sequel chapters

Some of you craved more of a conclusion for Chance and Jane. Here are a few chapters for your reading pleasure. The chapters are the beginning and ending of the book, "Chance." You will have to use your imagination to fill in the holes. Happy Reading. ~ Sonia

 

The Airport
A year after Matt, my husband of ten years, was killed, I was in a quiet corner of an airport café rereading my favorite romantic novel while waiting for my flight. I was returning home after attending a grief recovery seminar about moving beyond the loss. My dear sweet dad could tell I wasn’t getting better after a year, so he decided to send me to this grief seminar in Hunting Beach, California. I guess everyone else was ready to move on with their life and they figured I should too. The whole trip to sunny California was a good idea, and the grief seminar did help. I had hoped that being near the ocean and walking along the beach would be calming, but it reminded me of all the times I spent with Matt combing beaches looking for seashells or just strolling down the beach to watch the sunset. All the memories just flooded back, and made me miss Matt all the more. I kept trying to read, but my concentration isn’t what it used to be, so my eyes were only vaguely scanning the page. My thoughts were miles away. I was remembering all the good times I had spent with my best friend and husband. Since the tragic car accident that took Matt‘s life, I have felt lost without my best friend.
As I flipped through the scenes of my mental field trip, I distantly heard my name called. I looked up to see an attractive brawny man who had to be at least 6 foot 6 smiling at me with a smile that was familiar. His hazel eyes crinkled up when he smiled. As nice as his face was, my eyes were drawn to the wide girth of his chest and his strong arms. His light cashmere sweater fit him snuggly revealing his nicely formed pectoral muscles. If I were a spelunker, I would not mind exploring the crevices of his chest as if I were exploring a cave. These thoughts caught me off guard since I hadn’t looked at a guy in that way since Matt.
This earthly angel approached me and said, “Jane, it is so good to see you.” Recognition finally hit me. It was my best friend of a different lifetime.
My jaw and book both dropped to the floor. “Chance, is that you? I can hardly believe it’s you.”
Chance swept me up in a giant bear hug and swung me around. As he sat me down, my balance was off and I put my hands on his nicely chiseled chest to steady myself. Whoa, baby! His chest felt even better than I imagined if that is possible. My cheeks turned crimson red as I realized I had left my hands there longer than was polite. Chance didn’t seem to mind. In fact, my embarrassment seemed to broaden his impish grin.            
“You grew a couple of inches since high school,” Chance teasingly said.
“Yes, I am five foot three now thank you very much,” I added defensively.
“That’s still fun-size in my book.”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked.
He playfully tapped the end of my nose as he replied, “That’s a very good thing. It’s one of the many things I love about you.”
With that, he reached down and ensnared me in another bear hug. After he hugged me this time he didn’t release his arms, instead he let them cascade down to my waist. He moved one hand to my face where he cradled my cheek with his large thick fingers. He said, “I’ve really missed you.” He paused for just a moment, and then the next thing I knew was he was kissing me. His lips were so soft and yummy tasting that I just let myself get caught up in the moment. Our lips seemed to fit together like locking pieces.
At some point, I had a reality check. I pushed him away and asked, “Hey, are you married?”
He smiled sheepishly and answered, “No, I’m not married, but I’d like to be.”
Then with his hand on the small of my back, he pulled me in even closer. Very much breathless this time, I pushed him away once more and asked, “Don’t you want to know if I’m married?”
“I already know that answer.” He smiled a very mischievous grin as he answered me. I had a million unanswered questions, but at the moment I did not want to stop kissing him long enough to find out the answers to my queries. My heart felt like it had found its way home a second time. It felt right.


Questions Answered 
I was thinking I would only have about twenty minutes to find out what Chance had been up to in the last fifteen years, but he surprised me again by telling me he would be sitting in the seat next to me for the flight home to Salt Lake. I was starting to think I had a very cute stalker when he informed me my dad had made all the arrangements not just the seminar arrangements.
“What exactly have you and my dad been up to, and how long have you been planning this whole shin ding?” I demanded.
Chance went on to tell me he has been in communication with my dad all these years, so between e-mailing my dad and following my blog he felt like he was very up to date on my life. I really wanted to pop him in the nose. I might have to kiss it better afterwards, but still I was pretty cheezed over the whole secret contact.
“What’s the big idea? It wasn’t even six months after you moved to Australia that you stopped replying to my e-mails and letters. I was devastated about losing my best friend, so instead of being my best friend, you and dad are best mates now. Is that the skinny of things? I think I will have a little talk with Mr. Wayne Henry Harris when I get home.”
“I dropped contact with you when you mentioned Chandler in your blog. I wanted your life to go on with or without me, and not all guys would be cool with you having a guy for a best friend especially one that was madly in love with you. Your dad and your blog were life lines for me. I still felt like I knew everything that was going on with you, at least the major things.”
That stopped me in my tracks. How do you even respond to that? Before I could even pull a coherent thought together, Chance was getting down on one knee and pulling out a gorgeous marquees solitaire diamond.
“Jane Harris Callaghan, I have loved you for what seems like my whole life and I will continue to love you for the rest of my life. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
“Are you insane? I haven’t seen you in fifteen years, I know nothing about what you have been up to, and I have two small children that are expecting me to pull it together and be their mom again.” Chance stood up at my unexpected tirade.
I must have been out the day they taught you to accept a marriage proposal since I haven’t got it right yet. With Matt, I laughed at him when he proposed because I thought he was joking around and just mocking guys that propose in the well used place where he proposed. Here I get another perfectly good proposal, all though totally out of the blue but still a perfectly good proposal, and I call the guy insane. Maybe there is another seminar I can attend for my little idiosyncrasy. The world of mental health has seminars on everything else why not one for those individuals inept at accepting marriage proposals. You would think there would at least be some type of support group for that.
“I know I sprung this on you a little soon.”
“Soon! I hardly recognize you and say hi before you start kissing me, and the next thing I know you are proposing to me. You had better explain yourself Chance Douglas Morgan.”
“I would be happy to, Jane, if you would calm down long enough for me to.” I paused with bated breath waiting for Chance to explain himself. “I think your dad has known all along that we were right for each other. I want you to know that before your dad set up this whole trip, he gave me permission to marry you. In the past, he was worried about the fact that organized religion wasn’t something important to me even though I still had the same core beliefs as you. He knew you wanted something I couldn’t give you. That is why I had to sever our friendship. You needed a chance to find what you were looking for, and Matt was perfect for you.”
With that, tears stung my eyes. Here I have been kissing Chance, when just minutes before I was lost in my sorrow over losing Matt. What a disloyal wife I am. Chance must still have his uncanny ability to read my mind.
“Jane, giving your heart to me doesn’t mean you have to forget about Matt. He will always be a part of you and your children’s lives. I don’t want to replace him. Instead, I just want to be an addition to your existing family. Your children need a father figure in their life, and you need a man that can worship and love you like I do.”
I reached out and just held onto him while I tried to stifle the sobs that were on the brink of escaping. Chance rubbed my back and repeatedly kissed the top of my head.
“I think your dad and maybe even God knew you would need me in your life when the time was right. Perhaps you were never meant to grow old with Matt. I promise to not try to replace him or rush my relationship with Annie and Johnny. By the way, are the kids getting to old to go by those nicknames?”
That made me smile and forget my jumble of emotions momentarily. “Anna, at age 7, still likes Annie, but nine year old Johnny thinks he is too old for the nickname. He insists on everyone calling him John except for me. I think he is trying to be the man of the family.”
“If he will let me, maybe we can share the job.”
With that I looked up into his eyes through the tears, and impulsively reached up and kissed Chance. I had a feeling of peace come over me, and I knew Chance was my guardian angel that had been sent to me at the right time. I also finally admitted to myself that I have always been in love with him. That isn’t exactly correct. A more accurate depiction is our friendship grew into love over the years, but that love always scared me for some reason. Maybe Chance is right about it being all about timing and that I needed to love Matt first. No matter how it happened, I know without a doubt that I am completely in love with Chance. I glanced down to Chance’s hand still holding the ring.
A look of hope crossed Chance’s face. “Are you reconsidering my offer?”
“I can’t believe I am saying this, but yes.”
Chance dropped to his knee. “Yes, you are reconsidering my offer, or yes, you will marry me?”
“Yes, I will marry you, but I need time to make sure John and Annie are okay with our relationship.”
“Even though I am ready to start my life with you, I am willing to wait for all three of you to be ready since this is a big step for all of us.”


San Francisco
Snuggling on the couch with my back against his chest, Chance started kissing the back of my neck. He started out with playful kisses and then I could tell when his kisses had turned more serious. His breath caught, and he stopped as if afraid to keep going. I turned towards him and kissed him hard. “I want you too,” I whispered. “Hopefully the kids will see how happy you make me and what a good thing you are for our family.” I started crying. When words fail to describe your level of feelings, crying seems to help others fill in the blanks. “John seems to think I have to choose between him and Annie and you. I love you and the kids equally, I shouldn’t have to choose.”
“Don’t cry Jane. Annie and John will come around. Maybe if we all went away for the weekend somewhere fun, the kids will see we can be a family even if that family looks a little different than what they are used to.”
“Annie has already told me she loves you and wants you to be her new daddy. It’s Johnny I worry about. What if he won’t ever accept us as a couple or accept you as his step-father?” Just then I saw Johnny sneaking back up the stairs. I’m not sure how long he was there, but long enough. I decided not to follow him since I had no idea of what to say to him.
Chance wanted an opportunity to bond with John and Annie in a fun setting. He planned a trip to San Francisco the second week in September. It took a little convincing, but I finally agreed to let the kids miss a day of school. We flew out Thursday evening. Chance’s little sister, Stacey, came with us in case there were times we wanted to be alone as a couple. By the time we got to the hotel, there was time to take the kids on a quick tour of the amenities and then it was bedtime for Annie and John.
In the morning around nine, Chance surprised us with breakfast being delivered to mine and the kid's room. Chance and Stacey came to our room and we had an indoor picnic there. He ordered a variety of breakfast foods enough to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Stacey went to meet up with some college friends for the day.
We ventured downtown to Pier 33 by means of BART, the commuter subway. The kids loved the train ride. Our first tourist stop was Alcatraz. ‘Break the rules and you go to prison, break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz.’ John and Annie liked the ferry ride and the prison tour for the first twenty minutes, but then they were done. Stick a fork in me – done. We decided to stop following the self-guided audio tour, and just let them wonder where they wanted to go. Of course we took the mandatory pictures of the kids behind bars.
“Mom can we choose the next thing we do?” Johnny took the initiative to plan the next activity.
“Do you have an idea for what you want to do?” I asked. We did some research before we left home, so we had a list of some possible tourist destinations. Chance is the only one in our group that has been to San Francisco before. However, he came only once when he was younger than Annie.
“I was thinking we could go to the aquarium.”
“That sounds like a good plan champ. The Aquarium of the Bay is on Pier 39, so we can walk there,” Chance informed him.
The aquarium was definitely more kid friendly. The touch pools and the walkthrough tunnel was their favorite. I loved touching the rays and the starfish, but the smell got to me after awhile. I needed to get some fresh air, so we walked around Pier 39 and checked out some shops. Then Annie and John rode the carousal and watched a juggling act. Next, we decided to grab a bite to eat. We decided on Neptune’s Palace because they are supposed to have award winning clam chowder. It was mighty tasty. The view inside was fantastic of the Bay. We could even see Alcatraz Island from where we were sitting. We saw the sea lions sunning themselves from inside the restaurant too, and decided to take a closer look after we finished eating.           
After  checking out the sea lions, we decided to catch one of the open top bus tours to get an overview of the city. John loved the double-decker bus. Annie is like me in that she hates being cold, and it was a little chilly up top. The new souvenir jackets we bought while browsing the shops at Fisherman Wharf still weren’t enough to shield us from the ever increasing cold. We left the guys to do some male bonding, and us girls went downstairs to get warm. The fog started rolling in; it looked like a living, breathing entity. It was spooky watching it move across the bay. When we got to the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog was so thick you couldn’t even see Alcatraz. The guys got cold riding on the upper deck of the bus, and they finally caved and came down to join the girls on the lower deck.
Everyone was tired of playing tourist. Both John and Annie wanted to go back to the hotel and swim and relax for awhile. After having their fill of swimming, we found a restaurant within walking distance that the concierge recommended. Stacey came with us for dinner. We went to this quaint little Italian restaurant named La Collina. Everyone found something they liked. Chance kept sharing his dinner with me. I think he just wanted an excuse to feed me. My children seem to be comfortable with Chance and they love spending time with Stacey. I even heard Annie call her Aunt Stacey.
All five us took the BART train in the morning to Ghirardelli Square. Chance must have done some homework because he knew the Chocolate Festival would be going on while we were there. Stacey offered to take the kids through the Chocolate Festival while Chance and I browsed some shops and art galleries by ourselves. Of course, we did have to stop by the Ghirardelli store first and get a free chocolate sample. There were several art galleries down the street from Ghirardelli Square.
I think the second gallery was named Dennis Rae Fine Art. I walked in and fell in love with Mario Jung’s Impasto pieces. The thickly, textured paint was almost three-dimensional in appearance. He told me I could choose any of the paintings for a wedding present. The Sunflower Landscape was one of my favorites. It reminded me of the sunshine that Chance has brought to my life. I told Chance the painting was too much even though it was reasonable for an original painting. While I continued to walk around, I noticed Chance talking with the curator. I didn’t think much of it at the time.
One of the next art galleries, had another artist I fell in love with. Robert Deyber was more for his sense of humor. His pieces were in a collection called ‘Turning A Phrase’. The lithographs reminded me of a poster I have called ‘Proverbidioms’. The different versions of ‘Bad Hare Day’ and ‘The Party Animals’ made me laugh along with ‘The Couch Potato’ and many more. The gallery had a book for sale titled, ‘Robert Deyber – A Language All His Own’. Chance insisted on buying me a copy so I could take home something we saw from the art galleries. I thoroughly enjoyed our walkthrough the galleries. We held hands and just enjoyed the pleasure of being together.
For lunch, we ate at Lori’s Diner and had more clam chowder, but this time in a sour dough bowl. I couldn’t get enough clam chowder and sea food. Over lunch, we discussed what other tourist type things everyone wanted to do. I suggested China Town and the Japanese Tea Garden, but Chance said Annie and John might like the Exploratorium better. We all agreed to spend the afternoon there. We ended up staying until closing because all five of us were having so much fun. I took pictures while Chance, Stacey, John, and Annie made giant bubbles and then stood in front of the anti-gravity mirror. All of us had a good time playing in the thermal camera area. Chance and John kept disappearing together. Nothing could have made me happier than to see Chance and Johnny getting along like best friends.
“Do you want to play a little one on one basketball in front of the green screen John? We can see who the better player is?”
“Hmm, let’s see you are almost two feet taller than me, but I’m sure that wouldn’t be an advantage to you in the least.”
“It would seem you inherited your mother’s over developed sense of sarcasm.”
“You don’t like that about my mom?” John wasn’t sure if this was a good thing, or if he needed to defend me.
“I love everything about your mother. We have been best friends since we were seven.” 
“Your best friend is a girl?”
“Growing up, your mom was quite the tomboy. Even when your Grandma Harris made her wear a dress, she still wore pants underneath.”
“You can’t very well do the monkey bars wearing a dress. Everyone knows that,” I indignantly replied.
“Okay that isn’t very girlie, but as you got older why did you still want to hang out with her. No offense mom.”
“None taken,” I chortled. I could hardly wait to see where the conversation was going to go next.
“Your mom liked to do the same things I did. We would play kick the can with all the neighborhood kids, or get a few people together to play horse at Gary and Byron Averett’s house. They were the only two kids on the block that had their own basketball hoop in their yard. As we got older, we played truth or dare. Jane even jumped off the roof of Doug McCann’s house on a dare.”
That scared John. “Did you get hurt mom?”
“Sort of. I had the wind knocked out of me and couldn’t talk for a couple of minutes, so I wouldn’t recommend you or your sister trying that one.”
“Do you remember the first thing you said when you finally came around?” teased Chance.
“Yes, I said, ‘Is there anything to stop the bleeding?’ and you all freaked out since you couldn’t see any blood. I must have bit my cheek when I landed because I had a bunch of blood in my mouth.”
“I’m surprised that the bizarre old man next door didn’t say anything to your mom or dad.”
“Actually he said something to me later that day when I took my dog, Skipper, for a walk. The way he described what we did let me know he had been watching us for some time. My mom always told me to be nice to him since he was a veteran. I think he was even a prisoner of war. Maybe that is what messed him up, but he was always creepy around the girls from the neighborhood.”
John interrupted our little walk down memory lane. “Okay, I can see why you liked hanging around my mom, but what about when you guys got older. Didn’t your other friends make fun of you for hanging out with a girl?”
“Everyone just thought of Jane as one of the guys until at least high school. Then a few of us noticed she was a girl. It took me until the beginning of our junior year for that fact to dawn on me.”
Annie joined the conversation for the first time. “Did mom start dressing more like a girl or did she start wearing make-up? Is that when you starting thinking of her as a girl.”
Chance looked up at me questioningly. “Are you okay if I tell them this?”
“I am waiting to hear the answer just as much as everyone else.”
“You honestly don’t know the answer?” I shook my head no and indicated he should continue his tale.
“The first time your mom saw this guy named Trevor, our junior year, she started looking all starry-eyed at him. Well Trevor noticed her too, and he asked me to introduce him to my cute, short friend.”
“Mom doesn’t like to be called short,” interrupted Annie.
“She also doesn’t like to be called cute, but the fact remains she is both cute and short or under-tall if that sounds better. I realized I didn’t want to introduce Trevor to your mom, and the more I thought about it I realized I was jealous. This was the first time I acknowledged Jane was more than just my best friend. She was also a cute girl. That was the start of my crush on her.”
You could tell Annie had been thinking a lot about our friendship by her next comment. “If you liked my mom so much, how come you stopped writing her letters and e-mails after your family moved to Australia?”
That question caught Chance off guard. Stacey came to his rescue. “Chance loved your mom so much by then that he realized he had to let her go so she could find the kind of guy that could give her everything she wanted. Your dad was that guy. Chance never stopped loving your mom. We would have long discussions about if what he was doing was right. Everything Chance did, he did because he thought it was best for your mom.”
“Wasn’t part of it about religion?” John wanted to know.
“Yes, I knew religion was important to your mom, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about religion.”
“If you marry our mom, does that mean we have to stop going to church?” asked Annie.
“Actually just the opposite is true. I plan on going to church with you and doing everything you used to do, but I just won’t be an official member of your church. Would that be okay with you both?”
“I guess,” both Annie and John said in unison.
“These are some important discussions we need to have, but how about tabling that discussion for now. I don’t know about you but I want to see what the Sip of Conflict is and I bet I can build the best castle out of black sand.” With that said, everyone went back to playing hard. We were all pretty tired when it was time to leave.
We grabbed some fast food and then went back to the hotel. Stacey took Annie and John swimming, and Chance and I went for a walk alone.
“I’m sorry the kids put you on the spot today.”
“Jane, don’t apologize for them asking hard questions. If we’re going to be a family, they have to feel comfortable to ask anything that’s on their minds. Jane, I meant it when I said I planned on going to church with you and supporting you in any way I can, but that is all I can promise for now. Can you live with that?”
“I know I don’t want to live without you in my life regardless of where you stand on religion. I think this weekend has gone well, and I know Annie loves Stacey. I thinking adding you to the family is just a bonus in her eyes. You are even rubbing off on John,” I said with a sigh.
“It will all work out I think. I have a good feeling about things. How would you feel if we bring up our getting married again with the kids before we leave San Francisco?”
“Maybe we can plan a picnic in the park before we have to leave for the airport, and we can talk about it then,” I added nervously.
By the time we got back to the hotel, Annie and John had finished swimming and then they had both showered and were ready for bed. Stacey is a wonderful aunt to them even if the title isn’t official yet. I asked them if they were ready for prayers and to be tucked into bed.
“Actually mom, Annie and I want to talk to you and Chance first if that is okay?” I glanced over at Chance and he just squeezed my hand.
“Sure, honey, what do you want to talk to us about?”
“The wedding of course.”
“What exactly about the wedding?” asked Chance.
John looked at Annie and she nodded encouragement. “We want you both to know we’re okay with you two getting married. We know you love mom and we have fun with you too.”
Annie shyly added, “Would it be okay if I call you daddy?”
Chance dropped to his knees before Annie, and with unexpected tears streaming down his face he grabbed her in a big bear hug. “I would love it if you called me daddy.” He noticed John looking awkwardly down at his shoes. “However, you both can call me whatever you are most comfortable with. I want you to know your dad will always be your dad. You are just lucky and get to have two dads.”
“How soon are you going to get married?” Annie wanted to know. The whole thing was so unexpected I didn’t know what to say.
“Your mom and I would love to get married as soon as possible, but your mom and dad’s anniversary is in September. I think your mom would feel better if we waited until at least October.”
John thought that was cool. “How about you get married on Halloween?”
“Who would take you trick-or-treating if we got married then?” Chance teasingly asked.
Annie was thoughtful for a minute and then she quietly suggested, “What about October 15th since it is half way to Halloween and it’s Grandpa Harris’s birthday? That way we can have something to celebrate with both families.”
“That sounds perfect, but would it be okay if we ask Grandpa Harris if he minds sharing his birthday with us?”
“Grandpa and Chance, I mean dad, were good buds for a long time, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Plus he’s always telling me he isn’t having birthdays anymore,” added Johnny.
Chance looked up at me, “Do you think we can pull a wedding together in a month?”
“Are we talking just a small wedding with family and some friends? You haven’t been married before so I don’t want to short change you.”
“Jane, all I want is for you to be my wife.” I instantly colored. “I don’t need all the pomp and circumstance of a big wedding. John and Annie, thank you for making me the happiest man alive. I promise to take good care of your mom and both of you.” Chance managed to pull everyone in for a big group hug. Annie made sure Stacey was in the mix of it all. As we were pulling away from each other, Annie yawned really big. We all laughed.
“It has been a big day for all of us, we should probably get you kids to bed.”
Stacey added, “If you don’t need my help, my friends called earlier to see if I was free to go dancing.”
“I think we are set for the night. Thanks for all your help sis and for going with us today.” With that Chance gave her a colossal hug. If you haven’t noticed yet, Chance is big on hugging. He is like a giant teddy bear that you just want to squeeze the stuffing out of, but most of the time he beats you to it.
Stacey reached up and gave Chance a kiss on the cheek. “Congratulations you two. I am very happy for both of you. Plus I get two great kids in the deal,” Stacey winked at the kids as she said that. Next, she reached over and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She excused herself to get ready to go meet her friends.
Chance started to leave too, but Annie quietly asked, “Dad will you help tuck us in and say prayers with us?”
“I would love to sweetheart.”
After we got Annie and John all settled, Chance said he needed to go back to his room for a quick shower and then he would be back. I decided that sounded good, but I wanted to soak in the tub instead. Annie loves bubble baths, so she threw a bottle of lavender bubble bath in the toiletries bag. I borrowed some and had a nice relaxing bath, I was just drying off when I heard a light knocking on the door. I quickly threw on my new black satin robe before going to the door. My robe is meant to be mid-thigh, but on me it was only an inch above my knees.
“Chance is that you?”
“Yes”
Give me a second before you come in. I opened the door and then ran for the bathroom. “Let me get dressed and I will by right out.” I gazed over my shoulder to see Chance staring at me with this hungry look. It seemed like he had something in his hand, a bottle of some sort. I changed into something comfortable but still flattering. “Sorry, I thought I would be done with my bubble bath before you got back.”
“Are you going to bring that robe on the honeymoon?” Chance asked while leering at me.
“I bought it new for the trip, but I wasn’t anticipating you necessarily seeing it.”
“Well I’m glad you enjoyed your bubble bath. You look very refreshed. Maybe the next bubble bath we can take together? I brought something to celebrate our official engagement.” With that, Chance pulled out his bottle of sparkling apple cider and two glasses.
“Did you already have that or where did you come up with it on such short notice?”
“The concierge hooked me up, but it was too late to try to get chocolate covered strawberries.”
“For future reference, I like chocolate covered grapes better.”
“Good to know. Now, how about a toast to our upcoming nuptials.” It was a perfect ending to a nearly perfect day.
The next morning we were able to obtain the necessary items for a nice picnic in the park. We went to Alamo Square Park and had a nice time before we had to get ready to return the rental car and go check in at the airport. I took pictures of the Painted Ladies Victorian homes known as Postcard Row. It was a great place to rest and enjoy the view while walking through the Haight Ashbury area. The trip couldn’t have gone better. We may not have seen all the tourist destinations, but that wasn’t really the point of this trip. I can’t believe we’re going to be married in just over a month. Chance won my heart a long time ago, but he cemented my love for him this weekend. He even won the hearts of my children.
While we were waiting at the airport for our flight home, Annie asked if we could call Grandpa Harris and see if it was okay to have the wedding on his birthday. Making that phone call, I felt like daddy’s little girl rather than a grown woman. I tried his cell phone first, so if he was busy at work he could call back when it was a good time to talk. “Dad, hi it’s Jane. Is this a good time to talk?”
“Yes, I have a few minutes before I go into my next meeting. What’s up? Are you guys home from your trip already?”
“Actually we are still in San Francisco waiting for our flight, but I have a question I need to ask you. Annie wanted me to call and ask now.” I paused before posing my question. I was feeling nervous about asking him even though I was pretty sure he would be okay with our getting married on his birthday.
“What is Jane? Is everything okay?”
“Everything is better than okay dad. The kids told us last they were all right with us getting married. Annie suggested a date for the wedding, and that is the reason for the call.”
“What day did you have in mind? I can clear my schedule. Is that what Annie was worried about?”
“No, but that is good to hear since we are already down a father for the wedding.” I took a deep breath before asking, “Would you mind if we got married on your birthday?”
“I already told the kids I wasn’t having any more birthdays. This will just give a better reason to have a party on October 15th.”
I sighed with relief. “Then I guess if you are okay with it, we have a lot of planning to do before then. I will call mom and check with her too. Thanks dad, I love you.”
My dad didn’t respond immediately and when he did respond he had a catch in his throat. “I love you too Jane. I can’t tell you how good it is to see you happy again. You tell Chance he better kept it that way or he and I will be having words.”
I had to laugh at that. “I am very happy. Thanks for everything dad, especially for sending Chance back into my life when I needed him most. I am just glad you decided to share Chance rather than keeping your good bud all to yourself.”
Laughing he replied, “He was always the son I didn’t have.”
“Did you forget about your son, Tom?” I asked confused.
“No but Tom is well you know – Tom. Anyhow, I was just testing your loyalty to your brother. However in all seriousness, over the years Chance has become a good friend and a second son to me. Even if he never got around to asking you to marry him, I think we would have remained close.”
With that I got choked up and handed the phone for the kids to say hi to grandpa. Chance asked if I was okay, but I just nodded and smiled through my cloudy, tear filled vision. I was overwhelmed thinking of what may have been had they not become such close friends. Chance has been good for my dad too. He has never been very open about sharing his thoughts or feelings. I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard him say he loves me. After John and Annie said good-bye, Chance talked to my dad too. He pointed to the phone and raised an eyebrow to ask if I wanted to say anything more, but my emotions were still too close to surface. A group hug was in order after ending the call to my dad. No more than five minutes after hanging up with my dad, my mom called.
“Hi mom. I was getting ready to call you.”
“Sorry to spoil your surprise dear, but your dad couldn’t wait for you to call and share the good news. He already told me the wedding date. This is the first time in a long time that he is looking forward to his birthday, but you kids didn’t give me much time to help you pull a wedding together. It is a good thing I have already been doing some pre-planning.”
“Mom, slow down. I think we are going to keep things simple, and just invite family and few close friends.”
“That’s fine for the wedding, but I insist on throwing a reception even if it has to wait until after the honeymoon.” I just shook my head, but agreed to let her have her way as long as she didn’t go overboard with the reception. The wedding day itself would be simple but perfect.


A Happy and Sad Ending 
Chance was catching me up with the changes in his family after they moved to Australia. After being there a year, his dad started going on a lot more business trips. Richard, or Dick as we now refer to him as, said they had more meetings because his business was going to merge with a sister company.
Chance told me the story Stacey had shared with him when he came home for winter break his third year of business school at the University of Adelaide, “Stacey told me mom and dad started fighting all the time after I had been away to college for about a year and a half. She remembers one particular bad fight when dad got defensive because mom asked about the Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds perfume smell on his clothes. Mom knew he was cheating, but didn’t want to end their marriage for whatever reason. Maybe she was worried about us kids or maybe she was simply afraid of being alone. Finally, he admitted he found someone else that made him happy. The other woman was his soul mate and he was going to have a baby with her. Dick made sure mom was well taken care of. He gave her the house, car, and the furniture. That is the least he could do after he dumped his wife of twenty years to start a new life with someone eleven years younger than him. He stayed in Australia, but mom and Stacey moved back to the states after mom sold everything.”
“How come you stayed in Australia?” I asked Chance.
“ I was just getting into my core classes for my business major. Plus, I figured Australia was large enough that I should be able to avoid seeing Dick and the new wife. He wanted to sever all  ties with us, and that was fine by me. His only contact with my family was sending monthly child support for Stacey for five years until she turned eighteen.”
“I take it that means you don’t want to invite them to our wedding?” jokingly I asked.
“Even if I cared to see him again, I highly doubt he would show up. As far as he is concerned, he only has one family. I wonder how long he will be faithful to the new Mrs. Morgan? It would be poetic justice if she cheated on him and left him for someone wealthier than my dad.”
“That must have been devastating for your mom.”
“She was a depressed for awhile from what Stacey told me, but then she decided Dick wasn’t worth any more tears. Mom joined a gym, Facebook and an online dating service all in the same month. That was how she met PJ Mangone.”
“He died a few years after they got married is that right?”
“Yes, Mom was a divorcee, a new bride, and then a widow all within a five year period. PJ had a brain tumor. It all happened fast. PJ’s son, George, was taking him fishing up near the Woodland and Kamas area, and when they stopped to get out of the truck PJ just collapsed. George managed to get him back in the car and to the hospital in Heber City. Once they figured out it was a brain tumor, they moved him to the Huntsman Cancer Institute where he had surgery to remove the tumor, but it grew back in a month’s time and it was even larger. They opted not to have the second surgery. He died in my mom’s arms in their bed at home.”
“How did your mom hold up through all of that?”
“I think the divorce in some ways helped her prepare for the loss of PJ. She learned to take care of herself and to not wait for happiness to come to her. She still has sad days or moments of sadness, but it’s bearable grief now. Besides, she has family and friends that are there to help pick her up if she needs it.”
Quietly contemplating my own situation, I wondered how long it would have taken me to find peace if Chance hadn’t waltzed back into my life when he did. Chance peered down at me and seemed to read my mind as he often does. He didn’t say anything; rather he just swept me up in one his loving embraces. Everything seems so much brighter and feasible now that I have him to lean on for support.


Confessions
In an attempt to cheer me up, Chance told me about different antics of co-workers. His buddies at work have also been teasing him about living at home, but he just smiles and tells them they are jealous of him. When he moved back to the states, he moved home to give his mom some extra income. He also didn’t want to buy a home until he knew where things stood with me. Chance didn’t know if I would want to uproot the kids or if they would be happier staying in their own home.
Since we were sharing funny stories, I shared something comical that happened to me this week. I had my yearly checkup with my OB/GYN. Dr. Newbold is a younger guy. He went to sit down on his stool, but somehow he managed to slide off his chair and land on the floor. I am not sure if sat down too far back or what, but one second he is there and the next he is on the floor. We both were shocked; however, once we ascertained he was okay we both broke out in the giggles. I am glad he had a good sense of humor about the whole thing.
Next, Chance told me, “My mom has grandkids from PJ’s kids. She likes to rub in the fact that she had to find a different route to get grandkids since; my sister and I weren’t doing our part.”
Maybe the whole OB/GYN story made him think along the lines of kids which made me think of something I hadn’t even considered. What if Chance is expecting us to have children together? “We haven’t really discussed this, but do you want kids.”
“You are giving me two great kids that I love very much, but I would like very much for us to have a third child.”
Looking away, I couldn’t answer him. Finally, he gently lifted my chin until I was looking at him. “What’s the matter Jane? If you really don’t want to have more children, I would never ask that of you.”
With a catch in my throat I responded, “I had trouble getting pregnant with John and Annie, and Matt and I went years without trying to prevent a pregnancy. With all that said, I may not be able to get pregnant even though I have always felt like our family wasn’t complete. I would love to give you a baby, but that may not be possible. Plus I feel pretty old to be starting over again.”
“Why don’t we just let happen what will happen? If you get pregnant, then it was meant to be. If nothing else, we can have a lot of fun trying.”
“I’m glad you can joke about it. I’m sorry if I’m broken and can’t give you a baby.”
“You’ve already given me everything I want. Anything else is just bonus.” With that, we switched topics. Like Chance said, there really is no sense worrying about it. If it happens great, but if not, we already have a lot to be grateful for.
This time it was Chance that paused and seemed like he had something to say, but didn’t really want to say it. “Since we are making confessions, there is something I have been meaning to tell you but I didn’t know how to bring it up.” I waited for him to continue. “Maybe I can start by asking you a question.”
“Ask me anything you want.”
“I am pretty sure I already know the answer, but I am going to ask anyway. Was Matt your only partner?”
I looked at Chance with a bemused look, but then I realized what he was asking. “Yes, Matt is the only man I have been with.” I was afraid of what he had to tell me.
“For a long time, I was planning on waiting until I got married to get sexually involved with someone. I also thought that person would be you. When you and Matt got married, I went through a bad time. I went on a bender that seems like it lasted for a month or more. After that I laid off the alcohol, but then I tried to date my way through Australia. I started dating this girl named Barbara, and we dated for two years. She kept pressuring me to sleep with her, and I finally decided why not since I was beginning to doubt if I would ever be with you. Being with Barbara,  made we realize I needed to stop trying to find a substitute for you, and I was afraid if I kept going the way I was you wouldn’t take me even if the opportunity presented itself.”
Chance paused to let me take it all in. “I know I don’t have a right to be jealous especially since I was with Matt, but I don’t like the idea of sharing you. Was Barbara the only one you were with?” I couldn’t even look him in the eye as I asked him instead I was picking off real and imaginary lint from the couch.
My response seem to encourage him. “Yes Jane, she was the only woman I have been with over the years. Whenever things started to get serious with the women I was dating, I would break things off with them.”
“That hardly seems fair to you Chance, but I’m glad we are on equal footing here as far as physical relationships go.”
“So you and are okay? This won’t be a problem for you?”
“Chance, I never meant for you to not be happy. I just wished you had kept in contact with me over the years and not just my dad. Maybe something would have worked out sooner for us.”
“No, your dad and I both agree that our differences in religion would have been problematic early on in our relationship. I couldn’t be everything you wanted me to be then, but I think we can work out our differences now.”
I gave him that ah look and then started to kiss him, but I pulled back at the last second. “Wait. I have told you my big confession. You don’t have any more to share do you?” I honestly hoped he didn’t since I wasn’t sure my heart could handle too much more.
“No Jane, I think we have now discussed any issue that needed to be brought up other than where we would like to live as a family.”
I just grinned at him and planted a big wet one on him.


Family Circle
I’m amazed at how many friends from the twins support group have been asked by someone if their twins were identical. This question is being asked of parents with twins that are a boy and a girl. I want to ask, “Really?” I mean come on people, one has an outee and one has an inee.
Chance and I were laughing when we were told my due date was two weeks after New Year’s Day. We had heard about a lady the previous year that had her twins delivered on different days. One was delivered on December 31st and the other on January 1st. Her doctor agreed to schedule the C-section that way as long as there weren’t any complications. I thought of the twins growing inside me and laughed if they same thing happened to me, since I haven’t ever made it to my due date. However, that is highly unlikely.
I can’t believe Chance convinced me to not find out the sex of our twins. It was a big enough shock finding out I was having twins let alone not being prepared with things for the babies. What’s really funny is friends and families have been giving us double gifts. Every gift had a girl and boy item along with a gift receipt, so we could exchange what we didn’t need. I was expecting to receive a lot of gifts in neutral yellows and greens. Our friends knew I had this obsessive need to be ready, so they provided me with gifts that fit every option. As a joke, Chance set up his and hers cribs. We decorated the nursery with Winnie the Pooh decorations and had fluffy white clouds and a hundred acre wood scene painted on the walls. I guess I went neutral after all, but Chance found two different bedding and quilts that were Winnie the Pooh but in distinct boy and girl colors. He said he even bought double of each, so he could change them out before we brought the twins home.
We scheduled my C-section for January 6th, but would you believe it, I went into labor on New Year’s Eve. My doctor just laughed because we had shared the story of the lady with twins doing the same thing. He stopped laughing once he checked me, and said, “I think we are delivering these babies the old fashioned way.”
Right after pushing out the first baby at 11:30, I said, “Okay, I'm done, I want to go home now!”  It didn't take much convincing to keep me there once they showed me my beautiful little girl with wavy brown hair. My other kids had been bald until they turned two. In the back of my mind, I vaguely remember the doctor and nurse saying the average length between vaginally delivered twins is about 20 minutes. I forgot about everything for about fifty minutes while I just snuggled with my little girl. Once I started nursing though, I knew things would move quickly now because my contractions started up again. Little Brenda came out sunny side up and her brother, Brent, was face down. Brent decided to come in his own time one hour and one minute after his sister. I guess he was waiting around so he could have his own birthday. Hopefully this isn’t indicative of a stubborn personality trait because you know no one else in the family is stubborn or sarcastic either.
After they cleaned and bundled up Brent, Chance handed me my little girl and my little boy. A his and hers matching pair - maybe Chance was right all along. Tears were streaming down both our faces. I smiled at Chance and said, “Our family circle is now complete.”