Disclaimers : See Part 1
It was right after they came back from their Christmas holiday when the biggest snow and ice storm they ever had in years hit Scotland. The weather forecasters were predicting several feet of snow and then extreme cold temperatures which would turn the snow to ice. They were also predicting strong northerly winds. Everyone rushed to the grocery and hardware store to prepare. As each day passed the predictions were for even worse conditions.
“If we had known, we could have stayed in Culebra. Can’t we go back and wait it out over there?” Alex noted.
“Nice try, Alexandra. And, yes maybe Mommy Addy and I will go back while some people stay here and go to school. Plus, it’s too late to leave. The storm is around the corner. The best thing to do now is to be prepared.”
“You wouldn’t leave me here alone, and you know it Mommy!”
Karen smirked at her. “Don’t bug me child! You don’t want to find out the hard way.”
“Mommy, but you love me! You wouldn’t leave me!”
“Come on. Help me get stuff done, blabber mouth.”
Karen was already in full charge securing everything, inside and out. She nailed down anything that could come loose, lowered the outside wood shutters, parked the cars in the garage, and made sure that the generator was in good working condition and that there was plenty of diesel fuel out in the shed to keep it working for a long time.
Alex was helping her with all the preparations. She loved to work side by side with them and was a quick learner. Karen made sure to have plenty of firewood and oil for the emergency heaters. There was also salt and shovels and enough gas for the snowmobile. They were more than prepared. She also made sure that James and JP were prepared. The distillery shut down and was secured and everyone was sent home until further notice. The Manor house, which was where Karen’s and Phil’s legal office was located, was properly winterized and sealed as well.
Marshal and Carol were still at the undisclosed winter location. They would be staying there until later in the spring. It was better for Alejandro to be in a warmer climate where he could train every day. Since Marshal and Carol were staying with Alejandro, Addy hired new help for the stables and she now had to make sure that all the horses were secured and protected and that everything was in order there. It had been a long time since she had to worry about the stables. She had relinquished all those duties to Marshal, whom she trusted blindly.
Karen insisted on going over to the stables, and the distillery to make sure everything was done adequately. She had personally secured the Manor house and Marshal’s and Carol’s cottage. Since the incident with Mary, Carol lived with Marshal. They had become a couple and got along very well. After the fire in the stables, Karen and Addy made sure they had their own cottage. The cottage was near the stables, but far enough to be safe if there was ever a fire again.
After everything was secured at home, the three of them went out to surveying all the properties. Addy thought that Karen always overdid the security matters, but even though she complained about Karen’s almost maniacal behavior, she preferred it that way. She liked the fact that she cared and was always prepared.
Addy made sure that they were well stocked on food, batteries, candles and medical supplies. When Addy came home from her final trip to the grocery store, she was hardly visible behind all the bags she was carrying.
“M’Addy, more food? How many times have you gone to the store?”
“When you are hungry you will be glad that there’s plenty of food in this house. The grocery store barely had anything left. All the food is gone.”
Karen looked at her and smiled. “Yeah, because most of it is here! And you call me a maniac?” Karen and Alex came to her rescue and helped her empty the bags and put away the groceries. “What is this? Spam? When have we ever eaten Spam? Ten cans?”
“It’s food, it’s canned, it does not require refrigeration and it does not require cooking.”
“And you said it’s the last thing on earth you’d ever eat.” Karen knew Addy too well.
“Well, yes, but if it comes to that, I will be eating my Spam. It’s ‘end of the world food’. What about you? Have you checked all the nails to see if they are all tucked in, so that none will come out with the wind?”
Karen grimaced and then chuckled. She came close to Addy and put her arms around her waist. “Mock me all you want, but you know you are safe with me.”
There was no point denying that. It was true. “Mock me all you want, but you will never starve with me.” Karen grinned.
Alex smiled enjoying once again the moms’ bantering. Alex was not only helping with preparations, but she was also in charge of the entertainment. She was downloading movies and books, just in case the power went out.
When the storm finally came, it was brutal from the start. The temperature plummeted and the wind howled outside. The gusts of wind were strong and it made the shutters shake. Every time they did, Alex stared at her Mom with a look of panic. “It’s alright. This cottage is very strong and has been through many storms.” Then she came up with a story to calm Alex down. “I remember when I was about ten, I came to visit Aunt Charlotte and there was a huge storm. We had a lot of snow and wind and nothing happened. And that was many years ago when people didn’t have generators or anything. So when the power went off, we were sitting by the wood stove and the fireplace telling stories and sometimes bored to death. In the end the best thing to do was sleep. But nothing ever happened to the cottage, nothing.”
Alex listened and relaxed. As Karen told the story, Alex snuggled to her mom and Karen put her arm around her daughter and held her in comfort. Addy observed the scene from the kitchen. They looked enchanting. Karen noticed that Addy was missing and looked back to the kitchen looking for her. From the kitchen, Addy mimicked “Liar!” Karen smiled and waved her hand off in the air.
The cottage seemed strong. It was made of stone and when they moved in they had it well insulated, so they were comfortable and safe inside. They also had a basement to go to if the conditions really got too noisy or bad upstairs. The basement was mainly used for storage, but the old sofa and love seat were down there and in an emergency they could easily crash there comfortably. Outside, the sound and fury of the wind was scary. It was not only the wind hitting the shutters but the drifts of snow, and what appeared to be sleet and torrential rain at times.
“Mommy, can we sleep down here? I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep in my room. The wind is making a lot of noise and it’s scary. I think Peanut Crunchy is scared. He was under my bed.”
Addy immediately realized that it was Alex who was actually scared, but she would never come out and say it. Karen was always telling her that she had to learn to be tough. Addy was of the opinion that you can’t make people tough by telling them to be tough. The important thing for Addy was that Alex would grow up to be a confident person. The toughness, she hoped, would come from her confidence.
“Hum, maybe Alex is right and we should camp down here, at least for tonight.” Alex immediately opened her huge eyes, smiled and hugged Addy. Addy ruffled her hair and kissed her on the head.
“Well, I’d rather sleep in my comfy bed.” Karen looked at Addy a certain way that conveyed clearly what she meant. “But, it looks like once again, I am in the minority, so I’m not even going to open my mouth.” Addy and Alex looked at each other, rolled their eyes and smiled.
“Well for the record, the majority here would like to state that we love the minority.” Addy proclaimed as Alex chuckled.
Karen smirked. Alex was again thrilled to see the moms in their usual playfulness. “So, what are we doing for sleeping arrangements?” Karen asked, trying to be a trooper.
“Let’s camp out in the rec room. It’s right in the middle of the house, and it’s the best place, other than the basement, where we are less likely to hear the wind. We’ll recline the seats of the sofa and use them as beds.”
“Alright!” Alex was already running. “I’m going to get my pillow and my comforter. Come on Peanut Crunchy!”
In the midst of moving things around and setting up camp downstairs, Karen moved the emergency heaters downstairs, just in case they’d need them. One was in the rec room and the other in the dining/kitchen area. They had also closed the door to the staircase upstairs to keep the heat downstairs, and the door to the rec room.
Karen pouted. “Tomorrow I’ll wake up stiff as a broom from sleeping on this sofa.” Addy knew that Karen’s real reason for protesting was that she hated not being able to cuddle up next to her. Karen always said that the best moment of her day was when she got in bed and snuggled to her.
Addy came forward and kissed her. “Don’t worry about your back, baby. I’ll give you a massage tomorrow.”
“Mom you are a wimp.”
“Grrrr!” Karen growled and Alex laughed.
They had just finished dinner when the power went off.
“M’Addy!” Alex yelled frightened. The emergency lights came on, but still the sudden change in lighting was frightening.
Karen held her daughter. “It’s okay Little Bit. It’s okay. It’s just a power outage. We knew this could happen. Here, stay with Mommy Addy and I’ll go start the generator so we can keep the appliances running.” Karen went off to the hot tub room, where she had the indoor switch to the generator, and quickly turned it on and returned to the rec room.
“Since the lights are out, why don’t we just turn in for the night? We can read a story in your tablet and go to sleep after.” Addy suggested.
“Okay, M’Addy. But, can I sit on your lap?”
“Sure, baby. Come on, get your tablet. Let’s pick a story.”
“Come on Ker, get over here and cuddle with us.”
Karen smiled, realizing that Addy was aware of the reason of her discontent.
Addy continued to smile. “Come here, big baby, get close to me.”
Karen immediately did as told, but was quiet. Alex read her story out loud and Addy listened. Addy was listening to Alex but kept looking at Karen.
The wind continued to howl outside and the snow and the rain battered the cottage. They were comfy bundled up on the sofa in front of the fire as it lit up the room. All three seats reclined. Addy was sitting in the middle. It was always like that. Both Karen and Alex always looked for Addy’s body contact. Addy was leaning into Karen and Alex was on Addy’s lap while she read.
When Alex fell asleep on her lap, Addy moved her to the reclined seat at the end of the sofa. Addy tucked her in and Alex immediately curled up to her stuffed toys. Alex was a sound proof sleeper. The minute she was out, she was out for the whole night.
Peanut Crunchy lifted his head at the sign of movement. He laid comfortably, covered by a tiny blanket, in his cushion/bed on the floor near Alex. He was not allowed on the sofa. Addy smiled at the dog. She liked the fact that he was always looking out for Alex. Over time they had come to an understanding, and he knew very well where he stood with Addy. He knew that as long as he followed her rules, he was fine.
After settling Alex, Addy again reclined on Karen. Seeking her own comfort, she placed her hand under Karen’s sweat shirt, caressing her toned abdomen and bringing her hand down low. Karen smiled. She felt the warm, soft hand brushing her abdomen and immediately reacted slouching down, accommodating her legs to provide access in case Addy was headed in a certain direction. Karen also reached under Addy’s sweat shirt and caressed her back and rear. “Umm! So good. You feel soft and warm. Umm.” Addy moaned.
“Is it my turn to be looked after?” Karen asked smiling. Karen kissed the top of her head taking in her scent, a mix of her shampoo, soap and sweet, natural body odor. “You smell so good, umm.” She brought her closer to her and squeezed her tight.
Addy placed a leg over Karen’s and turned more into her. She then began to places small kisses on her collarbone and neck. She brushed her fingernails over Karen’s abdomen again, and all the way down letting it rest on her abdomen very close to her pubic bone. Karen stiffened, raised her hips and opened her legs more with the touch. It was a natural reaction to Addy’s touch. Addy chuckled.
Karen grinned. “What’s so funny?”
“I was just thinking that it took a blizzard for you to wear jammies to bed, Ms. Larsen.”
“Nope. It took a seven year old lying at the other end of the sofa. And by the way, Ms. Marcos, since we have some physical limitations here, you better be careful where you put that hand because we may find ourselves in a very delicate situation.”
Addy turned her head up to look at Karen. She smiled and kissed her. “How delicate?”
Karen grinned mischievously.
“Ker, we can’t. Not with Alex there?” She whispered not wanting to be heard.
“Miss our bed now?”
“Terribly.” Addy smiled and pouted. Still, she caressed Karen’s stomach and cuddled more to her to kiss her on the neck.
Karen still had her hand under Addy’s t-shirt. She caressed her back gently and kissed the top of her head. “Good night, baby.”
Alex was the first one up in the morning. “Mom! M’Addy! Come and take a look at all the snow out there! I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get out of the house!”
Both women mumbled in their sleep. Addy was still lying on Karen.
“I’m too comfy here. I don’t want to see any snow.” Karen mumbled.
“Me neither. But we are going to have to get up. The Little Bit wants us to go check it out.” Addy patted Karen’s leg as she was getting up.
“We’ve been snowed in before. I don’t want to see any snow.” Karen turned to her side and continued to sleep.
“Ker! I know you don’t and neither do I, but Alex does. Come on, get up!” Addy was already up.
Karen was mumbling and not too happy about having to get up. Her hair was all messed up.
Addy looked out the window. “Oh Lord! Karen look at this!”
When Alex saw her mom, she laughed. “Mom, your pants are crooked and you need to comb your hair.”
Karen made a disgruntled face, and Addy and Alex laughed.
“Mean kid. Be good to your mother!” She straightened her pants, combed her hair with her hands and looked out the window. “Wow!
Although the snow was already high, it continued to fall. There were blizzard conditions outside. It was impossible to see beyond the fence of the cottage. Even the three foot fence was hard to see because the snow almost covered it already
“Okay, I’ve seen it. Since we can’t get out, I’m going back to sleep and I’m going up to sleep on my bed. I’m stiff from that sofa.” Karen went to the rec room and came back with her comforter and pillow between her arms and went upstairs.
“Mom, you sound like an old lady with back problems.”
Karen growled again.
Addy chuckled. “Come on Alex, let’s make some breakfast. Maybe when the Grinch smells the coffee she’ll come back to us.”
“M’Addy, can we go out on the snow later?”
“No one is leaving this house!” Karen screamed from upstairs. “It’s too dangerous out there.”
Alex was not happy. “How could she hear from upstairs?”
Addy chuckled. “I don’t know, but you heard her. Orders are orders and it’s true, sweetie, it’s dangerous outside.”
“Let’s make something to eat. How about scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and French toast?”
“I love French Toast. Yum!”
“Do you want to scramble the eggs, while I make the coffee?”
“Sure. Are we making breakfast for Mommy also?”
“Yes, I’ll take it to her upstairs. Maybe that will tame her.” Addy spoke loud enough to be heard upstairs.
They heard another growl from upstairs and laughed.
“She’s impossible sometimes.”
“She likes her bed, and she likes to sleep with you. She kisses you sometimes when you are sleeping. I’ve seen her.”
Addy was caught off guard by the innocent comment. “She does, huh?”
“Yes, all the time.”
“She also kisses you when you sleep, you know?”
Addy smiled thinking of Karen kissing her while she sleeps. After they had their breakfast, Alex went to play, and Addy went upstairs to take Karen her breakfast.
She walked into the bedroom. “I know you are not sleeping, so don’t pretend.”
Karen showed her face from under the comforter. “I was remembering that blizzard in the Alps. Do you remember?”
Addy grinned. “How could I forget? We spent the whole week in bed.”
Karen grinned. “Those were the good old days.”
Addy grinned. Yes, she remembered that week. How could she not? She placed the breakfast tray on the bed and Karen sat up to eat.
“All days are good, old and new. We now have time to appreciate other things.”
“I don’t think there was any part of you that I didn’t appreciate that week.” She grinned.
“Nor I of you, for that matter.”
Karen smiled. “Touché, Ms. Addy! Do you think we can come back to our bed tonight so that I can provide a full, thorough appreciation? Karen asked excitedly.
Addy grinned. “My pleasure will be your pleasure. I’ll try, but can’t promise. I’ll do my best.”
“Hope is a good thing. Thanks for breakfast, baby.” She kissed her on the lips.
“Umm! I love syrup on your lips.”
Karen grinned. “I’ll tell you where I’d like to put some syrup tonight.”
I can’t believe that I can still maker blush!
“Ms. Larsen, now I have to remind you of your parental obligations. We are going to have to at least, open the door and put a foot outside. Alex needs to feel the snow and Peanut Crunchy needs to pee. I don’t think that green thing you guys bought for him to pee indoors has convinced him. He may develop a bladder infection if he—.”
“Okay. I’ll get up and deal with our pets.”
Karen got up and dressed warm. When she came downstairs, Alex was lying on the floor and Peanut Crunchy was next to her. “You two, gear up. We are going to open the door and do some shoveling.”
“Oh boy!” Alex jumped immediately.
“Do you think you are properly dressed in those pajamas?”
Alex looked at herself. “No.”
“Well? Do something about it!”
“I’m going to put on my boots. I don’t want my feet to be cold.”
“And your snow suit and scarf, gloves and hood.”
“But when I wear all that I can’t barely move, M’Addy!”
“I know! That’s why I don’t like snow. I like to stay warm inside. I’ll leave the snow for the two of you.”
Karen made a mocking face, it was not her choice to go out, but somebody had to and she had apparently been volunteered. She had a snow shovel in her hand. “I don’t think we are going to go very far. Peanut Crunchy is going to have to make it quick.”
“What if he can’t pee because it’s too cold?” Alex was running everywhere gathering her stuff.
“That’s his problem. Come on.”
“Mommy! You are mean to Peanut.”
They opened the inside door only to find the snow piled up to the glass of the outside door. It had snowed for three consecutive days already. It was so cold. The snow was so packed that it would not even fall inside when they opened the door. It was about four feet high. Alex’s eyes were huge. “Wow! I have never seen so much snow. Look how high it is.”
They were standing in the small vestibule between the two doors. It was a small enclosed area, big enough for people entering the house to remove their jackets and remove their rain or snow boots. There was a small bench to the side where a person could sit to remove their shoes and put on some slippers. There was also an umbrella bucket and a wooden rail to hang jackets from. On top there was a place for hats, gloves and scarfs.
Karen began to shovel snow. “Crap it’s hard! It’s all iced up. This is going to take some time, Alex. Come on, let’s get started.”
She slowly removed the upper layers first. Alex watched her mom and the minute the opening was big enough, she started doing the same thing with her little shovel. Karen smiled when she saw her and then she looked back because she knew Addy was watching. She had the sweetest smile watching the mother daughter pair working side by side. Karen was giving orders left and right and Alex didn’t seem to mind because she kept doing whatever she wanted to do. It was the usual, Karen trying to establish order and procedures, and Alex ignoring her and doing her own thing. Karen could never understand how she had ended up with such free-spirited women. Alex was walking and jumping all over the small opening in front of them and Peanut Crunchy was running around her feet.
“Be careful, you can slip and fall.” Alex continued jumping around. “When you fall, don’t come crying to me!”
Alex continued and even made snowballs and threw them at Karen. “You little devil!” Karen threw one back at her and accidently got her in the face. Alex was now all red and not too happy. Peanut Crunchy was barking at Karen. He didn’t like it when people messed with Alex, even when it was the moms.
“Hush, dog! Stop that barking if you want to eat tonight.”
“I’m too cold, Mommy. And you are making Peanut mad. He’s going to bite you.”
“He better not, if he knows what’s good for him. If he bites me, Addy will send him to Siberia in a sec. Let’s go back inside. I think Peanut already took care of his business. Come on, it’s too cold to be out here too long. We don’t want to get sick.”
“Quiet Peanut! Siberia is very cold, even colder than here. Go inside, now!” Alex ordered, and Karen chuckled. Even Alex knew that in the Larsen-Marcos household it was best to be aligned with the Marcos part, even for the dog. Addy wondered what the Siberia comment was all about but didn’t ask. She was too concerned getting Alex out of her wet clothes.
As she was entering the cottage, since she was fuzzing over the dog, Karen slipped and fell on the ice that had formed below the snow. Addy was tending to Alex and didn’t see her fall, but heard the thud followed by the scream.
“Oh my God! Ker! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. I’m fine. I don’t think anything is broken, my foot hurts, but I don’t think it’s broken. I’m just going to need some help getting up.” Between Alex and Addy they helped her up.
“I’m fine, Addy. I’m fine.” Karen continued to reassure Addy that her foot was fine.
Once inside, Alex ran to the fireplace. “I’m freezing! Brrr!”
Addy brought a blanket and covered Alex to try and warm her.
“If you had only listened to me and had not lain down on the ground to make snow angels, you wouldn’t be so cold and frozen now! But no! Nobody ever listens to me, the only voice of reason in this house.” Karen was scolding her from the sofa, as she too removed her wet clothes.
Once Alex was wrapped in a blanket, Addy came over to Karen with another blanket. “Simmer down, big baby! Here let me warm you too.” She put the blanket around Karen and kissed her on the cheek. Karen gave her a resigned look.
“Go sit by the fire, I’m going to make hot cocoa.”
“Can I have mine with marshmallows, M’Addy?”
“Yes, baby. Marshmallows for everyone.”
Alex smiled when she saw Karen come to sit next to Alex in front of the fire. They looked so much alike, even from behind. They were an adorable sight. Alex immediately jumped on her mother’s lap and hugged her. “Thanks, for going outside with me, Mommy.” The tender part of Alex was conditioning. She took after Addy in that regard. She had the same inhibited impulse to constantly show her emotions, and Karen loved it as much as she loved Addy’s. The fact that the two women in her life were free-spirited and didn’t pay attention to her half the time, as she claimed, came compensated by the enormous showing of love she received every single day of her life. All the complaints of the world could never hold ground to the kisses and the hugs she received every day.
Karen smiled and hugged and kissed her daughter, as Addy came back into the room with her tray of goodies. She smiled when she saw the pair hugging.
“Okay, I got hot cocoa with marshmallows here.” Both immediately turned to get their warm treat. There were also all sorts of cookies on a plate.
“M’Addy you are awesome. Yum, these cookies are so good!” Alex exclaimed as she grabbed a couple of cookies.
Karen also took a couple of cookies. Karen smiled drinking her chocolate and rubbing her foot. Addy saw her rubbing her foot and grabbed it.
“Just a bit.”
“Let me give you a foot massage.” Karen looked at her and then at Alex. She knew the effect that Addy’s massages had on her no matter on what part of the boy it was. Alex laughed not knowing what Karen’s funny look was about.
“Mommy you are lucky! You get a free massage.”
Addy looked at Karen smiling. “Yes, Alex. She’s very lucky.” Karen leaned back on the sofa smiling and added, “Yes, I am!”
Alex finished her chocolate and took her cup to the kitchen. “I’m going to the computer upstairs.”
“I can’t believe she has so much energy. I’m beat from the little shoveling I did.” Karen exclaimed.
“You did a lot more than she did, and since it was icy it must have been double the work. And she’s only seven years old!”
Addy combed back Karen’s hair. Karen took her hand and kissed it gently, and then pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. Alex was coming down and saw the tender gestures.
“Sorry. Uh! I forgot something here. Can I come in to get it?”
“Sure, baby.” Addy smiled, noticing how polite Alex was to ask. Alex took her notebook and went back upstairs.
“I hope seeing us kiss all the time does not ruin her.” Karen whispered after Alex was already gone.
Addy turned and quietly spoke. “How could that be? A child raised with love all around her will learn to love as well. I just hope she finds someone to give her the kind of love she has seen here at home.” Addy paused and caressed Karen’s face. “I hope she finds another you.”
“Or another you.” Karen replied.
Later that night, Karen’s foot began to hurt, and she started to complain.
“I think it’s swollen. Can somebody bring me some ice?”
Addy insisted that she remain seated and with her foot elevated.
“Mom, I don’t think it’s swollen. It looks just like the other foot.”
“No, look over here, do you see how puffy it is?”
“It looks just the same.” Alex declared.
“Can you just ask your mom to get me some ice?” Addy was already preparing the ice pack.
Alex walked to the kitchen. “M’Addy, I don’t think it’s swollen. She’s imagining it.”
Addy smiled. “Alex, there’s no point in denying it. If she thinks it’s swollen, it is. You know she’s a big baby. Here, take the ice to her, before her foot swells so much it explodes.”
She gave the ice pack to Karen. “You are right Mommy. I think it’s swollen. Look it’s even turning blue, or is it purple?”
Karen immediately looked with a very frightened face. The minute she realized it wasn’t blue she narrowed her eyes and looked at a very smiley Alex. “It’s not nice to make fun of your mom.”
Alex, who was a little devil, laughed. She took advantage of every opportunity to tease her moms.
Addy joined them. “Here, big baby, take some ibuprofen for you’re the huge inflammation.”
Karen looked at her narrowing her eyes also, but took the pills and swallowed them. “You too? Making fun of the injured! You are both horrible people!”
Alex and Addy chuckled.
Later that night, the snow ended, and the sleet and the freezing rain began. The wind was still howling and there was no way that Addy was able to convince Alex to sleep in her bedroom. “I think we should sleep downstairs again. We were all nice and comfy, I did not hear the wind, and Peanut Crunchy was not afraid. I want all of us to sleep down here again tonight.”
Karen rolled her eyes knowing that this was a lost battle. She again brought everything down from the bedroom without even a word from Addy. She was carrying all the blankets and pillows.
“Don’t say anything, Adriana, don’t bother.”
Addy grinned. When Karen used her full name it was either in the peak of passion or in hopeless moments of defeat. Addy always found it extremely amusing.
Once in the rec room, Alex covered Peanut Crunchy with his blanket and then got all comfy on her side of the sofa. Karen got on her recliner and leaned back. Addy turned off the light and only the fireplace lit the room. Karen pulled out the comforter so that Addy could get under it.
“I think this is romantic. The three of us in front of the fire.” Addy declared.
Karen said nothing and looked at her wondering what could possibly be romantic about the whole family sitting in front of a fire? Judging by Alex’s look, Karen thought that Alex must have had the same thought, even though she was seven years old. Alex smiled and nodded her head. Alex always liked the things Addy came up with. She thought her mom was funny and the greatest thing on earth.
“M’Addy, I think it’s romantic when two people sit and kiss in front of a fire. Are you two going to start kissing?” Alex asked with a smile on her face.
Both women were surprised and didn’t know what to answer. Karen was sort of grinning, but attempted to speak sternly. “Young lady, go to sleep and mind your own business.”
Alex chuckled and turned around to sleep. But before she did she spoke again. “I just wanted to know, so that I can cover my head and not watch you.”
“Wait a minute!” Addy exclaimed. “Could it be that somebody under a certain comforter is jealous that she is not getting enough kisses? Ker, I think this situation calls for an extreme attack!” Addy had used this sort of tactic before to lighten the mood, or turn Alex’s attention to something else. Alex knew what was coming and curled up on the sofa bracing herself. Both women came over to Alex’s side of the sofa and each began to kiss and tickle her as Alex laughed and yelled for help. The end was always the same. The three of them huddled in embrace, and sharing a ton of kisses.
When they disentangled themselves, they settled Alex back on the sofa and wrapped her in her blankets and comforter. Peanut Crunchy always became very agitated when this happened because he couldn’t bear the thought of Alex being the object of anyone’s attention. By now he had already calmed down. Especially after Karen had given him the threatening stare she always gave him to warn him. Peanut knew better and always reacted positively with the boss’ look.
“You are the craziest moms anyone can have.”
“Sssh! Go to sleep now unless you want to be attacked again.” Addy warned.
“And cover your head! I’m about to kiss Mommy Addy.”
Alex laughed. A few minutes later she was sleeping like a log. She was tired from all the snow shoveling.
A little while later, Karen lifted her head and noticed that Alex was already sound asleep.
The women were enjoying their mutual caressing. Addy was looking into the fire. The crackling of the firewood had a hypnotic effect on her. She looked contently to Alex, sound asleep and happy at the other end of the sofa and then she turned to look at Karen. She was startled when she found the green eyes looking back at her.
“Hi.” Addy smiled with her adorable sweet, irresistible smile.
“Hi.” A husky voice replied. The green eyes were burning with desire and immediately hypnotized the brown ones.
“You were thinking of me.”
“I think I need to be romantic right now.” Karen kissed her on her forehead and smiled mischievously.
Addy looked up to find the green orbs that she adored. “We can’t, Alex is—.”
Karen cocked her eyebrow and took her lips.
“I know what you are doing! Oh, my God! You sneaky woman!”
Karen grinned. Addy pulled herself away from Karen, sat on the edge of the sofa, and turned to face Karen. “You are stirring things between us, so that I put an all-out effort to convince Alex to sleep on our beds! You want us to go back to our bed!”
“Where we belong, if I may add? Nothing wrong with that! As far as I know.”
“Ker, she’s been frightened and the storm won’t last forever. We have to be supportive.”
“We’ve been ‘camping’ for two nights already. I miss us in bed!”
“Sssh! You are worse than her. Come on, let’s go to sleep. Just settle for an ‘I love you’ tonight, okay?”
Karen was not too happy with the alternative, but smiled when she felt the warmth of Addy’s body against hers. She kissed her head. “Good night love.”
The weather was still bad in the morning. This seemed like a never ending storm. It had been three days since it started, first the snow, then the ice and sleet, and now the rain and the wind. When Alex went to her room in the morning, she started to scream.
“Mom, M’Addy! Come here!” Both women ran up the stairs.
Karen got there first. “What’s wrong, baby?”
“There’s water coming down from the wall.”
“Oh my God! Where’s this water coming from?” Addy exclaimed.
“Hum. Let me check the attic.” Karen went out to the hall in front of the bedrooms and pulled the chord to bring down the attic ladder. She climbed up. Addy followed her but stayed on the ladder.
“I think there’s too much snow on the roof and the gutters are clogged. The water can’t run where it is supposed to. I heard in the news that this could happen. They were telling people to clear their roof of snow. Maybe I should get the ladder and go out there and try to clear some of it.”
“Are you crazy? I’m not going to let you go out there!” Addy immediately stated. “It’s cold and slippery and you can easily fall and break something. It would be crazy to do such a thing.”
“Well, if I don’t, we might run the risk of getting more water in, or even have the roof collapse.”
“I would rather take that risk than have you fall and hurt yourself. No way, Karen Larsen, forget it. You are not going out there to climb on the roof. Let’s just figure out what to do in here to collect the water.”
“Don’t go, Mommy!”
Karen looked at the little one. “Don’t worry, baby. Mommy Addy doesn’t want me going, so I won’t go.” Then she addressed Addy. “Just how much paper towel rolls do we have? Or is Spam a good sealant?”
Alex smiled when she heard her mom kidding Addy. Karen was trying to relax Alex who already seemed worried.
“Very funny, I’ll bring old towels and some of my potting pots. Maybe the water will collect in the towel and will seep to the pots.”
“Good, how about throwing some seeds in the pots too. Maybe we can grow some flowers. What do you think, Alex?”
Alex laughed. Addy smirked. “Laugh, but it will work. You’ll see. I’m very creative.”
Karen was going to open her mouth again, but didn’t when she found fiery brown ones staring at her. “Don’t! We’ll do whatever we need to do, but you are not going outside to climb on any ladder. I don’t want to hear it! End of story.”
Alex opened her huge eyes and looked at Karen. Karen did the same. They knew the last word was said. They did what Addy suggested. “I feel like we have just put a band aid on a crack in the Hoover dam!”
Alex smiled and pursed her lips.
“This is not going to work. I’m going to the basement to see if I can find some water proof sealant or something.” She came back up with a caulking gun loaded with window caulk. “I’m going up there again. Bring more pots and your plants, if you want to. I’m going to try and seal it with this stuff.”
“Wait! Put on some goggles.” Addy brought the goggles for her to wear. “I don’t want any of that stuff getting in your eyes.”
It was then that they heard the wind gust and a horrible ripping sound with wood banging against the house. Alex held on to Addy’s waist. “M’Addy!” Karen and Addy looked at each other. Karen bent down to talk to her daughter. “It’s okay, baby. Don’t be frightened.”
“Let me go check what happened.” Karen said without giving Addy much opportunity to say anything. She knew what was coming, so she preempted. “I’ll be fine.” Karen went up the ladder with the caulking gun in hand. The minute she was half way up, she began to come down.
“The wind ripped a few wood boards. There’s a hole on the side of the house and lots of water is coming in. I think there are some left over boards in the basement from when we laid the floor in the attic. I’m going to get them, put some plastic up, and nail them to the studs. It won’t stop all of the cold air from coming in, but at least it will stop the water.
“Ker, do you have to? Can it wait? Isn’t it dangerous?”
“If I don’t, the water will continue to come in and will damage a lot more of the wood. If it all gets too wet, it could collapse. At least I don’t have to go outside for this, or up on the roof.”
“It will be fine. Come on help me bring the stuff up here.” They all went to the basement to help Karen bring up the wood planks, the plastic and the nail gun. She had all the right tools. She always did. She seldom used them, but she was always prepared. Karen was the type of person who didn’t like to depend on others for help. Surprisingly, she was very handy and always knew what to do. She always joked that in a previous life she must have been a skilled laborer.
Addy was at the foot of the ladder, not too happy. Alex was next to her. “I’ll be fine. Do not worry my people!”
Karen went up and Addy watched from the ladder. “Maybe I should come and help you hold the wood planks.”
“No you stay there with Alex.” The last thing she wanted was something happening to Addy.
Addy remained on the ladder and watched as Karen battled with the wind and the rain to finally get the plastic in place and the boards nailed to the wall. When she was done, she came down. She was soaked from head to toe and trembling half frozen.
“Oh my God! Come here, baby.” Addy wrapped her in a towel and was leading her to the bathroom in their bedroom. You need a hot shower.”
“No. Not here. Downstairs.” Addy looked at her. “Okay, let’s go down then.” They all marched downstairs. “Here?”
“Here, let me help you get out of those wet clothes.” Karen was shivering. Addy had already started the hot water running in the shower and the small bathroom was already warm. Karen got in under the warm water, and immediately felt better.
“Do you think you are going to need help in there?”
“No, go check on Alex. I think I’m already recovering blood flow. And Addy, don’t go upstairs!”
Addy wondered. She went out of the bathroom and came back in. Karen was out of the shower drying herself. “Here, put this on.” She handed Karen a pair of sweat pants and shirt.
“You went upstairs! I told you not to!” Karen was mad and yelled. She had never used that tone on her before and Addy was startled.
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“Look I don’t want to scare Alex, so I’m not going to say anything out there. I think we have termites in the attic and the wood up there is all rotten. I patched it up, but it was a bad job and, even though I sealed the seams, the water continues to come in because the wood is so bad. We are moving camp to the basement and when she falls asleep, we are moving all the stuff from her room to ours. That side of the house seems to be in better shape. When all this is over, the cottage is going to go through a major overhaul for sure.”
“Okay. But are we in danger now?”
“Hopefully not. Besides, as things are, what can we do? We need to stay put, dry and warm. In the basement we will be two floors down. And we will be farther away from any sounds should anything happen up there.”
“Ker, you are frightening me.”
“Don’t be. We’ll be fine. And put a good face for the little one.”
“Come on. Let’s go out.”
“Are you warm now Mommy?”
“Yes, very. That was a nice warm shower.”
“Hey, Alex, we are going to try something different tonight.”
“What?” She immediately perked up. Kind of like Addy would when there was a new project or something coming up. Karen smiled. “We are going to move our camp to the basement tonight.”
“Why? But I like it here! The sofa is comfy and the fire place is romantic. M’Addy said so.” Karen looked at Addy, who evaded her look.
“Well, we are going to try that tonight to see how it works out.”
Addy smiled. “Alex, Mommy Karen just went through a lot of trouble fixing the attic and getting all wet and cold for us. She also agreed to camp here when you wanted to, so if she wants us to move the camp to the basement, I think we should. So come on, help me get the stuff down.”
Addy started to move and so did Alex. Neither camper was too happy. Karen, at least knew why Alex was not happy, but she was wondering about Addy. The basement was not very big and the ceiling was low. They had the old couch from the living room, where they had made love many times, in the basement. There was also the love seat they used to have in their bedroom. This one was going to be Alex’s bed for tonight. Alex immediately settled on it and began to play with her tablet.
“I’m going upstairs to fix us something to eat.” She looked at Karen as if awaiting a response. Karen wondered what was going on and followed her up.
“Addy, I know you too well. What is it?”
She came close and turned her slightly around. Addy was all teary. She spoke amidst sobs. “You yelled at me in the bathroom.”
When Karen saw her crying, she was horrified and when Addy spoke it pierced Karen’s heart. “Addy, don’t! Please! I’m sorry, baby. Oh God! I so hate myself whenever I’ve made you cry! Please, don’t cry. Addy, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Oh, my God! I hurt you. Addy! I shouldn’t have yelled. I’m so sorry.” Karen didn’t know what to say or do. Her eyes were filled with tears also. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I was scared. I was worried about the roof and thinking what could happen and what would I do if something happened to you. Then when I saw that you went upstairs, I lost it. I was scared. The roof could have fallen on you. And then what? I don’t do things you don’t want me to do. I didn’t go out there on the roof because you didn’t want me to. I asked you not to go up there and you went. You don’t listen to me most of the times and I don’t care Addy, but when it’s something serious, I care. I’ve never yelled at you before.” Karen’s face was pure anguish.
Addy was drying her tears. Karen continued with her litany. She was practically babbling. She hated herself for having hurt Addy. “Please, forgive me, please. You know I hate to see you cry. And I can’t have peace knowing that you are mad at me. Addy? Please?”
Alex heard the conversation and came up. “Are you okay up here? Is dinner ready?”
“Yes, sweetie. We are okay. Just talking about dinner. We’ll bring it down in a bit. M’Addy is making the spaghetti you like. We’ll bring it down when it’s ready.” Karen replied. When Karen turned she noticed that Addy was no longer crying.
Addy turned around and placed her hand on Karen’s chest and leaned into her nodding her head sideways. Karen wrapped her arms around her. “It’s not your fault. I should have done what you asked. I just didn’t think! I was stupid and only thought about getting you dry clothes.”
Addy continued to nod. “I didn’t know how bad it was up there. You didn’t say, but still—.”
“Sssh! Okay! Let’s leave it at that. It was a misunderstanding, we both had our reasons and it was really my fault for not explaining. Can we put it aside and not be mad or cry about it?”
“Yes, but, I have to say this.”
“Don’t ever yell at me again.” She looked at Karen straight in the eyes. The brown ones were fearsome when they wanted to be. Karen froze and nodded. “Help me here. Get the cheese.”
Karen helped her to take dinner downstairs, but still felt awful. She felt guilty. She should have explained better, but in what time? She had been near frozen when she got in the shower.
After they had the food downstairs they ate. “Yum, M’Addy. This is soooo good!”
“Thanks, honey. I’m glad you like it.”
A little while later when Alex fell asleep they went up and moved all the furniture and clothes from Alex’s room. What didn’t fit in their room, they brought down to the hot tub room. They also covered everything in their room with plastic in case water began to leak in there as well. Afterwards, they went back to the basement and settled on the sofa.
“If the wall or the roof collapses, we are going to have major heat loss. We cannot go upstairs. And, let me just say this, Addy, if everything up there is ruined, don’t worry about it. We’ll get new stuff to replace it.”
“Yeah, what else can we do?” Addy replied. “We need to stay calm or Alex will be frightened.”
“I’m tired. Let’s get some sleep.”
“I’m tired also. Let’s get some rest.”
Karen closed her eyes and snuggled to Addy, but couldn’t fall asleep. She was still troubled by the earlier disagreement. She felt uneasy. She had an irresistible need to take Addy into her arms and kiss her and make love to her, to somehow make amends, to beg forgiveness. She needed to know she was forgiven. She felt frustrated.
“I need you to know that I’m not happy with myself. I can’t forgive myself. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I feel awful. I’m sorry. I didn’t—.” Addy turned and silenced her with a kiss. “No more, please. We were both worried with the roof issue. Let’s leave it at that.” Addy kissed her again. Karen would have gone on all night, if Addy hadn’t stopped her.
“I love you.”
“Sssh, I know. Kiss me.” Karen continued to kiss her and to caress and knead her back and buttocks with want almost in a frantic kind of way. Addy felt her need and kissed her. It didn’t take very long for things to heat up.
“Ms. Larsen, there’s a sofa in the living room which has proven very comfortable for certain activities, as you know, and all of a sudden I—.” She couldn’t finish the sentence.
On the sofa upstairs, they cuddled and Karen took over immediately. She had to reassure herself of Addy’s love.
“I’m sorry, baby, I’m so sorry.” Karen kept repeating the reassuring words.
“I know, sweetie. I know.” They continued to kiss. Addy moaned in pleasure as Karen adored her again, and again until they collapsed in each other’s arms. They must have fallen asleep out of exhaustion, because when Addy looked at the clock it was 2 AM.
Karen opened one eye and smiled, her head rested on Addy’s chest and when she opened her eye the first thing she saw was Addy’s nipple. She smiled and kissed it.
“We need to put on our t-shirts, Alex could wake up. Come on, get up. We need to go downstairs.”
“Umm. I love the view. I’m comfy here and my view is perfect.”
Addy smiled. “Believe me, I like the view from here too.” She cupped Karen’s buttocks, but pushed her up. “Where are my panties?”
Karen looked around. “Here.”
“No those are yours and here’s your t-shirt. I already found mine. Come on, hurry downstairs.”
They went back to the basement and again cuddled in the other sofa. “I’m never getting rid of that sofa, or this one.” Karen commented and Addy smiled. “Sssh! Are you okay? Can we sleep now?” Addy asked.
“Yes, the world is okay. I have you. Good night, baby.” Addy was already asleep.
In the morning when they woke up, Karen immediately went upstairs. She came back down. “Stay here for a little while. It’s freezing in the kitchen. I think the power is off. I just turned the emergency heaters on. They are working on the generator. I went to check upstairs. It looks like it’s holding up well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
Addy looked at her, not too pleased. “You went up by yourself?”
Karen looked at her and said nothing. Addy just nodded.
“I’ll make coffee. Wait here.”
Alex woke up. “M’Addy, I’m cold!”
“Let me get you a blanket baby, we have to wait for the heater to warm up the house again.”
“Is the storm over yet?”
“I don’t know, sweetie. We need to check.”
“How long is the storm supposed to last, M’Addy? It’s been going on for days! I’m tired of being locked up in here!”
“Let’s check the radio for some news.”
They turned on the emergency radio. The forecasters continued to call for freezing rain and then they warned about the flooding from the melt down of the snow and ice.
“Good grief! I don’t remember any storm this long around here ever. Do we have enough food to survive for a few more days?”
“Ker, I have enough food in this house to survive a couple of months! Even Noah’s flood!”
“Good. I don’t think we are going to be able to get out for a while.”
“Oh no! Peanut Crunchy has to pee. I’m going to my room to get his leash.”
“Wait!” Karen got in front of her and stopped her.
“Mommy! Peanut has to go or else he’ll pee inside and M’Addy will send him to Siberia!”
“What is this Siberian thing?” Addy asked.
“Nothing, it’s just an expression.” She looked at Addy and then at Alex.
“Alex, don’t worry. I’ll take him out.”
“But I still need to go upstairs to change.”
“You can’t go upstairs. Your clothes are down here.”
Karen rolled her eyes. “Addy?”
“Alex, look at me. We have a bit of a problem upstairs.”
Karen finished preparing their coffees and a hot cocoa for Alex while she listened to the conversation developing in front of her.
Alex listened attentively. “Yesterday, Mommy Karen fixed the attic, but she realized that the wood up there is a little old and that it is all wet from the rain. So, we need to stay in the ground floor and sleep in the basement to be safe. So, last night after you fell asleep, we moved things around a bit and we brought our clothes down so that we wouldn’t have to go up.”
“Okay. So, my clothes are in the rec room?”
“Yes, let me show you.”
Alex was walking behind Addy when she said the magic words. “I don’t know why we don’t move into the Manor house after the storm passes. I think the cottage is too old and if the wood is wet it will break and maybe the roof might fall down. It would also be much easier for Mommy Karen to go to work. We can make a door into Mom’s offices and she could just walk right in and out every day into the house. That house is so big. I don’t know why we have to live in this tiny, little house having a huge empty one! It would be so much better for everyone there. And when Laurie and Joey come, we can all stay together in the same place. I could also have a bigger room and because there are so many rooms, I could even have a room for all my sport stuff and another room for school stuff and on the summer I could go out to the pool. And Peanut Crunchy would have a fenced yard to be out when it’s nice.”
Addy stopped and looked at Karen. “Maybe we should.” Karen commented.
“We’ll have to think about it.” Addy added. Then there was silence. Addy’s comment was a damper. Alex knew that Karen would do whatever Addy decided. Alex looked at Karen and pursed her lips. Karen winked at her and she smiled suspecting that the wink meant that Karen would work on her.
Nothing else was said, until later that night when the women had their customary chat in bed after Alex went to sleep. They were still camping out on the sofa in the basement. “You were quiet on the idea of moving to the Manor house. Why?”
Addy was not too eager to reply. “The idea makes sense. Alex is growing up, she has a lot of stuff and we are pretty crammed here. Also, it would be so much more convenient for you. Do you want to do it?”
“I wouldn’t mind, except for the fact that you seem to have some reservations. I can tell. What’s bothering you, gorgeous? Why don’t you like the idea?” Karen kissed her.
“It’s just that the cottage has been our home for so long…..and we have been so happy here. I feel like the cottage is part of us.”
“It’s been our home, and no one would ever change that, but Addy, the cottage as romantic as it is, is just a place. We made it different because we made it ours. You and I, especially you. We can do the same thing with the Manor house. Maybe that is our destiny. Look, it took Alex to bring it up. Maybe this is a next step we must take. The cottage will always be here. We will maintain everything as always and we can have our little escapades here, just to remember our beginnings. I think it will be romantic. I think we can do what we did here at the Manor house.”
“I guess you are right. Alex deserves to take full advantage of what we have. Her room here is tiny. She barely fits in there with all her stuff and as she grows she will need more space. Yes. I think we should do it. After the storm winds down, I’ll call Sandy. We’ll redo some of the rooms to our liking. Big rooms for us and Alex, with a study room for her. Yeah, it will be nice.”
Karen smiled. Addy’s mind was already going full blast. “I love it when you get all enthusiastic about a project.” Karen kissed her on her head.
“Good night, baby.”
The next morning they told Alex. “Alex, Mommy Karen and I talked about moving to the Manor house and we concluded that it’s a god idea. The big house has a lot more room and Mommy Karen would be next to her office, and—.”
“Wow! I’m going to have a huge room and Peanut will get to pee on the grass by the huge patio and in the summer I can go in the pool!” Alex was overjoyed jumping all over the room. Karen stood in the threshold, with her cup of coffee in hand, smiling.
Although Alex complained about the storm, she was happy because school had been cancelled indefinitely and also because it prompted the move to the manor house.
Even though the water seeped down the wall it was contained by the wood planks Karen nailed to the wall. Apparently the roof was holding. That evening the rain stopped and the following day the sun made an appearance. When it finally did, the melting began. It was slow but evident. When it got warmer, the melt down was fast. The television was reporting considerable flooding. The rivers and locks overflowed out of their banks and there was major damage.
The phone rang, it was Marshal. “Are you guys okay there?”
“Yes, we are. How is everything over there?”
“We are fine, just worried about what we’ve heard from up there. Apparently Altee is under water.”
“Oh no! We haven’t talked to anyone. We’ve just stayed put.” Addy explained.
Karen immediately began to pay attention to the conversation. Addy called her over so that she could hear Marshal talk. Alex was playing with her computer and was not aware of the conversation.
“Carol just got a call from Cynthia Sutton, the pharmacist, and she said that they and other people on her street are moving things up to the second floor because the streets look like rivers. She said that cars and trash cans and everything that was not tied down has washed away, and that there is damage everywhere. People had to flee from their homes near the river and some of the farm animals have drowned. It’s a mess, Addy. I think Altee will be devastated by all of this.”
“Is there anything we can do to help?”
Karen looked at her in surprise. Addy was always trying to help people, but Karen was really wondering how she thought she could possibly help anyone considering that she wouldn’t even allow her to go outside to remove some snow from their own roof! Did she really think she could do anything for anyone? Was she planning on doing something?
Marshal continued to talk. “Not really, Addy. The roads are impassible. The best thing everyone can do is to stay put and try to stay warm until the rain stops and the waters recede.”
Karen was glad to hear that, at least, Marshal was giving sensible advice.
“But I feel so helpless!”
Karen had enough. “Can I have the phone, please?” Addy handed it over, rolling her eyes. She knew too well about Karen’s ‘interventions’. “Marshal, don’t worry about us. We are fine. We will check on your place here as soon as we can. I went by before the storm and made sure everything was fine. We’ll be fine here, even if I have to tie some people down. She looked at Addy as she spoke those last words. Addy could hear Marshal laughing at the other end of the phone. They said good-bye and Karen spoke again.
“Don’t get any bright ideas, Adriana. I listen to you, you listen to me.”
“Mommy, can’t we get in the little pool and warm up in the hot water?”
“That, Alexandra, is an excellent idea. Go get your swimming suit.” Karen spoke looking at Addy. “Want to join us?” She asked Addy.
“How could you possibly think of going in the hot tub when half the world is drowning out there?”
“I’m going to call JP and James to make sure they are okay.”
“Don’t get any bright ideas! We are not going anywhere! We’ll be in the little pool soaking. If the whole world is drowning out there, we are going to have a hot warm start. Alex laughed and skipped around excited with the idea of getting in the hot tub.
“I’m calling Mel and Vic to see how they are doing also.”
To be continued on Part 10.
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