I wish I could say when Orange returned home, that everything went back to normal. Sadly it didn’t. In fact she was only home for three nights, when she had the mother of all “incidents.” She was convinced she was engulfed in flames and continued to scream while she tried to put herself out. My father did his best to hold her down until the professionals could arrive. With in 20 minutes, they had managed to get her into the back of the van and take her back to Fraise Falls Sanitarium.
This time her stay was much longer. Almost a year. We all went to visit when we could, but Mom…she went to see her almost everyday. Sometimes all she got to do was watch her sleep. Deep down I think a part of her felt it was her fault. For what reason we had no idea. There was no way for us to know what would of happened to Candi. Daddy felt bad enough, and it was not his fault either!
It almost broke Moms heart to see her like that. I am just glad she was not there to see the “indecent” that put her into that place again. Unfortunately Moms disconnected mood didn’t seem to improve. We thought for sure after a few months she would feel a little better, but we were wrong. I knew that Mom would not be happy until her baby was back at home.
A lot of things happened in the time that Orange was away. Persimmon, Pumpkin and I celebrated our 18th birthday. Well… we didn’t actually celebrate. Didn’t seem right knowing that Orange was out there suffering while we were at home partying and eating cake, you know? We did spend it together though. Hugs all around and a brief moment of silence for our beloved sister.
“May she come home soon.”
Gramma also made her way up to the Berry Side Layer. She went peacefully in her sleep. We all missed her, but poor Pumpkin took it incredibly hard. I reminded her that, now her and Pappa could be together again, and she felt a tiny bit better.
Dad was still fighting fire and saving lives. We are all so very proud of him. He had the highest recovery rate of anyone on the team. There was even talk that he might take over as Fire Chief when Chief Mould retired.
I was still busy with my painting. I had created some amazing pieces. How could I not? I had amazing inspiration. The boy from my dreams. Those gorgeous yellow eyes. Some of my work was actually getting noticed! I had received a few calls from the Silverberry Gallery in Sugar Valley. They were eager to display one of my earlier works in their up and coming wing.
Persimmon still spent most of her time on that berry blessed computer. Things were getting more and more serious between her and her online love, and now that we had graduated, his plan of coming to visit was acutally reaching fruition.
P3rsimm0n245: Can’t wait to see you!
R0m3o5Ip: Me too, Sugar Candy!
Even though Pumpkin did move past the passing of Grammy. She still chose to spend a lot of time hanging out with her and Pappa’s headstones.
“I know they can hear me. Somewhere out there, and I always feel better after a nice talk with Grammy.”
Which brings us back to Mom again. When she wasn’t working or visiting with Orange, she was on the phone trying her darnedest to get Orange back home. It took almost the whole year for her to convince them, that her good behavior was a sign that she was improving.
“Yes I understand, but could you just maybe consider the possibility.”
“Mrs. Chiffon we would love to send Orange home just as much you would, but there are protocols we have to follow. What if she were to have another indecent while you were away at work. She is going to need constant supervision for at least the first 6 months.”
“What if I were to hire someone to watch her?”
“Hmmm…with professional supervision, we may be able to work something out. Ok first, we will need copies of all of their credentials and two forms of ID. After our background check is completed, we will call you with more information.”
“Oh! Thank you so much!”
“You are very welcome Mrs. Chiffon. You have a wonderful day now.”
Two weeks later, Orange was on her way back home. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had just finished my greatest work (in my opinion anyways) to date, when the doorbell rang.
“Honey can you get that!” Mom called from her bedroom. “I will be down in just a minute or two!”
“Isn’t Persimmon like right by the door?”
As I passed the completely oblivious Persimmon, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. “No No…don’t get up. I got it.”
*Clickety Click Click*
I opened the door, and almost had a mini aneurysm, when I saw who was standing on the other side.
Mr. Dreamy himself!
I couldn’t mask my giddiness. “OMB HI!!” I squealed.
“Uhhh. Hello? Is this the Chiffon residence?”
In an instant I realized. He didn’t recognize me! Then I started to doubt myself. Maybe I was mistaken, maybe this wasn’t the guy. He was a lot older than my dream boy had been. Luckily the awkward silence was broken up by my mother.
“Oh Good Nurse Lemon-Tart you’re here.”
I watched Mom and “Nurse Lemon-Tart” (Blast it all I still didn’t know his first name!) talk for a few more moments, before I noticed how incredibly creepy I had been acting and took two slow steps back and bolted to my room.
I slammed the door and let out a small yelp. “Oh man, Oh man, Oh man. No way! Ok…Breath Saff.”
“Dude whats the matter with you. You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”
Rose looked up from her book with one eyebrow raised. “Did I miss something?”
“Rose! I think….well, I am pretty sure that… Well.”
“Whoa, whoa slow down turbo!”
I stopped my hyperventilating and purposefully slowed down my speech. “Rose. Right now downstairs. Is Mr. Dreamy.”
“You know!!” I broke into a small off key rendition of Dream Lover. “Dream lover come rescue me.”
She ran straight out the door before I could stop her.
When I got down the stairs, I found her peaking around the corner. I slipped in front to have a look too. It was him! It had to be! Same sunny hair and those gorgeous eyes! Even behind his glasses you could see them.
He was sitting on the sofa with Orange and my mother. He was so handsome. I could feel my heart flutter. My train of thought was interrupted by Rose.
“Soo..” she whispered.
“Soo what?” I whispered back.
“What are you still doing here?”
“Rose I don’t think he has any idea who I am. I almost jumped him outside and there was not even a glimmer of realization on his part. I just looked like a total fruit loop.”
“Dude! You dream about this guys for ages. You drive all the way to Sugar Valley to find him, and now he his here. In your living room, and you are not even gonna talk to him.”
I didn’t want to admit it, but she was right.
I gathered my courage, straightened out my blouse and formally entered the living room. I walked up to Mr. Dreamy and waited for him to finish what he was saying, as I did so, I looked to Rose who was giving me a thumbs up. I turned back and he was looking straight up at me.
“Oh Glaze. This is my daughter Saffron. Saffron this is Glaze Lemon-Tart.”
“Yes we met briefly outside. Hello again.”
“H-hi. I was wondering if I could….” I looked back at Rose pleadingly. She nodded and motioned with her hands.
“Could I speak with you for a moment?”
We walked out the sliding glass door and onto the patio.
“Do…you remember me?”
“Remember you? You mean from an hour ago? Yes.”
“No. That is not exactly what I mean. I-”
“Look, Saffron is it?”
“I need to stop you right there. My job here is purely professional. Now if you would excuse me, I need to get back to Orange.”
I felt my heart sink into my shoes.
“Yes of course. Pardon me.”
I watched as Glaze walked back into the room and was greeted again by my mother. As I passed through the living room, I kept my head down. Though I did catch some of their conversation as I went back up the stairs. “Yes well hopefully we will be able to get Orange acclimated back to living here on her own, but it could take some time.” Great…
Rose followed me back to my room. “So what happened?”
“He has absolutely no idea who I am. Thats what happened.”
“Oh Saff. I am sure he will come around.”
I wanted to believe her with every fiber of my being, but the look on her face pretty much said the exact opposite.
“I don’t think he will Rose.”