'You are not doing this, Caffrey' Sara said, giggling.
'It's tradition' he said as he swept Sara up in his arms and lifted her off the ground, opening the door with one hand and carrying her over the threshold. They could hear Cindy and Waylon giggling on the other side of the door as they stumbled in.
'Hey, guys. Thanks so much for staying with Hope. Was she any trouble?' asked Sara as Neal put her down.
'Not a peep' said Cindy. 'We've been watching TV all night.'
'There's some wedding cake for the two of you downstairs' said Neal as he thanked them.
Once alone, they prepared for bed and as they undressed and carefully put their wedding clothes away, Sara suddenly piped up as she eyed her husband up and down.
'All right, Caffrey, spill' she said.
'What?' he asked with his best innocent look.
'You don't have your anklet on! And what was that between you and Peter downstairs?'
'Busted!' he said as he pulled her over to settle on the bed. He put his arms out and she crawled into bed for a warm hug as he spoke.
'I have one more surprise for you' Neal began. 'How would you like a honeymoon getaway for a couple of days?'
'What? You mean outside your two mile radius?' asked Sara searching his eyes.
'That's exactly what I mean' said Neal, pleased that he could spring this last surprise on her.
'Don't ask how, just answer the question. Would you like to go away with me for a couple of nights?'
Neal smiled knowingly. 'I have gotten permission to go outside my radius and take you away somewhere as long as we are back by Wednesday at noon.'
'Really? What about Hope?' Sara asked, looking rather worried.
'Do you think you can tear yourself away from her for a couple of days?'
'Peter and Elizabeth?' she asked, already deducing the answer to her question.
'Yup' he confirmed as he kissed her forehead.
'Wow, you're kidding!' said Sara reeling from the shock. 'You know Caffrey, I would have been perfectly happy to have a nice honeymoon at home with you and Hope.'
Neal looked at her lovingly 'I know. But I really wanted to give you this. You've never asked for anything from me. You never once balked at having to stay in my two mile radius and I really wanted to give you something more. Something we'd remember for years to come.'
'Oh, Neal. You are all I ever want. Wherever you are, that's where I want to be, don't you know that by now?' she said getting teary-eyed.
He nodded as he realized the scope of what she was saying.
After a moment, she spoke up 'So... where are we going?'
'Ah, now that's another secret' said Neal, teasing her.
'NO! You can't do this to me!' she shrieked as she tried to pull out of his grasp.
'Oh, I can and I will. You'll see when we get there' Neal was really enjoying this.
'So, do we have a car or are we taking a train, a plane?'
'No train, no plane. I didn't want to spend our precious time in a buy airport… but I promise you, in four months, when the anklet comes off, I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go.'
Sara settled again in his arms, taking his hand in hers. She gazed down at his wedding band.
'So, how does the ring feel? Weird?' she asked as she ran her finger over his.
'I'll get used to the feel of it but for now, I just like looking at it and realizing I'm married to the most amazing woman on the planet' he said reaching down to kiss her lips and tightening his grip on her.
Sara brought her face up to him and their kiss intensified as he began to shift on one elbow to face her.
'Mrs Caffrey' he whispered in her ear. 'I love you.'
He brought his lips down to nuzzle the back of her ear, a spot that always got Sara going. The results were instantaneous as Sara let out a soft moan and pulled Neal closer, wrapping her arms around his back.
'I love you' she said as he pulled away slightly to position himself on top of her.
Their eyes locked and although they had mastered 'lovemaking 101' a long time ago, their gaze spoke of commitment as they began to make love. Every movement, every touch, every look was slow and measured as if they were repeating vows to each other once more, this time enjoying the sensation of each other's body as they worked in harmony to find pleasure and release. They fell asleep with their arms and legs intertwined, exhausted from the last few days yet blissful and content.
Their usual alarm sounded around six when they heard Hope gurgling in the other room and they woke smiling as they both rose simultaneously to go to her. They usually tried to bargain with each other for an extra few minutes in bed but on this day, they were both eager to see their baby girl, knowing they would be away from her for a few days.
'Good morning, sweetheart' said Sara as she picked up her daughter from the crib.
Hope didn't know what to make of this – both her parents coming to see to her at the same time. She looked from one to the other, gurgling and laughing as Neal made cooing noises to spur her on. Her diaper was changed and within a few minutes, all three of them had returned to the marital bed, curled up together in their cocoon as Hope lay on her back kicking happily and trying to grab at Neal's face, getting a strong hold of his nose and tugging.
He gently pinched her nose. 'I love you, too sweet pea' he said.
'Are you sure we can't bring her with us' asked Sara looking at her husband.
'Seriously?' Neal replied.
'I know, I know' she said 'but I'm going to miss her.'
'Me too. But it'll be nice to be alone together for a change. We can...' he stopped not wanting to give up too many hints as to their destination.
'We can what?' she asked, hoping to catch him unaware.
But Neal was an expert at weighing each one of his words and he seldom let anything slip that wasn't intentional - once a conman, always a conman.
'You never mind what' he said reaching over Hope to give her a kiss.
'She's going to be so happy with her godparents and you and I are going to enjoy some grownup alone time. So listen, we leave at eleven. So we have to get Hope packed up and we have to finish packing ourselves – I'm done, by the way and I've started yours, in the back room' he added, pleased with himself.
'Really? You presume to know what I want to bring on our honeymoon?' Sara said, eyes twinkling.
'Not everything but -' Neal started. 'I had a pretty good idea.'
'Oh, don't let me forget my breast pump or I'll be in agony' said Sara, rising from the bed
'Already packed' said Neal grabbing Hope and holding her over his head as she gurgled and smiled
They were packed and ready to go by ten to eleven. Mozzie had picked up the rental car and left it parked on the street and when they stepped out into the sunlight, they spotted it right away. It was without a doubt the Santa Fe with 'Just married' spray painted on the back windshield.
They placed Hope's car seat in the back of the car and climbed in. Someone had had fun at their expense and Neal was pretty sure Mozzie and Peter were the guilty parties.
As they drove onto DeKalb Avenue, they spotted a parking spot two houses over from the Burkes. Peter and Elizabeth opened the door even before they had the chance to knock and Peter eagerly reached out to take Hope's car seat from Neal.
'Hello, pretty angel' he said looking down at his goddaughter. Elizabeth and Sara exchanged amused looks – even after three months, it was disconcerting to see this grown man sputter baby talk whenever he got within a few feet of Hope. She, of course, enjoyed the attention and just smiled back encouraging his childish blather.
Neal pulled Peter aside, speaking quietly and handing him some handwritten information as Sara tried to listen in. 'Here's the phone number of the place we're staying at just in case something goes wrong with our cells and we'll be back sometime before lunch on Wednesday. Oh, and my anklet – do you have it here, because it needs to be back on before noon.'
'Well, well, look at you, Mr. Responsible. Is this what I can expect from you now that you're a married man?' Peter teased.
'Cute, Peter' Neal said before turning to look at his new wife. 'Let's go babe, meter's running' he said as he grabbed her hand.
'Wait, wait' she said as she walked towards Peter to say goodbye to their daughter. A few moments later, they were safely in the car headed northeast as Sara began taking stabs at where they were going. As they crossed state lines into Connecticut then Massachusetts, Sara started to take more educated guesses.
'Boston?' she asked looking over at Neal who was busy studying the road.
'Keep guessing' said Neal.
Another state line as they crossed briefly into New Hampshire and Sara piped up 'Are you taking me to Maine, by the ocean?'
Neal just smiled.
'Not Kennebunkport? It's so gorgeous there' she guessed once again.
Neal just smiled a satisfied smile as he came off the I-95 at the appropriate exit.
The country cottages where they were staying were located just outside of the town proper, far away to feel like country yet within walking distance to the charming little town. The Cottages at Cabot Cove were each individually and tastefully decorated and although they were all situated in a semi circle, each was secluded, hidden from the others by beautiful and lush greenery and flower beds. As they drove up, Sara oohed and aahed and Neal had to agree, it was an excellent choice for a few days of rest and relaxation.
Each cottage had a theme and Neal had chosen the cottage known aa 'Endless Summer'. The outside was painted a pale cottage green with two Adirondack chairs in a private seating area surrounded by beautiful flowers and hidden from the other cottages by bushes and other greenery. It had a gorgeous living/eating area next to the small bedroom with a king size bed.
The resort rented out canoes and bicycles both of which Neal and Sara made use of during their short stay. They had lobster rolls at Alison's and Shoreman's Pie at Arundel Wharf and on Tuesday, Neal had booked them on a whale watching excursion that took them out onto the ocean away from shore. The view was breathtaking as one after another whale rose up from the waters right before their eyes.
They walked through the boutiques in town and drove along the coast admiring the many homes along the shore, picking out the ones that most appealed to them and where, in their fantasies, they would raise their family. They spoke of the future – Neal's anklet was coming off very soon and Sara would eventually return to work. They talked about brothers and sisters for Hope and agreed they would return to this beautiful little town for their tenth wedding anniversary.
One night, they picked up some gourmet makings at a local deli and prepared a meal which they ate in bed while drinking a bottle of Merlot and watching television. They didn't make it all through the meal or the show, falling into each other's arms and enjoying each other company with the clean smell of the ocean nearby.
In the morning, as they lay lazily in bed, they could hear from their open window as staff from the resort delivered breakfast in a basket to their cottage door, croissants or muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit and juice. Neal had thought to bring some Italian roast along which they indulged in along with their morning meal.
By Tuesday night, they fell into bed, physically exhausted but emotionally replenished.
'So, was this a good little getaway?' asked Neal as he held Sara in his arms.
'Amazing getaway' Sara agreed. 'You could not have picked a better place, Neal. Thank you, thank you for doing this. It was very thoughtful.'
'So, we head back to reality tomorrow morning' said Sara dreamily.
'Luckily, reality is pretty amazing too' said Neal, pulling Sara in a little closer in the giant bed.
'It is, isn't it? Back to our beautiful little girl. No more wedding planning, not sure what I'll do all day now that that's behind us' said Sara staring off into space.
'So, Mrs Caffrey' said Neal snuggling ever closer. 'Have I told you today just how much I love you?'
'You have but I never tire of hearing it' Sara responded, looking fondly into his eyes.
'Well, then' said Neal, kissing her neck. 'Have I shown you today how much I love you?'
'Yes you have' Sara giggled. 'This morning and again after lunch… but I never get tired of that either' she added as she kissed him deeply.
Neal just smirked as he ran his hand up Sara's thigh pulling up her nightgown and drawing her hips into his. They spent the next hour reaffirming their commitment to each other and fell asleep, breathing in the fresh, clean air, their bodies spent and their minds at peace.
The return to the hubbub of New York was uneventful. Both Sara and Neal were quiet on the five hour drive back as they held hands and each privately reminisced about their little getaway. Every now and then, Neal or Sara would look knowingly at the other, smiling a secret smile that needed no explanation.
The road ahead beckoned both literally and figuratively and they knew that whatever twists and turns lay ahead, they were in it for the long haul, together.