Monday, March 4, 2013

Chapter 1.38

Chapter 1.38-Sometimes, Maybe

            Making good on her promise to take Anthony out on her wanderings with her had proved a little easier than Layla had thought. Determining early on not to take him to any of her favorite haunts was a must, finding a path she didn’t frequent easy. Though the silence between them as they went actually unnerved her more than she felt it should have.
            She liked quiet. It was still quiet. It was just having him with her than made her uncomfortable.
            The one thought that kept her going, gave her some solace, was that he would be graduating before her. Maybe then they could go their separate ways.

            A third person could easily have walked between them they kept so far apart. In some spots, it was clear that he had accidentally stepped off of the snow covered sidewalk, his ankle bent at an odd angle. But he didn’t make a sound. Neither did she.

            She had accidentally been walking a little faster than he had, and coming around a bend put her one firm pace ahead of him when the silence was finally broken.
            “Wait a moment, Layla,” Anthony’s voice was quiet, muffled and dampened by the snow surrounding them. “This is far enough today.”

            Usually, they walked until at least sundown. But Layla stopped obediently.
            “Look,” Anthony acted just a little nervous. “Look prom is coming up. We should go.”
            There was nothing to be said by Layla in her opinion. Though she really didn’t want to go to prom, it would keep Galen happy if she went with Anthony. So she nodded silently, glumly, looking down at the snow in front of her.

            “Then we’ll go,” He took her nod as matter of factly as he had asked. “Will you wear a dress?”
            Again, Layla said nothing, nodding instead.
            “Alright. Then I’ll look nice as well. Your brother has arranged a limo and dinner reservations for beforehand. I’ll come by and we’ll all go together.”
            He walked in front of her, catching her eye.
            “You know you can talk to me, right?

            "You're lips move and your mouth opens and sound comes out of it all at the same time? You know, talk?"

            Surprise marking her face, Layla peeped up at him, blushing a little.
            “I mean, we take these walks several times a week. We walk. We walk far apart and silent. Then the sun goes down. I tell you ‘Bye, and you nod. At school? We walk. We walk far apart down the hallways, silently. Sometimes, if someone gives either of us a hard time, we hold hands. Silently. I don’t bite.”
            Ducking her head, Layla catches herself nodding. Quckly changing it to shaking her head she looks up again, catching the hungry look he has sometimes when he stares at her.
            “My favorite color is purple. I want a purple corsage.”
            This time Anthony is the one who nods, with just a hint of a smile on his face.
            “Alright then,” he says quietly. “Mine is green. ‘Bye.”
            And he turns to walk home, leaving Layla on the frozen sidewalk alone, surprised.
            “And next time?” He calls over his shoulder making Layla jump. “Next time take me somewhere where I’m not falling off the sidewalk. Somewhere you actually like to go. See you this weekend.”

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            Meanwhile, Buck has taken a gloveless Helen outside to show her how to build a snowman. Helen wanted to add a festive touch to the outside of their house and had decided a snowman fit the bill. The only problem was she had never built one, even as a child, and had no idea how you got the snow to “mound” like that.
            “Now you’ve got it rolled all nice and big like that, you pack some snow on the outside to make it round, instead of a roll,” he told her. Buck had other reasons for offering to help. The cold was a little tough on his joints and coming out here into the damp just made it worse. But this might be worth it, for his kids’ sake.
            “Have you given any more thought to the idea Layla offered the other night?” he grunted to Helen. Kneeling was hard too.

            “You mean the one where we invite danger right into our home with a computer?”
            “A computer isn’t dangerous.”
            “Oh, yes it is! Identity thieves will be knocking our door down the moment we got it hooked up! And Galen would look at nothing but porn, and Layla will end up a mail-order bride! Those things are evil! Nothing but evil!”
            “I think your fears might be a little out of hand, honey.”

            “Buck, you don’t see me trying to force you to go swimming. Or get a pool in the backyard do you? Please don’t ask me to do this. I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but I just don’t see them as safe in any way. And all those stories in the media…”
            Sighing heavily, Buck figured he’d have to spell a few things out.
            “Helen, sweetheart, Galen would be much more careful than a lot of those people on the news are. And Identity Theives don’t show up at doors. So you wouldn’t have to ever worry about how he acts online. Really. It might even help give him something to do other than let his girlfriend plan his life. Maybe he could do his own research, look up some things that he is interested in and pursue those interests. I worry she’s taking him over. He’s too young to be roped into life like that.”

            Working silently for a little while they managed to get a second snowball on the snowman.
            “I don’t want to worry about Galen like I’m going to worry about Layla.”
            “Worry about Layla?” Helen kept her eyes on the snowman whose belly she was rounding, but her tone was sharp and betrayed her astonishment. “Why on earth should Layla be causing worry? She’s the one I trust the most.”
            “She’s the one you should keep the closest eye on. It’s always the quiet one who will surprise you sweetheart. And she’s got a big one. She’s out of here. The moment she’s of age. Unfortunately, she’s not Phedra and has no map. She’s just out. And Galen’s girlfriend is planning her life just as she plans his. And that’s just pushing her farther, harder, and more quickly. That’s far more dangerous than Galen going online to look at porn.”

            “She’s said enough to me to get alarm bells ringing. She’s got money, she wants to travel, she refuses to talk to people she doesn’t know well, she prefers to be alone. Nothing but alone. And I’m scared someone will come along and charm her right out of her money, and she’ll be too scared to say anything to get help. She won’t know where to turn, and she’ll have nowhere to go. Galen at least is planning a responsible path for himself. Layla’s just being a bit reckless, even if she seems the least reckless of any of the kids.”
            “I didn’t know she was planning on leaving,” Helen said softly.
            “She is,” Buck said gruffly. “But getting Galen a computer, which should make his girlfriend back off, will help both Galen and even Layla a little. That and I think I might have an ace up my sleeve, if she’ll listen and if I can swallow my own pride a mite.”

            As Helen rolled the third and smallest ball for the snowman’s head, Buck told her of his idea. The telling didn’t take long, neither did rolling the head, but Helen kept herself quiet until she had plopped the heavy ball on top of the snowman.
            “I think that’s a great idea,” she finally admitted. “I know how hard it must be for you to even consider it, but it could at least put someone responsible in her path. It’d make peace for yourself too.”
            “Yeah,” Buck’s voice was gruff. He was kneeling again. “Yeah, and it’s why I’m asking you to make the tough choice to let Galen get a computer.”

            “You know,” spoke Helen. “You know I’ve got an idea, too.”
            Buck grunted his acknowledgement. Waiting to hear what she had to say.
            “We could get a swimming pool in the backyard, and I’m going to throw you in it in the middle of the night.”

            “This ain’t like my hydrophobia,” Buck shot back. “You wouldn’t even have ta see it. It’d be in the boy’s room.”
            “The swimming pool would be in the backyard. Honestly, when’s the last time you went in the backyard or looked in it?”
            “Helen.” Buck’s tone held a warning. She was trying to play, but it wasn’t in her tone. And truthfully, she was half-serious.

            Helen had brought out some of the Hockey gear Cyrus had left behind, putting it on the snowman.
            Buck watched as silently as she worked. He knew that it would be hard for her to say yes, and that even asking her was a little unfair. But so many problems could potentially be solved with one small consession on her part.

            Buck turned to go, the cold settling in his joints had become almost unbearable.
            “Wait,” Helen stopped him. “Wait, please.”
            Slowly, Buck stopped, raising his head. Helen squared her shoulders.
            “I think-“
            And the bus horn interrupted her even as Galen spotted them in the sideyard, coming over to look at the snowman.

            Galen walked up, chattering about some incident that had happened that day in the computer lab, something about Layla and Anthony going off together as they usually did and what Arden said in the cafeteria. Buck interrupted him as he got closer.
            “Galen, your mother has something to tell you.”
            Helen shot Buck a look. She really didn’t want to do this. Why couldn’t Buck have told him?
            “Go on,” Buck refused to help. He was going to have to do his own explaining in a little while. She could explain to Galen that she would let him have a computer. It was time for her to admit that sometimes, maybe, even she could be wrong.

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            Helen is growing up! And doing something for someone else for a change. Makes my heart all melty. Helen doesn’t have the athletic trait, but all she built were hockey snowmen. At least at first. Currently I've got classic, hockey, grim, and alien snowmen. I'm now cursing getting them to do that scene. It was the start of an obsession over building snowmen. The yard is littered with them, it’s nuts. I finally started “Delete Object”ing them cause they were causing routing tantrums by the entire house hold. Those and the snowangels. In their defense I finally used retuner to make the bookshelf off limits so they can’t read the children’s books it’s stocked with anymore, I also Retuned the Ant farm. All that is left is the radio and the tv which I constantly turn off. But if I send them out anywhere, they come right back home anyway and still do nothing but play in the snow. Oh well.


  1. Aw, Helen! That was a pretty big Step! I'm so proud!
    And I just loved Buck in this scene. Well, I always love Buck, but he really shone this chapter.
    There' something strangely touching about Layla's relationship with Anthony.

    1. Yup! Helen was finally forced to bow to something greater than herself.
      Buck has learned a lot more from Helen's kids than she ever did. He's so awesome.
      I have loved writing Layla and Anthony's relationship. It's incredible how innocent it is, even with the underlining agendas they both have. I think that's what makes them so endearing.

    2. I forget that the first two weren't actually Buck's kids. He's been such Dad to them throughout.

    3. I think if Helen had been a more present parent they probably would have too. Pretty tough when the parent you're closest too turns out to be not your parent. However, that was totally what Buck was going for.

  2. Woo! Well done Helen, finally growing up just before she gets old and grey.
    I wonder if she was right, and Galen will spend all of his time looking at porn and having his identity stolen. I know that's what I do all day on the computer... ;)

    Hmm, I think Layla and Anthony's relationship has gone a little further than they meant it to. I think either both of them, or just Anthony, have developed feelings that they should have for what they're acting they are (does that make sense? I mean Anthony likes her likes her, and she might like him like him back...)

    Did you write the snow obsession into the next chapter? :p

    1. lol! I wanted Helen to be over the top in that regard. I have an Aunt who thinks that's all the internet is for and I referenced her heavily for Helen's way of thinking.
      Of course it makes sense. You'll just have to keep reading to see if that's really what's going on. ;)
      No, there's no snow obsession next chapter. lol. It won't come back until 1.40 or thereabout. Those the ones where I went to look at the lot again and was like WEGHTULGWTFDIDYOUDOALLDAMNDAYTHWEGTUBARIGU!!!

  3. Yay for Helen agreeing to the computer and I'm looking forward to finding out about Buck's plan

    I'm not comfortable with Layla and Anthony's relationship, something about it just gives me the creeps for some reason.

    1. We shall learn of Buck's plans when Layla learns them, so be sure to hold on for a few chapters. He might have gotten Helen to do something uncomfortable, but now he's got to talk himself into doing something uncomfortable. lol
      Aw! It's not quite supposed to be creepy. A little wierd perhaps, sure. Hopefully next chapter or two will help a little.

  4. Lollll, loved this chapter! ::yeah yeah I know I'm behind::

    It still makes me a little sad that Layla isn't into Anthony, but I must wonder what Buck's got up his sleeve. Yep, they should definitely get a pool. Then they could have a pool party, wouldn't Buck love that?

    porn and mail order brides...Helen, Helen.

  5. Glad you liked it! Lol at getting Buck a pool. I can only imagine how hard it would be to get his mood up with one of those around. Ha!
    Helen, queen of irrational fears.

  6. Hooray! Go Helen! I can finally like her again!

    1. It's about time she grew up a bit again. It's been a long time hasn't it?

  7. *takes little dollhouse dolls that look like Layla and Anthony*
    All right, y'all kiss. Muah.

    What can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic and look for romance everywhere. I can almost stand a horror movie if it has a little romance in it. Almost.

    I can't believe Buck did Helen like that! Go Buck! She does stuff like that all the time, I think. Computer =good

    1. Lol. I think Layla has romance a plenty coming up. xD Aw! That's some dedication to romance!

      Yes! Buck knows what makes Helen tick. =) He's also much more in tune to his kids than she is.