Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happily Ever After...

Hearing Josh call him dad had Richie pulling him close for a hug. They walked into the kitchen both smiling and talking at the same time. Leana gave a huge sigh of relief and smiled at the sight of them together.

They sat at the table long after dinner was done, sharing stories of Josh’s youth and of Richie’s early days of running around with the band. As they rose from the table Richie thought of something, “Josh, you’ll meet Ava tomorrow.” He turned to Richie, “Ava?” Richie nodded, “your little sister.” Josh smiled, “oh, that’s right, you have a daughter too. I almost forgot.” Richie clapped a hand on his shoulder, “that’s okay; we’ve thrown a lot of stuff at you tonight.” Josh nodded, “yea, I think I’m gonna go to bed and let it all sink in.” He kissed his mother and headed upstairs.

Richie helped Leana put the kitchen to rights and then they both went into the living room. The tree was still lit and they sat on the sofa, enjoying the quiet. As they sat there Richie thought about all he had gained in the last few days. He blew out a quiet breath and Leana looked up at him and was surprised to see a tear trail down his cheek. “Rich, what’s the matter?”

He wiped the tear away and took Leana’s hand, “I was just thinking about everything baby. Do you know you have given me the greatest gift I have ever gotten? For the first time I feel like my family is complete. Tomorrow my son and daughter will meet and, after more than 20 years, we will celebrate the holidays like we should have all along.” Leana hugged him, “it’s a lot to take in, I know.”

Richie stood, walked to the tree and turned to face Leana. “Baby, with all that happened between us, I can hardly believe that we’re here, about to celebrate the holidays not only with our family, but as a family. I can’t begin to describe how I feel. My heart is so full it’s ready to burst out of my chest.” Leana got up and went to him, wrapped her arms around him and looked up into his face, “I’m glad you’re so happy.” He leaned down and kissed her, “there’s only one thing that could make me happier.” Leana’s eyebrow rose in curiosity, “really, what’s that?” He slipped a hand in his pocket, “if you would marry me darlin’.”

Looking up into his face she knew he wasn’t kidding. She looked down and saw the ring he was holding, the stone glistening in the soft light from the tree. She looked back to his face, “yes Rich, yes I’ll marry you.” He slid the ring on her finger and tipped her head back so he could see her face, “I love you darlin’.” A tear slid down her cheek as she looked into his eyes, “I love you too Richie.”