Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 11 Nicky and Allyn Pt. 2

The next morning Nicky was ready for Jenny when she showed up early in the morning. He ran out to where she was standing over the flipped over trash can once again.

"What the heck are you doing?"

She looked up, seeming to be startled, but she didn't run.

"Are you twelve years old are something? What's the idea?" Nicky asked again.

"I...I guess I knocked it over by mistake with my foot," she stammered, "I was jogging and..."

"You were not jogging, I saw you. You deliberately walked up to it and kicked it over."

"But that can't be," she protested, "Why would I do that?"

She seemed sincere, but he knew what he'd seen.

"I don't know, I was hoping you could enlighten me."

It was strange how she abruptly changed the subject, her voice not defensive at all. As though the previous conversation and had never happened.

"So I heard you got married."

Nicky was still angry and he was in no mood to discuss his private life with someone he'd once dated who now was vandalizing his property.

"Yes, I did. So?" He didn't add "what's it to you?" but it surely was obvious he was thinking it.

"Nothing, it's just that I can't believe you of all people are ready to settle down," she said and then suddenly she was sarcastic, "She must be quite a girl."

"Look who's talking," Nicky came back, "You used to get around but good yourself. Since I like Lonnie, I hope for his sake you've changed. And, yes, she is quite a girl. In fact, she is quite a woman. Now if you're done amusing yourself with our household debris and asking nosy questions, maybe you could take a hike."
She looked like he'd slapped her. Really, was she obtuse? Did she not recognize that her actions spoke louder than her words?

"I tell you I did no such thing. At least, I didn't do it on purpose. It was an accident, okay?"

She was so lying and he accused,

"Yeah, like it was an accident ten times yesterday!"

"What? What are you talking about?"

He sighed,

"Okay fine. I don't know what game you're playing but, fine, just jog somewhere else from now on."

With that she became incensed,

"You can't tell me where to jog! I'm on public property on this sidewalk!"

She was loud and Nicky didn't want Allyn bothered about this. He would tell her later. Besides, although he didn't usually worry what other people thought, he did not want to have his neighbors gawking.

"Would you lower your voice?" he said through gritted teeth. The next thing he knew she'd launched herself at him and it was on.

Eventually she landed on her rear end and Nicky dusted off his hands. He didn't believe in manhandling women--but this had been self-defense.

"Lady you need a keeper. You come around here again causing trouble and I'm calling your old man or maybe even the cops, got it?"

She stood up and for the first time Nicky noticed her gaze was a little unfocused. Maybe she drinks, or even is addicted to something worse, the thought. Jeez.

Jenny just walked off in an unsteady gait toward the direction of her house around the corner. She never even answered him. The whole thing gave him the creeps.

Shaking it off he went back in the house, wondering if Allyn had heard. He had to warn her if she ran into a redhead who looked irritable to stay away from her. But Allyn had been upstairs on the third floor enjoying her luxe bathroom and did not know a thing about the fracas.

The next day Nicky spent some quality time with the new member of their family; Trina, a beautiful chocolate lab. He was working on training her, but also made sure they took time to play as well.  Later in the day Allyn's friend, Barbara Bel Geddes, stopped by and stayed for dinner. She was always fun to talk to and she was dating Nicky's old friend, David Lassiter. Nicky recalled now that he hadn't been in touch with David in some time and he made a mental note to contact him.

"Is he on Facebook?" he asked Barbara, "because I don't have his cell number any more; he's probably changed it anyway."

"Oh, yes, he's on Facebook from time to time but definitely not every day, so let me give you his number, it will be faster and surer," she replied.

Allyn went on to bed after Barbara left, but Nicky was out in the greenhouse still talking to his cucumber plants; cajoling them into a thriving state. When he finally got up to the bedroom there was Trina contentedly snoozing on the bed next to Allyn. He hated to scold her, she just looked so sweet. On the other hand, he in no way wanted to sleep on the couch and she was not a small dog; she took up a lot of room. So he whispered to her enthusiastically, patting his thighs,

"C'mon, Trina, wake up girl!"

She stirred and then gazed at him with her big brown eyes.

"Let's go for a walk," he gestured and headed down the stairs and out of the house with Trina following him happily.

The next day they managed to perfect her little trick of sitting up and Nicky was well-pleased. Trina, who, like all dogs, lived to please her master, was pleased, too. She loved her life with Nicky and Allyn and hoped nothing would ever change.
But, of course, things would change since Allyn had finally been able to get pregnant. The couple looked forward to the birth of their baby. Still Allyn loved Trina and even though Nicky was the one who trained her it was Allyn who gave her baths and made sure the food bowl was never empty. She knew she had to make sure that they didn't slight Trina when the baby arrived.

Meanwhile, her sewing ability was growing by leaps and bounds and she hoped to make lots of clothes for her new baby. After a late night dinner of her home-made spaghetti--she was always hungry now--she went into labor. Nicky was over the moon because they had two children now; fraternal twins that they named Connor Ewan and Lorna Claire in keeping with Nicky's Scottish heritage. Nicky had wanted to use Doone as Lorna's middle name, like the Scottish heroine, but Allyn talked him out of it. He hoped they'd have three or four children and so he told Allyn she'd been very economical and clever having two at once. She answered that twins didn't run in her family so he could take all the credit for that. It looked as thought the babies might both be blonde eventually, but Connor had sapphire blue eyes like his parents and Lorna had emerald green, just like her grandmother, Madeleine.

After the new babies were bathed, fed, cuddled and put to bed, Allyn took time to reassure Trina she was still loved as an important part of the family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 11 Nicky and Allyn Pt. 1

After having knocked out a wall to put in a nursery on the second floor, Nicky Ferguson decided that he and Allyn still needed more room. They would raise the roof to add a third floor. They put in a room for themselves on this third floor which included a hot tub and massage table. They were an active couple and often had aches and pains due to sports and exercise. It was helpful using the hot tub to warm their sore muscles prior to massage. Besides--it promoted romance.

Author's Note: The neighborhood near Nicky and Allyn. Their house with the third floor addition is front and center. The house immediately next to them on their left (On the right of the photo) belongs to Lori Ferguson's sister, Grace, and her husband, Devon. The big taupe house next to Grace is the Hammond house, Lonnie and Jenny and their girls live there. The little green frame house is new and has just been bought by Glenn Caswell, Gareth's mother. The red and cream house across from Glenn houses the Matthew Picasa family. He's an undercover cop but his story is not mentioned in the blog and his wife and he only show up peripherally at community lots. The house next to him, beige and boxy (and across the street from Jenny) is the Julian Cooke home. That's Julian, Bobbi Jo (formerly Brandi Broke) and their now teenage son, Christopher. Bobbi Jo's adult daughter, Elle, is married to Corky Lomax and runs the Art Studio in Bluewater Village. Bobbi Jo is one of Jenny's few remaining friends. It's just one big happy family in Pleasantview. Or, if not happy, certainly busy.

On the same floor was a sumptuous bathroom which, if they eventually made a guest room up there, could be the guest bath. Right now, however; they used it after they exercised, although Allyn also availed herself of it when she wanted to feel pampered. 

During supper one Friday night Nicky suggested to Allyn that they have an old-fashioned "date" on Saturday.

"We don't want to lose our sense of fun and romance," he said. Before he was married Nicky had been quite the ladies man and that wasn't just single ladies. He'd had opportunity to observe that many marriages grew stale if left to chance. After waiting a long time to find the right woman he didn't want their marriage to become another statistic. Besides, he had always craved excitement and romance, it was just his nature. If he wanted a successful marriage Nicky reasoned he needed to find those things in his marriage and not outside.  It had taken him a long time to realize what was important in life and he was taking no chances.

Allyn, of course, was all for it, but asked,

"But, what will we do? Where will we go?"

"Just let me surprise you, baby. Just dress up in your sexiest dress and we'll head over to the other side of the county. By the way, this salmon you made tonight is fantastic," he grinned, "You're getting so good at this I guess I won't have to send you to cooking school after all.

"You bet your boots I'm good," Allyn shot back, "I'm the best thing that ever happened to you, boy."

Nicky's eyes softened,

"That you are. And tomorrow I hope will be just a little bit of thanks."

The next afternoon they headed out in Nicky's red sports car. Allyn had on a shocking-blue slinky dress, spike heels and her hair was full and shiny. She usually wore the front part braided back.

"Isn't it kind of early to go out to dinner?" she asked as they took off.

"Ah, but we're not going to dinner--not yet."

She didn't ask anything else, but waited quietly as he drove; her face serene. Two of the many things Nicky loved about Allyn were her emotional equilibrium and her gift for silence. She was never moody and did not push or nag him at all and she didn't indulge in a lot of the useless chatter that, in his opinion, many females adored. Nicky was rather macho in some good ways, but sometimes it verged on being atavistic. Gillian teased him often, calling him "Captain Cavey, our Neanderthal brother". She claimed it was his only recourse after a childhood surrounded by sisters until Harvey came along.

After about 30 minutes they pulled up in front of the Deh-Javu Modern Art Museum where they enjoyed expanding their cultural horizons. They also spied Larry Max trying to make time with a woman who was playing chess on the terrace.

"He must be getting good," Nicky laughed, "she seems interested. Or, at least, she hasn't slapped him yet."

After spending about ninety minutes checking out the artwork and having a drink on the terrace they went to the "Midnight Flows" nightclub where they had a delicious dinner, berry nectar drinks, and enjoyed dancing to the piped in music.  Nicky dipped Allyn back at one point and grabbed a kiss.

"They should get a live band in here," he said after a while, "Although I suppose it would interfere with the karoake machine. In fact, let's give that a shot while it's not too crowded."

They had fun singing a couple duets before leaving for home.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and one they hoped to repeat before long. Maybe they should make having a "date" something they did every other week or at least every month, Allyn suggested. They never noticed Jenny Hammond lurking in a corner of the club. She was not dressed for clubbing, wearing only cut off jeans and a halter top and sneakers. They did not see the strange expression on her face at seeing Nicky with Allyn. Jenny stayed in a dark corner until they left, and then she walked out; her face that of a sleepwalker.

The next day they went swimming in the morning and spent the afternoon doing household chores and gardening. Someone kept kicking over their trash can that whole day and Nicky was exasperated when he had to put it upright again and clean up the mess for the fifth time in 12 hours. Darn kids. Strange though, because he was virtually sure that the boy next door, Angelo Severino, who seemed a good kid, was off with his parents to the mountains for a few days. And his older brothers had already left for University. Still, it could be any of the kids in the neighborhood he supposed, but surely not the Hammond sisters from around the corner, Loni Faye and Liara. Funny about that, their father Lonnie, who was a fishing buddy of his, had been as much of a player as Nicky had. He was a great guy and easy to talk to, but he had definitely been wild. And their mother, Jenny, was a real firecracker, no two ways about that. Yet their daughters were just as sweet and courteous as could be, at least as far as Nicky had been able to determine.

When it grew dark Allyn went into the kitchen to make some mini piggies-in-a-blanket snacks to eat while watching a little TV. Meanwhile Nick watched and waited at the downstairs bathroom window to catch the little delinquent who was causing the problem.

And then it got really weird. As he watched in astonishment Jenny Hammond came down the street, muttering to herself. Then she giggled and kicked over the trash can. Just like that. She ran off before Nicky could get to the sidewalk. He could hardly believe his eyes. What, exactly, was her problem? He had no idea, but he intended to find out--one way or another.


 Next blog update: Ch. 1 Nicky and Allyn Pt. 2

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 10 Margo Ferguson Candeloro

On Saturday mornings Jamie and Maddie Candeloro usually woke up early and were downstairs to get their homework over with so they could play with their activity table. Later their parents woke up and their mother always made pancakes. They would all still be in their pajamas when they sat down to eat breakfast.

The baby twins were fairly easy to care for--Margo and Kevin had developed almost a rhythm to it during the time that Jamie and Maddie were infants. Of course, as Marnie and Mallen got older it would become more hectic. Nothing like trying to potty-train two toddlers instead of one.

After having the twins Margo was ready for a change. She tried the new salon--Bei Capelli--the owner and hair designer there was named Barbara Bel Geddes. Margo had heard she was dating the elusive David Lassiter and it was pretty serious. She was a gorgeous woman and Margo didn't really trust gorgeous women, but she decided to give it a try anyway. She was more than pleased with the results. The new look was chic and would be much easier to fix in the mornings.

Maddie had Willow Ottomas over for a play-date on a Saturday. Margo liked the little girl quite well; Willow was friendly and vivacious and very courteous for a child these days; also she was amusingly forthright.

"You know, I just love to eat, Mrs. Candeloro," she said when Margo served all three children spaghetti and meatballs that day, "But sometimes I get kinda, well...fat from it. Momma says I just have a healthy appetite, though."

"Well, you look fine to me, Willow. Maybe you could just ride your bike a little longer on the days you eat dessert?"

"Yes, ma'am," she nodded and then paused, "You could ride with me sometime if you want to. You probably get a little fat sometimes, too. I know my Mom does, especially after having babies."

"Gee I didn't realize it showed," Margo smiled wryly, "I don't have much time for biking, though, I just have to use the exercise machine."

"Yeah," Maddie agreed, "She sure does get a little chubby sometimes!"

Maddie was rather outspoken herself, Margo reflected and then resolved to up her exercise routine post-haste.

Jamie wisely kept his mouth shut. He hardly heard the conversation anyway since his mind was on drawing the minute he finished eating. He loved art, just as his father did and spent a lot of time sketching super-heroes of his own invention. After their lunch all three colored at the activity table, in fact.

When Willow had to go home Maddie waylaid her for a moment with a joke and some tickling and then they promised to be friends forever.

Kevin had been keeping busy with his painting but he had not begun a new novel yet. Lately, he'd been bored and needed a challenge, but what? Margo hoped he'd figure out something soon because when he was restless (as he was when he was between books) he made her a nervous wreck. He would follow her around the house and make little suggestions on how she might do things around the house in a more efficient manner. He believe this to be constructive criticism but Margo wanted to make a suggestion of her own to him which would probably not have been considered constructive. She counted to ten however; and so far had managed to refrain from being insulting or crude.

What finally happened was that Kevin bought a clothing store in Bluewater Village called Amelia's Closet. He'd always been a snappy dresser and he started to stock it and manage it himself. Mr. Lomax and his middle son, Corky, were two of his first customers. Larry Max was looking to buy a whole new wardrobe with the critical input from his well-dressed son. He'd just moved out of his family home to some bachelor digs and was evidently planning on a busy social life. 

It was obvious from the beginning that Kevin was going to have to work long hours. He had a lot to learn about retail sales and the clothing business as well as being a good employer and watching the bottom line. And he had to learn it fast. So far he had only one employee, a local senior named Royal Brecht, Sr. who had been laid off from his job at Larry Max' cafe, in fact. He was a good man both at working the cash register and at restocking. It would take time, but Kevin was serious about making a success of the store.

Much of the house had been redone since the twins arrival. Kevin grudgingly gave up his "film noir man-cave", as Margo referred to it, when they moved the pool table up to the attic and turned the room into a large playroom for the kids and their friends.

They were fixing up a room of her own for Maddie that she could use after her next birthday. It was where the hot tub used to be (which was also up in the attic now along with the pool table) and featured her favorite color, pale blush. The downstairs guest bathroom had been that color and Maddie had claimed it as her own much of the time, but it had been redone in a less obviously feminine manner. So now the upstairs bathroom which adjoined Maddie's new room and had served for Jamie and sometimes Maddie now became hers alone and was painted pink, too. The twins' old bedroom would belong to just Jamie after the birthday and he was allowed to choose his own paint and decor, too, but he wanted to wait until after he became a teen. Right now he liked things that he knew he would not care much about after he grew. Of course, he knew he would always love drawing and art. The room that the twins used to workout in was cut up to make a bathroom for Jamie and what was left just held the exercise machine and a lamp.

The bathroom that the babies and Kevin and Margo used was enlarged a bit and totally redecorated making it possible to incorporate both a separate shower and a tub.

Kevin still had his small art studio though, which was just big enough for a pottery wheel, his easel and a smaller easel for Jamie who was interesting in learning to paint like his father. And painting was still something Kevin enjoyed best, that is, best after writing, even though his time was now limited. Margo had given up her greenhouse in the interest of providing more room in the yard for the children, but she still worked on her fruit trees in warm weather.

The twins had became toddlers; Mallen was a lovely platinum blonde like Maddie and their grandmother. Of course, Kevin and his mother, Bonnie, were blonde too, a sunny blonde, but the moonlight blonde definitely came from Madeleine. Pretty Marnie had glossy brown hair like Margo and Jamie. Maddie took special delight in playing with and talking to her younger sisters. They were good little girls; each with their own distinct personality.

"And smart as whips," their grandmother Madeleine noted. It was true that they seemed to learn faster than even Jamie and Maddie had.

Kevin was a whiz at caring for the babies, but demurred when it came to other things around the house like scrubbing toilets, showers and the like, emptying the potty chairs, and he was absolutely useless in the kitchen. He could get the girls cereal and make sandwiches but dealing with the oven was just not a possibility. Even macaroni and cheese out of a box seemed to mystify him. Margo knew the reality was that he just wasn't interested in learning. Since she loved to cook and Kevin sometimes could be pressed into clearing the table and filling the dishwasher she forgave him as long as he took the trash out every day, was a good-hands on daddy and made the money.

Summer arrived and Jamie and Maddie played in the yard every day. There was just enough room behind the pond for their rides and their swings. They often fished in the pond and playing in the new water wiggler was a very popular past-time with them and with their friends.

Margo and Kevin truly did enjoy their two sets of twins, but toddlers take a lot of attention and it could get stressful. Kevin got away when he went too work (and found different stress there, of course), but for Margo there really was no letup. Whenever she had time, though--which wasn't as often as she'd have liked--she enjoyed a long soak in the new tub rather than a quick shower. Definitely the bathroom makeover had been well worth it in her book.