In San Antonio, men dressed in suits with cowboy hats filled every crevice of the airport. Annette and Redmond Gardner sat in the window of a small airline cafe, amazed. It was summertime in Huntsport, as it was everywhere else in the country, but it did not appear that way in Texas. Though Annette wore a light sundress, the dry heat could not be beaten, even with the aid of an iced tea.
“Red, look at these people! They’re dressed like it’s the middle of winter! I’m soaked just sitting here!” said Annette as she loosely admired the hearty Texans.
“Apparently it’s cold for this time of year here…back home, we’d be half naked swimming in the bay by now!” said Redmond.
Annette laughed. “You know, Red, I can’t believe that man…everyone, actually, who was on that plane knows us, knows all about Olivia. Before then, I felt something that I’m not sure I’ve ever truly felt before…I hated that woman, Red. Hated her. I didn’t think there was any good left in this world…but those people, complete strangers, they gave me hope again. We’re going to bring her home with us, where she belongs.”
“I know, honey. And we’ll do it together,” said Redmond.
“Red there’s something I want to tell you before we go any farther with this. Steven told me something about Samantha…about the Falcones.” Redmond raised an eyebrow. “He told me before we left that…well, Peter forced her to do it. He said that he wanted her to do anything she needed to make you…cheat…”
He took a long sip of his coffee. “You mean, he set the whole thing up? All of it?”
“I guess…he’s still not over me not marrying Michael. It was his twisted way of showing me I made a mistake…” said Annette.
“You didn’t make the mistake, honey. I did.”
“I mean, I guess it sort of lets you off the hook…”
Samantha Flint roamed the halls of Santa Lucia in search of Dr. Maria Santos, wrinkling her nose at the diseased strangers she passed by. “God, why would anyonechooseto be around this all day?” she said to herself.
“Samantha? You looking for me?” said Maria as she surprised Samantha from behind.
“Yes, actually, I was. I was hoping to see Oli…it’s been a few days.”
The doctor made a face of distaste. “Sam, why don’t you just call her Liv or something? Oli makes her sound like some racist cartoon from the 40’s.”
Samantha’s blue eyes met those of her friend. Through pursed lips, she said, “She’s mine, so I’ll call her whatever I want, okay Mare Mare?”
Maria rolled her eyes. “Whatever, just a thought.”
“I’m sorry, that was cruel…I’m just…so on edge lately. You must think I’m an awful person just to leave my baby here and barely visit…” said Samantha. She managed a tear for each eye.
“No, no, of course not,” said Maria as she hugged her, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s just that, well, I don’t know if I’ll be a good mother,” said Samantha, stammering, “I want to be so much better than my parents were to me…I’m just so afraid that I’ll make a mistake!” She was sobbing now. They were mostly tears of laughter, but she wouldn’t let Maria know that.
“Hey, it’s okay. Everyone’s scared, Sam. The thing is, I know you’ll be a good mother because you want to be. You shouldn’t let that get in the way of seeing that precious baby of yours.”
Samantha looked at her friend with tear stained eyes and smudged make up. “You really think so? You think I’ll be a good mother?”
“Of course!” said Maria.
Samantha could barely keep from smiling. The whole scared-new-mom act was something she knew her mild-mannered doctor-friend could not resist.