HOLIDAY INTERNET ROMANCE NOVEL
Oliver could hardly believe his eyes. Reading Sara's poem over and over to himself, he felt unbelievably happy and more in love than ever.
"She loves me too," he said out loud. "She really loves me."
As with every preceeding entry of her journal, he printed out the poem, knowing that Sara might realize her mistake and edit the journal, changing it to private at any time. When he was finally satisfied that he had the entire work printed, he navigated to the front of her portfolio.
Sure enough, the journal was no longer there at the bottom, where it was the last item on the front page of her port.
"So, you've got it private again," he sighed, wondering briefly if he should mention seeing it. In light of the fact that she obviously marked it private again so quickly, he decided not to, at least for the time being, so as not to embarrass her.
Shutting off the computer, he couldn't resist the urge to read her words over again. So, Oliver settled onto a lounge chair on his balcony overlooking the hotel courtyard.
With the beautiful California sunset as backdrop, he read Sara's Journal yet again.
He started with her first entry, written the day after he first sent her all those initial reviews, explaining why she marked the journal private in the first place.
Last night I was so surprised to get more than 30 reviews and thousands of gift points from the nicest guy. He almost seems too good to be true. His name is Ollie and since he seems so interested in reading my work, I think I'll mark this private, at least for now. I have a feeling I'll be writing more about him in this journal. I wonder if Ollie is short for Oliver. I love that name.
Oliver smiled, reading her words, remembering how it was Sara's own name that first attracted his attention. Reading through the next entries, he kept grinning to himself, absentmindedly rubbing his beard and staring off into the sunset now and then as he absorbed her words.
Her journal entries mirrored his own thoughts and feelings and he was especially struck by her entry on Halloween:
It's Halloween night tonight. I've always loved Halloween. This year I'll help the Corbins hand out candy to the children. I wish Ollie could be here to share this with me. I wonder what it would be like if we had our own children - Ollie and me. I have a feeling we'd be so happy together. I know it's crazy, but I do feel that.
I want to have a child with someone I haven't even met. How ridiculous is that? But I feel so close to him....
Oliver swallowed painfuly and blinked back tears, brushing them away with his hand. He experienced the same longing for Sara on Halloween night and entertained the same domestic dreams about her.
Re-reading her entry yet again, he suddenly focused on the name of the family she mentioned - the Corbins.
Running his hands through his hair, he searched his memory for a few moments.
"Corbin, Corbin... where have I heard that name?" He repeated, and then something clicked and he remembered.
Corbin was the name of the Chief of the Fire Department in Shannon Virginia. Jim Corbin was one of the guys he played softball and basketball with.
"It couldn't be him," he reasoned quietly, trying to recall all their communication with regard to her living situation.
She could be anywhere on the East Coast. What are the chances? Jim's not retired and I'm sure she told me the couple she lived with was older - retired, he thought to himself.
Then something registered in Oliver's mind and he smacked his forehead.
"Jim's parents!" he exclaimed excitedly, knowing in his heart that he was right. Not able to wait another minute, he retrieved his cell phone from the room and called Video Lovers, his heart pounding all the while.
"Video Lovers," Ben answered, still sounding a bit subdued from their earlier conversation.
"Ben!" Oliver said, in an excited tone. "I need the number for Jim Corbin."
Still a bit hurt from their previous unpleasant exchange, Ben hesitated, but then his curiousity got the better of him.
"The fire chief?"
"Yeah. I need to get his number."
Ben could hear the difference in his friend's voice. Oliver sounded happier than ever.
"Okay, but I think that's pretty weird," Ben remarked, rolling his eyes before he keyed in Jim Corbin's name on the store computer.
"Why weird?" Oliver asked, waiting impatiently for the number.
Ben hesitated, not wanting to revisit a sore subject so soon.
"Well, um... that woman who was in here earlier - the cute little blonde on the bike who rented Revelations?"
Oliver gulped. Sara rode a bike and frequently took the bus because she didn't have a car. It was almost as if he knew what Ben would say next before he said it.
"Yeah?" he croaked hoarsely, trying to remember all that Ben said in their earlier conversation.
The words, "Blonde babe" stuck in his memory. He knew that Ben did not exaggerate when it came to women. If anything, he was overly critical.
"She rents a room at his parents' house. I asked her about the address," Ben explained.
Feeling as if his heart would burst, Oliver tried to remain calm as he said in even tones, "Do you remember her name, Ben?"
"Sure. Sara. Without the H. Sara Riley I think. Why?" His friend asked.
Oliver tried his best to suppress his mounting excitement, although his heart was racing like never before. Even though this was his best friend, he didn't want to take the risk that he would say something untoward to Sara before Oliver could talk to her face to face.
"Uh, nothing," he lied. "I just was wondering if she was the woman Jim mentioned to me. I don't think that was her name though," Oliver covered, then switched gears. "What's Jim's number?"
Ben gave him the number, which in reality Oliver no longer needed.
He knew who she was.
Trying his best to be casual, Oliver asked, "So, how was business today?"
Ben held the phone away from his face and looked at it quizically again. It wasn't like Oliver to be so absent-minded or moody.
"Ollie, are you okay? You asked me that earlier. It was slow then and it's still slow because it's right before the holiday. I'm getting ready to close right now," Ben answered.
"I'm coming home for Thanksgiving," Oliver announced suddenly.
"What? I thought you were staying in LA?" Ben looked at the phone again as if it held the answer to Oliver's strange and puzzling behavior.
"Change of plans," Oliver said determinedly. "I'm taking the first flight out to Dulles, then renting a car to drive to Shannon."
"You never change your plans, Oliver."
"I am now. I'll see you tomorrow," he added firmly.
"Won't that be tough with the holiday? I can close the shop and drive up to get you."
Oliver thought for a minute about Ben's offer to make the two plus hour drive (depending on traffic) north to Dulles Airport which was located just west of Washington, D.C.
"Yeah. Close the shop and the tape return slot until I get there. We'll waive the late charges," he decided, knowing he wanted to be there whenever Sara returned that tape.
"Why close the tape return slot? We've never done that before?" Ben asked, curiously.
"I have my reasons, Ben. Just humor me, okay? I'll call you with my flight schedule as soon as I have it," Oliver added then said his goodbyes.
Switching the computer on again, he typed a quick e-mail to Sara, not mentioning her journal.
Hi again, Sara!
Something's come up and I'm flying home for the holiday after all. I'll email you when I get there.
If you don't hear from me for a day or two, don't worry, there could be travel delays. Talk to you soon.
"I'll talk to you soon, Sara," he vowed quietly as he clicked the send icon, then turned to the task of making flight arrangements - heading home - to Sara.
Continued in "Sara's Port, Ch. 10"