Heaven on Earth
by Judith Freudenthal
2001

Natalie woke in the arms of her husband and remembered that today was their thirtieth wedding anniversary. She was looking forward to the celebration. A part of her still couldn't believe she'd been married to her soulmate for so long.

When she started to get up she felt his arm tighten around her waist and gave in, loving the feeling of waking up in his arms every morning.

"Happy Anniversary," he said as his hand slipped between the mattresses and pulled out a box.

He draped the arm with the gift across her waist.

"Happy Anniversary," Natalie said. "Thank you for thirty wonderful years."

"I should be thanking you. You gave me more than I ever hoped for."

Natalie rolled over and opened her gift. Inside she found a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet.

"Thank you. It's beautiful. I'll wear it this afternoon." She rewarded him with a kiss.

He refused to let her get away with just one kiss and deepened it. Before they knew it, they were making mad passionate love, just as they had on their honeymoon.

They lay there in each others arms, satisfied smiles on their faces.

"You haven't lost your touch," Natalie teased.

"As I was about to say before we were pleasantly distracted," he said, "is that there is one diamond for each year together. I had to make them a little smaller than I wanted in order to fit them all in and have it fit you properly."

"I can't believe I found anyone as wonderful as you."

The phone rang disturbing their perfect morning.

"Hello?" Natalie said cheerfully.

She listened to the voice on the other end before responding. "Yes, we'll be there. On time."

Natalie hung up and turned to her husband. "It was Alyssa wanting to make sure we wouldn't get too caught up in our own celebration."

"I don't see you letting that happen, Mrs. Knight," he teased, still unable to believe that he'd been married to Natalie for three decades now. The best years of his entire life.

"You can be awfully distracting, Mr. Knight."

She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him as passionately as she knew how.

"Are you tempting me again?" He teased when they broke off to breathe. "You know, if we keep this up we will never make it to the party."

"I know. The kids will be furious. Once they get over the fact that their parents do it more often than they do." Natalie said with a wickedly playful twinkle in her eye. One that matched her grin.

Nick just shook his head and chuckled.

Nick began to nudge Natalie out of the bed. "Why don't you take the first shower."

"Why don't we shower together?"

"Because if we do, we'll never make it to the party."

"Spoilsport," she teased. "But you're right."

They knew their kids couldn't believe how energetic their parents were, and enjoyed that fact. It was their love for each other that kept them young, at least mentally.

Two hours later they were dressed and heading out for the party.

Nick's blonde hair was now a light gray. Natalie had given up the long wavy hair years ago, around her fiftieth birthday. She now wore it cut just below the shoulder, straight but with bangs. It was still same shade it had always been. Both had pretty much retained the figures they had when in their thirties. Neither one looked their sixty-five years of age.

They arrived at Alyssa's house about an hour later, and were ringing the door bell.

Tom let them in. "Welcome, Nick, Natalie. Happy anniversary."

"Thanks," Natalie said.

Tom led them into the family room where his wife, Alyssa, and their children were waiting.

"The others will be here shortly. I thought we could spend a little time together beforehand," Alyssa said.

Tom was tall, athletically built, had dark hair and dark eyes. He was as much a gentleman as Nick was. He worked in the software industry.

Alyssa looked the most like Natalie of the three children. She had her mother's hair and eye color, along with a facial resemblance. She was athletic. She had her mom's slightly dark, slightly twisted sense of humor, as well as her joy of life. Tom would say that she also had her mom's temper. She tried to do the working mom thing when Jarod was a baby, but missed being with him so she became an at home mom. It was only within the last year that she started working at home during school hours on a software program of her own, having mastered the computer over the last few years.

"Gramma, Grampa," a bouncing five year old cried out excited to see them.

"Hi, Ashley. How's my big girl doing?" Natalie said as she crouched down to her granddaughter's level.

"I'm doing great. I'm glad you're here. I missed you."

"I missed you too," Natalie said as she wrapped the youngster in a big hug which was happily returned by Ashley.

"Hi, sweetie. I missed you too." Nick said as Ashley enthusiastically hugged him. He gave her a big hug back.

"I missed you too. I'm glad you came."

Nick noticed how Ashley had her grandmother's and her mother's love of life, and the same hair and eye coloration. But she took after her parents more than her grandparents.

Seven year old Jarod entered. "Hi guys."

"Hi." Both Nick and Natalie said.

They knew Jarod was at an age where he was trying to become more of his own person and tended to shy away from adults more, at times. He was rather outgoing with his friends. He inherited his father's athletic nature as well as his eye and hair coloration.

Jarod hugged both grandparents and talked with them for a few minutes before going about his stuff.

Natalie and Nick talked with their daughter and her husband for a while before their other two children and their families arrived, along with Nick and Natalie's friends.

Natalie was pleased to see Grace again. Her friend had moved away after she'd retired. She wanted to live somewhere warm. Natalie understood as she and Nick spent the winters in Hawaii, and the summers in Toronto to be near their children and grandchildren.

Grace and Natalie caught up on how they and their families were since it had been a year since their last visit.

The end.

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