Monday, February 14, 2011

Alex was amazed every time they pulled up to the Ryan estate. The thought of her children inheriting half a billion dollars was mind boggling. She looked over at the man she married and wondered if he was adopted. There was nothing about him that said ‘rich’. It wasn’t often she got to see him dressed up she wanted to savor the moment. Rick usually ran around the house in t-shirts and torn jeans. She so loved the times like these.

“Why are you staring at me?” Rick asked.

“Just admiring how handsome you are.”

“I can live with that.” He reached over and brought her hand to his lips. “You are as beautiful as ever.”

Alyse and Brock started to giggle in the back seat.

“What’s so funny you two? Your Daddy loves your Mommy very, very much.”

Alex looked at him and smiled. “Me too.” Rick unhooked her seat belt, pulled her close and they shared a tender kiss. Alex trembled in his arms. “I’m glad I can still make you tremble like a school girl.”

“Always,” Alex said. She knew she’d never tire of the wonderful man she had married. Each day they shared was a precious gift.

Brock looked out the window and squealed. “Papa, papa.” Then Alyse joined in.

“I think they know where we are.”

“I hope they didn’t go overboard with the party. They’re only three,” Alex said. A horn honked and Alex jumped. Thane, Elena and their little brood pulled up beside them. Thane got out of the car and stared at the mansion. “Lucky bastard,” he muttered.

The four adults tried to calm the four overly excited children. The Ryan’s answered the door, as usual perfectly dressed and coiffed. After the last time with the twins, they seemed to have dressed more practically. It wasn’t easy getting grass stains out of silk.

“It’s so wonderful to see you all.” Shelby Ryan hugged Rick and Alyse. “You must be Thane,” she said. “I recognize you from your movies. Elena, it is so nice to finally meet you.” The group exchanged hugs and handshakes and wrangled the anxious children towards the hall where a half a dozen children were already playing.

Alex took Alyse aside. “Please be good for Mommy,” Alex pleaded. Alyse smiled and nodded. She hurried off to the other children.

“She’s going to be a heart-breaker like her mother,” Thane teased.

“She is a handful.”

Rick hugged Elena. “You are glowing,” he said.

Elena frowned at Alex.

“I know, isn’t she?” Thane patted her stomach. “We have number three on the way. I never thought I’d be saying that with a smile on my face.”

“Rick,” Elena growled.

“Hey, it wasn’t me this time.” He put his hands up in defense.

Thane kissed Elena’s neck. “I’m finally catching on to you. We’ve been going at it like rabbits, it was bound to happen again.”

Rick scowled and Elena smacked Thane in the stomach. “What and ouch, have the hormones started already.” Elena took an angry step towards him and he moved out of her reach.

Rick wanted to laugh but held back the urge and extended his hand to Thane instead. “Too much information, but congratulations.”

“When are you two having another?” Elena asked.

Rick and Alex said in unison. “We aren’t. We love them dearly, but were older than you two and our children are a handful.” It was a hard thing to admit to, but it was true, they were well behaved, intelligent kids who wanted to know about everything and had boundless energy.

“I’m hungry,” Elena said.

“I think I saw food over this way, honey.” Thane shot a frightened look over his shoulder and they went in search of food for his pregnant wife.

“I don’t know how she does it,” Rick said.

“I’m sure people say that about us all the time.”

“Hey, I’m a good husband,” Rick protested.

Alex threw her arms around him. “I think you’re a keeper. I’ve almost got you trained.”

Rick’s parents came into the room smiling proudly.

“I don’t like that look on their faces. It means they’ve done something outrageous."

“We got a big surprise for our birthday boy and girl.”

“Oh, no,” Rick muttered and hurried over to his parents. “What did you do? We said simple, remember?"

“Nothing major son,” Richard Sr. said. “Just a little petting zoo. The kids at this party except this kind of thing and Grand-kids are made for spoiling.”

Rick looked out the door and grunted. “My kids aren’t going to get used to this.” Rick knew they would probably disinherit him if they found out what he and Alex wanted to do with their fortune when they got it.

Thane and Elena and their little brood hurried over to the group.

An elephant trumpeted.

“Is that an elephant?” Thane asked. Richard Senior patted Thane on the back. “It’s just a little one.”

“Come on, children.” Richard Senior said. The children ran from all over the house and stood patiently and quietly to see what the surprise was. Richard threw open the door to a section of the back yard.

“They took me to the zoo once.”

“That’s nothing.” Thane said.

“They closed the zoo for a whole day. It was just us.”

“Wow, lucky bastard,” Thane muttered.

“I think we’re going to need more help.”

“Are those ponies?” Thane asked.

“Yes they are,” Rick sighed.

Rick knew there was no point in getting angry. His parents lived in a world that had always felt foreign and wrong to him but it was what they were used to. He would not allow Brock and Alyse to spend too much time in the world of great wealth and opulence. His children would not be set apart from the world. He wanted them to have dirty hands and callouses and see life was about work and sweat and sometimes going without even though you didn’t have to.

Alex steadied herself as a wave of nausea hit her. "Alex dear, are you all right you look a little pale?”

“I think so. It comes and goes.”

Shelby smiled. “You don’t think you could be pregnant again do you.”

“Alex that would be wonderful if we were pregnant at the same time again,” Elena said.

“It’s probably just the flu. But please don’t say anything to Rick.”

“Oh, of course not, dear. How about we go into the kitchen for some soda crackers and ginger ale. Maybe that will settle your stomach down. Not a word to the men until we know for sure.” Elena hugged Alex, then Shelby hugged her.

Rick walked into the room. “I was wondering where you all were.” He saw the look on their faces and frowned. “I know better than to ask what’s going on. You don’t want to miss this one-time event.” He looked to his mother, saying it for her benefit.

“Yes, Richard this is a once in a lifetime event.” She smiled, used to pacifying her son who hated their overindulgent lifestyle as he called it. She had given up arguing with him long ago. She was immensely proud of the man he had become and the life he had created for himself. What good was all their money if they couldn’t do something fun for the grand-kids?

Rick walked over to Alex and put his arm around her. “Are you okay, sweetheart?”

Alex smiled and nodded but Rick knew she wasn’t telling the truth. He would be watching the two kids and his wife today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Only You

Alex, Alyse and Brock sat quietly behind the dune watching a flock of gulls. “We have to be very quiet, so Mommy can take pictures of the pretty birds.” Alex had stopped writing her novels but still needed a creative outlet, so she took up photography and found she had a knack for it. She was debating at the moment, whether or not it had been a good idea to take the twins on her quest.

Brock clapped his hands and squealed. “Birdies.” Then he went stiff as a board and threw himself down the dune. Rolling like a lopsided ball until he hit the bottom.

“Brock, no,” she whispered. “You stay where you are young lady,” she said to Alyse as she ran down the hill after Brock. Alex picked up Brock and headed back up to his sister. She saw the look on her daughter’s face as she approached and knew it meant trouble. Alyse giggled and headed over the dune towards the gulls with Brock hot on her heels.

“Great,” she muttered. Alex grabbed the camera and snapped pictures of the kids and the gulls taking flight. It wasn’t the shot she wanted, but any pictures with her precious babies would be good ones.

“What are my 3 trouble makers up to?” Rick asked.

Alex rose and brushed the sand from her jeans. “Being out numbered as usual, but check this picture out.”

“The kids and the birds, it’s fantastic!” Rick said proudly.

“They weren’t supposed to be in the picture.” Alex shrugged.

“Writer, photographer, mother, is there anything you can’t do?” Rick pulled her close and nuzzled her neck.

Alex furrowed her brow. “Yes, control our children.”

“That’s not possible. We were doomed from the get go.” They turned to watch their children wrestle in the sand. Alyse, as usual had won the battle and was attempting to bury brother in the sand.

“Let’s go get them. There are two of us now,” Alex said.

"We're going to need to vacuum them off before we let them in the house."

Rick couldn't help but laugh at the thought. I'm sure it won't be the last time we do that."

The two walked arm and arm towards the children.

“Daddy, daddy,” the twins yelled in unison. Rick let the kids pull him down onto the beach and the three rolled around laughing. They seemed to love their dad more everyday if that was possible. Despite her protest, Alex ended up in the sand with the rest of them. They played and giggled, and then stopped to watch cotton ball clouds and lazy gulls drift slowly by.

Alex couldn't help but smile, her life was so perfect, so complete. She had two beautiful, albeit rambunctious children and the man of her dreams.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Only You

Alex Martinson looked around the room and shook her head. She’d only been gone a few hours, the room looked like a bomb had gone off and the house was eerily quiet. She put her bags down and picked her way through the debris. All the rooms were empty and she carefully pushed open the door to the master suite. Alex gasped and ran for her camera; this was a shot of a lifetime. She inched her way into the room trying to be as quiet as possible, not wanting to disturb the scene. She snapped picture after picture and when she couldn’t resist any longer, she walked closer to the bed. She reached out a hand to touch, but shrieked when she was grabbed by the wrist.

“Don’t you dare wake them up,” Rick whispered. He untangled himself from his sleeping son and carefully slid from the bed. He ushered Alex quickly out of the room.

“I can see you three had fun while I was gone.”

“Fun … no … well, yes but it was a necessary sacrifice to save myself.” Rick grabbed Alex and kissed her passionately.

“Uh, that’s not going to work. This time you clean up the mess.”

Rick shrugged “I guess I’m losing my charm,” he sighed and looked as pathetic as possible.

“No you haven’t. I’m just wise to your scheme now.” Alex snuggled into his embrace. “They are so beautiful. Like little angels.”

“Yeah, but only when they are sleeping. What are we going to do, honey. They’ll be three next week, does that mean the terrible twos are going to end?”

“I have a feeling this is going to last for eighteen years.”

The two headed back to the family room and the mess that awaited them. They picked up toys, put cushions back and straightened out lampshades. When they were finished, Rick and Alex collapsed back onto the couch.

Rick kissed her forehead. “Promise you’ll never leave me alone again.”

“I promise I will never leave you alone.” Alex crawled into his lap, unbuttoned her favorite flannel shirt and kissed his chest.

“That works, too. I accept your apology.”

Alex made and indignant grunt and left the couch.

“Wait, what did I say?”

Alex looked at him over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. She returned with the bags from her shopping trip.

“Great, I could use some presents about now.”

“I got some stuff for the birthday party. I just wish they had more friends to invite.”

“Honey, they’re three and we are pretty isolated out here. My parents are inviting the grandkids of everyone they know and we have little Alex and Rose coming. I can’t believe Thane and Elena had Rose so quickly after Alexander,” Rick said.

Alex leaned in and kissed his cheek. “Can you keep a secret?” She asked.

“You know me.”

“Yes, I do blabber mouth. Elena may be pregnant again and if you say a word I will hurt you.” She pointed an angry finger at him. Last time, he had told Thane about the pregnancy before Elena had.

“Well, we need to be informed of these things, too and sooner better than later. Uh oh, I think I hear trouble.” Rick bolted from the couch and ran towards the bedroom.

Alex put her feet up and closed her eyes. Her life the last four years had been a whirlwind of emotions and events. She had rediscovered the love of her life, her soul mate in Rick and together they had produced beautiful, fraternal twins, Alyse and Brock. They had battled through potty training and were trying to survive the terrible twos. Even though there were two adults and two children they still felt outnumbered most of the time. Maybe that’s what it felt like having kids in your forties. Alex sighed and drifted off to sleep, content in the fact she had faced her fears and conquered most of them.