Disclaimers: See Part 1
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Part 6 Fall and Winter
The next few months the women were busy drawing up plans for the Inn . They had several contractors come to give them estimates. They went shopping around to get ideas on decoration, design and food. On this particular day, they were having lunch in Edinburgh .
They liked the city. After they got the Range Rover the drive was pretty easy and comfortable. Buying the Range Rover had proven to be a good decision. They finally got rid of the old pickup truck. Karen didn't think it was safe for Addy to drive the old thing. Of course, she would have never said such a thing. Addy would have blown a fuse if she had known that Karen was being protective again. She had made very clear that she didn't want or need protection.
In fact, it had been Addy who suggested buying the Range Rover. It was supposed to be a good, safe, reliable vehicle. Coincidentally, it met Karen's standards of safety, a factor that went unsaid, of course. Karen would always find a way around things to protect Addy without her knowing. Addy, picked the color it was dark blue, with beige leather interiors. After they bought it, they were already talking about buying a second one. They were going to wait, however, to see if they really liked driving this one. They knew that sooner or later they would need a second car. For now, they were both very happy with their acquisition.
While driving there, the women talked about things they would need for the Inn . “Ker, I think we are going to need someone to design and decorate the interiors. We are not that fashion conscious. I'd like the place to look authentic and classy. We need to find a professional.”
“Addy, keep in mind also that we don't want to put more money into it than we need to.”
While visiting the city they always did some shopping. “Hey, I have to get ink and paper for the printer. Let's go to that place over there.”
“Ker, I'm going to go to the fabric store while you are looking for the paper that way we can finish sooner and have more time to shop around and maybe grab a bite before we head home.”
“Okay, I'll meet you there.” They each went their own way.
“ Sandy , that's amazing!”
“Yeah, too bad I don't have a place to show it.”
Addy walked into the fabric store and overheard the conversation between two women. They were probably in their early 30s. Addy looked and saw sketches of rooms very nicely decorated.
“Are you an artist?” The woman chuckled.
“I wish! I'd probably be able to sell more as a painter than as a decorator!”
“Oh, those are very pretty. Is that your work?”
“Yeah, but no one wants it because I'm ‘unknown.' Everybody wants the famous, but how do you get famous if no one gives you a chance? How does one even get started if no one pays attention to you!”
“What kind of chance are you looking for?”
“A job, a nice job where I can show off my talent. A place where people would be able to see what I can do. All I've gotten until now have been babies rooms, bedrooms, private places no one gets to see. I need like a shop, a café, a public place of sorts.”
“Show me what you got.”
“Do you need work done somewhere?”
Addy smiled. Do I need work done? You have no idea!!
“Let me put it this way. I have the place, if you got good stuff and your prices are reasonable.”
“Oh! To be honest, I'm more interested in showing off than in making money.”
“Show me your stuff. My name is Adriana Marcos, and you are?”
“Sandra Swenson. I just graduated two years ago from design school. This here is my friend Cynthia Darr. She works magic with fabric.”
“Please to meet you, both.” At that precise moment, Karen walked in.
“This is my partner, Karen Larsen.”
Addy explained to Karen what was happening as Sandy was about to show off her sketches.
Addy was impressed with what she saw in the sketches. “Can you really translate this into a real thing?”
Sandy smiled. “You bet! This is what I love doing.”
Karen and Addy looked at each other.
Addy spoke first. “Sandy, this is our situation. We have a place, we'd like you to come and look at it. We need a designer and decorator with a good sense of fashion who can make miracles on a limited budget. We can pay, but we are just starting ourselves, so the price has to be reasonable.”
“What kind of place are we talking about here?”
“A country inn.”
“Here? In Scotland ?”
“Yes, very near here.”
“How many rooms are we talking about?”
Sandy was astonished. “What?! What kind of a place is it? What's you vision? Oh my God! Twenty two rooms!?”
“It's a beautiful country manor near Altee. We would like to turn it into a luxury retreat in the country with horses, sailing, a spa, gourmet food…”
Karen jumped in. “You haven't even seen it, or told us your price yet.”
“Don't worry about that, I'd work for free for this kind of exposure!”
Karen smiled at the ‘for free' part and at the young lady's excitement. She couldn't have been older than 29 years old.
Addy spoke. “That is not necessary, Sandy, we'll pay. If things go as we plan. You might even make a name for yourself!”
Karen rolled her eyes. Addy was always inserting drama and excitement into things. You had to love the woman's optimism. Sandy was already recruited for sure, as well as her friend.
“I like your resolve. Are you partners in business or are you like a couple?”
“We are partners in business and we are a couple.”
“Cool!” You could tell that Sandy was an easy going person.
Karen looked at Addy rolling her eyes again. Oh God, we are working with children now!
Addy opened her eyes signaling a ‘behave' type of message, and Karen looked the other way nonchalantly. Addy knew what was going through Karen's mind. Karen thought that people who used the word ‘cool' were too juvenile.
“Here's our address, Sandy , when can you come by?”
“Is tomorrow, okay? I'm really psyched about this!”
“Tomorrow, around noon?” “Perfect! I'll call ahead. I'll bring Cindy along.”
“Addy, how do you come across these people?”
“Dunno, it just happens! I have a good feeling about this woman, Ker.”
“Addy I like her enthusiasm, but you do realize that she is almost a child. I'm going to look into employing child labor, there might be some regulation.” Karen chuckled as she spoke.
“Karen, shut up, I know you are not serious. She's not a child. She's an enthusiastic, mature young woman. Besides, on our budget, I'd take Snow White and the seven dwarfs if they came cheap!”
Karen chuckled. “Never a dull moment with you Ms. Addy! I kind of liked them too. They seemed uncomplicated, flexible, and cooool! She was mocking Addy
“Hush, woman, I will pay no attention to you on this one!”
The next day, when the women arrived they were in awe at the challenge. “Oh my God! This is a beautiful place! Do you have a contractor to fix it up?”
“We have gotten some estimates, but haven't closed a deal with anyone yet. Why? Do you know someone you'd like to work with?”
“Ms. Marcos, there are a lot of young people with great talent out there looking for opportunities like this. Yes, we know people a lot of people who would work dirt cheap for the opportunity to show their craftsmanship on a place like this. This place has the grandeur of an era gone by, why the architecture alone…...” Sandy went on and on about the place.
Sandy was an expert. She was not putting on a show to get the job. She had already committed to the job and she was passionate about it. Addy was thrilled, going crazy talking about the place with Sandy . Karen was still wondering how Addy could come across the right people all the time.
“Okay, Sandy , please, call me Addy. If you know all these, people, please bring them over and let's see what kind of arrangements we can come up with. Let's have a show and tell.”
“Some of these people would work for free, if you buy the materials. They want to showcase themselves. This Inn could be the chance of a lifetime for them, just like me.”
“So be it!”
The parade of contractors began and the money started to pour out. They had also put money down themselves as security for the project, and as collateral for the Chamber of Commerce and Historical Society. This ensured both groups would continue with their support and funding.
Karen was sitting in front of the computer looking at all the expenses and the money owed. She was freaked out. Her entire life had been about making money. She had made tons of money for a lot of people, including Addy and herself. The problem was that now she was seeing the money just go out. She was worried about all the expenses.
“Ker, relax, everything will go well, you'll see.”
“I think I'm going to need a drink to relax tonight, baby, have you seen how much money we are paying for drapes?” Oh God, I see myself working the rest of my life unable to retire!”
“Come here, blondie!”
Blondie was a code name that only the two of them understood. Addy had this theory that 90% of the blonde women in the U.S. weren't really blonde. She'd say that blonde hair was a recessive gene and that most women were Clairol blondes. As proof, she'd say that if blonde was a dominant color, why weren't there as many blond men as women? So, back in Japan when they were thoroughly exploring their bodies for the first time, Addy ran her hand over Karen's curls when she mentioned her theory on blonde women to Karen.
“Imagine! Now that I finally find a real blonde, I can't tell anyone about it!” Karen loved the comment. Since then, whenever Addy referred to ‘blondie' Karen knew exactly what Addy was referring to. So, sometimes when they were in a group, or party Addy, to tease Karen would say something like “Blondie, ready to go?” Or she'd approach Karen and whisper in her ear “I have blondie on my mind!” Karen would glance at her knowing exactly what she meant. After getting the visceral pang, she'd hurry out the door of wherever they were and head home. The result was always the same, by the time they were closing the cottage door, Karen was already undressing Addy. Some times they made it to the bedroom, some times barely to the sofa.
So, on this particular night the mere mention of blondie was sufficient.
Karen grinned. All worries forgotten.
“How can I be of service?”
Addy smiled. “I was thinking more in terms of me providing the service. Maybe give you a full tune up. You know, check all the important parts to see if they are working well….”
Blondie got more than her fair share that night. After all the important parts had been thoroughly checked, both women relaxed holding each other. “Easy, baby, easy.” Karen was in recovery mode. As Karen snuggled into her, she planted kisses on Addy's neck. “Um, Addy…..!” Addy combed her hair back and kissed her.
“I think we can use some sleep now, baby.” Before Addy finished her sentence, Karen was already asleep. Addy always wore her out. Addy continued to comb her hair off her face. “I love you, baby.” Karen had a smile on her sleeping face.
In the morning, it was Karen who was up first. She looked happy and relaxed. She took a look at the woman in the bed. She always took pleasure looking at the semi naked Addy sprawled on the bed. What a gorgeous sight! I still can't believe it I get to see this every morning by my side. Karen kissed her on the shoulder and bit one of her buttocks. Addy complained.
“Hey no fair, I'm asleep!”
“All's fair in love and war! Come on hot butt, we've got stuff to do today!” Addy started to get up.
“I just want to know who named you boss?!” Karen went into the bathroom. Addy got up and went downstairs to make coffee.
Karen came downstairs whistling.
“Somebody is feeling very peppy this morning.”
“Why not? After I got all my parts checked last night, I feel great!” She kissed Addy grinning and waltzing. Addy was smiling as she reached for the coffee pot. Addy was not a morning person and she didn't function very well until she had that first cup of coffee.
“Maybe I should get a tune up tonight.”
“Oooo, is that a request for service? My shop is open 24/7 and I'll be more than glad to check you out!” Addy smiled, as she ate her croissant and drank her coffee. Karen came around and popped her face right in front of her. “Well?”
“I didn't know I had to make an appointment.”
“You don't, you just have to walk right in. I just wanted to know so that I can eat some extra protein to prepare for any overtime I need to put in tonight!” She kissed Addy again.
“What's on tab for today, Bwana Karen?”
“At last! There's acknowledgement of who is the boss around here!”
Addy looked at her, biting her cheek. “Don't push your luck, blondie!”
“Oh, yeah?! Remember who is due for service tonight!” Another kiss.
“The other night, while ‘allegedly' I was just drinking with the boys at the pub, I found out that there's a restaurant near Billton which opens only for dinner. The guys said that the chef is really good and does real fancy stuff. Sooooo, I thought that we could pay him a visit because maybe…he might be willing to do breakfast at the Inn . Gourmet breakfast?!”
“Nice work, my dear Watson!”
“Thank you, Holmes.”
“Let me go get dressed. I'll be right back. I think we should also check those pool service people.”
By mid November, the plans for the Inn were going full blast. The place was buzzing with excitement. Contractors were coming and going. Trucks with material were up and down the road, and things were all marching along. The opening day was planned to be in May.
Thanksgiving was coming up, though. Just as Karen had planned it, Addy had been very busy with the Inn and she had almost forgotten the holiday. It was easy to forget since Thanksgiving is an American holiday and there was no fanfare in Altee. That is until Thanksgiving week was upon them. When Karen came in the cottage, she found Addy sitting in the kitchen nook area by the bay window looking out. It was already too cold to sit outside, so they had moved their gathering place to the area in front of the bay window or the living room.
Karen froze when she saw Addy's somber look to the horizon. When Addy heard her come in she looked towards her and smiled. Too late, Adriana, I saw you!
Karen came close to her. With the back of her hand, she caressed Addy's cheek. Addy knew Karen suspected she was sad. Karen crouched in front of her and dropped on one knee. “Look at me.”
Addy looked at her and smiled. “What are you up to, Ms. Larsen?”
“Did you think I was just going to let it be?”
“Pack for four days and three nights. We are going home for Thanksgiving.”
“Oh my God Ker! You didn't!”
“It's all reported with Mr. Kimbell. We leave here tonight, spend the night at the airport in Edinburgh and leave at 5:30 am for DC.”
“Ker!” Addy hugged her. Karen was all smiles. This was the right thing for sure. Karen was so glad she had done it! This and Christmas was going to exhaust the two week limit, leaving no time for any emergency, but Karen had determined that if there was such an emergency that required Addy to be there, everything else was secondary. It was important that Addy continued to feel good now.
“Something you said was not right.”
Karen narrowed her brows. “What?”
“We are going to DC, but we are already home. Why can't I get that through your head?”
Karen smiled. “Addy you have a family, and kids. I have none of that. I'm not blind. I know I'm not everything to you like you are to me.” Karen looked down as she talked. “I have this fear that one morning you'll wake up and wonder what the hell you are doing here so far from all, and would want to leave.”
Addy said nothing. It was kind of frightening to Karen who was expecting some sort of immediate denial. Instead, Addy caressed her face and combed her hair back. “Some time ago, I promised to do something, you don't know about this because I didn't tell you. I promised to let you know every single day how much I love you. I think I have, in one way or another. I dare say that there isn't one day when you haven't felt my love.”
Karen smiled. Addy continued tracing her face. “I don't know what I need to do to assure you, to convince you that what you fear will not happen. I think that words will not do it for you. I would rather let time settle the matter. Time will convince you that I'm here to stay, that you are my life and that this is home. Sure, I have other people in my life, but they have lives of their own too. You are my life now, Karen Larsen, and I need you to get that in that head!” She tapped Karen's head with her finger.
Karen smiled wanting to believe it all so much, but still she couldn't. This was too unbelievable to be true.
They kissed. “Let's go pack, woman. You can ravish me later in Edinburgh .”
They made it to DC for Thanksgiving, and by Sunday night they were back at the cottage.
On the way back, sitting next to her on the plane, Karen kept looking at Addy. She was looking for signs of sadness or regret. But happily, she saw neither. Addy was totally content. Karen smiled secretly. She leaned back on her seat and closed her eyes. Could this be real? Oh God! Is she totally happy with me?
Back at the cottage, they were unpacking.
“The kids were right. It was too long a trip to be made in such short time.”
“Yeah, luckily for us we have time to recover tomorrow. I plan to sleep late. No work, and no Inn for me tomorrow.”
However, not everyone got that memo! The next morning the phone rang at 6 am. Karen picked up. “Ms. Larsen, we have a delivery for you from the plumbing company, we need to know where to take the shipment.”
Fortunately, Karen was a morning person and immediately reacted to the call. “Yeah, where are you?” Karen proceeded to tell them where the Inn was located and told them that she would be there in about thirty minutes.
When she hung up, she looked at Addy who was, sound asleep and nude. Karen thought for a minute, why was Addy nude? Karen was always the one removing Addy's clothes. She didn't remember doing it last night. They hadn't made love. They were both too tired and just went to sleep the minute they hit the mattress. Did the little devil remove her own clothing? Karen smiled. Who cared there she was, gorgeous as ever! Karen couldn't resist and started to tickle her. “Stop it! I'm sleeping here!” Karen laughed, she could see the smile on Addy's face. She continued her caressing and her teasing. “Oh God! What does a human being need to do to get some sleep in this house?” She turned around and put her arms around Karen's neck. She was sleepily smiling.
Karen whispered in her ear. “Maybe not be naked in bed!” Addy grinned, and immediately the kissing began. Karen pulled away. Addy was pulling her down. “Where are you going now that you've woken me up in more than one way!?”
Karen grinned, knowing the effect she had on the woman underneath her. “I have to meet some delivery people at the Inn . As soon as I'm done I'll be back and give you what you want!” She raised her eye brows wickedly.
“You mean food, right?” Karen was already in the bathroom. Addy went back to sleep. When Karen came out of the bathroom. She came by the bed, removed the covers and bit Addy's buttock. “Hey!”
“Food, huh, is that what you really want?” Karen continued to tickle her as Addy squirmed and tried to cover herself. “I know exactly what kind of food we are going to have when I come back! Give me 20 minutes.”
When Karen left, Addy got up and went to the bathroom and later downstairs to make coffee. Then quickly found her way back to bed.
Karen was really back in 20 minutes.
She found Addy in bed smiling. “You rushed.”
Karen grinned. “I ran! I knew what was waiting for me here!” She spoke as she undressed. Karen was totally aroused knowing that Addy was totally nude under the covers waiting for her. Addy immediately pull up the covers so that Karen could get under them. Karen nestled herself to Addy. They were immediately intertwined.
“Ummm…God how I love being like this with you!” Addy held her tight. She could feel Karen's wetness on her thigh. “Ker, how could you be so…”
“I'm overdue, baby, that's why.”
Addy caressed her back and smiled. “Overdue, huh? Feels like you are ready to make payment ..”
Karen wouldn't let her finish. “With interest, penalties, sanctions and…”
The Inn 's construction was moving along. The outside part was going slow because it depended on the weather. The inside was slow also but only because there was so much to do, nothing ever seemed to indicate any progress. Some things could not be done until others were finalized, so it seemed like everything took forever.
The temperature outside had dropped dramatically after Thanksgiving and they were spending more time inside. It was bitterly cold outside. It was also getting darker a lot sooner. So there was no more time spent on the patio, or strolling around the rolling hills of the property, or around town. During the day, they simply focused on their legal work. At night they would entertain themselves watching movies, using the hot tub, cooking special dishes, talking, listening to music, reading, or browsing the internet in front of the fireplace.
They loaded up on fire wood and Karen loved to light up the fireplace almost every evening, if it was cold enough. It was. They were also making plans to spend the Christmas week in Washington and had made all these plans with Laurie and Joey to meet in New York for New Year's Eve after which they would be returning. So, up until they left for the US their nights were consumed making plans.
They went out once a week to get the necessary supplies. There was nothing to look forward to now, except the completion of the Inn . The next two months were going to be long and difficult because the daylight hours were short this time of the year and the weather was the worst and very little would be accomplished with the Inn .
As Karen had mentioned, people did spend a lot of time inside during a certain time of the year. Fortunately for Addy, what she said to JP was totally true, the blonde was keeping her warm. In fact, very warm!
The following week they went to town for supplies. Although, the sun was out and the ice that had fallen the night before had already mostly melted, Karen didn't see a patch of black ice in front of the grocery store and fell twisting her ankle. When Addy saw her on the floor she panicked. “Oh God, Ker!”
“I'm okay, Addy, I'm okay.” But when she tried to get up she realized she wasn't. She was putting up a good show for Addy, though. The minute she put weigh on her foot, she grimaced and almost shrieked with pain. She didn't want to worry Addy, but there was no way she was going to be able to hide the pain. “Addy, I don't think my ankle is okay. I think I twisted it or something. Please, help me get in the car.”
Addy helped her, but unequivocally said. “Ker, no way are we going home without the doctor checking your ankle. Not in this weather. I don't want to have to get home only to have to come back over here to see the doctor. So, scoot over to the passenger seat. I'm driving you to the doctor…..and….I don't want to hear a word from you!” When Addy took over like that, Karen knew that the best thing was to follow orders. Karen rolled her eyes, nodded, but did as told.
“Ms. Larsen, the x-rays say that you have a hairline fracture. It's very small so I don't think we have to do a cast, but we are going to have to wrap our ankle for some time.” Great! “ I'm also going to give you an anti inflammatory and pain medication. It's going to feel bad, before it feels better. I also want you to stay off your foot for a while. Say two weeks. Then we'll take some more x-rays and we'll see where we are. I'm also going to give you some crutches.”
Karen was not too happy about the crutches, even though, they brought out the aluminum light weight type. The nurse insisted on giving her lessons, making sure that she knew how to use them. Addy pursed her lips when she saw the look on Karen's face. It was the look of ‘I've had enough and need to get out of here quick!' Karen hated going to doctors and it was evident that she was ready to storm out of there, crutches or no crutches!
When they were leaving the doctor's office they came across Sarah Foster. She was going in to see the doctor. Sarah asked about what happened and wished her well.
Karen was not a happy camper. Addy helped her to the car, but said nothing. Once inside the car, she spoke. “Well it could have been worse!”
Karen looked at her. “How?”
“It could have been me and then what would you have done to keep me off my feet for two weeks?” The minute she finished the sentence she realized what she had said. When she looked at Karen, Karen was smiling. “That wouldn't have been a very difficult job, Ms. Addy. I think I could have come up with a few ideas!”
“Touché, missy, but I have a few ideas of my own also!”
Karen stretched, leaning back on the seat and smiling. “Can't wait to see what you've got in mind!”
Addy bit the inside of her cheek to contain her smile, as she started to drive. By the time they reached home, Karen's plans had changed. The pain medication the doctor had given her had worn off and she was in pain. Karen was a big baby when it came to pain. Addy helped her out of the car and into the house. She hardly made it to the sofa. Addy propped her up and went to the kitchen to get her some water so that she could take her pills.
“Would you like some chocolate milk instead of water?” Addy always had chocolate milk, she loved it.
“Whatever.” Karen was not happy. Addy couldn't help smiling at the look of despair in Karen's face. She was a big baby, for sure!
“Here, take your pills. Aaawww, baby! Does it hurt a lot?”
“Um huh. I think I'm going to stay here in the sofa, I don't think I can make it upstairs tonight. I hate crutches. Addy, I feel like shit. I'm sorry.”
“What are you sorry about?”
“Being like this now, I don't think I'm going to be a happy camper! I may even be grouchy!”
Addy had to contain her laughter. As if she didn't know!
“Here let me wrap your legs. You might get cold. You'll see, the pills will work in a few minutes and you will be fine.” Addy brought a throw and wrapped her legs with it, then she turned on the TV and gave her the remote. “How about if I make a nice fire, make us some hot cocoa and we watch a movie together?”
Karen smiled. “That sounds good.” Karen seemed d to have pepped up with all the pampering offers. Addy did as she had mentioned and came over to sit with a very content and expecting Karen. She made Karen move a bit, so that she could take the corner of the sofa and have Karen snuggle into her and recline on her chest.
“Feel better now.” Addy kissed her head. Karen squirmed a bit. “Um huh. I like my pillow.” She turned around and buried her face in Addy's chest, closed her eyes and fell asleep. She was sprawled over Addy. The medication worked. The pills had relaxed her and made her sleepy. Addy kept playing with Karen's hair, caressing her face and placing little kisses on her head.
“I guess we are sleeping on the sofa tonight.” Addy turned off the light and continued to caress the now sleeping woman on her arms.
The first couple of days had been tough. Between the pain, adapting to the limited mobility and the crutches, Karen was a disaster. She was a big baby, but Addy was great comforting her so, she got over it. A couple of days later, Karen was feeling and moving better.
Karen was sitting in bed watching TV when Addy walked by. She pulled her and Addy fell on her lap.
“Someone is feeling much better! What do you think you are doing, Ms. Larsen?”
“Well, here I am, in bed, unable to move, having all these thoughts about comforting activities that might keep me occupied…..”
Addy smiled. “Ms. Larsen, I think last night you were provided enough comfort and were very occupied!” She slapped Karen's hands which were already going in a certain direction. She slid off Karen's lap and sat next to her in bed. “By the way, I forgot to tell you that JP called while you were sleeping, I told him about your mishap and he said he would call you later. I think he is having trouble at work, and may be losing his job.”
About an hour later, Karen's phone rang and thinking that it was JP she answered without looking at the number. “Yes, my dear…..? Oh! Aunt Margaret, I thought you were someone else. Yes, when? This Saturday? Oh, well….bye.” Karen hung up. Addy was in the little alcove doing the laundry and overheard the conversation.
“What was that?”
Karen pursed her lips. “Trouble. I sense trouble coming.”
“I shouldn't have picked up the stupid phone! I thought it was JP. It was my Aunt Margaret.” Karen started to mimic her. “She's coming Saturday afternoon to pay me a visit. Fuck!”
Addy smiled liking the pronunciation of the word. Sometimes she would make Karen say it when they were making love, just for the fun of it. “ I can't believe what turns you on! You are crazy! ”
“About you, yes! By the way, I also love how that ‘caoon't' sounds also….I love how you say all words with ‘t's!” Karen would then start a long list of words with ‘t's as the love making continued.
“Don't smile! This is not a fun ‘fuck'! This is trouble. She's looking for something. She's coming to check us out, to scout, to see what she can find out and what damage she can cause!”
“Do you think someone's told her about us?”
“Most likely. You have to be prepared for a full hands-on assault!”
“Maybe I should go, if she doesn't see me, she might not bring the subject up.”
Karen looked at her very seriously as she crawled out of bed put on her sweats pants and t-shirt and got very close to Addy. “Nope. You are not going anywhere. This is your home and you are staying put! Besides, I don't want to be alone with her. I need support.” She pouted.
Addy smiled. “Chickening out?”
“Addy, this is no small matter. I'm telling you that trouble is coming. You don't know these people. They are vicious!”
“I think that you don't like them because you have past issues with them. Now they'll see you for the very mature, smart woman that you are and they will treat you accordingly.”
“Addy look at me.” Karen was about two inches from Addy's face. “You are a good soul and cannot conceive even the thought of evil, but evil exists…and these people, my family, are evil. Trust me on this one, baby, remember our conversation in DC when you agreed to listen to me if and when I put up a fight for something?”
“This is one of those times when I am asking you to trust me blindly. I'm not making this up. What I say is true. These people would sell their mother for money, position and a title.”
Addy was worried now. She realized that Karen was serious.
“Okay, I believe you. So what are we doing on Saturday?”
“We'll receive her, offer her some tea and listen to what she has to say. We are not volunteering any information, specially about the Inn , or us. Think of it as a baseball game. We are at bat. Only batting the balls thrown to us, we are not throwing any pitches.”
“What about us? What if she asks about us?”
“You are my partner and that is what I will tell her if she asks. I'm going to say something to you now, and I don't care what you say, not about this! .…..This is where I'm going to draw the line for my dear family, if she so much dares to say the most minimal negative thing about you or about us….I'm throwing her out.”
Addy was silent. Realizing the magnitude of what Karen had just said, she got up and hugged her. “I love you, baby.” Karen hugged her and closed her eyes, taking in Addy's words to the depth of her heart.
At exactly 1 PM on Saturday, Aunt Margaret showed up in her beat up 1980's Bentley. She rang the bell and Karen opened the door. After a somewhat cordial but non affectionate greeting. Karen asked her to come in and sit down.
“Aunt Margaret, I don't know if you remember my partner, Addy.” There it was! Karen couldn't wait to rub it in. If trouble was coming, Karen was launching head on into it. What ever happened with “we are at bat , only batting the balls thrown to us, not throwing any pitches?” This was more like pitching a bowling ball at the aunt's face!
“Hello, Aunt Margaret.” Addy smiled slightly.
Aunt Margaret looked her up and down, barely acknowledging her presence.
Karen was already stiffening. Addy was standing between the kitchen and living room area. She offered to make tea.
“So, Aunt Margaret, what brings you around these parts? I thought you didn't like it up here because it was too cold. And yet here you are in the middle of winter.” Rubbing it in! Addy remembered thinking that she would never want Karen as an opponent. When Karen had her war paint on, she was deadly!
“Well, several things. First I wanted to see how you are doing and I see that you are not doing well. Are you injured?” She was so pompous when she talked.
“It's not a big deal. I slipped in the ice and hurt my ankle. It's almost healed already.”
“Well, winters up here are rather crude, so it's understandable when such things happen. I see that you have done wonders with the cottage. I'm afraid that after Charlotte passed it was a bit abandoned. Of course, even when she was alive, she had allowed some deterioration. She was doing a lot of traveling and was sort of remiss about her obligations here.”
“Well, my understanding was that she had a cancer that was eating her up. So, I can understand wanting to live a little before checking out and for that matter not caring so much for material things.” Oh, boy! Addy looked at her. She knew Karen was fully focused on her opponent. Like an animal on its prey. This was not going to end well. Addy was already suspecting and wondering if she would have to tear Karen away from her aunt, and if that was the real reason Karen wanted her there!
In her mind, Addy was already thinking of all the possible scenarios. A word war, insults and the like, or what if it became an actual physical altercation from the aunt, either grabbing Karen or slapping her. Oh God, I hope it doesn't come to that! Addy didn't think Karen would hit the aunt back, but she wasn't sure she wouldn't be the one grabbing the aunt and leading her to the door! This does not look good at all.
But no, nothing like that happened. Civility remained. At least, Karen had been able to hold her ground. Unless the aunt was the one launching herself to Karen's throat, it appeared that, at least, the possibility of a fist fight would be averted. Phew!
“Yes, but she should have allowed others to take on her obligations. Never mind about that anymore. I also hear that you are refurbishing the manor house and that you intend to open an Inn ? Is this true?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Karen, I don't know that I need t remind you of the history of the manor or its significance….”
“Aunt Margaret, I am aware of all that. What is the point of this conversation, or your visit? What do you want?” Karen sounded upset. She wanted this visit over with.
There she was again! Blunt, knife to the heart, bleed the wound…. way to go Ker! Addy was in the kitchen rolling her eyes. She thought this would be a good moment to interrupt the tension and bring the tea over. Once done, she sat on the sofa next to Karen. Aunt Margaret stopped talking and looked at Addy.
“Karen if you don't mind, I would like to continue our conversation in private.”
Oh my God! I see dead people!
“Aunt Margaret whatever I need to say, or needs to be said here can be said in present company. As I mentioned earlier, Addy is my partner. She is my family and if you cannot speak in her presence, I will consider that our conversation has ended and we have nothing more to say.”
At that very moment, Aunt Margaret got up, turned around, put on her coat on and headed for the door. She didn't even wave goodbye. Karen didn't say a word either. She stayed a while looking at the door and then turned to look at Addy.
“I'm sorry, babe. I have no excuses for my relatives.”
Addy came over and held her. Karen's body felt like a running engine.
“Come on, let's go get in the hot tub. We need to relax. I'll make some herbal tea and we can drink it there. Go, check the water and make sure everything is fine.”
When they were in the hot tub, they talked. Karen told her a bunch of stories about her family, as Addy massaged Karen's tensed muscles and placed comforting kisses here and there. As the stories unfolded, Addy began to understand Karen's reasons for disliking them. They had truly not been nice to her through the years.
To be continued in Part 7
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