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The morning after their 1st anniversary, Erik stands at the open window, thinking about his unbelievable life.

Chapter One

Opening Scene 

The night drifted by with contented sleep and eventually found me standing at the open window. While the breeze from the Adriatic Sea caressed my naked face and chest, I watched Clio and Urania grazing peacefully, the vast blue water dabbed with whitecaps, the small soft booty in my hand, the misty light of the morning sun making its way into our room, and the sleeping beauty in my bed with shimmering emerald surrounding her golden locks.
    I thought about the events of the last year, and it was truly difficult to believe the transformation my life had made. It didn’t seem that long ago when I sat on Christine’s bed in my cellar home, waiting for the path to eternal sleep to begin; with its power poised and ready in my hand. How grateful I was that the power of our love was so strong—stronger than death’s grip.
    I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more. I had happiness beyond all my wildest desires. I had a new day, a new home, a new chance, and a new life beginning within the woman I cherished. A child—a child of our own. What more than that could I ever want? I stood there, watching as the first rays of sun began to make their way across the room to her sleeping face. I couldn’t move as I immortalized the vision within my heart. How thankful I was for still being alive to experience that wonder of wonders.
    If anyone could ever experience perfection on earth, it would have to start with that all-encompassing and unique love between a man and a woman that was powerful enough to produce another life.
    A quick gust of wind pressed against my skin, causing me to close my eyes and take a deep breath. I listened to the pounding surf and thought about my father and his words to me the first time I saw an ocean. He told me I would go through many changes in my life, and that not all of them would be easy, and that some could be very painful, but they were necessary if I wanted to experience what awaited beyond them. He was so right since my life had been harrowing most of the time. But as I opened my eyes and looked at Christine, without a doubt, it had been worth all the pain and agony of my life to reach that point I was at right then. I sighed and silently thanked my father for all his words of wisdom, which had helped me get to where I was. Perhaps, all his heartache wasn’t in vain.
    I was watching Christine as her eyelashes began to flutter, causing me to leave my place at the window and go to her. I sat on the edge of the bed, lifted her hand, and kissed the gold band that shared her finger with her new wedding ring. As a smile appeared on her inviting lips, I thought about the new life we were entering and contemplated what further wonders we were to experience together as the page to a new chapter in our lives turned.
    Without any good morning darling or any introduction to her words, she asked, “What do you want Erik, a boy or a girl?”
    I felt my brows rise in surprise, and then I shook my head. “It doesn’t matter to me, Christine.  It’s a miracle that I’m having a child at all, so how could I be so selfish as to ask for one or the other?”
    “Well, I want a son,” she responded, as she began running her eyes and her fingers over my hand. “A wonderful and talented son, just like his father.”
    “Then I hope you get your wish, my dear,” I responded softly, with a kiss to her pink cheek.
    Until I heard her say those words, I hadn’t given thought to having a son like me. Christine looked at me with such innocence, but what if I did have a son like me? What if he was deformed like me? I felt sick in my gut, and I had to turn away from her before she saw it. I went back to the window facing the pasture again, remembering what a difficult child I was. If I had a son just like me, how would the two of us ever survive? It was my father’s quiet and even temperament that enabled us to have our good relationship. The vision of my childish, yet violent, outbursts went rushing through my mind and heart, and I shuttered, then Christine’s voice rescued me from my disturbing thoughts.
    “Erik, you’re not listening to me. What’s wrong?”
    I turned to look at her as she caressed the small booty, and then I looked down at the one in my hand as I responded, “Nothing, Christine, nothing’s wrong.  Everything is right. I never thought I would ever hear those words from anyone’s lips. Boy or girl? You can’t imagine the feelings that are surging through me right now.”
    My acting ability had come in handy many times in my life, and that morning it was so important. I couldn’t allow the ugly truth in my heart to spoil that beautiful day. She got up and stood behind me, wrapping her arms around me and placing her cheek on my back. I held her hands in mine against my chest and looked down at the two booties that were then together again, and I smiled in earnest.
    “I love you so much, Erik. You’re going to be such a good father.”
    Those words made me close my eyes. Yes, I could be a wonderful father--but, would I?