Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A pointless post ...

I have been finding myself with weird sleep patterns. I blame it equally on a sinus infection, the resulting medications and the changes in the weather. (When the night warms up and my normal nesting habits create sweltering hot flashes.)

Lately, I find myself waking up in the night. The clock, normally by the bedside, would be checked for time. If it's morning, I'd get up. If it's early enough, I'll try to eek out just a little bit more sleep. It's amazing how quickly time flies when you're TRYING to sleep. 

I have, in case you wanted to know, moved the clock to the floor so I can't see it anymore. Really, I got tired of the glow of the LED. 

I've noticed a strange pattern to my dreaming as well. 

Because of the weird sleep pattern, I'm having dream vignettes. Instead of a long drawn out dream, I'll dream in patches. Like the time I dreamed the professor callled me from work and I couldn't wake up to answer it. He didn't call. It really was a dream. I checked. 

There was the dream where The Professor was working and hit his finger? Thumb? with a hammer. The nail turned purple. I know this was a prophetic dream....the injuries he's sustained while working are minor. (I just figured that out.) (It's not been a happy place for him, this work)

Then there are the imaginations. Semi-Story plots that become part of the dream, waking me up or ending when I wake up. They're not important, either. They're just there in the sleeping snatches of night and most often discarded in the morning. 

I've had GOOD stuff come to me in the middle of the night. I once had a shape-shifter keep me up until the wee hours of the morning. She ended up being the main character of my NaNo novel back in November. And then there are the plot points of other stories - even Meg & DJ kept me up more than once. 

So I'm trying to decide what to do with it. If anything? 

Probably not. Life around here is often full of short snatches of 'stuff'. Yesterday, the kids played in a bucket of water. They played long enough to fight and get wet. 

We had a spurt of laundry activity afterward.

I worked on editing a story I hope to get published.

The professor found a game.

I ordered new music from Amazon. 

The kids played.

I have been reading "On Writing" by Stephen King. He made me laugh with his memories. Memories he'd written in vignettes. He made me realize that I'm doing something right with my writing. I may never qualify myself as a fan - but I can appreciate him and his talent. I can't blame him for my vignette dreams, though. I've only been reading his book for two days. I've had a sinus infection for over a week.

As I write this I'm realizing, now,  that snatches of sleep and vignette dreams probably shouldn't be considered weird for me.Considering how my days progress....

Except for one single thing. One very important fact.

I tend to like my sleep.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Angst of a Seven-year-old

Sometimes I wonder about my kids. I wonder if I've broken them.
I wonder if I play with them enough. Or interact with them enough. 
If I nurture them enough.

Then there are the times when I just wonder what I did to deserve it....

You know...that average mom stuff. 

Today, in a random sort of way, G-man started talking about how old everyone will be in a decade. First of all, it's nice to know that he's paying attention to SOMETHING.
but sometimes I have to wonder (There I go again) about his timing.

He mentioned that he'd be nearly 21 in a decade. 

Which made me feel VERY old. I mean, hypothetically speaking. In the future. In a decade. I'll be nearly 48. 

So I mentioned to the kids that while a decade might seem to go by really quickly, let's enjoy one year, one day, one moment at a time.

Mostly because I wasn't ready to talk about things that might happen in a decade. 

Was that to happen??? 
OH, Nooooo! It was not to be.

J-man started to cry.
Actual tears.
Who knew that talking about things a decade away would bring tears. I mean, besides my own.

J-man focused on the fact that G-man would be an adult. I tried to assuage his fear. "Most guys really aren't grown up until about 25."

He didn't want to hear that EITHER. 
I can't win. 

So that was the beginning. He didn't want G-man to move away. He wanted to keep his friend close at hand.

From there he started talking about his own children.
Just so you remember....J-man is 7. 
"When I have kids, I'm going to encourage them to make up their own games. Like I do."
(Which is -- he'll encourage them to use their imaginations)

And "I'll play with my kids when they're lonely."

I looked at him. "Are you lonely?"

He got teary eyed again. 

Then I got to listen to more plans about his own kids. And how he planned to parent them. 
He's left me wondering about me. 
Does he find me deficient? 

I must be doing SOMETHING right, though.
I mean....he's at least PLANNING to have children in the future. 
That's gotta count for something. Somewhere.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Atmospheric Pressure...

I grew up in this state. I've only known a tornado to hit close enough to my home to scare me. I was young ... but not too young to appreciate sitting with my head in my mom's lap to watch "Simon & Simon" while Dad stood at the glass door looking out.

It's an Oklahoma thing. ... Watching tornadoes.

The tornado hit just a short distance from our town. 

Really, we all know that tornadoes happen. It's just the way of it around here. We live in an area called Tornado Alley, by example. We take precautions...but somewhere deep down inside, We just never think that it's going to actually happen,  That a tornado is actually going to materialize. 

Sunday night, The Professer was called up for deployment to Joplin as part of a search and rescue operation. Don't look - most of the press went to the search dogs. They were the stars of the show. He was gone from Sunday night until Tuesday evening. 

I didn't go to church Sunday night because I didn't feel good. (Come to find out, I had a sinus infection). He called and asked me to load up his car. 

I did. He came home, dropped off the kids, kissed me goodbye, and booked it to the deployment site. 

Joplin. The pictures are amazing. The professor described the scene to me after he came home. But really? The news coverage was enough to make your heart stop. I watched the news, looking for signs of him as his team walked over the rubble looking to make rescues. 

The one thing The Professor said was that the people of Joplin were amazingly generous. Amazingly hospitable. (Unlike New Orleans where teams were cussed and shot at. ) 

While he was in Joplin, we prayed for him. We prayed for Joplin. I still didn't feel good. 

The weathermen here kept telling us that Tuesday would be our turn. A dry line was going to push through. Storms would build and could possibly bring long track tornadoes. Goody. Just what you want to hear. NOT.

Tuesday came and my mom stayed with the kids so I could go to the doctor and the pharmacy. Yay for doctors and pharmacies!!! Not to mention Sonic's drive-thru with diet coke. Mom goes home and we both agree that we'll watch the weather. 

She lives in a mobile home and I live in the middle of nowhere. Tornadoes don't like either of those. After looking at the Joplin destruction, it's apparent a direct hit from a tornado does not do good things to a house. 

Whether it was because I didn't feel good - whether it was my emotional side NOT being balanced by the Professor's reality checks -- I felt the atmosphere. 

I felt the tension.

I didn't like it.

I had to be the only strong, staid person in the house.

I didn't feel good. 

HOWEVER - I knew I had a choice.

You see? I have a son who tends to over react. He knows what a tornado is...he's only 7 and he's had to spend some time in the bathroom. Even if I didn't feel good - I had to take care of them. 

I had to take care of me.

The way you silence fear is to give attention to faith. - Bill Johnson. 

Every time I would start to get tense or anxious - I spoke to my atmosphere. 

From Psalm 91.. "No disaster shall befall our tent.."

Then I started thinking - well, but what if half the house were gone? 

 I can't afford to lose school books.

NO disaster shall befall our tent.

  I have stories and unfinished manuscripts.

NO Disaster shall befall our tent. 

It became my conversation of the day. Because I had to counter any tension and fear with Faith - otherwise I would become fearful. Or Fear-filled, instead of faith-filled. It's just a fact.

We made plans. The one the Professor can attest to, after walking in Joplin, Interior rooms and bathrooms, really DO stand up better than other parts of the house during a tornado. Our hidey hole is the bathroom.

Tornadoes did start coming our way. From the west...and I was glued to the TV (and my book) and the kids watched phineas and Ferb on the internet. I had my backpack filled with my laptop, a manuscript I need to pick up the redmarks on, my passport, my kindle and a charger. The kids had games. 

Just as I was thinking things over, The Professor walked in and said, "Everyone in the bathroom."

He'd seen a lowering cloud just to our East. 
The news had mentioned nothing about it. Of course, the lovely digital TV thing we have going sans cable is a pain. We lost the signal. I lost Cell strength - and we were stuck in our bathroom while they told us about everything else going on around us. 

It was frustrating not knowing. It was frustrating having cranky, slightly frightened kids. The professor ate his lunch and I made breaks from the bath to check the screens and the internet. 

When the sirens went off again, sounding the all clear, we were already out of the bathroom and checking the radars on-line. It was weird how we were ignored by the storm trackers. 

But maybe it was atmospheric. 
I do have that authority. 
Even if I don't feel good. 

Still...I look at the pictures of the damage done and think...would it have been better to have a safe room?? Or would I have put my faith in that? 

It's a question I'll be asking for awhile, I think.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Journey - Epilogue

This has been SOOO much fun to write. Thank you for enjoying it with me.
Hopefully I'll be able to share something again in the very near future.

I was going to stop the story with the last post - but DJ wanted to share this part of the story with you, too. So without further ado - I give you The Epilogue....which really isn't an ending but a beginning. The rest is up to your imagination.

 And to think...it all started with a prologue.


February 2012

    “Don’t answer it.” DJ muttered without moving, knowing she would anyway.

    Meg rolled away from the warmth of his body and answered the phone, "Rediker.”

    Hearing her use his name, never grew old. Draping an arm around her waist, DJ kissed her shoulder and listened.

    “It’s Spiro. We’ve got a lead on the Dumont robbery. The necklace was pawned. It’s such a nice cheerful day to be out on the street.”

    “Bite me, Spiro. There’s two inches of ice on the roads. Who in their right mind would try to fence jewelry on a day like this?”

    “Don’t know. The owner of the shop called it in. You get to corroborate.”

    Swearing into the pillow, she slammed the phone down, “It’s just no fun anymore.”

    “What?” DJ Muttered, kissing the soft skin between her shoulder blades.

    “Slamming phones. There’s no satisfaction to a ‘beep’.” Meg squirmed away from her husband before he could make her forget that she was a cop. “I have to go out. I should be back in a couple of hours.”

    Tugging on pants she was sure she wore the day before, Meg ran through her mental check list. She slid on the bra gratefully. Weeks of therapy had helped her regain full range of motion. Determination had her continually grateful whenever slipping on the annoying and often binding undergarment. Wearing nothing but pants and her bra she was half-way ready to walk out the door. At least mentally.

    DJ watched with appreciation as his wife stopped in the middle of the room. She inhaled and exhaled slowly. The scars were far from faded and served as constant reminders to him of what might have been. Propping himself up on his elbow, DJ grinned, “You alright, baby?”

    “I’m fine. I just had a twinge of....”

    DJ smirked and watched Meg put her hand to her stomach moments before she dashed to the bathroom. Knowing that laughing would result in pain, DJ swallowed the urge. Tossing back the blanket, he joyfully followed his wife. Holding her hair with one hand he wet a cloth with the other. Third time it had happened, by his calculations. Never in a row but she wasn’t eating normally either.

    The first time it had happened, his wife had shrugged it off as something she’d eaten. The second time, she had wondered if she’d gotten a stomach bug. She never mentioned her lack of appetite but DJ had noticed and had bided his time. 

    “Oh, I simply hate throwing up.” Meg leaned against his shoulder and let him wipe her face with the wash cloth.

    “Well,” He reached over and pulled down on the handle to send her stomach contents far away from them, “I’m not exactly fond of you throwing up, to be honest.”

    Kissing her forehead, DJ got to his feet and poured mouth wash into a small cup. Handing it down to her, he listened to her rinse out her mouth. With a surge of happiness, DJ reached into his drawer and pulled out the white box he's purchased. Purchased with a feeling of glee after the second morning of vomiting. Grinning into her hair, he placed the box in Meg’s hands.

    “A pregnancy test?” Meg laughed, “Seriously, Darcy.”

    “No contraceptive is one-hundred percent and you know it.” DJ settled himself against the cabinet door and snugged her between his flannel covered legs, “Shall we consider the evidence, Detective?” He held out his thumb, “One, you have claimed that you are NEVER sick.”

    Meg opened her mouth to be told, with a finger in her face, “Two, there was a series of robberies right around Christmas. You were very busy with those - you pulled several late nights. Trying, I believe, to save the department from bad press. And while I don’t like watching you stress, being your stress reliever has some definite perks.”

    Her smirk told him that she thought so, too. He continued before she could comment, “Three. Christmas weekend we rarely left our bed. I’m not complaining. Just pointing out the evidence.”

    “Four. At the end of the month, you mentioned that you must have missed days on your pills because you had at least three left. What do you want to bet you missed three in a row?”

    Meg opened her mouth to be shushed again. DJ was on a roll and wasn’t about to be deterred, “Five. You’ve been without an appetite and this is the third time you’ve been vomiting in the morning. It certainly wasn’t food poisoning because I ate the exact same thing you did. I never got sick that day.”

    “Fine.” Meg shifted out of his arms, “I’ll pee on a stick. Just to shut you up.”
    DJ brought his knees up and rested his hands on them, “The evidence requires it. Not me.”

    “Leave.” Meg motioned with the pregnancy test, “Go.”

    His smile was brilliant, “I’m not leaving. I’m not giving you an opportunity to tamper with the evidence.”

    Narrowing her eyes, “Fine. But if this is negative, you’re driving me to interview the shop owner.”

    Watching her face, DJ nodded once, “Challenge accepted. However, if it’s positive you call Spiro back and tell him to send someone else. Then you spend the rest of the day in bed with me.”

    “Fine.” Meg opened the box and broke the seal on the pregnancy test. She followed the instructions carefully, as to not tamper with evidence. Meg set the pregnancy test on the floor and they both stared at it. They didn’t have to wait the full three minutes before DJ’s laughter rang through the house.

    “I'm going to be a dad!” On his knees in a moment, he kissed his wife with passion and glee, “And you said you got all the brains in the family.”

    She couldn't help get caught up in his happiness, especially when he lifted her like she was weightless. Meg settled herself back in the bed and reached for the phone.

    When her partner answered, Meg grinned, “I’m not going to be able to make it after all. Send Ericson down to get a statement. I’ll do a follow up if it’s necessary. Tomorrow or the next day.”

    She could all but see Spiro’s eyes narrow and his bushy eyebrows draw together, “I had to drive in his fantastic mess, so do you.”

    “Actually, I can’t. I lost a bet with my husband. You’ll need to send Ericson.”

    Silence on the other end of the phone and Darcy nibbling on her shoulder, Meg clamped her lips down to keep from laughing, “What sort of bet, Detective?”

    “I'm pregnant.”

    “Well, I’ll be.” There was a long pause and a low chuckle filled the phone, “I'm going to be an uncle.” Spiro outright laughed before declaring, “Well. Damn. I’ll send Ericson.”

    Taking the phone from Meg, DJ tossed the unit under the bed. With a grin, he tugged on Meg’s hips until she was flat on the bed and laughing.

    “You’re going to have to go under there and get that, you know.”

    DJ kissed the scar on her stomach, as he did every time he had the chance. This time he kissed her low on her abdomen, where his baby grew, “Later.”

    Meg grinned at the tender kisses on her stomach, “Do you want to know something, Darcy Rediker?”

    Kissing his way up to look in her face, DJ smiled, he couldn’t seem to stop. He was going to be a dad. “Tell me?”

    “You were worth waiting for.”

    © 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim


Monday, May 23, 2011

Journey - Finally

I'm finally over the word count for making this a "Novella". Warning -- in an effort not to make this another cliff hanger -- I've included the entire last bit here. It's long. 

You've been warned.

Recovery Begins

Our story continues:

    Released to go home, Meg was armed with severe restrictions. How much she could lift. How long she should stay down and up. Do not push yourself too hard. Too far.

    Meg had scowled. She was a cop. Pushing herself too hard and too far is what she did regularly. Being a patient was going to be more work than she realized. Instead of letting her go home, her family outvoted her and she found herself neatly situated in the recliner in her family home. A table to her left held everything she needed. Water, her pain prescription and the small bottle of non-prescription analgesic. Other items were close at hand. Books. A newspaper. The television remote. Hand-drawn cards from her nieces and nephew were waiting to welcome her home.

    Flowers and balloons that had filtered into her hospital room after she’d moved from the critical care unit, now filled her mother’s home. Once tucked in the recliner, Norma instituted a day of rest. Meg protested when the day slowly stretched into a week.

    “I'm not a puppy who needs to get used to new surroundings, Mom!”

    Norma was firm and her family knew better than to argue with her. Knowing Meg would need distractions, they secretly compromised. Her brothers came together or alone. Her sisters-in-law came off an on with children and without. They came for only a little while and they came bearing gifts.  New books. Her stack continued to grow.

    DJ did not come the first day she was home but he came the second. From her apartment, he brought her laptop and all the things she needed to run it. He pulled an ottoman close and sat at her elbow. The conversation flowed over many things. DJ held her hand, touched her cheek and gave tender kisses. Meg reveled in his attention and the tenderness.

    Meg expected to be bored over the week she was essentially confined to home. Instead, she found the peace soothing. She alternated between napping and reading. 

    Dressing herself was a challenge. Her right arm was kept hugged close to her body. The easiest thing to layer herself into for clothes were layered tank tops. Her sister-in-laws both offered button-down shirts from their husbands. With a grin, DJ offered a few of his own. After DJ murmured in her ear that he liked the look of his shirts on her, they were Meg’s favorites. The combination of layers became her uniform. Never in all the years she’d been required to wear a bra had she thought she’d miss that particular piece of clothing. It was often an implement of torture. Because she couldn’t move her arm, Meg found herself missing it.

    Refusing to be completely waited upon, Meg shuffled through the house. She gained strength as days passed. Even so, her mother was constantly shuffling her back to the recliner. Meg smiled bright when roses were unexpectedly delivered. The card read, “Making up for lost time. love, DJ” He didn’t visit every day and Meg didn’t mind. No one visited every day. It kept her from the feeling of suffocating and each visit was a welcome distraction.

    Somehow, through instinct or phone calls, the isolation was broken on Sunday. What started out as a slow day grew in noise. Her family had intended to gather for the traditional Sunday dinner. Since it was a well-known fact that they did so, it was no surprise when the bell rang just before eleven in the morning. It was a surprise to Meg that the guest turned out to be Neil Spiro  No stranger to Sunday dinner, he was welcomed by all. Travis Winkler, in the neighborhood, stopped by with his son. A child who was the spitting image of his father. Luckily, without the bullying tendencies. Charlotte and Paul Rediker were loudly welcomed and the party was moved to the back yard. In the warming day, sunday dinner was quickly turned into a cook out. Paul Rediker and Uncle Mark manned the grill. Sara and Trish quickly made a huge salad while Charlotte and Norma worked at making hamburger patties.

    Meg was put in a chair in the shade of the patio, sitting while her family gathered. Captain Zuck came by for a visit, thinking Sunday would be a nice quiet day. He’d been pleasantly surprised to be wrong. A phone call and thirty minutes later several of Meg’s friends appeared on the stoop with sodas, beer and ice. Sam Paris, called by Travis and armed with store bought cupcakes, appeared with his wife and twin daughters. The yard filled with laughter, friends and cops. Watching from the patio, Meg knew they were all family.

    The only person missing, and he was asked about, was DJ. Since Meg didn’t know where he was, she shrugged her good shoulder and tried not to groan when her mother cut up her hamburger into halves.  It was no secret anymore that he was bunking at her apartment, her brothers thought it was amusing. Still, no one knew where he was.

    Hugging a pillow to her stomach more often than she wasn’t, Meg enjoyed the time. Even if she ate sparingly, Meg ate with relish. Hearing her name, Meg looked up. Her uncle grinned and motioned with his head. Looking behind her, she smiled at DJ’s surprise. He stood just to the side of the back door, a bemused expression on his face.

    His broad-shoulders and chest well-filled his t-shirt. He chose a dusky green that highlighted the tan that still glinted over his skin. In a purely female frame of mind, Meg allowed herself to enjoy the view of him before he was greeted by family.

    With a laugh, DJ finally found himself sitting next to Meg. He had a plate of food he didn’t want and a convenient moment alone with Meg that he did want.

    His eyes skimmed over the group. A game of Bocce Ball had been set up in the grass. Laughter and good natured teasing bounced back to where they sat. DJ grinned at her, confusion filled his eyes, “I didn’t realize there was going to be a party.”

    “There wasn’t. It was just going to be family.” Her grin matched his, “Then the extended family showed up.”

    DJ picked her hand up and pressed her knuckles to his lips, “I’m sorry I was late. I wanted to pick something up.”

    “There’s plenty of food, though,” She eyed his plate, “you don’t seem to be interested in eating.” Meg swiveled in the chair, “Why are you nervous?”

    His laugh was filled with amusement and good humor, “Detective Addison is back, I see.”

    “She was only momentarily out of commission.” Meg grinned slightly, “But, really, Darcy, there’s nothing to be nervous about.”

    “Actually. There is.” He inhaled and surveyed the group, “Listen. Are you up for a drive?”

    Knowing something was up, Meg steadied the rise of nerves. She had no reason for them. At least, not yet, “A change of scenery would be nice. I’m not up for walking, though.”

    “There won’t be much walking. I’ll take care of you.”

    Whatever it was that bothered DJ it was important. Meg nodded, “Let me get my shoes.”


    By the time Meg was in the passenger seat of her own car, she’d had a murmured conversation with her stepfather uncle. After giving her an understanding squeeze on the arm, he’d in turn had a conversation with his wife. As far as Meg could tell, DJ was not aware. The sling held her right arm against her body, a restriction she’d be thrilled to have removed.

    Instinctively she watched his body language. She saw the tensing play over his jaw and the stress in the tendons in his neck.

    “Are you going to tell me where we’re going?”

    “No. Do you want to stop along the way? Get coffee?”

    “That’s alright.” Meg grinned in a manner she hoped was pleasant and not murderous, “I’m more curious about where we’re going. It’ll be agony if I try to drink coffee and wonder.” It would also delay the inevitable she feared was coming.
    “Okay.” DJ glanced over at her. He opened his mouth to talk and then closed it again. Giving his head a slight shake, DJ turned his eyes back to the road.

    “Darcy, if something’s on your mind, it might be easier if you just blurted it out.”

    “I seem to be fumbling over my own tongue with you. I want to wait.”

    Meg lifted an eyebrow at his profile, “Don’t wait too long.”

    DJ nodded once but kept his focus on the road. Meg contented herself with watching the scenery. Knowing the city and many of the suburban area around it, Meg knew where she was as DJ drove in silence. She was more puzzled by DJ’s deliberate driving. She’d already known by the silence that they weren’t going on a simple drive. Though, it would have been easier for him to break off their relationship at home. With her in the recliner and unable to easily kill him.

    When she couldn’t come up with a reason behind his actions, Meg watched the landscape change. Less urban and more country, the houses were further apart, the yards larger and the distance between neighbors greatly lengthened.     

    Meg tapped the window, “That house there was auctioned off by the Sheriff’s department several years ago. It was confiscated in a burglary ring. All the owner’s assets were frozen.”

    “Were you in on the sting?”

    “Yeah. I was a buyer. I bet you I could meet the guy on the street today and he’d not recognize me.” She held her hands out in front of her, “He never looked above here.”

    “Assets well placed." DJ's grin was there and gone quickly. 

    Meg laughed carefully, “I’m glad you noticed. After the case was closed, no one could prove ownership of the house. The Sheriff’s department didn’t want it. The mortgage company counted it is as a loss - especially since the paper work was so screwed up. So it was sold. Who ever bought it probably got an amazing deal.”

    “Probably.” His distraction was obvious and Meg merely narrowed her eyes at him.

    Leaving the stolen house behind them, DJ turned the car onto a wide tree-lined street and then jogged immediately into a driveway. The drive curled around a fence, over a crest and stopped right in front of a wide, sprawling house. It seemed to rise and fall with the contours of the land. Intrigued, Meg looked up at the twisted trees that served as pillars for the portico extending from the house to the drive.  The wide front door was heavy wood, the knots and dings in the wood gave it character and charmed Meg immediately.

    The house was mostly rock, but the wood used in the details and design was golden and buffed over time. DJ moved around the hood of the car and to her side, helping her step out onto the drive. Steadier on her feet than she’d been for days, she still held onto his arm for support as they went up the single step. DJ opened the massive front door and they stepped in.

    The entry was domed and Meg glanced up. Painting on the stuccoed ceiling perpetually announced spring. DJ watched without trying to appear that he was doing so.

    Meg stepped into the great room and offered an ‘oooo’ of appreciation. There was no furniture in the house but her eye was drawn to the magnificent fireplace on the other side of the room. The mantle was wood, natural in its imperfections. Tall candle sticks would be perfect there. A door to one side of the fireplace led into the next room. From where she stood, the Spanish tile led deeper into the middle of the house. To her right, wide windows let light into the room. The room could be arranged as two living areas, or one great room. It was, simply put, huge.

    “I realize that you opened the door, so breaking and entering isn’t a problem. Still, I gotta know - are we supposed to be here?”

    “I have permission.” DJ pointed down the corridor, “You want to keep looking?”

    “Why the hell not? I mean, since we’re here.” The kitchen was filled with gray marble counter tops, gleaming fixtures and glass fronted cabinets with unique handles on each door. Meg grinned and rounded the island to the French doors, she suspected opened onto the yard. “How many bedrooms?”

    "Depends on how it’s arranged.” DJ answered, hooking his thumbs on his jean pockets. “Not all the rooms need to be bedrooms. A couple have built in book cases. Offices could be arranged.”

    Meg opened the doors and laughed at the covered Lanai. A hammock still hung between two of the porch supports. “It’s amazing. Why is it empty?”

    DJ didn't answer.

    Meg looked out over the grounds. She could smell the chlorine of the pool and made her way to the corner of the house. The pool wasn’t tiled to be blue like so many were, it was tiled to be a grotto, deep and clear. It was long enough for floating or exercise but small enough to be intimate. It fit in the rolling yard. Steps down from the portico.

    “That door there, at the top of the path, is the master suite.” Holding her arm, DJ led the way to the door and opened it. They stood just inside the door. A fireplace was situated in the corner of the room. Over it was a painting, with swipes of pale pink, brown and cream. In startling contrast was sapphire blue streaked over the canvas.

    “Odd that there’s a painting when the rest of the house is empty.”

    “Do you like it?” DJ asked.

    “I do. I liked it immediately.” Meg turned slowly, she liked the warmth of the walls. They weren’t blandly white. The carpet was a color that looked almost pink instead of cream. It matched the color in the painting. One of the reasons, DJ had bought the crazy piece of art. The other was the blue that had immediately attracted his attention and summoned to Meg to his thoughts.

    “Meg. I have to go back.” The pain sounded in his voice.

    Nodding quickly, Meg murmured, “I thought you might.”

    “Well, it’s formality really.” DJ moved to stand in front of her. Bending his knees he ducked down, forcing her eyes to his, “I am going to do this badly, I’m afraid. I’ve done everything else badly.”

    Meg sighed hugely, “Would you just say it, already? I’m tired of the silence, Darcy. The nerves. You’re making me nervous and I’ve worked in tenser situations and kept my hands steady.” She held her hand out to show him the slight tremor. “Get on with it.”

    “You mean the world to me.” DJ held the hand in his and caressed the skin over her knuckles.

    Meg heard the unfinished sentence dangling and prompted, “but?”

    “No ‘buts’. I have two choices available to me when I go back. The first one is to pick up right where I left off. The second is to resign and retire.”

    “Why would you retire?”

    “I told you, if I got married I couldn’t serve with my unit. I'm stretching the rules simply by having a girlfriend. My commander allowed it because you're a cop. Because he knew you never ...” DJ sighed, "...you weren't hindering me."

    Unsure what she should say, Meg said nothing.

    “Meg,” he huffed, “I’m suddenly terrible with words. I need to know that if I go back and resign that you’ll be here waiting when I get back.”

    “I’ve waited this long, Darcy.” Meg frowned, “I’ll wait as long as you need me to...”

    DJ held a bit of silver between his thumb and forefinger. The sapphire winked at her, “No, Meg, I need to know that you’ll marry me. Will you be my wife and will you make this house our home?”

    “Oh...” Meg stared at the ring, his words filling her hears. Her heart stumbled on itself and she repeated, “Oh.”

    “I can’t go back until I know that you still want me. After all this time. I know it’s not been fair....”

    “Darcy,” Meg interrupted, “You did what you needed to do. I’ll never fault you for that. EVER. You have to understand that.”

    Thinking that he did understand, DJ waited.

    Meg grinned slightly, “My hand is shaking too much to put my finger in that circle. You’re going to have to do it for me.”

    His smile was bright and instant, “So that’s a yes?”
    “Yes! Hurry up!” Her laugh, when he slid the silver band around her finger was cut off by a moan, “We don’t get married until I can laugh without crying.”

    “Deal.” Once the ring was settled on her finger, DJ framed her face with his hands and kissed her soundly.

    Meg admired the ring on her finger and then looked up at him, “This is our house?”

    “Yes. I signed the papers on Friday.” DJ pulled his wallet from his back pocket and unfolded it, “My father has been taking care of my money for me. He’s done quite well with it.” He handed her a credit card.
    Running her finger over the embossed lettering of her name, Meg protested quietly, “I’m not Jessica. I don’t need money.”

    “I know. If you did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. We’d be living in your cramped apartment.” Gingerly, DJ wrapped his arms around her and drew her close, “I’ve thought about it a lot. I want you to make this our home. What I know is that you will make it ours. It won’t be just yours.” He thought of the house he’d had to sell so many years ago. “It will be ours. I don’t care if you decide to make it all pink. Just, for the love of all things holy, please, don’t buy a floral couch.”

    Pressing her face into his chest, Meg did her best not to laugh, “I thought you were taking me away to break it off.”

    “No, baby. I love you so much. You’ve been my lifeline since we met. I just didn’t know how much I needed you. When I got here and you were so near to being gone, to leaving me, I thought I’d missed my chance to tell you and to ask you to marry me. I'm not taking the risk to wait until you’re completely recovered.”

    “If I’d said no?” Meg asked with honest curiosity, "What would you have done?”

    “Gone back to my unit and probably never come home again.”

    Tugging on his t-shirt, Meg urged his lips closer to hers so she could kiss him, “I love you, Darcy. Go make your peace with your unit. I’ll be here when you get back.”

    “I'm going to hold you to that.” With more tenderness than he thought he possessed, Darcy kissed his future wife in their home.
    “Finally.” was Meg’s thought before she thought of nothing else.

July 2011

    It took just under three months to get his affairs in order, pack the entirety of his life and return home. He’d counted the days. He’d been teased. He’d been congratulated. He’d signed privacy disclosures that his commander knew were unneeded. After his commanding officer made a phone call and got him on a transport, the flight home was shorter than normal. He’d easily made a connecting flight.  With commendations and discharge papers in his backpack, DJ stepped off the plane. Quite possibly for the last time.

    He swallowed the memory that resurfaced from years before  and shouldered his duffel bag. People naturally moved out of his way as he walked. His stride ate up the ground.

    Clearing the crowd heading into the terminals, his eyes swept those waiting. He shouldn’t have wondered if she’d be there or if he’d see her right away. With the badge around her neck, she stood with casual authority. Alone, her feet shoulder width apart and her hands on her hips, Meg sized him up as he walked toward her. Lifting an eyebrow as he walked directly to her, Meg smirked.


    “Hey.” His duffel bag hit the floor with a loud thud. Arms held to his sides, “How are you?”

    “Nearly as good as new. I’m on light duty until I can lift my shoulder.” She tilted her head slightly and grinned, “I'm well enough to be kissed.”

    DJ wrapped his arms around Meg and kissed her greedily. He had years to make up for and figured he’d wasted enough time.

    With her arms around his neck, DJ held her tight against him. Her feet dangled and Meg touched her nose to his, “Welcome home, Darcy.”


    © 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Journey - Recovery Begins

    Meg tried to focus complete on what the doctor was telling her. Every now and again it felt like her brain sloshed from one side to another. He described the injuries and the ramifications. “You’ll need to take it easy. No heavy lifting for several weeks. It would be easier of you’d been injured in just one place or even one side of your body. You got hit from four different directions. You’re lucky to be alive.”

    Assimilating that information, Meg tilted her head drunkenly, “When can I go home?”

    Amused, Dr. Montgomery grinned slightly, “Not for a while. You’re going to need to be up and walking before I let you out of here.” He shifted and took hold of the blanket, “Now, let’s take a look at you.”

    The doctor had explained much to her and the information jumbled in her head as she fell into sleep. She didn’t want to use the morphine. The doctor had told her that using it to keep the edge off the pain wouldn’t create an addiction. Meg wasn’t quite so certain but the longer she was awake the more she ached. It was a top of the head to the bottom of her feet kind of ache.

    Uncertain how long she’d slept, Meg scraped her hand over her face. She needed water. She wanted to go home. The lights had been dimmed but she didn’t open her eyes very wide. She rolled her head to reach for the button on the computerized pump. It had a name. She'd been told. Meg glared at it, trying to remember. Inspired, she decided she would call it Simon.

    “Simon says,” Meg muttered hoarsely. Amusement bubbled in her brain but she hurt too much to laugh. Rolling her head, she glared at the water on the rolling tray. It had been moved out of the way and not moved back within reach. Either side was bad for reaching. IV’s and equipment on one side. On the other, her injured shoulder made raising her arm difficult. Even hefting the water glass was currently a painful and often weak endeavor. Even if she could reach it.

    Meg sighed and closed her eyes. It wasn’t worth it.

    Warm fingers lifted her hand from her stomach and the handle of the insulated mug was pressed into her palm. Her fingers wrapped around the handle instinctively. The hand stayed on hers keeping the mug steady. The faint smell of soap and an aftershave she didn’t recognize filled her nose.

    Rolling her head back to center, Meg opened her eyes. Delight surged through her and the heart monitor recorded her heart beat skipping.

    DJ smiled slowly, “Hey.”

    “Hey.” Meg contented herself with seeing him in person. “You look good.”

    “You don’t.” He grinned to rob the words of any offense. She’d have known he was lying anyway. “Take a drink, Meg.”

    He held the mug for her and she drank slowly, sipping from the edge of the spouted lids. No straws until she was certain her stomach could handle the extra air. Meg was fairly certain the extra air might be worth the price of not dribbling water down her chin every time she needed a drink.

    Putting the cup back on the tray, DJ leaned closer to Meg. With his hand on the mattress at the side of her head, he put his weight on his arm.

    Ignoring the IV’s and the pull of the tape, Meg reached up to touch his cheek. “Why are you here?”

    “Because you are.” He kissed her forehead.

    “Have you been here? When did you arrive stateside?”

    DJ kissed the crease in her forehead. His lips were soft and warm on her skin.  “I hit land the same day you were shot. I spent the night in the chair watching you sleep.”

    “That must have been boring.”

    His smile was bright with humor, “Yeah. I fell asleep. I blamed the jet lag but really, I was just bored.”

    Meg stared at him, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”


    A laugh bubbled out of her before it was smothered with a groan. Pain quickly replaced humor. Meg pressed her hands to her side and focused on breathing. With her eyes closed against the burning, she didn’t see DJ lower his head again to kiss her cheek. Then her nose before gently settling his lips against hers. The distraction was as complete as the kiss was sweet.

    When he pulled away, DJ heard the soft sigh and felt the breath on his lips. Without asking, he pushed the button on her PCA, “Simon says.”

    “You heard that?” The corner of Meg’s mouth lifted.

    DJ rubbed his knuckles over her arm before standing completely upright, “I did. You’ve been taking the bare minimum. You can take one more this time.”

    “Bossy.” The pleasure of seeing him robbed the name-calling of any true conviction. Fatigue began to darken the room. “You’ll be around?”

    “Yes.” The conviction rang in his voice, “We have things to discuss.”

    Opening one eye, Meg peered at him, “Good things?”

    “I hope so.” He watched the eye close and her head rolled to the side, resting her cheek on the pillow. He curled his hand around her foot and watched the slow smile curl her lips.

    “I love you, Darcy.”

    He told her he loved her but Meg was already asleep. DJ stretched his legs out, being mindful of cords and cables and watched her sleep.

    Meg never knew who was going to be in her room when she resurfaced from sleeping. Since she was awake, the nurses had her up and walking. Meg was frustrated by the slow motion but she had no choice. The injury in her upper leg was by far the least painful but hampered her considerably. The core muscles in her trunk were bruised and battered by the insult of injury and then by surgeries. Meg had no choice but to move slow. By Tuesday they only thing connected to her body was Simon. By Thursday she was completely unhooked.

    It had been difficult being in the hospital the days her comrades were memorialized. Her brothers would have worn their dress blues, her uncle a dark suit. Knowing it would be difficult on Meg, Norma sat with her briefly. Captain Mulholland surprised her by rolling into her room. He had demanded that he be wheeled down to her room. They talked and comiserated for over an hour until they were both ready to succumb to fatigue.

    When she woke up, her brothers grinned at her. They’d snuck in coffee just for her. Meg gave herself a few sips but since her stomach was still on bland foods, Matthew drank the rest of it. They visited, telling her of the memorial. Both been surprised when DJ made an appearance wearing his dress uniform. He’d chosen to sit with her family but his presence had been noted by many. Michael put words to the emotions, “It was right, having him there. There was pride that he’d come and come dressed as he was. The honor showed.”

    Matthew grinned rakishly, “He had a chestful of medals.”

    Meg enjoyed their company for as long as she could. She enjoyed when anyone took time to visit. It broke the monotony she found herself suffering when she was awake. Brandon Carroll made her laugh and groan with pain. On a rainy afternoon when Meg found herself fighting an odd depression, Spiro was a surly companion but a welcome presence. For over an hour’s worth of gin rummy, he told her what happened after she’d been taken away in the ambulance. She hadn’t remembered the ambulance. No one else had mentioned that she’d nearly died in Spiro’s direct manner. He mentioned that her soldier had made an impression when he’d arrived in the lecture hall. Meg wasn’t at all surprised.

    “Big apes tend to attract attention.”

    “True,” Spiro grinned, “especially miserable ones.”
    Her soldier came to sit with her every night. Becoming more acclimated to the time difference, he began sleeping more often than he didn’t. The hospital’s choice of a couch and bed combination was not very comfortable for most people. For a soldier accustomed to the ground and sleeping where he could, DJ never complained and didn’t mind. He’d been sleeping on Meg’s couch with a bob cat on his chest. This flat surface was easy.

    It was one such night when Meg had awakened to the pain and let DJ talk her into calling for a nurse and another dose of a pain med. Laying with his hands resting on his chest, DJ watched Meg’s face in the dim light, “You know I'm going to marry you, right?”

    “Sure.” Meg yawned hugely, the pain was abating and sleep wanted to return. “Did you get your hamburger with pickles?”

    “Yes.” DJ looked at the ceiling, “Will you go back to work after you’re released?”

    Meg chuckled and groaned softly. Laughing was getting easier. Everything was getting easier. Recovery was just taking so long. The doctor was right. It would have been so much easier if she’d been shot in one place. When she laughed, her back and her stomach hurt. “Didn’t you? Go back to work?”

    “Yes.” Making a decision, DJ pushed himself to his feet in one fluid motion. “Listen, Meg. The unit I'm with, if I get married ... the rules are ... “ DJ fumbled for the words and swore softly, “I'm out. I can’t be married and be in this outfit.”

    Meg’s eyes narrowed a fraction. Only training kept the frown from curving her mouth down in a moment of confusion. “Look, Darcy, I’ve never asked you to stop doing what you need to do. One day you might explain 2009 to me. Seriously. Not one letter? If this outfit is doing important stuff, I’m not going to stop you from going back.”

    “That’s not what I’m saying at all.” DJ shoved his hands in his jean pockets. “You’ve never made demands.”

    “Neither have you.”

    “If I asked you to leave the force?”

    “I don’t think you would, Darcy.” Meg studied his face, searched his eyes, for a long moment before answer carefully, “If you did, I’d tell you that you’re only reacting to my current state of injury. A condition which is improving daily.” She tilted her head, suddenly tired, “And I’d tell you that you’d need a damn good reason.”

    “It would only be fair.”

    “The reason? Or wanting one?”

    “Wanting one. My reasons would be selfish.”

    Uncertain of the motive behind this sudden turn of conversation, Meg offered a grin, “That’s good to know.”

    Words failed him. When had he gotten so bad with them? He could write her a letter. He could discuss strategy without stuttering. Why did he flub this so badly? Angry with himself, DJ scrubbed his hands over his the bristle that served as hair. With a quick kiss, DJ left her to sleep knowing Mark would be coming to replace him as sentry. He needed to move and put thoughts into actions and he couldn’t do it in the hospital.

© 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Journey - Waking

    After a short nap and a long shower, DJ decided to tend to Meg’s cat. Getting the chore out of the way early in the day seemed the best idea. Running his mental to-do list through his head, DJ slid the key into the door of Meg’s third floor apartment. DJ’s first meeting with Cinnamon nearly stopped his heart. Whether it was lack of food, loneliness or an uncanny knowledge that DJ was unaware, Cinnamon heard the key in the door and hunkered down. His vantage point behind a large pot used to hold a collection of baseball bats, an umbrella and an odd walking stick would be unfamiliar to DJ.

    When DJ stepped inside and closed the door behind him, Cinnamon lunged, swiping at a denim clad ankle. With an oath DJ jumped, his back slammed against the door, clattering it shut. Instinctively he reached for a sidearm that wasn’t there anymore.

    By the time he got his heart reseated in his chest, Cinnamon had easily perched himself on the coffee table, regally staring at the intruder. His cinnamon colored fur was streaked with cream. Golden eyes stared unblinking. If he was bothered by the intruder it didn’t show. Just the opposite seemed to be true. Cinnamon’s cream colored chest seemed to puff out.

    It was the first time DJ had come face to face with the Maine Coon breed and he wasn’t at all certain the beast was truly a cat. To his eyes it looked very much like a smaller version of a mountain lion. DJ understood the male ego, though.

    “I'm bigger.”

    The cat watched him approach, amber eyes unblinking.

    “Cinnamon is probably too tame a name for you,” DJ told him.

    An ear flickered.

    “Maybe Paprika? Chili powder?” Chuckling DJ moved into the kitchen to find cat food, “I guess I'm supposed to feed you.” He found the empty bowls on the floor. Water was refilled and replaced. DJ watched the cat sit on his haunches in the middle of the tiled floor. After finding a bag of dry cat food under the sink, DJ refilled that bowl, too. “There. Can we be friends now?”

    Cinnamon swished his bushy tail.

    “Silent type, are you?”

    Turning his attention away from the cat, DJ surveyed the kitchen. It looked much like an apartment kitchen might look. It was practically square and completely utilitarian. The only flashes of color came from Meg’s dishes. She’d stacked blue and yellow dishes in her sink.

    The cat followed him as DJ wandered the apartment. Two bedrooms and two baths. To free up space, she had a small television screen mounted on the wall. She’d then surrounded it with pictures of her family. DJ recognized the center most place of honor in the grouping and felt a sentimental tug at the realization the picture was of her father. Attired in the dress uniform at the time, he smiled for the camera. His hair was the same color as Meg’s. Some hue between brown and red.

    His own picture was among the grouping. There were few pictures of Meg, which made sense. DJ wouldn’t want to decorate with pictures of himself, either. He shifted through the small rooms. The spare bedroom held a computer on a desk covered with stacks of ... stuff. Papers, books, a coffee cup. DJ was certain it made sense to Meg. On the top shelf was another picture of himself. Taken in Afghanistan, DJ recognized the building behind him. He’d been hot and covered in grit, if DJ recalled correctly. Sunglasses perched on top of his head glinted in the sunlight. He’d received a commendation and had been willing to smile for the camera. He’d sent the picture to his mother as a ‘proof of life’ gesture. Apparently, his mother had shared. A bookshelf held too many books for the shelf and there was no order of stacking. Softball trophies stood in rank on the very top. Various ribbons hung from the bats and around the necks of the little gold ball players. He’d missed those days, DJ realized. Swallowing the surge of emotions and the second-guessing, DJ moved to the bedroom. He ignored the cat sitting in the small hallway. He gave a glance into the bathroom and found the rubber ducky shower curtain to be amusing. Not as amusing as the collection pf actual rubber duckies lined up at the top of the shower wall.

    It was obvious that Meg preferred bright accent colors, particularly sapphire blue. Her bed looked like she had jumped out of it in a hurry. The comforter was a lump in the middle of the bed. The sheets revealed under the bed spread were the same sapphire blue DJ had seen scattered around the apartment. Clothes lay discarded on the floor by the closet door. His cop was not perfectly neat and the revelation brought a grin to his face.  When a picture caught his eye, DJ moved to the bed side table and picked it up.

    He remembered the summer the picture had been taken. He’d been home from Fort Benning. His mother and Mrs. Addison had worked hard to put together a picnic for his friends to gather. If DJ remembered correctly, Jessica had been too busy with beginning wedding plans to attend. Or was it an engagement party? He didn’t remember the exact reason for her absence but he remembered that the picnic had been fun. He spent a considerable amount of time that afternoon talking to Meg and playing flag football with friends. It had been a good day. His father had been behind the camera, DJ remembered. They’d leaned together to smile for him.

    “My kids are growing up.” Paul had declared.

    Lowering himself to the edge of the bed, DJ sighed heavily. 

    Launching himself gracefully on the bed, the cat peered at him from the corner of the mattress. DJ showed him the picture,  “I think this is the first time I’ve seen this picture.”

    Cinnamon flicked an ear stood and stretched. He walked over the rumpled bed spread and nudged DJ’s arm with his head.

    “You’re not the only one who’s going to be in trouble if she doesn’t pull through.” DJ gave the cat a strong stroke with his fingers. When Cinnamon didn’t bite or hiss, DJ tried again. Cinnamon dropped down on his side and purred loudly.

    Not trusting the cat for even a heartbeat, DJ gave him one more stroke and scratch around his ear and stood to his feet. Replacing the picture, he left the cat to the bed. “I’ll do the dishes. You can listen to me pout. In a manly fashion, of course.”

    Cinnamon blinked before following him.

    Norma sat with her daughter as she had since the shooting. It was an accidental scheduling. She took the day time, Mark took the early mornings and because he’d yet to acclimate to the time difference, DJ took the night. Each day, she’d brought something to work on. The first day she’d been too nervous to do much but read and pray. The second day she’d written a letter and worked on embroidery. Today she was humming over her crocheting. Mark liked to watch television while he was with Meg. He’d keep a running dialogue over the sports channel just as they did when Meg was awake.  Arriving just a few minutes earlier than they’d scheduled, Norma sent Mark home to spend time with the grand children while their sons slept and worked. The girls went shopping to buy food and, at Norma’s request,  a hospital kit for Meg. Norma refused to believe that anything else but health would come to her daughter.

    It was the first thing she told Meg when she planted herself in the room’s only chair, “When you’re feeling up to it, there’s an entire list of people who want to see you. All the doctor wants is for you to open your eyes so they can move you to a room.” With only health in her thoughts, it was only fitting that something be prepared for Meg when she was up and around. Shampoo and soap, an easy fitting robe and something easy to put on and wear once the hospital discharged her.

    Instead of pointing out that they could find each of the items on her list at Meg’s apartment, Sara and Trish shopped. Norma knew the distraction would do both her girls good. She remembered all too well what it was like. Having a close loved one face the hazards of the job tended to make spouses of cops feel the edges of mortality. Norma was pleased with her decision to have them shop. As her crochet hook and yarn continued to flow into a pattern, Norma plotted over what she could give them to do next.

    Lost in thought and counting stitches, Norma didn’t see the form on the bed move. Instead, she heard the squeak from the pillows and looked up to find her daughter frowning at her. Swallowing the surprise, Norma smiled slowly, “Good morning.”

    Meg grunted and reached her hand up to pull on the oxygen tubing. Quickly rising to her feet, Norma dropped her project into the chair. She caught Meg’s fingers with one hand and pushed the ‘call nurse’ button with the other.

    Narrowed green eyes peered at her and Norma smiled brightly, “You can snap at me all you want.”

    “Itches,” Meg whispered and reached for the tubing with her other hand at the same time the nurse walked through the door.
    Sweeping the monitors with a well-practiced eye, the nurse moved to stand at the bed side, “Hello, Detective Addison. It’s so nice to see you awake. We were going to put in a feeding tube today. Looks like I’ll be able to cancel that.”

    Eyes narrowing again, Meg glared at the nurse. The nurse was completely unaffected by the scowl, “I’ll page Doctor Montgomery right away. He’ll want to look at you. How long as she been awake?”

    Meg waited a moment while both women became engaged in conversation over her and about her. With one motion, she pulled the oxygen tubes from her nose. The tape snapped away from her cheeks. Meg drew the blanket up over her face and rubbed as vigorously as she could. Her arms felt clumsy and her hands felt thick.

    The nurse grinned slightly, “Well, I guess I can see what sort of patient you’re going to be. I’ll send the aide for some water.” She leaned on the bed rail and looked at Meg, studying her eyes, “You’ll need to take it easy on your stomach.”

    Meg rolled her head to look at her mother, "Day?”

    “Saturday.” Norma touched Meg's hair, “Do you remember what happened?”

    “Got shot.” Meg lifted her hand and looked at the IV taped to the back of her hand. One of the ports was empty the other was hooked to a bag hanging over her head. Lifting her hand pulled the tape on her elbow. Meg frowned at the IV and followed the loop to another bag hanging with the first.

    “Yes, you did.” Norma had watched the news report. “You were on television.”

    “Spiro?”  Meg wanted to know.

    “He got hit in the elbow. He says he’s going to have to quit playing tennis now.”

    He never played. With just the hint of a smile Meg looked in her mother’s face, “Michael?”

    “Flesh wound. Through and through, he called it.”

    Inhaling deeply, Meg nodded once, “Good.” Eyes burning, Meg closed them and tested her body. She moved her feet and wiggled her toes. She couldn’t lift her right arm very high and her mother put a restraining hand on her elbow, “Easy, baby girl. Don’t pull anything loose.”

    The aide came in with water and a smile. Meg took a few small sips before her mother pulled the cup away, earning a scowl.

    “You’re missing part of your stomach. You’ve got to take it easy.” Norma smiled at the frown on her daughter’s face.

    Doctor Montgomery was newly forty and had decided that he needed to have a mid-life crisis, just to see what it was all about. The result showed in his wardrobe and highlighted hair. Norma squeezed her daughter’s arm before stepping out of the room to let the doctor talk to Meg.

    Moving to the waiting room, she called her husband, “Meg woke up. She’s in a horrible mood but our girl woke up.”


© 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim

Friday, May 20, 2011

Journey - Waiting

    DJ made himself as comfortable as he could. The foot of the bed had been the only place he felt he could sit without worrying that his feet would get caught in a cable or cord. Wanting to touch her but not willing to risk hurting her shoulder or interfering with the IV’s, DJ found another option. Sliding his hand under the blanket, he’d curled his fingers around her foot. For a very long time, he sat with his fingers wrapped around her foot watching her breathe. The nurse came in the room for her rounds, making notes in a chart. After one such visit, she grinned as she was leaving, “She’s still maintaining. Each hour she stays steady is one more hour out of worry.”

    Bolstered by the news but not fully willing to surrender to optimism, DJ finally dozed. When a hand squeezed his shoulder, DJ opened his eyes. Meg’s head was turned to the left instead of the right but she was still far too pale. Scrubbing his hands over his face, DJ was surprised to find that he’d slept at all. Jet Lag must have kicked in. Pulling his fingers from under the blanket and immediately missing the contact, DJ looked over his shoulder. Uncle Mark handed him a foam cup filled with coffee. Taking the offered cup, DJ started to rise but Uncle Mark shook his head.

    “Take a minute, son. ”

    His watch told him it was nearly four in the morning. He’d slept for a few hours. Which meant he’d slept through the last of the doctor’s checks on Meg. Her monitors were reading the same as they had a few hours before.  Tasting the coffee, DJ found it good. It awakened his taste buds and his stomach. His stomach reminded him of the neglect DJ had given it.

    Mark stood at the foot of the bed and looked down at his step-daughter. DJ got to his feet, handing Norma’s cell phone over, “I’ll be back this afternoon.”

    “Take your time, son. I’ll call you if something changes.”

    Resettling his beret on his head, DJ squeezed Meg’s toes before leaving.

    The streets in the early hours of the morning were not completely deserted but they were sparse. DJ made good time to return to his parent’s house. He wasn’t sure what surprised him most, the fact that his mother was cooking breakfast or that Matthew Addison was sitting in his parent’s kitchen.

    Matthew lifted a cup of coffee in his direction, “How’d our girl do during the night?”

    “They’re watching her blood count for signs of internal bleeding. She didn’t move around much even when they check her bandages.”

    “Morphine.” Matthew sipped his coffee, “Michael’s on his way over. Your mom was nice enough to fix breakfast.”

    Charlotte hmphed over her stove and DJ grinned at her back. She wore jeans and an old button down of his fathers. “It’s the least I can do. Besides, I figure if I feed you boys, I’ll hear the news.”

    Matthew ran a hand through his brown hair, “I'm starting to get gray hairs and she’s still calling me a ‘boy’.”

    With a glance over her shoulder, Charlotte chuckled, “You are. My boys. I just didn’t give birth to you." She turned and set two plates of scrambled eggs, hashed potatoes and bacon on the table for them. “Eat. I’ll finish up Michael’s plate.”

    A cup of coffee for DJ followed and juice and glasses were placed in the middle. They ate in silence for a few minutes until Michael came through the front door. He grinned at DJ and dropped into an empty chair.

    “For some reason I take great comfort in seeing that you’re just as tired as we are.”

    DJ lifted an eyebrow but shoveled more eggs into his mouth without replying.

    Michael beamed a smile at Charlotte, “Thank you, Mrs. Rediker.”

    Charlotte had finally given up on having the Addison boys ever calling her anything else. Just as she’d given up on thinking of them as anything but boys. Looking at the three men at her table, she doubted she could have been prouder. Her heart swelled and before Charlotte knew it she smiled at them.

    Nearly as one, they stopped and stared at her.

    “You okay, Ma?” DJ finally asked.

    “I'm trying my best not to gush. I'm very proud of all three of you.”

    Three grins flashed at her before they bent back to eating.

    “No one can sleep through the smell of bacon.” Paul Rediker announced from the door way. He’d showered and dressed. If he was going to get up, he might as well do it properly. He’d arrived at the door in time to hear his wife’s declaration. He agreed with her and had waited to get a grip on the surprising rise of emotions before making his presence known. Meg was family, even if DJ had not taken the steps until recently to make it official. The threat to her life weighed heavily with him and with Charlotte. Putting a smile on his face, he motioned with his hand, “So? Do I get some of this food?”

    Soon he was at the table with his own plate.  A plate filled with much smaller portions. Each man was given seconds. With the edge off the hunger they started talking about their night.

    “Meg slept?” Michael wanted to know.

    “Yeah. They kicked me out once or twice to check her wounds. I don't think she moved around much.”

    “Morphine." Matthew reminded them again.

    “She’s steady.” DJ offered. He’d watched her chest rise and fall as he’d listened to the steady beeping of her heart monitor.

    Matthew grinned at Michael, “She’s going to have more scars than you.”

    With a lift of his eyebrow, Michael acknowledged it, “A price I’m willing to pay to have her brag about it.”

    Paul appreciated his wife’s cooking, even before the sun was risen in the sky, “The news report of the shooting made it to the national news. Brandon Carroll did several interviews with the network.”

    DJ straightened and looked from brother to brother, “Did you know he had a thing for Meg?”

    Both sets of eyes stared at him. The amusement was evident even before they laughed. Both leaned back in their seats, enjoying the moment. Matthew laughed again before telling DJ,  “Meg gave him an A for effort, and that’s all she gave him.”

    “He’s a good guy.” Michael grinned and reached for more coffee, “He’s working on the tape for the breaking news that he wants to play in the morning. It’s nice having a reporter on our side instead of against us.”

    “We were on our best behavior.” Matthew grinned, “We didn’t want anything that looked like police battery on video.”

    “Did you find them?”

    Both brothers nodded but it was Michael who started, “Oh, yeah. It didn’t take long, all things considered. We broke into three squads to move into neighborhoods where this group might have been hanging.”

    “My group found them." Matthew grinned, “They’d taken over an old tannery in no-man's land.”

    “A section over between Fairman and Pine,” Michael explained to DJ’s frown and unvoiced question. “It’s mostly filled with broken down buildings. You know the kind. Old warehouses and industrial buildings. Some store fronts with the apartments on the upper floor. Most people don’t go down there if they don’t have to. There's always talk of revitalization. So far no one wants to risk the loss that they’d incur.”

    DJ glanced from face to face as the brothers bounced information back and forth.

    “Michael’s group found someone on their sweep that knew what went down and confirmed everything. He’s willing to talk under the agreement that he gets immunity from whatever the DA can find on him.”

    “Lenny said he owed it to Meg. I don’t know how she affords him, though. He’s one expensive informant.” Michael groused into his coffee. “He might have agreed to talk to the DA but he cost me fifty bucks.”

    “Chump change. And you were the chump." Matthew grinned before pressing forward over his brother’s murmured reply. “Anyway. When we got to the tannery there were a few shots fired. The shooter was on the roof.”

    “Where I’d be,” DJ agreed. “On another building.”

    Matthew narrowed his eyes, “Luckily, these guys are stupid. Once we dealt with the shooter and got into the building it was entirely too easy. Apparently, we have the brains of the operation down town, in the hospital or dead. Captain Zuck and Neil Spiro were in charge of the interviews when we left.”

    “We were glad to leave.” Michael grinned.

    “Like I said, it was too easy for all the pain they caused. We only had to shoot two of them before the rest practically threw their guns at us.”

    DJ grinned slightly.

    Michael grunted, “They had quite a collection of stolen electronics upstairs and an chop shop downstairs. Some of the vehicles were in pieces and parts.”

    “It’ll probably clear up a bunch of robbery cases. The paper work on the merchandise alone is going to take time.”

    “When we left the scene they were hauling the stuff away in a moving van.” Michael turned his coffee cup between his fingers, “I’ll be curious to hear how they kept their activities a secret. If they used threats to enforce neighborhood silence. If they did, then we’ll probably get more people coming forward to talk about them.”

    Matthew leaned back, “Still. We’re looking at a lot of paper work. Neil Spiro has taken over the shooting case until Mulholland returns. The way it looks, the good captain is going to be on medical leave for a couple of months.”

    “Detective Spiro has already made it clear that any one who took part has a report to file.” Michael grinned, “I got lucky not to have to do any of the interviews.”

    Matthew slid a key toward DJ, “Because we’re going to be neck deep in paper work, you get to feed Meg’s cat.”

    With a grin that matched his brother’s, Michael offered, “You might as well get to know each other.”

    Staring at the key, DJ wanted to know, “She has a cat?”

    “Cat’s name is Cinnamon and we’re not exactly sure who owns who.”

    “Watch your back, too.” Matthew grinned, “Cinnamon has a temper.”

    “Gee, thanks.” DJ took the key and slid it into his pocket, “Is there a time limit here?”

    “Nope.” Getting to his feet, Michael grinned, “none at all.”

    “You can take all the time you want.” Matthew agreed. “The cat won’t go anywhere. Eat some more. Sleep off the jet lag. Definitely take a shower.”

    DJ made a suggestion of his own and laughter followed the Addisons outside.
    Paul studied his son. When the laughter stopped ringing through the room he offered, “You could use a shave, too. You look pretty scary.”

    Lifting an eyebrow at his father, DJ finally grinned, “It’s good to be home.”

Continue Reading

© 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Teasing Dogs ...

First off -- I never thought I'd have to say, "Don't put your foot in the popcorn."

But I did. Mini-E was proud of the fact that she could bend her knee just so. Luckily, we were not eating out of the same bowl. I don't know where that foot's been. (Yes I do. It's been outside.) 

There's something else I never thought I'd have to say.

"Don't tease my dog."

Our east side neighbors have grandchildren that are either living with them now or visiting constantly. The eldest is about 5 or 6. The younger girl is about 3 or 4. They have a dog over there that's just had puppies. 

It bothered me that the little girls were just carrying the puppies around with no care or concern. Freaking the puppies out -- and bothering the mama dog. I could suck that up. Not my puppies. Not my concern. Right?? 

Then today the eldest girl was kicking our chain link fence. Needless to say it made our Gizmo frantic. She then ran up and down the fence line. I made my way outside as quickly as I could to explain and to calm Gizmo down.

"Don't tease my dog. I don't want him to bite you. I don't mind you running with him because he likes to run. Don't tease him."

There's another problem here. These girls are rarely supervised. RARELY. It bothers me. BUT The problem is -- their gate handle locks into spaces at my chain link fence. RIGHT where Gizmo can bite and lunge at the fence. 

Right after explaining to the girl about not teasing my dog, G-man and Mini-E bounced a ball back and forth over the fence. The dog was fine. 

Then Gizmo started the "I'm angry" barking again. G-man was outside but I know that the dog has no fear of the children. I am the alpha female in this house. I hold the squirt bottle.

I go out to see.

ANOTHER neighbor girl is sitting on her bike, in our side yard, with her tire right next to our fence. "Guys!! Don't tease my dog! He might bite you and you'll bleed and that's not good."

My son actually laughed. 

I coulda smacked him. 

He's been safe, for the most part, from dog trauma. I'd like to keep it that way.
I'd like to keep the neighbor kids safe, too.

They just don't seem to get it.
Why aren't the parents teaching them things like -- NOT to go into people's yards without permission? But more importantly - how to handle a dog.

If Gizmo got out, I'd like to believe that he'd hurt you out of excitement.
But I just can't be sure.
I wish they'd get it. 

I wish the parents did doggie safety training but they apparently don't. 
It makes me sad to think that I'll be saying "Don't tease my dog" again. 
I just hope I don't have to say, "told you so."

Oh - don't get me started on the meanie head girl across the street who hit my cat with a stick.