Post by wildheartashley on Mar 12, 2023 9:41:36 GMT -5
Carrie arrived at school the next day. She and Sarah had talked about Lisa’s sleepover on the bus as they rode to school. Carrie had asked her father the night before if she could go to Lisa’s that weekend for the sleepover,and he had said that she could. Sarah’s parents had also given her the okay to go to the slumber party as well. Once the girls arrived at school, they parted ways. Sarah went to go work on her Science project with her partner before home room. As Carrie finished getting her books from her locker, she spotted Jennie. Carrie waved at Jennie as she walked over to her. “Hey,” Carrie greeted. “Hi,” Jennie said quietly. “You got home okay yesterday?” “Yeah,” Jennie said. “Why?” “Just wanted to make sure that Frankie and Jennifer got you home fine,” Carrie said. Jennie looked at Carrie sadly as she nodded yes. “Frankie is related to you?” Carrie nodded. “Yeah, he’s technically my uncle. My grandparents adopted him, but it feels weird calling him uncle, so he’s just Frankie.” “Oh,” Jennie said sadly. “So his last name is Brady now? Like your’s?” Carrie nodded. “Yeah,” she said slowly. “Jennie, what is it? What’s wrong?” Carrie gazed at Jennie,and could tell that she looked sad. Jennie looked around the hall. She looked as if she might cry. “Let’s go,” Jennie said. “Go where?” Carrie was confused. Jennie motioned for Carrie to follow her. Carrie obediently followed Jennie to the library. The library was relatively quiet first thing in the morning. The school librarian, Mrs. Parker smiled upon seeing Jennie enter. Jennie smiled and waved as she walked past her. Carrie said good morning as she too walked past Mrs. Parker. Jennie led Carrie to the very back of the library, to a small alcove. As the girls got closer to the alcove, Carrie noticed that there were two bean bag chairs arranged in the alcove. The area was tucked away from everything else in the library. Jennie motioned for Carrie to sit. Carrie plopped down in a bean bag chair, sitting her books and purse beside her. “This is cozy,” Carrie said as Jennie sat down in the other bean bag chair. “It’s my book nook,” Jennie explained. “I come here when I want to be alone. It’s kind of my secret place.” “I like it,” Carrie said. “The bean bags are cool too.” “They’re Mrs. Parker’s. She’s really nice,” Jennie said. “You come here a lot?” “Yeah,” Jennie said. “I like books. I come here some days for lunch. Mrs. Parker is cool with it as long as I clean up after myself.” Carrie nodded. “So, why did you bring me here?” Jennie began picking at her hands nervously. “Um, I knew Frankie when his last name was Donner,” she said. Carrie felt her stomach drop slightly. Carrie knew what Jennie was getting at. “You guys lived together?” Jennie nodded. “We lived in the same foster home for a while. He and Max lived with me.” “Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?” Carrie asked. Jennie blushed slightly. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of your family. Was Max adopted too?” Carrie shook her head yes. Carrie didn’t speak for a long moment. She was trying to put the pieces together. “Wait, is that how you know sign language, because of Max?” “Yes,’ Jennie said. “Frankie taught me when Max stopped talking, so that we could still talk to him.” “Wait,’ Carrie said, “The abuse. Max stopped talking because he was abused. Were you hurt too?” Jennie began picking at her hands. She was quiet for a long time. She finally spoke. “No, I wasn’t hurt,” Jennie said. “But I, um,” Jennie’s voice trailed off. A single tear fell from the corner of Jennie’s eye. Carrie took Jennie’s hand in her hand. Carrie glanced around the back of the library just to ensure that they were still alone. The space was still vacant and quiet. She squeezed Jennie’s hand. “Jennie, it’s okay. You don’t have to say anything else.” Jennie wiped her eye. “No,” Jennie said in a choked up voice. “I wasn’t hurt. He almost hurt me, but I stopped him.” “Who?” Carrie felt a flop in her stomach,and it wasn’t a good feeling. “My foster dad,” Jennie said. “He was gonna hurt me, but I stopped him. I stabbed him with a fork. And then Frankie came after him with a knife. He didn’t hurt me.” Jennie’s hand began to slightly shake. Her bottom lip began to quiver as another tear slid from her eye. Carrie scooted closer,and wrapped her arm around Jennie. “He would hurt Max,” Jennie choked out. “That’s why he stopped talking. Frankie and I tried to tell our case worker, but she didn’t believe us. And then Max stopped talking. And,” Jennie’s voice trailed off in a quiet sob. Carrie wrapped both arms around Jennie. Jennie leaned into Carrie’s embrace,and cried quietly. Carrie wanted to say something, but she didn’t know what. She just sat there in stunned silence. She couldn’t believe that Jennie and Frankie knew one another.
Post by wildheartashley on Mar 19, 2023 9:02:02 GMT -5
Jennie finally broke away from Carrie. Carrie opened her purse,and retrieved a tissue. She handed it to Jennie,and Jennie began to dab at her eyes. Carrie took Jennie’s hand in her hand, and squeezed it gently. “Frankie wanted to run away,” Jennie continued to talk. “He wanted to protect me and Max. He wanted me to run away with him, but I was too scared.” “What happened?” Carrie asked quietly. “Frankie left with Max. They ran away,” Jennie said. “I made the choice to stay behind. I wished that I would have gone with them.” Carrie nodded. She squeezed Jennie’s hand again. “And then you got moved to the group home?” “Yep,” Jennie said. “My foster family told my case worker that I was violent and that I cause trouble, and that they didn’t want me anymore.” “But that’s not fair,” Carrie protested quietly. “You were defending yourself. You aren’t violent.” “Carrie,” Jennie said blankly, “They were hurting Max. He almost hurt me. Once Frankie and Max ran away, I didn’t want to stay there. Besides my stupid case worker didn’t believe me anyways.” “I believe you,” Carrie said. “Thanks,” Jennie said. “I’ve never told anyone that before. I figure that no one would believe me, since my dumb social worker doesn’t.” “Why did you tell me?” Carrie was genuinely curious. It was Jennie’s turn to squeeze Carrie’s hand. “Cause I like you. I trust you. I don’t trust many people,” Jennie explained softly. “But when I saw Frankie yesterday at your house, I knew that I had to tell you.” “Have you thought about talking to Frankie?” Carrie asked. “About what?” Jennie asked. “He can’t change what has happened. He and Max were adopted. They have a family now. I don’t. That’s just how it is.” Carrie was quiet for a long moment. Jennie’s truth was harsh, but Carrie knew that what Jennie was saying was true. “You and Frankie and Max could still be friends,” Carrie reasoned. Jennie opened up her backpack,and pulled out the sign language book. She opened it up to the front cover. “Frankie gave me this book before he left our home,” Jennie explained. “It was his book. He had bought it with money he had earned, so that he could teach Max and I to sign.” Carrie looked at the cover,and noticed Frankie’s handwriting. He had written a note to Jennie in the book. “You can read it,” Jennie said. “I want you to. That’s why I’m showing you.” Carrie nodded. She took the book from Jennie,and gently sat in on her lap. Carrie began to quietly read the note from Frankie. As Carrie read Frankie’s short note to Jennie, she felt tears prick at the back of her eyes. Once done reading, Carrie closed the book,and gave it back to Jennie. She looked up at Jennie. “That was really nice. Frankie and Max really do love you.” “I know,” Jennie said. “That book is my most prized possession. I read it when I need reminding that someone out there loves me.” “That’s really sweet,” Carrie said. “Thank you for trusting me enough.” Jennie nodded. “I do like you Carrie.” “I like you too,” Carrie said. Jennie then pulled out a small composition notebook from her backpack. She handed it to Carrie. “Another book,” Carrie said looking a bit puzzled. “What’s this?” “I call it my Mom Book,” Jennie said. “I write letters to my mom in it. She gave me up when I was only one. I don’t remember her, but I like to write to her. It makes her feel just the tiniest bit real to me. I know that I don’t have a mom, but,” Jennie said as her voice dropped. Carrie handed the notebook back to Jennie. “I can’t look at that,” Carrie explained. “But that’s really sweet. Um,” Carrie’s voice trailed off. “What?” Jennie asked. “Have you ever thought about trying to talk to an adult about everything? I mean someone who isn’t your case worker?” Jennie was quiet for a long moment. “Like who?’ Jennie asked slightly on the defensive. “I talked to you. Your someone.” “I know,” Carrie said quickly. “Um, but maybe an adult could help you.” “No one can help,” Jennie said. “My case worker hates me. She doesn’t believe me about the abuse and me almost being hurt. I don’t know who else to talk to. I trust you.” Carrie nodded. “Okay. I’m sorry. I just thought that someone else could help you.” “No thank you,” Jennie said quietly. “My life is not like your’s. You have a family, people who love you. I don’t.” “Jennie,’ Carrie said, “You have me. And if you trust me enough, maybe someday I can help you more.” Jennie nodded. “Yeah, thank you. I would like that. But not now.” Carrie nodded with understanding. The girls embraced just as the bell rang for first period. At that moment, Carrie realized that she and Jennie were bonded together. They were secret sisters. Jennie had trusted Carrie enough to share herself with her,and that touched Carrie deeply. Carrie was going to honor that. As the girls made their way to the front of the library, Carrie realized that she and Jennie had missed home room. Mrs. Parker smiled at the girls,and handed them passes for their first period teachers. The girls gratefully thanked the librarian as they made their way to their first period class.
Oh man. Steve + Benjy + Chutes and Ladders...agh, that's such an adorable visual. Great conversation with S&K, too, I love that Steve was willing to look into the case even though he knows it could be difficult. You capture them so well!
The Frankie and Jennie backstory you created is so compelling. Broke my heart to read but so well crafted. Loved too that Carrie sees Jennie as a secret sister and appreciates how bonded the two of them are. So happy I had a chance to finally catch up on this story! I can't wait for more.
Post by wildheartashley on Mar 26, 2023 20:27:45 GMT -5
Steve finished up the last of his work for the day. As he filed away his paperwork of cases that were in progress he heard the front door of his office open. Steve glanced at the door,and saw Frankie standing in the doorway. “Hey there dude,” Steve greeted. “What’s up my man?” Frankie grinned as he sauntered into Steve’s office, closing the door behind him. “I did it man,” Frankie declared. “I asked Jennifer Horton to the Homecoming dance.” Steve stared at Frankie expectantly. “Yeah,” Steve said. “And? What did she say?” Frankie stood in silence for a moment. “Francis,” Steve said. “You’re killing me here.” Frankie grinned and snickered slightly. “She said yes, man. Jennifer said yes.” Steve clapped Frankie gleefully on the arm. “Alright man. I knew you could do it. So when’s the big dance?” Frankie rolled his eyes. “Man, remember what I said. No big deal. It’s just a stupid dance.” Steve put his hand up in protest. “Dude, I know. I know. I promise, Kayla and I will tone it down.” Frankie breathed a sigh of relief. “Um, the dance is Saturday.” “Cool,” Steve said simply. “Yeah,’ Frankie said. “Guess I need to wear something nice. Ma wants to take me shopping for something to wear. You know, like a blazer or something.” “Let her,” Steve reasoned. “She wants to, I’m sure.” “Yeah, yeah,” Frankie said. “I know. I will. Jennifer told me that she bought a new dress and whatever. So, I should look nice for her, I guess.” “Of course you should,” Steve agreed. Frankie looked at Steve thoughtfully. He opened his mouth to say something, but then stopped himself. “What?” Steve asked questioningly. “Um, I went over to Roman’s yesterday cause I knew that Jennifer was watching the twins after school,and I asked her,” Frankie explained. “And when I was there, I met one of Carrie’s friends.” “Oh,” Steve said curiously. “One of the cheerleaders?” “No,” Frankie said. “Carrie’s friend, Jennie.” “Okay,” Steve said. “And?” Frankie sank into a chair across from Steve’s desk. He looked at Steve sadly. “I know her,” Frankie said quietly. “I know Jennie. We were in the same foster home together. Me, Max, and Jennie.” Steve was quiet for a moment. “I see,” Steve said. “Yeah,” Frankie said. “She was never adopted,and Max and I were.” “I know,” Steve said with emotion. “That stupid jerk hurt Max,” Frankie said in a choked voice. “And he almost hurt Jennie, but I stopped him.” “What happened?” “Jennie stabbed him in the arm with a fork,and I threatened him with a knife. After that I knew that I had to leave with Max and Jennie. But she wouldn’t go with me. I wanted her to, but she was too scared.” Steve watched as Frankie’s face crumbled in pain,and a tear slid from the corner of his left eye. “Man, if she would have come with us, maybe she could have been adopted too,” Frankie said, his voice thick with emotion. “You can’t blame yourself for what happened,” Steve said quietly. “Dude, I can,” Frankie said a bit loudly. “Max and I were adopted,and now she’s in a stupid group home.” “How do you know this?” “Jennifer and I gave her a ride home yesterday,” Frankie explained. “I felt so bad dropping her off there. I let her down. I didn’t protect her.” Steve got up from his chair and went around his desk. He sat in the chair next to Frankie. He firmly put his hand on Frankie’s shoulder. “Francis, look at me,” Steve said firmly. Frankie turned his face to Steve as another tear fell from his eye. “You did all that you could do for Jennie. The situation was out of your hands. You couldn’t force her to come with you, if she was too scared.” Frankie began to cry. “I just feel so guilty. Max and I have this great life with the Brady’s,and there’s Jennie, in some dumpy group home. Shawn and Caroline love me. And,” Frankie’s voice dropped off as sobs took over his body. Steve wrapped his arms around Frankie. “I know, man. I know,’ Steve said. “I got you. I got you.” Steve held Frankie tightly as the younger cried. Steve and Frankie stayed in this position for a while. Frankie finally broke away from Steve, and wiped his tear stained face with the back of his hand. “I know how you feel,” Steve said softly. “When I lived in the orphanage, I had promised myself to protect my baby brother. I was Billy’s protector, until I wasn’t.” Frankie nodded. “Yeah, but Billy was adopted,” Frankie reasoned. “This is a bit different. I promised Jennie that I would protect her,and I didn’t. Billy was taken from you. I left Jennie.” “Maybe so,” Steve reasoned. “But you could still be there for Jennie. You know where she is now.” Frankie was thoughtful for a long time. “Maybe you’re right,” Frankie agreed. “If she’ll still have me. I know where she lives now. I could go visit her.” “There you go,” Steve said. “Jennie could have you and Carrie. Kayla and I met Jennie last week or so. She seems like a sweet girl. She was really good with Benjy.” Frankie nodded. “Yeah, I taught her to sign. Did she sign with Benjy?” Steve shook his head yes. “Now I understand how she learned how to sign, now that you’ve told me this. Frankie, talk to Shawn and Caroline. They’d want to know why you’re upset.” “Maybe,” Frankie said. “Um, I should get going.” Frankie stood from the chair, as Steve did the same. Steve gave Frankie one last hug before Frankie left his office. Steve’s heart went out to Frankie. He could understand how he was feeling to a degree. Steve’s thoughts drifted to his baby brother, Jack, as he heard a knock at his office door. “Come in,” Steve called absently. Steve’s office door opened slowly. Ellen entered Steve’s office. Steve glanced up. His mouth dropped open in shock. “Ellen,” Steve said in dismay. “Hello Steve,” Ellen said as she shut the door behind her.
Post by wildheartashley on Apr 2, 2023 10:41:03 GMT -5
Steve felt the color drain from his face as he stared at the woman in front of him. “Ellen,” Steve breathed. Ellen smiled meekly. “Hello Steve.” Steve motioned for Ellen to sit in a chair. He did the same as he slid back into his chair at his desk. “You look good,” Ellen said. “It’s been a long time,” Steve said. “Too long,” Ellen agreed. “So, what can I do for you?” “Um,” Ellen said nervously as she began to fidget with her purse strap. “A nurse at the Riverfront clinic gave me your card. She said that you might be able to help me.” Steve flashed to his conversation with Kayla from the night before. Ellen was Benjy’s mother, and then there was Ellen’s daughter. Steve nodded. “Yes, you talked to my wife Kayla.” Ellen nodded. “Yes, she is very kind. Um,” Ellen’s voice dropped. “Hey,” Steve said softly. “Kayla said that you might be coming to see me.” Ellen nodded. “She told you about Benjy?” “She did,” Steve said. “We’re keeping your boy safe. I promise.” “Thank you,” Ellen said softly as a single tear slid from her eye. “Um, I need your help.” “Yeah, Kayla told me. Your daughter,” Steve replied. Ellen shook her head. “I had gotten pregnant,” Ellen explained. “When I was living in California. It was shortly after I had seen you.” Steve felt the color drain from his face. He felt his stomach drop. “What happened to the child?” Steve already knew what had happened from what Kayla had told him, but he wanted Ellen to say it. “I gave her up,” Ellen said quietly. “I didn’t want to. I tried to care for her, but I was all alone. I couldn’t handle it.” “I had left,” Steve said in a choked up voice. “I didn’t know where you were at,” Ellen said sadly. “I had asked around,and some guys from the bar told me that you had joined the Merchant Marines.” “I did,” Steve said. “I had no idea,” Steve continued. “If I knew,” his voice trailed off. “You didn’t know,” Ellen said. “I don’t blame you. I wanted to keep her. I thought I could make it work, until I couldn’t.” Steve nodded sadly. “And you want me for what exactly?” “Her name is Jennie. My daughter’s name is Jennie,” Ellen said. “I want to hire you to find Jennie. I moved from California after I gave her up. I never knew what happened to her. I at least know what happened to Benjy. I now know that he is safe with you and your wife. I don’t have that reassurance with Jennie. I want that.” “So you want me to find out if Jennie has been adopted?” “Exactly,” Ellen said. “Please Steve. You were so nice to me when I knew you in California. I had no idea that you were Nurse Kayla’s husband. I never thought I’d see you again.” “Well, here I am, baby,” Steve said dryly. “I’m sorry,” Ellen said softly. “I understand if this puts you in a tough position. I mean with your wife.” “No,” Steve said a bit softer. “I’m sorry. We have separate lives now. We have moved on.” Ellen nodded sadly. “Yes, I’m married and so are you. I just want to know if my girl is okay. Please.” Steve was quiet for a long moment. He never thought he would ever see Ellen again. There one night together was only one night,and then he had joined the Merchant Marines. After leaving the Marines, he felt not worthy of love because of his eye injury. The thought of even trying to look for Ellen was incomprehensible,and now she was sitting in front of him. And then there was Kayla. He had moved on with Kayla, his wife. A woman whom he loved more then life itself. And then there was the child, the girl. Steve couldn’t help but wonder if he was the father, yet at the same time, he couldn’t bring himself to ask Ellen. Maybe he was better off not knowing for the time being. “Steve,” Ellen said softly. “Please.” Steve was broken from his thoughts. “Okay. I’ll help you. I’ll try to find your daughter, but I can’t make any promises.” Ellen smiled gratefully at Steve. “Thank you,” Ellen said. “Thank you so much. I’ll pay you. What do you charge?” “I won’t ask for money right now,” Steve said slowly. “Why don’t we wait and see what I come up with first.” “No. I can’t do that,” Ellen said. She opened her purse and pulled an envelope out. She slid the envelope across Steve’s desk. He took the envelope,and opened it. “Is that enough?” Ellen asked. Steve looked at the money inside the envelope. “That will do,” he said. “Good,’ Ellen said as she stood. “I’ll come back in a few days.” “I can call you when I have something to report,” Steve offered. “No,” Ellen said quickly. “My husband can’t find out what I’m doing. He would never approve.” Steve stood. “Ellen, Kayla and I can help you. You don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship.” “No,” Ellen said quickly. “Bart loves me. Besides, you are helping. You are caring for my Benjy,and you’ve agreed to find my Jennie. That’s all the help that I need.” Steve nodded as he sat back in his chair. He motioned for Ellen to sit. He explained that he needed to get some information from her about Jennie, so that he had a place to start from to find her. Ellen understood,and gave all the information that she could about Jennie. Lastly, Ellen pulled out a picture from her purse,and handed it to Steve. “Here’s a picture of Jennie,” Ellen explained. “It was taken before I gave her up. You can keep it.” Steve looked down at the picture. Staring up at him was a beautiful baby girl with bright blue eyes. “I don’t need this,” Steve explained. “You gave me what I needed to begin my search.” Ellen shook her head. “No, I want you to keep it. I’ll be back soon.” Before Ellen or Steve could say another word, Ellen stood quickly. She rushed out of Steve’s office, shutting the door behind her as she left. Steve stared in bewilderment at the picture of Jennie,and wondered if he was staring into the face of his little girl.
Wow, what a chapter!! Such a terrific scene between Ellen and Steve. Even my Stayla loving heart appreciates the backstory you fleshed out for them, and that twist with Jennie! Yeah, I need the next installment ASAP!
Post by wildheartashley on Apr 10, 2023 16:59:27 GMT -5
Author’s Note: Sorry for the delay in posting. With yesterday’s Easter festivities, I didn’t get home till late. I wanted to post the next update instead of waiting another week. Thanks so much for all the feedback,and I hope you enjoy the latest chapter.
Steve sat in his car staring at the picture of Jennie. His thoughts were all over the place. He couldn’t go home not yet. He needed to digest what Ellen had told him,and what he had agreed to do. He had called home,and told his mother that he’d be late coming home. He asked her to tell Kayla that he was staying late at work to work on a case,and that he’d be home later. Steve felt bad not exactly being truthful with his mother and Kayla, but the truth was that he was working on a case, at least coming to terms, or trying to come to terms with a case at any rate. Jo promised that she’d relay the message to Kayla. Steve now found himself driving the streets of Salem. His thoughts drifted to Ellen and the picture of Jennie. He never thought that he’d ever see Ellen again. What they had shared was so long ago. It was only one night. She had been a waitress at a seedy bar that Steve would frequently visit when he was living in California. Steve would often go into the bar,and order a beer or two. He’d innocently flirt with Ellen. She’d flirt back. Steve never had known if she really meant the flirtation, but he just figured that it was innocent fun. Always before he left that bar, he would give Ellen a generous tip for the evening. He could tell that Ellen didn’t have much,and Steve could understand how that was. He too didn’t have much. He didn’t know why he felt so compelled to help her, but he did.
Steve was broken from his thoughts when his car pulled up at the Cheatin Heart Bar. Steve got out and went inside. He went to the bar and ordered a beer. After drinking his drink he went over to the pool table,and played a game of pool. As he played his thoughts drifted to Kayla. He remembered all the times that they had come to the Cheatin Heart together, and had played pool. All the kisses that they had shared between them as payment for a won pool game. Steve felt a pang of guilt for not being with her and Benjy tonight. He knew that he should be with his wife, not here playing pool.
Deciding not to finish the game of pool, Steve left the bar. He got back in his car, and continued to drive. After driving for a short time, he found himself in front of his best friend’s apartment, Marcus Hunter. Steve had to talk to someone,and he figured that Marcus was his man. He wasn’t sure what he’d tell Marcus, but Steve had to talk to someone before going home. He just hoped that Marcus was home,and not working at the hospital tonight. Steve parked his car,and got out. He walked up to Marcus’s front door,and rang the doorbell. Within a few shorts seconds, the front door opened. “Steve, my man,” Marcus greeted. “What’s up?” “Hey,” Steve said. “Not much. Just thought I’d come visit for a bit.” Marcus nodded as he moved aside for Steve to enter the apartment. “You’re just in time for pizza.” Steve nodded. “Pizza would be great,” Steve replied. Steve followed Marcus into the kitchen. “I just got the pie,” Marcus explained. “It’s still hot. Want a beer or something?” “No beer, man,” Steve said. “I already had one tonight.” Marcus nodded, understanding what his friend was saying. Instead Marcus got two glasses from the cabinet,and filled them with water and ice. He took the water along with two plates to the kitchen table. He sat the water and a plate in front of Steve. Both men dug into the pizza that was sitting in front of them. “Rough day today,” Marcus observed. “I figured you’d be home with Kayla by now.” Steve chewed his bite of pizza slowly. “I just wasn’t ready to go home quite yet. And today was rough. I’m glad you’re here. I thought you might be working a shift at the hospital tonight.” Marcus grinned. “I thought about it, but I finally decided against it. Besides if I had then I wouldn’t be able to have dinner with you. I miss you man. It’s been a while.” “yeah, it has,” Steve said absently. “I’ve just been busy with work,and Kayla, and Benjy.” Marcus put his hand up in protest. “Man, you don’t need to explain. I know. You’re a newlywed,and you and Kay have Benjy now. It’s cool. I’m happy for you. Really.” Steve nodded. “Yeah,” he said just as absently as before. Marcus put his pizza on his plate. “What’s up dude? You said today was rough. Everything okay?” “I don’t know,” Steve confessed. “I just needed someone to talk to before heading home.” “Sure,” Marcus said. Steve took a drink of water before talking. Steve took a deep breath, and then told Marcus about Ellen. He told him how they had met while Steve was still living in California. He told Marcus how they had met when Steve had gone to the bar in California. How Ellen was a waitress there. How he had flirted with Ellen, just playfully. And then finally Steve told Marcus about his one night stand with Ellen. How Steve had been drunk one night,and Ellen had taken him back to her apartment,and how they had slept together. And then the pregnancy. Steve finished his story by telling Marcus about Ellen getting pregnant,and Steve not knowing,and how Ellen gave her child up. Marcus listened intently. “And now she came to me today,and she wants me to find her daughter,” Steve finished. “I said that I’d help, but.” Steve’s voice cut off. “You wonder if the girl is yours?” Marcus asked. Steve nodded sadly. “I do,” Steve agreed. “But in some ways, I don’t want to know. I was a different man back then.” “We both were,” Marcus agreed. Steve shook his head. “No, man, you weren’t,” Steve countered. “You just got into Med school. You were going places. I was stuck. I had no idea what I was doing with my life.” “And you joined the Merchant Marines,” Marcus interrupted. “That’s something.” “Yeah, and I left Ellen, alone and pregnant.” “You didn’t know, man,” Marcus said. “And besides, do you even know if this girl is actually your daughter.” Steve shook his head sadly. “I don’t know.” Marcus nodded. “And man, you do so have a lot going on now. You’ve got a beautiful loving wife, who loves you. And you’ve got Benjy. That boy adores you. And you got your Mama and Adrienne.” “I know. I know,” Steve said. “I’m not trying to complain. It’s just that my life was so different in California then it is now. What if I find this girl,and by doing so, I learn that she’s my daughter?” Marcus was quiet for a long moment. “I might have a kid out there,” Steve continued. “A real daughter that is mine.” “If that is true,’ Marcus said slowly, “Ellen gave her up.” “But I didn’t,” Steve countered sadly. Marcus shook his head. “You’d have a right to her if it could be proven that the girl was indeed your daughter.” “Yeah,” Steve said. “But if she has been adopted, I couldn’t take her away from her family. Besides, I have Kayla and Benjy.” “I think you should tell Kayla about this,” Marcus said in a determined voice. Steve stared at Marcus with a hard look. “Man,” Marcus said just as determined. “You came to me for advice, right? I’m telling you. Tell your wife about Ellen and your past. Tell her about the girl. She’d understand. She loves you.” Steve nodded. He knew that Marcus was right. He just wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to tell Kayla about his past.
Post by wildheartashley on Apr 16, 2023 9:23:08 GMT -5
Kayla took the mug of warm milk out of the microwave. Benjy walked over to Kayla. He signed to her. “Steve still not home.” Kayla nodded. “I know,” Kayla signed back. “He’ll be home soon, honey.” Kayla sat the mug on the counter,and motioned to the cinnamon and nutmeg on the counter. Benjy slightly grinned. “Benjy’s drink ready?” He signed. Kayla nodded yes. Kayla and Steve had learned from Benjy that his mother would always give him warm milk before going to bed, if she thought that Benjy might have a hard time sleeping. Benjy had told Kayla and Steve this. Kayla had thought of this in the past few days, when thinking back to her conversation with Ellen. Kayla wanted to keep Ellen alive for Benjy. She knew that Ellen still loved her son,and if she could do little things for Benjy, so he didn’t forget his mother, then Kayla was going to do that. Tonight, Kayla noticed that Benjy seemed bothered that Steve wasn’t home for dinner. As the night went on, Benjy seemed to be more anxious that Steve was not yet home from work. Kayla had tried to reassure Benjy that Steve would be home soon, but Benjy was still bothered by Steve’s absence. Kayla thought that a mug of warm milk might be in order tonight to help Benjy sleep. “Benjy add the toppings?” He signed to Kayla. “Yes,” Kayla said. “A little cinnamon and a little nutmeg. One shake of each.” Benjy nodded in understanding. He took each spice,and gently shook it into his warm milk. “Enough?” He signed to Kayla. “Yes,” Kayla said. “Now you stir it.” Benjy took a spoon from the counter,and stirred his warm milk. He breathed in the scent of milk, cinnamon,and nutmeg. “Milk smell good,” Benjy signed. “Benjy drink now?” “Sure,” Kayla said. Benjy took the mug,and began to drink the warm milk slowly. As he was finishing his drink, Steve walked into the kitchen. Upon seeing Steve, Benjy put his mug on the counter,and rushed over to Steve. “Steve home,” Benjy signed excitedly. “Hey little man,” Steve said slowly. “Having a little drink before bed?” “Benjy want Steve for bed,” Benjy signed. “Milk help Benjy sleep.” Steve felt a tug at his heart. He ruffled Benjy’s hair. “I’m here now, little man. I’m sorry I wasn’t here for dinner.” Steve kissed Benjy’s milk mustache. “Why don’t I tuck you in.” Benjy nodded yes. “Stewart Little too?” Benjy signed. “We can read for a little bit,” Steve said. Benjy clapped his hands excitedly. He went over to Kayla,and hugged her good night. “Bye Kayla,” Benjy signed. “Good night, sweetie,” Kayla said. “Sweet dreams.” She kissed Benjy on the head, before he ran upstairs to his room. Steve kissed Kayla on the cheek before going up to tuck Benjy in bed. “I’ll be back Sweetness.” Within fifteen minutes, Steve was back downstairs from putting Benjy to bed. Kayla was sitting in the living room. She smiled upon seeing Steve enter the room. “He missed you tonight,” she said. “I know,” Steve said as he joined Kayla on the couch. “I’m sorry baby. Work kept me over.” “Hey, it’s okay,” Kayla replied. “Your mom told me that you were staying late tonight because of a case. Benjy and I managed.” Steve nodded. “Guess I didn’t realize how attached Benjamin was to me.” Kayla nodded. “He loves you.” “Yeah,” Steve said absently. “I love my little man.” “I know you do,” Kayla agreed. “So do I.” Steve stared ahead, not really focusing on one thing.Kayla put her hand gently on Steve’s arm. “Honey, what is it? Are you okay?” “Ellen came to see me today,” Steve said. “She asked me to find her daughter.” Kayla raised her eyebrow in curiosity. “What did you say?” “I agreed to help her,” Steve said. “That’s wonderful,” Kayla said. “I’m glad. Hopefully you can give her some closure.” “Yeah, hopefully so.” “Are you okay?” Kayla asked with concern. “You seem kind of far away, Ike you have a lot on your mind.” “I’m sorry baby,” Steve said. “Guess Ellen’s case is just weighing on me. I’m fine. Just need some sleep.” Kayla kissed Steve gently on the cheek. “Why don’t we go to sleep.” Steve kissed her back. “Sounds good, baby.” Steve and Kayla went up to their bedroom. They settled into bed. Steve felt conflicted as he tried to sleep that night. He laid in bed, watching Kayla peacefully sleep beside him. He tossed and turned as he tried to sleep, but his thoughts drifted to Ellen and Jennie. After laying in bed for over an hour, Steve decided that he just couldn’t sleep. He gently got up, as to not wake Kayla,and went back downstairs. He retrieved Benjy’s file from the safe,and settled on the couch. Since getting Benjy, both Steve and Kayla had read Benjy’s file multiple times, allowing themselves to learn about the boy,and where he had come from. But tonight, Steve was reading Benjy’s file for a different reason. Tonight, in the dim light of the living room, he was reading the boy’s file to learn about his mother. Steve was hoping to learn about Ellen,and her life after she had left California. He was hoping to find the littlest amount of information that could help him with his newest case,and learn about the woman who he thought that he would have never see again.
Post by wildheartashley on Apr 23, 2023 12:04:16 GMT -5
Steve felt a slight tugging on his arm as he began to stir from sleep. He groggily opened his eyes to find Benjy standing over him, staring at Steve curiously. Steve sat up on the couch, staring around the living room, sleepily. “Steve not in bed with Kayla,” Benjy signed. “Why?” Steve glanced at the digital clock on the VCR,and noticed that it was 7:16 AM. He must of fallen asleep in the living room last night after reading Benjy’s file. Steve slightly grinned at the boy. “Morning Benjamin,” Steve said. “You’re up early.” Benjy nodded. “Kayla making breakfast,” Benjy signed. “Grandma Jo is here. Why you sleep on the couch?” “I just couldn’t sleep last night,” Steve explained. “I came downstairs to read for a little bit,and I guess I fell asleep.” Benjy nodded in understanding. “Steve read a story?” “Sort of,” Steve said. “Why don’t you go in the kitchen for breakfast. I’ll be in soon.” Benjy nodded,and went into the kitchen to eat his breakfast. Steve breathed a sigh of relief as he got up from the couch. He was glad that he had returned Benjy’s file to the safe before he had fallen asleep on the couch the night before. The last thing that Steve needed was Benjy seeing the file,and asking questions about it. Steve went upstairs,and quickly showered. After his shower, Steve shaved,and dressed for the day, putting on a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt. As he finished getting ready, Steve thought back to the night before. From reading Benjy’s file, he had not found much information about Ellen that could majorly help his case to find Jennie. The only thing that Steve knew for certain that was Ellen loved her children. He could tell that from seeing her the day before,and from reading Benjy’s file. Steve’s thoughts then drifted to Jennie. Jennie was Benjy’s sister. He hated the fact that the siblings had been separated, but then again, Ellen had given Jennie up,and then married Benjy’s father. There was no way that the children would even know about one another. In getting to know Benjy, both he and Kayla had asked Benjy if he had any siblings,and the boy had said no. Benjy had no idea about Jennie’s existence. Knowing this fact, Steve’s heart still broke for Benjy,and even Jennie. Both of them had a sibling,and neither of them knew that fact. Steve couldn’t imagine his life without his sister. Adrienne was everything to him. And then there was his baby brother, Billy. Billy was known as Jack now. He had been adopted,and had his name changed to Jack. Steve and Jack’s relationship was strained to put it lightly, but none the less, the men were still brothers. This was a fact that Steve kept close to his heart. Steve made a promise to himself to find Jennie, for Ellen and Benjy.
Once done getting ready, Steve made his way back downstairs. He walked into the kitchen and was greeted with the aroma of coffee and toast. Both Kayla and Jo smiled upon seeing Steve walk into the kitchen. Benjy sat at the table, eating his breakfast of cereal and fruit,and a slice of toast with butter and strawberry jam. Steve walked over to Kayla and kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Morning Sweetness.” She kissed him back. “Morning. I missed you when I got up this morning.” Steve nodded. He glanced at his mother. “Morning Mama.” “Morning Steve,” Jo said easily. “Are you okay?” Steve wanted to roll his eyes but stopped himself. He had to remind himself that Jo was just being a mother. It had been so long since he had had her in his life. There were still moments that he had to get used to with having her back. “I’m fine Mama,” Steve assured her. “I just had a hard time sleeping last night. I took a new case yesterday,and it’s just weighing on me.” Jo looked at her son worriedly. “Are you sure? It’s not like you to sleep on the couch.” Steve shrugged his shoulders. “Nah. I’m fine Mama. Really.” “Alright,” Jo said. She sounded unsure, but Steve was relieved when she didn’t say another word about it. Jo turned to Benjy. “Benjy,” Jo said clearly, “Why don’t I give you a ride to school this morning?” Benjy jumped up from the kitchen table excitedly. “Yes,” Benjy signed. “Benjy want a ride.” Jo smiled sweetly at the boy. “Okay. Let’s go brush those pearly whites of your’s and then we’ll go.” Benjy looked at Kayla and Steve slightly confused. “Pearly whites,” Benjy signed. “What are those, Kayla?” Kayla smiled at Benjy. “Pearly whites is another name for your teeth.” Benjy nodded. “Benjy go brush his teeth,” he signed. Jo looked at Steve and Kayla with an apologetic smile. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s okay, Mama,” Steve assured. “Benjamin is learning new words all the time. You’re fine.” Jo nodded,and went upstairs with Benjy. Steve went over to the coffee pot,and poured himself a cup of coffee. He sat down at the kitchen table. Kayla grabbed her mug of coffee,and joined Steve, sitting across from him. She glanced around before speaking. “You might have been able to fool your mother, but you can’t fool me, Steve Johnson. What’s wrong? I know that something is bothering you.” Before Steve could answer Kayla’s question, Benjy and Jo came back downstairs. Benjy had his backpack,and Jo had retrieved Benjy’s lunch from the fridge. Hugs, kisses,and good-byes were exchanged between Steve, Kayla,and Benjy before Benjy left for school. Jo took Benjy’s hand,and they both left the house, closing the door behind them. Kayla looked pointedly at Steve again. “Alright, I’ve got some time, before I have to get to the clinic. Spill. What’s wrong? Why did you sleep on the couch last night?” Steve took a sip of coffee. He knew that it was now or never. He knew that Marcus was right. He had to tell Kayla about Ellen.