Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Lassiters Ch. 6 The Twins Are Growing Up Pt. 3

That same night John and Melora talked in the privacy of their room about what had occurred when Lori went to My Muse.

“’You think, okay, we’ve had four kids, we’ve got this child-raising thing down’, then they do something that blows your mind and you’re back to Square Root, one,” John said.

“I don’t know, it was different with Grace, she was very confident, quiet, but confident. So when the boys gathered around, she seemed to just accept it as her due. She was crazy about them, but only to a point,” Melora spoke.

“Yeah, she always had her eye on the prize; a career in medicine. I think that made her even more of a catch, sometimes; her indifference. The boys that hung around here; they followed her like puppies. And she flirted with all of them, but if any of them got too serious, she just shrugged and moved on.  ‘Princess Grace’ we called her, remember?”

Melora had to laugh, but then she said,

“But Lori’s so different, she’s a little insecure for some reason. And she has a wonderful imagination, but on the flip side she’s melodramatic and tends to make a mountain out of a molehill,”

“Wonder where she gets that from?” John looked at her.

“Yeah, I know, but that’s why I’m worried about her. She never thinks she’s good enough, even with her music. So when a boy pays attention she’s more vulnerable than Grace was.”

John nodded. Melora pointed out,

“This man may not even have looked at her that way, but she just glommed on to the idea and is making a big romance up about it in her head.”
John disagreed though, “What adult, intelligent man in his right mind would dance with a 16 year old girl? I don’t think she would outright lie and say she danced with him when she didn’t. No, there’s something wrong with him, I don’t know what, but something. Even if Lori never runs into him again; what about the other unsuspecting girls in this community? I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to give Glenn a call tomorrow and see what she can find out. I don’t want him near Lori and I’m going to make sure of it.”

“By doing what?” Melora frowned.

“I don’t know yet, it depends on what Glenn finds out about him. She’s just a child, Melora.”

“I know. I don’t want her hurt in any way either. Do what you have to do, then.”

Lori was up in her room, talking with Melanie about Brian Ottomas. She didn’t have to be too careful if she kept her voice fairly low. She’d first tried texting Melanie, but then realized her cell was dead. Again. Anyway, she wanted to talk. There was just too much drama involved to be able to convey her emotions texting.

“I really don’t know anything about him, Mel,” Lori admitted, “But he was so, well, hot. He had these gray blue eyes and a beard, “ she added hastily, “I know, I usually don’t like boys who try to grow beards, but he’s not a boy. He’s funny, too, really funny.” 

“Okay, I gotta get a look at him,” Melanie was fascinated, but somewhat skeptical, “Are you sure he was, you know, coming on to you?”

Lori told her that they had danced to a couple songs, and when he left he hugged her.  That was when she knew he must like her for more than just a friend.

They couldn’t figure out exactly how Melanie would be able to get a look at Brian without him knowing it. They could go back up to My Muse, John had said she could go with a friend, but there was no guarantee he would be there.

“I wonder where he lives,” Melanie pondered, then repeated, “Cause I just gotta get a look at him."

They decided they would try to find Brian’s house. He lived somewhere on Professional Row they figured. He had said he lived with his sister.

“What grownup man lives with his sister?” Melanie wrinkled her nose, “Well, I’m going to have to ask around, but I’ll find out somehow.” Melanie loved a mystery.

When she finally found out the address they drove over there on a Saturday afternoon. Nice place, but no one seemed to be at home.

“I guess they work on Saturdays,” Lori said in disappointment.

“We’ll come back tonight,” Melanie said.

“I have to go home for dinner because we’re having my Aunt Glenn over,” Lori fumed. Ordinarily she loved visits from Glenn, who was such a close friend of the family she’d always been ‘Aunt Glenn’. But she was fixated on her almost romance with Brian, so it was a distraction tonight.

“So? I’ll pick you up afterward. Just tell your mom and dad that I’m upset because I broke up with my bf or my parents had a fight or something and you need to be with me.”

Lori looked at her, somewhat astonished.

“What a good liar you are, Mel. You know you’re a terrible person.”

“I know,” Melanie nodded in agreement, “But this is important.”

So she parked outside Lori’s house around 7 that night and honked the horn. She liked Lori’s parents but she didn’t want to go in and joke around with them; all that would take time. Besides, she did not want to talk to them at all when she was helping Lori to do something they would not like.

“Well, if he does come out we’re not going to be able to see him,” Lori complained as she got in Melanie’s car, “But maybe that’s good because I sure don’t want him to see us.”

It was exciting because they could see lights on in the house and once Brian passed by the window in the living room. They had parked across the street in front of an empty lot and hoped no one would notice them and call the police or anything. The empty lot gave them hope that there would be no one to notice them and complain. On the other hand, parking in front of an empty lot made the car stand out like a sore thumb. After about twenty minutes, he crossed back going the other way. It was a warm spring night and their windows were open. Lori thought she heard him call to someone in the house, must have been his sister.

“I can hardly see him,” Melanie squinted, then shook her head in regret, “I should have brought my Dad’s binoculars.”

Lori didn’t reply. She was in rapture over seeing Brian again, even if he did not know it. Seeing him in his house was so much better than just remembering him from My Muse. It made him more real.

"He's at home surrounded by the things he loves," Lori sighed.

Melanie nodded, "Yeah, I know what you mean. Like he's in his natural habitat."Lori was straining her ears to possibly hear his voice again.

"Oh! He’s coming out the front door, duck down!” Melanie whispered furiously.

Lori’s heart was in her throat as she scrunched down in her seat. They heard him coming down the walk. Melanie couldn’t stand it; she popped her head up just far enough to see.

“He’s going down the street! I think he must be going to the store or something.”
Lori sat up then, too, and saw him heading toward Main Street and had to smile a little. Then she took stock, what if he turned around and looked for some reason?

“Let’s get out of here!” she insisted.

“We should see where he goes,” Melanie pointed out, “He might be going to the drugstore for cigarettes and we could just happen to walk in to get something.” Lori had thought that was a close call, though, and she was ready to leave.

“He doesn’t smoke!” she insisted, although she had no idea if he did or not.

“Well, at least I finally saw him,” Melanie commented as she drove off, “Not too bad, I guess, but he’s old, Lori, he looks like he’s 30, at least. I mean how could you kiss a guy that old? Blechhh. You haven’t even kissed anyone your own age yet, so you should kiss a boy, not a man. I thought the way you went on about how hot he was that he was maybe 21 or 22, but he’s older than that, I can tell. He's got too much hair on his face, too, if you ask me.  It’s way more than a goatee. It’s like my Dad looks when he comes back from a fishing trip.”

“I didn’t ask you,” Lori said.

“Okay, but doesn’t that tell you something? He has the kind of beard MY DAD grows?”

Lori remained silent and pouted. She knew that Melanie's dad was once a famous movie star and considered a sex symbol in his day, she'd even seen his movies and pictures of him. Melanie was right, though, she could not think of him that way at all. He was just Melanie's dad who made bad jokes sometimes but had taken them sailing when they were children and taught them to cannonball off the diving board. She did not want her cherished dream to be ruined so she told herself that Melanie just didn't understand. Melanie thought many boys at school were cute and Lori never gave her an argument, even though she thought they were frankly too childish to kiss. Anyway, Melanie's dad was as old as her dad and that was really old. Brian was nowhere near that old, even if he was 30 like Mel said.

Then they put in a new CD, went by Sonic and saw some of their friends and she was in a good mood again.

John called Glenn the next day and asked to come over and talk with her. She said fine, no problem. He had not given her many details, he wanted to talk to her in person. But it was evident to Glenn that John was in protective father mode to the max.

When he arrived they talked some and Glenn said she would take care of finding out everything on Brian Ottomas. So John left it in her hands.

It was a couple weeks later when Trey invited Chelsea and her older brother Mike over on a Sunday afternoon;  Trey really liked Chelsea. Lori was already good friends with Chelsea, not as close as she was to Melanie, or even Holly and Elle, but they got along well. So if Trey decided to go steady with Chelsea, Lori was okay with that.

Mike was already a Freshman at University, home for the weekend. Lori liked him well enough, but she was not romantic about him. She played pool with his sister and chatted with Mike. At some point she took a few minutes to go into her bedroom to return a call from Elle Broke. It was Elle's considered opinion that Lori should be grateful that Mike even came over. He was almost 19!

“Has he kissed you?”

“No!” Lori laughed.

“I bet he’ll try some time today,” Elle said, “You should kiss him if you get the chance.”

“I don’t care about Mike…or anyone else,” Lori complained, “I mean the boys we know at school are nice, but, you know, kind of backward.”

“Well, at least they’re real,” Elle said and Lori knew what she was hinting about, “You haven’t been kissed yet and you’re not getting any younger! There’s only this summer and if you can’t get kissed then, you’ll be the only senior who hasn’t been kissed.”

“No, I won’t”, Lori sounded triumphant, “Neither have you, Elle.”

“Yeah, it’s tragic, all right,” she was glum. She’d spent hours at her bathroom mirror, practicing how to kiss for over a year now, but so far, no first kiss yet, “Unless you count creepy Ricky Cormier.”

Ricky had kissed Elle on the cheek at recess in the fifth grade and she’d given him quite a smack up the side of his face. He'd cried pretty hard. And his parents had called her mother to complain that Elle had a problem with aggression. Elle didn’t say so, but she thought his parents were ignoring the fact that Ricky had a problem with creepiness. At 16 he was still suffering from it. Evidently it was chronic with him.

“Yeah,” Lori commiserated, “That doesn’t really count, Elle," but she giggled. Elle could always make her laugh, no matter what.

She ended the call and went back out to join the other kids in the game room. It kept her mind off Brian for the time being but as soon as Mike and Chelsea were gone, Lori was thinking about her big secret. She had been invited over to Brian’s the weekend before, and she went. Only Melanie knew about it.

Glenn Caswell Ch. 5 - The Teen Years

Gareth John Caswell was having a very important birthday.

It’s no big deal,” he shrugged to his mother, Glenn, trying to be nonchalant.

“Wrong, buddy boy,” she grinned, “It is wayyyyyyy a big deal. Soon you will be getting a driver’s license and the walls of this house will no longer be able to keep you constrained as you were. You’ll be turned loose among the unsuspecting citizens of Pleasantview. Be afraid, people, be very afraid.”

It was just the two of them in their little family and though his mother was the absolute ruler in the house, they were also best friends. Little Gareth could not imagine it differently. She just loved to be funny, that was all. He made his secret wish while his mother blew a toy horn and then blew out the candles.

Gareth just stood there and for  a minute he didn’t feel anything different

Then his body started to tingle a little and he jumped up in the air twirling with excitement. And then suddenly, just like that, he was grown; or almost grown, anyway. He was a teenager. He stretched then, and pumped his arm as he felt how strong he was.
“All RIGHT!”

Now his days would be filled with excitement, he was sure. He just wasn’t sure what excitement that would be…

Some things would still be the same…homework and school, basketball and diving. He went the next day and bought a cell phone. Once he could get a car there would be no holding him. If only they had a driveway…he decided when he had a chance he’d ask his mom if they couldn’t move somewhere he could maybe even work on his own car…

They did not move though, and when he got an old dilapidated car he had to store it in a rented garage with his Mom’s mainly unused car.

Glenn did not want to move. She had many friends whose kids were in high school or college who had big, inconvenient homes that they rattled around in. That was not for her. Gareth was of utmost importance to her, but she thought he could live with his old car in a rented garage. It was only a block away.

As for Glenn’s romance a few years ago with Remington Goth, it had foundered after a few months. For one thing Glenn discovered that his wife had not died, at least not the way he made it sound. She’d just disappeared, they didn’t know if she’d run off with a man, or had come to a violent end or both. They never found her body. Remington was cleared at the time, he had an alibi. After several years he had Bella declared legally dead. Glenn didn’t think he’d ever really got over her, though. No closure made it worse, she supposed, than if she’d died from some disease or a heart attack with her family all around. No closure made it worse, she supposed, than if she’d died from some disease or a heart attack with her family all around.  But she hadn’t liked that he’d withheld the truth from her. And frankly, as a former detective and private eye, Glenn just could not see herself married to a former suspect in a murder case. Nope.

They’d had some really great times, but Glenn couldn’t fall in love with him. Eventually she’d also realized that he was too controlling and a little too jealous for her. Gareth had always been polite to him, but could not seem to warm up to him, and that was another consideration.  But, going out again and taking a chance on Rem Goth hadn’t been  all bad for Glenn; she’d stopped automatically saying no to men who asked her out. Most of them she only went out with a couple times, but at least she wasn’t being a hermit anymore.

When John called Glenn up one night and asked to come over the next day, she was happy to see him, it had been a month or more since they’d met for coffee. Usually they did that once a week, but she’d been tied up and so had he.   

John told her briefly what had happened and asked Glenn to find out what she could about Brian Ottomas.After all, she was a former private detective.

“I suppose you need this information yesterday,” Glenn could be sarcastic, too, but she smiled to take the sting out of her words. John was usually so stoic, but he definitely was emotional now,

“You bet I want it quick.”

"Okay, don’t go all Charles Bronson on me, okay? I should be able to find information on him easily; it’s a very small town.”

John suddenly looked around, “Where’s Gareth?”

Glenn told him not to worry, Gareth was up on the third floor playing a game and could not hear what they were saying. John liked Gareth, but he didn’t want him to know about this and maybe even pass it around.

Glenn told him she would get right on it, that it was not a difficult thing to do, she would just go to city hall and check Records. John left, somewhat relieved.

What Glenn did not know was that Gareth had been paying attention when she was conversing with John in the kitchen. He hadn’t initially meant to pry, but he’d been on his way downstairs when a few names and words caught his attention; names  like Lori and Brian Ottomas and words like inappropriate behavior and criminal. So he’d sat down on the top of the steps and, deliberately eavesdropped. When he’d heard all he could on the subject and John got up from the table to leave, Gareth had dashed upstairs to the game room. He played for over an hour, but his mind was racing all the time. He'd been crazy about Lori since he was seven years old even if she only thought of him as an extra brother, and Trey was his best friend. So he didn’t like the idea of her being in danger or that she might be messing up her life. 

The next day it was a lovely warm day in spring, almost like summer, and Glenn decided to enjoy their pool for a while...

When she dried off and got dressed again she was bored with the woman she saw in the mirror. Deciding  she wanted a new look Glenn went to the salon to see if her regular hairdresser was working. Myra was off, so Glenn got even more adventurous; she asked for someone who could cut short hair really well and liked to do edgy stuff. Velma was the girl, they told her. Velma went to work with her scissors faster than anyone Glenn had seen before. When it was all through Glenn was thrilled. This was the cut she’d always wanted, very short, very choppy. It was so "her" and she absolutely loved it.

Gareth was making macaroni and cheese a week or two later when Glenn got a call from John. He was taking care of some business for his father in Atlanta, but he wanted to know if she’d learned anything. He had some information he’d found that he wanted to give to her. She spoke to him without really thinking about Gareth being in the same room.

After supper she got on her computer and began chasing down the not so common knowledge on Ottomas; stuff that you would NOT find in city hall. She still needed to talk to a few people in person, but this would jump start her renewed search. The truth was that, so far, she did not have any information that indicated this man was a pervert or nutcase, only his recent actions with Lori. And those were mainly hearsay by a teenager known to have a vivid imagination.

After dinner, Gareth casually told Glenn he was going out to meet friends. He made a quiet call on his cell, then walked down the street to get his car from the garage, texting along the way. He was going to meet Holly Ferguson and, he hoped, get a first kiss from her. First, second, and third, in fact. If Lori was not available (and it seemed she never would be), he was happy to date Holly; she was a good kid, even if a little wild. But then, he was wild, too.

Next update: The Lassiters Ch. 6 The Twins Are Growing Up Pt. 3

For more of Gareth Caswell's continuing story including his life at University go HERE


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Glenn Caswell Ch. 4 - An Active Boy

Once back from their mountain vacation, Glenn and Gareth were quite busy with school and home activities. Gareth was an active little child who loved sports and exercise, inside or out. Glenn was a sports nut, too, so she encouraged him and often played with him.

 He still loved building things with his blocks, too, and in this she encouraged him as well.

“Maybe he’ll want to be an architect someday…or a mechanic? Both are certainly necessary,” Glenn thought to herself occasionally.

It was probably the only time he sat quietly except for when he did his homework. He made fantastic grades and his various teachers had always praised him, but would add hesitantly, “...except, he just can’t seem to sit still for long”. Nodding her head at teacher conferences, Glenn could picture what a handful he might be at school. He was always in motion at home, jumping on his bed if there was nothing else to do.

Still she thought fondly, he is the sweetest boy. Any of his teachers would have had to agree, for Gareth had winning ways. He was still very affectionate with his mother. This could not last much longer, she knew and dreaded; he would be entering his teens soon. 

Lately he’d been harping a lot on the roller rink and when could Glenn take him there? So on a Sunday afternoon they did just that, catching a taxi to Rapid Racers just at the edge of town. Gareth skated some, but after all that hoo-ha; he spent most of his time at the pinball machine.

Well, this was kind of a waste of time, Glenn thought, he’s got a pinball machine at home. She continued to skate slowly around the rink. Then she noticed a man skating by himself and she couldn't help but admire his skating. It was robust and athletic and yet, he was very graceful. Glenn, who mostly excelled at sports, could not skate that well. This fact galled her way down deep. As she watched the man glide around the rink, though, she was not jealous; merely impressed. She kept thinking he looked a little familiar.

When he’d completed his spin, she skated over to him and introduced herself, telling him how much she admired his athletic abilities. He thanked her and when she told him her own skating was a bit faulty, he offered to help her.  

“I’m Remington Goth,” he told her. 

Glenn nodded thinking, “Ahhh, the Goth family. He must be related to Mortimer Goth, the gadzillionaire. That’s why he looked familiar. Is this man his son?"

Before she could ask, he whirled her out on the rink to help her learn a few skating moves.

He practiced a little spinning with her. When they held hands, Glenn felt an electric thrill run up her arms at his touch. She found it disconcerting. It had been years since she had responded to any man. Skating beside him with his arm around her waist made her giddy as a schoolgirl. She knew she was crushing on him, but just couldn’t stop herself. 

After awhile they sat down to talk at one of the tables.  Glenn looked over at the pinball machine and saw that Gareth was still playing, using plenty of body English. She tried to ferret out the information on how Remington was related to Mortimer.

“I am Mortimer Goth,” he stated with a smile.
It was a beautiful smile Glenn thought, but she said,

“How can that be? I’ve heard of you but, no offense, aren't you close to 75?”

Remington/Mortimer smiled again. “Yes, I am. Since I had an extreme makeover last year, I’m pretty unrecognizable even to close friends. I don’t feel 70; I don’t see why I should look 70. Looking younger again made me feel so much better and I’ve always hated ‘Mortimer’, so I changed it to Remington, which is a family surname on my mother’s side and was actually the name she wanted for me, but my father insisted on Mortimer. I’ve had it legally changed.”

“Wow, now you look younger than I do!” Glenn laughed.

“Oh, no, that can’t be true. I don’t know how old you are but you look no more than 40 at the most.”

“I wish,” Glenn groaned; then she added with characteristic bluntness, “I'll be 51 next month.”

"No, that can't be true," he protested.

"Amazing, that's how I feel, too, when I say it out loud," she grinned.

As they continued to talk, one thing led to another and the next thing she knew, Glenn had promised to make dinner for Remington the following weekend.

She assured him she must go now and and gather up her game-playing son to head home.

“See you next Friday at 6—be prompt!” she called back to Remington.

“Who was that guy?” Gareth asked her later that evening.

“He was Remington Goth. He’s got a boy in your grade and a daughter a little younger.”

“What’s their names?”

“Colby Trimble and Lisa Trottier,” Glenn said absently, setting up the chess game for them.

“Yeah, I know Colby. Why isn’t his name Goth, then?”

“They’re his foster children, so they keep their own names unless he adopts him.”

Gareth pondered this a moment as he sat down.

“Why is he coming over here?”

“Well, I’ll tell ya, sport,” Glenn smiled, “I kinda think he’s cute.”

Gareth looked puzzled about this, but then he got absorbed in the game and seemed to forget about it. He had school the next day and brought home a friend for swimming, Denene McMillan.  Overhearing Gareth brag about his exploits on their trip to Three Lakes, Glenn had to laugh. He was trying to impress little Denene.

When Friday rolled around, Glenn became nervous. She had planned on making something chic or exotic, but Gareth had picked up a bad cold and she was sneezing so she knew they needed chicken soup. Her chicken noodle soup was delicious; it was Melora’s mother’s recipe, but still, chicken Soup?

It had been a long time since she made dinner for a grown man. Denene was on her way home before Remington arrived, so there was just three of them gathered around the table. He was very cordial, and took the homely chicken soup in his stride. But Glenn was amazed to think he had four children; he didn’t really seem to know how to talk to kids. Or maybe he was only comfortable with his own children. Kids don't like to be talked down to, they'd rather you just talk to them as you would to an adult. However, Remington tended to answer questions in long paragraphs replete with 3 and 4 syllable words. Gareth was quite intelligent and had a fairly good vocabulary so he could follow everything Remington said, But Glenn sensed that there was something about the man that put her son off somehow. She would find out what that was in due course, of that she was sure.

While Glenn cleared away the leftover food and dishes, Gareth and Remington played SSX3. They seemed to get along okay, but Gareth began to yawn so Glenn tickled him (a bedtime routine of theirs) and packed him off to bed.

Remington patted the place beside him on the love seat and Glenn moved to sit down by him. She wanted to know him a bit better before locking lips. Up close it was easier to see that he was not a 35 year old, but then neither was she. However; the fact remained that he was 25 when she was born. He had a zillion reasons some women would be enamored or at least convince themselves to act that way, but Glenn had never been impressed by money. The really important thing was---how did she feel about him and, more importantly, how did Gareth feel about him.

They talked for quite a while; he told her how lonely he had been when he lost his wife, Bella, and had 2 children to raise alone. His daughter, Cassandra, was grown now, nearly 40, in fact. His son, Alexander, was ready to go off to Harvard.

“I don’t suppose she’ll ever marry now,” Remington sounded a little sad, “I ran off that ne’er-do-well, Don Lothario, he was only after the money. But she never seemed to meet anyone else that she really cared for. I tried to promote a romance between her and Darren Dreamer. He had no money, but he sincerely seemed to care. She didn’t want him, then he went off and married Ivy Copur; another creature like Don Lothario.”

“Are you sure she’s unhappy?” Glenn questioned.

Remington shook his head,

“I really don’t know. She always wanted to marry and have children, so when she wanted to take in Lisa from the orphanage, I said fine. I had already gone through the process to move Colby in with us.” His expression changed to a happier one, “Those two children are remarkable. I love them like my own now.”

Glenn smiled, “That’s a nice thing to do and now it turns out it helped you as much as them. I like happy endings.”

He pulled her close, “You’re kind of an enigma to me, Glenn. I must admit I tried to learn more about you during the week.”

“Well, Rem, I’m a former private eye; I can relate to do that. Find out anything I should know about?” she cracked. Remington seemed to wince a little at the nickname, but didn’t say anything.

“Isn’t Rem okay? I mean Remington is so long, unless you’d prefer Ming or Ton—or I could use Tony!" she quipped, “What does your family call you?”


She laughed, “Well, yeah, that would make sense. But I’m not going to call you Daddy. No way.”

“Rem it is, then,” he smiled, his brown eyes crinkling up at the corners. She liked men whose eyes did that when they smiled. Check. She liked men who had a sturdy, strong body, too. Check.

When he pulled her to him and hugged her she didn’t struggle a bit. She hadn’t been hugged by any man except her close friends John Lassiter and Jim Candeloro in years.

She had one ear cocked toward Gareth’s bedroom upstairs. She could just barely hear his soft snoring, so she knew he was safely asleep. Remington pulled her onto his lap.
“Glenda, I think you’re a lovely, exciting woman,” he told her, then proceeded to drive her crazy with his accomplished kissing. He’d evidently managed to find out that her real name was Glenda. Good old Glenda Marie Caswell, Glenn thought, and she sighed mentally. She would eventually have to tell him that she simply hated “Glenda” and that’s why she went by Glenn. Oh, well. Right now, who cared?

An hour later he slipped out of the front door. Nothing had happened other than some delicious time spent making out. Glenn had no intention of suddenly getting reckless with regard to the opposite sex. For one thing, she'd been there, done that. For another, she had her son to think about. She hoped Remington could live with that and still want to see her, but if not, that was just too bad.

She wasn’t sure what she really thought about Remington anyway.  Those melting brown eyes and that slow smile. Suddenly she remembered lines from an old song by Waylon Jennings, "A brown-eyed handsome man, that's what the trouble was; a brown-eyed handsome man" and she had to smirk to herself. He definitely was different from all the other men she’d met over the years, but different didn’t always translate to better. She thought his sense of the ridiculous seemed to be a little stunted too.Life is hard; you have to be able to laugh at yourself, Glenn always said.

“Probably I’m too vulnerable to tell romantic feelings from gratitude!” she reflected and then laughed and shrugged, “Well, we’ll just have to see.”

So for the time being at least, Gareth was still the center of her universe. That active little boy had an important birthday coming up soon, too...