A/N: I wasn't going to write this yet because I felt I had too many stories going but I couldn't get it out of my head. I would like to finish all the stories but I would like to know which ones the readers like the most so please feel free to instant message me and let me know. That way I can concentrate on those first.
Jennifer Hart sat at her desk in the living room of the house on Willow Pond Road. The morning sun streamed in through the bay window which faced the huge back yard. She had just finished breakfast and was about to dive into her latest article when the phone rang.
"I've got it, Marie." She called to the housekeeper who was in the kitchen making the grocery list, "Hello?"
"Hi, Mom." A familiar male voice came through the line
A broad smile formed on her lips, "Ah, Nicolas! How are you, sweetheart?"
"I'm fine." He replied, "How are things with you? How's that article coming?"
"Well, I think your old mom has a severe case of writers block." She said, "I can't seem to get a handle on it and Marcia is expecting something today."
"Well, I won't keep you. I was just thinking about you and wanted to see how you were."
She smiled again, "I sure am glad you called, Nicky." She replied using the nickname he'd had as a child, "How are Janelle and the kids?" She asked referring to his wife
"They're great. The girls are growing up way too fast for my taste and Janelle loves being back at work especially teaching at the same school where the girls are." He replied, "Mom, are you sure you're okay?"
Jennifer sighed heavily, "Yeah, I'm fine. Today has been one of my better days, so far."
"I know." He said, "I miss him, too."
She wiped a tear from her eye, "He loved you more than anything, you know."
"He loved you, too." Nicolas replied, "It was written all over his face." There was a long pause, "I'm sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to…"
"No, it's okay. It's good to hear your voice, sweetheart." She replied then paused for a moment, "Maybe after this article is done I'll fly out and spend a few days, if that's alright."
"Oh, we'd love that. Sophie and Claire will be beside themselves." He said, "Well, I'd better let you get back to work. I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too, sweetheart."
She hung up the phone and looked at the photograph of him sitting on the desk. He was so handsome, so much like his father. Her eyes were drawn to the other photograph on the desk, one of her and Jonathan on their last Christmas together. They had met Nicolas and his family in Vale for skiing that year and he had taken this picture of them on the slopes with their arms around each other clowning for the camera. She ran her hand over the picture, tears welling up in her eyes again. It had been about six months since Jonathan had been killed in a plane crash and some days it felt as raw as the day she found out. Oh Jonathan, I don't know how I even get up some days knowing you're not here. There was so much we still had to do. It wasn't supposed to be over yet.
"Mrs. Hart. I'm heading to the market." Marie walked in from the kitchen, "Is there anything special you need?"
Jennifer composed herself and looked up from the picture, "No, thank you, Marie, just the usual."
"Yes, ma'am." She replied and headed out the door
Jennifer turned back to the photo of Nicolas. He was the most precious thing she had left of Jonathan and her mind went back to a day when a certain little boy changed their lives forever.
Jonathan walked into the living room still reeling from the conversation he had just had on the phone. He couldn't believe what the caller had told him.
"Who was that, Darling?" Jennifer asked standing behind the bar pouring them each a brandy. It was Max's night off and he was with a lady friend. Jennifer and Jonathan had enjoyed a romantic dinner and were looking forward to cuddling by the fire when the phone rang, "Darling?" Jennifer repeated when he didn't answer
He finally looked at her and she could see in his eyes something was wrong, "That was Mateo Stefanos, Nikki Stefanos's brother." He walked over to the bar
Jennifer recognized the name. Jonathan had dated Nikki in the early seventies and they had parted on good terms, mutually agreeing they were better friends than lovers, "What did he want?" She asked handing him his drink
He look at her with pain lingering in his blue eyes, "Nikki's dead." He managed
Jennifer immediately came out from behind the bar and pulled him into a comforting embrace, "Oh, Darling, I'm so sorry." She pulled back, "What happened?"
"Well, Teo said it was some freak car accident." Jonathan replied still trying to get his mind wrapped around it, "it was raining and the road was slick…" he trailed off
She brushed the hair away from his forehead, "When's the funeral?"
"He said he'd call back when the arrangement were made," He said, "But Darling we don't have to…"
She caressed his cheek, "Of course we're going." She said emphatically, "It's important."
He smiled slightly, "Are you sure you're okay with, I mean…"
"Darling, you cared for Nikki very much, even after you broke up, right?" She asked
"Yes, I did, as a friend." He told her
"Well, then when someone you care about dies, you pay your respects." She replied, "Now, when her brother calls back we'll make the arrangements."
He smiled again and shook his head. He didn't know how he got so lucky. Jennifer never ceased to amaze him with her compassion and understanding, "You know, you really are something, Mrs. Hart."
She returned his smiled, "I know." She said teasingly
Teo had called them back the next day with the funeral arrangements and Jennifer immediately called the airline and the hotel to make reservations. They arrived the night before the funeral and the weight of it all had finally hit Jonathan. It wasn't like mourning the loss of a lover but of someone whom he had once cared very much about and still did. It was so unfair for her life to be cut so short and that was what drove the sleeplessness as he stared out the window into the dark night. He thought about some of the times they had shared and hoped that she had found happiness. They'd had a brief but passionate beginning to their relationship but soon realized that they lacked the ingredients it took for something real, something lasting. The main one being a deep abiding love for one another. They had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun but that was it. That was all any of them were to him until he met Jennifer. He wasn't a playboy, not in the typical low class sense, but he'd had his share of women before a certain nosy, stubborn, but beautiful reporter blew into his life. He was so caught up in his reverie he didn't hear her come up behind him until he felt her arms around his waist.
"Hey." She said in that soft raspy voice that comforted and aroused him all at the same time, "You wanna talk about it?"
He sighed, continuing to stare out the window, "It's just so unfair."
She rested her head on his back and tightened her arms around him, "I know, Darling, I know."
He turned around and wrapped his arms around her, "Of all the women I dated, she was different. I always hoped she would find what I found…what you and I found." He hadn't heard anything from or about Nikki in the three and half years he and Jennifer had been married. It was just how things worked, old girlfriends fade out completely
She pulled back and caressed his cheek, "Maybe she did."
The memorial service the following day was short but moving. The Stefanos family was very prominent and very wealthy so scores of people attended the service at the Greek Orthodox Church. It was to be followed by a small gathering of family and a few friends and the Stefanos Estate. Jonathan and Jennifer had taken a cab to the service but rode to the house with Mateo. After they had mingled for a while Mateo asked them to join him upstairs. They followed him up the grand spiral staircase and down the hall to a small room where, when they opened the door, dark haired little boy sat playing with his toys.
Mateo went to the boy and knelt down beside him, "Nikos, I'd like you to meet some people, some friends." They both turned to Jonathan and Jennifer, "This is Jonathan Hart."
The boy walked over to them and extended his little hand, "Hello."
Jonathan shook it, smiling, "Hello there."
"And this is his wife, Jennifer." Mateo told him
He extended his hand to her, "Hello."
She smiled as well, "Hello, Nikos."
Mateo placed his hands gently on the boys shoulders, "Nikos, I need you to go to your room. I need to talk to Jonathan and Jennifer alone."
Nikos looked up at him, "Yes, sir." He replied and exited the room
Jonathan's eyes lingered on the door then he turned back to Mateo, "Is he yours?"
"No, Jonathan." He replied growing solemn, "He's Nikki's"
Jonathan was surprised, "Nikki has a child?"
"Yes." He replied
"Well, how old is he? Where is his father?"
Mateo looked down, "He's six."
Jonathan quickly did the math and thought it must be a mistake, "He's six?" he repeated, "Well that that means that…"
Mateo sighed heavily, "Yes, Nikos is your son."