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Stuck in Iowa [ - ]
by OakHillsDrive
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"I'm kind of glad we decided not to opt for the corn field." Angela said a little relieved as Tony pulled their rental into the parking lot. "It felt a little too 'Children of the Corn' to me."

"I know what you mean. I think it will take me a while to get used to things myself." Tony chuckled. "What a minute." Tony put his hand out to stop her before she could reach for the door handle. "Let me get it."

He took his time walking around the car and opened the door for her. He put out his left hand and helped her out. Angela stepped down on to the graveled parking lot and miss stepped as soon as she tried to stand up. Still holding her right hand, he caught her in his arms before she was truly aware of the slip. She found her right cheek buried in his shoulder and closed her eyes as she paused to take in a deep breath of his cologne. He was wearing his High Karate. She didn't remember this scent earlier in day, so as she steadied herself, she tried to figure out where he had snuck it on between the missed flight and here.

When she was fully upright, she said, "You must have Superman reflexes." As she opened her eyes, she realized in amazement that Tony had a single pink rose between his teeth.

Before she could ask the obvious, where did you get that question, he dipped her without a second thought. With the gravel under her feet, she slid neatly into his arms.

I love this man, she thought to herself as she grabbed the rose from his teeth and placed it into her own. Again, he raised her up and planted a quick kiss on her lips.

"Here. Let's try that again." She pulled the rose from her teeth and put her arms around his neck. The rose lay limply in her hands as she enjoyed the moment.

"You are always full of surprises." She tried to regain her composure as she noticed a couple of college students walking past their car.

"Here, help me get the stuff out of the trunk." He said releasing her from his arms.

They walked over to the back of the car and opened it to retrieve the bag of goodies they had purchased earlier at the Piggly Wiggly.  Angela reached in and grabbed the nice new picnic blanket they had found as they had window shopped through the Branford town square. It was soft and a little thicker than most, but Angela knew it would be nice to have some padding underneath them as they ate.

They held hands as they arrived at the baseball field's gate. A little older gentleman with "Barney" embroidered above his left pocket, smiled as the couple approached.

"Mr. Micelli. How good to see you again."

"Thanks." He said to the old grounds keeper." You mind if me and my fiancee wonder around the ball field for a while."

"Mind? Not at all. Actually Dr. Graham called a few minutes ago and wanted to makes sure that the next time I saw you, to give you these." He pulled out a large key chain and pulled off two sparkling new keys and handed them to Tony. "This one," he said pointing to the head of the silver one, "is the master key to almost anything in the field."

"Wow, that'll be handy. I guess I shouldn't lose it, huh?" When Barney didn't smile, Tony back tracked a little. "What's the other one for?"

"You know. . . now that you mention it, I don't remember, but I know it's important. I'll have to let you know." Barney walked a way with his shoulders stooped, mumbling to himself.

"Great guy, " Tony said sarcastically. He opened the gate, let Angela in and locked the door behind them.

"So... Where do you want to set up?" With the blanket over her arm, Angela rolled the stem of the rose between her finger tips.

"I know the perfect spot."  Tony took her by the hand and led her past the field's seats, down to the playing field and out to grassy area behind second base.  "Right here.  Now this is my favorite view of the field.

As Tony stood there looking out over the ball park, Angela couldn't help but notice the change that had seemed to come over him in the last few hours.  He had always been determined, steady and so sure of himself, but the more she watched him, the more he seemed to actually "glow" with enthusiasm.  She could see he was excited about the new job and the new direction his life was taking.  Deep down she was excited too, but she bit her lip as she laid the blanket out for them sit on.

Tony knelt on the blanket and pulled back a corner that had gotten caught on the way down to the ground. She pulled off her shoes and placed them just off the blanket. As she knelt down beside him, organizing the items Tony was removing from the bag, he noticed a shiver that seemed to quickly find its way down her spine.

"You cold, sweetheart?" He rubbed her shoulders in vain attempt to warm them up.

"No, I just had a thought about what the next year would be like. I'm excited about it, don't get me wrong. . . "

"I hear a "but" in there. You still think it's the right decision, don't you?" He tried to make eye contact with her as she pulled their hoagies out of the bag.

"Of course, I do. I just. . . I just realized that it's going to be that much longer. . "

"Until we're together?"

"Well, I mean last week we were planning a wedding that was supposed to happen in a couple of weeks and instead, now we're talking about your move cross country. I just can't help thinking how quickly time changes things."

"Sweetheart. You're right. But remember sometimes Time changes things for the better." He lifted her chin and brushed a newly formed tear from her eyelash. "How much did Time have to change us in order to get us where we are now?"

"Yes, but how much longer are we expected to wait? Eight years and now a nineth? We've got to be the poster children for patience. I mean, deep down, I know that this is where you need to be. This is the chance of a lifetime for you. Fortunately my head is leading the way, but sadly, my heart is still back at the starting gate."

Sitting down beside her, he pulled her close to him and hugged her tightly. She moved in too quickly and they both toppled over backwards, landing halfway between the blanket and the grass. As their eyes met, a bright red flush came to their faces. She quickly pulled herself back up to her knees. She wouldn't have been so embarrassed if she'd hadn't landed squarely on his chest. This was a position that they had never been in before and it caught her off guard. He sat back up and tried to hide a smile that was pressing into his face, but the need to grin was overwhelming.

"I'm going to miss that." She said remorsefully.

"The accidents?" The chance at sarcasm helped sober up his emotions.

"No, I mean seeing your smile every morning when I come down to breakfast."

The reality of that thought hit Tony like a jolt and his smile quickly faded. "There is that to think about, isn't there?"

"Tony, I don't want to talk about anything depressing right now. I want the moments until we're apart to be filled with laughter and joy." She tried to say the last sentence with her usual "President of the Bower Agency" strength, but instead they sounded like the nervous "Angela Robinson" of twenty years before.

"Hey, what are we doing here? You're right. Let's just enjoy the moment and have some fun."

He reached into the bag and pulled out a bottle and two plastic cups. Angela grabbed the bottle to read the label.

"Tony, did you double check the bottle?" Angela said turning the label towards him.

"Are you kidding me? Ah, your right." The label read Sparkling Apple Cider. "I thought I had picked up a bottle of champagne."

"Well, that's what you get for trying to kiss me in the grocery aisle." She pulled herself close to him until they were facing each other sitting hip to hip.

Tony smiled and leaned sideways, reaching over her legs and balancing his palm on the ground next to her. "Why don't you distract me again?"

She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek and then softly on the lips.

"Good distraction." He reached up to play with her hair. "You know, Angela, the cider might not be such a bad thing after all."

"Why do you say that?" She said slowly brushing his bottom lip with her thumb.

"I guess, I want to make sure nothing clouds my memories of the time we have together."

"That's so sweet." She raised one eyebrow and said, "I think that deserves another distraction." Once again their lips met and the soft light of the approaching sunset warmed their already blushing faces.  After lingering in the kiss for a few moments, they both smiled.

"So, shall we eat?" They both said, laughing as they reached for the food.

(Chapter 2: First Base   Coming Soon)