Sandy hectically circled the kitchen as he travelled back and forth and from side to side. His hands frantically prepared breakfast and he worked as quickly as he possibly could to decorate the kitchen and display the table.
As he added the finishing touches, he took a step back and looked pleased with his efforts. He stole one of the roses from a nearby vase and headed towards the bedroom at the other end of the house.
Sandy casually jogged up the steps and peered into the amber bathed bedroom where his wife lay asleep facing him with one arm draped across her stomach. He absorbed the image before him. Memories of Berkeley flew before his eyes of when Kirsten was pregnant with Seth and how her arm rested so naturally on her bulge. Then he remembered when Amy was lost to them and how he would look in on Kirsten for weeks after the miscarriage and his heart broke as he saw her arm enveloped her empty belly.
The daughter that wasn't to be.
Recently, he began to think more and more about her as they prepared to welcome Olivia to the world. What would Amy have looked like? Would he have had his eyes or Kirsten's? Dark unruly hair like his or Kirsten's angelic blonde silken locks? His answers would sadly remain unanswered.
But his thoughts turned to the prospect of Olivia who they would be welcoming into the world in just about two months.
Silently, he padded his way over towards the bed where he lay down alongside Kirsten. His hand moved across the bed and rested on Kirsten's hand over her bump and almost immediately he felt a tiny little tremor from inside Kirsten.
The miracle of pregnancy still amazed him.
"Ssh sweetheart, you'll wake up mommy," he cooed.
"Actually, she's already awake because daddy shifted the bed," Kirsten whispered softly with her eyes still closed.
"Hey," Sandy greeted, "Good morning beautiful."
He leaned forward and kissed his wife before presenting her with the single rose.
"Happy Late Valentine's Day."
Kirsten smiled as she took the rose from his fingers and inhaled the sweet fragrance.
Their lips touched again.
"I'm so sorry that we couldn't celebrate Valentine's last weekend when it was Valentine's," Kirsten apologised.
"You've got nothing to be sorry for. I understood that you weren't feeling well and we were both burned out from hectic weeks at work and you even more so because of this little one," he said as he rubbed her belly, "and that magazine is running you ragged after Carter left but at least you're off work soon."
"Yes, I only have to wrap up a few last things and then I'm going to be a prisoner to this house," she smiled.
"You better believe it. Not one of your fingers is going to be lifted."
The baby kicked one again grabbing their attention and they both immediately looked down. Their eyes looked on the bump where their daughter was safely nestled.
Then a rumble was heard.
They smiled at each other.
"Breakfast is all ready for you, I'll wait for you to get dressed," Sandy said.
"Ok I'll be ready in a few minutes."
Kirsten shifted herself out of the bed and made her way to the closest where she muddled through her clothes to find something to wear.
As Sandy waited, he opened the blinds and allowed the sunlight to flow freely into the room. He imagined how the same sunlight would filter into the room and bask a warm light onto their daughter's bassinet as she woke up every morning to the beautiful scenery that surrounded them. He would then stand outside in the backyard with his daughter in his arms, play with her and teach her how to swim in the pool.
He remembered all the countless times that he had spent in the backyard with Kirsten. The times that they cuddled together on the grass looking up at the stairs, embraced in the Jacuzzi or consoled each other on the deckchair. The last thought brought back memories of when Kirsten finally accepted the loss of Amy and how her body was wracked with heartbreaking sobs. The overwhelming feelings of love that he felt for Kirsten flooded his body and warmed his very soul. He couldn't imagine life without her and he thanks his lucky stars that he had met her that fateful day in Berkeley. They fell in love, married and made a life together.
Even though they had had their fair share of arguments and blips in their marriage, he had never been so hopelessly in love with her today, here and now.
"Hey, anything interesting out there?"
"Sadly no," he replied as he turned around to face her, "you look beautiful."
He closed the distance between them and gave her a light kiss.
She was wearing a stylish scarlet chiffon pregnancy top with long sleeves and black trousers with matching pumps. The rose that he had handed her was now neatly placed in her blonde hair as it twisted back.
"If you'll follow me Mrs Cohen, I'll bring you to your breakfast," Sandy said as he offered her his arm which she took gracefully.
He guided her safely down the steps and through the house as if she was a porcelain doll and about to break at any second. But as they neared the kitchen he placed his hands gently over her eyes and moved her slowly and cautiously to the kitchen.
"Wait, wait, you'll see."
He edged her forward a few more steps and stopped at the threshold to the kitchen. Slowly he removed his hands and let her see the heavily decorated room.
"Oh my god," Kirsten breathed.
Rose petals decorated the kitchen island as heart shaped pieces placed themselves beautifully everywhere on each surface and vases of roses welcomed her. In the dining room table sat two place settings, a vase with two red roses and a single lit candle.
"Happy Valentine's," he added as he kissed her on the cheek.
Together they walked through the kitchen to the table where Sandy pulled out the nearby chair gesturing for Kirsten to sit down. Once she was comfortable, he brought over their breakfast meal and he took his seat opposite her.
"It looks good."
"I slaved over the stove for hours this morning."
Kirsten cocked an eyebrow.
"Seriously I did," Sandy defended smiling, "ok . . . the boys helped a little."
"Speaking of the boys, where are they?"
"They're spending the day with the girls so we've got the day and the place to ourselves."
"How did you manage to rope the boys' help?"
"I have my ways," Sandy said as he took a sip from his glass.
A few hours later, Kirsten and Sandy strolled unhurriedly along the warm beach hand in hand as the light breeze tousled their hair and blew gently at her chiffon top. As they bare feet sunk between the grains of sand, the warm passed through their bodies. Then Kirsten tenderly rested her head on Sandy's shoulder.
"Do you remember the first time we brought Seth to the beach here," Sandy asked indicating the stretch they were on.
"Yeh," Kirsten smiled, "we were here visiting my parents. Seth was two and was as interested in the water as I am."
"We brought a picnic and he just sat there with you on the blanket while I was the only one 'brave' enough to actually go near the water."
"Well, you tried to get us into the sea. You picked him up and bobbed him up and down in the water."
"He liked it," Sandy added.
"For a few minutes until he got nauseous."
"He got further than you did, "Sandy there are fish in there!"" he mocked.
"Are you mocking me?" Kirsten asked.
"Are you mocking me?"
"Sandy," she laughed.
"Sandy," he repeated mimicking her laugh as he put his hands on her waist and faced her.
"Our daughter better not inherit your sarcasm."
"I thought my sarcasm was endearing."
"What made you think that?" Kirsten asked sarcastically.
"Ah ha!" he pointed, "the 'Sarcasm' is rubbing off on you."
"And it only took all of twenty years."
"Wow, more sarcasm."
Before she knew it, Sandy scooped her up into his arms and carried her forward towards the water.
"Sandy? Sandy what are you doing?" she asked worried.
He didn't answer but continued to walk forward.
He didn't stop.
By this point Sandy was already calf deep in the water and had a sly look in his eyes which said 'I'm gonna drop you'.
"Sandy don't you dare!" Kirsten said with authority.
Immediately, Sandy jerked.
Her arms flew back around his neck and held on fiercely in fear.
She waited for him to pretend to drop her again.
She felt her legs being released and she could feel him gently lowering her down to the ground. The cool sensation of the water flooded over her skin as she felt the sand.
"Thank you," she thanked him softly.
They looked deeply into each others' eyes.
Kirsten could see the sun reflect in his iris.
He leaned his head towards her.
She moved hers forward.
'I've got a better idea' she thought quickly.
Kirsten noticed that Sandy's eyes were closed in anticipation with just millimetres between their lips. Seductively, she moved her fingers up his arms to his shoulder and softly soothed him.
The next thing Sandy felt was the sensation of falling forward and into the water.
He splashed about bewildered until he found his bearings and looked up at a smug giggling Kirsten.
"Proud of yourself?" he asked indicating his soaked clothes.
"Yes, yes I am," Kirsten giggled uncontrollably.
"Is that right? Are you going to give me a hand out?" he asked holding out his hand.
Kirsten went to give him her hand but pulled back.
"I know you Sandy Cohen. You're going to pull me in."
"I wouldn't do that," Sandy replied as he slyly moved further back into the water.
"Honey, come on. I'm getting cold here."
Kirsten debated it with herself.
"Ok," and with that she reached her hand out towards him and took his cold wet hand in hers.
Sandy used his other free hand to splash some water up towards her to which she jumped at squealing. Seizing the moment and Kirsten off guard, he jumped to his heart and took her in his arms and waded into the water and set her down into the surf.
"Sandy!" she wailed in disbelief, "you bastard!"
"Oh you love me really."
"At the minute that's somewhat debatable!"
"Is it?" he asked lowering himself down to her in the water and leaning closer to her.
"Is it?" he repeated as he closed the distance between their lips.
"Well – this – is – helping," she managed between kisses.
"Hmm mm," he mumbled as the waves continued to flow past them.
A few minutes later, they broke apart where Sandy helped her to her feet before taking her hand and walking her out of the water and along the beach as the sunlight dried them off delicately.
After they rounded a bend in the beach, they came across a picnic set up complete with blanket, stereo, roses and a wicker basket.
"Lunch m'lady," Sandy whispered.
Sandy guided Kirsten over to the setting and helped her down to the blanket and he began to unpack the picnic basket.
They ate, talked and bathed in the sun as their romantic day continued. Kirsten was caught him in everything that had happened today: the romantic breakfast and now a picnic set up in the middle of nowhere on the beach. She couldn't believe that he arranged this. She looked around at the setting. She had no doubt that Summer and Marissa had been involved in arranging this particular placing because the blanket matched the napkins and the napkins matched the plates. None of the men in her life would have the slightest clue as how to arrange a picnic on a beach in a romantic fashion. Kirsten then recalled the date that she had had with Sandy back in Berkeley in the park and he had had the help of her best friend there. She was overwhelmed that he would go through so much trouble just to give her a romantic moment.
Then the song on the CD player changed to 'She's Got A Way' by Billy Joel.
"Remember this?" Sandy asked before singing, "But I know that I can't live without her".
Sandy edged his way over to a group of girls that had huddled by the snacks table and approached the giggling blonde in the red top.
"Kirsten, may I have this dance," he asked nervously offering her his hand."
Kirsten looked at him smiling. She made faces as she contemplated whether or not to accept. She fiddled with the end of her hair and then her earrings.
"Ah, you're fiddling with you're earring."
"You're gonna say yes."
"And what makes you so sure?"
"You always do that."
"Very observant . . . in a strange – loveable way," she beamed as she took his hand where he led her to the area where couples had gathered with their partners and danced.
They swayed together to the song. The melody controlled their motions and their eyes remained locked together. The music then began to wind its way out of the song. Then in unison, their lips came together slowly in their first kiss since they began dating.
"The first song we danced too," she smiled reminiscing.
"Our first kiss," he added.
Sandy stood up and leant down towards her and offered her his hand in exactly the same fashion as he did twenty years previously. Kirsten began to make the faces that she once did and then she began to fiddle absentmindedly with her hair before moving to her earring.
"Ah, that's a yes."
"How did you know?" she asked mockingly.
She placed her hand in his and he helped her to her feet and swayed with her to the movement of the music in his arms. Kirsten rested her head against his as they moved peacefully to the music. The same magic that flowed around them all those years before swirled around and between them now. Then at the same moment as before, the music started to come to an end.
Their lips met.
The magic sensation coalesced and flowed between their lips and coursed through their bodies.
Then leaned into the kiss so they were as close as possible with their unborn child between them.
Sandy could feel the slight tremor of their daughter kicking against his stomach and his hand went naturally to his wife's bump and he soothed the child as he continued to kiss Kirsten.
"Happy Valentine's Day," he whispered.