
“You too.” Jack lay on the furthest edge of the bed and stared at the wall.
“Jack, I’m sorry.”
“I know. It’s ok.”
“It doesn’t feel like it,” Sara rubbed his back.
“I’m just tired. I told you.”
“I know, I know. Like I said, it just doesn’t feel like it.” Sara wiped a tear from her eye. She shouldn’t cry. She was trying so hard not to. She didn’t deserve his sympathy.
“Just go to sleep honey, ok?”
“Ok,” she said sadly, the tears shooting out of her eyes. She was incredibly frustrated with herself.
“Oh Sara,” Jack finally rolled over and grabbed her into his arms, “This is stupid. I’m trying to be angry with you, but I can’t be. I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to be sorry. It’s me. I should’ve called. It’s my fault. I just feel so badly.”
“Well, don’t. It’s done. You’re home. That’s all I care about.” Jack kissed her forehead.
“I just feel so sad,” Sara burst out crying. Damn her. She couldn’t control herself.
“Sara, oh honey, stop.” Jack held her while she cried. What had he done?
“I can’t Jack,” she almost laughed, “I can’t help it. It must be the pregnancy thing.”
“It’s kind of cute,” Jack said smiling, “I love you so much. Even when you cry. Too Romance novel?”
“No, just perfect,” Sara sniffled back. She was very lucky. But she knew her luck was slowly running out.
Sara, Ann and Gwen were browsing some antique stores in Middleburg. Sara hadn’t been feeling well, and didn’t want to go out, but Ann had talked her into it, telling her she needed a day out. Sara had been staying home a lot. It’d been 3 months since her last trip to New York. The pregnancy was harder on her than she thought it’d be.
“That’s beautiful,” Gwen said as she peered in the window of one of the stores at an oak, antique chest.
“It’s lovely,” Ann nodded.
“I’ve got to go in,” Gwen pushed the door open which prompted the little bells at the top to sound.
“I’ll wait outside,” Sara said, “I just don’t want to go inside right now.” It was a lovely day. The sun was out and there was a slight breeze.
“I’ll stay out here with you,” Ann replied, “Go ahead Gwen.” Gwen went in the store and Sara and Ann sat down on a bench. Sara was about 6 months pregnant now, and her belly was actually rather large. She had to brace herself to sit down.
“You don’t feel good do you? I’m sorry I made you come.”
“No Ann, you were right, I needed to get out of the house. I just never thought being pregnant would be so hard.” Sara adjusted herself on the bench.
“I don’t think it always is. What’d the doctor say?”
“That at 7 ½ to 8 months I’ll probably have to stay in bed until I deliver. Can you imagine? I haven’t been able to go to New York for 3 months.”
“Really? I thought you could fly up until 7 months.” Ann took a pack of gum out of her purse and offered a piece to Sara, who shook her head.
“That’s true, but I haven’t been able to. I am sick so often that I’ve been afraid to go away, but I really need to get up there. It’s driving me crazy.”
“Well,” Ann said, “those Inn’s are so well taken care of. I’m sure they’re fine. Besides, Jack could go up there if you were really worried.”
“I know, but he doesn’t like to, and I don’t blame him.”
“Hey, on another note, Henry’s taking me to England next month.”
“Oh that’s great Ann. You’ve been wanting to go somewhere alone for a long time.”
“Well, it’s a business trip so he has to work part of the time, but I am so looking forward to it.”
“Ann,” Sara said suddenly, “have you ever thought about anyone else since you’ve been married to Henry?”
“Anyone else? You mean men?”
“We all have fantasy’s don’t we? I guess I’ve thought about people, but I never wanted to go through with it. Sappy as it sounds, Henry really is what I’ve dreamed of all my life.”
“That’s nice,” Sara said softly, staring into space.
“Why’d you ask that? Have you, I mean, are you-“
“No. I was just curious. What about Henry?”
“Gosh, I assume he has fantasy’s, but I don’t want to know. I think when we were first married, I was a little nervous that I wasn’t good enough for him. That he’d meet some exotic woman on one of his business trips, but he always called me and checked in. He never misled me. Why are you thinking about this anyway?”
“I don’t know. Just curious. We’ve never talked about it. If Henry had cheated on you or had a brief affair, would you have divorced him?”
“I’d like to say yes. That I wouldn’t stand for it. But I don’t know. We’ve been married a long time now. I suppose we could work things out. But I don’t want to think about it…Is Jack having an affair Sara?” Ann linked her arm through Sara’s.
“No. I mean, not that I know of.”
“I don’t think he would. He’s so in love with you. He’s exactly the same way he was when he first met you it seems.”
“I know,” Sara said sadly, “he is.”
“That makes you sad?”
“No,” Sara wiped a tear from her cheek, “I’m all out of whack I guess with this pregnancy. He’s been a wonderful partner.”
“Well then stop all this. I don’t know what made you even think to bring it up.” Ann handed her a tissue from her purse just as Gwen came out of the store.
“I bought the chest!” Gwen said excitedly, waving the receipt.
“When are they delivering it?” Ann asked.
“Tomorrow! Is that incredible? It’s so fast. Paul will love it!”
“Yes, but will he love the price?” Sara asked.
“Oh, he doesn’t care about that. If we find something we love, it just doesn’t matter.” Gwen sat down on the bench next to them.
“Henry would want to see it before I bought it,” Ann said.
“Jack too,” Sara agreed.
“Well, I’m sure that Paul would’ve liked to see it first, but I just know he’ll want it. It’s a beautiful chest.”
“That it is,” Ann said, looking at Sara. But Sara was thinking about Stephen. If anyone ever found out, she’d probably have no support. And Stephen was getting ancy. Her post office box was always full of letters from him; most of them letters fraught with worry, which she hated to do to him. She needed to see him, but she didn’t know how.
“I don’t want to go Sara,” Jack said as he packed his suitcase, “And I don’t have to. I can send another attorney.”
“You’re sweet, but I’ll be fine.” Sara was sitting in the chair next to the window in their bedroom.
“Henry and Ann are in England and Gwen and Paul are tied up with that charity function. Who would you call if there’s an emergency?”
“We have other friends Jack. And there’s also my brother.”
“Your brother is always busy.” Jack stopped packing. What was he doing? His wife was 7 months pregnant and very sick. He couldn’t leave her. Especially for a week.
“I’ll be fine. I can call the doctor if I have to. Please Jack, go. You need to go. You’ve worked on this case for months. It’s important to you. And it’s important to me, and I want you to go. Maybe I’ll stay with my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend this weekend.”
“That’s a good idea. But don’t drive there. Let Brian pick you up.”
“I will,” Sara said.
“So I’ll call you Friday before you go and then let you have time with them over the weekend.”
“Actually,” Sara said quietly, “I was thinking of having them get me Friday morning. Then I could have three days. Brian will be at work, but I can spend some time alone with Laura.”
“That’s even better,” Jack said, continuing to pack.
“I thought so.” Sara hated to lie to him. This was a big one. Now she’d have to talk to Brian so he’d cover for her.
“Then I’ll call you Thursday night, and then again on Monday. And Tuesday, I’ll be home.”
“I think I’ve got it all,” Jack said, looking around the room.
“I want to go with you to the airport Jack.”
“No darling, you rest. The cab’s probably waiting out there already.” Jack picked up his suitcase.
“Well, I can at least walk you downstairs. I can’t sit around forever.”
“Sara, in less than a month, you may not be allowed to. Just rest.”
“In less than a month, ok, but for now, I want to get a little exercise.” Sara tried to get out of the chair. Jack put his bag down and helped her out.
“I can’t go. God, how selfish is that? You can’t even get out of the chair.” Jack threw his suitcase down. He still felt guilty about not trusting her a couple of months ago.
“Jack,” Sara giggled, “I would’ve gotten out of the chair eventually. It just takes longer. Come on. You’ll be late.”
Jack reluctantly grabbed his suitcase with one hand and held Sara’s hand with his other. When they reached the stairs, he stayed with her at each step.
“I love you honey. I’ll be fine.” Sara said, hugging Jack when they finally made it to the door.
“I love you too. I’ll call when I get to the airport in Charlotte.” Jack kissed her forehead.
“All right.” Sara opened the door and Jack walked out, looking back at her sadly.
“Go honey! I’m fine.” Sara smiled.
“I’ll talk to you in two hours,” Jack said as he got into the cab. Sara waved to him as the cab pulled away and then shut the door. She immediately, as immediately as she could get her pregnant body to go, went over to the phone and dialed it.
“Hello, yes, I’d like to make an airline reservation?…Yes, this Friday to New York.”
Friday morning, Sara was all packed and ready to go when the phone rang. She picked up the line in the foyer.
“Hey, how’s the mommy feeling?”
“Brian,” Sara gasped, “I forgot to call you!”
“What do you mean? What’s wrong?”
“I’m staying with you this weekend.”
“You are? But Laura and I are going to the cabin.”
“I’m not really staying with you,” Sara said shyly, “but as far as you know, I am.”
“I don’t get it,” her brother said into his cell phone, “What’s going on?”
“I’m going to see Stephen.”
“Stephen Larson? Why on earth would you do that? Isn’t he still in jail?”
“Yes,” Sara said abashedly, “but over the years, I’ve visited him. Given him some support.”
“Ok, but he’s a criminal Sara. He embezzled funds. I thought you were through with him?”
“I loved him Brian. And he was good to me. You liked him.”
“Yea,” Brian chuckled, “but that was before he stole millions of dollars from that company.”
“He made a mistake Brian. We all do. And he wasn’t the only one involved. It wasn’t his scheme.”
“I’m not going to get into this with you now,” Brian said disappointedly, “Why are you going to see him?”
“Because I want to,” Sara said. She couldn’t think of another excuse to tell him.
“Fine. But why don’t you just tell Jack? Where is he anyway?”
“North Carolina on business. He doesn’t want to know about this. What would be the point? If Stephen hadn’t gotten in trouble, I’d be married to him now.”
“For god’s sake Sara! Jack is a wonderful husband.”
“That’s not what I mean. I know he is…Look, if Jack asks you or Laura how I was feeling or how our weekend went, just cover for me. Ok?”
“I don’t know Sara. Laura’s not going to like it either.”
“I’m not asking her to like it,” Sara said coldly.
“Why now when you’re so pregnant and sick?”
“It just has to be done now. Ok?”
“Fine. For you. But if you weren’t my sister…”
“I know, I know,” Sara sighed.
“Take care of yourself. And be careful.”
“I will Brian, and thank you.” Sara hung up the phone. She’d been ignoring the honking from the cab outside, so she quickly grabbed her bag and walked out. When the driver saw how pregnant she was, his anger subsided and he immediately got out of the car to help her.