Category Archives: Calder Harrison

Catching Up with the Harrisons

Life in the Harrison’s has been somewhat, well, ordinary.  Calder continued his medical career and Kaylynn continued to take care of Jake.   Both Calder and Kaylynn appeared to be more in love than ever regardless of the fact they never really seemed to see much of each other.

In no time it was Jake’s big birthday.

Jake definitely looked to have taken his Dad’s eyes and his Mom’s hair.

Unfortunately for Jake, he got a bit excited during his party and had a small accident.  This caused him to go into an emotional fit and then hide in the bathroom for the remainder of the day.  Not a good sign for emotional stability.

Another guest made themselves known to Calder.  He heard the silent call and went outside to speak with his friend.  The Leader of The Pack had been with him most of his life now.  The dreams were no longer dreams and Calder knew, more and more, he was led to something larger and more impressive then he had ever seen before in his life.   He also began to wonder if the call was not for him but for perhaps Jake or other, future members of his line.

Life continued.  Even though they rarely saw each other with Calder’s schedule, they still made the best use of the small amounts of time given.  The result?  Another Harrison was shortly on the way and although shocked at first, Kaylynn grew more and more excited by the growing family.

Jake also appeared to have a serious trouble with his schooling.  Calder remembered how his own father had talked to him and worked with him.  However, Jake seemed more stubborn then Calder had ever been.  Calder worried about pushing him too hard but still kept on him.

Kaylynn began a very odd diet of strange deserts and lobster.

She also took large amounts of time to play with Jake as much as possible.  He loved the attention and it seemed to help him with his schoolwork as well.

And as winter approached, Jake made a new friend in the neighborhood.

Then, the fateful day.  While Calder read the newspaper and Jake played outside, Kaylynn went through labor by herself.  Calder, the doctor, came running up the stairs once he heard her cries but was too late to be much help.

Soon, the Harrisons had a new addition to the family and it was a first, a girl!  The parents was incredibly excited to finally be able to finally add a little girl to the clan and Kaylynn was beside herself after living in a household of mainly men for far too long.

When they called Jake, he ran upstairs and, once again, showed his over the top emotions about the matter.

More aware than ever they both have their work cut out for them, Calder and Kaylynn retired for the evening.  But perhaps not as aware as one would hope.  Within an hour the two of them were at the whoo-hoo again, flinging sheets and throwing sparks.

Would a third Harrison be on the way?  Calder did sort of hope so but one thing he did know and that was, regardless, they were going to need a larger house.  He decided then and there it was time to hit work hard, get the final promotions he needed so as to secure wealth for his family.

But could Kaylynn do it alone?  And would he get it done before he was too old to continue?

And, perhaps more importantly, what did the Leader of the Pack think about it?

Divisions

As expected, Dale’s death unhinged the household for several weeks.  Brendon took the loss of his father hard.  He was more aloof than normal, rarely speaking.  He would stay out late at night.  He would rarely eat with Calder and Kaylynn.

Then, one weekend morning, Brendon stalked out to where Calder was fishing in the small pond his father had built.  Calder could tell his brother was upset and Brendon immediately wasted no time tearing into him over his father’s death.  The mystery of Brendon’s mood over the past weeks was revealed.

“You were there.  You’re a doctor.  You could have done SOMETHING!  You let him die!”

Calder tried to explain there was nothing he could have done.  Besides, his father had asked that he not try anything.  Their father had wanted to pass on.  He tried to get Brendon to understand.

It was pointless.  Brendon accused Calder of trying to take the house and finally, in a fit of anger, lost his temper.

Calder was stunned.  Brendon turned and stormed back into the house.  As he entered, his glare at Kaylynn set her back on her heels and she moved out of his way.  Going to his room, he changed clothes and took the old family car to an unknown destination.

Kaylynn did her best to reassure Calder about his brother.  He was only grieving, young, and angry at the loss of his parents.  He would come to reason in time.

Brendon tried to calm down.  He wandered the local park and the day slipped away.  As the sun set, he drove to one of the clubs where he would occasionally do DJ work.  He wanted to drink.  It was late.  He wanted to forget.  He wanted his anger to go away.

He was surprised when a beautiful but eccentric blonde woman approached him.  He’d heard of her kind but had never seen one in person.  With pale skin and red eyes, she moved close to him and introduced herself to him.

“You drew my attention,” she said to him.  When asked why she simply explained, “Your anger. ”

He was caught off guard and she moved closer to him.  Her voice was like velvet on his neck, relaxing him.  He couldn’t remember everything she said but he did catch, “I could help you with it.  I could help you with it in many many ways.”  A thrill shot through Brendon.  He was sure she could help him.

However, something in him caused him to step back and fold his arms, the woman smiled and said, “Think about it.  Here is my number.  I think we would have an…. interesting relationship.”

Off center, Brendon stumbled to the other side of the club only to have his second surprise of the evening.  This one, however, was far more pleasant.

“Hi, you don’t know me but I know you.”

Her name was Crystal Kody.  She was brash, intelligent, fun and obviously interested in Brendon.  Recovering from the Contessa, he asked Crystal to have a bite to eat with him and she accepted.  She’d first seen him DJ’ing at another club and had been following his performances.  She promised she wasn’t a stalker just someone who thought he had a real talent as a DJ.

They talked for long time.  He told her about his father and how he had come to hate his current living situation.  She was straightforward in her answer, “So?  Move out.  Get your own place.”  She smiled and moved a bit closer to him, “It was the best thing I ever did.”

Brendon was no fool and he knew his cues when given to him.  The night moved on, turned into morning and became increasingly warmer.

Brendon didn’t go back home that night.

Meanwhile, that same evening, Kaylynn was awoken with an odd feeling.  It was an odd mix of sensations but by the time she had crawled out of bed, she knew what it was.

And with it came a sudden hunger.  There was only one thing to do in the middle of the night and that was eat a large bowl of macaroni and cheese.

While other members of his family had their own surprises through the night, he had his own in the form of a dream.  The wolf with the glowing eyes was back in his dream.  Calder was in dressed as if he had just gotten up in the middle of the night.  He met the wolf outside the house.  Brendon was there this time, looking down on them.  Calder was talking to the wolf about something.  There was a vague memory that it concerned his father’s death.

Then, the wolf saw Brendon and as Brendon reached down to greet it the wolf snarled at him.  It crouched.  Brendon cowered.  Fangs flashed and just as the wolf was sure to lunge forward, Calder awoke.

Calder showered and tried to recollect more of the dream but he could not.  His newlywed wife called him down for breakfast and he trudged downstairs.

Kaylynn told him the news over a  plate of grilled cheese sandwiches she had made when the macaroni and cheese did not fill her up.   Calder thought the combination of grilled cheese and orange juice was a strange combination but he understood completely when he heard the news.   The dream from the night before faded from his memory.  They were going to have a baby.

They were so lost in their delight they did not stop to wonder where Brendon might be.

A Spring Wedding

As Spring began things around the Harrison household fell into an easy rhythm.  Dale continued to work on his paintings as well as taking a bit more time at the local card house where he had originally taken Dagmar.  He dusted off his poker game and could be found there for several hours every day.

Calder was truly happy for the first time since his youth.  As the weeks progressed he couldn’t believe he’d ever had any confusion between Zen and Kaylynn.  Kaylynn was a joy to be around and the two of them expressed their happiness daily.

Brendon was a different matter.  Although happy with his journalism gig he began hanging out more at the downtown scene.  He even took a turn DJ’ing at a local club, decided he liked it and continued on with it as a part time job.

However, since his mother’s death Brendon had turned somber.  He made a bad call at the newspaper and ran a story he shouldn’t have which got him demoted.  This seemed to turn him further.  He was snickering more at people, more prone to bursts of displeasure and carrying with him a general disdain of the world.  He glared at Calder and Kaylynn and their displays of affection in the house.  All in all, he just seemed more angry than usual.

Dale was also painting more and more every day.  His work was starting to get serious recognition both for its quality and its volume.  A gallery downtown had asked to display his work.  Dale told the family he was working on a piece that he felt was his crowning piece.  He joked about the “criminal turned artist.”

As the weeks turned, Calder finally had a serious talk with Kaylynn and the decision was made.  They would follow through with it and get married.  Both agreed they wanted it to be a quiet ceremony, just family.  A flowered arch was ordered and the four of them gathered in the living room.  Dale could not have been prouder of his oldest son.

The ceremony was beautiful and simple.  Neither one ran from the alter.

As the two celebrated and Brendon showed a rare display of joy, Dale took a moment to reflect on everything up to this point.  He wished Dagmar could was there to share in it.   She would have been so happy to see the two of them together.  Maybe she had a hand in it from the other side?  Maybe she was here watching?  Dale missed her so much and even more so at this moment.

The evening progressed and Dale swept away his feelings.  It was a joyous evening and he poured champagne for everyone.

Just as the lucky couple were about to retire for the evening, Calder’s cell phone went off.  A massive accident had occured on the freeway downtown and he was needed at the hospital immediately.  He explained to Kaylynn and she urged him to go.  There would be other evenings and he was needed.

She waited up with him late into the evening.  Dale kept her company and she watched him paint until, exhausted, he went to bed.  When Calder finally returned early in the morning he had even more good news to share.  No one had been lost in the accident.  Things had been so hectic he had been forced to treat several patients in the emergency room.  His supervisor had been so pleased with his skill and Calder giving up his wedding night in order to save lives Calder had gained a promotion.

The two celebrated in the living room and then taking the bags Kaylynn had packed for them drove off to a hotel downtown.  They were not seen again for several days.

Brendon Grows Up and Other Key Moments

After the turmoil of the failed wedding and Dagmar’s passing it took some time for things to start moving again around the Harrison’s.  Yet, it didn’t take THAT long.  No more news came to Dale of the strange going-ons downtown.  He wondered sometimes what had happened and why the threats of the mysterious blonde woman never panned out.

With his mother’s passing, Calder seemed to be given a reprieve of the werewolf dreams.  He continued his work at the hospital and was advancing slowly.  Kaylynn continued her friendship with the family and was told by Dale she could stay as long as needed.  Her and Calder continued to grow close again and the lines of friendship once more began to fan into something much warmer.

However, one of the things that seemed to help pull Dale out of his internal stress was watching Brendon grow closer to manhood.  His second oldest finished out his final year of school with flying colors and before too long it was time for a party.  Brendon was following in his mother’s footsteps as a writer.  In his senior year, Brendon was writing for the school paper, had focused on getting some contacts at the local paper, The Roundabout Herald, and was writing a small youth column.  His final birthday as a teenager came and Dale was elated to get the party started.   A special surprise guest was the headmaster for the school who was delighted to have taught the young man.

The party went off smoothly which seemed to be an exception for the Harrisons.  Oddly enough, Tosha Go, Brendon’s school sweetheart was unable to make the party.  Calder blew out his candles and the partygoers waited to see the grown up Brendon.  Racheal Sanders seemed particularly interested… (or maybe she was just checking out Calder?)

Then, Brendon Harrison became an adult.  His shirt frightened more than a few of the attendees.  (Knowledge Aspiration with the LG of Becoming a Media Magnate.)

Afterwards, the party went into full swing and the Headmaster showed off some of his moves.

Racheal wasted no time getting to know Brendon.  They spent a long time talking about travel, media, and assorted other topics and seemed to hit it off nicely.  Dale observed and wondered if Tosha had missed out on more than she knew.

The party wrapped up in the evening and Brendon, under urging from his brother, went to change out of the odd western shirt as well as cleaning up himself up  a bit.

Before the week was over, Brendon was offered a part time job finishing up the yearbook for the high school as well as a full time job at the Roundabout Herald.  Wasting no time, he got to work immediately.

Later in the week, Kaylynn had decided she had waited long enough and made her move.  Her and Calder went out for a long date to a special location Kaylynn had picked out, a local spa.   They lounged and talked by the fireplace and Kaylynn suggested the hot tub. Calder, not one to miss a hint, joined her.

Relaxed by the surroundings, Calder finally opened up fully to Kaylynn.  He began asking questions about Kaylynn’s actions during his wedding.  “I know how you feel about me. We’ve been through a lot.”  He paused and then started again, “What you did at the wedding.  Was it on purpose? We’d talked and I thought you were happy for me? ”

“I was happy for you but I had to do it.  Your father knew how I felt and helped me see that I couldn’t just sit by and watch it happen.  It was weird though…”

“What was weird?”

“I didn’t feel like myself.  I just remembered thinking about it, about what I was going to say and then, I dunno, I have this weird blank.  I don’t remember doing anything at all but the next thing I knew Zen was slapping you and glaring at me. ”

Calder agreed it was weird.  He also filed away the fact that his father had talked her into it.  He asked her more details but she swore she had never intended for it to happen that way. “Regardless, Calder, I’m not afraid to tell you I’m glad it went down the way it did.”

“Yeah,” responded Calder, “Ok.  So, where do we go from here?”

Kaylynn grinned micheviously, “I was hoping you’d say something like that…”

“Let’s get out of the tub and I’ll show you my idea.”  Kaylynn continued.

They did and as soon as Calder reappeared from getting dressed into street clothes, Kaylynn dropped to one knee and proposed.

Calder was surprised and stunned.  His thoughts made him pause for only a few seconds before he accepted completely.

The Plan, Part Four

Calder wasted no time making wedding preparations with Zen.  Weeks passed and they agreed on a small party at the Harrisons.  The day of the wedding things were confusing as could be expected.  His parents were in a good mood over the event but both Calder and Dagmar were surprised at just how jovial Dale was being.  He wouldn’t stop telling jokes.  He seemed genuinely happy for Calder’s big day.

By mid-afternoon, Calder was dressed and ready to go.

(Seeing his formal wardrobe for the first time I was greatly amused.)

Calder met Zen before the majority of guests arrived.  He showed her where she could change (Brendon’s room), smooched on her a bit, and then rushed off to greet the guests.  The party got off to a great start with a large buffet and dance music.  The mood was high and everyone’s excitement was building.

During this time, Kaylynn walked up to Calder and began talking to him.  She seemed to have something on her mind but Calder could not place what it might be.  There was an odd look in her eyes, wild, passionate.  He had to admit he was definitely attracted to it.

He asked her if everything was alright and she moved closer to him, real close, and said everything was just fine.  Her eyes held a strange ferocity.   She caressed his cheek, let her other hand drift to his chest.  Tosha Go, Brendon’s sweet heart, was also in the room and watched in surprise.  Kaylynn moved closer.

“What… what are you doing, Kay?” stuttered Calder with a bit of an embarrassed smile on his face.  “This isn’t part of the plan.”

“Oh, yes it is,” murmured Kaylynn.  She leaned forward, stroked his arm, and gave him a light, romantic kiss on his cheek.

Unknown to Calder but seen by Kaylynn, Zen had come down from upstairs for some reason and was standing right behind him.  In the space of a heartbeat, everything disintegrated.  When he heard the intake of Zen’s breath behind him he knew there was going to be trouble.

There was trouble.  Zen had seen and heard the whole thing.  Kaylynn walked away as Zen verbally attacked him.  What the hell was going on? What was that about?

It didn’t take a genius to connect the dots and as Zen pressed for answers Calder was unable to answer in time.  Zen let him have it and retreated back up to her dressing room.

Guests scattered from the living room in droves and Calder held his head.  What the hell was going on?  Kaylynn came over but didn’t know what to say.  She seemed dazed herself.   Behind Calder, Dale appeared to be having the time of his life.

The wedding party plodded forward.  Zen’s mother, Kari, went upstairs to check on her daughter and did not come back down.  Brendon asked Tosha to go check on things upstairs and get a report.  She did and came back down to report that Zen was finishing up.  She seemed to be recovered.  The official time for the wedding approached and Calder took his place under the wedding arch.  Zen appeared and took her place next to him.  Though not in a wedding dress she looked radiant.

Calder was a little worried about the lack of a wedding dress.   As he produced the ring and the vows began he soon found out why.

Zen lifted her hand for Calder to place the ring on her finger.  Then, suddenly she shook her head and she started to panic.  Her eyes hardened and her jaw set.  She recoiled from him and stepped away.

She couldn’t do it.  She’d spoken to Tosha upstairs and found out more.  She was scared enough as it was to get married and now, with everything, she couldn’t take it.  She wouldn’t do it.  She  looked at the gathered party and unable to speak she blasted from the wedding arch and towards the dining room door in a literal puff of smoke leaving Calder at the wedding arch.

The wedding was over.  Behind Calder, outside in the winter cold, two glowing feral eyes watched the proceedings calmly, silently.

The wedding was a bust.  Calder was in shock and his mother did his best to console him.

He then went outside to gather himself.  He was stunned.

Suddenly, while outside, something made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.  It was if something was watching him.  It was like a feeling from one of his dreams.  He looked out from the porch and into the dark winter woods.  He saw nothing.  Puzzled and tired, he went back inside and up to his room.

The guests streamed out slowly and eventually the house was left with just the Harrisons.  Kaylynn acted on old habits and immediately began clearing the mess.  The wedding cake was left untouched and Dale, after changing, began to help Kaylynn.  The two shared a quiet look but spoke no words.  Dale offered a small smile.  Kaylynn remained silent.

As the evening grew late, Dale stopped his wife by the wedding arch.  “So,” he began, “that was an interesting day.  What are your thoughts?”

Dagmar admitted she felt sorry for Calder but she herself was thankful.  Then, she noticed something particular about the way her husband had asked the question.  “And why do you ask?”

Dale smiled, “Well, I guess I have to admit a thing or two.  I  started the fighting with Zen.”

“You what?”

“I started it.  I made some comments that she would be a good criminal, it would be good to have her in the “family”, things like that.   I wanted to see how she would take it.  I wanted to see how serious she was to Calder and Calder to her.  I also did some checking up on Zen and, well, lets just say she’s got a few other boys on the line than just our Calder.”

“Oh dear,” was all Dagmar could say.  “You can take the man out of the con but you can’t take the con out of the man.”

Dale continued, ” It was fun to watch.  Calder thought we were interfering, decided to rebel and then did the one thing that would make us mad and that was to marry Zen.”  Dale shrugged, “I have to agree with you.   He and Kaylynn are too good together.   He and Zen are friends but they should never get married.  I had to make one last play to see if it could be stopped.”

Dagmar just shook her head at Dale. “I don’t want to know how that might apply to us.  So, what did you do?”

“I had a little talk with Kaylynn.”

He explained that he had gone into her room to bug her.  He pressed her on how she really felt about things and she told him everything.  Calder and her had made a plan to still be friends, maybe even still sleep together behind Zen’s back.  Dale asked her if she really thought that was a good idea.  She said it wasn’t but that she didn’t care.  She still wanted to be close to Calder

Dale got her to agree that she’d talk to Calder one final time before the ceremony, maybe get him to re-think things.  He told her, “You gotta stand up for things that are important to you.  If  Calder’s important to you than you have to do it.” She agreed.

But Dale never expected her to do what she had done.   He  never would have guessed she’d do something like it.  Dale gave a chuckle,   “And it worked!  The poor boy is heartbroken and has no idea how lucky he’s got it.”

“Dale Harrison,” said Dagmar, “you’re a wonder to watch work.”

The evening grew quiet.  Kaylynn and Calder had a gentle talk on the back porch.  He was alright, he’d be fine.  Kaylynn hugged him and then went quietly to bed in the guest room.  Calder stayed up a while longer and was entertained by Brendon who was worried about them.  They played video games together and then, it was late and past midnight.

Calder said his good nights and the house went to sleep.

However, outside past the pond and the trees.  In the winter moon shadows cast by skeletal trees a pair of glowing yellow eyes kept rapt, silent attention on the house.  The owner of those eyes had his own plan and so far, it was working very well.  For now, he watched and… he waited.

(Postscript: You know, it’s funny.  Check out that pic at the wedding arch!  I was so focused on the wedding action I didn’t actually catch the werewolf dog outside at the door until I was processing the screenshots.  It literally changed the way the story went down after I saw it.  I didn’t even know he was wandering around outside!  What a great surprise!)

The Plan, Part Three

Fireworks ensued when Calder returned home.  He announced his engagement quietly to his parents and his mother nearly fainted, his father chuckled and then regained composure.  Wondering on the reactions, Calder asked what was going on and Dagmar told him that Kaylynn had agreed to move in with the family.  Things got hot from there.

In order not to cause a complete mess, Calder took his mother outside for a long talk.  They argued.  What gave her the right to try and control his life?

His mother angrily retorted.  Why couldn’t he see that Kaylynn was a much better woman for him then Zen?

“It’s not your decision!” Calder finished.

Dagmar walked off in a huff and Calder stewed for the rest of the day.  Inside, Dale took a more calm approach and retreated back into his paintings.   He was sure everything would work itself out one way or the other.   In his experience he’d discovered Love had a way of doing just that and the more you forced it, the worse it got.

He was becoming fairly well known for his paintings and they were beginning to go for more and more simoleans at the local studios.  He was beginning to get commissions as well.  So, he relaxed and finished up a piece until he heard Dagmar talking with Kaylynn.

Wandering into the guest room they had given Kaylynn, he found Dagmar telling her the news.  Kaylynn seemed to take it in her normal calm way that Dale liked so much.  He wondered quietly to himself, “Why wasn’t she named Zen instead of Zen being named Zen?”

As they both listened Dagmar began going on about the fact Kaylynn NEEDED to get between Zen and Calder.  If she cared for Calder at all, she’d be more aggressive and get him to open his eyes.  Kaylynn seemed amused at the whole idea and Dale moved quickly to get his upset wife out of the house.

He took Dagmar out to a local restaurant and got her to relax a bit.  Over a fine cuisine of cheeseburgers and wine he was able to get her to see just how crazy she had been with their oldest son.   She still didn’t like Zen but she did admit she’d gone over the top with Kaylynn.  She’s taken advantage of their ex-maid’s financial situation, got her stuck in a another difficult one and would apologize to her in the morning.

“What can I say, dear,” Dagmar said, “I’m the wife of a con-man.”

Meanwhile, at home, Kaylynn asked to speak to Calder out on the back porch.  She told him she had heard the news and that, honestly, she was happy for him.  Regardless of her crazy mother’s attitude, Kaylynn could see that Zen was a much better fit for him then she was.  She wanted him to know she understood.

Calder, a little stunned, apologized for not telling her sooner.   He teased,  “Sorry, Kay,  I sometimed can’t seem to find my way out of an ethical dark alley.”    Kaylynn agreed.

“I guess I’m just the son of a con-man,” Calder joked

Kaylynn agreed with that one too.

Kaylynn laughed and easily accepted the apology.  The minute she had gotten to know the Harrisons she’d known what she was getting into.  It amused her to no end.  “Calder, as long as this whole thing doesn’t get between us being close friends, I don’t care.”

That evening, Calder had yet another wolf dream.  This time he was outside the house with Zen.  As they talked, the same large wolf with glowing eyes walked up to them.  Zen appeared to not notice the creature.  As he watched, the wolf stopped directly between them and simply stood.  Zen continued talking as if nothing was wrong and all Calder could do was look at the wolf.

Then, the wolf turned to him.

Zen was gone and he heard a voice in his mind which called him by his name and once again he felt the rush of strength and power.  He heard the wind in the trees.  He could smell a remainder of Zen’s perfume, the musky smell of the wolf, and the far off smell of approaching snow.

Then, the dream ended and he awoke.  For some reason, the dream had left him feeling energized but also disturbed.  It had something to do with the way the wolf stood between he and Zen.  It bothered him for most of the day but then he went to work, got a promotion, and quickly forgot about it.

After he got home that afternoon from the hospital he took Kaylynn outside for a little talk.  He had been thinking about what she had said and wanted to fill her in on an idea he had during work.  Outside, the first snow of the year was beginning to fall and the dream from the night before passed through his mind.  He felt more energized again, he felt wild.  He knew the idea might forever damage his friendship with Kaylynn but the reminder of the dream helped him.  Kaylynn listened quietly as he spoke.

She was a little shocked when he dropped the final line.

But, to Calder’s surprise, she came around, added a few ideas of her own and agreed that if he was okay with it, so was she!

And so, as the first snow of winter fell around them, they celebrated their plan together.

(And, as a small aside, I thought I’d post a little screenshot that illustrated what exactly I’ve been dealing with when it comes to Calder and his inability to make a decision.  It’s been a challenge but well worth it.  Hope he survives…)

Click here to continue on to The Plan, Part Four

The Plan, Part Two

Unlike his brother, Brendon was having the time of his life.  Dagmar arranged for Brendon to get into private school based on the Brendon’s grades, an amazing dinner, and her silver stylings of schmoozery .

Dale, seeing his sons move upward into a life he had never had, was delighted.   He was also enjoying his retired life.  Fishing, painting, seeing his children prosper, as well as hot dates with his wife made him in a ferverishly good mood.  Brendon, within a few days of joining the new school began bringing home “friends” on the bus.  These friends were a constant distraction from his house and school work.  Fortunately, Brendon, by all appearances, was becoming a very talented young man who was able to keep several things going at once AND not slip on his homework.

However, Calder did not have it as well.  The good news was the clouds of doubt he had been having between his choices did seem to be departing.  He’d decided whether his parents agreed or not he was going to ask Zen to marry him.  He loved her a great deal and she made him laugh with her constant goofiness.   He knew she loved him as well.  He felt it was better to press forward then to wait in indecision!  After working a few shifts, he gave her a call and they met outside the luxurious Londoste restaurant.

Zen and he had a wonderful dinner.  He wined her.  He dined her.  At the very end of a delicious meal filled with good conversation and laughter he played his surprise upon Zen Slate.  The plan worked to perfection.

Calder was overjoyed and the two finished the date in each other’s arms.  Calder went off to work after dropping Zen off at her home.   He felt as if he were walking on a cloud.

Meanwhile, at home, Dagmar was suspicious.  Something told her that Calder might be about to do something a bit rash.  She needed a master play, something that could seal the deal between he and Kaylynn.  That evening, Kaylynn was over again and once again, Dagmar cornered her.  While Dale night fished in the back pond they talked in the upper hallway for almost an hour regarding Kaylynn’s finances and her living arrangements.  She asked Kaylynn to move in with the family.

Kaylynn was resistant at first but Dagmar had lived with a con man far too long.  She could see Kaylynn was desperate and tired of living by a showstring.  She needed a good place to live (and a good man to live it with!)  She pressed.  She pressed and eventually Kaylynn folded.  In final relief at her good fortune, Kaylynn hugged Dagmar fiercely and accepted the offer.

What neither of them knew was that Dale was not really fishing.  He’s received an email from the woman who had arrived unannounced at their house previously.  She wanted to meet him at the edge of the woods.  They needed to talk immediately.  He grabbed his fishing pole and excused himself from the house.  He met the woman in the shadows by the pond.

The meeting did not go well.  She was pressuring him.  They needed his help.  She and Ivy had been able to narrow down what was going on but it may be too late.  He was the last person they could turn to.  Something very bad had come to Roundabout Corners and they needed more information.  Her and Ivy were not sure what but it was something more than just your normal gang boss or psycho con man.   They needed his skills to help them break into an elegant home on the north side of town so they could learn more.  Maybe he could help them see something they were missing?

Dale was tempted but he stood his ground.   He’d put his family through too much and would not risk it again.  He was proud of his family.  He wouldn’t do it.  There were younger cons and thugs out there with more skills than he.   He was out and intended to stay out.  Things got heated and she stormed off back into the treeline.

Dale watched her go and hoped he had made the right decision.  He figured only time would tell.

The next morning, while Calder was still finishing up his night shift, Dale was not that surprised to see Kaylynn making breakfast in the kitchen.  She had been sort of a regular around the place lately.  What sort of surprised him was the news Dagmar broke to him at the table.  Kaylynn had accepted their offer to move in!  He’d sort of seen that one coming.  The real shocker for Dale was when Dagmar started talking about grandkids and what kind of toys to buy for them once Kaylynn and Calder finally tied the knot.  That had Dale really wondering if his wife were functioning at a hundred percent.  Kaylynn also began to second guess her decision.

Even through that he was happy for Kaylynn and the family.  It would only help his son see some good common-sense reason involving his relationships.  If nothing else, it would get him to stop thinking about that loony Zen Slate.

That was, of course, until Calder got home.

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