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Touching Trees ~ Part 1, Chapter 8

TT Cover 2

I sat on the couch staring at the blank screen of the television.  Davey emerged from the kitchen and handed me a cup of hot coffee. I took it gratefully.

“Oh, thank you,” I took the cup and blew lightly at the steam coming from the brew, “what a day.”

“You can say that again,” He sat down on the couch next to me. I was glad he was there.

We managed to convince Hope to take N.J. and leave for the night by promising that Kip would sit down with Hope and her lawyer and figure out what needed to be done. Kip and Fannie would of course demand a paternity test be performed. I wasn’t sure how that would happen, but I didn’t even want to think about that at the moment. I was still trying to push my way out of a fog that I had been in the last five days.  I leaned over and laid my head on Davey’s shoulder.

~*~

    After a long and tearful discussion, I agreed to let Davey move back into the house. We came to a few agreements.  He agreed to put the topic of having another baby back on the table, and I agreed to let him build a small work shop in the back for his projects; but that was mostly for myself, I wanted to put my car in the garage again.  I agreed to turn the internet back on but insisted on being the only one with the password for the parental controls.  I did agree to let him have a couple of adult channels added to the cable package, but I wouldn’t allow the “box” back in the house; he left the house with it one day and I never saw it again.  I also asked him to come to church with us on Sunday morning. He didn’t agree to it, but said he would try. He said he had issues with God; he said he didn’t understand how a God could send someone to hell who was a good person his whole life but had never been baptized. Yet He would send someone to Heaven who lived his life as murderer, rapist or a criminal to Heaven as long as that person asked for forgiveness moments before his death. I didn’t agree with him, but I had given up explaining this was not true.

~*~

     Eight months passed. During this time Kip attended many meetings with Hope and her lawyer. It was confirmed that N.J. was indeed Nicky’s child. Kip agreed to pay Hope a monthly support payment for N.J., but she also demanded that Kip purchase her a home as he did for me.  The judge agreed that the house was a marital gift for Nicky and me and that he could not legally make the Bloom’s purchase Hope a house, so he would not grant her request.

Nicky’s life insurance policy would be split between Addison and N.J.; both funds could not be touched by either surviving parent and would be released to the children on either the day after their college graduation or at the age of twenty-five, whichever came first.
Kip and Fannie insisted on grandparent rights; they wanted to get to know the grandson they never knew about.  Hope would not agree to the same visitation schedule that Addison had but she would agree to one weekend a month and if she needed childcare.

This worked out well for the Bloom’s; it seemed she needed a babysitter often and N.J. was with Kip and Fannie more than he was with his own mother.  He and Addison became good playmates and enjoyed the time they spent together. Occasionally Kip and Fannie would invite Justin over to play with N.J. as well.

Since Nicky’s death, Fannie’s attitude seemed to make a complete turnabout; she had all but stopped making hurtful comments to me. One evening she pulled me aside after I dropped Addy off with them and complimented me on how well I had done raising my daughter.  She told me to cherish every moment that I have with my daughter and never take advantage of the days we have. It is so sad that losing your only child is what it takes to make you a kinder person.

~*~

      A year and a half had passed since Nicky’s death.  Davey and I had been doing very and we had made plans to go out with a friend of his from work and his wife.

“Joel and his wife haven’t lived here long. They haven’t met many couples and I thought it would be nice to have a couple’s night with them,” Davey said as he loaded his plate with French fries.
“Sure. We could use a night out,” I smiled at him and took a bite of my hamburger. Addison and Justin were discussing what game they were playing after supper, “actually you two, after supper you’re both taking your baths and settling down for the night.”

Both kids pouted but then started talking about what games they would play the next day.  To have the worries of a child would be wonderful. Why were we in such a hurry to grow up?

“So, let’s set it up for next weekend then. Saturday night?” Davey asked.

“Yeah, maybe we can go to that new steak place on the west side,” I suggested. Steak was my favorite food, next to bacon.  You know that question people like to ask, ‘If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the one thing you would take with you?’ Well, I am torn between steak and bacon. Yes, I know it isn’t good for me, but there aren’t many foods out there I can truly say I crave. Steak and bacon are two that I just don’t feel I could live without and be happy.

“Joel mentioned cooking out, maybe we can pick up some steaks and take them there,” Davey knew my love for steak. I agreed that was a great idea and told him I would make a salad and a desert to take as well. I didn’t want Joel’s wife to do everything, “I have to warn you though, Joel’s wife Lacey, is kind of gruff I guess.” I laughed.

“Gruff? What do you mean? Will she kick my butt?” I laughed again.

“No, he just said she is hard to warm up to. Isn’t very welcoming, standoffish,” Davey began clearing the kitchen table.

“Maybe this is the reason they can’t find couples to hang out with?” I wiped the table down and sent the kids to take their turn in the bathroom.

~*~

     The skies were overcast grey and threatened to open up with a downpour.  Joel lived almost an hour out of town. Once we reached the outskirts of the city limits the view went from quant neighborhoods, businesses and parks to flat farmland; the overcast sky lent to the dreariness of the drive.

The pressure of the incoming rain was causing me a slight headache that wasn’t going away with the medicine I had taken.  I wasn’t in the mood this evening, but Davey had looked forward to today all week and I didn’t want to disappoint him.  I spent the morning making a cake and in the afternoon I made a three bean salad to take with us. Davey had stopped at the packing plant and picked up four nice sized rib-eyes and a pound of fresh bacon because he knew I like the kind from the plant better than from the grocery store.

We arrived at Joel Hutson house at 5 p.m. and he greeted us in the driveway. Davey handed him the steaks and took the cake from me as I retrieved it from the back seat.

“Wow! So glad you guys could come!” Joel stated excitedly, “We better get this stuff inside. Man, these steaks look great! I sure hope the weather holds off long enough to get these bad boys on the grill!”
“Yeah, we haven’t seen a drop of rain in like five weeks and the one weekend we make plans, boom!” Davey followed Joel into the house.

Joel put the salad and steaks in the refrigerator and Davey sat the cake on the counter. I looked around expecting to meet Lacey. Noticing my confusion, Joel explained that Lacey was a nurse and had to work today, but he expected her to get home any time.

“Dave, how would you like to check out my work shop?” Joel’s enthusiasm was still going strong. I was beginning to wonder if it was just his personality or whether he was on something.

Joel led us back outside to a large building that looked like at one time it had been a detached garage. He unlocked the padlock that secured the door and swung it open. We stepped into what appeared to be a typical workshop. The walls were lined with an array of tools; sawdust covered the floors, and car parts were strung about. It smelled of oil, gasoline and sawdust. It looked smaller on the inside then it did from the outside.

“Nice,” Davey walked over to one of the tool benches and inspected the tool shelf. I knew he was dreaming up new ways to rearrange his workshop.

“Dude, this isn’t the coolest part of this place. Let me show you my man cave!” He almost hopped over to another door in the far left corner. He unlocked yet another padlock.  I was getting a little nervous and hoped that he didn’t have some S&M room on the other side of that door.

He flipped the light on. This room was much larger than the other. Along one wall was a long, crudely made bar. Behind it was an antique mirror with a large crack running through it and empty beer bottles lining a shelf underneath.  In the center of the room was a burnt orange recliner and two plastic lawn chairs, a Coleman cooler served as a coffee table. The room smelled of cigarettes and beer. Girly magazines were scattered about. A disco ball was suspended from the ceiling, attached by several bungee cords. The cleanest item in the room was the big screen television against the wall opposite the bar.

A small alcove off the right to the door held shelves from the floor to the ceiling. Every shelf held rows of different colored binders with the year wrote along the binding in black marker.  He walked over to one of the shelves and pulled a binder out.

“Check this out, Dave. This is the coolest thing ever!” Davey went over and stood behind Joel as he flipped the binder open. Davey’s hand went immediately to his mouth.  Whatever was in the binder was obviously very humorous to Davey because he was shaking with laughter, “I told you about it, remember? Cool, huh?”

“I thought you were shitting me! No pun intended, Joel.” Davey took the binder from him and continued flipping through the pages. I walked over and looked in the binder. What I saw was completely disturbing and I turned and walked towards the other side of the room. Joel must have felt the need to explain the binders.

“You see, my parents bought me a Polaroid camera on my sixteenth birthday and one night some buddies came over. We’d smoked a couple joints, downed a few beers and I had to take a major dump,” he continued, “any way, one of my buddies was messing around with my camera and dared me to take a picture of it, so I did. I have a picture of every dump I have ever taken, well, except for when we are out at a restaurant or something.”
“Of course,” I rolled my eyes at him, “Your wife is cool with this?” I was not feeling well and wanted to go home.

“Oh sure, I mean she makes me keep the books out here; but she picks the film up for me. Do you know how expensive Polaroid film is now? Shit, hardly anyone ever uses it anymore but you have to pay an arm and a leg for it when you do!  I would use a regular one but I haven’t found a place to develop that shit! Ha!” He laughed at his own joke. Davey laughed to and I just looked at him unwilling to believe he thought this was normal.

We heard a car pull into the drive and I was thankful to be leaving the “man cave.”  While we were in the building it had started raining and we dodged the drops as we ran towards the back door and entered the kitchen. Lacey was standing at the sink but turned when we entered.

“Dave, Tess, this is my wife Lacey,” Lacey did not smile or offer her hand to either of us. She looked at Joel and spoke.

“I hope you don’t expect me to cook out in this rain?” She made no attempts to acknowledge our presence.   Joel was oblivious to her rudeness and I now more than ever wanted to go home.

“No, guess not,” he peered out the kitchen window, his face scrunched up as he glared up on the darkening skies, “guess we could head over to the café, they stay open late on the weekends.”

After seeing the contents of Joel’s binders, I had no desire to eat. Not even steak. I turned to Davey after Lacey left the kitchen to change out of her nurse’s scrubs.

“I want to go home Davey. I’m not hungry and it’s obvious she doesn’t want us here,” I knew I was pleading.

“Joel warned us she was gruff,” he placed his hands on my shoulders and gave me a ‘please can’t we stay a little longer’ look. Why did he want to stay?

“Gruff? I have seen bears at the zoo that are gentler than she is,” but I returned his look with a look that said, ‘fine, we’ll stay.’  He smiled and pulled me into a light hug and kissed the top of my head.

I picked over my food at the café. The conversation between Davey and Joel was as lively as it had been all evening. Lacey did offer answers to questions her husband or Davey asked. I smiled and pretended to enjoy myself, but I hadn’t felt so unwelcome in a long time. Lacey smiled and chatted with my husband, but when I would speak to her, she would answer me curtly as if she has something better to do with her time than talk to me. If I hadn’t known better, I would think she resented me being there; but just me, not Davey. I felt like a fourth wheel.

When we returned to their house a few hours later I excused myself to the restroom and took my time. I had no desire to spend any more time with the Hutson’s than I had to, but Davey agreed to come back and watch a movie with them.  I stood in the bathroom looking at the toilet knowing that Joel had pointed his camera at it at some point during that day.

After I finished, I washed my hands and checked my reflection in the mirror. I missed my daughter. Sigh. I missed my house…my bathroom.  I wanted to go home. I heard laughter through the bathroom door, a female’s laugh in particular. Well, I guess she is loosening up a bit. I sighed loudly and opened the bathroom door.

“Oh Dave, you are too funny! Joel said you were funny, but I had no idea!” I heard her voice before I reached the living room.

“Sorry the picture is so bad. It’s a bootlegged copy,” Joel’s voice announced loudly. I heard the clicking of a tape being inserted in a VCR. I stopped behind the wall and listened.

“So tell me Davey, how long have you and Teresa been together?” Lacey purred.

“It’s Tessa. A few years I guess. I haven’t kept count,” Well, that’s nice Davey.

“Does she keep you satisfied?” What?!

“Sure, I guess,” What?!

“Have you ever had a threesome before,” Was this woman for real? I stepped through the living room door. Lacey was sitting too close to Davey for my comfort. She leaned into him and began running her index finger up his leg. Granted he looked uncomfortable even before he noticed me standing there. I glanced over and saw Joel sitting on the floor watching on the television screen a black and white scene of a large naked woman performing oral sex on a horse.

I felt as though someone had just punched me in the stomach and I felt the vile rush up and burn my throat; I began to hyperventilate and the room got rapidly hot. Beads of sweat began popping up on my forehead and the room was spinning. Davey was up off the couch and next to me in seconds.

“Are you okay Babe, what’s wrong?” He looked at me with frightened eyes.

“I want to go home, now!” I started crying and returned to the kitchen. I stood impatiently in the kitchen, waiting for Davey to tell them we were leaving. I went to the refrigerator and grabbed the salad. I turned to the counter were the cake sat and dumped it in the trash, taking only the plate.

“Come on sweetie, let’s go,” He took the bowl and plate from me.

“Don’t forget your steaks,” I heard Lacey say as I walked out the back door.

“Keep them!” I called out as I headed into the rain.

Part 2 Chapter 8 Coming Soon.

Creative Commons License Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.

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Touching Trees ~ Part 2 Chapter 7

TT Cover 2

      I allowed him back to the house to pack his belongings. He explained that the woman was a tenant at the apartment complex he worked at; he said she had been there for him and he could talk to her; that she listened to him. She was there for him when he was so worried about me during my seizures.

“How long have you been sleeping with her?” I felt like someone had reached in and pulled out my stomach.

“Just this week, I swear Tess. I never wanted to do this to you?” He had started crying. I hated it when he cried. He came over to the bed where I sat and got down on his knees. He placed both of his hands on mine and looked up at me, tears in his eyes, “ I swear baby; I will never, ever do anything like this again. Please, can’t we work this out?”

I looked down at him, on his knees, begging me and I laughed.

“What?” he looked confused. My laughing was not the reaction he expected. I just shook my head smiling and started to cry, but still laughing at the same time.

“I find this completely ironic,” gesturing at him knelt on the floor in front of me, “you here on your knees.  This is how you are supposed to pose when you are proposing, not begging for my forgiveness.”

He sighed in exasperation, he knew there was no use in begging right now. He knew I was too upset to listen.

“Was she good?” I asked.  His eyes widen at this question. Did I really want to know the answer?

“I don’t know,” he quietly answered. He must have thought that was a safe answer.

“You don’t know? Well, that’s just wonderful. Let me ask you this? Did you get to pull out your little boxes of surprises?”  I was getting cocky now, “You know, those little toys you are so fond of?”

“Tess, don’t do this?” He got up off his knees and sat on the bed next to me and put his arm around my shoulder, “You’re just going to get yourself all worked up and I don’t want you having another seizure.”

“Don’t!” I stood up to release his arm, “Don’t act concerned about me! You gave up that right to care about me when you decided to be with her!” The tears were hot on my cheeks now, “What’s her name Davey?”

“Does it matter?” He looked beat down.

“Yes, it does.”  I stared at him.

“Kathy.”

“Kathy.”

~*~

The prison fight was all over the news. Two wounded and four dead. Both wounded were security guards, one security officer died as well as three prisoners.  One of the prisoners dead was identified as Nickolas James Bloom.

I sat in Kip and Fannie’s living room watching the television in complete shock. They had found out earlier that morning when a police officer and the prison warden showed up on their doorstep.  As soon as they left, Kip called me at the school; he wanted to make sure that I got Addison home before the news spread.  I told Clara what had happened and pulled Addy out of her classroom.

“Where are we going Mommy?” Addison asked as she pulled on her jacket, “have you been crying?”

I don’t know why I had started crying when Kip told me that Nicky was dead.  There had been many times during our marriage that I had wished he was dead, but knew deep down I wouldn’t wish death on my worst enemy.

“No Bug, I think I may have a cold. You know how your eyes water when you get a cold,” I smiled at her and helped her put her backpack on, “We are going over to Dawda and Meme’s house for a little bit, just for a visit.”

“Oh goody!  Dawda always gives me quarters when I go to their house!” I felt horrible, in just a little bit we had to tell my sweet baby her daddy was dead. Granted she didn’t know him well, but she knew he was her father. We never spoke ill of him and when she asked why he was in jail, we would tell her that he just made a bad decision and broke the law. We were lucky that she never asked more than that.

I worried that the children at school would start asking her about her dad and be cruel in some way. I felt blessed that hadn’t been as issue.  Now Addison would be known as the girl whose daddy died, not the girl whose daddy was in prison.

We arrived at the Bloom’s thirty minutes later. On the drive over I put in one of Addy’s Britney Spears CD’s rather than turn on the radio in fear that a news broadcast would come on.

“I’m glad you’re here Tess,” Kip met us at the door and gave me a hug, “have you said anything to her yet?” He whispered in my ear. I shook my head no.  I held Addy’s hand and we walked into the living room were Fannie sat on the couch dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  When she saw us, she began crying harder and opened her arms to Addison.

“Oh come give your Meme a hug darling girl,” Addison looked up at me confused, “oh you poor, poor child!”

“Fannie, Tess hasn’t said anything to Addy yet,” Kip put his arm around my waist and guided me to one of the side chairs and nodded for me to have a seat.  I took my jacket off and laid it across my lap.

“Why are you crying Meme?” Addy backed away from Fannie’s strong hold, “are you sick?”

Kip sat down on the couch next to Fannie and lifted Addison onto his lap.

“No, Sweet Pea, Meme isn’t sick,” he looked at me as if to ask if it was okay to continue talking. I nodded yes, “Addy, do you remember last Sunday when you went to church with Meme and me?”

Addy nodded her head and looked directly into his face. Her gaze looked very grown up to me and I knew in my heart that from this moment on, she was somehow going to be more grown up than she should be for her age.

“Do you remember how Pastor Glen told us how we would find riches in Heaven someday?” Kip’s voice was even and soothing, very calm for a man who just lost his only child. Addison nodded again, “Do you know when people go to Heaven?”

“Yes, people go to Heaven when they get sick and die,” she answered matter-of-factly, “like when Mommy’s grandma died. She got sick and went to the hospital. She fell asleep and didn’t wake up.”

Kip looked over at me and I urged him to continue.  Fannie was still dabbing her eyes with the tissue, but she said nothing and let Kip continue.
“Yes, Addy, that’s true. Sometimes when people get sick they die and sometimes they might die if they are in an accident,” his voice remained calm, but I could start to see a glistening in his eyes.

“Yeah, like when my friend’s uncle was in a car accident. She said he died, but she said he had been drinking and that is why he crashed his car into a tree,” Addison looked thoughtful for a moment, “do you think that he went to Heaven? I mean, drinking and driving is wrong and Pastor Glen said that good people go to Heaven.” Kip let out a nervous laugh; I started to worry that he wouldn’t be able to continue on.

“Well, I hope so. I think so. I would like to think that God knows people make mistakes and He would forgive us of the wrong things we do, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I think God is a really good person. Dawda, your eyes are leaking,” she reached up and placed her little hand on his cheek. This was his breaking point and he hung his head.  I quickly left my chair and went to my knees on the floor in front of them.

“Addy, Dawda is trying to tell you that someone that we all love very much had to go to Heaven,” I put my hand on her knee and Kip reached over and gripped my shoulder. His eyes were squeezed shut and his grip told me ‘thank you’ for taking over this unbearable task.

“Who? Mamaw? Papaw,” the look of panic was now in her eyes, of course she would think of my parent’s.

“No, no, no. Not Mamaw or Papaw,” my hand went to her face in an attempt to ease her worry, “Addy…Addison.”  Fannie let out a pained sob that startled Addison so much that tears formed in her eyes. I had to get this over with. She was starting to panic and I was beginning to choke, “Addison, Daddy died last night.”

~*~

The Bloom’s house was bustling with mourners that day of Nicky’s funeral.  All of Nicky’s family was in attendance, the Bloom’s closest friends and members of the country club, several of Nicky’s friends and teachers from his high school.  I felt odd being there, but Kip and Addison both insisted I be there.  My parents came briefly to pay their respects to Kip and Fannie, so I dutifully came as well. The entire day, Addison only let go of my hand to hold Kip’s hand. Fannie was no comfort to her at all; she was completely wrapped up in her own grief.

I felt sorry for her, I didn’t blame her. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to lose my only child. The thought of losing Addy made my stomach ache and I had to shake my head to quickly push that horrible thought away.

Davey called the night before, after seeing the news and asked how Addy was. He had been staying with his parents and he knew this was not the time to ask to come home. I was actually missing him and we talked on the phone for over an hour.  I wasn’t ready to forgive him, but I was willing to talk. I didn’t want to be divorced twice in eight years.

So I was relieved to see Davey walk in the Bloom’s front door as I talked to Fannie’s niece, Grace. I excused myself and walked over to him. He reached down and pulled me into a tight hug and then reached down and picked Addison up into his arms.

“My goodness, you are getting too big to pick up young lady!” Addison giggled at him as he let her back down. She turned and ran over to Kip who was sitting on the couch talking to Pastor Glen.

“How are you doing?” Davey put his hands in his pockets and looked down at me. I smiled and sighed.

“I’m rather exhausted actually. I feel so odd being here,” I looked around the room at all the people milling around in black, talking in hushed tones, eating from the buffet table the Bloom’s service staff had prepared, “but Kip insisted. Said Addison needed me here.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good thing,” we walked slowly toward the entry hall, “well you look really beautiful for someone who is so exhausted.”  He could still make me blush.

“Stop,” I shook my head and looked at the floor.

When I looked up I noticed that a woman with very blond hair had walked in the front door; she stuck out like a sore thumb.  Surrounded by people in dark funeral attire, this woman wore a lavender dress with white high heels and large white earrings.  She made her way through the sea of black jackets and dresses until she was in full view of Davey and me. That is when I recognized who it was. Hope.

“Oh my goodness,” I stared in the direction of the tacky woman, “why is she here?” Davey turned to see who I was talking about.

“Who is that?” he asked watching her make her way towards Fannie. That’s when I saw the young boy she was pulling behind her. He was probably around six or seven years old and was dressed in tiny suit.

“She’s the reason I had the crap beat out of me every other day,” my heart was pounding out of my chest, “she is who I was supposed to be.”

Hope approached Fannie, who stood up as soon as she saw the blond and the little boy.  Fannie didn’t look pleased to see Hope and though I couldn’t hear what was being said, it didn’t appear to be friendly conversation.  Kip quickly approached the scene and the volume of the conversation was getting louder, but only on Hope’s end. Kip leaned in to calm her and took her by the elbow, leading her and the little boy into the kitchen.

I wished I was a fly on the wall; I wanted to know what was going on. But it was apparent that approaching Fannie was a horrible idea, her friend Francis was now sitting with her on the couch comforting her as Fannie held a tissue to her eyes. Addison came running up to me.

“Dadaw is yelling at some lady in the kitchen!” her eyes opened wide with fear. As far as I know, no one had ever heard Kip raise his voice, “she is yelling back saying he owed her something!”

“Addy, can you stay with Davey for just a few moments, so Mommy can go do something really quick?” Addy nodded and I headed towards the kitchen. As I approached the double swinging doors, several staff came rushing out without trays or pitchers. They looked upset and I pushed my way through the double doors.

“I know you set up a fund for her little brat; and I know that she is getting Nicky’s life insurance policy. I checked with my lawyers and N.J. here has a right to it just the same as her!” the woman was standing next to the counter, pointing her finger at Kip. The little boy was sitting at the table eating a cracker and oblivious to the volume that Hope was speaking to Kip.

“How dare you walk into my house making demands? How do I even know that this child belongs to Nicky? Why are we just now hearing about this?” They had no idea I was standing in the doorway. I was beginning to understand what was going on.

“Are you saying this little boy is Nicky’s?” I asked. The both stopped yelling and looked at me. I stared at the little boy trying to see Nicky in his features.  I walked over to the table and sat down across from him. Neither Hope nor Kip made any attempt to move.  The little boy continued to nibble on crackers but looked up at me. His hair was blond, almost white. He did look a lot like Addison, including the light blue eyes that she inherited from Nicky. He had the same dimple in the middle of his chin that Nicky had, and a cow lick at the top of his forehead that looked similar to the million pictures that Fannie had of an elementary age Nicky.

“Hi, I’m Tessa. What’s your name?” I spoke softly to the little boy.

“Nickolas. But my friends call me N.J.” N.J. Nickolas, Jr. He reached into the plastic container and pulled out another cracker.

“And this is your mommy, right? Where is your daddy?” I reached for a cracker, but didn’t eat it. I just turned it over and over between my fingers.

“Hey! Don’t talk to my kid!” Hope started towards the table. Kip stepped in her way.

His lip puckered out, “My daddy’s dead.”

Click Here to continue to Chapter 8 Part 1

Creative Commons License Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 1 Chapter 7

TT Cover 2

     Davey came in and sat at the island while I poured the hot water off of the eggs I had boiled in preparation for Easter.  I sat them in the sink and ran cold water over them.

“Did you have a good day, HungLikeAHorse69?” I asked nonchalantly. I didn’t have to turn around and look at him, I felt the air leave the room.  I turned off the water and stared down at the eggs.

“What?” he asked, but in a voice that was almost a whisper.  I turned and looked at him, my arms crossed in front of me.  I stared at him waiting for him to read my mind, “Have you been spying on me?” He asked not looking at me.

“Excuse me? Spying on you?”  My hands went to my hips, “Spying on you? Why do you think I would have a reason to spy on you?”

He finally looked up at me, I could tell in his eyes that he was going to turn this around and make it my fault. I just knew it.

“What were you doing? Snooping around on the computer?” His voice had gotten louder. Here it came. He started in on how I never gave him sex; that he had to beg for it and that was the reason he had to look to websites for it. That he wouldn’t need those movies if I was more receptive to trying new things. That is why he brought home the toys and movies, to make me a better wife, a better lover. That I should look at those things as learning tools and not think of them as disgusting. Society made them disgusting, he said, made people think they were dirty.  They weren’t dirty, he said. He went on and on, trying to convince me that if I just tried some of the things he wanted me to do, he wouldn’t need the websites.

My eyes rolled into the back of my head and it felt as if my tongue had swelled. The room started to blur, I staggered to the kitchen chair, but missed and landed on the floor on my knees. I used both of my hands to hold me up, as vomit streamed from my mouth.

“Tess! What’s wrong. Shit! What’s wrong?” I could hear Davey’s voice, but I couldn’t see him. I remember laying my head on the cold floor, I rolled to my back either by my own will or with Davey’s help. My head moved uncontrollable from side to side, I couldn’t stop it and sharp pains shot through my neck and shoulders.  I felt the vomit fill my mouth again and I couldn’t swallow or spit it out. I knew I was choking but had no way of saying I was.

I felt myself being rolled onto my side and fingers reaching in my mouth flushing out the vomit that filled my airway.  I could hear many voices around me, but could no longer make out whose voices they were or what they were saying.

~*~

I woke up to the sound of my mom’s voice talking to a woman whose voice I didn’t recognize.

“Mom?”  My throat was sore and I was thirsty.  I felt my mom’s hand on my arm.

“It’s all right, I’m here.” I opened my eyes to see my mom’s comforting smile above me. I felt a tube around my face and in my nose, blowing a cool stream of air in my nostrils. I looked over and saw a nurse checking the bag attached to my IV.
“What happened? Why am I here?”  I pulled at the tube in my nose. Where was Addison? Where was Davey?, “Addison?”

“She’s fine, she’s at my house with Paul. Davey called us and told us the ambulance had taken you to the hospital. We didn’t say anything to Addy so Paul just stayed with her and I came.” She put the tube back in my nostrils and methodically stroked my hair out of my face.
“Why am I here?”

“The doctor said you had a seizure. They ran some tests and we should hear something soon. They want to keep you over night just to be on the safe side.”

Davey walked in to the ER examination room and over to the other side of the bed. He placed his hands over my hand.  He leaned down towards my face and I could tell he had been crying.
“I’m so sorry. It’s all my fault. I’ve stressed you out and caused this to happen to you.”

Yes. Yes, you did.

~*~

     Another year had almost passed, I had a total of seven seizures during that year.  All the tests came back fine, there didn’t seem to be a logical reason why I had them; I was always asked the same question every time I went to the hospital, “Tess, have you taken any drugs?”  I would be asked that question no less than twelve times each visit, by the doctor, the nurses and the techs who ran the tests. I answered, “No,” every time and wondered, ‘Do these people EVER write anything useful down in those clipboards they carry around everywhere?’
One thing we knew for sure are the seizures always happened when Davey and I had a fight. When he would raise his voice at me or move too quickly towards me. If he turned quickly and moved his arm or hand in my direction I would flinch and duck away from him. He only hit me once the whole time we were together and I am not even sure that he meant to do it then and I know he was sorry for it afterwards.  We still were at ends about having another child, in my mind I wanted a baby with my husband even if my husband had some serious issues.  He started using my seizures as a reason to not have another baby; he said it was too dangerous. The seizures wore me down for days and they were usually followed by a sickening migraine that would put me in a dark room for at least twenty-four hours.  I could count on one thing to relieve the stress and that was spending my time with Addison; she was my saving grace. Addy was growing into a great kid even if I spoiled her a little, she was still mine and I wanted to enjoy every minute of her that I could.

She had tried out for the choral group at school and made it. We were both very excited because it was big deal at her school to belong to this talented group and this year they would be traveling to Disney World during spring break and would compete in a competition against twenty other schools.  We spent most of the year raising money to pay for the trip. Kip offered to pay for us both, but I refused his offer, wanting to make the trip something Addy and I did together. But it was also out of respect for Davey, it bothered him to know that Nicky’s father was involved in the purchase of the home he lived in and sent Addison and I Christmas money every holiday. I tried to explain to Davey that Kip was a generous man and he feels guilty for what his son had done. But this time I kindly turned Kip’s offer away, and instead Addison and I participated in the school’s fundraisers and on our own we had bake sales and a yard sale. We had made enough to pay for the trip and had money left over to buy souvenirs.  Davey opted to stay home, saying he wouldn’t be able to take the time off at work, he said it would be a good time to work on his projects in the garage.  I had the internet disconnected a week after the first seizure happened so I wasn’t concerned that he would spend the entire week in front of the computer.

We left for Florida the Friday morning before spring break. The school excused the choral and band students from classes that day since several of the teachers were going as was the principal. We had spent many months preparing and practicing for this and everyone was so excited. No one seemed to want to sleep on the twenty-two hour drive to Florida, including the adults.
The week there was magical. The groups did amazing with the elementary and high school groups coming in first place and the junior high group coming in second in the show choir category, and high school band came in third in the marching instrumental competition. The bands participated in the Disney Parades and it was amazing to see people we knew marching by.

The rest of the week we were able to explore and enjoy the parks. I felt more like a kid then Addison did; I had never expected in my whole life that I would be able to take my daughter to such a wonderful place.  I really hated leaving and it was bittersweet as we loaded our luggage on the buses to head back to Indiana.

The bus pulled into the school parking lot at 4:30 a.m. My mom offered to pick us up at that early time to keep Davey from having to make a special trip since he had to be a work by 7 a.m. We pulled in our driveway at 5:15 a.m. and Addy headed straight to her bed.  As nice as the travel buses were, with the bathrooms and televisions, the seats were not comfortable to sleep in especially for a heavier person, so I was really exhausted and looked forward to my own bed.

I carried the luggage into the house but decided to leave it in the foyer to unpack later when I woke up. I didn’t want to disturb Davey, so I went to the living room and curled up on the over sized couch and fell right to sleep.  When I woke the sun was shining in the bay window and the house was silent. I peeked in on Addison who was still silently snoring in her bed. She was still in her clothes and had her arms wrapped tightly around Mr. Snuggles, her favorite teddy bear. I wouldn’t let her bring him along out of fear that he would get lost or left behind like my favorite bear had been on a family trip to Pennsylvania when I was six years old.

I carried my luggage into our room and laid the suitcase on the unmade bed. I am sure the bed hadn’t been made once while we were gone. Davey’s theory was, “Why make it, you’re only going to mess it up again later?”  I tossed our dirty clothes in one pile and carried my toiletries to the bathroom.  I closed the empty suitcase and as I moved it to slide it under the bed, it caught the bed sheet and pulled it down the mattress.   Something black on the white of the bed caught my eye. I sat the case on the floor and went to inspect.  Probably one of Davey’s socks left in the bed. “Does Davey even have black socks?” I wondered. I reached into the sheet and pulled the black fabric from the bed.

Davey had been home for several hours.  He sat with Addison on the floor looking at the souvenirs she had brought back with her and then showed him the pictures she had taken with the camera that Kip insisted on buying for her to take on the trip.

“This is A Bug’s Life Tree!” She squealed, “It was SO cool! You had to wear these 3-D glasses and it looked like bugs were flying all around you! There were these mean grasshoppers and stink bugs that really stunk!”

She went on and on about the adventures she had and how much fun she had dancing and singing at Disney World.  I was going to let her enjoy this time while she could. No point in ruining this magical time for her.  My joy of course had been short-lived just a few hours after returning from home.

After dinner, Addison took her bath and we sat on the couch looking through our adventure again, recounting the funny moments when she met Winnie the Pooh and Minnie Mouse. She laughed remembering Mrs. Jewel’s silver hair standing on end after riding the Rockin’ Roller Coaster with her and also at her friend Alex’s face when they dropped in the elevator on the Tower of Terror.  She could have recounted her memories from this trip all night if I had let her; but it had gotten late and I knew I was just postponing the inevitable.  I tucked her into bed and kissed her cheeks; this was her new thing to kiss each cheek like they did in other countries.
“Goodnight, Mommy, love you to the moon and back.” She snuggled under the covers and wrapped her arms around Mr. Snuggles.

“Night night Bugs, love you to infinity and beyond.” I closed her door and went to my room.  Davey was standing at the bathroom mirror shaving.  I could tell he had just taken a shower by the steam that rolled from the bathroom double doors into the master bedroom.  I quietly changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed, thankful I had taken my shower earlier in the day.
He came into the bedroom still drying his face on a towel.  He tossed the wet towel in the laundry basket.

“I wish you would hang that up to dry before you put it in the laundry.” I stated as I reached for the novel on my nightstand. He reached in the basket, grabbed the towel and returned to the bathroom to hang it up. He came back to the bedroom and went to his side of the bed.

“Did you have a good time?” He asked and smiled at me. He opened the drawer to his nightstand to put his wallet and watch in the drawer. I noticed a handgun in the drawer.

“What is that?” I asked sitting up straighter to get a better look in the drawer.

“It’s a gun.” He said nonchalantly.

“Well, I can see that. Where did it come from and why is it in my house?” I did not like guns. I did not want a gun in the house with children in it. You read all the time were kids find guns and shoot each other on accident.

“I bought it and it is in my house too.”  He emphasized the word ‘my’.

“I don’t want it here; and why do you need a gun?”

“I don’t need a gun, I wanted to buy it; so I did.” He closed the drawer harder than necessary.

“So where did you buy the gun? Victoria’s Secret?” I lifted an eyebrow at him.

“What?” He looked at me like I was an idiot.

“I said, did you buy the gun at Victoria’s Secret?” I closed my book and placed it on my lap.

“Have you lost your mind? They don’t sell guns there,” he didn’t make any attempt to get into bed at that time. I think he may have felt something was up.

I reached over and opened my night stand drawer and pulled out a skimpy pair of black lace panties and held them up with two fingers so he could see them.

“Well, I just thought maybe you picked up that little beauty when you picked up this little beauty, “ I shook the panties lightly to make my point.  I sat there just holding the panties up for him to see, waiting for him to say something.  He stared at them as if trying to memorize them, but I knew he was actually scrambling to come up with a believable story. He was failing.

“I….” was all he got out.

“You need to leave. Tonight. And take the gun with you.” I tossed the panties in his direction and he caught them. I crossed my arms and stared at him. He turned to the closet and put some clothes on. He grabbed a few extra things and some toiletries from the bathroom, tossed them in a plastic grocery bag, removed the gun from the drawer and stood at the bedroom door.

“Where am I supposed to go?” He asked not looking at me but down the hall.

“Well, since you fucked her in my bed last night, maybe she will let you fuck her in her bed tonight,” I replied, “Lock the door on your way out.”

CLICK HERE to continue to Chapter 7 Part 2

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Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Touching Trees ~ Part 2 Chapter 6

TT Cover 2

The next morning as I stood at the bathroom vanity applying my makeup Davey came in and sat the gift bag on the corner of the counter.

“Hey babe, didn’t you open this last night? I found it on the kitchen counter.” I didn’t look at him but I continued applying my mascara.

“Nope,” I wasn’t sure exactly how to handle this. Didn’t I deserve something more romantic? Was I asking too much? Davey knew my history with Nicky; didn’t he understand how important this would have been to me? I was wishing at this moment that it had just been a pair of earrings.

“What’s the matter, babe?” he wrapped his arms around my waist; his chest pressed against my back, his chin on my shoulder and looked at us in the mirror.
I gently pulled free from his grip and walked over to the linen closet and pulled out a clean towel. I washed my hands, dried them and after I hung the towel on the towel rack, I turned to him with a look of exasperation. I shook my head, walked in the bedroom and sat on the corner of the bed. Davey followed with the gift bag and sat down next to me.
“You know when I was a little I used to dream that I was peasant girl, like Cinderella, and that a prince would see me and instantly fall in love with me. He would jump off his white horse, get down on one knee, hold out a beautiful ring, ask me to be his princess and spend the rest of my life with him living happily ever after,” he said nothing and let me continue, “he never once handed me a bag and said, ‘Get to it when you can’”

“So you did open it?” He smiled and looked down at the bag in his hand.  Had he heard me at all?

“Yes, Davey, I opened it. Then I put it back.” I wasn’t sure if I should be mad or not, and I certainly didn’t want to fight him if I was, especially over something that should have been a romantic gift. We had never really had an argument; the only thing that we ever had a truly heated conversation about was his son Justin. Not really about Justin, but about his mother, Janie who would consistently send Justin to us filthy and practically starving.

Justin would behave like a wild animal at the dinner table standing on his chair and reaching for food with his bare hands.  It was almost as if he was grabbing for food before anyone else could; it was if he believed that if he didn’t  grab for his share right then he would go hungry.  Davey explained that Justin’s mother usually chose buying cigarettes over groceries. That left her with buying cheap  macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. That kind of meal didn’t go far between five children, Justin had four additional half brothers and sister at home, all from different fathers.
Justin would grab for food not even caring what he was grabbing for and then complain he didn’t like what he had. He wasn’t used to eating nutritious food and was always requesting items such as ice cream and chips for supper.  Addison would complain to me that Justin’s mom let him eat ice cream for supper and began turning away food that she had always loved before. It was becoming a common weekend occurrence this battle over meals. We couldn’t even take him to a restaurant, where he didn’t crawl under tables and scream that he didn’t like what his father ordered for him. At home Davey began having Justin sit at the table in front of his dinner until he at least tried what was in front of him.  He was stubborn and many evening sat there until bedtime with his arms crossed and his lip puckered out, refusing to eat.

“Didn’t you like it?” He just realized that if I put it back and didn’t put in on my finger that it was a possibility that I was turning him down, “Why didn’t you put it on?”

“Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it sounds cliché, but I kind of imagined that the man I loved would propose marriage to me in a romantic way,” I stared down at my folded hands in my lap, “You know how it went with Nicky and me; I guess I thought you would put a little more thought into it than just handing me a bag.”

“Babe, I’m sorry. I mean we’ve talked about it so much, like we had it already decided. I didn’t think you wanted something silly like me getting down on one knee,” he didn’t even seem to notice that this was important to me. We had talked about it, it was assumed, but woman like romance, I like romance. I was beginning to think I was over reacting, but then decided I deserved the romance.

“It isn’t silly to me,” I said sadly under my breath, low enough that he didn’t hear me.

“Did you say something?”  He slid his jacket on.

“No.”  I stood up and started to make the bed. He walked over and gave me a quick kiss goodbye.

“I hope to see that ring on your finger when I get home,” he smiled hopefully at me and headed off to work.

~*~

     Maybe I am just being silly? I mean, we have been talking about marriage practically since we started dating.  Davey just wasn’t the romantic minded type and I knew that from the beginning. This shouldn’t surprise me, he was simple and he was good me.  I wasn’t giving him enough credit.

As I drove Addison and myself to the school that morning those thoughts ran through my mind over and over. I kept making excuses for Davey and telling myself to not expect so much of people.  I got Addy dropped off at her classroom and headed towards the music room.  After I left the store I was able to be a stay-at-home mom thanks to Kip.  He thought it was important that Addison have me around full-time since she was going to be raised in a one-parent home.  They had already purchased the house for Nicky and I when we were married; I had the car that Paula and my mom bought me and the Grand Am.  Fannie never understood why Kip wanted to help me and they had many fights over Kip’s insistence on helping to raise Addison.  He had to remind her that I was the mother of their only grandchild and he said Addison deserved the best.
After Addison started school I needed something to do, so I took a teacher’s aide position with the school’s music department. My job was to help Mrs. Jewel with anything she needed, from grading papers, to keeping the students in order during practice sessions.  Mrs. Jewel had turned the school’s music department into a national award winning show choir. Every school knew how good our students were and dreaded when they had to face them in competition. Mrs. Jewel’s responsibilities grew every day and I was there to make her life a little easier.

“How are you today Tess?” Clara Jewel came into her office shuffling music sheets around, her glasses propped at the end of her nose.  Every student loved her and every graduate that had ever had her as a teacher always came back just to see her. She loved them all like her own.
“I am good. How are you?” I scrolled through the computer spread sheet double checking the number of deposits made by parents for the upcoming choral competition.
“Trying to get the music down for this competition is going to be the death of me,” she laughed, “I have no idea if these kids are going to pull it together in time.”  I stopped typing in numbers and turned to give her my attention.

“They always do,” I laughed with her, “it’s like magic.”

She plopped down in her chair and flung the music sheets across her desk.  She opened her drawer and pulled out a stack of CDs.

“I know I have an instrumental of ‘It’s a Small World’ in here somewhere,” She continued to sift through the CDs.

“Clara?”  I reached for the spreadsheet I had sent to the printer.

“Mhmm?” She responded not looking up.

“Davey proposed,” I waited for a response.  Clara stopped her sifting and looked at me, her mouth hanging open slightly.

“Are you serious?”  She looked at me over the rim of her glasses, a strand of her silver white hair hanging down in her face.

“Well, kind of,” I explained the bag and the conversation this morning.

“I guess congratulations are in order then?” I wished she sounded more excited, I needed the encouragement.

“Yeah,” I don’t think I was too convincing. I really needed her encouragement.

“Listen, I can’t tell if you are happy about this or not. Do you want to be married?” She took her glasses off, sat them on her desk then leaned back in her chair.

“Well sure. I mean we get along great, he’s good with Addison. I really love him and I’m not getting any younger; I would like to have another baby before the gap between a baby and Addy gets too big.”

“A baby?  You want another baby?” Clara smiled at this. She and her husband never had children and I liked to think this is why she had so much love for her students. They were her substitute children.
I smiled to myself at the thought of another baby. I had never wanted another one with Nicky, but the older Addy got the more I thought about it. It seemed I always saw pregnant women or couples with new babies everywhere we went, I couldn’t seem to escape it.  It totally made my biological clock tick louder and louder.

“Yeah, I would love to have another baby,” the thought comforted me and I knew that I would accept his proposal; but I had a condition.

~*~

     Davey came into the kitchen as I was cooking dinner.  He walked over and kissed my offered check. I purposely kept my hands busy so he would have to look for the ring. He just smiled at me and grabbed my left hand to inspect my ring finger. The diamond clad band glinted back at him and he looked pleased.

“So this is a ‘yes’?”  He wrapped his arms around me and smiled.  I smiled a small smile and started to say something but hesitated. His smiled faded too, “What? You’re wearing the ring right? So that means yes, right?”

“Yeah,” I grabbed his hand and lead him to the table, “but we need to talk about something first.”

“I’m getting worried,” he laughed nervously, “what do we have to talk about?”

“I will marry you,” his smiled returned, “but there is something I want before I agree totally.”

“Okay?” his look encouraged me to continue.

“I want a baby.” His smile faded.  He stared down at the table still holding my hand and running his finger over the ring.  What was he thinking?  I hated his silence.

“A baby?”

“Yeah, not right away of course. I mean I want to enjoy being married to you for a while at least…wait that came out wrong.  What I mean to say is I want another baby before the gap gets too big between a baby and Addy.  Maybe start planning on it by the end of the year.” I looked at him hopefully.

He continued to stare at the ring, but he had let go of my hand. He stood up and walked over to the refrigerator and grabbed a can of soda.  After he opened it he leaned against the island and took a drink.

“A baby. You want to have a baby with me?” I was wondering if this was a good idea, “This is what you want? For me to say we’ll have a baby. Then you will agree to marry me?”

“I guess that is what I am saying,” was I asking too much of him? I was having a hard time reading him.

“Okay.” Really?

“Really?” I smiled at him and jumped up from my chair ready to hug him. He put his hand up to stop me and then spoke.

“I have a term too,” his hand slid down my arm and he took my ringed hand again, “I will agree that we can try to have a baby, but after being married for six months. No sooner and that we get married in October.”

“That’s only a month away.” That was sooner than I had expected. I married Nicky too soon and I had hoped for a longer engagement with Davey. But then again, I was asking for a baby right away and being married before I had a baby would probably not be a bad idea, “I can agree to that, but nothing fancy. Actually, how about we just go to the court house?”

“That’s a deal!” He pulled me into a hug.

~*~

     We stood in front of the county clerk and were married Friday, October 8th.  Davey’s best friend Caleb stood up with him and my friend Lorene stood up with me. I borrowed Lorene’s bouquet from her wedding and I wore a simple blue flowered dress with a light blue vest; Davey wore a brown and tan striped button up shirt and dark slacks.  We decided that going on a honeymoon was not convenient at the time, the kids were still in school and neither of us was in a place to take off from work.  We scheduled our reception for the weekend after we were married and themed it around the season, an autumn cookout.  All of our friends and relatives came, bringing lots of food and their camp chairs. We built a huge bonfire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Davey’s dad, Carl, hooked a trailer to his tractor and we took the kids on a hayride around the neighborhood. The kids played Frisbee and tag and the adults started a lively Euchre tournament; everyone was enjoying themselves so much that the last of the guest didn’t leave until after 2 a.m.  Addy and Justin had fallen asleep in lawn chairs around 11 p.m. and Davey carried them in and put them to bed in their clothes.  We both agreed that the evening had gone very well and we discussed having another cookout before it got too cold outside to enjoy the cool fall weather.

“I am worn out.” I yawned loudly and pulled back the covers, “Are you coming to bed?”

“Yeah, in a bit, I think I will play some online poker for a while. I am kind of keyed up from all the soda I drank tonight,” He had changed into his sweatpants, kissed the top of my head, “You want this light out?”

“Yes, please, “I answered drowsily, he reached over and switched the light off next to my bed, “Good night.”

“Love you.”

“Love you too.”

~*~

“Happy Birthday Dad!” everyone at the table raised their glasses to wish Davey’s dad a happy birthday. The waitress’ at the restaurant had come to the table and sang to him, making him turn fifty shades of red.

“Aww, you kids are too good to me,” he said picking up the box of ratchets that Davey had picked out for him.  Davey’s mom, Jeanne had bought her husband a solid oak display box for his military uniform and medals he had earned while in the service; and Davey’s only brother Josh and his wife Rachel gave him a family portrait of them with their daughter, Monica and new son, Jacob.
Carl picked his favorite steak house to have dinner at and we sat in the center of the restaurant surrounded by other families enjoying a Saturday night out.  The walls were covered in western themed décor and with the holiday season in full gear, red and green garland and white lights were mixed in. It was rustic and charming, and very loud.

Carl and Addison had really taken to one another and she insisted on sitting next to her “Poppy Carl”. The chatter across the table was animated with the two girls talking Barbie dolls and all three kids were arguing about who was going to get the best gift from Santa this year.  Jeanne complained to Carl that he had gotten steak sauce on his new shirt and Rachel who was rocking baby Jacob asked Davey when we were planning on having a baby of our own. Davey laughed louder than necessary.

“Never!” He continued to cut his meat. I stopped eating and looked at him but said nothing.

Never? Oh come on Dave you don’t want just one more?” Josh leaned over and kissed the top of his new born son’s head.

“Babies are too much work, I mean look at all the crap you have to carry around with you,” he emphasized this by using his fork to point at the diaper bag, carrier, toys and bottles that surrounded their end of the table, “pooping every five minutes, peeing, eating, crying all of the time. Dude, I am a working man, I don’t have time to get up and take care of a baby in the middle of the night!”

I wiped my mouth with my napkin and asked to be excused.  I weaved my way through the waitresses taking orders, bus boys clearing tables and people looking for empty seats.  I was heading for the restrooms and prayed that no one would be there when I finally reached it.  I stood in front of the mirror trying to will the tears from escaping my eyes.

How could I have been so stupid to believe that any man could ever keep a promise? I only had one condition to marrying him and he had no intentions of keeping it. I mean seriously? I could have put a ton of conditions with that proposal.   My mind was racing and I was counting on my hands all of the things about Davey that really ticked me off.  The door to the restroom opened and I quickly wiped my eyes.

“Are you okay?” Rachel asked in her tender voice, she knew when I left the table there was something wrong.

“No,” I checked my makeup in the mirror but it was too late. My face was red, my nose was running and my mascara was smeared.  I wasn’t planning on saying anything but it just poured out and told her everything about the weak proposal, the stupid silver bag and the condition that I wanted a baby.  She was very sympathetic and I thought she would stick up for her brother-in-law. I assumed since she had known him longer she would automatically be on his side. I hated that I felt there were sides at all.

She reached over and hugged me which caused me to start crying all over again.  I didn’t want to go back to the table and face everyone knowing that I had been crying and I didn’t want to have to explain what had caused my tears.  I was so angry deep down and I was afraid that if I went back to the table I would have rip into their son, brother and father right in front of their eyes. I didn’t want to cause that kind of embarrassment for him or me.

“I’ll tell them that you aren’t feeling well and went to the car,” she said soothingly, “Josh is ready to leave anyway and I left him with the baby.” She smiled at that last part.

“Thanks,” I hugged her and walked out the front door and sat in the car until Davey and the kids came out.  He helped them strap in and slid into the driver’s seat.

“Do you feel sick Mommy?” Addison asked from the back seat.

“Yeah, just a little tummy ache is all,” I looked back and smiled at both of the kids. Justin asked if his dad could turn the radio on. I didn’t look at Davey and he said nothing in return. He didn’t have to ask what had caused my sudden illness.

~*~

     It seemed from that day on I looked at him differently.  Everything he did annoyed me. From the way he brushed his teeth to how he chewed his food.  I would be mad at him if he fixed a sandwich and left bread crumbs on the counter.  I would be upset if ate his dinner sitting at the coffee table in front of the television, which he was doing more often than not lately.  I always wanted to have dinner at the table as a family, but he parked himself in front of the television from the time he got home until I went to bed. Then after I went to bed he would get online and play online poker.  He didn’t use real money so I wasn’t concerned about his playing, but there would be times I would wake up at 3 a.m. and he would still be online. If I asked him if he was ready to come to bed, he would quickly turn the computer off and come to bed.

As soon as he crawled in he would want to start messing around. When we were dating and when first got married the sex was amazing but lately it was a chore for me.  I was still so upset by the whole baby issue and I felt like he was using my body just to get his rocks off.   I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy something I very much wanted to do with my husband.  I was afraid to kiss or hug him, fearing it would bring on some sexual advance from him.  He never forced himself on me the way that Nicky had, but I had to force myself to be with him some nights. I would be at the sink doing up a few dishes and he would come up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I thought, ‘how sweet,’ and smiled at the romance of his hug.

“How about a blow job?” He whispered in my ear.

“What?” I turned my head in his direction. He reached up and placed his hands over my breasts and started to caress them.  I pushed them away with my soapy hands.

“Jeez, Davey,” I couldn’t believe that he couldn’t even give me a hug without expecting to get laid right there in the kitchen.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t every single time he got near me.   I loved sex the same as any woman, but I didn’t like to feel as though it was being forced on me.  He was making it sound so dirty and his advances repulsed me.

When he was home and not in front of the television, he was working on a project in the garage. Even when Justin was here for a visit he would head to the garage or out in the yard.  If he was in front of the television and Justin tried to speak to him he would tell him to go play and never look away from the screen.  Of course when it was time for bed he would head to the office and get on the computer.  This became his normal routine.

Four more months went by and it only seemed to get worse.  He started bringing home black bags from the adult book store in town and suggested that we try something “new” every week. One night he would bring home a porn movie, another night it would be a tiny vibrator that he asked if he could use on me.

He was making a trip to that store two or three times a week.  He brought home x-rated movies most of the time, but occasionally he would ask me if I would try this or try that and then the next week he would bring home some sexual toy and show it to me, asking me if it scared me and if I would try it at least once.

His behavior was really stressing me out and during sex I would start crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason.  It would take me well over an hour to stop the episodes and I couldn’t explain to him why they happened.

“Did I hurt you?” He seemed truly concerned, but I could tell his ego was severely bruised.  Any man’s ego would be deflated if a woman cried every time they got near her with their penis.

“No, sweetie, no. I don’t know what’s happening. I just get this feeling deep down here,” I said pressing into my stomach.  It was the truth, the feeling did come from my stomach and it would work its way up into my throat until I couldn’t breathe and pushed out a steady stream of tears from my eyes.  After the tears came, I had no control over any part of my body.

I tried to assure him that it wasn’t him. But it was.  The box in the bottom of his closet was the source of those tears. The box full of movies, toys and magazines was just too much for me to handle. But what truly pushed me over the edge was what I discovered on our computer.

The week before Easter I took Addy to my mom’s to play after she got out of school. I decided to take advantage of the warming weather and went home to do some spring cleaning.  While I was dusting the office I noticed the light to the computer was flashing, which meant that it hadn’t been shut down from the night before.  I sat down in front of it and turned on the screen.  What was in front of me were pictures of naked people in various sexual poses; poses of women with men, women with women, two women and one man, two men and one woman, two men.  As badly as I wanted to look away, I couldn’t.  I saw the chat box at the bottom of the screen and scrolled at the conversation that was left unattended by my loving husband.

Click here to continue to Chapter 7 Part 1

Creative Commons License
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 1 Chapter 6

TT Cover 2

1999

After our girl’s night I became good friends with my neighbor’s sister Elena; she was seven years older than me and she seemed to have her life so together. She was a larger woman too, but she had a confidence that I envied. She was married to a great guy named Mark who was my age and who I knew through mutual friends. He was an all around great guy and he was absolutely crazy about Elena.  She had the most beautiful singing voice and I would tag along with her and Mark when she would sing Karaoke at different bars around town. They had their own special “song” and every time she got up and sang it Mark would get teary eyed. It wasn’t embarrassing; you just knew that he loved her so much that the song moved him. It was just another way they told each other how important the other was to them. They had what I wanted.

     Teresa had gotten engaged a few months back and as Teresa’s maid of honor, Laura was responsible for throwing her a bachelorette party. The wedding was planned to take place in seven months and Teresa was fine with having a party, but wanted to have it well before the wedding; not the night before. Teresa knew she liked to drink and she didn’t want to be hung over for her own wedding so at her request we would have the party a month before the actual wedding day. The night of the bachelorette party Elena came to my house to get ready. She sat on the bed as I put my makeup on.

     “Here, I brought a necklace over for you to wear. I thought it would look great with that black silk shirt you have hanging in your closet.” She pulled out a beautiful silver chain that had a blue sapphire hanging from it.

    “Oh, that is gorgeous, but Elena, I don’t wear that shirt very often. It’s too fancy for Jupiter’s anyway.” I held up a salmon colored t-shirt with Hawaiian flowers on it that said, “Spring Break ‘88”. It was a size too big, but I preferred the bagginess of it. I felt more covered and my curves weren’t as noticeable.

    “Don’t be silly,” she said taking the t-shirt from me and hanging it back up in the closet. She reached over and grabbed the black silk shirt and removed if from the hanger, “Now here, put this on. Trust me.”

     I took the shirt from her and slid it on, buttoned up the front and turned to the mirror to inspect my reflection.

     “Here,” she handed me the necklace. I clasped it and stood back to admire the glimmer of the sapphire surrounded by faux diamonds, “Now have a seat.” She sat my dressing stool in front of the bathroom cabinet. I sat and she twisted my hair into a loose knot and clipped it into place. She took a teasing comb and fluffed the long curls that hung over the twist and sprayed them into place.

    “Ok, now let’s do your makeup, close your eyes please,” I sighed and closed my eyes allowing her to apply the mauve colored eye shadow. She had applied more than I would have, but the way she did was very appealing to my complexion. She applied eyeliner and mascara and then a little blush. She rummaged through her makeup bag and handed me a tube of lipstick. I never wore lipstick. I usually applied a pink lip gloss because my grandmother had always told me that men didn’t like women who wear lipstick. It was kind of funny when I thought about all the pictures of beautiful actresses in magazines who wore bright red lipstick and saw the gorgeous men who loved them.

     “That’s a really dark color.” I raised my eyebrows when I turned the tube and saw the dark plum color.

     “Yeah, it’s gorgeous, huh? And it will look great on your lips. You have the best lips.” She took the tube from me and applied some to her own lips; she pressed her lips together with a smack. “You know some woman pay big bucks to get lips that look like yours.” She handed the tube back to me.

    I applied the lipstick carefully to my lips and looked at the reflection.  For the first time in a long time I saw something I hadn’t in a very long time. I saw I was pretty.

~*~

     “Okay, so here’s the plan. We pick Teresa up at her house at 8; then we head over to Rachel’s house and meet Brad” Laura was talking and waving her hands around as she drove. She never took her eyes from the road, but she talked with her hands alternating one to the steering wheel while the other hand flailed around to make her point.

    “Wait. Who’s Brad?” Elena asked.  Sandy leaned up from the back seat as I answered Elena’s question.   

     “Brad is a frat boy Teresa had a drunken one night stand with a few years ago. Total goober, kind of skuzzy, but a good guy nonetheless; anyway, Laura ran into him the other night, told him Teresa was getting married. They came up with some plan for Brad to be the stripper tonight.”

     Everyone in the car wailed with laughter. We pulled in the adult book store parking lot and piled out. We purchased plenty of party supplies; suckers, gummy candy, bubble gum, ring pops, and necklaces all shaped like penises. We bought Teresa a tiara with a cheesy mesh veil that hung off the back and a sash  that said ‘Bride-to-Be’ written in gold glitter.  It was totally tacky but very cool. Sandy bought Teresa a purple dildo and some motion lotion she said they could use on their honeymoon. Laura grabbed a huge blow up man-doll. I was fairly sure that he would be going home with Laura at the end of the night and not Teresa. I purchased a Pleasure by Chance dice game where you rolled a pair of six-sided die. One die had a sentence that said something like ‘Lick their’, ‘Kiss their’, ‘Touch their’ and the other die would complete the sentence with a single word like, ‘lips’, ‘chest’, or ‘privates’. You had to perform the sentences on your partner. I didn’t know if they would like it, but it looked interesting. It had been a long time since anyone had done any of that with me.

     We drove over to Rachel’s house first and decorated for the party. Rachel even made a cake in the shape of a penis complete with little chocolate sprinkles as the pubic hair, and I laughed to myself that I had seen more penises in this one night than I had in my whole life.  Brad called and said he was on his way; he asked if it was okay if he brought his friend Davey along for moral support. He told Laura he almost chickened out but Davey wouldn’t let him and wanted to come to make sure Brad kept his end of the bargain.

     “What exactly did you promise Brad, Laura?” I asked on the way to get Teresa.

     “Well you won’t think badly of me will you?” Laura looked like she wished she had never made the deal with Brad. I nodded to say I promised, “I told him I would let him play with my boobs.”

     “Oh my gawd Laura!” Elena and I both said at once. Sandy started laughing so hard that she begged us to stop talking about it, crying that she was worried she would pee her pants. Rachel just made a gagging noise from the back seat.

~*~

     We sat Teresa in a kitchen chair in the middle of Rachel’s living room and blind folded her. Teresa definitely looked nervous but played along like a good sport.

     “Guys, you heard Billy, he said no hot stripper guys” Teresa shifted in her seat when the song ‘What a Man’ started playing from the stereo.

     “Oh, don’t worry. We didn’t get any hot stripper guys,” Laura laughed, “we can promise you that!”

     Brad and Davey walked in the room and Davey took a seat over in the corner where Teresa wouldn’t see him after Brad removed her blindfold. Brad was dressed in a button down white dress shirt, white sports socks, blue under wear and black sunglasses. It was a very twisted version of Tom Cruise’s Risky Business dance scene. Brad began dancing and moved towards Teresa and started rubbing against her, she shrilled with laughter at the realization that there was a stripper and she would be forced to endure the dance. She played along and lifted her hands and rubbed the backs of his legs and butt as he danced around her. He grabbed her hand and placed it on the front of his underwear and with his hand over hers rubbed his penis. All of us were laughing and screaming. Laura was up and dancing around enjoying the show. I looked over and saw Davey laughing as hard as us but trying to be silent so Teresa would not suspect there was another man in the room.

    “I know this…! Billy? Is that you?” She hollered out and everyone screamed with laughter again. Teresa reached up and pulled the blindfold from her eyes. The look on her face was priceless. The song ended and the room was completely silent.

    Suddenly Teresa screamed and started laughing and jumping up and down. She threw her arms around Brad and was still jumping.

   “That was awesome!!” she screamed and threw up her arms, “Freaking awesome! Let’s get drunk!”

     Before we left the house, we all took a shot of Jack Daniels which I instantly regretted. I hated whiskey and it made my chest burn. I decided at that moment that I would forego the drinking this evening and enjoy watching everyone else get wasted.  Brad introduced us to Davey and I thought for someone who was here to give Brad courage he was incredibly shy.

      Elena and I sat by Davey and soon they were in a lively conversation.  It seemed that Davey and Elena went to the same school as each other and they were asking about people the other might know. Davey knew Mark and had the same impression of him as everyone else did, he was a great guy.

     Teresa, Laura, Sandy, Rachel and Brad stood in the corner and shared a joint. I had tried pot when I was seventeen but didn’t have a pleasant experience, so I never had a problem turning it down when it was offered.  Elena was above it and not because she thought she was better, you just knew that she would never, ever even consider trying it so don’t even bother asking. Davey just didn’t make a move to join the group so he sat with us and continued to talk with Elena about teachers they both had endured.

     “We should probably get going guys.” Laura said as she grabbed her coat and car keys. I reached over and grabbed the keys from her.

    “As if!” I shook my head at her when she started to say she was okay to drive.  We headed out to the driveway and I slid in the driver’s seat of Laura’s SUV while the girls loaded in the back. Brad convinced Laura to ride with them, I figured since Davey was driving so Brad figured he could get a head start on exploring Laura’s breasts.  I was fairly sure he was going to be disappointed.

     It was definitely a crazy night. Laura and Teresa got ridiculously drunk but appeared to be having the time of their lives. Sandy and Rachel were having a contest to see who could collect the most phone numbers from guys. Brad had passed out in car about an hour ago and Elena had grown tired of the immaturity of the Bride and Maid of Honor and asked me if I would be upset if she left.

     “No, I envy you. If I didn’t have to make sure these people got home safe I would leave too,” I assured her I was fine with her leaving. She called her husband and he agreed to pick her up. She gave me a hug and told me to be safe, and then she whispered in my ear, “You look awesome tonight and there is a guy sitting here who hasn’t been able to take his eyes off of you all night.” She gave my shoulders a quick squeeze and walked out to meet her husband. 

          I looked over at Davey who was watching Laura and Teresa do shots of Apple Pucker. His face winched at the thought of the sour liquor and then took a sip of his beer. He sat the beer on the table, leaned back and jammed his hands in his jeans pockets. He glanced over and saw me watching him.

    “Hey,” He smiled, “Your friends there are kinda nuts.” He tipped it towards them.  I looked over at the two drunks girls who were dancing with some tall dark headed guy. He was sandwiched between them and looked to me having the time of his life. Davey and I both laughed at the intoxicated group.

    “Yes they are.” I agreed. I leaned back in my chair and yawned. I was so ready to leave. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was close to 1 a.m.

     “Tessa, right?” he sat up and leaned on the table.

     “Yeah, but most everyone just call me Tess.” I reached over and grabbed a random beer bottle on the table and began peeling the label off of it. Davey was an attractive guy. Not someone that would make a woman stop and take a second look, but cute in his own way. You could tell he was a worker. His jeans were clean but streaked with dark stains and he had the hands of someone who used them often, they weren’t smooth, but calloused. He had a dark complexion and black hair. He was in his late twenties, but had a hint of gray around his temples. His hair was cut close and he needed to shave, but it gave him a rugged woodsy look. He had chocolate brown eyes and his nose was a little too large for his face, but he was definitely not unattractive.

     We had our first date the following Saturday evening.  I had hesitated when he first asked, not because I wasn’t interested but I made a rule a long time ago that I didn’t get a sitter for Addison on the weekends she wasn’t with Nicky’s or my parent’s, but that weekend my sister Diana called asking if she could have Addy overnight. They wanted to take advantage of the warming weather and take all the kids to the children’s museum, stay overnight at the museum’s hotel, and maybe go to the zoo on Sunday.

     “Hey, Davey, it’s Tess,” I held the portable receiver to my ear as I packed Addison’s small overnight bag.        

     “Tess, wow this is a nice surprise!” He sounded genuinely glad to hear my voice, “What are you doing?”

     “Well I was just calling to see if your offer was still open for dinner tonight?” I zipped the bag shut and set it on the bed.  Addison was on the floor coloring in her coloring books and singing a song about a doughnut that we always sang in the car.
“Absolutely!”

~*~

      During that first date we talked for hours in the restaurant, then hours in his car outside my house. I told him about Nicky and he said he remembered reading about it in the paper and seeing it on the news. Davey said he couldn’t imagine putting his hands on a woman, even if she deserved it.  He said all the right things.  I started to feel like I could trust a man again. It felt nice to be able to open up my heart if even just a little bit.  I was able to breathe easier knowing a decent guy was on my side. He expected nothing more from me than what I was.

     He told me I was beautiful and I believed him. He never mentioned my weight and touched me like he was touching a model in a magazine.  He never looked at other woman when we were out together; he only had eyes for me. Davey went with me Teresa’s wedding and we spent most every minute of our free time together.

     After we dated a little over a month I introduced him to my parent’s and my sister.  He met Addison and I met his little boy, Justin who was a year older than Addison.  He treated Addison kindly and always included her in activities he did with Justin when he would be home for visitations with his father.

      Davey moved in with us three months after we had started dating. He was currently living in a tiny, rundown apartment building across town and he spent so much time at my house it didn’t make sense for him to continue paying rent.  I am sure that people thought we were moving too quickly, a few of my friends mention that on occasion, but overall they really liked Davey and just wanted me be sure I knew what I was doing. They knew that I had been lonely and afraid I would be alone for the rest of my life.  My mom said very little because I think she was worried about that as well and she just wanted me to find someone who could take care of me and take some of the burden off of my shoulders.

      He stepped right into the role of man-of-the-house, maintaining areas that I had neglected. Paul was always offering to take care of things for me, but he had their house to maintain and his health wasn’t the best the last few years.  I didn’t want to take advantage and I had let some minor things go.  Davey cleaned the gutters and took care of the yard; he was always doing something around the house. He said he wanted to show me that he was useful; I already knew this and tried to tell him that I was appreciative of it.  For the first time in my life I wondered if this is what it felt like to be in love.

     The subject of marriage just happened. We never really talked much about it; it just seemed like the logical next step. It became less of an “If” topic and more of a “when” topic. 

~*~

      The day of our four month anniversary a pipe had burst at my mom’s and I went over to help her clean up. It looked as though it was going to be a very long day. While we were there, Addison broke a vase in the living room when she threw a stuffed animal across the room. Paul had simply asked her to pick up her toys, but since she hadn’t had a nap yet she was very grouchy. She believed she had Papaw Paul wrapped around her little finger, but when he laid the law down with her about the toys, she pitched a fit and threw the doll sending the vase crashing to the floor.
On our way home she had fallen asleep in the car and when I tried to wake her up to go in the house she had another meltdown in the driveway. I had to practically drag her in the house kicking and screaming. I would have pulled in the garage but Davey had a “project” in the works and I hadn’t been able to pull the car in for the last week.  

     I was losing my patience and I still had to fix supper before Davey got home. He never expected me to have supper waiting on him, but I enjoyed having it ready and spending “family time” together at the table. But I was beginning to think that “family time” was a bad idea tonight.
I stood at the counter buttering a piece of bread; dinner tonight would be simple, grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I heard the front door open and Davey stomping his boots on the entry rug.

     “Tess?”  He called from the entry hall.

     “In the kitchen,” I flipped the grilled cheese over in the pan.

     “Hey, how was your day? Where’s Addy?”

     “I’ve had better,” I laughed still attending to the grilled cheese, “she’s in her room. She needed a nap in the worst way.”

     I turned from the stove to give my attention to Davey. He looked like he had a rough day as well. His maintenance uniform was stained in something brown and he smelled faintly of gasoline. He came in for a kiss and I wrinkled my nose at the smell but I gave him a quick kiss.

     “I got something for you today,” he nonchalantly sat a silver gift bag on the island, “I am gonna get cleaned up for supper. It smells good.” He turned and walked down the hall.

     I wiped my hands off on the dish towel and reached over for the bag. I looked after him wondering if he meant for me to wait for him to return.  I sat the bag back on the counter and I finished making supper, pouring the soup in bowls and sitting them on the kitchen table.  I had heard the shower turn on, he would be about ten minutes so I called for Addy to come eat before it got cold.  I looked over at the bag again, still unsure what to do with it.  Addison had come running from her room.

    “I’m hungry!” She jumped on her chair and sat on her knees and grabbed her sandwich.

    “Be careful the cheese might still be hot.” I warned and set a glass of milk in front of her.

     Davey came into the kitchen, hair wet and dressed in a white t-shirt and blue sweatpants. He took his seat at the table and waited for me to take a seat. He noticed the bag still sitting on the counter.

     “You didn’t look in the bag?” He said taking a sip of soup.

     “I didn’t know if you wanted me to wait.”

     “No Babe, you can open whenever you want,” He smiled and continued to eat. Over dinner we exchanged stories about our days. I told him about the broken pipe and he asked if he should go over and take a look at it, I told him that Paul and Chris had already taken care of it.  He finished eating and got up put his dishes in the dishwasher and then helped me straighten the kitchen.  After I wiped the counters down and he turned the dishwasher on, he kissed my forehead and thanked me for supper then headed to his recliner in the living room.

    Neither of us mentioned the gift bag on the counter. I ran Addison’s bath and after getting her out I tucked her into bed. I read her a story, we sang one verse of the doughnut song and then I turned her light off and left the room. She was out in just a few moments.

    I walked into the living room and saw that Davey had fallen asleep in his chair watching Monster Garage.  I had hoped to open the gift bag with him but he was snoring and seemed too peaceful to wake. I headed to the kitchen to look into that silver bag. I couldn’t imagine what he would have gotten me. No one had ever just bought me something for the sake of buying me something.  He didn’t seem too overly excited about the gift so I figured that it may be a CD or maybe a book. I had mentioned the other day that there was a new book out I wanted, but I hadn’t thought he really heard me.  Chocolates, maybe it was chocolates. He knew I loved the caramel ones and even though I always used the excuse that I was dieting, I would buy a small bag from the candy store in the mall.

     I pulled the bag towards me and sat on the barstool. There was no tissue paper inside, but a smaller plastic silver bag inside that said Jarrel’s Jewelry on it. Oh, maybe they are earrings? Maybe diamond earrings, I had never owned a real pair of diamond earrings. Is he serious?  Jewelry is kind of a big deal, even if it is just a pair of earrings.  Jewelry is not the kind of gift that you just set down and say, “Get to it whenever.”  Jewelry is the kind of gift that the man stays there and watches you open because he wants to see the look of the woman’s face. That’s what all the jewelry store commercials on t.v. depicted anyway.
I opened the small plastic bag and pulled out a smaller cardboard box, the same color as both of the other bags. I pulled the top off of the cardboard box.  I sighed, another box. This was like one of those Russian doll games. I held the small dark blue velvet box in my hand and looked in the direction of the living room then back at the box.

     I slowly opened the box, the little hinge made a squeaking noise. My heart skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. “No…” I whispered to myself, it couldn’t be. …

     Sitting in the white velvet pillow lining was a yellow gold ring with a small diamond in the center and four small diamonds running down the band on each side and a thin yellow gold band that sat next to it. It was a wedding set. Not just a promise ring, but an entire wedding set.  I closed the lid, placed the velvet box in the cardboard box, the cardboard box back in the small plastic bag and the plastic bag pack into the silver gift bag.  I left it setting on the island and went to bed, leaving Davey in his chair.

CLICK HERE to continue on to Part 2, Chapter 6

Creative Commons License
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 2 Chapter 5

TT Cover 2

     I slid the key in the lock and opened the driver’s side door. Chip pushed me aside and slid in the seat. He rummaged through the storage space between the two seats and popped the glove compartment open, pushing papers aside. He even looked in the back and under all of the seats.

“Pop the trunk,” He demanded.

“Get real, Chip, why would it be in the trunk?” I sat back on my heel.

“Just open the damn trunk like I said.” He walked to the back of the car and waited for me to push the release button by the steering wheel. I heard the ‘wa-hump’ of the trunk’s lock popping and the squeak of the hinges as he lifted the lid.

“Damn Tessa, what do you do vacuum the trunk?” He stared into the empty compartment; the only items were the spare tire, a small portable jack, a tire iron and a road side emergency kit Paul had purchased the last time he changed the oil.

“I told you I didn’t have the CD. I put everything of yours in the box I already gave you.” He slammed the trunk lid closed.

“I know you have it, so I want you to go home, find it and bring it back to me.” He crossed his arms, “Now.”

“No.” I couldn’t even believe that he was asking me to do that.
“No?” He uncrossed his arms and leaned towards me as if he hadn’t heard me right.

“No. What part of that are you confused about?”

“No?” He took a step towards me. I was getting tired of this back and forth thing.

“NO! I don’t have your fucking CD and even if I did I would have thrown it out!” I yelled out of exhaustion by ridiculousness of the situation.

He abruptly pushed me into the back of the car. Instinctively I used the keys in my hand as a weapon, jabbing them into his arm.

“Shit! You…bitch!” He grabbed his arm and inspected it to see if he was bleeding. He looked back at me and his hand went straight to my neck, the force was so strong that my feet left the ground as my body slid up the trunk of my car. I flashed back to Nicky’s hand around my neck and for a moment that’s whose face I saw staring back at me. I closed my eyes tight and opened them back up hoping that it wouldn’t be Nicky still standing there. When I opened my eyes, I was oddly relieved to see that it was Chip. When our eyes met, he released his grip and I slid back down the car’s trunk. I gasped in the night air, massaging my neck and still feeling the heat of where his hand pressed against my skin. He turned and walked towards his truck, got in, revved up the engine and peeled out spraying gravel over several of the cars parked nearby.

I bent over with my hand still around my neck, not believing what had just happened I started puking in the gravel. The more air I was able to breathe in the harder I puked. Unable to stand upright, I leaned over with my hands on my knees, crying. The tears burned in my eyes, I reached up and wiped my nose with my sleeve. When I was finally able to stand up straight, I  looked around to see if anyone had witnessed what had just occurred.

The door of the bar was fogged up and I could see the blurry image of Lisa but couldn’t make out who she was talking to. I slowly walked back towards the building, trying to compose myself.  When I opened the door Lisa’s eyes went directly to the red hand print that was imprinted around my neck. Her eyes narrowed at me and she already knew the answer to the question that came out of her mouth.

“What the hell happened to your neck?” She grabbed my arm to stop me in my tracks. I looked at her pleadingly to keep her voice down. I moved in closer to talk to her without others hearing what I said.

“It’s okay. He left, I’m fine” I assured her.

“No you’re not.” She still hadn’t let go of my arm.

“Please Lisa, he’s gone and I just want to let it go.” I tried hard to push the tears back and not start crying all over again. She released my arm and turned towards the door when it opened. Chip stepped back in and she stopped him before he got over the threshold.

“Where do you think you are going?” She asked him.

“To get a beer, you have a problem with that?” Oh crap. Lisa’s posture straighten which added another inch to her already towering height and she looked down at Chip’s balding head.

“Actually I do. Chip you are barred from here until I say you can come back. Is that clear?”

“You can’t do that!” he laughed, “Besides you don’t have a good reason too.” He stepped in further and she grabbed him by his arm.  He pulled it back trying to release her grip without success.

“I don’t need a reason. The only reason I need is that said you are barred.” Lisa looked over at one of the bouncers and nodded to him to come over, “Jose, I think that this gentlemen needs to memorize what the outside of this bar looks like. Would you mind giving him a tour?”

With that, Jose walked Chip out the door and this time Chip did not argue.

~*~

Two more years would pass. Lorene got remarried to a guy she met at the Kabooty after a short six-month relationship. Marta married Ben the year after that.  I caught the bouquet at both weddings. You know that whole thing where the girl that is the lucky one who catches the bouquet will be the next to fall in love and get married? Yeah, that’s a load of crap.

Laura had started coming around again after we ran into each other at Marta and Ben’s wedding. A new club had opened in town called Jupiter’s and we decided to check it out one weekend.  My neighbor Sandy, her sister Elena and a mutual friend of ours named Teresa tagged along.  It was a great night out. I had decided to be the designated driver because I hated the way I felt after a Saturday night of drinking.  I did feel like I had been out too much lately even though I only went out every other weekend, but I felt guilty about going to bars when I had a child.

“You’re allowed to have some fun Tess!” Lorene told me on the phone one night, “Just because you have a kid doesn’t mean you have to stop living! So stop feeling so guilty. Besides what else is there to do in this town? All we have are bars, churches and pizza places. The pizza places only have pizza and churches only have married men. Bars are all that are left!”

I laughed but it didn’t make me feel any better. I had finally reached a place where I wanted to settle down, find someone who would fall madly in love with me and I really wanted to start back to church without having someone holding rules over my head. To have a healthy Christian relationship with someone I could take care of and could take care of me, someone who wanted to get married. Was that too much to ask?  It seemed all of my friends were getting married and soon I would be the only single person left.

Being a single mom wasn’t easy. Sure I had help from my parent’s and Nicky’s parents and I was grateful that I still had a few more years before I had to deal with Nicky and the supervised visitations, but being a single mother was still hard.

I had a good feeling that things were going to start changing for the better. I hoped my feeling was right.

CLICK HERE to continue on to Part 1, Chapter 6

CLICK HERE if you are or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, there is help out there and you are not alone!

Creative Commons License
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 1 Chapter 5

TT Cover 2

      Chip and I dated for six months. I was crazy about him and had no idea why. He only complemented me when it benefited him and he was always trying to find a new diet to put me on. He was rather obsessive about it and had me try every diet drug that was put out on the market. He was positive that chromium picolinate was the answer and had me taking three pills, four times a day.  I did lose some weight but not the amount he was hoping and I was eventually told by my doctor to quit taking them when I started having kidney problems. Chip took this as a sign of my weakness and accused me of wanting to stay overweight.

Before his obsessiveness about my weight started, he was actually the first person that I had sex with since Nicky. Nicky had never really been interested in pleasing anyone sexually but himself, so Chip’s eagerness to please me was new and exciting.  I had no idea at the time that I had never had an orgasm and the first time that I experienced one scared me to death. I had no idea that my body could act so uncontrollably. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. If I had to imagine what a high on drugs would be it would be that feeling.  I never complained when he wanted to please me.

But he ran so hot and cold and least with Nicky I knew what mood he was in on any given day, Chip’s moods changed minute to minute. One day he would be asking me why I hadn’t called him yet and telling me he missed me and loved me, the next day he would seem mad that I would call and then tell me I was suffocating him.  I never knew what to think. We would be in the middle of a phone conversation and everything would be going fine and he would just hang up. Thinking it was accidental I would call back and ask him what happened, he would tell me that he “was just done talking”.  Other times we would be sitting on the couch watching television, I would get up to go to the bathroom or to get drinks from the kitchen; I would come back and he would have left.  He would literally get in his truck and leave, no goodbye, no see you later, nothing. It was such strange and confusing behavior. We began arguing more often; it hadn’t gotten violent like it was with Nicky, but verbally he could overpower me with his words. He let me know that he was superior in intelligence. But with Chip I held my ground and only felt broken when he would comment on my weight and tell me that I didn’t have the want or desire to be as beautiful as he knew I could be. The way he said it made sense; he made it sound like what he said was the truth and if I believed anything else then I must be crazy.   He started telling me that he believed that maybe I had some mental issues and that I should seek help. He made me doubt myself and I did begin wondering if something was wrong with me.

He was at the house one evening while I was preparing dinner for Addison. I had just sat down at the table with her to watch her because she was learning to use utensils and I wanted make sure she didn’t stab herself or poke her eyes out.

“Is mommy’s girl eating with her spoon?” I would sing song to her; she would smile knowing that eating with her spoon was a good thing and she was proud.

“Why do you talk to her like that?” Chip asked.
“What do you mean? She’s a toddler. How should I talk to her?”

“Well you act like she is going to sit up and answer you.” He laughed and looked at me like I was an idiot.

“Well no, I don’t expect her to answer me. But she likes it when I talk to her.” I just shook my head and turned back to my daughter.

“People think you are nuts when you do that. I have seen them looking at you. Are you completely unaware of it? How stupid it makes you look?”

I didn’t answer and went back to paying attention to the baby. There were many instances that he would try to bend my mind and make me believe that people were staring at me. We would be out and he would lean in to whisper in my ear and tell me that some man or woman was staring at me in disgust.

“See, that guy over there. He thinks you’re disgusting.” Chip would act disgusted too, “Probably wondering what the hell I am doing with someone like you? Probably thinks I’m a chubby chaser.”
I was beginning to get that beat down feeling that I had with Nicky.  I was too afraid to leave; I was too worried that I would be alone for the rest of my life if I did.  I didn’t want another failed relationship. Chip reminded me often that if he wasn’t with me, no one else would want me. He was the only one with patience to put up with me and my “issues.”

One night as we were lying in bed he reached over and began caressing my face,

“You’re so pretty,” he said. It seemed to be a very tender moment and I was hopeful that he was going to say something sweet, “you are lucky to have me, you know that?”

I smiled thinking he was flirting, “Why is that?”
“Not many men would stay with a fat woman. You’re lucky I am here because I am so supportive of you and want to help you lose the weight.”

Damn.

~*~

The break-up was easier than I had expected. When I told him that I didn’t want to see him any longer he made sure that I knew he had already moved on.
“It’s all good, Baby. I’ve been fucking Nikki for a few weeks now. I just stayed with you because I felt sorry for you.” With that he hung up the phone.

Damn.

~*~

I picked the receiver up on the second ring, “Hello?” I answered out of breath. Addison was on the floor playing and I smiled and waved at her as I waited for the caller to speak.

“Is this Tessa?” asked the female voice on the other end.

“Yea, who’s this?” I didn’t recognize the voice.

“Nikki. I’m Chip’s girlfriend.” Are you kidding me?

“And…?” I didn’t have time for this.

“I just called to tell you that I hope you don’t have any hard feelings about Chip breaking it off with you. I mean you can’t help who you fall in love with right?”

Was this girl for real? I had seen her at the Kabooty flirting with all the guys. She always wore a tight white tank top, regardless of the weather, tons of eye shadow and her pitch black air was huge. Lorene joked about how she was a decade behind and that Nikki’s hair was a reject from 1988. I had to remind Lorene that we wore similar hair styles once upon a time. She would laugh and say, “yeah, but we’re hot!”

“Well, Chip didn’t break it off with me. I broke it off with him.” I corrected Nikki.

“He said you would say that.” I could hear her smirk through the phone line, “Anyway…no hard feelings right?”

“Yeah, whatever Nikki,” the conversation was boring me and I started to hang up when she began to speak again.

“I feel bummed for you though, I mean the sex with him is so good,” she put extra emphasis on the ‘so’ and followed the sentence with a nasally snort that I hoped was supposed to be a laugh, “and I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings too bad, but I just thought you should know. He said that being in bed with you and seeing that wrinkly, fat body repulsed him. He said it was all he could do to get it up and he had to close his eyes and think of me just to get a hard on,” Nasally snort.

No, that didn’t hurt my feelings…maybe if she just twisted the knife a little to the left…

“Hey, Tess, where’s Marta and Lorene?” Lisa the Kabooty’s door checker asked as I walked in. Kip had picked Addison up early so I ran some errands and told Lorene that I would meet her there.

“Ben is taking Marta to the movies and Lorene is supposed to meet me soon,” I smiled at her. Lisa always had a smile on her pretty face.  She stood close to six feet tall and had a rock solid body, weightlifter solid. Men didn’t piss Lisa off if they knew what was good for them. She could bounce a biker out the door just as easily as any of the buff security guards that worked at the bar.  If I ever got in a fight I would want Lisa to have my back.
“You haven’t seen Chip and Nikki here tonight have you?” I asked. I didn’t want to run into them. Even though I was glad Chip and I were done, knowing that he had moved on before we were over still stung and so did the memory of the Nikki phone call.

“Nope, but I will warn you if he does show up. I always wondered what you saw in the weasely little prick.” The smile was replaced with a look of disgust.

I let out a little laugh and shrugged my shoulders. I hadn’t run into many people who were big Chip fans. Most of them would ask me why I was with him. I had no answer for them.
“I really have no idea. Hey I’ll talk to you in a bit, okay?” With that I walked over to a group of friends at the end of the bar.

Lorene showed up about twenty minutes later and we found a table close to the dance floor. It wasn’t long before our table was full from the weekend regulars and it was a good time talking to them and catching up. Lorene and I spent most of the night dancing, drinking shots and enjoying the music. A slow song came on and some random guy had asked Lorene to dance so I took that opportunity to head to the restroom and then to the bar to grab a beer. After I washed my hands and left the Ladies Room I saw Chip standing in his usual spot next to the non-functioning jukebox with beer in his hand. He was standing alone and Nikki was nowhere in sight. I pushed past the long line of women waiting to get into the restroom and I tried to avoid getting in his line of sight. It was hard to get past him and not be noticed, but if I could blend in a group I might be able to get to the safety of our table and Lorene.
I thought I was going to have success when I large biker guy walked between me and the door leading to the dance floor, but I was wrong.

“Tess!” I heard Chip yell across the room. I pretended I didn’t hear him and made a detour towards Lisa and the exit.
“Hey!” Lisa greeted me, “leaving already?” I could tell by the look on her face that she saw Chip behind me and understood my urgency to get out the door, “I’ll stall him.” She assured me as I pushed the door open and walked out into the night air.  I reached into my pocket and realized I left my keys and purse at the table.

“Shit! Shit, shit, shit!” I turned and looked back at the door. I could see Lisa through the glass; she was standing with her hand on Chip’s chest. She was talking to him with a smile on her face, but you could tell she was being stern. If I had to imagine what she was saying to him I would say she was reasoning with him why he should just let me leave. But I couldn’t leave; I was stuck standing in the parking lot.

“Damn it!” I huffed and started to walk across the gravel lot towards my car. I was about two rows from the car when I heard steps behind me on the loose gravel. I picked up my speed without bursting into a full run; but I would if I had to.

“Tess! Come on! I just want to talk to you!” The steps stopped. I kept walking, “Tess! Come back! Please,” He was still standing in the same spot.

I slowed my pace and turned around. He stood there and put his arms up palms out as if to say, ‘I give up’.  I stopped and leaned against someone’s Buick. I was too tired to keep going and my lungs were burning from the fresh air.  I had been breathing the smoke filled air of the Kabooty for the last few hours and my lungs were working hard to push out the bad air.  He walked slowly to where I stood.

“What do you want Chip?” I didn’t look up at him, “What could you possibly have to say to me?”

He stood and waited for me to look up at me. When I did I thought that I saw a glimmer of apology in his eyes. Or I hoped for one.

“I think I left my Cranberries CD in your car.” Seriously?
What?” I looked at him like he was out of his mind.

“Cranberries, you know? CD, Compact Disc?” He said compact disc slowly as if I were too dense to understand the concept. Granted I had yet to install the newest technology in my car, but he had me purchase a portable CD player with a cassette adapter so we could listen to his insanely large alternative music collection. He was almost as obsessed with his music as he was with my weight loss.
“I don’t have your CD Chip,” I said CD slowly to make my point.

“Well, I suppose you won’t mind me checking for myself then will you?” He crossed his arms and stood staring at me.
“I don’t have my keys, I left them inside.”
“I’ll wait. Go get them.” He leaned against a car.

I shook my head in disbelief and walked back towards the bar. When I opened the door and stepped in, Lisa stopped me.

“Are you okay?” She stood up and looked out seeing that he was still standing in the parking lot.

“Yeah, he just thinks he left a CD in my car or something.” I waved off her concern, “I’m going to get the keys and let him look for it.” She rolled her eyes and sat back down on her stool. I headed to the table to get my keys from my purse.

“Hey, where’d you go? I was looking for you.” Lorene ran off the dance floor when she saw me come down the ramp. Her hair was wet with perspiration from dancing.
“Chip’s here. I have to get my keys; he says he left a CD in my car and wants it back. Whatever.” I rummaged through my purse until I found my car keys.
“Where is the little fucker?” Lorene couldn’t stand Chip. She never could. Said he was slimy and gave her the willies.
“He’s out in the parking lot. Listen, I have to get out there. The sooner he gets the damn CD the faster I can get rid of him.”

“You want me to come with you?” She had had enough to drink that she was feeling tough and probably would have enjoyed a good fight.  I laughed at her alcohol induced bravery.

“Ha ha, no. Stay here I’ll only be a few.” I tossed the keys in the air and caught them, “Be right back.”

CLICK HERE to continue to Touching Trees ~ Part 2, Chapter 5

Creative Commons License
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 2 Chapter 4

TT Cover 2

     Addison was set to attend Kindergarten in the fall and was very excited about it, she would spend hours in her room playing “school” with her stuffed animals being the students and she the teacher; she was such a cutie. She had her father’s piercing blue eyes and her hair was still the same flaxen color she was born with; it now hung in soft waves that touched her shoulders. She was a real girly girl and refused to wear jeans or tennis shoes. She would only wear dresses or skirts and when she wore shoes she insisted on wearing Mary Jane’s. She called them her ‘high heels’.
Her favorite pastime was playing with my makeup and begged me to, ‘pretty me up mommy!’ as she would put it. I would tell her she was already prettier than any little girl deserved to be but I would always give in.  We would eat bowls of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and put make up on each other and comb each others hair.
I still worked at the store in the mornings but mostly in the office keeping the books.  Flo had left the year before; while on a single’s retreat that her church was having, she met a man named Tony Parker. They had a short courtship and she married him in a little chapel in Nashville; when they returned from their honeymoon, she left the store and she and her new husband moved to a town forty-five miles south.

Flo had never really been to church and usually scoffed at my references to Christ and she always wondered why I would drag me and my daughter to church service every Sunday morning.  Then one evening a friend of hers from high school had invited her to a revival during Easter week and she came in the store the following Monday giddy over finding Jesus. She said she finally understood what I had been talking about all of those years. From that day on you never heard a bad word cross her lips and on her breaks you would find her in the break room reading her Bible or talking to someone about the love of Christ.

I was very happy for her and glad she had found love, both with Tony and Jesus. I had never seen any of the men that Flo had dated but Tony didn’t come across as someone I thought Flo would be attracted to but she was crazy about him. He stood over six feet tall, had a beer belly and a full black beard. Flo thought he was just about the dreamiest man she ever sat eyes on.

I missed her when she had left, but she called every so often to tell me about how many baptisms were performed that Sunday, how wonderful she and Tony were doing or to invite Addison and me to a church service and dinner after.  We took her up on her offer several times and we got together as often as we could.

Peter Sanders arrived at work at 5 a.m. as usual. He followed his normal morning routine of entering from the back door and locking it behind him; making his way through the store turning on the lights and straightening the displays. Then he walked to the front of the store to open the office and wait for the deli workers to arrive.  As he approached the office door that morning he noticed that it was slightly ajar.

“Damn night staff. Can’t even remember to close the office door,” He pushed the office door open and was confronted by two young boys stuffing lottery tickets into bags. He stumbled back and one of the startled boys pulled a gun.

The bullet struck Peter Sanders square in the chest killing him instantly. They left him lying flat on his back, arms and legs sprawled out and his eyes wide open staring at the florescent lights above. He was found by a nineteen-year-old girl who started working at the deli just two days before.  She never walked in that store again.

The images of boy’s faces were caught on Peter’s security cameras and all three the local news channels ran the video every broadcast. On the fourth day after the shooting one of the boys finally turned himself into the police.  He gave them the name of the boy who shot Peter and where he could be found. The shooter was Jason Patton, a stock boy who had been working for Peter for the last three years.  Peter had given Jason a key to the store the week before when Peter needed someone to meet the doughnut delivery truck at 4 a.m.; Jason offered to meet them since he lived in the apartments just a block over from the store. That’s where the police arrested him, still in his apartment one block away from where he had killed his employer.

It seemed the entire town had shown up at Peter’s funeral, they had to use twelve guest books and the funeral was delayed for almost two hours because the procession line went out the door and around the block, it never seemed to get shorter.
I stayed at the store long enough to settle Paul’s affairs. Peter willed the store to Kip Bloom with instructions that  the store be sold and that Kip keep the money as payment for his debt to him.  Peter had also included Addison in his will, willing her ten thousand dollars from the sale to be placed in the college fund that Kip had set up for her when she was born.
Mr. Bloom sold the store to a franchise company out of Indianapolis for slightly below five hundred thousand dollars. I left two days after the sale was final.

~*~

     The courts ordered that Nicky’s parents would get grandparent visitation every other weekend. Kip would pick Addison up on Friday evening and return her Sunday evening at 6 p.m. and they got two weeks in the summer and every other birthday and Christmas.
Just after the divorce I was able to reconnect with friends that Nicky hadn’t allowed me to talk to while we were married.  My friend Marta Greene, who was with me the night I met Nicky was the first to call me after reading about Nicky’s conviction in the paper. We immediately made plans to have lunch. It felt odd to go anywhere I wanted and without having to look over my shoulder constantly. People still recognized me and there was quite a bit of stares and whispering, but I didn’t mind so much. I was free.

Marta had started dating a guy named Ben that we had both went to school with and who had graduated two years before us. They reconnected at a party that Marta went to with Laura and her frat-boy.  She felt that the relationship was going great so far and they had brought marriage up lightly in several conversations. More like “what if?” rather then, “when we do” She seemed truly happy and I was truly happy for her.

After several months of talking on the phone, some lunches, shopping dates and us feeling more comfortable in the friendship that I had let fall to the side of the road when I got with Nicky. It was becoming more comfortable to just call to say “hi” and chat. We made plans to hang out at The Homerun on a weekend that Kip and Fannie had Addison.  Going there now just wasn’t the same and even though it had just been a few years ago that we were regulars, the crowd seemed so much younger and I wondered when they started letting twelve year olds in bars?  Well, they looked twelve to me anyway.

Being around all of the younger, slimmer girls did little for my already low self-esteem. I was still struggling with my weight, I just couldn’t get back down to the size six that I was two years before and decided that a size ten would have to do.

Men didn’t hit on me the way they used to either. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend but I thought it would be nice to have a man pay a little bit of attention to you even if it was just for an hour or talking over dinner or drinks.  I never had any trouble with men telling me how beautiful my face was or how stunning my eyes were but none really made any advancement towards me for dating, most were just interested in sex. Sex was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure when I would be interested in sex again.

~*~

     “You need a day of beauty! That is what you need!” Marta was always excited about a make-over. “Let’s schedule to get the works!”

“Well, maybe not the works, but I am willing to look into a change.” We headed out to the mall and I got highlights, something I used to always do but hadn’t since I let Nicky control my looks. My flaxen blond hair had gotten much darker and I hadn’t had a decent hair cut in years. When we left the salon I couldn’t keep my fingers out of my hair, it felt soft and silky, not dry and lifeless.

It did make me feel better. We both had our nails done and I bought new makeup. Even though it had been months since Nicky had gone to prison, I only dabbled in the makeup application a few times; it wasn’t easy to do with a baby crawling around and in some strange way I still worried someone would see me wearing it and Nicky would find out. It was easy to just get up and start my day without the fuss and muss, but I felt frumpy and wanted to feel good again.

For the next several years, I started feeling like my own self again; I took an interest in my appearance even though I had only been able to lose about thirty pounds of the seventy-five I had gained during the pregnancy. I went out with friends on the weekends Addison spent with her grandparents and I even went out on some dates, but no one I would have considered to be serious boyfriends, even though several of them I really liked and felt it was a rejection when it just didn’t work out. The last thing I needed was rejection.

I had been invited out one Saturday night by Lorene, a friend from the store.  She had just gotten a divorce and wanted to go celebrate it with a night of dancing.  She was ready to party and made sure everyone there knew it. We decided on a little dive that catered to the twenty-one to seventy-one age groups.  The Kabooty Inn was nothing like The Homerun which was just a meat market for college students. The Kabooty was a meat market for all types. The dance floor was tiny and hot. Fans were set all around but unless you were dancing right in front of one, you were sweating. The Electric Slide had come on and every female in the room seemed to rush the floor; I considered myself a pretty good dancer and this was one of my favorite dances. It allowed me to show off my rhythm and get some exercise. After the song was over I headed to the bar to grab a cola, since it was Lorene’s night I told her that I would be her chauffeur for the evening. The bar stools were packed, so I slid in between a couple people to let the bartender take my order.
“Can I get a Coke and a Bud Light?” I yelled over the pulsating music. I pulled my money out and waved it at the bartender, it seemed to get you got waited on so much quicker. The bartender nodded and went to fill the order.

“Hi,” I turned to the voice at my right.

“Hi,” I replied and looked back to see if the bartender was coming. The man spoke again, extending his hand.

“Name’s Chip,” I took his hand to shake it and had to pull a little harder than needed to release my hand from his grip.

“Tess.” I smiled a polite smile.

“Tess, well that’s a very pretty name, for a very pretty lady.”
“Thanks.” He wasn’t bad looking. Not the normal type I would have been attracted to. But then again it seemed the type I was usually attracted to would end up being complete jerks.
His attire was the norm for the time. Plaid shirt cut off at the shoulders with a thermal long-sleeve jersey underneath. Faded jeans and hiking boots. He wore a necklace made of a thin leather rope and a small medallion that appeared to be some sort of astrological sign hung from it. He wore small, intellectual looking glasses. He had brown hair that was thinning on top and appeared to be in his mid-twenties, same as me.

“You know we would make really beautiful children.” He smiled. Now that I look back at that conversation I can see what a cheesy line that was, but at the time my self-confidence was low. I didn’t take compliments well anyway because I didn’t know what the compliment giver’s agenda was.

“Really?” I asked with a bit of skepticism in my voice, “How do you figure?”
“We just would, especially if they had your beautiful blue eyes and pretty lips.” I felt the heat of a blush wash over my face.  His smile was kind and he had gorgeous eyelashes. I couldn’t imagine why he was talking to me, but I decided to let him, “So Tessa. Are you here with someone?” The bartender handed me the drinks and I waved at him to let him know to keep the change.
“Yeah, actually my friend Lorene is down there,” nodding my head in the direction of the dance floor, “I should probably take her this beer,” I held the bottle up for him to see.

“Well are you going to come back up here and talk to me again?” He turned his bar stool towards me as I backed away.
“I could probably do that.” I smiled and walked towards the dance floor.

CLICK HERE to continue to  Touching Trees ~ Part 1, Chapter 5

Creative Commons License
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.


Touching Trees ~ Part 1, Chapter 4

TT Cover 2

I knew it would be bad, I just hadn’t realized the level of bad it would reach. I knew when he got home to a near empty house that the consequences would be fierce. I had always been afraid of Nicky, but for the first time I actually feared for my life.  It was true that I had gotten more than my fair share of punches to the face, kicks in the gut, him pushing me down stairs and over furniture, but he had never came after me with the threat of death. That is, until I left him.

That very first night he showed up at my parent’s house banging on the door and yelling at me to just talk to him. Paul went to the door and told him to leave and after an hour of sitting in my parent’s driveway with the engine running Paul called the police.  Only after a couple officers came and spoke with him did he leave. He tried to get them to arrest my parents and me, telling them we had robbed his house. Paul came out and spoke with the officers, explained the situation and the officers told Nicky that he had to leave the property.  Even with the officers standing there watching, Nicky peeled out of the driveway and speed off down the road. Within an hour the phone began ringing.  We finally had to turn the ringer off.

I called Peter and asked him if I could take some time off, my parents didn’t feel safe with me leaving the house alone.  He hesitated, but agreed. I was sure that Nicky had already been in the store asking Peter and Flo if they knew anything about what happened. He told me to take all the time I needed and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my parents really wanted me to just quit and stay home with them until this had blew over. I didn’t want to quit, going to work every day gave me a sense of freedom. I was earning my own money and wanted to save up and get a small place for the baby and me. I didn’t want to live with my parents if I didn’t have to.
A few times in the middle of the night I swore I heard someone outside of my bedroom window but I was too afraid to get up and look or to get Paul. I would lie in bed holding my breath trying to tell if I just imagined hearing the footsteps. I was beginning to worry that it was just paranoia but the constant phone messages, the stories from family and friends who reiterated to me how he had confronted them, followed them and constantly called them was getting to be too much.

I had met with several attorneys in the area and settled on one that my friend Lynette had used when she got divorced.  Jackson Fredricks had the reputation of tearing the soon-to-be-ex’s reputation to shreds.  He was expensive, but my parents told me not to worry myself with the cost, they just wanted me to file, and I did two weeks after I left the house.

I was so ready to get back to work and even though Paul had purchased a very nice used car for me to drive, my mom still wasn’t comfortable with me leaving the house alone. She insisted that Paul drive me to and from work for a while. She couldn’t understand why I was so determined to keep my job at Sander’s.  My mom admitted she was enjoying having Addison in the house; she was able to spoil her with toys and she let Addison do just about anything she wanted. The baby was now crawling and her speed to reach breakable objects was impressive.
“I’m going to drive myself to work tomorrow.” I announced during dinner one evening. Paul and my mother both stopped eating and looked at me, “Listen guys, I appreciate you worrying about me. But I don’t want to feel like a prisoner. I have been a prisoner for quite a while now and I just want to spread my wings a bit. Please understand.” I didn’t want to beg, but it came out sounding that way.

Paul nodded his head, “I think that would be a good idea, as long as you go straight there and straight back,” He said sternly pointing with his fork to say he meant business, “No unnecessary detours. Not for a while anyway, agreed?”
“Yeah. Straight there. Straight back” I smiled at him, comforted by his protectiveness of me. He was always there for me, in a world where my biological father was only around when he was in the middle of a divorce. We hadn’t heard anything from Nicky in the last few days; just from his lawyer, so I felt confident that I would be safe. My mother didn’t share my confidence but said nothing.

~*~

     “Well, look at you little Miss Independent, driving around all by yourself.” Flo teased.  I had found a little piece of independence on the drive into work that morning. Of course I did constantly check my mirrors for the familiar blue truck that never appeared. I let out a giant sigh of relief when I pulled into the parking lot. I made it.
“Yes I am and I am still in one piece.” I gave a little pose of victory. The morning went by fast and Peter asked me into the office when I was preparing to leave in the afternoon.

“Tessa, I talked to Kip about what happened out here in the parking lot with you and Nicky. I wasn’t going to but after I ran into Nicky this weekend; I knew I had to tell his dad what had been going on.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want this to be an issue any longer and the only reason I wouldn’t have wanted Peter to talk to Kip before was to protect Nicky. That really didn’t matter now.

“What did he say?” I felt sick to my stomach. Kip had always stuck up for me, but I couldn’t imagine that that would be the case now that I had filed for divorce.

“Well, at first I wasn’t sure what to think. Sure he sat and listened to me, but he didn’t say a damn word so I got a little nervous and wondered if I should have just kept my mouth shut,” a shadow of exhaustion washed over his aging face, “I don’t know if you had heard but Kip got me out of a real bind a few years back. After my wife left me I started drinking pretty bad and gambled way too much. I gambled money I didn’t have. You see, a bunch of us from the club flew out to Vegas one weekend and I gambled away just about everything I had. If it hadn’t been for Kip, well I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you.  Tessa, he saved my ass is what he did. I owe him more than I could ever repay him.”  He appeared to have aged twenty years in the last few moments. I stayed quiet because I knew he wasn’t finished talking.

“Anyway, I just want to apologize to you. I should have walked right out there and stomped that little shit’s ass.  I’m so sorry sweetie, can you ever forgive me?” Tears had formed in his eyes.

“Awww, you don’t have to apologize to me,” I leaned over and hugged him, “You did help me. You took me to the hospital and you paid for everything. You know Nicky would never have taken me and if I had gone on my own and he had to pay for it, well, I would have paid for it in worse later on. You were kind of protecting me in your own way.”

“I just feel plain awful. Kip has been a good friend to me but girl you were being hurt. I had no idea how badly, but now I do and I swear to you I am behind you one hundred percent. If I have to go to court and tell them what I saw I will. I will even tell them the times I saw you come in with black eyes and bruises on your arms. I am not blind, girl, I know you aren’t that clumsy!” He chuckled to himself, “You know, some men are just born bullies and you just happened to marry one. I don’t know where he gets it, because his dad is a straight-up great guy.
But you have nothing to worry about with Kip. He didn’t question me. He felt real bad about what his son has done to you. But I do want to show you something,” He stood up and pulled open his desk drawer, “Now you can’t tell anyone I have this or it won’t do you any good when you need it.” He turned on the television set in the corner and popped the VHS tape in the recorder.  It was the store’s security tape dated the morning that Nicky assaulted me in the parking lot and taken off with the baby.

I sat in silence and shock as I watched what I had lived through played out on tape. There was no sound but it was obvious to anyone who was watching it. The part that bothered me the most were the two men that walked past the car as I cried and begged for them to help me.  I can’t imagine what would make two grown men walk by as they watched a woman be assaulted by another man. Then I remembered Peter standing in the window watching without helping and my heart sank. Peter was too afraid to help. He owed Nicky’s father so much and he felt helpless.

“You see those two men walking past? Right there, you see them?” It was as if he had read my mind. I nodded confirming I saw them, “they are on Kip’s construction crew. They work under Nicky.” He rewound the tape and pushed PAUSE to freeze the image of the two men in their place.
“That one there, that’s Randy Cook. His wife just gave birth to a baby girl a week ago and he has three more boys on top of that. He and Sandy have their hands full. If he had stepped in on you two that day, well Nicky would have fired him and left him, three boys and a pregnant wife with no income at all.  That one there,” he pointed at the other guy, “That’s Brain Pope. He got busted right out of high school for hot wiring a car; then he spent a few years in jail after he violated his probation when he got caught selling some pot to an undercover cop. He just got released a couple weeks before and part of his probation was that he had to hold a steady job for a year. If he lost that job he would have to go back to jail for six more months.”

I understood what he was trying to tell me. I sat and looked at the still image of the two men’s faces. I wanted to believe with all of my heart that they wanted to help me.

“So you have talked to them?” I whispered.

“Randy came back in that night to buy milk and he stopped by the office. He felt horrible and said that Brian did too. Brian actually wanted to come back and beat the shit out of Nicky. He told Randy he would go back to jail if he had to and it took Randy half the day to calm Brian down,” Peter shook his head in disbelief, “So anyway, word got around the construction site about what had happened. Those men just started coming up and giving Randy and Brian money, told them to come back and give it to you; help you get away from Nicky. But when Randy heard you had to go to the hospital, well let’s just say I didn’t pay for the entire hospital bill sweetie, they paid for half.”

I placed my hand over my heart.  I couldn’t believe they had done that for me.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I wiped a tear that started to roll down my cheek.

“They asked me not to.  How the heck they kept that kind of news from getting to Kip or Nicky I will never know.” He removed the tape from the player and put it back in his desk, then locked the drawer, “Both of those boys said they will testify in court if it comes down to it.”

I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. I just wanted my divorce; I didn’t want Nicky going to jail. He was Addison’s father after all. It was bad enough I couldn’t trust him to see her right now; it worried me too much that he wouldn’t bring her back. The guilt of keeping her from him bothered me; I couldn’t imagine missing out on this much of her life.  He hadn’t been there to see her start crawling; he should have been there to see that first. Too bad he was such a jerk.
I was glad Peter told me the truth about talking to Kip and the construction guys.  It gave me hope that humanity does exist.  I looked at my watch and realized I would be late getting back to my parents.

“Thank you Peter,” I hugged him again quickly, “I better run, my parents weren’t keen on me driving myself to work to begin with. Don’t need to make them worry where I am now.”

“Be safe Tessa.” He closed the office door and walked with me to the automatic doors.

I started the engine and backed out of the parking space. As I pulled out onto the highway, I checked my rear view window. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing behind me, Nicky’s blue truck was right on my bumper. I pushed the gas pedal down to put distance between us but he sped up too. He laid the horn on and held it down. I turned off on the road leading to my parent’s house too quickly almost hitting the stop sign.  Nicky stayed on my tail. He was relentless.  I missed the analog in the Grand Am; I would have already called the police. But now I just had to make it to my parent’s house without wrecking.

I took a curve too fast and hit the ditch but managed to keep the car in motion, slinging mud and grass behind me. I could hear gravel smack the underbelly of the car. I righted the car back onto the road and could see my parent’s house in the distance. I prayed I would make it in the driveway without hitting any of the other cars. I was afraid to slow down since Nicky’s truck was still right on my back bumper.  I laid the horn on. Long hold, several short taps, long hold, short taps. I wanted them to hear me coming. Just as I got to the edge of the drive way, I saw Paul run out of the garage door carrying a rifle.

I slammed the car in park and jumped out without turning the engine off. I ran into the garage as Paul confronted Nicky in the driveway.

“Get out of my way Paul. Tessa! Tessa, get out here. Get your fucking ass out here!” Nicky yelled past Paul. Paul still holding the rifle with his right hand he put his left hand up to hold Nicky back.

“Nicky, you need to leave. Get in your truck and leave or I’m calling the cops” Paul remained calm.

“Fuck you Paul! Call the fucking police! See if I care!” Nicky got right in Paul’s face. I stood at the back of the garage. I didn’t want to leave Paul alone with Nicky knowing I would be no help to him if he needed it. Unexpectedly Nicky threw his hands to his head and dropped to his knees and started to cry. Sob was more like it.

“Jesus, Tessa. Tessa just come home!” He was begging, “Please. I swear to God I won’t hurt you again, just you and the baby need to come home. I miss you.”  He hung his head to the ground and pressed his hands on the concrete. He looked like he was praying, but he wasn’t, he was crying. I had never seen a man cry like that before. He looked desperate and sad.

“Tessa” My mom stood at the garage door leading into the kitchen, “Tessa, come in the house.” She held Addison on her hip, holding her just inside the house out of Nicky’s sight. I looked at my mom but didn’t say anything and then I looked over at Nicky. Still hunched over on the concrete crying and saying mine and Addison’s name over and over; saying he was sorry, so sorry. My heart went out for him. My mind told me it was a trap, but my heart was breaking for him.
“Tessa?” The look on my mom’s face was pleading. She was begging with her eyes to please don’t fall for what he was doing.  I just shook my head at my mom.

“It’s okay.” I assured her and I walked out of the garage past Paul and knelt down next to Nicky. I placed my hand on his shoulder, “Nicky?”

In a flash his hand wrapped around my neck and he drug me over to the truck, Paul lifted the rifle and pointed it in our direction. He yelled for my mom to call the police. Nicky had the door to the truck open and tried to push me in. His hand tightened around my neck as I resisted his efforts to get me in the truck. I tugged at his wrist with both of my hands but couldn’t break his grip. I tried to bend my knees up and kick in the groin, but he was too quick and it made him even madder. He reached up with his free hand a grabbed a handful of my hair and slammed my head into the driver’s side window. He pulled my face back and spit in my face, then leaned in and licked it off. He laughed and looked at me with feral eyes.

“I am going to fucking kill you, you fat fucking bitch!” he hissed in my ear, his grip tightening harder around my neck cutting off my air, “I am going to kill you and rip your heart out. Then after they bury your fat ass, I am going to come and piss on your grave.”

His face went fuzzy and then faded away completely.

~*~

     Nicky Bloom signed the divorce papers from his jail cell with his criminal attorney present. He was facing a lot of prison time. On top of attempted murder charges, he faced multiple counts of battery charges on me and several other charges because most of the abuse against me happened in front of our daughter.
The only person who stood up for Nicky was his mother, Fannie and Hope.  Kip paid for all of Nicky’s attorney’s fees and the court costs. He would continue to pay for Nicky commissary and basic needs while in prison but he testified for me in court.

My attorney’s were allowed to use the Peter’s tape as evidence. Randy and Brian both witnessed on my behalf, as did Flo and Peter.  Hope Baker was subpoenaed to give a deposition in the divorce hearing about her ongoing relationship with Nicky. Flo testified about taking me to the hospital after Nicky assaulted me in the parking lot and about being at the house when I walked in on Hope and Nicky having sex.  Nicky’s attorney tried to slip Flo up by asking if she had actually seen Mr. Bloom and Ms. Baker having intercourse.
“Well, no, but two people in a room, in a bed making noises like the ones I heard, well, I don’t think they were playing chess.”  Laughter rumbled through the room.

Regardless of Flo’s testimony the judge granted the divorce. I was awarded the house, the bank account, the Grand Am and full custody of Addison.  Kip promised that Addison and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything as long as he was alive which did not please Fannie Bloom at all.

Nicky’s trial ended with him being sentenced to sixteen years in prison with time off for good behavior. That meant that Nicky could be out in less than eight years. He would be required to serve four more years of probation and would only be allowed supervised visitation with Addison until she was sixteen. He was also ordered to stay away from me and if he got within two hundred feet of me, the judge threatened to send him back to prison. People have been known to walk through those protection orders, but I had at least eight years before I had to worry about it.

CLICK HERE to read Touching Trees ~ Part Two, Chapter Four!

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Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Touching Trees ~ Part 1, Chapter 2

TT Cover 2

To get the most of this story, please begin with the Prologue, then on to Part 1 and 2 of Chapter 1

1993

My mother went with me to what I had hoped would be my last OBGYN visit. I was almost three weeks overdue and miserable. My weight had gone well past what was recommended. I had gained a total of seventy-five pounds but my doctors assured me with my past eating disorder, this weight gain was merely a safety precaution. They were positive that I would have no issues losing any of the weight. Boy, I proved them wrong! They encouraged me to eat whatever I wanted during the pregnancy and well, I did.
“Things look great, Mrs. Bloom. Nice strong heartbeat. Are you sure you don’t want to know the sex of the baby?” The nurse asked as she ran the wand over my stomach. What would be the point now? Everything we had purchased for the baby was yellow and mint green.
“No, I want it to be a surprise.” I smiled at her, “When can I talk to the doctor? I am so ready for this to be over with. I am way overdue.”
“He should be in shortly. I bet you are excited?” The nurse wiped the cold gel off of my stomach and slid the blood pressure cuff onto my arm, “Have you decided on any names?”
“A few, but none of them sound right. I guess I can’t get used to the idea that I have to give someone a name they will have forever. I just want to make sure it’s a good one.”
“Yes, a name is important; but what really amazes me that we can bring another human into the world. So naming it is the easy part.” She checked a few items off her clipboard, “Okay, I’m all done with you. The Doc should be in shortly.” She closed the door behind her as she left. I reached down and absently rubbed the still prominent knot on my leg.
“What happened there?” My mother asked lifting my pant leg. “Good God Tessa, what did you do?”
“It’s nothing Mom. You know how clumsy I am.” No, she didn’t know, but it sounded convincing when Nicky said it to his parents.
“Did you have a doctor look at this?” She asked still examining the busted blood vessels and the brownish edges that surrounded the deep purple bruise.
“No, I put some ice on it when I banged my shin. It hardly hurts at all anymore.” I lied. “Nicky said if it still looks bad in a week or so, we’ll see the doctor.” I lied again.
“Have Dr. Kirkson take a look at it when he comes in.” She encouraged as I pulled my pant leg down.
“Mom, no, really it is fine. Just let me get past giving birth and then I will worry about my little leg bump.” Just as I finished the sentence, Dr. Kirkson knocked and entered the examination room.
“Good morning Tessa, how are you feeling? Ready to get this baby out I bet?” That was an understatement.
“Yeah, you think it will be soon? I can hardly breathe. The baby is taking up every inch of space.” I stretched my back to emphasize my statement.
“Well, how about today?” He said writing in the clipboard and not looking up. That got my attention.
“Really? That would be awesome! When? Now?” I wasn’t about to give him a chance to change his mind.
“As soon as you can get over to the hospital and get checked in and start the inducement.” He finally looked up and smiled at me.
“Okay!” We finished up the details of what I should expect. How the inducement would proceed, how long I could be in labor and so forth. Reality was beginning to sing in that I could be a mom in less than twenty-four hours.

~*~

“For God’s sake, how long is this going to take?” Nicky paced the floor next to my bed. For someone who didn’t think this baby was his, he was certainly anxious for its arrival. “Can’t you do something to speed this up?”
The nurse looked at Nicky as if to ask, “Are you serious?” I looked at the nurse as if to say, “Yes, he is.” She shook her head and left the room.
“Will you sit down Nicky, you are making me nervous.” His mother chastised him. He was making me nervous too. The shot they had given me was working, the labor pains intensified and since we never bothered to take Lamaze classes (that would require me to leave the house in be in the presence of men), I wasn’t sure how to breathe to ease the pain. I was so ready for the epidural.
The room was full of people. My mom, my sister, Nicky and his mom; Kip and Paul came in and out, my obvious pains made them uneasy. On occasion everyone would be asked to leave the room when the nurse would come in to check my dilation; but for the most part they were all there.
The on-call doctor, Dr. Russell came in the last time to check my dilation before he announced that he would be breaking my water soon. I was very disappointed that he was here and would be the one to deliver. He had no bedside manner and he was very rough when examining me. Even through his gloves I could tell he needed to trim his nails. Every time he got near me I wanted to kick him when he scratched me.
Within the half hour he and a nurse returned with a rolling tray containing medical tools. He made himself comfortable at the end of the bed and was rough when he grabbed me by my hips and pulled me closer. I begged silently for him to be off duty when the time came to deliver.
He reached over to the cart and pulled out what looked like a very long crochet needle and proceeded to explain what he was doing. At this point the room was still full of relatives that also now included Nicky’s cousin Bret and his wife Amy and their two children. I looked over at my mom who sat in a chair to my right and gave her the pleading look to get everyone out. She stood up to ask everyone to leave when Fannie walked over and leaned in behind the doctor and bent down to see what he was doing. I had had just about enough!
“No!” my voice raised and everyone stopped talking and looked at me, “No! You are not watching this!” I looked directly at her and she knew I meant business, “The only people I want in here from now on until I say otherwise, is the doctor, nurse, my mom and Diana. Everyone else needs to leave.”
“What about me, you can’t kick me out.” stated Nicky.
“Oh yes I can. Everyone goes, except those four.” I stared him down. He was not going to bully me here. He stomped out of the room behind everyone else. The doctor proceeded with the procedure. My mom squeezed my shoulder to show she was glad I had stuck up for myself. I would be glad of it only for a short time. I knew the price that I would pay for my short-lived bravery.

~*~

After the procedure was done, I thought that the labor would go much quicker. It actually seemed to slow down. My little breakdown didn’t seem to faze Nicky at all. He came back in when I allowed and treated me more tenderly than he had in a long time. He sat next to my bed asking me if I needed anything. Could he get me ice chips? Did I need an extra pillow? Was my bed positioned right? Could he rub my back or feet? He was starting to freak me out just a little bit. This was not the normal Nicky I had known the last six months.
“The basketball game comes on soon, do you want to watch it or something else sweetie?” He asked looking through the television guide as I adjusted myself to a more comfortable position. The family had finally left when it got dark and the snow started falling. We were expected to get up to two inches before midnight and they wanted to get home before the roads got slick.
“The basketball game will be just fine.” I actually did like the college basketball games, considering we lived in the college town of our favorite team, it almost seemed sacrilegious to miss it.
He stayed at my side during the entire game, continuously asking if I needed anything, checking the monitors I was hooked to, asking the nurses tons of questions, like if there was anything they could give me for the pain. He presented himself as the perfect husband, attentive and loving. I was still trying to figure out if it was sincere or an act for the staff and family. Then I felt guilty for being suspicious. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But I just couldn’t get over the happenings between us since right before the wedding and until now. I was torn between hoping that my husband had finally seen the light and admitting that he knew without a shadow of a doubt that the baby was his and I wasn’t a horrible nothing.

~*~

The nurse came in and woke me up around 6:30 a.m. to take my vitals and check my dilation. I looked over at the empty chair where I had last seen Nicky asleep by the end of the basketball game.
“He said he would be back in a bit,” the nurse said when she saw my wondering expression, “said he needed to make a phone call.”
I wondered who he would be calling so early in the morning. He had arranged with work to be off for the next week. They knew that I could have the baby at any time, so he requested the time off as soon as I called him from Doctor Kirkson’s and told him they were sending me to the hospital.
“Hey babe, you’re awake?” He said as he came in a half hour later and kissed me on the forehead, “How’re ya feeling?” Who is this man?
“Yeah, the nurse came in and I just figured I would stay up. They will just be back to do it over in an hour“, I smiled at him and he smiled back, “Where were you?”
“I had to call work. I forgot to tell them something about an order that was coming in first thing this morning.” He said it like it was true. So I didn’t doubt him.
“Oh, cool.” I felt a quick pain in my back and tried arching to relieve it. I reached back unsuccessfully to rub it out when my mom came in the room.
“You should see the snow out there! Everyone was driving so slowly!” She took her coat off and shook it out before hanging it on the hook by the bathroom. Noticing my discomfort she came over to my side, “Are you okay? How are the pains?” She rubbed the spot I was trying to reach and it felt amazing.
“Painful” I chuckled. I had tried to be conscious of how I talked to the nurses and everyone around me during my labor pains, but I am sure that a few times I snapped at them. My patience level went well below negative zero during a labor pain.
I looked over at the monitor that Nicky and I had both been watching with great interest all evening. My vital signs were on top and it would spike up whenever I was having a labor pain, the baby’s vital line were below mine and would peak similarly but not as much. Another labor pain came on and I noticed that even though my line spiked the baby’s line went way down. I panicked a little.
“Nicky? Come look at this?” I motioned him over to the machine. He picked the paper that was slowly coming from the printer and studied. “What do you think that is?”
“I don’t know. Are you in bad pain?” He asked still looking at the paper.
“No more than usual. Can you go ask a nurse?” I sat up straighter in bed. He nodded and started towards the door. Suddenly the door opened and several nurses rushed in past Nicky. He stumbled back as the nurses talked hurriedly amongst themselves and the orderlies.
“What’s going on?” both Nicky and I asked repeatedly. No one answered us. Three orderlies quickly lifted me from the bed using the sheet corners, slid me on a gurney and began pushing the gurney towards the door. I repeatedly begged for them to tell me what was happening.
“Tessa, the baby is in distress. We need to get him out at soon as possible” Dr. Kirkson thankfully appeared next to the gurney as they rushed me down the hospital corridor. I was so happy he made it in time. People who were in the halls jumped back making room for us to get through when the gurney suddenly slammed into a ladder in the hall almost sending maintenance man to the floor.
“Whoa!” yelled one of the orderlies, “keep it steady!” I could hear my sister Diana asking the nurse medical questions and telling Nicky to calm down, it would be fine. Forever the nurse, even when she’s not on duty. I wondered when she had gotten here. My mind was racing with all kinds of questions. Where is my mom? I want my mom! Will they let Nicky in the room with me? Why is the baby in distress? They shouldn’t have let me go so long, they should have done this a week ago! I watched the fluorescent lights on the ceiling whiz by as we rushed down the corridor.
I was pushed through double doors and I heard an orderly tell Nicky, “Sorry Mr. Bloom, no one past this point. Someone will be out soon to give you an update.”
I was lifted off of the table and laid on what looked like a cross. They strapped my wrists to the table. I begged them not to do that; it scared me to not have that mobility of my arms. They didn’t seem to listen to me, but kept working around me. No one explained anything to me. I could hear Dr. Kirkson’s gentle voice but couldn’t see him.
“Dr. Kirkson? Dr. Kirkson? What’s happening? Please tell me.” I was crying hard and I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate. I felt his hand on my shoulder and he looked down at me. I could only see his eyes through his glasses, his face was covered with a surgical mask, but his gaze was kind when he explained what was happening.
“Tessa, dear. The baby’s heart rate has gone way down. Dangerously down. We need to get him out right now. He is just worn out; the labor was just coming along way too slow. He just gave up. We are going to get him out now, it won’t take very long. But I need you to be calm and trust me okay?” His words calmed me, but only a little, “Pretty soon you’ll be waking up to a beautiful son or daughter. Do you trust me?” His eyes were so kind, I believed he wouldn’t lie to me. I nodded my head and let the anesthesiologist place the mask over my mouth and nose.
“Okay, Tessa, count to ten for me…” One…two…three…

~*~

“Mrs. Bloom? You have a beautiful baby girl.” I couldn’t open my eyes, but I am fairly sure I heard an angel say it.

~*~

“Oh Tess, she’s so pretty.” My sister gushed over the baby as she held her. She was a big baby, weighing in at nine pounds, ten ounces and she was twenty-one inches long. Her face was round and pudgy. She wrinkled her forehead like she was in deep thought. Her eyes were the clear blue color of Nicky’s and she had his chin. He couldn’t deny her if he wanted. She had my bow lips and my flaxen hair. She was perfect.
“You should have seen him, Tess. When those doors closed in his face, it was awful. He just dropped to his knees. He cried.” She ran her finger down the baby’s nose and lips as she retold the story of when the orderly wouldn’t let Nicky follow me into surgery.
“Cried? Nicky?” I felt horrible. Maybe he really did love me.
“Yea.” She patted the baby and rocked her when she started to fuss. She put her nose to Addison’s head and breathed in, “oh, I love the smell of babies. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

~*~

“Good morning Mrs. Bloom. We need to get you up and walking around.” The nurse came in to help get me mobile before I could go home. She helped me swing my legs off the side of the bed and put slippers on my feet. I slowly put on the robe that my mom brought me and pulled myself into an upright position using the IV pole, “Now take it slow, and don’t overdo it the first day.”
She smiled at me and went back to writing in the chart at the end of my bed. I took steps towards the window to look out at the snow that had fallen the night before Addison was born. My room looked out over the visitor parking lot. Large mountains of snow stood on each corner where the snow plows had kept busy clearing the lot. I caught sight of our car, a red Honda Civic sitting close to the entrance.
Nicky’s here? I wondered to myself. I could tell that the car was still running by the exhaust coming from the pipe in the cold winter air. Why is he just sitting out there? A grey jeep pulled up next to our car and I saw a small blonde with hot pink earmuffs and a neon green parka vest jump out of the driver’s side door. As she was walking around the front of the jeep, I noticed Nicky get out of our car and met her in front of both vehicles. They stood very close to one another. She talked with her hands. They never stopped moving, and she touched him often when she spoke.
Her head went back in a laugh and I could see her breath in the cold air. She laid her hand on his chest and he put his hand over hers. His next action made my stomach come up into my throat. He put his hand on her face and pulled her to his mouth. It was a passionate kiss. Not a peck, but a deep passionate kiss. Right there in the hospital parking lot of the hospital where I just gave birth to our daughter, the same daughter that we almost lost.
When I woke up from the surgery, Dr. Kirkson came in to assure us that Addison was just fine. That they got to her just in time. When they delivered her she wasn’t breathing and had no signs of a heartbeat; but they managed to bring her to and that only time would tell if there were any lasting effects of the lack of oxygen. But as far as they could tell, she was very healthy.
I had to look away from the scene transpiring in the parking lot and turned towards the nurse who was straightening the bed.
“Are you okay sugar?” My paled expression must have alarmed her, “Do you need to rest?” I hadn’t gone far enough to rest, but I did have the urge to crawl back in the bed and never get out.
“No, no, I’m fine. Do you think it would be okay if I walked in the hallway just a bit?” I said walking in that direction before she had time to answer.
“Sure, just let me follow you with a wheelchair”, she grabbed a chair and followed me out the door. I got halfway down the corridor when I saw my Mom, Diana and Chris getting off the elevator. I smiled at them.
“Hey, hey! Look who is up and at ‘em!” Chris said carry a big stuffed rabbit in his arms.
“Nice bunny you have there,” I said and tweaked the bunny’s nose.
“Yep, you think she will like it?” He turned the rabbit to look at it and straighten the big pink bow around its neck.
“Sure, when she can focus her eyes, I am sure she will love it.” I laughed and realized I no longer wanted to walk. I turned and my Mom and the nurse were talking about the perfume my mom was wearing and where the nurse could buy that particular brand. “I think I better sit down.”
“Sure, sure! Here have a seat and we’ll get you back to your room. Maybe you could just sit up in the chair for a while. Okay?” Diana took over the chair so the nurse could get back to her station and pushed me back to my room as the rest of my family followed.
Chris walked over to the window to sit the rabbit amongst the balloons and vases of flowers that had trailed in since I checked in to the hospital and flooded in once Addison arrived. I felt the need to keep Chris away from the window, I didn’t know if Nicky and the mystery lady was still making out in the parking lot.
“Hey! Chris, dude!” Nicky strolled in at that moment carrying a bouquet of pink carnations. He walked over and shook Chris’ hand, “How’s it hanging?” What a jerk. I rolled my eyes and looked towards the window.
“Hey Bloom,” Chris could never get used to saying ‘Nicky’. Who could blame him really?

Nicky went through the motions of the loving husband, even after everyone who had visited throughout the day had left. He continued asking if I was comfortable, if I needed anything, he kept acting perfect. But this time I didn’t feel guilty for wondering if he was sincere. I knew that it was an act and in this play, I was playing the fool.

CLICK HERE to continue to Touching Trees ~ Part 2, Chapter 2

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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