I was asked long ago, and in another galaxy, to write the story of Rebecca (Bex) and Christopher. I don't even remember now who asked, or if they're even on the site any longer. It's a variation on all the post season 4 stories. A simpler Annie.
There IS a story in the works - and still under this global story - about an updated (post season 4) Annie and Auggie. I'll not share the idea quite yet, I'm not sure that it will pan out.
The usual disclaimer: I don't own the Annie and Auggie characters, nor the show Covert Affairs. I just like to think of them as 'regular' people with a family of my making.
Thanks to Mandy58 and call2worship for letting me bounce ideas off of them.
"Mom, Gran, can I ask you two something?" Abigail Elizabeth Anderson asked as she bounced into the living room of her parent's suburban DC home. Her mother and paternal grandmother were working on decorations for her upcoming Sweet 16 birthday party. A few completed party favors were scattered about the coffee table, and the components were on the couch between the two women.
"Sure." Rebecca Elizabeth Larsen-Anderson replied as she looked up from her iPad. "What do you want to know?"
Abby curled up in her father's recliner across the coffee table from her mother and grandmother. "How did you and Dad meet, fall in love, and get to be married as long as they have? I've heard bits and pieces, but never the whole story."
The two older women looked one to the other with amused looks.
"Okay. What's so funny?" Abby said.
Her grandmother, Anne Catherine Walker-Anderson, replied, "A few weeks ago your mother and I were discussing the fact that neither you nor your brothers had ever wondered about this very subject."
"Oh, so we're slow?" Abby asked and giggled. She and her brothers, Adrian and Bryan, were anything but slow. Adrian, better known as Adi to his friends and family, had a full-ride academic scholarship to his mother's, father's, and grandfather's alma mater, Northwestern. Bryan had the same at his Aunt Crystal's alma mater of George Washington University. Abby was on track to be at least salutatorian, if not valedictorian, of her high school class; she'd applied for early admission to her mother's alma mater, Georgetown.
"Lacking in curiosity is more like it. At least on this matter," her mother replied and grinned cheerily.
"Well, I'm curious now."
"Yes, you are. Okay, your parents have known each other since they were in junior high." Annie replied quickly.
"Junior high sweethearts?" Abigail asked as she picked up a small pair of scissors and snipped off a measured length of red, ribbed, curly ribbon.
"No. Not really," Bex quickly interjected. "We just liked hanging out together. We didn't consider it dating; we just always did stuff together as a group."
"Yes," Annie said. "That group was always together. I remember the first time we, your grandfather and I, met one Rebecca Elizabeth Larsen on a Friday evening after a high school football game. Your Dad had asked if he could have some friends over after the game. We thought, since he was barely thirteen, that he meant some of his guy friends. We were quite surprised when there were several girls in the group that arrived at our house that evening."
"Who all showed up besides Mom?"
"Well, there was your mother, and your mom's sister, and one other girl whose name I have long since forgotten. Your Uncle Harrison was there, too, and a couple of other guys. Of that group, the only ones that hung on once they all entered high school were your mom, your Aunt Crystal and Uncle Harrison."
"So, Aunt Crys and Uncle Harry started dating way back then, too?" Abby asked with a bit ofastonishment.
"Yes, the beginnings of their relationships began way back then, too, and even though they dated other people in high school, like your Mom and Dad had, they kept gravitating back together over and over again. Even during college I think they all dated others, too. We lost track of Uncle Harrison and Aunt Crystal for a while during those first few years of college. We were very happy when they came back into the fold … so to speak."
"Tell me more about the first time you met my Mom," Abby interrupted excitedly. That was what she really wanted to know. There was a guy that she was interested in who had asked her to come to his parent's house. She was curious about how her grandparents had met her mother.
"Well," Annie replied. She closed her eyes briefly, as if remembering the gathering. "That first meeting started out a bit awkwardly. None of the kids knew that your grandfather was blind, and, except for you mother, they had no idea how to act around him."
"I," interjected Rebecca, "really didn't know either. But I just treated your grandfather like I would like to be treated if it were me. Seemed to work. Dad seemed to warm up to me quickly. I do remember being astonished at how capable he was."
Abby was shocked at her mother's admission. She'd never thought about it much. "So, you were surprisedabout Grandpa?"
"Yeah. At first, but after a while, I sort of forgot that he was blind. I remember it took a few meetings for the rest of that gang to get comfortable around Dad, too. You've always known your grandfather as blind. He's your grandfather and that's the way he is. When I met him, I'd never known a blind person before and I guess I had this idea that blind people were less than able." Rebecca paused for a moment and then quickly added, "And, yes, before you ask, Aunt Crys and I, as well as your Dad and Uncle Harrison did date others, just like your grandmother said."
"Why didn't you stay with one of the other guys you had relationships with?"
"Because, none of those relationships with them was ever quite as satisfying as the ones we had with the men we eventually married, though. Though, for me, it was also that the parents of the other men never quite lived up to the relationship I had with your father's parents. Almost from the beginning, they treated me like a part of the family. Even your Aunt Corry liked my sister and me. I remember that she would talk to me about her own boyfriend issues. Aunt Corry used me as a sounding board a few times when she had boyfriend issues because I had such a good relationship with her that was even before your dad and I were serious."
Rebeccachuckled a bit under her breath. Looking at Annie she said, "Do you remember Yem?"
"You mean the Greek kid whose real name you could never pronounce?"
"Yes, and then there was Kevin Bull."
Both women laughed out loud.
"What's so funny you guys?"
Rebecca continued,"Just remembering how appropriated Kevin's last name was. He was as clumsy as the proverbial bull in a china shop. He finally stopped growing and gained control of his limbs, but in high school, he was always tripping over his own feet and knocking stuff over. It was a wonder either set of your grandparents let him in their houses. The more he tried not to be clumsy …"
"Is he the really tall guy in the formal wedding pictures of you and Dad and Aunt Crys and Uncle Harrison?"
"Yup," Annie answered for her daughter-in-law. "He was a good kid, and really wasn't as big a klutz here. I mean he didn't knock into things any more than Auggie ever did." Both women laughed at that.
Abby wasn't done probing, however."I probably should ask Dad this, but when were you sure that Dad was 'The One'?"
"Oh, that's an easy one," Bex responded with a smile. "It was kind of a sad and stressful time for both your Dad and me, but during it, I realized that there was no one else I could ever care about as much as I cared about Christopher Austin Anderson."
Abby's look changed from one of curiosity to one of concern.
Bex quickly responded, "The time that your Dad lost his leg. That was a very traumatic time for all of us. Yes, much more so for your Dad, but it wasn't easy for me - or our friends either. For the longest time I felt so guilty about the accident. Everyone kept telling me it wasn't my fault. That it was the fault of the drunk driver that hit your Dad head-on, but I just knew that if I hadn't goaded him into coming home then he never would have been on that stretch of highway."
Annie, with a look ofshock, quickly interjected, "Bex, you know now that, like his father, it is so very, very hard to get him to do anything he doesn't really want to do. If he hadn't wanted to come home then, he wouldn't have."
Bex smiled at Annie. "I know Mom. It took me a long time to realize that, though. Sometimes, the guilt still nags me. I know it's irrational, but there's still a tiny remnant left."
"Mom!" Abby exclaimed. "You've always told me not to carry guilt over something that I could not have prevented. That it's counterproductive. Sounds like you're not practicing what you preach." There was a tone of disapproval in her voice.
"It IS counterproductive, Abs. Buts sometimes it's easier said than done. Once I understood that I really couldn't have prevented that accident, or the outcome, I stopped feeling guilty most of the time. In moments of weakness, I still think of that. Then I remember that your father came very close to losing more than a part of his leg. He nearly lost himself. During that time is when I made a number of decisions that have led to me being who I am today."
"How so?" Abby asked with curiosity.
"Well, I decided that I was going to treat your father no differently than I had before. That was hard, but your Dad told me afterwards that was one of the things that helped him get through that period. That's also when I decided that I wanted to be a counselor and work with people like your father and grandfather - to help them get as much of their previous life back as they can after the incidents that disabled them. In those early years, when both your dad and I were working on getting our degrees, especially our Master's, it put a strain on our relationship, but not nearly as much of one as just after your dad was hurt."
"What was that time like?" Abby asked with concern. Her father hardly ever spoke of that time in his life. And now this revelation that her mother was a part of it boggled her mind.
"Well, I'm not quite sure how to answer that," Bex replied thoughtfully. "I guess I'll just tell you a short summary of the major events, and how I dealt with them. Felt about them.
"The accident happened sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Never did know the exact time but it was some time around midnight. I heard about it on the morning news. I was devastated. That's when the guilt hit. I called your grandfather in the hopes that it wasn't true. It was. He was, understandably, a bit short with me. My sister came downstairs and found me crying hysterically and I could barely get out why. About then our phones started ringing and it was Uncle Harry calling your Aunt Crystal, and Kevin calling me. We got together, Uncle Harry drove us to the hospital, and we sort of took over the ICU waiting room. Eventually your grandmother and Aunt Corry came. After we took your grandfather, who had been there for better than twelve hours already to the cafeteria for something to eat, we were sent home. Aunt Corry came with us. We were to just drop her off at her home but there was a news van outside. We didn't know what to do and Aunt Corry called your grandfather. We don't know if he did something or if the news people got tired of waiting, but once they left, we went in. We, my sister and I, stayed the night with Aunt Corry. Staying with her and your grandfather that night was comforting."
Abby listened with rapt attention to what her mother was saying. From the looks on her face, her mother seemed to be reliving some of the events.
"While your father was in the hospital things settled into a routine. We, Aunt Crys, Uncle Harrison, and I, would go visit as often as we could. At first, the nurses didn't seem to appreciate us being there, but your dad did. Whenhe came home, we continued hanging out as much as we could. He was able to go back to school in the fall and, much to his dismay, I went with him."
"Why to his dismay?"
"Maybe dismay is the wrong word," Rebecca replied. She picked up another length of the red curly ribbon, and began to tie it around one of the last few boxes as she continued, "I was unhappy at Georgetown – not just because I was away from him – and had convinced my folks – without your dad's knowledge or approval – to let me transfer to Northwestern. I'd already done that before your dad got hurt. Until I explained my reasoning, he was upset with me doing that. He returned to live with his Uncle Austin and Aunt Jenna; I moved into a dorm for the first year and then a couple of other girls got and I got an off-campus apartment."
Putting down the box she'd just tied a ribbon around, Annie interrupted, "Auggie and I were a bit upset at one event that your mother was a part of just after she and your father moved to Illinois."
Abigail looked at her mother and noticed the slightly sheepish look on her face as she replied, "Yeah. Chris and I never thought about that. That you might want to be a part of that."
"About what?" Abby demanded.
Putting the party favor aside, Rebecca answered her daughter, "During the first half of that fall semester your dad received his prosthesis. I was with him when he first stood and took his first few steps with it. Neither of us thought that his Mom and Dad might like to be there instead of me. He did surprise them when we came home for Thanksgiving by walking to where they waited for us outside of security."
"Yeah, that was a pleasant surprise," Annie said and smiled as if remembering.
"What kind of things did you and Dad do once he was back on two feet?" Abby asked. "Did you have romantic dates?"
"No. It was odd in a way, but your dad and I never formally dated; we were just always together. Then, one day in our senior year, he just looked at me and said, 'You know, we might as well make this formal and get married'. I thought for a moment and said, 'Yeah, I guess maybe we should.'"
"Were you guys living together then?"
"No," Bex said shaking her head. "He lived in Glencoe with his aunt and uncle and I lived in the apartment with the girls until we graduated. Then until the wedding. We lived back at home with our parents. It was a bit 'unorthodox' for the times not to live together before marrying, but we both had sort of old-fashioned ideas about marriage."
Abigail giggled at the thought that her parents were 'old-fashioned'. Of all her friends, her parents were the most current in the trends of the day.
Almost in unison, her mother and grandmother asked, "What's so funny?"
"The thought that you and Dad were old-fashioned. You guys are anything but that. And Gran, for being old people," she paused and grinned cheekily, "you and Grandpa are pretty up-to-date, too."
Annie smiled and replied, "We've got to keep up with you and your brothers."
"We've got to keep up, too," Bex added. "Now, if you've learned enough about your Dad's and my courtship, I'm going to go start supper. Your Dad and grandfather are going to be back soon. I know after an afternoon at the Senators game they're probably going to be ravenous." She picked up the box of completed party favors and headed out of the room toward the kitchen.
Her curiosity about her parents satisfied, she looked at her grandmother. "How did you and Grandpa really meet?"
"That, Abs, is a story for another day."
And maybe, one day soon, Abby will get her wish.