Chapter 3.18 – Grandma’s House

The drive back from the prison was long. And tense. The only positive was that the snow had stopped. Reagan slumped down in her seat and cried for the first half hour. It ripped Ryan’s heart in two to see her so upset.

Eventually, it began to rain and now the traffic was crawling. They wouldn’t be able to go home before heading to their grandparents house for dinner like they’d planned.  It was a required ‘check-in’ while everyone else was in Paris.

Ryan glanced in Reagan’s direction and she had finally calmed down. “Hey you. Are you okay?” he asked.

Reagan shook her head slowly. “No, not really. That was awful Ryan. Mom looked so sad and so lost. Nothing like I remember her.”

“I know,” replied Ryan, his voice soft, “But she’ll be better now. It made her happy that you gave her the book. It helped.”

“You really think she liked it?” she asked, her expression hopeful.

Ryan smiled. It was good to see her relax. “I know she did,” he said. “Why don’t you close your eyes and take a nap the rest of the way. We have to go straight to Grandma’s. We’ll be there in about an hour as long as there are no wrecks along the way.”

Reagan thankfully did as he asked. Soon her breathing was soft and even so Ryan let his mind wander back to the meeting with their mother. It had not been anything like he expected.

He’d imagined a bitter angry woman would greet them and tell them she never wanted to see them again. That was the picture of his mother that had been painted over the years. He tried to remember what it was like before she got sent away.  He didn’t remember much.

What he did recall was being taken care of by a nanny because she worked a lot. But a lot of people work, and according to Reagan, Ami had said she was good at her job.

He never remembered hearing his parents argue, and not long before ‘the trial’ they had gone on a week long vacation. He remembered because had been upset that he and Rea couldn’t go.

So maybe his mother did hook up with some guy she met at work. But he was the one driving the car that hit Ami….not his mother. Guilt by association is what it sounded like. And she got royally fucked, while the one that actually committed the crime is still out there somewhere, living free. Nobody should go to prison for 12 years because they had an affair. Maybe it was his father’s fault she strayed and wound up in prison.

Fuck! he thought, that’s going to mess with Rea’s head even more than that dickhead Archer did. He didn’t know how they would be able to see her again until after they graduated.  Maybe they could just do phone calls. He let out a long sign and turned the radio on softly so as not to wake his sister, and maybe take his own mind off of his mother the rest of the way to their grandparents.

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

Reagan woke up and wasn’t sure where she was at first. Then everything came rushing back and the hole in her heart grew bigger. They were at her grandparents.  Her mother was in a prison cell and her dad was with his family in Paris.  Crap. 

Ryan reached over and put his hand on her arm. “Come on Rea,” he said, “We’re here. You need to act normal, okay?”

“I don’t feel normal anymore,” she complained.

“Me either…but you have to… put a smile on your face,” commanded Ryan. “Look, there’s Noah’s pickup so Noah and Ami are here too.”

They ran through the rain to the front door.  When they walked in, they were greeted by the aroma of Garlic bread and Spaghetti. It smelled heavenly and Reagan’s stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  Her sweet grandfather pulled her into a bear hug and her cousin Will started babbling to Ryan. It felt like what coming home should be and made her sad that her mother didn’t get to come home.

Ben turned his attention to Ryan. “Ryan, how’s the Jeep doing?”

“It’s great,” he replied. “Dad took good care of her so she runs well.”

Ben chuckled. “Good. I think he learned that from his grandfather Leroy, not me.”

“Ryan!” interrupted their cousin Will, “Come play video games with me. Grandpa and Dad quit because they can’t beat me!”

Ben laughed. “Hey, I used to be good back in the day, but not so much anymore.”

“Come on squirt,” teased Ryan, “bet you a dollar I win!”

“You’re on!” replied Will enthusiastically, “Grandpa, you can come watch.”

Noah walked around the corner. “Hey, did you already snag Ryan?” he asked his son.

“Daadddy!  He said okay. We gotta bet too!”

Noah looked at Ryan and he shrugged. “A dollar,” said Ryan apologetically.

“Reagan?” called out Sofia from the doorway, “Us girls are in the kitchen unless you wanna join the guys.”

Reagan reluctantly followed her grandmother into the kitchen as the guys ran downstairs to the basement to play video games.  Ami was sitting at the table where the two women had been enjoying a glass of wine.

When Ami looked at Reagan, she smiled brightly, but then just as quickly, she frowned. “Are you okay Reagan,” she asked concerned.

Reagan forced a smile. She figured her makeup was probably a mess.  “I’m fine.  I just fell asleep on the way over.  Excuse me.  I should go to the bathroom and freshen up.”

When Reagan looked at herself in the mirror, it was obvious why they thought something was wrong. She had cried off all off her makeup and her eyes were puffy and swollen.  She looked terrible. Instead of trying to repair the damage, she sat down on the toilet and began to sob defeated.

Finally there was a knock on the door. Ami’s soft voice sounded from the other side. “Hun, are you okay? Do you need anything?”

Reagan quickly swallowed her tears and tried to sound normal. “I’m okay. Just fixing my face.”

“Okaaaay,” she said and the sound of fading footsteps indicated she had accepted her answer.

She washed her face and quickly reapplied her makeup. With a pasted on a smile, Reagan walked out of the bathroom and joined the girls in the kitchen. “Wow, I didn’t realize how un-put together I looked until I checked the mirror. Car naps are the worst.”

Ami smiled. “No worries.”

“The food smells great,” said Reagan, and gave a nervous laugh before continuing. “Without Dannie and Taylor cooking, we’ve been eating sandwiches and cold cereal.”

“Well, it’s time to eat,” said Sofia. “Ami, why don’t you set the table.  Reagan, would you go downstairs and drag the guys away from their video games.”

Reagan ran down to the basement to get the guys, thankful to be away from Ami and Sofia’s knowing glances. When she got to the basement she stopped and watched. They were having a blast, trash talking and laughing. Evidently Will had roped all four of them into a tournament. She laughed to herself because Ben and Will’s team was kicking butt against Ryan and Noah’s team.

Yes, this is a family, she thought once again. Why can’t hers be this way? She almost wished Ami and Noah were her parents.  Instead, her mother was in prison and her dad had a new family. She had to work to control her emotions before she could end their fun to eat dinner.

Dinner was delicious and nobody brought up Reagan’s unkempt appearance from earlier. She found herself laughing at the guys recapping who was and wasn’t cheating in their game. It was actually quiet nice.

After dinner, Noah and Ami left, taking their dessert to go, claiming it was Will’s bedtime.  Will wasn’t happy.

When Reagan and Ryan also tried to leave, Sofia said absolutely not. She wanted to talk. Reagan got a knot in her stomach. She prayed they didn’t know where the two of them just came from.

“I made coffee and we can have a some tiramisu. It’s Ben’s mother’s recipe,” said Sofia sweetly and glanced at her husband. He walked up behind her and slid his arm around her. They had a silent conversation between them in those two seconds.

Reagan continued to watch as her grandfather kissed his wife on the cheek. He remained in place, looking over her shoulder while she cut pieces of the dessert for them.  “I made coffee,” she said, “we can have it in the living room by the fire.”

Reagan continued to think about her grandparents as they settled on the couches.  The two of them were always outwardly affectionate with one another. She figured after almost 40 years of marriage, they would be comfortable just being in each other’s presence. Instead, the older couple behaved almost like newlyweds.

Her father and Dannie didn’t exhibit as many outward signs of affection, at least that Reagan noticed. She wondered why. Even Noah had put his arm around Ami when they were leaving.  Maybe her father is just a cold fish.  Perhaps that was why her mother strayed. One thing Reagan had no doubt about was that she would be very, very sure that whoever she married, if she ever married, was the one.

That made her think of Archer and Link.  Were either of them ‘the one’?  She didn’t think it was Link, even though he made her smile and was sweet. The jury was still out.  However, she could totally envision herself with Archer, and that thought saddened her. She still missed him.

“Reagan?” said Ben.

“Hmmm?” She knew someone had already called her name once. She tried to laugh it off.  “Sorry, I was daydreaming I guess. Food coma…”

“Ami said you were going to work for her this summer,” he repeated.

“Oh. Yes. She’s very generous to offer me the opportunity. She saw my drawings and said I could work with the design team. I’m really excited. If I like it, maybe I can go to school here and continue to work for her after graduation….I mean, if that’s okay.” God, she shouldn’t assume anything and was embarrassed she had shared her dream with them.

Ben laughed heartily. “Hey, I’m all for a little nepotism! If it hadn’t been for Leroy, well…God bless him…I might not be here today.”

“I don’t want to be given a job just because,” said Reagan backtracking, “I mean, I do want to earn it.”

“You will,” said Ben confidently, “You have a good work ethic. Got that from your father.” The pride in his voice was evident.

Reagan didn’t want anything from her cold fish father, nor to discuss him. She desperately wanted to shift the discussion. “Did Ryan tell you? He might be in line for a basketball scholarship. That’s why we stayed.”

“And we got wheels!” added Ryan.

Sofia laughed. “Ryan, you know you would’ve gotten that Jeep anyway.”

Reagan’s face fell a little at her grandmother’s words. She wished it were true. She glanced at Ryan and could tell, he didn’t believe it either.

“Ryan, let’s leave the girls in here and go downstairs,” said Ben, “I want to talk to you about basketball and I’m sure they aren’t interested.”

“Sure,” he said shooting Reagan a curious glance. He got up and followed his grandfather to the basement.

Once they were out of earshot, Sofia’s grandmother spoke up. “I’m glad they left,” she said softly, “I kinda wanted to talk to you about how you are doing.  You looked really upset when you two arrived. Did you break up with your boyfriend or something?”

“No, I’m fine,” she said, once again uncomfortable the attention was focused on her so decided to switch the subject. “You and Grandpa, you guys seem to be so much in love. How do you do that?”

Sofia’s face visibly softened at the mention of her husband. “We went through a lot together before we were finally a couple. Grandpa needs reassurance that I love him. And I know he loves me, so it’s easy. Why do you ask, dear?”

“I just wonder, why couldn’t Mother and Daddy have made it work…” Her words trailed off as she thought of her mother sitting in that jail cell and the tears came.

“Oh honey,” said Sofia, and put her hand on hers. “You’ve been thinking about your mother, haven’t you?”

Reagan barely nodded her head, for fear if she spoke, she would blurt out where they had been.

“Have you told your father?”

That shocked her. “Why would I tell him? He hates her!” The words poured out without thought.

Sofia looked uncomfortable before she spoke. “Honey, I can’t pretend to know how it must feel for you, and even for your father, to know what she did to your family, our family. She hurt him, and you and your brother, very badly. I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to forgive her.”

She should’ve known his mother would take his side.  “I’m sorry. It’s just, they are all together in Paris, like it’s all okay,” said Reagan, “while…”

She looked at Reagan curiously. “Honey, he told me you wanted to stay. I don’t understand. Did you change your mind?”

Crap. “No…never mind. It’s complicated. Just forget it.”

Sofia looked thoughtfully at her granddaughter for a minute. “Reagan, what aren’t you telling me? What happened today. You’d been crying when you got here. You’re crying now.  Did you and your brother have a fight? Or your boyfriend?”

“Nothing Grandma. I’m okay. Really.”

“Reagan Kate,” she said firmly, “I know something is wrong. Why this sudden obsession with your mother? It’s okay to talk about it. Talking helps. You know that. Your dad took you two to family counseling after….” she abruptly stopped talking when Reagan lost it and began to sob.

“Oh hon,” she said, her words once again soft, “This is about your mother. I’m sorry sweetheart. Is it because Dannie and Cole are with Taylor and you’re feeling left out?”

Big time left out, she thought. “Grandma, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just, please, forget it. I’m fine. Just tired.”

Sophia moved to the empty seat next to Reagan and pulled her into a hug, stroking her hair while she spoke softly. “I’m so sorry Reagan. If you ever do want to talk about it, I’m here, or even Ami if you can’t talk to your father or Dannie. We all love you and want to help.”

If Reagan closed her eyes, she could imagine that it was her mother hugging her and that made her cry more. She let her grandmother comfort her until she was finally able to pull herself together.

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

“That’s great about your basketball,” said Ryan’s grandfather, “What school do you think you want to go to?”

“I’d like to go to Brindleton Bay, but I would be happy at San Myshuno University,” replied Ryan. He was surprised his grandfather showed such interest. His dad rarely talked to him about where he wanted to go. Probably because he was so wrapped up in Taylor’s Paris trip. However, if he went to SMU, he would probably seem like a failure to his dad.

“Ahhh. My almost Alma Mater!” said Ben excitedly, “I went to SMU for a couple of years. That’s where I met your father’s birth mother, Grace.  And let me tell you, I got into a helluva LOT of trouble in college. I was dirt poor and too proud to ask my mom or dad for money. But, well, at the time, we didn’t get along very well, or at all.”

“Yeah, I know how that goes. I mean…that’s tough, I’m sure,” said Ryan. Shit! he reprimanded himself.

“You’re not getting along with your father? Is that why the two of you didn’t go to Paris?” asked Ben, concern evident in his expression.

“No, it’s fine,” said Ryan trying to gloss over his earlier words, “I just needed to stay for the games and to practice. The college scouts came to the game on Saturday and I wanted to be sure to be there. Plus I might have lost my starting position if I missed.”

“Ryan, if you ever want to talk about anything, I’m here.  Hell, I had a fucked up childhood.  Even my early adult years were a big ass mess before Sofia came back into my life.  I was too damn proud to reach out to my parents for help, even with an infant to care for, at least until that child, your father, was seriously at risk.  So, son, I won’t be shocked at anything you want to tell me.”

Ryan took a deep breath trying to control the frayed emotions that his grandfather had stirred up. Could he talk to him? Probably not, he concluded. As much as he wanted to, he would likely tell his father.

“Ryan?” came Reagan’s voice from the doorway, saving him from having to respond. “I’m tired. You ready?”

“Sure Rea,” he said as he released the breath he was holding. “Thanks Grandpa. Maybe you can tell me more about your college days another time.”

Ben wrapped him in a bear hug. “Be careful on the way home and call me if you wanna talk,” he said as he patted Ryan on the back. Ryan’s emotions were so wrecked he almost lost his shit. 

“Come on Rea, let’s go,” he said quickly when the older man released him. He was fucking tired. It had been a helluva day and he was ready for it to end.

Go to Chapter 3.19>>>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 3.17

48 thoughts on “Chapter 3.18 – Grandma’s House

  1. It’s sweet to see that their grandparents try and reach out to the kids at least. Though I guess Ryan is right, and ofc they would tell Cole and Dannie.

    The driving screenshots are so pretty in the rain, tho I really hope that empty black car is parked! 😂

    The wedding photo of Ben and Sofia in the background is such a nice touch. And it really shows how much time has passed already…
    ahh, nostalgia 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Damn! You weren’t supposed to be able to tell that car was empty! Major Fail…. 😕

      Yes…they would definitely tell Cole and Dannie – no doubt. Maybe Ami is still safe for Reagan, but that remains to be seen. Ryan already has plans to fly the coop as soon as he can.

      You noticed the wedding pic! It was there so I made sure to try and include it….they looked so Young! So much time has passed – they are 60ish and Cole and Dannie are 40ish! It brings back memories for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ben and Sofia forever! 😭
    I just lorbs them ❤️

    Those poor kiddos, that’s rough to feel so isolated from your own family (on top of all the usual hormonal angst)!
    If you can trust anyone tho, I vote grandma and grandpa 👀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes. I lorbs them too!!! ❤️❤️❤️

      They do feel isolated. Grandma and Grandpa would be a good to trust. They both want to, but just are too afraid. Ben has been there and done that…he certainly won’t judge. And Sofia has had her share of pain as well. If they asked it to be private, I’m sure they would…maybe not though when it comes to Prison Mommy…. but Sofia was right, no good would come of it. Let sleeping dogs lie….but nope…they done poked the hornet’s nest…Wait…I got analogies mixed up, lol…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The fam KNOWS something’s up, but…neither twin will open up.

    Well, it’s just sad, but hopefully, they’ll work things out, not let them fester until no one is talking to anyone! Ugh!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m really not sure I like Reagan at this point which I’m sure will change but acting like everything is so messed up is a little much. I know you feel left out with Dannie and Taylor but they love you, just got to let them. And don’t listen to Avery, I knew something was up with her since they first got together. Her whole reason for wanting to get with Cole, and the “baby hell” postpartum or not she was a terrible mother and wife.

    But that’s my two cents!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reagan is a bit of a drama queen! That’s for sure. Hopefully as she matures a bit, that will change. And you are right. Dannie and Cole love them very much if they would just let them in. Jealousy doesn’t look good on her.

      The sad thing is, they are ripe to believe Avery. Even though she was an awful mother. But maybe she has changed? And wants to make amends. Even if this is true though, it’s going to cause a ton of pain with the rest of the family. They won’t want to

      Like

    • I hit the wrong thing…..so to finish my thought – even if Avery were truly changed and wanted to make things right, it will cause havoc with the rest of the family. They will not want to have anything to do with her. Sofia was right, no good can come of seeing her. ☹️

      Like

  5. At this point the twins would be much happier if they could live with the grandparents. Living with Cole fish can’t compare. Only Will seems to have a healthy childhood. That should make him a very healthy teenager too.
    I can see Ryan and Reagan carry the burden that their growing up is with them for a very long time. Despite Cole’s worst, I mean best, efforts the two of them are somewhat damaged. I’m curious to find out who is going to have a harder time to find the one. My bet is on Ryan. We haven’t seen him develop serious relationship with any girl. Could he be gay? Maybe he is and finds out when he falls for a fellow member of basket ball team? 😱

    Liked by 4 people

    • They would be happier. But seeing their mother was a game changer that I’m not sure even their grandparents can deal with, but maybe better than Cole. At least they don’t feel ostracized by them. Will is having a healthy childhood so far with two loving parents, grandparents and cousins that want to spoil him. ❤️

      Cole’s efforts at bridging the gap have been so messed up. And they are indeed both somewhat damaged. Maybe once they get out of the house things will be better for them…of course Prison Mommy will be Ex-Con Mommy by then. 🤷‍♀️.

      You may be right that Ryan will have a harder time….he is more like his Grandpa than either of them realize. But probably not gay. 🤷‍♀️ He will run from a commitment just like Ben did, but for different reasons. While Reagan wants a relationship – but she want The One. Tall order for any man that comes into her life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh, the drama from these two. It’s probably realistic for some teens, but man they just feel so sorry for themselves. At least Ben and Sofia aren’t as clueless as Coley. Maybe they can make it clear to him that his kids need therapy. And like, I think they need to be in therapy for at least, like, a century.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved seeing the twins have these talks with their grandparents ❤️❤️❤️ Ben and Sofia are so kind and understanding… and pretty insightful too. I wonder how long it’ll take them to figure out what could be going on with this sudden interest in Avery 🤔😬

    Is it awful that I’m already rooting for them to go back and visit her again? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Amanda likes to stir the pot! Rooting for a second meeting with Prison Mommy! 😂😂😂.

      Ben and Sofia have been around a bit. So yes, pretty insightful. I was so happy to have a reason to bring them back, complete with a reference to Tiramisu! ❤️❤️❤️ I wonder if they will figure out they have been to see her.

      These two need someone that they feel is on their side and so far they feel like they are alone in a sea of people that say they love them….but they don’t trust the words because they feel actions have proven otherwise and now they have romanticized their mother as a result. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh gosh, Ben looks so old. And the glasses!
    Poor kids. Both Sofia and Ben sensed something was up, but neither of them would tell anything. Such a shame. If only they had someone they could really confide in, maybe outside of the family…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben does look older…hopefully a little distinguished. They both for sure knew something wasn’t right. I hope Ben sits Cole down and reads him the riot act where his kids are concerned…they are hurting…and both he and Sofia knew it. Of course it was easy enough to tell Reagan is a basket case, but Ryan hides it better.

      I wish they could talk to someone. Ami almost seems safe formReagan but Ryan seems to have no one. ☹️

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Chapter 3.17 – Prison Mama | New Beginnings

  10. Oh boy, those kids are a mess… it’s not surprising that they don’t trust their dad (oh, have they ever?), but it worries me that they won’t even confide in Ben and Sofia or even Ami, who do seem way more understanding than their dad. Ben practically told Ryan he was f@#&ed up in so many ways, but even this didn’t seem to do the trick. I agree with Louise, those need therapy asap!
    On another note: gaaah, it such a shock to see Ben so old! 💔 He’s a proper grandpa now, and I can’t help but worry about him. But I hope he’s gonna be around for much more time..!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are a mess. They used to trust their dad. Until they found out he lied to them for years about Taylor. And it shook their world. The stuff with Archer made things a thousand times worse. So they don’t trust anyone right now. Except Prison Mommy apparently. They have morphed her into some kind of martyr and idolized her in a weird way. They need to talk to someone. Ben would be good for Ryan I think. And Ami for Reagan. Maybe they will open up. 🤷‍♀️. I hope so.

      And Ben! ❤️ Oh it was so hard to see him begin to age. He is a grandfather! I hope he’s around for awhile too. I dread elder Ben. 💔.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Chapter 3.19 – Return from Paris | New Beginnings

  12. UGHHHHH! Things are going bad. The tiwns are starting to paint this portrait of Avery like she’s some kind of mother theresa. i mean, she MIGHT not e a manipulative woman, but saying she now has a ”heart if gold” is a bit much. Civil war is coming in the murdock house.

    I hoped tehy would trust their grandparents, or heck, even Ami and Noah. If they just keep this between themselfs, of course things will end up bad, because they’ll just agree with each other’s point of view, and not see thing from a diferent perspective, something that *would* happen if they talked with someone else.

    They should open this up with someone, ANYONE, at this point, heck, I bet even someone at their age would be able to give them some insight in their sitution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. They have idolized her and don’t want to hear anything different. And they just feed into each other. 😕. Not getting a full picture.

      I wish they would trust someone enough to hear another perspective.

      Civil war may be on the horizon. 😱

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ooooh, boy. lol I don’t even know where to begin. It’s so weird to see them paint Avery as this wonderfully wronged person, but yeah, I can see where they’re coming up with it. I’m glad the twins spoke to the grandparents; I just wish they would’ve opened up to them. Right now, they feel so alone even thought all these people love them.

    Oh, it was nice to see someone interested in Ryan’s basketball. I was a bit miffed that Cole glossed over that. lolol

    Okay, I’m moving on to the next chapter. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Look at Ben and Sofia sitting their grandkids down to talk! 😂 As if they could read minds. Maybe they can. Grandparents can do an awful lot of things that us normal folks couldn’t even imagine lol
    Sometimes, you just need to think about it on your own though. The pain is still really fresh and raw, so the two can use a little time to work through these emotions. I just hope they’ll be willing to talk to their grandparents (or someone else) when they’re ready. That they won’t suck everything up into themselves

    Liked by 1 person

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