Sitting here on Sydney’s bench in the back garden feels extremely rewarding. Summer night, not a cloud up on the sky, happy smiling faces all around and my arm wrapped around Sydney’s waist as the first fireworks lighten up the dark sky.
Adam, Zachary and Eric’s son are fooling around like crazy, happy to be able to stay up much later than usual. Sometimes they would nag Eric’s nine year old daughter, but since she’s a real tomboy, she would only fight back at which Eric would roll his eyes.
Laura curiously looks up at the coloured sky, her eyes literally sparkling.
“Papa!” I can hear her shout through the entire back yard.
Susan on her hand is up in her grandparents’ arms who try to calm her down. She sobs trying to stifle her cries following her grandfather’s finger pointed up to the sky, with the hope to convince her that fireworks are probably loud but couldn’t do any harm (as long as you are far away from them).
“Papa tu regardes pas!” (Daddy you’re not watching!) Laura exclaims, breaking me from Sydney’s lips. I smile at Sydney with an apology that she accepts with a dimpled smile. We both turn our attention back to Laura and then the fireworks shooting up to heaven above.
I feel my daughter cuddling up against my leg as I let out a long sigh. Sydney briefly looks my way as our eyes lock up, speaking unspoken words. If only life could be that simple and as good as in this moment. But we are simply happy to have each other again for the next ten days.
This time travelling seemed much easier than the first time. Laura managed herself very well through the entire flight and even slept a lot. With the prospect of seeing Sydney again I also handled to catch a couple of hours of sleep. Thus the flight appeared less long than the previous time.
The very second I caught sight of Sydney through the crowd at the terminal, I was pretty sure I was going to loose it. Nothing has every felt so great than hold her in my arms again after two months of separation. I don’t know how long I still will be able to go without her in my daily life. It’s getting harder and harder to live life without her. We are apparently meant to be. Two people from two different continents…
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Sydney sighs happily.
“Yeah… those colours are extraordinary”
I look down at my daughter watching her standing there with puppy dog eyes and her arms held up in the air. Seriously, moments like these, I’m reminded that I’m spoiling her way too much and that she knows how to handle her way around me.
“You want to come up into my arms?” Sydney asks instead outstretching her arms for Laura to understand. I still have Sydney in my arms and would only let go of her reluctantly. Not that I don’t love my daughter, mind you! I can only hold Sydney this way every so often and I want to enjoy it to the fullest.
Without pouting, Laura jumps up into Sydney’s arms and then the three of us follow the end of the fireworks. At the end, Sydney brings an overly excited, yet tired and grumpy Susan to bed. Laura is the first one to hit the pillow and instantly falls into slumber, way before Susan. I have to stick behind Zachary and Adam to also go them to bed with much more protest though. I’m glad when they finally are as I turn of the light, wishing them goodnight.
I check up on Sydney still trying to bring Susan to bed.
“I don’t know what is wrong with her…” Sydney exclaims, then addressing herself to Susan. Susan wouldn’t let go of Sydney until all of sudden the little one throws up all over her bed. She ends up crying in Sydney’s arms but then I beg her to drop Susan into my arms.
The rest of the night is very hectic since we decided to take Susan into our bed. She threw up one more time around 3am and it’s only about 4am that she fell asleep completely exhausted against Sydney. So here I’m lying wide awake and yet so worn-out, just like Sydney, with a two and a half year old between us. I watch Sydney caress lovingly her fingers through her daughter’s hair.
“She’s finally asleep” Sydney whispers into the silent room.
“I’m so sorry…” Sydney apologizes though I don’t understand why.
“Hey, there’s nothing to be sorry about. Children happen to get sick” I inform her by my own experience, remembering the few times Laura has had the flu or the chicken pox. There were quite some sleepless nights there too.
“No… I wanted this night to be special” She whispers first looking up into my eyes and then sheepishly turning her head away from me.
I reminisce the talk we have had those couple of months ago back in France. I can’t believe that she was planning for this to happen tonight. Not that I don’t want to. But seeing the disappointment in her eyes, I feel like I need to do something.
“Sydney…” I need to say her name a couple of times before she actually acknowledges my request for her to look at me, before I add, “We have time for this. It doesn’t matter… what matters right now is Susie and she needs her mum right now. And whatever night it is… it will be special Sydney” I emphasize in order to get through to her. I’m aware how anxious she is for the next step in our relationship and how puzzled she can get by the mere thought of being with somebody else than Danny. I simply don’t want her to feel pushed or freaked out about it. It will happen.... some day and she can take as much time as she needs.
“I don’t know what I did to find you…” she states, with half a smile on her face. “You always seem to find the right words when needed, always able to put a smile on my face and always lifting my spirit”
“I love you… it’s as simple as that Sydney. I never thought I could love somebody again like I love you, after such a long time. When I lost my wife and when I was left alone with a baby to raise, I never thought I’d be able to do that on my own. Laura though showed me the way how to do things right. I simply had to. She was there, crying out her lungs for her mother, but her mother wasn’t there. Even though my mother helped me a lot at the beginning, I was still in charge for the rest. For the past six year’s my life resumed itself around Laura. No woman I casually dated has ever been good enough for her. Besides I think I never truly imagined them in that position. They were only dates… that was it. I couldn’t move on, I couldn’t get past the thought of loving somebody else. Then I met you, Sydney… that one day, almost a year ago in Eric’s garden, with Susan in your arms. You were smiling… I don’t know why I couldn’t stop staring at you. I followed you with my gaze all the time. You talked to everybody, always smiling, you managed the noisy children around you, the pouting, the screaming, the fighting… Your grace, your calm, your organisation, your kindness… I just… couldn’t get enough of you”
“You forgot the smile” Sydney throws in with a smile.
I laugh, rolling my eyes “Oh, right… the smile… So I asked you out.”
“Oh no…” Sydney exclaims, remembering that very first time I took her out for dinner. It wasn’t a date though, at least I don’t think it was. It was two friends having dinner together and yet there was quite something mystic in the air. I didn’t know what it was, but today I know. I tried to suppress the growing feeling of love whenever she smiled at me, thinking that she’s only a friend, that we live on two different continents. Once I left, it would all be over and I didn’t want to get myself into a one-night-stand!
“I thought you were going to kiss me then” she adds, reminding me of the awkward goodnight declaration that very night.
“I didn’t…” she cringes her nose “But I wanted so much. You were so beautiful that night, just like tonight!”
The smile on her face keeps growing, until Susan starts stirring in her sleep. Arms and legs flinging about, until she’s found herself a nice spot against my chest. Her small frame is glued up against mine, her little arm sprawled across my abdomen as I feel the heat of her skin against mine.
“She’s running a fever Sydney” I inform her. Gliding out of bed she returns soon back from the bathroom with a suppository for Susan. The little girl wakes up briefly and lets out a few sobs from being sick and being awoken. Once it’s over Sydney lays back down next to me, her hand covering mine that lays over her daughter.
“You really love me, don’t you?”
“I love you… I love you all so much. Probably more than I love my own life, but I think we should try to catch some sleep while this one still does.” I say, kissing her lips goodnight. We close our eyes and fall into slumber right away, happy smiles on our face.
I just found this story and since you prefer the ones that leave a comment rather than lurk, I thought I should inform you that I liked it To be honest I don't like and read S/V stories and I'm a Sarkney shipper but needless to say your story is quite different so I'm enjoying it. If you have a pm list could you please add me?
“Laura?” I kneel down next to my daughter who is lying on the lounge chair out in the backyard, Sydney on the other side. While Sydney is shushing the other children away so they could play again, I’m hovering over my crying daughter. “Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé ma chérie?” (What happened?) I question, scanning her body.
She sobs sitting up and crawls over into my lap, her legs snaking around my waist and her arms around my neck while I rub her back lovingly.
I have left the house only for about fifteen minutes in order to get some more coal for the barbecue tonight only to come back and find my daughter crying.
“Ca fait mal….là?” (It hurts… there) she explains rubbing the back of her head some more tears running down her cheeks. I kiss the top of her head carefully where I can feel already a bump growing right below her hair. Sydney returns to me with a pack of ice in her hands, handing it out to me while I soothe my daughter. The look in her eyes tells me how worried she is about Laura’s condition.
“They were out there running around the pool and I told them to be careful, but I barely got my sentence finished and then she fell and hit her head. I immediately ran up to her to check up and she was asking for her papa. I told her you’d come back soon and then you walked in…” She seems completely upset about the fact that she wasn’t able to soothe my daughter verbally as much as she wanted it.
“It’s alright, it’s just a bump Sydney… Ca va mieux ma chérie?” (Do you feel better sweetie?)
She nods her head and even hands the cold pack of ice over to Sydney, while brushing the last tear drops out of her face.
“Laura has owie mummy?” Susan stands by Sydney’s side, her hand resting on Sydney’s thigh gazing curiously up at us with her dark wide open eyes.
“Yes, but it’s all better now, right Laura?” Sydney’s smile makes Laura smile again as I feel somewhat relieved that it is truthfully only a bump for the next couple of days on her head and nothing more serious.
“How’s Laura?” Adam comes to enquire, water dripping all the way down his body.
Zach in tow “Can she come back to the pool now?”
The fact that the boys request Laura to come play with them is such a positive sight for me, showing me that even though they don’t speak the same language that they have accepted her so to speak. They little by little grow closer to each other despite not only the age difference.
“Susie too, mummy!” Sydney smiles down at her wriggling daughter who is already undressing her shorts and diaper from her nap. I watch Sydney trot back inside the house, returning with a purplish toddler bathing suit. Unfortunately Susan has managed to undress herself completely and now she’s running naked around in the backyard.
Laura giggles at Sydney chasing Susan but 12 years of experience make Sydney catch her fast. I also have to laugh at the picture as a breathless Sydney returns to the shade.
“This one here is more tiring than the two boys ever did together!” Sydney exclaims, setting Susan back down next to Laura but the little girl is far too giddy, her eyes constantly trained on her elder brothers fooling around in the pool with the Weiss’ children.
“Tu veux retourner à la piscine?” (You wanna go back to the pool?) With a nod of her head, she glides her hand into Susan’s.
“Come Susie” They both ran hand in hand to the pool. Sydney shouts a word to the boys begging them to have an eye on the girls so that we could spend little time alone but still out on the terrace.
“Are you all packed?” Sydney enquires after setting down a pair of glasses filled with some cold drink onto the nearby table.
“Yeah, I think so. I can’t believe we’re flying back tomorrow! Time is flying… “ I say, reaching out for the cold drink thanking Sydney at the same time. We cling our glasses with a cheer and take a sip of the sweet drink. “I… uhm… I’ve been thinking Sydney. I mean, I… I should be moving to the United States. I’m sure I won’t have too much trouble finding a job where Eric works. It’s an expending Company and they…”
Instead of Sydney’s face lifting up, there’s only a very little curve at the edge of her lips before her eyes go downcast. “I don’t want you to move”
“I mean… I’d love for you to move. I’m just… I know how much her grandmother and uncle mean to Laura. It’s going to break her heart Michael. I don’t want to be the cause of that heart break! I wouldn’t stand if she would look up at me with those eyes telling me that I’m the reason why she can’t see her grandmother and uncle anymore! I can’t do that to her Michael”
“But Sydney… somebody’s gonna have to move. I just… I don’t want to live without you anymore. Look how happy she is Sydney. Adam and Zach have accepted her as if she were their real sister. And well Susie, she gets along with just anybody… And I love you Sydney. I want to do that for us… I want to give us that chance. I don’t know what to do otherwise. All I know is that you have much more too loose than we have. And it’s not like she will never see her grandmother ever again!”
“It’s not the same Michael!”
“I know it’s not the same… but what other choice do we have? I don’t want to spend too much time away from you.”
Tears are welling up in Sydney’s eyes at the thought of the impending goodbye tomorrow. She also knows that I’m right and that we have to make a choice. We can’t live between two continents for the rest of our lives.
“I want us to be a family… maybe we could get married…”
Sydney almost spits up the sip she has been swallowing from the cold drink. “Are you serious?”
“Of course I am! Why not? If I move here we’re going to be together anyway and what is better than marriage to prove the love for each other… I never thought I’d get married twice and I’m sure you did so too, but I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I know… I’m sorry it’s not the right way to ask a woman to marry me but would you… would you marry me Sydney? I know we’ve known each other for less than a year and seen each other even much more less… what is it four, five weeks at the most? It’s fast, it’s quick…but I know it’s right…” I say in one breath impatiently waiting for an answer.
“Michael this is so out of the blue… But yeah… I’d marry you. I want to marry you. Oh my God I can’t believe I said that”
“Can’t believe you said what?” Zach stands right by Sydney’s side a beach towel wrapped around his body. “Mum can I have an ice-cream?” Sydney nods her head as he walks off. The other children follow right up to the terrace, Susan throwing her little body right up against Sydney.
“Mummy, Laura ice-cream too?”
Sydney combs her fingers through her daughters hair a large dimpled smile plastered all over her face as tears starts rolling down her face, the realisation finally sinking in that I made a proposal just right there.
“Yeah, but just one”
“Mummy come play!”
“What did you say?” Adam returns with four ice-creams in his hands. One for Sydney, one for Susan, one for Laura and one for me. “Zach said you couldn’t believe you said something. What did you say?” The tall boy licks once his own ice-cream before kneeling down to help his younger sister tearing the paper off the ice.
“I want to talk to you guys about that tonight, I promise. First I want us all to finish the ice-cream so we can go into the pool.” Sydney smiles as her hand reaches across the table to squeeze mine in a loving affectionate way, mouthing an I love you that I gladly return.
So, we're going to find out how Zack and Adam feel about getting a new father. And we'll also find out how Laura feels about moving away from her grandmother, uncle and friends and moving to a new country.