September 6, 2011

McMillans - Round 4

Stacey threw another roof-raising party the next night & Justus watched her flirt with all the men in the room.  He knew he needed to make a big impression in a big way if he intended to keep her.

After the last of the guests filed out of the house, Justus dropped to one knee holding the ring his mother had given to him before she'd passed away.

Nervously, he wet his lips.  "Stacey.  This ring has been in my family for three generations.  It's very special to me. And... and so are you."

Stacey smiled and clasped her hands together. "Oh, it's beautiful Justus! I can have it? Really?"  Stacey grabbed the ring and slipped it on her finger.  "Look! It matches my rhinestones!"

Justus uncertainly stared at Stacey.  "Stacey... you do realize I just... well... I proposed to you. I want you to marry me..."

Stacey looked up.  "Duh Justus.  I know."

Justus wet his lips again.  "Well, you didn't give me an answer..."

Stacey lifted her hand and showed him the ring on her finger.  "Ring on my finger.  Pretty sure my answer is yes!"  Rolling her eyes, she laughed.  "Let's make it official!" she cried as she tugged him out of the room.
"Why are we here, Stacey?" Justus asked as he glanced around the office.  Stacey had called a taxi and told the driver to take them to Speedy's Quickie Chapel downtown.  Stacey had browsed through the shop and found two outfits, then asked for his credit card.  Justus had gone along with it because.. well.. Stacey was a force to be reckoned with.  Besides, he had to admit he was a little excited!

Stacey tapped his knee and said, "Because. We're going to have a quickie."

Justus' head whipped around and looked around the room. "Stacey!" he gasped.

"A quickie wedding, dork!"

Finally, the curator came in and gave them forms to sign and initial.  Justus had to admit his hand was shaking, just the tiniest bit.

The ceremony was beautiful, presided over by a gentleman in silver paint and a top hat.  Stacey swooned and blew kisses the entire way through.  Justus felt an overwhelming urge to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming.  But, really, the whole thing was so out-of-the-norm that he knew without a doubt this was real!

Stacey insisted on commemorating their night... and consummating their marriage... in the photo booth in the snack room.  Then, riding high on the complimentary champagne, they headed over to a night club to dance the night away.

Justus couldn't believe how well the night had turned out. To think, he didn't think that Stacey would accept his proposal, let alone running off to elope!  He felt so proud as he danced with her. He knew all the guys in the room were jealous of him, wondering how he got such a beautiful woman.

 "Whew! I'm parched," Justus said. "I'm going to go grab a drink, Stacey.  Do you want something?"

Stacey just continued to dance on her own.  "No, I'm good. Hurry back, baby."
Justus sipped his whiskey and watched Stacey dance in the middle of the room.  Behind him a voice cautioned, "That one is trouble, mister. You'd best steer clear of her."

Justus turned around to see an older man sitting at the bar.  "Watch it. That's my wife."

Henry scoffed and sipped his drink, "Good luck with that."

Justus just ignored the bitter man and continued to watch Stacey.  Finally, his curiosity got the better of him.  "What do you know about it?" he asked.

Henry swirled his drink around in his glass and paused before answering.  Finally, slamming back his drink, he left a tip on the counter and clapped Justus on the shoulder and cautioned, "She's fire, man.  She'll burn you."  Without another word, Henry wobbled away from the bar.

Feeling like a fool, Justus caught hold of Stacey's arm and drug her off the dance floor.  "What aren't you telling me?" he asked.

"What are you talking about?" Stacey asked sourly.  "Here we are having a good time and you're getting pissy!  Why do you have to ruin everything?"

Justus stared at his wife and knew that there was no one to explain his conversation with the man.  He dragged his hands through his hair and spit out, "Nothing. I'm just... I think I drank too much. Let's go home."

Stacey softened.  "Oh poor baby, let's go home I'll take care of you."  Looping her arm through his arm, she hailed a cab and clambered into the taxi after him.
As they lay in bed, Stacey couldn't help but think that she'd made a great decision.  Justus wouldn't have been her first choice for a marriage, but he was kind, supportive, and generally laid back.  She wasn't sure she loved him, but she knew she liked him enough to stay with him.

 Stacey woke up that night when she heard a tapping on her window.  Glacing at Justus, she saw he was still sleeping soundly.  She looked up and her breath caught in her throat.  It was Henry.  Stomping outside she poked him.

"What are you doing here?" she accused.

Henry wobbled on his feet.  "I saw you with him tonight.  Are you going to ruin his life, like you ruined my life?"

Stacey glared at him and stomped her foot.  "You're drunk!" Then, added, "Besides. I did not ruin your life. You did that yourself!"

"Oh, you take no credit for seducing me like a witch?"

Stacey crossed her arms against her chest.  "I was young, okay. I made a stupid mistake.  I'm sorry."

Henry stepped closer. "Sorry doesn't cut it," he said.

Stacey pushed Henry away. "I want you to go. You're sloppy drunk and not making any sense."

Henry walked away and kicked her trash can.  "I'll go.  But, he's going to find out about your past.  I'm going to tell him."

Stacey lifted her chin.  "Who says he doesn't already know."

Henry just laughed before he staggered away.  "Oh, he doesn't know.  But, he will." 

Stacey woke up in the morning to find Justus was gone.  "Oh my God," she thought.  "Was it a dream?"

She got out of bed and looked around the house for Justus.  "Justus... are you there?"  She worried that Henry had dropped by again this morning and told Justus before she had a chance to talk to him.

"In here," Justus called from the bathroom.  "Dang it!" he suddenly yelled.

Worried, she called out, "What's wrong?!" as she rushed to the bathroom.  Stopping in the doorway, she laughed as Hardimos jumped out of the bathtub, covered in suds and splashed water all over the room.

"Dang it!" Justus cursed again. "Catch the stupid dog!"  Hardimos shook off all the bubbles and then darted past her, out the open door to roll around on the bed.  Throwing his hands up in the air, Justus yelled.  "Not the bed!"  Then, stopped short at the sound of Stacey laughing in the doorway.

Hands on hips, he looked at her and demanded, "What's so funny."

Stacey tried to stop laughing as she walked over to him. "You are.  You have bubbles on your nose."

Justus joined in laughing and wiped the bubbles on her nose.
Things were going well between Justus and Stacey.  She just didn't have the heart to talk to him about how she'd almost destroyed her sister's marriage by flirting with her brother-in-law.  Like she'd told Henry, she'd been younger at the time and full of herself.  She thought she'd changed alot.  She wondered if Anne would recognize the changes.

Another big change was that Stacey was pregnant.  After finding out, she'd called in to work to quit.  It's not like she'd needed the job. Justus more than provided for the both of them. Besides, Justus had hinted that he'd like a wife that stayed home.  Bare foot and pregnant, she'd thought bitterly.

She hadn't planned on being pregnant. She'd seen how well that worked for Anne.  She'd kept track of her through the years and was sad when she thought of all the nephews and nieces she had that she'd never have a relationship with.

 Labor was not the piece of cake that Anne had made it look like.  It hurt!  And twins!  For someone that wasn't even sure she wanted children, she now had two little ones that were going to look to her for guidance.  She couldn't even guide herself sometimes, she thought sadly.

But, ready or not, she had two little boys: Chester and little Austin.

"God, how did she do it?" Stacey wondered as the boys cried in the other room.  She wished her mom was alive to call.  But, knowing that was pointless to cry about, she picked up the phone to call the only other person alive that could help.

Stifling a sob when her sister picked up, Stacey cried, "Anne. It's me. I need your help."

Stacey was surprised Anne even came over, considering everything that had happened before she left.  Stacey hugged her tight.  "You're pregnant again!" she'd said, surprised.  "Six babies!"

Anne patted her tummy and half-smiled.  "Yes, another one.  Hopefully this one will be in college before I know!"

Stacey faced her sister and felt ashamed that she'd had to ask for help. Anne had never asked for help. And, in fact, Stacey had just made things harder by causing her more stress.  She looked down at the ground and whispered, "I'm sorry, Anne. I was horrible. I wouldn't doubt it if you hated me."

Anne just hugged her again. "It was really hard and it hurt. But, I've made my peace. I've forgave you a long time ago."  But, fixing Stacey with a hard stare, she added. "But, if it ever happens again..."

Stacey just blanched, thinking about the other night Henry came over drunk.  She wondered if she should tell Anne about it.  "No... Anne... it won't happen again. I promise. I'm different now!"

 "Good. Now show me my nephews!" Anne said.  "I've always wanted to be an aunt! Spoil the child and then walk away!" she laughed.  Chester was crying from the nursery.  Stacey led her back and explained that he always cried.

"Nothing I do makes him stop. I just don't know what to do."

Anne picked him up and patted his back and Chester burped.  "There now, there you go, baby," Anne said.

Stacey looked on amazed.  "How did you do that?"

Anne just laughed.  "I've had lots of practice."

 The afternoon went by quickly as Anne showed Stacey some tips on taking care of babies.  Stacey looked on, amazed by how competent Anne was when dealing with anything.

"I used to resent you," she said after feeding Chester.  "You just always seemed so perfect and I always felt like such a failure," she began.

Anne sighed and said, "That's so funny. I used to be so jealous of you.  You were single without a care in the world.  I sometimes... well... sometimes I wished that I'd never married Henry.  But, what's done is done."
 Late that night, Stacey and Justus were feeding the babies.  The truth just popped out before she could stop herself.  "Justus, when I was young, I... seduced..."  It killed Stacey to say that word, "my sister's husband because I was mad at her and mad at the world."  

Justus stared at her incredulously.  "What the..." Justus stammered.

Stacey hurried on, "But, we've made up and she came over and was helping with the twins. And I've changed a lot. I just thought you should know."

Justus looked down and avoided eye contact.  "I don't know what to say Stacey.  That just came out of nowhere.  I always knew you were a bit of a flirt.  But, that... I don't know how I feel about that."

Nodding her head and trying not to cry, Stacey gingerly put Chester in his crib and hurried to bed.  She was surprised when Justus came to bed, but was hurt when Justus stayed on his side and didn't hold her like he usually did.
 The next morning, Stacey woke up and found Justus pacing in the kitchen.

"I can't believe I've known you all these years and you never once told me this.  Is that why your sister kicked you out?  Were you seeing him while you were seeing me?"

Stacey hedged, "Well, I wasn't really 'seeing' him.  And I never slept with him! I just... led him on... and kissed him..."

Justus slapped his hands against each other.  "So, was it while we were dating?"

Stacey sadly nodded her head.  "But, after I moved in here, I never saw him again. And I stopped seeing other people shortly after moving in here, too."

Justus winced.  "There were more?  More guys?"

Stacey wrung her hands.  "Justus, I'm sorry..."

Justus hung his head.  "I always knew you liked to flirt.. but when I think about the parties you threw and all the guys who came over... know I don't know who you were romantic with and who were just friends."  Justus tried hard to remember names.  "Max? Did you date Max?"  he demanded.

Stacey tried to touch Justus' hand.  "Justus..."

"Don't touch me right now..."

Stacey pulled her hand back.  "No. Well... yes. But, nothing ever happened."

"Story of your life apparently!" Justus exploded as he stalked to the room and slammed the door.

Stacey checked on the babies and then made breakfast to eat.  Justus surprised her when he came out and sat down next to her.

"I'm sorry I got so mad, Stace," he began, "It's just... you dropped that bombshell on me and I didn't know how to react.  I realize that you might've seen other people before... made other mistakes... and as long as it stopped when we got serious... then, we're okay.  Okay?"

Stacey reached across the table and squeezed his hand.  "Okay."

Digging into his cereal, Justus announced, "I think we should have your sister and her family over.  It's time to mend some fences," he said.  "And apparently I'm an uncle!"



Stacey hurried after breakfast to bathe the boys before the company came over.  She was excited that they'd get to meet their cousins. 
Stacey nervously laughed at dinnertime that she didn't have many chairs for everyone.  Jansen and Anne had just told her not to worry and sat on the couch with her.  She was too nervous to eat.

"Look at you!" she exclaimed again when she saw Jansen.  "I haven't seen you since you were a little baby!"

Jansen had smiled awkwardly and thanked her.  Stacey wondered what he remembered... or had heard about her.

As the night went on though, everyone loosened up.  Stacey noticed that Henry and Anne weren't sitting next to each other and if they spoke to each other, they tended to snap.  And the boys! They were all such tall, strong young men!  She smiled when she saw Jansen holding little Chester.  How great it would be to have such good role models in their life.

Catching Justus' eye, she grinned and mouthed, "Thank you."

Jansen handed the bottle to his cousin, Austin.  He glanced around and noticed how tidy the house was compared to their mad house.  It was probably because his aunt had enough sense not to keep having babies when she made up with her husband.  All Jansen knew was that he never wanted to fight with his wife and that he'd never cheat on her and break her heart.  He wanted to have a golden anniversary and rock on the porch with his wife even when she was old and gray.

Round 4 Census               McMillans - Round 5


  1. This is becoming my favourite house now :)! I just love Stacy, I love the narration, and I adore Justus! I wonder what the next "bomb" will be... I am not too sure Stacy is really changed *this* lot.

  2. Hmmm Seems like bad girl Stacey is 'trying'....I never trust these types though. We'll see. Seems like Justus is unsure...but he is going to accept Stacey and her antics because after all she had his twins....

  3. Well Stacey is quite a character for sure. Twins I wonder if Stacey is really telling the full truth of everything, but she seems to be trying. I'm glad she's made up with far.


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