Chapter 2.16: Dear J, Birthday Bash

It’s Blue’s birthday and the entire family will be there. Also, Leo reveals to Jillybean something he’s been hiding.

Dear J, so much time has passed, I guess I need to catch you up. It makes me feel a little guilty when I think about how I used to write to you every day…. then every few days until, finally, more time has gone by than I realized.

It isn’t that I don’t still think about you. In fact, whenever something happens in my life, you are still that one person I want to turn to and confide in. I’m ashamed to say, though, that I feel your presence less and less and then I reprimand myself for thinking that time actually can heal wounds.

But time can’t remove the scar from my face. And it can’t make me forget the accident in which I was driving. Most of all, I will never forget the last thing you said to me that I can remember right before our lives were so drastically changed forever.

I have never told that to anyone. In fact, I have never spoken about the accident to anyone except for that shrink Dr. Thao and Aunt Keniesha. Even though I told them things, at the time, it was only what they wanted to hear. They encouraged my music because they thought that would distract me from my pain.

Someday, I would like to tell Leela… maybe. There are times when I’m with her that I feel the overwhelming urge to let it all out for once. But something always stops me. We’ve become really good friends, but even after all these weeks, neither of us has made that step to tell our darkest secrets.

Instead of spilling my guts to Leela, I threw myself into Blue’s birthday party. To say I dreaded having a teenager was an understatement. But Leela assured me it wouldn’t be a terrible thing, just another adventure with our children. I took courage from her words and did my best to prepare a day Blue would always fondly remember. I hoped.

1

The entire family was supposed to attend. Of course, as soon as Mom, Dad and Daylynn got here, Mom made a beeline for the kitchen and started rummaging around my fridge.

“There’s no fresh fruit in here, Leo,” she said. “Don’t you feed your child fruit?”

While most people might be annoyed by this, I smiled to myself. I missed her so much, I was willing to pretty much overlook anything.

“I have to go to the store, Ma. Blue ate our last orange this morning.”

2

Satisfied, I think, she turned and smiled at me, giving me another hug. “Oh, it’s so good to see you and Blue again.”

“Did you see Rachel and Josh’s house? It’s pretty nice.”

“Oh yes, it’s perfect for them,” she agreed. “Especially if they have anymore children.”

If I didn’t know any better, I would think there was some kind of message in what she said. Raising an eyebrow, I said, “But….”

3

Her pleasant laugh enveloped me in homey feelings of warmth. “I guess you caught me. I was wondering about this Leela Plummer I’m always hearing about. Blue seems to adore her and Ruby.”

There it was. “Yeah, Blue is quite attached.”

Mom bit her lower lip as if that would keep her from saying what she was thinking. “Is there any chance you and Leela might be more than friends?”

And there it was again. I shook my head. “No. I do like her a lot, but I’m not sure she wants to be anything more than what we are now.”

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“So you’re stuck in the friendzone,” she murmured.

Hearing her say ‘friendzone’ was so weird, I laughed without meaning to.

“I worry about you in this big house all by yourself with only Blue. Now that she’s a teenager, she’s going to start living her own life, driving to the mall, hanging out with her friends. You’ll hardly see her. What kind of life is that?”

“Geez, Mom. First of all, I have my music which keeps me really busy. Second of all, Blue is not driving anywhere. Ever.”

She frowned and I hated the look of pity in her eyes as she gazed at me. “That’s not practical. You know the first thing she’s going to do is ask for driving lessons. It’s a rite of passage. It’s part of a teen’s growing independence. Have you still not driven since the accident?”

“No, I haven’t, and I’ve done just fine,” I said, my voice more stern than I wanted it to be. I knew she was only trying to make me see what she thought was reason. But there was no way in this lifetime that I’d allow Blue to sit behind the wheel of a car.

She didn’t say anything else about it, she only patted my arm with that same look in her eyes. “We’d better see how everyone is doing.”

6

Despite the seriousness of the conversation in the kitchen, I was really stoked to have everyone here. It felt so long since we’d all been together. The noise was great; everyone talking at the same time, laughing and joking around.

I tried to get a group photo of everyone, but it was just impossible. No one would stay still. So, I took pictures of them in smaller groups.

This, of course, was Dad, Daylynn, Mom and Grace.

7

Aunt Keniesha with her new husband, famous actor, Samuel Serendipity.

On a side note, I was a little bothered and sad that this would probably be the last time I saw my aunt before she had her own birthday and became an elder like my dad. Then my mom would have her birthday. I don’t like to think of the people I love getting older. It’s kind of scary.

8

Next, I grabbed a pic of Rachel, Josh and little Thea.

9

Then, Tia, her husband Grant Ventura and their children Ramona and Marvin. Marvin was named after my grandfather, Marvin Noble. To hear Aunt Keniesha and my mom tell it, he was a great father, fisherman and jokester. Mom once tole me that my childhood pranks reminded her of her father’s stories of when he was a boy.

10

As the celebration got under way, I saw my dad by the cotton candy machine.

“Hey, Dad, I’m really glad you could make it.”

He still had that lopsided grin, it was just surrounded by more wrinkles now than I remembered him having. His hazel eyes were bright and still full of life.

“Do you remember when you stole that cotton candy machine? We were having a family picnic and I found it behind the garage.”

I laughed with him before answering. “But I didn’t steal that. Honestly, I didn’t. That grumpy man, I don’t remember his name, gave it to me.”

“That’s right,” he mumbled, a far away look in his eyes. “Is this the same one?”

“No. You made me take it back to the owner. I bought this one.”

“You still love your cotton candy.”

“That I do,” I said.

“You don’t still steal things, do you?” he asked with concern clouding his face.

All I could do was tell him what he wanted to hear. “No, Dad.” But the truth was, when I was really stressed out, it was hard sometimes not to take something. It was never anything really big or expensive but that urge was sometimes there. Luckily, I’d never been caught; that would be a disaster. Still, there were times I couldn’t help myself.

“That’s good. That’s good,” he said, his eyes far away.

“Is something bothering you?”

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“Well, I’ve been working on something and it’s just really disturbing to me,” he said. Suddenly, he pulled out his wallet and began flipping through pictures he had. Most of them appeared to be of Blue and Thea. He stopped on some snapshots he had of Tia’s wedding. “Do you see it?”

I squinted at the small pictures, not seeing anything unusual. “See what?”

He pointed at the edge of the picture. “That! Do you see it?”

Coming closer, my eyes inches from the picture, I stared at what looked like someone in a gray jersey shirt next to his finger. “Is there a person there? Whoever it is got cut off by the camera.”

13

Out of the corner of my eye, I became distracted as I noticed Mom and Leela talking.

14

They seemed to be in deep conversation. I was hoping Mom wasn’t telling her about the ‘friendzone.’

15

Mom smiled, said something else to Leela, then headed toward me and Dad.

16

As Mom joined us, Dad quickly put his pictures away and cleared his throat.

“Is he bothering you with those wedding photos?” Mom asked. “I keep telling him there’s nothing there.”

“All I can say, is take a lot of pictures today, Kid,” Dad said.

“Uh, okay,” I stammered, wondering what this was all about.

17

There were more pressing matters on my mind, though. “What did you say to Leela?” I asked.

“Don’t be so worried. Honestly, Leo. I was just getting to know her.”

18

“You, uh, didn’t say anything embarrassing, did you?”

She rolled her eyes. “Of course not. Have a little faith in me.” Then, she winked at Dad. “Leela is perfect!”

“Mom!” Suddenly, I felt like a little kid again, being told who I could play with.

Mom and Dad both laughed and squeezed each others’ hands.

19

Giving up on that conversation, I set Blue and Ruby up with karaoke. To my surprise, they sang one of my songs, “Broken Story,” which didn’t seem very appropriate for a birthday but the family seemed to really dig it.

20

As the girls sang, I made sure lots of pictures were taken, per Dad’s instructions. I didn’t know why he’d said that, but I wanted a lot of photos anyway.

21

The photographer I’d hired cost me an arm and a leg, but he was supposed to be pretty good.

2223

Tears filled my eyes as the girls finished their show with “Lavender’s Blue,” the song I’d sung to Blue as a toddler. My heart ached as I recalled how Blue sang along with me and it was the first time I’d heard her put any words together.

24

Now, in just a few minutes, she would be a teen.

25

As I gazed at her, I tried to smile with encouragement as she seemed reluctant to blow out her candles.

“It will be okay,” I mouthed to her.

She nodded slightly….

26

…then closed her eyes to make a wish. I wondered what her wish was, but I couldn’t ask her. Everyone knew that if you told someone, it wouldn’t come true.

Finally, she blew out the candles as we went crazy.

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Gasping, I wondered how a guy that looked like me could ever have such a beautiful daughter. I would have to keep her locked up, for sure.

29

The next day, Ruby also became a teen. These are the girls in their school uniforms, Jillybean. I’ve never seen such smart, lovely kids in all my life.

  1. I LOVED this chapter!! Had me chuckling or smiling all the way through. The look on Blue’s face when she didn’t want to age up, but she grew up just beautiful! I’m hoping we can hear more of Leela’s story and what happened to her very soon! Mom is right though, soon Leo is going to be alone and that just doesn’t seem right, the kind of guy he is. It’s time he let Jilly go and move on. Really allow himself to be close with another person. (Pssst-Leela Leela Leela) Great Chapter RO!

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    1. Haha Thank you so much, Bee! I’m so glad you enjoyed this chapter. Don’t worry, we will see more of Leela’s story in the near future. I think you’re right to agree with Memphis about telling Leo that. He’s been alone for a long time; it’s time he had some happiness. 🙂

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  2. Aww, it is so nice to see all our old “friends”. I see everyone around already have their family, only Leo can’t find the right girl. I hope he makes it with Leela. Keniesha MARRIED. I am so happy for her! I wonder about the photo… What does Liev see in there? Maybe he worked as a PI way too long. Teen Blue looks just like Chrissy-really pretty 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Jowita. 😀 I loved having everyone together even if it was a hectic time trying to get pics. haha It would be nice if Leo found someone; perhaps Leela, we shall see. I was so pleased that Keniesha and Samuel hit it off the way they did. They seem very happy. Liev might be on to something… or maybe it’s as you suggest, he was a PI for too long. haha Blue does look so much like Chrissy. She has Leo’s green eyes, but I see more of Chrissy in her.

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  3. The birthday pics were so adorable! Blue grew up lovely, although she looks a lot like Chrissy which also makes me a bit uneasy. But I trust her same sweet attitude will carry onto her teen years… hopefully.
    The whole family looks great, I loved seeing them all grown up with their families, all together ❤

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    1. Thank you, Lila. 🙂 Blue looks so much like Chrissy, I can see why that makes you uneasy. Hopefully, she won’t act like her, too. lol

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  4. Loved this chapter! ❤
    I hope Leo eventually finds someone because one day Blue will have her own life and he will be alone which I hope won't happen! Blue and Ruby grew up to be very attractive girls!

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    1. Thank you, shannynlee. 🙂 I know what you mean about Leo. It would be a shame if that happened. Blue is bound to want to spread her wings now that she is older. Hopefully, Leo won’t be lonely.

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  5. I can already foresee the driving issue becoming a big deal for Blue. Who, may I say, looks so much like Chrissy right now!
    Also, I think I see why his dad told him to take the pictures… I think I spoted familiar yellow hair in some pics.

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    1. Thank you, Violincat. 🙂 I can foresee a problem with the no driving rule, too. It’s bound to cause problems. As for familiar yellow hair….. you are very observant! 😀

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  6. I kept waiting for Chrissy to “sneak a peek”, although she is in rehab. I think Leo’s dad is seeing Jill in those pictures, but we shall see! I don’t think Leo’s parents should be pressuring him into “finding” someone. It’s good that they like Leela, and maybe that will work out, but she’s as “gun shy” as Leo is. I also keep wondering what happened to Mango??? By the way, Blue is gorgeous!! And yes, looks a lot like her mother, too. Leo is going to have to ‘lighten up’ about the driving thing, but I definitely feel where he is coming from! Great chapter! ♥

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    1. Thank you, Marj. 🙂 You’re most likely right about Memphis and Liev. They probably shouldn’t be pressuring Leo to find someone. Gosh, what did happen to Mango? 😀 😀 😀 I think you are also right that Leo will have to lighten up on the no driving thing.

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  7. Blue is so cute!!! She’s a beautiful teenager. I think Leo does need to find a partner, and perhaps Leela is the right one for him. It was nice to see a lot of the old characters again!

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    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I loved bringing everyone together in this chapter. It was a little hectic, but fun.

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  8. Thanks a lot Dad. Now I am staring at every pic over and over looking for hidden objects or hidden clues! Blue and Ruby are just too cute. The boys are going to be after them like crazy Leela and Leo better keep their eyes open. Blue looks so much like her mother Chrissy.

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    1. Thank you, Lil. 🙂 Did you see anything in the pics? 😀 I think you’re right that they will have to keep tabs on these girls. lol

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      1. Yes I did notice one thing, but I don’t want to spoil it for the other readers.

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  9. Ei wonder what Jilly told him right before the accident? I hope things work out between him and Leela. Leo reacted like I would have if my mom introduced herself to someone I liked. It’s a little disconcerting that Leo’s dad told him to take lots of pictures. Is someone stalking them? Or was it Chrissy in the background? So many questions! Blue grew up into beautiful teen.

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    1. Thank you, dandylion. 🙂 Hmmmm…. those are all good questions! I wish I could answer them. lol 😀

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  10. Lol mom and the friend zone talk was cracking me up

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    1. LOL! Thank you, lisabee! 😀

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  11. Pretty much writing these as I read:
    –What did Jilly say?!
    –I love awkward mom conversations! Memphis is the best.
    –I’m always shocked when I see the kids (now adults) they look so much like their mom!
    –WHAT IS IN THE PHOTO!?
    –I love Blue! She’s going to be fun!

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    1. Thank you, SweetP! 🙂 I love your comment! All will be answered…. in time. lol

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  12. So many mysteries ! I’m so excited for the coming chapters !

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    1. Thank you so much, cathytea! 🙂

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  13. Samuel Serendipity is cuuuute lol. And the girls are gorgeous! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something related to dad’s pictures…

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    1. Thank you, Jes2G! 🙂 I think Samuel is cute, too! 😀 I’d been writing little things about him here and there since Gen 1, so I thought it was high time he was included for real! lol Oh yes…. do you see anything in the pics?

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      1. Yeah! I noticed we had been hearing about him and never met him. I halfway thought he wasn’t real LOL. Nice to finally meet him. There was really something in those pictures?! Oh boy. I need to pull out my magnifying glass lol. I’ll take a look!

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        1. Hahahahaha! Yes, there is something there. 😀 😀 Tricky, tricky, I know. 😛

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          1. But…but…they’re so small…and blurry! XD

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              1. he he he, that’s ok. I’m sure it will all be explained soon.

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                1. LOL Well, if your definition of “soon” is Gen 3, then yes, it will be explained soon. 😀 😀 I’m a stinker, I know.

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                2. Love it lol. I’m a fellow stinker! 😛

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                3. Hahahaha! Stinkers unite! 😀 😀

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  14. […] Author’s Note: If you would like to see the original pictures where Mango is hidden, they can be found in Chapter 2.16, Dear J, Birthday Bash.  […]

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  15. I spy with my little eye something Mango hidden in the crowd! I honestly can’t wait to get to the part that explains all of that. I have my theories, but we shall see! 😉 Anyway, Blue is so gorgeous! She honestly looks so much like Chrissy. I can’t complain there because despite her issues, Chrissy is very beautiful. To the next chapter!

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    1. Thank you, Rosie! You’re very observant! 😀

      I agree that Chrissy is beautiful and so is Blue. 🙂 Thank you so much.

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  16. I forgot his name but It looks like Keneisha’s old husband is in some of the photos

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    1. Thank you, Paige! 🙂 Yes, you have a keen eye!

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  17. Blue is so beautiful!! ❤ I laughed so hard with Leo's comment that he should lock her up lol!!
    About the picture…I think I have an idea, I really want to see where this is all going!

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    1. haha I think Leo has the right idea! 😛 I can’t wait to see if what you think about the picture is true! 😀

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  18. This was sweet, but there’s bound to be trouble ahead… Dundundun…

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    1. Dun dun DUNNNNNNN! :O 😀

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