March 23, 2017

Jason: Week Thirty-Four, Day Three

Moudy slipped from between the sheets and quietly padded into the bathroom.  He tried to be as quiet as possible, since Liz hadn't come to bed until well after 3 am.  Always a late sleeper, she was now sleeping in until noon since she was moonlighting as a mixologist.
Headed into the hall, he quietly closed the door, trying to make sure the latch didn't catch loudly.  He frowned when he saw Jas sleeping in the nursery again. 

Macy sighed heavily as she got out of bed.  "I still can't believe she's gone," she whispered roughly.  Her dad's new divorce had hit her hard.  She'd loved the idea of being a loving, complete family.  Her birth mom's abandonment of them had hurt... a lot.

Jason: Week Thirty-Two, Day Six
So, it wasn't so crazy that one of her favorite memories was when they'd all gone to Bridgeport together, back before Natalee had been born.  She'd loved sitting at Hogan's with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Kimi, Dad and Cheri, and, of course, Lacie.  It'd been such an amazing day!

"Oh please!" Lacie said snidely with an eye roll as she primped in front of the mirror.  "What did you think was going to happen?"

Macy's draw dropped open.  "You can't mean that!" she cried, taken a back by her twin's tone. 
"I hated her!" Lacie said, spinning around.  "And it's not like she was stepmother of the year! She had Natalee and then ran off to Riverview! What did she think was going to happen if she never came home to have sex?  It's no wonder he cheated!"
Macy cringed at her twin's view of marriage and fidelity.  "She came home," she argued defensively.  Maybe at first, she admitted to herself.  But, lately, Cheri's visits home had been less and less.

Lacie could see Macy hedging in her support of their evil stepmother and grinned evilly. "Yes?" she asked snidely.  "Name the last time she came to visit!" she pressed.

Macy frowned.

"NAME IT!" Lacie snapped, shoving her sister.
"Alright!" Macy squealed, taking a step back.  "Leisure Day, okay?!"  Cheri hadn't been back to visit since Leisure Day. 
"See?" Lacie said, smiling smugly as she turned to the dresser and pulled on her tank top.  "It's no wonder Dad cheated!"

"Hey Dad!" Jackson said, skipping into the dining room.  "Smells good!"

Moudy grinned at his boy.  "Come eat before the school bus comes."
"Leggo my Eggos!" Jackson quipped with a grin, popping onto his chair.

Moudy chuckled, ruffling his hair before taking the serving platter to the fridge.

"Let's just drop it," Macy said, heading out of the room, absolutely tired of listening to Lacie run down their stepmom.  Macy didn't care what her sister thought - she missed Cheri.  And Natalee.

"Fine. Whatever!" her sister pouted.  "Are you going to cry about it?"
Lacie chuckled when Macy sped up and raced down the stairs.  She was too easy to fluster.  "Sucker," she muttered under her breath with a satisfied grin.

Liz sighed when she stepped out of the room and saw Jason in the nursery rocking chair.  Reaching over, she flicked on the light.
Jason came awake, squinting at the light the flooded the room.

"How long are you going to do this?" she asked softly. 
Jason clenched his jaw and looked across the room towards the empty crib.   "I failed them both," he told her gruffly.

Lacie looked around the school room, flicking her pencil against the table.  Everyone else was working hard on their paper.  It was a stupid writing exercise. 
 Jeremy Vasquez glanced across the table towards her.  "Hey, you okay?" he asked. 
"Yeah? Why wouldn't I be?" she answered glibly.

Jeremy shrugged.  "I dunno. You're twitching," he whispered back, glancing down at the pencil she was tapping against table.  "You usually do that when you're worried."

Lacie immediately put her hand down on the pencil, stopping it's motion.  She smiled brightly.  "I'm fine," she assured him.  "Couldn't be better!"

"Alright," Jeremy said doubtfully, turning back to his schoolwork.

The ringing bell announced the lunch hour.

"We'll finish this exercise after lunch!" their teacher yelled above the rustling paper and the chair legs scraping against the floor as the teens rushed from the room.

"Hey Jeremy!" Lacie called out, reaching out to put her hand on his sleeve.  Jeremy stopped, turning to face her. 

Lacie smiled, fluttering her lashes and tucking her hair behind her ear.  "I just wanted to say 'thank you' for checking on me in class," she said sweetly.

Jeremy flushed.  "No problem," he told her, lowering his voice.  "I know it's probably been hard at home," he added, alluding to her dad's scandal and subsequent divorce.
Just then, Austin Langerak, the class clown, interrupted.  "Yeah, that totally blows about your dad," he said loudly.  "How many chicks are claiming he had an affair with them? Five?" he asked. 
Lacie narrowed her eyes and glared at the loud-mouth jerk.  He was alluding to the other women who had come out of the woodwork, claiming that Dad had affairs with them, as well. Stupid liars were just trying to get attention!  "Take it back!" she snapped angrily.
Austin guffawed.  "Plumbbob, I want to be a football player when I grow up!"

Macy rushed to her twin's side and tugged on her arm.  "Just ignore him, Lacie! He doesn't know what he's talking about!"  She glared at Austin. 
Lacie shook Macy off and reached up and slapped Austin soundly across his face, leaving a red print the shape of her handprint.

Austin's hand lifted to his cheek, covering the mark.  "I'm telling!" he growled, pushing past her and hurrying to the classroom.

 Moudy dropped all the stuff he'd found today in the living room, frowning when he saw the puddle.  "What the heck?" he grumbled, walking around towards the kitchen to see what was leaking.
"If it's not one thing, it's another," he grumbled under his breath, grabbing a wrench from his toolbox and fiddling with the dishwasher.  He should keep his eye out for a used dishwasher to replace this old thing.
 He was mopping up the floor when the front door banged.

"OMIPLUMBOB!" Jackson cheered excitedly.  "It's the Harvest Festival! I saw it from my bus today! Can we go? Can we go?" he asked eagerly.  "I wanna go through the scary haunted house!  Lacie said that people have really DIED there and they left the gravestones!"
Moudy chuckled, ruffling Jackson's hair as he rolled his eyes.  "Lacie's pulling your leg," he told his son.  "But, it would be neat to go."

"Can we go today?" Jackson begged.

Jackson was already shaking his head.  "Not on a school night. Maybe this weekend," he promised.

"Is Mom gonna come?" he asked.

Before buying The Hideout, Moudy would've said yes in a heartbeat, but Liz was really determined to make the bar a rousing success. 
 So, he hesitated.  "We'll see, bud," he said.  "Come on, let's work on your homework."

Liz had spent the afternoon studying mixology.  She was excited when she found a few drink recipes for energy drinks.

"Here you go!" she said brightly, pouring the drinks with a relish before putting it on the bar for the group.  "Enjoy!"

She'd found her true calling!

Jason rubbed the back of his neck as he left the stadium. He glanced around, checking for paparazzi.  They'd been circling him since the scandal blew up.  He felt like his life was free-falling right now.

As if he didn't have enough troubles, he thought tiredly.  Now he had to worry about Lacie.  He'd been in the locker room when he finally checked his messages and saw the voicemail from the principal.  He shouldn't have been surprised to hear that Lacie had slapped a boy in her class, but he had been, nonetheless.  For punishment, she was going to have to serve a week's worth of after-school detention.

He shut his eyes and made a bee-line to his car.
"Jason?" he heard someone call from the shadows.

Snap! Paparazzi!, he thought sourly, turning towards the voice. "No comment," he said tersely.
 Then he looked.  "Brenda!"
 His gaze trickled down to her t-shirt stretched over her rounded belly. 
"We need to talk," she told him.

March 12, 2017

Jason: Week Thirty-Four, Day Two

Jason stared at the door, as though he wasn't sure how to cross this physical barrier.  He raised his hand up hesitantly to knock, then paused.  He wasn't strong enough to do this, he thought, his gut-twisting with grief. 
He could still hear the sound of her voice when she'd called him with the awful news.  She'd been sobbing her heart out and it killed him that there had been nothing he could do for her from so far away.  "I'll be right there," he promised, his own eyes filled with tears.  "It's going to be okay."

Taking a deep breath, he straightened his tie and knocked firmly on the front door.   He would face this head-on.
"Jason, I'm glad you made it," Johnny said, opening the door and stepping outside. 

Jason felt the tears welling in his eyes. 
With rough, jerky movements, he threw himself into his stepdad's arms, feeling much like a kid.  He felt Johnny's arms go around him, hugging him tight.  "It's going to be okay," he said gruffly, his own voice raspy with tears.

But Jason knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again.
His mom was gone...

Jason listened as Johnny performed the eulogy for Mom.

He spoke about the pranks he'd pulled on her and his sister Rachel when they were young.  He recounted the moment he first realized her loved her, when he'd returned to Sunset Valley and met his nephew, Rio.  He smiled softly, recounting the greatest love story of Sunset Valley.

"And everyone who was lucky enough to love Haley knew what a loving, kind, devoted woman she was," he added.  He paused, slinging an arm around Rio's shoulder. "And she loved all of her children."  Rio dipped his head and swiped at the tear.  Haley had always been like a mother to him.
Johnny had just asked everyone to bow their head for a prayer when a few more guests stepped inside.
Jason turned around, glancing over his shoulder at the interruption and felt a smile bloom. 
"Tia Ritza!"

Maritza stepped forward and hugged Jason tightly, wiping a tear from her eye before she stepped back.   "I never thought I would leave the Island for this," she trailed sadly, regretting the miles of ocean that had kept her from her very best friend.  "I always meant to come back..."
Rest in Peace, Haley Hernandez...

Despite the heartache and grief in the Hernandez household, the sun still rose, shining brightly.  The newspaper boy chucked the daily paper on the sidewalk before speeding away, whistling a merry tune.
The first to wake, Johnny headed outside and grabbed the paper before padding back inside.
He settled at the dining room table and flipped open the paper before nearly spitting his coffee out.
 "Jason, wake up," Johnny said, tossing the paper into his stepson's lap.
"What is it?" Jason mumbled groggily, disoriented from waking on the couch.  The girls were sleeping in the spare bedroom, so he'd sacked out on the couch.

"Read it," Johnny replied tersely.
Jason lifted the paper from his lap and fumbled with it before seeing the headline that had caught his stepdad's eye.  He felt the blood drain from his face.  "Oh my plumbbob," he whispered brokenly, his hands shaking.  The newspaper fell from his fingertips and fluttered to the floor.

Johnny shook his head sadly.  He didn't need to ask Jason if it was true.  His reaction was telling enough. 
"F&*#!" Jason swore, jerking to his feet.  He pushed his hands through his hair, trying to figure out what to do first. 

It was bad enough that the article detailed his affair with Brenda, but the grainy black and white pictures alongside the writing offered undeniable proof.

He grabbed his cell and stepped away, furiously dialing her number.  Jason pounded his fist on the window ledge when the call went straight to voicemail.

"This is Cheri! Leave your name & number and I'll call you right back!" her voice recording announced happily.

Jason squeezed his eyes shut.  "Cheri? This is Jason. Call me back when you get this.  I... oh plumbbob... I'm so sorry, baby.  Just call me back.  Right away... please..."
Jason rested his head against the cool window-pane and shut his eyes.  Plumbbob, this was going to kill Cheri, he thought sadly.  If she didn't already know, the thought popped into his mind and his eyes snapped open.

She'd seemed distant when he'd called to tell her about his mom's funeral, offering to watch Natalee so he could attend with the twins.  Had she known? he thought miserably, trying to replay every conversation they'd had in the past few days.


"If you could just sign here, we'll have them served immediately," Aubrey Sekemoto told his client kindly.   He pushed the papers across the table towards her, adding, "Everything is just as we discussed."

*AN - BLEH! I am so going to miss Haley so much! If possible, I liked her even more than Eva!  I'm so glad that the whole family got together for Leisure Day recently and that she passed before the big scandal with Jason hit the newspaper!

Kimi is now an adult and is the spitting image of her mother!  

And look at Maritza's kiddos all grown up - little Darryl Junior & Madeline!

I was feeling a little nostalgic and went back to look at a few of memories that Johnny spoke about in his eulogy.  

During that meandering, I happened to run across a picture of Jason's dad and future stepdad:

Haley, Week Twenty-Five, Day Three
I forgot how much Jason looked like his father, Gage, the schmuck!!