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  1. #11
    Shades


    Sissy couldn't help but giggle when Shane said she looked cute when she was embarrassed. She knew that he was just joking with her, and she didn't mind at all. It was good to hear him laugh and joke. And Sissy had always been patient, so it was hard to upset her.


    When Shane recognized that her mother had taught her well, Sissy smiled. She loved taking care of people in general, and Shane in particular, and that included cooking for him. She didn't know how good of a cook his previous woman had been, but that was one of the things she was confident about. She knew she had a natural gift in the kitchen, and, despite her generally know self-esteem, knew that she was a likable person.


    That, and the fact that she could ease Shane's fears when he woke up in the middle of the night, made her feel that she wasn't that bad. Diane was his past, after all. She was his present and future, and it would be foolish to be jealous of a dead woman. Maybe they could give her name to one of their daughters, she thought, if it helped him make peace with his conscience. It was a nice-sounding name, after all.


    The sound of the truck broke this line of thought, though. There was work to do.


    Following Shane to the door, Sissy greeted the movers politely with her usual smile, and invited them in. She helped with what she could, moving the lighter boxes away from the door and leaving the heavier ones to Shane. Once all the kitchen boxes were in, Sissy moved them all in there and started unpacking. There was a lot to do, and she hoped to have at least the kitchen and bedroom set up before the end of the day. Though, she suspected, after all the work they had to do, they would probably be so tired they would fall asleep anywhere.


    Setting up the kitchen didn't take too long, as the previous owners had left some furniture and a beautiful kitchen island, as well as appliances. Sissy had only had to take her cutlery, pots and pans, dish rags and other details of the sort. As she put things in their places - pots and pans and cutlery in the sink to be washed, and everything else in drawers and cupboards -, Sissy thought once again about how lucky they were.


    Leaving the kitchen - washing up could wait -, the young woman stepped into the living room, looking around. "What can I help with, honey?", she asked, hoping that she would be able to do something other than washing up pots and pans or watching the men work.

  2. #12
    Sojourn


    Shane was glad that Sissy understood he was just teasing her. He meant no harm in it. If he thought her feelings would be hurt, he wouldn't do it at all. Shane also understood he probably wasn't the easiest person to love. Not anymore, that was. He had a lot of issues thanks to the shit he survived in Paris. It took a strong, loving person to put up with him. He was just very thankful he had found Sissy. There had been a time that he thought he'd die alone and that thought had been very depressing.


    Shane was also glad that Sissy didn't seem to get upset if he brought Diane up sometimes. It was hard to not talk about her. She had been a big part of his life and what happened to Diane in Paris had changed him forever. He must be doing something right, Shane thought. Sissy didn't seem to be jealous of his memories about Diane. He made an effort to make sure his wife knew she was the one he loved, not a ghost.


    Shane thought that since the movers were here, they were a step closer to this house becoming their home. Shane planned to spend the rest of his life in this house, with Sissy. Raise any kids they had here and grow old with her here. This house was going to be a huge part of their future. Shane moved the heavier boxes were they belonged. Again, he thought the house was almost too large for all their things. The two most important things to worry about today were the kitchen and their bedroom. They needed to eat and sleep, after all. The other rooms could wait and it would surely take a few days to be fully settled in.


    Shane was surprised how much the previous owners had left behind. It was like they couldn't wait to get out of here. Which was so surprising...The house was very beautiful. George, Paul's cousin, had been right. This was the deal of lifetime. He and Sissy would never have found another deal like this in a million years.


    Shane and the movers were putting the heavier things into place, like the furniture the couple had brought with them. Some things, like pictures and knickknacks could wait. Shane smiled at his wife.


    "Well, we got the boxes into the bedroom already, if you want to start unpacking them."

  3. #13
    Shades


    Sissy stood there waiting for Shane to answer her question about what she could do to help. She hated to stand there doing nothing while everyone else was working. There was also the fact that she wanted to have at least the kitchen and bedroom ready and then tackle the rest as they went, since those two would be the essential areas.


    When Shane said they had gotten the boxes to the bedroom, Sissy nodded. “Great, I’ll get on it”, she replied, taking a moment to give Shane a kiss before going up to their bedroom. As she walked up the stairs, Sissy thought once again about how blessed they had been with this house. It was a beautiful home, a place where they could raise a family and build a new life, and Sissy couldn’t be happier.


    Unpacking the boxes in the bedroom didn’t take too long, and Sissy was soon working on making the bedroom look like a real one. She took her sweet time in their bedroom, as it would be the place they would share every night. And she prayed that Shane would be able to go back to sleeping well in this new house.


    Once the bedroom was ready, Sissy went back downstairs to finish the kitchen, as she was sure they would both be starving once they finished their work for the day. She suspected they wouldn’t want anything more than a shower, a hot meal and then their bed.


    As Sissy suspected, at the end of the day, both her and her husband were exhausted. The house was almost ready, though. All the big pieces were in place, and they just needed to continue on with the details. That could wait. They had shared a shower and eaten in the kitchen, before dragging their tired bodies to bed. For Sissy’s surprise, they had an uneventful first night, with Shane actually sleeping through the night for once.


    Sissy had attributed the good night to the tiredness of a long day, but much to her surprise, it had been the first of many. The following nights only saw Shane get up to go for water, the bathroom or to get some affection, that Sissy was very happy to give. She knew now that this house would be good for them, and could not be more content living there.


    The blissful days wouldn’t last forever, though. They were still settling into the house when the phone rang. As Shane was outside working, Sissy was the one to pick it up, stopping the sewing she was busy with. “Hi, Mom!”, she greeted, as she always called Shane’s mother this way. Her own mother was called “Mama”, so there was no way to mistake both. After exchanging some pleasantries, she acquiesced to the woman’s request and went to the back door to call for her husband.


    “Shane! Honey, Mom is on the phone for you!”, she called out, waiting for him to answer. “Sounds important!”.

  4. #14
    Sojourn


    Shane knew that Sissy hate to stand by and do nothing. The bedroom was just as important as the kitchen to get ready. Both were pretty essential rooms of living. Shane smiled at his wife and returned her kiss.


    "Sounds good."


    He told her and helped the movers bring the rest in. Some things could wait until tomorrow or the next day to put away. After everything was brought inside and Shane paid the movers, he went to help Sissy in the bedroom. He didn't have as high of hopes that he'd have normal nights of sleep in this house. He had not had a normal night of sleep in over two years. He was almost used to it now. Waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat was just part of life for him now. He just didn't like waking up Sissy because of it.


    Shane was glad that it didn't take him long to find his running shoes and shorts in the boxes. He liked to run before going to bed at night. Running helped him feel more exhausted and at least he fell asleep easier. Not that he could sleep more then two or three hours at a time before waking up. He lived off of naps.


    Shane had thought of going running but realized he was hungry and the move was tiring. Tomorrow, he'd start running again. After sharing a delicious meal and taking a shower with Sissy, Shane headed to bed. He was shocked when he didn't wake up until the sun hit him in the face. He looked at the alarm clock in surprise. He had actually slept through the whole night! He told himself it was just a fluke, though. He had been just super tired from the move and soon his lack of sleep routine would return.


    So, when the next few nights were the same, Shane was shocked. Perhaps, Sissy was right. The house was having a good effect him on. That the future they would create here was helping him. Well, he wasn't going to complain about it. It was amazing to actually have full nights of sleep again.


    Shane thought that since the yard was so large, they could have a garden and still have plenty of room for entertaining and future kids to play. He was working on that when his mother called.


    "Okay, I'll be right there!"


    Shane called back to Sissy. He wiped his hands on his jeans as he headed inside. He gave Sissy a kiss on her cheek as he took the phone from her.


    "Hey, Mom."


    He said, asking her what was going on. He frowned when she replied she had bad news.


    "Oh, no...Do they know how?"


    He asked, when his mother told him that Walter Simcox, Diane's father, had died. He listened to his mother and got a piece of paper and a pen to write down the time and place of the funeral.


    "Poor Barbara...Yeah, I'll be there. Thanks for letting me know. Love you too, bye."


    He told his mother and hung up the phone. He turned to Sissy and told her.


    "Walter, Diane's dad, died in a car accident. His funeral's tomorrow. I'm going to go. He and Barbara, Diane's mom, were always nice to me."


    Diane's parents always seemed to like him. Treated him like a son. Both had been confused when Diane had suddenly dumped him for Martin Hayes. Although neither understood that she had done it to have the money and make sure Walter's debts were paid. They just thought that before the marriage Rich had just paid her really well that she could share the wealth. And that afterwards, Martin had insisted on treating them well by helping with bills. After all, the actor was good at pretending he was a super nice guy.


    "I feel really awful for Barbara. Diane was her only kid and now she lost her husband too. Sissy, if you want, you can come with me."


    He knew Sissy didn't know Barbara Simcox or she might not be comfortable with going to the funeral, but Shane wouldn't have mind her presence there. But he wanted it to be her choice.

  5. #15
    Shades


    After handing the phone to Shane, Sissy stood around the living room, as she had been tidying up in the room prior to the phone ringing. Despite Shane’s mother having said what she had to say was important, Sissy hadn’t paid it too much mind. She supposed it might be something about his family, but didn’t sound like anything bad had happened to anyone, as Mrs. Malone sounded as usual.


    When Shane turned to her, she was cleaning a table, but stopped what she was doing and paid attention to what her husband had to say.


    The expression on Sissy’s face made clear she was shocked and saddened by the news. She had never met Diane’s parents, but she knew they had always been kind to Shane. “Poor Mrs. Simcox”, she replied with a sigh.


    Walking up to Shane, Sissy rested her head on his chest. The simple thought of losing Shane made her heart tighten and her eyes start watering up. It took Sissy a moment to collect herself and stop entertaining these thoughts. Why would she even think about that? Shane was young and healthy, and so was she. They would definitely have a long time to live together.


    Once she trusted herself to speak again, Sissy looked up at Shane. “Of course I’m coming with you”, she murmured, slipping her hands down to Shane’s and holding on to them firmly. “I can’t even imagine how devastated I would be if I ever lost you. I can’t imagine this poor woman’s pain. I think the least we can do is go and offer her any comfort we can”, she stated, still holding Shane’s hands.


    After this statement, she wrapped her arms around Shane, resting her head on his chest again. “Promise me you’ll live for a long, long time with me”, she whispered, obviously shaken.

  6. #16
    Sojourn


    Shane wrapped his arms around Sissy. Although he had moved on with his life, he had never wished any ill will on Diane's parents. Even with his gambling problems, Walter hadn't been a bad man. And Barbara was very nice woman. She had always been kind to him. She had even sent him and Sissy a small present and nice card when she heard about their wedding.


    Shane gave Sissy a sad smile when she said she'd come with him. She was sweet and kind. There weren't too many women out there who would join their husband to a funeral for their ex girlfriend's father. Sissy was a special girl and he was so glad he had found her. He gave Sissy a kiss.


    "I love you."


    He told her, he definitely needed her with him. Shane held her closer to him and said.


    "I can't imagine it either. Don't worry, I plan on growing very old with you and seeing our grandkids have kids."


    If Shane had his way, he and Sissy would be alive for a very long time together.


    ----------------------------


    It was a small funeral and a sad affair. There were whispers that perhaps Walter owed some money again and the accident wasn't really an accident. With Diane gone, who knew if Walter Simcox could still pay off his gambling debts. His daughter had saved him more then once from having a pair of cement shoes. And losing his only child hadn't stopped the old man's love of card games that were never in his favor. If anything, Diane's death might have made his gambling worse. Of course, the police had ruled it a sad accident and Barbara Simcox was going to have her husband buried next to their daughter.


    Barbara couldn't stop crying but was happy to Shane with Sissy. She had always liked the young man, she had thought her daughter so dumb for dumping him. Martin had never been out right rude to her, but she had never warmed up to him either. It had always felt like Martin was acting, while Shane was more genuine.


    "Thank you so much for coming, Shane. Walter always liked you."


    "You're welcome, Barbara. He was a good man."


    Shane replied and gave her a hug and then introduced her to Sissy.


    "It's so nice to meet you, dear. I wish it could have been under better circumstances."


    Barbara told Sissy.

  7. #17
    Shades


    Sissy felt really bad for Diane’s mother. The poor woman had lost her daughter, and now her husband. Her heart broke for Barbara, even if the didn’t know her well. She had never talked directly to the woman, but for her, the woman’s attitude of sending them a card and a small gift when they got married showed that she was a nice person. Another woman could even resent Shane’s new wife. So, Sissy really wanted to get to know Barbara and offer her support.


    “I love you too”, she replied softly to Shane, showing a sad smile when he said he planned on growing old with her. “I will hold you to this promise”, Sissy replied, kissing Shane’s chin as she always did when she needed some affection.


    *************************************


    Sissy thought Walter Simcox’s funeral was incredibly sad. Of course, funerals were, through their own nature, sad, but this one was even worse. It seemed like not many people cared enough about the man to attend his funeral, and that broke Sissy’s gentle heart. Nobody should be buried like this.


    Her tears were sincere as she stood a bit far from the man’s wife. Even though she had never met Walter, the whole situation made Sissy feel the need to shed some tears and add a silent prayer for the man’s soul. She really hoped he could now find the rest he apparently couldn’t have in life.


    When, at the end of the short service, Shane introduced the two women, Sissy held Barbara’s hand for a moment, before adding a tight hug. “I’m so sorry for your loss”, she murmured, her voice making it clear she was being sincere.


    After the hug, she kept holding the woman’s hand. “I wish we had met in better circumstances as well”, Sissy replied.


    She thought for a moment and then looked at Shane before carrying on. She had mentioned it casually before leaving the house, but had left the decision to be made only when she met the woman, as she was still unsure about Diane’s mother. Seeing that she really did seem like a good woman and would probably not be offended by the invitation, Sissy decided to leave it open for her.


    “Why don’t you come stay with us for a week or two?”, she offered kindly. “You shouldn’t be alone right now”, Sissy completed, her gaze filled with compassion for the woman. “Shane and I would love to have you with us, if you would like to accept our invitation”.

  8. #18
    Sojourn


    Shane felt bad for Barbara too. The woman already lost her only child, and now her husband. Barbara was always so nice to him, to everyone, she didn't deserve that. Instead of being upset that Shane had moved on from Diane, Barbara had been happy for him. He had no doubt that not only would Sissy hold him to his promise of growing old with her, but she'd also offer a comforting shoulder for Barbara to cry on.


    At Walter's funeral, Sissy did not disappoint her. She hadn't even known Diane's father, but Shane knew his wife's tears were sincere. Shane hoped that man had found some peace from his demons and was with Diane again.


    Barbara was surprised but happily returned Sissy's hug. Shane's mother had been right when she told Barbara that Sissy was a special kind of girl. Very sweet and caring. Barbara replied.


    "Thank you, dear. I wish that too."


    She hadn't want to intrude on Shane's new life. Although she had always liked him and still cared about him. She wasn't sure how much he or Sissy would want to be reminded about Diane by her presence. So she had politely kept her distance, calling up Shane's mother once in a while to chat. Shane nodded his head to Sissy when she looked at him.


    Barbara was surprised at Sissy's offer.


    "Are you sure? I mean...You don't know me."


    'And I'm his dead ex's mother,' Barbara thought to herself. While she certainly should not be alone, she didn't really expect to be offered to little stay at Shane and Sissy's new house.


    "We're sure."


    Shane said, although he had feeling Sissy would have to be the one to convince Barbara. There were somethings that his wife was much better at them him. Shane was sure this would be one of them. He looked over and saw Diane's tombstone. Walter was going to be buried next to his daughter. Although when her body had been brought back to her parents for burial, Walter and Barbara had them carve Diane's maiden name on her stone. It said 'Diane Simcox, beloved daughter'. Not 'Diane Hayes', her married name and no mention of her being a wife. He thought that was a good choice as he looked sadly at it.

  9. #19
    Shades


    Sissy was afraid that Barbara might be offended by her invitation. She didn’t have, at least apparently, any reason to want to help a woman she had never met, after all. But Shane knew the woman, and Sissy knew that he liked Barbara and cared about her. And Sissy’s heart was big enough to welcome the woman into her home for as long as she needed the emotional support. As she had told Shane at home, Sissy couldn’t even imagine how much pain this woman should be feeling now.


    When Barbara asked if she was sure, Sissy nodded. “Yes, I am. Shane knows and likes you, and I like anyone he does”, she replied in her usual kind intonation, holding one of the woman’s hands in her own.


    “Please, Mrs. Simcox”, Sissy nearly begged. “It would be so nice to have you in there with us… you wouldn’t even need to see me at all if you chose not to, it’s such a big house”. Feeling that this wasn’t the problem, Sissy tried another approach. “Please?”, she continued, giving the woman what her mother would playfully refer to as ‘puppy eyes’. “It’s such a huge house, and I feel so lonely when Shane is working. We could keep each other company”.


    Sissy wasn’t willing to take a no for an answer, and would insist - gently, but firmly - with Barbara until she ended up saying yes. She had been honest about the two women keeping each other company. As her entire family was in Texas, Sissy felt terribly lonely whenever Shane wasn’t home, and she was sure having someone else in there would be good.


    Once she had finally convinced Barbara, Sissy still took a moment to stop by both tombstones. She leaned forward and touched Diane’s with her fingertips. “I hope you’re resting in peace”, she murmured sincerely.


    After these words, Sissy would wait for both Barbara and Shane to be ready to go. They would have to drop by Barbara’s home to collect whatever she would need, after all.

  10. #20
    Sojourn


    Barbara wasn't offended by Sissy's offer, just surprised by it. They had never met before and she was Diane's mother. Some women didn't like any connections to their husbands' pasts. Obviously, though, Sissy was a special kind of girl. Barbara could see why Shane's mother liked her so much. Barbara honestly couldn't say that Diane would have ever made an offer like that.


    Barbara gave Sissy a smile. There was no way of getting of it, she realized. Not when she was getting the puppy dog eyes.


    "I wouldn't want you to be lonely. I'll be happy to come stay with you for a little while."


    Her opinion of Sissy went up when she touched Diane's tombstone. Barbara put a rose on Diane's tombstone and said.


    "I hope you and your dad are together and already having fun. I love you both."


    She added, touching Walter's new stone. Someday she'd be buried next to them. The only thing that made Walter's death a little easier, was knowing he was with Diane again. She hoped her husband and daughter were at peace.


    Shane's love for Sissy continued to grow each day. The fact that she cared enough about someone she had never met before, spoke so much about her. She was so sweet and kind. Some days he couldn't believe she was his. He touched Diane's tombstone as Barbara and Sissy headed to the cars.


    "I miss you. But I did what you wanted, I'm happy again. I just wish you weren't gone. I hope you're at peace and that your dad's free of his demons now."


    He did miss Diane, although he wasn't in love with her now. If Diane was alive, he'd still want to be her friend. Even after everything that had happened in Paris. He had never wanted her to be dead.


    Shane and Sissy followed Barbara to her house. She'd leave her car in the garage while she was staying with them. She didn't work anymore, and after Diane died, her friend circle had gotten smaller. Most didn't know what to say to her after what happened to Diane. Shane followed the ladies inside the house and wasn't shocked to see pictures of Diane on the walls. Diane had been her parents' only child and she had been very loved. He was surprised, though, to see a picture of himself with Diane on a bookcase. He picked it up and remembered when it was taken. They had went to a baseball game and a man was taking pictures for a small fee. They both looked so happy, only a few weeks after that game was when she had dumped him for Martin Hayes. A decision that had cost her her life in the end.


    Barbara, who was pulling her luggage out of the nearby closet, saw Shane looking at the picture.


    "I hope you don't mind....I have lots of pictures of her when she was younger but not as many once she was grown. I have the wedding pictures but...He's in most of them and....She looks so happy in this. That's how I want to remember her."


    She wondered if Sissy would be upset that Barbara had saved that picture of Shane and Diane. She hoped not, Diane looked genuinely happy in the picture. Not how she looked in the wedding pictures. She had smiled for them but this smile was more real. More like her Diane. That's how she always want to remember her daughter. Not as Martin's wife, but as her happy girl. Shane had made her happy. Shane replied.


    "It's fine. This is how I try to remember her too."


    He looked over at Sissy, hoping he hadn't upset her.

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