Disclaimers: See Part 1
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Karen and Phillip Tidwell continued to work together through the years. Mr. Kimbell joined their group because he was tired of handling everything himself and in reality the legal matters of the townspeople were not of such magnitude that allowed him to maintain even a small staff. So, when Karen, out of eternal gratitude offered free office space and use of the resources, he jumped at the opportunity. Still the areas of law were well defined. Mr. Kimbell was the retired local attorney handling the legal affairs of the people in town and Phillip and Karen were consultants to big law firms providing financial expertise.
Karen and Phillip accepted random and very well paid jobs. So their work load was always manageable. One of Karen's conditions when she took any was the she would not travel. Everyone and everything had to come to her. This policy was strictly observed after there was a situation when due to the client's needs Karen had to fly out to Switzerland and stay there for an entire week.
To Karen this was an unbearable situation and she made sure that it never happened again. To make matters worse, it happened when Alex was just starting preschool. Alex was now three and the preschool was only twice a week in the mornings. Had Alex not been starting school, they would have probably gone with Karen, but the women thought that it was not good to take her out of school having just started.
“Ker, it's only a week! For God's sake! And if we were there, we wouldn't be seeing much of you, anyway, because you would be working.”
“I've never been away from you since we've been together. I don't like it! Shit! If I had known this would happen I wouldn't have ever taken the darn job. And of all times, it had to happen now that you can't come!”
“Well, you will be at work during the day and then when you go back to the hotel, you can call us on the computer and we'll see you and talk to you.”
“Addy, but it's not the same! You won't be there with me at night! And I will be worried about you staying here by yourself. Are you sure that you are going to be okay here alone? Why don't you stay with JP and James?”
“No. And I'm not going to be alone. I'll have Alex with me. We are staying home and that's that! Stop your silly worrying right now and finish packing. And it's only for a week. We'll make up for lost time when you come back.”
“A whole week!! We've never been apart….”
“Alright, but if you are staying her alone….and please don't complain and bear with my maniacal persona, let's go over the procedure of handling the gun.”
Addy rolled her eyes. “Oh God! Okay, nut case! If that will make you feel better. But let's wait until Alex is sleeping.”
They went through the whole nine yards when Alex was asleep, of course. The gun, complete with a trigger lock, was kept in a secure pass worded safe, and also out of Alex's reach.
The next day they drove Karen to the airport. Karen was a pack of nerves. “Addy, all the papers are in the safe, the will is on ….”
“Stop!!! You are not going to start with all the nonsense again, are you? I know where all the papers are, I know where the will is and Mr. Kimbell and Laurie each have a copy and everything is as it was the last time we went over everything, so we don't need to talk about anything. So do not go there!! Get on your plane and go and call the minute you land. Is that clear?”
“Yeah.” Karen had a contrite look. Alex heard Addy's speech and didn't have a clue of what was going on, but certainly understood that Mommy Addy had given an order and that Mommy Karen was going to do what Mommy Addy said.
Karen still had some concerns. “Addy, I'm also worried about…”
“I know what you are worried about…Do you think I don't know you, Larsen. Be at ease, baby. Calm down. I promise you, that I will be on double watch.” Karen still had fears about the relatives and Alex's welfare. Karen had a worried look on her face. “Blondie, trust me!”
“Oh, Addy…it's not that I don't trust you, baby, I do. It's just that I feel that my place is here and that I'm leaving you both and….”
“And it's only for a week and we'll be fine, you'll see.”
At the airport, they walked her until they reached the security gate. Karen crouched to hug the little one. “Bye, baby. I'll see you in a few days.” She kissed her as the little one put her arms around her neck. Karen got all teary. Alex held Addy's hand again. Karen stood up and faced Addy. “I don't want to go.”
“You have to and you are not setting a good example here, if you know what I mean. You know we catch everything.” She moved her eyes to the side signaling the little one. Karen got the message and composed herself immediately. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” The women hugged and kissed. “Call the minute you land!”
Karen turned and went towards the security area. She kept looking at them. Addy held Alex in her arms and they were both throwing kisses and waving.
After that, Karen didn't look back. Addy knew that it only meant that she was crying.
As Addy suspected, nothing had escaped the little one. Alex had a worried face. She had a way to wrinkle her nose when she spoke in a worried tone. She was very expressive with her face and hands always. These were traits she had picked up from Addy. Looking at Alex speak, was just the same as looking at Addy. “Mommy Karen iz zcared. She iz crying.”
Addy smiled. “No, baby. She's not scared. She's crying because she doesn't like to leave us. Come on let's go out there and watch the planes take off.
“Can we go wiz her? I don't want her to go.” Alex was beginning to pout and was about to start crying.
“Mommy Karen is going to work. She is not going to have time to play with us where she is going. Anyway, here is what we are going to do.” Addy crouched down and kissed her. Alex listened with great interest. “We are going to talk to her every night and we are going to prepare a party for when she comes home. How about that?”
“Yes! A party wiz cake and ize crleam!”
Addy had to smile as Alex's excitement. All her concern for Karen was forgotten and from that moment on, all she did was talk about the party. However, for Addy it was not so easy. As they left the airport Addy could feel the lump on her throat. She already missed her and she had just left. God take good care of her!
The minute the plane landed Karen was calling home. “I'm here, babe. We've just landed. I'll call you again from the hotel. Is everything okay?”
“Yes, we are fine. We got home and made some dinner and now we are going to watch Beauty and the Beast for the 100 th time?”
Karen laughed. “I miss you, I wish I could be there watching it! I'll call you the minute I get to the hotel.”
The minute she got to the hotel she hooked up her computer and they talked and saw each other. Alex immediately told her about the party. She couldn't keep a secret.
“A party, huh?”
Addy tried to explain. “Yes, we needed to raise our spirits upon your departure. We sort of got the impression that you weren't too happy about getting on the plane.” Addy again made signals pointing to Alex from behind her back. Alex was on her lap in front of the computer.
Karen chuckled, understanding the situation. To ease Alex's feelings, she told her about how great the plane was and how much she enjoyed the flight.
“And you are not zcared anymore?”
“No, baby. It was a very good flight.”
She also told her about her room, and answered all her questions.
“And iz your bed big?”
“Yes, it's pretty big, but not as big as the one Mommy Addy and I saw once.” She looked at Addy when she spoke and grinned, Addy was smiling also.
“Well, little girl, isn't it time for you to go to bed?”
“Yes, Mommy Addy iz going to wread me a ztory.”
“Alright, Mommy Addy, can you call me later, after the story?”
Addy smiled. “As soon as possible. Ta Ta for now, baby. Love you.”
“Love you too. Love you Little Bit”
“I wove you too, Mommy!”
“Good night little one, take care of Mommy Addy for me, okay?”
Alex nodded. “Okay.”
Later that night after Alex fell asleep. The women talked.
Addy smiled. “Terribly”
“How about some sexy phone talk?”
Addy ran to Alex's room. “What is it, baby?”
Alex had a worried face. “I'm zcared”
“Scared of what, sweetie?”
“Mommy Kawen is not here, I want her here!”
“Aaawww, baby, she'll be here soon and I'm here with you.”
Alex hugged her, and hung herself from her neck.
“Can I zlweep wiz you?” She had on a delightful begging face that was absolutely impossible to deny.
Addy thought for a minute. She and Karen had agreed that it was okay for Alex to jump in bed with them in the mornings or to read a story, but they had agreed that they would not get her used to sleeping with them. Addy knew from her past experience with her children that such a thing was a bad habit to break once it started. So Alex had been kept off limits from their bed. However, there were special circumstances. Karen was not home, Alex was preoccupied not being used to Karen's absence and in truth, Addy felt more relaxed knowing that Alex was right there with her.
“Okay, but we have to keep this a secret between us, okay?”
“Okay!” Alex jumped on the bed immediately and then down to the floor and held Addy's hand.
“Wait! I have to peepee. And get my tigger.” She ran to the bathroom and then climbed on the bed. Of course, Addy was wearing her jammies. She was wearing her t-shirt and shorts even before Alex called her. She didn't want to sleep nude without Karen there. Alex got on Karen's side of the bed, but immediately snuggled into Addy.
“You are warm, Mommy. I'm not zcared anymore.”
They talked for a little while about the party and about Karen's return and then Alex fell asleep.
Addy smiled and kissed her. Alex had her arm around Addy's neck. She stilled smelled like a baby.
“Good night sweetie-pie.”
Alex was already asleep.
Of course, Addy knew that the secret would not last. Alex couldn't keep a secret. The minute Alex saw Karen she blurted it out as the most amazing thing that had happened in her absence. It didn't matter that they had gone to a farm to see little chicks and ducklings or that she picked the warm eggs from the coup, or that one of the horses had a foal and they went to see it, or that they had gone for ice cream almost every day, the absolutely most important thing that had happened was that she slept on Mommy Karen's side of the bed with Mommy Addy.
Karen picked the little one up from the floor and kissed her and the next minute Alex was proclaiming the news.
“I zlept with Mommy Addy.”
“Is that so?” Karen chuckled and immediately looked at Addy, who was supposed to have been the enforcer of the rules.
Addy chuckled, as well. “Alex!! What about what we talked about?”
Alex wrinkled her nose, in an Addy typical way, and grinned.
Karen saw the look and bit her lip. She'd recognized that expression anywhere. She was overjoyed to be home with her loved ones, and grinned.
With her free hand, she brought Addy close to her and kissed her on the forehead and inhaled her scent.
“Ummm, God! I missed you!”
“Me too.” They kissed again.
Karen then gave the order. “Let's go home. I think I need lots of kisses.”
Karen was making the comment more for Addy than for Alex, but Alex immediately put her arms around her neck and began to give her a million kisses.
“God, how I love these kisses.” The more she said it, the more Alex kissed her.
Both women chuckled as they looked at each other.
As Addy drove home, Alex asked a ton of questions regarding where Karen was and what she had done and what was Switzerland like and if she was ever going to go there, and then she told her about all they did and her little friends at the preschool.
Even though she was listening to Alex, Karen couldn't take her eyes off Addy who looked radiant. Addy knew she was being watched and every now and then glanced at her and smiled. She ended up grabbing Karen's hand and kissing it. Karen did the same but kept Addy's hand in hers all the way home.
The trip from the airport to home was long and Alex fell asleep. The car ride was always like a sleeping pill for her. When they got home, Karen carried her upstairs and changed her into her jammies. Both women tucked her in.
“I got her another one of those game things she likes. But it's in my bag. I'll give it to her tomorrow.”
“She's not used to getting up so early for school, so she's been really tired this week. I've been giving her a bath right before dinner because after dinner we sit down to read and she's been falling asleep. I think she lasted this long today because she was all excited about picking you up. By the way, we have a party for you tomorrow.” Addy chuckled when Karen made a funny face. “I had to. When you left she thought you were crying because you didn't want to leave. The only way I could take her mind of you being sad was with the idea of a party. She's been talking about it all week. JP and James are coming. We are having ice cream, cake and balloons.”
Karen chuckled. “You and your ideas! This is getting worse, now you actually have a fan to sell your ideas to!”
She flaunted around Karen and cupped Karen's face with her hands. “That would be my second fan. I've always had a fan, baby. A most beautiful one!” She kissed her on the lips.
Karen had a huge grin on her face. JP was right. All she ever did was smile around this woman who seemed to absorb her. It was great to go through life smiling all the time, though. No complaints there.
Karen followed Addy into their bedroom. “Ah! My bed!” She dropped on the bed. “I missed it so much!”
Addy smiled, and climbed on her. “Did you miss the bed or the one in your bed?”
Karen smiled. “What do you think? Addy, I don't want this happening again. I'm not kidding. I'm not going anywhere without you. You had the little one here and she kept you company. But getting to that hotel room and not having you there felt like…like…jumping off a cliff.”
Addy smiled and kissed her. She started to unbutton Karen's shirt. “Do you want me to fix you a bath?”
Karen smiled. “Are you going to be in it with me?”
“Honey, after a whole week without you, I think we both need that bath badly!”
Karen held her tight and kissed her neck. “Let's get to it quick. You have no idea how much I need that bath!”
Addy combed her hair back. “Oh, yes I do!”
Life went on as usual. Alex was doing well at preschool and she also started her swimming lessons. Karen and Phil continued to work of their financial legal matters and Addy got very involved with the stables during the time Alex spent at preschool.
Carol and Marshall continued to see each other and they appeared to be very happy. Carol still had the coffee shop in town, which had done very well and every time Marshall and Addy got together they talked a lot about horses.
“I was in Kentucky for a long time dealing with thoroughbreds. Ever thought about getting into that line of business?”
“Not really, Marshall . At first the stables came about to provide horseback riding entertainment for the guests at the inn. Then, after the inn was gone, we kept it because we liked the horses and riding. Then someone suggested boarding horses and that's where we are now. Tell me more about this thoroughbred breeding.”
Marshall was an expert and Addy loved the subject. Needless to say, it appeared as if another chapter was about to unfold in the lives of the women. Marshall and Addy continued to talk on the subject as Addy was fascinated. Soon, they found themselves researching breeders and horses' family trees. Addy thought it would be exciting to have a race horse. Then there was that small issue of talking to Karen. When she got around to it, Karen's reaction was the usual.
“What?!” At the same time Karen showed her astonishment, she grinned and then laughed.
Addy just stood there smiling. She knew what to expect. When Karen finished laughing, she had some questions. “I don't know why I'm going to ask these questions, but I think it's the very least I can do.”
“What are your questions, baby?”
“When is this new project going to start? Where are we getting this horse? And how much is this going to costs us?”
Addy smiled. “To be announced! Hang in there, sweetie pie! You'll be the first one to know.”
During the fall and winter Addy and Marshall did a lot of research on horses. They were making plans to go visit several breeders in the spring.
At the first sign of spring, Addy and Marshal went to the adjacent shire to meet one of the breeders.
Karen was home working on financial issues, when her cell phone rang, she picked it up. The call was from Alex's preschool.
“Is this Mrs. Larsen?”
“Yes it is.”
“Mrs. Larsen, I don't mean to alarm you, but Alex fell on the playground and hurt her arm. The nurse thinks her arm may be broken. We've stabilized her, but we would like you to come and take her to the hospital, if you can, if not the nurse… ”
“I will be there in ten minutes.” Karen ran. She was sure she was exceeding the speed limit and when she got to the school, she was sure that she was parked illegally as well.
She found Alex wither arm in a sling and looking very sad, her face all smudge between dirt and tears. When Alex saw her mom, she started to cry again.
“Baby, what happened?”
Amongst sobs, she told her mom. “I fell from the tree.”
“What were you doing up in a tree?” Karen looked at the nurse and the teacher and the principal who were all very concerned.
The teacher was a nervous wreck. “Ms. Larsen, it happened in seconds, I don't know how or when she got up there I'm so sorry.” The teacher was crying also.
“I went up to get the cat.” Alex was trying to explain.
“Well, let's get you to the hospital, baby. You can tell me all about it on the way there. Come on.” Karen picked her up, held her and kissed her.
“We were going to call the EMTs but thought that it would be best for you to take her.”
“Thanks, I'll take her right now.” With shaky hands, she managed to get Alex in the car seat.
In the car, Karen kept glancing back to Alex who always sat in the back in her car seat.
“Hey, you okay back there, baby girl? I think I'm going to call Mommy Addy to tell her where we are, okay?”
Alex was not talking. She looked frightened and in pain.
“Addy, she's fine, just want you to know that I got a call from school, Alex hurt her arm I'm taking her to the hospital to have it checked.”
“What? How did it happen? Is she okay? I'll meet you there!”
“Yes, she's okay. Be careful!” Karen didn't even have the opportunity to explain.
At the hospital, they took them inside immediately. The nurses and doctors immediately took x-rays and began tending to Alex's arm. She was crying and holding on to Karen. Twenty minutes later, Addy rushed through the emergency door doors like a lightning bolt.
“Mommy Addy!” Again more crying. If she cried with Karen, she cried even more with Addy because Addy always catered to her ailments while Karen was always the tough love mom telling her “to be brave.” While all the drama was going on, the doctor was still examining Alex's arm.
“Aawww my little baby?” She came close to Alex and kissed her and wiped her tears and Alex sobbed and pouted. She then looked at Karen who was pale as a sheet standing next to Alex. It was obvious that Alex was not doing too well, but it also obvious that Karen, the big baby was not doing too well either. She kissed Alex tenderly and held tight to Karen's hand. Karen looked at Addy in despair.
“She'll be fine, Ker. Now what I would like to know where was that teacher and why was she up in the tree?”
“We'll talk later, baby. Mrs. Templeton was in tears. She said it happened in a moment and I believe her. You know that our lightning bolt here is quick in her doings.”
Addy pursed her lips.
After reviewing the x-rays and his exam of the arm, the doctor confirmed that all was fine and that it was just a fracture.
“Looks like you gave Mommy Karen a scare, huh?”
“Were you scared too?”
“Oh, yeah, but I knew Mommy Karen was with you and that made me feel much better.” Karen looked at her. She was sitting next to the bed where Alex was resting. Addy put her arm over Karen's back and rubbed it as Karen leaned on to her side. Karen was still all shook up about the incident.
They left the hospital with Alex's arm in a cast. This is not going to be a fun month! Wait ‘til it starts to itch! In the meantime, some ice cream might help to ease the pain and suffering of all.
Alex was totally spoiled in a good way, though. She loved to be pampered by her moms who had no life but to make her happy. Later that afternoon, Alex fell asleep on the sofa as she watched cartoons cuddled up with her stuffed animals. Addy took Karen by the hand. “Let's go out on the patio.” Karen followed her.
“Addy, I was scared shitless, I don't know how I made it to school! I was trembling. My hands were shaking, I was expecting the worse. I thought that they might not have told me the whole thing over the phone. I was thinking of all the possible scenarios, and going mad and at the same time I was trying to figure out what to do!”
“I know, baby.”
Then Karen began with her hypochondria. “Maybe we shouldn't send her to school yet. She's too young. Maybe we should keep her home for another year. Why does she need to go to preschool? I didn't go and I did well in school. Did you go to preschool?”
Addy gave her the look. “Karen, stop! This is one of those things that happen to kids. And what we are going through is part of being a parent. We may not have gone to preschool, but it was probably because there weren't any! Now, all kids go to preschool. If they don't they are socially at a disadvantage when they start school. Alex is a very intelligent kid and she deserves every opportunity available. So, that is why she needs to go.”
Karen was quiet. She knew her argument was blinded by fear. “I didn't think I was going to make it to school today. My hands were shaking, thinking of what to do and what would happen if anything ever happened to her!”
Addy chuckled and came closer and put her arm around her. “Ker, I have to tell you something.”
“You are a great mom!” Addy kissed her. “Come on let's make her some spaghetti. You know how she loves it.”
Karen smiled and followed her inside. “I think I'm still shaking. I may need a massage later.”
Addy smiled and nodded.
Having an arm in a cast for a three year old is a terrible thing. Almost any activity presented problems. To make matters worse, it itched sometimes. The moms would put baby powder and came up with several techniques to scratch inside safely. The itching led to crying and sometimes there was very little to do to deal with her until they took her mind of the problem.
In an attempt to distract her, Karen offered to take her to a nearby farm to see farm animals. It so happened that the owner of the farm had a Havanese dog which had just had puppies and he was giving them away because there were so many of them. These were rare dogs. Really cute and hairy and when Alex saw them immediately was enchanted with the furry balls. One of them, immediately took to Alex, and she was delighted with the little thing. She asked Karen if she could take it home and Karen explained that she didn't think Mommy Addy would be too thrilled with the idea, but they agreed to give a try and if Mommy Addy was totally against it, they'd return it. On those terms, they took the dog from the farmer. The farmer gave all the details about the breed. Good with children, some grooming, no shedding, friendly subdued dog. Karen thought that there might be a chance since it was not one of those hyper dogs Addy hated so much.
Mother and daughter took the long way home so that they could talk about the dog. Among the many subjects of conversation was a name for the dog. For totally unknown reasons Alex chose the name Peanut Crunchy. Karen laughed.
When they got home, Alex was holding a cream color, hairy, and tiny dog.
Addy looked at Karen very seriously. “What is that?” She pointed to the ball of hair in Alex's arms.
“It's a puppy! His name is Peanut Crunchy.” Alex exclaimed very excitedly. Addy continued to stare at Karen.
“And whose puppy is this?” Addy continued to have a stern inflexible look on her face.
“Mine!” Alex exclaimed. She then pursed her lips thinking that she had spoken too soon.
Addy looked at Karen, but didn't say a thing. She just turned around. “Karen may I have a word with you?”
Karen and Alex looked at each other. They both had the same look on their faces. Trouble loomed and they were guilty as charge! Alex knew that Addy was not much into dogs and may not allow her to keep it. They both new that they were taking a risk and Karen had even told Alex that she was probably getting her in a lot of trouble with Mommy Addy.
Addy was not mad, she was fuming. “What the hell is this? Don't you know how I feel about dogs or cats, or anything not human? What am I supposed to do now? Look like the bad mom who won't let her have a dog?” Isn't that the case?
Addy was pacing and raising her arms in the air. Karen remained quiet. She knew this was the best thing to do. “I hate it when you do this kind of thing to me!”
Karen couldn't figure out where that was coming from since this was for sure the first time anything like this had ever happened. Karen remained quiet, though. She knew Addy too well, and the situation called for silence on her part. Alex was outside listening to the whole incident. She hid so as not to be seen and because Karen told her to let her handle it.
Addy was momentarily quiet, but that only meant that she was recharging her batteries. “I just want you to know that I'll have nothing to do with that animal. I will not walk it, bathe it, or feed it and much less pick up its poop! I also don't want that thing on the beds or any of the furniture! And what about all that hair? Can you imagine the whole house full of dog hair?”
“It's the type that doesn't shed.” Karen replied.
Addy didn't answer. “I can't believe that you did this without checking with me.” She looked hurt and about to cry when she went upstairs and slammed the door of their room.
Alex came out of hiding. “I think she'z really mad. I have never zeen her zo mad. I think we better take Peanut Crunchy back, mommy. I don't want Mommy Addy to be angry at uz forever. She lookz zcary.” Her eyes were wide open and her nose wrinkled when she spoke.
Karen smiled hearing Alex's comments and seeing the funny face. She looked at Alex and at the dog and sat on the sofa. Addy was intimidating when she got mad, but Karen knew that it would pass and that she'd come around. She was too loving to be mad for a long time.
“Alex, let's give Mommy Addy some time and then I want you to go upstairs and tell her exactly what you've just told me. If she still wants us to return the dog after you talk to her, we'll take him back. And we will say our apologies. We should have asked her before we took the dog. I also don't want her mad at me, and I'm afraid I'm going to get the worst of it. What do you think?”
“You ztay here, Mommy. Let me handle thiz.”
Karen chuckled. Those were her exact same words earlier. They always talked to Alex like an adult and Alex's responses always sounded very mature.
“I hope you have better luck.”
Twenty minutes later, there was a little knock on the door. “M'Addy, can I come in?”
“M'Addy, I'm sowy. I think we are going to take Peanut Crunchy back. I don't want you to be angry at uz forever. Mommy Karen zaid you weren't going to like it and that we might have to return it. I love you more than I love the doggie. I don't like it when you are mad at me and you are never mad wiz Mommy Karen, until now. It's my fault, I made her do it. It was me who wanted Peanut Crunchy.”
All of a sudden, Addy thought of when Karen agreed to have her. Karen didn't deny her what she wanted even though it required so much of her. And there she was, denying something when she had been denied nothing. Twenty minutes passed and no one was coming down still. Karen was growing restless downstairs. Then she heard the door and little footsteps. It was Alex. She was smiling. “Mommy Addy zaid I could keep it!” Then she scrunched her face. “But I have a lot to do, I don't know if I can remember all she said.” Alex was very preoccupied.
Karen smiled. “Well, if you tell me, maybe I can help you.”
“Yez, it'z what M'Addy zaid.”
Then she heard Addy coming down. Addy didn't say a word, or even looked at Karen. Hum. I think I'm going to be getting the silent treatment for a while.
“Mommy Karen, we need to get the crate from the car. That's where Peanut Crunchy iz going to zleep.”
“Alright, I'm going to get it immediately.” Everyone seemed to be adhering to the orders. The crate was brought in and placed in Alex's room, as Alex instructed.
“Are you sure, Mommy Addy said to put it here in your room?”
“You better make sure that Peanut Crunchy learns not to go on the bed or the furniture.”
Alex nodded again. “That'z what Mommy Addy zaid and we have to walk her in the morning zo she can peepee and pooppu.”
Karen chuckled. “Yes, I think I will take care of that in the mornings, okay? Then you can take her out later in the afternoon. But you have to ask Mommy Addy if you can take her out. She'll tell you when.”
Alex nodded obediently.
Addy couldn't help overhearing the conversation from the laundry room.
“Alex, we have to be very good at keeping out part of the deal. If we don't, Mommy Addy is not going to be happy and if Mommy Addy is not happy, nobody will be happy around here. Do you understand that?”
Alex chuckled. “Yes. Don't wowry, Mommy. I will be very good about Peanut Crunchy. I want to keep him, and I want Mommy Addy to be happy. I don't like it when she iz mad.”
“Good. Let's read more about taking care of a doggy.” Alex sat on her lap as they browsed the internet.
“Look! That dog iz like Peanut Crunchy. Let's wread what it says, Mommy.”
Later that evening, they had dinner. Addy still wasn't talking to Karen. After dinner, Karen helped to clean up as always, but stood next to her when she was done.
“Addy, you know I can't handle you being mad at me. How can I make amends? I know I should have asked you. I'm sorry. It will never happen again.”
Addy looked at her with menacing eyes. “It better not! And you better make sure that the ball of hair adheres to every one of the rules or he's out!”
“Okay.” Karen looked at her, still waiting for more discharge from Addy. No more came. So she went back to the table and sat with Alex to eat some dessert.
Alex had been watching the interaction from the dining table. She was still eating her dessert. Even Alex had trouble believing what happened next. She opened her eyes in pure surprise and smiled when Addy grabbed Karen by the collar of her blouse, pulled her up from her chair, brought her close to her and planted a humongous kiss on Karen's lips. She released her and headed to the rec room. “I need to call Marshall now. Keep the hairy thing away from me.”
Karen and Alex looked at each other and chuckled. Neither knew what to say. It was Alex who spoke first. She was nodding her head up and down, and in her customary way, wrinkled her nose when she spoke. “She lovez you a lot.” Karen grinned, all cocky she picked Alex up. “Yes, I believe she does! She really loves me a lot. Come on, let's sit and read more about how to take care of the hairy ball.”
“Mommy! His name is Peanut Crunchy!” Karen chuckled. Alex was right. Addy did love her a lot! Karen rejoiced on her thoughts. Those were the unspoken signals of love that filled their home. The tender gestures of love that Alex would grow up seeing everyday of her life. Karen's eyes misted as she kissed her daughter on the head. Alex was immersed reading about dogs, still sitting on her lap.
With time the matter smoothed out. But it was only because both Alex and Karen dealt with all the dog issues to the smallest detail. Peanut Crunchy was the best smelling dog in the shire. He was taken to the groomer monthly, and bathed every other day, it was even perfumed to smell good. He also went to dog obedience school and with the years became a fixture and a very quiet member of the family. Addy was tolerant, but never petted the dog, nor the dog ever got near her. It was as if the dog knew that in order to stay in good terms with the woman, he had to stay away from her. It seemed that after a while both, Addy and the dog had come to a mutual understanding and respected each other's boundaries. Apparently, the dog was smart enough to understand the terms of the relationship to perfection. As long as everyone understood the terms, and peace reigned.
Peanut Crunchy lived a happy life and lived to old age. He passed away after Alex left for college. They all swore never to get another dog again. Addy cried as many tears as Alex and Karen for the “darn ball of hair.”
Both women had always attended all the preschool activities and now they were doing the same in Kindergarten. Everyone knew them and loved Alex. Soon, as it happened in preschool, it became evident that Alex had two mommies. In preschool, most of the parents knew them and those who didn't and gave them second looks, soon accepted them after they came to know them and mostly because Alex was an adorable, polite well-adjusted, loving child. In Kindergarten, there were more children and more parents. As the pool of people was larger, and many were unknown, there was one issue with one of the parents which was handled by Addy.
On one of the school events, Karen remained behind talking to the teacher and Addy took Alex out to the playground. As Alex came to the playground, she ran towards one of her little friends. The mother of the little friend grabbed Alex by the arm and stopped her in a not so very nice way. Addy saw it.
“Excuse me is there a problem?”
“No, I just don't want her playing with Elizabeth .”
Addy was taken back. “May I ask why?”
“Her parents are lesbians.”
“Yes, I believe they are, and I happen to be one of them.”
“Oh! Well, I'm glad to bring this out in the open then. I would appreciate it if you told your daughter not to play with mine.”
Addy could have punched her in the nose right there, but she was resolved to be as civilized as she could possibly be under the circumstances.
“May I ask why?”
“Well, if you must know, our family does not like your type.”
“And what type may that be?”
In the distance, Karen perceived that something was not right judging by Addy's demeanor and she was trying to cut her conversation short with the teacher, without much success.
Addy smiled trying to hold back her anger.
“I'm really sorry that you feel that way. But, I will tell you this: First, my daughter can play with whomever she wants to. Second, your daughter should be so lucky as to have my daughter as her playmate. Third, if you don't like who your daughter plays with at this school, perhaps you should consider taking her to another school. And fourth, if you ever lay a finger on my daughter again you will regret it the rest of your life. The first thing that I will do is sue you for every Euro you have, and second I will press child abuse charges against you. Now is that very clear, or do I have to repeat myself.”
The woman, appeared to be insulted, but said nothing. She grabbed her daughter by the hand and left.
Alex was wide-eyed looking at her. She knew something was very wrong, she just didn't know what.
Karen joined them. She also knew something was not right. “Hi. What's going on? Why the long faces?”
“I don't know, but Mommy Addy almost got into a fight with Liza'z mom.”
“Nothing. Let's go. I don't want to talk about it now. We can talk at home.”
On the way home, all was too quiet.
Karen kept looking at Addy and at Alex through the rearview mirror. Alex seemed fine. Addy not so much.
“Mommy Karen, what is a lesbian?”
Karen opened her eyes wide and looked at Addy. Addy was looking straight ahead, and turned her face to the window.
Karen took the question. “Alex, I'd like to get home first and then I'll tell you, okay?”
Karen tried to make conversation during the trip home, but she could tell something was troubling her and she looked like a volcano ready to erupt. Karen kept wondering what would be the magnitude of the eruption and most importantly whether she had anything to do with whatever happened.
By the time they got home, Alex had forgotten about her question and the incident. She ran out of the car. She gasped and yelled. “I need to get Peanut Crunchy out to pee!” As soon as they got in the house, she put the leash on the dog who was very excited to see her and they both walked out to the patio. Alex knew exactly how far she was allowed to go with the dog.
Addy looked out the window to watch her and finally came out to the patio and sat in one of the chairs. Addy never lost track of Alex. She was like a radar when it came to any of her children, and with Alex because of the issues with Karen's family, she was relentless in her watch. Karen was the same, but she gave Alex a bit more leeway sometimes. Karen called from the kitchen. “Want a beer babe?”
Karen came out with the beers, as they watched Alex play with Peanut Crunchy.
“So are you going to tell me?”
Addy looked at her. “I will, but if Alex comes, I'll stop and finish later.”
Addy told her. Her eyes got teary. “That bitch!”
“Addy, we knew this sort of thing was going to happen sooner or later. We talked about it way back when.”
“Yes, but I didn't think that it would happen so soon, and also I was expecting it in relation to kids not to parents.”
“I think your reply was good. I understand how you feel. You never had to deal with bigotry and discrimination. I know what is like. You have no idea how many times I became a leper the minute people knew I was a lesbian. One minute they loved me, the next they hated me. And all the time, there I was, the same person.”
“Didn't you put people in their place when it happened?”
“No. Getting back at them and telling them off was not going to change how they felt. It's just the way it is. Acceptance and tolerance for others is something you learn. If no one teaches you, or what's worse, someone fuels intolerance, then what can you expect?”
Addy was serious. “Well, this is the 21 st century. My child will learn tolerance and acceptance and she will be stronger for that.”
Karen smiled. “If anyone can teach that it's us, you especially. There is nothing you cannot do, Adriana.” Karen took her face in her hands. “I love you, baby.” Addy's eyes welled up again and Karen kissed her. “If only people could understand how good this feels, how great it is, how we love each other….”
“I know, baby, I know. For now all we can do is teach our little one to understand it and how to handle the situations she will face.”
Addy looked at her. “Are you going to answer her question, or do you want me to?”
“Do we have to? It looks like she already forgot.”
Addy looked at her. “If I know my daughter, I know she hasn't forgotten. The question will come up tonight at story time. Do you want to tackle it or should I?”
I'll do it if you are not up to it, but you are much better at it than I am. Remember what happened when she wanted to sleep nude and the fire thing.”
Addy chuckled. “I'll take it. I'm making this my project.”
Addy got up and walked into the kitchen.
Alex was coming back with Peanut Crunchy. “I think she needz a bath, she zmellz Mommy Karen.”
The dog didn't smell, it never did. It was bathed every other day. Alex just wanted to put the plastic pool out and play with water.
“Okay, let's do it!” Peanut Crunchy got so many baths that the vet recommended a moisture shampoo with a very nice scent to keep its hair and skin from becoming dry. In the winter, they had to dry Peanut Crunchy's hair with a blower so that he wouldn't be cold. Of course, Peanut Crunchy had his own blow dryer which was kept on a very low temperature setting so as not to hurt him. The first time Addy saw the scene, she had to hide to laugh. Karen saw her, though. “The things we do for you, woman! If anyone ever heard of this, they would probably consider it animal cruelty.”
“Yes, what a dog's life! Getting a bubble bath every other night, good food, grooming every month, vet…..Do you have any idea how much we spend on that ball of hair?”
“All to meet your requirements!”
“Sure! The alternative being what? A walking infestation inside my house?”
Karen rolled her eyes and nodded.
As soon as they were walking into Alex's bedroom to read, Alex popped the question again. Addy immediately looked at Karen who was grinning and walking away into their bedroom. This was one of those moments when she was glad that her partner was so good with children, with people, with stories and most of all that she was so loving.
“Well, Alex, you know how sometimes we talk about someone having a boyfriend or a girlfriend and there is a boy and a girl? And how we talked about how some families have a mommy and a daddy?” Alex nodded her head in understanding. “Well a lesbian is a girl who has a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend. Instead of a boy and a girl it is a girl and a girl and they are called lesbians. And in some very special cases they have a family and there are two mommies”
“Are you and Mommy Karen a lezbian, mommy?”
“Is that why I have two mommies and no daddy?”
“Yes, Alex, that is why. Mommy Karen and I love each other very much and we decided that we wanted to live together forever and later to have a family, which is when you came in.”
“Is Liza'z mommy a lezbian?”
“I don't think so.”
“Does Liza have a daddy?”
“I don't know, Alex. You need to ask her.”
“Her Mommy doesn't like that you are a lezbian?”
“I believe she doesn't, Alex.”
Addy was lying in bed with her. She turned sideways to face Alex. She saw such innocence in that beautiful little face. She wished that no one would take that away from her. “Alex, I wish I had an answer to all your questions. I don't have one for that one. I don't know why she doesn't like lesbians. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right?” Alex was too young still to explain prejudice, so for now this would have to do. However, Addy was very aware that one day she would have to sit down with her Alex and talk to her about prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. She was sad with the realization. But then she thought that there is a time when we must all grow up and be aware of our choices and face life as it really is. She was also resolved to tell Alex everything and to let her come to terms with her particular situation. She was confident and hoped that Alex would turn out to be an exceptional human being. After all, she was raised in a nurturing environment of love and she hoped that Alex would have engraved in her heart and in her soul the love her moms had for each other and to come to appreciate it and embrace it as the loving child she was and the loving person she would become.
“I like you, M'Addy. I like Mommy Karen also.” Alex smiled.
“I know sweetheart, I hope you always do because we love you. I hope you always remember that no matter what happens in your life, we will always love you and help you with anything you ask of us.” Alex grabbed her by the neck and hugged her. “I love you M'Addy.” She planted a huge kiss on Addy's cheek, and then more kisses followed.
“I love you too Little Bit, and I love all your kisses. It feels like I can never have enough!”
Alex was really happy.
“Hey, Little Bit, do you want to learn Karate?”
Alex jumped up and stood on the bed and began to do karate like kicks and punches. “Yes! Can I?”
“You sure can! We'll look into it tomorrow.”
“Now how about we read some? I believe it's your turn to read tonight.” They took turns. At 4, Alex was already reading.
When Addy came back to the bedroom. Karen put down her ebook reader and asked. “Karate? Couldn't help hearing.”
“I will prepare my child to be strong. Ever heard those karate commercial about people respecting those who know karate?”
Karen chuckled. “Come here, my amazon. Give me some of that energy.”
Addy cuddled to her. “Do you want me to tell you what a lesbian is?”
“No. I want you to show me.”
They cuddled and kissed.
The next morning on the way to school Alex had one more question for Addy.
“Yes, baby girl?”
“Can I play with Liza at school?”
Alex looked at her through her rearview mirror. “Sweetie pie, I don't see why not. If Liza wants to play with you, you can certainly play with her. If anyone tells you that you can't, I want you to tell me, okay?”
After Addy dropped off Alex at preschool she had a call from Marshall . “Addy, we got ourselves the foal we wanted!”
“Really? Oh my God! That is wonderful! When can we go get her?”
“This afternoon provided you have the money.”
“Oh, Marshall ! I need to pick up Alex at noon and then she needs her lunch. Do you think you can arrange to go get him at 2 or so?
“I sure can. I'll give them a call right now.”
All was arranged. They were picking up the horse at 2 pm. She called Karen to tell her.
“Do you want to come with us to pick up the horse?”
“Aaagh! Addy, I want to, but already have a teleconference scheduled for this afternoon. If I had known—.”
“Honey, even I didn't know. Marshall just called me a few minutes ago.”
“Well, then you go ahead and as soon as I'm done here, I'll come by the stables. Alex will be thrilled.”
“Yeah, she's been talking about it forever. I told her she could pick the name.”
“Oh God! I hope we don't end up with another Crunchy name!”
Addy laughed. “I'll see you later, baby.”
Addy picked up Alex at school and they went to the stables to meet Marshall . From there they parted to pick up the horse. It was still in the stable.
“Awwww, Alex look at it isn't it beautiful? It was just borne a few days ago.”
“Is he ours, Mommy? Can we keep him?”
“Yes, Alex. We are taking him and his mommy with us to our stables so that Marshall can train him.”
“Is the mommy horse ours too?”
“No, Alex. The mommy horse belongs to this farm and we will be returning her when the little one is a big older.”
Alex was not too happy with the news of returning the mommy horse, but since she was thrilled with the little one, she soon forgot.
Addy settled accounts with the breeder, and got her paperwork. Fifty thousand Euros later, she was taking the foal and mare home. The mare would be returned to the breeder once the foal was weaned and it was thought it would be easier to separate them if he was familiar with his own stable. They followed Marshall and the horse carriage to the stables and unloaded the precious ones. Even though it was her idea, it still amazed her that they had their very own thoroughbred.
“So, Alex, your mom said that you were going to be the one naming him. Have you thought of a name already? Is got to be a name no other horse has.”
“Can I pet him? He looks kind of lonely.”
“Sure.” Marshall brought the small horse over to her.
Addy swore that the minute Alex touched the horse, the horse pepped up and looked happy. A short while later, Alex announced the horse's name. “His name will be Alejandro.”
Marshall and Addy looked at each other. Neither was expecting such a formal name. They were expecting something like ‘Popcorn,' ‘Ice Cream,' or ‘Fasty.”
“Alex, why that name?” Addy asked.
“It's my name in Spanish for a boy. He is like me, Mommy, little.” Her smile was like a sunrise when she looked at Addy.
“What do you think Miss Marshall? Is Alejandro a good name for a winning race horse?”
Alex looked at Marshall wide-eyed. When Marshall saw those gorgeous eyes and that fabulous smile, what could she have said? Alex had everyone wrapped around her fingers.
“Addy, I cannot think of a name better suited for a horse owned by such a charming little lady.” Marshall bowed to Alex who ran and hugged her. Judging by Marshall 's face Addy thought she had never been hugged by a little girl. Marshall was in shock upon being faced with such display of emotion from the little one. Not knowing what to do, when she saw Addy smiling she hugged the little one back. Marshall was delighted.
“Well, young lady, we have much to do to train Alejandro, you know? I expect that you might be interested in learning and helping.”
Alex was amazed. Her face was pure joy and surprise. “Can I M'Addy?”
“Well, as long as it's okay with Ms. Marshall. I suppose you can help, but only when Ms. Marshall is with you and she tells you what to do.”
“Wow! I'm going to train you Alejandro!” Even the horse seemed somewhat excited. It was hard to explain. It was as if the horse actually understood and liked Alex.
This began Alex's training on training horses.
“Look there is Mommy Karen.”
Alex ran to her practically yelling that she was going to help with Alejandro.
Addy and Marshall laughed. When Karen saw the horse she was delighted.
“He is beautiful!” She looked at Addy and Alex, what she always saw in those faces, she loved. Where will this road take us now? She grinned and nodded as she picked up Alex and sat her on the fence. She put her other hand around Addy's waist. Addy did the same the minute she felt Karen's hand on her. They kissed as Alex watched.
Alex asked to be put down from the fence because she wanted to pet the horse. She did under Marshall 's close supervision while Karen and Addy smiled at the tender scene. Karen then turned to look for the face she loved to look at.
Addy felt the loving green eyes on her and returned the gaze with equal tenderness. Even though they had been together for over seven years, the passion of the love they shared was a strong as when they first met. When the brown eyes met the emerald ones, the intensity of the moment was overwhelming. Karen reached out to bring close to her the woman she couldn't resist, the lips she craved for. Addy came forward, meeting her half way. They kissed tenderly.
Right about then, Alex turned and found them kissing. The smile on the little face was adorable. She loved to see how her moms loved each other. Alex looked at Marshall and when she found Marshall looking at her moms, she felt a need to explain. She opened her huge eyes and after momentarily pursing her lips, she nodded her head up and down and putting her little hands, palms up in front of her, as if to offer evidence, she explained. “They alwayz kizz." She sighted. “They love a lot!”
Marshall chuckled. Alex expressive face and words were so endearing that she couldn't help but to raise the little one up in her arms and hug her. With the little one in her arms, Marshall walked over to where Karen and Addy were. The women had broken their kiss to chuckle upon hearing Alex's explanation.
“Yes, Alex, your mommies love each other a lot, and that young lady, is a wonderful thing. Here you go.” Marshall handed Alex over to Karen and Addy who kissed her at the same time. Alex placed her little arms around both women's neck as Karen held her in her arms. Again Alex explained. “They love me a lot too.” Everyone laughed.
“Yes they do, Alex. You are a very fortunate little girl.”
Karen put her down and both women held her hands.
“Good night, Marshall .” They both said in unison.
“Good night, ladies.”
A little voice said. “Good night, Alejandro.”
Marshall looked back to the tiny horse. She could have sworn the horse sort of responded. She nodded. “I think I'm going crazy.”
The women walked away holding the little one's hands, as Alex skipped and jumped hanging on to their hands.
To be continued on the next story. Yes, I'm already working on the next one! After all, we have a child to raise now! J
If you'd like to receive an email when I begin to post it, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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