The packing up and moving all of Stephanie’s belongings from her college dorm room was a family event. Lexie and Stephanie were wrapping her glass items in newspaper, while Jesse and Jon were moving her computer, media center and television. Jake and Romeo, were loading her shoe boxes into the trailer. Her clothes would be the last to be packed. Stephanie had left some stuff for her roommate Ali and they hauled a large amount to the dumpster. Finally they were on the road again, Lexie was driving Stephanie and half of the stuff going home, Jon had the boys in the truck they rented with rest of Stephanie’s belongings. They were due for the first visit to Seaforth in two days, Stephanie wasn’t too excited about that.
They stopped along the way home for lunch, and to see if they could lose the few paparazzi that were following them, putting them home late. Pulling in the alley way they started to unload the car first and then the truck. Dinner that night was sandwiches and chips then homework session followed.
Jon and Lexie headed to the office, they still had mail to go through. Martin had called Jon on the way back and told him he had gotten a letter from Dorothea’s lawyer and he had faxed it to him.
Lexie took her stack of mail and went through it. She had promo illustrations to review and approve for her new book. She also had some writer’s group convention invitations. Lexie consulted the calendar to see the ones she wanted to attend. Any events during the allotted time Stephanie would be in the rehab were declined. She sent them back to her Editor to forward her apologies or she could use Sally to write the letters. Of course she would pay her for extra time.
“Hey Rockstar, what are we going to do with Stephanie things she won’t need for Seaforth?” Lexie put her mail away and went to the sideboard bar to get wine for Jon and soda for hersef. She went around the desk and sat on the edge.
“We can donate it to Habitat, or mom could sale at one of her yard sales. And the money for Stephanie’s extra expenses at Seaforth. I didn’t look to see if they had a snack shop, you know for candy and anything they need.” He watched he perched on his desk. His mind began to wander, he thought about their upcoming second honeymoon. Now moved a week due to Stephanie and rehab family meetings.
“When we go on Monday, we can check it out. There is a list up on the website of what she needs to bring with her, but you know they don’t list everything.” He sipped his wine and watched her sipping her soda. “I’m sorry we had to postpone our anniversary, I know I was looking forward to being alone with you in London.”
“I was looking forward to it too, but family always comes first.” She leaned down and gave him a kiss.
“Last night, in the kitchen, did you see anything different in Stephanie?” Jon asked Lexie.
“I hope I did, but since she had sort of shut me out for so long, I’m no longer sure.” Lexie got off the corner of the desk and st on his lap. “To be honest I just don’t know.”
Jon shifted in his chair to make sure he could hold her better.
“I guess we’ll see how it goes at Seaforth.” He handed her the lawsuit paperwork, “I’m amazed how in the whole wide world, Graham and Dorothea found a lawyer to take their case.”
“Under duress, they’re going with that plan? They were going to lose their house and she had to go out and get a job instead of sitting home.” Lexie read over the legalese and rolled her eyes. “Did you see both our names are on here? Why is she coming after me? Has this got anything to do with that she wasn’t called to the hospital?” Lexie remember how upset she was with her about not being called first, and how she had berated Stephanie and herself when she flew out of the hospital parking lot.
“I think it might have something to do with it. Hell I have no idea. I guess we need to go to the source and see what the hell is going on.” He gave her a hard kiss on the neck and stood her up. “Call Martian and have him set up a little meetings of the generals, I’m gonna go talk to Steph.” He walked out of the office and Lexie sat in his chair and called Martian.
Jon headed upstairs to his daughters room, knocking he waited, no answer. He opened the door and walked in, the room was empty. Shaking his head he checked the other rooms, all the other kids were accountable. Heading down to the kitchen he noticed the puppy box was empty, he went out the kitchen door, down the steps to the alley way and spotted her with the puppies and Snowball. They had brought an old play gaited area to use when the puppies and Snowball needed to go outside. She was sitting on a box watching the puppies playing chase momma around the pen.
“We used to do that with you kids when you were little, take you out by the river and let you run off your energy before bed. It worked.” He looked over her shoulder.
“They’re about ready to go to the forever homes.” Stephanie said softly, as if Snowball would be unhappy her puppies were going to leave her soon.
“Yeah, when you get through with rehab, just Snowball and Charcoal will be left.” Jon squatted down and patted Snowball on the head, as she danced around for his attention.
“Dad, about rehab.” Stephanie started. “I’m not looking forward to going to Seaforth.” She finally got out.
“I know, but Steph, it’s where the college and Martian think you should go.” Jon pulled up another crate and sat down beside her. “It’s where I think you should go.” Jon watched as the words sunk in.
“But why Seaforth, why not the one uncle Mookie went to in Utah or California?” Stephanie brushed a tear from her eyes.
“Baby girl, I saw what those did to Mookie, they weren’t that good, he’s still having problems. I don’t want you to ever go back to the hospital because of drugs. I don’t want you to smoke pot, pop pills or sample other people’s drink in case they put something in it.” Jon pulled her close in his arms and rocked her as she cried.
“I’m so sorry Dad, I’m so sorry.” She cried as her Jon rocked her.
That is where Jesse found them.
“Dad, Mom said to come on in, Hank the doorman said there are paps hanging out in the front.” Jesse said as he looked up and down the alley way.
“Okay Jess.” Jon let Stephanie go as she wiped the tears off her cheeks. “Let’s get Snow and her pups in.” They worked together to pick up the puppies and Snow. Heading up the stairs Lexie met them at the door.
“We’re safe, don’t think we were seen, but thanks for the heads up.” Jon handed her Snowball as he carried Charcoal and one of the other puppies.
“Martin said to call him. I think he might have some news.” Lexie cuddled the Snowball close as they put the puppies in their pen then turned to look at father and daughter. “Steph, do you want to help me tomorrow, go through some of these boxes to see what you want to keep, and what you want Grandmother B to sell in her yard sale?” Lexie asked as she leaned her hip on the counter after she added Snowball to the pen.
“Sure, but I don’t think anyone would want anything of mine.” Stephanie squatted down by the puppies and watched them settle down and snuggled to Snowball.
“You have books, hardback and paperback. You’re like your dad, you take great care of them.” Lexie squatted down beside her.
“So, I take care of my books, why would anyone want them.” Stephanie looked over at Lexie. She never noticed that Lexie had hazel eyes, it never even entered her mine what Lexie really looked like. If she let her hair go back natural, she would have the same color hair as her mother and Lexie, but Lexie had more red in her hair than brown.
“Books that have unbroken spines or turned down corners, no water damage, are worth more in resale.” Lexie looked up noticing that Stephanie was looking at her, sort of like a scientist looked at a bug under a microscope. “First editions are worth more than other editions. I leaned this in college when I tried to get a refund on a history book. I used to study in the bathtub and wet fingers ruin pages.”
Jon watched his two ladies talking, baby steps, must be working.
“She still ruins books in the bathtub.” Jon laughed as Lexie actually blushed. He stopped buying her first editions after he found a lot of them with water damage.
“When I need to tune out the muse and get some work done, I close myself in the bathroom and fill the tub with bubbles and soak and read.” She looked up at Jon and gave him the stink eye. “Don’t you need to call Martin?”
Jon laughed holding up both hands and backing out of the laundry room.
Stephanie started to leave the laundry room, Lexie followed her out but stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
“Hey Steph, want to call a couple of girlfriends and see if they want to help us tomorrow after family lunch at your grandparents?” Lexie called up to her before she got to the top landing.
“Really? I can call and asked two of my friends to come over?” Stephanie was shocked, she was still grounded and it would be a big bend in the rules to have a friend come over. Should she call Sarah to come over or would she would even speak to her? She thought about it.
“Two or maybe a couple more, there is still a lot of stuff to go through.” Lexie told her looking up at the girl, paused halfway up the stairs. “Your cell is in my bedside table, just put it back in say about two hours.”
Another bend in the rules, if Lexie keeps this up the grounding rule will be totally broken. Stephanie hurried back down the stairs and flung her arms around Lexie in a big huge.
“Thanks Mom.” Stephanie whispered through her tears.