In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) COMPLETE 3/10/13

Finished stories that feature the characters from the show, but there are no aliens. All fics completed on the main AU without Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 91

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:39 am

keepsmiling7: This situation is scary for all of them. The twins are old enough to know how difficult Liz’s pregnancy with them was. Even though the family is still finding its way back together, they’re rallying around Liz.

Lol, we’re glad that part didn’t post before RF went down too!

Earth2Mama: Andy’s finally showing some real progress. He just needed to see that she’s suffering too.

Hmm... well, we’ll have to wait and see.

The kids have their Aunt Tess with them so that’ll help. They’re going to be worried until Max comes home and can tell them what’s going on. He was scared to tell them the truth at that moment, not knowing if Liz was miscarrying.

Natalie36: That Andy/Maria moment was a long time in the making, but worth the wait.

Eva: No, sometimes they’re far from being a fairy tale. We’ll check in on Liz and the baby in this update.

Andy took a really big step in this last part! Lol, because men just cannot take a subtle signal for anything! We agree, he’s had it in him this whole time, it just needed something to bring it out.

mary mary: We’ll check in on Liz and the baby today to find out how they’re doing. Andy, he’s finally starting to really grow up.

Maiqu: Andy’s really made some progress with that scene, didn’t he? We’re pretty proud of him too.

Alien_Friend: A major step forward for Andy, right? His progress has been slow and he’s made more than one step back, but he’s finally showing some growth. We can’t wait to see Michael and Maria begin to explore their feelings either! For a couple of Candies, it‘s been a long ride to get them to this point, lol. Hopefully Andy will allow Michael back into his life in that capacity as well.

The boys really stepped up when they were needed.

killjoy: His progress has been slow, but we’re finally seeing it really come to life.

Lol, not say it out loud? But how will we know if you’re right if you don’t share with the rest of the class?

begonia9508: We’ll check in on Liz and the baby in this part.

You’re right, Andy did need to see that. He has to understand that he’s not the only one that lost something when his dad passed away. And he had to see that she also needs to start moving on with her life.



Part 91

Max was pacing back and forth outside the examining area when he saw the woman rushing towards him. “Linda, thank God you’re here!”

Linda smiled reassuringly at him as she looped a stethoscope around her neck. “Relax and take a few deep breaths, Max. From every report I’ve gotten so far everything looks fine. Gimme a few minutes with Liz and then I’ll call you in, okay?”

He felt his anxiety drop a couple of notches at her words and he nodded. As soon as they had arrived the staff had swarmed, taking Liz away to examine her and the baby. He hadn’t been able to be still, too worried about his wife and their unborn child. Tess had called to let him know she had arrived and that the kids were worried but otherwise okay. From the way she had phrased what little she had said he had determined that she knew about the pregnancy.

He jerked around when he heard his name and he hurried over to the curtained-off area where Liz was waiting. His heart started pounding all over again when he saw the monitors she was hooked up to. “What’s uh…” he motioned to the monitors that all seemed to be making different sounds. “What’s all this?”

“Everything’s okay, Max,” Liz said, holding her hand out to him.

His eyes sought Linda out as he moved closer to his wife to take her hand. “They’re okay?” he asked, squeezing her hand tightly.

“Mommy and baby are both fine, Max.” She leveled her gaze at Liz. “We talked about the stress factor, Liz.”

She averted her gaze momentarily. “I know. Things just… got out of hand.”

Linda turned to look at Max. “And you need to be doing everything possible to reduce her stress and make sure she’s eating right and getting plenty of rest.”

He bit his bottom lip. “What kinda risk are we lookin’ at?” he finally forced out. “Last time…” he swallowed hard.”

“Max, I know how terrifying this is for you. For both of you,” she elaborated with a glance at Liz, “but the worst thing you can do is focus on the past. Yes, Liz’s first pregnancy was difficult and we don’t have a reason for that, but things have changed a lot in the past 15 years. We’ll get through this, but we all need to work together to make sure Liz carries this baby to term. She’s in good physical condition; she’s healthy, she’s fit, and she’s active. I know things have been pretty difficult lately, but you’re gonna have to deal with it or shelf it for the sake of the baby.”

“You think she can safely carry to term?” Max asked quietly.

“I think we have a very good chance of that happening if we take the proper precautions and monitor both of them carefully. But we’re also gonna be relying heavily on your ability to make sure she’s taking it easy and keeping her stress to the bare minimum.

*****

Max rubbed his face tiredly when he walked into the house. It was after 9pm and there were still a ton of things for him to do before he could go to bed… alone.

“Daddy,” Kara shouted when she saw him.

He caught her up in his arms when she ran across the living room. “You’re still up?” Max asked with a little frown.

Tess sighed and placed the book aside that she had been reading to the little girl and got up from the couch to join them. “There was no way I could get her into bed after all the excitement, Max,” she told her brother and took Kara from him so he could take his jacket off.

“I already figured, don’t worry,” he said quietly. “Where’re my boys?”

“Upstairs. They cleaned up everything from the barbecue and then went to their rooms.”

Max nodded and went to the first step on the stairs. “Justin, Nick,” he called and surprisingly enough they heard him the very first time.

“How’s Mom?”

“Is she still in the hospital?”

“Can we call her?”

The boys stumbled down the stairs, asking questions without waiting for an answer.

“Mom’s fine, she just needs to take it easy.”

“So we can call her?” Justin repeated.

“No, it’s late and she needs her rest.” He motioned to the furniture. “Here, let’s have a seat and I’ll tell you what’s goin’ on.”

The fact that they settled down so quickly told him just how worried they were. As soon as he sat down Kara crawled up in his lap and leaned back against his chest.

“When’s Mommy comin’ home, Daddy?” she asked quietly.

“Maybe tomorrow, we’ll see what her doctor says.”

“Is she sick like we was?”

“No, baby girl.” He pressed a kiss to her head. “Mommy’s not sick.”

“Then how come she had to go to the doctor?”

“Yeah, Dad,” Nick agreed, “what’s goin’ on? Was it just stress or somethin’?”

“She’s been a bit stressed lately,” Justin thought aloud.

“It was partly… mainly the stress,” Max agreed, his hand drawing comforting circles on Kara’s back to calm her down. She wasn’t used to spending nights alone without Mommy in the house and it scared her.

“Partly,” Nick mused, before his father could say more. “What does that…”

“Your mom’s pregnant,” Max said, interrupting his son before any of them could go on with the speculations.

“Preg…” Justin started, but the rest of the word got stuck in his throat.

Nick stared at him, speechless as well. His mouth opened and closed a few times but not a single word escaped.

Kara wiggled around in her seat to look at him fully. “What’s that mean, Daddy?” The frown on her face couldn’t be bigger if she had tried.

He smirked at his daughter’s confused expression. “It means you’re getting a little brother or sister,” he said softly and looked up at his boys. “We’re gonna have a baby.”

Justin and Nick exchanged a glance of worry and Max knew all too well what they were thinking. The exact same thing he had been thinking when Liz had given him the news.

“Pregnant,” Nick murmured quietly. He and Justin were aware of their mom’s past difficulties and it was enough to scare them. “But…”

“I can be the big sister?” Kara asked, intrigued by the news.

Max nodded, unable to hold back the smile at her excitement. She wouldn’t understand the risks even if she knew about them. Her unbridled excitement was exactly what Liz should have gotten from him and as much as he wanted to let those emotions loose he knew what the first pregnancy had nearly cost them. The knowledge that he faced the possibility of losing her, and possibly their unborn child, wasn’t something he had been ready for.

“Is it…” Justin swallowed hard. “Is it gonna be like it was with us?” he asked, motioning between him and his brother.

“Mom’s doctor thinks there’s a very good chance that things will go much smoother with this pregnancy.

“But there’s no guarantee, is there?” Nick asked and the others could easily pinpoint the edge of anger in his voice.

“No, there’s no guarantee,” Max agreed. “There never is with something like this.”

“What’s that mean?” Kara looked at them, confused.

“Just that Mom’s gonna need to rest more in the future.”

“We tan make her brefkast,” the little girl started excitedly. “And we tan clean up our rooms all alone.”

“Was it planned?” Nick asked and earned a bump from his brother. He couldn’t help but worry about what this meant for all of them.

“No, it wasn’t,” Max admitted. “But that doesn’t change anything.” He sighed and rubbed his face tiredly. “Alright, you guys have school tomorrow so you need to get to bed.”

“What about Mommy?” Kara tipped her head back to look up at him.

“Mommy’s gotta stay at the hospital tonight so her doctor can keep an eye on her and the baby.”

“Oh.”

“C’mon, baby girl,” Justin said when his brother elbowed him. “Let’s go get ready for bed.”

“Otay.”

Max flopped back against the cushions once the kids had said their goodnights to their aunt and he could hear them moving around upstairs.

“You okay?” she asked, her voice low.

“Fine.” He sighed and turned his head to look at her. “I never expected to be here again. We have three great kids and I’m happy with that.”

“Are you happy about the baby?”

“You know, when we got married we planned to have a big family, but… the pregnancy was dangerous and putting her through it again…” he shook his head. “It just wasn’t worth it. I’d be happy to adopt half a dozen kids if it’d save her from ever going through this again.” He swallowed hard. “Losin’ her isn’t worth the risk.”

“Her doctor sounded pretty confident things would be better this time though, right?”

He nodded. “Yeah, Linda seems to think if we keep the stress to a minimum and make sure she’s getting the rest she needs we’ve got a good chance of seein’ the pregnancy to term.” He rubbed his hands over his face. “I should’ve thrown Mom an’ Dad outta here Friday night when they just showed up unannounced.”

“Max, neither of us has ever really just told them off and they’ve been even more insufferable since Drew died.”

He smiled tiredly. “Kyle didn’t seem to have any problem tellin’ them a thing or two.”

She rolled her eyes. “I haven’t had a chance to really talk to him about that yet.” She rubbed her hand over the arm of the chair she was sitting in. “He shouldn’t have done that.”

“Why?”

“Because if someone was gonna tell them off it should’ve been me. It’s not his fight.” She frowned at her brother when he just smirked at her. “What?”

“He loves you, Sis. He knows it’s your fight but the point is you don’t have to do it all on your own anymore. You can’t really ask him to sit back and keep his mouth shut when he sees you bein’ hurt.”

“It’s my business, not his,” she insisted stubbornly.

“And if the situation was turned around? Would you be able to just sit there and watch him bein’ hurt and still keep your mouth shut?” He shook his head as he got to his feet. “Don’t get on his ass about it, Tess. He’s not wrong for standin’ up for you. I know you like to fight your own battles but there are times when it’s okay to let someone else do it for you. I can’t tell you how many times Liz has nearly bitten her tongue off to keep from tellin’ them off since Drew died.”

“Kyle should’ve showed some of that restraint tonight.”

He chuckled quietly. “Let the man off the hook. He only did it because he loves you and seein’ you bein’ hurt isn’t somethin’ he’s gonna tolerate. That’s a good thing and it doesn’t take anything from you.”

“Well, I’ll think about it.”

“Where is he anyway? I’m surprised he’s not here with you.”

“I told him I needed some space after everything that happened earlier so he went over to his parents’ place to watch a game with his dad.”

“Go home and call that man of yours, Tess. Don’t put distance between you. The guy’s heart was in the right place.”

“Are you gonna be alright?” she asked, making no promises one way or the other.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve gotta make sure the boys are in bed and tuck Kara in, and then I think I’m gonna call it a night. I’m beat and I’ve gotta be at the hospital after I drop the kids off at school in the mornin’.” Not that he thought he would get much sleep but she didn’t need to know that. He wandered around the house after she left, his mind going over everything that had happened that day.

He looked down when Lucky appeared beside him as he turned the lights out and headed for the stairs. The dog turned back to look at the front door before looking up at him again. “She’ll be home tomorrow, boy. C’mon, it’s past time for bed.”

He checked in on the boys and left Lucky lying on the floor between their beds before going down the hall to check on Kara. He frowned when he didn’t find her in her bed and he turned to go to his own room, knowing that’s where she would be. He smiled when he opened the door to the master bedroom and saw her curled up on Liz’s side of the bed. He sat down on his side and leaned over to check on her, seeing that she was asleep.

He leaned back against the pillows and took his watch off, placing it on his nightstand and sighing tiredly. Another baby, he thought with a look at his daughter. He knew how badly Liz wanted the baby. She had always wanted another baby and it had hurt him to refuse her when she had tried to convince him they should try again when the boys were four years old. As badly as he had wanted to give in he hadn’t remained steadfast because he wasn’t willing to risk losing her.

The pregnancy was unexpected and he could see how badly she wanted this baby. He was scared to want it too badly. Linda was confident the baby could be carried to term but no matter how much he wanted to he couldn’t forget what Liz had gone through the first time. He had nearly lost all three of them and even after the birth and Liz had been stabilized things had been touch and go with the twins. He could still remember how tiny they had been. The first time he had been able to touch them in their incubator he had been terrified because they were so small. His hand had seemed ridiculously large next to their little bodies and his heart had nearly stopped in his chest when Nick had fumbled blindly before latching onto his finger.

He swallowed hard at the memory. It had been an uphill battle with the twins and he didn’t regret what they had been through with them, but was he prepared to go through that again if this pregnancy went as badly as the last had gone? He rubbed his eyes tiredly and slid down a bit in bed. Liz needed him to be with her all the way and somehow, some way, he had to make peace with his demons.

*****

Andy was crouched down in front of his locker after school, digging around for his history textbook that was shoved somewhere in the bottom under everything else when someone leaned against the next locker over. He rolled his eyes when the person bumped his locker door and when they did it again he huffed in irritation. The third time he shot to his feet to glare at the person, the angry words dying on his tongue when he saw the teasing grin on Sam’s face.

“Thought you were gonna do somethin’ about that temper of yours?” she asked, her gray eyes dancing with amusement.

He shrugged with a grin. “What? Did I say a single word?”

She reached up and poked her finger in the center of his chest. “You were about to and you can deny it all you want but we both know it’s true.” She motioned to the mess in his locker. “What’re you lookin’ for?”

“Stupid history book.”

She made a face. “Why don’t you just get organizers like I’ve got in my locker?”

He snorted. “’Cause then my locker would look like a girl’s locker with all those little shelves an’ dividers an’ crap.” Her locker was so neat and organized it was scary. He rolled his eyes as he went back to digging, jerking the heavy textbook out a couple of minutes later.

“Yeah, this’s so much more efficient,” she mocked when he stood up again, shoving several things back inside and then slamming the door shut before they could fall out again.

“This has nothing to do with efficiency,” he told her. “It’s all about being a guy, so you wouldn’t understand,” he teased.

“Uh-huh, well, I still think you’re a slob, but,” she shrugged. “I guess I’ll learn to live with it.”

He grinned when he heard several things slamming against the locker door from inside, announcing a disaster when he opened it next time. “Remind me to ask Nick to get something outta my locker next time I need to get in there.”

“You’re so wrong for that,” she laughed and shoved him before taking his hand. “C’mon, what’re you doin’ this afternoon?”

“I should probably go home. My mom’s there all alone since everyone was busy and she’s waitin’ for some company to finally bring the new and as she says ‘much better’ kitchen.”

“Sounds like lots of fun.”

“You wanna come?”

“Well... I could.” She leaned against his side and glanced up at him. “Have you talked to your mom about things?”

He frowned. “What’s one thing got to do with the other?”

“I just wanna know if you’ve talked to her.”

He let go of her hands and hooked his arm around her shoulder instead. “I did.”

“Yeah?” She settled more comfortably against him as her arm slid around his waist and she was tempted to stick her tongue out at Gina when they passed her and Andy didn’t even notice her.

He dropped a kiss against the side of her head. “Yeah. It was about time.”

“Well?” she demanded when he dropped the subject there. “What’d you tell her?”

He shrugged. “Pretty much that she should follow her feelings.”

“Really?” Her backpack slipped off of her shoulder and hit the floor when she turned and threw her arms around him. “Andy, I’m so proud of you!”

He reacted quickly and caught her in his arms. “Uh-huh.”

“No, I’m serious!” she exclaimed, tipping her head back and reaching up to frame his face in her hands. “That was such a big step for you and it’s really important!”

He had to admit that he felt much better since then and Mom had been in a really good mood this morning. It was good to see her with a smile, even if it meant he would have to deal with seeing her with a man other than his father.

“You look really happy, Andy.”

He smirked. “Just because all my girls are happy now.”

“All your girls,” she snorted and leaned down to pick her backpack up. “So, what about Mr. G? Are you gonna talk to him and apologize?”

He made a face. “That’s still on my to-do list, yeah.”

“Good.” She slipped back into her former position as they resumed their walk through the hall and just a few seconds later they were stepping out into the late afternoon sunlight.

“So you didn’t answer my former question?”

She frowned, thinking. “Oh, about coming over to your house?”

“Yeah.”

“Sure.” She glanced to her right when movement caught her attention and she watched as the counselor they had just been talking about got between two of the their classmates who played on different teams squared off across the quad. “Or maybe this’s your chance to go talk to Mr. G,” she said as the man sent the boys off after breaking up their disagreement and continued on his way to the faculty parking lot.

“Not wasting any time, huh?” he grumbled.

“Well... why waste it? The sooner it’s over with the sooner you can focus on me,” she said with a cheeky grin.

He smirked and leaned in to kiss her. “Interesting. And what’re ya gonna do with me when ya got all my focus on you?”

She shivered from the combination of the affect of that smirk coupled with his kiss. “I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?” she asked with a smile.

Damn, he felt his body reacting to her teasing and had to shake his head to clear it. “Wait for me?”

“You think your talk with him’s gonna be that quick?”

He made a face. “Fine, just leave me alone.”

She grabbed a handful of his tee shirt when he stepped back, pulling him close again. “I didn’t say that,” she said, shaking her head at him. “I’d wait all night for you if you asked me to.”

“How about you go get us a package of those donuts from the shop around the corner and I’ll talk to him. Then I’ll meet up with you and we’ll go to my house? Bet my mom hasn’t eaten much all day.”

Sam smiled and leaned in to kiss him. “I think that sounds like a good idea.”
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 92

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:03 am

begonia9508: Every week, so long as RF stays online. :)

Ah, but his worries stem from Liz’s pregnancy with the twins. They decided to adopt because of his fears regarding another risky pregnancy, so that’s how Kara came into their lives.

Max hasn’t quite wrapped his mind around the possibility that this pregnancy might be different than the last one. Right now his mind is focused on what happened and all that he nearly lost the last time.

Eva: Sam’s very good at keeping Andy motivated. That conversation’s coming up.

Max is slowly but surely getting there. It’s been a long time coming and while there are still some hurdles to cross he’s beginning to face them.

Earth2Mama: Thanks!

Yep, he should’ve already apologized, but he hasn’t quite taken that step. Looks like he’s finally getting there with some help. Hopefully Michael and Andy will be able to recover that relationship.

The boys are old enough to know about what happened during Liz’s pregnancy with them but we’ll see how they handle things. Kara’s definitely excited about the baby.

kismet: This is definitely an eye-opener for Max. He still has some work to do but he’s getting there.

The boys just need some reassurance.

She should… but will she?

keepsmiling7: No, putting that out of his mind would be impossible. Max is still making progress and the pregnancy will give him a nudge in the right direction. Kara does miss her mommy but Liz will be home soon.

He’s getting there.

mary mary: They are that. Time does seem to fly by… but it’s good for fic updates, lol.

Alien_Friend: Nope, Sam’s gonna be sure to keep nudging him in the right direction.

Oh, we’ll see what Tess does with her brother’s advice.

Kara’s very excited about the new baby… and we’ll be seeing more of her enthusiasm soon. The family is scared, but they’re gonna get through this together. Thanks!

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

Cardinal: Those things work so well together, don’t they?

Andy’s finally realizing that it isn’t all about him. Michael should be getting that news soon.

Agreed, Kyle did the right thing. Whether or not Tess can recognize that… we’ll see.

Rodney: Well, we’ll find out soon whether or not she’s gonna let it rest or if she’s gonna be a pain about it.

Yeah, no stress to speak of there!




Part 92

Max hung the phone up and turned to look at Liz, seeing the look of disappointment on her face when she realized he was going out. “I’ve gotta run out for a bit.”

She nodded and went back to staring at the magazine in her hands. Max had arrived at the hospital after dropping the kids off at school and as she had expected he had been fussing over her from the first moment he had walked into her room. She wouldn’t mind the fussing so much if it weren’t for the fact that it stemmed from fear. “Will you be gone long?”

“Shouldn’t be more than a couple hours, if that. It’s just a tow job, car with a blown radiator out off the old highway. We’re short-handed at the shop today.” He checked his watch. “I want you to stay here, keep the phone close. I’ll run by and pick Kara up, take her with me, and I’ll get dinner started soon as I get home.” He leaned over the back of the couch and kissed the top of her head.

“Alright, be careful, Max.” She sighed after the front door closed behind him. Now he was treating her like some fragile thing that might break with the slightest touch and she hated it. She wanted him to be happy about the baby. She wiped the tears away. Was that so much to ask?

Max drove up to the shop and walked inside to the office to get the keys for the tow truck. He looked around, hardly recognizing his office because it was so neat and organized. He was reaching for the truck keys on the wall behind his desk when the door opened behind him and he turned to see Missy standing there with a messy stack of work orders in her right hand.

“You on your way out to pick up the Pontiac with the blown radiator?”

“Yep.” He motioned around them, indicating the office. “Looks good. I wanted to talk to you about a couple things.” He checked his watch again and sat down. “The shop in Oklahoma is losin’ money thanks to a greedy employee… I was wondering if you might be interested in handling the office for Walt for a short while so we can catch that person in the act.”

“Investigative work, huh?” she asked with a grin. “Sounds intriguing, but who would handle the office while I’m out?”

“I’ll take over for you here.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I need to get back to managing things from home.”

“What about the business trips?”

He shook his head. “I’m gonna have to come up with another way to handle them. I’m needed at home and being away right now isn’t an option.”

“You don’t travel full time.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Can you put the traveling off until we’ve concluded our business in Oklahoma?”

He shrugged. “I won’t be takin’ the business trips after it’s…” he trailed off when she shook her head. “I’m not sure what you’re getting at.”

“Let me take over the trips. You’ve seen my résumé so you know I’m qualified and the traveling isn’t full time so when I’m home I can keep things in order here.”

Max smiled. “Home, huh?”

“I’ve really started to like it around here. I think I might stick around.”

“Alright, tell ya what, we’ll discuss this more tomorrow. I’ve gotta get that tow outta the way and then I’ve gotta get home and get dinner started.” He stood up and hurried out of the office so he could get to the school before Kara was let out for the day. Just a few minutes later he pulled up in front of the school as the double doors opened and the kids started to pour out of the building. He smiled at the face-splitting grin on his daughter’s face when she saw him waiting for her and she ran down to the truck and threw herself in his arms when he crouched down to catch her.

“Hi, Daddy!”

“Hey, baby girl. How was your day?”

“It was good.” She stretched up on her tiptoes to look into the truck. “Where’s Mommy?”

“She’s at home.”

She bit her lip and looked up at him. “Mommy’s otay?”

“Mommy’s okay, Kara.” He squinted against the afternoon sunlight and scratched his chin. “Me, you, and the boys, we’re gonna have a talk about how we can make things easier on Mommy.” He reached out and tipped her chin up. “Tell me about your day.”

“It was fun.” She shrugged out of her little backpack and started to dig around for something. She pulled a large piece of paper out and unfolded it before holding it out to him. “See? We made pitchers of our fam’lies today.” She leaned against his shoulder and pointed to a small round character drawn in between what he was sure was supposed to be him and Liz. “I put the baby in the pitcher too. I told the teacher she’s not here yet but she said it was otay.”

Max smiled at that. Perfect, the whole town would know before long now. “Think the baby’s gonna be a girl, huh?”

“Uh-huh, an’ then I’m gonna be the big sister.” She looked up at him. “Right, Daddy?”

“Well, you’ll be a big sister whether it’s a boy or a girl, Kara.”

“But… I want it to be a girl, otay, Daddy? We already got two boys an’ there’s just one girl. Me,” she supplied just in case he wasn’t clear on that. “So, we gotta have ‘nother girl.”

Max smiled and nodded. “Okay, I’ll talk to Mommy about that but it’s gonna be a while before we know if the baby’s gonna be a girl or a boy.”

“Like a long time?”

“Well, after Christmas.”

Her eyes widened. “Can I ask Santa to make sure it’s a girl?”

He cleared his throat as he buckled her into the booster seat. “I think God has more to do with that one than Santa.”

“Oh.” She was quiet as she thought about that and he hurried around the truck to climb in behind the wheel and start the engine. “Well, maybe if I ask Santa he could tell God that I really want the baby to be a girl. Santa can do that, right? Since Christmas is for Jesus’ birthday and Santa makes the Christmas wishes come true. That’s otay, right, Daddy?”

“Oh, well, if you’ve just got your heart set on askin’ Santa for that then you can.” He put the truck in gear and pulled away from the curb. “I’m still pretty sure he doesn’t have a lot to do with it though.”

She smiled and shrugged one shoulder. “I’ll ask Jesus when I say my prayers too then.” She looked around when she realized they weren’t going home. “Where we’re goin’, Daddy?”

“We’ve gotta run out and tow a car into town and then we’re gonna drop it at the shop and go home to make dinner.” He hummed to himself as he thought about that. “Maybe we’ll go by and pick the boys up on our way home, go ahead and have that talk.”

She sat forward and pointed at the radio when a familiar song came on the radio and he grinned as he reached over to turn it up. He was pretty sure he could blame her love for Kelly Clarkson on Sam because the artist wasn’t one the boys listened to unless Sam happened to be over at the house and she had control of the stereo remote.

Almost 20 minutes later he pulled over in front of the car that had been left on the side of the road and he leaned over to snag the keys off of the clipboard. “This won’t take long. I’ll be right back.”

A while later Kara’s feet kicked at the dashboard as she looked around. She was bored. She had already flipped through her storybook, played with everything she could reach, and even talked to Jamie on the radio for a few minutes before Daddy had told her to put it down. She sighed restlessly and her head snapped to the side when movement caught her eye and she strained to sit forward when she saw something move again.

Her eyes widened and she smiled when she was finally able to make the small shape out. “Daddy!”

“Just a sec, baby girl.” Max cursed under his breath when he heard the grinding sound in the lift mechanism. “That can’t be good.” He made a mental note to put a call in to have it looked at just as Kara called him again. He locked the towing mechanism in place, securing the disabled vehicle before walking up to the driver’s side door. His eyebrows shot up when he saw his little girl hanging halfway out the window, pointing at something up ahead.

“Daddy, look!”

His brow furrowed as he squinted and he shook his head. “What am I…” He caught the movement and he frowned. What the heck was that? Rats? He tipped his head to one side. It wasn’t too big for a rat, especially in the country. Baby possums, maybe? He picked her up and put her on the ground, holding her hand as they walked to the front of the truck. He shook his head when he realized that he was looking at a puppy. “What’re you doin’ out here, huh?” he murmured as he crouched down a few feet from the animal.

“Where’d he come from, Daddy?”

“Shh, he’s probably scared.” He made a quiet clicking sound when it scurried back into the brush growing along the side of the old highway. After a few moments a tiny black and tan head poked out again, and his heart went out to it when he saw it shiver. He smiled when the puppy’s tail started to wag like crazy in spite of its fear and he held his hand out, waiting to see if it would come to him.

“Aww, he’s pretty, Daddy.”

“I’m sure he’s happy you think so.” He sighed as he looked back and forth along the highway. “Where’d you come from, huh?” There were no houses nearby so he knew there was only one way for the little guy to be out in the middle of nowhere. He gently stroked the puppy’s head with his forefinger when it pressed its wet nose against his palm. The puppy was young, almost too young to be on its own. “Where’s your mama, huh?”

“Can I pet him too?”

“Yeah, just be gentle. He’s very small.”

“Daddy, look,” she said, her voice hushed as she pointed to a second puppy that was poking its head out of the brush. “Can I go get him?”

“No, no, just do what I’m doin’ and let him come to you.”

“Where’s their mommy?” she asked curiously as she mimicked his position and waited for the puppy to come to her.

“Once we get them in the truck I’ll take a look around and see if I can find her.” Once the puppies discovered that they meant no harm they pushed against each other in a bid to get more attention. He smiled when Kara giggled at the wiggling puppies and he settled her in the truck with them before he moved through the brush looking for their mother. He found her several yards down, lying on the side of the road, and he swallowed hard as he crouched down next to the lifeless little body. She hadn’t been dead long, which explained why the puppies didn’t seem to be starving yet. He went back to get a shovel off of the back of the truck and buried her several yards back off of the road before checking once more to make sure there weren’t any more puppies. He climbed back inside and looked over at Kara, reaching over to cradle her cheek and wipe her tears away with his thumb when she looked up at him.

“Was that their mommy?” she asked, her voice quivering.

“Yeah, it was.”

“What happens to them now? Can we keep them?”

He shook his head. “We’ve already got Lucky and Ari, Kara.” He lowered his hand to gently stroke the puppies’ heads.

“But where will they live?”

He smiled and shrugged one shoulder. “We’ll have to find good homes for them.”

“Can I pick their home?”

“We might not be able to give them to one family, baby girl. But yeah, you can find a home for them. As long as you understand that means you take care of them while you’re looking for their new home.”

“I will, Daddy,” she promised with a big smile.

Oh, how was he gonna explain this one, he wondered as he secured her before starting the truck.

*****

Kyle ran his hand through his hair and sighed when he glanced at his watch for what felt like the hundredth time over the last few minutes. It was already afternoon and Tess still wasn’t back. She had left that morning in a hurry, babbling something about taking care of a few things for the beauty shop. They had planned to leave for California early that day to get the rest of her things out of her old apartment, but since what had taken place the night before they hadn’t talked much more than a few superficial sentences.

“Damn stupid woman,” he muttered and rested his head against the back of the couch in their apartment. “I’m not apologizing,” he said, talking to himself. Things had gone pretty badly yesterday, but he didn’t feel guilty about the fact that he had spoken to her parents the way he had. She deserved more than this treatment and if no one had the guts to tell them then it was his obligation to do so.

His arm came up and he checked the time again, pretty sure they weren’t going anywhere today since the drive would take about 15 hours. Kyle’s head snapped to the side painfully when he heard a key turning in the lock and a moment later the front door of the apartment opened.

Tess stepped in wordlessly, easily locating her boyfriend on the couch. “Hi,” she greeted uncertainly.

“Thought we were goin’ to Cali today,” he said instead of greeting her back.

“Yeah, well… things took a lot longer than expected and…”

“Bullshit, Tess. You’re just avoiding me – again,” he snapped and got up. “If you’re mad at me for telling your parents a few things then c’mon,” he made an inviting gesture with his arms wide open, “bring it on so we can get past this.”

“I don’t need you to fight my battles for me, Kyle,” she bit out after several minutes of silence.

“If you expect me to stand by and let them treat you like that then you have no idea who I am. I told you going in I wouldn’t stand for it.”

“That’s not the point!” she yelled.

“Then what the hell is the point?!” he shouted angrily. “Tess, damn it, my defending you takes nothin’ from you! If you’re gonna be pissed at me for standin’ up for you then you have a choice to make.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Are you giving me an ultimatum?”

“Why’re you turning this into a fight?”

“I told you it doesn’t matter anymore! Your parents wanted you. You have no idea what I went through growing up! I told you I had made peace with it – “

“My dad wanted me, and later when Amy came into our lives, she wanted me too. The only reason my mom wanted me was because she didn’t want my dad to have me. So don’t tell me it doesn’t matter because I know different!”

“It maybe mattered when I was younger, but I don’t need parents to live anymore,” she said stubbornly and walked past him to get a drink from the kitchen.

He tamped down the urge to kick something and followed her instead. “Then what is your problem with me tellin’ them off?”

“You just reopened old wounds, Kyle,” she glared at him. “The past won’t be changed anyway and now I don’t need or want them in my life.”

“I’m not the one who was talking about you as if you weren’t even there! And, it wasn’t even all about you! Yeah, I defended you and I’ll damn well do it again if the situation calls for it.”

“They won’t listen to you anyway, so just save your breath for things that make sense,” she muttered, feeling calmer. It was stupid to fight over this since they weren’t coming to a solution anyway. He thought he was right and maybe he was – she just hated to go through all those old feelings again.

Kyle shook his head and moved closer to her. “Look, maybe it won’t change anything, I don’t know, but they can’t be allowed to continue acting the way they do.”

“I’m not planning to meet them again anytime soon.”

“If you can’t accept it for yourself, then maybe me sayin’ somethin’ will make them think twice the next time they’ve got somethin’ negative to say to the kids. Did you see Justin’s expression when Philip brought up that fumble? Or Andy’s when he started in on him playin’ football just because it was Andrew’s sport? They don’t have the right to treat people like that.”

She rubbed her face with both hands and sighed. “I know.”

He studied her for a few minutes, noticing the way she avoided looking at him. “You know I didn’t do that to hurt you, right?”

Of course she knew that. He wouldn’t do anything to intentionally hurt her. “Sure.”

“I love you, Tess.” Even when you’re difficult to reason with, he thought. He reached out to tip her chin up, meeting her eyes and smiling. “Still wanna head out to Cali today?”

She looked at the clock on the wall before her eyes moved back to his. “Isn’t it already too late now?”

He glanced at the clock. Something that was unnecessary since he had been staring at it for the past hour. “So, we get outta here in the next hour and we can be in Las Cruces by 8pm at the latest. Stop there for the night, get a room, have dinner...”

Spending the night away from home sounded nice. “I just need to make a call to Maria. We’re having equipment delivered tomorrow morning and she’ll need to be here.”

He nodded. “Did you need to pack anything else?”

“No, I did that yesterday.”

“Okay, then I’ll go put it in the car. And wait for you there,” he said, hoping the phone call wouldn’t take that long and they could get on the road.


****

Michael shoved his hand into his pants pocket to pull his keys out, frowning when he had to fumble around to get them out. He pushed the button to open up the doors of his truck, throwing his bag and the laptop into the passengers’ seat. He was about to climb behind the steering wheel when he saw Andy standing in front of the hood. “Andy...”

“Hey,” the teenager mumbled, glancing up in an attempt to see if the damage he’d done a week ago was still visible.

Why was he here? Michael wondered. He doubted the boy was planning any further attacks on him. Maybe Maria had convinced him to apologize?

“So... um...” he ran the tip of his forefinger over the truck’s chrome grill. “What happened last week... I didn’t mean to do that.” He forced his gaze up to meet Michael’s eyes head on. “I’m sorry for what I did.”

The man nodded. “I know you didn’t plan it, but I appreciate your apology.”

Andy nodded, suddenly interested in the crunchy bug carcasses wedged into the grill. “So you’re interested in my mom, huh?”

“I am, yes,” Michael admitted.

“Yeah... she likes you, ya know?” He shrugged. “She’s been pretty down for the past couple weeks.”

Michael closed the door of his truck and leaned against it instead. “It hasn’t been easy for her,” he said slowly. “For you either.”

“I didn’t make it any easier on her. Or you,” he admitted. “I know for us to move forward that means things are gonna change, it’s just not easy to get used to some of those changes.”

What should I say to not sound like a counselor? Michael wondered. “Changes aren’t always easy to accept.”

“No, guess not.” He made a face when he got an insect wing caught under his thumbnail and he brushed it against his jeans to get rid of it. “Anyway, I talked to her last night an’ I told her that you guys should, ya know, date or whatever.” He looked at Michael again. “Just... don’t hurt her, okay?”

“I’ll never intentionally hurt her... or you,” Michael said. “And just to make this clear, I’m not trying to replace your dad.”

He swallowed hard and nodded. “Did you really like me? I mean, did you just wanna hang out with me an’ stuff ‘cause of my mom?”

“Of course not, Andy. I did all those things because I was your counselor and as time passed I had the feeling we could be friends. That had nothing to do with your mom.”

He studied the man for a moment before deciding that his answer was sincere. “I have kinda missed hangin’ out an’ helpin’ you with the team,” he said with a slight smile.

“You were missed on the team,” Michael told him with a smirk and it was the truth.

He nodded. “So, um... maybe I could come back an’ give you a hand?”

“Sure, I could definitely use a hand with them.”

“Cool.” He glanced around and cleared his throat. “So, Mom ordered some new kitchen stuff an’ she’s waitin’ for it to be delivered.” He reached up to scratch his neck. “She could probably use some help installing it an’ stuff... ya know, if you’re not busy with anything else.”

Michael couldn’t hide the smirk. “I think I’ve got some time later this afternoon.”

Andy nodded. “Well, she’ll probably want you to stick around for dinner too,” he said with a shrug.

“I’d like that, but only if you’re okay with it.”

“Yeah, I’m cool with it. I mean, it’s gonna take some getting used to an’ ya know, if you guys could like... not make out in front of me that’d be great,” he said, making a face at the thought.

Was his luck finally changing? Michael wondered. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

“Okay, so... you can just come by whenever I guess. If Mom’s got the kitchen all tore up with whatever she’s doin’ in there we’ll probably get to order pizza. So, don’t like show off an’ get it put together too fast, okay?”

Michael winked. “Understood.”

“Right, well... I’ve gotta go. Gotta meet someone, so I’ll see ya later.”

“Later,” Michael said, watching the boy leave as a wide grin appeared on his face.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 93

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:56 am

Earth2Mama: Max does need more time and as much as Liz wants him to be happy about it, part of her knows that it’ll take time.

Lol, Kara may just target Aunt Tess and Uncle Kyle to adopt the puppies.

Hopefully Andy’s learned his lesson and he’ll see that having Michael in their lives is a good thing for all of them.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Well, Kara may not want to part with the puppies, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Maria says no more dogs, Theo’s enough. Kyle and Tess... well, they’re definitely a possibility.

We can only hope that something was learned from that experience.

keepsmiling7: Of course... one more thing to feed and clean up after, lol. Always what Mom wants to hear about.

Max is coming around. It’s a slow progression, but it is happening.

Alien_Friend: Boys and their stomachs...

The father/daughter moments between Max and Kara are sweet. That little girl couldn’t have been happier when she was let out for the day and saw her daddy waiting for her.

Missy is going to be a valuable asset to Max and his family. Max is getting there and he’s taking strides to make sure that as much stress as possible is taken off of Liz. We’re pretty sure Liz will be okay with the news getting out.

Kyle and Tess are doing well.

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

Cardinal: Liz does know that Max needs time. She’s just frustrated and she is impatient, but she kept it to herself. She’s doing her best to let him come to terms with things in his own time.

We’re pretty sure Maria’s gonna be happy about this surprise.

Lol, Tess does have her issues and like the others, hers won’t be solved overnight either.

mary mary: Lol, Liz does have her hands full, doesn’t she? Puppies are the best. Oh, in some ways ITCOAL is winding down, but we still have a ways to go. Perhaps not until we get to the stage where grandkids enter the picture, lol, but there’s still story to tell. :)

Eva: Everyone does appear to finally be making some real progress!

Rodney: Tess and Kyle do have some things to work out.

Andy... that’s been a long time coming.

Yes, coming home lugging two new additions... bet Liz will appreciate that!

Ah, that’s cool. Everyone has their favorites and who can blame them? We do too!





Part 93

Justin was leaning against a tree in front of the school, grinning at something Jenny was saying and leaning in to kiss her when he heard a horn honk behind him. He ignored it the first time and moved in closer, gently brushing her lips with his when he heard it again. He was set on acting like he couldn’t hear it until the horn was accompanied by the sound of his little sister’s shrill voice shouting across the quad and interrupting them.

Jenny smiled up at him when he made the most interesting growling sound low in his throat. “I think that’s all the kissing we’re gonna get today.”

He turned his head and frowned when he saw Kara leaning out the backseat window of Dad’s truck. “I better go, Jen. That’s my dad.”

“You think he’s here ‘cause of your mom?”

“I don’t know. He came home last night but this mornin’ he didn’t say much about how she was other than she was okay. But if he’s here instead of Aunt Tess then Mom must be home so I gotta go see her.”

She rubbed his arm. “Okay. Call if you wanna talk or anything, Justin.”

He smiled faintly. “She’s okay.”

She nodded, hearing in his voice that he was trying to convince himself. “She is.” She gave him a quick kiss and then a gentle push. “Go on. Tell her I said hi.”

“Okay, thanks, Jen.” He ran over to the truck, turning to wave to her before pulling the passengers’ side door open. “Hey, Dad. Mom okay?”

“Get in the car so we tan see Mommy,” Kara said impatiently when her brother climbed into the truck to sit in the seat next to her.

“Your mom’s fine and at home,” Max said when the boy looked at his little sister with a confused expression. “Where’s your brother?”

“I don’t know. We don’t have the last class together on Mondays. He’s probably still around here somewhere.”

Max sighed and grabbed his cell from the console to make a quick call for the other twin, frowning when he heard a muffled melody as soon as it began to ring and a moment later the door was opened and Nick climbed into the front seat. “Sorry, got held up. How’s Mom?”

“Got held up by Sarah, huh?” Justin asked knowingly when he saw his brother’s newest interest from a distance.

“Shut up,” Nick turned around and shoved him on the shoulder.

“Stop that now.” Max shook his head and started the engine. “Mom’s at home waiting for us, so we’re goin’ home and then we’re gonna have a talk.”

“What’d you do?” Justin hissed.

Nick frowned at him. “I didn’t do anything. What makes you think it was me? It was probably you.”

“Hey, you two cut it out,” Max said before they could really get started. “This doesn’t have anything to do with anything either of you did or didn’t do.”

“Oh, okay.” Justin slouched down in his seat and turned to look at his sister when she made a weird sound. “What’re you…” He frowned when she giggled and he leaned over to see what she was playing with. His eyes widened when he saw the two tiny puppies she was cradling. “Where’d you get them?”

“Me and Daddy finded them.” She stroked the puppies as she looked at her brother and smiled. “They don’t got a mommy no more. I get to find a new family for them.”

He reached over to pick up one of the puppies, cradling it against his chest and scratching behind its ears. “Maybe we can keep ‘em.”

“Justin, do me a favor,” Max said as he met his son’s gaze in the rearview mirror.

“What’s that, Dad?”

“Don’t be helpful.”

Nick shifted around as much as his seatbelt would allow so he could look at the puppies. “Did you name ‘em already?”

Kara pursed her lips as she studied the one she still held. “This one is Happy.”

“Happy?” Justin snorted, amused. “We already got Lucky.”

His little sister giggled when the dog made a sound. “See, he likes dat name.”

Her brother looked at the puppy in his own lap. “Happy and…” he frowned while he thought about a fitting name. Suddenly the little animal started to squirm around, sniffing all over his body until he buried his head in the crook of Justin’s arm.

Nick made a face. “Looks like that one’s got a penchant for sweat.”

“I’m not sweating,” his brother denied.

“Still. Loopy would be a good name for him.”

“Loopy,” Kara repeated slowly and looked at the dog before her lips turned into a satisfied smile. “I like that. Tan we name them Happy an’ Loopy, Daddy?”

“Yeah, if you think those names fit the pups then that’s what we’ll name them.” Max pressed on the brake as they approached a stoplight and he turned his head to look at his kids. He watched as Kara leaned forward as far as she could to hand Happy over to Nick and he smiled at how gently the teenager handled the puppy. “How was school today?”

Nick shrugged. “I got a C on my math exam.” He sighed. “I tried really hard, Dad, but the teacher said I keep missin’ steps in my work.”

“Hey, don’t let it frustrate you, Nick.” He reached over to place his hand on his son’s shoulder. “We’ll keep workin’ on it. And a C is better than a D, isn’t it?”

“Well, yeah.” He thought about that for a minute. “It is, huh? So that’s a lot better than my last exam.”

“What’s for dinner, Dad?” Justin asked.

He chuckled under his breath when the conversation inevitably turned to food.

****

Maria glanced up from the mess the contractor had made, shaking her head and kicking a small piece of broken wood across the floor. She had spent most of the day being run out of her own kitchen so the guy she had hired to tear out the old cabinets and install the new ones could work. 20 minutes ago he had told her he had to run to the hardware store for something and then taken off. His ‘crew’ consisted of one other man who had done the bulk of the physical labor and was now taking a break, sitting on her back porch chowing down on a sandwich.

She sighed and turned around when the front door opened and closed and a moment later Andy was leading the way into the kitchen with Sam right behind him.

“Wow, Mom, what happened in here?”

She was so frustrated she was near tears but she forced them back. “Just the beginning stages of remodeling, honey.”

“Uh-huh,” he said uncertainly. “Okay, well, we’re gonna go up to my room to get this homework knocked out an’ then maybe help you down here?”

“You just focus on your homework for now. We’ll worry about this later.” She smiled at the girl as they exchanged greetings and then the kids were gone. “Bedroom door open, Andy!” she yelled after him.

The contractor returned a short while later and he hooked his thumb in his belt as he looked around. “Well, Mrs. Evans, I think we’re gonna call it a day.”

“You can’t leave my kitchen like this,” she insisted. “You assured me you would have all of the old cabinets out by the end of the day so that you could begin installation of the new ones tomorrow.”

“Well, sometimes things don’t go quite according to plan,” he said in a patronizing tone.

Oh yeah, she could tell. “Well...” she mimicked him, “not today.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Evans, but this’s about as good as it’s gonna get today.” He nodded at the stove that was covered in a coating of sawdust and other crap. “Least you’ll be able to put supper on the table.” He patted her on the shoulder. “Now, isn’t that nice?”

“Isn’t that nice?” she echoed in disbelief.

“Great, we’re on the same page then.” He leaned back and hollered at his helper. “Go ahead an’ start packin’ the tools up.”

“It’s only 4pm,” Maria protested.

“I know! It’s been a long day, hasn’t it?” He kicked a piece of wood up against the wall. “Well, we’ll be back around 9am to get started.” He winked. “Might just get the rest of ‘em torn out by tomorrow night.”

“Tomorrow night? I think I would’ve been quicker if I’d done it myself,” she hissed. “And don’t kick wood against MY wall.”

“Listen, little lady, don’t get all uppity with me. You don’t like the way things are bein’ done, feel free to find a new contractor. And good luck findin’ one who’ll do this job for what you’re payin’.”

“I think it won’t be hard to find a better contractor than you,” Michael stepped in through the back door after listening to the last few words spoken, ready to knock out the guy who dared to talk to Maria like that.

The contractor shook his head. “Look, son, you might let this little lady wear the pants in your relationship, but no woman tells me what to do. When it comes to this,” he motioned around them, “I know my business and if you think this work can get done faster you can do it yourself.”

“Shouldn’t be a problem, considering how much you guys got done today,” Michael answered with a cool shrug.

Maria had to force her mouth shut as she watched the scene unfolding before her. The last thing she had expected was Michael showing up in her kitchen. She hadn’t had the chance to talk to him yet about Andy’s newest reaction.

“That’s fine.” He glanced at Maria. “I expect payment for the work completed today.”

“And I expect you to leave my house now,” she told him.

Michael moved closer to Maria when the contractor took a step in her direction. “If I were you I wouldn’t be holdin’ my breath waitin’ for that check.” He glanced around at the ‘work’ that had been done. “This’s shoddy work and once that gets out your business will likely drop off.”

The man rolled his eyes. “You’ll be hearing from me.”

Michael just stared at him. “If you’re havin’ trouble findin’ the door I can help you.”

Maria waited until the men had left the house, leaving her and Michael alone before she dared to take a deep breath. “What a day.”

“Should I even ask where you found that guy?” he asked as his right hand rested on her shoulder for a moment before sliding under her hair to massage the tension at the back of her neck.

“He was recommended at the company where I bought the kitchen. NO clue how anyone would recommend that jackass.” Her eyes slipped shut at his touch.

“Looks like you’ve had a helluva day,” he said as he glanced around.

“You have no idea,” she said, amused. Now that he was here it didn’t seem so bad.

“Well, I actually had a very good day,” he said, watching her features relax slightly at his touch.

“Yeah? That’s nice.”

“Um-hmm, got a visit from a certain young man after school.” He took one of her hands and tugged her so that she was facing him. “Andy came by to see me, said he’s okay with us seein’ each other.”

She smiled. “I know. I talked to him last night.”

“You know what that first day of spring feels like when the sun finally comes out in what feels like forever?” He cupped her cheek and lifted her gaze to his. “That’s what it felt like when he said that. Damn I feel like I’ve been livin’ in the dark since last Monday.” His thumb grazed over her lips and he smiled. “Go out with me Friday night, Maria.”

She nodded, still in a daze. “Yes.”

“Yeah?” He grinned and his gaze lowered to her lips. “I had to promise Andy we wouldn’t make out in front of him.”

“He’s upstairs with Sam,” she whispered.

“That an invitation?” he whispered back.

Her hands grasped the dirty counter behind her. “Do you need one?”

He smiled widely and shrugged as he slowly lowered his head. His lips brushed hers gently and then settled more firmly against her mouth as his hands rested on either side of her neck.

She had forgotten how good it felt to be kissed for the first time. It was a feeling that just couldn’t be described.

Michael took his time, enjoying the moment and feeling no need to rush it. He had waited a lifetime for this and he felt like he was on top of the world. His tongue slipped out to tease her lips and he waited patiently to see if she would allow him access.

Her mouth parted slightly, while her hands left the counter to grab his collar. Desperation washed over her when her wish finally came true.

The kiss went from a gentle joining of lips to a hungry exploration of each other’s mouths and his left arm dropped to settle around her waist and pull her closer.

Maria broke this kiss when she could feel his body against her. “I think...” she said breathlessly, “... slower.”

He nodded as he tried to catch his breath. “Okay.”

She leaned her forehead against his. “It feels good.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, his voice rough.

“Is this really happening, Michael?” she asked, letting her hands trail over his neck. Maybe it was just a dream and she would wake up lonely in her bed again?

He framed her face in his hands as he smiled slowly. “It’s really happenin’,” he promised.

“It might take a while for it to sink in.”

He chuckled. “Think you’ll need more convincing?”

“Couldn’t hurt,” she told him with a smile.

“No, it couldn’t, could it?”

She winced when part of one of the cupboards the men had moved around earlier fell to the floor with a loud clatter. “Ungh.”

He glanced around at the mess before taking a step back. “Looks like we’ve got a lotta work to do.”

“Yeah,” she sighed.

“Alright, well... think we could get Andy down here to gimme a hand with this heavier stuff?”

“Well, we can try,” she said, amused.

****

Andy and Sam had given up on their homework a while ago, more interested in kissing each other than studying about science. They had to break the kiss when Andy’s mom called him... loudly and repeatedly.

“What does she want?” he hissed in annoyance.

Sam pressed a finger against his lips. “Is that Mr. G’s voice?”

“What?” He turned his head, listening to the murmur of voices. “Yeah, that’s him.”

“Andy?” Maria called again.

“What?” he called back.

“C’mon down here an’ gimme a hand haulin’ these old cabinets outta the house,” Michael hollered.

Andy groaned slightly and glanced at Sam. “Just a minute, we’re almost done with homework.”

“Why’d you say that? What if your mom wants to look over your homework?” Sam asked quietly.

“My mom doesn’t look at my homework,” he told her as he leaned back on his bed and tugged her with him.

She snorted softly and brushed her lips against his. “You’re lucky. Just in case it ever comes up, my dad does check.”

“That’s why we’re just gonna hang here,” he told her, leaning over her to kiss her more properly.

“Andy, this’s the last time I’m calling you,” Maria said. “If I don’t see you in the next 30 seconds I’m coming up there.”

He let his head hang. “You’d think now that he’s here she’d be a little distracted.”

Sam chuckled and let her forefinger trace over his nose and down over his lips. “Sounds to me like they wanna put you to work.”

“Does that mean you’re leavin’ me alone with them?”

“No. I don’t mind helping out... maybe not whatever he’s talkin’ about, but I’ll hang around for a while. My dad won’t expect me for dinner for a couple more hours.”

He nodded and got up, taking her hand to pull her with him. “Let’s go face them.”

“Fun,” she muttered as she ran her hands over her hair and clothes to make sure she was presentable.

He snorted and walked out of the room with her, preparing himself mentally to see his Mom with Michael in a totally different way for the first time.

Michael glanced at Maria when he heard the footsteps on the stairs. “Where’re all the new cabinets and appliances? Garage? Or are you still waitin’ for delivery?”

“Well, right now they’re kinda spread around everywhere in the backyard,” she made a face.

“Uh-huh, well, that’s a good place for ‘em.” He glanced up when the teenagers walked in and from their looks back and forth and their hands locked together he seriously doubted they had been doing anything related to homework. “Ready to get to work, bud?”

Bud? God, he didn’t have to be THAT friendly. “Whatcha want me to do?”

Michael motioned to a set of cabinets that had been pulled down and left on the floor. “Let’s start with these here,” he said as he crouched down at one end. “Grab that other end; let’s get this out to the curb for the trash collection.”

Andy nodded and released Sam’s hand to walk over to the cabinet. “Ready.”

Maria stood back out of their way when they hefted the heavy cabinet up and carefully maneuvered it through the back door. She turned to glance at Sam once they were out of sight and she smiled. “So... get that homework all finished?”

“Um-hum, yeah,” the girl said. God, she won’t ask me to have a look at it, right?

Maria nodded. “That’s good.” Doubtful.

“Yeah, wasn’t that much,” Sam babbled.

“Is your dad expecting you home anytime soon?”

“No, he knows I was planning to hang out with Andy after school today.”

She nodded. “Maybe you can stay for dinner later if he wouldn’t mind.”

Sam smiled. “I’ll ask him. Thanks.”

Michael dusted his hands off as he stepped back inside. “Alright, let’s get the rest of these cabinets out and maybe the girls can start sweepin’ up.” He glanced over at Maria and grinned.

Andy rolled his eyes at his not-so-subtle attempt at flirting with his mom and he made a gagging face at Sam.

Sam giggled, so familiar with that feeling by now.

“Alright, Sam, would you mind wiping some of this dirt away?” Maria asked.

“The things I do for you,” the girl whispered as she passed Andy.

“You’re so generous,” he rolled his eyes again.

She smirked. “I really am.” She went to work with Andy’s mom and quickly discovered that the woman had a great sense of humor.

Andy and Michael came back in from another trip to the curb and his mouth dropped open when he heard what his mom was telling Sam. Baby stories?! How humiliating! “Mom! Sam doesn’t wanna hear stuff like that!”

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” Sam told him, amused.

He shot a pained look at his mom and he turned to glare at Michael when he laughed.

“Give the kid a break, Maria,” he said as he slapped Andy on the back. “C’mon, this’s the last heavy piece that has to go out.”

“You turned my Mom in a baby-story-telling goofy grinning woman,” he complained, though it was good to see her happy again. And she really looked like the luckiest person on earth right now.

Michael just grinned and glanced at her as they started out the back door with the last cabinet. “Looks good on ‘er though, doesn’t it?”

“Whatever,” Andy muttered, seeing the same goofy grin on the man’s face. Ungh, sick.

The man just shook his head and laughed as they made it around to the front of the house and dumped the cabinet on the curb with the others. He straightened up and dug his keys out before walking over to his truck and jumping up in the bed, bending over the toolbox and unlocking it. He lifted a handheld toolbox out and handed it to the boy. “Here, we’re gonna need that.”

“What happened to the contractor?”

“He was doing crappy work and bein’ rude to your mom.”

“I knew he was an asshole.”

“Yeah, well, he’s outta the picture now.” He dug around and pulled out a couple pairs of work gloves. “Should’ve grabbed these earlier,” he muttered under his breath. “Ever installed cabinets?”

“Uh, no.”

“It’s not that bad.”

“I know. If those intellectually-challenged people could do it, we can do it too.”

Michael laughed at the boy’s comment and slapped him on the back when he jumped to the ground again. “C’mon, let’s get back inside.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 94

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:49 am

begonia9508: Thanks! Yep, it does happen from time to time.

The names just fit those little guys.

Earth2Mama: Thanks, they just seemed to fit them.

They’re really working in that direction.

Cardinal: Lol, it’s a possibility.

Michael and Maria were pretty happy about that too.

It’s always so easy to forget that your parents were once your age, lol.

Natalie36: We’ll have more of those!

Alien_Friend: That is a nice feeling! Finally those two are making some headway. It’s taken a lot of time, but Andy’s finally getting his act together.

We’ve become pretty fond of them ourselves!

mary mary: Lol, isn’t that the truth!

Thanks!

Eva: Thanks, we’re glad you enjoyed it!

The Evans family is well on their way to having a good evening... we’ll look in on them again in this next part.

People like that are terrible to deal with! And most of us have probably had to deal with someone like that at one time or another.

We’ll have more of those, promise!

keepsmiling7: He’s getting there.

Lol, Kara’s okay with that.

Poor Maria, having to deal with that jerk. Bet he won’t be back though, lol.

Rodney: What is it? No clue. Although, if we had the answer... we probably wouldn’t share it, lol.




Part 94

Alex disconnected after speaking with his daughter, looking around his office and listening to the silence. He had agreed to let her stay over at Andy’s house for dinner. He was determined to give the boy a chance since he had been making some progress. Sam was so sure Andy was a good boy and as much as he wanted her belief to be enough he needed more to go on. He looked down at his cell phone, wondering how Kendra was doing while she waited to get her test results. He sighed and took his glasses off to press his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose. He knew part of his reason for allowing Sam to stay over for dinner was directly related to Kendra’s sudden appearance in their lives.

He dropped his glasses on the desk and shifted to rest his right elbow on the armrest of his chair. He believed that waiting to talk to Sam was the right thing to do. He didn’t want to tell her that her mother wanted to meet her until he knew what Kendra’s test results were. Either way it was a risk. Letting Kendra into their lives could be a mistake. He didn’t believe his ex wanted to cause trouble. But 15 years ago he hadn’t believed she would walk out and abandon their newborn daughter either. He believed Sam was old enough to decide for herself if she wanted to meet her mother; he just wanted to wait until he knew everything possible before he talked to her about it.

He squinted to check the time on the screen in front of him. Normally he would be on his way to the kitchen to make dinner right about now. Eating alone just didn’t interest him but he had talked to Isabel earlier and he knew she was working late at the office so dinner plans were out of the question. Or maybe not, he thought as he reached for his glasses and slid them back on. He put his files away, shut his computer down, and got to his feet. If she couldn’t go to dinner, he would bring dinner to her.

He called in an order at the little Mexican café Isabel favored and headed inside for a shower and a change of clothes. He fed Oscar before grabbing his keys and leaving the house, driving over to the café and picking up the order. The drive to the school only took a few minutes and as he was parking he put in a quick call to Mrs. Walker, letting her know he was on his way in so she could unlock the side door by the faculty parking lot. He parked and walked over to the entrance, smiling in greeting when the woman pushed the door open just as he reached the building.

“Looks like your timing’s just about perfect,” Mrs. Walker said with a smile.

“Well, I figured it’d be a safe bet since she’s working late tonight.”

“You’re a good boy, Alex.” She patted his cheek and slipped past him. “I’m on my way home so you have a good evening.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Good boy, he thought with a mental laugh. He hadn’t been a boy in a long time. He walked down the dimly-lit corridors, the gray light from the early evening sky doing little to illuminate the hall before him. Up ahead he could see the light from the principal’s office spilling out from the glass wall outside the reception area and he smiled when he opened the door and heard Isabel call out.

“I thought I told you to go home.”

He moved around the reception desk, pushing past the waist-high swinging door and walking back to the office. He leaned into the doorway, peering inside. “I could go back home, but if I do I’m taking dinner with me,” he said with a teasing smile.

“Alex,” she squealed in surprise and got up from her chair excitedly, feeling a bit like a teenager meeting her boyfriend secretly.

“Thought maybe you could use a break,” he said as he stepped inside the office.

“Uh-huh, and I smell food.” She leaned around his body to get a better look at the plastic bag he was carrying.

He chuckled. “Yes, you do.”

“What a nice surprise,” she kissed his nose. “This paperwork will take forever and I’m really starving.”

“Why not take this stuff home?” he asked, releasing the bag when she reached for it. He set the drink carrier on a clear spot near the edge of the desk and shrugged out of his jacket.

“Because I know me, and when I’m home I don’t get half as much done as I do here because I get distracted.”

“Think I might be too much of a distraction?” he asked.

“No, we can eat together and then I’m kicking you out again,” she teased and made room for the food on her desk.

“So you just want me for my food.” He put on a mock hurt look as he sat down.

Isabel chuckled. “And to carry my bags.”

He grinned and leaned forward to snag one of the platters, popping the plastic top off and setting it on the chair to his left. “The things I do,” he muttered with a shake of his head.

“That’s why I like you so much,” she smiled and leaned back in her chair. “How was your day?”

“Quiet. Didn’t get as much done as I should have.” He pushed the small salad around with his fork.

“Distracting thoughts?”

“Yeah.” He cut into his cheese enchilada and shrugged. “I’m just worried about how Kendra showin’ up is gonna affect Sam.”

“You didn’t say much yesterday on the phone. How was your meeting with her?” It was still weird to talk about the woman he had been involved with when he was younger, the mother of his daughter, and the fact that she was suddenly back so soon after she had gotten together with him made her worry just a bit.

He sighed. “She flew back to Chicago earlier today. She has to meet with her oncologist to find out if she’s in remission.”

“I hope she’s alright,” Isabel reached over to place her hand on his.

He nodded and turned his hand over under hers. “Y’know, Kendra and I were friends long before we ever got together. I certainly don’t want anything bad to happen to her, but I worry about what happens to Sam if she’s not in remission.”

“That’s understandable,” she said quietly. “Sam’s a strong kid though, and she’s had you as a steady figure in her life. No matter what happens, I’m sure she’ll be okay.”

“I told her I wouldn’t tell Sam about her until I knew what her results were. I just don’t want her to have to sit through that waiting game. I also told her that I’ll support Sam in whatever decision she makes about meeting her.”

“That’s the right way to look at it,” she nodded. “You should support her, no matter what. Maybe it’s a good thing she has Andy too.”

“Think so?” He took a bite of his food and chewed thoughtfully. “I know she’s convinced he’s a good kid, but any teenage girl’s gonna think her boyfriend’s a good guy.”

“The boy got off track for a while, but I think he’s making his way back. I’ve seen them together during the breaks and it seems like they’re pretty serious about each other.” She rolled her eyes. “As serious as a teenager her age can be.”

“Just as long as they don’t get too serious,” he grumbled.

“I doubt Sam’s a girl who would just give in because her boyfriend’s pressing, Alex.”

“No, my daughter doesn’t just give in to pressure,” he agreed.

“Right. And when the opportunity presents itself she can go and see my gynecologist to be put on the pill.”

He forced his food down. “You have no idea how terrifying it is to think about that. On the one hand, I know it’s the smart thing to do and it’s for her protection, but on the other hand...” he rolled his eyes. “This’s the part of being a dad that I’ve dreaded since I found out I was gonna have a daughter.”

“It’ll be okay, Alex,” she said and gave him an encouraging smile.

“I know.” He laughed quietly and shook his head. “What about you? How was your day?”

She gestured at the stack of paper on the left. “That was my day.”

“A day that’s far from over from the looks of that pile of paper.”

“Still gonna take a while,” she nodded.

“I’ve still got a stack of folders on my own desk at home.” He snorted. “I’m just glad it’s not tax season. Otherwise I’d really be in trouble.”

Isabel got up and walked around the desk, pacing his hands on his shoulder to push him back in his seat. “Maybe tomorrow night we can have dinner at a more romantic location,” she sat down in his lap, “and afterwards we could snuggle up and forget about the damn work.”

“That sounds good,” he said, letting his hand rest on her hip. “But it might have to wait. It’s gonna depend on Kendra’s results and how Sam takes the news.”

“Hmm, I guess I can wait a bit longer,” she agreed and kissed him.

“We could get really lucky,” he murmured in between kisses.

****

Liz was staring at the television, wondering at the quality of programming available during the day. Soap operas, inane talk shows, cooking programs that showcased foods her kids would turn their noses up at, and at least a dozen other mindless shows lacking any entertainment value whatsoever. How did anyone spend an entire day planted in front of the television and survive it? She was reaching for the remote to turn it off when she heard the truck in the driveway, quickly followed by doors slamming and feet pounding across the porch.

“Mom!”

“Hey, Mom!”

“Mommy!”

She smiled at Ari’s annoyed hiss and the loud yowl he let out and she was sure he had probably just narrowly missed being trampled on by at least one of them. Lucky barked happily and she could hear him running across the floor to greet them. The kids were talking over each other in an effort to be heard and adding to the general chaos. It felt normal. It felt good.

Justin dropped his coat, football gear, and backpack on the floor in a pile and leaned over the back of the couch to give Mom a hug. “Hey, you okay?”

“I’m fine, sweetie,” she assured him. She glanced over her shoulder when she heard Nick’s things hit the floor and a moment later Justin was shouldered out of the way so his brother could take his place.

“Hey, Mom, you feelin’ okay?” Nick asked as he hugged her tightly.

“Everything’s good, honey.”

“Yeah? ‘Cause it was kinda tough with us and…”

Liz reached up to place her hand alongside his cheek. “Nicky, I’m okay.”

“You promise?” He felt like he was about five years old asking that question.

“Linda’s confident we’ll get through this pregnancy just fine.”

He nodded. “Okay. You want us to, I don’t know, do anything?”

“You can tell me about your day.”

“Mommy, Mommy, look what me an’ Daddy finded!” Kara called excitedly as she ran across the room to show off the puppies. “We named them Loopy an’ Happy.”

“You named them…” she trailed off as she stared at the tiny puppies her daughter held cradled against her chest. She glanced at the end of the couch when Ari jumped up to curl up in the blanket near her feet, his tail snapping back and forth in annoyance. Lucky insinuated himself into the mix, wedging his big body in between Kara and the coffee table so he could sniff the new arrivals. “Oh, well, they’re cute, aren’t they?” She traced a finger over one of the tiny faces peering at her. “You and Daddy found them, huh?”

“Uh-huh.” She watched the puppies for a few minutes, her eyes occasionally darting up to look at Mommy. “Are you an’ the baby gonna die?”

Standing in the doorway Max had to look away as he swallowed hard. He should’ve known Kara was picking up on the undercurrents. She didn’t really understand the implications of her question, but she knew that sometimes people went away and they never came back.

“Kara!” both boys yelled at the same time.

“No, no, it’s alright,” Liz insisted. “You guys are probably wondering the same thing.” She nodded as she looked at them and they both shrugged. “Max.” She wanted him to hear this too. As soon as he joined them she motioned to Kara and he picked her up and set the little girl on the couch with her. “I have the best doctor in town and she’s confident that we’ll get through this just fine. Yes, it was difficult when I was pregnant with you two, but there are so many possible reasons why that happened.”

“But they don’t know why so how do they know it won’t happen again?” Nick asked.

“Yeah,” Justin added. “What makes them think this time it’ll be different?”

“It’s true that the doctors don’t have an explanation for the difficulties with our first pregnancy, but there have been advances made since then. They know more about how to handle difficult pregnancies now.”

“Are you gonna have to stay in bed the whole time?”

“No, Linda didn’t say anything about that. There’s always the possibility that it could come to that, but for now there’s no reason to think that it will. It has a lot to do with managing stress levels and getting plenty of rest.”

“We can clean our rooms, Mommy,” Kara offered sincerely. “And I’m gonna take care of the puppies all by myself.”

“So we just gotta do more around the house?” Justin asked, his head cocked to one side as he studied Mom.

“That would be helpful, yes,” Liz answered with a smile. “Guys, being pregnant doesn’t make me an invalid.” She chuckled at Kara’s confused expression. “That just means I can still do things around the house, sweetie. Yes, I’ll need a little more help than normal, especially during the first few months, but I will not be spending every moment when I’m not at school just sitting around the house.” She could practically feel Max biting his tongue as he tried to not say anything to negate what she was telling the kids. She knew he had planned to talk to the kids when they got home but she wasn’t willing to let his worry turn her into an invalid.

“Do we gotta do laundry an’ stuff?”

“Your Dad will take care of figuring out who’s doing what.”

“Well, you’re not gonna let Dad do the laundry, are you?” Nick asked, horrified. “Last time he did laundry all my boxers and socks turned pink.”

Liz bit back a smile and shook her head. “Okay, first, that was not the last time your dad did laundry and second, that wasn’t exactly his fault.”

“Uh-huh, well… I’m in high school now, so I can’t be wearin’ pink underwear.”

She rolled her eyes at him and smacked his arm lightly. “As I recall you didn’t have to wear them when that happened either.” She looked around at them for a moment before nodding to herself. “Alright, you guys have homework to do. Kara, you’ve got puppies to take care of and once you have them settled down I want you to come back in here and tell me what you learned in school today.” She glanced up at the boys. “And don’t think I missed that you didn’t exactly tell me how your day went, so as soon as your homework’s done I’ll be expecting to hear about it.”

“I got a C on my math quiz,” Nick blurted out.

“Honey, that’s great!” She knew how much difficulty he was having with that subject and even though it wasn’t a high grade it was an improvement over the score on his last quiz. “Hey, look at me.” She waited until he did as she had requested. “I’m proud of you.”

“It’s not a good grade.”

“Isn’t it better than your last one?”

“Yeah, but it’s still a crappy grade, Mom.”

“It’s an improvement,” she countered. “It’s a difficult subject and you’re doing a lot better than you were at the beginning of the school year.”

He smiled. “Yeah, that’s true.”

“You’ve got a copy of the quiz?” She continued when he nodded. “That’s perfect. Then after dinner Dad can help you with the questions you had trouble with.” She reached over to touch Justin’s hand where it rested on the back of the couch. “What about you? You had an exam too, didn’t you?”

“I got a B-. It would’ve been a B if I hadn’t missed a question that was worth three points.” He made a face. “I didn’t get all the steps right

“It’s still a very good grade.”

He grinned. “I’m gonna run upstairs and get a jump on my homework so I can get in on the math lesson after dinner.

“That’s a good idea. Kara, why don’t you go upstairs with the boys?”

Nick leaned over and picked his sister up, putting her on the floor between him and Justin.

“You waked the puppies, Nicky!” she exclaimed.

Liz smiled as they fussed back and forth all the way upstairs. “Puppies, Max?”

He shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, we couldn’t just leave them out there and once she saw them…” He rolled his eyes at her knowing smirk. “She’s gonna find homes for them.”

“She’s gonna get attached to them and we’re gonna have two more animals in the house.”

“Okay, yes, she’s gonna get attached to them, but… I’ll make sure she finds homes for them, Liz.” He gave her a lopsided smile. “Well, alright, at least one of them, but they won’t be a problem in the meantime.”

“Um-hmm, we’ll see.” She stretched and shifted, turning to lower her feet to the floor and frowning when he moved to stand before her. “Max, it’s almost time for dinner – “

“I’ve got it under control.”

“Yes, you do, but I don’t want you to treat me like I’m gonna break.” She took his hands and tugged him closer. “Because I’m not.”

“Linda said – “

“She said to take it easy, not act like an invalid. If you expect me to lie around on the couch day after day and go stupid from the mindless programs available you’d better think again. Now let me help with dinner. Max,” she murmured against his lips, “I don’t care if it’s just making the salad. I can’t just sit around the house and do nothing day after day.”

Max closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around her. “I know you need to be active,” he said huskily. “Just promise me you’ll take it easy, darlin’. We promised each other a lifetime and we’re nowhere close to that yet. I don’t even have the words to tell you how much this scares me, and I’m probably gonna be a pain in the ass for a while…”

“That’s different from any other day how?” she teased him gently. “Max, it scares me too, but we’re gonna get through this and we’re all gonna be fine.”

“God, I hope you’re right.” He held her close. “For this to work the way it’s supposed to we both need to be here.”

“Hey,” she leaned back just far enough to cradle his face in her hands. “We’re gonna follow Linda’s instructions to the letter; I’ll take it easy and I’ll get plenty of rest. I’m fine and the baby’s fine and we’ll do everything possible to make sure it stays that way.”

“I just don’t wanna lose you, Liz,” he said quietly.

She leaned in to kiss him. “We’ll take it one day at a time and follow the doctor’s orders.”

“And if you’re not feelin’ well…”

“I’ll let you know. Things yesterday just got out of hand. We’ll be careful to not let that happen in the future.”

He studied her for several minutes before he finally nodded. “Alright. I’ll do better with this, darlin’,” he promised.

“We need to spend some time together. Maybe we can get the kids down early and have the rest of the evening to ourselves.” She smiled up at him. “I missed you last night. That hospital bed was lonely.” She tugged on his collar. “C’mon, I don’t even get a smile for that one?” She shook him lightly. “Hey, don’t tell me you plan to be celibate for the next nine months.”

“I know Linda said sex wasn’t off limits but maybe we should hold off.”

“Um-hmm, we could do that,” she said, her hands moving over his back. “But not having sex just makes both of us cranky and since we want to keep my stress level down…”

“You’re playin’ dirty,” he growled.

“I certainly hope so.” She smiled at him and shook her head. “Let’s get dinner going and let everything else fall into place.”

“Alright, lemme run upstairs and check on the kids and then I’ll be back down to… help with dinner,” he said, catching himself.

Liz nodded, accepting his offer and going into the kitchen. She looked down at her still-flat belly and rubbed it gently. Max had expressed his concern for her but he hadn’t yet made peace with the baby. “Don’t you worry,” she said quietly, her tone reassuring, “your daddy will come around. He just needs some time to get used to you.” She knew pushing would only succeed in pushing him away so she decided to just be thankful for the small steps he was making and let him work through the rest at his own pace.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) Part 94 11/2

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:10 am

Earth2Mama: Lol, Liz saw right through that, didn’t she?

We’re pretty sure the kids will pitch in and help even if they might need the occasional prodding or reminder.

keepsmiling7: Small steps, but it’s forward movement.

Lol, Ari’s annoyance started with nearly getting trampled on. The puppies are bound to make the poor cat’s life miserable.

Kids can definitely ask the hard questions without any hesitation.

We’ll be hearing from Kendra soon.

Natalie36: Thanks for reading! We’ll be keeping an eye on the pregnancy.

Alien_Friend: Max is moving in the right direction. Liz is great at handling her kids and their questions. While they may need the occasional reminding or prodding, we think the kids will do well.

Alex has a great ally in Isabel. He’s struggling with the Andy situation so having someone he can lean on and who can give him advice occasionally helps.

mary mary: Letting one of those puppies go is likely to be upsetting... how do you decide between the two little guys? Hey, we’re glad to hear that ITCOAL’s your favorite out of our three stories. :)

Cardinal: It’s never too late to learn and Liz has known all along that pushing wasn’t getting them anywhere, but now she’s finally listening to that little voice that’s telling her to ease up and let him progress at a pace he’s comfortable with.

Lol, we’ll have to wait and see. Kara’s sure gonna have a hard time picking between the two pups.

Healerfan: We’re glad to hear you’re enjoying ITCOAL. For Max and Andy to really begin healing they’re going to have to talk to each other openly. The two of them still have a ways to go there.

Max came close to losing Liz with their first pregnancy, and so close after losing his brother it really brings that fear to the surface.

As long as RF stays online, we’re updating every Sunday.

begonia9508: Lol, just can’t get one over on mom, right?

Max is terrified of the possibility of losing Liz, and it’s going to take time for him to come to terms with that.




Part 95

Kyle dipped the fingers of his left hand into the water to test the temperature. He was preparing a hot bath for Tess and him after a few long hours of traveling. His muscles were stiff, but he knew the hot water would make it all better in no time.

They had decided to stop at a motel close to the highway so they could get back on the road first thing in the morning. It wasn’t the nicest place he had ever stayed, but it wasn’t a dump either. At least it had a huge bathtub with whirlpool jets, so that was definitely a plus.

He smiled when he heard the front door close. “I’m back,” Tess called from the other room. She had been at the small restaurant that belonged to the motel to get them something to eat.

“I’m in the bathroom.”

“Well, yeah, I figured,” she rolled her eyes.

“Come in here.”

“What? No! Why?”

“Tess,” he groaned. “Would you just trust me and come in here?”

A moment later she opened the door carefully and poked her head in. “What?” She frowned. “What’re you doin’? I thought you were hungry.”

“I am so bring the food in here and we’ll eat in the tub,” he gestured to the small shelf set into the wall with enough storage space to put the food.

“I brought spaghetti,” she told him.

“Well, then it’s gonna be interesting, isn’t it?” He grinned and pulled his shirt off.

“Alright,” she went back into the living room to get the takeout.

Kyle finished taking his clothes off and walked over to the tub, stepping over the rim and bracing his hands on the sides to slide down into the hot water. Oh, yeah, that felt good. He looked up when Tess returned, motioning for her to hand him the takeout.

“Not fair that you got in the water without letting me take a look first.”

“It’s water, what’s there to look at?” he asked as he tucked one of the containers on the shelf and opened the other one up.

“Not the water,” she gave him a little smack on the head while she sat on the edge of the tub, “I meant you.”

“I can get back up easily enough.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Like a Greek god rising out of the water,” he bragged.

She snorted. “Greek god, huh?”

“What?” He looked offended. “You don’t think I’m that hot?”

“Just shut up,” she said gently and leaned over the tub, using one hand to steady herself on the wall while she leaned down to kiss his sweaty lips, licking them for a moment before backing off again.

His right arm came up out of the water to wrap around her waist and pull her closer. “Clever way of not answering the question,” he said with a smile.

“Hey,” she smacked his arm. “You’re makin’ me all wet and this was an expensive top.”

“Well, it gets washed, doesn’t it?” His eyes dropped to her breasts that were still covered by her precious top. “Gonna get you all wet anyway.”

She grinned. “I hope that’s a promise,” she whispered and freed herself from him to stand up again. With her eyes locked on him she lifted her top up, revealing the black bra she was wearing under it.

“Always a promise,” he growled. He snapped the lid closed on his container and blindly stacked it on top of the other one. He shifted to sit up straighter and his gaze followed her every move.

“So I’m getting your attention over food, huh?” she teased and opened the buttons of her jeans, slowly peeling the tight material from her slim legs until she could step out of them.

“I have priorities.”

“That’s good.” She turned her back to him, earning a groan from him when she hid the front view while she got rid of her underwear.

“Any angle works for me but you’re killin’ me, babe. You know how much I love havin’ those blue eyes on me.”

“Just my eyes,” she whispered when she turned around to reveal it all to him.

“No, not just them,” he muttered gruffly as he took in every inch of her. “Pretty fond of your other parts too.”

She smiled as she stepped closer and lifted one leg to dip her toes in the water. “Wow, you made it really hot, huh?”

“And it’s getting hotter.”

She took the hand Kyle was offering and stepped into the tub completely. “How should I sit? Facing you or with my back to you?”

“Facing me, definitely.”

“Okay,” she sank into the water slowly while her skin adjusted to the temperature of the water. “That feels nice.”

He nodded mutely. Hell yeah, it felt good. And he wasn’t talking about the water! She was confident about her body but sometimes he wondered if she really knew what she did to him just by existing.

“So, since you’re sitting right next to the food… Are you gonna feed me?” she teased.

“You’re gonna put on a striptease and then you expect me to eat?”

“Well, I’m hungry. You wanted us to eat in the tub, which of course would happen naked…”

He muttered under his breath and reached for the container again. “Fine, but I’m expecting dessert.”

“Are you grumpy now?” She laughed a bit and wiggled closer to him, using her big toe under the water to slightly brush against him.

He shifted at the contact. “I’m horny,” he countered and popped the container open. “But if my girl’s hungry then I’ll make sure she’s fed first.”

“Now it sounds like I’m your pet or something.” She moved closer again and used her hand to grab his, pulling him towards her until she could get her legs around him.

He snorted at that. “You’re many things but that isn’t one of them.” He glanced between them. “Food’s really fallin’ lower and lower on my list of priorities.”

“Then you’d better start quickly, huh?”

His free hand slid around her waist and he tugged her even closer. “You know... if we took care of other things first we could take our time with dinner.”

“I see I’ll have to wait for my food,” she said and sighed playfully.

“It won’t have time to get cold,” he promised as he slapped the lid closed and shoved it back on the shelf with the other one.

She giggled. “We haven’t had a quickie in the tub before, have we?”

“Not yet but we can rectify that right now.”

She brushed her lips against his. “I’m as ready as I can get,” one of her hands wandered along his upper body until she reached his muscled stomach. From there she took his length in a tight grip and slid her hand up and down only once. “And as I can see, you are too.”

He snorted. “Hope that wasn’t in doubt.” His hands settled on her hips, applying gentle pressure. “Told you I was gonna get you wet,” he growled against her lips.

“Well, you’re hot, you’re trained, you’re tanned. Pretty easy to get me there the way you look, babe.”

He puffed up proudly. He worked hard to stay in shape. “Hope you don’t mind but I plan to keep it that way.”

“Not complaining as long as it’s only just for me.”

“Sure as hell not for anybody else.” His hands roamed over her back before settling on her ass.

“Good,” she smiled, knowing he meant it.

“Well, long as it’s just for you maybe you wanna do somethin’ with it,” he said and shifted his hips.

“Hmm,” she bit her lip teasingly, “yeah I might do that.” After a moment of thinking she rested her hands on the tub to lift herself up enough to bend her legs and kneel. The bottom of the tub was pretty rough on her knees though and she looked around for something to put under them. She smiled when she found some washcloths next to them and grabbed them, shoving one of them under each knee. “Just making sure I won’t have to stop in the middle because it gets uncomfortable,” she explained when he looked at her skeptically.

“Not stopping’s good,” he said agreeably. He leaned forward to slide his tongue over her nipples, using his hands to cup her breasts and gently squeezing her supple flesh.

She groaned and threw her head back, her long blonde hair tickling her back with her movement.

Kyle used his teeth to rasp against the sensitive peaks before sucking them into his mouth one at a time, alternating the pressure.

Her hands gripped the edge of the tub tighter when she moved her lower body further against him, searching for some release and finding it immediately when she rubbed herself against his hard length.

He growled low in his throat when he felt her moving against him. He released her breast just long enough to mutter a, “More,” before gripping her hips to guide her.

She pushed harder against him, knowing that wasn’t what he was begging for, but she wanted to hear him beg again.

“Tess,” he groaned, tightening his grip when she kept up her movements without making the one move that would really satisfy him.

“Um-hmm,” she answered a little breathlessly and looked down on him. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes full of lust, and her lips turned up in a cheeky smirk.

“C’mon, woman, or I’m gonna blow here.” He motioned down at himself. “We don’t wanna waste all that potential.”

“No, we don’t want that,” she agreed and lifted her body up until she felt him at her entrance.

His breath hissed in sharply when she rubbed against him before slowly sliding down on him.

Once she had sunk down as much as possible, she retrieved her hands from the tub and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Feels pretty good, huh?”

“Um-hmm.” He brought his knees up behind her and let his hands wander over her skin in random patterns. “I don’t know how I got so lucky,” he said, his voice hushed.

“That was just a whole lot of luck,” she teased.

He snorted. “Luck, huh? If my luck’s that good then maybe we should head up to Vegas.”

She stopped her movements and looked at him. That was about money not marriage, right? Yeah, money, she decided after a moment.

Kyle lifted his eyebrows when she paused. “What?” Hell, don’t stop now!

“Nothin’,” she shook her head. If she brought that thought up now it would be all over.

“Okay.” He let the thought go, unwilling to let the moment get away from them.

Tess took up a faster rhythm to make sure he would forget all about it in no time. Her breath came in pants when her own movements affected her quickly and her hands wandered back to the edge of the tub once more to steady her and allow her to push harder.

Kyle wrapped one arm around her waist and let the other slip between her legs to touch her.

Water splashed over the edge when her hips bucked forward in response to his touch, but neither of them noticed or cared. She buried her head against the side of his neck, sucking his sweaty skin while she concentrated on the amazing feeling between her legs.

His breath stuttered out when he felt her marking him and he increased the speed of his fingers to push her to the edge.

“Kyle,” she panted out when she felt her orgasm rolling over her, making her almost black out in the hot water.

“Stay with me, Tess,” he grunted when her eyes rolled back. He loved being able to make her feel like this. He watched as her eyes slid closed and she sucked on her bottom lip as she rocked against him, drawing her pleasure out. She was the hottest thing in his world and right now he wanted nothing more than to join her on that orgasmic high.

“Always,” she breathed, knowing he hadn’t meant it that way.

He felt the tension coiling tighter and he braced his feet against the bottom of the tub so he could give himself better leverage to thrust.

“Let go,” she whispered and pulled her strength up to move and give him the deserved release as well.”

Kyle’s arms came around her in a crushing hug as his mouth crashed onto hers, stealing the breath from her lungs. He was close and he knew it wouldn’t be much longer.

Tess felt the air pushed out of her lungs from his tight grip, but she let him guide her, knowing he would release her soon.

Even though he was expecting it, the moment of release took his breath away and he tore his mouth from hers to drop his forehead on her shoulder. His breath was hot and heavy against her skin and he was barely conscious of her shivering against him.

A few moments passed before he had caught his breath again. She lifted her head to look at him. “So can we eat now?”

His stomach growled in response and he grinned at her. “Sex and food. Love the way your mind works.”

****

“Can I go to my room?” Andy asked right after Sam had left. He wasn’t really in the mood for washing dishes or anything else and maybe Mom’s good mood would be enough to let him go. Seriously, it was still weird to watch her with Michael, but he tried to not make any comments about it.

Maria looked at her son, knowing that he was desperately searching for a way out. She nodded with a slight smile. “Sure, go ahead.” It was still hard for him and she didn’t want to force him to stay if he felt uncomfortable.

“Cool,” the teenager said, his voice revealing his relief. “Goodbye, Michael,” he said and hurried up the stairs.

“He was desperate to get away, wasn’t he?” the man asked, amused.

“Oh yeah,” Maria chuckled a bit.

“It just takes time,” he said with a shrug. At least he hoped what he was saying was true. “I’m sure it’s gotta be uncomfortable.”

“I’m sure he’ll use this to get out of housework whenever he can.”

“Uh-huh, and will that work?” he asked with a laugh.

“Just for a while,” she smiled and placed their plates in the sink.

He moved closer and leaned back against the sink next to her. “And what gets me outta dish duty?”

“Nothing but distracting the dish washer,” she laughed.

He crossed his arms over his chest and slouched down slightly as he smirked at her. “I can be very distracting when I wanna be.”

“Can you?”

“Um-hmm.” He reached up to brush her hair back so he could cradle her cheek in his hand.

She smiled at him slightly. “Yes, you can.”

“I wouldn’t mind distracting you for a while,” he murmured quietly.

“I wouldn’t mind being distracted for a while,” she told him in the same tone.

He chuckled and leaned in for a short but thorough kiss. “Wanna get outta the house for a bit? Take a walk?”

“Sure. Theo needs a walk anyway.”

Michael nodded. “Sounds good.”

“Guess the dish have to wait, huh?” She looked at the counter with the dirty plates.

“Well, I could knock ‘em out if you’ve gotta do anything to get ready.” Not that doing dishes was anything high on his list of fun things to do, but he was willing to do it for her.

She shook her head. “Dishes can wait forever if you ask me.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” he said agreeably.

“C’mon then,” she pushed herself from the counter and walked over to the back door to get Theo’s leash. “Andy, we’re taking the dog for a walk,” she called upstairs.

Michael shook his head and smiled at the bored tone in the teenager’s voice when he acknowledged his mom’s words.

“Are you coming?” She looked at him when she opened the door.

He grabbed their jackets and took the leash from her so she could slip into hers. Theo ran up to them and took the leash between his teeth, tugging on it.

“He always does that,” Maria laughed and got the leash free again. “He’s happy like a little kid when he gets taken out.”

“Mojo has to be convinced when it comes to goin’ for a walk,” he said as he pulled the door closed behind them.

“Yeah, he strikes me as very lazy.”

“Nah, just very... cautious. You’ve never seen him play like a puppy.”

“He’s adorable once you get to know him,” Maria admitted, remembering her earlier encounters with the dog.

“Yeah.” He held the back gate open for her and they followed the driveway out to the sidewalk. “People see a Rottweiler and they just assume he’s dangerous, but Mojo couldn’t hurt a fly if he tried.”

She waited until he had closed the gate again and leaned against his side when he came up next to her. “You wouldn’t think that first, but I believe it now.”

“Well, you gave him a chance.” He let his arm settle around her shoulders, enjoying the freedom to make the move in public.

“Couldn’t resist his master,” she said, laughing.

He snorted lightly at that. “If that was not resisting, I can’t wait to see what happens when you really cut loose.”

“Guess we’ll find out,” she said and it felt so good that it was really true.

“How’re things goin’ with the shop?”

“Good, I guess. Tess called earlier. I need to take care of some deliveries tomorrow morning.”

“That’s good. Think you’ll be open before Christmas?”

“Um-hmm, yeah I think so.”

He nodded. “Do you and Andy do anything special for the holidays?”

“No, but we talked about it and decided to really celebrate it this year. Ya know with fancy lights all over the house and stuff.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” He made a face. “After Chrissie moved out I kinda stopped doin’ much of anything ‘cause it didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal. That drove Isabel nuts though,” he said with a roll of his eyes. “She insisted on decorating my place even though it didn’t matter one way or the other to me.”

“Maybe this year we can celebrate it together. We have to be careful since I don’t know how much of this Andy can take, but…”

“I’d enjoy that.” He smiled. “Yeah, if we take it slow and ease into it maybe he’ll handle it better.”

“I’m still having a hard time realizing what happened.”

“Yeah, that kinda blew me away too. When he showed up to talk to me earlier I had no idea what to expect, but it wasn’t what happened at all.” He squeezed her arm lightly. “I’m glad he was able to make that move though.”

“Me too,” she stopped and looked at him intensely. “It’s been a while since I felt like this inside, what I’m feeling with you.”

“Gotta admit it’s a first for me,” he said as he met her gaze.

“A first? Really?”

“Well, it’s the first time I’ve really...” he cleared his throat, suddenly feeling tongue-tied.

She waited patiently for his answer, knowing that pushing would make everything worse and she didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable.

“I never felt free enough to pursue a real relationship when I was younger because Chrissie needed my attention and between her, work, and school I just didn’t have enough of me left over to give to any woman. I’ve had my share of flings over the years, but it’s never been anything serious. I’ve never met anyone who really made me feel alive inside.” He looked away and tugged at his collar. What if he sounded like an idiot?

She took his face in her hands and made him look at her. It was the first time since Andrew’s death that she allowed herself to take the first step. “I guess you have your life in order now, don’t you?”

“Yeah, it’s taken time to finally get there, but things are pretty well in order now.”

Theo barked to get some attention, but she refused to look at the dog right now. “Here as well?” She placed one hand over his heart.

His eyes dropped to stare at her hand for a moment. “Yeah,” he rasped.

“Okay,” she whispered and leaned forward to place a soft kiss on the tee shirt right where her hand had been a second ago.

He wondered if she could hear his heart pounding. It was beating so fast it felt like it would break free from his chest at any second. His hands came up to rest on either side of her neck and he stroked her jaw with his thumbs. “I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for you.”

Her lips turned up in an almost-smile. “I’m here now.”

He lowered his head, brushing his lips against hers. “I’m countin’ on that,” he murmured.

She enjoyed the brief touches of his lips, like he was just caressing her. There was a part of her that wanted more, but she held it back, taking as much pleasure from his tiny gestures as possible.

Michael added light pressure to his kisses, taking his time and enjoying her responses to his touch.

They had to interrupt the kiss when wind picked up and whirled Maria’s hair around. She laughed slightly and brushed it away from her face. “Maybe we should’ve stayed at home.”

He looked down when Theo sat down at their feet and he realized the dog had managed to wrap the leash around both of them. “It is cold out tonight but as long as you’re okay, I don’t care.”

“Didn’t even realize it was cold,” she admitted.

“Must be the company,” he said with a smile.

“Could be.”

He leaned in again, his lips just a breath away from hers. “Just could be?”

“Hmm, I’m not completely convinced, but maybe you can help me with it?” she asked cheekily, feeling like a teenager.

“Yeah,” he whispered between light kisses, “I’d like that.”

Theo barked when they didn’t give him any attention and moved around, pulling the leash tighter around them.

He chuckled. “I like the way your dog thinks.”

“Uh-huh, I doubt you’ll like it if he runs off like this.”

“Well, that could be a problem, I suppose.” He looked around. “There’s no one out so maybe you should let him off the leash.”

“Not here,” she shook her head. “If he sees a cat we’ll be searching for him all night.”

“Mojo would run for the house and hide under the first piece of furniture he could find.”

She laughed and leaned her body against his. “Somehow that wouldn’t surprise me.” The house behind them was lit and it didn’t pass her attention that they were being watched from behind the curtains.

Michael grinned down at her. She looked so carefree in that moment and it took his breath away. “You’re beautiful,” he said as he reached up to slide his hand around her neck.

“Thanks,” she whispered with a slight blush. “I… I can’t remember the last time someone said that to me.”

“Don’t expect that oversight to continue.” His thumb caressed her cheek and his eyes mapped every inch of her face. He could spend a lifetime looking at her and it wouldn’t be enough.

“C’mon,” she placed her hands over his when Theo barked, “let’s take that walk you suggested.”

He nodded and reached down to guide the dog around their legs, untangling the leash. He took her free hand in his, holding it firmly, but loose enough to be comfortable.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 96

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:22 am

Eva: Lol, well, we do have more K&T coming up in this part.

begonia9508: Both couples are doing well.

Absolutely something all men seem to have in common.

keepsmiling7: Kyle and Tess have made a lot of progress since their start here. Thanks! We love him too.

Earth2Mama: Finally Michael and Maria have the chance to be together and explore their feelings for each other.

Lol, so true!

Rodney: Well... no arguments there, lol. Real life can suck at times.

Small towns are great, aren’t they? Of course, they have their drawbacks too.

mary mary: The in-laws haven’t shown any signs of returning. If they do we’ll try to chase them out before they get a foothold.

Alien_Friend: Glad you enjoyed that part!

They’ve worked long and hard to get to a place where they can be together.

We enjoy a good lazy Sunday afternoon read too.

Cardinal: Thank you for the great compliment!

sarammlover: Thanks! We love them too! Michael and Maria, it has taken them some time to get to this point. Yeah *cough, cough* we know, 94 parts, lol.

Maiqu: We’re glad you’re enjoying!

Maria and Andy’s lives are slowly but surely beginning to mend and they have two very incredible people there to help make it happen and encourage change and growth.




Part 96

Kyle slouched down in the passenger’s seat and ran his hands over his face as he yawned widely. They had decided to get up early to knock out most of the driving before noon. He glanced at his watch as his stomach growled. When they had left the hotel it had been way too early to eat and now he was hungry. “Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to eat.”

Tess hooked her thumb over her shoulder as she checked the side mirrors and changed lanes. “I saw a sign about a mile back for a McDonalds.”

“No Burger King? I like their breakfast better.” He stretched as well as he could in the confines of the truck. “Besides, you can get a burger there before 9am.”

She looked at him and rolled her eyes. “So you want breakfast and a burger?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe.”

“You do not need to eat both.”

“I don’t need to do a lot of things I do.” He shifted to sit sideways and stared at her until she turned her head to look at him.

She shook her head and huffed in annoyance. “Fine, I’ll keep an eye out for a Burger King.”

He resituated himself, pulling his left knee up on the seat and hooking his booted foot behind his right knee. “I’ve been waitin’ to tell you somethin’ pretty important, but since we’re away from everything and it’s just the two of us and no chance of an interruption I thought it’d be the perfect time.”

She turned to look at him while her hands gripped the steering wheel. “The way you’re starting this conversation makes me scared.”

“What? No, it’s nothin’ to be scared of. It’s a good thing.” He rubbed his hands on his thighs, suddenly feeling a hint of nervousness.

She acknowledged his gesture from the corner of her eye. “Then why’re you nervous?”

“It’s kind of a big decision. One that I didn’t make lightly, but when the opportunity presented itself I weighed it out and decided to go for it.”

“Just get it out, Kyle,” she said impatiently.

He shrugged and decided to just put it out there. “I’ve been given the chance to head up the field office in Roswell.”

Her foot hit the brake and the car came to an immediate stop. “What?”

“Babe, you can’t just put the brakes on like that in the middle of the interstate,” he grumbled.

She started to drive again, slower. “So,” her hand came up to brush her hair back, “you’re settling down?”

She made it sound like he was some aimless college kid. “I’m comin’ home. It’s where you are. Where my family is.”

“And you’re sure you won’t get bored with it?”

“I won’t get bored. It is a lot more administrative but it’s a much smaller office with more territory to oversee so I’ll still be involved in field work on occasion.” He grinned at her. “Besides, it means comin’ home to you every night.”

“I’d like that. And that’s for sure?”

“Yeah, the guy headin’ up the office is set to move on to a new post after the first of the year. I’ve submitted the transfer paperwork and the director’s put it in. I’ve got a few more interviews but he said that’s just formality. Once that's all done it’s just a matter of me signing the final transfer orders.”

“That’s good news,” she decided and reached over to squeeze his hand with hers. Until now their future had still been open and now the blurry view was finally starting to clear.

“Yeah.” He played with her fingers as he stared out through the windshield thoughtfully. “Guess that means at some point you’ll have to fly to Atlanta with me to clear my apartment out.”

“I think that won’t be a problem.”

He laughed. “Until you see my place.” He could just imagine the comments and looks she’d be giving him.

“Uh-huh. Don’t expect anything impressive in Long Beach either.”

“No?”

“No, it’s been pretty… basic.”

“Oh, mine’s basic... for a guy.” He thought about the framed pictures for sports and his favorite bars. They’d be relegated to storage for sure.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Our apartment in Roswell isn’t and will not be basic.” She looked at him. “It’ll be home.”

Almost 20 years to get to this point, he thought. “That feels right.”

She nodded slightly. “Yeah.”

****

Alex leaned over to pick up the red ball sitting in the middle of the hall and glanced around for his daughter’s pet. He had heard Oscar running through the hall a while ago, snorting and squealing happily as he chased the ball around. He walked through the house, opening the back door and looking around the yard for the pig. He was turning to go back inside when he noticed the gate swinging open at the side of the house.

“Damn it,” he muttered as he dropped the ball and pulled the door closed behind him. He swore under his breath when he saw the seven-year-old boy that belonged to one of his neighbors hanging out with a couple of his friends. The kid looked away when he called him and he swore colorfully as he crossed the street. The boy was a little troublemaker and he liked to go around the neighborhood opening people’s gates and letting their dogs loose. He didn’t know how he’d managed to get the gate open because he’d installed a latch higher up on the gate when the boy had started causing trouble.

“Gregory, did you open my gate?”

The little boy shrugged one shoulder and turned away from him, intent on ignoring him. He crouched down next to the bicycle and fiddled with the chain. “It’s just a stupid pig,” he said after a couple of minutes. “Nobody wants a pig.”

“Where’d Oscar go, Gregory?” He wished the boy’s parents would do something about his behavior but they insisted he would grow out of it. He turned his head to look at the other boys when Gregory refused to answer him. “I want to know where my daughter’s pig went right now.”

The boys looked at each other before they turned and pointed to the right. “Greg chased him that way.”

Alex nodded and took off in that direction, pulling his phone out and putting in a call to the sheriff’s office. He was getting tired of the boy’s antics. It would devastate Sam if anything happened to Oscar. He filed his complaint, answering questions and giving the officer on the other end the requested information as he walked up and down the blocks, one by one.

It was the sound of barking that drew his attention to a house further up the street and he started to run when he heard the terrified squealing. His heart was hammering as he rounded the corner and saw the dogs jumping up against the fence that bordered their yard. He scoured the area they were so focused on and finally located the little pig, backed into a corner under an overturned bicycle.

He picked the bicycle up and set it aside before crouching down and murmuring quietly to the little pig. He could see the fear in Oscar’s eyes and in the tremors causing his body to shake violently. It took several minutes before the pig moved closer to him and he carefully picked him up, knowing that in the animal’s terrified state he could easily bite him. He moved away from the yard and the dogs, getting back out to the sidewalk before he sat down on the curb and put Oscar down.

“You gonna be okay, Oscar?” he asked when the pig moved around agitatedly. As if there wasn’t enough going on right now, he thought. The last thing he needed was to have to explain a missing pig to his daughter. Sam was over at a friend’s house working on homework but he was expecting her back within the hour.

He waited until Oscar began to calm down before he picked him up once more, silently grumbling about 60-pound pigs as he walked back to his house. He was a block away when his phone rang and he had to carefully shift Oscar to his left arm so he could get to his phone. He hit the call button and lifted it to his ear without checking the caller ID.

“Hello?”

“A… …lo, he……. ra.”

He frowned when only a few fragments of speech came through and he glanced at the display of his cell to check the mobile reception. It wasn’t him, there was no problem with the signal, but his heart gave a little twitch when he realized who the person on the other end was. “Kendra, hello?”

“Yeah, hello, sorry, I just lost my signal for a minute I think. Can you understand me now?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Alex?”

“Yeah, I’m here. Just almost dropped the pig.”

“Should I ask?” she asked, her tone slightly amused.

“Better not,” he sighed as he finally reached his house again. “Wait, let me just… Just wait a second, okay?” He dropped the hand that held the phone to close the gate again before he put Oscar down. The pig ran up the steps and into the house quickly to hide under the bench in the hall.

Alex shook his head before he concentrated on the caller. “I’m back, sorry.”

“No, that’s alright,” she assured him. Kendra took a seat on a bench at the station while she waited for the Red Line train to arrive. It had been a long day and she was exhausted and ready to go back to her apartment and put her feet up.

He was trying to decipher her tone but it had been a long time and he wasn’t able to pin her moods down the way he had been able to at one time. He finally settled for asking, “How was your day?”

“It was long, but it turned out great.”

“So… your test results were what you were hoping for?”

She nodded and leaned back against the bench, her eyes lifting to check the track for the train. It wasn’t due for a few more minutes and chances were that it wouldn’t be running early. “Yeah,” she said finally, happy but scared to trust the results.

“That’s good,” Alex said and he could feel some of the weight on his shoulders suddenly fall off. There was no way around telling Sam about her mother, but this way it would be just the slightest bit easier. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“For now,” Kendra said. “I’ll still have to go in for regular checks.”

“Sure,” he cleared his thoughts. “I know.”

“But not for the next few months,” she said and the smile on her lips broke free. That sounded really, really good. “I can’t wait to actually make some plans.”

Her tone expressed a lot of relief, he realized. “So are you coming back to Roswell?”

“I will as soon as you’ve talked to Sam. As you said, we don’t want her to see me before then, and I accept that.”

Alex nodded. “I’ll talk to her tonight.”

She held her breath for a moment, excited and reluctant at the same time. “If you think it’s too soon…”

“No, I don’t want this to drag out. Sam has a right to know and I won’t keep it from her.” He went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, pulling out a pack of chicken breasts for dinner. “It may take a couple of days before I call you back and let you know how she feels about this.”

“I understand.” Kendra gnawed on her bottom lip. “Do you have any thoughts about how she’ll react?”

“Right now, I don’t know.” He pinned the phone between his ear and shoulder and washed his hands before tearing the package open and pulling the chicken out. “She may take the news well.” He put the pot of water on to boil and checked the burner as he shrugged. “She’s also 15 so how she takes things varies from one day to the next,” he said with a snort.

She laughed quietly. “I remember.”

“I’m hoping to talk to her when her more adult side shows, not the other one.” He almost cursed under his breath when the piece of chicken nearly slipped out of his hands and he bent down quickly to catch it again, sighing when it landed in his hand. Just as he was righting himself the phone crashed to the floor.

Alex winced and wiped his hands on a towel quickly before he picked it back up. “Kendra?”

“I’m still here,” she said, amused. “What happened?”

“Well, cooking and talking on the phone just doesn’t seem to be working.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s a good point and I guess there’s no need to keep you from it any longer, huh?” She got up when she saw her train arriving.

“I’ll get back to you soon, Kendra.”

“Okay. Thanks again, Alex.”

“No problem.”

****

Max was finishing up an oil change when Missy came into the shop and leaned against the car. He glanced up when she didn’t move and he quirked an eyebrow in question.

“I’m about to make the lunch run and I thought I’d see if you wanted anything.”

He glanced at the clock on the wall over the door that led to the waiting area. “No thanks, my wife’s bringin’ lunch by in a bit.”

Missy nodded. “Alright, I’ll be back in half an hour or so. “Old Mr. Marshall’s out front waiting for the brake job on his car to be finished and Mrs. Grayson is waiting on the oil change.”

Max glanced through the glass window into the waiting area as he reached for a rag to wipe his hands on. “Mr. Marshall would wait out there for the entire day if the job took that long. He never leaves while his car’s in the shop. Not one single time in all the years that I’ve known him.” He shrugged. “I’ll be finished up here in about 10 minutes or so and I’ll keep an eye on things until you get back.”

“Be back before long, boss man.”

He rolled his eyes and went back to work, making sure everything was in its proper place and there were no spills before slamming the hood. He vacuumed the interior, washed the windows, and checked the tires before pulling the car out of the bay and around to the front of the building. He stopped at the sink in the back of the shop to wash his hands and forearms before going to the door that led into the waiting area. He could hear the sound of a fussy baby before he even pulled the door open and stepped inside.

Mr. Marshall was nearly deaf so he wasn’t surprised that the man didn’t seem to be the slightest bit bothered by the noise. He smiled at Laura Grayson, shaking his head when she shot an apologetic glance in his direction. “Boy’s got a set of lungs on him, doesn’t he?” He had gone to school with her husband and he had met her a few times since the couple had gotten married.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, sounding near tears. “Since my husband’s been deployed he seems fussier than usual.”

“He’s not bothering me any,” he assured her. “I’ve got three kids at home myself.”

“Three?!” She cringed. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Right now I just can’t imagine doing this again.” She got up, weighed down by her purse, the diaper bag, and the baby.

“Why don’t you let me hold him so you can get in your purse,” he offered.

“I watch other moms do this and they seem to be able to do half a dozen things at once,” she babbled. “I can’t even seem to do one thing at a time.”

“You’ll get the hang of it. Trust me, it doesn’t happen overnight. My wife and I had twins and it took some time before we figured out what we were doing.”

“If we’d had twins I think I’d be a raving lunatic right now,” she said as she patted the baby’s back gently. “Are you sure you wouldn’t mind holding him?”

“Not at all.”

He accepted the baby when she transferred him into the mechanic’s arms and she stared at him when the he didn’t seem put off by the noise level. She hefted her purse up on the counter and started digging around for her credit card.

“What’s his name?”

“Shawn, like his daddy.” She pulled everything out of her purse and put it back twice before looking at him. “I must’ve dropped it in my car. Would you mind…?”

“No, go ahead.” Max looked down at the little boy in his arms as he moved to sit on the stool behind the counter. He rocked the baby and hummed quietly, smiling when his crying began to calm. He rested his cheek against the baby’s head, feeling the downy soft hair brushing against his skin and inhaling the sweet scent that seemed to cling to all babies. He could remember holding Justin and Nick when they were this small, walking the floor with them sometimes for hours on end. He and Liz had wanted to have more children, he had wanted to hold another baby in his arms and go through all of those firsts again.

He squeezed his eyes shut when the tiny hand came up to grasp at his goatee. God help him, he wanted their baby so badly. He wanted to hold another baby that he and Liz had created and brought into the world. He leaned back and reached up to take Shawn’s hand, swallowing hard when the tiny fingers wrapped around his thumb tightly.

“I’m sorry,” Laura apologized when she hurried back inside. “I had to look all over the car. I finally found it…” she fell silent when she realized her baby wasn’t crying. “How did you do that?” she asked as she slowly moved closer, her voice hushed.

“Maybe this little guy’s just missing his daddy. When my boys were his age my oldest, Nick, he would fuss when my wife would go out and there were times that boy wouldn’t stop until she came back home and picked him up.” He smiled at her. “They grow out of it.”

He handed the baby back to her and took care of her bill while she was bundling the baby up to take him out to the car. He returned her card and held the receipt down while she signed it, tearing her copy off and folding it over before sliding it across the counter. He chuckled when Shawn yawned widely before gnawing on his fist and blinking up at him sleepily.

“Now he wants to go to sleep,” Laura complained with a smile. “Thank you for everything.”

“No,” he said as he shook his head and reached out to tug the little boy’s hat down over his right ear where he had pushed it up. “Thank you. You guys have a good day.” He checked his watch and smiled when he saw that it was nearly time for Liz to arrive for lunch.

****

“So, this’s it,” Tess said when she unlocked the door to her former apartment and shoved it wide open. It was already late in the afternoon since they had gotten stuck in Los Angeles traffic for well over an hour.

“It’s nice,” Kyle said when he stepped in, more out of politeness than anything else.

She snorted. “Yeah, it’s not.” Her eyes wandered around to make sure everything was how she had left it. “It was a bit nicer with all the furniture in here, but now there’s not much left, so…”

“Ya still got a bed here?”

“Yeah,” she pointed to a closed door. “Not very big, but it’ll be alright for the short time we’re here.”

He nodded and placed their bag on the ground, wandering over to a window and glancing out of it. Ungh, if they got any sleep at all. She lived right next to a busy street. “What ya wanna do now?”

“I have a few moving cartons down in the basement. I could get them and we can pack a few things?” she suggested. “Or ya wanna relax for a bit first?”

“I wouldn’t mind stretching my legs for a bit,” he said as he wandered around. They had been in the car for what felt like days.

“Well, you can walk downstairs to loosen up,” she teased.

“I’d better be getting a big reward after all the abuse you’re puttin’ me through,” he grumbled as he followed her to the door.

“I’m gonna take you to Long Beach’s best restaurant tonight.”

“Okay,” he said slowly. “Well, that’s a start.”

“You’ll love it, trust me.”

“Well, I’m always up for good food.” He glanced down the hallway when they hit the landing and turned to go down the next flight of stairs. “It’s kinda quiet here.”

“Most of them are nocturnal I guess.”

“Natives get restless after the sun goes down, huh?”

“Yeah seems like it,” she sighed and gave the little door to her storage room a kick when it didn’t open.

He snorted and shook his head. “Damaging your toes seems a little extreme, don’t you think?” he asked as he nudged her out of the way and reached for the door.

“It just acts up now and then.”

He gave it a tug and then checked the top of the door, making a fist and thumping it hard. He gave the knob a jerk and it popped open. “See?”

She rolled her eyes. “Hero of the day.”

Before he could respond she ducked into the storage closet and started moving things around. The light had switched on when the door opened and he stuck his head in to look around.

“Here,” she shoved a few cartons in his hands.

“Want me to be your box boy, huh? That a fantasy I haven’t been introduced to yet?”

“Shut up, Kyle.”

He waggled his eyes at her playfully. “Ever done it in a storage closet?”

“Nooo, and considering the spiders down here, that can stay in the dark for me. Now move.”

“You’re just no fun,” he complained but obediently backed away from the door.

“Last night you told me differently,” she said in a sing-song voice as they went back to the apartment.

“Yeah, well, that was last night,” he muttered as they climbed the stairs. “That’s work of a whole different kind.”

“Whatever, babe.”

He chuckled under his breath as they finally reached her floor. “Next time why don’t you pick the apartment on the top floor?”

“There won’t be a next time.”

“Good answer.”

“So, maybe you could pack the stuff from the closet over there in this carton,” she said and pointed at the other side of the living room.

“Stick me with the closet, huh? Oh, alright,” he said when she just gave him THE look. He crossed the room and pulled the door open, making a face at the contents. “Pack the stuff from the closet,” he mumbled. “It looks like a file cabinet threw up in here.”

“Shut up.” She shook her head and pointed at a door next to her. “I’m gonna take the bedroom.”

He stared at the closet’s contents and huffed in aggravation. “Packrat,” he muttered under his breath. “Woman’s probably never thrown a piece of paper away.” He picked up a stack of folders, magazines, and what looked like bank statements, old bill stubs, and... He frowned at the paper on top. College transcripts? He lifted an eyebrow as he read over the courses and grades. “You took a course in Comparative Religions of the World?” he hollered.

She poked her head out of the bedroom. “Hey, who said anything about snooping around?”

He shrugged. “Hey, I’m not snooping around,” he denied. “Your courses just caught my attention.”

“I was young and wanted to try out something new. Sue me.”

“Tryin’ new stuff out’s a good thing.” He flipped the carton up on one end and slid the stack of papers inside before reaching for more. “Looks like the subject didn’t really interest you.”

“No, not really,” she called from the other room when she went back to work. “Pretty boring.”

“Yeah, wouldn’t hold my interest for long either.” He grabbed another stack and shoved it in the carton, crouching down to grab a piece of paper that fell to the floor. He leaned forward to grab it and stuck it in with the rest of the stuff before standing up and grabbing the next stack. He frowned when the papers inside the folder on top shifted and his right hand jerked to catch the contents before they could get away from him. He was shuffling them back inside when the corner of a piece of slick paper caught his eye and he glanced up to look at the tag at the top of the folder. MEDICAL. His heart started to pound and he flipped the cover open to stare down at the papers inside. He shook his head as he used his thumb to slide the small picture out and he stepped back as what it meant hit him.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 97

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:06 am

Eva: You’re right, Kyle isn’t going to let this go. He’s going to want her to explain what he’s seeing.

You’re right, Alex and Sam are headed into a difficult conversation as well.

Earth2Mama: Oh, Kyle’s gonna listen… he wants answers.

So far, Kendra does appear to be sincere. As for Sam, we’ll find out soon.

Max just took a very big step.

Natalie36: Tess… we’ll find out in this part. As for Sam… well, looks like that’s coming up too, lol.

begonia9508: It would’ve been hard to ignore what he saw since that little slip of paper slid out of the folder and he can’t just forget it now either.

Max is making some really good progress where the baby is concerned.

Lol, think Sam will take care of the situation, huh?

mary mary: Nope, always a good policy. We’ll check in with Kyle and Tess in this part.

Shawn just played an important part in getting Max to move forward.

60 pounds is a lot of pig…

Cardinal: That pic will be explained in this part… during the K/T conversation.

Max really needed that reminder. He can’t forget about the past or the risks involved with the pregnancy, but seeing the good things will help.

Lol, Alex will probably be doing that soon.

Alien_Friend: We’ll find out in this part. Lol, it was mean… Double and Trouble pointing at each other. “It was her!” Kyle’s had that in the works for a while.

Alex really pounded the pavement looking for Oscar. The situation with Kendra will be difficult enough.

Max really needed that moment with Shawn. It helped him to see the good possibilities with this pregnancy.

Rodney: Tess told him she couldn’t have children but didn’t give a further explanation.

Well… Sam’s pretty attached to Oscar and while he’s packing some serious bacon and chops, he’s gonna remain a pampered pet.

Healerfan: Again, sorry your feedback was not there when we posted. ;)

Yep, Max will love the new baby.


A/N: Hey everyone! So Christmas and New Years is coming up and as every year, we are taking a break from posting over the holidays.

We will be back at January, 8th.

Therefore we have extra long updates for TIC TAC and Double Dare this week. Enjoy the holidays! MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!

Angel & Steffi




Part 97

Sam wasn’t paying attention to much of anything as she composed a text to Andy. She was walking home from Jenny’s house after spending the past two hours on homework. Well, they had put at least half an hour into their homework, she thought. Most of the time was spent discussing their boyfriends over hot chocolate, but as far as she was concerned it was time well spent. It wasn’t like Math was that much of a challenge for her. She’d always had a knack where numbers were concerned and the problems practically solved themselves.

She sent the text and shoved the phone in her pocket as she opened the front door and entered the house. She could smell something cooking and after a minute she decided it was chicken. She could hear Dad talking and knew he must be on the phone because she could usually tell if Isabel was at the house. If the principal wasn’t at the house then Dad had to be on the phone with her, she thought as she tossed her jacket and backpack on the couch.

She crouched down when Oscar poked his head out from under the coffee table and she reached out to scratch his ears. “Hey, what’re you hiding from?” she asked.

Oscar snorted and burrowed his snout into her palm.

“Does that mean you’re not gonna tell me?” She patted him, gave him another scratch behind his ears and got up. “I’ll get you a treat and be back in a minute.” She walked into the kitchen just as Dad was ending his call and she held in her laughter when he leaned over the counter as close as possible to drop his phone. “Is it that hard to get Isabel off the phone?” she teased.

He glanced up in surprised. “Sam!”

She smirked at his shocked expression. “What’s up, Dad?”

“Uh, I just didn’t expect you to be home already.”

She made a face at him. “It’s almost dinnertime,” she said, shooting a pointed look at the stove.

“Yeah, right,” he said and looked at the food. Should he wait till after dinner to give her the news? “Sam, why don’t you sit down,” he said as he washed his hands and then turned the heat down so dinner wouldn’t burn. “There’s somethin’ we need to talk about.”

She frowned at his tone, deciding she didn’t like it. It was too serious. “Okay,” she said carefully and slid onto one of the barstools at the counter.

“Honey, I had an unexpected visitor recently...” Damn, there was no easy way to say this! “Your mother wants to see you.”

“My…” Sam looked at him, confused. “Dad, what’re you talking about?”

“Kendra, your mother, came to town to let me know that she wants to meet you. It’s not something you have to do and there’s no pressure.” He pulled out the barstool next to hers and sat down. “She understands that you may not want to see her and she’ll respect your wishes.” He rested his hand over hers. “I’ll support your decision either way.”

The girl looked at her dad, startled. Out of everything that could’ve happened, she had least expected this. “What does she want?”

“As far as I can tell she just wants to see you, get to know you.” He rubbed her arm. “I had my doubts at first. I was worried that she had come back because she wanted to take you away from me or that she had some ulterior motive, but I do believe that she just wants to get to know you.”

Sam pulled her arm back. “But she had the chance to get to know me and she didn’t take it. I’m 15 and now she finally wants to get to know her daughter?”

Alex bit his bottom lip for a moment before he nodded. “There’s no denying that she made a huge mistake when she walked away. Nothing she ever does will make up for what she took from you by doing that.”

“Is she here? In Roswell?”

“She was,” he said carefully. “She had to go back to Chicago but if you decide you’d like to meet with her then she’ll come back.”

Sam snorted. “That’s typical of her. First she leaves us and now she wants me to make a decision.”

“You can blame me for that one, Sam. I’m the one who said that the decision was yours to make. I didn’t want her to just show up and run into you. I wanted you to be prepared and to have the choice of meeting her or not.”

“I wanna be alone.”

Alex nodded and motioned to the stove. “I’ll get to work on dinner and call you when it’s ready.”

She nodded and got up. “Don’t expect me to be very hungry.”

“I won’t complain as long as you eat a little something. And, Sam?” He waited until she turned to look at him. “I’m here if you wanna talk.”

“There isn’t much to talk about, Dad. She abandoned us and now she wants another chance. I’m not sure she deserves one.”

“She may not,” he agreed. “And even if you decide to meet her you may never be able to form a real connection with her. It’s not something you can force and I wouldn’t want you to. And if your answer is no, that’s okay.”

She stood in the middle of the kitchen and wrapped her arms around herself while a single tear ran down her cheek. “Okay.”

It hurt to see her in pain and not be able to fix it or make it go away. He rounded the counter to pull her into a hug. There was nothing he could even say to make this better or easier for her and he hated that. “I love you, Sam,” he said quietly as he kissed her head.

****

Kyle dropped everything but the picture in his hand, heedless of the papers scattering around his feet. It wasn’t possible, he thought, denying what was right in front of him. He blindly crossed the room, looking for Tess and finally finding her in the bedroom at the back of the apartment. He reached out to grip the doorframe as he tried to find the words. “You said you couldn’t have kids,” he finally choked out.

“What’re you…?” She turned to look at him, but the words got stuck in her throat when she recognized what he held in his hand. Damn, how could she have forgotten about that?

“You said you couldn’t get pregnant, Tess. You told me to my face that you couldn’t have kids.” His hand was shaking, anger vibrating through his body as he held the little picture out to her. “That’s your name at the top of a sonogram picture that looks suspiciously like the kind pregnant women have. Care to explain that?”

She swallowed hard when he held her biggest secret in his hands. The only secret she had never told anyone else.

Kyle felt like the rug had just been pulled out from under him. “You lied to me. How could you lie to me about this?”

“Kyle...” she started. “I didn’t…”

“You didn’t what, lie? I know what you told me the other day, Tess. You said you couldn’t have kids... this sonogram picture kind of negates that, which means you lied to me!” he yelled.

His words hurt like nothing else had ever hurt in her life. She walked over to him to snap the picture out of his hands. She looked down at it while her free arm wrapped around her waist. “I lost it,” she whispered.

“You lost it,” he repeated dumbly. He had never heard anything about that and that didn’t make any sense. Andrew would’ve known and that meant Maria would’ve known. “What happened?”

“I just… It just happened.” She walked to the window at the other end of the room and stared out of it. “One morning I woke up with cramps and I…. I” she started to sob as the memories that had been so well hidden over the last few years burst free. “I went to the bathroom and there was so much blood…”

God, so many questions were running through his head right now. Who was the father? Why did it seem as if no one knew? Why had she lied to him? Who had been with her to make sure she got through such a devastating ordeal? He was hurt and he was angry, but he could feel her pain. For the moment he shelved his own feelings and moved to take her in his arms. “Tess... I’m sorry...”

She wrapped her arms around him as tightly as she could and her legs felt incredibly weak in that moment. No one but she and the baby’s father had ever known about it and until now that chapter of her life had been locked up in a very dark place in her mind. She wasn’t ready to go through that all over again.

“You wanted the baby,” he murmured, knowing it was true. With her childhood being estranged from most of her family, it only made sense that she would’ve wanted so badly to establish that familial connection.

Yes, she had wanted her baby. She had been so happy when the pregnancy test had turned out positive.

“Where was the father?”

“He was at work at the time.”

“And now?”

“I don’t know.” She loosened her crushing hug around him again. “We broke up a few weeks after and I haven’t seen him since then. He’s probably still here in town.”

“You broke up... Why?”

She just looked at him, hoping he would know the answer without her having say it out loud.

“He couldn’t deal with a miscarriage.” Or she couldn’t let him in to help her deal with it, he thought as he watched her.

The picture slipped out of her hand and slowly fluttered to the ground. She looked after it and tears welled up in her eyes at the memory of getting it from the doctor. Congratulations Ms. Evans, he had said, the baby is just fine.

“Tess... you could’ve told me this the other night, babe. Hell, you just let me go on and on and you can’t have kids because of this. I wish I’d known.”

“I couldn’t talk about it,” she said quietly.

He leaned over to pick the picture up and held it out to her. “I’m sorry.”

She looked at his hand without taking it from him. “I don’t know why I kept it.”

Kyle looked down at the picture when she made no move to take it. “How far along were you?” he asked as his thumb brushed over the image.

“The pic was taken the day before,” she said hoarsely.

He glanced at the date in the upper left-hand corner, but it gave no indication to the baby’s age at the time it was taken. “Was the baby a boy or a girl?” he asked, not wanting to push any further.

She just shook her head and turned away from him, her hands clutched to her stomach.

“Hell, I’m sorry, babe,” he said as he carefully set the picture down and moved to put his hands on her shoulders. “We don’t have to talk about it if you’d rather not.”

“Jason... the dad was pushing for us to try to get pregnant again... but I couldn’t.”

He shook his head. What kind of asshole pushed a woman into trying to have another child after she had just lost one? He paused and shook his head. Why would the guy have been pushing for that when the miscarriage had made it impossible for her to have another baby? “He didn’t understand that you couldn’t have more children?” he asked.

Tess bit her lip, knowing it was now or never. “Physically I’m still able to...”

Her admission hit him like a punch in the gut. “You told me you couldn’t.” He backed away from her. “You said it wasn’t that you didn’t want kids but that you couldn’t have them.” He felt like his emotions were being jerked around.

“The doctors say I can still have them,” she told him through her tears. “But I can’t go through that again.”

“Why is it so hard to trust me, Tess? I’ve put myself out there time after time, put myself on the line, and instead of being honest with me you jerk me around!” He didn’t even know what to believe right now.

“This isn’t easy for me, Kyle. I’ve never told anyone.”

“Damn it, Tess, I’m not everyone! I’m the man that loves you. I’m the man who put everything on the line to put in for a transfer without knowin’ if you’d even give me the time of day. I’m the man that wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“Wanted?” she asked fearfully.

He shook his head, hurting inside as he forced the words out. “I need time to think and you need to decide whether or not you can trust me. I’m not gonna be in a relationship with you if you can’t.” He moved closer to her and tipped her chin up, swallowing hard when he saw her blue eyes swimming in tears. “And if you can’t then I’m not the right guy for you.”

“Kyle,” she croaked out, her hand grasping his shirt. She didn't want him to leave. What would she do if he left her now?

“I can’t, Tess. When we get back I’ve got plans to take the boys campin’ for the weekend and when that’s finished... I’m goin’ back to Atlanta.”

She just stared at him while her mind was trying to understand what was happening. He was leaving her.

“You’ve gotta decide what you want. When it comes to trust I’m an all or nothin’ kinda guy. If you don’t want to risk havin’ kids I think, given time, I can make peace with that. I’m open to adoption and God knows there’re plenty of kids out there who need a good home. But without trust... there’s nothin’ for us to build on.”

“But you can trust me, Kyle. I love you.”

He rested his hand alongside her cheek. “I believe you love me, Tess, I don’t doubt that at all. But if you trusted me you would’ve been honest with me. You told me you didn’t want kids and then you told me you couldn’t have kids. Now you’re tellin’ me you can’t have kids but you’re afraid to go through it again. So, no, right now I don’t know that I can trust you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “And you don’t know how much it hurts to say that to you.”

She felt her heart breaking slowly with every passing second. “I don’t know what to do,” she denied and walked away from him, putting space between them so she could breathe.

“Take some time and figure out what you want. You’re scared to put yourself through another pregnancy and I can respect that. I can’t imagine losing a child and I would never put you through that if you weren’t ready to take that risk again. We’re very sexually active, Tess, and while we use protection it doesn’t exactly have a perfect track record. Do you know what it’d do to me if you had gotten pregnant with this kinda fear about another pregnancy? It’d tear us apart because I didn’t know about it and for all I know you would’ve continued to keep that fear to yourself.”

“We’ve been together for what? A few weeks? You can’t expect me to tell you every fear in my life after a few weeks,” she said, a little angrier now that her self-protection was kicking in.

“You think lyin’ to me’s the better option?” he yelled, responding to the anger in her tone.

“I didn’t lie,” she denied. “For ME I’m not able to have children.” Okay, it kinda was a lie, but not to hurt him.

He slammed his fist against the wall in irritation. “And if you’d come up pregnant? What do you think that would’ve done to us?”

“I’m on birth control and don't tell me it’s not 100% safe, because I take care of this in more than one way. But that isn’t the point. There’s always something that could happen. Your job isn’t a real safe one either.”

“I’ve never lied to you about the risks associated with my job!” he shouted. How could she stand there and argue with him about this? The two were worlds apart.

“I didn’t tell this to hurt you, Kyle.” She sat down on the bed. “I was protecting myself not wanting to go through that again. I made my peace with the fact that I can’t have kids, even if the doctors say it’s possible.”

“Do you really not understand that you lied to me? Or are you deliberately ignoring that little fact?”

“Fine,” she exploded. “I lied. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone. I didn’t want to tell anyone what happened to me.”

He suddenly had a moment of doubt. Was he being unreasonable? She didn’t want to risk having children so she had convinced herself that she couldn’t. He could understand doing what was necessary to protect yourself. No, he decided after a moment. “You can’t start to heal if you don’t face it.”

She snorted bitterly. “I did face it, Kyle. Don’t tell me I didn’t. I saw a freakin’ shrink for month.”

“Seein’ a shrink doesn’t heal you,” he snapped. “It helps, but it doesn’t fix things. If you’d faced it you’d have been able to tell me the damned truth!”

“Well, as you know my family has a problem with facing things,” she said bitterly.

“So that’s a good reason for you to remain stuck in that cycle? Do you remember Sunday? That’s what happens when people refuse to face things, Tess!”

She remained silent, knowing that there were no words that could help right now. He was hurt and so was she and there was just no way to fix that at the moment.

He shook his head when she refused to say anything else. “I’m gonna go finish packing up the other room,” he said finally.

“Sure,” she whispered but didn’t move.
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 98

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:33 am

Rodney: C’mon, Tess and Kyle might be going through a rough patch but you know we love happy endings.

Honesty is important in a relationship and Kyle is right about that. He also has to understand that he needs to be patient with Tess but we’re pretty sure he’ll get to that point.

Lol, Kyle and Tess will get through this and they’ll come out of it stronger.

It is Sunday... and we are updating as promised.

Earth2Mama: Kyle and Tess both have some thinking to do and some decisions to make.

Sam is in a difficult position but she’ll have some help making that decision.

keepsmiling7: Sam will always wonder if she decides not to meet her mother.

Tess and Kyle both have to decide what they want.

Natalie36: We’ll see soon.

mary mary: Lol, of course! We’ll begin untangling soon.

Alien_Friend: Tess and Kyle have hit a rough patch in their relationship but you know we both love a happy ending.

We’ll have to wait to find out what Sam decides to do.

begonia9508: Kyle and Tess have some serious issues to work through but we’re confident they’ll get there.

sarammlover: LOL!!! Well, it wasn’t actually planned to happen that way. But you know we both love a happy ending so while they’ve hit a rough patch they’ll survive it.

Sam, of course, is also in a tough place. You just never know, she might do that.

Cardinal: We’ll find out soon what Sam decides to do.

Kyle and Tess are in a tough spot and it will take some work for them to get through this but we’re confident they’ll get there.



Part 98

“What’s for dinner?” Andy asked when he came into the kitchen through the back door, throwing his jacket on a chair. He had been out in the garage, searching for a carton with DVDs that was still there.

Maria glanced up from the counter where she was leaning over it, looking at a catalog with equipment for the shop. She pointed at the still empty spot in the kitchen where the stove was supposed to be. “It won’t be delivered until tomorrow, so I ordered pizza.”

“Extra cheese and pepperoni?” he asked hopefully.

“Of course,” Maria smirked.

“Cool.” He could already feel his stomach grumbling in response to the thought of his favorite pizza. “Are we alone tonight?”

“Um-hmm, we are.”

Andy nodded and leaned against the counter from the other side. “How was your day?”

Maria looked at him, surprised when he asked about her day – something he hadn’t done in a long time. She shut the catalog and shrugged. “I was at the shop most of the day waiting for some deliveries since your Aunt Tess isn’t in town.”

“Where’s Aunt Tess?”

“She went to Long Beach to finally give her up apartment there.”

“Huh. Guess Uncle Kyle went with her?”

“Yeah. They’re planning to be back on Thursday so he can go camping with you boys.” She looked at him. “You still wanna do that, don’t you?”

“Yeah. If I don’t get back out there I’m never gonna do it. And before what happened I loved campin’ and hiking.”

“Okay. We should probably look for your gear tomorrow. It’s probably still spread out in several cartons in the garage, huh?”

“Uh-huh.” He opened the refrigerator and poked around, looking for something to drink.

“Are you gonna ask Sam to join you?” Maria asked. She knew Kyle would have an eye on them if he did.

“It’s kind of a guys weekend and they’d never let me hear the end of it if I invited my girlfriend.” He made a face. “She’ll understand that.” He looked at Mom. “She will, right?”

“I think Sam will be cool about it,” she agreed.

“Cool.” He shifted and pulled his phone out of his pocket when it started to ring. “It’s Sam. I’m just gonna...”

She nodded. “Sure go ahead.”

He hurried out of the kitchen as he answered the call. “Hey, Sam, what’s up?”

“Hey,” she greeted him quietly, suddenly not so sure what she should say. Had it been a good idea to call him so early?

He frowned at her tone. “You okay?”

“I don’t know,” she blurted out and held the cell away for a moment so she wouldn’t sob right into his ear.

“Uh... Sam?” He wasn’t sure what was going on but she sounded really upset.

“Sorry I,” she swallowed. “Maybe I shouldn’t have called. Sorry.”

“No, no, you should’ve called.” I just have no idea what I’m supposed to say if you don’t tell me what’s wrong though, he thought.

She didn’t hear his words anymore because she had already hung up the phone. What the hell had she been thinking calling him now? She wasn’t even able to form a simple sentence.

Andy held the phone out to look at the display that now showed the disconnected call. What the hell was that all about? He shoved his phone in his pocket and went back into the kitchen to grab his jacket. “Mom, I gotta go out for a little while, okay?”

She frowned. “Something wrong?”

“Um, Sam’s kinda upset about somethin’ but she didn’t say what.” He shrugged. “I just wanna make sure she’s okay.”

“Alright,” Maria gave in. “But be back in an hour.”

“Okay, Mom.” He hurried out the door but was back a second later. “You’ll save my pizza, right?”

“No, I’m gonna feed it to Theo,” she teased.

“Mom,” he grumbled and pulled the door closed behind him. He cut through several people’s yards to get to Sam’s house sooner. He pushed the gate open and stepped up on the porch to knock on the front door.

Alex frowned when there was a knock on the door. He wiped his greasy hands on a towel, making a face at the big brown spot he left on it. “Great.” He went to the door quickly and opened it, frowning when he found his daughter’s boyfriend on the other side. “Andy.”

“Hey, Mr. Whitman.” He shifted from one foot to the other. “Can I see Sam?”

Was the boy here because she had called him or was it just a random visit? “Why?”

“Um, well...” Should he tell him the truth? “She called a while ago and she sounded kinda upset so I just wanted to talk to her.”

So she had called him. Alex looked at the boy, trying to decide what to do. Normally he wouldn’t allow him to visit his daughter this late in the evening, but it was a complicated situation. “C’mon in, I’ll check and if she wants to see you.”

He nodded and stepped inside, shoving his hands in his pockets and waiting while her dad went to talk to Sam.

A moment later Alex knocked on his daughter’s door, waiting to see if she would invite him inside.

Sam mumbled a “Come in” but remained facing the laptop on her desk.

“Hey,” he greeted. “There’s someone downstairs to see you and I wanted to know if…”

Andy. She knew it was Andy. She had probably scared him with that call. Not that he’d admit it. She brushed her hair back and debated whether she wanted to see him or not. “It’s okay,” she said after a minute.

“I’ll send him up,” Alex agreed. “This is a one-time occurrence, you know that, right?”

She nodded. “Thanks, Dad.”

He walked back downstairs again. “You can go to her room. First door on the right.”

“Cool.” He ducked out of the room before the man could start giving him the warnings. He hurried upstairs and down the hall to knock on Sam’s open doorway.

“Come in,” she told him quietly.

“Hey, you okay?” he asked as he slowly moved into the room, glancing around curiously.

Alright, you have to face him, Sam told herself. It’s your own fault. You worried him with your stupid call. Slowly she turned in her seat to look at him. “I’ve been better,” she admitted and forced a half smile.

“What’s wrong?”

It was hard to find the right words to express what had happened and what she felt about it. “Seems like my mom’s back…” she told him and shifted her gaze to the ground.

“Your mom? But she’s never... I mean, you saw her?”

“No,” she sniffed and brushed the tears away. “Dad did.”

“Oh. So, she’s in town and what, wants to see you?”

“She’s not here right now I don’t think, but yeah… she wants to see me.”

He crouched down in front of her and rested his left elbow on the desk. “What d’you want?”

Sam sighed deeply. “If I knew.”

“What’s your dad say?”

“He says he supports me no matter what I decide,” she made a face and looked at the handsome face of her boyfriend. “Doesn’t really help.”

“No, I guess not.” His hand settled on her knee. “What can I do to help?”

She placed her hand over his. “What would you do?”

He had no idea. “Whatever would make you feel better.”

Sam laughed slightly. “Goofy, I meant what would you do in my case?”

“Oh,” he blushed lightly, “right, I knew that. Um, wow, well, if it was me I’d probably tell her to go to hell. But I don’t always think things through before I do them.”

“Yeah, that’s true,” she snorted and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Your mom’s an idiot, Sam,” he said as his arms slid around her waist. “But maybe she knows it now. She came back, right? And she’d be stupid to not wanna get to know you.”

Her head rested against his neck while she nodded, trying to believe his words. “Thanks for coming here.”

“Welcome,” he mumbled.

For a moment she just enjoyed his company and relaxed a bit. There was still enough time to figure out what to do, right?

“You miss me while you were doin’ homework with Jenny?” he asked, his tone teasing.

“A bit,” she said, a slight smile in her voice.

He grinned at her admission. “Ya know I’m goin’ campin’ this weekend, right?”

She backed away a bit and looked at him. “That was this weekend?”

“Yep.”

“Oh, right,” she nodded.

“What’re you gonna do? Hang out with Jenny and Sarah since the twins are goin’ campin’ too?”

“Maybe I’m just gonna hide in my room and in my bed,” she shrugged.

“Maybe you could do somethin’ with your dad and Principal Russell.” He made a face at that. “Yeah, scratch that.”

“There is a basketball game this weekend. Maybe I’ll go,” she considered. Right now, she didn’t feel in the mood for anything.

“Wanna go campin’ with us?”

She wanted to. “I know it’s a guy’s only thing so probably not.”

“I could convince the guys if it’d make you feel better.” Okay, he might convince them but he’d never hear the end of it.

“We both know you’re just asking because I feel miserable. So you better stop before I agree.”

He shrugged one shoulder, not disagreeing. “Okay. I mean, not that I wouldn’t want you there, but you’re right, it is kind of a guys thing.”

Her hand moved over his hair. “Besides my dad wouldn’t agree to that, fearing we would spend the night in the same tent.”

“Okay, well, I wouldn’t complain about that but I guess your dad would have a problem with it.” He smirked and leaned back to look at her. “You want me to stay home this weekend?”

“No,” she shook her head. “Go.” Andy needed this trip and it would be selfish to prevent him from taking it.

He grinned. “You can call me. I don’t know how great reception will be but I’m sure it’ll pick up somewhere out there.”

“Or you could call me when you actually have a signal, huh?”

“Sure,” Andy agreed, “I can do that.” He looked at her carefully. “You better now?”

“A bit, yes. Sorry, I know my call was weird, but at first I just wanted to talk to you and then I didn’t know what to say.”

“I know about that,” he said, smirking at her. “And I think you expected me to say something like: How can you not meet your mother? I would be glad to see my dad again.”

She swallowed when he said out loud what she had thought when she had called him without thinking first.

He nodded when her face told his suggestion was true. “That’s a different situation, Sam. My Dad cared about me my whole life.”

“I just… I don’t know what to do. It’s like part of me wants to tell her that I never wanna see her. It’s always been me and Dad and we’ve done fine without her.”

“But?” he prompted when she fell silent.

“I also wanna know how she could just leave like that. She walked out on my dad. She left me when I was just a few days old. How could she not want me?” She bit her lip hard when it started to tremble again. “15 years and she never once came to see me. Not for birthdays or holidays, nothing.” She shoved herself to her feet and started to pace around her room. “She doesn’t know anything about me!”

Andy watched her for a while, trying to decide what he could say that would actually help her. “Look, Sam,” he stood and stopped her restless pacing. “Let’s say you decide to not meet her, okay? You tell your dad no and she stays away…”

She just looked at him, waiting for more.

“Would you just go on? Or ask yourself day after day: What if?” He looked at her questioningly, already knowing the answer. When she didn’t answer he just nodded. “You would wonder, right? You couldn’t just let it go and go on.”

“Probably not,” she dropped her head.

“So the answer is simple, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

He nodded in satisfaction, certain that they had resolved that part of the problem.

Sam shook her head at his expression. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” She gave him a slight smile to take the sting out of the words.

“Well, sometimes.” He shrugged. “Got you to an answer though.”

“Thanks for comin’ over, Andy.”

*****

Tess wandered around her old apartment quietly as if any kind of sound would be enough to shatter her whole body into thousands of pieces. Despite the passing cars outside it had gotten silent in the rooms since Kyle had left a while ago. She looked out the window, her eyes following the direction he had taken. When would he come back? she wondered. And the more important question was: Would he stay?

Her gaze fell down to the little sonogram she was holding in her cold hand. “I had already picked out a name for you,” she whispered sadly, the index finger of her free hand traced the little silhouette on the picture.

She kicked the door shut with her foot, laughing into the phone about something Jason had said. “Oh, shut up, just because I’m becoming a fat whale now doesn’t mean you’re allowed to call me that.”

“I just said we need to extend your shower maybe…” he teased, amused.

“That’s the same as calling me fat.”

“It’s not,” he denied. “It’s hardly even visible that you’re pregnant yet, Tess.”

“Oh, no, it is,” she shook her head. “I was just out shopping and my normal shirt size has gotten really tight in some places.”

Jason snorted. “Right now, it’s more like you’ve been eating too much, darling.”

“Oh, that reminds me,” Tess walked further into the room and placed the two bags from shopping on the couch before wandering off into the kitchen. “I’m starving.”

“You should eat then. My baby should get the food it needs.”

“And it will,” she agreed.

“Alright, I need to go back to work anyway. See you tonight, Tess.”

“Bye, Jay,” she hung up the phone happily and went on into the kitchen while she tried to decide what was on her menu for lunch. Since she had gotten pregnant it was hard to decide becaise there were so many good things too eat.

She opened the refrigerator and looked inside, gnawing on her bottom lip while she tried to figure out what to eat. Maybe some chicken from yesterday? she thought and bent down to shove some other things aside.

Oww, her hand came up to her stomach when she felt a slight pain that quickly went away again. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten the hamburger for breakfast, she thought and got the chicken out. She closed the door again and walked over to the little island in the middle of the kitchen to unwrap the food.

Her hand shot out to grab the counter when she felt the pain again, more intense now but it was gone in the next second. “What was that?” she wondered aloud, feeling a bit of nervousness creeping in.

Tess took some deep breaths and stayed where she was for a few moments to make sure everything was okay.

But it wasn’t…


She squeezed her eyes shut when her vision got blurry from tears at those painful memories. After a snack she had laid down for a while until another wave of pain in her stomach had woken her up abruptly. She remembered the small trail of blood that had trailed down her bare leg when she had gotten up to call an ambulance.

The baby had been gone by the time she had arrived at the hospital.

Her trembling body sank to the ground slowly. There wasn’t anyone she could call and take comfort from, because nobody knew what had happened that day. Nobody but her and Jason had known she had been pregnant and now the darkest day in her life had come back to haunt her – taking another person from her that she wanted so badly in her life.

*****

Liz slid into bed, smiling at the feel of the cool crisp sheets. She stretched luxuriously and rolled over to look at Max. He was working on something on his laptop and she reached out to let her fingertips play over his forearm. “Max…”

“Um-hmm.”

She could hear the distraction in his tone and she rolled her eyes. Whatever he was working on had his full attention and that was unacceptable. She dropped her hand to his thigh and rasped her nails against the skin below the hem of his boxers. She smiled when his fingers paused on the keyboard and he looked at her.

“Max, I want something,” she said, her voice low as she continued to tease his skin.

His gaze dropped to her hand for a moment before shooting back up to meet her eyes. He closed his laptop and set it aside, quickly rearranging his position so he was lying next to her. “Anything,” he growled as he kissed her.

“Pizza,” she mumbled against his lips.

Max slowly pulled back, licking his lips as he frowned at her. “What?”

“I’d really like a triple cheese pizza and some rocky road ice cream.” She smiled brightly when his gaze dropped to her stomach. “I can’t help it!”

“You want pizza and ice cream at almost eleven o’clock at night,” he said slowly. “And we’re gonna blame this on the baby?”

“Yes.”

“Alright,” he grumbled and got out of bed. “Pizza and ice cream,” he muttered as he got dressed.

“Do you want me to write down what kind I want?”

“No, I think I can remember.” He glanced at his watch, knowing he was going to have to make a call to get his hands on a pizza this late. He leaned over her when he grabbed his wallet. “Is it safe to say that’s all you’ll be wanting?”

She grabbed his collar and pulled him close for a kiss. “Well, I’ll take you for dessert.”

He snorted. “You’ll eat all that food and then go to sleep,” he said affectionately. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and grabbed his phone. “Alright, I’ll be back soon as possible.”

*****

Kyle rested his forearms on the wide railing that bordered the pier as he stared out over the ocean. The wind had picked up a bit and the water was choppy. Dark grey clouds had rolled across the sky and he could smell the impending rain on the breeze. He leaned forward to brace his forehead on his fisted hands, drawing in deep lungfuls of the salty rain-scented air.

His chest hurt with the effort it was taking to hold the hurt and pain inside. It hurt that she hadn’t felt she could trust him with something so personal. Part of him understood her need to protect herself and it wasn’t like he expected her to just start listing off every single thing that she had kept to herself over the years, but this was something that had the potential of affecting both of them.

Damn, if she had gotten pregnant without him knowing about this… The emotional fallout could’ve easily destroyed them. He didn’t think she had gotten his point when he had brought that up. He knew she was devastated by the loss of her child and he had no way of truly understanding her grief. He wanted to be there for her if she would let him but… His conscience chose that moment to speak up. But where are you?

“Shut up,” he muttered to himself. He did believe that trust was the foundation of a good relationship but now that he’d had time to clear his head he also knew that it wasn’t a trust issue. At least not completely. She had a right to her privacy, a right to grieve in her own way. It just bothered him that she hadn’t trusted him enough to tell him about her fear of going through another pregnancy.

Maybe it had been wrong to tell her that he was going back to Atlanta. He was going to have to go back but he hadn’t had plans to do it so soon. He also hadn’t planned to go alone. He needed to go back and talk to her, let her know he hadn’t meant it as an ultimatum. He had just needed time to think, to clear his head, and figure out what was going on.

He knew Tess trusted him. He also knew that trust was a huge issue for her and he had betrayed that only once. It was all it had taken for him to lose her and it had nearly cost him any chance at a future with her. She had taken a risk and let him back in and it had taken a major leap of faith for her to trust him again. He lifted his head and looked out over the ocean, the lights from the pier bouncing off of the waves.

He was certain that a little time apart was probably a good thing right now. He didn’t want to push her because she needed time to figure things out. But he didn’t want her to think he was just having his say and taking off on her either. He straightened up and rolled his shoulders before turning and heading back to the parking lot. He needed to get back to the apartment, back to Tess, and let her know he loved her and that when she was ready he was there for her.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 99

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:10 am

begonia9508: Happy New Year!

Andy’s growing up in many ways.

Sam is taking it into consideration.

Lol, well, they have three kids, but they’ve only been through one pregnancy and it’s been almost 16 years. But he should definitely remember those cravings at odd hours. Some women don’t seem to have them and other women have every kind of craving out there.

Kyle is upset and a lot of that is because if Tess had gotten pregnant without him knowing about her past it could’ve destroyed them as a couple.

Earth2Mama: Nah, you know us... it takes a little time for this group, lol.

Andy really stepped up when Sam needed him.

Max has his work cut out for him... he’d better get his rest when he can.

Kyle will get back to Tess.

Cardinal: Andy handled Sam’s situation very well.

Yep, Tess has buried that as deeply as possible but we think Kyle’s up to the task of helping her deal with it.

Domino’s is open until midnight... unfortunately, Roswell here doesn’t have a Domino’s, lol. Now that he’s accepted the pregnancy he’s getting to a place where he’s more comfortable with it.

keepsmiling7: The holidays were great, thanks! We missed you guys too!

Cravings at all hours... lol, hope Max is ready.

mary mary: Perhaps not, lol, but it certainly got her what she wanted.

Kyle will be there for his girl.

Eva: No, lol, we’re proud of Andy too! He’s grown a lot since the beginning of this story.

Tess has buried her pain as deeply as possible because it was the only way she could deal with it. Kyle will be there for her. Kyle is dealing with things and sorting them so you can expect him to be the standup guy we all know and love.

Alien_Friend: Nah, not for long at all.

Andy could be good at a lot of things if he’d just let himself be open. Sam needed him and he stepped up to be there for her.

Max does have his moments, doesn’t he?

Thanks, we’re glad to be back!

sarammlover: Andy’s grown since the beginning of this story and even though we’ve played the one step forward, two steps back game with him he’s turning out to be a really good guy.

Kyle will get his woman, don’t worry. He won’t leave her to face her pain alone.

Thank you and happy new year to you too!

Rodney: Nah, Kyle’s not claiming to be perfect or anything like that. He’s a little pissed, a little hurt, but once he’s had time to calm down we know he’ll do the right thing.




Part 99

Maria yawned widely and stretched on her couch. Again, there was just stupid programming on TV and it was making her head hurt. A smile settled over her lips when she looked around the room and noticed the pictures on the wall – pictures Michael had helped to put up. She wasn’t alone anymore and it was the best feeling ever. Just thinking about him made her heart beat in a much faster rhythm than normal.

“I’m going to bed, Mom.” Andy walked out of the kitchen, chewing on something.

“What’re you eating?”

He frowned. “Just had a small snack.”

“But you ate a whole pizza only a few hours ago,” she said, amused.

“Mom,” Andy complained. “I’m a growing boy. I need food.”

“Uh-huh…”

“G’night,” he hurried upstairs, hoping his mother hadn’t noticed the corndog in his other hand.

She rolled her eyes at him but smiled. “G’night.” I never could sleep after that much food.

The ringing of her cell phone got her attention. Who would call at this time of night? Maria got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen, following the sound. She looked around the room, trying to figure out where she had seen the damn thing the last time.

The cell went silent again and she cursed slightly when she still hadn’t found it. “Where are you?” she muttered in a sing-song voice and rummaged around her bag just as the ringtone started again. Her head snapped to the side and she sighed when she found the cell on the kitchen counter under a basketball magazine.

“Hello?” She picked up when the caller ID was unknown to her.

“Hey, it’s Michael.”

“Hey…” she smiled into the phone so wide that her cheeks hurt from it. “Where’re you calling from?”

“My house phone.”

“Everything okay? It’s late…”

“Everything’s fine,” he assured her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you with my late call.”

“Nothing to be sorry for,” she walked around the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to get some water. “You can call me in the middle of the night if you want.”

“Um-hmm,” he laughed. “I’ll remind you about saying that in a year or so.”

A shiver ran down her spine at his deep voice. “You can do that.”

“So the reason I’m calling… I’m really sorry but I have to cancel our breakfast for tomorrow. Isabel called me a while ago. A teacher called in sick and she needs me to take a class pretty early.”

“Oh,” she said, a bit disappointed, “okay. Guess I’ll have to eat the little cake I made all alone then.”

“You made cake for breakfast?” he asked, amused.

“Um-hmm, special recipe from my mom. Secret though.”

“Well, what if I showed up later in the day and we could eat it then?”

Maria smiled when her eyes met the object in question in the refrigerator before she closed the door again. “Sounds good.”

“Better than good,” he corrected her.

*****

Alex input another series of numbers into the computer and frowned at the calculations for several seconds before he shook his head. At this rate he was going to be here all night. It was good he wasn’t working on anything for any of his clients because his head wasn’t in it. He still had his reservations about Kendra coming back into their lives and he was worried about the effect it would have on Sam.

He leaned back in his chair and took his glasses off to pinch the bridge of his nose. Andy had left several hours ago and Sam hadn’t been in a talkative mood through dinner. She had picked over her food, eating very little before excusing herself and going back to her room. After cleaning the kitchen up and doing a load of laundry he had retreated to his office to basically waste time because he hadn’t accomplished a single thing.

“Dad?”

He lifted his head when Sam called his name and he motioned for her to come inside when he saw her leaning in the doorway.

“Are you still working?”

“Trying anyway,” he put down his glasses to rub his eyes tiredly. “Can’t sleep, hmm?”

“No, not really,” she sighed and plopped down in the comfortable armchair in his office and lifted her legs up onto it.

“It’s been an eventful day,” he nodded and looked at his computer for a moment when it made a sound announcing the receipt of a new email.

“Yeah… Hadn’t expected news like that, to be honest.” Sam looked at her dad and smiled a bit to let him know she was doing okay now. “You know I talked to Andy earlier and I think I should meet Mom.”

Alex smirked slightly at the mentioning of her boyfriend. How long would it take to get used to the fact that his little girl was growing up?

“You won’t be mad about it, right?”

“Of course not,” he leaned forward to place a hand over hers. “I’ll be there for you no matter what.”

She nodded. “Andy said that I’d probably ask myself all time what if, if I don’t meet her, and I think he’s right, ya know? I have to face her at least once.”

“I can understand that,” Alex nodded.

She bit her bottom lip and leaned back in the chair, studying the files laid out on her dad’s desk as her thoughts ran back and forth. “Why now?” she asked finally.

He cleared his throat and reached up to settle his glasses higher on his nose. He had known the question was coming and as much as he wished it could wait he knew it couldn’t.

Sam watched him, knowing when he started fidgeting with his glasses that something was up. “There has to be a reason for her sudden appearance. I mean, I’m almost 16 years old and she’s never bothered to try to meet me before.”

Sometimes she was too smart for her own good. He tried not to smile at her ‘I’m almost 16 years old’ comment. Ever since she had turned 15 she had been ‘almost 16’ any time anyone had asked.

“Dad?”

“Sorry, sweetie.” He sat up straighter. “Yes, there is a reason.”

Sam held her breath while she waited for her father to start, but when nothing came was said she exhaled again loudly. “Dad? Are you gonna tell me?”

Alex nodded. “Just looking for the right words, Sam, it’s…”

Whenever he said something like that it made her stomach twist. “Okay, when you say it like that it can’t be anything good and I doubt there’re better words, Dad, so please get it over with,” she begged.

He leaned forward and grabbed both of her hands in his. “Sometimes when people experience something bad or when they’re hurting, they start to wonder about their former life and it’s easier to recognize mistakes they’ve made…” he made a face. “Or they get brave enough to face their problems because compared to what they’ve been through those problems suddenly seem a lot smaller than before.” Alex looked at his daughter. “Do you understand what I mean?”

The girl nodded. “But what’s that got to do with my mother? What’d she experience, Dad?”

“Sam,” he got up and moved to move around the desk. He crouched down in front of her and took her hands in his. “Honey, she’s been battling breast cancer.” He shook his head when he saw the scared look on her face. “I just talked to her not that long ago and her doctors said her most recent test results show that she’s in remission.”

“So… she could die? I mean, remission doesn’t mean cured, right? It just means it went away but it could come back. Like what happened with Scotty’s little brother. He had leukemia and they said he was in remission but then a couple years later it came back and he…” she swallowed hard. “He never went into remission again.”

“No, he didn’t.” It was another reminder that life wasn’t fair, he thought. Scotty was one of her friends and they had only been 11 when that had happened. His younger brother had only been six years old and it had been a difficult lesson early in life. “There are no guarantees in life, Sam. There’s no way to know how long she’ll stay in remission or even if she will.”

The teenager stared at her father while her brain was trying to make sense of this new information.

Alex saw the thoughts running over themselves. Her eyes moved just a bit back and forth the whole time while she was thinking. “She’s okay for now and that’s the only thing important and the only thing we should concentrate on for now.”

“It’s hereditary, isn’t it?” she blurted out, asking the question her father had feared.

“Some forms are,” he agreed, squeezing her hands when her body tensed up in her seat. “That doesn’t mean anything, Sam. It depends on a lot of things…” he searched for some words to comfort her, “… and we both know you got a pretty decent amount of my genes as well.”

Sam tried to force a smile when he slightly teased her. “Yeah, I guess that’s true.”

“Yeah… hey,” he got up and pulled her with him, wrapping his arms around her. “Nothing to worry about, okay?”

His daughter nodded, but she couldn’t help the tears spilling over. “Okay, Dad.”

Alex winced slightly when he heard the thick voice of Sam and hugged her tighter. “I’m serious, sweetie,” he told her softly, “you’re good and you don’t have to be afraid of anything.”

“I guess it’s just a bit too much at one time,” she sniffed and wiped her face.

“I can understand that.”

“Anything else I need to know about my mother?” She almost feared the answer.

“No, I’m all talked out, Sam. We’ll call her whenever you’re ready to set up a date for the meeting, if you still want that.”

“I still think I wanna meet her, Dad.” She rested her cheek against his chest and sighed. “Is it okay if you tell her but we wait a couple days before I meet her?”

“That’s more than okay, honey,” he assured her.

“Okay.” She reached up to scratch her neck. “I just think if I don’t I’ll always wonder, ya know?”

He rested his chin on top of her head and smiled. He wasn’t sure which of them she was trying to convince. “Do you want me to just give her a call and let her know you’re thinkin’ about it? We can leave it at that for now if you want.”

She looked up at him. “Would that be okay?”

“Sam, there’s no right or wrong here. I have no problem tellin’ Kendra that we’ve talked and you need some time to process everything I’ve told you. It’s a lot to take in and it’s a big decision. Even if you’re pretty sure that meeting her is what you want, it’s perfectly acceptable to give it a little time and let things settle before making a decision.”

“Okay.” She settled back into his arms, craving her dad’s embrace more than she had in a long time. She was safe here and he would never let anything hurt her. She was mostly certain she was going to meet her mother but he was right and she was content to let it rest a few days before telling him he could set the meeting up.

*****

Liz reached for her own phone after she heard her husband’s truck pull out of the driveway and she glanced at the time on the display. It was an hour earlier in Sacramento, she thought as she flipped the phone open and scrolled down to her mom’s number. Her parents would just be closing the restaurant up for the night. She hit the call button and grabbed Max’s pillow to add it to hers, leaning back and shifting around to get comfortable. It had been a little while since she’d talked to her parents and now that she had a few minutes of peace and quiet she was going to take advantage of it.

“Hi, Mom!” she said, smiling when her mom answered the phone with an enthusiastic greeting.

“Liz, honey, how are you?” Nancy asked as she skirted around the kitchen equipment to poke her husband’s arm. “It’s Liz,” she said, covering the mouthpiece.

Jeff pulled her hand away from the phone and leaned in. “How’s my little girl? You all ready for the Thanksgiving invasion?” he asked, laughing when his wife gave him a gentle shove and turned back to her conversation.

“Hey you two. Still working?”

“You know your dad,” Nancy said with a fond smile at her husband. “We don’t go home until he’s satisfied that everything’s finished for the day.”

“How’s the business going?”

“Business is great,” Jeff answered. “We’re even considering opening another restaurant in San Francisco.”

Liz gasped. “Really?”

“We’re only talking about it right now, but it’s a possibility.” Nancy leaned back against the counter next to her husband. “We’d be a lot closer if we decide to take the plunge.”

“That’s true,” Liz said and rubbed her belly thoughtfully. She hadn’t broken the news to her parents and she wondered when would be the right time. Now? On Thanksgiving?

“What about you, honey?” Jeff glanced at Nancy, going ahead when she nodded. “How’re things going?”

“Oh it’s been a bit crazy here lately, but we’re doing good now. The boys had their first dance and I guess now they also have their first girlfriends,” she chuckled slightly.

“That should make life interesting,” he said with a laugh.

“What about Max?” Nancy asked. “Is he doing any better?”

“It’s getting better, yes. He’s still not really talking to me about what happened but at least he seems to be a bit more like himself again.”

“He still won’t agree to see someone?” Nancy already knew the answer but at some point she hoped her son-in-law would realize that he really needed to speak to someone.

“No...” Liz looked at the alarm clock beside her bed.

“Well, even if it’s not a professional, he should talk to someone,” Jeff said. “Just holding all of that pain inside isn’t good for him or you.” He let that subject go, not wanting to make it the focus of the call. “So what’ve you been up to?”

“Not much. Max’ parents were here for a visit and what can I say?” she sighed. “You know them.”

Nancy made a face. She had often wondered how their children had come out so normal. They meant well but they had been difficult before their oldest son had died. “Well, I’m sure that was enough to raise your blood pressure.”

“Oh, yeah. It was until Kyle stood up and told them a few things, you should’ve seen that.”

Jeff smirked. “I’m sure that went over well with them.”

“Made them leave to be exact.”

He laughed outright at that. “Now I would’ve paid good money to see that.”

“Jeff,” Nancy warned him.

“Oh, like you wouldn’t have,” he said with a roll of his eyes.

“Well, he didn’t say anything that wasn’t the truth,” Liz agreed with a nod.

“That’s good. It’s about time someone told them how it is. I’ll be right back, girls.” He went to check on the crew cleaning the dining area.

“So, when will you come down for Thanksgiving, Mom?” She was really looking forward to seeing her parents, knowing her mother would be supportive in their current... condition.

“You tell us what works best for you, Liz. If the kids will be out of school most of the week we can be there earlier.”

“Think Dad could leave the restaurant alone?”

“He’s comfortable with the new chef we hired in March so he’ll be fine with a couple of extra days.”

“That’s good, he needs to relax more.”

“It’s settled then. We’ll come down the weekend before. Are you expecting a full house for Thanksgiving?”

“I doubt that Max’ parents will be her so you’ll be our only guests.”

“We can stay at the hotel if that’d be easier,” Nancy assured her.

“No, you’re welcome here and I know the two of you are easy to please.”

She chuckled and nodded. “Alright. So, how many people are you expecting for dinner on Thanksgiving?”

“We haven’t talked about it yet. But I’d like to invite Tess and Kyle over as well as Andy and Maria. Not sure about it yet because their parents are probably planning something too.”

“It sounds wonderful. Maybe you should invite Amy and Jim over too.”

“Probably,” Liz chewed on her lip. “I think I’ll pay Maria a visit tomorrow.”

“How’s she doing? Is she having any luck with Andy?”

“It seems to me they’re getting along better lately.”

“That’s good. We talked to him on his birthday and he sounded like he was doing better.”

“He’s got a counselor at school and I think it’s really helped him.”

“I’m glad to hear that. Has he let up on Max any?”

Liz rubbed her head at that and sighed. “I guess not, I don’t really know.”

“I think he’ll come around, honey. You said he’s getting help and talking to someone and that’s the first step.”

“You’re probably right,” her daughter agreed, not wanting to think about it further.

“Okay, I think we’re ready to go,” Jeff said as he came back into the kitchen. “The crew can handle the last few things. You girls get everything set up for Thanksgiving?”

“We’re good, Dad,” Liz said over the speaker.

He nodded. “Great. We’re lookin’ forward to seein’ you and the family.”

“I can’t wait for you guys to get here. The kids will love to have you here.”

“We can’t wait either, honey,” Nancy said. “It’s been too long since we’ve all been together.”

“Way too long,” Liz agreed and looked up when she heard a car, shaking her head when it drove past her house.

“How’re the boys doin’ with football this season?” Jeff asked.

“They’re pretty good, and well... you know me, I’m really not looking forward to seeing them get hurt, but they keep telling me everything will be okay.”

“They’re boys, honey,” he assured her. “They’re gonna get hurt from time to time.”

“Uh-huh, I keep telling myself that.”

Nancy chuckled at her tone. “No amount of preparation is ever enough when your child gets hurt.” She smacked Jeff’s arm as they walked outside.

Liz smiled and once more let her hand wander over her still flat belly. “Yeah.”

Jeff smiled as he listened to the two of them. “How’s Kara? She enjoying school?”

“Oh, yeah, my little girl’s pretty excited about almost everything. Recently she found puppies with her daddy so now we have our hands full.”

“Puppies,” Nancy said with a laugh. “Dads having a hard time saying no to their daughters... hmm... why does that sound so familiar?”

“Hey, I wasn’t the one who brought Pinky home,” Jeff said, chuckling as he referred to a cat Liz had gotten as a kid.

“Pinky,” Nancy said, laughing. “Good lord, I haven’t thought about that cat in years.”

“I loved her,” Liz admitted with a warm smile.

“Of course you did.” Jeff smiled at the memory of the troublesome cat that had constantly been underfoot.

Liz heard the doors of her parents’ cars being opened. “Alright, you two, I don’t wanna hold you up from going home.”

“You’re never holdin’ us up,” Jeff assured her. “But you are an hour ahead of us and you do have school tomorrow, young lady.”

She snorted. “Alright.”

He chuckled at her response. “G’night, honey. We love you.”

“Bye, you two. I love you too.”
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 100

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:50 am

Earth2Mama: The Parkers are great parents!

Yeah, hopefully Kendra will show up prepared for that meeting.

We’ll start seeing more of Michael and Maria now that they’re past their biggest obstacle.

keepsmiling7: It’ll definitely take some time. It’s a big adjustment for Sam.

The Parkers are very supportive, something we’ll see more of as Thanksgiving approaches and brings them in for the holiday visit.

sarammlover: The Parkers are amazing and we’ll be seeing more of them. Perhaps we’ll have a bit of Michael and Maria in this part.

mary mary: Normal can be a very good thing, lol. Andy’s slowly getting to that point.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Sam is weighing her options although for the moment she does seem to be leaning more in one direction.

Oh yeah, no matter how old she gets she’ll always be her parent’s little girl.

Healerfan: Thanks!

There is a big difference between the Parkers and the Evans‘ parents.

We’ll catch up with Kyle and Tess in this update.

The issue with Andy and Max will be coming to a head soon. It’s something that both of them have to face and until they do they’ll never be able to forgive or move forward.

Alien_Friend: The Parkers are pretty awesome and we’ll get to know them a little better as Thanksgiving approaches.

Alex and Sam have a great relationship and it’ll help them get through this.

Thanksgiving looks to be an interesting event.

Cardinal: Liz does have a great set of parents. Oh, we think Liz is aware of that difference, it’s just been tough dealing with a husband who shut down so badly after the accident and in her efforts to make things better she’s actually done the opposite a few times. She’s getting to a place where she’s learning from her mistakes though.

Michael and Maria feel like they’ve waited a long time to get to this point (and they have, lol) so they’re settling in nicely.

Rodney: Yeah, not all parents can be nerve-wracking like Max'. ;)




Part 100 (whew)

Liz lay there for several minutes, eyes closed as she savored the quiet in the house. It had been nice to hear her parents’ voices and she was glad they were coming for Thanksgiving. It was just a couple of weeks away and once the holidays got started things were going to be busy until after the first of the year. She heard something from one of the other rooms and decided to get up and check it out.

She pulled her robe on and slipped out into the hallway, immediately hearing her daughter’s hushed voice. She walked over to Kara’s room and peered inside, smiling when she saw her leaning over the laundry basket lined with an old blanket. The puppies were standing up against the sides, short tails wagging as they tried to reach the little girl talking to them.

“You’re gonna be pretty tired in the morning, little girl,” she said when her daughter didn’t even realize she was there.

“They wanted me to come and play wif them, Mommy,” Kara said with a big smile.

“Um-hmm, but it’s pretty late and you need to get up early.” She walked over to them and crouched down. “Tell ya what, I’ll play a bit with them and you go back to sleep.”

Kara bit her bottom lip as she looked at the puppies. “Um... okay.” She petted them one more time. “Loopy likes for you to rub his tummy an’ Happy, he likes if you pet his ears.”

“I’ll try to remember that,” Liz said with a chuckle and helped her daughter back into bed, covering her with the blankets.

“Where’s Daddy?”

“He’s just getting some things, sweetie. He’ll be back soon, but you don’t wait for him to get back, alright? I want you to sleep now.”

“Otay,” Kara agreed with a sigh and looked at her puppies one more time. “G’night babies.”

Liz bent down to pick the two little dogs up and put them in her lap to get a better grip on them. “Sweet dreams, Kara,” she told her little girl and kissed her cheek before getting up again.

“G’night, Mommy,” it came back a slight whisper – a good sign that she was more exhausted than she knew.

She carried the puppies into her bedroom and grabbed one of Max’s tee shirts, spreading it out on the bed and placing them on it. She curled up on her side and ran her fingertips over the puppies’ coats. It didn’t take long to remember which one was Happy and which one was Loopy. She shook her head at the names. As soon as she’d heard that Kara had named them she had known it was all over.

She smiled as she thought back over the day. She had gone to the shop with lunch so she and Max could eat together. He had been on the phone when she arrived and she set lunch on one end of his surprisingly clear desk and wandered over to look at the pictures on the wall while she waited for him to finish his call.

She turned from the wall when Max hung up the phone and the question she had been about to ask was forgotten when she saw the smile on his face. “What?” she asked instead.

He swiveled around to look at her fully, taking her hands and pulling her closer. “I’m not goin’ outta town anymore. Missy’s gonna handle the problem in Oklahoma and once that’s taken care of she’ll take on the traveling.”

She had to fight to control her elation at his announcement. “Really? And you’re okay with that?”

He nodded and squeezed her hands. “Yeah, it’s what I think needs to happen. I need to be here with you and the kids.” He kissed her knuckles. “It’s where I should’ve been all along and it’s where I’ll be from now on.”

She reached up to run her fingers through his hair. “Max, is everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine,” he assured her. “Better than fine.” He raised his hand and rested his palm against her belly. “This pregnancy scares me, Liz. The thought of losin’ you,” he swallowed hard, “or the baby, it terrifies me. I can’t just turn that fear off even though I wish like hell I could.” His thumb moved against her stomach and he looked up at her. “But I want the baby, Liz. So bear with me, okay? Be patient with me and don’t hit me over the head with a frying pan when I get too overprotective and annoy the crap out of you, okay?”

She smiled when he tried to make a joke.

He gave her a small smile. “Just remember that I love you and even when I’m driving you crazy I’m doin’ it outta love and concern for your safety and hers.”

“Hers?” she echoed with a raised eyebrow.

“Kara’s got her heart set on havin’ a baby sister.” His smile grew into a face-splitting grin. “I’ll be happy either way but I figure it can’t hurt to help her wish along so I’m gonna call the baby her until we know different.”

Liz threw her arms around his neck when he stood up and pulled her into his arms.


It wasn’t at all what she had expected when she had gone to the shop to have lunch with him. She knew it wasn’t easy for him and he still had issues to work through but she was accepting that she had to let him get there when he was ready. Maybe in time he would decide to speak with someone. Whatever he decided she was going to be as supportive as she could be because it was what he needed. It was what they needed from each other.

*****

Kyle walked up the steps to the apartment and raised his hand to knock on the door. He paused for a moment and lowered his hand to the knob, giving it an experimental turn and rolling his eyes when it turned easily. He walked inside and closed the door, locking it and walking through the rooms until he found Tess.

She was curled up on the bed, dozing fitfully as she clutched the little sonogram picture. He paused beside the bed, crouching down and running his fingers over it. He could see the dried tracks of tears on her cheeks and his heart thudded dully in his chest. He should’ve handled this better. He knew she had buried the loss of her baby and that wasn’t healthy, but maybe that was the only way she could deal with it.

He had told her that in time he could work past it if she didn’t want to have more children. No, you told her if she had been honest with you about it you probably could’ve done that. He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He supposed it was the way he had grown up but he had always wanted a family of his own. He wanted a wife, kids running around underfoot and getting into everything, and maybe a dog adding to the chaos. Maybe it was selfish to want biological children when there was no shortage of children who needed good homes.

He knew he could never expect her to go through a pregnancy when she had such deep-seated fears. She had lost a child, lost a part of her, and he could only imagine how that had scarred her. Even if they had reached an impasse with this he didn’t believe it was enough to end their relationship. It would take a little time to come to a place where he could let go of the dream of having a child with her, but in the end being together, having a family together was what mattered. She was willing to adopt and he was sure that in time he could make peace with this unexpected path.

He brushed his fingers over her cheek and bit his bottom lip when her eyes fluttered open. As he had expected, she wasn’t sleeping deeply and she looked exhausted as she met his gaze. “Hey,” he said quietly.

She had to blink a few times, before her blurry vision cleared. In the half-dark she saw Kyle right in front of her and she could feel a mixture of fear and relief in her stomach because she didn’t know what he would say. “Hey...”

“I’m sorry for takin’ off like that. I needed to clear my head and figure things out.”

“I don’t... it’s okay.”

His thumb brushed over her cheek and he shifted slightly. “You don’t what?” he whispered.

She swallowed hard and forced herself to say out loud what was on her mind. “I don’t wanna be alone.”

“You’re not alone, Tess.” He shook his head. “Maybe it was unrealistic to expect you to share this with me so soon. I know how close it is to your heart and I can’t imagine that pain, but... if there’s anything I can do to help, I don’t know that make it better’s the right words, but...”

“Don’t go back to Atlanta, please,” she begged and reached out to take a handful of his shirt.

Kyle shifted, getting up so he could sit on the bed beside her. He shook his head and took her hand. “I’m not goin’ anywhere,” he promised.

“Okay,” she whispered and shifted slightly to rest her head on his thigh, wrapping one arm around him.

He settled back against the headboard and rubbed her shoulder. He could feel some of the tension in her beginning to ease and he relaxed slightly. “You think you’ll feel up to eatin’ somethin’ in a little while?”

“I just wanna stay in bed.”

“Okay.” He slid down a little further and held her close.

They lay there in silence for a while and she wondered if he had dozed off. The day had been long and full of events and he was probably tired by now. When he checked his watch though, she knew he was still awake like her and she felt the need to say something. He had come back and she knew he was begging her to trust him with everything. It was just so hard to open up.

“I’m scared,” she mumbled after a while.

“Of what?” he asked quietly.

“Of not being enough for you...”

“Tess, babe,” he cupped her chin and lifted her gaze to his, “why would you ever think that?”

“I know you want a family and...” She swallowed when a thick lump in her throat made it hard to speak.

“I want a family, yes, and whether you and I have children of our own or we adopt we’ll be a family.” He traced the tip of his finger over her nose. “You and I, we’re gonna be great parents, Tess, one way or the other.”

“Okay,” she snuggled closer to him. “I hope you’re right.”

He kissed the top of her head. “About us bein’ great parents?”

“Yeah, an’ being okay with an adoption.”

“I’m right,” he said confidently. “I know it’s different when you’ve actually got kids 24/7 but we do pretty damn good with our niece and nephews.”

She nodded slightly, wondering if she would be a good mom like Liz. The woman was so strong with all the situations they had been through... and she was pregnant again even though her last pregnancy had been a nightmare. Wasn’t she scared like hell? Not that she had only almost lost the twins, no, she had almost lost her own life as well...

“We can do this, Tess. At our own pace, no pressure, and however we wanna do it. It’s our life, we make the rules.”

“I wanna go home tomorrow,” she whispered.

“First thing,” he promised.

“Thanks.”

His hand stroked her arm as he stared at the skyline through the window. “If we get an early start we can drive straight through.”

She nodded and sat up more, curling in a ball along his side while she inhaled deeply to breathe in his scent. It was a smell she never wanted to miss in her life again. “I love you, Kyle. I’m sorry for not telling you the truth the first time I had the chance...”

He shook his head. “You would’ve told me when you were ready. It took a while for me to get my head on straight but I realized it wasn’t a trust issue.” He caught her hand and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. “Sometimes we keep things to ourselves for protection whether we’re protecting us or someone else.”

“I guess I was just too scared to go through that memory again. I didn’t want to think about it ever again and telling you I couldn’t have kids was easier than facing the truth again.”

“Sometimes a painful memory is easier to handle if you share it,” he murmured. “Kinda takes all that weight off your shoulders.”

“I’m glad you know now,” she admitted softly and placed her hand right above his heart.

“Me too.” His fingertips traced over her hand. “We’re okay, Tess, you know that, right?”

“We’re okay,” she repeated and was even able to smile a bit.

He felt her cheek curve where it rested against his chest and he felt relief rush through him.

*****

Liz hung up the phone when Maria didn’t pick up at her new home. She went to get her address book from the living room and placed it on the kitchen counter in front of her to find her cell number.

After searching for it a few minutes and cursing Max for writing names in wrong places she found it in the ‘C’ letter section. “What a mess,” she mumbled and got the phone again to dial her friend’s number. She almost gave up again when Maria answered the call.

“’ello?”

“Maria?”

“Sure, ‘ho else?”

“I think your signal’s bad,” Liz frowned when she heard crackling in the line and then nothing for a long time.

“Better now?”

“Much! Where are you?”

“I was in the storeroom of the shop, trying to find some stuff.”

“So do you have time to break for a little lunch?”

“Only if we have it over here. I’m waiting for some stuff to be delivered, but it could be now or in two hours, so I can’t leave.”

“I can bring something with me. I’m sort of in the mood for a chili dog and fries. What about you?”

“Hmm, maybe a tuna sandwich?”

“Want anything with it? Fries, chips...?”

“Nah, just the sandwich. Maybe a coffee if ya get the chance?” Maria glanced around the store, trying to decide where she could set up someplace to sit and eat for them.

Liz wrinkled her nose. “Okay, I’ll make the lunch run and be there in say, half an hour?”

“Take your time,” the other woman said. “I don’t want you to stress out, Mama.”

“Food has become my new best friend, Maria,” she said with a quiet snort. “I’ll call the order in so it’ll be ready by the time I get there. No stress, Mom, promise.”

“Be safe and I’ll see you in a bit, girlfriend.”

Liz disconnected and punched in the number for the café to put the order in before going to get ready. One of the good things of living in a small town, she thought as she drove down Main Street to the café. Everything was close by and it was rare for anything to cause much of a backup. They were more likely to spend more time waiting in a checkout line at the grocery store during the holidays than they were to ever spend much time waiting on traffic.

She shouldered through the door of the shop Maria and Tess were remodeling, lunch in hand. She didn’t see Maria so she set the sacks down and went back out for the drinks. When she came back in she was carrying Maria’s coffee and her double chocolate milkshake.

“You could’ve told me you were already here and I would’ve helped,” Maria shook her head but smiled and went to take one of the drinks out of her friend’s hand to hug her.

“Don’t make me remind you that I’m not an invalid,” Liz said as she hugged her.

“Have you grown since the last time we saw each other?” Maria frowned and checked her friend, her expression amused.

“I don’t think so but I wouldn’t make any bets on it.” She grabbed one of the bags and dug around for the fries. “You know, with the twins my cravings kinda stayed on one theme but with this one they’re all over the place.”

“Hmm, so maybe it’s a girl this time. Girls can never decide what they want.”

“Max thinks it’s a girl. Apparently he and Kara have decided if they both think it’s a girl, it’ll be a girl.” She rolled her eyes.

“Well, a girl would be nice,” Maria thought aloud and smiled at the image of a little girl in a pink dress running around the house.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that.”

“I doubt a boy would be any less cute. I remember the twins and Andy when they were little. They were troublemakers, but really adorable.”

“They were adorable,” she agreed. “But two at the same time is insane. I don’t think we slept that entire first year.”

“You sure it’s just one this time?” Maria teased.

“Well... as far as I know it is.”

The other woman sipped her hot coffee. “Mmm... gosh this stuff is so much better than at home.”

“What’s wrong with the coffee at home?” Liz asked absentmindedly as she munched on her fries.

“I don’t know. It just tastes different. Maybe it’s because the machine is so freaking old. I need a new one.”

She chuckled at the coffee fiend’s grumbling. “Could be.”

“So...” Maria walked around the two chairs she had carried into the room earlier. “Wanna sit down?”

Liz nodded and followed her. She took one of the chairs and started pulling all of the extras out of her sack. “When are Tess and Kyle supposed to be back?”

“Tomorrow evening I think. There’s not much to get from the old apartment,” she said.

“I’ve gotten so used to them being here.” She took a drink of her milkshake. “Do you guys have any plans for Thanksgiving yet?”

“I haven’t talked to Mom yet. She probably plans to cook, but I was thinking about inviting them over to my new place. I don’t know yet.”

“What would you think about a big family Thanksgiving? We could do it at our place. Or at yours if you’d rather.”

Maria chuckled. “When you say big...”

“Well... my parents are coming in for the holiday, your parents, Kyle and Tess, you and Andy, me, Max and the kids... and anyone else you might like to invite.”

She didn’t get the chance to answer when they both heard the door swing open. “Maria?” a deep voice asked and a moment later the person walked around the corner and came into view, carrying two coffees to go in his hands.

“Hey, what’re you doin’ here?” She got up and walked towards Michael, her heartbeat rising with each step.

He smiled and shrugged as he set the coffees down on a nearby counter. “Had a break for lunch and I thought I’d come by an’ see you.” He took her hand and tugged her close, all of his senses focused on her. “Hey,” he murmured as he lowered his head to brush his lips against hers.

Maria forgot about her friend in the room for a moment and kissed him back. It was a nice surprise to see him and the butterflies in her stomach fluttered around like crazy.

Liz felt her eyebrows climbing higher as she watched them for a few moments. She couldn’t believe Maria had been keeping this to herself, she thought as she turned her attention back to her lunch. She knew of course that there was something between them but she hadn’t been aware of this new development. She smiled to herself. This was a good thing.

“Hey,” the Maria mumbled back when he released her lips again. Slowly but surely she remembered that Liz was in the room as well and she turned around in his arms slightly to look at her. “I’d like to invite him too.”

Liz couldn’t stop the smirk. “I can see that.”

Michael glanced between them. “What am I bein’ invited to?”

“We were talking about Thanksgiving.”

He grinned. “Wouldn’t say no to that.”

“Your sister as well, of course... if she’s still here then?”

He wondered if she knew how much it meant to him that she had included his sister. “She’d like that. Thanksgiving’s pretty close so I’ll send her back after the holiday and then she’ll find her way back here after about three weeks or so for Christmas.”

“You wanna sit down with us? We were just eating a bite.”

“What’s for lunch?” he asked with a teasing smile.

“Tuna sandwich. I’ll share if you want.”

“Got pickles in it?”

“Ungh, no.”

He made a face at her. “No? Have you ever had minced pickles in tuna?”

She sat down in his lap since they only had two chairs. “No, and it really doesn’t sound that good.”

“I think it does,” Liz thought aloud.

“You’re pregnant so that doesn’t count.”

Michael rolled his eyes and accepted half of the sandwich. He held it up, studying it. “It‘s at least got mayo and onions, right?”

“Just eat, will ya?” She laughed when he made a face.

“I’m gonna have to make you a real tuna sandwich,” he said and took a bite.

“So Thanksgiving... my place or yours?” Liz asked her friend, making a mental note to smack her later for not sharing THAT news.

Maria smiled at Michael as she played with the top button on his shirt. “I’d love to have it at my place.” She looked back at Liz. “But if you’d be more comfortable at home, you know, being pregnant and all, we can have it at yours.”

“Oh, makin’ it your place would mean less stress for me, right? And you all want that so I’ll happily give it to you this year and I’ll take it next.”

“Then we’re having it at my place. I’ll talk to Mom and Jim but I’m pretty sure they’ll be in. I can talk to Kyle and Tess when they get back since I’ll probably see at least one of them first.”

“Good... Oh, hey, I wanted to invite Alex too. You know, he’s helped Max with the shop a lot over the last few months.”

Michael chuckled. “Add another place then ‘cause I’m sure if he’s there Isabel will be there too.”

“I doubt that’ll be a problem and my son will love me, ‘cause it’ll mean his girlfriend’s there too.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas


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