Oh, Ryaaaaane! Wake up, sweetie…
I groan again. “Not now, Mark, I just got to sleep. Try again in an hour.” Ryanne… come on, honey… wakey, wakey!
“Fine! Shit!” I let out a frustrated groan, as I rolled to my back. “Climb on and have at it. Do not wake me at all, not even when you’re about to be done.” It’s not Mark, Ryanne. Come on, open your eyes.
Peeks an eye open and sees a bright light. I sigh heavily. “Oh, no! God, not again! Why do you all keep contacting me? Is John Edwards or the chick from Long Island too damn busy for you all to go bother them? Come on, Ryanne. I want my shot.
I sit up groggily, then reach for my laptop.
"Fine! I cannot understand why you all can never wait until I’m awake. At least make yourselves known while I’m in my office. Robbing me of my sleep… getting on my nerves… You know, Matt Lanter was just about to kiss my cheek while Joe Manganiello was seething with jealousy. Crap… I’ll never get that dream back!" I sigh again then stretch lazily and yawn as I talk. "Which one are you?" I’m Rita Rae Carlsen-Copeland.
“Rita…” I still, instantly wide awake. I lie down again, pulling the cover over my head. “Oh, no… No way… I am not helping you out, woman. Go away!”
Ryanne… please. I’ll put in a good word with the big guy for you when your time comes.
“I so know it doesn’t work that way, Rita. Go! Away!” All right, fine. I can’t see why you helped the others and not me. What did I do?
I scoff, move the covers back and glare as best I could at the glow at the side of my bed.
“Seriously? What did you do? You killed a decent man and almost killed his widow and their child! You left that little boy without a father and your own little boy without a mother… or should I say an ‘aunt’? How could you have him call you Aunt Rita instead of Mommy? And Adam… he didn’t deserve that bullet and neither did Madison… and Adam’s family… do you realize what you did to them? They were so broken over what happened to Adam. Mick never recovered from what happened to his only son. You may as well had killed him, too. It’s a good thing A.J. survived or Mick… wow, just… go away, Rita. Now.” Well, I meant what did I do to you but… Okay, you’re right. I messed up with my life and believe me, I am very sorry and Adam’s spirit hates me still but, like I keep trying to tell him, I just… I lost my mind in my life. I was so messed up.
“Then you should have went to a shrink, Rita!”
My husband startles. “Huh? What? Shrink what?”
“Nothing, Mark,” I coddle as I pat his shoulder. “Go back to sleep. I’m going in the office for a while."
“‘Kay,” he murmurs then starts snoring again.
I glare at Rita’s glow and nod toward the door. “Follow me… Float or do whatever it is you do.”
I scowl as I walk to the office. Stopping in the kitchen, I grab a can of tea from the fridge then go into the office and sit in my chair.
“Okay, talk,” I demand as I pop open the tea and take a long sip.
Aren’t you going to type this out?
“Nope. I barely want to hear what you have to say, let alone get it down. And I definitely don’t want to put it on my Wattpad page.” *sighs* Ryanne, please.
"What could you possibly have to say?" A lot, Ryanne, I promise, but I’ll make it short.
I sigh as I shake my head. “Fine, but show yourself first. I hate talking to y’all when you look like over-bright Christmas lights.” Okay, fair enough. I’ll show you my human form as soon as you boot up that computer.
“Wonderful,” I mutter sarcastically. I open the laptop and start it, mumbling my displeasure while getting a new document ready. I type ‘Rita’ then look at the glow. “Done. Let’s see you.”
Her glow brightens and I see a shimmering white dress, first, then blonde hair blows. Her face sharpens and I gasp. This is a beautiful woman.
“Wow, you look like… Wait, is this really you or what you wanted to look like? And I thought you were a red-head.” This is my face and human form when I was alive, Ryanne, I promise. As for the hair... Well, I'm a natural blonde but I felt I looked better with red.
“You look just like… Like the Cat Daddy girl… what is her name?!” Cat Daddy? What the hell is that?
I launch a browser, access Google and type. “It’s a dance that this gorgeous model does on camera in a skimpy bikini. She kicked ass. Hold on… Kate Upton! That’s who you fucking look like.” Language, Ryanne. I mean really, you are in the presence of an angel, you know.
My brow raises. “And you’re in the presence of a pissed off, sleep-deprived writer. Start talking now or I’m going back to bed.” Fine. Okay, toward the end of my earth time, I had what is known as a breakdown and took it out on Adam, who I now realize was not to blame. Neither was Madison or their son. You got that down?
“Uh, yeah, Rita. I did not start typing yesterday.” Good. Okay, thanks, Ryanne. Enjoy your life.
Her glow brightens and my jaw drops. I scowl, losing my temper rapidly. “HOLD IT!” What?
“That’s it? You woke me out of my sleep for that? My REM’s were kicking in and you woke me for that? Seriously? Holy nuts on a noodle! You had better be kidding me!” I said I would keep it short and I did.
“Girl… I swear on a stack of Oreos if you don’t give me more than that, I’ll… I’ll… ADAM!” He can’t hear you, Ryanne. *sigh* He can if I call him but he ignores me for the most part, so even if I call him he won’t show.
“Can you blame him? You took his life.”
*smirks* I didn't... I, um... When I shot Adam, I was not in my right mind. I had some misfirings going on and I needed professional help.
“Then why didn’t you seek it?” I was too far gone in my rage and thinkings that I just couldn’t.
“Call Adam. Now.” No.
“Rita… Call Adam now or I delete this whole thing and knockout here.” Damn it! Fine. Adam? … Yes, it’s me… I know but… Adam, please… Because I’m with Ryanne and she wants to see you, too… Yes, that Ryanne.
Another bright glow then Adam’s form appears between my desk and Rita’s form. I smile. So does he and he’s still beautiful. Ryanne, hello. I thought I wouldn’t see you again until you were, and I quote, not only merely dead, but really, most sincerely dead.
That was my plan, Adam, but your ex here woke me out of my sleep for a two-sentence confession so I asked her to call you. ADAM: Rita, really? Do you have to do this?
RITA: I... Yes, I want to but she’s cranky, Adam. And I did promise to make it short. ADAM: Since when do you follow through with your promises, Rita? RITA: Since I’ve been here. Courtesy of your wife. ADAM: Let’s not start in on courtesies, Rita. Have you forgotten how I had to leave my wife? RITA: No, I haven’t. Besides, you deserve to be here. I don’t.
Whoa… No, she didn't! ADAM: How do I deserve to be here? RITA: You were a total ass when I shot you. Had you returned my calls, I never would've shown that day.
ADAM: So? After what you did to me, I owed you nothing, Rita. I think you got off easy after the way you lived your life. Especially before the ‘snap’. RITA: What did I do exactly, Adam? I married a man and attempted to procreate! You were the one who decided we had to wait! ADAM: We barely knew one another! Who has kids with someone they barely know? RITA: You knew that Madison woman for less time before you knocked her up. ADAM: Not true. I knew her for three years before I was able to touch her. Three years versus the few months I’d known you. And I think we can all agree that I still had no idea who you were when we married. RITA: You knew me well enough to promise your life to me. ADAM: And you knew me well enough to promise to be faithful but you couldn’t do that! RITA: We stopped having sex, Adam, and I had needs! ADAM: Who stopped the intimacy Rita? Me or you?
*silence* RITA: I did. ADAM: Why? RITA: Because you didn’t want kids. ADAM: I did want them. I’ve always wanted them, I just didn’t want them, then. You’re the one that didn’t want them. You just wanted to cement our marriage and make sure you had complete access to my money. That’s all you and I ever were and it killed you that I found someone who loved me back. RITA: I loved you. ADAM: No, you loved the commas in my bank account. You tolerated me in order to try and make some of them disappear. RITA: All right, Adam. Let’s go there. You think-- Ryanne?
I startle and blink at her. “Huh? What?” RITA: Are you typing our conversation?
“Uh, yeah, I so am. This is gold. Keep going... Don’t mind me at all.” RITA: Whatever. Adam, what else did you have to offer me? Look at me! I was hot and very sexual. All you ever offered me was sex so I gave it back. ADAM: You think I married you for sex? Look around, Rita! Half the population has a pussy! Was yours lined in gold? Or your mouth? No! I married you because I thought I loved you. RITA: Right. You loved how I fucked you and how I made you cum. ADAM: *shakes head* Got news for you, Rita. You were not my first, and the women before and after you made me cum, too. Especially Madison. So yeah, I enjoyed being inside your pussy and your mouth but it was not the jaw dropping experience you believe it was, what you think it was.
RITA: It wasn’t that for me either, fool. I’ve had better. Especially while married to you.
ADAM: I bet! In my home and probably in my fucking bed! RITA: Yes, I did! We weren’t using it. You slept there alone so I thought I’d leave you a gift or two with some of my boyfriends. ADAM: Good for you.
RITA: And don’t bring Madison up to me again! If she’d left you alone after I confronted her, you would probably would've had more time with her, though I have no idea why you'd want more. What's the big deal with her, anyway? ADAM: She's beyond remarkable, something you'd never be, no matter what life you're in. You were seriously disturbed when you shot me, and you never live well. There is no way I would've ever taken you back, gun to my chest or not. RITA: Bullshit! You wanted me the whole time we were apart and you would have been back in my bed if it weren’t for that… that… woman! ADAM: Never would’ve happened! I loved her. I still do and what I felt for you was long gone and well before I came home and saw you and that fool in the den of my house sucking each other like popsicles on a hot summer day! RITA: I had needs, Adam! What did you expect me to do? ADAM: I expected you to wait to have kids and keep up the birth control! But I guess it was me you didn’t want kids with, since you got pregnant as soon as the divorce proceedings started. RITA: That boy was an accident, believe me! I did not want him to be his father's and getting pregnant by him was a complete disappointment! It was not done on purpose! ADAM: Purpose or not, he was born and gave me the ammunition to enforce the prenup. That’s why you treated him the way you did! RITA: Yes, all right?! I resented getting pregnant because it meant no huge settlement for me! I read that prenup and when you wouldn’t cheat, I got caught up by James out of pure frustration and got pregnant.
ADAM: Why was he born then, Rita? Hmm? Why didn’t you get an abortion?
*Rita turns away and shakes her head*
“Well? That’s a good question, Rita. If you didn’t want to be a mother, why was Henry born?” RITA: *snorts* Henry. *shakes head* Can't believe she gave him my father's name.
“Are you going to answer him, Rita? Why did you go ahead with the pregnancy if you told Adam that… ooh… whoa…” ADAM:*turns to me, scowling*What, Ryanne?
“Rita, did you… Were you planning to seduce Adam and pass the baby as his?” RITA: It would've worked, too. Instead, he went off to a conference or something and didn’t tell me and by then, I couldn’t get an appointment anywhere reputable. I was stuck. ADAM: Are you… holy… I cannot… you were going to pass his child as mine? RITA: *shrugs* Why not? I was pregnant, I had you and I was going to get my money. But you left town and there went that. It was either then or never because I was going to be too far along to pull it off. Then that James turned on me when I told him about the pregnancy. I found out later I could have nullified that prenup because the law said that my husband is considered the father of any child I produced. By then, it was too late; Jim had already claimed fatherhood.
*Adam frowns and looks deep in thought, then suddenly a wide grin appears on his face.*
“What’s funny, Adam?” ADAM: That time she’s speaking of… I remember it. It was the night I got frustrated and had a one night stand with Kristin Kelly during the trip. So I got laid only not by you: the person that said I was no good in bed and was happy she wouldn’t have to be with me again unless it was to procreate.
“She was trying to starve you. She wanted you to miss sex so much that you had no choice but to come to her and she was hoping it would be at the right time of the month. Am I right, Rita?” RITA: *smirks* Maybe.
“I don’t think that’s a maybe. I think you decided to go off the birth control when you realized that James guy was only a toy for you. That you decided that Adam was close to teetering and he would come back, begging and pleading to fuck you. And judging by Madison’s memoir, Adam was good in bed and was open and giving. I think… you enjoyed him, didn’t you, Rita?” RITA: No. *snorts* He was never that damn giving with me. I did most of the work when we were in bed.
Adam looks at me with an ‘I know you don’t believe this bullshit’ expression. I smirk back and shake my head.
“Rita, I think when Adam had a human body, he was a maniac in bed. How? Well, when he first tried taking me over, attempting to write out his story like Joan did, he jumped in right before my husband had his way with my body. Adam did not enjoy being the female one bit. Which I cannot understand because my husband takes his time and uses every appendage he has and he does not let loose until he’s sure I have a big release.” ADAM: *shudders then paces* Ryanne… please don’t. Ugh! How do women enjoy that?
“See?” I smirk at Rita. “But you didn’t mind doing that to women, right, Adam?” ADAM: No, I didn’t because the only advice I got about sex was one sentence from my Dad when I told him about being ready for intercourse.
“What did Mick say, Adam?” ADAM: He said to always remember that I was not the only one in the bed and that using more than my dick would guarantee that I was always thought of positively if the woman I made love with and I were to go our separate ways. RITA: *scowls* What the fuck does that mean?
“It means, angel that protested when I used that language, that Mick was telling his son that if he used his mouth, fingers, etc., he would be guaranteeing the woman he was with would never have a complaint about him in bed.” ADAM: Exactly. But Rita insisted everything I did with or to her was no good for her anyway and all I did to her, I did to other women.
“Why did you tell him he was no good in bed, Rita?” RITA: *scoffs* Because he wasn’t.
“Bullshit. You told him that because you enjoyed the mind games you played with him. You knew he was in love with you. You knew he would do exactly what he did and not touch another woman. Until the night you needed him to. And you wanted him crawling back to you, begging for sex. You needed that especially after you’d gotten pregnant.”
Rita remains silent, staring at the wall.
ADAM: Is what Ryanne saying true, Rita? RITA: Fine. I wanted him to be dependent to my body only and he was stronger than I thought.
“And when exactly did you snap, Rita? I have a pretty good idea but why don’t you share with Adam?”
Rita tilts her head, thoughtfully. RITA: I was broke, trying to feed that kid and keep a roof over our heads. Mom wouldn’t help me and my piss-ant job wouldn’t promote or give me a raise. I had bills shooting out of my ass and I had no idea what to do. Then I remembered I was once married to a billionaire. A man who was completely in love with me. So I thought, why not? We enjoyed one another in bed and I had no problem offering myself to him in exchange for a stipend.
ADAM: You wanted to whore yourself to me? RITA: Oh, come on, Adam! Rich men take mistresses all the time!
ADAM: I never did! I stayed faithful to both my wives and I would have continued to do so with Madison, had I been able to live.
They fall silent, staring at one another.
“Rita, please finish.” RITA: I started calling, leaving messages. At first I thought nothing of it when they weren’t returned. Then my car got repossessed. So I called his lawyer. He said he would pass on the messages but Adam would not call me back. Neither would Mick or that Carrie. Ella either. So I followed him.
“And?” RITA: I saw him with Madison. Um, they were at a benefit sponsored by their station and even though at first they were across the room and trying to avoid one another, they were… he was looking at her in the way he used to look at me. That’s when I knew he… ADAM: I, what? What did you realize, Rita?
I sigh and shake my head. “She realized then that you didn’t want or need her anymore.”
Rita’s head nods. RITA: They made the eyes at one another several times then once, I saw Adam’s head tilt subtly to her, nodding like he was discreetly telling her to follow him. She did.
ADAM: *nods* That was the night we had that really hot, steamy… she was so hot in that cream-colored dress that clung to every inch of her body and I wanted her. Every man in that fucking room wanted to have their way with her but she only had eyes for me. I led Madison to the elevators and we went to the room I kept there. We didn’t get to the bedroom. I attacked her as soon as the door closed behind us. She was already pregnant and I tried to be gentle but I couldn’t and she did not want me to be. She got naked and bent over that couch and I slammed so hard inside her hot body I damn near knocked us both down. I caught myself and apologized but she yelled at me to shut up and do it again. I did, repeatedly. I saw nothing, I heard nothing. Then I heard a yelp or something escape her mouth and I felt like an ass. I withdrew and move to the end of the couch, panting and sweating, my eyes tightly closed as I tried to calm. This is what happened after:
“What the hell? Adam? You finished? No, I can see you didn’t. Why did you stop?” “Because you’re pregnant, Pooh. I don’t want to hurt you or the baby.” “Fool, are you kidding me right now?” Madison shouted at me. “How the hell were you going to hurt us?” “I was going to hard and way too fast and deep,” I muttered, still not able to look at her. If I did, I was going to grab her and go all the way insane. “I cannot believe you stopped! Fuck, I was so damn close.” I felt her straddle me and looked at her. “Madison, please… you cannot… I can’t… please move.” “You can’t, but I sure as hell can and I will. And since I’m on top now,” she snarled as she gripped my erection and put me at her opening. “I control this. You will not stop and we will fuck each other like there are cameras everywhere. Got it?” “No, Madison. I won’t. I’ll sit still and not move a muscle.” “You will, huh?” Madison smirked then slammed down on me. I groaned and threw my head back. She gripped my chin and pulled it right back down. “You will enjoy me, every time you’re in me, Copeland. And you will show me that you love what we’re doing. Got it?” I couldn’t talk, all I could do was nod.I swallowed hard, trying to ignore the fact that I was deep inside her hot… wet… tight… fuck, she felt so gotdamn good that day. Every time, really.
“Glad we understand one another. Stay off my belly and we’ll be fine. Trust me. Now, nod again if you’re ready for me to fuck you.” I nodded eagerly. She grinned and slowly rose. Her foot dropped to the floor and the other knee tightened to my side. She took me out so that only the crown was left and she slowly tightened herself around it and rocked. It felt like… like… fifty tongues were flicking me at the same time. I groaned loud as I gripped her thighs tight, silently begging, wanting her to stop and keep going at the same time.She slowly slid down me and grinded. My entire body shook at the sensation. Then she slid up again. Her hands slapped against my chest and her nails dug into my pecs as she fucked my crown again. I felt her body shaking and she started moaning, whimpering. Her pussy tightened around me. My arms snaked around her, pulled her down to me and locked against her back, crossing at the wrists as I gripped her neck. Then I started pumping, hard and fast. She put her face into my neck and screamed as she bit me, muffling the scream.She gripped my head and started fucking me back. Grunting with me every time we slapped together. I swear, I felt so good, I wanted to cry as I finally released. Shescreamed again and grinded against me, prolonging our orgasms. We laid there, felt like hours, calming as I caressed her body. “Are you okay?” I whispered to her. “Oh, yeah,” she giggled. “I’m the queen of the world!” I laughed as she moved to lay on her side, cuddling into my side.
“Wanna go back to the benefit?” “Hell no. I’m staying right here until the morning. I cannot feel my legs.”
“Me either. So we stay here until we have to get to the studio in the morning?” “We do. I’ll call Gia and have her bring me some stuff. And a pickle.” “I’ll get the pickle,” I smile.
She looked up at me with a scowl. “I just had your pickle, Copeland. I know I can put it in my mouth but I want one that I can bite into and swallow.” I laughed loud then held her. “I will go to the diner in the morning and get you one and it will be waiting for you when you’re ready for it.” “It better or you will be sorry.” We stayed therethat night and a week later, Rita showed up and damn near broke me and Madison up.
I silently stare at Adam, my mouth wide open. ADAM: Ryanne, are you okay?
“Fuck no. We need to hurry this along. I need to… um, wake my husband.” RITA: We were hot like that, Adam. What happened? ADAM: What happened is you let your love for ‘Benjamin Franklin and his millions of twin brothers’ take you over. You didn’t want me, just my money and you used every feminine trick to get it. I caught on after a while and I’m glad I did. I got Madison out of your betrayals and corruption and I am not sorry for falling in love with her. I am sorry I couldn’t get more time with her or that I never got to physically touch our newborn son. A son I never got to see born.
“You could, um… maybe take over Matthew, Adam. Talk to A.J., give him a hug. Maybe give Madison the goodbye you missed when you were taken from her so suddenly.”
Adam looks thoughtful, as if he’s considering it. He sighs after a minute and shakes his head. ADAM: No, I couldn’t. A.J., Madison… no, it wouldn’t be enough. A lifetime would never be enough. I miss them every day and I will wait until they join us.
I nod. Even in death, his soul misses his family and I no longer want to be in Rita’s presence.
“I think that’s enough. I don’t want to do this anymore with you, Rita.” RITA: I figured. Everyone always takes Adam’s side. No one sees where I was or admits they see what I was going through.
“I do see it, Rita, but I also see how you chose to go the violent way. You never said when you snapped. I think it was when you found out Madison and Adam married. Your plan to break them didn’t work, it cemented what you thought at that benefit: Adam didn’t want you and he was completely in love with Madison. You lost him forever when you heard about the marriage and that broke you because you knew you’d never split them up. Not physically. So you snapped and thought maybe you could physically part them. With a gun. And that’s what you did. You made a pregnant woman a widow. You stole twenty-two days of her life and you robbed her of being conscious when her first child was born. The first face he should have seen, the first person to hold him, to give him his first kiss should have been her. But it wasn’t and that’s because of you and your greed.” RITA: I'm not responsible for Adam's death, despite what he says, said and implies. And I feel... Madison took my life in return for whatever I did to her.
A male voice sounds after Rita's sentence. “She defended herself, her baby and one of her best friends. Even you have to see that.”
Another glow, then a man in white appears. He nods at me. ADAM: James, what are you doing here?
“James? Henry’s birth father?” JAMES: Yes, it’s me. I’ve been silent, thankful I went north instead of south. I have been listening and I finally talked Joan into letting me view the books. I was not painted in a good light, Mrs. Anthony, but 95% of it was the truth.
“What was the five that wasn’t, Mr. Wagner?” JAMES: “Jim, please. What wasn’t true was what was said about me not wanting my son. I wanted him and I wanted Rita. I did love her and when I went to Adam, it was hoping that he would cut her off because I wanted to hurt her as much as she hurt me. She wanted him to give her his money and yes, I went along with it, but when even I saw he wasn’t going to cave, I tried to convince Rita to give up and marry me. She did not want to live on a soldier’s salary and keep moving from post to post. She told me of her plan of passing off our baby as Adam’s and that was the final straw with me. I went to Adam, made him think I didn’t want my son. He took my help and he did pay me but what Madison and the others didn’t know was where that money went. Why don’t you tell them, Rita?”
Rita glares at James and shakes her head. JAMES: I gave her every penny, right before I went to Afghanistan, hoping it was enough to convince her that I loved her and wanted to marry her. I was killed a couple of weeks before I was due to come home, along with several other soldiers. My personal effects was sent to her and she had the ring I bought until the day she died. Her mother has it now and she wears it. She’s still a raving bitch but that’s neither here nor there.
I nod, then Jim looks at Rita.
JAMES: You didn’t snap, not in the way you’re claiming. I think you knew exactly what you were doing, and I say that because of what you said to Madison on the street. You were angry; mind blowing, soul wrenching anger that you thought you could only get rid of in one way: kill the people you felt were the blame. Guess what, Rita… they weren’t. Madison and Adam were not the ones that put you in the poorhouse; it wasn’t Adam’s fault he didn’t settle on you what you wanted. It was all you. Your choices.
Now you get to spend eternity in Heaven, because you’re ‘meek’. I’m not going to question it because it’s God’s way and he makes no mistakes but I do think you should cap that anger and stop saying that all you got was a swift death for what you did to Adam, Madison and A.J. I mean, that woman, lying in her hospital bed, was ripped apart about taking your life. Sure, she wanted to stop you but killing you, no, I don’t believe that’s what she wanted at all.You… we could have been happy, Rita. But you couldn’t see that with a military man. Your greed left you alone, cold and bitter. How happy were you at your death?
We fall silent and I look at the three spirits in my office. A knock sounds and then my daughter's voice speaks up.
“Mommy, can I get a water?”
I look at my daughter as she enters my office. “Sure, Mama-nee. Then back to bed. Mommy’s working right now.”
“Okay,” my daughter nods, looking around. “Mommy? Is Daddy in here?”
“No, he’s not.”
“Oh, I hearded you talking to someone. Was you on the phone?”
The ghosts smirk then chuckle.
“No, I was, um, speaking to some characters in my book, baby-girl.”
“Cool. Can I say something to them?”
“Yes, but say it fast. It’s well-past your bed time.”
My baby grins and nods. “Ok. Hey cracters, my Mommy needs her sleep so you have to leave her mind alone now.”
I laugh as she kisses my cheek and watch her as she runs from the room. Next, I hear the fridge open and close then her feet barreling up the stairs to her room. ADAM: How old is she, Ryanne?
“Seven,” I smile. JAMES: She has your mind. She’s going to use it, much like you do, Mrs. Anthony.
“Poor kid,” I laugh then look at Rita. “Anything else you want to say, Rita?” RITA: Not really. Only that I just didn’t think of others when I let my anger take over. I saw one ending and I am sorry I carried it out. Adam and you are right: he does not deserve to be here, not so early. And I should have listened to Jim and tried with him. Adam?
Adam looks at her.
RITA: Please forgive me. I am sorry.
ADAM: *nods* Yes, forgiven. RITA: Thank you. A.J. is great, by the way. You and Madison made a very handsome and generous little guy. ADAM: As did you and Jim.You should be proud Madison has him. She’s done well by him. RITA: I know. I’ve seen it. He really is better off with her. I am grateful. JAMES: So am I.
I smile. “Good. Well, you hearded my Mama-nee, spirits. I need my sleep but I need to wake my husband for a while first. Adam, I’ll try to tell him what a help you were to that happening tonight.”
They laugh and nod. ADAM: You do that Ryanne. And enjoy yourself.
"I plan to, Adam. Immensely. And please tell your mother that I’m ready when she is. I’m looking forward to hearing about her, Mick and you and Ella as babies." ADAM: *laughs* And I’m sure she can’t wait to tell you. Thank God she doesn’t have any pictures. RITA: Bye, Ryanne. Thank you. JAMES: Yes, thank you, Mrs. Anthony.
“You’re all welcome. If there is a next time, please try visiting me during the day, like when Mama-nee is in school.” JAMES: You got it. Rita? Want to talk a while or something? RITA: Sure. After you.
I watch as their glow fades then smile at Adam. He smiles back. ADAM: Madison. I still miss her.
“I know you do and I’m sure she misses you.” I smirk when he gives me a sheepish grin. “You’re thinking about taking my suggestion, aren’t you, Adam?” ADAM: Maybe. Possibly. I mean, how hard could it be to take over Cannon’s body for a minute… or hour?
“Adam!” I shout as his glow fades. I shake my head. “Oh, God… forgive me and please don’t hold that suggestion against me when it’s my time to get to the Pearly Gates.”
Sighing, I save the document and close the laptop then make my way upstairs. I shake my husband and smiles when he startles awake.
“Hmm?” he says sleepily. “What’s wrong, Annie? What happened?”
“Nothing,” I grin. “I have a message. From Adam.”
“Adam? I don’t know an Adam, Annie.”
“He knows you and quite well, Mark.”
“Okay,” he frowns. “What’s the message?”
I grin bigger then grab his hand and tug. I so want to go to the couch. I push him down and whisper,
“He said, ‘enjoy yourself’.”
I smoothed away my hair from my face as I drove, wishing I had pinned it up or pony-tailed it. I vowed, when I got into my bed, to sleep wildly and deeply. I was so very tired from shopping then wrapping gifts. After that, I went to Mother’s and tried to pay attention as Maria strained to teach me to make cinnamon rolls. Marcus loved those damn things and whenever Maria makes them, he practically knocked everyone down to be the first to get to them, kids included, if he didn't pick them up and move them out of his greedy way. “Aye, Miss Mariah…Tienes que medir exactamente. No adivinar.”No guessing? Right. How on earth did she think I was guessing with a measuring cup in my hand, flour over-filling it? She snatched the cup, dump some flour out and leveled with a knife, all the while shaking her head while mumbling I had a cup too much measured out. Sometimes, she forgot I understood Spanish... or maybe she didn't.I gave up when she yelled at me about cold butter going warm or something... more like she gave up on me. I was sent to the study with my mother-in-law, and I smiled as she played with my baby, Tristan. He was cooing and smiling at her, with something on his face. I wondered why he was still awake but then again, Katherine Cannon had tricks to keep them awake while they were in her presence.“Mother, what are you feeding him now?”“Nothing,” she startled. “I didn't hear you enter, darling. We were, uh, just… just… I was watching TV with him. Where on earth did Lila go? I wanted her to show me how that goggle thing works on my phone.”"Google," I said then shook my head. Damn TV wasn't even on. “Nice try, Mother. You know Lila and the other boys are out with Marcus and Matthew.”“Fine,” she sighed. “I gave him chocolate. I need to talk to Mick; he is so much slicker with this and never gets caught until the end.”That made me giggle. I dropped next to her and cleaned my son’s happy little face.“You really do need to work on this, Mother. And by the way, since it’s already nine and you just gave a one-year-old sugar, he’s staying with you tonight.”“Like I care. I’ll stay up all night with him and so will Stephen. We enjoy all our grandchildren, hopped up on sugar or not. Now you scoot and get some rest, darling. I’ll see you in the morning.”I took my baby and loved on him for a few minutes then passed him back to his giggly grandmother. I kissed her cheek and told her I'd be back with the rest of my family in the morning for breakfast then presents, as we do every year.
I smiled as I turned into our drive, thinking of Marcus’ expression when he opened my gift to him this year. I’m quite proud I thought of it and I hoped he would be excited to receive it.I was still smiling as I parked and entered our home. Marcus and the kids went out to do some last minute shopping then decided to hang out with Matthew and his sons while Madison anchored the late night broadcast. They still weren’t home. I decided to wait in the den, where our tree stood, and dropped to the couch. I watched It’s A Wonderful Life until the noise of my family entering the room distracted me. I kissed them all and got six kisses in return.“Mommy, is Tristan sleeping already?” Lila asked as she placed gifts under the tree.“No, Angel,” I answered. “He stayed with Gram tonight.”“Why, baby?” Marcus smirked. “Did he fall asleep there and Mother refused to allow you to bring him home?”“No; she gave him chocolate at nine, so I said he could stay there and she can deal with his sugar rush and crash.”Marcus laughed. "Good. She deserves whatever he gives her for doing that."
“Why are you all just getting home?” I asked, checking my watch. “It’s eleven, Marcus.”“Dad and Uncle Toad were wrestling, Mommy,” Donnie informed. “Uncle Toad said Dad was too old to beat anyone at wrestling, anymore, so Dad said he had to prove his ass wrong.”“Marcus,” I scolded at my grinning husband.
“What, baby?” Marcus laughed. “You know how Toad is; I had to shut him up.”“And? Are you saying you see nothing wrong with your son using the word ‘ass’?”“Did he say that?”“You know he did, Marcus. Do something about him using that language.”“Donald Harvey Cannon, shower and bed. Now.”I smirked. What’s that going to do? It’s eleven at night on Christmas Eve… oh.“But, Dad, it’s almost time to open one gift!”“You used language that only adults should and you have to be punished for that. Shower. Bed. Now.”“Aw, not fair!” Donnie whined as he left the room.
* * *
At midnight, our remaining four kids opened one gift of their choice then sleepily trudged off to bed with them. Marcus and I followed and got them safely into bed.I showered, and after I pulled on a gown, I passed out in our bed.“Baby…”“Marcus,” I groaned when he roused me out of my much needed sleep. “Let me sleep and I promise you can do whatever you want to me as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, okay?”“Deal, but before you go back to sleep, what’s in that big box with my name on it?”“Marcus…”“Seriously, baby, what is it?”“You are worse than our kids.”“I am when I see a big box with my name on it,” Marcus laughed. “Come on, baby. Tell me what it is or I won’t get any sleep and neither will you.”“Yes, I will. I will get my sleep and you will suffer lots of pain if you don't let me rest, Cannon!”I couldn't believe he laughed again.“What kind of pain will I be in? Call me curious, but I just have to know.”“The kind that will require my knee! Now shut up and go to sleep!”“Is it a notebook?”I released a slow exhale.“It’s too late, and that box is too big, for season tickets… unless you’re trying to send me off.”My eyes popped open and I rolled them.“Can’t be cuff links or a watch…”I glared at him.“Poker chips! That’s it! You got me that complete game set in platinum I showed you.”Shit, that would have been a good idea, too.“Marcus, I swear if you don’t let me sleep, the next time you see me naked will be when Tristan starts to preschool.”I heard him swallow hard then he let out a long, exaggerated yawn.“I’m so tired suddenly, baby. I need my sleep. Looking forward to being inside you in the morning. I think it calls for bending you over and slamming into you.”“Whatever, Cannon,” I murmured after he rapidly kissed my cheek. I turned to my side. His leg landed over mine and he pulled me close. I smiled and fell right to sleep.
* * *
When I woke, I stretched, and the bed felt empty. I looked behind me and frowned when I saw Marcus was gone. I sat up and found a note on my table. Emergency at the hospital, baby. I didn’t want to wake you and risk not seeing your body for two years. Definitely wrong to say that. Oh, I will collect on your debt after we get the kids to bed tonight, so do not exert yourself. Still want to bend you over and have my wicked way with you. Can’t wait.I’ll meet you at Mother’s. I’m dropping the kids there on my way to the hospital since they were awake and claiming to be dying from starvation. Where do they get their voracious appetites?Love you, baby. Always. Enjoy your lie-in.Marcus I smiled at his note and shook my head. "From you," I giggled. They all had that Cannon appetite and since I’d never been a shy eater, they were doubly doomed.
I was truly lucky to find that man and I treasure every day we have together. I can't believe I almost let him get away. Stupid me. It’ll never happen again.I hopped out of bed, pulled on a robe, and went to my closet, looking for the dress Marcus liked to see me wearing. It’s purple, of course, and still fits, perfectly. I first wore it on my birthday over ten years ago and as many times as I’ve tried to toss it out, I just can't follow through. Once, I gave it to charity but ended up paying double to get it back. I’ve gotten it in the trash and actually walked away but I ran back an hour later and got it out. Just in time, too. Rosa was about to take it to the street. My husband loved me in that dress and I loved the way he showed it. Wearing it will guarantee we won’t be at his mother’s long; especially if I cross my legs at the right moment or two. I giggled as I pulled out the dress and matching shoes. Now I needed to get the kids clothes together for dinner and once that’s packed up, I could go. I grabbed Lila’s new red dress and black shoes then got the pants and shirts I bought for the boys. As I left Alex and Donnie’s room, I stepped on something and swore up a storm. I immediately prayed for forgiveness then looked at what I stepped on.Damn toy cars. They never put them away. I believed it was one of Alex’s. He’d been into the racer cars while Donnie preferred muscle cars, no designs or markings. I tossed their clothes on the bed and picked up the cars. Before I knew it, I had half the room cleaned.I’d just finished changing the sheets on Donnie’s bed and collected the dirty linens when I heard someone shout out my Christian name. I frowned. No one but Marcus called me Mariah and that was definitely not his voice.“Mariah! Where are you, sweetheart?”Ah, 'sweetheart.' That’s Matthew.“Alex and Donnie’s room,” I answered. “I’m heading for the laundry room, though!”I crossed the hall and opened the door on the other side of my bathroom. I dropped the linen in an empty bin then start sorting the clothes, thinking I'd better get out of there before I had every child’s room cleaned and missed all the holiday celebrations.“There you are,” Madison sighed. “Why are you doing laundry on Christmas?”“I wasn’t, just putting dirty stuff in there I nabbed from Alex and Donnie's room.”“You’re the only billionaire I know that still does their own laundry,” Madison said softly.
“I'm not a billionaire,” I corrected. “Marcus is. Besides, I grew up doing it myself and I don't see why I have to stop just because I married a man with money who insists I don't need to work outside of our home, unless it's with a charity.”“You don’t, Poopsie. Do whatever makes you feel happy.”I froze. She called me Poopsie. Something wasn't right. I relaxed a little when I didn’t hear Rockford, still, I turned toward the door. Matthew and Madison were standing there, solemnly. Their eyes were red, swollen and Matthew’s nose was red. My heart jumped and I took a step back, trying to reclaim my normal heart rate and breathing pattern.“Mariah…”I shook my head. My head screamed, whatever they had to say, I didn't want to hear it. Whatever this was… please just do not say--“Rockford,” Matthew croaked.I inhaled, long and deep. Madison entered the room and pulled me into hall. She silently walked me into my bedroom and I sat on the bench at the foot of our bed. She sat next to me and I couldn't say a word as I waited. This… this… what was this?Matthew moved to in front of me and sniffed. “Mariah...”
“My children,” I croaked. “Is something wrong with one of them?”“No,” Madison soothed. She gripped my hand in both of hers. “They’re at Mother’s with ours. All of our the siblings are there, too, so Donnie, Alex, Lila, Marc, Bert and Tristan are all fine with them.”“Whew! Okay, good.” I grinned. Still, the Rockford call. I frowned. “Why did you Rockford then, Matthew?”“I got a call,” Matthew whispered. “One of the men from Marcus’ detail. He said… Marcus… I’m so sorry, Mariah,” Matthew wailed, tears falling fast down his face. Like he was suddenly made of lead, he dropped to his knees and his hands covered his face. This man was in turmoil.Madison's brother, Tony, and his wife, a red-eyed Kristen, rushed into the room and tried to console Matthew. I frowned at the sight of Matthew, broken and wailing and I knew… I knew in that moment…“What happened?” I gasped, gripping Madison’s arms. “Where is my husband?”“Poopsie... Marcus was in an accident,” she whispered, tears sheeting her beautiful face. “A speeding ambulance, going out on a call, hit him, head on. Looks like the brakes failed on the thing and Marcus had already removed his seat belt. He’s…gone.”My whole body shook as I stared at my best friend. My former best friend.
“LIAR,” I screamed at her. “He is not gone! How the fuck can you say that to me? That is beyond… So fucking cruel, Madison! I cannot believe you would try this… It’s fucking Christmas, for Christ’s sake! Take it back! Take it back right now or leave my life forever!”“Mariah, I swear this is a club I never wanted to be in with you but--”I abruptly stood and glared at the woman I called my sister.“NO YOU LISTEN, MADISON YVONNE CANNON! YOU ARE SICK! TELLING A PERSON HER HUSBAND IS… IS… AND ON CHRISTMAS MORNING!”Madison stood and attempted to pull me in her arms but I fought her embrace.“NO! GODDAMN IT, NO! HE IS NOT GONE! GET OUT OF MY WAY! I HAVE TO MEET MY HUSBAND AT KATHERINE’S! HE SHOULD BE DONE WITH HIS EMERGENCY ANY MINUTE NOW AND WILL EXPECT ME TO BE THERE WAITING FOR HIM! MOVE!”Madison looked at me, shaking her head. Calmed again, Matthew walked over and held my hand. Tony and Kristen stood to the side, watching.“Matthew,” I called, my voice hoarse. “Tell your wife this isn’t funny, at all. Make her take that back and tell me where my husband is. He’s still at the hospital, right? He’s taking care of one of his children and he’s going to get to me soon! Tell me that, Matthew! Tell me Madison is being unbelievably cruel and my husband breathes just as I do!”Matthew sniffed and shook his head as his eyes welled. “I’m so, so sorry, Cookie. My brother is dead.”I shook my head at him. Why the hell did they think this shit was funny?
“No! After all… no! Show me a body! Show me his body! Show me, fucker! I won’t believe it until I see for myself!”Tears fell and I rapidly wiped them away. Matthew nodded and squeezed my hand.“All right, Cookie. Let’s get your shoes and a coat. I’ll get you in to see him right now.”I relaxed then rolled my eyes at Madison. I’ll show her. No way was my husband dead. I put on loafers and grabbed a coat. Matthew took my hand again and led me out of the room.“Can you do this again?” Tony asked softly on Matthew's other side.“Have to,” Matthew answered, looking straight ahead. “And no.”
* * *
We arrived at the hospital and went straight to the morgue. The morgue. Fucking hell, I thought as we passed weeping hospital personnel, attempting to hold it together. A female doctor looked my way and burst into tears. She ran to a room and slammed the door, but not before I spotted several others in there, also weeping and hugging one another. What the hell was their problem? Matthew’s grip on my hand tightened.I shook my head and kept walking. They were all playing this to the hilt. They were going to shout ‘kidding’ or something similar any second now and I'd have to kick every ass in the vicinity.Someone grabbed my other hand. I looked over and saw a red-eyed Rob. He pulled me into his arms and wailed at my ear. I frowned.“Rob?”He got louder.“Rob, calm down," I urged. "Tell me what’s wrong.”“Marcus,” he wailed. “Gone. I cannot believe this! It feels so surreal, Mariah!”I pushed out of his arms and scowled at him. “You’re in on this, too? Christ, what is wrong with you people?”They all looked at me stunned, silent.“Let’s get this over with, Matthew. I need to get to my kids and tell them how rotten three of their uncles and two of their aunts are. I really did not need this ridiculousness today!”Matthew took a deep breath and opened the door to the morgue. I entered behind him and breathed deep. We really were in the morgue. Was there no end to their treachery? I rolled my eyes, frowned and looked away. My head tuned out as Matthew spoke to a man in black scrubs.Someone gripped my elbow. I was escorted to another room and situated in front of a large window with a curtain on the other side of it. There was a pause then the curtain was opened. There was clearly a body on a gurney, under a sheet. Feet were sticking out and a white tag was hanging off the big toe.
The sheet was pulled back and my husband, my beautiful husband laid there, immobile, with his eyes closed. I gasped then became angry.He was in on it, too, huh?My nose flared and I stormed into the room and stared. “Marcus, this is not funny! Get up, damn it!”He didn’t move. He looked…frozen.
“Marcus,” I shouted. “Marcus, I swear… You better open your eyes and tell me this was the worst joke known to man and walk out of here with me!”Still, he did not move. I studied his face. Cuts and bruises were everywhere on it. There was a gash on his neck, like it was slit at the carotid. I inhaled when my mind accepted what that meant.
“Marcus,” I whispered. “Marcus… no… wait, this... can’t be.”My hand reached out and it landed over his heart. He's cold, I noted. And I felt nothing moving under my hand. There was no motion, anywhere.“No,” I moaned. “No, no, no, no, noooo!”“Mrs. Cannon,” someone called, gripping my arm. I yanked from them and gripped the side of the gurney.“No! Wake up, Marcus! I’ll tell you what’s in the box, I promise! Just open your eyes and look at me and I’ll tell you what’s in that box, boo! Please, Marcus, please,” I begged.He didn't move and I… accepted reality.“MARCUS! NOOOOOO!” I screamed, holding him to me. “He’s gone! He’s gone! No! Please, God, no! Give him back to me! What did I do? Tell me and give him back to me, please!”I'm pried from my husband’s body. Someone gripped me from behind and held me tightly to them as they wheeled my husband’s body out of the room.“Let me go! I need to be with him,” I screamed as I struggled to free myself but their grip was too tight. “Let me go back to my husband! Now!”“Mariah, you can’t, sweetheart. They’re getting ready to release him to the funeral home.”Funeral home? Marcus in a... casket? No. Noooooooo!I wanted to stop all the pain that was shooting through my entire body. My soul was gone. My love, my heart left me on Christmas and I had no idea. I didn’t feel his life ending.I started to shake at the thought of spending the rest of my life breathing without him and screamed at the top of my lungs, calling my husband’s name as my legs gave. Someone shook me, screaming my name then the arms tightened on me again only this time, they were gripping me from my side as they called out my name.Looking over, I gasped and gripped him tight.“It’s over now, baby. Calm down. Shh, shh. It’s okay, I’ve got you.”I held my husband tighter, crying against his body. I pulled back and touched him everywhere, making sure he’s real, alive. I checked his face, neck and heart. It was beating but still, I pinched him.“Ow! What was that for, baby?”“Quick! Pinch me back, boo! Now!”“With pleasure,” Marcus snapped with a frown, then pinched my arm.“Ouch,” I yelped then rubbed my arm. I gripped him again. “Dream… that’s all it was. You’re here and you’re fine. You’re here, you’re here.”My husband held me tighter and murmured, “I’m here, baby. I’m right here.”I nodded as a tear fell then I attacked my husband. I kissed him as I tugged down his pajama pants then wrenched away to pull off my gown. I straddled him fast, glad to see he was more than ready for me, and slammed down on his erection. I ignored his pleas for me to slow down. I needed this and couldn’t, not until one of us cums. I was hoping I would, first.No such luck.Marcus growled then I felt him release inside me, gripping my waist as he froze, his head thrown back and his face contorted, showing me how much pleasure he was feeling.I started to move off him. I wanted to study his face and hold him. I needed to. He didn’t want that. He flipped me to my back and parted my thighs. His head lowered and he started to lick me, greedily. I moaned loud and long, gripping his hair as I thrusted into his face. More, I wanted to scream. More, so much more. Give me all that mouth and make me come hard.My eyes tightened and I gripped the sheet, feeling my clit start to harden. Here it comes, I thought as I writhed and moaned. A breeze blew against my clit and I released, squirting all over the bed. Marcus attacked and licked everything on my sex and I shuddered hard, begging for him to stop.I’m flipped again. He hiked up my ass and rammed inside me, making me cry out. He gripped my hair and yanked, thrusting hard and fast into me, each stroke igniting, and feeling… feeling…so fucking good.Marcus’ arms threaded through mine and his hands rested on the back of my neck. I'm pulled up and the thrusting becomes fevered. He grunted then released one hand and rubbed my clit. The other hand gripped the back of neck and I groaned, long and loud as my head bounced around. I have always loved when he used his wrestling moves during sex.Marcus gripped my hair again then pulled, stilling me as he continued moving. "I'm alive, baby, and I ache for you, always. You feel it, baby?""Yes," I shouted.
"Tell me you feel how alive I am, how I feel to you!""Feel so, so good, boo! You're alive and you feel beyond good moving inside my body!"
His hand on my clit rubbed faster, harder. Suddenly my body tingled and I squirted again, screaming as loud as I did before. I heard Marcus’ growl and felt him twitch inside me, releasing. I collapsed on my stomach then Marcus laid heavily on my back, panting and sweating.I did not want him to move.He did after a few minutes and rolled to his back, staring at me. Our breathing stabled then my nightmare invaded my brain and I started to cry again.“Don’t, baby,” Marcus soothed, pulling me into his arms. “I’m here.”“You died, Marcus,” I wailed. “It felt so real. I saw… morgue… Matthew! Oh, God, Matthew! Tony. Kristen. Rob. Madison! All devastated, like I was!”We’re silent, outside of my sobs, but he still held me. After a long while, I calmed. That picture of his dead body came back in my head again and I started to shake. Marcus sighed then let out a loud snort.“Hold on. Where the hell was Joshua, Tom, Ethan, Nathan, Tim, Greg, Ira, Melvin and Russell?”I sniffed and looked at him. “What?”“You mentioned Matthew, Madison, Tony, Kristen and Rob. Where the hell were the others?”“Um… I don’t know. They weren’t there.”“Those fuckers! I’m dead and my wife is devastated and they're nowhere to be found! Wait until I see those asses later! I’m so wearing my big boots. They're all going to feel much pain for not being there for my baby.”I stared at him in disbelief. He had to be kidding.“Oh! Oh! And that Evelyn! Where the hell was she? My own sister, damn it! Not to mention Mandy, Monica, Lissa, Lisa, Elka, Vicky and all the parents! So not cool. I think I should line their asses up like bowling pins and use my car as a bowling ball and knock them all down with one shot.”I blinked. Was he really…“What exactly was Matthew and the others doing while I was dead?”“Uh, they were all distraught, Matthew the most.”Marcus grinned. “He’s such a good brother, that one. All right, him and his wife are safe. So are Rob, Tony and Kristen. But the others, not so much. Especially that Joshua and his sister. Running them down is not good enough. Slow and painful, I’m thinking now. Like… like… ooh, poison in their stuffing at dinner this afternoon. Cyanide in their wine. They all like red, so... Yeah, that’s good. They will pay!”I gasped. “Marcus, stop talking like that! It was just a dream, boo!”My husband smiled at me as he caressed my cheek. “Exactly, baby: it was just a dream. Try to put it out of your mind and keep telling yourself that I’m still here and it's not time for either of us to go yet. I'm here and by your side.”I nodded, loving him impossibly more. He's right, it was just a dream; he was alive and next to me.We showered and had a little more fun in there and in fresh pajamas with clean sheets on our bed, I cuddled into him when we laid down again.
“Marcus, what if tomorrow, one of us dies?”“Then we bide our time and wait for the other to join us, baby. If I go first, my soul will definitely wait for yours. I go, you live your days happy and fulfilled. That is what I want. You mourn me then you move on but I’m claiming you again as soon as you cross over. Your second husband will just be shit out of luck in the afterlife. And that fucker better not be Wexler! Anyone but him, baby.”That made me giggle. “Okay. You do the same. Marry and be good until you can join me.”“No, there will never be another Mrs. Marcus Cannon if something happens to you. That title is yours and only yours and will only be yours until Marc marries.”I smiled and held him to me. “I wouldn’t want to be anyone else’s wife anyway. Mariah Cannon is who I'll die as, no matter which of us goes first. I’ll take a lover or two though. Definitely teaching him that blowing thing.”He smacked my ass and chuckled.“I love you, baby.”“I love you, boo.”“Good. Now go to sleep. I’m getting some more in the morning. Don’t think you’re going to renege just because you forced me tonight.”“Forced you? You have… Are you kidding me, Marcus?”“Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I’m still getting my way with you, tomorrow.”I smacked his chest then turned to my side and smiled as I waited for him to curl into me. He soon did and released a relieving sigh. I gripped his hand at my waist and closed my eyes, hoping the morning would arrive fast and wondered what he’s going to do to me when we woke. I couldn't wait.“Where’s that purple dress, baby? I really want to see you in that tomorrow. And cross your legs often. I don’t think you know how insane that makes me.”Ooh. I will definitely drive him insane and I’m sure he’s going to make me pay for that when we got back home. Thank God."Seriously, baby... What's in the box?"I giggled and shook my head. "Just go open it, boo."I had never seen my husband run so fast from the bedroom.
Whew… Holy mother of all things holy... I need to catch my breath. 94 minutes later… Okay, I think I’m good now. Yeah, I am.I’m Raquel Ingram, a former assistant to Mr. Matthew Oliver Cannon, or as he’s known as in my mind: the only man on the planet I could EVER consider changing my sexual preference for.I am now a senior journalist for the Calabasas Times and I have been granted an exclusive free-lance interview with the Cannon/Harvey/Reed families.I think these will be the easiest 5000 words I have ever put together.This tight, close-knit family has written books chronicling their lives; covering everything from births, deaths, meetings, weddings and SEX! *ahem*The sex… whew again. Lots of it and it’s all detailed. These people know how to… well, you get it.As I said before, I was an assistant to Matthew Cannon, former FBI agent turned private investigator. His company’s education plan helped me tremendously in college and I earned several degrees while in his employ. When I discovered I had been granted this interview, I was more than elated. I hadn’t seen them in a few years and I was more than anxious to do so.As usual, the family was minutes early. Dr. Amy Fields has a thing about lateness that matches that of Dr. Marcus Cannon, so the family tend to make more than an effort to be prompt. The wrath of those two can be beyond intimidating.I got the notification that the family had arrived and nervously made my way to the conference room with Rory Anderson, my assistant, who bounded into my office once they’d been seated and offered refreshments.“OH! MY! GOD! SWOON! Have you seen those men? All those blue eyes… GEEZ!”I shook my head at her.“Oh, come on, Raquel! You cannot be that immune to those faces, that perfection! That Joshua… WHOA! And Matthew! I think my panties disintegrated when I saw him!”I smirk. “Just spontaneously combusted, did they?”“God yes! How the hell did you work under that face for so long and not drop your panties?”“Rory, you do realize that all those men are married and have been since before I met them. Except Matthew. He got married late and never looked back.”“Did you fuck him? Tell me you did! I am begging you!”“No, I did not, Rory. That is unprofessional and very inappropriate.”“Too bad. He looks like the kind of man that would make it worth your while in bed. On a desk. Wall. Floor. Free-standing…”I shook my head and left her standing in the middle of my office. I may not be able to get through this interview without having to wipe her drool.Rory caught up with me as I reached the conference room door.“If you can’t be professional, Rory, then I’m going to have to ask you to let someone else assist me today.”Rory’s eyes widened then her head shook vigorously. “No, I’m good, Ms. Ingram. I swear. Total professional from here on out!”I nodded, took a deep breath and entered the room, trying to be professional.“Good morning, everyone!” I said with a smile and a chipper voice when I saw Marcus and Mariah Cannon, Matthew and Madison Cannon, Joshua and Mandy Cannon, Tim and Vicky Fields, Tom and Monica Harvey, Ethan and Alissa Harvey, Russell and Evelyn Collins, and Nathan and Lisa James.I got back: “Good morning, Ms. Ingram!”They sounded like a first grade class on the last day of school. I started laughing immediately.Matthew walked over and gave me the biggest hug I’d ever gotten from him. It made me glow.“How are you, Raquel? It’s great to see you again.”I smile. “Mr. C., how are you?” “Well, I just got annoyed. What’s with that ‘Mr. C.’ bullshit? What happened to ‘Matthew’? Didn’t Smooch and I agree that you should call me that after you finished typing out my book?”“Yeah, I thought we all agreed you would address us by first names, Raquel,” Dr. Marcus Cannon said as he hugged me next.“We did indeed but I didn’t know if your opinions had changed. I’d be honored to call you by your first names.”“Good,” Matthew grinned, displaying those dimples that you could plant potatoes in. “Let’s start over. Move, Cramp!”Matthew shoved Marcus away from me then his arms came around me again in another bear hug and I swear I heard Rory swallow hard 37 times.When Matthew pulled back, he grinned again. “How are you, Raquel? It’s great to see you again.”I gave him a mischievous grin. “The pleasure is all mine… Toad!”The entire room burst out into a huge laugh. I had to wipe my eyes several times as I tried to calm then received hugs from everyone else after that. When they were done, I asked where their parents were.“Babysitting,” Alissa answered. “They were going to come, but Donnie sneezed or bumped his pinky finger and they all stayed behind. They still spoil all the grandkids so much.”“Yes, they do!” Ethan frowned. “I don’t get it! When we were growing up, they were sooo not like this! Where are the disciplinarians we grew up with? Who are these people?”“Grandparents,” Mariah chuckles. “I guarantee Mom is nothing like she was with me. She spanked my ass regularly but she excuses every little thing my kids do.”“Regularly, Cookie? Damn,” Monica grins. “Just how bad were you?”“I had my moments, Brownie, trust me!” Mariah grins. “But I guarantee I was nowhere near as rough as the stories I’ve heard about my husband and his raucous siblings.”“Excuse me? Raucous?” Evelyn shrieks. “I am nowhere near that category. It was these boys that were raucous. I was the angel. Still am.”“I know I don’t believe that!” Lisa giggles.“What the fuck?” Marcus scowls.“More like the devil’s angel!” Joshua chuckles.Matthew scoffs. “Quick, Vicky! Give her something that will make her stop her delusions!”Another loud laugh sounds after Evelyn reddens and tells her brothers to go fuck themselves.I smile and shake my head. Nothing has changed with this group. Thank God.When they calm again, I take my seat.“Can I offer anyone a beverage, snack... anything before we start?”Everyone declines. I turn on the recorder and begin.RI: Thank you all again for coming today. So… as I recall, Dr. Fields or Vicky, if I may call you that…VICKY: Please, by all means.RI: Thank you and I’m Raquel. Vicky, your book was first, which is really the story of Mandy and Joshua. What made you decide to write your book?VICKY: Raquel, I had asked them to do a book to help with their healing, for closure. I didn’t think Mandy would or could because she was going through so much as it was: the ‘affair’, the child… so I chronicled her story as well as the other things that were going on that was going on in that session, i.e. the multiple secrets, the hidden angst… all issues that were never addressed and the danger of them rearing their heads in the most inopportune times. Evelyn calling her brother ‘Daddy’ when he revealed his underlying issues was foremost. Classic.RI:*nods* Yeah, I read that and was completely floored. Everything is better now, isn’t it? I assume so since you all decided to release the books.VICKY: I decided to release what I’d written but I was going to change the names if anyone had any issues or concerns. The things discussed during that session were painful and very graphic. The world needs to see that it’s everywhere; even in prominent families, such as the Cannons. What Joshua went through, Marcus’ role in it… it needed to be shared, anonymously or openly.RI: And the proceeds?VICKY: Neither of us will see any proceeds, Raquel. It will all go to the charity of the author’s choice. I chose The Center Missing and Exploited Children and The Susan G Komen Foundation, in honor of Evelyn’s birth mother. Believe it or not, that last one was Katherine’s idea.EVELYN: It was?VICKY: It was.*silent,reflective faces*RI: I’m very impressed. Congratulations to you all on this decision. Next is Mariah’s story. You moved me. I’m surprised you aren’t a writer in real life, Mariah. You were deep and very personal in your story and I couldn’t understand how you survived it all.MARIAH: It’s easy when you’ve been blessed to have such an amazing support system. But don’t get me wrong, it was not all cookies and cream. Several times, I almost went inside myself and gave up. It was very hard to be as chipper and light as I presented myself. I worship therapists now. They are all the unsung heroes in my mind. I’ve had three and they have all played an important part in my healing.RI: I remember that. What about you almost leaving Marcus for good? After that… uh… let’s say, bathtub rendezvous?MARIAH: *smiles at her husband* Yeah, I cannot believe how stupid I was that day. He rocks my world and tells me he loves me and all I could do was… *sigh* I was just unbelievably stupid. Thank God he never gave up on us. His stubbornness usually drives me beyond insane but when it reared its head and prevailed back then, well, I will always be grateful for it.RI: Which brings us to Marcus’ book. Marcus, your mind… it’s unreal. Your specific recollection of everything is frightening. How do you manage your sanity?MARCUS: I don’t. My wife manages it then my kids. I’d be certifiable by now if I hadn’t met this beautiful woman.RI: You were a world class heel at first with her and I wanted to bash your head in with some of the shit you said to her, especially about the babies. And you have how many now?MARCUS: *grinning* Mariah and I have six children: five boys and one girl. And yes I was an ass. Total and complete. If I could, I would definitely go back and knock myself out for the shit I said.VICKY & TIM: Marcus…MARCUS: Okay, okay. At the time, it was how I felt and I should validate those feelings. They were real. I had always been compared to my father and in no way wanted to hurt my family the way he did, even though he apologized for his behavior and never did it again. In the end, I am totally appreciative of the dalliance because it got us Evie. I recognize that my father and I are two different entities and I would never do anything to hurt my wife, no matter how hard my dick gets while she’s recuperating. My father had a moment of weakness that he’s never repeated and is truly sorry… to a point… for doing.RI: To a point?MARCUS: Yeah. Like I said, it got us Evie. Mother was not having any more kids after Joshua and our lives are the richer for having Evelyn in it. I’m sure everyone in this room agrees.RUSSELL:*smiling* I know I do.MANDY: I do, too.RI: Mandy, let’s discuss you for a minute.MANDY: God, how about we don’t? *laughs*RI: *smiles* I was touched at your words about Jacob. Any regrets?MANDY: Not a one. *beams* I love him and I consider him mine and always will. He’s the cutest thing since Andy and my other sons love and treat him the same as the others. He is thoroughly loved and completely spoiled.RI: And Sidra?MANDY: Mrs. Dawson is a complete non-factor and always will be. Matter of fact, the only regret I do have is not being able to kick her ass for fucking my vulnerable husband.EVELYN: I second that.MONICA: Third. I wanted to rip her fucking throat out. And don’t think I can’t do it.LISA: I know you could and I would’ve held your purse while you did it.RI: No love lost there, I see. Not that I can blame either of you. I really wanted to yank her clit out staple it to a wall. *clears throat* Sorry. Very unprofessional.EVELYN: Damn. Remind me never to cross you!RI: That’s funny coming from a martial artist!EVELYN: Maybe but I guarantee I’ve never threatened to staple a girl’s clit to a wall. Shit. That has to be worse than labor!*Another loud laugh fills the room as the women cross their legs.*RI: Now let’s move on to Madison’s book. Madison, how are you?MADISON: Very pregnant. Again! *laughs* I think Smf loves seeing me this way.MATTHEW: Of course I do but I like doing to you what I do to make you look that way better.MADISON: Fiend.MATTHEW: Always for you, Smooch.*He leans over and kisses her, Rory looks at them longingly and I smack her shoulder*VICKY: Guys…*Still kissing*VICKY: GUYS!*Still kissing, becoming heated as they start groping one another.*TIM: HEY, HORNDOGS!*Matthew pulls Madison to his lap, still kissing her deeply while her hand goes inside his shirt*MARCUS: Dammit! Not again! *pulls Madison from Matthew’s lap and points to his chair* You sit over there until we’re done with this, Sugar! *turns to Matthew after he sits in Madison’s seat* Don’t even think of putting your mouth over here. I will knock you out, Toad!MATTHEW: *laughs* Aw, damn! Bumm-fuckin-er!*Even louder laughing sounds*RI: Back to you, Madison. Tell my readers about your book.MADISON: It’s basically all about me, from my time with my first husband to when I married him. *points to Matthew* And everything in between, good and/or bad.RI: *nods* Did you feel, as the others seem to, relief after you wrote it?MADISON: Some, not a lot. I was holding back and stopped writing when I felt I didn’t want go any further, and I left out the most traumatic event of my life. I know now that I was avoiding but I’ve since gotten passed that.RI: I happen to know but care to share how you got to that point?MADISON: Therapy. Being open and receptive to it. And putting it in my face so that I had to address it. Best day of my life was finally confronting my rapist and letting him know how what the hell he did to me affected me and the choices I made since the rape. That was when I finally felt peace. I mean, I had some when I married Smf, and more as my kids came but that day, I don’t know… I really can’t explain it.VICKY: You felt relief because you got closure, which is exactly what I was hoping that confrontation would give you.RI: I’m glad to hear it, Madison. And what number is this for you? Child, I mean.MADISON: This huge surprise is number six for us. We have five boys and are expecting this sixth one in March, and in the meantime, Smf will be getting snipped and burned or whatever they do for a vasectomy.MATTHEW: What? Who said that?MADISON: I said it and I mean it! We agreed Bradford would be it for us and here I am pregnant again! You will not get this *points to her sex* again if you don’t do something about that! *points to his groin* We both know you enjoy this mouth but it will never be enough for you and you know it!*All groans*MADISON: Oh, shut up. It’s not like you all don’t do it, assholes!MATTHEW: Do it and enjoy it! But can we talk more about this vasectomy thing, Smooch?MADISON: Only thing left to say is you telling me which one of these guys are picking you up after the procedure.MATTHEW: Smooch!MADISON: I’m done with this conversation, Matthew Oliver Cannon. Sleep in a guest room until you see things my way.*Matthew freezes as his jaw drops*MATTHEW: I’ll make the appointment next week, Smooch.*Madison raises a brow and smirks*MATTHEW: Okay, okay. As soon as we’re done here. Better?MADISON: *grins* Much, Smf.TOM: There is really something wrong with the two of them.ALL: Agreed!MATTHEW: There isn’t shit wrong with us. *laughs**Geez, that sound is still soul stirring. Now I wish Dr. Cannon, senior would have come today. That man’s voice… whew again!*RI: As I remember it, Mrs. Cannon, Katherine, used the ‘publishing’ excuse before but it was bunk. What changed everyone’s minds?TOM: When Monica surprised us with her book, Vicky decided that it would be in the best interest of the public if those stories were shared. After reading and re-reading Monica’s, I had to agree. The things she was holding in were destroying her, us. I think everything she went through was horrific and painful and she cannot be the only one who has suffered that kind of pain. I, for one, think if she helps one, then it will all be worth it. Change names or not, I really don’t care. I am not ashamed of anything she or any of the others wrote. She’s my wife, they are my siblings and they all have my support.ETHAN: Mine too.LISA: Me, as well. They all have been through some unbelievable shit and I am damn lucky to have lived the life I have.RI: Nathan? You’re awfully quiet. Is there something you want to say?NATHAN: Other than agreeing with Tom, no, I’m good, thanks, Raquel.RI: Sure?NATHAN: Just that I am happy everyone survived and we all found one another.ALL: Agreed.RI: Okay, feel free to jump in any time you feel like it.NATHAN: I will. *small smile*RI: Matthew, your book is next and let me say I really enjoyed being your typist.MATTHEW: *grin* The blowing thing, you used it didn’t you?RI: *grins back* I most certainly did.NATHAN: What blowing thing?*Ethan leans over and whispers to him*NATHAN: *grins* Oh, right. Carry on.RI: Other than that, Matthew the ending to your book, your add-on, I mean. Very powerful and in my opinion made the book. It made me shed a tear. What made you include it?MATTHEW: Vicky.VICKY: Matthew!MATTHEW: *sighs* I had to include it. That outcome, I was not expecting it and neither was Smooch. I swear I drained myself debating whether or not to tell her and I disrupted Vicky’s day, while she was home with her newborn, with that. She was right. My wife had every right in the world to know what happened and she handled it well, I think. Even though her initial reaction scared the shit out of me.RI: I read that. Still stupid when it comes to Madison, huh?MATTHEW: *mouth twitches* Yeah, guess I am.VICKY: Why is that, Matthew?MATTHEW: Why is what?VICKY: *glaring at Matthew* Why are you so stupid when it comes to Madison?MATTHEW: Because I love her and I don’t ever want to lose her. It took me too long to make her mine, to tell her how I felt and when my oldest son told me how she felt, I still stupidly ignored it. I really didn’t think a good woman like her would want me. How fucking wrong was I?MARCUS: You’re an ass and you always will be, fucker. Neither of you are going anywhere and if you tried, everyone in this room would kick both your asses until you both were as blue as my eyes.ALL: *shouts* AGREED!MADISON: No one’s going anywhere! EVER! Now can you get on with Monica, Raquel?RI: *laughs* Sure. Monica, what made you decide to share your story?MONICA: I felt everything I was hiding from was done once that man was confirmed dead. I needed to share, needed the closure, just as the others did. Vicky assured me I was entitled and I value her opinion, as I’m sure the rest of the family does.ALL: Agreed.RUSSELL: We’d be doomed without her and Tim. No idea how we survived as long as we did without them.TOM: We weren’t. That’s why we started therapy in the first place.NATHAN: We needed it; needed the outside eye to remind us why we were together and why we gelled as a unit. None of us were good with secrets, especially from one another, but that one from the girls and Joshua… that tore my wife up and let me tell you: as much as I enjoyed her… expression… no, more like the release of her anger, she was ready to kill. She was not happy and for a while.LISA: No, I wasn’t but that is why I agree so much with Matthew when he starts preaching about communicating with each other. I’m also glad we hashed it out in therapy and have learned not to hide our shit from one another. Although reading about my siblings sex lives was a little out there…MARIAH: *giggles* Vicky said to be open and honest. That’s what we were.LISA: *rolls eyes* Slut.MARIAH: Pro.*Both breaks out into giggles*RI: So do any of you have any regrets about your individual writings?VICKY: Not a one.MARIAH: Nope.MARCUS: No.MADISON: Not me.MATTHEW: Me either. Proud of all of it.MONICA: Just that I didn’t share it sooner.RI: Speaking as a reader, I enjoyed all of them and I think the public will too. Is there any chance that someone else will write something?JOSHUA: What’s left to tell?TIM: I have nothing else to share. I lived a pretty boring life until I met my wife. My parents were 40 and 45 when they conceived me and I was an orphan by the time I was 22. I loved them and all they ever showed me was love in return. I went to school, graduated and became a therapist then married the widow Walmsley a few months after we met. *laughs* There’s no way that’s an entire book.TOM: Ethan, Lisa and I have had pretty bland, cookie cutter lives. Dad cheated on Mom and she divorced him, met and married Caspar and had two more sons. CJ and Donovan had us and we had them. Still do. Nothing in the realm of the others. I guess we were lucky that our parents gave us normality. Or should I say that Mother is a therapist and recognized a problem and nipped it before we could get ridiculous?VICKY: I’d say definitely the latter.RI: So what’s next for this group? A tour to promote the book, maybe?MATTHEW: No, I don’t think the world is ready for us, Raquel. *laughs* My immediate plan is to take my wife home and get her naked while the mothers baby our kids.*Shit, he’s grinning again… and there are those damn dimples!*MADISON: *grins* Sounds like a good plan to me.LISA: JESUS! Do you two ever come out of the bedroom? Do you even know what your sons look like?MATTHEW: *frowns* We have kids, Smooch?MADISON: Yes we do, Smf. And yes I do know what they look like. Blonde, brown-eyed girls, I think.*Lisa balls up a piece of paper and throws it at her, everyone laughs*MADISON: *laughing* I love all my green and blue-eyed sons and I love getting naked with my blue-eyed husband every chance I get.MATTHEW: *growls* So do I!ETHAN: All our boys are the best, aren’t they?RUSSELL: Absolutely. We make strong, handsome boys.MARCUS: *clears throat*TIM: Yes, fucker we know you have the only girl of the bunch!MARCUS: *laughs*RI: Your little girl is still the only one?MARIAH: Yes she is and this one Sugar is carrying is a boy, too. Looks like we have to wait to become grandparents before we see another girl in this clan.MANDY: Poor Lila. She will suffer so much by the over-protectiveness of her brothers and cousins.TOM: As she should!ETHAN: Damn right!LISSA: Why should she? Just because she’s a girl?MATTHEW: Yep! No one is coming near my niece! I am already teaching my boys to knock out any fucker that looks at her twice.MADISON: Tell me that’s a joke!JOSHUA: It’s not! I’m doing the same thing!EVELYN: You have to be kidding! As a victim of over-protected behavior, I have to speak up for my niece! It was bad enough with those three but 25 boys? No, not happening.RUSSELL: Yes it is. No one is going to take advantage of Lila. Our boys will make sure of it. Ask Rack when we see him what his old man’s been teaching him about Lila.LISA: You have to be kidding me! You three were horrible when it came Evelyn dating. Thank God my brothers never did that to me!RI: What was that look, Tom?TOM: What look, Raquel?VICKY: That smirk when Lisa made her statement.ETHAN: We were worse than the Cannons. Lisa just never knew about it. If some boy showed interest in our sister, we ‘talked’ him out of it, especially if he appeared less than… worthy. No way was any guy getting in her panties just for sport. We had to protect her and we succeeded most of the time.NATHAN: You guys only threatened me, you never barged in our relationship.TOM: *shrug* Pops liked you. That was more than enough for us.MARIAH: Seriously, you guys need to back down and let Lila live. She’s going to end up hating all of you.MARCUS: No she won’t, Baby. I’ll make sure of it. If she has a problem, she will run to her brothers and cousins, not some so-called friend who will tell her the wrong thing.*Looking around at each other, they all appear to be silently debating the conversation.*MATTHEW: Sorry, Cookie. Can’t. I love and need to protect my niece, at all costs. After that scare—TOM: No, please don’t bring that up. It was hard enough reading and reliving that through Marcus’ eidetic recollection.RUSSELL: Your recollection was not that much better, Matthew. Especially when you wrote about the trial.RI: *sighs* Yes, that was very deep. Both recollections. Have any of you done anything different as far as safety?MATTHEW: Amped up their teams. Everyone is trained and well-paid to guard all of them. There will be no repeats on my watch.RI: All right then. I think I have everything I need, everybody. Thank you for sitting with me.MADISON: Thank you, too, Raquel. Okay, Smf… now we can go home and explore the south lands before our kids invade us! *starts singing a song*RI: *laughs* What is that song?MADISON: Oh My Gosh by Usher. Smf’s and I favorite song to fuck to. Outside of Prince’s SexyMotherfucker that is. *huge grin*RI: Really? Do all of you have specific songs?MARCUS: I don’t care what it is but Mariah and I have our real songs and our joke song.RI: *frown* Joke song?MARIAH: Yeah, our romantic song is Adore by Prince.MARCUS: And the joke song is Fire by the Pointer Sisters.MARIAH: Marcus thinks that’s dirty. He’s been sheltered.MADISON: Oh, yeah. That is nowhere near dirty.RI: What about the rest of you? Real song and dirty. How about the men say the dirty song and the women say the real ones?LISA: Okay. Every Time, Janet Jackson.NATHAN: Uhh Ahh, Boys II Men.RI: *laughs* Okay. Next?EVELYN: As, Stevie Wonder.RUSSELL: Magic Stick, 50 Cent and Lil Kim.RI: I so know that song! Now, that’s dirty! Take note, Marcus! *All laugh*LISSA: I Love You by Faith Evans.ETHAN:Magia Negra, Romeo Santos. My wife assures me it’s dirty enough.VICKY:More Than Words, Extreme.TIM: Dotcom, also Usher.MANDY: Lonestar’s Amazed.JOSHUA: *laughing hard*Ass Like That, Eminem!*All laugh*MADISON: Crazy, Aerosmith but we have been partial to Holding Back the Years by Simply Red.MATTHEW: Yeah and along with Oh My Gosh, there’s also Doin’ It by LL Cool J.MARIAH: *frowns*That’s your dirty song? Sugar! I’m surprised at you! I think that song is so tame for you! I at least thought it would be Anywhere by 112.MADISON: I know but these guys know nothing! Take Tony and Kristin. Their romantic song is Sending My Love by Zhane. Their joke song is Horny by B-Rezell.*silent, confused faces*MADISON: See?MARIAH: *giggles* I know that song!MADISON: You do not!MARIAH: Oh yeah? *starts singing dirty lyrics*RI: Ooh.MARCUS: Baby… Holy…MATTHEW: SMOOCH! We need to get that fucking song!NATHAN & RUSSELL: *sings along with Mariah, grinning at their wives*LISA: Oh, God, babe! *stares open-mouthed at her husband*MARIAH: How about Touch It? I think that’s Monica.MADISON: I know that! That’s not Monica, her name is Monifah. *sings*MARIAH: YES! That’s so it!LISSA: There’s always Tonight by John Legend. *sings*NATHAN, RUSSELL, MARIAH & MADISON: *sings along*EVELYN: Russell! How do you know these? Why haven’t I ever heard these songs?MARIAH: Cause, like your brother, you’re sheltered.MATTHEW: I’m not and I’ve never heard these songs either.MARIAH & MADISON: SHELTERED! *giggles*MARIAH: There are so many more of those out there, guys. I think we need a dirty karaoke night and soon!TIM: No way! *laughs* You three are the only ones that know these songs!MANDY: He’s right. Best I can do is FMLYHM by Seether.MONICA: I’ve heard of Seether. I love that song Broken and their Careless Whisper cover. But FMLYHM? Never heard it.JOSHUA: What is FMLYHM mean, Sweetie?MANDY: *laughing hard* Fuck Me Like You Hate Me!*Everyone bursts into a long and loud laugh*LISA: No way!*Mandy pulls out her phone and plays the song, we all laugh and I blush fire*RI: That’s definitely going on my playlist! Seether, you say?MANDY: Oh, yeah. You’ll love all of their stuff! I guarantee!MARIAH: *standing* So dirty karaoke, people?RUSSELL: I’m so in.LISSA: Me too but I need some time find out these songs. Wait, did I say that right? No, I didn’t. I meant learn them. I need some time to learn these songs! *laughs*TIM: *laughs* It’s okay, Picante. We understand English is not your first language!MANDY: Okay, our house in two weeks?ALL: DEAL!MATTHEW: NEW TEAMS! And Smooch and Cookie will be separated!MARIAH: Come on, Toad! Sugar and I are NEVER on the same team!TIM: There’s very good reason for that, Cookie. And very fair.ALL: Agreed!MARIAH: Assholes! Russell and Nathan knows these songs, too!MATTHEW: Not happening, Cookie!JOSHUA: Don’t even think about it.*Madison slyly winks at Mariah, this reporter attempts to hide a chuckle*MANDY: Raquel? Care to join us for dirty karaoke night and some 'bad for you' food? It’s the only time we allow the men to eat badly. It’s quite a sight.RI: I’d love to. Mind if my fiancée tags along?JOSHUA: Of course not. Bring her along.MATTHEW: Yeah, bring her. And if you feel like you want to make love to her on the karaoke stage in front of all of us, by all means, do so. I insist.MEN: So do I!RI: *smirks* So you’re saying if I looked at Afton and she’s looking particularly hot in tight jeans and a skimpy tank top, it would be okay with all of you if I yanked her on the stage, ripped off her jeans and panties, kneeled between her legs and rapidly flicked my tongue on her hot, throbbing clit then blew softly when I got her to the edge and made her scream for her life in pleasure?*Silence*MATTHEW: Ba…MARCUS: *groan*JOSHUA: Uh…TOM: I think…TIM: Huh?RUSSELL: *silently staring*ETHAN: Mommy…NATHAN: *whispers* I didn’t hear that. C-can you repeat that, please?RI: Sure. I said—MEN: NOOOOO!*The women laugh hard as the men run from the room*LISA:*laughing hard* I swear, karaoke night will NEVER be the same after that!MONICA: Good! Those fuckers deserved it! Well done, Raquel!RI: *grins* Thank you!I turn off the recorder and smile as the women hug me and start leaving the room. I give Mandy one of my cards, writing my cell on the back.“Give me a call when you pick dirty karaoke night and Afton and I will be there,” I smile.“Great,” Mandy grins, then gives me a big hug.Madison grins then hugs me. “I swear that was excellent to see them leave the room. And it wasn’t me that caused it this time!”“My pleasure. Besides, your husband had that coming!”“You’re right, Raquel, he so did!”I collapse in a seat when Madison leaves.Like I said at the beginning of this piece: whew! Let's hope the parents are much calmer than these guys but I don't think so. They had to get this behavior somewhere, right?