Will Samantha be able to say “I do?”

December 28, 2008 at 7:56 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope that everyone got what they wanted for Christmas!  Unfortunately, I got a little something special for Christmas.  The flu!  I’ve been out of commission for the past few days.  After a wonderful doctor and a prescription for Tamiflu, I am finally starting to feel better. 

Will Samantha be able to say I do?  Find out in Excerpt 17…

 

Excerpt 17

Nick climbed out of the warm water of the lake, grabbing the towel that lay on the embankment.  He had thought that coming out here would relax him.  Unfortunately, all it had done was remind him of the night they spent together.  He pressed his face into the towel inhaling deeply.  He had purposefully not slept in their bedroom, opting to sleep in the guest room instead.  After spending the night with her pressed tightly against him, he had realized that he wouldn’t be able to control himself much longer. 

Samantha, on the other hand, seemed to have no trouble with this self-imposed abstinence.  He walked down the path, stopping short when he saw the three women piling into the car.  He waited until they were well down the driveway before he came out from the cover of the woods.  He went inside to get a fresh change of clothes.  Her scent lingered in the room, making his eyes fall shut for a moment.  Being so close to her without being able to have her was slowly driving him insane.  But soon, she would be his wife. 

He ran downstairs to find his father and Derek waiting for him.  The closer the wedding day came, the more his fear that she would run from him again grew.  Except this time she would leave him at the altar in front of everyone he knew.  He sighed heavily.  He would be glad when it was over, because the more they planned for this inevitable day, the more sure he was that it shouldn’t be taking place.

Samantha stood on the pedestal as gown after gown was pulled over her head to try on.  Finally, after two hours of tiresome changes, she came to a decision.  The dress she chose had spaghetti straps at the top and was cut straight along the bodice.  Small pearls were sprinkled delicately along her chest.  The dress cinched her waist before spraying out into a full skirt with a long train.  Pearls were intricately placed on the skirt.  She quickly chose shoes to match.  The low heels made her smile.  At least, she would not have tired feet at the end of the evening.

She waited while the seamstress stuck pins in the dress for the appropriate alterations.  Amazingly, there was not much to do.  The dress seemed to have been made for her.  She stared at her reflection in the mirror as Margaret and Christina remarked about how beautiful she looked.  Tears welled up in her eyes as they studied her, but she refused to let them fall.  For years she had imagined this day, imagined what her wedding dress would look like.  Everything was almost perfect.  If only she didn’t have the sinking feeling in her chest that her soon-to-be husband didn’t want her, she would have been ecstatic. 

Nick stood in his father’s study that evening staring out the window.  Getting the tuxedos had been exceptionally easy.  Of course, there wasn’t much to say.  “Black, regular” and an hour of alterations had been about the jist of it.  Thankfully, his mother had taken care of most of the preparations for the ceremony.  From the flowers to the cake, the woman seemed to be a genius at planning weddings even though this was the first one she had been involved in since her own.  He was beginning to feel more like a guest than the groom.  Not that he minded.  In fact, with the way things were going between the two of them, he was extremely grateful for his mother’s fortuitous assistance. 

Samantha seemed unsure about the wedding itself, let alone up to making all the preparations for the ceremony.  Nick couldn’t help but worry that she was unconcerned about the wedding, because she wouldn’t be around to see it.  If she left him this time, he would let her go.  He wouldn’t follow her around like some lovesick puppy.  As much as he wanted to believe it, he wasn’t convinced.  The real truth was that if she left him at the altar, he wasn’t sure what he would do.   

That evening as they ate dinner, Nick looked curiously from Christina to Samantha.  It seemed that a new bond had formed between the girls.  On the other hand, Samantha hadn’t spoken to him all day long.  It wasn’t too surprising.  It seemed as if every day he received a daily dose of being ignored as punishment for impregnating her. 

He downed his glass of wine.  His mother gave him an admonishing look, but chose to ignore it.  After all, she couldn’t possibly understand what this week was doing to him.  It seemed as if Christina, too, had gone through some sort of transformation.  Derek seemed to notice the change as well casting odd glances at her. 

He couldn’t help the smile that crept across his face.  It seemed the Daniels boys would forever be at a lost where their women were concerned.  Christina continued to talk animatedly about who was scheduled to attend the ceremony.   When she mentioned Lauren McCain, Samantha bristled noticeably.   Sensing the tension, his mother took control.  She clinked her spoon on her wine glass signaling a toast. 

Everyone turned their heads to look at her, as she tipped her head regally.  “I would just like to make a toast to Samantha who will soon become a member of our family.  Samantha, you have brought us all so much joy and I just hope that we can give that same happiness back to you.” 

“Here here,” everyone called out at the table.  Everyone except Nick. 

They all clinked their glasses against hers waiting for her acceptance. 

“Thank you so much.  I would be lucky to have a family as wonderful as you have all been to me,” she replied softly. 

Everyone at the table grinned at her tender words.  Everyone but Nick.  He couldn’t help but notice that her words included “would be.”  Was it a hint at her intended plan to escape?  He wasn’t sure, but it certainly didn’t make him feel better.

Samantha couldn’t help but be aware of his refusal to be a part of the caring scene.  He seemed to be purposefully avoiding her.  Margaret came over to give her a warm hug with Christina at her heels.  Christina leaned down squeezing her tightly.  As she leaned over her, she whispered, “I’m so glad that I will finally have a sister.” 

As everyone began to drift toward the other room for coffee, Samantha remained where she was at the table.  Nick poured himself another glass of wine, lifting it to his lips apparently pretending she wasn’t there.  Finally, she could contain her anger no longer. 

“Where were you last night, Nick?” she asked. 

He leaned back in his chair refusing to make eye contact with her.  “What do you mean?” he dodged carefully. 

She gripped her napkin, wringing it in her fingers under the table.  “I mean, you didn’t sleep in our bed.  So, whose bed were you sleeping it?”  

He smiled as if her question was amusing, which only served to infuriate her more.  He placed his glass on the table before leaning in to whisper, “Are you jealous?” 

“Of course not,” she denied. 

He laughed.  “No?  You could’ve fooled me.” 

She closed her eyes willing herself to remain in control.  She refused to give in to his ridiculous goading.  “What I mean is that it should at least look like we want to get married on Friday,” she bit out. 

His temper seemed to snap at her words.  “Well, it’s none of your business where I sleep.”         She pinned him with an unrelenting glare.  “What do you mean ‘it’s none of my business’?  I’m going to be your wife in a couple of days?” 

He leaned in so close that they were almost nose to nose.  “Well, you’re not my wife yet, and until you are I suggest you not lecture me on what I do.” 

With that, he pushed his chair out, throwing his napkin on the table to storm out of the room.   She practically ran up the stairs determined not to break down until she reached the sanctity of her room.  Once she did, she collapsed on the bed.  Knowing that Nick wasn’t happy about marrying her had been painful enough, but hearing him say it had been excruciating.  She couldn’t bear the hatred she saw in his eyes every day for the rest of their lives, she thought sadly.  She had to get out of here.  How could she go through with this farce of a wedding when she knew the truth about the way things were between them? 

She changed into a satin nightgown before settling into the bed and pulling the covers high.  She had made up her mind.  Tomorrow, she would tell everyone that she couldn’t go through with it.  It would be hard, but it would be worse to lie to everyone. 

She wouldn’t do it, not even for him. 

Nick woke up the next morning with a splitting headache.  He climbed out of bed walking quickly to the bathroom to jump into a hot shower.  He leaned both hands against the wall letting his head fall under the warm spray.  Obscenities escaped his mouth as pain sliced through his head.  He had no one to blame but himself.  After his confrontation with Samantha, he had continued to drink for the remainder of the night.  Knowing how much she despised the idea of marrying him was eating him alive.  He wanted nothing more than to right his wrongs with her, but that seemed to be impossible. 

He stepped out of the shower walking back to his room.  After getting dressed, he crossed the hallway, glancing at the door to her room.  He hesitated for a moment.  He wanted to go to her, talk to her, but what would he say?  What could he say that would erase what happened?  Besides, he certainly didn’t need a recap of last night with the way he felt this morning. 

He turned to go downstairs.  When he walked into the kitchen, he poured himself a cup of coffee.  Sitting down at the table, he rested his head in his hands. 

“Late night?” Derek asked, as he stepped through the doorway to the kitchen. 

He looked up at his brother with a look that clearly warned him to leave the subject alone.  Unfortunately, Derek had never been good at taking hints.  “Ouch!  It must have been bad from the looks of you.” 

He growled, taking another sip from his mug. 

Derek fixed grabbed a glass of orange juice before taking a seat beside him.  “You know, you could always try to just go along with everything, instead of trying to make waves,” Derek suggested, giving him a look of admonishment. 

His eyebrows rose.  “Why should I?”  

Derek shook his head in exasperation.  “Oh, I don’t know.  So that your wedding isn’t a total disaster,” he observed, clearly annoyed. 

Nick remembered the argument he had with Samantha last night.  “If there is a wedding,” he replied, before he could stop himself.  He hadn’t meant to voice his fears about Samantha standing him up to anyone, but it was too late now. 

It was already out there.

“What are you saying?  Are you going to stand her up at the altar?” 

He almost laughed at his brother’s ready defense of his bride.  He guessed that Derek would always have these protective instincts toward Samantha.  Their friendship hadn’t seemed to lessen with their breakup, which was evident with the fact that Derek was the first to learn of her pregnancy. 

“Not me.  Her,” he confessed softly. 

He couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing right now. Unfortunately, he had the sneaking suspicion that whatever it was, it was not going to be to his benefit.  Another thought speared through him like a sword.  Had she already left? 

 

Samantha quickly showered and dressed in jeans and a cotton pullover shirt.  Then, she took her suitcase out of the closet laying it in the middle of the bed.  The enormity of what she was about to do suddenly hit her, and she had to sit down to keep from fainting.  If she left him now, he would never forgive her.  She knew it in her heart. 

No, if she did this, she would be declaring war.

A knock at the door startled her out of her thoughts.  She crossed the room to pull the door open.  Christina stood on the other side in a brightly colored sundress. 

“Can I come in?” she asked, an expectant smile on her face. 

She backed up a few steps to allow her entrance.  Samantha closed the door.  Christina turned to her in surprise as she noticed the open suitcase. 

“Are you going somewhere?” 

“I have to leave, Christina,” she admitted solemnly. 

She walked over to clear out another drawer placing the contents in to the suitcase.  She had expected the onslaught of questions that she would face from Nick’s family.  She just hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. 

Christina grabbed her arm stopping her from packing any further.  She pulled her around to sit down on the bed beside her.  “What are you talking about?” she demanded, her face etched with concern. 

“I can’t go through with this wedding,” she confessed, trying to hold back the tears. 

Disbelief clouded Christina’s eyes.  “But, why?  Don’t you love Nick?” she asked, her eyebrows jerking together. 

She looked around the room, searching for a way to make her understand.  “Of course, I love him, but there are things that you don’t know about which make this wedding impossible,” she explained, hoping that it would be enough to cease her questioning.  She could tell by the confusion in Christina’s eyes that her explanation had not carried much weight.  

“What is it, Samantha?  What is it that can’t be resolved?” 

She had to look away from the accusations in Christina’s eyes.  She knew what the other woman was thinking.  She was thinking that Samantha was a coward, that she was running away, but she didn’t know the full story.  She wanted to tell her.  She wanted to say that Nick didn’t love her anymore.  Maybe he had once, but that died a long time ago.  He didn’t want to marry her.  And no matter what she didn’t want to force him into it no matter how much she wanted things between them to work.  Leaving was the right thing to do.  She knew that he would fight her on it.  He would put up a struggle for propriety’s sake, but deep down she knew that he would be relieved.  Nick was a possessive man.  It was his way.  He would not allow her to walk away carrying his child with a smile, but his actions had shown her his true feelings.  It was only when he felt that he had no choice that he asked her to marry him. 

“I wish that I could explain things, Christina, but I can’t.  Just please believe me, it would never work.”  She got up from the bed continuing with the chore of packing. 

She felt Christina’s stare on her back and knew the other woman was trying to make sense of things.  She also knew that there was no sense to any of this.  She had fallen in love with a man who didn’t want to marry her, and she had found him again only to relive the same hell she had already been through.

Today, she would walk away from him for the second time.

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

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