May 16, 2015

Haley: Week Twenty-Six, Day One

Green Living Tip #12:  Keeping indoor plants not only adds a nice green touch to our homes; some indoor plant species have proven to be effective filters for pollutants such as the above and carbon monoxide (an element of car exhaust).

Maritza headed over to Caleb's, grateful to have found  a friend that shared her love of science.  Before she'd met Daryl, she would've said he was everything she looked for in a spouse.  He was gentle-mannered, had a stable income, shared similar interests and was interested in having a family.  He might not have been a "hottie" (as Rachel had so kindly pointed out), but he was a good, kind man who she was lucky to have met.
So why did she keep thinking about Daryl?


***

The sound of a ringing phone disoriented Rachel.  "Wha?" she mumbled sleepily, reaching towards the end table with her eyes closed to silence it, managing only to knock it to the floor.

"Dammit," she swore as she chased after the phone, finally managing the coordination necessary to grab it and press "talk."
"It's too early!" she grumbled sleepily, assuming it was one of her friends.

To her horror, it was her boss.  "Is this Rachel?" Lynell French-Baker asked.

Rachel blinked, planting the phone more firmly by her ear. "Yes, this is. Hi, Lynell," she said, trying to figure out why her boss would be calling at 9 in the morning.  "I'm not scheduled this morning, am I?" she asked worriedly.

Lynell hesitated a beat before answering, "No, you're not. I was actually calling for another reason."

The silence stretched into an awkward pause as Lynell cleared her throat and launched into her well-rehearsed speech. 

Rachel squeezed her eyes shut with dismay.

***

Haley was surprised to see Rachel up so early.  Normally she slept in much later.  "Good morning?" she asked  hesitantly.  From the slamming of cabinet doors, she assumed something was wrong.

On cue, Rachel slammed the fridge door shut. "So, I've been fired," she announced sharply.

Haley's jaw dropped. "What?" she asked in surprise.  "Why?"
Rachel practically threw the eggs and other ingredients into the mixing bowl and began beating it viciously.  "Apparently, there's been a complaint!" she said angrily.  "Someone told Lynell that I'd broken up with Bernie, creating a quote, 'negative work-space,' end quote."
"Oh my gosh," Haley said, trying to keep up.  "Do you think it was Bernie?"
"Of course it was Bernie!" Rachel seethed, stomping over to the oven and sticking the waffles in to cook.  "I did not create a negative workspace! He did! He was so mean! But I guess since he's been working there longer, they decided to keep him instead of me."

Haley frowned. "I'm sorry. I know you liked working there."

Rachel flipped her hair over her shoulder and put her hands on her hips.  "Whatever, I can do way better than that deep-fried crap," she announced.  She opened the oven door and checked on her waffles. "Way better!"

***

Caleb anxiously paced by the front door for Maritza.  He'd invited her over to see his lab.  But, truthfully, he was hoping that he might work up the nerve to kiss her today. When they'd had coffee that morning, she'd seemed receptive to his advances.

Smiling, he hurried outside to greet her.  "Maritza! Welcome to my home!" he said, ushering her inside.
"This is it!" he announced once he'd hustled her into his lab.  He held his breath as he waited for her response. 

Maritza looked around the room in awe.  "Oh my goodness, it's wonderful!" she told him.  "What's that over there do?" she pointed. 
"Ah! That is my lab station!" Caleb told her excitedly.  "Right now I'm working on an experiment that will help houseplants thrive for a longer period of time without water!  Would you like to watch?"

Maritza smiled at his enthusiasm for his work.  It was easy to get caught up in his excitement!
Absently she wondered what made a person attracted to another person.  It didn't seem logical that someone could be so obviously right for another intellectually, but not romantically.

Caleb turned to her suddenly, thrusting a pair of glasses in her face.

"What?" she asked, taken aback by his sudden move.  

Caleb grinned, "Safety first!"
"Oh, of course!" she said, slipping the glasses on as he grabbed the first beaker.

 ***
"Mama!" Rio said, running across the room to throw himself at her leg.  "My mama!" he said, grinning up at her.
Rachel swiped at the tear that welled in her eyes.  "Aw, Rio! I love you!" she said, grabbing him and lifting him into her arms.   He was growing up so fast! It wouldn't be very long until he'd be starting kindergarten! And then only another ten years or so and he wouldn't want anything to do with her.
Ten years was such a short time! she thought sadly, wrapping her arms around her son and hugged him tightly before he was too old for mama hugs!

***

Maritza shifted impatiently as she watched Bernie continue mixing chemicals, grabbing new beakers and adding his previous solutions.  This wasn't as fun as she thought it might've been when she'd first seen his lab!  Surreptitiously, she checked her watch.  Maybe another 5 minutes and she'd make her excuse to...
Wait... she thought with alarm as she watched him start to add the two liquids together.  "Caleb!" she said worriedly, "I don't think you should..."

 ***

Wait! Haley blinked and stared hard at the gecko.  Did it just disappear and reappear?  "No, that's ridiculous!" she told herself, turning back to the canvas.  Who'd ever heard of a disappearing gecko?!
"You will NOT believe my day!" Maritza exclaimed as she stomped up the back steps.
The foul stench his Haley first. "Oh my... Maritza!  You smell awful!" Haley gasped, waving her hand in front of her face and trying to dispel the foul odor from her nose. 

"I KNOW!" Maritza fumed.  "I just got back from taking Caleb to the hospital!"

Haley gaped. "Is he okay?!" she asked with alarm.

"Yes, he's fine. He just got a little singed. The doofus mixed together two solutions that you're never supposed to mix! He's lucky he's alive!"

"I'm so glad you're both okay.  So? Is that why you smell so bad?"

Maritza growled. "This had better wash off," she said as she stalked to the back door, "Or I'm going to kill him."
On her way past the gecko habitat, she thought she noticed the gecko disappear and then reappear on the log.  She stopped and peered into the cage.  Very interesting, she thought absently.  I'll have to make a note of...

"MARITZA!" Haley complained, "Not to be rude, but could you hurry up and take that shower?! Remember, we're going out tonight!"

Maritza shifted her attention from the gecko to Haley. "Oh, that's right! I'd almost forgotten! This is going to be so much fun!"  She glanced at her watch.  She needed to hurry if she wanted to be presentable in time!

 ***

Haley slipped into her nice clothes, too excited for words.  She'd been eagerly counting down the minutes all afternoon.
"Maritza? Are you ready?" she called out when she saw Maritza in the office.

Maritza glanced back, "Yes! Let me just put this back together real quick!" she called over her shoulder, fiddling with the computer.
"Are you ready Rach?" she asked, skipping down the last few steps.
"I sure am, I was just sitting here with Jason and Rio!" Rachel said, smiling down at the boys.  "They were keeping me company!"
Just then Maritza bounded down the steps. "Ready!" she announced with a smile. 

Rachel glanced down at her heels and shot Haley a look.  "We don't have to ride the bikes in our pretty dresses, do we?" she asked hesitantly.

Haley laughed. "No, we can take a taxi this one time!"

 ***

"It's so beautiful!" Rachel whispered in awe, staring at the Spanish Estate. "How much do you think it cost them?"

Maritza sniffed, "Rachel, you're not supposed to ask things like that!"
"I'm just wondering!" Rachel protested.  "It's not like I asked them!"

Haley rolled her eyes. "Guys, can you please not bicker tonight?"  Her roomies mumbled their agreement.

Then Rachel glanced back up at the house and back towards Haley. "Do you think this means I can repaint my room now?"

Haley sighed and headed quickly towards the front door.  She was so excited!
***
 
Her family had moved back to Sunset Valley!
Handing Jason over to her Dad, she gave her mom a big hug, fighting back the tears that were welling in her eyes.  "I've missed you so much," she said to her mom.

Her mom laughed, tears running down her face, "I'm so happy to be back," she said, squeezing Haley's hand.  "And look at my grandson! The pictures and videos haven't done him justice!"
"Hey! What's all the crying about?" a young man said as he walked in the entryway. 

Haley stared in surprise at her little brother.  "Ian! You've grown!" she gasped.
"Come here," Ian said, wrapping his sister into a bear hug. 

It was so good to have her family together, Eva thought with a watery smile.

 ***

Haley was so happy to be surrounded by her family again.  She hadn't realized how lonely she'd been without them!  They'd talked for hours, settling into the sitting room after sharing a tasty meal.  She smiled as she watched her mom play with Jason in her lap.

"He looks so much like Ian did as a baby, doesn't he?" Eva asked Nathaniel.

Nathaniel grinned, "He sure does."

Rio stared at all the new adults that he'd never seen before.  He didn't think he was related to any of them...
Rachel turned and checked Ian out from the corner of her eye.  He'd turned into a real hottie!  And he was pretty funny, cracking jokes and casually flirting.  He'd joked that he had the best seat in the house as he'd scooted between Rachel and Maritza, winking at Rachel. 

Maritza hadn't even paid attention to him, though. She was too busy talking Haley's dad's ear off about lizards and nature hikes.
"Mama?" Rio said, coming to her side, "Hold me!"
Rachel lifted her son into her arms and he proceeded to nestle his head on her shoulder, playing with her hair. 

Haley glanced over.  "It looks like the boys are sleepy," she said with reluctance.  "It looks like we should probably call it a night."
Eva snuggled Jason again. "I could just cuddle with him forever!" she said happily.  "You've got to promise to come back and see us very soon!"  Her schedule had kept her too busy to make it down before now.  She felt like she'd missed so much time with her grandson already!
"I will, Mom! I'm so glad you retired and moved back here!" Haley said, getting up.
Rachel and Maritza stood to leave, as well.
Ian popped up quickly.  "I'll walk them to the door!" he said eagerly, moving to stand behind Rachel.
Rachel hugged her parents goodbye.  "I'll see you soon," she told her Dad.  "Come by any time!"

5 comments:

  1. Aw! Poor Maritza! First, it's Caleb inviting her over instead of Daryl, and then he nearly blows her up! lol. She could use some luck in the love department.

    Bleh. Good riddance to Bernie. What a jerk he's being! Rachel only has to go looking and she can find a much better position I'm sure. Good to see her and Rio together for a little bit there. <3

    Yay! I bet Haley is over the moon excited her folks are back! And look at Ian! Yowza!

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    1. All my poor ladies need a little luck in the love department! I've never used the lab equipment before, so I was surprised when it blew up! And the LOOKS Maritza was shooting Caleb! Lol.

      Yeah - Rachel is going to move on to bigger & better!

      She is super excited her folks are back! I see a sleepover in the future (hopefully!) Ian grew up super cute. (But that NOSE, though! Lol. I'm wondering if I'm ever going to be able to breed it out!)

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  2. Oh well about Bernie. Maybe Rachel will find a better job now. Sometimes bad things happen before better things come along.

    Lol, it's not Caleb's fault that he's just not Daryl. Maybe Maritza will run into him again.

    Was Ian looking at Rachel's butt as she got up?!

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    1. Rachel is moving on to bigger and better. She can do much better than that fry-factory. :)

      Hehe, poor Caleb! He'd creeped Maritza out by asking a few insane-trait questions. She was shooting some funny side-long glances his way, like, "How long do I need to stay before I can leave?"

      Ian was totally checking her butt out! I was disappointed to see that he got a Heartbreaker LTW, just like Rachel! They would either be greet together or go down in flames!

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    2. Ah! I didn't know he was insane! Now that explains why she's creeped out.

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