"No, she's not feeling well. Her morning sickness is bothering her this afternoon," Bev answered. "And after all her kindness to you, I'm surprised you would say such a thing."
Stacy just rolled her eyes and said "Whatever." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Henry watching her. Playfully, she rubbed her foot against his leg under the table. She smiled as he startled and then glanced over at Bev quickly. Bev hadn't noticed a thing. Pretending to concentrate on eating her sandwhich, she continued to rub her foot against his leg and was felt pleased when he didn't pull away. She could tell her was trying to catch her eye. Feigning boredom, she plopped her sandwhich back on her plate and pushed away from the table. "Later! I have things to do this afternoon!"
She heard Bev mumbling under her breath as she walked away.
Later that evening, after everyone was asleep, Stacy walked into the livingroom and saw Henry watching the television.
"Anything good on?" she asked.
Henry jumped up. "What the hell was that this afternoon?" he demanded.
The next morning, Anne stumbled into the kitchen, tripping over Jansen's bottles that had been left on the floor. Grumbling, she cursed the fact that there were three other adults in the house and she seemed to be the only one to do anything.
"Hey honey, can I help you?" Henry asked as he walked into the room.
Anne threw her hands out and waved at the mess in the room. "Do I really need to tell you what I need help with?" she asked, exasperated.
"Oh lighten up Queenie," Stacy had called as she waltzed into the room. "The world doesn't revolve around you, does it Henry?" Stacy grabbed Henry's hand and pulled him against her and then twirled around. She just laughed when Henry's eyes widened and he glanced over at Anne. Henry pulled his hand from her quickly.
Anne glanced at them and knew something had happened. "Oh God," she said. "I feel sick. I think I'm going to..." Anne crumpled to the floor.
Henry rushed to her and patted her hand. "Are you okay? Here, let me get breakfast, you'll feel better after you eat something."
Anne just stared at him sadly and shook her head. "Help me to bed. I just want to sleep," she'd said.
Outside, his carpool honked the horn. "Honey, I've got to go. I have to get to work," he apologized as he helped her into their room. "We'll talk when I get home. Promise me you won't do anything rash, okay?"
Anne didn't answer and Henry rushed past Stacy.
He heard her laugh from behind him, "What? You're acting like you got burned, big brother."
The house was quiet, Anne thought. So quite that she couldn't help but hope that Stacy had just packed up her things like the weasel she was and left. It stung that her own flesh and blood could be so cruel. Waddling out to the kitchen, she saw Stacy sitting at the table, looking sad. What in the world did she have to be sad about?
"Get out!" Anne said loudly, surprising herself. Straightening her shoulders, she repeated, "Get out of my house!"
Stacy looked up and winced. "Look, Anne. I'm really sorry. I was just messing around. You just made me so mad the other morning. I thought..."
Anne interrupted, "I don't care what you thought. I don't care! Get out! You're not welcome in my house anymore!" When Stacy didn't move, Anne screamed, "Get out! Now!"
In the meantime, Jansen was growing up fast. He would often bring his best friend Alvin over to play. She hated to think that he was growing up in an unhappy home, much like the one she had grown up in.
"Mom, why don't you like Daddy?" he'd asked one afternoon as they worked on his homework.
Stunned, she'd stalled, searching for an explanation. "I do like Daddy. We just... had a disagreement, that's all."
"Sometimes it helps when you say sorry. That's what you always tell me. Does Daddy need to apologize?"
And it was then that Anne realized that Henry had been apologizing. Not just with words, but he was being more helpful around the house, wasn't disappearing at all times of the night and all the things that she'd asked him to do for years. Maybe he was maturing...
Patting his head, Anne said, "I'll work everything out, Jansen. Don't worry."
"I missed you so much," he said. "I'm sorry.. for everything.."