“Just think, Lucas, in two days, we'll be married!” Sami enthused. “And both of our children will be in attendance!”
“Both?” Lucas asked.
“Yes, Will, and the baby I’m carrying, of course.”
Lucas smiled, touching her flat stomach. “I cannot wait to meet her.”
Lucas and Sami had already decided that their new baby was going to be a girl.
“Me either,” Sami said.
They curled up together on the sofa. Sami rested her head on Lucas’s strong shoulder. “We should get to bed,” she said after awhile.
“Oh, I like the sound of that,” Lucas said.
Lucas helped her up and pulled her into his arms. He gave her a long, slow kiss. Then he picked her up and carried her to their bedroom.
They were making love when a picture of EJ Wells flashed into her mind. She saw him naked, then pushing his lips to hers. Then he raped her – or maybe it wasn’t rape at all, she thought. Maybe I asked for it somehow.
She jumped up in bed, eyes burning. Lucas looked at her with concern. “Sami, are you okay?” He asked.
“I just had a bad feeling all of a sudden.”
“What kind of bad feeling?”
“About our wedding. You know me and weddings. I always mess them up somehow.”
Lucas smiled at her. “Not this time. Everything’s going to be okay as long as there are no more secrets between us. We promised to always tell each other the truth, right?”
“Right,” Sami agreed. But she was keeping the biggest secret of her life from Lucas. Will he ever forgive me if he finds out the baby I’m carrying could be EJ’s? She thought.
“Wake up, sleepyhead,” Sami said, jostling Lucas the next morning.
“Ugh, what time is it?” he asked, blinking rapidly at the bright light streaming through the window.
“7 AM. So get up please.”
“Why are we getting up so early?”
“Because we have a lot to do today,” Sami replied. “We’re supposed to help my family decorate the church for the wedding. Then we’re having a rehearsal luncheon. We also have to pick up my dress from the tailor."
“Wedding? What wedding?”
Sami hit him with a pillow. “Very funny, Lucas Roberts! Now get up!”
He smiled. “Just give me five more minutes …”
“Forget about it, Lucas. You need to go hop in the shower right now. We’ll pick up donuts on the way to the church so everyone can eat.”
“Be sure to grab some jelly ones for me.”
“Of course,” Sami replied.
Lucas got up and changed out of his clothes, pulling on a terrycloth robe. “I’ll be in the shower if you need me.” His smile deepened. “Unless you want to join me, of course.”
“Forget about it, Mr. Roberts. Will is here -- right in the next room, remember?"
"We'll be quiet then."
"Now you know that won't happen. We have to try to set a good example for him.”
“Sami, Will has a level head on his shoulders. He's a lot more mature than I ever was at his age."
“The same goes for me,” Sami admitted. "But we're trying to do right by him, aren't we? After tomorrow, we’ll be a real family. That will be really good for him.”
Lucas nodded. “Hell yes, it will be good for him. It will be good for us as well... Tomorrow is the beginning of our new life, Sami. It’s going to be amazing - being a family with you, Will, and our new baby.”
Later that afternoon, Sami stood at the back of the chapel surveying her surroundings with a critical eye. The wedding party had finished decorating and everything looked beautiful. Could it be -- were her dreams about to finally be realized?
Only if EJ stays far away, a venomous voice inside her mind taunted. Her stomach muscles instantly tightened and she became nauseous. She so badly wanted to forget that monster even existed; yet, the memory of what he had done to her seemed to invade her thoughts at the most inopportune of moments.
“Sami, you look green in the gills,” Roman said, coming to stand beside her. “Are you feeling okay?”
"Huh? Oh, yes. Sure," Sami lied. "It’s just a touch of morning sickness.” She said the last part only barely loud enough for him to hear. Roman was one of a very few who knew she was pregnant and she wanted to keep it that way. She figured the less people who knew about the baby at this point, the better.
Because if EJ found out...
No, she didn't want to think about that. She was so tired of worrying about when her secret might be revealed to all of the world.
Sami was just so tired. It was incredibly draining; carrying around such a devastating secret.
“That's not good,” Roman said. “Do you want me to go find Lucas?”
“No, Dad, it’s okay. I don’t want him fussing over me. Besides, he’s helping Grandma carry things in from the car.”
Sami smiled weakly. “I’ll just sit down for a moment. I’m sure it will pass.” She slipped into the nearest pew, suddenly feeling as if her legs might not hold her upright for a moment longer.
“Are you sure you’re alright, sweetheart?”
“Yes, Dad.” She forced a brighter smile to her face. She desperately needed to change the subject. “Thanks for helping out today.”
“Are you kidding? There's no place I’d rather be. I may have two thumbs when it comes to most of this wedding stuff, but I can certainly climb a ladder.” He gestured proudly to the balcony above them. A festive strand of garland was looped about the banister. “Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.”
“It does,” Sami agreed. “It’s - it’s shaping up to be the wedding of my dreams.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that. I want you to be happy.”
“I am.” Mostly.
Roman leaned against the pew. “Sami?”
“Can I ask you something?”
“Well, since I’m usually the one doing the asking; by all means, please go ahead.”
“I would -” He cleared his throat - “I would like to invite someone to the wedding tomorrow. I know it's last minute notice and I haven’t even asked her if she wants to come, but-”
" Her? There’s a her?" Sami chuckled in spite of herself. "Oh wow. Seeing the way you’re smiling right now, she must be pretty special. What’s her name? What’s she like? Where did you two meet?”
Roman sighed. “This sounds a lot like the third degree."
“Oh, come on. Humor the bride.”
“Alright… Her name is Terry. She’s a doctor. Very smart; very sharp... Beautiful..."
“Yes. She’s also a bit younger than I am, which probably makes you wonder what she’s doing hanging around your old man.”
Sami shook her head. “You said she’s smart. She obviously knows a good catch when she sees one. Now, where’d you two lovebirds meet?”
“Lovebirds,” Roman scoffed. “Actually, we met at The Java Web. She was leaving as I was coming in the door. There was a bit of a collision. Her coffee went down the front of her white blouse. I asked if I could pay for the dry cleaning and-"
"She said I could actually buy her another cup of coffee instead. And so I did."
"Meeting cute over spilled coffee? How very rom-com of you, Dad.”
Roman smiled. “I’ve been seeing her for about a month now.”
“A month, and this is the first I’m hearing of her?”
“I didn’t want to make a big deal out of things.”
“My dad finally has a woman in his life who isn’t Kate Roberts… That is a really big deal.”
Roman shook his head. “Sami."
"Please invite her to the wedding, Dad. I’d love to meet - Terry, was it?”
“Yes, Terry Hogue… You won’t do the whole good cop/bad cop routine on her, will you?”
“That’s more your territory. But will I have questions for her? Yes, probably.”
“Just don't make a scene."
“Would I ever?”
Roman hugged her gently. “I love you, Sami.”
Sami clung to her father for perhaps a moment longer than was necessary. “I love you too, Dad,” she whispered.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, yes! I’m getting married tomorrow to the love of my life… Why wouldn’t I be okay?” She asked, eyes burning.
“I’m so stuffed,” Will moaned as they all piled into the car following the rehearsal luncheon. Everything had gone off without a hitch thus far. It seemed almost too good to be true.
“I told you to take it easy on that pizza,” Lucas said, smiling at his son in the rearview mirror. He looked over at Sami who was busy gazing out the window. “Sami?”
She sighed and turned to look at her fiancé. “Yes?”
“Oh, right,” Sami said. “I guess I got a little distracted, didn’t I?” She fumbled with her seatbelt. Her hands felt clammy and it took some effort before she was finally able to fit the latch into place.
Lucas studied her face for a moment. “Are you okay? You hardly touched your food and you kind of look a little green.”
Sami waved a hand. “I’m fine. Really.” Honestly, she was getting very sick of saying she was fine; she was alright; she okay. Most of the time, it was all a very big lie. “I think I just have a touch of morning sickness. It’ll pass.” She tapped his knee. “Don’t worry about me. Just drive. I need to get home. I still have so many things left to do before the ceremony tomorrow.”
Lucas started up the engine. “Can’t your bridesmaids handle whatever is it that needs doing?”
“They’re doing a lot of the work on their own,” Sami said, “but I am not going to sit around twiddling my thumbs the whole night.”
“The baby is fine,” Sami insisted as Lucas pulled out of the parking lot.
Sami instinctively rested her hand on her stomach. Overnight, a little bump seemed to have sprouted there. Or was she just imagining it? She wasn’t quite three months along, but she had hoped to hide the evidence of her pregnancy a little while longer.
Lucas and Will chatted animatedly as Lucas piloted the Lexus through the streets of Salem. Sami kept her nose pressed to the window, her breath leaving little smudges of moisture on the glass. She didn’t have a lot to say at the moment. She had played the role of the happy, dutiful bride-to-be all day, and now, she was truly exhausted. She was sure her wedding day would be magical, but yet the quiet, ever-present fear that EJ would show up and spoil everything set her teeth on edge.
“We’re here,” Lucas announced needlessly as he pulled into the driveway of their apartment complex.
Will leaned over the seat, resting his skinny elbows on the cushions for a moment. “Can I hang out at Danny’s for awhile?”
“Will, there’s a wedding tomorrow-” Sami started.
“I know, and I’ll be there all day - at the church, and then the reception - so I won’t get to play at all.”
“I thought you were excited about this wedding,” Lucas said.
“I am. I really am. I mean, it’s about time you two got it right.”
Lucas chuckled. He looked over at Sami and brushed a stray tendril of soft blonde hair from her cheek. “Will you listen to our son?”
“Oh, I heard him loud and clear,” Sami said wryly. “But fine, Will, you can hang out at Danny’s place. Provided you’re back in two hours.”
"Okay,” he agreed. He started to climb out of the car but Sami called him back.
“Will, wait. Say goodnight to your father.”
“What? Why?” Will asked.
Lucas looked at Sami quizzically. “Yeah, what he said.”
“Lucas, you’re going to bunk at Billie’s place tonight. It’s all been arranged.”
“Billie and I.”
“So why am I bunking at my sister’s place again?”
“Because it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”
“That’s just a silly old wives’ tale.”
“I’m not taking any chances, especially given our track record.”
“Alright, I’ll just close my eyes then. Or you can blindfold me.”
“Lucas, come on,” Sami said. “I’m being completely serious. I need everything to go right tomorrow.”
“Still, let’s not try to tempt fate,” she said.
“Okay, I’ll go, but only because it obviously means so much to you.”
“Can I walk you to the door at least?”
“I think I can make it a few steps inside without having to lean on your strong shoulders,” she said with a little smile.
Lucas smirked. “Still-”
“I’ll make it just fine on my own, I promise.” Sami leaned over and kissed him softly on the mouth. “Now scram.”
Lucas chuckled. “Okay, okay.” He looked at Will as the boy hopped out of the car and poked his head through the crack in the driver’s side window. “Will, be good for your mom. Be helpful and courteous. Oh, and when she says it’s bedtime, please go to sleep with no complaints this time.”
“I will be on my best behavior,” Will promised. “See you tomorrow!” He practically skipped into the building.
Sami gave Lucas another soft kiss. “Don’t give Billie too much trouble!” She called to him. Then she turned and walked into the building. She spotted Will. He gave her a smile before Danny’s mom opened the door and then he disappeared inside.
Sami rubbed her forehead and started down the hall. Her apartment was at the very end of the building, and the walk there seemed to take an unusually long amount of time.
Holding her keys tightly in her fist, she allowed her eyes to stray to the door across the way. EJ’s place. Or EJ’s former place.
A brand new sign hung on the door that read, “Apartment For Rent.”
She sagged in relief. So EJ wasn’t coming back. That meant she wouldn’t have to see him in passing, or worry that every time she opened her door, he’d be outside, just lying there in wait. He was gone! He was really gone!
She said a silent prayer. God, please let EJ return to whatever hole he crawled out from, get stuck there, and rot for all eternity. Amen.