Picking Up the Pieces, Part I

Posted On November 14, 2010

Filed under linkletter, macdonough, todd

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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.”

“Dad!”

“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.

“What?”

“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?”

“Yeah.”

“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. 😦

 

Sort of a Secret

Posted On September 14, 2010

Filed under abbley, karlington, linkletter

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February, Round 2 – mini update – Abbley / Karlington household { featuring Gretchen Abbley (28), Carmen Karlington (27), Tyler and Kimberly Linkletter (both 25), and Zack Bennett (30) }

Carmen was finally feeling the trials of pregnancy. Night after night she tossed and turned, and the only thing growing more quickly than her stomach was her tiredness.

That was why she ended up on the computer, surfing the internet for a new pair of earrings at four o’clock in the morning.

Suddenly, coming from what suspiciously sounded like Gretchen’s bedroom, Carmen heard a giggle.

Or, what she thought might be one.

No. It couldn’t be.

Easing herself out of the chair with a groan, she waddled over to Gretchen’s bedroom and thoughtlessly opened the door.

Gretchen was on the phone, her face aglow, wearing the biggest grin. “I thought so too!” she giggled again.

Carmen arched an eyebrow.

“Oh, I have to go! I seem to have woken up my roommate.” Gretchen said into the phone. “What? Oh, goodness, I couldn’t! Okay, goodnight. See you soon.” she hung up.

“Who the heck was that?” Carmen screeched. “If you’d sounded any sappier on that phone…” she trailed off, smiling. “I bet it’s a boy!”

“Hey!” Gretchen’s cheeks flushed. “I know that’s your area of expertise and all, but I like him. He’s from work. Now get to bed, you need your rest. And I hope I didn’t anger you by waking you up.”

“Oh, I’m not mad, silly.” Carmen said. “It’s just…”

“What?” Gretchen leaned in, close to her roommate’s ear.

“I’ve just never heard you laugh like that before. It was nice.”

* * * *

The next day was a huge, monumental one for the girls, namely Carmen. Today was the opening of her salon, which she decided to name Rojo Caliente.

“I can’t believe you convinced me to take off work for this.” Gretchen moaned, taking her place behind the counter. “You need to hire someone eventually.”

“Yes, but for now, I can save money by having you work the register for free! Remember, I’m still thousands of dollars in debt!”

“I hope you’ve been learning how to deal with customers, manage finances, keep a schedule… this isn’t fun and games, you know!” Gretchen warned.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is my first time out in public since I started to show. I need to concentrate. Remember, stick to the story… I got pregnant by a one night stand with a random man!” Carmen hollered. “Ooh, look, a customer!”

Carmen’s first customer turned out to be a tall, balding black man.

“Sorry, buddy. I style hair here.” Carmen said, patting him on the shoulder. “Better luck next time.”

Gretchen cringed in embarrassment. “Have a nice day sir!” she shouted as he marched to the corner, huffing angrily.

“My first real customer!” Carmen gushed, shaking her hand. “Nice to meet you, what can I do for you?”

“I’d just like some minor changes, please.” the girl said timidly.

“Sure, follow me. I’m thinking we give you a little trim, blow it out, and maybe lighten it a few shades.”

“Er… okay.” she shrugged.

Many snips, dyes, and cuts later, Carmen swiveled the girl around to face the mirror.

Both the girl and Gretchen were happily surprised. “Wonderful! I love it!” She thanked Carmen, paid Gretchen, and left, while simultaneously telling them how she was going to recommend Rojo Caliente to every girl she knew.

“You know, Carmen, you’re pretty good at this sort of thing. I’m proud of you!”

“I do have other talents outside the bedroom, you know.” Carmen said, sweeping up the floor. “Don’t judge me!”

There were a lot of visits that day, one of the more notable ones being Zack Bennett. “I’m her on my girlfriend Tracey’s orders. She asked me to check this place out. She wants to know whether or not you do… uh… what was it? Weaves?”

“Er… I…” stammered Gretchen.

“OF COURSE WE DO WEAVES. GET IT TOGETHER, GRETCH.” Carmen shouted above the roar of the hairdryer.

“There you go!” Gretchen laughed. This job was proving to be quite entertaining.

Next to arrive were Kimberly and Tyler Linkletter.

“I simply had to check you out, girl! I’m so proud of you!” Kimberly said, hugging Carmen. “Tyler is taking me out tonight, so I just want a casual up ’do.”

“Does this mean your rough patch is over?” Carmen asked, grabbing the scissors.

“I don’t know.” Kimberly scowled. “He’s still acting all mysterious… what is it with men and all the secrets?”

“I feel ya!” Carmen said, seating her. “This hair is gorgeous…” The two women fell into conversation.

Meanwhile… trouble was brewing, and no one even seemed to realize…

“You two have a beautiful shop here!” Tyler smiled, his even, white smile gleaming.

Gretchen couldn’t help but smile too. It was a well known fact that nearly all the women in Kayton swooned over Tyler They couldn’t help it. He was that irresistible.

“I don’t really work here. I’m actually a nurse, soon to be a surgical intern, at Mercy Hospital. I’m just giving Carmen a hand.”

“Whoa, a girl who saves lives. So anyway, Gretch, can I tell you, I’m simply dumbfounded that Carmen is pregnant! Why haven’t you told us?”

“Somehow I don’t think you’re that surprised, Tyler. Carmen was always a free wheeling girl.”

“Yes, but I prefer them more like you- honest, down to earth, humble.”

Gretchen blushed further.

“And who’s the happy father?” Tyler asked innocently.

“Oh, no one.” Gretchen stammered.

“No one? Since you’re a nurse, I’m sure you can explain how a woman… can just instantly become pregnant, no father.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of immaculate conception?” Gretchen joked.

“Very funny. But for real… come on, you can tell me.” Tyler pried.

“I can’t… well, you see, it’s sort of a secret.” Gretchen looked at the floor.

Now Tyler really wanted to know. “Aw, Gretch, I’m disappointed. I thought you were honest. It was one of the qualities I liked best about you.”

“I really can’t say.”

“It’s a shame. Here I am, thinking you were so perfect…”

“Oh, alright. But you have to swear not to tell a soul. I’m only telling you since Carmen happens to be such a close friend of yours.” Gretchen looked right and left. “It’s Checo Ramirez. It’s over now, but they’d been seeing each other for close to a year. And if this gets out… boy, they’ll be trouble. So keep your mouth shut!”

“Yes.” Tyler was dazed. He was going to have a word with Fallon, he knew, before they decided on anymore action… there was a lot of damage control to get done. And he knew Gretchen was more right than she ever knew: if this got out, they’d all be in trouble.

And just a few feet away stood Carmen, rubbing her pregnant belly and thinking about the future, the girl who would be in the most trouble of all.

* * * *You’ll find out soon who Gretchen’s new crush is. I hope you’ll be happy for her, as I am.

Whew. Gretchen really blew it. She didn’t mean to tell, she SWEARS. But Tyler is so charming… and cute… and complimentary. And he’s double the slime ball for using his moves on poor, sweet, innocent Gretchen.

Mystery post to follow, it’s already written and waiting, guys, woo hoo!

Get One Every Year

January, Round 2 – mini update (birthdays!) { featuring Claire MacDonough, (13) Sydney MacDonough, (13) T.J. Linkletter, (13) Hermione Todd, (13) Stacey Ann Linkletter, (2) and Keziah Mamuyac, (2) }

Tyler cuddled adorable little Stacey Ann as they prepared for her second birthday.

There was the cake, and the cheering.

And then she was a toddler! Wow, she really is her mother’s daughter! Kimberly made sure her baby was decked out in pink.

That same evening, T.J. went from a child…

to a cute teenager! Check out that jacket!

* * * *

Meanwhile, in the Heggler household, Jenna and Tracey celebrated Keziah’s second birthday as well!

Even though Jenna was just an “aunt” to Keziah, she had grown to love the baby, and it was with great pride and affection that she handed her to her mother, Tracey.

And pretty soon they had an adorable toddler on their hands!

(In case you were wondering, big changes for these three next round – their update is coming up soon!)

* * * *

Over at the MacDonough house, Blake and Mitchell were too busy to notice their little girls…

…were not so little anymore.

Wow! Look at these two! Claire especially grew into her looks; and I’ve always pictured her as a little clutzy and artsy – I love her makeover, if I do say so myself!

And Sydney is one of those girls who is naturally very beautiful, but doesn’t play it up at all – maybe she’ll come out of her shell soon.

* * * *

Finally, at the Todd home, silly Hermione had some growing up to do.

As a funny child…

And now a funny teen, still hamming it up!

Here’s a picture of the two sisters, Hermione and Annabelle. This is framed and hanging in their living room now!

Everyone here in Kayton would like to wish these kids a happy birthday!

* * * *

Outtakes!

My god, what happened in this shot? She looks awful! Buck toothed, eyes bulging… oh my goodness, poor girl!

And Tracey, perhaps it is not safe to throw your child into the ceiling…. look at her hands! She really went for that one, damn!

thanks for reading… and check out the new header!

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