Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chapter 2-6: Deueces are Wild

                “You look beautiful. I think motherhood really becomes you,” Shane said to his glowing wife.
                She smiled knowingly. “If only he knew HOW becoming” she thought to herself with a smile.
                “Mrs. Greenwood-Racket is having a party this evening. Would you do me the honor of accompanying me,” he jokingly said with gusto.
                “You know I can never say no to your fancy airs,” she tittered. “Let me get ready. Watch Uvie for a bit?”
                “My pleasure.”

                Shane took his daughter outside to snuggle and play with. He pointed out the first star in the sky and told her stories about the constellations. He never knew that he could love another person so much. She was so tiny, so perfect. Unexpectedly, a wave of recall came over him. He watched his mother leave all over again, this time in the comfort and safety of his memory rather than the experience.

However, this time, it actually was more painful. Then, he thought she was coming back. Now, especially as a parent himself, he couldn’t fathom how she could have left them. Nothing short of death itself would keep him from Uvie.

Carrie walked out the front door, just to find Shane coming up the steps.
“Shane, let me take her. You need to get ready,” she suggested.
“I’m sorry honey. I just got paged. There has been a nasty pile-up on the interstate near the  Simmissippi border. The hospitals there are full so they’re air-lifting some of the victims here. I have to go.”

                He brushed past her, taking Uvie back to the bedroom. She silently changed into her robe and went back to work on her painting. As the hours passed, her frustration turned to anger which morphed into the ugly feeling of resentment. How dare he leave me all the time to take care of Uvie by myself? Why does he get to have the career while I get to stay home? Does he ever think that fashion is as important to me as medicine is to him? The resentment burned in her, like coals that hadn’t yet produced fire but were red hot.

                The fire exploded onto the surface when he finally got home at midnight.
                “What the hell Shane? Why is your job always more important than your family?”
                “What are you talking about,” he exclaimed, hurt and shock clearly registering on his face.
                “You’re always gone, always leaving me to raise our daughter alone while you’re off saving the world from the sniffles.”

                “Damn it Carrie, you know it’s more than that.” He took a deep breath and attempted to take her hands. “Honey, I know it’s hard but my performance at work today was recognized as calm under pressure and perfectly suited for trauma. I’ve been promoted and they even gave me a §1,000 bonus.”

                “Great” she scoffed, pulling away. “Now go check on Uvie. I think I’m going to be sick.”
                “What more do you want from me,” he muttered as she walked away.

                Perhaps luckily for Carrie, his astonishment from her outrage kept him from being more aware of her condition. She still wasn’t ready to tell him about her pregnancy, especially after tonight, and he was too busy trying to figure out how to make it up to her to think she had been serious about being sick. He was under the impression it was sarcasm intended to be another jab at him.

                The next day, Shane had figured out how to make his increasing absences up to his wife. While she was taking care of Uvie and napping, he quickly ran an errand. When he got back, he covered her eyes and led her to the foyer.
                “So, do you like it,” he asked, hesitantly.

                After an initial pause, “I love it,” she squealed! “Although, word of advice, an appliance will not buy me off every time you upset me,” she joked, admiring her new washer. 

               Shane hadn’t been able to comfortably afford both the washer and matching dryer, so he had gotten a drying line for their clothes. At least the piles would not be building up anymore between Laundromat trips. After running some errands for work, he got home just in time to clear the counters as Carrie was serving dinner. It felt good to be working as a team again. If only he knew just how much she might upset that balance again so soon.

                Carrie still hadn’t told her husband that she was pregnant. Between the arguing regarding his work hours and the stress over the family funds, she just hadn’t found the right time. Lately it had been getting harder and harder to get by without him noticing. She was starting to show more, even through the baggy clothes now. Uvie was often used as a midriff hider but even that was not going to be enough. She had an appointment with her OB that afternoon and, after that, she would decide on her next course of action.

                After meeting with her doctor, she realized that she had to tell Shane. She couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. Her body just wasn’t going to allow for that.

             “Shane, we need to talk,” she said as she put Uvie down for her afternoon nap.
“What’s on your mind,” he asked, absentmindedly while reading a medical journal.
“Look at me.”
He looked up to find his wife smiling at him. He smiled back, not sure where the conversation was headed.
“Shane, I’m pregnant again.”

“What,” he roared. “Oh, please Carrie, tell me you’re joking. Uvie is not even a toddler yet.”
“No, Shane. I’m not joking,” Carrie snapped, started to get vexed. “And what’s more, it’s twins this time.”

              “How are we going to afford this? I’m working as much as I can to support this family and you get mad. Without that time though, I don’t make the money and without the money, we won’t have food. How are we supposed to raise 2 more children?”

“I don’t know but you better figure it out. Doctor Wilson says that with two babies, I am likely to go into labor early and I am already approaching 27 weeks,” and with that she stormed out of the room.

How could I have missed this? Am I that horrible of a husband and a father that I somehow missed the changes my wife was going through? I am a doctor for Christ’s sake. If anyone should have seen or suspected this, it should have been me. Not to mention I sleep in bed with her every night.
His thoughts quickly took a sharp turn. How dare she wait this long to tell me? Why would she keep this a secret from me? Is she having an affair? Twins don’t run in my family that I know of.
His rational side quickly took hold of him. Twins are maternal side, not paternal side. Get ahold of yourself. She has seen how stressed you are and didn’t tell you because she didn’t want to worry you.

                He loved being a father and, even though he knew that money would be even tighter than before, he knew that he would love these new babies just as much. He quickly came around to the idea. As the days passed, he found himself being more and more excited. He constantly talked to his children and rubbed Carrie’s belly. They had decided to be surprised about the genders again but he was hoping for a son. Maybe he would even get two.

 “Honey, I am so sorry I got called in tonight,” Shane apologized to Carrie, once again. “If there was anything I could do to get out of it, I would.”
“I guess I am just resigning myself to the fact that you will miss important events. She’s only going to be a toddler. I suppose she won’t remember if you were there anyway.”

Though it sounded like a jab, Shane knew his wife was actually accepting at this moment. Not that she has any other choice. We NEED that money.

He headed out to work, thankful that his hours were the graveyard shift right now. He got to spend the time that Uvie was awake with her. When he wasn’t trying to sleep that was.

Carrie set up for the party. She knew that Uvie was only going to be a toddler, but this was her first baby. She wanted the evening to be special. She just had to convince herself that it didn’t matter that Shane wouldn’t be there. There would be more birthdays and special occasions.

“Dorothy, you look fantastic,” Carrie gushed to her sister.
“Yeah, but, of course, you look like you stepped out of a maternity magazine,” she sniped back.
Both sisters were pregnant and Dorothy, always one to want to be the center of attention, loathed sharing the spotlight with her sister. The tension surrounding them permeated the room. The rivalry would not be ended on this night.

  Carrie blew out her daugher’s first candle, ready for the fun things that come with a toddler; learning to talk and walk, finally playing games together, reading bedtime stories and so much more. She just hoped she wouldn’t be too tired with the coming new babies to enjoy these precious moments. 

                As she held her daughter and tickled her, she felt the first surge of contractions.

                She couldn’t believe that the twins would time their arrival on Uvie’s birthday. She quickly arranged for Tanner to watch Uvie and headed to the hospital. At least Shane was already there.

                If she had thought labor with one child was exhausting, it was infinitely more so with two. Finally, after hours in labor, her second daughter made her first appearance in the world. Carrie, ready to just lay back and doze off, was quickly reminded by the “C’mon, gimme another push” by her delivery doctor that she still had some work ahead of her. Luckily, her son was only 3 minutes behind his sister.

“Honey, hey. How’re you doing,” Shane asked, as he walked in the room 20 minutes later and kissed her forehead before going and meeting each of his children.
“Exhausted. Can I just stay here? They have nurses that help,” she said with a weak smile.
“Only until we pick names. Otherwise, you have been authorized for release. And so have I.”
“You get to come home with us,” she asked jubilantly. “That’s the third best news all day.”

                They began discussing names for the twins. Once again, they wanted something unusual and a bit different. As they debated the merits of rhyming names, they were interrupted by Carrie’s phone. She glanced at the caller id and saw that it was her father.

“Hi daddy. How are…oh. Oh! Well, that’s great. Tell her congratulations,” and with that she hung up.
Shane glanced at her inquisitively.
“I guess after leaving Uvie’s party tonight, Dorothy went into labor too. They had another boy. Almost 10lbs and is named Donta.”
“Why didn’t you mention our news?”
“Just didn’t seem the right time. I’ll tell him in the morning.”

Shane smiled to himself. He loved his wife’s good nature. Even though Dorothy would probably never know about her sister’s sacrifice, Carrie was putting her own good news on the back burner to give her sister some time to bask in the glory of this moment.

                They each snuggled with the children, again trying to come up with names.
“What about Casey and Lacey,” Shane suggested.
“Ugh,  I thought we said we weren’t going to go with rhyming names,” Carrie said, wrinkled nose and all.
“Emily and Emery?”
“Okay…no more suggestions from you,” Carrie chuckled, “although I do like the same letter idea. Just not rhyming too.”

                After tossing many ideas back and forth they finally decided on Vesper and Verne. Both names were original enough that the twins wouldn’t likely meet anyone with the same names and similar enough that they sounded like “twin” names without being annoyingly matchy. As soon as the birth certificates were completed, both children and mother were released and headed home.

                She put on a brave face for her family but inside she was terrified. She had never imagined having twins. She knew that her paternal grandmother had twins so the gene was carried through her father but it had skipped her sister so she had imagined it had skipped her too. How was she ever going to manage three small children with Shane working so much?

Chapter 2.5                                                                                                                                           Chapter 2.7

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 2-5: Love Inside

                “Ugh. What did I eat,” Carrie wondered to herself as she heaved the remnants of her dinner. She had been feeling slightly nauseous approaching a week now and it just seemed to be getting worse. She knew that she should go to the doctor but having a husband who worked at the hospital made it easy to wait and just ask him when he got home from work. After dinner that night though, she was so exhausted that she fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, completely forgetting to ask her husband about her illness.

                “Shane, I’ve not been feeling well. Do you think I could have the flu,” she accosted him as he came into the kitchen the next morning.
                After feeling her lymph nodes and listening to her vitals, he gave her some news she hadn’t expected.
                “Carrie, you don’t have the flu. I think we’re having a baby.”

                “Oh my goodness. This is fantastic news. We weren’t even trying. I wonder what it will be; a boy or a girl? Is there a way to tell yet? When will it be due?” 

Her questions came fast, like bullets…bam, bam, bam. He didn’t have the answers to most but had an appointment set up with an OB down at the hospital. Though he could tell she was excited, he was more than a little nervous. They barely had afforded the kitchen, the bedrooms were only furnished with a bed , and the single bathroom was already cramped between a working man, a teenager, and a fashionista. How much more cramped and expensive would it get when a baby came along?

Shane headed off to work while Carrie, mind suddenly overwhelmed with baby things, hurried to write her thank you notes. She needed to get those out before news of the pregnancy got out. If people thought we got married because of a baby, I’d be mortified! She knew that if the thank you notes arrived before the baby news, people would, hopefully, keep things mentally lined up as they should be.

It was so hard keeping a secret from everyone. She and Shane would joke together and make lists about baby names and things they would need but as soon as Tanner would walk in the room, they would quickly pretend to be making a grocery list or awkwardly stop the conversation about the pros and cons of Carrie quitting her job to stay home. It also seemed that this pregnancy may be a rough one. Even before she was showing, she was having achy backs and her morning sickness hadn’t eased up one bit.

                 Shane and Carrie decided to wait until she was showing to make their announcement to everyone. They didn’t want to jinx the pregnancy or have to explain if something went wrong. Of course, the first people they told were family. Carrie decided to host a dinner for both families and have everyone over to celebrate. Of course, considering her lack of cooking skills, she hired a caterer. No need to break the good news over burnt food.

                As she straightened the house, she was dismayed by the large pile of clothes by the door. She was really going to have to convince Shane to get her a washer and dryer, especially with a new baby coming soon. Who knew how many onesies the baby would go through in a day? She quickly stashed them in her bedroom and waited for the first guest to arrive.

                It was quite obvious to everyone upon arriving that Carrie and Shane were expecting the stork soon. Tanner, not completely as oblivious as his brother had thought, skipped the party, choosing to spend his time at the gym instead. Ever since figuring out the secret, he had spent more and more time away from home. Not because he wasn’t happy; he was, he just felt that he was in the way of things. He really needed to figure out what he was going to do so he could move out on his own when he turned 18.

                “Dorothy, what are you doing,” Carrie asked her older sister who was scrubbing the bathtub.

                “Cleaning. Obviously, it’s beyond your…capabilities at the moment,” she replied with a sneer.
                “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you be happy for me?”
                “Maybe if you had bothered to tell us before you were halfway done with this pregnancy. We’re your family and you can’t even share basic news with us. I told you about both my sons as soon as I found out.”
                “Well Dot, that’s your prerogative. Shane and I wanted to keep things a surprise until we were well enough along. If you don’t like it, tough,” and with that she headed back out to the rest of her guests.

                “Daddy, you’re going to be a grandpa” she exclaimed, giggling at the look on her father’s face. He certainly was a family man and she knew another grandchild would make him smile with excitement.

                As he leaned over and felt her belly, he quizzed her on what books she had read and if they knew the gender of the baby yet.
                “No, we decided to wait until the big day. A surprise, you know?”
                They ate and danced and ate some more, all sharing stories of big moments. Goodwin told stories of each of his children’s births, telling them that there was no moment more precious than that for him.

                Without a ton of money, Shane and Carrie didn’t have enough money to prepare a room for the baby so they set up a little corner in their room as the nursery. It wasn’t much; a crib and dresser with changing pad along with some much needed diapers and supplies. Since they were waiting for the birth to find out the gender of the baby, they had chosen a neutral green that either gender could grow into. Hopefully they would afford to get more as their child grew into a toddler.

                “Shane, I don’t know how much longer I can wait,” Carrie exclaimed one night at dinner, about 33 weeks into her pregnancy.
                “I know, I know. I am ready to meet our bundle of joy too.” Secretly though, Shane was praying for a promotion before the arrival of the newest Avendale. He couldn’t figure out how they would make everything work, especially when it came time for Carrie to start back at the salon.

                Fortunately for Shane, his work ethic and brilliance were paying off. He was promoted to resident. That same night, Carrie went into labor. He rushed his wife to the hospital and waited and paced and waited some more while the labor proceeded, slowly.

He knew that first babies could sometimes be difficult but it was taking all of his self-control not to rush in and see what the hold-up was. What if something is wrong? Is Carrie okay? What about the baby? She’s early, what if the baby has to stay in the hospital? As always, Shane’s thoughts took to the worst when he was nervous. And the birth of his first child made him the most nervous and anxious he had ever been.

                Finally, the doctor came out to announce that his girls were ready for him. Girls? He walked into the hospital room and was met with the site of his beautiful, yet tired wife and a perfect, pink bundle.

                ‘She’s a miracle, isn’t she,” Carrie asked, exhausted but perfectly euphoric.
                Shane could just stare in awe at his lovely daughter. Shortly after, flowers starting arriving from family members and friends. Goods news sure did travel fast.

                “Shane, what do you think about a name,” Carried queried, pulling him out of his reflections.
                “I don’t know. I want something different and special, just like her.”

                They started tossing names back and forth. None of the names they had previously chosen, before meeting their daughter seemed good enough. It was so hard to choose the name that their daughter would have throughout her life. Finally, they settled on Uviana though, within minutes, they were already calling her Uvie. As they packed up to leave, Shane realized that he had remembered Carrie’s hospital bag with change of clothes but he was still in his pajamas. Oh well. He had to be at work in a few hours anyway and, luckily, had some scrubs in his locker here. He walked his precious family out, making sure they got safely in a cab since he didn’t have time to go home and then come back.

                Ever since being promoted to resident, Shane seemed to be on call all the time. He would get home from work late in the evening to find his wife painting or resting in bed, his daughter fast asleep in her crib. It was a rarity to even get to kiss his wife hello in the evenings.

                Exhausted, he would fall asleep only to be woken in the middle of the night by his beeping pager. His relationships with all of his family members seemed to be failing because of it but, with Carrie staying home with Uvie now, he really needed to keep bringing in the money.

                Carrie was certainly no fan of her husband’s hours. She rarely got sleep as it was, though she certainly wasn’t complaining, so staying awake waiting up for her husband so they could spend time together or, heaven forbid, have an ‘adult’ evening was almost out of the question. One particular night, a few months after Uvie’s birth, she was feeling particularly interested in a romantic evening. Her doctor had finally given her the green light to make love to her husband again and she was determined to stay awake. She made sure to take a late nap and, right before Shane was scheduled to be home, she took and shower and began preparing for her seduction.

Walking into the bedroom to wait, she discovered Shane already asleep. “Oh, he must be so exhausted”, she thought but was figured that he certainly wouldn’t mind getting woken for what she had in mind. She was right. It seemed she had not been the only one willing to stay a little more exhausted for a little married fun.

                Tanner jogged along the old bridge, not really seeing any of the scenery around him. He loved his niece but he was certainly felt in the way. The feeling had intensified since she had been born and every day as she grew bigger, he knew that the day would come when she would need her own room. How long could a child spend in her parents’ bedroom? With just over §300 in the house fund, Tanner knew that expanding the house for an extra bedroom was out of the question. They didn’t even have the rooms they had filled.He didn't know how much longer he could go on being a burden for his brother.

                He jogged his way to the stadium. Earlier that week, exercising in the sports club gym at school, he had seen an announcement for another junior Olympics competition. If nothing else, it would at least get his mind off of the situation at home for a while as he sweated out the worries on the field.

                Little did Tanner know at the time, but the house was going to get even smaller. Carrie was hit by an unexpected wave of nausea.

                Having just become a mother in the past couple months, she hadn’t yet forgotten the horrendous experience of morning sickness. Is it possible that I could be pregnant again, so soon? Even though Uvie was still practically a newborn, Carrie couldn’t help feeling excited about being pregnant again. She would have to visit the doctor to be certain but, her newly developed mother’s intuition told her she was right.

                She would wait though to talk to Shane about it. She knew that this new addition would probably bring him more stress than excitement with the way his work schedule was right now.
Chapter 2.4                                                                                                                                         Chapter 2.6

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chapter 2-4: Going to the Chapel

                Shane stretched as he woke, trying to remember why he felt like he had been beaten in the head with a dozen hammers. Oh my God! No,”  he screamed internally, the bachelor party and the drinking and the wedding finally all coming to him at once. 

                “What time is it, what time is it,” he exclaimed, fumbling for his phone.
                “Hey brother, what’s up,” Tanner said as he sauntered into the foyer, which, at the moment was the living/sleeping room.
                “What’s up? You’re grounded. End of story,” Shane roared as he discovered that it was 3:45pm. His wedding was in 15 minutes.
                “Whoa, what are you talking about,” Tanner griped, arms crossed.
                “I am getting married in 15 minutes and you didn’t even bother to wake me up,” Shane was on a roll now and might just have an aneurysm if he didn’t calm down.
                “Shane, Carrie called while you were asleep. She said that Father Thomas called and said that the church had an electrical problem. Apparently the contractors who built the new fellowship center shorted something out. They’re moving the wedding to tomorrow. She said she and her mother had already called all the guests to let them know.”

                “Oh thank God. Okay, you’re off the hook. Sorry I freaked out,” Shane apologized as Tanner waved a hand forgivingly and headed to work.

                Shane spent the evening cleaning up the house and tending to the garden. He had been lucky with the electrical work and now wanted to make the best of it. The house should be sparkling when he brought his new wife home for the first time. He went to sleep that night, finally able to rest easy and just allow his excitement to wash over him.

                The following morning, he woke early. Pre-wedding jitters he supposed. He noticed he had a voicemail. A friend had recommended him to the business office to work on their accounts books. Though no accountant by any means, Shane certainly had an eye for numbers and figured that he would head over there early to see if he could help out. After some number crunching, he finally got everything in order and was even compensated for his time. His phone rang, just as he was leaving for the hospital.

                “Shane, Dr. Coddle-Prudence here,” she responded curtly.
                They were still friends but she had risen through the ranks at the hospital faster than he had and was now his boss. She was determined to keep their office relationship strictly business and never allowed their long friendship to influence her managing style or workload. He admired her for that but sometimes she tried a little too hard to be “the boss”.
                “Hey Jeannie, what’s up,” he asked lightly.
                “Dr…oh never mind. We’re running a vaccination clinic at the Town Center today. I need you to head it up. I’ve got some things going on here that need to be taken care of,” and with that, she hung up.
                Luckily Shane was in the area and only needed to head across the street. He’d never done live vaccinations before and was worried about the outcome but he knew he couldn’t let Jeannie down. Plus, this just might be another notch in his belt on his way to becoming a surgeon.

                “Alright Mr. Greenwood, this shouldn’t hurt a bit,” Shane soothed the old man’s concerns.
                “What? You don’t look like no doctor to me,” he yelped, trying to pull away. Shane was faster though and managed to vaccinate him successfully.

                “Oh, that wasn’t so bad,” Shark admitted as he went back to his chess game.
                After that, the clinic seemed to speed by. Shane lost track of how many people he vaccinated and when it was all over, he still had to head to the hospital. As soon as he got back, Jeannie called him into her office.
                “Shane, sit, please,” she instructed.
                “Yes, Dr. Coddle-Prudence?” He usually would have called her Jeannie but she sounded serious so he figured caution was the way to proceed for the moment.
                “I hear you did a great job at Town Center today. 10 vaccinations, which is fantastic for your first clinic. I am hereby promoting you to medical intern. Now, go get married. I’ll see you in a few hours,” she said with a wink and smile.

                He headed to St. Simmin’s church to get ready for the wedding, making sure to have Tanner scout out the way ahead to make sure he didn’t see Carrie before their moment. After they finished getting ready, they decided to play some foosball while they waited for the ceremony to start.
                “Are you ready for this,” Tanner asked.
                “What do you mean, of course I am,” Shane responded with a smile and a goal.
                “I just mean that you’re just getting started at the hospital and, of course, I still live with you. I just imagine that it’s going to be tough.”
                “Yes I’m ready. Don’t bring this up. I’ve just convinced myself that everything will be fine,” Shane responded, trying not to think any more on how to make this work.

                In the next room, Carrie was preparing herself for her walk down the aisle. She knew that it would be a tough day. What she had failed to mention to Tanner during the phone call yesterday was that her mother had passed in her sleep on the day that should have been her wedding. She didn’t want Shane freaking out and postponing the wedding indefinitely but she hadn’t wanted those 2 events to occur on the same day. In her mind, they would always be linked but the separate days would go a long way in making the occasions distinct from each other. She would tell Shane at the reception where he was sure to notice her mother’s absence along with her siblings. Dorothy was busy explaining things to her kids, Quiana and Fernando were too distraught to attend a joyous event. Carrie was sure they didn’t even understand how she could go through with it. She knew that it was the best decision though.

                As she walked down the aisle, Shane’s eyes were only on his beautiful bride. He couldn’t believe that, by the end of the night, they would be married and sharing the rest of their lives together. He was ecstatic and, for once, all of his nerves had abandoned him. He heard Carrie whisper to Goodwin just before she stepped up to him but her words were lost in the timeless sound of the wedding march.

                “Are you sure you’ll be okay Daddy,” she whispered to her father, worried that losing her and her mother so close would devastate hime.
                “Baby, I couldn’t be happier,” he smiled through tears. “Now, get up there and get married.”
                The vows were read, the rings exchanged and before she knew it, she was Mrs. Avendale, kissing her husband in front of God and their friends and family.

                Shane and Carrie headed into the reception hall, ready to eat and celebrate and dance. After everyone had been given the opportunity to eat, Goodwin sat down with the newlyweds.
                “I know it isn’t much, but your mother and I prepared for each of your future’s. We want to give you §5,000 to help start your lives together.”
                “Oh daddy! That’s too generous,” Carrie exclaimed.

                “Just please. Take it and cherish each other and take care of your family. It’s the most important thing we’ve got.”
                Shane stood and shook his father-in-law’s hand. He couldn’t believe that Carrie’s parents were willing to give them so much as a wedding present, especially after planning and preparing for the whole affair as well.
                “Sir, we will use it wisely. Thank you so much.”

                “I can’t believe your parents,” Shane confided in Carrie as they greeted guests. “Where is your mother by the way. I haven’t seen her all evening.”
                “Shane, let’s talk about this later.”
                “Carrie, what’s wrong? You look like you’re about to cry.”
                “Shane, mom passed away Saturday night. That’s really why we didn’t get married yesterday. I couldn’t bear to do it. Father Thomas was more than understanding and quickly made the arrangements to postpone for a day.”
                Instead of being mad, as she had thought he would be, Shane did the unexpected. He pulled her into his arms and just held her closely, not saying a word. When he pulled back, he just smiled and led her onto the dance floor.

                As their first dance ended, Shane leaned over to his new bride.
                “How about we head home Mrs. Avendale? Get some much needed rest, after such a long day,” he suggested with a hint of playfulness and surreptitious wink.
                “Sounds good to me,” she replied with a wink of her own.
                Though not the first to leave, the newlyweds left many people dancing and having fun behind.

                Shortly after arrviving back at the house, Shane and Carrie had their first disagreement as husband and wife.
                “No bed? How have you been living like this,” Carrie cried out.

                “Carrie, we aren’t exactly rolling in money, like some people. We’ve been doing the best we could. Better not look through the rest of the house,” he sneered, his pride wounded.

                “First thing tomorrow, we ARE buying furniture. Now c’mon,” she said as she headed down the hall.

                ‘Where are we going,” Shane asked, puzzled when they ended up in the bathroom. “Um, what are we doing in here?”
                “Arguing is not the way to spend our wedding night. And bed or no bed, we’re going to make this marriage official,” she jokingly replied.

                Still puzzled, Shane just stood there. Carrie stripped down and quickly hopped in the shower.
                “Oh that’s what you mean,” Shane said with a grin and hopped in with her.

                The next day, after Tanner had left for school, Carrie and Shane went furniture shopping.
                “What about this one,” Carrie asked.
                “Ugh, all you need is a princess crown and some hot pink to accessorize and we’d be all set,” Shane replied, wrinkling his nose. “This one would be fine.”
                “Shane! That is barely fit for a house. I think it’s what the cheap motels might use,” Carrie rejected the simple brass bed with barely a glance.
                “I think I may need something for this headache,” Shane grimaced.
                “Oh shush you big baby. Okay, what about this one,” she said, stopping in front of a wooden frame. “It’s not too feminine and it looks really comfortable.”
                Shane agreed to it. Before they left, they also chose a bed for Tanner as well. It was time he had his own room and bed as well. The beds were to be delivered that night so no more sleeping in the foyer in sleeping bags.

                On their way home, Carrie wanted to stop in one more place.
                “What are we doing here,” Shane asked.

                “Just give me a minute, okay,” she answered, going inside.
                “Hi, my name is Carrie. I was wondering if you had any open positions,” Carrie asked the older woman in the salon.
                “Well, we do, but that decision is up to Brett. Go talk to him,” she said, pointing to a man outside. “I’m Daisy, by the way.”

                Carrie went outside and spoke with Brett for a few minutes, animatedly. She had always been interested in fashion and saw it now as an opportunity for her family.
                “It won’t be glamorous but if you think you can handle the pressure, you start now. Make sure to get a good idea about fashion because I’m not sure you have what it takes,” he said, looking her up and down before he headed inside.
                “Shane, I got the job,” she exclaimed.
                “Congratulations honey! C’mon, I’m taking you out to lunch,” he said, pulling her along.

                After they had sat down, he started asking her questions about what she would be doing and what her goals were. Whether she had thought it completely through or not, he was proud of her and knew that this was something she would be good at. She even started chatting fashion with some of the other customers at the restaurant.

                “Honey, look, look," Carrie exclaimed later that week after checking the mail. “We got wedding presents!”
                She had already hung the odd assortment of paintings on the wall and made a place for the food processor on the empty counter.
                “Um, they’re…nice,” Shane replied not very enthused about the satyr, weird pink woman, and panda plaque.
                “They’re lovely. Though sitting next to each other they look rather weird.”
                “Who are they from?”
                “Um, the satyr is from Jeannie, the processor from Emil, the pandas from Hubert, and the pink woman is from, from, hmm, let me look at the card. Oh yes, the Greenwood-Rackets. Was lovely for everyone to send gifts. Now I just need to write some thank-yous.”
                “Carrie, not to be overly critical, but those aren’t really what you have in mind for decorations for the home, do you?
                “Well, no, but as gifts, they’re nice.”
                “Why not sell the paintings and still write the thank you cards?”
                “Oh Shane, that would be so tacky! What would we do if one of them came over?”
                “Tell the truth? We could certainly use a bit more money to get things we actually need.”
                “Yes, I suppose you are right,” Carrie pouted though willing to be admit his logic. “I guess I’ll get started on the thank you cards and we can take these to an art dealer tomorrow.”

                The satyr painting alone turned out to be worth over §7,000 so, along with the generous gift from Goodwin, Shane and Carrie were able to start making their house more like a home, including a full kitchen. Carrie, coming from a wealthy family, chose the best of the best in counters and appliances so the recent simoleans did not extend much past the kitchen though. 

                Shane realized that he was going to have to really put forth more than his best effort at work to keep his lovely bride happy. He sighed and went to bed, thinking about tomorrow and hopefully a promotion, again.

Chapter 2.3                                                                                                                                           Chapter 2.5