Sara's Promise(77)

By: Deanna Lynn Sletten

"Can you believe I've been offered money for some of them?" Sandy asked over the top of Lizzie's blonde head. "I'm just not sure I want to let any of them go."

William studied his daughter. She had grown into a confident, mature, happy woman whose talent far exceeded anyone's expectations. She had worked hard over the past three years to complete her college education and her mother's paintings. Plus, she was already starting a new set of paintings of her own. After the tough years she had after Sara died, she had finally come through them and flourished.

"They're your paintings, dear," William told her. "You can sell them if you like. The money may come in handy for your future."

"But, Dad, they were Mom's. Do we really want to let any of them go?" Sandy asked.

William smiled as he looked at his daughter. "The paintings are yours now, Sandy. They would never have been finished without you."

Lizzie once again grew excited when she saw a tall, sandy-haired man walk in through the door behind them. "San! San," she cried.

Sam walked over and grabbed his little sister, swinging her in the air in circles amidst her squeals and giggles.

William shook his head. "I'm glad you can do that, because I'm getting way too old to go in circles," he said, laughing.

Sam smiled at his dad as he held on tightly to his baby sister. "You're not that old yet, Dad, but you're getting there."

They all laughed, and Sam looked around the room at the paintings displayed there. He had seen each one before, but seeing them here, for everyone to enjoy and appreciate, warmed his heart. "Congrats, big sis," he said to Sandy. "Mom would be so happy to know these paintings are finally being seen and appreciated."

Sandy stepped over to Sam and gave him a big hug, sandwiching Lizzie between them. "Glad you could come, Mr. Bigshot Golfer," she teased.

Sam blushed. In the three years since he started college, he'd done quite well on the golf course, placing in and winning several amateur tournaments in addition to the college tournaments he played. William and Annie had gone down to many of his tournaments, and both had beamed with pride over Sam's accomplishments. His schoolwork hadn't suffered a bit either. He was majoring in a tough subject, economics, and he held a high GPA. He had one year of school left. Everyone suspected that after he was finished with school, he'd work at earning his PGA tour card, and eventually, play pro golf.

"Couldn't miss my big sister's artistic debut," Sam said, smiling. It didn't matter how accomplished he was in school or on the golf course, Sam was still the warm-hearted guy he'd always been.

Sandy turned back to her dad and Annie. "Well, we're keeping the Multnomah Falls painting for sure," she said, smiling over at Annie. "I promised it to you, Annie, and I want you and Dad to have that one."

Annie nodded. "We can hang it over the fireplace in our bedroom," she said. "Then it will always remind me of our special day." The summer after Annie and William had reconciled, they were married in a small ceremony on Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls. Sandy, Sam, Cherise, and William's parents were the only people in attendance, but it was the most beautiful day of Annie's life. Afterward, they'd eaten dinner and celebrated at the lodge at the falls, and it had been a wonderful time for them all. A year later, their little Elizabeth was born. Both William and Annie had wanted a child together, and they never regretted their decision. Lizzie added so much joy to their life that they didn't care that they were a bit old to start a new family.

After the wedding, Sandy had added a small glimmer of a translucent rainbow in the Multnomah Falls painting. "So we always remember the colors," she'd told Annie. To them, it was the perfect reminder of how far they had both come.

Another guest approached Sandy, and soon she was off again to mingle with guests and discuss her beautiful paintings. Caterers circulated in the crowd, offering hors d'oeuvres, wine, and champagne. Annie chose small foods that Lizzie could nibble while William and Sam wandered through the crowd. Annie saw a familiar face come through the door and waved to Andrew as he searched the crowd for Sandy. He smiled over at her, then after spotting Sandy, he headed straight for her. Seeing him, a warm smile crept up on Sandy's face as she beamed at her fiancé.

It had actually been a blessing that Sandy had taken off a semester of college after the accident. By the time she returned, everyone she'd been sharing art classes with before had moved on, and she met a whole new group of art students. In that group, she met Andrew, a handsome guy with blonde hair and a warm smile. He didn't drink or do drugs, and he was always a gentleman, which was exactly what Sandy needed after her years of partying. They were engaged a year later and planned to get married soon, now that both had graduated college.