"Back to reality." Richie sighed as they left the beach house. They were going home after their week in Hawaii.
"Back to work." Sarah sighed.
"Only for a little bit." Richie shrugged. "Three weeks this time."
The airport was another challenge for them with their small child. Just like last time, Daniel didn't like it one bit. It was too busy and too noisy.
Once on the plane, Daniel relaxed. He sat in his car seat and was perfectly happy there as long as he got to have his stuffed sheep close and one of his parents. Even at six months old, he knew who was around him and who wasn't. Daniel sat between his parents while the other five children sat alone.
"Is Ava going back to her mom when you go back on tour?" Sarah asked. She didn't want to seem like she wanted Ava to leave but she was still worried about what had happened at her mother's house.
"I hope so. I really hope Heather fixed it."
"What happened?" Sarah asked, she had asked a few times but Richie hadn't told her.
He sighed. "Ava doesn't want me telling anybody."
Sarah nodded. "I know but I'm worried. I keep imagining what could have happened. Is it something I went through? I'd feel terrible if it was something like that."
Richie sighed again as he should his head. "Maybe, sort of."
He looked around the cabin, spotting where Ava was sitting with her friend. "Don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Of course not." Sarah agreed.
"Heather has a new boyfriend, I hope she broke up with him by now."
"Did he do anything to Ava?" Sarah asked immediately, wanting to know now before he got to explain everything.
"Not really but still. Ava says he looks at her funny and when they watch tv all together, he sits too close or he touches her. Like when we watch tv and I put my arm around you or stroke your back or something and it freaked her out. Which is totally acceptable cause no guy should be touching my girl like that or any girl like that if they don't want it."
"Does Heather know that's what happened?"
Richie nodded. "Yeah, she didn't believe it first." He sighed. "I can't believe I wasn't there for her when she needed me for this. This must have been why she didn't want me to go on tour."
"She's alright." Sarah reminded him. "She was her happy self the whole time she was at home."
"Yeah." He knew that but that didn't make it easier.
"If Daniel wasn't between us, I'd hug you."
At home they went straight back to the hussle and bussle of every day life.
Sarah figured out which chapters of her text books she would study during the next week. There were three days before Richie was leaving on Tuesday. She had left her studies for the time he was home. She had missed her husband while he was gone and had enjoyed each second of him while he was at home, some seconds more physical than others. It was just good to have him back.
When she heard Daniel cough violently and repeatedly, she left her planning for what it was to check on her son.
Richie had heard the sound too and had also come to his son's aide.
"That's getting more frequent. His first cold and it gets so bad." He said, feeling petty for his little boy.
Sarah smiled when Daniel caught his breath. "Over." She announced. "Just have to make sure he drinks and eats well."
"But he doesn't, he doesn't like his solid food." Richie said, now worried his son wasn't eating enough.
"That's why I still breastfeed him afterwards. Noah was just the same, don't worry about it." Gently she put her arms around her husband. A perfect little moment of his closeness.
The feeling of his wife hugging him, was there anything better in the world. This was where he wanted to be forever, with Sarah, close, in her arms. He gently kissed her. "I love you." He said before he kissed her again.
He pulled back from the kiss but didn't let Sarah go to look at the entry way where his beautiful daughter stood with a piece of paper. He frowned.
"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt but I just found a letter from school." Ava explained.
"About?" Richie asked confused.
"About shots." She looked down to read the letter again. "Whooping cough, or something, was diagnosed by a couple of students and they tell parents to check their kids's immunity to it to prevent it from spreading."
"Ah." He didn't have a clue. "Guess we'll have to ask your mom if she knows."
"Don't you know? I don't want to get that."
"You'll be fine." Richie assured her. "So since you just found that, think you'll find last minute homework too?"
Ava smiled knowingly. "Maybe." She turned around and walked away.
Richie turned back to his wife. "Where were we?" He asked.
"Right in front of Daniel."
"I think he's really tired and wants to go to bed early."
"He'll understand when he's older." He kissed her tenderly again.