Chapter 2.70 – The New Normal

It seemed like an eternity to Avery, but really had been only three months since the twins were born.  Today, she would finally escape baby hell and get back to work. She was so thankful Cole had insisted on a Nanny.  Fran was a miracle worker with the twins. Without her, she never would have been able to have time to get her figure back.

As she put the final touches on her makeup, she wondered why everyone always oohed and ahhed over the baby blobs. Fran did it, Cole did it, everyone did it. She honestly thought she would love a baby.  But she didn’t feel as if they were hers. Maybe if it had been just one, it would have been different. She loved Phil and Harley. And Cole. But the past year had been miserable, and she never, ever, wanted to go through that again. She was finally feeling more like herself, and she knew getting back in the office would help even more.

She stood up and smoothed her dress, looking for any remnants of her baby weight.  Then she turned and went upstairs to let Fran know she was leaving.  She would have to kiss those two chubby cheeks, responsible for her misery, goodbye. She really didn’t mind as long as they didn’t spit up on her.

She picked up Reagan, since she wasn’t sleeping, and kissed her.  “Good luck Fran,” she said to the woman that had saved her, “Please, you have my number, and Cole’s, if anything comes up.”

“You look nice Mrs. Murdock,” said Fran pleasantly. “And don’t you worry, we’ll be just fine. Enjoy your first day back.”

*******************************************************************************

Avery walked into her office at C&M and let out a contented sigh. She was home. It felt so right. “Welcome back!” came the unmistakable deep voice of Cole’s Dad, and sent happy chills down her spine.

She turned and Ben greeted her with a hug and kiss on the cheek. “Things have not been the same without you! Come on in and we’ll get you caught up.”

“Welcome back,” said her mother-in-law with a sad looking smile, kinda like she felt sorry for her.

Avery followed Ben and Sofia into his office and sat down.  This was definitely where she belonged. “Thank you both. I’m really happy to back,” she said with a big smile.

Ben smiled at her sympathetically. “You know, you could have taken more time.  It’s hard leaving them, I know. I had a hard time leaving Cole. But having Fran there should certainly make it easier. Someone you can trust. Cole went to his grandmother’s before Sofia and I got married, and you see how close those two are. They were thick as thieves for awhile.”

Avery smiled sweetly at her father-in-law. No, Ben, she thought, not hard at all.  “Yes, it was hard,” she lied, “Fran definitely makes it easier. She’s a gem.” At least the last part was true, she thought to herself.  She hoped that would finally make Sofia stop looking at her like she had two heads because she wasn’t sniveling about leaving her precious babies at home.

*******************************************************************************

When Avery got home that evening, she was tired, but it wasn’t the same bone weary tired she had been after the twins were born. It was the satisfaction of a job well done.  She didn’t see Cole, but knew he was home because his car was in the garage. She saw Harley padding up the stairs and let out a deep sigh. She knew her traitorous dog was going where Cole was, the nursery, so she followed him up.

She heard giggling as she ascended the stairs, and when she walked in, it was confirmed. Her sweet husband was indeed the one playing with the babies in the crib, Fran nowhere in sight. He actually had the little urchins giggling. She couldn’t help the stab of jealousy she felt as she stood silently watching.

When he saw her, he turned to the babies and spoke to them as as if they could actually understand him. “Momma’s home!” he said excitedly.

Her heart was warmed at the genuine affection she felt when he finally focused his attention on her. She felt a little silly for her earlier jealousy.  She knew he loved her enough to leave the babies, and walk over to where she was standing, so he could hug and kiss her.

So, how was it?” he asked when he released her.

“It was great. Almost like I never left. Sofia and Ami did good,” she admitted.

“So, I gave Fran the night off,” said Cole with a shrug, “I thought we could spend time with the twins since you didn’t get to see them all day.” He looked at her expectantly with those big blue eyes.

Avery caught her breath at his words and tried to force a smile. She had been hoping for a romantic evening with her husband to celebrate getting back to work. And instead they would be feeding, bathing and wrestling the twins to sleep until it was time for her to get to sleep too.  Cole always got joy out of those things, but that was what Fran did for them. Plus, they responded to Fran so much better. She just made them cry.

“Are you okay sweetheart?” he asked when she didn’t say anything.

“Yes. It was just . . . Never mind. Let’s get them fed, and maybe, if we are lucky, there will be an hour left for us,” she said, trying not to sound mad.

“Okay, I already have their bottles ready, and our dinner is almost done too,” said Cole with a deep sigh. His tone belied his words. He knew she was mad.

Avery felt a twinge of regret and smiled. “Thank you. I’ll take Reagan, since she doesn’t cry as much with me. You get Ryan and let’s get this done as quickly as possible,” instructed Avery.

After Avery fed Reagan, she promptly spit up on her. “Shit . . . my dress is ruined,” mumbled Avery under her breath, close to tears. It was all she could do not to break down. She was tired and her anxiety level was going through the roof.

Cole must have noticed her discomfort.  “We’ll get it dry-cleaned, won’t we Ryan,” said Cole to his son.  Then he looked up at her and said with just as much tenderness, “Let’s double time their baths and try to get them asleep at the same time. Then I think there might be a bottle of wine with our name on it.”

“I smell like puke, Cole,” she said, unable to keep the bitterness out of her voice, “I’m going to vomit too, if I don’t get this off right now. And wine sounds great.” She put Reagan in the crib and rushed off to change into her night gown.

Two hours later, they decided to pass on the wine and just cuddle in the couch. Avery snuggled up in Cole’s arms. “I love you my sweet baby daddy,” she said sleepily, “but no more days off for Fran on work days. M’kay?”

Cole laughed. “Got it. Guess I’m not getting any am I?”

Avery slid down and put her head in Cole’s lap, a perfectly shaped pillow, and closed her eyes, on the edge of sleep. “Uh-uh. Not unless you wanna do me while I’m sleeping.”

She felt him kiss her on top of the head and gently massage her shoulder as she fell into an exhausted sleep.

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Four years later…..Ages: Cole 30, Avery 34, Twins almost 5

For the past four years, with the help of Fran, their life had settled into a predictable routine. It was their new normal and suited Avery, the planner, very well.

Until the worst possible thing happened. Just before the children’s fifth birthday, Fran, tissue in hand, explained that she had to move to take care of her aging father. It killed her to leave the twins, just as much as it devastated their little family to lose her.

Avery took the news the worst. Almost going into panic mode. The next afternoon, after Fran left, Avery and Cole sat on the couch to talk. “Cole, how can we do this?” asked Avery, “I can’t come home at night and…..”

Cole rubbed the back of his neck. He knew this was coming. “Stop worrying Avery,” he said, interrupting her whining and trying to keep the irritation out of his voice, “The kids start school in the fall. That’s just a few more months. Until then, mom can look after them. I can drop them off and pick them up after work. They are older now. It won’t be so bad.”

“Can’t we just get someone else? She also did housework. Not that I mind,” she added quickly, “I don’t, it’s just….never mind, I can see you’ve decided.” She crossed her arms over her chest in anger, and then, just as he figured, the tears came.

He couldn’t stand for her to cry.  “Avery, no,” said Cole, totally frustrated with her, “This isn’t my decision, it’s ours.”

“Daddy….why is Mommy crying?” asked Reagan, having walked in with Phil on her heels, totally surprising both of them.

Cole watched as Avery’s shoulders slumped.  He took a deep breath to get his temper reigned in, so he wouldn’t further upset his little girl. He could see Avery doing the same.  He was thankful she wasn’t going to have a meltdown in front of the kids.

Reagan took that as signal to crawl up into her mother’s lap. She put her little hands on her face. “Don’t cry Mommy. It’s okay. I’ll be a good girl. I promise.”

Avery sighed and gave her daughter a small smile. “You’re always a good girl Reagan. I’m just sad because Fran isn’t going to live here anymore.”

Reagan looked like she was going to cry now. “Who’s gonna read us stories?”

Avery frowned a little.  “I guess Daddy or Grandma will.”

Daddy or Grandma?  thought Cole incredulous. He had to clamp his jaw shut not to say anything in front of Reagan.

“Yay! Gramma!” she said and threw her arms around Avery’s neck. Cole couldn’t help but smile at how excited Reagan was at the prospect of being with her Grandmother.  The twins loved his parents.

“So Reagan and Ryan,” said Cole, when he saw his little boy walk in, most likely in search of his sister.  The two of them were inseparable.  He immediately had both children’s attention, “How would you two like to go to Grandma’s while Mommy and I are at work?”

“Yes!” squealed Reagan as she quickly scooted off the couch towards her brother.  “Yay! Ryan! We’re going to Gramma’s!”  She grabbed his hands and they danced excitedly around in a circle.

“Not now,” said Cole laughing.  They both stopped and looked at him.

“Okay Daddy,” said Ryan and looked at Cole like he was devising a plan.  “Can we go swing?”

Cole almost laughed. He was sure Ryan figured because he was told no about Grandma’s that he would get a yes.  “Sure. Be careful you two and don’t go too high.”

“C’mon Reagan,” said Ryan grinning. He grabbed his sisters hand and together they headed towards the back door.

Avery glared at Cole, then threw her hands up. “Fine. I’m outvoted. No new Nanny,” she spat out.

Go To Chapter 2.71>>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 2.69

58 thoughts on “Chapter 2.70 – The New Normal

  1. Dang. There was a lot to process in this one… mostly from Avery. This was tough to read… she seems to have nothing but resentment for her children 😦 This certainly seems to have gone beyond her PPD. Especially since she seems to still feel the same about them even now that they’re older 😦

    This does not bode well 😬 Those poor little ones are so sweet (omg when Reagan touched her face it was the cutest. I’m sure Avery did not agree though 😂). They deserve a mother who cares for them! Part of me wants to hope that not having Fran anymore will somehow give Avery a chance to bond more with her kids. But I am pretty sure it’ll be the opposite 😱

    I’m both excited and terrified to see what’s next 😂 Hang in there, Cole. I can tell this one will be a bumpy ride 😬

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes…she isn’t mean to her kids per se, she just avoids them or let’s Cole parent them. If she ever yelled at them or did anything short of be nice, she would lose Cole in a heartbeat. So when Reagan crawled up in her lap, she tolerated it for appearances, just like she lied to Ben because that was how she was supposed to feel.

      You are right, this transcends the PPD although it certainly contributed to her lack of bonding with her children. That, along with her own troubled childhood and lack of affection growing up, certainly changed her.

      She’s trying to keep things the same and of course you can’t. I think she did fall in love with Cole, or least she fell in love with the way he treated her and worshiped her.

      Children change everything and generally bring families closer. Instead of feeling jealous when she watched Cole playing with the kids, most mothers would have been warmed by it and lovingly joined in.

      Next chapter we shall find out how Cole is feeling about all of this.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Okay, now, it’s pretty much clear that Avery isn’t ”okay” with the way things are now..And from the looks of it, Cole and Her hadn’t been better either.

    I guess she would just go to work everyday and let him, or his mother, take care of a baby, while saying to herself ”Well, I suck at this, anyway and they seem to like the babies, so, no problem!”

    This remimded me of an article I read once that talked about woman, even grandmas, that said they ,until this day, regretes having childrem…But, they, somehow, still like them (?), So I wonder if that’s Avery’s case, or if she’s completely apathic when it comes to her kids.

    It’s seems like definitely shouldn’t have had kids ( is that right?), Cuz, if after 4 years, she still can’t deal with those kids, girl, you have a BIG problemo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is one that probably regrets it. She thought a baby is like a puppy. Cute and cuddly and you can ignore it if you want and it still likes you. I don’t think she hates them, but she is absolutely like you said: “Well, I suck at this, anyway and they seem to like the babies, so, no problem!” She thinks she has it all figured out. But now….uh oh….no Nanny…..now what’s she going to do?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the same. Not every woman breaks out in joy about little children, and Avery is definitely one of them. Additionally, she doesn’t seem to feel able to deal with them, and therefore rather leaves the work to others.
      I’m not sure if she doesn’t love her children, but she definitely struggles taking responsability.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Yikes. Wondering how long it will take the kids to pick up on their mother’s disdain for them. Reminds me of Vittorio in my story, his birthmother was cold as ice and hated kids incl. him, and his father’s next wife hated him because he was not hers. You read how messed up he is. Really hoping something gives before this happens to those two adorable, sweet babes. 😦 I like Avery, really I do, and I get it, not everybody is cut out for motherhood, but she should have known and taken necessary precautions. Still hoping for some sort of happy end here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes….I don’t think she hates them…she just doesn’t ‘get’ them and doesn’t enjoy being around them…and she is definitely jealous of the time they take away from Cole…Hopefully they will fare better since Cole tries hard to make them feel loved.

      She actually wanted to get pregnant, but it wasn’t anything like she expected and the PPD made it a thousand times worse.

      Like

  4. People say Avery acts like Yasmine, but Yaz ADORES her daughter she had to give up. She would have been a stellar mother. My heart aches for the twins. When they get older, they’ll figure out their mother wants nothing to do with them. Avery is such a narcissist. How can Cole love her? I can’t stand her. I’ve never met a mother who didn’t love her children. (I’ve heard of this behavior though…usually the mother is a druggie or very wealthy and didn’t bond.) Avery is just too selfish. Boo!

    Reagan and Ryan are beautiful children can’t wait to see them as teens! (Shouldn’t the next gen be starting soon?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Avery doesn’t act at all like Yasmine! Yasmine would have absolutely been a stellar mother. The twins will no doubt come to realize she is an absentee mother. I think Cole is having a hard time right now.

      She didn’t bond with them properly because of her PPD. It’s interesting she judged Yasmine and sees nothing wrong with her behavior. 🙄.

      They are beautiful children. I aged them up to see! Couldn’t stand waiting! ❤️ If nothing else, Avery made pretty babies. And yes, we actually have 10 more chapters of drama before we officially start the next gen with them as teens.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww, the kiddos are so cute. A shame that’s not how Avery thinks about them. Somehow, I think it’d be that way if Hailey decided to take care of Clint after all and didn’t have anyone to help. I worry what would become of Clint. We all still remember how Gemma not being attentive messed up Sam… Well, Avery didn’t warm up to them after almost 5 years. It’s a wonder the kids still love her and don’t treat her like a stranger. Maybe they were taught it’s proper to show the person who they’re supposed mother affection. But you can see they are much more excited at the thought of spending time with Sofia or Fran instead.
    I love little Ryan, he’s a mini Ben! ♥ And Reagan with Cole’s hair. Such cute todds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So cute. Yes, they love their mom. She’s not mean to them, just not affectionate, unless someone is watching. They have learned already that Daddy is the go-to parent. Yes, they would prefer to spend time with Fran or Grandparents or Cole for sure. It’s super cute how Phil and Harley follow them around. Especially Phil.

      Clint was very lucky Frank and Waylon took him in and yes, we see what inattentive parents can do to a child.

      Ryan is a mini Ben in more ways than one! We will see that as he grows up. He is very handsome. And Reagan looks like so much like her Daddy. We will see how her sweet personality develops. More to come….still have 10 chapters to go before we officially move to the next gen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think Avery wasn’t meant to be a mother. Not everyone is. It’s too bad, though, because she is one. lol Those twins are so adorable! I can tell Cole is seeing his wife in a new light. I hope their differences don’t split them apart, but I honestly think they aren’t going to make it. I hope I’m wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, there are those people that just aren’t cut out to be parents. And her PPD prevented her from really bonding with her kids. I think she knows it too, but as long as she had Fran, it was fine. She could put on a front for the people that she needed to. But that might get old too. And of course, Cole absolutely notices it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. And so it begins. I always as you know had a bad feeling about Avery. I am not sure what you have planned but i have a bad feeling shit is going to hit the fan. Avery actually reminds me of my own mother. Likely why I had a bad feeling about her. Very self centered. She was a wonderful mother when she had an audience but behind closed doors we were either beaten or ignored. Chief reason I moved in with my Dad at age 13. Sad to say I think Avery is beyond help because she doesn’t want it. I mean she thinks of her children as “baby blobs”. I don’t even think she loves them or she just loves herself more. Looking forward to seeing what comes form this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you were at least able to be with your Dad. 😢. Sadly we don’t get to pick our parents.

      There may be some fan hitting soonish…😱 As for physical abuse, no. She wouldn’t hurt them physically or verbally, but her absenteeism may cause unintended problems down the road or not. Cole showers them with affection as does their grandparents.

      But like you said, in front of other people, shes’s a wonderful mother. She may love them, but has no idea how to relate to them or show it. I truly don’t think she wishes them harm. She thought she was getting another puppy. 🤷‍♀️

      Like

        • Some of us don’t have the perfect parents or lifestyle. Just keep looking up and doing the best you can be. Learn from your parents mistakes and don’t repeat them. At least you know how not to act. Sorry for everything you’ve been through. Praying for you.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Chapter 2.69 – Fran | New Beginnings

  9. Pingback: Chapter 2.71 – Your Children | New Beginnings

  10. Oh man, it looks like Avery just can’t get used to the fact that she’s a mom… it’s like those kids are aliens for her – and maybe deep down they know it too, poor little ones 😥 They’re both sooo cute, how can Avery think those nasty things about them? I really wanna slap her now, poor Cole has no idea what he’s gotten himself into! But I know that if Avery keeps this $&%t up, things are going to get even worse for them..! (I feel especially bad for Reagan, because I think narcissistic mothers take it out more on their daughters, especially when they start to grow up and be younger and more beautiful than them… I hope that little girl will be okay!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes….she got way more than she bargained for when she decided to have A baby. As in one. And then she was not happy at all throughout the pregnancy. Yes, narcissistic I’d a good way to describe her. I hope she can get to work and things will get easier.

      Like

  11. Well, too bad for Cole they didn’t have a real fight before the marriage. With Yasmine, he would at least have known what he’d get. Avery’s skills of conflict solving are non-existent, though and apparently, limited to crying and pressuring Cole into feeling guilty. Maybe that isn’t intended and there are factors that never allowed her to gain complete control over her emotions. Maybe it is intended.
    On the other hand, yey, eyecolor-matching kiddo outfits 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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