Disclaimers : See Part 1

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Part 4 of Loose Change Series - The Addy and Karen series.
(01) Turning on a Dime
(02) New Quarters
(03) One Little Bit
(04) Joint Venture

 

Joint Venture

By

K-Morgan

kmorgan.5674@yahoo.com

(Feedback is appreciated)


Part 11

In May, they drove to Newmarket in Suffolk , where the Guineas Stakes takes place. This was the first of the three races of the British Triple Crown. Again, there was all the usual excitement on a racetrack the day of a big race. Alejandro looked magnificent in his morning workout, and after Alex had her morning pre-race talk with him. She came out and announced that he was ready to run and win.

The racetrack grandstand was filled to capacity.  This was the type of event that drew the aficionado as well as the professional and brought people together across all social classes. The rich and the famous were highly visible looking for every opportunity to be noticed and available for any possible interview.  Even some members of the Royal family were present for the event. As expected, they came face to face once again with Susan St. James. Her horse, Thunder, was also entered in the race. This time she was accompanied by a different woman, also blonde.

“I guess she has a thing for blondes.” Addy commented and Karen smirked.

As she went up the stands to take her seat on the other side of the aisle, she greeted Addy first.

“Hi Addy, you are looking as gorgeous as always.” She gave Addy the look, cruising her once again from top to bottom. Then she acknowledged Karen with a nod.

She looked at them and then looked at Melanie and barely at Victoria without even the slightest sign of acknowledgement. She took one final look at Alex and smiled and then back to Karen. Karen had her hand over Alex's shoulder in an involuntarily sign of protectiveness, and gripped Alex's shoulder a bit. She did not smile back at Susan.

“I hate it when she looks at you that way, and I hate it when she looks at Alex with that evil smile of hers! I hate her!”

Addy took Karen's hand. Alex was standing in between them, but more towards the front, so they were still able to hold hands and talk to each other in the ear. “Ker, don't let her ruin your day.”

Karen gave her a slight okay grin and then turned to listen to Alex who apparently had a lot to say to the few people sitting around them. Alex knew all of the statistics regarding the horses participating in the race. She not only was up to date on the horses, she also knew about the owners, the different sections of the track, the condition of the field, the jockeys and every possible thing related to the race. She was a walking encyclopedia. Such expert talk in such a young person immediately caught everyone's attention and Alex became an instant celebrity within the surrounding crowd.

**

An older man sitting in the row in front of them was thoroughly enjoying Alex's commentaries and observations. Especially since anyone who knew about the horses parading now on the track, knew that her observations were accurate. The gentleman was so amused that he turned and began to talk to her. No doubt that he was taken aback by the adorable child.

After briefly exchanging notes and comments with Alex, he introduced himself.

“Pardon me,” he spoke to Karen and Addy. “Allow me to introduce myself,” the plump gentleman of about sixty told them, “I am Lord William Fannon.”

“The one in Parliament?” Alex exclaimed surprised. He definitely looked like the man she had often seen on the TV.

“Very pleased to meet you Lord Fannon.” Karen replied and Addy nodded, both shaking hands with him.

He in turned replied to Alex's question. “Yes, young lady, the very same one.”

Then the most incredible thing happened, which left Karen an Addy astonished.

“I do not think that what you are proposing will create as many jobs as you think it will.”

“Alex!” Karen scolded her.

“I beg your pardon, young lady. I thought we were talking about horses here today.”

“Our apologies, Lord Fannon. I suppose someone needs to be reminded of her manners.” Karen looked at Alex, who now had a contrite, but still stern look on her face.

Alex then spoke to Karen. “We were talking about horses, but I thought it was a good opportunity to let him know what people think. The news people are always saying that he is out of touch with the people.”

“Alexandra!”

She opened her huge green eyes when she heard Addy calling her by her full name. She knew she was in deep trouble. Addy's scolding was very serious business.

Lord Fannon put out his hand to Addy indicating that it was alright. “Perhaps someone so knowledgeable in horses would like to enlighten me in the political arena as well. And, by the way, young lady, what is your full name?”

“My name is Alexandra Marcos MgGuill-Larsen, Lord Fannon. From the Highlands of Scotland .' She said proudly. Lord Fannon liked the way in which she proudly announced her provenance. “And I am not a politician.  I just read a lot, do my homework and go to school.”  She looked at Addy with a contrite look and then she looked back to Lord Fannon who was absolutely enchanted with her. “With all due respect, sir, I mean Lord.” She looked to Addy for approval. Addy gave her a slight smile.

Lord Fannon chuckled. “Am I to assume, from your animated conversation, that you are the owner of Alejandro?”

“Yes, Lord Fannon. Alejandro is our horse, mine and my parents'.”

Karen noted the choice of words and thought how appropriate it was to refer to them as her parents so as not to offer any gender indication.

The gentleman continued to be intrigued and amused with Alex's ability to converse, her self-assurance and apparent disposition to answer each and every one of his questions.

“Dear young lady, perhaps after the race, you and your parents would care to join me in my suite so that you can, how was it that you put it? Put me in touch with the people?”

“I would be delighted, your Lordship. But, I would need to ask my parents for permission, and they would need to bring me, are they invited as well?” Alex was now trying to be extra formal. The moms later teased her about it, calling her ‘Her Ladyship' and ‘Her Highness' all evening and bowing every time they came across her.

Karen and Addy were having trouble containing their smiles at this point.  Lord Fannon addressed them.

“Most certainly! The parents, and friends, of such a knowledgeable and delightful young lady would honor me with their presence.”

Alex was smiling, pleased with herself.  The gentleman was about to turn when Alex called out to him.

“Lord Fannon?”

“Yes, young Alexandra?”

In an apologetic form, Alex once again spoke.  ”Just wanted to let you know that we might be late. When Alejandro wins, we are going to need to go to the winner's circle to get the trophy.”

Lord Fannon chuckled. “Young lady, I would wait for you for no reason at all, but if that were your only reason for being late, I think I would wait for you as long as I would need to.”

Then he took her hand and reverently kissed it, as a true gentleman would kiss the hand of a lady.

“Now let's see that horse of yours race!”

“Yes sir, I mean Lord.”

When the conversation ended, Karen and Addy looked at each relieved. Everyone was astonished and laughing.

“Alex! You are something else!” Melanie commented in her ear. “You just got us invited to Lord Fannon's private party.

She whispered in Melanie's ear. “I think that after Alejandro wins, he may be the one wanting to come to our party!”

Melanie laughed. The other women were wondering what the laughing was about. Karen always loved how well Alex and Melanie got along.

The younger man sitting next to Lord Fannon had been on his tablet the entire time Lord Fannon had been talking to Alex. He now spoke to Lord Fannon privately. “Alejandro is owned by Lady MgGuill-Larsen and Adriana Marcos, owners of—.”

“I know.” Lord Fannon interrupted him. It was no coincidence that he was one of the most influential members of Parliament. He might have been accused by the press of being out of touch with people, but he certainly knew the people to be in touch with.

When Alex saw them, she stood up and yelled. “Look Mommy, Uncle JP and Uncle James made it after all. Look they are over there.”

Addy stood up and James spotted her immediately. The twosome made quite a sight.

James was dressed in a black tuxedo and JP in a white one. JP's vest was pink and he was wearing a top hat and had a baton in his hand. They made their way through the crowd, amidst some pushing and shoving.

“Oh! Excuse me sir! Ma'am!” JP was happily waiving the baton in the air in salutation. They looked like characters out of Alice in Wonderland.

The women could not believe their eyes. Karen chuckled and moved her head sideways, Addy and the others chuckled as well. “Oh M'Addy! I love the way they are dressed. Look at Uncle James, he really looks handsome, and Uncle JP looks so cute! So colorful, he looks like something out of a book!”

It was obvious that Alex had read Alice in Wonderland and that was probably the book she was thinking about.

When they got to where the women were sitting, JP was his usual flamboyant self, greeting and talking to everyone and commenting and complaining and just talking senseless. He told everyone how they almost didn't make it because they found sheep on the road and then getting to the hotel was awful because of the traffic, and how later he almost got run over by a horse when they entered the track, and how exhausted he was from their most hazardous trip.

“I'm going to kill him, Karen. Today is the day when I'm going to kill him! Look how he made me dress! I feel like a monkey in a suit!” James looked all nervous and self- conscious.

Karen chuckled. Addy tapped him on the breast of his suit. “Nonsense, James! You look very handsome. Come stand here next to me and let JP sit over there, next to Karen.

“No fair! I want to be next to you, Addy. I need protection from this maniac. If it was up to him, he would have come in corduroy pants. He should be glad to have me to arrange his couture. And are you sure you want me to sit next to the blonde one? I'm not on her favorite's list as of lately. ”

“Simmer down, JP, simmer down, I don't want a domestic dispute in the grandstand. And if you behave, I promise not to grab you by the neck in public.” Karen commented.

He replied waving his hand in the air and then bringing it to his chest, in another of his dramatic stands. “Oh! You are impossible woman! Addy deserves all the trophies in the world having for having put up with you all these years!”

All of this, of course, was said in jest and Alex was having a ball at the expense of the uncles. She loved them. “Uncle James, you look super!”

James kissed her. “Thank you, baby girl. You look ravishing yourself.”

“Thanks!”

“What about me?” JP asked, and Alex laughed.

“You look gorgeous, Uncle JP, you know you do!”

“I love this child!” He kissed her also.

Alex smiled looking at both her moms. She was excited to be there and to see Alejandro run and most certainly win. But above everything else, she was happy to be surrounded by all the people she loved.

“So, Alex, how's our horse doing today?” James asked.

“Magnificently!”

**

When the race began, everyone rose on their feet. The excitement was too much to remain seated.

Alejandro, again as in the previous race and contrary to his usual practice, did not immediately take the lead. Instead he fell back allowing several horses to pass him.

The women were practically holding their breaths. They looked at Alex to see how she was holding up and for some sort of reassurance that this was the planned course of action. Alex seemed unusually calm, but very much into the race. The women were somewhat perplexed and even said to her, “keep the faith, Alex!”

“Oh! That horse is going to be the death of me!” JP proclaimed. “Why can't he run faster from the start? I think he is too content at the starting line. Does he even know the race has begun? Look at him! He looks like he is out for a trot on a meadow!”

“Shut up!” James demanded. “You are not helping.”

“Well! Excuse me!” He then looked to the race track and closed his eyes thinking that Alejandro was not going to even make it even among the first few horses to cross the finish line.

Alex was standing on the seat so that she could have a better view of the track. The moms maintained a firm grasp on her, making sure that she would not fall.

Alex responded, “be patient, people, he's coming up soon.” Alex talked, but kept her eyes on the track and especially on Alejandro. She was totally absorbed by the race. When Alex, yelled ‘Now!' it was precisely the moment when Alejandro began to advance in such an unprecedented manner that he quickly overtook several horses ahead of him.  One by one, he passed them, as the crowd roared and came to their feet. It almost seemed as if Alex had him on some sort of remote control. Alejandro was barely half a length ahead of Prairie Dog, and a full length ahead of Thunder.

“Go, go!” James screamed.

“Run, my boy, run!” Victoria was yelling too, with Melanie clutching her arm.

The crowd roared as Alejandro consistently continued to advance and on the other horses. The closer he got to the front, the more the crowd roared. In the midst of the roaring crowd, the women could still hear Alex shouting commands. They couldn't help looking at each other and at their little girl who was so into the race that it seemed as if she was the one riding Alejandro.

Alejandro kept his steady pace as Alex instructed him. ‘Steady, boy, steady.” Then it happened again, just about the time the horses were heading into the final stretch of the track, Alex yelled “Go!” And as if he had heard her command from the stands, Alejandro once again took off, overtaking all of the remaining horses. One, two, three, and ending up five lengths ahead as he flew past the finish line.

From the moment Alejandro began to break lose form the other horses the crowd went wild. The roaring was overwhelming. People were yelling and jumping, but all the women could do was to clutch each other's hand and hug their little girl as she appeared to imitate riding Alejandro. When Alejandro crossed the finish line, everyone was jumping and laughing and crying, overtaken with happiness. There were hugs and kisses, and cheering sounds and even some whistling.

“I knew it, M'Addy, Mommy, I knew it!”

Everyone was amazed and congratulated them. As they were leavings the stands, Lord Fannon congratulated her on her fine horse and the most spectacular race he'd ever seen, in his own words. She in turn reminded him that they would be late to attend his party.  Lord Fannon burst out laughing.

At the winner's circle, Alex immediately went to Alejandro. The horse lowered his head and Alex petted him. He made sounds and squirmed. Victoria was already checking him and was about to pronounce that all was well when Alex told her to look at his right hind hoof.

Victoria took a look at Alejandro and then looked at Alex. She wondered how Alex could have known. It seems that sometime during the race, Alejandro had bruised the sole on his right leg.


Alex said nothing and smiled.

Alejandro was again under heavy security when he was led back to the stables. Victoria and Marshal went with him. Later the rest of the women came to see what was going on.

“Is he going to be okay, Victoria ?

“You bet. I already took care of it. We iced it down to ease the inflammation and he will be fine.”

Alex came close to Alejandro who had already been groomed. She petted him and tapped his head and placed her face to him. “You okay my friend?”

As usual, Alejandro moved and made his sounds, while Alex stood next to him and caressed him. “He says it's better, but that he feels something in there.”

“He should, after we iced it, I applied a warm poultice.”

“Like a band aid?”

“Yes, Alex, like a band aid.”

“Okay, people we are told we need to make an appearance at several locations. So we better get going. Marshal you and Carol are welcome to come as well.” Addy told them.

“Thank you, Addy, but we are not much of social butterflies.” Karen came closer to Marshal. “I wish I could stay here with you guys.” Carol laughed.

“You guys go on. Mel, I'll meet you up there. I need to check Alejandro one more time.”

When the women left, Marshal asked Victoria , “how did you know about the bruise so quickly?”

Victoria didn't hesitate. “Alex told me where to look.”

“And I suppose Alejandro told her?”

“Yes.”

“I'm beginning to believe she can really talk to him.”

“Me too. As impossible as it might sound.”

“Karen said she was practically calling his moves from the stands.” Marshal added.

“She also said that he claims he can do better than what he did today.   It's hard to believe he can improve on five lengths ahead?  But I wouldn't be surprised. This horse is fantastic, Marshal.”

“Yes, he is. Karen and I decided to beef up security. He is too good. I mean he's already worth his weight in gold. I can't imagine what people will pay for his offspring.”

“Yeah. You are right he is a pot of gold.

**

After the race, they attended all the necessary events regarding the victory. Then they went to Lord Fannon's reception where he was eagerly awaiting them.

“Ah! Here she is!”  He addressed Alex. “I'm told, I should be addressing you as Lady Alexandra, is this correct.”

Alex was briefly silent, trying to find an appropriate answer. Karen looked at Addy in distress. Addy winked and smiled putting Karen bit at ease. Addy had already told Alex about the Lady title and Alex didn't think twice about it. Addy then returned her attention to Alex.

“Lord Fannon, since I'm not yet in Parliament, I'd much prefer it if you just called me Alex and let my mother be the Lady for now.” Karen almost choked with Alex's answer wondering who was this child and where had she come from?

Addy smiled proudly and tapped Karen in the back gently caressing the area she tapped.  Karen remained quiet but ended up smiling when she heard Lord Fannon laugh.

Lord Fannon looked at Karen. Karen had never liked nobility titles, so she seemed rather taken aback by Alex's sudden invitation to dump the Lady title on her. “And from the obvious resemblance I assume that you are, Lady McGill?”

“Yes, Lord Fannon, I am.” Shit, Shit, Shit!

“I am very pleased to formally meet you. You have a magnificent horse, but really it amounts to nothing as compared to your most remarkable daughter.”

“Thank you, Lord Fannon. We are very proud of her.” Karen thought to put an end to all the nobility crap right then and there by dropping what she thought would be a bomb. “Lord Fannon, let me introduce you to my partner, and also Alex's mother, Adriana Marcos.”

Alex froze, but relaxed when Lord Fannon proved to be a real English gentleman. “I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance, as well, Ms. Marcos. I was just telling your partner that you have a lovely daughter.”

“Thank you, Lord Fannon. She is quite a character, and we are very proud of her.” Addy looked at Alex and smiled mischievously. Her words were carefully chosen.

Alex twisted her mouth, somehow thinking that Addy had noticed her expectant look when Karen made the introduction to Lord Fannon.

He then addressed Alex again. “So, is it your plan to be a politician? And if so, what post would you like to occupy, dear child.”

“I would like to be Prime Minister one day, Lord Fannon.”  Alex replied.

Lord Fannon nearly imploded before he burst out laughing so hard that the whole room looked his way. He nearly choked laughing. The lack of hesitation in Alex's reply, obviously stroke another chord with Lord Fannon. He was beginning to wonder if Alex could perhaps one day really come to be Prime Minister. After that moment, a larger crowd gathered around the very animated group. Alex thrived on the attention. As if she didn't already have enough.

“We'll, dear child, this country could only be so lucky to have such a beautiful and bright Prime Minister as you.  I think we would be the envy of the world.” Lord Fannon was pensive for a moment. “Come child, let's talk about horses. There's an upcoming race I'm very interested in.  I have a horse entered, you know?”

“Yes sir, Tornado.”

Lord Fannon chuckled. Nothing escaped Alex. But then he became serious when he spoke about the horse. “Yes, but he is not the favorite.”

“No sir, he is not. I'm sorry. The favorite is ‘Hot Tomato' but he is not going to win.”

“Well, it seems like the odds are pretty much in his favor, or so I hear. Who do you think will win?”

“Captain.”

“Hum! He is good, but he does not win consistently.”

“That is true, but he will win.”

“Hum. You seem very certain.  May I ask what information do you posses to have such certainty?”

Alex smiled. “Just facts, Lord Fannon. I do my school homework and my horse homework.”

Lord Fannon laughed. “Why do I think this is going to be most enlightening?”

Alex smiled, pleased with herself.

“Go on, child.”

“You see. Lord Fannon, Captain comes from a dry part of the country. He wins when he runs on a dry track. He loses on wet because he's not trained to run on a wet track.  He will win today because we are not supposed to have any rain and the track is dry.  His main competitors don't have great statistics. All things being equal, it will be his day to win.”

“Hum! It makes perfect sense. I'm afraid I will have to bet against my own horse. I wish I had people like you on my staff, young Alexandra. People who do their homework and analyze the data. How do you think Tornado will do?”

“He will come in about 6 th place, sir. Sorry.”

“Sixth! I shall have to put him to work in the field, if he turns out to be such a lame horse.”

Alex remained quiet. That's exactly what she thought he should do.  Tornado was not a good race horse.

As Alex and Lord Fannon spoke, Addy notice Karen's poker face. As content and at home Alex was in that environment, Karen hated it. She was counting the minutes until they could get out of there. When she looked at Addy, her face said it all, there was no need for words. Karen hated everything that came with nobility and their titles. And now, all of a sudden, she found herself thrown in the middle of it all, driven by the two women in her life. Addy knew that Karen needed to get out and decompress.

Addy turned to talk to Mel. “Mel, can you and Vic keep an eye on Alex until we come back?”

“Sure.”

“Ker, let's go get some food.” When they were by the food table, Karen came close to Addy. “I'm going to kill that daughter of yours, introducing me as Lady MgGuill!”
Addy chuckled and then replied. “Well, for whatever is worth your reaction introducing me to Lord Fannon as your partner was just as bad.”

“I introduced you as who you are. Is that a problem?”

“Not with me. But why look for trouble with the old guy when Alex seems to be so fond of him?”

“Because I want to get out of here! And I thought that if he gave me the response I expected, it would give me a quick excuse to leave, that's why!”

“You are being a big baby and you know it!”

“Maybe I am, but you know I don't like any of this crap and I don't feel comfortable. And these shoes are killing me. I didn't think we were going to be standing for so long! Addy I want to get out. Oh! Great this keeps getting better. Look who just walked in.” Susan had just made her entrance. “I want to go. I'm not putting up with her shit tonight. If she gives you one of her fucking looks, I'm going to go at her. So, please, let's just go!”

“Okay, okay. And watch your language; remember that you are a Lady!” Addy winked at her, and got the usual immediate smile. “Let me see if I can get Alex to go. I'm ready to leave also.”


Sure enough, Susan St. James had to make her appearance. She was definitely working her way through all the social circles possible. This was one other thing that was appealing about Karen. Karen was beautiful, had class and she came with a noble title.

However, this time, she did not come near Karen even though she had obviously seen her.

Melanie, now aware of Vic's history with Susan, also disliked her. They were all together watching Alex who was still talking to Lord Fannon.

“Vic, stay close to Karen. She might need protection.” Addy joked.

Karen closed her eyes and nodded her head sideways. “Addy!”

Everyone chuckled. Victoria was a bit husky, but she was only 5'4 and definitely, the shortest of them all.

“In this type of situation, is not size that matters, my people. It's training that counts, and remember I'm trained to deal with beasts.” They laughed.

Alex continued her conversation with Lord Fannon. She was now talking politics with him.

“Now, may I presume, you will defend my honor when you meet those who say that I fail to listen to the people?

“Yes, I will, sir. I will tell them that they are wrong and that you do listen to people.”

“Very well young lady I thank you for your expert horse racing information and for your fine political advice. I remain in your debt. Please call on me when you visit Parliament. I will be honored to give you a personal tour.”

“Thank you, Lord Fannon. I will.” With that she bid him farewell and she joined Karen, Mel and Vic.

Addy was called away by some folks who wanted to congratulate her. On her way back, Susan stopped her to congratulate her also.

“That is a magnificent horse you have.”

“Yes we are pretty fond of him.” Addy replied. She was not happy talking to her, but Addy was very cordial and diplomatic and she knew when to put on a happy face.

“I suppose you are entering him in the subsequent races.”

“We take things one day at a time. No decisions have been made yet.”

“I see, well you should. He runs well and his odds are good.”

Addy was private with people outside her close circle of friends. She didn't like to give out unnecessary information if she didn't need to and she was not about to give details, to of all people, Susan.

Karen had been sidetracked with Victoria and Melanie, listening to Alex, when she realized that Addy was not in their group. She immediately began to scan the room for her. She felt a sudden rush of anxiety not knowing where she was. It was as if she always needed to know Addy's whereabouts. She had always said that Addy was her sun and she needed to know her position so she could align herself in a way that the sun always shone on her. When she saw her talking to Susan she immediately became apprehensive. God only knew what that woman was telling her. Karen felt like she needed to protect her territory and immediately walked towards them. Victoria saw her and stopped her. “Let me handle this.”

“Hurry, then. I don't want her near Addy.”

Victoria hurried towards Addy's direction. As Victoria approached, Susan looked at her. Susan thought that perhaps Victoria had realized who she was and was behaving better tonight since she didn't get the twice over run down. “It's you.” Susan said.

Victoria smiled. “Yes, have you changed your mind?”

“I don't know if you have been properly introduced.”

Victoria immediately replied. “Don't bother Addy. I don't need introductions to give this woman what she wants and needs.”

The women had already agreed that Victoria would continue her aggressive performance with Susan, since that seemed to deter her from them.


Susan didn't think that Victoria would take liberties in front of Addy, but she was wrong. She looked appalled. “You are the most rude, vulgar person I have ever met!”

“I wouldn't bet on that.”

At this point Addie was blushing. Karen saw her from the distance and was not sure that Addy would be able to take the onslaught that was taking place and quickly came over to rescue her. Victoria didn't know Addy that well and was not aware of her fragility.

Victoria held back when she saw Addy's face.

“I cannot believe that you're friends with this type of person!” Susan remarked, before she turned and left.

“Addy, I'm sorry, if I made you uncomfortable.” Victoria apologized.

“It's okay. I know it was just a performance, but it's just that I don't like confrontation and it made me nervous.”

“I'm so sorry. I didn't think.”

“It's okay, Vic. She'll be fine. Come on, Addy.” Karen took her by the hand and they headed in Alex's direction.

Karen looked at Alex and made a gesture with her face. Alex immediately understood that it was time to leave and said her good byes.

By the time they got to the hotel, Alex was very tired and fell asleep immediately. Addy changed and was sitting on the sofa. Karen noticed that she was quiet. She knew Addy was still shaken by the act they had put on for Susan. She sat next to her, but said nothing. “Ker, I would like to stop the charade with Susan.”

“I'll talk to Vic.”

“I know Susan is a bitch, and I hate her as much as you do, but I don't think we need to lower ourselves to her level to convey a message. We are not that kind of people, Ker. Today I felt low and I didn't like it. I'm not unscrupulous like her and I can't take or give that kind of treatment.” She paused. “I, more than anyone else, have the biggest reason to hate her. She wants you. I think that the best thing to do under these circumstances is to simply tell her to leave us alone. I will have a talk with her and put an end to all of this. I will handle her with decorum. There is no need for insults.”

Karen felt awful. After all it was her fault that Susan was lurking around, and she had also allowed Victoria to trash Susan. Nothing else was said. Addy got up, went into the bathroom and then to bed. She lay on her right side.

Karen had gone to check on Alex. The suite had two comfortable bedrooms. One was a master bedroom and the other was a smaller, but yet very comfortable bedroom with its own bathroom. Both bedrooms opened to a common suite area where there was a small kitchenette to the side. They had found that this was a very comfortable set up when they traveled. Having a kitchenette always provided accessibility to have some kind of food in the room which when there is a growing child in the family is very convenient.

Of course when Alex was younger they always requested rooms with double beds and kept her in the room with them. They thought it was safer. But now Alex was older and they weren't afraid that she would open the door of the room and walk out to explore on her own. Now that she was older and very responsible, it allowed everyone to have their privacy. That is not to say, that Alex discontinued her practice of showing up in their room, but at least she now knocked. Also the moms had gotten over the pajamas issue and had come to realize that wearing a big t-shirt with nothing under allowed plenty of accessibility, and that such garment was easy to remove and put back on.

When Karen came into the bedroom it was dark and when her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw Addy in bed already. She walked to the bathroom with her night shirt in hand and a somber look. She could sense something in the air. It was not like Addy to go to sleep and not even say good night or kiss her. She lay down and still nothing from Addy. Karen was feeling awful.

She too lay on her side facing Addy's back. “I'm sorry, Addy.”

Addy turned to face her but said nothing.

“I feel awful. I feel like I've offended you, probably in more than one way. First, by not stopping her myself, and later by allowing Vic to do my dirty work. This started as a joke and it got out of hand. You are right. It's not like us to behave like that. I will put an end to it. I'll talk to Vic an also to Susan. I want her out of our lives. I'm sorry for what happened tonight and for how you felt and feel. Please, don't be mad. You know I can't take it.”

“I'm not mad. It's just that this drives me crazy. You don't like the way she looks at me, but I also don't like that fact that she only does it to get to you. I also don't like the way she looks at you. She gives me the creeps. Still, we are not going to change our ways because of her. It's pretty clear that Vic has something against her also. It's like she has a reason to hate her also. Did you ever ask Vic?”

“No, I haven't, but it just occurred to me that maybe Susan had something to do with what happened between her and her former partner?”

“It would be too much of a coincidence, but it would explain her willingness to trash her.”

“I agree. You know when we first came across Susan, when we were with Vic, I had the impression that there was some history there. But then I gave up on the idea because Susan never gave any indication of knowing her.”

 

“Maybe they never met. Still, if she was the other woman, Vic might have known who she was. Let's forget about this and get some sleep. I'm tired.”

“Do I have your okay to talk to them?”

“Yes.” Addy replied.

“Should I call her up or should I leave it to chance.”

“Leave it to chance. It's not like we are going to look for trouble.”

“Okay. I still want to leave tomorrow.”

“Yes, me too. We get up, and we go.”

**

The next morning they got up and had a quick breakfast of cereal and yogurt from the kitchenette.

Alex was watching cartoons and eating when Karen gave the order. “Alexandra.” Alex looked immediately. The moms almost never used her full name.

“Yeah! Mom?”

“When you finish eating, pack it up. We are leaving.”

“Oh man! Why?”

“Because we are done here and it is time to go home.”

“But I was going to go to the stables and talk to the jockeys today!”

Addy looked at her in surprise. “And just when were you planning to do this? And with whose permission?”

“I was going to tell you when we went to the stables.”

“Well, it's not going to happen. We are leaving, and next time you have any such plans make sure to share them with us in advance so that we can plan ahead.” Karen spoke firmly.

“Anyways, I don't want you alone talking to the jockeys. You are a young lady and there are all sorts of men out there.” Addy added.

Alex rolled her eyes.

“Hey, start packing and watch it when you roll those eyes! That's your mom there!” Karen scolded her.

Addy waved her off. “She's mad. Let her be.”

**

On the way out of the hotel, they came across Victoria ad Melanie.

“Are you guys leaving already?”

“Yes.” Karen replied.

“I thought you guys were staying until tomorrow. We were just heading to the stables. Vic wants to check Alejandro.” Melanie explained.

“Well, we'll stop by briefly to see him before we head out. We'll meet you there.”

Addy suspected that Karen wanted to talk to Victoria .

**

At the stables they also found Marshal and Carol. When Victoria and Melanie arrived, Victoria went immediately to check Alejandro. Karen went into the stall to talk to her.

Everyone else remained outside talking.

“Hey, Vic, I wanted to talk to you about Susan St. James.”

Victoria looked up. “What about her?” There was some apprehension in her voice.

“Well, she's got a racing horse and we will most likely encounter her again. And, umm, Addy and I talked and, umm —.”

“Addy didn't like how I treated her. I know. I don't like to treat people like that Karen. I'll apologize to Addy.” Victoria gave no explanation for her behavior.

Karen nodded in the affirmative. Karen could have talked about the fragility of Addy's sensitive nature, but she didn't want to, or see the need to expose a side of Addy that was privy to her. She understood that sensitivity, loved it, and nurtured it. It was a part of Addy she adored and didn't want to share.

Addy was simple, but at the same time, a highly complex individual. She had never dealt with certain types of people. She was one of those rare individuals who had lived in environments where people, no matter who they were, were treated with the utmost respect. It was in her nature to treat people with great dignity. It was not like her to go off on people, to curse beyond the reasonable, or to insult, ridicule, or demean anyone. There was something about the way she treated people that appealed to them, that called and brought out the best in them. And if Addy ever chose not to deal with someone, it was because she found that the person lacked that trait of character from which she could draw a relationship. She was friendly in nature, but highly selective of the people whom she called friends.

Karen was more aware of the negative aspects of human nature, having dealt with all sorts of people in her life. That was probably why she adored Addy's view of the world. Karen often wished she could have that pure, healthy outlook of people and life. But she couldn't. Her background didn't allow it. Karen thought that Addy's outlook of life made her easy prey to ‘evil' people, and she was always on constant guard to protect her from the dangers lurking around her. Dangers and situations, her naïve and adorable Addy, would never see coming.

Karen saw no need to reveal any of this to Victoria . This was personal and it was for her to know. Victoria had to understand that the fact that Karen was having this conversation with her should be enough to let her know that she should be more careful with what she said and how she acted when Addy was around.

Victoria looked flustered. “After I spoke to Susan, I looked at Addy and I realized that she was in shock. I didn't think that Addy would react the way she did. I mean, you thought it was funny. I didn't think. I just didn't fucking think! I'm sorry, Karen. I tried to apologize to Addy, but I think it was too late. I'm sure she thinks very low of me now.”

Addy walked in. “I really don't. But, I'm puzzled, and you have to clear this up for me, once and for all. Why did you take this approach with her? What is it between you and her, Vic?”

Karen smiled. She had intended to ask Vic the same question, but was beating around the bush on how to go about it. But here was her Addy, direct and to the point. In a ‘let's get this out of the way, here and now' way.

Victoria was clearly having trouble answering.

“She doesn't know me, but I know her, Addy. She's the woman Pam left me for.”

The silence that followed was broken by Addy's words. “I suspected as much. And it explains a lot. I'm sorry.”

“I'm sorry, Vic. I didn't—.” Karen also apologized.

“It's okay, Karen. Sometimes you hold things back and then one day, the opportunity presents itself to do something about it and you do it without thinking, without realizing that life has already changed. Then you wonder why you did it and if it really changed anything. It didn't. It didn't change a thing. Nothing is or will ever be the same. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't want it to be the same. It was just a stupid thing. It was just a way to have the satisfaction to cause pain to one who caused me a lot of pain once, I suppose.”

Melanie was standing by the door and heard the entire conversation.

“Were any of those women she paraded herself with, Pam?” Melanie asked.

Victoria froze when she heard Melanie. Her voice trembled a bit when she answered her. “No. Pam didn't last long with her.” Victoria looked pretty shaken, but relaxed some when Melanie stood by her and massaged her back.

Victoria took a deep breath and continued to speak, she wanted to let it all out. “Pam came to see me three months after she left. Apparently, the St. James woman dumped her. She must have realized Pam was just a simple, country girl with aspirations of grandeur and not the sophisticated, glamorous person she pretended to be. She wanted to come back.”

Melanie looked at her, but said nothing. As a psychiatrist, she knew that Victoria had to get all of it out of her system.

“I've had time to think about all of it, Mel. It's been over two years since all of that happened. I've come to realize that although I hate the St. James woman for having had no scruples about breaking up a relationship, I don't totally blame her. I don't think you can break something that is solid. She didn't break Addy and Karen. My relationship with Pam obviously was not as strong. Susan found a way to break us up and she did. I don't like her, and I think she is capable of anything to get what she wants. I know you guys are solid, but planting lies and creating situations present a lot of hardships. I'm just warning you because I hate to see you guys having problems on account of someone who is so devious.”

Melanie continued to caress her back.

“When Pam left, I was heart-broken. But I also realized that she'd never be happy with me and that she'd break my heart again.” She paused. “I also couldn't really forgive her. There is something that happens when someone betrays you that can never be make things right again. Things would have never been the same. Maybe I didn't love her enough. I don't know what was it, Mel. All I know is what I am. I am a veterinarian. I deal with horses and cows and that is all I will ever be, and that was never going to be enough for her. I need someone who accepts me for who I am, as simple and as common as I may be. I didn't take her back and the last I heard, from a mutual friend, was that she was in London . I'm sorry that all this had to come up.” She looked at Melanie. “I would have told you, but in time.” Then she looked at Addy. “And I'm sorry, Addy. I think I offended you last night with the way I treated Susan. You are a very fine person, and my hatred for her blinded me. I forgot the company I was with. I'm really very sorry.” She looked at Karen.

Karen waved her hand in the air. “I think we've had enough talk this morning. Addy and I talked last night and we decided that if we come across her again, I will talk to her.”

Victoria was not too happy. She feared for their relationship, but she had warned them and there was nothing else she could do.

“Vic, I could say not to worry about them, but I must tell you that I once told them that if they ever split up, I would stop believing in love and that I would go around—.”

“Melanie!” Addy interrupted and Karen laughed.

When Melanie stopped talking, Addy explained. “Perhaps you should tell Victoria the rest of your anecdote in private?” She made a questioning gesture with her face.

Melanie started to laugh. “Okay! I got it!”

Karen chuckled and gave the word. “Let's go home!”

To be continued in Part 12

 

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