"What's Harvey short for, anyway?" Gareth had asked Harvey when he heard.
"It's short for Harvey, ya dope," he replied.
"Oh. I figured it was like Harry from, you know, Harold, or Larry from Lawrence. I thought maybe you're real name was Harvard or something."
"It's a Scottish name," Lori supplied and added, "And don't call him a dope, Harvey. I used to wonder what it was short for, too."
Gareth smiled at her gratefully and Lori grinned back,
"Or does that mean we're both dopes, Gareth?"
A couple weeks after the twins birth Lori visited her mother at home. Something had occurred that had rather thrown her. She'd always considered herself somewhat curvy although not as zaftig as her mother used to be. But now she was positively statuesque; right up there with Elle Lomax.
"I look like Dolly Parton on steroids," she complained to Melora, "I just ballooned up two days after the twins were born."
Melora was sympathetic, but realistic,
"Sweetie, nursing sometimes does that. Usually it's temporary until you wean, but sometimes it's permanent. Or you may lose a little but never go back to your same size. That's what happened to me after I had Grace, anyway. I didn't lose much up top until after I had you and Trey."
"Yes, well, I sure hope it's temporary since it's going to make it hard to find clothes and I can't fit into my old ones right now. On the other hand; Harvey told me to spend as much as I want on a new wardrobe," and she grinned wickedly, "He likes it."
"I can relate to that. Anyway, you'll have an easier time with fit if you choose separates, and I speak from experience, as you know."
"Well, I've really been working at my sewing skills. I'll never be as talented as Gracie, but I think I'm getting good enough to make some more ambitious things for myself," she paused as she considered, "Hey, if I do that, with the rest of the money I would have spent on buying clothes retail I can buy jewelry to go with my outfits instead!"
"See? Every cloud has a silver lining."
"Yes, every bit of money I save by sewing my own things can be spent on something else," Lori cracked, "Heaven forbid I put it aside for a rainy day."
Melora laughed softly again and Lori reflected that she'd never seen her mother looking so glamorous since before she left for college. Always fashion conscious and attractive, Melora had seemed to get a little more casual with age. She'd said that she thought as a woman got older she should soften her makeup and hair. Now, however she was wearing quite a bit of eye makeup again and it was meticulously applied. Lori did not disapprove; she really did think her mother looked lovely, but she had noticed a slight anxiety in her lately and a sort of dampening of her natural enthusiasm. Now Lori wondered if it had something to do with the unwelcome advancement of time although when she first decided to let her hair go gray naturally, Melora had seemed at peace with it. Lori did not like to think about the fact that her parents were aging; they had been in their forties when she and Trey were born. Her father, except for his silver hair and some lines around his eyes, didn't really look that different. When he'd shaved off his beard he'd even lost a few years.
"You've grown your hair out, Mom, I like it. I remember when you wore it that way when I was in high school."
Melora looked a little self-conscious,
"You don't think it's too severe? I tried it shorter, but it just didn't suit me somehow," she paused and then added, "And your father always liked me to have it long and wear it this way."
"Then I'm sure he's happy about it," Lori smiled, "You look fantastic, you've even lost a little weight."
"Well, I don't want to just let my appearance slide now. It's important to me to feel feminine and attractive, even if I'm in my mid-sixties. Maybe that's vain, but I was brought up in an era where it was the woman's "duty" to remain alluring to her husband," she said this lightly, her eyes casting around the room as though looking for something she could not find. But then she looked directly at Lori a moment,
"Or else she was likely to have problems."
With that she looked away again. Lori's heart fluttered and there was a beat before she asked in what she hoped was an offhand manner,
"Oh...so...how's Daddy doing, anyway?"
"He's fine, sweetie, still gardening every day. He took a break from building robots, though. Just a temporary one he says. He's been doing some golfing and lately spends quite a bit of time at Harvey's new club. I think he feels more at home there since Harvey is running it. Anyway, today he's off to the hardware store getting a few things to help with the honey-do list I gave him and will probably hit the gym after that."
Startled, Lori's mouth dropped open and then she shut it quickly. Harvey had finally closed the deal on the health club, but she'd been about to tell her mother that it was temporarily closed for renovation and had been for a few weeks now. Her mother obviously didn't know that since she didn't go to Bluewater Village very often. Maybe Daddy was going to the other gym and her mother was just confused as to which one. Lori declined informing her that she must be mistaken, though.
Part of her felt she should further question her mother. After all, some of what Melora had said automatically made her bridle; the part about looking good being a "duty". Oh, the wife has to remain gorgeous--while the man can let himself go? Of course, her father hadn't let himself go and, as far as she knew, he'd always thought her mother was beautiful. The other part of Lori, though, wanted to run miles away from this; she didn't want or need to know anything. It was none of her business anyway. Lori knew she was often impulsive so she bit back any remark about the unfair and outdated idea her mother believed in, at least it seemed unfair to her. Besides, if she was truthful with herself she had to admit that she wanted her own husband to always think she was a hottie. She would say nothing at all, at least until she could talk with Harvey. He would calm her fears; he always did. He'd probably say that she was reading too much into what her mother said. Melora deftly changed the subject to the twins, fortunately, and Lori was able to relax.
But when she got home she said nothing to Harvey about the questions forming in her mind. She told herself that probably it was just her always fertile imagination working overtime.
Graylan and Valrae pushed all unhappy thoughts out of her mind anyway. Lori had been dreaming about marrying Harvey and having babies all through college--or most of it, anyway. She was happy as could be to care for her infant twins now.
"No way do I want a nanny," she told Harvey when he wondered if they should get some help for her in that direction.
"Honey, I know you can handle it, but will you get depressed when you don't have as much time for the piano or painting? I'll be helping out but I have to be at the gym a lot of the time, especially after I reopen it."
No, no, no. She would care for them herself. Naturally she wanted Harvey to do his daddy-thing whenever he was home. It would be the two of them parenting.
Now that they had a routine going and things were calming down Harvey said he'd like to scrap the earlier painting he'd been doing of her and start a new one. He said he didn't get the last one kicked off just right. That was, if she had time to pose for him now and then.
"Yes, I'm sure you'd like to start over with the amazing change in my stats," Lori said dryly, "Well, okay I can pose between feedings and laundry. Are you sure you couldn't just paint me from the shoulders up, though?"
"Don't be like that, honey; you're beautiful."
"Hmm, I see. Well then, let me caution you: if I end up posed in a saloon girl dress you're going to be in big trouble, buster."
"Okay," he grinned, "From the shoulders up. This time."
Of course, she was referring to the infamous photo-shopped pictures Harvey and Gareth had made of her and Melanie back in their college days when the guys lived at Horrible House.
After a false start where she posed in the studio, Harvey said he wanted something more elegant and asked her to pose in one of her evening gowns instead. The deep green taffeta was one of his personal favorites.
"Might as well, I never get to wear it anywhere," she shrugged.
Harvey was setting up his easel in the doorway to the music room.
"I said I never get to where it anywhere," Lori emphasized as she took her place by the piano.
"Well, maybe we can do something about that soon."
She nodded. But where in Pleasantview could an evening gown be worn?
Next blog update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 13 Grayland and Valrae