NSFW Warning due to some implied stuff at the end.
“Leave it!” Everleigh caught KC’s dreamy-eyed glance into a box he was picking up.
“That is not for a garage sale, those are rare gems of awesomeness in here!” he protested.
“That’s old car and sport magazines I had to break out a shovel to get all the dust knocked off. You are not a reader, babe! If they collected THAT much dust it does not scream favorite item. So, they go in the sale pile or the trash! Your choice. Either way, please carry that box outside to the sale tables. We have discussed all of this … you were fine with it … geeze KC!”
“… just had to get married. Idiot me! Had to put a ring on it. Ring – ha, more like ball and chain. Wonder if that ball and chain couldn’t go in the sale pile ..” he muttered to himself under his breath.
“What are you mumbling about over there?” Evey called over.
“Nothing, honey!” he lied.
Evey’s parents and brother arrived soon after that episode, bright and early to help with the yard sale. Everyone grabbed boxes and went curbside. The first customers were already flocking to treasure hunt for some perceived bargains.
“Oh my goodness, look at how empty it is … and that echo.” Katie said into a very empty living room as she pulled the front door shut behind herself.
“Please quit mentioning any of that around Evey, guys. She is very VERY emotional about the move.” KC told them walking down the stairs from the front door to the street.
“I am not!” Evey protested .
KC grabbed her and kissed her to avoid a verbal duel.
“If she is that ultra-emotional are you sure you didn’t knock her up yet?” Josh asked KC.
“JOSHUA LIAM CAMERON! You may be old enough to drive, but you are NOT to old for me to spank you!” Katie reprimanded her son.
“What mom? Preggers women are emotional. Hello? We have three of them among the relatives. Even Aunt Vivian, who is usually totally cool, needs a warning sign now.”
Josh defended himself.
It was obvious that early morning yard sales were not this teen boy’s idea of how to start his weekend.
“When you are old enough and have a wife one day, I will remind you of that when you two are expecting!” Katie warned.
“Me? Marry? NEVER!” Josh shook his head with strong determination.
“Yeah, that’s what I used to sound like. And no, we are not pregnant. At least not at the last count. So don’t quote me on that, but your sis is just sad we are moving.” KC told him.
“I thought she was the one forcing you?” Josh argued.
“Son, make yourself useful and carry some stuff over there and spread it on the tarp. Use logic, keep like things together. Your mother and I will be right over.” Everett instructed.
“Why me?! All this is Evey and KC’s junk!” Josh complained, frowning.
“NOW!” Everett’s voice dared his son to challenge him some more and deal with the consequences.
Josh grabbed a box and did as told.
“That boy is going to send me into an early grave!” Everett told Evey and KC.
“I am sorry, the boy, you say? I remember explicitly hearing from you lecture after lecture about wanting another child back when Evey was still little, a boy, as they are sooo much easier than a girl as you explained again and again.” he heard his wife’s gleeful remark.
“Thanks Katie. I will be setting up over there with Josh!” Rett stomped off.
“Man, finally food! Work all day selling my sister and brother-in-law’s junk piles and then not even a measly sandwich!” Josh cheered as he plopped down casually on the chair in the restaurant, immediately leafing through the menu.
“I have no kitchen anymore nor anything but a change of clothes and toiletries left at the house, baby bro! All I could have offered you would have been to have some grass from the backyard. MOO!” Evey stuck her tongue out at her little brother.
“It was barely 4 hours since breakfast, son! I am sure you are not wasting away to nothing by some honest manual labor now and then!” Rett told his youngest.
“Evey, sit over here, next to your daddy.” her mother suggested.
“Can I order some beer?” Josh ignored his older sister as she sat down to his left and addressed his father.
“Are you insane?! Did you fall on your head earlier?! Since when are you allowed alcohol?!” Everett was appalled.
“I just thought since …” he stopped and looked down at the tablecloth.
“Since WHAT son?! Since you aged 5 years since breakfast? I do not understand you sometimes, kid! What is wrong with you recently?! Defiant, challenging me all the damn time, and just impossible to decipher. Just to clarify: NO, you may NOT have any alcohol, not now and not until you are 21 years old! Should go without saying, you are barely 16 and the rules are not new!” Everett grumbled.
“How about a car then? Everyone in my class has one – except me! Mom said she would be okay with me having one if you agreed but you won’t, even though my grades are good! No fair!” Josh pouted and sounded more like a toddler than a teen.
“We have discussed that, Josh! Until you prove to be responsible, there won’t be a car for you – which the latest call from your school where you almost got suspended for releasing hundreds of grass hoppers in the cheerleaders locker rooms does not exactly relay to me. I am going to make you work off the fine during summer!”
“Dad, their squad lead is a bitch who …” Josh tried to defend his action, but Rett cut him off.
“Enough! I do not want to hear it, Joshua!!!”
Everett started to turn bright red when Katie interfered, reaching for her husband’s hand squeezng it, while KC and Evey quickly exchanged looks across the table, while Katie said
“Why a car sweetie? Have your cute little girlfriend drive you. So much more fun! Make all the other boys jealous!” she smiled at their son, knowingly throwing out this bait for Evey to take, in an effort to diffuse the explosive situation from across the table.
“Moooooom, that is super-lame!” Josh sounded like himself again.
“Wait, what? My baby brother has a little girlfriend?!” Evey’s ears perked up as she grinned expectantly at her brother awaiting more information.
“Oh great, here we go.” Josh moaned.
“Yes, he does! She is adorable, and not little at all. Long legs like a model and super-skinny. Smart too, they met in advanced science class.” Katie spilled the beans for her daughter.
“Advanced math!” Josh corrected unnerved and blushing.
“We know her family, too. In a roundabout way she is related to one of your grandpa’s childhood friends, Corbin Bjergsen, the guy who helped with the architecture office when you were … umm … in the hospital. I think she is Corbin’s ex-wife’s young sister or something like that.” Everett told his daughter.
“Are there pictures of the mystery girlfriend?” Evey asked grinning.
“YES! He brought her over the other day! They are soooo cute together! Here look.” Katie held her phone out at Evey who looked grinning at a snapshot of the two teens.
“AWW, how ADORABLE! My lil bro-bro and a REAL girl … AWWW!” Everleigh smirked gleeful at her brother blushing deep and deeper.
“Can you please shoot me, KC. NOW?” Josh told KC, who grinned at him.
“Nah, this is nothing. They can do much worse, best you get used to it early on. Toughen you right up.” he told his young brother-in-law.
“So, did you do the parents meet parents thing yet?” Evey asked her brother.
“Why would he? We didn’t.” KC told her in an attempt to help out Josh.
“Oh yeah … That’s right, KC, why don’t we do that now, after we are all done eating, huh? Swing by the trailer park and hope they all are sober enough to recognize you? Maybe we all survive touching something without getting tetanus shots first. Livin’ on the edge.” Everleigh’s voice sounded slightly testy.
“See, what I mean, Josh? That came riiiiiight back and bit me where the sun don’t shine. I ain’t gonna sit right for a week now.” KC nudged the young man to his left.
“Pah, you should have said yes and see what she would do!” Josh smirked.
“Very bad idea to gamble on daring your sister. You should know.” KC smirked back.
“So Josh-y, what’s her name? And how serious are you two?” Evey continued her inquiry.
“Josh-y?! Seriously, we’re doing cutesy names in public NOW? Uh – BARF! And I dunno. We just kinda became official. Not like a big deal. Her name is Emerson – goes by Emmi – and her parents are both dead. She lives with her sister and nephew out on Windenburg island.”
“The Windenburg island, huh? Dayum, she’s definitely not a poor girl.” KC whistled through his teeth.
Evey wordlessly stared at Heath, who stared back just as mum as she was, while KC chattered upbeat, trying to keep both of the others from melting into puddles of sadness.
The yardsale had rid them of most excess and added some money to their dwindling savings, but now the house sold and while still remodeling the new home, KC and Evey would temporarily move in with her parents, who conveniently – ha! – lived directly across the street.
KC still had the hardest time with that fact, more so than the one that they were downgrading – in his book – from a modern and fancy new build in a fairly newly developed suburb close to the big city to some 30 year old digs way out in the boonies. That house needed lots of love to be something a couple in their twenties would enjoy. And now they were living with the in-laws.
But here he was, watching his wife and her bestie nearly fall apart when it should be him in tears.
“Wow, so this is really it, huh?” Heath said in a quiet doom-and-gloom tone.
“Yeah … last few boxes, that one is open with the things we still need for tomorrow morning. Early departure.”
“I surely will miss you guys. Miss just being able to pop by whenever …”
“Yeah, bummer! I am soooooo going to miss THAT particularly.” KC tried to hide most of the sarcasm as he watched them hug. AGAIN.
“I am gonna cry…” Evey now warned and … did.
Once Heath left the couple went to bed right away.
The next morning came way too quickly, the last of the boxes were loaded into KC’s Jeep and one final walk-through. Before getting into the car, both took one look around the front of the house.
“You ready?” she asked quietly.
“Ready! Let’s do this, baby!”
The next week was spent tearing out the old, adding the new, and painting, painting, painting.
“I really think this house is getting bigger with each brush stroke!” Everleigh moaned exhausted.
“No kidding! I feel like we are moving into a small home, but are painting a 25 room villa!” KC agreed.
Both moaned as they fought their tired, aching bodies back into a standing position to continue.
“Thank you for not rubbing in that I was the one wanting this.” Everleigh told KC.
“No need. Pretty sure you have been kicking yourself plenty already.”
“YUP! I am an unreasonable idiot.” Evey sighed as KC kissed her paint-spotted forehead.
“At least you have a cute butt. And get some paint on that brush, chop-chop!”
“Aye, master o’mine!” Everleigh saluted at her grinning husband.
“I like the sounds of that!”
“Hardee har har! More painting, less gum-flappin’!”
At some point – after long days of labor – they were done. At last. They build the new furniture, added what they kept of the old and hauled in a sheer endless number of boxes, which contents then needed to find a new home at the new house.
“Almost done, KC, the last few boxes!”
“Thank GAWD! I am tired!”
“Me too, but whaddaya say about christening the new bedroom set in style?”
“I say, those two boxes will keep till after the christening!”
“You promise we will do it after?”
“Sure! Come here you!” KC kissed her, which lead to more – fast.
Their first night making love in their new home. It was exhilarating, even though every single muscle and bone ached.
After a brief resting period after the fact, Evey pulled on her sleepwear, got up and addressed her husband.
“KC, come on, let’s finish unpacking. KC? WTH!?” her mouth agape, she stared at her peacefully and soundly asleep husband.
Her anger soon dissipated as she relaxed, smiled watching him smile in his sleep, as she sneaked out and carefully and quietly pulled the bedroom door shut behind herself.
After completing the last few tasks, she decided to treat herself.
That weekend KC and Everleigh had invited to a housewarming breakfast with all of the family and friends that could make it.
With each person who entered, similar words and reactions repeated, so often that both KC and Evey could only fake a happy face and appreciative words.
Once everyone was settled with food, all of them in avid conversations with each other, Everleigh looked around.
Her entire family, everybody she loved and cared about, all in her and KC’s new home.
She looked over at him, laughing with her relatives just like he had always been a part. KC even spoke with Cameron in a very civil manner. KC never mentioned him at all, and Everleigh had her doubts that he had ever truly forgiven him, but he knew Cam still meant a lot to her and therefore he tried to be nice and kind. Oh KC. Rough-edged KC with the golden heart.
Nobody would ever guess what kind of amazing man was underneath that country boy exterior. Handsome, seemingly careless and always with humor or sarcasm at the ready, but the things he and she had been through together already. And Evey was only 23 years old now. She remembered that dirty, bruised, angry little boy, who somehow captured her interest enough that even his awful behavior could not deter her, especially once she had seen what lay beneath his mask.
“Aunty Evey – UP!”
She picked up Abigail and watched her folks.
She and KC were watching Heath’s child for a full day so he could have some alone time with Heather, and later to officially meet her parents. He knew them, they had been a part of Abby’s life all along, but they had never done the typical awkward ‘this is him’ meet & greet, where the father gets to dramatically sniff out the potential son-in-law and give his blessing, so typical for the conservative people they were.
Heath had been by earlier, long before the other guests, when it was still dark, to drop off a housewarming gift, get the tour and bring Abigail.
He drove now, taught by none other than KC, passed his test on the first attempt. Currently he and Heather shared one car. Heather was still here and would catch a ride back to Newcrest with Cailean and Tyler in their van with the darkened windows in the back. There had been a tense moment when Heather and Samantha first ran into each other here, both remained polite and civil and everybody exhaled.
While he would not say, Evey felt that Heath was going to propose to Heather that night. She was a little sad that Heath did not confide in her, or showed her the ring, but she had a feeling he did that in case he got cold feet so he would not have to answer all her questions.
He, too, had come such a long way. He was an excellent father to Abby and Evey braced herself for the bouts of separation anxiety that would come once the invisible timer in Abigail’s head or heart had run out as they undoubtedly would, always did. The kid loved visiting, but after a certain time, she wanted her daddy. Heather had once told Evey that she had the same problem, despite her being the mother. Abigail was most definitely a daddy’s girl.
At some point everybody decided to leave, and as a sheer endless stream of relatives and friends filed out the door, Evey stood smiling, watching on.
Once everything was cleaned up, KC decided to test-drive his new workshop in that little shed in the backyard. One of the few things the house came with that he absolutely loved.
Evey decided to testdrive the new sofa for a well deserved nap after watching Abigail fall asleep in their bed upstairs.
Several weeks passed with little happening, routine had set in for everyone again.
“MOM, DAD! WE NEED TO TALK!” Everleigh stormed into the front office of the top floor of her father’s architectural office.
“Oh baby, I thought you had gone home already …” Katie was standing there with Everett, talking, before the interruption. For over 25 years now she ran the administrative side of the office for her husband, as his assistant.
“I did! But now I need a lawyer!” Everleigh said angrily.
“Evey, what happened?!” Katie was alarmed.
“NOW!” Everleigh was so angry, tears were welling up into her eyes.
“Young lady not in THAT tone of voice! But fine, let’s go in my office. No need to entertain any other employees that may make their way up to my floor!” Everett ordered.
They all went into her father’s large office at the top floor of the highrise that was all EC Architects. Everett once built, and still owned and occupied the entire building, including a large basement for files.
“I need a lawyer!” Everleigh repeated.
“Whatever for?” Everett remained calm.
“To sue someone! For … for …. dumbness and evilness!” Evey pressed out.
“What?!” Rett was confused.
“Evey baby, what happened?” Katie tried a calm and gentle approach.
“My house! It’s gone!” Evey nearly spit out the words.
“WHAT!? I just got off the phone with Josh, he said everything was fine at home …” Katie looked over at her husband, worried.
“Not the NEW house! The old one. It’s gone! They tore it down. I went there after work to take some final pictures and see what the buyers did with it and it is all gone! Here look!!!”
Evey showed them images on her phone, as she was explaining how she stumbled across the fact, now nearly crying and close to a nervous breakdown.
“Everleigh, that is what can happen when you sell a house. It is up to the new owner to do with it as they see fit.” Rett told her in a business-like tone.
“DADDY! You and I designed and built that house!!! And can you guys please quit staring at daddy’s computer and direct your full attention to the crisis at hand?!”
“Everleigh! Your daddy and I are still at the office because we still have work to do. You bursting in here like the Kool-Aid man does not change the fact that life goes on. I know, honey, your discovery hurts, but not everybody shares your taste. The new owner wants to make it their own. You cannot sue, sweetheart. The minute you sold it, it officially became no longer your business, but the new owner’s to do with as they please. You have to let go, sweetie.” Katie started out in her firm motherly voice, but became more and more gentle towards the end.
“I never expected THIS! My beautiful house! I would have NEVER sold it to them had I known THIS!”
“Oh baby, I remember when this happened to your daddy for the first time …” Katie told her.
“Daddy too?! But daddy, you are brilliant! Your first build as well?”
“No, my first one is now your uncle Jordan and uncle Marty’s home. The second one we are standing in. But the two after that are no more. I spent months planning and re-planning on the third, once it was sold, they flattened it and put a parking lot on it. Forth one became a doggie park. Yeah, my hard work was literally being shit on. And in a way, your loss affects me as well. But if you want to succeed in this business, you need to toughen up and let go, baby girl.” Everett now sounded softer too.
“Don’t look so scared, Josh! She’s not gonna bite you.”
“I am not scared. Just … uh … my allergies are running amok. A-chooh! See!”
“Yeah, right. All right, let’s do this.”
Emerson unlocked the door and as they entered the hallway a woman, clearly related to the young girl next to Josh, met them.
“Josh, this is my older sister Christine. Chris, this is Josh, my boyfriend.”
“Nice to meet you!”
They exchanged the usual niceties.
“OK, you kids can sit in the living room, dining room or kitchen and do your homework, watch movies or play some board games. Nobody is going up the stairs, ok?! And the door stays open. Clear?” Emerson’s sister instructed.
“Yes, jail warden Christine Welsh!” Emmi saluted.
“Watch it or I am taking Josh here back to the ferry landing right now!” Christine was not amused in the slightest.
The young couple entered the living room and sat down on the couch.
“Sorry about that. She is pretty strict about me and boys, probably cause her lover knocked her up, then ditched her with the baby. She has a little son, my nephew, obviously. She is really sore about the single mom and dead-beat dad thing. If our parents were still alive, her baby daddy would not have one peaceful moment until he made an honest woman out of Chris. They were older when they had her and even older when they had me. Daddy was a very successful lawyer and mom was from some old wealthy family, both VERY traditional, if you cannot tell by this house. Chris won’t allow me to change anything but my room. Even daddy’s office is still untouched, like a museum. When our oldest sister Emily got divorced from her husband Corbin, daddy just about had a coronary. You can almost say it was lucky they died in the car crash before Chris found out she was pregnant and baby daddy wanted no part of it.”
“I would never knock you up and just leave you!” Josh said seriously.
“You are really sweet, Josh. So different from the other boys. They are all so … immature.” she smiled sweetly at him.
“Uh, thanks. You too.” he replied smiling nervously.
“Your eyes are really … blue.” she swooned, her cheeks deepening to a deep pink.
“Thanks, you too.” Josh told her, blushing.
“Huh? My eyes are brown!”
“But a great brown. Awesome shade.” Josh was clearly overwhelmed by this situation.
“Can you just kiss me?” she said quietly her eyes affixed on his.
“What about your sister?”
“Seriously?” her eyebrows were raised.
They made out for a while, then Emmi took Josh by the hand and pulled him along, out of the living room and up the stairs, her finger to her lips signaling him to be quiet.
They entered the room, kissed and ended up on her bed.
“Have you ever done this before?” Emmy whispered to Josh.
“EMMI? JOSHUA!? WHERE DID YOU KIDS GO?!”
“Oh shoot! Into the closet, quick!” Emerson jumped off the bed and opened the door to her closet, gesturing Josh to get in.
As soon as the closet door shut, Christine appeared. Emerson told her Josh had to go home. As soon as her older sister went to the restroom, Emmi snuck Josh out the front door.
The next day at Josh’s place.
“What are you kids giggling about over there?” Katie inquired from the kitchen while preparing dinner. It was not unusual that she would come home earlier than Everett.
“Oh nothing mom. Hey, can we go upstairs and use the computer?” Josh asked.
“Not while I am stuck down here cooking. Maybe later.”
“Moooooom!” Josh dragged out annoyed.
“Joooooooooosh.” Katie imitated his tone.
They had dinner once Everett came home, then the kids eventually were allowed in the home office upstairs, but with the door open.
Naturally Josh took Emmi’s hand and pulled her into Everleigh’s old room.
“Mom said we cannot go to MY room, but she said nothing about Evey’s room.”
The teens kissed and things were just about to get heated when they heard someone coming up the stairs, right as Josh had started to try and open Emmi’s bra while making out on Evey’s bed.
They jumped apart, both blushed deeply, straightening out their clothing and once the door to the upstairs bathroom shut with one of Josh’s parents in it, they sprinted downstairs, both shaken up and startled.
The day after that, after school was out, they went to a park to hang out together.
Both were typing around on their phones. Bored.
“Hey, check this crap out, Em!”
She laughed looking at the video playing on his phone.
“OK, now what?”
“Hmm… what now?”
They sat down on the nearby bench.
“I wish adults weren’t so lame. I mean, we are almost adults. College this, be responsible, bla bla. Yet, they treat us like toddlers.” Josh said.
“Seriously.” she agreed.
“Wish we could go to your place. Or mine. And NOT be supervised all the frigging time like babies. I mean come on now, in the middle ages people our age were long married. And what is the big deal? We’re together, we love each other, makes sense we are gonna want to do more than just hold hands. DUH! Wish my sister and her husband would let me have a key to their house. It’s like you become an adult and forget what it was like! She must know what I am going through, I mean, we have the same parents and I doubt they were more reasonable with her. I swear I am never going to be like that, especially if I ever am a father. I will be a cool dad. One that gets it!” Josh told her.
“Sounds awesome. I love you, you love me, I do not understand why we cannot make it REALLY official, like adults do. All couples do it, all the time, I don’t get why we can’t. I am constantly hearing ‘be reasonable’, ‘act like an adult’, blah blah, yet they all treat us like babies when we want to be treated like an adult. Why?! Not like we are irresponsible and all, right?” Emmi agreed, sounding annoyed.
“Exactly!” Josh agreed.
“I am getting kinda hungry.” she said.
“I know an awesome burger joint. It’s a bit of a drive, but worth it. Wanna go? I mean, you’d have to drive since my super-parents won’t buy me a frigging car.” Josh complained.
“Sure, no problem, just tell me where.” they both got up and headed towards her car.
She drove by the navigation on her phone, they arrived 30 minutes later, and were seated in a near empty place.
Their order was taken and served fast and it smelled delicious enough to make their stomachs rumble, demanding food.
“You like this place?” Josh asked.
“It’s ok.” she told him.
“You like your pizza?”
“Yeah, it’s good.” she said.
“How about the float?”
“Are you Yelp or something?”
“Sorry. But the restrooms are totally weird. Like co-ed, you know, for men and women, not separate. And that awful baby-puke green tile that is …” he told her laughing
“Show me those bathrooms!”
“Just down that hall…there.” he pointed.
“No, Josh. Show me those bathrooms where BOTH genders can go into. Like go WITH me… hint hint!” she gave him that look.
“OH! Ok…. ok…. you sure?” Josh finally understood what she was suggesting.
“Are you not? Hello? No parents or legal guardians …. just random people that do not know us! And we can finally do what we have been wanting to do … unless you changed your mind …”
“Come on!” he grabbed her hand and both rushed towards the restrooms.
“Finally!” she whispered.