Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lomax Family Ch 4 Pt 2 Mike and Lucy Back in Pleasantview

When Mike was dressed to go to the Burb's home he went downstairs, wound the grandfather clock and fed the fish.

Larry Max came out of his new downstairs bedroom cuffing the sleeves of his red shirt. He’d paired it with dress khakis and looked very nice. Mike had just put on clean khaki shorts and a muscle shirt. It was extremely hot that day and the party was outdoors. Larry Max had to go straight to work from the party, though.

“Is your mom meeting us over there?” he asked Mike.


“Well, do we need to pick her up then?”

“No. I didn’t ask her—I don’t want to see her and I’m sure not going to have her around Lucy.”

“Son,” Larry Max said quietly, “Your mom is not like this most of the time; I thought you realized that. I went with her to take Andy to the University; I talk on the phone with her probably once a week and I often run into her in town. We get along fine—no arguing, no cross words at all. It’s only when she comes over here to get into mischief that she acts like another person. That’s what I meant when I said I was worried about her sanity.”

“Oh, no I didn’t realize, how could I? That’s why she kept asking what I was talking about, I guess.”

“When did you talk to her?”

“Earlier this morning,” Mike was a little ashamed, “I told her off about the stupid garbage trick. She didn’t act crazy, just upset, she even asked me to put you on the phone. I suppose I acted like a kid.”

“Do you want me to call her for you and see if she can make it today?” Larry Max asked him.

“No. Until we know what is going on in her head, I frankly don’t want her around my future in-laws. Nor do I want her around Lucy at this point.”

“Okay. I understand.”

When they arrived at the Burb house, Lucy’s mother Katharine was waiting for them at the front gate. She was very friendly and warm. Lucy’s dad was evidently in the backyard already.

Of course Mike already knew both of them, but Katharine introduced herself to Larry Max and they spoke about the day, the coming wedding and other things as they walked around to the little gazebo out back.

Mike and Lucy hadn’t seen each other in days and quickly cuddled up on a bench on the back deck. Lucy had twin sisters and one of them, Karen, giggled at them as she walked by on her way to the pool. At some point the couple went over to talk with her parents and his father, who apologized for having to leave to go to his job so soon. No one really noticed that Katharine Burb’s eyes lingered on Larry Max as he left.

After Larry Max left, Lucy went over to sit next to Mike and the twins came over from the pool. Now, Mike had met Lucy’s little sisters before and he thought they were cute and agreeable little girls; always smiling or giggling and playing with their toys. Mike had a younger sister, Chelsea, so he figured he knew how little girls were.

When Karen sat down everyone happened to be discussing ecology in general and she jumped into the subject. Going on about how the planet was being trashed and no one cared—her words and phrases indicated that she was quoting someone—she would make a face every time anyone else ventured to give a different opinion or ask what she considered a stupid question. The general tone of her rant was that these were the facts and anyone who couldn’t see that was an idiot. Mike got worried when Kirstie joined them, thinking she might begin to spout invective, too. Were these kids really only seven? But Kirstie stayed silent with a gentle expression on her face. Nothing seemed to bother her. Not so, Karen, who was really getting wound up. When Mike looked at her parents to see if they were upset by this tirade, he was mildly shocked to see them smiling fondly at the little minx. As Mike looked at the girls seated across from him he couldn’t help thinking they were like night and day.  Lucy just watched her sister and didn’t say anything.  At this point, Karen, in an effort to describe how moronic some people were about this subject, blew a raspberry at no one in particular--Phbbbt!

Mike had a sudden frightening picture of Lucy delivering twin girls who grew to be precocious seven-year-olds.  He was reading “The Cat in the Hat” to them when one piped up,

“Daddy, get with the program--if you believe that phony baloney you must have a hole in your head! Why don’t you read us a classic that is relevant and stimulating, like ‘The Bell Jar’ or ‘Catcher in the Rye’?”  And the other twin wrinkled her pert little nose and stuck her tongue out at him.  Almost the worst part in his hideous daydream was that Lucy then said,

“Oh, honey, aren’t they sweet? And so bright, too!” 

As Karen kept up her critical monologue, Mike was actually starting to feel physically unwell. He might be coming down with something. 

Just then his sweet and shy Lucy, sitting right next to him, opened her mouth and a veritable torrent of angry words spilled out, aimed at Karen. Mike was alarmed at this abrupt change; Lucy looked like a demented shrew as she berated her sister. The kind of shrew that would be waiting with a rolling pin in her hand if her husband returned home late one night.

“Here I brought my future husband and his father over here to meet our family and what did you do? You plopped down here with the adults, basically uninvited, and went on and on about current affairs like you were some television commentator.  And if anyone dared to disagree with you, you were crabby and rude! I’m only glad that Mr. Lomax had already left. To top that; Mom and Dad just sat there and practically applauded and--don’t you dare hold your nose while I’m talking, you little brat! Why are you so obnoxious today?”

At these remarks Karen seemed to calm down and managed to look perplexed,

“What did I do? I was just telling everyone what my teacher told us the other day, that’s all.” 

Then she said dismissively, “Oh, you’re just so touchy, Lucy.”

Josh roused himself at last saying,

“Now girls, behave. Karen, I’ll have to talk to you later and explain what good manners mean. Lucy, you shouldn’t call your little sister a brat. Apologize to Lucy, Karen.”

 Karen heaved a big sigh of resignation like she was bored with it all and said petulantly,

“I’m sorry! Sheesh!”

“Lucy?” Josh prompted, “Please say you’re sorry to Karen.”

“I’m so sorry you’re such a brat, Karen.”

Karen crossed her eyes and thumbed her nose at her sister.

Now it was Josh’s turn to sigh.

They all decided to take a dip in the pool and it seemed to help cool tempers as well as bodies.  Lucy had returned to her tranquil self right away and to Mike’s relief her pretty face went back to normal just as quickly.  He’d seen her annoyed, he’d seen her angry, but this had been quite an escalation. More like rage on its way to fury.

Little Kirstie was still pleasant and still silent. Possibly she knew from past experience that it was the safest thing for her to do. 

“Well that was certainly interesting,” Mike said as he and Lucy were saying goodbye.

“Do you want to cancel the wedding?” Lucy asked glumly, only half-kidding.

Mike laughed, “No, I don’t want to cancel the wedding! I love you and I can’t wait to marry you, Babe. I have to admit for a while there I was thinking of having an emergency vasectomy though.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Lucy bit her lip, “I mean she’s not usually like that.”

“I’m kidding, right.”

But Mike hoped he would have no bad dreams tonight about demonic children who made hideous faces at him while they subjected him to hours of talk radio.


The following week Larry Max had been thinking about what Mike suggested; that he should get out a little more.  So when he had a day off from the restaurant on Wednesday, he decided to go to Bluewater Village and check out Galaxy Arcades. If he had time, he might also visit Club Dante.

The arcade was nice but not many people were there. He played some pinball, but decided he could do that at home and headed over to the club next. That was a little livelier. He met Dylan Ottomas, the oldest of the Ottomas children, who owned the place. He was surprised to learn the D.J. was Josh Burb; his son’s future father-in-law.  He’d had no idea that was where the man worked. When Dylan found out Larry Max played the guitar he asked him to play a set.  Josh joined in on bass. He was like another person here at the Club compared to the very quiet man Larry Max met at the Burb home. There were only a couple women and only one who looked interesting.

“Not that one,” Dylan said in a low voice when Larry Max noticed the brunette in the blue blouse, “She’s Bella Cullen and she’s married. Her old man is not only possessive, but real scary; believe me.”

“Thanks for the heads up; I’m sure not interested in married women.”

Larry Max was about to ask Dylan why this Cullen guy, if he was so jealous, didn’t keep her at home nights but he decided he lived in a glass house and he’d leave it alone.

He did not meet any new women that night, but he had made a friend in Dylan. When he got home Mike was still up and they played SSX3 for a while.  It wasn’t life in the fast lane, but he guessed meeting women would probably take time. He really wouldn’t know. He’d started dating Jenny at fifteen and their parents had signed for them to get married at seventeen. Jenny had been expecting Mike.  Neither of them had ever dated anyone else, but he knew Jenny was definitely making up for lost time.

At last the day of the wedding was upon them. Everyone was dressed formally, except for Mr. Burb. Unaccountably he showed up wearing something suitable for a day at the beach. Mike for some time had suspected that his new father-in-law was not the sharpest crayon in the box. He always seemed to be going the opposite direction of everyone else; as though he never got the word in time.

At one point, right after the ceremony, Mike’s father had turned his back and moved away from the others, but Mike knew it was because he was a little tearful. They were here at the home they’d had for many years, but Jenny was no longer there and three of the kids were at University. But Larry Max soon recovered and joined everyone else.

When Lucy walked across the lawn in her wedding gown Mike thought she had never looked more beautiful. For the moment he forgot all about obstreperous children and wives with rolling pins because he knew he'd never been happier in his life.

Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Mike found out later there was a wedding crasher. Benjamin Long was walking by as the ceremony began and decided to join everyone. Mike and Lucy did not know him from Adam, but Larry Max told them later that the man lived on the other side of town by the Fergusons. Mr. Long definitely seemed to have a good time and was at least dressed more appropriately than Josh. Amazingly, the twins were on their best behavior that day and looked like adorable angels. Mike decided that was probably why people had kids; they saw a sweet looking baby or child and thought yahoo, let’s have one of those right away. Never knowing that the baby they conceived could someday be telling them they must have rocks in their heads.  It was scary.

This evening Mike, although he had other things on his mind, could not help but notice how Katharine’s eyes followed his father around. She looked at Larry Max like it was a hot day (which it was) and he was an ice cream cone, Mike decided. Larry Max did look very handsome that day, but he seemed oblivious to her admiring glances. Mike just hoped Lucy didn’t notice—or Mr. Burb. Fortunately, Mr. Burb never seemed to notice much that went on around him.

Mike and Lucy spent their wedding night in the “new” bedroom upstairs in the Lomax house. Mike couldn’t even get a couple days off from his new job. But they hoped to take a belated honeymoon on Twikkii Island when their new jobs, vacation days and salary got sorted out. Lucy didn’t mind, she just wanted to be Mike’s wife and be with him, wherever he was.

For next installment on the Lomax family go HERE

For news on Jenny Lomax go HERE

Lomax Family Ch 4 Pt 1 Mike and Lucy Back in Pleasantview

A brief history of Lucy Burb and her Family...

The Burbs moved to Pleasantview when their daughter was a child. Josh Burb started working as a draftsman, and Katharine was a stay-at-home mom.

Lucy was always a very responsible child, who loved to read and be read to as well. Being an only child she was especially close to her parents. When Katharine became pregnant while Lucy was still in elementary school, Josh decided to quit his job and become a “house husband” to help her since they were expecting twins.

The twins, Karen and Kirstie, were good babies, quiet and undemanding, but playful, too. Josh loved caring for them as much as Katharine; maybe more. Lucy, as could be expected, was a big help with the girls. Still it was hard to go from being an indulged only child to an older sister expected to help with even more chores and to babysit. 

 Katharine with Kirstie

 Josh with Karen

Lucy had her birthday the same night the twins did. She became a lovely teenager and the girls were now cute little toddlers.

As a teenager, Lucy still had to help with the twins, but she really adored them so she didn’t mind. Her parents gave her a little more time to be with friends and do activities, too. She would be leaving for college soon.

Once the twins were a year old Josh surprised his family by deciding to go back to work as the D.J. at a newly reopened club in Bluewater called Club Dante. Since toddlers were definitely more time consuming than infants, Katharine could have cheerfully hit him over the head. She had to undertake all the potty-training, and teach the twins to walk and talk all by herself. Josh worked nights and during the day he worked in his greenhouse. Sometimes the quiet man seemed a little clueless. Katharine had a dream to be a business woman but the dream seemed to be farther and farther away.

To Lucy it was rather embarrassing that her father worked at a disco and wore shiny pants. When any of her friends mentioned it, she would blush and try to change the subject. Some of them thought it was cool, but most thought it was just strange. In Pleasantview everyone knew each others business.

Katharine managed, with a little help from Lucy, of course. But Lucy would soon be leaving for the University.

The night she left for college Lucy spent some extra time with Karen and Kirstie because she knew that they would grow and change a lot while she was gone. In fact she was pretty upset at having to leave them. She knew, also, her mother would be alone trying to care for them, but Katharine assured her she would be fine and how proud they were that she was going on to University with all the scholarships.

At college, Lucy reconnected with her old crush, Mike Lomax. He didn’t know she had crushed on him in high school. They became very close over the years at college and eventually became engaged.

While Lucy was gone the girls were growing up, Karen wore her hair up and Kirstie liked her wavy hair down loose. Kirstie favored games while Karen loved arts and crafts. They were opposites in many ways, but very close to each other as twins. 

When Lucy came home from school, expecting to marry Mike soon, she had to get reacquainted with her family, especially the girls. She only had a couple months before her wedding when she would move to his father’s house. They would be there until they could buy a house of their own. The twins did not really remember Lucy from when she had lived with them before college. They were getting to know her quite well now, but it would be some time before they would feel that she was truly their sister. This saddened Lucy, but there was not much she could do about it right now. She vowed that once she was married she would try to have them visit her often. Kirstie and Karen were very excited about attending the wedding and their mother had bought each of them new dresses for the event. Very soon the day would arrive.


Mike and Lucy

Mike returned home from the University to live with his father and little brother, Andy. Andy had just graduated from high school. The three men got along well, in fact, Mike got a chance to really know Andy, who was no longer a child. Larry Max was close to all of his children, but he and Andy had become great pals when Jenny left and even more so in the last year since Chelsea and Corky went to college. However; Andy was eager to go off to university and it seemed to Mike and Larry Max that the summer had been too short when Andy left one night to join the others at Pinenut Plaza.

Now it was just the two men batching it together, Larry Max and Mike. They frequently didn’t stand on ceremony and walked around in the skivvies whenever they felt like it. No one cared how often or loudly they belched either. For a while it felt kind of good to let it all hang out, Mike thought.

“Maybe we’d better clean up our act,” Larry Max cracked one morning at breakfast, “We don’t want to regress so bad that we become brutes. I doubt Lucy would appreciate it if I let you backslide so far.”

Mike had just started his job as an executive at a big company. Of course, he wanted to marry Lucy right away, but had no home for her. That’s when his father  said since he had this great big house with only himself to live in it, they should move in with him until they could afford a house of their own.

“Don’t worry, you'll get some privacy. I’ll vacate the big bedroom upstairs, we can redecorate it if you want, and I’ll convert your mom’s old studio into a bedroom for myself,” Larry Max said.

So that was their plan and Larry Max had moved his things downstairs while Lucy and Mike redid his old bedroom. Their wedding was only three weeks away now.

Larry Max's new room on the first floor:

The following Saturday morning Mike looked out across the front lawn and saw trash strewn all over the front curb. He went out to see what had happened and picked up the all the mess which filled up four garbage bags. Unfortunately there were already bugs swarming all over. Mike just couldn’t figure out why there was so much of it; he’d emptied the trash compacter last night and the can had been full but not stuffed.

“The heck with this, I’m calling the exterminator,” Mike decided. It was really early and his dad was out in his greenhouse, no sense bothering him about it.

The exterminator arrived promptly but when she drove off a short time later, Mike was shaking his fist at her. To calm himself down he went fishing for a couple hours. After that he showered and called Lucy to see what the plans were for the weekend. It wasn’t until Larry Max came in to clean up that Mike got to mention what had happened that morning.

Whoever tipped over our garbage can evidently brought their own trash with them to add to it. There was more trash there than just our stuff. Then this exterminator was an idiot,” Mike went on, “She came right away but she didn’t look happy, she sprayed all around there and that killed the roaches, but then she stood there cringing and holding her nose. She wouldn’t sweep them up—had the nerve to say her job was all done and raced off. I had to sweep them up myself.”

“Yes,” Larry Max acknowledged as though he knew her well, “She doesn’t like bugs, especially roaches.”

Mike almost laughed,

“What? She's an exterminator and she doesn’t like bugs? So what does she prefer to exterminate? Bunny rabbits?I never heard of anything so stupid."

“I expect it’s probably that we have to call her so often.“

“ So often? Are you saying this has happened before, Dad?”

Larry Max shrugged,

“Yes, but it’s been a while. I thought it was over finally.”

“You mean it’s a regular thing? Why don’t you call the cops? They’d probably agree to cruise by for a couple nights and maybe even catch the jerk.”

“Well, they might do that, but I can’t call them, son.”

“Why not?” Mike was mystified.

Finally Larry Max looked Mike right in the eye,

“I can’t call the police because it’s your mother who is doing it.”

Mike was speechless.

“She’s still upset, I guess.”

Now Mike was furious,

“SHE’S upset? What right has she got to be upset? You are the wronged party! Are you sure it’s her?”

Larry Max nodded,

“I have two photos that were taken by Royal Brecht, across the street. Both were taken on the same day; one in the morning and one late at night. But you can clearly see they’re of your mother.”

He went to the tall bureau in the dining room and opened one of the drawers. He handed the photos to Mike.

“One sunny day she stood in the front yard for quite a while. Right where anyone could see her and she just stared up at the house—that’s the first photo Royal took. I finally went out to talk to her but she literally ran away. And then he took this one later that night. He tried to approach her right after he took the photo to ask her what the problem was.  He said she freaked out and ran away again. Look at her face here, I’m actually a little worried about her mental state.”

“I just don’t get it,” Mike shook his head, trying to get these images of his mother to correspond to the woman he’d known all his life and who had helped him to get and decorate  the little house they’d rented at school.

“But why should she be angry at you, Dad? She’s the one who—“

“I supposed because I threw her out of the house that night. Maybe her life is not going the way she thought it would. All I know is when I watched her as she stood on the lawn that morning, she looked wistful and sad.”

Mike wanted to ask his father something, yet he wanted to respect his privacy. He wondered if Larry Max would take Jenny back after everything. If what she wanted was to come back.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Larry Max had a wry smile on his lips, “Would I take her back? I honestly don’t know, but I’m inclined to think she would not be happy anyway, even if I did. Some things that you toss aside can never be retrieved.”

“What about YOUR happiness?” Mike said.

“Ahhh, that. Yes, well, I’m happy enough for now. I have my work and the gardening to keep me busy.”

“What about women?”

“Ouch,” Larry Max remarked, “I didn’t do so well with the only woman in my life. But maybe later--who knows?”

“You should get out—you’re always at work or home. You need to meet more people.”

“Yes, sir, I’ll get right to work on that,” Larry Max smiled, “Meanwhile, are we still supposed to be at your fiancee’s house tomorrow?”

Lucy had told Mike that she wanted a little get-together at her house on Sunday for the in-laws.  Chelsea, Corky and Andy would not be able to come, unfortunately, being at school of course.

The first thing next morning, still in his room, Mike called Jenny. As soon as she answered the phone, he spoke to her curtly.

“I’d appreciate it if you’d stop the nonsense with the garbage, Mom. I think it’s getting pretty old.”

“What are you talking about, Michael?”

“You know what I’m talking about—so stop acting innocent. I can’t believe you’d do it once, let alone turn it into a crusade.”

“I have absolutely no idea what you mean, Michael.”

Mike could not believe she had the nerve to act as though she didn’t remember anything.

“Kicking over the garbage can, stalking the house, that’s what I mean. I’ve seen photos, Mom, so I know it’s you. You’re the one who cheated on Dad, so why don’t you go kick the garbage can of whoever you’re with now, okay? And leave us alone.”

“Mike, maybe you should put your dad on.”

“Just cut it out, Mom. I’m not going to bother him. Don’t worry, he didn’t say anything bad about you, but he wouldn’t lie to cover up for you either. All this time I’ve told myself you’re my Mom and what’s between you and Dad is none of my business. But this is just too much; especially when you lie about it.”

“Honestly, Michael, I…”

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore; I don’t want to see you anymore.”

He hung up and jumped in the shower; hoping to drive the whole thing out of his mind somehow. At least for today. He had more important things to think about. Jenny kept trying to call him so he turned off his cell phone. 

For next installment of the Lomax Family go HERE

For Jenny's separate story go HERE