THE MONROE HOME - LIVING ROOM
how have you been?" Lorraine asked
Todd as she sat down on the sofa.
"I've really missed you."
"I've missed you, too," Todd replied as
he attempted to climb into her lap. Suddenly realizing that there wasn't
as much room there as he remembered, he made a face and looked up at her in
confusion. "You're getting fat. Where'd your lap go?"
"Todd!" Patterson chastised as he came
into the room just in time to hear his brother's observations.
"Lorraine, I'm really sorry about that. Todd can be a little..."
"It's okay," she laughed as she
carefully shifted so that the little boy could have more room. "Todd,
I'm not getting fat. I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to have my
own little girl or little boy just like you."
"A...a baby?" Todd scrunched up
his nose and stared at her swollen stomach before looking up at her again.
"Is that...why you don't love me anymore?"
Lorraine laughed with surprise. "Whatever made you think that I don't
love you anymore? Todd, I'm always going to love you. You're my
special little man!"
"But...but..." He frowned as he
curled up in her lap. "But you never come to see me anymore.
You're...never here. Now Fanny's here all the time. I don't like her!"
Lorraine glanced up at Patterson with a mixture
of shock and awkwardness just in time to see Stephanie walk into the room.
"Hello, Lorraine," Stephanie spoke up
as she stood by Patterson's side. "How are you?"
fine," she nodded curtly. Interrupting an evening between Patterson
and Stephanie definitely had not been in Lorraine's plans for the evening.
"I...um...was just sitting at home and thought I'd stop by for a
visit. Douglas is over at the Callisons' talking with
you know...and Trevor stopped by to see
Grace, so I thought I'd get out for a
bit." And she'd clearly traded one uncomfortable situation for
"It's good to see you," Patterson
smiled and walked over to join Lorraine and Todd on the sofa leaving Stephanie
to stand alone feeling increasingly out of place. "Todd was just
asking about you the other day."
"Well, I think about him all the time,"
she smiled as she held him in her arms and gently stroked his hair.
"Especially since it's getting so close to the arrival of the baby."
"Are you really happy?" Patterson asked
softly as he covered her hand with his. "Truly happy?"
"Yes," she nodded and then
smiled. "Happier than I once thought I could be."
"We were just preparing to get Todd ready
for bed," Stephanie spoke up as she walked over to them. "I was
planning on reading him a bedtime story." She narrowed her eyes as
she looked directly at Lorraine. "Isn't that right, Todd."
"Don't want no story!" he shouted
angrily. "'Specially from you! Don't like you!" He
hugged Lorraine tighter. "'Rain, make her go away. Don't like
"Now, Todd, that's not a very nice thing to
say," Lorraine said firmly. "You know better than that."
ma'am," the little boy muttered. "'Rain, would...you read me a
Lorraine glanced up to look at Patterson who
responded with a silent nod.
"I've love to," she smiled as she took
his hand and led him towards the stairs. "And I'll get you ready for
"Great!" Todd beamed as they ascended
After watching them disappear out of sight,
Patterson turned to look at Stephanie and immediately noticed the solemn and forlorn
expression on her face.
"I...I'm sorry," he said softly as he
walked over to her. "I didn't...know that Lorraine was going to stop
"There's nothing to be sorry for," she
smiled in an attempt to put on a brave face. "She and Todd have a
wonderful relationship. It would be...horrible for him to have to give
that up because...because you two weren't involved anymore."
night really didn't turn out quite like I'd intended," he muttered as he
hung his head. "I mean, Todd was a little difficult and then Lorraine
showed up and..."
"It's...okay," Stephanie sighed and
then glanced towards the clock on the wall. "Anyway, I...better go
"Already?" He eyed her
curiously. "I'd...hoped that we could spend some time together
"No, it's...getting late. I...better
"O-okay," he stammered in
disappointment as he slowly began to walk her towards the door. "Can
I...call you tomorrow?"
"I guess," she muttered, "if
you...really want to."
She turned to look at him again before walking
out of the house. Once the door had closed behind her, she struggled to
put on a brave face, but found it to be increasingly difficult. She'd had
such high hopes for this warm family dinner with Patterson but it had turned out
to be a disaster. Todd couldn't stand her. How could she ever make
Patterson even consider her as more than a friend if she'd failed one of his
highest criteria---Todd. She was certain that Paddy would never think of
her romantically now---or ever!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the door,
Patterson let out a weary sigh. He, too, had had such high hopes for his
dinner with Stephanie. In fact, after dinner, he'd planned to tell her
that he'd wanted to move their relationship beyond friendship. He'd wanted
to tell her that he really wanted to see her romantically. However, Todd's
misbehavior had completely ruined that!
He walked back across the room and sunk down onto
the sofa and rested his chin in his hand. Why would anyone like Stephanie
even consider becoming involved with a guy who already had a child to
raise? True, Todd was only his brother, but he was still his
responsibility. More so, Todd could be a little terror when he wanted to
be. Why would any girl in their right might want to get involved him?