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

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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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Chapter Ten




“Hey Willow.”


Willow looked up from her phone as she heard the familiar voice call her name and spotted Xander standing a few feet away paying for his coffee order while she waited at the pick-up point for her mocha and Tara’s passion tango tea. She smiled and waved.


“Hey, Xan. How's it going?”


“Escaping the fam?” Xander asked as he sidled up beside her.


Willow shook her head.


“No, they’re with our parents. Going to the zoo! Robyn’s birthday treat! Thankfully she’s still young enough to not be mad at us for going a bit more low-key this year. She thinks she’s getting multiple birthdays because people keep taking her out or bringing her presents. She loves the ice-cream cart toy you got her by the way.”


“Pixie is obsessed with hers,” Xander grinned, “Turns out imaginary ice-cream is the only kind that’s kind to my waistline.”


He patted his stomach and smiled.


“Out for some self-love?” he smiled awkwardly, “I mean, uh, on a solo date?”


Willow shook her head again.


“Tara’s in the car. I was picking her up from yoga and she had a craving hence immediate stoppage for satisfaction.”


“Oh the cravings,” Xander chuckled in solidarity, “At least this one didn’t come at 2 am.”


“Pfft, 2 am?” Willow waved her hand dismissively, “2 am is nothing. I was in Wegmans at 4 the other night because we only had gala apples and Tara said she would die if she couldn’t have a pink lady. She actually said those words to me; that she would die.”


“Payback’s a bitch, huh?” Xander grinned.


Willow exhaled through a laugh.


“You’re telling me. I keep telling myself I wasn’t this bad, but honestly, I was worse.”


“And now she has a personal chauffeur,” Xander replied, gesturing indicatively.


Willow shook her head to herself.


“She’s finding driving pretty uncomfortable now she’s getting so big.”


“Isn’t she only 20 weeks?” Xander asked with a curious lift on the corner of his mouth.


“With twins,” Willow amended and Xander began nodding.


“I keep forgetting that part,” he said, then leaned in conspiringly, “Does that mean double the hormones?”


“It sure feels like it,” Willow chuckled.


“Wallow,” a barista called out and Willow retrieved her drinks with a sullen ‘thanks’.


“Wallow isn’t even a name! It’s an act!” she complained quietly to Xander.


“Xander,” the same barista called out perfectly and he smiled at her as he collected his order.


Willow rolled her eyes but waited for Xander to walk back out to their cars. She backed up against the door to open it and used her foot to hold it open while Xander walked out.


“Anya would eviscerate you if I told her you were flirting with the cute barista.”


Xander countered her with a boyish grin.


“And Tara would hormone-hulk-out if I told her you said she was cute.”


Willow’s eyes narrowed.


“You’re playing hardball, Harris.”


Xander shrugged both shoulders.


“I’m just—”


Before he could say whatever he was going to say, they both winced as a loud skidding sound rattled their eardrums from mere feet away.


One of Willow’s arms raised instinctively as if shielding her eyes might stop the sound but all it did was block the sun from her gaze and allow her to watch as a white dump truck speedily skidded through a red light, out of control. She heard lots of beeping and then yelling, all in a split second; the same split second that she noticed the car directly in the path of the oncoming collision was hers.


The one she’d left Tara in.


Everything slowed to an almost inert state.


The drinks fell at Willow’s feet and splashed all over the ground and Tara’s name rang through the air; so shrill and slow that Willow didn’t even realize she was the one screaming it.


One foot took a running step forward but then there were arms around her middle, tugging her back and everything changed back to real-time. Willow felt her feet being lifted off the ground and her body tugged back right as the truck slammed into the car and turned it into a sideways accordion.


Willow was fighting Xander’s grip, twisting and turning to get out of his arms.


“Tara! Tara! Tara!”


“What the hell happened?!”


Xander, and in turn Willow who was still being held by him, spun around to spot Tara standing behind them with her mouth hung open.


Xander let go of Willow and brought both of his hands up to his head in shock. Willow stumbled toward Tara with a small frown on her face.


“Tara?” she asked in a small, child-like voice.


Before Tara could answer, Willow promptly dropped to her knees and threw up.


“Oh my god,” Tara said and did her best to bend down and comfort Willow while looking up at Xander.


Xander was taking in large breaths.


“We thought you were in the car,” he said, dropping a hand to his chest, “We thought you were in the car.”


“I-I had to pee,” Tara explained, her hand moving over her belly, “I couldn’t hold it. I-I can’t hold it anymore.”


There was a fresh wave of panicked yelling and Xander looked over his shoulder to where a group of people were trying to get the unconscious truck driver out of his seat. He ran over to help and Tara focused back on Willow.


“Hey,” she said, stroking Willow’s hair and coaxing her gaze back up, “Hey.”


Willow looked up and every part of her was shaking; Tara was sure she could even see the hairs in her eyebrows trembling. She closed Willow’s hand in hers and brought it up to her face.


“Touch me. I’m here. I’m right here.”


Willow held a shaky hand against Tara’s cheek.


“I-I thought I lost you, I thought I lost all of you.”


Tara held Willow’s hand right where it was, firmly.


“I know. But I’m—”


There was another sudden loud explosion and a few people screamed while flames started spitting from the engine of the truck. Both Willow and Tara were knocked back onto their butts but were at a safe enough distance not to have any damage but for the ringing in their ears.


Willow started looking around desperately. Tara spotted who she was looking for first.


“Xander’s okay, he’s clearing the scene. They got that man out. C’mon, we gotta move back a bit. It’s okay.”


They both scooted back, still on the ground, neither quite able to get their legs out from under them.


When they were back as far as the gathering crowd would allow, Tara closed her arms around Willow, holding her as close as she could. She kissed her neck, repeatedly, and tried to keep the tears at bay.


“Everything is…”


not


“Okay.”



Willow walked into the bedroom with a ream of papers she was tidying away into a folder.


“Okay, I went through all of our insurance documents and it’s obviously a write-off. We were going to have to buy a bigger car anyway so it’s not too big of a financial deal. I might have to rent something while we get things dealt with but I’ve been looking up safety ratings for minivans and I’ve got a solid five choices we can look into if you’re cool with it.”


Tara blinked; barely processing a word of that. Her blood pressure had bottomed out when the adrenaline wore off and she’d nearly fainted, leaving her stuck in bed all day with a long time to think.


“Yeah, sure, whatever. I-I don’t really care about the car right now.”


Willow left the folder on top of the dresser and came over to the bed, kneeling on top of it opposite Tara.


“Sorry. Going into research mode…helped.”


“And kiddie cuddles,” Tara replied quietly.


“I think Jake has doled out all the hugs we’re getting for the rest of the year,” Willow joked weakly and looked down, “That guy is okay. The driver. Xander called.”


Tara nodded.


“Good. That’s good.”


Willow’s jaw tensed.


“I wouldn’t care if he wasn’t.”


“Don’t say that,” Tara chastised softly.


Angry tears pricked Willow’s eyes.


“You were a thimbleful of pee away from being—”


She cut herself off and looked away. Tara shut her eyes tight and opened them again.


“I need to talk to you.”


Willow sat properly with her back against the pillows.


“Yeah, of course. I’m here. We can talk about it.”


“Not about the crash,” Tara interjected quickly, “Not specifically.”


Willow frowned.


“I don’t understand.”


Tara’s face was hard in a way Willow was not accustomed to seeing. It made her nervous.


“I need to talk to you about what happens…if there’s ever a situation where there’s a choice.”


“A choice,” Willow repeated but it didn’t make any more sense the second time around, “A choice of…?”


Tara’s breath grew heavier.


“I need you to promise that if it ever comes down to a choice between me and the babies…that you choose the babies.”


Willow’s eyes flashed with something and she jumped back off the bed, pacing.


“Tara, don’t be…” she shook her head so violently it could have spun off, “Just no.”


“Willow,” Tara said seriously.


“Tara,” Willow returned, almost petulantly.


Tara looked down and closed her eyes.


“Willow, you’re my next of kin—”


“I’m your wife,” Willow corrected, “I am your WIFE.”


“Exactly, you are my wife. This decision will come down to you,” Tara replied, unable to cover the shake in her voice, “And I’m asking you to promise me you’ll make the right one.”


Willow shook her head again.


“You don’t get to ask me this.”


“I have to ask you this,” Tara replied, her voice hollow and pained, “I need you to promise.”


“No!” Willow said, waving her hands in front of her definitively.


“Willow,” Tara replied, near breaking.


Willow marched toward the door.


“I said no!”



“Do you have to be so fidgety?”


Willow smoothed her hands out over her thighs and held them up defensively.


“Sorry Oscar,” she said in a mocking tone, “How’s the view from that trash can?”


Tara looked at Willow bitingly.


“Do you know how much of shitty a person it makes you to be sniping at your pregnant wife like this?”


“Whoa,” Willow replied, her hands sinking down by her sides, “I was joking.”


Tara looked off to the other side.


“Find better jokes.”


Willow went rigid with tension and remained like that until Dr. Wells called them into her office.


She trudged in after Tara and sat silently in the free chair, mumbling a greeting when the doctor said hello.


Tara had to lower herself into the chair while gripping the arms and Dr. Wells smiled sympathetically.


“You are big, aren’t you? I had to glance at my notes to see were you further along than I remembered.”


Tara didn’t look mightily impressed with the comment but Dr. Wells didn’t catch it as she started looking through the fresh print-outs she’d brought in with her.


“But your weight looks good. Your blood work is looking better than last time, Tara and your glucose diary is still holding steady enough that I don’t think you need medication. How are finding the diet and exercise program?”


“Fine,” Tara answered quietly.


Dr. Wells nodded along and looked up expecting more but just saw two glum faces.


“Why don’t we take a little look, hey?”


She stood and walked over to the examination table.


“Tara, can you get up here?”


Tara slowly walked over but absolutely refused to entertain the idea that it was a waddle. She was only at the halfway point; she couldn’t be at the waddling stage yet.


She struggled to push herself up on the table and Willow tried to help but Tara rebuffed her.


“I can do it.”


Willow just held her hands up again and took a step back.


Dr. Wells was now glancing between them unsurely but busied herself with setting up the ultrasound.


Tara eventually got herself up onto the table and exposed her belly.


Willow realized how much she really had popped out with just the belly on show and figured Tara must really be worn out. She remembered being that big but it was a lot closer to her due date. She wanted to go up and give her wife’s shoulder a little rub but didn’t think she’d be welcome so hung back.


The doctor squirted the jelly onto Tara’s stomach and brought the probe up to press into her.


“Let’s see what we’ve got going on here,” she said in a cheery voice that tried to permeate the tension in the room.


She moved the probe up toward Tara’s chest and turned the screen toward them.


“Hello Baby A,” she said as little lines went up on the screen as she took measurements, “And there’s Baby B, hiding out on us for a moment.”


“Are they okay?” Tara asked in a rushed, nervous voice.


Dr. Wells nodded.


“They are looking well. Good size. Baby B still lagging a little behind in measurements but still in the normal range,” she said, still trying her hardest to smile enough for the three of them, “Would you like to know the sex?”


Tara just shook her head, though it didn’t really seem like she had heard the question. Willow frowned; she’d kind of thought they were going to confirm their suspicions.


Tara suddenly shifted uncomfortably.


“I’m sorry, I really need to use the restroom.”


“Of course,” Dr. Wells smiled as she wiped the jelly from Tara’s stomach, “Quite normal for my patients. I know it’s unpleasant having that full bladder for the ultrasound. You know the way?”


Tara just nodded silently and slid herself off the table to waddle walk out to the restroom.


Willow watched her leave feeling the distance between them grow even further than the few feet to the bathroom. Before she even knew it was coming she found herself dropping back into the chair and bursting into tears.


Dr. Wells didn’t miss a beat and came to her side with a box of tissues she plucked from her desk on the way. She bent down to offer a tissue and a soothing voice.


“Are you finding this pregnancy tough, Willow?”


Willow cried for another solid minute before she was able to reply.


“I-I wasn’t, but…” she stopped to catch her breath, rolling the tissue all over her nose and swiping at her eyes with embarrassment, “We had an accident at the weekend. A truck slammed into our car.”


Dr. Wells put a hand against her chest.


“Oh my lord. I heard about that accident. I didn’t know that was the accident you were in when the doctors at the ER called for her records.”


Willow dropped her face into her hands.


“We weren’t in the car, but Tara…she was in it like a minute beforehand. And now she wants me to make a promise I can’t make and she’s mad at me and I’m scared I’m making her complications worse but—”


The door opened and Willow tried to turn her body and hide the fact that she was crying but Tara knew right away.


“Willow,” she said softly, getting into the chair beside her and placing a hand on Willow’s back, which she rubbed in circles.


Willow shut her eyes tight and tried not to crumble even more. Dr. Wells encouragingly held the box of tissues for Tara to take to aid Willow and stood up to her full height and returned back behind her desk.


“I think it’s fair to say there’s some tension in the room.”


She looked at them both sympathetically.


“Is there anything I can help with? Any fears or concerns I can alleviate?”


Tara felt awful that Willow had gotten into this state and just kept rubbing her back.


“I asked her to promise me she’d choose the babies if it came down to a choice.”


A fresh sob rose in Willow’s throat and it broke Tara’s heart.


Dr. Wells nodded evenly.


“While it is good to discuss these matters,” she said in a calm voice, “There is absolutely no reason to think there will be any reason to employ that choice. Tara, you’re keeping your diabetes is excellent check; the babies are a healthy size, their hearts look good and you’re progressing your pregnancy in a perfectly normal manner. I fully believe you’ll have a healthy labor and deliver two perfectly healthy baby girls.”


Willow looked up for the first time since Tara had returned to the room.


“Girls?”


Dr. Wells looked shocked.


“Oh my lord, I’m so sorry,” she said, swallowing multiple times to compose herself, “I’ve never done that before. Please accept my profuse apologies.”


“It’s okay,” Willow sniffled, eyes drying up as she tentatively glanced to Tara, “We kinda knew.”


Tara smiled softly at Willow; an apology and reassurance all at once.


“Yeah, we did,” she said softly without averting her gaze, “We’ve named them.”


Willow actually laughed and wiped her eye with her sleeve since the tissue was near disintegration.


“Baby A is Lily and Baby B is Emily.”


“Those are beautiful names,” Dr. Wells said softly as an acknowledgment but both Willow and Tara were lost in each other, so she didn’t take offense when she wasn’t replied to.


Willow’s gaze was locked on Tara as her face slowly scrunched up.


“Okay,” she said after a moment, new tears falling down her cheeks, “I promise.”


Dr. Wells read the room and stood back up.


“Would you like a video of the ultrasound?”


Tara briefly looked over and nodded.


“Yes please.”


“I’ll go organize it,” Dr. Wells replied and quietly slipped out the door.


When the door closed behind her, Willow burst into fresh tears and Tara dragged her over in the chair to wrap her in a hug. Willow allowed herself to cry into Tara’s chest while Tara stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.


“I’m sorry I’ve been Oscar the Grouch.”


Willow shook her head into Tara’s chest.


“Y-You’re not Oscar, you’re, you’re Kermit! All wise and kind and in love with an idiot.”


“You’re mixing up your puppet shows, honey,” Tara said lovingly.


“Or Rowlf the Dog!” Willow offered earnestly.


“I think that’s a compliment,” Tara replied with a gracious smile.


Willow sniffled.


“Wanna blow off lunch and go home to watch our babies over and over again?”


Tara smiled and nodded.


“I would love nothing more.”


Willow gripped Tara’s shoulder and squeezed repeatedly.


“I’ll give you a massage.”


Tara’s lips quirked up on one side.


“You can give me more than a massage if you like.”


Willow giggled through glassy eyes.


“Are you suggesting some afternoon delight?” she asked, rolling her eyes self-deprecatingly, “Is it the snotty nose? Turning you on too much?”


Tara touched her fingers to Willow’s cheek.


“Just my wife. Turning me on by existing.”


Willow blushed and ducked her head and finally blinked away the last tear.


“But let’s watch the babies first because I didn’t get a very good look.”


“Lily and Emily. Officially,” Tara replied with an unending grin, “We need middle names.”


“Lily gets Lisa,” Willow said with a sure nod, “Of course.”


Tara swallowed deeply.


“Really?”


Willow’s brow furrowed with intentional certainty.


“Not even a question,” she took Tara’s hand, “I know you didn’t want to name Robyn ‘Lisa’ because you didn’t want her to have to live up to a ghost, but…I think this one was meant to be.”


Tara let out a shaken breath.


“Thank you,” she smiled watery and nodded, “You can pick Emily’s then—”


“Eve,” Willow said without hesitation.


“Oh,” Tara replied with a surprised but pleased smile, “Okay. I like Eve. I like it a lot.”


“It’s Hebrew. My dad will like that,” Willow explained, “It means ‘living’.”


Tara thought that was a very apropos word for them to leave this room with.


“Emily Eve,” she said with giddy clarity, “We named our babies.”


Willow bit her lip but it did nothing to hold back the smile.


“We should go and let the poor doctor get her room back from the hot mess moms.”


Tara offered her hand and Willow let out one long exhale before linking her fingers firmly with Tara’s.


They stood together and walked out the door ten times stronger than they had been walking in.


Now they just had to keep that strength for the second half of this pregnancy.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 31st 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:57 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 359
Dibs again! :whip
Of course this isn't a great success if I'm the only one left who gives feedback...Come on other readers, comment on Laragh's great work!

Laragh, first I'll reply to your reply to my last comments:

Quote:
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.

Laragh, you tease! :wink Now I'll be constantly worrying what grave mistakes she'll make as a mother in her education of JJ and / or Robyn!

Quote:
I'm leaving this one in Tara's hands, and as we all know of Tara, she chooses love over hate.

I never thought she wouldn't excuse and forgive her mother after some time, I just feared that some dormant anger she might well have because her mother didn't take her away from her controlling, emotionally cold father before it was too late might be brought up again. From your detailed response I conclude that that isn't the case, so I'm glad for Tara.

Quote:
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.

Probably not. But two mothers could have seperately left their husbands (who both have a drinking problem) and moved into close vicinity of each other (because they are best friends) and still kept their relationship a secret. And I trust Lisa would have won a custody procedure, assuming that the judge will try to find out which parent has a closer emotional bond with the child and the better capability to raise it (which seems pretty obviously Lisa in Tara's case). And maybe if Lisa had left her husband and had gone through a custody fight with him she also would have thought to make legal arrangements for the case of her dying while Tara was still a minor, trying to make sure that Michelle would get custody instead of Tara's dad (of course I only know about the possibilities for such arrangements in the german law).
But it's all "water under the bridge" so I'll stop thinking about the "what ifs" now…

Quote:
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

So I understand that the answer to my question is that Rose had already moved away when Michael started to hit Tara so she couldn't ask her for help.

I have to admit I hadn't tried to think / feel like little Tara here because I have no children and can't remember my own thoughtprocess as a ten year old. Plus I thankfully had a happy home life with two loving parents.

Now to the newest chapter:
Wow, that was much more drama than I had expected! Thank god that Tara had to leave the car to pee and that Xander was there to pull Willow back to safety!

Quote:
“I need to talk to you about what happens…if there’s ever a situation where there’s a choice.”


“A choice,” Willow repeated but it didn’t make any more sense the second time around, “A choice of…?”


Tara’s breath grew heavier.


“I need you to promise that if it ever comes down to a choice between me and the babies…that you choose the babies.”


Willow’s eyes flashed with something and she jumped back off the bed, pacing.


“Tara, don’t be…” she shook her head so violently it could have spun off, “Just no.”


“Willow,” Tara said seriously.


“Tara,” Willow returned, almost petulantly.


Tara looked down and closed her eyes.


“Willow, you’re my next of kin—”


“I’m your wife,” Willow corrected, “I am your WIFE.”


“Exactly, you are my wife. This decision will come down to you,” Tara replied, unable to cover the shake in her voice, “And I’m asking you to promise me you’ll make the right one.”


Willow shook her head again.


“You don’t get to ask me this.”


“I have to ask you this,” Tara replied, her voice hollow and pained, “I need you to promise.”


“No!” Willow said, waving her hands in front of her definitively.


“Willow,” Tara replied, near breaking.


Willow marched toward the door.


“I said no!”

Wow Tara, you spring this extremely tough request on Willow only hours after she thought you and your unborn children had died in the car wreck?! Talk about bad timing! And then you treat her coldly for the next days because she says no? Laragh, you seemed to be determined to show us as soon as possible that Tara has her "human failings" as well.

I don't even wan't to imagine that Willow will ever be forced to choose to let Tara die so the babies can live! I fear she would never forgive herself if she made such a choice - and promise or no promise, it would be HER decision - and I don't want to imagine her having to explain that choice to all the kids either.

Quote:
“Do you have to be so fidgety?”


Willow smoothed her hands out over her thighs and held them up defensively.


“Sorry Oscar,” she said in a mocking tone, “How’s the view from that trash can?”


Tara looked at Willow bitingly.


“Do you know how much of shitty a person it makes you to be sniping at your pregnant wife like this?”


“Whoa,” Willow replied, her hands sinking down by her sides, “I was joking.”


Tara looked off to the other side.


“Find better jokes.”


Willow went rigid with tension and remained like that until Dr. Wells called them into her office.

Quote:
She struggled to push herself up on the table and Willow tried to help but Tara rebuffed her.


“I can do it.”


Willow just held her hands up again and took a step back.

:cry That really hurt my heart!


Quote:
Willow watched her leave feeling the distance between them grow even further than the few feet to the bathroom. Before she even knew it was coming she found herself dropping back into the chair and bursting into tears.


Dr. Wells didn’t miss a beat and came to her side with a box of tissues she plucked from her desk on the way. She bent down to offer a tissue and a soothing voice.


“Are you finding this pregnancy tough, Willow?”


Willow cried for another solid minute before she was able to reply.

Quote:
Willow dropped her face into her hands.


“We weren’t in the car, but Tara…she was in it like a minute beforehand. And now she wants me to make a promise I can’t make and she’s mad at me and I’m scared I’m making her complications worse but—”


The door opened and Willow tried to turn her body and hide the fact that she was crying but Tara knew right away.

Poor Willow! That almost made me cry too! :cry

Quote:
I fully believe you’ll have a healthy labor and deliver two perfectly healthy baby girls.”


Willow looked up for the first time since Tara had returned to the room.


“Girls?”


Dr. Wells looked shocked.


“Oh my lord, I’m so sorry,” she said, swallowing multiple times to compose herself, “I’ve never done that before. Please accept my profuse apologies.”


“It’s okay,” Willow sniffled, eyes drying up as she tentatively glanced to Tara, “We kinda knew.”


Tara smiled softly at Willow; an apology and reassurance all at once.


“Yeah, we did,” she said softly without averting her gaze, “We’ve named them.”


Willow actually laughed and wiped her eye with her sleeve since the tissue was near disintegration.


“Baby A is Lily and Baby B is Emily.”

Yay for the confirmation that the babies are girls and therefore can indeed be named Lily and Emily without it causing identity problems. :wink
And I can totally understand that witnessing all this unusual tension between our two most favourite moms (and moms to be) shook Dr. Wells so much that she accidentally revealed the sex of the babies.

Quote:
Willow’s gaze was locked on Tara as her face slowly scrunched up.


“Okay,” she said after a moment, new tears falling down her cheeks, “I promise.”

I honestly don't know if I could keep that promise - and if Willow herself could. But I trust in you that we'll never have to find out.

Quote:
“Lily gets Lisa,” Willow said with a sure nod, “Of course.”

Awww! :flower I'm sure Michelle and Rose will love that too.

Quote:
“Eve,” Willow said without hesitation.


“Oh,” Tara replied with a surprised but pleased smile, “Okay. I like Eve. I like it a lot.”


“It’s Hebrew. My dad will like that,” Willow explained, “It means ‘living’.”

So all the seniors will be happy!

Quote:
They stood together and walked out the door ten times stronger than they had been walking in.


Now they just had to keep that strength for the second half of this pregnancy.

Good plan!


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 31st 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:33 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1160
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
I can see it all to easily becoming a thing, since both have doubled initials, to refer to the twins *by* initials, LL & EE, I doubt their moms would be too happy about that, though. (In my Children of the 'Dale fics, Dawn's twins are normally called TK & BW but it's mostly her idea for reasons which don't apply in your world.)

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story
____________________________________________________________
Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
Sue: We don't talk about things like that right after, you know that, no saying those things in The Moment.
Kim: (moves the hand aside) Screw The Moment. I *love* you.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 31st 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:29 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1160
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
More seriously, that was a cold water splash to begin the chapter! I can see why Tara would want to ask Willow to "choose the babies" (I'
ve read some articles on that) and also can see why Willow would refuse to commit, and how a disagreement can stretch into a two-day ordeal, I've been there. Thank goodness for Dr. Wells.
I do *like* the names, don't mistake me there:-).
As for two single moms rooming together, there was the sitcom *Kate and Allie* in the late 80s.
Of course, they did live in Manhattan and, to send censor-friendly visual signals, in their separate bedrooms they each had twin/single size beds and had no shortage of boyfriends.

I enjoyed the reference to Wegman's, as I got one in my Saturday evening shopping; I buy a lot at Wal-Mart for price reasons, b ut the milk at Wegman's costs less than half as much so I always walk across the highway to finish off

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Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story
____________________________________________________________
Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
Sue: We don't talk about things like that right after, you know that, no saying those things in The Moment.
Kim: (moves the hand aside) Screw The Moment. I *love* you.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 31st 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:00 am 
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs again! :whip
Of course this isn't a great success if I'm the only one left who gives feedback...Come on other readers, comment on Laragh's great work!


Oh that's so kind, but I value even one comment, especially when it's from a reader who offers such in-depth insight :)

Quote:
Laragh, you tease! :wink Now I'll be constantly worrying what grave mistakes she'll make as a mother in her education of JJ and / or Robyn!


No need to worry. And it's not about mistakes or blame, it's about understanding each other's humanity.

Quote:
I never thought she wouldn't excuse and forgive her mother after some time, I just feared that some dormant anger she might well have because her mother didn't take her away from her controlling, emotionally cold father before it was too late might be brought up again. From your detailed response I conclude that that isn't the case, so I'm glad for Tara.


Yeah, I just don't feel it coming up for her, at least not in a way that would be profound enough to effect her in a big way.

Quote:
Probably not. But two mothers could have seperately left their husbands (who both have a drinking problem) and moved into close vicinity of each other (because they are best friends) and still kept their relationship a secret. And I trust Lisa would have won a custody procedure, assuming that the judge will try to find out which parent has a closer emotional bond with the child and the better capability to raise it (which seems pretty obviously Lisa in Tara's case). And maybe if Lisa had left her husband and had gone through a custody fight with him she also would have thought to make legal arrangements for the case of her dying while Tara was still a minor, trying to make sure that Michelle would get custody instead of Tara's dad (of course I only know about the possibilities for such arrangements in the german law).
But it's all "water under the bridge" so I'll stop thinking about the "what ifs" now…


All you talk about very much could have happened. And a hundred, thousand other scenarios. But for Lisa/Rose, they were all The Unknown and they felt security in the secrecy they had forged. So I don't dismiss what you say at all...all I can tell you is why, in my mind, all of this didn't happen.

Quote:
So I understand that the answer to my question is that Rose had already moved away when Michael started to hit Tara so she couldn't ask her for help.


Yes. I think she came and went for a while before becoming so broken that she gave up Beth completely but certainly she was removed enough from Tara's life that Tara wouldn't think to seek her out by that point.

Quote:
I have to admit I hadn't tried to think / feel like little Tara here because I have no children and can't remember my own thoughtprocess as a ten year old. Plus I thankfully had a happy home life with two loving parents.


I'm very glad that you did. I think the mindset borne from a unstable/broken home can be hard to imagine. Like certain traumas, it's probably pretty much impossible to put yourself in that position.

Quote:
Now to the newest chapter:
Wow, that was much more drama than I had expected! Thank god that Tara had to leave the car to pee and that Xander was there to pull Willow back to safety!


It was kind of a lot packed into a little but there was nothing to gain from dragging it out!

Quote:
Wow Tara, you spring this extremely tough request on Willow only hours after she thought you and your unborn children had died in the car wreck?! Talk about bad timing! And then you treat her coldly for the next days because she says no? Laragh, you seemed to be determined to show us as soon as possible that Tara has her "human failings" as well.


When is the right time to bring such a topic up? A day later, a week, a month? All the while Tara is in constant anxiety about something happening without this discussion having happened? This came up for Tara, she had no choice but to share it. I'll tell you, my initial plan was for Tara to go behind Willow's back to get this written up at the hospital so her wishes would be clear. That would have been a failing on Tara's part. Them discussing an issue that's come up between them as a couple, pertaining to their (unborn) children's future?

There was little choice here. There was no waiting to be had. Tara would have been distant because of it and Willow would have pushed and it would have been the same outcome. Tara's not angry that Willow said no, she's pissed off that she brushed her off and walked out. She's almost too pregnant to function and has weeks off more of it on the horizon, she's sick, she's just been through the same trauma as Willow and she's terrified something else is going to happen that's going to kill the children she feels moving and kicking and living inside her. This was the only semblance of control she had; to ask Willow; to know that if it came down to this awful situation that her wishes would be carried out.

Willow has every right to object but Tara also has every right to ask, even demand. It may be Willow's choice, but it's still Tara's body.

Quote:
I don't even wan't to imagine that Willow will ever be forced to choose to let Tara die so the babies can live! I fear she would never forgive herself if she made such a choice - and promise or no promise, it would be HER decision - and I don't want to imagine her having to explain that choice to all the kids either.


Of course that's a horrific choice that no one should ever have to make. But it happens and sometimes you have to have the conversation before so at least everyone is understood. I think this becomes more heightened in couples minds when complications become involved - it's like having the 'would you want to be kept on life support' question if one of you was in an accident. Unpleasant but unfortunately sometimes necessary.

Quote:
:cry That really hurt my heart!

Poor Willow! That almost made me cry too! :cry


I'm sorry for hurting your heart. I promise I want to do that as little as possible!

Quote:
Yay for the confirmation that the babies are girls and therefore can indeed be named Lily and Emily without it causing identity problems. :wink


:laugh Yes, no Peanuts/Twilight-inspired drama here!

Quote:
And I can totally understand that witnessing all this unusual tension between our two most favourite moms (and moms to be) shook Dr. Wells so much that she accidentally revealed the sex of the babies.


I think the news of the crash startled her more - she probably saw photos in the paper/online and was thinking back to how bad it looked.

Quote:
I honestly don't know if I could keep that promise - and if Willow herself could. But I trust in you that we'll never have to find out.


I appreciate that trust.

Quote:
Awww! :flower I'm sure Michelle and Rose will love that too.


Absolutely!

Quote:
So all the seniors will be happy!


:lol :lol I don't think they'd take kindly to be called the seniors but I love it!

Quote:
Good plan!


Agreed!

Thanks so much for your feedback!

DaddyCatALSO

Quote:
I can see it all to easily becoming a thing, since both have doubled initials, to refer to the twins *by* initials, LL & EE, I doubt their moms would be too happy about that, though.


All of the kids have double initials (Jacob James, Robyn Ruth).

Quote:
(In my Children of the 'Dale fics, Dawn's twins are normally called TK & BW but it's mostly her idea for reasons which don't apply in your world.)


They'll have their own nicknames for in-world reasons, don't worry :)

Quote:
More seriously, that was a cold water splash to begin the chapter! I can see why Tara would want to ask Willow to "choose the babies" (I'
ve read some articles on that) and also can see why Willow would refuse to commit, and how a disagreement can stretch into a two-day ordeal, I've been there. Thank goodness for Dr. Wells.


I don't envision ever having the conversation myself but it's not an easy one on anyone for sure. Things spiral sometimes.

Quote:
I do *like* the names, don't mistake me there:-).


Thanks!

Quote:
As for two single moms rooming together, there was the sitcom *Kate and Allie* in the late 80s.
Of course, they did live in Manhattan and, to send censor-friendly visual signals, in their separate bedrooms they each had twin/single size beds and had no shortage of boyfriends.


I hadn't heard of that before, it looks like it was good! It would have been a pretty good reference actually if they had left together like 'hey, we're just like this show'. Would have been right around the same time too.

Quote:
I enjoyed the reference to Wegman's, as I got one in my Saturday evening shopping; I buy a lot at Wal-Mart for price reasons, b ut the milk at Wegman's costs less than half as much so I always walk across the highway to finish off


Oh, that's funny! I'm glad I chose well, apparently :D

Thanks for your comment!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (March 31st 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:00 am 
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Chapter Eleven




Tara sat down on the couch and slowly exhaled a long breath.


Her hands moved over her rounded belly and she closed her eyes, grateful for a moment to breathe after the rigorous exertion of carrying the laundry hamper down the stairs.


Robyn was standing in her playpen underneath the bay window, standing on her tippy toes and watching the world go by.


“Woofy!” she announced happily.


“I’ll take you to see Woofy later, honey,” Tara called over to her in a comforting tone.


“Woofy!” Robyn repeated insistently, trying to stand taller.


“Robyn, I said later,” Tara said curtly and immediately regretted it, “Baby, Mommy just needs a little rest.”


She looked over and spotted Robyn pressing her face right into the glass. Tara quietly whined to herself for a moment before forcing herself to stand.


“Robbie, I know Mommy’s told you not to press your face into the glass like that. I can't get down low enough to clean it anymore.”


She walked over and pulled Robyn back but as she did so she noticed that Robyn was saying Woofy’s name because he was running around out on the lawn of Mrs. Potts’s house. She could hear faint barking when she got close to the window. Tara peered out and around the street but saw no sign of Mrs. Potts.


“What is he doing out there alone?”


“Woofy!” Robyn said again, looking up at Tara earnestly.


Tara frowned and stroked Robyn’s hair.


“I see, sweetie. Good girl, you showed me Woofy. Why don’t you come color, okay? I’ll get you your coloring book.”


Robyn was agreeable and liked being able to break free from her playpen to sit at the coffee table and color. Tara took her coloring book and crayons from the drawer and made sure she was happy with her picture selection before leaving her.


“Will?” she called out from the base of the stairs, “I need to step out for a minute. Can you keep an eye on Robyn?”


“On it!” Willow’s voice called back down.


Willow came down the stairs just as Tara was closing the front door behind her.


She went into the living room and smiled.


“Hey little bean,” she said, sliding onto the floor behind Robyn so she was sitting between her legs, “Coloring your monkey?”


“Yah,” Robyn replied affirmatively as her brown crayon scribbled back and forth on the page.


Willow looked over her shoulder and frowned.


“Oh, honey, you’re not staying inside the lines.”


“Nope,” Robyn replied, the casualness of it making Willow frown deeper.


“Why not?”


“Don’ wanna,” Robyn replied as she happily rolled the crayon all over the page.


Willow felt her heart start to beat a little faster with anxiety as she watched it.


“Why?”


“Fuhn,” Robyn announced with a heavy emphasis on the ‘F’.


“But it changes the picture,” Willow said, having to close her hand to stop her from reaching out to put Robyn’s hand back in line.


Robyn drew a squiggle that was meant to be a tail for the monkey.


“Make bettah.”


Willow slowly smiled and her hand released back to a tension-free state. She remembered the box of Tara’s childhood drawings and how beautifully free they were.


“You know what you are?” she asked, squeezing Robyn around the middle and repeatedly kissing the top of her head, “You’re my tiny Tara.”


Robyn didn’t protest the affection.


“I’m Wobyn,” she replied simply.


Willow smiled against her daughter’s hair.


“Yes, you are.”


She happily peered over Robyn’s shoulder to see what fantastical creation she would end up making until she heard the door opening again and then the rustle of a dog as he ran into the living room.


“WOOFY!” Robyn shouted excitedly and launched herself at him.


“Oh look, Woofy came for a visit,” Willow smiled and gave the dog a little scratch as she passed by back out into the foyer, “JJ, Woofy is here!”


JJ came down the stairs two-by-two and physically leaped over the baby gate to come to see the dog. Tara put the dog bed in her arms, which had his toys and bowls sitting in it, by the foot of the stairs.


“Jake why don’t you take Woofy and your sister out to the back yard to play.”


“Does he have his ball?” JJ asked excitedly, bending down to rub Woofy’s face when he saw him.


“Yeah, I think I grabbed it,” Tara replied absently.


Willow noticed she was distracted.


“Here.”


She picked the ball up from the collection of things and Woofy’s tail immediately began wagging. She passed it to JJ who hollered for Woofy to follow and Robyn toddled along happily without even being told.


Willow watched them leave until she heard the sliding door to the back yard open and approached Tara, taking a gentle hold of both of her arms.


“Baby, what’s wrong?”


Tara’s mouth trembled and then her eyes shut tight and tears escaped.


It took a moment, but then Willow put two and two together.


“Oh. Shit.”


“She was in her chair,” Tara said through a quiet cry, “She looked peaceful.”


“Oh, Tara…” Willow said softly, closing her into a hug.


Tara accepted it and nuzzled into Willow’s neck for a minute or so until she was able to quieten her sobs. She swiped at her eye with her sleeve and Willow fished out a barely-used tissue from her pocket. Tara took it and wiped it under her nose.


“I don’t know how long she’s been there. She was cold. Woofy dug himself out of the back yard, the poor thing.”


“Oh my god!” Willow exclaimed, visibly doing a double-take.


Tara nodded with her cheeks still wet.


“He seems okay. I gave him some food and more water while I called the ambulance.”


Her eyes welled up again.


“I was going to go see her yesterday but I didn’t because I was so frickin' tired. I'm always so frickin' tired.”


Willow gripped Tara’s arms again.


“Baby, don’t do this,” she said in with a resolute shake of her head, “You could not have been kinder to the woman.”


Tara inhaled shakily.


“She was my friend.”


Willow began rubbing Tara’s arms up and down.


“I know she was. And you were hers. Okay? She knew that. Oh, come here sweetheart.”


She gathered Tara in again but Tara squeezed her eyes shut tight to try and stem the flow.


“I don’t want the kids to see me like this.”


“It’s fine for them to see you cry,” Willow replied softly, “To know that it’s okay to cry.”


Tara nodded quickly.


“I just want to explain everything calmly. No one they know has ever died before.”


Willow nodded understandingly.


“Take as long as you need.”


Tara took a moment to take in a deep breath.


“The ambulance is coming. I’d like to see her off,” she nodded to herself as she exhaled, “Oh, someone needs to call her children.”


“I’m sure someone else can do that,” Willow said with a small frown.


“Who?” Tara asked and Willow didn’t know, honestly.


She nodded again.


“What can I do?”


“Keep the kids outside,” Tara asked, “I don’t want them to see the ambulance.”


“We’ll do a backyard picnic,” Willow said, squeezing Tara’s hand, “They won’t even know anything is happening.”


Tara gestured toward where she’d put Woofy’s things.


“I brought the dog’s bowls over, can you make sure he has some more food and water?”


“I’ll take care of everything here,” Willow promised, then gently took Tara’s cheeks in her hands and kissed her softly, “I love you, okay?”


“I love you too,” Tara sniffled and wiped the tissue over her face again before turning to head for the door and go back across the street.


Willow rubbed her face with her hands for a moment then physically shook herself and went off into the kitchen, closing the door firmly shut behind her.


She went to the open sliding door out to the yard and watched as JJ threw the ball and both Woofy and Robyn chased after it; the latter giggling and clapping her hands as she went. Willow leaned against the doorframe and smiled softly.


“Hey, who wants to have a picnic?”


She kept the kids busy and brought them inside to the kitchen when she spotted flashing lights reflecting on the side of the house. Thankfully, there weren’t any sirens and the children didn’t notice anything wrong.


Robyn was allowed to sit on a stool at the island and reveled in being allowed in a ‘big girl chair’. Willow made sure to really sell the distraction with creamsicle floats.


After a quick peek checking that the ambulance had gone, she sent them back out to the back yard and JJ, on a sugar high no doubt, chased after Robyn who was trying to kick a soccer ball about with her tiny feet.


Willow heard the front door close as she loaded the dessert glasses into the dishwasher and waited for Tara to appear. It only took a moment for the kitchen door to open and Tara just stood there, looking distressed and disheveled.


Willow walked up and opened her arms, which Tara fell into; well, as much as she could with the bump in the way.


“Baby,” Willow comforted softly, stroking Tara’s hair, “I’m so sorry.”


She kissed her cheek.


“What do you want to do? Do you need a night off from the kids?”


Tara shook her head immediately.


“The opposite,” she said, swiping at her eye with her sleeve, “But we need to tell them.”


“We don’t have to do it right away if you’re not up to it,” Willow replied gently, “The funeral probably won’t be for a couple of days.”


Tara held her face in her hands and looked up helplessly.


“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”


Willow took a firm, rooting hold of Tara’s shoulders.


“I’m gonna run you a bath and you’re going to have a long soak. I will order the kids some pizza and when you’re ready we’ll all sit down on the couch. Okay?”


Tara nodded quickly, appreciating the direction.


“Okay.”


“Okay,” Willow comforted again, kissing Tara square on the forehead, “Go on upstairs, I’ll be up in just a minute.”


Tara nuzzled for a moment, then turned to make her way up to their bedroom.


Willow walked back out to the yard and called out.


“Kids, pizza for dinner, okay?”


“Yeah!” JJ exclaimed enthusiastically and Robyn matched it while clapping her hands together, mostly to mimic her brother.


“Watch your sister, please,” Willow requested and left the door open as she turned to follow Tara upstairs.


When she got there, Tara was sitting on the end of the bed, slowly pulling her clothes off. Willow came over to help her get her pants down her legs.


“You’re outgrowing the Belly Belt.”


Tara leaned back on her arms and accepted Willow’s help with a grateful and tired sigh.


“Pants, in general, are becoming a real pain in the tuchus.”


Willow smirked up from her position kneeling at Tara’s feet.


“Hey, you’re not allowed to become an old Jewish Bubbe before I do.”


Tara smiled softly despite everything and lay back down fully to unbutton her shirt. Willow saw the energy it was sapping from her wife to do such a simple task and frowned.


“Baby, when did you last eat?”


Tara mumbled something and started to rub her eyes. Willow stood and came to the head of the bed where she noticed beads of sweat visibly forming on her wife’s brow.


“Tara,” she said in concern and when she reached out to touch Tara’s shoulder, she felt her trembling, “Shit!”


She yanked open the nightstand drawer and pulled out the glucose monitoring kit that was kept in there. Trying not to shake as well, she took Tara’s fingers and pricked it; staying with an anxious bounce on the balls of her feet as she waited for the reading to pop up on the screen.


Once it confirmed what she already knew — that Tara’s sugars had dipped way too low —she popped open the little pack of glucose tablets.


“Baby you need to chew this,” she encouraged as she got it between Tara’s lips, “I know you feel really shitty right now. It will pass soon, I promise. Just chew that and this one too.”


Tara was groaning quietly but complying with everything Willow said; chewing on each tablet as it was pushed into her mouth. When she’d swallowed the third one she felt her extremities tingle and then as a few minutes ticked by the fog that had started to descend over her brain evaporated.


Her eyes opened and Willow was right at her side, holding her hand.


“I got you, baby.”


Willow touched Tara’s clammy cheek and stroked her skin gently. Tara reached up with a weak hand to hold her there.


“I forgot to have lunch.”


“And you were running around figuring things out,” Willow replied, breathing easy too after a tense few minutes, “We won’t let that happen again, yeah?”


Tara just nodded and closed her eyes again, exhausted.


“I don’t think I feel up to a bath.”


Willow moved onto the bed and gently turned Tara onto her side so she could rub Tara’s back.


“Just rest for a bit. Everything is okay.”


She closed her eyes too and just listened out for Tara’s even breathing and the faint happy hollering she could hear carrying through the house from the backyard.


When another set of minutes had passed, Willow gently squeezed Tara’s arm.


“How you doing?”


“I feel better,” Tara replied, sleepily but clearly.


“Let me check again, okay?” Willow asked and Tara just raised a finger to offer the drop.


Willow repeated the test and exhaled when she saw the numbers back where they should be.


“You’ve leveled out again,” she said, squeezing Tara’s shoulder, “I’ll make you some grilled chicken and zucchini for dinner. Rest and I’ll check in on you in a few minutes again. I’m going to go get dinner for everyone.”


She kissed Tara’s cheek, covered her up with the blanket and stroked her hair once before leaving to go back downstairs again, leaving the door open again so she could hear, just in case.


She popped her head out to check on the kids but they were still having the time of their lives and Woofy was lapping up all of the attention and opportunity to run around freely.


She returned to the kitchen and called in the pizza for the kids while she heated up the grill pan. She cooked everything in the one pan to make it easier for her to clean up later on.


She called up to Tara after a few minutes but left her alone when she got an affirmative response back until the pizza arrived at the door.


“Tara? Dinner’s ready. You coming?”


“Yeah,” Tara called back and Willow thought she sounded a bit stronger.


“JJ! Robyn! Pizza’s here,” she called through to the back yard and the two kids came skidding in excitedly with Woofy panting at their feet.


Willow left the open box of pizza on the table in the dining room and put a slice on JJ’s plate and cut up Robyn’s for her. She kissed Tara’s cheek again as they passed in the doorway who smiled as she fixed the tie around the robe she’d thrown on.


Tara kissed the top of both kids’ heads and gave Woofy a little scratch for good measure before sitting near the top of the table. Willow brought in two plates and sat with her.


Tara covered Willow’s hand with her own as she sat.


“You don’t have to eat the boring dinner with me. Have some pizza.”


“No meal is boring with you,” Willow smiled, scooting in on her chair, “Hey, I was thinking, why don’t you pick out some maternity dresses you like online? Then you just have to pull it on and off. They make really pretty ones these days.”


“Thank you, that’s a really good idea,” Tara sighed softly as she began to eat, “And this is not boring at all. It’s delicious. Did you use mirin?”


“I did,” Willow smiled, “And I added some sesame seeds.”


Tara leaned in and pressed her lips against Willow’s.


“Delicious.”


Willow was pleased to see Tara in better spirits and getting some good food into her.


When everyone had finished eating (and, admittedly, Willow may have wrapped the last uneaten slice of pizza away in the fridge for later), Tara put an arm around JJ’s shoulders and a hand atop Robyn’s head.


“Hey, kids? We need to talk to you.”


Willow looked over as she walked out of the kitchen.


“Tara, are you sure?”


Tara just nodded and Willow nodded back that she was with her.


They brought the kids into the living room and all sat on the one couch, huddled up together. JJ was starting to seem concerned but Robyn was happy to relish in the family snuggles.


“We have to tell you both something,” Tara said softly, dropping her head into the top of Robyn’s head to inhale from her and gather some strength, “You know Mrs. Potts across the street? Well, something happened to her today. She died.”


“She did?” JJ asked, his eyes creasing slowly as he figured it out, “She’s dead?”


“Wat ded?” Robyn asked in a curious up-speak tone.


Tara looked to Willow for help, who nodded that she had it.


“When people die, their body stops working and they can’t eat, walk, or play anymore. You won’t be able to see her anymore.”


Robyn’s lower lip protruded.


“No, see?”


“No. bean,” Willow said sadly, “You won’t see Mrs. Potts anymore. Her body stooped working.”


Robyn’s eyes lit up and she suddenly jumped down from the embrace and toddled across the room to get her doctor kit. She brought it back and presented it to them.


“Fix!”


Both Willow and Tara had to swallow a lump but a voice of calm reason came from somewhere unexpected.


“No, Robbie,” JJ said, his green eyes suddenly setting deeper on his face, “You can’t fix it.”


Tara cleared her throat.


“When a body stops working, it can never start again,” she explained with tears filling her eyes, “There was nothing anyone did that made her go away. And we can’t bring her back again. And it’s okay to feel sad about that.”


Robyn looked at Tara, forlorn.


“Mom-mee sad?”


Tara sniffled.


“Yes, baby. Mommy’s sad.”


Robyn frowned and put her doctor kit on the floor again. Instead, she reached for her favorite soft toy, Stripey the Tiger, and toddled back to Tara, thrusting the animal in her face.


Tara couldn’t stop the tears from falling.


“Thank you, sweetie.”


She closed Robyn in a hug with the toy between them. Willow patted JJ’s back.


“How are you doing Jakey?”


JJ looked up at his mother with sad lines in his brow but acceptance in his eyes.


“Was she sick?”


“I don’t think so honey,” Tara answered the question, “She just fell asleep and never woke up.”


JJ immediately looked stricken.


“That can happen?”


“She was old, sweetheart,” Willow said gently.


JJ’s eyes darted back and forth.


“Grandpa’s old.”


Robyn’s head popped out from Tara’s arms, bright eyes suddenly wild.


“Ganpy ded?”


“No, no, your Grandpa is fine,” Willow said, quickly waving her hands back and forth, “He’s not old like Mrs. Potts was. And he’s very healthy.”


“Your Grandma makes sure of that,” Tara added with a reassuring nod, “Grandpa is fine, I promise.”


Robyn snuggled back into Tara and JJ needed a minute but he seemed to calm too until he saw their house guest laying on the floor waiting for more fun to happen with his tail wagging back and forth patiently.


“What about Woofy? What’s gonna happen to him?”


Tara glanced over at the dog and a large exhale left her body.


“Well, we’ll…we’ll watch him—”


JJ’s mood immediately shifted to elation.


“We’re keeping him?!”


“Whoa, whoa,” Willow interrupted, furiously waving those hands back and forth again, “No, we’re not keeping him.”


Robyn immediately started to cry.


“Woofy go? No Woofy go!”


“Where’s he going?” JJ asked antsily, “Why can’t we keep him? He needs a home!”


“Because we’re already adding two more to this household in a few months,” Willow replied, gesturing at Tara’s swollen belly hidden under a Robyn-shaped lump, “Baby, back me up here.”


Tara glanced at Willow, then glanced away. Willow’s eyes bugged.


“Um, kids…go play with the dog for a minute.”


Neither objected and shimmied off the couch to play again. Willow scooted up close to her wife.


“Tara, you can’t honestly be suggesting we get a dog right now. You’re pregnant and diabetic and we’re about to drop thirty grand on a new car.”


“I know but—” Tara started but Willow cut her off quickly.


“We talked about pets when JJ started asking for a dog, we said not until the new babies were toddlers at least.”


“We’re not getting a dog, Willow, we’re inheriting one,” Tara corrected softly, “It might help the kids process.”


Willow arched an eyebrow.


“We’re making a 10+ year commitment for some processing? Even we're not that gay.”


“Willow, what are we supposed to do?” Tara sighed, “Send the poor thing to the pound? He’s the one who alerted me. He’s not a rowdy pup and he knows us. He’s going through trauma too. This will be his third home in practically as many months.”


“Tara…” Willow replied in a long, drawn-out tone that eventually became resignation, “I knew what I was getting into when I married someone with a heart like yours.”


She dropped her head back against her palm with her elbow bent against the back of the sofa.


“I guess we have a dog now.”


JJ, who had been not-so-covertly eavesdropping, leaped up on the spot.


“Yeah, yeah, yeah! You hear that boy? You live with us now! We’re your family!”


“Fam-lee!” Robyn repeated, clapping her hands.


“JJ you have to keep taking him on his walks,” Willow said with a firm nod, “And you both have to help us feed him and clean up after him and make sure he has water.”


Robyn crawled over to the coffee table where she snatched her sippy cup up.


“Woofy wan’ watah?”


Even Willow couldn’t deny her heart melting at that.


“Woofy eats and drinks from special bowls, bean.”


“I’ll show you, Robbie!” JJ said, already running out to the kitchen with Woofy, naturally, at his heels.


Willow rubbed her temples as she heard the clacking of the dog bowls.


“They took the news well.”


“It’s just dog fever,” Tara replied with a soft sigh.


Willow reached out and held Tara by the shoulder. She leaned in and pressed her lips to Tara’s tenderly. Her hand naturally dropped but Tara pulled away when it brushed her thigh.


“I’m sorry, I’m really not in the mood.”


Willow was startled by the statement.


“What? No, I wasn’t trying—” she cut herself off, just shaking her head, “I’ll…I’ll start settling the kids.”


She shook her head again as she stood and made her way into the kitchen to corral the children into some calmness despite the excitement of their house-guest-turned-family-member.


Bathing Robyn took twice as long as normal because she kept trying to call for Woofy to get in with her. Willow had to put him downstairs just to wash her hair and was ready to tear her hair out by the time both lights were out for the night.


At the base of the stairs, Woofy was lying patiently waiting again and Willow couldn’t help giving him a pet.


“You are cute, I’ll give you that. You were a good boy today.”


She scratched behind his ears and he diligently followed her back into the living room.


Tara sat up straight as Willow walked in.


“I-I’m sorry. I upset you earlier.”


Willow sat back into the seat she’d vacated earlier, at a bit of a distance.


“I just didn’t want you to think I was trying something on in the midst of the day you’ve had.”


Tara ducked her head.


“I know I haven’t been very receptive lately.”


Willow scooted closer.


“Tara,” she said softly, “I’m not a pubescent boy. I can wait. I don’t want it unless you’re 100% into it too.”


Tara looked up, embarrassed.


“Feeling a bit loopy lately.”


“I remember baby brain,” Willow replied, not-so-fondly, “Just wait ‘til you forget your keys in the freezer.”


Tara chuckled and Willow smiled.


“We’re okay, okay?”


Tara linked one set of fingers together and nodded toward the television.


“A movie just started.”


Willow smiled some more as she wrapped her arm around Tara’s shoulders.


“Bet you wish you could have a glass of wine.”


“Bottle,” Tara answered without hesitation and they both laughed.


Willow kissed the top of Tara’s head and nuzzled her nose into Tara’s hair part.


“Put your feet up. Have you had enough to eat?”


“Yes,” Tara replied as she snuggled into Willow’s shoulder.


They got comfortable and just relaxed together; staying close. About halfway through there was the telltale signs of scurrying feet and clacking of plastic on plastic as someone climbed over the baby gate.


Sure enough, moments later Robyn appeared through the doorway, dragging her blankie behind her and rubbing her drooping eyes.


They extricated themselves into a sitting position and Tara pivoted her body toward the door.


“What’s wrong honey?”


“Dawk,” Robyn replied sleepily.


“You don’t need to be scared of the dark, sweetie. It’s just the absence of photons,” Willow reassured, then frowned defensively when she got a look from Tara, “What? She didn’t get above-average verbiage from dumbing things down for her.”


Robyn padded toward them and looked up with her deep, bright eyes.


“Woofy sweep wif Wobbie?”


Willow turned her head toward Tara and spoke quietly.


“Jeez Tara, why is your genetic material so damn cute?”


A pout that was all Willow started to protrude on Robyn's face and she knew resistance was futile.


“Alright, then. Come on, I’ll take you up.”


Robyn clapped her hands excitedly.


“Come bed Woofy!”


Tara held her hand out for Willow to help her up.


“I’m just about ready to turn in too.”


“I’m sorry we didn’t get to finish the movie,” Willow replied apologetically as Robyn reached up with a tiny arm to drag her mother back to bed with Woofy at their side.


Tara turned off the television and returned the remote to its place.


“Wasn’t watching it anyway,” she said in a sweet tone with a not-so-sweet crease in her eyes.


Willow grinned and threw a wink before flicking the light switch and they all walked upstairs. Tara helped tuck Robyn in again and left Willow to stay with her until she fell asleep. Willow found herself petting Woofy’s head as she breathed in sync with Robyn and had to admit he was an adorable little thing and clearly loved the kids as much as they loved him.


“Poor little fella,” she cooed quietly. He must have had a very rough day or more and here he was, happy to curl up with people that made him feel safe.


Willow thought she might learn a thing or two from him.


When Robyn’s sucking on her pacifier had slowed until it just half-hung out of her mouth, Willow gently extricated herself with a kiss to her daughter’s head and a last scratch for Woofy between the ears. She left Robyn’s nightlight on and the door ajar so Woofy could get out if he wanted to and walked into their bedroom, where Tara was already passed out with the robe untied but still on her body.


Willow changed and brushed her teeth and got enough of the blanket out from under Tara to cover them both up.


She put an arm around her wife’s swollen belly and hoped even through sleep she could make Tara feel safe.


The little smile on Tara's face told of a task surely won.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 3rd 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:21 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 359
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
Tara sat down on the couch and slowly exhaled a long breath.


Her hands moved over her rounded belly and she closed her eyes, grateful for a moment to breathe after the rigorous exertion of carrying the laundry hamper down the stairs.

The question is why do you still carry the hamper yourself, Tara, when Willow is at home and could do it instead?

Quote:
“Oh, honey, you’re not staying inside the lines.”


“Nope,” Robyn replied, the casualness of it making Willow frown deeper.


“Why not?”


“Don’ wanna,” Robyn replied as she happily rolled the crayon all over the page.


Willow felt her heart start to beat a little faster with anxiety as she watched it.


“Why?”


“Fuhn,” Robyn announced with a heavy emphasis on the ‘F’.

Is Willow really anxious just because Robyn isn't as "neat" with her colouring books as she herself was? Or does she fear Robyn has problems with her hand-eye-coordination or something?

Quote:
“Baby, what’s wrong?”


Tara’s mouth trembled and then her eyes shut tight and tears escaped.


It took a moment, but then Willow put two and two together.


“Oh. Shit.”


“She was in her chair,” Tara said through a quiet cry, “She looked peaceful.”

That's sad, I would have wished that Mrs. Potts had lived long enough to get the chance to dote over the cute twin babies of her favourite neighbour.
When you mentioned in the chapter in which we got to know her that Mrs. Potts was "in her eighties" and that Woofy has just outgrown the puppy stage I guessed that JJ might "inherit" Woofy from her some time later in the story, but I didn't expect it would be so soon.

Quote:
Robyn looked at Tara, forlorn.


“Mom-mee sad?”


Tara sniffled.


“Yes, baby. Mommy’s sad.”


Robyn frowned and put her doctor kit on the floor again. Instead, she reached for her favorite soft toy, Stripey the Tiger, and toddled back to Tara, thrusting the animal in her face.


Tara couldn’t stop the tears from falling.


“Thank you, sweetie.”


She closed Robyn in a hug with the toy between them.

AWWWW! Robyn is so cute!

Quote:
“We’re not getting a dog, Willow, we’re inheriting one,” Tara corrected softly, “It might help the kids process.”


Willow arched an eyebrow.


“We’re making a 10+ year commitment for some processing? Even we're not that gay.”

:lol

Quote:
“What’s wrong honey?”


“Dawk,” Robyn replied sleepily.


“You don’t need to be scared of the dark, sweetie. It’s just the absence of photons,” Willow reassured, then frowned defensively when she got a look from Tara, “What? She didn’t get above-average verbiage from dumbing things down for her.”


:rofl

Quote:
Tara helped tuck Robyn in again and left Willow to stay with her until she fell asleep. Willow found herself petting Woofy’s head as she breathed in sync with Robyn and had to admit he was an adorable little thing and clearly loved the kids as much as they loved him.


“Poor little fella,” she cooed quietly. He must have had a very rough day or more and here he was, happy to curl up with people that made him feel safe.


Willow thought she might learn a thing or two from him.

Does that mean they actually let Woofy sleep in Robyn's bed, not on the floor? If so I hope they are aware that he'll probably only sleep in JJ's or Robyn's bed from now on...

Quote:
She put an arm around her wife’s swollen belly and hoped even through sleep she could make Tara feel safe.


The little smile on Tara's face told of a task surely won.

:flower


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 3rd 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
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Topics: 38
Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


I think you've officially won enough dibs to be declared fic winner...I'd have to count up but there's about 15 chapter left so you're definitely close...

Quote:
The question is why do you still carry the hamper yourself, Tara, when Willow is at home and could do it instead?


Because she likes to feel useful :)

Quote:
Is Willow really anxious just because Robyn isn't as "neat" with her colouring books as she herself was? Or does she fear Robyn has problems with her hand-eye-coordination or something?


Wanting to stay inside the lines is a carryover from her childhood (it's mentioned in FC1)

Quote:
That's sad, I would have wished that Mrs. Potts had lived long enough to get the chance to dote over the cute twin babies of her favourite neighbour.


She would have loved that.

Quote:
When you mentioned in the chapter in which we got to know her that Mrs. Potts was "in her eighties" and that Woofy has just outgrown the puppy stage I guessed that JJ might "inherit" Woofy from her some time later in the story, but I didn't expect it would be so soon.


There needed to be some time for him to settle.

Quote:
AWWWW! Robyn is so cute!


I plan to make her a surly pre-teen so I gotta give Willow and Tara some cute stuff to remind themselves of when they're tearing their hair out :laugh

Quote:
Does that mean they actually let Woofy sleep in Robyn's bed, not on the floor? If so I hope they are aware that he'll probably only sleep in JJ's or Robyn's bed from now on...


I've always been a 'let the pet on the furniture' kinda person :wink

Thanks so much for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 3rd 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Twelve




Willow watched the casket holding Myra Potts be lowered into the ground and was surprised by the profound sadness she felt considering she’d only ever waved to the woman in passing.


One of her hands was on the small of Tara’s back and the other held Robyn to her leg while JJ stood in front of them all with his hands clasped, taking in this new experience stoically. He held Woofy’s leash, who sat at JJ’s feet respectfully like he knew exactly what was going on.


Willow felt Robyn start gyrating against her leg and bent down to gently extract her.


“You okay Robbie?” she whispered.


Robyn looked up at Willow while rubbing her fist into her eye socket.


“There’s cwying in my eyes.”


“Oh baby,” Willow comforted quietly and lifted Robyn up to snuggle against her chest.


Robyn sniffled into Willow but was comforted enough to not let it go any further.


The priest finished his prayer and Mrs. Potts’s children took turns to cast some soil over her casket. Woofy suddenly laid his paws down at the edge of the grave and started to howl.


This caused a few more tears to be shed around the graveside but with a final little whimper, Woofy stopped and came back to lay on JJ’s feet on his shiny new black shoes.


JJ hunched down to pet him and Willow felt her heart clench.


The service ended and Tara turned to Willow.


“I just want to offer my sympathies to her children.”


Willow nodded and jostled Robyn more securely against her body.


“We’ll wait in the car.”


She stepped forward and placed a hand on JJ’s shoulder.


“Ready to go back to the car buddy?”


JJ looked up, back down at Woofy and then up again to nod. He stood again and Woofy came willingly as they walked out of the graveyard over to where Willow’s car was parked.


“You were so brave and respectful,” Willow said to him gently when she noticed his eyes stayed on the ground, “Do you want to talk about anything?”


JJ shook his head.


“Can I stay out with Woofy?”


“You can sit with the door open, but I don’t want you walking around the parking lot,” Willow replied, “Another car might not see Woofy and hurt him accidentally.”


JJ nodded that he understood and sat into the backseat with his legs hanging out.


Robyn was still sniffling, so Willow sat into the driver’s seat and gathered her in a bigger hug.


“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay to be sad and cry when you need to.”


She looked in the rearview mirror at JJ who glanced back and Willow offered him a little smile.


Robyn slowly quieted, not even quite understanding why she was crying in the first place but feeling it nonetheless. As Willow stroked her back she caught a little ticklish spot and Robyn let out a little giggle. Willow smiled and tickled her again gently until she could see a permanent smile settle on her daughter’s face.


She settled Robyn on her knee and kissed her forehead.


“Who loves you?”


“Mom-mah,” Robyn announced with a definite nod of her head.


“And?” Willow prompted.


Robyn grinned.


“Mom-mee.”


“And?” Willow asked again, the corners of her mouth curling upward.


“Jay-Jay,” Robyn clapped her hands and Willow was sure she heard a small chuckle from the back that accompanied the eye roll she caught in the mirror.


“And?” Willow asked one more time, her voice rising playfully.


Robyn seemed shocked for a moment to be asked and then her eyes blinked excitedly as she realized she knew the answer.


“Bubb-eees!”


“That’s right, the babies love you too,” Willow replied, closing her arms around Robyn’s back and cradling her from side to side, “We all love our Robbie-Robs.”


She kissed the top of Robyn’s head multiple times as she stood out from the car again and brought her to the back to sit in her car seat. She strapped her in and noticed Tara walking across the lot so asked JJ to sit in with Woofy.


“Juice,” Robyn requested, smacking her lips together.


“Uh uh,” Willow shook her head.


“Juice pwease,” Robyn amended with a slightly protruding bottom lip.


Willow cleared her throat.


“Thank you for saying please, but no. There’s no eating or drinking in Momma’s car,” she replied firmly, “I’ll find your sippy cup with your water.”


“No wan’ watah!” Robyn protested, flailing her little arms.


“Then nothing,” Willow said as she closed the door again and returned to the driver’s seat, “Can’t wait for that minivan to be delivered.”


Tara sat into the passenger seat moments later and looked back to check on the kids.


“I talked to Mrs. Potts’s children and they are very grateful that they know Woofy has a new family,” she said in a gentle tone, “They said she would be very happy to know he’s with great kids who love him and take care of him.”


She petted the dog’s head, who was now lying beside JJ, who had snapped him into his special safety belt. She looked at JJ with a sad smile and then over to Robyn who had turned from blubbery to grumpy since she’d last seen her.


“Robyn, what’s wrong?”


Robyn’s little arms crossed petulantly across her chest.


“Momma no lemme dwink!”


Tara glanced over to Willow.


“Why won’t you let her drink?”


“She wanted juice!” Willow protested, “Do you remember what JJ did with the grape juice when he was her age?”


“I don’t even remember that!” JJ protested at his good name being brought into this.


Tara sighed at Willow, exasperated.


“Are you seriously being this petty, today of all days?”


Willow’s teeth clenched but she let it go as Tara reached into her bag to give Robyn a juice box.


Willow looked over at Robyn as best she could through the rear-facing seat.


“Please don’t spill.”


Robyn just grinned and took a long, slow victorious sip through the straw.


Willow’s nose scrunched and she looked ahead forlorn as she started the car. She had to wait to let the hearse pull out again and that sobered her pretty quickly. She reached over and put her hand on Tara’s thigh and just rubbed softly, letting Tara know she was there.


She felt Tara’s hand cover hers and hold on.


Back at the house, Robyn grinned a toothy grin for Willow as Willow unstrapped her to take her from the car.


“No spill Mom-mah.”


“Hey, good girl,” Willow smiled back, kissing the top of Robyn’s head as she set her down.


She cheerily grabbed the empty juice box Robyn had left behind.


Except it wasn’t quite empty and the pressure of her grabbing it made the last spurt of juice squeeze out and stain the interior.


“Goddammit!”


Inside, Tara refilled Woofy’s food bowl and took some meat out of the fridge for dinner and just generally tried to find things to keep her busy.


The kids ran in and out with the dog but she didn’t think to correct them; she was glad to see them be able to be happy.


After a little while had passed, Willow appeared with her phone pressed to her ear.


“Uh, let me check.”


She put it against her shoulder to muffle the speaker.


“Um, Tare?” she asked, noting the way Tara was half-leaning on a stool, half hunched over the island like she’d become too exhausted to move and had just leaned on the spot, “The dealership just called. They want to deliver the minivan today. Is that okay?”


Tara forced herself up and held her back.


“Yeah,” she agreed wearily, “Sure.”


Willow finalized the details with the dealership and hung up. She came over to Tara and rubbed her back gently.


“Do you need some space?”


Tara sighed gratefully for the contact on her back.


“Maybe?”


The kiddie smiles were great but she wasn’t able to compartmentalize her emotions quite so easily.


Willow gave Tara a side-hug from behind and kissed her cheek.


“I will…take the kids to the arcade. Burn off some energy on Dance Dance Revolution.”


Tara sighed again, a little easier this time.


“Thank you.”


Willow thought of griping about the car but thought better of it when she saw how sad Tara still looked at losing her friend. It reminded her to give Mrs. Michelson a call and see how the old book store in Sunnydale was doing.


“Remember when we’d do that on dates?” she asked instead, smiling softly, “We were good.”


Tara couldn’t help but smile back.


“The only dancing I do these days is in the five seconds between when I realize I have to pee and when the pee is coming out. Is this what you envisioned when you asked me to marry you?”


Willow kissed the side of Tara’s neck from behind.


“No,” she admitted in a low tone, “I never knew it could be this good.”


Tara reached back and covered Willow’s hand on her shoulder. Willow leaned up and placed her chin there and they just had a quiet moment.


Until a crashing sound and annoying child-sized bickering made Willow pull away.


“I’m on it. Make some tea and take some time for yourself. We’re out of here for an hour. JJ, Robyn, come on. We’re going to the arcade and if you come quickly I’ll give you $10 each to spend.”


Tara didn’t even argue the bribery; she was too tired. She made tea as Willow advised and after giving the children a quick hug goodbye, she sat on the couch with a pot and cup and put her feet up. She’d stood more today than she had in a while and everything was screaming in protest.


She tried not to think about the twelve long weeks she had left to go with her stomach just growing more and more swollen, along with multiple other body parts. She felt like she was starting to look like helium was being pumped into all of her extremities.


The warm tea felt nice as she cradled the cup between her palms so she just closed her eyes and appreciated the moment of solitude to say a private goodbye toward the heavens.


After a while, she heard activity from the driveway and watched Woofy jump up, on alert.


She pulled herself up into a standing position and started working toward the front door.


“It’s okay, Woofs,” she reassured vocally when she wasn’t able to bend down to pet him.


Woofy lay down but stayed in the hallway to keep his eye on things.


Tara opened the door expecting to see the new minivan being towed into the driveway but it was a woman leaving a bundle of flowers on the doorstep.


“Rose,” Tara said in surprise as the woman looked up, equally surprised.


“Tara,” she replied, standing up straight again with the flowers still in her hands, “I didn’t think anybody was home. There were no cars.”


“Willow took the kids out in her car,” Tara explained with a gently creased brow, “We’re waiting on the replacement we had to get after the crash.”


Rose visibly swallowed.


“My heart still stops for a moment when I think of the picture of the wreckage you sent.”


“Mine too,” Tara admitted and looked away for a moment, “But we were going to have to upgrade anyway.”


She ran a hand down from her shoulder over her heart, then stepped back to open the door fully.


“Come in.”


Rose cautiously stepped over the threshold.


“I really didn’t mean to impose,” she said with a slight nervous shake in her voice, “I-I know it’s a tough day. I just wanted to leave you these.”


She offered Tara the bunch of flowers, which came accompanied by a sympathy card and a box of candy.


“Runts,” Tara smiled.


“You loved them when you were little,” Rose replied with a self-deprecating smile, “Silly to think—”


“My Mom would buy a box when we went to the movies,” Tara interrupted, though not rudely, “She would always give me all of the strawberries because they looked like hearts.”


“I remember that,” Rose replied softly.


Tara found the nostalgic craving overwhelming and broke into the box then and there. She tossed a small handful into her mouth, cautious not to spike her sugars, and immediately felt like a little girl sitting in the front row of the movie theater, popping candies into her mouth while she watched The Little Mermaid on screen and fell in love with her first redhead.


She seemed to realize how she must look and sheepishly held the open box out.


“I’m sorry, do you want some?”


Rose just raised a hand and shook her head.


“I’ll leave you alone,” she offered and began to leave.


“You don’t have to,” Tara cut in quickly as she swallowed what was in her mouth, “I’m just sitting around waiting for our new car to be delivered.”


Rose held the strap of her purse on her shoulder and hesitated.


“Are you sure?”


“I’d appreciate the company,” Tara admitted, transferring the flowers between her hands to hold them better, “Willow took the kids out. I just needed some space to process but I think I have. What are you doing over this way?”


“Just some shopping,” Rose shrugged noncommittally and Tara smiled softly at what was unsaid.


“You were really kind to remember me.”


“Your message sounded like you were very fond of your neighbor,” Rose said kindly, “I’m sure she was a lovely woman.”


Tara nodded sadly but didn’t feel that stab of grief that had been there even minutes earlier.


“She didn’t have any family living near. We became friends. I couldn’t bear to think of anyone lonely.”


Rose reached up and placed her palm on Tara’s cheek.


“You’re just like your Momma. Kindness is innate.”


Tara blushed and ducked her head, but was smiling.


“Tea?”


Rose nodded agreeably and Tara gestured with the hand holding the flowers.


“Let me go put these in water. This is our new dog Woofy by the way.”


Woofy barked in greeting.


Tara guided Rose to the living room and detoured into the kitchen to get a vase. She took the flowers and splayed them out in the water, then brought them back into the living room with an extra cup for the tea.


“I love this bouquet,” she said as she set it down in the middle of the coffee table and let her fingers brush against some of the petals in the mixed bunch, “Willow loves pink roses and I love yellow daisies. It’s so colorful.”


She leaned down to get the sweet, fresh scent and felt her soul replenish.


“They’re beautiful. Thank you so much.”


She set the second cup on the tray and moved to sit beside Rose on the couch but ended up kind of falling in instead. She blushed.


“I’m sorry, grace has gone out the window in the last few weeks.”


“Your mother was a heavy carrier too,” Rose replied with an understanding smile, “We thought you were going to be a boy because she ended up so big, but you weren’t even a big baby in the end. Six pounds, three if I remember correctly.”


This was thrilling and surreal to Tara all at once; to hear of her mother’s secret life like this. We thought, Tara couldn’t help but throw around her mind, like I was theirs. She wished she could remember more of those pockets of her life where she had a second parent who wasn’t an abusive alcoholic, where she had a sister, where she had a real family.


Memories did push into her mind sometimes when she and Rose spoke and learned more of those times but she was so young and what did come forward was often fleeting, and probably always would be. But just to know she was on the precipice and she hadn’t even known it…sometimes it felt cruel to have that knowledge with nothing she could do to change it.


She idly poured Rose a cup of tea as her heart slowed again to a normal rhythm.


As she handed the cup over she looked out the bay window over Rose’s shoulder and was quite sure this time that she could see the minivan arriving on the back of a tow truck.


“Oh,” she said in surprise, having kind of forgotten about it, “I think that’s our new car coming in.”


As she struggled to stand again, she rubbed her temple nervously.


“I shouldn’t have sent Willow out. She’s the car buff, she’ll know if everything is okay.”


Rose just smiled and stood with her.


“I think I can help.”


Tara was very agreeable to help and walked out with Rose to take delivery of their new Subaru Ascent.


“Nice model,” Rose smiled at Tara before walking further out into the driveway to consult with the delivery driver.


As Willow drove home after getting a little-too-competitive at Skee-Ball and embarrassing the heck out of JJ by trying out Dance Dance Revolution by herself (she thought she’d retained her skills quite well and Robyn seemed to enjoy watching her, giggling and clapping the whole way through), she hoped she’d given Tara enough time to decompress.


Robyn wasn’t wearing a pull-up and Willow had no spares in her car. Since Robyn only had a brief nap before the funeral, her capabilities at anticipating her own needs were not full capacity. Willow gave them as long as she was comfortable but she had to bring them back because if her car got urinated on she might be the one to throw a tantrum.


In the backseat, Robyn batted at the rattle hanging from her car seat handle like it was her personal maize ball.


“Mom-mah?”


Willow tensed.


“Yeah?”


Robyn looked very thoughtful for a moment as her head cocked in her seat.


“How spell ay-bee-cee-dee-eee-eff-gee?”


Willow’s eyebrows rose and then almost immediately furrowed.


“Uhh…” she replied, her mouth pursing tightly, “Let me get back to you on that one.”


“Momma, what’s going to happen to Mrs. Potts’s house?” JJ interjected before Robyn could threaten Willow’s orthographical understanding of the alphabet any further.


“Well, her kids will probably sell it, buddy,” Willow answered honestly.


JJ frowned.


“They won’t take Woofy will they?”


Willow caught his eye in the rearview mirror and shook her head.


“No buddy, Woofy’s a Rosenberg-Maclay now.”


“Woseberg-Clay,” Robyn clapped, recognizing her own name.


Willow smiled and it only increased as she took the corner onto their street.


“Hey look kids! The new car is here!” she pointed ahead excitedly, “It has Wi-Fi! And screens and a great safety rating and you can have all the juice boxes you want and you won’t ever have to sit in my car again!”


She immediately tried to laugh off the guilt.


“Because you’ll love the minivan so much, of course.”


She trailed off with a chuckle and breathed a sigh of relief when she got away with it.


She couldn’t pull into the driveway because the new car was there along with another car she didn’t recognize, so she pulled up on the curb.


She let JJ out and immediately Robyn started wailing to be let out too.


“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Willow said as she moved around to the other side of the car, “You’re going to make the whole street think we have a banshee. Do you know what that is? A ghost lady who screams like you!”


She lifted Robyn out of her seat and kissed the top of her head before placing her safely on the driveway.


“Little baby banshee.”


She scurried off toward JJ and by the time Willow followed up, she saw the lights on the minivan flash and the distinct sound of unlocking.


She looked up and smiled at Tara in the doorway, holding the keys. She lifted a hand to wave and then slid open the side door of the car so the kids could see inside.


“It’s cool, huh?” she said, lifting Robyn in to crawl around inside, “We can put your seat right there, Robbie and JJ you get to have a whole row to yourself! And see there’s room for the babies back here when they’re born.”


JJ sat into ‘his’ seat and a slow grin spread across his face.


“Cool.”


“Very cool,” Willow countered with the same kind of grin.


Noticing Tara was waiting at the door, she let the kids have another quick look around before bringing them inside.


“Hi,” Willow greeted and popped a kiss on Tara’s lips as they met in the doorway.


“Hi,” Tara returned sweetly with a tender smile, “Kids, I want to introduce you to someone.”


She gestured over her shoulder for Willow to follow.


“You too.”


Willow closed the door and followed them into the living room. Willow politely shook the woman’s hand as the introduction was made.


“This is Rose.”


“Ohhhh,” Willow said in understanding, giving an extra squeeze in her handshake for warmth, “It is very nice to meet you, Rose.”


Rose blushed a little under that intentful greeting.


“Hello everyone.”


Tara put a hand on JJ’s back and the other on top of Robyn’s head.


“Rose, this is JJ and Robyn and Willow. Rose was…a friend of my Mommy’s.”


Robyn looked up curiously.


“Mommy have Mommy?”


Tara nodded. They had talked about her before but didn’t expect Robyn to retain it.


“I did. She died too, like Mrs. Potts,” Tara said with a sad smile.


Robyn picked up on it straight away and frowned deeply.


“Sad?”


“Sometimes I’m sad. I miss her,” Tara admitted, “But I get to remember her when I see Rose and we talk about her and that’s how we keep her in our hearts. Let me show you a picture.”


Rose swallowed deeply and closed her eyes for a moment with her hand over her heart.


Tara took Robyn’s hand and led her over to the mantle where there was a framed picture of her mother. She handed it to Robyn to look at and glanced over to JJ.


“Do you want to see it, Jake? I know you’ve seen it before.”


“Of Grandma Lisa?” JJ asked and got an affirmative nod as he approached. He looked at the picture over Robyn’s shoulder, “She looks like you, Mom.”


He looked up at Tara.


“Can we put a picture of Mrs. Potts up too?”


Tara nodded and squeezed his arm.


“Sure, sweetie.”


Still standing in front of the couch Willow and Rose made awkward eye contact.


“So, you knew baby Tara. Was she always so cute?”


“Born that way,” Rose replied fondly as both women ignored Tara blushing off to the side, “Except for her fondness for shoving things up her nose. I only left my toolbox open once, I can tell you.”


Willow’s eyes widened as wide as they’d ever been.


“I KNEW IT!”


She looked over at Tara with a grin, who was purposefully ignoring her. Willow rocked back and forth on her heels and smiled again at Rose.


“Did you see the cool new wheels?”


“Your S class?” Rose asked with an arched eyebrow.


“No the—” Willow started to correct, then looked at Rose curiously, “You know cars?”


“I like to think so,” Rose replied humbly, “Used to own a few dealerships.”


Willow’s eyes widened again.


“Know any good interior specialists?”


They talked shop for a bit until Tara gave Willow the eye to watch the kids for a moment. Willow politely excused herself and swapped places with Tara, who stood alongside Rose again.


“I hope I didn’t insult you with the way I described you to the children,” she said with a furrow of concern between her eyes, “I wasn’t sure how you would want…”


“Oh,” Rose replied, crossing her arms gently over her chest, “Whatever you feel is appropriate.”


“Well they have two moms so it’s not going to be a big shocker,” Tara joked with a crooked smile.


Rose blinked several times, lost in thought and that familiar quirk of lips.


“It took me a long time to be able to talk about her accurately. Those few minutes we talked before I knew that you knew…it was surprising how cut deep I felt about the idea of denying her again.”


“Who was she?” Tara asked softly.


Rose swallowed and lifted her chin.


“My wife,” she said finally, exhaling a breath on the last word, “Not legally…obviously. But we did exchange rings.”


Tara smiled and crossed her arms loosely on her chest too.


“Do you still have it?”


“Of course,” Rose replied as if there could be any other answer.


Tara felt a pang of pain in her heart.


“I wish I’d known back then so I could…salvage her ring for you or…I hate to think that my father probably just sold it for a bottle of whiskey.”


“Oh, no. I have it,” Rose reassured, quickly shaking off that thought, “She couldn’t wear it at your house so it was always left in mine.”


She placed her palm over the base of her throat and looked thoughtful for a moment before slipping her fingers under to pull out the chain from under her shirt, where two rings hung together.


“I don’t really show it off but you are an obvious exception.”


Tara had to stop herself from reaching out to touch them but did stare for a long moment. Finally, she lifted her gaze back up to Rose with an unshed tear in her eye.


“I wish I could have been at your wedding.”


“You were,” Rose winked and took Tara’s hand to squeeze it before placing it on Tara’s belly.


Tara understood and smiled from ear to ear.


She had to sit but she stayed forward on the seat so she was still close to everyone.


“Kids?” she called again, “You remember I told you Rose was my Mom’s friend?”


Everyone looked at her and Tara smiled up at Rose and then back at the children.


“She was my Mom’s wife.”


Willow smiled too and nodded respectfully at Rose.


“Like Momma is my wife,” Tara clarified when there was no reaction.


“I know what wife means, Mom,” JJ all but rolled his eyes.


“Watch it,” Willow warned, poking him gently at the back of his shoulder.


“I wife!” Robyn announced cheerily as she squeezed her plush tiger toy, “Mah-wee Stwy-pee.”


“Can I come to the wedding?” Willow asked and Robyn had to spend a long time thinking about it.


“There you go,” Tara smiled at Rose, “No big deal to them.”


Rose exhaled through a grin, sitting beside Tara again.


“Amazing to see.”


“Would you like to stay for dinner?” Tara offered, both kind and hopeful.


“Are you sure I’m not imposing?” Rose asked with a flattened brow that facilitated an intent look to make sure Tara wasn’t placating her.


“Don’t be silly,” Tara dismissed, “Willow doesn’t mind, do you?”


Willow looked over, still in the middle of trying to wrangle an invite to the first-ever documented banshee/stuffed tiger wedding.


“Hmm?”


“Rose staying for dinner?” Tara clarified.


“Oh no,” Willow shook her head agreeably, “Please do. It’s nice to have a friendly face around who can implicate my perfect wife in all kinds of shenanigans.”


She extricated herself from wedding planning and walked over.


“Speaking of, baby — you need to eat.”


“Yes,” Tara nodded as she checked the time.


“Sit,” Willow said before Tara even had a chance to try and stand, “I’ll bring you something.”


“Thank you,” Tara smiled and leaned up to give Willow a kiss just as Willow leaned down.


Willow brushed her fingers against Tara’s as she left and Tara watched her go. Rose watched her watching.


“She’s lovely,” she said in a quiet, almost teasing voice, “Lisa would approve.”


“Oh, I’m pretty sure she sent her to me,” Tara smiled serenely, then place both hands over her belly, “We named the babies.”


“Oh how wonderful,” Rose said with an excited bounce in her words and body.


Tara motioned to take Rose’s hand, who offered it obligingly. Tara held it under her stomach.


“This is Emily Eve,” she said as she let their hands follow the curve upward, “And this…is Lily Lisa.”


Rose’s breath audibly caught and Tara felt her hand froze on her stomach. There was an entirely still moment just between them under Robyn’s tiny feet started to stamp.


“Give Jay-Jay!”


“No, it’s not yours!” JJ protested, swiping back his Lego piece he was trying to build with.


Tara blinked and shook her head, throwing her hands up in the air.


“And this is what we decided to double down on.”


“I can hear you hollering from in here!” Willow yelled from the kitchen.


“We can hear you hollering from in there!” JJ retorted.


“JJ,” Tara corrected softly, reached out to rub his shoulder and let him know she was there.


He glanced over apologetically and Woofy came over requesting pets.


Robyn suddenly dropped her claim on the brick and jumped up yelling at the top of her voice.


“Need potty!”


“Willow!” Tara called out, knowing there was no way she could move fast enough.


“I heard, I’m coming!” Willow yelled back, skidding into the room moments later, “Hold it, Robbie!”


She yanked Robyn up under the arms and ran flailing with her toward the stairs to bring her up to the bathroom.


Tara just gestured around and could only smile.


“I am so sorry.”


Rose shook her head.


“Please, don’t be,” she replied emphatically, “My— Lisa would have loved to be part of this wonderful, real family.”


Tara suddenly felt two kicks on opposite sides of her stomach and a peace came over her. She felt her mother closer than she ever had and that piece that had been missing clicked into place. She smiled.


“She is,” she replied confidently.


“I think so,” Rose agreed and it seemed like perhaps that was the first time she’d ever allowed herself to believe that might be true.


And that’s when Tara knew she could change the past and had already. Not what had happened, but what she allowed to influence her. Those snapshots of an almost-family she had as a child had imprinted enough to allow her to form her own family as an adult.


“Would you excuse me one moment?”


“Of course,” Rose smiled, already at ease and smiled over at JJ who was still intently building between comforting pets of the dog, “You know, JJ, I have a nephew who once had a whole wall made of Lego.”


JJ’s head snapped up with his eyes as wide as saucers.


“You can do that?!”


Tara walked out of the room and made her way toward the steps.


This happiness she felt inside her stemmed from one place; one person; the only one who she could ever have built this life with.


She needed to go kiss her wife.


Right now.


Even if it was in front of their toddler on the potty.


Especially if it was in front of their toddler on the potty.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 7th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:30 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip

Quote:
I think you've officially won enough dibs to be declared fic winner...I'd have to count up but there's about 15 chapter left so you're definitely close...

Oh yeah, I'm the Indiana Jones of Dibses! :wink

Quote:
I plan to make her a surly pre-teen so I gotta give Willow and Tara some cute stuff to remind themselves of when they're tearing their hair out :laugh

Oh boy! Then I expect many quarrels between Willow and Robyn. Hopefully it won't lead to too much dissension in the parental ranks (regarding shouting to the kids etc.).

Quote:
“You okay Robbie?” she whispered.


Robyn looked up at Willow while rubbing her fist into her eye socket.


“There’s cwying in my eyes.”


“Oh baby,” Willow comforted quietly and lifted Robyn up to snuggle against her chest.


Robyn sniffled into Willow but was comforted enough to not let it go any further.


AWWW! Cute and sad!

Quote:
Woofy suddenly laid his paws down at the edge of the grave and started to howl.


This caused a few more tears to be shed around the graveside but with a final little whimper, Woofy stopped and came back to lay on JJ’s feet on his shiny new black shoes.

:cry

Quote:
“Robyn, what’s wrong?”


Robyn’s little arms crossed petulantly across her chest.


“Momma no lemme dwink!”


Tara glanced over to Willow.


“Why won’t you let her drink?”


“She wanted juice!” Willow protested, “Do you remember what JJ did with the grape juice when he was her age?”


“I don’t even remember that!” JJ protested at his good name being brought into this.


Tara sighed at Willow, exasperated.


“Are you seriously being this petty, today of all days?”


Willow’s teeth clenched but she let it go as Tara reached into her bag to give Robyn a juice box.


Willow looked over at Robyn as best she could through the rear-facing seat.


“Please don’t spill.”


Robyn just grinned and took a long, slow victorious sip through the straw.


Willow’s nose scrunched and she looked ahead forlorn as she started the car.

That's what I mean with dissension in the parental ranks...Funny that for now it only seems to happen when it comes to food (like a few chapters back with Tara giving JJ a snack shortly before brunch).

Quote:
Back at the house, Robyn grinned a toothy grin for Willow as Willow unstrapped her to take her from the car.


“No spill Mom-mah.”


“Hey, good girl,” Willow smiled back, kissing the top of Robyn’s head as she set her down.


She cheerily grabbed the empty juice box Robyn had left behind.


Except it wasn’t quite empty and the pressure of her grabbing it made the last spurt of juice squeeze out and stain the interior.


“Goddammit!”


:lol Poor Willow! I hope she managed to wipe away the juice without it leaving stains.

Quote:
After a little while had passed, Willow appeared with her phone pressed to her ear.


“Uh, let me check.”


She put it against her shoulder to muffle the speaker.


“Um, Tare?” she asked, noting the way Tara was half-leaning on a stool, half hunched over the island like she’d become too exhausted to move and had just leaned on the spot, “The dealership just called. They want to deliver the minivan today. Is that okay?”

I'm wondering if the dealership really did call or if Willow called them and BEGGED them to deliver that van as soon as possible... :wink

Quote:
“Hey look kids! The new car is here!” she pointed ahead excitedly, “It has Wi-Fi! And screens and a great safety rating and you can have all the juice boxes you want and you won’t ever have to sit in my car again!”


She immediately tried to laugh off the guilt.


“Because you’ll love the minivan so much, of course.”


She trailed off with a chuckle and breathed a sigh of relief when she got away with it.

:rofl

Quote:
“I really didn’t mean to impose,” she said with a slight nervous shake in her voice, “I-I know it’s a tough day. I just wanted to leave you these.”


She offered Tara the bunch of flowers, which came accompanied by a sympathy card and a box of candy.

How sweet of Rose!

Quote:
Rose reached up and placed her palm on Tara’s cheek.


“You’re just like your Momma. Kindness is innate.”


Tara blushed and ducked her head, but was smiling.

:flower

Quote:
This was thrilling and surreal to Tara all at once; to hear of her mother’s secret life like this. We thought, Tara couldn’t help but throw around her mind, like I was theirs. She wished she could remember more of those pockets of her life where she had a second parent who wasn’t an abusive alcoholic, where she had a sister, where she had a real family.

How wonderful that by finding each other after all this years it's kind of as if Tara got one of her moms back and Rose got one of her daughters back.

Quote:
“So, you knew baby Tara. Was she always so cute?”


“Born that way,” Rose replied fondly as both women ignored Tara blushing off to the side, “Except for her fondness for shoving things up her nose. I only left my toolbox open once, I can tell you.”


Willow’s eyes widened as wide as they’d ever been.


“I KNEW IT!”


She looked over at Tara with a grin, who was purposefully ignoring her. Willow rocked back and forth on her heels and smiled again at Rose.

:lol

Quote:
“Who was she?” Tara asked softly.


Rose swallowed and lifted her chin.


“My wife,” she said finally, exhaling a breath on the last word, “Not legally…obviously. But we did exchange rings.”

Quote:
She placed her palm over the base of her throat and looked thoughtful for a moment before slipping her fingers under to pull out the chain from under her shirt, where two rings hung together.


“I don’t really show it off but you are an obvious exception.”


Tara had to stop herself from reaching out to touch them but did stare for a long moment. Finally, she lifted her gaze back up to Rose with an unshed tear in her eye.


“I wish I could have been at your wedding.”


“You were,” Rose winked and took Tara’s hand to squeeze it before placing it on Tara’s belly.


Tara understood and smiled from ear to ear.

Awww! :flower :bigkiss

Quote:
“I wife!” Robyn announced cheerily as she squeezed her plush tiger toy, “Mah-wee Stwy-pee.”

AWWWWWW! The cuteness award of this chapter once again goes to Robyn!

Quote:
Willow brushed her fingers against Tara’s as she left and Tara watched her go. Rose watched her watching.


“She’s lovely,” she said in a quiet, almost teasing voice, “Lisa would approve.”


“Oh, I’m pretty sure she sent her to me,” Tara smiled serenely, then place both hands over her belly, “We named the babies.”


“Oh how wonderful,” Rose said with an excited bounce in her words and body.


Tara motioned to take Rose’s hand, who offered it obligingly. Tara held it under her stomach.


“This is Emily Eve,” she said as she let their hands follow the curve upward, “And this…is Lily Lisa.”


Rose’s breath audibly caught and Tara felt her hand froze on her stomach.

Another great moment for both of them! I'm wondering if the kids will call Rose grandma too after some time.
And I choose to believe that Lisa somehow sent Rose to Tara and vice versa, too.

Quote:
Tara suddenly felt two kicks on opposite sides of her stomach and a peace came over her. She felt her mother closer than she ever had and that piece that had been missing clicked into place. She smiled.


“She is,” she replied confidently.


“I think so,” Rose agreed and it seemed like perhaps that was the first time she’d ever allowed herself to believe that might be true.


And that’s when Tara knew she could change the past and had already. Not what had happened, but what she allowed to influence her. Those snapshots of an almost-family she had as a child had imprinted enough to allow her to form her own family as an adult.

Perfect! :bigkiss

Quote:
This happiness she felt inside her stemmed from one place; one person; the only one who she could ever have built this life with.


She needed to go kiss her wife.


Right now.


Even if it was in front of their toddler on the potty.


Especially if it was in front of their toddler on the potty.

And perfect chapter ending! You're right Tara, never postpone kissing your wife if the urge overcomes you! :wtkiss


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 7th 2020)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:36 am 
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3. Flaming O
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:32 pm
Posts: 66
QUOTE: “This is Emily Eve,” she said as she let their hands follow the curve upward, “And this…is Lily Lisa.”
YES! Oh, the pleasure you bring me when you update this story! I cannot thank ALL the kitten writers still putting content on this board, especially now. I can only binge on Cop shows for SO long!!
Great story, as I said before,....keep it coming!!
Thanks & Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 7th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Oh yeah, I'm the Indiana Jones of Dibses! :wink


Dun duh dun...dun dun dun!

Quote:
Oh boy! Then I expect many quarrels between Willow and Robyn. Hopefully it won't lead to too much dissension in the parental ranks (regarding shouting to the kids etc.).


They'll have had JJ to practice on by then!

Quote:
AWWW! Cute and sad!


A first funeral is never a good thing :(

Quote:
That's what I mean with dissension in the parental ranks...Funny that for now it only seems to happen when it comes to food (like a few chapters back with Tara giving JJ a snack shortly before brunch).


In another situation, Tara would have backed Willow up and maybe said later 'hey, I don't agree with what happened earlier' so you're entirely right that stress can induce these kinds of situations.

Quote:
:lol Poor Willow! I hope she managed to wipe away the juice without it leaving stains.


I think Rose will hook her up with some tips!

Quote:
I'm wondering if the dealership really did call or if Willow called them and BEGGED them to deliver that van as soon as possible... :wink


In my mind, the dealership called, but I like your motivation so much better so consider it canon!

Quote:
How sweet of Rose!


The Maclay ladies have good taste in women!

Quote:
How wonderful that by finding each other after all this years it's kind of as if Tara got one of her moms back and Rose got one of her daughters back.


You're right, something neither of them thought was possible.

Quote:
AWWWWWW! The cuteness award of this chapter once again goes to Robyn!


I bet she's a bridezilla!

Quote:
Another great moment for both of them! I'm wondering if the kids will call Rose grandma too after some time.


This will come up!

Quote:
And I choose to believe that Lisa somehow sent Rose to Tara and vice versa, too.


Oh no doubt, I think. And it could only happen at the right moment.

Quote:
And perfect chapter ending! You're right Tara, never postpone kissing your wife if the urge overcomes you! :wtkiss


And there's a life lesson they both happily learned long ago :)

Thanks so much for your feedback.

MotherD

Quote:
YES! Oh, the pleasure you bring me when you update this story! I cannot thank ALL the kitten writers still putting content on this board, especially now. I can only binge on Cop shows for SO long!!


And the pleasure you bring when I see you've commented :D I hope you don't burn out on cop shows

Quote:
Great story, as I said before,....keep it coming!!
Thanks & Blessings


It will be coming until it's over...and then I have a follow-up to start with! :)

Thanks for your comment!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 7th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Thirteen




Willow rinsed her mouth as she placed her toothbrush back in the holder and brought a washcloth up to her face to wipe her lips.


A few feet away in the tub, Tara chuckled lowly and a hand disappeared under the water which was obscuring her whole body, leaving her just a disembodied head poking out amongst a sea of bubbles.


“What’s so funny?” Willow grinned over at her wife as she patted the cloth over her face.


“The babies float when I’m in the water,” Tara said, her wrist appearing out of the water momentarily as she skated it over her belly, “It’s a funny sensation.”


Willow put the toilet seat lid down and sat on top, near the tub.


“They’re floating all the time,” she said with a small, confused burrow between her eyes and a smile on her face.


Tara shook her head.


“No, it’s different. I can feel them all buoyant. Like my hips have a trampoline stretched between them.”


“I never felt that,” Willow replied a little wistfully, “It must be so different with two.”


“I don’t know what it was like with one,” Tara shrugged one shoulder softly.


Willow smiled again and rubbed her hands down her thighs and off her knees as she stood.


“Need a hand to get out?”


“I won’t be getting out without one,” Tara replied with a bashful smile.


She leveraged herself on the sides of the tub and pushed herself up into a standing position with help from Willow to keep her steady.


Willow handed her a robe which Tara pulled over herself, already needing to stretch out her back again despite the water being soothing while she was in it.


She brushed her teeth and moisturized her face with extra care. It was so dry these days; she felt a long way off from those early glowing days.


When she was finished in the bathroom she walked back into the bedroom and across to the bed. Even that short exertion made her need a little rest before she got changed for bed.


Willow was sitting on the other side buttoning up her pajama top and bounced back to lie with her head on the pillow. She smiled over at Tara and scooted over to kiss her.


Tara responded but had to pull away after a moment.


“Oof,” she half-sighed, half-grunted as her palm rounded over her stomach, “They’re playing a game of soccer in there.”


“Both of them?” Willow asked, propping herself up on her elbow.


“Yeah,” Tara nodded through a bit of a painful wheeze.


Willow looked down at Tara’s belly curiously.


“How can you tell?”


Tara closed her eyes as felt multiple winding flicks against her ribs.


“Because they only have two feet each and I’m being kicked in every direction.”


Willow grinned.


“I don’t think they’re very good at soccer,” she said through a laugh, “Robyn will have to give them pointers.”


She let her hand hover as she brought it above Tara’s stomach.


“Can I feel?”


“Of course,” Tara replied, and flicked the sides of her robe off so her belly was exposed.


Willow moved her hand around but the babies seemed to have taken half-time. Willow pouted a little that she had missed it then suddenly saw a very obvious bulge and ripple move under Tara’s very taut skin.


“Whoa!” she said, her gaze snapping up to Tara, “Did you see that? Was that a head?!”


“I think it was a little butt,” Tara laughed quietly.


“Whose?” Willow asked, grinning from ear-to-ear, “Lily’s if it was up here, right?”


Tara shook her head and felt her belly for the babies’ positions.


“Actually, I think it was Emily. She’s just upside down right now.”


Willow giggled and tapped Tara’s belly.


“I’m gonna spank her little butt.”


Tara’s face fell.


“Willow.”


“I’m just kidding,” Willow defended quietly.


“Well don’t,” Tara replied, frowning deeply so her forehead tensed.


Willow felt a tension settle on her shoulders but just shook it off.


“Hey, you know I would never…”


Tara’s eyes glanced down and then slowly up at Willow.


“I know,” she said finally, softly, “I’m sorry.”


“No, it was insensitive,” Willow replied quickly and leaned down to press her lips on Tara’s stomach, “I will kiss it though.”


She kissed where she’d seen the bulge and heard a little laugh as she tickled Tara’s skin. Once she felt Tara’s hand stroking her hair and knew everything was okay again, she lifted herself back up.


“Do you want me to get you one of your sexy nighties?”


Tara poked Willow in the shoulder.


“You won’t be laughing when I keep wearing them even after the birth.”


“Hey, easy access, I’m not complaining,” Willow laughed and jumped off the bed before the playful slap Tara was aiming at her could land.


She went over to the dresser and took out one of the maternity nighties Tara had bought. Admittedly, they weren’t the sexiest of things but Willow could see the difference it made for her wife not to have a struggle just to get ready for bed.


Tara took her arms out of the robe to pull the nightie over her body, then put her arms back in and pulled the blanket up over her body as she turned onto her side.


“Cold, baby?” Willow asked and checked the radiator to make sure they were warm, “I changed the timer settings. Compensate for those crisp Fall nights.”


“No, I’m okay,” Tara replied in a murmur, “Crap. I forgot to get my sugars.”


“I got you,” Willow replied softly and took the monitoring kit out to prick Tara’s finger and take the sample, “130. You’re right on it. Need to keep an eye on that. ”


She kissed Tara’s pricked finger and locked the kit up again before washing her hands.


She got back into bed and made sure the blanket was comfortably over Tara’s shoulder and kissed the back of her head. She sat up against the pillows and opened her nightstand to take out her glasses and iPad.


After a few minutes, she heard the quiet creak of the bedroom door and spotted a mop of strawberry-blonde hair out of the corner of her eye.


“Robyn,” Willow intoned in that low, motherly tone, “It’s bedtime.”


She placed the iPad down, intending to get up to bring Robyn back to her room, but noticed her daughter was idling in the doorway with a deep, sad frown on her face. It made her heart clench. Usually, Robyn looked mischievous or giggly when trying to sneak into their room.


“Are you okay, baby?”


Picking up on Willow’s tone, Tara looked over her shoulder and pushed herself to turn onto her other side.


“What’s wrong Robbie?”


Robyn’s bottom lip started to protrude.


“Tumm’ache.”


“C’mere baby,” Willow said, opening up her arms.


Robyn padded across the room and climbed up onto the bed, shimmying her way between the two warm bodies.


“You have a tummy ache?” Tara asked gently and got a resounding nod, “Whereabouts?”


Robyn sniffled sadly.


“Ih’ my nose.”


“In your—” Willow started, bewildered, then stopped herself, shaking her head, “Show Momma.”


Robyn cupped her whole lower face gingerly and Tara lifted a hand.


“Can I touch?”


Robyn eyed Tara hesitantly.


“Mommy care-fwul?”


Tara nodded seriously.


“I promise, bean.”


Tara gently put a finger into Robyn’s mouth and had a feel. After a moment, Robyn let out a little yelp and Tara quickly extracted her finger.


“Mommy’s sorry, Mommy’s sorry,” Tara said, stroking Robyn’s cheek with her thumb, “Her back molars are coming in.”


“Poor baby,” Willow replied sympathetically, rubbing Robyn’s back, “I’ll get her some baby Tylenol.”


She delicately extracted herself as Robyn didn’t want to let go.


“Go snuggle with Mommy,” she encouraged softly and Robyn glanced at Tara and decided she was forgiven enough to accept snuggles.


Tara wrapped an arm around Robyn and cuddled her up close. Robyn hid her face in the crook of Tara’s neck and had almost fallen asleep by the time Willow returned carrying two bottles.


“I always forget which one of them is a grape addict and which one is bubblegum.”


Robyn’s eyes suddenly sprang open, wide.


“Bub’gum!”


Willow chuckled as she shook the pink bottle.


“This stuff is like baby crack.”


She sat back on the bed with her legs out and poured a spoonful for Robyn to take. She smacked her lips together and sought more so Willow gave her a tiny bit and put it away out of sight. She got back into bed and looked over to Tara with a very serious look on her face.


“You know, I don’t know if that’s going to do it. It’s just not enough to combat something as serious as a tummyache in the nose.”


Tara caught on and matched her tone and look.


“Oh, but what can we do to make Robyn feel better?”


“There’s only one cure for it,” Willow announced and threw herself around Robyn from the other side, “A mom sandwich!”


Robyn jiggled and giggled and forgot all about her sore ‘nose’. Willow and Tara settled around her and Tara started to hum until she smiled easily and her eyes started to droop.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Tara sang in a gentle, soothing tone.


“Do-do-do-do-do,” Willow added in some soft doo-wop.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Tara continued, smiling at her wife.


“Ba-do ba-do,” Willow smiled back.


Tara slipped her hand onto Willow’s hip.


“I hate to leave you, but I really must say…”


“Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight,” they sang together and Robyn gently slumped into them, happily asleep.


“And not a binky in sight. Glad we finally weaned her off that thing,” Willow smiled, “Should I bring her back to her bed?”


“Should you?” Tara asked softly, “Yes.”


Willow brushed some hair from Robyn’s brow and knew no one was taking her back to her room tonight.


“Where’s Woofs?”


“It was JJ’s turn to sleep with him,” Tara answered, settling her head back on her pillow.


Willow did much the same on her side, content to have their little bean squashed between them.


“Then I guess it’s just the…” she stopped and grinned, “Five of us.”


Tara felt an uncomfortable flop in her belly and it wasn’t from one of the twins somersaulting.


“We’ll need to start setting up the nursery soon. Get the co-sleeping cribs for the beds and the double stroller and—”


Willow reached out and rubbed Tara’s arm gently.


“It’s only October. The babies aren’t coming until January—”


“I’m very unlikely to go full term—” Tara started but Willow just pacified her with another arm squeeze.


“So December then. I have everything on a list on Amazon. I just have to press buy. You’re growing Thing 1 and Thing 2 so let me take care of the rest.”


Tara looked unamused.


“I thought you’d given up on those nicknames.”


“Never,” Willow replied empathically, then leaned over to give Tara a quick kiss and Robyn a small one on the nose as she rubbed Tara’s belly, “Goodnight, love. Little loves.”


Tara felt the slumber she’d been near when Robyn first came to the door falling over her again.


“Goodnight.”



“Yeah! Go Jakey!”


There were hollers from all of the parents in the stands as JJ netted the basketball into the basket. His team was playing outside in the park and the sun was peeking out between the clouds down on the open court.


Willow was adding generously to the cheers and Tara caught JJ cringing on occasion upon hearing them.


Tara brought her hand to Willow’s upper arm and caressed Willow’s skin between her thumb and forefinger.


“We’re not allowed to call him Jakey in public.”


“Piffle,” Willow replied indignantly, “I named him, I’ll call him whatever the heck I want.”


Tara rolled her neck in place.


“Willow, I’m just about at my tolerance limit on these seats in this cold with Robyn whining about her teeth. Don’t make me deal with a cranky tween as well.”


“He’s eight,” Willow replied pointedly.


“And what age are you?” Tara snapped back.


It was meant to be playful but came out with a bite. Willow knew it wasn’t meant how it sounded. She reached out and placed a hand on the small of Tara’s back.


“Do you need to leave, baby?” she asked softly.


Tara glanced over gratefully for the understanding.


“I want to see out his game,” she said, sighing as she adjusted her back, “They just didn’t design bleachers with pregnant women in mind.”


Willow stood up and took one step up and back to the bench behind. She sat behind Tara and angled her knees out at Tara’s hips.


“Lean back on me. Use me.”


Tara leaned some of her weight back and murmured happily as some pressure was taken off of her back. She looked to the side and caught a furtive glance or two.


“The heterosexuals are staring.”


Willow wrapped her arms entirely around Tara’s extended belly and tickled Tara’s ear with her breath.


“I’ll give ‘em something to stare at.”


Tara grinned from ear to ear and her muscles relaxed a little more. Willow felt it and tried to adjust to give her the most support.


“Is that any better?”


“Yes,” Tara replied softly, “Thanks.”


Willow popped a kiss on the side of Tara’s neck and let her chin rest on Tara’s shoulders. She looked down at the court, where Ira was standing at the fence, keenly following the game.


“Look at my Dad.”


“He loves being a Grandpa,” Tara agreed.


Willow watched him physically jump an inch or two in the air when another basket was made.


“He always wished he had a boy.”


Tara frowned.


“Don’t say that.”


“I don’t mean it bitterly,” Willow clarified quickly, “He just wanted someone to play catch with.”


“He could have played catch with you,” Tara countered.


Willow just chuckled.


“Like Sheila Rosenberg would have ever let me get mud on my clothes — and for fun? Like spitting in the wound,” she said, dropping a kiss on the spot where Tara’s neck met her shoulder, “I love my gender-role-busting, mud-positive, fun-at-all-costs co-parent.”


She kissed under Tara’s ear again. Tara murmured back to her.


“Is this the show you were talking about?”


Willow rested her chin on Tara’s shoulder from behind.


“They should be so lucky.”


Tara smiled and then JJ scored again and she clapped while Willow hollered in her ear.


“Yeah!”


Tara glanced over at Robyn in the stroller but she was sleeping through the noise as she chomped on her teether, as long as Tara kept a gentle motion.


The game ended with JJ’s team winning comfortably and there was lots of clapping and a few disgruntled parents grudgingly following along. Woofy stood up from where he had been lying alongside the stroller and began panting excitedly at all the commotion.


Tara let out a soft groan as her lower back spasmed and Willow did her best to hold Tara at the waist.


“Okay, baby you did it, but you need to be in a proper chair with support and a hot water bottle.”


JJ ran up to them and bent to pet Woofy, who jumped and licked all over him.


“JJ you did so well!” Willow said, putting her hand up for a high five.


“We’re so proud of you, sweetie,” Tara added, reaching out to give some ‘acceptable’ affection; a squeeze of his arm.


He surprised her by going in for a quick, sidelong hug.


“Moms can I go out for pizza with the team?” he asked excitedly, “Everyone else’s parents are bringing them.”


“Well, uh,” Willow started, looking at Tara with concern for a moment, “I mean yeah of course but—”


“Yeah!” JJ pumped the air victoriously and gave Woofy another pet before running back into the court with the other boys.


Willow wished Alex hadn’t switched from basketball to soccer; times like this it was great to be able to trade-off ferrying the kids around with Xander and Anya. She put her hand on Tara’s back for a moment and whispered that she’d be right back.


She stood and walked down the bleachers and over to where her father had just waved JJ off.


“Dad, would you be able to take Tara home?” she requested with a hopeful smile, “JJ wants to go out for pizza with the team but she really needs to rest. I’ll sit in the parking lot with Robyn. I don’t think moms are on the guest list.”


Ira’s whole face and body lifted excitedly.


“If you’d like, I can accompany the boy with his friends instead.”


Willow smiled softly. She could see he wasn’t just offering to help her.


“I think that sounds perfect. Thanks, Daddy.”


“I’ll drop him home after,” Ira nodded.


Willow nodded back, then turned to look over her shoulder as she departed again.


“Try not to let him get totally annihilated on sugar?”


Ira’s grin twitched with mirth.


“Oh but that’s all the fun of being a grandparent.”


Willow could only chuckle.


“Thanks, Dad,” she said again and returned over to Tara, “Okay, let’s get you rested.”


She started to push the stroller around so she could take the handles, but Tara shook her head as she slowly tugged herself into a standing position.


“Actually, pushing the stroller helps me offset some weight.”


Willow slipped her hand around the leash instead.


“I’ll take Woofy.”


They slowly walked back to the car and Willow used her ninja-mom skills to get Robyn into her seat without waking her. The pain medication they’d given her that morning didn’t hurt in keeping her peaceful.


“She’s still gone on the baby crack,” Willow said as she hiked into the driver’s seat of the minivan.


“You need to stop calling it that,” Tara clicked her tongue but a smile was threatening to peek out.


Willow shot a grin in her wife’s direction and pulled out of the lot. It was a short spin home; a route they usually walked but Tara hadn’t felt able that morning, saying her feet felt like balloons.


Willow checked her mirrors and spotted Woofy had put a paw by Robyn’s hand, who was rolling it between her fingers as she slept. She nudged Tara to look too and they shared a smile.


Once home, Tara gratefully sat into a chair with support and Willow brought Robyn upstairs for the rest of her nap. She returned to the car when she realized the teether had been left behind so she could retrieve and wash it. On her way back, she spotted a large brown padded envelope sitting to the side in their porch, which she hadn’t seen when going inside the first time, but she had been carrying Robyn.


She picked it up and saw it was addressed to Tara but didn’t have many other identifying markers. She held it under her arm as she walked back into the house to leave the teether in the sink and then brought it into the living room to hand it off to the intended recipient.


“Package for you.”


“For me?” Tara asked with a confused furrow in her brow.


Willow did most of the online shopping in this household, as evidenced by the endless packages they’d been receiving as she ticked off items on the Amazon list. Tara took it and scanned it the same way Willow had, but there was nothing that stood out in the handwritten scrawl of her name and address.


She tore open the top and peeked inside. There were items wrapped in plastic and another smaller, standard-sized white envelope. It was open and her name was written on the front of it. She took the letter out from inside and unfolded the page.


“From the estate of Myra Potts,” she read, only inhaling softly a few moments after she’d realized what she’d read, “Oh.”


Willow came over and sat on the arm of Tara’s chair.


“Oh, sweetie.”


She ran her fingers along Tara’s arm and offered silent support as Tara let the contents fall into her lap. Tara picked up the plastic wrapping on top and slid out what was inside; one round item of knitting that Tara was able to hold over her fist.


“A tea cozy she was knitting me so my pot of cinnamon tea would last longer in the office,” Tara smiled sadly, “She saw me admiring hers and smiled that secret smile of hers. I’d forgotten.”


She handed it off to Willow for her to see, who smiled as she spun it around her hand.


She watched Tara take out the contents from the other envelopes and cocked her head as she took them all in.


“How many teapots does she think you have?”


“No,” Tara laughed quietly, “They’re hats for the kids.”


Willow suddenly noticed the recognizable patterns and even the little ears sticking out on top. She picked up the top two: a beige hate with yellow spikes and an orange one with black lines.


“A Lion for JJ like Roar-y and a tiger for Robyn like Stripey!” she exclaimed in delight as she turned over the hats to get a better look at them, “What did the girls get?”


Tara held a gray hat over one hand and a black and white one over the other.


“A panda and a koala bear.”


“She made them both bears!” Willow said, thrilled at the notion but frowned as she took them to examine, “They’re kinda small.”


She touched the soft material, then held her hand to her heart and felt a pang of sadness.


“I wish I’d gotten to know her better. She was clearly a special woman.”


Tara knew Willow meant that but also that her sadness was drawing from another source. She placed a hand on Willow’s knee.


“How’s Ruth? I know you've been chatting a few times. Your face lights up when you speak to her.”


“She seems like she's doing great. Opens that store every morning, no matter what. And still winning at bingo every Wednesday night,” Willow grinned to herself but it slowly fell away, “But I get the feeling she’s not saying something.”


She shrugged her shoulders and looked down. Tara kept running her palm on Willow’s thigh.


“I’m sorry, honey.”


Willow blinked heavily.


“She was old when I was a kid so now she’s…” she stopped and swallowed, “She’s the type that wouldn’t say, y’know? Just enjoy life until…”


Tara squeezed Willow’s thigh.


“Admirable.”


“Yeah,” Willow breathed out and then took in a fresh deep inhale, “But right now she’s doing well. She sent me a kid’s book about twins but she sent two of them.”


She waved a hand.


“Her own little joke.”


“Or one for each of them,” Tara suggested, “It’s important actually that they both feel like individuals and are given the same individual opportunities the other kids are.”


Willow could only chuckle.


“There she goes again, teaching me life skills without me ever knowing it.”


She fidgeted just to occupy her hands and picked up the last plastic parcel from Tara’s lap, taking out the adult-sized hat inside.


“Aw, cute. She made you an owl.”


Tara shook her head.


“It’s for you,” she said, quite surely, “I told her how you read that Owl Babies book to the kids all the time. She knew it, she read it to her grandchildren.”


Willow was truly touched and when she took it, she realized there were two; one stuck into the other. She separated them and fixed one on Tara’s head and then the other on her own.


“Beautiful,” she announced to Tara and leaned down to kiss her through a giggle.


They soon heard the telltale rattling off the baby gate being climbed over and then, sure enough, Robyn padded in with her hair flying in all directions. She climbed straight into Tara’s lap and curled around her belly from the side. Willow thought it was the cutest thing she’d ever seen and reached out to smooth out that wild hair.


“Any more tummy aches in your nose?”


Robyn shook her head sleepily. Willow held up the tiger hat to show her.


“Look at—”


Robyn snatched it, suddenly very awake.


“Wobby want!”


“Take things nicely, please,” Willow said, but couldn’t resist quickly affixing the hat onto her daughter’s head, “Oh you look so cute. Doesn’t she look so cute? All Tara-faced and Tiger-headed.”


Robyn climbed down and fetched her most beloved soft toy, Stripey the Tiger, to hug and squeeze.


“Me twin too!”


Willow chuckled and Tara smiled too but was beginning to feel her regular bout of nausea beginning to creep in.


“Willow, would you get me some tea please?”


“Of course I will,” Willow replied, hopping up, “I’ll even use your new cozy!”


“Cozy,” Robyn parroted and looked suitably so as she cradled her toy.


Willow went off to the kitchen to make the tea and Tara settled back in her chair with her hands folded on top of her belly, smiling at the reason she enjoyed sitting in this chair so much: it was in the perfect position to look up at the hanging photo of her and Willow on their wedding day above the fireplace.


Robyn played with Stripey for a minute or two but soon became intrigued in what was keeping her mother so enrapt. She followed Tara’s gaze but didn’t spot anything unusual about the same living room wall she’d seen every day of her life.


She stood by Tara’s legs and looked between the wall and Tara.


“Wha’ dah Mom-mee?”


Tara’s head turned and she smiled fondly.


“That’s the day I married Momma.”


Robyn looked higher and contemplated the photo for a bit.


“Pwetty,” she concluded after a moment.


“Oh, thank you little bean,” Tara gushed with a sprawling smile, “Wasn’t Momma so pretty? She’s still so pretty.”


“Yah,” Robyn agreed with a blunt nod of her head, “Where me?”


“You weren’t born yet, honey,” Tara replied softly, “JJ wasn’t even born.”


“No Jay-Jay?” Robyn asked in disbelief, then scooted closer to Tara, “I get mwahhied when I growed?”


“If you decide that’s what you want,” Tara replied with a nod. Robyn had been quite interested in weddings lately.


Robyn seemed contemplative.


“To guhl?”


“If you want,” Tara smiled softly.


“Boy?” Robyn questioned further with an alternating furrowing of her eyebrows.


“Whoever you choose,” Tara answered sincerely.


Robyn took a moment before her eyes widened excitedly.


“Woofy?”


Woofy stood at his name being called and Robyn started to skip over to him.


“Come Woofy, we get mwahhied!”


Willow returned with a tray of tea, complete with new cozy, as Robyn skidding out with Woofy in tow.


“Get out while you can, Woofs, they really nab you on that whole ‘to honor and obey’ bit.”


“Haha,” Tara replied and playfully threw her eyes upward.


Willow set the tray down on the coffee table and pecked Tara’s cheek.


“First Stripey, now Woofy. She's notching up quite the band of brother husbands,” she chuckled, then put her hands on her hips and looked at Tara's lap, “Wish I could take her place.”


Tara’s hands followed the curve of her stomach.


“I have more belly than lap to offer these days.”


Willow sat on the edge of the couch and poured Tara some tea.


“Your back feeling any better?”


“As good as it gets these days,” Tara replied as she gratefully accepted the cup, “I don’t think I’m going to be up for trick or treating this year.”


“The kids will understand,” Willow reassured.


“I’m not worried about the kids,” Tara smiled tenderly, “I know you’ve planned couple costumes.”


“It’s okay,” Willow grinned back, “It will work better next year when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are here anyway. I’ll just have to rework the your-belly-as-a-goldfish-bowl idea…”


“I wouldn’t have let you make my belly into a goldfish bowl anyway,” Tara countered with a scoff.


“I have ways of persuasion,” Willow smirked.


Tara couldn’t help but feel her stomach turn in a different way but tried not to let it show and have Willow gloat.


“You—”


“Moms, I bwide!”


Robyn announced herself before she was seen, holding a toilet roll above her head so it fell behind her like a veil. Tara brought a hand to her temple.


“Please don’t tell me that’s trailing around the whole house.”


Willow stood up at the doorway and gulped.


“I…will not tell you that.”


Suddenly the front door slammed and then JJ’s voice could be heard as he took the stairs two-by-two.


“Moms, Gramps says I need to change. I was getting his car all dirty. Why is there toilet paper everywhere?”


“And you thought there was something magically self-cleaning about my floor?!” Willow called after him.


Tara sighed softly and looked at the array of baby animal hats and how apt they were.


“A zoo would be less chaos.”


“But not as cute,” Willow admitted, smiling over at Tara, “Owls mate for like y’know. You still want to wear it?”


Tara pointed one finger at the wedding photo.


“That day I made a promise for a life I could never even imagine.”


She reached and affixed her owl hat over her own head.


“But I don't stay with you because nature dictates it. I choose you. I choose us to be owl mothers together.”


Willow swallowed deeply.


“I’m glad,” she said, trying to fight off a shake in her voice, “Because you are so hoot-iful!”


Tara rolled her eyes but was grinning.


“And I don’t want to be owl by myself,” Willow continued, laughing through some quickly-shed tears.


She leaned down right as Tara leaned up and they kissed softly and slowly for a moment.


The door banged and they popped apart. Willow winced as she remembered.


“I need to go…not clean up a bunch of toilet paper,” she turned her head to glance out the door, “And possibly get Woofy a divorce lawyer. He’s entitled to one of her sippy cups and at least 50% of her blankie collection, you know.”


Tara smiled and rubbed Willow’s arm.


“I’ll be here. I’ll always be here.”


Willow pressed a kiss to the bridge of Tara’s nose.


“Our own little love nest.”


“Are you on the owl puns again?” Tara grinned.


“That one was an accident,” Willow giggled and inhaled softly, “I love you, my gender-role-busting, mud-positive, fun-at-all-costs co-owl-mother.”


She fixed Tara’s ears on the hat.


“Especially when you look so cute in that hat.”


“Stop stalling,” Tara said a wry smile.


Willow held her hands up.


“You got me.”


She took the hat off and held it in her hands.


“Think the cleaning can wait for a quick phone call?”


Tara rubbed Willow’s thigh.


“I think it can wait as long as the phone call takes.”


Willow smiled.


“Thanks, baby. I love you.”


She kissed Tara’s forehead and left to fetch her phone. Tara held both hats in her hands and whispered, smiling as Willow left.


“Owl always love you.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:13 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:32 pm
Posts: 3186
Topics: 15
Location: H-Town, Texas
Hi Laragh!

Lot's has happened since I last commented, so I won't go [i]too[/] crazy...

I love Rose! What a wonderful revelation for Tara, yet so sad at the same time. I really wish Lisa had just disappeared with Rose when she was pregnant with Tara. I am very curious to see Michelle's reaction.

Tara doesn't usually irritate me, but hormonal preggo Tara needs a chill pill. She is all too quick to lose it with Willow over dumb stuff or cause it by going against something Willow already tried to take care of, like the juice vs water in the car. I see both sides, but they have to show a united front because soon they'll be outnumbered. Willow said no, Tara said yes. Tara overriding Willow like that really rubbed me the wrong way because it kinda ruins Willow's ability to discipline effectively. Mom1 is going to have zero credibility if Mom2 is just going to say 'ok.' Also, when Tara says no, it's no...but when Willow says no...it's now up for debate. I think it goes right along the lines of Tara being "big knowledge woman" and making Willow feel like the "junior partner." I'll be curious to see if Tara allows the kids to eat and drink in her shiny new van.

Anyway, off that tangent, the car getting wrecked was a scary moment and I was really happy to see no one got hurt. Poor Willow.
Mrs. Potts death was sad, she was a very sweet neighbor and hopefully, they're new neighbors will be equally nice as well. maybe...Ira and Michelle? Rose? One of their friend couples???????????????????

Until next time...

~JMT

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Shelby - Racing The Rain (IN PROGRESS) / Baby Makes Three (IN PROGRESS) / The Santa Line / Everything She Does...Is Beautiful / Calfornia Grass

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:26 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 359
I didn't have time to comment sooner. Since Finey_McFine didn't call dibs I'll just crack my whip anyway in case it counts:
:whip Dibs! :wink

Quote:
“What’s wrong Robbie?”


Robyn’s bottom lip started to protrude.


“Tumm’ache.”


“C’mere baby,” Willow said, opening up her arms.


Robyn padded across the room and climbed up onto the bed, shimmying her way between the two warm bodies.


“You have a tummy ache?” Tara asked gently and got a resounding nod, “Whereabouts?”


Robyn sniffled sadly.


“Ih’ my nose.”

Awww, super cute once again! I guess Robyn can't remember feeling other pains then tummy ache?

Quote:
“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Tara sang in a gentle, soothing tone.


“Do-do-do-do-do,” Willow added in some soft doo-wop.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Tara continued, smiling at her wife.


“Ba-do ba-do,” Willow smiled back.


Tara slipped her hand onto Willow’s hip.


“I hate to leave you, but I really must say…”


“Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight,” they sang together and Robyn gently slumped into them, happily asleep.

Heart-warming ritual.

I love that Mrs. Potts knitted all those cute animal hats for the whole family!
Quote:
“What did the girls get?”


Tara held a gray hat over one hand and a black and white one over the other.


“A panda and a koala bear.”


“She made them both bears!” Willow said, thrilled at the notion but frowned as she took them to examine, “They’re kinda small.”

Now I'm guessing Mrs. Potts had some kind of pregnancy related premonition again and that the girls will be born way sooner than Willow expects...

Quote:
“How’s Ruth? I know you've been chatting a few times. Your face lights up when you speak to her.”


“She seems like she's doing great. Opens that store every morning, no matter what. And still winning at bingo every Wednesday night,” Willow grinned to herself but it slowly fell away, “But I get the feeling she’s not saying something.”


She shrugged her shoulders and looked down. Tara kept running her palm on Willow’s thigh.


“I’m sorry, honey.”


Willow blinked heavily.


“She was old when I was a kid so now she’s…” she stopped and swallowed, “She’s the type that wouldn’t say, y’know? Just enjoy life until…”

I just hope that the thing Ruth is not saying isn't something bad but a planned surprise visit to Buffalo or something like that...

Quote:
“I get mwahhied when I growed?”


“If you decide that’s what you want,” Tara replied with a nod. Robyn had been quite interested in weddings lately.


Robyn seemed contemplative.


“To guhl?”


“If you want,” Tara smiled softly.


“Boy?” Robyn questioned further with an alternating furrowing of her eyebrows.


“Whoever you choose,” Tara answered sincerely.


Robyn took a moment before her eyes widened excitedly.


“Woofy?”


Woofy stood at his name being called and Robyn started to skip over to him.


“Come Woofy, we get mwahhied!”


Willow returned with a tray of tea, complete with new cozy, as Robyn skidding out with Woofy in tow.


“Get out while you can, Woofs, they really nab you on that whole ‘to honor and obey’ bit.”

:lol

Quote:
“I know you’ve planned couple costumes.”


“It’s okay,” Willow grinned back, “It will work better next year when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are here anyway. I’ll just have to rework the your-belly-as-a-goldfish-bowl idea…”

:laugh I would love to see the costumes Willow planned!

Quote:
“Moms, I bwide!”


Robyn announced herself before she was seen, holding a toilet roll above her head so it fell behind her like a veil. Tara brought a hand to her temple.


“Please don’t tell me that’s trailing around the whole house.”


Willow stood up at the doorway and gulped.


“I…will not tell you that.”


Cute and funny!

Quote:
“I need to go…not clean up a bunch of toilet paper,” she turned her head to glance out the door, “And possibly get Woofy a divorce lawyer. He’s entitled to one of her sippy cups and at least 50% of her blankie collection, you know.”

:rofl

Quote:
I love you.”


She kissed Tara’s forehead and left to fetch her phone. Tara held both hats in her hands and whispered, smiling as Willow left.


“Owl always love you.”

:flower


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:00 am 
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Finey_McFine

Quote:
Hi Laragh!

Lot's has happened since I last commented, so I won't go too crazy...


Hi!

Quote:
I love Rose! What a wonderful revelation for Tara, yet so sad at the same time. I really wish Lisa had just disappeared with Rose when she was pregnant with Tara. I am very curious to see Michelle's reaction.


It's a-comin'! I too wish Lisa had disappeared at that time. Maybe even before Michael knew she was pregnant!

Quote:
Tara doesn't usually irritate me, but hormonal preggo Tara needs a chill pill. She is all too quick to lose it with Willow over dumb stuff or cause it by going against something Willow already tried to take care of, like the juice vs water in the car. I see both sides, but they have to show a united front because soon they'll be outnumbered. Willow said no, Tara said yes. Tara overriding Willow like that really rubbed me the wrong way because it kinda ruins Willow's ability to discipline effectively. Mom1 is going to have zero credibility if Mom2 is just going to say 'ok.' Also, when Tara says no, it's no...but when Willow says no...it's now up for debate. I think it goes right along the lines of Tara being "big knowledge woman" and making Willow feel like the "junior partner." I'll be curious to see if Tara allows the kids to eat and drink in her shiny new van.


I'm glad you picked up on the 'big knowledge woman' dynamic because, quite frankly, it's hard to highlight Tara's bad qualities...she doesn't have many :laugh And Willow is being patient but that kind of stuff can put some division between you and what happens when the shit hits the fan and you're not as connected as you need to be?

(also, because I don't know if I actually end up depicting it or not, eating and drinking will definitely be allowed in the minivan...out of necessity if nothing else!)

Quote:
Anyway, off that tangent, the car getting wrecked was a scary moment and I was really happy to see no one got hurt. Poor Willow.


That was a huge rip in their relationship because Willow thought she physically witness her pregnant wife be flattened by a semi and Tara immediately went into a deep slump about something happening to the children she was carrying. Two different traumas born out of the same event and it was hard for each of them to recognize how the other was processing it.

Quote:
Mrs. Potts death was sad, she was a very sweet neighbor and hopefully, they're new neighbors will be equally nice as well. maybe...Ira and Michelle? Rose? One of their friend couples???????????????????


:lol well Ira and Michelle already live just a couple of blocks away and Rose moving in there at this point might be a little too much too soon! Ha, no, seriously, there will be a new neighbor but it won't really be a major plot point.

Quote:
Until next time...

~JMT


:bigwave hope you enjoy how this is about to go!

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Will's redemption

Quote:
I didn't have time to comment sooner. Since Finey_McFine didn't call dibs I'll just crack my whip anyway in case it counts:
:whip Dibs! :wink


It always counts!

Quote:
Awww, super cute once again! I guess Robyn can't remember feeling other pains then tummy ache?


I think she maybe she didn't quite put together that a 'tummyache' happens in the 'tummy' so that's the word she knows for any kind of pain.

Quote:
Heart-warming ritual.


I think they love it too!

Quote:
I love that Mrs. Potts knitted all those cute animal hats for the whole family!


She was kind and wise.

Quote:
Now I'm guessing Mrs. Potts had some kind of pregnancy related premonition again and that the girls will be born way sooner than Willow expects...


:wink

Quote:
I just hope that the thing Ruth is not saying isn't something bad but a planned surprise visit to Buffalo or something like that...


Well. She is quite old. I don't know if she's able for travel...

Quote:
:laugh I would love to see the costumes Willow planned!


I think she would have had a very hard time convincing Tara to let her belly be painted like a fish bowl :laugh

Quote:
Cute and funny!


You have to embrace the funny when you have toddlers and ignore the endless mess...

Thanks for your feedback!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 10th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:00 am 
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Chapter Fourteen




Willow looked up from her coffee when she heard Tara’s heavy steps on the stairs.


Tara was certainly heard before she was seen these days, which Willow appreciated because it gave her precious seconds to make sure nothing was sticking out or acting as an impedance that Tara might knock into. That belly was a mask and a weapon if Tara didn’t have a clear path.


Tara walked into the kitchen and Willow had to hide a frown with how exhausted she looked with her day just starting. But Willow hid that frown well and offered her wife her biggest smile as a greeting.


“I see you came as a gorgeous pregnant goddess for Halloween.”


Tara actually smiled, which Willow took as a success. Tara pressed her lips to Willow’s cheek as she brushed past.


“You're just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode. That's what you are, a bee charmer.”


Willow ducked her head and lightly blushed then raised her eyebrows suggestively at Tara.


“I would definitely play Ruth and Idgie with you sometime.”


Tara poured herself a glass of water and started to put her arm around Willow’s shoulders.


Like any good lesbian, Willow had watched Fried Green Tomatoes at least once a year since the first time she’d seen it and knew exactly what Tara was up to. Especially because almost all of those viewings had been together.


She jumped back before the water could be flicked on her.


“Don’t you dare!”


Tara seemed to consider it then just grinned.


“Only because I have to get to work.”


Willow could only laugh and opened her mouth to respond but before she could she saw Tara’s whole face tighten and her cheeks flush. She brought herself back over and put a hand on the small of Tara’s back.


“Oh, that was a new face. What’s wrong?”


Tara hunched over and breathed in and out.


“It just feels like my heart is beating through my stomach every so often.”


Willow’s brow furrowed.


“…I don’t like how that sounds at all.”


“It’s okay. I probably just need to eat,” Tara exhaled roughly.


Willow made sure Tara’s back was supported and hurried to get the blood glucose monitor. She brought it back and quickly tested the drop of blood Tara offered from her finger. Her tongue clicked as she read the numbers.


“Tara. Your readings have been skewy for three days now. We need to make an appointment with the doctor,” she said softly but insistently but could see Tara wasn’t objecting, “I’ll take care of it, okay? If she can’t see us tomorrow, she’ll see us on Monday and we’ll have to have an easy-going weekend. And I’m taking the kids trick or treating with Xan and the other kids so don’t worry about that. I think Xan wants me, him and Jesse to go as Luke, Leia, and Han. He said he has the costumes. But if they think I’m going all gold bikini…”


She took a breath and a step back, frowning at Tara’s face again.


“I’m making you some toast.”


She kissed the top of Tara’s head and left her sitting there to round back to get some whole wheat bread in the toaster. She took out a half of an avocado sitting the fridge and quickly mashed it in a cup ready to spread out on the toast when it popped up.


She placed the plate in front of Tara and got her mug ready with tea while the kettle boiled.


“Eat, baby,” she encouraged softly as the kettle started to whistle.


Tara looked up and shook her head to herself. After blinking once, she picked up the toast and started to eat.


“Thank you, Willow.”


“Any time,” Willow replied tenderly as she put Tara’s special teapot and cup by her and poured one into the other.


She covered Tara’s hand with her own and held it there for a steady moment. Tara looked up so their eyes locked. She just gently lifted her thumb beneath Willow’s and caressed it gently.


Tara ate quietly and Willow slowly saw her color return to normal. Her shoulders began to sit up straight again with a new burst of energy. She finished her breakfast and threw back the tea and jumped up — well, slowly stood with the support of the island, but that was as close as she got to jumping these days — to get her bag for work.


“You sure you’re feeling better?” Willow asked cautiously when Tara returned to the kitchen to grab her lunch from the refrigerator.


Tara came over to take Willow’s hands.


“I had a blip. I bet you felt like I did before your first coffee.”


“I’m not carrying two babies,” Willow reasoned with an arched eyebrow.


Tara’s lips sloped up on one side.


“I’m getting kicked in all four directions again so they’re very much okay.”


Willow’s hands instinctively curved around Tara’s belly and she could actually feel what Tara was talking about. She didn’t know how her wife managed to smile through that; she remembered Robyn giving her a dig or two that completely winded her and that was just with two legs.


“That’s great,” she said eventually, sincerely, “But I asked about you. Have things settled?”


Tara leaned in and pressed her lips to Willow’s softly. Her lips were plump and moist and her kiss passed an evocative quiver between them.


“You tell me.”


Willow’s lips slowly spread into a grin as she adopted a southern drawl.


“I'm as settled as I ever hope to be.”


Tara matched her smile and rested their foreheads together. She linked both sets of hands.


“Make the appointment so we’re reassured but I think I just need to adjust my eating schedule. Have breakfast before I get ready. I’m using more energy just getting ready than I was a few weeks ago.”


“I’ll bring it to you in bed every morning,” Willow promised perkily.


Tara’s eyes creased affectionately.


“Idgie Threadgoode, you old bee charmer, you.”


Willow smiled bashfully, then her eyes suddenly lit up.


“We should dress up as Ruth and Idgie one year!”


“Outside of the bedroom?” Tara asked with a quirked eyebrow and they both giggled softly with each other.


Tara kissed the bridge of Willow’s nose and popped a last, quick kiss on her lips.


“I have to go. I love you.”


“I love you too,” Willow called after her and then bent down with her arms on the island to just take a breath.


She needed to get herself together too. She heard Tara say goodbye to JJ and then the door close and then the minivan drive out of the driveway. She put a fresh coffee on to fill into her travel mug to take in the car with her and went to the fridge to get out JJ’s lunchbox. She noticed Tara forgot to bring Robyn’s lunchbox with her but it wasn’t too big of a deal, Willow could drop it off. It was an inconvenience but only a minor one; their offices were only ten minutes apart on foot, quicker if she could get a parking space.


Willow walked into the hallway and could hear sounds of balls being bounced and cheering coming from upstairs.


“JJ, your bus will be here in a minute. Get off YouTube please.”


The iPad was dutifully shut off and JJ appeared on the top of the stairs, which he took down two by two.


Willow stood at the foot, holding up his backpack ready to put on his shoulders, but he stopped to look at her curiously for a moment.


“When you were my age, was YouTube in black and white?”


Willow spluttered indignantly.


“No!” she said grouchily, twisting the backpack straps so they were smooth on his front, “Okay, turn around.”


JJ did and Willow stepped back to look at him; he looked unusual but not in the way she expected. A lilac shirt, suspenders, one of the bowties Ira had gotten him and a pair of Groucho glasses with the nose and hair ripped off; so thorough that Willow didn’t even realize what he’d done at first, they looked like any other pair of plastic frames.


“You look really sharp today buddy! But why aren’t you wearing a costume?”


“Momma,” JJ rolled his eyes, “This is my costume. I’m a nerd. Look I have one of these things and everything.”


He waved an object in his hand and Willow frowned.


“That's a calculator.”


“Yeah!” JJ replied, waving it about, “Did they have these when you were young?”


Willow bristled and shook her head to herself.


“I’ve failed as a parent,” she murmured, folding her hand on her hips, “Nerds aren’t something to laugh at.”


JJ rolled his eyes again and Willow had to squeeze her nails into her palms to stop her from getting too overtly frustrated.


“No, Momma, Nerds!” he repeated, with emphasis, “I’m a purple nerd and Thomas is a pink nerd. Like the candy? When we stand together we’ll look like the box of candy! Was that around when you were young?”


His fascination with her apparent long-gone youth was making Willow’s eyes twitch.


“Excuse me, young buck, I will have you know—” Willow stopped when the school bus pulled up outside and honked the horn to indicate it was there, “Saved by the beep. Go get on your bus. And I will have you know, I was the original nerd.”


She put a hand on his back to guide him to the door and he looked back as he stepped out.


“Is Robyn staying home today?”


Willow frowned.


“What do you mean?”


“Robyn’s playing upstairs,” JJ explained, rolling back and forth on his heels, “Mom usually takes her in the mornings.”


Willow’s frown deepened and she looked back up the stairs.


“Okay, thank you for telling me that. Have a good day at school,” she said finally and caught JJ just before he ran off, “Hey c’mere.”


He kissed the top of his head.


“I love you.”


“Momma, not with the door open!” JJ protested incredulously.


“Sorry, sorry,” Willow held her hands up, “Have a good day at school.”


He hurried off to the bus and Willow watched until he was safely on, then turned on her feet and quickly made her way up the stairs. Sure enough, Robyn was rolling around on her bedroom floor instead of being strapped into her seat in the minivan as she should be.


Willow blinked several times like she might be a mirage before stepping into the room. Tara hadn’t forgotten Robyn’s lunch, she’d forgotten Robyn.


“Hey, Robbie.”


Robyn rolled over in her green costume and leaped toward Willow.


“Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit.”


Willow nearly had a heart attack.


“Why are you dressed like a frog!?”


Robyn sat back on her butt and cocked her head at Willow.


“Hal’ween Mom-mah.”


Willow’s hand was clutching her heart.


“Why did you pick something so scary?”


Robyn just giggled and did a sideways tumble.


“I jump, Mom-mah!”


Willow quickly strode over to Robyn’s dress-up box and tried desperately to pull something else out.


“You wanna dress up as a princess?”


Robyn giggled, showing off her white teeth.


“I fwog! I kiss pwincess!”


Willow had to admit that was endlessly adorable, but still.


“You could be a penguin,” she offered, holding up the black and white costume.


Robyn shook her head from side to side.


“I fwog,” she said determinedly.


“First my son, now my own daughter taunting me,” Willow muttered to herself and held her head in her hands for a moment before looking back with a blink, “Okay, fine. Come downstairs with me.”


Robyn hurried over.


“I jump Mom-mah!”


“Not down the stairs you won’t!” Willow said and caught her before she leapfrogged her way into a concussion.


A trip to the hospital was the last thing she needed today.


She brought Robyn into the living room and sat on the couch to pull her phone from her pocket. She found Tara’s contact number and put the phone on speaker as it began to ring.


“Hey Will, what’s up?”


“Um…” Willow started, glancing over at Robyn still doing her best acrobatics, “I think you forgot something.”


There was a pause and Willow could practically see the little v likely forming in Tara’s brow.


“What?”


“Our daughter?” Willow asked, her tone lifting curiously at the end.


There was an audible whoosh of Tara’s head turning to look to the backseat in the minivan.


“Oh my god,” her voice crackled through the speaker, “Oh my god, I’m coming right back!”


“I can take her?” Willow offered.


“No, I’m coming back right now!” Tara’s frantic voice spoke out, “I’m hanging up, I’ll be right there!”


The line went dead and Willow folded her phone back into her pocket.


“Mommy is silly.”


Robyn looked up and resolutely shook her head; as serious as a toddler could be.


“No, Mom-mah is silly.”


“Can’t catch a break today,” Willow sighed and threw herself back into the couch lost in her own smile.


She waited until she saw the minivan coming back down the street and brought Robyn and her lunchbox to the door. Tara appeared up the driveway, flustered, moments later and rushed toward them, holding Robyn close as if she’d lost her somewhere other than home.


Willow handed the lunchbox over with a wry smile.


“It’s called baby brain, not forget-the-baby brain.”


Tara’s cheeks were flushed and she was shaking slightly.


“I’m so sorry, have I made you late?”


“It’s okay,” Willow reassured upon seeing her reaction, “But it’s lucky JJ said she was still upstairs. I wouldn’t have looked.”


Tara closed her eyes to stop any tears from flowing. Robyn looked up and pressed her little hand on Tara’s cheek.


“Mom-mee sad?”


Tara swallowed, opened her glassy eyes and shook her head.


“No baby,” she said with a gruff in her voice she had to clear her throat again to get rid of it, “Mommy loves you.”


“Love Mom-mee,” Robyn returned and waved a fist toward Willow, “Love Mom-mah.”


“Hey, positive validation, go me,” Willow joked and put her arms around them both for a second until Tara pulled away.


“We need to go. We’re late now. Goodbye. Again.”


“Goodbye you two,” Willow waved, then looked to Tara again, “By the way, when did she get a…that costume?”


“She asked to be a frog for Halloween,” Tara replied, hiking Robyn around on her hip as she struggled to keep a hold of her with the belly in the way.


Willow shuddered.


“And you didn’t think it was a bit…adult?”


Tara blinked.


“It’s a frog.”


Willow really wished she’d stop saying that word.


“It’s a terrifying creature.”


Tara was struggling now to be staying in that spot and position.


“Can you press pause on your frog fear for Halloween please?”


Willow shook her head.


“The one year I don’t organize their costumes and this is what happens.”


Tara turned to look at Robyn.


“Robyn are you happy being a frog?”


Robyn bounced on Tara’s hip.


“Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit.”


Tara looked at Willow pointedly and started walking back toward the minivan.


“I won’t forget this betrayal!” Willow called after them.


She watched them drive out safely as well and then walked back into the house to grab her lunch and get out of there. The door shut behind her and she shook her head.


“I am DEFINITELY taking back control of Halloween next year.”



Willow sat back in her ergonomic chair with added lumbar support and wondered yet again why Tara wouldn’t let her buy her a similar chair for her cubicle.


Tara seemed embarrassed at the idea of bringing in her own chair but Willow didn’t see why. Tara’s sleep was starting to be affected by pain in her back and Willow was getting frustrated seeing it happen when there was an easy solution that would only cost a few hundred bucks.


Sometimes she forgot how poor Tara grew up and how adverse she was to spending money on herself. They’d had Rose for dinner a couple of times now and Willow had heard fond stories of them cooking together with the kids to make the small money Tara’s father gave her mother stretch as long as it needed to. There had been tales and licking the bowl and flour fights that were clearly cherished memories but it reminded Willow of the dichotomy of their upbringings.


Still, it wasn’t the case anymore and the only thing stopping Willow from buying the chair and installing the damn thing herself at Tara’s desk was…


Actually, that was a good idea, Willow thought to herself. She could tag Michelle in and have it pre-assembled so it just needed to be wheeled in place and left for Tara to find. Willow had been party to an undercover sting before on the job; she could pull this off. Force Tara to take care of herself.


With a self-satisfied nod, she pushed herself forward back into her desk and brought up some pages of research she had already done when buying her own chair.


A few minutes in, her cell phone rang and her eyes glanced quickly at the name to determine if she needed to answer it or not. It was Robyn’s daycare. Willow frowned.


“Hello?” she asked as she whipped the phone up to her ear and listened to the person on the other end, “Oh, uh, you’re calling the wrong mother. My wife is the one who collects her. She works upstairs.”


Willow listened again and checked the time on the corner of her middle monitor.


“Wait, how late is she?” she said and then her eyes widened considerably, “Okay, I’ll call her right now.”


Willow noted some irritation on the other end and sighed.


“Well, then…I’ll come to get her right now. Is she okay?”


Willow jumped up and grabbed her jacket from its hook.


“Okay. I’ll be there in ten minutes. Goodbye.”


She hung up the phone and marched out her office; already halfway to the elevator by the time her office door slammed behind her, locking itself with an unheard click.


Willow already had her phone to her ear again and frowned even more deeply when she got the same voicemail that the daycare had.


“Tara, have you checked the time? Robyn needed to be collected an hour ago. They called me, I’m going over there now. Call me when you get this.”


When Willow got to the elevator, Xander called out from the bullpen from where he was leaning on Jesse’s desk, discussing a case.


“Hey, Willster! Going to try on your costume?”


Willow scowled in frustration as she stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the lobby.


“I gotta go pick up my kid.”


Xander glanced at Jesse and snapped a file closed as the doors pushed together and finally closed.


“I have a bad feeling about this.”


Willow decided to just walk because it would be faster than trying to find a parking space at this time. She arrived at the building in a little less than eight minutes and walked right across the large lobby to where the daycare was situated at the back of the building.


She was a little out of breath as she got there but all business as she approached the clerk at the front desk.


“Hi. I got a call about Robyn Rosenberg-Maclay?”


The clerk looked up and immediately lifted a phone to her ear.


“One moment please,” she said politely and then began conversing with the person on the other end.


Willow rocked back and forth on her heels but she didn’t have to wait long. The door to the back opened and a guy with a blue shirt that had ‘Matthew’ monogrammed on the breast walked out with Robyn, her little backpack bouncing on her shoulders.


“Mom-mah!” Robyn said excitedly. This was a nice surprise. Usually, only Mommy picked her up. She launched herself around Willow’s leg.


“Hey little bean,” Willow greeted in a rush, rubbing her hand over Robyn’s mess of hair.


Robyn looked up and swung out of Willow’s leg.


“Mom-mah I make pic-chure and I dwawed unicone and…”


Matthew looked over at Willow with a disapproving flick of his eyes and loosely crossed his arms over his chest.


“Her collection time is over an hour ago. If this happens again—”


Willow really did not feel like being patronized right now.


“Can you just add whatever charges or whatever you need to to the bill? It won’t happen again.”


Robyn was still babbling away about her day so Willow picked her up and held her on her hip, intending to get out of there.


“Has Robyn’s other parent changed their working hours? We could advise a better schedule if you require it,” Matthew asked before Willow could turn.


Willow’s brow creased.


“What? No. She has control over her schedule.”


“When we couldn’t reach her cell we called the work number provided we got the out of office message,” Matthew explained.


A vein started to pop in Willow’s forehead.


“So she hasn’t just lost track of time…she walked right on out of here without collecting Robyn? Again?” she asked no one especially and shook her head, “Unbelievable.”


She huffed out a breath and gave a grudging look to Matthew, who seemed like he was beginning to realize he’d stepped into something way over his head.


“Sorry for the inconvenience.”


He just nodded once.


“Goodbye Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay,” he said cordially and smiled warmly at Robyn, “Bye-bye Robyn.”


Robyn waved emphatically from over Willow’s shoulder as she was taken away.


“Bye-bye Mahh-oooo!” she said until he was out of sight and she twisted back in Willow’s arms, “Mom-mah where we go now?”


“To find your mother,” Willow replied tersely.


“Mom-mee,” Robyn said with a happy clap of her hands together. This was sure turning into an exciting day.


They headed for the elevator but two men were just beginning to lay down tools and a big ‘out of order’ sign had been slapped on the doors since Willow last passed.


“Sorry, sweetheart, it’s going to be out a while,” one of the men, older of the two with salt-and-pepper hair said when he saw her stop for a minute.


“My legs are perfectly functional and I’m not your sweetheart,” Willow retorted, somewhat petulantly.


He glanced at his younger co-worker and rolled his eyes discreetly. Willow just rolled her eyes too and stomped toward the stairs. The Children and Family Services office was only a few floors up.


She walked right past the receptionist, to the woman’s slight alarm and over to where she knew Tara’s desk to be. It was as she expected: empty.


“Willow?” Michelle asked in confusion, though did give Robyn a little smile and wave.


Robyn chewed her fingers and smiled back.


“So, she did,” Willow huffed out a breath, “She breezed on out of here. Why won’t she listen to me that she needs to realize she’s not taking care of herself and now it’s affecting the kids.”


“Willow,” Michelle started but Willow already had her back turned and her cell against her ear.


“God, Tara, you forgot Robyn again! Is it going to be in the car next time or the store? How can I trust you with her?! Call me back as soon as you get this because we need to have a serious talk. Oh, and I have her now if you even care.”


Willow immediately regretted that last bit but she was also still incredibly angry. Before she could say even more she would regret, Michelle instantly sought Willow’s attention, not least because she was causing a scene and she knew Tara would be utterly humiliated.


“Willow,” Michelle repeated, standing over her to try and physically cover her from view, “I don’t know what’s going on but Tara left here an hour ago and specifically said she was going to collect Robyn. She was going to take a picture of her costume and send it to me when she got to the car and could charge her phone because it just died. We had a whole conversation about her. She never sent the picture, but I thought she was waiting for better light.”


Willow’s brow couldn’t furrow any deeper but her thoughts, or attempts at thoughts, were interrupted when she heard jangling and looked down to see Robyn picking up a set of keys from Tara’s desk to play with.


Willow took them, to protestation. She turned them around in her hand.


“Those are Tara’s keys.”


Robyn sought the keys again and Willow let her, too overcome with confusion to stop it.


“Wait…if she forgot her keys, how did she drive home?”


“She didn’t,” Michelle was frowning now too, “She couldn’t have. She couldn’t even get into the parking lot without her key fob.”


“Then where the heck—” Willow started to ask and then in one horrifying moment of realization she knew exactly what had happened, “Tara!”


At a speed even Kathrine Switzer would envy, Willow ran back through offices to the utter bewilderment of absolutely everyone else there who had all turned toward the commotion. Michelle amongst them, she tried to quickly follow Willow who started slapping her palm hard against the closed elevator doors.


“Tara! Tara! Tara!”


Michelle was still taken aback by Willow’s incredibly odd behavior as she stuck her ear to the doors. Little Robyn seemed to be feeling it and her face started to crumble in confusion and upset.


“Mom-mah?” she sought her mother’s reassurance.


Willow looked at her and just froze. Michelle saw her opportunity to step in.


“I’ll take her,” she said calmly, slowly plucking Robyn from Willow’s grasp, “Come here, sweetheart.”


Robyn nuzzled into Michelle’s chest, pacified but now Willow looked like she was near tears. She looked at Michelle with sunken, scared eyes.


“Tara’s stuck in the elevator,” she barely croaked out.


“What?” Michelle asked with a shake of her head, “Are you sure?”


Willow nodded and gulped.


“I’m pretty positive.”


Her heart sunk and then suddenly jumped up into her throat. She clutched her head on both sides.


“Oh god, JJ! He’ll be getting home soon, Tara is supposed to be there! They’re supposed to go trick-or-treating with the other kids later!”


“Then they’ll go trick-or-treating,” Michelle chimed in, in that easy authoritative voice that she used in work situations, “Do not worry about your children. Your father and I will take care of them. You focus on Tara. I’ll go to your house right now and be there when JJ gets home. It’s all okay, Willow. They’ll get her out. These outages happen all the time.”


Willow looked down at Robyn and tensed her face muscles so hard it mimicked Botox. She held it together enough to try and appear normal. She gently stroked Robyn’s hair.


“Okay little bean, you’re gonna go home with Grandma.”


Robyn looked trouble.


“Where Mom-mee?”


Willow swallowed deeply and hunched down the few inches to Robyn’s level.


“Can you keep a secret?”


Robyn nodded solemnly. Willow had to clear her throat again.


“Well, see I’m like you, I’m a frog too. That’s why my eyes are green. I didn’t know I’d passed down my frogness to you until this morning! All these years I’ve had to pretend I hated them just to keep my cover.”


Robyn was utterly enthralled and started gnawing on her bottom lip.


“But Mommy, see Mommy is my princess. She’s the one who kissed me and made me human. So now I have to go save Mommy so she can kiss me again and we can keep playing without our arms and legs being all slimy and icky and terrifying.”


“Icky,” Robyn agreed.


Willow smiled though still with a sad crease in her eyes.


“So you’re going to go with Grandma and get JJ so you can go trick-or-treating with all your cousins. You have to save me a gummy worm okay?”


“‘Kay,” Robyn agreed easily after a moment.


Willow kissed the top of her head.


“You’re going to have so much fun trick-or-treating. You don’t let the big boys trick you out of any candy.”


Robyn looked at Willow with her big blue eyes and then offered Willow one of her mischievous little smiles and made a little leaping motion.


“Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit.”


Willow almost burst into tears.


She kissed Robyn’s forehead and looked at Michelle with the urgency of her emotions to communicate to get Robyn out of there maybe sooner than later. Michelle nodded that she understood and quickly brought Robyn away, back into the offices to gather her things and shush the nosy looky-loos.


Willow swiped at her eyes to stop herself from having a full-on breakdown and to stem the furtive glances coming her way.


She went back to the elevator and ‘knocked’ again.


“Tara, can you hear me? Everything’s going to be okay. They’re working to get you out, okay?”


And Willow’s heart sunk because once again she heard the reason she was ‘pretty positive’ Tara was in there — a loud shriek that was muffled and incomprehensible but suitably terrified.


She didn’t know if her heart was beating so fast she couldn’t feel it anymore or if it had, in fact, just stopped beating. She felt so awful for all of her assumptions and those nasty messages while Tara was trapped and probably alone in a stuck elevator. She tried to keep in mind what Michelle said and knew that people did get stuck all of the time with no issue. Plus there were already people on the job trying to rectify the situation. Everything was in control.


But Tara was shouting for her and she couldn’t get her. She’d lied to Robyn. She couldn’t rescue her princess. She was almost as stuck as Tara was.


She decided to go back down, figuring it was where the elevator would open when fixed, and quickly made her way back to the staircase.


Mr. Salt and Pepper looked at her gruffly as she approached.


“You’ll have to keep using those functioning legs of yours.”


“Please,” Willow swallowed with a humble tone and glassy eyes, “My wife is stuck in there. She’s seven months pregnant but I think she may be hurt or at least really scared. Her cell phone is dead and I just…”


She stopped and swallowed. She’d done it more in the last 10 minutes than she had all day.


“I just want her to be okay.”


The younger guy looked up sharply and the two shared an intent glance.


“They didn’t tell us anyone was in there,” the younger guy said, already picking up pace.


“We’ll get her out, ma’am,” Mr. Salt and Pepper promised with a sincere nod before he too quickly got to work.


Willow nodded gratefully and stood back. All she could do was bite her nails.


As the minutes ticked by a few more people started to hang around. Willow noticed one woman who looked like she might be security and then another woman arrived in business attire and her own walkie talkie which she was talking into importantly. Willow didn’t pay much heed; she just wanted to see that elevator moving again.


She blamed herself a thousand times over while standing there.


For not getting Tara a power bank for her phone.


For not insisting on that chair that would have made it easier for her to get up and down and given her precious seconds to get in the elevator before it broke down.


For not being psychic enough to anticipate the whole thing, even.


At some point, two paramedics arrived and the flashing lights from the ambulance sitting on the curb would hit against the glass every now and then but Willow still wasn’t paying attention. Her eyes were hyper-focused on those two steel doors and any sign of movement.


Finally, there was a loud creaking sound and the two men working let out grunts of relief. Willow tripped over herself trying to get to the doors and got there right as they opened fully.


Tara was lying with her back propped up against the wall, her hair wild and her face red. Her cheeks were tearstained and she was utterly heaving with sobs as terror played out in her eyes.


“Willow, I’m in labor,” she gasped out the single second she saw her wife’s face.


The hair stood up on the back of Willow’s neck but she quickly swung her head from side to side.


“It’s okay, it’s okay! It’s probably just Braxton hicks from the stress!”


Tara lifted a trembling hand and closed it on Willow’s wrist. She tugged Willow’s hand in and under her body.


Willow felt her palm get wet with whatever fluid had fallen out of Tara and was now all over the eye-sore of a fabric that sat on the floor of the elevator.


Her heart made itself known again as it tightened with a kind of constriction she’d never known before.


She threw herself back out of the elevator.


“We need the paramedics!”


She sprung back in to clutch Tara’s shoulders as the paramedics rushed in behind her and tried to push her out.


“Everything will be okay. It will be okay, okay?!”


Tara features contorted in sorrow as she helplessly cradled her belly and looked to Willow seeking something like the fairytale Willow had told Robyn that would make this situation have a happily ever after. Her choked and rattled voice was not one that would be used as a narrator any time soon.


“Go on, you old bee charmer. Tell me a good tall tale.”


Willow watched her go helplessly, fearing in her heart that that was true.


It was a tall tale.


Things were not okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 14th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:28 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Posts: 359
Dibs! :whip

Oh no, such a drama! I hope this early birth will happen without too much complications and that the babies are strong enough already that they won't have to stay in an incubator for weeks or months and they will still be healthy babies after all!

Quote:
“You're just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode. That's what you are, a bee charmer.”

I love the movie "Green fried tomatoes" and the novel (which is even better in my opinion)!

Poor Willow, first JJ is mocking her "old age" and then frog-Robyn is scaring her! :lol I think it was quite unfair of Tara not to warn Willow about that costume (or did she plan that Willow would never see Robyn as a frog - but she couldn't have expected that she could persuade Robyn to take off that costume before her Momma came home?).
Since I don't have frog fear I think that Robyn must look adorable in that costume, of course! And her “Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit!”, so cute! :bigkiss

Quote:
A trip to the hospital was the last thing she needed today.

With the knowledge of the chapter ending that feels like a "famous last thought"!

Quote:
“Hey Will, what’s up?”


“Um…” Willow started, glancing over at Robyn still doing her best acrobatics, “I think you forgot something.”


There was a pause and Willow could practically see the little v likely forming in Tara’s brow.


“What?”


“Our daughter?” Willow asked, her tone lifting curiously at the end.


There was an audible whoosh of Tara’s head turning to look to the backseat in the minivan.


“Oh my god,” her voice crackled through the speaker, “Oh my god, I’m coming right back!”

Although it must have been a horrible realization for Tara this conversation had me :rofl - please don't think bad of me! :wink

Quote:
“God, Tara, you forgot Robyn again! Is it going to be in the car next time or the store? How can I trust you with her?! Call me back as soon as you get this because we need to have a serious talk. Oh, and I have her now if you even care.”

Willow's conclusion and subsequent anger is totally understandable. But I kind of hope she will have the opportunity to delete this message from Tara's phone before Tara could listen to it.

It totally sucks that there obviously isn't even a functioning alarm button in that elevator!

Quote:
Willow looked down at Robyn and tensed her face muscles so hard it mimicked Botox. She held it together enough to try and appear normal. She gently stroked Robyn’s hair.


“Okay little bean, you’re gonna go home with Grandma.”


Robyn looked trouble.


“Where Mom-mee?”


Willow swallowed deeply and hunched down the few inches to Robyn’s level.


“Can you keep a secret?”


Robyn nodded solemnly. Willow had to clear her throat again.


“Well, see I’m like you, I’m a frog too. That’s why my eyes are green. I didn’t know I’d passed down my frogness to you until this morning! All these years I’ve had to pretend I hated them just to keep my cover.”


Robyn was utterly enthralled and started gnawing on her bottom lip.


“But Mommy, see Mommy is my princess. She’s the one who kissed me and made me human. So now I have to go save Mommy so she can kiss me again and we can keep playing without our arms and legs being all slimy and icky and terrifying.”


“Icky,” Robyn agreed.


Willow smiled though still with a sad crease in her eyes.


“So you’re going to go with Grandma and get JJ so you can go trick-or-treating with all your cousins. You have to save me a gummy worm okay?”


“‘Kay,” Robyn agreed easily after a moment.


Willow kissed the top of her head.


“You’re going to have so much fun trick-or-treating. You don’t let the big boys trick you out of any candy.”


Robyn looked at Willow with her big blue eyes and then offered Willow one of her mischievous little smiles and made a little leaping motion.


“Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit.”


Willow almost burst into tears.

This scene was cute and totally heartbreaking at once! Poor Willow, having to prevent herself from totally breaking down in front of Robyn! Thank god that Michelle was there to take Robyn with her and that Willow and Tara can at least be sure that both kids are well cared for by their grandparents.

Quote:
“Tara, can you hear me? Everything’s going to be okay. They’re working to get you out, okay?”


And Willow’s heart sunk because once again she heard the reason she was ‘pretty positive’ Tara was in there — a loud shriek that was muffled and incomprehensible but suitably terrified.


She didn’t know if her heart was beating so fast she couldn’t feel it anymore or if it had, in fact, just stopped beating. She felt so awful for all of her assumptions and those nasty messages while Tara was trapped and probably alone in a stuck elevator. She tried to keep in mind what Michelle said and knew that people did get stuck all of the time with no issue. Plus there were already people on the job trying to rectify the situation. Everything was in control.


But Tara was shouting for her and she couldn’t get her. She’d lied to Robyn. She couldn’t rescue her princess. She was almost as stuck as Tara was.

:cry Poor Tara and Willow!

Quote:
“Everything will be okay. It will be okay, okay?!”


Tara features contorted in sorrow as she helplessly cradled her belly and looked to Willow seeking something like the fairytale Willow had told Robyn that would make this situation have a happily ever after. Her choked and rattled voice was not one that would be used as a narrator any time soon.


“Go on, you old bee charmer. Tell me a good tall tale.”


Willow watched her go helplessly, fearing in her heart that that was true.


It was a tall tale.


Things were not okay.

Laragh, I trust in you that you WILL make it okay! I don't want to think about Idgie telling Ruth one last "tall tale" before she died because I don't want to consider an implication that Tara or the babies won't be perfectly healthy, at least after some more chapters...

Nevertheless it will be a LONG wait until the next chapter on friday - could you PLEASE post it earlier? :pray


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 14th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Yay!

Quote:
Oh no, such a drama! I hope this early birth will happen without too much complications and that the babies are strong enough already that they won't have to stay in an incubator for weeks or months and they will still be healthy babies after all!


They will...ultimately...be healthy babies...that's for definite!

Quote:
I love the movie "Green fried tomatoes" and the novel (which is even better in my opinion)!


Hard agree! I love the book (way gayer too :D )

Quote:
Poor Willow, first JJ is mocking her "old age" and then frog-Robyn is scaring her! :lol I think it was quite unfair of Tara not to warn Willow about that costume (or did she plan that Willow would never see Robyn as a frog - but she couldn't have expected that she could persuade Robyn to take off that costume before her Momma came home?).
Since I don't have frog fear I think that Robyn must look adorable in that costume, of course! And her “Riiiiibbbbbiiiiit!”, so cute! :bigkiss


Poor Tara isn't displaying the best memory or judgement at the moment :laugh I don't think it was a malicious omission but she could have reacted better when Willow confronted her. She was very flustered from forgetting Robyn and as we know now, in the beginning stages of early labor.

Quote:
With the knowledge of the chapter ending that feels like a "famous last thought"!


Yup!

Quote:
Although it must have been a horrible realization for Tara this conversation had me :rofl - please don't think bad of me! :wink


If you're bad for thinking it, I'm worse for writing it!!

Quote:
Willow's conclusion and subsequent anger is totally understandable. But I kind of hope she will have the opportunity to delete this message from Tara's phone before Tara could listen to it.


I think right at this moment she's not even thinking about it. That doesn't mean she won't in the future though!

Quote:
It totally sucks that there obviously isn't even a functioning alarm button in that elevator!


I read a statistic once that over 60% of elevators don't have a working communication system. It terrified the crap out of me. I don't know if it's true or not but apparently because most people have cell phones, it's not given priority. Still, I would want to know someone was ready to get me the fuck out of there!

Quote:
This scene was cute and totally heartbreaking at once! Poor Willow, having to prevent herself from totally breaking down in front of Robyn! Thank god that Michelle was there to take Robyn with her and that Willow and Tara can at least be sure that both kids are well cared for by their grandparents.


There's only a few people Willow could look past her frog fear for, and her kids are definitely two (four!) of them. But they are very lucky to have the grandparental support system and friend support system that they have.

Quote:
:cry Poor Tara and Willow!


Horrible, horrible situation to be in.

Quote:
Laragh, I trust in you that you WILL make it okay! I don't want to think about Idgie telling Ruth one last "tall tale" before she died because I don't want to consider an implication that Tara or the babies won't be perfectly healthy, at least after some more chapters...


Well I can guarantee you one thing, no one is dying.

Quote:
Nevertheless it will be a LONG wait until the next chapter on friday - could you PLEASE post it earlier? :pray


Hmm...okay then :wink This once :)

Thanks for your comment!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 14th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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NOTE: Bonus update to make up for the heartbreak



Chapter Fifteen




Willow hurried down the hospital corridor, trying to figure out where she was going — why were the walls so monotonously white?


It made her lose all sense of perspective of where she’d come from and where she was going.


God, she hated hospitals.


She spotted the sign directing her to the maternity unit and skidded through some double doors into it. She rushed over to the desk where some of the medical personnel were conversing with each other or checking files. Porters were moving about freely and everyone seemed so sedate compared to how fast Willow’s heart was pounding and how fast her mind was reeling.


“Tara, Tara Rosenberg-Maclay. She was brought in by ambulance.”


The clerk at the desk seemed like an entirely-appropriate kind of woman to work on such a floor; exuding happiness and joy and all of the feelings that should go along with bringing a new life into the world.


Even the word ‘ambulance’ didn’t seem to dissuade her cheery smile as she typed into the computer at a much, much too slow rate for Willow — even at a time when her head wasn’t fit to explode.


Another second and she’d blow an aneurysm, she was sure of it—


“Labor and Delivery, upstairs.”


“SHIT!” Willow screeched, resulting in the first frown from across the desk.


Willow didn’t stick around long enough to see it though as her feet responded before her head even could. She waited for an entire half-second for the elevator but then couldn’t bear the wait and made a beeline for the stairs instead. She channeled her son and took them two by two and ignored the burning that was beginning in her lungs.


Finally, she got to the labor and delivery unit and it was empty.


Eerily empty.


One nurse stood at the station watching over everything and Willow rushed up to her.


“Tara—”


“Room 17,” the nurse replied urgently, which send a fresh wave of fear throughout Willow.


Once Willow burst into room 17, she realized why that nurse had been the only one at the station.


Because every other member of staff was in this room.


An array of doctors and nurses surrounded Tara’s bed, monitoring different parts of her body.


Everything was beeping, in different rhythms; machines were spitting out readings; Tara was almost hidden beneath straps and—


—and lying right there.


“Tara!”


The shoes on Willow’s feet hit hard against the ceramic tile flooring and her body somehow found the few inches by the bedside that wasn’t occupied. She had to follow Tara’s arm just to find her hand.


Tara looked overwhelmed, to say the least, but her fingers clawed around Willow’s hand when she found it.


“Willow?”


“What’s going on?” Willow asked, looking around desperately for something or someone that could explain to her what she — they — were facing.


A doctor opposite them pulled a long strip of paper through his hands and, worryingly, also seemed overwhelmed.


“These numbers aren’t dropping. We need NICU down here!”


An older, more composed doctor ripped the read-out from the other doctor’s hand so she could read it herself. Her eyes widened.


“NICU. NOW!”


“Willow,” Tara desperately grasped at Willow’s arm, “Remember your promise.”


“Wha…” Willow barely registered what Tara said as she tried to follow the many conversations happening all at once.


“Doctor, I need you here now! I’m palpating possible cord prolapse,” a nurse called from below.


Tara had so many hands on her she didn’t even know where they were or weren’t anymore. But then there was a sudden scramble to the end of her bed and everyone’s hands and eyes were on her, touching her intimately.


The older woman doctor looked up at Tara with concern and sympathy.


“Tara, the umbilical cord has prolapsed. This is a critical situation and we need to deliver your babies rapidly. I need to push the cord back to prevent strangulation. I’m so sorry. This is going to hurt.”


Before anyone had time to process anything, the doctor was moving between Tara’s legs.


And then Tara screamed.


A scream so loud, its vibrations bounced off the walls.


A scream so pained, the energy physically made some of those well-seasoned professionals stumble backward.


A scream so encompassing, it lingered above all of the rest of the chaos going on in the room.


A scream so haunting, it would invade Willow’s nightmares for the rest of her life.


When Willow’s ears stopped ringing and her vision unclouded she focused back down on the bed and got another shock.


Tara’s face was contorted with such agony that Willow couldn’t even recognize her.


She wanted to reach out and comfort her; just hold them both in a moment where none of this was happening but she couldn’t. She tried to tune back in but it all felt like she was in one of those medical dramas right before the commercial break.


She looked at Tara again and saw something new in her face: stubbornness. Gritty, determined stubbornness.


A nurse was standing over Tara on the other side and leaned down close to her face.


“Tara, you have to push.”


Tara shook her head from side to side in quick bursts.


“No. It’s too soon.”


“Lady, you gotta push!” one of the young residents, out of his depth, called up.


“They’re not ready!” Tara yelled back.


The kind nurse by Tara caught her by the arm and looked her right in the eye.


“Tara your babies are at risk of hypoxia. That means they’re not getting any oxygen. If you deliver them now there is an over 95% chance that they will survive. We will get them to the neonatal intensive care unit immediately. If you don’t deliver, neither of them will survive and you might not either.”


Tara stared back at the nurse for a second, an entire second where the rest of the room hushed up and allowed her the briefest of moments to pull herself together.


Tara did.


“I-I’ll push.”


The nurse immediately started helping her into position and finally, something registered with Willow.


“Wait, what?” she said in a lost voice, “T-The babies are coming, they’re coming right now?”


But there was no time for Willow process or ask questions or even speak at all. All she could do was be a hand to squeeze, too stunned to even offer encouragement.


To even know if she should be encouraging at all.


This shouldn’t be happening.


But it was.


Tara was giving birth right this second, like it or not.


She was being put in stirrups and incubators were being wheeled in and the doctors’ voices were growing more and more urgent.


The nurse took on the role that was Willow’s right but was too dumbfounded to fulfill. She coaxed Tara and encouraged Tara and somehow throughout it all she managed to catch Willow’s eye and convey the message that she needed to shape up.


Finally, the enormity and reality of it all hit Willow and she snapped. Thankfully, it was to attention.


She hunched down and grasped Tara’s hand in both of hers.


“You got this baby. Don’t you worry. Those little girls just want to meet us a little early. You gotta help them okay? So they don’t get stuck.”


Tara looked at Willow and quickly nodded.


“Push, Tara,” was called down from below.


Tara pushed with all of her might and right before she bowed out with nothing left to give for that round, she felt something rush past her legs.


An odd sound left her mouth and she began looking around desperately to see what had happened.


“Baby A is out,” the doctor called.


“Lily,” Tara gasped, her eyes again searching, “Where is she?!”


One of the new doctors that had come with the incubator took Lily and quickly rushed her into it. Those split seconds of transfer were the first and only glimpse Willow and Tara got of their newborn daughter.


As she was placed into the incubator and another doctor came over to aid, a quiet wail broke through the room.


Willow inhaled a sharp, shaken breath.


“You hear that? Listen to those little lungs,” she said to Tara and grasped her hand tightly again, “We gotta get Emily out now okay?”


“Lily,” Tara whimpered and tears burst from her eyes.


Emily was barely seconds behind, slipping out of the birth canal like the little waif she was. The cord was cut with no preamble and much like her big sister, she was transported to her incubator in seconds flat.


Unlike her sister, it was without sound.


“Why isn’t she crying?” Tara wailed.


“Huh?” Willow asked, looking over to the incubator where she could still hear crying, “She is.”


“That’s Lily!” Tara screeched, “Why isn’t Emily crying?!”


Willow felt that fog coming down around her again.


“I don’t…I don’t know…”


She looked on helplessly as the incubators were rushed out and held her forehead between her hands for a moment as she slowly turned back around, unsure how to comfort her wife after such an ordeal.


When she focused back on Tara, she noticed Tara’s whole head was drooping, like she was falling asleep.


“Tara?”


Suddenly one of the beeping machines got LOUD and there was a splat! sound.


Willow saw blood stain the white floor.


“She’s hemorrhaging!” one of the doctors called.


“What?” Willow asked in a caught breath, “What’s happening?!”


“Get her out of here!” the attending shouted.


The nurse looked apologetic but placed her hand firmly on Willow’s chest and pushed her out of the room. Willow fought it as she watched her wife’s body slump into unconsciousness. She suddenly remembered something.


“The babies are out! There’s no choice! Save Tara! Save Tara!”


She was pushed out with enough force for her back to hit the wall opposite. She was stunned for a moment but it only took that moment for the doctors all to come rushing out pulling Tara on the bed, the sheets of which had turned from off-white to red.


The resident stopped to speak to her but stayed on his toes, ready to run.


“She’s bleeding out. We have to take her to surgery. We may need to perform a hysterectomy. We need your permission.”


Willow didn’t even think about it. She didn’t even really hear it.


“Just save her!”


She watched her wife disappear around the corner and stumbled back to the wall for support.


Alone in the corridor, she sank into the nearest plastic seat attached to the wall and began crying into her hands.



Willow hurried down the hospital corridor, trying to figure out where she was going — why were the walls still so damn white?


And so goddamn endless. It felt like she’d turned the same corner a hundred times now.


Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a bald man wearing glasses exiting from the elevator. He leaned in and whispered to her.


“I've made a little space for the cheese slices.”


He showed her a table with slices of American cheese laid neatly in a row. Willow frowned.


Suddenly the corridors became a tunnel, that same blinding white covering her from all sides. A red light came from the end and a doctor appeared. The resident that had spoken to her as she watched Tara being rushed off.


He was covered in blood.


Tara’s blood.


He took a step toward Willow and left a bloody footprint on the floor behind him. Willow stared at the trail he produced as he walked toward her.


“Willow?”


“Me?” Willow asked, her voice twitching.


The doctor took a slice of cheese.


“I’m sorry but I have bad news. We couldn’t stop the bleeding. She died on the table.”


The walls began getting fuzzy like a static TV channel was being projected on them on and off.


“W-What?”


The doctor rolled the cheese and spoke through it like a voice amplifier.


“She’s dead. She died on the table, Willow.”


Willow felt like she was standing on a spinning top trying to stay on as the doctor’s voice became an echo around her.


“She’s dead, Willow. She died. She’s dead. She died, Willow. She’s dead, Willow. Willow, can you hear me?”


The red light at the end of the tunnel became brighter as its source became apparent and blood started to flood the space. Tara’s scream reverberated around the tunnel and made the blood pulse.


Willow and the doctor got swept up but that didn’t stop his voice from taunting her.


“She’s dead, Willow. Willow. Willow—”


“Willow!”


Willow up with a huge gasp and realized there were hands on her shoulders gently shaking her.


“Willow,” the voice was called again, but gentler this time.


Willow looked all around and then finally up.


“Dr. Wells,” she said, standing up and using the wall for support, “What—What’s happening?”


“I don’t know, I just got here,” Dr. Wells replied with a quiet urgency in her voice, “I saw you on my way to find the medical team. What happened?”


Willow’s head flew to her hands as she realized only the slumber-induced dream had been fake and the rest of the nightmare was real.


“T-They took her, they took her to surgery. They said she was hem-hemorrhaging.”


“Did they deliver the babies?” Dr. Wells asked, keeping Willow’s gaze.


Willow’s whole head rolled into a nod.


“Yeah. Yes,” she said definitively before her lower lip started to tremble, “Oh god, where are the babies?! How could I just, just fall asleep?! I don’t even remember sitting down! Where are my babies?! Where’s my wife?!”


Dr. Wells took Willow’s shoulder in her hand and brought them in line with each other to walk ahead.


“We need to go find out.”


She took Willow across the unit to the station where a lot more staff than earlier had congregated, exhausted.


Everyone looked at Willow with sympathy as they approached. It made Willow’s heart sink.


Dr. Wells went over to converse and Willow watched, eyes darting from side-to-side as she tried to understand the medical jargon they were passing back and forth.


Minutes, it felt like to her, ticked by as her heart got lower and lower wondering if three of the most important people in her life were even alive or dead.


“Can somebody please tell me what’s going on?!”


Nobody seemed annoyed by her outburst and continued to offer her looked of sympathy. Dr. Wells stepped back to her quickly.


“Tara is out of surgery. She is alive and stabilized.”


Willow fell against the nurses’ station and dropped her head on it, folding her hands behind her head as her breath heaved in relief.


“They had to perform a hysterectomy but they stopped the bleeding.”


Willow’s whole body jumped up like she’d been pushed by a spring.


“They took her womb?” she said breathlessly, clutching her head again, “Oh god!”


Dr. Wells squared up to Willow and held onto her shoulders again.


“Willow, I need you to take a long breath,” she said, doing it with her until she felt Willow’s shoulders drop, “They’ve left her ovaries which means she won’t go into early menopause. The surgeons did what was required to save her life and they did, Willow. Do you hear me? They saved her life.”


Willow swallowed deeply but it did nothing to dissipate the lump that had formed there.


“Where is she?”


“She’s in recovery. You won’t be able to see her for a while,” Dr. Wells replied apologetically.


Willow nodded soberly, though it was far from what she was feeling.


“A-and our babies?”


Dr. Wells put a hand on Willow’s back.


“In the NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit. I can take you there now.”


Willow took in a sharp breath.


“They’re alive?”


“They’re alive but I don’t know any more than that,” Dr. Wells replied swiftly, “Let’s get up there.”


Willow nodded quickly and let herself be pushed in the right direction.


Before they turned the corner, she turned back to the other doctor whom Dr. Wells had been speaking to.


“T-Thank you for saving my wife.”


“Just one of a team, ma’am,” the doctor replied with a courteous nod.


Willow nodded back and then hurried to catch up with Dr. Wells at the elevators but they still took too long for her.


“Are there stairs?”


Dr. Wells opened her mouth, then closed it again.


“Yes, of course.”


She led them through a swinging door to the staircases and brought them up two floors. A little more corridor weaving brought them to the front of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which they had to be buzzed into before they could enter.


A short but busy and important looking nurse met them on the other side.


“Twins?” she asked and continued barely a split second after being given a nod for an answer, “We were told the mother was taken to surgery.”


“She was,” Dr. Wells confirmed and held Willow out by the shoulders, “Other mother is here.”


The nurse gave one short nod.


“Of course,” she said and looked at Willow with emphatic eyes, “I’ll bring you to your children. I’m Genevieve, one of the nurses here. I’ll get you up to speed.”


“H-Hi Genevieve,” Willow managed weakly, “Thank you.”


Dr. Wells started firing questions at Genevieve but Willow didn’t even try to listen because she was suddenly confronted with a clear-glass view into the unit and all of the babies who were lying in there.


Her babies — Tara’s babies — were lying in there. And she couldn’t even tell if she could see them or not.


She realized after a moment that the forward momentum had stopped and they were stopped at a giant sink, the kind she saw on TV when watching those medical dramas she felt like she was in earlier and the fake doctors were scrubbing up before surgery.


But there was nothing fake about this.


“You have to gown up and wash your hands,” Genevieve advised kindly, “To protect against infection.”


“Yeah, yeah, sure,” Willow nodded quickly, her head still craning to see more behind the glass, “Of course.”


Thankfully the instructions were on the wall and she had a nurse and a doctor flanking her either side so she got through the protocol quickly. It only felt slightly more surreal than the rest of this day had been.


She was brought into the unit and immediately felt the difference from outside.


It was very warm and eerily silent but for the beeping monitors, flashing lights and other mystifying pieces of equipment.


And the babies.


So, so tiny.


Her eyes immediately began scanning but she couldn’t tell one tiny mass of tubes from the next. Genevieve nudged her with an elbow and brought her to the row of incubators right in front of the window.


Willow realized she’d been looking right in on them.


How could she not know her own babies?


“These ones?” she clarified quietly, still feeling utterly lost in this new maze.


Genevieve stood between two in particular.


“As you can see, both have feeding tubes and we’ve placed Baby B on a ventilator to help her breath.”


“E-Emily,” Willow breathed out, finally feeling some clarity as she could put the name to the little face, “Oh my god, Emily.”


“Emily?” Genevieve noted with a nod, “And what’s her sister’s name?”


Willow had to tear her eyes away from one incubator to another.


“Lily.”


“Lily,” Genevieve offered a kind smile, “We’ll get them nameplates. Some families like to make their own. You don’t have to figure that out now.”


“T-thank you,” Willow replied, thinking she hadn’t heard so much stuttering since her early relationship with Tara, “What um…what weight are they?”


“Lily,” Genevieve said pointedly toward the incubator on the left, “Is 3 pounds two ounces and Emily is 2 pounds 8 ounces.”


Willow winced; it seemed so small. She’d held cantaloupes bigger than that.


“How bad is that?”


Genevieve looked to Dr. Wells, who nodded her deference to the nurse’s expertise.


“Lily is actually right around average for this gestation. Emily is a little lower. But that’s normal with twins.”


Willow wished she could keep one eye on each but eventually she had to just look at one. Tiny, little Emily wearing a diaper that looked almost as big as she did and had so many tubes stemming from her tiny, little body.


A sound something like an old school beeper went off, lost in the array of other similar sounds and Willow didn’t even notice Dr. Wells step out.


Willow approached and peered over the incubator. She realized for the first time that her baby had red hair. Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes moved over to Lily to see if she was any different, which of course she wasn’t. They looked so different Willow had forgotten that they were identical.


Lily didn’t have that giant ventilator tube stuck to her mouth and was visibly bigger, more like what she would expect a newborn to look like just shrunken a little. She didn’t have the same shriveled look Emily had on her exposed skin and she was moving about more too.


“C-Can I touch her?” Willow asked, her attention hyper-focused now on the little wiggles of Lily’s body, “Them, can I touch them?”


“You can put your hand in,” Genevieve advised and brought Willow to stand between the incubators, so even if her eyes couldn’t be two places at once, her hands could.


Willow looked at the nurse with so much gratitude for solving her problem and tried not to let her hands shake as one reached through the small slot on either incubator that allowed her hand in.


She touched each babies’ arm at the same time and her eyes closed as she felt their skin was soft and warm and alive.


She opened them again quickly in case she got so lost in touching she hit against something she shouldn’t.


“What problems are they facing?”


“Oxygen levels and warmth are being controlled and we have multiple precautions against infection,” Genevieve explained to her calmly, “If there’s no trouble feeding Lily should catch up quickly and then it’s just about getting her to size. If your wife can express then they can receive her breast milk. And we’ll give Emily every chance to breathe on her own as soon as she’s ready.”


Willow knew she wasn’t being told every detail and it was because she wouldn’t be able to take in every detail. She appreciated being talked down to at that moment.


“Will they survive?” she asked simply and felt her body begin to quake at the prospect of the answer.


“Their prognosis is extremely positive,” Genevieve replied emphatically, “The smallest baby we’ve had in there was less than one pound at birth. He’s now eight years old and a big sports fan. Your little ones are in the best place.”


Willow just nodded once and sniffled.


“Sounds like my little boy. T-the sports part.”


“They have a big brother,” Genevieve smiled kindly.


Willow nodded.


“And a big sister.”


“Ages?” Genevieve asked.


“Eight and two,” Willow replied and started to frown.


She had no idea what time it was or where her kids were.


My other kids.


She swallowed deeply.


Genevieve nodded.


“We have sibling support staff who can help you help them understand what’s happening with their new baby sisters.”


“Thanks,” Willow replied sincerely, “Think I need to get my own head around it first.”


Genevieve nodded understandingly.


“I’ll give you some time.”


Willow just nodded while her eyes kept darting back and forth.


She became fixated on that tube taped to Emily’s mouth and thoughts of how uncomfortable her daughter’s first hours had been. Tears pricked at her eyes but she couldn’t cry because that would mean letting go to wipe away the tears.


The tears helped though as it skewered her vision enough that her eyes dropped that tiny bit to see Emily’s chest rising and falling. Breathing.


“Good girl,” she whispered and ran her thumb down Emily’s arm, subconsciously doing the same to Lily.


As her finger brushed Lily’s palm, those teeny tiny fingers no bigger than a matchstick curled around and held on as tight as they could.


Willow gasped and her head swiveled to Lily’s incubator. She watched the little fingers flex and release but keep hold of Willow.


Willow couldn’t see either of their eyes as they were covered for protection but at that moment Willow knew her presence was known and didn’t care anymore; she let the tears flow freely.


She wasn’t sure how long passed but she didn’t move but for careful little strokes against her new babies’ translucent skin.


She was so absorbed in the same minimal movement that she almost jumped out of her skin when a hand touched her shoulder.


Genevieve held her hands up apologetically.


“I think you’re needed.”


Willow looked over her shoulder and saw Dr. Wells was waiting outside the window with an urgent look on her face. Willow nodded quickly and reluctantly withdrew her hands, only feeling the cramp when her arms returned by her side.


She followed Genevieve back out of the unit and realized she was the only parent in the room, so it must be late, maybe the middle of the night. She took the gown off on the other side and approached Dr. Wells with a furrowed brow anticipating the update.


“Tara woke up,” Dr. Wells started without preamble, “But they had to put her back to sleep.”


Willow clutched her chest.


“W-What? Why? I-Is something wrong?”


“She was very confused,” Dr. Wells elaborated.


“Of course she was!” Willow replied loudly, her voice carrying through the silent corridor.


Dr. Wells brought Willow to the furthest corner to speak.


“She was reacting violently.”


Willow did a double-take.


“What? No, she—Tara would never be violent toward someone, ever. She gets mad at me if I raise my voice at the kids!”


“She wasn’t violent toward anyone,” Dr. Wells replied quickly, using her hands to gesticulate a calm motion, “But she was thrashing and confused and risking severe damage or for a bleed to open again. Restraints would not have worked because of the area that’s at risk could still have been damaged if she resisted. They had no choice.”


Willow’s fists balled and released and she huffed out a long breath.


“Don’t let them wake her again without me!”


Dr. Wells continued the motion and calmed her voice to a low tone.


“You should go home and get a few hours of sleep. She’ll be out until mid-morning at least,” she advised softly, “You’re no good to anyone without some sleep.”


Willow cast her eye toward the window where she now knew exactly where her little girls lay. Dr. Wells didn’t have to follow the look to know where it was directed.


“I have to stay in the hospital anyway. I’ll keep an eye on them.”


Willow looked back to Dr. Wells vulnerably.


“And—”


“I will call you immediately if anything happens, yes,” Dr. Wells nodded.


Willow bit the inside of her lip.


“Even—”


“If it seems small,” Dr. Wells pre-empted the question, “Yes. I promise.”


Willow seemed torn but that cramp in her arms had extended throughout her body and she was barely standing.


“Okay.”


“I’ll walk you down,” Dr. Wells offered and together they walked down to the exit.


The rest of the hospital was so noisy to Willow after the past while spent in the NICU so she was grateful to get back to the solitude of her car.


She drove on autopilot though honestly, she was in no fit state to be driving at all, but driving a familiar route was a welcome distraction. She found herself passing the exit for her own house and driving the next couple of blocks to pull up on the curb outside her father’s house.


She turned the car off and after being subjected to more dreary silence, she felt her emotions welling up freshly all over again.


She put her head on the top of the steering wheel and cried and cried and cried.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 15th 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:53 am 
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Dibs! :whip
Thanks for the early update! I have to admit it was hard to read, so many scary things happening! Poor Willow and Tara! My heart ached for both of them (although I have to admit I felt even more for Willow although Tara was the one in such horrible physical pain - probably because the chapter was told from Willow's point of view).
Good thing that you put the cheese guy from canon into Willow's dream so it was clear for us right from the start that it was only a dream.

I hope Tara won't take it too hard that they had to take away her womb. I'd say four kids are enough - and if they should surprisingly decide they want more Willow could always be the one carrying the next baby.

Quote:
The tears helped though as it skewered her vision enough that her eyes dropped that tiny bit to see Emily’s chest rising and falling. Breathing.


“Good girl,” she whispered and ran her thumb down Emily’s arm, subconsciously doing the same to Lily.


As her finger brushed Lily’s palm, those teeny tiny fingers no bigger than a matchstick curled around and held on as tight as they could.


Willow gasped and her head swiveled to Lily’s incubator. She watched the little fingers flex and release but keep hold of Willow.


Willow couldn’t see either of their eyes as they were covered for protection but at that moment Willow knew her presence was known and didn’t care anymore; she let the tears flow freely.

:cry A much needed sign of hope for Willow in this scary situation!

Scary that Tara was raging violently when she woke up, almost hurting herself! Hopefully Willow can calm her down when she wakes up next, assuring her that the babies are as okay as they could be in these circumstances.

Quote:
She found herself passing the exit for her own house and driving the next couple of blocks to pull up on the curb outside her father’s house.


She turned the car off and after being subjected to more dreary silence, she felt her emotions welling up freshly all over again.


She put her head on the top of the steering wheel and cried and cried and cried.

:cry Poor Willow! I hope JJ and Robyn won't see their Momma in this state. But maybe Ira could notice the car and give his "little girl" a much needed embrace to cry in.

I know I'm greedy, but could you please update the next chapter tomorrow so we know Tara is okay? Maybe she can already visit the babies too in a wheelchair, to see and feel for herself that they are alive (or is this impossible so soon after such a surgery)?


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 15th 2020)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:24 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption wrote:
I know I'm greedy, but could you please update the next chapter tomorrow so we know Tara is okay? Maybe she can already visit the babies too in a wheelchair, to see and feel for herself that they are alive (or is this impossible so soon after such a surgery)?


Ah! I really tried to get this done today but I got bogged down with other work. I'll post as early as possible tomorrow!

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 15th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Woop!

Quote:
Thanks for the early update! I have to admit it was hard to read, so many scary things happening! Poor Willow and Tara! My heart ached for both of them (although I have to admit I felt even more for Willow although Tara was the one in such horrible physical pain - probably because the chapter was told from Willow's point of view).


There's no comparing, really, I don't think, it's just a horrible situation for both of them, in different ways!

Quote:
Good thing that you put the cheese guy from canon into Willow's dream so it was clear for us right from the start that it was only a dream.


I was unsure at first but then I figured with all of the drama that is to come, the least I can do is not fake out a death!

Quote:
I hope Tara won't take it too hard that they had to take away her womb. I'd say four kids are enough - and if they should surprisingly decide they want more Willow could always be the one carrying the next baby.


This can be one of those things that you know intellectually and yet, it's hard to come to terms with emotionally.

Quote:
:cry A much needed sign of hope for Willow in this scary situation!


Something for her to remember in the toughest times!

Quote:
Scary that Tara was raging violently when she woke up, almost hurting herself! Hopefully Willow can calm her down when she wakes up next, assuring her that the babies are as okay as they could be in these circumstances.


If anyone can, it's Willow.

Quote:
:cry Poor Willow! I hope JJ and Robyn won't see their Momma in this state. But maybe Ira could notice the car and give his "little girl" a much needed embrace to cry in.


I think you're right!

Fair warning, things are tough for them for a little while!

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 15th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:00 am 
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Chapter Sixteen




Amid a heaving sob, Willow was startled by a loud knock on the car window.


She jumped in fright and hit her head on the roof. She looked out the window and noticed her father crouching down looking concerned, with faint marks of face paint on his neck where he’d undoubtedly let the children attack him earlier.


“Willow,” Ira called through, waving his hand back and forth as if Willow needed any further indication of what he wanted.


Willow had to swallow several times, then swiped at her eyes as she removed the key from the ignition and started to open the door.


She overestimated how steady she would be on her feet and Ira had to catch her by both arms. It was starting to drizzle and droplets of water hit Ira’s bare hands.


“Willow, darling, what’s happened? We’ve been calling you all night.”


Willow looked up at her father helplessly.


“Tara, she…” her voice caught, “She’s alive but they…”


Willow felt a droplet hit her square on the forehead and she couldn’t help but imagine it as blood, Tara’s blood. She let out a low cry and Ira put an arm around her shoulders with a fretful face.


“Come inside.”


He brought Willow inside and into the warm living room, where Michelle stood up from the couch, dressed in her robe.


Willow still had no idea what time it was. She looked at her father too and realized he was in his silk pajamas and that she’d probably gotten them up out of bed.


“Willow,” Michelle said on an exhale of relief, “What’s going on?”


Willow sank into a chair.


“Are the kids okay?”


Ira shared a concerned glance with Michelle.


“They went trick-or-treating with their little cousin-friends.”


“I didn’t get to be Leia,” Willow replied and she had no idea why she’d said it. She couldn’t care one bit, “Did Xan and Jess still go as Luke and Han?”


Ira’s brow furrowed. He didn’t know why Willow was asking that either.


“I believe they went as a spaceman and his bear-dog,” he replied helpfully, “We gave the children dinner when they returned though they filled up on candy.”


“That’s okay,” Willow replied with an absent nod of her head, “It’s Halloween…isn’t it?”


Ira frowned.


“Willow—”


“Tara had the babies,” Willow said, as casually as if she was announcing she’d collected the mail, though it stemmed from her sense of surrealness of the day’s events.


Michelle’s hand clutched her heart and Ira took hold of her shoulders for support.


“Oh my god. Are they okay?”


Willow’s eyes began blinking away the faraway look in them.


“They’re so little,” she said, her face contorting into a cry, “Little Emily has this big tube down her throat, it’s bigger than she is!”


Both hands cupped her mouth and chin and her head dropped into her knees.


“And Tara?” Michelle asked in a rushed breath.


“It was bad, it was so bad,” Willow replied, tears freely flowing down her cheeks again, “Her blood was everywhere.”


Michelle’s head shot toward Ira with wide eyes.


“Ira,” she said, terror in her voice.


“She said Tara’s alive,” Ira interjected in an equally urgent tone, “Tara’s alive, isn’t she Willow?”


Willow ran her hands down her cheeks to wipe the tears.


“She’s alive,” she breathed out finally and Michelle looked so relieved she almost fainted, “But they took her womb.”


“She can live fine without a womb, darling. Women get it removed all of the time,” Ira replied, not exactly helpful, but trying to be, “The children, the babies. Will they be okay?”


Willow looked over helplessly.


“They say their chances are good. I don’t know any more than that. I have to go back in the morning before Tara wakes up and I-I guess I’ll talk to a doctor then.”


Ira nodded soundly, trying to feel more in control of the situation.


“Well, the other children will stay with us, of course, for as long as you need.”


“Yes, Willow, don’t you worry about anything like that,” Michelle added in a shaken but genuine voice.


“Thank you,” Willow replied, slapping her palms together, “I just feel so lost. And empty.”


“Will I get you something to eat?” Michelle offered.


“No,” Willow shook her head quickly. She knew she would throw anything up immediately, “Thank you, but I really couldn’t.”


“Then you need some sleep,” Michelle replied, glancing at Ira and nodding, “The guest rooms are all made up. The children are in their own rooms.”


Willow was suddenly very much aware of the weight of her body.


“Yeah, okay. I’ll sleep.”


She stood on shaky legs but they stayed under her.


“Thank you for taking the kids.”


“You don’t have to thank us for that,” Michelle shook her head.


Willow looked up, her eyes cloudy under the light.


“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I-I don’t know how long…”


“Whatever happens you have our full support,” Michelle promised.


“Anything you need,” Ira added.


Willow sniffled and offered a weak smile.


“Thank you.”


Michelle just rushed over and gathered her in a hug, which Ira quickly completed from the other side.


“Everything will be okay, bubbeleh.”


Hearing those words from her father helped Willow. She snuggled into his chest and Michelle stepped away to allow them a moment.


Ira kissed the top of Willow’s head and let her cling for as long as she needed.


When she was ready, she pulled away and swiped at her eyes one last time and retreated for the stairs with a final thank you.


Upstairs, she immediately turned off to the left and carefully turned the handle to peer in on JJ. He was sound asleep, with Woofy at his feet.


Willow felt guilty; she hadn’t even remembered to make sure he was taken care of.


Woofy looked up at the sound and looked at Willow for one soul-gazing second before settling his head back on his front paws, one of which rested over JJ's leg. Willow got the message; ‘I’ve got this’ and she felt some weight lifted knowing that the little guy was looking out for her little guy.


She closed the door again and went to the next room. Robyn was half-hanging out of her bed with her hair practically touching the floor.


Willow could only smile. She walked into the room and lifted Robyn back into bed properly. She tucked her in, smoothed the sheets and kissed her daughter’s head.


“Good dreams, sweet bean.”


Robyn turned her head toward Willow and sighed softly but stayed asleep.


Willow noticed that Stripey had fallen to the floor as Willow had readjusted Robyn, so she tucked the toy in with her daughter and smiled when she saw Robyn’s legs kick happily under the blanket.


With a heavy heart weighing a little less, she stood up and left Robyn sleeping under the glow of her nightlight.


This was something she truly appreciated Ira and Michelle for; their house was a second home for the kids with bedrooms kitted out exactly as they wanted. It was going to make…whatever happened next somewhat easier.


She could hear Ira and Michelle still talking in hushed tones downstairs but it was okay, she knew where the guest room was. She had nothing but the clothes on her back but Michelle had the en suite bathroom all kitted out with a spare toothbrush and other essentials and also had a robe hanging on the back of the door that she could sleep in.


As soon as she saw the bed, it took every bit of strength in her body to actually use that toothbrush and change out of her clothes.


When she finally got into bed, it wasn’t as inviting as she thought it had been.


It so obviously lacked Tara.


Thankfully, her body overruled her mind on this one and her exhaustion overcame her in seconds.



Willow awoke and though she’d only had a few hours sleep, she somehow felt rested.


Maybe because her subconscious had given her a break and she hadn’t been plagued with nightmares.


Still, something had woken her and it only took her a second for her eyes to focus in on a mop of strawberry-blonde hair and two big, turquoise eyes staring up at her from the floor.


“Mom-mah?”


Her blankie trailed behind her as she rubbed a fist into a sleepy eye. Willow smiled at her cuteness and reached down to pick her up.


“C’mup here, little bean.”


She brought Robyn to her side and settled back down with her.


“Did you have a nice Halloween?”


Robyn grinned mischievously.


“I eeeat allllll dah can-dee Mom-mah. Buh I save gummy worm!”


“Thank you, sweetie,” Willow chuckled, “Did you have fun with your cousins?”


“Yah,” Robyn nodded affirmatively, then cocked her head, “Mom-mah where Mom-mee?”


Willow took in a deep breath but before she could figure out how to answer that, there was a little creak from the door opening. Willow looked over and couldn’t see anyone for a second. Then he jumped on the bed.


“Woofy,” Robyn said happily and crawled away to pet him.


JJ hovered in the doorway, poking his head in just enough to be noticed. Willow motioned him inside.


“Come in buddy. Is Woofy supposed to be on the beds?”


JJ looked guilty.


“Ummm…”


Willow just cracked a small smile.


“I won’t tell if you won’t.”


JJ smiled and obliged when Willow lifted her arm for him to sit into. Willow dragged Robyn back and kept them both in a close embrace.


“Hey, listen. I have to talk to you guys about something. It’s important, so you have to listen, okay?”


With two attentive faces looking back at her, Willow decided to be plain.


“Yesterday, Mommy gave birth to Lily and Emily.”


Robyn didn’t seem to take it in, but JJ frowned.


“But I thought they weren’t being born until next year?”


Willow nodded solemnly.


“They weren’t supposed to be. But remember we talked about how they might come early because they’re twins and there’s just not enough room?” she asked and JJ nodded back, “Well, they did. Just even earlier than we ever thought.”


JJ was taking it in but Robyn was just smiling the same way she had been all along.


“Do you understand bean?”


Robyn nodded surely.


“Lim-lee ‘n’ Em-lee get borned!”


Willow’s eyebrows rose in surprise.


“Yes, sweetheart, that’s right.”


“Where?” Robyn inquired excitedly.


“They’re in the hospital, sweetie,” Willow answered.


“Come home now?” Robyn asked hopefully.


Willow’s heart broke at her earnestness.


“Well, that’s what I have to talk to you guys about,” she said, closing her hold around them again, “Because they were born so soon, they’re still really little. So they’re going to have to stay in the hospital for a few weeks in a special little box that helps them grow.”


“An incubator?” JJ asked.


Willow nodded at him.


“That’s right, bud. Do you know about them?”


JJ slowly shook his head noncommittally.


“I’ve seen them on TV.”


“Wha’ bator?” Robyn asked, suddenly scared, “Like agg-ator?”


“No, sweetie, no,” Willow reassured quickly when she saw that little face scrunching up in fear.


JJ looked across the bed.


“You know when we build a house with Legos for your dolly, Robbie? They built special little houses for the babies.”


“Fur bubbies?” Robyn asked slowly, working it out.


Willow nodded.


“Yes, baby, for the bubbies.”


Robyn seemed to be considering it. JJ tugged gently on the sleeve of Willow’s robe.


“Momma, where’s Mom?”


Willow kept rubbing Robyn’s back but gave JJ her full attention.


“Mom is still in the hospital.”


JJ visibly swallowed. Willow knew the feeling.


“When is she coming home?”


“I don’t know,” Willow answered honestly, “I’ll know more later today, hopefully. But listen, things are going to be topsy-turvy for a while.”


Robyn suddenly giggled and tried to somersault the bed.


“‘oppy-urvey!”


Woofy only just managed to avoid being rolled over and Willow plucked Robyn back up by her side.


“Listen, listen, listen,” she requested, “While Mom is in hospital you’re going to stay with your grandparents. You have to listen to them and be good for them because this is hard for everybody.”


Robyn frowned again.


“No Mom-mah?”


“I promise I’ll see you every day,” Willow replied, quickly looking between both, “I don’t know what times but I will see you both.”


Robyn’s lower lip started to jut out.


“No Mom-mee?”


“Not for a little bit, bean. I don’t know how long,” Willow replied with an ache in her heart for them all, “Hopefully she’ll be allowed visitors soon.”


Robyn burst into tears and Willow pulled her up to hold against her chest.


“I know, sweetheart. It’s not fair. We can video chat with Mommy okay?”


Robyn kept crying but Willow couldn’t blame her so just rubbed her back and let her let it out.


“Can we see the babies?” JJ asked pensively after a moment.


“Not right away,” Willow shook her head, “You can’t see it but our bodies have all of these little germs on them even when we seem healthy or clean. And if the babies got those germs, it could make them really, really sick. When they’re bigger and stronger, you can see them.”


Robyn settled again quickly when JJ pulled some silly faces with her.


Willow looked at him gratefully and let Robyn crawl away again.


“Do you have any questions?”


Robyn looked up with serious, wide eyes.


“I have chu-ee-oos?” she asked sincerely.


Willow just smiled.


“Yeah, I’ll get you some Cheerios,” she promised and looked to JJ, “Do you have any questions?”


“Are the babies going to die?” JJ blurted and swallowed again, “Aaron in my class had a baby brother who was born too soon and died.”


Willow had to pause. This was the closest she’d come to following Robyn into a tantrum.


“They have to fight,” she said finally, “And we have to fight for them too.”


“How?” JJ asked, frowning.


Willow nodded toward Robyn.


“Take care of Robbie. Help your grandparents. And always come to us if you’re feeling sad or worried or just want a hug. Promise?”


JJ nodded diligently.


“I promise, Momma,” he said and jumped up, “I’ll go get Robbie some Cheerios right now!”


Willow felt her heart swell.


“Thank you,” she said sincerely, “You’re a good boy and I’m so glad you picked me to be your Momma.”


JJ blushed and didn’t say anything but Willow saw the smile as he ushered Robyn downstairs with Woofy by their feet.


Willow lay back on the pillows and enjoyed precious seconds of letting her mind go blank before she spotted the time and jumped up to get ready.


She hurried downstairs and into her father standing in the kitchen with a mug of coffee which he thrust at her. Willow gratefully downed it all in one go.


“Dad, I gotta get to the hospital before Tara wakes up. She can’t wake up alone.”


“Of course,” Ira nodded, an air of (probably forced) calm around him, “Everything is under control. We’ll take Jacob to his basketball practice later and I believe young Robyn has toddler swim, so Michelle reliably informs me. I’ll save the pool the embarrassment of seeing me in swimwear and let her take her.”


Willow cracked a smile and Ira offered a small one back.


“Tara shares some kind of an online calendar, Michelle says? In case of emergencies. So everything will be as normal for them, don’t you worry about that.”


Willow held her head for a moment.


“I don’t even know what day it is,” she admitted. Had this all only started yesterday? She looked at her father gratefully, “Thank you.”


Ira nodded again.


“Keep in touch, when you can.”


“I will,” Willow promised then ducked out to walk into the living room, “Kids, come give me a hug.”


They bounded over to her, still in their pajamas, and into her arms. Willow kissed them both on the head.


“I’m going to try and get home for bedtime, okay?”


JJ thrust a handmade card at Willow.


“We made this for Mom.”


“An’ bubbies!” Robyn added importantly.


Willow stroked both of her children’s soft hair.


“I love you both so much. Mommy and the babies will love this.”


She kissed them each again and quickly made her way to the door before they saw her tears.


She didn’t waste any time pulling away from the curb and drove the few blocks to their house. She changed her clothes and packed a bag with things for Tara. She stood helplessly over the empty bag for a moment before snapping to it. She knew Tara’s favorite clothes; she had to get herself together.


She found Tara’s yoga pants and her soft, purple dress and the blue sweater that was older than their relationship. She packed Tara’s creams and moisturizers, the toothpaste that she liked and her soft washcloth.


As she was looking through the nightstand for any books or other entertainment Tara might want, she found the two little bear hats that Mrs. Potts had knitted before she passed away.


She held them in her hand for a moment, then secured them into the bag.


When she was ready she hauled it back down to her car, threw it in the backseat and drove straight to the hospital.


It looked much as it did the night before, all white walls and sterile smell. She had to check which unit Tara was in and waited not-so-patiently to be told; ignoring the woman shouting after her that visiting hours hadn’t started yet.


Visiting hours be damned.


She finally found Tara’s room and her breath caught when she saw her wife lying there. She was pale and looked tiny due to not being pregnant anymore but her chest was rising and falling and that was an utter relief for Willow to see.


She left the bag on the floor under the bed and pulled up the chair to sit by her love.


She took Tara’s hand in hers, closed her eyes and just breathed.


“She slept all night.”


Willow felt her eyes open so heavily, she wasn’t sure if she’d actually fallen asleep or not.


She blinked several times, then looked over her shoulder and saw Dr. Wells leaning against the doorframe.


“I kept an eye on her as I promised.”


Willow started to stand but the doctor waved a hand telling her not to as she stepped inside.


“Thank you so much,” Willow said as she retook her seat, “She looks so peaceful.”


“Her vitals have stayed steady,” Dr. Wells replied and came over to the end of the bed to pick up the chart, “Did you sleep?”


Willow nodded. Dr. Wells arched an eyebrow.


“Did you eat?”


Willow just shook her head and Dr. Wells reached into her pocket and tossed the contents across the bed to Willow.


“I always carry one around on hospital shifts.”


Willow turned the protein bar over in her hand and her stomach rumbled gratefully.


“Don’t you need it?”


Dr. Wells shook her head.


“I’m just about to head home for some sleep myself,” she said, only her eyes betraying her tiredness, “I consulted with the NICU attending and I am very positive about your girls’ prognosis. But it’s going to be a long road.”


“I know,” Willow nodded softly, “I know I’m going to have to think about work and stuff but I don’t have to do it right this second, so…”


Dr. Wells pointed a finger upward.


“You should go up to the NICU so you can talk to the doctor during her rounds.”


Willow glanced upward uneasily. Dr. Wells guessed why.


“I’ll ask them to call up when Tara is starting to wake.”


Willow let out a breath.


“Yeah, okay. You’re right, I should go up there. Thank you, Julia, for everything. I think I would have ended up in a hospital bed too last night if you weren’t here.”


Dr. Wells reached out and squeezed Willow’s upper arm.


“The staff in the NICU here are the best in the city. Your girls are in the best hands.”


Willow swallowed and nodded again. She said a quick goodbye and got herself together to head back up to the NICU. She pressed the buzzer to get into the unit and gave her name. The door opened and the same kind nurse from the night before was there to greet her.


“I’m glad to see you again before my shift ends.”


Willow’s heart jumped into her throat.


“Are they okay?”


“They’re both still stable,” Genevieve reassured, “If we hurry you’ll be able to speak to the doctors.”


They quickly walked together toward the sink and Willow reached into her pocket.


“Um. I-I brought their little hats. Our late neighbor knitted them. I don’t know if they can…”


Genevieve took them and turned them over in her hand, then smiled.


“She used the perfect material. We’ll make sure they’re properly laundered so they can wear them.”


She placed them behind the desk with a note while Willow ‘scrubbed in’ and was allowed into the NICU. A doctor, with a bunch of younger doctors standing around her, was right where Willow remembered being the night before. She rushed up to them.


“Are you the mother?” the oldest doctor asked quickly.


“One of them,” Willow nodded quickly.


The doctor started calling a lot of medical jargon back to her interns and asked questions. Her attention swiveled back to Willow so quickly, Willow didn’t even realize and had to catch up.


“This twin has what we call bradycardia — a slow heart rate. We’re treating with medication and monitoring. I’m pleased with her weight and she’s accepting fluids nasogastrically without issue.”


Willow tried to follow the doctor’s hands and determined she was talking about Lily.


More back and forth followed but Willow was attentive this time and noted the moment she started talking about Emily.


“This twin has presented with some breathing problems which we’re currently treating by a ventilator to aid her breathing. Her weight is quite low and she has shown signs of hypoglycemia. Mother had gestational diabetes, correct?”


Willow nodded dutifully as she used to in school.


“Yes.”


The older doctor nodded once, though not unkindly.


“We will continue to monitor her. Can I answer any questions?”


Willow looked down at Emily. She looked even frailer in the light of day.


“When do you think she’ll come off the ventilator?”


“We’ll have to evaluate at a later date,” the doctor advised.


Willow looked back up.


“How long will they be here?”


“Impossible to say for sure,” the doctor replied emphatically, “We work on a day-by-day basis here.”


Willow just nodded and started to look back between the babies. The doctors’ moved on and Willow was happy to take up their space so she could stand between them and put her hands into the incubators.


“Hi Lily, Hi Emily,” she said softly, “It’s Momma again.”


She rubbed her thumb over little hands.


“It’s just me here today but you don’t just have me. You have a really great family, y’know? You have a brother and a sister,” she paused, “And your Mommy is just…she’s the best. You’ve been living in her so I’m sure you already knew that.”


A new nurse approached and confirmed Willow’s name with him.


“We just got a call from downstairs. Your wife is waking up.”


Willow’s eyes widened.


“I gotta go to your Mommy! I’ll be back babies, I promise!”


“Take pictures.”


Willow spun around at the sound of a new voice and noticed a woman sitting in a chair next to her, her hand in the incubator of the little boy one space over. Willow looked confused.


“For their Mommy?” the woman clarified with a soft smile, “She’ll want them.”


The light bulb went off over Willow’s head.


“Pictures, right!” she said, quickly pulling her phone out, “Thank you.”


The woman nodded and turned back to her son.


Willow took several pictures and little videos of the babies’ movements and said goodbye to them once more before rushing out and back down to Tara’s room.


Unfortunately, she heard Tara before she saw her.


The screaming and sounds of metal clacking made Willow speed up so much she ended up skidding in there.


Tara was thrashing in her bed, as wild as Willow had ever seen her. Two orderlies and a male doctor were trying to hold her down.


“Get me 2.5ccs of droperidol,” the doctor shouted at a nurse.


“No don’t sedate her again!” Willow said, announcing herself to the room.


The doctor didn’t look at her.


“Ma’am you need to leave!”


“I need to stay because you’re sure as hell not getting her to calm down!” Willow retorted as she tried to shimmy her way between all of the men who were using their weight against her, “She had her babies ripped from her body, give her a freakin’ second!”


“She’s a danger to herself,” the doctor barked but Willow ignored him.


“Tara,” she said, placing her hand on Tara’s cheek, “Tara, look at me!”


She turned Tara’s head toward her and locked eyes.


“The babies are fine. The babies are fine!”


Tara’s eyes flashed with recognition and her body stilled but for a tremble.


“I have pictures!” Willow said, pulling her phone out, “Look I have pictures, see?”


She was shaking too, but she managed to bring up the photos she had just taken.


“See, this is—”


“Lily,” Tara breathed out, still obviously sluggish.


“Yeah, it’s Lily,” Willow said and her brow furrowed, “How did you know?”


“Where’s Emily?” Tara asked instead and tried to pull herself up, just resulting in a groan of pain.


“Keep still, baby,” Willow advised softly and shot daggers to the other three, who were beginning to back away.


“Em. Il. Y,” Tara insisted breathlessly.


Willow showed Tara a picture of Emily.


Tara whimpered.


Willow’s heart broke.


“It looks worse than it is. They’re gonna take her off the ventilator really soon!”


Tara’s eyes filled with tears and Willow hunched down to stroke her hair.


“Calm now, baby. Everything will be okay.”


Only the nurse stayed in the room to oversee them but both Willow and Tara acted like she wasn’t there. Tara tried to lift a floppy hand toward Willow.


“I…need…to go…to them.”


“Soon, baby, I’m sure,” Willow said gently, “But you had a big…you had an ordeal. The medication has to leave your body. You need to stay calm. Breathe. Breathe, okay? I’m right here. I’m right here.”


Tara’s glassy eyes did their best to keep Willow’s as she fought the urge to act out on her confusion.


Willow reached under the bed and got out the card JJ and Robyn had made.


“Look what the kids made you.”


Tara immediately looked concerned and Willow pre-empted the question. She smiled soothingly.


“They’re okay. They’re with our parents. Everything is okay.”


Tara’s still-trembling hand closed around the card. She couldn’t quite read it, so she just clutched it to her heart and closed her exhausted eyes again.


Willow kept a hand on Tara’s arm and caressed her gently. She watched Tara’s body settle better into the bed and her breathing settle into something more regular.


The next time Tara’s eyes open, they were clearer though still exhausted. She looked straight at Willow and Willow felt shocked at how deathly she looked.


“Willow—” Tara croaked and Willow reached over to pour her a cup of water from the filter.


She held the straw to Tara’s lips, where it was gratefully sipped until empty.


Tongue able to move with regular agility once more, Tara tried again.


“Willow, what happened?”


Willow’s head dropped against her chest.


She didn’t want to be the one to tell Tara this, but she also knew she was the only one who could or should.


She looked up again and took Tara’s hand.


“After you delivered, you passed out because you started to bleed inside. And it wouldn’t stop,” she stopped and swallowed, hoping what she was remembering wasn’t able to be read on her face, “So they had to bring you to surgery to get it to stop. But the only way to get it to stop…”


Tara’s face started to tense up.


“Willow, you’re scaring me.”


“They had to take your womb,” Willow blurted and immediately regretted not easing into it more.


Tara blinked rapidly, the fastest movement she’d had anywhere since calming down.


“W-What?”


Willow gulped.


“You were bleeding so much, Tara, you were, you were…” her own eyes began to fill with tears, “You were dying. They had to.”


Tara’s face was stony and yet the skin around her eyes twitched. Willow felt discomfort between Tara’s reaction and her own reaction that she couldn’t hold back. She tried to joke to ease the tension.


“We weren’t going to have any more children anyway, right?” she said with a very forced smile, “I mean we already got a bonus baby.”


Tara’s eyes closed again and opened with hidden pain.


“I want to see them.”


Willow stood up quickly, grateful for the opportunity to escape for a moment.


“Okay. Yeah, of course. I’ll check for you.”


She was perturbed by Tara’s reaction; it unsettled her to see Tara act so out of sorts.


She almost walked right past the nurses’ station, but remembered at the last second and doubled back.


“Um, my wife. Tara Rosenberg-Maclay. She really wants to get up to the NICU. Can I get a wheelchair or something to bring her up?”


The doctor who had been in the room earlier stood up behind the nurse that was about to speak.


“Has she calmed down?”


So many sarcastic comments ran through Willow’s mind. She resisted.


“Yes.”


The doctor looked down at Willow.


“If she gets violent again we will be forced to take action.”


Willow’s fist balled on one side but she released it before it was seen.


“My wife is not violent. She passed out in the middle of a traumatic birth and woke up without her babies. She was confused.”


The nurse looked at her sympathetically.


“I can be on hand to supervise, doctor.”


Willow admired the woman’s ability to placate both of them and smiled at her.


“Thank you.”


“She’s not going anywhere anyway,” the doctor muttered.


“What?” Willow asked, raising an eyebrow challengingly.


The doctor looked too exhausted to argue. He’d hoped his superior would return from her break to have this conversation. Some days he seriously considered going back to the start and becoming a radiologist.


“Your wife is a high risk for hemorrhaging again, particularly when she thrashes her body around like she was. She needs to stay as immobile as possible. Her infection risk is also high. She can’t leave that bed until we’re satisfied the main risk has passed. Total bed rest, she can’t even go to the bathroom.”


Willow felt her head start to spin.


“Are you telling me she can’t see her babies?” she asked, dumbfounded and the doctor had the good grace to look contrite, “For how long?”


The doctor folded his arms on his chest.


“Three days minimum.”


It may as well have been three years. Tara was not going to react well to this.


“Her babies are in the NICU,” she replied helplessly.


“We’ve been informed they’re not at imminent risk of death,” the doctor replied matter-of-factly and even the nurse rolled her eyes.


“Don’t you dare say anything like that in front of her!” Willow said angrily.


The nurse stood to put space between the two, though she was only concerned at Willow lunging. The doctor she worked with might have an awful bedside manner but she could be confident he wasn’t about to get into fisticuffs in his workplace.


“I will explain to her what’s happening,” she offered.


“No, I will,” Willow pushed off the desk.


She stopped at the water cooler to pour herself a little paper cup full so she could gather her thoughts.


Unfortunately, there was no way to spin this. She was going to have to crush her wife for the second time in a matter of minutes.


And worse, Tara was going to be crushed for the second time in a matter of minutes. While she recovered from major surgery.


Willow’s knees felt weak already.


She crushed the cup in her hand and let it fall into the small trash can beside it. She squared her shoulders and nodded once before returning to Tara’s room. Tara tried to sit up but her body protested and just her head lifted instead.


“Well?”


Willow sidled up to Tara’s side and took her hand. She opened her mouth, but she couldn’t do it. She just couldn’t.


“I think the attending is going to come by soon to go over everything that’s happened.”


“So can we go to the babies before they come back?” Tara asked impatiently.


Willow's eyes flicked down.


“Well, see, Tara…” she made a vague gesture to the various tubes attached to Tara’s body “You have this catheter in and—”


“So get them to take it out,” Tara interjected.


Willow gulped.


“They can’t.”


Tara’s brow began to furrow.


“Why not?”


Willow’s voice lowered to a whisper.


“Because you’re not allowed to go to the bathroom.”


Tara was getting visibly frustrated.


“Why?”


“Because you have to stay in bed,” Willow replied eventually, her thumb fidgeting in the sheet, “You have to keep still so you don’t end up bleeding out again. Your insides, they need a chance to heal a little bit.”


Tara shook her head, confused.


“But how do I get to the NICU?”


Willow gulped again.


“You don’t,” she said, with the decency to meet Tara’s eyes, as difficult as it was to watch them reflect her heartbreak, “It’s not forever. Three days, just three days!”


Tara’s face crumbled and shook back and forth again as tears fell down onto her cheeks.


“No, no, no. I have to see them, Willow, I have to see them. What if—”


“Sshh,” Willow soothed, “The babies will be there when you’re able to go up.”


Tara kept shaking her head.


“I don’t care about me. I-I don’t care if it hurts or it takes longer to recover, I just want to see them.”


“Tara, you almost died,” Willow replied desperately, clutching Tara’s hand tighter, “I know this is truly awful for you but you almost died. You can’t risk it. It’s not an option. You’re risking leaving all of our children without their mother. You asked me to promise before and now I have to ask you to promise me you won’t do anything that risks our family.”


She watched Tara’s lower lip tremble and knew hers wasn’t far behind.


“I know you’ve just been through the wringer and it’s not fair to ask anything of you but this is the situation we’re in.”


With an entirely tense jaw and closed eyes, Willow just about registered Tara give a single, short nod. Willow’s eyes closed too and a single tear escaped.


Tara’s chin dropped into her chest and she just started to cry. Willow lifted her hand to Tara’s hair and stroked it gently.


Tara continued to sob.


“My babies don’t know my voice.”


“I’ll record you!” Willow offered, eager to ease Tara’s woe in some way, “You could even sing to them!”


Tara took in a shaken breath and her jaw tensed again. Her eyes opened, glassy but not flowing and she looked straight ahead.


“The babies shouldn’t be by themselves.”


“They’re not,” Willow reassured quickly, “The staff up there is really great. You’ll, you…”


She stopped and swallowed.


“You’ll see.”


Tara’s whole body was deflated.


“I want you to be with them.”


Willow frowned.


“I was and-and I will be,” she said with a quick nod, “But I can be here right now. To take care of you.”


“There’s nurses,” Tara replied in that same flat tone that unnerved Willow.


“Tara, do you want to talk about—”


“I just want to sleep,” Tara said quietly, “If I sleep it will pass quicker.”


“O-Okay,” Willow agreed reluctantly, “Well, I’ll come back later. See if you’re up for video-chatting with the kids.”


Tara didn’t respond. Willow brought up the bag she’d brought from home onto the chair so Tara could have access.


“I’ll leave your stuff right here. I put your books in there, and your tablet and phone. And you can text me if you need anything at all, okay?”


Tara just angled her body away, not quite turning on her side as her positioning in the bed wouldn’t allow it.


Willow glanced down and kissed the back of Tara’s head before retreating. She passed by the nurses’ station and was relieved to see the doctor she’d gotten into the argument with had left. The kind nurse was still there.


“Um, she’s very tired,” Willow said to her, “Can you make sure she’s okay? I don’t think she’s processed everything that’s happened to her. I know you have other patients, I just…”


The nurse nodded.


“I’ll be sure a doctor goes in to answer any questions.”


Willow returned the nod.


“I’ll be up in the NICU if I’m needed.”


The nurse smiled at her and Willow pushed off again. She left the unit and on the way to the NICU just stopped at a vacant chair to take a breather.


She sat on that chair and ate her protein bar, alone.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:01 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 359
Dibs! :whip

Quote:
“I didn’t get to be Leia,” Willow replied and she had no idea why she’d said it. She couldn’t care one bit, “Did Xan and Jess still go as Luke and Han?”

Willow is probably still in shock somehow - and thinking of this trivial things is a distraction from all the horror she had to face.

Quote:
“I believe they went as a spaceman and his bear-dog,”

Does Ira mean Han and Chewie?

Quote:
“It’s Halloween…isn’t it?”

Quite a cool birthday date for kids, they can always celebrate in costume.

Quote:
Michelle just rushed over and gathered her in a hug, which Ira quickly completed from the other side.


“Everything will be okay, bubbeleh.”


Hearing those words from her father helped Willow. She snuggled into his chest and Michelle stepped away to allow them a moment.


Ira kissed the top of Willow’s head and let her cling for as long as she needed.

Just as I had been hoping for Willow...

Quote:
Woofy looked up at the sound and looked at Willow for one soul-gazing second before settling his head back on his front paws, one of which rested over JJ's leg. Willow got the message; ‘I’ve got this’ and she felt some weight lifted knowing that the little guy was looking out for her little guy.

Awwww!
By the way, did you write Woofy after a real dog? If so, could you post a picture?

Quote:
“Did you have a nice Halloween?”


Robyn grinned mischievously.


“I eeeat allllll dah can-dee Mom-mah. Buh I save gummy worm!”

Awww, so cute!

Quote:
“Come in buddy. Is Woofy supposed to be on the beds?”


JJ looked guilty.


“Ummm…”


Willow just cracked a small smile.


“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

:laugh

Quote:
JJ was taking it in but Robyn was just smiling the same way she had been all along.


“Do you understand bean?”


Robyn nodded surely.


“Lim-lee ‘n’ Em-lee get borned!”


Willow’s eyebrows rose in surprise.

Robyn is a bright little girl!

Quote:
“Wha’ bator?” Robyn asked, suddenly scared, “Like agg-ator?”

That's baby speak for alligator, right?

Quote:
JJ looked across the bed.


“You know when we build a house with Legos for your dolly, Robbie? They built special little houses for the babies.”


“Fur bubbies?” Robyn asked slowly, working it out.


Willow nodded.


“Yes, baby, for the bubbies.”


Aw. JJ is so great when it comes to explaining things to Robyn!

Quote:
“Are the babies going to die?” JJ blurted and swallowed again, “Aaron in my class had a baby brother who was born too soon and died.”

:cry Very unfortunate that JJ has this knowledge. Lucky that Robyn was obviously preoccupied with Woofy enough in this moment and didn't notice or recognise the talk about "died".

Quote:
“They have to fight,” she said finally, “And we have to fight for them too.”


“How?” JJ asked, frowning.


Willow nodded toward Robyn.


“Take care of Robbie. Help your grandparents. And always come to us if you’re feeling sad or worried or just want a hug. Promise?”


JJ nodded diligently.


“I promise, Momma,” he said and jumped up, “I’ll go get Robbie some Cheerios right now!”


Willow felt her heart swell.


“Thank you,” she said sincerely, “You’re a good boy and I’m so glad you picked me to be your Momma.”


JJ blushed and didn’t say anything but Willow saw the smile as he ushered Robyn downstairs with Woofy by their feet.


JJ is such a wonderful big brother and son! :bigkiss

Quote:
Thank you, Julia, for everything. I think I would have ended up in a hospital bed too last night if you weren’t here.”

All the support Dr. Wells gave in this story so far, especially to Willow, really justifies Willow adressing her by her first name.

Quote:
“I gotta go to your Mommy! I’ll be back babies, I promise!”


“Take pictures.”


Willow spun around at the sound of a new voice and noticed a woman sitting in a chair next to her, her hand in the incubator of the little boy one space over. Willow looked confused.


“For their Mommy?” the woman clarified with a soft smile, “She’ll want them.”


The light bulb went off over Willow’s head.


“Pictures, right!” she said, quickly pulling her phone out, “Thank you.”


The woman nodded and turned back to her son.


Willow took several pictures and little videos of the babies’ movements and said goodbye to them once more before rushing out and back down to Tara’s room.

Thank god that this mother told Willow to take pictures of the babies because they obviously were essential in calming Tara down later.

Quote:
The screaming and sounds of metal clacking made Willow speed up so much she ended up skidding in there.


Tara was thrashing in her bed, as wild as Willow had ever seen her. Two orderlies and a male doctor were trying to hold her down.

:cry Poor Tara!
Quote:
“Tara,” she said, placing her hand on Tara’s cheek, “Tara, look at me!”


She turned Tara’s head toward her and locked eyes.


“The babies are fine. The babies are fine!”


Tara’s eyes flashed with recognition and her body stilled but for a tremble.

Thank god that she let herself be calmed by Willow immediately even in her still drugged state.

Quote:
The next time Tara’s eyes open, they were clearer though still exhausted. She looked straight at Willow and Willow felt shocked at how deathly she looked.

Quote:
“They had to take your womb,” Willow blurted and immediately regretted not easing into it more.


Tara blinked rapidly, the fastest movement she’d had anywhere since calming down.


“W-What?”


Willow gulped.


“You were bleeding so much, Tara, you were, you were…” her own eyes began to fill with tears, “You were dying. They had to.”


Tara’s face was stony and yet the skin around her eyes twitched. Willow felt discomfort between Tara’s reaction and her own reaction that she couldn’t hold back. She tried to joke to ease the tension.


“We weren’t going to have any more children anyway, right?” she said with a very forced smile, “I mean we already got a bonus baby.”


Tara’s eyes closed again and opened with hidden pain.

Like Willow I'm extremely worried about Tara's reaction...

Quote:
“Your wife is a high risk for hemorrhaging again, particularly when she thrashes her body around like she was. She needs to stay as immobile as possible. Her infection risk is also high. She can’t leave that bed until we’re satisfied the main risk has passed. Total bed rest, she can’t even go to the bathroom.”


Willow felt her head start to spin.


“Are you telling me she can’t see her babies?” she asked, dumbfounded and the doctor had the good grace to look contrite, “For how long?”


The doctor folded his arms on his chest.


“Three days minimum.”


It may as well have been three years. Tara was not going to react well to this.


“Her babies are in the NICU,” she replied helplessly.


“We’ve been informed they’re not at imminent risk of death,” the doctor replied matter-of-factly and even the nurse rolled her eyes.


“Don’t you dare say anything like that in front of her!” Willow said angrily.


That doctor severely lacks tact! But he of course has to prevent his patient from risking her life.

Quote:
Tara shook her head, confused.


“But how do I get to the NICU?”


Willow gulped again.


“You don’t,” she said, with the decency to meet Tara’s eyes, as difficult as it was to watch them reflect her heartbreak, “It’s not forever. Three days, just three days!”


Tara’s face crumbled and shook back and forth again as tears fell down onto her cheeks.


“No, no, no. I have to see them, Willow, I have to see them. What if—”


“Sshh,” Willow soothed, “The babies will be there when you’re able to go up.”


Tara kept shaking her head.


“I don’t care about me. I-I don’t care if it hurts or it takes longer to recover, I just want to see them.”


“Tara, you almost died,” Willow replied desperately, clutching Tara’s hand tighter, “I know this is truly awful for you but you almost died. You can’t risk it. It’s not an option. You’re risking leaving all of our children without their mother. You asked me to promise before and now I have to ask you to promise me you won’t do anything that risks our family.”


She watched Tara’s lower lip tremble and knew hers wasn’t far behind.


“I know you’ve just been through the wringer and it’s not fair to ask anything of you but this is the situation we’re in.”


With an entirely tense jaw and closed eyes, Willow just about registered Tara give a single, short nod. Willow’s eyes closed too and a single tear escaped.


Tara’s chin dropped into her chest and she just started to cry. Willow lifted her hand to Tara’s hair and stroked it gently.


Tara continued to sob.


“My babies don’t know my voice.”


“I’ll record you!” Willow offered, eager to ease Tara’s woe in some way, “You could even sing to them!”

:cry My heart breaks for Tara - and for Willow for having to tell her these horrible news and to take this promise from her!

Quote:
Tara took in a shaken breath and her jaw tensed again. Her eyes opened, glassy but not flowing and she looked straight ahead.


“The babies shouldn’t be by themselves.”


“They’re not,” Willow reassured quickly, “The staff up there is really great. You’ll, you…”


She stopped and swallowed.


“You’ll see.”


Tara’s whole body was deflated.


“I want you to be with them.”


Willow frowned.


“I was and-and I will be,” she said with a quick nod, “But I can be here right now. To take care of you.”


“There’s nurses,” Tara replied in that same flat tone that unnerved Willow.


“Tara, do you want to talk about—”


“I just want to sleep,” Tara said quietly, “If I sleep it will pass quicker.”


“O-Okay,” Willow agreed reluctantly, “Well, I’ll come back later. See if you’re up for video-chatting with the kids.”


Tara didn’t respond. Willow brought up the bag she’d brought from home onto the chair so Tara could have access.


“I’ll leave your stuff right here. I put your books in there, and your tablet and phone. And you can text me if you need anything at all, okay?”


Tara just angled her body away, not quite turning on her side as her positioning in the bed wouldn’t allow it.


Willow glanced down and kissed the back of Tara’s head before retreating.

:shock Oh no no no Tara, don't give up and don't shut Willow out! Please Laragh, don't give Tara a depression now too!

Quote:
She left the unit and on the way to the NICU just stopped at a vacant chair to take a breather.


She sat on that chair and ate her protein bar, alone.

:cry It feels so wrong that Tara and Willow are each alone and miserable now! Please Laragh, make this all better soon! :pray

(Now I have to pull myself together and return to the workload of my home office...)


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:00 am 
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Yay!

Quote:
Willow is probably still in shock somehow - and thinking of this trivial things is a distraction from all the horror she had to face.


Absolutely, no doubt about it!

Quote:
Does Ira mean Han and Chewie?


He does. Not a big Star Wars fan I don't think, our Ira :laugh

Quote:
Quite a cool birthday date for kids, they can always celebrate in costume.


Agreed!

Quote:
Just as I had been hoping for Willow...


Yes and much needed!

Quote:
Awwww!
By the way, did you write Woofy after a real dog? If so, could you post a picture?


Yes!

Image

Quote:
Awww, so cute!


Baby cuteness is a saving grace!

Quote:
Robyn is a bright little girl!


She is definitely precocious!

Quote:
Aw. JJ is so great when it comes to explaining things to Robyn!


They made each other siblings so I think it's a really special bond.

Quote:
:cry Very unfortunate that JJ has this knowledge. Lucky that Robyn was obviously preoccupied with Woofy enough in this moment and didn't notice or recognise the talk about "died".

JJ is such a wonderful big brother and son! :bigkiss


JJ has it tougher being older and understanding things more and he's really sensitive, which is both a pro and a con.

Quote:
All the support Dr. Wells gave in this story so far, especially to Willow, really justifies Willow adressing her by her first name.


I agree, she's known them so long and she really steps up.

Quote:
Thank god that this mother told Willow to take pictures of the babies because they obviously were essential in calming Tara down later.


The best NICU tips are from other NICU parents, no doubt.

Quote:
:cry Poor Tara!

Thank god that she let herself be calmed by Willow immediately even in her still drugged state.


She really was in a bad state, really traumatic.

Quote:
Like Willow I'm extremely worried about Tara's reaction...


It's concerning. It really is.

Quote:
That doctor severely lacks tact! But he of course has to prevent his patient from risking her life.


He could do with a refresher course in bedside manner, that is for sure. Thankfully, I won't be subjecting Tara to him.

Quote:
:cry My heart breaks for Tara - and for Willow for having to tell her these horrible news and to take this promise from her!


It's heartbreaking stuff. Not easy for anyone.

Quote:
:shock Oh no no no Tara, don't give up and don't shut Willow out! Please Laragh, don't give Tara a depression now too!


Unfortunately sometimes people just don't get a break.

Quote:
:cry It feels so wrong that Tara and Willow are each alone and miserable now! Please Laragh, make this all better soon! :pray


Define 'soon'

Quote:
(Now I have to pull myself together and return to the workload of my home office...)


I hope you were able to and fair warning, the next few chapters might not be great as a break from work...'

Thanks so much for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 17th 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:00 am 
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Chapter Seventeen




“Willow.”


Willow turned around at the sound of her name and spotted someone walking up to her driveway.


“Becky.”


She turned the key in her door but waited there until Becky caught up to her. Becky embraced her when she got there.


“I just came to see if I could do anything.”


Willow surprised herself at how grateful she was to lean on someone for a moment. But just a moment.


“Shouldn’t you be at work?”


“It’s 6 pm,” Becky replied softly.


“Right,” Willow shook her head to herself and opened the door to let them both in, “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch with anyone. It’s been a crazy couple of days.”


“Of course it has,” Becky replied as she crossed the threshold.


“I’m not even staying here at the moment,” Willow replied, closing the door behind them, “Our parents took over kid duty so I’m just crashing there when I can. I’m just grabbing some more things for Tara.”


“Can I help?” Becky offered, “Or I could make you a coffee.”


Willow checked her watch and finally nodded.


“Yeah, okay. A coffee sounds really good, actually,” she smiled gratefully, “I’ll just go get the bag ready.”


Becky nodded and went into the kitchen while Willow ascended the stairs and threw an overnight back onto the bed to pack things into.


She didn’t know specifically what Tara wanted because the only desire Tara expressed was wanting to see her babies. She barely spoke apart from that unless the kids called and she put on a front for them. She wanted Willow to be with the babies all of the time instead of her to make sure they were okay. A real sting for Willow was coming down to check on Tara to see that her normally modest wife had permitted a nurse to give her a sponge bath in the bed when Willow had offered only that morning.


Willow felt run ragged and her biggest confidant and the only other person who understood what she was feeling was completely shutting down.


She ran her hand back through her hair and noted she was going to need to wash it soon. Her own self-care hasn’t been exactly high on the priority list at the moment.


Willow just packed the warmest, loosest clothing and PJs she could find and the bar of soap Tara usually liked to wash with so the nurse could help her smell like herself. Willow grumbled at her own petulant thought and reminded herself that Tara was in her own ninth circle of hell right now.


Not that she needed reminding; Tara’s pale, broken body lying small in the hospital bed was a regular and stark reminder. Considering the only other view she had for 90% of the day was her two tiny babies with wires spiraling out of their bodies, she was very much aware that more than half of her family were in dire straits and that there wasn’t a single, damn thing she could do about it.


She rolled her neck in her hand and closed her eyes for a moment, almost falling asleep just standing over the bed like that.


Then a waft of the coffee Becky was brewing hit her nose and Willow perked up again. Hospital coffee sucked and so did the small bites she could grab from the cafeteria between roaming corridors. Michelle and Ira always had a plate leftover for her when she got home to tuck the kids in but by that point, she was so hungry she usually wolfed it down without even tasting it.


She zipped up the bag and left it at the door and went into the kitchen, where Becky was pouring the coffee into mugs.


Becky pushed one mug across the island toward Willow and another plate that had mashed avocado on toast with a runny poached egg broken on top. Willow could see the empty saucepan in the sink.


“Hope you don’t mind,” Becky said as she leaned over with her forearms on the island, “I saw that avocado sitting in your fruit bowl on the turn…”


“Thank you,” Willow said in surprise, her stomach rumbling at the sight, “When the heck did you learn how to cook?”


“When my metabolism turned 30,” Becky sighed.


“You mean when you turned 30,” Willow replied with a soft smile.


“My metabolism turned 30 a couple of years after I did,” Becky grinned, “It was fun while it lasted.”


Willow held the mug with both hands and let it warm her palms.


“You’ve been holding out on us. Why don’t you have any dinner parties?”


“We have a small apartment,” Becky shrugged, “Plus all of that pressure would make B anxious.”


Willow took a giant bite from the toast. It was the freshest, most flavorful thing she’d had in days (which felt like weeks).


“Well, it’s delicious.”


She tried to make an effort to eat it slowly, to savor the taste and also just to feel normal for a second. Becky didn’t push for conversation and Willow didn’t feel the need to offer it either.


When she finished the toast she continued to sip on her coffee and felt her shoulders relax a little.


“You wanna see pictures?” she offered.


Becky nodded quickly and Willow slid out her phone.


“I haven’t sent them to anyone yet out of respect for Tara.”


Becky nodded that she understood and took the phone when it was offered.


“They’re beautiful, Willow. Who’s who?”


“The right is Lily and the little one is Emily,” Willow explained, “The kids made those little name signs, aren’t they cute?”


“Adorable,” Becky agreed, then looked up at Willow, “How are they doing?”


Willow gnawed on her lower lip.


“Lily is doing pretty well, considering. Her heart beats a little slow sometimes. And Emily’s little lungs…they’re just so immature. They shot Tara up with steroids when she went into early labor but Lily seems to have gotten most of the benefit. They did say it all happened so fast it may not have had any effect at all but Lily just gets oxygen through her nose, she’s not all hooked up to tubes. Their little hands and feet are blue sometimes. And I just want to hold them and snuggle them like I did with the other two.”


Becky covered Willow’s hand and squeezed sympathetically.


“When can you hold them?”


“Once Lily can maintain her body temperature for long enough. Maybe just days,” Willow replied hopefully with a swift nod, “And Em, they can’t give any guarantees but they think if they can move her from the ventilator to the C-PAP that we can try. But that will be a couple of weeks at least.”


“What about Tara?” Becky asked with a softly arched eyebrow.


Willow inhaled a slow breath.


“Tara is…”


She blinked several times and shook her head.


“Distraught. She barely speaks to me, to anyone. She won’t let me help her with any of her care. I think she’s mad at me.”


Becky frowned.


“None of this is your fault.”


Willow swallowed deeply.


“I don’t think she thinks that.”


“What?” Becky asked with a furrowed brow, “Why?”


“Just a feeling I’m getting,” Willow replied, looking down.


Becky shook her head.


“I’m sure she doesn’t blame you.”


Willow just nodded, not exactly convinced.


“If everything is going well with her, I can wheel her up to the NICU the day after tomorrow, so…”


Becky’s eyes offered a look of support.


“How are the kids coping?”


Willow sighed.


“Robyn is really missing Tara. She’s throwing tantrums and wants her binky all the time. She hadn’t even asked for that thing in ages. Her routine is just totally blown up and she doesn’t really understand about the babies,” she continued, feeling that neck cramp tightening up again, “JJ’s been great, though. He’s really stepped up with helping out his grandparents while all of this is going on.”


“Have they been in to see her?” Becky asked.


Willow shook her head.


“Tara’s at high-risk for infection so she can only have limited contact. But they said they can come in tomorrow for a short visit. Hoping it lifts everyone’s spirits.”


Becky gave Willow a long look.


“And what about you?”


Willow frowned.


“What about me?”


“How are you coping?” Becky asked softly.


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“Fine.”


“And really?” Becky pushed, raising both eyebrows.


Willow looked down and cleared her throat.


“If I teeter even a smidge away from ‘fine’, then I fall apart,” she admitted, her whole body tensing to prevent just that, “And I can’t fall apart.”


Becky’s brow furrowed with concern.


“Willow—”


Willow held a hand up.


“Becky, I know you mean well…”


Becky covered Willow’s hand again, then just walked around to her and wrapped an arm around Willow’s shoulders.


“I know that I’m not your best friend. I know Tara is that. But I am your oldest friend. And I’m built solid. You can lean on me until your best friend is back.”


Willow looked up with her eyes full of tears and wrapped her arms around Becky’s back as her head fell against Becky’s chest. She didn’t smell like Tara or feel like Tara but she was solid, just like she’d promised and Willow embraced that feeling she’d felt earlier of someone to take the weight off for a moment.


“Anything you need,” Becky promised, “I will do for you. And so will the others. You could not be farther from alone, okay?”


“Thank you,” Willow sniffled, “This would be so hard even with Tara at full health. I just want to be able to fix them all and I can’t!”


Becky pulled back and looked Willow in the eye.


“No, but you can fix you. Take care of you. Because what’s going to happen if you run yourself so far into the ground that you end up in hospital too?”


Willow’s breath quickened and she found herself nodding resolutely.


“Yes, I know. I know, you’re right.”


Becky massaged Willow’s shoulder.


“I am twenty minutes away any time you need a laugh or a cry or a hand with…anything. Please use me.”


Willow just nodded again. Becky smiled.


“Now why don’t you go take twenty minutes for you. Watch something or have a bath or just sit in silence. Whatever you want.”


Willow swallowed.


“I-I really do appreciate what you’re saying but I have to get that bag to Tara now so I can get back to the kids for bedtime and—”


“I’ll go drop the bag off,” Becky offered easily, “It’s on my way home anyway.”


Willow exhaled.


“Really?”


Becky nodded.


“Of course.”


Willow swiped at her eyes.


“It would be kinda nice to just sit down and turn my brain off for a few minutes.”


“Candy Crush?” Becky asked knowingly.


“Saga,” Willow giggled back, “JJ got me addicted. The only thing better at shutting off the old noggin than…”


“Ain’t that the truth,” Becky murmured and bumped Willow’s shoulder.


Willow punched her back in the arm and for a whole second, she felt normal.


She gave Becky the details of where to drop off the bag and told her Tara would be sleeping but she could just leave it under the bed.


Becky left Willow with another hug and a refill of coffee as she settled on the couch with her iPad and something close to a relaxed smile on her face.


Becky put the overnight back on the passenger seat and drove to the hospital. She found Tara’s room and she was asleep, as Willow had advised, so Becky quietly left the bag under the bed.


Then, instead of leaving again, she sat in the chair sitting alongside the bed with her legs stretched out and watched her thumbs turn around each other in her lap.


A while passed in which Becky got very familiar with an impending hangnail on her index finger until a frail voice spoke up.


“B-Becky?”


Becky looked up and Tara’s whole brow was furrowed.


“H-Has something happened to Willow?”


“No, no,” Becky reassured, reaching out to take Tara’s hand, “I just brought in your new clothes for you. Willow was running behind herself.”


Tara looked stricken.


“S-She’s not with the babies?”


Becky slowly shook her head.


“She was going to tuck the kids in.”


Tara’s forehead slowly evened out.


“Oh. Yes. Of course.”


The room lapsed into silence and Becky looked at Tara with sympathy and concern.


“How are you doing?” she asked, then rolled her eyes at herself, “Stupid question, huh?”


Tara’s eyes cast downward.


“I don’t think I’m much up for visitors.”


Becky pulled her chair closer to the bed.


“I’m not really here to visit,” she replied with a steady nod, “See, I was speaking to Willow and I mentioned that I was her oldest friend.”


Her head cocked curiously.


“And I sort of realized that I think I’m yours too.”


Tara’s eyes searched Becky’s but eventually, she saw what Becky wanted her to see: safety. She blinked heavily several times. Becky squeezed her hand with Tara’s.


“I can’t even imagine the pain of not being able to see Lily and Emily.”


Tara’s head ducked but Becky continued in a soft voice.


“But I can — kinda, a little bit — imagine the pain of having your womb taken. And something tells me that pain is lost in there amongst all the other crap going on.”


Tara looked up again, frowning.


“I-it’s not…” her outer shoulder shrugged but her eyes betrayed her, “I-I wasn’t going to have any more children. Even if we were, Willow could still…”


Becky was silent for a few moments, contemplative.


“A little over a year ago I found out I was pregnant.”


Tara’s eyes widened considerably and Becky smiled sadly.


“You know me. I never wanted kids. And finding out…did not change that. For Bri, either. We took the test together and looked at each other and we knew what we were going to do.”


She patted a hand against her own thigh, clearly talking through a lump formed in her throat.


“So I made the appointment. Friday, after school for me, Brian would take a half-day. We were both relieved to have our plan and the weekend to recover. We even planned a little movie-night-in date for afterward so we could snuggle with a hot water bottle and some treats.”


Becky released a slow breath.


“Then a few days before the appointment, I started to bleed. The pregnancy passed naturally.”


She said it easily but her smile was still sad.


“I made that appointment. I would have gone through with that appointment,” she said resolutely and clasped Tara’s hand tighter while looking her right in the eye, “But it still sucked to have my choice taken away.”


Tara’s eyes filled with tears and Becky just nodded quickly, encouragingly. She stood up and moved over the bed, embracing Tara gently as Tara began to cry into Becky’s shoulder and release some of the emotion she’d been struggling with.


Outside, Willow approached Tara’s room with a freshly baked half-loaf of Michelle’s banana bread for Tara to hopefully get some home comfort from. It was the only way she could consume bananas at all during pregnancy, so she’d taken quite a liking to it. Willow had brought it over especially for her after she’d tucked the kids in.


She heard soft crying just a foot away and frowned.


The frown only deepened when she stood in the doorway and watched Tara crying with Becky.


Feeling out of place as her wife was comforted by another, Willow turned back around and walked away sadly.



“Don’ wan’a!”


“Robyn, you don’t have a choice,” Willow replied as Robyn hid her hands behind her back and refused to let Willow put the antiseptic hand gel from the dispenser on them.


“You gotta do it, Robbie,” JJ encouraged, “Look, I did it.”


Robyn twisted her body out of Willow’s futile grasp and pouted.


“Don’ like!”


“I don’t like it either Robyn but you either let me wash your hands or you don’t see Mommy!” Willow snapped, to disapproving looks from other people leaving and entering the hospital, and a couple of sympathetic ones too.


Robyn dropped onto her butt and began to wail.


Willow heaved out a quick sigh. She got down on her knees and felt all of her weight on her shoulders. She picked Robyn up and held her firmly in front of her, despite wiggling and protestations.


“Robyn, I know you don’t want to wash your hands again but we talked about this. We need nice, clean hands so we don’t get any germs on Mommy and make her sick.”


Robyn’s still face remained scrunched up and shook quickly from side to side.


Willow felt like throwing herself on the ground to kick and scream too.


“You miss Mommy,” she sighed again, “I miss Mommy too.”


She wasn’t even sure where she was going with this.


“We can go see Mommy right now, but you have to wash your hands with this special soap.”


“Look, Robbie, it’s like magic,” JJ spoke again, using the dispenser to get some sanitizer in his hands and wringing it away to dryness, “It appears…and just goes poof!”


Robyn seemed slightly appeased and leaned in to watch. She cautiously put her hand under the dispenser and giggled when the sanitizer plopped into her hands.


“Now rub it all away!” Willow encouraged and Robyn laughed loudly as she did just that, then clapped.


“Poof, poof!” she announced excitedly.


Willow dropped a kiss on Robyn’s head and mouthed ‘thank you’ to JJ before leading them through the unit to Tara’s room.


“Guys, remember, you can’t jump all over Mommy. Very gentle hugs and you have to stay off the bed. Got it?”


“Got it,” JJ confirmed.


“Gog ih!” Robyn added proudly, though she only had a tenuous grasp of what she was agreeing to.


They got to the door, Willow’s hand on each of her children’s back to grab them in case they lunged.


Tara was sitting up in bed, looking as well as she’d looked in days. Her hair was washed and brushed and she’d put on a little make-up to hide her pale face. Even her clothes had changed from mismatched PJs to a nice loose top and skirt that hid the catheter still attached underneath.


Willow realized she’d done her best to look normal for the kids but her eyes were still sunken and exhausted.


“Jakey, Robyn,” Tara breathed and did seem to brighten upon seeing them all, “C’mere and give me a hug.”


“Gentle,” Willow reminded and held Robyn for the entirety of the hug just in case.


That kid used her legs like she was a teenage rebel protesting an anti-dancing ordinance.


Tara used her upper half to squeeze them both as hard as she could.


“I missed you, Mom,” JJ admitted quietly, gnawing on the corner of his lip.


“I missed you so much,” Tara replied, repeatedly kissing his forehead, “Both of you. Hey little bean, how’s it going? Jakey, did you win your basketball game at the weekend?”


JJ stood by Tara’s side, happily filling her in on all she’d missed. Willow sat on the visitor chair, holding Robyn by the waist as she stood on the armrest and snuggled into Tara’s shoulder.


She had to admit, it was quite adorable to see her daughter’s head of curls nuzzling Tara’s neck. Occasionally Robyn would twirl her fingers in Tara’s hair like she would as a baby when Tara was giving her a bottle.


Willow's arms suddenly felt so empty as she longed to cradle the two upstairs. She could only imagine how Tara felt.


All too soon, the short visit had to come to an end and Tara was clearly holding back tears so Willow didn’t delay the goodbyes too much. Robyn was surprisingly passive and toddled on out holding JJ’s hand.


“Willow?” Tara’s shaken voice called out.


Willow looked back and put a hand on each of the kid’s back again.


“Stay with your sister for a minute,” she asked JJ as she guided them out the door.


She jogged back into Tara and slipped her hand in.


“Yeah?”


Tara seemed a little startled by Willow’s touch but shook it off.


“H-Hi,” she swallowed, her pale lips betraying the true color of her face, “You’re going up to the NICU now right?”


Willow nodded.


“Yeah, the sibling support worker said we could bring them to the window so they can look in and see the babies.”


“And you’ll stay with them after?” Tara asked insistently.


“With the kids? Of c—” Willow started but Tara cut her off with a swift shake of her head.


“With the babies.”


Willow slowly frowned.


“Well…I gotta get the kids home for dinner. I was going to come back after but I was thinking maybe we could have dinner together. I can bring in something better than the tray stuff you’ve been getting.”


Tara shook her head again.


“You should go straight to the NICU.”


Willow offered a light smile.


“I can bring you in that lemon chicken scallop—”


“You should go straight,” Tara insisted, “I-I have to eat the meals they give me until my blood sugars regulate again.”


The smile on Willow’s face faltered.


“I want to come here. I don’t have to bring food.”


Willow actually saw Tara’s jaw move with the intensity of her clench.


“I need you to be with the babies.”


“Why can’t I be with you too?” Willow asked, trying to squeeze Tara’s hand, only for it to be withdrawn.


Tara’s whole jaw was trembling now.


“Because MY body failed them so I need to know that YOU will be there!”


Willow’s heart broke.


“Tara, your body didn’t…”


Tara’s whole face turned away and Willow felt like she was making everything ten times worse.


“Okay. Okay, Tara. I’ll go to the babies.”


Tara’s face turned back but her eyes remained downcast.


“Will you send me pictures?”


That was it, heart shattered.


“Yes,” Willow said softly, “I’ll send you pictures.”


She paused and pushed away from the bed.


“I’ll see you tomorrow.”


“You’ll be here on time?” Tara requested meekly.


Willow nodded.


“Doctor rounds at 8. I’ll be here at 7:30.”


She walked to the door but stopped and looked back.


“Tara?” she said softly, “I love you.”


Tara’s eyes filled with tears and she didn’t respond, but she did nod quickly and Willow knew the sentiment was returned. She blew a kiss and hoped the tears threatening to spill from her own eyes didn’t spill before she got the kids upstairs.


She recovered enough in the elevator to stem the flow and complimented the kids on how well they’d acted with Tara.


Up in the NICU, the sibling support worker, an older woman named Marie, greeted them and introduced herself to JJ and Robyn. She brought them into a side room that had an incubator with a dolly in it to prepare them for what they were about to see. JJ asked some questions and Robyn just wanted to play with the doll.


Willow walked with them down the corridor and picked up Robyn so she could see above the window when they got there. The nurses in the NICU had brought the incubators close in preparation and positioned them sidelong so they could all see right in.


“That’s Lily,” Willow pointed out, “And that’s Emily. Those are your little sisters.”


JJ stared in at them wide-eyed, eyes darting back and forth like Willow’s had that first night.


Robyn seemed keen on the idea that her little sisters were like the dolly she wanted to play with. Then she saw Lily do a wiggle and suddenly she started to roar, terrified.


Willow had to jostle to keep her in her arms and tried to put Robyn’s face into her neck to muffle the cries.


“Okay, this is too much for her.”


“Entirely normal,” Marie soothed, “It’s a very overwhelming sight.”


Willow thanked her for her time and had to pull at JJ’s t-shirt to get him to follow her.


“Momma, I wanna see the babies! I wanna see how the machine works that helps Emily breathe!”


Willow was flustered until she got them all back out to the elevator.


“I’ll bring you back to see them okay? Without your sister.”


JJ frowned but he tried to remember he helped by being good and didn’t protest.


Robyn was still crying back at the car, so Willow just grabbed a pacifier from the seat pocket and popped it into her mouth, dejected.


She knew she’d come to regret it, but there was only so much she could put up with in one day.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 21st 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:20 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip (That starts feeling a little ridiculous since all the other readers are too lazy to comment, but still...)

Very cute dog! Is he your own?
I really hope Tara won't demand that they give Woofy away before they take the babies home in the future. It would break JJ's and Robyn's hearts - but I wouldn't put it past Tara considering her current attitude of putting the babies above anyone else...

Quote:
I hope you were able to and fair warning, the next few chapters might not be great as a break from work...'

Oh boy, and I was hoping things would improve once Tara can visit the babies herself...

Yay for Becky being there for Willow and Tara!

Quote:
She didn’t know specifically what Tara wanted because the only desire Tara expressed was wanting to see her babies. She barely spoke apart from that unless the kids called and she put on a front for them. She wanted Willow to be with the babies all of the time instead of her to make sure they were okay. A real sting for Willow was coming down to check on Tara to see that her normally modest wife had permitted a nurse to give her a sponge bath in the bed when Willow had offered only that morning.


Willow felt run ragged and her biggest confidant and the only other person who understood what she was feeling was completely shutting down.


She ran her hand back through her hair and noted she was going to need to wash it soon. Her own self-care hasn’t been exactly high on the priority list at the moment.


Willow just packed the warmest, loosest clothing and PJs she could find and the bar of soap Tara usually liked to wash with so the nurse could help her smell like herself. Willow grumbled at her own petulant thought and reminded herself that Tara was in her own ninth circle of hell right now.


Not that she needed reminding; Tara’s pale, broken body lying small in the hospital bed was a regular and stark reminder. Considering the only other view she had for 90% of the day was her two tiny babies with wires spiraling out of their bodies, she was very much aware that more than half of her family were in dire straits and that there wasn’t a single, damn thing she could do about it.

:cry Poor Willow! She is really in a bad place, suffering emotionally but thinking she doesn't have the right to do so because in her eyes Tara has it so much worse.

Quote:
“What about Tara?” Becky asked with a softly arched eyebrow.


Willow inhaled a slow breath.


“Tara is…”


She blinked several times and shook her head.


“Distraught. She barely speaks to me, to anyone. She won’t let me help her with any of her care. I think she’s mad at me.”


Becky frowned.


“None of this is your fault.”


Willow swallowed deeply.


“I don’t think she thinks that.”


“What?” Becky asked with a furrowed brow, “Why?”


“Just a feeling I’m getting,” Willow replied, looking down.


Becky shook her head.


“I’m sure she doesn’t blame you.”


Willow just nodded, not exactly convinced.

Judging from Tara's self reproach at the end of the chapter I'd say she is only blaming herself / her own body - but it's understandable that Willow has the feeling she's mad with her somehow when Tara so totally distances herself from her... :cry

Quote:
“And what about you?”


Willow frowned.


“What about me?”


“How are you coping?” Becky asked softly.


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“Fine.”


“And really?” Becky pushed, raising both eyebrows.


Willow looked down and cleared her throat.


“If I teeter even a smidge away from ‘fine’, then I fall apart,” she admitted, her whole body tensing to prevent just that, “And I can’t fall apart.”


Poor Willow!
Quote:
Becky covered Willow’s hand again, then just walked around to her and wrapped an arm around Willow’s shoulders.


“I know that I’m not your best friend. I know Tara is that. But I am your oldest friend. And I’m built solid. You can lean on me until your best friend is back.”


Willow looked up with her eyes full of tears and wrapped her arms around Becky’s back as her head fell against Becky’s chest. She didn’t smell like Tara or feel like Tara but she was solid, just like she’d promised and Willow embraced that feeling she’d felt earlier of someone to take the weight off for a moment.


“Anything you need,” Becky promised, “I will do for you. And so will the others. You could not be farther from alone, okay?”

Thank goodness for Becky! I'm wondering if we will see more of Buffy, Alice and the others before the story ends. I realized that apart from Becky, Xander and Anya the members of the "extended family" had only dumb rolls in this story until now. I would like to see more of them, maybe in some lighter chapters before the end. For example I would love to see Angel come to Willow and ask for advice on the best way to propose to Buffy and Willow afterwards cheering for him when Buffy and Angel tell them all about their engagement (some storyline I always imagined for a confidential sequel...I hope you don't find it weird that I do imagine stuff you might write in the future :blush).

Quote:
I just want to be able to fix them all and I can’t!”


Becky pulled back and looked Willow in the eye.


“No, but you can fix you. Take care of you. Because what’s going to happen if you run yourself so far into the ground that you end up in hospital too?”


Willow’s breath quickened and she found herself nodding resolutely.


“Yes, I know. I know, you’re right.”

Yes she is! I'm extremely worried that Willow might suffer an emotional breakdown if Tara keeps her almost fanatic "only the babies matter!"-attitude and leaves the stress of trying to keep the whole family functioning to Willow alone... Hopefully it doesn't have to come to this to "wake Tara up".

Quote:
“H-Has something happened to Willow?”


“No, no,” Becky reassured, reaching out to take Tara’s hand, “I just brought in your new clothes for you. Willow was running behind herself.”


Tara looked stricken.


“S-She’s not with the babies?”


Becky slowly shook her head.


“She was going to tuck the kids in.”


Tara’s forehead slowly evened out.


“Oh. Yes. Of course.”

I actually took it as a good sign that Tara worried about Willow's wellbeing at first. But it bothered me that the fact that Willow sometimes has to take care of their other kids instead of the babies came as an afterthought for Tara.

Quote:
Tara’s eyes filled with tears and Becky just nodded quickly, encouragingly. She stood up and moved over the bed, embracing Tara gently as Tara began to cry into Becky’s shoulder and release some of the emotion she’d been struggling with.


Outside, Willow approached Tara’s room with a freshly baked half-loaf of Michelle’s banana bread for Tara to hopefully get some home comfort from. It was the only way she could consume bananas at all during pregnancy, so she’d taken quite a liking to it. Willow had brought it over especially for her after she’d tucked the kids in.


She heard soft crying just a foot away and frowned.


The frown only deepened when she stood in the doorway and watched Tara crying with Becky.


Feeling out of place as her wife was comforted by another, Willow turned back around and walked away sadly.

Willow really doesn't get a break, does she? Not only is she replaced in the physical care for her wife, but when it comes to beeing there for her emotionally as well... :cry

Quote:
Tara was sitting up in bed, looking as well as she’d looked in days. Her hair was washed and brushed and she’d put on a little make-up to hide her pale face. Even her clothes had changed from mismatched PJs to a nice loose top and skirt that hid the catheter still attached underneath.


Willow realized she’d done her best to look normal for the kids but her eyes were still sunken and exhausted.

Well, at least Tara made some effort for the kids...

Quote:
“H-Hi,” she swallowed, her pale lips betraying the true color of her face, “You’re going up to the NICU now right?”


Willow nodded.


“Yeah, the sibling support worker said we could bring them to the window so they can look in and see the babies.”


“And you’ll stay with them after?” Tara asked insistently.


“With the kids? Of c—” Willow started but Tara cut her off with a swift shake of her head.


“With the babies.”


I know Tara suffers but her attitude is starting to piss me off! What does she think Willow should do with the kids, put them in a taxi to drive to their grandparents alone so she can stay in the NICU with the babies?!

Quote:
“I want to come here. I don’t have to bring food.”


Willow actually saw Tara’s jaw move with the intensity of her clench.


“I need you to be with the babies.”


“Why can’t I be with you too?” Willow asked, trying to squeeze Tara’s hand, only for it to be withdrawn.


Tara’s whole jaw was trembling now.


“Because MY body failed them so I need to know that YOU will be there!”


Willow’s heart broke.


“Tara, your body didn’t…”


Tara’s whole face turned away and Willow felt like she was making everything ten times worse.


“Okay. Okay, Tara. I’ll go to the babies.”

:cry My heart breaks because Tara feels she failed the babies and because she totally distances herself from Willow! Now I'm wondering how she will act when she can finally get to the NICU herself - will she then send Willow away to care for the other kids because it's "her turn" with the babies?

Right now I start to think along the lines of "Things fall apart, they fall apart so hard!" when it comes to their marital relationship... I'd never expected it would come to this in a confidential story.

Quote:
Robyn seemed keen on the idea that her little sisters were like the dolly she wanted to play with. Then she saw Lily do a wiggle and suddenly she started to roar, terrified.


Willow had to jostle to keep her in her arms and tried to put Robyn’s face into her neck to muffle the cries.


“Okay, this is too much for her.”


“Entirely normal,” Marie soothed, “It’s a very overwhelming sight.”

And in this moment my heart broke for little Robbie too!

Could you give a hint how much more chapters it will take before the bright light at the end of the tunnel? Because I could really use some bright side in these dark corona times instead of more heartache! Maybe you could post the other "tough chapters" at shorter intervals (every two days or something) so the more happy times come sooner?


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 21st 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:05 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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I'm just going to start burning off these chapters with daily updates. It's clearly not the right time for it, but I couldn't anticipate we'd be in the climate we're in now. I thought I might have the next installment finished by the time this one finished up but I'll just have to keep working on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential Episode II (April 21st 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:33 am 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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For the record, I’m not being lazy about commenting *coughs- Wil’s Redemption -coughs* I am, however, lazy about going upstairs to type it out on my computer. I just want to make sure we get these facts straight.... :punish :laugh


Ps. I REALLY hate trying to do it on my phone or iPad.

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