Friday, May 11, 2012

Harvey and Lori Ferguson - Ch. 17 Last Days at the Old House

The morning of the twins' birthday also heralded the family's last week in the old house before their move across the street. Harvey and Lori were up early.
It was a Monday, and a busy one, but by suppertime they were done with their meal and Lori brought out Graylan's cake and picked him up to help him with his birthday while Harvey looked on and Valrae chattered to herself as she sat on the carpet, oblivious to the celebration.

Shouting for sheer joy at his new look and clothes Gray was about to grab for the first slice of his cake when Lori stopped him, saying gently,

"Not yet, sweetheart. It's Valrae's turn now and then we can all have cake and ice cream."


With that Lori moved the first cake over and brought out Valrae's cake. Harvey scooped up his daughter and helped her blow out the candles. Then he put her back down on the floor and they waited for the birthday magic to occur and applauded when she turned school-age. 

The next day Valrae decided to change her hair a bit, claiming that wearing the same hairdo at her age as she did in her terrible twos was not desirable.  So with Lori's permission she abandoned the mini toptail and grew out her bangs. Harvey was a little saddened at how much older she looked in the new hairstyle but Lori was philosophical; the women in her family had always changed their hair at the drop of a hat although, admittedly, Lori herself had never cut her hair shorter than shoulder-length. Her sister, Grace, and her mother, Melora, though, had run the gamet from hair cut ear-length to halfway down their backs.

After their birthday and during this last week at the home they had known all their lives the twins were eagerly embracing their new status as elementary school students. Admittedly, Gray still loved his father to swing him around, bringing him airborne as he had when Gray was only three; he was not too "grown" for that. 
Studying the piano with her mother's guidance, Valrae showed real promise on the instrument. She expressed an interest in dance lessons as well, but they would wait a while to let her get accustomed to her new schedule of school, homework and piano lessons.

Mealtime had become a much noisier time in the Ferguson household now that the twins were going to school. It was actually a good time for them to relate their various adventures and trials in school, ask questions of their parents--and they asked a plethora of questions, especially Valrae--and enjoy their mother's cooking and baking. On the weekends there was always some fabulous dessert offered after supper, although sometimes deferred until later in the evening. One of the twins favorites was Boston Cream Cheesecake.

Graylan's coppery hair was obviously bestowed on him by his grandmother, Melora. When any of the Fergusons or Lassiters looked at him though, he made them think of Harvey as a child, with his big blue eyes, elfin ears and center-parted hair that wouldn't stay out of his eyes. Harvey's hair used to do the same thing and, in fact, did that all the way through college.

Melora claimed that Valrae looked and sometimes acted a great deal like Lori, but Lori thought her daughter was a real combination of both she and Harvey. She had pale green eyes like both of her grandmothers, Melora and Madeleine, but her hair was softly waved and the color was exactly the same as Harvey's hair.

They converted the nursery and the twins still shared the room; they preferred it that way. Still, they would hardly be using it more than a few days so all they really did was change the junior beds for full size twins and add a desk.

Harvey and Lori had decided they would place their massage table in storage for the time being as they sorted out what would go where in the new house. They had enjoyed their private massage room when they were first married, but since the twins had come along they had found precious little time to use it. So in these last few days they made sure to put the table to good use while they still could do so.

Harvey and Lori often helped Gray and Valrae with their new homework responsibilities and their grades climbed accordingly. The twins still played together quite well and were somewhat competitive with each other.


Young friends had begun to come home on the bus with Gray and Val and usually stayed to supper. The first one to show up was little Drew Howard; a handsome somewhat shy boy. His family was renting Lalique Flynn's house. Of course, no one in Lori's family yet knew of Lalique's importance in their family dynamic; they only knew that Lalique had lived next door to the Lassiters as a child and had recently moved with her twins, Adrien and Desire to Bluewater Village. This was just treated as neighborhood news; it was not considered significant. But that would change before too long.

Gray took to games just as his father always had and loved playing on the monumental Tiki pinball machine that Harvey had inherited from his big brother, Nicky. The magical machine paid money and belched smoke and fire when you won. It was going to be a major hassle to move it to the yard across the street but no way was Harvey going to leave it behind. It was practically a family heirloom by now.
Actually Valrae was very good at games, too. In her case it was not so much that playing pinball or video games was dear to her heart, but that it was a known accomplishment of Harvey's. Val was very much a daddy's girl and anything that she perceived that she could do to please him was important to her. Harvey gave her unconditional love and approval, but when she expressed interest in any of the things he liked doing, it did admittedly fill him with pride and happiness. Thus he tended to give extra encouragement at these times. He loved fishing, painting and games and being able to share any of these with his children brought him extra pleasure.

One of the last things that Lori did in her art studio was a portrait of Graylan. Posing for long periods of time was not one of his favorite things, but he endured and was very excited about the completed painting. 

Most of the family agreed that Gray had been a very happy, easy-going toddler and that continued to be the trend as he grew. Harvey was close to both of his children, as was Lori, but Gray seemed to have a special affinity to Lori just as Valrae did to Harvey.

Gray was all boy and got into the usual situations and interests of a child, but he was young enough that he sought to please his parents; especially his beautiful mother. Lori and Valrae sometimes clashed; they both had strong wills, but Gray was different. He played with his father--played hard--but if he was sad, injured or tired, he had to have Lori's comforting hug and hopefully one of her home-made chocolate chip cookies. 

The truth was that Harvey and Lori were still madly in love with each other and enjoyed each other's company and respect. They were both openly affectionate as well; with each other and with their children. This was evident to the twins and so it was only natural that how they related to their parents had much to do with how their parents treated each other and how they treated Gray and Val.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 16 Aftermath and New Horizons

Lori Ferguson had taken her father's betrayal of her mother and their subsequent separation hard, but she was trying to come to grips with it now; her toddler twins needed their mother to recuperate quickly.

Her first reaction, as a wife, had been to worry whether any such thing could ever happen to her and Harvey. The very idea filled her heart with fear and devastation.

"You know, my love, if you ever cheated on me like that I'd have to murder you," she told him impulsively one night as they relaxed in their bedroom, she was only half-joking , "I mean as in kill you dead...painfully."

"I realize that, and I never would hurt you that way. I take our vows to each other seriously and I have no desire for anyone but you," he paused then and gave her a crooked grin, "But I give you permission to perform whatever homicidal act you think best should I ever become that suicidally stupid--no offense to your father."

Harvey could only be serious so long before the temptation for wry humor became to much.

"Yes, well, thank you for that. However; my father adored my mother all these years--everyone knew that--evidently up until the minute that he decided to repeatedly pork this other woman, whoever she is."


"Well?" she shrugged, "Might as well be honest. I have always adored my father; he was my hero, but I'm so ashamed of him right now and so angry that I don't know what to do. He's a liar and what is worse; he is a hypocrite. Don't you remember how he was dancing with Mom so romantically at David and Barbara's wedding? He was all over her."

"Yeah I remember, but I thought your Mom told you since then that he claimed he had already broken up with the woman at that time."

"I don't know if I believe that, but I guess I have no way to be sure," she said bitterly, "I'm not even sure if I'm pleased they seem to be trying to put things back together now that they're going to counseling."

Harvey pulled her close,

"Listen, brat, we're happy aren't we? I love you, you know that. We have two beautiful children. Your parents' problems are going to affect us, but they shouldn't rule us. Give yourself some time; give them some time."

He cuddled her and Lori began to relax. For the millionth time she wondered what she would do without Harvey's level-headed support. She hoped she'd never have to find out. Meanwhile she was smiling once again now that his arms were around her.

The twins were continuing to grow quickly and they were so eager to learn that it was all Lori could do to keep up with them. In her opinion Harvey was a wonderful father and helped out as much as he could. He was kept busy at the gym five days a week--the place was open Saturdays, too, but Harvey had a assistant manager who worked that day for him. Whenever he was home he was happy to be with Gray and Valrae.

The big house they'd bought when they first were married seemed to be getting a little cramped to the couple. Actually, if things went on as they were now there was enough room, but if they decided to add to their family, or wanted to have a man-cave again for Harvey space would become a problem. Their backyard was fairly small, yet they had been loathe to take out the pool for more room. They discussed it often, but had come to no answer and then, right across the street from them, a new house was being constructed.

It was huge and Harvey and Lori wondered if it was being build for a family who already owned the lot, or built by a contractor who planned to sell it. They began to covet this house, even without seeing the inside. Although it was right on the street in full view, there was some privacy afforded by the woods on each side and behind the house.

"I'm going to find out if it's available--and I'm going to find out about the property surrounding the lot, too," Harvey told Lori one day as they ate supper, "If we bought it I'd really like to buy up some of the land around it. The privacy would be worth the expense."

"Good," she agreed, "I'm ready to move if it turns out to be a good thing."

Actually, their side yard was not too bad with the children small, but as they got older Harvey and Lori knew they'd want to add swings, maybe even a basketball court. Meanwhile on the weekends the little family spent a good deal of their time outdoors. Harvey still loved to fish but with the pond right there in the yard he didn't have to feel guilty about spending time away from home. 

Back when she was crafting toys, before the twins were born, Lori had made a couple of "Spin and Wobble" rides and the twins loved playing on them. Of course, if they rode them too long they got dizzy and threw up. So she monitored them closely.

Gray was quite taken with his little tricycle and racing it all around that part of the yard with Harvey trailing him. His parents watched him closely around the pond, of course. The twins were taking swim lessons for toddlers at the community center, still, riding the trike into the pond was definitely a no-no.

Indoors they were both getting quite skilled at drawing--no surprise with parents who loved arts and crafts. They'd begun to sleep in what they called their "big boy and big girl beds".


Another favorite past-time was playing with their blocks. When the weather was inclement or they just needed to get out of the sun for a while, the family was usually in the living room with the parents reading and talking and the twins playing at their play-station.

Lori had dreamed of this day when she was in college; Harvey by her side in their own home while they watched their children at play and gave them special attention.

Now she couldn't wait to hear what Harvey would find out about the house across the street. The twins' birthday was looming and she had mixed feelings about it. She was excited for them and happy, but her little toddlers were so adorable--if exhausting. She would miss the sound of their tiny footsteps. But then, she reasoned, there was so much to look forward as they grew into active children; school pageants and projects, Harvey teaching them to play sports, Lori hoped at least one of them would love music or art, maybe both.

And then Harvey told her he'd learned that the contractor owned the house and would be taking bids. They needed to go over to see the inside as soon as possible. When they did finally get there they fell in love with it. So they tendered a bid and won the house.

Work on it was moving swiftly, but there was no way that they could be in it before the celebration for the twins. Since Lori still felt strange about inviting her father to their home and since her mother and he were getting close again, Lori decided she would keep the birthday party to just the twins and Harvey and her. Harvey's parents, Shep and Madeleine, were currently on a long dreamed of trip to England so they would be unable to attend anyway. It felt like everything was posed for things to happen and the feeling in the air was hopeful but tense, too.