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 3.19

Christmas came to Starlight Shores before I had time to blink.

Of course, this meant that I got to buy new furniture and rearrange the house again which is my favorite part of the holidays!

Adam’s favorite part is the break, of course.  He took time to sleep in and be a bum.

I was hosting the big Snowflake Day party (ugh) but that morning I had other plans with my favorite folks.  Liv, Bug, Pickle, and I were off to the Winter Festival.

Having never seen so much snow before, Bug and I took to the fields to make the biggest snowman ever.

“Hey wait here, Aunt Penny…I’m going to go get us some stuff to make his face!”

10 minutes later Bug was still missing and I had to go on a Bug hunt.

“AUNTIE PEEEEEPEEEEE!”

“NANNY NANNY FOO FOO!  YOU CAN’T HIT ME!”  Bug had wandered over to the snowball fight arena and was attempting (poorly) to challenge me.

“Oh yeah?!  I dare you to hit ME!” I taunted back.  “Come join us, sis!” I yelled toward Liv.

“No…I think I’m good over here with Dylan….you know, where you can’t kill me.”

I might have been a bit rough on Bug…

I won, of course.  I’m not about to let a kid beat me even if she is my favorite kid!

I got her some goodies with the tickets I won so it all evened out in the end.

Mike came and grabbed the kids so Liv and I could have some “grown up” fun in the snow.  Unfortunately it all ended way too soon and I had to get to the party planning.

Luck for me,  Adam was way ahead of the game because I completely forgot to make the roast.

Luckily for everyone else his cooking has really improved!

Xander, was the problem chef tonight.  He started cooking steaks but then got called into work and left.  This did not end well.

I got home just in time to deal with the mess.

“Remind me to kill him later, Adam”

“Only after I kill him first, Penn.”

Sounded like a plan to me.

Adam also ended up putting the lights on the house and a snowman in the yard.  He’s going to make some woman seriously happy one day.  One day soon in fact…the boy is nearly a man.  Sheesh!

I put the prizes from the fair until the tree for Bug and Pickle.  I wasn’t leaving that little booger out of the fun!

Everyone brought gifts to the party as is tradition.

I wanted to wear an awesome Christmas sweater set I bought (I got one for Xander too) but after the fire I forgot to change.  Next year there will be payback.

Everyone loved their gifts.

I tried to make the roast quickly before dinner but roasts are not a quick thing.

Mom saved the day with lobsters.  No complaints here!

Aunt Lanya and Mom cleaned up which was the best Christmas gift EVER

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 3.17

Autumn came quickly to Starlight Shores after the wedding.

The wedding was stupidly big news.  Your’d think nothing else happened the day we got married.  It was all over the paper.  Xander read every single article about it.

“Honey!  This one says “Top crime boss married world’s best surgeon in a star studded gala!”

“Xander, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  Your dad might be a celebrity but neither one of us is a criminal.  Your dad would have outed it already!”

Xander and I both got time off for a honeymoon after the wedding but with Adam heading into his final year of high school and one big birthday right around the corner we put off the trip until summer.

We still managed to have a good time at home despite the lack of honeymoon.

Me being me I took the time off to remodel and refurnish the dining room.  I loved the gift our friends and family created and I wanted it displayed in as much glory as possible.

While I was changing things up at home, Adam was gearing up for some major changes himself.

He and Rory were completely inseparable.  They were constantly out together (never at our house which was weird but who am I to judge).

When the basket of university goodies arrived it was clear why Adam and Rory couldn’t get enough of each other.  She is only a junior and won’t be going to university with Adam.  They wanted to get in as much time together as possible.

Adam’s summer prep courses paid off when he took his college entrance exams in the fall.  He would get a full ride scholarship no matter what major he decided to pursue.  That, of course, was the hard part for him since he loves so many different things.

Adam was in full preparation for his house at university.  He did not want to stay in the dorms so he started collecting all kinds of cheap garbage for furniture.

This meant that it was all going to fill up my basement for a year until he left and took that crap with him.

I ended up with some fun kitchen gadgets for wedding gifts and I intended to make good use of them!

I started out easy with cupcakes.

Even though I am a master chef it was still exciting the first time those little buggers came out right.  I immediately put them into my replicator for later and then got started on the next big adventure.

Bug’s birthday was tonight and I’d be damned if I was gonna let that kid have a boring store bought cake.

As luck would have it, the cake was perfect.  Bug totally did not get the whole blow out the candles thing so Liv helped her out.

Bug was even more beautiful than any of us could have imagined.  We knew she’d be a looker but she stunned us all.  She was more stunned by the cake than the fact that she was growing up.

Speaking of growing up, Pickle exploded into a toddler without anyone giving him permission! One day he was a baby and the next he was beginning to be a little boy.  I suppose that’s how it is with kids.  I feel like Liv and I were just children ourselves and he we are celebrating our weddings and our children (Bug and Pickle are my kids, too)!

After the cake I went upstairs to give Bug her present in private.

“WHAT IS IT, AUNT PENNYEEEEEE! GIMME GIMME GIMME!”

“Alright, alright.  It’s more of a big kid gift, ok?”

“I’ll love it just lemme see it!”

Bug had a hard time hiding her displeasure.  Apparently a spa day with Aunt Penny just wasn’t as cool as she was hoping.

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 3.12

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.

Chapter 3.9

Note from SweetPoyzin: This chapter contains language and subject matter that might not be appropriate for all readers.  Reader discretion is advised.

The morning of my procedure did not start off well.

I woke up to discover my chameleon, Nelson, had passed away.  I knew it was my fault, too.  I could barely scrape together the cash to feed myself and Adam.  I had to rotate feeding the pets and poor Nelson couldn’t hold out any longer.

After mourning the loss of Nelson I had to face the day.  Adam was already in the kitchen digging into breakfast leftovers.

“Why don’t you let me take you to the hospital today?  I don’t think you should be alone, Penny.”

“No, nope, no.  I’ll be fine.  You go to school.  If I even catch a whiff that you skipped you will be so grounded.”

“Ok, ok fine.  If you need anything you call me ASAP.  I’m not going to band practice after school though.  I’m coming home to check on you.  Well, or I’m going to go hangout with Rory.  If you call I’ll come home.  Otherwise I’m going over to Rory’s.”

Adam went off to school and I didn’t really feel like being alone so I headed off to the local pond.

I sat and meditated.  I needed to quiet my heart and mind to make sure this is what I wanted to do.  I realized that Nelson’s death was really a sign.  I can barely feed myself and my brother.  My lizard died because I couldn’t feed it.  I totally did not need to bring another stomach into this mess.

And let’s be honest…I’m not the most mature young adult on this planet.  I’m in no position to raise a baby right now.

With that it was time to head to the hospital.

Three hours and $4000 later it was over.  I sat down on the bench outside the hospital and I wasn’t sure what to feel.  I was stunned, sad, relieved, and happy all at the same time.  I didn’t want to go home and be alone but I didn’t want to call Adam because he shouldn’t have to deal with this stuff.

Suddenly I knew exactly where to go.

“Can I see Katie?”

“Oh, Katie-Did, Aunt Penny messed up.”

I remember hearing somewhere that babies remember the place they come from, whether it is heaven or something else I don’t know.  I don’t even know if they can communicate with it telepathically.  In that moment none of those unanswered questions mattered.

“If you see her in your dreams, Bug, tell her I love her.  Tell her that’s why I did it.  Tell her I’m sorry.  Tell her I would have done anything to change this mess I created.  Tell her name is Piper.”

After pouring my heart out to my niece I sat down in the chair I bought for her in France where this whole mess started.  I fought back tears as I realized what I selfish person I had been.  I’m always coming over here to steal kisses from Bug and harvest food from Liv’s farm but I’ve never given anything back.

I went downstairs and amid protests from Mike I prepared cheesesteaks and apple cobbler for Liv’s family.

Once finished I headed home.

Not long after I got home Adam returned from Rory’s house.

“Are you ok?  How did it go?  How do you feel?”

“It went well.  I’m doing ok.  I think everything will be ok.”

“That’s it?  Really?”

“Yeah, Adam, that’s it.”

“You had a fucking abortion and you’re acting like it’s no big deal!  What’s wrong with you, Penny?!”

“Don’t you presume to know how I am feeling, Adam.  Don’t you dare!  You have no idea what I’m going through.  I know it is a big deal Adam.  8 hours ago there was a potential human in me.  Now there is nothing.  Do you hear me?  Nothing.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  Don’t you ever tell me I don’t understand.”

After that we spent the rest of the evening in silence.  Adam went off to his room to study and I was left to wonder how everything got so fucked up.