Six years later, and Alana and I are waiting for the children to arrive. At least once a month, we all try to get together to have a big family dinner. These dinners are very important to Alana, and she always prepares a big special meal.
The first to arrive is Alissa.
She came with her husband Sly. We see them more often, because they settled in Sunset Valley after college when they married.
“Hi sweetheart!”, I said, pulling Alissa to me in a hug.
I rubbed her belly. We are all excitedly waiting for the birth of their first child and our first grandchild!
“Alissa, why don’t you sit down, now!”, Sly said anxiously.
I loved how he looked after my baby girl. I never expected to appreciate having him for a son-in-law, but I couldn’t have asked for a better one. To my surprise, he had worked hard during his senior year of high school and gone on to college to get a degree in forensics. He is now working at the police department in the forensics branch.
Alissa has become an author. She has had several books published and is beginning to become well known.
“I’m okay Sly!”, Alissa told him. “You worry too much. I’m going to the kitchen to help Mom.”
The next to arrive was Joel. He was just beginning his Junior year of college and still did not have a major selected.
He brought his long time girlfriend, Jilly. Alana and I really liked her and hoped things would work out for them.
“Hi Dad! How are ya, Sly!”, he greeted us.
“Are Alana and Alissa in the kitchen?”, Jilly asked.
“Yes.”, I answered.
“I want to see how big Alissa’s belly is now!”, Jilly said, and went to join them in the kitchen.
Finally Aidan arrived. He had dropped out of college and started a band. He brought a new girl with him.
“Hello Dad!”, he said, hugging me.
“Dad this is Karima. Karima, I’d like you to meet my father, David Fermin.”, he said introducing us.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Karima.”, I said. She seemed to be a very nice girl. However there was a problem. Aidan already had another girlfriend, and Alana had invited her to the dinner.
“Karima, my wife is in the kitchen if you would like to meet her.”, I told her. “Could you please excuse Aidan and me for just a few moments?”
I led Aidan to the study. “Aidan, what are you doing? I thought you loved Daijah. We invited her here tonight.”, I told him. A look of panic crossed his face.
“I do love, Daijah. My agent thought it would look better for my image if I’m seen as an available bachelor. He wants me to be photographed with different women. I haven’t had a chance to explain to Daijah yet.”, he told me.
His explanation sounded a little fishy to me. There were no photographers at our home.
“Your love life is your business, Aidan. However, I think it is wrong of you to keep Daijah hanging on if you want to see other people. She deserves better than that.”, I told him.
Daijah had put up with a lot from Aidan, and Alana and I felt that she is just right for him.
The doorbell rang and I went to answer it. It was Daijah. At the same time, Alana and the girls came out from the kitchen. Karima walked over to Aidan and wrapped her arms around him.
That was the first thing that Daijah saw when she walked through the door.
A look filled with shock and pain passed across her face. It was quickly replaced by one of anger. “What the &$@! are you doing Aidan, and who is this &%!& hanging all over you?”, she asked him, furiously.
Aidan removed Karima’s arms. “Who is she, Aidan?”, Karima asked.
“Everyone, let’s calm down!”, Alana said, stepping between the two girls. She and Daijah had become good friends, and she knew that Daijah could be hotheaded. She sensed that Daijah was about to attack Karima. Alana looked at Aidan with disappointment in her eyes.
Aidan looked at her ashamed. He hated to make his mother feel disappointed in him, but lately, he always seemed to in the end.
He realized that although, he liked, Karima, he was in love with Daijah. Now his stupid impulse in bringing Karima had probably ruined his relationship with Daijah.
When Aidan didn’t speak, Daijah said,”Thank you for inviting me, Alana, but I’m going home now.”, and turned to leave.
“Wait Daijah!”, Aidan called after her. “I can explain!” They went out onto the porch to talk. I hoped he wouldn’t tell her that lame excuse about this being his agent’s idea.
Karima looked at us awkwardly. Alana gave her a warm smile. “I’m sorry that you were put in the middle like that, Karima; but you are still welcome to join us for dinner.”, Alana told her.
Alissa and Jilly both began talking with her to make her more comfortable.
“Alana, you are a special woman!”, I told her and kissed her.
Daijah and Aidan returned, but from the expression on Daijah’s face, I knew it was because she didn’t want to disappoint Alana.
After dinner we stayed out on the patio.
Alana asked Daijah to help her with the dishes.
“Daijah, you have put up with a lot from my son, and I know that is because you love him. He loves you too. I see how he looks at you, and he has never looked at any other girl the same way. Sometimes he does foolish things that hurt him and you. It has just taken him longer than you to mature. I think tonight was a wake up call for him. He doesn’t want to lose you.”, Alana told her.
“I wish that was true.”, Daijah said, sadly.
“When the children were young, I almost made the biggest mistake of my life by giving up on David, but he didn’t give up on me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you can, give Aidan one last chance. I don’t want either of you to regret breaking up when you are older.”, Alana continued. She left Daijah in the kitchen thinking and returned to the patio to join the others.
Aidan came into the kitchen. “Daijah, I really am sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you, and I’m sorry that I asked Karima out. I love you, Daijah; and I promise it will never happen again.”, he told her.
“What about when your band really makes it big? You will be out on the road, and I won’t be with you. I want my own career. Women will be throwing themselves at you even more than they do now. I can’t always worry that you will cheat on me. I refuse to live that way!”, Daijah told him sadly.
“I’ll quit the band. I’ll go back to college and finish getting my degree in business administration.”, he said.
“You would do that?”, she asked, shocked.
“Daijah, I don’t want to lose you, and if that is what it would take for you to trust me again, I will do it!”, he responded.
Daijah smiled, “Yeah, I can just see you going to work everyday in a suit and tie! I don’t want you to quit the band. You love it too much, but if you mess up one more time, Aidan, we’re through!”, she told him firmly.
Aidan squeezed her to him. “I won’t mess up again!”, he reassured her.
Daijah and Jilly insisted that Alana relax while they served the dessert and coffee.
“So how are things going between you and Joel?”, Daijah asked Jilly.
“Fantastic. We are planning to move in together. So, we’re looking for an off campus apartment that we can afford. We haven’t told Alana and David yet. We’re going to wait until we find a place. You know how old fashioned they are.”, Jilly replied.
Two weeks later Alissa gave birth to our first grandchild. A beautiful baby boy, they named, Alan. Of course we have spoiled him. As my mother told me, that is what grandparents are for. I am thankful that both of my parents are still around to help spoil their first great grandchild.
The next ten years flew by and Alana and I are really beginning to feel our age.
Joel finally decided that he wanted to become a doctor, and he too decided to settle in Sunset Valley. He has a successful practice here. He and Jilly married and have a beautiful daughter, named Madison.
Aidan finally convinced Daijah to marry him. He broke up his band five years ago because he hated spending so much time away from her. He and Daijah started their own management agency. They now manage local bands and singers. They have been very successful and seem to really enjoy it.
Alissa and Sly are doing very well. They have three children, two boys and a newborn baby girl. Alissa’s last book was a best seller. The old house was too large for us, and so Alana and I found a smaller place. We convinced Alissa and Sly to take the larger house for their growing family.
Alana and I have been married for forty-five years now. We wanted to do something special for this anniversary and decided to return to the island on which we were shipwrecked many years ago.
As we stand on the beach enjoying the beautiful view, I think back over our life together. We have endured a great deal and our love has grown even stronger.
Alana turned to face me. Her face has aged, but her beauty has not faded.
“I love you, David.”, she told me, and then she smiled.
Her smile is still as bright as the sun and warms me just like it did the first day I saw her.