Moonlit Wishes
Book II, Part XXXV

The next few weeks went by pretty quickly as weeks go, at least it did for EJ as he tried to get acclimated to the schedule his family had, from the early morning rush of the kids eating breakfast and getting ready for school and Sami running around the house trying to snatch a bite of food to eat herself while ushering the kids around to get their day started. He was quite amazed at Sami's ability to juggle it all and she never complained.

He tried to help out where he could, offering to take the kids to school which of course they seemed to love that idea, all vying for who would sit by him in the car. Then he would go back to the house to work on various projects that Samantha hadn't been able to do or had time to do yet. While he had never considered himself a handyman, the DiMera's always had people to do their manual labor, he thought he was doing a fairly good job.

The nights were filled with dinners where everyone ate together, Sami's rule she had informed him no one skipped mealtime unless they were too sick to come to the table and while their fare was simple, and it was surprisingly good. Then they helped the kids with their homework or played games. It was almost surreal and felt too good to be true.

While he had always had a great relationship with the children, it was another thing entirely to actually have Samantha thrown into the mix too with them because beforehand when they had actually been married and the time later on when they had lived together before their non-wedding she had always held herself back, shied away from becoming too close to him, opting rather to keep to herself for the most part. Which of course had frustrated him to no end, he had grown accustomed to Samantha's standoffish behavior and now for her to friendly and even kind to him, well it just threw him off balance.

To put it point blank, he didn't understand her at all. So of course he was wary of her true intentions, this friendship thing she had offered up to him was something he wasn't one hundred percent sure of that it was genuine. He hated to feel that way, but given their past history what else was he supposed to think?

After they put the kids to bed at night, that was when it got kind of weird at least it did for him because then he made some lame ass excuse so as not to spend any time alone with Samantha, he didn't want to get involved in some heartfelt talk with her. He had revealed too much of himself with the letters to her and now it felt like she wanted to open up to him and frankly that thought literally scared him to death.

He didn't want fall back in love with her, especially after he had forced himself to unfall for her . After all having someone shoot him in the head and leaving him for dead was a sure sign to not get involved, he never wanted to love anyone ever again in that type of capacity, because he had been there, done that, even gotten the scars to prove it.

But there was something about how confident Samantha was now, beforehand she was skittish and unsure of herself, and now it was like she had this demeanor about her that commanded your attention because she was comfortable in her own skin and it was sexy as hell.

He didn't want her to be sexy, he wanted to be neutral around her, kind of like Switzerland, you know amicable but not fully engaged in what was going on in her life. He hadn't expected her welcoming him back home, because he had faced the facts a long time ago that she was going to go into the category of unrequited love for him.

He could tell she was kind of disappointed when he shied away from her overtures to talk when they were alone, when the kids were around they were busy being focused on them. He just couldn't deal with having Samantha trying to be all friendly and introspective with him since she looked at him differently like she wanted more from him than what he was giving up to her, but he couldn't do it. He knew if given the chance this woman could turn his life upside down like she had done so many times before.

Late at night when he was alone in his bedroom, he thought about these things about the new Samantha that was blossoming right before his very eyes, the woman who could juggle a career, take care of their kids along with the household chores, she refused his offer of hiring a maid to help out, and during all this he was afraid he was falling into her trap more every day. It had to be a trap and for once he didn't want to be ensnared.

So to occupy his days, he had gone to Justin to ask him for a job. He wasn't going back to DiMera Enterprises ever and had thwarted any attempts from his father to go back into the fold as he liked to say. At first Justin thought he was kidding, but EJ told him he was dead serious, he wanted to work and what better way to go legit then to join the Kiriakis legal firm.

At first Justin had said no, then when EJ threw out how much it would get a rise out of both Victor and Stefano if they joined forces to work together, Justin agreed with a gleam in his eye. Between them both, they had enough legal experience and know how to give the other law firms in town a run for, plus the added intrigue of the two rival families actually coming together caused quite a stir in the community.

Now he was beginning a new career, one of his own choosing rather than his father's and he was busy enough not to think of Samantha during the day and he had the excuse that he needed to work on his cases in the evenings so he really didn't have time to spend with her.

It was a win, win or so he thought until the night he was passing through the kitchen to get a glass of orange juice to drink and overheard Samantha on the phone with Marlena.

"Mom, it is so nice of you to offer, but really I think we'll just stay here for Thanksgiving. I mean you'll have a house full of company if Carrie, Austin and Brady are going to be there."

While EJ couldn't hear Marlena's part of the conversation, he could decipher Samantha's body language and tone as she continued to speak with her mother. It was like she was shrinking right before his very eyes, the weariness creeping back into her.

"No, really you'll be so busy you won't miss us." Pause from her, "Yes, of course I know you want to see the children and it is a holiday, but I don't want to leave EJ alone. No, we're not sleeping together, we are friends, just friends, barely that really, he has been busy."

Another pause and EJ knew he should walk away, this was Samantha's problem dealing with her crazy family, one he didn't want to be a part of anymore, but the sound of her voice was bothering him.

"Okay Mom, I'll come for dinner, if it will make you happy. Yeah, I love you too. Bye." She clicked off her phone and put her head in her hands while she sat at the kitchen table, slumping her shoulders after ending the call with her mother.

He was about to leave, she didn't have to know he had overheard her conversation, probably would be mad if she knew he was eavesdropping, although he knew she wasn't happy after speaking with her mother.

Damn his conscience, sometimes it still reared its ugly head from time to time even though he tried his best to keep it tamped down. Knowing he was probably going to regret it he pulled up a chair and faced her.

"Hey," he began startling her momentarily and then she tried to regain her composure.

"Hey," she returned his greeting with one of her own. "I thought you were busy with your files."

EJ pointed to his now empty glass, "I was taking a mini break and returning the glass to the kitchen when I heard you talking on the phone."

"Guess you heard my mother grilling me about Thanksgiving."

"That among other things apparently."

Sami looked startled for a moment and then shook her head, "Sorry Mom thinks we are in a relationship, but I tried to set her straight."

"Well I guess it looks like we are a couple, I mean we are living together."

"As friends," Sami interjected quickly. "I mean why can't people think I can actually be friends with a man?"

"Well," EJ began only to have Sami cut her eyes at him.

"I mean I think we are friends, aren't we?" She asked looking at him hoping to get a positive response.

"I guess," EJ answered honestly even though it made his heart twinge a bit when he saw the crestfallen look on her face with his answer. He was about to speak again telling her that yes they were friends when she starting rambling to him about her family.

"I just don't want to go over there. I know you are supposed to want to be with your family during the holidays, but Carrie will be there along with Austin and I am afraid Brady is going to invite that tramp Nicole because she keeps hounding him at work."

"Nicole, as in my ex-wife Nicole?" EJ asked thinking no wonder Samantha didn't want to go over there even if she had the kids with her.

"Is there any other ho in town named Nicole that I despise?"

EJ had to stifle a laugh that threatened to erupt, Samantha and her nicknames for Nicole were something less than to be desired even though it did provide for some entertainment for him now that Nicole was no longer his wife.

Sami began to say something, then paused, muttering something under her breath EJ couldn't understand.

"Excuse me, what did you say?"

"Nothing, I just had this idea that maybe it would be fun for us to go together."

"Samantha, while I would love to spend the holiday with the children, I don't think…"

"Please EJ, god I don't think I can handle it if I have to face them all alone. I mean, it's just they are all so accomplished and here I am…"

"Doing fantastic," EJ offered up to her to which she only rolled her eyes.

"Carrie is the golden child even if she isn't my mother's daughter." Sami stated tiredly.

EJ knew how much Carrie bothered Samantha and if Brady was stupid enough to ask Nicole to go with him as Samantha feared he would, then she was going to have a rough day. He was quiet for a few minutes, not really knowing what to say.

Sami sighed, pushing back her chair, "Hey don't worry about it. This is my problem. I'm just going to have to put on my big girl panties and deal with my crazy family who will no doubt diss me all day."

He couldn't help it, he began to laugh especially after Samantha's proclamation of girding her underwear as if she was going to face battle.

"Don't you dare laugh at me," Sami threatened him as she walked over to where he was sitting at the table.

"Sorry," EJ stifled his laughter when he saw the uncertainty in her eyes, something that hadn't been present in her for the most part since he had returned. Then he did something he was probably going to regret. "Samantha if you want me to I'll go with you and the children. I mean if you need some moral support since we are friends and all."

Her eyes lit up at his offer, whether it was from his agreement to accompany her or that he admitted they were friends he wasn't sure. Before he knew it she impulsively leaned down to give him a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you EJ. I didn't want to go alone. We'll show them you really can be friends even though they don't believe me."

She smiled and turned to leave the room, standing upright with purpose.

EJ sat there his cheek still tingling from her quick kiss wondering what in the world had he agreed to do for her.

Thanksgiving was going to be quite the experience, of that much he was sure of…