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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fan Fiction Upgrade

Not one to toot her own horn, our Skeetrfan has spent her Memorial Day weekend upgrading the fan fiction site. (You'll find a quick link to it under 'FORUM', just beneath the tagboard.)

Although it's still a work in progress, she has listed the fiction pieces in alphabetical order and is working on an Authors page. You'll soon be able to cross-reference the writer/story connections.

Between her 'real life', the blog, the forum, and keeping our 'history' relevant, I don't know how she manages to eat and sleep! SF, we can't thank you enough for your dedication to TMoOD and Skeet, and all the things you do for us! You've given us all a little corner of the world where we can meet friends and talk, a home away from home. Thank you, a million times over!


Sunday, May 28, 2006

How We Met In Denver

[Sktish posed the question on the forum what if Ray and Livy had met in Denver. I used this idea here. It's not quite what you were thinking but I hope you're OK with how I changed it. This takes place in late August, so sometime before Abby's visit.]
Livy cleaned the kitchen and waited for Ray to finish his ledger work. She really didn’t know how to open this subject with Ray but her history in Denver with the ladies of her father’s church told her they needed to have this discussion. Abby would be so much better at this Livy thought.

She brought Ray a cup of tea and he looked up and smiled. “Thanks”

“You’re welcome” Livy walked over to the loveseat in front of the window. The window was open and a late August breeze blew in softly. “That breeze feels good,” Ray said. “I think we may get rain soon. We could sure use it.”

Livy noted that the one subject Ray was most comfortable talking about was the weather. In fact, it seemed to be everybody’s main subject.

“That would be nice. Would you stay home if it rained?” Livy asked trying to keep a conversation going so she could turn it to her concern.

“Well, I’d be close, but I’d be workin’ mostly in the barn.” Ray answered. Then he looked up. He raised his eyebrows and asked, “Oh, ..it’s Saturday. Did you want to go somewhere Livy? I…I could stay here or we could go" Ray coughed, "to town.”

“Ray that would be nice,…but tomorrow I was going with Martha to town to help with the cooking for the church fund raiser for the troops."
Ray looked a little disappointed, but then he said, “I forgot. That’s good. This way you can get to know some of the other ladies of the church. Did you need the beetbox?”

"No, thank you Ray. Martha is picking me up. Livy smiled the polite smile she sometimes smiled at Ray when she didn’t know what else to say."

“O.K…..Good….I mean good about you getting to spend more time with other people…I know it can get lonely out here.” Ray looked as if he had something else to say and was thinking about how to word it. Livy had learned that he took his time forming his thoughts, but she didn’t want to get off the subject.

“Ray,…about the church ladies,” Livy looked up and saw she had Ray’s attention. “I….I feel that we might want to add some…some detail,” Livy put so much emphasis on the word, that Ray looked like he was about to interrupt so she hurried on, “to….to our story.”

Rays face showed confusion so she quickly went on. “You know, we told Mrs. Pratt that we met in Denver and I just wanted to be clear on the major details before I spent such a long time with them tomorrow. “

Ray’s face twitched slightly and he said, ”there aren’t many details, Livy, we didn’t meet in Denver.”

Livy looked frustrated with Ray’s denseness. “I know that Ray, I mean, we," she motioned back and forth between them, “need to get our story straight about what we tell people.

Ray continued to look confused and said, “what we tell people about us?” He had a completely bewildered look on his face as he watched Livy get more exasperated.

“Yes, Ray what we tell people about how we met, the details…” Livy stated. As she looked at Ray she saw his dimple emerge on one side of his mouth. She realized then that he was teasing her. It was an absurd conversation between two strangers who happened to be married. The humor hit Livy and she laughed. When she laughed, Ray laughed that infectious laugh of his that she first heard when he taught her to drive the beet box.” She realized that Ray could be a tease. She relaxed and cocked her head to the side and said, “we need to be consistent in the details we give people.”

For Ray this was a non-issue. That’s how it was with men. No farmer, or any man he knew, would ask for details. On the other hand, this seemed to be an urgent issue for Livy. Of course women seemed to hang much more on details he thought. He remembered the questions Martha asked him when he first told her and Hank about Reverend Case’s proposal and his decision to marry Miss Dunne. Martha asked all sorts of questions about Livy that Ray had never thought to ask. He remembered Martha’s frustration with him then. This must be a woman thing.

However, Ray was having fun. He liked it when Livy relaxed and let her guard down. He wanted to sit beside her on the couch, but he was afraid she’d put her guard up again. So Ray turned his chair around so that he was facing Livy and said, “OK, what’s our story?”

“Well,” Livy began to think hard and Ray enjoyed watching her face. “We need a reason why you would be in Denver.” She looked up at Ray hopefully.

“Um, a reason I would be in Denver…,” he tired to look as if he was seriously considering this and looked up at Livy and shook his head, “uh, no, nothing comes to mind.”

Livy looked exasperated, “Ray, there must be some reason…I can make up a lot of this but I need a reason for you to be there……suddenly she brightened, “ a beet farmer convention!” Livy said triumphantly.

Ray laughed out loud and regretted it when he saw her face fall. “I’m sorry Livy…it’s just that we don’t have beet farmer conventions and if we did, all the other farmers round here would have been there too.”

“Oh, that’s a good point. Livy got up as if to leave, but Ray didn’t want this to end. “I’ve got it. We have some distant cousins in Denver. I guess I could have gone to visit them.” This made Livy happy so Ray continued. In spite of himself, he was starting to get into this. “I wouldn’t have just gone to visit them. Everybody would know that.”

“So, why would you go there Ray?” Livy asked as she sat down again. She was looking interested and sat forward on the loveseat. She was so beautiful when she smiled. Ray wanted to touch her but knew this moment would be gone if he did. Right now, he just wanted to keep this conversation going…keep her near.

“Well, it would have to be for an occasion, a funeral or ….a wedding.” Livy jumped up. “Oh, yes Ray that’s perfect, we meet at your cousin’s wedding.”

Livy was smiling and Ray wished they had met at his cousin’s wedding. But then he thought that if he had met her at a wedding, he wouldn’t have had the courage to talk to her. That thought made him sad, so he stopped smiling. “What is it Ray? Won’t that work?” Livy asked concerned.

“No Livy, it’ll work fine.”

Livy’s mind was off again filling in all the details. She asked pointed questions like the names of his cousins, which child got married, did anyone here know them, Ray felt like he was a witness under cross-examination. But he like listening to Livy craft the details of their meeting.

“Ray, most people won’t believe…well, that..” Ray looked at her waiting for her statement.. She was going to say no one would believe that he came up to talk to her, but she didn’t want to hurt his feelings; and the truth was she was enjoying this too.

“We need a reason we met, like fate.” Ray brightened and Livy felt better so Livy wanted to make this good for him. “How about we were getting punch, you know, each of us with our backs to each other, talking to other people and then we turn around and bump into each other. Ray was imagining it. “Oh, oh, we need a reason why we keep talking, Livy exclaimed, "I spill the punch on you and offer to help you get it off of your shirt!” Ray smiled and Livy darkened.

“No, no that would be too forward of me.” She sat down put her elbows on her knees and placed her chin in her hands as she furrowed her brow thinking this big problem over.” Ray’s heart jumped. He tried not to stare at her, he was afraid of what she might read in this face and it made her uncomfortable on the few times she caught him. But she was deep in thought and he was part of the conversation so looking at her was OK. His eyes took in every detail of her face… her green eyes, her upturned nose, her freckles, her beautiful, inviting lips…. Livy looked up and Ray changed his expression to seriousness, “Did you think of something Livy?” Ray asked.

“Yes, I think we should stay somewhat close to the truth,” Ray’s raised eyebrows which made her say quickly “oh no…..I meant I thought we should say”…she suddenly became shy.

“Say what Livy? Ray asked. “Say, ..say we were set-up by your cousins because they thought we’d make a.., her voice got quieter, “a good couple.” Ray liked this story.

Livy continued, “We could say…, well you could say, if you were asked, that they insisted that you come to their wedding and you went because they were family and all. She frowned again, “Oh, why didn’t Martha, Hank and the kids go?” Livy asked.

Ray came to the rescue, “ cause that time of year, we both couldn’t leave the farms unattended so they insisted I go so that I got out more!” Ray looked proud of himself as Livy was pleased with the answer.

“What time if year?” Livy asked.“Whatever time they had the wedding.” Ray answered.“Could it be March?” Livy asked.“I guess, why?” Ray was curious.

Livy’s face clouded a bit and she said, “No reason….it would work for the timeline.”

Ray realized that March must have been when she met the man who….He looked at Livy and saw the moment was gone. She was remembering why she was here. Livy’s guard was back up.

“Do you need me to write this down?” Livy asked. “No, Livy, I’ll remember.” Ray answered.

She smiled her polite smile and got up. She was almost out of the room when she stopped and said, “How did we keep in contact? Mail? Ray didn't hesitate. “No…” Ray said, “The mailman would have noticed a letter from Denver.” Livy looked down at her feet. Of course in a small town like this, the postman would know if Ray got a letter from Denver.

“I know," Ray said. Livy looked at him. Ray continued, “I didn't want folks in my business, so I wrote you and went to La Junta to mail them. Everybody would believe that. And you wrote me back there at a p.o. box.”

Deep into the development of this important element, Ray continued, “And, I called you from the phone box in La Junta too. He smiled. “That’s where I asked you to marry me,” Ray blurted out with a confidence he didn’t usually show. In his mind’s eye, he saw himself doing that, being the out-going man he wished he could be. A man that would have worked to win Livy.

Ok, Ray that’s good. She looked happy and they had a close moment as they looked at each other and smiled. Then suddenly, she was shy again,"Well, that covers everything. I guess the rest is history.” Livy got up to leave the room. She smiled at him and took their tea cups back to the kitchen.

Ray felt sad that this exchange was over. Everytime they seemed to get along, she would pull back. This was the first meaningful conversation they’d had as a couple about being a couple...,even if it wasn’t true. The only other time they had talked about their marriage was their time together before the wedding and that night at dinner when Livy asked him why he had agreed to this marriage. Livy had seemed unhappy with his response then.

Livy slowly walked back into the room. She hesitated and then said, “Ray, thank you…thank you for…” she waved he hand and said with a sad smile, “everything.” “You’re welcome, Livy.” He wanted to say more but she turned and left.
That night as Livy laid in her bed, she thought about the story. It wasn't too bad. She thought about how fun Ray could be. He was slowly getting less shy around her. She also noted that she liked his voice and his laugh. As she drifted off, she allowed herself to imagine that she did meet Ray at a wedding, would she have been drawn to him? What if someone had set them up on a blind-date? She tried to imagine Ray in a situation like that and laughed to herself realizing how close to the truth it was.
"I'm just being stupid," she thought as she drifted off to sleep. That night she dreamed about coming out on the train to marry the man she met in Denver, the man who had asked her to marry him over the phone because he couldn't leave his farm. She dreamed about his letters, how this quiet man was so passionate in his written words that she couldn't help falling in love with him from afar. She dreamed that she read them over and over on the train and when she stepped off the platform, Ray swept her into his arms and kissed her passionately.
That night Ray dreamed about how he woed the woman of his dreams. He saw Livy as he thought she would have looked at the wedding. He fell in love at first sight. He was charming. He said all the right things and he could see she liked him. She took him to the train coming back to La Junta and they promised they would write. He wrote the words of his heart and won her. He saw her get off the tain and swept her into his arms and kissed her. He saw their wedding with all his family and friends. He saw their wedding night. He dreamed in detail of things he had not yet dared to hope for.
The next morning, Ray woke with the hope of a real marriage someday, like he had dreamed of last night.
Livy woke with a smile and then bolted up with alarm when she thought of her dream. She renewed her plan to stay distant to Ray and leave this farm. I'm just lonely she thought as she got up to get ready to go to town with Martha.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Day Before Abby’s Visit

Ray was busy balancing his ledger. He always double-checked his work because he knew farmers that were careless with their bookkeeping soon lost their farms. His father always seemed to know exactly what they had by estimate, but Ray learned early on to be cautious with his bookkeeping. During the winter that his father and mother took ill, Ray had to start paying the bills and he didn’t pay too much attention to the balance. Ray hadn’t worried at first, he knew his father would take it over again when he got well.

But then the worst thing happened that Ray could have ever imagined. His father died and within two days his mother was also passed. Ray was devastated with grief but tried to put on a brave face for Danny. The neighbors helped out with food, and Reverend Case helped take care of the burial and service. Everybody was good to Martha, Ray and Danny.

On the day of the viewing, when people come by and pay their respects, Ray remembered how he looked out the front window and saw the banker, Mr. Thomas, with some of the other farmers who were friends of this father. They all were in a deep discussion and then shook hands. Later they came in to pay their respects. It seems every moment of those days are burned in Ray’s memory. The next day was the funeral and Ray stayed all night in the front room with the bodies of his parents. He didn’t cry that night. He hadn’t cried at all.

Reverend Case came by very early with the folks from the funeral parlor to fetch the caskets for the funeral. Ray looked like he wouldn’t let them go and Reverend Case step forward and quietly out his arm around Ray and said, “Son, they’re not in there anymore,” pointing to the caskets, “people this fine have already gone to God.” Ray finally couldn’t hold back any more and cried. He cried so hard that Reverend Case had to hold him. Reverend Case motioned to the men to take the caskets while he quietly held Ray. The Reverend never spoke of that moment again to Ray, but that day the Reverend earned a special place in Ray’s heart. He trusted the Reverend. Maybe that’s why when the Reverend came to Ray’s farm many years later, Ray listened to the his proposition of marriage to a girl Ray had never met. Ray trusted him.

Two days after the funeral Mr. Stewart, Hank’s dad, and Hank came to the door. Mr. Stewart asked where Danny was and Ray told him he was in the barn. Mr. Stewart then told Ray that his father’s accounts were overdrawn at the bank. Ray’s look of alarm caused him to quickly put a hand on Ray’s shoulder to assure him that everything was alright. He told Ray that the other farmers, his father’s friends, had come together to take care of the overdrawn account and made sure that all the bills were paid.

“Ray, the bookkeeping is the quickest way to lose your farm and your parents would never want that.”

Ray felt overwhelmed. Mr. Stewart went on, “Hank here’s always been good with the books, and well, you need to let him teach you how to do this.” Hank smiled at Ray and said, “Ray, we’re family now that I married you sister and we all gotta take care of each other. I can start by going through your accounts and getting them straight.”

Ray looked embarrassed and started to protest that he could do it. “Now Ray,” Mr. Stewart interrupted, “you gotta be the man here and take care of you and your brother. You need to learn from Hank, so don’t be so proud.”

Ray was quiet for a moment and then he looked at Mr. Stewart ignoring the offer of help. Ray said, “How much do I owe all of you for paying our bills. I’ll pay you back.”

Mr. Stewart smiled and said, “Ray, your Daddy at one time or noth’r has bailed out almost every one of the men who helped you the other day. Don’t insult us by talkin’ of payback. Your father was our friend and we all feel your parent’s loss. They were,,,,Mr. Stewart’s eyes watered and his voice cracked, “…it was an honor to have known such good people.”

He stood up and looked out the front window. When he looked back he had composed himself. “Now you listen to me, cause your father would want you to. You let Hank come over and clean-up the books. Then Hank will show you how to manage the accounts, your credit account at the general, how to estimate your crop cost and profit…everything you need. This year he’ll show you how to file your taxes”

Ray looked at Hank who smiled at him. Ray and Danny had spent most of their history with Hank trying to make him as miserable as possible while he courted Martha. It was funny that Hank was now his teacher.

“Ray, don’t worry, you’ll get this,” Hank said. That statement made Ray wince because it was too close to the truth. In his 16 year-old heart, Ray was afraid he couldn’t do this.”

Hank saw a look cross Ray’s face. It would be the same look Ray had years later when he tried to talk of a city name Troy one night at dinner.

Hank said softly, “If your feelin’ too proud, do it for Martha. You know how bad she feels. She wants you two to move in with us.”

“No, we’ll take care of ourselves… of the farm.” Ray said.

“Well then Ray, be man enough to take help when you need it,” Hank said.

Ray looked at Hank and nodded. Then Hank, characteristic to his way that Ray would later come to count on, smiled and winked. “Well, come on now, let’s go get your brother. Your sister’s cookin’ the one meal she doesn’t burn.”

Ray smiled at his memories and looked up to see Livy watching him. Livy asked shyly what he was smiling about. Ray wanted to tell her, he wanted to share the things he cared about and the memories he cherished and hurt him at the same time. It felt like he had waited a lifetime to tell somebody, a special somebody, but that would come later. Now, it was still too early in their relationship to know how to bridge the gulf between them. But for a moment, his guard was down. As Ray looked at Livy, he thought of all the people he loved, how none of them, even Danny, could fill that lonely place he had carried with him since he was 16. But when he looked at Livy, actually from the first moment he saw her, she filled it up in a way he never expected. That’s why he knew God had answered his prayer. That’s where he found his patience and forbearance. God never made great things easy to obtain. That was fine with Ray, because he was used to hard work. That’s where he would go for the strength and forgiveness he would need to keep this great gift when he was tested. You have to be worthy when God answers a prayer of this magnitude. Ray knew that.

“I was remembering Martha and Hank’s first year of marriage.”

Livy blushed. She wasn’t sure why, but occasionally when Ray looked at her like he sometimes did, she had a hard time breathing. She put up her guard and looked down. Ray returned to his guarded position, embarrassed that he had given too much away, and returned to his books. Later both would think back and talk about to the multiple occasions they had at this time to reach out to each other and missed because of fear. Then they would both agree, no these things had to happen the way they did so that they could have what came later.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Abby’s Visit from Livy’s Perspective

Abby, “No one deserves to stay married to someone they don’t love, especially not you.”

Livy looked at Abby with a look that is a mixture of acknowledgement and guilt. Livy knows that she should agree with Abby but deep in her heart she feels a mixture of emotions that she doesn’t quite know what to do with. Livy continues to sip her tea and talk to Abby but all the happiness of being with Abby is gone. Livy can’t understand why she’s uncomfortable and wants to get away to think. Livy thinks how ironic it is that finally she has Abby here to talk to and all she wants to do is get away. She’s glad now that she put Abby in Martha’s old room rather than in her room which was her first intention when Abby arrived.

Earlier in the evening, Livy had decided to put Abby in Martha’s old room rather than have Abby share her room as they would have done in the past. Livy was too ashamed to have Abby see her in a nightgown where her expanding belly and breasts would be very evident. Livy didn’t want to hear Abby’s comments about how Livy looked. Ray followed Livy and Abby upstairs to Martha’s old room carrying Abby’s bag as Livy nervously talked. Abby seemed to be in judgment of everything she saw. Ray left the room as soon as possible with an excuse of washing up.

During dinner, Ray tried to engage Abby in conversation but Abby remained cool to him. Livy tried to keep the conversation light, but was relieved, as she suspected Ray was, that dinner was over. It embarrassed Livy that Abby used her Denver society voice on Ray. It had a subtle but distinct condescension in the tone, as if speaking to someone beneath her social status and Livy tried to smooth it over with constant talk. She was so happy to see her sister and she wanted to spend time alone with her. Livy hoped Ray would go to bed early and he excused himself soon after dinner. But as he left to go upstairs, for a moment his eyes caught Livy’s and she saw a look she hadn’t seen there before…anger, controlled patience, no, it was disappointment. For a moment, it made Livy angry because she wanted to be happy because Abby was here. But it made her feel something else that Ray had never made her feel before- ashamed. She brushed it off and made tea for herself and Abby.

When Abby and Livy retired to the living room, the talk turned to life in this farming community. Abby made fun of the things she read in the paper and Livy joined in with the comment that all people talked about was the weather. Abby returned to their earlier discussion of Livy returning to Denver. Livy was surprised at first that Abby would even suggest this as Livy’s obvious pregnancy would be the talk of the church and their Denver circle. But then Abby suggested how to turn the talk in Livy’s favor, by making Ray out to be an abusive husband. Livy felt compelled to defend Ray which just irritated Abby because Abby saw Ray as just a means to an end. Abby then asked about Edward. Had Livy heard from him? Livy was surprised and shocked to here Edward’s name spoken aloud in Ray’s house, so she said quietly, “Uh no.” Then Abby had made the final statement regarding staying married to some one you don’t love. Both spoke a while longer, but Abby was ready to retire, now that she had laid out her plan. She was irritated and somewhat bewildered that Livy did not openly agree to come back to Denver with her. Abby said her goodnights, and Livy was finally able to go to her room to think.

As she walked by Ray’s room, she looked at the door crack as she always did to check on the light. It was off. It occurred to her that Ray could have heard them. Livy felt a tightening in her throat and then became angry with herself. It used to be so simple. Now, nothing was. She went into her room and changed. She waited until after she heard Abby use the bathroom and go back to her room to go down the hall herself. She began to bush her teeth and she looked at herself in the mirror. She was surprised at how bad she looked compared to Denver standards. She didn’t do her hair up anymore. She didn’t wear powder. No wonder Abby looked at Livy with distain. Her cloths were too tight. This place was ruining her. In her next thought, she thought how good she thought she looked just yesterday. The pregnancy was making her skin glow; her hair was full and curly….and Ray looked at her as if she was the most beautiful thing in the world. When he looked at her, she thought she was beautiful, expanding middle and all. When Abby looked at her, she felt substandard, like she did now. She realized that Abby had always done that but it had been the offsetting influence of her mother that made Livy feel pretty.

She finished washing her face and went back into her room. Her mind was twirling and she wanted to sort her ideas.

She turned off the light and went to sit in the rocking chair. When she had problems at the university, she would turn out the lights and go over each item of information in her mind in the comfort of the dark. She found the dark helped her apply logic. Her mother taught her this. Go over the information, or aspects of a problem, and let your sub-conscious work on it during the night. She tried to apply logic but something was stopping her brain’s ability to process the problem.

Problem: she became pregnant out-of-wedlock. Answer: Temporary marriage for societal conformity. Her intent had always been to return, even if her father had not acted like that was an option, she and Abby had discussed it before she left. Kent had promised she could move in with them if her father did not relent.

Problem: Abby wanted her to go back with her now. Why was that a problem? It was probable. No, Livy thought, it’s not because the birth of the baby in December will make it obvious when she got pregnant. No, no it was better to remain here, give birth and then return to Denver after the baby is a few months old.

Something new was nagging at the back of her mind about this scenario. It was something that Abby said this afternoon in the kitchen, “It’ll be the two of us until Kent get home. What does happen when Kent gets home? In the back of her mind, Livy knew the answer: They would want privacy and Livy and a baby would be in the way. Abby hated being alone and that was the root of her visit here. Abby was looking for a short-term solution to her loneliness without really thinking through the consequences for Livy. But had Livy thought through the consequences? There seemed to be different factors in play now but none of them seemed logical and her mind still wouldn’t let her name it. Why did she feel so uneasy? Maybe it was moving in with newlyweds.

When Livy made plans with Abby and Kent to return, none of them were really thinking about what a baby meant. The baby meant crying. Livy had begun to think of the baby in different terms than when the problem first arose. At first, the baby was just a problem, and she prayed it wasn’t real and then even after she had to acknowledge she was pregnant, she still didn’t think in terms of a living baby. She thought in terms of how it would impact her plans. Lately, her thoughts had started to turn to this real person growing inside of her.

No, no better to stay with the original plan, but maybe rethink long-term solutions. Problem with original plan: Ray, Ray, Ray. She had never counted on Ray. She had expected someone she could mildly loathe. She originally saw this as exile and she didn’t count on meeting anyone she would care about. But Ray and his family were good, kind and caring to her. She imagined taking the baby away from Ray after he had come to love it and her mind wouldn’t let her go there.

It’s not his baby, she thought. Any yet, could she say the real father of this baby would call it his? She had come to realize that Edward must be getting the letters. His silence told her logical mind what the truth really was about their relationship. Her earlier emotions wouldn’t let her believe it. But since that time she had gained new information, a new litmus test to measure Edward against—Ray. In every way, Ray's actions have shown Livy how shallow her relationship with Edward really was...how single-minded his intentions were. Ray had been more of a gentleman, more of a provider, more concerned about her welfare, more understanding of her, more of everything a woman could want. His only failing in the social book of Dunne was his occupation—beet farmer. No, Edward would not be part of this baby or her life. She had her pride and she had reached her limit with that fantasy…thanks to Ray. No, she thought, don’t think about Ray, don’t worry about Ray.

Ray stopped her mind from using cold logic. That drove her crazy. She wanted to tick off all the reasons that Ray was not her problem. After all, this isn’t her fault that she was in Ray's life. She didn’t want to come here. She did it to satisfy her father and cover her “shame.” She didn’t ask Ray to agree to this and she still couldn’t completely understand what he wanted out of this relationship in any practical sense. But Ray’s choice wasn’t practical--it was hopeful, it was in-faith and trust in something bigger than either one of them. Although Livy’s father was a minister, her practical mind didn’t believe that God bother himself with the day-to-day affairs of people. Did Ray believe this was fate? Well, she always believed her fate was elsewhere.

She couldn’t stop herself from smiling. Everything he had done had been out of these pure, if naïve, motives. He had given her a home, but he had given her more. He could have been anyone. He could have insisted on marriage rights from the first night. Livy had expected that. The last thing her father had said to her was that she must submit to her husband in all things and that this outcome was hers alone to bear. He made it clear that no one would come for her despite Abby's assurances to the contrary. Several times on the way to La Junta she had felt ill. When she excused herself to go to the bathroom at the station, she had felt sick partly from the baby, and partly from the unexpected. When she first followed Ray into this bedroom, she had expected to hear him say that this was “their room.” Instead he allowed her the dignity of her own space. He taught her to drive the beet box. He was in every action and every point a gentlemen. How could she pay back his kindness, this gift of refuge, this offer of home by having the baby here and then rip it from him after he grew to love it? She sat in the darkness a heard the clock tick.

Maybe there was a middle ground. Maybe she could leave, for Ray’s sake right before the baby was born, so he didn’t see it. This thought hurt her heart, so she put it aside. A new thought formed in her mind. She saw herself through Ray’s eyes. That look he had given her. Why did she feel guilty? She knew.

Livy then thought of sisters. She thought of Martha’s treatment of her. Surely, Martha had every right to treat Livy with polite superiority. After all, Livy was the unwed, pregnant bride that her brother saved from ruin. Yet, the Stewarts had shown her nothing but warmth and respect. A treatment she cherished as she had not known what kind of reception she would get when she came here. Yet, here was her sister treating the man who had agreed to marry her sight unseen disrespectfully in his own home.
She thought of how Abby looked at the house. Livy thought of her first day here. Did Ray see that barely covered look of distain in her eyes? She knew she showed disappointment when she found out there was no phone. She remembered that the first time he smiled and seemed at ease was when he told her about the putting in the bathroom. It was a gift to her she realized later. But she gave him no thank you; she never spoke of it to him. She thought of her and her families’ actions against those of Ray and the Stewarts. Her mind told her whose actions and intentions were superior. She thought again of Abby’s plan to label Ray an abuser and she was ashamed.

Livy laid down and finally went to sleep. The next morning she had a new plan. She got up and started downstairs to fix breakfast. Ray was long gone. She looked in his room and smiled. His bed was made and the room tidy. In the kitchen, she found he had made extra biscuits and left coffee. Livy heard Abby moving about as Livy finished her last letter to Edward. She placed it in an envelop and finished the eggs. She greeted Abby and felt tranquil for the first time since finding out she was pregnant. She marveled at the feeling. Abby started to ask about Denver again, but Livy said she needed time to talk to Ray. Abby look incredulous and Livy, for the first time in her life, cut Abby off. “I’ve told you what I need to do. Let’s enjoy breakfast.” As Abby left, Livy gave her a letter to send to Edward. Livy knew that Abby would be relieved and glad to be a fellow conspirator. Livy told Abby she loved her and meant if with all her heart; Abby would always be her sister. As Abby drove off, Livy turned to the barn. She needed to get a barometer for how Ray would react to her new plan.

In the barn, Livy found Ray singing to himself. She stopped to listen. He mentioned the baby’s birth. Did he read her mind? She floated a balloon to get his reaction. She told him of her sister’s plan for Livy to give birth in Denver. This wasn’t really Abby’s plan, but it was close enough. She saw that look again on his face, the look she hated. He couldn’t look at her and asked where Abby was. Livy told him that she left and he couldn’t hide his amazement at the rudeness but said nothing. She knew she had hurt him, but Livy couldn’t help keeping one door still open. Livy told herself this was best for Ray…not feel too secure. She said she was going to make lunch. On her walk back to the house, she felt the full weight of making decisions for two, no three human beings now. It was no longer just about her.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another Skeet photo...a little ways back...

Sorry, I don't want to push Jericho down on the page, but I stumbled across this photo while searching for Jericho pics. This is Skeet signing autograph for ITW promotion.

courtesy of...


Jericho's first publicity photo


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SU Sighting: CBS Red Carpet

He's out and about thanks to the series called Jericho...

If you want to see this --->>>

go to the forum


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pictures from last April '05

Pictures from http://community.livejournal.com/skeet_daily/ - another great skeet site


Saturday, May 13, 2006


To all the 'TMOOD' moms--have a wonderful day!

To those of you who are 'out' to your children, be thankful! They might not understand or encourage your addiction to this site, this movie and all things Skeet, but they indulge you. (Kinda like patting you on the head--"Sure, Mom, whatever...") They know your internet buddies are harmless and so far, you haven't changed TOO much!

To those of you who are still undercover, may you continue to surf the web, watch your DVD's and chat with your buddies in peace and seclusion. May your children remain in the dark, blissfully unaware that mom actually has something all her own.

Remember it's YOUR DAY, and you deserve to be praised and pampered!


Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Arrangement Part 2

From Mande to all the TMoODers out there...
The Arrangement, part 2
Abby’s Story

Abby stood in front of her bathroom mirror fixing her hair. She was meeting a friend for coffee at 10:00, and then they were going shopping. She admired her reflection in the mirror. Abby was good at styling her hair, and someone had even suggested that she could work in a salon. But that would not be good enough for Abby.

She was the second child of Rev and Mrs Dunne. She had one older sister, Livy. The two sisters were distinctly different. Livy was more like her mother, slender, petite, light brown hair, and loved gardening and reading. Abby was more like her father, taller than Livy, darker hair and with her father’s no nonsense attitude. Livy was not able to finish her fourth year at university because their mother became ill and she had to stay home to look after her till she died in February.

It was at their mother’s insistence that both daughters attend university. Livy loved it from the beginning, and immersed herself in her school work and friends. Abby was not too keen on going to university. Her mother made sure she had enrolled before she left high school, and Abby thought the summer was going to be awful because she was dreading going to university in the fall. To take her mind off it, her mother helped her get a job in a fashionable women’s clothing store. This was right up Abby’s alley! She loved it, and her employer saw that she had a real flare for helping people choose appropriate outfits.

In the fall, and unlike Livy, Abby grudgingly started her classes university. But Abby was surprised when she got there because she realized university broadened her social circle immensely! This was one benefit she had not thought of. And the young men were hanging around her like bees to honey! She dated a lot, hung out with her girl friends, and did actually do some studying, enough to achieve decent marks.

In her second year, she met a young medical student named Kent. They were smitten! Kent was finishing his medical degree that year, and the next year would be his internship. In the spring of 1943, when he had finished his internship, they were married. Rev and Mrs Dunne were so pleased for her, and the wedding was perfect in every detail under Abby’s watchful eye. Abby felt pretty smug about getting married before her older sister. And since this was the first wedding in the family, it was done in great style, as only Abby would approve of.

When Abby was at the front door of her house adjusting her hat, the phone rang. ‘Who could that be?’ wondered Abby. It was Livy, and she did not sound well. Livy wanted to see Abby, but Abby told her that she had plans for the day, and would come over to see her after Kent and her had supper. But as it turned out, it was too late to go see Livy that day, so Abby called and said she would visit the next day.

When Abby arrived at their fathers house, she was greeted by Livy. ‘Livy!’ she said, ‘You look dreadful! What have you been doing with yourself?’

It was very obvious that Livy had been crying, her eyes were red and swollen, and her face was pale with red blotches.

Abby said, ‘Livy, have you been losing weight? You look awfully thin.’

Livy managed to nod, and offered a weak smile and said, ‘I don’t feel like eating.’

‘Whatever is the matter with you? Haven’t you got over mother’s passing yet? You have to get out and live again, Livy. Have you talked to father?’ asked Abby in rapid succession.

‘No, we hardly see each other,’ Livy told her.

‘Well, what is going on? What is the matter with you?’ Abby retorted.

Livy blurted out, ‘I think I might be pregnant.’ She felt very awkward telling Abby this, and did not want to meet her eyes. She felt so ashamed.

For once Abby was momentarily speechless. ‘How can that be?’ she asked, ‘I mean, Livy, are you sure? How could this happen? I don’t remember any young man in your life.’

She told Abby about meeting Edward at a dance for the enlisted men, and that things went a little too far. Livy struggled for composure, and hung her head in shame.

Abby reacted very strongly. She was practically shouting at Livy, saying things like, how could you be so careless, and what will father say? And if you are pregnant, what are your plans for the baby?

Livy knew their father would react even more angrily that Abby. She is, after all, a ministers daughter, and what will the parishioners think of a minister who’s daughter is pregnant without the benefit of marriage?

‘Livy, have you seen a doctor?’ Abby asked, ‘I mean, who knows, maybe you aren’t pregnant, maybe you are sick or something.’

Livy said she had made an appointment for the next day. The doctor confirmed her worst fears. Before Livy had a chance to do it herself, Abby told their father of Livy’s situation.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


It seems you are all entertaining yourselves with talk of *signs*, sighting and personal opinions. I think it's a great time to launch the forum. I've been working on this project (during my free time) for a couple of weeks now and I guess it's a *sign* that the need for it seem to have leapt out of the comment section of the blog of late and the fact that Jericho is coming out soon.

I've been hesitant to deploy the forum only for the reason that the blog might be neglected but...I think there is good purpose for everyone to have the forum as well as the blog. The fiction will remain and continue to be posted in the blog. The forum, I've created for the sole purpose of organizing our chat and discussions. We are TMoODers at heart but Skeet has other projects that we might want to talk about as well. Our comments, through the course of time, may, have and can be buried -- in the comment section. There had been great discussions in the past that we'd like to be able to re-read and find, so I think the message board/forum will be the appropriate venue to keep the talk and excitement alive.

I've put up a guideline and a simple help section somewhat. It's still in the works and I intend to expand on it as we go along. You would have to register to be able to post in the forum but once you're a registered member, you will also be able to start a thread/subject that you may want to bring up or discuss.

Please read the rules/guidelines firsthand and do remember that the purpose of the forum is to keep things organized so everyone can follow a certain conversation.

Enjoy -- the FORUM