Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Welcome Video

Summary: Jill tries, and fails, to make a recording for their impending new arrival.

Jill propped the phone up, checked to make sure she was centered in the frame, and smiled. “Hi, Baby. We still don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl, although we both seem pretty confident you’re going to be a girl.” She furrowed her brow and shook her head. “We’ll edit that out if you’re a boy. Don’t want to give you any confusion. We’ll be thrilled either way, of course. It’s just that we already have Michael, so it would be nice if… you were… a girl. Not that, uh, you have any control over… Wow. I’m really off to a great start here. So why don’t I just start over and Michael can just edit this all out. Okay.” She took a deep breath. “Hi. I’m your mother, Mom Jay. Momma Trish is at work, uh, your brother is at work, and I’m sitting here waiting for you to make your grand arrival. We can’t wait to meet you.

“Michael showed me how to do this because, uh, frankly, I’m really looking forward to talking to you. And I can’t keep walking around this big house muttering to myself. Although I guess I could. And I guess that’s technically what I’m doing right now. But he said I could record myself on the phone, just a little video that I could save and you could watch when you get older. So I thought that was a pretty neat idea. So, um, here we go. It’s October the eleventh, 2013, and, uh… it’s a Friday.”

She looked over her shoulder as a cloud passed by the window, chewing her bottom lip as she thought about what to say next.

“I should have planned out the conversation ahead of time, huh? Like a lesson plan. I never stand up in front of the class and try to figure out what I’m going to say next. So how about I take you on a little tour of the home where you’ll grow up? The joy of having a portable camera…” She picked up the phone and held it up so that she was still in frame. “Okay. This is your welcome video. Welcome to the island, to the world, to our family and our lives. Your mommies got married five years ago in 2008, and then we officially got married again last year in 2012 once it became legal. I know, I know, when you’re watching this in 2033, you’re going to laugh at the thought that we had to fight to get married. It’s probably as ridiculous as the fact I’m shooting this as a video instead of a hologram or something. But deal with it, kid, I’m filming from the Stone Age. Um, also last year, Momma Trish was elected mayor of the town, so we got to move into this lovely house on the edge of town. You get to grow up in one of the most luxurious houses on the island. Lucky you.”

She walked out of the den where she and Patricia had been sleeping to save her the trouble of climbing the stairs every night, paused, and wandered toward the living room.

“I used to see this house a lot, you know, back in the day. It’s just down the block from the school. The gate used to be all blocked by trees and bushes and stuff but that got cleared away before we moved in. I never saw myself living here, but then again, I never saw myself marrying anyone who could possibly be elected mayor. I married way out of my league with your momma.” She chuckled and softly added, “Then again, she’d probably say the same thing about me. So… yeah.” She stood in front of the couch. A few nights ago, she and Patricia had fallen asleep while watching TV, her head on Patricia’s lap.

“How about a story, Baby? A story I’ve never even told Momma Trish?” She smiled. “I very nearly dumped her. Just… didn’t even call to cancel the date, I was just planning not to even show up. She was the mother of a student, we’d gotten caught together in a… very unflattering circumstance. I was humiliated by the fact I’d slept with a student’s mother because it meant I’d gone to bed with someone whose last name I didn’t even know.” She blushed and faced the camera toward her again. “Which, um, was not a normal occurrence. Please do not think your mothers are…” She sighed. “It was a rainy day, it was Valentine’s Day, we were both so alone we were doing laundry. I hadn’t dated in a really long time, and Trish…” Her voice faded and she smiled at the memory. “Trish was beautiful. And she was attracted to me. And we did something that, in retrospect, was really stupid.

“So we decided that nothing would happen as long as I was still Michael’s teacher, but once the school year ended we could revisit the idea. Seemed reasonable enough, and I never once thought she’d actually… I mean, she was so lovely. But a few weeks after the last class, I got a phone call from her asking if I wanted to meet for coffee. I said yes because, like I said, I wasn’t exactly a serial dater. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the potential for drama and pain was just too great. I decided not to go. I didn’t think it would be worth all the work it would be.” She laughed. “Work. Falling in love with Patricia Hood was not work. We had to overcome a few things, sure. We fought. We still fight from time to time. But there’s no one else I’d rather fight with. No one else I’d rather work through things with. Because even though we fight, I know we’ll be stronger for it afterward.”

“Why did you change your mind?”

Jill turned, cutting off a startled gasp. Patricia was standing in the living room doorway, smiling sheepishly. She was holding her computer bag in front of her, hands wrapped around the shoulder strap. “Sorry,” she said. “I thought you were on the phone and I didn’t want to interrupt. Then I realized what you were doing and couldn’t resist spying a little. What are you doing?”

“I’m making a video for Baby. Michael showed me how… I thought it would be less insane than babbling to myself.”

“But you were, you know. Talking to yourself.”

Jill chuckled under her breath. “Oh, honey. You and I spend too much time together.”

“I beg to differ. But if that video is for Baby, does that mean you’re telling our daughter you didn’t think I was worth the trouble?”

“Indeed it does.” Jill smiled. “Well, our daughter or our son.”

“So what changed your mind? Why did you decided to show up on that first real date of ours?”

Jill lowered the phone. “It was the last possible second. I realized you’d done nothing wrong and I was punishing you for my own hesitation. I pictured you sitting alone in Gail’s looking up every time someone came in, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t be the one to hurt you like that. So I got dressed as quickly as possible–”

“In a blue turtleneck. Black jacket, jeans, and tan boots.”

Jill stared at her. “Yeah. Um. I went down there to tell you face-to-face that we shouldn’t see each other anymore. But I walked in, and you looked up and saw me, and I saw how long you’d been waiting for me. Not just a few minutes because I was a little late, I knew you’d been waiting for a really long time. And I thought… hell. It’s just a dinner. I owe her that much. After that dinner, I wasn’t doing it for you anymore. I was doing it because… because I hadn’t felt that way for someone in a really long time. I was already envisioning a long-term relationship with you, and I never did that. I decided it must have meant something. My subconscious was trying to tell me something, because it shut down the reasonable part of my brain every time I saw you.”

Patricia smiled. “I’m glad it did. You know, you were my first girlfriend with potential. I wasn’t looking for long-term. That whole thing about waiting until Michael was out of your class? That was my exit strategy. That was my way of letting you down easy so I could move on to whoever was next. But the closer we got to the end of the school year, the more I thought… I kept thinking, ‘I could call Miss Colby.’ And I was getting excited at the idea of seeing you again. I was so… resigned to the fact I would never have another real relationship, that I’d just stay closeted and have some fun now and then, that I was completely rudderless when it came to how I felt after one night with you.”

“Afternoon, technically.”

Patricia chuckled. “Looks like we both got thrown, huh?”

“Yeah. Neither of us wanted to be here. So what the hell?”

Patricia shrugged. “I don’t know. Want to call it quits?”

“Sure. It’s been a good run. Six years, two weddings. Not bad at all.” She held out her hand. “It’s been a pleasure, Madame Mayor.”

“Same here, Mrs. Hood-Colby.” She squeezed Jill’s hand, then laughed and pulled her forward. “Come here.” They kissed, and Jill swept her thumb across the screen to stop the video.

“Okay,” Patricia said when their lips were no longer occupied. “How about this? How about we just accept we got hijacked by our hearts, our brains were innocent bystanders, and by now the Stockholm syndrome has set in and we might as well just see where it takes us?”

Jill pretended to contemplate the offer and then nodded. “That sounds like a reasonable enough compromise. Besides, I’m not raising this baby by myself.”

“Oh, right. You’re pregnant.” She looked down at Jill’s expanded midsection. “I completely forgot. Well, it’s too late to make a run for it now.”

“You can try, you might get lucky. I doubt I could manage more than a rapid waddle at this point.”

Patricia snaked an arm around her waist. “Come on. I’ll help you into the kitchen.”

“Trish…” She stopped their forward movement and stepped in front of her. “Whatever made me decide to stick around for that first date, or come back for the second and third and… I think it was the best decision I ever made.”

Patricia reached up and stroked Jill’s hair, newly-shorn in anticipation of the baby. “Me too.”

“Come on. Help your Baby get into the kitchen for a snack.”

“I’ll even make the snack for her.”

“You know, if the baby turns out to be a boy, you’re going to have to retrain yourself to use the proper gender.”

Patricia shrugged. “I’m confident.” She kissed the side of Jill’s head. “I wouldn’t change anything about our lives, except maybe I would have met you sooner.”

Jill rubbed the small of Patricia’s back. “Much sooner.”

Patricia slipped the phone out of Jill’s hand, fiddled with it for a moment, and started filming a new video. She moved her face closer to Jill’s so they were both in the frame.

“Hi, Baby. We’re your mothers. We had a pretty rocky road getting here, but it was worth it. We can’t wait to meet you, and we hope when you watch this in fifteen years or twenty years you’re shocked at how little we’ve changed. We’ll see you soon.” Jill turned her head and kissed Patricia’s cheek, and Patricia laughed. “Don’t gross out our baby before she’s even born.”

“Or he,” Jill countered.

“I’ll take the gamble.” She looked at Jill. “Gambling with you has always worked out pretty well in the past.” She kissed Jill’s lips, then looked at the phone again. “Sorry, Baby. But you might as well get used to seeing us kiss. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Now… you’re due in about a week. We’ll see you then. Bye-bye.”

Jill blew a kiss into the camera and Patricia ended the video. “Okay. We can work on a longer one for her later.”

“I don’t know. I think that was perfect. Now… you came home early to pamper me, I presume?” Patricia nodded. “Then take me into the kitchen and pamper me, Mrs. Hood-Colby.”

Patricia smiled and ushered her into the kitchen, tucking the phone into the pocket of Jill’s sweater as they discussed what her snack would be.

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