Super Sams

by Paula

Chris Lorenzo settled back on the couch, remote control in hand and St. Louis Rams cap firmly on his head. "Hey, Sammy, come on, the game's about to start," he called out to his wife. "You don't want to miss the kickoff, do you?"


Rita emerged from the kitchen with her hands full of snacks and drinks and the Tennessee Titans logo on her sweatshirt in plain sight where Chris could see it clearly. She sat down next to him, placed the drinks and snacks on the coffee table, and playfully elbowed him in the ribs. "I still can't believe you're really going to pull for St. Louis!"

Chris snickered. "Gimme a break, Sam, the Rams were in L.A. when I was growing up and I got to see them play a few times when I'd go out to visit my mom. They're my team!" "They're in St. Louis now, Sam. Playing against the Tennessee Titans, the team from the South! I have to support the Southern team." "The team that beat Jacksonville three times," he reminded her.

Rita frowned at him slightly. "Since when have you cared about the Jaguars? Last I heard, you were all excited because 'your' Miami Dolphins beat up on Tennessee. Will you make up your mind who your team is?"

Chris snickered again and tickled her, paying her back for the earlier poke in the ribs. Their dear friend Betty was keeping three-and-a-half-year-old Katie for the night, giving Chris and Rita a rare evening at home alone. They had decided to spend it watching the Super Bowl, and neither had let up on teasing the other ever since they had discovered that they were on opposite sides in this game.

Rita caught the teasing look Chris shot her and knew he was up to something, but she was having so much fun cutting up and playing, she honestly didn't care. "Chris? What are you up to now, Sam?"

Chris faked an innocent stare. "What? What do you mean? Why do you think I'm up to something?"

"You always are when you look at me like that."

"I was just thinking, since we have differing interests in this game...."

"Yes. Go on," she prompted.

"Maybe we should make a little wager on it." His grin grew more devilish with each word.

"Christopher Lorenzo! You'd better be glad Katie's with Betty! I don't want you teaching her to gamble at her age!"

"Ha! No money involved, Sam, I promise. I was just thinking...." Rita squirmed, knowing how he loved to keep her in suspense.

"Out with it, Sam, whatever you have up your sleeve!"

"Hmm, let's say if St. Louis wins, you have to do whatever I want for the rest of the night."

"Interesting. And if Tennessee wins, which they will?"

"Ha! Well, on the slim, and I do mean very slim, chance that the Titans pull off another Music City Miracle in Atlanta, I'll do whatever you want for the rest of the night. But the Rams are going to win, so you don't have to worry about that."

Rita couldn't help laughing. She shoved him playfully. "Okay, Sam, you're on!" Holding out her hand tentatively, she asked, "Shall we shake on it?"

Chris grabbed her and pulled her across his lap. "Why on earth would I shake your hand when I can kiss you?" Her laughter was muffled in his kiss.

They watched Faith Hill sing the National Anthem before the game began. St. Louis won the coin toss, which Chris had to rub in Rita's face. The opening kickoff got the game underway, and they soon became caught up in the action on the field in the Georgia Dome. When St. Louis scored three field goals, Chris had to tease Rita about Tennessee being down 9-0, but Rita in turn pointed out that the Titans had kept the Rams from scoring a touchdown on several occasions.

"We've got a killer defense," she insisted.

"The defense doesn't put points on the board," Chris countered.

Rita just smiled. She was used to seeing Chris get excited about sports, but she had to admit that she was surprised at herself. She was just as into the game as he was and just as sure that the Titans were going to win as he was about the Rams. Eventually the score was tied 16-16, and Rita was hopeful that her Titans were actually going to pull off a victory. But then St. Louis scored another touchdown, and time was running out. The 23-16 score on the board made her a bit nervous.

Chris looked at Rita sitting on the edge of her seat and noticed for the first time how seriously into the game she was. "Throw it, Steve!" he heard her yell to Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair. She really wants Tennessee to win, he realized. He was having fun kidding her, and of course he wanted the Rams to win, but for the moment, he was just enjoying watching Rita. He had never known her to take a sporting event so seriously, but for some reason, she seemed to have caught Titans fever. It was nothing more than a silly old ballgame, as Rita would say, but Chris found himself suddenly wishing for a Titans victory after all if it would make Rita happy.

Then it was down to the last six seconds of the game, with the score still 23-16. Tennessee was close to scoring, and both Chris and Rita were on the edge of their seats. The Titans fell one yard short of another miracle, and the St. Louis Rams were the winners of Super Bowl XXXIV. Chris could tell Rita was trying hard not to show her disappointment. She really got into that game, he thought to himself. "Chin up, Sammy," he teased lightly.

She smiled back at him. "You won the bet."

"So I did." The devilish grin returned. "Lie down," he instructed, patting his lap, indicating that she was to put her feet there. She complied and he began to rub her feet.

"Oh, Chris, that feels so good! I thought you were supposed to be getting what you want, not me." Her voice gradually slowed to a murmur as his massage relaxed her.

Chris didn't answer, but thought to himself that he was getting exactly what he wanted; he was making Rita smile. Later, he rubbed her shoulders, making sure he relaxed her without putting her to sleep. "You're not getting sleepy, are you, Sam?"

"Hm-mm, no way. Not with you doing that." Her eyes flew open, suddenly realizing what he was up to. Laughing, she turned her head around to face him. "You've known exactly what you've been doing all along!" she accused. "You know just how to turn me into putty in your hands."

___Chris smiled back at her. "Maybe I do," he admitted, "but I've been enjoying watching you relax. I knew you were disappointed when the Titans lost, and I don't like for you to be down. This was just a little pick-me-up for my Sam."

Rita hugged him. "Chris, you are so sweet! Sure, I was disappointed, but it's only a game, and I had fun watching it with you! I'll admit I'm not too happy with the outcome of the Super Bowl, but I'm very, very happy with my Super Sam!"

"And I'm happy with mine!"



Author's note: Okay, I'll admit I got a bit silly and sappy with this one, but just call it my way of dealing with seeing Tennessee lose yesterday! Like Rita in this story, I don't normally get into sporting events that much, but Titans fever had caught me, too, and I was all pumped up watching my home town team play in the Super Bowl! Okay, you know the drill: Chris and Rita do not belong to me; they are the property of Stu Segall and SJC. Their daughter Katie and their friend Betty (Holly's mother, who also appeared in "On The Side Of Angels") are mine, however, as is Rita's "Throw it, Steve!" line (something I came out with a few times myself yesterday). The Tennessee Titans belong to Bud Adams (suddenly a very popular guy here in Nashville!) and the St. Louis Rams belong to Georgia Frontiere. Paula Pow - January 31, 2000


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