Ana's phone started pulsing, alerting her that she had an incoming video call. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw who it was. She hit the green button and watched as her favorite face came into view. "Alex! I was just praying for you."
"Hey Babe. Is this a good time to talk?"
"Any time is a good time. I miss you so much."
"How is your sister doing?"
"She's better. She and Samuel will be discharged on Monday morning, and then I'll be able to fly back home on Wednesday after she's settled in."
Alex smiled. "How's the baby doing?"
"He's doing well. Much better than they expected after the traumatic birth he went through. I can't believe it's been two weeks already."
"That's good to hear, but I was asking about our baby."
She laughed, moving the phone to where Alex could see her protruding belly. "She's been kicking mommy in the bladder all day."
"They. Him. Her. I keep thinking we'll have a girl. It's about a time, after the four boys Mart and Cliff had."
"I definitely wouldn't mind having two brown-eyed beauties around the house. I miss you, Love."
"I know. I miss you, too. Alex?"
"Do you have time to sing for me?"
"Of course." He reached behind him and pulled out his guitar. "What do you want to hear?"
"Anything. Your voice is like a taste of home."
He laughed. "Okay, here goes." He watched Ana's face as he sang the chorus to one of their favorite songs.
"It's a long way from here to California and I
Must say I need you around and I'm
Not afraid to meet you in the middle of a nowhere anybody's heard of town
In a little cabin up in the mountains or a
Cabana on a beach somewhere
All I know is you're not here
And all that means is I've gotta get there
I gotta gotta get there, I gotta get there yeah"
"Oh Alex." Ana started wiping her eyes, trying to hold back the breathy little sobs that would come up.
"Shhh Baby, before you know it we'll be together again. Say, listen. When are you buying your tickets?"
"Cliff said he'd take care of it for me. He wanted to pay for them as a thank-you for helping out."
"Aww. That's nice of him."
"Yes it is. He's a good brother-in-law."
"Yup," he looked down at his beeping watch. "Well, it's time for me to head to work now. I love you, Ana."
"I love you too."
"I'll call you again tonight, okay?"
Alex slid into his gold-colored Texas edition Ford and pulled his cellphone out of his pocket. He tapped one of the contacts with one hand and turned the key with the other.
"Cliff. Ana said you're going to buy her tickets to come home on Wednesday. Have you bought them yet?"
"No, I was going to do that this evening."
"Would you mind holding off a bit? I have an idea."
"Sure! Just keep me posted. You know I'm good at hiding surprises, right?"
Alex could hear the wink in his voice. He laughed. "Of course. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Sounds good. Talk to you then."
Ana was up bright and early Wednesday morning. She took a quick shower, and then settled the last few things into her suitcase and overnight bag.
"Cliff?" She popped her head around the corner to see where he sat on the couch. He looked up from his Bible.
"You got a tag for my suitcase, right?"
"Yes, I got everything you'll need for your trip home settled."
"Did you print the boarding pass yesterday?"
"No, I checked in, and I figured you could use the kiosk when we get there."
"Yes, I think I have everything. I just want to peep in on the boys one more time and then I'll be ready."
Cliff nodded, and Ana headed back down the hall. She opened the door before quietly tiptoeing over to the little bunk beds and softly kissing each little man on the cheek. "I'll see you in the fall, dears," she whispered, "and be good for Mommy and Daddy."
She walked back into the living room, wiping away one renegade tear that had escaped in the midst of her almost violent blinking.
"Thanksgiving will be here before you know it," Cliff picked up her suitcase. "But you know we'll miss you between now and then, right? Marty and I are both so thankful that you were able to come."
She picked up her overnight bag and purse. She smiled.
"Thanks, Cliff. I'm glad I was able to come."
They walked out to the car, and Ana got settled into her seat, clicking her seatbelt firmly around her protruding belly. She quietly watched the traffic and scenery of San Carlos fly past her window. "Cliff?"
He glanced over at her. "Yes?"
"This isn't the way to the airport, is it? We just passed José's Café, and that's not usually on the way."
"I know," he answered quietly, "I have a quick stop to make on the way. Don't worry, we have plenty of time. I planned ahead for this."
She relaxed back in her seat. "Okay. Sorry if I'm on edge. I've missed Alex so much, and I can't wait to see him. Only four more hours!"
Cliff smiled. "And it will be before you know it."
He pulled up to a little donut shop with flowers in the window. Ana looked up from her phone and gasped, rushing to unbuckle herself. She practically threw herself out of the car.
Alex grinned at Cliff over Ana's shoulder and mouthed "Thank you."
Ana clung to him, tearfully laughing and incoherently telling him how happy she was to see him. He held her closer against his heart.
"Oh sweetheart! Oh Love. How did you manage it?"
"Cliff helped me work the details out, and I see he kept my little surprise a secret very successfully. I know I could've waited patiently to see you until your flight came in, but I wanted to enjoy the long drive back home with you."
"You have no idea how happy this makes me." Her face beamed with smiles and her eyes glowed with happy tears.
"That makes all of the planning and waiting worth it to me, Ana."
Cliff cleared his throat. "I'd better get back to Marty and let you two get on with your adventure."
Alex shook his hand and pulled him in for a hug. "Thanks for helping me, bro."
"My pleasure. I'll see you both soon." He hugged Ana. "I can't wait to meet the little one."
"Neither can we." She grinned. "Bye Cliff. Take care of yourself."
"Bye. Love y'all."
"Love you too."
They watched Cliff drive away before heading into the little shop for a donut and coffee.
"I'm so glad you came for me. What made you think of it?"
He smiled, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. "That song I sang to you over Skype last week. And then I decided that I'd like to take you sightseeing on the way home if you're up for it. We can take our time. As long as we're home by Sunday evening we're good, and it's only Wednesday."
Ana smiled up at him. "I would love that, Alex."
"Good." He kissed the top of her head. "Our coffee is getting cold."
Inspired by Brett Eldredge's "Gotta Get There" which I quoted. :)