4:33 Aftermath

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With Cara and the girls gone, Andy put all of his time and energy into work. The park was almost finished. They had already started work on his sister’s house. He already had another job lined up for after the park was complete.

He stayed at the office working long after everybody else had left. It beat going home to an empty house.

Weekends were spent with the girls. If he only got to see them two days a week, he was going to spend as much time as possible with them.

He sat watching the girls play in the yard. The dog was running around trying to catch them. He couldn’t help smiling as he watched.

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“Daddy, is lunch ready yet?”

Andy checked the food on the grill. “Almost. Why don’t you help Nakusa get cleaned up?”

Shelby took her little sister inside to wash their hands while Andy got the food off the grill. He went inside to get a drink for everybody. He sat the drinks on the table when the girls came running back outside.

He waited for Nakusa to sit down then handed her a plate of food. He smiled as he watched her start to eat.

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He sat down at the table with Shelby. “How is school?”

“It is okay. The work is really easy. Can you believe there are kids in my class who don’t know how to read?”

Andy pretended to be shocked. “Really? I guess you are very lucky to have a mom who was able to stay home with you and teach you how to read.”

“And my ABCs and to count. Some kids don’t know that yet either.”

“I hope you are being a good friend and helping them.”

Shelby nodded her head. “I am. Except one boy. He won’t let anyone help.”

Andy listened to her talk about school and her friends and couldn’t help being sad that he was missing out on these conversations during the week.


4:32 Friends

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After almost ten years together, Andy decided that it was time to make their relationship more permanent. They were already living like a married couple with two children, so why not make it official? 

He had taken the girls to spend the night with his dad. On the way home, he stopped at Cara’s favorite restaurant and picked up dinner.

“Cara? Are you home?”

When he didn’t get a reply, he searched the house. She wasn’t there. He called her parents who told him that she had left almost an hour ago. He hung up and hurried getting dinner on the table. If she left her parents an hour ago, she would be home any time.

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It was three hours later when Cara walked through the door. Andy was sitting on the sofa waiting for her. Dinner had gone cold a long time ago.

“Did you have a nice visit with your parents?”

Cara hadn’t seen him there and jumped.

“Why are you sitting in the dark?”

She turned on the light and saw the dinner that he had waiting.

“Oh, Andy. I’m sorry. I ran into an old friend when I was leaving my parents house. We grabbed something to eat and hung out for awhile. If I had known you had something planned, I would have come home.”

“I was worried that something had happened to you.”

She felt bad about making him worry. “I should have called. I’m sorry.”

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Andy wrapped his arms around her. “You are home now. that is what matters.

Cara looked at the food on the table. “What was the special occasion?”

“Nothing too major. I just thought I would give you a romantic night before finally asking you to marry me.”

If he had expected her to be happy and jump into his arms, that wasn’t what happened. Cara moved away from Andy and shook her head.

“No. I’m sorry.”

Andy was confused. They used to talk about getting married when his company was safely established and they no longer had to worry about the bills. “No?”

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“No.” She sat down and looked at Andy. “I don’t think this is working any more. I’m not happy.”

He sat in the closest seat. He had not been expecting that. “What happened? What changed?”

“We both changed. You are happy here with your company and the town. I’m not. I miss the city, my family, and my friends. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until today.”

“We can move back to the city if that is what you want.”

She shook her head. “Then you would be unhappy, and things would be the way they were before. That is not what I want our girls to grow up seeing from their parents. I think it is better if we separate as friends.”

They discussed the girls and ended with the girls staying with Cara during the week and with Andy on the weekends. They would split the holidays.

Andy watched Cara take some things to the car. He had expected her to come back inside to say bye. Instead he heard the car start and drive away.

He moved to the window watching the tail lights grow smaller.


4:31 All I Ask

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Andy sat at the dinner table trying to talk to Cara. “Tayler and Brice were at the office today. They are having a house built in Willow Creek. Right next door.”

“That’s nice.”

Andy frowned at her response. “They are expecting their first baby.”

“That’s good.”

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He waited until Shelby had finished eating and had gone to do her homework.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just had a stressful day.”

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“I’m sorry. Anything that I can do?”

She shook her head. “Thanks for asking though. It is just things I have to deal with myself.”

Andy shook his head at what she said. “You don’t have to deal with things alone, love. We are a family. We can deal with things together.”

“Not this time. Just let it go, Andy. Please.”

He nodded even though he didn’t want to. “If you change your mind…”

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“I won’t.” She got up and cleaned up from dinner.

He watched her and frowned. He could sense that something wasn’t right. It hadn’t been for awhile. He just didn’t know what the problem was.

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He got up and put his arms around her. “Please tell me what is wrong, Cara. Did I do something?”

She shook her head. “I guess I just miss my family. When we were in San Myshuno, they were there. Now that we are in Willow Creek, I don’t see them as often.”

Andy could understand that. He had felt the same way when he had left Brindleton Bay. “We are only an hour away. Why don’t you take the car and the kids and go visit them tomorrow?”


4:30 Girl Next Door

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It took a few weeks, but Andy finally hired an assistant to help at work. Cara was able to stay home with the girls again.

Annette had been sent to him by a head hunter and was more qualified than any other applicant he had interviewed.

He introduced her to the crew since she would also be the go between for him and the workers at times. He wanted everybody to have a good working relationship. It would help keep the drama to a minimum.

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Andy looked up when Annette tapped on his office door.

“Your two o’clock is here.”

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He nodded and stood up. He walked to the reception area and smiled when he saw who was there. He hugged his sister then led the two of them to his office.

What can I do for the two of you.”

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Tayler and her husband sat down before she answered. “We are looking to move to Willow Creek.”

She reached over and took her husband’s hand. “After visiting your family here, we have decided that this is where we want to raise our own family. We want our children to grow up knowing their cousins.”

Andy looked at the two of them. “Are you pregnant?”

Tayler smiled and nodded.

Andy was happy for the two of them and excited to become an uncle. They discussed what they wanted for their house and what was already on the property.

By the time everybody left, they were all happy and satisfied with the ideas they had.


4:29 American Pride

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Andy looked around the new office and smiled. The company was doing better than he had expected. He had bought a small piece of land and built the company’s official offices. He had also hired a second crew since the work load had increased. He was in search of an assistant though. It was rough on Cara taking care of the girls as well as working for him.

He had a few interviews on the schedule for the day. He was hoping one of them was qualified and able to start immediately.

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He looked up when the door opened and Cara came in with the girls. Shelby went into the meeting room where they had a few toys for her.

“They mayor is on line one. He wants to talk to you about the ribbon cutting for the park. I need to feed the baby so we will be in the meeting room.”

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He waited for her to go into the meeting room and close the door before he picked up the phone.

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After he hung up, he went into the meeting room. He sat down with Shelby to play with her. He looked up at Cara and smiled.


“Just watching you. You have never looked more beautiful than you do right now.”

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“You are crazy.”

He stood up then kissed her. “I am crazy about you.”


4:28 Lullaby

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Andy looked at the little girl in his arms and felt his heart melt. He may not have wanted another child at first, but now that she was here, he could not be any happier or love her more.

“My sweet little Nakusa.” He saw Shelby watching. “Come see your little sister.”

Shelby shook her head. “Take her back.”

“We can’t do that, Sweetie. She lives here with us.”

He laid the baby back in her bassinet then held his arms out to his oldest daughter. He hugged her close.

“How about if Daddy takes you to get some ice cream? We’ll bring some back for Mommy.”

Shelby smiled at the thought of ice cream. “And sissy?”

Andy shook his head. “Sissy is still too little for ice cream. It will be a special treat just for me and you.”

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4:27 Little Boys Grow Up and Dogs Get Old

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Andy watched Shelby with the puppy. It had been a gift for her fifth birthday. As much as the little girl loved her puppy, Andy was not happy. He wished he would have been asked before his father got the dog.

Even though they no longer had rent to pay, money was still tight. What they would have been paying in rent was now being used to build Andy’s business.

Andy had quit his job in the city. He was now establishing himself as a real estate developer in Willow Creek. The paperwork had been done, turned in, and approved. Maynard Industries was once again open and in business. 

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At the present time, all business was being done at the house. Cara was helping with answering phones and making appointments. Andy had a small crew of workers from a construction company that had recently closed. Andy had almost immediately offered them a job. All except one guy accepted.

They were currently contracted to build a park for the growing town. It wasn’t Andy’s dream project, but it was work. All new companies had to start somewhere. This was their start.

“Andy? There is someone on the phone wanting to know if you could build and design an underground occult dungeon for him.”

Andy looked up at her and shook his head. “Not a chance in he… Tell him no.”

She nodded and went back to the other room.

“An occult dungeon? What kind of freaky sh…” He saw Shelby watching him and cut off his sentence. “Would you like to take Todd for a walk?”

4:26 My Home Is In Alabama

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School was done. Graduation was over. Now they were settling into their new home.

When Andy had gone to talk to his parents a couple months earlier, he had no clue they were in the final stages of purchasing a home for Andy’s family as a graduation gift.

Shelby was loving the yard. She no longer had to wait for someone to take her to the park. The yard wasn’t large, but it was bigger than they had before.

Cara sat outside watching Shelby play while Andy, his brother, and his fathers moved the last of their stuff in. Andy didn’t want her to over do it. That wouldn’t be good for her or the baby.

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Andy smiled at Shelby when she came inside for a drink. He left her inside with the others while he went outside to check on Cora.

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He kissed her cheek then sat down beside her. “You okay?”

She nodded and smiled. “I am fine. Just enjoying being able to relax in our own yard.”

“It is pretty nice, isn’t it?”

“Did you know they were doing this?”

He shook his head. “I had no clue.”

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He watched their daughter come back outside. “I am glad we will be raising the kids out of the city. This is a much nicer environment for them.”

Cara thought about the apartment and how often things broke. She remembered all their arguments. 

“It will be nicer for the two of us also.”

4:25 Takin’ Care of Business

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“I know we wanted to do this on our own, but we are over our heads. Maybe we should let our parents help.”

Andy had waited until Shelby had been put to bed before talking to Cara. They would be able to talk without the interruptions.

“I don’t want to rely too much on them though. Our parents should not be supporting us.”

“It’s just temporary, love. Once your company is established, we will pay them back.”

Andy nodded his head. “We need to figure out which bills we are able to pay ourselves.”

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The two spent the next couple hours going through their budget. With the new medical bills, they were almost $200 a month short.

Andy looked at the paper and sighed. He called his dad and made sure it would be alright to visit the next day.”

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After hanging up, he looked over at Cara. “How are you feeling?”

“Physically I am fine.” She laid her hand on her stomach. “We are both very healthy. I am worried about you though.”


“Because you have been very stressed. That isn’t healthy.”

“I’m just worried about making sure you and our daughter are taken care of.”

“We are fine. You worry about passing your finals. Let me worry about the rest.”

He leaned toward her and kissed her softly. “I love you.”