tagIncest/TabooMandy and Me Ch. 27

Mandy and Me Ch. 27

bySSW_1050©

Writer's Note: If you are new to this series, I strongly suggest you begin at Chapter 1, since each chapter builds on the previous, and there might be difficulties understanding the story without the full background. This chapter picks up shortly after the end of chapter 26 and covers further adventures of the Davidson clan. As always, a big tip of the Stetson to all the loyal readers, for following along. Enjoy and please vote.

Literary critics are advised – I am a retired wood butcher, still learning the art of weaving a story. A special thanks goes to my good friend, Ciguardian, for the lessons he's taught, and for his always insightful comments and suggestions. I could never do this without him.

The Standard Boilerplate Declarations Always Apply - Legal – All persons engaging in described sexual activity are 18 or older, Advisory – This is NOT a one-page stroke story. If that's what you want, look elsewhere, and Caution – There is tobacco use (smoking) in this story. The setting is 1967, and I am writing to reflect those times. If this bothers you, go elsewhere.

Chapter 27 – A Problem, A Resolution, and Explanations

3 July

Mike:

It was inspection day, for Mom and Dad's new house. We expected Harrison, Regina, and Harry about 10:00, that morning. Mandy and I had gone to the shop to begin our day, prepared to be called away when they arrived.

As soon as Rick Harrison arrived, I called him into the office and closed the door.

"What do you need, Mike?" he asked me.

"I need t' talk t' you, for a minute," I told him. "Today's inspection day for Junior's new house, an' Harrison Richards – the architect an' contractor we build a lot o' our cabinets for – is comin' t' do his final walkthrough for a quality check. He's bringin' his wife, Regina – who's the interior designer for all his homes, an' his son, Harry, along with him.

"Now, he's asked me – as a favor – t' put Harry t' work, for a few weeks, an' let him learn about the cabinet-makin' end o' the process. I'll be bringin' him down here, for a tour o' the shop, when the inspection is over, an' I'll make sure t' introduce him t' you, since he'll be headin' back t' UTA in the fall, an' you'll be headed there, too."

"I'll definitely want t' get t' know him, so I can ask him some questions about campus life, an' things," Rick said. "But, you've got a concerned look on your face, an' I can't see why your bringin' him here on a tour rates your givin' me a special 'heads up' notice. So, what gives?"

"I knew you were a pretty smart fellow, first time I met you, Rick," I told him, chuckling. "The thing is, Harry's folks had a big shindig up at their place, in Tyler, the other day, an' Mandy an' I took our sister, Laura, along with us. She wants t' be an interior designer, an' I wanted a chance for her t' meet Regina an' talk with her, some.

"Durin' the party, Laura got introduced t' Harry, an' it didn't take much t' see the sparks flash between 'em. Mandy an I both figure the two o' them are bound t' become an 'item' 'fore too long. An' you know how close your sister an' Laura are. My guess is that, even if you two manage t' do what you hope t' do, she's goin' t' want t' stay in touch with Laura. Arlington is just far enough away t' get you two away from most folks who'd tumble t' your bein' a couple, but it's close enough for a day's drive an' a visit.

"What I'm gettin' at is that I'm just goin' t' introduce you t' Harry, an' I won't say a thing about you havin' a sister, much less a twin. I'll leave it up t' you an' Lissa, how you'll handle Laura an' Harry. You might want t' talk t' Lissa, before you mention her in front o' him, though."

"That's somethin' t' think about, Mike," he agreed. "Thanks for thinkin' at all, about this, in the first place! I appreciate it!"

"You're welcome, Rick. Now, why don't you head on back t' work? I'll be out t' lend a hand, soon as I talk with the boss, here, for a minute."

"You done real good, Baby," Mandy smiled at me as Rick closed the door behind him on his way out to the shop. "We'll have t' be a little on the careful side, with Harry around, not t' expose Rick an' Lissa's secret."

"You might want t' get Laura aside, at some point, an' see if you can sound her out – see if she knows anythin' about what Rick an' Lissa are doin'," I suggested.

"It'd be simpler, I think," she grinned, "if I just call Lissa and ask her if she's told Laura anythin' about what's been goin' on at her house. But, as close as them two are, my guess is that Laura knows most – if not all – o' what's been goin' on in the Harrison house, the last month or so."

"Let me know what you find out, then," I chuckled.

"Don't I always, Baby?" she smirked back at me.

I wisely decided not to answer that question.

When the call came, we climbed into her new truck for the drive over to Mom and Dad's new house, where she parked in one of the additional spaces he'd included, as part of the reversing turnout in his driveway. We got out and walked through the open garage doors, and then into the house, where we found everyone gathered in the kitchen. Mom was serving coffee while they all chatted, becoming better acquainted.

Mandy:

"Come on in an' have a seat, Baby," Mama Patsy told me, as Mike and I walked in. "Harrison, Junior, an' Harry are about t' go upstairs, t' start his inspection, an' I was gettin' better acquainted with Regina."

"Where are Liz an' Jen?" I asked her, surprised not to see the two younger girls present.

"I didn't know how this'd go, so I suggested they go over an' visit with Mama an' Karen, for a while," she answered.

Mike ambled over and greeted the other men, who were standing by the counter near the coffee pot. I joined the ladies at the table, and was quickly drawn into their conversation. Meanwhile, Laura had her portfolio of house drawings spread out on the table, with Regina poring over them again.

Within a couple minutes, the men made their excuses and headed up the stairs to begin the inspection, leaving us ladies at the table.

"I still can't get over how good your drawings are, Laura," Regina noted. "Looking at the illustrations of the kitchen and den, I can see how well you captured the way the rooms would look, once they were finished."

"Thanks, Reggie," Laura blushed lightly. "I'd show these t' Mama, as I was workin' on 'em, t' make sure she was satisfied with the way the rooms would look. There were a few I had to do over, 'cause there were things she wanted t' change, but, between us, we got 'em worked out."

"You were doing the very same things I do, when I work with a client, Laura. I'll chat with them, making notes as they describe their ideas. There are times when I may take the time to make some quick pencil sketches, just to be sure I understand what they want. When Harrison completes his inspection upstairs, and begins here, on the ground floor, you and I will take your sketches and do our own inspection, up there. I want to compare your impressions with how all the rooms actually look."

"Could we go ahead an' do that, on this floor?" Laura asked. "You've already seen the kitchen an' den. The other rooms I did, downstairs, were the dinin' room, Mama an' Dad's bedroom, an' their office. The way y'all explained it, Mr. Richards is lookin' at everything, includin' inside the closets, an' checkin' all the lights an' outlets, while what you want is t' see how the finished rooms look, mainly the color combinations an' all o' the furniture arrangement."

"That's right, Laura. Patsy, would you mind if we were to go ahead? I was very impressed with Laura's drawings when I saw them, the other day. Your daughter has a real talent for design, as evidenced by what I've seen in these drawings. If you don't mind, I simply must see the rest of your home. I'd appreciate it if you could come with us and explain your ideas, so I can get a better grasp of how well Laura captured your concept."

"I'll be glad t' go with you, Regina," Mama answered. "Why don't we start in the master bedroom an' office?"

Mike:

I joined the 'inspection crew,' as they headed upstairs. Harrison detailed Harry to do electrical checks, which he handled by testing switches, and then checking outlets with the same sort of 'night light' you'd use for a child's bedroom. Meanwhile, Harrison looked at the overall final fit and finish, in each room.

"I do love the mural Laura painted on the one wall," Harrison chuckled, as we entered her bedroom. "Reggie doesn't know about this, because I haven't told her, and I can just imagine what she'll say when she sees it. I was curious as to why Laura wanted the one wall smoothly finished, instead of having the orange peel texture applied, when the painter was working in here. At first, I was expecting to see her use a wallpaper, instead of painting this beautiful mural."

"She talked us into lettin' her do it," Dad remarked. "Surprisin'ly, it only took her a couple o' days t' get it done. She talked to your painter, first, explainin' what she wanted t' do, so he put a coat o' primer on the wall for her when he was paintin' this room, an' then let her in, t' do the paintin', when he was finished in here."

"I mentioned this to Mike, Junior, and I'll ask you; would you allow me to have a professional photographer come in and shoot the interior and exterior of your home?"

"When would you want to do it?" Dad asked.

"I'd like to wait until you have the pictures hung, and you're completely moved in, if possible. My idea is to use your home in my advertising, if you will permit. Ideally, I'd like to get the photography done before the end of the month. That will have the first proofs back within a couple days, and then Regina wants to select from those to get some blowups done to add to Laura's portfolio. She wants that all put together before they go up to Kilgore, on the fifteenth of August, to pitch that co-op course she wants to get Laura set up on."

"It's fine with me. We'll need t' talk t' Patsy an' the girls, Harrison, t' get their approval, but I don't think we'll have a problem gettin' it. They're all anxious t' be able t' move in, an' we should have everythin' done in the next few days, if you don't find anythin' wrong."

"This inspection is just a formality, Junior. Usually, the only things I find are small areas requiring minor paint touchup. My whole purpose, today, is to be sure that you and your family are completely satisfied."

"We're more'n satisfied, Harrison," Dad responded, with a broad smile. "We spent yesterday gettin' things set up in the kitchen, an' unpackin' an' storin' the bed an' bath linens. You an' your crews have done a marvelous job for us."

"I think we're done with the upstairs. Let's go down and see where the ladies are. Harry, why don't you go ahead with Mike, and let him show you his shop?"

"How long will we need?" Harry asked me, then.

"We should be able t' get everythin' done in a couple o' hours," I told him. "It's not far, an' we can walk from here, if you don't mind. I can explain our work rules on the way."

We headed out onto the back porch, and I led the way through the gate and down to the shop. As we walked, I explained our rule about not smoking in the shop, and what our working hours were. When we arrived, I showed him through the shop, explaining what the guys were doing and introducing him to them.

I made a point of introducing Harry and Rick to each other but, as I had promised Rick, earlier, left it to him to mention his sister if he chose. All I told Harry was that Rick would be starting classes at UTA in the fall. I suggested they find some time to get acquainted – after Rick's vacation, the following week – figuring Harry could give him some tips about the classes.

Mandy:

Regina was very complimentary of the job Laura had done, in interpreting Mama's ideas.

"You've done a superlative job, Laura. If I understand correctly, all these illustrations were done prior to the actual painting and furniture placement in the rooms?"

"Yes Ma'am," Laura answered. "Mama an' I came over in the evenin's, after the walls were up, an' I'd pick the view I wanted t' show. I'd sketch out the walls an' doors, usin' that t' do these colored sheets. She had brochures from the furniture stores, an' I used those as guides when I drew in the furniture. The hardest part was tryin' t' capture all the detail in the fabric patterns."

"I kept tellin' her all the detail wasn't necessary," Patsy hastened to assure Regina. "When she had the wall color an' the base colors o' the upholstery an' drapes on the drawin's, I was able t' have a good idea how the rooms would look. Seein' the different styles an' colors did make it very easy for me t' select the actual furniture an' drapes we finally ordered, though."

"Oh, but the added details are so marvelous!" Reggie exclaimed. "Patsy, your daughter has one of the most natural talents for design it's been my pleasure to encounter. You should be very proud of her."

"Regina, after I had Mike, the doctors told me that me an' my husband havin' another baby'd likely kill me. That left me real sad, 'cause I'd truly wanted t' have one o' each – boy an' girl. Then, along comes Junior, an' marries me, an' now I've got three wonderful girls – four, if you count the one my son married."

She paused, giggling merrily for a moment, and then went on as she hugged Laura to her side.

"I couldn't be happier, nor prouder – especially o' my 'oldest' daughter, here."

"If I've heard correctly, you do have another child on the way, though, and that puzzles me, given what you told me just a moment ago," Regina said, pointing a finger at the modest 'baby bump' under Mama's maternity blouse.

"Oh – that!" Mama laughed. "You're right; I am pregnant, again, an' I couldn't be happier about that, either."

"But – the risk," Regina countered. "You said that your doctors – "

"Have you ever heard o' the 'Rh factor, in blood, Regina?" Mama asked.

"Yes, I have," Reggie answered. "And, please – call me 'Reggie,'"

"Alright, Reggie," Mama smiled. "Well, my blood type is O-negative. My first husband, Bill, was O-positive. Mike is O-positive, too, an' our blood got mixed due to a partially detached placenta, late in my pregnancy with him – so my body has built up antibodies against O-positive blood. That's why the doctors told me not t' try an' get pregnant again, after Mike was born.

"The thing is, I had Mike from my first marriage, an' we have the three girls from Junior's first marriage. After he proposed t' me, it hit me that it would be just wonderful if we could have a child that was his an' mine, together.

"So, when my boss – who's a doctor – told me that they have a kind o' cure for that Rh problem, now, I went an' had my tube surgery reversed, so there was a chance for me t' conceive, again. Appears t' have worked, too, since I am pregnant," she concluded, grinning broadly. "An' Junior's mama's been callin' out family pregnancies for ages, never bein' wrong, an' she says I'm carryin' twins! As for the risk – since Junior's O-positive, too – my boss will be watchin' this pregnancy like a hawk, an' he'll get me a dose o' that cure, when it comes time. Everythin's goin' t' work out just fine."

"You'll certainly have your hands full, then," Reggie laughed.

"An' she'll have three daughters who love her t' pieces, who'll pitch in an' help with anythin' she needs, carin' for them new babies – from changin' diapers t' bottle feedin's, babysittin', an' anythin' else!" Laura declared emphatically.

"Well, congratulations, Patsy," Reggie told her. "I'm a bit envious of you. You, at least, had things working in your favor, medically speaking. When my Harry was born, they had to take him by C-section and, while they had me open, they discovered that my right ovary had a tumor on it, so it had to come out. The left ovary was fine, but the fallopian tube was collapsed along its entire length, so there'd be no more babies, for me."

"Well, then, I guess you'll just have t' settle for grandchildren," Mama Patsy chuckled, leaning around the corner of the table and patting my baby bump. "An' they'll come along almost before you know it, an' well before you're ready t' hear folks callin' you 'grandma'!"

"I suppose so," Regina sighed wistfully. "Of course, my Harry would actually have to find a girlfriend, first..."

"Give it time, Reggie," Laura giggled mischievously.

***

While we were in Mama Patsy and Dad's bedroom, Junior and Harrison came in, to continue their inspection. I didn't see Mike or Harry with them, and I apparently wasn't the only one who noticed their absence.

"Where's Mike an' Harry?" Laura asked.

"They're on their way down to Mike's cabinet shop," Harrison replied. "I suggested he go ahead and see where he'll be working, for the next few weeks. From what I understand, they should return within a couple hours."

"Oh, okay. I guess I'll see him, when he gets back, then," Laura muttered, somewhat dejectedly. I fought to hide the soft smile that touched my lips. The fact that she was even the slightest bit upset at not seeing Harry spoke volumes about how well she was getting past what Josh had done to her.

"We should leave, to not be in your way," Regina suggested. "Ladies, let's take this upstairs. I must see what Laura did with her bedroom, since she told me you let her have a free hand with it, Patsy."

"I was certainly impressed," Mama allowed. "She even surprised me, with what she wanted to do."

"Can we save my room for last?" Laura inquired. "I do think you'll like it, Reggie, but – if you don't – I'd rather save the disappointment t' the last."

"If it's anything like what I've seen, thus far, there will be absolutely no disappointment, my dear," Regina replied, putting an arm across Laura's shoulders. "I'm very pleased with what you've done. You're quite a talented young lady, and you should be extremely proud of what you've accomplished, especially given that you've had no formal training! I know I am – pleased with the fact that I'm taking you on as my protégé, I mean."

I have to admit, my eyes went wide with surprise when I heard Regina say that. A 'trainee' – or even an 'apprentice' – is mostly someone you think will do reasonably well at something. 'Protégé' is a term that usually designates an individual who shows exceedingly great promise, whom a 'master' at some craft wants to take under his or her wing for mentoring and enhanced training. It's usually reserved for the kind of person the 'master' intends to groom as his or her successor!

Obviously, Regina was very impressed with my sister, and had great plans for her, if she was already considering Laura to be her protégé!

Regina was very pleased with the upstairs bedrooms, as well. When we got to Laura's room, we all stepped back to allow her to precede us through the door.

"I'm astounded, Laura!" she gasped, as she stood before the floor to ceiling and corner to corner mural. "Where did you ever get the idea for this beautifully painted mural?"

"I've always loved the beach," Laura explained. "When Mama an' Dad were in Hawaii, they took a lot o' pictures o' the different beaches they saw, an' when I saw those, I knew I wanted t' have that in my bedroom, t' be the first thing I see, when I get up, in the mornin'.

"I asked Harrison if he could have his painter leave that one wall smooth, so I could paint on it. He had his painter finish everything else an' prime the wall, an' the door into the hallway, an' then they let me in here, t' paint the mural. I studied the wall, an' those pictures, pickin' out the parts I wanted, an' then drew it in, right on the primer. I wanted it t' look like I was sittin' on a porch – "

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