Chapter 3.20

Suddenly winter turned to spring and summer was nearly upon us.  I started working in the garden again and Adam prepared for graduation.

Xander rocked the upgrades and gave the entire house a boost.

Adam was also making a bit of a name for himself as a writer.  He had moved past comic books and into novels.  He was bringing in nearly as much money as I was…only it took me an entire week and he got it done in one day.  He’s doing it right.

I prepped for Adam’s birthday and went on a gift spending spree.  I snagged him a guitar and a laptop.

Xander remembered how often his own laptop died in college and so he upgraded Adam’s to be unbreakable.

Oh…I may have gotten him the car he wanted, too.

Then it was time for the party.  I used my new oven to make the cake.  I am really becoming a little…obsessed.

We set up the table with all of Adam’s awards.  He won something in every club and prom king.  He’s going places.  At least, he better be after all this time I put into him!

Everybody showed up.  Well, everyone but mom and dad.  The baby was sick so they had to miss out.

Adam was more or less amused by the party antics.  He just wanted to be done with the mess.

Before too long…

…he was done.  My baby brother was an adult.

Adam took his college entrance exams and all his planning paid off.  He ended up getting scholarships in whatever degree he wanted.  Now all he had to do was choose one.

“Fine arts.”  He announced on graduation day.  “Or communications.  One of those.  Yep.”

“Good choice, kiddo.  One of those…yep.”  I wasn’t too worried.  Adam has always had a good head on his shoulders so I had no doubt he would settle on something eventually.

Xander and I got to the ceremony early.  We were loitering when we saw  him.

“I have arrived.  Yes, yes, thank you.  I know I am amazing.”

“Oh, Christ.  Get in there and graduate you dumbass,”  I said as I rolled my eyes.

Adam was named Valedictorian and Most likely to have five kids.  Good luck to him if that is true!

“Bow down to my awesomeness, Penelope.  I am BOOMSAUCE!”

Despite having no idea how long his god-like mindset was going to last I was mostly just glad that I had raised a successful, college bound graduate regardless of my own faults.

My prayers of gratitude were interrupted.

“So…we’re down a kid and that one wasn’t even ours.”

“HA!  I have to change.”  I had a vague idea of what Xander was getting at but I just didn’t want to go there today.

“Penny?  Let’s have a baby.”

There it was.  We had been dancing around it for months.  Here we were, nearly one year married and child-free.  I liked it.  It was good.  Why mess that up with a kid?

“Erm…what?”  Smooth, Penny, I thought to myself.

“Yeah, baby.  You’ll be a wonderful mother.  Look how well you did with Adam!  If we had one of our own you would be just as awesome if not more!”

“Oh, yeah.  Well, I guess.”  He wanted this so badly.  I’m sure he was right that I’d be a great mother.

“So…let’s throw caution to the wind?  Toss the pills and stuff, yeah?”

“Yeah, yeah ok,” I said with less reluctance that I expected.

What had I gotten myself into now?

Chapter 3.18

Being down one child has its perks!  With Katie in school and Dylan in half day preschool Liv was able to spend more time over at our place these days.

Adam would join us in the garden to paint on his days off.

He is really stepping up his game with college looming.  I suspect it has something to do with the car he wants for his graduation.  He’s been going around town snagging gems for my collection.

It was the weirdest thing that gem collection.  One day it just vanished while I was at work.  Xander had no idea what happened even though his butt is home all day.  Men are so unobservant.  Nonetheless Adam is helping me build it up again.

He’s also helping out around the house a ridiculous amount.  I mean, he was helpful before but now it’s just silly.

He even fixed the washing machine and the kid has no handiness skill.

It’d be nice if he’d clean a toilet or two but I suppose that it just too helpful.

The day of the annual Feast Party arrived and I set my team to work.  Xander was on yard duty.

I cooked my butt off in the kitchen.

And did some meager decorating.  My mother is the party lady at our house.  I just look silly.

We were way behind on our party planning this year which meant that I forgot the most important part…pumpkins.  Adam had the fun job of heading to the festival grounds for those.

We did our family duty of carving Jack-o-laterns together in the backyard.

Adam and Xander’s pumpkins got a place of honor on the front walk.

We hid mine in a corner of the dining room and hoped nobody would notice.

Just before the guests were due to arrive the doorbell rang and this little monster was waiting.

“Are you coming back for the party later, Bug?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes at me, “Not as long as there are houses with candy, Aunt Penny.  Bye!”

Granny and Gramps ganged up on Xander during the party.  Apparently there was some rumor about Xander being a crime boss in Starlight Shores and they wanted to get to the bottom of it.  He reminded them that his dad was a top DNA profiler for the CIA so if anyone was a crime boss it was not going to be himself.

Mom and Adam caught up a bit.  Mom was still a bit crabby about Adam running off to live with me when she had two babies she needed help caring for at home.  I sided with Adam that it’s not really his job to care for her kids.  That did not go over so well…

Dad regaled us all with his new guitar songs.  Liv chimed in on piano and Granny played the drums.  We’re a hot mess.

Adam’s girlfriend Rory sat on the computer all night.  She’s an odd duck.

The worst part about these damn parties is the clean up.  I don’t know why nobody stays to help.

The best part is drinking the left over wine.  No complaints about that one.

It was 5am before we got bed.  Never again.

Chapter 3.16

Note from SweetPoyzin: This post is mega picture heavy.  Penny is by far my favorite member of this legacy.  I put a great deal of time into these photos and into the text.  Sorry for the delay.  I wanted to savor this memory privately for longer than is possibly sane.

I decided to treat my wedding day like any other day.  I was not going to Bridezilla over this thing.  I’d leave that to Liv.

I woke up and did some gardening.  The end of the season was right around the corner and I wanted to stock up on as much as I could.

I wasn’t the only one taking the wedding day chill pill approach.

Xander spent most of the morning sleeping.  I was concerned he might not wake up for the wedding.

Adam is becoming quite the prolific writer.  His comic books are bringing in huge royalties.  He spent the morning working on his newest comic.

Right before the wedding Adam volunteered to grab the wedding cake so I could take a bubble bath and get ready.  He’s a pretty awesome kid.  I’m going to miss him when he heads off to college in a year.

So I did the whole bubble bath thing and woke up Snorlax so we could head to the venue.

We all piled into the car so I could go get married.  It sounded super weird even to me.  I was already getting cold feet.

Liv was right.  She does know me better than anyone.  When she decided to be serious in Bridgeport she found the most sunning dress for me.

Despite my excitement about marrying Xander I really needed a break from the whole deal.  The wedding wasn’t going to be for several hours anyway so I headed down to the beach for some alone time.

“I can’t believe my baby girl, my first-born, is all grown up.  You’re even more beautiful today that you were the day you were born.”

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t even notice Dad had been watching me.

“It can’t be that hard, Daddy.  I was a small wrinkly prune baby who screamed day and night.” I smiled sheepishly.

“Daddy?”  I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say, “Am I marrying the right man?  Is everyone always this nervous or am I really making a bad decision?”

“I think Xander has his faults but I think he’ll be a damn fine husband.” Dad said with conviction.

“If he does turn out to be a bad guy he will have to answer to me.  I’m sure Adam, Mike, Oliver, and Vic will also come a-callin’ if he steps out of line.”  I didn’t doubt him for a second that there would be an ass whooping if need be.

“Thanks, Daddy.  You always know what to say.”  I sniffled into his shoulder as I hugged him.

“You will be fine, kiddo.  No matter what happens you will always be ok.”  He gave me one more good squeeze and went off to find Mom.  No doubt to shed a few tears of his own.  I wasn’t alone for long though…

“Well, if you aren’t the most beautiful bride!  How are you holding up, my dear?”

It was that long ago that I was standing in my parents’ bathroom asking Liv the same thing on her wedding day.  How time flies.  Back then I was still in med school and Liv was pregnant with Bug and neither of us quite knew what to say.

She’s always been the maternal one.  I’m glad I have her to take care of me when I need it.

I still didn’t know what to say.  It’s nice having a twin because sometimes I don’t have to say anything and she knows exactly what I am thinking.

Live pulled me into a hug.  “You know he’s not perfect…but he’s perfect for you, right?”

“How can you be sure, Liv?  How do I know this is what I’m supposed to do?”

“Penelope.  You know what?  I’m not the one you should ask.  Why don’t you ask Xander yourself?”

She wandered off to grab her camera and before I could protest Liv had reappeared with Xander.

“You’re breathtaking, Penny,” Xander mumbled as he embraced me.

The way he held me in that moment sealed the deal.  He was head over heels for me.  I was just being silly.  Probably lamenting my loss of freedom or something.

No, I was getting married today.

“Look, if you are having second thoughts…” Xander shrugged as if to say I could make this all disappear with one word.

I cocked my eyebrow at him in mock thought.

“No, we should get married.  I mean, we paid a fortune for this whole get-up.  And I love you and all that jazz.  Come on, it’s 4:30pm already.  It’s nearly showtime!”

And with that we headed up to the venue where everyone was already waiting for us.

Mom and Dad sat in the front row looking beautifully young and trying to keep it together.  You’d think after Liv’s wedding they’d have this down but I guess this is just proof I am the favorite.

Uncle Oliver and Lucy sat together.  Lanya didn’t get to come because the twins were sick.  She also said she had the flu but I’d bet dollars to donuts there is another little Lox on the way.

We had a sit wherever policy.  We’re all family now so Mike sat with Xander’s dad Isaac.  Adam was the best man and Liv was maid-of-honor/photographer so they got to sit up near the wedding arch.

Despite being divorced you can tell that Isaac and Staci still cared for each other.  They didn’t sit next to each other but they didn’t bring their significant others to the wedding either.  Seraphina was also able to make it to the wedding but Isabella was studying at boarding school still.

I stood under the wedding arch and stretched, “Are you ready?  Cuz I got my game face on…”

“Yes, my precious.  I wants the precious in holy matrimony.”  Oh we were a match made in heaven.  Either that or we were just too weird to marry other people.

Next thing we knew, it was sunset and it was showtime.

“Penelope, the moment I laid eyes on you in the university commons I knew I wanted to marry you.  I’ve always known it was you.  And even though you haven’t always been sure I was the one who would be your husband, I’m so glad you finally came around and decided to jump in with both feet.  I love you more than life itself and I will give everything I can to make you happy.”

“Xander, I knew you were the one I was going to marry the night we went cosmic bowling in college.  You fell face first in the bowling lane and instead of being absolutely humiliated, you giggled like a squirrel on crack.  I knew then that I wanted to spend my life with you.  I want someone by my side who can make me laugh no matter what even during life’s darkest moments.  I may have made you work to get to this wedding arch but I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else.”

From somewhere in my mind I heard justice of the peace say “I now pronounce you husband and wife” but I was so lost in the moment it didn’t register.  I was standing at the altar with my best friend while our families joined us in celebrating our union as one.

We stood under the wedding arch a while longer while our family and friends cheered us on.

At sunset the justice of the peace finally said the words everyone was waiting for:

“I now present to you Xander and Penelope Sutton!”

Xander snagged one more surprise kiss under the arch.  It was perfect, the cheers from our family, the sunset, everything was perfect.

We went inside to cut the cake.  Our family had signed their wishes onto a photo matte with a print of Xander and I holding hands in one of our engagement photos.  It was a total surprise and all I could manage to do was smile dumbly at Xander.

Finally I came to my senses and cut the cake.

Liv and I stayed upstairs eating cake long after everyone had wandered downstairs to dance.  We deserved that damn cake.  We had both dieted and exercised for months.  We were going to enjoy us some cake.

Finally we headed downstairs to dance.  Liv followed everyone around like a creeper taking photos non-stop all night.

I had to admit, despite my reservations I was thrilled.  It was a wedding for the books, really.  Everyone had a blast.

Xander and I danced long after everyone went home.  That night it was just us.  We’d deal with the world in the morning.

Chapter 3.15

Note from SweetPoyzin: This is seriously picture heavy.  How could it not be when my three favorite ladies hit the big city in search of wedding dresses and fun?

Xander and I decided to head to the spa on Wednesday.  It’s the only day we both have off together.

“So I still need a wedding dress, you know”

“What about it?  I’m sure you’ll find one.  I mean…the wedding is two months away.”

“Yeah, but I was thinking I need to travel to find one.  Liv mentioned something about a great bridal shop in Bridgeport.  I think we might go there.”

“Bridgeport?  That’s like…8 hours from here.  Do you really need to go there to find a dress, sweetie?”

“Men…You just don’t understand.  ”  I sighed.

“Yes, I do need to go.  Liv, Mom, and I are leaving tonight.”

And by tonight I meant as soon as Xander and I got home.  Liv and Mom were already waiting for me when we got back.  We loaded up the car and headed off to Bridgeport!

We arrived at our condo late that night.  It wasn’t much to look at but it was cheap as hell so it would do.

We all slept in the next morning.  We didn’t have to be at the bridal shop until 1pm so we were taking advantage of the quiet.  I didn’t have the kids that Mom and Liv have to deal with but my pager can be just as annoying!

Mom made grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast…which was actually lunch.

Liv and I dragged our butts out of bed with barely enough time to eat and change.

Despite being grown women, we were still nearly late for our appointment at the dress shop.

As soon as we pulled up I knew I was in over my head.  I wear scrubs and jeans all day every day.  This place was a wee bit too fancy for my tastes.

“Ok…so how does this work?  I just go find some dresses and try them on, right?  I don’t want anything too fancy.  It’s just not me.”

Mom already looked worn out as Liv studied me.

“Nope, that’s not how this is going to work.  I’m going to find the dresses and you will wear them.  Who knows you better than your twin, eh?”

“You’re going to make me look stupid just so you can take pictures and post them online for everyone to make fun of.”

“GIRLS!  Can we just get this show on the road?  I’d like to get my drink on while we are here.”

“Yes, mom’s right.  You go into the dressing room and I’ll find some dresses.  Go on now.  Git!”

Mom seemed frightened by the first dress Liv found.  I had a feeling she didn’t even try to find a good dress at all.

“Liv this is perfect!  I’ve always wanted to be confused for a wedding cake.”

“I know.  I’m sorry, Penny.  I tried to find one with a big bow on the butt.  Alas, no luck.  Maybe next time.”

“Ok girls…who wants to hit the bar?”

We looked at a couple more wedding dresses before we all had had enough of Liv’s silliness.  We went to a local dive bar for happy hour.

I was denied access to the VIP room!  So Liv and I devised a plan.

“While I distracted the bouncer, Liv snuck right in.  After breaching the hull, she flirted with the bartender and bit until both mom and I could get inside, too.

Still, I paid off the bouncer to make her feel special.  Or maybe it was because I suck at sneaking and she caught me.

After getting a few drinks in, we all decided it would be a good idea to strike up a band on the main stage.

Spoiler alert: it is never a good idea to play on the main stage after a few drinks.  We got kicked out of the bar.  It didn’t matter though.  We needed to get some sleep before our second fitting at the bridal shop.

“Ok, you go find a room.  I saw THE PERFECT dress yesterday and you must try it on immediately.  Go, go, go!  Shoo, shoo!”

Oh the mirth that spread across Liv’s face when I tried this one on.  It was only matched by the sheer terror plastered on my mother’s.

“What are you smoking, Olivia!?  This dress isn’t even funny for a joke!  God in heaven this thing is awful!”

Liv couldn’t even speak.  She was consumed by silent giggles.

Mom looked concerned for our sanity.

Just then we heard a woman scream in the reception area.

I’m a doctor.  I help people.  I suppose sometimes you just have to put on a smile and help people while wearing a stupid dress.

Thank goodness the guys at the hospital didn’t see this.  I’ve never live it down.  Her husband was not helping.  I couldn’t tell if he was more upset by his wife’s sudden illness or the fact that she was being aided by a woman in my attire.  I wouldn’t blame him on the latter.

I put on my best smile given the circumstances and handed the woman a pill.

After that extravaganza I changed and we hit the bars again.

We totally got bounced at the first bar went went to.  So mom and I headed home to change while Liv went down the street to butter up security.

For a nearly 30-year-old mother of two, the woman knows how to work it.  Mom and I returned and we got in no problem.  Liv was having a grand ol’ time flirting with the bartender again.

Mom and I played it low key.  We just had a few drinks and danced.

This place was obviously too fancy for us.  They had a fish tank built into the wall.  We are not those kinds of people.

Before I could stop her Liv was headed to to rooftop bar.  Again, flirting her way past security.

“Where is your sense of adventure, Penny?”  Mom asked as she, too, headed up to the roof.

I had to admit, I was not disappointed once I got up there.

We chilled in the hot tub until we turned into prunes.  I went to grab more bar snacks and drinks for us but when I got back Mom and Liv were missing.

It was not difficult to find them though.

You’d never know they had children at home.  Or that they were respectable members of society.  Jeez.

We stayed out all night.  I’m too old for that crap.

We had one more fitting at the dress shop and Liv came through for me after all.  She found the perfect dress.

We did not go out to the bar that night because we were all still hungover from the night before.  Needless to say we called it early that night and passed out.  Our insanity filled trip had come to and end and it was time to actually plan a wedding.

The Last Nights of Freedom

I don’t have a ton of images from the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties.  I was too busy enjoying the insanity that ensued I forgot to take screenies.  Especially with Penny’s party.  You’ll see why shortly…

The guys had their party at a local pool.  Mostly so they could be my playtesters.  They ate burnt hotdogs, drank at the in-pool bar, and Xander tried to get too friendly with the party dancer so Garrett banished her.

All in all it was an awesome party.

The party begins.  I have no idea what Mike is doing in the background.  The seemingly random guy is Xander’s brother-in-law Roux who married Athena (she has two kids and a step-daughter now…weird).  You probably recognize the rest of the family.  Probably one of my favorite images of the generations.

Issac attacking Xander with fizzy nectar.  Warm fuzzies.

And now Garrett gets in on the action.  Xander was very sticky that night.

The party dancer shows up and there was more fizzy nectar sprayed all over Xander.  Also the look on Issac and Garrett’s faces.  So awesome.

Ok…this.  Garrett what the eff is that?!  I love this so much.

The ladies did not have such a great time.  All the biggies attended: Lanya, Liddy, Mollie, Liv, Athena, Seraphina, and Isabella, Staci.  For some reason there was animosity between Mollie and Staci and they got into a slapping fight (wtf?) which then made Xander’s people hate Penny’s people.  Lanya did the crosseyed-pregnancy glare, popped, and went home.  Nobody ate the food and Liddy passed out on the floor.

The party was still a hit though so win?

So Mollie showed up to Penny’s party in this getup.  She’s looking good for a middle aged mom of five!  Although…seriously?  Why that outfit?

Is Penny pleased with this party dancer?

Oh yes.  She likes him very much.

You don’t mind if I stare down your shirt?  I like me some cougar!

Sorry, I needed to see this again.

Next time Penny, Liv, and Mollie hit the big city to shop for wedding dresses and one last crazy night out!

Chapter 3.14

Note from SweetPoyzin: This chapter is a bit short.  You’ll thank me for the brevity when we get to chapters 15 and 16 which will be so picture heavy and full of feels it might break your computer and/or your sanity.  My apologies in advance.

I had been a world renown surgeon for about two weeks which meant I’d been engaged just as long.  Xander and I set a date for the end of summer giving us just three months to get everything in order.

With all this stuff hanging over my head I did what any intrepid young woman would do: I got a makeover and invited my boss to dinner in hopes of a raise.

I played up the fact that I was getting married in a few months, working to send my baby brother to college, and trying to make ends meet.  Most of which is true.  The ends meet more or less depending on how much shopping I –er…Xander– does.

Nobody needs to know that I laced the food with a potion made specifically to force my boss to do my bidding.

Needless to say, my powers of persuasion did the trick and after some steak, angel food cake, and lots of wine I was granted a $57 an hour raise.

It was great timing, too.  Liv, Mom, Granny, and I were headed out venue shopping this weekend and I’d need a hefty chunk of change for a down payment.

Would you believe Xander decided to take my raise to the furniture store and redid the whole living room?

I didn’t think so.

Well someone had to redo it.  It was getting old and boring.

It might as well have been them since they spend their entire lives in there playing video games.  They are totally obsessed with this game where they are chased by llamas.  I have no idea either.

On Saturday I left the boys to their llama battle and met up with the women of the family at Delmar Beach.  I didn’t want the same wedding that Mom and Liv had.  I wanted something new and exciting.  The beach sounded like the perfect place.

Mom and I arrived early and took advantage of the warm weather.  Let’s be honest, the building wasn’t going anywhere and it could wait.

Once Liv arrived she took the helm and kept mom and I in line.  We abandoned our patch of sun and toured the building.

It didn’t take much convincing.  This was it.  I put down the outrageous payment and went to track down Liv who was now taking up my towel on the beach.

“So I need a maid of honor still and you are my twin…so?”

“Like there was ever any doubt?!  Seriously.  I’ve already got the bachelorette party planned for tonight and next weekend you, me, and mom are headed to Bridgeport to find you a wedding dress.”

At that moment I could only think one thing:
I’ve created a maid of honor monster.

Chapter 3.13

Don’t get me wrong: I love being a doctor.  I love the patients and I’m surprisingly good at fixing people.  The hours suck though.  And nights when I’m on call are even worse.

I was called to the hospital late one night after a terrible car accident involving 4 teens.  One of them needed surgery on his brain ASAP.  I rushed to the hospital but it was still too late.  He died on my table.

After telling his parents their only son was dead after a night of what should have been fun I returned home.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I couldn’t sleep so I sat on the patio by the fire.

“Hey, baby.  I thought I heard the door open.”

“I’ve been home for about an hour.  I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“When you head off to the hospital I never sleep anyway.  Too worried about you.  And the bed is cold.  Come on, sit by me over here.  Let’s talk about this marriage thing.”

“Xander, let’s just do this.  I know you have the ring.  Just propose.  Please.  I know you’ve wanted to since Love Day.”

I never really thought I was the marrying type.  Honestly, I’m scared shitless of being married.  I don’t want to be “trapped” like my mother was.  I want to travel and work and be me.  I don’t want to be Mrs. Xander Sutton.  I want to be Dr. Penny Hanks.

But I must admit those damn “mommy hormones” start screaming whenever I see Bug and Pickle.  I want that.

“So, you really wanna do this, Penny?  Here in your scrubs and my pajamas at 3 in the morning?”

“You got a better idea?”

“Well, no.  I guess this is more you than a beach on Love Day.”

The look on Xander’s face before he went inside to get the ring was hilarious.  For a man who has proposed to me 5 times in 5 years he looked terrified.

“Nobody is making you do this, Xander.”

“I know, I know.  I just always thought you’d say no.  Christ I wasn’t prepared for yes.”

“Penelope Hanks, will you marry me?”

“I guess that’s be cool.  Yeah let’s get married.”

“SHIT!  I didn’t know you bought a ring that big!  I would have said yes years ago!”

“It’s about damn time, Penelope!”

“Shut up!  Be happy I finally said yes!”

We told Adam about the engagement over breakfast.  He mumbled something that sounded like “congrats” between giant bites of pancake.  Since it was summer before his senior year he’s been taking classes around town to improve his college prep test scores and today he was running late for his science class.

After staying up nearly all night I was in desperate need of coffee before work.  Dumb hours.  Coffee machines brew too slowly when you’re  dead on your feet.

Today wasn’t just important in respect to my engagement but I was also presenting research that would result in my promotion to World Renowned Surgeon — my life’s dream.

Of course my paper was accepted and suddenly everyone in the world knew my name and how awesome I am at brain surgery.

Adam and Xander were home for only a second when I finally made it home.  Adam threw me another hurried congrats before running out the door with Xander, eager to plan a bachelor party.

I celebrated my engagement and promotion alone with a peanut butter and banana sandwich (my favorite).

And then I passed out at 4pm.  I know…I am such a party animal.

Chapter 3.12

Having people with three very different schedules living under one roof is difficult to coordinate but we were finally getting the hang of things.

We all agreed that I would be the sole chef of the house as I am the only one who seems capable of not burning food.  I’m ok with this arrangement because I don’t want to eat horrible food either!

Most days though I barely taste my breakfast because I’m working 7am to 9pm six days a week.  I love my patients but damn it would be nice if they refused to get sick on weekends!  I am a rising star at the hospital though so I should be a master surgeon before too long.

While I’m off saving lives at the hospital Xander cleans the house.  He’s working as an overnight security guard from 9pm to 3am.  So we rarely cross paths these days.  I’m hoping that’s the reason he has yet to propose and not because I’ve scared him away.

I haven’t the foggiest idea what he does while I’m at work and Adam is at school.

Something work related I assume.  They always seem to have side jobs for him in the afternoons.

I’d like to say that I get a break when I get home but that would be a lie.  I’ve been selected to compete on the hospital’s behalf in a medical knowledge competition.  If I make the hospital look good I get a promotion and a huge monetary reward.  So I’ve been spending long hours studying.

Yep, studying.  Well, everyone needs a break.  Liv and I have been honing our skills at the bar.  She’s a phenomenal singer.  I’m…not good.  But at least we didn’t get booed offstage like the guy before us.

The night before the competition I was up way, way too late studying.  I was only a C-student in college so I really didn’t want to eff this up and get fired.

Thank God for coffee.  I was tempted to take a shot of whiskey before I left but then I remembered I’m supposed to make the hospital look good and thought better of it.

After some cleaning (because it’s fun and relaxing for a neat freak…don’t judge) I was off to the competition.

Of course I won.  I’m awesome.  I was given a $10,000 bonus which meant I had $20,000 in my bank to do whatever I wanted.

Being the responsible adult I’m pretending to be, I did some house renovations.

I HAVE TREES NOW.  It’s so much nicer to look out my bedroom window and see trees instead of the vast empty waste of space that my lot used to be.

I put fences everywhere because this neighborhood has developed a Zombie problem and after Xander was attacked in the Spring I’m not taking any chances with Bug and Pickle.  Their mother would kill me if I sent home Zombie Babies.

I really missed the knowledge garden in China so I made my own half-assed attempt.  It’s not bad to look at and chess makes everything better.  I’m not much of a painter but who knows what Bug might want to do as she gets older.  Always got to have something fun for my boogers.

I’ve also taken to gardening in my spare time (which isn’t much but I have a dragon named Dork who helps me).  I’ve planted some fruit trees and some berries and we will see what happens.  Again, it’s all nicely fenced since I had a run in with some Zombies who thought my plants looked tasty (I’m glad they weren’t eating me but still…have some respect).

My favorite part is the gazebo.  It’s so relaxing to sit on my patio with the fire blazing.  It’s going to be a hopping party spot now that summer has arrived.  Once I get some more cash I’m going to enlarge that sucker and I’ve been toying with the idea of a pool.  Maybe when Bug and Pickle are older.  If they fell in…nevermind.  Nobody needs a pool ever.

I’ve promised Adam he gets to host the first party.  He’s straightened up after his rebellious streak.  He’s on the honor roll again and doing his thing in a really amazing way.

I didn’t realize that Xander had planned a trip with his buddies after work on Friday but Adam picked up when Xander called to remind us.  

Since then Adam has really stepped up around the house this weekend while I’ve been working.  He turned Rory down for a date just so he could clean and feed the pets.  

I still can’t believe I forgot about Xander’s trip.  I’m going to need a calender so I can keep track of everybody’s plans.

Chapter 3.11

It’s going to sound cliche but I fell in love with a boy on Love Day.

I was working at the hospital when I got the page that Liv was in Labor and Delivery.  Of course, being a trauma surgeon doesn’t leave much time to sneak away.  She called on Love Day and invited Xander, Adam, and I over to meet the newest Hanks-Hepworth baby.

Could Bug look any more like her daddy?  She was settling in nicely with being a big sister…mostly.

Liv positively glowed with her son in her arms.  Suddenly I realized we were adults and that was super weird.

I could handle being an adult if it meant hanging out with this booger.

Pickle is so mellow.  Bug is a but high maintenance which I’m sure she gets from her Momma.  Pickle just goes with the flow.  Xander wasn’t terribly into snuggling babies.

Bug was a little jealous that Aunt PP was spending so much time with Pickle.

She knows she’s always going to be my homegirl.  You can see it when she looks at me.  I wonder if my own kids will love me that much… I’m not going there.

Xander did more manly things.  He played with the dog and grilled with Mike and Adam.  I have no idea why he refused to play with Pickle.  He’s great with Bug.

Liv and I did girly things.  We took silly photos and played with babies.

“Um…how did you manage to have such cute kids, Liv?  Mike’s genes?  You best be careful or I might steal them one day!”

“Any time you want them you can have them!  Maybe then I’ll get some sleep!  And…it was my genes that made them cute.  Jeez.”

“So…I was thinking I’d ask Penny to marry me tonight.  We’re going to the beach at sunset and I think that’s the place.”

“It’s your business, dude, but I don’t think Penny will go for that kind of deal…I’ve known her since high school and I think that’s a little too sentimental for her.”

“No, no.  She’s changed.  Mellowed, you know.  I think it’s perfect.  Love Day, Sunset, Beach…perfect.”

“Whatever works for you, man.  She’s just my wife’s sister.  That kind of thing Liv would go for…Penny though?  I don’t know, man.  Good luck.  You better head out.  It’s already 4 o’clock.”

Xander and I headed to the beach while Adam took Rory out for dinner and dancing.  Lucky girl that one.

“So, are you going to propose now?”

“Pfft.  Whatever gave you that idea?”

“Oh you know…sunset at the beach on Love Day?  It’s so damn cliche.  It seemed like a proposal set up.”

“I can see how you would think that.  No, I just thought it was a nice thing to do on Love Day.  Christ you think I’d actually want to do something that dumb?  I know you better than that!”

We sat in silence and headed home shortly after sunset.

“Why don’t we head into the bedroom for a spin?  Or perhaps that’s too cliche for you, Penelope?”

“Shut up and get moving…Sweetie.”

After our fun we snuggled in bed for a bit.

“You know, you could ask me to marry you tomorrow.  At the beach around sunset if you wanted.  It’s just too sticky sweet to do it on Love Day.”

“Ha!  I haven’t even bought you a ring yet.  But yeah, Love Day?  Too cliche.  Let’s turn in.  Love you.”

And we faded off to sleep.

Chapter 3.10

Note from SweetPoyzin: This chapter takes place a year after Penny had the abortion.  Things need to move along for the sake of my plot…and possibly my sanity (more on that later).

Hey there.  Notice anything different?  Yeah, I grew my hair out, got some new clothes, and decided to grow up a bit.  Hardcore life choices will do that to you I guess.

It was a rough year.  Hardy passed first.

A month later I lost Humberto.

Adam was a champ and buried both of those guys because I totally lost my marbles.  With the stress of the abortion, losing my pets was too much. Even my bird flew out the door one day and never came back. It was getting ridiculous.

Adam is the man of the house but that doesn’t make him totally stoic.

I came home from work one day and he was crying alone in his room.  Theodore Q. Rumplefugly had passed while Adam was at school.  He’d had that little guy since he became a kid.

Even I had to admit 10 years was a long time for a lizard but it didn’t make seeing my baby brother so heartbroken any easier.

I offered to clean the cage on that one but Adam refused.  He pulled himself together and did what was required.

After all that death we tried to get back into some sort of normal routine.  Adam made honor roll and stayed mostly out of trouble.

Well, until we reached Halloween.  He bought this creepy-ass costume and took my car to go trick-or-treating.

That’s right.  My car.  I let him use my car.

He did not come back in my car.  He was caught wreaking havoc all over town.  He egged houses, played ding-dong ditch, and pranked the school.

Let’s just say this night did not end well for him.  Instead of doing after school activities or hanging out with Rory he was put on babysitting duty.

Not like that is a punishment though.  Look at that face.  I figured I might as well continue Mom’s tradition with the toddler portraits.  This hangs in Liv’s kitchen now.

Girl looks just like her Daddy.  She does have some of Liv’s sweetness in her though.  Oddly enough she’s a bit of a spitfire.  I say she gets it from me.  Mom says that it is all Granny Lydia.

Speaking of Liv…We are all eagerly awaiting the birth of Pickle.  That’s right.  Pickle.  According to the ultrasound she and Mike are having a boy and they plan to name him Dylan.

Dill pickles.  It was too easy.

As for my romantic life I tried online dating for a while.  I just wasn’t ready to call Xander “The One” officially.

Then I browsed the profiles.  I saw Mike Hepworth, Oliver Lox, and Garrett Hanks along with various other men I’ve seen around town…with their wives.  Been there done that.

Xander did not have a profile and I knew he wasn’t dating anyone so I figured we could at least have dinner again.

I got a little drunk.  Well, a lot drunk.  He totally took advantage of that.

I woke up the next morning and all of his shit was living in my house.

Needless to say, I’ve got a new roommate.