Home of the Bellingwood Series – Nammynools

Bellingwood Vignette – 07

Book 10 will be published on June 25, but until then, here’s a little something fun for you. Happy Mother’s Day!

This little vignette actually occurs just prior to Book 10. It doesn’t affect anything in the overall story, but is a look at a conversation that happens behind the scenes in Bellingwood. All of the Bellingwood books are written from Polly’s perspective, so if she’s not in the room, we have no idea what else is happening. And there is always plenty of action going on, whether she’s there or not.

07 – What’s a Guy to Do?Flowers

“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do,” Henry said.

Bill Sturtz clapped his son on the back and laughed. “That doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m guessing this isn’t the first time and it’s certainly not going to be the last with that little spitfire you married. You know, your mother and I had no idea what kind of life you’d have, but that wife of yours is going to keep you on your toes until the day you drop into your grave.”

“Probably longer than that,” Henry replied, rolling his eyes. “But help me out here, what am I supposed to do?”

“The flip answer is to tell you that she isn’t your mother and so you shouldn’t have to do anything.”

Henry scowled at his dad. “You buy flowers for Mom. Don’t give me that.”

“She’s the mother of my children.” Bill flipped the switch to turn the sander on and then flipped it back off. “I’m not helping, am I?”

“Not much,” Henry said. “Does she want me to recognize Mother’s Day or not? And what about Rebecca and her Mom and Jessie and her baby. We have all of these people in our lives and…” He sat down in a beat up old desk chair behind the work bench. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

“Son, you’re the one who is making this difficult. Has Polly hinted that she wants you to celebrate thie holiday?”

“No, but…”

“No buts,” Bill said. “Has she ever hung you out to dry about holidays and celebrations?”

Henry nodded. “You’re right. She would have told me. But what if she just isn’t thinking about it. Should I be helping her do something about her own Mom or the woman who raised her? I know they’re dead, but maybe she wants to remember them somehow.”

“I declare,” Bill said, leaning over the workbench. “When did you lose your ever-lovin’ mind? You aren’t usually this spineless. I thought you two had one of those open marriages.”

“Dad!” Henry exclaimed. “What in the world do you mean by that? We don’t have an open marriage.”

Bill drew back in surprise. “I don’t know. What do I mean? What’s an open marriage?”

Henry was still trying to make sense of the conversation. “An open marriage means that we don’t care who the other person…” He hesitated. “Well, who they have a relationship with.” Henry waved his hand around. “You know… a relationship.”

“Oh!” Bill started laughing. “No! I meant open conversation. You two talk all the time, no matter what it’s about. Why haven’t you talked this topic into the ground?”

“We don’t talk things into the ground. We just…” Henry looked up at his father, who was grinning at him. “Okay, we talk things to death sometimes. But at least we’re talking.”

“Yeah. You’re part of that new revolution in marriage.” Bill drew his hands up in the air and made air quotes as he said. “You ‘communicate.'”

Henry lifted his left nostril and mockingly growled at his father. “And I’m not spineless. If Polly hasn’t said anything about the holiday, I don’t know if it will upset her because she doesn’t have a mother or because she isn’t a mother. Why won’t you help me?”

Bill rubbed his hand across the piece of wood in front of him, as if he were testing to see if it really needed to be sanded. “Every marriage is different. You have to figure this out on your own. What works for me and your mother might not be right for you and Polly. What do you want to do?”

“I keep saying that I don’t know.” Henry slumped in the chair.

“Then buy her jewelry or chocolate or something.”

“She’d hate that,” Henry said. “What are you and Mom doing for lunch on Sunday?”

“Your mother is probably cooking something. I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it.”

“You aren’t even taking her out?” Henry shook his head. “You’re terrible.”

“Where are we gonna go?” Bill asked. “Every restaurant’s filled to capacity. If Marie wants to go out to eat, we’ll do it a different day. No sense standing in line for an hour to feel like we have to hurry through a meal because that long line hasn’t gotten any shorter.”

Henry rubbed his hand down his face and rested his chin in his palm. “You could come over to our place. Polly and I’ll cook.”

“Don’t you think you should talk to her about this before you make the invitation, son? Or haven’t you learned how dangerous that is.”

“She’ll be fine.”

Marie Sturtz chose that moment to walk into the shop. She was carrying Jessie’s baby, bouncing it gently in her arms. “I didn’t hear any machines running out here and I saw your truck, Henry. Why aren’t you working at the coffee shop?”

He shrugged. “I was just talking to Dad about Mother’s Day. Am I supposed to do something for Polly or not?”

Marie gave her husband a smile, her eyes glinting with mischief. “Did he tell you to buy her flowers?”

“No. He thought I should do jewelry or chocolate,” Henry said.

Bill frowned at his wife. “You don’t like my flowers?”

“They’re always lovely,” Marie winked at her son. “I already have a spot picked out in the garden for them.”

“Maybe I won’t buy any this year,” Bill grumped.

“Don’t be like that. I love whatever you give me,” she said and turned back to Henry. “Would you and Polly like to come for dinner on Sunday? Maybe that would help.”

“You know Polly. She’ll want to feed the world. Jessie and Rebecca and Evelyn and who knows? She’ll probably want to invite Stephanie and Kayla and then, if she decides that Sylvie shouldn’t cook for herself on Mother’s Day, she’ll invite them. Oh, and that means that Eliseo will be invited.” He paused. “What am I up to now, thirteen or fourteen? I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.”

“Then we should have potluck,” Marie declared. “I’ll call Polly and set it up. That way you won’t have to worry about anything.”

“But I still don’t know whether or not I should get her anything,” Henry said with a little bit of a whine.

“Stop that,” Bill said. “You don’t whine.”

Marie laughed at the two of them. “If I know Polly, she’ll be happy just having all of her friends around. That’s what fills her up. She isn’t used to having people give her gifts or do nice things for her. Bring as many people as you can in for lunch and she’ll be in her element.”

“So I don’t have to worry about buying her a present?”

The baby fussed in Marie’s arms and she started to bounce again. She looked up at the clock on the wall and said, “I’ll bet you’re getting hungry. Mama’s probably wondering where we went.” Then she said to Henry. “You should always buy her presents. Even if it’s just because it’s Tuesday.” Marie stepped close to her husband and elbowed his side. “Isn’t that right, sweetie?”

“Right, sweetie,” he echoed.

Marie left the shop and Bill groaned. “See what just happened there? Now I have to go buy her a present.”

“You do not,” Henry said.

Bill flipped the sander on and said over his shoulder. “Yes I do. And you should too. You’d be surprised at how much more fun you’ll have.”

Any further conversation was cut off at the sound of the sander on wood. Henry stood up and walked toward the door of the shop. He glanced back at his dad and heard humming. All of a sudden, Bill was moving his shoulders and swinging his hips to music that was playing only in his head.

“That’s my dad, folks,” Henry said under his breath. “He’ll be here all week.”

He took his phone out and texted Polly. “What’s your favorite flower?”


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