Category Archives: Avery and Marta

Fiction: Legal Theft– The Truth (812 words)

“Hey, AM.”

Marta looked up from the book she was reading cross legged on her bed to see Arthur—now sixteen years old and taller than both her and her sister, leaning against the doorframe to her room. He looked conflicted, and Marta wondered if he was going to try to pull that Since you’re my real mother can you tell Mom to let me… crap again. “Hey-o Kiddo, what’s up?”

“I wanted to ask you a question. Mom says I shouldn’t ask it, but—I don’t know. I kind of feel like I have to.”  Marta furrowed her eyebrows and considered him.

Technically, yes, he was her son, but Marta had never had that easy understanding of him that Avery did. They were a perfect case study of a genetic connection versus sixteen years of love, care, and direct devotion. That’s why he never got away with any of that real mother crap. They all knew that Avery was his mother, no ifs ands or buts.

“Yeah. Come in. You know you can ask me anything.”  Arthur crossed the room in two long strides, sitting himself down in Marta’s computer chair, spinning it so he faced the bed.  He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, and Marta started to be able to see just how really worried he was. “Kiddo, what’s wrong?”

“I want—um—it’s just,” Arthur took a deep breath. “Mom says that you won’t tell me no matter what, and that I shouldn’t even ask because it will just upset you, but it’s not just that I want to ask, I feel like I need to ask whether you answer me or not I’ll go crazy if I don’t ask.” All the words came spilling out of his mouth in rush, like if he paused he would lose his nerve.

Marta was starting feel anxious now. She knew that this moment was going to come eventually, but the older and older Arthur got, she started to believe that she was going to manage avoid it. “What did you want to ask me, then?”

“I wanted to know,” Arthur smiled weakly at her, “Do you know who my father is?”

Marta smiled wildly, “Of course Kiddo. You do, too. Tall guy, dark hair, sometimes talks in an annoying accent, always looks at your Mom with those sappy eyes that makes us want to gag.”

Arthur shook his head, looking down at his feet. “No, A.M., I know who my Dad is. Obviously, Dad is my Dad, but—who is my father, I mean, my biological father?”

Marta’s smiled faded away now. “I do, Arthur. I’ve never had a doubt about who your biological father is. But—The truth of the matter is, Kiddo, he wanted nothing to do with us. He called me a whore, telling me that I’d probably had sex with so many men I couldn’t be sure it was his, and then offered me four hundred dollars to never talk to him about it again. I didn’t take his money, but I never spoke to him again. And I never spoke about him again until now. If you really feel that you must know, that your life cannot be complete without knowing his name, then I will tell you, and only you, on the condition that you never tell Avery or Bradley, because they are both still Very angry about things that happened around the time you were born, but I’m telling you now—your Mom and Dad are better than that boy I ever could have done raising you, and I’ve always believed it’s not worth wasting time on people who aren’t willing to give their time to you, so…”

Marta had spoken a lot faster than she met to.  Perhaps Arthur’s rushed speaking from earlier was a family trait. He looked a bit stunned. She realized she’d never been so stern with him, and he never saw her properly angry, like she got whenever she thought about that stupid teenage boy who had insulted her character for a mistake that was equal parts both of their fault. It did take two to tango, as the cliché said.

“I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want anyone in my life who doesn’t want to be in mine. But—I was going through Mom’s year book the other day and I looked at every single face to see if there were traits of mine. I need to know his name so I can stop wondering. I think I deserve that.” Arthur answered.

“It’s a secret you will have to keep from your Mom and Dad.  Until you die or I die, whichever comes first, you understand?” Marta insisted.

“Yes, I promise,” Arthur insisted, leaning a little bit closer.

“Okay,” Marta smiled, “Yeah. Okay. Then I’ll tell you who your biological father is.”


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Fiction: Familial Fears (289 words)

In the back of my mind, I always thought that Arthur would come to hate me.  I knew that with Avery and Bradley as his parents, he would never lack for anything, and that I would be there for him if he ever needed me—but I thought for sure that at some point or another, he would hate me, at least for a little while.  Maybe because I gave him to Avery.  Maybe because I still wouldn’t tell him who his biological father was. Whatever the reason, I prepared myself for something major to come my way.

It never did.  I was the cool Aunt.  I was the attempted trump vote when Avery and Bradley wouldn’t let him do something.  Once, I was the absolute worst wen watching him for the week and I wouldn’t let him sleep over at a friend’s house on a Thursday night.  And I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no right to tell him to wait until marriage to have sex.  (I did however buy him a shit ton of condoms, and although he’ll never admit it, I think he appreciated the gesture.  I’m not so sure that Avery did, though.)

I was his Aunt Marta, but he always called me A.M., which he joked stood for Another Mother, but we all knew that Avery was really his mother.  From the moment he was born.  Really, from the moment it crossed her mind to adopt the boy in the first place, she took to the roll with gusto.  But I was still family, and he always loved me as much as I love him.  Thanks to my sister, he was so much better than I could have ever hoped.

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Posted by on December 6, 2015 in Avery and Marta, Uncategorized


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Fiction: Family Dynamics (414 words) [The Family Way]

The two men sat in the living room, feet up on the coffee table, arms crossed over their chests, enjoying the entertainment of watching the two most important women in their lives go back and forth like a tennis match.  Those women were called “identical” twins, but no one would confuse them for the other now.

The woman that Arthur called Mom still wore her hair long and curly.  She had on a blouse and slacks and her sensible work heels.  She had the little extra weight around the middle that came with being the biological mother of three and the emotional mother of four.  She seemed to be standing a little taller than her sister, and it wasn’t just because of the heels.

Arthur’s mother, the woman he called A.M. or Aunt Marta, was a bit different.  Her hair was short these days, just starting to outgrow her last spur of the moment pixie cut.  The tips were dyed a dark blue because she’d been on vacation, which also explained the jeans with holes in the knees and the bikini top.  She hadn’t had a kid in fifteen years, and no one guess by looking at her that she’d given birth at all.  And yet, somehow, she looked more exhausted than Mom, fresh home from a ten hour shift. Maybe it was because she knew she was about to lose.

“Okay, you know what? Do what you want, Avery.  Whatever floats your boat.”  A.M. threw her hands in the air. Mom had won.  That didn’t shock anyone.  But, it was faster than anyone expected.  Which meant that Dad owed Arthur twenty bucks.  That was a good outcome in his opinion.

A.M. and Mom seemed to remember they had an audience as money changed hands on the couch. “Did you bet against me, Brad?”  Mom accused Dad.

“No. Of course not.  I just bet that Marta would hold out a bit longer.”  Dad said carefully, watching as Arthur slipped the bill into his pocket.

“So, no one bet on me winning?” A.M. whined a little.

“Well, Mar, they know us.  They knew who was going to win.” Mom grinned.

A.M. let out a slow breath through her teeth.  “You know what, I’m going to bed.  I don’t want to be part of this family anymore.”

“We love you, A.M.” Arthur called after her retreating form.

“I’m taking your bedroom,” A.M. called back, and the Wilsons left in the living room couldn’t help but laugh.

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Wake ups at 2 AM [A Family Way] (185 words)

“No, no, no,” Avery groaned, rolling into her pillows.  “He’s laughing.  It’s two in the morning and our thirteen month old is laughing in his room.”

“Would you rather he be screaming?” Bradley groaned, pulling a pillow over his head.

“Yeah. Kind of,” Avery sighed, “A screaming baby can be calmed, soothed, and put back to sleep.  A laughing baby will only be encouraged by the presence of others and I may as well be awake for the rest of the day,” Avery reasoned.

“Hmm,” Bradley groaned, “Yeah, I guess so.”  He sighed, pulled the pillow off his head, and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. “I got him. Go back to sleep.”

Avery sat up, “Are you sure?  It’s technically my turn.  You had Tuesday’s nightmare.”

Bradley made a vague gesture behind his back as he pulled a T-shirt on over his head. “I’m awake now.  Sleep, A. Sleep.”  He stumbled slightly as he made his way out of the bedroom.

Avery watched him go, and snuggled deeper into her pillow.  “He is the perfect man,” she whispered to no one.

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Baby Number Two (268 words)

Marta was having flashbacks.  She and Avery had sat on this couch before, watching Bradley stack all of their worldly possessions by the door in a half-dressed and half panicked state.

There were only two major differences.  First of all, last time it was Marta who sat here looking like she had a watermelon shoved under her shirt instead of Avery. Secondly, their hand been a little boy gleefully running around Bradley, pulling items out of haphazard pile and putting them back into their proper places—only to have Bradley pick them up all over again.

“You know, this is a lot funnier the second time around,” Marta commented idly.

“You know, this is a lot funnier when you’re not the one in labor,” Avery countered, placing a hand on her stomach with a wince.

“Fair enough,” Marta agreed, “But you have to admit the addition of Arthur does add something to the mix.”

Avery smiled as Arthur laughed and carried away a bag that appeared to be filled with Oranges and Asparagus and shoved it haphazardly back into the fridge.  “Yeah, he does.”

They watched in amusement as Bradley scooped up Arthur and put him in the middle of the pile near the door.  Arthur giggled and started to crawl out, but Avery put a hand to her stomach and let out a slow whistle through her teeth.

“Time to go?” Marta asked carefully.

“Time to go,” Avery replied, and they both got off the couch, Marta to collect the boy and Avery to collect her husband.

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Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Avery and Marta


Fiction: Family Way — Letter Home (271 words)

Dear Avery,

Well, this is it.  I’m sending you this email to celebrate (complain?) that it is officially the longest you and I have ever been apart.  Well, mostly I’m sending you this email because you aren’t answering your damn phone—but I guess since you have a three year old and husband at home I’ll cut you some slack.  But, if you aren’t answering your phone when your only sister calls, and you aren’t dealing with Arthur or Bradley, I want you know I am very offended and I expect a full apology.

So yeah, this is it.  Eight days and four hours apart.  Strange, isn’t it—to think of that?  I miss you more than I thought I would—and at the same time less.  I know that makes no sense, but really you should be used to that from me by now.  Walking contradiction and all that.  But, I am glad I came here.  I’ve only been working for five days, and this internship has already taught me more than I could have ever hoped to learn.  Can you imagine where I’ll be when I finish all twelve weeks?  I’ll be unstoppable, A, and isn’t that just a terrifying thought.  Quake in your boots.  Go on, quake.

Anyway, I just wanted to say I love you, and please pass my love on to Bradley and especially Arthur.  Let them know that I miss them too.  But also tell them to enjoy the relative stillness—because when I come home I plan on causing all kinds of havoc.

Oh yeah. One more thing.  When your sister calls—Answer Your Damned Phone.

All my love,


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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Family Way–A Wedding (967 words)

“Okay. So. Bad news. Arthur definitely lost the ring, and he may have swallowed it.”

Marta was standing carefully away from me—as if she was afraid that I was going to lunge at her.  But instead, I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath.  I was so desperate to not become a Bridezilla, and I had told them not to give Arthur the ring yet, but getting angry wouldn’t change anything right? Right.

I opened my eyes and tried to smile.  “Is he hurt? I’m assuming he’s not choking on the ring because I assume you would have led with that, correct?”

Marta made a face at me, seeming to forget that today was ‘My Day’ and I would be well within my rights to hit her repeatedly with ring bearer’s pillow. “Yes—if your child was choking to death on your wedding ring I would have led with that.”

Arthur was a little over two and half.  All of our initial worries about who was going to play what role faded into nothing as we fell into naturally.   All three of us loved Arthur, and we all tried to work together to make life the best for him that we could, but Bradley and I were the parents, we had final say. Marta was great with helping out when we got busy, or when someone got sick, and even agreeing to stay in the little apartment and help pay rent with us even though she’d managed to snag a pretty sweet little job that meant she could have run off.  Although she was his birth mother, and his “aunt” and loved him whole heartedly, she’d started calling him Bradley and my child almost as soon as we got home from the hospital, even though none of us were shy about the fact that Marta was the one who’d given birth.  It just worked.

Now, Marta and I had turned twenty-one a couple of months ago, and Bradley said that was long enough for us to wait and revealed that he’d been slowly secretly planning our wedding for the last year and half.  Once we convinced his mother to let us not have the traditional catholic wedding, the ball got rolling.  Tomorrow, when the social services offices opened, we were going to go as a married couple to fill out the paperwork to adopt Arthur Martin Andersson.  We’d change his last name later.

It was true that I’d never really expected to raise a family with my sister like this, but I can’t imagine I ever thought we wouldn’t end up like this.

“No, he’s not choking.  But he’s gone tight lipped—I think he knows he did something wrong—and he’s not speaking to anyone.”  Marta sighed, going to rub at her eyes before remembering that she had more eye make up on than she was used it.

I sat down very carefully, with assistance from Bradley’s Mam as to not wrinkle the dress, and sighed up at Marta. “Send him in.”

Marta returned moments later with a little boy in a suit, his lips curled in on themselves to make a very small thin line. He definitely knew he’d done something wrong, and while I was a little annoyed that my wedding band was unaccounted for, I didn’t want him to spend all day in a bad mood.  I patted my lap, and he dropped Marta’s hand, running forward to crawl up into my lap.  He rested his head against the front of my shoulder.  “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

“What did you do, Art?  Why are you sorry?”

“I looked at the light on the wings, and I dropped them.” He held up his hand flat, like he’d been practicing carrying his pillow all week, but then shifted his hand back and forth, rocking his imaginary pillow.

“Oh,” Marta and I sighed at the same time, realizing what had happened.

“What is it, girls?” Mrs. Wilson asked.

“Arthur Andersson, you are a magpie, obsessed with shiny things.”  Marta scolded playfully.

I gave Arthur a little hug to let him know he still wasn’t really in trouble as I looked up to Bradley’s mom. “He was moving the pillow back and forth so that the light bounced off the bands.  They were probably making little light patches on the wall that he was playing with.”

“Bradley used to do that,” Mrs. Wilson smiled, reaching out to stroke Arthur’s hair, “We got him a prism for his fourth birthday, and he played with for a good five hours.”

“Yeah.  I was pretty sure I knew who taught him that,” I laughed.  “Arthur love,” I pulled him back away from chest a little so I could look him in the eye, “I promise you are not in trouble, and Mommy and Auntie Marta aren’t mad, but can you take Auntie Marta to exactly where you dropped the rings, and showed her where you were standing. And maybe if you are very careful of your suit and help her look for the rings, then you can come back here and we can share a peppermint patty before we go get married.  Does that sound good?”

Arthur’s face broke into a huge grin.  The peppermint patty was a bold-faced bribe for him to behave for the rest of the day, but what worked, worked.  “Well, find them, Mommy,” He assured me, before sliding off my lap and taking Marta’s hand with more force than you’d expect from a kid so small and trying to pull her towards the door.  “Come on, Auntie Marta.  Peppermint Patty.”

I smiled up at Mrs. Wilson as she helped me back to my feet. “That, he didn’t get from Bradley,” she teased, making a face.

“No,” I smiled even wider, “No, that she got from Marta. And me.”

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Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Sleeping Guardian Angel (736 words)

Bradley used to say he was psychic when it came to me, and sometimes I believed him.  Of course, when he forgot anniversaries or when we were supposed to be meeting up, my first joke was always “how about that psychic-ness, huh?” And he’d always come back with some excuse about my negativity messing up his psychic receptors.  Then he’d give me a kiss and I’d forgive him and roll my eyes at the idea that I thought he might have been psychic.

But, whenever I was having a hard time sleeping—he knew.  Even when we were kids—before we had a relationship or cell phones or anything of that nature, Bradley knew when I was having trouble sleeping.  We were eight years old when he first climbed out of his window, across the branches of the old tree, to knock on my window and ask me what I was thinking about and if talking was going to help.  Texting, phone calls, and window visits carried on through our lives.  There was never a night that I couldn’t sleep that I didn’t hear from Bradley asking me what was wrong.

After we moved in together, that’s when I learned that his psychic power could reach into his head even when he was sound asleep.   Bradley had gone to bed early because I had this misfortune to be holding Arthur when he fell asleep.  With Arthur, if he fell asleep when he was rocking and the rocking stopped in the first half hour or so, he was up and he was screaming. And Bradley was tired.  So it didn’t make sense for the both of us to sit and stare at a sleeping baby in silence, and since Arthur was in my arms—I sent Bradley to bed.

But when I was left alone with Arthur, I started to think. More than I should, more than was healthy.  I crawled into bed and stared at the ceiling, listening to Bradley snore.  I tried not to toss and turn as I couldn’t sleep.  Psychic-ness and guardian angels aside, I didn’t actually want to wake up Bradley.  We’d both been working so hard since Arthur was born I didn’t want to interrupt his sleep.

Whether or not it was psychic-ness, or I’m just not as good as lying still as I thought, Bradley rolled over and pulled me in by my waist.  “Wanna talk about it?” He mumbled, voice still thick with sleep.

“Talk about what?”

“Whatever it is you’re thinking about over and over again that’s not letting you get to sleep.  We both know that I can’t sleep properly until you can sleep properly.  So—what can I do to make it better?”  Bradley buried his nose in my hair, snuggling a little closer.   I considered saying nothing, just waiting, seeing if Bradley could fall back asleep without me waking him up anymore. But, if he used to crawl into a tree in the middle of the pitch black night to find out what was wrong with me, I doubted lying still would trick him.

“Don’t you wonder what he’ll look like when he grows up?” I whispered.

“Like you and Marta, I’d assume.”  Bradley whispered back.

“Yeah, but he has a father, right?  What if he takes after him? I don’t know what to expect.  I don’t know what we’re going to see as he grows up.”

“You’ll see our son,” Bradley answered easily, and I rolled over to look at him.   “It doesn’t matter who Marta slept with or that his father didn’t want to know him or that he might grow to be taller than both of us.  We adopted him. We promised to love him and we promised to care for him, and I don’t know about you but I already love the hell out of that kid and I cannot wait to see how he grows up.  Don’t you love the hell out of him?”

I blinked up at him.  “Of course I do. He’s my sister’s baby.  He’s our kid.  I love him, more than anything else.”

“Then, does it really matter what half his genes are? I mean, after the doctor has checked him for genetic markers for diseases, of course.”

“No,”  I relaxed, “No, it really doesn’t matter.”

“Excellent.”  Bradley buried another kiss in my hair, “Sleep now? Before he wakes up to be the loud version of our son?”

“Yeah. Sleep now.”

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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Toddler Mornings [Family Way] (557 words)

Avery woke up at 7:30am with a piece of paper tied to her finger.  “Don’t panic,” it started, “I took Arthur to school. Sleep in.”

Avery would have loved to sleep in, but she knew that Bradley’s note was lying, or at the very least hadn’t come to fruition quite yet.  Down the hall came the echoing voice of four-year old Arthur saying, “No, but I can’t.”

As Avery padded barefoot down the hall to the bathroom next to Arthur’s room, she heard Bradley’s still calm yet getting exasperated voice. “Arthur, you have to wear pants to go to school.  It’s the rules.”

“No, but I can’t,” Arthur repeated, this time with the little slap of barefooted stomping on the tile floor.  Avery peeked around the edge of the door carefully so she could see them but Arthur wouldn’t look up and see her.  Bradley was holding up two pairs of Arthur’s favorite pants, clearly giving him the option of even mismatching pants in an attempt to have him wear anything on his lower half.

Arthur, for his part, was standing there ready to go outside with a coat and hat and everything, expect for his bare legs and feet underneath Superman underwear. Arthur’s hatred of pants was a new development in the last two weeks.  Everyone had like it a lot better when Arthur just stubbornly refused to wear a hat.  They could take him out without a hat on—Pants, that was a different story.  They got weird enough looks without looking like they couldn’t afford to put their child in pants.

She could just see the reflection of Bradley’s face in the mirror as he looked up to check the time. He was nearing the end of his early morning rope.  The next step was going to be—

“Arthur, do you want to make a deal?”

Bribery—right on schedule.

“What’s deal?” Arthur crossed his arms over his chest.

“If you put on the blue pants,”

“No! I can’t!”

“Hey, hey, listen.  We’ll go out and have a cookie in the car.  If you put on blue pants, we’ll have a cookie in the car. Deal?”

Avery suppressed a laugh as she watched Arthur reach up and tap his lips with his finger, a gesture Avery knew that she and her sister were both guilty of while they were thinking.  “Okay.  Pants, then Cookie.”

“Pants, then cookie,” Bradley agreed, holding out a pant leg for Arthur to step into.  “Just—no telling Mommy, okay?”

“Okay.”  The pants were barely around his waist, when Arthur was out into the hallway, wrapping his arms around Avery’s legs. “Hi Mommy.  I’m wearing pants but I’m not supposed to tell you why.”

Bradley leaned backwards out of the bathroom door and looked up at Avery. “Oops.”

“Did you really think that Arthur could keep a secret? I mean, really?”  Avery laughed, picking up Arthur and kissing him on the cheek before settling him on her hip. “I’ll get Arthur his bribe while you finish getting ready—then I’ll take you up on that going back to bed offer and you can take him into school. Deal?”

“Deal.”  Bradley grinned, pulling himself back up.

Avery walked towards the kitchen, and Arthur patted her on the shoulder. “Mommy?”

“Yes, Arthur.”

“I don’t want a bribe. I want a cookie.”

“Right. We’ll get you a cookie.”

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Posted by on December 2, 2014 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Getting to Know the Family (605 words)

“Okay.”  It was about the third time she’d said that, and he could still see the gears turning in her head as she tried to piece it all together. “Okay, I think I’ve got it, but just in case I haven’t a clue, run it by me again.”

“Right. My biological mother got pregnant just before she turned 18, by another high school senior who turned out to be a real dick, so I don’t know who he is because he would just deny me anyways. My mother didn’t like the idea of raising me alone, but my aunt couldn’t face the thought of me going off to live with strangers, so through a series of twisted events I ended up adopted by my mother’s identical twin sister and her then fiancé, now husband. They are the ones I call Mom and Dad and then there is Aunt Marta.  So, biologically speaking Mom is my aunt and my aunt is my mother.”

“Okay,” she repeated once again and Arthur tried not to laugh at the look on her face.  It was strange, he knew that, but she was just so adorable as she figured it all out.  “So—that makes Michelle and Zachary?”

“Legally, my sister and brother. Biologically, my cousins.”

“Okay.”  She said one last time, slumping back against the couch.  “When you said complicated family I thought you mean you had a lot of second and third cousins you were close to or something. I can genuinely say I was not expecting all this.” She reached out and put a hand on his knee, and he tried to act like a choir hadn’t just started singing inside his head.  “When did they tell you all this?  Did they, like, sit you down on your tenth birthday and explain it all or something?”

“Uh, no.  It was never a secret.  I don’t remember them ever telling me—I just always knew what was up. Well,” Arthur tried to nonchalantly lace his fingers between hers, “I guess they didn’t tell me about my biological father until I was old enough to ask about him.  But that always made sense to me, because there was really no reason to mention that he didn’t want me when I was a toddler.  I can’t imagine that would have been too good for my psyche.”

“No—I suppose not.”  She gave his hand a squeeze, and he couldn’t help but grin like an idiot. “So, your Aunt Marta?”  He nodded she was correct before she carried on, “She never got married? Had any other kids.  No cousins who are actually siblings or anything like that?”

“Oh, no,” Arthur laughed, “No, no.  A.M. was never the settling type, or really the raise a child type. She’s been dating Frank a while now—a full thirteen months if I’ve got my timeline right, so that’s kind of cool. She lived with us until I was—oh goodness, Michelle was born when I was nine, so she lived with us ‘til I was seven and a half or so, and then I don’t think she’s lived in the same place for more than a year since.  And she loves every second of it. We see her at all the major holidays, and she hasn’t missed a birthday yet, so more power to her.”

“And what about you, Arthur Wilson? Do you have a wandering soul?”

Arthur tried to believe there wasn’t a double meaning behind that question, but then answered like there was one anyway. “No, not really.  I’m more a settle and nest type.”

She smiled up at him, and his stomach did a somersault.  “That’s very good to know.”

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Avery and Marta


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