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Growing Up

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376 Re: Growing Up on Wed 18 Sep 2013, 1:52 pm

Liam crossed his arms. „Are you serious? What is that supposed to be?” He was in the equipment room of Mission Force and stared at something that looked like a 5-year old built it together. He turned to one of the men in lab coats. “Does this work at all?”

“Well, we’re currently still trying to-“

“Listen, buddy, this is never going to work. My daughter Jane, who is almost two years old, could design this better than you. Why are there so many amateurs? Geez, this is-“ He was interrupted by a familiar beep that he hadn’t heard in a while.
Oh no. This wasn’t good.
He quickly ran to his bag and realised Jo had pressed the emergency button of the bracelet he had made for her. Maybe one of the twins had accidently pressed it. He hoped it wasn’t really an emergency, but he couldn’t waste any time and stormed to the phone.
Pick up, pick up!
He tried to stay calm, but the thought that one of his girls was in danger, maybe even all three, made him worry like crazy.

“Liam?”, a weak voice came from the other line.

“Jo! Are you okay? What’s going on?”

“Just come home, please.”

“Are you hurt? Or one of the girls?”

“No, just hurry up. It’s my mother…”

Liam knew that something bad must have happened between Jo and her mother, so he didn’t hesitate anymore, promised Jo to be home as soon as possible, grabbed his bag and stormed out of the equipment room.

Meanwhile Jo managed to calm down her daughters while telling them a few stories, mostly fairy tales. It calmed her down as well, and every time she heard Elizabeth either yelling or banging on the door, she startled for a moment but then quickly continued telling stories so that the girls wouldn’t notice how scared their mother was. They had to think that everything was all right.

“Okay, I’m here!” Liam ran into the living room and saw his three J’s in the play corner.

“Daddy!” Jane jumped up and ran to her dad, something she always did when she saw him. He lifted her up, but he was more concerned about Jo right now because she was pale like a sheet.

“What happened?”

“My mother visited us unannounced, and then she…oh God, it was so scary!”

“What was scary? What did she do?”

“She had a complete freak out, telling me that you were the antichrist and the girls were the offspring of the devil and that she should have drowned them and she started to grab Jill and-“

“She what?!” Liam didn’t want to shout because he didn’t want to scare his daughters but he could barely stay calm.

“It was so horrible, Liam. I mean, I have seen her freaking out before, but today…it was never that bad. When she shook Jill, I had to do something but I couldn’t think straight, I was so scared of her at that moment, so I locked her in the guest bathroom, and then I called you.”

“Wait, your mother is still locked up in the guest bathroom?”

Jo nodded. “I just didn’t know what to do.”

Normally Liam would have laughed at the thought of Elizabeth being locked up in a bathroom, but this situation wasn’t funny at all. He was furious for what she did to his girls.
“Are you okay, Cupcake?” Liam looked at Jill who leaned next to her mum.

“Yes, Daddy, but Grandmother scares me.”

Liam took a deep breath. “Jo, you’re going to take the girls to one of the teachers. I think Ellen mentioned she wouldn’t be here this weekend, but James is probably here, the girls have to be kept away from this situation. I’ll call an ambulance, someone has to take your mother to a mental institution for everyone’s safety.”

Jo nodded weakly and got up, taking Jill’s hand. “Okay.”

Before she left with the girls, Liam planted a kiss on her forehead. “It’s going to be okay”, he said quietly. She looked at him one last time, then she left the flat with the girls and walked to the teachers’ house. She knocked on James’ door. When he opened it, he could immediately see that something was wrong.
“Jo, are you okay? You look sick.”

“I’m okay, but something came up. It’s just…my mother was…difficult.” She didn’t need to explain more, James understood. “I know it’s Sunday and your day off, but I would be so grateful if you could take the girls for an hour or so until things are cleared up.”

“That’s no problem at all, of course I’ll take them.” He smiled friendly at her. “Take as much time as you need, I don’t have any plans today. This is actually nice, having some company of two lovely ladies…” He looked down at the little redheads, and Jane let go off mummy’s hand and grabbed his instead. She looked up to him while she held his hand tightly.

“Thank you so much. I’ll make sure you’ll get another day off and-“

“Don’t worry about it, Jo. Just let me know if I can help you with anything else.”

She smiled weakly. “Thank you.” She knelt down to kiss the twins. “You two stay a bit with James, okay?”

They nodded, Jane almost a little too eager.
“Okay. I love you.”

“Love you, Mummy!”, they said back. Jo smiled one last time at James and her daughters, then she hurried back, hoping the ambulance would come soon.


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377 Re: Growing Up on Wed 18 Sep 2013, 10:24 pm

Jo ran back into the main house, a few students tried to talk to her but she said politely while she passed that that she didn’t have time any kind of medical issues should be taken to the nurse or one of teachers but she has family problem to deal with. She hadn’t seen an ambulance outside house so she assumed her mother was still locked in the bathroom. But when she opened the flat door she was very quiet and very careful.

“Liam?” Jo whispered. The bathroom door was closed but she wasn’t sure if her mother was still locked away behind it.

“Josephine! Open this godforsaken door!” Elizabeth was banging on the inside of the bathroom. Jo shrieked and jumped away. Within second Liam was there and pulled her in a tight hug. “It’s okay. The ambulance is on the way. Come on I made some tea. They said to leave her in the bathroom since it is just a guest bathroom we don’t need to worry about her being able to hurt herself.”
Jo nodded but held on tightly to Liam’s shirt.

“Are the girls with James?” Liam tried to distract Jo even though he knew she was barely able to forget.

“Yes.”

Jo jumped again when the door bell rang. Liam kissed her and went to answer it. It didn’t take long when he came back in the kitchen, Jo was sitting at the table holding a large mug with tea in her hands.

“It’s the paramedics.” Liam whispered. He was worried like crazy to see Jo deal with her mother that has finally lost her mind. She didn’t need to ask him to deal with the paramedics he knew she was begging him to do it.
Liam nodded and went to greet the paramedics while Jo pulled out the box of her medicine, the stuff that would calm her nerves, she put it on the table and just looked at it.

Meanwhile Liam greeted the paramedics at the door. “Good afternoon. I called regarding my mother-in-law. I should begin with that this is a very delicate matter, my mother-in-law is Lady Elizabeth Williams. So your discretion is highly important. So Lady Elizabeth is mentally instable, has depressions, and has a history of poorly tries of suicide. She has mental breakdown episodes and this time she… well she tried to convince her daughter that she is married to the antichrist and our daughters which are in a safe place right now are the offspring of the devil. Lady Elizabeth… well she shook her quite violently, I don’t think she is a real danger she is just confused.”

“Okay so where is its Ladyship?” The paramedics knew when they got the call who they would be treating they got a private confirmation of the patient.

“She is in that bathroom, locked.”

“Okay Sir, this will look bad but we need to sedate her. And she will not be happy about this fact. Is her husband here?”

“No but I’ve got a written allowance that you can sedate her.” Liam handed the paramedic the letter Colin had given him just in a case like this. Liam had called Colin who was on the way but it would take some time.
The paramedic that seemed to be the team leader nodded and then they unlocked the door. Elizabeth screamed and attacked the paramedics, she actually fought like a real crazy person. But after some known handling the paramedics places the injection and Lady Elizabeth Williams went numb and collapse on the floor.

“Please don’t let her knickers show. She is a Lady.” Jo mumbled from the kitchen door. Now that Elizabeth was sedated the chief paramedic went to Jo and Liam was right behind him to supervise what he was doing to his wife.

“Hello I’m Andrew. How are you holding up?”

“I’m okay.” Jo just whispered as if she wasn’t strong enough to talk louder. Andrew saw the package of medicine on the kitchen table even from the distance his taught eyes recognised what it was.

“Miss I’m sorry to ask but did you take any medication?”


“No. I thought about it, I’ve got a prescription for it. There are still seventeen tables in the package. I never take anything without telling Liam. And I only take something when I can’t function otherwise.” Jo felt horrible admitting all of this. She felt like it was just a matter of time that she lost her mind and tried to kill her own children. She didn’t dare to look at the paramedic or Liam. “I don’t think I need to take my medication today. I’m worried and scared but I understand what is happening. Something had caused my mother to lose her mind and attack her daughter and granddaughters. I’m not sure what but when we go into her rooms we will find the answer. I don’t need to take my medication, do I?” Jo looked passed the paramedic right at Liam hoping he knew what to do.


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378 Re: Growing Up on Fri 20 Sep 2013, 12:15 pm

Liam looked at his wife and didn’t say anything at first. Why did she ask him? If she had a cold, she wouldn’t ask him to take medicine either, would she? He couldn’t understand why she was still so insecure about those things and needed to ask for his opinion or permission.
“How are you feeling?”, he asked quietly. “I mean, if you feel like this is getting too much for you, you can take a pill, as long as you’re not taking too much.”

“I’m okay”, she mumbled.

“Jo, just because you’re taking medication now and then doesn’t mean that you’re becoming like your mother. Like I said, as long as you’re not abusing it, it’s completely normal to take something now and then. You have to decide for yourself if you feel okay enough and don’t need anything right now or if today was too much for you. But please stop asking me, I don’t know what’s going on inside of your head, I can’t judge what’s best for you right now.” He didn’t want her to get the impression that he was mad at her, but he was worried that she was so dependent on his opinion and he didn’t like that at all. She was a mother who took such great care of her two daughters, and yet she couldn’t stop being insecure about herself and had to ask for Liam’s permission. It made him almost kind of angry to see her like that. It sometimes looked like she fell back into that old 1950s housewife theme, where she couldn’t do anything alone unless she asked her husband if it was okay. He didn’t want her to be like that, he knew that she could be a lot stronger than that.
“I’m not mad at you if you take your medication, okay? If it helps you and doesn’t have any bad side effects, you should take it.” He reached for her hand. “And don’t feel ashamed for it. I think if Elizabeth would have been my mother and I had to live with her all those years, I would have taken medication as well.”

Jo nodded shyly. “I think I’m okay for now. Since you’re here and the girls are safe I’m feeling a bit better again.”

“Okay.” Liam smiled briefly at her. “Do you want to call your father or should I?”

Jo hesitated for a moment. “I think if I call him, I probably break down in tears again.”

“Okay, I’ll call him then. You just sit down for a bit and I’ll be right back.” He looked a last time at her, then he went over to the phone while Jo sat down on the couch and the paramedics carefully took the unconscious Elizabeth out of the flat. Frida and Evelyn were with the students and made sure they weren’t too worried because an ambulance was in front of the door.
A few minutes later Liam walked back to Jo. “Your father will drive to the hospital now to be with Elizabeth. He asked me to stay here with you, and he will call when he knows more about your mother’s situation.”

Jo nodded weakly. Although she was worried about her mother, she was also glad to just stay here with Liam, where it was safe.
“Want me to make you something to eat?”

Jo shook her head.

“Well, I’m going to anyway, I don’t like that you completely ignore eating and drinking whenever you are stressed.” He got up and walked into the kitchen. Some people might say he should listen to her, but he knew that he had to be strong for her, which he always was when Jo had her tough moments, and being strong for her meant also taking care of her, so he didn’t listen when she said she wasn’t hungry. Even if he didn’t force her to eat anything, he at least wanted to make something for her so that she could eat whenever she would be hungry again.
Since he wasn’t good in cooking, he fixed her a sandwich and made some more tea. They spent another hour alone in the flat until they decided to get the girls because it was getting close to bedtime for them. Jane was sleeping on James’ lap, her head leaned against his chest, while James was reading something to Jill, who listened to him very closely.
Liam quickly explained what happened so that James knew what was going on, then the young parents thanked him again for watching the twins. Liam lifted up Jane carefully so she wouldn’t wake up, and Jill grabbed her mother’s hand.
Jane woke up when Jo changed her into her sleeping clothes, and she looked a bit confused.
“James?”, she asked.

Jo smiled at her. “It’s bedtime, Munchkin. You can see James tomorrow.”

Jane looked a bit disappointed, but she was so tired that she could barely keep her eyes open, and when Jo handed her the little Ducky, Jane fell asleep two seconds later.
Liam, who was in Jill’s room, didn’t have it that easy because Jill kept asking him questions.

“Where is Grandmother?”

“She’s in the hospital.”

“Is she sick?”

“In a way, yes.”

“She’s scary. And she scares Mummy.”

Liam sighed. “I know.” He gently put the blanket over Jill. “But the doctors will try their best to help your grandmother so that she gets better again.”

“Is she going to die?”

“No, Cupcake. The doctors will help her.”

Jill hugged her kangaroo tightly. “Daddy?”

“Yes, Cupcake?”

“Does Mummy have to go to the hospital?”

“Why?” Liam looked a bit confused at his daughter.

“Because she gets very weird sometimes. When Grandmother comes, Mummy gets weird.”

Liam was quiet for a moment. “Well, your grandmother is quite a scary woman and she sometimes scares your mum, yes, but like I said, grandmother is sick and the doctors will try to make her better again, and then she won’t scare Mummy again.”

Jill looked at her dad, then she nodded. “Okay.”

Liam bent down and planted a kiss on Jill’s cheek. “Goodnight, Cupcake.”

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Janey likes James. I like James too, he’s really, really cool but Janey likes him a lot.”

Liam raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I noticed that…” He knew it was stupid, but sometimes he still felt a bit jealous because Jane was always so fixed on her daddy, but now she had another man she paid so much attention to.

“I think she’s going to marry him”, Jill mumbled while she was in the process of falling asleep.

Liam let out a dry laugh. “Not if I can prevent it.”


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379 Re: Growing Up on Sun 22 Sep 2013, 7:59 pm

Jo had taken Jane to bed, the little girl was still asleep and she just too off her shoes, dress and socks so that she was sleeping in her undershirt and tights, not ideal but Jo didn’t want to wake up her little girl. Jo put all of Jane’s things away and then kissed her daughter before she went out. Liam just came out of Jill bedroom.

“Is she asleep?” Jo whispered as she took Liam’s hand.

“Yes.” Liam was quiet for a minute. He looked at his wife thinking about what his daughter had said. “Jo can I talk to you about something?”

“Sure.” Jo was still shaken from the day but she was still standing and really didn’t need her medication, a low sedative. They went in the kitchen Jo was making and had prepared a snack plate for them to watch television.

“I think Jill got quite a scare today.”

“I know, I’m sorry I should have seen earlier that my mother should not be near the girls.”

“It’s okay I don’t blame you and I didn’t mean when your mother shook her. I’m not sure you are aware but Jill looks a lot at you, how you act and do things and today she mentioned something to me. She was scared that you have to go to the hospital like your mother, because she noticed every time your mother is around you get weird as she called it.” Liam watched Jo while she poured the boiling water into the kettle. She looked sad.

“I know. I have to work on not showing how much my mother terrifies me.” Jo mumbled. Liam quickly got up and wrapped his arms around his wife.

“It’s okay. I don’t blame you she is a scary woman. I just worry that Jill gets too scared of Elizabeth because she sees how scared you are.” Liam held her close, he knew what a difficult day it was for her.

Jo took a few deep breaths and then nodded.

“I will be more careful so that I don’t scare Jill that much.”
The two went together in the living room, Liam carried gentleman like the tray with the tea cups, the plate with the snacks and the tea pot.

“Hey Liam, I did good right? I mean that I stayed quite calm and didn’t need my medicine.” Jo looked proud at him.

“Yeah but what was the whole asking me if you need you medicine about?” Liam took some popcorn.

“I don’t know I thought I know what I needed but then I saw my mother again and then suddenly I didn’t know anymore. I felt so helpless just like two years ago. I’m sorry I just needed some help.” Jo looked shy away.

“Okay, just making sure you know that I’m not your pill keeper, if you feel like things are getting to much you take your medicine as it says in the description and then just tell me so I know in case any side effects. Okay?” Liam pulled Jo in his arms. Jo smiled she loved cuddling with him on the couch.

“I will.”

It was late at night when Liam woke up he meant to just cuddle closer to Jo when he noticed that she was not in bed, he thought she might have gone to the toilet but she didn’t come back. Liam sat up and looked around, when he suddenly realised that the bedroom door was open.

“Jo?” Liam said as he climbed out of bed to look for her. It took him a while until he found her in his office, the small one he had in the flat he just used it when he was watching the girls and had to do some school work to do well and some of the records were kept in there. Jo was sitting in the furthest corner on the floor sobbing heavily, the package of her medication in her hand. “Jo!?”

“I’ve took some medicine, it say I can take two but…” Jo was so heavily sobbing that Liam could barely understand her. Liam rushed to his wife, he should have known that Jo was way too calm for a situation like this. And now that all pressure had fallen from her she broke apart. Jo was so pale and looked so fragile she couldn’t even voice what hurt her so much right now, but it was sort of everything. Her mother being in the hospital properly for a long time, her daughter getting attacked, Jill noticing that she was scared of her own mother, her lost ability to decide if she needed her medicine or not it all together was a horrible day and now that the last of her adrenaline has left her system she wasn’t coping at all anymore.
Jo was rocking back and forth and mumbled: “I’m not her. I’m not my mother.” Jo wasn’t sure what she wanted but she knew she didn’t want to go to the hospital or any doctor, she just wanted to calm down again but for some reason neither any breathing she had learned in therapy after the girls were born nor her medicine actually helped.


“I’m so sorry Liam.” She sobbed quietly.


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380 Re: Growing Up on Wed 25 Sep 2013, 5:28 pm

Liam planted a gentle kiss on her head while he held her tightly.
“It’s okay, Yvaine”, he said quietly. “There’s nothing to apologise for.”

“I mess up all the time”, she sobbed into his shoulder.

“What are you talking about?” He had his hands on her shoulders and pulled her back a bit to look at her.

“My mother…and she hurt Jill…and…and the medicine and-“

“Jo, calm down. Please.” Liam looked so gentle at her that she actually started sobbing, but there were still quiet tears running over her face. “Your mother’s behaviour is not your fault, and neither is that she let out her anger on Jill. And please don’t get mad at yourself because you can’t hide that you’re scared of her. I know it’s tough on you and you have a hard time hiding away your feelings, but that doesn’t mean that you mess everything up.” He smiled at her and pushed a strand of her hair out of her face. “You can see the proof in your daughters. They adore you, Jo. They look up to you and love you so much. If you were a lousy mother, they wouldn’t look up to you the way they do. Yes, Jill noticed that you act strange whenever your mother is around, but that also shows me how much she cares about you and how much she wants you to be her happy and strong mummy, do you see? You have changed so much the past two years, you not only became the great girl that I met all those years ago, you actually became stronger with every day that you and I and the girls grew together as family. You’re the last person to mess up. And that you take medicine is absolutely okay, it doesn’t mean that you let me or the girls down at all. We love you, Jo, and I know, I really, really know that you will not become your mother, do you hear me? I don’t believe in it, I know it.”

Jo bit her lip and looked at her husband. “What if-“

“No.” He shook his head. “There’s no ‘what if’. Not under my watch. I’ll never, ever let you become your mother, not in this life or in any other. You’ll be my lovely wife and Jane and Jill’s super awesome, fantastic, brilliant, great, adorable mother, that’s what you are and that’s what you’ll always be. There is no ‘what if’.”

Jo looked like she was about to burst into tears, but this time because she was so incredibly happy to have a supporting husband who believed in her. “I love you”, was all she managed to say, but it only made him smile even more and he pulled her into a tight hug.

“Don’t be scared anymore”, he said quietly. “Even if you think everything is bad, you still have people who believe in you, and not just me and the girls, although we’re your Number 1 fans. Think of your dad and how much he adores you. Or Ricky, who, if he weren’t into guys, would definitely want to marry you.”

A chuckle escaped from her while her head rested on Liam’s shoulder.

“And Lorelai and John, and all the teachers and students who look up to you. My dad as well, who keeps raving on how incredible you are. You have so many people who believe in you, and there’s no way you could disappoint anyone of them. Especially not your family.” Liam paused for a moment. “Even if that mental thing that your mother has is, I don’t know, genetically…there is no way any of us would watch it taking over. You have a whole army of people who are there to support you, there is no chance for any mental illness because we won’t give it any chance. We just don’t…” He stroked gently through her hair. “I will never let a stupid mental illness get the better of you, okay? There is no freaking way that you will turn into your mother, you have a whole army to stop you from that, and a very handsome husband who loves you.”

Jo laughed quietly, still tears on her cheeks, but there was glimmer in her eyes again while she looked at Liam now. She wanted to say so much to him, but all that escaped from her was a sincere ‘thank you’.

“You’re very welcome, beautiful.” Liam smiled at her, then he pulled her into his arms again and started to quietly sing Downtown.


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381 Re: Growing Up on Thu 26 Sep 2013, 10:24 am

It was the week before Liam’s birthday when the girls started nursery. Jo had visited all nurseries around Waterfall Downs after careful consideration she decided that the girls would be going to the same nursery Edward went to and Henry is still going. So Jo was sitting in the car now, the girls had been three days at nursery and every day Jane was exhausted afterwards and Jill was unusually quiet. It was the evening after the third day at the Broomrise Nursery Liam was working with his class in the garden it was a mild day so Jo was sitting with the girls in the garden, Jane had fallen asleep on the car ride back home as she had the two days before Jill was having a small snack.

“Jill, Munchkin why is Jane so tired after nursery, did she make a friend and plays so much?” Jo asked they were sitting on a blanket not far from Liam and his class they were working again on the large mechanical solar system model.

“No Janey doesn’t play.”  Jill was taking another piece of cheese from the little three tier tea tray. She was having a tea party picnic with her mum.

“What do you mean she doesn’t play? What is Jane doing?” Jo asked gentle.

“Mummy I don’t think Janey likes the nursery, all she does is cry. I try to help her but… they shaker her when she needs to sleep, they mix her food, they take her duckling away. Mummy they are not nice to her.” Jill looked at her dad working with his students, well no he was more supervising them and she admired him in her eyes he was the most amazing daddy she could think of. In her little world everything was okay again. Daddy fixed mummy so that she is happy again and daddy told her that her grandmother is now in a hospital the doctors there would make her better that she would not shake her ever again.
Jo watched her daughters, Jane was deeply asleep since a long time and Jill was… “Shit!”
Jill turned around at looked at her mother a little shocked.

“I’m sorry Munchkin I shouldn’t have said that. Listen you have another cup of tea and I need to talk to your daddy. Stay here okay?” Jo kissed Jill on the top of her head and poured her another cup of milky sweet decaf tea and then got up.

“Hey Liam, do you have a minute? It is important.” Jo looked desperate at Liam. Liam looked at his class. “You just continue the way we planned I’m not far if you need me. It will just be a minute.”
Liam’s class knew that Jo would not have interrupted them if it was not important. Some mumbled Okays and approvals and then continued building the solar system. Jo took Liam’s hand and led him away so that neither the students nor the little girls could hear them. “Liam listen this nursery they are… evil!” Jo was very angry and agitated.

“What do you mean?” Liam looked at his daughters, he had noticed that Jane was not happy the past two days.


“They don’t let her sleep, that is why she is so tired afterwards. She sleep two to three hours after nursery and she hasn’t slept that long since she was a baby. Jill also said that they take her duck away from her and just mix her food. I know she has to learn to deal with chaos but I specifically asked to give her time. Liam she cries the entire time she is at nursery. Maybe the plan to send them to nursery was a bad idea. I mean we have Betty lately she helps more Ellen with our students than with our daughters. And they have each other so they are not the only twenty-two months olds. I don’t want Jane to be that miserable. We need to do something.” Jo groaned loudly. “I’m so angry! How can those women not take care of our daughters? It is there job and we would never treat a student like this. We meet all their needs! Dammit we even got nightlights for Jason so that he doesn’t have to be afraid anymore and we got him a roommate that can sleep with a little light.” Jo was so angry, Liam had never seen her like this. She was differently agitated as when her mother had her breakdown. “We need to do something, I’m not letting our daughter turn miserable before her second birthday!”


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382 Re: Growing Up on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 10:00 pm

Liam had to remind himself to stay calm in front of the students, but he had a really hard time.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!”

Some of the students lifted their heads, but he didn’t pay attention to that, he only looked at Jo.
“Are you serious?”

“Well, that’s what Jill says, and I’m sure she wouldn’t lie about that…”

“How can those fucking morons treat Jane like that? They can’t force her to stay awake and give her mixed food…and…and they certainly can’t take away her duckling! What the fucking-“

“Liam, calm down. We’ll talk to them and explain specifically that Jane is allowed to sleep and has a certain eating routine and-“

“Talking to them? I’m going to fucking strangle them! I mean, who does that?! Who forces a little toddler to stay awake when she’s tired and who the fuck takes away her duck? Nobody is allowed to take away Jane’s duckling, nobody!” Liam looked completely furious. He couldn’t help it, just the thought of someone hurting his precious Princess made him completely mad.

Jo took his hand. “I guess I better handle the talking…”

Liam was about to say something when he saw Jane waking up. He immediately let go off Jo’s hand and walked to his daughters.
“Hey, Princess.” He smiled warmly at sleepy Jane while he sat down and pulled her gently on his lap.

“Daddy”, she mumbled, her head resting on his chest.

“It’s okay, Princess.” Liam kissed her soft hair. “Mummy and I will make sure that everyone is going to be nice to you, okay? And Ducky will not leave your side.” He took the stuffed toy and put it in Jane’s arm. “I love you, baby girl. My beautiful, perfect little Princess…”

“I’m going to protect Janey!”, her sister said determined.

Liam turned his head to her and smiled. “I’m glad you do, I’m very proud of you, Cupcake.”

Jo sat down next to her family. “I will call the nursery right away and talk with them”, she said while her eyes rested on little Jane who was snuggled up to Liam and looked very peaceful, now that Daddy was holding her.

Meanwhile on the other side of Oxford…

“Hey, man, what are you doing?”, James, whose last class had ended a while ago, just peaked into the big living room of Alfie’s flat.

“What does it look like?”, Alfie replied dryly from behind one of his books. “And how did you get in anyway?”

James sat down on the couch across from him. “A particularly young-looking boy with rosy cheeks let me in.”

Alfie looked up, an eyebrow raised. “And I certainly hope you weren’t flirting with that particularly young-looking, rosy cheeked boy…”

James rolled his eyes. “No, I was actually making out with him in a dark corner.”

“Careful, McAlister…”

James grinned and crossed his arms behind his head while he laid back a little. “It’s always amusing to watch you when other people mention your boy.”

“There’s nothing amusing about it”, Alfie grumbled.

“Oh yes. I’m pretty sure you think of a thousand different torture methods that you want to use on whoever dares to look into Ricky’s direction”, James said teasingly.

“Did you come here to talk with me about Ricky?”

“No.” James’ grin vanished and was replaced by a more serious look. “You know what day is today?” It sounded less like a question, more a statement.

“The tenth”, Alfie replied without blinking.

“You know where I was today?”

“How would I know?”

James raised both eyebrows. “You know what day is today, and you know where I just came from.”

There was not a single emotion on Alfie’s face, it was completely blank.

His friend sighed. “Seriously, man? After all those years you’re still giving me that whole ‘I don’t care’ attitude? You know just as well as I do that I’m never going to buy into this.”

Alfie didn’t say anything, he looked at his book instead, pretending to read.

“It’s been years, Alfie, years, and I guess you still haven’t been to his grave.”

“Don’t go there.” There was coldness in Alfie’s voice that James hadn’t heard in a while.

“Oh, I certainly am! Don’t you think you owe it to him? You know, I went to his grave today and there were flowers everywhere, from so many different people who are still so grateful for what Arthur Jackson did for them. I’m just one of hundreds. He gave me the opportunity to go to a good school and get out of the provincial life in Scotland and become what I always aspired to, I owe it all to him. Not to mention all those orphans who have gotten great homes thanks to your grandfather who established all those new buildings for them to live in. Or that entire wing of the hospital which is named after him because he put so much time and money into caring about terminally ill people so that the little time they had left would be unforgettable. The families of those people still go to your grandfather’s grave after all those years. The orphans whom he helped and who are now grown and have families themselves, they still go… And you, out of all people, you just ignore the anniversary of his death every year while half of Oxford puts flowers on that grave.”

Alfie still didn’t look up, but James wasn’t surprised. He expected his friend to react that way.

“He doesn’t deserve it, you know? That you, the one he adored so much, his ‘special one’, as he always called you, didn’t visit his grave one single time since he died. And not only that, but you actually refuse to remember him. I know it was hard on you, but doesn’t your grandfather deserve to be remembered by you? Imagine it would have been you…imagine you would have died and Arthur just decided to forget you from one day to the next.” James paused for a moment. He knew this was by far Alfie’s most sensitive subject. “Why can’t you just go there today? It’s been so many years, Alfie. It’s really time that you go, especially today.”

Alfie closed his book and finally looked up. There was still no emotion visible on his face, it was almost a little harsh. “Especially today?”, he repeated with a hint of sarcasm. “So that I can remember that truly wonderful day when I lost the only thing that was good in my life and everything went downhill from then? That sounds like a brilliant idea. Really.”

James sighed. “Don’t be like that. You know what I meant.”

Alfie got up, still looking cold. “No, I don’t.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and walked out of the room.

Ricky, who had secretly listened to everything (not because he wanted to spy on them but rather because that was the only chance to find out a few things about his boyfriend at all), quickly walked into the kitchen when he heard footsteps approaching. He pretended to be busy sorting out the fridge when Alfie came into the kitchen.
“Is James staying for dinner?”, Ricky asked, pretending to be busy with the salad.

“Nope”, Alfie mumbled.

Ricky finally turned around and looked at him. “Are you okay?”, he asked carefully.

He looked almost annoyed at him. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Alfie-“

But Ricky couldn’t add anything more, Alfie had already turned his back on him and left the kitchen. When Ricky stepped out of the kitchen as well, he couldn’t see where Alfie was gone, but James came out of the living room, putting on his jacket. He stopped before he opened the main door and turned to Ricky.
“Take care of him, okay? Especially today.”

Ricky didn’t need to ask any more, he just nodded and shot him a brief smile before James opened the door and stepped into the hallway.


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383 Re: Growing Up on Sat 28 Sep 2013, 11:58 pm

Back at Waterfall Downs Academy

Jo left Liam and his students with the girls while she went to the phone. But unfortunately the response wasn’t the one she expected.


“I’m sorry Mrs O’Doherty my team leader is not here and neither is my manager but I can leave a message or maybe I can help you.”

Jo sighed. “No you can’t help me at what time are those two in, in the morning?”


“Not before eight thirty.”

“Good then I will be there then.” Jo was so annoyed that this had to wait until tomorrow.


 
On the other side of Oxford

Ricky made some sandwiches and then went to look for Alfie to Ricky’s surprise he was hiding in his office.

“Hey I made some sandwiches, what are you doing here?” Ricky put down the plate and hugged Alfie from behind.

“Just looking at the books. Come on I want you.” Alfie lifted Ricky on his desk and kissed him.

“Alfie…” Ricky whispered shy.

“What?” Alfie sounded a little impatient.

“Not here please.” Ricky was deeply blushed and didn’t dare to look at Alfie. He sighed annoyed and nodded. He went upstairs in their bedroom. Alfie didn’t want to talk and Ricky respected that, Ricky was just glad that Alfie was not drinking so if everything he wanted was sex Ricky would give him that.
 
The next morning Liam kissed his daughters goodbye and let Jo alone drive to the nursery with them. Jane was very quiet even more then she normally was, Jill was watching her telling her stories to calm her down. Jo watched the two in the rear-view mirror it made her smile. She stopped outside the building. It was a nice building with lots of space for the children to play and with a huge garden. Jo heard Henry already I the garden playing with his buddies as he calls them. Jill got excited but kept holding tightly her mum’s hand. Jane was on Jo’s arm.

“Good morning I would like to talk to Alisa.” Jo said using the voice and body language she barely used nowadays. She had turned into Lady Josephine the heiress of the Williams, it was known that the Jackson’s own half of Oxford, the Williams own about one third of Oxford and the last sixth was in unimportant hands. The young girl she talked to was suddenly very scared. Well no not when Jo spoke but when she saw her.

“Certainly. Do you want me to bring the twins in?”

“The twins are not one thing so no thank you Jill and Jane stay with me.” Jo held her daughters tightly and Jill understood that it was important to stay with mommy. Jo just had to wait a few minutes until the blonde women came to her. “Mrs O’Doherty. It is so nice to see you.”

“I wish I could say the same. I know that the settling process for children is differently but if you do not what your brochure promises I see myself no other chance but to take them out of your nursery.”

Jo looked angry at the woman, she had a heavy accent Jo had heard Lorelai once talk with it if she remembered right it was a Finish accent.

“I am very sorry to hear that but I am sure we can sort this problem out.”

“Oh can we? I told you when I enrolled Jane and Jill here that Jane has some specific needs. Jane has OCD, we as family and her paediatrician have come up with an action plan to help her and that includes giving her as much power of her daily routine as a two year old should have. Jane is still sleeping a lot yes more than any other her age but she needs this sleep so let her sleep for god sake! And is it so hard to put her meals on a plate and not a bowl? And what it is that she is not allowed her comforter? In your brochure it says that it is very welcome for children to keep their comforter until they are well settled. So why is she not allowed to keep her duck?”

“Mrs O’Doherty I assure you that Jill is given the best care we can…”

“Are you serious?” Jo looked down at Jane who was holding the large yellow duckling in her arms, while Jill was holding her kangaroo in hers. “Jill is not the one with the duck or the OCD. Maybe you should learn to keep the two apart.”

“Oh God I’m so sorry. I meant Jane. As I said I assure you, Jane is getting the care as you requested.”

Jo crouched down and kissed Jill on the cheek. “Munchkin, is féidir leat Jane agus dul imirt léi? Is féidir sí a choinneáil ar a duckling agus tú más mian leat is féidir leat a chur ar do kangaroo. Mummy gá chun labhairt leis an medicine a dhéanamh cinnte Jane cóireáilte níos fearr. Maith go leor?” Jo knew that it was a little bit rude to speak a foreign language to avoid people understand her but she also knew that Liam was reading stories in Irish to the girls and that both of them were quite fluent in understanding it. A fact she used in this moment.

“Ciceáil a asal, mummy!” Jill grinned.

“Jillian Saoirse Catharine O’Doherty watch your language!”

“Tá brón orm.” Jill was still grinning, when Jo kissed her and then put Jane on the ground. “Jane, Munchkin. Beidh Mummy a dhéanamh cinnte go bhfuil siad níos fearr a thabhairt duit. Fhanann tú le Jill agus Henry beidh a dhéanamh cinnte go bhfuil gach rud ceart go leor. Agus inis tú dom níos déanaí cad a rinne tú inniu ceart go leor?”

“Geall?” Jane looked scared at her mother. It broke Jo’s heart to send her daughter back to the place she feared so much.

“Yes, I do.” Jo kissed Jane on the cheek. And the two girls went into the messy room. Jo heard one of the girls working at the nursery ask if they wanted breakfast. Jill asked for some toast and a clean cup of milk for Jane.

“All our cups are clean.” The lady said.

“No.” Jo didn’t see but knew what Jill was doing, pouring the milk in the sink and then rinse the cup and then ask for more milk.

“So now that my daughters are out of earshot. Let’s cut the bullshit. You are either calling my daughter a liar or you are shaking her awake, take the duck and do not understand my request to give her meals on a plate? I pay good money that Jane and Jill get cared for as good as I would do and so far I only see that you do not meet this. I mean you are using my name as advertisement so you should do something that I let you use my name.”
Alisa looked worried at Jo. “Maybe I better get my manger and we can arrange a time to meet?”

“Oh we are meeting now or never again because then Jane and Jill will not stay here unless this is solved.” Jo looked furious by now.

“Sure. I’ll call her. Just one moment please.” Alisa disappeared into the messy room, Jo heard Jill say. “Oh-o you are in trouble.” It made her laugh, Jill had never seen Jo angry but her little girl still knew not to take it that lightly when her mum was angry.

“Make sure there is enough staff here! We can’t be not in ratio! Mrs O’Doherty is still here and wants to talk to Sarah. We are in big trouble.” Alisa was so nervous that she was barely able to whisperand Jo had quite good ears. Jo couldn’t stop herself from grinning. It felt good to use the power she had for once.

“I’m not finished.” Jill said in the messy room.

“Oh I’m sorry please continue.”

“Janey is sleeping.” Jill said matter-of-factly.

“Jane wake up, it is not yet nap time.”

Jo had such a hard time not to storm into the messy room and yell at those practitioners. She knew that Jane would about sleep for fifteen minutes it would not be disturbing any routine the class had but there was her little Munchkin being shaken roughly to make her wake up. In that moment of fury Sarah the nursery manager came down from the office.

“Mrs O’Doherty it is nice to see you.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you people. My daughter is a sweet innocent girl, yes she is not perfect but we are working on it to help her to become a good citizen. Where the fuck do you see a problem when Jane has a short nap right now?” Jo was looking very angry at the manager, Alisa just came back out of the messy room when she realised that Jo had heard them. Sarah was a little bit confused about the outbreak of Jo.

“Mrs O’Doherty how about we talk about this in my office?” Sarah said calmly looked at Alisa.

“Sure I’ll be right there.” Jo walked pass the two women and went into the messy room, where Jane and Jill were still sitting at the low table. “Jane, come here.” Jo picked up Jane she looked so tired and scared. “Jill do you have a story corner or something like that?”

“Yes. I’ll show you.” Jill was really happy to see her mum again and loved to show her the story corner. Jo followed her daughter while Jane was falling asleep on her arm.

“Look, lots of pillows and there are books.” Jill said proud at her mum.

“Thanks Munchkin. Listen Jane will take a little nap okay and you can maybe read a book to her?”

“Okay dokey.” Jill picked a book and sat down next to the sleeping Jane.

“I’ll see you in the afternoon.” Jo waved to Jill who was busy reading the story of Peter Rabbit to her sister. When Jo came back in the messy room she passed one of the practitioner. “Jane is sleeping for a little bit and afterwards can have snack.” Jo didn’t wait for an answer and went back into the hallway to Sarah and Alisa. “Now that my daughter is taking a nap we can have this meeting.”

All three women went upstairs into the office. “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea?”

“No I would like to talk about the way my daughter is getting treated.”

“Yes I’m sorry Alisa told me the things you mentioned and I don’t understand. Alisa why can Jane not take naps during the day?” Sarah looked at Alisa and Jo started to feel that there was someone who saw what she was talking about.

“I’m not sure.”

“Okay let’s just cut the crap. I want my daughter to be able to take naps when she needs them. Her duck is very important for her, not because we wanted it but because she picked it and I do not want anyone to take it from her. And last I explained in long details about her OCD and the ways of treatment and it is not that you starve her until she eats miserably! So there are two options here. You either treat my daughters as two individuals and take care of them in the best possible way or… well that is easy. I’ll take them out of this nursery and make clear to everyone why I left. Do I need to mention that Waterfall Downs Academy has full licences to teach from reception to upper sixth?” Jo got up to indicate that this was the end of the meeting.

Sarah looked scared at Alisa. “No, that is not necessary. We will care for your daughters in the way you expect us to.”

Jo looked at Sarah. “You have until the end of the week and trust my Jill’s speech is very advanced for her age so you might want to make sure all of you staff members know that. Goodbye.” Jo went out of the office and all the way back to her car. The drive wasn’t long and she ran into Liam’s office and stormed into it without knocking.

“I was amazing.”

“Hey what if I’m doing the secretary?”

“I’ll would join you.” Jo’s eyes were sparkling, her cheeks were flushed and a huge smile was plastered on her face. “I yelled and sad bad words and made clear that if they do not treat both girls with respect and care we will take them out of their nursery and make sure everyone knows why. Oh God I feel like I can do anything. I feel amazing.”


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384 Re: Growing Up on Tue 01 Oct 2013, 4:22 pm

Liam pulled Jo into a tight hug. “I’m so proud of you! I would have loved to see that.”

“I honesty never talked to anyone like that before. I mean, I can be strict if I have to when students don’t behave or when we had to fire that one teacher, but I have never been like I was today.”

Liam smiled proudly at her. “You’re what they call a fighting mum. You’re like a mama bear who defends her little cubs, that’s why it came so easy to you.”

“I guess that’s it. When it comes to the girls, I don’t care anymore about being polite and those things. When someone hurts them, I want to protect them. I wasn’t nervous or polite or stuttered or anything like that, I was actually confident.”

“And I love it when you are like that.” Liam brushed some of her hair out of her face. “You’re cute when you’re shy, but you’re super, super, super hot when you’re confident.”

Jo smirked. “I can show you later how confident I am, you know, when we’re alone…”

Liam grinned like a cheeky school boy. “I’d love to see that.”

Later in the afternoon, Jo picked up the twins again, and finally Jane didn’t seem sad and tired like she was the past days.
“So, Munchkins, how was your day today? Were you treated right?”, Jo asked them.

Both of them nodded.

“Did they let you sleep, Jane?”

“Yes.”

“Did you get to keep your Ducky?”

“Yes.”

“And did they put the food on the plate?”

“Yes, Mummy.” Jane nodded, her duck tight in her arms.

“Good. Your daddy and I will make sure that you’ll always get treated right from now on.”

“They were very nice to me, Mummy.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Jo was relieved that her girls were happy now, that’s all she wanted. And she was generally happy how that day went and that she fought for her little girls.

That same afternoon, while Jo was getting home with the twins, Ricky put on his jacket and went somewhere he usually didn’t go, but he did it for Alfie. His boyfriend was in London today, back at work. He was distant all day yesterday, but Ricky knew why and he didn’t force him to talk or anything.
Ricky walked through the big gate of the cemetery, a whole bouquet of daffodils in his arm. He didn’t really know where he had to go, but after walking around for a bit he found what he was looking for. It was hard to not see the huge family crypt of the Jacksons, for it was definitely the biggest crypt in the cemetery, and well, the biggest crypt Ricky had ever seen, but it wasn’t really the size that got his attention, it was this ocean of flowers around it, and Ricky knew they were only meant for one person, not the entire family. It was beautiful to look at, hundreds and hundreds of flowers all around the crypt and inside as well. Ricky usually thought family crypts were creepy and he would have felt uncomfortable coming near it, but all those colourful flowers made it look nice and welcoming. Among the flowers were cards and little gifts or pictures drawn by children. Although Ricky had never met Arthur Jackson, he could tell he must have been a loved man, which was very unusual for any Jackson family member. Ricky’s eyes wandered over the flowers to Arthur’s actual grave. There was always something sad about cemeteries, but Ricky got especially affected because he thought of Alfie and how he didn’t deal with this and never came here, not once.
“Hi, Arthur”, Ricky said quietly. “I know I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, and I don’t even know if you would like me if you’d knew me, perhaps not because none of the Jacksons particularly like me, but I wanted to come here in Alfie’s place, and I’m sorry he didn’t…ehm…he wasn’t able to come, but don’t take it personally. That’s just him… He likes to be in denial, but it’s his way to protect himself. I don’t know a lot about his past and about you, but I think after you died he needed this kind of denial because he needed to protect himself from the others. He’s always having this giant wall around him so that nobody can reach him, but I think he did that all because he was very vulnerable after you died, so he needed to build that wall so he wouldn’t get hurt. I think he’s doing a lot better now, though that wall is still there and he doesn’t like showing feelings, but he…he became more human, you know? He’s probably becoming more like the boy that you once knew, I don’t know. Like I said, I didn’t know Alfie when he was young, but I can’t imagine that he was born cold and without feelings…” Ricky paused for a moment. It was still a bit creepy standing in that crypt, but he was glad for all the colourful flowers and the sun was still shining outside. “I just wanted to tell you that your special one is doing good, and that he is incredibly caring and protective about the things he…he loves. Which is always a good thing, right? He does have feelings, otherwise he wouldn’t be so…so caring about people who mean something to him. I actually read once that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think that Alfie never got out of the first stage. He never moved forward, he always remained in the first stage, being in denial. Which isn’t good, because on that way he never dealt with it and never came to accept it. That’s why, after all those years, he’s still not ready to visit you. He’s stuck in that first stage.” Ricky smiled gently. “That’s why I came in his place, even though you have no idea who I am. I wish I could have met you and I would have loved to see what kind of person Alfie was around you.” Ricky put down the flowers he brought. “I chose daffodils, to me they are the happiest flowers. After the winter comes to an end, daffodils bloom everywhere and I think they always make the world look nicer and happier…” Ricky was quiet for a moment. “I hope you know that he still adores you, even though he never visits. Anyway…” He cleared his throat. “I’ll better be going because it will get dark soon, it’s late in the afternoon and cemeteries make me nervous, especially in the dark, but I will definitely visit you again and bring you some more daffodils.” Ricky smiled one last time, even though he knew nobody would see it. “Bye, Arthur.” He turned around and left the crypt, not knowing that Arthur’s friend Scotty, whom he met at the Waterfall Downs Christmas party, had been standing close to the crypt and just quietly listened to everything Ricky said.


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385 Re: Growing Up on Wed 02 Oct 2013, 7:19 pm

Some time has passed and it was June, Jo had a very busy time. Liam’s birthday was just a quiet event only Lorelai and her boys, Graham, Ellen and Gracie and Colin and obviously Liam’s own girls had a small dinner at Waterfall Downs. Some students got him small presents and at lunch all students sand happy birthday for him and they had cake for dessert.
The twins second birthday was similar. Jo and had taken them to Lorelai’s estate and met the horses and both girls were delighted even Jane coped very well with the natural messiness of the estate. Lorelai had told Jo and Liam that she was looking for two suitable ponies for the girls to start to learn riding, Liam thought it was too early for them but Jo told him that she started riding in the same age and it will be very free and no one will pressure the girls and Lorelai personally will teach them. It calmed him down a little.
Now it was the beginning of June, Thursday before the Summer Festival. Jo had been running around all day like a little crazy flee and now after dinner she had planned to fun off again when Liam took her hand.

“Beautiful, I think it is time for you to sit down, how about a nice hot bath?” Liam pulled Jo into his arms Jill was giggling behind them. She decided that recently it was funny when mommy and daddy cuddled or kissed. Jo looked up at Liam and then nodded. “Okay maybe a bath doesn’t sound too bad.”

“Good. The girls got for their birthday this really nice essence and I’m sure Jill would love to take a bath with mommy.”

Jo starred in horror at Liam. “But…”

“Mommy and me bath.” Jill jumped up and down and ran into her bathroom. “Me naked daddy, ready!” Jill shouted from the bathroom. Liam laughed he knew that his youngest daughter really loved her baths. That’s why he really appreciated all the essences that were good for her little girl skin, he didn’t want to dry her skin out.

“Liam I can’t bath with Jill.” Jo whispered still in the hallway. Jane was standing in the doorframe of the living room eyeing her dad suspiciously.

“Come here Princess, don’t worry I bath you later okay?” Liam kissed his little girl. He knew that Jane didn’t like baths or showers he would just sponge bath her later, but Jill was a different story. “Of course you can bath with her, I’ll do it all the time and she really likes it. It is a sort of bonding thing and really nice, and she asked me why you never bath with her so today is your day.” Liam looked at Jo. “It will be fine, come here.” Liam took Jo’s hand and then pulled her into the bathroom where Jill had already a few of the bath essences on the floor kneeling in front of them to choose which one to use.

“Hey Cupcake how about you use one of the vanilla essences your mommy likes vanilla?”

“Okay dokey.” Jill picked up a bottle and went to the bathtub. “Just a little bit.” Jill looked very concentrated when she poured some of the essence into the bathtub. Liam came over to check the amount and turned on the water.

“Okay Jo do you want me to stay here or be alone with Jill.”

“Mommy and I can do that alone, right?” Jill asked.

“Um okay. Munchkin, I’m just not sure what to do.”

“I do. First you need to take of your pretty clothes. Daddy you need to go out, you can’t see mommy bare.” Jill looked serious at her dad.

“Okay.” Liam grinned and kissed his wife and then his younger daughter. “Jane and I are watching some TV and you two enjoy your bath.”

Jo looked at her daughter now that the two were alone. “Okay, so um… shall we check if the water is hot enough?”

“I’ve got something for that.” Jill got out the duck thermometer and put it in the bath water. “Water is okay.”

“Okay um let me lift you in the tub first okay?” Jo was very careful she didn’t know that Liam was still in earshot from the bathroom.

“Okay, but you join me right?” Jill looked worried at her mother.

“Yes I am.” Jo lifted Jill into the tub and then got undressed herself and followed her daughter into the warm water. “So what do we do now?” Jo looked at her daughter.

“Play.” Jill grinned, stood up and got her large bath toy bag. “Look I got boats, sponges, and buckets and other stuff.” Jill gave her mother a shovel and a bucket. “You take this.”

“Okay. Um Munchkin does daddy also wash your hair?”

“Yes in a little while.” Jill had her boats and ducks have a race by just creating some waves in the water. Jo watched her daughter play. “Mummy here take this dolly.”

Jill was very determined. And to Jo’s surprise she really enjoyed bathing with her daughter. She would not do it all the time from now on she liked that Liam had this bonding moments with their daughters but once in a while she might bath with Jill.
Jo was very worried whenever Jill got up and moved in the large bath tub Jo was very scared that Jill might fall. A little while later after they had played for a little bit Jill handed her mom her shampoo. “Now we can wash my hair, if you want I can wash your hair too.” Jill smiled widely at her mum.

“Okay sure we can do that. Come here.” Jo washed her daughters hair a little clumsy but Jill didn’t get any shampoo in her eyes. Jill was quite good washing her mum’s hair but Jo was barely able to relax having Jill stand behind her made her have so many visions of how the little girl could fall and hurt herself badly and then die, but Jill managed not to fall. So after the two had washed their hair and had also used conditioner Jo lifted Jill out of the tub first or well helped Jill out of the tub and then followed her. Jo smiled when she saw that Liam had put her bathing rope in the bathroom of the girls she quickly put it on and then wrapped Jill in hers. “So what do we do now?”

“Go in the living room and put on body lotion or my skin dries out.” Jill said very matter-of-factly. “Hello daddy we are back. All clean and shiny like a new penny.”


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386 Re: Growing Up on Thu 03 Oct 2013, 5:30 pm

Liam looked over his shoulder and grinned. “It must be my lucky day…two super beautiful ladies at once!”

Jane, who sat next to her dad on the couch, looked up to him and pulled his sleeve. “What about me?”

Liam chuckled and pulled her closer. “Of course you too, Princess. You’re absolutely gorgeous, and after you take a bath in a little bit, you will smell gorgeous too.”

Jane looked a bit sceptically, but her sister ran to her. “See how good I smell, Janey!”

“That’s nice”, Jane said. It really did smell nice, and Jane wanted to smell like vanilla too.

“So, how was it?”, Liam asked while Jo sat down next to him.

She smiled proudly. “It was very nice. I mean, I was a little worried now and then, especially when Jill decided to wash my hair and was standing, but she seemed to know what she was doing…”

“Oh yes, she’s a professional”, Liam said jokingly. “She loves to wash peoples’ hair.”

“Yes!”, Jill shouted excitedly.

“Do you think you feel more confident now, taking a bath with the girls?”, he asked his wife.

Jo nodded. “This definitely helped today. I will never be completely relaxed, I just keep thinking of things that could happen, but I feel like most of my fear is gone. I actually quite enjoyed it…”

“Good, that was my plan.”

“Mummy, mummy, I have to put body lotion on, my skin is drying!”

Liam chuckled. “You sound like you’re having a horrible skin disease.”

“But it’s important! My skin can’t be dry.”

“I know, Cupcake.”

Jo got up. “I’m taking care of this. See, here’s the lotion.” She held up a bottle and her youngest daughter jumped up and ran to her.

Liam looked at Jane now. “Should we go in the bathroom now? Don’t worry, you don’t have to go into the full tub, I will only sponge bath you.”

The little redhead still looked sceptical, but she saw how much fun her sister and her mummy had, and she didn’t want to feel left out, so she nodded and took her dad’s hand while they walked into the bathroom. The water in the tub was only a few centimetres high, and after Jane got out of her clothes, he very carefully lifted her into the tub, pulled back his sleeves and got out the big, pink (because Jane chose the colour) sponge.
“See, it’s not bad at all”, Liam said with an encouraging smile.

“I want to smell like Mummy and Jill.”

“No worries, you will.” He put some of the vanilla essence into the water. He was always gentle with his girls, but with Jane in the tub he had to be especially gentle, so when he washed her hair, he touched it very carefully, as if it was thin glass that could break any second. He knew Jane didn’t like too much water in her face, that’s why he had to be careful when he washed her hair.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, Princess? Did you get some water in the eye?”

“No.” She shook her head and looked at him with her beautiful blue eyes. “Am I pretty?”

Liam looked surprised at her. “What?” For a moment he was unsure whether his 2-year old daughter actually asked him if she was pretty. Wasn’t she too young to think about those things?”

“Am I pretty?”

“Ehm…” Liam still couldn’t hide his surprise, but he saw that Jane wanted an answer. “Of course, Princess. You are very pretty, and I’m not just saying that because you’re my daughter. You really are a beautiful little girl.”

“Am I as pretty as Mummy?”

“Yes, Princess, you are.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” Liam raised an eyebrow. “Why are you asking this? Did someone say something to you?”

She shook her head and looked down, as if she was too embarrassed to look at her dad. “I want to be pretty.”

Liam laughed quietly. “Princess, you don’t have to worry about that, you are absolutely perfect. You have this cute little nose, and those very pretty eyes, and your hair is a very nice red colour. There are different kinds of ginger hair, and I think yours is the prettiest kind.”

Jane smiled shyly. “Thanks, Daddy. Your hair is pretty, too.”

Liam let out a laugh. “Thank you.” He looked at her quietly for a moment, then he washed out the rest of the shampoo, lifted her out of the tab and put the cuddly bath robe on her. “You’re just perfect the way you are”, he said and kissed her on top of her head.


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387 Re: Growing Up on Thu 03 Oct 2013, 11:59 pm

Jo woke up early it was Friday the last Friday of the term and the summer festival would start in just a few hours. They had many plans today it was sports day. Jo knew that some famous people would be coming today, Scotty was one of them.

“Hey beautiful you are up early.” Liam kissed his wife.

“There is so much to do and I just want to make sure it is a perfect summer festival, for our gradates they deserve to have a last perfect weekend.”

“Jo they are not going to war they are just graduating. And you know as well as I do that they will visit us as often as they can.” Liam kissed Jo again, while his hand slowly wandered under her shirt. “Mm-h boobs.” Liam continued kissing his wife, but Jo started giggling nervously. She always was shy when she just woke up.

“Liam we need to get up.”

“No we don’t but I really need to sleep with my wife.”

“Oh do you?” Jo grinned.


And then after a very successful sports day it was the day of the first graduation at Waterfall Downs Academy for Gifted Youngster. “Liam? Have you seen my bracelet? I can’t find it?”

“Yes it is still on your wrist you asked that five minutes ago.” Liam popped his head in their bathroom.

“Oh, yes sorry. Are the girls dressed?”

“Well Jane is but Jill is complaining she doesn’t want to wear her tights and Jane freaks out when I want to do her hair.”

“Okay I’m there in a minute. Have you…?”

“On your wrist.”

“I’m sorry , I’m just nervous.”

Liam chuckled and went in the kitchen to make his wife a tea they would have breakfast downstairs with the guests of the summer festival. “Jo I’ll make you all a little snack I don’t want my girls to faint because they are hungry.” Liam said loudly while he cut some apples for his girls.

“Okay. Jill where are you?” Jo went through the kitchen took the cup of tea Liam handed her and went to her youngest daughter’s room.

“I’m here. Mummy my tights are to warm, I can’t wear them.” Jill looked serious at her mother, as always Jo had to bit her lower lip so that she wouldn’t burst into laughter, but her daughter just looked so funny when she looked serious at someone.

“Okay no tights but I want you to wear the underpants that go with the dress. I don’t want people be able to see your knickers.”

“Okay, I’ll get them.”

“Good and after that go get some apple and then I do your hair.” Jo tousled her daughters her and went into Jane’s room.

“Munchkin daddy said you need help with your hair?”

“Yes I want braids and these matching bows in them. One on each side.” Jane looked just as serious at her mother as her sister had just done a few moments ago.

“Okay, one on each side. Come sit down.” Jane had a dressing table in her room, where Jane sat down now. Jo was standing behind her and braided to small French braids and secured them with the bows Jane was holding.

“How does this look?” Jo looked at her little girl in the mirror.

“Mummy there is a problem. This one is a little higher than the other one.” Jane pointed at the right bow.

“I’m sorry let me fix this.” Jo undid the braid a little bit and fixed it that both bows were sitting exactly on the same position.

“Thank you mummy.” Jane kissed her mother and went in the kitchen to get some apple pieces.

“Okay Jill ready? Time for your hair. Your sister has two French braids, but I guess that takes too long for you. Whoa what happened in here?” Jo looked a little shocked at the small bomb explosion in Jill’s room.

“I was looking for the skirt underpants. I found them.”

“I want you to pick up all the clothes we don’t just throw them out of the drawers on the floor.”

“Sorry.” Jill picked up all the tights, leggings and skirt underpants and stuffed them back in the drawer. Jo shook her head, got some clips and started to restrain her youngest daughter’s hair.

“Mummy hurry up I need to get apples.”

Jo laughed. “Okay, okay. Finished. Go get some apples and then we go downstairs to have a real breakfast okay? And Jill you need to make sure your dress stays clean for the ceremony.”

“I promise mummy.” Jill hop scotched into the kitchen and Jo heard her ask Liam if she looked pretty in her dress. And Liam told both his girls that they were gorgeous. In moments like this Jo was amazed how well her two girls spoke, clearly their sentences were still short and missing the right times but they were very communicative, Jill especially.

“What about me?”Jo came with the empty cup of tea in the kitchen.

“You, my dear, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and ever will see.” Liam pulled his wife into a tight hug. “Do you know your speech?”

“Yes. But I’m so nervous Liam.”

“You will be fine whatever you say, they adore you.”

“As long as I don’t embarrass you I’m okay. I want you to be proud that we built this school, this life, because I am.”


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388 Re: Growing Up on Mon 07 Oct 2013, 9:12 pm

The morning was quite a hassle but also great at the same time. Of course there was a lot going on, but Jo and Liam and their staff had a good overview of the situation and everything was planned out so perfectly that there was just no room for messing up. Well, this didn’t include one of the younger students accidently pouring chocolate milk all over one of the graduates’ dress, but they quickly solved the problem and one of the older students lent her dress to the graduate whose dress was full with chocolate milk. Other than that there were no further issues, even when Waterfall Downs was filled with a huge crown of people. Fortunately, the weather was brilliant and most people went outside and started to get ready for the ceremony. The two young headmasters and the teachers were running around, organising and talking to the guests, but they had the greatest time and managed to greet each one of the guests. Jo had just talked to a few parents when Lorelai, John and their three boys walked in.
“Oh Josey, look at you!” Lorelai laughed when she saw her cousin. “They have been working you too hard at this school. Does your boss never give you any free time?”

Jo chucked and hugged her. “But this is my free time.”

“I can’t believe you guys have your first graduates this year. It’s amazing what you’ve done with this place, especially considering your and Liam’s age, plus two children.”

Jo blushed, she was as humble as always. “We’re just very determined and could never imagine a life sitting on our bums and watching reality TV all day long.”

“I admire your attitude, little cousin”, Lorelai said with a wink.

Jo’s eyes wandered over to Dan who handed his two little brothers some food. “And I can’t believe what you’ve done to Dan. He looks so different than he did a year ago. He looks really happy, and he’s got colour in his face and smiles all the time. He’s a completely different person.”

Lorelai smiled proudly and looked over her shoulder. Dan didn’t see that they were staring at him, he was focused on his little brothers. “He keeps thanking me for taking him into our family, but it’s actually me who is grateful. He’s the best thing that happened to us.”

Jo smiled. “I think you all were just destined for each other, he was just born into the wrong family, but you found each other at last.”

Lorelai nodded. “I couldn’t agree more.”

A bit later, the ceremony started, and Liam had to calm down Jo before she would hold her speech. The ceremony was outside since it was a lovely day, and Jo needed the combined power of her husband and James to calm her down. James did a phenomenal job in calming her down because he always knew the exact right things to say, plus he had that irresistible humour, and well, Liam always calmed Jo down by just being with her and encouraging her, and together the two young men prevented her from a nervous breakdown. Liam kissed her one last time and then she walked up on the stage where the graduates would receive their diplomas. Jo took a deep breath, then she began her speech. “Today is the first day of your new life. Being in school seems so -well from your point of- difficult and monotone but it is quite the opposite. Being in school is the most precious time. I know everyone says but it is. Here at Waterfall Downs Academy you can fail epically but in the end you will pass. You have a huge support system here making sure you do not get left behind. When you leave this grounds you will step out of a safety bubble into a hard world. I don’t want to scare you but that is the case. No matter where you go from her, never forget who you are even when people tell you that you are not worth anything. You are worth everything! You were in our first class, I’ve seen you grow for two and a half years and I didn’t know what I was doing with you back then. I didn’t give a welcome speech as I should have and do now with all the new ones. So you get to hear it now. Waterfall Downs Academy had given you so much we all worked hard not to make you are success academically but to make you a success to become good people with warm hearts knowing that everyone is special in its own way. And when I look at you now I know it worked. You are a success for this school and more you gave so much to your school. We will miss you and always worry about you and we will never forget you. And don’t forget to come back and visit us. And last I have to say. Congratulations class of 1973 you made it!”

And as Liam and James had predicted, Jo did a fantastic job with her speech. Liam could tell that she was so overwhelmed with emotions that she had to hold back tears, but she did really well and everyone applauded loudly when she was finished. After her speech it was time for the graduates to come on stage and receive their diplomas, however, not from Jo or Liam, but from their two little daughters. The twins were the official diploma hander, and each one had two diplomas in their little hands. While Liam called out the names, Jane went first and handed the two first graduates very professionally their diplomas, and then the other two graduates followed and Jill gave them their diplomas as well, grinning cheekily at them. Everybody loved watching the two little redheads handing over the diplomas, it was absolutely adorable.
After the ceremony, there was an afternoon tea. It was a large buffet with little sandwiches, scones and different cakes and cupcakes, something for everyone’s taste.
Ricky had just gotten a plate with scones and sat down on one of the round tables that were spread across the lawn when James showed up next to him.
“Hey little boy with the rosy cheeks, where’s my favourite couch-loving, sex-addicted alcoholic?”, James asked with a grin.

“Excuse me?”

“You know, the guy who’s so obsessed with you that he literally has glittering hearts in his eyes whenever he looks at you.”

“Oh…” Ricky blushed. “Alfie is in London, actually. It’s something important about a huge book deal and whether to publish it and things like that, and he can’t miss that meeting.”

“I see.” James crossed his arms. “God, it’s so weird to imagine him work. He never worked, it’s almost absurd that he gets up in the morning to go to an office.”

“I know, but it’s good for him and I’m glad he works.”

“So am I.” James grinned. “Listen, I have to do more rounds, I hope you’re not going to be sitting here all alone, are you?”

Ricky shook his head. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”

“Okay, just making sure.” James quickly put a hand on his shoulder –only in a very friendship kind of manner, of course- then he went to another table of parents to check on everyone.
Ricky looked after him, a bit lost in thoughts, when someone showed up next to his table.

“May I join you or are these seats taken?”

Ricky looked up and saw Scotty, who looked friendly at him. Scotty always looked friendly, he had that face that just couldn’t get harsh at all. Even when he wasn’t smiling he still looked very kind.
Ricky shook his head and smiled politely. “Sure, I’d love some company.”

“That was a very nice ceremony, wasn’t it?” Scotty looked over to the other tables where the graduates sat.

“It really was”, Ricky replied. “It feels like it was just yesterday when Jo and I were at university, sitting in lectures and taking notes, and now she and her husband built this entire school and I’m teaching at university. It often doesn’t feel real at all.”

Scotty chuckled. “You two seem awfully young to build schools and teach at Oxford, but here you are, doing exactly that, and that’s amazing.”

Ricky tried not to blush, but he couldn’t stop it anyway. “May I ask, what did you do when you were younger? I mean, what kind of job? If it’s not too personal, of course.”

The old man laughed quietly. “Oh, it’s not personally at all. I was a lawyer.”

“Really?” Ricky sounded surprised. “I mean, you…eh…you seem too…friendly. Lawyers are usually-“

“Selfish bastards?”

“Well, yeah…”

“I agree with you on that one, but I worked for family law, so I had very different cases than, let’s say, a state prosecutor. I never did this for money, I really liked helping families and trying to find justice for people who needed it.”

Ricky was quiet for a moment. “That’s a very honourable thing.”

Scotty looked a little lost in thoughts. “I’m just glad I had the opportunity to study law and get so far. See, my father owned the blacksmith shop in town and wanted me to take it over, and there sure was no way he wanted to see me at university, ‘wasting’ my life with studying among the upper class.”

“Really? My parents were the opposites, they were so happy when they heard I made it into university and I’m from a working class household as well, but I guess you grew up in very different times.”

“They were quiet different, you’re right about that.”

“And how did you make it then, without your father’s approval and all?”

Scotty was quiet for a moment, but then a tiny half-smile appeared on his face. “I guess I owe it all to my best friend Arthur…”

“As in Alfie’s grandfather?”

“Yes, the one and only. Most generous and kindest man I ever met…”

“And he helped with your tuition?”

“That, and countless other things.”

“How old were you actually when you met him? I’m sorry, I’m asking too many questions, I just…I…ehm…” Ricky blushed, but Scotty laughed.

“That’s alright, I don’t mind at all”, he replied. “I was fifteen, clumsy, too outspoken and so naïve.”

A smile crossed Ricky’s face. He could only imagine how cute Scotty must have looked, with all those freckles and that cheeky grin.

“Arthur was a year older than me and obviously went to a very exclusive private school, not like me.” Scotty paused, looking a bit lost in thoughts again. “And I’m telling you, he sure was the most handsome young man you ever came across, I’m not joking. He was just…just…” Scotty started to realise that he sounded like a lovesick teenager, so he quickly cleared his throat and put on a professional face. “Anyway, he was a really great young man and we became friends immediately despite our very different backgrounds, but it just worked. He had to get married so young though and had all those duties. I just…I never met anyone as kind as him. There are people who are just generally good, you know? Who are just kind and good, and he was such a person.”

“That’s very rare to find in people nowadays”, Ricky said quietly.

Scotty watched him for a moment. “I don’t know why, but I get the impression that you are one of those rare people…”

Ricky’s cheeks turned even deeper red. “Me? Oh no, I’m not. Definitely. I’m just…I’m not…I don’t think I’m good. I mean, I never murdered anyone or broke into someone’s house, but I’m not one of those rare people. I’m not…special.”

The older man smiled gently at him. “You sure about that? You seem to underestimate yourself.”

Ricky nodded. “Oh, I’m pretty sure.” He stared at his hands.

“There are actually some things about you that remind me of Arthur. You seem to have a very kind soul…”

Ricky looked up again, surprised.

“Maybe that’s the reason you are good friends with Alfie. Well, at least it seems like you are good friends, correct me if I’m wrong.”

“We are…ehm…good friends, yes.”

“Alfie probably hasn’t realised it, but you and his grandfather are a lot alike. I wouldn’t be surprised if he likes having you as a friend because there are many things that remind him of his grandfather, he’s just not consciously aware of this.” Scotty cleared his throat. “But yet again, who am I to say those things? I don’t know you well enough, and I sure don’t know Alfie anymore, so I might as well tell a lot of rubbish.”

Ricky didn’t say anything at first, but then he looked at Scotty. “Do you…eh…would you like to come over for dinner some time? I don’t want to brag, but I’m actually a very good cook, thanks to my mother, I have to mention.”

“You’re inviting me for dinner?”

Ricky nodded. “If you…eh…if you don’t have better plans, of course.”

“Better plans?” Scotty let out a dry laugh. “I’m seventy years old, single, no children…what better plans would I have?”

Ricky smiled shyly. “So, is that a yes?”

“I’d love to, thank you very much for the invitation, young man.”

“You’re welcome.” Ricky didn’t know what it was exactly, but he was kind of drawn towards Scotty. Not that he had a crush on him, of course. He really didn’t, even though he liked men who were more mature than him, but he didn’t mean that mature. Crush or no crush, he just knew he really liked the older man’s company.



Last edited by Ariel Buttercup on Mon 07 Oct 2013, 10:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I added Jo's speech I hope that is okay.)


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389 Re: Growing Up on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 5:12 pm

“Excuse me Sir I don’t want to interrupt but may I sit down?” Dan was standing now without his little brothers behind Ricky but he looked at Scotty.
Scotty looked up. “Oh of course my boy. Come sit down, here have some iced tea. You look thirsty young man. I’m sorry I know all names of the athletes at Waterfall Downs but I don’t know yours.”

“Oh I’m Dan Von Gruensee.”

“Way to go Dan, you taken Lorelai’s last name.” Ricky smiled proud at Dan.

“Yes I just did last month.” Dan smiled shy.

“Sorry I should have explained it Scotty. Dan here had trouble at home so last year at this time he searched my help because we are both from a very poor background. And Lorelai was well honestly she just took him in and decided that he will stay with her.”

“I heard the Lorelai is a very good woman. It is good to know that there are people like her in the world. But I see that you two have things to talk about, here Ricky take my card and give me a call and then we can arrange dinner.” Scotty handed Ricky his card and shook both boys’ hands.
When Scotty was out of earshot Dan hugged Ricky tightly. “Thank you so much for helping me a year ago. I mean look at me I am well groomed, happy and loved.”

“Oh Dan, I would help you any time. So how are you I haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I know I’m sorry I was very busy with school work and I worked on the estate to save some money for summer. I wanted to have some money when we go on holidays, real holidays.” Dan grinned widely. “We are going to Spain. I’ve never even left Oxford I mean I went on some school trips since I’m here but I just went to London. And now I’m going to Spain. Mutti had to go to London and get me a passport. I hope it wasn’t a huge hassle.” Dan was happily eating and watched his little brothers in the distance with Jane and Jill at the smaller table. Edward was helping Jane cutting her chicken into small pieces. While Jill and Henry were giggling about something. Dan watched weirdly proud his two little brothers those two boys meant the world to him. He loved his entire new family but those two boys they meant everything to him he loved being a big brother. “I’m going to Spain, can you believe it?”

Ricky smiled and pulled Dan into a tight hug. “You finally found the family you deserve. Do you want to go over and check on them?”

“No it’s okay. It’s just that Edward just started using a knife, so I was nervous when he cut Jane’s chicken. Oh Henry don’t eat your chicken like a caveman.” Dan mumbled.
Ricky laughed. “Come on let’s join the four, Jo will feel better if she knows someone is looking after the girls. And it has been a while I had a good conversation with Edward. I’m curious how good he is now with the piano.”

Now Dan laughed. “Oh he already plays more than just the piano, he plays now the violin, the cello and the guitar not to mention the German Glockenspiel but Edward says everyone can play that. And he will start learning this summer to play the harp. Graham says Edward will only need a summer, he asked one of his orchestra friends to help Edward.”

“That is impressive. Hello your four Jill what are you doing?” Ricky looked serious -okay as serious as the young looking man can look- at Jill and Henry.

“Nothing Uncle.” Jill smiled widely at Ricky who sat down on the chair next to her and then just when his bottom touched the chair a loud farting noise made at least two of the four youngster started unstoppable giggling, Henry and Jill tried to hide their laughing behind their hands and glasses of iced tea. Ricky was deep red. “Jill, Henry that is not funny and it wasn’t me.” Now the rest of the children at the table started laughing including Dan. “It’s okay Ricky we all need to let it out sometimes.” In the end even Ricky was laughing still embarrassed but laughing.
Jo saw her daughters with Lorelai’s boys and Ricky at the table laughing when she walked down the stairs holding Liam’s hand tightly. The two headmasters had to check something in the astronomy class room. Something that included Jo nearly walking out of it without her knickers on but ended up just with rather messy hair, and Liam had wrongly buttoned his shirt. Jo smiled, all parents were well taken care of and the students showed proudly off their school. “Liam I know you don’t believe in destiny and things like that. But this looks a lot like a proper happy ending don’t you think? We have two beautiful daughters, I have an amazing husband and I have a job I love. I guess what I try to say is I didn’t think I would be so happy moving back into Waterfall Downs but I am truly happy. Liam are you happy?” The sun was shining down on the, Jo’s face was a little flushed, her eyes were sparkling and she smiled honestly at Liam.


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390 Re: Growing Up on Wed 09 Oct 2013, 4:44 pm

Liam looked at Jo. „How could I not be happy with three beautiful women at home?“

“Okay, just checking.”

“I have to say, we did good, don’t you think?”

Jo nodded. “We really did.”

They watched everyone, proud of what they achieved. Their eyes wandered back to the table where their daughters and Lorelai’s boys sat, and while Jill played with Ricky’s hair and put some flowers on his head, her sister got up from the table as soon as she saw James approaching them. She didn’t say much, she just walked to him and held on to his trousers. James chuckled and carefully lifted her up, and a happy smile crossed her face while she rested in his arms.

“Ehm…Jo…”, Liam mumbled while he watched his oldest daughter on James’ arms.

“Yes?”

“What do you think of building a tower like Rapunzel’s? You know, I totally understand that Gothel chick for locking Rapunzel up in that tower. I totally get her.”

“Oh, Liam.” Jo shook her head and giggled.






Go check out what happens next in the fourth book of the Geek Loves Geek Series


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