The plane took off towards San Francisco and landed roughly an hour later. She hailed a taxi and headed straight for his house. When she arrived, the mansion took her by surprise. It was a lot more than she'd ever imagined, even in her craziest notions. It looked like a Hollywood celebrity's house, or maybe even more. He wasn't kidding about the vineyard, either. She could see it when she walked around to the side of the house. It stretched as far as the eye could distinguish, and probably much more after that. Perfect for riding, she thought. I won't think about that, she condemned herself. I won't even think about living here. But she already had.
She walked to the door and lifted her finger towards the doorbell. She thought better of the idea, though, and decided to knock instead. Something didn't want her to let Sam know about her arrival. Perhaps it was because she feared that he'd shut her out. She rapped smartly on the door, careful not to touch the glass. A woman aged at about fifty opened the door and greeted her with a smile. Her appearance was motherly, and she had an aura about her that just seemed to welcome Katherine in.
"Hello," she said, with a bit of an Irish accent. Katherine assumed it was Maggie, his maid.
"Um… hi… I er…" She suddenly didn't have anything to say. She hadn't a clue why she'd come in the first place in fact. What was she supposed to say?
"Och, you must be Katherine. Come in come in."
Katherine smiled. She didn't have to say anything. Maggie motioned towards a couch in a spacious room decorated with beautiful paintings, and they both sat down. "Mister Calder arrived a couple hours ago. I fed him some; he greeted everyone and they gave their 'welcome back's; and then he retired upstairs. I suppose he's unpacking right now."
"Oh okay. Well I just…" she trailed off. What was she to say? Everything suddenly felt so awkward.
"It's on the third floor. Second room to the right. I suppose you'll wish to talk to him."
She nodded. "Thank you. A lot."
"Of course. And Katherine?"
"He loves you, you know."
"Well I love him." They smiled at each other, and Katherine walked upstairs in accordance with the maid's directions.
His door was open, and she saw that he was almost done unpacking. There was just a single yellow envelope in one of his suitcases. She stood in his doorframe, watching him. He hadn't noticed her, but his back was turned. She watched him sit down on the bed–so that he was facing the wall adjacent to the doorframe where she was standing–open the envelope, and remove a stack of pictures. A smile spread across his face as he looked at the first one.
She strained to get a look of what had caused the grin, and she could barely catch of glimpse of herself. A picture of herself when she hadn't been looking. And then he went to the next one.
"Beautiful," she heard him whisper to himself.
It was ten minutes later when he'd gone through the entire stack and replaced it in the yellow envelope. She saw him dig through a pocket of his coat, searching for something. The expression on his face changed to a frown, as he couldn't seem to find whatever he was looking for. He dug through the other pocket, only to receive the same result. His face seemed to show some sort of desperation and nervousness. He looked through both pockets of his pants, but he couldn't find it.
"Shit," he muttered to himself. He raked his hands through his hair, growing distraught and frantic. "Where could it have gone?"
Sam lifted the suitcase and shook it a few times, but nothing fell out. He did the same with all his other suitcases, but only a few hundred-dollar bills fluttered out. "Shit."
Katherine smiled. "Looking for something?" she called towards him, holding up the velvet box.
He turned towards her in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Returning something you lost."
"Would that be you or the ring?" he asked.
"How about both?" she offered with a grin, walking closer to him.
He caught her around the waist and pulled her towards him, kissing her full on the lips. Sam took the box from her, opened it, and removed the ring. He flung the box over his shoulder, where it landed with a light plop on his bed. He slid the ring on her finger and kissed her again.
"Wait. I marry you on one condition. No, wait, two conditions. First of all, you have to let me live here so I can get a horse and ride in your vineyards."
"And second of all, I'll marry you as long as I can have an independent law firm out here."
"You're just never going to let go of that independence, are you?"
"Not unless I have to."
He laughed and kissed her forcefully. "Good. I like you like that."
She raised an eyebrow. " 'Like'?" she reiterated.
"Love," he amended. "I love you."
"Mmm. Better. I love you, too," she declared, and hooked her arms around his neck.
• • •
A knock came at the door. Jake had been absently flipping through the television channels, looking for something interesting to watch. His mind had been more occupied with what he'd do with the extra space in the townhouse after Katherine left to go live in his brother's mansion, because she surely wouldn't be back after her trip to chase after Sam. He strolled to the door and opened it.
There stood a woman. The enchanting woman from Hawaii.
"Hi," he said.
"Hi." She held up his business card she'd gone in pursuit of after that night.
"Come in," he invited. And then he knew what he'd do with that extra space.
• • •
You live, and you breathe, and then you die. Sometime in between, you fall in love. Some loves stay forever, while others last merely a day. But they're always there, underneath all the years of hurt and pride and growing. If it's true love, it's never forgotten or lost. Don't say it's too young for love, or it's too soon. Love knows no age or distance or amount of time. Love is a feeling, embedded deep within the hearts of two people, that squeezes them tightly and threatens never to let go.
Author's Note – Well. It's over. Have a good new year, everyone! And I dedicate these last two chapters to Ashley, who is turning 18 today! Go give her some review love. pen name: Sad Songs Remind Me. Thanks SO much to everyone who's reviewed since the start and the people who have come along the way. Never thought I'd break 500. Or 400. Or 300. Look out for my next story(ies). And PLEASE PLEASE take some time to fill this out because you'd be helping me SO much:
What'd you think of the plot?
Who was the most well-developed character?
What'd you think of the writing?
What was the most unpredictable thing?
What could be improved?
How realistic were the characters?
Thanks for Reviewing
Adders721: Yeah. I don't like what Sam did either. Heh. Thanks!
Gigigirl281: Haha. "You kissed my sister OMGWTFBBQ I HATERZ U LOLZ." You're hilarious. Still haven't gotten the Christmas pressie. But maybe that's just because mail has been backed up, what with the holidays and such. Thank you for being there! I know you'll read my next story! hint hint
My Works 87: Thank you! I totally don't hate you for losing track of this story. I'd lose track of low-grade authors' stories when I've got a story that gets about 50 reviews a chapter! I'm so honored you're back and reviewing! Thanks!
Clarissa123: Well, it's over, so now you know about how far the chapters will go. Heh. Thanks!
Shy-Lil-Dreamer: Thank you for reviewing! I'm so glad you're loving it!
Laur1532: Haha. Yes. You've been such a great shrink these past… however long it's been. Anyway, thank you for being here and telling me I could read 500! or a thousand, which isn't gonna happen obviously
Sad Songs Remind Me: Hey you whore. I love you! I'm glad you're not confused anymore! Yes. They're gonna both die in a car crash. I know. It is something I would do. I don't like this whole cliché omg-I-love-you-let's-get-married-ness. But oh well. I was happy when I wrote the ending. Which was in the summer. I didn't change the ending when I rewrote. Let go of Sam alter egos. I think YOU have alter egos, and you're just blaming it on him. Thank you!
An Unsung Verse: Well thank you so much for reviewing all the time, like right when I post! It's awesome! You rock! Thank you!
Walking Contradiction: Thank you for coming back and making time to review! although I'd really like if you made time to write, but it's understandable Glad you thought it was a good twist. And thank you for reviewing! Like throughout the story. Your reviews always brighten up my day! as cringe-worthy-cliché as that sounds
Blue Shadow: Heh. Thank you for reviewing all throughout this story! Especially your one review that you gave me. I think you know which one. 'Cause I'm too lazy to go dig it out.
12.31.2004once again and for a final time,