Disclaimers: See Part 1

 

New Quarters

By

K-Morgan

kmorgan.5674@yahoo.com

( Feedback is appreciated )


 

Part 9

In May, the Inn was ready for its grand opening. All the work had been done. The décor looked luxurious and the practice run went marvelously. The chef, Andre and Margo Russoo, a husband and wife team, turned out to be perfect. They were both graduates of a major European culinary school and their food was beyond description. They had a restaurant in the outskirts of town but it only opened for dinner which was usually after 5 pm. Because their mornings were free, they agreed, on a trial basis, to cook breakfast at the Inn in exchange for dinner referrals to their restaurant. The Inn provided transportation if the guests requested it. The Historical society also arranged tours to the different historical locations in the shire.

The Inn 's accommodations were well-appointed. The pool and whirlpool tub were finished to perfection and a nearby spa agreed to provide services, as requested by the guests. For additional amenities, guests could rent bicycles, provided by another business in town upon request, or sail on the lake or horseback riding, or simply go for a romantic countryside ride on an open horse drawn carriage.

All was nice and going perfect. The public relations firm Karen hired did a very good job at giving them exposure. When they were due to open, the Inn was booked to capacity. Within the first week, they were booked for the next three months and within the next three months they were booked for the year. Including winter, as the Inn provided a romantic setting to cuddle and warm up with any love interest or join the restaurant tour for the seasonal fares.

The Inn was a complete success and all who risked their time and effort to make it happen basked in the success. Their businesses had taken off on account of all the exposure received. Sandy and Cindy became famous overnight, as people began to ask who was responsible for the exquisite décor. Addy and Karen had everyone's business cards and handed them out left and right. Craftsmen, pool service, chimney services, anyone who helped them got a good share of business from them.

Sandy and Cindy were booked for humongous projects. Andre and Margo's restaurant was always booked solid. The pubs in town were overflowing with people and the shops and the pastries and coffee shops in town were booming. Every Saturday during the spring, summer and fall there was some kinds of activity or festival in town where the local businesses showcased their products. Even vendors from nearby towns came to exhibit their products in Altee. The Chamber of Commerce provided a trolley to take tourists to the different locations around town and the inn. There was even a taxi service in town now.

The Inn had put the town of Altee on the map and was drawing a lot of affluent city people seeking refuge in luxurious accommodations in the solace of the quiet countryside. Soon after opening, the Inn was also providing packed lunches for country picnics and for poolside eating. Reservations were being made for horseback riding, and sailing lessons, sailing and even fishing in the nearby streams. All these businesses, although owned by other individuals, were affiliated with the Inn.

Addy decided that they had to concentrate their efforts in running the Inn and therefore, she came into arrangements whereby the guests would pay them for the amenities, and then they would remit a percentage of the income to the affiliated businesses. Since everyone came initially to the Inn, the Inn was the source of customers to all the businesses. According to Karen, by not owning the affiliated business, their liability was minimized.

Six months after opening, the Inn had its own restaurant. Andre and Margo loved the ambiance at the Inn and the constant flow of people. They decided that running the Inn's restaurant they could make as much money as they would independently because they had less overhead expenses, so they closed their place and stayed at the Inn. Karen and Addy were delighted because their food was a gastronomic delicacy.

The wonderful reviews received by, made the Inn the number one place to stay in Scotland. The restaurant also made it to the top of the charts. The rich, the famous, the up and coming and even the royals stayed at the Inn. It came to be that if you wanted to be anyone in the social arena, you would have had to stay at least a couple of nights at the Inn of Scotland. After a few royals slept over, the Inn became informally known as the Royal Inn of Scotland. This word-of-mouth publicity added to the Inn's allure.

**

They were having a small private celebration in their hot tub one night. “Ms. Marcos, I owe you at the very least, a curtsy. You, my dear, are like King Midas. What you touch, turns into gold!”

“Thank you for the curtsy but……. instead, I would like you to remember the words you've just said…… just in case I have some other idea that you might think to be crazy in the future. Remember, you can't go wrong with me, honeybunch!” They toasted their champagne glasses, even though they weren't drinking champagne or white wine for that matter. Addy didn't like either. They toasted with a very red, bold Rioja wine as they nibbled on Manchego cheese and Cantinpalo sausage.

“No, I have not ever gone wrong with you, that's for sure!” She raised her eyebrows in a very suggestive way.

Addy wrinkled her nose and smirked. “Just remember what you've just said!….You know me….something new might come up!”

“I will. And…if anything ever went wrong, I would have to overlook it, for the many times you were right!” Karen kissed her.

“Should I be recording this?”

“You don't have to, baby, my word is as good as gold!”

Addy laughed, thinking that the Rioja wine was having too much of an effect on Karen already. As for Karen, she kept wondering what other thing could possibly turn up in that head that would make her regret the words she had just spoken! But for now, life was good and there was a need to celebrate. So they did. The hot tub, indeed had been money well spent, many celebrations were had there.

**

JP and James came to visit in April, right before the opening. When they arrived, Karen and Addy picked them up at the airport.

JP was overjoyed to visit, and as talkative as ever. “Oh my God! I can't believe that I'm finally here on the famous Inn that almost wasn't!!” I really don't know how you guys have adapted to drive on the other side of the road! Especially you Addy because Karen is from here and had driven here before, but you…. not you. It would just drive me nuts! I don't even know if I would even try it. I think my mind would have such shock that I would probably end up crashing somewhere!”

Addy smiled. Looking at Karen, she replied to JP. “It was tough, JP, but after a little while it didn't seem so odd.” Addy continued to look at Karen, noticing the grin on Karen's face. Not a word came from Karen. She was just grinning from ear to ear as she drove. Addy's heart raced when she saw that grin.

Karen could still remember her first ride with Addy when she was trying to get her to the drive the Range Rover. She still remembered that infamous day! As Addy and JP talked endlessly, Karen reminisced about that first drive. Addy was a little nervous and Karen was trying to be as reassuring as possible. They were already driving the Range Rover (thank God for that!). The road was clear, and Addy was doing just fine. They drove for a long time. Addy was already feeling very confident and doing very well.

All of a sudden, the one thing that could have only happened in rural Scotland happened. A herd of sheep appeared suddenly from nowhere and started to cross the road. In the confusion of not knowing where to turn, if left or right to get out of the way of the herd, Addy ended up in the embankment and going, quite fast, down a ravine only to be stopped by a cow.

As the car plummeted down the ravine, Karen kept telling Addy to put her foot on the brake, however, Addy was frightened to death and panicked. She was unable to press the brake pedal. If it hadn't been for the cow, God knows where they would have ended. They saw it in front of them and then they figured they must have both closed their eyes bracing themselves for death, because neither one of them actually saw what happened. All they knew was that the car had finally stopped. As the car stopped, they were thrown forward, their seat belts holding them in place. The impact was rough, blunt and sudden. The run down the ravine and the sudden thrust forward, upon stopping, had rattled the two women.

As soon as the car stopped, a very shaken Karen turned to Addy. “Are you okay, babe?” Addy was in state of shock. Looking straight ahead. When she looked at Karen, she started to cry. Karen hugged her. “It's okay, baby. It's okay. We are okay. No one is hurt, all will be fine.”

Addy opened her eyes big. “Oh my God, Ker! Are you okay?” She touched Karen's arms as if to make sure that everything was in its place. She was visibly shaken.

“Yes, I'm okay.” Then they heard the noise. In their confusion, they couldn't figure out what it was, or where it was coming from. When they looked out the window, they realized what it was. There were hundreds of sheep everywhere surrounding the car. Two men came running towards them, yelling and screaming and raising their arms in the air. They turned out to be the owner of the sheep, and the owner of the cow. Between the noise from the sheep and the screaming men, the scene was chaotic. Also, both women were still trying to recover from the shock of the scary moments they had just had coming across the heard of sheep, and later going down that never ending ravine.

When they tried to get out of the car, they couldn't, the sheep were everywhere and there was no way to even open the door. Also, Addy was afraid of them and had a panic look on her face. Addy was not too fond of the animals. The men moved the sheep away and the women were able to get out of the car. They were paralyzed by the unbelievable scene. No one knew what to say, or what to do. The men were still yelling and waving their arms in the air, but all they could see was the dead cow upside down on the ground in front of the Range Rover.

Because they were on an incline, rather than the cow lay on its side, it was propped up by a rock next it. The dead cow was totally upside down. The cow's legs were up in the air. The sight didn't even look real. It looked like a poster board for some ice cream or milk advertisement. Fortunately for all, the cow had an instant death, so there was no agonizing death or suffering for the cow. The car sustained only minor damage and its passengers didn't even have a scratch. Had it not been for the unfortunate event of the death of the cow, all would have been just fine.

The owner of the cow was livid, screaming and demanding payment. All the commotion attracted attention, and others in the vicinity gather around them astonished at the incident. The dead cow, feet up, laying on the ground visible to all. Addy gasped in horror when she saw the dead cow, she was in tears. Karen, instead, had a look of amazement on her face. The sight was absolutely ridiculous.

Not knowing what to do or what to say, Karen came over and hugged Addy. She didn't know what else to do, but hugging Addy came naturally, so that's what she did. Then she thanked God for looking out for them and keeping them safe. While hugging, Addy felt Karen's body shaking. When Addy pulled away from the embrace to comfort Karen, she realized that Karen was laughing instead of crying. Addy stopped her crying and wondered what the hell was going through Karen's mind. She thought Karen had lost it, or that she was laughing out of nervousness. Everyone was looking at Karen as if she had gone mad. As it turned out, Karen was laughing, as she took on the sight of the cow. Then she just couldn't stop laughing.

“Ker? Are you okay?”

“Addy….I'm more than okay.” She had tears in her eyes from laughing so hard. Addy was still in awe, wondering about Karen's reaction.

After composing herself some, she walked over to the owner of the cow and spoke to him. “Sir, we will reimburse you for the cow. Now…..” She was laughing again, even harder. She was almost bent over laughing, unbelieving of what she was about to say. “I'm sorry for laughing, sir, but since the cow is already dead, is there someone we can call to come and get it and sort of chop it up for us? Like a butcher?” She couldn't help laughing.

“Yes, I will call right now and have the meat delivered to you. Where would this be?”

“It's the Larsen cottage, but can I call you about the delivery? I'm afraid I'm going to have to first buy a freezer to store the meat.”

In the midst of Karen's continued laughter attack, they exchange numbers and Karen asked him to process it quick so that the meat wouldn't go bad. He agreed to send the bill for the cow. By this time, even the owner of the cow was laughing, especially now that he knew that he would be compensated for the cow. Addy, was by the car, still in shock from the incident and also unable to comprehend Karen's laughter. She kept looking at the cow as if expecting it to get up and walk away. She had also been looking at Karen the whole time wondering what the hell she was doing and what was she laughing about! She was a bit further away and did not hear Karen's conversation with the owner of the cow.

Karen came over smiling. She gave her a big hug and pulled her towards the car. “Come on, baby, let's see if we can back the Rover up and get out of here. Get in.” “But….the cow…what about the cow?”

“Come on, it's all taken care of. Get in the car. We are going home.” Addy, still in shock, did as Karen requested. Karen got in on the driver seat and backed up the Rover. It was a fabulous car. It backed up, went up the ravine and back on the road with very little effort. Karen was now convinced that their next car would be another Rover.

“What about what happened? What about the cow?”

“Let's just say, we are going to be eating meat for quite some time.”

“What? Oh God! Ker, you didn't?”

“Well, If we have to pay for it, might as well eat it!” Karen chuckled.

Addy was silent. It sort of made sense. Addy always admired Karen's ability to come up with practical solutions or answers under the most chaotic situations. Karen looked at her smiling.

Addy wasn't expecting Karen to yell at her or anything like that because that would not be something Karen would do, but she was expecting her to say something! But Karen wasn't saying anything. She was just smiling. There was total silence. So, it was Addy who spoke. She was still nervous as she spoke. “You are not going to say anything?!”

“Like what?”

“Like I'm an idiot, like how could I have done such a thing? I almost got ourselves killed and ….and …I killed a cow! For God's sake! Oh my God, Ker! This is awful! I will never be able to forget this, or get behind that wheel again! How could you not be screaming at me? Or be mad at me?”

“What good would that do? Plus, I wouldn't bet on you not getting behind this wheel! We are going out again tomorrow.”

“What? Are you crazy?”

“Nope. Just determine to have you drive and not panic. You know what? I will say something after all.”

“What?”

“Not everyone can say they've killed a cow.” Karen was grinning and then started to laugh again. She was laughing so much she had to stop on the side of the road because she was afraid she would have an accident also. Addy began to smile when Karen made her pronouncement and by the time the car stopped, they were both cracking up laughing practically in tears. “My little butcher!”

“Ker, if you ever mention this to anyone, I will kill you!”

“Don't worry, baby….” Karen was drying the tears of her eyes, as she still laughed. “I will take your secret to the grave!” Karen pulled her over and kissed her.

“I feel so stupid. I don't know how you can take all this so well and not yell at me! It's embarrassing!”

“Addy, I think it's hilarious! I think it's amazing that we came out in one piece from the whole ordeal! I love you, baby! You and all the crazy stuff you pull! This was just an accident, granted that it was somewhat unusual.” She continued to laugh. “How can I be mad at you for that! I mean, who would have thought all those sheeps were going to appear out of nowhere! And the cow…the upside down cow ….Oh my God!” She just couldn't stop laughing.

“Ker, I killed a cow! What about that? It's awful!”

“Well, that was the unusual part. I rather think of it as the cow that saved us!” Karen chuckled. “…..and then we ate it!” Karen continued to laugh. Even Addy was laughing now.

“I guess now we know who is the real butch…er around here!”

“Hilarious! Let's just go home. I need a drink to forget about this. Sometimes I don't know who is crazier! Me and my happenings, or you or your solutions! ”

Karen kissed her, again and again. This was just too cute. Addy looked adorable in her grief for the cow. Karen would never forget that day, as long as she lived.

The next day, Addy, got behind the wheel and determined as she was, with Karen by her side, took off and did very well. After that she drove a little bit everyday until she became the expert that she now was. After all the time that had passed , they still had meat in the freezer!

Karen kept the incident to herself, as Addy asked. She never told anyone, not even JP. Years passed before they both told the story, and only to a very special someone. In retrospect, Karen thought, that it was the kind of thing that really made life real. The kind of thing that had actually had given her a life. And she'd wondered how in the world she ever lived without that kind of excitement before. It was crazy, but it was her wonderful, crazy and very full life.

As Karen finished reminiscing, she got back into the conversation. But she first gave Addy a real cute look. Addy immediately realized what had been on Karen's mind and smiled looking away to avoid meeting Karen's eyes. They had reached that point where they could almost read each other's minds.

JP was asking all sorts of questions. “So, tell me, how many rooms do you have here? Oh my God! This is beautiful!”

They filled JP and James with all the details, and all the problems they had encountered prior to open and how booked they were now.”

“Well, I think your move over here was a good idea. Things back home are bad. I was just laid off, believe it or not. We are barely making it with James' salary.” This was not as disastrous as it sounded. James was in the web development business and made very good money designing and maintaining web sites for clients.

James rolled his eyes. He let JP and Karen wander ahead as he stayed behind to talk to Addy. The two of them had always gotten along wonderfully. “He has been unbearable since he lost his job. You'd think he doesn't have food to eat.” Addy laughed.

“It's just the way he is. He's got to be busy. Maybe you guys might consider staying with us for a while and we could put him to work at the inn. You know what? He would be a perfect manager, as soon as he knew the stuff to do around here. James, your job is portable. Tell him, we can't pay much, but you'd have free room and board.”

“Hum, I bet he would like that, and being near you guys is a plus. By the way, that day that Karen got mad at him for making that ugly comment….he cried like a little boy all night.”

Addy grimaced. “She did get mad at him that day, didn't she?”

“Well, he should have known his boundaries. I think Karen really stopped his horse that day, if you ask me. I love how Karen handles him. I wish I had that grip on him!”

“Come on, James, you are crazy about him!”

“I am Addy, but truth be told, he drives me mad sometimes!”

JP came over and laced his arm through Addy's. “Now I need to spend some time with the queen of the castle! Come here, sweet one, tell me how's life up here in the Highlands?”

“JP I think the Highlands are further north, I ….”

“Oh you know what I mean, how was last winter? Did the blonde keep you warm?” And, please, don't tell her I asked that….she turns into a lion at the mere mention of your name! You are just going to have to tell me what is it that you've done to her…she is like a woman possessed!”

Karen rolled her eyes as she watched them walk away towards the pool deck. “Hey JP, I'm a very good distance shooter, so be careful with the way you speak to my queen there!”

James was laughing, Addy was smiling and JP was making all sorts of faces to Karen.

Karen and James sat and had a beer by the pool. “You two look really happy, Karen.”

“We are, James, we are.”

“Everything working out between you two, huh?”

Karen smiled. Nothing more needed to be said. She and James had a few things in common. One was that neither needed many word to express their happiness, it just showed in their faces.

**

Apparently James mentioned Addy's offer to JP. Of course, Addy had mentioned it to Karen before saying anything to James. They wanted to run the idea through James first because they were sure that JP was going to agree to the arrangement, at least on a temporary basis, and they didn't want to get him all excited without knowing how James felt about it. James was the steady income guy and the one with a more stable head on his shoulders. When James Okayed the plan, he told JP and JP was thrilled.

“Karen you know I'm kind of private about certain things, but I will tell you that last night turned out to be a very satisfactory night when I told him it was okay if he wanted to stay and work at the Inn. I will say no more, but the guy is really happy about the arrangement and as for me….well if he is happy…”

Karen put her hand up, signaling a stop. “I get it, James. I get it, when your partner is happy, the other partner is very happy!” They both laughed.

Addy and JP were also engulfed in a conversation on another part of the inn. “So, how are winters in here? Maybe I should go to the city and get plenty of lotions and beauty aids. I have very sensitive, dry skin and you know we have to keep it moist or the signs of aging will show. Can you recommend any moisturizers….” He kept on and on and on. He probably knew more about moisturizers than Addy! Addy just chuckled at all his comments. She really enjoyed the guy and he adored her.

**

Laurie was the first in the family who came to visit. It was July and exactly, two months after the inn opened for business.

They picked her up at the airport. She came with her fiancé, Shawn.

“The city is fantastic. Karen you are going to have to show us around. How's the inn? Howa re you guys doing? Are we staying at the Inn or with you?”

Karen smiled. She was both eager and afraid to see how the dynamics of the visit turned out. She was not too concerned, she knew Lurie was aware of everything, but the next to come was Joey and then she wasn't too sure what would happen. Would Addy tell him? Was it really necessary? She was just playing it by ear and hoping for the best. She had resolved to stay busy with JP and James in the workings of the inn and with her legal work and to let Addy be and enjoy her family as much as possible. Apparently, Laurie had other plans. She was resolved to drag Karen into the equation, so Karen was going to deal with her fears and deal with the situation.

Laurie could see her smiling. The minute they got out of the car, Laurie who was a loving creature like her mother, grabbed a hold of Karen's arm and leaned into her. Addy smiled. She knew her daughter was trying to be reassuring. She could also see Karen was nervous.

Upon arrival Addy pulled Laurie to the side. “Laurie, I think Karen needs to be reassured.”

“I know Mom! Just let me have her for a few days!”

Karen smiled seeing the mother daughter interaction. Oh my God, a few days!

Karen had planned on staying busy with JP and James working in the inn and with her legal work and to let Addy enjoy her family as much as possible. Apparently, Addy and Laurie had other plans for her, so she was now going to have to deal with her fears and deal with the situation at hand.

Laurie could see her smiling. The minute they got out of the car, Laurie who was a loving creature like her mother, grabbed a hold of Karen's arm and leaned into her giving her a big hug. Addy smiled. She knew that her daughter was up to the task and would not let her down. Addy could also tell that Karen was nervous.

Addy chuckled.

Karen was caught by surprise. “What's with all the women in this family and the hugging?”

“We are just too lovable and irresistible!” Laurie said looking at the fiancé.

Everyone was laughing now. Karen almost opened her mouth to say something, but didn't. Addy saw her. She had not taken her eyes off her. Karen again was all sorts of pink.

“Look at her, Laurie, isn't she adorable?”

“Mom, I don't want to make you jealous by commenting on that and if she turns another shade of pink, it could turn into red and then what do we do?” The fiancé was entertained looking at the grounds of the Inn which were breath-taking.

Addy started to explain. “We weren't sure whether you wanted one or two rooms, my guess was one, if not, we can leave him here and you can come with us to the cottage. The extra bedroom in the cottage is nice but really small, so it may feel a bit crowded for two people. You'll see.”

“It's alright, Mom. One bedroom will do.”

“That's what I thought, the women in our family may be shy, but not, dumb.”

Karen saw Laurie's rolling of eyes.

“Lord have mercy!” Karen exclaimed. Laurie chuckled, as she took Karen's arm.

“I don't know how you put up with her. You are so nice and polite and she is, well, look at her….what can we possibly say about her?!”

Karen just smiled. Oh! She had a lot to say about the woman who had turned her life upside down or in fact, given her a life at all! But nothing she could or would say now and certainly not to this company!

The couple was left in their room to settle and freshen up. They were meeting for dinner and the five cent tour later. All activities were planned to start the next day.

**

“Why are you so nervous, baby? She knows about us?”

“I don't know, babe, I just feel awkward. She is important in your life and her opinion matters to me.”

“Ker, she loves you!”

“Yeah, but only because what is the alternative?”

“Is that how you really feel?”

Karen looked down. “Addy maybe she blames me for…..”

“No she doesn't. She knows that the marriage wasn't working long before you came along. I told her. I've spoken to her about all this. She understands. Maybe you should clear all these up with her. Maybe that will make you feel better.”

Karen was paralyzed. The idea of talking to Laurie about her relationship with her mother freaked her out.

Addy came over and kissed her. “Buck up, where's my butch when I need her?”

Karen grimaced. Addy always had her way to go about things!

**

They had dinner at the Inn's restaurant. The meal was fabulous, as usual. They talked and talked and by 10 pm everyone was tired and went back to see the cottage and for a night cap and more talking.

“Mom the cottage is absolutely adorable! It's so cozy and lively, it's like out of a fairy tale, but with all the modern amenities. And that hot tub, wow! Amazing! I also love the view from the patio. It's spectacular.”

“I know, baby, I love it too.”

As the evening progressed, Addy was talking to Shawn, the fiancé in the kitchen when she noticed that Karen had followed Laurie outside to the patio swing. Addy smiled. Her butch had bucked up!

“So, how's life with mom?”

Karen smiled. Laurie, like her mom, had that sixth sense and knew that Karen needed to talk to her about their relationship.

“It's a wonderful adventure, Laurie.”

“She looks happy. I don't remember seeing her so happy in a very long time.” Laurie could see how Karen choked up. No wonder Mom adores her, she's a darling!

Laurie didn't know what to say next. So she just said what was in her heart. “You are absolutely, beyond hope in love with her, I know Karen. I can see it. I can feel it in the way you look at her and even talk to her. I think it's wonderful. I think she finally has the love she craved for all her life, and I am very glad that you feel the way you do about her. She appears to be tough, but inside she's very fragile. She needs someone like you to treat her right and to love her beyond all her expectations.”

“Wow! I…..You… do know that you get all these insight from her, right?”

“Yes, I do, proudly I must say, but please, don't tell her because I will not hear the end of it if she knew I said that!”

Karen chuckled. “You think she doesn't know what we are doing here?”

“Please, don't make me laugh. I don't want to have an accident out here! Karen, listen to me. I think that you are the best think that has ever happened to her, besides having Joey and me! I think you two complete each other in ways that I could only dream to achieve. You are her other half, I'm convinced. My father was just something that happen that made us kids possible. She was meant to be with you. You know, I'm going to tell you this, and don't feel like you have to comment on it. I'm sure in the end you will do whatever she wants.” Laurie chuckled.

“What?”

“I don't see you and Mom coming back to the States.”

Karen was surprised. “What makes you say that? You guys are there. She'll want to go back. We will. And yes, you are right. In the end we will end up doing whatever she wants. I don't care where I am as long as she's happy and with me.”

“She's happy here! We can come to visit all the time. Nope, I look at this place and I see something very special. I see a home and a future.”

Karen looked at her in total awe.

Laurie noticed the look on Karen's face. “What?”

“It's funny. Those were her exact same words the very first day we got here.”

“…and you remember!? Karen, do you not see it? This is home! You are her home! Joey's got his and I'm about to hitch this guy up!”

“God, Laurie! You are really something else!” They hugged and laughed.

“What did you expect? I'm her daughter! So, she's all yours! I'm officially handing her over and…thank you very much, by the way!” Laurie was laughing out loud.

Karen was laughing also.

“Laurie, I have one more question. Does Joey know?”

“Yes, I talked to him.”

“Oh God! What did he say?”

“At first he couldn't believe it, but I explained the history with dad and how you had come along and filled up mom's life, I think he got it. He asked me if dad knew. I said I didn't think so and we agreed not to tell him or anyone. I think that's up to you guys. It's really none of our business. You make our mother happy, and she is in very good hands. Look at all this! For God's sake… you have her living like a queen! That's all we should care about as far as I'm concerned.”

“Laurie, all this is her doing. You should have seen this place when we got here. It was a dump. You know her, she started with her ‘to do' lists and all of a sudden the dump turn into this, and then she took on the Inn project. I don't know how many “to do” lists I've seen in the past year! She hangs them from the refrigerator door. There's probably one there now! I'm almost afraid to think of what could come up next! If I remain thin it's because I stay away from the refrigerator because I don't want to see what's on the ‘to do' list!” Karen chuckled.

“Better not to get ahead of her and suffer twice!”

Both women laughed.

“Yes, Karen, she might be the driving force, but you facilitate and make things happen for her, I know and so does she. You are also her cushion and she knows it. She can afford to do whatever she wants because she knows that if she falls, if something went wrong, you'd be right there to pick her up, or better yet, to not allow her to hit the ground. She's all she is because of you, and she knows it.”

Karen looked down shyly. “Wow, Laurie, I had no idea you felt that way.”

“Ker, you've been around for a while. I've seen you. I know you. I'm a very smart girl!”

“Yes, you are.”

Addy had been watching the whole scene from the kitchen window. She couldn't resist joining them anymore, so she came out to the patio.

“So, what are my two favorite ladies doing out here?” Addy questioned as she approached the pair.

“We are plotting against you, mom!” Laurie stated.

Addy stood next to Karen and placed her arm around Karen's waist.

“So, Laurie, what do you say? Do I keep her or not?”

“I say she's a keeper, mom.”

“Listen, your boy there is falling asleep. I don't think you are going to see much action tonight, dear. I think we better take the two of you to the inn and have you tuck him in!”

“Mother! You have no shame! Come on take us!”

They all started to walk towards the house when Addy felt a warm hand tapping her rear, an arm around her waist and a kiss on her cheek. She also wrapped her arm around Karen and smiled. This was good. Karen was more relaxed showing affection around Laurie. This was very good!

**

In bed that night, they talked. “So, is all okay? Is my blondie happy tonight?”

“Very.”

“How happy?” Karen smiled. She knew too well where this was going! Come here, you devil, let me show you how happy!”

**

The next one to visit was Joey and wife, Kate. She was pregnant with their first one. They were also thrilled with inn and had a great time going on horse drawn carriage rides and touring the countryside.

“So, mom, this is really great. Looks like the inn is very popular. It's definitely full. And all this belongs to Karen on account of her inheritance?

“Yeah, in two more years, this will all be hers.”

“Are you coming back then?”

“Well, Joey, let's see what happens here with the Inn. We just opened and I don't know what Karen would want to do afterwards. I don't even know if she would want to sell the property, or if it would sell at all! I really don't know. In the meantime all I can tell you is that I like it here. The town is really nice. We've made good friends and we are very close to Edinburgh.”

“Mom, you and Karen are staying together?”

“Yes, Joey. I'm very happy with her. Very happy.”

“That's the important thing.”

Joey was satisfied with her answer and didn't want to ask more. Addy's brother also came to visit with his family. They had a great time, and did just about everything there was to do. The kids specially loved the horseback riding. Everyone promised to come back.

**

One evening, as they were just arriving home, they saw a pickup pull up their road.

“Ker, isn't that Mary's truck?”

“Yeap. Crap! What could this be now? I smell drama!”

Mary rang the doorbell.

“Hi, Mary, what's going on?”

“Hi. Is Carol here?”

Addy answered “No, why? What happened?”

“She left me.”

“Oh God, Mary! What happened?”

“She thinks I cheated on her, got mad at me and left.” Mary kept looking at Karen.

Karen was in the kitchen, quiet. She was just observing. I can't believe this woman! Her partner just left her because she thinks she was cheating on her, and here she is checking me out as she is trying to get sympathy from my partner! Good Lord!

“How do you know she left? She might be out doing some shopping.” And what made you think she would be here, anyways?”

“Dunno. She seemed to like you guys. I thought she would come here. Don't know where else to look for her. She closed down the shop. That's how I know she left.”

Addy looked at Karen. Karen was livid. Addy noticed Karen's reaction.

Finally, Karen spoke. “I think you should go home and wait for her. Maybe she needed time alone. I'd also call her family and other friends later tonight if she doesn't come back. Did she take her stuff or…”

“No, she didn't take anything.”

“Then she'll be back, go home and wait for her.”

Mary sort of got the message that Karen didn't want her there. “Yeah, I guess I'll do that. Thanks. Sorry to have bothered you.”

“Ker, was she checking you out?”

“Addy, I do not like her. Personally, I think that Carol is better off without her. Yes, she was. The woman is disgusting!”

“I don't like her either.”

“Addy, we shouldn't get involved in their relationship, or take sides. I've seen this a million times. This is not unusual. They might or might not make up. Just, listen to me and don't get involved.”

“What are we going to do if Carol comes knocking on our door?”

“We'll tell her to go home and face Mary and to resolve their problems themselves. No recommendations to pack and leave, or anything like that Ms. Addy! These two are not you and me. They operate differently. I'm certain that this is not the first, nor the last time this has or will happen.”

“Let's watch some TV. Come here.”

Karen put out her arm to embrace Addy. Addy snuggled into her. “Would you rub my leg? My calf is hurting again.”

“Yeah, come here.”

“I think it's so sad.”

“What?”

“I mean, why doesn't Mary leave her, if she's found someone else?”

“I don't know, Addy. I guess she thinks she can get away with it.”

“Ker, let's never fall into that. If you ever don't want to be with me, just tell me. I'll do the same. I think honesty is important.”

“Yeah, I do too. But, let's never let it get to that.”

“What do you mean?” Addy asked.

“Well, if we ever feel that things are not going the way we want it, let's tell each other, so that we can make corrections as we go, that way we would never let things totally deteriorate.”

“That makes sense. Maybe around our anniversary every year we should pause to ask ourselves if all is going well, what do you think?”

“I think that is a good idea.”

“Ker, do you have any complaints or concerns about us?”

“Nope, you?”

“Nope. Me neither. I'm totally happy.”

Karen had been massaging Addy's calf while they were talking. “Is the muscle better now?”

“Um huh, much better.”

Addy turned around and placed her arm around Karen's abdomen and her head on Karen's chest. She closed her eyes and fully relaxed adoring the warmth of the arms surrounding her.

Karen inhaled Addy's scent, and hugged her tight. She could sit there, fully content for the rest of eternity. She had all she ever wanted in her arms.

To be continued in Part 10

 

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