Chapter 2.12: Dear J, a Stranger Returns

With the arrival of the new baby, Leo feels melancholic. Little does he know his world is about to be turned upside down again!

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Dear J, as you’ve probably guessed from the announcement card above, we’ve had the delight of welcoming Thea Capra Drummond into the world. There is something really magical about babies. I can’t fully describe the feeling I get when I look at her little pink face and tiny hands and feet.

Even though I have a daughter of my own, I’d never really given babies much thought. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. It wasn’t until Rachel became pregnant that I began to realize everything I’d missed out on. It isn’t that I feel regret…. how could I regret my sweet Blue? My life is all the richer for having her in it.

It has also occurred to me that the way I feel doesn’t have anything to do with actually wanting another child. I simply want to know what it was like to have Blue as an infant.

What it all comes back to is the stupid way I went about things. Chrissy and I were both just kids, dealing with our own emotional strife. Her world was rife with problems as she lived with a grandmother who was slowly sinking into senility. By the time I met Chrissy, her grandma barely even recognized her anymore.

As for me. Well, I’d lost you, Jillybean. And, even now, other than losing Blue, I can’t imagine a pain worse than having lost you. I admit that since Thea’s arrival, my emotions have been running wild. I can barely write this to you now without my throat closing up and my eyes burning. Remember when we were kids and you used to cover for me when I got in trouble? That was most of our childhood right there. You were so practical and smart. If you’d lost me instead of the other way around, I’m certain you wouldn’t have gotten into the predicament I found myself in.

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Anyway, on to happier thoughts before I totally lose it…

There she was, the sweet, delicate, bundle of joy. At last, after all the hours of waiting, Rachel and Thea were safely home from the hospital. We were all standing around the infant’s swing, amazed, as if none of us had ever seen a baby before.

“Where’d you get the name Thea anyway? And how come she has blonde hair?” Blue asked.

“It was my grandmother’s name. And my mother had blonde hair,” Josh proudly gushed.

“Well, doesn’t she have any Capra in her?” Blue asked. “I love you, Uncle Josh, but I don’t think it’s fair if she’s all Drummond.”

“Shhh…. don’t wake her,” Rachel said softly, a smile touching her lips. Her voice was just as awestruck as Josh’s as she continued, “Isn’t she beautiful? I still can’t believe she’s mine.”

“She’s mine, too,” Josh said with a wink.

“You’re all wrong, you know,” Blue whispered matter of factly so as not to wake her little cousin. “She belongs to me. I’m going to teach this kid everything she needs to know.”

I put my hand on Blue’s shoulder and said, “That’s great, my little worldly novice, but I think it’s time we went home and you got some shut eye. You start school tomorrow and I want you to be ready.”

“Awww, daddy,” she groaned.

“Go on. Get your stuff.”

5

While Blue was collecting her belongings, I turned to the new mother and gave her a hug. “I’m really proud of you, Sis.”

Somehow, she looked different. More beautiful. Wiser. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. All I knew for sure was that motherhood had both changed her and agreed with her.

“Thank you, Leo. I don’t think I’ve said this enough, but I’m proud of you, too.”

I frowned a little, unable to fathom any reason she could be proud of me.

Her fingertips were warm as she gently touched my arm and said, “Things have been hard for you for a long time. There have been so many times I’ve worried about you but you’ve always managed to do the right thing in the end and that’s what counts.”

My face turned red as I bashfully stared at my Converse All Stars.

6

“Hey, guys, have you forgotten there’s a baby over here?” Josh said, his expression melting from the cuteness in the swing.

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I haven’t forgotten,” Blue declared as she came back into the room. “What’s that smell?”

I laughed a little as she crinkled her nose in disgust. “That smell is our cue to leave!” I announced, ushering her toward the door.

7

Instead of leaving that second, though, I took another peek at Thea. Even with all of our chatting and staring, she was sleeping peacefully, oblivious to us all.

Images of what Blue might have been like as a baby filled my mind again and I struggled to push them away. There was no point in dwelling on such things. The past was over and done with and there was nothing I could do to change it.

8

For the next few minutes, I told my sister and her husband again how wonderful their daughter was. Then I finally grasped Blue’s hand in mine and we left.

9

When we got home, Blue talked me into letting her have a bowl of ice cream. We chatted about Blue’s new school and she protested once more about having to wear a uniform. After what seemed an eternity, I was able to get her to go upstairs and get ready for bed. I spent the next little while checking all of the doors to make sure they were locked, then went to her room to check on her progress. She had her pajamas on and was standing on a pile of dirty clothes.

Before I could say anything, she waved her arms around with exaggeration and said, “Pick your clothes up off the floor, young lady. What is this, a barn?

It was pretty obvious her imitation was of me. Even though I couldn’t recall ever saying that to her, her antics made me smile. While a maid did come in daily, this was no longer a world full of butlers and nannies. Blue was expected to pick up after herself and keep her room clean. To emphasize to her that we were supposed to be more independent now, I had been taking her to a basic parent and child cooking class. (For the record, she was doing miles better in that class than I was).

Anyway, without Rachel in charge of Blue twenty-four seven, it was up to me to make sure I didn’t raise a child who felt entitled just because her dad made a good living.

10

As close as I was to Blue, I wasn’t prepared for her questions this evening.

“Daddy, are we ever going to have any babies in our family?”

“Uh…. ummmmm……… Well, I’m not married to anyone, Blue.”

She scrunched up her nose, obviously thinking this over. “So, you have to be married to have a baby? You weren’t married when you had me.”

I stared at the ceiling, silently praying for this conversation to end. Why did things like this only ever come up at bedtime?

11

“Uh… yeah, that’s true,” I stammered.

“Is this uncomfortable for you?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

Oh, for crying out loud. “You could say that,” I admitted.

She giggled. “Well, what I think is that we need a baby, too. Just like Thea. Only it doesn’t have to be a girl. It could be a boy. I don’t care about that part.”

“Well, thank goodness for that.” My expression became more serious as I tried to think how best to handle this. “I think it’s nice that you really love Thea. And I know you will be great friends with her -”

“- But we’re not going to have a baby here, are we?”

“I’m afraid not, Blue. You see, when you have a baby with someone, it’s because you love them and want to share that joy with them. Like how Aunt Rachel and Uncle Josh love each other. And, well, I’m just not in love with anyone like that.”

12

She thought about this for a minute and then began to climb into her bed.

“It’s okay that you’re not in love with anyone. If having a baby means the baby’s mommy has to live here, too, then I think we’re better off not having any of it,” she decided as she pulled the covers back.

13

“Someday, I might find someone that we both like,” I offered.

“I doubt that.”

As concern knotted my stomach, I tucked her in, kissed her goodnight and slowly went downstairs. With all of the changes we’d been through recently, I realized I hadn’t paid much attention to Blue’s hints about not wanting a woman in her life.Well, not wanting a woman that would act as a mother to her. Or a partner to me.

If I could push my distrust aside…. if I actually found someone worthy of being in my daughter’s life… how would I ever get Blue past the feelings she’s been expressing?

14

As I walked through the foyer to go to the kitchen and clean up Blue’s empty ice cream bowl, the doorbell rang.

It was a strange thing, hearing the doorbell at this time of night. I hesitated, thinking maybe it would be okay not to answer it. All I really wanted was my nice clean bed and a few hours of sleep.

Yet…. there was someone at the door. Sighing, I opened it without peeking out first.

15

My breath caught in my throat as she stepped inside. For a moment, all we did was stare at one another. I’m sure my mouth was gaping.

16

Finally, she said, “Hi, Leo. It’s been a long time.”

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Instantly, a picture of Chrissy Valentine that I had kept hidden in my memory surfaced. Here she was, as beautiful as ever and standing in my entryway. Gone were the remnants of the angry and rebellious teenage girl. The person who stood before me now had clear eyes, a rosy complexion and lustrous dark hair.

“A-aren’t you going to say anything?” she asked with a catch in her throat.

18

My mind raced as a whirlwind of feelings accosted me in waves that were so immensely unpleasant, I couldn’t sort any one of them out individually.

My head felt light and I couldn’t breathe.

That’s what I get for not checking the peephole first.

“Y-you’re hair isn’t blue,” I stupidly stammered.

  1. Dang Nabit! No NO NO NO NO! I smell trouble brewing even if it’s all grown up and dressed mature-like now! Okay, yes a girl should have a mom, but if she tries to take Blue away….. Gorgeous pics and I never noticed Josh’s nose before but you are right! I think Blue will make an awesome cousin-sister! I’m stomping away now!

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    1. Thank you, Bee! Before you stomp away, let me tell your nose is working really well! hahaha Yes, there just might be some trouble brewing. Let’s hope Leo is able to deal with this new development. 🙂

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  2. I love how Blue is so adorable towards Thea. Congratulations! I’m so happy for Rachel and Josh. Oh… Chrissy… I hadn’t expected her there. What is she going to do? How Blue reacts? I love how dumbly Leo responded. I’m so excited now! 😀

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    1. It’s weird, but I just noticed Chrissy and Blue share beauty spot at the same place on the cheek. It’s so lovely.

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      1. Oh yes, they do share the same beauty spot. 😀 Thank you.

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    2. Thank you, Jowita. 😀 Chrissy, Chrissy, Chrissy…. she had to come back sometime, I guess. lol I’m so glad you’re excited!

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  3. UMMMM NO NO NO NO send her away now!!!! Chrissy is just going to mess things up for Blue. She BETTER NOT try taking Blue from Leo or I will hunt her down myself!
    I can see Blue not reacting well at all to her mother. How did Chrissy find them anyway?!
    Leo’s reaction is just so perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Lil 🙂 She explains to Leo in the next chapter how she found them. But that’s a good question. 😀 And I agree with all the points you’ve made 100%!

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  4. Well, Chrissy looks more mature. Hopefully, she actually is. And I doubt she’d be able to take Blue away, legally anyways. There is no way she could pull a “loving mother” card in court, after she abandoned the child at a young age.

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    1. Thank you, Violincat. I agree with you that the fact she abandoned Blue would not bode well in court. Let’s hope Chrissy is on the up and up.

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  5. ‘Your hair isn’t blue’ oh my gosh haha, how smooth of you Leo! I’m not quite sure what to think of Chrissy. I mean, her reappearance was unevitable, and she looks more mature now, but I don’t trust her at all. Was she the one who kept on calling and hanging up? I don’t think Blue will like her mother, especially with that attitude she has right now… and I won’t blame her, since Chrissy abandoned Blue as a baby. The audacity she has to show up now…
    Thea is soooo cute though! And Rachel sure is a beautiful mother!

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    1. Thank you, Lila. 🙂 Yeah, Leo is one smooth guy. hahaha You’re right that Chrissy had to come back at some point. The question is, what does she want? I could see this going a number of different ways.

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  6. Ohhhhhhhhh dang, Chrissy showing up now can’t be good. I think she’s going to throw a curveball in Leo’s life. He seems to still have feelings for her, especially considering the “your hair’s not blue anymore” line he said… On a completely different note, Thea is so cute!!

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    1. Thank you, raymond 😀 I think you’re right about the curve ball. Great observation, too, about Leo’s feelings. 🙂

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  7. Hmph! I am quite sure Blue’s great aunt and nana would have quite a bit to say to Chrissy! Biology does not make you a ‘mom’, which Memphis is very aware of! As for Blue, I am wondering what her reaction will be. A court might give Chrissy ‘visiting’ rights, but I doubt much more than that, and heaven help her if she tries to take Blue away! BTW, Thea is adorable! =)

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    1. Thank you, Marj. 🙂 I quite agree with your assessment. Unless Leo is unfit in some way, I don’t see how Chrissy would get custody. Still, you never know. Leo probably shouldn’t take any chances.

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  8. I too want to stomp and send Chrissy packing, yet she does have the look of a person who has turned their life around.
    I’m just going to tote around a salt lick for awhile while keeping one eye on miss chrissy, fingers crossed for minimal damages … really wish his Leo’s parents had gotten her to sign paperwork when she dropped off Blue.

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    1. Thank you 🙂 That would have been ideal, if they’d had papers signed, for sure.

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  9. “Your hair isn’t blue” was my first thought too. So before I jump on the We Hate Chrissy Bandwagon I want to hear her out first. Maybe she changed more than just her hair. Maybe she is more mature, and finally got her life together.
    But on the other hand, looks can be deceiving.

    I think that it is sweet that Blue wants a baby around, but not the mother. I think that it comes from being protective of Leo and not wanting to see him get hurt again. More so than Blue being jealous.

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    1. Thank you, socallucyfan. 🙂 You make some good points about Chrissy. It could go either way. And I like what you said about Blue, too. 🙂

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      1. I guess I’m just going to have to wait until next chapter to find out (unless you want to slip some spoilers my way)😉

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        1. LOL Oh I wish I could! 😀 Sometimes it’s the hardest thing, keeping it all under wraps.:P

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          1. Oh well. It was worth a try.

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  10. Oh, oh, oh. >.>
    I really, really hope that Chrissy is only here because she has decided she actually wants to be a part of Blue’s life and not to stir up trouble. She looks to have matured, but you never really know. Even if she is I still don’t know if I’d like the idea of her and Leo getting together! We will just have to wait for her to explain herself.
    And Thea is a cutie pie. ❤

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 It would be nice if Chrissy was more mature, had it together and could be a positive influence in Blue’s life. We’ll soon find out. 😀

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  11. One: Blue has an interesting train of thought there, not wanting another female in her dad’s life. Two: Thea is adorable, mutations of blonde hair do seem to pop up often in TS3. XD Three: Chrissy…she looks a tad bit more mature. She could mean well. One way or another, this’ll definitely be interesting…

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    1. Thank you, fluffymao. 🙂 I wondered where the blonde hair came from. lol That makes sense. As for Blue, this may or may not be a problem later. lol And Chrissy…. we will know soon. 😀

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  12. No no no no no … I had all of my comments in mind about the cute baby yet and blues awkward questions and you completely blew them out of my mind that last picture. No she cannot have blue back.

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    1. Thank you, lisabee. 🙂 Chrissy coming back is a doozy for sure. Hopefully, there won’t be too much trouble….. hopefully.

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  13. Before I say anything about Chrissy I have to say I found it profoundly sad that Leo feels that if it had been him killed instead of Jillybean that his loss would have affected her less than her loss on him. He really needs to rethink those feelings because they’re not true. I knew Blue wouldn’t be receptive to anyone else coming into her life and playing mom or wife. I’m not quite sure why she feels that way though unless it has to do with how she was basically abandoned by her biological mother. Which brings me to Chrissy…I hope Leo doesn’t let her back into his or Blues life. I do t care how much better she appears to be. She’s still the person who walked out of their lives without a second glance. People can change but it doesn’t mean they deserve your trust.

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    1. Thank you, dandylion. 🙂 You’re so right that it is sad that Leo feels that way. I agree that he has a lot of things to work through yet. It will be interesting, I think, so find more out about Blue and her feelings about having a step-mother. And as for Chrissy, you’re exactly right with your last sentence there. 🙂

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  14. Just leaving a note to let you know that I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! That’s so kind of you. And congratulations to you! 🙂

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    1. Hi, shannynlee! Thank you so much! That’s so nice! And congratulations to you! 🙂

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  15. Whoa ! Landslide , landmine , and holy llamas !

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    1. Hahahaha! Thank you! 😀

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  16. I know what she is here for – Blue. Even though Chrissy looks like she has worked through her rebellious stage and has probably come back to right her wrongs, I think if you just leave your child with someone else, abandoning them and now you come back to see or be with them, it’s probably not going to work out with Blue since she doesn’t want a women to be her mother or his partner, but she also could accept her since she is her true mother…

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    1. Thank you, shannynlee! 🙂 I think you’re right that it could go either way with Blue. In the future, we’ll be delving into just that.

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  17. Oh, poor Leo! He can’t get a break. Whenever things seem to be settling down, something else comes along to stir it all up again. I’m wondering how Blue is going to react to this.

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    1. Thank you, Judith. 🙂 That’s a good question!

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  18. Blue gets the Oscar in this chapter lol. So many rich one-liners from her. 🙂

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    1. LOL! Thank you, Jes2G! 🙂

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  19. Aaaaah no no no!!! If Chrissy even dares to hint that she might wanna take Blue away, I will end her!
    Leo could not find a more awkward comment, haha!! 😂
    Blue is becoming really something, I love this kid! And Thea is lovely, such a cute baby! 😀 ❤

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 I love what you said about ending Chrissy. LOL 😀

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  20. Well, it had to happen at some point. I figured we couldn’t go through this generation without seeing Chrissy at least one more time. I’m really interested in how Blue will handle meeting her mother. From the looks of how this chapter ended, it doesn’t seem Leo’s too thrilled. For good reason too.

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    1. Yes, she had to show up, you are right about that. I couldn’t see her not being around in some way. Leo isn’t sure what to think right now but it’s definitely a worry. 🙂

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