The Twilight

The Twilight by Deidre Dalton is Book #7 in the Collective Obsessions Saga.


Shannon Larkin and Scott Page are happy in their long marriage, but a tragic loss forces her to delve into the past in order to face some ugly truths about her husband. Devastated, she retreats into her own solitary world. A stranger brings her out of self-imposed exile and shows her the beauty of unconditional love exists after all.

From Chapter Twelve

June 2003

Larkin City, Maine


DÉSIRÉE ENJOYED A RELATIVELY easy pregnancy. Her body seemed to be in tune with the life growing inside of her. She had none of the adverse symptoms associated with carrying a child, such as nausea, but did experience frequent cravings for corned beef and cabbage. She found it odd, considering her favorite dish was pasta, yet she indulged her passions. Jamie was only too happy to dine on Irish fare several times a week, or in the middle of the night, his wife's health and happiness being his paramount concern.

In an uncharacteristic show of independence, Adelina Sansovino left the family deli in Little Italy for a month in order to spend time with her daughter in Larkin City. Excited by the prospect of becoming a grandmother for the first time, she was eager to be on hand when Désirée went into labor.

Shannon also spent more time at the A-frame cottage as Désirée's delivery date grew closer, enjoying quiet evenings with her son, his wife and Adelina. Other times they gathered at the mansion, usually for tea or the occasional family dinner.

One Sunday afternoon after a lunch of corned beef sandwiches on Irish soda bread and green pea soup, Adelina helped Shannon with the dishes in the A-frame. The more time the two older women spent together, they more they liked each other. In Adelina, Shannon saw a proud woman full of old world charm with adherence to tradition, which included deferring to her husband in most matters. In Shannon, Adelina saw a strong and still beautiful woman who refused to allow anyone to dictate the terms of her life. Each admired the qualities of the other.

As Shannon rinsed and stacked plates in the dishwasher, Adelina wiped down the counter and put away leftovers in plastic containers.

"Our children seem so very happy together," Adelina ventured.

"I agree. I've never seen Jamie so content."

Adelina grabbed a broom from the utility closet and began sweeping the kitchen floor. "I understand my daughter," she said. "Even though she thinks I don't know about her. Before Jamie, she made many poor choices in men. She was very unhappy despite the smile she put on her face. When she met Jamie, everything changed."

When Shannon didn't respond, Adelina continued: "I may seem old-fashioned, or what the young people call 'not with it,' but I see things and understand them. I might enjoy my wine a bit much, but it doesn't cloud my perception. Capisci?"

"I think so," Shannon said slowly. "I understand the part about seeing things and knowing what they are, even though youngsters assume we're doddering old fools."

"Not so doddering. I know Jamie is gay."

Shannon drew in her breath sharply. "How?"

Adelina shrugged. "Men don't see things clearly, but women do. I knew Jamie was gay the first time Jacopo brought him to us in Little Italy. I was surprised. Jacopo may be many things, but I know he is not gay. When Jamie and Désirée married, I was even more astonished. Happy for them, but very surprised. I thought perhaps Jamie had changed, had decided he liked women, that he loved my Désirée." She paused in her sweeping. "But I sense nothing has changed for him. How can it be? A gay man and a straight woman, happily married? I won't even fathom a guess as to how they made a child together. Your son may not be in love with my Désirée, but I can tell he cares for her a great deal."

"You're right on all accounts," Shannon admitted frankly. "My son is gay, and he did have a relationship with Jack. I'd rather not go into that, but Jamie's affinity for Désirée is unusual and quite rare for a gay man, I should think. While he may not be in love with Désirée, Jamie is closer to her than anyone, aside from his sister. There is a strange bond between them, an intense love that has nothing to do with romance or sex. It's like a steadfast loyalty that is purely unconditional on almost every level."

"But how did my Désirée become pregnant?" Adelina asked. "It doesn't make sense."

"If I were to guess, I think Désirée conceived the night of my husband's viewing last October. Jamie got very drunk, remember? He and Désirée shared a room, a bed, probably for the first time since they married."

Adelina was thoughtful for a minute. Then her face broke into a grin. "Whatever the reasons and whatever the cause, I'm glad our children found each other. We're both about to become grandmothers, and I'm grateful to be alive to witness it."

"Amen," Shannon smiled. "I'm glad Désirée came into my son's life. Being gay has its own load of baggage, the least of which is personal guilt and anguish. Your daughter accepts Jamie for what he is and loves him anyway, without reservation. She will always have my respect and my undying gratitude for that." She stepped toward Adelina, taking the woman's hand. "Whatever happens in the future, please know that Désirée will never want for anything. You have my personal guarantee."

Adelina's eyes welled with tears, touched by Shannon's sincerity. "Thank you, mia cara signora."

DÉSIRÉE INSISTED HER CHILD be born at St. Patrick's Hospital, not at the mansion as was family tradition. "I'm not a spring chicken anymore," she declared. "I want my baby born surrounded by doctors and nurses in case the unthinkable should happen."

She went into labor shortly after lunch on Sunday, 15th June 2003. Her water broke as she stood alone in the kitchen at the A-frame cottage. She telephoned Jamie at the Animal Life Centre.

"It's time," she told him, relaying everything he needed to know in two words.

"I'm on my way," he said excitedly.

Next, Désirée called the mansion. Shannon and Adelina had just finished lunch in the rose garden.

"We're coming," Shannon said calmly. "Don't move, Désirée. We'll be right there."

While painfully intense, Désirée's labor was miniscule for a first-time birth. With Jamie by her side, she brought forth a son just before seven o'clock that same evening. The child was healthy and perfectly formed, weighing seven pounds and showing a tuft of black hair.

"He's perfect," Jamie declared as he placed the swaddled infant in Désirée's arms in the delivery room.

She lay with hair matted and not a stitch of make-up, but Désirée didn't care. She gazed at her son in wonder. His eyes squinted as he returned her look with mild curiosity.

"He looks just like you," she told her husband. "He's perfect indeed."

"You never did decide on a name," Jamie pointed out. "Any ideas now?"

"Something new and fresh," she replied in a small voice, exhausted but exhilarated by the birth of her son. "Yet with a nod to history."

"Well? Are you going to tell me?"

"Gabriel John Page."

Jamie stared at her, surprised. "I get John and I'm honored you'd include my great-great-great grandfather, but where does Gabriel come from?"

"I did a bit of research on the internet in the last few weeks," Désirée admitted. "I simply couldn't think of anything on my own. I started looking at religious names, you know, from the bible. One day I came across the name Gabriel, and I just loved the sound of it. Do you know what it means?"

"No, but please . . ."

"Gabriel is an archangel who served as a messenger from God. He first appeared in the Book of Daniel. I looked at other names, too, but I kept coming back to Gabriel. What do you think?"

"I like it," he said. "It's new and fresh, just like you said. No one in my family ever had the name, and it doesn't sound like something the Sansovino's would dub one of their offspring." Then he grinned. "You're sure getting an education on the world wide web, aren't you?"

Jamie and Désirée were enchanted by their newborn son, whom they were already calling Gabe, as was the rest of the family. The waiting room in the maternity ward at St. Patrick's Hospital was filled with Larkin's, along with Mary, Mariko and Bridget. Adelina beamed with pride, placing a long-distance telephone call to her husband and eldest son in Little Italy to break the good news.

As soon as he was able, Jamie slipped away to make his own call. He went to the waiting room with his cell phone in hand, standing in front of the picture window which overlooked the front of the hospital. After a few rings, he reached Angie at her apartment in Greenwich Village.

"I'm a daddy," he told his sister gleefully. "I have a healthy son."

"Oh Jamie!" Angie exclaimed. "I'm so happy for you. Is Désirée okay?"

"She's tired but doing great. Are you and Tom coming home for the christening? We just started talking about it, but we'd like to hold it in about two weeks."

Angie demurred. "I'm not sure . . ."

Despite his euphoria at being a father, Jamie quickly lost patience with his sister. "This is probably the happiest day of my life, Angie. Don't spoil it with the stubborn vendetta you have going against our mother, please. Frankly, I'm sick to death of it."

"Jamie, I . . ."

"Maybe it's best if you don't come," Jamie cut in, changing his mind. "Look, I've got to go. Désirée is waiting for me."

Jamie pasted a smile on his face as he made his way back to Désirée's room. He meant what he said. He was weary of Angie's continued antagonism toward Shannon and wasn't about to allow her selfish behavior to interfere with his happiness. Not today, and not ever again.



THE TWILIGHT ©Deidre Dalton. All rights reserved.

"The Twilight" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "The Twilight" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.