Chapter 3.21 – Tickle Monster

Today was Reagan’s first day of ‘work’ at C&M Development and she was both excited and nervous.  She thought it was interesting that it was still called C&M since there were no longer any owners with the name Chapman or Murdock. Well, her father did have 49% interest in the company, but he didn’t run things. Ami and Noah did. But Ami said it was their ‘brand’, and it was a very good one. Besides, Ami is a Murdock, even though her name is Redcliffe now.

Reagan figured she probably needed to take a few marketing classes as well as design, because creating an identifiable brand was obviously just as important as creating great designs. She was actually excited to do both.

Reagan proudly walked into the C&M offices and straight to Ami’s office. Ami was on the phone but motioned for her to take a seat. Reagan looked around her office. It used to be her grandfather’s office but Ami had personalized it with family pictures.

Seeing pictures of her grand parents and great-grandparents made her proud. Everyone spoke highly of them.  Leroy Chapman, founder of C&M was a self-made man and her grandfather’s stepfather. He brought Ben in under his wing and Ben learned the business from the ground up. Together they grew it into the multi-million dollar company it is today. She suddenly realized there were high expectations of her if she was to work here long term.

“So, you ready to get started?” asked Ami, startling her from her thoughts.

“Oh…yes. I’m a little nervous though,” she admitted.

“Come on. I’ll take you to meet Reuben.  You’ll be working primarily under his supervision. I told him you weren’t the receptionist and are here to learn, so let me know if he tries to stick you on the phone.”

“Okay,” said Reagan and laughed nervously.

They walked across the waiting room towards Reuben’s office. She knew it was her mother’s office from the handful of times she had come up when she was a child and got a weird feeling in her stomach. “It’s all different from what I remember,” she said to Ami.

“Ah,” replied Ami with a smile, “I needed a change for – reasons. Actually I had Reuben do the remodel. I hope you like it.”

“Of course,” she agreed. “It’s nice.” She realized Ami must have wanted all traces of her mother erased. Reagan knew right then she wanted to be a permanent part of this company. And even though she got this job because of her blood, she would have to work extra hard to become as good as her mother had been when she sat in this very office.

“Reuben, this is Reagan Murdock, our summer intern. Reagan, meet Reuben Vernick. He’s been with us for awhile now so he knows things pretty well. So Reuben, she’s here to learn. Please include her in all aspects of your job.”

Reuben’s eyebrow shot up at her name. “Will do. Welcome Reagan.”

“Nice to meet you,” replied Reagan, “Ami says you did the remodel. It’s nice.”

Reuben grinned proudly and clapped his hands together. “Already kissing up!” he gushed. “I love it! We’re gonna get along fabulously!  And a Murdock to boot.  Niece, I bet.”

Reagan couldn’t help but chuckle at his enthusiasm. No wonder Ami, as well as the clients, liked him. “Yes, Ami is my father’s sister,”  she said still grinning.

“Okay you two,” said Ami, “I have a meeting with an investor, see you later.”

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

Cole and Dannie were taking Taylor to Paris to get her settled in school. They planned to be gone for a week, using the time away as a honeymoon for themselves.  They agreed to leave Connie with the twins instead of his parents.

Dannie was excited, but Cole was nervous. He hoped having Connie to care for would keep the twins from trying to see Avery. As far as he could tell, they hadn’t seen her since the last Paris trip.  Reagan never mentioned her mother again since their big fight when they returned home and he didn’t ask her either. Let sleeping dogs lie, and all. 

“Come here sweetie, give Daddy a kiss goodbye,” said Cole to his youngest daughter.  He hugged her tight. She was such a sweet little thing. Connie reminded him so much of Reagan at that age, before Avery completely turned their life into a living hell. It made him hate her even more than he already did, if that was possible. He hoped that with two loving parents, she wouldn’t suffer like the twins had.

He stood up. “Connie, you mind Reagan and Ryan or no SimsneyLand.” He’d had to promise to take her when they got back to make her stop crying because she couldn’t go.

“Okay Daddy,” said Connie smiling and it melted Cole’s heart. He loved that little girl so much.

He looked over at the twins. He loved them too and got a lump in his throat.  He had to swallow hard before he could speak. “Bye guys,” he said and smiled, “No wild parties, not with Connie here. Understood?”

Reagan rolled her eyes. “Whatever Dad,” she said and Ryan just gave him a silent smirk.

“Reagan?” said Taylor, and when she turned around, Taylor hugged her.  Cole almost lost it. Both girls had tears in their eyes when they parted.

Then Taylor turned to Ryan and hugged him too. He looked stunned. “Good luck Taylor,” he mumbled.

“Thanks Ryan,” replied Taylor, and then finally turned to her youngest sister and hugged her as well.  “I’m gonna miss you, little bit.”

When the three of them walked out, Cole heard Connie begin to cry out ‘I want my mommy!’.  He almost turned around but stopped dead in his tracks when he heard his only son say ‘Come on C. I’ll take you outside to swing’.

Now Cole was choked up for a different reason as pride filled his chest. He looked at Dannie. She had heard Ryan and was grinning. “See. I told you. They’ll be fine,” she said.

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

Since Reagan was working, the bulk of Connie’s care had been relegated to Ryan. He was essentially a stay-at-home Dad for the week. Not what he wanted for a week of his summer vacation.

That night, after they ate, Reagan at least offered to put Connie to bed, but she wanted Ryan. He rolled his eyes and took her. “Come on, let’s go,” he said and in a gravelly voice added, “before the tickle monster gets you!”

Connie squealed and ran upstairs to her bedroom giggling all the way, as Ryan followed slowly behind her growling. He could hear Reagan laughing down below. Brat.

When he got into her room, Connie was hiding under her covers still giggling. Ryan jumped on her and tickled her for good measure while she screamed. Then he stopped and tucked her in.

“Night Ryan, I love you,” she said sleepily.

He kissed her cheek. “You mean tickle monster. Love you too C.”

After he put Connie to bed, he came back into the living room where Reagan was watching TV and flopped down next to her.  “She’s asleep. I never, ever want to have kids.  Too damn much trouble and too high maintenance.”

Reagan laughed. “Liar. I should have snuck in and videoed you! Nobody would believe it otherwise!”

Ryan sneered at her. “Don’t even think of it Rea, or your ass is grass!”

Reagan giggled uncontrollably. “You know, your bark is so much bigger than your bite. You’re just a big ‘ol cuddly Teddy Bear Tickle Monster!”

“Don’t try me Rea!” he groused out, trying his best not to laugh.

“Grouch,” she pouted and suddenly got serious. “You know, I was hoping we could go see Mother, but I don’t see how with Connie to watch after.”

Ryan was suddenly glad he had to sit with Connie. “You mean for me to watch after. And, you have to work anyway.”

“Not Saturday,” said Reagan.

Ryan softened his expression and asked, “Rea, you guys talk on the phone all the time, so you don’t need to see her, not really, do you?”

“It’s not the same,” replied Reagan, “plus, I want to take her the pictures from the wedding.”

“Do you think she really wants to get to know us, or just get back at Dad?” That was something that had been bothering Ryan for awhile. She seemed sincere, but something bothered him about it all. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.

“Are you siding with Dad now?” asked Reagan her voice rising with each word.

Fuck, he thought, this is going downhill. “No! Get your damn panties out of a wad. I just don’t want to get fucked by her again.”

“God Ryan, she knows she shouldn’t have cheated and it was wrong. And she’s trying to make it up to us. So, yes, I think she wants to have a relationship with us. She has certainly been punished way more than she should have been. I can’t believe she still has 6 years left – hmmm, I wonder, could we put in a good word for her and maybe get her released sooner?”

“That’s not how it works Rea,” said Ryan softly, “she has to apply for parole and exhibit that she can enter back into society.”

“Oh,” said Reagan with a frown, “so, then what do we do with Connie so we can go?”

There was no way he was dumping Connie and going with her. He would have to explain why they needed a sitter and it wasn’t worth coming up with a lie. “Are you okay to drive up alone?” asked Ryan.

“I guess I could. But what about you?”

“She relates to you better. She won’t care if I’m not there.”

“That’s not true!” said Reagan.

“Who does Mom mostly talk to on the phone?” asked Ryan trying to make his point.

“Oh, I have an idea,” said Reagan, apparently ignoring his question, “maybe I could take Jason with me. He needs to get out of the house. He just sits around and broods all the time.”

“That’s not a bad idea. He won’t tell will he?” asked Ryan.

“No! He would never,” said Reagan, seemingly shocked he’d even asked.

“Okay, maybe he can drive you. That way I can stay with Connie and tell her you are working. But you owe me big time. If I have to watch Frozen one more fucking time I’m going to barf.”

“Thanks Ryan, I owe you big time!” squealed Reagan as she jumped up and theatrically kissed his cheek making a mwaaah sound. “I love you and I promise to make it up to you! I’ll go call him right now.” As she ran off she sang out, “Let it goooo!” and ducked when he threw a couch pillow at her.

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

Jason and Reagan drove the hour to San Myshuno. It was Saturday and the traffic was light, so they sang along with the radio and talked about their parents.

“My Dad’s a grade A asshole,” said Jason, “He left Mom and when I was … when I ran away, he came home pretending to give a shit, but as soon as I was back, he left again. My mom was a wreck.” He paused and snorted. “Did you know my mom and your dad dated in high school?”

“Ewwww. Blah. Jason, that’s just weird.” said Reagan while sticking her finger down her throat like she was gagging.

“Tell me. We could be brother and sister!” he said and busted out laughing.

“Stop it! I don’t need anymore surprise siblings!”

Jason turned into the prison and parked.  “Well, we’re here. I can’t believe you are doing this,” he said, concern etched in his face.

“She cheated and got blamed for stuff that guy did, ” explained Reagan, “It’s not fair. She’s been in long enough.”

“Okay. I guess you know what you’re doing.” He grabbed her arm as she started to get out. “Reagan, just be careful okay. You never know about people. I learned that the hard way. How long?”

“It’s all good Jason. She’s my mother. I’m fine.  Just relax and go get a coffee or grab something to eat.  I’ll be back in about 45 minutes.

Go to Chapter 3.22>>>>>>>>>>

Go back to Chapter 3.20

Thank you to Jacallon for submitting Reuben Vernick in my Casting Call.  He did get a tiny makeover  🙂  So I have the before and after in case you don’t recognize the new Reuben.

Reuben after CC
Reuben Before CC

49 thoughts on “Chapter 3.21 – Tickle Monster

  1. Reuben looks so cute! And he seems likeable. 🙂
    And to think – in this whole chapter, I didn’t get mad at Reagan or Ryan! I think Reagan should listen to Jason and Ryan when it comes to her mum. There is, indeed, something off.
    Great chapter, Audrey! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Woah, I love how both Ami’s and Reagan’s outfits match their eyes. Neat!
    Reuben reminds me a bit of Waylon. Must be the round glasses!
    Oh no, Reagan is headed for another meeting with her mother. It’s a shame that Ryan wasn’t able to stop her. I wonder what Jason’s role is going to be in all this. I kind of wouldn’t be surprised if he was to be her next boyfriend. After all, he used to have a crush on her.
    Ahh, you split this chapter… Now we will have to wait to find out how the meeting goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m laughing so much! I always like to match eye color and outfit color to bring out their eyes when I can! 🙂 Rueben surprised me! He turned out so cute.

      And off to the meet-n-greet with Mommy. Ryan knew he couldn’t stop her and Jason is wary of her buddying up with a convict. You don’t go to jail for cheating on your spouse and Jason and Ryan both get that. But then…Avery might be trying to make amends for what she did. But Reagan totally wants this so bad she believes everything.

      Jason is a good friend at this point. He’s like another brother to her. He *might* still have a crush, but she doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. She’s not had a boyfriend since Link. It’s too hard. She wants Archer still. But maybe as time goes on, those feelings might be beginning to fade. But for now, Jason is a safe place for her.

      And yes…. I had to split. It was toooo long and I lost so much time with the CC breaking patch and being gone for 3 days. But hopefully it won’t be as long before the FINAL teen chapter and Reagan’s meeting with Avery. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reuben is so cute!

    Oh man, so much going on, and no was was being awful this chapter O.O
    Wat do I even do with myself??

    Ryan so sweet with his little sister; me thinks the lady do protest too much and will be a 10/10 father (hopefully).
    Reagan so happy in her new job, aww! I hope this visit with mom goes as well as her first day at C&M.

    Those family pics tho! Leroyyyyyy (Jenkins) /sniffle

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know….nobody being awful. What just happened? Maybe the twins are finally maturing a little. 😱 Ryan has always had a soft spot for Connie, but it doesn’t fit his macho persona so he doesn’t like to show it in front of others. I think he might just make a good daddy at some point even though he’s convinced himself he never wants kids.

      Reagan is happy and Rueben is a sweetheart! I adore him already. And why wouldn’t the visit go well? Reagan’s gonna be walking on air. – A new job she loves, working with an adorable Rueben , Taylor’s gone for the foreseeable future and getting to see Mommy Dearest! She’s in hog heaven!

      Oh…. Leroy! 😭😭😭

      Liked by 2 people

    • No one was being awful! Right? I was sitting here and waiting for Ryan to at least tell Connie a horror story before sleep. I need my fix of awful. Maybe when Colefish comes back from Paris? (insert hopeful emoji)

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Ryan’s right…there’s something definitely wrong with Avery. I’m really hoping he’s wrong and Avery has changed but I doubt it.

    Ryan is so cute as a big bro daddy! He’ll make a great father one day! (Even though that’s not cool atm.)

    Reagan will find her way as a designer at C & M. It’s good she knows what education she’ll be needing to do great work and become an asset.

    I laughed when Jason said they couldn’t I’d have become brother and sister. I don’t know what your plans are for these two but I do get a sibling vibe from them and can’t picture them together. Gag is right. Not because of Jason—-like Mickey, he’s really handsome, but they just seem like best friends in the friendzone only. It could only break both their hearts if they started something.

    Looking forward to Taylor’s POV And how she’s settling in at Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan’s spidey senses are tingling when it comes to Avery. But I hope it’s just because they never bonded and Reagan always idolized her, even as a very young child. Let’s all hope she has changed and is truly trying to make amends.

      Ryan! 😍😍😍 Such a great big bro daddy! Def not cool right now though and scares the daylights outta him. 😂😂😂

      I think Reagan will indeed follow somewhat in her mother’s footsteps! But not to the point she’s willing to let someone die to get what she wants! 😱

      And Jason and Reagan really are friends and not romantically inclined … at least from Reagan’s perspective. We’ll see what happens but yes, sibling vibe is right. More on their relationship next chapter as we finally end the teen years! Yay!

      We shall see Taylor at some point. But it might be a few chapters. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so relieved Ryan has taken some time to consider Avery’s motives in getting to know them again. He’s definitely right to be cautious.

    I laughed a little at Cole’s “Let sleeping dogs lie, and all…” thing. That’s just like Cole, but in this case, I give him a pass because I’m thinking I wouldn’t want to bring their mother up either. However, it’s clear this isn’t something that is just going to go away, and I think he should realize that instead of trying to slap the ol’ bandaid on.

    I’m happy for Taylor and her future. I think this will be great for her. It was nice to see the affection between her and her siblings before her departure, too.

    I think it’s great that Rea is working with Reuben. I hope this is a good experience for her and that it expands her outlook.

    Oh, btw, Ryan is so having kids. haha

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol. Cole and his bandaids! 🙄. But yes…why stir up trouble when things are relatively peaceful right now.

      Ryan is cautious, part.y because he never really bonded with her at all.

      Taylor is going down a great path and she was really trying to make peace with them before she left.

      Yes. Rueben will be good for Rea and show her some new things. Which will be very good for her and maybe get her to thinking more like her father did towards her own future, but don’t tell her that! 😂😂😂

      Oh….Daddy Ryan! Yep son…you are so going to have kids someday. Even if they are not planned, probably the only way! 😂 And he will be a stellar dad too I bet!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. SInce everyone is issuing so many warnings regarding Avery, I’m gonna have to assume that she really has an agenda. Oh well. There goes my hope she changed and the twins could have at least one parent all for themselves. But where’s the fun in that, right? Go ahead and torture Raegan some more!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am looking for something happens, like a plane crash killing or leaving Cole, Danni, and Taylor on a deserted island and leaving Ryan and Reagan to raise Connie.
    Maybe Reagan and Reuben or Reagan and Jason, together. I think Reuben is cuter after the makeover . Jason is sweet and cute, too.
    Ryan warning his sister about thier mom, maybe he is beginning to recall somethings about his childhood. Reagan is so much like Amy, trusting , sweet, and a little naive when it comes to people. I can’t help and wonder how she would have turn out as Amy’s daughter. Noah as her dad, all the guys would be to scared to ask her out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh my! Spoiler alert! Plane crashes out of Paris…no survivors! 15 years later…. Family found on deserted island! Could be!

      Ryan and Avery never really bonded. It was always Reagan that idolized her mother. Still does sadly. Maybe that’s why he has weird vibes and Jason has had some bad surprises and loss, so he doesn’t really trust adults at this point.

      Rueben just got new eyebrows, glasses and hair – well a little scruff too. He’s adorable! Both he and Jason are sweet. Anything is possible. 🤷‍♀️

      Reagan is a lot like Ami and very trusting. If Ami and Noah had been her parents, no doubt she would still be a virgin! 😱

      Like

  8. Ryan is the sweetest big brother 😍❤️ Loved him and Connie! I also loved how kind they were to Taylor too. Maybe talking to their mom has actually had a positive influence on them after all? 🤔 Feeling less resentful toward Taylor and Dannie because they feel less like there’s something “missing”? Maybe? Hopefully?

    But I still am rooting for Avery to be evil and cause chaos 😈 Hehehe eager to see how the visit goes!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ryan….who knew? Right! ❤️❤️❤️ I think he surprised himself too! Lashing out at Taylor would’ve been uncalled for. They at least had some manners. And I think deep,down they know they were cruel to her, at least Reagan was. Ryan was probably just indifferent. But it could be that Avery has filled a perceived void in their lives. Good point.

      Evil Avery huh? 😈 Not reformed Avery? 😇 Well, time will tell. Hehe….

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I want a Reagan and Jason romance in the world’s worst way (As you know) but I have to say I am getting the same sibling vibe everyone else is. Jason has been crushing on Reagan, but does he still have those feelings? A lot has happened sine then. I am pretty sure they are bonded over how messed up each other’s families are, and I have to wonder how much Jason has told his BFF?
    I like that Ryan is the cynical voice when it comes to their mother. One of them needs that doubt and Reagan is very much in the clouds about Avery. That is not to say she isn’t sincere, but Reagan really needs to be cautious, because you never know.
    Despite what he said, I think Ryan would eventually make a great dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you do want Jason and Reagan to hook up, but there is definitely a sibling vibe. I don’t think Jason has shared with her the fact that his Dad is a mobster. That’s just not something you tell anybody unless the relationship gets beyond the friend stage. However, they’ve definitely landed over screwed up families.

      Ryan is sorta keeping a watchful eye when it comes to Avery because, your right, Reagan’s head is in the clouds. Hopefully she’s making amends…we shall see.

      And Ryan…so such a good Dad. Reagan’s right, he’s a teddy bear when it comes to kids. Maybe not so much with girlfriends though, sort of an ass. 🙄

      Like

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  11. Oh wow! thank you. I didn’t even recognize him!!! LOL That’s so cool.

    I have just caught up on just about all of this chapter (holidays are great!) and I couldn’t stop reading. I love love love your story and get so involved with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. It means a lot! And Rueben had the right look for the role and when I cc’d him I was like – wow! He’s a cutie! ❤️ Thanks for taking the time to submit someone for me to abuse! 😂😂😂. Actually I don’t think Rueben is going to get abused. ☺️

      Like

  12. Oooh, Ryan seems like he’s starting to finally get some sense concerning his mother – as opposed to Reagan, unfortunately!
    I’m really anxious about this meeting – don’t know why, but I am! And ugh, go away Jason! I didn’t like your mother and I don’t like you – there’s only room for Archer! Lol, sorry! I’m sure he’s a nice guy but Archer was just dreamy and I’m still hoping for a reunion… someday!
    Oops, got totally swayed lol! I can’t wait to read about the meeting, I’m sure it will be full on drama! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan is wary for sure. Not super trusting that she’s all she seems to be. But Reagan….yes she’s all starry eyed. A healthy dose of skepticism would be good. But she wants it so badly she sees what she wants to see. Soon.

      And go away Jason…lol. Archer! 😍. Don’t worry, you are not the only one missing Archer! I’m missing him so much too. Jason is too nice I think! If there is such a thing. Lol. He’s sweet but does have his own demons.

      The meeting…I hope it doesn’t disappoint!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ryan is my favorite. He is finally seeing the light about Avery. I like her per se, but she needs to go and start over somewhere after she gets out. No idea how much time she has left, but wondering that when she does get out, she and Reagan end up playing happy family or something, breaking Cole’s heart. Maybe we need to set aunt Ami on that girl. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan has a healthy bit of skepticism as it relates to all things Avery. 😂. I hope they don’t play happy family. It will break Cole’s heart and he’s really been trying except where Avery is concerned.

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. ”She seemed sincere, but something bothered him about it all. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.” That single line made me suspect Avery at least 75% more. If he’s thinking that something is up, then something is up.

    I’m glad at least *one* of the twns is trying to thinking this racionally, and not just jumping into the ”mommy” boat, I hope he’s able to talk Reagan out of this too, and that she doesn’t explode, and be like ”so you are just like dad, huhh?”

    Ryan is going to be a good father, and Reagan seems to have her professional life already set to happen at such a Young age. They seems to have a nice life ahead of them. It was nice how they said their goodbyes to Taylor, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of hard feeling between them. Or at least, they were able to set that aside from a few minutes, which *is* an improvement if you think about how they used to beheave when it came to Taylor a few months back.

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  16. OMG I soooooooo agreee with Ryan, if I see one more Elsa I’m barfing too! 😂
    i’m curious if Ryan will keep his determination to not have kids. He’d make a great uncle to, spoiling his nieces and nephews rotten!

    I see the drivers now!! You’re improving 😀

    Curious what’s gonna happen with Avery, and glad I don’t have to wait! 😈

    Like

  17. Hard life lesson to learn: Parents are human with all the human failings. Not perfect. But I also know most of us don’t realize this until at least our mid to late 20s, and then even more if/when we have kids of our own who grow up and blame stuff on us.

    And pretty much an echo of the other comments, which I actually skimmed for once! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Parents are human. It’s not something that we realize at all for a long time. And if you mean the Ryan love, yes, he’s not quite as convinced that Avery really isn’t just using them. 🤷‍♀️ Ryan has a soft side he’s keeping tucked away. He doesn’t want to ever let himself be vulnerable enough to be hurt again. His mother’s actions hurt him more than he wants to admit.

      Like

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