Nikki glances over at a soundly sleeping Bill. "Bill", she says quietly, reassuring herself that he is in fact asleep. The blond haired woman slowly sneaks out of the couple's large yet modest bed, and walks over to the dresser. From the dresser she removes a neatly wrapped gift box from a large heap of her folded clothes. She grins to herself with much excitement. This is "their" day: seven whole years of marriage. She quickly rushes back over to the bed, and nearly leaps onto it while exclaiming "Bill...Bill?! Honey, wake up". She shakes his arm tirelessly until he wakes.
Bill slowly opens his eyes, taking their attention from Nikki, to his watch, back to Nikki again. "Nikki, do you know what time it is?" He says, while beginning to close his eyes again. He doesn't mean to be rude, but having 3 wives, 7 children (with one on the way, mind you), 2 home improvement stores, an asshole for a father, an eccentric mother, a psychotic and murderous sister-in-law, a recovering alcoholic for a brother, and a father-in-law that would much rather see you dead, can be rather exhausting. Nikki quickly removes the smile from her face. "Well, Bill...I wanted to give you your anniversary present..."
Bills eyes quickly pop back open... "Anniversary...?" he says, with his palm suddenly meeting his face.
She looks at him, with her pensive eyes and tightened lips "Yes Bill, our anniversary...you know, that thing that comes along EVERY year at this time? I can't believe you forgot." She slams the box on the bed, and turns her back to him.
"Oh come on Nikki. You know that I couldn't forget OUR anniversary. I was just joking with you." He says, while attempting to think quickly on his toes.
His wife looks at him, not as harshly as she did before, but she is still clearly skeptical. "What did you get me?" she blurts out.
"If I told you that now, it wouldn't be a surprise, would it Nikki? Besides, I have it locked up at work right now, and to tell you what it is would merely be a tease, now wouldn't it?" he says.
She smiles at him, and gives him a big hug "Oh Bill, I should have known you wouldn't forget. Sense you're giving me my gift later, i will wait until later to give you your's". He gives a forced grin and says "I can't wait".
Barb has just gotten out of her first class of the morning. Although she is still furious that she was fired from her job, being back in school has been the most amazingly liberating experience shes had in quite some time. Being away from all of the demands, hurt, neglect, and jealousy that comes with the so called "prestigious" honor of being first wife really gets her to thinking that maybe this REALLY isn't the life for her.
Her phone rings. She sees that it's Margie, and almost doesn't answer. Had it been Nikki, she wouldn't have.
"Hi Margie." She answers
"Hey Barb. Where are you?" the youngest sister wife asks.
Barb pauses for a moment. She doesn't know if she should tell her the truth (she has been fired from her job, and is now taking classes), or if she should just lie. She chooses the latter.
"At work, of course, Margie. Why do you ask?"
Margene huffs, then begins "Barb, I have always been open and upfront with you. Why are you lying to me? We're family, and I'm worried about you. I don't like always being left in the dark about everything. I'm important too."
She pauses. Barb attempts to speak, gearing up to tell yet another lie, but Margie interrupts before her sister wife can get a word in edgewise.
"And you know what? Don't tell me that I'm just being uber emotional because of the baby, because that's not it. There's something going on, and I want to know, Barbara!"
Barb is shocked. Margie is usually so calm and cheery, that her sudden change in disposition did nothing but encourage Barb to tell her the truth.
"Okay Margie, I'm going to be honest with you. I was fired from my job. Don't ask why, because we both already know why. Sense I have so much free time now, I have decided to go back to school full-time."
She pauses, then continues... "There's something else that I'm going to tell you, that you cannot tell anyone else. Promise me this, Margene."
A shocked Margie responds "I promise".
Barb blurts out "I'm thinking about going away for a while. I'm no good for this family right now, and I'd really like to focus on my education."
Margie gasps "Barb, you can't do that. We need you. I don't think I can be a part of this family if you're not in it."
"Well, Margie, it's just something I have to think about. I have to go. Remember, keep everything I just said between us. Bye, Margie" She abruptly hangs up, while Margie sits there flabbergasted. She wanted Barb to talk to her, but she didn't think that she ACTUALLY would.
The young woman sits there in shock until the glass door in her kitchen slides open.
"Good morning, Margie." Nikki says, while subtly grinning.
Margie attempts to collect herself, "Morning Nikki." she responds.
Nikki stares at Margie for a few seconds, wondering if she has forgotten that today is the special day.
"What? Why are you staring at me?" Margie asks.
"I'm not staring, at all. Don't be ridiculous, Margene. Do you have some eggs? I'm cooking Bill a special dinner for tonight, and I need eggs."
Margie wonders what's so special, and then it comes to her, "Oh Nikki! Happy Anniversary! I got something for you...well, actually I made it. I've been watching the DIY channel like crazy. Oh, and yes I have eggs. Look in the fridge, I'll be right back." She rushes out of the room, and then comes back with a colorful gift bag, and hands it over to Nikki. Nikki tries to hide her excitement, but she can barely contain herself as she reaches into the flamboyant bag. She pulls out a scrapbook. On the front page is a picture of her and Bill on their wedding day. Overwhelmed with joy, she makes herself comfortable at the kitchen table, and flips through the pages of the scrapbook.
"Margie, this is so sweet of you. How did you even find all of these pictures?"
"Barb and Sarah helped me find a lot of pictures, particularly the ones from Juniper Creek..."
Nikki knows she has just opened a can of worms by asking that question. "Oh, that was very nice of them." She says. Margie grins.
"Yes, it was. It gave me a small look at where you and Bill came from. I wish the two of you would let me see it."
Nikki continues flipping through the book, attempting to ignore her younger sister wife.
"You know, I am the only member of the family that has not been there...ever. It would just be nice to know what it's like."
Nikki glances up at her, "Fine Margie, if it means that much to you, you can go." Margie grins from ear to ear, and Nikki continues. "But there's no way you can go dressed the way you do. They would never even let you in." She says quickly.
The younger of the two looks down at her wedged shoes, denim mini-skirt, and blue, plaid, short sleeved shirt. "What's wrong with how I dress?" She asks.
"They'll say you're too prideful because you show too much skin, and because your clothes are so bright. It's okay though, I'll help you find something suitable to wear." Nikki reassures her, and then starts looking through the book again. "Margie, this really is amazing. Thank you." She gets up from the table, gets the eggs from the refrigerator, grabs her book, and walks back to her house, while Margie stands there, inspecting her own clothes.
At the compound, Rhonda is at the Juniper Creek recording studio with a couple of professional back up singers who are less than impressed with her singing capabilities. At the same time, Roman and Joey are having an interesting conversation.
"Brother Joey, how is your darling wife?" Roman asks snidely.
Joey ignores this comment and says "Roman, what do you want?"
The old man looks at him, and grins "I already told you. Vote for me in the council meeting, and I'll leave you and your poison-cocktail making wife alone."
"Roman, you know I can't do that. That would be the ultimate betrayal of my family."
"I suppose you're right, Brother Joey. Now that I think of it, there is one more thing you could do instead..."
Ben goes to the docking bay during his 15 minute break at Home Plus to meet up with Brynn. Things haven't really been right with them since they had sex, but Brynn tries her best to win Ben's affection. When she gets to the docking bay, she nearly pounces on him. He gives in at first, but eventually pushes the aggressive girl off of him. Annoyed, she asks "What's wrong now, Ben?"
Ben looks at her and says "There's something I need to tell you."
The first thought that popped into Brynn's mind was that Ben was seeing someone else. The thought alone brought tears to her eyes.
"What is it, Ben?"
"Why are you getting ready to cry, Brynn?" He asks, concerned about her.
"I already know what you're going to say! Who is it? Do I know her?!"
Ben grins nervously, "Look, Brynn, you're totally on the wrong page. Just calm down, and let me tell you." he says.
Brynn continues "No...how could you do this, Ben? After everything we've been through together?"
Convinced that she's just going to keep rambling, he blurts out "My family believes in the everlasting covenant of plural marriage."
The girl stops, and looks at him "Huh?"
Ben feels stupid for bothering to tell her, but knows that he can't go back and change the fact that he told her.
"My parents are polygamists. The women that picked me up from track practice that time are my dad's other wives."
Brynn sits down in disbelief. "Why didn't you tell me before, Ben?" she asks him.
"I didn't know how to."
She grins, "Thank you so much for telling me." She gets up to hug him. "This explains why you're so weird about sex."
"I am not, weird about it. I just think there are more important things in life."
She giggles, "Benny, that's weird."
Frustrated, he responds, "I am not weird just because I have morals."
"Oh and I don't?" She asks clearly offended. She gets up and begins walking away. While walking, she turns back to him and says, yeah, "You know, with such a fucked up family, you really should come down off your high horse!"
TO BE CONTINUED...