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Detoured By Love

” Oh, ohhh! I think we missed our turn, Ryder. I’m pretty sure I followed the navigation’s direction but this road seems not what we should have taken. (Sighing) And now, I don’t have a cell signal. Ok, let’s just continue and follow the road to the next town, shall we?”

Getting lost on the road while driving long distances has been Joy’s predicament. She has difficulty following directions even with a navigation system. Ryder, her ever faithful Border Collie and driving companion, can sense annoyance and irritation in her voice, although how much she’s trying to calm her nerves.

Joy prefers to fly as opposed to driving, but during this peak season on Thanksgiving holiday, all airline flights are fully booked. To attend her co-worker’s wedding in Lake Tahoe was a last-minute decision, so driving was her best option; after all it would only take about 12.5 hours drive from Seattle, and she can take an overnight rest halfway, in Oregon. She decided to leave work a week early and continue her most-needed vacation for another week after the holiday.

When she got a 2 bar signal on her cell phone, she parked her car on the side of the road to check her location; she is about 10 miles away to the next town. She kept on driving, until she reached a fork in the road. Instinctively, she took the right turn, and continued on, when suddenly, she heard a funny sound from her car engine, vibrated, and then died down.

“Great! just great! Ryder, what have I done to deserve this? It seems that all the planets have aligned to conspire against me. Sorry, buddy. We’ll go through with this together.” 

The dog eased to get closer to her, as if telling that everything will be alright.

A tow truck finally came before sunset.

Evenin’ Miss. I gathered your car engine died down on you? Don’t worry. We’ll get you up and running soon. By the way, I’m Nico…Nicholas.”

He smiled. Joy caught a glance of his glittering blue eyes, dimples distinctly sat deep on both cheeks, and his soothing tone of voice made her relax a bit. They drove the rest of the way  until they reached the service garage, owned by Nicholas. His assistant checked and found out that the alternator needs to be replaced. Being an older model of Chevy Blazer, they don’t have the parts available and it will take 2-4 days to get the order delivered.

With no other choice but accept this unfortunate circumstance, Joy agreed to stay at Hanna’s Country Inn owned and managed by Nico’s mother. Then place was cozy, homey, and quiet, as the other guests checked out earlier. She shared an intimate dinner with Nico and his mother, and right away, felt comfortable; but soon, she felt tired and sleepy, that she excused herself. With Ryder following her lead to her bedroom upstairs, she readily fell asleep, only to wake up before sunrise with a splitting headache, body aches, and fever. As a nurse, she knew that she was coming down with flu, and needed to take medicine and be on bed rest until the symptoms subside.

Joy stayed in bed for the rest of the day and the days after. Nico was always there to take care of her needs, and made sure that she continued to recuperate. She was not prepared to get this unexpected pampering and fondness from him. After being married for only 6 months, her husband died in Afghanistan 4 years ago. Joy poured all her time and effort in her career as a nurse, avoiding emotional involvement with a man again. But being near Nico feeling his show of affection, she was beginning to accept that her wounded and grieving heart may have healed.

The alternator of Joy’s car arrived and has been installed. Nico kept pacing inside his service garage. He could not understand his feelings. He was scared that once again, and could not go through the same heartache 4 years ago, when his wife died of childbirth, and their baby could not be saved either. He knew that Joy’s stay was just temporary, but why is it that he doesn’t want her to leave? It’s only been 6 days since Joy showed up in his home and his life, but he felt like he knew her for a long time. He was falling in love with her.

Joy left for Lake Tahoe the day before the wedding. She wished she didn’t have to go. The hugged…that kind of embrace that evoked vulnerability yet unafraid to let each other in. He stood at the curb watching Joy’s car disappear from view.

“Evenin’ Miss. I gathered you have a car trouble.”

Nico jumped out of his tow truck, and walked towards Joy, whose car was parked right at the fork in the road.

“Thank you for coming to rescue me. Well, it’s not really a car trouble…it’s more of a…heart trouble.”

Joy flashed her most beautiful and adorable smile that made his heart missed a beat.

Well, I can run a test, and see if it’s an easy fix. I have the right tool for that.”

He slowly, yet deliberately walked towards her to close the gap between them, gathered her in his arms, and gave her a tender, lingering kiss.

“There…all fixed. That would last for a lifetime.”

As she succumbed to that sweet and endearing kiss, she knew, this is where she belongs. This is where she wants her life to be. As they drove away from the fork in the road, Nico and Joy clearly envisioned where their life together will be.

-Lark-

9.7.2018

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Love On 38th Floor

A meeting with the President/CEO of H & H Corporation, a company that owns and operates a chain of hotels and resorts in the US is what Craig is looking forward to. If negotiations would play to his advantage, this could be the biggest job contract for his architectural firm. Designing hotels, private villas, and landscaping is his company’s primary venture. Craig waits nervously and apprehensively for feedback, as Mr. Harris studied the spreadsheets and blueprint of his latest building design. After thoroughly examining the blueprint, he nods his head, and said: “I have to present and discuss this with Sam, my associate. We’ll get back to you in two days.”

The door of the conference room opened and a woman in a dark suit and skirt just above her knees, a perfectly fit beige stiletto pumps, and hair styled in updo, came in.         “Craig Benson, meet my associate, Samantha Holden, the VP and Chief of Operations. Sam Holden, this is Architect Craig Benson, the proprietor of CB & Associates.”                    Craig’s facial expression turned from excitement to shock and disbelief. He was floored. He could not believe that this is the same beautiful Samantha Foster who was the popular girl in high school, the girl who was his prom date, the girl who captured his young heart, the only woman who occupied his thoughts even after 18 years had passed. Samantha on the other hand was not surprised to see Craig. Prior to this meeting, she already checked his identity after Robert informed her about the new architectural firm bidding for their contract. She was prepared that she would be meeting in person the older version of Craig Benson who was her high school study buddy, her confidant, the person who understood and stood by her side through good times and bad, and made her feel loved. Meeting Craig again after 18 years ushered mixed emotions. It took her a lot of self-control and focus to maintain professional decorum throughout the meeting. She was totally a different person; reserved, guarded, and her facial expression and body language will take a psychologist to analyze. But most of all she sure knows how to run this company like the back of her hands. At the end of the meeting, Craig was given the good news that he landed the contract to design and build the company’s new state of the art chalet in Aspen, Colorado.

Craig is excited. This means that he will be spending more time working with Samantha for the duration of the project. He is determined to reconnect with her, know everything about her since they parted ways after graduation. One thing for sure though, she is married to a Holden, and wondering how her family life is. Suddenly, he felt a pang of pain in his heart; beset with regret that he did not have the courage to express his feelings towards her, before. He has had relationships in the past; even almost got married to his last girlfriend. But all failed relationships, made him to just pour all his time and effort to his business. Until a week ago, when he had a face to face encountered with Samantha Holden…

Since the construction started, Craig meets with Samantha every Saturday, to discuss and give updates of the progress. At first, the meetings were solely on a professional and business level. However, he aims to cross that dividing line and have a more personal level of communication. He now knows that Samantha’s husband of 5 years died 4 years ago in a car crash, and with him was a beautiful woman who also suffered the same fate. This could be the reason why Samantha is distant when personal emotion is concerned, felt betrayed, and afraid to trust her emotions especially opening her vulnerable heart to love again.

As the meetings continued, topics of their conversation became more personal, even reminiscing their high school years. Samantha’s spacious 38th floor office with a breathtaking 180 degrees view of San Francisco Bay became their weekend getaway. She started to open up, so as Craig. The what if’s and what should have’s became part of their intimate conversations. Needless to say, the wall that she subconsciously built around her  is slowly toppling down. There is no mistaking. The feelings she had for Craig when they were in high school has always been there, and this makes her scared. Although it was obvious that Craig cared for her a lot, he did not say anything, but his actions definitely spoke louder. There was no doubt, the feeling was mutual but neither of them had the courage to let it be known. But this time, Craig has a plan…

In 3 days, they will fly together to Aspen for the formal turn over and opening of the chalet. But tonight, Craig arranged for an intimate dinner in Samantha’s 38th floor office. She was still working when he arrived, but a dinner table for two was already set. When Samantha answered his knock, he came in holding with both hands, a miniature tabletop model of a modern two-story house, with a gorgeous garden. He carefully set it on Samantha’s office table.

“Wow! This is beautiful, Craig! I love it. Is this your new project?”                             Samantha exclaimed in awe when she saw the beautiful model. Craig smiled, knowing that she loved it.                                                                                                                               “It’s for you. Open the door.”                                                                                              Samantha opened the door, and a ring with a diamond solitaire tied with a gold string dropped. She took the ring and turned around to face him, heart beating loud and fast, surprise written all over her face. This time, Craig was already kneeling in one knee.       “I loved you then, and I have not stopped loving you. Marry me, Samantha Foster. And I promise to spend the rest of my life showing and letting you feel my love.”                          She loves this man so much, and she’s ready to take the leap. With a love-filled heart, she smiled and without saying a word, she handed the ring back to him, as she offered her left hand. He slipped the ring on her left finger and kissed it. Samantha let herself cocooned in his waiting arms, as they shared a lingering, passionate kiss. Looking out of the wide bay window on the 38th floor, Craig and Samantha look forward to a blissful future that they will spend together.

-Lark-

9.1.2018

 

 

The Promise Ring

“Don’t push your luck, Romeo. “I look forward to see you around” is an overused and underrated exit line. I’m not surprised if your pick up line will be: “Hi! I think I’ve seen you before. Your face looks familiar” You need to be creative.” Flashing her most adorable smile a la Mona Lisa, Claire picked up her hand carried luggage and eased her way towards the New Era Airlines check in counter.

Andrew Taylor, a Lieutenant in the US Army was stationed in the Philippines. He met the charming and brilliant Claire Delgado in Manila, when she was on a working contract with a group of educators for an outreach program “Operation Literacy”. They readily developed a special bond spent most of their free time exploring the beautiful sites of the country, and even planned to return and revisit Boracay island in the future. It was in this island where they spent the happiest time of their life, and where Andrew gave her a ring, with a promise that wherever he is, he will come back and find her. When Andrew’s rotation ended, he went back to the US to fulfill another assignment overseas. His whereabouts was always classified, as he was a member of a special operations unit. Claire also went back to California, waiting for a teaching job as a kindergarten teacher in the suburban town in Texas.

Seven years have gone by. Claire has contentedly settled in a small community in El Paso, Texas, juggling between family, a mother, and being a teacher. This was the kind of life that she envisioned, and could not ask for more than what she had. Not a single day that passed that she haven’t thought of Andrew, and pray that wherever he is, he will be safe. Andrew, now a Lieutenant General continuous to go overseas, assigned in the Middle East and Germany. He always looks forward to be home and stay with his family after each rotation of duty, and could not wait for the time when he will be permanently stationed in the US Army post in Fort Bliss,  until he retires from the service, to enjoy being home and be with his family.

The morning sun permeates the horizon, with patches of while clouds drifting by under the cerulean blue sky; a promise of a beautiful day. Claire walks along the shore of the white sand beach of Boracay island, feeling the gentle touch of the summer breeze on her face. She smiled, her heart overflowing with love as she saw a gorgeous man and a handsome, sweet little three-year-old boy coming her way. Andrew…her Romeo, her knight in shining armor, her husband of five years, and the father of her son.

When the two loves of her life reached where she was standing, Andrew let go of little Zachary, who in turn raised his arms to Claire, wanting to be carried. She scooped the toddler and gave him a hug and showered him with kisses. Andrew gently pulled both of them in the circle of his arms, and lovingly said: “I guess those pick up and exit lines worked its magic, right? Happy Anniversary, sweetheart! As my promise stands when I gave you that ring seven years ago, I will never get tired of letting you feel my love, more today than yesterday.”

Claire looked at the promise ring that Andrew slipped in her finger when they first came to the island, and along with her wedding ring, it never leave her finger all these years.

Andrew and Claire revisited this special place close to their heart, and will continue to create memories to be added in the storybook of life that they will write. As they held the hand of their son, each on his side, the three of them strolled along the shore of the island, leaving three sets of footprints in the white sand.

-Lark-

8.26.2018

Sonata Of Love

“Jonathan, you do realize that all eyes are on us, right? This makes me uncomfortable, and I hope I will not step on your toes.” Melody whispered as they danced in a room full of family and guests in Natalie’s wedding. Jonathan smiled and spoke in his melodic voice. “Relax. First of all, they are not looking at us. Their eyes are focused on me. Second of all, they are thinking, he is a lucky man who gets to dance with this beautiful woman. So, let’s give them the best prize for what their curiosity’s worth, shall we?”  With that, he gently eased her closer  to him, and they slow danced to Matt Monro’s ballad.

Jonathan Lombardi is a successful and famous concert pianist. Melody Johnson is a nurse and the Executive Director of a plush Senior Living Facility, where Jonathan and Natalie’s mother resides. They only met casually a couple of times before, when Jonathan visited his mother, after returning home from his busy concert tours in Europe and Asia.

When his mother became ill and has to be hospitalized, Jonathan and his sister were at her bedside at the hospital, and when she came back to the facility. Jonathan cancelled his upcoming concert schedule to be with his mother; thus he sees Melody everyday. As the days went by, their constant meeting brought them closer together and came to know each other more; recognizing that they share the same passion in music genre, their likes of the same food, and have read the same books.

Melody has always been on close guard with her emotions since her break up with Lucas 3 years ago. But much as she wanted to ward off the idea, she is beginning to realize that she is feeling more emotionally involved with Jonathan. However, because of his international fame and stature, she feels that she does not belong in his social circle, and it is a remote possibility that he will have any romantic inclination towards her. And then, there is the beautiful Ludmilla, the famous mezzo-soprano who has been rumored to be his girlfriend. Getting involved with Jonathan Lombardi will be another heartbreak looming in her horizon, and she could not allow that to happen. The sooner she distances herself, the better for her to protect her vulnerable heart.

Not seeing Jonathan for almost two months, as he was on concert tour in London and Italy helped her to forget him, as she put her life back to where it was. But when she arrived at her office one Monday morning, her assistant handed her a glossy envelope. It was an invitation to Natalie’s wedding, which will be in four weeks. She did not want to attend; for sure, Jonathan will be there. Meeting him again, after months of playing hide and seek, will be an emotional catastrophe. She was compelled however, to say yes, when Natalie called her, insisted that she attend the ceremony, and will not take no for an answer.

So, here she is, among the two hundred or so guests in Natalie’s wedding. When she side glanced, she saw Jonathan talking to some guests, looking so handsome in a tuxedo that perfectly fit his frame. Her heart skipped a bit when their eyes met. He could not tear his eyes away once he saw her. She looks stunning in her off-the-shoulder royal blue gown that flawlessly follow the contour of her slim body. Jonathan started to move towards her, and in a split second, he was standing in front of her. Timely, Matt Monro’s song filled the room. They danced, and once she was in the circle of his arms, for the first time in a long time, she feels that she is ready to take a chance to open her heart again, and let love walk in.

When the song “You’re Closer To Me” ended, Jonathan slowly eased Melody away from the crowd towards the terrace. He held her close, then cupped her face and looked at her with tender loving eyes. His words were full of passion: “I give my heart to you, the only woman I love. The one who inspires me to write the melody of the best sonata that consumes my whole being, and shall play on and on as long as we live.” As they shared the most endearing kiss, Jonathan and his music fills her heart and echoes in her soul.

-Lark-

8.18.2018

Return To Rose Point

As she sat on the wrought iron chair at Rose Point Botanical Garden, the last words of Bernard keeps repeating in her mind. “Love changes people; even those who do not believe in destiny.” Does this mean anything and has a great impact in her life and future, now that she will be making the most difficult decision?

Since she graduated from California School f Botany and Biology, Autumn Rose has been the site Administrator of Rose Point Botanical Garden in San Francisco, Ca. Bernard Marchand was an exchange student from France, studying BSBA Degree in Marketing at UCSF. They met in this beautiful place two years ago, in spring. They became friends, and soon fell in love.

There were so many happy and sad memories that both of them created in this garden. This was where Bernard first kissed her; where she cried on Bernard’s shoulder when she was in despair and disappointed when the hybrid rose that she propagated did not thrive as she expected; and when she said “yes” when Bernard proposed asked her to spend their future together. The future…when and where will it be? Truth of the matter is, both of them refrained from seriously thinking and planning about it, although they knew that Bernard would eventually go back to Bordeaux, France to manage his family owned vineyard and winery. They promised to cross that bridge when the time comes. But for now, they want to spend time together, and be happy.

The inevitable time came. Bernard needs to go back home. The finance and marketing manager of the vineyard resigned, and there was no one to take his place. Delaying his trip back home to take over the management could jeopardize the business, and will suffer financial setback. Bernard could not let that happen, let alone sell the property, as this vineyard and winery has been in his family for three decades.

Autumn decided not to send him off. Saying goodbye at the airport was the hardest to bear. They already said their goodbyes the night before, and promised to keep in touch everyday. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into a year. Their communication dwindled, and in Autumn’s mind and heart, their relationship could come to an end. She could no longer remember when was the last time Bernard called her, and could not think of the reason of his silence. Her calls have not been answered nor returned. Autumn was torn between hope and letting go. In the end, although it breaks her heart, she has come up to a difficult decision. She will write a letter to Bernard. It is better to end the relationship now rather than later.

Spring is in the air. Autumn finds solace in this beautiful garden, as always. This is where her haven of peace and quiet. She could smell the scent of each flower in bloom as the gentle breeze is blowing. Sitting alone on her favorite wrought iron chair in this same spot of the garden, she retrieved the letter from her purse. For the last time, she wanted to re-read what she wrote, before she seals the envelope and mail it to Bernard. Halfway through the letter, Autumn took a deep breath. A familiar scent reached her nose. She turned around to see where it’s coming from. She could not believe her eyes; blinked twice, to make sure that she is not dreaming. It is real, as standing close, is a smiling Bernard, holding a bouquet of her favorite red roses. He sat beside her, then hugged and kissed her. Her Bernard is back! As he handed her the bouquet, a ring tied in a bow dropped on her lap. As he slipped it on her finger, he looked at her with love mirrored in his eyes, and said: “no sides and no end…as my love for you, an everlasting one.” Autumn cupped his face, and kissed him tenderly. Everything around them became bright and colorful…just like heaven o earth.

-Lark-

8.15.2018

Summer’s Novel Romance

For more than two hours, Summer has been staring at the blank screen of her laptop. For some reason, she could not focus and choosing the right words to express her ideas seem to be difficult. Call it a writer’s block?

Two days ago, she left her New York apartment to head back home to Carmel, California. Her publisher and agent may be right. A change of scenery and ambiance may help stimulate her creative imagination and be inspired to finish her book that has a deadline for publication. Five years ago, Summer left Carmel to follow her dream to be a successful writer. In New York, her agent worked with a publishing company, and her first written non-fiction book achieved commercial success; even became a best seller. Two other best sellers followed.

This is not helping. She needs to take a walk at the beach, or get something to eat, as it’s almost dinnertime. Summer was craving for her favorite crabmeat sandwich, so she drove along the picturesque coastal highway to Nick’s Seafood Bistro. She went directly to the front register to place her order, when she heard: “Hello, Summer”. The greeting came someone seated at the bistro’s corner table, overlooking the shore. Instinctively, she turned around, and much to her surprise and disbelief, the man sitting there was the person she very well knew and longed to see again.

Toni! So, where does Antoni De Marco fit into her life? Both of them grew up in Carmel and attended college at Santa Cruz State University. Toni became a physical therapist and Summer graduated with a degree in English Literature. They were an inseparable pair, happy, and in love.

One day, an unexpected and once in a lifetime opportunity came when Summer was contacted by an agent, that Skylark Publishing Company based in New York was interested in publishing the novel that she submitted, and offered to sign her up as their in-house romance novelist. Toni wanted her to stay, but doing so will be unfair for her. He loves her so much and wanted her to succeed; that he is willing to put their marriage plans on hold, until she comes back…if indeed she will come back. Five years have gone by…

It seems that this meeting could no longer be averted. She saw him walk towards her. His tall and lean physique, his bi-dimpled smile, and his blue eyes possess the power to make her heart shift into overdrive. She needs to calm down her nerves. She could not afford to be distracted, let alone be the recipient of barrages of unanswered questions from this man. However, more than anything else, she wanted to clear and settle whatever misunderstanding and or misgivings between them.

When Toni was in front of her, he extended his right hand and caught hers with a firm yet gentle grip. He tenderly pulled her close to him, barely an inch away, and whispered: “I missed you. I loved you then, I love you now and for the rest of our lives.” No words escaped from her lips. She looked at him, her whole body radiating with love. A love so deeply rooted and nurtured, that no time or distance could mar. She took a step to close the gap between them, and leaned her body to fit his frame. This is where she belongs, nowhere else.

-Lark-

8.9.2018

When Fate and Love Collide

How long ago has it been?

Thirty minutes before 9:00 A.M. Dr. Zeth Gellert walked hastily on the cross walk to beat the rid light at the intersection near his office building in downtown San Francisco. On this Monday morning, he needs to be at the office at least 30 minutes before the scheduled conference to set up his prepared presentation and finalized plan for his company’s next project. Zeth accepted the position offered as a senior adviser for the second largest non-profit organization in the continental US, coordinating and scheduling medical missions in different parts of the underprivileged countries around the globe. The outreach programs “Operation Restore Smile”, performs surgery to children with cleft lip and palate, and “Healthy Living Focus” which educate and assist families on disease prevention and healthy diet.

Six years ago, Zeth took over his father’s medical practice in his small hometown in rural Ohio. He loves taking care of the medical needs of the community, but much as he wanted to convince himself to settle, his restless heart is not totally in tune in this line of medical practice, that’s why when he received an unexpected call from his former colleague and co-worker, he decided to pack up his suitcase and relocated to San Francisco, CA. In the near future, he hopes to again, travel overseas to participate in such an honorable and fulfilling mission…just like the old times.

While waiting for the arrival of the 10 members of a team of doctors and nurses who were scheduled to be deployed overseas, Zeth’s mind circled back some 6 years ago, when he was a volunteer doctor along with other medical professionals, in a rural area in northern Philippines. However, his last rotation overseas was cut short when he received an emergency phone call from his sister that their father died due to heart attack. He rushed back to the US, stayed, and practiced community medicine.

As the volunteers arrived in the conference room, Zeth saw a familiar figure among the group. Amber! She was among them! Suddenly, his whole body became numb and his heartbeat was racing. How could he forget Dr. Amber Gleason? They were partners in every medical mission overseas, which later on, found emotional and physical compatibility; even had plans for their future together. But everything changed after that last night they were together, when Zeth went back to the US, with no formal and final goodbyes. Although beset with questions of how, why, and what if’s not one of them had the courage and drive to try any means to get in touch with each other.

Amber could not believe her eyes when she came face to face with Zeth. How could she ever forget that familiar face of the only man she gave her heart to, the only man who until now occupies her mind, heart and whole being; the man who is the father of her 5 year old son, Andrew.

Through all the past years, Zeth and Amber have each developed wings that made their dreams fly and both their careers as medical doctor somehow thrived under different circumstances of their choosing. Whatever happened in the past, there will always be a reason for two people to find each other again, when fate and love collide. From here on, as long as Zeth and Amber are together, beautiful music will continue to play as they dance in synch, to the rhythm of life’s challenges in a home where their hearts belong.

-Lark-

8.6.2018

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