HOME - LIVING ROOM
I just can't believe how big you're getting," Stephanie Lake smiled as she
sat on the floor with young Todd Monroe and rolled the ball towards him.
"You'll be starting school in no time!"
"Yup," Todd muttered
as he kept his eyes focused on the ball as it rolled back across the floor
if this just isn't a sight for sore eyes!" Patterson Monroe walked
room from the kitchen carrying a tray of milk and cookies and let out a warm
laugh. "Two of my most favorite people on earth enjoying each other's
"He's really a good kid,
Paddy. You should be so proud of him." She reach over to rub
Todd's head and slightly mussed his hair. With an irritated look, Todd
threw up his hands and quickly pulled away.
"It hasn't been easy
considering...well, everything that's happened." Patterson winced
slightly as he thought about the tragic accident that had claimed the lives of
his and Todd's parents. He didn't like to think about it very often and
rarely tried to remind Todd of the turmoil that their lives had been thrown
into. He'd only wanted to remind his brother of what wonderful, caring
parents they'd had and of how much they'd loved them.
"I really am envious of
you," Stephanie spoke up as she watched Todd as he rolled away to play with
another toy, completely ignoring the now stagnant ball. "I just don't
understand how you manage to keep up with your school work and Todd as well as
deal with everyone else's problems. I can barely manage two research
papers and my job in the admissions office.
"Truthfully, if it
weren't for Mrs. Oliver, I don't know what I'd do."
don't you forget that, young man!" Mrs. Oliver breezed into the room
from the kitchen and smiled at Patterson before shooting Stephanie a hateful
Stephanie quickly sunk down
and took a deep breath. She was more than aware of Mrs. Oliver's deep
dislike of her and her disapproval of Patterson's friendship with her.
"Todd, why don't you go
and let Steph put your coat on you so we can go to the park before it gets
dark." Patterson was finding himself greatly enjoying these little
moments with Stephanie. It seemed to be the only times that they weren't
forced to deal with memories of Clark Saxon or
Lorraine's horrible betrayal of
his love. In fact, if it hadn't been for Stephanie's intense loyalty and
friendship, Patterson wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle everything that
had been going on as well as he had.
wrinkled up his nose and stomped his feet as he balled his hands up into tiny
"Young man!" Mrs.
Oliver scolded as she shook her finger at him. "Don't you behave like
this. All you've talked about all day is going to the park. Now, you
just march right over to...Stephanie...and get that coat on!"
"No! Don't want
Fanny!" Todd stuck out his bottom lip and scrunched up his
nose. "Want 'Rain! 'Rain!"
Patterson eyes grew wide with
shock and quickly flashed Stephanie a look of sincere apology. Todd had
been extremely fond of Lorraine and his break up with her hadn't been easy on
Todd. Patterson just wasn't sure how to answer his brother's questions
concerning why Lorraine wasn't coming to see them anymore.
"Oh, stop being
difficult!" Stephanie snapped, without thinking. "We're just
going to the park! I thought you liked the park."
"Not wif you! I
Stephanie clinched her teeth
tightly. In spite of herself, she was finding herself growing quickly
annoyed with the little boy's tantrum. In one swift movement, she reached
out and grabbed Todd by the arm in hopes of forcing his jacket on him. A
stubborn Todd responded by flailing his arms wildly, hitting her in the face in
Monroe!" Patterson snapped as he rushed over and grabbed the boy before
giving him a swift whack on the behind. "I cannot believe you're
acting like this! I thought I told you, no hitting!"
little boy wailed. "I want 'Rain! I hate Fanny! I want
"Well!" Mrs. Oliver
gasped. "I guess Todd doesn't want to go to the park with Miss
Lake." She sat down on the couch and took Todd into her arms and held
him tightly as he began to sob. "Now, Todd, you hush that crying
right now! You're a big boy!"
"What if I just take you
to the park? Would that be okay?" She held his head on her
shoulder and gently rubbed his back.
"Oh, Steph, I'm so
sorry," Patterson said as he helped her up off of the floor and looked at
her with pleading eyes. "I just don't know what's gotten into
him. I've never know him to be like this."
Stephanie muttered, quickly feeling quite uncomfortable and out of place.
"No, it's not! Todd
has no reason to act like this!" He wrapped his arms around her and
pulled her closer. After a few minutes he pulled away and turned to Mrs.
Oliver. "Maybe you should just go to the park without us. I
think I'm going to take Stephanie out for a bite to eat."
"You're not coming with
us?" Mrs. Oliver question with a tone of shock.
today." He turned to again look at Stephanie and was quick to notice
the hurt and embarrassment on her face. He just had to make up for Todd's
Over the past few months,
Patterson had found himself growing increasingly close to Stephanie and had desperately
hoped that Todd would, as well. His break up with Lorraine had been
extremely difficult, but he hadn't realized that it would affect young Todd as
strongly as it had. Now, Patterson began to grow worried that this would
be another tragic loss that Todd would have to face. Would the child ever
be able to warm up to Stephanie? Did he really resent her for seemingly
taking Lorraine's place as a frequent visitor? Patterson quickly began to
grow worried about how Todd would react if Patterson ever fell in love
again. He had a sinking feeling that no matter who that would be, Todd
would most definitely not approve.