Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chapter 3-5: Heroes

                As the pain subsided briefly, Abrielle rushed inside to wake her father-in-law. He calmed her and examined her, palpating her stomach and listening to her belly. Finally, he looked up, with a sad face she knew all too well.

                 “Abrielle, I’m sorry but I believe you are having a miscarriage.”
                Even though it had been what she had expected, her eyes still filled with tears hearing the words out loud.
                Shane pulled her into a hug, hushing her and assuring her that everything was going to be okay.

                 “Do you have time to see me today after work? I think a more concise examination would be best,” Shane suggested.
                She agreed and told him she would stop by when she finished her day at the school.

                As promised, she made her way to Shane’s office in the hospital after work. He did a thorough examination and looked over her previous medical records. Then, he told her the last news she was expecting.

                 “You know you’ll need to tell Verne about this, right,” he asked. “I can’t disclose it to anyone.”
                “I know,” she whispered, hanging her head to hide her tears.

                When she arrived home, she asked Verne to join her on the couch.
                “We need to talk.”
                “Abrielle, what is it,” he asked, worried by the look on her face.
                “It’s a long story. Just promise to listen to the whole thing before you stop me.” With his promise, she began.

                 “When I was younger, my parents and I lived in a really small town. It was devoted to the environment, trying to preserve nature, prohibit technology from advancing any further. It was rather like a cult really. Ever since I had been born, my parents had pushed me towards Lawrence. He was my age, his parents were also involved in the research and development that mine were involved in. Lawrence was really all I knew since we were both homeschooled. He used to serenade me on his guitar when he wasn’t singing to his parents’ garden plants.

                 When we were 17, our parents married us. His father had the court paperwork to legally allow him to do so and our parents were consenting, negating the fact that we were minors. We celebrated, just the 6 of us, around a bonfire that night. 

                  Shortly after our wedding, I became pregnant. Lawrence and I were rather shell-shocked but happy. 

                  Then, one night, I woke up with horrible pains. His mother, who constituted as our mid-wife, told me I was having a miscarriage. She told me that it was because I didn’t love Lawrence enough and was being punished. I believed her.

                 The second time it happened, his mother was even angrier. I believed that I was a bad person and must not be the person for Lawrence. 

                  His mother and father quickly had our marriage annulled and my family moved to Twinbrook. My failure reflected badly on my parents as well and they were shunned in our small community as well.

                When we met, I was sure you were the one. So when we found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t worried. Until I miscarried this baby too. I went to see your father today. He told me that due to some complications with my body, I likely won’t ever be able to have children. I am so sorry. I know we talked about kids and how much you want them. If you, if you want to annul our marriage and find someone that can have your babies, I won’t make it difficult.”

                Abrielle stayed silent, her story now over. Then, Verne pulled her close. He held her to him for a few minutes before speaking.

                 “I promised to love you for better or worse. We’ll figure things out, discuss our options. You’re the person I want, not just some incubator for babies. I love you, just the way you are.”

                Abrielle was happy that Verne still loved her and didn’t care that they couldn’t have children together. However, she was still discontented that she was unable to do a ‘normal woman’s job’. Verne could tell every day that not having children was eating her up inside. He decided they should visit Vesper. Her sarcastic sense of humor might be just the thing to cheer Abrielle up.

                They arrived at the house just in time to see Vesper puking on her lawn.

                 “Vesper, are you okay,” Verne asked. “Maybe we should get you to see dad.”
                “No I am not okay. I’m pregnant. Damn Thaddeus and his condom malfunction.”
                “Oh, that’s great,” Abrielle gushed to her sister-in-law.
                “Great? What am I going to do with a baby? I don’t know the first thing about them. “

                 Of course, Verne couldn’t help tell his parents the news. Both were excited to be grandparents and had been waiting for this moment since the wedding. They hadn’t expected Vesper to be the first to give them the grandchild they so wanted but they weren’t picky. They invited her over for supper to celebrate.

                “Honey, you look tired,” Shane told Vesper as the evening wore on. “You should stay the night and get some rest instead of driving home.”
                “Thanks daddy. And, yeah, I’ve been pretty exhausted ever since I got pregnant. I can’t wait to give this baby up for adoption.”
                “You’re, not keeping it,” Shane asked. “Have you told your mother yet?”
                “No, not yet. I know she isn’t going to be happy.”

                 The next morning, before he left for work, Vesper approached her father cautiously.
                “I’ve been thinking. Thaddeus really wants to keep the baby but we don’t even live together. I can’t do it alone and I’ve never really even wanted kids. But, could you tell me what it is?”
                Shane listened and poked her belly a bit before pronouncing that she was having a little boy. He looked at his little girl, about to be a mother, and knew that knowing it was a little boy in there was going to make all the difference in the world. He smiled and whistled on his way to work.

                “I don’t understand why I can’t have children,” Abrielle cried in the kitchen. “Your sister doesn’t even like children or want  them and she got knocked up without trying! It’s so unfair.”

                 Verne pulled her into a hug, knowing that he needed to find a way to make her happy.

                 They began fervently discussing their options. They finally both decided that adoption seemed the best choice to them. Verne called the agency first thing the morning after they decided and set up an appointment with a social worker. 

                  He and Abrielle were both a bundle of nerves. He hadn’t been lying when he told her that he wasn’t angry or disappointed in her that she couldn’t have children but he did want them. And leaving it up to the government rather than just the two of them was nerve wracking. The morning of the appointment, they could barely eat.

                 Finally, the social worker arrived. First, they took the woman on a tour of the home. Then they made their way to the dining room and had a long discussion regarding what they wanted and were looking for, what their goals and plans were, and how they were prepared for a baby. 

                “Look, Mr. and Mrs. Avendale. You seem like fantastic people who really want and would cherish a child. You come from a respectable family and have enough money to give any child a good life. Unfortunately, your home just isn’t prepared for a baby. There doesn’t seem to be any baby supplies or even room for a child as it grows. You work on that and then call me again. I have a lovely woman who is having a little girl but can’t keep her. I think we can work something out if you can get the house settled.”

                  With that, Verne and Abrielle went into overdrive trying to prepare the house for a baby. They started by buying a small cradle and rocking chair for their room for the baby to stay when she first arrived.  

                   They finally furnished the foyer and even finally finished furnishing the house both upstairs and down. The second room upstairs was storage for the moment but they were thinking of either moving their room upstairs to be close to the nursery or turning it into an office for Verne. The nursery seemed like a wonderland to them. 

                  They snapped some pictures and Verne emailed them to the social work office. All arrangements were made and their baby would be brought home in just a few weeks.

                The day couldn’t have arrived any faster. So when they heard the car pull up, both Verne and Abrielle rushed into the newly decorated foyer to meet their baby girl for the first time. 

                  They had settled on the name Wren and were ecstatic when they finally got to hold her. 

                  Both of them took to parenting with ease. 

                  Just about any time they were home, they could be found near her cradle, cooing at her and snuggling her close.

                 Then, one night just a few short days after Wren’s arrival, Abrielle had news to share with Verne.

                 “I’m pregnant.”

Chapter 3.4                                                                                                                                         Chapter 3.6
I want to apologize for the lack of updates. Things have been hectic around my house for the last week or so. My husband just got home from training and is leaving for a combat deployment in the next week or two so we've been trying to spend as much time as we can together. He comes first! After he leaves, I'll be starting a new job but I hope to get on some kind of schedule. Just please stick with me guys!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 3-4: We've Only Just Begun

                “Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you,” she exclaimed excitedly and watched him slide the ring on her finger.

                 He finally finished another case. This particular one had been rather sensitive so he made sure to show the client that he protected the secrets he was entrusted with. Sure, he also just liked to set things on fire (just a little bit) but the client didn’t have to know that.

                 Verne finally decided that it was time his future in-laws and parents met. Well technically, he needed to meet the future in-laws as well. No time like the present. He figured it would be a good day to start doing wedding planning as well. The Lochners headed over and he anxiously met Alfred outside.

                “Sir, I know that I may have mixed up the order, but, I would be honored to marry your daughter and have your blessing.”

                 “Verne, you seem to make Abrielle a very happy woman. I would love to have you as my son-in-law.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “Just remember, we live in the swamp bogs…it’s really easy to make a body disappear out there.”

                 Inside, the mothers were getting to know each other and discussing the plans for a wedding. Madeline wanted a hippie wedding, Carrie was sure of it. The way the woman talked, she would have Verne and Abrielle living in a grass hut eating berries to preserve nature yet working at the science facility to devote their lives to environmental research and donating all of their earnings to the “cause”. Nut job that one was!

                 Finally, the wedding day arrived. Verne and Abrielle had worked hard to come to an agreement with each of the families but, most importantly it was their day. Carrie was overcome with emotion, watching her youngest child get married. Vesper showed up, looking at Verne like he was crazy. They all gathered on the beach, ready to get started.

                 Verne took his place and the guests their seats. It was a small affair but the important people were there. Well, except Aunt Gene but she was home taking care of Emmanuel who was still a tiny baby. Abrielle appeared at the back of the chairs, gossamer and innocent in her dress and Verne’s eyes were only for her.

                 Until Thaddeus doubled over in pain. Abrielle had just made her way up the aisle when he stood from his chair, almost collapsing due to some intestinal pain. The entire wedding halted as Shane quickly took charge of the situation. 

                  Luckily, Shane was an old hand at emergencies such as this and the crowd did little the faze him. His doctor bag, always handy, provided him with some diagnostic tools and, when he’d determined the cause, a pill to make everything better.

                 The couple headed back to the altar. They had missed the sunset that they had so carefully planned for but did it really matter? Soon, they would be husband and wife. Even Vesper was crying tears of joy for her brother. 

                 Verne slipped the ring onto his bride’s finger. The crowd couldn’t be more pleased. 

                  Except Gabriel, the guy Abrielle broke up with for Verne. He certainly wasn’t invited but there he was, mourning his loss at their wedding anyway.

                 “You may kiss the bride,” and Verne did. It was magical.

                 The headed over to cut the cake, family looking on, Madeline dealing with Gabriel in the background. No cake smushing for these two, they were much too classy for that. Or hungry. No need to waste food. Abrielle’s mother would have had a heart attack. She was already upset about the turkey they were serving.

                 Husband and wife stole to the dance floor, alone in their joy. Sure they were surrounded by the people that meant the most to them but, in those moments; they were just the two of them. Verne couldn’t get over the fact that he had found such a beautiful woman and, even though he had known her for such a short while, she was now his wife. The universe was finally siding with him.

                 When they arrived at their hotel for the night, Verne carried Abrielle over the threshold. He knew it wasn’t the same as the house but the idea of spending his wedding night in the house with his parents was too scary to have considered.

                 He stripped to his boxers getting comfy on the bed, while Abrielle ‘freshened up’ as she put it in the bathroom. He could feel his heart pounding and his palms were starting to get sweaty. He rubbed them on the comforter, trying to dry them off. He heard the door unlatch so he quickly folded his arms, to look at ease, as his bride emerged.

                 “Ab, Abrielle, I have, um, I’ve never done this before,” he stammered to her.
                She smiled seductively at him and scooted close, making him forget his anxieties. 

                 Soon they were naked, ready for their first night as husband and wife. Verne paused above her, not in fear or cautiousness, but to gaze into her eyes.

                “I love you,” he whispered, and then she was pulling him closer and they were making love.

                 Their days settled into a routine. Abrielle would get up early and head to work at the elementary school. Verne would go around town, investigating criminal activities and mundane petty feuds. Abrielle usually arrived home first and would either prepare dinner or study cooking. She seemed to enjoy throwing herself into learning the ‘duties’ of a wife. 

                 When Verne got home, she would greet him at the door with a smile and a kiss.

                 Until one day, she greeted him with something else.
                “Guess what,” she said, practically vibrating with energy.
                “Um, you taught Rump to get juice out of the fridge for us,” he joked.
                “No. I’m pregnant!”

                 Verne was astounded, in a good way. They had discussed their desire to have a big family but he couldn’t believe it was happening so fast. He had expected their first baby to take time. He couldn’t wait to find out more; what gender it would be, who it would look like more. He started planning where they would put the nursery. It was about time to do renovations on the house again anyway.

                A few weeks later, Abrielle tossed and turned in bed. She just couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t fall asleep. She decided to get up and walk around. It was almost morning so the sun would be rising soon. Maybe she could watch as it came over the hills. Just as the purple started to graze the horizon, she felt a horrible, stabbing pain in her midsection. 

                  “Please, not this again,” she thought, knowing exactly what it was.

Chapter 3.3                                                                                                                                         Chapter 3.5

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chapter 3-3: Eternal Flame

                After his date with Abrielle, Verne attempts to go back to work. He quickly invests in a computer that he can use for correspondence with his clients and, also, for some of the shadier parts of being an investigator. 

                 Soon, he cracks his first case. It does little to make him feel proud. It involved some hacking and then more devious acts to reverse the slander that had occurred in the first place. 

                 Instead, it just made him think of Abrielle more since it was her mother he had been investigating. His phone rings, interrupting his train of thought.

                 “Verne, it’s Abrielle. Can we meet up,” she asks, sounding upset.
                 “Sure,” he replies cheerily though inside he’s fervently praying she has not discovered his remote access to her mother’s computer.        

                Verne makes a quick stop on the way to the theatre.
                “I got you something,” he mumbles, suddenly unsure about his surprise.

                 “Oh Verne, they’re lovely. How did you know I was upset?”

                 “Erm, I just could tell.”
                “I quit my job,” she blurts out. “The hospital just wasn’t for me. It’s too sad. So many sick people, some that will never get better. I felt like I was suffocating there.”

                 Verne understood. Though he had never mentioned it to anyone, especially his father, the hospital always made him feel depressed and in need of something cheery.
                “I didn’t quit without a back-up though,” she suddenly pauses.
                “Well, what is it,” he asks, wondering what her back-up could possibly be that she would be afraid to say it.
                “School. Well, education. I love kids. I think it would be so great to be around them all day. My parents think that doing something more worthwhile, like the science lab, would be better.”
                “I think you should do whatever makes you happy. Let’s celebrate your new career,” he exclaims and pulls her towards the bistro.

                “Mmm, if my mother could see me now. She would be mortified,” Abrielle moans as she takes a bite of her hot dog.

                 “Yes, I can see the serious implications of eating a hot dog. Sure to become one of those crazy, inebriated girls on that Sims Gone Wild franchise,” Verne says with a straight face.

                “Are you for real,” Abrielle laughs. She was sure he would make some sexist remark about a hot dog but he doesn’t even sneak a glance. Instead, he debates the ethics of veganism. She silences him.

                 “Shhh, never tell but I’m not a vegetarian.”
                “Really,” he gasps in mock shock and they both break out into laughter. After they finish, she pulls him back to the theatre were they catch the most recent comedy. Both think of how good it feels to laugh.

                After the show, he pulls her to a bench where they sit and watch the stars for a little while. Verne has never been so happy or sure of himself as when he is with her. Then, she does something unexpected.

                 “Verne, thanks for being my white knight today. I needed some cheering up before my date.”

                Just as he was about to confess his feelings for her, she smiles that ‘just friends’ smile at him and excuses herself to go get ready. Wasn’t this a date? Didn’t she ask me out? And I gave her flowers! He replays the conversation and day in his head and realize that he had been too invested. She needed a friend to talk to. She assumed the white (Watcher, you are an idiot, white flowers! That symbolize innocence and purity? White???) flowers were to cheer her up, never seeing them as a romantic gesture. He watches her walking away, towards her date, towards her future, and he stands, letting her leave without a word.

                He arrives back at the house and immediately heads to bed. He could honestly not care less about the small party in full swing and his absence isn’t really missed.

                “Gene, congratulations! How long have you been keeping this secret from us,” Shane exclaims, hand on her belly, excited about his brother’s news.

                 “Well, waiting for the first trimester to be over. Superstition, you know,” she smiles. “We were hoping you might be able to tell us what we’re to expect.”
                Shane hems and haws for a bit, does some of his medical mumbo-jumbo, some measuring, and proudly declares that they are expecting a boy while Carrie looks on in the background.

                 “In just another 4 months, I’ll be an uncle,” he says excitedly, giving his brother a reproachful glare. “First trimester, my ass. More like second.”
                “Hey, hey! There’s been a lot going on,” Tanner defends Gene’s decision to keep things quiet until they were sure that this was what they wanted. It had been rather unexpected but it was the best thing that had ever happened to him and he couldn’t imagine not having Gene or this baby.
                The men and women divide as so often happens when families get together. Both groups though had nothing but praise to say about the other. Warnings, hints and advice, and perhaps some cautionary tales were told all around but both parties couldn’t imagine life without the other.

                 A date. She had a date. And she hasn’t called to tell me how it has gone. Verne can’t stop obsessing over Abrielle. I should have just told her how I felt. Should have just let her know I had feelings for her and then, maybe she wouldn’t have gone.

                He wakes to find a note slipped under his door from his Aunt Gene. Being pregnant and on maternity leave has given her much time to be bored and watch the neighbors more closely. She’s certain one of them as been operating within local crime circles and she can’t have that kind of activity going on when she is about to bring a baby into the world. He texts her and lets her know he’ll look into it.

                He quickly makes work of searching through the neighbor’s trash. He glances around not really interested in anyone seeing him digging through trash.

                  Fortunately, or maybe no, nothing seems to be interesting. Onto the mail box. Maybe there will be something there. Pay dirt. Not only is there solid evidence of the neighbor’s involvement in a small crime ring, there is a quick note thanking the owner for the deal on boat rental for his date. Abrielle had a great time. Abrielle! So the date was good? I haven't talked to her in over a week. Crap, crap, crap.

                 He can’t stand it anymore. Even if she doesn’t share his feelings, he has to at least tell her. He has to give them a chance before she gets serious with someone else. He calls her and asks her to meet him at the promenade. On the way over, his stomach starts to turn and he is in serious danger of puking in the cab. When he arrives, she looks just as she did when he first met her. They’ve developed such a good friendship and he seriously contemplates avoiding the whole situation, just to keep her, even if only as a friend. Coward. You can do this.

                “Look, can we walk,” he asks and starts down the stairs.

                 He stares at the ground, not knowing where to begin or what words to say. 

                 “Abrielle, I, well, I have feelings for you. I know we’re just friends but, I know there’s more than that.”
                “Verne, I had no idea you felt this way,” she responds, looking rather concerned.

                 “If you don’t…”
                “Shh,” she cuts him off, pulling him into a hug. It’s more than he expected and his face lights with joy.

                 “Verne, there’s something you should know…”
                “Abrielle, I know everything I need to know. Nothing you will say can change my mind. Don’t worry about it,” he says, taking her hands in his.

                 She knows she should tell him. It’s obvious he wants more than just one date with her. How can you start a relationship when something like this looms over you? The moment he had confessed his feelings, she knew that she would need to tell him before they dive into a relationship. That same hug that had been so joyous for him had felt like a ticking time bomb starting it’s countdown for her. No more secrets, she had promised herself.

                 And then, he kissed her. Nothing flashy, nothing planned or contrived. Just a sweet, shy kiss that left him nearly as surprised as she was.

                 “Abrielle, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Verne stared into her eyes, lost in them, oblivious to her silent, personal battle. 

                  He kissed her again. This time both of them were more aware, less surprised by this one. Her hand found his, tentatively though and they seemed to pause at that moment. 

                  Reality returned though and, with it, a sense of urgency Verne had never felt before. He knew his father’s story and his grandmother’s before that. He knew that the Avendales seemed to always lose those they loved. He couldn’t lose her. He had lost enough already in his young life. He was certain of his next step, more sure of himself with her than ever in his life.

                “This is going to sound crazy but please, just listen,” he starts slowly. “In the time that we have known each other and become friends, I’ve fallen for you. I know I am just confessing this now, but I’ve been too scared of losing you to say anything before. Until I realized that not saying anything may be the very thing that enables that loss.”

                  “I know it’s unexpected, maybe even considered foolish,” he drops to one knee. “Abrielle, I love you. You have somehow snuck into my heart and taken it captor. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. Will you marry me?”


Chapter 3.2                                                                                                                                         Chapter 3.4