Warning: A bit long.

Spring 2010 Gregory is 31, Nina is 29, Alexa is 4 and Reagan is 1 (Samuel Heredon is 30)

AKiss

Even after their worse moments her husband can still surprise her. When Gregory pulls her outside on his way to the company car and tenderly kisses her in full view of the neighborhood, shock can barely describe how Nina feels. His grip on her waist is firm, he holds her left hand over his heart and she melts, allowing this past week of frustration to sail away on the bliss of his lips.

For Gregory to show this level of affection outside of their house and in full view of the people he works with means he is truly sorry for taking his work home with him. The honk and cheers of his coworkers pull them apart and they smile at each other, tension and hurt easing with flaring passion.

“I know,” Gregory hesitates, averting his eyes before continuing. “I know I’ve been a bit unbearable this week and I’m sorry. I know better than to take my frustrations out on you. My father always -”

She kisses him firmly, cutting off his sentence. Nina already knows what he’s going to say and she made a promise to herself that she would keep both of their pasts from ruining their marriage. She had left Pleasantview behind and all she asked is that he leaves his father’s faults and indiscretions out of their marriage. “Do you love me?”

“Of course,” Gregory presses her hand closer to his chest, his heart beating faster. “How can you ask that?”

Forgiveness

“And I love you” Nina is always surprised that she means it, that she actually loves him. “So, let’s keep the past from interfering. We’ll fight and we’ll argue but we’ll still love and that’s all that matters to me.”

Gregory waves to the men waiting in the car before pulling her close once again. “How about a date tonight? We can use Sam’s babysitter and go to the new jazz lounge over on 4th, how does that sound?”

“Yes! That would be amazing. Rachel invited to go but I this is much better.” Nina runs her hand through his silky brown hair and giggle when his coworkers start honking again. “You better go before they come and grab you.”

Timespent

She spends most of the day with Reagan, making sure he’s progressing on the path the pediatrician had advised. The pediatrician had assured her and Gregory that it’s normal for preemies to lag behind in terms of development.

So Nina works with Reagan slowly, punctuating his work with letters and coloring with games of peek-a-boo and lots of kisses. It’s fun with Reagan in a way it had never been fun with Alexa. Alexa’s birth had nosedived her confidence. She’d felt fat, unattractive, inexperienced and on top of everything Gregory had wanted everything to be perfect in a way she simply couldn’t handle.

Nina had allowed Gregory to take over most of Alexa’s care and even now their bond is strong. Reagan was her redemption and remains so. He’d been so sick Nina hadn’t wanted anyone else to take care of him but her and the bond that had formed defined their relationship even now.

She eventually puts him down for a nap before starting her beauty process. Nina is just finishing her hair, a sleek high ponytail that shows off the radiance of her red hair, when the door bell rings. She quickly checks on Reagan before heading downstairs.

Greeting

“Sam, what are you doing out of the office?”

Samuel laughs before pulling Nina in for a hug. “My secretary pushed me out. She informed me that I am not allowed back there for at least an hour.”

“Smart lady, remind me to send her some flowers…orchids I think. You work too hard”

He laughs again, tossing his hair out of his face. “Why does everyone say that?”

Work

“If I did not spend the time I do in the office none of you would have the quality newspaper you get every morning. I refuse to have that continent paper gain ground on the island my forefathers cultivated. I will not be disgraced that way.”

Nina smirks at the sneer on his face. “Relax Sam, you always manage to remind me why you and Gregory are such good friends.”

“I am not a hard ass.”

“Well at least you have your work. He’s implacable on my idea to work once Reagan starts school. ” Nina pulls Sam into the living room. “I mean I love the kids but I miss dancing. I always wanted to open a dance studio.”

His smile fades a bit before he agrees with her softly. “Yes, there is always work”

Noticing his lack of enthusiasm, Nina takes in Sam’s hunched shoulders, the blank look in his blue eyes and immediately feels contrite. Sometimes she lets her mouth get too far ahead of her. “Dammit Sam, I’m sorry. I for-”

MyBad

Sam cuts her off. “There is not any need. To tell you the truth, one of the reason I almost never leave the office is because I am tired of people being anxious around me. It has been two years. Yes, it still hurts but the kids and I are fine. We are managing. I am going to head back now, ok?”

Nina stares at him for a few moments. She knows he isn’t really doing that well. She knows that he spends his time at the newspaper to stay out of his house and away from the memories. She knows he avoids his children because Sofia has her smile and Chance her eyes. Nina smiles at him because they both know he’s lying and their isn’t anything she can do about it.

“Ok, but take a walk around the park. Get an ice cream, feed the ducks and just enjoy a little bit of fresh air.”

“Of course. I’ll have the babysitter bring Sofia over this weekend like I promised her.” He says before placing a kiss on her cheek and leaving.

Nina sighs allowing Sam’s problems to overtake her for a few minutes. Maybe I can set him up with someone. She sneers at her own thought, there she went thinking like a Caliente : every person can be replaced by another. Moving upstairs she goes back to process of readying for her date, once again pushing away the influences of the past.

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