December 2, 2016

Jason: Week Thirty-two, Day Six

"Oh! I can hardly wait!" Haley said excitedly.  "They should be here any minute now! I can't wait to smooch my grandkids little chubby cheeks!" she said.
Johnny chuckled, happy to see his wife so happy.  He knew she still missed Sunset Valley.  She'd absolutely hated living in an apartment building, especially when Kimi was so young.  So, they'd bought a house outside of town a little bit, but still close to a good school.

Jason hadn't really told them why he was coming to visit out-of-the-blue, but he did say he was bringing his girlfriend.  Whatever got him to visit his Mom was fine by him!  Haley lived for his visits!
"I swear, Cheri.  She's going to love you," Jason reassured her once again on their way to his Mom's new house from the airport.
"I hope so," Cheri said worriedly.  She felt like such a walking cliche. She could see the tabloids now - professional cheerleader dating a professional football star gets pregnant out-of-wedlock.  She frowned and glanced out the mirror.  Not that she'd be a professional cheerleader for much longer...

They finally arrived.  Cheri waited while Jason paid the taxi driver & grabbed their luggage.
"She's going to love you as much as I love you," Jason told her.  "Just you wait and see!"
Haley hurried out the front door and greet Jason.  "I heard the car door and I thought it might be you!" she told him.  "Oh! Come here and give me a hug!"

Jason smiled and gave his  Mom a one-armed hug.  "I missed you, too, Mom," he told her. 
"Oh, and look at little Lacie!" she said, pinching Lacie's cheek. "She's getting so big now!"  She looked around for Macy and found her perched on Jason's special friend's hip.  "Hello," she said with a shy wave.  "I'm Haley."  It was always so hard meeting new people...

Cheri returned her smile.  "I'm Cheri, nice to meet you," she said.

"Let's get these girls settled in!" Haley announced.  "I'll take Macy and show you where your room is!"  Cheri passed Macy into Haley's arms and followed after everyone else.
"Take a seat! We'll be right back!" Haley said to Cheri. 

Cheri sank down on the couch, left alone in the living room.  She sighed and leaned her head back, her stomach flipping with nerves.  So far so good....

"This is the room you'll be staying in," Haley said.  "Hopefully it's comfortable enough for you! Oh! And the cribs..."  She gestured towards the little playpacks at the foot of the bed.
"Your Mom's been running around since she got your call to make sure everything was ready," Johnny said, walking into the room behind them. 

Jason swiveled his gaze back to his anxious Mom.  "Seriously, Mom. The place looks great.  Thanks!"
Since the girls were tired after the long plane ride, they laid them down in the playpacks for a quick nap.

Jason scrubbed the back of his neck.  "These aren't going to work for them for long!" he commented. 

Haley worried her bottom lip.  "I have some old sleeping bags in the garage if we need them," she told him. It'll be fine!"

Johnny ambled back into the livingroom to keep Jason's lady-friend company.  "Sorry about my wife. She goes a little crazy when she gets to visit Jason.  It's been awhile since he's been to visit."
Jason saw Johnny talking to Cheri and decided it was probably better to get their announcement over and done.  "Hey, Mom," he called over his shoulder.  "Come out real quick! I want to talk to you guys together"

After having his Mom and Johnny take a seat, Jason stood next to Cheri, squeezing her hand quickly.
"Okay. I'm not sure how to say this," Jason said slowly. 

Haley crossed her hands on her lap nervously, clutching her fingers.

Johnny reached out and patted her hands.  "Why you don't go ahead and tell us, son," he counseled.
"Cheri's having a baby and we're getting married!" he said in a rush, deciding to pull the proverbial band-aid off all at once.
"She... you... married?" Haley gaped, apparently having trouble assimilating Jason's abrupt announcement.
Jason nodded weakly, nervously stretching his arms out in front of him.  "So?" he asked, cringing.
Haley stood, her gaze straying to Cheri's mid-section.  "You're pregnant?" she asked, glancing between her son and his fiancee.

Jason nodded again.  "Yeah, Mom.  I know it's kinda rushed, but I love her..." 
Haley let out an excited cry and launched herself into Jason's arms.  "Oh, Jason! I'm so excited for you!"

"You are?!" Jason asked with surprise.  He thought his Mom was going to kill him for making another baby out of wedlock. She'd forgiven him for not marrying Ashley because she said she'd never liked her, but she'd told him to think with his brain the next time. "We're hoping to get married before the baby comes!"
"Whatever makes you happy," Haley told him, patting his back.  She was going to be a Grandma again!  
She pulled away from Jason and turned towards Cheri.  "You, too!" she said, leaning forward to give her a hug.  "Welcome to the family!"

Cheri was surprised when Jason's Mom gave her a joyful hug. But, oh plumbbob, she was relieved.  She'd been so worried his Mom was going to yell at her or accuse her of being a gold-digger...
"Congratulations, son," Johnny said, stepping up to Jason to firmly shake his hand.  "A baby's always a blessing!"

"Yes, sir," Jason agreed.  "We're both really excited!"
Jason chatted with his stepdad as his Mom and Cheri started talking about wedding plans.  
"What are you guys flipping out about?" he heard someone ask from the other side of the room. 
Jason glanced past Johnny and felt his jaw drop.  "Kimi?!" he asked with disbelief.   When had his sister gotten so much older?!
He rushed across the room and tugged her into a playful hug.  "Plumbob, Kimi! You're turning into a beautiful young lady!" he told her.  
"You're just saying that because you're my big brother," she teased.

Jason shook his head. "No way. Seriously. If any boys give you any trouble, you let me know!" he said sternly.

Kimi rolled her eyes.  "Yeah, you and Dad both!" she grumbled under her breath.  Sometimes it was hard having such protective men in the family!

"We should celebrate!" Johnny announced.

Their family growing much larger, they had to take two separate taxis.  Jason hopped in the car with Johnny and Kimi while his Mom and Cheri took the girls in another.
They headed into town.

"Over there, a new building is going up," Johnny pointed to the construction.  "The city sure has changed since you were here last!"

Jason pressed his face against the glass window.  "That's for sure!" he agreed, still in awe of the towering buildings and the fast-paced set to life here in the city.

"Alright, just follow me," Johnny called down the hall.  "Just wait until you see this!"  Since the rain made it impossible to visit a family-friendly park - he'd decided to take them somewhere special that the rain couldn't reach.
Macy worriedly glanced at the widening gap between herself and the rest of her family.  "Wait for me!" she called out.  Her footsteps echoed in the long, dark hall.
Jason and Cheri followed Johnny up the stairs, then gasped with surprise and wonder.  Cheri turned her head, trying to take it all in.  "I've heard about this garden, but this is amazing!" she said appreciatively.

Jason nodded.  It was like being in another world!
"Grandpa!" Macy called eagerly.  "Look at the turtle!"

Lacie walked by with her nose in the air.  "Who cares about a stupid turtle anyways?" she hissed in a quite voice, not wanting any adults to hear.
She was dismayed when Grandpa ambled over and joined Macy, talking to her in a low voice about what turtles eat, where they live and other stupid turtle facts.  
Irritated, she swatted at the butterflies around her.  She hated it when Macy got more attention than she did!!  When she felt a finger-light wing flutter against her, Lacie slammed her hands together, catching the dratted insect between her palms.  "Got you!" she announced triumphantly.

She realized she had an audience when she heard Macy begin to cry.
"Lacie!" Grandpa barked, aghast.  "What are you doing?! Stop that!"

Lacie immediately dropped her hands, shoving them behind her back.  The butterfly floated to the ground.

Macy tearfully watched the butterfly fall.  "It's dead!" she accused.

Johnny eyed his granddaughter sternly.  "What you did was wrong," he told her.  "You should always take care of things smaller and weaker than you are."
What's the big deal?  Lacie mulishly thought to herself.  "But, it's just a bug!" she protested angrily, then quickly changed gears when she saw the looks on Grandpa and Macy's faces.  "I didn't mean to," she lied.  "I was just trying to catch it!"

Johnny eyed his granddaughter with a critical eye.  In his years on the force, he had developed a gut-feeling when it came to sniffing out lies.  He'd seen the flash of anger cross Lacie's face before she'd gazed up at him like an angel. He knew from a wealth of experience that the sweet, little angel was lying through her teeth.

That girl was going to be trouble, he thought with a sinking premonition. 

The afternoon sun chased the stormy clouds away enough so that the family could head down to Hogan's Deep-Fried Diner.
"I got us a table!" Kimi called out.
"Who's ready to eat?" Haley asked, walking out of the restaurant with two platters of fish n chips.  She handed one to Kimi as they set up.  She pointed to the table.  "Put this one right here, Kimi," she told her daughter.  
"Do you two like fish?" Grandma asked with a smile.

Macy tried really hard to remember if she'd ever had fish before.  "I'm not sure if I'm gonna like it Grandma because I can't remember if I've ever eaten it!" she admitted ruefully.

Lacy shot her sister a mean face.  "I know that I'm not going to like fish!" she announced.  "Fish are smelly!"

Macy shook her head.  "But you don't know if you like it until you've tried it," she argued.
Jason turned and waited for Cheri as his Mom led the bickering girls towards the benches.  "Feeling okay?" he asked.

"Sorry!" she said.  "I feel like I'm already waddling!" she attempted to joke.
"I told you she would love you, didn't I?" Jason asked, reaching for her hands, glad that he was able to steal a moment away with Cheri away from the rest of his family.
 "You were right," she admitted with relief.  "I was so worried that she was going to hate me!"
"How could she hate you when I love you so much?" Jason asked, pressing a chaste kiss against her lips.  "Come on, this place has awesome fish n chips!" he said, grabbing her hand and leading her back towards the gathering.

It was purely coincidence, but Kimi and Macy wound up sitting together, away from the adults after everyone was called to eat.
"I don't want to sit at the kids table!" Lacy pouted.  
Johnny beckoned her over.  "Why don't you come over and sit next to your old Grandpa?" he asked.
Lacy grabbed a plate and sat down next to her Grandpa, but she was still annoyed over the lecture he'd given her at the Butterfly Esplanade.  
She pasted a smile on her face and smiled up at him smugly.  "You're not really my Grandpa, though!"  She heard gasps round the table.
"LACIE!" Jason admonished her, surprised and appalled by his daughter's casual remark. "Why would you say that?!"