Our Reunion




Chapter 48


Samantha is going to be SO surprised. Smiling, Tina clicked the website closed and leaned back in her chair. I’m worse than a kid, the way I’m getting all excited about Christmas. But instead of it being just another day… this year, it’s going to be special. She shut her eyes for a moment, thinking about what tasks needed to be completed before she could go home. Home… Samantha…




Tina was jolted awake by the sound of her boss’s voice. “W… what?”


“It appears you were dozing.” Vivian chuckled as she entered the office and sat down. “Strenuous weekend?”


Tina pulled her glasses off and rubbed her eyes. “I… umm… we…” She unsuccessfully tried to keep a blush from rising to her face.


“It’s all right, dear,” Vivian waved off her employee’s attempt at an explanation and winked at her. “So, it’s safe to assume Samantha has completely recovered from her injuries?”


“Yes.” If the enthusiastic response to finding those chocolate chip cookies is any indication, she’s in tip-top shape.


Vivian watched a smile play across her friend’s face. “And I take it you had a nice Thanksgiving?”


“We had dinner at my place and then we went to Samantha’s for the weekend.” The dark-haired woman started fiddling with a credit card that was lying on the desk. “She’s brought such joy into my life, Viv. I never imagined that I could be this happy.”


“It feels good, doesn’t it?”


“Yeah,” Tina admitted. It feels so damn good it’s scary. “How was your trip?”


“Typical Thanksgiving at my sister’s. I just got back and wanted to stop by to see how you’re doing before I went home.”


“Everything’s going really well.” Tina tapped out a rhythm with the credit card on the desk. “But… umm…”


“But… what?”


“There’s something I don’t understand. If I’m so happy, how come I keep getting all teary-eyed lately? I mean… is that normal?”


“Love is a strong emotion. It’s bound to bring a lot of different feelings to the surface.” Vivian spoke gently. “I’d expect this to be an emotional time for you.”


“I guess that makes sense.”


Seeing the beginnings of dark circles under her friend’s eyes, Vivian suspected there was more to Tina’s tiredness than evenings filled with passion. “Are you having nightmares again?”


“Umm… I wasn’t for a while, but after Samantha got in that car accident…” Tina shrugged.


“Have you told her?”




“One of the benefits of being in a relationship is having someone to share things with. Especially the difficult things.”


“She’ll worry. I don’t want to upset her.”


“She’s going to worry about you whether you want her to or not.” Vivian smiled. “She loves you.”


Tina looked down and her voice dropped to a whisper. “It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?”


“It’s not hard to believe at all.” Vivian moved around the desk, placed a hand under her friend’s chin and tenderly tilted her face upward. “She can see into your heart… just like I can.”


Blue eyes filled with tears and Tina threw her arms around the boss’s waist, hugging her tightly.


Almost pulled off balance by the sudden embrace, Vivian leaned into the hug, stroking the sniffling woman’s hair and comforting her. “You love her very much, don’t you?”


It was more a statement of fact than a question and Tina nodded in agreement.


“Then everything’s going to turn out fine, dear. You just need to give yourself time to accept all the changes you’re experiencing.”


Tina let go of Vivian and wiped her eyes with her shirtsleeve. “See what I mean? Crying AGAIN!”


“It’s good for you.” The older woman patted Tina’s cheek fondly. “Cleanses the soul.”


“I suppose THAT couldn’t hurt me any.”


Both women laughed.


Vivian looked at the credit card and checkbook lying on the desk. “Are you taking Samantha on a trip somewhere?”


“No.” Tina’s expression brightened dramatically. “I ordered her Christmas present on the Internet. I needed to use the corporate card.” She opened her checkbook and tore out the check she had already written. “I’ll save this for when the statement comes in.”


The corporate card? Vivian raised her eyebrows. It must be something very expensive. “Do you mind if I ask what it is?”


“Oh!” Tina quickly grabbed a paper from next to her computer keyboard and, grinning from ear to ear, handed it to the boss.


Vivian opened the tattered-looking document that had obviously been folded and unfolded many times. “My goodness… that’s quite a gift. Are you sure that’s what she wants?”


“Yes, I think so. I’m going to have it delivered here. I don’t want Samantha knowing anything about it till Christmas.”


“While we’re on the subject of Christmas, please tell me that, for once, you won’t insist on working during the holidays.”


“I’m going to try to have everything done early. I already have the Y2K stuff taken care of and most of the information for the taxes for this year and…”


“I’m positive you have things covered, Tina.” Vivian interrupted, well aware of her employee’s conscientiousness. “I’m not the least bit concerned about that.”


“Umm… I was thinking, maybe I’d take the week after Christmas off and spend time with Samantha.”


“That’s a SPLENDID idea!” A week off? If Samantha only knew how much she’s influenced this stubborn friend of mine. I haven’t been able to get her to take any kind of vacation since Dominic passed away. “Would you like to go somewhere for New Year’s? It’s awfully late to make arrangements, being the Millennium and all, but I’m sure I could pull a few strings. You just name the place and I’ll take care of it.”


“Thanks, Viv. I’ll ask Samantha and see what she says.”


“You’re welcome.” The boss handed the paper back to Tina and headed for the door. “I’m going to go home and unpack. I’ll see you in the morning.”


“Bye, Vivian.” Tina put her glasses on and studied the printout of the present she had chosen for her partner. It’s going to be a special Christmas all right. And the Millennium New Year’s celebration to boot.  Wonder where Samantha would like to go?





“Hi, Sis!” Sam came flying into the kitchen with an envelope in her hand. “I got the pictures developed!”


“What pictures?” Lisa slid a tray of chicken into the oven, closed the door, and set the timer.


Sam sat at the table and took out the photos. “The ones from when Tina put the FSU flag up.”


“Oh, yeah.” Lisa laughed and sat down next to Sam. “That’s a day Mike will never forget.”


“There are some from Joshua’s birthday party, too. I’d forgotten they were on this roll of film.” Sam handed each picture to her sister as she went through the stack. “He loved getting that bike, didn’t he?”


“He sure did,” Lisa agreed, smiling at the snapshot of her youngest son sitting on the mountain bike he’d wanted ever since being able to ride without training wheels. “He’s so proud to have a big-boy bike now.”


“Here we go.” Sam giggled as she passed the next photos to Lisa. “Mike is taking the flag down. Look at the expression on his face!”


“He’s not a happy guy there.”




“This is my favorite.” Sam held out the print of herself and Tina smiling at the camera.


“Nice looking couple.”


“I think so, too.” Sam continued to gaze at the picture.


“Ahem… are there any more?”


“Oh! Just one. It’s another really good shot of Tina and me.” Sam gave the photo to her sister.


“I remember this. I snapped an extra one.” And what a picture it is.






“I… umm… wanted to talk to you about Christmas.”


Uh oh. Lisa put the photo down and gave her sister her full attention. “You talked to Mom?”


“No.” Sam shook her head. “I’m going to wait a while before I do that. I think she’s still in shock from Thanksgiving.”


“That’s probably true.”


“Well… you know I always come over here Christmas morning and we exchange gifts before going to Mom’s for the family brunch.”


“Yes.” And I have a feeling that’s about to change.


“Tina and I will be spending our first Christmas together at her place. I don’t want to miss sharing the holiday with you guys, though, so I thought maybe we could visit with you on Christmas Eve. We can sing carols and open our presents…” Sam looked at Lisa anxiously. “What do you think?”


“Sounds workable to me.”


“Thanks, Sis! You’re the BEST!”


“But what about Mom? Now that the relatives know you’re gay… she might invite you and Tina to the brunch.”


“Even if she does, we’re not going this year,” Sam said determinedly. “We’ve already made plans.”


Lisa grinned at her sister. “Apparently, some of your partner’s assertiveness is rubbing off on you.” And it’s wonderful to see.


“Mom!” Aaron ran into the room. “Joshua’s bothering me!”


“I am NOT!” The smaller boy arrived just behind his brother.


“Well, this seems to be the perfect time for me to leave.” Sam put the pictures back in the envelope and started toward the door. “Tina will be here soon.”


“Tina’s coming?” Josh’s face lit up. “Will you ask her to tuck me in tonight?”


Sam glanced at Lisa, who nodded her approval. “Sure I will, Josh.”




“You’re such a baby,” Aaron taunted. “Still getting tucked in.”


“I am NOT!”


“Yes, you ARE!”


“Aaron! That’s enough,” Lisa warned her son sternly. “Now, I want both of you to bring me your homework so I can check it before dinner.”


The boys groaned as they turned and left the kitchen.


Lisa sighed. “Were WE ever that annoying to each other?”


“Yes! You teased me incessantly.”


“The way I remember it, YOU bothered ME all the time.”


The women laughed at their contradictory childhood memories.


“I just hope Aaron and Josh end up as close as we are when they grow up.” Sam hugged Lisa good-bye.


“I hope so, too.”


“I’ll talk to you later, okay?”


“Okay.” Lisa watched from the doorway as Sam walked across to the garage apartment. My little sister is finally coming into her own.  She smiled as she closed the door and leaned against it.  And who would’ve ever thought I’d have Tina Mellekas to thank for it?


It’s going to be an interesting Christmas.



To be continued…



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