Chapter 36: Bedtime
Tammy couldnít sleep.
She kept thinking about the young lady down on the couch, the lady that was supposed to be her real aunt. She looked at her locket and tried to put Samanthaís face on her motherís. She didnít remember much of her, and what she did remember was more like a dream. She got up and smoothed out her nightgown. She walked down the stairs, tiptoeing so as not to wake the sleeping rabbit on the couch.
Samantha couldnít sleep.
She sat on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket, thinking about the young rabbit sleeping upstairs. She tried to remember her sister and how much she looked like Tammy. She didnít have much time to spend with her sister after Tammy was born. She left for England a few months before Tammy was born, and came back for the funeral.
It was a small affair, as Mom and Dad had both died not a few months before. Most of their relatives had passed on before them. The only people she remembered being at the funeral were herself, Greg, and Alice. No one was left to take Tammy after her parents died. Alice and George couldnít take her, as the state, for some reason, wouldnít let them adopt her. How ironic that Greg ended up taking the girl as his own when his parents couldnít!
Considering the liberal adoption laws that existed in the state, it was surprising that Tammy didnít wind up somewhere much worse. She could have wound up in some halfway home with a dozen other kids, vying for attention any way she could. Here, sheíd get the love that she needed. Her sister always like that, always needed someone to care about, and somebody to care back.
"Miss Samantha?" asked a small voice behind her. Sam turned around and looked at Tammy walking down the stairs in her long pink nightgown.
"Hi, Tammy," said Samantha. "Shouldnít you be in bed?"
"I couldnít sleep," said Tammy. "Can I talk to you for a little bit?"
"Sure," said Sam. "Whatís up?"
"Did you really know my mom?" she asked.
"I think so," said Sam. She saw the locket around Tammyís neck. "Can I see that?" she asked. Tammy handed it to her and she opened it. Inside sat the picture of Alex and Dan with Tammy, just a few weeks old. She handed it back to Tammy with tears in her eyes.
"Whatís wrong?" asked Tammy.
"Yes," said Sam, "thatís your mom." Tammy sat down on the couch beside her and gave Sam a hug.
"Can you tell me what she was like?" asked Tammy. Sam laughed a little and pushed back her hair.
"Your mom was a very pretty young lady," said Sam. "She always cared about your dad, even when they had just first met. Let me tell you that story..."
"Why do I have to do this project?" asked Sam. "I really donít like science and Iím never going to have to use it in real life."
"Sure," said Alex, "I thought the same thing in fourth grade, look at me now."
"Oh, you act like you know everything just because youíre going to be a doctor," said Sam, sticking her tongue out at her older sister. "Iím gonna be a teacher so kids donít have to learn all this stuff."
"Oh?" said Alex. "How are you going to make science fun then?"
"By doing real stuff," said Sam. "Iíll teach them how to make stuff and not just read it from a book."
"Right," said Alex. "Hey, Iím going out. Iíll see you later."
"You going to see your boy-friend?" she asked in a high pitched squeal.
"Steve is not my boyfriend," said Alex, defensively. "Heís..."
"Someone you just like kissing with?" asked Sam, giggling.
"Right," shot back Alex. "Letís see how you like being teased when you get a boyfriend."
"Boys are so weird," said Sam. "Iím never ever gonna have a boyfriend."
"You say that now," said Alex. "Weíll just see about that." She walked to the door just as she heard a knock from the other side. She opened it up to see a smallish weasel about her sisterís age standing there with his hands full of books.
"Hi there," said the raccoon. "Iím Fred, is Samantha here?"
"Sheís at the kitchen table," replied Alex. "You here to help her with he science project?"
"Yes," said Fred. "I got paired up with her because sheís the closest person to me."
"That nice," said Alex. "You have fun."
"You too," said Fred. Alex walked out into the street and waited for Steveís car to show up. They were going bowling for no other reason than to do something on a lazy Saturday in April. Easter was right around the corner, and being the rabbit in the neighborhood, she was expected to play the part of the Easter bunny in the local parade. Unfortunately, this was something she detested. Werenít there any other rabbits in town? She grumbled and griped as she began wandering around, not paying attention to what was going on.
She looked up at her watch then over her shoulder. A car spun around the corner only yards away from her. The driver, not paying attention continued baring down on her. Alex panicked and froze in place. The driver finally looked up and slammed his brakes only a few feet away. Alex felt someone push her out of the way. As she fell out of the path of the car, she heard the sickening thud of body on steel. Then she heard it again; then again. She looked up to see a young rabbit, about her age, standing behind the car crouched on the ground. The car squealed itís tired and drove off in a cloud of dust. The rabbit wasnít bleeding and her didnít appear to be any worse for the wear. He dusted off his pants and walked over to Alex, still lying on the asphalt.
"You okay?" he asked. The rabbit extended his hand to the girl and pulled her up. She noticed that he had rather well defined arms and was probably the most attractive person she had seen in quite a while. The combination of her near miss and his kind smile seemed to stop her train of thought briefly.
"Uh..." she stammered.
"You live here?" he asked. "You should probably get home."
"God, your gorgeous," replied Alex. She slapped her paws over her mouth and shook her head.
"Pardon?" asked the rabbit.
"I mean, thank you," she corrected herself. "Whatís your name?"
"My name is Dan," he replied. "You sure youíre okay?"
"Yes, Iím fine," she said. "I was going to..." she moved towards him and stumbled a bit. She fell to her knee and grabbed her ankle. "Oh..."
"Lemmeí look at that," said Dan. "It looks like you twisted it. Where do you live?"
"Right over there," she pointed. Dan picked her up and brought her into the house. Fred and Sam looked at her being carried in by the rabbit.
"Whoís that?" asked Fred.
"I dunno," said Sam.
Alex and Dan sat down on the couch. Dan got up and grabbed a few ice packs out of the freezer, then came back to Alex, who was trying to get back up.
"You should stay down," said Dan. "You should be fine if you just rest for the rest of the day."
"Iíll be fine," said Alex. "Thanks a million."
"Oh, itís no problem," said Dan, moving away from Alex.
"How did you do that without getting hurt?" asked Alex. "You shoved me out of the way and I heard the car hit you..."
"Actually," he said sheepishly, "I hit the car. Iíve been doing some stunt work at the local theater. They just taught me how to do that sort of thing last week."
"What? How to get hit by cars?" she asked.
"Something like that," replied Dan. "You sure youíre okay?"
"Oh, Iíll be fine," said Alex. "What can I do to repay you?"
"Me?" asked Dan, nervously.
"No, the other rabbit who saved my tail."
"Oh, nothing, really," replied Dan, edging away, slightly. "Iím just glad to see youíre okay."
"Well, what are you doing tonight?" asked Alex.
"Uh, well, um..." he stammered. "Itís uh... well..."
"Your girlfriend?" asked Alex.
"Itís um... no, not really, um..." he stammered some more. He was blushing enough under his fur that Alex could see it.
"Youíre afraid of me?" asked Alex. "I donít bite."
"Uh, afraid," he said. "No thatís... uh not it..."
"Your shy?" asked Alex, incredulously. "How is that possible?"
"Well, itís not that hard," said Dan. "I just never interacted much with women, and Iím not real sure how to deal with them."
"Wow," said Alex. "You look like that and youíve had no experience with women?"
"Like what?" asked Dan. "Iím not that attractive." Alex stared at him blankly. "What?"
"Youíre mine, rabbit boy," she thought out loud.
"Pardon?" asked Dan, backing away. Alex grabbed his shirt and pulled him close. She kissed his cheek and let him go.
"Thanks for the save, gorgeous," she said smiling. "You want to go see a movie tonight?"
"Well, it is that..." he looked at Alex siting across from him. "Sure," he said, finally. "You seem nice enough."
"Loosen up a little," said Alex, smiling. "Youíll never land a girl if youíre so stiff all the time."
"Well, thank you, I think," replied Dan. "Hey, I have to get going, but Iíll be back at eight to pick you up."
"Okay," said Alex. She grabbed a pen off the table and wrote down her number on a post-it note. She slapped it onto the back of his hand, and grinned widely. "Remember, I owe you."
"If you say so," said Dan. "Iíll see you tonight?"
"Very much so," said Alex.
"Wow," said Tammy. "My mom met my dad because he pushed her out of the way of a car?"
"Yes," said Sam. "You see, youíre mom was a bit of a klutz. She was always walking into things and tripping over herself." Sam laughed a little. "She always accused me of being the one with all the balance. I got the grace, and she got the looks."
"Youíre very pretty yourself," said Tammy.
"Thank you sweetie," said Sam. "But Alex was just plain gorgeous. She thought she was just cute, but she had men always after her."
"Then why did she choose my dad?" asked Tammy.
"Youíre dad was the best guy I ever met, next to Greg," said Sam. "He was just so shy that he would have been snatched up by some uncaring girl and been miserable. Youíre mom really loved and cared about him, even after they had just dated for a few weeks." Sam sighed. "Dan was so shy though. Your mother was his first girlfriend, and as it turned out, the perfect girl for him."
"Not like Mister Greg?" asked Tammy.
"Greg and Dan were a lot alike," said Sam. "They were both kind, loving, and very shy people. Dan was more extreme than Greg is though. He couldnít even work up the nerve to talk to a girl, let alone ask them out on a date."
"Then whyíd he take so quickly to Mom?" asked Tammy, now perplexed.
"Iím not sure," said Alex. "I guess since he was worried that she was hurt. He always talked to people if they were not feeling well. It was the only time he talked to girls without freaking out."
"I wish I could remember them," said Tammy. "Thatíd be the best thing that could happen, besides having them back." Sam hugged her niece and began crying.
"Whatís wrong?" asked Tammy.
"Youíre just so much like her," Sam cried. "I wish I could have her back too. Itís not fair."
"I know," said Tammy. "If life were fair, Greg would be married and have a wonderful little girl of his own. Iíd still be happy with Mom and Dad, and Greg and I would have never met." She sighed a little. "Iím not sure which would be better though." She paused and thought for a second. "But if that bus hadnít crashed when it did, Iíd have never found Greg."
"Odd how things tend to turn out for the best," said Sam. "Iím sure itíll all make sense in the end."
"I hope so," said Tammy. She kissed her auntís cheek. "Goodnight Miss Samantha."
"Goodnight, sweetie," replied Sam. "Get some sleep, youíre going to need it."
Angie woke up in a terrible mood. Some floozy had spent the night at Gregís house doing God knows what. She just was angry thinking about it. Not that she was the jealous type, but damn it, she had a right to be mad! She thought about driving over to Gregís place and screaming at him, ranting and raving like a lunatic. She decided against it, as making a scene never made anyone very happy. It was Thanksgiving anyway, and a time to be thankful for what she had. A nice life, a great boyfriend, friends and all the adventure she could handle. It wasnít bad; it was just that something was missing; something important that she couldnít put her paw on, but something none the less.
She decided not to worry about it. She packed a bag and headed for the car. The ride to Alice and Georgeís wasnít a long one, but theyíd be staying over night. As long as she was prepared for anything, nothing could go wrong. She chuckled to herself, and smiled. So sheíd thought the same thing on the ship. At least this was just a family dinner. What could possibly go wrong?
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