"Abigail, we're home!"
Abby stood up from the sofa as JJ walked into the the livingroom, followed by Jennifer. She noted their sunkissed cheeks and laughed. "Well you two certainly look like you had a fun weekend on the slopes. Good skiing?"
"The best." JJ affirmed.
"What about you sweetie?" Jennifer asked as she gave Abby a hug. "You certainly look a lot better today than you did on Friday. Did you manage to have a relaxing weekend?"
Abby felt the heat in her cheeks as she thought about everything she'd done with EJ over the past couple of days. "I did. I took your advice and went out to Smith Island. It was wonderful."
"Well I'm glad to hear that." Jennifer smiled. "We'll have to sit down later and you can tell me everything you did."
Abby bit her bottom lip. Not on your life Mom. "So how was the trip? Did Uncle Lucas have his hands full with Allie and Johnny? What about Hope and Ciara?"
"Everyone had a great time Abs, you should have been there. We had a huge snowball fight, boys against girls. Uncle Lucas, Johnny and I whipped them."
"Hey!" Jennifer teasingly scolded him. "We would have won if Ciara hadn't decided to turn on us."
"Ciara helped the boys?"
"She was annoyed with Allie. She told her, and this is a direct quote 'You're way too nice to be Sami Brady's daughter. Where's your killer instinct?'"
"Oh no." Abby laughed. "Poor Allie. And poor Hope."
"Indeed." Jennifer agreed.
"Hey Mom, when are we going to eat?"
"Typical JJ. Not two minutes in the door and already searching for food. How about I whip us up some dinner?" Jennifer asked.
"That sounds good." Abby agreed just as she felt the phone vibrate in her pocket. She pulled it out and took a quick glance at it. EJ had texted. Call Me. "You know what Mom? I'll be in to help in a few minutes. I just need to make a quick call."
"No problem Sweetie."
Abby headed upstairs. Once in her room, she turned on her stereo, softly enough that she'd be able to hear EJ on the phone, but loudly enough that JJ or her mom wouldn't be able to hear her talking if they walked by.
She took a deep breath and called. He must have been waiting for her call as he answered immediately.
"Hi." She said breathlessly.
"You wanted me to call?"
"Sorry. Of course I did."
"So?" Abby rolled her eyes. Sometimes, make that most of the time, EJ could be so frustrating to communicate with.
"Abigail, I didn't really like how we ended things today."
"Well that's the problem EJ, we didn't actually end them. Our weekend together was lovely, but we're still stuck with the same problem we had before. I want more. I think you want more too, but you're still with Sami."
She heard him sigh. "I'm sorry."
"I know you are. And I know it's complicated. And the past few days have done nothing but make things more complicated."
"That was never my intention Abigail, you have to believe that. I never wanted to hurt you."
She took another deep, calming breath. From her perspective it was so clear. She was falling in love with him and she'd bet her life that he was falling in love with her. Unfortunately she didn't think he was as far along in the awareness process as she was. He was still in denial about his future with Sami. "I know you didn't, and I know you don't, but the reality is, someone is going to get hurt." And I hope it's not me.
"I just need time, Abigail. Time to figure out what to do. I have to think of Johnny & Sydney."
Well that was new. Prior to the weekend, he had always referred to what happened with them as a mistake. This was the first time he had ever mentioned a possible future that didn't quite fit his years long goal of marrying Sami. Maybe there was some hope for them after all?
What do I have to lose? Just my heart? But I'll lose that no matter what if he stays with Sami. "How much time?"
"I can't say for sure."
That didn't sound so bad, but she was skeptical. "Really?"
"I don't want to disrupt the kids' lives during the school year. And disentangling Samantha from CW and DiMera Enterprises will take a bit of finessing on my part. I can't just leave her high and dry."
"I understand that." Abby sighed. "But do you expect me to just sit patiently at home and wait for all of that to magically happen?"
"Of course not. I want you to move to Europe."
"Excuse me?" Abby pulled the phone away and frowned at it. "You already asked me to do that once and I turned you down flat."
"This is different." EJ insisted. "Look, you and I both know that when I tell Samantha that I don't want to marry her, she's going to be out for blood. I don't intend to tell her about us, but she'll be suspicious of everything and everyone. For my own peace of mind, I need you where I know you'll be safe – where I have the resources to protect you."
"And just how do you plan to protect me if I'm not in Salem."
"Simple. You'll be in Italy, working for DiMera Enterprises."
"A hell of a lot more than your little job at the hospital working with your mother." EJ snapped with a touch of condescension.
"Look, it's fine as a starting point for your career, but you and I both know that you'll get bored there very quickly. You're far too smart. At DE the sky's the limit. With your language ability and your education, you'll be an asset to our organization. Even if you and I had never happened, I'd still consider it a coup to bring you on board."
Abby smiled and wondered if his charm would always be able to disarm her so quickly. "And if I say yes, then what am I supposed to tell my mom and JJ?"
"I'm not telling them about our affair."
"No, I meant the truth about the fabulous opportunity for your career."
"She's not going to like me working for the DiMeras. Not at all." Abby reminded him.
"She doesn't have to know at first. I'll have one of our Italian subsidiaries make you an offer. She won't know."
"So we agree?"
"Six months." Abby said.
"Six months. I promise."
After she ended the call, Abby sat down on her bed. She could hear her heart racing in her ears. She was taking a huge leap of faith, placing her trust in EJ DiMera. But if it worked, the payoff would more than make up for the risk. She just hoped she wouldn't live to regret her decision.
"Oh my god, EJ!" Abby shouted across the terrace to where he was standing, admiring the view of the Mediterranean from the DiMera Villa.
"What?" EJ ran back to her. "What's wrong? Is it the baby? Is something wrong? Are you in pain?"
Abby shook her head and reached for his hand. She placed it across her swollen belly. "She's kicking. Can you feel it?"
"I can!" EJ laughed. "She? Did you manage to wrangle that information out of the doctor at your last checkup while I had my back turned or something? I thought we agreed to let it be a surprise"
"No." Abby smiled. "It will be a surprise. I just happen to think it'll be a girl. Call it mother's intuition."
"Okay Mrs. DiMera. And for what it's worth." He winked. "I think it's a girl too."
"Sydney will be so happy if it is." Abby said. "When we were in Salem at Christmas she told me in no uncertain terms that I'd better give her a baby sister. No more stinky boys."
"Well I'm not willing to promise that to her. This is just our first one together. I want to have many children with you." He gave her a quick kiss. "Boys and girls - a whole house full. Besides, we're not responsible for the 'stinky boys'. Her mother is. She can take up that issue with Samantha & Lucas."
Abby laughed. "At some point we need to define what you mean by a 'house full', but for now I'm just happy that I'm having only one. I still can't believe that Sami and my Uncle Lucas had triplets."
"I don't think they quite believe it either. Making up for lost time I guess." EJ murmured as he pulled her into a hug. "Speaking of lost time, have I thanked you today for taking a chance and waiting for me?"
"You don't have to thank me."
"Yes I do. I don't ever want you to forget how grateful I am that you waited."
"You're not the only one. I'm so happy that it worked out in the best possible way for everyone." She thought back to the night he asked her to wait and the weeks and months that followed, and she still amazed at how it had all turned out. The job offer from Italy had arrived, as promised by the end of February. Abby had told her mother about the fabulous opportunity and Jennifer arranged for the hospital to let her out of her contract early. She moved to Rome, into a small apartment not far from her office that had enough room for JJ or her mother to visit from time to time. EJ visited too, whenever he could find a reason to visit the European headquarters of DE. And of course she did see him on the day of Will and Sonny's wedding as she had flown home specifically to be their best woman. It was a few days after that wedding, once Abby was back on the plane to Rome that EJ finally sat Sami down for a much needed conversation. By the time Abby was back in Italy, there was a message from EJ saying it had been done. Surprisingly, Sami hadn't put up much of a fight. EJ wasn't the only one who'd grown weary of their relationship and wanted to move on. They agreed that it would be best if Sami left the company and they arranged to share custody of the kids for as long as they both lived in Salem.
To no one's surprise, especially EJ's, Sami and Lucas found their way back to each other within a few months, and remarried. EJ seized that as the perfect "excuse" to move to Italy and join Abby. Johnny and Sydney stayed with their Sami and Lucas, and EJ saw them on his monthly trips back to the Salem office.
A few months passed and Abby and EJ agreed to let the beginning of their relationship forever be a secret kept between them and of course Stefano. JJ was the first of the Hortons to find out about EJ when, after catching a flight on standby, he arrived a little earlier than expected at Abby's apartment one day, and found them together. News quickly spread, and Abby endured a flurry of outraged emails and phone calls from every branch of the Horton/Johnson/Deveraux clan. Fortunately, she'd been prepared for it, and since everyone naturally assumed that Abby and EJ had fallen in love while working together, they gradually came around and accepted it, albeit with more than a touch of wariness. Abby didn't care. She knew her heart and EJ's.
Now, as she felt the baby flutter, she again reached for EJ's hand and placed it on her stomach. The look of pure amazement and love on his face assured her that everything had worked out the way it was meant to be.