Lysa had finally managed to plan her wedding to perfection, she had everything ready, from the choice of venue, food, decorations and music. She even managed to snag a very expensive photographer from Bridgeport. All that was missing was the perfect dress and all of her attempts of acquiring the said item so far were fruitless and that is why this early summer weekend she was driving into the city with the Gradle twins.
Lysa wasn’t especially close to either Marty or Eevee Gradle but Marty was her brother’s fiancee and with her joining the family, and being in the same predicament as Lysa it seemed like a good idea for the two of them to go shopping together. Since Eevee, Marty’s twin sister had some business in the city she volunteered to drive, or more likely was asked to by Marty because neither of the twins was what you call a people person and didn’t seem really comfortable when in the company of anyone else.
Nevertheless there they were, in one of the biggest specialized wedding boutiques and Lysa was fuming as she looked at her reflection, all the dresses she did like didn’t suit her as well as they looked on the models. Meanwhile Marty would come out of the dressing room managing to pull off even the lousiest of dresses and stile whine all the way. “I hate this!” She said loudly as she tripped on the rim of her dress and nearly fell face first walking to the mirror. “You know what would make me happy? If these whole wedding could be just me and Zeke as we are, no stupid death trap dresses or… people.” Her sister snickered over the book she was reading the whole time, seemingly uninterested in what was transpiring before her. “Grandpa wouldn’t want to hear about it.” Eevee spoke. “He loooves his little princess, and he loves Zeke, and besides he is paying for the whole thing so you are going to wear a pretty dress, high heels and a smile on your face.” Marty didn’t respond, she remained standing there a look of utter misery passing over her pretty face as she observed her own impression.
At that moment Lysa’s phone rang. She looked at in annoyed, everyone who might be calling knew where she was and she had half a mind not to answer but the phone kept ringing and sighing loudly she walked to the phone, still in her dress, threading carefully to avoid what almost happened to Marty. She didn’t have a rich grandfather and if she was to fall and ruin this dress she could barely afford a new one.
The phone didn’t stop ringing all the time it took her to fish it out of her purse. Dougie. The caller id said. Why was her fiance so persistent? Lysa wondered with a bad feeling, for a moment she hoped he had forgotten she was away for the weekend but all hope was lost the moment she answered. “Lysa.” Dougie’s voice spoke in her ear loudly. Only it wasn’t his voice, it was shaky and weak, as if he had been crying. “It’s my mum…” He spoke again in the same manner. “She is… She died last night.” He concluded and broke down. She could hear loud sobs and she felt like crying herself. What could she do? What would she say? Both of her biological parents were likely dead but she never knew them, so she had never really knew loss. But Dougie had, his father died when he was a teenager and since then he had only had his mother… The always smiling Blair Hoves… How could she be dead? She felt weak and dizzy, her legs felt like rubber.
“I’m on my way Dougie.” She spoke finally. Whatever she could to she couldn’t do it over the phone that was sure. “Okay…” He said weekly. “I’m…I’m still at the hospital… You should… You should come here. “Alright love, I’m coming.” She hung up and rummaged her bag again for tissues. She was crying, tears had ran down her face, her makeup must have been ruined but there was no time to care for that. She turned to the Gradle twins and noticed they were both frozen in place looking at her, even Eevee had dropped the uninterested look. Lysa straightened up before speaking, the words tasted bitter in her mouth but she had to say them: “Dougie’s mum is dead. I’m going back home immediately.” Both sisters gapped at her and Marty was first to speak. “Blair is dead?”
For a second Lysa felt like she could slap herself. She had completely forgotten Blair was the twins’ grandmother, or step grandmother, to be completely correct. Either way, she shouldn’t have broken the news to them like this. Marty ran to her own bag, nearly tripping again and then she pulled her own phone out. “Mum called! I… I probably didn’t hear it.” She turned to her sister in despair and Eevee said nothing. “We are coming back too Lysa.” Marty said turning to her. “I just need to get out of this stupid dress and then we will go. ” Eevee stood up looking uncomfortable. “I…I can’t go.” She said quitely. “I’m sorry, tell mum I’ll be home as soon as I can…” Marty looked at her, her thin eyebrows narrowing. It was the first time Lysa saw her mad, and she knew her for years. “What do you mean you can’t come?” She said annoyed but her expression softened almost immediately, as if she could read her sister’s mind. “It’s not just work, it’s him isn’t it?” Eevee just nodded and Marty sighed. “Okay, but be back as soon as you can, mum is going to need us there…” Eevee nodded again sadly. “You could take my car.” She added handing over her keys. Lysa was quick to snatch them from her and ran to the dressing room to get back to her own clothes.
She had decided to drive since Marty seemed to shaken up, and besides seeing her walk, she wasn’t sure if she could feel safe with someone that clumsy driving her, and they had to drive fast, she needed to get to Dougie as soon as possible, thinking of his shaky voice, and the heart wrenching sobs she heard on the phone. She gripped the steering wheel angry, angry at life for taking Dougie’s mum away, angry at herself for not being there for him… Just angry.
She turned to Marty who was just staring out the window in silence. “Where does your sister work anyway?” Lysa asked trying to turn their minds away from the reason of their early return home. There would be time to face harsh realities soon enough. “She works for a security company.” Marty said simply without even turning back. “And what was that back in there? Something about a guy?” Marty sighed loudly this time and waited a while before answering. “It’s her boss… She is in love with him.” “Oh.” Lysa said, what else could she say? “He is already seeing someone.” Marty added. “And he is, you know, her boss.” Lysa nodded although Marty could not see her. “She is going to get herself in trouble you know… I feel it.” Marty went on. “It’s her work, this man… She always falls for the wrong person… I worry about her so much…” Lysa was once again lost for words, this was the longest she and Marty had ever spoken alone. And besides what kind of advice could she give about relationships? Dougie was her one and only love. “You shouldn’t worry.” She said stupidly. “Eevee is a simfu champion or something, is she not?” She added with a nervous laugh. “If life was as easy as breaking boards then she would be safe…In my experience it never is…” Marty said sadly and Lysa dropped the subject. It was all way out of her area of expertise, and besides she had no real information to work with, just bits and pieces of some great mystery she wasn’t in the mood of cracking, not today. She would leave the conversations with the Gradle twins to Zeke and Lucky, they could probably read between the lines here… She had a fiancee to worry about.
Lysa parked the car on the parking lot belonging to the SV Hospital. Once she and Marty were outside she handed her the car keys. “Please thank your sister for me.” She said and Marty nodded. Lysa drove faster then she ever did before and got them back to Sunset Valley in just over an hour. She couldn’t slow down now, Dougie needed her. She hurried inside the building and proceeded straight to the elevator. She didn’t bother looking at the information boards, or talking to a receptionist, she knew where she was going. Third floor. It was all Dougie wrote in his last text, and Lysa could imagine his shaky fingers as he tried to hit keys, and tears running down that sweet face. It made her feel sick, and made her hurry.
As soon as she walked out of the elvator she noticed her fiancee. He was sitting on one of the sitting room chairs with Luther, his best friend. Lysa felt a small pang of jealousy when she spotted him. Dougie had called him first. But then she remembered Luther worked at the hospital, he was a medical researcher, and would probably be here to work anyway. As soon as Dougie spotted her he stood up and she ran to him embracing him firmly. He started crying instantly and she pulled him closer. Here she was, and still she had no idea what to say. He is an orphan now, just like me… She thought but then remembered that wasn’t exactly true. She was adopted and had two, very much alive mothers and Dougie was all alone in the world… But that wasn’t true either he had her, and only her now. She had to pull herself together and be there for him.
“Honey…” She spoke softly. “Why are you still here? Where are Junior and Mya?” Dougie pulled back wiping his tears with the back of his hand. He was a mess, he probably hadn’t slept or eaten anything since last night. “They… they went back home… they are going to talk about arrangements…and stuff.” He said. “I…I just couldn’t…She…she was right there.” He said pointing to a room door. “And now she is gone….” “But you are here Dougie… And you are a mess… Blair would never have wanted you to be like this. You need to eat, and sleep, and shower.” For a moment she thought he would agree and they would go home but he just broke down again covering his face with his hand. Lysa looked at him exasperated and then Luther got up and walked right to them. He placed one hand on Dougie’s shoulder affectionately. “Hey buddy, your girl is right. There is nothing for you here anymore. You should head home, we’ll all come.” Dougie looked at him and then at Lysa and nodded this time. Lysa again felt a pang of anger, because Dougie listened to Luther and not her but the important thing was to get him out of there. She took his hand gently and they walked down the hall passed Marty who just stood there awkwardly. “Is your sister here?” Luther asked her and stopped to talk to her. Lysa pressed on with Dougie holding her hand as a lifeline. He needs me more than ever and I don’t know what to do…She thought miserably.Right now I just need to get him home, and then I would think of our next step… One step at a time…