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Hazel McCarthy (29 years), Morgan Russo (27 years), Juno (dog)
(Leah Millett – 32 years, Zeke Traver – 28 years, Jude Woodfolk – 28 years, Rebecca Siew – 21 years, Simon Millett – 7 months)
“Are you about ready?” Hazel called to her roommate, Morgan in the bathroom.
“I need to look perfect. I need Zeke to see me and go, ‘Oh my gosh, marry me girl!’ Right now, I’ve got the ‘Oh my gosh’ part covered.” Morgan was fidgeting with her eye liner, she’d redone it twice already. She had told Zeke she could be patient, but she didn’t feel patient. She wasn’t sure she necessarily wanted marriage right this second, but she wanted to know it could be someday.
One hour later, Morgan was still standing in front of the mirror. Now she wasn’t sure if she should try and do her hair differently. The red didn’t really match her hot dress, but she preferred a stylist to fix it, and hadn’t had time. Mostly because she spent the afternoon applying make up.
A gentle knock on the door, and Zeke stepped him.
“Wow, you look great.” He smiled broadly at her. She raised her eye brows skeptically, then went back to fixing her hair; a tiny strand had come out of place. “Seriously, I’m looking at perfection here.”
“Are you trying to rush me?” She watched him through the mirror, getting ready to reapply her lipstick.
“I wouldn’t dare.”
Hazel, Zeke, and Morgan went to celebrate the New Year at The Verve. Jude was meeting up after his gig at Planet Java. Hazel normally went to watch him, but today she was hoping to look pretty darn perfect herself. This was the first new year she was starting with a boyfriend in tow. In the past, she always broke up with them before the New Year. She didn’t want to start a year with someone she didn’t plan to end it with.
Hazel was relieved when Jude finally made his appearance a bit past ten. She liked Zeke well enough, but felt like the odd man out without her own date.
The couples made their way upstairs to dance the night away. They joined a dance contest, but none of them won.
At one point during the evening, Hazel had lost her desire to dance. She sat to catch her breath and get a drink of water. Everyone around her was dancing and laughing, but she suddenly felt quite low. Jude made his way back to her side after using the washroom. Assessing her mood, he asked if she wanted to ditch out on the dance scene. She nodded absently, in a slight trance from the loud music and flashing lights.
Back at her place, they made their way back to her room. He had been in there before, but never on New Year’s Eve.
“Penny for your thoughts?” He lifted her chin, gazing into her eyes.
“I don’t want to break up with you.”
“Oh.” He laughed a little. “That’s good right?”
She threw her arms in the air. “How would I know?”
He looked at her, his dimples showing slightly. He moved forward then, and put his warm hands on her bare back. “Well, I think it’s a good thing.” He leaned to kiss her tenderly. “Personally, I don’t want to break up with you ether.” He kissed her nose this time. “In fact, I think it’s absolutely wonderful you want to be with me too.” She relaxed in his embrace, and he moved in with a more passionate kiss.
Twenty minutes passed midnight, Hazel was dressed in her pajamas and they stepped onto her patio, into the cold winter night. The snow had stopped, leaving a cold blanket across the city. They could hear a party in the next building over, the ball had dropped, the new year was here.
“Let’s celebrate!” Hazel enthused. “I got these poppers, and I even asked Cara if she didn’t mind.”
Jude pulled a lighter from his pocket, and handed it to her. “Are you sure you don’t want a coat?”
Their breath puffed in the air, “No way, I don’t feel it at all.” She lit the popper, then waved it in the air above her head. She put her head back and shouted, “Happy New Year South Port! Happy New Year!”
“Get over here.” Jude swung her into his arms quickly. “You are absolutely irresistible.”
Her breathing slowed, and she inspected the curvature of his face. “I think, I love you.”
She was certain of her feelings, each date they had and phone conversation just made her more certain. She wasn’t about to dive into marriage, but the thought that maybe she would have someone to grow old with, was lifting. She laughed more, she danced, even on the ice.
Even love didn’t save her from falling flat on her face though.
“Show off.” Jude muttered under his breath. She deserved it a little, she had lightheartedly mocked him for falling earlier in the evening.
Her mind felt foggy when she had to be out in the real world, the world where Jude wasn’t apart of it. She had lunch with her niece Grace at her diner. She found out that Grace was still quite taken with her own boyfriend, Benjamin, and that life after college was going alright. She was having a difficult time landing employment that was worthwhile, she didn’t want to flip burgers with a college degree.
Business was booming at South Soda Shop, Hazel had renovated in the fall and their was large turn out for the grand reopening. Her employees worked hard, she hadn’t promoted Rebecca to assistant manager though. The renovations cost most of her savings and she couldn’t afford the payroll yet.
If Zeke was busy with work or his son, Lewis, then Morgan would show up and ask Rebecca to finish the shift so Hazel could go out with her. Hazel felt guilty when Rebecca would agree. She didn’t like her doing a management job without the pay and title. While Rebecca was happy to prove herself and get an extra hour in on her time sheet.
Hazel had one thing left that she wanted to do in the new year. Make up with Leah Millett. They hadn’t spoken more than a few words on the phone since their argument a year before. Now her son was seven months and Hazel hadn’t seen him yet. After much consideration, Hazel worked up the courage to give her a call to see if she could come visit, and was happy when Leah accepted.
Hazel borrowed Jude’s SUV to drive to Millwood, the cab faire would be pricey, and she hated taking the bus. She hadn’t been in Millwood for ages, seeing as her only friend in the small town was Leah. She pulled in front of the corner, blue house. It looked the same as the last time she’d been here. Taking a deep breath, she headed to the front door.
“Oh, Leah! He is absolutely precious.” Hazel crooned over the chubby bundle in her arms. Simon was sucking on his hand and gurgling happily in Leah’s arms.
“Thanks, we think he’s pretty special.” Leah brought him toward her face and kissed the top of his head. “Hey, I’m sorry about what I said last year. I didn’t mean it.”
Hazel shrugged. “I’m sorry too. No hard feelings.”
“If I had known you were coming, I would’ve had Norma fix us something in advance. She makes this killer fish platter.”
“No worries. I just sprung this on you, besides, I love Chef Salad.” Hazel prepared the lettuce, while Leah entertained the little guy.
“See any new movies lately?” Hazel asked, over Simon who was loudly banging and screaming in his swing.
“Heh. No. I know Norma and Merrill would babysit, but I haven’t felt like doing much. I’m home alone all day while the girls are in school, and the adults are running Northern Moose. Just me and Simon, and I get so bored. But when everyone gets home, I’m exhausted.” she motioned toward Simon, who was still being quite loud. “He still doesn’t sleep through the night. I’m trying to remember how it was with the girls, and I’m positive they slept through the night by five months.”
“Is he ok in there?” Hazel asked, watching Simon with concern.
Leah waved her hand, “Boys. I swear they come out with more testosterone.” She stood to clear her plate, pausing mid-action, a soft warmth came across her face. “I’m sure glad we had one more.”
Notes: Both Hazel and Leah had the want to be friends again, so after one year, they reconciled. Jude and Hazel both fell in love at the New Year’s Eve shindig as well. They met each other one year ago as well, I wouldn’t say they were “dating” exclusively that long. These two both roll “woohoo” wants all.the.time! They are both popularity, and just out of control, I tell you!
Morgan’s stay with Hazel was supposed to be short (since it’s a one bedroom apartment and she sleeps on the sofa), but I like these girls together, and I didn’t want to add another house to my rotation. 😉 Morgan still wants to marry Zeke, BUT she also rolled the want to “woohoo in public with 3 different men” and she showed up at the diner with their neighbor (Jason Mennon). She has higher score with Zeke, but he’s a busy man with a son and a late night work shift (She works days at the hospital).
Any preferences on this? Should I set up my posts with the “read more” blurb, or show the entire post (as it is right now)? I thought I’d ask if anyone has an opinion on it (cause clearly, I don’t!). I’m an accommodating kind of gal. 🙂