CHAPTER NINE

        "I can't believe it!" Al exclaimed. "Mr. Morals knocked up -"
        "Al!" Somehow, Sam knew that as soon as Al returned to the project, he was 
going to tell everyone about what he had just learned.
        "I sure don't blame you though," he said lecherously as they both stood on the 
road and watched Kelly walk away. "Maybe, you really are a little like me, even 
though you hide it."
        "I most certainly am not!" *Whatever gave him that idea!* Sam was disgusted at 
even the thought of him being even remotely like him.
        "You have potential though. You just never had much of a selection, but you 
definitely got the pick of the liter." He paused for a moment giving Sam a 
look of approval. A impish grin came over his mouth as he inhaled from his 
cigar. "So, what do you remember?"
        Sam felt his cheeks inflame as he looked down at the ground. "It's none of 
your business, Al."
        "At least, tell me how old you were when you first did it?"
        Sam's face now seemed to become engulfed with flames. 
"You really don't know when to quit."
        "Just give me a answer."
        After a moment, he answered quietly under his breath, "Sixteen."
        "What was that?" he said trying to bother his friend.
        Sam embrassment over what he did turned into anger towards his friend. "I 
was sixteen. In case you ask, it was the summer of 1969. Many things happened 
in the summer of 1969 - the moon landing, Woodstock."
        "You and Dodger in the hay loft," Al added smiling.
        Actually, it was in the seed corn field, but he doesn't have to know that," 
Sam thought. *He also doesn't have to know that I was only about to turn 
sixteen.*
        "I bet that was a birthday present you never forgot." Al hesitated for a 
moment as he watched Kelly continue to walk home. "I still can't believe that 
you and a girl like that -"
        "I love her, and she loves me. That was the reason above all things," Sam 
said started to really lose his temper. "We wanted to express our love for each 
other. It wasn't because she's beautiful, even though she is. And it was most 
certainly not because of any of the other stuff your thinking."
        "She was good. Wasn't she?" he stated his own conclusion based upon Sam's 
reaction.
        "You're impossible! You know that? I don't remember, and even if I did it's 
none of your business. I'm not talking to you about this." *How is such scum 
sometimes! Why couldn't he be quiet? Kelly and I are going through a tough time 
right now, and he's acting really insensitive to the both of us.* Sam could tell 
that he was only saying these things to bug him, and right now it was really 
getting on his nerves.
        Al grinned smugly as he took a puff of the cigar he was holding. "You do 
remember! Now, you want her even more than she wants you."
        "Al, can't you just disappear. Go back to Tina, instead of asking me what's 
going on between me and Kelly."
        "Tina's boycotting me right now. She caught me cheating on her, and -"
        "I really don't care about your love life! In case, you haven't realized, I'm 
facing a major problem. I could care less about your sex life. There's still 
that 50% chance saying that I'm going to be a daddy," Sam informed him.
        "I'm surprised that Ziggy isn't postitively sure about that girlfriend of 
yours. I would think that she would give results 100% one way or the other. 
Ziggy has been unable to find any information at all about Kelly, except to 
find out why you are here. Well, at least, you said that you'll mary her. If 
you love her, marry her. If not, dump her. That's how Beth -" Al stopped 
himself mid-sentence.
        "You got Beth pregnant. Didn't you?"
        "What do you think? When I was younger, I cared more about babes than babies."
        *He still does,* Sam thought to himself. *Nothing ever changes!*
        "You leaped into me when I was younger, and you said that I was even worse 
back then," Al continued. "Actually, you said that I had more babes back then 
compared to now, but it means the same thing. If somebody told me, when I was 
younger, there was a chance I was going to be married with a little baby in my 
arms a few years after leaving Annapolis, I would think that you're crazy and 
had lost your mind. Somehow, that's what almost happen though. I always really 
loved Beth."
        Al had told Sam a lot about his life for as long as Sam had known him. Well, 
what he could actually remember and even what he got confused with. However, 
this was the first time he ever told him this. Somehow, Sam always secretly 
thought that there was a reason he claimed to love, which propelled Al to marry 
his first wife, Beth, the one person he claimed to love more than anyone. Now, 
Sam knew for sure. Sam guessed that he still did not want to believe it. Sam 
guessed he's just a hopeless romanic believing that love is strong enough to 
make two people want to spend the rest of their lives together. This news 
meant more than just why Al and Beth got married. Sam figured that there was a 
young Calavicci and maybe even grandchildren Calavicci's that were around, but 
never knew their father or grandfather. "I never knew you had children before," 
Sam said kindly.
        "I don't," he said sadly. "Came close though." He remembered the day when he 
and Beth were only married for a short period of time. She was six months 
pregnant. He had just gone on leave, and was taking her out to eat at the 
Flagship diner, where she worked only a few years before. He was speeding 
through the streets of he city, when a car pulled out of nowhere and crashed 
right into them. Beth and he suffered no injuries, but he accident caused Beth 
to miscarry. he often wondered what would have happened if his child was born 
into the world. After the accident, Beth and he decided not to have any 
children. Beth only believed it to be based upon the fact that his Navy 
assignments and her assignments as a military nurse would not allow them to be 
a mom and dad. Al knew better. He knew that the real reason why he never had 
any children with Beth, or with anyone else for that matter, was that he was 
terrified that God, fate or whatever force was govering the universe would take 
his child away again, just like what happened to his 
child-that-could-have-been.
        "Now, what's about that news you were going to tell me," Sam said changing the 
subject back to business. He could tell that Al did not want to carry this 
conversation any farther.
        Al lifted up the handlink he was holding down at his side. He took a look at 
the colored lights and buttons. "You're here, because," he started as he hit 
the handlink's side. "Something, happens to Dodger."
        Sam was concerned. Sam hoped that nothing ever happens to her, but he had a 
feeling that something was going to. "What happens to her?"
        "The night after tomorrow, she and a group of your friends were partying at 
Lake Black Weed. I guess that's a nearby lake."
        "Yes," Sam said. "Right after the talent show, probably."
        "Well, it seems that Dodger had too much to drink that night, and decided to 
take a boat into the water. She fell over board, and ended up in the hospital 
in a severe coma for a little over a year. Ziggy says that there's a 100% 
chance you're here now to stop that from happening."
        *Why did I ever forget that?* Sam thought as the painful memories about Kelly 
began flooding back. He remembered when people found her body all distorted 
from being in the water. Kelly lying helpless in the hospital bed, hooked up to 
all of he medical machinery that was needed to help keep her alive. She was so 
young and lovely for something like that to happen to her. He knew that it was 
this nightmarish event that actually prompted him to get a doctorate in 
medicine. Even though he wanted to become a doctor since he was a little kid, 
the accident was the match that started the fire of his determination in 
medicine. He wanted to help people in need, like Kelly. Now, he had the chance 
to actually save her, before anything could happen.
        *Oh, why did it have to happen!* Sam lamented. *I'm now here to save the first 
woman I ever truly loved. Hopefully, I can fulfill my mission, because I cannot bear the 
pain and suffering  and am unable to go through again.*  "I can't believe that 
actually happened," Sam said as he reached the gate.
        Katie was walking up the long driveway to meet him. "You're talking to 
yourself now. I hope you're not beginning to go nuts on us again. Who's going to 
die this time? It's already June, and Tom's not dead yet, and he's been in 
Vietnam for seven months now."
        "I'm not losing it," he stated, "and nobody is going to die." Sam hoped not 
anyway.
        "Sam, who were you talking to back there anyway?"
        "Kelly."
        "After she left, I mean. It looked like you were talking to somebody, but I 
didn't see or hear anybody out there with you."
        "I was just thinking out loud," he fibbed.
        "It sure didn't sound like that."
        "Well, I was! All of the pressures from the end of school and college is 
really getting to me." *And my girlfriend going to get into a serious 
disaster. And maybe, a baby on the way.*
        "I hope I don't get as messed up as you, when I'm a senior," she said as they 
both went into the house through the front entrance.

Monica