Bessie sighed as she began adding the finishing touches to the dinner she was preparing. Things had been, tense, in their household to say the least. They always were around the anniversary of Monroe's death. Bessie smiled at the memory of her only daughter but the light quickly faded from her eyes. Her child's memory was tainted. Something that she should have been able to cherish, she couldn't. Pushing the thoughts from her mind, she called Buster and Xander down to dinner.
"Ooh, something smells good Bess, what is it?" Buster clapped his hands gleefully as he pulled out a chair to sit. "Salmon" she smiled, placing the plate on the table so he could help himself. "Where's Xand- Xander!" she yelled, not giving Buster time respond. "He's coming!" Buster said, "Your always ridin' his coat tails, give the boy a break will ya?" Buster stuck up for his son. Bessie clenched her jaw and turned away, pretending to tidy the already clean counter so Buster wouldn't see her expression. Just as she'd gotten her emotions under control and joined Buster at the table, Xander strolled in to the kitchen, pulled out a chair and sat down without a word to either of them and began to shovel food into his mouth.
"So nice of you to join us" Bessie said sarcastically, her eyes piercing into him. "Bessie..." Buster warned, she huffed but said no more. You could the cut the tension between Bessie and her son with a knife but Buster was always oblivious, or so he seemed to be. "So... found a job yet?" Bessie asked, already knowing the answer. "Nope" Xander replied casually. "Why not? Oh I know why, because that would require you get off your behind and actually do something! When will you realize, your dad and I won't be around forever to pick up your mess Xander!-" Bessie shouted, Buster cut her off, "Bessie, that's enough. Will you just-",
"No I will not, why should I? He sits at home all day on that wretched computer of his, but he can't find a job! It's not impossible!" she argued. "Maybe, I just haven't found the right one" Xander shrugged lazily. "See, he's trying Bess, give him a chance" Buster soothed.
"Oh when will you wake up Buster! He's not your precious little golden boy, he never was! When are you going to see him for what he is?" Bessie snapped, as she pushed away from the table. "Oh come on Bessie be fair now, finish your dinner sweet pea" Buster murmured calmly. "No, I've suddenly lost my appetite" Bessie said, as she dropped her plate into the sink and the loud clang reverberated around the room. "I'm going to bed", she announced to no one in particular as she stalked out of the kitchen. "G'night mom" she heard Xander call. She didn't need to turn around to see the smug expression on his face. He had Buster right where he wanted him, but Bessie? She saw right through him, always had, always would.
Buster crawled into bed next to Bessie and held her as she cried silently. "I know you miss her sweetie, we all do", he said, fighting back his own tears. It was never easy losing a child, but Buster could never quite grasp why she resented Xander so much. As the years went on, it had only gotten worse. The boy was a disappointment, Buster wouldn't lie, but he was still their son and in the grand scheme of things, he was all they had. At first the pain of losing Monroe had been unbearable, but as time passed them by, the grief became less raw and was replaced with emptiness and a deep sense of longing. Of course they had Claire and Kaci, and while they had a special place in their hearts for them both, there was still an aching space for Monroe that remained untouched. "Oh Buster" Bessie sobbed quietly into his chest. He kissed the top of her head and that was how they stayed, while the snow fell outside and the darkness turned to light.
Connor woke to the unwelcome sound of his alarm blaring at him. He groaned as he rolled over to switch it off. He loved his job but he hated commuting to Bridgeport three days a week. It meant getting up three hours before work actually started. He used to love driving but this job was taking the fun out of it.
It would have been quicker to catch the train but he couldn't stand the idea of having to sit uncomfortably next to some random stranger, even if it took an hour off of his journey time. He couldn't wait until he could work from home, at his own pace. Journalism had always been his first love, and hopefully, if he got the promotion he'd applied for at work, he'd be able to work from home five days a week, only having to commute to the office for one morning a week to attend the mandatory staff meeting.
He got out of bed and stretched, letting out a monstrous yawn in the process. He'd hear about that later, his brother was a light sleeper, if Connor even sneezed it woke him. That was if he actually made it home,he hadn't heard him come in last night. For all Connor knew, he was at his latest flings house, and judging by the time, probably sneaking out of the door that very second. Smoothing his comforter, he turned and sleepily made his way to the bathroom.
Twenty minutes later he sat upstairs, finishing his breakfast when his brother sauntered past him in his boxers. "Seriously Jare? You don't know how to wear clothes yet?" he chastised him playfully. "Oh shut up and stop being such a sissy" Jared retorted as he browsed in the refrigerator. "Anyway, I thought you were out?" Connor continued, placing his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher.
"I was, now I'm not" Jared winked at him, clearly not about to divulge anymore. Connor rolled his eyes, "Does she know you left?" he sighed. "Nope, but she will when she wakes up, love em and leave em Con, that's my motto, you should try it some time" Jared called over his shoulder, his mouth full of cereal as he made his way back down stairs. When will he ever learn? Connor thought to himself as he grabbed his coat and briefcase, and headed out the door.
"Aww Connor, their beautiful, thank you!" Connors girlfriend of nine months beamed at him. Connor was just glad she liked them, they hadn't been able to do anything special to mark the occasion as Ayesha had to work the night shift. Connor did worry about her but he knew she could take care of herself. You had to being a cop, it was do or die, and while Sunset Valley may not have harbored any serious crime as such, Connor still worried. She lifted the bouquet to her nose to smell them again. "Seriously Connor, I love them" she smiled genuinely.
"I'm glad you do" he smiled back. Taking them from her and placing them on the stairs he pulled her into a long hug. "So, I know you've got the weekend off, don't make any plans" he whispered into her ear. "What? How do you know?" she asked confused, "I wrangled it with the chief, Hey! I know people too you know. Besides, I said I'd give him the scoop on Bridgeport PD if he let you have it off" he chuckled. Ayesha pulled back from him and playfully pushed his firm chest. "Are you serious!" she laughed, her mouth hanging open in shock. "Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies" he winked as he pulled her back into a hug. "Connor!" she squealed, "I can't believe you!", but she was happy. "Ugh, I should really go to work" she sighed miserably. The feel of Connors strong, muscly arms around here waist were enough to make her want to quit her job and stay there forever, let alone just miss a shift.
He was more man than she knew what to do with. It was shame she couldn't say the same about his deadbeat brother. "Ansari" Jared said, as he walked through the front door into the dimly lit hallway and threw his keys into the bowl on the table under the mirror. "Frio" she nodded slightly. "Later bro" he called to Connor as he took the stairs two at a time. A few seconds later they heard the TV come on. It was no secret he didn't like cops. It was even less of secret that he hated his brother dating one. She'd have given anything to arrest him and throw away the key but she didn't because he was Connors brother. God help him if she ever was the arresting officer, without Connor there to play referee, who knew what she would do, probably knee him in the - "Babe!" Connor said loudly, distracting her from her thoughts, "Your gonna be late" he laughed. "Oh dammit, Saturday? What time?" she said hurriedly, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek and backing out of the door, "7 AM, and don't be late!" he called, laughing as he heard her shriek at the time. He watched as she backed out of the driveway and her tail lights slowly became pinpricks in the night.
"It's like this" Malcolm explained, "Apple plus Bottom equals ? ... Apple Bottom! C'mon Kaci, play along, I'm trying to help you here!" Kaci groaned, "Malcolm, I don't see how you comparing girls butts to Algebra helps me any at all!" she said through clenched teeth as she held her head in her hands. "And you can cut that out!" she playfully scolded Mortimer who was almost falling off of his chair in a fit of laughter. "What?! I don't know why you asked Malcolm, It's Malcolm!" he said, sighing as he wiped tears from his eyes. Kaci still didn't know why she chose Math. Law was enough to handle and she'd thought Math would be an easy time killer. Boy was she wrong.
"The answers 7.535...6...no 5" Sandi chimed in. They all stopped and stared at her. "What?" Mortimer asked, dumbfounded. Sandi just shrugged. "Hey, you guys aren't the only ones with brains" she said, brushing them off. Kaci's face lit up, "Oh my gosh you're right! Sandi I freaking love you!" she exclaimed as she hurriedly answered the last question. "Let's get out of here, I'm beyond done" she breathed a sigh of relief. "Wait a minute, am I in a relationship with baby Einstein over here or what?" Malcolm asked, completely astounded. Sandi stood up and grinned, "You're wrong about one thing" she teased. "Oh yeah? What's that? We're not in a relationship?!" Malcolm smirked smugly. "I'm not Einstein" she whispered in his ear as she headed outside to the taxi rank. Kaci stopped what she was doing and grinned at Mortimer who was already grinning at Malcolm. They hadn't expected her to say that. The light switched on behind Malcolm's ocean blue eyes, "Wait a minute!" He yelled, running after her, "If your not baby Einstein, then we're in a relationship!" Kaci laughed as she put her things in her bag and shrugged into her coat. Mortimer pulled her close and pulled the zip all the way up planting a kiss on her lips. "What was the for?" she smiled up at him. "Being you" he smiled back, "Now lets go, so you can be you, in my bed, at home" he winked. Kaci squealed, "Mortimer! Behave!"
"Umm, yea, so... later?" Bella said, "Sure" Darlene smiled. Sandi eyed the pair of the suspiciously. Their arrival home had definitely interrupted something, she just wasn't quite sure what it was. Bella pushed past her and down the front steps to the taxi waiting outside for her. Darlene gave her an awkward smile, shouted her hello's and then wandered upstairs to her room.
"Ma?... MA!" Sandi quickly snapped out of her sleepy reverie and jumped out of bed. "Why are you calling me so early?! It's six in the morning!" she hissed.
"Because I wan't to speak to my only child! Is that a crime?!" her mom shot back. Sandi rolled her eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at me missy, I'm still your mother! Anyway, why are you up?" Sandi bit back a laugh, sometimes her mom knew her too well, others... she pushed the thoughts out of her mind and answered her.
"Because you rang me!" she snapped keeping her voice low, "What do you wan't Ma?" she asked, trying to hurry the conversation along.
"Why are you whispering, are you in his room? You little huss-"
"No, no I'm not!" she lied, cringing as soon as it rolled off of her lips.
It sounded like a lie. Her mom chuckled, "Well in that case, if he's sharing a bed with my daughter I want to meet him. Today. Three PM, no excuses, I'll be home." Sandi stood rooted to the spot as the phone went dead, one thought continuously circling her mind. Shit, he's not ready for this.