A back porch tale
Fran Bennett held her cup of steamy coffee with both hands, took a tiny sip and looked up at her husband, smiling in thanks. He nodded, smiled back at her and returned to the kitchen. Seated comfortably at their brand new house's back porch, Fran watched her adorable baby girl exercise her imagination. Four years old Lizzy was running the back garden as an organized company, ordering employees and having stressful meetings with her stuffed bears, only to finish said meetings with a loud 'Weeepy' and hugs to her ballerina doll.
Fran sighed and took another sip of her coffee, adjusted her achy body on the stretcher and smiled, thankful for this Mother's day.
Ann Fitzwilliam Darcy held her cup of cinnamon tea to take another sip, and through the corner of her eyes she saw her husband perk up. These days, even her smallish gestures were supervised by him, making her even more uncomfortable. At least, here at Pemberley she could relax and think of the best way to let her beloved family know about her health. Pemberley was a safe place, a harbor for the Fitzwilliam family that the Darcys had embraced.
Ahhh… The Fitzwilliam-Darcys… Seated on one of the back porch's many recliners, Ann worshiped the sight of her dear boys playing around in the yard. Willy was so tall already; his whole face peeked out from the maze. He was only ten; imagine what a gorgeous man he would be... Ricky's boyish laughter, answered by the dogs' barks, whipped away her worries and opened a smile on her face. She sighed, fighting the fear that she may not witness her loved boys turn into handsome men.
Silently she prayed. This was most likely her last Mothers' day.
Lizzy ground her teeth together and squeezed her eyes shut, yet again. When finally the body piercing pain let her take a breath, she willed herself to relax. If only for a split second. She opened her eyes, faking a smile with them and took the cup Darcy offered her. At moments like these, there was no space for words, resentments or apologies. She hated having to act sunny just to make him feel better.
Fuck him. What about how bad she felt? Damn him to the very depths of Hades. Fuck this awful situation he had put her in. Fuck it all… She groaned to herself, shutting her eyes again.
Fuck Mothers' day.
Fran felt like Heavens had offered her a second chance. Lizzy was so adorable, so sassy, so challenging. She was enough. She was perfect. No need for a second child, Fran decided to herself.
Two weeks before, she would never have let Lizzy use her beautiful Sunday dress to play in the yard. Today, important things in perspective, Lizzy was happily twirling with her balloon dress flying around her.
Fran and Tom had planned a big family of four kids. Maybe five. Surely they had appetite for that much love in the bedroom. But this big scare, this ectopic pregnancy on their second try was Heavens way of letting her know they had been greedy.
How could Fran live with the fear that, God forbid, if bad had come to worse, Tom would be alone to raise her beloved baby girl. And some blond tramp would certainly end up seducing him with all sorts of arts and allurements, and this tramp would influence her girl. That thought brought tears to her eyes all over again.
Just then, like the angel she was, Lizzy called out to her, waving frantically and Fran laughed. Of course her adorable Lizzy had already gotten her cute dress all muddy. At least six inches. This girl was impossible!
Ann had just been diagnosed with an aggressive kind of leukemia. The persistent cold that followed her for weeks was finally discovered as signal of something much worse. Her doctor, a friend from junior high, had been blunt: this was it. Ann liked that, candor.
Her husband was making a huge effort to act strong but Ann could see through him. She could see the physical pain he was feeling, his heart stubbornly refusing to break, the proud full high he carried just to reassure her. She wondered when he was going to crumble. She hoped she would have the chance to comfort him.
Now was a time to plan the future. Their future, her men's future. Ann started to sketch four letters in her head. She would write them herself, choosing beautiful stationary, using all the right words, being as strong and assured as she could be. Two of those letters would be addressed to the love of her life, her adored husband. The other two would go to the reason of her life, her baby boys. They would read them when they were grown men. She had to write darn good letters: she would be addressing Darcy men!
Willy came to her side now, beaming and bringing her a small bouquet of roses. His forefingers conspicuously stained in blood. She kissed his cheeks and then laughed as Ricky and his crew of dogs invaded her calm porch. Willy shooed the whole army away, personally escorting the offending crowd out of her hearing range. Her Willy, William Darcy Son, would surely be a dashing gentleman someday.
Again Ann prayed, now asking Our Lady in Heaven to cover her boys with her blue cape.
Fuck, fuck, fuck… Here it came again. Lizzy was sure she wouldn't survive this pain.
It was time to shower and head to Granny Bennett's house for Mothers' day lunch.
With a happy sigh, a prayer to Our Lady in Heaven thanking her for the protection she had been given, Fran got up with some effort and called out to Lizzy.
Her beautiful family of three was going to celebrate this Mothers' day to the fullest.
Ann got up from her haven on the back porch and called out her boys. It was time to get ready for lunch, and today she wanted the four of them together at the table. They would be using the cozy lunch room; she wanted to be as close to her men as possible.
She would smile and act surprised when her husband gave her another beautiful jewel, gush about the boys' pasta necklaces and she would enjoy this perfect Mothers' day.
Ann's excellent plan just didn't count on Willy's gift. He had saved his allowance for weeks to be able to buy her a beautiful silver pin – the jewel his boyish naiveté thought was worth of his mother. Then, at the table, Ann cried and the fateful talk about her health started.
Lizzy, at this point, could not see any face in particular.
She could only admire how beautiful Heaven was.