TWO PEOPLE STRUGGLING OUT OF THEIR SORROWS:
The things that impacted Sarah Hunt's young life most completely happened when she was fairly young and also happened in a brief period of time.
Sarah, a lovely red-headed girl with beautiful green eyes was a petite 19 year old, when the world came crashing down upon her.
She'd been raised by a loving Grandma Annie and Grandpa Glen, after her Mom died in the childbirth that brought Sarah to life. She never knew her Mom but had pictures of her on her bureau always, and also had had any number of talks with Grandma Annie about how lovely her Momma had been and how much Sarah looked like her.
Sarah was engaged, after high school to her beau, Jack Liberton. Life was taking on a definite rosy hue for her during that time.
Then Grandma Annie died of a kind of flu infection, that was going around just then. The death took much of the life force out of Grandpa Glen and, during that one year, he followed his Annie into death also.
It left Sarah alone and only with memories. She made a decision for herself, after the death of her Grandma and Grandpa to sell their house and move into an apartment. She and Jack, at that point were serious about getting married and were planning to move away to where his job was, once they were indeed married.
She planned, at that time, a night out with the girls kind of adventure. It was a wild, giggly night for them but ended in a severe auto accident that two both girl friends, the driver and one other girl dead and Sarah unable to move.
In the time that came after the accident, Sarah was confined to a wheel chair, with only very vague hopes of ever being able to walk.
And then the trilogy of disaster of that year was completed, when Jack simply left. He broke it off with Sarah and decamped. He was gone. He apologized, in writing, taking an easy way out for himself, but told her that he couldn't see himself married to a cripple.
Sarah went into a time period of simply gray, gray living. She lived with dreadful thoughts, and was both alone, by choice, and downcast.
The one bright light in all those days for Sarah Hunt was her new job. She got a job as the receptionist at the office of Dr Greg LaGrande, a local and very prominent physician and surgeon.
The job had quite a positive effect on Sarah. She was well accepted by the nurses at the office, was treated with extreme kindness by the boss, Greg LaGrande, and it made a difference for her.
For Sarah the grayness faded, and she began to come out of her long time funk. She became again the charming, laughing and pleasant young lady that she'd been before all of the disasters of that year beset her 'round.
There was still a chink, a major one too, in Sarah's armor. She lived alone and comfortably in her first floor apartment. It was designed to allow her to get around easily in her chair, and with her walker, that she was using more and more, to try to find some strength and build it up by dragging herself around and forcing her legs to work a bit.
She lived alone and had an almost morbid dislike of the holidays.
In her lighter moments, she called herself 'the Grinch' but still never came around to liking Christmas.
Greg LaGrande, Dr. Greg LaGrande had been married at an early age to a high school sweetheart. She'd always had a dark kind of side to her that came out now and then. It was something that she'd tried to hide from Greg but hiding it, once they were married was no longer an option.
They tried to arrange their lives so that they could cope with Amy's dark times but those simply seemed to increase. There were lurking problems in her background that had been caused by a father who'd been abusive. Those problems were always kept buried until they surged and seemed to take over her life and sap her of her life force.
Amy LaGrande retreated into a kind of dementia that was extremely self destructive and simply gave up on any claim to reality.
Greg was forced to institutionalize her for what he'd hoped was only a time period. He met with Amy's doctors any number of times and the prognosis was never good, never encouraging.
As a matter of fact, Amy's grip on reality, which had grown so tenuous, was all but gone by this time. The doctors even told Greg, as kind of friend to friend, to get on with his life. There was never a question about Greg's continued financial care for Amy, he'd set that up and had a major account established for her, that allowed the bills to be paid. But for all intents and purposes, Amy LaGrande was gone, simply gone.
For a time period after Amy'f final retreat into the world that she'd surrounded herself with, kind of for her own protection, Greg too was one who shied away from the holidays. They simply weren't his favorite time of the year.
During an interview that Sarah Hunt went to, because a friend had inside information that Greg was looking for a receptionist, Greg was simply taken by the lovely red-head. He liked her attitude and her determination, it seemed, to get herself moving ahead in her life.
Sarah had made that kind of decision for herself. She came out of her funk and invoked the spirit of Grandma Annie to help her along. She surrounded her life, during that time, with the thoughts of the love that she'd had from her wonderful Grandma and Grandpa, and those thoughts helped to bring her around, to change her outlook and attitude.
The trials at walking had become frustrating and difficult, so Sarah, for a time period—-she told herself —- set those kind of things aside and simply became used to her chair and the walker at need, for the bathroom etc.
The interview with Greg LaGrande went extremely well and Sarah was tickled, when he offered her the job.
"Oh," she gushed at Dr LaGrande, "Dr LaGrande, I will do such a good job for you! Thank you for giving me this chance, opportunity. I'll make sure that you never regret it."
"Watch out, Sarah," he quipped at her then, "I'm known to be a slave driver!"
She giggled then into her hand and said: "You're known to be a teddy bear!"
She got red in the face then and began to apologize for what she'd said, what had blurted out.
He held up a hand, however, and said: "No, I'll take that as a direct compliment from my new, very pretty receptionist."
They ended the interview as friends and became even better friends, as the time went on in the office.
The choice turned out to have been a very good one for Greg. Sarah was well organized and gradually began to take on other functions, replacing the part time book keeper, who was moving from the area, and taking over that kind of responsibility too.
They functioned well together and made it a habit periodically to lunch with each other in one of the back rooms of the office.
Sarah began to keep Greg's schedule also, to keep him on track, and he was relieved to discover that he never needed to worry about schedule items, since Sarah was always on top of those things for him.
Sarah had been working with and for Greg LaGrande for most of the year, during which their relationship had broadened into a grand friendship.
Greg decided to take a few days at the holidays. He thought that it might give him time to get perspective on Christmas and all. He wasn't quite sure how he was going to do that but they'd agreed that they'd close the office for a few days at that time.
Sarah wasn't sure that she particularly liked the idea but wasn't about to say anything to Dr LaGrande. She didn't think it was her place. She knew, from experience, that she could weather the holidays at home. She shut herself in, get the food that she wanted and watch old movies on tv.
That at least was her plan.
They were finished that day, a Wednesday. The office hours had been short ones. Greg had a friend looking after patients in the hospital and was just going to go home and let down. It was his only plan.
He went into the reception area, where Sarah was still working on the books just then.
"Sarah!" he said, and she looked up and smiled at him.
"Dr LaGrande!" she said.
"Still here?" he said, "The Christmas holidays have begun, you should be off and celebrating."
"Don't think so," she said quietly and he wondered at her answer.
"No shopping, last minute or not?" he asked kindly.
"No," she said.
And then the old shadow of what the holidays never meant, or never could mean to her simply overwhelmed her. She began to cry. It was so unlike her that she surprised herself but the grayness of the holidays, right then, was overwhelming.
She cried, her head in her hands and he went closer.
"Sarah," he said softly, "I'm sorry if I..."
She turned to him than and put her arms around his waist and simply cried into his stomach.
"No, no, please," she said, still into his stomach, "It's me and these holidays. It's always been that way, privately for myself."
"Sarah," he said then, "Talk to me!"
"Yes, I'm getting your shirt all wet!" she said, forcing a smile.
He grinned: "All is forgiven."
And she did talk then. It all came up; it all came out. She discovered that she not only was a friend to Greg LaGrande but he was also a very patient and attending listener.
She told her story; the story of the terrible year: her Grandma Annie and Grandpa Glen, the girls' night out accident and its physical result for her, and the abandonment by Jack.
Greg listened and then, when she got to the end of the story, she held onto him again, leaning into him, as he sat knees to knees with her. He moved a bit then and simply gathered her in, with her on his lap and snuggled into him. He let her cry. She did so for a good long period of time.
"I'm so sorry, Dr. LaGrande!" she began.
"Hush, hush, Sarah Hunt," he said softly. "There's no need at all for 'sorries' here."
He paused then and was grinning at her. He said then: "Guess what?"
"What?" she asked, a bit of a smile returning to her face.
"We're going out to dinner and then we're going shopping!"
"Shopping?" she said, with incredulity in her voice.
"Shopping!" he affirmed.
"I"ve no one to shop for!" she said.
"Nor have I!" he said brightly. "But I'm going to, we're going to shop for you for Christmas! There will be all sorts of present, gee gaws and frump wumps wrapped up with Sarah Hunt's names on them: 'From Santa Claus to Sarah'!"
She was giggling by the time he was finished with his declaration. "Frump wumps?" she asked and they both laughed.
"So what do you think?" he asked.
"Don't know what to think!" she said.
"Just put yourself into my hands!" he said. "It's dinner and shopping."
"Yes," she said, still not totally convinced, "Dinner and shopping!"
"This'll be fun!" he said.
"Ohhh," she said then, having had a thought.
"What?" he wanted to know.
"Well, I was looking forward to a shower at home and all; is it possible to go to dinner, after the shower and I change?"
"Wish granted," he said. "You see, Sarah, it's happening already. All Christmas wishes will be granted. That's the way it is."
It left her giggling.
"How shall we arrange it?" she asked.
"Well, I'm ahead of you on that," he said. "I already had my shower in my suite and am ready for serious shopping and dinner!"
"Yes," she acknowledged, "And dinner!"
"How did you come to work?" he wanted to know.
"Bus, as usual," she answered.
"Okay," he said, "I get to be your chauffeur."
"Goodie!" she said, brightening a little and getting into the spirit of it a little. "I get to have a chauffeur."
"You do!" he affirmed. "Okay, we're out of here!" he said.
Greg pushed Sarah's wheel chair to the entrance of the building and said he'd be right there for her.
She was kind of tickled, when he pulled up to the door in a baby blue cadillac sedan.
"Lovely car!" she said with some enthusiasm, as he pushed her to the open passenger door.
She proved quite deft at getting herself into the car from the chair, which he then stowed in the trunk of the car.
"Okay," he said, getting into the car, "Where to? All clean Sarah first before Christmas shopping!"
"And dinner," she said, smiling, "You promised me dinner!"
"I'm up to it!" he said, driving away from the building.
They went to Sarah's apartment building, where he let her off in front and then parked in the lot. She was waiting for him, when he got there.
She went to her door then and let the two of them in.
"You maneuver quite well in that chair!" he said, with admiration.
"Yes," she said, "It was necessary, when all the rest of the things of my life kind of crumbled."
"Make yourself at home," she said, "I'll go and take a quick shower and then I'll be with you."
"Great!" he said.
It might have been nerves that Greg LaGrande was there with her. It might have been nerves about facing Christmas head on with her 'boss'. It might have been just a slip. It might have been any of those things or just chance. But this time the unusual happened. Instead of making it easily into the seat that was in the shower, Sarah ended up on the floor with a plop.
She knew that she could get herself out of the situation; she'd certainly done it before. But this time, Greg heard the commotion and the noise and was there in the bathroom immediately.
She sat there and had a very red face, since she was now naked and on the floor. Sarah had developed a kind of an outlook, during her struggles with her injury, her feelings about the holidays, the losses in her personal life. It was an outlook that helped her defuse situations by a kind of humor. It worked for her periodically. That came to her rescue this time also.
"Oops!" she said,"I fell on my butt!"
"I noticed," Greg said, standing in the doorway and matching Sarah's smile with his own.
"I'm naked," she said now, as much as a kind of expression of surprise as anything.
He grinned and said: "I hadn't noticed!"
"Liar, liar, pants on fire!" she intoned and giggled.
"Who me?" he said.
"What do I do?" she asked then, to herself and to him.
"Well," he said, "It seems to me that you can either sit there or let me help you."
"Dr. LaGrande!" she said, a kind of threat creeping into her voice.
"Yes, Ma'am," he said coming across the room to where she was sitting.
Then she began to give in to it, all of it again, and the tears were in the corners of her eyes; they were showing and threatening to trail down her cheeks.
"My," he said with good humor, as he got to her, "You do need some caring for."
"Yes," she said. "At times!"
He bent to her then to pick her up. He had her in his arms, with her arms around his neck.
She said a very soft 'thank you'.
And then Greg LaGrande simply gave in to what the was thinking.
"Sarah, Sarah!" he said, kissing her cheek. "You are breathtakingly, blindingly beautiful!"
"Ohhhhhhhh," she sighed, "I haven't heard anything like that in so long!"
"Someone's not be doing their duty," he came back to her with.
"Thank you, Dr LaGrande," she said.
"It's Greg," he said then, "After all, one of us is naked here."
"Yes," she said, with a kind of giggle, still refusing to let the gloom get the upper hand, as it so normally did, when she was alone with her thoughts and the holidays and all.
He said to her then: "Okay, what do you want? What would be the best for this lovely princess named Sarah?"
Sarah smiled at him and kissed his cheek. She thought a few seconds and responded in the spirit that the question contained.
"Oh,!" she said. " Since I'm already naked..."
"You are?" he exclaimed and grinned at her. "But hey, you are naked!"
"I'll get you, mister!" she threatened.
"It's Doctor, by the way," he said pleasantly.
"I'll get you, Doctor!" she threatened then.
"As I was saying," she went on, "Since I'm already naked —- no, don't you dare say anything!"
He grinned at her then.
"I want a bath! I never take baths because it's so hard to get out of the tub,..."
"A bath it is!" he said, "Never let it be said that I've let my Sarah down in her time of need."
She giggled at that, as he began to draw hot water into tub. Then, when the water was ready, he carefully put her into the tub, and he began the process of washing her.
She lay back in the tub and let it simply overwhelm her. He was using a soft sponge and a wash cloth and was washing her everywhere. Now and then she let out an 'eeep', when he got personal but all she got from him was a grin and the statement: "I am, after all, a doctor!"
"Yes," she affirmed, "But I am after all naked."
"Naked!" he exclaimed again, "I hadn't noticed!"
She hit him with her fist then and he laughed.
"Sarah," he said, then with complete earnestness, "I have to be funny about this or I will simply weep for the beauty of you!"
She sighed then and he went on, following his thoughts of the moment.
"You are simply gorgeous, a beautiful looking woman! Lovely auburn hair, almost black with lovely reddish highlights. Breasts that are comely and, I guess, perky. Nipples that are a beauty in themselves! Smooth skin and an appealing plane down your stomach to the most gorgeous nest of female hair that I've ever witnessed."
She had her head back, her eyes partly closed and was simply sighing.
"You're making love to me!" she said, "Actually making love to me with your words! I love that!"
"I know, Sarah, that this is totally an accident," he went on, "Yet I wouldn't trade it for the world!"
He grinned at her then and said, "Okay, let's stand you up; I need to get really personal now."
She gave out another 'eeep', as he hauled her to her feet and did indeed get personal, washing her between her legs and then up and down and around her butt cheeks and butt crack. It actually made her giggle.
"Ready to get you out now?" he asked. "You know what we have on our agenda?"
"Yes," she crowed, "Dinner and shopping!"
"Yes, the very same!" he said, lifting her out of the tub.
He had a big fluffy towel now and had her wrapped in the towel, drying her off totally.
He asked her then: "The balance, a frequent problem?"
"No," she said, "Not really. I think it was nerves today, because you were here. Normally, I'm fine getting from the chair or the walker into the shower. It's just the bath that I pretty much avoid. It's so tough to get up."
"But your prognosis?" he asked.
"Oh," she said, "That's stupid me. With all the gloom that I've been allowing myself to wallow in and all, I stopped trying to make progress. Just stopped."
"Okay," he proclaimed, "That's on our agenda! We're going to get you rehabbed! I have, at my house, a full workout room, with everything that we could need. We might need, at first, a pt person but then we'll do it ourselves. But we're going to get you rehabbed. I mean, I love coming in here with you naked and plunked down on your butt! I love that but won't be around all the time."
Her reaction was to put her arms around his neck and hold onto him.
"I don't know what to say!" she said.
"Just say 'yes', that you'll let me help you!" he said then.
"Yes, I will!" she said.
They didn't say anything more about it right then. It seemed as though the situation was settled between them and that they were in a kind of agreement.
"Now?" he said.
"Well," she replied, with a giggle, "I need to get dressed if we're going out!"
"Don't on my account!" he said, grinning.
She hit him on the shoulder and said: "Beast!"
(She very quickly apologized and said that she didn't mean that, and that he was taking such good care of her.)
"Oh, I can be a beast," he replied, his grin still fixed on his face, "If that's what you really need!"
"Dr LaGrande!" she said explosively.
"Okay," he said, holding up his hands defensively. "I'll behave."
"Don't think I was asking for that, really!" she said, kind of surprising herself, and putting her hand over her mouth as she giggled.
"I'll remind you of that later sometime," he said.
"Walker!" she said, and, as he watched, she shuffled off to her bedroom.
"Yoiks!" he exclaimed. "Look at the ass on this babe!"
She stopped her shuffling and grinned at him, over her shoulder.
"You fine now?" he asked then. "I'll wait in the living room for you."
"Yes, thank you!" she said.
She had indeed made enough progress, through mainly trial and error, that she knew how to dress herself. She did that now.
When she was done, she went into the living room, where he was waiting for her. She shuffled along with her walker.
He was smiling, when she entered the room.
"There's the beauty!" he said, and she smiled at him.
She went forward until she could hug him.
He whispered to her: "Sarah, this wasn't planned. Not any of it. I rejoice in all that has happened this afternoon. I just want you to know that."
"Thank you," she said back to him, her lips at his ears. "It surprises me and is kind of frightening a bit, in a way."
"Yes, it is!" he said then, "But I know what we can do."
"What?" she asked.
"We can go to dinner and then shopping!" he declared.
"Yes," she replied, "Dinner and shopping. Oh! It's been years, since I've been Christmas shopping."
"Be a nice treat then," he said. "You ready for your servant to whisk you and your chair away?"
"Ready, Charles!" she quipped. "Take me to the car."
"Hey, I'm Greg!" he remonstrated, "You have me mixed up with another one of your hangers on!"
She gave him a grin and said: "Sorry, Greg!!" It left both of them laughing.
DINNER AND SHOPPING:
He left her in her chair, in the lobby of the building and went to fetch his car.
He got her into the car and the chair in the back and then got in himself.
"I love this car!" she said, running her hands over the white leather interior.
"Thanks!" he said, "It's a beauty, like you!" She blushed at that.
"How about 'Groucho's' at the mall?" he said.
"Oh, isn't that expensive?" she said.
"Yep," he said, "But I'm a part owner; they'll take good care of us there."
"Goodie!" she said then, "'Groucho's' it is!"
He parked the car at the mall, and got the chair out of the trunk, where they'd stowed it. Then they went happily into the mall. It was near this entrance that the restaurant 'Groucho's' was located.
He was cordially greeted by the manager, when they arrived.
"Hey, Greg!" the manager said. They shook hands and shared a hug.
"Ray Wilson," Greg said, "My lovely companion is Sarah Hunt. She works for me, so don't ask her questions about my finances, I pay her mostly to cook the books for me!"
"Got you!" Ray said, and then to Sarah: "Ma'am, you're in certifiably bad company tonight!"
"I know it!" Sarah said with a grin, giving Ray her hand.
"Okay, you two, ease up," Greg said with a smile. "I'm on my best behavior here!"
"Well," Ray said, "In that case, let me show you to a table! Maggie will be your waitress tonight."
They were delighted with the shrimp creation that was one of the day's specials on the menu. They each had that, and also each had a glass of white.
"I'll stop at one," he said to her, in a confidential manner, "After all, I'm driving both the chair and the car! And picking you up now and then naked from the bathroom floor!"
She put her hand over her mouth and giggled into her hand.
"You are such a handful, Dr LaGrande!" she said.
"You just bring out the best in me!" he said, laughing with her.
Then they went shopping. They were both in a good mood from the wonderful dinner and were laughing as they ventured out into the mall to begin their process of looking at store windows and the like.
They simply strolled, stopping frequently to look in the shop windows.
"Oh, Dr. LaGrande," Sarah said with some emotion in her voice, "It hasn't been this way, hasn't felt this way in so long! I forgot how much fun Christmas shopping could be!"
"Yes," he agreed, "It's lovely!"
They went smilingly on up the mall concourse.
They got to a jewelry store and she exclaimed: "Oh, look!"
He followed her pointing and saw that she was looking at their display of special earrings.
"Aren't they lovely!" she said enthusiastically.
"Yes," he said, "Gorgeous, like you!"
She turned her head to look at him, after his comment and simply put her face aside to kiss his hand on the back of the chair.
"Okay!" he said, decisively, "Let's see what they've got."
"Ohhhhh," she said as he wheeled her into the store.
A stately looking, older gray haired woman met them and asked if she could be of any help.
"It's for my granddaughter here," he said, and that set Sarah off giggling. The woman smiled at his words also.
"Aren't you Dr Greg LaGrande?" the woman asked.
"Infamous!" Sarah quipped and they all laughed.
"Yes, we're interested especially in earrings for, um," he looked then, and said: "Pierced ears."
"Yes, Doctor, this way," the woman said.
They got to the display case and the woman, very politely said "And your granddaughter here is?"
"My assistant from work," he replied, "She does our books so I have to be nice to her."
Sarah was grinning again now.
The lady nodded.
"Actually," Greg went on, "She is the light in my life; that's what she is!"
That earned him another kiss on the hand.
But then he flustered Sarah completely. The woman was in the process of showing them the various pierced earring sets.There was a variety.
At one point, Sarah was trying on a pair of small emeralds.
"Oh, look at how they match your eyes!" he said with enthusiasm.
"Yes, sir, Doctor," the sales woman ventured, "They certainly do!"
"I think we'll take them!" he said.
"What?" Sarah fairly squeaked, and he only smiled at her, saying: "Yes, love, Christmas is coming!"
Sarah got teary eyed immediately, and the woman walked away to ring up his credit card.
"I ... I don't know what to say!" Sarah said, her face showing telltale signs of her struggling emotions.
"Then don't say anything!" he said. "And you only get to open this gift on Christmas!"
"Oh, goodie!" she said then, with him wiping tears from her cheeks, "Christmas!"
But Greg wasn't finished. He then asked the sales woman to show them a matched set of diamond studs for Sarah's ears and a diamond solitaire pendant.
There were a few of those to be shown and Sarah ended kind of huffing and puffing from her emotions.
"Are you alright, dear?" the sales woman asked.
"Yes," Sarah stumbled, "It's just ... just that Christmas hasn't been like this for so many years ... so many years." Her face brightened then and said: "And my Grandpa here is being so nice to me." She did manage to end what she was saying with a giggle. It caused both Greg and the sales lady to smile.
As the sales lady was about to wrap the diamonds up, Greg said: "The emeralds are for Christmas; these are for now."
She helped Sarah fit the diamonds into her ears and Greg fixed the clasp of the diamond pendant.
Sarah put her hand over the pendant and said a soft 'Thank you!' to him.
Then they were outside the store. Sarah's hand kept going to the diamond around her neck.
"That was so nice!" she said. "I hardly know what to say!"
"Yes, you do," he said, "You say it all the time. But how about a cup of coffee now and we can do some people watching."
They staked out an 'outside' table at a coffee shop and sat with coffee and a pastry to watch people for a bit.
They sat next to one another, almost knees to knees.
"You okay?" he asked softly, putting his hand over hers.
"Yes," she answered, "Just kind of shocked at your goodness. I don't know why."
"Probably because it's not the norm for you!" he ventured.
"Oh, you're right," she said, shaking her head in agreement. "The holidays have been so bad from all of it, all of the down turning of events in my life."
She sighed then but went on: "It just seems that this is the very first light that I've known in so long for the holidays."
She looked at him and he was smiling at her.
"And please don't think, Greg, that it's because you bought me something!"
"I know it's not," he said, "But I also know how much I enjoyed that! So, I intend to buy some more. We're not finished shopping!"
"We're not?" she said in a tiny voice.
"Not by a long shot," was his reply.
They went to the mall's major department store then.
"What now?" she asked.
"Unmentionables!" he said, "Unmentionables for Sarah!"
"What?" she said, getting red in the face.
"Yep," he said, "Gonna let everyone watch me buying panties for you!"
She put her hand over her mouth and began to giggle.
Then there was another sales woman, also a bit older and very stately looking.
"Yes, can I be of any help?" she asked.
"Yes," Greg said, in a brash voice. "Undies for the beauty!"
"Yes, sir!" the woman said, smiling at both of them.
"She's in that chair," Greg said, "But she has a fantastic butt!"
Sarah hooted with laughter then and the sales woman, grinning said: "Yes, I'm sure she does!"
Then the woman was showing them the possibilities. Greg let Sarah pick out the panties that she liked, though he did put in his 'two cents' in favor of a few pairs of stretch lace panties, both white and pink.
As they were walking away from the counter, Sarah grinned at him and said: "You are such a rascal!"
He laughed and said: "Glad you know what I'm like! And you are my beauty."
She got a very strange look on her face, having heard what he said and she replied, very softly: "Is that what I am? Is it, Greg? Am I your beauty?"
"Is that what you want to be?" he asked her in as soft a voice.
"Oh, yes!" she said. "That's what I want!"
He leaned down to kiss her then.
"I'm just sorry that I'm in this chair so much!" she said, again with a sigh.
"Rehabbing starts soon!" he said, "My house in the workout room! Serious rehabbing!"
"Oh, how nice!" she said, "The best gift of all."
They went on and she insisted that they stroll through the men's department. There was a display there of sleep shorts that they passed. On one of the models was a pair of sleep shorts that had 'the Grinch' on them. They were green and black.
"Stop!" Sarah said majestically.
"Yes, my lady?" he asked.
The salesman was there immediately and asked if he could help.
"Yes," Sarah said, "I want two pair of those 'Grinch' shorts for my Grinch here."
Greg hooted with laughter, and she turned to him and said: "Christmas is coming!"
"Yes, it is!" he said.
Sarah was intensely proud of her purchase. She had them wrapped and put them in her lap.
They wandered then out into the mall again, where Greg had yet another idea.
"I know what we need," he said. "And I know just where t o get it."
He wheeled her off into the mall with a secret purpose. He knew that there was a brand new Apple store really nearby and he took Sarah there.
"Oh, the new Apple store!" she said, as they entered.
"Yes?" one of the attendants asked immediately. "We need a new iPhone for Sarah," He said, and she gave him another questioning look.
"Don't say it," he responded. "I'm having a good time shopping with Sarah!"
"Ohhh," she said, "This is so expensive."
"Hush," he said, "You keep the books; you above all know that I can afford it!"
"You're spoiling me!" she said wistfully.
"Finally getting the message?" he asked pleasantly.
She reached for him then and pulled his head down for a kiss. Then the sales person was back with Sarah's new iPhone. They picked a data plan for it, and Greg paid for the phone and the data plan, a year in advance.
MORE NEW THINGS FOR CHRISTMAS:
Sarah was tickled, as the sales person walked her through what her phone could do.
They walked out of the store, and she said: "Greg, I don't know what to say."
"Well, I do," he said, "And I'm trying to say it by what I'm doing!"
He smiled at her: "I'm trying to show you how special you are to me. But I have an idea. It's only 7:45 PM. We have time, if you will, to go to my place and decorate the Christmas tree. Will you?"
"Lovely idea!" she said, "I haven't had one for a long time."
"Well, it's about time then," he responded.
They went to the car, with him wheeling her. Then they put her packages in the back seat and he got her snuggled into the front seat.
"Won't take us long to get there," he told her.
They went out of the mall then and headed to his house. The route took them down a stretch of a freeway kind of road and then onto a side road. It was while they were moving along on the side road that they both saw, on the side of the road a box. Then suddenly a head poked up above the rim of the box, once the car's headlights shone on it.
"Ohhhhh," Sarah wailed, "Look, look! It's a kitten! Please stop!"
Greg stopped the car and went out. He was soon back holding in his hands a very small, abandoned orange tiger striped kitten.
"Here you go," he said, "A little boy for you!"
"Ohhhhhh," Sarah said, as she nuzzled the kitten, who was immediately purring furiously.
Greg got into the car, while Sarah snuggled the kitten, who, seeming to feel at home right away, rolled into a ball, still purring and settled down on Sarah's lap.
"Oh," she said, with a sudden realization. "I can't have pets at my apartment."
"Well, we can have pets at my place," Greg said. "So, that's what we'll do."
"Yes, wonderful!" she said.
"Need to make a turn here and stop at WalMart for some kitten things," he added.
That was their next stop. They stopped at the WalMart and he left her and the kitten in the car, while he went in for a dish, litter, a pan for the litter, food and even a few cat toys."
"All ready," he said, as he got back into the car. The kitten lifted it's head and made some noises then, as though to welcome Greg back.
"I just love him," she said, "Little Maxie!"
"Maxie?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, looking at Greg and smiling, "He whispered his name to me."
"Good for Maxie!" he said. "Now home for all of us; get the kitten settled and trim the Christmas tree. I even have some wine. I intend to get you drunk and take advantage of you!"
She giggled and said to the kitten: "Listen to what your Daddy is saying to Mommie, Maxie!"
Greg hooted at that, and reached over to kiss the side of her face.
"You're precious!" he said, "You and your Maxie!"
"Our Maxie!" she corrected him.
"Yes," he agreed, "Our Maxie!"
They got home to Greg's place and did indeed get Maxie settled with some food, the litter pan and a soft, plush bed for him. The kitten showed his tiredness by settling down right away into the softness of the bed that they provided for him.
He wheeled Sarah into the living room, where the Christmas tree was indeed waiting for them.
She sat as he gathered the items for the tree and she gave him advice, while he went about the decorating of the tree.
He put some Christmas music on for them, while the tree trimming went on.
"Sorry, I can't be more help!" she said.
"We're going to work on that," he declared. "Rehabbing here at the house, starting probably tomorrow!"
"I'm looking forward to that so much!" she said.
She had a reflective moment then and said: "You must think I'm terrible stopping my rehabbing like I did."
"I think that you had a terrible, terrible time and some really bad things happened and it was fairly overwhelming!" he said.
"Oh, you're so nice and understanding!" she said. "And here I come!"
She struggled up from her chair then and, using the walker, went to him, putting, at the last, as she reached him, her arms around his neck. He held her then, his hands clasped around her waist.
They kissed and then he whispered into her ear: "Bath tonight?"
"Oh, yes," she said, enthusiastically, "I love baths!"
"Then maybe new panties for bed?" he asked, leering at her.
"You're keeping me?" she asked softly, half serious and half in humor.
"Certainly am!" he said, "You've been my focus for so long and I have you now. Won't let you go; just won't!"
They kissed then and the kiss was interrupted by Maxie, who was up out of his bed and rubbing against their legs.
"Maxie agrees!" she said, picking the kitten up to join their hug.
She got settled into the tub. He'd said that he wanted to bathe her again, and she readily agreed.
A feeling of complete love came over her. Here was a situation that she'd not thought possible. She'd been so long in her own gray funk, from all that had happened. And as for Greg LaGrande, she always thought him handsome. She'd had what she called 'school girl' feelings about him but kept them pressed down and out of sight. She just wasn't going to go into that, she'd decided, and let herself in for one more major defeat. But this situation had hold of her and she could only sigh.
"Yes," he asked, 'The sighing?"
"Oh, it's that this is what I've wanted for such a while, and never thought it was possible. I mean that you and I were possible! It makes me sigh."
"But got you now, I do!" he said, "Got you naked now, I do!" He gave a kind of a dirty laugh then.
"I'm in the hands of a dirty old man!" she said happily.
"Hey," he remonstrated, "I'm not that much older than you!"
"Yes, but you qualify as a dirty old man! My dirty old man!" she explained.
"Yep, I do!" he said with a laugh. "Me here clothed and you gloriously, wonderfully, erotically naked!"
"Oh and by the way," he said.
She looked at him then. He had her resting against the wall to help her keep her balance. She shrieked. He had his phone out and was taking a picture of her!
"You dirty old man!" she said, and he grinned.
Then she shot her hands up in the air, in a semi-theatric pose and let him take the pictures.