Three years later…


"Poppy look at this one," said an excited Tallulah. The seashell in her hand was looked over thoroughly by Poppy before it joined the other ones in the bucket. Julia sat watching them from the porch of their bungalow with Ginger, Matlin and Elizabeth. It was their third summer on the island, and the first where Tallulah was old enough to truly enjoy it.

"That’s prettier than the last one Tully," said Poppy. The tall woman sat on her heels and praised her daughter for her latest find. The older the child got, the more she looked like Julia. Poppy wasn’t sure what Tallulah’s biological father looked like, but it was clear from the long blonde curly hair and big green eyes that she had gotten all her physical attributes, as well as her personality, from her mother. "But the prettiest shell out here is you, my little beach bum."

"I love you Poppy," said Tallulah. She laughed when Poppy hoisted her in the air and propped her on her shoulders. "I love you too buttercup. Let’s you and me get cleaned up so we can go sing." Tallulah clapped her hands before grabbing two fists full of hair for the ride to the porch.

Julia watched them walk up from the beach together. She was sure if the little girl riding high had asked Poppy to drop to her knees and eat sand, her big softie would have done it. It didn’t matter what her daughter was doing, when she heard Poppy’s deep voice it became the center of her world. In turn, Poppy was wild about her daughter, and legally that was who Tallulah was. She walked to the railing to wait for her two of her favorite people, and melted a little when the blue eyes fixed on her. In the garden under her were now yellow rose bushes mingled in with the wildflowers growing there. "What’s your name little girl?" she asked Tallulah who was almost at eye level with her considering where she was perched.

"Tallulah Carly Valente, mama you know that." Julia smiled up at her as she watched the blonde curls being blown around in the breeze. Tallulah would be petite like her, and Julia thought that like her, Tallulah had also lost her heart to Poppy.

"That’s true, I knew that. Now go wash some of that sand off you before you go in the house." Ginger got up and walked the little girl to the outside shower to help her clean off. "What about you big girl, who do you belong to?" Julia asked Poppy.

"You and nobody else but you," sang Poppy. Elizabeth and Matlin continued talking as the couple exchanged a sweet kiss. It was no fun for them to make fun of the much in love couple. Matlin had often told them they could give someone diabetes if in their company long enough.

"I missed you baby, even though I could see you the whole time. I think your son did too," said Julia pointing at the baby lying on the blanket by her feet. Raphael Rayford Valente was six months old, and true perfection to his two mothers. Compared to his sister, Rafe was a bruiser. Born with a full head of curly black hair, Rafe was big for his age. The only thing that linked him to Julia and Tallulah was the green eyes. It had taken months but they had finally found an anonymous donor with all of Poppy’s characteristics. They had both wanted other children, but Julia wanted them to favor her spouse as well. Julia wanted to keep trying, to see if she could match the Valente eye color eventually.

"I promise to make it up to you later baby. A command performance for an audience of one," said Poppy, as she stretched up a bit to reach Julia’s lips.

"I’ll hold you to that Valente."


"Hi my name is Poppy, and I’d like to welcome you to Poppy’s. Now you know where the name came from," said Poppy into the microphone in front of her. Poppy looked out on a number of friendly faces out in the audience, and enjoyed the fact she was back on one of her favorite stages. The bar on the resort that carried her name was the only place that didn’t follow the understated class the rest of the buildings had. Poppy’s looked and felt like one of the joints she had played in college. You came here to sit drink beer, and sing along with whoever was up and playing. For a month every summer since they had opened, that’s where you could find Poppy every afternoon. The three women there that night that had known her the longest, were glad to see Poppy hadn’t lost that old spark. Matlin, Ginger and Elizabeth sat back with a cold beer and prepared to enjoy their friend’s first set.

"I want to start out tonight with a song that I recently ran across and it reminded me of someone I loved once, and lost to cancer. This week is the anniversary of her death and I want her to know that wherever she might be I still think of her every now and then."

I walked down to the park last night

Warm breeze stirring up a soft moonlight

And my mind started drifting to way back when

Yes I do think about you every now and then

The other day I saw a car like you used to drive

I got a funny feeling down deep inside

And for the briefest moment I felt a smile begin

Yes I do think about you ever now and then

I love my life and I’d never trade

Between what you and me had and the life I’ve made

She’s here and she’s real, but you were too

And every once in a while I think about you

I heard a song on the radio just yesterday

The same one you always asked me to play

And when the song was over

I wished they’d played it again

Yes I do think about you every now an then

I love my life and I’d never trade

Between what you and me had and the life I’ve made

She’s here and she’s real, but you were too

And every once in a while I think about you

I’ve been layin’ here all night listenin’ to the rain

Talkin’ to my heart and trying to explain

Why sometimes I catch myself

Wondering what might have been

Yes I do think about you every now and then

Every now and then

Every now and then

When the last chords of the song had left her guitar, Poppy felt the weight on her shoulders and recognized it as the arms of her wife. Julia just kissed her neck, and smiled at Elizabeth in the audience over Poppy’s shoulder. Carly’s daughter had needed to hear the song, just as much as Poppy had needed to sing it. Julia knew that, like the line in the song Poppy had just finished, there was the briefest of moments every year when she needed to share the woman she loved with the one that had come before her. She only hoped that they could raise their children with as much integrity as their other mother had.

Later that night after they had put Tallulah and Rafe to bed, Poppy and Julia walked along the shoreline looking out into the clear night. In the distant sky a brilliant shooting star lit up the darkness for a brief moment giving the two lovers a celestial fireworks display. They didn’t need to wish for anything more.

When they went to bed, Poppy sang Julia her own love song. A love song that had no words except for those that Poppy whispered in her ear, and showed the small blonde that her tall hero had eyes only for her.


The End



I would like to credit the songs used in this story, which made it that much easier to write. ‘The Lullabye Song’ and ‘She’s Got a Way About Her’ Billy Joel. ‘Every Now and Then’ Garth Brooks. ‘This Old Guitar’ John Denver. ‘The Red Bug Song’ was taught to me by a beautiful blonde in the third grade, I’ve been partial to blondes ever since. If I find out who wrote this fabulous tune, I’ll let you all know.


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