Hello! Here's the next installment which includes (dun. dun. DUH!) part of Nancy's family.

Again, I don't own.

"Hello, Rosario Tremaine speaking."

"Hey, Mom…"

There's a sharp intake of breath on the other line. And then, "Nancy?"

"Yeah…It's me."

No response. For several minutes. Has she passed out? "Mom? Mom are you okay?"

"You…it's you."

"Yes, it's me. I'm fine. I'm at my apartment so if you'd want to—"

"Yes! Yes, I'll be right there—are you okay? Where have you been? Have you been…Oh, God, Nancy…I've missed you."

I'm struck by her last words and how many times I've said and thought that about Rose. The guilt hits me again. I've put them through hell with only a note saying I'm okay. Not only am I a sucky mother, I'm a sucky daughter too. "I, uh…yeah…How're you? Are you alright?"

"I am now. Nancy…I—I'm going to call your father and sister—they need to know—unless you want to—should I—can I get you anything?—Are you—should I pick up some food?—"

"Mom, Mom, calm down. I'm fine. I swear. And, well, honestly, some food would be great. I haven't had a full meal—it's been a few days, but that's a long story. Just—is Dad…Everything's alright with everyone, right?" I ask, suddenly worried that things have happened without me realizing.

"We—we're all fine. But, God, you nearly sent us all…We've been so worried. Don't disappear like that again. Please. I—I'm going to get off—I just need to text May and tell her—I'll call right back—Please, please, promise me you'll pick up again. Please."

Damn it. The begging. It's breaking my heart. "I will, Mom. I promise."

"Alright…I love you. It'll only take me a minute. I'll call right back. Okay…Bye."

I'm left for a few seconds to compose myself. Okay, while I'm probably going against Lizzie Borden in the worst-daughter-in-existence competition, but I can fix this. I can. I just have to put myself in her position—hell, I'm nearly in her position already—though the big difference is that while I'm a grown woman, and was such when I went off and married Edward, and left a note saying I was okay, Rose is just a little kid with nearly no survival skills—actually, no, I take that back. She's made it as long as she did without dying, so she's more independent than I previously thought. Anyway. But even if Rose was an adult and I knew, without a doubt, that she could take care of herself, I'd still freak out. Just like Mom is. And Dad probably is. And my siblings—Good God, May probably bought three-hundred tracking bloodhounds in an effort to hunt me down. I'll probably want to pay her back for whatever extravagant search she went on. No telling—

The phone rings and I pick it up quickly. I hear Mom sigh, then laugh. "I was worried you wouldn't pick up."

"But I promised I would. Is Dad on his way too?"

"He and May will be there in…I dunno…five—ten minutes? They're at her place watching the Giants—well, they were, now they're on their way to your apartment and—damn, I missed you. You scared us. You scared me. A lot."

I take a deep breath. "I sent that letter…"

"I know, but…I'm sorry, just with all the nut jobs in the world…You can't blame any of us for being worried." She hums for a second. "I called in pizza—I didn't really want to stop anywhere, so it's being delivered. Is that okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. It's fine. Um…how is everyone? Like, May—has she settled down yet? I just—I don't want to be completely out of the loop when they get here or accidentally say something stupid…"

"May is May. Do you really think she's ever going to settle down?" Mom asks with a laugh.

"Good point. And has Abe gotten in anymore trouble?"

She lets out this long breath. "Well…"

There's this loud banging on my door, making me wince. "Give me a second, Ma." I set the phone down on the counter and open—holy crap!

May pretty much tackles me with the force of a thousand bears, making me thankful that I instinctively grabbed onto my refrigerator's handle to keep us from both flopping down onto the floor. I can feel her bubble with sobs, though still she, with all of her May-super-strength, squeezes me to the point I can't really breathe. Thankfully, Dad is right behind her, saying, "May, May, get off—don't choke her—" However, because he's Dad, as soon as she let's off, he grabs on, though the intense strangling is switched to a nice, warm pressure. A Dad hug. "I missed you, Scout."

I grin at the pet name. "I miss you too, Atticus."

May shoves him away and yells as she grabs me once again, "God, you haven't been home for…Oh, what the fuck—" She gives me a kiss on my cheek. I jokingly pull on a disgusted expression and wipe it away, to which she pouts, but can't hold it and bursts out in contagious giggles. Of course, because we're women, we hug again.

Dad stares at me. "Are you alright?"

May backs up and gapes. "Shit, Nance, what the fuck did you do to your eye? Where the hell have you been? Did someone kidnap you and force you to write that note—that's what me and Ma think—Anita thought you killed yourself—Tony thought—"


"But, seriously, how'd you get the shiner? Do I need to sic my dogs on them? Are you alright? Do we need to take you to the hospital? Do we—"

Dad gently slips his hand over her mouth. "Mayflower, don't you think we should give her a break? She only just got home, after all."

May nods, scoots over to me, and cuddles into my side, pouting. Dad settles against my other side. He takes a breath and asks, "One question, though. Are you alright? In all seriousness?"

"Yes, Dad. I'm perfectly fine—"


I snap around and see my mother charging at me, much like May did. She wraps me in one of her bone-crushers, sobbing hysterically. And then, after that little burst, she totally calms down and her hug loosens to normal tightness. She takes a step back, looks at me, and gives me a kiss on the cheek before just hugging again.


I hear Rose's weak voice, jolting myself into mommy-mode. I move away from Mom and skip over to where Rose is standing, in the doorway from the kitchen to the living room. Her eyes are still drooping, but even so I can just see the confusion within them. I smile at her—I have to let her know that everything's okay. "Yes, baby? Did we wake you up?"

"Yeah…" she mumbles.

"Well, do you want to go to bed? I have a bed in the back; it'll be a lot more quiet back there. Do you wanna do that?"

She nods and I lead her back into my bedroom. She crawls into my big fluffy bed and I hear her whimper a little, which makes me grin. She's out within the second. I tuck a blanket around her and kiss her forehead, wishing her some peaceful sleep.

I leave the bedroom and join the rest of my crew in the kitchen. Of course, all eyes are on me with shocked expressions. Very shocked expressions. Actually, I think May's jaw is about to come clean from her skull. I just shrug. "What?"

Of course, none of them are too happy with that answer.

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