They went for ice cream one afternoon to relax. Simon sent Isabel inside to pick out her favorite flavor when he heard a commotion over near the performance stage. Some crazy old lady was waving her cane at a dark haired woman and making a big embarrassing commotion.
|"I'm not gonna have my daughter livin' in some shack! Our family has a reputation in this town!!"|
Simon's not normally the type to interfere, but something about this poor woman's face made him feel like he was watching a helpless animal being mistreated ... and Simon does not like that.
|"Mom please, everyone's listening. If you care about reputation, don't make a scene!"|
Simon decides to intervene. Maybe its none of his business, but he feels like rescuing a fair lady in distress is the right thing to do. He goes over and interrupts the argument, asking the younger woman if she has seen his dog ... making up some story about how he had followed her here to the diner earlier today.
The trick worked. The distraction was just enough to get the old woman to back off and stop yelling.
|"My dog, Cupid, he looks like a dark brown wolf, have you seen him?"|
Sarah is so grateful for Simon's interference, she introduces herself, then excitedly listens and even agrees with some of Simon's conspiracy theory discussion once her Mother has given up and left.
They end up talking for quite a while before Simon apologizes and excuses himself to be with Isabel, but asks Sarah if he can call her later. She happily gives him her number.
|"The world is full of crazy things (and people like my Mother). I'd love to talk more sometime!"|
And just like that, Simon's got a date. He's not sure if he's ready for that, but fate seemed to think it was the time and something about Sarah felt right to him.
Not surprisingly, Isabel isn't very enthusiastic about Sarah. Simon decides it would be best to stick to adult dating and not try to include Isabel with someone new that he doesn't even know yet.
Isabel's busy with her own issues and doesn't really give the woman much thought anyways. Making friends has been tough on Isabel at school. Being 'gifted' is just as bad as being "retarded" when you're a new kid in school. Kids can be so cruel.
|"She must be stuck up since she never talks to anyone ..."|
Isabel invites her neighbor Malina over to hang out after school. They have absolutely nothing in common and just like everyone else, she seems to misunderstand Isabel entirely.
Malina is a couch potato. Going to someone's house with no television, and not even a couch is boring!
|"Uh, yeah. I think I gotta go home now ... I'm missing the new episode of 'Sims Gone Wild'."|
Even Bethany Barnes, the nicest girl in school, whose Mom was best friends with Isabel's Mom doesn't quite 'get' Isabel's intelligence.
|"Don't you wanna try on some of my Mom's makeup or do our hair together?"|
It's not as if Isabel means to be stuck up or boring, she just doesn't relate to other girls her age.
And so, inevitably, she ends up spending most of her time hanging out with Cupid, who never cares if she's popular, or pretty or wearing the fanciest brand of shoes.
|"Cupid, you are kicking dirt onto me ... Ooh is that another bone for our collection?"|
When Isabel isn't outside wandering the countryside looking for more collectibles with Cupid, she's usually at the library - because they have books and computers. Her Dad won't buy her a computer (he's cheap), so she plays chess against people online at the library.
|"Eat my Queen pwnz07! Check ... and Mate!"|
Friday after work, Simon has his first date with Sarah. He's anxious about leaving Isabel alone with Cupid, but she assures him she'll be fine. Eating ice cream out of the freezer and spending all evening playing in the sprinkler is just what she had in mind anyways!
|"Ahh... this is the life!"|
Of course, there's a slight moment of apprehension while checking for monsters under the bed ...
|"Nope... no Monsters here!"|
|"oh ... em ... gee!"|
|"Get real monster, I'm not afraid of you!" *POOF* (monster vanishes)|
Our fearless little adventurer has finally started to reassemble the bits and pieces of bone she has spent the past several months digging up (with Cupid's help).
Tonight is the BIG NIGHT!
|"Hmm... ok... I think I have everything in the right order"|
Being exceptionally smart has given Isabel the uncanny ability to 'see' the pieces going together like a puzzle.
|"This is too easy. I'm going to have to get more bits and try something more challenging."|
All that practicing at chess has given Isabel's logic just the right kick for problem solving and within only an hour or two, she has her first dinosaur skeleton assembled!
|"YESS! A perfect specimen!"|
Meanwhile, after his date to a really terrible movie, Simon is invited over to Sarah's to "talk" - though he has suspicions she's got more in mind than talking as quickly as things were moving.
They do spend a lot of time talking about their lives. Simon learns about Sarah's family. The Gilberts are a very large and wealthy family of show and racing horse ranchers in Appaloosa, but Sarah despises the shallow money-centered lifestyle they lead. It turns out she's frugal too! (Simon is immediately relieved)
Her Mother was so angry with her the day Simon met her because Sarah had chosen to buy this really cheap little house and move out on her own instead of mooching more money off the family like the rest of her siblings.
|"Thank you for being so understanding Simon. It's been really hard to be myself, but I feel so comfortable with you."|
Simon's not quite sure what it is, but he feels it too. There's something relaxing and calm about being around Sarah. No big purpose or agenda. They just hang out and talk, and cuddle.
|Love does not follow rules.|
Usually very shy and easily overrun (especially by her family) - Sarah also finds some bravery, asking Simon to stay and sleep with her.
And so he does (and it was good) - but he can't sleep afterwards. He has to think of Isabel, and his responsibilities as a single parent too. He feels a little guilty.
|Lost in conflicting emotions ...|
Being with someone new was going to change everything, again.
|But then again, some things never change ...|
Go HERE to read on to Ch. 1.16 - "A Second Chance" to find out!