Welcome back to the continuing saga of Lora and Randy. Just as a little review, when we left off with our loving couple, it was June, 2013, and Lora was four months pregnant, with Keith being two and a half years old. Now, I know what you are thinking.. "We have to read about yet another pregnancy of Lora?" Well, good news! You don't! I've been there and done that, no need to do it again.
I've made the executive decision to progress even two more years into the future. Lora has done had her baby, and Keith is going on his fourth birthday. Casie, as we all rejoiced in the last story, finally got pregnant! She also has had her baby.
Again, I know what you're thinking, "She's done pretty much everything to these people as humanly possible!" Well, as that is a sort of true, I'm going to make this very last installment, (sobs) the best ever! I will not make a fourth, because we've all seen a perfectly good trilogy be completely shattered by an outlandish and frightening fourth book.. –cough-breakingdawn-cough.. and before I start to get hate mail, I love the twilight series, and as a guilty pleasure, I like breaking dawn, but c'mon! it's crazy! But, as I was saying before I got off my train of thought, this is the last story. I'll make this story come to a complete and awesome ending! But don't break out the tissues yet. We still have quite a few trials and tribulations for our favorite wrestling family! Stay tuned!
Two Years Later
Chapter 1- Big
I sighed at the loud sounds coming from upstairs. Sting's barking could be heard for miles, I was just sure of it. Over the dog's booming bark, I heard the sound of constant giggles. I rolled my eyes at the noise, smiling to myself as I stirred the mashed potatoes in the pot. The stove's buzzer dinged and I stuck a gloved hand in and retrieved the chicken nuggets that had been requested. Even though it wasn't the most normal meal, chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese was a regular in this house. Keith tended to be a fussy eater. I dropped the meat onto a plate covered with a paper towel. I turned around and walked to the table, setting out enough plates.
"You've got this whole 'Mommy' thing down," Casie laughed, sitting in a chair around my dining room table. I laughed at her comment. I guess it was true; I did seem pretty good at balancing everything. But it didn't come easy. There was always something to do. I never had a free moment most of the time. There seemed to be an unending supply of problems to deal with. But, be all that as it may, I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world. I adored staying at home when I could. "I wish I felt as confident as you look."
"It'll get better. When Keith was a year and a half, I didn't feel like I was making all the right choices, or doing all the right things. And really, that feeling never goes away. You'll always worry," I said, spooning out the potatoes and cheesy noodles to every plate. I went back to kitchen and opened the refrigerator. It was slightly amusing at how it looked. Back when it was just Randy and me, the shelves were never this full. We usually weren't home. But now looking at it, full of Capris Sun's, Lunchables, applesauce, several different kinds of fruit, you could tell that Randy and I were not alone.
"Spoken like a true mother," Becky said, taking a sip of her wine. Our weekly gatherings on Wednesday's were something the three of us looked forward too. Especially now that John and Casie had decided to move to Missouri. They never really gave us a reason, but I was sure that Casie didn't want to be alone all the time when John was on tour. And I didn't mind, because I loved having my best friend live not even fifteen minutes away. I smiled at Becky's words as I dropped three chicken nuggets on each plate. Becky joined me in the kitchen and brought out enough Capris Sun's. "Well, I guess we need to go break up the pow-wow up stairs."
I laughed and nodded, and the three of us marched upstairs to the playroom. It was Randy's idea to change his weight room upstairs into a child's playroom. After he moved all of his things into the basement, which was bigger anyways, the room was taken over. It was almost never clean. It was a constant job trying to keep the toys out of the floor. I felt like it was a good day if I could see the carpet on the floor. I followed behind Becky and Casie as they opened the door. I couldn't help the smile on my face when I peeped into the room. Kids were spread out all over the room, playing with anything they could get their hands on. The room was, unsurprisingly, a wreck. But what do you expect with six kids running havoc. Becky quickly entered the room, announcing that lunch was ready. Her two eldest kids, Lainey and Suzie, bolted from the room. I loved my nieces, and it was nice to have older children to look after the younger ones. Lainey was now eight, and Suzie was going on six. But Becky's other child, her only boy, was just shy of his second birthday. Alex was the spitting image of his father. Except for the Orton blue eyes that he had inherited from his grandfather. Becky took him by the hand and helped him down the stairs.
Casie walked over to another little boy, who was about seven months younger than Alex. He had a light layering of light brown hair on top of his head. He was too busy with his airplane to pay his mother any attention. Casie took him by the hand, and hoisted him up in her arms. When he finally realized he was with his mother, he smiled brightly, with dimples on each cheek. He looked like a miniature John. He had his mother's nose, and mouth, but everything else just screamed John. I moved out of the way as Casie carried Luke out of the room. Finally the room had been narrowed down to two children. I called out to Keith, who was sitting next to a fifteen month old, with crayons in his hands. Once I told him that chicken nuggets were down stairs, his little fingers dropped the colors and ran out of the room. I shook my head, laughing and I bent down to scoop the little child in my arms.
My daughter. My little girl, Tiegan Rory Orton. Named after the grandmother's of both me and my husband. Again, just like with Keith, she was a perfect mixture of Randy and myself. A mop of brown hair covered her head, pulled up into tiny pigtails on her head. Several strands of hair had already fallen out of the rubber bands, framing her face. I placed both of my hands underneath her arms, pulling her into my grip. She looked up at me with those big green eyes, smiling at me, her nose scrunching up adorably. She only had a handful of teeth, all in the front of her mouth. And I could tell already that she was going to have her father's teeth. They were sharp and defined just like his. Her soft, light blue, long-sleeved dress had matching colored apples on the bottom trim fell just enough to cover her diaper. A pair of white stockings covered her legs with soft, brown ankle boots with white furry lining. She was too adorable.
I followed the group downstairs and entered the kitchen. I pushed the tray out of my way and placed Tiegan into her high chair. It technically had been Keith's, but he had used it so rarely, that I just bought a replaceable cover with white, pink and gray polka dots. I fastened her in, and placed her food, along with a sippy cup, with Disney Princess's on it, of Kool-Aid. Before I sat down, I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and stood back in front of the table. Once I got all of the kids in the frame, I snapped the picture, and sent it in a text message.
"That for Randy?" Casie asked, pinching up Luke's chicken nuggets into smaller bites. And Casie didn't feel confident as a mother, I thought. She did a damn good job in my opinion. I nodded and sat at the bar, letting the kids have their space. My eyes landed on Keith, wearing a white shirt with black baseball styled sleeves. It had been a present from Adam, as you could tell by the two guitars on the front, with "Rock N Roll" printed in a funky font. His jeans looked a little too short, and I had to fight my groan. It felt like I had just bought him some new pants, and there were almost too small. He was going to get his height from Randy, I could just tell. His hair was shorter than it usually was, because he wanted to look like Daddy. But, I simply was not allowing it. The only thing that I would agree to was shorter hair on the sides, with it a little bit longer up top. He loved to run his fingers through his hair and mess up the top. He thought it looked good. My phone vibrated on the counter top and I picked it up. It was a reply text from Randy.
"I wish I could be there." I sighed. So did I. Randy had been gone for nearly a month now. The WWE had back to back tours of Mexico, Europe and China. Their international tour, they called it. But each place they stayed about a week and a half. They were in China right now, and I knew that was a fourteen hour difference ahead of Missouri. It was about three or four in the morning over there, where as it was only eleven-thirty in the afternoon here. I hadn't expected a reply from Randy when I had sent that picture. But I knew that when he slept, he never put his phone on silent, in case I send him something like that, or one of the kid's wants to talk to him. This past week, Randy had been calling as soon as he woke up, which was right about the time both Keith and Tiegan woke up from their naps.
I was pulled from my thoughts with a loud thump. I looked over to see that Tiegan had knocked off her sippy cup. The look on her face was priceless. It seemed that she had the same mad-face that Keith would get. I quickly whipped out my phone again and using the camera, I snapped the shot of her anger. Once satisfied, I sat the phone down to go help my baby, but Keith hopped up from his seat. I stood still, watching as he walked over to her chair, and picked up her cup. He brushed the lid off and sat it back down on the tray. Tiegan smiled immediately and patted Keith on the head affectionately, "Ahver."
Smiling at the way Tiegan said "brother", I sat back down, staring at my son, who returned to his meal. I seemed to be the only one that caught the scene between my kids and I turned back to my phone. I sent Randy the picture of Tiegan's face with a caption that said, "Looks like we have another one in the family. And Keith thinks he's the man of the house."
"So, has Tiegan said anything else other than 'Mama', 'Avher' and 'baba'?" Becky asked, popping a chicken nugget in her mouth. I shook my head, thinking about my fifteen month old's lack of vocabulary.
"No, and it's really starting to bother me. She's said only those three words, and hasn't progressed any in months. She won't even say 'Dada'. No matter how hard Randy works with her, she just will not say it," I explained, casting a glance at my little girl, shoveling cheesy noodles into her mouth.
"Well, Moma told me that neither Randy, me or Nathan were quick on the draw when it came to talking. Lainey was like that when she was Tiegan's age," Becky said, pouring more ketchup onto Suzie's plate. "But once she started, we couldn't get her to stop. Still haven't."
"Well, he should. I told him that when I was not home, he was in charge of taking care of you two girls." I rolled my eyes at Randy, knowing very well that couldn't see me. That just sounded like something Randy would do. But his message wasn't done. "And I hate to break it to you, but Tia looks exactly like you when you are angry."
I smiled softly when Randy used Keith's nickname for Tiegan. It hadn't been on purpose that he called her that. It was just so hard for a two year old to say "Tiegan", so he just said Tia. And it's kind of stuck with us. I quickly sent Randy back a message and dropped my phone on the counter.
"Go to sleep, Randy." I walked over to Tiegan, so seemed to have had her full and wanted out of the high chair. I wiped her down with a wash cloth and took her in my arms. She yawned, her little mouth going as wide as it could go. I looked around the room, seeing that all the little ones, bedsides Lainey and Suzie were all feeling the affects of exhaustion. Becky sent the girls into the living room with a movie on the television. And I steered Keith into his room, along with Tiegan, so they could get their nap. Alex and Luke would be using Tia's bed. It didn't take long for the four of them to pass out. They had been playing hard all morning. I turned to walk out of the room, with I heard Keith's sleep-filled voice, stopping me.
"Mommy, when's Daddy coming home?" Those words always made my heart hurt. I knew they both missed their father, but it never dawns on my just how much until Keith brings it up. I walked back over to the bed, kneeling down next to his pillow. It's usually never this bad. Randy's only normally gone for four days, a week at the most, before he's home for three or four days. I ran my hand over Keith's head softly.
"I'm not sure baby, but I know it'll be soon."
"Will he be home for my birthday?" Keith turned four years old this weekend. My family was flying up, and so was Randy's parents. But, Randy didn't know yet if he was going to be able to get away in time. He hadn't given me a definite answer yet. I leaned over and kissed Keith's forehead lightly, watching as his eyes drooped.
"He's trying his hardest. When has Daddy ever missed anything of yours?" I smiled to myself, thinking Randy never has. Since Keith had been two, he loved to play baseball. I found a team around the neighbor with children his age to play T-Ball with. And for the past two years, he's played with the same kids, getting better with each practice. And, miraculously, Randy had never missed a ballgame. The dates had always lined up right, or Randy had always gotten there just in time. Each time Keith didn't think his father would make it, he would get so downcast. I actually had to make him go to a game one time because he didn't want too. But right as the umpire was cleaning off home base, Randy came running up from the parking lot. The look on Keith's face had been one of absolute joy. He had actually started to climb the fence as Randy got closer. I had only been lucky enough, to have caught that on video.
I left the room, pulling the door almost closed, cracking about an inch or two. I felt my phone go off in the back pocket of my pants, and I reached behind me, pulling it out and reading the message. "You're just upset that I'm right."
I rolled my eyes and leaned against the hallway wall. I ran my fingers through my hair, wondering if I should tell Randy what Keith had said or not. If I did, I knew he would feel guilty. But feeling guilty won't bring him home from another continent. It wouldn't do anything good. But, leaving it alone didn't ring well either. I had to say something. I sighed, typing him a message. "Any news about you making it to Keith's party on Saturday?"
I went down the stairs and saw Casie and Becky in the kitchen, cleaning up the kid's mess. "Oh, you guys. You didn't have to do that!" I exclaimed, rushing over to join in washing dishes.
"We didn't expect you to clean up yours and our kids mess did you?" Becky laughed, pushing me away from the sink. I looked over at Casie, who was spooning the rest of the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese into separate Tupperware containers.
"Besides," Casie said, closing the lid on the potatoes, "you cooked and supplied them lunch. It ws the least we could do." I sighed, giving up the argument, and sat down on at the bar. Casie looked up at me, sensing that something was wrong. "What's the matter?"
"It's Keith," I said, laying my phone out in front of me. "He misses Randy like you don't believe. Everyday, he'll ask me if Randy's coming home before his birthday. I honestly don't know what to say to him."
"Doing everything I can." I read as I checked the latest message in the in-box of my phone. I felt a little more comforted by his message. I knew that Randy was trying. But I just wonder if it'll be enough.
"If I know Randy," Becky said, drying the last dish, "he'll be there. That's one thing about Randy. You can always count on him when it matters." And my mind flashed back to a time, so long ago, where Randy and I sat in the I-Hop just in town, and he told me about Becky's horrific time. I remember every word from that conversation. It had been just so shocking. But I knew, that if Randy would risk jail time by leaving a military base for his sister, he would miss a match for his son.
I tied the last balloon on the back of the chair, and stood back and looked at my son's birthday decorations. I was really excited when he choose Super Mario Bros. for his theme. I had always been a big fan of the game. I wasn't one for video games when I was younger, but Mario was my all time favorite. Sturdy paper plates stood in a stack at the end of the table, with Mario depicted jumping in the air with a video game scene of blocks behind him. The paper cups had Mario's brother, Luigi running around. Light blue napkins sat next to the plates, with a mushroom with a red top with white polka dots on them. The yellow plastic spoons and forks stood in a plastic container, off to the side of the napkins. On each chair, there was two balloons of varying shades of the primary colors: red, yellow and blue. All but one chair, which is where Keith would be sitting for his cake, and it had a foil balloon with both Mario and Luigi in various situations in the video game. I had streamers, that matched the balloons, hanging from the walls surrounding the dining room. The table was layered with a sold red table cloth with curled ribbons that went along with the primary colored theme.
What I was most proud of, was the cake. In St. Louis, there was this awesome bakery, locally famous for their cake creations. And I as I stared at the object at hand, I knew that Keith would love it. There was a circular bottom platform, about an inch thick, shaded in green. In pretty cursive writing done with icing, it read "Happy 4th Birthday Keith!" The next layer was a thick, round base, a good seven inches thick. And all around the bottom layer of cake, was a Mario scene. The blue sky background with green at the bottom for the grass. Clouds with faces, yellow stars with just the eyes, shelves of blocks with the red-topped mushrooms sitting on them. It even that the green tube, with the man-eating plant coming out of it. Mario was placed in the middle of the action, true to form in his search for coins and Princess Peach. On top of that layer, it was trimmed in gold circles what were the illusive coins. And perched on top of the video game scene, was squared, two story brown castle. And coming out of the top of the castle, was a pole. A flag was attached to the top of the pole that held the number four. I knew Keith was just going to love it.
"Knock knock!"I heard, hearing a voice that I recognized. I smiled and hurried to the living room. Three people stood in my living room. It had been too long since I had seen them last. My mother, sister Zoey and niece Odera stood in the living room. I rushed across the empty space and tried to put my arms around all of them at once. I didn't get to see them but maybe four or five times a year now, not including the one major holiday a year that we visit them.
"Lora!" Odera giggled from her spot squished between me and her mother. She pushed at my legs, forcing a break in the hug. "You're going to mess up my hair!"
I looked down at my niece, see her blonde curls pulled perfectly up in pigtails. The older she got, the prissier she became. She was six going on thirty-six. I laughed at her, bending down to pull her to me in a hug. She got bigger every time I saw her. She stepped aside, and I wrapped my mother and sister up into a hug. Moma pulled away from me, "Where's Tiegan?"
I pointed to the kitchen, where she sat in her high chair, eating apple slices. Without another word, she went through the hallway into the kitchen. Zo looked over at me, rolling her eyes. WE both knew of her love for her grandchildren. I motioned Zoey to follow me into the dining room, to show her the decorations.
"This is great, Lo," Zoey said, looking around at all of the turned and watched our mother playing with my daughter. It was amazing, that Tiegan has only seen her grandmother only a few times in her life, but she knows exactly who she is. The little child had a very sharp memory. Zoey's elbow nudge brought me out of my thoughts. "Is Randy going to be able to make it?"
"I still don't know," I said, a heavy feeling settling in my chest. I was trying to avoid the subject of this for as long as I could. "I haven't been able to get a hold of him today."
But before I had a chance to think any further on the subject, the doorbell rang. I looked at the clock, and it was just about the time for the guests to start arriving. The first guest to arrive was Melody. We had been friends ever since we met in Lamaze class when I was pregnant with Keith. She was good friend and had a lot of advice for me when I was young mother. Her hand was closed around one of her son's. Jacob was just a little older than Keith, and they loved to hang out together. In fact, they were both on the same T-Ball team. I smiled at her, hugging her as well, and sent her off to mingle with the guests that were starting to gather in the living room. With each guest came a gift. His pile of presents kept growing. Within thirty minutes, everyone had arrived. I looked up when I heard the door open and saw Keith running into the house. Becky and Casie had taken Keith out to the park while I got everything set up. I looked up and smiled sadly at the two of them. They took one look around the room, and noticed the absence.
"Mommy! Mommy! Look what Becky got for me!" Keith yelled out, running up to me. I looked down at him, seeing him holding a man in his hands. I reached down and took it from him, looking closer. I fought off my smirk when I saw all the tattoos covering the arms and shoulders of the plastic man in trunks. "It's a Daddy doll."
Laughter rippled around the room, and Keith looked around at everyone. He hadn't expected to see all of his friends at his house before he got there. He smiled and joined his friends at the table, showing off the Randy Orton action figure to anyone that would look. I clapped my hands together, getting everyone's attention. "Alright, how 'bout we start things off with cake, and then Keith can open his presents?"
Murmured consent fluttered around the room. I placed four yellow candles in the base of Keith's cake, and went to grab the lighter. Keith looked up at me, catching my eye. "Daddy not coming?"
I bit my lip, not knowing what to say to him. I could tell by the look on his face that he was heartbroken. I dropped the lighter, and just wrapped my arms around him quickly. I pulled away and tried to be subtly and wiping my eyes on the sleeve of my shirt. I cleared my throat and picked up the lighter again. But before I could get the first candle lit, a noise met my ear. The sound of car door slamming outside. I stood straight up and looked out of the window in the door. I saw yellow. "I'll… um, be right back. I've left something in the car."
I hurried around the table, whispered words to Casie and Becky to stall for me, and I turned the knob on the front door. The first thing that met me was the bitterly cold winds. I didn't put a jacket on before I left the house. I shook my hair out of my face and looked around. There, in my drive-way, was a yellow taxi cab. My heart pounded in my ears as the trunk closed and a man appeared from behind the car. I smiled and ran through the yard, the light layer of snow crunching underneath my feet. I didn't stop running until I felt my arms close around something warm and strong. Arms wrapped around my waist, lifting me up. I wrapped my legs around a waist, and warm lips crashed down on mine. Randy had come home.
I didn't know how long he stood there, holding me. I did know when it started to get way too cold, even in Randy's arms. I sat one foot at a time back down on the ground and pulled away from him. Behind his back, he had a blue bicycle with training wheels. I smiled, thinking that was exactly one of the things Keith had wanted. I cupped his face with both of my hands. "You made it."
Randy smiled down at me, a black toboggan on his head, because he had no protective hair. His thick-stuffed jacket made him seem bigger than he already was. The heavy feeling in my chest lifted immediately. He wrapped his arm around my waist, grabbing the bicycle with the other and began to walk back towards the house. "I haven't missed anything, have I?"
I shook my head, "No, we were just about to light his candles." I wrapped my fingers around the metal of the handle and turned back to Randy. I wanted Keith to get the greatest surprise out of this. "Wait in the living room until I motion you to come in. I need to get the video camera."
Randy rolled his eyes, but nodded to me all the same. I put my finger to my lips to signal him to be quiet as we entered the living room. Casie and Becky saw him as he pressed himself against the wall of the foyer. I gave them the same signal I had given Randy, and they took the hint. I walked back into the dining room as if nothing had happened. I asked Casie to light the candles as I prepared the video camera. Casie lit each of the four candles, and I saw Randy peeking out from the hallway. I wanted to cry, I was so happy. My family was back together, but the kids didn't know it yet. I zoomed the camera in closely as Keith squeezed his eyes closed, and blew as hard as he could. Each little flame went out in a puff of smoke.
I signaled Randy to begin to enter the kitchen. Slowly, each guest caught on to Randy's presence, and smiled happily. Every parent here knew how hard it was on Keith when Randy wasn't home. I fixed the camera, so that I was standing in front of Keith and Randy was behind him. Randy had slipped off his jacket and his hat, showing his blue button down shirt and his jeans. I decided that Keith should know who had just arrived. "Alright, Keith, time for presents! Turn around and pick out the one you want."
Keith did as I told, and turned around in his seat, looking where I had said. I knew the moment he spotted Randy. His body froze and his face went blank. Randy was kneeling before him, smiling softly. Then, before Randy could say anything, Keith jumped from his seat, and ran at Randy. The little boy never said anything, and just buried his head into Randy's throat. His little arms wrapped tightly around neck. I covered my mouth with one hand, still filming the scene before me. I watched as Tiegan appeared in the frame, having gotten away from her Grammy. Tia had a bright smile on her face, and giggling loudly as she walked quickly to Randy. Randy looked around when he felt something, and saw that his little girl was trying to climb into his lap. He removed one arm around Keith and pulled her tightly to his body. Carefully, he stood up, both children in his arms. I'm sure that if Randy had let go of Keith, he would not fall because he had such a grip on his father. Tiegan was planting wet kisses all over his face. And Randy was loving it.
"Here let me put you down little man, I have something for you," Randy said, trying to pry Keith's hands away from his neck. Becky stepped up to take Tiegan away, so Randy could get Keith's bike. But Both children refused to budge. They didn't want to be put down. They were where they wanted to be. Keith shook his head at Randy's words and Tiegan squealed in disapproval at Becky. "Don't you want to see what I got for your birthday?"
"No," came his mumbled reply, and I saw him tighten his grip on his neck. Tiegan tilted her head at Keith, watching his actions. She smiled her toothy smile, and laid her head down on Randy's other shoulder. The look on Randy's face was heart-warming. Neither one of his babies wanted to be away from him. And he was soaking it all up.
"You get Tia asleep?" I asked Randy as he stepped out of her room. He nodded, smiling back at our daughter asleep in her crib. I know what this day has meant to Randy. He hated to be away from home for a long time, but he loved coming home to receptions like the one he received today. I nodded my head down the hall. "Well Keith is waiting for you."
Without another word, he walked into our son's room. I smiled to myself, and went into our bedroom, changing into my nightclothes. There was still a mess downstairs, but I didn't feel like cleaning it up tonight. All the food was put away and that was all that mattered. I slipped into one of Randy's shirts, and walked back out into the hall. Keith was half asleep, with Randy sitting on the edge of the bed. He just closed the book he had read, and set it on the night table. He leaned down and kissed Keith's forehead gently. "Are you going to tell me what you wished for with you candles?"
Randy's words were soft and low, as to not stir him much. Keith leaned up in the bed, and put his mouth to Randy's ear. Randy's face contorted into something that I just couldn't quite place. Keith fell back against his pillow, his eyes closed. Randy stood from the bed and left the room. He spotted me and immediately pulled me into his arms. I giggled softly at his attention. But my mind was still very curious. "What did Keith wish for?"
Randy pulled back enough to look me in the eye. He brushed loose hair behind my ear and stroked my cheek. He sighed softly and buried his head into my shoulder. "For me to come home."
There you have it! Some of this chapter was loosely based on a Jim Carrey movie, but it just fit this story so well! The first chapter of "AWTY?"! I hope you enjoyed and please, PLEASE, as always… REVIEW! I love you guys! Thanks for coming on this journey with me!