A/N: This takes place after the birth their baby.
The wheels of the stroller made an almost soothing hum against the shiny
linoleum floor of the grocery store, and James Gordon Salinger, Jamie, was
soon fast asleep. Julia relished in the quiet and smiled to herself ant
the fact that her life had been so altered that she found solace in the
times that her daughter slept even if those times happen to occur in the
middle of a Winn-Dixie. She began humming on her way to the isle with baby
wipes, isle 13; she knew it well. This time, however, she took her time
strolling up and down all of the isles, not wanting to jar Jamie awake any
time soon. She fondled a bag of ramen noodles, remember the month when
those and endless pizza's made up breakfast lunch and dinner right after
her parents passed away. To this day she couldn't stand them, their taste
easily compared to a union of paper and rubber. She cringed suddenly
needing a piece of gum as she sat down the orange package.
She cleared her mind and the hypnotic roll of the stroller wheels returned
to her attention. Jamie yawned, and her little lips parted revealing a
milky tongue. The sight of it made Julia smile for the second time that
morning. When she looked up she saw a familiar suede jacket that stopped
her in her tracks, "Griffin, you're back."
"Yeah, I'm back," a moment lapsed between them. They held eyes and cosmic
electricity or some such romantic phenomenon shot from him to here. But
her remained aloof, feeling her out, "So, what are you baby-sitting?"
Julia felt it too, "Um, do you have any gum?"
When Justin came home from work, Julia was in a bit of a trance while
feeding Jamie in the living room. Justin made a bee-line for Julia,
planting a soft kiss on her neck, "And how was your day?"
He slipped behind her, gently pulling her hair out of her face and behind
her shoulders, "Yeah? And the munchkin, is she talking yet?"
"No, not yet."
Julia turned the channel, "I can't stand these new gap commercials."
"So, I guess you don't have much to say?'
"Nah. I mean what's to say? I've been running around with James all day.
I'd much rather hear about your day at the studio."
"Well...I kind of wanted to save this news for over dinner or something, but
I guess I could tell you now." Enthused, he grabbed her by the waist and
swiveled her around to face him, "Well, Brian Greenfield, our current
weatherman, was offered an anchor position down-state, so the studio's
looking for a replacement. And I didn't want to tell you this because if
it didn't work out I'd feel like such a dork, but Jeanie, the prompt writer
said, 'Why doesn't Justin read?'"
"What? You?" She laughed.
"I know, I know, that's exactly what I thought, and plus, you know,
"weatherman," it seems so corny. But then, Julia, he smiled, slowing down,
his heart warming as he caressed her cheek, "I thought about you, and I
thought about Jamie, and I thought about that paycheck, and then I just
knew that I had to try. And I did, I gave it everything, and baby, Jean
let it slip that they loved me, and, of course, I've been working at the
studio since last year anyway, and those friends on the inside really
helped. Now it won't be official until Monday, but..."
Julia was awestruck, she couldn't remember the last time something so great
had happened to them, "So, wait. How much more, exactly, will you be
"Oh, enough for us to move out of my parents' house without even blinking,
and maybe buy a couple of ponies along with our new furniture."
"Oh my God!" She squealed, throwing her arms around him, "This is
fantastic! We should celebrate. We gotta celebrate!"
During the weeks that followed Justin's announcement, Julia found herself
happier than she'd ever been in a long time. James's birth had grown her
up so suddenly, and she found that her teenage experience had left her in-
apt for dealing with her new adult situations. But Justin's new job took a
weight off of her shoulders, it gave her a chance to catch up.
On this particular day, after putting Jamie down for a nap, Julia decided
to pick up something that she hadn't found the time, or energy to do in
ages. She pulled out her laptop and sat down to write. Unfortunately,
amid the warmth of the mid-day light and the stillness of the sleepy, empty
apartment, the only thing that came to her mind was her last encounter with
Griffin. The way it was so out of nowhere. The way she avoided his
questions abut Jamie, letting him believe that she was babysitting. The
way she ended their conversation, "I gotta take the munchkin home."
After she got pregnant, her letters to Griffin sort of ended. A few months
ago, he'd written about being away on a ship, and that was it.
He hadn't changed at all, Griffin. He had the same nonchalant manner about
him, and still, Julia knew how to look past that. She knew he was anxious
to really talk to her, to know if that chance, the reasoning behind his
return to military school, was still attainable. Julia fiddled with her
engaged-to-be-engaged cum engagement ring and sighed, her urge to write
The ringing of the telephone pulled Julia away from her thoughts, "Hello?"
"Julia!" shrieked Claudia's shrill voice on the other end of the line, "How
could you not tell us you moved out of Justin's parents' house?"
"No you listen, I saw Justin on the news. He's the weatherman for Pete's
sake! When were you going to tell us about that, huh?"
"Claudia, wait a second."
Again, she interrupted her, "What the hell is your problem, Julia? It's
like you're not even a part of the family anymore. Is that what you want?"
Julia bit her tongue, which left Claudia seething.
"Oh, so now you don't have anything to say for yourself? Nothing?"
"No, I just don't want to be interrupted again," she drew in a deep breath,
daring Claudia to interrupt her again, "We've been in this house for a
week, Claudia, okay, I was gonna tell you. And I was gonna tell you about
the weatherman thing too."
"When Julia?" she scoffed, "How hard is it to pick up a phone? Or have you
become so removed from this family that you forgot your own phone number?!"
Claudia was screeching at her sister with such intensity that Julia didn't
even hear the hurt in her voice, "I'm 3 seconds away from hanging up on
"No, Julia, wait," calmer now, Claudia began to let on to what her real
problem was. "Did you even notice that its 12:15 and I'm calling you? It
probably hasn't even crossed your mind that I'm not in school."
"You didn't exactly give me a chance to put two and two together, but, now
that you mention it, why aren't you at school?"
"Things have gotten really crazy around the here Jule."
Suddenly, Julia began to panic. This wouldn't be the first time that a
crisis had erupted at the house unbeknownst to Julia due to her own self-
involvement, "Well, what's going on? Is Owen okay?"
"He's fine. It's everyone else that's messed up...Listen, can you come get
me, can I come over, talk face to face with you? I mean, I have mail for
you anyways, by the way, Griffin personally delivered a letter for you
today. I never imagined him to be much of a writer. So, will come get
Julia's mind was neither here nor there. She worried about what was wrong
with the family. When she was carrying Jamie she wasn't adult enough to
deal with all of her fights with Charlie, so she ran away from him, and at
times the rest of the family along with him. She had no idea that she had
become so out of the loop. And...,"Yeah, Justin should be coming by for his
lunch break here in a minute, we'll come and get you...But, um, what did you
say to Griffin?"