Chapter Sixteen – The Legacy
At three in the afternoon both Lydia and Hippie Tom walked into the Cape May Hospice for their weekly grief counseling session with one of their top counselors. It had taken Lizzy three weeks to convince her father that he not only needed to accompany Lydia in her “family” sessions but also that he needed private sessions to deal with the loss of Frances that he never dealt with five years ago.
Having completed her thesis, she was able to secure a great position working with children dealing with the loss and subsequent grief of family members, and it had been her firm hope that the Board would consider starting a program like Camp Carousel in Winston-Salem, NC, but they just didn’t have the resources to establish something that widescale. A crashing blow, she was truly disappointed.
The last three weeks had brought the slowing down of things within her personal life following the sheer hell of the first seven since camp had ended. With Jane remaining at camp to finish out their obligation then leaving for London one week later for her long-sought after job, Lizzy had been left holding all responsibility for Lydia in light of their father’s continued apathy. She wasn’t a violent woman, well apart from the times she slapped Darcy, but when faced with her father’s lack of concern over Lydia’s STD, misbehavior, and drug use, she had been over the top angry with him. There was no hesitance in removing both Lydia and herself from the house, claiming child abuse due to negligence.
She found a two-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a Victorian mother-daughter house overlooking the beach and promptly enrolled her sister in an all-girl school that enforced strong guidelines and boundaries specifically tailored for troubled teens. Next, she arranged for a tutor for mathematics with the $500 she convinced her father to give her, and then lastly signed Lydia up for private counseling at hospice. Improvement was being made as every spare moment of Lydia’s life was filled with a healthy distraction. There was no cable TV at the apartment and her sister was learning to cook, something she actually found herself liking to do.
L-Scream had become a thing of the past and they had burned the eye-liner pencil in a “Good-bye Jersey Shore” ceremony that they concocted together.
For Lizzy, nighttime was a different story and most times in the quiet of her bedroom, she found her thoughts immediately traveling to Darcy: his smile, his kiss, his laugh, his obstinacy, and his intelligence. She longed for him, wishing her time with him hadn’t ended … ever.
She prayed he’d call, but then again she knew she had been just a summer fling. Isn’t that what she said she wanted? Didn’t she tell him that she didn’t want anything more? That her life was complicated?
And then, like all thoughts do, her mind would gravitate to the one and only true memory she had as a little girl at camp with him.
“Here Elizabeth, hold the jar with both your hands. I’ll catch the firefly and put it in.” Darcy would chase the illuminating yellow bug until he captured it in the palms of his hands, then carefully placing it into the jar, covering it with the punctured hole top.
On the grass, they’d laid on their tummies, leaning on their elbows, beside the lake while staring at the glowing yellow jar. They were so close together, fascinated by the bugs until she suddenly said, “You’re my boyfriend.”
“Yes, and I’m going to love you fereva!”
“Forever’s like between here and the moon,” he stated pointing up to the moon.
She rose from the ground and sat on her knees next to him, looking at him. Darcy, too, sat up beside her, crossing his legs. Quite unexpectedly, she leaned over, put her palms on his cheeks then kissed him. A little sigh left her lips. “Boyfriend.”
Having spent the better part of the day out visiting families, she felt exhausted, but came back to the office to tidy up her desk and prepare for the next day. Upon entering the building, the receptionist stopped her. “Lizzy, you have a client waiting in your office to see you.”
She knew she looked as frightful as she felt and made a quick stop in the ladies room to brush her withdblown hair and put on a little lipstick. A quick smile of approval in the mirror set her on her way. As she neared the office, she assumed that a teenager would be awaiting her, but upon closer inspection, she saw the back of a man – not just any man – one whose tuft of hair at his nape she knew well. He sat in front of her desk, nervously strumming his fingers upon the arm of the chair. Her breath caught, and then her heart did some funky mambo. Darcy had come after her.
“Are you here for the head counselor position?” she asked to his back.
He smiled at hearing her voice and laughed to himself at her question. How appropriate.
He stood, turning to gaze at the woman he hadn’t stopped dreaming of these many weeks. She was a vision wearing a navy suit, the skirt ending just above her knee, highlighting long legs down to three-inch pumps. Yeah, she was his goddess, no matter what temperament she was in.
He grinned. “Yes, I’m hoping there is an opening for an arrogant, competitive, egotistical, misogynist counselor who is totally and completely lost and in love with another prideful, impetuous, judgmental, passionate counselor.”
She gave him the once over as if assessing him for the position, then raised an eyebrow. Finally, she took a step toward him, saucily stating. “It’s a full time position, you know?”
“I’m aware of that and I would like to pursue that opening on a permanent basis.” He took a step toward her, his lips twisting into a playful smile.
“Are you also aware of the fact, sir, that I would be your superior?”
His eyes were transfixed by her ruby red lips. God, he missed that mouth and every single damn thing that came out of it.
He grabbed her hand and pulled her into him, his voice deep and emotional. “I wouldn’t have it any other way” he said before crashing his lips down upon hers with such heat and intensity that he thought they’d combust. Her hands traveled up his suited chest to his neck, then weaved through his hair, pulling his head closer to hers, their tongues re-aquainting until breath became necessary.
She panted, “Red … is your color,” making note of the lipstick smeared all over his mouth.
He gazed down into her smiling face, hesitating … overcome … by her nearness and acceptance of him. “Say it Lizzy. I know you remember. Tell me what you said those many years ago beside the lake.”
Before kissing him again she whispered. “I’m going to love you fereva, boyfriend.”
If a heart could soar, his did and he cupped her cheeks as she had done to his twenty years ago. His lips consumed hers; his hand slid down to her backside, pressing her against his evident arousal just from being so near to her again. Yes. Lizzy was the much desired water denied to Tantalus and he was only now satiated.
Lydia and Tom stood in the doorway watching and smiling until Lydia snorted. “Get a room.”
Both looked up, lipstick all over their faces; they smiled, then went right back to what they were doing.
Lizzy entered the darkened cabin at ten minutes after midnight on the anniversary of her mother’s death, December 14th. Within seconds, before she could even get to the lightswitch, his familiar scent reached her when his strong hand came from behind, covering her mouth.
“Sssh…” he said quietly. “Don’t turn on the light yet.”
Darcy dropped his hand, and she turned in his arms. “You couldn’t wait twelve hours, twelve measly little hours, Will?” she joked, his smiling face illuminated in the moonlight streaming through the window.
“I couldn’t wait, goddess.” He kissed her neck.
“You’re not suppose to see the bride on her wedding day, Mr. Horny.”
“I won’t tell if you don’t. I had to see you; I brought your wedding gifts.” She raised an eyebrow at his prompt attempt to unbutton her blouse.
“You’re here about my gift… stay focused.” Reluctantly, he stopped then walked to the window to pull the drape.
Even at that late hour, any number of people could be out and about on this crisp Pocono night. Camp Mount Oakham always made visitors do strange things, and every one of the guests were there for their wedding day at the ranch house tomorrow. The two of them, however, planned to stay in the mountains until after the holidays, and hoped to be snowed in up in the mountains while they honeymooned and shagged – oh at least four or five times a day. They didn’t care about condoms anymore, they wanted babies and lots of them, on one condition of course, that Darcy would do the disciplining.
“I’ve got a gift for you too,” she said coyly.
“You minx! You were expecting me!” He bounded toward where she stood smiling and nodding.
“Will, we haven’t spent a night apart since that day you came to Cape May. You’re so friggin’ predictable.” His fingers took up the vacated task of her buttons. “Wait! I meant to ask you earlier, did you notice Aunt Cat paying Aunt Maddy a wad of cash earlier? It looked like all one dollar bills.”
His arms slid around her waist and his head dipped to kiss and nibble her neck. “Hmmm … a bet when we would be married. C’mon Lizzy, give Mr. Goodbar some sugar tonight.”
Chuckling, she put her hands on his shoulders and set him apart from her. “Did you know about this bet?”
He sighed and grinned mischieviously. “Who do you think backed your aunt’s cash flow when she made it? Lizzy… I knew the minute I kissed you that rainy night in the lake that you were the girl for me. You just needed time.”
“Well aren’t you Mr. Self-assured and Over-confident?”
“You’re here in my arms following our rehearsal dinner aren’t you?” After practicing in the mirror for weeks, he raised an eyebrow at her.
She stuck her tongue out at him. “Did you say something about a gift?”
He pulled her down onto the bed and his strong arm reached under it, sliding out a beautifully wrapped box.
“How pretty!” She shook it, “It’s heavy, too.” Then tore into the paper as though a seven year-old on Christmas morning, followed by a lift to the cover. Her eyes went wide and she laughed. “Oh you didn’t!”
There “he” laid, all yellow and inviting … Jose: a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila. She grinned widely.
“Of course I did. You won fair and square. You totally and completely won my heart, bewitching me body and soul. But …you can only drink this when we are alone and sharing. It worked so well for us last time.”
She put her hand on his cheek and leaned toward him for a wet, hot, sexy, flirty kiss. “Deal… I love you, Willy.”
“I love you too, Cracken.”
“You do know that I prefer your college nickname don’t you?”
“Seems appropriate seeing how you love to put candy between those luscious lips of yours.”
Darcy reached in his back pocket and pulled out her second wedding gift: an envelope.
“What the heck is this? You can’t buy me off with cash ya’ know even if your net worth is in the millions. I’m in for life.”
“Stop talking and open it, woman.”
She did, and her eyes immediately welled with tears, one after the other rolling down her cheeks. Darcy wiped each one away with his thumbs. Her chin went slack when she read the part in the document that made her breath catch. There were no words when she lowered the paper and she promptly raised it again to read for the second time: Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy was the owner of 100 acres and all its assets formerly known as camp Mount Oakham.
“Oh my God! What did you do?” She flew into his arms and kissed him everywhere. “Thank you, thank you! I love you. You’ve made me so happy!"
“That was the plan. Happy foreva, Lizzy,” he grinned wide at seeing her so overjoyed.
She took his hand in hers. “It’s Mom’s anniversary.”
“Yes. That’s why I wanted to give you this tonight. I thought we’d name the grief camp, Camp Legacy in memory and honor of your mom and my parents, and all the families that will come here to heal."
“My grief camp! Our grief camp!”
“Yeah. I can think of no better suited purpose for Mount Oakham, especially given its history. I thought we could live up here year round. Aunt Cat can remain in her cottage and your aunt and uncle in the ranch house.”
She couldn’t stop nodding at everything he said, bouncing on the bed. “Yes, yes, yes!”
“Good, because the construction crew is coming next week to refurbish all the cabins, and the architect is drawing up plans for our house that I’m going to have built beside the lake.”
Lizzy teasingly slapped his chest, “Always controlling everything!” Her hands wiped away the tear tracks on her cheeks and she packed away her blubbers. “I can’t believe it. My dream come true. You’re my dream come true, Will.”
He deposited a tender kiss to her soft lips. “You’ve always been mine, my brilliant, beautiful firefly. So hard to catch but so worth the effort. “I love you, Lizzy. Now can I please have my gift?” He waggled his eyebrows playfully. “Please. You have no idea how I’ve wanted my sugar fix all day.”
Placing her hand on his cheek she kissed him back then breathlessly said, “Ya know, maybe Mr. Goodbar isn’t the only name for you …” Rising from the bed, she slid her blouse off her shoulders, dropping it to the floor. “I rather like Mr. Kama Sutra.”
He waited on the bed, spellbound by her seductive strip, wanting and ready for her. She winked at him and he groaned when she unzipped her skirt, followed by its fall down long legs. His mouth hung open at the image she presented wearing those lacy black boyshorts he had stolen from her cabin months ago and had yet to see her wear. Quickly, he tugged his polo shirt over his head.
“I also dig the name …. Please take off your jeans, Will….”
He complied, both his jeans and black boxers pooled at his feet in a heap.
She appreciatively gazed at his arousal. “I do like the name Mr. Mighty Missile.”
After an unhook to her bra and its toss across the room, she sauntered to him, pushed him to lie on the bed, then dropped her panties. It took only three seconds before she straddled and lowered onto him, just as she had done in the forest their first time.
“Lizzy … baby …” He moaned attempting to flip her onto her back.
“Ah, ah, ah ... I’m the boss … remember?”
“Yes you are. You rule my heart and body.” He pushed up deeply and she cried out.
“I … think … my favorite nickname is Mr. Deepwater Darcy,” she panted as they passionately loved one another.
But it was over too soon, all that emotion and need came crashing when the sun and stars burst in flaming intensity. She fell upon him and his arms encircled her, holding her to his chest. “No … my absolute favorite is Mr. Will, The Big O Darcy.”
His arms tightened around her. “Do you know … what my favorite name for you will be?"
She looked up at him, their eyes locking.
“That’s the best nickname. Mr. and Mrs. William Darcy."
Head on over to the fun and "campy" epilogue and find out what's going on with our counselors four years down the road.