Just a dream, just an ordinary dream
As I wake in bed
And the boy, that ordinary boy
Or was it all in my head?
Did he ask if I would come along
It all seemed so real.
But as I looked to the door
I saw that boy standing there with a deal.
August 3, 2006
Martha’s Vineyard: Beach
“Something’s been bothering me.”
Robin glanced up from the sand castle she was carving and smirked. “The fact that I am whooping your ass at this contest?” she teased, digging out a trench for the moat.
“Very funny…” Patrick lobbed a pile of sand her way, careful not to aim for her face. It had taken almost an hour to convince Robin to come down to the waterfront that morning since she had tried on all the swimsuits she’d brought with her and realized that after four months, she was finally beginning to show. Just the slightest and, in his opinion, cutest bump but Robin wouldn’t hear of exiting the house in anything less than a full set of clothing.
He’d tossed her one of his t-shirts that hung down to her knees practically and hid her figure. After all that, she’d started to have fun and had suggested the sand castle contest. It was nice to see her grinning like a little kid and looking happy.
“No, I’ve been thinking about Elsie Horowitz. Something she said at the wedding struck me as odd–more than the rest of it.”
Robin sighed. “Can’t we just forget the whole awful thing? It’s the one thing that mars an otherwise perfect day.”
“Just answer me this one question and I promise, we’ll forget all about it,” Patrick pledged. He frowned at his sadly crumbling tower on his castle. Clearly, it had been too long since he’d attempted one of these.
“Fine,” Robin huffed.
“When she came up to me, I was standing with Elizabeth and Elsie insinuated that it was odd that Elizabeth was there and that it was vulgar that she’d accepted the offer to be a bridesmaid at all,” Patrick remarked. “I thought that was strange since everyone knows you and Liz are best friends.”
Robin’s lips thinned and she shook her head. “Nope, I’m not answering that.”
Patrick frowned. “Why would you not answer that? It can’t have–” he narrowed his eyes. “What does it have to do with you? The only reason you wouldn’t tell me is if you’d think I’d go do something you’d think was stupid and the only times that’s happened recently–”
“You are such a pain.” Robin tossed her shovel aside. “I guess it’s probably better if you know. There are some…things being said about the fact you’re letting Liz stay at the condo, rent-free.”
Patrick scowled. “I haven’t heard anything–”
“Well, after the way you threatened Kelly Lee, no one’s going to say anything within a hundred feet of you.” Robin dug her toes into the damp sand. “Look, if you want the truth, it goes back to when we broke up in the spring. The only other woman you were around was Liz and there was just the barest bit of gossip that there might be something going on there. And then when she left Lucky, the rumors were a little stronger. And now that it’s common knowledge that she was going to move into the condo after the wedding, a lot of the staff think…” she sighed impatiently. “They think you’re having an affair with her and you’re setting her up so it’ll continue after the wedding.”
“We work with some of the stupidest people in the universe,” Patrick muttered. “An affair with Liz–of all people. She’s like…a sister to me. I haven’t even hit on her since she whacked me upside the head with that chart after Christmas.”
“Well, I know that,” Robin rolled her eyes. “And everyone who’s actually friends with us knows that but it’s going to take people some time to accept the truth.”
“And what truth is that?” Patrick asked curiously. “That I understand the definition of fidelity?”
“Well, yes but what I meant was that the female employees seem to have trouble with the idea that sexy Dr. Patrick Drake would willingly commit himself to marriage, no matter who the woman.” Robin grinned impishly. “I think they’re a little angry with me for taking you off the market.”
Patrick scoffed. “If they only knew I almost had to wrestle you to the ground and shove the ring on your finger.” He abandoned his sad excuse for a castle and pulled Robin into his arms. “They’ll just have to get used to the idea that I’m no longer a single man.” He pursed his lips. “It may take some time and intensive therapy–”
Robin swatted him. “Patrick, honestly, the gossip doesn’t bother me. I trust Elizabeth and more importantly, I trust you. And Liz couldn’t give a damn about it either. So really, you don’t have to worry about me.”
“It’s now my job to worry about you,” Patrick said. “And in return, you have free reign to run my life.” He frowned. “Not that my lack of permission ever stopped you before.”
“Oh…I was merely giving you advice, not running your life.” Robin rolled her eyes, tilting her face up to kiss him lightly. “I really am having a wonderful time. The only thing that would make this better…”
“Why, Mrs. Dr. Scorpio-Drake,” Patrick teased, “you are insatiable.”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind that,” Robin that, “but I was referring to….pickles.”
“Pickles,” Patrick repeated. He wrinkled his nose. “This is another craving isn’t it?”
“And while you’re out,” Robin continued, ignoring her new husband’s amused tone, “you can pick up the chocolate and peanut butter that I was promised and did not receive.”
“I didn’t realize that I had volunteered to go,” Patrick replied. “Why can’t you go?”
Robin twisted around his lap and wounded her arms around his neck. “I’m feeling a little sleepy,” she almost purred. “I thought I’d wait for you…in bed.”
In other words, he would be rewarded for his sacrifices with more sex with his wife. Patrick quickly started gathering the various items they’d brought to beach. He didn’t need to be asked twice.
Martha’s Vineyard: Grocery Store
Fifteen minutes later, Patrick stood in front of row of pickle jars and contemplated which one suited Robin better. She hadn’t been specific and he hadn’t realized how many types and even if he could pick from the type, which cut did she want? He cast a look into the shopping cart where he had thirteen different types of peanut butter and eight different bags of chocolate.
With a sigh mixed with exasperation and amusement, he started to load his cart with all the different types of pickles.
“Is that Patrick Drake I spy?” a familiar voice called from behind him. He set a jar of dill sliced pickles in the cart and turned to see a pretty blonde standing behind him, with a wide grin that had earned her a Best Smile spot in their senior high school yearbook.
“Now I know that’s not Cecily Hawthorne,” Patrick shook his head. “You’re way too old to be Cecily.”
The woman took a magazine from her cart and whacked him over the head with it. “Jerk!”
Patrick clutched his head and feigned pain. “Well, not as bad as the calculus book you cracked over my head but…”
Cecily laughed and hugged him tightly. “I haven’t seen you here at the vineyard since…” she drew back and smiled awkwardly. “Well…it’s been a while.”
“Since my mom died,” Patrick confirmed. “I didn’t think anyone still came here–”
“Oh, well my parents gave me the house when I got married,” Cecily flashed her hand and he saw the glint of her wedding band. “They moved to Arizona.”
“You actually suckered someone into marrying you?” Patrick teased. “How drunk was he?”
She arched a brow and took his hand in hers, examining the gold band on his own finger. “No more drunk than your wife.” She grinned. “I married Parker, of course. Who else?” Cecily started digging in her purse. “I have pictures of the kids–”
“You and Park procreated?” Patrick winced. “God help us.”
Cecily scowled. “Your charm has clearly deserted you. How did you ever sucker a woman into marrying you? And while we’re on the subject…” She tapped her chin. “What did make the great Patrick Drake take the plunge? If I remember correctly, you told Park that it would have to take some kind of miracle or a gun to your head.”
“I was fifteen,” Patrick replied, defensively. He sobered. “I’m glad I ran into you, Cece. It’s been a while since I saw anyone that I actually gave a damn about.”
“Well, I’m glad to see you, too.” She squeezed his arm. “Now, tell me about Mrs. Drake.”
“That would be Mrs. Dr. Scorpio-Drake,” Patrick corrected, dryly. “And she’d be the first to tell you that. She’s a researcher at the hospital where I’m working in upstate New York.”
“Another doctor…” Cecily clucked her tongue. “Never would have imagined that. I was sure you’d go for the simpering housewife who fawns all over you. She must be some girl. How long have you been married?”
“Three days,” he admitted. “I should have invited you and Park, Cece–”
She waved that away. “I didn’t invite you to ours. Of course, the way you stormed out of the vineyard that last summer, no one thought we’d see you here again. Three days? Newlyweds?” she sighed dreamily. “That’s the best time, the happy time before the screaming kids.” Cecily smiled when she said that, and the love she had for her children was clearly written on her face. Patrick wondered if he’d look like that in a few years.
“Well, we’ll only have a few months,” Patrick remarked, “Robin’s due in January.”
Cecily’s eyes widened and she smacked him in the arm. “Get out! You’re not only married but you’re going to be a daddy?” She squealed again and hugged him more tightly this time. “I knew it! I knew you’d fall hard one day!” She drew back. “We have to go out for lunch, all four of us. It would be great to catch up and I know that Park will want to meet your Robin as much as I do.”
“I’ll check with Robin but I’m sure she’d jump at the chance to hear all the humiliating stories you and Park won’t be able to hold in,” he remarked wryly.
“Well, that’s our duty as your childhood best friends,” Cecily grinned. She glanced in the cart and laughed. “Pregnancy cravings. Park did the same thing when I was pregnant with Marian–she’s our oldest. I told him I wanted potato chips and he was at the store and panicked so he brought home forty different kinds.” She reached up and kissed his cheek, not even bothering to hide the glossy sheen of tears in her eyes. “I am so thrilled that you’re back, Pat. And that you look so happy and that you’re married and are going to be a daddy–I’m so relieved.” She sniffled.
“Cece…” Patrick shifted uncomfortably. “I’m sorry I didn’t keep in touch–”
“No, you were going through a rough time and it’s our fault as much as it is yours. But it’s not too late. Listen…” she grabbed his hand and took a pen from her purse, scrawling her phone number across his palm. “You talk to Robin and let me know when you want to get together. And if you don’t call in two days, I will just drop by,” she threatened. “Park is never going to believe this.”