Diary Excerpts ~ Rebecca L. Fenton
December 2003

by TJ

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

December 22nd, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, Old Friend,


I'm not… exactly sure I know how to begin.

Life was good Sunday.

The morning was incredibly hectic yesterday, bit it was all worth it.

Security showed up early to transport the drum to the hospital and prepare their watch over it. I followed soon afterwards; hoping all was at the ready.

It was…

All the CHC committee members did exactly what they were supposed to. All of our hired activities were set up exactly where they were designated to be. All of the employees and 'experts' performed flawlessly and the volunteers did an absolutely perfect job.

I have to say, everything went as planned. Hundreds of people showed up. The cafeteria kept track of the number of hot dogs and hamburger they prepared, so I have rough attendance numbers.

The craft activities kept the children entertained, as did Mr. Standish and his 'sleight of hand'. There were so many colorful faces about that I know the face painting was a success. The 'Bouncy Castle' and 'Slip and Slide Mountain' were a hit with young and old and from what I saw, the 'Velcro Wall' was, too. An adult and child were 'stuck' to it when I wandered by.

I met up with Mr. Sanchez as the carnival opened. He was with Mr. and Mrs. Jackson; both men slated to occupy the 'Dunk Tank' in the afternoon. I promised I would attend their inaugural dunking and both gave me sobering look. Rain just laughed, saying that she couldn't wait and Nathan found it hard to maintain his chagrin.

The four of us partook of some refreshments before I continued my duties. Attending the Registrar's office, I was presented with the choices the Hospital had made for the draw. The facility held their own competition. All those wishing to participate in the draw made their reasons known. Four children where chosen to turn the big drum and then reach in to draw a name.

My list securely in hand, I headed back to the 'Dunk Tank' and bore witness to quite the display. It would appear that Mellow has a very talented 'pitching' arm. And, although I'm unsure if it's a blessing or an unfavorable attribute, she apparently has some deceptive abilities, as well. Mr. Standish referred to it as a 'great con', and I watched as, one by one, most of Team Seven was 'christened' in the 'Dunk Tank'. More than once, I might add.

The amusement died down and Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Jackson wandered off to change. I made my way to the foyer and announced the impending raffle draw over the PA system. Several minutes went by as the crowd increased, finally filling the lobby to capacity.

The children arrived and I introduced them to the waiting crowd, each receiving a wonderful round of applause. Sheryl stepped up first. She's such sweet thing, her fight with a degenerative muscle disorder is so heartbreaking, but today was 'a good day' and she smiled broadly.

Being so tiny, she had trouble rotating the drum so Mr. Sanchez took her in his arms and together they mixed up the tickets very well. She was all excited when Josiah flipped open the door and she reached in to make her selection. Her hand lingered inside for a minute as she clearly made sure she only had one piece of paper in her hand. With a huge smile, she proudly presented the winning ticket for the $100 dining certificate. At the microphone, she cautiously called out the name of Mr. and Mrs. Drevel of Portshore Drive. Sheryl was delighted that the couple was in the crowd. She happily presented them with their prize and took a well deserve bow before departing.

Samuel came bounding up next. According to the Mrs. Connelly, the Registrar, he's been so looking forward to this all week... one bright spot in the life of a sick little boy. When bone cancer took his leg, he was devastated, but when infection set in and forced a further resection, even closer to his hip, it caused all sorts of rehab problems. He's still fighting with his prosthesis, but didn't appear to be delayed by it today. He whirled the drum so many times. After several minutes, Josiah quietly reminded him it was enough. The crowd laughed at his big grin and cheered him on as he energetically dug around inside the drum to finally pull out a single ticket. With enthusiasm aplenty, he grabbed the microphone and called Chuck Fields to the stage. Mr. Fields was also in the audience. He announced that the spa weekend would be a wonderful gift for himself and 'his girl'. Samuel seemed more than pleased.

Timmy came up next. He happily twirled the drum, asking for Josiah's help with two final turns. His leukemia is now in remission but the radiation therapy took a lot out of him. He brightened considerable as Mr. Sanchez flipped open the hatch and he reached inside. Rummaging around, he pulled out a ticket and called… Lara Lynn Kelly.

Imagine my surprise when Mellow's friend Lynn reluctantly came to the stage. I could tell she did not want to come up, even with Mr. Larabee's insistence.

Miss Kelly informed me that she couldn't accept the prize and wanted to donate it back so that Timmy could draw another name. Apparently she already has a Surround Sound Stereo System and didn't really want to win anything; only purchasing tickets to support the Hospital Charity.

Understanding completely, I whispered to Timmy that the lovely lady liked the way he drew the ticket soooo much, that she wanted to see him do it again. With a hug and kiss for Timmy, Miss Kelly told the waiting crowd and quietly settled back into the audience. The assembly applauded for our ticket selector and 'second chances' for them. Another ticket was drawn and Ralph Jones came up to collect his prize.

Candice drew the final ticket. She's a little girl with a big heart; even her wheelchair, necessary because of Spina Bifida, doesn't stop her from accomplishing her tasks. Once more, Josiah helped with the spinning of the drum and then I repositioned her chair so that she could reach inside. Derek and Doralee Zmamacus weren't in the audience but Candice delighted in declaring them the winners of the hot tub.

I had the four children come up for one last round of applause before I concluded the raffle by thanking everyone for their attendance, contributions, and continued support. Reminding the crowd that booths would be open until 4pm, I sent them all on their way to sneak in a few last activities before it was time to leave.

I stayed for a while to oversee the clean up. Evie and Orin finally caught up with me and offered their hearty congratulations. I think I may have managed a smile, reminding Evelyn NOT to call me next year…

I certainly do hope I smiled when I said that because, honestly, hard work or not… I did enjoy it…

My drive home was tiring. I almost wished I had taken Mr. Sanchez up on his offer of going together but we both had things to accomplish before the carnival. I was pleased however when I drove up to the house and saw him waiting on the veranda.

Venturing into the house, Josiah shooed the dogs away after their enthusiastic greeting and sent me to put my feet up… he wined me, dined me, and held me while soft music played against the roar of the fire… Guiding me to my room, he kissed my hand and said goodnight as he wandered to the spare room that, up until then, housed a change of clothes and toiletries for him.

It saddens me to think of how perfect yesterday was with Josiah… and how awful this morning turned out.

I was here, in the study, when Josiah came back from clearing up the breakfast dishes. He had fresh tea and his beautiful smile.

I was going over the paperwork to tidy the affairs for the carnival… It needed to be seen to since the deposit to the Children's Hospital Charity Fund needs to be made tomorrow. I put all the deposit slips in one pile and all of my receipts in another and Mr. Sanchez asked why.

I didn't think much of it, I still don't. He made such a fuss when I casually explained that I would bear all the expenses so that the CHC would benefit from the full $50,000 raised from the raffle.

He asked, after expenses?

I said No.

I explained that my contribution to the children was in the form of covering the expenses.

Josiah seemed to understand for a moment… but then he glanced at the receipts. He asked if he could look and I nodded.

It doesn't matter to me how much it all costs. Two of the raffle prizes were donated in their entirety. The other two were sold to me 'at cost'. All of the costs associated with the tickets themselves was given to me at cost. All of the suppliers and vendors provided material at cost and most of the employees donated their time to their employers.

I've said it before and I will continue to defend myself with the same argument. People are considerably generous where our future is concerned. Children are our future and a few thousand dollars is nothing, compared to that.

Josiah knows… He understands my position. He certainly agrees with the charity's work with the special children. That they will be able to help so many more because of the money we raised in the last six weeks. He even agreed with me covering some of the costs as my donation… just not all.

He just…

Oh, his heart is in the right place, old friend. He's concerned for me. Where there are funds available it IS standard for expenses to be covered before revenue is declared. But he didn't understand fully.

I lost my patience with him as I explained…

I told him in no uncertain terms that the money was not a concern to me. No, I don't have millions to throw away, but I'm comfortable!

And why am I comfortable?

I told him…

I called it blood money. I told him I'd rather it help the children than have it sit in my bank accounts and continually remind me of Matthew. Josiah knows that certain federal employees can't be covered by 'regular' life insurance. I told him that Matthew was the youngest Chief District Attorney in Washington, D.C. history and that he was brutally murdered at our home, just prior to the prosecution of a major criminal case.

I called it blood money again, not only for the life of my husband but for the lives that would have been. The twins I miscarried 19 days later that should have had loving parents and long, happy lives.

My walls of defense crumpling around me as I looked into those beautiful blue eyes, I heard him say he was sorry and I couldn't have him there. I needed to settle… needed time to rebuild. I asked Josiah to leave, telling him we didn't know each other well enough to become familiar.

So many things still unsaid…

So many topics not yet covered…

He didn't question me. He gathered his belongs and left quietly. One last glance told me all I needed to know. He left; not wanting to, and not knowing if I would invite him back.

For almost two months now, I've known Josiah Sanchez. We're talked, we've laughed… we've even shared some intimate moments. It pains me knowing that my past has once again interfered with a future that may or may not be, yet I will not make the same mistakes twice.

David never faced my past and I let him be oblivious to its effect on me. I won't do that with Mr. Sanchez…

I can't…

I won't.

Josiah deserves more and… so do I, old friend.

We must find a way to work through this… To speak the things we have not spoken of and blend them into a place that we can move forward from.

I don't know how…

I just know it must be done…

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

December 26th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, Old Friend,

The last few days have been quiet.

What can I say? I know I miss Mr. Sanchez, and yet… I'm not entirely positive we can find a clear path to guide us on this journey called life.

We've talked.

He telephoned on Tuesday afternoon. He was very quiet, probably not sure if I wanted to talk to him after what happened Monday. The first words from his mouth were an apology. I quickly added mine, interrupting his offer to cancel our attendance at Miss Harrison's Christmas Eve gathering. I wouldn't hear of it and admitted how much my outburst had upset me. I made sure that Josiah understood that, although we need some time, we also need to continue to talk… work our complicated lives into some semblance of one, so that we can co-exist.

Perhaps, grow together… one day…

It was at that time that Mr. Sanchez grew quiet. The wonderful strength in his voice was still there, yet only in whispers. He told me he wanted that, too. He reiterated his need to understand about my life, my past… he told me there were things he has not shared with others that he knew he needed to share with me.

I remember his words so clearly, old friend. It was his voice. The thing that first attracted me to this wonderful man. I hear it in my heart as clearly as I hear it in my ears. I hear him whenever I close my eyes and the sultry tone he spoke on Tuesday told me as much, if not more than his words.

I puttered the rest of the day, somewhat happy with the beginning of whatever will be… I never ventured out because of the snowfall, yet accomplished tasks that needed to be done. All the while, Josiah played in my mind. Company even when I dare not face the man himself…

Christmas Eve greeted me with a fresh layer of snow and a telephone call from Robert Wilson. He manages the finest gallery in Denver and he had finally located the print I wanted. Unfortunately, he couldn't get it here until Boxing Day. I agreed to his terms. I knew I would not see Josiah until tomorrow, so the timing really wasn't that important.

I braved the shops for a few last minute items and a few groceries, too. Returning home, I did a little baking before having an early, light supper. Dressing for the evening's function, I drove into town and met Mr. Sanchez at his home.

The first few moments were very awkward, I must say. We both smiled quickly, not wanting to appear rude, and yet… What we had before was clearly gone.

I was very sad when that fact hit home. Josiah was not a stranger to me, and yet somehow, I knew I'd never known him.

As he readied, I pondered the companionship we had shared in the past two months. A good friendship, really.

Yes, there were a few moments of weakness on both our parts but we had not considered complete intimacy. And, what if we had? Would we be so full of regret now?

As we drove to Alicia and Buck's Christmas Eve gathering we spoke a little. We reconfirmed that we will still attend Veronica and Richard's open house tomorrow. They'll put us up for the night and we'll come home on Sunday. Josiah was unsure of the visit and I assured him I still wanted him to come.

We did our best to maintain our celebratory smiles at the party. Our hostess was beautiful and Mr. Wilmington kept the atmosphere jovial, entertaining us with his 'sing-a-long' tunes. Most everyone had a turn with the microphone. I, thankfully, avoided the calling, only adding my voice to some songs a little later. Sherri plays guitar very well.

There was a gift exchange, which proved rather comical. It appears that, under the 'rules' of the 'game', you are allowed to 'steal' a gift rather than take one from under the tree. Several people 'stole' mine, causing me to return to the pile more than once. I didn't mind a bit. Mr. Wilmington again, proved to liven everyone up with his 'theft' technique. Mellow and her companion, Mr. Dunne, proved equally adept at acquiring gifts. I came home with a lovely collection of 'Old Time Rock and Roll' CD's. Josiah managed to hang on to a pair of specialized pliers, which he seemed rather pleased with.

I must admit to having been rather uncomfortable when Miss Kelly handed out envelopes to each couple. Contained within was a gift certificate for a Spa & Ski retreat. I cannot speak for the other recipients but whilst Lynn is both extremely generous and kind with her money, it is her, whom I desire for company, not that which she can attain for me.

Yes, Christmas is about giving… our hearts, well wishes, peace, and even the presents. I do however, think that what Lynn may not be completely cognizant of, is the fact that when one is presented with such extravagance, and is not prepared, or capable, of returning the offering, it can prove rather embarrassing and uncomfortable to receive such gifts. I'm quite sure I would offend Lynn if I were to broach the matter in person so I must find a way to explain my position more tastefully. Mellow appeared quite taken with the present and is presumably used to receiving Miss Kelly's gifts… perhaps I can request her assistance and advice on the matter.

Well, no matter… The evenings activities were most enjoyable and I'm very glad that Mr. Sanchez and I attended, despite out current differences.

We spoke of them when we pulled up to his house. I was about to exit the truck when his hand touched my arm. I turned to look into his wonderful eyes and I saw the warmth I have grown so used to. He inquired about my 'Christmas Day'. I told him my plans had not changed.

Apparently, neither have his.

Josiah smiled for me and wished me a very Merry Christmas. I returned the sentiment and departed.

I did exactly as I had planned for the 25th. I slept late, had tea and toast, bundled up and drove to the Hospice. There I helped make Christmas what it should be for the children. 'Santa' paid his usual visit and I saw him through their eyes. Their faces were gleeful and happy, as they deserve to be, all year round.

I ventured to the Rec Center and again, 'Santa' found us. The children gathered there were more than thrilled at his visit. As little as they have in their lives sometimes, it brought a smile to my heart and a tear to my eye to see those smiling faces.

As evening approached the tables were set up and my caterers arrived with everything prepared. I stood at the end of the serving table and added gravy to everyone's plate. A small task… but a necessary one, none the less.

The Hospice houses Sick Children and their families but provides shelter to all in need. The downtown Recreational Facility for Youths and Children helps any, and all families with many, many needs. A healthy and active lifestyle lends well to a happy and healthy mind and heart... Their gymnasium makes a perfect dining facility, when needed.

Together, those two charity organizations represent the bulk of my attention and I have spent every Christmas in Denver, there… some nine years now… many other holidays and occasions, too.

Christmas Day 2003 was a good day for Rebecca Fenton…

With refreshments, music and warmth well into the night, I rose late this morning. I took Brutus and Rusty out for a brief walk. They played heartily in the snow for a while before growing cold. We came inside and sat by the fire in the sitting room. I did nothing special today. Wrote a little… reflected a lot.

So many things have changed in my life in the last few months. I welcome the relief of boredom sometimes, and yet others… Well, today was a very nice day.

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

December 29th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, Old Friend,

So… how does one start this entry?

How does one prepare themselves for battle?

Such a quandary…

A predicament I never expected to arise, and I can only hope that it has a solution I can live with…

You're confused, right?

Join the club!

Okay, where should I begin?

Saturday I suppose.

That, after all, is when it happened.

'IT'… being my night in the same bed with Mr. Sanchez.

I rose at my usual time and took the dogs for a good walk. Returning to the house, I showered and dressed, taking some time to pack my things for my stay with Richard and Veronica. Their open houses are so much fun and I always enjoy my visits.

I packed everything in my vehicle, stopping to chat with Mellow as she prepared to leave. I'm still not used to her coming in the mornings, but I understand completely about her schedule, especially when she heads back to school shortly.

I tried very hard to evade her questions about 'what Mr. Sanchez and I did on Christmas Day' and 'what were we doing for New Years'. She's young and I suspect, in love, I circumvented her questions by changing the subject. I'm sure she noticed. I took the opportunity to notify her about the security guard that will be checking on the property over night and again tomorrow. The information seemed to distract her enough.

After Mellow left, I put everyone's presents in the truck, along with the print that I took delivery of late Boxing Day. Brutus and Rusty were last in. The drive to Josiah's home was slow, once I got within city limits. He was ready when I arrived though, his over night bag packed and waiting by the door.

I do believe the rather large bundle in my arms surprised him. He quickly retrieved it from my grasp and I smiled, wishing him a belated Merry Christmas. He seemed a little taken aback. The gentle grin that curled his lips was pleasant and slightly mischievous. He apologized, thinking that perhaps our gift exchange had been forgotten in the… yes, he hesitated, and I completed his sentence for him. Turmoil, I offered… He finished what he was going to say… our gift exchange had been forgotten in the turmoil of the past few days.

I was sincere when I said that I could never forget him.

Josiah broke the silence by directing me to his living room. I sat, at his bequest, and waited a moment as he scooted away, and then returned with a small package.

I couldn't help but smile, knowing he hadn't forgotten either meant more to me than I could express at that time. I insisted he go first, knowing I needed a moment to collect myself.

Mr. Sanchez seemed rather pleased with the 'Stephen Lyman' print I had selected for him. It's a striking piece…

Forgive the pun…!

The artwork I chose is called 'Lightening Bolt' and depicts a lightening bolt striking an old tree on a rocky hillside.

'Striking piece' were Josiah words…

He immediately knew where he was going to hang it and, taking my hands as he sat down, he placed a gently kiss on my cheek.

I hesitated a moment, wondering about his lips… then quickly refocused on the package that sat in my lap.

Mr. Sanchez has exquisite taste, my friend. Upon opening the delicate wrapping, I found the most beautiful shoulder scarf you've ever seen. It has lovely rich warm colors depicting a sunset, all on a woven sheet of homespun silk.

I was overwhelmed by the gift.

I kissed him.

Yes, full on the lips.

A 'proper' kiss that may have lingered a moment too long, but I just had too.

Again, the moment afterwards was a little awkward, but we soon came back to reality and made ready to leave. A quick 'break' for the dogs and we were off.

The drive to the far side of Denver was quiet. My mind wandered, wondering exactly what 'reality' was, and where Mr. Sanchez really fit in it.

I have no idea what he was thinking.

We made some small talk and seemed to smile at one another a lot. As we neared the suburbs again, I told Josiah a little about our hosts. He already knew that Veronica was Matthew's sister. I mentioned about Richard being the editor of Denver's leading paper and Josiah nodded, obviously interested by the information. I also told him about the children, Daniel being 18, Timothy being 15 and Nicole, 12.

I let him know that the house would be full of people that evening and I would introduce him to those that I knew. Spending as much time as I do with the Chase Family, I know many of their friends.

We arrived safely and Timothy came to the truck to greet us. Nicole and her best friend, Sharon, were out there to give me a great big hug, too. Letting the dogs out, Josiah shook Tim's hand, which seemed to surprise my nephew. He gave me a grin that I read as, ' he sees me as a man'. I think Mr. Sanchez knew what he was doing.

Timothy took Brutus and Rusty to the back yard, and then joined us in the house. Taking our bags from Josiah, he disappeared upstairs to put them in our rooms. Richard introduced himself as he took our coats and I left the men to their devices as Nici and Sharon dragged me into the kitchen. Conker was her usual busy self, dashing about getting everything ready for lunch.

I must admit, the day and evening were very pleasant.

Lunch was served shortly after we arrived and carrying the sandwich platter to the table, Conker got her first look at Mr. Sanchez. She came back into the kitchen all smiles and giving me the 'thumbs up'. I think I blushed, telling her she was awful.

I made the formal introduction before we sat and ate. I couldn't get over how many sandwiches Timothy consumed. His mother reminded me that Danny was finally starting to slow down, just as Tim's appetite was picking up. Nicole informed me that her brothers were both 'piggies', she and Sharon giggling as only young girls can do.

The banter was so welcomed. I've missed the family and I apologized for being so busy lately. Josiah seemed a little embarrassed when Veronica said it 'looked like I had good reason'.

I helped in the kitchen after lunch and Josiah help Richard and Tim move furniture around in the living room, family room and rec room, that done, they set up the food tables and rearranged the dining room for easier access.

The large pots I'd ordered from the caterer arrived about three o'clock. My little contribution to my family and thankfully, they never complain. The cook pots were delivered to the stove to keep warm and all was set for guests to arrive.

I ventured upstairs to change and found my bag in the spare room, as per normal. Josiah's bag was there, too but I thought nothing of it at the time. I knew Conker has a large inflatable mattress, so I wasn't concern about sleeping arrangements.

I stole a few minutes after the first few guests arrived. Finding Mr. Sanchez at the Chili pot, I asked him if he was 'okay' with being there. Josiah assured me that he and Richard were getting along wonderfully and that Tim was full of questions.

He seemed happy throughout the evening, mingling with me as I introduced him to people of acquaintance and smiling graciously as Richard and Veronica introduced us to people that I didn't know.

I watched Josiah being waylaid at one point... Daniel had finally come home and Tim introduced him as 'Aunt Becca's new guy'. Timothy then whispered something to Danny and, after hugs and kisses for me, they 'dragged' Mr. Sanchez into the other room.

I found out afterwards that my nephews have more than a passing interest in law enforcement. Daniel is considering it as a career and hasn't told Conker yet because of what happened to Uncle Matt. Although Tim doesn't remember Matthew very well, Danny does. And both boys know how our family was turned upside down after the murder.

I'm very happy to report that the annual Chase Open House was a great success this year, as they always are, I might add. The 'party' went on until after midnight, the last guests leaving around one AM. Speaking for myself, I had a wonderful time mingling with guests and family alike. Josiah, too, enjoyed himself very much. He told me on the drive home that Team Seven had become their own surrogate family… so much so, that he'd forgotten what it was like to have so many different people, so close.

Well, old friend, this brings me to the night in that bed.

I honestly don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before we went upstairs. Nicole and Sharon bid me goodnight with hugs and kisses around eleven o'clock. It never dawned on me that Sharon was staying.

Not until Veronica and I ventured up the stairs, following Richard and Josiah. She leaned over and whispered in my ear that she hoped putting us in the same bed was okay, since Sharon was on the air mattress in Nicole's room.

I tried very hard not to react to her declaration. Heaven help me, my heart skipped several beats, but I told her she was very presumptuous…

Yes, I was smiling.

My conversations with Evie came rushing back to me. Girl Talk!

Conker grinned, pulling close and asked me if we'd 'done it' yet. I shushed her, so the men wouldn't hear, telling her 'it was none of her business' and then added 'no'. All of a sudden she stopped me and apologized. It was then that I realized that we'd been having such a good day with them that she hadn't realized that Josiah and I were having some difficulty.

I smiled. Telling her everything was fine. We were adults and she and I would 'talk' tomorrow.

As we ventured into the upstairs hallway, Josiah stood with Richard at the spare room door. Veronica joined him and each couple bid the other a good night. As their bedroom door closed down the hall, I opened our door and waved Mr. Sanchez in.

His eyebrows rose in confusion and I quickly explained what I had just learned from Conker.

Josiah sat on the bed and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. After a moment, he looked me straight in the eye and smiled. His voice grew low and he said simply, that he could sleep in the chair, if I wanted.

That wasn't fair and I told him so outright! I picked up my bag and went into the on-suite to change. Before I closed the door, I told him in no uncertain terms that we were adults and we could sleep in the same bed together without any repercussions.

I swear he was smiling again as I closed that door.

When I emerged, Josiah took his turn in the bathroom. I'm sure I swallowed loud enough for him to hear as I crawled into bed. I purposely lay with eyes away from the door and turned the light off on the nightstand.

Josiah came out of the bathroom and I heard him shuffling for a moment before he spoke. He actually had the nerve to ask me if he could sleep on that side of the bed and I almost burst out laughing. I wasn't on 'my side' either, I'd just chosen it so I didn't have to watch him come out of the bathroom.

I sat up and looked at Josiah as he stood there smiling at me. He had nothing on but 'boxers'… and I could do nothing but stare.

I have no doubt he noticed.

My eyes lingered, tracing the well-sculptured muscles of his large shoulders, down to the soft curls that adorn his oh-so-masculine chest. My gaze continued down his flat stomach and paused briefly at the 'wishbones' on his Scooby Doo boxers.

I must have smiled because Mr. Sanchez informed me that the 'Scooby Snack' shorts were a gift from Buck and he'd appreciate it if I DID NOT thank Mr. Wilmington for the present.

Ice, and trance, broken, I laughed as I moved over in the bed. Josiah moved to his side and asked one more time if I was 'sure about this'. I reaffirmed my answer, telling him to remember the 'invisible line'. He laughed as we settled and I turned out the light.

In the darkness that enveloped us, my senses were alive. Once more, I could smell the man I'd grown so close to. I could feel the vibrations of the bed as he tried to get comfortable. I could hear his breathing slow as he found slumber.

I, too, found my place, and my rest. It was long in coming that night. My thoughts were a confused jumble of feelings and questions, my senses alive with the present, and all too real possibilities.

I have to tell you, old friend, Mr. Sanchez was as surprised as I to find his arm around me the next morning. Somehow, we migrated to my 'invisible line'. Maybe drawn to the warmth and comfort, I'm not sure. I do know this however; I pulled away slightly and rolled onto my back. Looking up into his beautiful blue eyes as wakefulness dawned was so wondrous.

He smiled down at me and I almost reached my hand up to touch his cheek. It felt so right to be there with him... to wonder about all those possibilities.

A few moments passed before we pulled ourselves together and he apologized, excusing himself and moving away. He offered me the use of the shower first.

I declined, and he took the opportunity.

Don't ask me my thoughts as I lay there, still smelling him and listening to the water run. I have no idea what whimsical meanderings ran their course in my brain.

With his bag packed and placed by the door, Mr. Sanchez went down stairs, allowing me some privacy. I found him in the sunroom enjoying coffee and muffins with my family. It was a very nice sight indeed.

Conker and I decided to take the dogs for a walk after breakfast. I confided in her my stubborn pride where Matthew was concerned and how life after her brother has left me unprepared for relationships. She surprised me, telling me she knew. She let me know that she'd known that David and I would never work because neither of us let the other in.

In a moment that almost brought me to tears, she told me that Josiah was different and that I had a chance at something special, if I would just let Matthew go.

If anyone else had dared to say that…

Well, I don’t know what I would have done…

I'm sure it would not have been nice.

But it meant something special coming from Veronica.

I had to drag Mr. Sanchez away from Daniel and Tim when it was time to leave. I said all my good-byes, promising to come back soon. The entire Chase clan waved as we drove down the street Sunday afternoon.

The drive home was pleasant, with perhaps a little more conversation than the outgoing trip. Sitting in Josiah's driveway, I stopped him from getting out. With a curious frown, he closed the door again and waited for me to speak.

It took me more than a few moments to compose my thoughts. When I did, I told him I was going to take some time alone, but when the New Year dawned, I wanted to start again… if he would have me.

I reiterated my desire to start fresh and new, with EVERYTHING out in the open.

Mr. Sanchez got out of the vehicle and the way he looked back at me, I could almost see that familiar twinkle in his eyes. His voice dropped and he smiled, telling me that 'he would have me… body and soul… if I would have him'.

As I drove away, I found it hard to contain my emotions.

I wanted to sing.

I wanted to cry.

I so wanted Josiah to hold me and never let me go.

This will be a battle well fought, my friend, but when Josiah and I have spoken all there is to say… there will be fireworks.

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

December 31st, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, Old Friend,

Just thought I'd write down a few words to end off this year.

We're not home, by the way.

I've brought you up to the cabin… although, until now, I've neglected your pages.

Even my laptop has suffered the same fate.

I thought perhaps 'getting away from it all' would be a good thing. I would enjoy a few days up here in the mountains and just forget all my troubles.

I've enjoyed being here, but it hasn't quite worked the way I planned.

My thoughts refuse to focus on my book.

I've had far too much time to reflect... to consider my life thus far, to think about Mr. Sanchez, and ultimately, wonder where my life is going.

Today is a good example. The dogs and I just got back from a hike. At the top of the trail where it widens at the bluff, I stood at the cliff and stared out at the beauty of the wilderness. My thoughts wandered to making this trek with Josiah and sharing nature's wonder with him.

I cooled rather quickly when I changed out of my snowsuit, hat, scarf, and mittens. I'm sitting on the sofa with a blanket over me. Brutus and Rusty separate me from the hearthstone, and the cozy warmth of the scene reminds me of the fire Josiah and I shared when the snow first fell.

Whether I care to admit it or not, old friend, I have made memories with Mr. Sanchez and… so much reminds me of him.

I'm confused, maybe even a little angry.

My memories of Matthew are fading and that saddens me. Yet… Josiah is the cause I'm sure.

I harbor no ill will towards him for that. It's just so very hard to let go…

But, even Veronica said it was time to let Matthew go.

What does that mean?

Does she realize that Mr. Sanchez has something special about him…?

Something so maddeningly calm, and righteous… and genuine.

So many words I want to speak. So many things I want Josiah to know.

I have questions about him, too. The things I know of his past amaze me. The teammates that he calls friends are his family. But what of his real family? I know nothing of them.

Every time I've spoken of my past and my family, he grows quiet. I've inundated him with information, perhaps too much, and yet, when I've asked questions about his past or his family… he's never really given me any clear answers.


I can't help but wonder.

What makes Josiah Sanchez the complex, maddening, stubborn, confusing, annoying man that he is?

And why am I drawn to him so?

Is it possible for me to love again?

It's been almost twelve years since Matthew left me.

We were married for eleven years, one month and a day.

In all that time, I have loved him.

I sit here and close my eyes to the thoughts and feelings, and a recent memory comes to mind. I remember telling Mr. Larabee that those of us who are tested with tragedy, carry a heavy burden… yet, how we live after losing our loved ones, is a testament to them, even though we never forget.

I can't help but wonder why I spoke those words when I have never lived up to them.

Not really…

It took time for me to gain any semblance of my life back. Then I came to Denver because I couldn't forget. I've dedicated my life to helping those less fortunate…

Perhaps I've forgotten how to live in the process.

Every single time I've tried to make Mr. Sanchez go away, he hasn't. All my efforts to stay within my safe world have failed because my thoughts always come back to him.

So many thoughts and feelings and words that must be shared, my friend.

Yet, here I sit smiling.

I'm smiling because I believe I have the determination and the need to share with a certain special man.

It won't be easy, I know, but I believe I am ready for 2004 to begin.

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~


To Be Continued in January 2004

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