A/N: Hi, everybody, hope you all are surviving summer all right. Sorry I haven't updated in a while; this past month was so busy for me. Finally, here's the next chapter…the usual disclaimers that none of the 7th Heaven characters, places, and things are mine, much as I wish dear Simon is…enjoy!

Interfamily Affairs and Games




Dinner that night is a bit quieter without Ruthie around. Lucy, Annie, and I can continue the wedding plans.

"…and the bridesmaids…we have to figure out who we can trust," Annie says.

"Ladies from the church," I suggest. "Preferably plain ones…and those who can afford the trip to Hawaii."

"And their dresses have to be way different," Lucy puts in.

"I think a deep coral would be a nice color for them," Annie adds. "It would match a lot of the flowers out there…"

It'll be so nice now being able to be with Lucy without dealing with Ruthie butting in and without her glaring at us all the time.

Although Ruthie's gone, we still have to deal with Sam and David's stupid comments. Sam doesn't stop complaining about the Game Three he'll be deprived of while David alternates between crabbing about how spoiled Lucy is and snarking about our wedding.

Lucy spends a lot of the week on the phone, calling the church ladies to see who can be bridesmaids.

Annie decides she wants to be the matron of honor when none of the church ladies accepts that honor, but Lucy doesn't want that.

"I'll get somebody," Lucy tells her as we sit down to eat later on that week. "You can just be the proud mother of the bride…okay?"

"So, who's gonna be the best man in this wedding?" Sam asks. "Maybe we could get Simon…" Sam smirks at me.

"Absolutely not!" I snap back.

"That would add some excitement," David butts in. "The best man and groom could have a huge fight and break up the boredom…"

"Oh, speaking of which…" Annie tucks a lock of her blond hair behind her ear. "We really should invite Simon and Mary…"

"No," Lucy says shortly. "I don't want them at my wedding."

"Why not?" Annie asks. "I know you and they don't see eye-to-eye, but by February, maybe things will have cooled down with Simon and he'll be more civil with us…"

"After what he did to our family?" Lucy exclaims indignantly, her face going red. "He's the reason the social service people are breathing down our backs! He's the reason Kevin's mother and your illegitimate half-sister have butted themselves in our lives!"

"Maybe your dad can talk to Simon more and get Simon to see that…" Annie starts.

"Simon doesn't pick up his phone and answer us…remember?" Lucy snipes. "Of course he won't pick up for Dad! And if you think we'll invite that Kinkirk woman and your illegitimate sister to my wedding, you're crazy!"

"Lucy…" Eric puts in as Annie winces and looks away.

"I wasn't planning on inviting Mrs. Kinkirk or Lilly," Annie says quietly and glares at Lucy.

Good. I actually agree with Lucy about Simon and Mary. The last thing we need is those two troublemakers at our wedding. Not to mention Annie carrying on and pleading Simon's forgiveness, since I am sure Simon will carry that grudge for the rest of his pathetic life.

"We'll discuss Simon and Mary more later," Eric says. "I really would like them there, despite everything that's gone down with Simon this year…I know you're still mad at him, Lucy, but we have to remember that he's not that stable, so I am sure he'll later regret trying to break up our family…"

"I doubt it," I say. Eric looks over at me.

"Sure, he's mentally unstable and all," I continue. "But I'm not sure it's a good idea having him there…and I doubt he'll ever feel bad about what he's done to us…that boy has no scruples…remember he never did come to have any shame about all the sleeping around he did in college."

"Is that what Mom, Dad, and Simon fought about when Simon was in college?" Sam asks.

"Yes," I tell him, mainly to shut him up. "Your brother was doing wrong things in college and your parents went up to deal with him on that."

"What?" Savannah pipes up. "What did Uncle Simon do wrong in college…why is sleeping around wrong? Maybe he was at sleepovers with his friends."

Lucy scowls. "Your uncle was doing more than 'sleepovers,' Savannah. He was having intimate relations he shouldn't have been having before marriage…"

"Oh, was that sek?" Savannah asks.

"Sek?" I say in bewilderment. "What on earth is 'sek'?"

"That thing you consider bad…that thing you say the kids do in school."

"She means SEX!" Sam crows and laughs. "Yep, Sav, Simon had SEX in college…" Sam grins gleefully. "And he wasn't married…and with that weird face and being a mental case he is, we doubt any girl would want to marry him."

"Let's not discuss this when we're eating," Annie heaves a huge disgusted sigh.

"Hey, Mom, I remember…" David pipes up. "Sam and me were in kindergarten…you were mad at us 'cause that teacher sent us home over something real stupid…then Simon and that girl came sneaking down and you ran out to them and asked Simon…he kind of laughed all nervously, then told you it was 'private' then walked out on you with you screaming after him…" the twins laugh as if it's hilarious.

"Boys!" Annie and Eric say at the same time. But the little twits keep laughing.

"See why it's a bad idea to invite Simon?" I say as we get ready to clear the table.

Later on in the week, Lucy and I pick up her dress. Most of the time, Lucy complains about Annie. Somehow, although Simon is three thousand miles away, he's managed to put a bit of a damper on our plans, especially since Annie insists on trying to invite him along with Mary.

Eric is also calling around, hoping to secure a hotel for all of us by February.

"I hope we can get the Four Seasons Hotel," Lucy tells me on Friday evening as we watch a spy detective TV movie later on that night after the kids are in bed.

"What's there?" I ask as we kiss.

"It's a supreme luxury hotel with everything…including being right on the beach and also with all these adorable separate cottages…so each couple can have absolute privacy."

"Sounds great," I say. We mute the sound when commercials come on, especially all the stupid Christmas holiday commercials. Even most of the TV shows have these holiday themes to them. Thank God the movie is just a normal movie with a good crime-spy plot.

"I wish we could get away to Hawaii tonight," Lucy whispers. "And not have to deal with Mom's butting in with her own agenda or any of this holiday circus crap the world pushes on us every year."

"Me too…" I agree. "Just you and me…we'd have our own little holiday without this zoo."

"No Mrs. Kinkirk, no Lilly, none of the nonsense from Simon…" Lucy says. "We even need a break from the kids."

"Especially those boys," I add.

"Yeah…" Lucy says. "You'd think Mom and Dad would have better control over Sam and David…especially now that Ruthie's gone…and now that even Ruthie's kid is gone also…thank God Mac's mother left for Oregon with Kaylee and won't be here to make trouble for us…as it is, we have to deal with Mrs. Kinkirk and that Lilly woman…"

"Did you reach Simon or Mary?" Annie asks Eric on Saturday morning. I'm just waking up and can hear them from my bed.

"I reached Mary…" Eric sighs. "She says she doesn't think she'll make it…other plans and all…seemed in a hurry also…told me she's taking a vacation, but didn't say where or with whom…"

"And Simon?" Annie queries. "After all, you went out and called him from a pay phone at the mall yesterday, so he wouldn't know it was from one of us…"

"No luck there…didn't pick up…I didn't bother leaving a message," Eric tells her. "What's more…the hotels out in Hawaii are expensive…I'm not even sure I can afford a motel for all of us…I wonder what we tell Martin and Lucy if I can't afford to pay for the hotel…?"

"Crrrap…" I mutter, feeling a bit miffed that they're calling Simon and Mary when they haven't finished discussing it with Lucy and me.

The rest of the weekend doesn't get much better. Lucy and Annie don't stop bickering for more than five minutes at a time over petty details of the wedding. Lucy wants five million bridesmaids while Annie wants just two, preferably women Annie's own age. Lucy wants them younger, close to her own age.

"And who's going to pay for all those dresses?" Annie demands that Sunday morning on as we're getting ready for church.

"THEY WILL!" Lucy shouts back. "And they can pay for some of the reception since they'll be there eating our food."

I have to stifle a laugh as I put my tie on in front of my own mirror. Good luck convincing those church women to fork up the cash for their own bridesmaid dresses, let alone essentially paying admission to a wedding.

By the time we're in the car, Lucy and Annie are pointedly ignoring each other as Eric drives us all to the church. I just hope Lucy and Annie don't spend the next two months carrying on like this.

Eric preaches for most of the service, then Lucy comes on.

She mostly talks about wedding plans and how they relate to God…then she smiles at the congregation and adds, "I do hope all of you ladies I called will consider this honor and take it…it'll be a wonderful occasion for this church to see me marry a wonderful man…create a new family, one that certain in-laws and illegitimate half-siblings can't destroy."

The twins laugh while several others whisper and roll their eyes. Annie sighs. "Only a few of the women have returned either mine or Lucy's calls…and those that called back have all declined…" she whispers.

"Probably because of all the holiday hoopla," I whisper back. "I'm sure they'll start calling back in January once this Christmas circus dies down."

After the service, the congregation fairly scrams out of there without giving any of us the courtesy of a goodbye. Lucy scowls as she steps down.

The congregates do talk amongst themselves and I hear a snatch about Ruthie. "…heard Martin broke her heart after getting her pregnant…she couldn't bear to deal with Martin afterward…"

"Especially after he cheated on Ruthie with Lucy!" this guy adds. They vanish too quickly, leaving me fuming. I guess some of them see me glaring at them because two of the women have the nerve to glare back at me.

"Martin…" Annie puts a hand on my shoulder. I turn. "Let's head home…the elders wanted to speak to Eric and Lucy alone, so Eric told us to go on ahead and have lunch…"

"Sure…" I say. "Let's eat out on the patio…it's nice today." It's around sixty-five, a bit chilly for my liking, but not too cold. Annie nods and I drive the boys, Lucy's kids, and her back home.

At home, we have hot dogs with all the trimmings, steaks, and tacos. Annie fixes a huge salad. Annie seems a bit put out as we eat out on the patio.

"Once the wedding details are over with, things will settle down with Lucy," I tell her.

"I hope so," Annie sighs. "Because right now, she's getting on my last nerve. Maybe you can settle her once you two are married…you'll be good for her…and good for her kids…although I wonder how much influence those public schools will have on the kids…as it is, Savannah's already been negatively influenced by that Kinkirk woman and Simon."

"I just wonder what Simon has told her," I say. "Especially when Simon was with the kids the night the boys trashed the house…"

"By New Years Day, Eric and I have to have the kids immunized," Annie says. "We've been ordered by those…socialists of the government…to have Savannah and Rick injected with these…chemicals against our will." She heaves a gusty sigh, fuming for a long minute.

It makes me mad too…especially since Simon and Mrs. Kinkirk are the cause of all this.

"We'll just have to stand strong against those schools…and not let those teachers sway our kids on the wrong direction…" I say.

"I'll never forgive Ruthie for just signing away my granddaughter…" Annie complains. "Now we won't know how Kaylee will be raised…and knowing Mac's mother, she'd ship Kaylee to public school once she gets old enough. Mac's mother did a lousy job raising her son…"

And most likely she won't do any better with Kaylee, I silently add.

The door bangs open just then and Eric and Lucy come home through the back gate with Lucy complaining loudly about the church elders. Eric's making weak attempts to calm her down.

"You'll TRY to talk to them?" Lucy screams. "After they just told me I was 'dismissed' from the church?"

"Yes, I will try," Eric sighs. "It's the best we can do…"

"What happened?" I ask.

"Lucy was let go from her position," Eric tells us.

"It's about time," Sam quips.

"WHAT?" Lucy shrieks at him.

"I said it's about time," Sam has the gall to say. "Your sermons were so dull and stupid…"

"SAM!" Annie yells just as Lucy screams, "THEY WERE NOT 'DULL' OR 'STUPID'!"

"Then why does everybody else run out after your sermon?" Sam asks.

"Yeah, you always made it all about you," David adds.


In a way, I'm not surprised that Lucy's been fired. Her recent sermons were pretty bad and she did make them too much about herself.

Eric sits with a sigh as Annie puts together a plate for him. "This means I'm the only one with an income…" he looks over at me. "I'm not sure we can afford Hawaii, Martin, even in February…"

Inside, I'm a bit miffed, but I don't let it show since I don't want to get into any arguments. After all, it's Lucy's fault, not Eric's, that she got herself fired. I just paste on a smile and say, "It's all right…I understand how it is with money…let's just hope Lucy understands…"

Lucy doesn't understand too much. She spends the rest of the day and Monday fuming and demanding that Eric sue the elders.

Eric does talk to the elders, but has no luck. "I'm thinking of moving to another church anyway," he tells us at dinner. "This church has deteriorated in recent years…gone too lax on the Biblical morals and concepts."

"Maybe you should leave it, Dad!" Lucy says. "We can go to a true Christian church…one that sticks to the real meaning of the birth of Christ…not one that falls for that other pagan nonsense…did you see that tacky holly and berry stuff all over the church doors and all?"

"Good idea," I say.

"Can we afford that, Eric?" Annie wails. "After all, we're still paying for the house damage and court dates."

"So, what are you going to do for a libbing if you're not a minster, Grandpa?" Savannah asks. "Would you move like Uncle Simon?"

"No, sweetheart, I'm not going anywhere," Eric tells her. "And I will still be a minister…I'm just thinking of a different church around here…and I'd secure the new position before giving my notice to the Glen Oak main church…"

Maybe changing churches is a good idea…especially since the congregation of this church we're in now has gotten so rude lately.

Speaking of holidays, there's a holiday surprise waiting for Lucy on Tuesday evening…a Christmas card. It's very pretty with a Nativity scene and is from New York.

"I wonder who it's from?" Lucy mutters. I wonder also as she opens it.

It's from none other than Simon. But instead of maybe the apologies he owes us for all the crap he's pulled this autumn, it wishes us a "Merry Christmas," then goes on in some syrupy-sweet note talking on and on about the kids and basically telling us how to celebrate the birth of Christ.

He also indirectly insults me in it, basically telling Lucy not to marry me, that it would be "bad" for the kids and also has the nerve to bring up Ruthie.

"EeeeUUUUUUGHPPPPP!" Lucy splutters in fury.

"These innocent kids deserve happy memories of this SPECIAL time of the year," Lucy reads off from the card. "And you, Lucy, as their primary parent, have the power to make than happen…yeah, right! And just LOOK at what my hypocrite of a half-brother added…" she mimics Simon's voice, adding a mock-sappy tone to it. "Despite all that has gone down between us as siblings, I still love you, Luce, and I love the kids."

This card leaves us both furious. Lucy rips up the card and throws it in the trash.

"That boy has real passive-aggressive issues," I snarl. "I should call him…I'll block my number, so he can't tell it's me and just let him have it…"

"It's no use," Lucy tells me as she goes upstairs. "Even if he did pick up, what's to stop him from hanging up on you?"

It infuriates me even more to know this…and that Simon is way over in New York and can crap on us long-distance, then hide.

I pace and wait several hours, so no one will be around. If Simon doesn't pick up, at least I'll leave him a message, so he knows where his stupid card stands with me.

And he doesn't pick up, so I leave him a message, telling him off and calling him out on his cowardice, his trashing me in the card, and his using Christ's birthday to pull this stunt he thinks is so cute.

Unfortunately, Sam comes into the kitchen, grinning as I wrap up my telling-off. "Wow, who are you yelling at this time, Mart?" Sam jeers, rudely interrupting me.

"None of your business!" I yell at him. "And you will never call me Mart again and will learn to respect me, you disrespectful, rude little brat! And you will get out of here before I kick your butt!"

I half-stand and give Sam a shove. Sam laughs and slaps back at me, but I manage to get him out of the kitchen and slam the door.

I finish my message to Simon, telling him to stop trying to dictate how to raise our own kids and that he's not the expert he thinks he is. I conclude with, "…SHUT UP AND BUTT OUT OF OUR LIVES, FREAK ILLEGITIMATE BASTARD!"

I slam the phone shut, hoping he gets this message and hoping I've at least scared him into re-thinking his filthy little passive-aggressive games on us.

Wednesday, Mrs. Kinkirk and Lilly take Savannah and Rick out to dinner, much to our consternation. But there's not much we can do about this. I silently fume at the freak illegitimate bastard that's helped this happen.

"Mrs. Kinkirk and Simon have talked apparently…" Annie's also fuming. "And Simon has met his 'other side' of the family."

"You mean his real dad?" Lucy asks as we sit down to dinner.

"Your father is his 'real dad," Lucy," Annie says tersely. "But Simon has met his biological father…and he has three other kids with another woman…he's gone out to eat with all of them…"

"Should it really matter to you, Annie?" Eric asks, spearing a piece of meat loaf. "It's not as if this Sean Gallagher or his other spawn would be part of our lives."

"I'm just upset that my own son has turned his back on me!" Annie snaps. "It's not enough that we gave him a family and raised him as part of a normal family…he had to go seek this other family, who are strangers…"

"So, is Simon's real dad as ugly as he is?" Sam asks.

"Probably," I tell him. "And probably the kids are too."

"Sam! Martin!" Eric sighs. "Let's just forget about them, Annie…they're far away…it's not as if they'd be coming here."

"Well, Simon had better not bring any of those people here," Annie snipes. "I'd love to have him here for the holidays and the wedding, but I just hope he never brings those…Gallaghers here."

"I doubt he will," Eric sighs. "I somehow suspect we won't see Simon again for years."

Annie somehow still hangs onto the delusion that she can "get" Simon to come home for the holidays and "get" him to forgive her because after dinner, I hear her pleading over the phone and can tell she's talking to Simon…or more like talking to his voice mail since of course he's avoiding her.

Annie plops a cake she's making for Christmas Day into the oven as she begs, "Simon…it's Christmas, so don't carry this grudge on over this holy time of the birth of Christ…at least call me back…don't do this…don't push me away at Christmas…"

Annie heaves a gusty sigh as I came into the kitchen and ask, "Still hiding, isn't he?"

"Yes, unfortunately…" Annie says.

And unfortunately, Lucy and Annie fight again that night. Annie told her that she wants the wedding here in Glen Oak after all while Lucy still wants Hawaii.

"We can just use the credit cards then!" Lucy says. "And Dad and I will have jobs in another church, so we can pay it off!"

"If you find another…" Annie says.


"Nothing!" Annie splutters. "And not to mention that none of the church woman have agreed to be bridesmaids and the half we have contacted have said no…"

"Then just FORGET IT, THEN!" Lucy yells. "I'll take care of this…Martin and I will…you can just butt out!"

"Lucy…!" Annie half-pleads, half-shouts, but Lucy's storming up the stairs, ignoring her mother.

I'm watching TV in my room and can hear everything. Lucy comes in, fuming, her face red, and plops onto my bed.

"Bad, huh?" I say, stroking her hair.

"Yeah…Mom's now insisting that we have some simple little Glen Oak affair right here in this stupid little town…as if her own daughter doesn't deserve better," Lucy complains.

"Yeah…and so this town can gossip about us all the more," I add.

"I wish we could just elope away from Mom…just take off to Hawaii and not have the need for money in our way," Lucy pouts.

"Yeah…" I agree.

We silently watch the night soap opera on TV for a while. Soap operas are really not my thing, but there's not much else good on tonight…and even the good shows are either re-runs or have some holiday theme that has nothing to do with what Christmas is really about.

But Lucy likes the soaps, so I figure watching this one will calm her. I lean back and she leans on my lap. As I do so, I catch a glimpse of my wallet on my dresser and see a gleam of a credit card sticking out…I realize that one of them is actually Dad's.

I had taken it earlier this month when I was going to treat Ruthie to coffee the night she had her miscarriage and the boys messed up the house…but I never got to use it nor did I ever get a chance to return it to Dad's wallet.

Thinking of what Lucy said about wishing we could elope and that we had money sparks the beginning of an idea in my head. It's a crazy idea, one that Lucy would dream up, but the more I think about it, the better the idea seems.

Especially since with those credit cards, I easily have around forty-thousand dollars at my disposal…and I can be the one to give Lucy the wedding she's dreaming of…

A/N: So glad I got back into this story again…how's that for a cliffhanger? Hope you all enjoyed…more drama to come especially when Martin's idea comes to fruitation, especially for their holiday!