Saturday, September 27, 2014

Flowers, Orb's Year 945-948



Pasting a smile on her face and straightening her shoulders to thrust her bosom out, Gladys sauntered across the room towards her step-father.  "Chandler! Just who I was looking for..."  (Marchant, Orb's Year 944)

Chandler stepped back quickly when his stepdaughter propositioned him...
"Gladys Flowers!" Caira yelled as she stormed through the house, looking for her daughter.  "How dare you..." she sputtered indignantly, too angry to speak clearly.

"What? You said I acted like a tavern wench - I only wanted to prove you right!" Gladys snapped as she got up from the couch, preparing to argue with her mother, once again...
CRACK! The sound of the slap echoed through the room.  Gladys grabbed her throbbing cheek and glared at her mother before running to her room and slamming the door.
 
 ***

 Orb's Year 945
Gladys Flowers wasn't changing for anyone, least of all her rigid mother!
And she liked her life just fine!

 ***


Family dinners were strained when both Caira and Gladys were present.  Caira studiously ignored her wayward daughter and Gladys spent the entire meal trying to provoke her mother into a fit of anger.
"...and I must say that the new maid is working out wonderfully!"Gladys said, tongue-in-cheek. "He's such a thorough worker!" 

Floyd shook his head, "Gladys," he cautioned under his breath.

"What?!" Gladys asked with a laugh.  "I was just letting Caira know that I approved of her choice!"

Floyd's wife, Brittany, sighed heavily and got up to take her dishes to the sink.  Her sister-in-law could be so outlandish!
Knowing that Gladys was about to get even more outrageous, she hurried over to Hector.
"Come on, Hector. It's time to get you ready for bed!"

 ***

Gladys smiled wickedly when she received the missive from BJ Esquire requesting her presence at the Kitchen.  She was positively giddy with the thought of taking him to her bed!

Caira shook her head with sadness when her daughter announced she would be back later... "much later..." Gladys had all but purred.   She knew now that it would be useless to say anything, so she stonily turned her cheek and ignored Gladys as she swept from the house.
Gladys greeted the handsome adventurer, cupping his delicious buttocks in her hand.  "Lovely getting a message from you," she said seductively.

"Come on," BJ said, grabbing her hand and dragging her upstairs.

***

Brittney hummed as she cooked the kasha. 
She set the table, ready to call everyone to dinner.  Thankfully Gladys was away with whatever boy she was seeing at the time, so dinner would be a much more relaxed atmosphere... which was so important to her now that the baby was due to be born...
Setting the kasha down, she dripped her stomach as a cramp took her off-guard.  Apparently the baby didn't want to wait... she thought as she called for Floyd.
She gave birth to a healthy little boy, Ira Flowers.

 Orb's Year 946
Despite her penchant for playing hard, Gladys also worked hard.  No matter how much her mother drove her crazy, she had inherited her looks and her love of flowers from her.
She was tending to the roses when she saw a shadow caught her eye. 
"Jerome!" she exclaimed, bouncing to her feet.  "It's so wonderful to see you again!"

He didn't say anything, just stood there staring intently at her.
"Are you still mad at me?" she asked.  He had not handled it well when he discovered that she was not a virgin. 

"I don't know..." he said, wavering.  His heart hurt just looking at her.  He'd pinned all his future happiness on a life with Gladys...  His life had been so empty without her in it...
"Oh come on," she said, plucking a red rose and presently it to him.  "Don't be mad at me! You're my very best friend! I miss you!"
Jerome took the flower and felt his heart flutter.  She missed him...
Gladys grabbed his hand and squeezed.  "Let me show you..." she said tenderly, pulling him towards her.
Jerome allowed Gladys to lead him to her room...

*** 

Sometime later...

"I'd like to marry her, Floyd," Jerome said to Gladys brother.  "I'd like you to give us your blessing."

Floyd grimaced.  "It's not up to me," he said simply.

"But we've been intimate," he argued.

Floyd sighed heavily and shook his head.  "I promised Gladys that I would never make her get married, Jerome.  It has to be completely her choice."

Jerome stared, taken aback, "But... you can't mean that... we... she..."  He stopped and tried to regroup.  He'd thought that he could bypass Gladys objections by getting her brother to side with him.  He felt her slipping through his fingers again.  "She'll never belong to just me, will she?" he asked sadly. 

Floyd sighed and rubbed his neck as he watched Jerome walk away.  Sometimes he wished he'd never promised Gladys.

***

"I had an interesting conversation with Jerome today," Floyd said nonchalantly.  "Perhaps you ought to put him out of misery and consent to marry him."
Gladys looked up sharply.  "I will never marry!  I will never be owned by a man!" she snapped.  "NEVER!" Angrily, she stood up and stalked to her room, shaking like a leaf.

Floyd shook his head.  Where did Gladys get such a negative view of marriage? he wondered sadly.

***

Chandler walked into the bathroom, surprised to see Gladys throwing up in the toilet.  "Are you okay?" he started to ask.

"GET OUT!" Gladys yelled, embarrassed to be seen in this condition.
She rinsed her mouth out with water and stared sadly in the mirror.  There was no help for it.  She'd managed to get pregnant...

 Orb's Year 947
It was time to face the music, Gladys thought as she walked to join the family.  "Well, I'm sure you are all surprised, but I'm pregnant!" she announced flippantly.
Gasps sounded throughout the room.
Caira shook with anger. "I knew it! Do you even know who the father is?!" she accused angrily.  "You should get down on your knees and pray that Jerome will marry you even if you're not sure he's the father!"
Gladys put her hands on her hips, "I'm not going to marry anyone!" she responded angrily.  "And you'll just have to live with it!"

"Live with it?" Caira repeated indignantly.  "You think I would allow you to live under this roof as an unmarried woman and bring shame to the family?" She shook her head in amazement. 
"Mother," Floyd said, breaking in.  "Let me speak with her."

Caira threw her hands up in anger and stepped to the side.  "By all means!" she said condescendingly.  "See if you can fix this mess!"
"Are you that you won't consider marriage?" Floyd asked quietly.

Gladys shook her head tightly.

Floyd sighed heavily.  "There is one thing we can do..."

 ***

"I'm going to miss you so much," Brittany said, hugging him tightly.

"If there was another way, I would do it," he said sadly.  "This way we protect my sister and her child."

"I know," Brittany agreed sadly.  "I just wish..." she trailed off.

"I know," Floyd agreed, kissing her.  "It's time," he told her sadly, following her from the room.
Caira put the baby Ira into his mother's arms.  Nearby Gladys waited with Hector in her arms.
Once they were ready, the ladies left with the children, leaving Floyd and his mother and stepfather in the house.

***


Time passed slowly, especially without his family nearby.

The official story was that Brittany went to visit her family in another town to deliver a child and Gladys had gone with her to help.  When the ladies returned, he and Brittany would claim his niece as their own.
But, in the meantime, business must go on...

Orb's Year 948
"They're coming home, mother!" Floyd said eagerly. 

Caira grinned and hugged her son.  "I've missed them so much!" she agreed.
Together they hurried outside to wait for the carriage to arrive.
"FLOYD!" Brittany said, placing the newborn baby into Caira's arms before jumping into her husband's arms.  "I missed you!"
Floyd clasped her closely to his body.  "I missed you, too," he whispered softly. 

Gladys glared and swept past them.
"Daddy! Look how big I've gotten!" Hector said as Brittany swept the toddling Ira into her arms.

"You certainly have grown, son!" Floyd agreed.
"Did you know we have a new baby sister?!" Hector asked excitedly.  "Mama says we're going to take good care of her!"

 ***

Caira swept inside with her newest granddaughter, Joan Flowers.  "She's beautiful, isn't she?" Caira asked happily.
Chandler grinned at the baby.  "That she is, Caira," he agreed.  "A beautiful little girl!"

Gladys followed them inside and glared at them.

 ***

Floyd held the little girl that he and Brittany would raise as their own.  "It's nice to have the nursery filled again!" he told his wife.

Brittany wrung her hands.  "I don't think Gladys is okay," she said sadly.  "She's not handling it well..."

"I'll talk to her," Floyd promised.
 ***

Floyd knocking lightly on the door and waited.  

"What?" Gladys snapped.

"It's me, Gladys," he said, "Can I come in?"

"Whatever," she said.
Floyd entered her room and saw his sister laying in bed, staring straight ahead.  "Are you okay?" he asked worriedly.

She shrugged, "What does it matter," she said sourly.  "What's done is done."

Floyd sighed in exasperation.  "Gladys, you made your choice - you didn't want to marry Jerome.  This was the only other way for you to keep your honor. Now everything can go back to the way it was!"
Gladys jumped up from her bed angrily. "You're right! Everything will be exactly the same, won't it?!"   Tears pricked her eyes.  "Oh, just go away, Floyd!"

Gladys flopped back down onto her bed and crossed her arms mulishly.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Floyd asked. 

"Yeah, perfectly fine, just peachy," Gladys said, "Just go..."  She resumed looking at the spot on the wall...

 ***

All of Gladys feelings churned as she laid in the bed until she just snapped.  This wasn't what she wanted, she thought sadly.
"Mama, I made a mistake," Gladys said sadly when she saw her mother.  

Caira shook her head, "No, Gladys.  Leave the girl be," she said in a hushed tone.  "Brittany will be able to mother her much better than you.  Don't take that from her!"
Gladys switched from sadness to anger.  "You don't believe in me!" she snapped. "I could be a wonderful mother!" she argued.

Caira scoffed, "What? You'll be bored of being a mother within a day and then where will the child be? Just let the matter be and go back to flitting from man to man."
"Why do you hate me so much?" Gladys asked, shoving her mother away from her and storming out of the house.

 ***

"...Doesn't she know that I only want what's best for her and my grandchild?  She's too selfish and stubborn to be a good mother!" Caira fumed upstairs.  ""....and then she pushed me!"
"It's her first night back, Caira.  Give her time.  She's confused."

"What's there to be confused about?" Caira grumbled unhappily.

"Get a good night's rest," Chandler said.  "It will look better in the morning."

 ***

But come the morning, Caira had passed on...

Rest in Peace, Caira Flowers, Orbs Years' 906-948

***

Gladys sobbed uncontrollably when Floyd broke the news to her.   "My last words to her were in anger," she wailed.  "Why am I such a failure?"

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