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.“
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.