Chapter 10 Las Vegas, Nevada, April 21, 1955 2:45 PM [Voice Over] I had been speaking with Randy for over an hour. I asked Randy how he felt about Sharon and somehow it opened a floodgate of emotion. He started telling me about the crush he's had on Sharon since high school and the dream he's had that one day they would be married. But as Sharon and Randy's friendship continued, he never saw any indication that she felt any more for him than just a friend. I asked him if he ever told her how he really felt; he said no. When I asked him why, he simply answered that he was afraid she wouldn't feel the same about him; and then it would ruin the friendship they did have. "You should tell her anyway. If you truly love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her, then you should be willing to take that chance. Why don't you tell her tonight? Sam asked. "Because I can tell by the way she looks at you that she's in love with you." "She just thinks she's in love with me; but I believe deep in her heart, she is really in love with you. She just doesn't realize it yet." "How do you figure that?" "The way she was looking at you yesterday. You can see the affection she has for you." "As a friend." "You know truly long lasting marriages are first based on friendship, and I could tell from the way she was looking at you yesterday that she was starting to come to the realization that she loves you more than just for a friend." Sam thought for a moment, trying to think of what else to say. He wished Al was still there so he could help him out with some ideas and give him some percentages from Ziggy; but he knew that his friend had much more on his mind right now. He was finally going to see his one and only true love again, Beth. The woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Sam thought a minute more about some possibilities. Then he had a brainstorm that just might solve all of his problems. "Why don't I call Sharon and back out of tonight...at the last minute. I'll insist that you both to go on without me." That will hopefully accomplish the first part of my goal. Now to prevent the part where everyone disappears. "Why don't you take Sharon out of town for dinner. Go somewhere romantic and far away. Somewhere in California would even be nice." "I know of a little place just over the California border." "Okay, good. Why don't you call up Sharon at say...6:30 and suggest it." "Alright, but won't you need a reason for backing out of tonight?" "Yeah, I will. I don't know what I'll tell her yet; but I'll think of something. You just make sure she has a nice evening and tell her how you really feel." "Are you sure she really feels that way about me." "Yes I do. Although, it's up to you to help her to realized it." Sam started to get up to leave when Randy asked. "Why are you doing this for me?" "Because I care for Sharon's happiness; and I don't believe she would be truly happy with me." "You must love her a great deal to be willing to let her go like that." Sam never thought of it that way. "Well, I don't want to stand in the way of her happiness, or yours." Sam got up from the table and said his good-byes to Randy leaving him with reassurance that everything was going to work out. Sam then left the diner getting into Norman's car to start the drive back to Norman's apartment. During the ride back, Sam began thinking about Al and Beth, and his heart sank. He started blaming himself for Beth's problems with Dirk and Al's problems with Maxine, not to mention Al's other ex-wives. Why hadn't he been willing to break the rules for Al just that one time when he had the chance? Al had broken rules for him so many times. He was even fired from the project for it once; although, he worked out a way to get himself put back on the project. Al is the best friend I've ever had. Sam thought to himself. I don't know what I would do without Al. Perhaps that's why I didn't want to put things right for Al. Because I was afraid I would never meet Al, and then he wouldn't be his observer and friend. He should have been willing to take that chance for his best friend's happiness. He should have put that wrong right for Al. I guess being willing to let someone go for the sake of their happiness applies to any type of relationship. Whether it be your best friend, sister, brother, or your one and only true love. Sam never really thought about that before. Sam continued to thinking about that idea until he remembered that he still had to think of something to tell Sharon to get out of going tonight. He then started pondering some possible excuses. ***************************************************************************** Stallion's Gate, New Mexico June 16, 2000 Al was extremely nervous. He was going to be meeting the only woman he ever truly loved for the first time in over 30 years. He wasn't sure what he should wear. Beth always did like him in his dress whites. Maybe he should wear them. He grabbed his admiral's uniform from the closet and proceeded to put it on. He then went into the bathroom to see what he looked like in the mirror pulling a comb out to comb his hair. He was still nervously combing his hair in front of the mirror when the buzzer to his quarters made him jump and drop his comb on the floor. "Who is it?!" Al yelled as he picked his comb up off the floor and poked his head out the door of the bathroom. "It's me, Tina!" "Tina, oh, come right in!" Tina opened his door and came in looking around the room for him. "Where are you Al?" "In the bathroom!" Tina headed towards the open door of the bathroom and could see Al shaking as he tried to comb his hair. "Al, are you all right? You look really nervous." "I'm not nervous." "Well, you could fool me. Your shaking." "Okay, so I'm a little nervous. What's your point?" "Al, you know very well what my point is." "Tina, I haven't seen Beth in over 30 years. Do you think she'll still like me?" Al said still trying to comb his hair and beginning to get frustrated. "Oh Al, if she was in love with you once, she should still at least like you." "But, I've changed so much. She knew me before I was a POW. That experience changed me in so many ways, but will she like the changes?" "Al, like, she's changed too, you know. She won't be the same woman you knew either." Al gave up trying to comb his hair and turned around to face Tina. He put his hands on her shoulders and smiled. "You know, Tina, you're always surprising me by letting me know what a wonderful woman you really are." Then he kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you Al." She said giggling. Al stood looking over Tina's face for a few moments more then took his hands off her shoulders to look at his watch. "Well...I better get going if I'm going to get there on time." Al gave Tina a quick kiss on the lips and walked passed her out the bathroom door. "And Tina?" Al said as he turned back toward her. "Yes, Al." "Thank you for being so understanding." "Your welcome, Al." Tina said as she smiled at him. "You better get going or you'll be late." "Yeah." "Bye Al." Tina said trying to smile while trying to hold back the tears that started forming in the corners of her eyes. "Bye Tina." Al said as he looked into her eyes. Seeing her tears, he put his hands on her shoulders. "No matter what happens, Tina, remember that you'll always have a special place in my heart." "Oh, Al." Tina began to cry. "I don't want to lose you." She threw her arms around him. "Tina..." Al started to say something to comfort her, something to ease her breaking heart; but nothing came to mind. How could he assure her that everything was going to be alright when he did even know what was going to happen? He didn't want to hurt Tina; but if there is a chance for Beth and him get back together, he had to take it. It had been his dream since he returned from Vietnam and found out she had remarried. But he had loved Tina for 5 years. How could he just break it off with her? He loved her so. Tina pulled herself away from Al and wiped her eyes as she looked at him. "Al...I can see it in your eyes. You're tearing yourself apart inside wondering what you're going to do." Tina paused a moment wiping her eyes again and smiling at Al. "If Beth wants you back, don't worry about me. I'll be alright. Like, I'll always have Gushie, right?" She said with a teasing smile. "Yeah...I guess you will." Al said with a little chuckle remembering the time she ran off to Vegas with him for the weekend just to make Al jealous. He had learned a very important lesson that weekend. One he didn't soon forget. He promised himself that he would be more faithful to Tina from that point on. Tina kissed Al on the cheek. "You better get going." Tina kissed him on the cheek. "Bye Tina." "Bye Al." Al kissed Tina on the cheek again and left. Tina stood in the same place for what seemed like an eternity with tears rolling down her face. She then headed back to her courters trying not to let anyone see the hurt she was feeling on the way there. When she got to her quarters, she threw herself on the bed, crying herself to sleep.