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  1. #21

    Sissy was relieved and happy when Barbara accepted her invitation. “Great, I really appreciate it”, she replied with a kind smile. After these words, she had stopped by the tombstones to add her small wish that now both father and daughter were resting in peace.

    Giving Shane a moment alone - she imagined he might need it -, Sissy led Barbara away and waited for her husband to catch up with them.

    Once they got to Barbara’s house, Sissy walked in slowly and sighed softly when she noticed the pictures all over the house. Something about all of those pictures made Sissy a little uncomfortable.

    Still, she wasn’t jealous. Sissy had a pretty good head above her shoulders, and knew that Shane had chosen to be with her because she loved her, not because he wanted someone to occupy the space Diane had left empty. Knowing that her husband loved her for herself made Sissy feel more secure, and for that reason alone she didn’t seem upset when Shane looked at her. She did look a little uncomfortable, but that was normal, since she always felt insecure when out of her comfort zone.

    With a soft sigh, Sissy turned to look at Barbara. “Feel free to take as many pictures as you like”, she offered in her usual kind intonation. After a pause, the girl continued. “Would you like help packing?”. The offer was made with Sissy standing as she was, as she would never even dream of invading Barbara’s personal space. Staying in the living room seemed neutral enough while she waited for Barbara's answer.

    While she waited, Sissy wondered which room she would set up for Barbara. They had some really nice ones, and she decided she would let the woman choose once they got home.

  2. #22

    Shane hoped that Sissy wasn't too uncomfortable at Barbara's house. He hadn't been here since after Diane's funeral. Although it didn't look like Barbara had changed her house much. Of course, she had plenty of pictures of Diane around it. Diane had been very loved. Shane just hoped that Sissy remembered he had married her because he loved her. Not because he wanted her to replace Diane.

    He saw she wasn't jealous, just a little uncomfortable. Shane gave her a reassuring smile as he replaced the picture. Barbara also wondered if Sissy was upset. That was not her intention, but she also never wanted to forget her only child either. She nodded her head to Sissy.

    "I will, thanks."

    Although she thought she should pick younger ones of Diane. Not take the one Shane had been looking at. Maybe Diane's baby picture and the one they took when she graduated high school. When Sissy offered to help, she replied.

    "Sure, my dear. I'd appreciate it."

    Barbara was sure Sissy would feel more comfortable helping, then she wouldn't be looking at all the pictures. Or feeling out of place in the house. She invited the younger woman to help her pack up some clothes.

    "Shane, could you get Oscar for me?"

    "Oscar? He's still kicking?"

    Shane said in surprise. Oscar had been Diane's cat. He had to be over ten years old now. She had had the cat when she was still in high school. When she had gotten her job with Rich, her parents had kept Oscar, because her apartment wouldn't let her have animals but she had visited him a lot.

    "He's a stubborn little thing. You don't mind cats, do you, Sissy?"

    Barbara asked as she led Sissy to her bedroom, realizing that she had no idea if Sissy liked the cats or not. She'd prefer to take him with her but she'd have his vet board him if Sissy didn't want animals in her house. Shane found Oscar in the kitchen and he purred in excitement seeing his old friend. Oscar ran over to him, wanting Shane to rub his belly. Which Shane did for the little orange tabby cat.

  3. #23

    Sissy was pretty uncomfortable, but it was mostly due to being inside a house she had never gone to. All of the pictures of Shane’s deceased ex-girlfriend weren’t helping, though. Diane had been so pretty, Sissy couldn’t help but feel a little insecure. Trying to force herself to be rational, Sissy told herself that Shane had chosen her, not a girl that looked like Diane.

    When Shane smiled, Sissy smiled back and tried to relax. Everything was fine, she had to repeat it a few times in her mind before relaxing a little.

    Knowing that Diane’s mother would allow her to help with the packing made Sissy feel better. She would still get to be helpful, and wouldn’t have to keep looking at the pictures of Diane all the time. Accepting the woman’s invitation, Sissy murmured a soft ‘excuse me’ before entering Barbara’s bedroom.

    She was working on getting a suitcase to the bed and opening doors and drawers so Diane’s mother could choose what she wanted to take. Standing by the bed, Sissy prepared to fold and tuck in whatever the woman wanted to take, letting the choosing to be made by Barbara.

    Listening to them talk about Oscar sparked Sissy’s curiosity. She wondered if Oscar was a pet, as it sounded. Hearing that he was a cat made Sissy smile. “Not at all, I love cats! And dogs, and anything else!”, she replied with her almost child-like enthusiasm.

    Sissy was dying to go see the cat, but decided she would help Barbara and then she would get to meet Oscar. “Well, let’s get going, right?”, she asked in a lighter intonation. “The weather there is pretty much the same as here, and our house is pretty secluded, despite being close to all the neighbors, so feel free to choose whatever you want”, Sissy added, to put the woman at ease. It was true they were at a higher end neighborhood, but Sissy wanted Barbara to relax and feel comfortable.

  4. #24

    Both Shane and Barbara could see that Sissy was uncomfortable. She had was not hiding that very well and both felt a little bad. Shane knew he'd have to remind Sissy that he had chose her for her, not to replace Diane, later tonight. Shane went to grab Oscar and his things while Barbara and Sissy headed to the master bedroom.

    Barbara had less pictures of Diane in here, just her baby picture and a picture of her that was taken the night of her rehearsal dinner. It was one of the last pictures Barbara had of her and one of the few that didn't have Martin in it. Barbara would curse Martin Hayes' ghost until the day she died, along with Rich Porter. If not for those two men, maybe her baby girl would still be alive. Hearing Sissy's excitement about Oscar made Barbara smile.

    "I'm glad. He's a big sweetheart and loves attention."

    And Barbara was glad she would be able to keep him with her. Diane had loved that little cat and Barbara was very fond of him. Barbara nodded her head to Sissy.

    "You're right, we should. I'm sure you're dying to meet Oscar."

    Barbara said and took out clothes while Sissy put them into a suitcase. It was good to know she didn't have to be too picky about what she took with her. They made a good team doing that. Again, Barbara thought Shane had made a wise choice in a wife. She was very different from Diane but that was a good thing. Barbara was glad that he had not married a girl just like her daughter. That meant Shane was moving forward with his life and not just trying to replace what he had lost.

    Barbara grabbed about a week's worth of clothes and a few pictures of Diane. Although she left the picture of Diane and Shane at the baseball game on the bookcase. They found Shane in the living room, playing with Oscar on the floor. Oscar was purring at Shane and wanted his belly rubbed.

    "Is there anything else you need, Barbara?"

    Shane asked, getting up off the floor and taking the suitcase. Barbara shook her head.

    "No, I think I'm set."

  5. #25

    Sissy was terrible at hiding her feelings. She would have if she could, since the young woman wouldn’t want either her husband or Barbara to feel bad. Sissy felt she would have to apologize later, but for now, she just wanted to focus on helping Barbara pack her things.

    Once she had something to do, Sissy started feeling a little more comfortable. Being busy always helped, as she didn’t have the time to think too much as she was working. Even with pictures of Diane in the woman’s bedroom, it was still a bit better. She could focus on what they were there to do and not on how much prettier Diane was than her. When Barbara said her cat was a sweetheart, Sissy smiled. “Great, I’m sure I’ll be able to give him plenty of attention”, she replied happily. It felt good to talk to Barbara, and she seemed to be a good person.

    Hearing Barbara say she was dying to meet Oscar made Sissy nod. “I am indeed, but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to spend with him, ma’am”, she replied, her hands already busy with packing everything Barbara handed her as neatly as possible. As they worked, Sissy kept some small talk, to prevent the silence to become awkward. And while Barbara thought she had been a good choice for Shane, Sissy learned that the woman was very easy to get along with. She was sure they would be good company for each other.

    Once they were done, Sissy went back to the living room, feeling more relaxed now. She couldn’t help but smile seeing Shane and the cat. Sissy’s eyes lit up as soon as she saw Oscar. “Oh, he’s so adorable! Hi, baby”, she cooed, getting down on one knee and giving the cat the belly rub it had been expecting from Shane.

    “Do you think he would mind if I picked him up?”, she asked Barbara, not really wanting to try and get scratched.

  6. #26

    Barbara tried to keep Sissy busy while they grabbed her things. Talking to her about other things, so she didn't focus on Diane's pictures. Barbara missed her little girl so much. It had been two years but she knew she'd never be 'over it'. One didn't lose a child and ever get over the loss. All Barbara had done was learn to cope with it.

    Barbara smiled back at Sissy.

    "Oh, he'll love that. Sometimes he acts more like a baby then a cat."

    Oscar was very spoiled and proud of it. In fact, the cat would even let someone hold him like a baby, as long as they rubbed his belly. He was her baby that never got bigger. Going to her and Shane's house would be good for her, Barbara thought. It would help her focus on the living, not what she lost.

    Oscar looked at Sissy and meowed at her curiously. Walking over to her and sniffing her a moment. Deciding that if Shane and Barbara trusted her, he could too. He rubbed his head against her legs.

    Barbara replied to Sissy as Shane took her suitcase to the car.

    "No, I don't think he'll mind at all. In fact, he'll be more upset if you don't pick him up."

    Oscar seemed to agree with her. It was like he meowed in agreement about being held.

  7. #27

    Sissy was grateful that Barbara had kept her busy. She could notice that the woman was a nice person, and that they would get along just fine. With a sigh, Sissy told herself that Barbara would not be a problem to her and Shane, and that they were doing the right thing offering her company for a while. She wouldn't be a hassle, and the woman really needed the company, after all. The poor woman had lost her husband and child, and the least they could do was to have her with them until she felt secure enough to be alone again.

    When Barbara said Oscar would love her attention, Sissy smiled happily. She loved the idea of having a baby, and hoped she had one soon, but as they didn’t have one yet, Sissy would be happy to baby Barbara’s cat as much as she could. “Well, I’ll use him for practice, then”, she joked when Barbara said Oscar sometimes acted more like a baby than like a cat.

    Once work was done, Sissy joined Barbara and Shane out of the woman’s room. The young woman was delighted to see Oscar rub his head against her legs after sniffing her.

    When Barbara said Oscar would be more upset if he didn’t pick him up, Sissy smiled. “Well, we can’t have that”, she replied, leaning forward and picking Oscar up. Holding the cat firmly with one arm, she rubbed the cat’s belly gently.

    “Oh, you’re such an adorable baby”, she whispered kindly to the cat, before smiling and blushing a little, looking up at both Shane and Barbara. “Well… shall we go?”, Sissy murmured quietly, still rubbing the cat’s belly in a gentle way while she waited to make sure they were ready to go.

  8. #28

    Barbara had the feeling that she and Sissy would get along very well too. Shane's wife was a very nice young lady. He had made a wise choice. Barbara was happy they found each other. She was sure if Diane was looking down on them, she'd be happy for Shane too. He was a good guy, he deserved to be happy. Barbara also appreciated that they were willing to let her stay with them while she adjusted to being a widow.

    "He'll enjoy that."

    Barbara replied with a smile to Sissy when she said she'd use Oscar as practice until she had her own baby. Oscar took to Sissy very quickly. Shane came back and smiled seeing Sissy holding Oscar.

    "I think you made a new best friend."

    He told his wife as the cat purred happily at Sissy. Shane looked at Barbara.

    "I'm ready to go when you are."

    Barbara nodded her head and said.

    "I'm ready."

    She locked up her house and got into Shane's car. It wasn't a long drive from her house to the Malone's house. Barbara's mouth dropped when Shane pulled into the driveway. She knew that Shane's book had given him some extra money but she hadn't expected him to be living in a house like this. It looked like something her former son-in-law would have lived in.

    "Oh my...Shane, Sissy, your house is so beautiful!"

    She exclaimed and Shane smiled at her as he grabbed her bags.

    "Thank you. I couldn't believe the deal we got on it. Come on, we'll give you a tour."

    Shane told her and Barbara nodded. Oscar decided he wanted Sissy to hold him until he got into the house. Once inside, he'd explore it on his own and try to make it his new home.

  9. #29

    Sissy smiled when Barbara said that Oscar would enjoy basically being her baby. She would definitely enjoy babying him as much as possible. “So will I”, she replied sincerely.

    As soon as she held Oscar, Sissy relaxed. He seemed to like her, and it was apparent that she wouldn’t need to worry about getting scratched. She smiled and nodded happily at Shane’s words. “I think so”, Sissy replied, looking at Oscar and feeling her heart melt at his happy purring.

    When Barbara said she was happy, Sissy kissed Shane gently and followed both him and Barbara out of the house, carrying Oscar as carefully as though he was actually a baby.

    Entering the car, Sissy got her seatbelt on and kept a calm conversation with Barbara as they made the short drive between the two houses. As soon as they reached the house, Sissy turned to look at Barbara and let her know that they were in the house.

    The house did indeed look like a place Martin Hayes would choose, but the people who lived inside where polar opposites to the actor. They were kind and compassionate people, who would be just as happy in a tiny one-bedroom house as they were in there.

    “Thank you. We were so blessed, we got this for a lot cheaper than it’s worth”, Sissy admitted when Barbara mentioned how beautiful the house was. Still carrying Oscar, Sissy walked into the large entrance hall. She leaned forward and placed the cat on the floor carefully, allowing Oscar to go explore around and turning to Barbara.

    “Please, make yourself at home”, she requested kindly. “You can do whatever you want, and don’t need to worry about the household care at all, I can handle that. Is there anything you don’t eat, or like particularly?”, Sissy asked kindly. It was clear that she wanted Barbara to be happy in her home.

  10. #30

    Watching Sissy treat Oscar like a little baby, made Shane believe she'd be a great mother someday. He hoped that sooner, rather then later, he and Sissy would be welcoming a baby into their lives. For now, though, Shane was sure the little cat was perfectly content playing the role of Sissy's baby.

    It was true, this house did look something Martin Hayes should have been living in, not him. But that wasn't how life had worked out. This place was his house, the house of his and Sissy's dreams. He felt very blessed to have gotten it at such a good deal. He wanted to grow old with Sissy in it.

    "I'm going to take your bags to one of the guest rooms, Barbara."

    Shane told her, they had more then enough rooms here. Even when they started to have kids, they'd still have extra room. His sister joked that he and Sissy had to host all the holidays now. Barbara smiled at Shane.

    "Thank you, dear."

    She told him and he excused himself as Oscar sniffed around the house. Barbara turned to Sissy and replied.

    "That's very kind of you but don't feel you have to do it all. I'd be more then happy to help you out. That way, I won't feel like a free loader."

    Barbara truly hoped that Sissy would at least let her help with the dishes or something. She didn't want her or Shane to think she planned on taking advantage of their kindness. When Sissy asked about her food preferences, she replied.

    "I'm not very picky but I am allergic to shellfish."

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