The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 3rd 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

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Dibs! :whip


Yay!

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I liked that we got to witness Tara finding out that she is pregnant during her walk down memory lane.


I think it was an important moment after all of those months of flashbacks!

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Busted Willow! :lol


A child's bad habits are always a surefire way to make you confront your own :lol

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Considering what an excellent student Willow has always been I'm sure she'll be able to "talk Basketball" soon enough. Hopefully JJ won't suddenly decide that's embarrassing too…


I bet she will, though I don't think she needs to become a brain in it, just the (silent :P ) support is all JJ really craves. Plus, it's a nice activity for him to do with his uncles and have some guy time.

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:rofl
And JJ feels embarrassed by his mothers?! He should look at Alex and Anya and realize how good he has it!


This is a very good point!!

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That's good and well as long as she's little but I bet she will be thankful that she has a "normal" first name once she visits highschool, at the very latest when she has a "serious" job as an adult.
("This is our best oncologist, Dr. Pixie Harris" f.e. would sound quite ridiculous).


Nah, she'll grow up in a family (and extended family) that embrace those kind of oddities and she'll be proud of her name. Since you mention her being an oncologist, there's actually a doctor/TV personality over here called Dr. Pixie McKenna. As far as I know, her real name is a 'normal' one but she still goes by Pixie because it's what she was known as growing up. You know, I might just have to make my Pixie an oncologist now :)

(EDIT TO ADD: I actually just looked up Dr. McKenna and I read that her name origin story is the exact same as this Pixie - coming from a comic read by her brother(s)! This is complete coincidence but makes me seriously happy!)

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I love Ira's interaction with JJ. He doesn't say "Don't talk like that about your mothers" or something like that but lets him come to his own conclusions.


Ira really tries to be the kind of parent as a grandparent that he just failed so spectacularly as as an actual parent. To give his his dues, he excels at it. Unlike Sheila, I think that innate ability is actually there, he just didn't tap into it.

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And yay to Ira for defending his daughters against that a-hole and bluffing him into backing off


And this is one of the few ways Ira still has the ability to parent.

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(although it would be sad for his son if he would be taken out of the team by his stupid father).


I'm thinking the kid has a strong mother at home who'll tell the father to STFU and let him to continue to play :)

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I'm glad that Willow didn't let her temper flare after that crass insult and triumphed over that idiot instead with her pride for their son being the matchwinner.


It was a teetering line :lol She very easily could have gone into snipe mode.

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I have to admit I don't understand what you mean with "all she never knew she needed" - just the "cheering one of our kids at sports"-thing or the whole family life? The latter would surprise me considering they planned having kids one day even before they got married.


Being a 'soccer mom' (or in this case a basketball mom). She never saw herself as into sports but spending the morning in that position filled her with a kind of contentment she never imagined it would.

Thanks for your feedback!

taranwillow4ever

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I had trouble stopping my laughter at Robyn putting her finger in Willow's nose.


How is it that a tiny baby finger can feel so long when it's stuck somewhere it's not supposed to be?

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Interesting that one of her words is bugger...


Oh that's her brother's influence, no doubt! I'm sure JJ has spoken of boogers often.

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My oldest used to like to put her little fingers in my nose as she was drinking her bottle. The things that you let your kids do to soothe them.


I can imagine there's a point where you'll do anything to soothe them :lol

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I am loving the story. I had to re-read Hacker to remember how they got JJ. Great story still.
Thanks for writing. I am enjoying it tremendously.
Sena Alias TW4E


Thanks so much!

And thanks so much for commenting!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 3rd 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Three




Willow let the warm water slide off her hair and down her back.


She loved their new shower.


The high-powered showerhead doled out a delicious burst of hot water and the various jets offered the same treatment at different heights. There was room for steam to rise which she inhaled as her head tilted back under the spray.


She really loved this space. She didn’t remember it seeming so big off the plans, but inside it was a different story. She could lie down on the floor and do a full 360-degree turn if she wanted. Okay, maybe not quite, but you could fit five people in there at a squeeze, though she thought the perfect number to be two.


The water thrummed relentlessly, almost leaving pinprick bruises on Willow’s skin that hurt in the best possible way. It was a beautiful way to way up quickly on a rushed weekday morning, or to luxuriate in when she had the time.


She couldn’t actually remember which situation she was in right then, but also didn’t care.


It was her birthday.


That much she remembered.


She turned to get the water at a new angle and let the warm beads wet her lips. Her tongue poked out to catch one and she smiled.


Tastes like lemonade.


“Your hair smells like lemons.”


Willow spun back around and saw Tara. She hadn’t heard her enter.


“Your shampoo,” Tara continued, acting like she wasn’t being so effortlessly sexy standing there naked, getting wet.


She put her hands on her own breasts and dragged her palms down her body.


“I thought my lingerie this year could be of the more…elemental variety.”


Willow watched the water droplets hug Tara’s curves, indeed acting as evocatively as some lacy panties would. She dragged her gaze back up to Tara’s eyes.


“My birthday present…is your birthday suit.”


Tara leaned in and placed her mouth right at Willow’s ear to whisper.


“Your birthday present is whatever you want.”


The seductive look Tara was giving was enough to make Willow feel weak-kneed. However, instead of hers buckling, she watched as Tara slowly sank onto hers.


She gasped when Tara kissed above her hairline, a miraculously smoother spot than where her normal ‘jelly belly’ resided.


Tara’s hands grabbed Willow’s hips as her lips dipped lower.


She watched as Tara’s head started to bob and was beginning to moan when Tara suddenly started shaking her hips violently.


“Tara?” Willow asked, her voice quaking in the same rhythm.


The shaking just got faster and faster and faster until Willow startled awake, sitting upright in bed with flushed cheeks and a pool of wetness that, for once, wasn’t drool on her pillow.


Her thighs shifted uncomfortably for a moment until she realized JJ was standing beside her and had been the instigator in the waking shaking.


She flushed more and pinned the sheet on top of her to the mattress to try and stop any of her arousal becoming noticeable.


“What’s wrong?” she asked in a gruff, morning voice.


“Robyn stuck a crayon up her nose,” JJ replied casually.


“Why is that child obsessed with shoving things in hers and other people’s noses,” Willow grumbled, “How far?”


“Just the tip,” JJ replied helpfully, “But she won’t let me pull it out.”


Willow sighed.


“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute. Don’t let her get it any further up there!”


JJ left again and Willow sighed. She glanced over at her wife and was grateful their son hadn’t woken her up. Tara had been struggling with pretty bad morning sickness and didn’t need to be woken up over nonsense.


She gently kissed Tara’s cheek and carefully got out of bed.


She stumbled into the bathroom to pee and clean herself up, pulling on a pair of sweats on under the old t-shirt she thrown on the night before. As she skirted a toothbrush around her teeth to get that icky feeling gone, she glanced sideways at the shower and what could have been.


It is my birthday…maybe I’ll get that birthday suit present later…


She finally rinsed and hurried downstairs, where JJ was holding Robyn’s hands to stop her pushing the crayon any deeper.


“Robyn, what are you doing?” she asked in exasperation as she picked the toddler up, “Crayons go on paper, not in noses!”


Luckily it was just in the nostril and came out with a light tug. Willow made a face as she tossed it in the garbage and washed Robyn’s hands for good measure.


“Stop putting things in your nose or your mouth or anywhere else that aren't supposed to go there!”


Robyn just smiled sweetly and Willow almost regretted asking to use Tara’s egg because that smile was going to kill her one of these days.


She brought Robyn back into the living room and put her in her playpen, making sure it was free of anything small enough to fit in a bodily orifice.


“Thanks for helping out, buddy,” she said to JJ, picking up the empty bowl of cereal he’d poured himself.


“It’s okay,” JJ replied absently, enjoying his cartoons.


Willow cleared the mess without complaint since he’d been so good to help and headed into the kitchen to make some coffee.


She knew the kids wouldn’t remember her birthday until reminded, but she held off on making breakfast in case they all wanted to do something special.


She brought her laptop to the island in the kitchen and opened up her social media to like and thank all of the birthday wishes.


While she was drinking her second cup of coffee, Tara appeared with her hair still messed up from sleep. Willow looked up with a big smile.


“Good morning,” she greeted warmly, “Hey, I need to ask Michelle if you liked to shove things up your nose when you were little. Some funky genetics is the only guess I have left.”


Willow waited with bated breath for the lovely fusion of the good morning and happy birthday kiss that was about to be bestowed upon her, but it never came. Instead, Tara, all the while looking like Oscar the Grouch, grabbed the house phone and left again.


Willow held up a hand and finally slapped it back down by her side.


“Good morning to you, too, Willow; oh, and here’s a lovely smooch because hey, it’s your birthday, and I love your witty observations about our nasophile daughter.”


Less than five minutes later, Tara appeared again, this time hastily dressed. She deposited the phone back on its dock, whilst avoiding Willow’s gaze.


“I’m going out.”


“Okay, where are you—” Willow started but Tara marched out again, “Can you at least tell me if I should make breakfast?!”


There was no response and Willow thought Tara had walked out, until a couple of moments later she came back into the kitchen and closed the door behind her.


Now that Willow could actually see Tara’s face for more than a passing second, she could tell something was wrong.


Really wrong.


She came out from behind the island and walked over to take her wife’s hands.


“Baby, what is it?”


Tara looked down as silent tears escaped and ran down her cheeks.


“I-I’m bl-bleeding.”


Willow drew an indrawn breath as Tara swiped at her eyes.


“I called the doctor and she’s meeting me at the hospital. I was just going to go so you wouldn’t have to worry, but I can’t do it, I can’t go alone.”


“Of course you’re not going alone!” Willow replied emphatically and guided Tara over to a stool, “Just, um, sit here, just for a few minutes. I’m taking the kids to my dad and I’m going to come back for you.”


Tara’s head rolled forward into her hands and her back hunched with sobs. Willow took Tara’s hands away from her face.


“Hey,” she said, then cupped Tara’s face and held it up to her, “Hey.”


She locked eyes with Tara and tried to pass on some strength and resolve.


“It’s going to be okay.”


Tara’s wet eyelashes fluttered and her gaze fell again. Willow pressed a kiss to Tara’s hair part and hurried off into the living room, plucking Robyn from her playpen to protests as she was having fun playing.


“JJ, you’re going to Grandpa’s.”


“Can I finish watching—”


“Now, Jacob,” Willow replied curtly, and JJ scowled but knew better than to argue when his full name had been deployed.


Willow grabbed the diaper bag and put a hand on JJ’s back to lead him outside.


“I’m in my jammies!”


“It doesn’t matter, come on,” Willow said, getting them out the door before they heard Tara crying.


She strapped them into their seats and quickly had the car reversing out of the driveway.


“Why are we going to Grandpa’s in our jammies?” JJ asked, his voice on the verge of quivering, “And why are we driving?”


Willow took a moment to try and compose herself.


“I have to take Mom to the hospital. She got a cut and is bleeding so the doctor just has to look at it, but she’s going to be fine,” she said in an even tone not betraying her inner panic. She glanced in the rearview mirror at her son, “Don’t worry, okay? I promise everything is fine.”


She reached behind and held his hand until they pulled up outside Ira and Michelle’s house. JJ went right up to ring the doorbell and Willow was there with Robyn by the time Ira answered the door.


He looked surprised and pleased to see them.


“Can I watch TV?” JJ asked, and Ira looked down at him, right away noticing his lack of shoes on his footy pajamas.


“Of course, go ahead,” he replied, voice starting to tinge with concern.


JJ padded off into the living room and Ira turned back to Willow.


“I’m sorry to just show up like this.”


“It’s alright, I was hoping to see you today anyway,” Ira replied, reaching out to squeeze his daughter’s arm.


Willow swallowed to hold back the emotion.


“Tara had an accident, I have to bring her to the ER,” she said, handing off Robyn, “She’s fine, but I gotta go. I’m sorry.”


She dropped the diaper bag and started to retreat. Ira looked shocked.


“Willow, what—”


“I have to go,” Willow said apologetically.


“Happy–”


“Later!” Willow called back over her shoulder as she hurried back into the car.


She drove home, faster than she should have. She looked in the mirror and realized she looked way too close to tears.


She allowed herself fifteen seconds to break down, then sucked it all back up, slapped her cheeks to look as red as her eyes so she looked less inconspicuous and rushed back inside to Tara.


She was where Willow had left her, staring down vacantly at the floor. Willow took a deep breath and put a hand on Tara’s back.


“C’mon, honey. It’s gonna be alright.”


She guided Tara out to the hallway, silently until her wife spoke.


“Shoes.”


“You have shoes on, baby,” Willow soothed softly.


Tara sniffed.


“You don’t.”


Willow looked down and realized she didn’t, in fact, have any shoes on. She hadn’t noticed, nor had she noticed her soles being cut up by the gravel and path she’d walked on.


“Oh.”


There was a pair of slip-on sneakers they shared to do night runs to the car sitting by the door, so Willow put them on as she walked them both outside.


Neither of them said a word the whole way to the hospital; Tara just stared out the window with creased eyes and Willow was too busy focusing on the road. Her knuckles were white and there was no other brainpower left over to speak. Her instinct was to panic, panic, panic, but she knew if she did that she’d be letting Tara down and she wouldn’t do that to her wife.


After they parked, Willow had no idea where they were supposed to go, but Tara seemed to so she just followed.


Tara, somehow, in a cracking voice told an OB nurse who they were and they were guided to a room. Tara was given a gown, which Willow helped put on and tried not to react when she saw the red hue on the pad Tara had hastily shoved into her underwear.


She stood next to the bed and took Tara’s hand. It was trembling so hard that not even holding it in both of hers put any pause to it.


“It’s gonna be—”


“Stop saying that,” Tara interrupted, her face ashen.


“Sorry,” Willow whispered.


The nurse asked Tara some questions, took her vitals and left again.


They were both stuck in a sterile silence, and Willow guessed Tara wasn’t speaking because she was two seconds away from breaking down. She guessed that because she was in a similar state herself.


She hadn’t let herself think the words yet, because she needed to be there for Tara and being there for Tara did not involve her giving in to such thoughts.


A new woman in scrubs came in.


Their hands trembled in each other’s again as she introduced herself as a sonographer, told them their doctor, Dr. Wells, was held up in a delivery but would be with them soon and asked Tara some more questions about what she’d experienced that morning. When they finished conversing, she brought them down to the ultrasound room and asked permission to perform an internal exam.


Tara nodded silently and got readjusted with a sheet over her as the technician prepared the probe.


Willow saw a brief moment of pain as it was inserted, then Tara's face returned back into its crumpled, worried state quickly.


There were fifteen long minutes of more silence that both Willow and Tara could only describe as agonizing. Willow was screaming at the technician inside her head; ‘say something, say anything’.


Finally, she did, but the words didn’t help in the slightest, especially with the surprised look on her face.


“If you’ll excuse me, one moment. I’d like to see if Dr. Wells is ready.”


Tara’s entire face crumbled and she started to sob.


“W-W-Willow.”


She took in a hiccupping breath, but it barely filled her lungs as waves of grief released themselves.


“I lost the baby, I-I lost the baby. She doesn’t want to tell me.”


Willow looked at the swinging curtain where the technician had left, then back at Tara.


“She didn’t say that. She didn’t say that, sweetie.”


“W-why else would she look like that and go off like that?” Tara stammered, “She wants the doctor to tell us.”


Her face fell into Willow’s shoulder and she sobbed and sobbed.


Willow held her gently and stroked her hair, unsure what to say.


She was terrified.


She didn’t know how she’d get Tara through this.


She didn’t know how she’d get through this. How they would get through this.


Eventually, the tech returned, with Dr. Wells this time, who was clearly exerted from the delivery she was coming from. Still, her initial interaction was to pat Tara’s hand comfortingly.


“Oh, Tara, don’t cry. There’s nothing to be concerned about yet. We’re just going to take another look.”


The technician was already reinserting the probe and Tara made herself calm down so they could do the exam. Both of them looked intently at the screen for several minutes until Dr. Wells shook her head.


“You’re right, Diane.”


Tara started to hyperventilate and Willow lost it.


“Can you please just tell us something?!”


The doctor pointed out something on the screen, which the tech started taking measurements of.


“I’m sorry,” Dr. Wells said, turning her attention to them, “Tara, you haven’t lost the pregnancy.”


Tara cried out in utter relief and surprise and Willow had to grab ahold of the hospital bedside rail to steady herself again.


“What’s going on?” she asked, some emotion finally breaking in her voice.


The doctor nodded to the technician, who flipped a switch. They waited a few moments, then there was a fast-paced galloping sound.


“Yes…definitely two heartbeats,” Dr. Wells said.


Tara’s eyes widened and Willow slumped with relief.


“And they’re both strong? Tara’s and the baby’s?”


Dr. Wells smiled over at them.


“I’m not listening to Tara’s right now.”


“But you said you heard two,” Willow replied in confusion, looking between Tara and the doctor, “I don’t…I don’t understand.”


Tara took her wife’s hand.


“Willow,” she said softly, “There’s two.”


Willow continued to look blank and Tara’s eyes were starting to fill again but with happy tears this time.


“Honey, they’re twins.”


Willow blinked once, very slowly.


“Tw—twins?” she asked, eyes looking between Tara and the doctor, “They’re…they’re…?”


She trailed off in shock, before promptly collapsing on the spot.


Tara flew up on her elbows.


“Willow!”


“Tara, stay lying down, please,” Dr. Wells advised calmly as both she and the tech took either end of Willow.


They moved behind the curtain and put Willow on the other bed in the room.


When she was settled, the technician left with the ultrasound and the doctor checked Willow over.


“She’s okay,” she concluded after a minute, “It’s just shock. She’ll wake up any second. I’ll go get her a glass of water.”


“Would you put her bed next to mine?” Tara asked, her heart still hammering in her chest.


Dr. Wells could only smile.


“Of course.”


She took the brake off the bed and wheeled it over so the metal edges of the two beds lightly clanged against each other. She checked Tara was okay, then left to get Willow some water.


Tara took Willow’s hand and it truly was only a few seconds until she stirred.


Willow’s eyelids flickered open and settled on Tara quickly. Her vision was slightly hazy but waking up next to Tara was so familiar, she didn’t seek out anything else.


“Good morning, baby…” she mumbled, “I had the craziest dream…”


She gave a little stretch as she would in bed and shielded her eyes from the fluorescent light. She blinked in confusion and looked around, finally registering her surroundings. She shot up straight in the bed.


“Ah!”


Her head spun around and she pointed at Tara’s stomach, accusatory.


“Two! There’s two!”


Dr. Wells came back in with a plastic cup of water and tried to ease Willow back down.


“Willow, take it easy for a few moments. You fainted. Drink this.”


Willow followed orders and gulped it down. She looked less shocked, but her mouth was still slightly agape.


“We only used one egg.”


“Which makes us pretty sure they’re identical,” Dr. Wells advised, smiling.


“Of course your egg would be an over-achiever,” Tara said, trying to lighten the mood.


Willow’s gaze turned to her and Tara felt a knot in her tummy.


“Are you not happy?”


Willow blinked one more time and a smile slowly spread across her lips.


“Of course I am,” she said, reaching for Tara’s hand again, “I was just a little, okay, whoa, y’know? But I do know. We’re having twins. We’re having two babies!”


Tara breathed out in relief and Willow lifted her hand to cup her wife’s cheek. She stroked her skin gently, both of them failing to suppress burgeoning grins.


That was, until, Dr. Wells started tapping the back of Willow’s head. Willow looked over her shoulder, mildly annoyed.


“Hey, doc. I’m having a moment with my wife here.”


Dr. Wells retracted her hand.


“Apologies. Just making sure you didn’t bump your head. I want to check your blood pressure again but if you’re feeling better, I think you’re both free to go.”


“Why was I bleeding?” Tara asked, “They’re okay, right?”


Dr. Wells returned to standing in front of the two beds.


“It looks like some cervix inflammation. You have no signs of infection, which is positive. May I harbor a guess that you engaged in intercourse recently?”


Willow visibly paled.


“I did this to her?”


“Not at all,” the doctor reassured quickly, “The blood vessels around the cervix are extra sensitive during pregnancy. It’s very normal, though I appreciate distressing. I’ll give you my after-hours emergency number in case you have any more concerns but if you have no pain or fever and the bleeding isn’t excessive, it’s nothing to be concerned about, should it happen again. Keep note and let me know at our normal appointments though. Just give it a couple of days to let it heal before any more activity. And be assured, there was no damage or hurt done to the babies. I’ll go see if we can’t get you a copy of that ultrasound.”


She left, and Willow tried to process what she was being told, but one word stood out. She turned back to Tara, the grin unashamedly taking over her face now.


“Babies.”


“Babies,” Tara repeated, squeezing Willow’s hand tightly.


They shared a happy look until Willow just threw her hands up with joy.


“This is the best birthday present ever!”


Tara’s eyes widened and her hand flew to her mouth.


“It’s your birthday,” she said in a low, regretful tone, then reached out to touch her wife’s arm, “I didn’t forget, I swear. I have your present and dinner organized. Just when I woke up…”


Willow took Tara’s hand and kissed her knuckles.


“It doesn’t matter.”


Tara looked pained.


“And now we can’t…”


“Don’t worry about it,” Willow dismissed softly, “Dream Tara gave up the goods this morning.”


Tara dropped her gaze bashfully for a moment and Willow was transported right back to the girl she first fell in love with.


“She did?” Tara asked, looking up to her eyelashes.


And with that tone, Willow was right back to her sultry, seductive wife.


“Until she was rudely interrupted,” Willow replied, brushing some hair from Tara’s eyes, “But enough to keep me going until Real Tara is up for it again.”


Tara caught Willow’s hand and held it to her face while mouthing ‘I love you’. Willow leaned in and nuzzled their noses.


Willow helped Tara redress, and got her a fresh pad from a nurse, though the bleeding seemed to have stopped.


Still, Willow made sure Tara made easy movements and aided her wherever she could.


Dr. Wells returned with an envelope of the ultrasound and told them they were free to go. Willow forgot herself for a moment and threw her arms around the doctor.


She realized what she was doing pretty quickly and retreated with a blush.


“Sorry.”


“It’s quite alright,” Dr. Wells replied easily, “Congratulations. I’ll see you for your 12-week scan, but please don’t worry in silence if something is bothering you. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”


Both women thanked the doctor again and Willow brought Tara out to the car. She had to take a minute to orient herself, as they’d come in in such a flurry that she couldn’t remember where she’d parked.


Finally, she vaguely recognized a landmark and they found the car. They both sat in, but Willow made no move to start the car.


“Can I see the pictures?”


Tara opened the envelope and a large printed copy of a still of the ultrasound came out. She held it between them.


Willow traced the two little blobs of grey against the black.


“The little egg that could…”


Tara leaned her head against Willow’s shoulder and Willow leaned her head back onto Tara’s.


Several minutes passed in awed silence until Willow finally reached out to stroke Tara’s cheek.


“I love you so much,” she said, turning in to kiss the top of Tara’s head, “And I love our children. All…four of them.”


Tara’s eyes slowly blinked.


“Whoa.”


“They’ll outnumber us two to one now,” Willow said uneasily.


“We’re bigger,” Tara countered.


“For now,” Willow replied, “JJ is shooting up as if he really is eating his vegetables and not hiding them under the potato!”


They met each other’s eyes and Tara shook her head softly to herself.


“We’re crazy.”


“You talked me into this,” Willow retorted playfully.


“You gave me the great replicating egg,” Tara shot back, through a big smile.


Willow caught Tara’s cheek and swooped in for a smooch.


“And you made me two beautiful…identical…babies. Two little…” Willow suddenly pulled away, eyes wide, “Holy shit. Two little mes! The Ruliness will be well and truly destroyed!”


“Still not a word,” Tara replied.


“Well it should be,” Willow grumbled.


Tara turned Willow’s face to hers.


“C’mere,” she said, pecking Willow’s lips affectionately, “I love my two little Willow’s. I can’t wait to grow them, then meet them, then raise them. However…rambunctious they may be.”


“My Dad called it ‘curious’,” Willow replied sheepishly.


“I love you,” Tara whispered, and Willow returned the sentiment, again.


It was very love-proclaiming kind of news.


Eventually, they broke apart and Tara put the images back safely.


Willow drove them back to her father’s house, during which they would keep meeting each other's eye and grinning, and parked on the curb.


“My poor Dad. I just showed up with the kids in their jammies. They think you cut yourself by accident.”


She released her seatbelt but didn’t open her door yet.


“Tara, can I tell him? I know we were going to wait but…”


Tara covered Willow’s hand and nodded.


“Discreetly.”


“Of course,” Willow agreed.


They both got out and headed to the front door, which opened before they even knocked to an ashen-faced Ira, slowly getting some color back in his cheeks.


“Oh thank god.”


Willow stepped up and hugged her father.


“Sorry for the scare.”


Ira seemed to relax and patted Willow’s back, whilst looking to Tara.


“Is everything alright? Did you need stitches?”


“I didn’t cut myself, Ira,” Tara replied softly.


Ira looked between them confused. Willow pulled the door behind them so it was ajar and lowered her voice.


“She’s pregnant, Daddy.”


Ira’s eyes widened and Willow rocked on her toes with excitement.


“With twins.”


Ira’s hands covered his face as he took that in.


“Everything is okay,” Willow said quickly, pre-empting the concern, “We had a little scare but everything is okay.”


Ira turned to Tara and offered her a joy-filled smile. His big hands cupped her face and over her ears and he kissed her square on the forehead.


“B'sha'ah tovah.”


Willow opened her mouth to translate but Tara just held up a hand; she understood.


The door peeked open and Michelle stuck her head out.


“Tara, Willow? Is everything alright?”


Ira looked at Michelle and burst out with a sound that could only be described as a schoolgirl squeal.


“We have two more grandchildren on the way!”


Willow brought a finger to her lips.


“Nobody knows,” she whispered, “It’s very early, so please keep it to yourselves. Especially around the kiddos.”


Ira settled himself down with a chagrined smile.


“Of course we will, sweetheart.”


Michelle leaped from the door with the step of a spring chicken and threw her arms around Tara.


“Hey, how’d you know it wasn’t me?” Willow asked, though just amused.


Michelle held Tara’s face the same way Ira had.


“I can see it in her eyes,” she said, looking at her niece deeply in the eye, “Your mother would be so proud. And did you say two?”


Tara nodded and it seemed to finally dawn on Michelle.


“Well that is just…” she puffed out happily, “Splendid! Simply splendid!”


The door creaked open again and JJ looked out to see what all the commotion was.


“Mom? Are you okay?”


“What is this, party on the patio?” Willow asked and scooped JJ up with one arm, something she rarely did anymore as he was so big, and he never let her anyway – but did this time, a sure sign he was a bit upset, “Mom is just fine. Look at her. Doesn’t she look fine?”


JJ nodded.


“Yeah. She looks shiny.”


Willow blushed.


“I’ve been letting him watch Firefly.”


“No, shiny!” JJ clarified through a toothy grin, “Like, like…like the moon!”


Willow matched the grin, albeit with a full set.


“I think you mean to say Mom is glowing,” she said, then smiled softly at Tara, “And I agree.”


“Thank you, honey,” Tara said to JJ and Willow let him down so he could hug her.


Ira put a hand on JJ’s back and guided him back inside while using the other hand to welcome them in.


“Come in, come in,” he said jollily, “Won’t you stay for lunch? You have to get your birthday present.”


Willow put her arm around Tara’s waist and leaned in to kiss her cheek; lowering her voice so only her wife could hear.


“I already did.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 6th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:37 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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LARAGH---THANK YOU!!
Yes,...Yes,...I knew IT!! Twins!! Well, of Course we'll ALL say we knew it,..BUT I KNEW it!!
I absolutely this family, and it's because of the way You write our ladies & others. Keep it coming and I WILL be here.
Thanks & Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 6th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:52 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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HA! I was right about the babies being multiples. :banana :eatme :banana :eatme Once the babies are born you'll have to change the title to: Willow and Tara, Four Kids and Counting.

I don't know why I said "Hacker-Verse" when I know it's Confidential-Verse. I guess I'm losin' it in my old age, lol.

The chapter before this one was such a lovely 'day in the life,' and I thought, "Uh oh, here it comes." :paranoid I'm just glad it wasn't anything bad and it was just twins. Wait...TWINS!!!! How awesome and utterly exhausting, lol. Wow, that's a lot of toddlers all at the same time and as the oldest of four myself, I say...poor built-in-babysitter-JJ, lol.

Quote:
The shaking just got faster and faster and faster until Willow startled awake, sitting upright in bed with flushed cheeks and a pool of wetness that, for once, wasn’t drool on her pillow.
I had to laugh about this because it brought back lots of memories. J had two tried and true ways to wake me up: One, she would stand and stare (like a creepy Stepford child) until I finally woke up and two, she'd get right in my face and yell "MOM!" Heart attack central.

Quote:
“Of course your egg would be an over-achiever,”
Hahahahahahahaha! True.

I'm glad they finally told Ira and Michelle, they're going to need all the support they can get, but I do agree with not telling anyone else just yet. At least not until they get through the first trimester.

I can't wait until the big gender reveal. I'm going out on a limb and guess: BOYS. Two redheaded little boys that LOVE SPORTS!!!


-JMT

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 6th 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:50 am 
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5. Willowhand

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Quote:
The seductive look Tara was giving was enough to make Willow feel weak-kneed. However, instead of hers buckling, she watched as Tara slowly sank onto hers.


She gasped when Tara kissed above her hairline, a miraculously smoother spot than where her normal ‘jelly belly’ resided.


Tara’s hands grabbed Willow’s hips as her lips dipped lower.


She watched as Tara’s head started to bob and was beginning to moan when Tara suddenly started shaking her hips violently.


“Tara?” Willow asked, her voice quaking in the same rhythm.


The shaking just got faster and faster and faster until Willow startled awake, sitting upright in bed with flushed cheeks and a pool of wetness that, for once, wasn’t drool on her pillow.


Her thighs shifted uncomfortably for a moment until she realized JJ was standing beside her and had been the instigator in the waking shaking.


She flushed more and pinned the sheet on top of her to the mattress to try and stop any of her arousal becoming noticeable.


“What’s wrong?” she asked in a gruff, morning voice.


“Robyn stuck a crayon up her nose,” JJ replied casually.

:laugh You meanie, teasing poor Willow and the smut-ophiles of your readers... :wink

After this funny opening the chapter really was a roller coaster of emotions for our couple!
Quote:
Willow was screaming at the technician inside her head; ‘say something, say anything’.


Finally, she did, but the words didn’t help in the slightest, especially with the surprised look on her face.


“If you’ll excuse me, one moment. I’d like to see if Dr. Wells is ready.”

At that moment I immediately thought "she's having twins!"

Quote:
Willow blinked once, very slowly.


“Tw—twins?” she asked, eyes looking between Tara and the doctor, “They’re…they’re…?”


She trailed off in shock, before promptly collapsing on the spot.

:lol I love that you gave Willow the classical father-reaction (at least in books and movies) to these special news!

Quote:
“I love you so much,” she said, turning in to kiss the top of Tara’s head, “And I love our children. All…four of them.”


Tara’s eyes slowly blinked.


“Whoa.”


“They’ll outnumber us two to one now,” Willow said uneasily.


“We’re bigger,” Tara countered.


“For now,” Willow replied, “JJ is shooting up as if he really is eating his vegetables and not hiding them under the potato!”

:laugh I hope they won't have financial problems with four kids. It would be swell if Willow would get a promotion with a nice raise of her salary in the near future…

Quote:
“And you made me two beautiful…identical…babies. Two little…” Willow suddenly pulled away, eyes wide, “Holy shit. Two little mes! The Ruliness will be well and truly destroyed!”

:rofl
Quote:
“B'sha'ah tovah.”


Willow opened her mouth to translate but Tara just held up a hand; she understood.

I didn't so I looked it up. As a service for the other readers: the literal translation is "at a good hour". It's a jewish blessing to pregnant women.

Quote:
Ira looked at Michelle and burst out with a sound that could only be described as a schoolgirl squeal.


“We have two more grandchildren on the way!”

:lol I love Ira!

Concerning the gender of the babies: I would love them to be boys - JJ shouldn't remain the only "man" in the core family. :wink


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 6th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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MotherD

Quote:
LARAGH---THANK YOU!!
Yes,...Yes,...I knew IT!! Twins!! Well, of Course we'll ALL say we knew it,..BUT I KNEW it!!


:laugh :laugh hey if you say you knew it, I believe you!! :D

Quote:
I absolutely this family, and it's because of the way You write our ladies & others. Keep it coming and I WILL be here.


<3 so glad to have you on board!

Quote:
Thanks & Blessings


And as always, right back to you :)

Thanks so much for the comment.

Finey_McFine

Quote:
HA! I was right about the babies being multiples. :banana :eatme :banana :eatme Once the babies are born you'll have to change the title to: Willow and Tara, Four Kids and Counting.


:lol :lol you did call it! And don't worry, I already know what the next installment is called :wink

Quote:
I don't know why I said "Hacker-Verse" when I know it's Confidential-Verse. I guess I'm losin' it in my old age, lol.


I still like Hacker-verse man. It sounds so much more badass.

Quote:
The chapter before this one was such a lovely 'day in the life,' and I thought, "Uh oh, here it comes." :paranoid I'm just glad it wasn't anything bad and it was just twins.


Just twins. Two little babies, nothing to worry about...so far.

Quote:
Wait...TWINS!!!! How awesome and utterly exhausting, lol. Wow, that's a lot of toddlers all at the same time.


Isn't it though? Three under three. No wonder Willow passed out.

Quote:
and as the oldest of four myself, I say...poor built-in-babysitter-JJ, lol


He's not even eight and they already say 'watch your sister' a lot, imagine when he's eighteen :rofl

Quote:
I had to laugh about this because it brought back lots of memories. J had two tried and true ways to wake me up: One, she would stand and stare (like a creepy Stepford child) until I finally woke up and two, she'd get right in my face and yell "MOM!" Heart attack central.


It's reassuring that she grew up to be relatively normal!

Quote:
Hahahahahahahaha! True.


That's what happens when you drop in those Willow genes

(Buffy: Yeah, I was going to say something about those...
Willow: My GENES not my jeans and these are a perfectly normal jean-color
Buffy: Those are not a perfectly normal anything-color)

Quote:
I'm glad they finally told Ira and Michelle, they're going to need all the support they can get, but I do agree with not telling anyone else just yet. At least not until they get through the first trimester.


Fully with you here. Plus I can't draw out some big dramatic scene if they just tell people :D

Quote:
I can't wait until the big gender reveal. I'm going out on a limb and guess: BOYS. Two redheaded little boys that LOVE SPORTS!!!


Perhaps, perhaps...or maybe that was all a red herring...or maybe their other sports-obsessed child has already been born...who knows? :kdevil

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Will's redemption

Quote:
:laugh You meanie, teasing poor Willow and the smut-ophiles of your readers... :wink


:laugh I did warn you in advance!

Quote:
After this funny opening the chapter really was a roller coaster of emotions for our couple!


As pregnancy tends to be!

Quote:
At that moment I immediately thought "she's having twins!"


I'm glad you thought much more positively than Tara :)

Quote:
:lol I love that you gave Willow the classical father-reaction (at least in books and movies) to these special news!


I'm definitely here for having my schtick be turning conventional reactions into a two-mom space!

Quote:
:laugh I hope they won't have financial problems with four kids. It would be swell if Willow would get a promotion with a nice raise of her salary in the near future…


So Willow is actually about as high as she can go without getting into management (which she's not interested in) but she also earns a really good salary. Her job title (Technical Analyst) doesn't actually exist, to give me some leeway in how I portrayed the role, but the closest it comes to would be Intelligence Analyst. She has the unique position of starting in a senior role as well because she was recruited off the back of her hacking skills but she's the lead for the whole department now, not just Xander and Jesse and their team. She's really earning anywhere from $100k-$120k so they're not hard up for money at all (Tara earns much, much less because of the work she does, but she's also progressed through the ranks as she's gone along. She's on about half of what Willow is and will have gotten a bump up again by the end of this fic. Their combined incomes + investments leaves them plenty comfortable)

Quote:
I didn't so I looked it up. As a service for the other readers: the literal translation is "at a good hour". It's a jewish blessing to pregnant women.


I don't know that Tara even knew the literal translation, but she didn't feel like she needed to. She understood the sentiment.

Quote:
:lol I love Ira!


He's definitely a whole different (and better!) person in this half of his life!

Quote:
Concerning the gender of the babies: I would love them to be boys - JJ shouldn't remain the only "man" in the core family. :wink


What if he wants to be? :wink

Thanks so much for commenting!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 6th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:00 am 
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Chapter Four




“Robbie, no! That’s too much, you’ll spill.”


Robyn looked down at the plastic tumbler cup she’d shakily filled to the brim with apple juice, getting as much on the surrounding counter as in the cup. She started to tip it so more would spill out, but JJ spotted her in time and came screeching over to stop her.


He grabbed an orange from the fruit bowl and put it in her hands.


“Here. You hold this.”


He lifted her down from the stool and put her on the ground.


“Don’t tell moms I let you sit up there.”


“No tell, Jay-Jay,” Robyn promised, and started to suck on the orange peel as she waited.


JJ gulped the apple juice so it wasn’t so precariously full and put it on the tray along with the other items he’d placed there.


“Come on, let’s go.”


Robyn toddled on in front, climbing the stairs on her hands and feet. She stood on her tiptoes to open the handle on her mothers’ bedroom door.


JJ struggled to balance the tray between the wingspan of his arms.


“Wake ‘em up! Hurry, this thing is heavy!”


Robyn bent one knee and pushed up on the other to get some traction on the bedsheet, enough to pull herself up. She was quite used to sneaking into bed with her mothers when she wasn’t supposed to, but she’d never done it with JJ before. It was exciting.


She looked to him for guidance but he just made a ‘hurry up’ face, so she made her best guess and started to jump between them.


“Mom-mee, Mom-mah, Mom-mee, Mom-mah, Mom-ee, Mom-mah!”


Willow startled awake with wide eyes and messed hair, while Tara awoke quickly but with a little more grace. She reached for her daughter and settled her onto her knees, not as yet seeing JJ standing behind her.


“Robyn, what’s wrong?”


“Is mo-ning,” Robyn answered with a somewhat misleadingly sweet smile, “Beck-fist.”


Willow grunted and rolled onto her side.


“Get JJ to pour you some cereal. I’ll make you something later.”


Robyn looked at JJ, which made Tara glance over for the first time. Her hand covered her mouth at the struggling, earnest smile on her son’s face. She shook Willow’s shoulder.


“Tara, don’t make me,” Willow whined.


“Willow,” Tara said more insistently.


Willow puffed out an annoyed breath and sat up, finally taking in the scene in full.


JJ was tensing his muscles now and the strain showed in his face.


“This is super heavy.”


“C’mere, c’mere,” Willow said quickly, smoothing out the sheet so there was a spot for him to leave the tray down.


JJ gratefully dropped it and kneeled behind.


“Happy Mothers’ Day,” he said shyly, showing them a piece of paper that Robyn had squiggled on and JJ had printed both of their names.


“Th’as us!” Robyn said proudly, pointing to the squiggles.


Tara kissed Robyn’s cheek from behind, who giggled at the tickle. Willow went from grumpy to grinning in two seconds flat.


“You both are the sweetest kids we could have ever asked for,” she said as she extended her arms, “Come here.”


JJ looked away, pretending to resist to retain his image but Willow knew it wasn’t real denial, so insisted.


“Yes, we get to give at least one kiss each on Mothers’ Day. Come on.”


JJ relented and scooted up for a brief squeeze and kiss on the cheek from each of them.


Duty done, he sat back and looked around for a moment before back at them.


“Can I go watch cartoons again now?”


Willow and Tara both smiled and Tara nodded.


“Go ahead, honey.”


He jumped down and Robyn was at his heels, footy-pajama’d feet padding across the floor.


“Me come, Jay-Jay!”


They watched their children go — one only somewhat grudgingly tolerating the other — with happy smiles on their faces, which they then directed at each other.


They leaned in and met for a kiss.


“Happy Mothers’ Day,” Tara said softly.


Willow nuzzled Tara’s nose, popped another kiss on her lips, then turned toward her nightstand and opened the top drawer. She pulled out a small gift and an attached card.


“Willow,” Tara said, putting her hand on her wife’s thigh.


“It’s not from me!” Willow protested, handing over the contents of her hands.


Tara turned over the gift and opened it, an accessory called the Belly Belt.


“It was a lifesaver when I was pregnant,” Willow explained, “You can wear your own clothes instead of the maternity stuff. One time shopping with Anya will do me for several lifetimes!”


Tara opened the card to a sweet Mother’s Day verse signed from ‘Thing 1’ and ‘Thing 2’.


She gestured Willow in and laid a big smooch on her cheek.


“Thank you.”


“Love you, missus,” Willow replied and they kissed each other’s cheeks together another time.


Willow took a little rub of Tara’s belly, smiling.


“So check out this haul,” she said, examining the contents of the tray, “Soggy Cheerios, half a tub of PB&J on burnt toast and what looks to be a slobbery orange.”


“Don’t forget the apple juice,” Tara replied, sipping from the batman cup.


Willow did the same.


“The apple juice is of a fine vintage.”


She set the cup back on the tray and looked at the combined globular mess.


“So how do we get this downstairs uneaten without hurting the kids’ feelings?”


“Trash it in the bathroom,” Tara suggested.


Willow looked at her wife, scandalously.


“You’re evil Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay.”


“Maybe I just want to get you into the bathroom alone,” Tara said seductively.


Willow pushed the tray down by their feet and grabbed Tara’s hand.


“I don’t need convincing.”


She pulled her wife, not too forcefully, but enough to let her know she wasn’t kidding around.


Tara’s legs swiveled around to the other side of the bed, her feet skidding just over the abandoned dishes.


They landed on the floor, her toes at Willow’s heels and they stumbled together into their bathroom.


Tara closed the door softly shut behind them and Willow started up the water in the shower. They each threw off the t-shirts they were wearing, but only Tara’s made it into the laundry hamper. Tara came up behind Willow and pressed her front gently into her wife’s back.


“Mmm,” Willow moaned softly, reaching behind to trail her fingertips along Tara’s side.


Tara placed kisses along Willow’s shoulder, into her neck and up to her ear where her tongue followed the curve. She felt the shiver as it shook through Willow’s spine.


Tara lifted Willow’s arm, bent it gently at the elbow and trailed her fingers back down in a light, tickling touch.


As her fingers descended, her knees followed and she kissed Willow’s back down to her buttocks.


Willow’s palms stretched out flat against the glass shower door and as Tara moved toward her front, she tilted her head back so the water flowed right down her body.


When Tara’s mouth touched her between her legs, Willow let out a long sigh.


“This reminds me of my birthday…”


Tara’s head drew back and she looked up with an arched eyebrow.


“Dream-you!” Willow answered the unasked question very quickly.


“Mmm,” Tara replied with slightly narrowed eyes, “I’m starting to get jealous of that gal.”


“Don’t tell her, but you're way better at going down,” Willow replied with a charming smile that could make Tara forgive anything.


The smile tugged on Tara’s lips.


“Oh really?”


Willow grinned downward.


“She’s got you beat on mystical third hands that touch me everywhere though.”


Tara slowly rose from her knees, and fixed Willow with a steady gaze, making her wonder if she was in trouble for a moment.


Then Tara smiled and swooped in for a kiss again. Willow giggled and cupped Tara’s cheeks as they stepped back under the spray.


Tara’s hands settled on Willow’s hips as a bit of a wooziness came over her. Willow recognized the heavier hold as something more than an affectionate touch and caught Tara by the shoulders.


“Hey,” she said softly, “Shower shenanigans can wait for another day.”


Tara sighed apologetically and rested her head on Willow’s shoulder.


After a moment to feel the wooziness lift, Tara's mouth ended where she started, leaving a trail of kisses along Willow’s shoulder blade and into her neck.


“Will you wash my hair?” she whispered.


“Of course, my love,” Willow whispered back tenderly.


Willow closed her arms around Tara’s back at the waist and gently slid them back fully under the spray.


She shampooed up Tara’s hair, lightly massaging it into her scalp.


“Mmm,” Tara replied happily.


Willow paid special care to the back of Tara’s head, so she could enjoy her wife’s strained neck as she leaned back.


“You are so beautiful,” Willow whispered against Tara’s skin.


Her hand dropped to Tara’s belly and rubbed it in soft circles.


“You’re going to get even more beautiful.”


She kissed the back of Tara’s neck, where the muscle stretched into her shoulder.


“And I get to love you the whole way through. How lucky am I?”


She washed the shampoo from Tara’s hair and conditioned the ends until they were soft. Tara turned and leaned in to brush their lips together.


“I love you, Willow.”


Their noses bumped and they shared another few kisses before Tara took over washing Willow’s hair.


They finished up in the shower and tucked themselves into towels. Willow walked into the bedroom to get dressed and Tara stayed in the bathroom to take her folic acid and apply lotion to stave off stretch marks.


Unfortunately, instead of her cream, she opened Willow’s hair gel, which was nauseous enough to make her immediately reach to lift the toilet lid.


Willow heard the familiar sound and grimaced.


She knew it was too good to be true. They’d been lucky to get the whole shower without Tara retching. She rushed in to hold Tara’s hair and rub her back.


She wished she could do more.


“It’s really hitting you hard,” she said in a soothing voice, though with concern, “Maybe we should check in with the doctor about it.”


Tara rested her head on the toilet lid rim.


“You should see what other women have to put up with, the ones with it bad. It’s um, hyper…”


“Hyperemesis gravidarum,” Willow finished, “Yeah, I’ve looked it up. I know some get it bad but you’re getting it more than I did. A lot more.”


“Some women aren’t able to keep down anything at all or have to fight nausea for 20 minutes just to get a little bit of nutrition absorbed,” Tara said, sighing, “At least I can still eat meals with you and the kids every day.”


Willow wet a washcloth and blotted it against Tara’s forehead.


“Well, we have brunch reservations today, if you can cope with that,” she said, helping Tara to her feet, “And then we can go visit your mom if you wanna?”


Tara’s head ducked.


“I haven’t been since I found out I was pregnant.”


Willow held each of Tara’s upper arms and squeezed them.


“She knows.”


Tara swallowed deeply. She hadn’t been to the grave since before the last round of IVF, though she’d thought about it often. So often that it left her upset sometimes.


“I’ve been scared,” she admitted.


“Scared?” Willow questioned unsurely.


“Scared that I’d break down,” Tara answered, her voice suddenly cracking, “Because I want her here. I want her to give me advice and tell me what she did when she was having me. I haven’t missed her this much since I was a child.”


She started to sob, which took Willow by surprise. Willow gently gathered her in and stroked her back.


“Okay,” she soothed, “It’s okay.”


She put the toilet seat down and flushed it, then eased Tara down to sit while she got her some tissue.


“Sorry,” Tara said in an embarrassed tone as she dabbed her eyes.


Willow kneeled gently and placed her hands on Tara’s knees.


“As if you have to apologize to your wife for letting out some feelings.”


She pressed a kiss to Tara’s cheek and gently ran her hands up her wife’s thighs, to the point where the towel cut off.


“We can go or not go. It’s up to you. But I know your mom is looking down and by your side the whole way.”


Willow didn’t know about Tara’s last trip.


Tara had been in such despair that she’d started to shut everything out.


Everyone.


It was a kind of hopelessness she'd never known before, even with all of the trauma she went through in her young life.


She hoped she never felt it again.


But now she felt guilty she hadn’t returned with the good news and decided quickly that didn’t want to let any more time go to waste.


“We’ll go.”


“Great!” Willow replied, removing her hands from Tara’s legs, “Well since you’re looking after these two…”


She placed her palm on Tara’s belly.


“I’ll go take care of the other two.”


She stood up, pressing another kiss to Tara’s cheek on the way.


“Take your time. Don’t rush. Do you need water or juice or anything?”


Tara shook her head, so Willow kissed the top of her messy, wet hair and headed out to finish getting dressed and head downstairs.


She looked into the living room and grew suspicious at the peaceful scene. JJ was quietly watching cartoons and Robyn was having a grand old gobbledygook conversation into her toy phone.


“Good morning kids. Thanks for breakfast.”


“‘Welcome,” JJ replied, uninterested.


“Me talk phone, Mom-mah!” Robyn replied tersely and Willow cringed because she knew it wasn’t Tara that Robyn had picked up that snapping back from.


“We’re going out for a meal with Grandma and Grandpa in a little bit, so finish up your shows Jake,” Willow advised, “Robbie, I'm getting you dressed soon!”


She left the living room and walked into the kitchen, where it was in chaos from the very sweet but also very messy breakfast that had been made.


“And there it is,” Willow sighed.


She went over and started clearing the counters of the various sticky messes and piles of crumbs.


As she was finishing up, Tara came in with the breakfast tray cleared as if every bite had been eaten with glee.


“Why is it so quiet?” she asked, leaving the tray down beside the sink, “What did they do?”


“Nothing,” Willow answered, taking the dishes into the sink to rinse, “I’ll get Robs ready in a sec. You sit down and have some tea. I bought more of the cinnamon one, you’ve been going through it.”


Tara put the kettle on and took down the box of teabags.


“It started as a craving but it settles my stomach,” she answered, “One of those ‘your body craves what it needs’ things, I think.”


Willow shook her head to herself.


“You’re so much healthier than me. All I had when I craved cinnamon was an endless bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch!”


“I have two onboard,” Tara replied, pouring the hot water into her mug, “If I still want to be able to walk in the ninth month, I have to be careful.”


A moment later, she felt Willow’s arms close around her belly and some light kisses on the nape of her neck.


“I’m very on board with a little chubby baby-makin’ Tara giving me her feet to rub.”


“And I will hold you to that, be careful,” Tara replied, looking over her shoulder and tapping Willow’s nose with the warm spoon.


Willow leaned in and stole a smooch, then squeezed Tara’s butt as she walked away.


Tara grinned to herself as she dunked her tea bag and let it steep. A couple of minutes later, JJ walked in and pulled himself up onto a stool.


“I’m hungry.”


“Okay, sweetie,” Tara replied, sipping from her tea, “I can cut you up some apple slices or make some pinwheels for the car, but we’ll be eating properly soon at the restaurant.”


“Pinwheels, please?” JJ requested.


Tara set her cup down and went to the fridge.


“Let’s see…” she said as she looked through the contents, “Turkey and hummus, ham and cream cheese or PB&J?”


“Turkey,” JJ answered surely, then tacked on again, “Please.”


Tara took the turkey, hummus, and pack of wraps over to the counter space she could roll them up together.


“Okay, go get dressed and brush your teeth, please. We’re leaving in fifteen minutes.”


JJ jumped down and started to walk away, but Tara spoke first.


“Jake?”


He turned and Tara smiled at him.


“Thank you for breakfast this morning, and for including your sister. You’re a great big brother.”


He smiled, but ducked his head and hurried out and up the stairs. Tara made half a wrap's worth of pinwheels and put them in a baggie, then got a few minutes to sip her tea before there was another kerfuffle of sound. Robyn came sliding in on the tile in her socks, wearing a t-shirt on her torso correctly, but with her pants on her arms, flapping them about and giggling at the sound they made.


Willow followed in after her, red-faced.


“Robyn Ruth Rosenberg-Maclay put your pants on right now!”


“Please don’t yell,” Tara pleaded softly, “What’s going on?”


Willow gestured in frustration.


“She won’t put her pants on!”


Tara put one hand on Willow’s shoulder, squeezed it, then bent down to Robyn’s level.


“We’re all going to meet Grandma and Grandpa in ten minutes. And if you’re not ready to go, you’ll have to stay home with me and we won’t be able to go out. Okay?”


Robyn giggled some more and skipped out, still waving her pants legs about like elephant trunks.


Willow’s eyes followed her, then looked toward Tara with exasperation.


“Uh, that didn’t look like getting ready.”


Tara put her cup in the sink, dried her hands on a dishtowel and came over to where Willow was standing.


“Willow, darling,” she said, hands cupping both of her wife’s cheeks as she planted a kiss on her lips, “Chill the f out. They’re just pants.”


Tara exhaled slowly in lead, and Willow followed, slowly calming.


She kissed her again and returned the ass squeeze from earlier to make her wife smile. It worked.


Tara went upstairs to gather her things before leaving. She stopped by the living room on the way, where Robyn was now wearing her pants on her head and playing with her dollies.


“Don’t forget to get dressed before we have to go in five minutes, Robyn.”


Willow lingered nervously by the door, eyes on her watch as more time ticked by.


“We’re going in one minute, okay, Robbie?” she said eventually, trying to keep her tone light to mimic Tara's.


“O’tay, Mom-mah,” Robyn agreed and leisurely pulled her pants on, then plopped herself down on her butt, “Where Wobbie shoo-es?”


Willow practically tripped herself up getting Robyn’s shoes to her and snapped them on. Willow saw Tara pass by and hurried to grab her.


“Tell me what witchcraft you’ve studied,” she said, to a confused look from Tara, “She put her pants on!”


Tara sighed.


“Do you read any of the parenting articles I send you?”


“Yes,” Willow replied a bit defensively, then more emphatically, “Yes! Peaceful, careful, encouraging, consenting, trusting—”


“What was that last one?” Tara asked, turning her ear in Willow’s direction.


“Trusting,” Willow repeated, then had to look contrite, “As in trusting them to make their own decisions. Alright. You got me.”


“JJ did the running off half-naked and sometimes fully-naked thing until he was six, you know why?” Tara asked pointedly.


“Because I reacted and made it funnier,” Willow replied with a long sigh, “I know, I know.”


“We’re about to have four,” Tara said, squeezing Willow’s upper arm, “You’re the best Momma, but we need to make sure we’re working off the same page.”


Willow held her hands up.


“I get it. You hate when I yell.”


“And I hate to see you so frustrated,” Tara continued, holding Willow's face again, “I don’t want a cranky wife or cranky kids. I love you, okay?”


Willow nodded and they met for a kiss but were disturbed by Robyn pulling at their legs, then putting her hands on her own hips impatiently.


“Mom-mee, Mom-mah, one min, we go! Wobbie weady!”


They both looked at each other, holding in grins.


“Okay, bean, we’re coming, we’re coming,” Willow said, picking her up, and noticing her shoes were on the wrong feet, “Let’s get you in your seat.”


Willow brought Robyn out to the car to strap her in and fix her shoes while Tara moved to the foot of the stairs and called up.


“JJ…come on honey.”


She waited a moment, then climbed the stairs halfway to help her voice amplify up to the attic.


“Jake, come on. Your sister and Momma are in the car waiting.”


JJ appeared at the top of the stairs stuffing something into his pockets. He pounded down the stairs, shoes lighting up with each thud of his foot.


“Can I get pancakes?”


“Yes, if they’re on the menu,” Tara replied hastily as she got them down to the front door.


“Can I get chocolate chip pancakes?” JJ asked, tone hopeful.


“You can get whatever you want,” Tara replied as she pulled the door closed behind them and locked it.


Willow finished strapping Robyn into her car seat and tossed the keys over the car to Tara. Tara got in the driver’s side and waited for Willow and JJ to buckle up.


“Everyone ready?” Tara asked before turning the engine on.


There was a ‘yes’ and a ‘yep’ from those two, then:


“Yay, Mom-mee!” from Robyn, most enthusiastic of the bunch.


Tara smiled and reached behind briefly to squeeze Robyn’s little hand since she couldn’t see her in her rear-facing seat. She handed JJ the baggie of pinwheels and told him to share it with his sister.


She pulled out of the driveway and headed out of the neighborhood toward the restaurant they’d arranged to meet Ira and Michelle at.


“You know we’re going to a restaurant,” Willow commented as she glanced in the mirror.


“He was hungry, Willow, was I supposed to leave him hungry?” Tara asked in a tired tone.


“For fifteen minutes, sure,” Willow retorted.


Tara cast a sidelong glance in Willow’s direction.


“Can we not bicker on Mothers’ Day please?”


Willow sighed and looked out the window for a few moments, before turning back.


She saw her wife’s ashen face and felt a pang of guilt. She placed a hand on Tara’s knee.


“How’s the tummy?”


“Tolerable,” Tara answered, which meant she was suffering.


“Do you want to pull over so I can drive?” Willow offered.


Tara just shook her head and focused had. Willow moved her hand from her wife’s knee to her stomach. She slipped under the shirt and rubbed in circles. She helped how she could; entertaining the kids as quietly as possible so Tara wouldn’t get a headache too. She fell back on the old reliable I Spy, which worked enough for the thankfully short journey.


Tara carried Robyn inside while they were seated, but turned green before the high chair was brought to them.


“Willow could you—”


“Go, go,” Willow replied, scooping Robyn out of Tara’s arms, “I’ll get you some tea.”


Tara bolted in as graceful a manner as she could. Willow seated the kids and ordered the tea and ice water for the table. The server was still placing menus when Ira and Michelle arrived.


“Hi Dad, hi Michelle,” Willow greeted, giving each a hug.


“Ganpy!” Robyn squealed excitedly, “Gamma!”


Willow settled her down so she wasn’t disturbing the other diners, and sat between her and JJ to keep an eye on both.


“Where’s Tara?” Michelle questioned.


“She just ran to the bathroom,” Willow replied easily.


“Is she alright?” Ira asked with concern.


“She’s fine,” Willow replied, throwing a cursory but pointed glance in the kids’ direction.


Ira and Michelle shared a look but didn’t push it any further. JJ held the menu, almost bigger than himself, in front of him. It required almost his whole wingspan.


“I’m getting the pancakes and the waffles and the sausage and the bacon and—”


“That’s too much, JJ,” Willow cut him off, “You won’t be able to finish it all and it won’t keep in a doggy bag. It’s a waste of money.”


JJ looked crestfallen.


“But!”


“Jacob, listen to your mother,” Ira advised sagely and Willow tried not to be annoyed because she knew he was only trying to help.


“Mom said I can get whatever I want!” JJ protested.


“Mom was assuming you’d be reasonable,” Willow countered.


“Mom said—” JJ tried again but Willow interrupted with a stern voice.


“JJ, you can pick two half portions of something, or one thing and one side. I don’t want to be fighting when Mom comes back, do you?”


JJ slunk back into his seat.


“Can I get a dessert?” he asked eventually.


Willow sighed.


“It’s brunch.”


“So?” JJ retorted.


Willow had to rein herself in and remind herself he was seven and she was an adult. She wasn’t proud of her temper and did try very hard to ascribe to all of the peaceful parenting methods Tara encouraged.


She sometimes resented feeling judged on her sporadic outbursts, but she understood Tara’s pain from her childhood and didn’t envy it for a second.


“Okay, JJ. You can pick whatever you want to eat, but you can’t waste any of it. If you don’t finish it, I’ll take it out of your allowance.”


She let that marinade with him and got Robyn set up with some coloring crayons. Tara returned to the table and greeted Ira and Michelle. Willow was glad to see a little color back in her cheeks and squeezed her knee under the table. Tara shot back a grateful smile and Willow felt calm again.


The server came to get the drinks order.


“Champagne for the table?” Ira offered as everyone settled.


“Not for me,” Tara interjected.


A fond smile broke out on Ira’s face.


“Of course not. Can we get you something non-alcoholic? A spritzer perhaps?”


“We have a list of juices on the beverage menu,” the server supplied helpfully.


Tara quickly scanned the options.


“I’ll take a cran/raspberry spritzer but could you mix it with ginger ale?”


“Delightful,” Ira replied, and looked to JJ, “And for you, son?”


“Dr. Pepper!” JJ replied eagerly, knowing it was one of the few occasions he’d get away with it.


“For the little lady?” the server asked.


“She has a sippy cup, thank you,” Tara replied.


“Want docta peppa!” Robyn replied, having no idea what it was but desperate to be like her big brother.


“Okay, Robbie, I’ll put some in your sippy cup,” Willow blatantly lied.


Robyn was placated and went back to coloring. The server returned with the drinks for everyone and took their food orders.


“Um, can I get the small stack of chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and hash browns,” JJ asked, then cast a wary look to his side, “Is that okay, Momma?”


Willow reached over and patted him between the shoulder blades.


“That’s fine, Jakey.”


“What a polite boy,” their server said with a smile, making JJ blush.


“She’ll have some silver dollar pancakes with berries and I’ll have the Eggs Benedict,” Tara replied, indicating between her and Robyn, “No syrup for her.”


“Bacon and sausage with biscuits and gravy, please,” Willow said when it came to her turn.


Ira sat up excitedly in his chair.


“That sounds delicious. For me too please.”


“Ira, you know you’re supposed to be keeping your salt down,” Michelle fussed.


Ira seemed disappointed but resigned.


“Well I am about to be a grandfather of—” he started, then was cut off when Willow kicked him under the table, “Ooof. Well, let’s just say I see the benefit of keeping healthy. Make that a frittata with extra mushrooms.”


“I’ll join him,” Michelle said, handing her menu back and turning back to the table when the server left. “So…how is everything?”


“It’s good,” Willow answered, non-committal.


“Things are…ticking along?” Ira asked, an obvious eagerness in his tone.


Willow and Tara exchanged a glance, which turned into a smile.


“Things are going very well,” Tara answered finally.


Michelle clasped both hands in front of her.


“We’re just so thrilled.”


“What is everyone talking about?” JJ asked with a confused look etched across his face.


Everyone pursed their lips to hold in laughter and just quickly changed the subject.


They enjoyed a long lunch with only minimal disruption or meltdown and Tara was feeling calmer, in mind and stomach, as they finished up.


“Wait,” JJ interrupted excitedly when the check came, “I wanna pay. I’ve been saving up.”


He reached into his pocket and pulled out a variety of low-value bills and coins.


“Is that enough?” he asked hopefully.


Ira stood and gathered the cash.


“That’s the exact right amount,” he said, tapping JJ’s back once as a sign of respect, “I’ll go give it to the waitress.”


JJ was very pleased, even when his mothers and grandmother began doting on him.


“You’re such a sweet boy,” Tara said, brushing some of his hair aside, “Thank you, JJ.”


He accepted quick hugs from them all and let the one with Willow linger for a moment. He was her son, there was no doubt about it. Good and bad.


In the parking lot, they discussed the trip east to Rochester to visit the grave and Michelle expressed interest in coming too, so they arranged to meet there and Michelle and Ira set off first.


Willow got the kids settled and let them have their respective screens because the long car journey was not worth dealing with otherwise. Willow got into the driver's side without question; Tara was not up for any more time behind the wheel.


Tara didn’t speak for the ride, but that wasn’t unusual. She wasn’t the biggest fan of returning to the town she’d grown up in, even for a necessary and usually fulfilling visit such as this.


When they finally arrived, Ira and Michelle were waiting in their car and stepped out as the Dodge parked up beside it. Tara and Michelle went forward into the graveyard and Willow walked behind with Robyn to give them a little breathing space.


Still standing in the parking lot, Ira pulled JJ back and slipped a $50 bill into his hand.


“You have to put that in your piggy bank,” he advised with a wink, “Just between us men.”


JJ’s eyes bugged as the bill flapped in the wind. That was multiples more than the cash he'd offered up at the restaurant.


“Thanks, Gramps!”


He stuffed it in his pocket and hugged Ira. They followed the women into the graveyard and stood back behind Tara’s mother’s grave.


Willow held Robyn and stood beside Michelle. Tara kneeled reverently. She placed the flowers they'd bought on the way down next to a set of roses, which she hadn’t even seen Michelle carry. She didn’t think too much of it until Michelle commented.


“Those are nice roses. Lisa used to have ones like them in the window all the time.”


Tara looked back with an arched eyebrow.


“You didn’t leave those?”


Michelle shook her head.


“No.”


“I was here a couple of months ago and there were fresh roses then too,” Tara replied in confusion, “I thought it was you.”


“Not me,” Michelle replied, shrugging, “Maybe it’s for the grave beside it.”


Tara felt a pang of concern, but there was too much else going on to process it.


Everyone said hello and wished Lisa a Happy Mother’s Day, which choked Tara up. As they were finishing their time, she stayed on her knees.


“Would you guys mind if I had a moment?”


Everyone nodded and left, leaving Tara by herself.


She had to take in a few deep breaths, but it didn’t stop tears spring to her eyes.


“I’m sorry I haven’t been back,” she said, her voice cracking, “I miss you.”


She let out a somewhat-bitter laugh.


“Having children, bearing children. I miss you even more.”


She hung her head and just appreciated the silence.


“I know you can’t do anything about that. I’m going to come back soon. More,” she promised, “I love you, Mom.”


She pressed her fingers to her lips, then against the name etched in stone. She stood on slightly shaky legs and pulled herself together.


She wondered if any Mother’s Day would ever pass where she didn’t feel the absence.


No matter how many children filled her heart, there would always be a part that longed for some connection to her mother.


She wasn’t sure it could ever be filled. That she could ever find peace for the connection so cruelly ripped away from her.


She was wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:48 am 
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5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 349
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
Two little babies, nothing to worry about...so far.

You little meanie! :wink Now I'm worrying this will turn into a high risk-pregnancy with the need for an emergency-c-section or something like that!

JJ and Robyn preparing a mothers day breakfast for their moms was super cute! :bigkiss

Quote:
“Do you read any of the parenting articles I send you?”


“Yes,” Willow replied a bit defensively, then more emphatically, “Yes! Peaceful, careful, encouraging, consenting, trusting—”


“What was that last one?” Tara asked, turning her ear in Willow’s direction.


“Trusting,” Willow repeated, then had to look contrite, “As in trusting them to make their own decisions. Alright. You got me.”

Good thing they have such a loving relationship because getting send articles with parenting advice (even regularly obviously) by your "co-parent" has the potential to feel super annoying if you ask me...

Quote:
“We’re about to have four,” Tara said, squeezing Willow’s upper arm, “You’re the best Momma, but we need to make sure we’re working off the same page.”

Quote:
“You can get whatever you want,” Tara replied as she pulled the door closed behind them and locked it.

Well Tara, then you shouldn't make promises to your children that they will take literally.

Quote:
Well I am about to be a grandfather of—” he started, then was cut off when Willow kicked him under the table, “Ooof. Well, let’s just say I see the benefit of keeping healthy.

I'm wondering how many weeks Tara is pregnant now? Hopefully she will have finished the first trimester soon so they can tell everybody the news because I have the feeling Ira won't be able to keep the secret much longer.

Quote:
“Wait,” JJ interrupted excitedly when the check came, “I wanna pay. I’ve been saving up.”


He reached into his pocket and pulled out a variety of low-value bills and coins.


“Is that enough?” he asked hopefully.

AWWW, how sweet! I really wanted to hug little JJ at this moment!

Quote:
She placed the flowers they'd bought on the way down next to a set of roses, which she hadn’t even seen Michelle carry. She didn’t think too much of it until Michelle commented.


“Those are nice roses. Lisa used to have ones like them in the window all the time.”


Tara looked back with an arched eyebrow.


“You didn’t leave those?”


Michelle shook her head.


“No.”


“I was here a couple of months ago and there were fresh roses then too,” Tara replied in confusion, “I thought it was you.”


“Not me,” Michelle replied, shrugging, “Maybe it’s for the grave beside it.”


Tara felt a pang of concern, but there was too much else going on to process it.

Quote:
No matter how many children filled her heart, there would always be a part that longed for some connection to her mother.


She wasn’t sure it could ever be filled. That she could ever find peace for the connection so cruelly ripped away from her.


She was wrong.

You really have me intrigued here! Who is visiting Lisa's grave and leaving roses that will be able to give Tara some peace about the loss of her mother? I don't think her father could be out on parole 8 years after he was convicted for attempted murder and even if he was and had suddenly found real remorse and remembered the love he once had for his wife (which I find highly unlikely) I don't think Tara could ever forgive him for shooting Willow. Did Lisa have a "double life" before she died and had found a new love (male or female) and maybe even thought about leaving her husband and taking Tara with her?


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4380
Topics: 38
Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Woo

Quote:
You little meanie! :wink Now I'm worrying this will turn into a high risk-pregnancy with the need for an emergency-c-section or something like that!


You can be sure of one thing: there's always a happy ending.

Quote:
JJ and Robyn preparing a mothers day breakfast for their moms was super cute! :bigkiss


They're cute kids

Quote:
Good thing they have such a loving relationship because getting send articles with parenting advice (even regularly obviously) by your "co-parent" has the potential to feel super annoying if you ask me...


I don't think you have any long term relationship where there aren't some annoyances you endure on behalf of one another :)

Quote:
Well Tara, then you shouldn't make promises to your children that they will take literally.


Or teach them the nuance of words and how we use them.

Quote:
I'm wondering how many weeks Tara is pregnant now? Hopefully she will have finished the first trimester soon so they can tell everybody the news because I have the feeling Ira won't be able to keep the secret much longer.


Don't worry there'll be in-chapter mentions of how far along she is as it goes along!

Quote:
AWWW, how sweet! I really wanted to hug little JJ at this moment!


:)

Quote:
You really have me intrigued here! Who is visiting Lisa's grave and leaving roses that will be able to give Tara some peace about the loss of her mother? I don't think her father could be out on parole 8 years after he was convicted for attempted murder and even if he was and had suddenly found real remorse and remembered the love he once had for his wife (which I find highly unlikely) I don't think Tara could ever forgive him for shooting Willow. Did Lisa have a "double life" before she died and had found a new love (male or female) and maybe even thought about leaving her husband and taking Tara with her?


All will be revealed in good time!

(But Tara's father got 20-life and you can be sure he's not being a model prisoner nor led a very healthy lifestyle pre-incarceration. Basically what I'm say, you will never have to worry that he's visiting that grave ever.)

Thanks for your feedback,



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Five




Willow winced as an M&M crunched underfoot.


It wasn’t the first one she’d smashed into the floorboards and she knew Tara would have her out with the handheld vacuum later to get in-between the crevices later.


That wasn’t even taking into account the cake she’d seen being mashed into the couch or the sticky soda that was dripping from the coffee table.


They’d always held their kids' birthday parties at home — because event parties became horrendously expensive, horrendously quickly — but Willow was realizing that Tara did a lot of work both pre-, post-, and during all of their previous parties to keep the fun going and their home intact.


Willow had happily agreed — nay, volunteered to take on JJ’s eight birthday party when Tara had been so exhausted from morning sickness and general pregnancy woe to even have a proper discussion about it.


But as she stood amongst the sea of boys getting hyped up on sugar and fighting over video games, including a bonk on the head with a guitar hero guitar which narrowly avoided a trip to the ER, Willow had had to give in and call in reinforcements.


Xander and Jesse were due to arrive after a suggestion that they go to a place where they could show up unannounced with no problem – the grounds of their paintballing league. Willow would stuff them all with McDonald's afterward and happily drop them right to their doors so their own parents could deal with them for the rest of the evening. She would have handed over a month’s salary to get out of this situation.


Telling Tara though…she wasn’t looking forward to that.


She finally waded through the boys to answer the front door and stopped herself just short of flinging herself at the two men in gratitude.


“Thank you for coming.”


Jesse offered his easy, broad smile and clapped a friendly arm around Xander’s shoulders.


“You kidding? Xander here will amongst his peers. In fact, their conversation might be too advanced for him.”


“I have been struggling to keep up with Alex these days,” Xander replied in mock-self-deprecation.


Alex, apparently having heard the familiar voice, rushed out into the hall.


“Dad! Come see my high score!”


Xander nodded that he would and Willow stepped toward the stairs.


“Can you just gather everyone into cars? I’m just going to tell Tara we’re leaving.”


They both gave her a thumbs up and made their way into the masses to try and exert some semblance of control.


Willow went through the kiddie gate and up the stairs to their bedroom, where Tara was lying with a sleeping Robyn.


Robyn had not been happy that all of the big boys were excluding her and turned herself red from screaming crying until Tara had removed her and brought her upstairs for a nap.


Robyn’s cheeks were still red but she was out cold, curled up like a cat; a position she liked to get in when she was in their bed, usually when sneaking in at 3 am.


Quite cute to see, but also, Willow had found, slightly terrifying when you wake up and unexpectedly find her at your feet. Willow was always afraid she’d kick her daughter in the head one morning.


Tara was lying with her head at the end of the bed so that she could stroke Robyn’s hair. She was half-asleep herself, her eyes closed and her hand just following the repetitive motion.


Willow sat opposite them on the bed and the movement of the sagging made Tara’s eyes flicker open.


Willow waved her fingers silently, and Tara took a moment to wake herself.


She glanced at Robyn to see what state she was in and gently cupped her ear to hide any sound. Willow saw and took the opportunity to speak, albeit quietly.


“Why does she do that?” she asked, gesturing to the way Robyn was curled up.


Tara shrugged one shoulder.


“She’s comfortable.”


Willow held a hand up, helplessly.


“She sleeps right in her own bed…she sleeps right when she goes down on the couch…”


“She’s sleeping right now, it’s just a different position,” Tara defended, “If I had a problem with awkward bed positions I never would have married you, Ms. Hokey Pokey.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?” Willow asked indignantly.


“I put my right leg in, I put my right leg out…” Tara said in a whispered sing-song voice, “I do the hokey pokey and annoy my wife to death.”


Willow lifted her chin haughtily.


“Well, I’m sorry that my hypothalamus isn’t as flawless with temperature regulation as yours is.”


They shared a smile.


Willow put her hand on Tara’s waist and gently rubbed her hip, above her pants.


“I’m taking the boys out with Xander and Jesse. Let them be rambunctious on someone else’s turf.”


“Where?” Tara asked with a raised eyebrow.


Willow smiled nervously.


“…paintballing.”


“Willow,” Tara clicked her tongue quietly, “We said we’d speak about that first.”


Willow covered Tara’s hand with hers.


“Sweetheart, I know you hate guns. And I know why, I know why the most,” she stopped and swallowed, “But making it a ‘thing’…it just makes him want it more. And honey, it’s just some paint. What did you tell me? Chill the f out.”


Tara didn’t look too impressed to have her words thrown back at her but also didn’t continue to argue.


“Can you handle it?”


Willow looked nervous again.


“Twelve 8-year-old boys…paint guns…what can go wrong?”


Tara’s other eyebrow met the first up by her hairline, and Willow tried to look reassuring.


“Xan and Jess will help me out,” she said quickly, “I’ll pay them in burgers and fries. Really, it’s all good.”


She brushed her fingers along the expanse of skin revealed from her top riding up.


“I’m locking the living room door. Please don’t go in there. I’ll clean it when we get back.”


She leaned down and placed a kiss on her deceptively angelic-looking daughter’s face.


“Momma loves you,” she whispered.


She leaned in and pressed another lingering kiss on Tara’s lips.


“Momma loves you too.”


Her hand scooted around and pressed against Tara’s belly.


“And you two!” she said with a giddy smile, “Geddit?”


Tara rolled her eyes but was smiling. Willow gently rubbed her hand in circles.


“You’re getting a bump. I noticed it in bed last night. It ‘bumped’ against me, so to speak.”


She gave it a little pat and stood.


“I better go. I’ll bring dinner home. Anything in particular you want or don’t want, or maybe more specifically what the babies don’t want?”


“Burgers and fries actually sound pretty good,” Tara admitted.


Willow leaned back over and kissed Tara’s forehead.


“Got it. I’ll get us nicer ones than I’m feeding the kids. See you later.”


“Be careful,” Tara returned and waved her fingers the exact same way Willow had on her entrance, then went back to stroking Robyn’s hair.


She told herself it was to comfort her little girl, but really she got plenty of comfort from it herself.


Her daughter’s strawberry-blonde locks were still silken to the touch, even when it was mussed up and wild. It curled up and tickled Robyn’s rosy cheeks so every so often her nostrils would flare like she was about to sneeze.


Tara alternated watching Robyn sleep and resting her own eyes.


After one such rest, her eyelids fluttered open to find a turquoise pair staring back.


Robyn was calmly sucking on her pacifier, in fact, it was likely the only reason she was calm. They’d had JJ off the pacifier before his first birthday but Robyn’s binky may as well have been surgically attached to her. It was something they were slowly working on.


“Hey little bean,” Tara greeted, leaning down to rub her face on her daughter’s cheek, “Did you have a nice nap?


Robyn nodded and reached up to play with Tara’s hair. Tara put her head down by Robyn’s so she didn’t have to stretch her tiny arms.


They had a few quiet moments together until Tara woke up properly.


“What would you like to do today, Robbie?”


Robyn garbled something and Tara had to gently tap the handle of the pacifier to remind her.


“You have to take binky out to speak, baby.”


Robyn hooked her pinky into the handle and pulled the pacifier out.


“Kih’chen.”


Tara smiled knowingly. Robyn had loved making JJ’s birthday cake the day before.


“And what do you want to do in the kitchen?”


Robyn gave it some thought.


“Uppie pie!”


“You wanna help Mommy make some whoopie pies?” Tara asked with appropriate enthusiasm.


Robyn nodded keenly.


“Yah.”


“Hmm…” Tara replied, pretending not-very-seriously to ponder it, “Okay!”


Robyn kicked her feet and clapped.


“Yay!”


Tara ran a quick brush through Robyn’s hair — because if she didn’t stay on top of it regularly throughout the day, there would be tears at bedtime — and brought her downstairs into the kitchen.


The living room door was shut firmly closed and the kitchen had some remnants of the mess left behind – an open bag of chips, a bowl of melted ice-cream, some randomly strewn confetti stuck to the floor and a withering balloon floating about like tumbleweed.


“Mess-ee,” Robyn commented, used to the kitchen being quite pristine.


Tara looked down at Robyn standing by her leg, then back up.


“Yes, it is. I guess we better clean it up.”


“O-tay!” Robyn agreed and skipped off to get her special miniature dustpan and brush.


She sat by a pile of confetti and very importantly swept it all up.


Tara cleaned up everything else in just a few minutes and praised Robyn for her help. She turned the oven on and took out a few bits of equipment.


“Now, what do we do before we ever start cooking?”


Robyn did jazz hands and Tara smiled.


“That’s right, we wash our hands.”


She turned the faucet on in the sink and lifted Robyn to wash her hands, then handed her a towel to dry with while she washed her own.


When they were all washed up, she lifted Robyn onto the counter beside her and gave her the large mixing bowl.


“You have to be my chief mixer, okay?”


Robyn nodded, stretching her arms around to cover the whole circumference of the bowl.


Tara got the dry ingredients in the bowl and turned to mix the wet ones together to make it easier for Robyn to stir it in. She was only turned for a few seconds, but when she turned back Robyn had managed to get flour all over herself and the counter.


Tara put her hands on her hips, but Robyn just offered a toothy grin and a giggle. Tara couldn’t help but smile.


“What am I going to do with you?”


Robyn giggled again.


Tara tried to suppress her grin and brought the bowl of wet ingredients over.


“Are you going to mix properly?”


“Yeh, Mom-mee,” Robyn replied, holding up the wooden spoon, “Pwomise.”


Tara felt her heart do the fluttery thing only three people in the world could induce. She slowly added the mixture from the bowl and Robyn did her best to navigate the spoon, even though it was as long as her arm.


Tara closed her fingers around the top of the spoon and together they stirred until the cookie mixture cohesively came together.


Tara dropped spoonfuls onto the baking sheet, and Robyn clapped and counted each time it connected. She got all the way to ten by herself, which was mostly down to observing Willow’s obsessive counting.


“Eleven,” Tara continued as she scooped up the last of the mixture, “Twelve.”


“Welve!” Robyn cheered happily.


“Now, Mommy has to put them in the oven,” Tara warned, “We never ever touch the oven alone, yes?”


Robyn nodded once, sure, but her eyes were on the bowl the remnants of the cookie dough. Tara closed the oven and just put the bowl in Robyn’s lap.


She was already dirty; she may as well go the whole hog.


Robyn’s eyes brightened; she usually got the spoon to lick, but never the whole bowl. Her hands immediately went in and got pieces of stuck dough all over. She licked them like a popsicle, giggling the whole way through.


It was so cute that Tara took her phone out to take a video to show to Willow later. She quickly whipped up the marshmallow center and washed all of the other dishes, and finally the practically-licked-clean-already bowl from Robyn.


When they were done she stood in front of her very messy daughter with her hands loosely on her hips.


“What’s next?”


Robyn looked from side to side, then shrugged.


“Ess-kees?”


Tara couldn’t keep her smile in this time. She leaned down to give Robyn an Eskimo kiss, as requested.


Robyn nuzzled back, wearing the exact same smile as her mother.


“Who loves you?” Tara asked softly.


“Mom-meeeee!” Robyn proclaimed with her tongue through her teeth.


“And?” Tara prompted.


Robyn’s face lit up.


“Mom-mah!”


“And?” Tara asked again.


“Jay-Jay!” Robyn said, giddy with the excitement of it all.


Tara held up her hands.


“And how much do we love you?”


Robyn stretched her arms up above her head.


“Moon an’ back!”


Tara lifted Robyn and held her.


“That’s exactly right,” she said, holding up a sticky hand, “And now someone is getting a BATH.”


The timer on the oven went off and Tara used a single hand to put on an oven glove, take out the tray and used tongs to put the cookies on the cooling rack she’d left out.


No one juggled better than a parent of a clingy toddler.


Robyn tried to reach out and grab one of the cooling cakes, but Tara shifted her body and dodged it before they connected.


“These are for everyone for dessert. You can have one after dinner, okay?”


Robyn pouted, and though she could be a carbon copy of Tara at times, Willow’s influence could still clearly be seen.


“C’mon little bean, bath time.”


Robyn cuddled under Tara’s chin and kept sucking her fingers to get any hint of cookie before the bath washed it away.


Tara undressed her and put all the clothes into a pile to pre-soak before she washed them. She ran a warm, shallow bath and sat Robyn in with her basket of bath toys.


Whilst Robyn’s dolphin and ducky explored the great expanse of tub water, Tara scrubbed her daughter’s body and washed her hair so she wouldn’t have to have another bath later on.


Willow had been amazing in picking up the slack Tara couldn’t manage, but she knew both of them would be exhausted that night.


Celebrating their children’s birthdays made for warm memories and weary legs.


When Robyn was clean and glistening, Tara took the blue tang fish toy and added it to the adventures of Chilly Bill and Quack. She let the plastic fish wade alone for a few moments while she used the facilities in the bathroom.


“Mom-mee go pee-pee?” Robyn asked curiously.


“Yes, honey,” Tara answered absently.


Eventually, the water grew cold so Tara lifted Robyn out and wrapped her into her towel-robe to let her run off to her room and pick out clothes.


Tara emptied and wiped down the bath then followed her, where Robyn had chosen a tutu, green leggings and a purple tank top with her favorite cartoon character on it.


Tara used a tickle match as a guise to dry Robyn down, who hollered and squealed in delight.


She let Tara put her into her top but balked when Tara tried to get her into a new diaper.


“Bad dipe-y.”


Tara checked it and didn’t see anything wrong.


“Just like you always wear, sweetie.”


She tried again, but Robyn pushed it away and shook her head.


“No dipe-y,” she said quite insistently, “Go like Mommy.”


“Oh,” Tara replied, understanding what her daughter was trying to communicate, “Okay.”


She brought Robyn back to the bathroom and lifted her up onto the toilet. She could have easily fallen into the bowl, so Tara helped hold her hands over the lip of the seat.


“So when you feel like you’ve gotta go, you come up and sit here. Do you have to go?”


Robyn kicked her legs and shrugged. Tara sat cross-legged in front, still holding onto Robyn, to wait it out. She knew a baby with no bladder control wouldn’t take long for something to be released.


Sure enough, after a few minutes passed, there was a brief tinkle.


Robyn grinned and Tara clapped her hands as she lifted her down.


“Good girl! Now there’s something else we have to do,” she said and reached for the kiddie wipes, “Can you take one of these?”


Robyn plucked one and Tara set the pack back by the sink. Robyn started to wipe her hands but Tara stopped her and showed her how to pat, pat, pat. Robyn seemed to get it but Tara knew it would take a lot of reinforcing to get it down.


She brought Robyn back to her room to finish getting dressed.


“Let’s put on a dipe-y just in case you really have to go,” Tara said kindly, “But you come tell Momma or me if you need to go and we’ll bring you to the big girl potty if you want, okay?”


“Me big girl,” Robbie grinned as she was taped into her diaper.


“You are,” Tara encouraged, “Such a big girl.”


It would be a helpful narrative to push when it came time to tell her about the babies.


Tara brought Robyn back downstairs, and she couldn’t help herself. She peeked into the living room. Her stomach churned and she knew she couldn’t leave it, so she settled Robyn in her playpen and put on her favorite cartoon.


It took her an hour, but she was glad she did it because things were starting to cake in — pardon the pun, she thought to herself. Despite smiling, she actually had to sit and take a break between scrubbing the couch as it needed so much elbow grease to get that buttercream gone.


She could have easily closed her eyes again and let the TV babysit for a quick burst of sleep, but she had things she wanted to do before Willow and JJ were home again.


Willow was bringing home dinner, so she was glad she had no food to prepare. But laundry needed to be done and she felt everywhere needed a good mop.


She stood up after her session attacking the couch, and immediately the room began spinning. The back of her calves hit against the cushions and she sunk back down. She could feel her heart pounding and a cold sweat form on her brow.


“Whoa.”


She took a hazy look around and spotted the juice box she’d given Robyn sitting on the floor beside her. She reached and closed a shaky hand around it, then sucked the straw so hard the box crumpled in her hand.


Robyn looked over and frowned.


“Wobbie juice,” she said somewhat sternly, but it turned into a smile, “Wobbie share.”


Tara had to close her eyes to let the world come back to a stationary position. She knew she was coming to again when she imagined Willow correcting her about the constant movement of the Earth and giving her precise calculations of how fast they were really spinning at that point in time.


She sat up, slower this time, and patted Robyn’s head.


“Thank you, sweetheart.”


She was embarrassed by how dehydrated she’d let herself get and scolded herself for not realizing sooner. Taking another few minutes to let the juice settle, she got up again but moved slower and didn’t tend to the chores. She filled a water bottle to have on hand and finished making up the cookies. She put a few into a Tupperware and went back into Robyn.


“Come on, bean, let’s go for a visit.”


She held Robyn on her hip and left the house, locking the door behind her. She walked across the street and down a few hours and knocked on the door of the elderly lady that lived there.


Tara had been making a habit of calling in since a piece of mail had been misdelivered and caused their paths to cross. Tara, being so very naturally emphatic, could tell the woman appreciated having someone to talk to. She had children, but they all lived out of state. Tara hated to think of anyone becoming lonely. She’d lived that life. She wouldn’t wish it on anyone.


She knocked on the door and waited politely for the older woman to answer.


She was in her eighties but sprite on her feet, tiny (probably under five foot) with white hair, a gold chain she wore always around her neck and the same style of cardigan and slacks she wore every day.


“Hello Mrs. Potts,” Tara greeted, “Say hello baby.”


Robyn’s little fingers wiggled.


“‘lo!”


“Tara, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Myra,” the older lady said with warm affection.


Tara held up the Tupperware.


“We made some cookies and thought you might like some,” she said, then smiled when an unfamiliar dog popped up behind Myra’s legs, “Oh, hello. Who’s this?”


“My new companion,” Myra said fondly, looking down at the young beagle/jack russell cross, though she imagined he had an even more colorful lineage than what she was told.


“Dogggg!” Robyn exclaimed and immediately lunged, “Woofy!”


Tara grabbed her before she made contact.


“Hey, bean. You can’t pet any doggies unless their owner says it’s okay.”


Robyn looked up to Myra with her hypnotizing bright eyes.


“Pet woofy pwease?”


Myra nodded.


“Go right ahead, young lady.”


Robyn tumbled in and plopped herself down on her butt so she could stroke the dog. He lay down at her feet and accepted it.


“What’s his name?” Tara questioned.


“None yet, he only arrived to me this morning,” Myra answered.


“Guh woofy,” Robyn complimented, patting his head.


“Well your daughter offers a fine suggestion,” Myra said, watching them interact, “Hello Woofy.”


The dog turned his attention to the older lady, who smiled.


“Woofy it is.”


They would never know the original owners had called him ‘Woody’ and that Robyn’s inadvertent letter-replacement would bestow him with a name that he would recognize.


“Come in, come in,” Myra insisted, closing the door behind Tara, “Tea?”


Tara nodded.


“Yes please.”


Tara moved in the same direction and motioned for Robyn to follow her. Robyn skipped after her mother.


“Come Woofy!”


The dog trotted along behind Robyn until Tara settled her in a corner to play with the dog, who seemed to be lapping up the attention.


Myra made some tea in an old fashioned pot and brought it to the table.


“I love your cozy,” Tara complimented the knitted strawberry clinging to the pot.


Myra smiled as she set a cup and saucer in front of Tara. She sat opposite her and poured in the tea.


“So,” she said casually as she poured her own, “How far along are you?”


Tara had been about to take a sip and almost choked. She cleared her throat several times, eyes wide.


“How did you—”


Myra patted Tara’s hand.


“You don’t get to my age without recognizing a thing or two,” she said wisely.


Tara held the cup in both hands and shook her head to herself in surprise.


“Eight weeks,” she said eventually.


“Twins?” Myra asked, smiling secretly.


“How—” Tara started to reply but knew better almost instantly, “Yes.”


She cocked her head toward Robyn.


“She doesn’t know. Only we and our parents do.”


“You don’t get to my age either without keeping a secret or two either,” Myra replied, sipping from her cup, “Don’t worry about her, she’s a gentle little thing. What wonderful news. Congratulations.”


Tara smiled shyly.


“I’m very excited. We’re very excited. It was a bit of a tough slog but now we have twice the blessings.”


“My Jane had twins, must be about your boy’s age,” Myra replied, “How old is he now?”


“Eight today,” Tara replied with a smile, “Wow, the years have really gone by so quick.”


“Oh, it’s his birthday, how lovely,” Myra replied, “I hope I’m not keeping you from a party.”


Tara shook her head.


“His Momma took him off with all his pals.”


“Does he do a paper route or anything?” Myra asked.


“I don’t think he even knows real newspapers still exist,” Tara joked, then motioned typing on a keyboard, “Willow has him…coding or whatever it’s called, and all that stuff.”


“Well if he’s interested in taking on a daily job, I’ll be needing someone to take young Woofy here out,” Myra mused, “My old legs aren’t able for much. If he’s allowed, of course.”


Tara nodded.


“He can walk around the neighborhood or go to the park alone. He’s been bugging us for a dog, so I bet he’d love to.”


Myra got that secretive smile on her face again.


“You send him over to me and we’ll have a little talk.”


Before Tara could reply, Robyn’s delighted laughter filled the room as Woofy brought a toy to Robyn to play with.


“Isn’t that just a joyous sound?” Myra remarked thoughtfully.


Tara had been keeping an eye on the two, but both of them seemed relaxed.


“He’s great with her. He must have been with kids before.”


“The lady at the shelter told me the family just up and left him,” Myra sighed, “He was only found because he burrowed out of the back yard. But he’s stayed such a happy little thing. Only a pup still.”


Tara’s jaw clenched.


“I don’t know how anyone can treat an animal like that.”


“Especially such a placid little fella like him,” Myra replied, shaking her head, “You bring that sweet girl over whenever you like. I think they’ve bonded.”


Tara was happy to see Robyn being so gentle with the dog. A baby and a puppy all in one was cuteness overload, even if they were both bigger versions of each.


Tara finished her tea, and another cup as she visited with Myra. When it was time to head home, she went and kneeled by Robyn.


“Robbie, you have to say bye-bye to Woofy now. We have to go home.”


Robyn’s face turned toward her and her lower lip jutted out, trembling. Tara put a hand on her back and patted it.


“We’ll come to visit again, okay?”


Robyn wasn’t happy and tried to fight her way out.


“Robyn, do not kick ever,” Tara said firmly, holding her daughter out so it missed her stomach, “Robyn Ruth I said stop.”


Robyn’s face tensed; Mommy having that tone of voice was serious business. She stopped resisting.


“Will you say thank you to Mrs. Potts for letting you play with Woofy please?” Tara asked, voice softer again.


“Tant-too,” Robyn said, hollowly, “Bye-Bye Woofy.”


Tara let her down to pet him goodbye and couldn’t help but smile when he nuzzled in. He was a sweet little thing, and she was very glad Myra was going to have some company around the house. They said goodbye and Tara brought Robyn home and sat her on the couch.


“You never, ever kick or hit or try to hurt someone,” she said sternly but clearly, “I know you were angry because you wanted to keep playing with Woofy, but it was time for us to come home. You have to listen when I say something so no one gets hurt. Do you understand?”


Robyn’s head bobbed solemnly.


“Next time you’re mad you can tell me with your words or hold yourself tight like this,” Tara suggested, wrapping her arms around herself in a demonstration, “But when you hit, it hurts me. You don’t want to hurt me, do you?”


Robyn sniffled and shook her head. Tara hated her heartbroken little face.


“Can Mommy have a hug?”


Robyn all but flung herself at Tara, who gathered her up against her chest. She swung around and sat on the couch, rubbing Robyn’s back.


“Thank you, Robbie.”


She used her other hand to check her phone and saw a text in from Willow.


“Are you hungry sweetpea?” she asked tenderly, “Momma’s coming home with JJ and she’s bringing French fries.”


“Fwies!” Robyn replied excitedly, her mood instantly shifting.


“Let’s go wash our hands,” Tara suggested, “You can try the big girl potty again.”


They went upstairs and got ready for dinner. She put the kids' plates on the coffee table to eat and went into the kitchen to finally get that load of laundry on.


“We’re home!” Willow called when they walked in, and Robyn pounced on her for fries and to bend her ear off with toddler babble.


Willow was patient and listened as she doled out the kids’ food but eventually tore herself away and into the kitchen with the second bag of food.


“I got us the nicer stuff from the restaurant across the street…” she started, then looked around the empty kitchen, confused, “Tara?”


Tara came out of the laundry room, carrying a hamper of folded clothes.


“Hey, how was it?”


“Eh,” Willow replied with a one-shoulder shrug, taking the hamper she didn’t think Tara should have been carrying in the first place.


Tara arched an eyebrow.


“Willow…”


Willow’s face slowly lit up.


“It was awesome! Like a NERF fight but you get to splat! splat! splat!”


She mimicked shooting the gun, then reined herself in.


“It was okay.”


Tara let out a slow, soft sigh.


“Guess I’m going to have to get over it. I’m glad you all had fun.”


Willow caught Tara’s wrist and pulled her in.


“Tara, you cleaned. I believe I specifically said not to.”


“Don’t worry, you can rub my feet later,” Tara teased, “I’ve been run off them all day.”


Willow opened her mouth, closed it, then glanced back at the door.


“Did Robyn say she used the toilet?”


Tara nodded.


“Yeah, she just asked me kind of out of the blue,” she said, shrugging softly, “I guess we’re potty training now.”


“Yay,” Willow replied with about as much enthusiasm as she felt when her father starting going on about bonds.


“It’s good to get it done before the babies arrive,” Tara reasoned, “Though it may be something she drops again until she’s ready. I figured we’d just go with it. We might even get the binky gone while we’re at it.”


“Yeah, Thing 1 and Thing 2 will have enough diapers to go around,” Willow sighed, then frowned, “She said something about huffing too. I’m hoping I heard that wrong.”


“You did, she said ‘Woofy’. A new dog across the street we met,” Tara explained, “How would you feel about JJ walking him around the park after school? She’ll give him a couple of bucks. I thought it was a nice idea. He’s a sweet dog, too. Look.”


Tara took her phone out to show her the photos.


“Oh what a sweetheart,” Willow commented fondly, “Woofy. Heh. That’s a funny name.”


“Robyn named him actually,” Tara replied, “Not that she knows it. How do you feel about the dog walking?”


Willow handed the phone back.


“That’s fine with me. I’m not into child labor but if he’s happy to do it and it helps that lady out…I know you look out for her. Because you’re kind and sweet and wonderful and all the other reasons I married you.”


Tara took a step inward but lost her footing for a moment. Willow caught her by the waist.


“Whoa, you okay?”


Tara put her hands on Willow’s shoulders to steady herself. She reminded herself she was really going to have to stay hydrated going into the summer months. She cocked her head at Willow’s concerned face, which was just all too adorable. Her hands moved around so her fingers gently pulled at the hairs on the nape of Willow’s neck.


“You look so good you’re making me dizzy.”


Willow glanced down at her loose jeans and blue-and-white striped shirt.


“Well, you’re clearly delirious too because my clothes couldn’t be more mom-ish if they tried.”


Tara’s eyes glanced downward, lingering on the curve of Willow’s breast for a second too long.


“I like a nice MILF.”


“Oh you do, do you?” Willow smirked and blushed at the same time.


Tara pressed her body into Willow’s.


“Well, truth be told…just one.”


Willow couldn’t help it; her body reacted to Tara’s being so close. Her wife had been having intermittent headaches and terrified they’d turn into migraines again, Willow had been leaving Tara asleep in the dark instead of trying to get amorous.


“Someone seems like they’re headache-less tonight,” Willow said, needing to lick her lips for moisture.


Tara leaned in so she was just loud enough for Willow to hear.


“I’m throbbing somewhere else.”


Willow gulped.


“There’s that whack of pregnancy hormones I remember.”


Tara lifted Willow’s chin and planted a kiss on her lips. It was searing and smoldering and lasted just long enough to give some satisfaction without tipping over into frustration.


“That’ll have to keep me satisfied for a while,” Tara said, pecking Willow’s lips softly again.


Willow was still hanging onto the front ends of Tara’s shirt.


“Oh, Momma’s up for an early night.”


She leaned in again, but right before their lips connected Willow’s eyes widened at something over Tara’s shoulder.


“Are those whoopie pies?” she asked excitedly, “You know why they’re called whoopie pies, right?”


Tara arched an eyebrow and Willow grinned goofily.


“Because when I see one I go ‘whoopie!’”


She giggled and Tara’s eyes slowly clouded with fresh affection.


“You’re my whoopie pie,” she said, bumping her nose against Willow’s.


Willow would have melted were Tara not holding her up.


“Baby…” she smiled from ear-to-ear.


Tara kissed the corner of Willow’s mouth, a soft but intimate exchange.


“All these years are flying by us, sometimes it’s nice to just stop and appreciate the moment.”


“I appreciate every moment I spend with you,” Willow whispered back, “Even if I don’t say it enough.”


“I love you,” Tara said tenderly.


“Love you,” Willow answered and they just breathed together for a moment.


They had at least six seconds until screeching came from the living room.


“Mom, Robyn threw her cheeseburger at me!”


They both looked at each other, grinned and broke apart with a final peck.


Loving or challenging, they wouldn’t trade a moment of their lives for anything.


Tara rolled up her sleeves.


“You take big, I'll take little.”


“On it,” Willow smiled in response.


“But hold that thought,” Tara advised with an arched eyebrow.


Willow winked as they walked toward the chaos.


“Held in perpetuity.”

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable ... FC2: AOTH ... FC3: TBU


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 13th 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:16 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 349
Dibs! :whip
The "Mommy - daughter"-quality time with baking etc. was super cute.
Quote:
“Who loves you?” Tara asked softly.


“Mom-meeeee!” Robyn proclaimed with her tongue through her teeth.


“And?” Tara prompted.


Robyn’s face lit up.


“Mom-mah!”


“And?” Tara asked again.


“Jay-Jay!” Robyn said, giddy with the excitement of it all.


Tara held up her hands.


“And how much do we love you?”


Robyn stretched her arms up above her head.


“Moon an’ back!”

AWWWW! :bigkiss

Quote:
She stood up after her session attacking the couch, and immediately the room began spinning. The back of her calves hit against the cushions and she sunk back down. She could feel her heart pounding and a cold sweat form on her brow.


“Whoa.”

Quote:
She was embarrassed by how dehydrated she’d let herself get and scolded herself for not realizing sooner.

Quote:
Tara took a step inward but lost her footing for a moment. Willow caught her by the waist.


“Whoa, you okay?”


Tara put her hands on Willow’s shoulders to steady herself. She reminded herself she was really going to have to stay hydrated going into the summer months.

I'm afraid there might be something more serious behind Tara's bouts of dizziness than mere dehydration...Maybe she has a pregnancy diabetes? But I trust your promise that all will turn out well in the end.

Quote:
“Yeah, Thing 1 and Thing 2 will have enough diapers to go around,” Willow sighed

Personally I wouldn't use "Thing" as an endearment for an unborn baby...but I'm sure Willow means it with love.

Quote:
She giggled and Tara’s eyes slowly clouded with fresh affection.


“You’re my whoopie pie,” she said, bumping her nose against Willow’s.


Willow would have melted were Tara not holding her up.


“Baby…” she smiled from ear-to-ear.


Tara kissed the corner of Willow’s mouth, a soft but intimate exchange.


“All these years are flying by us, sometimes it’s nice to just stop and appreciate the moment.”


“I appreciate every moment I spend with you,” Willow whispered back, “Even if I don’t say it enough.”


“I love you,” Tara said tenderly.


“Love you,” Willow answered and they just breathed together for a moment.

:bigkiss :flower :wtkiss

Quote:
“Wobbie juice,” she said somewhat sternly, but it turned into a smile, “Wobbie share.”

Quote:
They had at least six seconds until screeching came from the living room.


“Mom, Robyn threw her cheeseburger at me!”

:laugh Maybe Robyn just wanted to share her burger with JJ... :wink


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 13th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4380
Topics: 38
Will’s redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Woo!

Quote:
The "Mommy - daughter"-quality time with baking etc. was super cute.


They are a very sweet duo.

Quote:
AWWWW! :bigkiss


:D

Quote:
I'm afraid there might be something more serious behind Tara's bouts of dizziness than mere dehydration...Maybe she has a pregnancy diabetes? But I trust your promise that all will turn out well in the end.


And so I repeat, it will all turn out well in the end!

Quote:
Personally I wouldn't use "Thing" as an endearment for an unborn baby...but I'm sure Willow means it with love.


Do you know The Cat In The Hat?

https://seuss.fandom.com/wiki/Thing_One_and_Thing_Two

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:laugh Maybe Robyn just wanted to share her burger with JJ... :wink


Sharing is caring...even when it's aimed at your face :P

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 13th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:00 am 
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Chapter Six




Willow was cleaning up after a delightful family breakfast, which was followed by a not-so-delightful bout of morning sickness for Tara.


She was contemplating whether to take the kids out for some fresh air before they went to the Harris household for their annual Fourth of July BBQ when JJ suddenly appeared and swung himself up onto a stool at the island.


“Momma?”


“Yeah, bud?” Willow asked with a smile as she wiped the marble down opposite him.


JJ clasped his hands in front of him and his thumbs circled around each other. He sat there silently with his eyes downcast.


Willow dropped the cloth into the sink and leaned over to give her son her full attention.


“Jakey?” she prompted softly when he continued not to speak.


JJ looked up and started biting a corner of his finger.


“Is Mom pregnant?”


Willow blinked once, her face remaining entirely neutral.


“What makes you ask that?”


JJ shrugged both shoulders heavily.


“I hear her throwing up all the time like you did when you were pregnant with Robyn. But a lot more.”


Willow exhaled a soft breath.


“I didn’t know that you remembered that.”


Willow straightened up, thought for a moment, then came and sat beside JJ.


“I’m going to be honest with you,” she said, covering one of his hands with hers, “Yes, Mom is pregnant.”


JJ heaved out a long breath.


“So we’re…having a baby?”


Willow’s face brightened at his phrasing.


“Honestly, Jakey, we’re having two. They’re twins.”


JJ’s face became skittish.


“Are they boys or girls?”


Willow held up her hands.


“We don’t know yet. But we do know they’ll be identical. Which do you want?”


JJ’s brow began to furrow in deep concentration.


“Well, two more girls is… a lot of girls.”


“It would be a lot of girls, huh?” Willow agreed with a nod, trying not to laugh.


JJ seemed to contemplate it some more.


“But I’d never have to share my room.”


Willow couldn't help it; the laugh released.


“Always look on the bright side, that’s my boy,” she said, pulling JJ in under her chin for a hug, “Tara’s boy for sure. Thanks for coming to talk to me when you felt worried. Do you have any other questions?”


JJ fought out of the hug but was smiling with his tongue between his teeth.


“Can I have a Dr Pepper?”


He waited for the inevitable refusal but Willow’s lips twitched mischievously for a second and she went to the fridge to take out the bottle and pour him a cup.


“This is between you and me,” she said as JJ looked on with wide-eyed surprise.


He clasped the cup with both hands and drank it back before it was taken away.


Tara chose that moment to enter and spied the bottle in Willow’s hands and her son’s eager chugging.


“10 am soda,” she said with a tense brow and narrowed eyes directed at Willow, “I guess we’re celebrating independence from civility today too.”


Willow smiled awkwardly.


“I told him about Thing 1 and Thing 2.”


Tara’s whole face fell as she came to stand over them.


“Willow,” she said in a quiet but stern chastising voice.


JJ’s eyes darted between his mothers in concern, sensing the shift in energy.


“It’s not Momma’s fault, I asked!”


“That’s sweet JJ, but you didn’t do anything wrong,” Willow reassured and rubbed his arm.


Tara quickly placed her hand on JJ’s back and rubbed it.


“No, honey, you didn’t,” she comforted softly and released a slow breath, “Well, how do you feel about being a big brother again?”


JJ seemed to relax under the simultaneous attention.


“I guess it’s cool,” he said eventually with a hint of a smile.


“He wants girls so he doesn’t have to share his room,” Willow said fondly.


“As good a reason as any,” Tara laughed and looked him in the eye, “Do you think you can keep our secret a little longer?”


JJ nodded.


“Yeah, I guess.”


Tara enveloped JJ in a hug and he obliged in returning it.


Willow put her hands on her hips.


“Why does she get a hug?”


JJ pulled away from Tara a little self-consciously.


“Because you’re s’posed to be extra polite to pregnant ladies like giving up your seat and stuff.”


“Thank you JJ,” Tara said softly and kissed the top of his head, “Finish your drink and go get dressed okay? We’re leaving soon.”


“Okay,” JJ agreed and finished off his soda before jumping down and scurrying away.


They both watched him leave and Willow resisted looking back at Tara but couldn’t back away from that penetrating stare.


“Before you freak out at me—”


“It’s okay,” Tara interrupted, holding her hands up, “He asked, I was indisposed. You made a call. It’s okay. But—”


“I know,” Willow interrupted this time, softly.


She leaned in but stopped just short.


“Have you brushed your teeth?”


Tara just chuckled.


“Yes.”


Willow closed the gap and kissed Tara’s lips. Her hands ran across Tara’s shoulders and fell down to Tara’s waist where she pulled gently at the ends of her sweater.


“Honey it’s 85 degrees out there,” she said when she felt the heaviness of the material.


Tara smoothed her hands over the bump the fabric was obscuring.


“I know, I wish I didn’t have to wear this. I’ll have to sit in the shade.”


“Or we could go with the wacky notion of actually telling people?” Willow suggested with an upward eyebrow and similarly inflected tone, “We’re past the three-month mark.”


Tara shook her head.


“I want to wait until after Robyn’s birthday.”


Willow looked pained.


“That’s another month. Another summer month,” she said pointedly and began to gesture to Tara’s stomach, “And you’re, you know…”


Tara raised an eyebrow and Willow laughed nervously.


“Showing appropriately for the two babies you have growing in there,” she covered as her eyes fell back to the bump, “Seriously, has nobody in work noticed?”


Tara smiled.


“I asked Michelle to spread fake gossip that I was stress eating.”


The corner of Willow’s lips tugged up as well.


“Why do you want to wait?”


“It’s Robyn’s last chance to be the ‘baby’,” Tara explained, shrugging one shoulder, “…I just want to let her enjoy it.”


Willow’s face softened and she popped another kiss on Tara’s lips.


“And that’s why I picked you to be the mother of my children,” she said, resting her forehead on Tara’s for a moment, “I can’t wait to see them again at the next ultrasound. Do you think Thing 1 will be curling her little toes again?”


Tara frowned.


“We need to give them names.”


“It was good enough for Seuss,” Willow protested.


Tara tapped Willow’s nose.


“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”


Willow grinned.


“Names. Okay. Hey, why don’t we pick one each?”


Tara considered it.


“Okay. Yeah,” she smiled, “Sure. Let’s pick one each. I think—”


She suddenly swayed on her feet and Willow caught her by the arms.


“Tara,” she said, standing fully to support her, “Are you gonna throw up?”


Tara closed her eyes and opened them through slow blinks.


“No, it passed,” she said when the room focused back into steadiness again.


Willow rubbed Tara’s arm with concern on her face.


“You sure?”


“Yeah,” Tara exhaled softly, “I’m just going to get some cold water.”


“I’ll get it,” Willow said, guiding Tara to sit on the stool.


She went over to the refrigerator and poured Tara a glass of ice water. Tara took it and held it against her cheek, then sipped it slowly.


“Take the sweater off.”


“I can’t, Willow,” Tara sighed again.


Willow bit her tongue and just rubbed Tara’s arm.


“Sit somewhere more comfortable at least.”


“I have to make a potato salad,” Tara replied weakly.


Willow shook her head.


“I’m capable of mixing some mayo into some potato,” she said and tried not to be offended when Tara looked skeptical, “Jeez. Fine, sit there and supervise me then.”


“I know you can make potato salad, Willow,” Tara said, reaching over to brush some hair from Willow’s face, “I just…think I forgot to buy the ingredients.”


Willow threw her hands up.


“Well, we can’t be those people who support grocery stores opening on the holiday!”


Her eyes closed and slowly opened agin.


“Okay. I guess I’m making a salad with…” she threw open the refrigerator, “Tomatoes and mozzarella and uh…watermelon?”


Tara arched an eyebrow.


“Like a watermelon Caprese?”


Willow spun around, ingredients in hand.


“Watermelon Caprese!” she said with a grin, “That’s totally a thing right? It is now. Watermelon Caprese it is.”


Tara held her hands out.


“I can chop.”


Willow just smiled and handed a chopping mat over the island.


“You just want in on the rights when my salad goes international.”


Tara picked out some tomatoes from the fruit bowl.


“I hate to break it to you honey, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this on The Food Network.”


“Original Thought Theory,” Willow opined with a sad pout, “No matter what you say/do/think now, someone somewhere in the past has thought about it or said it before.”


“What about that thing you do in bed?” Tara asked with a soft, crooked smile.


Willow winked.


“That’s a Willow exclusive.”


Tara smiled and ducked her head.


They chopped together a salad to bring to the BBQ and put it in the fridge along with the fruit skewers and drinks they had prepared for it.


Willow took Robyn to get dressed in the red top and blue shorts with white socks Tara had picked out for her. She knew the socks would only be fit for the trash by the end of the day and that was why they were the only items of white clothing in Robyn's closet.


JJ was too old to coerce into patriotic garb and stayed in his shorts and a basketball jersey. He was going to a basketball camp during the summer break from school and the thing was practically molded to his body. They’d had to buy him extras just so they could actually wash them without argument.


They all bundled into the car with food and toys to last the afternoon and set off for the Harris household.


At least, they did after a tire-screeching pull back into the driveway when Robyn announced she wanted to use the potty.


When they finally got across town, Jesse and Alex were playing basketball with the hoop in the driveway and JJ was snapping the handle off the door to try and bypass the child lock and open it.


“JJ, chill out,” Willow called back as she parked up on the curb


“Honey,” Tara looked over her shoulder at him with a calming look.


JJ’s arms wiggled about in a gesture toward the game.


“I wanna play!”


“I know you do, but you will be in one minute,” Tara soothed softly, “Okay?”


JJ heaved out a sigh.


“‘Kay.”


“‘Kay,” Robyn echoed with a giggly laugh and a clap.


JJ smiled at her and tickled her leg, which produced another gurgling laugh.


Willow stood out of the car and opened the door for JJ, who leaped out. Willow put her hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze as she smiled down at him.


“Remember what we talked about this morning?”


JJ nodded and cast his eyes conspiringly toward his Mom.


“Yeah, I won’t say anything.”


Willow patted his shoulder.


“Go play.”


Tara lifted Robyn out of her car seat and held her on her hip until they got off the road and walked around the house to the back yard. She toddled off to play with Pixie and Ella in the little paddling pool; tumbling over into the water before either mother had a chance to snatch any of her clothes off.


Oh well, Willow thought as she watched Robyn dunk her head just to make sure every single piece of herself was drenched. They always brought spares when bringing their little adventurer anywhere. Getting her out of that pool to go for a nap was going to be torture though.


They shared a look that they were both having the same thought but put it out of their minds as they moved around the yard to say hello to all of their friends. Xander was manning the BBQ already, Anya was setting up a game of Life, Alice and Brian were playing with the kids, Becky was looking over the bar selection, Buffy was assembling a new picnic table and Angel was sitting in the shade with a glum look on his face; the happiest they’d seen him in months.


“Burgers up!” Xander yelled and the boys ran in from the driveway in seconds.


“I’ll go bring our stuff in,” Tara said and moved to take the car keys from Willow.


“I’ll do it,” Willow replied, snatching the keys back before Tara could take them, “Sit.”


“Pussy-whipped,” Anya muttered as Tara obediently sat down.


Xander smiled at her kindly.


“It’s okay, Tara. We can start a club.”


Jesse slapped a hand between Xander’s shoulder blades and shook his head.


“My man. No. Just no.”


Tara returned a sympathetic smile in gratitude for the support and Xander saluted her with a spatula. Willow came back through the back of the house and turned Robyn right-side-up as she passed.


“‘wimming, Mom-mah!” Robyn protested and splashed happily in the water, the way she did at Toddler Swim every week with Tara.


At least she was putting the skills to use, Willow thought. She went by the table to pour them a couple of red solo cups full of lemonade and brought it over to Tara, who was sitting on a blanket in the grass. Willow sat alongside her and smiled.


“You okay?”


“Better now you’re back,” Tara murmured sweetly as she craned her neck back and pressed a kiss under Willow’s ear.


Willow grinned at the tickle and gently tickled Tara’s thigh back with one finger before letting her hand slide up so her palm pressed on Tara’s belly.


She caressed her there, smiling so much it almost became a laugh and pressed a long kiss to Tara’s cheek.


As she pulled away she noticed Becky was looking at them.


Becky started to smirk and raised an eyebrow.


Willow looked like a deer caught in the headlights for a moment then discreetly lifted a finger to her lips. Becky just full-on grinned and raised her cup enough to indicate it was acknowledged. She threw Willow a wink and turned her attention away inconspicuously.


Willow’s heart sped up a bit; first JJ and now Becky knowing, even unintentionally, was really starting to make it all feel real. Maybe she could still convince Tara to tell everyone early…


She moved back into the moment and realized Tara was talking to her.


“Hmm?” she asked, blinking rapidly.


“Where did you leave the salads?” Tara asked, already on her way to standing, “Xander is serving up.”


Willow started to stand too.


“Oh. In the fridge. I’ll get ‘em.”


“I can do it,” Tara insisted softly, then added on quieter, “I’m not an invalid.”


She wobbled but before Willow could tell her to sit down she was striding across the grass to the door that led into the kitchen.


Willow followed, slipped in the door and walked over to where Tara was bending at the fridge.


“Tara, go eat.”


Tara stood up with a dish in each hand.


“Stop bossing me around in front of our friends,” she said sternly, then blew a piece of hair from her face and sighed, “Please.”


“Hey…” Willow said softly at Tara’s annoyed voice, “I’m worried about you. You look pale. Please go eat something? You haven’t eaten since breakfast and you threw that up.”


Tara tried to relax her shoulders.


“I’ll bring this platter out and pick up a plate, okay?”


Willow touched Tara’s cheek.


“You’re clammy too. Maybe keep to the shade? You could practice brooding with Angel.”


Tara frowned.


“Why would I need to brood?”


Willow smiled awkwardly.


“…because Becky kinda knows now too.”


Tara’s eyes closed and her nostrils flared.


“Willow. First JJ, now this. I want to tell people together.”


“She guessed,” Willow defended, “She saw me rub your belly. Honestly, I’m surprised the rest of them haven’t put 2 and 2 together as well. I really don’t think we’re going to get away with this for another mo—”


Tara wobbled again but Willow caught her this time.


“Tara.”


Tara was beginning to feel a little woozy and looked contrite.


“I’ll go sit down.”


Willow took the dishes and Tara picked up a stack of napkins instead to bring out. She walked back out the way she came and Willow followed a moment behind her.


About three steps onto the grass, Tara suddenly stopped abruptly. Willow stopped behind her, confused.


“Tara?”


The air became a sea of white as the napkins were tossed away as Tara’s body took a shaken step and started to fall.


The platters joined the napkins strewn around the grass as Willow flung them away to do a baseball slide to get under Tara to catch her.


“Tara!” she shrieked as Tara’s pale, unconscious face turned in her lap, “Call an ambulance!”


Becky already had her phone out and Xander took a big step forward them.


“It’s okay, it’s probably just heatstroke in that big sweater.”


“Dammit, she’s pregnant, call an ambulance!” Willow yelled, not seeing Becky with the phone to her ear or Brian ushering all of the kids inside or anything but quite how closed and unresponsive Tara’s eyes were.


“Come on baby,” Willow said gently, tapping Tara’s face, “Come on Tara!”


She checked Tara’s pulse and it was racing but at least it was there.


“Baby,” she choked, her jaw starting to tremble.


She bit back the tears and looked up in alarm that JJ or Robyn were seeing this.


“Where are the kids?”


“Brian brought them all inside,” Becky said as she bent down with Willow and held her holding Tara up, encouraging her into the recovery position, “The ambulance is on the way. It won’t be too long.”


Everyone remained in stony silence but stood ready to act in whatever capacity they may be needed, for the few minutes it took for sirens to be heard. Jesse ran out to the front to guide them in and they immediately pushed Willow out of the way to check Tara and load her into the bus.


“She’s fourteen weeks pregnant with twins,” Willow said after answering some standard questions as to Tara’s state and history, “She had some bleeding early on but it was just irritation. She hasn’t collapsed before, except she used to get migraines but it’s been over 10 years. She’s had headaches but she said they weren’t like those and…and she’s been unsteady on her feet but I thought it was just exhaustion.”


“We’ll take care of her,” one of the paramedics said stoically and then Tara’s unconsciously body was slid into the ambulance and it was off again with the sirens ringing in everyone’s ears.


Willow watched for a long second then stamped the ground as tears sprung to her ears.


“Dammit!”


Becky put her hands on Willow’s shoulders from behind.


“C’mon, Willow. I’ll take you to the hospital,” she said and took a step forward, then looked back when Willow didn’t follow, “Willow. Come on.”


Willow looked around, lost and helpless.


“My kids.”


“We’ll keep them,” Anya said in a sincere tone, “We have some of Pixie’s pajamas that are too big for her for Robyn if they need to stay the night and Alex and JJ can share.”


Willow blinked away some tears.


“‘Kay,” she said in a hollow, echoing voice as she stepped toward Becky, “‘Kay.”


Everyone stood dumbfounded and watched them go until eventually, Xander piped up, tongs open in his hand as the meat burned behind him.


“Did she say twins?”


In the car, Becky didn’t bother Willow with talk until they were almost at the hospital.


“She’ll be alright, Willow.”


Willow’s jaw was so tense it was trembling.


“Not if those babies aren’t, she won’t.”


Her head dropped into her lap.


“This is all my fault. I should have, I should have…”


Becky drove into the hospital parking lot and parked the car in the nearest spot she could find.


“Willow, I’m going to tell you the same thing I told Tara when that janky ass sperm donor of hers put a bullet in you.”


She turned in the seat and put her hand on Willow’s shoulder, making Willow lift her gaze.


“You need to stay strong here. She’s gonna need all your strength when she gets through this and wallowing in anger and self-pity isn’t helping your wife. Okay?”


Willow took in a long, sharp breath.


“You’re right.”


Becky smirked.


“How many years did it take you to finally get it?”


A small laugh escaped as Willow’s mouth as she wiped her arm over her face to wipe away the few tears that fell.


“Shut up Becky.”


Becky squeezed Willow’s knee.


“Go. I’ll be in the waiting room.”


“You don’t ha—” Willow started but Becky cut her off.


“I’ll be in the waiting room.”


Willow just gave her a pained smile and exited the car and jogged into the hospital where she approached the nurse at the triage desk.


“M-My wife was brought in. She collapsed and s-she’s pregnant. Tara Rosenberg-Maclay.”


The nurse looked up at her and her red eyes and wet cheeks and smiled kindly.


“Third floor.”


Willow nodded and pushed herself off to go to the elevators.


The brief ascent felt like an age but she stepped off onto the maternity care unit. She remembered being there the last time; when Tara had been bleeding. She thought that was the most scared she had ever been but this was worse. There was no one manning the nurses’ station so Willow had to discreetly peer in through various doors until she saw someone familiar.


“Tara,” she said in a relieved rush as she pushed the door open and ran over to Tara’s bedside.


Tara was awake and seemed just as relieved to see her.


“Willow.”


Willow grabbed Tara’s cheeks and kissed the top of her head repeatedly.


“What’s wrong, what happened?”


“I-I…” Tara started, helplessly and distressed, “I woke up in the ambulance. They gave me these things to chew on and took blood and hooked me up to this IV…and a nurse said they were getting the ultrasound machine. I don’t know, Willow, I don’t know. I don’t think I’m bleeding but I don’t know what happened.”


“The babies will be okay,” Willow promised quickly even though she didn’t quite believe it herself, “I’ll call Dr. Wells.”


“D-Don’t leave me,” Tara asked in a meek voice.


Willow had to swallow a deep lump.


“Never.”


She slipped her hand into Tara’s and squeezed tight.


Eventually, they were brought to the ultrasound room and there was a doctor waiting to squirt the jelly onto Tara’s exposed belly.


Tara’s eyelashes flickered as the probe pressed down on her bump and she felt Willow hold her hand tighter.


The doctor cocked her head at the screen.


“…did you know you were having twins?”


“Are they okay?” Willow asked quickly.


There was an aching moment of silence as the doctor moved the probe around to get a good look.


“Strong heartbeats and no signs of distress. Everything looks okay.”


Tara exhaled a shaken breath and Willow’s tensed shoulders slowly dropped.


“What happened to my wife?”


The doctor started to wipe the jelly away.


“We’re running tests. But expect to be kept in overnight.”


“Could we listen for a minute?” Willow requested quickly and then continued when the doctor glanced at her watch, “I know you have other places to go. Just a minute.”


The doctor flicked a button on the ultrasound and put the probe down.


“I’ll let the orderly know you’ll be ready in a minute,” she said kindly.


Willow smiled gratefully and then they were alone with their babies on screen and their galloping heartbeats filling the room. Willow bent her knees and put her forehead on Tara’s shoulder.


“Hear that baby?” she asked softly, “That’s our babies growing big and strong. Close your eyes and remember it.”


Tara’s eyes flickered closed softly and they just listened together for a calming minute.


As calm as they could be in the midst of this uncertainty.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:24 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1160
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Identical twins? So only one of the fertilized eggs was implanted? Could be fun!

Great to have supportive-type friends, in this case Anya and the guys for the physical and Becky for the emotional. Even on the show, Anya never got enough credit for the person she could be, and unlike Cordy she never got another place to develop that image.

Fainting. Well a pregnant woman's having a faint is an old device and could happen for many reasons, most not serious, some serious. (It wasn't an issue for my ex since she had been told flat out to stay off her feet; she had had some bleeding earlier, so given her history our ob decided to play it safe) so I'm looking forward to its being something alarmingly simple. Of course, if it *is* significant, I know you'll handle it swimmingly well!

I know tomatoes are a fruit but I never heard of their being kept in fruit bowls. or anywhere except the refrigerator :)

"Three under 3"; in the Children of the Dale fics I post here, the only twins are Dawn's with the worthless first husband who takes off when she's in her 4th month. The magical pregnancy ritual Willow and Tara use causes strictly single births with either one expecting. On the other hand, the Ice Age Buffy fics, some of which might show up here, *that* magical pregnancy ritual causes twins in both partners in any of the absurdly large number of lesbian couples in the commune who might take advantage of it, and four under 1 is likely to be an even more heroic experience, even if one (usually) or both (rarely) in the couple are Slayers. As it is, your versions of Willow and Tara have both my best wishes and my sympathies.

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Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:47 am 
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5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 349
Quote:
Do you know The Cat In The Hat?

No I don't. I checked out the link, thanks for the information.

Quote:
“Is Mom pregnant?”


Willow blinked once, her face remaining entirely neutral.


“What makes you ask that?”


JJ shrugged both shoulders heavily.


“I hear her throwing up all the time like you did when you were pregnant with Robyn. But a lot more.”


Willow exhaled a soft breath.


“I didn’t know that you remembered that.”


Willow straightened up, thought for a moment, then came and sat beside JJ.


“I’m going to be honest with you,” she said, covering one of his hands with hers, “Yes, Mom is pregnant.”


JJ heaved out a long breath.


“So we’re…having a baby?”


JJ is a very perceptive and clever boy. I'm glad that Willow told him the truth instead of trying to make him believe that Tara had some stomach problems that aren't dangerous and will soon pass or something like that.

Quote:
“Are they boys or girls?”


Willow held up her hands.


“We don’t know yet. But we do know they’ll be identical. Which do you want?”


JJ’s brow began to furrow in deep concentration.


“Well, two more girls is… a lot of girls.”


“It would be a lot of girls, huh?” Willow agreed with a nod, trying not to laugh.


JJ seemed to contemplate it some more.


“But I’d never have to share my room.”

:laugh Very clever again!

Quote:
“Or we could go with the wacky notion of actually telling people?” Willow suggested with an upward eyebrow and similarly inflected tone, “We’re past the three-month mark.”


Tara shook her head.


“I want to wait until after Robyn’s birthday.”


Willow looked pained.


“That’s another month. Another summer month,” she said pointedly and began to gesture to Tara’s stomach, “And you’re, you know…”


Tara raised an eyebrow and Willow laughed nervously.


“Showing appropriately for the two babies you have growing in there,” she covered as her eyes fell back to the bump, “Seriously, has nobody in work noticed?”


Tara smiled.


“I asked Michelle to spread fake gossip that I was stress eating.”


The corner of Willow’s lips tugged up as well.


“Why do you want to wait?”


“It’s Robyn’s last chance to be the ‘baby’,” Tara explained, shrugging one shoulder, “…I just want to let her enjoy it.”


That plan of Tara got totally crushed at the end of the chapter! I just hope Tara won't have to stay mainly in bed from now to the birth and therefore be absent from the birthday party...

Quote:
Angel was sitting in the shade with a glum look on his face; the happiest they’d seen him in months.

I was wondering why Angel is brooding here - just because it's what he does for fun :wink or is he allergic to the sun or can't stand hot weather or something?

Quote:
Willow came back through the back of the house and turned Robyn right-side-up as she passed.


“‘wimming, Mom-mah!” Robyn protested and splashed happily in the water, the way she did at Toddler Swim every week with Tara.

Another Robyn-cuteness-alert! :bigkiss

Quote:
Tara’s eyes closed and her nostrils flared.


“Willow. First JJ, now this. I want to tell people together.”

I'm sad that Tara didn't get her wish.

Quote:
About three steps onto the grass, Tara suddenly stopped abruptly. Willow stopped behind her, confused.


“Tara?”


The air became a sea of white as the napkins were tossed away as Tara’s body took a shaken step and started to fall.


The platters joined the napkins strewn around the grass as Willow flung them away to do a baseball slide to get under Tara to catch her.


“Tara!” she shrieked as Tara’s pale, unconscious face turned in her lap, “Call an ambulance!”


Becky already had her phone out and Xander took a big step forward them.


“It’s okay, it’s probably just heatstroke in that big sweater.”


“Dammit, she’s pregnant, call an ambulance!” Willow yelled, not seeing Becky with the phone to her ear or Brian ushering all of the kids inside or anything but quite how closed and unresponsive Tara’s eyes were.


“Come on baby,” Willow said gently, tapping Tara’s face, “Come on Tara!”


She checked Tara’s pulse and it was racing but at least it was there.


“Baby,” she choked, her jaw starting to tremble.


She bit back the tears and looked up in alarm that JJ or Robyn were seeing this.


“Where are the kids?”


“Brian brought them all inside,” Becky said as she bent down with Willow and held her holding Tara up, encouraging her into the recovery position, “The ambulance is on the way. It won’t be too long.”


Red Tara-alert! :shock
What a crappy way for the others to find out about the pregnancy. And at least poor JJ must be totally scared after witnessing his Mommy fainting - I hope Robyn didn't see what had happened before she got taken out of the pool and into the house. But she will certainly feel that JJ is scared and the adults are extremely worried as well.

Quote:
“Are they okay?” Willow asked quickly.


There was an aching moment of silence as the doctor moved the probe around to get a good look.


“Strong heartbeats and no signs of distress. Everything looks okay.”

At least some good news!

Quote:
Willow smiled gratefully and then they were alone with their babies on screen and their galloping heartbeats filling the room. Willow bent her knees and put her forehead on Tara’s shoulder.


“Hear that baby?” she asked softly, “That’s our babies growing big and strong. Close your eyes and remember it.”


Tara’s eyes flickered closed softly and they just listened together for a calming minute.


As calm as they could be in the midst of this uncertainty.

Hopefully the strength they can take from this moment will help them through what's to come. I also hope that Tara's condition isn't too serious and that she will be alright with lots of rest!


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:00 am 
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DaddyCatALSO

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Identical twins? So only one of the fertilized eggs was implanted? Could be fun!


There was only one fertilized egg to begin with!

Quote:
Great to have supportive-type friends, in this case Anya and the guys for the physical and Becky for the emotional. Even on the show, Anya never got enough credit for the person she could be, and unlike Cordy she never got another place to develop that image.


I always see it like this: Anya was Tara's friend. Anyone Tara calls a friend has to be a good person.

Quote:
Fainting. Well a pregnant woman's having a faint is an old device and could happen for many reasons, most not serious, some serious. (It wasn't an issue for my ex since she had been told flat out to stay off her feet; she had had some bleeding earlier, so given her history our ob decided to play it safe) so I'm looking forward to its being something alarmingly simple. Of course, if it *is* significant, I know you'll handle it swimmingly well!


Just keep swimming...

Quote:
I know tomatoes are a fruit but I never heard of their being kept in fruit bowls. or anywhere except the refrigerator :)


I am personally a fan of a cold, firmer tomato from the fridge for my sandwiches and whatnot but it is indeed not the recommended place of storage for them.

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"Three under 3"; in the Children of the Dale fics I post here, the only twins are Dawn's with the worthless first husband who takes off when she's in her 4th month. The magical pregnancy ritual Willow and Tara use causes strictly single births with either one expecting. On the other hand, the Ice Age Buffy fics, some of which might show up here, *that* magical pregnancy ritual causes twins in both partners in any of the absurdly large number of lesbian couples in the commune who might take advantage of it, and four under 1 is likely to be an even more heroic experience, even if one (usually) or both (rarely) in the couple are Slayers. As it is, your versions of Willow and Tara have both my best wishes and my sympathies.


Four under 1 does sound like a sleep and soul destroying existence. Willow and Tara will deal with their three under three though, don't worry!

Thanks for your comment!

Will’s redemption

Quote:
No I don't. I checked out the link, thanks for the information.


It's pretty whimsical and fun, I recommend! :)

Quote:
JJ is a very perceptive and clever boy. I'm glad that Willow told him the truth instead of trying to make him believe that Tara had some stomach problems that aren't dangerous and will soon pass or something like that.


I've always seen JJ as a bit of en empath. Senses emotions in others and naturally intuitive.

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That plan of Tara got totally crushed at the end of the chapter! I just hope Tara won't have to stay mainly in bed from now to the birth and therefore be absent from the birthday party...


Well, not exactly

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I was wondering why Angel is brooding here - just because it's what he does for fun :wink or is he allergic to the sun or can't stand hot weather or something?


Just how he relaxes :wink

Quote:
I'm sad that Tara didn't get her wish.


It's sad. A rite of passage she didn't get to experience.

Quote:
Red Tara-alert! :shock
What a crappy way for the others to find out about the pregnancy. And at least poor JJ must be totally scared after witnessing his Mommy fainting - I hope Robyn didn't see what had happened before she got taken out of the pool and into the house. But she will certainly feel that JJ is scared and the adults are extremely worried as well.


JJ will definitely be scared, he's old enough to understand these things and as before, naturally feels the bigger emotions of all of the others. It's a lot for a little guy.

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At least some good news!


Always in the end, I promise.

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Hopefully the strength they can take from this moment will help them through what's to come. I also hope that Tara's condition isn't too serious and that she will be alright with lots of rest!


Same answer as above :)

Thanks so much for your feedback!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:00 am 
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Chapter Seven




Tara adjusted her shoulders against the propped-up hospital bed and sighed.


Willow was on the chair beside her, her arm strewn on the bed with her head resting on top as she snored softly. She’d been there all afternoon and Tara was already wincing at the crick she knew would be in her wife’s neck when she woke up.


It was a distraction from wondering what was going on with her own body though, and if it was affecting the babies.


She resisted stroking Willow’s hair, giving her as much time as possible to avoid her fate.


The light was disappearing through the window blinds but Tara had no idea what time it was and didn’t feel much like moving to find out.


Except she would like to know how long she'd been there and what was going on. All she’d been told so far between fleeting nurse visits was she was being kept in for observation.


The door peeked open and when Tara looked over she spotted Dr. Wells sneaking in quietly. The doctor offered her a smile.


“Not waking you, am I?” she asked quietly.


Tara shook her head.


“They came to take my blood pressure again a little while ago. Hard to stay asleep when you’re being squeezed like that.”


Dr. Wells looked at her sympathetically as she picked up Tara’s chart to read it.


“One of these days you’re going to have to actually come to a scheduled appointment and not in a hospital bed,” she said as she flicked through and put it on the end of the bed again, “How are you feeling?”


“A bit out of sorts,” Tara admitted, “They haven’t told us anything. Did I get dehydrated again? I know it was warm yesterday but I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of fashion. They said the babies are okay but are they just telling me that to keep me calm?”


Dr. Wells consulted the chart again, then looked toward Willow.


“Do you want to wake her?”


Tara paused nervously and glanced over at Willow.


“It’s the beeping,” she explained, somewhat defensively, “She finds robotic noises soothing. A-and she got up early with the kids.”


“There’s no need to explain,” Dr. Wells replied graciously, “I’ve known many people to fall asleep in times of great stress. It’s actually the same exact neural pathway that handles wakefulness which also controls a key aspect of our stress response so it's not not unusual.”


Tara smiled gratefully.


She hovered her hand above Willow’s head for a moment, then brought it down gently to stroke her hair.


It took a few seconds but then Willow’s eyes peeked out from under her arm and her face grew pained as a hand flew to the back of her neck.


“The doctor is here,” Tara said softly.


Willow’s head flew up which produced a groan but she quickly stood up and offered her attention.


“What is it, what’s happening?”


“Hi Willow,” Dr. Wells smiled warmly and picked the chart up again, holding it in front of her, “The reason they keep taking your blood pressure is because it’s a little low. It’s likely why you fainted.”


“Why is her blood pressure low?” Willow asked groggily as she blinked away the last of her sleep.


Dr. Wells flicked through the chart again.


“The blood work indicates that you’re anemic. Which is not at all unusual during pregnancy. We’ll add in a B12 supplement and everything should even out.”


“That’s great,” Willow said through a relieved breath, but her brow started to crease again at the silence in the room, “Right?”


Dr. Wells sat on the bottom corner of the bed.


“Tara, when you came in, your blood sugar was very high. What had you eaten prior to collapsing?”


Tara frowned.


“I had breakfast. We had eggs. I had a glass of orange juice, would that do it?”


“But you also threw it all back up,” Willow added in, “Her morning sickness has been awful.”


“It’s not that bad,” Tara dismissed, “I can control it with tea.”


Willow frowned this time.


“She’s also had headaches.”


Tara sat up uncomfortably.


“Well, obviously I’m tiring easier these days.”


“And she’s wobbly sometimes,” Willow said, shaking her head as she was starting to put the pattern of symptoms together.


Tara’s brow furrowed.


“It’s just moments of clouded vision, I thought maybe I needed glasses.”


Willow’s face snapped toward Tara in annoyance.


“When are you going to learn that not taking care of yourself is not taking care of our family?!”


Dr. Wells stood to her full height in an attempt to calm the situation.


“Okay, Willow perhaps you could step out for a moment—”


“No, I’m…” Willow immediately shrunk back and blinked several times, “I’m sorry. I know that wasn’t helpful, I’m sorry. I-I’ll leave if Tara wants me to leave.”


Tara reached out and took Willow’s hand.


“I don’t want you to leave.”


Willow mouthed ‘I’m sorry’ and Tara just nodded and squeezed their hands together.


Dr. Wells gently folded her arms across her chest and moved a step closer.


“Tara, they want to test for something called gestational diabetes. It’s on the early side for it to present, but your blood work warrants investigation. Your glucose levels may just have been skewed if you were vomiting frequently but they’re having a little trouble stabilizing it again.”


Tara paled and Willow’s mouth dropped.


“Die…diabetes?” she asked, her voice trembling, “But Tara’s the healthiest of the lot of us.”


“It’s not inherited from lifestyle. Having a healthy diet and exercise regime will be a good thing if she has developed the condition,” Dr. Wells replied reassuringly, “The good news is for the vast, vast majority of women, it doesn’t extend beyond pregnancy.”


She gave them a moment but something beeped on her waist and she had to continue.


“You have to be fasting for eight hours for the test so they’ll be keeping you overnight. Have you eaten anything since you’ve been here?”


Tara shook her head, her face still stony and shocked.


“Um, no. No. Just some water.”


Dr. Wells nodded.


“They’ll give you a glucose drink and draw your blood before and after. In pregnancy, we usually do this twice with different concentrations to confirm it. If you do have it, then we can take next steps. But it is very manageable and as Willow said, your healthy lifestyle will only benefit you.”


She patted Tara’s hand.


“I’m doing a delivery here today so I’ll check in on you. Babies don’t recognize federal holidays,” she joked and looked sympathetic again when the room remained understandably silent, “Don’t worry, Tara. You and the babies are in the best hands.”


“T-Thanks, doctor,” Willow said in an echoing tone and Dr. Wells offered them both a soft smile before leaving.


Neither of them said anything and Willow had to snap herself into action.


“Hey, it’s gonna be okay.”


She fussed over Tara’s pillow and blanket.


Tara put a hand on Willow’s arm and slid it down to her wrist.


“You should get out of here. It sounds like it’s going to be another while, at least.”


Willow’s brow creased in concern.


“I’m just going to try and sleep,” Tara continued, “I need the rest.”


Willow nodded slowly.


“Yeah, no, you should rest,” she said, straightening her back up and feeling lots of muscle movement, “Um, okay, I’ll let you sleep. Becky said…oh man, I hope she’s not still hanging around the waiting room. I’ll call her and ask her to bring me to get the car.”


Tara nodded back.


“And the kids.”


Willow blinked heavily.


Everything was still on a go-slow.


“Right, the kids,” she swallowed, “Um…I’ll…I’ll check in with Xander. Maybe they wouldn’t mind keeping them. They said they could sleep over.”


Tara linked her fingers with Willow.


“Willow, there’s no point in you coming back until the morning. Be with the kids.”


Willow’s pained eyes fell to Tara’s face.


“I wanna stay with you. I’ve…I’ve always stayed with you.”


Tara smiled sadly.


“Before we had children who need their Momma.”


Willow gulped.


“I don’t want you to be alone.”


Tara shook her head.


“I need a Willow who’s had a good night’s sleep. That little chair will kill you. That’s if you’re even able to sweet-talk the nurses into letting you stay,” she said and her lips sloped up in a crooked smile, “What am I saying, of course, you would.”


She squeezed Willow’s hand.


“But you shouldn’t. I’d just be worried about the kids and I’m really trying to keep my head together right now. For the babies.”


“For the babies,” Willow repeated with a short, sure not, “Okay, well I’ll swing back with some pajamas and home comforts. Phone charger and stuff so we can call to say goodnight.”


“Thank you, yes,” Tara nodded quickly.


“Do you want anything to eat?” Willow asked, trying to be helpful, then swallowed again, “Oh. Guess I better leave that to them.”


“Yeah, I think so,” Tara replied, biting her bottom lip, “Maybe just my face spritz. To keep cool.”


“Of course,” Willow said and looked at Tara for a long moment before cupping both of her cheeks and leaning down to kiss her.


“I love you so much,” she whispered, resting her forehead on Tara’s forehead, “All of you.”


Tara closed her hand around the back of Willow’s neck and held her there.


“We know.”


They stayed in that moment until the door opened and a nurse came in to check Tara’s vitals again.


Willow pulled back and cleared her throat.


“Um, well, I’ll be back in a bit.”


“Give the kids a big hug from me,” Tara requested and Willow just nodded.


She pressed two fingers to her lips and blew it over before slipping out the door to stop Tara from seeing her tears.


She wiped them away as she made her way back down the elevator and only remembered at the last second before exiting the building that she hadn’t driven.


She walked back to the waiting room and felt her heart clench when she saw Becky sitting in a plastic chair with her chin on her chest and her eyes closed.


Willow hurried over and put a hand on her shoulder.


“Becky,” she said apologetically when Becky opened her eyes jadedly, “I’m so sorry.”


Becky stretched as she stood up.


“I said I’d be here,” she said in a reassuring tone, “What’s happening?”


“She’s okay. The babies,” Willow stopped and swallowed, “Are okay. She’s…she’s anemic and they think she might have diabetes?”


Becky’s eyebrows furrowed deeply.


“Huh?!”


“It’s pregnancy-related,” Willow tried to explain, though she wasn’t sure she understood herself, “She won’t have it forever, if she does have it at all…but they’re keeping her in. I-I need to get her a few things, I…”


Becky just nodded.


“We’ll go to your house.”


Willow looked down and shook her head.


“You don’t have to—”


Becky slapped a hand on Willow’s back and led her wordlessly out of the hospital toward the parking lot.


They got strapped into the car and Becky smirked across as she started the engine.


“So, twins, huh?” she asked in a teasing tone, “You’re fucking nuts. Have you crunched the numbers on how many kids that will mean you have?”


Willow couldn’t help but chuckle.


“It’s the kind of ‘buy one, get one free’ you can’t refuse.”


“Hey, this technically means one of your kids was unplanned,” Becky joked and Willow let out a big belly laugh.


Becky brought Willow home and waited in the car while she packed up a bag for Tara. Willow had to hunt out the spare key and some of the cash they kept for emergencies since she had nothing in her pockets but her phone.


On the way back to the hospital, they stopped by the store to get some magazines and fresh water which Willow carried back up to Tara’s room.


Inside, the room was silent apart from the gentle whirr of machines. Willow snuck past Tara’s fast-asleep form and put the bag on the chair so Tara could reach it when she woke up. Willow fixed the blanket and placed the gentlest of kisses on Tara’s lips before leaving again, stopping at the door to give one last longing look back.


She returned to the car and Becky just pulled out from the spot, respecting Willow’s obvious need for silence.


At the Harris household, Willow heard Robyn crying before she’d even gotten in the door.


Xander, holding and trying to soothe her in arms, looked apologetic as Willow walked into the living room.


“I’m sorry, Willow. We tried to put her down. Not even her binky is working.”


“It’s okay,” Willow said with a tired smile, reaching out to pluck Robyn from Xander’s arms, “It’s okay, baby. Momma's here.”


Robyn threw her little arms around Willow’s neck as best she could and blew snot bubbles against Willow’s skin until she calmed down.


Willow just silently stroked her back and sat on the couch. Xander and Anya checked if she needed anything, then left her alone. As she cradled Robyn, she heard Becky’s car leaving again.


Eventually, Robyn’s only movement was the soft rise and fall of her chest. Willow stayed still with her, needing the baby cuddles as much as the actual baby until a ray of light shone inside as the door peeked open.


“Momma?”


Willow looked over and blinked several times to bring herself back into the room.


“Jakey. Come here.”


She held her arm out and JJ hurried over on the tips of his bare feet, stretching out the slightly-too-small PJs he’d borrowed from Alex. JJ situated himself snugly under Willow’s arm with his knees pulled up to his chest.


“Mom is okay. She just needs to rest,” Willow reassured, rubbing his arm up and down, “You must have gotten a big scare.”


JJ reached over to pick up the pacifier clipped onto Robyn’s jammies and popped it into her slightly opened mouth. After a moment, Robyn’s mouth closed around it and she began to suck.


“I took care of Robyn,” JJ answered plainly.


“Well I’m here now to take care of you both,” Willow said, kissing the top of JJ’s head.


“Are the babies okay?” JJ asked with creased eyes.


Willow nodded reassuringly.


“Everything is okay. And we can see Mom tomorrow.”


JJ’s face evened out and he snuggled back into Willow. They silently cuddled for several minutes until Robyn started rubbing her nose against Willow’s collarbone and then looked up sleepily.


“‘om-mah?” Robyn garbled under her pacifier as if she might be a mirage.


“I’m here baby,” Willow soothed, “Let’s call Mommy and say night-night and then get you two up to bed.”


They called Tara who had obviously just woken up as well but hid it well. They all said goodnight to her and Willow checked in with cautious language to make sure she was doing okay.


Willow got the kids tucked in again quietly so as not to disturb the other sleeping children.


When she got back downstairs she went into the kitchen where Xander and Anya were talking. A beer was thrust at her, which she took gratefully.


“Is it okay to crash on the couch? Just, with the kids here and everything.”


“We already made up the guest room for ya Wills,” Xander smiled tenderly, reaching out to clutch Willow’s shoulder and giving it an affectionate squeeze.


Willow smiled back weakly and her eyes darted from side to side. She looked over her shoulder.


“Maybe I’ll try to go sneak back into the hospital room.”


“Willow. No,” Xander replied gently and pulled her into a proper hug, “It's just for one night.”


Willow’s brow furrowed.


“Yeah, I-I know, but…it's a whole night. I don't think I can sleep without her.”


“You can sleep with me,” Anya offered with a sincere smile.


They both looked at Anya with raised eyebrows. Anya started to frown.


“Well, now that came out a lot more lesbian than it sounded in my head.”


“That’s actually really nice, Anya,” Willow said, her eyes flashing over to her gratefully for a moment, “But I’ll be fine in the guest room.”


She looked at the unopened bottle of beer again and put it down on the counter.


“Actually I think I might just go and try and get some sleep. I’ll get my Dad to take the kids tomorrow so we’ll be out of your hair. I’ll figure out a babysitter or something if Tara has to stay in longer than the weekend.”


“We got you, Will,” Xander promised, “Whatever you need. Becky filled us in.”


Willow offered as much of a smile as she could and lifted her hand in a short wave before retreating back upstairs to the guest room. Realizing she had brought absolutely nothing for herself, she stripped down and tied the robe hanging on the back of the door around her.


She laid down and began her night of fistful sleep.



Willow snuck into the hospital room intending to be silent as a mouse but Tara was awake and idly flipping through a magazine Willow had brought her yesterday.


“Hey, honey,” Willow said softly as she stepped in fully.


“Hey,” Tara replied, perking up as she saw her wife’s face.


She sat up more fully and put the magazine off to the side.


“How are the kids?”


“Fine. Good,” Willow said, coming over to the bedside and kissing Tara’s cheek, “JJ is feeling it more. I don’t think Robyn actually saw anything, she was just mad she was taken away from the paddling pool and missed her bedtime routine.”


She sighed and took Tara’s hand.


“She was upset when I went back. She needed a cuddle,” she smiled weakly at Tara, “So did I.”


She pulled the chair forward so it was right by the bed and she wouldn’t have to let go of Tara’s hand.


“Any updates?”


“They’ve done all the tests so we just have to wait for the results,” Tara replied, her voice clearly apprehensive.


Willow brought Tara’s hand to her mouth and kissed her knuckles.


“How are you feeling?”


Tara’s eyes grew downcast.


“Okay, I think. They brought me some toast right after the last blood draw and it was the nicest toast I’ve ever had. I was starving.”


“Honey,” Willow replied sympathetically, rubbing her thumb over Tara’s fingers, “Well my Dad took the kids this morning. They’re good to stay there for the weekend if needs be. They’ll settle better there.”


“Did you apologize for me ruining the BBQ?” Tara asked with her shoulders fallen in on themselves.


Willow shot Tara a look.


“Are you kidding me right now, Tara?”


Tara reached out and cupped Willow’s cheek.


“You’re tired,” she deduced pretty easily, “Did you sleep at all?”


Willow looked down guiltily.


“One stretch lasted an entire seven seconds.”


Tara tucked some hair behind Willow’s ear.


“Go home and—”


Willow looked right up.


“Don’t,” she cut Tara off before she could even say it, “Would you?”


Tara let her hand fall away and then used it to pat the bed.


Willow cocked her head.


“Tara…”


“Willow…” Tara teased back in a soft voice with an accompanying crooked smile and patted the bed again.


Willow felt like her body was being pulled onto the bed like a magnet and found herself curling up alongside Tara; taking up as little room as possible and yet feeling the most comfortable she had ever been.


Tara stroked Willow’s hair and Willow pressed a light kiss into Tara’s neck.


Thankfully Willow heard the door opening before it did and she was able to quickly stand off to the side before Dr. Wells came in.


She greeted them but quickly got to the point.


“The diabetes test has come back positive.”


Tara’s hand tightened in Willow’s. She took a moment, closing her eyes and opening them again, glassy.


“Is it dangerous for the babies?” she asked in a tense voice.


“Not as long as we keep it in control. Which we will,” Dr. Wells promised, “You will need more frequent check-ups and if you were considering home birth as you did last time I cannot recommend you proceed with the idea. I wouldn’t even be comfortable with a complication-free twin home birth so it’s not a huge loss for you, I hope.”


“We hadn’t talked about it,” Tara replied, glancing over to Willow, “I was nervous when it was Willow but it all happened so fast in the end. I’m okay with doing it in the hospital. Whatever is best for the babies.”


“And Tara,” Willow added on in concern, “What’s best for Tara too.”


She rubbed Tara’s arm and Dr. Wells nodded.


“Of course. Let me go through everything you need to know.”


She outlined what the diagnosis meant for Tara going forward and what she might expect of her pregnancy as it advanced. It wasn’t too overwhelming but still made Willow feel very, very nervous.


“Any questions?” Dr. Wells asked at the end.


“Can she go home?” Willow asked, swallowing deeply.


Dr. Wells smiled sympathetically.


“They want to keep you but I know you must be anxious to get home to the kids. So on the balance of anxieties, I’d prefer to see you at home too, if you’re willing to have a home nurse check in for a couple of days and stay on bed rest until we stabilize your blood pressure and sugars. After that, we’ll discuss a follow-up appointment for a nutrition and exercise plan to go forward with.”


She stopped and scribbled something on Tara’s chart.


“You’ll need to get a blood glucose monitoring kit. Check morning and night and then after every meal,” she said and looked between them with a softly creased brow when they both looked a bit ashen, “I know this is overwhelming.”


“I’ll take care of her,” Willow said quickly, squeezing Tara’s hand.


Dr. Wells nodded and smiled at Willow.


“Well, I just called by to check on you before I go into my clinic for the day. I’ll discuss what we talked about with the doctors here and they’ll organize your discharge.”


“Thank you so much for coming by,” Tara replied, pushing herself up on her palms to sit straighter, “I really appreciate it.”


“Of course,” Dr. Wells smiled again, “Everything will be okay. I’ve had hundreds of patients navigate this without any harm done to mom or baby. Feel better, Tara.”


Tara thanked her again and Willow echoed it. Willow watched her leave and ran a hand back through her hair.


“I’m gonna go call our insurance and see what I can organize.”


“Okay,” Tara said, biting the side of her lip.


Willow leaned down and kissed the top of her head.


“You heard her. Everything will be okay.”


“Yeah,” Tara replied, closing her eyes, “Of course.”


Willow hugged her sidelong for a minute or so and then pushed away to try and organize the nurse; just to give her something to do, to feel like she was helpful.


Tara dropped her head back against the angled bed and looked up at the ceiling. She put a hand on her belly and closed her eyes.


She only remembered feeling this scared once before and it was the moment she realized her father's bullet had pierced Willow and not her.


But Willow had been okay.


And the babies would be too; Tara had to believe that.



Quietly, she opened her mouth and started to sing under her breath.


Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you
I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through



The last words were barely spoken out loud as she tried to just breathe. She’d sung that song to Willow after the 'incident' and it had helped. So maybe this time it would help too. They were Willow's babies, after all.


Willow blew in like a hurricane a little while later and while Tara hadn’t been asleep, she did feel jolted out of whatever place she’d been in.


“Thank god for health insurance,” Willow said as she went to pick up her purse to find a pen, “I suddenly feel like making a very big donation to Planned Parenthood.”


She ended up groaning in frustration and upending her bag onto the floor.


Tara jumped and reached out to grab her arm.


“Honey.”


Willow’s fist balled by her side.


“I have to write this number down before I forget.”


“Write it on your phone,” Tara advised softly.


Willow looked down at the phone in her hand and gulped.


“Right.”


She entered the phone number and saved it for safety but the tremble in her fingers was too much to actually commit to the call.


Tara noticed and tried to pull Willow closer gently by tugging on her hand.


“Willow…”


Willow’s jaw tensed and she visibly held back tears.


“You’re gonna be okay,” she said to convince herself more than Tara, “We’ll adjust our meals, go on family walks in the evenings. We’re all in this together. You won’t have to take care of the babies alone after they’re born and you don’t have to before either.”


“It’s okay to say that you’re scared,” Tara replied in a soft tone, “I am.”


Willow remained stoic.


“It’s fine. It's all good.”


Tara reached up and caressed Willow’s cheek.


“Hey, Will, this is me. It doesn't all have to be ‘good’ and ‘fine’. This is the room where you don't have to be brave. I still love you. If you're worried you can be worried.”


Willow sank down onto the side of the bed.


“This room doesn’t feel too comforting.”


“Not the hospital room,” Tara said with a tender, sloped smile, “The…space…any space…where it’s just us.”


“The cosmic room of commitment,” Willow suggested with some forced joviality.


“There you go,” Tara replied warmly, moving her hand down to Willow’s upper arm and rubbing there.


Willow swallowed deeply and brought her gaze over to Tara.


“I’m scared.”


Tara nodded slowly.


“I know. Me too.”


Willow’s eyes closed and a tear escape.


“C’mere,” Tara said and they bundled together again on the bed as they had earlier, holding each other.


Neither cried but they didn’t speak either and just tried to process everything in silence together. Willow actually felt stronger for it and was able to pull herself away with a new sense of purpose.


“Okay, I have to call this home nurse agency and I need to check in with my Dad and the kids…he said they could stay for the weekend so it shouldn’t be a problem.”


Tara shook her head.


“I want them at home.”


Willow paused and pursed her lips for a moment.


“You heard the doctor, you have to be on bed rest for a couple of days at least. Our children are not the ‘resting’ type.”


“Willow, please,” Tara pleaded softly, “I just want to be at home with my family.”


Willow sighed.


“Okay, but you have to back up my bad cop if they’re trying to crawl all over you.”


Tara smiled softly.


“Sergeant Stern, reporting for duty.”


“Alright,” Willow agreed, starting to smile, “I’ll go figure things out so we can go home.”


She kissed Tara’s cheek and left the room again to make her phone calls outside.


Finally, everything came together and Willow was wheeling Tara out to the car. She fussed over the angle of the seat and the pull of the safety belt.


“Willow, I’m okay,” Tara said, placing her hands over Willow’s arm to stall her, “I know you’re just worried. I get it. But please treat me normally. You make me feel sicker when you treat me like an invalid.”


Willow held her hands up.


“Okay. I’m sorry.”


She pressed down on the buckle and Tara playfully slapped her away, making her giggle.


“Alright, alright.”


They smiled at each other and Tara dropped her hand onto Willow’s and squeezed it. Willow linked their fingers for a moment, then nodded and closed the door so she could go around to the driver’s side.


The drive home was thankfully uneventful and Tara enjoyed a moment in the front yard before she forced herself inside for her hopefully short stint stuck inside.


Willow noticed and came up behind her to stroke her back.


“We’ll keep the window open so you can hear the birds sing.”


Tara smiled and reached back to hold the hand sitting on her shoulder.


Willow led them inside and Tara made her way upstairs, negotiating the baby gates on her way and wondering why they kept them at all when Robyn often just climbed right over.


She went into the bedroom and ran her hand behind the back of her neck. There’d been many a weekend she and Willow had never left the bed but this didn’t have quite the same allure to it.


“Willow, I’m going to have a shower,” she called down, poking her head out of the door.


“Okay, I’ll bring you tea!” Willow called back.


Tara smiled, despite everything. It was never difficult to feel loved in this house.


She went into the bathroom and ran the shower. She looked at herself in the mirror as it got to temperature. Her eyes betrayed her less-than-stellar night and she suddenly felt the weariness come over her. She undressed and stepped under the spray, grateful to feel the water wash away her day-and-a-half of sweat.


She kept the shower brief and dressed in cool pajamas. Just as she was settling some pillows behind her back, Willow walked in with a cup of tea.


“Your fave. Cinnamon. Good for nausea and sugar control, apparently,” she said with a helpful smile as she set it down on the nightstand and stood back to look at Tara, “Your color is better.”


Tara nodded back against the pillows.


“It’s good to be home.”


Willow perched herself on the edge of the bed and ran her hand up and down Tara’s thigh.


“I read a bunch last night when I couldn’t sleep. Loaded up my brain on low GI foods and simple carbohydrates. Bet I could ace a Food Nutrition exam.”


Tara smiled softly but before she could respond, the doorbell rang.


“That’s probably my Dad with the kids,” Willow said, standing up again.


“I want to say hello,” Tara requested and Willow looked back and nodded before disappearing.


Tara heard her children long before she saw them as well as the shushing from Willow as she brought them upstairs.


When Robyn got to the door and spotted her mother, she flailed excitedly and started to make a running jump.


Willow caught her just short of doing a back spring onto the bed.


“Hey, what did I just tell you?”


“She’s okay,” Tara said with a v in her brow at seeing Robyn’s sad little face at being reprimanded.


Willow looked at her intently.


“Is Sargent Stern available please?”


Tara relented but held her arms open. Willow delicately placed Robyn in her lap and Tara wrapped an arm around her while keeping the other open for JJ to come around and cuddle on the other side.


“How are my little loves doing?”


“We missed you,” JJ said with his head down.


Willow sat on the bed and patted his back while Tara dropped a kiss on top of his head.


“I missed you too.”


“Mom-mee why go?” Robyn asked, her bright blue eyes looking up at Tara, wounded.


“Well, Robbie,” Tara started and looked over to Willow who nodded for her to continue, “I had to go because my tummy felt funny. And guess what?”


“Wha’?” Robyn asked, her mouth lifting in a grin.


Tara placed her palm on her stomach and pulled up her top to show her the bump.


At least she could make the reveal to one person.


“You’re gonna be a big sister,” she said with appropriate awe, “I have babies in my belly.”


Willow nudged JJ and winked at him while Robyn looked around all of them with a little confused face.


“Mom-mee 'ave bay-bee?”


“Babies,” Willow corrected, holding up two fingers, “Two.”


Robyn’s brow furrowed some more.


“Mom-mee 'ave bubbies?”


Tara brought Robyn’s hands onto her stomach to feel.


“Yes, Mommy has two babies in her belly. Like when you were in Momma’s belly.”


Robyn felt around for a few moments and lifted her hand but before she could slap it down or anything else, JJ grabbed her.


“So we gotta be gentle and not hit Mom’s stomach or anything okay?”


“O’tay!” Robyn agreed obediently from her big brother, “Bubbies wan’ play?”


“The babies have to grow in Mommy’s belly for a while,” Willow explained, “They have to grow big and strong like you!”


“No play?” Robyn asked with a protruding lower lip.


“Not yet,” Tara replied with a sympathetic back rub.


Robyn looked at Willow hopefully.


“Mom-mah play?”


“Guess I can’t use the big and strong excuse,” Willow grumbled and then felt a very insistent toddler tug, “Okay, okay, I’m coming.”


Willow followed Robyn out to play in her room and Tara took the opportunity to have a moment with JJ.


“You’re a good boy,” she said, squeezing him sidelong, “The babies are very lucky to have you as a big brother.”


“A-Are they okay?” JJ asked with a nervous tilt to his voice.


Tara nodded and looked at him reassuringly.


“Yes. I just have to look after myself so I can take care of them,” she said, gesturing around them, “So I have to stay in bed for a couple of days. Will you help your Momma?”


JJ nodded diligently.


“I can make breakfast and bring Robyn on my walks with Woofy.”


Tara’s brow furrowed.


“Why don’t you ask Mrs. Potts if Woofy can come over here to play with you both instead.”


“Okay,” JJ shrugged.


Tara opened her arms.


“Can I have a hug?”


JJ ‘obliged’ though he seemed to need it too as he lingered.


Moments after they parted, Willow appeared in the doorway with pink clips stuck in all fashions all over her hair. JJ and Tara looked at each other and shared a hidden smile.


“Okay Jakey, Mommy needs to rest now,” Willow advised and JJ jumped down off the bed to follow her out, “Is grilled fish okay for dinner? Green beans, maybe some quinoa?”


“That sounds really good,” Tara nodded, trying her hardest to take Willow seriously when she looked like that.


Willow put her arm around JJ and smiled back.


“Call down if you need anything. I’ll check on you too.”


Tara exhaled softly, settled back against the pillows and finally picked up her tea.



Tara stared at the multiple empty cups sitting on her nightstand and didn’t react as her finger was pricked to draw a drop of blood.


Catching it on a strip, a nurse named April slot the strip into a machine and waited for the beep. She smiled at Tara.


“Good. Your sugars are finally stabilizing.”


Willow came into the room carrying a tray with yet another cup of cinnamon tea and a bowl of oatmeal also topped with cinnamon. It was now having the odd effect of both causing and soothing her nausea.


“I checked her first thing this morning too and they were holding steady after sleeping.”


“I’ve been, um, quite the pincushion,” Tara said as she raised her arm obligingly for her blood pressure to be checked and looked over to April, “Does that mean I get out of bed now?”


April smiled sympathetically.


“Not my call, I’m afraid. You’ll need to check in with your doctor.”


Willow left the tray on Tara’s lap and picked up the little notebook where April had marked in Tara’s readings.


“I’m going to call the doctor with these,” she said and made her way back downstairs.


April finished what she needed to do and told Tara she would see her later. Tara stared down at her oatmeal and idly stirred it with her spoon.


A few minutes later and when Tara had managed to get down half of her breakfast, Willow came skipping back in.


“Good news, Dr. Wells says if your numbers stay steady for the next 24 hours that you can come off bed rest,” she said with a smile for Tara, “And JJ’s gone off to camp and Robyn is at daycare so you’ll be disruption-free and can sleep as much as you want.”


Tara brightened slightly at the thought of an end in sight, but it still felt like a long time.


“Are you going to work?”


Willow shook her head.


“Working from home again.”


She said it easily but Tara knew it was a pain in the ass because Willow couldn’t access a lot of classified files from home.


Tara glanced downward.


“I feel so guilty.”


Willow came over and sat on the edge of the bed opposite Tara.


“Nothing else is more important,” she said, covering Tara’s hand on the comforter with her own, “Hey, I’ve been sourcing recipes for the meal plan the doctor sent over. Mostly we can still all eat the same things. Have you thought about doing some more swimming when you’re able again?”


Tara shook her head slowly.


“I’m kind of worried about getting a kick in the stomach or slipping on the way in and out. I couldn’t even take Robyn to toddler swim last time.”


Willow’s brow furrowed.


“Oh baby, I didn’t know that. I’ll take her, that’s no problem.”


“I thought I might try yoga,” Tara mused quietly, “I’d have my own space, at least.”


“That’s a great idea,” Willow encouraged, then smiled sympathetically as Tara kept stirring her food, “You’re really fed up, aren’t you?”


Tara looked up guiltily.


“I’m just used to being able to be up and doing stuff.”


“It won’t be much longer,” Willow reassured and tried to provoke a smile, “Your numbers are looking as good as the rest of you.”


Tara blushed despite knowing she wasn’t much in the good looking department right now, or at least she felt that way. It worked, though, she also smiled.


Willow pushed herself back to the headboard and put her arm around Tara’s shoulder.


“I’ve got you. Never forget that, okay?”


Tara closed her eyes and rested her head on Willow’s shoulder. Everything felt so up in the air but she could always rely on Willow.


“I won’t.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 20th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:56 pm 
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Love these last two updates (I was caring for a family member and didn't check in for a couple of days). Thank goodness for the authors here on the board, I needed this.
Personally,..I'm with Jakey. I don't want him to have to share his room,..AND one of the new babies needs to be named after Tara's' mother.
Just sayin'
Thanks again for writing Laragh, and Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 20th 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:14 am 
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Quote:
“Tara, they want to test for something called gestational diabetes. It’s on the early side for it to present, but your blood work warrants investigation. Your glucose levels may just have been skewed if you were vomiting frequently but they’re having a little trouble stabilizing it again.”


Tara paled and Willow’s mouth dropped.


“Die…diabetes?” she asked, her voice trembling, “But Tara’s the healthiest of the lot of us.”


“It’s not inherited from lifestyle. Having a healthy diet and exercise regime will be a good thing if she has developed the condition,” Dr. Wells replied reassuringly, “The good news is for the vast, vast majority of women, it doesn’t extend beyond pregnancy.”

Quote:
“The diabetes test has come back positive.”

So I guessed right. One of my friends had pregnancy diabetes and it passed once her son was born.

Quote:
At the Harris household, Willow heard Robyn crying before she’d even gotten in the door.


Xander, holding and trying to soothe her in arms, looked apologetic as Willow walked into the living room.


“I’m sorry, Willow. We tried to put her down. Not even her binky is working.”


“It’s okay,” Willow said with a tired smile, reaching out to pluck Robyn from Xander’s arms, “It’s okay, baby. Momma's here.”


Robyn threw her little arms around Willow’s neck as best she could and blew snot bubbles against Willow’s skin until she calmed down.


Willow just silently stroked her back and sat on the couch.

That surely was a situation where only a Momma- or Mommy-cuddle could help.

Quote:
She held her arm out and JJ hurried over on the tips of his bare feet, stretching out the slightly-too-small PJs he’d borrowed from Alex. JJ situated himself snugly under Willow’s arm with his knees pulled up to his chest.


“Mom is okay. She just needs to rest,” Willow reassured, rubbing his arm up and down, “You must have gotten a big scare.”


JJ reached over to pick up the pacifier clipped onto Robyn’s jammies and popped it into her slightly opened mouth. After a moment, Robyn’s mouth closed around it and she began to suck.


“I took care of Robyn,” JJ answered plainly.


“Well I’m here now to take care of you both,” Willow said, kissing the top of JJ’s head.


“Are the babies okay?” JJ asked with creased eyes.


Willow nodded reassuringly.


“Everything is okay. And we can see Mom tomorrow.”


JJ’s face evened out and he snuggled back into Willow.

Awww! JJ is such a wonderful big brother to Robyn and already to the babies, also worrying about them.

Quote:
“Maybe I’ll try to go sneak back into the hospital room.”


“Willow. No,” Xander replied gently and pulled her into a proper hug, “It's just for one night.”


Willow’s brow furrowed.


“Yeah, I-I know, but…it's a whole night. I don't think I can sleep without her.”


“You can sleep with me,” Anya offered with a sincere smile.


They both looked at Anya with raised eyebrows. Anya started to frown.


“Well, now that came out a lot more lesbian than it sounded in my head.”


“That’s actually really nice, Anya,” Willow said, her eyes flashing over to her gratefully for a moment, “But I’ll be fine in the guest room.”

Canon-easteregg! That was one of my most favourite Anya-moments on the show, proving that she has a good heart and cares for all the scoobies, including Willow although they've been bickering often.

Quote:
“Hey, Will, this is me. It doesn't all have to be ‘good’ and ‘fine’. This is the room where you don't have to be brave. I still love you. If you're worried you can be worried.”

Another canon-easteregg and one of my favourite Tara-Willow-moments. It's great in the context of your story too, including the "stretch" ("this room" meaning any room in which they are alone together).

Quote:
Tara placed her palm on her stomach and pulled up her top to show her the bump.


At least she could make the reveal to one person.


“You’re gonna be a big sister,” she said with appropriate awe, “I have babies in my belly.”


Willow nudged JJ and winked at him while Robyn looked around all of them with a little confused face.


“Mom-mee 'ave bay-bee?”


“Babies,” Willow corrected, holding up two fingers, “Two.”


Robyn’s brow furrowed some more.


“Mom-mee 'ave bubbies?”


Tara brought Robyn’s hands onto her stomach to feel.


“Yes, Mommy has two babies in her belly. Like when you were in Momma’s belly.”


Robyn felt around for a few moments and lifted her hand but before she could slap it down or anything else, JJ grabbed her.


“So we gotta be gentle and not hit Mom’s stomach or anything okay?”


“O’tay!” Robyn agreed obediently from her big brother, “Bubbies wan’ play?”


“The babies have to grow in Mommy’s belly for a while,” Willow explained, “They have to grow big and strong like you!”


“No play?” Robyn asked with a protruding lower lip.


“Not yet,” Tara replied with a sympathetic back rub.

Very cute! Although I have my doubts that Robyn who is only (almost) 2 years old really understands the concept of babies growing in their mother's belly.

Quote:
Moments after they parted, Willow appeared in the doorway with pink clips stuck in all fashions all over her hair.

:laugh Quick work by Robyn considering that the talk and hug between Tara and JJ probably didn't last longer than 2 minutes.

Quote:
“It won’t be much longer,” Willow reassured and tried to provoke a smile, “Your numbers are looking as good as the rest of you.”


Tara blushed despite knowing she wasn’t much in the good looking department right now, or at least she felt that way. It worked, though, she also smiled.


Willow pushed herself back to the headboard and put her arm around Tara’s shoulder.


“I’ve got you. Never forget that, okay?”


Tara closed her eyes and rested her head on Willow’s shoulder. Everything felt so up in the air but she could always rely on Willow.


“I won’t.”

:bigkiss :flower

Now I just hope that Tara's sugar level will stay normal by keeping to the meal plan and she won't need insulin shots later on.

Concerning real life I hope that all the kittens, no matter where they are, stay healthy!


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 20th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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MotherD

Quote:
Love these last two updates (I was caring for a family member and didn't check in for a couple of days). Thank goodness for the authors here on the board, I needed this.


I hope your family member is okay and that you are too! I'm finding fanfic (writing and reading) very helpful right now!

Quote:
Personally,..I'm with Jakey. I don't want him to have to share his room,..AND one of the new babies needs to be named after Tara's' mother.
Just sayin'


Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps... :wink

Quote:
Thanks again for writing Laragh, and Blessings


And right back to you!

Thanks for commenting!

Will's redemption

Quote:
So I guessed right. One of my friends had pregnancy diabetes and it passed once her son was born.


My sister-in-law had it too and it passed for her. It does for most, thankfully.

Quote:
That surely was a situation where only a Momma- or Mommy-cuddle could help.


I think you're exactly right.

Quote:
Awww! JJ is such a wonderful big brother to Robyn and already to the babies, also worrying about them.


He really is a great brother - a product of great parents!

Quote:
Canon-easteregg! That was one of my most favourite Anya-moments on the show, proving that she has a good heart and cares for all the scoobies, including Willow although they've been bickering often.


Also one of my favorite Anya moments. She is one of my favorite non-W/T characters and I adore her friendship with Tara and associated frenemy relationship with Willow.

Quote:
Another canon-easteregg and one of my favourite Tara-Willow-moments. It's great in the context of your story too, including the "stretch" ("this room" meaning any room in which they are alone together).


One of the coolest things, I think, about W/T is that so much of their relationship easily transfers over to a non-magical world despite being quite magical in its nature.

Quote:
Very cute! Although I have my doubts that Robyn who is only (almost) 2 years old really understands the concept of babies growing in their mother's belly.


Do I think she understands the concept of pregnancy? No way. But I think she can get that Mommy has babies in her belly. She plays with dollies and she's seen photos of Willow pregnant with her. She might not retain all of the information all of the time but I think she's capable of understanding that babies grow in mommies bellies.

Quote:
:laugh Quick work by Robyn considering that the talk and hug between Tara and JJ probably didn't last longer than 2 minutes.


I think their hug lasted a bit :)

Quote:
:bigkiss :flower


:D

Quote:
Now I just hope that Tara's sugar level will stay normal by keeping to the meal plan and she won't need insulin shots later on.


I think she's been poked enough during the fertility treatment!

Quote:
Concerning real life I hope that all the kittens, no matter where they are, stay healthy!


Echoed!

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 20th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:00 am 
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Chapter Eight




Tara let herself into the quiet house and closed the door on the night sky behind her.


She walked into the living room and left her purse on the end table by the couch.


“Hey.”


“Hey,” Willow greeted, dropping her laptop screen and leaving it on the coffee table so she could stand and kiss Tara’s cheek, “How did yoga go?”


“Good,” Tara nodded, returning the kiss.


“Yeah?” Willow asked, smiling softly, “Great. Do you want a snack? Some crackers and cheese or apple and peanut butter or something?”


“Apple and peanut butter would be great,” Tara requested, leaning into Willow for a hug before taking a seat on the couch which had just been vacated.


“On it,” Willow replied, walking out before popping her head back in, “Do you want some tea?”


“Yes, please,” Tara nodded with a smile, “You know the kind.”


Willow disappeared again and Tara put her feet up and relaxed back after her exercise class.


A few minutes later, Willow came in with a plate and steaming mug. She handed them to Tara and was gifted to another quick kiss when she sat down again.


“I love you.”


“I love you, too,” Willow smiled, bending her knees behind her and putting a hand on Tara’s thigh, “Was it fun?”


“Yeah,” Tara nodded as she swiped the side of her mouth with her thumb when she felt a clump of peanut butter stick itself there, “All of the women are pregnant so no one laughs when we’re all falling about the place on the exercise balls.”


She smiled sideways.


“Actually, everyone laughs.”


Willow smiled too and squeezed Tara’s thigh.


“Well, you need to check your glucose levels in—”


Tara reached out and stroked Willow’s cheek.


“Can you be wife Willow and not nurse Willow?”


Willow mouthed ‘sorry’ and leaned her head back on her upturned palm.


“Actually, I have something to talk to you about.”


“Mmm?” Tara asked as she set the empty plate aside and held her mug between two hands.


She’d been able to start enjoying it again as long as she didn’t add extra cinnamon to any of her meals. Talking Willow off that train had taken some convincing but eventually Willow had stopped sneaking in cinnamon whenever she could.


Now, taking a sip of her tea felt like an indulgence in comfort somewhere deep inside her again, including her stomach.


Willow exhaled a breath and held up her hands nervously.


“Lily.”


“Lily,” Tara repeated, getting nothing from Willow’s eager face, “Are you making a gardening suggestion?”


Willow chuckled in a low tone.


“I would never tell you how to run your yard. You do much too fine a job of it on your own.”


She bit her lip again before explaining.


“My name. Lily.”


“Your name is Willow,” Tara countered with a furrowed brow.


Willow blew out a breath of eager frustration.


“No! My baby name! Our baby name! My choice of baby name!”


“Oh!” Tara replied quickly.


Willow bounced gently in the seat.


“I was reading that in the Victorian language of flowers, orange lilies stand for happiness, love, and warmth. A-and I think that’s a really nice embodiment of what I want for her. For all our kids,” she gushed excitedly, then added on with a sheepish smile, “And I figured the donor was a redhead and I’m a redhead so there’s a pretty good chance she’ll be an—”


“Orange Lily,” Tara finished with a smile that radiated happiness, love, and warmth.


“And to nerd out a little bit,” Willow continued.


“I expect nothing less,” Tara cut in and jokingly poked Willow with her foot.


Willow rolled her eyes playfully.


“Yeah, yeah. But. I like that it ends in ‘ILY’. In internet shorthand, ILY means—”


“I love you,” Tara said softly, “You text it all the time.”


“I love you,” Willow confirmed and looked at Tara hopefully, “What do you think?”


“I love it,” Tara answered without hesitation.


“You do?” Willow asked excitedly.


Tara nodded quickly.


“It’s kind of funny actually. It fits with the name I was thinking of,” she said, pausing a moment for effect, “Emily.”


Willow’s head cocked to the side and she smiled.


“Like our old babysitter?”


“I’ve always liked it,” Tara replied shyly, “And it ends in…”


“ILY,” Willow said, a huge grin spreading across her face, “I think we just named our babies.”


She placed her hand over Tara’s belly.


“Who’s Lily and who’s—” she started before her eyes fell sharply downward when she felt a movement against her palm, “Was that a kick?!”


“Did you feel it?” Tara asked, looking down excitedly too.


“Yeah!” Willow replied, elated, “I felt it!”


“I guess that’s Lily,” Tara said, grinning down at her belly, “She’s the bigger one, up here under my ribs.”


She moved Willow’s hand at a slightly different angle.


“Hi Lily,” Willow said softly, “It’s your Momma.”


She stroked Tara’s stomach and then adjusted her hand lower.


“And that means Emily is down here somewhere?”


“She’s usually just about here,” Tara replied, getting Willow’s hand around the curve of her bump, but there wasn’t any little movement there unlike just a few inches above, “She’s our little quiet sweetie.”


“Well, it’d be a nice change to get a calm one,” Willow only half-joked.


She moved her hand around Tara’s belly and slowly looked up to her face with a small frown.


“Um, Tara?”


“Yeah?” Tara asked, smiling to herself as little ripples of movement bubbled under her skin.


“I, um, just realized…” she said, lips pulling into a confused smile, “We don’t actually know if they’re boys or girls.”


Tara looked up and her eyes widened.


“Oh,” she said, blinking slowly, “That’s…kind of odd that we didn’t think of that.”


“Or…telling maybe?” Willow suggested.


Tara looked down at her stomach again.


“I’ve always felt like they were girls…so much so I didn’t even think about it.”


She smiled softly.


“I guess it’s Lily and Emily or…Linus and Emmet?”


Willow met Tara’s tender gaze.


“I really think it’s Lily and Emily.”


Tara covered Willow’s hand over her bellybutton.


“Me too,” she stopped and grinned, “Or else we're going to have to come up with something a lot better than Linus!”


They settled back together, smiling and Tara rubbed Willow’s hand.


“Would you mind if I took some time on Sunday?”


“Of course not,” Willow shook her head, “Are you doing an extra class?”


“Want to go see my mom,” Tara replied with a sad smile.


Willow linked their fingers and squeezed their palms together.


“I’ll bring the kids out to the movies and for something to eat. Take as much time as you want.”


Tara sighed.


“I still feel so guilty that we had to cancel Robyn’s birthday.”


“We didn’t cancel Robyn’s birthday,” Willow replied pointedly, “She loved her cake and is still getting gifts from everyone. It’s like a dozen birthdays for her! We just weren’t up to another party this year and that’s okay. Necessary, in fact. Okay? So don’t worry, Robyn is totally fine and will never even remember any of this anyway.”


“Thank you,” Tara replied and leaned in to rest her forehead on Willow’s forehead, “You will be rewarded in heaven.”


Willow giggled as she pecked Tara’s lips.


“Is that an offer?”


“Always,” Tara murmured and pressed in a little closer.


Willow snaked her arm around Tara’s waist.


“Well if your blood sugar is stable…”


Tara pulled back and sighed.


“You ruined it.”


Willow pouted.


“I’m just taking care of you.”


“I know,” Tara replied sincerely, “But you still ruined it.”


Willow held her hands up in defeat.


“Top up your tea?”


Tara nodded and handed her cup over.


“Thank you. I love you.”


Willow kissed Tara’s cheek and pushed the blood glucose monitor toward her pointedly before skipping out and calling back in a sing-song voice.


“I love you too.”



Tara parked the car in the small church parking lot and just took a breather.


Even just driving places these days was starting to take it out of her. Growing two tiny humans was no joke. At least she was too exhausted to feel her usual terror at being here.


She rolled her neck from side to side and brought her hand up to rub the back. As she glanced out the window, she spotted another woman standing near to where she knew her mother’s grave to be.


Curious, she stepped out of the car, locked it and started to walk into the graveyard.


Sure enough, as she got closer she saw the woman was standing right in front of her mother’s grave, with a fresh bunch of flowers laying on the gravel.


Tara smiled to have that mystery solved.


“You’ve been leaving the roses.”


The other woman nearly leaped out of her skin and Tara quickly put a hand out to steady her.


“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”


The woman had to catch her breath. She was tall and lean and though her dark hair cut off at her shoulder it bore the easy wave of a cut that had once grown freely down her back. She was in her fifties and though her face looked appropriate for her age, her eyes bore a sadness that put years on her.


At that moment, they were also filled with shock.


“Tara.”


Tara’s hand fell away from the woman’s arm.


“I’m sorry, do I know you?”


The woman looked like she’d seen a ghost.


“I was a…” she stopped and that deep pain flashed in her eyes again, “I was a friend of your mother’s.”


“You’re not another secret sister, are you?” Tara joked with a crooked smile.


“No, no,” the woman shook her head, brow creased, “Your mother only had one sister. Secret?”


“We…” Tara paused for a moment, wondering how much of this she should be getting into with a stranger in a graveyard, “We never saw each other after…mom died. I only found out about her as an adult. I’m sorry, I—”


“So you only had your father?” the woman cut her off, her breath audibly catching in her throat.


Tara blinked several times and veered away from the question.


“I’m sorry, I…I’ve forgotten things from before my mother died. A-A lot of stuff happened after. I didn’t know she had a friend who still visited her grave. I’ve never seen you here before.”


The woman looked over at the grave and swallowed.


“I only recently moved back to the area.”


Tara was unsure what vibe she was getting here, but this woman presented a unique opportunity that Tara had been craving. This woman cared enough for her mother to repeatedly bring flowers to her grave; she might have all kinds of stories Tara had never been privy to before. Information to help her feel closer.


“Could I buy you a cup of coffee? And you could…tell me about her?” she asked hopeful and cradled her belly, “I’ve been thinking a lot about her since…”


The woman looked down at Tara’s stomach, seemingly noticing it for the first time. She lingered a moment too long before meeting Tara’s eye again.


“Congratulations.”


“Thank you,” Tara smiled.


The woman seemed to collect herself and finally nodded.


“Why don’t you come back to my place. I’m nearby. I can brew some cinnamon tea.”


Tara looked at her curiously.


“How did you know I’ve been drinking cinnamon tea?”


The woman smiled sadly.


“So did she,” she said, exhaling softly toward the headstone, “When she was pregnant with you.”


A smile bloomed across Tara’s face and she offered her hand.


“I’m sorry, I didn’t even get your name.”


The woman covered Tara’s hand with both of hers and shook it as warmly as any hand had ever been shaken.


“Rose. My name is Rose.”


“Tara,” Tara replied warmly and laughed at herself, “Which you knew. So you knew me when I was little?”


“I did,” Rose smiled, “I did.”


They stepped away together and arranged for Tara to follow Rose’s Subaru to her little bungalow, tucked away in forest land down a lane Tara had never noticed before.


When she stepped out at the house, the rustle of the trees with the fresh air blowing through triggered something in the back of her mind. She saw herself weaving in and out, chasing a little blonde girl.


She shook her head and realized Rose was waiting at the open door so she shut the car door and followed her inside. The house had a cottage feel with warm white walls and gray floors. There was a hook for sweaters or coats to be hung and a cushioned chest to sit and take shoes on or off.


The hallway was long and led, presumably, to bedrooms in the back but Tara was brought in at the first door to the living room. It had a big, plush, old couch and another chest like the one she had at home filled with the kid’s toys. This one seemed empty. The coffee table was circular with a gray top that matched the floors but with nothing to decorate it.


It all seemed set up for a family, but there was none. There were no displaced cushions or shoes hiding under the couch or any sign that there was anything other than a solitary person living there.


Tara perched herself on the couch and sank right back into its old curve. She flashed with another memory; falling back into that couch howling with laughter as her mother’s hands squirmed around trying to tickle her.


Again, she was so overcome by the memory she didn’t realize she was lost in it until her attention was pulled to the woman waiting on her.


“I’m sorry?”


“Do you take honey or sugar?” Rose repeated kindly.


Tara shook her head.


“Oh, no thank you.”


Rose disappeared for a moment and then popped back out with a tray of tea.


“Sweet enough,” she said with a fond smile, “That’s what Lisa would say when I asked her.”


She sat opposite Tara and began to pour the tea into the cups.


“So you wanted to ask some questions?” she asked and her voice held a slightly nervous lilt.


Tara accepted a cup gratefully and sipped on it.


“Well, um…how did you know my mother?”


Rose seemed so stiffen at that but shrugged it off as she lifted her own cup from the tray.


“Your father worked with my ex-husband at the quarry,” she answered eventually and sighed softly, “And they became drinking buddies.”


“Ah,” Tara replied, figuring she understood exactly what had happened there, “I’m sorry to just impose on you like this. It’s just…all I have of her is my memories and her diary.”


She frowned.


“She, um…she never wrote about you.”


Rose took a slow sip of her tea.


“She had more than one.”


Tara blinked several times.


“Oh. That…makes sense. She never talked about Michelle either. I guess she had to hide a lot from my um…my…father. Understandably.”


Rose’s eyes closed and she looked ashamed.


“I read that he went to prison,” she said eventually.


Tara nodded in a similarly stoic way.


“He did.”


“When I read the article I worried the woman he shot was you,” Rose replied honestly, “But it said he shot an FBI agent.”


“Analyst,” Tara corrected.


“Oh,” Rose replied, her brow furrowing.


“Mmm,” Tara replied, lifting her cup to her mouth.


She missed the bottom of Rose’s jaw shaking.


“Tara, if I had known…”


Tara felt her shoulders tense. She’d heard that lot.


“I’m okay,” she said through an exhale, waving a hand about which landed on her belly, “Who knows if…”


“Did he—” Rose started but Tara held her hand up.


“I’m sorry, I’d really rather not talk about him.”


Rose nodded quickly.


“Of course.”


“I don’t mean to be rude,” Tara replied guiltily, “You’re incredibly kind to invite me into your home.”


Rose lifted a hand and brushed the air off to the side.


“I never liked talking about him either.”


Tara cracked a smile and placed her cup back on the table. She had another memory, coloring on that table. Her eyes automatically glanced at a particular spot and she could actually see some green crayon embedded into the tabletop.


“Did you live here, back then? This room feels so familiar,” she said, closing her eyes and shaking her head, “I can see myself playing here with another child.”


Rose got that faraway look in her eye she’d had at the grave.


“That would be Beth.”


Tara held a hand up, recognizing something.


“Yes, cousin Beth.”


Rose broke out a small smile.


“That’s right, you did call her that.”


“I had forgotten completely,” Tara smiled, enjoying the release of new positive memories from her childhood that were usually only painful, “Wait, why did I call her cousin Beth if you weren’t sisters? Was she…”


“My daughter,” Rose nodded, “You just called her that because you were so close.”


Tara noticed the glassy look in her eyes and frowned apologetically.


“Oh, I’m sorry.”


“Oh she hasn’t passed,” Rose said quickly and covered a hand over her heart for a moment, “I-I left and she…was raised by her father.”


Her lower jaw clenched for a moment.


“Quite the traditionalist now. My fault. For leaving her with…him.”


Tara realized that perhaps her new memories weren’t so new or so pleasant for the other woman. If their fathers were drinking buddies, she could guess the man wasn’t the nicest of men.


Feeling too much of an imposition, she politely finished her tea and started to stand.


“Well, thank you so much for the tea.”


“Oh, no,” Rose replied, standing as well and wiping the back of her hand on her brow, “My pleasure.”


She walked Tara to the door and rand a hand down her arm and off past her fingertips.


“It really was so nice to see you,” she said, her voice shaking for a moment. “You look just like her.”


Tara smiled softly.


“I’ve heard that before. I remember her as an angel so it’s quite the compliment.”


Rose nodded.


“She was.”


Tara briefly hugged the other woman.


“I’m so glad she had a friend. My father, I…” she stopped and shook her head, “I’m glad she wasn’t alone.”


Rose just nodded again.


“Goodbye, Tara.”


“Goodbye Rose,” Tara replied and waved her fingers over her shoulder as she walked over to her car.


She got in and drove out with another quick wave, unsure about how to feel about the whole exchange.


At the end of the lane was a left turn home or a right turn back toward the town.


After just a moment’s deliberation, she turned right. But instead of driving back into the parking lot of the church like she had fully intended when making the turn, she found herself continuing.


She drove further than she had in years, over eight to be exact, and the last memory of this place plagued her mind as she drove up the dirt road.


She remembered the quiet.


How neither of them had screamed.


Just the echo of the bullet as it ripped through the air and then ripped through Willow’s skin.


She blinked.


Remembering wouldn’t do her any good now.


She drove up to the house and just looked at it from the safety of the car for a few minutes.


It was abandoned, all but boarded up. Tara had never bothered to find out what happened to it after. She’d rejected any correspondence and tried to move on.


It was funny, she didn’t feel like she thought she might by being here. She felt very little. She truly had moved on.


But her mother; that longing; that tugging on her heart, she couldn’t move on from that. And that was why she was here.


She exited the car and approached the front door. She touched it and when she gave the handle a small push it swung open with a creak.


Tara took a step in and admittedly, she felt her stomach flip as she walked inside. She hadn’t actually been inside the house since the day she left for college.


She was glad she had the cinnamon tea there as a buffer.


She stood in the middle of the hallway and looked around, unsure where to go.


Unsure why she’d come here.


Her conversation with Rose played back in her mind and she suddenly realized.


The diary.


Or diaries, as it were.


It had come as a surprise to hear there was more than one, but on reflection, it wasn’t that odd. The one Tara had almost exclusively talked about her and started when her mother had found out she was pregnant. Her mother had lived a life before her and outside of her too.


But she wasn’t quite sure what she was expecting to find.


She’d found the diary she currently had under her Mom’s side of the mattress when she’d been changing the sheets as a tween. There had definitely been only the one. And in two decades there was a more than reasonable chance it any more had been tossed or burned or disintegrated to be lost to time.


And yet she felt like she was supposed to be here.


She wandered around for a while and everything looked pretty much as it had when she left it that morning at 18 years old to catch the bus to Boston. It was a lot less tidy, as even at that stage she’d cleaned the house from top to toe before she left. It was caked in dust from all the years it had been abandoned and Tara covered her mouth with her sleeve to stop herself from inhaling too much.


Her old bedroom looked so tiny compared to the rooms in their home; barely more than a coat closet. But that room also held some of the only good memories she had in that house; of bedtime stories and fort building and singing while her long hair was brushed.


She smiled sadly in the doorway and pushed away again. Why was she here again?


She walked into the kitchen and leaned on the counter, remembering all of the meals she’d cooked and the laundry she’d hiked up and down from the basement. She remembered her mother getting a new machine when she was about six and having it installed in the basement.


She never ever once cursed her mother’s name but on one of those many arduous trips up and down the stairs as a resentful teenager, she had wondered why bother adding the extra strain of coming up and down with heavy laundry when there had been space in the kitchen for the machine to sit.


She opened the door of the basement and peeked down. The air was damp and she was almost afraid to put a foot on one of the wooden steps on the stairs but it held her without issue. The bulb was physically blown, exploded, but there was some light from the small rectangle window and she could use the flashlight on her phone to get around.


She actually found herself smiling as she looked around. There was plenty of junk around, things her father had broken or discarded but her little rusted pink bike was there and a macaroni photo frame she’d made in the first grade that had stood the test of time and an old Office Depot box that somehow hadn’t crumbled into nothingness.


Tara opened the box a little tentatively but there were just pages inside. Mostly drawings she’d done as a child; free-spirited and outside the lines of course. She decided she’d bring them home to show Willow, who would love any glimpse at her younger self.


It was light enough for her to carry easily and with a final little look around, she decided she’d gotten more than she could have expected from coming here and turned to leave.


She put her phone in her pocket so she could carry the box and turned toward where she knew the stairs were.


On her second step, she suddenly found her foot tripping from under her.


She dropped the box and grabbed her stomach, panting as the fright left her body.


“We’re okay, babies,” she said quietly, still catching her breath, “We’re okay.”


She bent back down to feel for the box and right before she was about to get her phone out again to see, her hand gave way to a faulty floorboard. She felt it move like a little lopsided see-saw under her hand’s pressure and it didn’t feel like it was crumbling from damp, which would have made her bolt before she got trapped down there.


She used the flashlight to peer the light over it and her breath caught when she saw what was inside.


“Oh.”


Her hand touched over the familiar front of a diary, one of a few sitting inside. She lifted it out and traced the flower drawn on the front, a rose.


With slightly trembling fingers, she opened to the page and read the first three words.


A different three words left her mouth.


“Oh my god.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:17 am 
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”Oh my God.”

You left us here? Seriously?!?! LARAGH! :whip

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:25 am 
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Finey_McFine wrote:
Quote:
”Oh my God.”

You left us here? Seriously?!?! LARAGH! :whip


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:27 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:58 am 
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Quote:
“My name. Lily.”


“Your name is Willow,” Tara countered with a furrowed brow.

:lol Is this a bout of pregnancy induced slow-wittedness?
I love the two names they've chosen and the little nerd-fact that both names end with the short hand for "I love you".

Quote:
“I was reading that in the Victorian language of flowers, orange lilies stand for happiness, love, and warmth. A-and I think that’s a really nice embodiment of what I want for her. For all our kids,” she gushed excitedly, then added on with a sheepish smile, “And I figured the donor was a redhead and I’m a redhead so there’s a pretty good chance she’ll be an—”


“Orange Lily,” Tara finished with a smile that radiated happiness, love, and warmth.

Awww! :flower Willow should research the background of the name Emily too now. Otherwise Emily might be really disappointed if both twins ever ask their mothers why they chose their names and Lily gets this great, detailed explanation and Emily gets to hear: "It was the name of one of our babysitters and your Mommy always liked it."

Quote:
“I guess it’s Lily and Emily or…Linus and Emmet?”

:laugh Explanation for the boy names: "Peanuts" and "Twilight"

Quote:
“I still feel so guilty that we had to cancel Robyn’s birthday.”


“We didn’t cancel Robyn’s birthday,” Willow replied pointedly, “She loved her cake and is still getting gifts from everyone. It’s like a dozen birthdays for her! We just weren’t up to another party this year and that’s okay. Necessary, in fact. Okay? So don’t worry, Robyn is totally fine and will never even remember any of this anyway.”

Plus I don't think a 2 year old has any expectations for her birthday party (like how many guests will be there) so she certainly was perfectly happy with just her mothers, JJ, cake and her gifts.

So the mystery who regularly visits the grave of Tara's mom and leaves roses is lifted: Rose.
Quote:
She was in her fifties and though her face looked appropriate for her age, her eyes bore a sadness that put years on her.

Understandable considering that she lost her one true love during the sinking of the Titanic. :wink
(Feeble) joke aside, now I strongly suspect she lost her one true love in a car accident.

Quote:
“I was a…” she stopped and that deep pain flashed in her eyes again, “I was a friend of your mother’s.”


I'm wondering what she stopped herself from saying here...if what I suspect is true and they had a romantic relationship while Lisa was married the "correct" term would probably be "mistress", but you would hardly call yourself that...and "lover" wouldn't fit with the article "a". Or maybe she was going to say "a friend" all along but stopped because she was sad that she couldn't reveal the true nature of their relationship to Tara?

Quote:
“How did you know I’ve been drinking cinnamon tea?”


The woman smiled sadly.


“So did she,” she said, exhaling softly toward the headstone, “When she was pregnant with you.”

Wow, so they were "friends" (or more if I suspect correctly) for a very long time!

Quote:
“So you only had your father?” the woman cut her off, her breath audibly catching in her throat.

Quote:
“Tara, if I had known…”


Tara felt her shoulders tense. She’d heard that lot.


“I’m okay,” she said through an exhale, waving a hand about which landed on her belly, “Who knows if…”


“Did he—” Rose started but Tara held her hand up.

From those remarks I get the feeling Rose suspects that Tara's father physically abused Tara as a child, indicating she knew of violent behaviour even back then. That differs to what I remember of Michelle's reaction in HC, claiming that his violent behaviour couldn't have started before Lisa's death because if it had she would have left him with Tara. But maybe Rose just knew more than Michelle did...

Quote:
“Oh she hasn’t passed,” Rose said quickly and covered a hand over her heart for a moment, “I-I left and she…was raised by her father.”


Her lower jaw clenched for a moment.


“Quite the traditionalist now. My fault. For leaving her with…him.”

Now I'm really curious if Tara will get to meet "cousin Beth" in your story later.

Quote:
She drove up to the house and just looked at it from the safety of the car for a few minutes.


It was abandoned, all but boarded up. Tara had never bothered to find out what happened to it after. She’d rejected any correspondence and tried to move on.


It was funny, she didn’t feel like she thought she might by being here. She felt very little. She truly had moved on.

I'm very glad that she has overcome this trauma to an extent and that now even this house is "just a building" to her.

Quote:
Her hand touched over the familiar front of a diary, one of a few sitting inside. She lifted it out and traced the flower drawn on the front, a rose.


With slightly trembling fingers, she opened to the page and read the first three words.


A different three words left her mouth.


“Oh my god.”

If I remember correctly the diary Tara has found was written in the style of letters to her. So now I guess that the diary with the rose on the front is written as letters to Rose and that they start with "My darling Rose" or "My beloved Rose" or something like that from which Tara realized that Lisa and Rose weren't "just friends".
And do I understand correctly that there are more diaries in there? Then I guess one of them is for Michelle - that will be such a wonderful surprise for her (coupled with sadness of course).


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:00 am 
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Finey_McFine

Quote:
You. Are. Evil.


I try :wink

Thanks for reading :D

Will's redemption

Quote:
:lol Is this a bout of pregnancy induced slow-wittedness?


You could definitely call it that.

Quote:
I love the two names they've chosen and the little nerd-fact that both names end with the short hand for "I love you".


So glad you like them! It's so weird for me, they've been 'named' since almost when I started writing this series (more than a decade ago!) so I've been waiting a lot time to see what people thought!

Quote:
Awww! :flower Willow should research the background of the name Emily too now. Otherwise Emily might be really disappointed if both twins ever ask their mothers why they chose their names and Lily gets this great, detailed explanation and Emily gets to hear: "It was the name of one of our babysitters and your Mommy always liked it."


There is a further reason! It will be revealed.

Quote:
:laugh Explanation for the boy names: "Peanuts" and "Twilight"


Oh boy, not the best namesakes :laugh (although Peanuts is better than Twilight!)

Quote:
Plus I don't think a 2 year old has any expectations for her birthday party (like how many guests will be there) so she certainly was perfectly happy with just her mothers, JJ, cake and her gifts.


Agree with you completely!

Quote:
So the mystery who regularly visits the grave of Tara's mom and leaves roses is lifted: Rose.


:flower

Quote:
Understandable considering that she lost her one true love during the sinking of the Titanic. :wink
(Feeble) joke aside, now I strongly suspect she lost her one true love in a car accident.


I love a good pop culture reference!!

(and you may be sadly right)

Quote:
I'm wondering what she stopped herself from saying here...if what I suspect is true and they had a romantic relationship while Lisa was married the "correct" term would probably be "mistress", but you would hardly call yourself that...and "lover" wouldn't fit with the article "a". Or maybe she was going to say "a friend" all along but stopped because she was sad that she couldn't reveal the true nature of their relationship to Tara?


Ding, ding, ding on that last one.

Quote:
Wow, so they were "friends" (or more if I suspect correctly) for a very long time!


They were indeed.

Quote:
From those remarks I get the feeling Rose suspects that Tara's father physically abused Tara as a child, indicating she knew of violent behaviour even back then. That differs to what I remember of Michelle's reaction in HC, claiming that his violent behaviour couldn't have started before Lisa's death because if it had she would have left him with Tara. But maybe Rose just knew more than Michelle did...


So this one has a few layers. Firstly I should say that Tara's father never hit Lisa before she died. Or Tara for that matter though he was aggressive with her and entirely neglectful.

1) Rose was much more 'on the front line' than Michelle, who was estranged from Lisa for a while and then only saw her on occasion
2) Rose witnessed a certain amount of the aftermath of Lisa's death whereas Michelle was completely shut out from this
3) Rose has now seen that Michael is in prison and can infer a lot from that. When Michelle and Tara first met back up, this had not occurred yet.

Quote:
Now I'm really curious if Tara will get to meet "cousin Beth" in your story later.


Honestly, no plans to. There's too much history. The idea is that, like the rest of the Rosenberg-Maclay extended clan, that Rose has found her way back to her family.

Quote:
I'm very glad that she has overcome this trauma to an extent and that now even this house is "just a building" to her.


It's important for her to know that, that none of it has a hold over her anymore.

Quote:
If I remember correctly the diary Tara has found was written in the style of letters to her. So now I guess that the diary with the rose on the front is written as letters to Rose and that they start with "My darling Rose" or "My beloved Rose" or something like that from which Tara realized that Lisa and Rose weren't "just friends".


I love that you get me so much; you always know exactly where I'm going :D A lot of the diary (though not all) were letters to Tara, or I guess more general professions toward Tara ("Tara, sweetheart, you're growing up!") though some entries were more like normal journal entries just getting out her thoughts (but again, those that were related to Tara - "I don't like the father Michael is being to Tara"). Understandably, there's probably a lot of overlap in all of her diaries. I even think she could have had a decoy one in case Michael ever questioned her about them.

Quote:
And do I understand correctly that there are more diaries in there? Then I guess one of them is for Michelle - that will be such a wonderful surprise for her (coupled with sadness of course).


For the same kind of reasons I listed above, I actually don't think Lisa kept a diary for Michelle. I imagined the other diaries to be to her parents (who died when she was relatively young still) as they were an idealized sounding board for her to get her thoughts and frustrations out to. And I also imagined Tara burying them at the grave as they were her mother's private thoughts that weren't directly to a (living) person and so it wasn't her place to read or distribute. This is hinted at at the start of this chapter.

Thanks so much for your feedback!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 24th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:00 am 
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Chapter Nine




Tara gently sank back onto her knees and as she wiped her hands free from the clawing pebbles that had embedded themselves into her palms.


She placed one palm on the last remaining diary, the first one she'd plucked from their underground sanctuary, then reached out to trace the letters of her mother’s name on her grave.


“Well, Momma. I came here to feel closer to you,” she said and just chuckled, “I certainly feel like I know you in a whole new way.”


Her brow slowly furrowed into a v shape.


“Was she your Willow?” she asked softly.


A gentle breeze ran across the gravel and a petal from the bunch of roses still sitting there blew off and hit Tara in the chest. Tara plucked it between her fingertips and exhaled gently.


“She was your Rose,” she said understandingly, “I guess she’s needed to feel close to you too.”


The petal flew from her fingers and landed a foot away. Tara just laughed.


“Okay, Mom. I get it. I’m going.”


She had to use the headstone for leverage to get herself back up but she didn’t think her mother would mind. She pressed her fingers to her lips and then against the grave one last time before returning to the car. She drove toward the little lane she’d left earlier.


She approached the bungalow with her arms crossed in an X shape across her chest with that last old diary nestled inside. She reached out to ring the doorbell and took a step back. Her heart was pounding a bit.


Rose answered the door and looked surprised but pleased to see her again.


“Oh, Tara. Hello again. Did you forget something?”


Tara found herself a bit overcome at the sight of the other woman and just shook her head silently; reticently.


Rose started to frown.


“Tara, is everything alright?”


Tara looked up and almost felt like a child again afraid to ask a question she wasn't sure of the answer to. She slowly met Rose’s eye.


“Were you lovers?”


Her voice cracked and she had to swallow repeatedly to get the moisture back.


Rose remained stony-faced for a long moment before stepping back and opening the door fully.


“You better come in.”


Tara stepped over the threshold and wordlessly returned to sit on the big couch. Rose hung back awkwardly, her face pale.


“Would you like more tea?” she offered with a dry voice.


Tara shook her head.


“I’m fine.”


Rose perched uncomfortably on the edge of an armchair. The silence hung in the air until Rose broke it moments later.


“How did you…?”


Tara looked down at the diary and slowly released her grip before handing it across to Rose.


“I only read the first three words,” she said quietly, “It was all I needed to read.”


Rose took the diary and opened the cover with trembling hands. She gasped quietly when she recognized the handwriting. Her finger followed the first three words.


Rose, my love…


It took every hard-fought-for ounce of strength she had not to crumble on the spot as her hand caressed the old and withered but still legible page.


“Where did you find this?” she asked eventually with just a single crack of her voice.


“I went to the house,” Tara answered, gnawing on the side of her lip, “A bunch of them were hidden away. That one was on top.”


Rose looked up and there were unshed tears in her eyes.


“Please don’t think less of your mother. She was an amazing, beautiful human being.”


Tara slowly frowned.


“…why would I think less of her?”


Rose closed her eyes and swallowed deeply.


“Some people don’t…well they don’t approve of…”


“Oh,” Tara replied, confused for a moment as she tried to work out exactly what was being said, “Oh!”


She reached into her pocket and unlocked her phone so the wallpaper was on view. She turned it around so Rose could see. Rose took it but it only served to make her look more confused.


“I’m sorry, what am I looking at?”


“My family,” Tara answered softly and made a point to tap her finger against Willow’s image, “My wife.”


A long breath released from Rose’s body.


“Oh.”


“Yeah,” Tara smiled down at the image, “Oh.”


Rose seemed to be taking it all in and Tara didn’t interrupt.


“You have beautiful children,” she said eventually, unable to take her eyes off the screen, “Can I ask their names?”


“This is Jacob and that’s Robyn,” Tara pointed out, “And that’s Willow.”


“What a wonderful, kind smile,” Rose said, nodding and sniffling along the way, “All of them.”


She reluctantly handed it back and seemed to look relieved.


“Oh my, I think I need a glass of water.”


She got up to go into the kitchen again and Tara watched her down a glass through the open doorway. Rose leaned over the sink with her back hunched and Tara looked away; feeling like she was intruding. She waited patiently and quickly texted Willow that she’d be home a little late today.


Suddenly Rose appeared in the open doorway again.


“We were going to take you both and go, you know,” she said, lifting her hand to her forehead and dropping her gaze, “We talked about it all the time. We’d even squirreled away money. We were going to start a new life somewhere in New England. We’d pretend-argue because she wanted to go to Connecticut and I wanted to go to New Hampshire. We’d kid that we would end up somewhere in Massachusetts.”


It felt like she was atoning and Tara didn’t know how to absolve her.


“I went to college in Boston,” she said eventually, just to say something.


Rose looked up and slowly brought herself back to her chair.


“She would have been very proud of that,” she replied with a small smile and looked lost for a moment before bringing herself back, “I never asked what you do.”


Tara kept her hands clasped between her knees.


“I’m a social worker.”


Rose smiled again.


“Like your aunt.”


Tara nodded.


“That’s how we ended up meeting again. We work in the same office.”


Rose shook her head softly.


“Life is funny.”


“Life is…something,” Tara agreed and found her thumbs moving around each other as she tried to process everything and not wonder what a nice life she might have had with two moms in Massachusetts, “Can I ask what happened…after?”


Immediately pain filled Rose’s features; her eyes darkening and the sags in her skin growing heavier while the skin around her mouth somehow got tauter. Tara quickly waved her hands in front of her.


“I’m sorry, that’s too much. Forget it.”


She didn’t like to talk about that time either; she couldn’t expect anyone else to.


Rose closed her eyes for a moment.


“No,” she said sternly as if talking to her own thoughts then looked back at Tara with a softer eye, “I’d like to answer everything I can for you. You deserve that.”


“Please don’t feel obligated to share anything you don’t want to,” Tara replied, laying her hands out indicatively, “You had a personal relationship, I’m not trying to pry. You can understand my mind is a little blown.”


“Of course,” Rose nodded sympathetically and reached out to touch her knee, “Me too, to see you. All grown up.”


Her hand lifted and touched Tara’s cheek.


“So beautiful. Just like her.”


She let her hand fall away and sat up more fully in her seat; lifting her shoulders to keep herself poised.


“You asked what happened after,” she stopped to take a breath, “It was like my heart was ripped out but I had to pretend it wasn’t. Stand at her graveside watching her being lowered into the ground and pretend that half my soul wasn’t going with her.”


Tara didn’t even remember the funeral. She remembered not wanting to go at all. Maybe she hadn’t. That time was such a blur.


“I didn’t cope, to say the least,” Rose continued, rolling her eyes at herself, “I came close to a breakdown and decided I had to leave. I needed to be somewhere I could talk about who she was to me. I tried to bring Beth but her father fought it and well…I let him win. It will always be my greatest shame.”


Tara reached over and squeezed her hand. She couldn't just ignore someone who needed comfort; it was her mother's legacy in her.


“Where did you go?”


Rose smiled softly.


“I went to Connecticut like she wanted. And New Hampshire. And Massachusetts. And a handful of other places as well. But I never quite found the connection I had lost.”


“You never found anyone else?” Tara asked gently.


Rose just flicked her hand dismissively.


“How can you be with someone when you’ve already found your soulmate? It’s not fair for anyone involved. They can never be…It can never be…”


She paused and visibly tensed her face to stop tears.


“I understand,” Tara replied honestly, feeling a similar rise of emotion rise from inside, “My wife, I…”


Her face tensed in the same way.


“I understand.”


They both held each other’s hand for a moment and didn’t let go even when they’d pulled themselves back together.


“Can I ask if my father knew about your relationship?” Tara asked when she felt they were both ready to speak again.


“During, I’m not sure, to be honest,” Rose answered with a discreet swipe of a finger against her eye, “No one questioned our close friendship in those days and we were careful around you girls not to be affectionate. After, certainly. My ex-husband saw how I reacted and put two and two together when he found old letters. He told me the only reason he wasn’t blasting my name all over town as the resident degenerate was out of respect for your father.”


Tara slowly exhaled.


“That explains why he reacted so violently when he found out I have a wife.”


Rose frowned.


“I’m sorry?”


Tara held a hand up and sighed.


“You said you read why he went to prison earlier.”


“But it wasn’t you,” Rose replied, confused.


“No, but it was meant for me. The bullet,” Tara clarified and swallowed deeply, “My wife jumped in front of it.”


Rose physically reeled back.


“Oh my god.”


“I watched them shock her back to life,” Tara said, her voice taking on a little tremble, “So I can’t understand everything you went through. But I do…I do get the terror.”


Rose held a hand against her chest.


“Is she alright?”


Tara smiled a watery smile.


“She’s perfect. She’s my…absolutely everything.”


They shared another tender look until they were interrupted by Tara’s phone emitting a beeping sound. She quickly reached into her pocket to turn it off.


“I’m sorry, I have some pregnancy complications and I have to eat regularly. I should—”


“I can make you something,” Rose interrupted and quickly stood, “If you’d like.”


Tara smiled gratefully and stood too.


“Yes. Thank you. Let me help.”


Rose smiled as she led her into the kitchen.


“I’m guessing your tastes have moved past pancakes.”


“I still make them with my kids,” Tara answered, smiling sadly, “My wife says if I hadn’t already wooed her, the pancakes would have done it. Mom's recipe; never fails.”


Rose opened a cabinet where an old fashioned CD player was sitting on the lowest shelf.


“What about The Beatles?”


Tara grinned.


They put together a cold salad plate while listening to the ‘Revolver’ album, one that had featured heavily in Tara's childhood, and brought it to the kitchen table to eat from. Tara pierced an edamame bean and asked a question as she brought it to her mouth.


“You said earlier you knew her when she was pregnant? When did you meet?”


Everything felt a bit more relaxed now and Rose seemed to find the memories a bit fonder to recall.


“I was working as a mechanic and she would buy food in the store across the street from my auto-shop. We discovered our husbands worked together so we became friendly. We were both newly married. She was 19, I was 20. And yes, she was pregnant. I helped her back to her car when she got a bit dizzy that first day. Well, the first day we spoke. I’d noticed her before.”


She blushed and it made Tara smile. She thought for a moment, then started to shake her head.


“Wait, no, my mom was a few years older than that when she had me. I've seen my birth certificate.”


“Oh,” Rose replied, pursing her lips for a moment like she’d revealed a secret, “Well…yes. She was.”


Tara frowned.


“I-I don’t understand. Was she pregnant before me?”


Rose inhaled and finally exhaled it out again.


“She was. But it wasn’t successful,” she answered in an apologetic tone as if it were her fault, “She miscarried just shy of 19 weeks. It was a boy. She called him Donald after her grandfather.”


Tara looked stricken and Rose frowned in concern.


“I’m sorry, I’ve upset you.”


Tara swallowed silently. A hand cradled her belly/


“It’s just…that’s where I am now. 19 weeks.”


“Oh darling I’m sure everything will be okay,” Rose reassured.


Tara just nodded.


“I never knew,” she said, wiping a finger against her brow, “Michelle never told me.”


“I don’t think she knew, to be honest,” Rose replied with an unsure frown, “Your mother and aunt were estranged for a while. They didn’t reconnect until their parents died. And it wasn’t something Lisa liked to talk about. To remember, honestly. And your father never got over the idea of losing a son. So it didn't come up much.”


“Is that why she married my father?” Tara asked with an arched eyebrow, “Because she was pregnant?”


Rose sighed sadly.


“It was expected of them even before she knew she was pregnant. But the pregnancy sped things up. She told me when she found out it was all done in a rush before people suspected. That’s why Lisa and Michelle were estranged. She didn’t ask Michelle to the wedding. As far as I’m aware Michael tried to stop her parents from coming even, but they did in the end.”


Tara rested her head on her upturned hand.


“I remember seeing their wedding album. Everyone looked miserable.”


Rose nodded in agreement.


“She told me all of this later. I think she was afraid to voice any of it for a long time,” she said and reached out to cover Tara’s hand, “She regretted a lot but she never regretted you.”


Tara smiled softly; she had no trouble believing that.


“Tell me if this is too intrusive but you don’t have any photographs of you back then, do you? I’m sure I remember you if we spent so much time together but I just can’t place you.”


Rose thought for a moment, then stood up and left the room. She returned with a small notebook and sat down again before opening the cover and taking out a folded photograph, which she handed over to Tara.


“My Mom,” Tara whispered reverently, touching the image of her mother’s face.


In the photo, she was gazing off to the folded side and Tara peeled it back to see the full thing. On the hidden side, it was a woman laughing and it took a moment for Tara to realize it was actually Rose. She looked so different; so light, carefree. Happy.


They both looked so happy.


“Look how she looks at you…” she said reverently and had to smile at a particular feature, “You were a redhead.”


Rose rested her chin on top of her fist and allowed herself a full moment to remember.


“Red Rose.”


Tara suddenly started humming without even meaning to.


“Red roses from my Red Rose,” she sang, so quiet she almost couldn’t be heard at all, “She used to hum that and sing while she put them in a vase. I can see the sun shining in from the back yard into the kitchen and she’d take my hand and dance. They made her so happy.”


She brought her thumb and forefinger up to pinch the bridge of her nose to stop any tears.


“I’m sorry, I’ve been having a lot of memories come forward today. It’s a little overwhelming.”


Rose just came around and held Tara from behind, kissing the top of her head. It some ways it was way too familiar, but Tara still found herself accepting the comfort.


Over the next few hours, they moved between Rose filling Tara in on what life was like for her and Lisa back then and Tara telling Rose what had become of her life now. It still wasn’t quite real for Tara to hear of this side of her mother’s life she never knew existed; everything played in her mind like a movie though she politely didn’t mention this to Rose.


She couldn’t be sure but she thought she saw the other woman become more unburdened as their conversation went on.


“We drank wine and read poetry,” Rose reminisced, “We actually came to enjoy our husbands going off to drink because we knew it was a few extra precious hours together.


“When Willow and I first started dating we would lie in bed and read poems,” Tara shared fondly, “I loved it. Reading poetry together felt so intimate and warm. That must be where I got it from.”


“Sometimes we all did that on a Sunday morning with you girls when your fathers were working overtime,” Rose replied and even know kindly didn’t add ‘or were hungover’, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words—”


“And never stops at all,” Tara finished from a place inside her that she wasn’t entirely sure of but felt familiar and loving.


Rose beamed to hear her say those words, so like Lisa and yet still so like herself.


“You remember. Emily Dickenson.”


Emily,” Tara’s breath caught softly, “Emily Dickenson. I do remember. I always have.”


Her heart felt full as the conversation went back and forth to learn and relearn many things.


She was quite happy to sit and chat with this older lady until she suddenly caught sight of the time.


“Oh my god. I really need to get home. I told my wife I’d be late but I didn’t tell her I’d be miss-dinner-and-bedtime late.”


Rose quickly stood and lifted the diary Tara had brought earlier to hand back to her.


Tara looked at it for a moment, then shook her head.


“No,” she said, gently pushing it back, “You should keep that one.”


Rose looked touched and held it to her chest.


“I’ll treasure it.”


They walked to the front door and Tara put her purse over her shoulder. She turned before opening the door.


“Would you like to stay in contact?” she offered, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear shyly, “Is that too much?”


Rose shook her head with tears pricking her eyes.


“No, darling, I’d love to.”


Tara smiled and they hugged. Rose opened the door for Tara and she stepped out into the darker sky than it had been when she came in.


“Can I ask one last thing?” Tara asked from the doorway.


Rose nodded.


“Anything.”


“Why’d you come back?” Tara asked with a curious crease of her brow.


Rose smiled sadly.


“I know I can never get her back,” she said with the hurt in her voice a little less raw than Tara had heard it before, “But I felt like this place we called home would be the closest I’d ever get again. So I sold my businesses and decided I’d try out retirement here to see if I was right.”


Her fingers brushed Tara’s upper arm.


“And I think I was.”


Tara offered another hug.


“I will call you. Maybe you could meet my family.”


“I would love to,” Rose replied, smiling when she felt Tara’s belly press into her.


Tara pulled herself away and smiled sincerely.


“Thank you, Rose.”


Rose waved a hand dismissively.


“It was just some salad.”


Tara shook her head.


“No. For loving her,” she clarified, “It means the world knowing that all of the bad stuff I know she went through, that someone was loving her through it.”


Rose placed a hand over her heart.


“She gave it back in spades.”


“I know she did,” Tara nodded and lifted a hand to wave, “Bye Rose. Talk soon, I hope.”


“Goodbye Tara,” Rose replied with a similar wave and stood in the doorway watching Tara leave until she had completely disappeared down the laneway.


Tara was silent the whole way home. She didn’t turn on a playlist or flick on the radio or even open the window to hear the sounds going by outside. She just drove, alone with her thoughts.


The street was quiet when she arrived home and so was the house when she let herself in. The kitchen light was on so Tara left the box on the floor and made her way in there.


Willow was standing at the island peeling orange segments.


“Hey,” Tara greeted softly, making Willow look up and smile, “I’m so sorry.”


She came over to give Willow a kiss, who smiled into it.


“It’s okay,” Willow replied, throwing some fruit into her mouth, “I’m making school lunches.”


“Oh, let me help,” Tara said and rolled up her sleeves.


She took an apple and started to cut out star shapes for Robyn.


“Did you take yourself out for a date?” Willow asked, still smiling over at Tara.


Tara bumped Willow’s shoulder with her own.


“If I’m going on a date, I want you there.”


Willow pressed her lips to Tara’s cheek. Tara leaned into it and exhaled softly.


“I actually have a lot to tell you.”


“You do?” Willow asked with a raised eyebrow.


Tara nodded.


“I was hoping we could finish up and go snuggle.”


Willow bounced up on her toes.


“Don’t have to convince me.”


Tara rubbed Willow’s shoulders for a moment.


“Did the kids go down okay? I’m sorry I missed bedtime.”


“Robyn tried to fight but binky won the battle,” Willow smiled, “I know it’s great she only takes it at bedtime now but…I am not looking forward to not having it. Oh, and she removed her pull-up and climbed up on the toilet after brushing her teeth all on her own. She’s so cute, she has this tinkle smile when she goes and she grins from ear to ear.”


Tara smiled and went to the fridge to get the bread.


“JJ asked for a roll-up instead of a sandwich,” Willow said just before Tara closed the door.


Tara put the bread back and got the wraps out instead. As she spread it out on the counter, she noticed Willow about to twist off the lid of the peanut butter.


“Oh, we have to switch out Robyn’s peanut butter to almond butter. There’s a kid with an allergy in daycare this year.”


“Whoops!” Willow replied, turning to put the jar back in the cabinet, “Do we have almond butter?”


“Top shelf,” Tara instructed as she rolled the filled wrap up and cut it in three to fit in the lunchbox.


They finished up the lunches and left them in the fridge for the morning.


Willow turned to face Tara and laid her hands on her thighs.


“Couch?”


“Bed?” Tara counter-offered and Willow gave something akin to a tinkle smile.


“Lead the way.”


Tara passed by Willow and linked their fingers along the way to gently pull her past the kiddie gates to get upstairs into the sanctuary of their bedroom.


Tara had to just sit on the end of the bed for a minute; it had been a day.


Willow silently picked out some light pajamas for her and handed them off in a pile. Tara smiled and curled her finger toward herself, inviting Willow closer. She kissed Willow’s lips when she was close enough and lingered, feeling her energy replenish from the contact.


Leaving the clothes in her lap, her hands slid up Willow’s cheeks and held her face.


“Mmm. I love you,” she whispered through a natural pause in the kiss.


One hand moved behind Willow’s neck and massaged there for a moment before falling off.


She changed into the pajamas while Willow did the same with her own. When Tara finished changing first, she may have watched Willow shimmy into her PJs.


Finally, Willow laid down beside Tara and booped her nose.


“Caught you looking.”


“I wasn’t trying to hide it,” Tara smiled and Willow ducked her head but answered with the same adoring look.


“So what wild adventure did you get up to today that had your wife worrying half to death?”


Tara’s brow furrowed.


“Oh Willow, I’m sorry.”


Willow shrugged her outer shoulder.


“I know you haven’t had any hypos or anything but I still worry you’ll be alone or…”


“I made sure to eat when I was supposed to and I checked my sugars in the car,” Tara reassured.


Willow’s over-attentiveness had frustrated her sometimes lately but it was hard to be annoyed when she was looking straight at her with those earnest eyes.


Willow looked down.


“You’d worry too if…”


Tara couldn’t disagree.


“I would. But you know I would never do anything to put the babies at risk.”


“And you,” Willow added pointedly, placing her palm over Tara’s heart, “The babies’ Mommy is very important too.”


Tara brushed her thumb against Willow’s bottom lip.


“I love you.”


Willow's eyes narrowed playfully.


“You keep saying that and now I’m getting suspicious.”


Tara blinked quickly, several times.


“I don’t know where to start.”


Willow brought her hand to Tara’s hip and held her there.


“Last I knew you were going to visit your mom.”


“I did,” Tara nodded slowly, “And someone else was there.”


Willow audibly took in a sharp breath and Tara immediately cupped her cheek and moved closer.


“Sssh, ssh. Everything is okay. It wasn’t him. He’s in prison.”


Willow gulped and closed her glassy eyes.


“I’m sorry, I know. I know he’s—” she stopped before she tumbled right into anger, “Just had a moment. I’m sorry. Tell me. Who was there?”


“A woman,” Tara answered simply, taking a long break before continuing, “She said she was a friend of my mom’s that recently moved back to the area.”


Willow nodded her head quickly.


“That’s…cool!” she said finally, looking to Tara for confirmation, “That’s cool, right? You never knew any of your mom’s friends. Kinda thought your Dad had chased ‘em all away, honestly.”


“So did I,” Tara replied, pursing her lips for a moment, “But she was a…special friend.”


“Like from childhood?” Willow asked curiously.


Tara shook her head.


“Like sisters?” Willow guessed again, eyes slowly widening.


Tara's mouth opened and closed again before she finally spoke.


“Like lovers.”


Willow’s eyes almost bugged out of her head.


“WHAT!?”


Tara reached out and pulled her back by the shoulder.


“Shh, you’ll wake Robyn.”


“Your mom was a lesbian?!” Willow almost cut her off, mouth hanging open.


“We didn’t get into the nitty-gritty of labels,” Tara answered, biting the corner of her lip, “But they were a couple. They were a couple since before I was born. She was my mom’s birthing partner, she was my mom’s escape, she was my mom’s…everything.”


Willow let out a breath.


“Whoa.”


“Yeah,” Tara agreed, swallowing deeply, “It was intense. And when I went back to the house—”


“Wait, wait, wait,” Willow interrupted, waving her hands, “Which house? YOUR house? The one you grew up in? The one where—”


Tara lifted a finger to Willow’s lips.


“Yes. That house.”


Willow accepted the move to shut her up and tried to rein in the emotion.


“Why?” she asked finally.


Tara brought a hand up to her own forehead and massaged there for a moment.


“I think I need to go back and tell you from the start.”


Willow nodded evenly.


“Yeah, I think you might.”


So Tara took a deep breath and recounted her day with the multiple trips to the graveside, breaking into her old house and the hours spent learning about parts of her mother’s life she never knew existed.


Even Willow looked exhausted by the time she was finished and Tara realized she too was feeling tiredness beyond her normal pregnancy fatigue.


“Baby, that is insane,” Willow said with her eyebrows permanently risen on her brow, “How do you feel about it all?”


“It’s a lot,” Tara admitted, “And Rose, she…she seemed so broken. Even still.”


“I get that,” Willow replied softly and Tara pressed her hand over Willow’s heart again where the small scar remained.


“Me too.”


She tucked some hair behind Willow’s ear affectionately.


“But I’m glad to know she — my mom — had some light in her life. And it’s not like it’s a big shock that my parents’ relationship wasn’t happy. I’d like to see her again. Rose, I mean. She knew my mom when she was pregnant with me, she knew her…she knew her better than anyone. I have a chance to feel close to her again. And that was why I was visiting the grave in the first place.”


“I hope…” Willow stopped to consider her words carefully, “I hope you get what you need.”


Tara just nodded and leaned in for a smooch.


When they parted, Willow’s shoulders bounced excitedly.


“Okay, I’ve held this in as long as I could,” she said, starting to grin, “Did you say you had baby Tara drawings?!”


Tara put her hand on Willow’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.


“I’m so tired. Can we look at them tomorrow?”


Willow considered it.


“I’ll wait and hold you until you fall asleep.”


Tara smiled and pulled Willow into her again.


“Deal.”


She placed a kiss in the hollow of Willow’s throat before turning back around to scoot off the bed and head to their bathroom to brush her teeth.


Willow already had the covers pulled back for her when she was done and promised to plug Tara’s phone in to charge as Tara sleepily fell back into bed.


Tara felt Willow’s arms close around her from behind and with a little kiss to the back of her neck, sleep overtook her quickly and peacefully.


Willow waited a whole ten minutes before sneaking down to get a rare glimpse of her wife’s youth.


There were lots of drawings of nature and animals and then one labeled ‘My Family’ that had two women and two girls with a big house under a rainbow. It had been ripped in half and taped back together and Willow could guess who had done the ripping.


Still, it was a case of a picture telling a thousand words and Willow felt comforted that Tara had seen her family like so at such a young age. It made sense now to Willow why Tara had never really needed to come out and it wasn't because she hadn't had anyone to come out to. It was just because it had always felt normal to her.


“Still learning about you,” she whispered, smiling, “Like how much you hated staying inside the lines, apparently.”


She took the bundle of pictures out because that box looked really old and brought them upstairs to carefully put away in a safer place.


She got back into bed and snuggled up to her wife, feeling joy just to know her that little bit more.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 27th 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:19 am 
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5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 349
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
“We were going to take you both and go, you know,” she said, lifting her hand to her forehead and dropping her gaze, “We talked about it all the time. We’d even squirreled away money. We were going to start a new life somewhere in New England. We’d pretend-argue because she wanted to go to Connecticut and I wanted to go to New Hampshire. We’d kid that we would end up somewhere in Massachusetts.”


It felt like she was atoning and Tara didn’t know how to absolve her.


Very sad that they both never dared to pull their plan through - it would have spared Tara the abuse she suffered after Lisa's death and also Beth surely would have been better of with two loving moms and a "sister" instead of being raised by a father with a drinking problem.

Quote:
“You never found anyone else?” Tara asked gently.


Rose just flicked her hand dismissively.


“How can you be with someone when you’ve already found your soulmate? It’s not fair for anyone involved. They can never be…It can never be…”


She paused and visibly tensed her face to stop tears.


“I understand,” Tara replied honestly, feeling a similar rise of emotion rise from inside, “My wife, I…”


Her face tensed in the same way.


“I understand.”

I just hope that Willow and Tara won't be parted until very, very old age!

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“I-I don’t understand. Was she pregnant before me?”


Rose inhaled and finally exhaled it out again.


“She was. But it wasn’t successful,” she answered in an apologetic tone as if it were her fault, “She miscarried just shy of 19 weeks. It was a boy. She called him Donald after her grandfather.”

I'm wondering if Tara's situation after her mother's death would have been better if she hadn't been an only child or if an older brother would just have grown into another tormentor to her like many other fan fics indicate (and the original series hinted at).

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“Tell me if this is too intrusive but you don’t have any photographs of you back then, do you? I’m sure I remember you if we spent so much time together but I just can’t place you.”


Rose thought for a moment, then stood up and left the room. She returned with a small notebook and sat down again before opening the cover and taking out a folded photograph, which she handed over to Tara.


“My Mom,” Tara whispered reverently, touching the image of her mother’s face.


In the photo, she was gazing off to the folded side and Tara peeled it back to see the full thing. On the hidden side, it was a woman laughing and it took a moment for Tara to realize it was actually Rose. She looked so different; so light, carefree. Happy.


They both looked so happy.

It's sad that Rose normally apparently doesn't want to see the whole picture of them both, happy together, and keeps it with "her side" folded away.

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“Look how she looks at you…” she said reverently and had to smile at a particular feature, “You were a redhead.”


Rose rested her chin on top of her fist and allowed herself a full moment to remember.


“Red Rose.”


Tara suddenly started humming without even meaning to.


“Red roses from my Red Rose,” she sang, so quiet she almost couldn’t be heard at all, “She used to hum that and sing while she put them in a vase. I can see the sun shining in from the back yard into the kitchen and she’d take my hand and dance. They made her so happy.”


She brought her thumb and forefinger up to pinch the bridge of her nose to stop any tears.


“I’m sorry, I’ve been having a lot of memories come forward today. It’s a little overwhelming.”


Rose just came around and held Tara from behind, kissing the top of her head. It some ways it was way too familiar, but Tara still found herself accepting the comfort.

:cry :flower I can understand that Tara feels overwhelmed here. But I'm glad that she'll receive some kind of "motherly love" again from now on.

That actually made me think of Willow's "owl mother" Ruth - I'm wondering if they kept in touch.

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“We drank wine and read poetry,” Rose reminisced, “We actually came to enjoy our husbands going off to drink because we knew it was a few extra precious hours together.


“When Willow and I first started dating we would lie in bed and read poems,” Tara shared fondly, “I loved it. Reading poetry together felt so intimate and warm. That must be where I got it from.”


“Sometimes we all did that on a Sunday morning with you girls when your fathers were working overtime,” Rose replied and even know kindly didn’t add ‘or were hungover’, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words—”


“And never stops at all,” Tara finished from a place inside her that she wasn’t entirely sure of but felt familiar and loving.


Rose beamed to hear her say those words, so like Lisa and yet still so like herself.


“You remember. Emily Dickenson.”


Emily,” Tara’s breath caught softly, “Emily Dickenson. I do remember. I always have.”

So that's the deeper explanation for her choice of the name Emily. The cited passage is beautiful - I'd like to search for the whole poem on the internet, could you tell us the title, please?

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Oh, and she removed her pull-up and climbed up on the toilet after brushing her teeth all on her own. She’s so cute, she has this tinkle smile when she goes and she grins from ear to ear.”

Awww!

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“So what wild adventure did you get up to today that had your wife worrying half to death?”


Tara’s brow furrowed.


“Oh Willow, I’m sorry.”


Willow shrugged her outer shoulder.


“I know you haven’t had any hypos or anything but I still worry you’ll be alone or…”


“I made sure to eat when I was supposed to and I checked my sugars in the car,” Tara reassured.


Willow’s over-attentiveness had frustrated her sometimes lately but it was hard to be annoyed when she was looking straight at her with those earnest eyes.


Willow looked down.


“You’d worry too if…”

I was actually surprised that Willow didn't once try to call or text Tara in all those hours that passed after her short message that she'd be home "a little late".

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“Last I knew you were going to visit your mom.”


“I did,” Tara nodded slowly, “And someone else was there.”


Willow audibly took in a sharp breath and Tara immediately cupped her cheek and moved closer.


“Sssh, ssh. Everything is okay. It wasn’t him. He’s in prison.”


Willow gulped and closed her glassy eyes.


“I’m sorry, I know. I know he’s—” she stopped before she tumbled right into anger, “Just had a moment. I’m sorry. Tell me. Who was there?”

Understandable that Willow mentally jumped back to this other, very bad chance meeting at the grave of Tara's mom.

Quote:
“But I’m glad to know she — my mom — had some light in her life. And it’s not like it’s a big shock that my parents’ relationship wasn’t happy. I’d like to see her again. Rose, I mean. She knew my mom when she was pregnant with me, she knew her…she knew her better than anyone. I have a chance to feel close to her again. And that was why I was visiting the grave in the first place.”


“I hope…” Willow stopped to consider her words carefully, “I hope you get what you need.”

And I trust in you, Laragh, that you will make it so.

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Willow waited a whole ten minutes before sneaking down to get a rare glimpse of her wife’s youth.


There were lots of drawings of nature and animals and then one labeled ‘My Family’ that had two women and two girls with a big house under a rainbow. It had been ripped in half and taped back together and Willow could guess who had done the ripping.


Still, it was a case of a picture telling a thousand words and Willow felt comforted that Tara had seen her family like so at such a young age. It made sense now to Willow why Tara had never really needed to come out and it wasn't because she hadn't had anyone to come out to. It was just because it had always felt normal to her.


“Still learning about you,” she whispered, smiling, “Like how much you hated staying inside the lines, apparently.”


She took the bundle of pictures out because that box looked really old and brought them upstairs to carefully put away in a safer place.


She got back into bed and snuggled up to her wife, feeling joy just to know her that little bit more.

Awww again! :flower


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 27th 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:27 pm 
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5. Willowhand

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Posts: 349
After my first comment I thought some more about the last chapter and reread it. Now I'm not sure if the revelation of her mom's secret will just have positive effects for Tara...

Quote:
“Can I ask if my father knew about your relationship?” Tara asked when she felt they were both ready to speak again.


“During, I’m not sure, to be honest,” Rose answered with a discreet swipe of a finger against her eye, “No one questioned our close friendship in those days and we were careful around you girls not to be affectionate. After, certainly. My ex-husband saw how I reacted and put two and two together when he found old letters. He told me the only reason he wasn’t blasting my name all over town as the resident degenerate was out of respect for your father.”


Tara slowly exhaled.


“That explains why he reacted so violently when he found out I have a wife.”

I realized that the rage about finding out that his wife had an (in his eyes) "unnatural, sinful" affair with a woman for years might well have been the trigger for Michael's violent behaviour against Tara. By not "having the guts" to leave a husband who was controlling, emotionally cold against her and her daughter and always drinking too much, but leading a secret double life instead Lisa was in my opinion partially responsible for the horrors Tara suffered after her death.
And I wonder if - once the shock of finding out about her mom's secret has lifted for Tara - her (dormant?) anger against her mother for not saving her from her father by leaving him and taking Tara with her before she died may awaken and even strengthen now that Tara knows that her mom already had found another loving relationship and could have built a new life with Rose and their two daughters.
I dimly remember Tara asking Michelle (in HC or maybe FC part 1) why her mom didn't leave her dad so there must have been some anger in Tara against her mom, even if she has buried it deep - and I could hardly blame her for that anger - as you can see in this reply I'm angry with Lisa now.

So maybe in the future Tara will have to remember Rose's plea here, just for different reasons as she thought:

Quote:
“Please don’t think less of your mother. She was an amazing, beautiful human being.”


After all my thinking I'm now also wondering how Tara could totally forget about Rose and Beth, considering that she and her mom seem to have spent hours with them at least once a week from her earliest childhood until her mom's death (when Tara was 9 or 10 years old if I remember correctly?). And why did little Tara not run (or drive on her bike) to "Aunt Rose" and ask for her help when her father started hitting her? Had Rose already moved away then?


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 27th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


You're on a roll!

Quote:
Very sad that they both never dared to pull their plan through - it would have spared Tara the abuse she suffered after Lisa's death and also Beth surely would have been better of with two loving moms and a "sister" instead of being raised by a father with a drinking problem.


It would have saved a lot of misery. It's extremely sad.

Quote:
I just hope that Willow and Tara won't be parted until very, very old age!


Don't even worry about that, trust me!

Quote:
I'm wondering if Tara's situation after her mother's death would have been better if she hadn't been an only child or if an older brother would just have grown into another tormentor to her like many other fan fics indicate (and the original series hinted at).


Well Donny was overtly an asshole in the series (he threatened to 'beat her down', not just hint at it) so I think it would only have made things worse and much more difficult to escape.

Quote:
It's sad that Rose normally apparently doesn't want to see the whole picture of them both, happy together, and keeps it with "her side" folded away.


It's hard to see yourself happy when you're miserable...just reminds you of everything you've lost, and in this case, forever.

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:cry :flower I can understand that Tara feels overwhelmed here. But I'm glad that she'll receive some kind of "motherly love" again from now on.


She'll receive the connection she deserves.

Quote:
That actually made me think of Willow's "owl mother" Ruth - I'm wondering if they kept in touch.


They do! It will come up.

Quote:
So that's the deeper explanation for her choice of the name Emily. The cited passage is beautiful - I'd like to search for the whole poem on the internet, could you tell us the title, please?


It's called - "Hope" is the thing with feathers

Quote:
Awww!


Babies that age are so cute.

Quote:
I was actually surprised that Willow didn't once try to call or text Tara in all those hours that passed after her short message that she'd be home "a little late".


I think she probably 'checked out' where Tara was and her online status and left her alone because she knew she was okay.

Quote:
Understandable that Willow mentally jumped back to this other, very bad chance meeting at the grave of Tara's mom.


It is a pretty awful recollection to have!

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And I trust in you, Laragh, that you will make it so.


I will sure do my best!

Quote:
Awww again! :flower


Some tender connection between them is always important!

Quote:
After my first comment I thought some more about the last chapter and reread it. Now I'm not sure if the revelation of her mom's secret will just have positive effects for Tara...


I think so much time has passed that Tara has forgiven what's come before - if you remember, Tara had even forgiven her father for what he did to her. It was what he did to Willow that she couldn't forgive.

Quote:
I realized that the rage about finding out that his wife had an (in his eyes) "unnatural, sinful" affair with a woman for years might well have been the trigger for Michael's violent behaviour against Tara. By not "having the guts" to leave a husband who was controlling, emotionally cold against her and her daughter and always drinking too much, but leading a secret double life instead Lisa was in my opinion partially responsible for the horrors Tara suffered after her death.
And I wonder if - once the shock of finding out about her mom's secret has lifted for Tara - her (dormant?) anger against her mother for not saving her from her father by leaving him and taking Tara with her before she died may awaken and even strengthen now that Tara knows that her mom already had found another loving relationship and could have built a new life with Rose and their two daughters.
I dimly remember Tara asking Michelle (in HC or maybe FC part 1) why her mom didn't leave her dad so there must have been some anger in Tara against her mom, even if she has buried it deep - and I could hardly blame her for that anger - as you can see in this reply I'm angry with Lisa now.


I think all of this is true. But it's like a domino effect - this lead to this which lead to that. Where does the blame start, where does it shift off one person to the next?

There's also circumstance - this was the 80s and early 90s. You didn't just run off with a same-sex lover and your children. Lisa didn't work, Rose owned her own shop but there was no guarantee she could open a new one elsewhere where people would take to a female mechanic. A judge wouldn't take kindly to it if their husbands took them to court. They both knew they were married to hard men who could do that out of spite - and in fact, in Rose's case, did. They had a sort of peace in the situation they were in. The secrecy was secure. Does it mean it was the right thing to do? They thought it was. Or maybe not right, but best. Or maybe not even best, but easiest. They chose was seemed correct for the moment in time they were living in and how could they guess of what the fallout would be if one of them died? They were young, they didn't consider it.

Tara knows she can't change what happened and it was all so long ago. She's gone through therapy for it, she's come out the other side and she recognizes ultimately that her father choosing to raise a hand to her came from him and not her. She's worked through all of this already and is now working at being a better mother (because even though she's one of the best, she always wants to be better) for her children. That's the thing, mothers are humans too. Subject to human emotion and human failings. Tara will discover this pretty harshly...well, you'll see. But while I think there is some justified anger there...I also don't see Tara tapping into it. In this case, looking back is an opportunity to move forward.

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So maybe in the future Tara will have to remember Rose's plea here, just for different reasons as she thought:


Maybe she will. It's not a bad reminder. Maybe she'll be able to apply it for herself too, and recognize her personal failings don't mean she is a bad person or mother. Lisa did what she thought was best and despite tragedy, Tara has built a wonderful life for herself because of it.

Quote:
After all my thinking I'm now also wondering how Tara could totally forget about Rose and Beth, considering that she and her mom seem to have spent hours with them at least once a week from her earliest childhood until her mom's death (when Tara was 9 or 10 years old if I remember correctly?). And why did little Tara not run (or drive on her bike) to "Aunt Rose" and ask for her help when her father started hitting her? Had Rose already moved away then?


There's lots of layers here. Of course, Tara didn't forget straight away, that only came after time. Tara speaks of not even being able to recall going to the funeral. She was in a very traumatized place - he dad brought her to the hospital where her mother's corpse was and just grunted that she was dead. She was already used to having to keep things secret because she wasn't supposed to know Michelle. This was something that definitely wasn't fair of Lisa, to say 'Don't tell Daddy' about people in her life but Tara knew that there were certain things she wasn't allowed to tell her father. So give time and the isolation of now ONLY having him in her life - she starts to question what was even real?

And the abuse didn't just flip a switch in the household after Lisa died. Tara's described her having to clear the house of her mother's stuff after she died. And then all of the chore duties were just expected of her. And then eventually she can't keep up and now things are physical.

But Beth is ignoring her in school now (because of her Dad's influence or blaming her for her mom leaving? Or blaming Tara for them not seeing each other anymore, not understanding everything that's going on with the adults?) and then she's gone completely and Tara feels truly alone and her father doesn't go to work any more and drinks whiskey for breakfast and she's still only 10 years old and her mother is gone forever and those people she thought were her mom's friends that had to be kept secret from Daddy, they're not coming either so were they even real?

And she's hungry because Daddy ate all of the food in the cabinets again and she doesn't know how to get money for more and if she wakes Daddy to ask him will he hit her again because her cheek is still sore and she might cry if she does that and if she cries she'll make him mad and when he's mad he could hurt her even worse and she's still 10 years old and I really don't think it's quite as simple as hopping on her bike to look for someone who should have been helping already but they weren't. It wasn't her responsibility to tell. Someone else should have intervened.

But they didn't. The ball was dropped. And Tara is the one who truly suffered for it.

But she also forgave. Because she has the children she has now because of it, and the wife she has because of it. Her family wouldn't be her family were it not for everything that came before.

So does she bristle sometimes when she thinks of it all and the failure on all sides to protect her? Sure. But she doesn't dwell. She allows them to make up for it with her children and she works her ass off every day to make sure she fights for all of the kids who find themselves in a situation that is not of their choosing or their making and she models herself to show them that they're going to be okay too.

Because ultimately, she is okay too. So a new person in her life - someone with a connection that she thought was lost forever - she's only going to let that mean good things. Because finally, she actually has a choice in the matter. She can choose. She's not a little kid any more, she can walk away if she wants to. But she doesn't. She wants this person who loved her once and loved someone dear to her to love her family now too.

So your comments are fair but there really isn't one way for human beings 'to' act even if we 'should' or others 'would'.

I'm leaving this one in Tara's hands, and as we all know of Tara, she chooses love over hate.

Thanks so much for your feedback :)



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