(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved) [(1) story cover, left]
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney Wakeforest, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins, the late Polly Holliday as the Waitress Madge, Donald Sutherland as Aldus Warren, Teri Polo as Lillian Warren, and Ewan McGregor as David Warren, and others as noted.]
Author’s Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.
Author’s Recap from the Previous Chapter: Sam and Olivia Wakeforest had come upon the elderly Aldus Warren with the beginnings of a heart attack in the parking lot of Mr. Warren’s furniture store in the one hour away town of Valley View. Sam being the Wakeforest Park Ranger, means that he is also a trained rescue medic and he recognized the heart attack symptoms instantly. Sam and Olivia had intended to look a baby cribs with the assurance that Lillian/Lola Campbell Warren was not in the furniture store on that Saturday, May 7th, 1956. However Sam and Olivia insisting that they take Mr. Warren to the nearby Valley View Hospital due to his serious heart attack symptoms—along with his wife Sylvia, and their baby grandson Duster Warren—meant that they did awkwardly run into the reticent to see Sam, Lillian, and her fuming husband David Warren when they arrived at the Emergency Room to see how the elder Mr. Warren was faring.
Sam and Olivia Wakeforest then leave Valley View hospital and the Warren family to head home. Olivia feels surprisingly sanguine about being able to be in the presence of her husband’s former lover Lillian/Lola and her not feeling upset about it. Yet Olivia has a nagging feeling that for Lillian, Sam is still unfinished business—but not in a romantic way. And despite David Warren’s edict of Sam keeping away from his wife Lillian, maybe Sam will have to attempt his apology to Lillian Campbell Warren in person, if she is to move forward.
Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 32 (PG-13, D): Making Amends
The drive home to Wakeforest on Saturday, May 7th, 1956 has been a mostly silent one for Sam and Olivia Wakeforest. The strain of the past hour has caught up with nearly four and a half months pregnant Olivia and she is napping in the front seat next to her husband Sam. And with Sam driving, he concentrates on the road. But Sam also ruminates about Lillian/Lola Campbell Warren—his former lover whom they had run into at the hospital taking her father-in-law there during his heart attack. Lillian/Loz still looks lovely—not that Sam is still romantically interested in her. Sam is completely besotted with his wife, Olivia. Yet Sam noticed Lillian’s unwillingness to look at him as she clutched her baby to her chest and sat down in the Emergency Room Waiting Room. In that moment, Sam realized how he had parted abruptly from Lola/Lillian must have hurt her—and it still did.
Sam feels great remorse for inflicting pain upon Lola/Lillian. His reasoning for breaking up with her after five years at the time was because he knew he wasn’t going to marry her—and he felt it was wrong to string her along. What Sam had not realized then was that Lola/Lillian had felt more than the affection that Sam had for her—she loved him.
Sam: “Hhhhh!” Sam sighs for possibly the tenth time on their drive home as he turns into their driveway.
Olivia: With her eyes closed, Olivia asks. “Are you going to tell me why you’re sighing, or to mind my own business?”
Sam startles at his wife’s forthright nature that seems to have expanded into feistiness with his pregnant wife.
Sam: “I thought you were asleep.” Sam stalls.
Olivia: “I was, but your sighing woke me up.” Olivia smiles impishly in her husband’s direction—still with her eyes closed.
Sam: “Sorry. We’re driving up the driveway of home now.”
Olivia: “Yes, I thought so.” Olivia opens her eyes and smiles. But Sam frowns quizzically as she looks at him. “The pea gravel gave away our location.”
Sam helps Olivia inside their home. And after doffing their shoes and coats they walk back to their master bedroom so Olivia can nap some more. Pregnant ladies need their rest—so do soon to be dads. Olivia lies down on the bed and Sam pulls a knitted blanket over her for warmth and kisses her forehead. When he turns to leave, Olivia reaches out her arm and clasps his wrist.
Olivia: “Sam, stay with me?” She smiles sweetly.
Sam: “How can I resist?” Sam smiles lovingly at Olivia.
Olivia’s smiles and sweetness are Sam’s refuge. And he willingly joins her on their bed under the knitted blanket. At first, Sam lies down on his right side and cuddles up to Olivia’s back as she lays on her right side facing away from him. Then she turns in his embrace and snuggles into his chest as she faces him. Olivia wants to talk to her husband Sam—she needs to.
Olivia: “Sam, I think I agree with you now. Lillian should not be our baby’s nursery room designer.”
Sam: “Oh? What brought on this change of heart?” Sam worries that Olivia is jealous of his former lover. She needn’t be on his account—he had ended it with Lola/Lillian over five years ago.
Olivia: “Seeing her today, … and her reaction to you …” Olivia haltingly admits—watching her husband’s raised eyebrow. “It would be too awkward for her.”
Sam: “That’s what I was trying to tell you before.” Sam rolls his eyes.
Olivia: “No. You said it would be awkward for us—for you. But though you seemed calm today, Lillian reacted with …”
Sam: “Disgust?” Sam thinks Lola/Lillian is angry with him since she would not look at him.
Olivia: “I was going to say … shame. Her husband obviously knows about the prior relationship, and is he very protective of her feelings.”
Sam: “Shame? What has she to be ashamed of?”
Olivia: “Well, society in 1956 has not advanced so far as to allow for women to have the same prerogative as a man with regard to sleeping around. Though some might take it. And I’m not being judgmental.” Olivia clarifies a bit defensively.
Sam: Lying down on his back and staring up at the light blue paisley fabric canopy above their four post bed, Sam sighs. “Hhhh! Not judgmental of her back then, … or of me being with her back then?” Sam closes his eyes, not wanting to see censure in Olivia’s eyes for him having lain with Lola/Lillian. Though he still feels that he and Lola/Lillian had a mutually non exclusive relationship. But it had been a relationship of five years.
Sam: “Now you’re sighing.”
Olivia: “It’s just .. it’s just that this isn’t about you. It’s about Lillian.”
Sam: Sam winces. “I wish I could tell her I’m sorry for the hurt that I caused her. I was so self-absorbed then—compartmentalizing my life, controlling it—in a way that I didn’t have control of it during my military service in the war.”
Sam has never fully talked to Olivia about his experiences in World War II, he has merely hinted at them.
Olivia: “What do you mean?” She looks pointedly at him. When Sam doesn’t respond, Olivia caresses his cheek and guides him to look at her. “Go on.”
Sam: “Hhhh! In the war, overseas, I thought everyday would be my last. I thought that I had prepared myself for it. We were all just cannon fodder really. No matter that it was for a good cause—liberating oppressed peoples, and saving lives. But then, the missile glanced off one of the wings of the transport plane I was flying with 50 people on board. At first, I didn’t know what had happened. We weren’t flying in enemy occupied territory, but then, everything should have been considered a war zone. And then, my co-pilot Oliver Griffin, Griff, lurched back into the cockpit—hanging on to what he could to stay upright as the plane bounced around—and he said that our right wing tip had been hit by a ground missile. The plane started plummeting from the force of the hit, and I couldn’t get control of it. Every time I would try to right the plane, I over corrected and it fell even closer to the ground. We were going to die. And it was my fault.”
Olivia: “It wasn’t your fault. Your plane was shot at.
Sam: “But it was my job to get everybody safely home. And I was failing. And in addition to soldiers like Dominic Perkins on board, we were escorting fifteen orphaned children and their nurses to England to find new homes for the children. Their blood would have been on my hands if I couldn’t do something.”
Olivia: “What happened? How did you end up landing the plane safely?” Olivia clutches at Sam’s shirt, horrified by what he is telling her, by what he is reliving—and wishing that she could give him some comfort.
Sam: “I don’t know, really. Instinct took over, I guess. And someone must have been looking out for us.” Sam shrugs his shoulders. “And somehow, I managed to level the plane as we got closer to ground.” Sam shakes his head. “I saw a wheat field stretching for miles ahead. So I slowed us down and reversed my engines as we touched down. We seemed to slide forever since we belly flopped as the landing gear broke away. But the strong wheat stalks pulled at the plane slowing us down before we hit a grove of trees on the field’s edge. And then suddenly we stopped. I cut the engines and heard nothing. The silence was deafening. I should have heard screams of fear from my passengers. But there was nothing. Then I wondered if they had all been killed in being banged about inside the cabin. I looked over at my co-pilot Griff and I realized that he had not had a chance to fully strap himself in before we landed and his head had hit the side of the plane hard when we touched down. His head was caved in and bleeding, but his eyes were open—as if in surprise. Griff was dead. So I thought they were all dead.” Sam’s eyes were glassy, not focusing on his present surroundings as he relives the long ago tragedy.
Olivia: “No!” Tears are streaming down Olivia’s face as she tries to wipe away Sam’s tears.
Sam: “But I was worried about fire in case of a miracle and anyone else was left alive. So I unbuckled myself and left the cockpit—after closing Fred’s eyes. The airplane cabin was a wreck with everyone’s possessions not in the cargo hold strewn about everywhere. And some of the passengers had cuts and bruises on their faces and bodies from the debris that had swirled around them. But everyone who looked back at me blinked—even the youngest children. They were alive. Somehow, they were alive.” Sam shakes his head in wonder. “So Dominic and I and some of the cabin stewards quickly organized everyone getting out of the plane—just in case there would be a fire. And we had just ruined a farmer’s field, so he came to see what the noise was and then brought us all back to his farm to await military trucks to take us to the base and to the hospital for those injured the worst.” Sam looks down. “The passengers wanted to pat my back or give me a hug for saving their lives. And I let them, because I was in shock. I had saved everyone—except for my co-pilot Griff.”
Sam thinks back to visiting the U.S. Air base’s WWII war memorial [(2a) right] before returning home to the States after the war. Sam still has a tissue rubbing of Griff’s name on the plaque [(2b below] commemorating those who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Olivia: “Oh Sam. It wasn’t your fault. It was the war.” Olivia tries to comfort her husband Sam.
Sam: “But if I was able to save everyone else, why couldn’t Griff be saved, too? Why didn’t I die in his place?” Sam asks quietly.”
Olivia: “Sam, Sam! It wasn’t your fault!” Olivia puts her hands on either side of Sam’s face and draws him to look at her again. “It wasn’t your fault.”
Sam: “I know that now, I do. Logically. It’s just that. My remorse, never goes away.” Sam has buried his traumatic war experiences for so long, that he has gushed them out to his wife Olivia now in a torrent of pent up feelings.
Olivia: “And having Lola helped you forget the pain a little?” Olivia refers to Lillian by the name Sam knew her as back then.
Sam: “Yes. She did.” Sam admits regretfully. “Lola was wholly unconnected with the war or the rest of my life—as the returned war hero.” Sam sneers at himself.
Olivia: “And she helped you heal.”
Olivia: “Sam? Does Lillian/Lola know any of this?”
Sam: “No. I never told Lola. It would have defeated the purpose of my being with her—to escape and to forget.”
Olivia: “Yet, you told me.” Olivia gazes at him questioningly. Yet she is glad that he shared his troubles with her.
Sam: “I don’t need to escape with you, Olivia. You are my refuge, my life. I love you, Olivia.”
Olivia: “And I love you, Sam.”
Sam and Olivia kiss and hold each other for some time. They will talk more, but today, they rest.
Over the course of the next two weeks as Olivia and Sam talk about their situation regarding his former lover Lillian/Lola Warren, Sam feels that he needs to make amends to Lillian/Lola—for her to feel closure. And knowing intuitively that Lillian/Lola will not want to come into their home, but wanting to give her a graceful exit for not being their designer, Olivia calls the Warren’s Furniture Store on Monday, May 23rd from Sam’s Den Study room in their home. With some trepidation, Sam is sitting near his wife Olivia’s side as she makes the call. When the store switchboard connects her to Lillian, Olivia tries to sound warm and caring.
Olivia on the phone: “Hi Lillian, it’s Olivia Wakeforest.”
Lillian on the phone: “Hello, Mrs. Wakeforest.” Lillian’s cheeks flush with embarrassment to be speaking with the wife of her former lover Sam Wakeforest.
Lillian is startled and she feels like she did eleven years ago in 1945 as a much younger woman [(3) right] when the brash and handsome Sam Wakeforest singled out the then thirty year old Lola for a dinner date that became so much more. Lillian realizes that she had hoped that she could ignore the present awkward situation with the Wakeforests. And Lillian doesn’t know what to say, nor to expect from Olivia.
Olivia on the phone: “It’s Olivia, please.” Silence at the other end. “I’m calling to see how Mr. Aldus Warren is doing after his heart attack.”
Lillian on the phone: “Oh.” Lillian’s voice catches in her throat, partially relieved not to be asked to make an appointment at Sam Wakeforest’s home. “Papa Warren is recovering. But he is still at home on bed rest. My husband David is managing the store until his father feels well enough to return.” That is, if Papa Warren recovers enough to return to the store.
Olivia on the phone: “We’re glad that Mr. Warren is improving. Please give Mr. and Mrs. Warren our warmest regards.”
Lillian on the phone: “Of course. And thank you for sending the flowering plant to the store for him.”
Olivia on the phone: “Of course. And thanks to Mrs. Warren for her lovely note of thanks.” Deciding not to delay any longer, Olivia changes the topic. “I am also calling about scheduling an appointment for our baby nursery design consultation. Room measurements still need to be taken.” There is silence on the other end, that Olivia interprets as helping to validate her next statement. “My husband Sam and I realize that with the store management still in flux with Mr. Aldus Warren’s illness that you might not be available anymore to be our designer.”
Lillian on the phone: “Hhhhh!” Lillian sighs in relief. “No, I’m not. With my mother-in-law tending to my father-in-law during his health crisis, she is not available to watch our baby son Duster. And I have not yet found other suitable child care arrangements. David and I prefer that our baby son Duster stay with family when at all possible.”
Olivia on the phone: “Of course. When our child is born, I will have to decide how we will handle the baby’s care should I eventually return to teaching part time.”
Olivia on the phone: “That will be agreeable. Thank you.” Olivia looks at Sam watching her intently [(4) right] and hearing only her part of the phone conversation.
Lillian on the phone: “Thank you … for understanding.” Lillian replies politely. Lillian thinks that they have gotten over the toughest hurdle. But then Olivia goes beyond Lillian’s comfort zone.
Olivia on the phone: “Lillian? Sam feels badly how you and he parted over five years ago.” Olivia blurts out and Sam winces.
Lillian on the phone: “Oh! I didn’t realize that you …” Lillian is mortified that Olivia knows that Lillian and Olivia’s husband Sam had been lovers for five years, starting eleven years ago.
Olivia on the phone: “Please be at ease on my account. Your relationship was all long ago—long before my husband and I started dating and married.”
Lillian on the phone: “I wouldn’t say it was a relationship.” Lillian winces for revealing the hurt in her voice.
Olivia on the phone: “Still, from what Sam tells me, you helped in through a rough patch after the war.”
Lillian on the phone: “Oh? He never talked about his war experiences with me.” Lillian replies quizzically.
Olivia on the phone: “I know, he told me that … well, that you were his one respite from remembering what had happened to him during the war. He’s here and he would like to speak to you.”
Lillian on the phone: “What? Now? No! I can’t!” Lillian starts to panic. Her breathing becomes quick and shallow. She is alone in her desk area, so no one witnesses her distress.
Olivia shakes her head at Sam who tightly clasps his hands in front of himself and he hangs his head in remorse.
Olivia on the phone: “Of course, I understand. It’s just that … I think you should hear what Sam has to say—for you, not for him.”
Lillian on the phone: “I should not do anything regarding him.” Lillian responds indignantly, despite her distress.
Olivia on the phone: “Of course, my apologies. But Sam wishes to … he wishes to speak to you, one last time. Will you grant him that?”
Lillian on the phone: “My husband David wouldn’t like it.” Lillian frets. Lillian’s relationship with her husband David is rock solid. And yet, there are some boundaries that are not crossed by either of them—in consideration of each other. Sam Wakeforest is one of those boundaries.
Olivia on the phone: “I know. Sam told me what your husband said to him. But if I am not worried about you and Sam rekindling your relationship, then I don’t see why your husband is.” Olivia says a bit more forcefully than she intends. And Sam shakes his head ruefully to his wife Olivia.
Lillian on the phone: “My husband David has no worries. He just knows that … your husband …” Her voice trails off. The unspoken truth is that Lillian still feels hurt by how their relationship was ended by Sam over five years ago.
Olivia on the phone: “So … will you let Sam speak to you over the phone? You don’t have to say anything. Just listen.” Silence. Olivia hands the phone to Sam and nods her head in encouragement. Sam gingerly takes the phone handset.
Sam on the phone: “Lola? Kkkkh! I mean, Lillian.” Sam corrects himself. “It’s Sam.” Silence. “I want to tell you how sorry I was … I am … for ending our relationship so abruptly as I did years ago.” Silence. Sam looks over at Olivia and she nods again. “But mostly, I want to say thank you!” He sighs. “Back then, you came into my life when I needed to escape from being the war hero …” Sam sneers at his own expense again. “… and what that reminded me of, the war.” Sam relates to Lola/Lillian an abbreviated version of the plane crash from what he told his wife Olivia. “You see, Lillian, you were just for me—my lifeline after the war. You saved me in so many ways. And I treasured you and our time together.”
Lillian covers her mouth with her other hand to prevent Sam from hearing her anguished cries over the phone as her tears fall.
Sam on the phone: “I don’t think I was capable of love back then when you and I were together. But I did care for you—more than anyone anyone else I had known before. That was why I had to end our relationship. I knew then that I wasn’t ready to be a husband and father—things that I thought you might want. And I knew that I couldn’t make you happy. I wasn’t what you deserved. I was still too damaged from the war. But you helped me start to heal. And for your caring and for your kindness to me, I will always be humbled and grateful to you. I just wish, that I could have given you more.” Sam’s voice is cracking with emotion.
Tears are streaming down Lillian’s face, but no one sees them since she is alone in her desk space. Sam is crying, too—as is Olivia after hearing Sam’s last statement. Olivia turns her body away a little bit from her husband as her tears fall [(5 right] . Olivia knew that Sam wanted to make amends to Lillian/Lola. But, is a wife ever ready to hear such emotion in her husband’s voice for another woman? Lillian is still silently listening on the phone on the other end of Sam’s voice.
Sam on the phone: “But Lillian, I’m truly glad that you now have a husband who loves you, as you should be loved, and a baby son. I’m thrilled for you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy. You deserve to be happy—and to be loved.” Silence. Sam begins to pull the phone away from his ear, then he hears Lola/Lillian speak.
Lillian on the phone: “Sam?” Lillian’s voice wavers as she tremblingly tries to control her emotions. Hearing Sam speak to her directly has brought up all of her old feelings for Sam. Lillian had loved Sam, she really had. And you don’t stop loving someone—even if they stop caring for you. At least, Lillian hasn’t. Tucked away in a small corner of Lillian’s heart, resides her cherished memories of she and Sam together. And today, he has affirmed her steadfastness.
Sam on the phone: “Yes?” Sam listens hopefully. He doesn’t know what he expects her to say to him—nor even what he wants her to say to him.
And when Lillian speaks, she once again—for the last time–leaves Sam humbled and grateful for her caring words.
Lillian on the phone: “Thank you.” Lillian says with all the poise that she can muster. Then she gently hangs up the phone. And Sam hears the click as the call is disconnected and the dial tone buzzes in his ear. “You be happy, too.” Lillian says to Sam–but without him hearing it—as she kisses her fingertips and then she presses them to the phone where she and Sam said their final goodbyes.
Sam hangs up the phone in its cradle and he looks at his wife Olivia. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.
Sam: “Olivia! My Darling. I’m so sorry.” He holds his arms out to her and she comes to him and she sits on his lap as she leans in to him. He could kick himself for forgetting that Olivia was in the room as he poured out his apology to Lillian/Lola. “Tell me what can I say, what can I do?” Sam gazes at his beloved wife Olivia beseechingly.
Stroking her husband Sam’s hair, Olivia smiles through her tears, then she lightly kisses him on his lips.
Olivia: “You already have.” He looks at her with a hopefully questioningly look. “You chose me. I love you so.” She pushes back the hair from his temple.
Sam: “I love you so. Thank you for choosing me.”
Sam and Olivia embrace and sweetly kiss [(6) right] each other for some time as the import of Sam at least attempting to make amends to Lillian is felt by them. At least, they stay seated embracing until Sam tells Olivia that his legs are going to sleep with her sitting on them. And Olivia playfully swats at Sam’s arm. So Sam and Olivia both rise with small hopeful smiles on their faces and return to their master bedroom to continue their loving discussion. Sam’s and Olivia’s love is a healing balm for both of them. And they both wish for Lillian and her husband David to have the same joy.
Though Sam and Olivia need time to recover their equilibrium, the little ones in the extended Wakeforest and Delaney families have their own wishes and time tables. Because though Sam and Olivia have four more months yet to wait for their bundle of joy to arrive and they become parents, Sam’s sister Tessa and her husband Roger—Olivia’s brother—will become real parents next week via adoption as their foster son Bobby turns two, with his charming fifteen year old sister Alice also being adopted by the Delaneys.
To be continued with Chapter 33
References for Ch. 32 by Gratiana Lovelace, April 11, 2016 (Post #898)
1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images manipped by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/slides/ProjectMag-05.html;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg
2ab) Sam Wakeforest at the end of World War II images are of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter in the 2010 mini series StrikeBack found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode2HD/slides/ep2hd_059.html and http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode2HD/slides/ep2hd_058.html
3) Lillian Campbell Warren as her younger 1945 thirty year old self as Lola, is Teri Polo in the 1994 film Golden Gate found at https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Gyzno8mljB4/hqdefault.jpg
4) Sam Wakeforest is Richard Armitage from the 2011 Project Magazine photo spread and interview (manip background to green) found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/slides/MattHolyoak-12.html
5) Olivia Delaney Wakeforest crying is Emily Deschanel in Bones (manip background to black) found at https://pmctvline2.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/emily-deschanel-bones.jpg
6) Image representing Sam and Olivia Wakeforest kissing is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter and Shelly Conn portraying Danni in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 5 (pix 34) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode5/slides/ep5_034.html
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