RIP Billy Robbins

Sully was dozing on the couch long after the ball game ended and he awoke to find the late news on the screen, becoming consciousness just as it was announced that long time actor Billy Robbins had died in a boating accident.

The news startled Sully who grew up watching Billy Robbins' on television and in the movies. He liked the guy as an actor and as a celebrity because he always seemed down to earth in his personal appearances and interviews, known for his charitable work and easy going attitude with adoring fans.

"Bummer," Sully sighed as he stood from the couch, turning off the television and heading up the stairs of the empty house to his equally as empty bedroom where he faced another night of loneliness. Abby left him eighteen months ago and he still wasn't accustomed to her absence even though he had dated Mary Jane for several months until he decided that relationship wasn't going anywhere.

The morning talk shows and newscasts the next day were full of Billy Robbins tributes, movie clips, interviews with friends, colleagues and entertainment reporters and Sully's facebook news feed was abuzz with postings, comments and clips as well. Apparently, many other people were bummed about Robbins' death.

Sully had a busy day as Manager in the Customer Service Department of Toyota of Greenville and even there he overheard various co-workers and customers talking about the late great Billy Robbins. Sully was surprised by the level of reaction from the American public on the news of the popular and well known actor's passing.

"Boy, none of us will get that level of attention when we croak," Sully joked to Mel his co-worker.

"That's for sure," Mel agreed.

The news on the radio during the drive home had a long piece on Billy Robbins and Sully was amazed by the amount of media play the actor's death continued to receive. He stopped at the Stop and Save for a salad from the salad bar and headed home for another lonely night with the ball game on the tube, made worse by the fact that it was Friday night, a cruel reminder of his aloneness. Sully's cell went off just as he parked the car in the garage.

"Hello?" Sully said as he walked with his salad toward the back kitchen door.

"Hi, Sully."

He nearly dropped the phone hearing the sound of Abby's voice. He could count on one hand the number of times they had spoken since she left him. They usually used the kids as messengers and they rarely talked face to face to each other. They had only seen each other a few times and that was at events involving the kids who were now old enough not to need daily oversight by either parent. Bridget stayed with Sully when Abby left while Brandon moved in with his girlfriend to escape the drama of the break up. Now Bridget was off at college and Sully was alone in the house.

"Something wrong?" Sully asked Abby on the phone, fearing bad news regarding one of the kids.

"No, nothing like that," Abby sighed. "I was just hoping I could stop by."

Abby's request was a bombshell Sully wasn't expecting.

"What? I thought you already took everything you wanted," he frowned into the phone as he entered the kitchen.

"I don't want to take anything," Abby said with annoyance. "I just want to talk."

"About what?" Sully asked suspiciously.

"I don't want to tell you over the phone," she answered mysteriously.

"Why not?" He tested.

"Because you'll laugh at me," she insisted with a groan. "Please? Can I just stop by?"

Abby hadn't been in the house (with Sully there) since she packed up and moved out, sending Brandon back with a U-haul a few days later with a couple of his friends to take some of the furniture pieces she wanted. Other than that, Abby wanted nothing to do with Sully or the house so her telephone request was an unusual demand.

Sully wasn't sure if he was ready to face Abby one-on-one alone. She had totally destroyed him with the news of her affair with Edmund J. Hoskins, . Abby's betrayal of her twenty year marriage having an affair with a co-worker she had only known for a few years was more than Sully could handle. Even now, nearly two years after Abby made the crushing announcement, Sully remained bitter, resentful and angry. He didn't know if he could trust himself not to say or do something mean or hurtful in Abby's presence if she showed up.

"That might not be such a great idea, Abigail," Sully said tensely. "I don't think I'm ready for this."

"I really want to talk to you, Michael," she pleaded.

When Abby used his given name instead of his nickname that usually meant she was serious.

Sully stared out the kitchen window for a long moment considering his options. He could stick to his guns and refuse to let her in the house or he could swallow his pride and stuff his resentment long enough for her to say what she had to say. Surely, it had to be something major for her to be calling him like this.

"You sure this isn't about the kids?" He asked with uncertainty.

"It's not about the kids," she assured him. "Nothing like that, really."

"Somebody we know sick or dying?" He quizzed.

"Come on, Sully, no twenty questions, please," Abby groaned. "Can I just come by and talk to you? Yes or no."

His initial gut reaction was to say no. To hell with her. She didn't deserve his time. She left him and their marriage so why should he be bothered with her now? He wasn't ready to forgive her or spend time with her.

"Sully?"

On the other hand, she was the only woman he really loved. He missed her. Couldn't he be the better person in this situation? Take the high road? Offer a little compassion? Be willing to a little giving? At least hear what she had to say – and then kick her out!?

"Sully?"

"Okay," he said, sucking in a deep breath. "You can stop by if you want."

"Thanks," she said with relief in her voice. "I'm about five minutes away."

"I'm here," he replied before ending the call.

He stared at the salad on the counter. Should he eat now or wait until she was done with her visit? He put the salad in the refrigerator, poured himself a Rum and coke and a glass of Abby's favorite wine for her (although he wasn't exactly sure why he was making that gesture).

He brought the drinks into the living room and placed them on the coffee table, taking a seat on the couch and catching his breath before Abby's arrival. He glanced around the house. Not much had changed since she left except maybe for the stuff she took with her. He left most of the family photos up (not including the solo portraits of her which he shoved in drawers). Family group shots remained, of course, including the huge family portrait from about five years ago that still hung over the mantle.

The doorbell rang and Sully hesitated just for a minute before standing and going to the door. He appreciated the fact that Abby didn't use her own key and barge in, respecting the reality that she had left and therefore forfeited her entrance rights. Sully opened the door and there stood Abigail Alison Jamison-Sullivan, his former bride and now estranged wife. Why weren't they divorced yet?

"Hi, Sully," Abby said nervously. "Can I come in?"

Sully fought the urge to slam the door in her face now that he was looking at the woman who betrayed him, their vows, their marriage, their family and everything he once believed in.

"Sure," he sighed, stepping back and allowing her to enter the house she once co-owned.

Abby looked tired in Sully's opinion. It almost looked as if she had been crying. Her eyes were slightly red and somewhat droopy. Otherwise, she didn't look much different, a woman in her mid-forties with brown hair and a reasonable figure. She was as tall as Sully and her posture and presence as a teacher gave her dignity and stature even in her former home. She was wearing a professional blue pants suit with a suit jacket over a white blouse with black high heels.

"I poured you a glass of wine," Sully informed her as he closed the door and followed her to the couch.

"Thanks," Abby said with a smile. "That's very kind of you."

She kicked off her shoes and took a seat on the couch as if she had never left. Sully picked up his drink and sat in the soft comfortable chair across from the couch, giving his estranged wife a perplexed look.

"So, what did you need to talk to me about?" Sully asked. "You sounded upset on the phone and you look a little shook up now. Bad family news?"

"Well, I suppose you heard that poor Billy Robbins died, huh?" Abby asked.

"You'd have to live on Mars not to have known that," Sully replied.

"I haven't been this upset in a very long time," Abby sighed heavily.

Sully squinted at her with confusion. "Wait," he said as he scratched his chin. "Are you telling me that we're about to have our first real conversation in nearly two years and its going to be about Billy Robbins?"

"He was my favorite actor of all time," Abby confessed, her voice breaking.

"News flash," Sully said. "You didn't know him!"

"I feel like I did," she pouted. "This is very hard for me, Sully. We grew up with that guy."

"He was a celebrity," Sully said forcefully. "A Hollywood actor. Make believe."

Abby took a long sip of her wine. "I thought you of all people would understand," she groaned. "I know all that, you jerk. Listen, plenty of famous people I've admired have died before but I've never had a reaction like I'm having with Billy Robbins dying," she told him. "I'm really having a hard time with this. I was hoping you would be able to relate to what I'm going through."

"Jesus, Abs, you weren't this upset when my mother died," Sully complained.

"I didn't like your mother as much as I liked Billy Robbins," Abby admitted sheepishly.

Sully sat back in his chair and stared at his estranged wife for the longest moment, surprised that he was actually feeling some sympathy for her, sort of understanding where she was coming from. Billy Robbins' death had strangely been on his mind all day too and he had to admit he was having a surprisingly emotional response to the sad news. He just couldn't believe that after all the turmoil, drama and pain he had been through because of Abby's choices, this was going to be the topic of their first meaningful conversation in years.

"Death is supposed to be a personal and private experience for those left behind," Sully said gently. "Only those who knew and loved the deceased can fully appreciate the full extent of such a loss as it affects their own lives. The sympathy, support, compassion, and kindness from those around the ones grieving can be enriching, rewarding and of great help for those suffering through pain too," he continued. "But when a public figure or celebrity passes away, their death is rarely private because we live in a People Magazine, TMZ and Entertainment Tonight mentality that puts such deaths on display and often makes a mockery of the reality of their passing. We tend to get caught up in the details of a celebrity's death, especially if there is some sort of scandal involved."

"Yeah," Abby agreed with a sigh. "I mean, what in the hell was he doing on a speed boat in the first place?"

"I get that you're personally affected by the loss of Billy Robbins because we truly admired, respected, and enjoyed his work over the years," Sully said. "He was a part of our youth and a time in our lives that had special meaning to us. He brings back personal memories of relevance - of people we knew, of times we enjoyed, of a place where we once belonged."

"That's exactly it!" Abby exclaimed with amazement, wiping a tear from her eye. "That's why I've been so upset!"
"It's legitimate to feel a sense of loss and sadness grieving him because we feel like we knew him," Sully said. "We identified with most of his characters and we feel like he was a friend of ours even though we never met him."

"I actually cried myself to sleep last night," Abby confessed with some embarrassment. "I couldn't understand why I was so upset but I think you just kind of capsulated it for me."

"I was bummed out too," Sully said, taking another sip from his drink. "The public outpouring of grief and the collective sense of shared loss has been impressive. The guy was a part of our lives for thirty years making us laugh and cry through his work but let's face facts. Only a handful of people outside his family, friends and co-workers knew him. A small number of lucky fans, sick children, and neighbors who were fortunate enough to meet him and perhaps exchange kind words with him. The rest of us could only admire him from afar."

"I guess," Abby admitted.
"If we truly admired and respected this guy who died a public death, we should apply the same rules of engagement that we practice when a friend down the street dies," Sully theorized. "Honor his life and have sympathy for his passing but then let it go because there's nothing we can do about it but remember his work and the joy he brought to us over the years."

"Thank God film never goes away," Abby smiled.

"RIP Billy Robbins," Sully remarked.

Now it was Abby's turn to study Sully for a moment. "Do you remember what we watched the first time you came over to my house?" She tested.

"The Donaldsons featuring Billy Robbins," Sully grinned.

"It was my favorite show!" Abby smiled. "I even joined the Billy Robbins Fan Club!"

"We'd watch The Donaldsons together every Friday night," Sully recalled. "Down in your cellar," he added with a knowing smile.

"Down in the cellar," she nodded knowingly. "And do you remember the first movie we ever saw together at the Greenville Cinema?"

"Johnny Quest starring Billy Robbins," Sully answered. "We held hands all through it."

"I remember," Abby smiled. "We kissed too!"

Sully couldn't help but grin at the nostalgic and sentimental warmth of the early days of their relationship. They were only fourteen when they started hanging out together and it wasn't until now that Sully fully realized the role Billy Robbins played in their lives as a couple.

"Then there was my all time favorite movie based on one of my favorite books and writers," Sully recalled.

"Hot Rod Reynolds," Abby recalled. "That was around the time we got our licenses!"

"I was never as hot as Billy was as Hot Rod Reynolds though," Sully admitted.

"Ah, you weren't so bad," Abby teased. "Then came Romance on the Charles," she said.

"First time we saw a movie together with nudity in it," Sully recalled.

"Not Billy though," Abby said with relief. "That would have shattered my fantasy of him."

"I was never as sexy as Billy was in that movie though."

"We made love for the first time after seeing that movie," Abby said. "Do you remember? My parents were off visiting my sister at Emerson?"

"I remember," Sully replied, almost blushing at the memory of them losing their virginity to each other that weekend.

"I guess we have Billy Robbins to thank for that night," she smiled.

"Night?" Sully laughed. "As I recall, it went on for nearly two days!"

"Yeah, I've never been naked for that long at any other point in my life," Abby acknowledged.

"Then came that great baseball movie 'Lefty' with Billy playing the rookie sensation going through the minor leagues," Sully beamed. "God, I still love that movie even though I was never a good an athlete as Billy was in that film."

"Well, what about Good Morning, Sunshine?" Abby asked. "We got engaged after seeing that movie together."

"Yeah, it's a romance classic," Sully admitted. "I could never be as romantic as Billy though."

"Ah, you weren't so bad," Abby joked again.

"I think he did Teacher's Pet next," Sully recalled.

"I didn't like that one very much," Abby admitted. "One of the few times he played a creep."

"The movie bombed," Sully agreed. "He said it was the worse career choice he ever made."

"But we got married that summer," Abby smiled. "That was a pretty good choice, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was," Sully answered truthfully even if the story didn't have a very happy ending.

"Then he made Husband and Wife which pretty much captured our marriage too," Abby grinned.

"And the follow up Husband, Wife and Baby right after Brandon was born," Sully added. "Billy Robbins seemed to be mirroring our lives!"

"Then he made those action comedy western movies," Abby recalled.

"Ah, it got us out of the house on Friday nights for a date night!" Sully replied. "They weren't so bad. The Allegory Trail, The King of Castle, Harrisville – fun movies."

"I was happy when he made those family comedies we could take the kids to," Abby said.

"Oh yeah!" Sully grinned. "I remember going to the outdoor to see Ali Babba-roon and later Mr. Nanny with Bridge and Bran. Fun times!"

"It was hard not to like those movies," Abby agreed. "And going to the outdoor was a great family experience."

'The good ole days," Sully said, sad to realize they were long over.

"Then he made that Sci Fi flick which Brandon really liked," Abby said.

"I think we saw it at least four times," Sully said.

"And there was that guilty pleasure sex farce which was pretty funny," Abby grinned.

"I think we saw that four times!" Sully laughed.

"And that fantasy film about grown ups becoming kids," Sully mentioned.

"Bridget really liked that one for some reason," Abby recalled.

"And then there was Secrets and the terrific Adam's Eve and the horrible Getaway, and the fun Night Light," Sully recalled. "It seemed like we were always going to a Billy Robbins movie."

"I was glad when he starred in his television show," Abby said. "It was nice to be able to watch a funny quality show with the kids when they were teenagers."

"It was a good show," Sully agreed.

"Now he's gone and the kids are gone…" Her voice broke.

"And we're gone," Sully finished for her with a sigh.

Abby was teary eyed as she stared at Sully. "I wasn't crying last night so much for Billy Robbins as I was for us," she tearfully admitted.

"I know," Sully said softly, surprised that all his earlier resentment, bitterness, anger and feelings for revenge had dissipated. Now all he really felt was sadness, regret, loss and emptiness.

"I'm sorry, Sully," Abby whispered. "I'm sorry for what I did."

Sully was surprised that she finally confessed her sins to him and it felt surprisingly freeing to (finally) hear some true remorse from Abby. She looked beaten and defeated as she sat on the couch with tears streaming down her face and shame in her eyes. For the first time since she had betrayed him, Sully actually felt some sorrow and sympathy for his cheating wife but he wasn't ready to forgive her yet that was for sure.

"Well, I'm sure Einstein is waiting for you," Sully said with a touch of sarcasm in his voice. "You should probably get going."

"Yeah, I should probably get going," Abby agreed as she stood, wiping the tears from her face which made a mess of her make up.

"Maybe you want to freshen up first?" Sully asked, gesturing toward the downstairs bedroom.

"Sure," she said. "Thanks".

Abby disappeared into the lavatory while Sully picked up his empty glass, noticing that Abby had finished her wine too. He brought the glasses into the kitchen, putting the wine glass in the sink while placing his glass on the counter and filling it with more run and coke.

Einstein was the sarcastic nick-name Sully had bitterly assigned to Abby's lover, Edmund J. Hoskins, , a stuff shirt ten years her senior who showed up at Greenville Middle School four years earlier and swept History Teacher Abby Sullivan off her feet.

Sully freely admitted that their marriage had fallen into a boring rut in recent years and perhaps he hadn't been the most attentive and involved husband but his mother's death had been hard on him and various management changes at work left him dissatisfied and stressed on the job. No wonder Abby was attracted to her new, suave, intelligent, knowledgeable and interesting co-worker who paid attention to her and made her feel special.

Of course, that was no excuse for Abby to have a torrid affair with the guy and be so swept away by his romance that she was willing to leave her marriage. Sully never saw it coming but he knew he couldn't compete with Einstein's debonair sophistication so he instead turned to ridicule, meanness, sarcasm and hate to take on Abby, laying on guilt trips about the kids and Abby's lack of a soul as a way to hurt her.

Sully was standing at the kitchen window once again staring out at the backyard remembering how the kids used to play out there and the many neighborhood barbeques he and Abby hosted over the years. He took a long swig from his drink and sighed.

"I'm not with Edmund anymore."

Sully turned to see Abby standing in the kitchen doorway. "Oh?" He asked with surprise.

"I'm living in my sister's basement," Abby sighed. "For about three months now."

"I'm not so sorry to hear that," Sully replied, caught off guard by the news. "What happened?"

Abby shrugged her shoulders. "Any man who steal's another man's wife away from him isn't going to be satisfied with one conquest," she said.

Sully assumed she meant that Einstein had cheated on her. He looked at Abby, not sure if he should be gleeful, spiteful, remorseful, or saddened by her news. Suddenly, she looked rather pathetic and lost.

"Would you like another glass of wine?" He offered.

"You don't have to feel sorry for me, Sully," Abby replied. "I got exactly what I deserved."

"Anna's cellar, huh?" Sully asked, lifting his eyebrows as he took Abby's wine glass out of the sink and re-filled it with wine. "That must be fun."

Abby sighed as she crossed the room and took the glass from him, taking a seat at the kitchen table. "Yeah, a lot of laughs," she groaned. "Six kids between the ages of twelve and twenty running around like banshees. Ray seems oblivious to half the stuff going on and Anna has her usual Pollyanna blinders on. It's a nut house."

Sully went to the refrigerator and took out the salad from Stop and Save. He took down two plates from the cupboard and divided the salad onto each plate, along with some blue cheese dressing. He grabbed some cheese from the refrigerator and put the food on the table between him and Abby once he took his seat.

"So, you're back in the cellar again," he teased, referring to her family room in her parents' house when they were teenagers learning about French kissing, petting, and coping feels while watching The Danielsons among other shows on the television.

"I never saw myself being in this situation at this stage in my life," Abby admitted as she played with the salad with her fork. "I have no idea how it went so wrong."

Sully saved her the humiliation of rubbing her face in it and there was no point gloating or doing an end zone victory dance. The look on Abby's face said it all. She had ruined her life (and the life of her family too).

"I heard you're seeing Jim Paquette's daughter," Abby remarked. "What's her name….Maryanne….MaryJo…?"

"Mary Jane," Sully corrected. "She divorced Marty Richmond a couple of years ago. You know, the insurance guy?"

"Yeah. She's younger, right?"

"By about ten years," Sully acknowledged. "But I sort of broke it off a few weeks ago."

"Oh?" Abby asked with surprise. "How come?"
Sully shrugged his shoulders. "No reason, really," he said. "Just wasn't going anywhere. Beyond the sex, anyway."

Abby blushed slightly but didn't respond. The only reason Sully said it was to make Abby feel bad, of course. That he could get laid too with somebody else just like she decided to do when she embarked on her illicit affair with Einstein. He hated the idea of Abby being with another man but, ironically, he wanted to punish her with the thought of him being with another woman. It was the only revenge he had left, really.

Sully noticed that Abby was looking at him with sadness in her eyes and a forlorn look on her face, as if her entire world had come crashing down upon her. He realized that he was struggling with the idea of spending time with Abby again, mostly because he was enjoying being with her again, this woman who tattered his heart, destroyed his trust, and left him a broken man.

"How come you never asked for a divorce?" He asked suddenly.

Abby's face went pale. "Why didn't you?" She responded, throwing the ball back into his court.

"I'm not the one who left," was his answer.

The truth was he didn't want to lose her or give up on them when she left but he was too proud to fight for her. He should have challenged Einstein to a duel or firebombed his townhouse or cut his brake lines but instead Sully resigned himself to reality and let Abby go, figuring it was easier to give her what she (thought she) wanted rather than making it worse on everybody, especially the kids. Brandon didn't express his feelings much but Bridget had been just as angry as her father and even now Bridget's relationship with her mother was strained and guarded, another casualty of Abby's indiscretions.

It was hard to think about divorce because Sully couldn't imagine his life without Abby in it. So he held out hope that maybe Einstein would stroke out or get hit by a truck or get arrested for child porn and then he'd get Abby back. Now he discovered that Abby had left Einstein on his own and he found himself in the exact situation he had hoped for and fantasized about but he was unable – or unwilling – to pretend nothing had happened between them and that he hadn't been crushed by what she had done to him – to them.

Abby was quietly finishing her half of the salad, no longer looking at him, concentrating on the food instead. Sully wanted to lean across the table and grab her – but was he grabbing her to kiss her or shake her? He still wasn't sure. All he knew was that he could feel his heart skipping and sputtering in his chest but he didn't want to be a foolish sap either. Didn't Abby deserve to suffer for her sins? Didn't he deserve the satisfaction of seeing her miserable? Didn't Abby deserve the price she paid for making the wrong choice?

Sully had finished his salad so he excused himself to use the lavatory. He stood in front of the commode emptying his bladder of the rum and coke while staring at himself in the mirror realizing the confusion he was feeling. Did he hate her or did he (still) love her? Did he want to embrace her or push her down the stairs? Did he want to forgive her or ridicule her?

The truth was he wanted to make love to her. She had been his first and only sexual partner, a thirty year tryst that was fulfilling and satisfying. Mary Jane was willing and wanting, open and understanding and while sex with her was new and exciting, it wasn't the same and Sully found himself missing the familiarity, the life-long bond, and the emotional intimacy he had enjoyed with Abby for so long.

Sully wanted to feel Abby's naked skin against his again. He wanted them to share their bed, their house, and their lives just like before. He felt himself getting choked up just thinking about the walk down memory lane reminiscing about Billy Robbins had brought.
When Sully came out of the bathroom, Abby had put her plate and (empty) wine glass in the sink and was heading for the front door.

"You're leaving?" Sully asked with disappointment.

"I've taken up enough of your time," Abby said, faking a polite smile. "I'll let you get back to your life."

"What life?" Sully asked with an annoyed frown. "I don't have a life."

"Oh, I'm sure it's not that bad," she said with a forced smile. "Why don't you give Mary Beth…..Mary Anne…..Mary Jo…"

"Mary Jane."

"Mary Jane a call," Abby suggested.

"Because I don't want to give Mary Jane a call," Sully replied. "She's not the one I want to be with."

Sully could tell that Abby was nervous because she kept tugging on her hair, a long standing habit of her when she was feeling challenged, stressed, or uncomfortable.

"Thanks for dinner," she said. "Thanks for talking about Billy Robbins with me. It's really helped me figure out why I was feeling so depressed about his death."

"Do you remember what the plot line in his Getaway movie was?" Sully asked as Abby started for the front door.

"Something about saving his marriage with Shannon Dupree who played his wife," Abby recalled. "It was kind of a stupid movie."

"But in the end they did save their marriage," Sully pointed out.

"Good night, Sully," Abby said quickly as she tried to open the door.

Sully put his hand against the door and forced it closed before she could escape.

"Sully, please," Abby sighed. "Just let me go."

"I don't want to let you go," Sully confessed. "I let you go once and look where we both ended up."

"I didn't come here for reconciliation, Sully," Abby informed him as she stood with her back against the door.

"Why did you come here?" He asked with interest.

"Solace, I guess," she said. "Answers regarding Billy Robbins."

"Did you get the answers?"

"Yes."

"Did you find Solace?"

"Yes," she said, her eyes getting wet again.

"And what would be wrong with reconciliation?" Sully wondered.

"I don't deserve it," she answered sadly.

"But maybe I do," he rebutted.

Abby couldn't look him in the eyes. She looked vulnerable and broken and Sully's heart swelled with rediscovered love for her. He was willing to forgive her for everything there and then.

"Stay," Sully pleaded softly.

Abby sucked in her breath before pushing him away and walking back into the living room trying to find her lost confidence while recovering from her deep shame.
"One of the many chances you take when you put yourself out there like this is that you'll be rejected," Abby said.

"I wouldn't have asked you to stay if I didn't mean it, Abs," Sully told her.

She collapsed onto the couch and stared at her. "You don't owe me anything," she said.

"I know," Sully agreed, this time sitting next to her on the couch.

There was an awkward pause while both thought about what they should do next. Abby rested her head against the back of the couch and closed her eyes. Sully observed her for the longest time, amazed by her beauty and her presence after missing her for so long.

"Should I go onto Nexflicks and call up Romance on the Charles?" Sully asked with a smirk. "Even if I was never as sexy as Billy."

She opened her eyes and peered at him. "We made love for the first time after watching that movie," Abby reminded him.

"I remember," he smiled "Your parents were off visiting your sister at Emerson."

"So we have Billy Robbins to thank for that night," she smiled.

"We can thank him for this night too if you want," Sully said. "And for giving us our lives back. If you want."

"If I want?" She asked.

"Yeah, we can try to break that weekend record for being naked the longest at any other point in our lives," Sully grinned.

It was Sunday afternoon and they were still naked. There were plates and potato chips wrappers and wine bottles scattered around the bedroom along with four or five Billy Robbins movie DVDs. Abby was lying on her stomach above the covers naked taking a nap. Sully was propped up against the headboard watching the ball game on the television.

His cell buzzed and Sully picked it up. "Hey."

"Hi Daddy."

"How are you, Bridge?"

"Fine. How are you?"

"Great! What's up?"

"I was thinking about coming home next weekend," she said. "Just wanted to check in and make sure it was okay with you."

"Of course," Sully grinned into the phone. "You know you're welcomed anytime."

"Thanks, Daddy."

Sully noticed that Abby's eyes were open.

"Hey, Bridge," he said, catching Bridget before she hung up the phone.

"Yeah, Dad?"

"You planning on seeing your mom while you're home?"

She was surprised by the question. "Well, yeah, I guess, why?"

"You should let her know you're going to be in town," Sully advised.

"Okay," Bridget agreed. "I'll give her a call."

"You can talk to her now if you want," Sully said.

"What…..wait…..where are you?"

"In my bedroom," Sully grinned.

"Yeah, as if Mom would be there," Bridget groaned.

Sully handed Abby his phone. "Say hello to your daughter," he said.

Abby smiled happily and took the phone from her husband.

"Hello, baby," Abby said as she sat up. "How are you!?"

Sully could hear Bridget's 'OH MY GOD' being screamed from where he sat on the bed.

"Do you remember the actor Billy Robbins, Bridget?" Abby asked a she sat up on the bed and nestled close to Sully. "Well, he's who brought us back together….Yes, dead Billy Robbins!" She laughed. "Grief and common experiences often bring people closer together, Bridge...well, as you get older you understand what's most important in your life...yes, I know...I was wrong. And your father is willing to try again...well, we'll just remember Billy Robbins and all that he meant to us and that will help get us through anything..."

Sully smiled as he continued to watch the ball game, his arm wrapped around Abby's waist to anchor her against him as she continued to talk with – and apologize to- their daughter.

"RIP Billy Robbins," he thought to himself. "And thank you. For everything."