Monday, March 28, 2011

G III: Chapter 18

In the morning, each family member went about their routine to get ready for school and work. James and the kids were up and out by 8AM. Isabel's funeral was to be held this afternoon/evening.

Daphne got up a little earlier than usual and was in her garden by 11. After she showered and ate, she made sure to call her employer and inform them that she would be unable to work this night.

The day passed by quickly. When the kids came home - as usual - they finished their homework and had a snack. By five o clock guests started to arrive for Isabel's service.

Susan Drake was one of the first to arrive. She and Brian met in school, and were becoming friends quickly. Being a teenage boy, Brian had already thought about taking the relationship with Susan one step farther. A funeral is not the time or place though. He would have to take her out on a date some other time.

"Thanks for coming Susan. How are you?" Brian asked

"I'm doing alright, and it's no problem. I'm happy to be here for you and your family." She replied.

"I guess we'll be having half of the services here at the house, but in about an hour we'll be going over to the cemetery. Her tombstone has already been placed there." Brian told Susan.

More guests poured in for the next hour. Once everyone was there and had time to greet the family, the crowd moved over to the cemetery. Rachel had brought a plate of hot dogs for anyone who wanted them, but most people didn't.

Visitors offered their condolences to the family. Daphne attempted to play Isabel's guitar, but she had never played before and didn't quite know how.

Isabel's headstone was placed next to Hayden's. It's where she wanted to be, right next to her love.

An adequate time passed by before the group broke up. Guests left one at a time offering help if it was ever needed. Susan was one of the last to leave, and made sure to give a friendly hug to Brian before departing.
The next morning the family tried to keep busy in order to occupy their mind. This seemed the best way to start getting back to normal activities. Isabel would never be forgotten, none of the deceased would, but life had to go on.

Brian and Dylan went to the basement to finish paintings that each of them had started a long time ago. Brian finished his quickly, and decided then that he would really prefer sculpting over painting. He hung up his artwork and started back on his sculpture.

Once he finished the table that he was making, he figured he was good enough to move on to Ice Sculptures.

The big block of ice stood there just waiting to be sculpted. While Brian looked at it, thinking about what he would make, he got a different thought in his head. He had heard before that if you put your tongue to ice, it would stick. Well he had had icewater before and it never stuck to that ice, so he didn't really believe it. There was only one way to be sure though.

Brian slowly stuck his tongue out and got closer to the ice. Just when he was about to change his mind the tip of his tongue touched it. He was stuck.

"Uh oh." He muttered. "Hep!"

Brian pulled and pulled to release his tongue from the grip of the deathly ice. Finally with a painful wrench, he pulled free.

"Ahhhhhgh. That hurt!" Brian yelled at himself. He held his hand over his mouth, and checked for blood. Lucklily there was none. Brian now believed the rumor.

With a little anger at the iceblock and himself, he pulled out a saw and started hacking away. He still wasn't quite sure what to make, but he figured it would come to him as he chipped the ice away.

Dylan had decided to join Johanna at the chess table after he finished his own paining. He was growing more and more attached to his sister as they both grew. Now that he thought about it, he wasn't really sure why he didn't want to get to close to her. It was not her that ditched him at birth. Johanna wasn't like that, she was no where near like her mother - from what he had heard of her anyway. Johanna was good, that was the best trait she had.

Daphne watched the chess match while James fixed the family laptop. No one knew what broke it, or who, but that didn't matter. The problem was getting the nerve to fix it. Everyone was still afraid to touch electronic since Charlie had passed. James had finally gotten tired of it sitting on the table broken and sat to fix it.

When the chess game was over, Johanna went across the street to fish in the river. She was determined to catch more than a minnow. A jellyfish did get caught on her line, but she wasn't going to keep that. She would use it as bait for other things.

Johanna had had her fill of chess and left to fish, but Dylan still wanted to play. He didn't want to play alone though, so he yelled for his brother to join him. Daphne stayed to watch her boys, and James joined her when the computer was fixed.

James watched Daphne. She was still quiet. Though she spent time with the family, she hadn't said much to anyone since Charlie died. The one person she finally opened up to was now gone.

Daphne happened to look over at James and noticed him watching her. He stepped up to her. "Chess is kind of boring, do you want to go play some video games with me?" James asked. He was hoping to get her to open up a little more. It really was unhealthy to keep things inside, she needed to talk.

"Sure James. Sure." Daphne said.

The two of them went upstairs and started up the game. A little while into it, James glanced over at her and was happy to see a small smile playing on her lips.

James and Daphne heard Dylan calling them from downstairs.

"Time for Jo-Jo's birthday!!" Dylan shouted.

Johanna waited for her family to come down before she blew out her candles. She made a small silent wish and puffed out the small flames.

Johanna was happy to grow, she wanted to be able to hang out with her brothers and she really couldn't do that when he was so much younger than them. But, since she would be entering her teen years, it would be a little easier to relate to them.

Her birthday presents consisted of a few books about fishing, what to use as bait for each fish and where to find them. The books were given to her by James and Daphne. She glanced at her brothers quizically.

"Well?" she said. "I heard through the grapevine that you were planning something special. What is it?" The excitement and suspense was killing her, she really wanted to know.

Daphne rolled her eyes at her sons and walked away. James followed her.

The boys smiled at Johanna.

"Jo-Jo, we're taking you on a little trip. That is if you want to go. Brian has booked tickets for us to go to China for a few days!" Dylan said.

"Wow! Yeah I want to go. I love it, thank you guys." Johanna smiled and thanked them repeatedly.

"No problemo sis. Happy Birthday. We leave Monday morning." Dylan told her.

"That's tomorrow! Wow, I better get packing." Johanna said.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

G: III Chapter 17

Morning came, and Isabel graced her family with a song on the guitar. She had mastered playing long ago, but hadn't picked the instrument in a while. Unfortunately she started to play upstairs, where Daphne was still sleeping. Daphne poked her head out of her bedroom, "As much as I love your music skills, could you please play downstairs?" She smiled at Isabel, really she didn't want to seem rude, but she did get home after two in the morning every day. She rarely got to bed before four, and that is when the rest of the family got up.

Isabel agreed to play elsewhere and took her music to the dining room. Her grand kids were about to eat breakfast anyway. This particular day, Isabel also felt like gardening. Daphne had not seemed as enthusiastic about anything since Charlie died, and Isabel understood that. She had lost her own husband, she knew exactly what Daphne was feeling. Today Isabel figured that she would take a little off of her daughter in law's plate and take care of the garden.

Not too much later that morning, Johanna was caught skipping school. Apparently she had decided that she would rather spend time in the playground right next to the schoolhouse then learn. Luckily she was found quickly and was brought inside.

For days now, Dylan had been wanting to get a part time job. He had told his mother about wanting to, but Daphne said it was not necessary - that he didn't have to. Dylan told her it was more like something he felt he had to do, he wasn't going to get a job out of need. The family had plenty of money saved up. After school that day he stopped by the bookstore. He heard they were hiring for a clerk of some kind. He took the job. He started only about an hour after school was over, so his plan was to do his homework on the schoolhouse steps then head into work.

Since the death of her husband, Daphne had been spending a lot of time with Isabel. The two women were becoming very close friends. Nearly every day they would play video games together. Neither of them had really been interested in the console before, but for some reason it seemed like a great way to bond. Kick each others butt in racing cars. They understood now why the kids liked the games so much.

"This is so much better than playing on the computer." Isabel said.

Even James would sit and watch on occasion, though not much. He had played in his childhood many times, and knew the game well. If he watched he became the 'backseat player', constantly trying to tell them how to play. This particular day was just two days after he had broken through with Kathleen. He had been too busy up until now to call her, but this was the perfect time.

James left the ladies to their game and picked up his cell phone. He dialed Kathleen's number, but she did not answer - her grand daughter did.

"Hello?" the voice on the other line said.

"Hello, this is James Fuller, I'm looking for Kathleen?"
The girl started to cry lightly. "I'm sorry, she is no longer with us. She passed away early this morning. I remember her talking about you though. She said that you made her smile." After a small pause in which James didn't know what to say, the girl said, "Thank you, though I don't know who you are, I'm glad you were in her life. She seemed to like you very much." Another short pause, "I have to go now."

"Um. Of course, I'm so sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything you need." James said. He was thanked and the line disconnected.

When he put his phone away, James stood and stared into space for a moment. He said silent words to Kathleen - words of love and sorrow - though was unsure if they were heard. Kathleen had been his friend for a long time, they worked together until she grew old and retired. Though James had heard the phrase "You never know what you've got until it's gone." he had never really taken it to heart. Also he had never really known how much he had felt for Kathleen either. His heart broke, and he said aloud "I will never love again."

"What was that dear?" said Isabel from behind him.

"Nothing mom, nothing." James replied.

He felt this way because, to an extent he had loved Starr as well. Both of the women he found love with had departed his life quicker than he could blink, and that hurt him. Though he knew he was already considered a senior, and he had plenty of years left, none of them would be spent on finding love again. He had given up.

Brian always got home from school before Johanna and did his homework. When she came home though, she always asked for his help. She didn't really need it, but she loved spending time with Brian. He was her favorite brother. To her, Dylan always seemed busy, or didn't want to spend time with her. Both Dylan and Johanna were aware of who their mother was, and Johanna blamed Starr for Dylan's aloofness toward her. Sometimes she felt resented by Dylan, though Brian tried to convince her otherwise.

"He doesn't resent you, though he does your mother." Brian had told her one day, "Maybe he thinks you'll be just like her and leave him one day. Don't worry, he'll grow out of it."

Johanna always felt better when her cousin talked to her. In many ways, Brian felt like a brother more than a cousin. She loved him just like one anyway. She loved Dylan as well, and tried to show it. She didn't want him to feel afraid to love her either.

In James's line of work, he was often called upon in the middle of the night to come and study new evidence. This night he was phoned just for that reason. When he woke and while he dressed he thought of Kathleen. After he felt that he was adequately awake, he pried his mind away from her as best he could and went to work. The only bad part was, once he was done with the new evidence he would come home for just enough time to take a quick nap and eat, then he had to get back to his daily shift. He was working many hours of overtime.

Every morning when the family began to rise, each person fell into a pattern.

Brian would wake, shower, eat and then work on his sculpture or play chess with his brother.

Dylan would do basically the same, but always turning to chess for entertainment.

Johanna would feed Karla, shower, make her bed and pick up her room, then have breakfast. If she had time she would watch the boys play, or watch TV until the bus came to pick them up.

Daphne was always in bed, she didn't get up until about eleven every day.

Isabel would wake up right as the kids were leaving and run on the treadmill for about an hour before showering and coming down for breakfast. This morning she did the same routine as normal, but something was different. Today when she ran, she ran out of breath quicker than normal, and her heart beat irregular. Just when she decided to stop and skip her workout for the day, she realised it was too late. She screamed.

Daphne, being just a short distance away, had heard Isabel scream. She ran to her mother in law's room to see the problem, and was immediately taken by surprise. Isabel was dying. "Daphne," Isabel said, "He'll be here soon, please if he doesn't allow me to stay... tell my babies that I love them." Isabel said. With tears filling her eyes Daphne nodded her head. Another form appeared in the room.

The Grim Reaper came and pointed at Isabel, then an urn appeared on the floor. Isabel understood that she was to go, but didn't want to give up without a fight. Isabel got down on her knees to beg the Angel of Death for a continuance on her life. As if he had already had a bad day, and was sick of the begging, the Reaper waved his scythe and cast Isabel away. She didn't even have time to ask to stay.

Daphne let out a wail and cried hard for Isabel. Her new best friend. Now she was alone. Just her and the kids. She was thankful then for James, who had just moved in to help a few days ago. Daphne cried for hours, first Charlie - now Isabel. It felt like her perfect life was falling apart.

After school, Dylan did his homework as planned on the steps of the schoolhouse, then went to work. He wouldn't be home until evening. Brian had a quick errand to run after school let out. He came home at the same time as Johanna, and they sat and did their school work together.

Just as they were completing their work, Daphne sat at the table with a salad. She then broke the news to her family that their grandmother was gone.

Both Brian and Johanna were heartbroken over the news. Johanna began to cry and cry hard. Isabel had taken a great motherly role in Johanna's life, and she was devestated.

Isabel had been there for Brian for as long as he could remember and he was equally overwhelmed.

Just then the doorbell rang. Daphne went to answer it.

"Hi, my name is Rachel Hangmen. I'm here regarding the...recent situations in your family. I'd like to express my condolences for the loss of your husband Mrs. Fuller."

Daphne looked surprised. "Come inside, Mrs. Hangmen."

"Just Ms. I'm not married." Said Rachel. "No problem though, just call me Rachel." The two women walked into the dining room to talk.

"Thank you Mrs. Fuller." Rachel began. "As I said I am here regarding recent... events, in your family."

"Please, call me Daphne. What do you mean exactly?"

"Well specifically funerals Daphne. I know about the death of your husband - less than a week ago. Now I hear about your mother in law's passing today. That can be highly upsetting and very stressful Daphne. I'm here to help you."

"You heard about Isabel already? How is that possible?" Daphne asked.

Rachel glanced out the window, "Those Paparazzi see and hear more than you think Daphne."

Daphne followed Rachel's gaze, she noted the two people on her porch with cameras. She had grown so accustomed to them that she had forgotten how nosy they could be. Really had forgotten they were there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She sighed.

"I know Mrs. Fuller. I understand sometimes you want to keep the news of the famous out of the papers, but most times it's not going to happen. Like I said though, I'm here to help. I will make all the arrangements for Isabel's service. I hear you have a family cemetery?"

Rachel talked so fast that Daphne had a hard time keeping up, but she caught the last sentence. "Yes, we do." Her voice started to crack under the pressure of tears.

"Fine then, would you mind if we had the ceremony there? I would be happy to supply everything. We will even clean up the trash left behind. Isabel was very famous, as was her family. Everything will be taken care of. You do not need to do anything." Rachel said.

"Wow." Daphne said. "Thank you for your help. I hadn't even thought of funeral services yet. Isabel was very well known, I guess that should have crossed my mind."

"No worries dear, not at all. It's all done, everything. Just one call from me and tomorrow we will hold Isabel's funeral at your family cemetery. Speaking of which, as a woman of business I am inclined to tell you - Your cemetery is growing, you will soon need to place a masouleum on that property. The city won't allow many more headstones without one you know."

"Thank you Rachel - for the heads up. I think we can do that, if we need to. I'm so thankful for all your help. What can I give you in return?" Daphne asked.

"Nothing darling, nothing at all. Isabel was well taken care of by her family. She is set for everything." With that Rachel bid Daphne farewell and went to plan Isabel's funeral.

Tomorrow would be another day of sadness for the family. Daphne was still surprised by Rachel, and her plans but happy to accept the help. She wasn't sure how to go about any of this anyway. Isabel was always the one who made these thing happen. Now that it was Isabel's funeral, Daphne had been unsure of what to do. Rachel's appearance made everything better, and Daphne was thankful.