Alexa Chapter 20: Memorial Day

Alexa Chapter 20: Memorial Day

Summer was almost here, which meant school was almost over. Thank god. This last semester had not gone as well as I had hoped. I had a few distractions along the way. That is the understatement of the year! I was never in class, and while my professors where helpful for the most part, my grades had slipped. After the little events at the will reading I vowed to buckle down and finish the semester strong. I needed to get at least a ‘B’ average to maintain my scholarship. And while I did buckle down, the distractions still found a way to take control of my life.

But through these distractions one thing showed through and stabilized me, Jenny. She was there as I dealt with the everchanging dynamics of my own family, the trials and tribulations of my academic career and most importantly the recent development of my journey. I had been on Estrogen for just a few weeks but was already seeing a few changes. Changes that were welcome. My skin seemed to be getting a bit softer and the little shaving I had to do was happening even less frequently. I was feeling better about myself, but seemed to be a bit more emotional than before. It was evident when we were watching a Hallmark movie one Saturday night. In the past, I would tear up a bit, but now I was crying like a baby over the love story that was presented. Jenny tried to comfort me but she was in almost as bad of shape. The changes seemed to bring us closer together which I did not think was humanly possible. That closeness was going to be very much needed.

As May began, it marked the return of Jenny’s mother from her 60 day stay at the Betty Ford Clinic. Jenny was extremely nervous as the day came closer. She and her mother had a huge argument on the day of the family intervention and had only talked via telephone twice since then. Both had resulted in Jenny in tears and me comforting her. So, when the day to see her mother again came, Jenny was a nervous wreck. She pleaded for me to come with her to see her mother. I wasn’t sure if I should. One of the reasons for the dramatic scene on the day of the intervention was my presence in Jenny’s life. It was the day before the reuniting that I received a call from Jenny’s father. “Hi Marty. What can I do for you?” I asked.

“Good afternoon Alexa. How have you been?” He asked and I told him I was fine. I could tell by his voice he was nervous about something. In a typical ‘male’ manner he began speaking again. “That’s good to hear. I need you to do me another favor. I need you to come with Jennifer when she sees her mother.” To say I was shocked was an understatement. This was a family thing. As I started to express my concerns, Marty stopped me. “I don’t know how Marilyn will handle it, but Jennifer will want you there, need you there. I’ll warn you it may get a little ugly but after watching you the last few months, I know you can handle it. Besides you are family.” Marty’s comment leveled me. He thought I was a family? Thank god, he wasn’t there, because he would have seen me tearing up. After confirming the time, we had to be there the following day and went about the rest of the day. When I made it back to the apartment that afternoon, Jenny was waiting for me. I could see something was bothering her, but I already knew her worries had been quelled. She just didn’t know it. After exchanging our normal kiss, we sat on the couch. She leaned into me as I asked her what was wrong.

“I’m scared about seeing my mother. I just have a feeling it could be a gigantic argument. I wish you could go with. Mother may not care for it, but I need you there.” A down cast Jenny said to me. I just smiled as Jenny buried her head into my chest. It was my turn to try a little Mary attack on my girlfriend.

“This is just for you family Jen. You need to be with your mom and dad and make your family right again.” I told her. She just squeezed me tight before pouting a bit more.

“But you’re my family too. I need you there. I don’t want to face her alone and maybe you will help keep her calm.” Jenny continues. I can only sit there and grin at Jenny’s predicament. She pushes back to try and talk me into it more when she sees the grin on my face. “What’s so funny?” She asks almost defensively. I try and control myself but find it hard.

“Nothing babe, but I do have one question for you. What time are heading to your parent’s tomorrow?” At first, she looks at me questioningly and then it hits her and she give me a hug. “You’re going?” she asks.

“Yes I am. I talked to your dad earlier and he thought I should come with you. He said I belong there because I am family.” Jenny sat there shocked for a moment before a huge smile over took her face and she wrapped me in a big hug. But the hug did not last as long as I had hoped. Reality hit her. “You set me up, didn’t you?” She questioned me, and playfully begins slapping me “You are so mean! You can’t see my grandmother ever again.” Jenny informs me through her giggles. Just as Jenny is saying all these things, our roommate and her boyfriend coming through the apartment door. Danny turns to Katie.

“See I’m not the only one who thinks she has gotten mean.” Katie just rolls her eyes and Danny laughs. “What did she do now Jen? Wedgie or something?” This time it’s my turn to roll my eyes over a typical Danny comment.

Jenny stops her physical abuse of me “No nothing like that Danny. She’s just teasing me about going with me to see my mother.” She gives me a quick little tickle in the tummy before giving me a kiss. ‘She told me she didn’t want to come with me when my father had already talked her into coming. The little brat.” Another tickle, another kiss, another groan from my brother over our actions. We straighten ourselves out and I move off to get something to drink while Jenny fills Katie and Danny about what is going on with Jenny’s mother. As I return I give Danny a playful slap to the back of the head “Ow! What was that for?” Danny asks,

“For being mean to your sister and calling her names.” I tell Danny earning laughter from my two roommates, who I soon join them on the couch where we continue to laugh at my brother who leans his head back and closes his eyes. ‘You three are nuts! Why do I put up with you?” He asked the sky. Katie leaves us and joins her boyfriend in the chair and cuddling up with him and kissing him providing the answer to his question. It was so odd to see Katie this way but at the same time it was so wonderful. She deserved to be happy, even if it was with my brother. And plus, it was something that brought all of us closer together. It seemed like the world was heading in the right direction.

Jenny and I finished our classes and I had my Friday meeting with Debbie, so she could keep an eye on my progress. Everything had been going so well, that the meetings seemed almost silly, but I knew I needed them and each time I left them I felt rejuvenated. I felt more at peace with myself and the journey I was on. Debbie helped me work through all those nagging doubts I had harbored over Jenny and my changes. Jenny didn’t exactly hurt there. While Debbie and her counsel really helped, my head adjust, Jenny and her love helped me emotionally. So, it was that care I was going to have to call on as the two of us prepared to head to the Thompson’s to meet up with a woman who the last time I saw her, said I was beneath her and that I was trying to turn Jenny into a housewife. I returned to the apartment where I slip out of my skirt and top into a royal blue, sleeveless sheath dress and my wedge heels. I thought I should be somewhat more formal. Jenny and gone with a casual black print halter dress with a skater skirt and some 3 inch sandals.

As we stood checking ourselves out in the large mirror, as we always seem to do, I could pick up the nervousness in Jenny. And while I was just as, if not more, nervous about our upcoming meeting, I knew I had to be there for her. I spun my soulmate around to look deep in her eyes. “I will be there for you. Just smile and try your best. No matter what she may say, she will not harm us in any way. Remember that. I love you and we will work this out.”

Jenny hugged me, “I know babe, it’s that I just want to at least make it civil between us. She was so mean the last time I saw her. Mean to both of us!” I just kissed her on the cheek as I held her. Jenny had been there for me for so long I felt honored to be able to do this for her. My own fears over tonight were secondary to what Jenny was about to go through. We straightened ourselves out one last time and headed down stairs to Jenny’s car for the drive out to the Lake. Being that it was rush hour, we got to spend a little extra time together. I continued to try and relax her, but even with that she was still a nervous wreck as we pulled up to her parents’ house. As usual, we came in through the side entrance and slowly worked our way through the kitchen. We entered first into the main dining room and then into the main room of the house. There was Marty standing there as he had the last time all four of us were together, staring out at the Lake.

“Girls. How are you two today?” Marty asks in a much more somber mood than the last time I had seen him.

“Fine daddy.” Jenny says as she goes over and gives her father a kiss. I stayed back not wanting to give any ammunition to Mrs. Thompson. “Where is mother?” From behind us in walks Marilyn Thompson. Dressed in a casual white linen top embroidered with birds and matching pants and sandals. She begins walking up to Jenny as I stand by the side.

“Hello Jennifer” Marilyn says in a very subdued but still aloof voice. I see confusion in Jenny as she looks over at her mother. The two of them share a hug, but it was a lot like the one at Thanksgiving. Like it was obligatory. There was no affection in the hug. I could also see that Jenny was taken aback by that. She stood there as her mother began to move away. Marty decided we should head to the patio and enjoy the warm spring evening, so he held the door open for his wife as she slowly made her way out to the patio. Marty followed his wife out the door, leaving Jenny and I alone for a minute. Jenny seems almost shaken by what is going on. I ask her if she is OK and take her into my arms giving her a much more caring embrace than the one she had just received.

“I don’t get it Lex. It was even worse than before. It was like it was something she had to do when she hugged me,” Jenny says as I held her. I try and comfort her, but she is really hurt. Eventually we release one another and make our way out to the patio. As we are walking out the door, I can hear the conversation between Jenny’s parents suddenly stop. Marilyn looks over at us with a forced smile as we take our spots at the round table. I wound up taking the spot directly across from Marilyn, feeling it might be safer. Jenny begins in again with her mother, asking about her stay in rehab and how it was going. Marilyn came off very guarded in her answers to Jenny, but somewhat hostile towards Marty. When Jenny made the comment that she was glad to have her back and attempted to give her another hug, Marilyn displayed the same ambivalence towards her daughter

The remaining meal was tense. But it wasn’t just me that was sensing it. I could see that Marty was uncomfortable with everything and Jenny would constantly remind me as we linked hands several times under the table. I was probably the least affected by everything, probably because Marilyn almost completely avoided me. This was a new experience for me and I started to feel bad that I had caused something. At one point when she completely brushed aside my and Jenny’s relationship as she was discussing out Florida trip, I started to cry and abruptly left the table and moved into the house. Jenny quickly followed me in and I could hear Marilyn saying “Get back here this minute Jennifer. You were not done.” But Jenny didn’t stop and followed me in to the house., just as I began breaking down.

“Why doesn’t she like me?” I asked. I knew it was the Estrogen and its effects that made everything magnified, but it still hurt. Jenny wrapped me in her arms and comforted me. “Why doesn’t she like me?” I wail into Jenny’s shoulder again. Jenny didn’t say anything, she just held me, as she had numerous times over the last few weeks as my chemical makeup slowly changed. After a few minutes. She lifted my head up and shared a kiss with me.

“Give her time. It must be tough for her. We’re all looking at her waiting for something to happen. Just relax OK?” I nodded and tried to pull myself together. Jenny kissed me again “The hormones are a bitch, aren’t they?” She said with a loving smile. I couldn’t help but laugh and share another kiss. Jenny led me over to the powder room just off the main room and helped me fix myself back up. She could see I was in a better mood, so she figured she could tease me a bit “Good thing I invested in that water-proof mascara manufacturer. We’ll be rich!” I lovingly told my soulmate to shut up before I started giggling away with her. Moments later she led me back out to the patio. I could see no change in reaction from Marilyn but what hit me was Marty. There was genuine concern in his eyes. Both Jenny and I tried to allay his concerns over me and we think it did. But soon we were forced to confront the issue that was Marilyn.

“I’m surprised you had to go run off and help your friend over me Jennifer. That is extremely rude to leave someone when you are talking with them to deal with a person who can’t control their emotions.” Marilyn said without even looking at me. The sadness I was feeling just a few minutes before was being replaced by anger, and Jenny knew it. She clamped down on my hand and looked over at me. But before she could address her mother, Marty jumped in.

“What is your problem Marilyn. Here is your daughter who is obviously concerned for you but you are keeping her at arm’s length, hell you’re keeping me at arm’s length. And then we have a guest in our home. No wait that is wrong. Alexa is not a guest, she is Jenny’s partner and you won’t even acknowledge her?” Marty says looking over at me. The smile of acceptance he flashed me brought me to a new high. “Why Marilyn? What is happening?”

Marilyn took a moment to look each of us over. While I could deal with the look she gave me, it was the look of indifference she flashed Marty and Jenny that got to me. Marty seemed to handle it well but Jenny seemed crushed by it. It was my turn to grip her hand a little tighter and pull her in. Finally, Marilyn spoke. “I had time to think while I was locked in that little hell hole. But, I still need some time to process all this. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to my room. I am not completely ready for all this.” And she got up and went back into the house. I wanted to use the word arrogance right there, but didn’t know that it would be welled received. As soon as she got through the door Marty began apologizing.

“Girls I am so sorry, but this is how she has been since she got back. Something happened when she was in Palm Springs. I don’t know what to do.” Marty said as he slumped back into his chair. Soon Jenny was at his side trying to comfort him. I joined in after a bit and we both told him how nice he had been and that we understood. Finally, a slight smile came to his face. “Thanks girls. It hasn’t been easy.” Marty said and he pulled Jenny in for a hug. I stood back and watched. It was a beautiful moment, but then I felt his arm reach awkwardly for me. I let him pull me in as well. Every time I saw him it seemed we became a little closer. As he pulled me in for a hug I felt like the final line had been crossed by Marty and I truly felt part of his family. As he let us go, I start tearing up. I had to look away for a minute to try and control myself. Damn hormones I thought.

Following our Friday night adventure with the Thompsons, Jenny and I decided we hadn’t had enough of our families. Saturday was a birthday party for Danny back in Faribault, so we decided to make a day of it. We got and headed down to my mother’s to spend a little time with her. We left bright and early, leaving Katie and Danny to make their way down on their own and made the drive down to Faribault. The one interesting thing is that while my mother was still excited when we came down and our connection had grown stronger, the normalcy of life had taken over. And it was welcomed. After the previous night’s events, we lingered in bed a little longer than we had planned and did not make it down to my mother’s until 45 minutes after our stated time.

“Where have you two been?” my mother stated as we exited the car. She was standing there in her usual Saturday yard work clothes with a pruning shear in her hands. “You’re’ late. I couldn’t wait around for you two lazy girls all day.” She said as we came over and gave her hugs. We attempted to apologize, but mom was mom. The mom of my youth. The mom that would yell up at me on Saturdays to get up because there were chores to be done. After we parted from the hugs, she stood back looking at Jenny and me. As usual, both of us were in casual skirts and tops, and myself in my Birkenstock sandals and Jenny in a pair of flats. “You two can’t do any work in those outfits.” Mom states. “What were you thinking Alexa? It’s Saturday. You know we have things to do.” Jenny looks nervously at me as my mother goes on. As mom is ranting on I try to tell her to relax.

“Mom, we have clothes and we will get changed. I just didn’t think you would be waiting out here with the chainsaw all fired up when we got here.” The comment earned me ‘the look’ before giggling. She told us to go get changed and to meet her over by the garden. Jenny looked a little scarred as we walked in to the house, she had never done anything like this except pulling a few weeds when her grandmother got on her. “Don’t worry babe, we won’t do anything too strenuous. And I’ll be there to help.” As I lead her up to my bedroom, a new worry came over her.

“What are we going to change into? I can’t wear this!” Jenny says as we enter the bedroom that was still decorated as whats his name’s. I realized that at some point I was going to have to get rid of all this stuff. Jenny kept going on about what we were going to wear when I produced the infamous ‘soccer mom’ outfits from the suitcase. Jenny began giggling and then took me in her arms “I knew there was a reason I love you more every day. How did you get those past me?” I explained that I had done it while she was in the shower because I knew this is what would happen. After sharing another kiss, we quickly changed and headed outside to meet up with my mother. She rolled her eyes as she saw the two of us giggling girls.

“You two are a piece of work. There are gloves over in the shed. I want to get the weeds out of the flowerbed by the well, so Jenny you can help me with that. Alexa, start working on the vegetable garden. So, chop, chop girls, times a wasting” It was like I never had left. It was a typical Saturday morning at the Quinn house, and it felt wonderful, my mother was just treating me like she always had. It was the latest bit of acceptance. I led Jenny into the shed where I found her a pair of gloves and I grabbed what had always been my pair and we headed back. Mom was great in getting Jenny to help but all over me to get the major weeds and left over plants cleaned up from the garden. Thankfully I was able to get out of having to run the garden tiller, because that was about when Danny finally pulled in. I could see mom start giving him the death glare for being so late, so I jumped in.

“Hey Dan. Did you help Barb get that bookcase moved?” I asked. Katie’s mom didn’t need a bookcase moved, but it was a better story than telling my mom that he and Katie had ‘slept’ in a bit. He looked at me for second, before indicting that yeah, he had. And then moved into the house to get changed. My mother went to get something from the house and Jenny came over and teased me for lying to my mother. “I didn’t exactly think it was right to ask him if he and Katie had fun this morning.” I said, as Jenny and I shared a giggle before getting back to work, but not before we shared a deep kiss that was broken up by my mother’s return.

‘That’s enough you two. Alexa, go get the lawn tractor and pick up that pile and take it out to the burn pit.” With those orders, I headed to the shed to get out the lawn tractor and the trailer so I could clean up my work. As I was putting gas in, Danny came out to get the tiller ready. “Ah, thanks for the cover.” Danny said. I told him that is was no problem, but that he owed me. He laughs at that and said if anything I still owed him. After getting the fruits of my labor cleaned up I join my mother and Jenny over at the flower garden. I can see Jenny looks a little challenged by mother and what she is asking. I slide up to her and give her a gentle shoulder rub which earns me a smile, before Char can break in again and warn us to be good. “Enough of that you two” She says with a laugh. “Alexa, start cleaning up along the tree line back there.” I nod before I see what I must deal with.

“Mom, I’m not messing with this.” I whine. My mother looks up and asks what the problem is. “It’s a bunch of buckthorn. I’m not messing with this, I’ll get all scratched up before the big party tonight.” Charlotte just shakes her head while I notice my soulmate struggling to suppress her laughter. I know I could handle it, I just didn’t want to, I hate that stuff. Just then Danny was coming out of the shed. My mother calls him over and begins explaining to him that he is going to have to rip up all the buckthorn, so I didn’t have to get all scratched up. I just smiled and try and copy all the moves Jenny had used on me over time. Danny just rolled his eyes as my mother gave orders before she went off to get some lunch started. Soon as mom was out of range, I ran over to Danny and attempted to wrap my arms around my brother. “You are such a great big brother. Thank you for taking care of the buckthorn for me.” I said. The response I received was exactly what I suspected.

“Get the hell off me, Alexa. You could have taken care of that and you know it. You wuss.” Jenny was practically dying from laughter while I tried to keep up the demure, fragile woman act. “You two are nuts, you know that?” Unknown to my brother, my mother was walking up behind him. That was my cue to continue.

“Mom, Danny’s calling me names!” I call out. I am promptly told to shut up by Danny, who in turn is scolded by my mother for being mean. Jenny had to walk away she was laughing so hard. Danny just continued his grumbling and once again announced that all the women in his life were nuts.

The rest of the afternoon pretty much went the same way. Jenny and I continued to help my mother with some light work around the yard while leaving all the difficult work for Danny. Finally, the work is done and we relaxed a bit before Jenny and I head upstairs to get cleaned up for the party. We are forced to wait a moment as my mother gets cleaned up for church, leaving just Jenny, Danny and I at home alone. A little sibling ‘discussion’ soon begins between Danny and I over who should be able to use the shower first. He is all worried that Jenny and I will use all the hot water but I try and tell him that we should get to go first because it will take us longer to get ready. Jenny come up with the perfect solution for the water problem and drags me upstairs telling Danny she has a way for us to save hot water. I recognize the look and just smile at my brother as Jenny and I head upstairs and begin stripping each other and beginning our water conservation.

An hour later, the highly satisfied and well-dressed Jenny and I make our way downstairs where we find my brother’s mood has not changed. “Come on you two! Katie is going to be mad if I’m late. Jenny and I begin laughing. I grab my phone and hit speed dial 3 on it and put it on speaker. My ‘sister’ answers, “What’s up Lex?” I go on to tell her that Jenny and I were running late and that was why her boyfriend wasn’t there yet. She began to laugh “I suppose he is all grumpy? I figured you two would be late, that’s why I told you three everything was a half an hour earlier!” Jenny and I were used to our roommate playing this truck on us, but Danny was not. He began to protest Katie’s time line. “Oh, knock it of Danny. I’ll make it up to you later.” Jenny and I were in shock over the brazenness of our roommate, but it just caused the Danny grin to appear. After calling my sister a hussy, we moved off to Jenny’s car and made our way to Katie’s. We arrive at Katie’s and she comes out looking incredible. While Jenny and I had just gone with the same floral dresses we had worn back in Florida, Jenny appears to have gone shopping. The pastel color paisley dress was form fitting and sleeveless. I could tell I was not the only one who liked it, as I could see the lecherous look on Danny’s face. Since we are celebrating his birthday I left him alone. After sharing a hi and long kiss with Danny in the back seat, Katie looked at me and said two words. “Yes and No”

“What?” I asked innocently. Katie laughed at my question. “Yes, I saw Sarah and No you cannot borrow it” I tried to pout and give Katie the puppy dog eyes, causing Danny to groan. “Give it up.” Katie tells me. “Those puppy dog eyes only work on blonde funny looking chicks not us beautiful brunettes” The two in the back seat laugh while the blonde-haired driver tries to comfort me in my attempt. “Don’t worry” she tells me. “We’ll get it out of her.”

Eventually we pull up at Willie’s, where Katie has reserved that backroom for tonight’s birthday party. While Danny went to the bar, the three of us began setting things up in the back. I was still trying to figure out why we’re celebrating the big lug’s birthday, but then I looked over at Katie and she was just excited by everything. I think part of all this was just for her. She had not always been the most popular person in Faribault because she had been a little chubby and the whole baby thing. But now she was going out with a well-known and well-liked guy from our hometown. As I watched her float around I realized just how happy I was for her. Soon all of Danny’s friends started showing up and he came into the back room. Katie didn’t leave his side as they greeted everyone and the smile on her face was huge. I think that this may have been the happiest I had ever seen her, Jenny and I stood off to the side and just watched our roommate. Eventually we decided we needed some quiet time away from the party and decided to go up to the bar and get a drink. When we got out to the bar we were hit by a new but not unwelcome guest.

Standing at the bar were three women giggling and having fun. The dirty blonde that had her back to us seemed familiar, when she turned around we knew exactly who it was “Alexa, Jenny! How are you guys?” Bethany said to the two of us as she came over. Jenny and I were in shock. This was not the same meek woman we had last seen being pulled out of Lefty’s by my brother. This was a young woman out for a night on the town. I think you could have knocked both Jenny and I over with a feather as Bethany came over a shared a hug with us. Soon we were talking with Bethany like an old friend and she was telling us how much better things had been the last few weeks. That she had been going out with friends she hadn’t really hung out with in years. How she had begun taking some yoga classes and just how great life had been. She paused for a second and looked at us “I think I owe you two an apology. Jenny I have been nothing but a bitch to you since we met but you are a real sweet and kind person and Alexa. What can I say to you. I have never been nice to you, but the warmth you showed me that night really made me look at things differently.” I could see her start to get down. I had known the girl for a long time and she had been around my family for almost seven years. To see this change is her was wonderful.

I reached over and gave her a hug. I whispered in her ear that it meant a lot and I could feel myself starting to tear up. Damn hormones again. I attempted to pull myself together as we broke the hug and I looked her in the eye. “Enough of this sentimental crap. We are here to celebrate!” I exclaimed which was followed by the three of us whooping it up. I leaned over and ordered Jenny and I a drink and Bethany a beer. She introduced us to her friends, who accepted both of us as we were. I have been constantly surprised at how many younger people in my hometown just accepted me as Alexa. It was older ones I kept fighting. At one point Katie came out and saw all of us laughing and having fun and was shocked but soon joined in.

After about 20 minutes of that, Katie suddenly remembered. “Oh shit! I came out here to get Danny a beer! He’s going to be mad.” I couldn’t help but tease her that she was already bowing down to her boyfriend. Katie tried to deny it but did admit she did really enjoy taking care of him, more than she had ever thought. “He’s just a big kid. He needs someone to guide him.” Which caused more laughter. Danny eventually came out asking where his beer was.

“Oh, relax Danny.” I told my brother “Katie is out here having a good time. You were so busy in there being a BOY that you didn’t even realize she was gone.” I was teasing him and the girls all knew it, but he didn’t. He dropped his head in shame before I came over and put my arm around my brother. “It’s OK we all know your whipped.” I told him which got everyone but him laughing again, but the goofy grin did appear. I looked over at Jenny, Katie and Bethany who were standing in front of my brother and I and saw their demeanor change. Jenny and Katie just began to frown, but the Bethany from a couple weeks back returned. Only one thing could do that to her and sure enough that thought was confirmed.

“What the fuck is going on here?” I heard my oldest brother exclaim from behind me. I was having too much fun to put up with his crap. I turned around and greeted him.

“It’s a party Adam, loosen up and have some fun.” I told him. I could hear Jenny and Katie begin to giggle a bit from behind me. Danny gave me a little hip check as I stood there smiling as big as possible at my older brother. I could see his face start to turn red. But I soon realized that I was not the true source of his pent-up rage. Adam pushed past Danny and I and walked up to Bethany. At first, she started to cower from him, but she looked up and we locked eyes. I frowned at her and I could see her attitude change. The weak woman I had seen at Lefty’s started to disappear and my new friend reappeared.

“I asked what you are doing here Bethany. This is a family thing!” Adam stated very forcefully. The moment of the night was about to take place and I couldn’t wait. Bethany took a quick sip of her beer and adopted the smug smile I had seen when dealing with me in the past, but this time it was directed right at the oldest Quinn sibling.

“I am here to celebrate my friend Danny’s birthday and have a few drinks with my friends. Why? Are you telling me that I can’t be here? That I should be back at my apartment waiting for you to come stumbling over, all drunk and wanting some? I don’t think so. We are done Adam, at least until you can straighten up your act.” Bethany stated proudly and I watched huge smiles come across Katie and Jenny’s face. Jenny reached across and gave Bethany a high five and told her “You go girl.” I started laughing. The events that had transpired just infuriated Adam, enough where he made a fatal mistake. He looked at Jenny and told her to shut up and called her a bitch. This made me mad and I asked him what her said. He spun around pointing a finger at me.

“You shut up faggot” Adam screamed at me. Just as it looked like he was about to bring his fist back to take a swing at me, a big left hand came up and grabbed him by the wrist.

“Do even think about it, bro. Besides being a girl, that’s our sister. You don’t mess with her.” Danny said. That was about all Adam could take and he started going off on Danny, calling him every name in the book. I saw something at that moment that amazed me. I felt Danny’s arm release from around my shoulder and he leaned back. I then saw and felt his right fist come from behind us and land squarely on Adam’s jaw, sending him flying backwards. An audible gasp came up from the people in the bar. Adam got up in a rage and threw himself at Danny’s midsection tackling him and driving him back into a bunch of tables. Katie began to yell at Danny and several other guys began yelling at both my brothers. Before it could get any farther, Dalton Williams, the son of the bar owner and one of the biggest people I had ever met came over and grabbed Adam. The 6 foot 5 nearly 300-pound man picked Adam up and spun him around without any effort. Dalton was a friend of Danny’s and a family friend of Bethany’s. He looked Adam in the eye and told him to get the hell out of the bar and not to come back tonight. Adam cowered at the threat made by Dalton and slowly sulked out of the bar, but not before giving Jenny, Bethany and I a death glare.

As the crowd begins to disperse after the brawl, both Katie and I run over to Danny. Before Katie could do anything I practically maul Danny giving him a hug and thanking him for standing up for me. I am in tears once again as the hormones play with my emotions. ‘Would you get off him Alexa, he’s my boyfriend.” Katie says mockingly. I release him to find Jenny and Bethany standing there. Both have huge smiles on their faces as they see the tears of joy I have over Danny sticking up for me, again. Bethany, I think is in awe over everything that has just happened. She goes over and thanks Danny, who gives her the ‘aw shucks ma’am’ bit but then she comes over to me and Jenny. “You guys are too much. I can’t believe all of you would stand up to Adam for me like that.” Bethany says as she gives both me and Jenny a hug. We return it and I briefly glance at the grin on Jenny’s face. As we break, Jenny just stands back with her million watt smile and begins telling Bethany the truth.

“Well Bethany we did it because we like you, we like you a hell of a lot more fun than Dick Junior back there.” Jenny tells my brother’s ex-girlfriend. Then looking at my makeup, Jenny looks back at Bethany and excuses the two of us so we can go make repairs. Once inside the cramped bathroom I give Jenny the biggest hug I can muster.

“I can’t believe what just happened. And I can’t believe you babe. What you said to Bethany was wonderful. I knew I got lucky when you found me.” I tell Jenny before sharing a long, deep kiss with her. Jenny simply refutes what I just said, saying she was the lucky one. We repair my makeup and head back to the party, where we are instantly joined by Bethany once again. The party continued like nothing had happened and the three of us continued to talk and watch Katie play the perfect hostess and loving girlfriend. Bethany joined Jenny and I in our teasing of Katie. We we’re told we were number one a few times but she soaked it all in. She came over a few of times and joined us, once commenting that even though Bethany and Adam were broken up, Bethany was still part of the club and the three of us cheered. The party never seemed to drag on, but soon found we were coming towards the end of the night and time for us to head home. We exchanged hugs with Bethany one last time and exchanged phone numbers. As we were making our way out of the bar and out to the van that Danny’s friend Jackson was driving us home in, we commented on what a strange night it had been and how we were lucky enough to make a new friend. I reminded Jenny and Katie about Nikki’s friend and her saying and we all agreed, you can never have too many friends.

I was glad when the weekend was over so I could get back to being a student because I needed it. I had a lot of work to do but I couldn’t help but think about Bethany and how great she looked and how happy she seemed. But I had to put it all out of my mind. School was the main thing. It came to be that the only time I really saw Jenny over the next few weeks was at night when we went to bed. And what was even more fun, was my changing mood as my body adapted to the estrogen that had begun to take over. Both of my roommates would laugh at me as I would become as grumpy as either one of them would be at certain times. I think the worst was one of the nights when I was reading a William Faulkner short story. For some reason, I just broke out into tears. Katie was the only one at home when this happened, and at first, she tried to get me to calm me down. But I couldn’t, I just kept crying. It wasn’t the story that had started me off. I don’t know what it was, but I was just wailing away. Katie tried to comfort me as I lost it. Lucky for her, Jenny walked through the door and took over for Katie. The soothing touch and love that Jenny had helped to bring these outbursts under control. And she did it again, but I felt bad for her and I still sat and whimpered away. I apologized several times for how I was acting but she just pushed it aside. “I knew what I was in for” Jenny told me as she held me close and rubbed my temple. “I love you Lex and this is just something we have to go through.” When I tried to protest the ‘we’ part I was told to be quiet. “This is a journey we are on together babe. Just think of the long-term. I love you and I want you to be happy. If I have to deal with you ruining all my tops, so what. In the long run, we will both be happy.” Once again Jenny’s words soothed me and I was able to get back under control, but I decided Faulkner was done for the night.

Finals were not my only issue however, I needed a job for the summer. Katie had lined up an interview for me for a waitressing job at AJ’s but I was not real keen on that. I didn’t want to work nights, especially after I found out that Jenny had something lined up for herself that was during the day. Just before school ended Jenny came home all excited “I got an internship for the summer” she exclaimed. I knew she had sent out tons of letters to various clinics and organizations around town looking for summer work. She had purposely not applied for any positions out of town, which had caused a bit of a discussion between us. I told her I didn’t want to hold her back, but she said she wasn’t leaving me, end of discussion. So, when she came home with an internship and that she was excited about, I felt a bit relieved. That relief did not last that long though.

I asked her where she had landed and she got all shy on me. I pressed her on it and she finally answered me “I’m working for the ah, um, Program for the summer.” I stood for a second trying to figure out what she meant by the program, then it hit me. “No way! You’re working for Debbie?’ I asked my girlfriend as I reached for my phone and called Debbie. I put the phone on speaker and Debbie answered almost immediately. After informing her she was on speaker, I asked the question that was the reason for the call. “You hired Jenny?”

Debbie chuckled a bit and then began in “Yes I did. Is that a problem? She wants to learn more about gender counseling and I thought she would be perfect.” I try and ask what she was going to be doing, but that wasn’t my real concern. I finally asked if she will be privy to my sessions. “She will not and she know that. Our discussions will remain private, as a matter of fact I have already decided that for the summer, your file will be locked in my desk at all times just so snooping eyes don’t see.” Debbie says as a bit of a taunt at my soulmate who giggles as this is being said. I calm down a bit at that news. I apologized to Debs for bothering her about this. “It’s no problem. I had prepared for this call. I will have to say that it took longer than I expected for you to call. You didn’t delay on purpose did you Jenny?” Debbie asked my partner who giggles and tells her no and then begins taunting my mentor over the fact that she now owes her lunch. “I know, I know. I will pay up when you start. Now Alexa relax and go back to work and quit bothering me” Debbie says with a laugh. I politely tell her to shut up and we end the call. I take Jenny and sit her down on the couch.

As we get settled I asked her why she had decided to work at the Program. “Well why do you think, ALY? No, seriously, it has been something that I have seen that more help and understanding is needed. I mean just look at you. You got lucky, but what would have happened if you hadn’t been matched up with Debs? Who knows what kind of shape you would be in. If I can help someone half as much as Debbie has helped you, heck helped us, it will be worth it.” I give Jenny a hug and start to tear up a bit again. I can’t believe how much both of our lives have changes since October. She pushes me back and looks me in the eye “Besides who can better understand everything someone goes through than the soulmate of someone who is transitioning.” We share another kiss, before she becomes a bit big for herself. “Besides I will damn near be an expert soon.” A tickle fight breaks out between the two of us before a quick ‘study break’ is taken.

But my job situation still was not finalized and I was beginning to get worried, however my salvation came from an unexpected source. Both Jenny and I were done with finals the Tuesday before Memorial Weekend and decided we would accept an invitation for dinner with Jenny’s cousin Julie and her Aunt Bridget. We also decided that we didn’t want to worry about driving so we talked them into meeting us at The Nankin. We hoped in a cab and made our way to the venerable Chinese restaurant and got there in time to enjoy a Wanderer’s punch with Julie before her mother showed up. The three of us were already a little silly when Bridget showed up. She just shook her head at us. We told her we had an excuse since school was over whereas Julie didn’t have one, which her mother reminded her. Bridget was a very nice woman. Classy in the way she dressed and always very kind to me, but she was a little uppity. When I first met her as Alexa, she seemed a bit standoffish, but that had slowly changed. I wondered at the time if she was ordered to be nice to me or if it was her starting to accept me. As time had gone on I had considered her a friend. She was always excited about my and Jenny’s little adventures and how we were getting through our little travails. As we were perusing the menu she asked how finals had gone and checked to make sure we were going to be at the Memorial Weekend Party, which I for one was looking forward to even if Jenny was not. Bridget even asked how my HRT was going and seemed very sincere in her interest. After we ordered however, her interest in me took a new turn.

“Alexa, have you found a job for the summer yet?” Bridget asked and I told her I had not. She looked over at her daughter, who nodded. Bridget looked me straight and the eye and said, ‘How would you like a summer job as an assistant at the Foundation?” I was left speechless as the words sunk in. I looked over at Jenny who had a huge smile on her face and then I looked at Julie whose smile seemed very familiar to one I saw many times a day and then took in the smile of Bridget. I asked her if this was for real. “Oh, this is perfectly real. We usually bring in college students to help around the office with minor tasks and helping out where needed. It just so happens we had an opening this summer that just came up. You would be working for the assistant director, Ellen Sparks, one of my oldest friends. You wouldn’t get a heck of a lot in pay, but it is good experience and besides you’re practically family. So, what do you say?” I didn’t even have to look at Jenny because I could sense her nodding. I of course said yes and for once since I had met her, it seemed like Bridget completely relaxed. “Thank god you said yes.” Bridget told me. ‘If you had said no I would have had some explaining to do to the Chairman” She said which caused all four of us to laugh. The rest of the night went wonderfully. The Chow Mein was excellent as always and we held off on the Wanderer’s until after Bridget had left. The three of us celebrated my new job and my deeper inclusion into the family. By the time Jenny and I poured ourselves into the cab we were giggling away and practically attacking each other. As we entered the empty apartment we stripped each other on the way to our room where we managed to spend the next twelve hour with very little sleep.

When Saturday rolled around, my nerves began to take hold. Today was the day of the big Thompson family party. This was really going to be the first time where the Thompson friends and associates were going to find out the life Jenny and I lived. We were going to kind of be on display. But other than that, I was looking forward to it. It was supposed to be a lovely day and being at the lake was always fun. Jenny’s Uncle Rob was to be there. I had never met him so was anxious a bit about that. I had heard so much about him that it seemed I knew him already but I was still nervous as to how he would react to me. Then of course there was going to be another dealing with Jenny’s mother. Everyone else in the family had been so nice, even Jenny’s cousins, Jon and Jason, had been very nice to me. But Marilyn had given me nothing more than grudging acknowledgement. It bothered me, but it really bothered Jenny. Jenny wanted her mother to be so much part of our lives, to share the joy we had. Before treatment she seemed simply aloof, now she was completely distant. She and Jenny never talked even though Jenny had attempted to reach out to her several times, but to no avail.

It was with that backdrop that Jenny and I began getting dressed and organized for the weekend. We had decided that we would spend Saturday night for sure at her parents and possibly Sunday night. After we took our shared shower we began to get dressed for the day’s party. We had gone out last night and went and saw Sarah again who helped us pick out dresses for the party. Jenny had gone with an off the shoulder, black and white striped dress with a mini skater skirt that made my mouth water, mostly because all she wore underneath was a white thong. I was a little more daring in the dress I chose. The red dress with little flowers, polka dots featured an A-Line mini skirt had a plunging neck line. To me it was the cutest dress I had seen. And my undergarments were the same. I had also decided that the time had come to shed the forms. In the last few weeks I had noticed that my nipples had become wider and that little lumps had started to form underneath them. Jenny noticed too and it had become an incredible source of excitement for both us. For me this was a big step but one Jenny supported 100%. “It’s who you are Lex. It’s time to be all natural” she told me and for the first time since this began it was all me. And as I looked in the mirror, I realized I was achieving my dream.

After donning matching little white canvas trainers, we made sure we had everything we needed and checked that everything was off in the apartment. Danny and Katie had taken off to a cabin up north so there would be no one here this weekend. We locked up and headed down to the car for our trip out to the Lake. When we got there, there was activity everywhere. The surprising part was that Marilyn just sat there as it seemed that Mary had taken control of directing the various caterers and workers on what need to be done. Jenny told me that her mother lived for this. Giving orders and acting like the queen of the realm, but she was far from involved. We made our greetings to Marilyn who listlessly acknowledged her daughter and mumbled a hello to us. As Jenny was trying to speak with her mother I turned and looked for the woman in charge. I snuck up behind her and stated. “Boy they must be hard up for good help these days.”

Jenny’s grandmother quickly turned around “Oh shut up Alexa” she said to me before wrapping me in a hug. From the angle I was at I could see both my soul mate and her mother. Jenny’s smile grew wide but Marilyn just sneered at Mary and me. “About time you showed up young lady.” Mary told me. “I was getting a bit lonely around all these workers.” Mary told me and she began to ask me how everything was going, only stopping to hand out orders. Shortly Jenny came over to greet the woman she hadn’t seen in a few months, with a long hug. Mary stood back and took in Jenny and I standing before her. “You both look great though you are looking a bit trampy there Alexa.” Mary said pointing out my neckline. I blushed a bit before my girlfriend told her grandmother to be nice. Mary than got serious for a moment. “How is everything you two? I know we talk often but you could be lying to me then.” Mary says with a smirk. I can’t help but laugh as I look at the woman who for the most part should be one of my biggest detractors, but is one of my strongest allies. I started to tear up a bit as I looked at the warm smile full of concern that looked at Jenny and me. The tears must have been more noticeable than I thought, because a panic look came over Mary’s face. Jenny noticed her grandmother’s reaction and turned and looked at me, instantly knowing what was going on.

“Oh grandma, don’t let that bother you. Alexa has just been a little more emotional the last few weeks.” Jenny explained and then turned back towards me and pulled me in a bit tighter. I tried, through the tears to comfort Mary, but it was hard. As before I couldn’t stop, but unlike before these were tears of joy. I pulled Jenny in and moved closer to Mary. We both pulled her in and I whispered a thank you into Mary’s ear. Mary stepped back and asked me what that was for. I looked back at my lover before addressing her grandmother.

“Other than Katie and Debbie and of course this incredible woman here, you have always been my biggest supporter. I feel I owe you so much. You have been so kind and helped me with the lawyers and then you got me a job. I don’t know what else to say, other than thank you. But I still feel like it’s not enough” I continued to fight the tears as my emotions boiled over. Jenny, as had been the case in the past, pulled me in and just held me. I looked at Mary and the same sympathetic and loving smile that Jenny gives me was evident on her face.

“You just keep taking care of Jennifer and keep her happy and we are even.” Mary said and I promised I would. The three of us spent the next few minutes talking and laughing. It felt so comfortable and natural. So different than the times I have been around Jenny’s mother. Every once in a while, as we were standing there, I could see Marilyn shooting us all dirty looks. When Jenny went off to get us all something to drink I asked Mary what I should do about Marilyn. “Don’t worry about her. She is harmless.” When I tried to explain how sad Jenny had been over the relationship with her mother and that it saddened me, Mary smiled and looked at me. “Do you ever stop worrying and caring about my granddaughter?” With a huge smile and brimming with confidence I answered Mary.

“Never. Why would I?” This earned me another quick hug.

As the set up for the party was complete, the three of us began strolling around the yard with Mary pointing out some of the things I had never seen. Since Jenny and I had been together, we had not spent that much time on the property itself. Mary pointed out the gardens she had planted and wandered over and pulled a few stray weeds and plucked some dead flowers from the bushes. I gave Jenny a little nudge and a smile. “See she enjoys the gardens. Maybe you could learn too?” I teased my partner. This caused Mary to stand and spin around.

“You have been working on gardens young lady?” Mary asked in shock. I began to explain how my mother put her to work a couple of weeks back and that Jenny was good but still learning. Mary had a brain storm at that moment. “Well maybe you will have to come out here and you and I can take care of some of these gardens.” Mary said teasingly. The fun part was how enthusiastically Jenny agreed. I was nervous that we might have to give Mary CPR following Jenny’s proclamation. I just stood in shock. Jenny cuddled up next to me.

“I want to learn gardening. I like flowers, why not learn about them. I figure between Char and Grandma I will learn a lot” My shock turned to pride. I jokingly asked if she was ready for vegetable gardens. “Oh no, that’s you for now babe” Once again Mary just watched us and smiled. But she did try and convince me we could get a vegetable garden started out here and she led us to an open plot of land that she told us had once been a garden. As she was describing it, I could sense two people come up behind us.

“You’re not trying to get these two to restart that stupid garden are you mom?” an unfamiliar voice from behind us asked. We turned to see Marty and a younger version, but a little bigger standing there. Jenny instantly gave her Uncle Rob a hug and Marty gave me a quick one. I was finally introduced to Jenny’s mysterious uncle. “So, you are the young woman I have heard all those nasty things about from my mother. It looks like she was completely wrong about you. You seem very nice.” Rob told me as we shook hands. At the same time from behind us, a growl came.

“Robert, you watch it. I said nothing bad about Alexa.” Jenny’s uncle and father looked at each other and began to laugh. “See I told you Rob.” Marty said, “I think she likes Alexa better then she likes us.” Mary confirmed her oldest son’s thought. “At least she doesn’t talk back to me like you two, Are the boats are fueled up?” In unison, they stated, “Yes mother” which earned another reprimand from Mary to her sons about being smart with her. We spent the next few minutes talking with Marty and Rob while Mary went off to check on a few things. Rob seemed like a great guy. Not as ‘gentrified’ as Marty or Bridget. You could see by his hands that he was not a stranger to hard work but he also had the background to fit in with the crowd that was about to descend. I instantly took a liking to him.

It wasn’t long before the throng of people descended on the Thompson estate. Most of the men were in what I would describe as golfing attire, golf shirts and light wait slacks, a few wore blazers. The women were all in light but fashionable dresses and fancy sandals and many wore hats. It was nothing like any ‘backyard party’ I had ever been to. Jenny led me around the party and introduced me to many of the guests. The truth about me was out there and I am sure that several people did not think much of me but no one said anything and it was hard to tell who was being genuinely nice and who was putting on an act. They all had the same fakeness to them. I wondered how Jenny had turned out as well as she had growing up around these people. I now knew what Mary meant by the stuff shirts comment back at Thanksgiving. It wasn’t all bad, Mr. Larson was there and we met his wife Loraine who was extremely nice and seemed much more genuine then several other women we met. After a bit of this hobnobbing, I needed a break and slowly slipped away to be followed by my soulmate. We stood down by the lake looking out. As Jenny stood next to me, I rested my head on her shoulder.

“You OK babe?” Jenny asked as she put arm around me and pulled me in for a standing cuddle,

“I’m fine, just needed a break. This is a little much for me. Thanks for coming down here with me.” I tell my girlfriend. Jenny just tells me to be quiet. She said she would go with me where ever. She didn’t care about most of these people, but had to be here out of a sense of duty. Kind of like all those fundraisers we must attend, she said. Jenny spun me and faced me. When she looked me in the eyes and repeated the four words that meant more to me than anything. ‘I love you, Lex.” With that the two of us shared a deep kiss. A kiss that seemed more loving then passionate. A kiss that made me feel like the most cared for person in the world. A kiss that was interrupted by the voice of a young man.

“Hello Jenny. How have you been?” The twenty-something man said with a smarmy grin on his face as he starred at my soulmate. A smile that made me want to kick him the nuts. It took me a minute to recognize who it was. A name that came to me just as Jenny was opening her mouth.

“Trey. What the hell do you want?” Jenny asked her ex-boyfriend and a man that I had heard many stories about the last few months. From all the stories Jenny had told me, he sounded like an upper-class Adam. While he had never hit her, it sounded like it was inevitable. I could see that Jenny was starting to get angry over the appearance of her former boyfriend. I was simply nervous. I was scared that he might do something to me.

“I came down here to see if you had come to your senses yet and realized that I am much better for you that the freak here. You know we were great together Jenny. We would make the perfect couple. Dump this thing and head off with me.” Robert Dorsey the Third stated as he slowly moved in on Jenny. I tried to move between them but he pushed me out of his way, his eyes never leaving Jenny. Jenny spoke up as Trey started to make a more physical move on her.

“Trey get the fuck off away from me. We were done a long time ago. I am with Alexa now. I found someone who cares about me. Me, Jenny Thompson not my last name and how it will enhance their status. So, get the fuck away from me and get the hell out of here.” Jenny practically screamed. I tried to step in between them again, only to be pushed aside one more time.

“Listen fag, why don’t you go find some dick to suck on and leave the women to us real men!” Trey said as he finally looked at me, disgust shooting from his eyes. The Alex part of me was starting to come back out. The machismo that my brothers had shown a few weeks back was making its way to the surface. Just then I saw a hand grab Trey by the shoulder. As he was being spun around to meet the owner of the hand, Trey yelled out ‘What the fuck’. As he faced the owner of the hand, sheer terror begins to take over. Standing there was Marty. Gone was the gentile middle-aged man I had met so many times. In front of me now was a protective father who had fury in his eyes.

“Here is the deal Trey. You will get the hell of my property and you will never return. If I hear you come within a mile of Jenny or Alexa, I will have your ass thrown in jail. I did a little investigating on you. I heard about the things you were doing out at Princeton and I will say I am sickened by these stories. Now get the hell out of here. No wait.” Marty said as he turned and looked at the crowd, his hand never leaving Trey’s shoulder. “Bob! Will you come down here a second?” Marty called out. Soon, an older looking version of the little tick in front of us came down. The look of confusion on his face was evident.

“Hello, Marty. What has he done this time?” Bob said as his face began to redden as he looked at the sight of his son being held in place by the host of this party.

“Well Bob, Robert the Third decided that he was going to force his way back into my daughter’s life and then called her partner here a few unflattering names and told her to get away. Bob, I don’t know if you are aware of what a little piece of slime your son is. Jenny hinted to it but never said anything but I did some digging. It seems he was getting a bit physically abusive with Jenny and that is one of the reasons they broke it off. It also seems there some rumors of how he treated women when he was at Princeton. I think it would be best if Trey gets the hell off my property and that you and your wife should escort him.” Marty said as he released his grip on Trey. Bob looked embarrassed and beaten as he took command of his adult son. Then in something I had never thought I would see Marty do “NOW!” He barked in a voice that could be heard throughout the party. Slowly the defeated Dorsey men moved off. Marty turned to us to make sure we were OK. Both Jenny and I began to calm down when the inevitable happened, I burst into tears. This time it wasn’t Ms. Thompson who consoled me.

“I’m sorry for that Alexa.” Marty told me as he held me and I tried to get control of myself. At that moment, I felt that Marty had more than accepted our situation. I felt he accepted me as I am. Alexa. I tried to keep the embrace brief as I saw Rob making his way down.

“Everything all right down here Marty?” Rob asked as I moved away and Jenny and I embraced each other and shared a smile with each other. Marty turned and greeted his brother and turned back and looked at Jenny and me.

“Everything is fine Rob, thanks. That little shit was just trying to mess with my girls.” Marty said with a smile directed at Jenny and I before he turned around and led his brother back to the party.

Jenny and I hugged each other one last time, before heading back to the party. Jenny was just as happy as I was. I felt on top of the world. Marty had shown more care and understanding for me in that one moment that my own father had for 15 years. This time the tears did not flow, but the smiles were huge. Jenny and I clung to each other as we rejoined the party. At that moment, my world seemed complete. “See, I told you Daddy would come around.” Jenny told me as we returned to the party. And once again Jenny was right. Not only had her father come around but all the Thompson’s had seemed to accept not only me but the love Jenny and I shared. That is all the Thompsons but one, and that one I feared would become an issue in our lives.

We returned to the party and mingled some more, the whole time I noticed that Marilyn kept staring at me and then move back to the house. It was odd. Each time she returned she seemed a little more upbeat. More like she had been back at Thanksgiving. I kind of brushed it off, thinking she was loosening up from the funk she had been in. But those stares kept coming. They got intense as I found myself talking with Marty. He was telling me how happy he was that I had started working for the foundation. The conversation must have been the last straw for Marilyn, because she placed her glass of lemonade on the table and stormed off. It set me off a bit. I begin to tear up as I watched her storm off, my hormones wreaking havoc on me again. I excused myself from Marty and barely made into the house before I completely lost it. As I entered the house I ran directly into Marilyn.

“You little freak!” She exclaimed. “Why don’t you leave this family alone. Screwing up one family wasn’t enough for you, you decided you needed to screw up a second one. I am going to give you one warning. Leave my daughter alone!” Marilyn screamed at me. No one was around to hear this so I didn’t know what I could tell anyone. But suddenly from behind Marilyn in walked Jenny. “What did you just say to her mother!” The voice that came from Jenny was not one I had ever heard. The anger that came from the beautiful blonde was worse than I had seen from either of my brothers. Jenny pushed me aside and got into her mother’s face.”

“Mother if you haven’t figured it out by now I love this woman! And I plan on being with her for a long time to come. You can either accept that or lose me forever. It’s your call. If anyone is destroying this family it is you. You taught me to be accepting of everyone, but now I see what your true colors are. You are a cruel, evil woman who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but yourself and how something will affect your standing. You make me sick” Jenny screamed at her mother. Marilyn couldn’t take it anymore and reached out and slapped her daughter across the face. Jenny stood there in shock as did I. Marilyn got right up in her daughter’s face.

“Listen you little bitch! I am your mother and you will not speak to me that way! Ever since you began seeing that thing you have changed, and it makes ME sick.” Marilyn growled at her daughter.

“Why? Because you don’t want to see me happy mother? Because that’s what it is.” Jenny said, before turning and reaching for me. “Because this wonderful woman made me happy.” Jenny continued before pausing and looking at me. As she did, I could see the fire in her eyes fade and the love that I was used to seeing return to those beautiful blue eyes. She reached for me and pulled me closer to her. “Alexa makes me happier than anyone in the world ever has.” Jenny leaned over and kissed me on the cheek while wiping the tears from the other one. Jenny turned back to her mother with a pleading look in her eyes. ‘Why can’t you just accept that Mother?” The fury in Marilyn’s eyes did not fade as she looked at her daughter. I sat there waiting for Marilyn to say something, but instead she stifled a scream and stormed off. Jenny instantly turned to me. I think she had expected to find me a blubbering mess, instead I stood there with a smile on my face. I pulled Jenny in and gave her a long kiss.

“I love you Jen. Are you okay?” I asked as I could feel the tension slip from her and she began to weep. I guided her over to one of the couches and held her while she composed herself. Finally, she spoke. “I guess that could have gone better, but I was not going to let her say those nasty things about you. About us. Are you OK?” She asked and I think that the kiss I gave her and the smile on my face answered that question. We sat for a few minutes before I told her sheepishly that I had to use the restroom. As I started heading back towards the powder room, Jenny called out. “Hey, can you check the toilet? It keeps running for some reason.” I nodded and made my way in. After I had finished, I opened the lid and gasped.

“Jenny, can you please come here” I called out. Jenny came in and asked what was up. I reached into the tank and pulled out a half empty pint of Vodka. “This is what was causing the toilet to keep running.” I said to her. Jenny gasped as I pulled it out.

“Where did that come from?” She asked. I just stared at her because I was sure she knew the answer just as well as I did. She looked at me and the two of us began to talk through some of the things we had seen during the course of the day, how Marilyn had gone from being lethargic to being a little more active. How we had noticed that she would disappear semi-frequently and then come back and be a little calmer. Everything started to make sense. Jenny looked at the bottle again, and up at me “What do we do now?”

“I don’t know, Jen. I don’t know.”

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