chapter 16 - push me away

Wednesday, April 6, 1988 – Yosemite Park

The well-travelled path to Mirror Lake was thick with mud. A few days earlier there had been a light snow. Mother Nature’s one last shot at winter before making way for the first days of spring in Yosemite National Park. Most of the snow had already melted away. All that remained was hard crust under the shade of trees and mud everywhere else. Her boots were covered in the thickness of it making walking difficult. Still she was smiling, enjoying her morning walk. Yosemite was revelling in all the glory of an April morning. The rays of the sun radiated from the endless blue sky flickering off millions of dewdrops, making the foliage sparkle and shine.

It was a perfectly quiet with hardly a soul around and that suited her just fine. The park was open 365 days a year, but not many people ventured in before May. By mid to late June it would be a bee hive of activity right through to Labour Day. Then it would settle down again. By late October many of the roads and higher passes would be closed, icy and heavy with snow, only the main roads, lower passes and visitor centre would be open for those who dared to hike in.

The spring and fall were her favourite seasons in the park. Although she loved coming to the park year round the newness of spring and the colours of fall accompanied by the quiet surroundings made it perfect. In the spring everything smelled fresh of grass and moss and the sky was always a crystal clear blue appearing to be a million miles high. In the fall the cool nights brought out the trees hidden vibrant colours as if bleeding the summer sun from their leaves. She could always find something to do here no matter what. It was the place she came when she needed to get away, find comfort… it was her solace from all that troubled her.

When Allison had told Michael she wanted to go home, she hadn't meant her parents’ home. Yet when she left the next morning and arrived at LAX it was as if she was drawn in this direction. She was more than two hours north of LA before she noticed that the rental car was going north on the 101 and not south towards her home in Huntington Beach. She was actually headed to her first home in Oakhurst. Realizing it was probably the best place to be right now, as well as the most private, she continued on with her drive. Giving no thought to why or what she would tell her parents for her unexpected visit or even if they had a room to give her. Remarkably when she arrived her mother never questioned her motives for showing up unannounced. Only a brief look of surprise followed by a motherly hug as she ushered her inside.

As she reached the edge of the lake, Allison closed her eyes inhaling deeply holding her breath for a bare moment. Keeping her eyes tightly shut she tried to remember the last time she was here at this exact spot. When was that…1984? No later perhaps… 1982… 1980? She opened her eyes exhaling slowly. Nestled between North Dome and Half Dome the stark beauty of the area always took her breath away. “It’s been too long…”

When she was a child, her father would sometimes bring her to work with him here in the park. He would bring her to the very spot she stood. Not a lot, maybe 3 or 4 times a year they would come to stand where she stood now. He would remind her how everything changes, big or small, and she should always remember to appreciate the beauty of nature before it disappeared. She looked around to see if anything had really changed since her last visit. The great lake was drying up, almost close to disappearing. Centuries of erosion and generally weathering were slowly making the once large glacier lake only a memory. She smiled recalling the memories of when her father would also tease her, asking her if she could see the changes from their last visit, usually pointing them out to her untrained eye. Of course she would never really notice the changes that were occurring. They had happened over 1000’s of years. But her father would always point out something that he said had changed or would ask her if she could see what he did, which she usually said she did, even if she didn't. It quickly and easily became her most favourite place in the park as well as her one of her favourite areas to waste film.

“Yes, I think this is the perfect place to stop,” she said aloud and as she started clearing a spot to set up her equipment. Setting her backpack down on the large shale rock, she pulled out her compact travel tripod and her trusty single lens Nikon along with her camera bag that held the rolls of her film. She felt content to be on autopilot not having to think at all, of anything of anyone. This was her third day out in the park and the first day she had brought her equipment with her. It felt good to be out in the fresh air honing her craft and working on her favourite body of work. It had been almost two months since she had been last been out. It was when she was in Florida with Michael. That was unheard of for her. Even when not working she always carried her camera, ready to capture any moment she might see. But that hadn’t been the case lately. Lately photography was running a long distant second to something else… someone else. But it used to be her favourite… and could be again, if you didn’t count the man that was somewhere far away from her touring without her. She shook her head trying to ward off the images and thoughts off him that had been flooding her for the last week if not two. “Stop it Allison, just stop it you came out here to clear your mind."

She had been away from him now for just over a month and although when she first left and for at least a good full week after she had arrived at her parent’s she had herself convinced that she had done the right thing. She told herself it would be best not to overwhelm him with more obligations, better to deal with it herself than to deal with someone who couldn’t share things with her, who couldn’t be with her openly. But despite all those facts, she missed him terribly. That first week away she came up with all kinds of good reasons why it was better to be alone. All very perfectly good reasons, but none that made any real sense but they were reasons nonetheless. However the more that time passed without him and the more her baby, their baby, grew inside her, the more she knew she should be with him. She should be with him sharing this time with him. But now she didn’t know what to do. Now she was just hiding. Hiding from him and hiding from her self-imposed imposed exile. Hiding from the truth that she had made another mistake, she should have stayed. But now she was here, wondering how she could get back into his life, or if she had really messed up and was going to have to have this baby alone.

She sat down on the cool flat rock looking and looked our across the water. She was just shy of ten weeks pregnant and had just the faints shadow of a belly in her lower abdomen. She was still constantly exhausted and unfortunately the nausea had not subsided as she had hoped. She had been to see her parent’s family doctor and he confirmed her pregnancy with a routine blood test, determining she was due approximately in mid-November. That approximate was confirmed and narrowed down, by the referred obstetrician, to the date to November 12th. She had been to the doctor every week since she arrived and was schedule for her first ultrasound tomorrow. Everything seemed to be moving so fast and too quickly but at the same time so slowly. And everything seemed wrong. She didn't feel right about where she was and It just seemed so wrong to be doing this alone and without Michael.

Allison reached into her camera bag to retrieve her solar filter and affixed it to her camera checking the film settings. The sun was high and bright and she would require film with a lower ISO than what she had been using last. She clicked off a few quick pictures and rewound her film. With the roll complete she put the finished canister in her development pouch. She reached in to retrieve a roll of 100/200 ISO 35 mil when her hand brushed across something fuzzy and soft. Something you normally wouldn’t feel in a camera bag, but she knew what it was right away. Forgetting about the film she pulled the little plush animal out of her bag. Her heat warmed as her eyes looked over the small toy.
“Hello my little fish,” she grinned staring into its little black eyes. She brought it up close to her face, nose to nose, she released a quiet breath, “I almost forgot about you.”

She stared at the little white Koi with orange markings and wide black smile. Remembering finding him all those months ago in her room when she arrived in Tokyo. She instantly began to recall all the times she had taken him along with her on her day trips. Packing him up each day and taking him so she could have a piece of Michael with her, feeling as if she was sharing the sights and sounds of her travels with him through the stuffed toy. Now it was all she had. She dropped her hands to her lap. Now he was all she had.
“My god what am I doing… I could actually be with him instead of by myself?”

She could still remember the argument as plain as day as if it was yesterday. How it quickly escalated spiraling out of control into something neither one of them had ever expected. Things said that hurt, things said that could never be taken back. Thing said that ended with Michael going quiet and with her leaving the very next morning.

Michael was upset that she wanted to leave, but at first he understood why she was so emotional and troubled about the kiss. He tried to explain that she was just overreacting and it meant nothing. He reassured her and told her she didn’t have to be jealous or worried about anything. He said he had dealt with it by taking her out of the show for good and it would never happened again… and that was when all hell broke loose.
“What do you mean out of the show?”
“She is gone, gone for good.”
“You fired her?”
“Yes of course,” he leaned forward and touched her knee lightly to reassure her.
“Really… what did she say? Did you ask her why she kissed you?”
“No of course not. I didn’t even talk to her!"
Allison shook her head and gave him a confused look, “I don’t understand. How did you fire her then?”
“I don’t need to talk to her to fire her. I have people who do that. I had Frank let her go.”
“How's that dealing with it?”
“What do you mean, I dealt with it immediately. I fired her. Ally you are making no sense.”
“No Michael, I think I am making perfect sense. When things like this happen, you just can’t go and not talk to people. What about the next time?”

Michael let out an exasperated sigh, pushing himself off the bed to standing he walked a few short paces to the middle of the room. He had no idea where this conversations was going or what it was about. She was totally overacting and now she was putting it all on him saying he was not dealing with the problem and here she was the one who wanted to go home and run away. Jesus Christmas, she was so confusing half the time. Fortunately or unfortunately at the moment the other half of the time he was so unbelievably attracted to and in love with her, he could usually forget about the confusing part. Except now she was making no sense and she was accusing him of not taking care of what he needed to. He turned to face her on the bed.
“Allison, girl listen, I don’t have time to take care of everything myself. That is why I hire people.”
“I know that… but that is not what I am saying.”
“Then what are you talking about?”
“You can’t just ignore stuff and pretend things don’t happen.”
“I don’t pretend things don’t happen. I just don’t want to deal with that.”
“Well things happen, mistakes happen, and you have to deal with them” she took a deep breath steeling herself. “What if I made a mistake? Would you stop talking to me?”
Michael could barely follow her conversation. She was all over the place. How did it go from Tatiana, to other people to her.“What are you talkin’ about… no of course not, what mistake would you make? With my pictures? I thought we settled that ages ago.”
“No not pictures. I’m just asking, because everyone- ”
“Ally stop, please stop.” he interrupted her. He closed his eyes and rubbed his right temple, “I don’t want to have this conversation right now.”
“Michael that is the same thing you said to me in Australia then you walked out on me.”
“What… what does that have to do with tonight?”
“I’m just saying whenever the topic of conversation gets uncomfortable we don’t talk and we -”
“That’s not true Ally.”
“But it is true,” she looked down at her hands as they absently shredded the pieces of tissue they held. She swallowed and met his gaze, "well, okay, than what about the Grammy’s?”
“The Grammy’s?” He shook his head and chuckled nervously, “girl you change topics so fast you make my head spin.”
“I asked you about them, but you didn’t want to talk to me and -”
Michael was now thoroughly confused and was beginning to get agitated. “What about em? You saw it, you know what happened Ally, why did we need to talk about it.”
“I know what happened, yes, but that is not talking about them.”
“But I didn’t want to talk about them.”
Allison tried to stay calm, but it was virtually impossible. All at once everything that she wanted to say was coming to the surface. She wouldn't have believed you if you told her, but she was too hormonal to even think clearly. “I heard you Michael, I heard you in the front area after the show talking to Frank. You sounded so upset and, and…” she stuttered getting emotional again. “I saw on TV how upset you were about not winning and I wanted to talk to you about it."
Michael looked at her solemnly. That hurt. Hearing her talk about the show brought it all back when he just wanted to forget about it. Michael felt as if he was right back at the Grammy Show in front of millions of viewers losing. It hurt to have been there to put in the performance of his life, to give everything he had and to come away empty handed. He remained silent but she kept talking.
"We have to..we have to talk more about real things, things that affect you, me… us."
She swallowed the lump in her throats afraid she would lose her voice. She felt the outer edges of her eyes burn as tears welled up in her eyes again. She could hear herself speaking before her words came out and if she had of been paying attention she would have stopped talking right then, but she didn't. “What about your skin? When are you going to talk to me about your skin Michael?”

Michael’s eyes widened, his entire body flinched then immediately stiffened. He wasn’t expecting to hear that from her. Not tonight, not now. She hadn’t really said anything to him about it since that night at the condo. He fully expected to talk her about it at some point, but not like this.
"Ally... stop, please," his voice cracked.
"You won’t or you don’t talk to me about these things," tears started to roll down her face as she began to cry. "You just push them under the rug, get mad, or you stop talking to me."
"Sometimes I just don't want to talk about things." he answered honestly.
“No… no… we need to talk.”
She clasped and folded her fingers together to rest her chin, trying to pick her words carefully. “What are we Michael? Are we still two people getting to know each other better? Last month you told me you love me and I told you I love you and I meant it… but what are we now?"
"Ally, I meant it too, but I told you I need to finish this tour first. That is the most important thing right now. I know it is a lot to ask, but I can’t make it go any faster. I am making plans for our future. I want to be with you, I just need to get this tour over first."
"But what if I can’t wait?" Allison knew she was making it worse than it had to be by not just coming out and telling him the truth, but part of her was right and she knew it. They never talked about the serious things. They were still new to this being in love but everything was still so superficial and now she was pregnant. When he was upset or mad, she wanted to talk to him about his feelings, just as much as she wanted to share his happiness. She wanted to know more about his skin condition and what it was and what it meant to his health physically and mentally. What could it mean for their baby?
Michael crossed his one arm across his chest and brought his other hand up to pinch his brow. What if she can't wait... what was that supposed to mean? This was maddening and he had a splitting headache. He didn't want to argue anymore or continue on with the conversation. She was talking nonsense and they were getting nowhere.
"Ally, I am going to bed. I am too exhausted to argue with you." He then walked towards the gentlemen's bathroom and shut the door, thus ending the conversation on his say.
Allison sat there in disbelieving shock, staring at the closed door for a few minutes wondering if she should wait for him to come out. He walked away from her again. Again! This was crazy, they couldn't even have an adult conversation without her getting all tied in knots and talking crazy and without him walking away. What did that even say about their relationship? He even said his tour was the most important thing to him right now. She closed her eyes and counted to 50. When he didn't return to the room, she got up and changed quickly into her night shirt and washed her face in the ladies bathroom. When she returned the room was still empty with no Michael in sight. She moved to get into bed, slipping between the covers she adjusted her pillow and turned over onto her right side. She sighed deeply. For the first time since they had been intimate she fell asleep with her back to his side of the bed.

As for Michael he wasn’t feeling much better about the situation either, not at all. He didn't return on purpose and was stalling in the bathroom waiting for her to go to sleep. There was no point trying to talk to her now, not now when they were both upset. He didn't even know what to say to her and he didn't want her to leave. But the following day he was devastated when she kept her word to go home. But he didn’t try to stop her either, in fact he was nowhere to be seen when she woke. He felt sick to his stomach with everything that was said the night before. He hated confrontations like that. He didn’t want to argue with her, he loved her. But he also didn’t want to have talk about Tatiana’s kiss and firing her nor did her want to talk to her about the Grammy’s. But he especially didn't want to talk to her about his skin.

As far as he was concerned the first two situations really were not something he thought had anything to do with them. Tatiana was just another up-and-coming star trying to get famous by using him and the Grammy's was something he could deal with. But his skin condition was a different story. He knew he needed to talk to her about it, but it was so complicated and embarrassing. What could he say about his skin, that they could do nothing and eventually he would be completely absent and void of colour? It would not even be lighter skin, he would have no colour. For the last few years people claimed he was lightening his skin on purpose. They said he wanted to be white. That was lie and absolutely ludicrous! Why would they say that about him? He was proud of his heritage; he was a proud black man. But his condition was slowly stealing that away from him and there was nothing he could do about it.

At first Karen tried to hide it with darker makeup. But that didn’t really work. The makeup was heavy and thick. It made his skin oily and greasy, causing ugly and painful breakouts. But as his skin kept getting blotchier and areas became lighter it just made sense to start putting light make up on, especially after he started using the medication. He never talked about his skin, but the press sure did. His family knew of his Vitiligo and they told him he should just come out and tell them instead of letting them spread malicious and false rumours in the tabloids. But he refused. Why did everything in his life have to be public property? Why did they feel like they could put every detail of his life on display? He was an entertainer, wasn't that enough? Like Allison for instance, he wanted to keep her private for a long as possible. He didn’t want to share her with everyone. Why couldn’t he have that special relationship between just him and a woman like everyone else?

So far the only family member who really knew about Allison was Janet. A couple of his brothers had an inkling he was seeing someone, but he never shared that information with anyone but his younger sister. Michael trusted her implicitly. She was so happy for him and super excited. It was Janet that suggested he tell mother. Michael really wasn’t keen on that idea because he knew once he told his mother then he would need to tell Joseph before he found out on his own. And he didn’t want to share anything with his father, especially someone as special as Allison.

When he was sure she was asleep, he had joined her in bed last night but he couldn’t sleep. He spooned in behind her and she snuggled back into him instantly without hesitation. She was fast asleep but she instinctively rested her body against his. He lay there quietly beside her not moving letting the warmth of her body seep into his. He felt badly for walking away from their conversation, but he didn’t know what to say to her. The reality was he was afraid of what she would say or what she would think after. Or worse, what if she couldn’t deal with his condition? So many people had so many expectations from him, their ideas of what he was like predefined and predetermined when they didn't even know him. He didn't want to risk that happening with her, he didn't want to lose her.

So instead of waking her to talk about it or apologize for walking out on their conversation, he watched her sleep until dawn. He then slip out of bed before she woke, leaving her there to wander the hotel to gather his thoughts then finally ending up at Janet's room. Janet was livid he had left her. She demanded he go right back to his own suite after Michael gave her the short run down of what happen. And Janet being Janet was none too subtle about what she thought he should do and what she thought of his actions.
"Mike, you go right back there this instant and tell that woman everything she wants to know."
"But I don't know -"
"No," she grabbed her brothers arms to turn him around towards the door. "Don't be such a dope! You are being silly and I don't want to have to tell you again, but get your butt back to your own room!"
Michael chuckled at his sister demeanour as she pushed him towards the door, "okay, okay... I'm going. Geez Dunk you're as strong as a mule!"

But when Michael returned to the suite she was gone. He found her note on his pillow. She said she was going home to figure out how she fit into his life. Michael was beside himself that she had left him. But he could do nothing. The show had to go on. This was his tour and he was determined to do it and do it right. He finished his next two shows in NY but ended up cancelling his next stop in St. Louis, saying he had laryngitis. But really he couldn’t even think of being on stage knowing she had left him. That she wouldn't be back stage clapping and singing to every song. Or to smile and cheer him on. He needed to have her here with him. He realized he was wrong, he needed to tell her she fit perfectly into his life no matter what. He had to get her back. He called her, three or four times a day, only getting her machine. He called her until her machine was full and couldn't take any more messages. He missed her terribly. He hated being without her and found it impossible to sleep. His only hope is she would be missing him too and would come back to be with hm.

Allison was so deep in thought in the recollection of her fight with Michael she didn't even realize her father had joined her. He walked in quietly behind her watching her deep in thought. He found her sitting on the rock, staring out blankly towards the lake. She had the a sad look on her face. Not something he was used to seeing on his daughter.
He moved in beside her and touched her shoulder gently, "hey kiddo what's got your attention?"
Allison jumped slightly at her father's touch, his voice jolting her from her thoughts. "Hey dad, hi," she mustered up a lopsided grin.
He let her off easily, "setting up to shoot some photos this morning?"
"Yeah, I thought maybe I would shoot a few rolls then see if you wanted to join me for lunch." She laughed genuinely, "you know like old times."
"Sure thing sweetie. Why don't you come up to the station and get me when you're done."
"Sounds good dad."
"Allison, are you okay, you seem a little distracted."
"Yeah, I'm good... all set."
"You sure?"
She sighed, dropping her head slightly, "I really miss him… and well the way we left things. I think, I think I really messed up daddy." She closed her eyes and shook her head back and forth, "I said some really bad things and I wasn’t honest with him and then I left when I should have stayed."
Her father came to sit beside her, "then why didn't you?"
She sighed heavily again, "I dunno. I don't know what I am doing anymore. I really thought we were going somewhere with this relationship thing and I was beginning to feel like it was really real and -"
"You will have to excuse your old man of a father," he interrupted, "but what do you mean real? Real is real isn’t it?"
"Dad, he's Michael Jackson."
"I know who his is. I am not that out of touch."
"Well what are the chances that I'm gonna have the happily ever after with Michael Jackson, the most famous man like ever!"
"Well honey, I would suspect the same chance as any other pretty girl."
"But why me? Why, with all those other girls out there?"
"Well I don’t know the odds and I don’t know how many other girls are out there -"…
“Millions dad, millions”, she interjected.
Her dad chuckled, "right then, I see... millions." He gave her knee a soft pat, "but are any of these so called millions out on tour with him?
She shook her head slowly, "no."
He nodded, "well then I don’t suspect they will have nearly the same chance as you."
"Now don’t dad me Ally, you have always had a very level head when making decisions and you never take any wild chances. But you have to follow your heart."
He gave her a warm fatherly smile, "do you love this boy?"
She nodded firmly twice, "yes, very much."
"And do you think he feels the same?"
She warmed immediately at the thought, "yeah, I am pretty sure he does."
"Then why did you come home?"
She gave her dad a somber smile, "I m not sure anymore."
"Well if you ask me, I think you better figure that one out. And from what your mother tells me, you better figure it out soon."
She turned to look at her father, "she told you?"
Her father let out hardy laugh, "of course she did. Your mother is like a dog with a bone. She can’t leave you alone if she thinks you're wrong and she cannot keep a secret to save her life."
She nodded. “Are you upset with me daddy?”
"Upset... no. Worried...yes. But, things happen. You are a grown woman with a bright future." He eyed her cautiously, "but I will say one thing."
She swallowed, "okay."
"I don't think you should be doing it by yourself."
Allison didn't respond, but she knew he was right.

After their heart to heart her father went back about his rounds and she set up her equipment, spending the rest of the morning capturing the beauty of her surroundings. She felt at ease and her heart felt lighter as it mulled of the decision of what she would do. She still had to go to her ultrasound the next day but she was pretty sure she had made up her mind what next step would be. Satisfied she had gotten what she came for, on film and in peace of mind, she packed up her equipment to meet her father for a quick bite to eat. On her walk back along the trail she spotted a dear resting near a fallen log. A young buck with his first antlers with their new spring fur enjoying the afternoon sun.

For lunch they walked over to Degnan's Delicatessen for hot soup, overstuffed sandwiches and easy conversation with the owner and the staff. Degnan's was a crowd and park staff favourite in Yosemite and had been a staple for years with the good service, reasonable prices and delicious food. Allison had forgotten how good their mushroom soup was and enjoyed a second helping before they left.

After lunch Robert Wolf finished up some paper work for the day and they were ready to leave. Normally he would stay another hour or so, but they still had to drive down to the B & B and that would take a solid hour and a half. He turned from his cabinet to see his daughter staring out the large window facing the trail routes. Her love of nature almost as strong as his.
"Ally, are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, all set."
"Did you drive or take the bus?"
She grinned and walk towards him, "I took the bus in the hopes that I could hitch a ride with you."
He returned her smile and gave a short sharp chortle, "well if that is the case, I better get you back to the house before your mother has my head for keeping you out in the cold."
"Sounds like a good idea dad."

It was a quiet drive down the tree lined road towards the town of Oakhurst and the Bed and Breakfast. It wasn't a far distance to travel, only 44 miles, but the road was steep and twisty with lots hairpin turns, some right on top of each other. It took even the most seasoned driver almost 2 hours to navigate out to the bottom of the valley floor. Letting her father pilot their ride, Allison sat in silence in the passenger seat. She fiddled with the radio with no luck and was relegated to listening to her father's George Jones cassette tape. She stared out the window as the twangs of country music filled the old truck. As her father sang along with George about tales of heartbreak and the love of a faithful dog, she was again reminded of her youth. She was glad she came home. Her parents surely surprised her with their calm acceptance of her situation, especially her mother. Her dad could always be counted on for a calm more even keeled reaction, his feathers unruffled even by her few crazy teen years. But her mother, well she was a different story all together. She always had something to say, an opinion to give and a word of advice to bestow. So needless to say she was more than shocked by her mother's reaction.

It had been just over a week that she had arrived unannounced at her parents place. Just about the same time she had started to miss Michael. Her parent's never asked her why she was there or how long she planned to stay. It was almost as if they were waiting for her to say something. By this time she had already been to the doctor and confirmed, but she had been holding out on sharing the information. They were getting along so well and Allison didn't want to break the magical spell that shrouded her arrival. It was almost too good to be true. Which is probably why she felt comfortable enough to let it slip out.

They were in the kitchen making a batch of her all time favourite cookies, chocolate nut drops with frosting. Her mouth watered at the thought. She was sitting at the centre island when her mom passed her the mixing bowl and spoon with the leftover icing just like she always did when she was a kid.
"Hmm, mom these are my favourite cookies," she carved the spoon around the side of the bowl gathering up as much of the frosting she could and held it up as if to admire her sticky sweet bounty. "Mom, you're gonna make an excellent grandmother," and then licked the spoon not really realizing what she had said or opened up.
Her mother took the bait, "I am sure you are going to be a great mother to your baby too."
Allison froze , her eyes wide, with the spoon in her mouth. She took it out slowly and dropped it back into the wooden bowl. What did she did she just say? It was the tone of her mother's voice... to your baby too, like she already knew she was pregnant.
She licked her lips nervously, "Mom?"
Her mother walked towards the counter island, "I knew from the moment you walked into the house you were pregnant Allison."
"What? But, but how. I don’t look it, not yet anyway. Other than being sick I don’t feel different."
" You can’t fool your mother Allison," her mother grinned and leaned across the wooded island and touched her lightly on the tip of her nose.
Allison scoffed, "that's impossible. Did Dr. Kennedy tell you?"
Her mother was still smiling the silliest grin, "nope."
"But, how.. I don't understand."
"It is nothing that you're thinking," her mother continued to smile as she walked around the island to be on the same side as her. "You are a true Callaghan girl, you have the have the mark."
Allison narrowed her eyes and she shook her head. What on earth was her mother talking about? The mountain air was making her talk crazy talk. The mark? What mark?
“Umm mom, seriously the mark," she gave her an amused look, "what are your talking about?"
"Every woman in our family gets the mark Allison," her mother assured her. "About 5 or 6 weeks in it appears and then fades away after birth."
"Mom! Please, you are talking in circles."
"Let me show you," she took her wrist in her hand and pulled off the stool. "Come," she said as she pulled her towards the private bathroom beside the kitchen that was off limits to the guests. Her mother was almost giddy with delight she was almost gliding on air. She reached and turned on the lamp atop the old fashioned vanity and stood off to Allison's left, " here, look for yourself if you don't believe me. It's right there.”
She looked in mirror and peered in closer turning her face slowly from right to left, "I don't see anything mom."
"It is right here baby," she touched her daughters nose gently on the left side and rubbed the spot faintly. “Right here, this little blue vein.”
Allison moved her hand to where her mother finger was, touching her own skin softly. She knew the little vein her mom was talking about. She had noticed it in Kansas City. The morning the left for New York it seemed to appear out of nowhere. One day it wasn't there, than the next day it was. It look more like a bluish hint of ink than a vein. She had actually tried to rub is off the first time she saw it, thinking she had absentmindedly gotten ink on her nose. But when it didn't rub off and looked closer she could clearly see the small lines that formed the vein. She thought maybe she had broken a blood vessel or something.
She met her mother's eyes in the mirror, "that's how you knew?"
"Yes, I got one in the exact spot when I was expecting you," she nodded as if to confirm. "Your Auntie Jane got it twice with her two boys, except she got it on the right side. Your grandmother and her mother too, my grandmother, did each time they had children as well."
Allison dropped her eyes to the sink suddenly extremely self-conscious and nervous that her mother knew she was pregnant seemingly without her knowing. This seemed like a family secret that should have been shared prior to this moment. But she realized that it probably wasn't expected under these circumstances.
"Umm mom before you say anything, you have to know it was an accident, I didn't mean for it to happen." She licked her lips, "I messed up with my pills and I forgot and I did this okay." Her voice began to break with emotion, "but please, please don't be mad at me. I can't handle you being mad at me okay."
Her mother could hear the fear in her voice and see the anxiety in her posture. She was definitely worried about her daughter and wondering what had happened for her to end up pregnant and then end up here alone out of the blue. She wanted to know everything, but she didn't want to pressure her.
"Oh sweetheart, is that what you thought, that I would be mad?" She placed her hands on her shoulders and squeezed them gently, "Ally, honey, I would never be mad at you for being pregnant. Being pregnant is a blessing. When you showed up here and I saw the mark I knew right away. But I also knew you must have come home for a reason."
"Honestly mom, in a way I guess I did, I just don't know the reason, I just kinda ended up driving in this direction," she admitted.
Her mother nodded, "well you're her now and you know you can stay as long as you like."
She breathed a sigh of relief, "I know, thanks mom."

They returned to the kitchen to sit at the island, the cookies forgotten, as her mom drilled her for information. And being her mother, she wanted to know everything. How far along she was, when she was due, how she was feeling, was she tired, was she eating right and taking vitamins, was she experiencing morning sickness. She hardly let her get a word in edgewise, "heavens to Betsy, I was sick right through to the 5th month," her mother exclaimed. "The only thing I could eat was toast and boiled potatoes."
Her mother looked at her expectantly, "have you been able to eat? You're such a picky eater as it is. We don't want you to lose any weight."
She chuckled at her mother's incessant questioning.
"Mom, oh my god relax. There is not really a lot to tell yet, I mean I only found out a week ago."
"Well there will be lots of time for that," her mom went on. "And well, how about Michael, he must be excited too at the thought of being a father?"
Allison held her breath and didn't say anything. She didn't know what to say.
"Ally... what did Michael say when you told him?"
She shrugged her shoulders, “nothing really that I can think of?”
Her mother was taken aback and cocked her head in surprise. Something was up. “What? He didn’t say anything at all - nothing?"
Allison folded her hands together and pressed them to her chin. She closed her eyes as if she could hide from her own words, "umm, I kinda didn’t tell him."
"What do you mean kinda? Either, you did or you didn’t." Her mothers' voice was strong and demanding of an answer.
She bit her lip, "I will go with didn’t."
"What?" Her mother shook her head, "Allison Wolf, I taught you better than that! You have to tell him. Why, why didn’t you tell him?"
"Mom, I know, I know." she took a deep breath. "I just... I guess I just panicked."
"Well you need to get yourself unpanicked and tell him."

Allison's eyes came to focus as her father's truck came around the bend past Cedar Valley Drive. They were almost home. The cassette tape had finished some time ago and it was just the steady hum of the engine as her father maneuvered them down the last couple of miles home. She stared out at the darkening horizon as the sun began to set, its gentle yellow rays highlighting the spaces between the branches of the trees.

Once home and warmed sufficiently with homemade hot chocolate, Allison excused herself for an early night. She wasn’t making excuses she truly was tired. The pregnancy and the drama of the past month exhausted her. She also wanted to be well rested for her ultrasound tomorrow. She looked at herself in the mirror as she pulled on the red silky pajama top. For the first time since finding out she was pregnant she examined her body carefully without dread. Not only did she have the first little sign of a baby bump, but her breasts were changing too. Looking up, she stared back at her reflection smiling. Her heart skipped a beat. This was really going to happen. She was going to have a baby.
“Oh my god… we’re going to have a baby.”

Lying in bed she thought about how both of her parents accepted her pregnancy and were there to support her because they loved her. Maybe that is why she came home, needing the proof that no matter what happened along the way the people that loved you would still end up loving you no matter what and would understand everyone makes mistakes. She was glad she came home. It felt like the right thing to do. But now it was time to go back to Michael. She was ready to share her secret.


  1. Ahhh, my Saturday morning with Michael and Ally.
    I can't really blame Ally for not telling Michael right away.  The fear of what would come of that had to be overwhelming. 
     But, boy she sure is stubborn, thinking she can handle all of this by herself.  It took her long enough to realize she had to come clean.
    I'm glad her parents took it so well, to help to ease her fears.
    Does Ally have Michael's phone number, how is she going to catch p with him on tour ... I guess that a question for another Saturday morning.

    Wonderful chapter.  As if the drama of Ally's situation wasn't compelling enough, the description of Yosemite were great.  Made me want to go hiking :)

    PS -- I have a thin blue vein visible on the side of my nose too -- but it's been there for at least 15 years, so I think I'm safe!

  2. I remember when I was a child, my mother often read a bedside story to me. One of my favorite stories was about an ostrich. Back then I thought it was the smartest animal in the world. Just imagine... You stick your head in a hole in the ground and the hungry lion, which wants to eat you, is no more. I knew I wanted to do the same, if something bad was ever going to happen to me. Until I grew up of course and realized that the ostrich is the most stupid animal in the world. Out of sight, out of mind sounds so easy in theory, but the truth is that it does not really work in the real world.
    Why am I talking about ostriches? Because Michael reminds me of the ostrich of my bedtime story. From what I know, I have to say that I think you absolutely nailed one of his most annoying character traits in this chapter. Towalk away and then hide in the bathroom... Jesus Christmas. That is not a solution.
    Still, I have to say that Ally perhaps should have found a better time to mention his vitiligo (if such a time exists), but that does not mean that I do not understand, why she said it when she did. Poor woman...If I was in her shoes, I would wonder if he was going to fire me too, when he found out about the pregnancy.

    I think leaving was both understandable and perhaps even clever too - given Michael's reaction - but she has been away long enough. She needs to go back and tell him the truth.

    You hear me, Ally?

  3. Good morning Trish... yes I enjoy my Saturday mornings with them as well. Although today was very early!

    Yes, I think Ally is quite afraid to tell him, especially now that he say is tour is the MOST important thing right now... and I would leave too - because that would be too much to hear. As well I think it is taking her so long, because now that she is away from him... she doesn't know how to go back to him... I mean once you leave how do you get back in touch?? He doesn't have a cell phone and who knows what hotel he is at - hopefully she will find a way to contact him. As for her parents - I think they had not choice - your daughter showing up, alone sans boy... there must be something going on - so I don't think they want to throw her to the wolves so to speak.

    Ahhh Yosemite - I love that place - it is absolutely gorgeous and unbelievably tranquil even when crowded and is a place I can easily waste a few clicks on my digital camera.. :)

    Hmm, a blue vein eh? 15 years - yeah I think you are safe or really, really LATE!

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. good morning my lovely... now I as wondering where you were going with the ostrich story... but aha - there was a method to your madness...  Yes, I think that was one of his childlike traits that wasn't so cute. But there are a lot of people like that.. and it is not a completely bad thing - where I am totally opposite - I like to talk, and talk things out and understand why did this happen, how and how do we prevent it... what are our steps... I want to know everything always and talk it out the the nth degree... just a little OCD.

    I agree Ally had been gone long enough and now she seems to be avoiding it too with her own head in the sand or clouds - but now it is time to go - she is gonna have to find a way to get back in his life.

    YES she hears you...  she is just thinking it out!

    Thanks for commenting E and thanks for keeping me company this morning!

  5. “You can’t just ignore stuff and pretend things don’t happen.”
    “I don’t pretend things don’t happen. I just don’t want to deal with that.”
    “Well things happen, mistakes happen, and you have to deal with them” she took a deep breath steeling herself. “What if I made a mistake? Would you stop talking to me?”
    I think the above quote is very to the point , I believe Ally hit it right on teh head RIGHT THERE . I think you caputered Michael to a tee  here , I believe he was like that , he did not  HAVE to deal with a whole lot of things and people an dissues because he had people thatw ould do that for him.
    We know he did not like comnfrontatiomsn and did not like to argue , well who does , but soemtimes you do ahve to do that ...on real life .


  6. Allison is such a stubborn girl!  I can't believe she just left a note on the pillow & went home without telling him she was pregnant,  instead of waiting for him to get back to the room.  Definitely not the right thing to do, but I could understand that she was worried that Michael might be upset with her because she forgot to take her pills & ended up getting pregnant.  Of course, Michael could have handled things differently too by not locking himself in the bathroom & waiting to come out until she fell asleep. 

    I'm glad she went to visit her parents & they were so understanding, especially her mother who didn't like the fact that Ally was in a relationship with Michael at the beginning.  I'm glad she listened to her father & decided to tell Michael. 

    Now the question is how does she get in touch with Michael?   Since there were no cell phones back then he wouldn't have a private number for her to reach him.  Guess she's going to find out when she gets back to her apartment & listens to all the  messages he left her.   

    Loved the description of Yosemite Park & the picture to go with it.  It made me feel like I was there!  

    Great chapter!   Can't wait for the next one, whenever that will be!

  7. What a wonderful update!  I can't believe Ally left with just a note on the pillow..but then again...he was gone when she got up!!! 
    Ally has no idea that her answering machine is full of messages from Michael..he is missing her as much as she is missing him....

    Leave it to Michael not to want to deal with the situation and act like a stubborn child and lock himself in a bathroom not to deal with it......

    I am so happy she has decided to go and tell Michael that they are expecting..while I thin he will be shocked,,,I think he will be overjoyed too because this is something he always wanted....even though the timing may not be the best with the tour and all...

    I can't wait for the next update!

  8. So glad you updated it was well worth the wait! She has searched her soul and talked to her parents now it is time for her to talk to Michael. Can't wait to here that should be very enlightening. Loved how Janet was letting Michael have it for not opening up his feelings. Waiting for more soon loved it!

  9. I have never thought of Michael like an Ostrich but I swear you are so right. He was famous for avoiding unpleasant things like the Ostrich. I love your Jesus Christmas that is such a term that describes things in a way nothing else can!

  10. hello K.. yes I can agree with you for sure - I think Michael knew want he wanted and could be very particular about getting it - but if something was uncomfortable or he didn't want to deal with it he would turn away.

    Now for me... Ally left when she awoke and Michael wasn't there.. she didn't know he came back and watched her sleep till morning. She didn't know he was out thinking about her - all she knows is that he walked away from her again and when she woke up he had still not come to bed - who in there right mind would stay after that? Not me.

    As for picking up her messages - she is not really expecting to receive any at all - I mean really no one knows where she is and everyone THINKS she is with Michael on tour, so really who would be calling?

    I am thrilled that you are loving K - but serious I will write faster just for you...hahaha I AM kidding.

    Thanks for commenting.

  11. Hi Mariaann!

    Uh oh - another one thinking Ally should not have left. I mean I guess you could have waited, but how long should she have waited - maybe she woke up just after he left while he was wandering around before he got to Janet's room.  I would be pacing like a mad woman wondering why he wasn't there when I woke up.

    I think her time with her parents was a good idea - she surely expected her mother to have a fit - but for some reason she didn't - I guess she figured being there pregnant was not the time to give her daughter a hard time and me too... I am so happy she listened to her dad.

    You are right, Michael does not have a cell phone - not at that time, so she is going to have to be inventive to find her way to him - she doesn't even know what city or hotel he is in at the moment - this is pre getting on the internet to track down your stars every single move... but I have a feeling she will think of something.

    I am glad you liked the picture. Mirror Lake is beautiful that it almost looks fake - especially because you are so high up the sky is super clear blue.

    Thanks for commenting!

  12. Nancy... hi!

    Yes you said it... he was gone when she woke up. I mean I know I keep saying I would leave - I mean I might have stayed - but in my world if you don't come to bed and you are not there when I wake up - you don't want to talk to me... of course in Michael's defence - which E mentioned - Michael is afraid as well - her words were hurtful too... so he is hiding just as much outta fear as she is. Although I think it will make her feel better to know he is missing her just as much. :)

    Yeah the timing of this baby is not good for them... but I think Michael will be thrilled when he finds out he is going to be a daddy.

    Thanks for commenting!

  13. Hi sfchaney... well now you are all caught up and have to wait too. :)

    I think telling her parents is harder than telling Michael, so I hope she can find a way to tell him soon. Very soon it won't be something she can hide - so better get it out.

    I can totally see Janet giving Michael heck for being childish... she is like his alter ego.. and she knows what it is like to be in love!

    Thanks for commenting!

  14. He was an ostrich for sure, but also a damn sweet one. :)

  15. Finally able to comment... Of course as always I love the update....

      I cant help but be interested in Michael's POV while Ally has been away... Hmmm that would be interesting.. I love the talk Ally had with her mother that's really sweet. I never had anything like that with my mother.. But now Ally girl you have and need to get yourself back to Michael and do some major talking.. And of course Michael needs to know that he is going to be a father... Cant wait for the next update already...

  16. Wow...
    I loved the images this chapter started with... the sights and smells of the park.
    I loved the little stuffed fish... so sweet and comforting.

    Ally is lucky to have such supportive and 'together' parents.

    Now I'm worried about Michael!  Yeah, he needs to open up and talk to her.  But right now he's left alone and doesn't know what's going on and can't get in touch with her.
    Maybe it's what they need for him to realize he needs to open up to Ally, needs to change and let her in.
    I sure hope she gets in touch with him soon.
    I think he's going to feel bad that Ally's going thru this alone right now.
    Can't wait for his reaction to her news.

  17. How did I wind up with someone else's icon???

  18. I also don't want to be posting using my full name!!  HELP!!!

  19. I've got the right icon here from my desktop.  I guess the problem is I wasn't recognized from the laptop.  Don't know why I was automatically assigned someone else's icon?  And when I tried to post I was asked for my full name... didn't want that to be what I post as.  Don't know what I did wrong.

  20. Whew! no more comments with my full name on them!  Thanks!
    OK...better late than never I guess...

    Wow...I loved the images this chapter started with... the sights and smells of the park.I loved the little stuffed fish... so sweet and comforting.Ally is lucky to have such supportive and 'together' parents.Now I'm worried about Michael!  Yeah, he needs to open up and talk to her.  But right now he's left alone and doesn't know what's going on and can't get in touch with her.Maybe it's what they need for him to realize he needs to open up to Ally, needs to change and let her in.I sure hope she gets in touch with him soon.I think he's going to feel bad that Ally's going thru this alone right now.Can't wait for his reaction to her news.

  21. Whew.... thank god for Helen. I felt for you babe when I saw all your messages - but E got to them before I did.

    I agree with you Helen, she is lucky to have such together parents. I have to admit now that I am little older I have good parents... very similar to Ally's. They weren't always like that - but when there were really bad times, they were there for my 110  % no matter what. I think a girl would need that.

    I honestly don't think Ally has given any thought that Michael might be missing her too and wondering where she is - but I am sure he is seriously worried that he can't get a hold of her, especially since she said she was going home.

    I think things are going to change, for both of them, once the know how close they could come to losing each other over being so guarded!

    Thanks for commenting... a few times!

  22. I was thrilled to see the schedule for the next couple chapters posted (I love a schedule).  I added them to the calendar on my phone so it will remind me what awaits on those saturday mornings :)

  23. haha! I had no idea there was another schedule lover in the bunch... E
    has you girls spoiled - but YES I was able to commit to my next three
    posting days... see you there that first Saturday!



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