May 26, 2016

Haley: Week Twenty-Eight, Day Four

Green Living Tip #28: Community Gardens are community spaces that are communally cultivated and cared for; these spaces may consist of individually-worked plots, multiple person caretaker areas, sitting areas, and small-scale children play areas.

Haley took a deep breath when she saw Johnny sleeping on the couch. Practically naked.

Since he'd sold his mom's house after she passed, he'd needed a place to crash. It'd just made sense for him to crash here.

I have a boyfriend, she reminded herself.  A steady boyfriend who didn't kiss her and then disappear for over a year.  She snuck another glance, admiring his boxer clad body.  Cheeks burning, she scrubbed her hand over her face and hurried into the kitchen away from temptation.
CoffeeNeed coffee.  She stared at the coffee machine as it slowly brewed.

A shuffling noise from the couch let her know that he was awake. 

She willed the coffee to brew faster. 
Johnny yawned, stretching at the knots in his shoulder from sleeping on the old couch.  Without even turning around, he knew it was Haley in the kitchen. 

Running a hand over his face,  he squeezed his eyes shut.  Of all the damn luck.  She had a boyfriend.  His heart clenched painfully, reliving the moment when she'd told him that she was seeing someone else.  He'd lost her before he'd even had her...

"Morning," he said in a sleep-roughened voice. 

"Morning!" Haley squawked from the kitchen. "I'm just making coffee..."

Coffee first, he thought, standing up.
"God, you don't know what I'd do for a cup of coffee," he said, stepping up behind her.

Haley nervously jostled her tray, scurrying away from him as fast as she could.  "No need!" she said brightly, "There's plenty!" She glanced back at him hungrily.

Okay, maybe coffee second...
Haley set the tray down and turned only to find he'd followed her.  Her heart fluttered at his nearness.  She spun around to face him, taking a step back and bumping into the counter. He'd edged her in She should've been annoyed that he was in her space, crowding her...
"Too bad, might've been fun," he teased.

Haley put her hands on his bare chest and Johnny let out a shuddering breath.  He saw the desire he was feeling mirrored in her eyes.  He leaned forward, dreaming of kissing her.

It took a moment to register that she was pushing him away.  "I can't," she stressed quietly, the desire in her eyes replaced with guilt.  "Please. Don't."

He watched her hurry away.
 This was going to be harder than he'd thought...

"Thanks for coming, Alan," Haley said awkwardly giving him a kiss when he arrived at Maywood Glen for the Park Clean-Up Day, pulling away before he tried to deepen it. 
 She could feel Johnny's eyes on her.
"Thank you all for coming!" she said when her friends and family had gathered.  "As you know, I worked out an agreement with the city to create our very own Sunset Valley Community Garden!" she announced happily.  "It's going to be a lot of hard work, but together, we'll turn Maywood Glen into something we can be proud of!"

"What do you want us to do?" her brother, Ian, asked.

Haley bit her lip. "I think we should split up and each take care of a plot.  We'll need to put up the fencing, and spread out the mulch.  After that, I got a variety of seeds to plant!"
The couples separated and each took a garden plot to set up.  When Alan tried to pair up with Haley, she'd slipped away and claimed she needed to supervise.

"You can work with Johnny," she said, not wanting to choose between them.  She knew she was going to have to choose, though.  She couldn't keep feeling this way towards Johnny and dating Alan at the same time.  What a mess...
"It looks great!" Maritza beamed.  "I'm so proud of you, Haley!"

"Thanks!" Haley said with a relieved sigh.  "It really came together, didn't it?"

Maritza nodded, glancing around the community garden.  "I thought Rachel was going to help, though... I wonder where she is..."

"Thank you for meeting me here. I trust you were able to rearrange your prior plans," Mr. Keaton announced in a straight-forward manner.  He'd told Rachel to meet him here and had every expectation that she would.  He was the kind of man that wasn't used to hearing no.

"Of course, sir. It wasn't a problem at all!" she said cheerfully. 

"Good, this way, please," he took her arm and led her down to a changing salon. 
"Here, take a step up there," he said, assisting her up on the platform.

Rachel glanced at him nervously.  "What are we doing here?"
"If you are going to represent me, then you need to dress for success," he told her, eyeing her outfit critically. 

"Oh, is that really necessary?" she asked.

He sent her a stern look as the stylist walked in.  "It is," he told her before turning his back on her, telling the stylist what he wanted in specific detail. 
Hours later, she turned in her outfit, hoping this met with his approval.

To thank her friends and family for all their hardwork, Haley invited them home for pizza and beer. 
She jumped nervously when Alan threw his arm around her shoulder and tugged her closer.  Her eyes immediately shot towards Johnny.  Although he was talking to her brother, Ian, she saw him wince.

"I think I need some air," she told Alan, slipping from his touch and hurrying outside.

Alan watched her go with a frown on his face.  With a glance towards Johnny, he followed her outside.

 "What the hell is going on?" Alan asked, catching Haley pacing outside on the back porch.

She whirled around.  "Nothing!"
 "Haley, I'm not blind," he accused her.  "Every time I touch you, you look at Johnny!"
"It's not like that!" Haley protested weakly. "It's nothing!"

Alan scoffed. "Well, excuse me, the looks you guys have been shooting each other aren't nothing!" He turned angrily.  "Dammit Haley! I thought we had something good!"

"We do!" Haley told him tearfully.  "I told him that I was with you! I want to be with you!"  She trailed off, swiping at the tears on her cheeks.  "It's just... I'm so sorry! I'm so confused! I'm awful at this! I don't know what to do!"
"You either want me or you want him, Haley. Those are your choices!" Alan told her angrily. 

Haley stood, lost in her thoughts.  Alan had stormed from the house when she'd given him her answer. 
She heard the door quietly swing open and knew without looking who'd stepped outside. 
Johnny slipped his strong arms around her to comfort.  "I'm sorry," he told her.

May 3, 2016

Haley: Week Twenty-Eight, Day Three

Green Living Tip #27: Sometimes no matter how efficient you are with green living, you just need to take a break.  Go easy on yourself until you're ready to begin again.

Rachel's body shuddered with her wracking sobs.  Haley perched on the couch behind her friend, attempting to comfort her as she cried.  "I'm so sorry, Rach," she said with tears in her voice.  "God, I'm so sorry..."  She trailed off uncomfortably. 

The petition for child custody lay crumpled on the floor.
The boys jostled down the stairs, their joking ending abruptly when they heard Rio mom's tears.  Rio knew his mom was prone to emotional outbursts, but this felt different...

"What's wrong?" he asked nervously.  "What is it?"

Rachel groaned and buried her face in her hands, turning from her son. Haley squeezed her shoulder and stood.
"We just received Shaye's petition for full custody," Haley said, her voice wavering as she reached up and wiped a tear away. 

Rio glanced between his mom and Haley.  "He's taking Shayla?" he asked with a broken voice before his anger kicked in, his jaw clenching.  He loudly yelled, "Hell no! Not happening!"
"Rio! Wait! Come back!" Haley called when he ran from the house. 

Rio got to Shaye's house and pounded on the door.  He couldn't take Shayla from him! He had no right!
Shaye opened the door, obviously just out of bed.  "Rio?" he asked sleepily.  "What are you doing here?"
Rio launched himself at Shaye, pummeling his chest with his fists.  "You can't take her! You can't!" he said with tears in his eyes.

"Shaye!" Kelli cried with alarm.  "Oh my God!"
Shaye reached for Rio's fists, gripping his wrists and holding him steady.   "Christ, Kelli, there's no need to call the police!" he snapped with annoyance. 
Rio continued to struggle against his hold, so Shaye turned back to him.  "Rio!" he said harshly, giving the boy a small shake.  "Rio! Quit it! What the hell is this about?"

"You can't take her!" Rio repeated, trying to pull his hands free to attack Shaye again.  He was just so angryHe didn't even see the tears dripping from his cheeks.  "You can't!" he said again, slowly stopping his struggles.  "You can't..."
Shaye grabbed Rio and pulled him in for a tight hug.  Rio buried his face in Shaye's shoulder and sobbed.  "Why didn't you want me? Why do want you Shayla but you didn't want me?"

Seeing the stoic Rio have such an emotional outburst nearly unmanned Shaye.  He felt tears pricking his eyes.  "Aw, Rio, I would've taken you in a heartbeat if you were mine," he said with a thick voice, squeezing him tight.  "I'm so sorry."
"The police are on their way," Kelli interrupted, crossing her arms.
Rio sniffed loudly and pulled back, running his forearm across his eyes to wipe the evidence of the tears away.  He couldn't meet Shaye's eyes.

Shaye shot Kelli a stern look.  She met his gaze with her own glare.

"So now what?" Rio finally asked quietly.
"Don't worry," Shaye said, looping his arm around Rio's shoulders.  "Come in and see your sister while we wait for the officer."

Officer French-Baker pulled up in front of the house where the family altercation was reported.  He sighed heavily as he put the car in park.  It was only 8 am in the morning.  He took a quick sip from the coffee cooling in the cup holder.
Striding quickly up to the door, he knocked sharply on the door. 
Shaye heard the knock on the door.  "Don't worry, Rio. I'll explain it was all just a misunderstanding."

Rio nodded head tersely and rested his chin on his hands, his stomach cramping with nervousness.  He had no clue what was going to happen.  Crap, he'd really messed up...  

Kelli scoffed rudely behind him.  "I'll let the officer in."   Shaye stood up and followed her from the room.  Rio heard their soft murmuring from the other room.
"Ma'am, Sir," Officer French-Baker said in greeting.  "We had a domestic assault reported?"
Shaye sent the officer a bland smile.  "I'm sorry you were called," he said.  "It was just a slight misunderstanding.  My ex's son surprised my fiance when he came over so early.  No harm done."

Officer French-Baker rocked back on his heels.  "Are you saying there was no assault?" he asked.

Shaye nodded. "That's right. He just needed to vent."

French-Baker glanced between Kelli and Shaye, noting the fiance's tight-lipped smile.  He nodded towards the teen on the couch.  "This him?"

Rio stood and faced the officer.  He was in for it now...

Rio slipped into the police car in the passenger seat.  "Are you arresting me?" he asked nervously.  His mom was going to flip her lid. 

Officer French-Baker shook his head with a smile as he reached for the coffee cup.  He took a swig and grimaced. "Ugh. It's cold." Sighing, he faced Rio.  "No, I'm just going to take you home. Mr. Albright said that your mother or aunt should be at home right now."

Rio nodded.  Oh God, Tia Haley was going to be so mad at him!  He swallowed.  "Are you sure you can't just arrest me?" he asked nervously, attempting a lame joke.

The officer didn't even crack a smile.  "Believe me, you'd rather face your mom than go to jail, kid."

Rio worried his lip.  He wasn't so sure about that...

"Buckle up," the officer said as he put the car in drive.

A short drive later...

Haley had never been so worried.  She'd tried to call Shaye to see if Rio went over there, but his line was busy.  Frustrated, she'd collapsed on the couch and worried until Mittens jumped into her lap.  "He's okay," she said outloud, trying to reassure herself.

When the doorbell rang, she jumped up and rushed to the door. 
"Oh thank God!" she sighed when she saw Rio.

"Ma'am," the officer said, touching his finger to his cap.  "There was a bit of a misunderstanding at the Albright household. Are you his mother?"

Haley's stomach flipped.  "Oh, Rio! What did you do?" she asked in horror.

"Ma'am?" The officer pressed. 

Haley glanced back at the officer and shook her head.  "No, I'm his..." she hesitated.  "I'm his aunt. Haley Black-Wolff."

Officer French-Baker nodded. "Mr. Albright assures me that there was no need to file any charges. His fiance was just a little jumpy when Mr. Vasquez got excited. I'll leave him with you."

"Thank you, sir," Haley said, watching the officer leave.
"Oh, Rio.." she said softly when they were alone.  "What did you do?"

Rio hung his head, shrugging.  Tears brimmed in his eyes again as he pressed his lips together in a thin line. 
"I love you!" Haley said, pulling him into her arms for a fierce hug, squeezing her eyes shut against the tears gathering.  "I was so worried!"
She leaned back and wiped at her eyes.  "You are so grounded!  Get inside!" she said, pointing to the door.

Rio nodded meekly and headed inside up to his room.
Rio sat in his room and brooded.  He felt like such a tool for crying on Shaye.  And for attacking him.  It made it hard to stay mad at him. And if he wasn't mad at Shaye, then who was he mad at?

"I'm not going to lie," Rose said, throwing the filing on the table.  "It doesn't look good. He's asked for an emergency hearing to be held to determine whether you are fit to have Shayla.  For God's sake, Rachel! You've got to pull yourself together! You went to his house drunk? What were you thinking? You're lucky he didn't call and report you to the police!"
"I thought that everything would go away if we could just be a couple again!" Rachel snapped angrily, waving her hands around.  "But that blonde bimbo has sunk her claws in him!"  She paused, her shoulders slumping with defeat.  "Can he do this? Can he keep her away from me?" she asked.
Rose sighed and leaned back in her chair.  "It's not going to be easy and you might be required to take some parenting classes with supervised visitation. But, I'm going to work hard to keep the part-time custody.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes?" Rose asked sternly, reaching for her pen.

Rachel hesitated a moment and then nodded. "Yes, I am. I don't want to lose my daughter."

Haley was working on her plans a short while later when she heard the doorbell ring.  Her stomach flipped.  What else could go wrong? she worried.  Perhaps Shaye had changed his mind about filing charges against Rio.  Maybe it was CPS coming to investigate.  
 She took a deep breath, trying to calm her worries as she hurried to answer the door.
 She opened the door and stared in shock for a moment.
Then a large smile broke across her face.  "Oh my gosh!" she exclaimed.
"Are you just going to stand there and stare?" Johnny asked with a smile.  He'd come straight over after his flight landed and he was exhausted.  But when he saw Haley, his exhaustion and heartache disappeared in an instant.
Then she was in his arms, hugging him tightly. 


Johnny followed Haley in, feeling more peaceful now than he had in the last few years.  Now that his undercover case was finished, he was ready to put his past behind him and work on his future. With Haley.

"You got here fast," Haley was saying as she led him inside, assuming he'd come to town to support his sister, Rachel.

"What happened? I didn't get a call," Johnny said with concern.  He shouldn't have left for so long, but he'd been stuck undercover for longer than he'd expected.  But although he'd shut down Big Louie's criminal operations, he had no doubt that another would pop up in its' place. 
Haley turned back towards Johnny in surprise. "But you're here!" she said.  "Why did you come if she didn't tell you about Shaye?"
"I came here for you," he told her. 

Haley stared for a moment, her mind completely blank.  He was here for her?  Her knees felt a little weak when he took a step closer, his gaze holding steady with hers.  She inhaled unevenly and caught a whiff of his aftershave.  He was going to kiss her...

When her phone rang, the moment was broken.  "I should get that. It might be important," she whispered softly.
 "Hello?" she asked breathlessly.
Hearing the voice on the other end of the line sent a burst of shame through her.  She shifted guiltily.  "No, Alan, tonight's not a good night," she said, unable to meet Johnny's gaze now.  "No, there's just been a family emergency.  No!" she half-shouted.  "No, you don't have to come over," she said more calmly, glancing up at Johnny finally.
Johnny rubbed the back of his neck as Haley spoke to Alan, whoever the hell he was.  It was clear from the look on her face that she was involved with someone else.  Son of a bitch, what shitty timing!

"Yes, I'll call you later. Goodnight." She ended her phone call quietly.
Johnny blew out a deep breath.  "So, what now?" he asked.

*AN:  Oh my gosh! Johnny just happened to come over for a visit when Rachel and Maritza were away from the house!  *swoon*   Now Haley is going to have to choose!