Andy was out of town on business to negotiate for a new star player, and Danae was lonely. He had been gone nearly a week in Appaloosa Plains and he was due home the following day. Danae stood and admired herself in the full-length mirror at the salon. I hope he likes this, she thought as she gazed upon newly-colored flaming red locks.
Since their trip to Starlight Shores two years prior, Danae had been aching to color her hair red. Maybe it was because she felt a new connection to her great grandmother Destiny Hill. Maybe it was just because she wanted her hair to match her freckles. Whatever the reason, she took the plunge and finally did it. Ironically, the red hair didn’t make her resemble Destiny and made her feel less like a Jones.
On her way home, she stopped at the Scroggins house. Darcey was unpleasantly surprised when she saw it. “Nae, what were you thinking?!” Darcey chided her.
“I wasn’t thinking, I guess. Do you think Andy will hate it?”
“You just don’t look like you. Maybe Andy will like it, but I’m willing to bet he won’t. He didn’t fall in love with a redhead, Danae. I hope you can color it back.”
“Thanks for your support,” she snapped, her tone bitingly cold. “I’m the only one who has to like it, by the way.”
“I’m sorry, Nae. It’s just going to take some getting used to. You know I love you no matter the color of your hair.”
“Well, I think I look like Nana Bella, and you know how I adored her,” Danae said confidently.
“Well, you sure don’t look like Mama anymore. I wonder what Daddy would say.” Darcey shook her head.
“Well, it will be a surprise. But Andy loves me for who I am, not what I look like.” Danae picked up her car keys. “I have to run. We need to do dinner soon! Love you, Bug.”
“Love you, Nae,” Darcey called to her as Danae almost ran from the house.
She drove home sputtering but filled with doubt. Will he like it? If he hates it, will he be angry? So many questions fluttered around in her brain, and no one but Andy could answer them. She was almost dreading his return.
It was after nine when he finally called her that evening. She was itching to tell him but wanted more to surprise him. So she bit her tongue when he asked what was new.
“Nothing,” she fibbed. “I got my hair trimmed today and a new manicure. And a few other things done while I was at the spa, if you catch my drift.”
Andy cleared his throat. “You’re making the wait difficult, you know that little missy?”
“I meant to.” She had to get him looking forward to something, anything that would soften the blow of being married to a redhead. “I can’t wait for you to come home. I’ve been miserable all week missing you.”
“I hate to say this, but the week has been a giant waste of my time. The player wasn’t really interested in leaving the Plains. What is it about this place that makes people want to stay? It’s just a little hick town.”
“Hey!” Danae feigned insult. “I have Plains blood running through my veins!”
“And Dragon Valley, and Pleasantview and Monte Vista,” he teased. “You’re so far removed from Appaloosa Plains now.”
Except for my flaming red hair, she thought. “Well, just the same, I’m no hick!” she laughed.
“I know you’re not. You’re way too sassy to be a Plains girl. You’re born and raised Starlight Shores. I never noticed it until I came here.”
“I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered,” she snorted.
“Take it as a compliment, my sweet.” She heard his heavy sigh. “My goodness, Danae, I miss you so much, and I can’t wait to come home.”
“I will be waiting for your limo to pull up outside the house. And I will not leave you alone for days once you get here.”
Andy belly laughed. “And that’s different from usual how, exactly?”
“Alright,” she snickered. “That’s enough. I miss you, babe. Come home safely to me.”
“I will, honey. Oh, I love you so much.”
“I love you, too. See you tomorrow.”
She felt better after she talked to Andy. He loves me no matter what, she convinced herself. She undressed and climbed into bed, dreaming of tomorrow.
Today could not have gone any slower if it tried, Danae thought as she finished washing dinner dishes. It was almost seven, and Andy’s plane was due into Isla Paradiso at 8:30. Ugh! Two more hours.
“Lysie, Eamon, is your homework finished?” she called to the kids. Emmitt was ready for pre-school and would be starting after the Snowflake Day holiday for spring classes. Luckily, the holiday was still six weeks away. Emmitt could stay her baby for just a little while longer.
“Yes, Mama,” they yelled back in unison. “We’re playing charades.”
Danae smiled. I haven’t played that since I was their age, she thought. She and Darcey played it sometimes after dinner between homework and bedtime. Darcey, however, was much better at it than she was. But it was still fun teaching the kids how to play.
“Okay. Just a half-hour longer, and I need you to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” Emmitt was in the living room watching television. “Not going to play with your brother and sister, Emm?”
“No, Mama,” he sighed. “They don’t want me.”
She snuggled her youngest into her lap. “I’m sure that’s not it, baby boy, but charades might be a little old for you. Maybe when Daddy gets home, you can play a game with him?”
“I’d like that, Mama,” Emmitt said happily. “When do I start school again? I can’t wait!”
“After Father Winter comes this year. Do you remember when he comes?”
He counted on his fingers. “One, two, three, four, five… six! Six weeks, right?”
“Good boy!” she praised him. “You’re getting that down really good, honey.” She kissed his forehead. “Do you want me to read to you tonight?”
He nodded his head. “Yes please!”
“You got it,” she smiled. “You pick the book, and we’ll read together. How’s that?”
“You’ll help me with the words I don’t know, right, Mama?” he asked, excited to learn.
“You bet I will. Go get your teeth brushed for Mama, and I’ll be in to read and tuck you in soon.” She kissed the top of his head and gave him a gentle swat on his rear end, and he turned around with the biggest smile. She sure did love that little boy.
An hour later, all three kids were in bed and hopefully on their way to sleep, though Elyse was allowed to read for twenty minutes a night. There wasn’t a peep in the house, and Trixie was on a date, so Danae curled up on the sofa with a blanket throw and the television, waiting for Andy to come home.
The limo arrived at 9:30 and dropped Andy out front at the gate, and he half expected Danae to be there. But when he opened the front door, he noticed the flicker of the television, and Danae’s familiar soft snores emanated from the living room. He put his bags into his office and padded to the living room. At first, he didn’t recognize her, but as he gazed upon her, he smiled. Quietly, he tiptoed to where she laid down, knelt by her head and kissed her.
“Okay, who is the sexy redhead and what did she do with my smokin’ hot wife?” He teased quietly.
His kiss roused her and she laughed. “Hey babe,” she said and yawned.
“Wow, Danae, you look so different!”
“Is different good, or bad?” she asked, uneasy.
He looked at her in the dim light of the television and nodded. “I think I love it!”
She heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness! Darcey hated it and said I made a huge mistake.”
“How do you like it, baby?”
“I love it, though I probably won’t do it again once it grows out. I don’t feel much like me.”
“So, I get to make love with a redhead tonight, and I’m not even cheating on my wife. Hot dog!” Andy chuckled.
“Yes you do,” she purred. “When do you want to do that, specifically?”
“Name it,” he said.
“Uh oh,” he laughed. “Looks like I need to make up for some lost time.”
“Yup, a whole week’s worth,” she growled and led him to the bedroom.
Ten days later…
It was the first day of a two-week vacation, and Andy wanted so badly to sleep in. But they had a flight to catch and Danae had no clue. His plan was flawless and he couldn’t wait for it to come to fruition. Five months in the planning and it was finally here. He couldn’t believe it.
It wasn’t an easy task to choose a destination for their tenth anniversary. Where exactly do you vacation when you live in paradise? He pondered. But Aaron’s recommendation for Sunlit Tides sold him. Beautiful, white sand beaches. Scuba diving. West coast atmosphere and sun. Plenty of fun and romantic things to do.
He booked a room at the most exclusive resort, right on the beach, a five-star establishment. Known for its spa, Andy couldn’t wait to partake in a couple’s massage and pampering with her. In his opinion, she more than deserved it. Kirby gifted them the use of his private jet and catered the flights to and from Sunlit Tides. Everything was in place and ready to go.
With Darcey’s assistance, Andy bought Danae a whole new wardrobe for the vacation, his favorite was a beautiful ball gown that would make her look like a fairytale princess. He had three different gowns and dresses and a weeks’ worth of brand new clothing packed away and hidden upstairs in Trixie’s bedroom, along with new clothing for himself. He had much invested in the vacation before he even booked a room, but he didn’t care about the expense.
Trixie was in on everything and, together with Darcey, helped plan and coordinate every detail with Andy. Even the kids knew and promised to keep his secret. Danae was kept completely in the dark for months. And when they returned from Sunlit Tides, he had another surprise planned she would absolutely adore. It would be a vacation Danae would never forget.
With just hours until their flight, she slept soundly, wrapped in his arms, comfortable and happy. Andy was dying to wake her but just watched her for a few more moments. The alarm on his watch buzzed, notifying him it was time. This is it, he thought, more excited than he’d ever been.
“Nae, baby,” he kissed her shoulders and whispered in her ear. “Honey, I love you.”
Danae purred at the sensation of his kisses and opened her eyes. “Mmm, good morning, my handsome Andy.”
“Good morning, precious,” he purred back. “It’s time to wake up.”
“No,” she protested. “Trixie is helping the kids today. I don’t have to be up.”
“I know, my sweet. But we still need to get up. I have a huge surprise for you.”
Her eyes popped open and she was fully awake. She loved his surprises. “Oh?”
“I’m not telling you details. You’ll just have to trust me.”
Danae chuckled. “I get it. I surprised you, and now it’s payback time. It took you long enough.”
He nuzzled his face into her hair and breathed in. “You smell amazing, my love.”
“I just woke up, babe. I can’t smell that good.”
“It’s that vanilla. It smells delicious on you.” He would have loved to stay in bed with her all day, but they had three hours to get to the airport. “Come on, love. Up and at ‘em.”
“I need to shower. Is coffee made yet?”
“I’ll start it, and then I’ll join you, so take your sweet time in there.” He blew her a kiss.
Thirty minutes later they were enjoying a cup of coffee and a light breakfast together. Trixie had gotten the children ready for school, and they waited for hugs and kisses. It would be a while before they saw their parents again.
Andy snuck upstairs and brought down three pieces of luggage and put them into his office. Danae was playing with Emmitt in the boys’ room, counting with him. It was almost time to go.
“Baby, come with me a sec?” he asked her, bursting at the seams.
“I’ll be right back, Emm,” she told him, got up and walked to Andy. “What’s up?”
“Take a look.” He gestured toward the bags.
“Andy! What did you do?” She squealed, giddy with excitement.
“I’ll just say we’re going away for a while. I’m not telling you where or how long. But our flight leaves in ninety minutes. We need to get going, baby.”
“Andy, you never cease to amaze me. I love you.” She kissed him tenderly.
“I love you with everything I have, Danae. You deserve this time away, and I’m going to show you the time of your life.” The limo driver rang the call box, signaling he had arrived. “It’s time. Let’s give Emm one more kiss and we have to go.”
Ten minutes later, they were on their way, a small bottle of champagne waited for them. He opened it and poured two small glasses, which was all it held. He smiled sweetly at her and raised his glass.
“To you, Danae. The mother of my children. The love of my life. The rocker of my world. To the vacation of a lifetime.”
“Cheers!” Danae chirped and sipped on her glass. “You got semi-sweet?”
“Just for you, my love,” he said.
The ride to the airport wasn’t very long, and as it had before, the limo accessed a restricted gate. After verification, it was allowed to pass and they drove to Kirby’s hangar. The same jet they had taken on its maiden flight awaited them with the same waiter onboard.
“Welcome Andy, Miss Danae,” Victor greeted them. “Don’t tell me. One of you doesn’t know where we are headed. Am I right?” He grinned ear to ear.
Andy laughed. “You are correct. Miss Danae is being treated to a special anniversary trip, destination undisclosed. But she will love it.”
Victor nodded. “If you and Mr. Kemp planned it, I have no doubt it will be most pleasurable. Welcome aboard. We are on time for a 10:30 departure.”
“Thank you, Victor.” Andy took Danae’s hand and escorted her to their seats at a table. Their luggage would be loaded beneath in the hold, and as soon as the pilot had clearance, they would be on their way.
“A penny for your thoughts, my love,” he said. Danae was peaceful and relaxed.
“I’m just wondering what you’re up to, Andy. I can’t wait to find out.” She reached for his cheek and caressed it, and he nuzzled into her hand.
“We won’t be on the ground at our destination for quite a few hours, and I’m sure we will need to stop and refuel once. I promise it’s not Dragon Valley again.” Andy rolled his eyes at the memory. He was not going to repeat that mistake.
“Then I guess all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the flight.” She fastened her seat belt and put her feet up on the seat directly across from her.
“You know, this is the plane with the sleeping area, honey.”
“I figured as much. But this isn’t an overnight flight.”
“So? Nothing says we can’t nap on the way. It’s a long trip.” The copper highlights in her hair shone in the sunlight that peeked through the window. “You sure make a beautiful redhead, honey. I love it.”
She blushed. “I’m glad you do. I still don’t feel quite like myself with this color hair, though.”
Victor walked from the front of the airplane and announced their departure. “Lunch will be served in approximately ninety minutes, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Kemp which comes with a message.” He took a note from his pocket, unfolded it and read it aloud:
Dear Andy and Danae,
Rae, the kids and I wish you all the best on your tenth wedding anniversary trip. We wanted you to travel in luxury and comfort, and we provided your flight, expenses covered and your in-flight meal. Enjoy it and each other during your vacation. We will see you when you return.
All our love,
Kirby, Rae, Cody, and Corrie Kemp.
Danae wiped a happy tear from her eyes. “I can’t believe you did all this without me knowing, Andy.”
“Oh honey, this is only the tip of the iceberg.”
Hours later, the plane landed in Sunlit Tides. Andy and Danae had been napping since lunch in the sleeping quarters and Victor rapped on the door.
“Andy? Miss Danae? We’ve arrived at our final destination.”
Andy checked his watch. It was four o’clock local time. “Thanks, Victor. We’ll be out in a few minutes.” He touched her shoulder and kissed her cheek. “Nae? We’re here, baby.”
“Mmm,” she purred as she roused from her nap. “I really must have been asleep. Did we stop for fuel?”
“Yeah, about two hours ago. I felt us touch down, but that was it.” He took a comb from Danae’s purse and ran it through his hair. “Come on, sweetie, they’re waiting on us.”
They gathered their belongings and walked into the cabin of the plane. Victor was waiting for them. “Enjoy your stay here. We’re headed back home tonight.”
“Thank you, Victor. Have a safe flight back. We’ll see you in about ten days.”
Danae’s mouth fell open. “T-ten days?”
Andy just smiled and took her hand. “Are you ready, my sweet?”
The limo was waiting to take them to their resort. Danae looked around at her surroundings, trying to figure out where she was. Andy chuckled at her bewilderment.
“Still don’t know, do you, love?”
She shook her head. “No. It doesn’t look like home, yet I know it’s tropical.”
“We’re in Sunlit Tides, honey,” Andy smiled as he watched the excitement build within her.
“Andy! I’ve never been this far away from home before!” She snuggled up next to him, taking the scenery in. The town itself was disconnected from the mainland, but the island had been mostly connected by small bridges and causeways, unlike Isla Paradiso. The foliage was so much different, prettier, and she noticed coconuts hanging from the trees. “We don’t have coconut palms at home!” Every little thing animated her. This was the woman he fell in love with almost eleven years ago.
“I knew you would love it here.” He kissed her tenderly. “Happy Anniversary week my precious.”
The resort was not like any other she had ever been to before. Instead of small, stuffy rooms, they had a huge 3 bedroom suite, fully equipped with a kitchen, formal dining room and living room, much bigger than the VIP suite at Kirby’s resort. It had every amenity they needed and wanted, and then some.
“What do you think, Nae? Isn’t this beautiful?” Their bedroom opened to a deck overlooking the most scenic beach in the area. The air was balmy and only slightly humid, and the sun was getting lower on the horizon.
“Oh Andy, this is simply elegant. We can watch the sunset from here!” She walked onto the deck and took a deep breath. “Dare I say this is more beautiful than home. How did Aaron and Avery leave here?”
“Zachery, too. I suppose if you’re born here, it could get a little monotonous.” He walked up behind her and held her. “It sure is beautiful out here. Are you hungry, my sweet? I think I saw a bistro within walking distance, or the resort has room service. Whatever you want to do, baby, we’ll do.”
“Maybe in a little while,” she said dreamily. “I think I want to watch the sunset with a glass of wine and you wrapped around me.”
Andy smiled impishly. “I can deliver both of those things, my sweet.”
After dinner, the night was already dark, but fireflies dotted the evening as they walked hand in hand around the grounds of the resort. They passed one of two huge resort-style pools, not counting the one that was adjacent to their suite, and Danae stopped to stick her toes in.
“Andy, it’s like bathwater,” she said, amazed. Even at home, their pool always ran on the cool side.
“Good for skinny dippin’,” he said. He squeezed her hand as they continued their stroll.
“If we had our own private pool, you bet I’d be all over that,” she purred.
Andy wondered how long it would take for her to realize their suite was the only one with access to the adjoining pool. When they walked back through the gate that surrounded their suite building, she finally noticed it.
“Wait,” she said, looking around. “We do have our own pool.”
“So, armed with that new information, beautiful, what would you like to do tonight?”
“What do you think?”
Andy smiled at her. “Oh, baby, I’m all over that.”
The next morning, Andy surprised Danae with a bouquet of fragrant, velvety red roses on her nightstand. Two days to go until their anniversary, and he could barely wait. He ordered room service for coffee and breakfast and woke her gently.
He snuggled up behind her and kissed her shoulders. “Good morning, my precious princess,” he purred into her ear. “I love you, baby.”
Danae smiled and yawned. “Good morning, my Andy,” she purred back. “What are you doing up so early?”
Andy chuckled. “It’s nine-twenty in the morning. This is hardly early, honey.”
“Really? It looks earlier than that outside.”
“It’s a little overcast, but it is supposed to be sunny and mild today. I have something in mind for today, my sweet. I know you’ll love it.”
She rolled over in his arms and kissed him. “As long as I’m in your arms, I don’t care what we do or don’t do. I’d be just as happy staying right here in bed with you all day.”
“Well, breakfast is here, and we should get up and eat before it gets cold,” he said. “I got a little something extra. I’m surprised you didn’t notice, baby.”
“Where?” and then she smelled the roses. “Oh, Andy, those roses are exquisite. Thank you.” She kissed him tenderly.
“You’re welcome, honey.”
Andy ordered quiche for breakfast, and they sat and ate together. After a shower, they were ready to get started for the day.
He had rented a beautiful car for them to use while they were in Sunlit Tides. It had been delivered to the suite that morning, a bright red Tesla. They got into the car, and he set the GPS for a venue Aaron had told him about, a romantic place with a gondola ride and a wedding chapel. Danae admired the scenery as Andy drove the car, and when he pulled up and parked by the venue, she melted.
“Oh Andy, this is so adorable!” she chirped. The lot was a miniature recreation of a European village. The architecture was beautiful, and Danae fell in love with it.
“Let’s stroll around, my love.” He slipped his hand into hers and together they began to take in the sights.
They strolled around slowly, enjoying the atmosphere and each other. They found a small, flowered garden on the far end of the property and sat to rest their feet. Andy stretched out on the ground, his head in her lap. Danae stroked his cheek and gazed into his eyes.
“How do you like this place so far, my sweet?” Andy asked her as he relaxed on the ground.
“Andy, this is so romantic!” Her heart was bursting with love for him.
“I’m glad you think so, baby. I knew you’d love this. The way Aaron described it, I knew we had to visit here.”
She moved out from beneath him and climbed onto his lap, straddling him. Her sweet, soft kisses melted him, and he held her close. “I love you, Andy, so much. This scored you some big brownie points today.”
Andy chuckled. “I would have brought you here even without the brownie points.”
Danae got up and excused herself for a few moments to freshen up and stretch. While she was gone, Andy stood and propped against a tree, brushed the grass and dirt from his pants, and waited for her return.
She walked back a few moments later and he wasn’t where she’d left him. “Psst!” he called to her.
Danae smiled and approached him, took his hand and leaned against the tree with him. “Is this spot taken, handsome?” she flirted madly.
“It is now, beautiful.” She noticed the gondola floated by empty, and she squeezed his hand. “Do you want to take a ride on that, honey?”
“I would love to,” she chirped. Hand in hand, they walked back toward the loading zone. “I’ve never done this before,” she said happily.
Andy stepped into the boat first and held his hand for Danae to help her. They settled into the seat and held hands. The surroundings looked very different from inside the boat, and she pointed excitedly at the hanging wisteria that draped over the canal. Andy loved watching her so fascinated with everything.
“Are you having fun?” Andy whispered into her ear.
“So much fun,” she whispered back, caressed his cheek and kissed him. The gondolier smiled.
The sun was setting during their ride, and by the time the gondola returned to the loading dock, it was dark outside, the air a bit chilly.
“I had a lovely time today, Andy. Thank you so much.” Danae slipped her hand into his as they walked toward the car.
“I’m so glad you did, baby. I knew I had to bring you here. Are you just wanting to go get some dinner and head back, or do something else?”
“I’m thinking maybe just having some dinner, getting a bottle of wine and sitting by the pool with you.”
“Now that sounds like the perfect end to a beautiful day, my sweet.”
“I love you, my Andy. Thank you for today.”
“I love you, my beautiful, precious princess.”
One day until our anniversary. Andy woke with it on his mind, and he thought the wait might kill him. He had nothing really planned but beach time for the day and couldn’t wait for Danae to wear the bikini he bought for her. It was still dark when he got up to use the bathroom and laid back down with her.
Danae woke some hours later, surprised Andy was still asleep. But he was, still curled around her, his soft breath tickled her shoulder. She traced his fingers with hers, hoping the delicate touch would awaken him. But he smiled and chuckled in his sleep, and tightened his grasp on her. She kissed his fingers and snuggled into his arms. That did it.
“Good morning, precious,” he smiled at her. “How is the most beautiful woman in the world this morning?”
She smiled and thought about being snarky, but the moment was far too tender, too loving. “She loves the sexiest man alive more than he knows.”
“Mmm, baby, you sure know how to start the day off right,” he purred. “Let me love you, Danae.”
She turned over in his arms and kissed him. “Love me, Andy,” she whispered.
A couple of hours later, they were showered and ready for breakfast, albeit a bit late. “What’s on the schedule for today, my love?” she asked.
“I was thinking of going to the beach out back behind the resort here, my sweet. I know you want to work on your tan, and I have a new bikini for you. I can’t wait to see you in it.”
She laughed. “Always an ulterior motive.”
“Not true!” he snickered. “Well, maybe. But the water is so crystal clear, I want to stick my feet in the ocean on this coast, listen to the waves, and admire you. Then tonight, I was thinking we could go to that exclusive dance club down the street from the place we visited yesterday. What do you think?”
“I think it sounds like a lot of fun, babe.” She took his hand and kissed his nose. “So, where is this bikini?”
“Back in the bedroom.” He cleaned up the dishes from breakfast, placing them into the dishwasher, and led her back upstairs.
“I had one like this once upon a time,” Danae said, admiring the bikini. “Mine was green with orange flowers, but I have to admit I love the black with red. Let me see your new suit, my Andy.”
“Nope, not until I put it on,” he teased, “which I’m going to do right now.” He walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him, leaving her to change in the bedroom. He was done first, so when he walked back into the room, she was fussing with the clasp on the back of her top, but he stopped in his tracks.
“What?” she asked, still fumbling.
“You… holy cow, Danae, you look amazing in that bikini.” She spun around and spotted him in a pair of very short, skin-tight shorts, black with a red stripe on either side. He looked so good, she dropped her bathing suit top. He laughed as it landed at his feet. “You, um, dropped something, my sweet.”
She blushed. “I guess I did.” He handed it to her and offered his fastening services. With it secured around her, she turned around for his inspection.
“Perfection, baby. You are drop-dead gorgeous.” They took beach towels he had in the suitcase and headed for the beach, hand in hand.
The temperature was mild, in the high 70s, beautiful for sunbathing and perfect for a little swimming when the sun got warm. They spread their towels on the sand, and Danae laid down on hers. Andy watched every move she made as she settled in and got comfortable.
“Is there a problem, sir?” she teased, one eye half-open as she noticed him watching her.
“Not a single one,” he chuckled. “I’m just making sure you’re covered. No one else gets to see you but me.”
She clicked her tongue and rolled her eyes. “No one wants to see that but you, babe. Relax.”
“You’d be surprised, Nae.” He reached for her hand and took it into his, and they sunbathed together.
At four-thirty, Andy felt a bit warm, and since the water was right there, he ran toward the ocean and dove into the surf. Danae heard his heavy footsteps running from her, and looked up in time to see him make a splash. A huge smile crossed her lips as he walked back toward her, shaking water from his ears.
“Do you feel better now, honey?” she asked. He sprinkled water from his hair onto her skin, and it was chilly. “Eee!” she squealed. “That’s cold!”
“I do feel much better, and you’re welcome,” he laughed. “Let’s go clean up and go dancing, my sweet. You got yourself a beautiful tan, baby. I can’t wait to see your dancing outfit.”
“Andy! Did you get me a new club outfit, too?”
“No, baby, I packed the one you brought to Dragon Valley. Turns out, I couldn’t find its match anywhere.” He held his hand to her, and she stood up easily. Andy picked her towel up and slung it over his arm with his towel, and they walked back to the suite hand in hand.
An hour later, after a shower and a quick bite to eat, they got into the car and he drove them to the club. The bouncer stood outside the door, guarding the entrance, but Andy whispered to her, and she opened the ropes, allowing both of them access.
“What did you tell her?” she asked Andy.
“I told her you were Travis Jones’ daughter.”
“Why did you do that?” Danae was confused.
“Because here, you’re a bigger star than I am baby.” Andy was so matter-of-fact about it. “Apparently, they’re still a little salty about losing Avery and especially Zach to the Sharks.”
She nodded. “Well, whatever gets us in. I’m ready to dance, I don’t know about you.”
They danced for about an hour when Danae wanted to sit, so they took a seat by the bar, and Andy bought a bottle of beer for himself, and a mixed drink for her.
“What’s this?” she asked, stirring the ice with her finger.
“It’s called ‘Passion-ade.’ I thought you might like it.” He took a swig of his beer and winked at her.
“Are you going to get me drunk and take advantage of me, Mr. Murphy?” she teased.
He laughed. “I don’t have to get you drunk for that, my love.” She took a sip from the glass and licked her lips. “Is it good, Nae?”
“It’s sweet, fruity, a little spicy. I like it!” They sat and sipped their drinks until they were gone, and he led her back onto the floor.
A few minutes later, she was feeling no pain at all. “What was in that drink, Andy? I’m… not feeling so good.” Her head swam, and the flashing lights were not helping.
“Just fruit juice and some spirits, I think.” She never drank hard liquor, and it was affecting her more harshly than just wine. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m just a little tipsy.” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. “Let’s go find a quiet corner and make out,” she suggested.
Andy grinned. “Now you’re talking, baby.” He helped her to the second floor, which was mostly video arcade games and seating. He found a quiet, out of the way corner and they sat together. He sat beside her, and she was all over him as soon as he hit the seat. “Wow, baby. I guess when they called it ‘passion-ade’ they meant it.”
“I can’t help it,” she purred. “You’re just too handsome tonight.”
A few minutes later, and she was nearly passed out.
“Whatever they put in that drink did you in,” he said as he sat and held her. He couldn’t leave her upstairs alone, but he needed to find out what was in the drink, so he carefully carried her down the steps and to the bar.
“What is in the drink called, ‘Passion-ade’?” Andy asked the woman tending bar.
She named off six different hard liquors, and then a splash of passionfruit juice. “Is there a reason why, darlin’?”
Andy looked at her, incredulous. “Are you kidding me? My wife is nearly knocked out from it. Had I known, I wouldn’t have gotten it for her.”
“I thought it was for you, handsome,” she flirted with Andy. “I never thought to warn you. It’s the strongest drink we have on the menu.”
“Thanks a bunch,” he spat sarcastically. This wasn’t how he intended their night to end, at all. He carried her outside to the car and sat her in the passenger side, buckled her in and drove back to the resort.
He was helping her into the house when she groaned. “Andy,” she said. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
“Just a second, baby,” he replied, but he realized he wouldn’t make it to the master suite upstairs. He set her down on the front porch, and she immediately retched, throwing up six different liquors and a splash of juice into the bushes. Quickly, he picked her up and ran up the stairs, into the master bathroom and placed her on the floor by the toilet.
“I don’t feel so go—” was all she managed to say before she vomited again. Suddenly, Andy had an appreciation for her distaste of his overindulgence. But hers was quite by accident and very avoidable had he known what he was giving her. He knelt down beside her and rubbed her back.
“I’m right here, sweetie,” he comforted her. Inside, he was ticked, not at Danae but the bartender. What did she mean she thought it was for him?
“I don’t feel good,” she cried. “I haven’t been this sick since I was pregnant with Emm. Wait, am I pregnant, Andy?”
He sighed. Wishful thinking. “No, baby, you’re just a little drunk but it wasn’t your fault.” He helped her to her feet, but she looked like she would collapse if he let her go. So he lifted her and carried her into the bedroom.
“Why is the room spinning?” she asked as he laid her into bed.
“Baby,” he kissed her head, “I’m so sorry. This is my fault.”
“This is weird,” she laughed. “You’re usually the drunk one…” her voice trailed off as sleep took her. He couldn’t even wiggle her clothes from her. He changed into his favorite flannel pants and laid down beside her, not sure how much, if any, he would sleep.
“I’m so sorry, my precious Danae,” he whispered into her ear and wrapped around her. “Tomorrow will be better. I promise.”
As always, I take zero credit for any poses/custom content featured in this chapter. A fond “thank you” to the dedicated artists for their hours of love and hard work.