Romance in the Secret Garden
Trials and Tribulations
I get out of bed as quietly as possible not wanting to wake him yet. The alarm should be going off in fifteen minutes, and I know he won’t get up if I’m still in bed. I smile down at my boyfriend’s sleeping form and resist the urge to touch his face. Lately, it’s not often Adam looks completely relaxed, and I frown at that thought. I turn away and head out to the kitchen to start making breakfast. About fifteen minutes later I hear the alarm going off and a slam as it’s silenced. Adam comes shuffling into the kitchen and kisses me on the head in passing.
“You’re evil, you know that?” he grumbles, his voice still thick with sleep.
I chuckle, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I woke up before the alarm and decided to make you breakfast. You can’t fault me for that.”
Adam cuts me a look, but goes back to eating. I smile into my tea and continue reading the newspaper.
“The trainers are going to assess my leg today to see if I can start skating with the team again,” he mentions out of the blue.
“Oh?” is my only comment.
I’m not sure what else to say because he hasn’t really wanted to talk about his injury anymore after the most recent set back. I could see how upset and frustrated he’s been since the team put him on another couple weeks rest. Adam had just recently started skating on his own and said it felt great so far.
“Yeah,” he continues, “the doctor officially cleared me so now it’s up to the team trainers and coaches. I just want to get back into it already.”
I go over to where Adam is sitting to wrap my arms around him from behind and rest my head on his shoulder.
“I know babe. I know how much you miss playing. I’ve hated seeing you so miserable, but this is good news,” I say trying to comfort him.
Adam sighs and puts his head in his hands, “I’m afraid I’m going to hurt myself again like the last time. I don’t want to get back into skating with my teammates just to fuck up my leg for the millionth time.”
“Hey now,” I reprimand softly moving around to sit in his lap and make him look at me, “I know it’s hard, but you have to try to stay positive. Thinking like that isn’t going to help you. You’re going to get back into the game, and you’re going to kick ass!”
That finally gets a smile out of him, “Thanks Sam. I don’t know what I would do without you anymore.”
“You’d probably drown in your own misery or force Dougie to beat you out of annoyance,” I joke.
Adam tickles my sides making me squirm and laugh before pulling me closer. I lean in and give him a quick kiss before jumping off his lap and out of his reach.
“Oh come on,” he pouts.
“You need to get ready for practice, and I need to get ready for work,” I say slinking off to the shower.
Adam is just finishing buttoning his shirt as I walk into our bedroom wearing just a towel. He grabs me and crushes me against his body. The kiss is full of heat and passion. We’ve been together for three years, yet this man still makes me weak in the knees. Unfortunately, the kiss ends just as quickly as it began and we’re both left panting.
Adam smirks, “That’s what you get for letting me wake up alone in bed.”
“That’s a price I am always willing to pay,” I retort as I start to dry my hair.
“I bet. Love you Sam,” he says as he heads for the door.
“Love you too and good luck! I’ll see you later,” I call after him.
I spend most of the work day worrying about what the trainers will say to Adam. Not being able to play hockey has put a lot of strain on Adam and also on us. Being home so much has made him beyond grumpy at this point, and he’s driving me insane. I had gotten used to the distance that comes with dating a hockey player so I didn’t know what to do with him home every day. At first it was nice, especially when I came home to dinner being cooked for me, but there was definitely some friction. No hockey player wants to be out of the game long, if at all if they can help it. I did my best not to take it to heart when Adam would snap at me for whatever reason. I did what I could to be as positive as possible. I really hope he is back out on the ice defending the net soon.
“Ms. Birmingham, Adam McQuaid is on line two for you,” my secretary says through the intercom.
“Thank you Julie,” I respond and click over, “Hey you, what’s up?”
“Are you busy right now?” he asks.
“No,” I reply, “I’m just prepping for the big meeting Monday. Why?”
“I just really need to talk to you,” Adam says in a serious tone.
I feel my stomach drop and prepare for the worst, “Babe, what’s wrong?”
It’s silent for a couple seconds before Adam goes, “I started skating with the team today, and the projection is next week at the earliest!”
“You asshole,” I voice letting out the breath I was holding, “you scared the crap out of me with how serious you sounded. But I am so happy for you!”
“I’m sorry,” Adam apologizes though not really meaning it, “but I couldn’t not mess with you. It was too good of an opportunity.”
“Yeah well we’ll see how good of an opportunity it was when I get home later,” I tease.
“Why do I have a feeling that I’ll actually enjoy this punishment,” he replies.
I giggle, “Because you probably will. Adam, I really am so happy about the news. I told you the worst was over.”
“I know,” he concedes, “but I can’t help that it looked so bleak sometimes. Thank you for putting up with my miserable ass. You’re amazing.”
“I’m not that amazing. I just get how frustrating it is not to be able to do what you love. It’s been a rough couple of months for both of us, but I certainly didn’t expect it to always be sunshine and rainbows. I love you more than anything, Adam and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” I state my voice straining with emotion.
“I love you too Sammy. And you are absolutely the most amazing person to me. You aren’t allowed to say anything different. I’m a lucky guy,” he says.
I chuckle, “Yeah you are, but now I need to get back to work. I’ll see you when I get home later.”
“Bye baby,” Adam replies and hangs up.
I get back to work with a big smile plastered on my face, though by the end of the day it has dimmed a bit. One of the interns accidentally deleted a good portion of presentation slides needed for a meeting on Monday.I had to stop what I was doing to try and recover the lost work. Thankfully one of my partners had a back up drive, but it was still annoying. That intern is on mail duty until I say otherwise. When I get home, I’m expecting Adam to be waiting for me inside, but the apartment is empty. I’m a bit confused and disappointed because I could really use a hug. I wander into the kitchen and find a note on the island:
“Hey babe, I hope the rest of your day went well. I have a surprise for you. Go look in the bedroom. Love, Adam.”
I stare at the mysterious note for a bit before curiosity wins out and I head into our bedroom. I can’t help but gasp when I see what’s laid out on the bed. A week or so ago, Adam and I had been walking around Boston when a dress in a store front caught my attention. It was a beautiful coral color accented with lace. The dress cinched at the waist before flaring out down to mid thigh. It was also strapless with a sweetheart neckline. It had been breathtaking, but at the time I couldn’t think of where I would wear it so I kept walking. That dress was now right in front of me. That little shit had been paying attention, which I should have expected. Most guys weren’t as observant as Adam. I’m a very lucky girl. As I pick up the dress, another note falls onto the bed:
“I bet you thought I hadn’t been paying attention the other day. Aren’t I just full of surprises? The dress is only the beginning. Be downstairs in the front lobby at seven o’clock. I’d emphasize not being late, but you’re the epitome of punctual. Love ya beautiful!”
I shake my head and laugh to myself. What is my boyfriend up to? I look at the clock and realize I only have an hour to get ready. I take a quick shower so I can redo my make-up and hair. My hair had been up in a bun all day and that is not how I am going to wear it with such a gorgeous dress. After I blow dry my hair, I curl it into big banana curls. I put on foundation, mascara, dark brown eyeliner, and shimmery white eye shadow. I also add coral lipstick that matches the dress. I choose a pair of nude platform heels and a gold heart pendant for jewelry. I grab a matching purse, a tan single button suit jacket, and head out the door with five minutes to spare. The desk receptionist, Anne, greets me and points to a black town car waiting outside. The driver hands me another note once I reach him:
“Have I peaked you’re curiosity yet? I was tempted to have you blindfolded at this point, but I figured you’d kill me. The driver is going to take you to where we went on our first date. Be sure to give my name to the hostess.”
I thank the driver and get into the car. As much as Adam has in fact peaked my interest, I can also feel myself getting nervous. It’s like I’m actually going on a first date again. We pull up in front of the building, and I wait for the driver to open the door. I give him a smile in thanks and head inside. I try to look for Adam in the busy restaurant as I approach the hostess.
“May I help you,” she asks.
I reply, “Yes, reservations for Adam McQuaid.”
“Oh yes, of course.Here you are,” and the girl hands me yet another note:
“I swear this will be the last note. Head over to the elevator and press R for the roof top terrace. ;)”
I sigh in mild annoyance, but do as the note says. A few moments later the elevator doors open and I’m rendered speechless. I have never been on the terrace here, and now I’m a little upset that I haven’t. It’s beautiful. There are colorful flowers everywhere and tiny lights sparkle through the trees and shrubbery. I look around in complete wonder until my gaze settles on the most important thing. Adam stands a few feet to my left impeccably dressed in a dark blue suit and crisp white shirt.
“You know this isn’t exactly like our first date,” I comment walking towards him.
He smiles mischievously, “I know. This is way better. I couldn’t think of a better way to show how much I love and appreciate you.”
“You could have just told me so,” I suggest still flustered by the end results of the notes.
“But what’s the fun in that?” Adam retorts, “Besides you should have seen your face when the elevator doors opened. Completely worth all the planning.”
“Well look at this place,” I exclaim throwing my hands out around me, “It’s gorgeous.”
“So are you,” he adds pulling me into a hug.
“Damn you’re corny tonight,” I say hiding my blush against his chest.
Adam is by far the most romantic guy I have ever dated and sometimes I just don’t know how to respond to it. It could be overwhelming, but I wasn’t going to ask him to tone it down. Adam lifts my face up to his for a chaste kiss then leads me over to a table and pulls out the chair for me. Within minutes, two servers arrive with our food and wine. I can’t help smiling when I see that Adam had them make one of my favorite dishes; grilled salmon in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette with zucchini and summer squash. My equally delicious boyfriend opted for the scrumptious filet mignon.
“So what is all this?” I finally ask sipping my wine.
“It’s a dinner date with my girlfriend,” Adam replies simply.
I snort, “No really babe what is all this? I mean I know we haven’t been out on a date in a while, but damn you didn’t have to go all out.”
“Of course I did,” he states, “you deserve this. You’ve been so patient and supportive during this whole injury shit. And I wanted to say how sorry I am for all the fighting because you don’t need to come home from a stressful day at work to then deal with my whiny ass.”
I reach for his hand across the table, “Adam, please don’t apologize for the fighting. It’s bound to happen in a relationship, and we usually resolved them pretty quickly. Besides, you didn’t start all those fights so we can share the blame. I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful for tonight. It is amazing, thank you. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Adam says and kisses my hand.
We continue eating and talk about our day until the servers take the plates away. I wander over to the railing looking out over the city and its beautiful sunset.
Adam joins me, “I love it here. I hope I never leave.”
“I hope you don’t either or I’m going to have to go looking for another boyfriend. Although I heard through the grapevine Kevan is newly single,” I joke.
Adam gently hip checks me, “That’s cold Sam. Would you really stay and let me leave?”
I turn to him and look up with a dead serious expression on my face, “Of course not, I go where you go. I can take my business anywhere and Boston is just a location. My home is wherever you are.”
Adam smiles warmly and rests his hands on my hips pulling my closer. I wrap my hands around his neck and lift myself up towards him. Our lips meet, and it’s like someone is setting off fireworks on the fourth of July. We fit together seamlessly. I nip at his bottom lip as his hands travel up my back to tangle in my hair. Our mouths open to let our tongues sensually explore. I don’t think kissing him will ever get old. I break the kiss before we end up giving someone a show and turn back to face the darkening skyline.
“Oh,” Adam speaks reaching into his jacket pocket, “I lied before. I have one more note for you.”
“You’re killing me man!” I exclaim lightheartedly as I take the note and turn away from Adam again.
“Will you marry me?”
I stare wide-eyed at the note as my brain tries to process what I just read.
“Adam…what?” I stutter turning to him just as he goes down on one knee with a ring box in his hand.
He opens the box and looks me dead in the eye, “Samantha Lynn Birmingham, you are the best thing to ever happened to me. I knew you were special the moment I met you, especially when I watched you rip into Brad for shamelessly hitting on you. We’ve been through so much together, and I want to go through more. Hockey isn’t forever, but I will do everything I can to make sure my love for you is. Will you marry me?”
“Yes, I most definitely will,” I furiously nod my head with tears streaming down my face. Adam slides the beautiful diamond ring on my finger and picks me up into a twirling hug. I cling to him like a lifeline, trying to get a handle on my emotions. This is one of the greatest moments of my life.
“I love you so damn much,” I mumble into Adam’s shoulder.
“I love you too. You just made me the happiest guy in the world,” he replies his voice heavy with unshed tears.
I pull my fiancé in for a kiss and it’s nothing like the previous one. This kiss is slow and tender. I put everything I feel into it, and so does he. We separate and cuddle against the railing completely content on watching the sun finish setting. It feels symbolic, like one chapter of our lives is ending and with the sunrise in the morning a new one would begin.