Part 15

As Tom stepped through the door, he looked around the candlelit room, heard soft music playing and saw rose petals sprinkled throughout on the floor, the counters, the table and even a trail that led to the bedroom. It was breathtaking. He stepped forward to go in search for Judy and was stopped by a note he saw addressed to him sitting in the center of the dining table among the place settings.

I hope youíre not too upset and if you are,
please remember how you felt when you just came home.

With all my love,

He ran his hand through his hair, broke in to a smile and looked up to see her standing in the doorway of the bedroom. They walked towards each other and he picked her up and hugged her with all the strength he had without hurting her. Once he set her down, he kissed her on the forehead and walked her to the couch. He was still a little upset, but he wanted to be sure the conversation was a productive one. And most importantly, he didnít want to ruin what he knew would one of their best evenings together.

As he held her hands between his, he spoke. "Judy, thank you. Everything looks wonderful. But before we continue with, whatever it is you have planned," he said with a twinkle in his eye. "We promised to always be open with each other about how we feel, and so I want to let you know that Iím hurt and a little disappointed that you went and talked with Harry."

"Tom, IÖ" she said with a sad look in her eyes, knowing that if she said the wrong thing, all her plans would be ruined by his terrible temper. But she knew it only surfaced when it was something that meant a great deal to him.

"I know. You donít have to explain. Judy, going to Harry to make sure everything was ok, is part of the reason I love you so much. Youíre always thinking about everyone else and wanting to keep the peace. Which is why I canít fault you for doing what you did. Iím more upset that you did it behind my back. Thatís all Iím going to say, and I wonít bring it up again. I just felt you had to know."

Judy sat in silence as she thought about what to say. He handled it much better than she anticipated. "Tom, Iím really sorry. It was killing me that Harry was so upset and I was the cause of it and that it was even affecting you, and Penhall as well. If only I had knownÖ"

"Honey, you canít beat yourself up about this. Harry has had plenty of time, years even, to express how heís felt. You canít be responsible for everybody. All you can do is continue to be the loving, strong, smart, beautiful woman that you are who seems to be very creative in the romantic atmosphere department," he said with a small laugh as he put his arms around her.

"Thank you."

"For what? Loving you? You donít have to thank me for that. It's pretty easy really."

"No, but thank you for that as well." She kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for understanding and not being too upset with me. I was really worried, as you can tell by all the candles and flowers."

"Well, how could I still be mad with something like this to come home too, not to mention you."

Part 16