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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (September 30th)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Seventeen




Willow was on her knees using the famous knee pads Tara had gifted her for her birthday but for the less pleasurable task of deep cleaning some baseboards.


Only the fact that they were her baseboard in her bar in her new waterfront property made it at all a tolerable exercise, but it was a pretty compelling reason. Especially anytime she stood up and saw the view and imagined the place full of shelves and tables and beanbags and people.


She struggled back into a standing position and wiped some dust from her pants.


She looked around. There was still a lot to do before she started interviewing that afternoon.


She’d considered asking Lily to help but between the wedding planning and the impending move for college, she was very slightly insufferable at the moment. Emily’s belly was getting so big now that she wouldn’t be much help with any of the manual labor so she was out too. Tara was working all day and so that left Willow all on her lonesome to have this place clean enough that somebody would want to work here even though it was devoid of furniture.


At least, it was physically devoid. All Willow had to do was stand in the middle of the empty space to see what it could — would — be. She liked the idea of keeping it aesthetically similar to the Sunnydale store, especially since Tara had made most of the design decisions there, but was planning to change the wood furnishings to match the inbuilt bar and other wood decorations — like her spotless baseboards.


The wood was dark but if it wasn’t, Willow was sure she would have seen her reflection in them. A buffing worthy of Ruth, who may have had her own messy style of book organization but always had the cleanest floors in the town.


Given that was Sunnydale, that was only a mild compliment, but still.


Willow looked up to the one fixture already in place — a copy of the portrait of Ruth on the highest beam in the building so she could look down on it all. She smiled and gave a respectful nod before going into the kitchen in the back where the old furniture was all stacked up.


To say Willow had gotten a deal on this place would be an understatement. Like the snow that would fall on the banks of the river outside the window come winter, everything had fallen together gently but in a very impactful way.


First, her foreknowledge of the downfall of Jonathan McFarland and accomplice wife Jennifer (currently languishing on house arrest as they awaited trial) had allowed her to approach the person she needed to to make the offer before any assets were frozen.


Second, just as Emmett had promised, that person (Tracy, whom Willow found delightful to deal with) was very eager to rip Jonathan off with very little recourse that could come back on her. She made sure the other investors got what they were due, gave herself a higher commission to offset any loss on her part, and pretty much wrapped the building up in a bow for Willow to take.


Thirdly, the restaurant that had been here previously, where Willow and Tara had come for their anniversary, was due to vacate so there weren’t even any messy tenant arrangements to be made. Willow even got all of the old stock like the furniture sitting in the kitchen and all of the appliances already fitted to code.


Lastly, and by no means leastly, Willow signed her annual contract with the FBI for their licensing of TARA except this time she got them to drop the exclusivity. It meant one less zero on the paycheck but also meant Willow could use it for commercial enterprises and she had a lot of ideas for how to integrate it into the store.


The first thing would be her wife’s sweet voice welcoming everybody on arrival.


In the kitchen, Willow started to drag some chairs into the main area so people would have someplace to sit when they arrived. The ‘people’ in question were the interviewees' Willow had put an open call out for so she could get some help quick on pulling this place together.


She set out ten chairs outside the office; five on either wall and shortly after, heard a gentle knock on the glass of the door.


By the time Willow got to the door to answer it a few seconds later, there were three people already there.



Emily walked along the river clutching her purse over her shoulder; nervously running her fingers up and down the strap.


It was a habit she developed when avoiding confrontation in the schoolyard but often did it just walking along the street as well; trying to hide herself from the gazes of anyone who was near.


It was a bit moot when her belly was so obviously swollen and making her stand out but old habits die hard.


As she walked, she spotted the building of the new store across the street. Willow had brought her and Lily and JJ and Kayden to show them it when they were all home for graduation and Emily had thought it was a great spot to be able to chill out with a book.


Emily was confused as to why there was a line outside what she knew to be an empty store, but then she recalled Willow talking that morning about doing interviews for the staff.


She crossed the street and quietly walked through the door, getting annoyed looks from the people in front as she did so.


She whispered an apology but was pretty quickly distracted by all of the people wandering around aimlessly inside. The few chairs were occupied and everyone else was leaning against walls or just sitting on the floor, waiting, pouring over what Emily realized were resumes.


She heard a door opening and watched as everybody’s attention turned to the sound like animals getting a whiff of prey.


“We’ll be in touch,” Willow said, shaking the hand of the person she was leaving the office with.


Emily quickly strode over.


“Momma.”


Willow blinked as she took in Emily. Willow's eyes were heavy and there were lines of exhaustion embedded on her face.


“Oh, Em,” Willow said, weakly reaching out to touch Emily’s arm, “It’s really nice of you to come, sweetie but way more people showed up than I intended and things are kind of crazy.”


Emily glanced back into the main store area and back at Willow.


“I’ll take care of it,” she said with the kind of confidence in her voice she didn’t often have, “Collect resumes and get a line going.”


Willow’s shoulders slumped gratefully.


“Thank you, Emily,” she said and tried to straighten up again to seem professional, “Err…who’s next?”


Everybody clambered toward Willow, who quickly just plucked a waving resume and brought that person inside.


She really, really wished she’d gone with a recruitment agency and not just posted an open call. She would definitely be going that route when she was searching for kitchen staff.


Fifty interviews and interviewees later, Willow waved goodbye to the last person and let her professional stature slump. Her hands went to her lower back and she just stretched for a moment.


When she opened her eyes, she was surprised.


The last timed she’d looked out, it was like a zoo but now there were chairs neatly sitting against all of the walls. There was some form of an intake table — a dining table of old — with stacks of resumes, name-tags, and pens (different colored to Willow’s delight), several jugs filled with water and cups and even a plate of cookies.


“Emily, thank you so much,” Willow said as she walked toward where Emily was gathering the cups in an old basin, “I don’t know what I would have done without you. Where did you get all of this stuff?”


“In the kitchen,” Emily answered, leaving the basin down for a moment, “And the supermarket two blocks over.”


Willow frowned.


“I hope you didn’t carry all of this.”


Emily shook her head.


“People were happy to carry their own chairs to have someplace to sit and everything else was light.”


Willow poured herself a cup of water as she glanced over the sign-up sheet Emily had started.


None stood out.


Even those who had chosen to write their details in green or red for that very reason.


While they were all pleasant people — apart from one guy who was entirely stoned the whole time, and even then he was still pleasant just completely inappropriate — Willow didn’t get the kind of passion she’d gotten when she hired Marla. Maybe it was too much to ask these days but she needed someone who she at least believed had read a book or two just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Who understood the kind of feeling Willow was trying to invoke in her customers.


The store name said it all — Bibliosima. Enjoyment from smelling good or old books. She needed someone who got that.


“Momma, there’s one more person to interview,” Emily pulled Willow out of her internal musings.


Willow looked around in alarm but nobody was there.


If they were in the bathroom, she really hoped Emily had bought toilet paper too.


She looked back to Emily expectantly, who swallowed deeply but kept her posture tall.


“Me.”


Willow slowly blinked.


“Not the manager obviously,” Emily added in quickly, “I know I don’t have the experience for that.”


Willow sat into a nearby chair and gestured for Emily to sit opposite. She did.


“I thought you were going to work for the community college.”


Emily struggled not to avert her gaze but it couldn’t help but fall downward.


“Nobody even looks at my resume once they see the belly.”


Willow nodded once evenly.


“And who’ll take care of…?”


“I can still get subsidized daycare as a student,” Emily’s head shot back up with renewed assurance, “I can get an associate's degree, part-time if I need to, and then move onto UB.”


Willow’s mouth moved about as she thought.


“And what are you planning on studying?”


Emily inhaled and exhaled slowly.


“I don’t know yet Momma,” she answered honestly, “But I love languages and I love books and I think I could do a really good job here. Do you know how many kids in my school read real books anymore? None. I was the only one ever in the library. Maybe if I’d had someplace like this…m-maybe I would have had more friends.”


Willow swallowed right in time with her heart clenching.


Emily wasn’t sure how to take her mother’s silence.


“Momma, if there’s someone better for the job, don’t hire me,” she said and glanced over to the side where she could see the room filling itself out as it would look in the future, “I always wished I could visit the store in Sunnydale whenever I wanted. Hide away in a beanbag. I’ll still be here all the time. I want the baby to grow up here. You can think about it.”


Emily started to stand and Willow stood with her.


“You can’t work the bar until you’re 18.”


Emily’s eyes lit up.


“I know,” she nodded quickly, “But I thought, what if you had a dedicated bartender? The Buffalo market is bigger and the clientele is younger. You could build a reputation for cocktails. I can still work as a server or cashier or…however I’m needed.”


Willow pursed her lips for a moment.


“You’re right, you don’t have the experience to be a manager,” she said eventually and both of them were gnawing on the corner of their lips in the exact same way, “How does assistant manager sound?”


Emily’s mouth slowly dropped.


“It sounds amazing.”


“How does being an assistant manager to your mother sound?” Willow arched an eyebrow and Emily’s eyes slowly widened as she registered what Willow was saying, “I need someone with the essence of Ruth. I’m realizing that that’s me. I want to run this place. Every day, not just on a quarterly basis or even on a monthly basis. And recruitment debacle aside, I know I can do it. I micro-managed poor Marla for long enough.”


Emily’s feet turned inward and she extended her hand.


“It’s nice to meet you, boss.”


Willow smiled softly. Even looking at Emily was still hard for her with the ‘situation’ so evident but she couldn’t deny she felt immense pleasure at the thought of running one of Ruth’s stores with her own daughter.


“Any other ideas for this place?”


Emily looked back over her shoulder where the view out to the water was.


“Have a canopy so people can sit out in the summer with a drink and a book. You could even make a unique focal point, like a hammock. Something that gets people talking.”


Willow smiled a little more.


This could really, really work out. It could also be really, really messy but something in her felt otherwise. She glanced over at the stack of resumes and lifted them up.


“We’ll need some other people to work on the floor. Anyone stand out?”


Emily came to stand beside Willow and looked on as she flicked through them.


“Um…Peter,” she stopped her at one particular resume, “He offered to carry the table when he saw me trying to do it. No one else did.”


“I will review Peter,” Willow replied, scanning his information quickly, “Oh, his middle name is Albus. At least he was raised by my kinda people.”


Emily nodded.


“And he’s studying creative writing.”


Willow frowned; she couldn’t place him in the sea of faces she’d seen that day.


“Remind me who I’m dealing with?”


Emily reached above herself


“He was tall,” she indicated his estimated height. “Blue eyes. Brown hair that fell into his eyes. Really chiseled jawline.”


She blushed but Willow wasn’t looking at her to catch it.


“Dreamy and steamy,” she replied firmly as she remembered, “Got it.”


“He has a dog named Sirius Bark,” Emily added shyly.


Willow’s head flew up with wide eyes.


“We’re hiring him immediately,” she said definitively, “Why didn’t he say any of that in the interview?”


Emily shrugged one shoulder easily.


“He probably thought it was unprofessional.”


“Well, we’ll have to beat that out of him,” Willow quipped and shook the papers again, “Give me one more.”


Emily thumbed through them all until she found another one to take out.


“Audrey,” she said with as assured a nod as Willow had ever seen her give, “She’s young. Lots of charisma. A single mom and she’s worked as a proofreader before. She does book reviews to get access to hard copies for her kids that she wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. She’s working at a call center right now and would be so grateful to leave so I know she’d work hard.”


Willow slowly smiled at her daughter.


“I should have had you conduct the interviews,” she said honestly and bumped Emily’s shoulder, “That will be enough floor staff at least until…”


She trailed off and they both looked at Emily’s stomach. Emily put a hand there protectively and looked up slowly.


“H-How does that work?”


Willow let her hand fall onto Emily’s shoulder and gently caressed her daughter’s skin past the sleeve on her t-shirt with her thumb.


“You’re lucky that your Mom made me establish a very generous maternity package in the other store.”


Emily’s eyes softened.


“I think I’m lucky that Mom is…Mom.”


Willow let out a single chuckle.


“You and me both, kid.”


She moved her arm around Emily’s shoulders and tilted Emily’s head toward her to kiss.


“You and me both.”



Tara was relieved to hear the sound of the key in the door and walked out to it to greet the person coming inside.


“Sweetpea, there you are,” she hugged Emily, then held her at arm’s length, “I was expecting you home hours ago. What happened at college?”


“I don’t get a hug and a ‘sweetpea’?” Willow asked with a pout as she came in behind Emily.


Tara kissed Willow’s cheek and closed the door.


“S-Sorry, Mom,” Emily said, leaving her backpack by the door, “I, um, went to see the new store and stayed to help out.”


“And then we got ice-cream,” Willow added cheerily.


Tara arched an eyebrow.


“Before dinner?”


Willow and Emily shared a guilty look. Tara was grinning inside to see them hovered close like they used to be but she couldn’t very well let that show.


“Go wash up,” she directed Emily up the stairs, “Tell Lily and Emmett they need to wash up too.”


“Emmett is here?” Willow took a long step forward, her eyes skittish, “Upstairs? Alone?”


Tara’s brow furrowed in a strange look directed at Willow.


“He got the train up to help Lily pack for Julliard. He’s going to take some of it back for her.”


“That’s… decent of him,” Willow said evenly.


She made a step away but Tara caught her arm.


“Um, excuse me,” she said, pulling her toward the kitchen, “You’re not exempt from washing your hands either.”


Willow gave Tara a slow and purposeful eye roll.


“You know, we haven’t had a pandemic in years.”


“You know, germs don’t pay attention to calendars,” Tara replied as she kissed the top of Willow’s ear and pushed her gently toward the sink, “How did the interviews go?”


Willow made a face as she washed her hands under the faucet.


“Maybe not a pandemic-level disaster but definitely small-earthquake level. Nobody died but still leaves a mess.”


Tara deflated slightly.


“That bad?”


“Exhausting,” Willow replied and for a moment her eyes betrayed just that, “But it made me realize a lot.”


Tara perked up again.


“It did?”


Willow flicked the water from her fingertips and turned back to Tara.


“I don’t want there to be a manager for the store,” she said and exhaled a long breath, “ want to be the manager of the store.”


Tara’s hands cupped her mouth and then moved down over her heart.


“Oh, I was hoping you’d say that.”


Willow’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.


“You were?” she asked as those brows furrowed again quickly, “Why didn’t you say something?”


Tara wrapped her hands around both of Willow’s upper arms.


“It’s your baby. I wanted you to feel it was right.”


Willow’s face softened.


“I mean, that’s the whole point, right? To have something to do that I really love to fill my days,” she said softly, then winked, “Can’t stay home and bang you all day as much as I’d like.”


She rubbed Tara’s waist and leaned up for a soft, sweet kiss.


Tara nuzzled Willow’s nose gently, ignoring the 'bang' jibe.


“I’m so glad you’re going to take the job on.”


“I couldn't be so hands-off when the store is so close by. I'd drive another manager crazy,” Willow noted with a small laugh, “And Marla is sending one of her guys down to help with the opening. Emily picked out two great employees and I have feelers out for a good bartender and a good chef.”


Tara kissed Willow again.


“I’m so proud of you.”


Willow allowed herself to fall into a hug.


“Something else kinda big happened,” she said as she nestled inside Tara’s embrace, “I hired Emily as my assistant manager.”


Tara pulled away from Willow to look at her quizzically. Willow had a look of slight awe which was a delight to see.


“Tara, she was amazing. She organized everything and she has all these great ideas. I’m really excited about it.”


Tara’s eyes shone with hope.


“You understand…”


Willow cut Tara off with a nod.


“That I’m taking a risk, yes. But I really believe in her,” she said, gently pulling at the ends of Tara’s shirt, “And I don’t think she was having much luck elsewhere.”


Tara frowned.


“Oh, she never answered how things went at school.”


Willow lifted her thumb up and dropped it again.


“Thumbs up for being a student, thumbs down for being an employee.”


Tara nodded in understanding.


“Well, at least the most important thing succeeded.”


“Definitely,” Willow agreed.


They hugged again for a moment until there was the distinct sound of footsteps on the stairs.


“I hear the hungry hoofs of children,” Willow whispered with mock-terror.


“Mom, did you make extra garlic bread?” Lily screeched from the hall, “I need to carbo-load from all that packing.”


Tara quickly moved over to the ovens and used tongs to transfer all of the garlic bread into the waiting basket.


“Just as I promised,” she said as she held the basket out for Lily.


Lily took a slice and started to walk away. Tara called her back, exasperated.


“Take the whole basket, please.”


Lily did an exaggerated sigh and took the whole basket into the dining room.


“You know how I was nervous about her going off to college all on her own?” Willow asked with a fake chipper, “Totally ready for it. Can she go tomorrow?”


Tara put a hand on Willow’s upper arm and squeezed.


Together they got dinner on the table and even managed to get some food on their plates without getting stabbed by Lily’s fork.


After dinner, Willow spied Emmett ready to head back upstairs with Lily. She looked uneasy and leaned over to Tara.


“Are we really okay with him sleeping over?” she asked with a deep frown, “The last time was an emergency and I only partly trust that he didn’t sneak down or more likely, Lily sneaked up.”


Tara arched an eyebrow at Willow.


“Have you seriously not gotten the memo?”


Willow’s face slowly fell.


“There was a memo?” she asked in a small voice, “Why wasn't I CC’d?”


Tara clasped her arm over Willow’s shoulder.


“Willow, Emmett is gay.”


Willow’s eyes slowly widened. She pushed herself away from Tara and threw her arms up.


“Hallelujah!” she exclaimed and hurried out to wrap a surprised Emmett in a hug, “Stay over anytime. Do you need a copy of the agenda?”


Emmett looked alarmed but didn’t reject the hug.


“Umm… thanks.”


Willow started to move upstairs and Tara placed a gentle hand on Emmett’s back.


“Don't worry. She's been making that joke for years. Be glad she didn't mention a toaster oven.”


Willow’s head suddenly turned around.


“Hey does this mean Lily gets a toaster oven?” she asked, utterly delighted with both her jokes and the situation, “I won't have to buy her one for school!”


Lily looked at Tara with pained, derisive eyes.


“That’s your wife.”


Tara just smiled and watched Willow’s butt pounce away with a proud tilt of her chin.


“That’s my wife.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 2nd)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:23 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 406
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
Willow pursed her lips for a moment.


“You’re right, you don’t have the experience to be a manager,” she said eventually and both of them were gnawing on the corner of their lips in the exact same way, “How does assistant manager sound?”


Emily’s mouth slowly dropped.


“It sounds amazing.”


“How does being an assistant manager to your mother sound?” Willow arched an eyebrow and Emily’s eyes slowly widened as she registered what Willow was saying, “I need someone with the essence of Ruth. I’m realizing that that’s me. I want to run this place. Every day, not just on a quarterly basis or even on a monthly basis. And recruitment debacle aside, I know I can do it. I micro-managed poor Marla for long enough.”


Emily’s feet turned inward and she extended her hand.


“It’s nice to meet you, boss.”


Willow smiled softly. Even looking at Emily was still hard for her with the ‘situation’ so evident but she couldn’t deny she felt immense pleasure at the thought of running one of Ruth’s stores with her own daughter.


“Any other ideas for this place?”


Emily looked back over her shoulder where the view out to the water was.


“Have a canopy so people can sit out in the summer with a drink and a book. You could even make a unique focal point, like a hammock. Something that gets people talking.”


Willow smiled a little more.


This could really, really work out. It could also be really, really messy but something in her felt otherwise.

Yay! :applause :banana Willow managing the store and Emily working with her is what I hoped for all along!
I really hope it will bring them as close together as they were before (or even closer).
I also trust that Willow will soon be completely smitten with her granddaughter once she is born so it will be great for the kid to partially grow up in "Bibliosmia 2". I like to imagine that the management of this store will be passed through the family in the distant future, from Willow to Emily and later from Emily to Kelly.

Quote:
“Remind me who I’m dealing with?”


Emily reached above herself


“He was tall,” she indicated his estimated height. “Blue eyes. Brown hair that fell into his eyes. Really chiseled jawline.”


She blushed but Willow wasn’t looking at her to catch it.


“Dreamy and steamy,” she replied firmly as she remembered, “Got it.”

Now I have a hunch that Peter might become Emily's first love...

Quote:
“And he’s studying creative writing.”

Quote:
“He has a dog named Sirius Bark,” Emily added shyly.

Quote:
“Audrey,” she said with as assured a nod as Willow had ever seen her give, “She’s young. Lots of charisma. A single mom and she’s worked as a proofreader before. She does book reviews to get access to hard copies for her kids that she wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. She’s working at a call center right now and would be so grateful to leave so I know she’d work hard.”

Again a sign how much confidence Emily has gained in the last months that she talked so much with the interviewees to gain this information. I think until recently Emily would have been much too shy to have a real conversation with those strangers.

Quote:
“You’re lucky that your Mom made me establish a very generous maternity package in the other store.”


Emily’s eyes softened.


“I think I’m lucky that Mom is…Mom.”


Willow let out a single chuckle.


“You and me both, kid.”


She moved her arm around Emily’s shoulders and tilted Emily’s head toward her to kiss.


“You and me both.”

Hear, hear! :flower

Quote:
After dinner, Willow spied Emmett ready to head back upstairs with Lily. She looked uneasy and leaned over to Tara.


“Are we really okay with him sleeping over?” she asked with a deep frown, “The last time was an emergency and I only partly trust that he didn’t sneak down or more likely, Lily sneaked up.”


Tara arched an eyebrow at Willow.


“Have you seriously not gotten the memo?”


Willow’s face slowly fell.


“There was a memo?” she asked in a small voice, “Why wasn't I CC’d?”


Tara clasped her arm over Willow’s shoulder.


“Willow, Emmett is gay.”


Willow’s eyes slowly widened. She pushed herself away from Tara and threw her arms up.


“Hallelujah!” she exclaimed and hurried out to wrap a surprised Emmett in a hug, “Stay over anytime. Do you need a copy of the agenda?”


Emmett looked alarmed but didn’t reject the hug.


“Umm… thanks.”


Willow started to move upstairs and Tara placed a gentle hand on Emmett’s back.


“Don't worry. She's been making that joke for years. Be glad she didn't mention a toaster oven.”


Willow’s head suddenly turned around.


“Hey does this mean Lily gets a toaster oven?” she asked, utterly delighted with both her jokes and the situation, “I won't have to buy her one for school!”

:lol Willow is so cute!
Quote:
Lily looked at Tara with pained, derisive eyes.


“That’s your wife.”


Tara just smiled and watched Willow’s butt pounce away with a proud tilt of her chin.


“That’s my wife.”

Awww! :bigkiss


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 2nd)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:45 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:32 pm
Posts: 3198
Topics: 15
Location: H-Town, Texas
:bigwave

Quote:
Fifty interviews and interviewees later...
HELL. NO.

Quote:
Momma, there’s one more person to interview...
YAY!!! I'm so happy about this! I think Willow, and everyone, are starting to finally see the REAL Emily and I think they'll be pleasantly surprised.

Quote:
“Um, excuse me,” she said, pulling her toward the kitchen, “You’re not exempt from washing your hands either.”

Willow gave Tara a slow and purposeful eye roll.

“You know, we haven’t had a pandemic in years.”

“You know, germs don’t pay attention to calendars,” Tara replied as she kissed the top of Willow’s ear and pushed her gently toward the sink

Hahahahahahahaha! Good one.

Great chapter. I really feel like things are starting to look up again for everyone. You've done a great job of capturing the roller coaster of life. There are always ups and downs, you just have to stay the course and let love guide you. :love

-JMT

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"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 2nd)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:00 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4499
Topics: 40
Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


:bow

Quote:
Yay! :applause :banana Willow managing the store and Emily working with her is what I hoped for all along!


I promised I'd make it work out, right?

Quote:
I really hope it will bring them as close together as they were before (or even closer).


I think so.

Quote:
I also trust that Willow will soon be completely smitten with her granddaughter once she is born so it will be great for the kid to partially grow up in "Bibliosmia 2". I like to imagine that the management of this store will be passed through the family in the distant future, from Willow to Emily and later from Emily to Kelly.


I also envision this happening.

Quote:
Now I have a hunch that Peter might become Emily's first love...


You might be right, you might not... :kdevil

Quote:
Again a sign how much confidence Emily has gained in the last months that she talked so much with the interviewees to gain this information. I think until recently Emily would have been much too shy to have a real conversation with those strangers.


Hard agree!

Quote:
Hear, hear! :flower


So say we one, so say we all.

Quote:
:lol Willow is so cute!


No doubt.

Quote:
Awww! :bigkiss


All those years and still checking each other out - I envy them!

Thanks for your feedback!

Finey_McFine

Quote:
:bigwave


:bigwave

Quote:
HELL. NO.


Torture.

Quote:
YAY!!! I'm so happy about this! I think Willow, and everyone, are starting to finally see the REAL Emily and I think they'll be pleasantly surprised.


It's her time to shine!

Quote:
Hahahahahahahaha! Good one.


We have to find levity where we can!

Quote:
Great chapter. I really feel like things are starting to look up again for everyone. You've done a great job of capturing the roller coaster of life. There are always ups and downs, you just have to stay the course and let love guide you. :love


Thanks so much JMT! I love riding the rollercoaster with these guys!

Thanks so much for your feedback!



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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 2nd)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:00 pm 
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Chapter Eighteen




“Oh, hello, there, gentle viewers. You caught me catching up on an old favorite. It's wonderful to get lost in a story, isn't it? Adventure and heroics and discovery — don't they just take you away? Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers. Join me on a new voyage of the mind. A little tale I like to call: Bibliosima, Bringer of Books.”


A fair-haired man cocked his head at the old-fashioned camcorder he had directed at himself.


“And wine if you’re into that kind of thing.”


From the other side of the newly-furnished bookstore, Tara watched him unsurely and looked over at Willow.


“Do you even know him?”


Willow looked up and followed Tara’s eye line.


“Andrew?” she questioned and shrugged, “I went to school with his brother.”


“You went to school with his brother?” Tara asked with a sharply arched, disbelieving eyebrow, “Either their father had a second family when his first was grown or this Andrew bathes in vampire blood. He looks like a kid.”


“I have a great skincare routine,” Andrew popped up from nowhere, making both Willow and Tara jump, “And you really don’t remember me?”


Willow stalled awkwardly.


“Uhh…”


Andrew pouted.


“I summoned the monkeys that attacked the high school? During the school play, you know?”


Tara looked utterly bewildered.


“I-I’m sorry?”


“They weren’t real monkeys,” Willow clarified quickly.


Andrew put his hands on his hips.


“Well apparently flying monkeys aren’t real and you have to have a lot of permits to have real monkeys so sea monkeys were the best I could do, okay?”


Tara’s eyes were permanently wide.


“You…unleashed sea monkeys during a school play?” she asked slowly, looking between him and Willow, “Why?”


Andrew rolled his eyes and looked away.


“The brother let a pack of wild dogs loose at the prom,” Willow whispered to Tara, “Real Remus complex over here.”


She chuckled awkwardly and patted Andrew’s back.


“How is Tucker doing?”


“In jail,” Tucker answered flatly.


Willow nodded once.


“That tracks.”


Tara put her hand on Willow’s arm affectionately.


“No wonder you wanted to move as far away as possible,” she said and offered a soft smile to Willow’s pained one. She bit her lip for a moment, then couldn’t help but ask, “What was the actual outcome of the sea monkey incident?”


“The floor got wet,” Willow answered plainly.


“The floor AND the two leads,” Andrew amended haughtily.


“Kind of made it more romantic,” Willow nodded.


Andrew tossed a hand up dramatically.


“Oh, whatever,” he scoffed, “It doesn’t even matter. I'm faster, stronger, and 82% more manly than the last time we—”


Suddenly he fumbled with the camera in his hands and in his attempts to save it, grabbed right at Willow’s chest.


Willow’s eyebrows flew up in alarm.


“Hey! Bad touching!”


Andrew managed to disengage from the bad touching while still saving his camera.


“Sorry, boss.”


“Why are you recording anyway?” Willow asked, folding her arms protectively across her chest.


“Posterity,” Andrew answered with a real smile, “There’s no film school in Sunnydale but there’s a place filled with stories where I can get lost any time I want. I’m proud to be involved with this place and I want to remember.”


Tara smiled and patted both Andrew and Willow on their shoulders and walked away to help Emily do the final check on the organization of the books on the shelves.


“Thank you for coming to help us with all of this,” Willow said to Andrew with a sincere nod, “Are you sure we can’t put you up in a hotel?”


Andrew nodded easily.


“My aunt lives out here. It’s nice to see her.”


Willow let her arms drop.


“Oh yeah, I forgot you guys were raised by your aunt.”


“Oh, not that one. She’s in jail too,” Andrew shook his head with a wide-eyed shake of his head, “This one is on the good side of my family, my dad’s. Her name is Julia.”


Willow began to nod, then cocked her head.


“Wait, is she an OB/GYN?”


Andrew’s brow furrowed but he smiled.


“Yeah. How did you know?”


Very quickly it was all hands on deck as the minutes to opening time ticked closer together. It had been a real labor of love to get this place kitted out and staff hired and contracts formed to pull the store together so quickly but Willow couldn’t be prouder.


It wasn’t a carbon copy of the store in Sunnydale; it had a bit more of an upmarket feel in the bar area but there was still a beanbag nook and a library section of old and battered books and everything else that had been so important to Willow growing up.


And even more importantly, those things had been improved upon. Emily had suggested they have a section to highlight writers of color and that they start to book author events; something the Sunnydale store had never had quite the gravitas or appeal for visiting writers to put on their schedule.


Truly, Willow had never seen Emily more engaged and she had never felt more proud.


Suddenly there was a crash. Willow’s hands balled by her sides.


“Lily! Stop stacking the books!”


“Never!” Lily called back, “I almost had an Eiffel Tower!”


Willow stomped off in Lily’s direction.


“This stopped being cute when you were six!”


In the window display, Peter handed Emily a replica first edition of Anna Karenina and smiled.


“Willow said you recommended me. Thanks.”


Emily smiled back shyly.


“Your middle name really sold it. She’s a big Harry Potter fan.”


Peter chuckled.


“Oh, it’s not a Harry Potter reference. And it’s not my middle name, it’s my first last name,” he paused and frowned at himself, “Does that make sense? It’s my mom’s last name.”


Emily nodded.


“Right, I’m a double-barrel too,” she explained then looked over her shoulder and leaned into Peter, “But don’t tell her that.”


Peter’s eyes flicked over to Willow reprimanding Lily and back to Emily softly.


“If it helps I’m a HP fan too. Hufflepuff all the way.”


Emily looked down for a moment, then revealed a yellow and black wristband on her arm.


“Me too.”


“Yeah?” Peter smiled easily.


Emily nodded seriously.


“My Momma made us all go through a sorting hat ceremony when we were twelve.”


Peter laughed. Emily smiled.


“I wonder what Andrew is?” Peter asked nonchalantly as he handed Emily the last book for the display, “I should go see if he needs some help.”


In the backroom, Tara was struggling with the price-label maker. Willow had bought a fancy digital one and Tara had no idea why; it just made a simple task all the more work.


“Need a hand?” a voice asked and Tara looked up to see Audrey standing a bit awkwardly in front of her.


“Oh, thank you,” Tara gratefully handed it over, “You know, this whole owning a store business was much easier when we were two thousand miles away.”


Audrey started labeling things with ease; a simple flick of her wrist.


“I worked at a convenience store in Chittenango when I was in high school. Everything back there was done by hand — labeling, price checks, the books. Everything. The first time I was handed one of these was like Christmas morning.”


Tara smiled softly.


“It’s good to know we have someone with such experience in retail. Do you enjoy it?”


“I’ve turned my hand to everything over the years,” Audrey replied, then quickly straightened up, “I mean, of course, I have a passion for helping the customer and expanding the business.”


“That’s great,” Tara replied easily, “But you can be candid. It’s always been important to me that we looked after our workers, being given the great privilege to have workers in the first place.”


Audrey continued to quietly price a set of jigsaws.


“I take what I can get. We’ve moved around a lot,” she admitted with a quick nod of her head, “The last place I was in was awful. All of the agencies see that I didn’t get a college degree or even attend a college now and they put me at the bottom of the pile. I was surprised to get a new listing email from the website. I’d honestly forgotten I’d even signed up. Most people putting out open calls are for jobs I don't judge but also have no interest applying for, if you know what I mean.”


“We’re glad you applied,” Tara smiled kindly, “Is your son coming in today?”


Audrey raised an eyebrow.


“Can he? He adores reading.”


“Willow would love nothing more than to see this place filled with kids reading,” Tara replied fondly, “And me too. As long as he’s not disruptive and stays out of the bar, it’s no problem for him to hang out here.”


Audrey swallowed deeply.


“It can be so hard to find childcare sometimes.”


“I can imagine,” Tara replied sympathetically, “Are you okay to finish up this intake?”


“Absolutely,” Audrey replied with new vigor, “Everything will be good to go at showtime. I promise you that.”


Tara heard more narration and went back into the store to make sure Willow wasn’t throttling Andrew. Instead, she found Willow bashfully batting away the camera as Andrew bigged her up as the boss. Tara was quickly dragged into this. She should have known Willow, their family photo-taker, would get sucked up in that kind of thing.


After lunch, Tara dragged Willow home to get changed for the opening, knowing Willow would nervously cycle through many outfits before picking one, despite reassuring Tara the night before that she had it all under control.


Sure enough, Tara’s head moved like she was watching a game of Pong as Willow ran between the dresser and the closet.


“The purple or the blue?”


“I liked the yellow,” Tara answered honestly and this was apparently not a helpful answer.


“Who am I, Pikachu?! Oh, look at me, I’m the boss even though I’m not even a higher evolved Pokémon!”


Tara withheld a sigh as she held her own neck in her hand.


“Willow, darling. You look gorgeous in everything. Wear the blue. You love the blue.”


Willow held the blue shirt against her
body.


“I do like the blue.”


“Wear the blue,” Tara advised gently, “You’ll be stunning.”


Willow continued to check herself out in the mirror, so Tara stood up from the bed and slowly slid her hands down Willow’s hips.


Willow’s eyelids fluttered closed as Tara kissed her neck.


“You’ve done such an amazing job,” Tara whispered softly, “The team you’ve built and the way you’ve brought the whole place together in such a short amount of time. I’m so proud of you. Of you and Emily.”


Willow smiled and took a first real breath in a while. She swayed with Tara softly for a few moments and when she opened her eyes, she got dressed silently.


In the blue.


When they got back to the store all of the staff had changed into their uniforms and somehow the place looked even cleaner than when they’d left it (pretty darn clean). Willow went to see Javi, the bartender, to get the cocktail samples started for when they officially opened in less than an hour. Gus, the chef, was already working on the canapés and the additional servers Willow had hired for the night were getting debriefed by Emily as to where and who to serve to avoid any catastrophic incidences against the precious books.


Tara had Willow her off to do her boss thing as this truly was her baby. Though Willow asked for her input all the time on some of her decision-making and Tara was treated with the due respect owed as a co-owner, Tara was quite happy to blend into the background and just soak up the atmosphere. Instead, she’d wandered over to pull some blinds and let some light into the dark shadows.


As she did so, she spotted a young blond-haired boy with glasses nestled in a beanbag with a book in his hands. He looked up at her unsurely. He couldn’t have been more than four but his quizzical eyes showed off his precociousness.


Tara bent down and smiled.


“Hi. I’m Tara.”


“I’m Toby,” Toby replied, pushing his glasses up his face.


“Hi Toby,” Tara said and nodded at his hands, “Did you pick out a book?”


Toby showed the cover and Tara recognized it as a popular series from when her girls were young.


“Great choice.”


She stood back up and Audrey was quickly by her side.


“He’s going before the party starts, don’t worry.”


“I want to stay for the party,” Toby complained with a sigh and a deep furrow of discontent in his brow.


Tara arched an eyebrow at him.


“What if I promise to send your mom home with some cake?”


Toby’s eyes narrowed.


“And the book?”


“Toby!” Audrey exclaimed.


Tara just chuckled and extended her hand down.


“You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Toby.”


Toby shook it with a single, satisfied nod and went back to his book.


“Thank you,” Audrey said quietly with blushing cheeks, “You can take the book out of my wages, obviously.”


Tara put her hand on the back of Audrey’s shoulder and patted it.


“We hope to do a lot better here for our staff than just a free book.”


Audrey blinked several times before finally bending down to her son.


“Hey, Tobes? You know how I always tell you one day we’ll find out where we’re meant to be?” she said with a quiet smile, “I think we just have.”


She kissed his head.


“Come on, buddy, time for you to skadoodle. Stacy is picking you up.”


It was just in time too because the last half-hour was chaos, even with all of their pre-planning. The servers weren’t used to weaving around bookcases and one table was found to be wobbly and an incident involving a whole tray of Tequila Mockingbirds ending up on the floor ended in some frantic scrubbing, but finally, they were ready to officially open those front doors.


There was a crowd outside beyond their friends and family; local bibliophiles excited to see the rarity of a book shop opening its doors and some local press who were probably only here for the free drinks but would nonetheless give free publicity, which Willow thought was a pretty good trade.


As long as they liked it, anyway.


Before opening the doors, she held her hand out for Tara, but Tara demurely pushed Emily in front instead.


Emily looked awkward but Willow smiled and took her hand.


Together they opened the door to the waiting crowd.



It was a long but very, very successful evening.


Potential customers were snagged by Emily offering them a money-off rewards system and Willow made sure the press never had an empty glass in their hands. The ladies and some of the gentlemen were impressed with Javi’s bartending skills (and how he looked doing it) and Gus hit it out of the park with his canapés. Not one server bumped into a bookcase and both Peter and Audrey were courteous and professional and actually seemed to really enjoy the atmosphere.


All the staff was flaked out in the backroom enjoying the last round of Tequila Mockingbirds. Emily offered hers to Audrey. Audrey politely rebuffed it.


“I’m not 21 yet,” she explained, “Don’t want to get anyone in trouble.”


Emily’s eyes widened.


“You look older,” she replied without thinking, then blushed. “Sorry, that was rude.”


Audrey waved it off.


“Girls like us, we have to grow up fast.”


The lines on Emily’s brow slowly flattened as she put together everything Audrey was saying.


“I had a baby when I was 15,” Audrey filled in the blank, “So if you ever need anybody to talk to…”


Emily swallowed deeply. Even surrounded by all of the others, she suddenly felt seen in a way she’d struggled to up to now.


“I feel like I’ve aged 10 years in the last six months.”


“You probably have,” Audrey nodded and Emily’s face softened with validation.


Willow caught Andrew on his way from the bathroom and hugged him.


“You were amazing tonight. We never would have gotten through all those little kinks if you hadn’t known exactly what to do with the register or the coffee machine.”


“I may have delayed with the coffee machine just to watch Javi more,” Andrew admitted, then realized who he was talking to, “Ha. Jokes. Got you, boss.”


He weakly punched Willow’s arm, but she didn’t acknowledge it.


“Oh, Andrew, I hope you don’t mind me asking something personal—”


“My aunt has seen your hoo-ha,” Andrew tossed a hand in the air and it was obvious he’d had a Tequila Mockingbird or two already, “We’re practically family.”


“O…kay,” Willow brushed it off quickly, “Do you have a partner?”


Andrew pouted.


“There was a fake geek boy I had my digital eyes on but I don’t think it’s going to work out.”


Willow arched an eyebrow.


“Would you consider a longer stint out east with us? I need someone who really knows the ins and outs of this business and they only one with more experience than you is Marla, who I know isn’t leaving California for anything,” she said, then quickly added on, “Just a trial…for now. See how it works out.”


Andrew's lips slowly curled out in either direction.


“Sounds like you’re offering me an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City!”


Willow tempered the mood with her hands.


“A some-expenses paid relocation package to upstate New York on a trial basis, yes.”


“I’ll take it,” Andrew tapped his fingertips against each other, “Can I ask you…?”


Willow braced herself but Andrew’s head just cocked toward the window,


“Who did the fine work on replacing that window sash? You can't even tell it's new, it blends in so well…”


Willow frowned in confusion.


“My friend Xander. He was here earlier,” she explained slowly, “Big arms, big smile?”


Andrew’s cheeks blushed.


“He's extraordinary.”


Willow grimaced.


“You and his wife are going to butt heads,” she said and patted his back, “I’m going to find my wife.”


She left Andrew sitting on the windowsill and rubbing his hand up and down it.


It took Willow on a loop around the store but she finally found Tara sitting on a stool alone in the empty kitchen.


“I found you!” she said, throwing up her arms.


“You found me!” Tara replied with as much goofy enthusiasm as she held up a little pastry, “Snagging the leftovers.”


Willow gave Tara a long hug, then pulled up a stool. Tara left a quick kiss on Willow’s cheek as she pulled up a pew.


“You’re a rockstar.”


Willow leaned her head on Tara’s shoulder.


“I couldn’t be a star without my rock.”


Tara rubbed Willow’s hair affectionately.


“Are you excited?”


Willow nodded against Tara’s shoulder.


“I really am.”


“You’ll be amazing,” Tara said with utter conviction.


Willow looked up and smiled easily.


“I meant to go home with you.”


Tara smiled in the same way and they stayed there sharing beet blinis and chickpea crostinis until their bed beckoned.


And when it did, two creaky bodies slept in sound silence with smiles never leaving their faces.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 5th)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:03 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 406
Dibs! :whip
Laragh, you still manage to surprise me! I never expected that Andrew would be the employee send from the Sunnydale store! One giant canon easteregg with him, the flying monkeys, the mention of Tucker and his pack of dogs etc. And another surprise that their nice OB/GYN Dr. Julia Wells is his aunt! I kind of hope we will "meet" her again when Kelly is born - I guess that with Emily's health issues it will be a hospital birth, am I right?

Quote:
Very quickly it was all hands on deck as the minutes to opening time ticked closer together. It had been a real labor of love to get this place kitted out and staff hired and contracts formed to pull the store together so quickly but Willow couldn’t be prouder.


It wasn’t a carbon copy of the store in Sunnydale; it had a bit more of an upmarket feel in the bar area but there was still a beanbag nook and a library section of old and battered books and everything else that had been so important to Willow growing up.


And even more importantly, those things had been improved upon. Emily had suggested they have a section to highlight writers of color and that they start to book author events; something the Sunnydale store had never had quite the gravitas or appeal for visiting writers to put on their schedule.


Truly, Willow had never seen Emily more engaged and she had never felt more proud.

Great to see that Emily has apparantly found "her calling" in co-managing the book store.

Quote:
“Lily! Stop stacking the books!”


“Never!” Lily called back, “I almost had an Eiffel Tower!”


Willow stomped off in Lily’s direction.


“This stopped being cute when you were six!”

:rofl

Quote:
It’s always been important to me that we looked after our workers, being given the great privilege to have workers in the first place.”


Audrey continued to quietly price a set of jigsaws.


“I take what I can get. We’ve moved around a lot,” she admitted with a quick nod of her head, “The last place I was in was awful. All of the agencies see that I didn’t get a college degree or even attend a college now and they put me at the bottom of the pile.

I hope that Willow and Tara will encourage Audrey to take college classes after work and will accomodate her work hours accordingly.
Quote:
As she did so, she spotted a young blond-haired boy with glasses nestled in a beanbag with a book in his hands. He looked up at her unsurely. He couldn’t have been more than four but his quizzical eyes showed off his precociousness.


Tara bent down and smiled.


“Hi. I’m Tara.”


“I’m Toby,” Toby replied, pushing his glasses up his face.


“Hi Toby,” Tara said and nodded at his hands, “Did you pick out a book?”


Toby showed the cover and Tara recognized it as a popular series from when her girls were young.


“Great choice.”


She stood back up and Audrey was quickly by her side.


“He’s going before the party starts, don’t worry.”


“I want to stay for the party,” Toby complained with a sigh and a deep furrow of discontent in his brow.


Tara arched an eyebrow at him.


“What if I promise to send your mom home with some cake?”


Toby’s eyes narrowed.


“And the book?”


“Toby!” Audrey exclaimed.


Tara just chuckled and extended her hand down.


“You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Toby.”


Toby shook it with a single, satisfied nod and went back to his book.

Awww, little Toby is adorable! I can already imagine him being like a big brother for Kelly when they spend much time together at the store.

Quote:
“Thank you,” Audrey said quietly with blushing cheeks, “You can take the book out of my wages, obviously.”


Tara put her hand on the back of Audrey’s shoulder and patted it.


“We hope to do a lot better here for our staff than just a free book.”


Audrey blinked several times before finally bending down to her son.


“Hey, Tobes? You know how I always tell you one day we’ll find out where we’re meant to be?” she said with a quiet smile, “I think we just have.”

This attitude is invaluable for an employee. I trust Audrey will work for the store a long time.

Quote:
Girls like us, we have to grow up fast.”


The lines on Emily’s brow slowly flattened as she put together everything Audrey was saying.


“I had a baby when I was 15,” Audrey filled in the blank, “So if you ever need anybody to talk to…”


Emily swallowed deeply. Even surrounded by all of the others, she suddenly felt seen in a way she’d struggled to up to now.


“I feel like I’ve aged 10 years in the last six months.”


“You probably have,” Audrey nodded and Emily’s face softened with validation.

Emily certainly has matured a great deal since she decided to keep the baby. Good for her that she'll be able to talk with Audrey about the problems of being a teenage mom and get some advice from her.

Quote:
“Oh, Andrew, I hope you don’t mind me asking something personal—”


“My aunt has seen your hoo-ha,” Andrew tossed a hand in the air and it was obvious he’d had a Tequila Mockingbird or two already, “We’re practically family.”

:rofl

Quote:
“Can I ask you…?”


Willow braced herself but Andrew’s head just cocked toward the window,


“Who did the fine work on replacing that window sash? You can't even tell it's new, it blends in so well…”


Willow frowned in confusion.


“My friend Xander. He was here earlier,” she explained slowly, “Big arms, big smile?”


Andrew’s cheeks blushed.


“He's extraordinary.”


Willow grimaced.


“You and his wife are going to butt heads,” she said and patted his back, “I’m going to find my wife.”

:lol Things might get ugly if Andrew tried to hit on Xander...

Quote:
It took Willow on a loop around the store but she finally found Tara sitting on a stool alone in the empty kitchen.


“I found you!” she said, throwing up her arms.


“You found me!” Tara replied with as much goofy enthusiasm as she held up a little pastry, “Snagging the leftovers.”

Canon easteregg hidden in the middle!

Quote:
Willow gave Tara a long hug, then pulled up a stool. Tara left a quick kiss on Willow’s cheek as she pulled up a pew.


“You’re a rockstar.”


Willow leaned her head on Tara’s shoulder.


“I couldn’t be a star without my rock.”


Tara rubbed Willow’s hair affectionately.


“Are you excited?”


Willow nodded against Tara’s shoulder.


“I really am.”


“You’ll be amazing,” Tara said with utter conviction.


Willow looked up and smiled easily.


“I meant to go home with you.”


Tara smiled in the same way and they stayed there sharing beet blinis and chickpea crostinis until their bed beckoned.


And when it did, two creaky bodies slept in sound silence with smiles never leaving their faces.

Awww! :bigkiss :flower

Now I expect the wedding will happen in the next chapters - I still have hope that Robyn will surprise them all and attend the wedding in person...


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 5th)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4499
Topics: 40
Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


:applause

Quote:
Laragh, you still manage to surprise me! I never expected that Andrew would be the employee send from the Sunnydale store! One giant canon easteregg with him, the flying monkeys, the mention of Tucker and his pack of dogs etc.


It's always fun to have an opportunity to reference canon!

Quote:
And another surprise that their nice OB/GYN Dr. Julia Wells is his aunt! I kind of hope we will "meet" her again when Kelly is born - I guess that with Emily's health issues it will be a hospital birth, am I right?


You are.

Quote:
Great to see that Emily has apparantly found "her calling" in co-managing the book store.


I promised everything would work out!

Quote:
I hope that Willow and Tara will encourage Audrey to take college classes after work and will accomodate her work hours accordingly.


They'll treat her as one of the family, you can be assured.

Quote:
Awww, little Toby is adorable! I can already imagine him being like a big brother for Kelly when they spend much time together at the store.


I totally see this too.

Quote:
This attitude is invaluable for an employee. I trust Audrey will work for the store a long time.


Most definitely.

Quote:
Emily certainly has matured a great deal since she decided to keep the baby. Good for her that she'll be able to talk with Audrey about the problems of being a teenage mom and get some advice from her.


It's great to have that kind of confidante.

Quote:
:lol Things might get ugly if Andrew tried to hit on Xander...


Best avoided :lol

Quote:
Canon easteregg hidden in the middle!


I like to sneak 'em in.

Quote:
Awww! :bigkiss :flower


:flower

Quote:
Now I expect the wedding will happen in the next chapters - I still have hope that Robyn will surprise them all and attend the wedding in person...


You're right on one count :wink

Thanks so much for the feedback!



Update Directly Below

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Check out my finished fics

The Love… SeriesTwo For Joy/21+InevitableFC2: AOTHFC3: TBUFC4: ANB


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 5th)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:00 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: 40
NOTE:If you never had the misfortune of watching Glee, a lot of this chapter probably won't make sense. If you did happen to be a Gleek, I'm also sorry.



Chapter Nineteen




“Jeez bro, straighten your tie. You’re getting married.”


JJ turned away from the mirror to face Robyn’s holo.


“Just because you think you look so hot in your tux.”


Robyn’s flickering image slicked her hair back and she adjusted her dickie bow.


“I do. And do you know how freakin’ hard it is to get a tuxedo in a woman’s cut delivered to the middle of the rainforest?! The first three drone delivery bots got speared down!”


“You could have just come home,” JJ mumbled as he fixed his tie.


Robyn sighed; clear regret in her eyes.


“Believe me, I tried but if I left now I wouldn’t be able to offset my carbon footprint in time to—” she paused as an unholy screech suddenly ripped through the room, “…is there a wild animal in your room?”


JJ rolled his eyes.


“Momma’s crying in the bathroom.”


Robyn’s face scrunched.


“Why?”


“MY BABY BOY IS GETTING MARRIED!” Willow’s voice suddenly wailed loud enough to ring throughout the whole hotel room.


“Oh boy,” Robyn grimaced, “Now I’m glad I couldn’t get there early.”


JJ presented his tie back to Robyn, who closed her eyes and shook her head.


“Bro, no.”


JJ looked down at his neck and frowned.


“Hey have you told them—”


Suddenly the bathroom door opened and Tara strode out, looking frazzled. She smiled, pained.


“Do you think your wife-to-be would mind lending us her make-up artist for a few minutes? Your mother needs a… a…touch-up.”


“She can probably hear the screeching from down the hall and would be glad to make it stop,” JJ murmured right as Kayden walked back in the room carrying a boutonnière.


Tara cupped his cheek and smiled between him and JJ.


“My boys look so handsome.”


“Thanks for the inclusivity, Mom!” Robyn called sarcastically as Tara slipped out of the room, “Kayden, please do me a solid and fix our brother’s tie. My non-corporeal fingers are twitching.”


Tara made her way down the hall to the hotel room where Cleo was getting ready with her moms and grandmothers. An older woman let her in, whom Tara had already been introduced to as Santana’s grandmother, Alma. She looked old and fierce.


The make-up artist was finished with Cleo but Santana was checking over her work. Brittany was looking out the window and smiling.


“The sun is responding to the anti-rain dance I did on the roof.”


“I’m glad, Mom,” Cleo called over, “I know you were worried when the hotel manager asked you to stop before you were finished.”


She paused.


“And made you put your clothes back on.”


“Nice day, nice venue,” Santana clicked her tongue, “We had to get married in a barn in rural North-East Indiana because gay marriage was illegal in Ohio but legal in Indiana.”


She arched an eyebrow


“You, my girl, are privileged.”


“It was a high-end barn wedding,” Brittany added proudly, “I was born in that barn.”


“I thought I was pooping,” Brittany’s mother, whom Tara was pretty sure she was introduced to as ‘Whitney’’ said in a low drawl, “Pooped out my little miracle.”


Whitney reached out and pinched Brittany’s cheek, who blushed and smiled.


Alma made the sign of the cross on her head and body.


“I’m just glad this one is marrying a boy.”


“Abuela, please,” Santana called over, then suddenly turned ramrod straight when someone’s phone went off, “Do I hear a chicken? I specifically stated there were to be no chickens at this wedding!”


“It’s a ringtone, Mami, jeez,” Cleo responded, her fake eyelashes flicking quickly.


“I didn’t even kill that chicken,” Brittany said in a quiet voice.


Sensing there would never be an appropriate time to slip into the conversation, Tara made her move.


“Hi. Can we borrow Hayley for a few minutes?” she paused and swallowed when nobody really paid any attention to her, “Willow has a…smudged mascara situation going on.”


“Weak,” Santana scoffed.


Brittany stood up helpfully.


“Does she want to go over the seating chart with me? I made it going by the Dewy Decimal system.”


Tara’s eyes creased gratefully.


“I actually think she’d really like that.”


Brittany linked arms with Tara and they walked out of the room with Hayley behind them. Brittany leaned over conspiringly.


“I’m glad your family is Jewish. The broken glass is extra good luck.”


Tara frowned unsurely.


“Thanks?”


Once Santana approved of Cleo’s make-up, she leaned back with her hands on her hips.


“You know that weddings bring out the Godfather in me,” she said with two arched eyebrows, “And it is my daughter’s wedding day. What can I do for you?”


Cleo stood and put her hands on Santana’s shoulders.


“My whole life, you’ve given me anything I’ve ever wished for and cut any bitch who got in my way,” she said with an affectionate smile, “Today, I just want you to enjoy all of this.”


Santana took each of Cleo’s hands and kissed her palm.


“Mi corazoncita,” she said and smirked, “I’m singing a song at your entrance.”


Cleo let out a low chuckle.


“Knew that was coming,” she said and walked over to her grandmother Maribel, who was Santana's mother, who gave her a folded sheet from her pocket, “Here’s a pre-approved list of songs.”


Santana cast a cursory glance over the list, then hugged Cleo.


“My girl,” she said with her eyes closed, “You are not a work in progress. That boy better know he is getting the best Pierez there is and that I will personally hunt him down and stab his junk off with my pointy-toed heels if he ever hurts you.”


Cleo nodded quickly.


“Yes, he remembers you telling him that at Thanksgiving, don’t worry.”


In JJ’s hotel room, Willow was calmer as her make-up was reapplied and she and Brittany discussed the Fibonacci sequence in nature.


JJ was still standing at the mirror, this time psyching himself up by throwing and dodging punches.


“Dude you’ll sweat through your suit,” Robyn scoffed, then her image flickered as she made a sudden movement, “Hey! If I was really there, you would have hit me!”


“Break it up,” Kayden stood between JJ and the holo, “You want a whiskey, Jake?”


“No, he doesn’t,” Tara came over with an arched eyebrow, “JJ, are you okay?”


“Peachy,” JJ replied, his shoulders tense.


Tara curled her finger and beckoned JJ over to sit with her on the bed.


“Sweetie, are you having cold feet? That’s completely normal.”


JJ gulped as he gazed down at the floor, his feet tapping against the ugly carpet.


“Is it?”


“Yes,” Tara reassured emphatically, “This is a very big step, a big change in your life. Being nervous doesn’t mean you’re not also excited. Remember all those basketball finals, college applications, interviews? You wanted them but you were still nervous. Not just of messing up but the uncertainty of what it would mean if you were successful.”


JJ slowly looked up to Tara and smiled.


“Those things all worked out great.”


“Because you knew in your heart it was right,” Tara poked JJ above his boutonnière, “That girl loves you. I’ve watched you grow together as a couple and I couldn’t be more proud of the husband I know you’re going to be.”


JJ swallowed softly and wrapped his arms around Tara.


“Thanks, Mom.”


Tara fixed JJ’s tie one last time.


“Are you ready to go get married?”


JJ smiled and jumped up, full of energy.


“Let’s go get married!”


Willow burst into fresh tears, which Hayley expertly dabbed away.


“Don’t forget me!” Robyn called and Kayden doubled back to bring the phone with him.


Across the street in the little private park that held JJ and Cleo’s apartment building behind it, Lily and Emily were directing guests to their seats in their matching dusty rose, floor-length chiffon dresses. The maid of honor was running point for Cleo, getting her whatever she needed or wanted whilst getting ready, so this job solely fell to the twins.


In the New York summer heat, it was all getting a bit much for Emily.


“Fatah goo I akai,” Lily said to her in their twin speak which roughly translated to ‘sit down, idiot’.


Emily cast an annoyed furtive glance in her sister’s direction but did sit on one of the white foldable chairs they’d spent the morning setting up.


At the top of the grass aisle, Xander was setting up a chuppah, in the same style as the one he’d built for Willow and Tara’s vow renewal. Brittany’s father was helping him, though ‘help’ was a strong word given he’d initially tried to set it up upside down.


“Ahn!” Xander called out, grateful for the reason to stop for a moment when he saw his wife and kids arrive.


“I love this city! So much shopping! So much wealth!” Anya exclaimed excitedly, “Xander, we should buy a place here.”


“Sure, hun,” Xander forced a smile, “Next time we win the lottery, okay?”


He fist-bumped Alex and wrapped his arms around Pixie.


“You got here! I’ve missed you. This John Hopskins fellow sees you more than I do.”


“It’s Johns Hopkins, Dad,” Pixie rolled her eyes and swished her pink hair, “I only left a couple of months ago. I’m not like Alex who just wanted to sit around your basement all summer during college.”


“Hey, sometimes I stood,” Alex defended himself, “Once I even did a sit-up.”


“It’s a long-established Harris tradition to lounge around your parents’ basement,” Xander nodded seriously.


“Mr. Sander?” Pierce, Brittany’s father, called over politely, “That wasn’t a water gun, was it?”


Xander looked over and his eyes popped when he saw Pierce’s head glued to a wooden column.


Slowly the park started to fill up with guests from both sides of the family. Jesse arrived with Alice and Ella, who was thrilled to see Pixie and they went off to take selfies together. Becky and Brian found good seats in the corner where they could giggle at the other guests if the whim arose.


Buffy arrived with Liam, who was awkwardly adjusting his tie every few seconds.


“Stop fidgeting, slayer.”


“It’s so tight, Mom,” Liam complained, “Where’s Dad?”


“He’s coming in the back entrance with the trees,” Buffy explained, “You know he likes the shade.”


Finally on the Rosenberg-Maclay side, Michelle and Rose clutched each other as they slowly made their way into the park. Rose, a bit more affected with arthritis and the slower of the two, took a seat next to Emily. She patted Emily’s leg.


“How are you feeling, sweetheart?”


“Hot,” Emily admitted.


Rose looked into her bag and produced a reusable water bottle. Emily took it gratefully.


“Thanks, Nana,” she said as she took a long glug.


“You can’t take as many pills as I have to and not carry water,” Rose chuckled.


Emily wiped her mouth and handed the bottle back before casting a quick look around nervously.


“Um, where’s Zayde?”


“Gone up to give one of his requisite ‘man’ speeches to the groom,” Rose smiled wryly.


“Oh,” Emily nodded evenly, “That’s going to take a while…”


Santana and Brittany left their daughter with her grandmothers to do the final preening so that they could make sure their stage was set for their duet.


Suddenly, they both felt a shiver on the backs of their necks and spun around to see Sue Sylvester standing there as if she’d corporealized from nowhere.


Sue nodded at each of them once.


“Sandbags. Tweedle Dumb. How nice of you not to invite me.”


Santana’s eyes narrowed.


“How did you even hear about this?”


“Friends in low places,” Sue’s voice boomed around them like the waves from a bomb, “Places you haven’t even heard of. Places you don’t have the clearance to even hear about. Places—”


“We told her,” a higher-toned male voice cut in, “Ran into each other at Whole Foods.”


“Their avocado ice-cream is the dairy-free delight I never knew I needed,” Sue said with the kind of conviction usually only reserved for declarations of love or war.


“Kurt,” Santana made an effort to kiss his cheek and then did the same to the man standing beside him, “Blaine. It’s not even a fifth year. I have Klaine overload already.”


“We missed you too, Santana,” Kurt replied with a sarcastic crease of his eyes.


The boys kissed Brittany hello and gave the requisite congratulations.


“How’s the kid?” Santana asked, tipping her chin at the other couple and motioned up and down with her hand, “Did she survive the cluster-crap of parenting that is this?”


“Following in her father’s footsteps, actually,” Kurt replied haughtily and smiled proudly at Blaine.


“Having appropriately lady lips?” Santa asked with her eyebrows high on her brow.


“Leading the a Capella group at NYU,” Kurt clarified, his eyes twitching to withhold a role, “I’m so sorry Burt couldn’t be here. He and Carole are vacationing in Europe.”


Brittany blinked twice.


“I’m sorry, who?”


Kurt’s jaw tensed.


“Burt Hummel.”


Brittany glanced at Santana and back at Kurt.


“Who is that?”


“My father,” Kurt all but stamped his foot, “He married us…”


His eyes widened.


“And held our joint twentieth wedding anniversary party for us? Sent us all on that cruise?”


Recognition sparked in Brittany’s eyes.


“Oh, was he the guy with the hat?”


“That’s the ship captain,” Blaine explained and put his hand on Kurt’s arm to calm him down, “Is Rachel coming?”


Santana rolled her eyes.


“The Yentl Hobbit couldn’t make it. Probably accepting another Tony award or something.”


“We just saw her—” Blaine started to say before Kurt promptly stomped on his foot and they both limped away to find seats.


Santana turned back to Sue, who had been observing all of this in silence.


“I hope you’re loaded with another month-long, all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas.”


Sue held up a lofty hand with an envelope between her fingers.


“Like fine wine, I only get better with age,” she said as she thrust the envelope at them, “Two months.”


Santana threw her arms around Sue and Brittany followed.


“We always loved you, Sue, even when we hated you,” Santana said with glee.


Sue puffed her chest out and rose a whole inch in her stature.


“Well, Faberry was a total bust so I guess now I’ll get my ship fodder from Cleo and…what’s the kid’s name?”


“Caleb,” Brittany answered with a quick nod.


“It’s actually Jacob,” Santa added, “But he has to earn being called by his real name.”


Sue looked off importantly for a moment.


“Jacoo,” she settled on, finally, “And I j'accuse them of making me run behind time. I have a very important golden knob I’ve planned to shine this afternoon. Jeb never even noticed his was replaced with brass.”


She walked off, chuckling and Brittany turned to Santana with wide eyes.


“Santana, they can’t go on vacation for two months, they’re moving next week.”


“And that’s why we don’t even have to tell them about it,” Santana smirked and stuffed the envelope down her chest, “Hawaii is out, this year we do Christmas on Paradise Island.”


Brittany’s face lit up and she leaned in to press a kiss to Santana’s lips.


“I’m standing on my Paradise Island right now, here with you.”


Santana swallowed and offered a rare shred of true emotion. She offered her pinky, which Brittany duly curled her own pinky around.


“I love you, Britt-Britt.”


She kissed Brittany’s cheek and they went back to their task.


The groom’s party was the first to arrive when Xander had thankfully unattached Pierce from the chuppah. Robyn bossed Kayden around to find the best spot for her to project from while JJ started doing some stretches and was uncomfortably teased by Jesse that he was preparing for the wedding night.


Finally, there was a murmur in the crowd that the bride had arrived and everyone started to settle into their places. Tara gave JJ a final once over, kissed his cheek, and winked before taking her seat with a teary-eyed Willow.


Next to the chuppah, Santana produced a microphone and then Blaine came up with a guitar and nobody really questioned where these instruments came from.


Santana started to sing, low and evocative.


“I've got sunshine on a cloudy day,” she drawled seductively, “When it's cold outside I've got the month of May.”


Brittany joined Santana on their grassy stage and their shoulders bopped in time.


“I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way? My girl.”


Santana smiled sweetly at Brittany and then they both looked out at their daughter walking down the aisle.


“My girl, my girl,” Brittany sang behind her.


“Talkin' 'bout my girl,” Santana said with shining eyes.


“My girl,” Brittany swooped in on Santana’s other side.


In the front row, in pride of place, Willow clutched Tara’s arm and leaned over to whisper in her ear.


“You sang this to me on my 20th birthday.”


“I remember,” Tara whispered back, and together they listened and watched the young girl they’d grown to love over the years taking her final steps to become their daughter.


“As long as I can talk about my girl…” Santana and Brittany finished together softly and came over to kiss Cleo’s cheeks.


“I love you so much,” Cleo whispered to them and similar sentiments were quietly exchanged throughout all of the families looking on.


JJ’s grin split his face as he watched Cleo walk up in her figure-hugging lacy white dress and he felt that twitch in his legs that made him want to run but only with complete and utter joy.


When she got to the chuppah, Pierce started touching Brittany’s face and gently pulled at her forehead.


“Pap-Pap, I’m not wearing a veil,” Cleo whispered and Pierce nodded slowly, then stepped aside.


Cleo stepped up by JJ’s side and smiled at him. JJ’s heart fluttered and he rose up on the tip of his toes. As he landed back down, he glanced over his shoulder and swallowed deeply.


“Uh, babe?” he asked quietly, “Why is the former President at our wedding?”


Cleo gave the same glance back and leaned over to JJ.


“She coached my Moms at cheerleading in high school.”


“Cool, cool,” JJ nodded quickly with sweat breaking out on his brow, “Cool, cool, cool, cool.”


Cleo patted JJ’s arm and frowned at the nearest wooden column to her.


“Is that hair?”


Ira cleared his throat and stepped up onto the chuppah.


“You may be wondering why there’s no officiant here today,” he said with a mischievous twitch of his mustache, “Well, there is. Me.”


He closed his hands together and swung them humbly in front of him.


“Jacob and Cleo asked me to perform their ceremony and I feel the greatest honor to do so. To introduce myself, I am Jacob’s grandfather—” he paused as Pierce smiled at him disarmingly and crawled into the spot beside him, “Oh. Hi.”


JJ leaned in to whisper.


“Kinda had to ask both grandfathers, Gramps.”


“Oh,” Ira replied, startled, “Oh, well. Of course. Would you like to say something, Mr. Pierce?”


The short, Chinese man bumped Ira’s elbow as he tried to step forward with a big grin on his face.


“Hello. My name's Pierce Pierce. And I'm Cleo's grandfather,” he announced before he ducked down and picked something up from behind him, “This time I brought the toaster.”


Holding the appliance between both arms, he continued to speak.


“I thought the happiest day of my life was the day my Brittany married her Santana.”


In the front row, Brittany and Santana’s pinkies linked and Brittany leaned her head onto Santana’s shoulder.


His brow sweating from the weight of the toaster, Pierce’s grin became somewhat strained.


“But then Cleo was born. And the hospital had tater tots that day. And they were the greatest tater tots I’ve ever had.”


A tear left Pierce’s eye and Cleo touched his shoulder.


“Put the toaster down, Pap-Pap.”


Pierce dropped with a heavy grunt, then jumped back up again, rosy-cheeked. He smiled at Cleo.


“You were smart to do this outside. Can have all the candles you want,” his eyes softened, “I’m glad you got that from your Mom.”


Cleo rubbed Pierce’s arm and mouthed ‘I love you’.


“To close,” Pierce continued with a serious nod of his head, “Candles aren’t the only concern. Also, beware of falcons.”


He bowed and held up his hands to wave.


“Thank you.”


There was an uncertain clap amongst the crowd and Ira’s eyes skirted from side to side as he retook his place.


“Yes, well, that was…quite lovely. Thank you, Pierce.”


He cleared his throat and looked back at JJ and Cleo.


“The day my grandson came into my life, a new kind of love shone in my eye. A love I’d never known. I saw my legacy in this small boy and I’ve watched him grown into his own. And what a fine job of it he’s making.”


He patted JJ’s back, who looked pleased as punch. Ira looked back at Cleo.


“Cleo, the day you walked into my grandson’s life, a new love shone in his eye. And it has never been replaced. And I know that it will never be replaced. As a man who found his true love late in life, I am overjoyed that you found yours so young. May you enjoy every day you spend walking this earth together and may your legacy be that of love.”


Cleo beamed and Ira cleared his throat.


“I believe Jacob would like to say his vows first.”


JJ turned to Cleo and cleared his throat in the exact same manner.


“I write for a living but don’t know how I can put ‘offside’ or ‘technical foul’ into my vows, so this was harder than I thought,” he admitted to a small chuckle from the crowd as he pulled out a piece of paper from his breast pocket, “I promise to love you always and to cherish you forever. I promise to respect you, to be honest with you. To support any and all of your goals and to be with you always. I promise to confide in you and to listen when you want to confide in me and to grow with you throughout our marriage. I give you my mind, body, and soul on this and every other day for the rest of our lives.”


He nodded once with a smile, pleased he pulled it off.


Tara arched an eyebrow and looked over to Willow, who was already giving her the same look back.


Cleo held JJ’s gaze and swallowed softly.


“Jacob James — your two names that mean the same thing, as you like to tell everyone at every party we ever go to.”


JJ blushed but was grinning from ear-to-ear.


“We were in a rush!” Willow whispered aggressively to Tara, who waved her off.


Cleo took JJ’s hands.


“We met on a beach in Hawaii and fell in love in the various parts of New York state we ran off to, to see each other—oof, sorry to all the moms involved for that period of our relationship.”


There was another chuckle and knowing looks between all four moms.


“We grew from being kids right here in this city and now we’re going off to be adults and own a home and maybe a new dog if you get your way. Which you probably will, because those dimples, boy…”


JJ showed them off, just for her.


“We’re both lucky to have had amazing families. And now we — we get to be our own family. And that to me is the most amazing adventure. And if it was a choose-your-own, I’d choose you, every time. ‘Cause you’re my guy. You always will be. And now I get to call you my husband too.”


She squeezed JJ’s hands, whose toes turned inward with delight.


“May I have the rings?” Ira asked and Cleo’s best friend and maid-of-honor produced the box and gave it to Ira, before falling back in line with Lily and Emily.


Cleo took the bigger of the rings and slid it onto JJ’s finger, smirking as she surprised him with more words.


“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.”


Ira’s eyes lit up excitedly and he all but clapped like a little girl. JJ laughed loudly.


“You think you’re the only one who can quote the Torah? I went to temple…sometimes,” he said, puffing his chest but meaning every word as he slid the second, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your life.”


“Oh, well yes,” Ira balked a little but didn’t let it deter him, “It is my honor to pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss and seal your union.”


JJ took Cleo’s face in his hands and landed a kiss right on her lips. He pulled back with a smile, then raised his foot and smashed some glass hidden a cloth at the foot of the chuppah.


“Mazal Tov!” came from the crowd.


“Shalom!” Buffy shouted, followed by the sound of a long groan, “Every. Frickin’. Time.”


“Mommy you said a bad word!” Liam’s giggly voice followed through the park and started a chain reaction of laughter.


Everyone stood and cheered and Kayden stepped over Robyn’s holograph projector to cut her off when she started complaining about the environmental impact of the confetti.


JJ and Cleo walked arm-in-arm back down their grass aisle with matching grins. Cleo bumped JJ’s shoulder.


“Babe, your vows were amazing! You had me thinking you were going to read out the Burger King menu!”


JJ waved to all of the people patting him on the back and spoke to Cleo out of the corner of his mouth.


“I cheated and watched my parents wedding video last night.”


Cleo’s eyes grew incredulously wide.


“You stole your vows from your parents?”


She tapped his chest with her bouquet. JJ held up a hand defensively.


“Be lucky I stole them from my Mom…if I’d taken them from my Momma there would have been nothing at
all!”


Cleo could only smile. She leaned her head on his shoulder.


“Thanks for letting my Pap-Pap speak.”


JJ smiled adoringly.


“It’s really cute that you call him Pap-Pap.”


Cleo blushed.


“Yeah, there was a pronunciation issue with Pop-Pop.”


“You couldn’t say it?” JJ asked, his nose scrunching affectionately.


Cleo shook his head.


“No, he couldn’t.”


Suddenly there was the sound of whirring motors and a massive gust of wind as a helicopter flew low overhead.


A black ladder was thrown down and a girl with Down’s Syndrome looked over, her blonde hair falling into the front of her red-rimmed glasses.


“Sue get your butt up here right now. We’re late!”


Sue casually grabbed hold of the ladder and she started to be rolled back up.


“Not my damn fault the Lo-Pierce’s could never keep time.”


Willow shielded herself from the gust of air produced by the departing helicopter and shouted over to Tara.


“I’m high, right?” she asked, her eyes narrowing, “They used some funky mascara and now I’m high?”


Santana stood up on the chuppah again to address everybody.


“Now that Sue has made herself the center of every important moment in our lives—”


“She delivered me,” Cleo supplied helpfully.


“—everybody can make their way to the hotel,” Santana continued, “The bride and groom will join us after photos.”


She adjusted her hair.


“Can somebody hold my razor blades?”


The two families hung back to do the photoshoot while everyone else headed onto the champagne reception.


Before Alma went off, she caught Cleo’s hand.


“You’ll get really married with a priest, yes?”


“Sure, Abuela,” Cleo just smiled. She could worry about that another time.


Alma arched a harsh eyebrow.


“And wait for your covenant to be sealed before engaging in the pleasures of marriage?”


Cleo opened her mouth and closed it again.


“Okay,” she nodded quickly.


There was a priest who hung around Times Square who’d give them a blessing for five bucks.


He’d taken over from the cowboy and only wore underwear, but Alma didn’t need to know that.


There was a rotation of family members to get pictures amongst the trees and other greenery until finally just Cleo and JJ were needed under the chuppah.


Brittany walked past, holding her phone.


“Lord Tubbington The Third is Facetiming me.”


“Aww, what happened to the second?” Willow asked sadly and arched an eyebrow, “And the first for that matter?”


Brittany had already gone off to make kissy faces at her phone but thankfully Cleo was still close enough to supply an answer.


“Chronic chonk and developed a dairy allergy that didn’t fit in with his lifestyle or career. And number two gave birth to the third.”


“So she’s Lady Tubbington?” Willow quipped.


Cleo shook her head.


“She started out that way but they preferred not to label themselves. They told my Mom in a dream.”


“Babe,” JJ called and Cleo lifted her dress to hurry over.


“Monarchical hierarchies are cool but gender definition is out of the question,” Willow muttered sarcastically.


Tara smirked.


“Surely Willow you understand given the community we inhabit that anyone can be a Queen.”


Willow held her hands up.


“Anyone can be whoever they want.”


“It’s not about being who they want,” Tara reasoned softly, “It’s about being who they are.”


Willow folded her arms on her chest.


“You know we’re talking about a cat, right?”


“Oh I know all about you and the pussies,” Tara replied, reaching down to tickle the back of Willow’s knee.


“Quit it,” Willow giggled and twisted herself away, then winked, “At least until later.”


Tara offered her hand.


“Let’s go toast to our new daughter.”


Willow nodded slowly.


“I need some champagne too — what did we just marry into?”


“Behave,” Tara warned.


“I thought you didn’t like it when I did that,” Willow said, then leaned in to press a soft kiss on Tara’s cheek.


Tara nuzzled gently and lowered her voice so just Willow could hear her.


“Talkin’ bout my girl…”


Willow rubbed Tara’s knee and they shared a quiet moment amongst the bananas things going on around them.


The hotel banquet room was laid out in soft purples and whites and when Willow and Tara arrived, champagne was offered immediately. They found their table and looked across the room where a lot of the bride’s family were gathered with tambourines and guitars as they tried to out-harmonize each other.


As far as Willow was aware, Cleo couldn’t even sing so she had no idea how she came from these people.


“Where are they? They should have finished photos ages ago.”


“Probably doing what we were doing after our photos,” Tara mused with a soft grin.


Willow pursed her lips and gently bumped Tara’s shoulder.


“Hopefully not for too long. I can only handle one grandchild at a time.”


Tara was pretty sure that was the first time she heard Willow acknowledge the baby as her grandchild. She squeezed Willow’s hand gently.


“Are you okay now?”


Willow slowly nodded.


“I think so. I’m so proud of him. Even if he did steal your vows.”


“He did, didn’t he?” Tara rolled her eyes and smiled, “That boy.”


“Our boy,” Willow finished softly.


Their heads leaned into each other.


Eventually, JJ and Cleo appeared to applause and they basked in it as they walked to the top table. Tara rubbed JJ’s arm as they passed and he stopped to pull her into a split second hug before they continued.


Tara heard a sniffle and wrapped her arm around Willow before she had a chance to burst into full-blown tears.


Dinner was family-style just as it had always been for both of the newly-married couple growing up and contained their favorites; tacos, fried chicken, breadsticks, fondue, and for some reason there was a Slushee machine.


When the meal was finished and the thankfully short-but-witty speeches were made by Cleo’s maid-of-honor and Kayden and Robyn pulling off a double act spoken word bit, the MC announced it was time for the first dance and started to play John Legend’s ‘All Of Me.’


He handed the microphone over to JJ, who cleared his throat and caused some feedback that everyone winced at.


“Sorry. Uh, we’re both so thankful for the parents we’ve had and want to honor how they always put us first,” he said and smiled across the room, “So we’d like our moms to take our first dance with us.”


Tara put her hand on her heart and then smiled at Willow and held it out to her.


Willow smiled, took it and they walked to the dancefloor to flank JJ and Cleo with Brittany and Santana on the other side.


Willow closed her eyes and it could have been her own wedding again, but for that song wasn’t out yet.


But Tara still felt the same and smelled the same and had the same lightness in her step.


Willow opened her eyes and realized Tara was even more beautiful now than she was on that day.


Years had only added to her allure.


Tara was looking back at Willow with the same adoration and the same thoughts.


Together they floated around the dancefloor with their son and his new wife and knew that their legacy was already that of love.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 7th)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:16 am 
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Posts: 406
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
If you never had the misfortune of watching Glee, a lot of this chapter probably won't make sense.

I know zero about Glee and therefore am fully in the no sense stage. Are Santana, Brittany and the rest of the wacky family or friends on their side characters from this series? It all sound so crazy that right now I haven't made up my mind if it's worth the time reading the contents on wikipedia.

I have to admit that I would have liked the chapter better if you hadn't loaded it with these strange people with talk I mostly can't understand.
For now I choose to ignore all the things that didn't make sense to me and point out the things I liked:

Quote:
Tara curled her finger and beckoned JJ over to sit with her on the bed.


“Sweetie, are you having cold feet? That’s completely normal.”


JJ gulped as he gazed down at the floor, his feet tapping against the ugly carpet.


“Is it?”


“Yes,” Tara reassured emphatically, “This is a very big step, a big change in your life. Being nervous doesn’t mean you’re not also excited. Remember all those basketball finals, college applications, interviews? You wanted them but you were still nervous. Not just of messing up but the uncertainty of what it would mean if you were successful.”


JJ slowly looked up to Tara and smiled.


“Those things all worked out great.”


“Because you knew in your heart it was right,” Tara poked JJ above his boutonnière, “That girl loves you. I’ve watched you grow together as a couple and I couldn’t be more proud of the husband I know you’re going to be.”


JJ swallowed softly and wrapped his arms around Tara.


“Thanks, Mom.”


Tara fixed JJ’s tie one last time.


“Are you ready to go get married?”


JJ smiled and jumped up, full of energy.


“Let’s go get married!”

Great that Tara just knew how to calm JJ's nerves down.
That Willow was practically crying all the time felt a bit silly for me - but then again she always has problems accepting her "babies" are growing up.

Quote:
I’m not like Alex who just wanted to sit around your basement all summer during college.”


“Hey, sometimes I stood,” Alex defended himself, “Once I even did a sit-up.”


“It’s a long-established Harris tradition to lounge around your parents’ basement,” Xander nodded seriously.


“Mr. Sander?” Pierce, Brittany’s father, called over politely, “That wasn’t a water gun, was it?”


Xander looked over and his eyes popped when he saw Pierce’s head glued to a wooden column.

:laugh I liked the little canon esteregg referencing Xander's "basement past". The end of this scene is also funny (even if I don't understand how Pierce managed to hit his own head with a glue gun and stuck it to the column).

Quote:
“I've got sunshine on a cloudy day,” she drawled seductively, “When it's cold outside I've got the month of May.”


Brittany joined Santana on their grassy stage and their shoulders bopped in time.


“I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way? My girl.”


Santana smiled sweetly at Brittany and then they both looked out at their daughter walking down the aisle.


“My girl, my girl,” Brittany sang behind her.


“Talkin' 'bout my girl,” Santana said with shining eyes.


“My girl,” Brittany swooped in on Santana’s other side.


In the front row, in pride of place, Willow clutched Tara’s arm and leaned over to whisper in her ear.


“You sang this to me on my 20th birthday.”


“I remember,” Tara whispered back, and together they listened and watched the young girl they’d grown to love over the years taking her final steps to become their daughter.

:flower

Quote:
“The day my grandson came into my life, a new kind of love shone in my eye. A love I’d never known. I saw my legacy in this small boy and I’ve watched him grown into his own. And what a fine job of it he’s making.”


He patted JJ’s back, who looked pleased as punch. Ira looked back at Cleo.


“Cleo, the day you walked into my grandson’s life, a new love shone in his eye. And it has never been replaced. And I know that it will never be replaced. As a man who found his true love late in life, I am overjoyed that you found yours so young. May you enjoy every day you spend walking this earth together and may your legacy be that of love.”

Great speech from Ira.

Quote:
“I write for a living but don’t know how I can put ‘offside’ or ‘technical foul’ into my vows, so this was harder than I thought,” he admitted to a small chuckle from the crowd as he pulled out a piece of paper from his breast pocket, “I promise to love you always and to cherish you forever. I promise to respect you, to be honest with you. To support any and all of your goals and to be with you always. I promise to confide in you and to listen when you want to confide in me and to grow with you throughout our marriage. I give you my mind, body, and soul on this and every other day for the rest of our lives.”


He nodded once with a smile, pleased he pulled it off.


Tara arched an eyebrow and looked over to Willow, who was already giving her the same look back.

Quote:
“Babe, your vows were amazing! You had me thinking you were going to read out the Burger King menu!”


JJ waved to all of the people patting him on the back and spoke to Cleo out of the corner of his mouth.


“I cheated and watched my parents wedding video last night.”


Cleo’s eyes grew incredulously wide.


“You stole your vows from your parents?”


She tapped his chest with her bouquet. JJ held up a hand defensively.


“Be lucky I stole them from my Mom…if I’d taken them from my Momma there would have been nothing at
all!”

:laugh Well it were great vows - and I'd say he didn't steal but borrow them and "something borrowed" belongs to every wedding, doesn't it? :wink

Quote:
“We met on a beach in Hawaii and fell in love in the various parts of New York state we ran off to, to see each other—oof, sorry to all the moms involved for that period of our relationship.”


There was another chuckle and knowing looks between all four moms.


“We grew from being kids right here in this city and now we’re going off to be adults and own a home and maybe a new dog if you get your way. Which you probably will, because those dimples, boy…”


JJ showed them off, just for her.


“We’re both lucky to have had amazing families. And now we — we get to be our own family. And that to me is the most amazing adventure. And if it was a choose-your-own, I’d choose you, every time. ‘Cause you’re my guy. You always will be. And now I get to call you my husband too.”


She squeezed JJ’s hands, whose toes turned inward with delight.

:bigkiss Cleo's vows are new and lovely too.

Quote:
JJ took Cleo’s face in his hands and landed a kiss right on her lips. He pulled back with a smile, then raised his foot and smashed some glass hidden a cloth at the foot of the chuppah.


“Mazal Tov!” came from the crowd.


“Shalom!” Buffy shouted, followed by the sound of a long groan, “Every. Frickin’. Time.”


“Mommy you said a bad word!” Liam’s giggly voice followed through the park and started a chain reaction of laughter.

:rofl You are as loyal as Willow to this running gag...

Quote:
Everyone stood and cheered and Kayden stepped over Robyn’s holograph projector to cut her off when she started complaining about the environmental impact of the confetti.

Uff, now I'm actually kind of glad that Robyn wasn't there in person so her "environmental preaching" could just be ignored...

Quote:
“Where are they? They should have finished photos ages ago.”


“Probably doing what we were doing after our photos,” Tara mused with a soft grin.


Willow pursed her lips and gently bumped Tara’s shoulder.


“Hopefully not for too long. I can only handle one grandchild at a time.”


Tara was pretty sure that was the first time she heard Willow acknowledge the baby as her grandchild. She squeezed Willow’s hand gently.

I'm glad that Willow has finally come to the acceptance stage.

Quote:
Uh, we’re both so thankful for the parents we’ve had and want to honor how they always put us first,” he said and smiled across the room, “So we’d like our moms to take our first dance with us.”


Tara put her hand on her heart and then smiled at Willow and held it out to her.


Willow smiled, took it and they walked to the dancefloor to flank JJ and Cleo with Brittany and Santana on the other side.


Willow closed her eyes and it could have been her own wedding again, but for that song wasn’t out yet.


But Tara still felt the same and smelled the same and had the same lightness in her step.


Willow opened her eyes and realized Tara was even more beautiful now than she was on that day.


Years had only added to her allure.


Tara was looking back at Willow with the same adoration and the same thoughts.


Together they floated around the dancefloor with their son and his new wife and knew that their legacy was already that of love.

Awww, perfect ending to the chapter! :bigkiss :flower


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 7th)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Yay!

Quote:
I know zero about Glee and therefore am fully in the no sense stage. Are Santana, Brittany and the rest of the wacky family or friends on their side characters from this series? It all sound so crazy that right now I haven't made up my mind if it's worth the time reading the contents on wikipedia.

I have to admit that I would have liked the chapter better if you hadn't loaded it with these strange people with talk I mostly can't understand.


Can't please 'em all!

Quote:
Great that Tara just knew how to calm JJ's nerves down.


He's her boy :)

Quote:
That Willow was practically crying all the time felt a bit silly for me - but then again she always has problems accepting her "babies" are growing up.


I like silly.

Quote:
:laugh I liked the little canon esteregg referencing Xander's "basement past". The end of this scene is also funny (even if I don't understand how Pierce managed to hit his own head with a glue gun and stuck it to the column).


He squirted it and bumped his head. Not too complicated.

Quote:
Great speech from Ira.


He is wise.

Quote:
:laugh Well it were great vows - and I'd say he didn't steal but borrow them and "something borrowed" belongs to every wedding, doesn't it? :wink


I like that theory!

Quote:
:bigkiss Cleo's vows are new and lovely too.


She's a keeper :)

Quote:
:rofl You are as loyal as Willow to this running gag...


That's where she gets it from :wink

Quote:
Uff, now I'm actually kind of glad that Robyn wasn't there in person so her "environmental preaching" could just be ignored...


We love her for who she is and manage her for who she is.

Quote:
I'm glad that Willow has finally come to the acceptance stage.


It's taken some time, but she always would.

Quote:
Awww, perfect ending to the chapter! :bigkiss :flower


Thanks!

Thanks so much for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 7th)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:00 am 
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Chapter Twenty




“Lily, how do you possibly have this much stuff?!”


Lily flung another bag into the trunk of the car.


“Sorry that I have to move MY ENTIRE LIFE four hundred miles away to pursue MY EDUCATION!”


Tara came out to the driveway and strode quickly over.


“Can you two stop yelling on the street like a pack of feral dogs?”


“Dogs don’t yell,” Lily sneered.


“Don’t speak to your mother like that!” Willow said angrily, then glanced at Tara, “But she’s right. ‘Bark’ was right there for you to take.”


Lily shook her head.


“Wasted opportunity, Mom.”


Tara folded her arms across her chest.


“Well, at least you agree on that. Quieten down.”


It wasn’t often that Tara demanded something rather than ask, so they both clamped their mouths shut. When she was out of sight, Willow spoke to Lily again, albeit quieter.


“You’re making your mother drive to the city just to accommodate all of this stuff. It’s going to take hours.”


You’re not even dropping your daughter off at college just so you can go to work,” Lily retorted petulantly.


Willow’s eyes immediately softened. She put her hand on Lily’s shoulder.


“Panda…”


She stepped toward her.


“Do you know how proud I am of you?”


Lily looked up unsurely.


“Do you know how much of a terror you were when you were little?” Willow asked with raised brows.


Lily scowled.


“Great pep talk, Momma.”


She started to walk away but Willow pulled her back.


“Stop,” she said, keeping a gentle grip on Lily’s arm, “What I mean is, you had so much going on in that brain of yours and it came out in such destructive ways. You told me once when you were three that you hated yourself. You were three!”


She paused, choked up. Lily’s eyes softened.


“My point is,” Willow continued after clearing her throat, “That you overcame huge obstacles from the moment you were born. And you did it all while pulling your sister up behind you. I can only imagine the kind of wonder you’re going to unleash on the world and I can’t wait to be there waving my moral support flag the whole way.”


Lily swallowed and smiled softly.


“Do you want me to come with you?” Willow asked sincerely, “I’m sure Andrew can handle the author event.”


Lily shook her head.


“No way, you’ll make Dad jokes and embarrass me in front of my new roommate,” she said, eyes widening, “Plus I’d have to sit in the back. I just wanted you to want to come.”


Willow shook her head.


“Where did we get you, huh?”


Lily just smiled and bent down to toss a bag into the trunk.


“Last one!”


She went off smiling again and Willow closed the trunk.


Lily went upstairs to do one last check of her room and found Emily sitting sadly on Lily’s bed.


Lily walked over and sat delicately next to her.


“I’m afraid I’m going to pop you.”


Emily seemed surprised that Lily was there at all. She blinked twice and rounded her palm over her belly.


“I have another month to go.”


“Thank god I’ll have an excuse to come back,” Lily ‘joked’, then continued seriously, “You think I could mail my laundry back?”


Emily just smiled.


“So…you all packed?”


“Just about,” Lily nodded, a little hollow, “Wish I could pack you with me.”


Her voice caught and she looked over vulnerably.


“I don’t think I know how to sleep without you.”


They embraced silently. Their bond transcended words and sometimes that was a blessing. There was a mutual silent exchange that said something akin to ‘you’ve got this’ but so much more.


When they parted there were tears in their eyes but they both smiled.


“Salami twins forever?” Lily asked and held up her pinky.


Emily linked it with her pinky finger.


“And always.”


They hugged again, then stood holding hands as they walked downstairs where Tara was coming in from the driveway.


“Ready to go, Lily-pad?”


Lily looked at Emily and squeezed her hand. Emily silently nodded, smiled, and let go. She took a step back and though she knew it was the biggest step ever put between them she also knew that she and Lily had never been closer.


Lily nodded that she was ready and Willow came over to hug her.


“You’re my favorite first-born twin,” she whispered and kissed Lily’s cheek.


Lily’s eyes landed softly on Willow.


“You’re my favorite Momma,” she admitted and rolled her eyes at herself, “But don’t let it get to your head.”


Willow smiled wryly.


“Are you going to terrorize New York City?”


“Would you expect anything less?” Lily arched a cocky eyebrow.


Willow shook her head.


“Go change the world.”


Lily picked up her purse and looked at Tara.


“Ready.”


She walked out without looking back and Tara smiled at Willow.


“It’ll be late tonight before I’m home so don’t wait up.”


Willow kissed Tara’s cheek.


“I’ll go to bed but I’ll still wait up.”


Tara returned the kiss and went to the car, where Lily was already sitting in the driver’s seat. Tara opened her mouth to protest, then just sighed softly and got in the driver’s seat. Lily had proven she was a better driver in the last few months and had even aced her Driver’s Ed class.


“Sweet,” Lily whispered under breath that she’d gotten away with it.


Tara settled in her seat and belted up, checking it twice. They pulled out onto the road and Tara smiled pleasantly.


“Do you want to play a car game? What about the license plate game?”


“Do you know what age I am?” Lily rolled her eyes and commanded TARA to play some music.


Less than two minutes later, Lily pointed violently out the window.


“New York!” she recognized a license plate, then started bouncing in her seat, “Toronto! Canadian plate! I get bonus points, I get bonus points!”


At the house, Willow came back to the kitchen from the bathroom after having a brief but satisfactory cry.


“Emmy, are you ready to head to—” she started, then bolted over to the island in concern when she saw Emily hunched over, clutching her stomach, “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”


Emily waved a dismissive hand. Miss Kitty was at her feet, miaowing with concern.


“It’s just more Braxton Hicks.”


“Oh honey,” Willow comforted her by rubbing her back, “I had those with your sister, though secretly I think she was just kicking me really, really hard…”


Emily smiled back gratefully. She could remember when Willow would barely look at her. Having this kind of comfort was very, well, comforting.


“Then boom, boom, boom, oh hello Robbie,” Willow smiled fondly, and rolled her eyes, “Are you feeling better? Has it passed?”


Emily nodded and stood up straighter.


“Let’s get to the store. The author wants to pre-approve the seating plan. Apparently, she has some crazy obsessive fan who shows up to all her signings.”


“Oy,” Willow replied, shaking her head, “Who said management was all glamour?”


“I think nobody,” Emily replied wryly and pushed her glasses up her face.


Willow smiled and put her hand on Emily’s lower back to aid her outside.



“WISCONSIN!” was the last thing Tara heard yelled before an everlasting-second of swirling road signs and then a loud crack as the car hit a tree trunk.


Tara’s neck lolled forward and lights flashed before her eyes but quickly dimmed as the scene in front of her came into view. Her head snapped to the side.


“Lily!”


“I’m okay, Mom,” Lily groaned, lifting her head up, “Hey, why did that tree attack your car?”


Tara rolled her eyes and got out of the car to inspect it. There was a dent in the bumper but no smoke or anything alarming.


Lily got out as Tara popped the hood and looked inside as if she was any help. She looked at Tara dubiously.


“I really should have listened to Momma when she tried to teach me about this stuff.”


Tara sighed deeply.


“You and me both.”



Emily walked into the break room at Biblioisima, looking for Willow who had disappeared just before opening and was now needed for a cranky customer.


“Momma?”


“Yeah, okay,” Willow came out from the corner, speaking on her phone, “Keep me posted. Love you too. Bye.”


She hung up and walked over to Emily.


“Your mother and sister were in a car accident.”


Emily’s eyes widened in alarm.


“What?!”


Willow reached out and squeezed Emily’s arm.


“They’re fine. Only hurt a tree. Robyn will be pissed but I’m relieved. They’re not too far outside the city. They’re waiting on roadside assistance to come fix up the engine so they can keep going but Mom is thinking of staying the night in Manhattan after the early start.”


Emily jaw lightly trembled.


“Are they really okay?”


Willow enclosed Emily in a hug.


“You think I wouldn’t be hopping in the car to get down there myself if I was at all concerned?” she asked and pulled back with a reassuring smile, “Thank god Lily can’t have her car in the city, that’s all I can say.”


Emily could only nod in agreement.


“Um, there’s an issue,” she indicated over her shoulder, “There’s a lady out there saying the beanbags are too soft for her son.”


Willow blinked rapidly.


“What?”


Emily held a hand up helplessly.


“They’re…too soft.”


Willow pulled a whiny face.


“I’m the manager. Can’t I pass the awkward customer stuff out on one of you?”


Emily’s brow furrowed.


“Um, I think that’s the exact opposite of the job description.”


Willow pouted.


“Who’s stupid idea was it to have me as the manager anyway?”


“Yours,” Emily answered softly.


“Who’s stupid idea was it to let me have ideas?” Willow grumbled.


“You could offer to give her kid a plank of wood to sit on,” Emily replied with a slight twitch at the corner of her lips.


Willow smiled, slowly, and then started to laugh. She cupped Emily’s cheek for a moment then let it fall as she walked toward the door, having to contain her laughter as she prepared herself for whatever kind of woman was waiting for her outside.


Sometimes she really missed the robot room.


More often, she was grateful to see her daughter bloom in this role and the honor of getting to witness it every day.


Emily hung back for a moment and leaned back against the lunch table. She clutched her stomach and closed her eyes.


“Oof.”



Tara had her arms crossed sternly across her chest as a mechanic tooled around in her engine.


Lily was sitting on a log with her chin in both upturned palms, pouting.


Finally, the mechanic raised his head and closed the hood.


“You’re clear to go, ma’am but you’ll need to take it to your own guy—”


“Or girl,” Lily cut in petulantly.


“—to get that front bumper looked at,” the mechanic finished without acknowledgment.


Tara came over to shake his hand and give him a tip.


“Thank you.”


The mechanic nodded once.


“No problem, ma’am,” he said cordially as he walked away, then looked back, “Maybe you should be on self-drive.”


“Somebody should,” Tara replied and looked over to Lily sharply, who began to pull a face but thought better of it, “Get in the car, Lily. The passenger seat.”


Lily complied silently.


Tara got into the driver’s seat but took the advice to set the car to self-drive. They pulled back onto the road and the car was eerily silent for a few tense minutes before Tara looked over at Lily.


“Did you fake your Driver’s Ed grade?”


“No!” Lily replied indignantly, “Driver’s Ed don’t put trees in weird places!”


Tara held up a hand.


“Your driving privileges are revoked forever.”


“What?!” Lily blew up, her mouth hanging open, “You can’t even do that!”


Tara folded her arms back on her chest.


“I’ll let your mother hack into the DMV and put you on a list.”


Lily’s mouth promptly closed.


“A list?”


Tara’s mouth was thin.


“They exist.”


Lily’s jaw tensed.


“I’ll hack back. Momma taught me everything she knows.”


She held her chin high even though it wasn’t true. Willow had tried to teach her everything she knew (as she did all of the children) but Lily only ever learned enough that she could earn spare cash for TARA programming.


Tara held her hands out in front of her like she was choking something.


“Oh you are so like her it is infuriating.”


Lily all but stuck out her tongue.


“I’m going to tell her you said that.”


She turned her back and called for TARA to put on the radio, loud, then giggled when Tara struggled to turn it down.


Finally, Tara just smashed the off button and dropped her head into her hands to take a long breath.


“Lily, you’re about to go off to college. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen your sister be forced into growing up these last few months but you need to stop acting like a child.”


“Sorry that I didn’t get myself knocked up at sixteen and figured out I don’t need you anymore,” Lily replied, rolling her eyes.


Tara slowly frowned.


“Lily, what are you talking about?”


Lily averted her gaze out the window.


The car turned itself onto the interstate and Tara reached over and gently cupped her hand over Lily’s shoulder.


“Panda bear. Talk to me.”


Her hand massaged the muscle around Lily’s shoulder softly until Lily slowly turned back.


“We were supposed to be doing this together.”


Tara’s thumb brushed the back of Lily’s neck.


“And it’s scary to be doing it alone.”


“No!” Lily tensed and closed her eyes, “It’s scary that she’s doing it alone.”


Tara watched the flame of Lily’s hair blend into the color of her cheeks; just as Willow’s did when she was upset.


“She’s not alone, sweetheart. She’s with me and Momma and—”


“And not me,” Lily said in a quiet voice.


“Honey, of course, she has you. You’re less than an hour away by train and we can holo and—” Tara started to reassure but Lily turned away again.


“It was always ‘us’,” she whispered.


“Maybe too much so,” Tara said gently, “You are a you and she is too.”


Lily snickered sadly, if that were possible.


“You’re not exactly on Dr. Suess’s level.”


Tara withheld rolling her eyes.


“Lily, you say you’re afraid for her to be apart from you—”


“Because I always pulled her up!” Lily cut in, already defensive, “I made sure she got good grades and I fought off as many bullies as I could and I just make one stupid mistake by letting her go off by herself at that party, and everything was RUINED!”


She started to hyperventilate and Tara had to take her cheeks and guide her back down into slower breathing.


“In for four,” she said softly, “Hold for seven. Out for eight. One more, baby. In for four. Hold for seven. Out for eight.”


When Lily's breathing was regulated, she continued to cup Lily’s cheek.


“You didn’t make a mistake. And Emily didn’t make a mistake,” she said, eyes wide and clear, “This is her chance to stop being pulled up. And for you to stop doing the pulling. This is how you be who you are. You will always be sisters. You will always be twins. But you are two people. And you both deserve the chance to embrace that.”


Lily’s eyes filled with tears. She opened her mouth, then closed it again and buried her head into Tara’s chest. Tara stroked her hair gently and let her cry until she was just gently sniffling.


“That kid is going to need her cool Aunt Lily,” she sniffled, wiping her tears and snot on Tara’s shirt, which Tara frowned about but made no comment about, “The rest of you aren’t going to be any help in that department.”


Tara just patted Lily’s hair.


“Of course, sweetie. She’ll love her Auntie Lily just as much as we all do,” she pulled back to look Lily in the eye, “And we do.”


Lily smiled softly.


“Duh. I’m awesome.”


Tara kissed Lily’s forehead.


“I’m going to get the car to find us the nearest drive-through to get some coffee and doughnuts. How does that sound?”


Lily glanced toward the operating system.


“Can I dr—?”


“NO!” Tara replied sharply and Lily sat back with a pout, but a resigned one.


The car found the appropriate exit and even pre-ordered their coffees so all they had to do was get their license plate scanned and pick their items up from the hatch.


With some caffeine and sugar, Lily reverted to the giddy excitement of what was to come, especially when the city started to come into view.


“This is really happening. I’m about to experience New York City.”


Tara smiled crookedly.


“New York City is about to experience you.”


Lily smiled.


It wasn’t until they were lugging all off Lily’s belongings the vast, glass buildings that Tara really wished she’d insisted Lily downsized. They had to go through multiple sets of doors, a security desk where Lily had to fish out the key-card she’d gotten in her registration pack, a bridge, a turnstile, more security, and finally into an elevator to get to the floor Lily’s dorm was on.


“You better use every one of these Tupperwares.”


“I will!” Lily defended.


“Why couldn’t you just buy some here?” Tara asked as her chest heaved.


“I like the way our ones click,” Lily replied in a quiet voice.


Tara took the chance for a breather.


“At least it’s safe here.”


The dorms were quite busy, as was to be expected on moving day, and Lily’s eyes were everywhere watching her soon-to-be-classmates explore this new playground. There was a huge lounge room with a pool table and board games and plenty of means of entertainment, a giant cafeteria with any number of snacks and meals available, and the rooms were set out in suites with shared bathrooms and small kitchens.


Lily had a double room with bunk beds, two desks, two dressers, and a closet with two sides. She dropped her stuff on arrival, nearly making Tara trip over them.


“Check out this VIEW!” Lily said as she went up to the window and looked out over Broadway and Central Park.


Tara came up behind her.


“Stunning. I hope you wake up every morning and realize how lucky you are,” she said and closed her arm around Lily’s middle, “And how proud of you we are.”


“Quit it,” Lily pushed her off, gently, but was smiling, “I know, Mom.”


Tara chanced a kiss on Lily’s forehead and Lily didn’t rebuff.


Lily took another view out of the window, then swung herself onto the top bunk.


“From where I will rule my dominion,” she said with a grand gesture of waving her arm.


Tara shook her head, a smile pulling on her lips.


“What’s your roommate’s name again?”


“Delilah,” Lily replied flatly, “Trombone player.”


“Trombone master,” a voice from the doorway came as a tall, dark-skinned girl arrived with two parents behind her that could be described as nothing other than ‘Midwestern’, “And I’d ‘preciate you remembering that.”


She walked in and surveyed the small room, her eyes landing again on Lily.


“Yeah, that’s not happening. Top bunk is mine.”


Lily just chuckled, low.


“I think not, tromboner. Firsties, getsies.”


Delilah raised her chin.


“We’ll see.”


“Oh, we will,” Lily grinned, rocking her legs back and forth, “I hope you like the sound of me climbing up and down because I have a tiny bladder.”


Tara arched an eyebrow and smiled to herself.


It seemed Lily had already found a friend.


She introduced herself to Delilah’s parents, who seemed a lot more afraid of leaving their daughter in NYC than she was, as Lily and Delilah sparred over what was going where in the dorm.


When it was time for Tara to leave, Lily walked Tara back outside. Tara knew it was just so they could have a minute alone in the elevator, but she kindly didn’t say anything. When Lily turned and hugged her in the small space, Tara didn’t say anything then either and just hugged her daughter back and kissed her head.


“So proud of you, panda bear. So is Momma. She would have been here today if she could.”


“I know,” Lily replied softly, “But who wants to drive that long with her in the car?”


Tara tapped her fingers against Lily’s back.


“Do not be so rude about your mother.”


Lily pulled back and looked at Tara.


“I’m glad it was just us.”


She nestled her head under Tara’s chin and reveled in the precious few moments before the doors opened. Realizing she didn’t have her key card, Lily had to say goodbye to Tara at the turnstile. She was glad, not that she would ever admit it, because she felt a bit teary-eyed saying goodbye. In fact, she couldn’t even say the word and ended up just running back into the elevator before the doors closed again and waved.


Tara waved back and smiled until every inch of that door was closed.


She felt a little teary-eyed herself.


She nodded at the security guard as she passed, who looked back sympathetically. She was sure he saw a lot of the same today.


She decided not to pick up the car and just hopped into the nearest driverless to take her to the hotel Willow had booked for her earlier when she’d called to tell her about the accident.


At the hotel, the check-in desk scanned her ID and popped out a key-card.


Tara rode the elevator up to her floor, entered the room, crashed onto the bed, and promptly fell fast asleep.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 9th)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:36 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip

Quote:
“What I mean is, you had so much going on in that brain of yours and it came out in such destructive ways. You told me once when you were three that you hated yourself. You were three!”


She paused, choked up. Lily’s eyes softened.


“My point is,” Willow continued after clearing her throat, “That you overcame huge obstacles from the moment you were born. And you did it all while pulling your sister up behind you. I can only imagine the kind of wonder you’re going to unleash on the world and I can’t wait to be there waving my moral support flag the whole way.”

Aww. :flower

Quote:
“So…you all packed?”


“Just about,” Lily nodded, a little hollow, “Wish I could pack you with me.”


Her voice caught and she looked over vulnerably.


“I don’t think I know how to sleep without you.”


They embraced silently. Their bond transcended words and sometimes that was a blessing. There was a mutual silent exchange that said something akin to ‘you’ve got this’ but so much more.


When they parted there were tears in their eyes but they both smiled.


“Salami twins forever?” Lily asked and held up her pinky.


Emily linked it with her pinky finger.


“And always.”

Awww²

Quote:
“You’re my favorite first-born twin,” she whispered and kissed Lily’s cheek.


Lily’s eyes landed softly on Willow.


“You’re my favorite Momma,” she admitted and rolled her eyes at herself, “But don’t let it get to your head.”


Willow smiled wryly.


“Are you going to terrorize New York City?”


“Would you expect anything less?” Lily arched a cocky eyebrow.


Willow shook her head.


“Go change the world.”

The love between those two is strong, even if they "butt heads" quite often. Now the question is if the world is ready for Lily... :wink


Quote:
“Do you want to play a car game? What about the license plate game?”

Not the smartest idea of Tara to engage a driving Lily in a game which is bound to divert her attention from the traffic...

Quote:
“Emmy, are you ready to head to—” she started, then bolted over to the island in concern when she saw Emily hunched over, clutching her stomach, “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”


Emily waved a dismissive hand. Miss Kitty was at her feet, miaowing with concern.


“It’s just more Braxton Hicks.”


“Oh honey,” Willow comforted her by rubbing her back, “I had those with your sister, though secretly I think she was just kicking me really, really hard…”


Emily smiled back gratefully. She could remember when Willow would barely look at her. Having this kind of comfort was very, well, comforting.


“Then boom, boom, boom, oh hello Robbie,” Willow smiled fondly, and rolled her eyes, “Are you feeling better? Has it passed?”


Emily nodded and stood up straighter.

Quote:
Emily hung back for a moment and leaned back against the lunch table. She clutched her stomach and closed her eyes.


“Oof.”

Those parts have me wondering if Emily will go into labour a month early and Tara will have to rush home to make it before Kelly is born...

Quote:
“Lily, you say you’re afraid for her to be apart from you—”


“Because I always pulled her up!” Lily cut in, already defensive, “I made sure she got good grades and I fought off as many bullies as I could and I just make one stupid mistake by letting her go off by herself at that party, and everything was RUINED!”


She started to hyperventilate and Tara had to take her cheeks and guide her back down into slower breathing.


“In for four,” she said softly, “Hold for seven. Out for eight. One more, baby. In for four. Hold for seven. Out for eight.”


When Lily's breathing was regulated, she continued to cup Lily’s cheek.


“You didn’t make a mistake. And Emily didn’t make a mistake,” she said, eyes wide and clear, “This is her chance to stop being pulled up. And for you to stop doing the pulling. This is how you be who you are. You will always be sisters. You will always be twins. But you are two people. And you both deserve the chance to embrace that.”

I disagree with Tara on one point: I still think Emily made a huge mistake when she chose to lose her virginity by having unprotected sex with a total stranger. That doesn't change just because her decision to keep the baby lead to a positive development for both twins.

I'm wondering if Lily and Delilah will be fiends or friends in the future...

I'm away again on vacation for the next week. So the dibs for the next 3 chapters are there for the other readers to take... :wink


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 9th)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:59 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Hello My Friendly Neighborhood JMT!

Leaving for college...the day every parent dreads and looks forward to at the same time. I'm not surprised Lily had so much stuff, you pretty much nailed it. When J left for her freshmen year, her car was full, her best friend's car was full and we brought more crap up later in the week, lol. Now, every time for the last four years when we go up for a visit, she gives us 'stuff' to bring home.

I was also thinking a driving game with an erratic driver was maybe not the best decision...Mother of The Year! :fallen However, no parent is perfect and it was kind of Lily's 'last hurrah' since she definitely won't be needing a car in the city. I sincerely hope in the future she makes enough money to afford a driver because the roads will be a safer place for it.

I so love Willow and Emily developing such a close bond with the store, not that they weren't close before, but it just feels different. I guess maybe a more mature closeness. Being a parent is a weird and wonderful thing. You get used to the kids needing you all the time and then one day, they don't and they you drift apart. The parent notices, but the kids don't because they're too busy discovering their new found independence. There's a weird span, between 16-23, when you really don't know them at all and the majority of the head butting occurs. Then magically, you find they start needing you again, but in a more adult way. Weird and wonderful.

I'm going to make the assumption Emily goes into early labor and Willow is the one who has to be the nurturing supporto-Mom, which is usually Tara's role, and Tara has no idea what's going on because she knocked out as soon as her head hit the pillow. Boy is she in for a surprise! Willow will be fine and fall head over heels for the baby. It's probably the best scenario for Willow to developed an early bond with her grandbaby, rather than feeling disconnected.

One last thing, when Tara said to Lily, “Oh you are so like her it is infuriating.” This made me LOL. Lily and Emily...the Yin and Yang of Willow. :rofl

-S.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 9th)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Woop!

Quote:
Aww. :flower


:)

Quote:
Awww²


I love Awww²!

Quote:
The love between those two is strong, even if they "butt heads" quite often. Now the question is if the world is ready for Lily... :wink


Could it ever be?

Quote:
Not the smartest idea of Tara to engage a driving Lily in a game which is bound to divert her attention from the traffic...


I think she thought it might actually keep her focus on the other cars!

Quote:
Those parts have me wondering if Emily will go into labour a month early and Tara will have to rush home to make it before Kelly is born...


Perhaps, perhaps...

Quote:
I disagree with Tara on one point: I still think Emily made a huge mistake when she chose to lose her virginity by having unprotected sex with a total stranger. That doesn't change just because her decision to keep the baby lead to a positive development for both twins.


I think everybody is at the 'let it go...' stage with it.

Quote:
I'm wondering if Lily and Delilah will be fiends or friends in the future...


Frenemies?

Quote:
I'm away again on vacation for the next week. So the dibs for the next 3 chapters are there for the other readers to take... :wink


Enjoy your vacation!

Thanks so much for the feedback!

Finey_McFine

Quote:
Hello My Friendly Neighborhood JMT!


:bigwave

Quote:
Leaving for college...the day every parent dreads and looks forward to at the same time. I'm not surprised Lily had so much stuff, you pretty much nailed it. When J left for her freshmen year, her car was full, her best friend's car was full and we brought more crap up later in the week, lol. Now, every time for the last four years when we go up for a visit, she gives us 'stuff' to bring home.


:lol :lol :lol Yes that sounds like J. We always think we need more than we do.

Quote:
I was also thinking a driving game with an erratic driver was maybe not the best decision...Mother of The Year! :fallen However, no parent is perfect and it was kind of Lily's 'last hurrah' since she definitely won't be needing a car in the city. I sincerely hope in the future she makes enough money to afford a driver because the roads will be a safer place for it.


Tara had good intentions...if she was looking for the license plates she wouldn't be eyeing her phone or the clouds or whatever else might take her attention away but alas...best laid plans and all that.

Quote:
I so love Willow and Emily developing such a close bond with the store, not that they weren't close before, but it just feels different. I guess maybe a more mature closeness. Being a parent is a weird and wonderful thing. You get used to the kids needing you all the time and then one day, they don't and they you drift apart. The parent notices, but the kids don't because they're too busy discovering their new found independence. There's a weird span, between 16-23, when you really don't know them at all and the majority of the head butting occurs. Then magically, you find they start needing you again, but in a more adult way. Weird and wonderful.


It's a weird dynamic on both sides I think but it usually settles into something good.

Quote:
I'm going to make the assumption Emily goes into early labor and Willow is the one who has to be the nurturing supporto-Mom, which is usually Tara's role, and Tara has no idea what's going on because she knocked out as soon as her head hit the pillow. Boy is she in for a surprise! Willow will be fine and fall head over heels for the baby. It's probably the best scenario for Willow to developed an early bond with her grandbaby, rather than feeling disconnected.


Hard agree. Almost as if I wrote it like that on purpose :wink

Quote:
One last thing, when Tara said to Lily, “Oh you are so like her it is infuriating.” This made me LOL. Lily and Emily...the Yin and Yang of Willow. :rofl


:D

Thanks so much for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 9th)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Chapter Twenty-One




Willow put the code in on the alarm at the store and stepped back to pull the security shutters down.


Admittedly, she’d romanticized the idea of running a bookstore a little bit with lofty notions of talking with customers about all of her favorite books or watching a child discover a new world to get lost in. Of retired women sipping on a glass of wine with their latest indulgence and cultured couples tasting their vegan menu options while they discussed whether George was justified in shooting Lennie.


Of basking in all of that as she inhaled the smell of books and fresh coffee.


And there was, in fact, moments like that. Fleeting, usually, but there. Mixed in with the customers wanting refunds for books they’d destroyed or dishcloths being set on fire in the kitchen or the absolute nightmare it caused when even one of her meticulously timed deliveries didn’t arrive on time.


Her staff was great, which was a major plus; a plus Willow didn’t take lightly as she imagined a manager trying to deal with all of the unforeseen issues that cropped up without the help of her staff.


Peter was great at finding and fixing things that needed to be fixed; Audrey was fantastic with kids and holding together all of the events; Andrew just knew how things worked and was able to veer them away from disaster before it got to that point and Emily — Emily was amazing. So patient and so eager to help, to impart kindness, to make sure that every person that walked through the door left smiling.


From seeing her having shied away from any contact with people for so long, it was amazing to see her blossom in this environment and find her voice. It helped Willow find peace with the future she thought she’d seen her daughter destroy.


Willow’s bones were weary but she was smiling as she dodged the rain to hurry back to the car. She looked forward to a long shower and an early night. It would be missing Tara-snuggles but she understood Tara not being up to the drive home after the eventful drive down.


She let herself into the car, where Emily was waiting. She rubbed her hands together to warm up and smiled.


“What do you think, some moo sho pork from Uncle Li’s Emporium? We won’t tell Zayde.”


Emily shifted uncomfortably and shook her head.


“No. I don’t think the baby wants to eat today. Can fetuses get upset stomachs? That’s what it feels like.”


“I…don't think so, honey,” Willow replied with a frown, “You’ve been feeling blech-y all day.”


She reached out and put her hand on Emily’s forehead.


“No fever. Did you eat anything funky?”


“I haven’t eaten all day,” Emily admitted.


“Emmy,” Willow chastised softly, “That’s not good for you or the baby. Let’s stop by the deli and I’ll get you some soup and that bread you like.”


Emily had her eyes closed but nodded softly.


“Yeah, okay. Thanks.”


“Buckle up,” Willow said, as she did the same.


Emily reached across her body to take the seatbelt and when she did, she felt an odd sensation in between her thighs. She shifted to try and figure it out and suddenly a gush of fluid spread from between her legs out over the seat and onto the car floor. The front of her dress was wet and starting to stick to her skin.


“Uh…Momma?”


“Yeah?” Willow looked over and saw the scared look on Emily’s face, “Sweetie?”


Emily looked down at her lap in alarm. Willow followed her eye-line.


“Oh!” Willow yipped in surprise, then her eyes flew up and she grabbed Emily’s arm, “Oh, Emily, your water broke!”


Emily’s lower lip started to tremble.


“It’s too early!”


“No, no, it’s okay!” Willow reassured quickly as she started the car, “You were born WAY earlier than this, and look at you! Fully grown! But we gotta get you to the hospital. You gotta put your seatbelt on, okay?”


Emily sat in stunned silence. Willow put three fingers against her cheek.


“Emmy, listen.”


Emily slowly turned her head. Willow stroked her cheek.


“Emmy, everything will be okay. You’re 37 weeks. It’s safe. But Robyn came quick and you have my genes, so let’s go, okay?”


Emily blinked twice and then the tears cleared and she quickly nodded and belted up. Willow was away in a flash and brought up Dr. Wells's number.


“Oh, hello Willow. I hope my nephew isn’t causing too much trouble.”


“He’s a peach,” Willow replied quickly, “Hey, uh, we have a little broken waters situation going on here. We’re on our way to the hospital.”


“How far apart are the contractions?” Dr. Wells asked, suddenly all business.


Emily suddenly doubled over in pain again.


“Okay, she said she felt like that when I got in the car so…” she tried, and for once failed, to do the math in her head, “I’m guessing four minutes but maybe three!”


“I’ll meet you at the hospital,” Dr. Wells said and signed off quickly.


At a stoplight, Willow took Emily’s hand.


“I’ll be there the whole way.”


Emily looked up and new tears formed.


Willow squeezed her hand and smiled reassuringly.


She actually found herself…excited over this.


She didn't even care that it had happened all over the seat of her car.


Okay, she cared a little, but she didn't show it and she certainly made no mention of the obnoxious price Diego, her detailer, was going to charge to fix it.


Traffic was thankfully light, as it had been since self-drive became so commonplace, and Willow stopped at the front of the ER to bring Emily inside.


“I’m right behind you!” Willow called as Emily was brought away in a wheelchair before rushing back to bring the car to the parking lot because they still hadn’t figured out a way to get your keys back to you after a self-park.


It was odd making her way back up to the maternity ward; remembering coming here with Tara all those years ago.


What a horrible night that had been.


What a horrible night this hopefully wouldn’t be.


She knew in her mind that Emily was far enough along that there wasn’t any immediate danger and that Emily had none of the pregnancy woes Tara had. She was, in fact, far more likely to repeat Willow’s fast (and furious) birth but it was still unnerving to be running down these halls again.


As she ran, she put her phone to her ear and frowned when she heard her wife’s voicemail.


“Tara, baby! Call me back ASAP! Emily went into labor! We’re at the hospital and she’s okay, the baby’s okay, but she’s coming! I’ll call you back! But you call me back first! Okay, I love you. Bye. Is Lily okay?! I love you! Call me!”


She got to the desk to find out where Emily was and when she arrived at the room, Dr. Wells was snapping gloves onto her hands and was smiling.


“You know, this is my first second-generation baby! I hope you’ll let me hang your picture.”


“Emmy,” Willow breathed and rushed over to her bedside, “What’s happening?”


“We’re about to have a look,” Dr. Wells replied as she sat on a stool and wheeled herself between Emily’s legs, “Oh, you are nicely along, aren’t you? History of precipitous labor if I recall.”


“Yeah, mine,” Willow nodded quickly, “And she’s…mine.”


She trailed off dumbly but the doctor just smiled.


“You’ll want Tara to get here.”


“And the father,” a nurse said from the sidelines and received three sharp looks, “Or…not.”


“Tara’s dropping Lily off at Julliard,” Willow replied, swallowing deeply, “I can’t get hold of her. They had a minor accident earlier. I hope everything is okay.”


“Are Mom and Lily okay?” Emily asked, her face flooding with concern.


“Of course,” Willow replied quickly, “Of course. I bet Lily is living it up and Mom has had an early night. Could you imagine being in the car that long with Lily? I don’t have to, I have many family road trips to recall!”


She frowned then smiled.


“I’ll call Lily!”


“No!” Emily replied quickly and so loudly that it startled Lily, “S-Sorry. But no. She’ll just come back. A-and it’s her first night. She needs this.”


Willow gulped and stroked Emily’s hair.


“Okay, koala bear. Whatever you want.”


Emily started to smile but then ripples of pain broke out and her head fell back against the pillows.


“They’re getting worse.”


“I’m here,” Willow comforted and put her hand in Emily’s to be squeezed, “I’m right here and I’m not going anywhere.”


It was a long night for Emily (and Willow) but a relatively short time spent in the maternity ward before they were brought to labor and delivery. Thankfully, it was textbook and the baby was in absolutely no distress. Willow coaxed Emily through her contractions and even got her to sleep for a bit while she ran down to inhale some crappy mac’n’cheese from the cafeteria. It wasn’t even in the same stratosphere as Tara’s.


Whom she still couldn’t reach, but it was the middle of the night.


As the medical staff refreshed gowns and gloves, Emily suddenly squeezed Willow’s hand tight.


“Another contraction, honey?” Willow asked gently.


Emily shook her head.


“I-I’m scared.”


Willow folded both of her hands over Emily’s.


“I know. Guess what? I was too. When I was giving birth to your sister. I was terrified. Even though I wanted to meet her so much, I just wanted to close my legs and press pause so I could have a minute, y’know?”


Emily nodded quickly.


“So let’s take that minute,” Willow smiled with a quick nod, “You and me, together. Let’s take that minute.”


Emily blinked rapidly, then nodded again. She leaned into Willow, who put her forehead against Emily’s.


Together, they looked into each other’s eyes silently.


Emily found the strength she needed.


“Are we ready, ladies?” Dr. Wells asked with a smile when they parted.


Willow looked to Emily, who nodded.


“Let’s deliver this baby,” Dr. Wells grinned as she got between Emily’s legs.


With a nurse flanking either side, she coaxed Emily through her next contraction as she started to push. Willow mopped Emily’s brow and allowed her fingers to be nearly broken and called out all of the encouragements she recalled saying to Tara, though with none of the same terror.


“Momma, would you like to see the head?” Dr. Wells asked with an arched eyebrow.


Willow looked to Emily for permission, who nodded shyly.


Willow scooted down to look and felt her heart fill with all of the love she just hadn’t been able to embrace up until now.


“S-She's so beautiful, Emmy,” Willow said with tears filling her eyes, “She has curly hair. It’s all dark blonde, like your mom before she dyed it brown. And she looks like you did when you were born. Not your sister, you. Her nose is a little squishy and her upper lip protrudes and—”


“Push!” Dr. Wells encouraged, “Almost there, Emily, two more pushes.”


Willow gave her hand back to Emily. Emily strained her body with everything she had and finally, with the air heavy and a hum of groaning pulsating around the room, a shrill cry broke through.


Dr. Wells held the baby up, her little limbs flapping. Willow took in a short, sharp breath.


“You did it! You did it! She’s here, baby, your baby is here!”


The nurses got a blanket over Emily’s chest and as the baby was placed down, they rubbed her free of the blood and goo and wrapped her up.


Emily's eyes were permanently wide and the rest of her face unmoving.


“H-Hi,’ she managed eventually, “Hi.”


She took the baby’s hand and held their palms together. The baby tried to curl her fingers so Emily brought a finger down and allowed it to curl around her.


“Whoa.”


“Yeah,” Willow breathed in the exact same manner, angled over Emily so she could take a good look.


Emily laughed joyously as she took in every feature of her daughter’s face.


“I’m your Mama,” she grinned so wide it could split her face, “I’m your Mama.”


She raised her finger so the baby’s hand rose too.


“And say hello to your Bubbe.”


Willow paused. She turned to Emily, slowly.


“Bubbe?”


“W-Would you prefer something else?” Emily asked uncertainly.


Tears filled Willow’s eyes.


“No,” she shook her head and delicately traced a finger around the baby’s features, “No, I’m your Bubbe.”


She inhaled softly and her eyelids flickered. She looked at Emily.


“I should have understood sooner,” she said softly and swallowed again, “When Mom was trying to get pregnant, well, it took a few tries. And the one thing I kept telling myself was ‘no matter how long it takes, in the end, we’ll know it had to happen this way because that’s the only way we would have had that baby’.”


Tears fell from her eyes.


“And then there were two of you and I knew what I thought before couldn’t be more true,” she said with a soft cry, “I should have understood that what I felt then was what you felt now. That you knew this baby was meant to be. I shouldn’t have dismissed that feeling just because of the circumstances.”


Her brow creased remorsefully.


“I hope the first lesson in parenting I can impart is to apologize to you right now. Because I made a mistake in fighting this. And you will make mistakes too, of your very own. But you’ll have my support the whole way. And I’m going to start some therapy to make sure I do that for you safely. And for her. I’ve been avoiding it but it’s time. Not just to be a better Momma, but to be a better Bubbe. And to be a better Willow.”


Emily’s eyes creased.


“I love you, Momma.”


Willow kissed Emily’s forehead and then the baby’s.


“I love you both so much,” she said and nuzzled Emily’s head, “So tell me her name.”


The early morning turned into the actual morning as Willow cut the cord and accompanied the baby to the nursery for her check-up while Emily went through the procedure for the afterbirth and getting cleaned up. She was given toast, her first thing to eat in over 24 hours, and she knew that no slice of toast would ever taste as good again.


Carrying the baby wrapped up in a green blanket, Willow brought her back to Emily’s room.


“Look who I have…”


Emily looked over sharply.


“I missed her,” she said with a gulp as she took the baby back, “Is that weird?”


Willow shook her head.


“Completely normal,” she promised, then grinned, “It’ll wear off when the terrible twos hit.”


Emily smiled too. She never knew she had this kind of capacity for joy.


Willow leaned over the bed with her arm around Emily’s shoulder and they gazed down at the baby together.


“Momma?” Emily asked softly after several long minutes unmoving, “Can I still take you up on your cyber-stalking offer? To find Adam?”


She swallowed.


“For her.”


Willow gently brushed her fingertips on Emily’s arm.


“Is Adam her father?” she asked, just as soft and Emily nodded once, “Consider it done.”


She kissed Emily’s head again.


“Maybe this one will let me teach them how to code.”


Emily laughed.


They were in the exact same position when the door burst open a little while later and a frazzled Tara practically fell in.


“Emily!” she exclaimed, out of breath.


“Mom!” Emily replied with a sudden shake in her voice.


“Tara!” Willow said, rushing over with a relieved sigh, “Where have you been?! You wouldn’t answer your phone!”


“It was turned off!” Tara replied in annoyance, “It was a long day with Lily. I meant to get up again for dinner but I just slept right through. I didn’t even take my clothes off! When I plugged my phone in this morning I got all of your messages. I got on the earliest train I could to get here faster.”


Willow frowned.


“Where’s the car?”


“Penn Station,” Tara replied with an exhale of breath.


Willow closed her eyes.


“Yep. Definitely paying for a 400-mile tow.”


“Ah-hem,” Emily called over.


Tara suddenly seemed to remember why she was standing in a hospital room. Her hands flew to her face when she saw the little bundles of green.


“Oh my god, you had her.”


She rushed over, where Emily delicately placed her in Tara’s arms.


“Meet your Nana.”


Tara’s mouth formed an ‘o’ shape as she peeled back enough of the blanket to make out her new granddaughter’s face.


“Oh, wow. Look at you. She looks like you when you were little, Em.”


“That’s what I said,” Willow grinned.


Tara bounced the baby gently in her arms, looking deeply into her sleeping face.


“Is it still Kelly?”


Emily smiled over Tara’s shoulder at Willow.


“No, it’s KT.”


“Katie?” Tara repeated, smiling softly, “That’s pretty.”


“No,” Emily replied, and annunciation more clearly, “K.T.”


“Not after the K–T extinction like I first thought,” Willow smiled self-deprecatingly, “But for an even cooler legacy.”


Tara arched an eyebrow in question.


“KT,” Emily said again, a slight nervous lilt in her voice, “For Kelly Tara.”


Tara’s eyes slowly widened. Emily smiled softly.


“Momma said you wouldn't mind?”


Willow came behind Tara and held her waist because she knew her wife would be unsteady on her feet.


“It's only fitting a beautiful name be passed down from beautiful woman to beautiful woman.”


Tara’s eyes filled with tears. She looked down and KT opened her baby blue eyes. Tara started to sink and Willow was there to guide her into the chair.


“Hi KT,” Tara cooed softly, “Hi, I’m your Nana.”


“And I’m your Bubbe,” Willow added.


Tara’s head flew to Willow. They shared a smile and then a kiss.


“Get used to that, KT,” Emily said and they all laughed.


Tara looked between all three other girls in the room proudly.


“You three share blood.”


Willow reached out and stroked KT’s cheek, who seemed to understand the solemnity of the moment by staying quiet and basking in the love.


“And the egg that grew her grew while you were inside Mom's belly, Em. How nuts is that?”


They all stared reverently at the baby for a while.


“How’s Lily?” Emily asked with some concern when KT fell back asleep.


“Very mad at you for choosing your timing,” Tara replied with a small chuckle, “I only called her on the train, She’s coming home again this weekend, don’t worry. I had to threaten to pull her college fund just to get her to stay for her orientation.”


Willow’s eyes widened.


“You did that?”


Tara looked sheepish.


“I didn’t mean it, but yes. She did say she had a great first night.”


Their eyes all drifted back to KT and Emily took her again when she felt the empty ache in her arms. She blinked and suddenly found herself crying.


“Moms, I love her so much.”


Willow and Tara raised their gazes to look at each other and then at Emily.


“We know,” they said together.


They joined hands. Willow kissed Tara’s cheek.


“I’ll go fill in everybody else and get some breakfast. I’ll bring some back for everyone.”


Tara leaned in to kiss Willow properly.


“I’m so glad you were here.”


Willow smiled at the three of them.


“Me too.”


She watched Emily become so engrossed in her baby girl and her heart swelled with the new love she knew her baby girl was feeling. The feeling that would never leave her, no matter what.


She smiled again.


“Me too.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 12th)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:19 pm 
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DIBS!

What a lovely chapter! FINALLY an uneventful Rosenberg-Maclay birth, lol. I cannot even begin to tell you how relieved I was the birth was "normal." No surprise home birth, no stuck elevator emergency, no gestational diabetes...just a good old fashion my water broke and here comes the baby. Willow's initial feelings about Emily's pregnancy caused a lot of friction, but she persevered and always comes through for the people she loves. She truly is a loyal "dog geyser person." Tara not being there and Willow having to once again be the rock, is exactly how it was supposed to go. Tag-team parenting is the way to be successful when raising your kids. When one parent van't be there, the other one takes their place.

One last thing, going back to the beginning of the chapter...

Quote:
Admittedly, she’d romanticized the idea of running a bookstore a little bit with lofty notions of talking with customers about all of her favorite books or watching a child discover a new world to get lost in. Of retired women sipping on a glass of wine with their latest indulgence and cultured couples tasting their vegan menu options while they discussed whether George was justified in shooting Lennie.

Of basking in all of that as she inhaled the smell of books and fresh coffee.

And there was, in fact, moments like that. Fleeting, usually, but there. Mixed in with the customers wanting refunds for books they’d destroyed or dishcloths being set on fire in the kitchen or the absolute nightmare it caused when even one of her meticulously timed deliveries didn’t arrive on time.

Running a small business and being self employed is always touted as the greatest freedom there is and it is completely untrue. Unless you have endless amounts of capital, it's a constant worry and will suck you dry in a heartbeat. It's coming in early, leaving late and never getting a real day off or a stress free vacation. It's always something, especially when dealing with the general public, which is why I'm glad you added this bit and the Mom complaining the bean bag chairs were "too soft." All, on point. People complain about the dumbest shit. Three years ago I moved my studio to a bigger piece of property and gave up a few things in the process...one being the pond. To this day, I still have clients asking, "Were you able to bring the pond?" Um, no, we did not "bring the pond." Every time I have this conversation with someone, I have to be consciously aware of my facial expression, because...damn! LOL

Ok, I'm done for now. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out:)

-S.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 12th)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:00 am 
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Finey_McFine

Quote:
DIBS!


A contender!

Quote:
What a lovely chapter! FINALLY an uneventful Rosenberg-Maclay birth, lol. I cannot even begin to tell you how relieved I was the birth was "normal." No surprise home birth, no stuck elevator emergency, no gestational diabetes...just a good old fashion my water broke and here comes the baby.


I had to have at least one, right?

Quote:
Willow's initial feelings about Emily's pregnancy caused a lot of friction, but she persevered and always comes through for the people she loves. She truly is a loyal "dog geyser person." Tara not being there and Willow having to once again be the rock, is exactly how it was supposed to go. Tag-team parenting is the way to be successful when raising your kids. When one parent van't be there, the other one takes their place.


Exactly! And sometimes it makes you raise your game.

Quote:
One last thing, going back to the beginning of the chapter...

Running a small business and being self employed is always touted as the greatest freedom there is and it is completely untrue. Unless you have endless amounts of capital, it's a constant worry and will suck you dry in a heartbeat. It's coming in early, leaving late and never getting a real day off or a stress free vacation. It's always something, especially when dealing with the general public, which is why I'm glad you added this bit and the Mom complaining the bean bag chairs were "too soft." All, on point. People complain about the dumbest shit. Three years ago I moved my studio to a bigger piece of property and gave up a few things in the process...one being the pond. To this day, I still have clients asking, "Were you able to bring the pond?" Um, no, we did not "bring the pond." Every time I have this conversation with someone, I have to be consciously aware of my facial expression, because...damn! LOL


:lol :lol at moving the pond. Man. That is next-level stupid.I did some work for a self-employed business and saw the effort it took...and that was on a small scale! I bow to you!

Quote:
Ok, I'm done for now. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out:)


I hope you enjoy the last hurrah!

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 12th)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:00 am 
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Note: Last chapter! Check back Friday for an epilogue :)



Chapter Twenty-Two




Willow parked up on the curb and kept her hands on the wheel.


Tight.


This shouldn’t be this hard.


She’d spend her entire college career studying psychology and yet here she was, afraid to go in to see her new therapist.


It wasn’t like she’d never attended therapy before.


She was the subject of many ‘assessments’ as a child, did plenty of peer work while in school, and had done her fair share of marriage counseling with Tara, not to mention a handful of family intervention when Lily was young and when Kayden and Robyn had been in their sessions with Dr. Carter.


She shouldn’t feel this nervous.


And yet she did.


There was something about the idea of being one-on-one with another person in the room where the entire focus was on your wrongs. She couldn’t deflect or hide away. She had to be present and available and vulnerable.


It was intimate.


And she’d never been comfortable being intimate with anyone but Tara.


Even during couples counseling, Willow had only been able to express herself by speaking to Tara directly. The therapist had been great at forcing questions that one or both couldn’t quite verbalize and that’s what Willow was most afraid of.


It was one thing to answer the hard questions when Tara was there beside her to hold her hand. When she knew she was bettering herself as a wife and a mother.


It was hard for her to better herself just for her.


It felt indulgent. Therapy to her meant to be observed and commented on and told how to fix herself but when Willow was the only ‘recipient’ it felt wasted.


There was some cognitive dissonance, of course, because she didn’t believe Tara or the children were indulgent for going for counseling. She actively encouraged it. And she had even used the knowledge she’d gained in college to ‘psych’ Tara in their early relationship until Tara had told her how annoying it was.


The idea of therapy was great. Fantastic, even!


But did she have to do it herself?


The answer was, of course, yes and even needing to ask the question in the first place gave her the answer.


She let her white knuckles fall away from the wheel and pulled the keys out. Standing on brave legs, she got out of the car, locked it, and headed towards the therapist’s office.


She walked in and gave her name to the man at the front desk before taking a seat in the waiting room.


She sat on a comfortable leather chair and ran her hands up and down the arms.


First impressions were pretty good.


The waiting room was clean, tidy. Books were available to peruse. They had a reusable water station and eclectic art on the walls; the kind that every person who looked at them would have a different opinion on.


That was the point, she guessed.


As she was contemplating whether a red line in a particular piece was a blood vessel or a train track, she heard her name being called in an unusual accent.


“Willow?”


Willow looked up and followed the sound to a door off to the side. An older man was standing there with glasses and a tweed jacket.


Willow raised a hand and stood, then walked over. The man closed the door and extended his hand.


“Hello, I’m Rupert Giles. It’s lovely to meet you.”


“Willow,” Willow answered, then winced, “But you already knew that.”


“Please, take a seat,” Giles offered, “Wherever you choose.”


Willow didn’t really want to pick a seat. She worried about how her choice would be analyzed. Did taking the couch say she took more than she needed; did taking the desk chair mean she was rigid and unmoving?


And what if she took his chair by accident? Would he even tell her? Would they go through the whole session with him secretly annoyed at her?


Sensing her hesitance, Giles walked them over to two opposite armchairs.


“I find these the most comfortable to sit for a period of time.”


Willow sat into the indicated chair gratefully.


Giles sat opposite and crossed one leg over the other while he held a notepad in his lap.


There was a small lull of silence but Giles didn’t let it go on for too long.


“Would you like to share what’s brought you to making an appointment with me today?”


“Needed a fix of the English accent between Doctor Who seasons,” Willow quipped nervously.


Well, how about that. Willow could deflect even on her own.


Giles offered a small smile.


“Some have called it soothing.”


Willow nodded but her gaze fell downward as her hands clasped between her knees.


“I did a degree in psychology,” she announced when she couldn’t bear the silence, “It was a lifetime ago, but I did it. So this whole thing…not exactly new to it. I’ve done marital and family counseling too.”


“Splendid,” Giles answered with an eerily direct gaze, “But that doesn’t answer my question.”


Willow swallowed softly.


“My sixteen-year-old daughter just had a baby,” she said and glanced down guiltily, “And I was a total asshole during her pregnancy. My girls…my girls have been a handful. And at some point, I realized all of my issues with them were coming from the same place that my mother's issues with me came from. Wanting a child that molded themselves to your expectations perfectly.”


Her jaw set.


“And my mother is not a nice person. I didn’t want to become her,” she rolled her eyes and threw a hand up, “I’m literally in therapy because I’m afraid of becoming my mother! So cliché.”


“Cliches are often rooted in reality, I find,” Giles mused easily, “They had to come from somewhere.”


Willow swallowed again.


“She was a psychologist. My mother,” she clarified and cast a furtive glance at Giles, who was looking back with an open face and kind eyes, “It’s the only reason I did that degree. She disowned me before I graduated and we’ve only spoken once since. And I’m actually fine with that. I’ve mourned the relationship. But I think I’m realizing that I still have lingering issues about her. Even coming here today…”


She sighed deeply.


“When I was a kid I’d always be a subject of her papers. Any work I did, drawings, journals, anything. They’d be taken off to be analyzed. And there was always a fault. I always felt guilty, like I deserved to be punished. And I was punished, with pity. But now when my kids do things that could be perceived as ‘failure’…I go back to that place. A little kid being looked down on by her own mother and wanting anything to absolve myself and feel better.”


“Do you want to be punished?” Giles asked softly.


Willow looked up into Giles’s eyes for the first time.


“I wanna be Willow.”


“You are,” Giles said kindly, surely, “In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.”


Willow blinked several times.


Giles uncrossed his legs and crossed the other side.


“Willow, I feel you might benefit from a program we offer her called tandem therapy. My wife has her practice here too and for certain clients, we feel they benefit from what is essentially a double sounding board. You could choose to see us separately or together but with your permission, we would share notes to offer you the best care. My wife specializes in deep-rooted family conflict and traditions therein so I believe you might find her input helpful. Coming from my previous career as a high school librarian I also have a certain…knowledge…of boorish mothers.”


Willow laughed, really laughed. Her shoulders relaxed.


“What’s her name? Your wife?”


“Jenny,” Giles answered simply and with a smile.


Willow matched it.


“I’m in.”



“Her initials are KTRM.”


Lily rolled onto the couch from behind it and stared up at Emily holding a sleeping KT in the armchair.


“She sounds like a radio station.”


Emily scowled.


“My daughter is not a radio station.”


“Yeah, you can turn a radio station off,” Lily muttered, but the corner of her lips was tugging into a smile.


“She needed her diaper changed,” Emily explained in exasperation, “It’s the only way she can let me know. She can’t speak yet, Lily.”


“I’m not an idiot, Emily,” Lily retorted and stuck out her tongue.


“Some things never change,” Willow said to Tara in the doorway as Tara approached from coming down the stairs, “No matter how they appear to have changed.”


Tara looked at Willow curiously.


“Therapy go well, sweetie?”


“It did,” Willow nodded evenly, “It did.”


JJ walked out from the kitchen, scratching his head.


“Is there any food?”


Willow glanced at Tara knowingly.


“Told ya.”


Kayden stopped taking pictures of KT to stand up.


“I’ll go pick up some food for everyone.”


“I’ll help,” Cleo offered from the other side of Emily and KT, “It takes one person to carry enough food just to feed JJ.”


JJ’s chest puffed out proudly.


“The lady knows me.”


Cleo and Kayden organized to head out in Cleo and JJ’s car since Kayden had gotten the train in from Boston. Cleo and JJ could have gotten a train too if it weren’t for the giant stuffed teddy bear that JJ had insisted on getting for his new niece. She hadn’t cried when JJ had presented it, so he took that as good a sign as any if the grin that hadn’t left his face since he walked in was anything to go by.


“Can I hold her again?”


“Yeah,” Emily agreed and gently passed her off, “Look it’s your Uncle JJ.”


“We’re the two-letter-name club, kid. At least your names are actually different from each other,” JJ said as he rocked her softly, “Man, I remember holding you when you were this little. She even has your squishy face!”


“Why do people keep saying that?” Lily and Emily said in unison, though in different tones.


Coming in from the kitchen, Emmett brought in iced tea for everybody. Tara approached and put a hand on his arm.


“Thanks for convincing Lily not to come home until the weekend. I know it was you who talked her down. I’m really glad you’re down there with her in New York.”


Emmett smiled easily.


“I love her.”


Tara smiled and squeezed his arm.


“Lily, tell us about school,” Willow encouraged as she poured some tea, “When do you start classes?”


“Not ‘til next week,” Lily replied and her face lit up, “But I’ve been going to the all of the parties. The dancers are lit. Let me tell you about this one bitch—”


“Lily!” every single other person in the room exclaimed at the same time.


Lily held her hands up like she’d been shot.


“What?!”


“The baby,” Emily whispered.


“I didn’t wake her,” Lily protested.


“I think Emily would prefer her first word isn’t ‘B-I-T-C-H’,” Tara said graciously.


Lily rolled her eyes dramatically.


“As if we’re one of those kind of families.”


“Knock, knock!” a voice came from the front, and then Rose appeared in the doorway.


Everyone said hello and Rose smiled at the room, then her gaze landed on the baby.


“Oh, Emily.”


She sat in beside JJ, who reluctantly passed her off.


“Nana,” Emily said, sitting tenderly in the spot JJ vacated, “I figured it out. Your dream. It wasn’t Katie, it was KT.”


Rose looked up in question. Emily smiled.


“Kelly Tara.”


Rose looked over to Tara, who smiled demurely. With tears in her eyes, she looked back at Emily, then down at the baby.


“Hello KT. Hello, little one. I’m Nana Rose.”


“Great-Nana Rose,” Willow grinned.


“Oh hush you,” Rose laughed quietly. She touched KT’s cheek and there was a little mewing sound, “Oh, how precious.”


Suddenly she looked up, wide-eyed.


“Oh, I had to stop by the airport on the way here and pick up a special delivery I got for you.”


“Is it the BARN stroller from Sweden?” Willow asked excitedly, then continued off some confused looks, “I hear those are super exclusive.”


“It should be making its way in right now,” Rose grinned.


“Have we got a koala cub?”


All eyes flew to the doorway.


“Robyn,” Tara exhaled in shock.


“Robbie!” Willow exclaimed and they both ran over to embrace her.


Robyn patted them both delicately.


“Alright, alright. Hold the mom sandwich ‘til later.”


“Robyn we didn’t think you were coming home for months,” Tara was full-on crying now.


“What is this?” Willow flicked Robyn's new nose ring.


“Quit it,” Robyn batted her hand away, “What can I say? I like to make an entrance.”


JJ was up behind them to line up for a hug and they squeezed for a solid twenty seconds before letting go.


“Missed ya, sis. You don’t even smell like ass.”


“JJ,” Tara chided.


“Told you,” Lily said triumphantly and swung herself up to throw her arms around Robyn, “I missed you but if you ever repeat it I’ll send everyone that picture of you eating all those hamburgers at the fourth of July—”


“I get it,” Robyn pulled back and smirked, “I missed you too.”


She doled out quick hugs to everyone else in the room before finally kneeling before Emily, who had KT back in her arms.


She kissed Emily’s cheek.


“I’m so proud of you,” she said softly and peered into the blanket, “So this is my niece.”


“KT,” Emily said proudly, “Kelly Tara.”


“Suck up,” Robyn grinned and Emily grinned back, so neither Tara nor Willow corrected it, “Can I get in on some of that baby smell?”


KT looked up at Robyn as she was passed over and her cheeks blew out. Robyn beamed and leaned down to kiss KT’s nose.


“Look at your little squishy face.”


“Ugh,” Lily groaned into a cushion.


Willow and Tara smiled at each other and Tara put her arm around Willow’s shoulders. This scene was more than they ever could have asked for, or expected even, or knew they wanted.


It wasn’t long until there was another quiet knock on the open door and Ira and Michelle appeared. Ira held his hat against his chest.


“Well, I know we were here earlier but Michelle and I were out on our evening stroll around the neighborhood and—Robyn?!”


“Took you long enough, Ganpy,” Robyn’s tongue stuck out between her teeth.


She gave side-hugs so she didn’t have to let go of KT.


Minutes later, Kayden and Cleo returned home with the food and smiled knowingly at Robyn.


“Everybody let's eat out the back,” Tara suggested when the room started to get crowded, “I have hand sanitizer in the kitchen.”


“I’ll get the heater,” Willow suggested and went off to get it set up.


Everyone obligingly stood and made their way into the kitchen and out through the back yard. Emily was the last to go, moving a little slower than everyone else as her body recovered, and Willow caught her gently by the arm in the hall.


“You bring her inside if you or she needs some space. It can be overwhelming the first time you see your little baby being passed around like pass the parcel. Say you need to feed her, no one will question it. You know what our family is like, the whole lot of them will probably show up before the night is out. Yours and KT’s needs are the most important, okay?”


Emily started to smile gratefully but Willow chuckled before she could reply.


“Ooh, I think you do need to feed her.”


Emily looked down at the two wet patches on the front of her shirt and blushed.


“They keep doing that.”


“Me too, with Robbie,” Willow recalled with a far-away look, “Once a crow squawked outside the window and these things thought she was crying.”


She grabbed her own boobs in her hands as Tara poked her head out from the kitchen.


“Are you telling her the crow and leaky boob story?” she asked and frowned slightly, “Your sister's cries could be quite…feral.”


Willow nodded in agreement and smiled at Emily.


“I'll get her for you.”


Willow passed JJ and Cleo and Kayden bringing out silverware and dishes for everyone to eat with to wrestle the baby off whoever had her.


Emily awkwardly tried to cover her breasts with her arms.


“Did you have any trouble feeding us?”


Tara puffed out a slow breath.


“You got my milk but I had a hell of a time getting you on the breast. You just wouldn't take it until one day — you did. But it took a long time. If your sister hadn’t latched on earlier I probably would have given up.”


Emily brow gave a gentle furrow.


“Sorry.”


Tara held Emily by the arms, then embraced her. Gently, given the current predicament.


“Never apologize for doing things at your own pace.”


Emily smiled, dropped her arms, and closed her arms loosely around Tara. She heard KT before she saw her and suddenly her breasts ached like nothing else. She took the baby from Willow and let her and Tara help her with the nursing blanket which she still hadn’t quite got the hang of yet.


Everyone stayed close in the backyard, eating over the patio table or on their laps on the garden furniture they had out there.


Nobody else did show up, out of respect, and Emily was glad because her brain was suddenly hyper-aware of things like germs and vaccinations and her tiny baby’s tiny immune system, but every single one of her aunts and uncles and cousins holo’d in once news broke of Robyn’s return got out.


“The prodigal daughter returns,” Willow whispered to Tara with a good-natured smile, “Have they forgotten there’s a whole new baby here?”


“Of course not,” Tara replied softly, “They all saw her in the hospital. It’s just the surprise of it.”


Willow took Tara’s hand and held it tight.


“We did okay for ourselves, didn’t we?”


Tara rested her head on Willow’s shoulder. They looked out on their family together.


“I’d say more than okay.”


The (great!) grandparents all left when it started to get late and Tara used the excuse of seeing them to the door to allow Emily to sneak up to bed because she looked utterly exhausted.


In the back yard, Willow was gathering the take-out boxes.


“Robyn, Lily was going to take your room. One of you will have to sleep on the couch. Can you fight it out without any blood loss?”


“It’s okay, I can go crash with a friend,” Kayden offered as he stood to his full height.


“A friend?” Lily coaxed with a grin.


Kayden rolled his eyes and smiled.


“Dylan.”


Lily and Robyn both started screaming and jumping on top of Kayden, who laughed.


“Shush, shush, you’ll wake the baby,” Tara said, having come out from the kitchen, though smiled at Kayden, “That’s great, sweetie.”


“He really digs you,” Emmett said from his seat, “I could tell by the way he spoke about you.”


“We’re old friends,” Kayden said, then added on shyly, “But there may be some rekindling going on…”


“Re-canoodling, you mean,” Lily thrust her hips at Kayden and grinned, “Actually, I was going to take the basement.”


Willow arched an eyebrow.


“The…basement? There’s nothing down there.”


Lily held her hands out and let them splay.


“Exactly. A blank canvas. I’ll be home some weekends and summers and Robbie is home now too. I need my own room. And the attic rooms smell like boy so…no thank you. Me and Emmett can sleep up there tonight and start working on my new basement apartment tomorrow.”


Emmett came up alongside Lily.


“I’m seeing purple and gold.”


Lily’s eyes lit up.


“Royal,” she said in awed tones, then smirked, “I am a Queen.”


“Me too, honey,” Emmett replied and everybody laughed.


Kayden called Dylan to check it was okay that he came over (it was, more than) and gave everyone hugs before setting off. Cleo and JJ offered to take on clean up so everyone brought in what they could and headed off in their own directions for bed.


In hers and Tara’s room, Willow opened her laptop and saw there was a new email. She inhaled softly as she read it and sent it down to print.


She got the papers and folded them into a plain white envelope and wrote four letters on it, then put it in her back pocket.


She went back upstairs where she found Robyn leaving the bathroom.


“Last time I peed was in a patch of orchids,” she remarked as she walked out, “I do like the nice smelling soap, though.”


Willow caught Robyn by the elbow. Robyn turned and smiled easily. Her eyes were filled with a lot less anger than Willow had seen growing up. She was more at peace with her place in the world.


“Are you home for good?” Willow asked softly.


Robyn considered the question.


“I’m home to help take care of the cub.”


Willow nodded once, slowly. Her eyes cleared and she smiled softly.


“When it’s time to go again, we’ll talk about how to repurpose your college fund for whatever it is you want to do.”


Robyn shared Willow’s smile and leaned in to hug her.


“Will I have to present a biannual spending forecast?”


Willow chuckled.


“At least you know how,” she said and pulled back from the hug with a curious glint in her eye, “What was that for?”


Robyn shrugged one shoulder shyly.


“Always being there for us,” she answered and rolled her eyes playfully, “Even when you take your time.”


Willow gripped Robyn’s arm and swallowed deeply.


“I never wanted anything but the best for all of you.”


Robyn grinned triumphantly.


“Don’t worry, Momma. I’m gonna be the best.”


Willow chuckled.


“I don’t doubt it.”


Robyn smiled thoughtfully.


“What if I did want to go to school?”


Willow’s eyebrows rose slowly on her face.


“…what kind of school?” she asked and found herself completely open to the idea that Robyn was about to say one of those schools that teaches orphaned orangutans how to, well, orangutan.


“Law school?” Robyn asked with an uncharacteristic uncertainty in her voice.


Willow tried desperately not to display even an ounce of delight because she knew her daughter and how Willow’s approval was only a deterrent.


“I see,” she said neutrally, “Is that something you think you’d be into?”


Robyn shrugged one shoulder with a smile.


“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.”


Willow chanced a smile and pulled Robyn into a hug.


“Goodnight, little bean.”


“You have to stop calling me that,” Robyn groaned and pushed past to go to her room.


Willow shook her head and smiled then continued on her way to Emily and KT’s room.


Lily had been quite magnanimous when she came home and her stuff had been turfed out to fit in a crib and other baby accessories in at the last minute. Though being far removed from the room with a screeching baby certainly helped her come to terms with it.


The basement was a noise-proof as she could get and a few weekends licking it into shape would have it every bit as trendy as her Manhattan sky-high dorm.


And she wouldn’t even have to deal with trombone noises.


Willow gently rapt her knuckles on the door so as not to wake KT, who was sleeping in her crib. Emily paused from picking up some spit-up rags and onesies that had fallen to the ground earlier when she was changing KT and hadn’t had a chance to gather up yet.


Willow pulled a white envelope out of her back pocket and placed it on the dresser.


“For whenever you’re ready.”


Emily glanced at it.


The front said ‘Adam’.


She swallowed.


“Thank you.”


Willow reached out and brushed the backs of her fingers on Emily’s cheek.


“Goodnight koala bear.”


Emily hugged Willow, who kissed her forehead. Willow leaned into the crib to kiss KT and gently ran her finger through a single curl. She smiled and headed back to hers and Tara’s room to get ready for bed.


“What a day,” she exhaled softly as she closed the door behind her, “Our girls, huh?”


Tara just smiled.


“Come to bed.”


“Yes, please,” Willow agreed, suddenly very exhausted.


She changed into PJs and brushed her teeth and scooted into bed beside Tara.


“I’m so glad everybody is home.”


“Isn’t it wonderful?” Tara replied with a content sigh.


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


“I love you.”


“I love you,” Tara whispered back.


They snuggled up and Willow threw her arm around Tara’s waist. She fell asleep in seconds.


It was more than a few seconds later that she was woken up, although that’s all it felt like. She was woken by Tara’s jostling legs at first, then she heard the distinct sound of a shrill cry.


Willow turned her head away from the pillow.


“We have to let her learn how to soothe her baby, just like we had to,” she mumbled when she sensed Tara about to pop up out of bed.


Tara looked over to Willow with a frown.


“We had each other.”


Willow buried her head in the pillow for a moment, then lifted it with a sigh.


“I’ll go. You have work in the morning.”


“So do you,” Tara pointed out.


Willow yawned as she sat up.


“Yeah, but I'm the boss.”


Tara arched an eyebrow.


“So am I.”


Willow stretched her arms up above her head.


“Yeah, well I have an office I can nap in and since you're too humble to take the office you're entitled to at work, I win.”


She popped a kiss on Tara’s cheek, then got up before her wife could protest.


She padded across the hall to Emily’s room but paused in the door when she saw Robyn already in there with her. Emily was swaying KT from side to side and shaking her head.


“Moms said under no circumstances should I give her a pacifier.”


“What do they know?” Robyn dismissed, making Willow look unamused.


Emily shook her head again and Robyn dropped the pacifier in her hand.


“Oh, alright,” she agreed and held her arms out to take KT.


Emily hesitated, then handed her over and dropped onto the bed, exhausted.


Robyn started to hum as she bounced KT.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Robyn sang softly, then lowered her voice, “Do-do-do-do-do.”


Willow’s heart swelled with utter love.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Robyn sang again, smiling goofily as KT started to quieten, “Ba-do, ba-do.”


She hummed as she brought KT back to her crib.


“I hate to leave you, but I really must say…” she placed KT down as her little eyes closed, “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.”


Emily came back over and stared into the crib in disbelief.


“How’d you get so good at this?”


“The tribe I was staying with had a new baby,” Robyn explained with a fond smile.


Emily turned her head to Robyn.


“What’s that song from?”


Robyn shrugged one shoulder.


“I don’t know. It’s just been stuck in my head all night.”


Willow grinned and retreated quietly.


She would be needed again, but right now, she wasn’t.


She got back into bed with Tara and curled up close.


“Hey, you know our girls? All of them?” she whispered softly.


Her hand found Tara’s under the covers and she rested their conjoined fingers over Tara’s stomach.


“They're going to be just fine.”

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (October 14th)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Another end to another Confidential!Verse story. But not to fear, their story isn't quite over yet. Stay tuned for the concluding piece, coming next month.

Thanks so much to everybody who read this and has stuck with me and especially Will’s redemption, Finey_McFine, and MotherD who took the time to leave feedback! You don't know how much it is appreciated!



Epilogue

Eight Years Later




Tara held the car door open for Willow, who smiled softly.


“You know that it does that itself when it feels me moving off the seat?”


“Technology can’t replace chivalry,” Tara replied softly and offered her hand.


Willow took it and lifted herself out of the car.


She took a deep breath of the fresh air.


“You okay?” Tara asked gently.


Willow took a look ahead where there was an open grave surrounded by lots of bright green grass.


“No,” she replied and squeezed Tara’s hand, “But I’ll survive. Talked to Jenny this morning. I’m just taking each moment as it comes.”


“That’s my girl,” Tara whispered and pressed a kiss to Willow’s cheek.


Behind them, more cars pulled up on the curb. In the first, JJ got out and came around to open Cleo’s door for her. Tara smiled.


Cleo put her hand on JJ’s chest, said something as she patted there gently, and leaned up on her tiptoes to kiss him.


Behind that, Kayden and Dylan got out of their car and both closed the button on their jackets. They joined hands as Lily and Emmett got out from the back. He put his arm around her shoulders and squeezed it.


Finally, on three scooters, a man and a woman flanked Robyn as they rode their way into the scooter rack and parked up.


Willow’s eyes skirted toward them all, then back at Tara.


“What do we say to…?”


Tara put her hand on Willow’s shoulder.


“Have you considered speaking to them as you do any of our children's partners?”


Willow frowned.


“But can I make jokes?”


“Robyn would probably prefer you didn't,” Tara replied gently, “Sweetheart don't look so uncomfortable.”


“I'm not uncomfortable,” Willow defended, then off Tara’s look, continued, “I'm not! I may not get having two partners but I'm not uncomfortable. If Robbie is happy and the partners are happy…”


Tara rubbed Willow’s shoulder.


“I think of it this way,” she said through a soft breath, “Robyn needs two people to handle her.”


Willow turned to Tara, one eyebrow gently arched.


“Now that I get.”


Tara bit her lip to refrain from adding ‘so do you’ but didn’t think it was the time to bring up any comparison to her wife’s therapy situation.


Emmett also raised an eyebrow as he saw Robyn approaching.


“How does she have two boos when we can’t even find one between us?” he asked dubiously, “And we even shared!”


“That was one time!” Lily hissed, flinging the back of her hand against Emmett’s chest, “Besides, I will be drowning in dick when I debut on Off-Broadway.”


Emmett arched an eyebrow.


“Okay, Off-Off-Broadway,” Lily amended with a roll of her eyes, “But you’re supposed to be my agent, so who’s fault is that?”


“You gots to pay that alimony, hun,” Emmett replied, matter-of-fact, “That’s what you get for having a quickie Vegas wedding.”


Lily crossed her arms over her chest.


“That’s what I get for letting Delilah ply me with cheap caipirinhas. And please don’t talk about my first ex-husband when I’m still trying to find the second,” she replied with a dramatic, far-off stare, “At least KT likes my songs. The daughter I’ll never have to have.”


Emmett nodded agreeably.


“She loves that one where you make fun of your Momma.”


Lily held the back of her hand against her forehead dramatically.


“A top made all of fuzzy fur/Sometimes it’s hard to believe I come from her/She jokes as though she thinks she’s funny…” her head tilted back and she glanced sideways, “Oh honey.”


Emmett smiled, then reined it in.


“This whole conversation is so wildly inappropriate.”


“And completely in earshot,” Willow’s voice called from mere feet away.


Lily and Emmett both squirmed awkwardly.


“Sorry Momma,” Lily said, stuffing her hands into her pockets, “You didn’t hear that thing about the d—”


“Lily, not today,” Tara cut her off softly.


She and Willow hugged the kids and they all walked over to the end of the cemetery where Emily was already waiting. There were more hugs and Willow glanced around.


“Where’s KT?”


“Adam is bringing her,” Emily explained, checking the time quickly, “He’ll be here any second. It’s his weekend with her.”


“I’m sure he’d understand if you wanted her with you this weekend,” Willow replied with a questioning brow raise.


Emily smiled and nodded.


“He does, we’re taking her home after this.”


“Mama?”


Emily turned around and was met with a pre-teen boy taller than she was but still young in his face.


“Yes, Tobes?”


Toby shuffled awkwardly.


“Should I be with everyone else?”


“Of course you should, Toby,” Tara cut in and leaned over to hug him, “You’re family.”


Toby softened.


“Thanks, Nana.”


“Hi Audrey,” Willow raised her hand to greet the woman when she saw her approach across the grass.


Audrey opened her arms to hug Willow.


“Willow, I’m so sorry,” she said softly and pulled back with a sincere look, “We’ll hold the fort at the store for as long as you need.”


Willow patted Audrey’s arm. Truly, Audrey and Emily ran the store seamlessly together by themselves and Willow had scaled down how much she went in because of it, but she still enjoyed poking around and having the kind of involvement she’d wanted from the start: all of the fun and none of the cranky customers.


“Thank you,” she replied in the same sincere tone, “You take care of your wife and my grandkids, that’s all I need.”


Audrey wrapped her arm around Emily’s shoulder and squeezed.


“For me too,” she said and briefly kissed Emily’s cheek, then nodded to something on the other side of the cemetery, “I see Peter and Andrew. I’ll go settle everyone into seats.”


“Thank you, baby,” Emily replied, briefly caressing Audrey’s fingertips before they parted.


She had been 19 and Audrey had been 21 (her birthday, in fact) when they’d shared their first kiss. It had been a surprise to them both.


It had also been a surprise to Willow, who promptly chopped her finger off when Emily had chosen to share the news whilst they had been preparing lunch.


There had been a lot of obstacles between their respective children, some crises of sexuality, navigating the relationships with their children's fathers before they even got to the fact that Emily started out as Audrey’s boss but they had stuck with it and worked it out and now things couldn’t be better.


Except for this day, of course.


Today was not a ‘better’ day.


It was expected.


But that didn’t make it any less painful.


As Audrey was crossing the grass to begin to welcome guests, suddenly a bright flash of energy jumped in front of her.


“Mom, Dad doesn’t know if he should stay or not!”


With a bushy beard and anxious eyes, a man came up behind her. Audrey kissed his cheek.


“Of course you’re welcome, Adam,” she said and patted KT on the back, “KT, go stand with your Mama and your brother. I’ll be over in a minute.”


KT skipped off.


She understood what was happening but trying to force her to be still and solemn would only end up in a much more disrespectful scene than some skipping. KT took after her Auntie Lily that way and this fact alone endeared them greatly to each other. She was the first person KT skipped over to.


Audrey gestured Peter and Andrew over and kissed them both on the cheek.


“Thank you so much for coming. I hoped to see you both sooner since you went off to run the Manhattan store but I wish it wasn’t in these circumstances.”


“Us too. But for Willow and Emily?” Andrew asked, holding a limp hand to his heart, “We owe them everything. Our livelihoods, our lives, our relationship. Everything.”


“I’m truly sorry it’s for such a sad occasion,” Peter added, his big and shiny blue eyes full of sorrow. Andrew leaned his forehead on Peter's shoulder and kissed an exposed piece of skin there.


Audrey nodded sadly.


“I know.”


Where the family was gathering, JJ suddenly looked above them all as a hearse rode up slowly.


“Moms, Grandma.”


Willow and Tara looked over their shoulders and nodded at each other. They went ahead to help Michelle out of the car behind the hearse. She let them link her to help her out, then she used a zimmer frame to steady herself on the flat.


“Thank you,” she said weakly, and slightly out of breath.


Willow and Tara shared a sad look.


“We’ll help you to your seat,” Tara said and they very, very slowly started to make their way up the grass to the graveside.


They put Michelle right in the middle of the closest row and sat either side to make sure she was okay.


The rest of the guests arrived from the chapel over the next few minutes and took their seats or stood respectfully on the sidelines. KT and Toby sat next to Tara while the kids’ partners all sat in the row behind. Emmett sat there too, as he was a platonic partner of sorts and in fact, he and Lily often referred to each other as soulmates.


Across the grave sat Buffy and Angel with Liam home from college, Alice and Jesse with Ella on holo from her work as a microbiologist in London, Xander, and Anya with both Alex and Ella home from their respective jobs in the FBI in Albany and surgical residency in Baltimore and Becky sitting amongst them all with a tissue in her hand, getting support from the whole clan.


JJ, Kayden, Robyn, and Brian waited at the hearse to be the pallbearers and when they all had the coffin on their shoulders, everybody stood for the procession to the grave. Willow and Tara held Michelle’s arm to keep her steady.


Everyone was silent except for the occasional sound of sniffling.


Slowly, the coffin was brought to the mourners and left by the graveside. The rabbi stood over the scene with a solemn bow of his head.


“Today we return our brother Ira Abiyram Yosef Rosenberg to the earth.”


He began to lead the mourners in prayer and the Jewish amongst the crowd followed while the rest stayed quiet or whispered their own personal prayers.


The rabbi stepped aside when he was finished and JJ, Kayden, Robyn, and Brian came back over to lift the straps under the casket so they could lower it into the grave.


Michelle broke at this point and Willow and Tara helped to lower her back into her seat. KT burst into tears and from the row behind and Adam plucked her up and brought her into his lap. From the seat beside, Audrey stroked her hair. Emily looked over and knowing her daughter was safe, allowed herself to crumble into Lily, who was openly and silently crying.


Tara sat with Toby and held his hand, then moved it up to wrap around his shoulders.


“It’s okay, Nana,” he whispered and put his head on her shoulder, “He told me he’d be there every time I read a book to go on to the story adventure with me.”


Tara’s eyes filled. Reaching across Michelle’s back, she squeezed Willow’s shoulder. Willow looked over and smiled sadly.


When the casket was safe in its final resting place, Willow walked over, taking a copy of the Torah. She bowed her head and started to recite.


“Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba…”


Where appropriate, people answered the prayer. From the number of people who had come from Ira’s synagogue, he was clearly a well-loved man.


It was easy for his family to believe that.


When Willow finished, she took a nearby shovel and turned it so she was using the back of it. She thrust it into the pile of dirt dug up from the grave and tossed it on top.


“Good night Daddy.”


She closed her eyes and swallowed, then nodded once and passed the shovel back to JJ, who went through the same routine.


“See ya later, Gramps.”


“I love you, Pops,” Kayden said when it was his turn.


“Farewell, Ganpy,” Robyn spoke solemnly, “I’ll miss you old man.”


Lily and Emily held the shovel together and allowed the dirt to fall off.


“Bye-Bye Zayde.”


Tara brought Toby up with her to do her part and upon KT seeing that, she hurried up behind them. Audrey stood to grab her but Emily held a hand up and stayed close to grab her if need be.


KT held the bottom of the shovel handle as the three of them tossed the dirt in, then KT dropped to her knees and shouted into the grave.


“I’ll miss yoooouuuu! I love yoooouuuu!”


This prompted fresh tears amongst many in the crowd. Tara silently encouraged KT back to her seat while Willow tried to help Michelle up but she insisted on doing it herself. Putting her hand in her pocket, she shakily brought out a vial full of dirt.


Ira had specifically sourced it during their last trip to Israel and entrusted its safekeeping to Michelle.


She loosened it as much as she could and allowed it to cover the last piece of wood peeking out.


“Goodbye, my love. Not forever, but for now. He always told me that we didn't need two heartbeats to be together, we only ever needed one,” she paused, teary-eyed, and placed her hand over her heart, “So that's where we'll stay my love. In here, forever.”


Michelle did accept help back, this time from JJ and Kayden. Willow and Tara both moved down a space to accommodate them.


The rabbi led them in one last prayer before concluding the ceremony.


Everyone was silent, processing the ending.


It was a new beginning of sorts, though not the kind of new beginning they’d all celebrated with joy in the past.


Though there was joy to be had in celebrating the life of Ira, and Willow decided at that moment that that is how she would see this grief through.


People started to move and congregants from Ira’s synagogue came over to express their sympathies with Michelle. Some of the ‘big’ kids went off for a quick walk or to be comforted by their partners and Tara stayed with the little kids to talk them through this event.


Willow found herself at the foot of the grave, staring in silently.


A hand came onto her shoulder.


“You okay, Momma?”


Willow turned back and put her hand over Robyn’s hand, squeezing it.


“I’m okay, bean,” she said sadly but with as much of a smile as she could muster, “Hope it wasn’t too weird for you going back to the ole Jewish roots.”


She glanced over to the man and woman had arrived with, who were talking with Emmett and Lily.


“Or for your…”


Robyn followed her eye line and looked back at Willow.


“Coda was raised Jewish-Pagan and Jonas had a great-grandfather who escaped Bergen-Belsen so it’s not completely left-field…”


“Wow,” Willow replied softly.


“Yeah,” Robyn nodded.


Willow turned to take a good look at her daughter. She still didn’t like the nose ring, but she’d gotten used to it.


“It’s nice to see you, kid,” she said finally, sincerely, “Come home from Portland a little more often, hey?”


Robyn awkwardly fiddled with one of her gauges.


“I wasn’t sure if I was welcome.”


“Always,” Willow didn’t hesitate to answer, “No matter what. You are always welcome.”


She looked deeply into Robyn’s eyes to impart her sincerity, then smiled softly.


“When you’re not too busy,” she added and patted her palms above Robyn’s collarbone, “I knew those kicks you gave me in-utero were enough to change the world.”


Robyn rolled her eyes.


“I don’t do all that.”


Willow dutifully put on her mothering voice.


“You’re only a year out of law school and you’re already helping girls—”


“Anyone womxn-identified,” Robyn interjected.


“—from disadvantaged—”


“Low-income.”


“—areas access welfare—”


“State-supported income.”


“—and better housing,” Willow finished fluidly, “And I know you have big dreams of starting your own non-profit. And guess what? I know you’re going to do it. I see everything you’ve made of your life…and I couldn’t be more proud.”


She paused, some emotion catching in her throat.


“And your grandfather was every bit as proud as I was.”


Robyn’s eyes filled with tears, which she blinked away.


“I’m going to tell C & J to head back to the house. I’ll ride with you guys.”


“Do you only call them by their initials to save the time you need to have two partners?” Willow teased, then quickly cleared her throat, “It was a joke.”


Robyn laughed, really laughed. Possibly inappropriately.


“I know, Momma,” she said and pulled Willow into a big bear hug, “And I love you for it.”


The graveside gradually cleared of people until it was just Michelle, Willow, Tara, and their children.


“Hey, can everybody gather around?” JJ called out quietly, respectful to other mourners in the cemetery.


Everyone formed a circle around the graveside and held hands.


“I have to tell everybody something,” JJ said as he looked around, “I have Cleo’s permission. And I asked Gramps too.”


He took a deep breath.


“I told him when I saw him at the hospital. He asked it be shared right here, like this. He said when everyone was at their saddest, he wanted them to be able to feel the biggest joy.”


He looked down at the casket and up with a slow smile.


“I actually recorded him.”


He pressed a button on the watch on his wrist and a holo of Ira’s head popped up.


He was smiling.


“Jacob and Cleo are to have a new little baby,” his voice came, weak but clear as day.


Everyone gasped and expressed surprise and delight on their faces.


Willow and Tara looked at each other and leaned in to rest their foreheads together.


“It’s a boy,” JJ grinned, tears filling his eyes, “One of the games Gramps used to play with us was anagrams. Robyn was always better but I tried.”


He bumped Robyn’s shoulder, who bumped back.


“Anyway, I was teasing him once about his old-fashionedness and that even his name was old fashioned. He agreed and told me it was no name for a young boy and that even as an old man he wasn't sure he had grown into it yet,” he paused to clear his throat, “So I want to announce here that my son’s name will be Jackson.”


Before anyone could congratulate of complement the name, Lily pulled a face.


“You’re naming your kid after a basketball player?”


“Hush, huh?” JJ pulled a face back at her, “His name will be Jackson…Ray. Spelled 'Rai'.”


There was a moment of silence.


“Which for the slower amongst us is an anagram of ‘Ira’,” Robyn supplied and suddenly people’s faces clicked into place.


“Oh, Jacob,” Tara said but before she could stand to hug her son, Michelle stood on weak legs and kissed him on the cheek.


“He will be loved on heaven and earth.”


She placed her hand on his cheek and leaned on him. When she needed to sit, JJ carefully helped her down, then went to hug Willow and Tara.


“I hope you’re ready to be grandmothers again because we’re going to need a lot of help.”


“Ready and waiting,” Tara replied with a definitive nod of her head, “Come down to see us any time.”


“Great,” JJ said with some relief, “Plus Cleo’s Mom’s always wanted to visit Niagara Falls and ask if it was the one that inspired TLC so she might come to stay closer to the border to be on hand too.”


Willow’s brow furrowed.


“She wants to…ask the waterfall?”


“I didn’t know she was so attuned with nature,” Tara said graciously.


“She isn’t,” JJ shook his head, “She wants to ask the troll that lives beneath it.”


“That’s bridges,” Willow said with an even deeper furrow in her brow.


JJ shrugged.


“Yeah, she always gets those two mixed up.”


Kayden came up to congratulate JJ and Willow turned to Tara, shaking her head.


“How is that woman a math professor?” she whispered incredulously, “And a good one too! She stumped me with a question on multi-variable calculus at their wedding! I still haven’t figured it out! And I Googled it!”


Tara took Willow’s hand and squeezed softly.


“We should go and see what mischief KT and Miss Kitty are getting up to at our house.”


Willow smiled tenderly.


“And get some ultrasound pictures from Cleo.”


Tara’s eyes turned bright.


“I’m so happy. Oh, I hate saying that today.”


“No,” Willow shook her head, “You heard him yourself. This is what he wanted.”


“And this is what else he wanted,” Michelle said as he walked toward the curb with JJ and Kayden on either side.


Willow looked confused.


“What do you mean?”


Then she heard the soft clip-clop of what sounded like horse hooves. She looked up the street and spotted a horse with a carriage attached coming toward them.


“This is to bring you and Tara home,” Michelle explained with a sad smile, “Before you go to sit Shiva, he wanted this to happen. It was in his end-of-life plan.”


Willow was only more confused.


“It was?”


Michelle unfolded a piece of paper from her pocket.


“He said to say, ‘I hope this finally makes up for the bad birthday party pony thing when you were four’.”


Willow looked to Tara and her eyes filled with fresh tears. Tara squeezed her hand.


“And Robyn, he sourced an ethical company,” Michelle adding, eliciting a chuckle all-around.


“I know,” Robyn replied, dropping her gaze to the ground and back up again, “He asked me to help.”


Willow reached out and cupped Robyn’s cheek.


She went around and hugged each of her children and Michelle with Tara following behind doing the same thing. They then helped each other up into the carriage and sat in with a blanket over their laps.


“He didn’t account for my old legs when he planned this,” Willow joked but the sadness was clear in her eye, “That old man never stopped surprising me. And without you, I would never have gotten him back.”


She leaned her head on Tara’s shoulder and they took off.


The rhythmic bounce of the carriage had quite a calming effect. As they turned out of the cemetery, Willow looked back thoughtfully.


“Let’s go visit your Mom and Rose next weekend,” she suggested, smiling a final goodbye, “And visit your shelter.”


“It’s not my shelter,” Tara replied softly.


“You donated the house,” Willow countered, always ready to defend her love, even from herself, “You were so brave to turn that house into something so positive for the community.”


Tara exhaled softly.


“I had good memories there too. With…him gone, there was no reason to hang onto the bad ones.”


Willow kissed Tara’s cheek.


“Those LGBTQ youth thank you.”


Tara shook her head.


“I don’t need their thanks. I just need them to feel safe.”


“And they do,” Willow replied emphatically, “Thanks to you.”


Tara turned her head and they kissed softly, just for a moment.


Willow pulled back and put her palm on Tara’s cheek.


“You’re looking a little grey around the edges lately, my love.”


She let her sewn-together finger draw a circle on Tara’s skin.


“You know my franken-pinky can detect these things now.”


“I can’t pull off the color?” Tara arched an eyebrow and smiled crookedly.


“You can pull anything off,” Willow replied, running her thumb over Tara’s lips, “Including my clothes later.”


It was said with a smile but Tara saw the flurry of emotion in her wife’s eyes.


“I might make an appointment for a check-up. Maybe I need a vitamin boost.”


Willow smiled a little easier.


“Good idea.”


She linked her arm with Tara’s and entwined their fingers. She closed her eyes and rested her head back on Tara’s shoulder.


“You know, I don't know where my dad is right now.”


She lifted their hands to kiss Tara’s hand.


“But this?”


She looked at Tara and saw everything and everyone and past and present and future and all of her life’s meaning in one gaze.


She saw love.


She kissed her wife to feel all that she saw and settled back to enjoy the ride.


Isn’t that all one could ask of life?


This was a new beginning and a tough one.


But with Tara?


“This is heaven.”

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Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… SeriesTwo For Joy/21+InevitableFC2: AOTHFC3: TBUFC4: ANB


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:36 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 406
Dibs to the last chapter and the epilogue! :whip
I'm pretty shaken right now from reading said epilogue. You actually had me crying here. :cry
Rest in peace Ira - and Rose (I hope the latter had a few years with her great-granddaughter KT (and great-grandson Tobey) before she passed.
That Emily fell in love with and married Audrey was a huge surprise for me. Those "gay genes" really run strong in the family! It's wonderful that Audrey and Tobey not only found their "place in the world" but their place in this loving family by Audrey taking this job.
That Kayden and Dylan are once again a couple and Andrew and Peter found happiness together is also great. And yay to "Bibliosmia 3" in Manhattan!
Robyn having two life-partners was surprising for me as well - but then again she always was the must "unconventional" of the kids.
I'm also glad that Emily did contact Adam and that he obviously accepted his role as KTs father and those two have a loving father-daughter relationship. KT is blessed with love in abundance from having two moms, a dad, a brother, two grandmothers, great-grandparents and the other family members.

I try to shake the impact of the epilogue to give at least a few comments to the last two chapters:
It was a great decision of fate (and you Laragh) to have Tara absent during Emily's labour and birth so Willow had to step in as a "birthing partner". She did great in that role! I was pleasantly surprised that she managed to stay so calm and collected when Emily's water broke (I have to admit that my first reaction to that was thinking: "Oh no, Willow's poor Tesla!" :laugh).
Quote:
As the medical staff refreshed gowns and gloves, Emily suddenly squeezed Willow’s hand tight.


“Another contraction, honey?” Willow asked gently.


Emily shook her head.


“I-I’m scared.”


Willow folded both of her hands over Emily’s.


“I know. Guess what? I was too. When I was giving birth to your sister. I was terrified. Even though I wanted to meet her so much, I just wanted to close my legs and press pause so I could have a minute, y’know?”


Emily nodded quickly.


“So let’s take that minute,” Willow smiled with a quick nod, “You and me, together. Let’s take that minute.”


Emily blinked rapidly, then nodded again. She leaned into Willow, who put her forehead against Emily’s.


Together, they looked into each other’s eyes silently.


Emily found the strength she needed.

:flower So great that Willow was able to give Emily all the comfort and strength she needed during birth - that made up at least a bit for her inability to support her during the greatest part of the pregnancy.

Quote:
Willow scooted down to look and felt her heart fill with all of the love she just hadn’t been able to embrace up until now.


“S-She's so beautiful, Emmy,” Willow said with tears filling her eyes, “She has curly hair. It’s all dark blonde, like your mom before she dyed it brown. And she looks like you did when you were born. Not your sister, you. Her nose is a little squishy and her upper lip protrudes and—”


“Push!” Dr. Wells encouraged, “Almost there, Emily, two more pushes.”


Willow gave her hand back to Emily. Emily strained her body with everything she had and finally, with the air heavy and a hum of groaning pulsating around the room, a shrill cry broke through.


Dr. Wells held the baby up, her little limbs flapping. Willow took in a short, sharp breath.


“You did it! You did it! She’s here, baby, your baby is here!”


The nurses got a blanket over Emily’s chest and as the baby was placed down, they rubbed her free of the blood and goo and wrapped her up.


Emily's eyes were permanently wide and the rest of her face unmoving.


“H-Hi,’ she managed eventually, “Hi.”


She took the baby’s hand and held their palms together. The baby tried to curl her fingers so Emily brought a finger down and allowed it to curl around her.


“Whoa.”


“Yeah,” Willow breathed in the exact same manner, angled over Emily so she could take a good look.


Emily laughed joyously as she took in every feature of her daughter’s face.


“I’m your Mama,” she grinned so wide it could split her face, “I’m your Mama.”


She raised her finger so the baby’s hand rose too.


“And say hello to your Bubbe.”


Willow paused. She turned to Emily, slowly.


“Bubbe?”


“W-Would you prefer something else?” Emily asked uncertainly.


Tears filled Willow’s eyes.


“No,” she shook her head and delicately traced a finger around the baby’s features, “No, I’m your Bubbe.”

Awww! So great that Willow fell in love with her granddaughter at first sight (like I hoped she would) and that she gets to be called her "Bubbe" when she has such a loving memory of her own Bubbe.

Quote:
“I should have understood sooner,” she said softly and swallowed again, “When Mom was trying to get pregnant, well, it took a few tries. And the one thing I kept telling myself was ‘no matter how long it takes, in the end, we’ll know it had to happen this way because that’s the only way we would have had that baby’.”


Tears fell from her eyes.


“And then there were two of you and I knew what I thought before couldn’t be more true,” she said with a soft cry, “I should have understood that what I felt then was what you felt now. That you knew this baby was meant to be. I shouldn’t have dismissed that feeling just because of the circumstances.”


Her brow creased remorsefully.


“I hope the first lesson in parenting I can impart is to apologize to you right now. Because I made a mistake in fighting this. And you will make mistakes too, of your very own. But you’ll have my support the whole way. And I’m going to start some therapy to make sure I do that for you safely. And for her. I’ve been avoiding it but it’s time. Not just to be a better Momma, but to be a better Bubbe. And to be a better Willow.”

A breakthrough for Willow in self-awareness and finally resolving to seek therapy.

Quote:
Tara bounced the baby gently in her arms, looking deeply into her sleeping face.


“Is it still Kelly?”


Emily smiled over Tara’s shoulder at Willow.


“No, it’s KT.”


“Katie?” Tara repeated, smiling softly, “That’s pretty.”


“No,” Emily replied, and annunciation more clearly, “K.T.”


“Not after the K–T extinction like I first thought,” Willow smiled self-deprecatingly, “But for an even cooler legacy.”


Tara arched an eyebrow in question.


“KT,” Emily said again, a slight nervous lilt in her voice, “For Kelly Tara.”


Tara’s eyes slowly widened. Emily smiled softly.


“Momma said you wouldn't mind?”


Willow came behind Tara and held her waist because she knew her wife would be unsteady on her feet.


“It's only fitting a beautiful name be passed down from beautiful woman to beautiful woman.”


Tara’s eyes filled with tears. She looked down and KT opened her baby blue eyes. Tara started to sink and Willow was there to guide her into the chair.


“Hi KT,” Tara cooed softly, “Hi, I’m your Nana.”


“And I’m your Bubbe,” Willow added.


Tara’s head flew to Willow. They shared a smile and then a kiss.


“Get used to that, KT,” Emily said and they all laughed.

Awww²!

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“Do you want to be punished?” Giles asked softly.


Willow looked up into Giles’s eyes for the first time.


“I wanna be Willow.”


“You are,” Giles said kindly, surely, “In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.”


Willow blinked several times.


Giles uncrossed his legs and crossed the other side.


“Willow, I feel you might benefit from a program we offer her called tandem therapy. My wife has her practice here too and for certain clients, we feel they benefit from what is essentially a double sounding board. You could choose to see us separately or together but with your permission, we would share notes to offer you the best care. My wife specializes in deep-rooted family conflict and traditions therein so I believe you might find her input helpful. Coming from my previous career as a high school librarian I also have a certain…knowledge…of boorish mothers.”


Willow laughed, really laughed. Her shoulders relaxed.


“What’s her name? Your wife?”


“Jenny,” Giles answered simply and with a smile.


Willow matched it.


“I’m in.”

I feel honoured that you once again let one of my little ideas (that Giles or Jenny might become Willow's therapist) come to life in your story, and in the best possible way by both of them becoming her therapists! And yay that Giles and Jenny are married and (I just trust) happy together.

Quote:
“Her initials are KTRM.”


Lily rolled onto the couch from behind it and stared up at Emily holding a sleeping KT in the armchair.


“She sounds like a radio station.”

:lol Lily is totally right!

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“Nana,” Emily said, sitting tenderly in the spot JJ vacated, “I figured it out. Your dream. It wasn’t Katie, it was KT.”


Rose looked up in question. Emily smiled.


“Kelly Tara.”


Rose looked over to Tara, who smiled demurely. With tears in her eyes, she looked back at Emily, then down at the baby.


“Hello KT. Hello, little one. I’m Nana Rose.”


“Great-Nana Rose,” Willow grinned.


“Oh hush you,” Rose laughed quietly. She touched KT’s cheek and there was a little mewing sound, “Oh, how precious.”

:bigkiss I have to admit that I had totally forgotten about Rose's dream.

Yay that Robyn came back earlier so she could help Emily caring for her baby in the first months! :applause

Quote:
She went back upstairs where she found Robyn leaving the bathroom.


“Last time I peed was in a patch of orchids,” she remarked as she walked out, “I do like the nice smelling soap, though.”

So she didn't have to go to the toilet at one of the airports or on the plane? Then she obviously hasn't inherited Tara's "tiny" bladder... :wink

Quote:
Willow caught Robyn by the elbow. Robyn turned and smiled easily. Her eyes were filled with a lot less anger than Willow had seen growing up. She was more at peace with her place in the world.


“Are you home for good?” Willow asked softly.


Robyn considered the question.


“I’m home to help take care of the cub.”


Willow nodded once, slowly. Her eyes cleared and she smiled softly.


“When it’s time to go again, we’ll talk about how to repurpose your college fund for whatever it is you want to do.”


Robyn shared Willow’s smile and leaned in to hug her.


“Will I have to present a biannual spending forecast?”


Willow chuckled.


“At least you know how,” she said and pulled back from the hug with a curious glint in her eye, “What was that for?”


Robyn shrugged one shoulder shyly.


“Always being there for us,” she answered and rolled her eyes playfully, “Even when you take your time.”


Willow gripped Robyn’s arm and swallowed deeply.


“I never wanted anything but the best for all of you.”

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“What if I did want to go to school?”


Willow’s eyebrows rose slowly on her face.


“…what kind of school?” she asked and found herself completely open to the idea that Robyn was about to say one of those schools that teaches orphaned orangutans how to, well, orangutan.

I'm glad that not only Robyn has made her peace with the world but also Willow has found the strength to truly accept her daughters decisions for her own life. I'm also overjoyed that Robyn has found a life plan that enables her to afford her own living as well as make the world a better place.

Quote:
Robyn started to hum as she bounced KT.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Robyn sang softly, then lowered her voice, “Do-do-do-do-do.”


Willow’s heart swelled with utter love.


“Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,” Robyn sang again, smiling goofily as KT started to quieten, “Ba-do, ba-do.”


She hummed as she brought KT back to her crib.


“I hate to leave you, but I really must say…” she placed KT down as her little eyes closed, “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.”


Emily came back over and stared into the crib in disbelief.


“How’d you get so good at this?”


“The tribe I was staying with had a new baby,” Robyn explained with a fond smile.


Emily turned her head to Robyn.


“What’s that song from?”


Robyn shrugged one shoulder.


“I don’t know. It’s just been stuck in my head all night.”

Awww³ that Robyn subconsciously chose to sing KT the song her mothers used as a lullaby for her when she was little! :flower :bigkiss

Now back to the epilogue.
I cried through the burial ceremony, especially them saying their goodbyes while throwing in the earth.
The most heartbreaking moments for me were Willow saying:
Quote:
“Good night Daddy.”

and KT shouting into the open grave. :cry

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I see everything you’ve made of your life…and I couldn’t be more proud.”


She paused, some emotion catching in her throat.


“And your grandfather was every bit as proud as I was.”


Robyn’s eyes filled with tears, which she blinked away.


“I’m going to tell C & J to head back to the house. I’ll ride with you guys.”


“Do you only call them by their initials to save the time you need to have two partners?” Willow teased, then quickly cleared her throat, “It was a joke.”


Robyn laughed, really laughed. Possibly inappropriately.


“I know, Momma,” she said and pulled Willow into a big bear hug, “And I love you for it.”

I think some laughing through tears is needed at every funeral.

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“I have to tell everybody something,” JJ said as he looked around, “I have Cleo’s permission. And I asked Gramps too.”


He took a deep breath.


“I told him when I saw him at the hospital. He asked it be shared right here, like this. He said when everyone was at their saddest, he wanted them to be able to feel the biggest joy.”


He looked down at the casket and up with a slow smile.


“I actually recorded him.”


He pressed a button on the watch on his wrist and a holo of Ira’s head popped up.


He was smiling.


“Jacob and Cleo are to have a new little baby,” his voice came, weak but clear as day.


Everyone gasped and expressed surprise and delight on their faces.


Willow and Tara looked at each other and leaned in to rest their foreheads together.

:flower So great that Ira got to be the one to tell the good news posthumously. And I love that they chose an anagram for Ira as the second name for their son.

Quote:
Then she heard the soft clip-clop of what sounded like horse hooves. She looked up the street and spotted a horse with a carriage attached coming toward them.


“This is to bring you and Tara home,” Michelle explained with a sad smile, “Before you go to sit Shiva, he wanted this to happen. It was in his end-of-life plan.”


Willow was only more confused.


“It was?”


Michelle unfolded a piece of paper from her pocket.


“He said to say, ‘I hope this finally makes up for the bad birthday party pony thing when you were four’.”


Willow looked to Tara and her eyes filled with fresh tears. Tara squeezed her hand.

After I had just composed myself, this had me in tears again...

Quote:
She linked her arm with Tara’s and entwined their fingers. She closed her eyes and rested her head back on Tara’s shoulder.


“You know, I don't know where my dad is right now.”


She lifted their hands to kiss Tara’s hand.


“But this?”


She looked at Tara and saw everything and everyone and past and present and future and all of her life’s meaning in one gaze.


She saw love.


She kissed her wife to feel all that she saw and settled back to enjoy the ride.


Isn’t that all one could ask of life?


This was a new beginning and a tough one.


But with Tara?


“This is heaven.”

Bittersweet ending to another great story.

I'm glad that you still have another story to complete the series. I'm a little worried because of this part though:
Quote:
Willow pulled back and put her palm on Tara’s cheek.


“You’re looking a little grey around the edges lately, my love.”


She let her sewn-together finger draw a circle on Tara’s skin.


“You know my franken-pinky can detect these things now.”


“I can’t pull off the color?” Tara arched an eyebrow and smiled crookedly.


“You can pull anything off,” Willow replied, running her thumb over Tara’s lips, “Including my clothes later.”


It was said with a smile but Tara saw the flurry of emotion in her wife’s eyes.


“I might make an appointment for a check-up. Maybe I need a vitamin boost.”


Willow smiled a little easier.


“Good idea.”

I really hope Tara isn't seriously sick. If you should decide to conclude the series with one of them dying it shouldn't be before they are both 90 or so years old, already having great-grandchildren. But I just trust that you will turn everything for the best like you always do.
Thank you for bringing us so much joy with your stories in these difficult times, Laragh! :bigkiss


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:20 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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From Laragh: Another end to another Confidential!Verse story. But not to fear, their story isn't quite over yet. Stay tuned for the concluding piece, coming next month.

Excellent 'wrap-up', Always great writing! I hate to see any of your 'verses end, but I then live in Hope for more of your writing.
Wonderful work,....Please keep it up!
Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs to the last chapter and the epilogue! :whip


It is only fitting that you got the last dibs and I am delighted to see it :)

Quote:
I'm pretty shaken right now from reading said epilogue. You actually had me crying here. :cry


Oh, I'm sorry!

Quote:
Rest in peace Ira - and Rose (I hope the latter had a few years with her great-granddaughter KT (and great-grandson Tobey) before she passed.


I envisioned Rose had passed about a year prior. Definitely time for KT to have memories.

Quote:
That Emily fell in love with and married Audrey was a huge surprise for me. Those "gay genes" really run strong in the family! It's wonderful that Audrey and Tobey not only found their "place in the world" but their place in this loving family by Audrey taking this job.


I'll be super honest with you. I was setting up for Emily/Peter...and then I thought...I can make this gayer :kdevil so I did! :D Honestly, I started writing the Audrey/Emily conversation about been teen Moms and I just felt the connection more, so there it is! I feel like Emily is pretty open with her sexuality, maybe not so into labels, she just grew up seeing love is love. Audrey, I think, probably had more of a 'whoa' moment.

Quote:
That Kayden and Dylan are once again a couple and Andrew and Peter found happiness together is also great. And yay to "Bibliosmia 3" in Manhattan!


I like to think Lily still sneaks in to build book towers.

Quote:
Robyn having two life-partners was surprising for me as well - but then again she always was the must "unconventional" of the kids.


She certainly is!

Quote:
I'm also glad that Emily did contact Adam and that he obviously accepted his role as KTs father and those two have a loving father-daughter relationship. KT is blessed with love in abundance from having two moms, a dad, a brother, two grandmothers, great-grandparents and the other family members.


And I think Adam's family dote on KT too. She is definitely a loved little girl!

Quote:
I try to shake the impact of the epilogue to give at least a few comments to the last two chapters:
It was a great decision of fate (and you Laragh) to have Tara absent during Emily's labour and birth so Willow had to step in as a "birthing partner". She did great in that role! I was pleasantly surprised that she managed to stay so calm and collected when Emily's water broke


I think in times of turmoil, we find ourselves. Willow had to go deep, deep inside to find herself but when it came to it, she did and she was Emily's mother when Emily needed a mother the most.

Quote:
(I have to admit that my first reaction to that was thinking: "Oh no, Willow's poor Tesla!" :laugh).


:lol :lol Willow will appreciate your concern (Diego got her all fixed up, don't worry :wink)

Quote:
:flower So great that Willow was able to give Emily all the comfort and strength she needed during birth - that made up at least a bit for her inability to support her during the greatest part of the pregnancy.


I think now, with KT here, it's not about making up but about moving forward, and they will, in their individual relationships and as a family.

Quote:
Awww! So great that Willow fell in love with her granddaughter at first sight (like I hoped she would) and that she gets to be called her "Bubbe" when she has such a loving memory of her own Bubbe.


It was so important to me that Willow get to be 'Bubbe' and I think a really defining moment for Willow - 'Bubbe' is now part of her identity, every bit as much as 'wife' and 'mother'.

Quote:
A breakthrough for Willow in self-awareness and finally resolving to seek therapy.


Very much so!

Quote:
Awww²!


:D

Quote:
I feel honoured that you once again let one of my little ideas (that Giles or Jenny might become Willow's therapist) come to life in your story, and in the best possible way by both of them becoming her therapists! And yay that Giles and Jenny are married and (I just trust) happy together.


You know, it's crazy, someone else on a completely different platform came to me to tell me they'd had a dream that Giles was Willow's therapist in this verse and I was like, okay universe, I get it, I need to make this happen!

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:lol Lily is totally right!


She's a smart cookie.

Quote:
:bigkiss I have to admit that I had totally forgotten about Rose's dream.


Glad I could remind you!

Quote:
Yay that Robyn came back earlier so she could help Emily caring for her baby in the first months! :applause


I told you I wouldn't let her miss everything!

Quote:
So she didn't have to go to the toilet at one of the airports or on the plane? Then she obviously hasn't inherited Tara's "tiny" bladder... :wink


:lol :lol I think she probably did and was making a point but that's a very good point! Poor Tara and her little bladder.

Quote:
I'm glad that not only Robyn has made her peace with the world but also Willow has found the strength to truly accept her daughters decisions for her own life. I'm also overjoyed that Robyn has found a life plan that enables her to afford her own living as well as make the world a better place.


As annoying as she can be, Robyn has Tara's heart.

Quote:
Awww³ that Robyn subconsciously chose to sing KT the song her mothers used as a lullaby for her when she was little! :flower :bigkiss


I think they'll watch home videos at some point and go 'oh'.

Quote:
I cried through the burial ceremony, especially them saying their goodbyes while throwing in the earth.
The most heartbreaking moments for me were Willow saying:

and KT shouting into the open grave. :cry


I'm sorry for making you cry but it was an emotional event <3

Quote:
I think some laughing through tears is needed at every funeral.


Very much agree!

Quote:
:flower So great that Ira got to be the one to tell the good news posthumously. And I love that they chose an anagram for Ira as the second name for their son.


I truly think he died in peace having been able to do that.

Quote:
After I had just composed myself, this had me in tears again...


Send me your Kleenex bill!

Quote:
Bittersweet ending to another great story.


Thanks so much!

Quote:
I'm glad that you still have another story to complete the series. I'm a little worried because of this part though:

I really hope Tara isn't seriously sick. If you should decide to conclude the series with one of them dying it shouldn't be before they are both 90 or so years old, already having great-grandchildren. But I just trust that you will turn everything for the best like you always do.


I will tell you the concluding piece is a one-shot so nothing will be too dragged out and I think you'll be pleased.

Quote:
Thank you for bringing us so much joy with your stories in these difficult times, Laragh! :bigkiss


Thank you so much for being such a loyal reader!

Thanks so much for your feedback!

MotherD

Quote:
Excellent 'wrap-up', Always great writing! I hate to see any of your 'verses end, but I then live in Hope for more of your writing.


Thank you so much! I hope to keep writing, I just love these guys so much!

Quote:
Wonderful work,....Please keep it up!
Blessings


Your encouragement means everything!

Thanks so much for your feedback!

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:01 am 
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Quote:
Send me your Kleenex bill!

:rofl It wasn't that bad...

Quote:
I will tell you the concluding piece is a one-shot so nothing will be too dragged out and I think you'll be pleased.

Even if it doesn't end with one of them dying peacefully of old age I will probably cry again just because it will be the ultimate end of the Confidential Verse. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to the last act of your masterpiece. :bow


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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:27 pm 
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JMT...

Wow, that was a rough ending to this chapter of their lives. You got me all weepy! Saying goodbye to a loved one is always the hardest part of life and when everyone said their goodbyes, it was the hardest part of this entire story to read. Funerals are an odd mix of grief and joy of a family coming together. Letting go of Ira was extremely sad, yet JJ and Cleo's announcement brought happiness and joy. One chapter ends and another begins.

I did, however, enjoy catching up with the kids and Willow's success with the book stores. I don't know if I said this in earlier comments, but I always hoped Emily would turn out to be a lesbian. I caught the gay vibe from her early on and hoped her tryst with Adam was just experimentation. I remember thinking after that chapter at the party, "Damn, I had such high gay hopes for her." LOL I guess we're still on the same wavelength, JMT.

I pretty much expected JJ, Lilly, and Kayden to be exactly where they were and wasn't surprised one tiny bit about Robyn, although I didn't see THAT coming. But, after Lilly threw her under the bus for having multiple male and female partners in HS, I knew she'd never be able to settle for one or the other. I just didn't expect both at the same time, but I'm also glad to see her happy.

I am a little concerned about the next installment because Willow and Tara aren't getting any younger. Also, I really can't handle any more tragedy this year, so please let them live!!!!!

-S.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Confidential - The Final Quarter (Complete)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Finey_McFine

Quote:
JMT...


Hi!

Quote:
Wow, that was a rough ending to this chapter of their lives. You got me all weepy! Saying goodbye to a loved one is always the hardest part of life and when everyone said their goodbyes, it was the hardest part of this entire story to read. Funerals are an odd mix of grief and joy of a family coming together. Letting go of Ira was extremely sad, yet JJ and Cleo's announcement brought happiness and joy. One chapter ends and another begins.


Not fun for anyone but also necessary...it's a lot.

Quote:
I did, however, enjoy catching up with the kids and Willow's success with the book stores. I don't know if I said this in earlier comments, but I always hoped Emily would turn out to be a lesbian. I caught the gay vibe from her early on and hoped her tryst with Adam was just experimentation. I remember thinking after that chapter at the party, "Damn, I had such high gay hopes for her." LOL I guess we're still on the same wavelength, JMT.


:lol :lol Though I wouldn't even call it 'experimentation', more like 'surviving' with some misplaced perspective. I kind of see her as being 'not into labels' but in a different way from Robyn. More like, what happens, happens and the love of my life turned out to be a woman, hey, that's cool.

Quote:
I pretty much expected JJ, Lilly, and Kayden to be exactly where they were and wasn't surprised one tiny bit about Robyn, although I didn't see THAT coming. But, after Lilly threw her under the bus for having multiple male and female partners in HS, I knew she'd never be able to settle for one or the other. I just didn't expect both at the same time, but I'm also glad to see her happy.


Robyn always has to push the envelope a little bit :laugh but hey, nothing wrong with normalizing poly relationships either.

Quote:
I am a little concerned about the next installment because Willow and Tara aren't getting any younger. Also, I really can't handle any more tragedy this year, so please let them live!!!!!


Just...trust me, hey? :wink

Thanks so much for your feedback!

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