Twenty year old Lexi James got out of the cab in front of the three bedroom ranch house Lake Street. She had just finished her sophomore year at Columbia University. She had received a full scholarship for tuition and room and board and only had to pay for her books which she did by working at WJM as a paid intern in the summers. She was in Columbia's Journalism program and wrote for the school paper. She was looking forward to her summer break although she would spend most of the time working. She was glad to be back in Minneapolis, the place she considered home, besides New York now. She still had a relationship with her adoptive parents who lived in Michigan. Nothing would ever change that and she would visit them later in the summer. But Minneapolis was where she felt most at home. Her other family was here and so was her best friend, Bess Lindstrom, home from Rutgers University and her boyfriend Brian, home from Boston University. They were unofficially officially engaged, just waiting until they finished school. She walked up to the door and let herself in.
"Hey, guys, I'm home." She called out
"Wexi!" a little voice called out. She saw running down the hall a dark haired little girl about three years old who had trouble pronouncing her L's
The little girl ran into her arms and Lexi picked her up, "Hey, peanut! How are you?"
"Good." The little girl said. Abigail Grace Rivers adored her older sister and Lexi was well aware of the example she needed to set for her
Lexi noticed the chocolate round her mouth, "Uh huh, looks like someone has been in mom's chocolate chip cookies. How many did you eat?" Lexi had begun to call Mary 'Mom' right after Abby was born. She was still living with them and it made things less confusing for Abby.
The little girl held up three fingers, "She was only supposed to eat one but since Mommy's on the phone with Aunt Rhoda, she snuck two more." Andy came in and greeted Lexi, "How are you, Lex? It's good to have you home." She put Abby down and gave Andy a hug
"I'm good Andy." Lexi said pulling back, "She learned fast." She referring to Abby, "When Mom's talking to Aunt Rhoda, I could come in here nine month pregnant and she wouldn't notice." Lexi joked
"Oh no, that your mom would notice." Andy said, "You aren't…are you?"
"Well…" Lexi said
"Oh god…." Andy muttered his eyes widening
"Gotcha!" Lexi smiled
Andy sighed with relief, "You really do have your mother's sense of humor."
"Yeah, which one?" She quipped
"Ah, that's good." Andy said, "Come on in the kitchen. Mary's making dinner, while talking to Rhoda so I'm sure she could use some help."
Lexi and Abby followed him into the kitchen where Mary was chopping up vegetables and yakking away with Rhoda, "No, we are not naming this baby Richard if it's a boy…because Richard Rivers doesn't sound right. I don't care if it's after me. He or She will not have both names beginning with R." She looked up and saw Lexi and smiled broadly, "Listen, Rhoda, I've got to go. My beautiful and talented daughter just got home from college…alright bye bye."
Lexi walked over and gave Mary a hug, "Hi, Mom."
Mary hugged her as tight as her burgeoning baby bump would allow, "How are you, Honey?"
"Great." She said pulling back, "Look at you." She patted Mary's belly, "How are you feeling?"
"Pretty good, the second trimester is always the easiest. The morning sickness is over and you're not too uncomfortable yet." She told her
Abby came over to her mother and reached up for Mary to pick her up, "Mommy, can I sit up there and help you?"
"Well, I guess so but Mommy can't pick you up, sweetie." Mary said
Lexi picked her up and sat her on the counter, "There you go, Peanut."
"Honey, I'll set the table. " Andy said getting out the plates
"Thanks, Sweetie. Just set the table in here, no need to eat in the dining room."
"So, Lex, are you ready to start work?" Mary asked, "Here, chop up the cucumber, will you?" she handed her a knife
Lexi began to chop, "Yeah, I've got some great ideas. I just don't know if Mr. Grant will be open to them."
Mary got out the salad dressing, "Well, he needs to be. The only way to keep viewers and attract new ones is to try new and fresh approaches to things."
"And you expect Mr. Grant to do that, Lou Grant?" Lexi asked
"He's not the only one who has a say in it." Mary said, "I want to hear your ideas and we'll decide from there." She knew Lexi didn't want to stay at WJM after graduating. She wanted to go on to bigger things but they sure could use someone young like her.
After dinner Abby wanted Lexi to give her a bath and Mary happily complied. She had just reached twenty-one weeks and it was getting harder to get down and reach over the tub to help Abby take her bath. Andy and Mary were watching TV in the den when Lexi came out carrying Abby who was wrapped in a towel.
"I'm going to put her down if that's alright." She said
"Sure." Mary got up and went over to them and kissed Abby on the cheek, "Good night, Baby."
"Good night, Mommy."
Andy got up, "Good night, Munchkin." He kissed her
"Daddy, why do you call me Munchkin?" She asked laughing
"Because you are a munchkin size version of your mommy." He said and it was true. Abby looked like Mary just spit her out
"Alright, Peanut, let's get you to bed." Abby said and walked out of the den down the hall
Mary and Andy sat back down on the couch. He put his arm around her and noticed she was smiling, "You're really happy to have both girls here, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I love seeing them together, Abby sure looks up to her." Mary said
"I think Lexi loves being the big sister too." Andy said gently rubbing his hand across her abdomen, "And what about this one? You think we could get a little testosterone in the house?" He joked
Mary shook her head and laughed, "I think that's up to you. Did you have a conversation with your little Y chromosome buddies about having a boy?"
"Yeah but they didn't listen the last time." He joked
At about ten o'clock Mary was starting to get tired and decided to take a hot bath and go to bed. Andy was going to watch the ten o'clock news. Mary looked in on Lexi but she wasn't in her room so she went to Abby's room and found the two of them asleep on Abby's bed. She quietly walked over and pulled the covers up over them and kissed them both on the cheek.
THE NEXT MORNING
Mary was still asleep when Abby opened the bedroom door and came over to her trying to nudge her awake, "Mommy." She said softly
"Hmmm." Mary mumbled turning over on her side
"Mommy." She said louder
She finally opened her eyes, "Hi, Sweetie. What are you doing?"
"Looking for Lexi." Abby said
Mary pushed herself up into a sitting position, "Well she's not in here." She noticed Abby had something in her hand, "What is that?"
"I found it on the floor in Lexi's woom." She said
"Honey we don't take other people's things, you know that." She gently admonished her
"But I wanted to give it to her." She explained, "I'm sorry, Mommy."
"Let me see that." She took the paper and looked at it. It was small notepad paper that had someone's name and Address on it Nick Manning, 3709 Hunters Glen Pike, Minnetonka, MN, "Oh no." Mary muttered to herself
"What wrong, Mommy?" Abby asked getting in the bed with her
"Nothing, Sweetie." Mary said, "I just remembered something I forgot to do."
TBC…Is Lexi only looking for trouble wanting to find Nick? Will Mary stop her?