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The 21st and final chapter of "Recollections" - book one

Written by: Kaadorix

M/F, F/F and a whole lot more

Chapter 21: "Culmination"

-*- Tuesday, July 4, 2017 -*-
-*- Lake Quivira, Kansas -*-

*** One month after the events of the previous chapter ***

"Surely there is something I can do to help. Isn't there?"
I leaned over Merissa's shoulder, swiped a tiny piece of broccoli
from the salad my wife was mixing and then popped it into my
hungry mouth. "Hmmmmm, this is delicious."

Merissa gave my hand a little slap. "You want to help? Keep
your greedy fingers out of the salad, then!"

There was no anger or animosity whatsoever in Merissa's voice,
only good-natured teasing. After all, it was too beautiful of a
day for any negative emotions. The sun shone brilliantly through
the windows of our waterfront, log cabin home here in Lake Quivira.
Outside, under dazzling blue skies, hamburger patties and chicken
breasts, among other delights, cooked slowly on the wood pellet
grill. Best of all, there were friends and family everywhere.

The calendar said it was our great nation's birthday, the
Fourth of July, 2017. When my two wives and I planned this
Tuesday afternoon get-together last month, I thought we would have
a private, little family grill-out and perhaps go swimming in the
big pool out back with Cooper and Madison. That seemed ideal.
But when Merissa invited my mother over for the day from Pleasant
Grove, Alexa followed suit and invited her own parents (Bob and
Angela) from Overland Park. My oldest brother and sister, Hudson
and Janae, were welcomed with open arms, as well as their spouses.
Lastly, my friend Mike, his wife (Pamela) and their toddler son
(Oliver) were hanging around the house as well.

Friends and family everywhere.

I smiled inwardly at the thought. These were the types of
occasions that I lived for. What better way to celebrate the
holiday than with many of the people I held nearest and dearest
to my heart? I glanced just outside and watched as Hudson flipped
burgers on the grill and chatted with Bob while some of the ladies
were here inside the kitchen, working on various side dishes.

At the table, Alexa was topping chocolate cupcakes with
thick buttercream frosting. She had a white apron on that made
her look all the more adorable. Pamela had just finished cutting
up apples and was blending them into a Waldorf salad. Janae put
the finishing touches on a hot batch of scallion baked beans.

"I'm done." Alexa triumphantly stepped back from the small
kitchen table and admired her handiwork. "I did a pretty good
job too, if I must say so myself."

Merissa peered at the little cupcakes with the perfectly
swirled icing, now artfully arranged on a crystal platter.
"Awesome and definitely looks de-lish."

"I'm finished, too," Pamela announced. "Once the hamburgers,
hot dogs and chicken breasts are done, we should be ready to eat."

"Hallelujah!" Mike strolled into the kitchen and slipped a
cozy arm around his wife's waist. He glanced over my way and a
slow grin overtook his features. "Broccoli salad is one of my
all-time favorites, man!" Without another word, Mike quickly
walked over and plucked a piece of broccoli from the salad.

"Michael [Last Name]!" Merissa wagged a finger at him.
"Hands OUT! You're just as bad as Jeremy!"

"Who's just as bad as Jeremy?" Angela asked, her curious gaze
seeking me out the very instant she entered the kitchen.

"No one," I told Alexa's mom. "I'm the ultimate bad boy."

"Yeah, Jer," Janae deadpanned, leering at me with a grin.
"You've always been the bad boy after dark type. A true rebel."

Angela sighed, playing along. "What did you do this time?"

"Stole one itty-bitty piece of broccoli from Merissa's salad,"
Pamela answered for me. "And had one of Lexi's chocolate cupcakes
as an appetizer when she wasn't looking."

Alexa's mouth dropped open and she glared at me, acting miffed.
"Jeremy! How could you? I knew one of them was missing!"

I grinned at Pamela and shook my head. "Gaaaaah... you
weren't supposed to tell her that! Now I'm in trouble."

"Janae's right, man." Mike turned to me, his expression tight,
deadly serious. "You've always been the bad one."

The kitchen erupted in laughter. I wondered how many of them
caught the irony of Mike's words. For many years, Mike lived by
two hard and fast rules. He never mixed business with pleasure,
and he didn't do relationships. Mike was once the ultimate bad
boy himself, even likening himself as a savior for needy women, a
knight in shining armor, and his mighty talented sword had no
trouble bringing damsels in distress to their knees. Just a few,
short years ago, Mike had women draped over him at all times, and
he absolutely reveled in that popularity. He had been that way
since I first met him in medical school more than two decades ago.

But times were different now. Enter Pamela [Last Name] in 2013,
a gorgeous yet lonely receptionist following a long string of
failed relationships who looked like sex on legs, moved like she
was passion personified, and would surely not let another man help
her if she were dangling from a ledge and he was her only hope.
But one night and a lot of prodding from Alexa, one of Pamela's
best friends, changed her and Mike's lives forever.

Alexa secretly felt that Mike and Pamela would be a good fit
for each other and brought them together during a Royals' game at
Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in 2013 when I still had my four
season tickets behind the first base dugout. As Mike says, when
his eyes connected with Pamela's, he felt a connection right from
the very start that simply blindsided him. But Pamela saw him as
nothing more than a shameless player, and was not interested.

Yet Mike put the charm on for the entire game (Alexa and I were
right there with them in the stands) and Pamela agreed, somewhat
reluctantly, to allow him to walk her to her car after the game
ended. Before she could say goodbye to Mike, Pamela received a
telephone call that took her to the hospital. A family member was
badly ill, and it was not good. Pamela did not realize that Mike
followed her to the hospital and when he consoled her after some
terrible, tragic news, in his arms, something happened between
them. But Pamela did her best to fight off the feeling.

Yet Mike was persistent and eventually wore her down. Never
before had he pursued a woman so diligently and hard. Even more
surprising was that Mike's legendary libido was not the driving
force behind the chase. He had no end game, no conquest, in mind.
For the first time in his life, Mike had found a woman who swept
him completely off of his feet. He was actually... in love.

And today, a good four years later, Mike was now a monogamous
family man who only had eyes for his wife. Other women simply
did not interest him, even in the slightest. Pamela had brought
out a different side of Mike and helped him unearth things about
himself that he did not even know existed beforehand. Warmth
radiated from them both at all times whenever they were together.
Mike was now a father and Pamela, we were just informed earlier
this morning, was four weeks pregnant with their second child.

"If we have a daughter," Mike conveyed to me hours ago, "we are
going to name her Alexis, man. A nod to your wife - Alexa, Lexi -
because she is the one who helped bring me and Pamela together
years ago. I've always thought Alexis is a beautiful name."

Well, here's to hoping that Mike and Pamela have a daughter!
It would be incredibly neat that her name was inspired by Alexa.

"Hey." Angela's voice was soft and low as she looked at me
with sympathetic eyes back in the current moment. "Don't let what
everyone says bother you, Jeremy. You're not a bad boy to me."

I glanced around, but many others were laughing and talking
as they carried the side dishes into the nearby dining room.

"HAPPY FOURTH!" Cooper (my three-year-old son) screamed as he
then entered the kitchen. The two-year-olds, Madison and Oliver,
were right behind him in tow. They were like a little brigade,
and Cooper, being the oldest, was their leader.

"Happy Fourth of JULY!" Janae responded to him as Madison
hopped about and screeched loudly in celebration.

"FIREWORKS!" Cooper then roared out at the top of his lungs.

"Yeah, we're going to see the fireworks tonight," I said. "Are
you excited, Cooper? How about you, Madi? YOU excited?" Really,
how could Independence Day possibly be complete without fireworks?
Much later this evening, the _Lake Quivira Country Club_, which
was just down the shoreline from our home, would be putting on its
annual Fourth of July fireworks show. Our little family would
have the best seat in the house - right in the comfort of our own
front yard - to enjoy the spectacular, exhilarating display. The
kids were really wound up about it.

"Yeah!" Cooper rumbled. "Excited!"

I pointed at Alexa, who had a blue t-shirt on. She had just
gotten rid of her white cooking apron. "Look, Cooper. Mommy
has the blue covered." I then motioned toward myself, as I wore
a polo shirt with red and white checkered stripes. "And I have
the red and white covered today. We are celebrating, Cooper, and
being PATRIOTIC today. Red, white and blue!"

"I got the brown covered, Daddy."

I laughed at our son, who was decked out in a shirt with the
American flag and its colors on it. "Yes, you do." Others
laughed as well. "You got your brown baseball bats, don't you?"
Even though they were tucked away in the garage elsewhere.

"You remember our deal, Cooper," Alexa said to him. "If you
want to stay up late tonight and watch the fireworks after dark,
you have to take a nice, long nap this afternoon. Otherwise, you
will never make it that long to stay awake and see them."

"Yes, Mommy."

Alexa shook a finger at Madison. "You too, missy. It will be
nap time once everyone leaves later this afternoon."

Convincing Cooper to take a late afternoon nap so he could see
the fireworks show after dark tonight did not pose much of a
problem. Madison, on the other hand? Judging by the scowl on her
face, she did not seem too thrilled at the idea.

"You little grumpy cat!" Merissa teased her.

"Just turned two, didn't you?" Alexa grinned at Madison, before
looking up at me. "Two years full of total terror."

Angela laughed. "Just like you were, Lexi, when you were that
age. Oh, you were a little monster!"

Alexa huffed and puffed playfully. "I was NOT!"

Cooper, Madison and Oliver still had their swimming suits on
because Mike and I spent an hour with them out in the pool this
morning. The weather outside was beautiful, absolutely perfect.
Yesterday it was 91 degrees, but today it was supposed to be no
higher than 80. The moderate conditions would let the kids stay
in the pool a little longer than normal and have some extra fun.
We planned on taking them back into the water after lunch.

When Alexa ventured off toward the dining room, Angela and all
three of the little ones followed her. Suddenly I found myself
alone in the kitchen with Merissa, and I acted accordingly.

I took a moment to admire my wife's figure from behind and
could not help but to run my hands along her hips as she now dug
for something in her purse. I followed the contours of Merissa's
body to her shoulders and gathered her hair in one hand, exposing
the delicate curve of her neck. I lowered my lips to her skin
and wrapped my other arm around her slender waist.

"Hmmmmm." Merissa arched her head back and I kissed my way up
the length of her neck, gently pressing my hips into her from
behind. Feeling all of Merissa's curves against me heightened
my yearning. My hands slid up her ribs and over her breasts.

"Jeremy," she whispered. "I don't think this..."

I turned Merissa within my arms and kissed her, devouring
whatever words were falling from her lips. I pressed my body
in toward hers, up against the counter, and I deepened the kiss.
I would never tire of kissing Merissa. Oh, I loved this woman
more than any words could ever say. Merissa reached up and put
her pretty, little hands on either side of my face.

"Merissa." I searched her eyes, wondering how I had gotten
lucky enough to be the only man she wanted. Merissa deserved
everything in life (and then some), and I was going to do my
absolute best to make sure that she received it.

"I'm starving. Is it time for..." My 76-year-old mother
stopped once she entered the kitchen and shook her head at us.
"Can't you two keep your hands to yourselves?"

Merissa jerked back from my arms, yet somehow resisted the
urge to smooth out her hair or straighten her tank-top. Mom had
Asher, my six-week-old infant son with Merissa, cradled in her
arms. She had been playing with all of the kids downstairs.

"Bob wondered if you could bring out the ketchup and mustard,"
Mike said to me, now appearing at the other side of the kitchen.

"Ketchup and mustard." Mom's smile widened a notch as she
eyed Merissa and yours truly. "Since you two are... busy, I'll
take the condiments over to the dining room myself."

"Let me get it for you, Mrs. [Last Name]," Mike offered as
heat flooded Merissa's cheeks. "You just keep that firm grip
on your grandson." Merissa seemed a bit embarrassed, but there
was absolutely no need for either of us to apologize to Mom.
This was our home, and Mom was learning that she would just have
to get used to the sight of me hugging and kissing on Merissa.

And Alexa.

And, a lot.

Mom was still trying to wrap her mind around the idea that I
had two wives, but a tremendous amount of progress had been made
over the past two months toward a full-on reconciliation between us.
After two-and-a-half years of zero contact with her - not even a
telephone call or a birthday card in the mail - I finally believed
over the past two months I had my mother back. It felt wonderful.
Unfortunately, it took Dad's passing for us to re-connect.

I was not asking Mom to embrace or even accept the unique and
controversial decisions I had made in life with Alexa and Merissa.
I just wanted to be her son again, but I also wanted Cooper,
Madison and Asher (and Brooklyn!) to know their Grandma and have
her as a prominent figure in their lives. The latter did not seem
to be an issue. Cooper and Madison were already quite comfortable
around Mom; they stayed with her in Pleasant Grove for five days
during Asher's birth and all of the excess time he and Merissa
spent in the hospital. Of course, Alexa and I were right there
alongside Merissa and Asher every step of the way.

As I told Mom since the day of the funeral back in April, she
could be as disappointed or as upset with me as she wanted. I
ultimately did not want that, but I could deal with it. Leave our
kids out of it, though. Do not blame them or point fingers at
them for anything. The kids were truly innocent and, even more
than that, they deserved to have Grandma in their lives. That
was what I had been stressing to her more than anything else.

As Mom walked away with Asher after catching Merissa and I
with our hands in the proverbial cookie jar, Mike opened the
refrigerator door and grabbed the ketchup and mustard.

"Is is time to eat?"

"Once these are on the table," Mike said to me, "it will be."

My arm slipped around Merissa's shoulder. "We'll be right out."

Mike chuckled. "No rush. Take your time."

Once we were alone again, Merissa lifted her face to me. "Saved
by the player. Who'd ever guessed it? Give us another five
minutes and you and I would have been rolling around on the floor."

"The floor is too cold." I shook my head and then teased her, "I
actually had my eye on that wall over there."

Merissa gulped her throat.

"Don't tell me you forgot how much fun we had in the hallway
closet that one day just before Asher was born," I said, grinning,
but only after there was a long stretch of silence.

"I remember," Merissa admitted.

My eyes turned dark. "You were nine months pregnant and almost
ready to burst. You looked... so flipping hot."

"We hadn't been together in days."

"I wanted you so much."

"I was so pregnant, so big, and there was barely enough room in
that tiny closet for you and I to stand."

I winked an eye. "Where there's a will, there's a way." I
trailed a finger down her cheek. "We'll have to try it again
soon, especially since your doctor lifted any and all post-birth
restrictions from you yesterday during your check-up. See if
that position was really as good as we remember."

Merissa leaned into my caresses. She was well aware of the
fact that Alexa and I planned on making three-way love to her in
bed sometime very, very soon. Merissa was officially six weeks
postpartum as of today, and Dr. Winston gave her the green light
yesterday to resume normal sexual activity. Merissa had zero
complications after giving birth and was perfectly healed up now.
Our infant son, Asher, was thriving and happy.

Still, we were going to take things slow, and ease back into
our routine, normal sex life as a three-way couple. Merissa may
have been cleared physically, but she felt constantly tired and
emotionally drained as all new mothers typically are following the
birth of a new child. Indeed, all in good time...

"I'm sorry, Lexi. I can't even make up an excuse for Mike on
this one." Pamela smiled, and as was often the case, her love
for Mike was evident. I wondered what Pamela was referring to
as Merissa and I made our way into the adjacent dining room.
With the smiles and the light, friendly atmosphere all throughout
the room, it was probably something silly and fun.

"Hey, Jeremy!" Mike called out. "Just in time, man. Lexi and
Janae are ganging up on me. You've got to save me, man!"

"I'm sure you deserve it." I was only half-teasing.

A little yorkshire terrier suddenly bounded down the stairs and
into the dining room with her tail wagging, anxiously rubbing
against nearly everyone's legs. Another small dog, this one a
teacup maltese, did the same seconds later.

"Oh my gosh, she's so cute." Janae stooped to pet Izzy, and
the dog climbed up her leg and licked her face.

"Izzy! Teddy!" Alexa screeched. "How did you get past the
doggie-fence in our bedroom?" Alexa made a motion to grab and
gather both of them, but they were too quick and wound up for
her. Neither wanted to go back and be confined in our bedroom,
where Alexa preferred keeping them when guests were here.

"Lexi, let them be for now," was Merissa's suggestion. "Izzy
and Teddy aren't hurting anything by being down here with us."

"Teddy!" I bellowed out in a deep, strict voice, definitely a
command, when he started hopping and whining at Mom's legs. Teddy
quickly turned toward me and sat down by Mom's feet with a very
obedient aura surrounding him. I did not mind the dogs being
playful and antsy around others for the most part, but acting
that way around Mom was a different story. She never cared too
much for house pets and still had Asher bundled in her arms.

"Sorry about that, Judith," Alexa said to Mom, crouching down
and rubbing the dog's side. "Teddy gets a little excited. He's
still learning his manners."

"It's been a three year process now and counting," I grumbled.

Alexa shot me a look. "Oh hush, Jeremy. You hater!"

"Lexi, let Izzy and Teddy be," Merissa again said. "They don't
need to go back in our bedroom. Let them run around and be free.
You know being couped up like that upsets them."

"You two better behave, then!" Alexa chirped at Teddy, who now
rolled onto his back and enjoyed the belly scratching. Meanwhile,
Cooper and Oliver were petting and being gentle with Izzy.

"We need a dog, man," Mike said to no one inparticular.

Pamela's eyes flashed and she grinned at her husband. "A dog?
I have a hard enough time keeping up and watching after YOU."
Everyone laughed. "I don't need any further stress in my life."

"Mike is probably a bigger troublemaker than Oliver is,"
Merissa theorized, teasing him. "I can only imagine."

"Ollie," Pamela scorned her toddler son as he and Cooper now
tugged at Izzy's tail, "be nice to the doggie!"

"Yeah, be nice," Alexa said to Cooper, giving him the dreaded
_mom eye_. "You know you're not supposed to grab their tails."

"I sowwy, Mommy," Cooper mumbled.

After preparing lunch plates for Cooper and Madison at the
buffet table in the dining room, it was finally time to make my
own. The Fourth of July is, without a doubt, the most American
of all of our national holidays. It celebrates our independence
and freedom, and gives us the perfect excuse for splurging and
having a back yard grill-out and barbeque with friends and family.

Trust me, I was going to indulge myself today. Big time.

I drizzled chopped jalapenos, minced garlic, corn kernels,
salami bits and hot pepper relish over top of the juicy Angus
beef patty which had already been stuffed with Monterey Jack
cheese. Add in a dose of ketchup and mustard, and oh, I had a
jazzed-up burger which was truly fit for a patriot!

I also loaded up my lunch plate with two ears of cheddar bacon
ranch corn, deviled eggs with malt vinegar, a mix of the two
salads, three hearty chunks of watermelon, two chocolate cupcakes
and lastly, a grilled mettwurst topped with sliced pickles,
cherry tomatoes, chopped white onions and shredded lettuce. Oh,
and some potato chips and pretzels on the side. I poured myself
a tall, icy glass of blackberry sage lemonade and found total
relaxation in my adjustable leather chair in the nearby living
room. The dining room was a bit crowded for my tastes.

I took a few bites of food but then tilted my head back upon
the chair and closed my eyes, and smiled. The endless chatter
and laughter from friends and family alike permeated my senses.
Cooper was being especially loud and rambunctious with so much
company in the house, which was actually a true rarity for us.
My heart was so full at this precise moment in time; I felt as
if my chest might just explode. Mom was back in my life! I was
so happy that everyone was visiting and enjoying themselves.
This was the first big party for family members we had thrown at
our home since Alexa had gotten pregnant with Cooper all the way
back in 2013. Oh, I so wanted her to become pregnant again...

"I had the wrong idea about your relationship, your marriage,
with Lexi and Merissa." I opened my eyes and glanced up, only
to find my 54-year-old brother, Hudson, standing over me with a
plate of food in hand. My entire life, I had looked up to my
oldest brother and did whatever I could to emulate him, please
him, make him proud of me. Yet it seemed I always came up short.

Hudson found out about Merissa being part of my relationship
with Alexa the same time Mom and Dad did in December 2014. He did
not choose to shut me out quite the way they did, but Hudson never
really endorsed the idea that I would be married to two women.
Like Mom and Dad, Hudson had strict religious beliefs and morals.
He was very critical of us at one point and had his objections.

Despite that, Hudson and I had spent a lot of time together
since Dad's funeral. He saw what my own family life was like.
Hudson knew that in spite of our unique situation, I had an
otherwise typical life here at home, and was incredibly happy.

"Merissa is a nice girl," Hudson added.

"She's beautiful," I declared. "And smart. Funny."

Hudson raised an eyebrow. "Then what's she doing with you?"

I chuckled at him. "Gee, thanks."

Hudson grimaced. "I think if Dad saw Merissa together with you
and Lexi the way I have these past several weeks, he would have
changed his tune and not been so against the idea. You are the
youngest, Jer, and Dad always treated you that way. All Dad ever
wanted was for you to happy. Dad knew how devastated you were,
how lonely you were, once Suzi left all those years ago. Then,
you met Lexi. Dad was elated the day you and Lexi got married.
He was SO happy. It was the first time I ever seen him in tears.
You were the youngest, his last child who got married off."

"And he thought, years later, that by bringing Merissa into
your marriage, it would mess up the dynamic, the happiness, that
you and Lexi had together. He did not understand. He did not
WANT to understand." Hudson smiled and continued, "But Merissa
did nothing but add to your happiness. If Dad knew that when he
was alive, he would be cool with it. Mom is learning it now."

"It's all right, Hudson. I like to think that Dad does know
it now. He DOES understand it. I like to think... Dad is
watching over me, like a guardian angel." I nodded my head and
offered a smile, but then frowned. "I messed up our father-son
relationship, too. I could blame Dad for everything, but I won't.
I was at fault, too. We both made our mistakes."

"I should have been more supportive of you when the fallout
originally happened, Jer, and now I am truly sorry that I wasn't.
I wish I would have stood up for you the way Janae did. If I did,
maybe she and I could have both convinced Mom and Dad to look past
their ideals and see how happy, how fulfilled, your life truly is."
Hudson took a deep breath and sighed, reiterating, "I should have
been more supportive. I'm sorry. You've always done the right
thing. I should have never doubted you; thought you were making a
mistake. You've ALWAYS done the right thing, Jer."

"It's okay," I assured Hudson. "Dad knows and understands now,
and accepts it. I know he does. I'm at peace with him. Mom is
slowly starting to understand. I... I have my family back. I
just want... I want things to be how they used to be between us."

Instead of becoming all teary and misty-eyed, which I was on
the verge of doing, I looked past Hudson and a smile flashed
across my face. "Oh wow, an angel just came into the room."

Alexa set her hands on her hips and glared at me, a look I'd
seen a million times before when she was mildly displeased with
me. Only now Alexa wore a pair of tight denim cut-off shorts that
accentuated her slim waist and round hips, and her taut, smallish
breasts were seriously straining the fabric of her blue t-shirt,
making it difficult for me to think of anything other than the
sweet slice of Heaven standing before us.

"Jeremy [Last Name]," she said with a wide smile and a serious
tone. "Why aren't you in the dining room with the others?"

As Alexa retrieved her own lunch tray and then made her way
over toward me, Hudson chuckled and moved to the side, allowing us
some space and a little privacy. Alexa settled down onto the arm
of my reclining chair. But I took it one step further; I snatched
the 25-year-old's wrist and gently pulled her into my awaiting
lap. Alexa sighed dreamily and seemed comfortable all at once.

"It's too crowded in the dining room. Besides, this old chair
is way too comfortable." I squinted my eyes and made a face,
looking at the contents of Alexa's plate, as Hudson sat down on
the sofa about ten feet away. Being a vegan, Alexa generally
avoided any and all animal and dairy products in her daily diet.
She snuck an occasional egg or a bowl of ice cream in every few
months just to cheat - to be a rebel - but was otherwise fairly
strict about her dietary intake.

With her refusal to eat any meat or poultry items, whenever we
had a family cook-out, Alexa usually prepared her own main course
on the side. And that beet burger on her plate looked sort of...
strange. Oh, don't get me wrong. Heaps of spices, minced chipotle
peppers and a generous pour of barbeque sauce blissed that beet
patty, tucked between two pillowy buns, to a swoon-worthy level.
Yet the patty itself was red, and just did not look right to me.

"You want a bite, baby?"

I shook my head at her. "I think I'll pass."

"Just one bite will single-handedly turn you from a beet hater
into a beet lover. Trust me, I know."

I motioned toward the juicy mettwurst on my own plate. "You
take a bite of that, honey, and I'll take a bite of your burger."

Alexa's face scrunched and the little laugh she let out nearly
melted my heart. "Ewwwww, no. Pork... disgusting." She glanced
down for an instant, then flipped her long blonde hair out of her
face with a dramatic snap of her chin, and again smiled at me. I
could become forever lost in Alexa's sweet smile and trusting eyes.
Our differences in appetite had never been a deterrent at all
in our relationship or marriage. We made due just fine, and
Alexa's ultra healthy eating habits had actually rubbed off on me
in several ways. At 43, I felt better than I ever have in my
entire life. I ate a lot of her health foods and dishes.

Just not beets.

I kissed Alexa's palm, then held her hand within my own. I
groaned leisurely and tilted my head against her shoulder, just
relaxing, loving life. Whenever I was with Alexa, I felt as if
I was on cloud nine. She generally saw the good in everything,
everyone. Family was such a big part of her life. It really tore
Alexa up inside these past two-and-a-half years that both of my
parents were not welcoming of me. Of us. In many ways, she blamed
herself for the massive rift that was created. Alexa was the
driving force behind bringing Merissa into our life and marriage.

No one felt more relief that Mom was back in my life than Alexa.
A heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders.

"It is wonderful having friends and family here, celebrating," I
whispered into Alexa's ear, not wanting Hudson to hear my words, as
I snuggled her a bit tighter, "but as always, I'm just happiest to
hold you, and just know you're with me. Nothing else compares."

Alexa wrapped her slender arms around my left shoulder and
kissed my bicep, then rested her cheek against my face. As usual,
I drew strength from Alexa's warm, undying love.

* * *

"I don't wamf a yife jacket."

"Oh, but you have to have a life jacket if you're going into
the pool," I told Cooper, responding to his cute toddler babble,
perhaps 90 minutes after lunch had concluded. "You want to go
swimming again with me and Uncle Mike, Madi and Ollie?"

"I didn't... uhh... ocean?"

"We're not going into the ocean, silly. Just our pool!" I
smiled at my three-year-old son as he looked up at me with curious
eyes. "Speaking of the pool and swimming, buddy, can you tell me
what type of water do sharks swim in? Do you remember?"

"Salt water."

"Salt water," I nodded. "Good job! And who taught you that?"

"Grandpa." Alexa's father, indeed.

"Remember when we went to the Kansas City Zoo three months ago
with Merissa and Madi?" He nodded at me rather enthusiastically.
"Yeah, that was a lot of fun. But it will even be more fun next
year once the zoo opens up its brand new stingray and shark
petting exhibit. You looking forward to petting the sharks,
Cooper? That sounds like it would be really cool."

"Yeah!" he agreed with vigor. "I pet... JAWS!"

"I'm not allowed to look at that, man!" Mike suddenly exclaimed
off to the side in a very overexaggerated fashion, even shielding
his face with a forearm. "I'll go blind! Pamela will kill me!"

I turned and found Alexa, who had just strolled into the sun
room with us, wearing a modest two-piece bikini swimsuit with
black and white stripes. She was eyeing Mike, the one-time
womanizer and shameless player, who was being more than a bit
playful and melodramatic in not wanting to see my wife in her
little bikini. One thing was for certain; Alexa was temptation
with a capital T. She gave Mike her snarkiest expression and
quipped, "So rude. Seriously, you need to grow up, Mike."

But her demeanor quickly changed.

"Let's go to the pool, Cooper," she said with a bright smile,
taking our son's hand and promptly guiding him out of the house.

Mike and I followed Alexa to the pool and brought Madison and
Oliver with us. In the back yard was the free-form swimming pool,
installed just last year with its irregular shape and flowing
lines. It featured a huge grotto at one end made out of rock and
a constant waterfall streaming down over its entrance. The whole
space was amazingly beautiful, and resembled a natural pond or
oasis much more than it did a typical pool.

I mostly sat on the shallow end alongside Mike and chatted as
friends while we held and watched the pair of two-year-olds do
their thing and dabble in the water. Cooper was a little more
adventurous, though, being older and opting to go out into the
deep end toward the gushing waterfall. Of course, Cooper had his
life jacket on (as did Madison and Oliver) and Alexa stayed by
his side and kept a keen eye on him. Cooper was already a pretty
good swimmer, while Madison was just now learning the ropes.

Merissa had opted to stay with Asher indoors, not wanting the
infant to get too much sun this early in his life. Mom had no
business being outside for too long at her age, either, so she
relaxed with Merissa in the family room downstairs and chatted up
a storm with her while constantly doting on Asher. Merissa and
Mom were getting along great (which was awesome), and Mom had
taken a serious, vested interest in little Asher.

There was something about watching Alexa in full-on mother
mode as she played with Cooper, simply being herself. Like most
women, Alexa looked very different without her make-up on. She
was totally sans make-up today, which was glorious to me. If you
only ever saw her at the health club, where she once worked as a
fitness instructor, it may be difficult to recognize Alexa going
through the aisles of the supermarket on a lazy Sunday morning.
But you would still notice her because she was smoking hot. I
mean, look at those eyes. And those legs! Alexa had a smile
which could melt an iceberg, and it was on full display as she
frolicked with Cooper in the pool.

But Cooper eventually got a bit cold, surprisingly, and decided
to sit underneath the pergola on the deck wrapped up in a towel
beside Janae and Hudson. More than anything, I think he enjoyed
being around his aunt and uncle. Hudson was more than happy to
help him play with his matchbox cars and plastic building blocks.
Merissa came outside and gathered up Madison, opting to take her
back indoors and get her ready with a quick bath for what actually
turned out to be a much-needed nap. Having so many others around
the house today really tired Madison out.

The temporary reprieve from having to mostly focus on the kids
allowed Alexa and I to have some fun of own in the pool. When we
weren't jumping and/or diving off the top of the rock waterfall,
Alexa and I were wrestling and play fighting in the deep end (it
never gets old tossing my wife around and dunking her head
underneath the water). Feisty and full of endless spirit, Alexa
gave me back everything I offered her. All in good fun.

Pamela joined Mike in the pool and they took turns tossing
their son back and forth, who seemed thrilled and exhilarated
with the roughhouse play. Izzy and Teddy, the two dogs, did
their usual routine whenever someone was in the pool. They took
quick, frenzied laps around its outer edge over and over again,
and enjoyed it whenever one of us would give them a little splash.

Janae took Cooper over to the swing set as Mom came back out
with Asher and sat in the shade for a few moments. Alexa exited
the pool and went over to hug and kiss on Asher, then joined
Cooper at the playset and swung back-and-forth alongside him. I
took a few laps of my own in the water, but eventually got out
and ventured indoors to check on Merissa and Madison. But not
before Angela went over and took her turn on the swing set, too.

"Pffffft. I'm so tired," Merissa commented once she and I
returned to the pool area out back. Madison had just dozed off
in her crib for her afternoon nap. Merissa had been so zeroed
in these past six weeks, ever since Asher was born, on being the
perfect mother. I felt she needed something exciting, something
spontaneous, to help loosen her up a bit.

I eyed the water. "I think I may have a cure for all of that
tiredness you've been experiencing lately."

Merissa tilted her head to the side and grinned. "And what
might that be, my good doctor? A healthy dose of your love?"

Instead of responding in kind, I moved toward Merissa with the
stealth of a panther as our family and friends looked on curiously.

Merissa did not know what to think of my sudden, icy expression.
She even stumbled backward. "I... what..."

I took her hand and tugged her forward.

"Jeremy? What are you..."

I lifted Merissa and guided her legs so they coiled around my
waist nice and tight. "Do you remember how to swim after being
pregnant for so long?" Merissa's eyes widened as I stepped toward
the deep end of the pool. She suddenly clung to me like a monkey
in full panic mode, trying to scale my shoulder and break free.

"What? Yes! Wh... no! I still have all of my clothes on!
No, Jeremy! Please don't!"

A deep, hearty laugh ripped from within my chest. Again, all
of this was in good fun. Our marriage was built on things like
this. "Did you think I forgot it when you and Lexi pushed me into
the pool that one day last fall when I had my brand new suit on?
Oh, you and Lexi thought that was SO funny..." Merissa wailed
desperately and vehemently shook her head as I ended, "Hang on,
baby, because we're going down." I then leaped from the edge.


I captured Merissa's mouth just before we hit the water and
sank into the seven-foot depths of the pool. With one arm
holding Merissa like a vise, I used the other and my legs to
quickly propel us upward. We broke the surface gasping for air
and laughing hysterically. I kicked and kicked, keeping our
heads safely above the water.

"JEREMY!" Yet Merissa was smiling so hard, it seemed as if
her cheeks had to hurt. Indeed, all of her clothing was still
on. This was her first time in the pool since before she had
gotten pregnant with Asher late last summer.

A long time ago.

Time to unwind a bit and have some fun, right?

My response was another hearty laugh. Lost in the exhilarating
moment, or perhaps simply not caring that we had so many family
and friends staring at us, Merissa silenced me with a kiss. It
quickly intensified and we began to sink, causing her to giggle.

"What?" I asked with a grin, again kicking to keep our heads
above water. "You kissed me. How is a man's brain supposed to
function when he has a beautiful woman in his arms and she is
kissing him? Especially if that woman is YOU?" I shrugged my
shoulders, feigning innocence. "I forgot to kick." My face then
turned serious. "How do you feel about drowning?"

Merissa smiled and her tone went low, so others could not hear
her. "How do you feel about getting a swift kick in the balls?"
I gave her my best _sad puppy eye_ expression. Merissa's head fell
back and she held her fists up to the sky. "Why? Why this man, of
all people?" She lowered her chin, meeting my amused grin.

Pleasure radiated all throughout me, much different than the
thrill of intimate physical contact. This was true, deep-seated
affection; pure, unadulterated love, filling me from the soles of
my feet to the very top of my scalp. It was the best feeling ever.

Alexa dashed over and dove head-first into the pool, then swam
toward us and broke up our little moment by grasping and clutching
at Merissa, and wrestling with her. The two struggled for a brief
moment, playful and light-spirited as it was, but then Alexa threw
all caution to the wind as she pulled Merissa's body tightly to
hers and the two ladies kissed and kissed and kissed some more,
bobbing together in the water like buoys.

This was the first time Alexa and Merissa had actually kissed
each other with Mom present, as well as Hudson. Their little
display of affection in the pool drew some wide, surprising eyes,
but it did not seem to shock or mortify anyone. Perhaps another
step forward? As I mentioned earlier, Mom was going to have to
get used to the sight of me hugging and kissing on Merissa. The
same applied to Merissa and Alexa doing it on each other, too.

"Inside, baby. Your clothes are soaking wet and you need to
change out of them and dry off." Alexa guided Merissa over and
helped lift her onto the side ladder and eventually the deck,
and she wrapped her arms around herself as Alexa pulled herself
up. She tucked Merissa against her as they went into the house.
"Come on. You need a change of clothes. Don't worry, baby."
Alexa glanced back over her shoulder and offered me a playful
scowl. "We'll get Jeremy back for what he did to you soon enough."

"Just bring it," I taunted Alexa back, grinning.

"Well, that was... something." My mother, still holding Asher
and looking petrified now under the pergola, was shivering. She
was as old as the old school got, and on top of that, was deeply
religious and steadfast in her beliefs. Certainly, Mom had never
witnessed anything quite like this before before her very eyes.
Was it really wise of my two wives to have a little make-out
session in the pool like that?

"Oh, that's how Lexi and Merissa are," Angela offered, flipping
her wrist like it was no big deal. "They've been that way for
over three years now. It's okay, Judith. They're in LOVE!"
Angela was the polar opposite of my mother. She was overjoyed
that Merissa and I were both married to her daughter.

In any event, today was a reaffirmation of family, and was
another step in mending the once-broken fence between my mother
and I. It was so fun to simply kick back and relax in the middle
of a work week, and enjoy the holiday with friends and family
alike. I did not allow the stress or worry of having to deal with
my patients at work to even enter my mind today. I could postpone
that until tomorrow. I just spent a good amount of time swimming
and even got a nice suntan in the process. I loved my family in
a way that was deep and true, but deep and true only scratched the
surface of what I felt for Alexa and Merissa themselves.

Days like this reaffirmed those intense feelings as well.

How could four letters hold so much meaning? When I thought of
the term _I love you_, it conjured up feelings of closeness and
trust, but the words that filled my mind to define what I felt for
my two wives went much further. Depth, passion, truth, stability,
mindfulness, friendship, understanding; that was just a few of the
things I associated with them. Closeness and trust were the base,
but all of those other connections were the ones that sewed the
three of us together like an intricate quilt. I knew it was rare
because I had never felt them all bundled up in one woman before.

Let alone two.

My mind circled back to my father, which it had been doing a
lot of lately since his passing in April. Why did Dad have to
leave us? I sighed, but then reminded myself that Dad did not
leave us at all. He would never leave us. I had learned since
his funeral that Dad would always be there for me whenever I
needed him. He would be always there for Mom, Janae and Hudson,
as well as my other brother, Carl, too. He would be there for
all of his grandchildren, as well. I had faith in that.

Strange as it may sound, but I felt closer with Dad now than I
had since the time I moved out of the family home two decades ago.

There were still going to be rough days ahead - Dad's birthday
each year, plus Thanksgiving and Christmas, to name a few - but I
had dealt with the demons from our recent past, and I was now at
peace with Dad being in a much better and safer place.

Once everyone became tired and decided to return to their own
homes later in the afternoon, Alexa embraced Pamela in the
driveway. "I'm so proud of you, Pamela, and so happy that you
and Mike have come together the way you have. Congratulations on
becoming pregnant again!" Pamela was good friends with Alexa and
once worked with her at the health club as a receptionist, and it
was easy to see how Mike had become a loving and devoted husband.
Pamela was all of the good things any normal man looked for, yet
so much more. She was a positive light that glowed like the sun.
"You were the first girl to realize that Mike may be all brawn and
swagger on the outside, but he's sweet as a kitten inside."

"Lexi!" Mike complained, before turning toward me. "Wow, man.
Your wife just stripped my dignity away!"

"A tiger, maybe," Alexa amended.

"Oh, come on, Mike. They all know what you TRULY are now."
Pamela curled her fingers into claws and pretended to paw at him
while holding her smartphone in the other hand. "Meow."

Mike playfully swatted at Pamela in response.

Alexa caught my eye, and the right side of her lips lifted into
the most alluring little smile. She made her way toward me and I
felt my stomach fluttering as if I was in high school again. She
hooked a single finger into my cargo shorts and my body flinched.

"You just remember," Mike told us, "that if Pamela and I have a
daughter, we're going to name her Alexis. Not Alexa, but Alexis.
Don't want things to become too confusing, you know. Yeah, man.
Both Pamela and I agree that it is the right thing to do."

Again, I so hoped Mike and Pamela had a daughter.

Moments later, I watched from a distance as Merissa said her
final goodbyes to Pamela alongside Alexa. I eyed the trio of
ladies as Pamela secured tiny Oliver into his car seat, their
chatter light and friendly, but I soon focused on my two wives.
And why not? It was difficult to believe, but I had become the
patriarch of our little family. Merissa turned to look at me, and
the space between us immediately sparked and hummed. Love was a
powerful emotion. I would never lose sight of that. I was much
stronger with Merissa (as well as Alexa) by my side, and if life
brought a nasty, unforeseen storm, I would shelter them. If life
brought pain, I would nurse them through it. Above all else, I
would not let anything - or anyone - stand in the way of our love,
our relationship, our marriage, our precious family.

Mike looked over my shoulder at Merissa and then smiled at me.
"All you ever do, man, is stare at Lexi and Merissa. You've been
doing it all day. You cannot take your eyes off of them. It's
been that way for years!" Mike chuckled and added, "Are you going
to stare at them all night too, even after everyone is long gone?"

"No," I answered, holding my hand out to Merissa as she quickly
approached. I pulled her in close and then expounded, "I'm going
to stare at them for the rest of my life."

* * *

Once all of our guests were gone, Alexa and Merissa put Cooper
down for a nap of his own and I sprayed off the pool deck and
picnic area outside, and did some heavy duty scrubbing. As a
doctor, I was always fearful of germs and bacteria, and was fairly
maniacal about keeping the area out back pristine and clean at all
times. It was one of my little quirks in life.

We were all still stuffed from that massive lunch earlier, and
would snack on leftovers tonight for dinner as needed. Once dusk
fell, the fireworks show at the nearby country club would begin.

I was so deeply and gloriously in love with both of my brides
that I literally saw them everywhere. In the colorful scarves
that hung from the wall mirror in our bedroom, which I could think
of several creative uses for that had absolutely nothing to do
with the cold weather months. Alexa's shoes were neatly lined up
near the closet by the height of their heels. The black leather
boots shot a rush of adrenaline through me. Merissa's open
lingerie drawer revealed delightful hints of satin and lace.

As I retreated to the washroom and took a shower after cleaning
up outside very late that afternoon, I even realized my two wives'
sweet scent was everywhere. The steam in the shower held the
peppermint and lavender aroma of Merissa's shampoo, and when I
stepped from the shower, the towels smelled like Alexa's linens
and clothing. They were everywhere to me; it was total bliss.
As I brushed my teeth, I picked up Alexa's perfume bottle and was
reminded of the day we first met each other at _Perky's Cafe_ on
June 24, 2010. The day that forever righted my destiny in life.
The day everything about Alexa became ingrained in my senses.

The day she stole my coffee and the last doughnut muffin(!!!)

The nearby beach was buzzing with activity when, as nightfall
descended all around us, I put a lawn chair in the middle of our
front yard and relaxed with Cooper and Madison squished up tight
in both arms, with a blanket over top of us. Colorful balloons
waved from the corner posts of big white tents, like confetti that
had been tossed from the sky. A steady breeze swept off the lake,
carrying sounds of families frolicking by the shore and onlookers
laughing and talking, eating ice cream, cupcakes and pink blooms
of cotton candy. Giggling teen-aged girls huddled together, eyeing
eager boys, full of life and the indestructibility of youth.

It was almost time for the fireworks! Excitement hung in the
air, the energy charged with group-wide anticipation. But our
family had its own private viewing area - our front yard.

Cooper and Madison swiveled and ducked their heads in unison
as they listened to the music coming from the local country club.

"Happy Fourth," I told my two oldest kids. Of course, Cooper
and Madison had to put on a spectacle of their own. They had
glow sticks in hand and stayed busy flinging them about. The
neighbors got a real kick out of them acting cute.

Merissa soon emerged from the house with three bottled waters
in hand and my eyes instantly found her. It was a bit chilly out
now, and she had changed into a pair of denim shorts with a white
lace tank-top beneath a loose gray sweater. I could not take my
eyes off of her even as she sat down next to us and offered me a
bottled water, as well as the two kids. Merissa's sweater slipped
off one shoulder, and she glanced over with a seductive look in
her eyes as she pulled it up. It slid right back down and Merissa
trapped her lower lip in her teeth, knowing exactly what she was
doing to me. Merissa was actually teasing me!

I watched as Merissa helped Cooper put his marshmallow onto a
graham cracker. I was certain that she was thinking about how much
she loved the kids and how important it was to be a good mother,
alongside Alexa, for them. After all, they thought of themselves
as dual mothers for all the children. Myself, I was happy to be
out here and for the little ones to have a chance to enjoy the
fireworks display. Yet in the end perhaps I was bad after all,
because all I could think about right now was getting that sticky
marshmallow and chocolate all over Merissa so I could lick it off.

Cooper took a bite of his marshmallow and cracker and even
shared part of it with Madison. Merissa brushed crumbs from both
of their faces as she glanced sweetly at me. "Happy Fourth, baby."

"Happy Fourth!" I said back to her.

"The fireworks are going to be right over there," I told Cooper
and Madison, pointing over yonder. "You ready?"

Cooper squirmed away and ran off. "No, I gonna watch them on
the twampoline." I laughed in response as he scurried over to
the trampoline and climbed atop it. "Bouncy, bouncy! Look Daddy!
Me-Me, look! Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!" Cooper had five different
glow sticks wrapped around his lower left leg. Merissa kept an
eye on him, allowing me to focus more attention onto Madison.

"Cooper, go sit on Aunt Merissa's lap!" Alexa encouraged him
as she came from the house with little Asher bundled up all nice
and snug in her arms. "The fireworks are starting soon! Cooper!"

"No, Mommy. I stay right here."

The first firework soon burst overhead and magnificent colors
showered down in a display that had Madison completely captivated.
"Come sit down!" Alexa again called over to Cooper, who climbed
down from the trampoline and then went rushing to Merissa's lap.
As we watched the show, all three parents each holding a child, I
noticed Alexa and Merissa, who were now side-by-side, slowly sink
into each other, snuggled up upon the grass to my left and
enjoying the glorious painting of the sky. I closed my eyes at
how good it felt to be with my precious, little family.

And when the finale hit an hour later, and the colorful bursts
overlapped in an ever-building crescendo, Alexa's lips found mine
and we shared a kiss that served as an unspoken promise of many
more years of love and family togetherness to come.

* * *

I sat in Dad's old pickup truck at the entrance to _Oak Hill_
cemetery in Easton, Kansas the following day. Every Wednesday
after getting off of work, I planned on driving here - by my
lonesome - to stop and say hello to Dad. Sometimes Alexa, Merissa,
the kids and I drove here on the weekend to pay our respects as a
family, but Wednesday was going to be reserved for father-son time
until further notice. Both of my wives knew I would be late
arriving home for dinner, although I never stayed for too long.

I exited the truck and as I walked toward my father's burial
plot, I looked over at the small creek that flanked the cemetery,
its current strong, rippling. The horizon showed every indication
of a coming storm, although the weather forecast did not call for
one. Yet I had plenty of time for a good visit.

A shiver ran down my spine and I stared at the fresh dirt
without any clear thought beyond how unfathomable it was that the
man I looked up to for my entire life more than anyone else, the
one who taught me how to ride a bicycle, the person who instilled
my family values and good nature, was buried six feet under. One
day Dad was sitting at home in his favorite recliner watching
sports on television. The next he was in the coroner's office,
deceased, and our entire family was devastated as we had to make
funeral arrangements. Dad always thought he was indestructible.

So did I.

"Hey Dad, how are you? I've missed you since I was here last
week. It's always good to visit and talk like we used to." I
shoved my hands into the pockets of my dark slacks and stared up
at the sky for a brief moment. "Cannot believe you've been gone
ten weeks now, Dad. It's just... I don't know."

I took a deep breath and shook my head. "You're going to like
your tombstone. It is getting put in next week by the company
that made it. It's taken longer than normal because we got you a
really nice, custom tombstone. Has a farmhouse mural painted on
it. Janae, Hudson, Carl and I all picked it out together." I
gathered a bag of wild bird feed from the back of the truck and
filled the wooden bird house that Cooper helped me put in here
two weeks ago. It hung from a shepherd's hook next to Dad's plot.

"Had an awesome party with the entire family, minus Carl,
yesterday for the Fourth of July," I continued talking. "Carl
couldn't make it because he is busy with his job in Utah. Wish
you were there Dad but, then again, I like to think you were." I
exhaled sharply again, just offering some random thoughts now.
"The kids are growing up so fast! It just seems like yesterday
that Cooper was born but here he is now, three-and-a-half years old.
He gets into EVERYTHING! Madi is our little drama queen and Asher
is growing, becoming more alert, so quickly. Too quickly, even."

I placed a brand new baseball cap - a Kansas City Royals' hat -
directly on top of Dad's final resting place in the earth.

"Work is going pretty well and I know you would be proud of me
for what I've been able to accomplish with my practice. Oh, and
speaking of work, I have news to report on Lexi, too. Lexi decided
to put off her physical therapist aspirations again, and instead
took another job as a fitness instructor at a new gym in [City Name].
It doesn't pay as much as the last one and she has to work seven to
three instead of her five to ones, but Lexi is happy being able to
continue to work in fitness. It really is the perfect job for her
because fitness once saved her life." I nodded my head, as if
I had heard a silent question. "Yeah, it's Monday through Friday."

"Lexi doesn't start working again for another week-and-a-half,
though," I added. "We are taking a little vacation to Georgia
next week, going there in the minivan, so Merissa can see her
family. They put Colton's tombstone up a few months ago, and she
finally gets to visit it. Yeah, Dad. Tell Merissa's dad and her
baby brother up there in Heaven that she will be visiting him next
week at the cemetery in Georgia. We actually plan on staying
there for several hours, maybe even an entire day."

"Do me a favor, Dad, and tell Rick that I love his daughter
more than anything. I so wish he was still alive so I could meet
him, and him be a part of Merissa's life. Please, Dad... tell him
for me. Merissa is... everything to me. Yes, just like Lexi. I
promise to take care of his daughter for all eternity. Tell him?"

"With Lexi taking that new job, Merissa is going to continue to
stay home and watch the kids for now. Perhaps it will be Merissa's
turn to go back to work when Lexi gets pregnant, and Lexi will be
the one staying home? I'm still home, off work, on Friday,
Saturday, Sunday each week. That's not going to change."

I grinned and again shook my head.

"I'm still holding you to that, Dad. A daughter for Lexi,
Merissa and I next summer - Brooklyn. Can't wait. I think four
kids is going to be enough for us. Two girls, two boys."

After saying goodbye to Dad, but promising I would be back
once arriving home from our trip to Georgia late next week, I
hopped into the truck and began the 40 mile trek back to Lake
Quivira. I had been driving Dad's old truck a lot lately. Once
on the interstate, I received a telephone call from Alexa.

"Hey baby," she greeted me. "You still visiting your father?"

"I left the cemetery about 20 minutes ago. What's up?"

"I know I don't say this often," Alexa responded, "but I'm in
the mood for some ice cream." My eyes went wide as she continued,
"Merissa and I were talking, and we think it would be an awesome
treat for the kids if we actually had dinner at _Perky's Cafe_ in
Basehor tonight. You know, their ice cream is awesome, too." I
heard Alexa gulp her throat, as if she was hungry. And guilty.
So adorable. "I'm not supposed to say that as a vegan."

"A Perky's Turkey?" was my immediate reaction, my stomach
rumbling at the mere thought of their scrumptious club sandwich.
Dinner at our favorite breakfast cafe?

Alexa giggled. "What do you say?"

"Sounds like a date," I answered, glancing at the time. "I'll
be home in 20 minutes. Oh..." I paused for a moment and ended
with a grin, "Save all the doughnut muffins for me. They're MINE!"

<<<- THE END, of Recollections ->>>

The story is now complete! Thank you to all of my loyal readers who
have been with me from the start. I hope you enjoyed reading this
story as much as I did writing it.

Can someone say... sequel?

==---- -- -- -- - --- -- -- - - --- -- -- --- - -- - - - - --- -- ----==

(c) 2017 Kaadorix

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