Weeping Willow - Part 7

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Weeping Willow
Part 7

Suddenly Seeking Susan

by **Sigh**
Copyright© 2019 plaintivesigh
All Rights Reserved.

"Honey – look at Willow. She looks like your Mother did back in the 60’s!”

“Oh my God,” Gwen whispered. “You’re right!”

“Susan! Why won’t you come here and kiss me?” cried Grandpa.

“Momma – what do I do?” urged Willow.


~o~O~o~

A quick note to my readers. If you've been reading the comment sections of this serial, you may have noticed me saying that this whole story hads 13 parts. Well, I discovered last night that I had miscounted. There are only 12 parts to this story (unless I get an idea to add more). Sorry about that! And thank you for your readership and all of your wonderful comments! - **Sigh**

~o~O~o~

“And so that’s all I can think of that I haven’t told you guys. I’m sorry.”

Willow sat with her parents at yet another after-supper talk. She had initiated this one; confessing the lie of the illicit phone from Bernard.

“Are you sure there are no more secrets, Willow?” sighed William, taking the device his daughter was handing him. “I’m glad you’re coming clean, but I think I want all the rest on the table rather than getting them gradually trickling out.” As he said this, he began scrolling through the total text history between Bill/Willow and Bern.

“Unfortunately, this drops my opinion of your ‘friend’ back to zero,” Gwen fumed. “Maybe he isn’t doing drugs anymore, but he was helping you in your rebellion against us.”

William now shoved the phone screen near Willow’s face. “See anything else here you want to own up to?” Part of Bill and Bernard’s initial text had been pulled up. It read:

How’s the rest of my old posse?

Man. We all broke up. None active in chemical biz now. Most don’t ask about u.

Shit. Cancel those posers.

Been tryin 2 contact u but ur keepers too strict.

Anyone else set up new pipeline 2 deliver product 2 our users?

"Well?" grilled William.

“Oh … yeah.” Willow hung her head. “Your suspicions were right, Poppa. Before I got put in juvie, I was indeed dealing drugs to the Montclair High kids and some other users in the neighborhood.”

“One more time,” William growled. “Any more lies we should know about?”

“I don’t think so – but that’s what I thought after confessing to you guys after the doc appointment. I – I guess I’ve been lying about so many things for so long that I can’t keep track of them all. So I’m not gonna promise there won’t be more. Please forgive me - I’m so sorry I’ve hurt you guys again.”

The Poppa stood up. “I’m going out.”

“Oh William, please not another 3-hour trip,” Gwen pled. “I need you here with me. I’m kind of shaken by this too, you know.”

“I’m just taking a walk in the front acreage. I’ll be back in 10 – 15 minutes. Then I’ll finish looking at that phone. Willow, you’re grounded to your room for the rest of the night.”

The girl nodded silently as she dabbed tears away from her eyes. She walked, head still hanging down, to her room.

As she sat on the side of her bed, Willow felt free to weep a little harder. Seeing the hurt and disappointment in her parent’s faces really stung her. I wonder when they’ll get tired of putting up with me. If I were them I’d probably have disowned me by now.

There was an unexpected knock at the door. It opened slowly, and her sister Angie’s head came peering around the edge. “Can I come in?”

“I don’t know? They grounded me to my room for the night.”

“Well, they didn’t ground ME from your room. You look like you need a sister right now. I’ve got some tissues, anyway. I was in the hallway during your ‘meeting’, and I want you to know I still love you. And I know they do, too.”

Angie sat down beside her sibling and fed her tissues as Willow had a good cry.

~o~O~o~

Later that evening.

Willow was now preparing to sleep. She’d brushed and flossed and removed her makeup. Now in a long, frilly, sleeveless cotton nightgown, she pulled her covers back to get into bed.

A quick knock on her door startled her. Her Momma stuck her head in. “Hey, honey. Can you put on a robe? Poppa and I want to talk to you before you hit the sack. And don’t worry – we’re not angry.”

Willow sat on the bed with her mother; William had brought in his folding chair. He noted how much this room had changed since his last big talk in here, after Bill’s murder/suicide comment. The posters of thrash metal bands and demonic monsters were put away. In their place were posters of a few sci-fi movies and a large one of a beachside sunset, with a silhouette of a boy and a girl holding hands as they walked along the sand. There were no dirty clothes on the floor, and a fluffy pink comforter covered Willow’s bed instead of Bill’s old scratchy blanket.

“Ahem. William,” Gwen nudged, “did you want to start this?”

“Oh! Yes, sorry. Well, Willow, I expected the worst as I looked at your phone. But your texts to Bernard seem to show an evolution from the rebellious boy you were to a girl who wants to get better and improve her life. And Bernard seems to support you and even keep you honest. When he confronted you last night on your continued use of the phone, you promptly admitted it to us today. I get the sense from these texts that your recent change is indeed real.

“It doesn’t look like you used the phone for calling yet. And you’ve texted no one besides Bernard, correct?”

“Yes sir. I also did ‘net searches on it; at first to find out how to deceive you two, but then more recently to confirm that I am who I believe I am – a woman. I haven’t used that phone for anything else.”

“We were ready to ground you so hard,” Gwen stated, “but the progression of those texts encouraged us. We think you’re trying to learn from your mistakes.”

“So my grounding for this is …” Willow muttered hesitantly.

“Nothing. We’re letting you off with a warning, Ma’am,” said William in a faux police officer voice. “I do want to meet this Bernard myself and discuss his support of your rebelliousness. I can’t very well bar you from seeing him. That would mean you couldn’t go to NA meetings; he’s at a lot of them. But one more strike and he’s out, got it?”

“We’ll keep this phone until your next NA visit, then we’ll have Angie turn it back over to Bernard there,” said Gwen. “Any questions?”

Willow smiled hopefully. “So … you guys still love me?”

Both parent’s eyes widened in surprise. “Honey!” Gwen sputtered. “That was never in question –“

The girl grabbed her mother around the neck and kissed her cheek multiple times, then repeated the action with her father. “Thank you, Momma and Poppa. Thank you for still loving me.”

~o~O~o~

Two days later.

Willow was out of the shower and drying off. Turning her head to get behind her ears, she noticed her profile in the bathroom mirror. She stopped and took stock of the reflection.

It had been two months now since she had started the hormone and blocker injections. She knew it was probably too early to see breast and hip development. The problem was, she was swelling slightly all over. Her weight had risen 18 pounds since starting hormones; her eating was still too much like Bill’s diet had been, and she hadn’t really committed to an exercise regimen.

My old workout was all weights. But I want to be sleek and slender now, not all bulgy with muscles. I can’t wear any of my shorts, and even some of my skirts are too tight. Critical! I need some help. Angie’s had issues with weight a few years ago, but not now. Maybe she’ll give me some guidance.

Her scalp hair was growing to where her ears were mostly covered if she just let it hang straight. Bill had worn a short haircut, and she figured she’d need her wig for most of the next year before she was comfortable going with just her natural coiffure.

Willow fingered her nipples. They definitely were getting swollen; her mom had marched her back to her room the other day when she tried wearing a T-shirt sans bra. I’m starting to get my breasts. This is scary and exciting at the same time.

She leaned forward poking her chest out and her butt back, and pursed her lips. “Hey, boys. You like whatcha see?” she whispered. Then she frowned. “No? You don’t? Nah – I don’t either. Not yet.” She sighed and started to lotion her skin. Just then from her bedroom, she heard her Momma over the intercom.

“Everybody assemble in the living room. Now, please!”

~o~O~o~

The three Eiken kids and their mother convened as she’d requested; it was still early this Saturday morning, 8:45. William came in from trimming the hedges, glistening with sweat. “Hey, I saw you waving, honey. What’s up?”

Gwen handed him a glass of ice water. “I just got a call from the Presbyterian Hospital emergency room. Dad’s there; he fell, and is in a lot of pain.”

“Grandpa John? In Albuquerque?” Angie was alarmed. She and her Grandpa enjoyed a close relationship.

“So, I assume they’re admitting him. Is he going to need surgery?” queried William.

“No. That’s the problem. They AREN’T admitting him! There’s no broken bone; just a severe hip and back strain, to where he can’t get around by himself without help. He needs pain medicine, and someone to help him into and out of a wheelchair. That’s not enough to justify a hospital stay, so the nurse says. But Dad lives alone; there’s no way he can do it. They can send home health nurses to check on him once a day, but that lasts for 15-30 minutes and then he’s alone the rest of the time.”

“Maybe we could hire around-the-clock nurses?”

“Honey – this could worsen his Alzheimer’s disease; it’s been mild up to now, but with this …? We’ve discussed this possibility plenty of times, you and me. It’s time.”

“You’re right. Okay. I’ll go get ready.”

“It’s time? Time for what?” wondered Mal.

“For Grandpa to move in with us,” said Gwen. “Everybody’s going to need to pitch in and help once he gets here.”

“Whoa. Grandpa’s never met me as Willow,” said the newest Eiken girl.

“I wouldn’t worry about that. One thing my Dad never lacked in was love for his grandkids,” Gwen smiled. “Let’s talk logistics. William and I will drive there and get him; we’ll need to spend the night at his place, and then pack his essentials and drive him here tomorrow.”

“Malachi, you need to stay overnight with one of your friends. Maybe Mitch, or Clay?”

“That’s fine, Mom. I was gonna hang with Clay most of the day anyway,” said Mal.

“Get his mother on the phone so I can ask her if it’s okay. Now: Angela and Willow.” Her gaze turned serious. “I need to know if I can trust you to fend for yourselves and not get into trouble. I’m okay with leaving you both here alone in the house – as long as you don’t have any company, and you abide by the usual rules and curfew. I don’t want Willow left alone; both of you must stick together. I consider this a huge test for both of you, and if either of you mess it up there will be big consequences.”

“Yes ma’am,” Angie and Willow said in near-unison.

~o~O~o~

Both girls waved as their parents drove away north to the New Mexico city of Albuquerque.

“So, it’s mainly you and me today. Got anything you’d like to do?” asked Angie.

“I’m sorry you’re stuck with me today, sis. I know you probably had plans to get with your friends,” fretted Willow.

Angela laughed and shook her head. “OMG, you are SO different from my brother Bill! He couldn’t have cared less about me or my plans. Don’t worry; we’ve been overdue for a sisters-only day. I wanted to hit the mall for some clothes; I know! Let’s catch the matinee of A Star Is Born – I’ve been dying to see that – then go shopping afterwards. Then we can have a chick flick evening with popcorn and maybe some truth-or-dare. How’s that?”

“Sounds great; wow, that’s a full day.”

“Hey, since it’s just you and me, I have a question. How did you choose your name? I mean your female name – Willow.”

“It’s linked to Poppa. Before he came, I was the only William around here. Mom called me Bill but would go full ‘William’ if I was in trouble. The thing is, that name was all mine. Then our stepdad came, and I had to share my name with him. One more reason to hate him, right? But as Willow, I keep the ‘Will’ part, but there’s no way he’s sharing my current name with me. It keeps me more separated from him – and less reason to be angry.”

Angie laughed. “That’s pretty creative, sis! I was wondering why you chose that. There sure aren’t any willow trees out here in the desert to give you inspiration.”

“If I’d chosen my name by the local flora, I’d be Yucca. Bleccch!”

~o~O~o~

“OMG, that movie was so beautiful – and so sad! Why did he have to die?” Willow was still leaking tears. “I can’t believe how easily I cry these days. At least I wasn’t the only one this time!”

“Yeah, I was bawling right along with you sis. But I agree, you’ve been pretty weepy this last month. Female hormones – they’re a wild ride, right?” sniffed Angie.

“Is it ever going to get better? Or am I always going to cry at the drop of a hat?”

“You’ll get more control. Until then you need a nickname. I hereby dub thee: Weeping Willow.”

Angie laughed and ducked as Willow threw her empty diet cola cup at her.

~o~O~o~

“Cheer up, Willow. You needed some clothes, after all.”

“Yeah – because I’ve gotten too big for a lot of what I already have! God, this is embarrassing. I HAVE to lose weight. What do you do to keep slim?”

“First, cut out the snacks. I was going to pop some corn for our movie night, but maybe we need to just have celery and carrot sticks. Second, aerobic exercise.”

“Running? But I’ve never seen you go on jogs.”

“Nope, not jogs or walks. Don’t you remember what I got for my 17th birthday?”

“I wasn’t paying attention; I was still Angry Bill, wrapped up in my own stuff. Oh hey – didn’t you get your car for your present?”

“That was on birthday 16. This year, my dear, I got a Peloton!”

“A pellowhat?”

“Peloton. It’s in the corner of my bedroom. We’ll open up an account for you on it. I’m warning you, it’ll transform your life. Want to start today?”

~o~O~o~

“God, that was intense – I’m so tired!” exhaled Willow.

“You really pushed yourself, girl – probably too much for a first session.”

“So that’s a Peloton. An exercise bike with a real-time instructor. That was kind of fun, even though I’m exhausted.”

“Wait ‘til tomorrow morning; your muscles will be so stiff! You might need some ibuprofen when you first get up. But then, get back in the saddle, literally – and do this every day. While you were cycling, I fixed our supper – a couple of salads with chicken breasts and raspberry vinaigrette. Need me to help pull you up off the floor?”

“Give me a minute,” puffed Willow.

~o~O~o~

The two sisters were in the den watching their movie finish. Willow was in pink sweats accented with a yellow daisy pattern. Angie had a long sleep T-shirt on that said COFFEE FIRST; THEN I DOES THE STUFF. Willow was stunned as the credits started to roll on the screen.

“WHAT?? He was a ghost the whole time??”

“See? What a twist! I can’t believe you never saw this movie, Willow. It was M. Night Shyamalan’s first. See, not all chick flicks are just about boys and girls breaking up. This didn’t have a lot of action, but it was tense, emotional and exciting just the same.”

Willow turned to her sister. “I’m having fun with you, Angie. I never knew what a cool person you were.”

Angela smiled. “I kept away from ‘Bill’. Frankly, you were so mean, angry and selfish – sorry, that’s what I saw – that I couldn’t bear being close to you. But I like hanging with my new sister; I used to dream of having one, you know? And now – I do!”

“I hope I don’t disappoint you – I’ve still got a lot to learn about being a sister – or a woman, for that matter.”

“in that case, let’s further your education with a classic girl sleepover game: truth or dare. Have you ever played? No? Okay, here’s the rules …”

~o~O~o~

“I’ll ask you first,” said Angie. “Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” said Willow. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”

“Okay I’ll start easy though. Have you ever posed sexy poses in the bathroom mirror after bathing?”

“Errr …! Ah, yes. Just this morning. “ She blushed, surprising herself. “Okay, your turn Ang. Truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Have you ever kissed a girl – on the lips?”

“Yes. Back in junior high during a sleepover. We did a game called “mystery date” and I played the boyfriend role once; Me and Stephanie Mackover kissed really quick. Truth or dare?”

“Dare.”

“Lick the floor.”

Willow did so. “BLECCH! So that’s what Pine-sol tastes like,” she shuddered. “Truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Are you still a virgin?”

“Yes. Sheesh! I don’t know why I’m blushing; nothing to be ashamed of,” murmured Angie. “Truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Are YOU a virgin?”

“Are you asking me as Bill, or Willow?”

“Well … both, I guess.”

“Willow is a virgin. I’ve never even dated. Now as Bill, I lost my virginity at age 13, with a girl from my math class.”

**GASP** “Wow, Willow! So young!”

“Yeah. Drugs were involved. I had some pot, she wanted a joint, and my price was that we get it on in the back gym bathroom. That was so wrong … now that I look back, I’m ashamed of what I did.”

You didn’t. Bill did. You’re Willow.”

“As much as I try to believe that’s so, the truth is that I’m both. Bill still lives in me … even some of the bad parts. They just aren’t controlling me like before.”

“Are you OK, Willow? Do we need to stop the game?”

“No way – especially because it’s your turn! Truth or dare?”

“Dare.”

“Sit still, close your eyes and let me give you a wet willie.”

Angie tensed and grimaced while Willow approached her ever so slowly – then jammed her wet tongue into her sister’s earhole.

“AAAUUUGG, gross gross GROSS!” Angie shivered. “You sneaky little …! Okay, missy! Truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Are you starting to like boys, and if so, who are you crushing on the most?”

Willow gasped slightly, and her face paled due to a stark realization.

“No … I don’t like boys. Boys, plural. I like ‘a’ boy. And I’m starting to dream about him; his eyes, his lips, how it would feel to be held by him …”

“Let me take a wild guess before you tell me. Bernard.”

“Yes,” Willow answered breathily.

The girls continued their truth or dare game for twenty more minutes. But Willow’s attention from this point on was divided between the game and daydreams about her best friend Bern.

At 10 pm Gwen called to check on her daughters. She hung up reassured that things were okay so far.

~o~O~o~

The next morning Angie’s cell phone rang. It woke both girls up; they had snoozed in the den, in separate sleeping bags. Angie answered just before the call kicked into voicemail.

“Hello daughter – it’s Mom again. I’m calling with news, and an assignment for you and Willow.”

Angie clicked the call onto speakerphone. “We’re here, Mom. What’s up?”

“We’re about to leave Albuquerque with Grandpa in the next few hours. He’ll be staying in the spare guest bedroom. I’ll need you two do give the room a good cleaning – dust, vacuum, new bed linens.”

“No problem. Consider it done,” said Angie. “Drive safe, Momma,” added Willow.

“Girls; get ready for a different Grandpa. His Alzheimer’s has gotten a lot worse; he doesn't recognize me. He might not remember any of his grandchildren. It’s the fall and pain that caused this rapid decline; dementia can suddenly worsen if there’s a severe stress of any kind.”

“He might not remember me? But Grandpa John and I … we had a special relationship.” Angie’s eyes began to fill with water.

“I’m grieving too, honey,” Gwen’s voice quavered over the speaker. “I’ve known for quite a while that this day was coming; but that doesn’t make things any easier. We plan on being there about 5 pm. You can call Vito’s to get a pizza or salads or whatever delivered for some lunch. I love you both, and will see you soon.”

The call ended. Angie looked at Willow with tears streaming down her eyes. “He used to call me his ‘Angie-baby’ and held me while I rested my head on his shoulder. Just this last summer. Just 5 months ago,” she sputtered.

~o~O~o~

“Thank you girls – the room is immaculate,” beamed Gwen as she pulled suitcases into the spare bedroom. “William and Malachi are getting Grandpa into a wheelchair; that’s how he’ll have to get around until he heals up more from the fall.”

“Does he know he’s in El Paso?” asked Willow.

“No. In his mind, he’s living in Tulsa, Oklahoma; probably sometime in the 1960’s. He thinks he’s newly married to Grandma Susan, and that they haven’t even had kids yet.”

“Should we tell him that Grandma Susan’s been dead for the last 4 years?” asked Angie.

“NO! No, don’t tell him! It will hit him as if he’s hearing it for the first time, and he’ll grieve horribly. Any and every time he’s told that, he’ll react as if it’s the first time. What we’re going to do is not challenge his reality, but deflect. If he says he’s in Tulsa, agree with him. If he asks where Susan is, say she’s gone to the salon and will be back shortly. He usually accepts those answers; he did in the car on the way back down here.”

There was the sound of the front door closing, and William entered into the bedroom wing hallway of the huge home; he pushed an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. The old man had sparse white hair and wore thick glasses; his khaki pants had a small stain from a meal or a drink. He wore a tan sweater over his black button up shirt, and his face was void of emotion.

Gwen trotted over to him and kissed him on the cheek. “Your bedroom is straight ahead, Dad.”

The old face suddenly showed alarm. “Excuse me, young lady – I’m happily married, and don’t accept kisses from strange women!”

Angie approached him. “Hi, Grandpa. Do you remember me? Your Angie-baby?”

He responded with silence and a vacant stare. William resumed pushing him towards the bedroom, past a visibly hurt Angela. When the wheelchair pushed into the bedroom, Willow was in there, pulling back the covers. Grandpa John looked at her, and gasped.

“Susan! There you are! Come give me a kiss, honey!”

Willow’s eyes got as big as saucers. Gwen tried to speak, but found no words. William realized what was happening.

“Honey – I never noticed before, but look at Willow. She looks like your Mother did back in the 60’s! That wig – her face. Like the picture he kept at his bedside; like the ones in their old photobook!”

“Oh my God,” Gwen whispered. “You’re right! That long bob kind of looks similar to the ‘That Girl’ style Mom used to wear!”

“Susan! Why won’t you come here and kiss me?” cried Grandpa.

“Momma – what do I do?” urged Willow.

Gwen walked to the wheelchair and knelt by the side of it, facing her father. “John, Susan’s going to give you a hug and kiss, but then she needs to go grocery shopping; she’ll be back later.” She looked at Willow, waving her to come close.

Oh my god. Oh my god, thought Willow. She took rapid steps to the wheelchair. Bending over, she hugged her Grandpa and kissed him quickly on the cheek. “I’ll be back, John. Let these nice people get you into the bed so you can take a nap.” She then walked briskly out of the room. Grandpa yelled “Love you, sweetheart,” as she exited.

Now out in the hall, Willow fell back against the wall and shook her head. Then she saw Angie on the opposing wall, weeping. “It’s not f-fair,” her sister sobbed, then ran down to her room and slammed the door.

~o~O~o~

That evening after feeding him some thick soup, Gwen tucked her father into bed for the night. The door to the bedroom was open, but a slender arm reached in to knock on it anyway. Then Willow appeared in the doorway, holding a hand with Angela. “Can we come in?”

Before Gwen could answer, Grandpa John did. “Susan! Come to bed, sweetheart!”

Willow walked up to him and kissed him again on the cheek. “I still have laundry to do, John. But I have someone here who needs help. This poor young girl has lost her Grandpa; she doesn’t know where he is.” She pulled Angie into view.

“Lost her Grandpa? That’s sad,” he responded.

“She needs you to hold her and say that it’s all going to be okay,” Willow continued. “You’re the only one who can help her now. I’ll be back later; I love you, John.” She hugged him and left the bedroom.

“I’ll see you, sweetheart,” John yelled, then he looked at Angie, who had laid her head on his chest. He put his arm around her shoulders.

“There there, young one,” he cooed. “We’ll find your Grandfather. I’m sure he’s all right, and loves you too much to leave you.” Angie just sniffled and held tightly to him. Gwen grabbed two handfuls of tissue, one hand for Angie and one for her.

~o~O~o~

It was now the Thanksgiving holiday. A full 3 months had passed since Willow had first introduced herself to her family. Now that family – 2 parents, 3 children, and 1 Grandpa – were gathered around a traditional thanksgiving feast.

“Oh boy, this smells so tasty. And I’d been doing so well on my diet!” fretted Willow.

“It’s all about portion control, sis,” smiled Angela. “Watch what I do, and follow.”

William led them in a prayer, then everyone dug in. Gwen tapped her fork to her glass of iced tea. “Let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. I’m thankful for all of you here at this table; I’m especially thankful that I have a chance to take care of my father, to pay him back for all of the times he took care of me. Willow, why don’t you go next?”

The middle Eiken child had just taken a bite of turkey; she looked to the ceiling in contemplation as she chewed, then swallowed. “Wow. So many things. Old ‘angry Bill’ would have said he was not thankful, but resentful – of this house, this family, of life in general. But now, I am so thankful for all of those things! I never knew how awesome my family is; you have been a blessing in my life, each and every one of you. Even Mal.”

“Mmglph!” was the best reply Malachi could give, seeing as he’d stuffed a whole dinner roll in his mouth.

“Hmm. Willow - you aren’t thankful for your cell phone?” queried William.

“Huh – what?” Willow's stomach started to twist. Angie gave it back to Bernard last night! Is there something else that happened I don’t know about?

“Your new cell phone. The latest android phone, with text and data; the one your Momma and I got for you yesterday. We thought it was time to loosen the rules a little more, seeing as you’ve acted so trustworthy. You aren’t thankful for that?” William grinned an impish smile as he produced a small metal-and-glass rectangle and handed it to her.

Willow could barely stay in her seat as the wonderful little thing lit up to her touch, opening up a new window of freedom. “Oh yes, yes, yes-yes-yes-yes-YES, Momma and Poppa! I’m SO thankful for my phone!”

~o~O~o~

Hey Bernard u there

Who is this – don’t recognize #

Oh right. It’s me, Willow! M&D got me a new phone!

Hey Willow wow that’s great

Plan is working, getting more freedom

Haha rite the plan hahaha

??

Dude ur plan totally backfired. Was supposed to break ur folks up or allow u 2 sue them 4 emansipation and instead you are becoming actual girl rite? And getting ur freedom, just not way u planned.

R u trying 2 humiliate me? I called u 2 celebrate; u pointing out my mistakes

Happy mistakes. U seem happy with changes; I am happy 4 u. Think this is better than original plan.

Really? Good. Was about 2 cry.

U cry now?

Oh let me tell u. Should own stock in Kleenex.

So can u leave house without a parent or sister with u yet?

I should ask if I can. Would have to walk or bicycle 2 get anywhere; no driving til I turn 16

You think ur Mom would let me pick u up? Like to go to NA mtg, or coffee? Or will she still bar me from seeing u.

It’s Poppa who wants to c u now – in person. He didn’t like that u snuck a phone 2 me. But he promised me he’ll b open-minded when meeting u.

Okay. Is he really mad? Scarier than ur mom? She can b intimidating.

Just B U, Bern. The new, changed u – clean, sober, stands by his principles, won’t let his friend (me) get away with crap. Poppa knows good when he sees it – he’ll C it in U. Angie can vouch 4 ur character too.

Okay. Give “poppa” my # and have him call me 2 set up time.

Yes will do. Would love 2 go out with u Bern

I mean – oh poop u kno what I mean

Do I?

WOULD LIKE TO HANG WITH YOU AGAIN. Nothing more

Aw nothing more really?

NOW I KNO U R TEASING ME.

Yeah. Kind of?

?? Um, maybe we can discuss what u mean in person :)

If ur Momma and Poppa approve. Hey Dad wants me-

OK! Happy thanksgiving Bernard I am thankful ur my friend

Ditto Willow

~o~O~o~

To be continued tomorrow

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