- Monday, April 19, 2004
Mark Falcon knew success and enjoyed it. As the late afternoon sun came in the floor-to-ceiling windows of his office, it reflected off the architecture awards on the side table, a rainbow painting the wall. His son made the shadow of a barking dog in the blue and purple bands. Mark judged the distance and made a bear appear, which moved in to gobble up the dog.
Benjamin laughed. “Your hands are huge, Dad.”
The boy’s wonder combined with the name Dad — he had done a few things very right in his life, and marrying Sharon and adopting her son last year were near the top of the list. “Yours will one day be as big.” He made the shadow of a tree house. “The tree house blueprints should be done printing. Why don’t you go see?”
Benjamin dashed from the office to the open drafting room. Mark followed at a more relaxed pace. Nine now, with a touch of McGyver in his unquenchable curiosity, his son seemed to be thriving under his attention. Mark was trying to rearrange his life to provide that time, but he had worried about the transition.
He was confident now that keeping the family in Benton, Georgia, an hour and twenty minutes outside Atlanta, had been the right decision. The schools were good, the hospital and medical clinic where Sharon continued to work top-notch, and the town still had open land and woods around it. Mark didn’t mind the occasional commute to Atlanta when business required it; the pace in Benton better fit what he wanted for his family.
He watched his son carefully tear the blueprint from the wide printer. “It’s perfect.”
Mark picked up an empty carrying tube. “I’m glad you like it. We’d better stop by the lumber mill this weekend to order our supplies. By the end of October you’ll be inviting your friends over.”
“You’ll teach me to use the saw?”
“I will. You can even make the trim if you like; we’ll finish this tree house right. A good architect always finishes the finer details.” He offered a pen and an official label for the blueprint tube. “What do you say we pick up your mom and get dinner? I’m starved.”
Sharon tried to keep her last patient appointment to no later than five on Wednesday nights so they could have a family night. The last couple of weeks their dates have been hot dogs from a street vendor and rented inline skates at the park. For a practical doctor, Sharon didn’t always act much older than her son.
“Can we invite Aunt Carol?”
“If she’s free.” Mark had a soft spot in his heart with Caroline’s name on it. She had introduced him to Sharon. “Call her and see.”
They ended up at the mall after eating at the pizza buffet. It was Benjamin’s idea of the perfect evening and Mark would agree. He walked with his wife window-shopping while Caroline and Benjamin invaded stores to compare toys and laugh at silly things like fish wind chimes and talking doorbells.
He paused with his wife at the upper floor courtyard, waiting for Benjamin and Caroline to catch up, and couldn’t resist leaning over to kiss Sharon. A year since their honeymoon and she could still make him forget his name.
Mark reluctantly ended the kiss. “Tell me you don’t have early rounds tomorrow.”
She smiled slowly. “Nine.”
Mark rubbed his thumb on Sharon’s shoulder blade, appreciating the answer, and even more the promise in her smile. A guy didn’t deserve to be this happy. He couldn’t resist reaching up to touch her face and trace her smile and the perfect little dimple next to it. “I’ll take the morning off and drive you in to work, then take Benjamin to school.” His words were simple enough, but the huskiness in his voice conveyed a return promise for tonight. He hoped Benjamin would find a book and volunteer to turn in early with his Snoopy desk light on. It was time to go home. Mark slid his hand down to grasp Sharon’s, looked around, and didn’t see Benjamin.
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