Round 3.1 available here.
For Blair every day was still a challenge. Her husband was still gone and she never stopped missing him. And now her friends were dying too. She couldn’t believe how quickly Ebony had left this world, it seemed like yesterday that she would come over and try to make her laugh. The only solution she found not to give herself up to depression was to stay active.
Currently she was volunteering at the local Fire Department. She found it important to serve the community while she was still active and healthy and facing fires was helpful when attempting to get your minds of things that haunted you every way you go.
But it wasn’t just the work itself that help. Hanging around the station was also refreshing in a way. The SV Fire Department currently had three regular employees, Jared Prentiss, a young man who was Hannah’s nephew, Maddison and Carissa Jackson, another young woman. Blair loved hanging out with Maddison the most. She would always listen to her ideas, and she was an ideal playing partner for GTA. And she was closest to Blair in age.
Her interactions with the other female employee were, well at least for Blair’s tastes, a little weird… It had been years since she had last dated and she was well beyond an age in which men shown interest in her and she had long made peace with that. The love of her life was already gone and maybe one day they will be together again, in another place, another life, and that was fine.
But it seamed her coworker had a different idea. Just yesterday she brought Blair flowers. It was a nice bouquet, but the whole gesture just caught Blair off guard. She complimented the flowers and thanked her coworker but she was dumbfounded. She once had a relationship with a woman, many, many years back, before Freddie. But Ayesha was just a phase and besides she wasn’t interested in any romantic relationships and she didn’t now how to express those feelings, besides the young fire woman did nothing but bring her flowers. But if Blair remembered correctly, that was definitely not a gesture of friendship…
It was these thoughts that kept Blair up this night. She checked the clock. It was already Wednesday and she was still awake. She sighed. She had to drop to the station again today, and there she would face the woman, and will have to tell her something. Tell her what? She had enough of tossing around an empty bed so she got up. She was about to make herself some tea when she heard music coming from the garage.
She walked there, the doors were wide open and her son was inside, playing the guitar. She stood in the corner for a while, just listening. The boy could play… Where he got that talent she had no idea, neither her or her late husband had shown any interest in music but their only child sure did. He didn’t notice her, he seamed lost in what he was doing, his eyes focused on the strings of the instrument in his hands.
When he was done she softly spoke: “That was beautiful Dougie.” He turned around surprised. “Mum. What are you doing here? It’s late, and it’s cold!” She just shrugged. “The ailments of old age… I could not sleep so I went to a concert instead.” She smiled at him and he smiled back. He was a big guy, her son but inside he was a sweet little child, her child. The most wonderful thing she and Freddie ever made together. “I hope I didn’t wake you.” Dougie said suddenly worried. “No, no honey. I didn’t even hear it from my room.” He nodded, relieved. “I was practicing a little, this guy, this bassist, Koussesimisky is coming to town this week, he will hold classes tomorrow at the theater, thought I drop by a little, didn’t want to embarrass myself. Also thought I wouldn’t be bad to serenade Lysa with this little thing.” He added with a smile and she smiled back. “She would be a fool not to fall for that.” He grinned. “Thanks mum! So have you heard about Kousssesimisky? You should have… He’s this older dude…” He proceeded as they walked back inside.
Blair fall a sleep soon after her chat with Dougie was over but she got only a few hours of sleep at least according to her watch. She deemed it was enough and went upstairs to check on everyone else. Junior and Kerry were up. They were playing chess on the balcony and she looked at Freddie’s youngest grandchild. He looked a lot like Hannah but there were certain gestures like him pinching his own nose when thinking that reminded Blair so much of the husband she had lost.
Junior had the day off so he and Hannah stayed home with Kerry. Frederica had that field trip to the Chinese mausoleum and Blair went to the station. She was barely inside when she ran into Carissa.
“Hi Blair.” She said and before Blair got the chance to answer she went on. “I’m really sorry for my behaviour yesterday, I’m aware I sometimes… take it too far…” She took a deep breath and produced a box from behind her back. “Here take this… a small token of apology.” She smiled and Blair smile back, faintly but seemingly sufficiently because Carissa left and didn’t bother her again. Blair never opened the package, a little fearful of what it might contain.
When she got home she went straight to the kitchen. Dougie was still home fighting with someone over the phone and Junior was rummaging through the fridge for leftovers.
“Leave it Junior, I’ll cook.” She told her stepson who turned around, a smile on his unshaven face. Like his father when he was alive, Junior never learned to cook. “Blair, you are a life saver.” She smiled. Dougie moved away from them, still in an argument over the phone. “Who is he talking too?” She asked Junior but he only shrugged. “Where is Hannah?” She asked moving to the fridge to pick out the ingredients. “She went to lay down.” Junior replied. “And I see you had just gotten up?” She asked with a smile. Junior looked down at his pajamas. “What? It’s my day off!”
They ate together and then all split up. Hannah went to work in the garden, Dougie went to listen to the bassist at the theater and Junior took the children to the park. And before she knew it they were back.
“Grandma please read me a bedtime story. Pleeeaaase.” Kerry jumped up and down around her. Blair smiled. “Which one?” “Adventures of Raymundo!” Kerry yelled at once. “Alright.” She smiled and beckoned him to go upstairs. “Not in my room.” He said frowning. “Freddie will get mad if we leave the lights on. Can you read it in your room?” She sighed. “You’ll just fall asleep in my bed.” “No, no I won’t, I’ll just listen to the story and go to bed. Please.” She did as she was told. It was a grandmother’s job to spoil the kids afteral. Like she anticipated Kerry fell asleep sprawled over her bed in a way that gave her no room for herself and not wanting to bother the small boy she marched up to his room.
He and his sister slept on bunk beds, and since Frederica was the first to pick and she picked the bottom bed so Blair had to go up the ladder to get to her bad for the night, careful not to fall or wake her granddaughter. That night sleep caught up to her pretty fast.
When she had gotten up she was alone in the room. It was already morning and Frederica must have been getting ready for school. She heard voices coming from downstairs and saw Dougie in the living room with his best friend Luther who must have came by before work.
Luther was whispering to Dougie’s ear and Dougie had his hand over his mouth but his eyes betrayed a smile. Frederica was on the couch eating breakfast and frowning while observing them.
“Tell them they are being rude grandma!” The little girl yelled as she saw Blair coming down the stairs. The two man stopped talking at once and Blair spoke to Frederica. “They are a bit rude. There are other places in this house they could go and talk instead of whispering around like school girls but you don’t need to know everything honey. ” “But I want to know, whatever it is, I’m old enough, I’m almost nine and…” Dougie sneered at her and she stuck out her tongue at him. “Frederica!” Blair yelled at her. Now you are being rude. “Finish your breakfast! And Dougie stop annoying your niece.” They both shut up at once so she turned to the young man in her living room. “Morning Luther, how are you?” “Morning Mrs. Hoves.” The young man answered with a polite smile. “Things are really good. And you? My brother tells me you are volunteering at the station so the health must be good?” She smiled. “Still no cane, that’s something alright. How’s the world of scientific research treating you?” “Really good.” The young man answered. “I have focused more on genetics in general so after some papers I wrote they gave me a job at the hospital. So there I am right now, advancing the field of medicine.” “That’s wonderful.” Blair said with a smile. “As usual Dougie tells me nothing.” She frowned at her son who just shrugged in a I-thought-I-told-you way. “Your mother must be very proud.” She told Luther. “How is she by the way?” “Fine, fine.” Luther replied. “She is a bit mad at me… But we’ll sort things out.” “Why?” Blair asked in shock. Luther sighed. “The whole Minissa thing, and how it ended… It’s a long story and I have to get to work. It was nice seeing you Mrs. Hoves, you too Freddie.” He added with a smile to Frederica but she didn’t even look at him as he left. Dougie went with out with him and Blair went to the kitchen to make herself breakfast.
Sometimes she worried about Dougie, he and Luther were the same age and Luther had a nice career, a child, and he was always so well mannered and Dougie was… Well Dougie. Sometimes she wished he had more ambition, and sometimes she was glad he was still a child, her child.
She didn’t have much time to think about her son though because before she was even done with breakfast there was a call on her phone. It was the station. She picked up hastily and heard Maddison’s voice. “Blair, get ready! There was a fire at Edmund Frail’s house. I’ll be there in five.” Blair dropped the dishes in the sink and got her uniform on as fast as she could.
The stairs were wooden and were threatening to collapse but Blair was down before her coworkers could bring the ladder. She thought only of those boys, the youngest was just a little older than Kerry. She used her ax to break down the doors and free the scared boys. All she could think about was their father upstairs, he lost a daughter already, he couldn’t survive anything bad happening to his remaining sons… So she hit and hit, until the door broke and she saw them. They were white with fear and she ushered them out and helped them up the ladder Maddison and Carissa were holding up.
She stayed at the hospital for the most part of day, making sure all the Frail’s were ok. The boy’s mother, Edmund Frail’s ex-wife came to the hospital around noon, shrieking asking about her boys, Blair calmed her down and they had coffee together. By the time she got back home it was already dark.
Frederica was outside with a flash light telling a ghost story to her best friend, Irene and as usual Dougie was playing games in the living room and all Blair wanted was a shower and to to close her eyes, preferably in her own bed…