“Elyse, come to Mama!” Danae watched as her eleven-month-old daughter tried to stand on her own. The little girl babbled, and then pulled herself to a standing position, leaning on the coffee table for leverage. “Come on, sweetie!” Danae encouraged her, holding arms out for her. Elyse let go of the table and, on unsteady feet, took a few steps toward her Mama. “Good girl! Come on!” A few more little steps and the toddler fell into her mother’s loving arms, giggling as Danae tickled her.
She had to get up from the floor. The backache and swollen feet made Danae feel miserable. At just three months pregnant, she felt fat already and wondered if she was having twins. She and Andy hadn’t planned on another baby quite so close to Elyse, but they were excited nonetheless.
Andy returned home from work, and Danae was happy to see him. “Hi babe,” she greeted him with a kiss. “Your little sweet pea took her first steps today.”
“Oh, man,” he lamented. “I missed it.” He hugged her close and sighed.
“Don’t worry, babe. Daddy recorded it so that you can watch it later.”
“Thank goodness for Pop-Pops,” Andy laughed. “I’ll watch it when I come home from my trip. I need to pack.”
After Elyse was in her crib for the night, with a full belly and the doll that Aunt Darcey had given her tucked into bed with her, Danae helped Andy pack his overnight bag for a business trip back to Sunset Valley. “I wish you could come with me, my sweet,” he said as he zipped his case closed. “I want you to see my hometown.”
“Maybe someday, I’ll be able to go. But with the swelling in my feet, I shouldn’t be traveling. Doctor’s orders.” She hugged him and ran her fingers under his shirt.
“Your touches are intoxicating,” he said with a shiver.
“And you’re just too sexy,” she purred at him and pulled him to the bed.
The next morning, he awoke early and took his suitcase downstairs. It was three-thirty in the morning, and his flight left Starlight Shores at seven. Danae was still sleeping soundly, and the baby was, too. But in just a few hours, the household would be filled with the sound of a laughing baby girl, and three adults who loved her more than words could measure. After his bag was downstairs, he tiptoed back into the bedroom and the shower. As he stood in the bedroom getting dried off, he noticed Danae was watching him.
“I can’t wait for this trip to be over, and you to be home where you belong,” she said, feeling melancholy. “I miss you so much when you go away overnight.”
“I hate that I have to be away from you while you’re expecting. But at least I don’t have to worry about you going into labor while I’m away this time.” He sat on the bed, still trying to dry off.
“I wish you didn’t have to go,” she sighed. “You look delicious, and you smell even better.” She could barely keep her eyes and hands off him. She touched his back and ran her fingers down to his waist.
“If you keep looking at me and touching me like that, I’ll miss my flight.” He squirmed under her touch. And suddenly, an idea flashed across her mind.
“Be late, Andy, and stay with me,” she said. “Catch the next flight out of here. Please?”
“Honey, I can’t do that. I have a meeting with Lionel at ten this morning. The next flight out doesn’t leave until the afternoon.” His resolve was fading. Dang, she was making this tough.
“I don’t want you to go.” She looked at him with longing, and maybe a bit of apprehension.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice.” His once quarterly meetings with Lionel were mandatory. “Dad’s retired now, so this is all on me.” He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
She sighed and huffed a little. “Oh, okay.” She moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his hips. “Promise me you’ll come back to me, safe and sound,” she said, kissing his leg.
“I promise I’ll come home safely.” He kissed her before he stood to get dressed. Please stop trying to turn me on, he thought, but at the same time, he didn’t want her to stop. “Where is this coming from, Danae? You’ve never been like this when I’ve left before.”
She felt uneasy about this trip, but she didn’t want to say so. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones making her feel weird, or perhaps it was just because she wanted to be close. She wasn’t sure. “It’s nothing, babe. Really.”
She watched Andy get dressed and fix his hair. He kept it just a little shorter than shoulder length and wore a scruffy, stubble beard that looked fantastic on him. “There, how do I look?” he asked as he turned around and showed off his work uniform.
“Sexy,” she purred. “Oh, babe, I wish you didn’t have to go.”
“Honey, we’ve already been through this. I have to go.” He bent to kiss her again and stroked her cheek. “I’ll be home tomorrow night.”
“I know.” Danae sighed, knowing she was fighting a losing battle. She sat up in bed, naked, the baby showing slightly on her small frame.
Andy glanced at his watch. “I need to get going, honey. The limo is downstairs, waiting for me. I love you so much,” he hugged her and kissed her passionately. “When I get home, I’ll make this up to you.” He placed his hand on her growing belly and winked.
“You promise?” she said, pouting, nearly in tears.
“Oh, you bet, I promise.”
“Don’t forget to kiss your daughter goodbye, babe,” she called to him as he walked out of their bedroom door.
“Already did it, love.”
“Andy, I love you!”
“I love you too.” His footsteps descended the stairs, and she heard the wheels of his suitcase on the tile floor as the door opened and closed. And quietly, sick with worry, she wept.
Five minutes later, the sound of quick footsteps ascended the stairs, and Andy opened the door to their bedroom. “I called Lionel. We’re going to do a video conference today instead of making that trip. I’ll visit my mom some other time. All I could think of was you, looking at me like that. I can’t leave you.”
Danae patted the spot on the bed next to her. Andy went to her, tearing his clothes off as he walked to the bed. “Andy, I love you. Thank you for staying home. I need you close to me.” She wiped tears from her eyes and wrapped herself around him as he got near, nuzzling her face into his neck.
“I love you so much, Danae.” He climbed back into bed with her, and they loved each other until they fell asleep.
—Breaking News— We have just received word that a commuter plane has crashed just north of the city of Starlight Shores. We will bring you more on this developing story as we get it—
Travis was up watching television when the story broke, and as headlines came in. A fiery plane crash over the plains just north of Starlight Shores. He suddenly felt sick. No, he thought. No. It can’t be. He felt slightly better when the news announced that the plane was inbound to Starlight Shores when it went down. But a news helicopter was dispatched to the scene of the crash, and they would update when they had live video.
He got up and poured a cup of coffee. Charlotte made her way downstairs, listening to the news report. “Good morning, honeybear,” she greeted Travis. “What’s going on?
“A commuter plane crashed just north of town here. I’m guessing it was the red-eye that comes in every morning.”
Charlotte looked at her watch. It was 7:35 am. “Doesn’t the red-eye get in earlier than this?”
“Come to think of it, it does.” His mind raced back to Andy’s flight. “What flight number is Andy on this morning?”
“Oh, no, Travis! Andy left this morning for Sunset Valley!?”
“Yeah, I heard him leave the house a few hours ago.”
“Oh, honey, this isn’t good. It isn’t good at all!” Charlotte sat down, glued to the television, waiting for news, any news at all.
Upstairs, Danae’s phone rang, but her ringer was off, and it went unanswered. Minutes later, the house phone rang, and Charlotte answered it.
“May I speak with a relative of Anduin Murphy?” the professional sounding voice on the other end requested.
“I am his mother-in-law,” Charlotte answered, her voice shaky.
“Is there a next of kin available?” She felt the blood drain from her face, and she felt faint. Travis sat her down and took the phone.
“Sir, I was asking for a relative of Anduin Murphy,” the gentleman requested patiently.
“May I ask why?” Travis felt his legs shake, and he too had to sit down.
“Mr. Murphy was listed as a passenger on the flight that went down outside of Starlight Shores. We are attempting to contact his next of kin.”
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Travis felt violently ill.
“Sir, can you put me in touch with his next of kin or not?”
“My daughter is his wife, sir. She is three months pregnant. I’m not sure she can handle this news. I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me my son-in-law is dead.”
“I’m sorry, Mr.?”
“Jones. Travis Jones.” There was dead silence on the other end of the phone.
“Mr. Jones, please accept our sincerest condolences. I wish I had better news for you than this.”
“Me too. I don’t want to tell my daughter. Thank you.”
Travis hung up the phone in shock. “Andy’s gone, Charlotte. He was on that flight.” Travis let a sob echo through the house. “How am I going to tell her?”
“I don’t know.” The house phone rang again, and this time Emmitt was on the phone.
“Travis? Did you get a call from an airline this morning? Was Andy really on that downed flight?”
“Oh, Emmitt, oh my goodness.” He had never thought of his best friend. “They said he was. They said on the news that there were no survivors.”
“This can’t be. My only son? Gone?” Emmitt’s heartbroken sobs reverberated in Travis’ ear.
“You shouldn’t be alone. I’m coming to get you.” Travis hung up the phone, got into his car, and drove the two minutes to Emmitt’s house. Travis walked to the front door and opened it. “Emm, come with me, man. You can’t be alone. We all need each other right now.” Reluctantly, Emmitt went with Travis to the Jones house, where it was peaceful for the time being.
Upstairs, Danae and Andy slept, naked, blissful, and wrapped around each other. The alarm on his phone sounded at eight o’clock sharp. Neither of them was aware of the chaos in the house below them on the first floor. But when Andy’s alarm chimed, he woke and peeled himself away from Danae. Before he got up, he kissed her cheek, and without waking up, she smiled.
Andy got into the shower for the second time that morning, and as he was opening the door to walk into the bedroom, he saw Travis was in the room with Danae, sitting on the bed. Andy’s musk cologne hung in the air from earlier that morning, and Travis, noticing the scent, choked on a sob. He sat down gently on the bed and touched her shoulder. “Danae? Punkin, wake up, sweetheart.” Andy watched quietly from the bathroom. He couldn’t imagine why Travis was there.
“Daddy?” she rubbed her eyes and saw the look of devastation on his face. “Oh, no! Is Mama okay?”
“Mama is fine, honey.” He took a deep breath. There was going to be no easy way to say it. “Danae, there’s been an accident…” his voice faded as he blinked back tears. It was harder to say than he ever imagined.
“What do you mean, an accident?” She sat up in bed.
“Nae, Andy’s plane crashed about thirty minutes ago. There were no survivors.”
“Daddy,” she said. “Andy missed his flight this morning. He’s in the bathroom. And what do you mean, the plane crashed?”
“Some mechanical failure. The pilots were trying to fly back to the Shores to land, but they didn’t make it. Everyone onboard the plane died. They had Andy on the passenger list, because the airline just called us awhile ago, notifying us that he was on the airplane.”
Andy walked from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. “I can assure you. I’m alive and well.”
“Son, you’re going to want to come downstairs when you get dressed. Your father is devastated—we all thought you were dead. He will want to see you.”
Andy shook his head. “This is going to be messy, I see. Who else thinks I’m dead?”
“Good question. Does Lionel know you’ve missed your flight, did you speak with him?” Travis asked.
“Lionel and I decided to do a video conference this morning at our meeting time. I just need to be near a laptop with a camera, or in my office at the stadium.”
“Daddy, can we have a minute together before he goes downstairs?” she asked Travis. Inside, she was trembling. Thank goodness she had been able to talk him into staying home!
“You bet, Punkin. I’ll let everyone know the good news.” He closed the bedroom door behind him and went back downstairs. There were sounds of joy and a commotion.
Danae started to cry. “Andy, I need you,” she held her arms out for him, as he walked to the bed. “What if you had gone? I’m freaking out!”
“Shh, baby, I’m here. It all worked out exactly how it was supposed to, my love. Yeah, I’m a little freaked out, too, but I missed the flight for a reason. You’re that reason, Danae.” He kissed her and hugged her close, and he felt her tremble. “Thank you for saving my life.”
“Thank you for listening to me. I had a bad feeling, but I didn’t want to say anything because I don’t want to be ‘that wife.’”
“You know what made me call Lionel? The way you looked at me and touched me when I was out of the shower drying off. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to think of anything else all day until I took care of it.” He looked at her, smiling. “I never knew that someday, that look would save my life.”
“Get dressed and go see your dad, babe.” She blew him a kiss. “I’ll be down in a few minutes. I need to feed Elyse, but I’ll bring her downstairs with me.”
Andy put on a pair of shorts and a muscle shirt and went downstairs to see his father. Emmitt hopped up as soon as he saw Andy’s feet on the steps, and ran for the staircase. “Son, you are a sight for sore eyes! So good to see you!” Emmitt embraced Andy tightly as tears streaked down his face. “What made you skip your flight?”
“Danae did, Dad. She begged me to stay home. So I called Lionel to schedule a video conference for 10 am. He will probably do that more in the future now, all things considered.”
Danae walked downstairs with a sleepy baby girl, but she perked up when she saw Emmitt. “Papa!” She squealed, holding her arms out to him. And Emmitt took her from Danae’s arms and covered her in kisses. Danae imagined his beard tickled her because she always giggled when he kissed her.
“I guess I can put off nursing her for an hour or so,” Danae smiled. Andy walked to her, placed his hand on the baby, and kissed her cheek.
“Is there a laptop with a camera around here, Nae?” He asked quietly. “I’d rather not go to the stadium if I can help it.”
“The PC in our bedroom has a webcam, and you can close the door for privacy. Just make sure I’m not nursing the baby behind you. Lionel doesn’t need to be checking this out.” Andy laughed.
A minute later, Darcey ran through the door, her bag in hand, in case she needed it. But when she saw Andy sitting with Danae on his lap, she stopped short, confused. “Wait. They said on television that Andy was on that flight.”
“He missed it, Darce. He should have been on it, but he didn’t go.”
“Oh, thank goodness!” she said. Darcey no sooner had gotten that out of her mouth when Devin ran through the door crying, and then stopped cold when he saw Andy.
“He missed it, Devin,” Danae smiled. Only two people were left to contact, and Charlotte was already on the phone with Christopher.
Fifteen minutes before his video conference with Lionel, Andy excused himself to connect and get set up. Lionel waited anxiously for him and had connected to the server ahead of time. He hoped that Andy missed the flight like he said he was going to do.
“Check, mic check,” Andy said into his headset and was unexpectedly greeted by both Lionel and Tarah.
“Andy! Man is it ever good to see you, son,” Lionel exclaimed, his happy image appeared on the screen in front of Andy. “I was so afraid that you changed your mind and got on that flight.”
“That’s the consensus around here, too, Lionel. My wife is the hero of the day, believe me.” We won’t mention why she’s a hero, he thought. That was their dirty little secret.
“Andy,” Tarah spoke up, “please tell Danae, thank you from all of us. We were all waiting for this conference on pins and needles.”
“I will do that, thank you, Tarah. The whole family is relieved because they didn’t know up until just after eight this morning that I had missed the flight. They thought for an hour that I was dead. It wasn’t until Travis came to tell Danae that they found out. I guess the airline called the house to notify her. How they didn’t realize I never checked in this morning is beyond me.” Andy remembered his overnight bag was still in the trunk of the limousine that was supposed to pick him up, and he jotted a note to remind himself to retrieve it.
They talked about the crash a little more and got into the business meeting. With Emmitt’s retirement, Andy earned a promotion to team manager, and with it came a considerable pay raise. In light of the tragedy, meetings would be held online or via teleconference until further notice. The crash was too close a call for the O’Reilly family to risk the lives of their employees needlessly. Besides, Lionel had reasoned, it would save money as well.
Andy was positively beaming when he walked back downstairs after the meeting with Lionel. “I have some news,” he said, trying to keep calm and collected. “In light of Dad’s retirement, I’m being promoted to the team manager. It is a considerable pay raise for us, darling Danae. And I won’t have to travel until further notice.”
“Andy! Oh, babe, I’m so proud of you!” She wrapped herself around him and covered his face in kisses. “I think this calls for a huge celebration!”
Travis was so proud of his son-in-law and daughter. “They’re lucky to have you, Andy. You’ll be a fantastic manager. Congratulations!”
Emmitt’s face lit up with delight. “I’m so proud of you, son! Your mother would be, too. Congratulations, Anduin.” He hugged Andy again, so happy to know he was safe, and pleased with his accomplishments with SVP in such a short time.
Charlotte walked to Danae and hugged her. “You and Andy deserve every good thing, baby girl. Congratulations!”
Charlotte and Travis were babysitting for the evening while Danae and Andy went to The Tower for dinner to celebrate his promotion. Danae nursed Elyse before they left, so she was ready for playtime and stories with Memaw and Pop-Pop. Danae dressed in an elegant gown with matching pumps, with her hair up and makeup done just right. Andy looked handsome in a new tuxedo, and a limousine took them to the restaurant.
“Darling, you look amazing tonight,” Andy told her as he eyed her slender frame. She had lost nearly all of her baby weight before she got pregnant again, but still, she was slim and fit. Her gown was high waisted, and it disguised the ever so slight sign of her pregnancy.
“You don’t look so bad yourself, babe,” she replied and admired him. His slacks were tailored just for him, along with the jacket and shirt, and everything fit him perfectly. He had a length of hair tucked behind his ear, and though he had forgotten to trim his stubbled beard, it looked incredible anyway. His hair was jet black, shiny, and silky soft to the touch, and Danae loved running her fingers through it.
The driver delivered them to the front door, and they walked inside. Though The Tower was open for more than fifty years, it was still incredibly exclusive and upscale. Only the city’s most famous or best-connected citizens ever saw the inside of it. Thanks to the Jones name, and Andy’s newfound prestige, the Murphys were on the list anytime they wanted a table.
The Maître D’ escorted them to a table near a small wood mantle fireplace, which burned regardless of the season. A grand piano sat nearby, with a world-class pianist who played classical music and requests. Adjacent to the piano was a small wooden floor designated for dancing, but hardly anyone ever used it. An extravagant lounge with a stocked bar and luxury furniture sat off the main dining room. The parlor was where the main dance floor was situated, and the grand piano backed up to it. One could hear the piano music from anywhere inside the main areas.
The dining room had recently been renovated, the dark mahogany wood paneling partially replaced with elegant silk wallpaper. Brushed brass sconces dotted the walls. Their lights emitted a soft, warm glow. Rich, exquisite art masterpieces hung in strategic places on the walls, and fresh, fragrant flowers decorated each table. Separating the lounge and dining room on one side was a massive waterfall with potted bamboo planted in front, so that it created a wall.
The dining room itself was large, but only eight tables sat in the main room; a semi-private room with two tables was off the dining room, closer to the kitchen. An attractive chandelier hung close to where Danae and Andy were seated and was one of four that decorated the ceiling. The ambiance was elegant and refined, and though Danae was raised in wealth and privilege, The Tower was well out of her comfort zone.
Andy held the chair for Danae as she sat, and he seated himself to her right. The waiter introduced himself immediately. “What can I get for Monsieur et Madame this evening?” He spoke with a rich, French accent.
“What do you have in semi-sweet nectar?” Andy asked. The waiter recommended their most exceptional French blend, and Andy nodded his approval. He looked at Danae, looking shy and slightly uncomfortable, and smiled. “This is what awaits us, love,” he said.
“It is beautiful,” she said, still overwhelmed by the environment. “I wasn’t raised in a place like this. Mama and Dad always went to a little place off the strip. I feel a little out of my element here.”
“Well, tonight is special, sweetheart. We have two huge reasons to be thankful, and both reasons are possible because of you.” He took her hands in his and kissed them. The waiter returned with the chilled bottle of nectar, opened it, and poured a glass for each of them. Andy raised his glass and offered a toast. “To you, my darling. I am so thankful for you, for today, you saved my life. I love you, Danae.” He clinked his glass with hers as she sat, trying to swallow her emotions.
“I love you, Andy.” The impact of the morning’s events finally caught up with her, and suddenly, she couldn’t speak. Her eyes welled with tears, and her emotions overwhelmed her.
“Why the tears, honey?” he asked and squeezed her hand. Her anguish was palpable. “Shh, I’m okay, darling.”
“I just realized how much different my life could have been if—” she shook her head, her bottom lip quivered. “If you would have left this morning.”
“I haven’t let myself think about it much.” He couldn’t, or he would be an emotional mess. The thought of leaving her and their children behind, not being able to watch them grow, not being there to love her every day. It was more than he could bear.
“I have thought of little else. I would have never forgiven myself—” Danae’s voice quivered. There was no holding her emotions back anymore.
“Aww, darling,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. Here, let’s not talk about this anymore, not here.” He stood to hold her, and she felt safe in his embrace. He kissed her hair and held her tightly as she wept. “I’m here, honey. It’s alright.”
They stayed in a tender embrace for a few more minutes until she settled down. “I’m okay, Andy. I just needed to get that out.” He held her chair for her as she sat down again, and he took his place at her side. She sipped the nectar and found that she liked it. “This is good, babe. You should try it.”
“I don’t care much for semi-sweet,” he admitted.
“Why do you get semi-sweet if you don’t like it?” she looked at him, puzzled.
“Because I know you do.” He picked up the glass and swirled the nectar. “This one smells rather fragrant.” He sipped it, expecting to make a face. Instead, he liked it. “Oh, Nae, you’re right. This one is good.” He looked at the bottle and noted the composition of the fruits, and jotted it into his phone.
They hadn’t even looked at the menu when the waiter returned. “Just a few more moments, and we’ll be ready,” Andy told him. The waiter nodded and promised to return. “What looks good, my sweet?”
She rubbed her belly and thought for a moment. “The baby isn’t big enough yet to tell me what I’m craving. You know what I like,” she said finally. “Be creative.”
He looked at her, eyebrow raised. “You remember what happened the last time you told me to be creative.” And she blushed madly. “How about lamb?” he chuckled. “We can share that, and I’ll get something else that we both like and share that, too.”
“See? Creativity suits you.” She winked at him. “That sounds wonderful, babe.” When the waiter returned a few minutes later, Andy ordered the leg of lamb and blackened swordfish.
“Would you like to dance?” he asked her. He had a tip for the pianist and a specific song he wanted to have played.
“I’d love to,” she said, her violet eyes sparkling in the candlelight. He took her hand and led her to the larger dance floor in the lounge. On his way past the piano, he handed the pianist a tip and made a request.
The pianist changed the tune he played and sang along to the music. This particular song was popular, though not for the same reason Andy wanted it played.
Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.
Little one, when you play,
Pay no heed what they say.
Let your eyes sparkle and shine,
Never a tear, baby of mine.
If they knew all about you,
They’d end up loving you, too.
All those same people who scold you,
What they’d give just for the right to hold you.
From your hair down to your toes,
You’re not much, goodness knows.
But, you’re so precious to me,
Sweet as can be, baby of mine.
Tears fell from their eyes, both of them, while the pianist sang and played. The song dedication was special to her, as he had meant it for both Danae and the baby she carried. She held him close, her head on his shoulder. When the song was over, and they went back to the table, she was lovestruck—she could only smile at him.
“A penny for your thoughts, my sweet,” he said.
“I’ve always loved that song,” she said. “I sing it to Elyse sometimes when she nurses. It has special meaning to me.”
“For my beautiful little lady,” he said and smiled at her. “Danae, I adore you. What we have is so far beyond love. Only a few ever truly find it.”
“My family has been lucky. I come from a long line of ladies who were lucky in the romance department.” Andy’s love looked incredible on her, as hers did on him.
“You know, we have an anniversary coming up soon. What do you want to do for it?”
“I can tell you I don’t want to fly anywhere.” She smiled, and they both laughed. “I might be good to spend the rest of my days here in the Shores unless we take a road trip someday with the kids.”
“That sounds like fun, someday. But for our anniversary, I was thinking of taking you wherever you want to go. It’s your day. Put on your thinking cap and be creative.” His smile was slightly naughty.
“Well, I’ll still be pregnant, so we’re limited.” She thought for a moment. “But I’ll think of something.”
Their dinner arrived, and as they had planned, they shared both dishes, feeding bites to one another. “Andy, you outdid yourself, choosing this lamb. It’s succulent, so tender.” Danae commented. “I almost don’t have to chew it.”
“The swordfish is amazing,” Andy added as he fed a bite to her. And she nodded her head in agreement. After Andy fed her the last taste of lamb, he invited her to dance with him. “Would you care to dance again, my sweet?”
“With you, my love, anytime.” He stood, took her hand, and led her to the dance floor. This time, he had no request for the pianist but danced to the song he played. Andy held her close, needing her, as she needed him.
“I don’t want this night to end,” he whispered as the song finished.
“I don’t either,” Danae whispered back, her head on his shoulder.
“It doesn’t have to end so soon,” he suggested. “When we leave here, let’s go somewhere, anywhere, and just watch the stars. How about the beach?”
“That sounds romantic,” she swooned. “The sounds of the shore are always peaceful and calming.”
“We had nothing like the beaches you have here. I mean, yeah, we had a coastline, but it was rugged and rocky. The archipelago acted as a natural breakwater, so we had no waves like this. And I love the beach.” Andy looked at her and admired her beauty. He wasn’t sure if it was the day’s events, or her pregnancy, or just her natural beauty shining through, but he felt like the luckiest man alive with her in his arms. “I just want to be with you tonight. I need you.”
“I need you too, Andy. I love the idea of the beach. Let’s make it happen.” They walked back to their table, and he requested the check. A quick text to the limo driver to let him know they were ready, and they left The Tower together.
The ride from The Tower to the beach was about thirty minutes, and they cuddled on the way there, talking about the day’s events. When they finally got to the shore, he got out first and helped her up. She took her shoes off and left them in the limo, walking barefoot on the chilly sand. Andy held up one finger as he dialed his cell phone.
“Hello?” came the answer on the other end.
“Travis, this is Andy. How’s Elyse? Is she good?”
“Yes, she’s fine. She’s been asleep for about an hour or so. She had dinner around eight, and Charlotte read her to sleep around nine.”
“Do you mind if we stay out a bit? Danae needs me, and I need her. We are truly spooked out by that plane crash.”
“Stay out as long as you want. We’ve taken care of your angel baby,” Travis assured him.
“Thanks. I appreciate it.” Andy hung up the phone and walked back to where he left Danae.
“Who was that?” she asked.
“I was checking on Elyse, my sweet. She’s sleeping, and she’s okay.” He took her hand, and together they walked onto the sand.
He led her to a pair of lounge chairs and motioned for her to sit in one of them. He lay beside her in the other one, and together they held hands, listening to the sounds of the ocean. “I appreciate why Mama loved Isla Paradiso so much now. The waves are calming,” Danae sighed and felt the stress of the day melt from her.
“That is why I wanted to come out here.” He closed his eyes and concentrated on the sound. “We never heard the waves break on the shore like this.”
“It’s peaceful.” I could certainly stand some peace, she thought. Danae closed her eyes and let herself get lost in the sounds.
“I need you, honey.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Let’s go home, Nae,” Andy said. “I really need you.”
“Sounds like a great idea,” she purred.
They walked back to the limo, hand in hand. Andy helped Danae into the back seat, and before he got in, he handed the driver a §100. “Take a long way home, please.” The driver nodded and smiled.
“As you wish, Mr. Murphy.”