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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: The Anniversary
By Jenny Fitch


“Do I have to put this on?” Rachel asked.

Her husband moved toward her, blindfold in hand. “Yes.”

Her eyes glinted. “It better not mess up my hair.”

Eric laughed as he put the blindfold around her curly blond locks. “You’d be beautiful with a bag on your head.”

Rachel smiled at his compliment. Romance did not come easy to Eric. She loved when he tried. He had been planning their 15th wedding anniversary for weeks. He had even arranged for their kids, Josh and Amy, to spend the night with friends. Rachel couldn’t remember the last time they spent a whole day alone. She felt like a school girl waiting for the prom.

Eric guided the blindfolded Rachel to their car and helped her in. Without her eyes to help her, she had to use her other senses to figure out where she was going. After a short drive, Rachel got her first clue. The smell of salt water wafted into the car. The boardwalk. She loved this spot. Eric removed the blindfold and brushed his lips against hers. It brought back sweet memories of their first kiss here seventeen years ago.

He took her hand and they walked in the sand together. It was nice reminiscing about their years together.

Rachel asked, “Can you believe Josh is going to college in a few more years?”

Eric shook his head. “No, it seems like yesterday he was snuggled up on my lap reading books with me. I miss those times.”

“They aren’t babies anymore, are they? Amy is going to be a teenager in a couple of months! Two teenagers, Eric!” She laughed and pretended to pull her hair out. “God has blessed us.”

Eric smiled and nodded.

After walking the beach, Eric pulled her onto the boardwalk. They stopped to get ice cream and sat down to people watch. Below them on the beach, a little girl was trying to fly a kite.

“Do you remember the time when Amy insisted she could fly the kite by herself?” asked Rachel.

Eric laughed. “Yeah, the kite was too big. I had to chase her down the beach. Then she let go of the kite and I had to chase it too.”

They laughed together at the memories as the afternoon stole away from them. Eric looked at his watch and announced it was time to go. When they reached the car, he reapplied the blindfold and they left for their second destination.

She was sure it had to be a restaurant, but couldn’t guess where. The smell of garlic reached her and she realized how hungry she was. Eric came to open the door for her and as she stood, he removed the covering from her eyes. She squinted in the bright sun and tried to figure out where she was. Then she saw it. Paulo’s, their favorite restaurant. It was a luxury they could not often afford.

They were escorted to a private dining room. Rachel’s breath caught when she saw it. It was beautiful. Flowers and candles filled the intimate room, leaving room only for their table.

As Eric pulled her chair out, he whispered in her ear, “Happy Anniversary.”

“Eric, this has been a perfect day. I love you.”

In all of the romance of the day, she had almost forgotten about her surprise for Eric…almost. During dessert.

They took their time and enjoyed a leisurely meal in their private sanctuary. She was almost sad to see dessert come; it meant the day was almost over. She still had her surprise for Eric.

He lifted his spoon to dip into the crème brulee. Her heart pounded as she slipped a small box across the table to her husband. She couldn’t wait to see his reaction. She wanted so much for him to be happy.

Eric set down his spoon and tore open the box. A confused look passed over his face. “A pacifier?”

Rachel looked at him and grinned. “I wonder if we’re having a boy or girl this time.”

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This article has been read 611 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mo 09/14/07
Nice surprise ending.
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
Lots of tenderness here--I love the relationship between the couple.

As soon as you mentioned that Rachel had a surprise for Eric, I knew what it would be...I'd recommend springing it on your readers just as Rachel springs it on Eric. Then everyone can be surprised at the same time.

By the way--yikes! That would be quite a surprise!
Dee Yoder 09/17/07
I really love this tender story. Oh, wow, what an anniversary gift! I agree with Jan that waiting just a few more sentences would really pop the surprise for the reader, also. It's a great story with wonderful characters and setting. Beautiful, natural dialog between the two!
Joanne Sher 09/18/07
I love how you wove surprises throughout this story. This was charming.
Loren T. Lowery09/19/07
A beautiful way to present a beautiful, chersished surprise.
Beth LaBuff 09/19/07
Wow! I love the little surprise Rachel had for Josh! Cute, cute story. Very nicely told.
Jacquelyn Horne09/20/07
Oh, heavenly! I was really caught off guard. Didn't expect this.
Celeste Duckworth09/24/07
A story full of unexpecteds and to finish with her expecting. That was a surprise! Had to read it twice to make sure I READ IT RIGHT! That happened to me, too. Husband was very surprised and scared. Sweet reading of relationships. Thank you.