*By definition Morton’s Fork is a logical dilemma in which people are faced with two equally bad options.*
“Abigail, would you come downstairs for a moment?”
Abby looked up from her laptop at her father’s face. It looked tense, his voice stern. Not a good sign. Especially not when he called her by her full name.
“Did I forget to do something, daddy?”
“Just meet me in the kitchen. Your mother and I have something to discuss with you.”
He left the door ajar, just left her room again, she heard his footsteps on the stairs.
‘BRB – parental meltdown on the homefront’ she typed into the open chat window.
‘May the odds be ever in your favor‘ was Jacob’s instant response.
Giggling she went down the stairs, where she found both parents with somber facial expressions at the table. Her smile faded.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Would you sit down, Abby?” Heath requested.
“Abby, summer break is coming up, and we know that you were looking forward to spending two weeks in Del Sol Valley, but your mother and I have been talking and came to the conclusion that maybe this was not such a good idea.” Heath started the conversation.
“We think maybe it would be best if you stayed here, spend time with your friends, you have so many. Didn’t Amber’s parents invite you out to their lake house? That sounds like fun. I think Kayla is going too, right?” Sam told Abby carefully.
“I don’t want to go to a stupid lake house. I want to go see Jacob. You guys promised.”
“Abby…” Heath tried to muffle her impending meltdown.
“No, that’s just not fair. And Jacob will be sad too. He’ll be all alone!”
“Your mother will be going to see him, since the ticket is already bought and paid for. We talked to Jacob’s dad and he agreed. So he won’t be alone. They will have some fun mother-son time. And we’ll have fun father-daughter time again, like we used to. It will be fun. And when your mother gets back …” Heath tried to make light of the decision.
“…is she bringing Jacob back with her? I mean, he is still coming for the last three weeks, right?”
“No, honey …” Sam told her.
“What?! You cannot do that. That is not right. Why? What did we do? We didn’t do anything? We have been kids other people would love to have! My grades are good. Jacob’s are all right. I do all my chores without you having to remind me. My room is spotless. So why?!”
She saw her father and step-mother exchange a quick look.
“Because we think you are too focused on each other. You need other friends too, Abby and so does Jacob. Just need a break for you two to find your ways again.” Sam explained.
“Daddy…” Abby looked at her father as if hoping he would reverse the decision.
“Abby, that is final. Not open for discussion.”
“Why do you hate me so daddy?”
Abby was crying now, which cut deep into Heath’s heart just as her words had. Without asking she just jumped up and ran back to her room.
Heath wanted to follow her, but Sam held him back.
“Let her go, Heath. She needs time alone now, to process and to simmer down. If you push her now, she’ll just explode and it won’t be pretty.”
In the meantime Abby had reached her room where she cried atop the bed, after angrily tossing some pillows about her room.
What just happened?!
How could her beloved daddy do something like that for no reason at all?!
Had he lost his mind?!
A ding from the chat program called her attention to the desk, so she went over.
‘U back yet?’ Jacob had written.
‘Yeah. Bad news. The parents lost their minds!’ Abby replied.
‘I know. Dad just told me. They are insane. If I ever have kids I will NEVER be like that to them!’
‘Did they tell you why?’
‘Nope. Why do you think that is?’
‘I don’t know. Your mom said they want me to not focus on you so much….’
‘I am thousands of miles away. How could you?’
‘Don’t ask me.’
‘I don’t get it. When we don’t get along, they are upset. When we DO get along, they freak out too.’
‘Must be an adult thing. I am starting to understand why so many people are afraid to get older. THAT’s why, you lose your marbles big time.’
‘So what are we gonna do now?’
‘Nothing we can do. At least we can chat and call until they snap out of it.’
And that was where Abby would be wrong. Once Heath and Sam realized that the kids chatted even more now, Abby hardly ever left the house to meet with friends, they limited her laptop time to certain hours a day, likewise with her phone.
She would get it whenever she left the house, but at home, one of the parents would take it.
No need to explain how that went over. Like a lead balloon.
Somewhere in the midst of yet another heated argument about just that, Sam went into labor.
Heath didn’t trust Abby alone, so he took her and baby Ashton with them to the hospital, resulting in even more resistance, especially when he went to the delivery room with Sam and Abby got stuck with her baby half-brother in the waiting room.
She was fuming.
She didn’t even try to fake excitement when meeting her new baby half-sister, Avalon, Ava for short, once all were back home.
“Are you guys for real on that name? Or am I being punked by my parents?” Abby asked.
“You don’t like it?” Heath wondered.
“Avalon? Sounds like a cheap fragrance. A stinky one. I can hear the commercial for it ‘Put on our new fragrance, Avalon, and nobody will come near you for weeks.'”
“Abigail! I know you are probably upset and tired, but no need to be mean!” Heath reprimanded her. Did her outbreaks never end?!
“Why am I the mean one, YOU named her that. Maybe you can name the next one Babylon. I’ll start wearing some hippie clothes and tell people we run a cult.”
“Enough now!” Heath couldn’t deal with her hormones boiling over any longer.
One day Heath had to run a forgotten wallet up to Sam at her shop, and decided to visit Evey at work. Sam kept the two babies with her until he would get back.
When he entered Evey’s office, the usual hug turned into a near clinging on for life.
“I know we haven’t exactly hung out much of late, but that seems a bit over the top by your standards, Heath. Something tells me you are not okay. So spill!”
“You can say that again. Teen-mageddon is putting it mildly.”
“Wow, instant spilling of guts without me having to coax it out of you for hours. Something must be seriously ablaze.” Evey let go and pointed to the chair which Heath took as he replied
“You have no idea.”
“It’s Abby. She is going to be the death of me. And I am immortal, supposedly. Currently not so sure anymore. I swear she will give me a heart attack, regardless.”
“Abby? Your Abby? What did you do, Heath?”
“What did I do?”
“Abby is the sweetest kid since the invention of kids. Must be you.”
“Okay, we told her that she could not go spend time with Jacob this summer and that she is to limit her time online with him. He won’t come home either, Sam is going to see him.”
“WHY!? That’s kinda cruel, don’t you think! Did I dream you coming over a few weeks ago almost literally doing cartwheels through the door, ecstatic that the kids finally got along. Now you want to stop that?”
“They have been getting along a little too well, Evey.”
Heath told her briefly what he found.
Her eyes grew big, she frowned, but told him.
“Well, you know, technically they are not even related. So it is not THAT much of a drama. And look at the bright side, you already know the in-laws…” Evey giggled
“Not funny Evey. Not one bit. Not even remotely.”
“Actually, it is. It’s hilarious! Sorry, but I really think you are making a mountain out of a molehill here. They are still kids. A kid crush never lasts.”
“Except Abby is not just a normal kid. She is also a vampire. And I probably do not have to remind you how well they handle teen crushes.”
“Yeah, but Abby is much more integrated into society than you ever were at her age. You just didn’t know any better. Abby is more mortal than anything. I don’t think this is as bad as you make it sound. Just give it time, as soon as that cute football player or whatever transfers into her class she’ll forget all about him and crush on him. And then that cute baseball player, or basketball player….”
“Are you sharing personal experiences?”
“I always thought you were into me back then.”
“You know I was. But in my early teens I was an equal opportunity crusher, able to crush on several cute boys at the same time plus a few celebs. Pre-KC of course.”
“Did you know that Abby knows about … us?”
“The kiss. The crush. The soulmate thing. Everything. She figured it all out. I thought she was too little to get it, but she got it. Called me out point blank on it the other day. That’s what started all this.”
“Oh jeeze. Must be some virus that’s going around, cos I thought I had an experience of the other kind, when during a camping trip by the lake, after a really romantic mommy-daddy time in bed, KC suddenly asked me if you and I ever … you know, if we did the mattress mambo.”
“What did you tell him?”
“The truth of course! That we never did more than kiss. Once.”
“Twice, but who is counting. I still have all my teeth, so I guess he is okay.”
“Why wouldn’t he be? That would have been before our time and he had girls before me. I only ever had him. He knows that.”
“Have you ever thought what it would have been like had we gotten together?”
“Many times. I think fate had other plans and I am just glad to have you in my life.”
“I am really wondering about this parent thing. Maybe I did bite off more than I can chew. I can ignore my heritage and history all I want, but it still is what it is. I was never raised to be a member of society. My father was pure evil and raised me in his liking. And here I am trying to be a stay-at-home Mr. Mom. No wonder I fail so badly.”
“Heath Grainger, don’t make me come over there and slap the sense back into you! You are an excellent dad. Always have been. Everybody was always amazed – still is. Abby is a teen. Teens lash out and get mad. Such is life.”
“I thought raising a baby with only the basic understanding of how society works was hard. Then the terrible twos. Then Abby as a child which was easy – until Jacob came along. But now. She told me she hates me. And at another time, that I hate her. Evey, that about broke me.”
“Heath, she didn’t mean that. You and Abby are a team. You will be until you are both old and grey .. oh, wait – vampires, right … well, until forever, I guess. You aren’t failing at anything. Do you know that all of us, including Sam and myself constantly forget you are not even a mortal? That’s how integrated you have become. Besides, with two babies, too late to back out now, buddy. That parenting thing is happening for you.”
“Are you and KC going to have more children?”
“No. I think we are happy where we are with the twins. What about you? Are you and Sam done or going in for mass-production of little Graingers?”
“Not on purpose. I guess that is my version of the Cameron curse. The Grainger curse. At least the pregnancies were uneventful and the babies are mortals.”
“See, I told you it was just bad luck what happened to Heather. Come here you, you look like you could use another hug.”
Evey got up and walked around her desk, where the best friends and soulmates embraced. Afterwards Evey put her head against his shoulder
“Love you, Heath. Always have and always will. I am totally team Heath and so is Abby. You are a good daddy. This too will pass. Just a temporary cloud.”
She kissed his cheek.
He leaned his head on her shoulder, sighing hard, holding on to her hand. That man was at his wits end.
That is when the door opened and Joshua burst in
“Hey Evey …oh sorry. Didn’t realize you had … company.”
He looked taken aback by seeing his married sister so close with another man, but relaxed when he recognized Heath.
“Heath just needed me to snuggle some life spirit back into him.”
“Ah yeah, two babies now, huh man? That’ll do it to ya. We only have one toddler, but that cured us for life. Coleton is definitely gonna be an only child.”
“It’s actually the teenager that is about to kill me for good.”
“Oh, lemme tell ya, those can be toxic. You should talk to my dad about that. Evey was okay, for the most part, except the sneaking around with vampires and convicts. But me … poor mom and dad.”
Josh was referring to him getting into a bunch of trouble at school various times before he and his then-girlfriend and now-wife Emmi ended up running away from home at 15, nearly sending their parents over the edge.
“Oh gawd Evey, what if Abby …?” Heath worried.
“She would never. That girl adores her daddy. She would never run away from home.”
“I always adored mom and dad …. and my annoying older sister … and still ran away.”
“Thanks Josh, REALLY helpful. Don’t you have work to do?” Evey couldn’t appreciate her brother’s misplaced honesty when she was clearly trying to calm down Heath.
“That’s why I am here. The Wilson project again.”
“Ugh, what now?”
“Last minute meeting was called, this afternoon at 4 out on site. Seriously Heath, I don’t know what’s going on with you and Abby, but if you think she is even thinking about running away, you better get on that and talk to her. Life on the street is not for people like us.”
Heath walked out with Josh as he needed to take the babies off Sam’s hands and get them home.
He would definitely sit Abby down about running away.
Hopefully at least a few things he would say to her would even get through before she would fly off the handle again.
And hopefully he wasn’t just giving her the idea.