April 29, 2015

Haley: Week Twenty-Five, Day One

Living Green Tip #6: The best part of growing vegetables is harvesting your vegetables. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, as it were.

Haley was tired of waking up and seeing Gage's leering gaze staring back at her.  Angrily, she grabbed it and hauled it upstairs to the attic.
She shoved it in a back corner, behind all sorts of furniture and keepsakes.  The garden gnome caught her eye.
She narrowed her eyes at the gift that Gage had left for her. How did it get up here? she wondered for a moment, before seething at yet another reminder of the lying, no-good snake.

"I hate you!" she yelled, kicking the gnome angrily.
As it fell, a piece chipped off the gnome's hat.  Good, she thought.  She wished it'd broken into a million pieces!

Feeling somewhat calmer now that she'd released some pent-up rage, she headed back out of the attic.  Her big mistake was now locked away and buried for all time!

***

Thinking about Gage must have unsettled my nerves more than I'd thought, Haley winced as her stomach tightened.  Quickly, she hurried down the stairs and into the bathroom, narrowly managing to throw up in the toilet.
She was so sick with regret, worry, and anger, she reasoned as she brushed her teeth to get the acidic taste out of her mouth.  Finding out that Gage had a family and that she was "the other woman" had really messed with her head.  Rachel insisted she tell the wife that his husband was a scumbag, Maritza thought she should just cut off all ties and she... she didn't know what she should do!

She was going to give herself an ulcer if she kept stewing about it, though!

***

"Good morning!" Haley said as she came down the stairs.
Rachel and Maritza were already awake and grabbing a quick breakfast.

Maritza glanced over at Haley and smiled.  "Good morning!" she called out happily while Rachel grunted her greeting.

Haley was used to it.  Rachel was not a morning person, even before she got pregnant!
Haley grabbed herself a bowl of cereal, sighing when Rachel started griping at Maritza. 

"I don't know why you have to be so damn chipper in the morning," Rachel snapped grumpily.
"I'm not doing it to annoy you!" Maritza said defensively. 

They were her very best friends, but Rachel and Maritza didn't always get a long!  "Guys, can we please not do this again," Haley started to interrupt before the girls could really get going.

"Oh dammit!" Rachel said, vaulting from her seat, surprising everyone.  "My water broke!"
"I'll get your bag!" Maritza called out, always ready in a crisis.

Haley blanked on what she was supposed to do when it was time.  She looked around the room in a panic until Maritza called out, "Haley! Call the doctor and tell her we're coming in!"

***

"Do you think she'd had the baby yet?" Haley asked nervously, pacing back and forth in front of the doors.  Because they weren't family, Haley and Maritza hadn't been allowed back with Rachel while she delivered.  "She's been back there a long time. Do you think anything's wrong?"

Maritza nodded. "I'm sure she's fine. I read that new mothers sometimes take hours to deliver."

Haley paled. "Hours?" she asked.  That sounded awful.

"Don't worry, she's in good hands!"

Haley nodded, if anyone would know, it would be Maritza.  She'd grown up in the hospital since her Dad was one of the doctors on call.  That, and she was practically a genius!
"You're right, what am I worried about?" Haley said.

Just then, Rachel came through the front door holding a precious bundle in her arms.

***

"He's so beautiful!" Maritza said as the girls gathered around the crib and looked in on Rachel's baby.

Haley turned to her friend and gave her a hug.  "You did great, Rach! I'm so happy for you!" Tears pricked her eyelids.

"I know! But I couldn't have done it without you guys," Rachel said with tears of her own in her eyes.  "Thank you both."  She turned and squeezed Maritza's hand. 
Rio started whimpering, so Rachel turned and scooped him from his crib.  "I love him so much already!" she whispered in awe.

***

Haley placed the veggies she picked into the basket as she hummed happily.  This was her first harvest!  She couldn't wait to make something with her fresh veggies!

Unfortunately, it would just be her tonight.  Rachel had gone over to her parent's house to show off Rio and Maritza had gone camping to find specimens.

That was fine with her, though. Haley certainly didn't have trouble being alone!
"If you ever pull a stunt like that again, I will make sure you never hear the end of it!" Gage said angrily as he stormed up the front walk.

Haley dropped her basket and whirled around.   "What?!" she asked nervously, taking a step back instinctively in the face of Gage's anger.  "What are you talking about?"

She hadn't seen him since she'd called to tell him that she'd seen him at the park and it was over.  He hadn't even cared that he'd been caught in a lie, he'd just been worried about her telling his wife.  The jerk.
"What am I talking about?! How about the stupid love letter you sent me to my home?" he shouted.

"Love letter?" she repeated, perplexed.  Then it dawned on her.  The love letter she'd sent to him. Back when she thought they'd had a real relationship.  Just another reminder of how absolutely stupid she had been.
"I sent that before I discovered you were a two-timing jerk!" Haley replied angrily.  "I didn't know you had a wife and children at home! I never would have lov... slept with you if I'd known!"
"Leave Corinne out of this!" Gage said angrily, sticking his finger back in her face.  "Thankfully I found the stupid letter before she did.  But pull another stunt like that and I'll make your life a living hell!"
"Believe me, I don't want anything to do with you!" She was so angry, she was worried she was going to cry in front of him.  Then the idiot would think she was crying because she was sad instead of mad.  "Just go away!" she shouted.  "I don't ever want to see you again!"

"EVER!" she yelled at his retreating back.

***

"Daddy!" Rachel smiled when Tomas opened the door with a grin.

"There's my girl! And my grandson! Come in, come in!" he said, stepping back.
Sonja was right at the door, ready to coo over her grandson.  "Look how handsome he is!" she said, leaning over to kiss Rachel's cheek.  "And you look beautiful, darling."
Rachel beamed under her parent's praise.  They'd been upset that she'd had a child out of wedlock, and then moved out, but they'd never made her feel any less loved.
Keely stepped out of her room and rolled her eyes at her parents fawning over her sister.  Whoopy-doo, so Rachel had popped out a kid... big deal!  "Could you keep it down?" she snapped before stepping back into her room and slamming the door.
"Don't mind her," Tomas said as he cradled Rio in his arms.  "She's a teenager.  She's just being moody."

Rachel rolled her eyes.  "I certainly don't miss her mood swings!"

"So how do you enjoy living at Haley's? You know you can always come home!" Sonja said.  "Your father and I miss you! And now we're going to miss out on little Rio growing up!"

"Mom, I'm 5 minutes away! You're not going to miss anything!" Rachel responded. 

"It's not the same," Sonja sighed.  "Well, are you going to stay for dinner?"

Rachel beamed.  Nobody cooked like her mom!  "I was hoping we'd have spaghetti?" she asked hopefully.

"Whatever you want!" Sonja beamed.  "Tomas, you keep Rio entertained while Rachel and I get dinner on the table."
It felt so good to be cooking with her mom in the kitchen again.
She couldn't count the number of times she'd stood by her mom's side, watching her cook, ever since she was little.
 "I love you, Mom," Rachel said, giving her mom a hug as she stirred the sauces.  "Nobody cooks like you!"

Sonja smiled at her daughter, now a mother, and she felt tears prick her eyes.  "Go on, go tell everyone to come to the table."
"This is really good, mom," Rose, now a teenager, said at the end of the table.  

"As usual," Tomas added.  Sonja did know her way around the kitchen and had made sure that all of her daughters could cook, as well!
Rachel glanced around the table.  She had missed dinners with her family!  Even though she'd moved out, she should really try to come back more often!

 ***

 "What do you think, Mittens? Is this a good place to camp for the night?" Maritza asked her cat, the stray kitten that had wormed it's way into her heart.  Although, with her love of animals, it wasn't that difficult!
 Meow!  Mittens took off at a run in the opposite direction.
"Mittens! Come back here!" Maritza called out, anxious that she would lose her beloved pet.  Out here in the woods, there were so many animals that could hurt her cat if she couldn't find her! "Mittens!"
But Mittens wasn't paying attention to her owner.  She'd found something exotic that caught her interest...
 Slowly she stalked forward and then pounced...
"Mittens! No! Don't hurt the lizard! Be careful!" Maritza watched her cat dart after the lizard, attempting to catch it with her mouth. When the dust cleared, Maritza watched Mittens spit out a maple leaf and sighed with relief.

"Naughty kitty!" Maritza reprimanded Mittens.  "No eating lizards! We want to catch them so we can study them!"

***
After Gage had left, Haley had been sick to her stomach again.  She'd puttered around the house, not really accomplishing anything.  She'd thought about painting, but her heart just hadn't been into it...

So she'd just lain in bed, enjoying the peace and quiet.  Sometimes it was nice to be alone...

***


April 14, 2015

Haley: Week Twenty-Four, Day Seven

Living Green Tip #5: Turns out, biking is not just good for your body and joints, but it's also the best choice for the environment. 


Haley finished her special painting of Gage and smiled.  It had been a few days since she'd seen him last.  He'd told her a few weeks back that he'd be taking some double shifts around the spring holidays, so he wouldn't be able to come over as often anymore.

She sighed.  She missed him so much!  She couldn't wait to tell him that she'd finished his portrait!
Quietly, Haley headed downstairs to write her love letter.  Her emotions poured out on the sheet, telling him how much she loved him, how she adored the things he did to her body, and how she couldn't wait to see him again!  With a flourish, she pressed her lips to the sheet for a lipstick kiss.

She grinned when she looked at it.  This had to be the best love letter in the history of mankind!  Hurrying to the mailbox, she posted it, eager to hear back from Gage!

***

Now that her painting was complete, Haley had a little more time to spend in her poor, neglected garden!  Although, the plants all seemed to be growing!  At least nothing had died yet!
There were always so many weeds to pick though!  Next year she was going to invest in some good weed-blocker fabric!
"Morning, Haley," Rachel said as she came down the steps.

Haley looked up from her weeding.  "Hey Rach! Did I wake you?"
"Psh," Rachel waved her hand as she waddled over to sit on the nearby bench.  "I can sleep through anything."  She glanced down at the little bunny gnome.  "New garden decoration?"

Haley followed Rachel's gaze. "Huh, I don't know. I haven't seen it before.  Maybe Gage left it for me since he knows how much I love my garden!" she said with a grin.

"Have you seen him lately?" Rachel asked, surprised since she hadn't seen him around.

Haley hedged, focusing on watering the plants and avoiding Rachel's eye.  "Well, no," she admitted finally.  "But, he said he was going to be pulling some double shifts since so many of the guys he worked with had kids." She turned just in time to see the face the face Rachel made.  "Well, I think it's nice! He's letting the guys with kids spend time with their families!"

Rachel nodded, unconvinced.  "So, are you almost ready to go to the appointment with me?"

Haley wiped her hands off on her jeans. "Yeah, let me just go wash up!"

***

"Thanks for taking the taxi with me," Rachel said as they slipped into the air-conditioned car.

Haley smiled, "Well, you're not going to ride your bike pregnant, are you?"

Rachel laughed. "I don't even know if you'll be able to convince me to use a bike after I've had the baby!"

"For every mile you bike, you can save about 1lb of cardon dioxide and other pollutants from entering our atmosphere..." Haley lectured.

Rachel interrupted her before Haley could really get going. "I know! I know! I told you that after this baby is born I'll bike!" She held her hands up in supplication.  "I promise!" she added with a laugh.

Haley grinned sheepishly.  "Sorry," she said.  "I know I can go on and on about it, huh?"

Rachel elbowed her.  "Ya think?"
"Well here we are!" Rachel said when the taxi pulled up to the hospital.  "Time to check up on my little baby!" she said, rubbing her bulging belly.  She reached across the taxi and squeezed Haley's hand.  "Thanks for coming with me," she said with emotion.  "It means a lot to me."

Haley squeezed her friend's hand back.  "I wouldn't miss it for the world!"

***

"I can't believe you got his phone number!" Haley said as they walked out of the double doors.  She couldn't believe Rachel had gotten the phone number of the guy that did her ultrasound! 

Rachel glanced back at her friend. "What? I'm pregnant, not dead!"

"But you're not really going to call him, are you?"

Rachel shrugged. "I dunno. He was pretty cute. And he's a doctor."

"Rach, he's not a doctor. He's an imaging technician."

Rachel shrugged again. "Close enough for me!"
"But..." Haley started to press before Rachel interrupted her.

"Look, can we just not talk about this right now. It's a beautiful day. I'm having a good hair day. And, look! The Spring Fair!  We should totally go and enjoy the day!"  Rachel said, attempting to distract Haley from the serious conversation she seemed intent on having. 
Haley sighed heavily, but agreed, heading down the street towards the fairgrounds.
"Oh! Let's get our pictures taken!" Rachel said as they neared the fair and saw the photo tent.  "A picture for the start of our adult lives! I'll finally get to be on your family wall!"

"That sounds like a great idea!" Haley agreed.  They had four generations of pictures on the dining room wall at home going all the way back to her great-great-grandfather, Jesse Black!

The two friends crossed the street and mugged for the camera.  "Okay, serious this time," Haley said when she was done laughing.  It was so nice to get out of the house!

***

"I can't wait to see the last picture!" Haley said as she ducked under the tent's curtain and waited for the pictures to drop from the slot.  She glanced around the fair with a smile. "You were making such a goofy.. Oh God..." she said in a strangled voice.
Rachel exited the tent, with a flippant remark on her tongue when she saw Haley had paled. "What's wrong?" she asked, "Is it that bad?"

Haley bit her lip, tears forming in her eyes and pointed across the park.
"It's Gage..."
Rachel followed Haley's gaze.  "Son of a bitch! I'll kill him!" Rachel growled, cracking her knuckles before she started to stalk towards the lying sack of manure.

Haley reached out and grabbed her arm.  "No. Rachel. Don't," she pleaded.

Rachel hissed, pointing towards Gage as a little girl ran up and wrapped herself around his leg. "Don't defend him! He's cheating on you, Haley!"

Haley shook her head and pulled Rachel back again.  "Don't you see?" she asked tearfully.  She pointed at the little girl that clung to his leg and the baby in his arms.  "I'm the other woman..." she said shakily.   "Please...  I just want to go home.."

With one last deadly glare towards the jerk who broke her friend's heart, Rachel wrapped her arm around Haley and lead her away. 

Gage remained blissfully unaware that his dirty little secret had been discovered.

***

"Are you sure you're okay?" Rachel asked, for the third time since they got in a taxi.
Haley just nodded as she walked in the house, hurrying towards the stairs.  "I can't talk about it right now" she managed to spit out without crying. 
"If you need me, I'm here!" Rachel said as she watched Haley head upstairs and cringed when she heard the door shut quietly.  If it had been her, she'd have been ranting and raving and letting the creep know what she thought of him!  Maybe that was just her pregnancy hormones speaking, though...
Haley quietly shut the door and perched on the edge of her bed, staring at the portrait of Gage that she'd completed just this morning. It was like her was mocking her for her stupidity.  She'd been so blind and naive!

She lowered her head into her hands and bawled.

***

Rachel's heart broke when she heard Haley sobbing.  She knew Haley had been crazy about him, but Rachel had never liked him much.  He always seemed shady to her... and now she knew why.  The lying jerk-face had a whole freaking family on the side!

Rachel hung up the picture they had taken at the fair and straightened the corners.  You never really knew what kind of crap life was going to throw at you, she thought sadly.