At KC and Everleigh’s Newcrest home, KC asked Heath, as he was pulling out cups for the coffee he just brewed.
“Yes, please.” Heath agreed.
“I thought I’d run this by you first, KC, since Everleigh would probably just agree, but wanted to make sure you are okay with it, too. It would be a pretty long time, I know, but would give Heather and me some true alone time for an entire day …”
“Look man, I appreciate you coming to me and I really hate having to cockblock you from enjoying 24 hours alone with your girlfriend, and usually I do not mind us watching your little girl, but dude, the wifey is dragging me to an early morning appointment with a realtor. Smack dab at 8 AM out at the Bay so we have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. On a Sunday. BRUTAL! On top of all I work till 3 AM tonight, get few hours of shut-eye and then off to listen to some naggy realtor for several hours just so I don’t have to listen to a naggy wife and in-laws for days, weeks, months!”
“Oh, I did not know you guys were looking to move?”
“WE weren’t. But Evey has been hating on this house ever since her accident. All the stairs look cool, but when she had a hard time getting around, she had to live with her grandparents for a while, then limp up and down tons of stairs when she was finally able to use crutches. No way that will be doable with a stroller one day.”
“Stroller? So you are really serious about a baby?”
“I don’t know. I kinda don’t care either way, but she keeps going back and forth with it. Some days she is all over it and nearly rapes me leaving me to wonder if I end up shopping for baby stuff in a month or so, other days she is super-freaked-out and thinks she wouldn’t be a good mom and won’t let me anywhere near her. Like three days ago, when her favorite potted plant died. Thought we’d end up having a frigging funeral for that damn weed! I tried to joke about it and she nearly divorced me for it – and that is only partially joking now. If we do end up preggers, I hope it’ll be a boy. Not sure I can handle TWO of those Barbies! Way too much estrogen for this simple-minded ol’ country boy.”
“So where is that new house – or houses – you’ll be looking at?” Heath asked.
“Just one, supposedly THE one. Brindleton Bay. Directly across the street from her parents, which is how all that came about. Her mom and dad saw the for sale sign go up and immediately went to speak to the realtor putting it up. Called Evey and she made the appointment right away.”
“Across the street from the in-laws?”
“Don’t get me started. Just don’t. But there is NO WAY I can say no to seeing it and if she likes it, which I hope she does not, I am toast. That means we’re moving for sure, cos I would be outvoted. Barbie, Barbie-mommy and Barbie-daddy all in favor … ugh!”
“Well, I am not too crazy about having you guys move. Brindleton Bay is a bit too far for me to teleport with Abby. I’d have to learn to drive after all. Heather has been on my case about that.” Heath shrugged.
“I agree, dude. You definitely need a ride. Once Abby is school-aged, you cannot just magically appear with her at her school. I know you have been saying that you want to keep this vampire thing low-profile, so once school really takes off for Abby and you would have to end up teleporting all over the map, you would be taking a crap on that idea and wiping your butt with it. Also, if and when you eventually move in with Heather you will learn that when your girl makes you go to stores like IKEA for that ‘one tiny little thing’ you’ll end up Tetris-ing a bunch of junk into your ride until it nearly tips over. Doubt you can teleport 5 metric tons of decoration bullshit home with your vampire magic tricks. Plus, independence, man!”
“True, but you are a man. Could you imagine Everleigh trying to teach you how to drive? I love Heather, truly, I do, but there are just things she and I just cannot seem to do together. Teaching me how to drive is close to number one for that list as we found out. Don’t ask how, please.” Heath made a face as if he had bitten into a lemon.
“Oh jeeze. How about I’ll teach ya?” KC offered.
“That would be fantastic.”
“Maybe in turn you can try and talk Evey out of moving. Especially not to across the street from the in-laws. I like the Bay, it’s cool and shit, but it’s also crawling with her relatives. Camerons as far as the eye can see. I like them, a lot, especially Blaine, but that’s a bit much.”
“I understand you better than you may think. The reason I wanted you guys to watch Abigail for a day is not just for some due alone time with Heather, but also because her parents invited us over for drinks, dinner really, but since that falls flat for us as vampires, we are doing coffee at 9 PM instead. No doubt in my mind that it will be a ganging-up-on-Heath-session. The writing has been on the walls for a while. Her dad is running out of patience with me, wanting me to ask Heather to marry me already. Abigail will be in school soon, so he wants it all to be … proper. Her folks have been very lenient about the vampire fact, but they are pretty old school and hate that we do not even live together, not to mention that we are not even married despite having a child together.”
“But you no likey the shotgun style approach, huh?” KC grinned.
“Yes and no. I do want to marry the mother of my child, I love her, we have been dating for nearly a year now and I am old-fashioned like that as well. Truth is, I want us to be a family too, especially if there might ever be another child – something Heather has been hinting around on wanting soon and I don’t dislike the idea, but that last almost-wedding mess is still in my bones. Luckily it was your wedding which Sam and I only tagged ourselves on to shortly before the fact, so us dropping out again at the very last minute was not as publicly embarrassing as it could have been. Can’t go through that again, though. If I didn’t know for a fact that she, her parents and even my daughter expect a real wedding, I’d just marry her at the courthouse and be done with it all.”
“Yeah, big weddings are the pits! I hardly did anything for ours, but it was a drama still, Evey, her mom and grandma were wound super-tight and I cannot even tell you how many patterns I looked at and pieces of cake I had to taste-test. Surprised I didn’t die of diabetes already! But I don’t think you need to worry about being left at the altar again. Heather seems pretty solid now. Safe to say that she and Cameron are over for good. He is a mental wreck, still, some days barely able to tie his shoes without guidance and she is all over you every time we all go out. You just need to figure out where to live. Maybe the house next door to the one we are looking at tomorrow will open up and we all become one happy fucking sitcom family.”
“We already discussed that, Heather and I. She would move into my home, sell hers.”
“If you were me, Heath, knowing my luck, either Cameron or Catherine would move in next door once Heather moved out. Ha ha ha.”
“Do not even joke about that!”
KC parked, looking across the street. It truly was exactly as they had said directly across the street from Everleigh’s parents’ home. Immediate neighbors. Ugh.
“Ah, there they are. Finally. This is our daughter Everleigh, whom I told you so much about, and her husband, KC.” KC heard Everett say as they walked over to them.
Greetings were exchanged as the realtor shook the hands of both new arrivals.
“Shall we then? You are lucky you called me when you did, small ramblers with a large yard, pool and double garages always fly off the shelves. We already have people lined up for this beauty here.” the realtor rattled down as he unlocked and let them all in.
“Beauty?” KC moaned looking at the dusty, outdated style, colors and furnishings.
“KC!” Everleigh hissed.
“What?! This looks like we all just time-traveled back to grandma’s home in the 1800s …” he told her.
“Son, zip it!” Everett shot him a warning glare.
“What was that?” the realtor now addressed KC and his father-in-law.
“Oh nothing, we are just admiring the … umm… the … woodwork. KC here is pretty good with his hands.” Everett told the realtor with a fake smile.
Josh burst into laughter, evidently thinking about typical teen boy things rather than interior design, earning cold and warning stares by all.
“I’ll check out the yard.” he told them shrugging.
“Do NOT touch a thing out there, you hear!” Everett warned him, which Josh acknowledged with a wave of his hand as he exited.
“Why is there a door behind the TV?” KC asked appalled.
“Oh, that leads to the garage. Attached, too, so you do not get wet coming from work or bringing in groceries. Very convenient!” the realtor swooned.
“Yeah, and thoughtful to have it BEHIND the TV and not have you walk in front of it. Ouch!” KC’s tone was dripping sarcasm, until he got poked hard by his wife.
“Shut up, KC. The TV is only staging, the sellers take it and ours is wall mounted anyway, so you wouldn’t have to walk behind it, you moron!” Everleigh told him.
“Let’s hope. At least the kitchen is right next to the living room, short way for you to go make me a sandwich and bring me my beer. OUCH! What the hell!!”
Both Everleigh and Katie had hit him, eyeing him angrily, while he received another warning glance from his father-in-law.
“It was a JOKE, nothing to warrant this kind of abuse, ladies! I’ll go and check out the yard, too!” KC started towards the patio door, rubbing his arm.
“KC, we haven’t even seen the upstairs.” Evey did not wait for him, just ran upstairs.
“I’ll go with you, sweetie. Just let him sulk, he’ll come around.”
Katie followed her daughter up the stairs, while Everett was engrossed in some discussion with the realtor and KC had joined Josh in the backyard.
“Tired of my parents and sister already?” he asked KC grinning.
“Worse. Penalty boxed. Guess we are not doing humor today.” KC replied through gritted teeth.
“Tell me about it! I live in that penalty box. Seriously. Unless I am studying or helping them at work, I cannot do anything right by them. Constantly on my case about something. Work my ass off in frigging school, grades are good, still they won’t let me spent fall break with my friends. They are all flying to Selvadorada to hike, and I cannot go. The only one. Even though mom and dad went, three times! Screwed up!” Joshua had talked himself into a near rage as he kicked a pebble into the pool.
“I feel ya, man. I wanted to go there with your sister, but she was too afraid to break a nail. No jungle for Barbie which equals no jungle for KC either.” he moaned.
“Why do you always call her that? She looks nothing like a Barbie.” Josh asked.
“Sure she does! Back when she and I first met she was totally into ballet. Looks totally like a Barbie in a pink tutu contorting herself like they do when they hop around to the music. Plus, everything she owned was pink and floral. Still is, kinda.” KC told his teenage brother-in-law grinning.
“My friends and I went by that trailer park where you grew up.” he now told KC.
“Why the heck would you do that, man!? Stay as far away as you can from that place! I am dead serious Josh!!! The shit that goes on there, you really do not need a piece of.” KC got upset right away.
“Relax, was pretty boring anyway. Just two old drunk fucktards and a woman with a baby.”
“Drunk fucktards would be my daddy and uncle. What baby?”
“Dunno. There was a lady with a baby…”
“Lady with a baby?!?!? How old?” KC was puzzled.
“I dunno. Baby-aged I guess…”
“Not the baby, numbnuts! The woman! And what did she look like?”
“Like old lady … I mean not like typical grandma with grey hair and bun, but old. Like middle age or shit. She was wearing some cowboy hat like you got, but think she had dark, curly hair. Was dressed like a stripper ho. Uh – not like I would know … just … uh – guessing here. You know, from movies and shit.” Josh blushed deeply.
“Yah, right. None of my business, I am not your dad. But shit man. Unless my father or uncle lured another stripper into that shithole, that was my mother. Guess I got me a lil sibling. Maybe my father got himself some at the home front after all …”
“Not to stir up anything here, but don’t think so. That kid was really dark skinned.” Josh told him.
“So another customer gift with purchase. Dreamy. Poor kid! Maybe I should call CPS on their asses.”
“She seemed all right with it. I mean, it started screeching and she cuddled it.”
“Ha, whaddaya know. I better drag myself upstairs to drool over the ugly house with your sister.”
“Ah, it’s not that bad. Mom and Eve are pretty good with this painting and decorating stuff and dad can help redesign some shit. If the price is okay, I’d take it. And when you go travel again, I’ll housesit.”
“Yeah, buddy, fat chance. I remember being 15. Trusting you with an empty house is like sending a marshmallow to put out a bonfire.”
KC found Evey looking out of the window of one of the bedrooms upstairs, her mother had joined her father talking to the realtor downstairs.
“Hey baby!” he greeted Everleigh.
“Look at that view.” she told him without even turning away from the window.
“Yeah, never seen a more scenic utility pole.” he joked as he had stepped closer.
“Forget it!” she was not amused.
“Hey, I am sorry. Come here. I was kidding.” KC knew she was not in the mood for jokes.
“You are not. You hate it.” Everleigh sounded pouty.
“Not as much as your dad hates me. Thinking to have him as our direct neighbor …” he tried honesty.
“My dad does NOT hate you. He hates your dumb jokes at the worst times!”
“…but loves that I am an ex-convict, who works nights tending a bar, cause I didn’t even make it through high school….” KC did not even try to hide the sarcasm in his voice.
“He knows I love you, that is good enough for him to care about you too! So .. do you like this house or not? We need to put an offer in right away. Daddy said their asking price is really good, and we could still come in under and may get it, which would give us more money for improvements.” Evey told him.
“Evey … come on, baby. Our house in Newcrest is awesome. You designed the whole thing from scratch! Why even move? Especially to Brindleton Bay, which is located at the ass of the world, meaning it would add at least 30 minutes to my commute one way. And all to have a lovely view onto your dad’s frowning face whenever he sees me. Not what I want to see with my first morning coffee for the rest of my life!” KC tried to appeal to her compassion and logic.
“My parents leave early in the morning for work 5 days a week. And you sleep late most mornings cause you work till 3 AM, especially on the weekends. You would NEVER see them with your ‘morning coffee’!” she argued.
KC pulled her closer.
“I really, REALLY, really do not want to move, Barbie ….” he tried once more as he pulled her into an embrace.
“Fine! I’ll tell them no.” she was upset, sounded upset, looked upset and an invisible hand started tightening around KC’s throat when he saw her eyes well up.
“Baby, wait … let’s talk at home …” he tried to postpone any decision – and drama.
“Nothing TO talk about. And I told you, they want an offer now or we will never get it. You heard the realtor, there is already a line. Not many properties in the Bay ever go up for sale and if, you cannot drag your feet about submitting an offer. But that’s okay … I’ll get over it.” she said in a tone that clearly stated she would NEVER get over it.
“Evey wait! OK, we’ll put in our offer…” KC reached for her wrist.
“Really?” she asked hopeful, her eyes locked onto his, as she let him pull her close to him again.
“Really.” he confirmed.
They kissed, then she excitedly ran downstairs to tell her parents and the realtor, while KC stayed behind trying to wrap his head around what he had just done.
“Lawd have mercy on me …” he moaned as he looked out the window of the master bedroom directly onto Everleigh’s childhood home.
Few days later …