Chapter 16

Normally, she took her time finishing up. She never had any plans and
going home to an empty apartment wasn’t at all inviting. But tonight was
different. At the stroke of five she was out of her office and headed for the
elevators. “Give my best to Al,” Marion called. “Oh, I will, “ she said, grinning
back at her. “See, what did I tell you?” she said to the other nurses. “Ok, so we
owe you dinner,” Susan said with a laugh.
She quickly headed for her car..scanning the parking lot for any sign of
him. “Looking for me?” he asked, coming up behind her. “Now what do you
think?” she said. “I think it’s nice to know that smile is for me,” he said, kissing
her. “What’s in the bags?” she asked, trying to take a peek. “Just a little surprise
for tonight.” “You aren’t gonna make me cook are you?” “No...I’m doing the
cooking.” She looked at him suspiciously. “What?” he asked. “Just wondering if
you brought along a fire extinguisher.”“I’ll meet you at your place,” he said. She
smiled as she watched him walk off. “All that..and he cooks too. Lucky, lucky
“Can I give you any help?” she asked, when they got to her apartment.
“Not a bit,” he replied. “I’m in charge here.” Ok. I’m gonna grab a quick shower.
I’ll be right back.” She hesitated in front of her closet, trying to decide what to
change into. “I don’t want to look over eager,” she thought..”even if I am.” She
finally decided on jeans and a silk shirt. “Casual..but sexy,” she thought. She
quickly showered and changed, spraying on a light mist of perfume before she
went back to join him.
She stuck her head in the kitchen. “Is it safe?” she asked. “You’re very
funny tonight,” he teased. She walked up next to him, surveying the stove top.
“I’m very impressed,” she said. “Mmmm, you smell good,” he said.” “Thanks,”
she said quietly. “I hardly ever wear perfume...but tonight I thought....” “I’m
flattered,” he said. She lowered her eyes and he smiled as she blushed. “You
might as well get used to it...I intend to say a lot of nice things to you.”
They sat down to eat and she was amazed at how good everything was. “I
learned to cook because I got sick of eating out all the time,” he said. “Well, it’s
delicious,” she commented. “You can cook for me anyday.” “Let’s not get carried
away,” he said with a laugh.
After they cleaned up they went to sit on the couch together. She knew
she should have been nervous. But there was something about him that made
her feel completely at ease. “Would you like some coffee?” she asked. “No,” he
said, gently smoothing some hair away from her face. “How about an after
dinner drink?” “No thanks,” he said, trailing his fingers down along her throat.
“There’s nothing that you want?” she asked. “Just this,” he answered, carefully
taking her face in his hands.
His lips met hers in a warm, thrilling kiss. He was delighted, when not
only did she not pull back, but she returned the kiss with passion. “It’s been so
long since I’ve felt like that,” she whispered. “Are you ok?” he asked her. “Never
better,” she said, pulling him close for another kiss. He wrapped his arms around
her as her hands slipped through his hair. “Al?’ “Yeah honey?” “I need you.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, looking deeply into her eyes. She nodded her head
silently, standing up and leading him to the bedroom.

Chapter 17

She laid back on the bed, pulling him down with her. Reaching up, she
kissed him letting his tongue explore her mouth softly. Al leaned back and began
to unbutton her shirt. Her breath caught in her throat when his hands ran across
the satin and lace of her bra. A long suppresssed desire began to well up within
her. More than anything she longed to feel his warm hands against her skin. She
sat up slightly, letting the shirt slide from her shoulders. He reached down and
undid her bra, letting his hands trail across her skin as he slipped the straps
down her arms. “Oh, Al..touch me please,” she begged.
Pushing her back gently, he let his hands glide across her breasts, smiling
when he felt her nipples grow hard. She held his head gently as he lowered his
mouth to savor her sweetness. Elise had forgotten what being loved like this had
felt like. Moaning softly, she reached down to pull his shirt over his head. She
smiled softly as she ran her hands along his skin. “I want you,” she whispered.
In minutes they were both undressed, delighting in, what up until that
point, had only been a dream. “Honey, are you really sure?” he asked, gently
holding her face. The concern and tenderness in his voice brought tears to her
eyes. “Al, more than anything, I want you to make love to me.” “It will be my
pleasure,” he whispered. She moaned softly as she finally surrendered herself to
her long denied passion. Al was gentle and loving. She even surprised herself
with how eagerly she responded to him. Months of lonliness disappeared as he
brought them both to a sweet, wonderful release.
“Are you all right?” he asked her, as she lay there, waiting for her
breathing to return to normal. She looked up into his eyes and smiled. “Thank
you,” she whispered. “For what?’ “For being patient...for being stubborn...for
making me see what I was missing.” “Oh that?” he said with a grin. “Think
nothing of it.” “I’m serious Al,” she said. “You’ve changed my life. “ “For the
better, I hope,” he teased. “Without a doubt,” she said.   

Chapter 18

Everything in her life suddenly seemed better. She enjoyed her work
more, and she began to open up and make new friends. All of the people she
worked with could see the change in her..and they also knew who was
responsible. They could always tell when it was Wednesday. Al’s TV tapings
were finished and he was coming home.
She was preparing to leave when Mary stuck her head in the door. “I
thought you’d want to know, “Charlie was just re-admitted.” “Did they find a
donor for him?” she asked hopefully. Mary shook her head sadly. “Not yet. He
just wasn’t doing very well at home.” “Damn,” she said quietly. “I’ll stop in and
see him before I go.”
She stopped by his door and peeked in. She was shocked at how thin and
pale he was. Forcing herself to put a smile on her face, she entered quietly. “Hey
you. I thought I told you not to come back,” she teased. “Believe wasn’t
my idea,” he said. The weakness of his voice frightened her. She sat next to his
bed and took his hand. “I’ve missed you. How are you..really?” “Scared,” he
whispered. “I know, honey. But anytime you want anything...even just to talk call me...I mean that.” “Thanks,” he said. “I will.”
“I’m gonna let you rest,” she said. “But I’ll be by tomorrow. And I’ll ask
Al to stop by too.” “Are you seeing him?” he asked. She nodded with a smile.
“See? I told you so,” he said with a tired laugh. “Go to sleep wise guy,” she said.
letting the door swing closed.
She walked through her front door and collapsed in the nearest chair. “Hi
honey..I’m home,” she called. “Hey, beautiful,” he said, walking out from the
kitchen. “I missed you.” “Not half as much as I missed you,” she said. He pulled
her up out of the chair and wrapped her in a warm hug. “God, I needed that,”
she said. “Bad day?” “Just busy,” she replied, kicking off her shoes. “Oh..guess
what?” “What?’ he said, returning to the kitchen. “They re-admitted Charlie
today.” “Oh no,” he said. “Is he ok?” “Not really,” she said quietly. “I told him
you would visit him..if that’s ok?” “Of course it is. I’ll go see him tomorrow.” “I
knew you would,” she said, kissing him.
After dinner they sat together on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms.
“Somebody’s birthday is next week,” he said. “Oh yeah? Who’s?” “Don’t get
funny,” he said. “Now what would you like?” She gazed up into his eyes. “I
think I have it right here.” “Good answer,” he teased. “Now tell me the truth.’
“Oh I don’t know...surprise me.” He looked at her and grinned. “Oh God,” she
moaned. “Why do I have the feeling I’m going to regret this?” He rubbed his
hands together gleefully. “This is gonna be good,’ he said.

Chapter 19

Al walked into the hospital shortly before lunch time. She was buried in
reports when he peeked into her office. “Uh oh...somebody’s having a bad day.”
She looked up in surprise. “Yeah...but I think it just got better,” she said. “You
here to see Charlie?” “Yep. Then I thought I’d take a beautiful lady to lunch.”
“Oh? Do I know her?” Al shook his head slowly. “Just what the world needs...a
female Al Snow.” Elise laughed softly. “Swing by here after you see Charlie. I’ll
be ready to go.”
He gave her a quick wink and headed for Charlie’s room. “Hey, buddy,”
he said as he stuck his head in the door. “Al!” he said in surprise. “I brought you
something,” he said, handing him a magazine. Charlie reached out and took it. I t
was a copy of the Wrestlemania X7 program. He smiled as he began to flip
through the pages. Suddenly his hand froze and he began to turn the pages more
slowly. Each picture had been autographed by a WWF Superstar and many of
them had included a personal message.
“Oh man..I can’t believe this,” Charlie whispered. “I hope they didn’t
mind doing this,” he said, starting to read some of the inscriptions. Al laughed
wickedly. “It was either sign the book or have to put up with me for the rest of
the day.” Charlie ran his hand over the cover almost reverently. “Thanks really didn’t have to do this.” “ deserve it,” he said quietly.
Suddenly, Charlie let his head drop back against the pillows. “Are you
ok?” Al asked in alarm. “Yeah. I just get tired real easy.” “Then I’m gonna let you
rest,” he said. “Besides I have a lunch date.” “Elise?” asked Charlie. “You know
it,” he replied. Charlie looked at him thoughtfully. “She really loves you, you
know.” “Yeah I do know,” said Al. “And I love her.” Charlie smiled as Al
opened the door. “Will you promise me something?” he asked. “Sure, anything,”
said Al. “Take good care of her. She’s one of the best people I’ve ever known. “ “I
promise,” Al said quietly, slowly closing the door. 
He walked her back to her office after lunch . She was just pushing her
door open when Susan appeared. “I didn’t want you to hear it somelace else.”
The look on her face caused Elise’s heart to stop. Almost instinctively she
reached for Al’s hand. “It’s Charlie..isn’t it?” Susan nodded, tears in her eyes.
“He passed away about an hour ago.” Al turned to look at her. She dropped his
hand and violently pushed her office door open. He followed her inside, afraid
of what her reaction would be. “Honey..say something...please.”
She turned to him, the pain in her eyes all too evident. “It’s happened
again,” she whispered. “What has?” he asked her. “I let myself get too close. I
cared about him. And now he’s gone.” She sat in her chair and dropped her head
in her hands, crying softly. Al stood there, letting her cry, not sure what to say.
Finally he reached out and gently touched her shoulder. “Honey...” She jerked
back and stared at him. “Oh please don’t. “ She stood up quickly and moved to
the window. “I knew this would happen. I let him get to me. Normally I don’t
get personally involved with the kids..but Charlie was different. I....” She broke
down into sobs again. “You loved him,” Al said quietly. “It’s all right to say it.”
“And look where it got me,” she said. “He’s dead....just one more person
gone from my life.” “What are you saying?” asked Al. “That you would have
been better off never knowing him? That allowing him into your life was a bad
thing?” “I don’t know. I just...” “Look at me.” he said taking her hands. “You
loved that boy...and you want to know something? He loved you. And even
though it hurts, having him in your life..even for a short time...was a good
thing.” She looked up into Al’s eyes. “It was..wasn’t it?” she said quietly. Al
nodded silently. She fell into his arms, crying for her loss and grateful for his

Chapter 20

She was getting ready for bed as he hung up the phone. “Anything
important?” she asked. “Promise you won’t get mad?” She looked at him
suspiciously. “What is it?” “I have to make a personal appearance on Friday.”
The look of disappointment in her eyes, broke his heart. “Sweetheart, I know it’s
your birthday....and I promised to be here. But this was scheduled months ago. I
completely forgot about it. There’s no way I can get out of it. “
She turned away for a second. “It’s all right,’ she said quietly. “I’ll make it
up to you..I promise. Please tell me you aren’t mad?” “I’m not mad,” she replied.
“But you owe me,” she said, giving him a dark look. “Well I could start right
now,” he said, running a finger along her bare arm. “Oh?” she said. “What did
you have in mind?” He bent down and lifted her in his arms. “Take a wild
guess,’ he said, carrying her to the bed.
Friday rolled around and she was so caught up in her day that she didn’t
have too much time to feel sorry for herself. She was standing at the nurses
station when a voice behind her asked, “Elise Dillon?” She turned and burst into
laughter. A delivery man stood there holding two “bouquets.” But they weren’t
flowers. She reached out and took them, trying to regain her composure. “What
are those?” asked one of the nurses. “Tootsie Pops,” replied Elise. “Who in the
world would send Tootsie Pops instead of flowers? “Al would,” she said softly.
She took the card out of the envelope and read it. “I figured as long as you’re
going to give these away, I might as well make it something the kids can really
enjoy. Happy Birthday. I PROMISE to talk to you later. Love, Al.” She smiled
and shook her head. “You really are too much,” she thought.
“Do you want me to hand those out?” asked Kathy, the head nurse.
“Would you please?” said Elise. She took the card and headed back to her office.
She was sorry she wouldn’t be seeing him. But somehow he still had a way of
making her feel as though he was right next to her. She pushed open the door to
her office and nearly killed herself. A huge carton sat in the middle of the floor.
“Oh, God, what has he done now?” she said. She went to push it, but it didn’t
move an inch. “Whatever it is, it weighs a ton.”
She reached up to pull the tape from the top of the box. Hesitating, she
pulled back. “This could be anything,” she thought. Shaking her head, she
laughed to herself. “Al isn’t that crazy.” She pulled off the tape and found out
just how wrong she was. The top of the box, flew open and Al jumped out.
“Happy Birthday!” he yelled. Elise fell back against her door, holding her chest.
“Are you crazy? she asked him. “You scared me to death!” “Does that mean you
aren’t glad to see me?”
She stared at him for a second, and then a huge smile spread across her
face. “I knew it,” he said, climbing out of the box. She quickly wrapped her arms
around him. “I thought you had a personal appearance,” she said. “Does it get
more personal than this?” he asked. “I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you,”
she said. “Sure you can,” he teased. “Maybe I’ll just show you,” she said,
reaching up to kiss him tenderly. “Now that was worth hiding in a box for.”
She looked behind him at the carton. “ didn’t actually ship
yourself..did you?” “Do you think I’m nuts?” he asked, wide eyed. “Yes, Al. I
really do.” Now it was his turn to laugh. “Well, you can rest easy. I brought the
box in and had one of the security guards tape it up. Come to think of it, he
seemed awfully glad to be sealing me up.” She shook her head and hugged him
tight. “Crazy or not, this may be the best birthday I ever had.”
“Wait..I have to give you your present,’ he said, reaching inside of the
box. “I thought you were my present,” she teased. He handed her a beautiful
cream colored envelope. “Open it,” he said. A look of confusion crossed her face.
“Al this is a wedding invitation.” “I know,” he said quietly. Suddenly a look of
amazement replaced the confusion. “This is an invitation to our wedding!”
“Yeah..I know.” “But there isn’t a date,’ she said. “I know. I thought maybe you
could fill that part in.” He watched her carefully, not sure he could read her
A slow smile spread across her face. “Is today too soon?” She raised her
eyes and looked at him. “Does that mean yes?” he asked hopefully. “You’d better
believe it,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. Al laughed softly.
“What’s so funny?” she asked. “Well, today is your birthday..but I’m the one
who got the present.” “Oh I don’t know....I think I did all right for myself.” He
touched her face gently. “I promise...I’ll make you happy. “You already have Al.
You already have.”


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