Loose Ends

By MaxCale

Romance

Parties & Plans

John woke up bright and early at 6:15 AM. Amy got him dressed and ready for the day and placed him back in his crib with a toy to play while she got dressed and packed their pajamas in their respective bags. She carried John and their bags into the living room and quietly placed their bags by the front door before setting him down near his toys to play. Ricky was still sound asleep. She walked over to him and gently shook his shoulder to wake him. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled, inwardly happy that Amy was the first thing he'd seen upon waking up.

"Morning," he said. She smiled back.

"Morning." The sounds of John playing drew Ricky's attention as he sat up and stretched. "Let me grab a shower real quick and then I'll make us some breakfast."

"You don't have to," Amy assured him. "Cereal would be fine."

"I want to, Amy. Can you set the table while I'm getting ready?" She nodded and he went to shower. As he showered Ricky couldn't help but think about their conversation from last night. I wonder what else I missed he wondered. He realized he needed to have a few conversations of his own with people the rest of this week. He couldn't shake the feeling that there was still a lot left for him and Amy to talk about. I'll ask her about it at breakfast. Maybe we'll have another sleep over later this week he thought with a smile. Amy had the table set and had folded the blankets on the couch neatly by the time Ricky finished getting dressed. He found her sitting on the couch watching John play and smiled. "How does scrambled eggs, toast and fruit sound?"

"Sounds good. Need any help?"

"Sure." Amy scooped up John and placed him in his high chair while she and Ricky fixed breakfast. She sliced up a grapefruit and some strawberries while Ricky worked on the eggs and toast.

"So what should we do as our first family outing on Saturday?"

"Well, I took John to the aquarium yesterday so why don't we take him to the zoo?" Amy suggested.

"Sounds good." They decided it would be best if they went after John's nap so Amy planned to arrive at Ricky's around 2:30 and they would carpool to the zoo. They sat down at the table to enjoy their breakfast before Ricky asked Amy about his suspicions. "Amy?"

"Yeah?"

"I feel like even though we talked about a lot of things last night, there's still a lot left for us to talk about."

"Such as?"

"I can't put my finger on it but I just have this feeling it's important and somehow it didn't come up last night." Amy pondered his statement as she chewed a bite of her toast.

"I can't think of anything off the top of my head right now. Maybe some other issues will come up after I've finished talking to the other people I need to talk to." Ricky wanted to ask her who else she was gonna talk to but figured she'd let him know if they ended up having another discussion sleepover.

"So do you think we'll need to have another sleepover to talk about it?"

"Maybe," she answered honestly and then smiled. "You know, your mother offered to keep John for a whole weekend if we needed time to talk but I'm sure we can just have another sleepover or two like we had last night if we need to. We covered a lot last night" She what? Ricky hid his surprise well, and the wheels in his head also started turning. I didn't find out what Amy thinks is romantic so I can properly apologize but maybe I'll take mom up on that offer one of these weekends so I can. But first I really need to talk to some people too; I've got apologies of my own to make. Amy was thinking of what order she wanted to have her next few conversations in. Sooner than Ricky would've liked, it was time for them to head to work. He walked Amy to her car and kissed John on the forehead before saying goodbye and heading to work.

At the nursery Amy was pleasantly surprised at how much the kids had seemed to grow in the month she'd been away and she enjoyed getting reacquainted with them, even though it was pretty tiring trying to corral a small group of toddlers, her own included. Back at the butcher shop Ricky decided to call his mom on his break.

"Hi, Ricky. How are you?"

"Good, mom. I wanna ask you something."

"Oh?"

"So Amy came over last night and we talked about a lot of things and she mentioned that she'd had dinner with you and dad on Saturday."

"She did." Margaret didn't elaborate, not willing to reveal exactly what Amy had talked to her and Shakur about without Amy's permission.

"She told me the three of you were gonna hang out and talk more and I was wondering when you planned to do that." Margaret and Shakur had talked about it quite a bit the past couple of days and she saw no reason not to tell her son about their plans.

"We were thinking of asking Amy to come over for dinner once a week or at least a couple of times a month so the three of us could spend some time together and I planned on asking Amy to have lunch or go out somewhere with me a couple of Saturdays a month for some girl time. Why do you ask?" Ricky chuckled.

"I guess we all had the same idea."

"What do you mean?"

"Last night Amy and I decided we needed to spend more time together as a family with John and have dinner together once a week and do some sort of family activity on the weekends so we can get to know each other better too." Margaret could hear the smile in Ricky's voice and he could hear her's in her response.

"That sounds like a good idea. Why don't you or Amy give us a call after you've decided what night of the week you two will eat together and then we'll go from there."

"Ok, mom; sounds good. I'll talk to you later."

"OK. Talk to you later, Ricky." After ending the call Ricky took a deep breath before making his next one. He dialed the number and waited.

"Hi, Ricky. Didn't expect to hear from you anytime soon."

"Hi, Adrian. I need to talk to you. Are you free tomorrow tonight?"

"Yeah. What do you wanna talk about?"

"Us. I'll come over about 7:00. See you tomorrow." Adrian didn't get a chance to respond because Ricky ended the call. Wonder what's going on? Maybe Amy's confronted Ricky like she confronted my dad! I wonder what she told him? Adrian started to feel nervous, remembering what Amy had revealed to her dad already. If Amy told the same things to Ricky they were bound to get into a fight tomorrow night.

At the end of her shift Amy happily headed home, remembering tonight was her belated birthday dinner. Traffic was still pretty light, rush hour having not quite started yet, so she got home a little early. Amy couldn't help but laugh when she walked in the kitchen door and saw her dad heading into the dining room very slowly, his way blocked by a rather large quantity of birthday balloons. He turned when he saw her standing there.

"No peaking. Go up to your room and wait until we call you down, and put on something nice." George blocked her view of the dining room so Amy couldn't see anything. She continued to laugh as she took John upstairs to play in her room before dinner. She only had to wait ten minutes before Ashley came upstairs to get her. Ashley had dressed up in a dark green dress with a matching dark green sweater that stopped just below her bust line. Amy had chosen the same black dress she wore when she and Anne had gone out to dinner Sunday night and she dressed john up in khaki pants and a light blue button-up shirt. Amy walked into the dining room and smiled. A Happy Birthday banner hung across one wall and balloons were tied to the backs of all the dining room chairs and even John and Robbie's high chairs. The room was lit by candlelight and the table was set with her mom's china and the fancy silverware. Her mom had prepared a salad, chicken parmesan, garlic roasted potatoes, asparagus, and garlic bread and each of their glasses was filled with sparkling grape juice. George was wearing a handsome charcoal grey suit and Anne was wearing a dark blue cocktail dress that stopped just below her knees. Even Robbie was dressed up in a nice pair of khaki pants and a red button-up shirt. Amy placed John in his high chair next to Robbie and everyone took a seat. They ate their meal and chatted about their day like a normal family that actually got along, for once, and Amy enjoyed it immensely. As they were finishing up their meal, George went around the table and refilled everyone's glasses and the boys' sippie cups.

"I propose a toast," he said, raising his glass. Everyone picked up their own glass as well. "To Amy. Even though I was too selfish and preoccupied to remember your birthday, I want you to know that I love you, sweetheart. Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful you're a part of my family and that you put up with me," he finished with a smile.

"Hear, Hear," Anne added with a smile. Ashley simply nodded in agreement and they all took a sip of their juice. Anne stood up to make a toast next.

"I want to say that I'm also sorry for being too wrapped up in my own life to remember to tell my baby girl Happy Birthday. Even though as your mother I wish motherhood was still a few years away for you, Amy, I want you to know that I'm proud of the mother you have become and thank you for blessing me with a grandchild." Everyone raised their glassed again and took another sip, although this time Amy was a little teary-eyed at her mother's words.

"My turn," Ashley said with a grin as she stood up to give her own toast. "I know I'm not the most emotional or mushy person so I can come across as aloof and uninterested. But I'm glad you're my sister and I'm proud of everything you've gone through and accomplished in the past two years. Happy belated birthday, Amy."

"Hear, Hear," her parents added in unison before taking another sip from their glasses. Amy decided to make a little toast of her own and stood up.

Raising her glass she said, "I wanna propose a toast to all of you for not disowning me when I got pregnant and for being there to help and support me when I needed it, even if I said I didn't want it. I also wanna propose a toast to our family. We've been through some ups and downs and quite a few major life changes but we're still doing our best to work it out and be a stronger family. And I think that's something worth toasting," she finished with a smile.

"Hear, Hear," Ashley and her parents said and took one more drink from their glasses. As Amy sat down, Anne stood up.

"Now, it's not a birthday celebration without a cake." She went into the kitchen and took the cake she had prepared out of the fridge. She placed a number seventeen candle on it and lit it before carrying it back into the dining room. As she did so, George and Ashley joined her in singing Happy Birthday. Amy made a wish and blew out the candle. George cut the cake and they again chatted easily about their day and life in general as they enjoyed their cake.

"Almost time for presents," George announced. "Amy, you wait here while we clear the table." He, Anne and Ashley quickly cleared the dinner and dessert dishes and Anne proceeded to wipe the boy's faces and hands while George and Ashley carried in gifts. Amy just smiled. She hadn't expected any gifts because she was simply grateful that her parents had let her go to New York. Anne scooted the boys chairs closer to Amy, deciding it would be best not to let either toddler anywhere near wrapping paper. George picked up a camera that had been sitting on the china cabinet to take pictures of Amy opening her gifts. Her parents got her a kindle, iTunes gift cards, and a new digital camera. Ashley had gotten her two CDs: one of Amy's favorite jazz band and the other a compilation of smooth jazz musicians. Robbie, via her parents, had gotten her a photo frame that had the words 'I Love My Big Sister' etched around the outside and contained a photo of Amy hugging Robbie while both of them smiled at the camera. Amy gave each of her family members a hug and a kiss as she thanked them. Ashley carried her gifts upstairs while Amy carried John. Amy gave her sister a hug goodnight and thanked her again for her toast and presents. After John was put to bed Amy went downstairs and found her parents cleaning up the dinner dishes. She offered to help but her parents wouldn't let her. She hugged and kissed them goodnight and then got ready for bed herself. She'd just come back to her room after brushing her teeth when her phone buzzed. It was Ricky.

"Hi."

"Hey. So how was your first day back at the nursery?" Amy smiled remembering how wonderfully tiring it was.

"Good. It was nice to be back, although I swear those kids all seemed twice as big as when I left for New York," she said with a chuckle, causing Ricky to smile as well.

"I wanted to let you know I called my mom today and told her we talked last night."

"Okay…."

"She mentioned that she and my dad want to start having you over for dinner once or twice a month and I told her we were gonna have dinner once a week." Amy chuckled. Great minds think alike? "Anyway," Ricky continued. "She said after you and I picked a day of the week to have dinner together to let her know and she and dad will figure out what other day of the week to have dinner with you. So….what day do you wanna come over for dinner?"

"I don't know. What day works best for you?" Ricky rolled his eyes.

"Amy, it's the summer. It's not like either of us have to worry about homework and our work days in the summer end at the same time as during the school year. Just pick one."

"Hmmmmmm…how about Wednesday. That way dinner will be something to break up the rest of the week."

"Okay, Wednesdays it is," he replied with a smile in his voice. He suddenly remembered the rest of his conversation with his mom. "Oh, and by the way, my mom also wants to spend some girl time with you so she might be asking you to hang out sometime during the weekends for lunch or something."

"Oh, well that sounds nice."

"I mentioned that we were thinking of doing family activities on the weekends too so we may need to coordinate our Saturday outings with her."

"That shouldn't be a problem but we'll play it by ear."

"Sounds good."

"Okay."

"One more thing, Amy. After our talk last night I realized I need to have some conversations of my own with people and make a few apologies.

"Good for you, Ricky."

"Thanks. I just wanted to let you know I plan to talk to Adrian tomorrow night so depending on how long we talk I might stop by."

"Okay. Just text me if you're gonna come over."

"Will do. Well, good night, Amy."

"Goodnight, Ricky." They ended the call and finished getting ready for bed. While Amy fell asleep peacefully, it took a little longer for Ricky to finally drift off to sleep because he couldn't stop wondering just how emotionally painful his conversation with Adrian tomorrow was gonna be.

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