March 27, 2014

Chase: Week Fourteen, Day Five

Neurotic Obsession: Chase and Yvonne declare a truce on a family-oriented Feast Day.

"Oh," Yvonne muttered, stopping short when she saw that Chase was already in the nursery.  "I didn't know you were in here."
Chase glanced back over his shoulder as he was lifting Farrah out of the crib.  "I'm surprised to see in here," he said without thinking. 

He watched as Yvonne's face instantly shuttered.
"Well, I'll just grab Farrah and be out of your way," she snapped, turning her back on him.
"Wait!" he called out before she could leave the room. "I'm sorry!" Chase said quickly.  "I didn't mean anything by that.  I'm just used to doing everything myself.."
"Chase, we've gone over this! Just because you don't think we should rely heavily on nannies doesn't mean that I have to pick up the slack..." Yvonne huffed.

"No! No! I know! I'm sorry. This isn't coming out right."  He said mournfully, shaking his head.   It seemed that every conversation with Yvonne had become a battle.  He chose his next words more carefully.  "It's good to see you spending time with the girls."

Yvonne shrugged.  "I am their mother," she said with a voice tinged with hurt.  "Just because I have other ambitions doesn't mean that I don't love them the same as you do."

Chase winced as he watched little Eva looking back and forth between her parents.  "Truce today, okay?" he asked.

Yvonne nodded tersely and left the room.

***

"Dad! Tracy!" Chase said as he hugged his father.  "I'm glad you could make it!"
Ace patted his son on the shoulder.  "As if you could keep me away! How are the grand kids?" he asked with a grin. 

"They're precious. Do you want to come see them?" Chase asked.

"Lead the way!"
Ace hefted his granddaughter up in his arms and snuggled her against his chest.  "Look at you, little Princess!" he said with a grin.  "You must be the prettiest little girl in the whole town!"

"Paw-paw!" Eva giggled when her Grandpa Ace's fingers mischievously found her ticklish spot. 
"Oh no, Princess! I can't control it! The Tickling Hand is going to get you!" Ace teased as he swung his hand around wildly, pretending it had a life of it's own.

Chase watched his father with Eva and smiled as the two laughed and giggled. "I'll just leave you two kids alone. I'm going to see if Yvonne needs any help in the kitchen."

Ace nodded with a grin.  "Smart man."

Chase scoffed as he walked out.  If only...
He shouldn't have been surprised that Yvonne shooed him away.  She had everything under control, she'd assured him.  The family just made small talk as they waited for the turkey to finish.
"Dinner is served!" Yvonne called out. 

Ace headed into the dining room where Yvonne had set up a buffet.  "Everything smells good, Yvonne," he complimented her. 

"Of course it does, sugar.  I did it myself!" she grinned at him saucily. 

Her smile hit him like a ton of bricks in his heart.  There was his wife!  She wasn't gone, just in hidingAnd he'd find a way to get her back...
When everyone was seated in the dining room, Yvonne raised her glass and smiled around the table.  "A toast! To a wonderful family!" she said.  Everyone clinked their glasses, laughing and talking, catching with others lives.

Chase glanced around the table and smiled as he clinked glasses with Yvonne.  "To our family," he murmured.

Yvonne met his eyes and smiled.  "To our family," she agreed.
Devon cleared his throat, "If I can have everyone's attention!" he called out.  "My lovely wife and I have an announcement!"

Eyes turned towards Devon and Cornelia. 

Satisfied he had everyone's attention, Devon held up his glass again and announced, "My baby's having a baby!"

Aunt Holly squealed with excitement and started peppering Cornelia with questions about her due date and if she was hoping for a boy or a girl. 

"Congratulations, Devon," Chase said with a smile.

"Thanks, bro," Devon said. 
As people got up and started to mingle again, Chase headed to the sink and began doing the dishes.  It was good having all his family around.  There was so much joy and happiness surrounding them today.
"Congratulations," Yvonne said, feeling annoyed that everyone was so happy just because Cornelia and Devon had managed to make a baby.  What about all Cornelia's other accomplishments? Becoming a well-known photo-journalist? Did all that count for nothing just because some baby had taken up residence in her belly?! 

"Thanks, Yvonne. It means a lot to me, coming from you! I was hoping you'd have some good parenting tips!" Cornelia said, rubbing her stomach.

Yvonne pulled her gaze up from Cornelia's belly bump and gave a tight smile. "Well, sugar, thankfully Chase is really more of the hands-on-dad.  It leaves me free to focus on business."

Cornelia's eyebrows shot up.  "Oh, so maybe I should talk to Chase..." she managed to say politely.
Yvonne was saved from trying to salvage the plummeting conversation by Topher.  "Hey, Yvonne. I'm going to take the kiddos home.  Everything was great.  Thanks for having us," he said as he shrugged into his coat.

"Oh, of course, sugar," Yvonne said.  "They're growing up so fast.  Looks like Cesar just had a growth spurt!" she said, nodding towards Topher & Holly's eldest son in the blue tuxedo.

"Yeah, you always think you'll have more time when they're little - but then you turn around and it seems they're almost grown!" he said wistfully, looking back at his younger son, Ahmad.
"Daddy, is it time to go yet?" Yesenia asked. 

Topher smiled in apology at Yvonne.  "I guess that's my cue. Let's go sweet pea," he said, curving his arm around his daughter's shoulder.  "Time to go."
Yvonne was watching them go, feeling a pinch of something... was it regret? 

Chase pulled her from her musing when he leaned forward and gave her a peck on the lips.  "Happy Feast Day," he told her in a low voice. 

She lowered her gaze, almost shyly.  After all, it had been quite awhile since they'd really touched at all.  "Happy Feast Day."

"I had a great day today," he told her, hoping that their truce lasted longer than tonight.  In fact.. he was really hoping she might not roll away from him tonight when they went upstairs to bed...

A man could always hope... right?!

March 14, 2014

Chase: Week Fourteen, Day Four

Neurotic Obsession:  Chase and Yvonne settle into a frosty feud with no idea how to stop it...

Chase woke up early and went downstairs to check on the girls.  Hopefully he could feed Farrah and get her back to sleep before she managed to wake up Eva!  Juggling both girls would take some finesse on his part...

...if only he could count on Yvonne to help...
He heard her coming down the stairs, but didn't turn to say good-morning.  They hadn't talked much since they'd brought little Farrah home.  They were engaged in an all-out cold-shoulder war...

...and it didn't feel like either of them were winning, he thought sadly.
Yvonne glanced at Chase's back as she prepared to leave.  He'd been so mad at her since Farrah had been born.  She supposed he had good reason.  And now he wouldn't look at her - wouldn't talk to her. 
She turned away.  She was afraid she was going to lose him...
The minute Yvonne walked out the door, Chase's shoulders slumped in defeat.  It was like he was losing her...
But he didn't have time to stew over it.  Eva was up and demanding to be let out of the crib.  Farrah was wailing in her crib.  And he still had to practice his music before the symphony played tonight.

 ***

"Thanks for meeting me here," Yvonne's new boss, Candace Landgraab, said as soon as they were seated. 

Yvonne smiled politely.  "Of course! I'm looking forward to getting to know you better! In fact, I was wanting to tell you about a few ideas I've had..."  Yvonne leaned forward and opened her mouth to launch into her presentation.

But, Candace held her hand up.  "One moment," she said.  "We're still waiting on one more person."  Looking up, she grinned widely, "Ah, there you are!" she said, waving her hand for the stranger to take a seat.
Yvonne turned her head to the side with a smile in place to greet their 3rd party-member...
 ...and the smile froze on her face.

"Felix." she said with a slight incline of her head.  "So nice to see you again."

If Felix felt awkward at all being in her presence, he didn't show it.  He merely nodded in her direction and murmured his greeting before turning his attention to Candace.
"Good. Now that my two top-level managers are here, we can get started. Yvonne, you've excelled at getting a number of high-profile accounts and that's why we've given you the promotion.  You have a winning way with people.  Felix, your strength is organization and strategy.  We'd like to see you two work together to collectively bring in new talent to Star Agency."
 Yvonne fought to maintain her calm.  She smiled charmingly at Candace.  "I thought one of the reasons I was given the promotion," she risked a glance towards Felix, who was grinning blandly, "was because my record spoke for itself! I have single-handedly brought in more high-dollar contracts than anyone else in the firm!"  Eat that, Felix! she thought snidely. 
Candace blotted her mouth and tossed her napkin down on the table.  "That is true. But now we want you two to work together."  Candace said as she stood up to leave.  "Enjoy the rest of your lunch, discuss your ideas and come to me in the morning with something good.  I don't need to remind you how good this will look in your file." 

"I am looking forward to it," Felix said cheerfully, leaning back in his chair.  "Yvonne and I have always worked so well together."

Candace met Yvonne's gaze.  "I trust this arrangement is amenable to you?" she asked. 

Yvonne swallowed and nodded.  "Of course, Candace!  I can't wait to see what we bounce off each other!"  I'd like to bounce a 10-lb bowling ball off his head! she added silently.

"Good!" And then Candace was gone.
When Candace was gone, Yvonne's smile dropped and she stood up abruptly with a strangled cry of exasperation.  "Ugh! How is the world did you manage to finesse this?!" she said accusingly.

"Hey! It's not my idea of a great time, either!" Felix said heatedly as he stood up with her. 

Yvonne glared at her old friend and boss.
Felix softened first.  "Look, I'm sorry about the things I said. I was upset. I never should've said it.  You know I've always thought you were one of the best agents.  That's why I pushed for all those promotions..."

"You pushed for my promotions?" she asked.

Felix shrugged.  "Well, yeah. I just didn't think they'd eventually pass me over..." 

Yvonne chewed her lip as she thought about the hurtful things he'd said to her that afternoon.  He'd basically insinuated that she'd used sexual favors to get where she was. 

Even worse than that - she worried there might be a grain of truth.  She hadn't slept with him, of course... 

But, she'd flirted with him and he'd been quite blatant about his attraction for her. 

And now she found out that he'd been pushing for her promotions all along.  Promotions that she'd always thought she'd earned solely on her own merit and hard-work. 
They each lapsed into silence. 
Until Felix broke the ice.  "Look, we're both adults. I think it's best that we put all that behind us so that we can concentrate on our proposal for Landgraab.  There's no reason things have to be awkward between us," Felix said magnanimously, holding his hands out to the side in a gesture of good will.  "Now, when I was coming up, I overheard you saying that you had some ideas..."

March 13, 2014

Chase: Week Fourteen, Day Three

Neurotic Obsession:  Yvonne is not as excited as Chase is about having another child...

Yvonne couldn't believe it.  She was pregnant again!  Apparently that morning hangover had actually been the start of morning sickness!

Chase was over-the-moon excited about it, of course.
He'd even attempted to talk to the child currently residing in her belly...
 "No!" she'd cried out crabbily.  "No talking to the baby through my stomach!"
"I'm just excited, Yvonne," Chase said sadly, cautiously adding,  "Aren't you?"

Yvonne only hesitated a moment.  "Of course I am, sugar," she said unconvincingly.
As she headed to work, Yvonne caught sight of Eva playing in the corner with her little doll.  Her shoulders tensed.  She'd just gotten used to the idea of caring for one child - but now there were going to be two children demanding her attention, not to mention Chase!

***

Yvonne couldn't help the smile that lit her face.  Not only had she landed the Hutchison contract, but she'd also been called into Candace Landgraab's office for a little "chat."  Mrs. Landgraab had told her that she was very impressed with her record and had offered her the Department Head position! 

"Felix! Sugar!" she called out when she saw Felix headed towards her.  She couldn't wait to tell him her good news, already picturing his strong arms...
"What? What do you want?" Felix snapped crossly.

Yvonne's smile fell flat.  "What's the matter?" she asked with concern.  "What's happened?"  Felix looked livid with her...
 "Are you kidding?" he exploded.  "Are you really that blind? You stole my promotion! I've been on the short list for the promotion for months and Landgraab passed me over for you!"

"Felix..." Yvonne said with a shaky voice, "What are you talking about?"
Felix just scoffed.  "You played me, Yvonne!"  Angrily, he raked his hands through his hair.  "You came on real strong, sugar this and sugar that and I fell for it - hook, line, and sinker!  You screwed me in a completely different way than I had been dreaming about!  Well, you better come up with a new schtick soon, sugar, because I can tell you that Landgraab doesn't swing that way!"
Yvonne's hand out shot out and slapped Felix across the face.  "I have got my promotions based on merit! And for you to suggest anything otherwise just shows how intimated and inadequate you are!" she said with clenched teeth.  She turned around to leave, but stopped and turned around, poking him in the chest.  "And, sugar, you must have been dreaming to assume that we were anything more than friends!"

Felix raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at her burgeoning belly.  "I think that's completely apparent." 

Yvonne turned on her heel and stalked off to her car so she missed the expression on Felix's face...

***

Yvonne was still livid when she got home.  She flung her keys on the counter and stormed around the house, muttering under her breath about what a jackass Felix had turned out to be!  To insinuate that she had gotten her promotions by any means other than hard work and determination was... it was just so... UGH!

She angrily wiped the tears that began filling her eyes.  She would absolutely not cry over him!

Damn pregnancy hormones!
And where was Chase? He should've been home by now! She left a message on his cell phone, asking him to call her as soon as he got the message.  She did not need any more stress tonight!

So of course Eva crawled up right to Yvonne's feet and started crying, "Dada! Dada!"
"Daddy will be home soon," Yvonne promised as she bent down to pick her up.  But Eva was not in the mood to settle for anything less than Daddy.  NOTHING was working!  Yvonne stroked her hair, walked her around the room, tried to distract her with a toy - NOTHING! 

"Stop it! Stop crying!" Yvonne shouted, which only made Eva cry louder.  By this time, Yvonne was about ready to join her.  Why couldn't anything go right?
When Chase finally made an appearance 30 minutes later, Yvonne shoved Eva into his arms the second he was through the door.

"Where WERE you?" she demanded.  "I called and you didn't answer! I needed you!" 

Chase caught himself rolling his eyes.  "Calm down, Yvonne!  It's nothing to get worked up about.  I stayed late to get some extra practice for our performance. Just go to bed, I'll take care of Eva."   He shook his head sadly.  "But how do you expect to handle Eva and the newborn if you can't even handle Eva alone for 30 minutes?!"  He started to walk away.
"I didn't even want to have kids!" she yelled in frustration.  "I was going to focus on my career! And now..."

Chase scowled. "Stop it, Yvonne! Stop!" he said loudly, interrupting her tirade.  "Don't ever say anything like that in front of Eva again!"  Chase couldn't believe how self-centered Yvonne was being!
 "I didn't want any of this..." she whispered sadly.  Then, with a sob, Yvonne gripped her belly.  Apparently those Braxton Hicks she'd been having all day had been the real thing all along.  "Oh, Chase. I think I'm in labor.  I need to get to the hospital..."
"Just calm down. I'll take care of everything," he promised as he grabbed their overnight bag and called Bethany to come over to watch Eva.  Within minutes, they were on their way to the hospital.

***

Chase gazed down at his beautiful daughter in Yvonne's arms.  They'd decided on the name Farrah Black. 
All that talk about not wanting to have kids.... that was just the hormones talking... Chase told himself as they headed out to the parking lot.  He was sure that  now that Yvonne was holding her daughter in her arms, she was just as happy as he was!

"She's beautiful, isn't she?" Chase asked softly with a huge grin.

Yvonne scowled at him nastily and walked off without him.
 Chase looked heavenward and sighed.   Or not...