Chapter 3.62

Hold on to your hats, folks. Penny gets some startling news.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Deep breaths, people.

“Harper has agreed to meet you.  She says if you are really interested in getting to know her, you must come to her birthday party with a scooter.”

“A scooter?”

“I think she is testing how much you really want to be in her life.”

Harper’s birthday was in less than a week.  She’d be a teen.  Nearly impossible for me to fathom that fact.

“Alright.  I’ll do her one better and I will get her a car.  I know that your step-daughter’s birthday is coming up, too.  Talk to Peter and let him know that I will get Kylie a car too if he is alright with that.  I’ve heard from your mother–er…my source–that the two girls might as well be twins so I wouldn’t want to give one a car and not the other.”

“Who the hell are you!?”

“People change, Penny.  I missed out on 16-years of my daughter’s life.  I’m lucky that I got a second chance.  My new wife is wonderful.  A lot like you, actually.  You’d love her.  And we have a great son.  But this new life really throws in my face how much I’ve missed with Harper.  I mean…if you had the chance to do it all over again, would you make changes?

“How could anyone know that answer, Xander, unless you’ve crossed that bridge?  Come on, now we’re getting stupidly philosophical.  Let me kick your ass at pool.”

“Pregnancy looks good on you, Penny.  Do you know what it is yet?”

“A girl.  Emma Elizabeth.  I’m due in just a couple months.”

We joked around just like we did back in the day.  It was easier now that time has smoothed over some of my wounds.  It was comfortable being with him and not in the least as awkward as I thought it would be.

“Alright, I’ll see you on Saturday.  Harper will be happy to see you.”

“Goodbye, Penny.”

We left the bar and headed home.


“…coma…pronounced DOA…may never regain consciousness…fetal death…”

…I don’t own that plant…this is not my bedroom…

“…some brain activity…do not know the extent of the damage…”

…there is a sink in my bedroom…this is not my bedroom…

“…shock…adverse effect on health and recovery…suicide…depression…do not reveal details…”

…that is my sister…

“O–Olivia?”

“You’re awake!?  Don’t move.  I’ll get the doctor.”

…Doctor…


Finally.  Something I recognize.

“Peter!”

“Welcome back, Mrs. Sutton.  How’s my best patient today?”

“Patient?”

“I’m Dr. Pagano.  I wasn’t sure I’d get to introduce myself personally since you gave us quite a scare there.  You’ve been my patient here at Whispering Pines for 18 months.”

18 MONTHS!?

Chapter 3.53

Simon fit right in with our crazy crew.

Despite being a vampire he still loved to be outside.  I’m sure we will have to take precautions eventually but for right now he seems to have no ill effects from the sun.

Since it was Leisure Day and school would start the next day Peter and I decided to send summer out with a bang.  A new amusement park had just opened up on the beach so we all piled in the car and headed off to celebrate the day.

We gave the girls $50 each (way too much I know) but they had a blast spending it.  We told them they could spend it however they wanted so it all went to the arcade machines.

They did get some awesome prizes though.  Watching them have a good time was totally worth extra money.

Peter and I were more adventurous, however.

And by Pete and I, what I mean is just me.  I’ll bring him around one of these days.

We stayed at the park entirely too late.

We were all having so much fun though it was difficult to want to drag everybody home.  So we stayed until the park closed.

I did get some nice updated photos of the girls but I have to admit I forgot poor Simon.  I’m still getting used to having a new family member.

The girls absolutely adore their baby brother.

They spend most of their time following him around and playing whatever he wants to play.

Of course when they aren’t following him, he’s following them.

We finished our summer off with Peter getting his ass whooped by his girls.  Did I mention they were playing his favorite video game?


Not long after school had started I got a phone call.

“Is this Dr. Penelope Sutton?”

Nobody calls me that anymore.  And besides Peter and my parents nobody here knew that side of my past.  Only one other person knew that history —

“XANDER!?”

“Hey, Penny.”

“Jesus Christ.  I’ve got to feed my son.  I’ll call you back.”

I called him after I got Simon down for a nap.

“What the fuck do you want?  It’s been what?  10 years now?”

“It’s nice to hear from you too, Penny.  I’d like to see my daughter.”

Oh shit.

“What daughter?”  Good cover, Penny.  Jeez.

“You know very well which one, Penny.  Can we just chat about it at least?  In person.”

I guess I can’t hide her from you forever as much as I would like to do so.  Come over later today before school is out.”

I ran into the office to tell Pete about the phone conversation and he took me downstairs to the bar.

“Penny…what in God’s name are you doing?”

“I’m practicing my poker face.  Duh.  For when I talk to Xander.”

“Oh girl.  You’re going to give away your cards.  Here.  Drink this.”

“What’s the point of getting me drunk!?  I don’t want to make a fool of myself with Xander?”

“Just relax, honey.  It’s not potent enough to get you drunk.”

I took a sip.  It wasn’t potent at all.  It was mango juice and ginger ale.

“I will be right down the hall.  I will let you and Xander have your conversation but if at any time you need me I will be only a hallway away.  You can do this, baby.  It might be good for you to gain some closure on the past anyway.”

I hated when he was right.

“To Harper!”


I kept myself busy the rest of the afternoon.  I showered, cleaned the house, and started dinner.

I had just put dinner in the oven when the doorbell rang.

Xander was at the door.  The poor man had aged since I’d seen him last.  It had been 10 years after all.

I invited him in and we moved to the living room.

“So, first how did you know about Harper and second, why now?”  I was trying to keep myself civil but it was a task.

“Well, I had an…informant–”

“My mother.”

“I’m not about to rat that person out but I promise you it wasn’t your father.  He’s still trying to kill me.  And I got remarried.  My wife’s name is Gabby…you’d like her I think.  Spunky like you.  Anyway, we just had a son.  After spending time with Tommy I got to thinking about the daughter I never knew.”

Oh it was infuriating how much I couldn’t hate him.

“It’s up to her really, Xander.  She knows of you but she’s very angry.  I don’t know how she will feel about this.”

“I totally understand.  I don’t want to ruin her holiday if she is so angry so let’s set up a time to meet after Christmas.  I don’t want her stressing over this.”

“I’m not even going to mention it to her, Xander.”

“Well, why not?!  We don’t have to set up a meeting but we could at least tell her I want to see her!”

“Yes, Harper.  He doesn’t want you to stress but Xander Sutton wants to meet you!”

“Still as sarcastic as ever I see.”

“Just think about it, Penny.  Think about telling her.”

“Thinking….and no.  I’m not going to tell her until after Christmas.  Deal with it.”

Simon woke up from his nap and I excused myself to get him.  When I came back I saw Xander looking at a picture of Harper.

“She looks like you, you know that?  When I look into her eyes it’s like you are staring back at me.”

“God help her if she acts like me too.”

“No, no she all me in that respect.  She’s a sassy one.”

I showed Xander out before the girls got home.  I was worried about keeping the meeting from Harper but I thought it would be best.  God help me if I’m wrong.

Captain Marbles sensed my worried heart and came over to take my mind off it for a little while.

Name the Peanut

original

So now that Penny and Xander have babies on the brain I need your help naming the baby!  Please vote for one boy name and one girl name.  The name with the most votes will be bestowed on the peanut in a future post.  You know, once Penny actually gets pregnant)!

Also if you have a better name feel free to write it in the comments!

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.