As I’m assuming is usually the case for most writers (for at least one of their novels or other works) several events and characters in: Third Chapter, Second Chance are based on my own personal experiences.
When I was 17 and getting ready to head to “the big city” (Toronto) for university, I did spend that summer away from home. And I did meet a man in his mid-20’s who was from the US, that I fell hard for.
The following is a dream sequence from: Third Chapter, Second Chance that I hope you’ll enjoy.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, Samantha is the main character and as she relives this night spent with her first love: Matt Jansen, she is now 45.
Here’s to romance, summer and first love.
And most of all, here’s to second chances! :<)
In her dream, Samantha had relived their last night together in St. Denis.
Matt had invited her out for a farewell dinner. She knew that her aunt was at least partially aware and wary of her feelings for Matt, which had only gotten stronger as the weeks of summer had gone by. How her aunt knew, Samantha could only guess. She had never discussed Matt much with her aunt, except in a casual and cautious way. Samantha had always tried to leave the impression that she and Matt were just “buddies” who shared many common interests and nothing more. But it was obvious she hadn’t fooled her clever Aunt Jean, about her true feelings for Matt.
In spite of that and considering it was the last night Samantha would be in St. Denis for the foreseeable future, her aunt had agreed to this “date”. Again reminding Matt that evening, of their age difference. A quiet reminder that Samantha had overheard when she was coming down the stairs to greet Matt.
Jean was not one to mince words. Although she liked Matt, she was more than aware of their feelings for each other and didn’t want anything to happen that would be inappropriate or something Samantha’s parents would not be happy about. She could still remember what it felt like to be young and in love, for the first time. It was their age difference that worried her most of all. Samantha was still a teenager and Matt, already a grown man.
Samantha tried to understand and accept her aunt’s concerns although she was fed up with the tight rein her parents and aunt continued to have on her.
It was going to be so hard to leave Matt tomorrow. At the same time, she was also looking forward to living on her own in the big city to attend university. Maybe Matt could come down to visit her in Toronto? To be able to spend time together on their own was a wonderful thought to consider.
Sighing loudly to let them know she was now in the room; Matt turned to her and smiled.
“Wow, you look great Samantha and what an amazing dress.” Matt said as Samantha twirled around, showing off her new green sundress, one that she had made especially for this evening.
The dress was a retro-design Samantha had created herself. Working with two vintage dress patterns she had found in Aunt Jean’s sewing supplies, Samantha had combined details she liked from each of them. It had a tight- fitting bodice with thin spaghetti straps and full skirt that stopped above the knee, that accentuated Samantha’s slim but curvaceous figure perfectly. The fabric, a soft shimmery cotton, patterned throughout with various shades of green, embossed leaves. She had wrapped a delicate, white cotton, crochet shawl lightly around her shoulders. The effect was stunning against her golden skin and sun-streaked hair.
“Oh, you do look beautiful my dear.” Aunt Jean beamed. “And what a great job you did with that dress. Amazing how you were able to combine the two patterns like that.”
“She just finished this one last night.” Jean said to Matt, who was still smiling at Samantha, admiring how she looked.
“I certainly agree. Your artistic talents amaze me Samantha. Not everyone can make a dress like that. Or wear one like that either, I might add.”
“So true, so true.” Jean said, nodding her head and looking at Samantha wistfully. “You have so many gifts and you’re still so young Samantha. I know you’re going to do so much with all of them, in the years to come. But I better let you two get going. You’re having dinner at the Coach House aren’t you?”
“Yes we are.” Matt replied, still looking at Samantha, trying in vain not to stare. “Actually we better go; our reservation is for seven. All ready Samantha?”
“I am indeed. Lead me to your chariot Mr. Jansen.” Samantha laughed, impatient to leave. She turned to give her aunt a kiss on the cheek.
“And please Auntie Jean, don’t worry about me. We’ll behave, I promise.”
“I can’t help worrying about you my dear. No offence to you Matt. I’d worry about her whoever she was going out with. She’s the closest thing to a daughter I’ve got and I love her like she was my own daughter. Now go and have a lovely evening but don’t be too late, okay?”
“I will have her safely back here by midnight Jean.” Matt said, smiling. “And I completely understand your concern for Samantha.”
“It’s almost seven, we better go.” Samantha said, glancing at her watch and then checking her appearance in the full-length hall mirror once again.
“Bye Aunt Jean.”
“Have a wonderful time.” Jean called out, watching from the front door as they walked to Matt’s car.
“I thought we’d never get out of there.” Samantha whispered to Matt as he opened the car door for her. “I love my Aunt Jean but I am getting so tired of everyone still thinking of me as a kid. I’m not and I’m not stupid either.”
“We all know that Samantha. You are a beautiful young woman and far from stupid. But I also understand and respect your aunt’s concerns. Let’s just concentrate on having a great time tonight. I’ve been looking forward to it for days.”
“Sorry, I shouldn’t be ranting at you Matt, it’s not your fault. And you’re right.” Samantha sighed, as Matt backed the car into the street and headed towards the restaurant. “Let’s focus on tonight. You look great too, by the way.”
“Thought I should make an extra effort. Even bought a new sport coat for the occasion.” Matt smiled over at her. “Not over the top, do you think?” Matt asked, gesturing to the soft cream linen jacket that he was wearing over a crisp white shirt and freshly pressed black dress jeans. “The sales clerk talked me into this one. I wasn’t sure.”
“You look wonderful. And I love the jacket, it’s perfect.” Samantha smiled at him before turning to look out the open passenger door window. She felt the emotions welling up inside; remembering once again that this would be their last night together, maybe forever. It was too much for her to take in or accept.
She was in love with Matt and had been for weeks. Something she had kept to herself, not wanting to put Matt in an awkward position. She knew he cared about her too. But in a romantic way, that she wasn’t sure of. He always kept himself just a bit removed from her. Hadn’t made anything even close to a pass at her. Samantha didn’t know if it was because of her age, her aunt and her parents or just that Matt didn’t share her feelings of wanting more. Maybe she’d never know. If only she was a bit older, she thought to herself and not being watched and still treated all too often like a child.
Returning to the present, Samantha glanced over at Matt, admiring his handsome profile as he hummed along softly with the radio.
“Penny for your thoughts.” Samantha asked, as they turned into the restaurant’s parking lot. “You’re looking so happy tonight Matt.”
“I’m out for the evening with a gorgeous, young woman, what’s there not to smile about?” Matt laughed softly, taking her hand as they headed into the restaurant’s large wooden front doors.
After a delicious dinner and a couple of hours of chatting at the restaurant, Samantha and Matt headed down to the lake to enjoy the beautiful, warm summer evening. The lakeshore looked inviting and romantic, lit by a continuous row of softly lit coach lamps. The lights shimmered in the now darkening water. The scent of late summer flowers filled the air. Several people were out for the evening, strolling along the waterfront and sitting on benches and at the park’s café and take-out stand that was still open.
“Would you like a coffee, before they close up for the evening?” Matt asked, gesturing towards the café.
“Yeah, that would be nice.” Samantha smiled at Matt, sitting down on one of the benches facing the lake. “Mind if I wait here though? These sandals are starting to pinch a bit.” Samantha leaned forward, sliding the white fabric, high-heeled sandals she was wearing off her feet.
“I’m not use to wearing high-heels after two months of running around barefoot so much, with the kids. Oh, that feels so much better.” Samantha sighed, resting the backs of her ankles on the path in front of the bench. She was glad that she had taken the time to give herself a pedicure; the shimmery, pale pink polish she had chosen in sharp contrast to her slim, tanned feet.
“Oh, I’m sorry about your feet Samantha. By all means, stay here; I’ll just be a minute.” Matt said, also glancing at her manicured feet.
“You know, even your feet look wonderful, even if they are a bit sore.” Matt laughed.
“Well how about a footie rub Mr. Jansen?” Samantha smiled up at him, laughing too. “Maybe a hidden talent I don’t know about? I bet you’ve got lots of those.”
“Don’t get me started on ‘hidden talents’ my dear.” Matt said with a sigh. “Come on now, behave. I have to and so do you. I can stretch to sympathy for your sore tootsies but I think I better leave any foot rubbing for another time.”
“Can’t blame a girl for asking.” Samantha laughed slightly, before turning to look out over the lake. Lost in thought, it seemed to Matt.
“I’ll be right back.” Matt said as he headed towards the café.
Matt returned a few minutes later with two coffees. They sat and chatted on the bench; enjoying the cool breeze off the lake and watching the people strolling along the shore.
By the time they finished their coffees the park was almost deserted and the café closed. Only a few people remained, sitting further up the path on benches, away from where they sat. Samantha moved closer to Matt and took one of his hand in hers, rubbing the top of it gently.
“How am I going to leave you tomorrow?” Samantha looked up into his eyes. “Do you know how much you mean to me Matt? How much I’m going to miss you?”
“Yes, I think so Samantha.” Matt squeezed her hand gently, looking into her eyes. “I’m going to miss you so much too. This summer has been wonderful but it’s also been hard. Trying to keep my emotions in check. To behave as your aunt puts it so well ‘like a gentleman’ and to remember our age difference. I’m so attracted to you Samantha; you must know that. But I know that how things are between us are how they have to be, for now at least. You’re still so young and you’re going to be starting a whole new life in the fall, in Toronto. You’ll be meeting lots of new people at university, including lots of young guys who will be crazy about you. I don’t want to complicate things for you now or put a damper on all that’s ahead for you.”
Matt put his fingers to her lips as she started to interrupt. “Let me finish Samantha. I hope we do have the chance to be together again, sometime in the future, I really do. But if that isn’t meant to be, if that doesn’t happen I want you to know that I will never forget you. Never forget this special summer, shared with you. And I will never forget how you look right now, sitting here with me looking so beautiful. You take my breath away Samantha. You did from the first day I saw you in that hardware store and you always will. I will never, ever forget you.” Matt leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips.
Samantha sighed, slowly opening her eyes, still savouring his kiss. They had playfully hugged and kissed throughout the summer, but in a friendly, casual way. This was different. A stirring and warmth ran through her whole body.
“Oh Matt. Every time I think about leaving you tomorrow, I feel sick.” Samantha said, leaning back against his shoulder. “You mean everything to me.”
“And you mean so much to me too Samantha. I hope we see each other again, but who knows what’s ahead? Realistically, you might forget all about me when you get to Toronto. File old Matt Jansen under ‘the summer of 82’. I hope that’s not the case, I really do. But if that does happens, as I said before, it will never change how I feel about you.”
“Don’t talk like that Matt.” Samantha sat forward, looking into his eyes. “How could I forget you? I love you. You must know that. And as far as all those guys in Toronto, there isn’t anyone else I want to be with and in every way.” Samantha leaned forward and kissed him, pulling him close against her and deftly parting his lips with her tongue. Feeling the heat rising up inside again.
Matt pulled away reluctantly after a couple of minutes, his voice hoarse with emotion. “Oh Samantha, we better stop. This is feeling way too good already. Where did you learn to kiss like that by the way? I feel like an amateur after that.” Matt laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
“Just a natural-born kisser I guess.” Samantha laughed, looking into his eyes. “And the lesson has just started Mr. Jansen.” Pulling him close to her again in another kiss.
“Samantha, please.” Matt pulled away again; this time moving slightly away from Samantha on the bench.
“I can’t do this Samantha. I want to, so much but it’s not the right time. And if there is ever going to be the chance for us to have a future together, we’ve got to put these feelings on hold for now. You are so desirable Samantha. I want you so much. Want to be with you, wake up with you, share the days with you and make love with you. I want it all Samantha but I know that now is not that time.”
“Oh Matt, I’m so tired of waiting. Tired of wanting you and having to be told we can’t be together, really together. I want all those things you said too. Promise me, you’ll come to see me? That you won’t forget about me. Or even worse, go and fall in love with someone else back in the good old US of A?” Samantha sat forward; taking his hand in her’s again. “Come on, promise.”
“I promise that I will never forget you Samantha.” Matt patted the back of her slim, warm hand. “How could I forget you or not want to see you again? As far as the future, let’s give it a bit of time and see where things go from here, okay?”
“Alright, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.” Samantha said, pouting her lips “And not one bit.”
“And just so you know, you are driving me absolutely crazy Samantha Berringer but I guess you already know that? Why do you have to look so incredibly sexy, especially tonight? It’s more than most men could stand!” Matt stood up, pulling Samantha gently to her feet.
“Wow, it’s twenty to twelve already.” Matt glanced briefly at his watch. “I better get you home before you turn into a sexy pumpkin.”
“Ha ha, I will never be a pumpkin, sexy or otherwise.” Samantha laughed slightly, also standing up. “Okay, okay Jansen, I get the message. Behave, I’ve got it. I guess we’d better head back.”
Matt held Samantha’s hand as they walked slowly back to the car through the now deserted park. The cool breeze felt good after the heat of the day; the air heavy with the scent of flowers and pine trees.
Driving home, they were both quiet, lost in their own thoughts. When they arrived, Samantha leaned over and gave Matt a quick hug.
“I’d ask you in for a coffee but I better just go in on my own.” Samantha said, pulling away and looking intently into Matt’s eyes. “My aunt is probably asleep by now but she just might be waiting up for me. I had a wonderful time Matt. But I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable, I didn’t mean to. Am I forgiven?”
“Oh my dear Samantha, there is nothing to forgive.” Matt replied, squeezing her hand gently.
“I mean it’s not my fault that I’m so sexy, is it?” Samantha laughed, grinning at him.
“That’s better. I love when you laugh Samantha and I love your beautiful smile. But I better let you get in now. “About tomorrow, the bus leaves just after one, right?” Matt asked.
“Yeah, 1:15.” Samantha sighed. “Not something I want to think about right now. Thanks again for a wonderful evening and I’ll see you tomorrow. Come around noon, I’ll be ready. That way we can have some time before the bus leaves, okay?”
“I’ll be here. Say goodnight to your aunt from me, if she’s still up.”
“I will. Good night Matt. Sweet dreams.” Samantha looked at him through the open car window, smiling broadly at him and laughing lightly.
“Oh you wicked girl!” Matt laughed. “Same to you!”
Samantha headed up the stairs and turned on the top step, standing under the porch light to wave goodbye to Matt as he pulled back out on the street. She watched him drive out of sight before heading into the house.