Main floor bath:
Second floor master bedroom:
Chelsea's flower arranging room next to the art studio.
Top floor game rooms and powder room.
Both of them still loved gaming and had a "Don't Wake the Llama" table set up as well as a pool table on the third floor. A chess set and chairs were in the ante room that led both into the gaming rooms and the balcony.
Chelsea had begun to learn flower arranging right after they returned from University and was going to open a florist shop in Bluewater Village. She ran into her sister-in-law, Lori Ferguson, at Amelia's closet and they talked about how much Trey was helping her get the business set up--they were nearly ready to open.
While there Chelsea's younger brother, Andy, came in with the good news that his wife Holly had just delivered a new baby boy to join their twins, Arliss and Alexa. They'd named the child Bradley.
The Christmas holidays were approaching and Chelsea had fun decorating her new shop, which she did the very day after Halloween. She'd named it "Chelsea's Flowers"; not original, but Trey wanted her name on the shingle and it was easy to remember. She had a work space at home as well as at the shop. Every night at supper Trey and she talked about the events of the day.
He was in local politics and had been thinking of running for mayor. Recently, though, he had became interested in possibly buying the Galaxy Arcade in Bluewater Village which would mean he and Chelsea could drive in to work together. Bob Blackford had retired and was thinking of selling the business. As winter blew in early, they talked more about the possibility. Both of them owning businesses would definitely mean putting off having children for a few years, but Trey had fond memories of the Arcade and his teen years there and didn't want to see the business close or get bought by someone who didn't really care about the kids who would make up over half of the customers.
An elderly woman, Brenda Brecht, had come in to apply for the job of cashier and, while Chelsea wondered if, being a senior citizen, she would be able to stay on her feet all day. Happily, Brenda had turned out to be a hard worker. Still, she only wanted to work 8 hours and now the shop had longer hours due to the holidays. So Chelsea often had to pinch hit as cashier. She was terribly slow but hoped to improve with time and providing the customers didn't get disgusted with their wait and stalk off the premises.
Lori came in again one evening and bought a number of arrangements and then told Chelsea that she and Harvey were expecting. The thought of a new niece or nephew thrilled Chelsea and she couldn't wait to tell Trey he would be an uncle soon. She knew his parents had waited a very long time for a grandchild.
On her way to get the mail one Saturday after work Chelsea ran smack into her mother, Jenny. They had mended some of their fences a while back through a chance encounter at Goth Apparel where they talked for an hour or so. Since then, however, Chelsea had not attempted to contact her mother, but Jenny had called her at home once or twice--they had not exchanged cell phone numbers. Both times Chelsea had been gone and Jenny left a message which assured Chelsea she did not need to phone back but that she hoped Chelsea would call any time she felt like it.
"She's asking you to contact her, you know, as plain as can be," Trey murmured when she told him, "She just doesn't want to be too pushy."
Often Chelsea thought about it, wondering if she would ever have the nerve to meet her half-sisters. She never could make a decision and so had never returned her mother's calls. Now, her heart singing with happiness about her new successful business and the happy time of year, she greeted her mother gladly and invited her in.
Trey was home and they all visited a while. After a few false starts, Chelsea finally asked about Loni Faye and Liara. Jenny hesitated to say too much since the last time she'd brought up meeting them Chelsea had frozen the conversation.
"It's okay, Mom, I'd like to hear about them--do you have pictures?"
It was obvious, at least to Trey, that Jenny carried photos around with her on just this kind of off chance she would see Chelsea.
Chelsea steeled herself to face pictures that would include Lonnie as well as Jenny and the girls, but it hadn't been as bad as she thought.
"These were taken at our house a couple months ago. Loni Faye is the oldest, she's the one with her hair up, putting her personality out there. Liara is two years younger and somewhat shy except around family. This one is of the girls up in Loni Faye's bedroom and the last one is all four of us--Lonnie used the timer on the camera and propped it up on a step-ladder."
Chelsea couldn't help but think how sweet they looked and, although she could see how much they looked like their father, she could see just a little of her mother--and maybe even herself--in them.
She passed the photos to Trey to see. She just couldn't help herself as she said,
"They are beautiful, Mom. I just hope you won't desert them when they most need you someday--like you did me."
Jenny had the grace to be embarrassed but even more the comment filled her with guilt and regret. She glanced away from Chelsea toward Trey who was frowning slightly at Chelsea. Tears came to Jenny's eyes that she swiftly blinked back and Chelsea was ashamed. She might as well have slapped her mother across the face.
"Cute little girls; I bet they keep you and your husband hopping," Trey grinned as he handed the pictures back to Jenny, "They kind of remind me of my sister when she was little and, man, was she a handful."
Jenny smiled again,
"Yes, they are very active but they do extremely well in school and are very well behaved with guests."
Trey was aware that Chelsea was having a hard time with her emotions, but he was not happy that she had spoken that way to her mother, especially in front of him.
Jenny left a short time later saying she had to get home to put the girls to bed.
Later before they went to sleep Trey and Chelsea talked and he said if she did want to go see her half-sisters and didn’t want to face it alone, he would certainly go with her.
“Family is important, Chels, and these little girls have done nothing wrong. You might be missing an opportunity you’ll regret later if you don’t at least try to establish some sort of relationship with them.”
She nodded silently, filled with fear and trepidation. Trey held her for a long time that night before she relaxed enough to sleep.
Often Chelsea worked on her flowers late into the night and Trey read then, waiting for her to come to bed. They were still like newlyweds and when she wasn't consumed with her the florist shop, Chelsea responded eagerly to Trey's gestures of affection. It took a while before she recognized that, in spite of her thriving business, she should not forget what was most important in her life and that was her husband. Truth to tell, Chelsea had always been devoted to Trey and would never before have neglected him in any way. It was just that everything involved with owning and managing a shop was so new and exciting to her as well as time-consuming. She vowed now to find a way to balance the flower shop with her life with Trey.
Meanwhile, she continued to struggle with the cash register. One evening she had a late supper at Le Magnifique. She was hungry and wanted to eat, but also she wanted to observe her mother's husband. She wondered if he still flirted with every woman in sight. But when she got there she could see that he was much too busy for that--at least not on this occasion--his hostess was on break and he was manning the phone and seating customers. Once she thought his eyes caught hers; he had to know who she was. A flurry of new people came in then, though, and by the time he had straightened all that out Chelsea was on her way home.
That night over a late night snack of Christmas cookies she told Trey,
"They have a huge menu there, but I just ordered dessert--cherry cheesecake--and it was delicious. I have to admit he appears to be a hard worker and his customers love to talk with him. I have a feeling his clientele includes a lot of repeat customers," she paused and tried to be offhand, "So I was thinking maybe we could go there for dinner one night."
"Sounds like a plan," he agreed, staying casual for her sake.
Christmas Eve arrived and the couple had a quiet evening. They were going to Trey's parents' house the next day where it would be fairly noisy and very busy--but fun. One guest did surprise them around 1:00 am...Santa Claus. They tried to pay no attention, not wanting to disturb him in his work. They cuddled and tried not to giggle like children. Santa went on his way after depositing a couple of gifts under their tree and then Trey and Chelsea "settled down for a long winter's nap" with the sound of jingling bells and ho-ho-ho's drifting into the distance.
Next blog update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 10 Christmas Eve