Picking Up the Pieces, Part II

Posted On November 25, 2010

Filed under macdonough

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March, Round 2 – MacDonough household part 2 { featuring Blake MacDonough (32), Mitchell MacDonough (33), and Charlie MacDonough (3), as well as Carmen Karlington and Emily Engebretsen}

“Come here, Charlie. Only two more steps! You got it!” Mitchell beckoned as his son toddled over. “Good boy! Look Blake, he’s walking!”

Blake was staring vacantly out the kitchen window. She thought if she stared hard enough, she might feel something.

Mitchell’s smile faltered at his wife’s indifference. “I’m exhausted. I’m putting Charlie down then going to bed. Goodnight.”

“Okay.” Blake nearly whispered, still staring into space.

* * * *

Finally, around four in the morning, Blake surveyed her kitchen. It was a wreck. Whether it was from disgust or pure necessity, she began to clean things up.

While she got down to work, Blake had time to think. Her partying days were not so long ago, after all. Oh, how she longed for the past sometimes. Whenever she caught the whiff of a certain perfume, she was taken back to the good old days, where she was dressed up and beautiful every day. Back to when everything was simple, and carefree. People noticed her. They envied her. They wanted her.

And now, she was scrubbing old cheese off chipped plates.

Where had she gone wrong?

From the corner, the cat mewed. She picked her up from the floor and cuddled her close. Sexy had been her companion for fifteen years now. Blake had gotten her as a kitten when she moved out on her own, right out of high school. If she clutched her tight enough, she was sometimes taken back to those times, if only for a moment.

* * * *

Meanwhile, in the bedroom next door, Mitch was sleeping fitfully. Blake was unhappy, he knew. But now, she was keeping something from him. He noticed that every day she went out for errands, she said, and returned empty handed.

He didn’t think she was cheating on him or anything, but he knew his wife was hurting and sneaking around – he wanted to make sure she was okay.

Mitch sat up quickly in bed, his nightmare over.

It was another restless night.

* * * *

Blake trudged through the snow the next day on her way to the super market.

Her family was barely making ends meet, but they still needed to eat. She grabbed a basket and headed over to the bargain bin.

As she rummaged through the vegetables, she overheard snippets of conversation.

“Oh, that girl looks awful.” the woman told her partner in a snobbish voice.

“I know her!” the other woman, who happened to be Emily Engebretsen, answered. “That’s Blake MacDonough, she lives over on Good Road.”

“The poor section of Kayton Square.” the haughty woman replied. “What a shame, she must be freezing in that jacket. And the hair… oh goodness!”

Emily was a lot less judgmental. “They’ve been going through hard times for awhile now, mother says.”

Blake turned to find them both, and even the cashier girl, staring directly at her. Then they looked away, embarrassed.

She threw down her basket at their feet, and fled, tears springing up in her eyes.

* * * *

Mechanically, Blake found herself outside Rojo Caliente, Carmen Karlington’s salon.

While she couldn’t control a lot of things in her life, her hair was something she could fix, and it was with determination that Blake marched in and demanded help.

“Sure, we’ll fix you up! Take a seat!” Carmen, her swollen belly protruding out, shook her hand. “You can hang your jacket up over there and then take a seat!”

Blake self consciously hung up her jacket and revealed her pajamas to Carmen. “I didn’t have time to change.”

“Not a problem! There are days when I don’t even put clothes on!” Carmen laughed. “Unwanted pregnancy does that to you sometimes.”

A couple minutes of later Carmen had worked her magic. Blake was transformed. Her hair was sleek, shiny, and straightened. Carmen had chopped a good few inches off, and even applied some make up here and here.

“The make up is free of charge. Don’t worry about a thing, Blake.”

Blake stared at her reflection in the mirror. It was like looking at a long lost friend, one she’d been missing for years. And now she had returned.

“You’re a wonderful person, Carmen. Thank you so much!” Blake threw on her coat and headed out.

“I guess you can just call me a humanitarian!” Carmen said, putting away her scissors with a satisfied smile.

* * * *

Blake returned to the grave yard once more, gazing at the headstone before her.

“I think about you nearly every day. Don’t think we’ve forgotten you.” she whispered. Then she was solemn for quite awhile, simply thinking.

“Forgotten who, huh?” a figure emerged from behind the snowy trees.

“Mitchell! I…” Blake faltered. “You followed me?”

“Yeah, I did. I wanted to know where you had been sneaking off to lately.” his voice softened. “And I find you’ve been coming here. I don’t understand.”


“I don’t understand. I thought we loved each other. I am a good husband to you… I didn’t know you loved another man. You’ve been crying at his grave for the passed few months, I bet!”

Blake’s look of puzzlement increased.

“I heard you just now. You miss him.” Mitchell’s voice was full of bitterness. “So what’s the big secret, Blake?”

She turned away, shaken with anger and deeply saddened. “I had another child, Mitchell.”

Now it was his turn to be confused. “Sorry?”

“You wouldn’t know, because we have only known each other for six years. But Sydney was born a twin. Fraternal twins, as a matter of fact.”

“Oh, Blake.”

“He was a beautiful blonde baby boy. His name was Spencer.” She pointed to the headstone. “And he died in a freak accident when he was five years old. That was when I left town, left the father of my children, and brought Sydney and I to Kayton Square.”

“Where you met me.” Mitchell nodded. “I’m so sorry, babe. I can’t even imagine to understand your pain.”

“No you can’t.” Blake threw her hands up. “No one can! I’m depressed about my life already!”

“I knew about that, at least.” Mitchell replied.

“But you didn’t. You didn’t!” she nearly screamed. “I’ve been dying, slowly, for the past year, and you pretend it’s not happening!”


“Look at us! Remember when we met? I was fun and free, living my dream! You were so charming, handsome, and tailored! You had your trust fund, and you and your little daughter Claire were so well cared for by your family. And when we met – it was like magic, the way we fit together. And then…”

“And then we blew it all. I blew it all.” Mitchell hung is head.

“You did. You did!” Blake walked away from him, fuming. “And now we have two more kids we can’t afford, a mortgage we can’t pay off and way too many dogs!”


“Mitchell, if I would have imagined my worst nightmare six years ago, it wouldn’t have been as bad as this. And it won’t get out of my head. I’m depressed, all the time. That’s why I come here, to remind myself it can be worse. But nothing helps.”

Mitchell just stood there, feeling horribly helpless and awfully lonely.

“And I don’t want to feel this way! I want the kids to know I love them! And I want to be there for them!” Blake dissolved into tears, collapsing with exhaustion in the snow.

“Oh, honey.” Mitchell ran over and brought Blake to her feet, cradling her in his arms, stroking her hair. “It’s okay. We’re going to start picking up the pieces, don’t you worry. Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of you this time.”

* * * *

Oh goodness, Blake’s meltdown was a LONG time coming. She was very unahppy for a very long time. And her aspiration meter was in the red for ages.

So here’s what they’re going to do: Blake’s mother is arriving and going to stay with them while Blake goes to rehab at the hospital for a little while. Blake’s mother will take care of the kids and such, and Mitchell will continue to work.

So hopefully this family can finally get itself straight!

And just so can see how many dogs they have…

they’re going to give two away, 😦 it’s simply too much to handle.

thanks for reading.


Picking Up the Pieces, Part I

Posted On November 14, 2010

Filed under linkletter, macdonough, todd

Comments Dropped 4 responses

March, Round 2: MacDonough family update, part 1 { featuring Blake (32), Mitchell (33), Claire (13), Sydney (13), Charlie (3), and Ace MacDonough (6 months). Also features Sandy and Hermione Todd, and T.J. Linkletter} 

Claire MacDonough entered her kitchen on a mission.

Find her dad. Get help.

In a normal home, locating your dad to help you clog an exploding toilet bowl would be easy. But not for Claire.

The MacDonough family was anything but normal, and in the past two months, had grown, if possible, even more chaotic. Four dogs and four kids meant trouble, apparently.

She finally found Mitchell, teaching her toddler brother to walk. “Hey, dad, ditch Charlie for a minute and help me, please? The toilets backed up and water is everywhere!”

Mitchell barely even glanced at her. “I’m busy. Cope.”


“You can take care of yourself.”

Such was the only answer she would hear to anything lately. Claire groaned in frustration and went off to get her step mother, Blake.

She waltzed into the bedroom and, slipping on dog pee, screamed.

Blake sat up in bed. “I’m trying to sleep here!”

“But Blake-”

“Get out! I need my rest!”

Claire rolled her eyes and decided to give up. Let the whole floor flood, what did she care? When she reached the landing of the second floor, her baby brother Ace’s screams filled her ears.

He’d been crying all day.

* * * *

If there was one place in her house that Claire loved the most, it was the shower. In here, under the warm flow of water, the noise was blocked out. Completely.

And she had time to think. Sometimes, the weight and pressure of the responsibilities her parents left on her shoulders was just too much. Not only did Claire have to deal with the regular issues and feelings of being a teenager, but Claire also had to clean the house, feed and walk the dogs, look after the cat, and make sure Charlie and Ace were properly cared for, since Blake and Mitchell were such a mess.

Although young, Claire was not stupid. She could see what was happening in her home. Her dad worked round the clock, barely making enough money for them to live on. When he was home he spent time with the babies, since they needed him more, he claimed. And Blake was useless lately. Ever since the birth of baby Ace, she had fallen into a postpartum depression that left her able to do nothing but sleep and mope.

So Claire had this little time to herself, and she savored it.

* * * *

Clean and dry, she entered the room and spotted one of the dogs on her bed.

“Aw. Sometimes they can be cute.” she said.

“Do I look any skinnier to you?” Sydney said behind Claire, startling her.

“Whoa, I didn’t know you were there!”

“Okay, but do you think I look skinnier? Because we’re going out tonight, and I want to look cute for T.J.” Sydney turned and checked out her figure in the mirror.

“Yeah you look great! But since when are we going out?”

“Hermione just called and said her mom can take us bowling! Over at Sugar Cube!”

Claire’s face lit up. “That sounds great! But you’re forgetting one thing.”

“What?” Sydney mumbled, applying some lip gloss.

“Blake is never going to let us go. Ever.”

“Please, I’m her actual daughter. She can’t say no. I’m dying here. It’s driving me crazy. I’ll go ask her now. Maybe if I get the baby to shut up she’ll be in a good mood and tell us we don’t have to baby sit.”

“Okay…” Claire said skeptically, throwing herself down with a heavy sigh on Sydney’s bed.

* * * *

Sydney found her mother in the babies’ room.

“Hey mom! Uh… I have a question to ask you.”

Blake turned to her daughter with weary eyes. She was dressed in slipper and pajamas, and her unkempt hair fell down her shoulders. “What do you need?”

“Can me and Claire run out with Hermione? Her mom is taking us to Maple City.” Sydney said this very fast, nervous for what Blake would say.

Ace began to scream as she wrestled him back into his crib.

“Do I look like I have time to worry about that? Go, just go… I need to deal with this baby who

won’t stop yelling!” she said shrilly.

 “Okay… bye mom.” Sydney closed the door with a snap.

* * * *

The four teens met outside Sugar Cube Bowling in Maple City.

Sydney thought she might just melt right there as T.J. wrapped his arms around her for a welcome hug.

“Come on kids, let’s get inside. We need to get you home before it’s too late!” Sandy, Hermione’s mother, said.

Once they were all settled inside, Claire took charge, naturally.

And soon they were just enjoying themselves like regular teenagers.

“Woo! Strike!” Claire yelped, jumping up. “Beat that, Syd!”

“Er… Sydney glanced at T.J. nervously as she approached the lane. He was chatting animatedly with Sandy, so hopefully he wouldn’t notice her choke it.

And of course she did. Gutter ball. But she’d grown used to disappointments.

She turned, all of her feeling welling up inside her, threatening to escape at any moment. She couldn’t handle it anymore.

But then… Claire appeared at her side. “You know, he’s been checking you out all night.”

Her face seemed to light up, and not from the artificial and colorful cubes. “T.J.? Really?”

“Yup. And you can tell he likes what he’s seeing. He wants to get all up in that.” Claire chuckled.

“Ew! You’re so gross, Claire. You always take everything to extremes.”

“Call me what you want, but I’m a matchmaker!”

Little did the sisters know, a certain someone may have overheard them, and was diligently listening, straining to hear his name again.

“I’m just saying you should tell him how you feel.” Claire finished.

“Don’t worry. I will. Eventually.” Sydney said.

“Guys!!” Hermione, one to never be ignored, screeched from the seating area. “Are you ever gonna move so I can have a turn?”

* * * *

That night, the girls prepared for bed and got comfy in their shared bedroom.

“I think I realized something today.” Sydney frowned.


“Every time I’m not at home, I’m happy. And every time I’m here… I’m…” Sydney struggled to find the right words.

“Sad?” Claire nodded empathetically. “Same here, girl.”

“It’s not that we’re abused or anything. Our parents really do love us. But… especially lately, we are sort of…” she leaned back.

“Neglected? Rejected?”


“Like I said, sis. Same here.” Claire repeated.

“Okay. I’m going to bed. Goodnight.” Sydney rolled over.

“Oh, shoot!” Claire sat up. “I let the television on! Can you hear that? Be right back!”

She flung off the covers and rushed into the living room, and sure enough, there said the t.v., still blaring some music video. The images cast flashing, eerie shadows along the walls.

She switched it off and turned to leave when a sneeze from behind startled her.

“What the heck…” Claire, aghast, found little Charlie sleeping fitfully on one of the dog beds.

“This is too much. Come here, poor thing.”

Where were their parents? She found herself thinking. How could they be so careless? As she gathered her little brother in her arms, the dog began to tear the couch apart, his claws ripping into the fabric, the plush spilling onto the floor. He growled loudly.

It was time to surrender. “Something’s got to give.” she whispered, sadly retiring to her bedroom, still cuddling her toddler brother.

** * *
My computer was in the shop for over a month. I just got it back. I don’t think I have any more excuses. I really want to get rolling on this round. Part 2 should follow, if finally nothing gets in the way and I can get back on track like I was in May.
Thanks for reading. The MacDonough houser really is as horrible and chaotic as it shows, and their is water, empty bottles, spoiled food, and toys everywhere. Worse, and Mitch does is work and Blake, already a selfish woman, only has time for the infants.
 It’s a mess. 😦