|Reviews for Reading the Clues|
| Steph3 chapter 27 . 1/4
I'm not usually a Tart fan, but every one of your stories that I've read have been incredible. I wish I could find a man like Woody! And, without fail, any time I read your version of Ranger and Steph's conversation on why they aren't together, I cry. You're amazing.
| melanie.campbell.3348 chapter 27 . 10/7/2014
I loved your story! One of my favorites. :)
| melanie.campbell.3348 chapter 1 . 10/6/2014
Wow! Slutty Steph. hehehe
| MerryMenLove chapter 27 . 9/1/2014
I love how you do Steph with the Merry Men its freaking adorable. I am about to do the Lester ones lmao. It's going to be a little hard cause for some reason I see them more like siblings. But you have such a magical way of doing it, I am sure I will love them.
| GlitchGirl23 chapter 7 . 6/28/2014
"FIST PUMP" YES! I KNEW IT!
| GlitchGirl23 chapter 5 . 6/27/2014
Baaaaah too tired to think through the clues you've provided thus far, but I'm betting my money on Vince or Woody.
| GlitchGirl23 chapter 3 . 6/27/2014
"Doing the Italian hand thing" This is so RAWR! One sentence has me thinking I know which MM it was and then in the next I'm second guessing!
| Guest chapter 27 . 1/22/2014
For some reason, my first attempt at leaving FB disappeared into the ether. My apologies.
Now that that has been said, I must tell you that I was literally unable to stop reading even though I didn't start your novel until quite late in the evening. I loved the way that you were able to provide such depth of character to Woody, his family, and the MM.
Whilst I am a "Babe" at heart, I genuinely enjoyed reading about Stephanie's romance with Woody as well as her close friendship with Lester. I literally laughed aloud when both Lester and Tank felt compelled to teach Woody a lesson due to his failure to protect Stephanie at all costs. The way in which you wrote Stephanie and Ranger's conversation about the babies and her relationship with Woody was quite touching. It certainly made up for his apparent lack of concern for her when he left for Miami in the beginning of the story. Finally, you also have my gratitude for giving my favourite of the MM, Lester, a HEA as well. Well Done!
| alix33 chapter 27 . 8/28/2013
"I went back to work when the babies were twelve weeks old and they never had to stay with a nanny. I suggested it just before I resumed my job and the guys were horrified about "their kids" being with a stranger all day. Instead, anyone who wanted to volunteer was put on a rotating schedule and they sat with the kids in four hour shifts while I worked. To be considered for the shift you had to complete a two hour baby care training with Bobby. Outwardly I laughed about it, but I attended twice to appease Bobby that I approved of his methods, and to learn from him because there was no doubt he had done his homework on the best way to care for an infant." - Hehehe, so the RangeMan kids had mannies (the male form of a nanny).
"I decided to try and really fix it today so I began with a little of Mr. Alexander's special gel. The gesture wasn't missed by Bell and her eyes got big when she realized I was going to make it look like mine. Then she ruined the moment by asking, "Can I wear some mascara too?" I couldn't help but laugh at her as I gently told her no, but offered her some light lip gloss as a compromise. I brushed her hair and used a large curling iron to slightly straighten her hair adding loose waves in place of tight curls. For once she watched mesmerized, as her hair seemed to change in the mirror." - AW!
"and Ella's dining cart she saw Lester come off the elevator one day and let go of Bone's hand to walk across the hallway to her Tio Lester who picked her up," - "let go of Bones' hand".
"When Marina tells you to go then you walk down the isle," - "walk down the aisle".
"the vows were the same as the ones we said and as they repeated after the priest I caught Woody's eye and smiled when he winked at me. We continued to look at each other, oblivious to the happenings around us and it only took seconds before I felt the familiar spark between us ignite. I wondered how rude it would be to leave the kids at the reception for a while to find a place to celebrate privately with my husband. I took a deep breath willing my stubborn hormones to calm down. We had hours before we could slip away, but I made up my mind to call Ella as soon as we were home to see if the kids could have a sleep over with her and Louis tonight. Looking at Woody in his suit made me aware of the fact that I was going to need hours of uninterrupted time with my husband." - Hehehe.
"Woody grabbed my arm to get my attention and pulled me to him to whisper, "Talk to Ella before we leave the church to see if they can go home with her for a sleep over. That service was just long enough for me to come up with all kinds of ideas of things that I want to do to you tonight. We're going to need hours without them at home, and I think you should arrange for a late morning too so that you can rest in to recover." I would have made a witty come back about him thinking pretty highly of his skills, but I knew Woody never over exaggerated in this area and if he set his mind to it, he could darn well make it impossible for me to walk the next morning so I held on to him while waiting for my balance to return and then I dumbly nodded my head that I understood and would take care of it." - Hehehe.
"To think we could have been doing this for seven years instead of five is mind blowing." - "mind-blowing" gets hyphenated.
| alix33 chapter 26 . 8/28/2013
"we'd drive home today and would be there in time for dinner in case they wanted to go to Shorty's for pizza to celebrate our return. According to a text I got from Les this morning, most of the guys wanted to meet us since they had only been told that I had an announcement, so they brought in a couple of contract workers to cover the monitors and most everybody would be there for dinner. This would be the perfect opportunity to tell them of our marriage and the fact we were going to be welcoming two babies instead of one." - What an apt place for those announcements.
"then he handed me a key. "Are you sure?" I asked him. "Of course I'm sure. You need a key to your home Stephanie. This isn't my place anymore, it's ours and I want you to feel like you can come back anytime you want," He explained pressing the cold metal into my good hand." - AW!
"He volunteered to take me to my parent's house for dinner," - "my parents' house".
"I can see it," Ranger finally said breaking the silence in the room. "See what?" I wondered. "The connection to Woody," He offered. "He's a good man, and his past with his family isn't that different from your own. Plus, he's loved you for a long time. I think you'll be happy with him." I sat up a little to look at Ranger. "You knew and never said anything to me?" "It wasn't my place to play matchmaker. But I noticed how he always volunteered for shifts with you and how he would trade duty to be on your detail when you needed extra coverage. And there were a few nights when Joe went out drinking with his friends that I know Woody intervened and sent him home to you before Joe could step out into trouble." Ranger explained. Thinking back I had come up with similar stories of things I had not noticed at the time but now could see as signs of how he felt about me. I opened my mouth and said the truth, "I'm a very lucky woman." Ranger shook his head slightly, "No Babe, I've got to tell you that I think Woody's the one who won it all on this one." - AW!
"while we were away I had a few check ups with a midwife and we discovered that not only is my pregnancy moving along smoothly, but we are having twins. So there will be two little RangeMan babies running around at the end of May." At this the guys openly cheered and most of them stood up to hug me, put a hand on my stomach and speak to the babies" - AW!
"while we were away I had a few check ups with a midwife and we discovered that not only is my pregnancy moving along smoothly," "checkups" is one word.
"She'll be in her cubicle by 10:00 in the morning." The last comment got a few laughs because the starting time around the office was usually 8:00. When the guys starting picking on me I called out, "Hey you try growing two babies inside of you and see how early you want to wake up." - Hehehe.
"I laughed when Woody locked the door and then moved a chair to block the way in as well. "What?" He asked seeing my expression. "Do you really want to make it easy for the guys to sneak in to check on you?" Seeing his point I asked if he thought one chair was enough." - Hehehe.
Gestational diabetes means the twins are going to be big as well, as all that sugar in Stephanie's bloodstream has to go somewhere, and it goes into the babies' bodies (or baby's body if it is just one baby in the womb).
The plans for that apartment in the RangeMan building and a little yard are fantastic.
| alix33 chapter 25 . 8/28/2013
Yay! Lester is going to be at Stephanie's and Woody's wedding!
"Bones came back yesterday and told us all about it. You were amazing…you always are." He said before laughing a little and adding, "Bones has been bugging Ranger to have him hired on and permanently assigned to work as your partner. That drew a lot of complaints that if you were going to get a partner some of us with more seniority wanted the chance to be considered over a contract worker." "Don't I get a say in whether or not I'll get a partner?" I teased. "You certainly do, but if you're going to work in sales the way Tank and Ranger want you to, you will definitely have a partner whenever you go out so that you can focus on the task at hand and your partner can watch out for you." Les explained." - Hehehe, I now see Bones and Hector duking it out over who becomes Stephanie's partner…
Yay! for Lester and Marina.
"Does Ranger know about me and Woody?" I asked not sure what I wanted the answer to be. "No, at least not definitively. He most certainly doesn't know about the baby. He probably suspects something on Woody's part, but I doubt he has any idea about how you feel. Seeing you married will be a shock to him." Les told me. "Is that fair to him? I mean, shouldn't someone tell him so that he doesn't freak out when he sees that we're married and I'm pregnant?" I wondered. Les spoke quickly, "I'm sure someone should tell him, but none of us want to be there when he reacts to the news. We all agree that it will be best for you to tell him in person when you come back home. I mean, he can't call you to the mats and he can't do anything to make you change your mind." "I guess you've got a point, but it still fells wrong somehow. Like we're all sneaking around trying to keep him out of the loop," I countered. "You can feel free to call him, but I'm not going to tell him," Les summed up like he was issuing a playground dare. "Thanks, but no thanks," I replied. "At least not now; today I only want to think about Woody and my friends that are here to celebrate with us." - I already feel sad and angry on Stephanie's behalf over that conversation, as Ranger is sure to contract a sudden, debilitating and possibly devastating bout of foot-in-mouth disease during it.
I know so little about wedding couture that I had to Google "princess sleeves" to learn what they looked like.
I agree with Stephanie: Ella was a better and more loving mother through the actions in this chapter than Helen Plum has ever been to Stephanie.
"I wanted to be sure she was feeling the same was as Les was." - "feeling the same way".
"I told Bobby, "I'm so sorry about the nights you were downstairs. I had no idea you could hear so much." Bobby erupted in laughter before saying, "Well, I did call Gina this morning to be sure we could get together as soon as I get back. I told her after having to listen to the two of you if I couldn't see her soon I was sure I'd go blind." We all laughed at his reference to having to take his needs into his own hands," - Hehehe.
"I confess that even Louis and I have argued over who will get to the hold the baby first." - "get to hold the baby".
Ella's letter is SO sweet and moving.
"and I did a self wax to be sure I could wear the skimpy panties Ella sent along." - Yet one more instance IMO where Stephanie proves her prodigious courage: I would never be able to do a Brazilian or even a far more timid little bikini wax on myself, even though a fair few beauty therapists have told me they perform their own, so technically it is possible.
That nail polish colour sounds very pretty.
I have heard - never tried it myself due to starting to wear contact lenses in my early 20s and any and all eye makeup made the subsequent dry eyes even worse, so eye makeup was given up in favour of being able to see - that blue-eyed women should use brown eyeliner pencil (or whatever form of eyeliner) and brown-eyed women blue eyeliner pencil (or whatever form of eyeliner) to really make their eye colour stand out.
"I had some lipstick that nearly matched the polish I used earlier so I used that." - I now SO covet that lipstick, as I have always been a lipstick or lip-gloss girl.
Excellent plan, with the lace doilies over the brace!
I am a bit sad too, that more of the Merry Men, are not there.
"Bobby and Hector each took a moment to touch my hand and compliment how I looked. I thought it was interesting that no one but Woody seemed to want to get very close in the way they normally would. The guys were usually eager to hug me or pull me to them when I was dolled up for a distraction. But even I could tell the difference in how I appeared for a distraction and the way I looked right now. I knew there was a glow about me that I'd never seen before, and I knew it was there because of Woody. Perhaps the guys recognized that too and out of respect for their friend they were keeping a distance." - AW!
"After I took my first bite of the cake Stella had prepared, I told her how impressed I was that she managed to make a wedding cake with three layers: the top and bottom were laced with pineapple and the center layer was a banana cream combining our two favorite desserts. She had iced it with a whipped cream icing to give it a traditional look. I moaned my way through every taste of it making Stella beam and all the men shift uncomfortably." - What a fantastic wedding cake, and the men's reactions to Stephanie's moans are as always, very funny.
"We walked everyone to the front porch and I kissed my guys goodbye thanking each of them for everything they had done for me. Of course, that caused the tears to pool up that I had expected earlier. Woody came over and did a man hug with each of his friends practically glowing as they walked away with Robert and Stella." - AW!
| alix33 chapter 24 . 8/28/2013
"Everyone seemed to be staring at me so I picked up my fork and tried to get some of the white rice up that wasn't Mothered in the thick gravy." - "rice up that wasn't smothered".
"I was thrilled by the combination of tastes in my mouth. I hastily took another bite that had rice, meat and gravy in it and moaned as soon as my teeth sank into it. I looked over to Woody and noticed him look at his watch before whispering, "You've got less than an hour to get that plate clean and make your excuses or I may take you right here." I nearly choked when Liddy said, "None of that, if you have something to say you can tell us all." I suddenly realized what he meant when he told me his sisters were like little Mothers too. I turned red instantly at her comment but Woody just smiled and shook his head." - "Big rude, loudmouthed, untactful dictators" would be my description of his sisters instead of "little mothers". I am liking Woody's sisters less and less every millisecond they are around.
"I was struck by just how much Woody and I had in common. My Mother and his Father were a match made in heaven." - Their heaven, the seventh level of hell for the rest of their unfortunate relatives.
"His Mother seemed kind enough, but she didn't stand up to his Dad and seemed to just keep quiet to avoid confrontation. The resemblance between her and my Father was striking as well. Of course Valerie liked to boss me around but that isn't the same thing as treating me like a child so I couldn't really relate to his sisters except that I had plenty of people in my life who seemed to think their opinion of what I should do was the most important one." - EW!
"When his attention shifted from me I noticed something moving to the side of the porch but before I could panic or get up I realized it was Hector with his finger over his lips telling me to stay quiet. I relaxed instantly knowing he was there. Theoretically there was not a threat to my life any longer, but I still felt better knowing there was someone trustworthy to watch over me. By the time a smile came to my face Hector had disappeared from my view, but I knew he had not gone anywhere. I could feel his protection close to me." - A very relieved Phew! from me that Stephanie ahs Hector close by.
Only come home five days after your son's birth and then be pissed-off your wife named him after her own father? This guy has no idea of cause and effect or consequences of his actions!
I fully understand banks are kind of needed in the society we have nowadays and banks need staff, but jeez, not even I have ever wanted to work in a freaking bank! Why the hell should Woody?
"Guilt as a motivator seemed to be something else my Mother and Woody's Father had in common." - GR!
"Woody guided me back over to where his family said eating something out of little bowls. "My Mom made some banana pudding and I saved you some." I remembered sharing some banana pudding with Woody on our first date in his apartment. I loved it and wondered if his Mother's version would be that good. Woody must have noticed my silent thought because he handed me a bowl and a spoon and said, "It's better." I took a bite and moaned, realizing he was right. This could give my Mother's pineapple upside down cake a run for its money as my favorite dessert. It only took a few Moments for my spoon to begin scraping the bottom of the bowl leaving me wishing for more." - This woman needs to grow a freaking backbone, not skills at making freaking banana pudding.
"I kept one hand on the counter and put the other over my stomach, even with the brace between us I felt like I was more connected to them with a hand over their home. Damn it, I'd tried so hard to protect the babies from the danger over the last few days and it seemed like I was the one who was failing them anyway. Woody shut the door to the bathroom effectively blocking Bobby's view and pulled me to him. "Stop it, Steph," He demanded getting my full attention. "Let's go downstairs and stretch out on the couch together. Bobby can put a line in and you can have some dinner with us while we watch a movie. By the time the movie is over you'll feel better and see that this is what you needed to help you and our little guys in there." He finished while putting a hand on my stomach. I chose to believe his optimistic words and challenged him by saying, "What if they aren't guys? What if they're girls?" His sexy smile took over his face and he replied, "As long as they are just like their Mother, then I'll be a happy Daddy." I loved how he used the tender term Daddy to refer to himself." - AW!
"I thanked Bobby for his care, stopping his work to put my hand over his. "This is far beyond just watching out for an employee of RangeMan." Bobby touched my face and admitted, "I don't do this for RangeMan; I do it for you. It would break my heart if something happened to you. And now that there are babies coming that are a part of you, we're all excited about how that will impact us and pull us even more into a family." - AW!
"We don't need to you cover the first floor for security reasons anymore," - "need you to cover the first floor".
"I've had to put the breaks on so many times over the last few days I'm not sure I can do it again," - "put the brakes on".
"I answered realizing I'd probably agree to let the minister in right now if he would just keep him mouth on my neck." - "keep his mouth".
"How soon do you want to get married?" He asked with his warm breath blowing against my skin. "Soon," I answered realizing I'd probably agree to let the minister in right now if he would just keep him mouth on my neck. Then he decided to play dirty and moved one hand up to my neck rubbing those irresistible circles and moving his lips to the shell of my ear. "Stella said there's a justice of the peace that's a good friend of hers and he could come over to the house tomorrow afternoon and marry us here before the guys leave for home." "What time?" I asked, causing him to pause as though he hadn't expected that response. "How about 5:00? We could get married by sunset, and then have a nice dinner to celebrate," He offered. I considered it briefly and couldn't think of a single reason to say no. More important than that, I could only think of reasons to say yes. "That sounds perfect." "Are you sure you want to do this here? Are there people in Trenton you wish could be here?" He offered. I stretched my neck to the side as an invitation for him to keep up the sensual kisses he was planting on my skin. "I definitely don't want my family there. I'll miss Les, but he'll understand as long as he's one of the first people we tell when we get back." Then I spun around to put my arms around his neck. "I'm ready to be your wife. I don't care about the ceremony, I just want the world to know you're mine and I'm yours." - Yay!
| alix33 chapter 23 . 8/27/2013
"As long as you are alright, then I'm okay." "Si," Hector replied. "I okay." I smiled at him and then moved his hand to my stomach to tell him, "We're okay too." His face lit up at my sentence" - AW!
"Do we have anymore of Stella's soup leftover?" - When used in that sense "left over" is two words.
"pulse and even pulled out a Doppler receiver to listen for the babies heartbeats." - "babies' heartbeats".
| alix33 chapter 22 . 8/27/2013
"The idea of the world being able to see it as evidence of our love is a total turn on." - "turn-on" gets hyhpenated.
"then Bone's shoulder must not be too badly injured." - "Bones' shoulder".
"I briefly remembered how much a body guard's presence used to bug me," - "bodyguard" is one word.
"Woody's father stayed in the barn and I heard him complaining about how things were stored followed by the loud sound of him rearranging things to suit his own opinion of how it should be. Did this man understand what a boundary was?" - About as well as Helen Plum understand that.
"I was desperately trying to come up with a change of subject for Woody's Mom when I heard a single gun shot." - "gunshot" is one word.
| alix33 chapter 21 . 8/27/2013
"Woody's father said in a condescending tone. "Jesus boy, has it been that long since you'd been with a woman that you had to fall in with the first thing that threw herself at you?" I was about to say something letting his father know that I didn't care for the way he was talking about me and to clarify that I didn't throw myself at anybody. At least I didn't think I did. Hell, I didn't even remember that night. For all I knew I may have thrown myself at Woody. Maybe I should be quiet and let Woody handle his father on his own. "No," Woody interrupted my thoughts and his father's next sentence. "I didn't say anything to you because I refused to let you ruin the first thing that had been precious to me in a long time. I didn't want to hear your critical comments and your holier than thou speech about yet another choice I'd made that you didn't approve of." "So instead you chose to hide her away?" His dad jumped in. "Say what you want, but it looks like you were ashamed of something." "I am," Woody replied with his voice softening only slightly. "I was ashamed to let Stephanie see the kind of judgmental family I came from. I didn't want my future wife to know the kind of people that she would be gaining for in-laws." "So you're trying to put this all on us?" His father asked building up to a full head of steam. "I'm not trying to do anything; I'm just telling it the way it is." Woody answered. "Stephanie and I are starting a family; we are going to get married, and you can be a part of that by stopping the constant criticism or you can go home." "What makes you think you are capable of caring for a wife and a child? Boy, you can hardly take care of yourself." His father interjected refusing to let go of the spotlight. I had heard enough. If he insulted Woody or his choices one more time I was going to blow. As it was I barely contained the fury I felt in my voice. "I can answer that," I began talking as stood up. "Your son is a good man, and honorable man, and the only person that I want by my side. He has cared for me here and back in Jersey and he has cared for and protected a team of men across the world. I have seen him defend the innocent and care for those who need it with great tenderness. I don't know what you see when you look at your son, but when I look at him I see a man with no equal and someone I consider myself honored and blessed to spend my life with." My words had the effect of forcing Woody's father to stop attacking his son, but it only caused him to swing his temper in my direction. "And what gives you the right to lecture me about what kind of man you think my son is. How long have you known him? How long had you dated before you realized he had a little money and you decided to try and get your claws into that for yourself? What do you know about what it takes to protect people who are innocent?" I didn't even have time to react before Woody had moved to within inches of his father's face to say through clenched teeth, "She knows plenty about protecting the innocent. Who do you think kept those men from getting to you and mom? Who do you think put herself in harms way to keep you out of the line of fire. Not that you deserve to know, but I've known Steph for three years and during that time, not once had my bank balance come up. She is too good for me, and after meeting you I wouldn't blame her if she ran back to Trenton and refused to speak to me ever again." I'd had enough. I had known through the example of my own mother that there were some people you could talk to until you were blue in the face and it wouldn't do a thing to change their minds. I decided to put my breath to better use and spoke directly to Woody. "The only way I'm running back to Trenton is if you are going too. I don't give a shit about your money, but I do care about you. We're in this together, not because we have to be, but because we realize that we need each other and we want to be. You are the only person I can picture myself waking up with each morning. And you are definitely the only man that I could see by my side for this adventure." As I spoke I drew closer and closer to Woody so that my hands were on his chest by the last words and his arms went reflexively around my back. "You and me, Darlin'," He replied. "We're in this together forever." With that declaration he leaned down and kissed me. It wasn't a hot passion filled kiss; his tongue barely entered my mouth. But it was a rich kiss that promised a lifetime of love and devotion. With that single connection any concerns I had about marriage vanished and I began to feel an urgency to become his wife. When we pulled back he looked in my eyes searching for something. "What happened?" He finally asked giving up on using ESP to figure it out. "I'm ready," I explained. "Anytime, anywhere, the sooner the better," I couldn't help but smile at the expression that came over his face. "Really?" He asked as though I'd just given him a gift too good to be true. "You really want to marry me now? You don't want to wait until after the baby comes?" I shook my head no. "I definitely don't want to wait that long." I confessed. Bobby came over, perhaps trying to insure Woody's father didn't have time to ramp up the emotional interaction again and said, "You guys have plenty of time to figure this out. Right now, just this once, I want you to go upstairs and get some rest. All of this isn't good for Stephanie or the babies and I've got to check on the guys that are still outside." Woody looked at me and raised an eyebrow asking if I wanted to take Bobby's advice. I wasn't exactly ready for sleep but I did feel like I'd been through an emotional wringer so escaping the mood of the family room was pretty high on my priority list. Liddy came over in response to my hesitation, "It's probably is a good idea to go stretch out for a while. I'll talk to Dad and the family" - Liddy had better tell that SOB sperm donor that he had better start thinking with the head between his ears (instead of the one between his legs) for the first time in his life, or else…
"Who do you think put herself in harms way to keep you out of the line of fire." - "in harm's way".
"there was a piece of me that was relieved that you weren't locking yourself in a small space with my father. I'm so sorry for how he spoke to you." - I am relived for the same reason.
"I'm sure the news of our relationship from Stella is why they showed up unannounced." He explained before adding, "And as a lesson in keeping her mouth shut, I'm going to have Hector play the audio of Dad's words so she can hear what you had to endure and know that she is to blame for you being exposed to that." "No," I quickly interrupted. "You can't blame her for what happened downstairs. She was just trying to defend you by sharing that when everybody left you alone you found someone you are happy with and you are planning a future in your own way. She never meant for this to happen." "That's the point. How many mothers do I need? She should have followed Liddy's example and kept her mouth shut to give me the chance to introduce you when I thought it was best." He complained." - I agree with Woody: Helen Plum's uncontrolled mouth is one more than Woody and Stephanie should be having to cope with; they do not needs his other sisters' and his mother's too.
"My eyes got bigger at his off handed manner so he kept talking." - "'off-handed" gets hyphenated.
"Understand that isn't because I would want to hide you or our relationship, but because I feel the need to protect you and our children from my family. I hated the constant criticism I grew up with and I swore my own kids would never have to put up with it. Not from me and most certainly not from him." When I looked at the silence for what it was and realized that he was trying to protect me and our children I was no longer offended and hurt, I felt loved. I was going to have to learn to trust Woody more. Joe never minded telling me how embarrassing he found some of my antics and how he wanted me to change in order to make his life easier. This was quite the switch and not jumping to the worst possible possibility was going to take some getting used to. I didn't know how to explain this to Woody so I settled for putting my hand against his face and scooting closer to him." - Yay!
"Woody's family was no where to be found when we came downstairs. As if he sensed my thought Woody explained, "I had Stella open up her home to our family since she made the call that brought them here." I narrowed my eyes watching him, wondering if he had blamed her for what happened earlier. "Don't worry, I didn't make her listen to the tapes, but I did tell her Dad was less than welcoming and she understood." - Stella's just deserts, IMO, but only to an extent. Her lips still need to get the message properly that they should flap less and in certain directions only.
"Woody's family was no where to be found when we came downstairs." - "nowhere to be found".
"For once I just wanted to lie down next to Woody and actually sleep. Maybe the day had shaken me up more than I thought if my hormones were even picking up their head at the thought of being in bed with Woody." - "were not even picking up their head".