Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Brothers Everhart - Pres Ch. 16 Sofia On Her Own

Sofia was lonesome with Dana gone; more than she'd thought she'd be. Right away she hired a sitter for Thursday and Friday evenings the two days she worked until 8 pm. Then she started going in on Wednesday morning for about 4 hours so she could shorten her other days. She was able to go home now at 6:30 pm on Thursday and Friday, and Saturday she finished around 2 pm instead of 4. But it wasn't so much that she'd had to reschedule, nor that she didn't have his help at home; she just missed sharing her life with someone. Talking things over, eating meals together and playing video games, she realized now how healing Dana's presence had been.

So she began calling her sister Thalia more often and she even phoned her baby sister, Anneliese from time to time. Anneliese had made it clear years ago that she wanted to distance herself from the world her two sisters lived in, but now that Sofia was working hard to start a new life on the up and up Anneliese seemed to be warming. It also helped that Sofia had a couple of coworkers she was close to at the salon as well as her many clients.

She now became hooked on reading paranormal romances even though the lovelife of vampires and werewolves and otherworldly beings had slowly but surely jacked up her libido. Currently her favorite authors were Laurann Dohner and her "New Species" series which was more like fantasy rather than vampire or werewolf stories, Christine Feehan and the "Dark" series, and, for a change of pace the more lighthearted and funny "Argeneau Vampires" series by Lynsay Sands. Devouring story after story she debated buying a Kindle but then decided it was just too much money to fit into her budget. Her days were busy, but at night she was so lonesome.

She'd been able to keep Pres out of her thoughts while Dana was there, but now she found herself thinking back over every moment she'd spent with him in her little mobile home and every moment she'd gone out with him as in the movies and dinner dates, she'd cataloged every kiss, every smile, every caress. From the moment she'd met him Sofia had fallen hard. When he'd invited the gang to a get together at his house that time he'd specified that Thalia be sure to bring her sister. That had been the first night they'd talked for any length of time and the first time he'd kissed her. When the others left at the end of party, Pres had kept her with him. She held on to all those memories right up until the last time they'd made love. For her, nothing had changed the way she felt about him. Nothing could.

Dion was the light of her life and she spent as much time with the baby as possible when she was home. He was a happy baby, obviously reflecting the love showered on him by anyone who came to the house and from his mother.

She'd also begun to sew as a hobby, something she'd done as a girl when still living at home. She wanted to make him some onesies and when she couldn't find anything she liked in patterns she decided to make her own pattern. After all, onesies were simple and easy. Before long she'd begun making a few other things for him.

Once Dion had his birthday and was toddling around Sofia began to realize he would need her home more than ever. Besides, she wanted to be home; when Dion had taken his very first steps while at daycare Sonia had cried quietly into her pillow that night feeling that she had missed a special moment in his life. How many more would there be?

Potty-training was having mixed results, but according to her mother whom she talked with long-distance in New York City, it took time and patience to toilet train a child.

"Boys always seem to take longer than girls to train," Athena Giallelis maintained, "I should know; with you three girls it was a breeze, but when your brother arrived, I thought he'd have to go to kindergarten in diapers."

Sofia giggled at the thought of her baby brother, who had just finished college via a sport scholarship, sitting on a potty chair and thumbing his nose at their mother.

Dion loved to color and play with his blocks so Sofia found a play station for him when she took off work one Saturday morning. She'd brought him with her and Thalia as they took in some yard sales.

Things were looking up because Sofia had progressed rapidly with her sewing and had taken to designing some clothing for adult women. Often she wore her own creations and a couple times her customers had inquired where she got them. She ended up making a few items for one of them and was thrilled when the woman insisted on paying her above and beyond the cost of the fabric.

Beginning to get orders from people that she didn't know personally when they saw her clothes on the woman, Sofia was encouraged by Thalia and her boss at the salon to make some items and put them on sale at the shop. Money-minded Thalia showed her how to calculate prices based not only on the cost of materials but also her time and the fact that the clothes were handmade originals. She often customized her own patterns for certain customers. There was a chance that she might be able to work eve shorter hours at work and be home with Dion more. But she was afraid to do that until she was sure the orders would keep on coming.

When Thalia came by for her weekly visits it was a revelation to see her get down on the floor and play with Dion. She absolutely adored being "Auntie Thalia". She even took him to the potty when necessary, something no one who knew the flamboyant bulldozer of a woman could have imagined.


Time passed. Pres still lived in the small house he'd rented, working long hours as much as he could. The upside of that was that he was building up quite a nest egg.

Winter had blown through Halcyon County; snow coating not only Three Lakes up in the mountains, but all of Pleasantview, Crystal Creek and Bluewater. It seemed that it would stay forever. He thought about building a house of his own at times, but he couldn't muster up the enthusiasm. Without Sofia who cared?

Finally the winter gave way to a spring studded with thunderstorms and unusually cool temperatures for the area. A scorchingly hot summer followed and it was deep into that summer when Pres' friend and former coworker, Jerri Rasmus, showed up at his door with a goal in mind.

As they sat down at his dining table she told him she had information that she knew he would want but had promised people not to give him.

"I'm sorry about not coming over to see you before this, but I was afraid it would be too tempting to tell you."

"Well, no offense, but why have you decided to divulge this now?"

"Because it's time, past time, for you to make a move. Two people's happiness is at stake and so you need to go see Sofia immediately. I came to tell you this and to give you her address and phone number."

"I already found out her address," he admitted, "I've known it for a long time."

"Well, doofus, why didn't you go see her?"

"Because Thalia told me Sofia didn't want to see me and that Dana Conadera was with her," he said irritably, "You know that. He's a right guy and I didn't want to mix in if he can make her happy and he's who she wants."

He looked so miserable that Jerri would have told him that Dana and Sofia had not been romantically involved, but then she didn't really know that for sure. No one did. She was fairly sure that Sofia was not in love with Dana, but it didn't take a genius to see that Dana was crazy about her. Whether or not Sofia had succumbed to her loneliness and the admittedly attractive and fun Dana was anybody's guess. That was one of the things that Pres and Sofia would have to work out, but if they never talked to each other it would never happen. Not to mention Pres finding out about the baby, and she certainly was not going to be the one who told him about Dion. Let him go see Sofia and he would find out soon enough.

This way she was not breaking her promise to never reveal Dion's existence and to leave it up to Sofia. Well, okay, she told her self guiltily, she was bending the promise by urging him to go see Sofia and providing the address, but not breaking it.

"I don't know if he made her happy or not, but I do know that he moved out a few months ago," Jerri hedged.

Pres couldn't hide his elation, but then doubt came over him and he said slowly,

"I guess I could call her; I wouldn't want to just shove my way in her front door."

"Well, don't wait around until some new idiot shows up," Jerri said dryly and was a little amused when Pres looked appalled and then ticked off at the thought of another guy in line behiind Dana

Although he liked Dana and considered him a good man he was also envious of his place in Sofia's life. Still he knew Dana would care for Sofia and protect her. But the thought of some unknown slimy creep skulking around her filled him with uncharacteristic jealousy and even anxiety. That was not going to happen; he would not let that happen.

Seeing that she'd hit the mark Jerri warned,

"That's right. Sofia grabs attention from men wherever she goes without even trying so you'd better step on it, ace."

Jerri left, wishing she could have told him about his son, but had to hope he'd do as she asked and go see Sofia as soon as possible.

It was one of her days off and Sofia was belatedly bringing in the newspaper when she got a call that totally blew her mind. The moment she heard Pres' deep voice on the phone her brain seemed to slip sideways while her heart started thumping loud and hard as though she was having palpitations like her mother sometimes did.

Pres sounded almost hesitant,

"Hi, Sofia, it's Pres. I was wondering if I could some see you today. I mean just to talk."

Sofia knew she had dragged her feet about contacting him since Dion was born. Now she realized that her procrastination had resulted in the decision being taken away from her. The time had come and she might as well meet it head on. Besides, truth to tell, part of her couldn't wait to see him.

"That would be fine," she replied, thinking how formal they both sounded and how breathless her voice was even to her own ears, "Just give me about an hour, if you don't mind.

"No problem, I'll see you then."

He sounded relieved.

She threw the phone in her handbag and grabbed up little Dion from where he'd been playing in the living room. Running upstairs to his room she kissed him and put him down for his afternoon nap a little early. He looked mildly surprised but, to her great relief, fell off to sleep with no arguing. Dashing into the bathroom to check her makeup and hair and she brushed her teeth longer than usual. As she did she muttered to herself,

"It's not as if he's going to kiss me, but better safe than sorry."

Going back downstairs she cast a quick look around the house and compulsively decided to run a dust rag over the furniture even though she'd done it only that morning. What could they say to each other? And how would she tell him that his child was sleeping upstairs?

And then...the doorbell chimed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Brothers Everhart - Pres Ch. 15 Sofia and Dana

Sofia Giallelis' baby boy was born after a grueling 36 hour labor, Dana Conadera was by her side as well as her sisters, Thalia and Anneliese and their friend, Jerri. Dana had even taken La Maze classes with her.

She named the child Dion Prescott Everhart, having put Pres down as the father on the birth certificate. She wanted her son to take his father's surname even if Pres knew nothing of his existence. The baby was named after Sofia's late father, Dionysios Giallelis, and of course Pres. Eventually she would tell him about his son, but she wasn't sure how or when.

Dana was turning out to be invaluable when it came to maintaining her home and especially with caring for Dion. He seemed to be a natural with the infant and is affection was apparent.

"I thought you were going to let Pres know about Dion. When did you plan to do that, doll?" Dana brought up one day as they had supper together.

Sofia hedged,

"I want to make sure that he's gone forward with his life. You know, married that girl and then he won't feel like he should offer to...well...offer to be with me or marry me."

"Or help you financially?" Dana said cynically, "Which is what he should do in any case."

"He can do what he wants, I just don't want him to feel obligated in any other way."

"He never married her, you know. In fact, I checked and she doesn't work as a nanny anymore, as far as I can tell she left town."

Sofia immediately asked,

"How did you find that out?"

Dana shrugged,

"Jerri told me when she brought in that piece of crap Chevy of hers for a tuneup."

"How long ago was that?" Sofia gave him a stern look.

"Couple months ago," now it was Dana's turn to feel cornered, "I know I should have mentioned it, but that was right around the time you had Dion and things were kind of crazy here."

Sofia dropped the subject. After supper they played video games and the tension that had built up during the meal dissipated. As a rule Sofia and Dana were very comfortable with each other.

That evening Sofia went shopping for more baby clothes. Once she was at Goth's Apparel she decided she decided to pick up some new outfits for herself too, now that she had her figure back. On her way out she was unaware that she was seen by Pres. He followed her discreetly for a ways, he certainly knew how to shadow someone, of course. It wouldn't have mattered; Sofia was oblivious; just strolling along and humming. To his mind she'd never had any sense of self-preservation and it looked as thought that wasn't going to change. He didn't tail her all the way home; it wasn't necessary. He already knew where her house was, and had for some time.

He'd not seen Sofia since their last night together at her mobile home a little over a year ago. She looked more beautiful than ever to Pres and very unattainable. He had found out early on that Dana lived with her and he assumed it was a romantic liaison.

Pres did not believe there was any hope for a relationship with her, but he just didn't seem to be able to get interested in any other woman. He hadn't put much effort forth to "get out there and meet someone" as his brother Parker kept insisting he do. The truth was he felt if he couldn't have Sofia he didn't want anyone. A ticket to nowhere.

Sofia had grouped her salon customers together into two long days, Thursday and Friday, and one short one on Saturday. Baby Dion was with Sofia then all day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday and Friday she worked until 8 pm and Dion went to daycare from 8 am to 5 pm then Dana picked the baby up when  he got off work at 5 pm and took care of him until Sofia got home. On Saturday he watched him all day until she finished work at 4 pm. Sometimes her sister Thalia would come for an evening on Thursday or Friday to spell Dana while he took time for himself or did the grocery shopping. Sundays were a free day and, in mild weather, Dana usually took Sofia and the baby to the park, or they stayed home and grilled hamburgers and the baby played in the playpen on the patio.

Things were getting stressful for Dana. Once the baby moved from a cradle in Sofia's room to a crib in his own little room Dana had moved downstairs. He slept on the sofa rather than a cot in the nursery.

One Friday night he was working on the desktop in the upstairs hall when Sofia put Dion to bed and then opted for a long bubble bath to unwind. Dana could hear her in the tub not far from where he was working as she splashed and made sighing sounds. His imagination was all too active as he gritted his teeth and tried to concentrate on the online advanced mechanics class he was taking.

When Sofia finished her bath she moved to her bedroom and put on pajamas. it had been a long day and it was late, but her stomach was telling her to eat something light. Dana had made lasagna and said he'd nuke her a polate but she didn't want that much, just a bowl of cereal. Dana joined her because he wanted to discuss something with her; something he'd been meaning to talk to her about for some time.

"Oh, sweetie," Sofia said, "if it's something serious can it wait until morning? I'm so darned tired my butt is dragging behind me. As soon as I finish my Cheerios I'm going upstairs to bed."

Dana's face fell, but then he smiled at her,

"Sure, doll, tomorrow at breakfast."

Sofia turned and headed up the spiral staircase and Dana's eyes were drawn to her full, curvy butt which, in his opinion, was not dragging behind at all, but bounced nice and perky.

He dragged his hand over his eyes and down his face as he muttered to himself.

But when morning came Sofia was up extra early and in a hurry. She scarcely touched the poached eggs he'd made her.

"I'm going to be late! I'l be back at the usual time. Then we can talk, Dana, I promise."

All that day Dana imagined how it would be when he confessed his love and asked Sofia to marry him. Way down deep he knew it would never happen that way. He hoped she'd be touched and thrilled and then say she loved him; that he'd made her forget all about the jerk detective. Actually, he'd always liked Pres but now that he stood between Sofia and him, Dana thought of him as competition. He loved her son, Dion, and he would tell her that he wanted to adopt him. That he would always take care of both of them. He caught himself daydreaming of holding her in his arms at last.

Of course, Dana was right; that was not how it came down. The reality was that he ended up sitting on the sofa and she was on the adjacent chair.

Gathering up his courage he told Sofia he couldn't go on this way. She dropped her eyes, twisting her hands feeling ashamed,

"I know it's not fair with only the sofa to sleep on and no privacy. You've been more than kind to stay here helping me."

Dana shook his head,

"No, that's not it. I'm glad I could be here for you. But I can't keep staying here as a friend when I'm in love with you, Sofia."

Down deep she had known he was falling for her, but she had pushed it out of mind because she couldn't deal with it.

"Doll, I want to marry you and take care of you and Dion, adopt him. You know I love him, too."

Tears filled Sofia's eyes,

"Oh, Dana, I can't marry you, sweetie. You're a beautiful man and you deserve happines. I love you, but, I'm not in love with you. I wish that I could be, but I guess I'm just empty inside; at least when it comes to men. And Dion takes all of my energy, all of my interest."

Dana scowled,

"It's him, isn't it? You're not empty inside--you're bursting with love for him. Maybe you would get over him if you told him about the baby. Make Pres decide one way or another. Otherwise you're always going to be waiting."

 "I don't know if I can do that yet."

Dana looked defeated,

"Then I need to leave--find a place of my own. But I don't want to leave you in the lurch with Dion. I'll only stay a couple more days but you need to figure out how you'll handle his care when you work late once I'm gone."

"Dana..." Sofia began in a soft voice and he looked at her intently for a moment, but then she trailed off.

He stood up and said in a wooden voice,

"It's late but I'm going for a walk. I'll be back in twenty minutes and I'll be tired."

She knew he meant that the conversation was over and that he hoped she'd be in bed when he came home so he could make up the sofa and go to sleep.

"Okay," she said, "I'm going to bed now anyway."

As Sofia headed upstairs it was on her conscience that she'd hurt him deeply and she hated it. She didn't sleep well that night at all.