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  1. #11
    Shades


    Pam felt better having her cousin and Travis here. She hadn't known him too well, but he had always seemed like a good man, and he seemed to love Alexis. That was enough for Pam to like him and consider him family. She sighed softly, thinking about her own relationship, but it didn't last long. She had to keep her mind busy with other things now.


    "Great. I'll arrange for that when I get home, and give you some time in advance. I'm sure the girls will love talking to you and all that", Pam commented with a soft smile.


    When Alexis said she would get her an advanced copy, Pam smiled to her cousin and nodded. "That would be amazing, thank you".


    Pam blushed softly when her cousin offered to pay her airfare to California. She knew Alexis wouldn't offer it if it would put her on hard times, but Pam still felt a little shy about it. "I will think about it, honey, but I wouldn't want to burden you. Pete and I can find our way there, if we have the time". It was clear in her expression that Pam would love to see California.


    Smiling at Travis when he said her puppy was a sweet little guy, Pam nodded. "Until he decides to pee all over you", she replied before entering the room. It was clear that Pam felt comfortable and sure that she was with friends while speaking to Alexis and Travis.


    Hearing Alexis comment on her room not having changed much, Pam shook her head. "No... you know how Grandma was. She didn't want to hear about it". Pamela sighed and thought for a moment, before touching her cousin's arm. "She loved you, honey. In her own hard-headed and difficult way. Never doubt that, okay?", Pam murmured gently.


    After these words, Pam picked up her puppy and kissed the soft fur gently. "All right, we'll see you two later. Be good", Pam said as a parting line, before excusing herself and going to the room where Peter - to her relief - was already asleep.

  2. #12
    Sojourn


    "Sounds good to me."


    Travis replied to Pam with a smile. He thought it would fun to meet the girls at her school and tell them what goes into being a musician. It was a lot of hard work, not just parties all the time.


    "Me too."


    Alexis said with a smile as well. She wouldn't mind meeting her cousin's students either. She could tell Travis was eager about the idea and that made her love him more. She thought he'd make a great dad someday. He was great around kids.


    "And you're welcome."


    Alexis replied about the copy. It would be no problem. Nor would it trouble her much to pay for her cousin's airfare to California. Even if she'd rather just Pam would come and not Pete. She did not like him at all. She'd rather give him a one way ticket to the Death Valley desert without a water bottle, instead.


    Alexis nodded her head that Pam didn't want to burden her. She knew it wouldn't be but she also knew that Pete would probably not let Pam even go. He was far too controlling. And it made her sad and angry for Pam. Her cousin was such a nice person, she deserved to be married a man who treated her with respect. Not be married to that asshole.


    "Okay, well, just let me know."


    Travis laughed at Pam's comment about her puppy.


    "Yeah, I wouldn't enjoy that."


    Travis scratched the puppy behind the ears one last time. Alexis looked at Pamela, a little sadly.


    "Yeah, I know."


    Grandma was a stubborn woman. Things had to be the way she wanted and she didn't like change. It was frustrating but also something to truly be respected. Alexis should have told her how much she had respected that. She just thought Grandma Maude would be alive forever. She touched Pam's hand and said.


    "I loved her too....I should have told her that more often."


    Now, she'd never have another chance to tell her again. Travis gave Alexis a sad smile. He knew his girlfriend was hurting.


    "Good night."


    The couple told Pam, they were both tired themselves. After Pam and her puppy left, Alexis and Travis changed into their nightclothes and laid in her bed. Travis had his arms wrapped around her. Alexis had her head resting on Travis' chest.


    "You okay?"


    "Yes, no....I don't know. It doesn't feel real yet. It feels like she's out shopping and then she's going to come in any minute and yell that we shouldn't be sharing a room because we aren't married yet. And that you need a hair cut."


    Alexis replied sadly. Travis gave her a sad smile. And kissed the top of her head.


    "Yeah, it does. She hated my mohawk."


    Travis replied, he had only met Grandma Maude a few times but he remembered how vocal she was with her opinion. If she didn't like something, she let you know. Alexis nodded her head.


    "Yeah, she did...."


    "Try to get some sleep."


    Travis said and Alexis replied she'd try. But sleep didn't come as easily as she hoped it would.

  3. #13
    Shades


    Pamela sighed as she prepared to take a nap. Talking to Alexis and Travis had been nice, but she felt drained. It was just to be expected, she thought, after having heard the news. She was sure they would all be feeling more in control of their emotions when the time for the funeral came.


    Placing the puppy on a pillow on a corner of the room, she changed into a lighter dress and slipped into bed, in hopes of falling asleep and resting for a while.


    As soon as she laid her head on the pillow, she heard Peter stirring on the bed. "What took you so long?", the man asked.


    Pamela felt her heart tighten, and took a deep breath. "I was helping Travis and Alexis get settled into their room", she replied quietly, wishing her husband had stayed asleep.


    "That would have taken all of two or three minutes", Peter carried on, without looking at his wife.


    "Yes. I wanted to talk to Alexis for a while. She is so devastated".


    A moment of silence filled the room, and Peter spoke again. "Did you say anything you shouldn't have?".


    Pamela knew what he meant. She showed a soft smile and shook her head. "No, I didn't. I just kept to the usual conversation". She sighed and spoke again. "Get some sleep, Peter. We have to be up at tea time".


    The couple fell into silent, and Pam fell asleep in a few minutes, feeling her lids heavy and her body tired.


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


    Pamela would manage to sleep for a few hours, and then she would get up, leaving her husband asleep. Looking at her phone, Pam saw that it marked 9 a.m. She had probably slept for a little over three hours.


    Feeling that she wouldn't be able to sleep any more, Pam stepped out of the room quietly, making sure she wouldn't wake Peter up.


    Noticing that the upstairs floor was quiet, Pam concluded that everyone else was resting, and walked as silently as the old floors would allow her, going downstairs and into the kitchen for some tea.


    While she prepared her beverage, Pam started thinking about her cousin. She couldn't help but feel a little jealous of her for having Travis. Not that she was in any way interested in the man, it wasn't that. She just couldn't help but compare Travis and Peter, and notice that she had made a bad choice.


    Sitting down to drink her tea after getting some milk and sugar in it, Pamela had the impression of hearing footsteps, and tried to figure out whether or not whoever was walking would come in the kitchen - and hoping it would be anyone but her husband.

  4. #14
    Sojourn


    One would have thought that sleep would come easily to Alexis. After all, she and Travis had had a long day. But she didn't sleep that well. Alexis just napped and woke up feeling sad. Her dream had been about her grandparents. Back when she was a child, when her hair had still been blonde. How happy she used to be spending time with Pam and her grandparents in this house. It had been fun. Grandpa John had always had it fun.


    She missed him so much. And she missed Grandma Maude too. Even though she had always been the more strict of the two. She sighed and looked over at the 'My Little Pony' toy. She quietly got out of bed and picked it up.


    "Was it one of your favorite toys?"


    Travis asked her and Alexis felt like an ass for waking him.


    "Sorry I woke you."


    "It's okay. Am I right about the toy?"


    Travis said with a smile as he sat up. He was tired but he didn't mind Alexis waking him up. After all, she was grieving, sleep didn't come very easily when you were. He had a cousin he had been very close to last year die in a car accident and knew what she was going through. She had been there for him during that time and he was going to be there for her. Alexis smiled and sat down next to him.


    "The unicorn's name is Mimic. See, because it has a parrot on it."


    Alexis told her boyfriend, pointing out the little bird on the toy. Travis nodded his head and Alexis continued.


    "Grandpa John got her for me. I always had to keep it here, though. A toy to play with here. It was fun to come here. I used to love it. Well, until I was thirteen and spent the night over at Nancy Grey's house."


    Alexis looked down at the toy as she continued.


    "Nancy's mom's hair turned white prematurely and she had lots of hair dye in their house. She liked to change her color every few months. Well, Nancy and I decided to dye our hair. That's the first I ever did. My parents were so shocked when they picked me up and it was jet black."


    She smiled at the memory with Travis, but then the smile turned to a frown.


    "Grandma Maude hated it. She was angry that I dyed it and said I should change it back. The thing was, I really liked it. At first, my parents wanted me to change it back too, but I wouldn't. Eventually they realized there were worse things I could want then to dye my hair. Grandma Maude didn't agree, though."


    To think about how stupid fights they had had over a hair color was upsetting. It was such a dumb thing to fight about.


    "Maybe I should have just changed it back...Then she would have been happier with me."


    Alexis said and Travis gave her a hug.


    "Perhaps, but it's your hair. You have the right to have it whatever color you want. Besides, she still loved you. After all, she kept Mimic all this time."


    Travis pointed out and Alexis nodded her head.


    "Yeah, that's true."


    Travis and Alexis did try to go back to sleep but it didn't work. It was a little after nine and both were wake. For now, anyway. Eventually they would both need a nap. Alexis and Travis headed downstairs to the kitchen and found Pam making tea.


    "Hey, cousin. You sleep okay?"


    Alexis asked.

  5. #15
    Shades


    Pam, in the kitchen, was also immersed in memories. She had lived in that house for a while, up until she had gotten married. She had met Peter around the area, and she had taken him in for dinner a few times while they were dating. Grandma Maude had been her second mother, and Pam felt crushed at losing her. She also felt extremely worried about Aunt Bess. What would she do about her aunt? She didn't want to leave her alone, and the idea of either moving Aunt Bess into the cottage or moving in the old house herself kept playing in her mind. She would have to see what would make everyone happy.


    Then again, she thought to herself, Peter is never happy. Sighing and shaking her head, Pam focused on the tea. She would have the time to think about everything later.


    Despite having gotten startled by her cousin's arrival, Pamela's smile told Alexis that she and Travis were welcome to join her.


    At the question Alexis asked, Pam sighed. "Not as well as I would have liked", she admitted. "Looks like I'm not the only one", she completed, before kicking into hostess mode. "Would you two like some tea as well?", she offered gently.


    As she worked - either on her own tea or on making it for everyone, Pamela turned to Travis. "What is your voice?", she asked, explaining herself better. "I mean, are you a tenor, a baritone...?", she suggested. "Just curious. I feel Grandma would like to have her favorite hymn sung during the service, or right afterwards, once we get home", Pam explained. "I recall her saying something about it. But I'll understand if you don't feel comfortable, of course".


    Despite the fact that she would indeed understand, the expression in Pam's eyes was almost a silent plea for that last chance to honor her grandmother.

  6. #16
    Sojourn


    It felt so odd to be in this house, with both Grandma Maude and Grandpa John gone. Alexis knew everyone died, someday she would. But it was always hard to lose a family member. It was hard to think of both her grandparents being gone. At least they were together now, she told herself. But what about Aunt Bess? What was she going to do now? Everyone's lives were changed forever.


    "I understand that."


    Alexis replied to her cousin. She had not slept as well as she had hoped either. The young couple agreed that tea would be nice. It was going to be another long day. Alexis and Travis thanked Pam for the tea and took a seat. Travis replied to Pam.


    "I'm a baritone."


    When she explained why she had asked, he gave her a smile.


    "I'd be honored to sing it. Whenever you want me to."


    While church hymns were not something he normally sang, he'd definitely do it. Alexis gave Travis a smile and squeezed his hand as a thank you. Him singing Grandma Maude's favorite hymn was a nice idea.

  7. #17
    Shades


    Pam nodded when Travis and Alexis agreed that they would like some tea. She added some water and more herbs to the tea and made them each a cup as well. Once the tea was done, Pam sat down with a sigh. She had to admit she was feeling exhausted, and the funeral hadn't even happened yet. It would be a very long day for everyone.


    When Travis said he was a baritone, Pam nodded. "I suspected it, but I wasn't sure", she replied.


    His answer made her show a relieved smile. She knew it was not the kind of song he would often sing, but it made her grateful that he was willing to try. "We can make a test run whenever you want. I will play it at the piano after we get home, but my voice doesn't really carry, I think yours would sound better", Pam explained quietly.


    She added with a gentle smile afterwards. "That, and you are family, after all. I feel it would be nice if you would like to participate".


    Pamela was about to say something else when a new set of footsteps sounded. After a moment or two, Peter stepped in the kitchen.


    It looked as though Pamela had been switched for someone else. The sad, but slightly carefree woman who was keeping a pleasant conversation vanished. "Good morning", Peter murmured, while his wife shot up from her seat. "I will make you some tea", she murmured, and the man simply nodded, taking a seat right next to the one she had vacated.


    After a moment of awkward silence, he spoke again. "So... what were you all talking about?", he asked, not really directing the question at anyone.

  8. #18
    Sojourn


    It was going to be a long day. Funerals always tended to be. Alexis hoped Aunt Bess was okay. She wondered how she was doing. She had not seen her yet. She knew her aunt and Grandma Maude had been close. Travis nodded his head to Pam and replied.


    "Whenever is fine with me."


    While a church hymn was not on his regular play list, he was definitely willing to make an exception for this. When Pam added he was family, he smiled at her.


    "Thank you for considering me family."


    It felt good to be considered a part of Alexis' family. He hoped to someday officially be a member of the family. He planned to propose to Alexis on their next anniversary, which would be a few months away. It would just be sad that her grandmother wasn't alive anymore to go to their future wedding.


    Alexis smiled that Pamela thought of Travis as family. He had been in her life for four years now, she was glad that her cousin didn't just see him as her boyfriend. The day he proposed, Alexis would say yes. She loved Travis very much and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She frowned seeing the sudden change in her cousin's demeanor. It didn't take long to find out the reason why. The asshole had arrived in the kitchen.


    Travis reached under the table and squeezed Alexis' knee.


    "Be nice."


    He muttered to her, he knew how much his girlfriend hated Peter. Not that he blamed her, Peter was giant jerk. Travis didn't like him either.


    "Fine."


    She said back and Travis told him.


    "Pam asked me to sing a hymn at the funeral."

  9. #19
    Shades


    Pamela nodded when Travis told her whenever was fine. She planned on giving everyone time to finish their tea, before they moved to the living room, where the piano was. She planned on singing it first, so Travis could pick up on the beat before he tried himself.


    Pam smiled when Travis thanked her for considering him family. "Well, you are", she replied in her usual kindly intonation. "You have been around for quite a while, and you're really good for Alexis, that's as far as I'd expect to consider you part of our family", she explained.


    Her moment of peace ended as soon as her husband walked in, though, and Pamela was relieved to have something to do. Making some tea would give her some time to calm down and collect herself. She knew Peter was in a bad mood - not that he was usually in a good one -, and really wanted him to pay the least possible attention to her.


    Peter, in hearing what Travis had to say, shook his head. "Of course she did", he muttered, to himself but audibly.


    "You don't have to if you don't want to do it. I wouldn't either", Peter completed, now in a normal intonation, towards Travis.


    Pamela came back with the tea and handed it to Peter, before looking at Travis and opening her mouth to speak. She gave up a second later, though, and fell silent, even though her expression made clear that she didn't agree with her husband's words.

  10. #20
    Sojourn


    If Travis knew what Pamela had planned, he would have agreed it was a good one. He'd like to have a little practice before singing it for the service. Practice made perfect and he didn't want to flub up anything. Not when it meant so much to Alexis and her cousin.


    Travis gave Pam a smile. Alexis smiled as well, happy that her older cousin thought Travis was good for her. Her parents thought so as well. She knew they already considered Travis a son, even if they weren't formally engaged. It was pretty much assumed that eventually the two would marry. It would just be a matter of them taking the time to make it official.


    "Well, I really appreciate that. Thank you."


    Travis said. The arrival of Peter ruined their pleasant conversation. Alexis wondered if Pete ruined everything he touched. He had certainly changed her cousin and not for the better. The Pam she remembered growing up wouldn't have tolerated his shit. Alexis used to look up to Pamela so much. She still did, she just wished that Pam would realize she could do better then her poor excuse for a husband.


    Travis tightened his jaw as he listened to Peter and replied.


    "I want to do it. No one forces me to do anything I don't want to do."


    It was Alexis' turn to squeeze Travis' knee. She knew her boyfriend very well. He was a good man, often times a very nice man. However, he didn't like bullies and he wasn't afraid to voice his opinion. She gave Peter a small glare.

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