The Redheads of Mmm...Doctor!

Title: Perfect Stranger
Author: Elizabeth

“Alex! I'd like to remind you we have to meet three different planes today.”

“I know I'm coming. I just want to finish this. I'd rather not get sick in the car or the airport.”

I finally found out what it was that Alex did to take care of the chemo. She got Randi to get her a fix. My girlfriend is a pothead. Not really though. Only every second day when she had her chemo. But I really didn't care as long as it made her feel better. On a day like today it had to, we have a lot to do. Except it was about to make us very late. I'm ready to tell Alex to find out how to stuff that thing into a smoke filter when she comes walking down the stairs. True to her word she had started putting on weight and looked a lot better in her clothes. I, on the other hand, kept mine off and had to buy some new ones. It was fun though, I love shopping.

We had to pick up Jill, Ben and Kris at one then Chloe, Joe and Susie at two. Carol and Bill get in at three. We get in the car and as I drive I remember something, “Hey Alex, why was Kris so excited when I said I was your girlfriend?”

“Oh my God I forgot about that. Well the last few girlfriends I've had that Kris met were very much closeted. They would not admit to being my girlfriend, they wouldn't hold my hand. They didn't last long. I wouldn't even take them home. You are the first girlfriend Kris met who admits to being my girlfriend.”

“Wow. I didn't realize.”

“Yeah well I'm a magnet to newbies.”

I smile at that. We are in the parking lot now and it's a good thing because we're about to miss the plane landing. Not that it matters but I like to see the plane land. I have this paranoia that it won't land if I don't see it. We rush in just in time to see the back wheels hit the ground, then wait. About ten minutes later I hear “Alex!” And look to see Kris Heading towards us. Alex reaches down and picks up Kris easily in a hug. “Oh honey I missed you.” They hug for a minute and then Kris reaches over and includes me in the hug. It feels good, and reminds me how much I miss Susie. By the time we get their bags it's time to meet Susie and company at the next gate. I watch the plane land once more and run to the gate. In a few minutes I see Susie running to me. I pick her up and swing her around before hugging her. “Hey pumpkin! I missed you so much.”

I bring her over to Alex. “Susie, this is my friend Alex.”

“You mean your girlfriend.”

“How did you know that?”

“Mommy told me that you have a girlfriend like she's Joe's and it's normal so I should be happy. But I would be anyway 'cause I love you.”

“I missed you sweetie.”

I put Susie down and bring her over to meet Kristin next. She hits it off with Kris right away and the two of them scamper off in front of us. The other adults are talking, but Joe pulls me over. “I have to talk to you later.”

“Okay. Should I be worried?”

“Um. No. Look it isn't something to talk about here. Later okay? Can we go somewhere?”

“Uh yeah I'll think of an excuse. Okay?”


I don't watch the plane land for Carol and Bill, but I do hug them when they get off the plane. We make our way home in Elizabeth's van and everyone helps drag the stuff in. I tell Alex I'm going to help Joe find a gift for Chloe and we head out. As soon as we're in the car I turn to him. “Okay spill.”

He sighs. “She's at it again.”

I hang my head. I knew it. Joe looks at me for a minute and then back at the road. “I'm going to do it right this time though. I'll take her to rehab and help her through it. The only thing is, I don't think either of us are in the position to take care of Susie while we're worrying about this. I don't want her to get lost like that again.”

“Well I'll have to talk to Alex, but I'm sure it'll be fine.”

“You're really serious about her aren't you?”

“Very serious. I've never felt this way about anyone in my life.”

“Well then Chloe and I are happy for you. I know you're parents aren't but I wouldn't worry about it. They'll come around.”

“Thanks Joe.”

We make our way back to the house and I find Alex and take her upstairs to explain the situation. She agreed we could take Susie so I went down to tell Joe and Chloe. Then I turned to Susie and said, “Hey guess what? You're going to stay with me and Alex for awhile.”

“Yey!” Susie yelled and came to hug me, and then Alex. Kris, however does not look happy. She jumps up and yells “I hate you!” to me and then runs upstairs. I look at Alex who says, “I'll go talk to her.”

“No wait. I should. And if I can't get her to talk to me you can after that.”

She nods and I make my way upstairs to find Kris on Alex's bed sulking. “Can I come in?”

She looks at me for a minute and then says, “Yes. You can do whatever you want. You live here now.”

“Well I sort of do. I still have a home though, and Alex hasn't asked me to live with her forever.”

“Yeah but now Susie will get to see you all the time and you're her favorite aunt and I won't get to see my favorite aunt all the time but she will.”

“I know, but Susie's mom is very sick.”

“She doesn't look sick.”

“Well she is. It's the kind of sick that doesn't show. But Susie's step-dad is going to take care of her mom. Susie has to be somewhere stable so she's going to stay with me. You can come visit us too, whenever you want as long as you don't have school. Maybe by your March break Alex will be feeling even better and we can all go somewhere.”

“Like Florida?”

“We'll see. But let's go back down now and you and Susie can both help me make Alex go to bed before supper.” Kris smiles and gives me a big hug. Then she says, “Susie is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have Aunt Alex too.” There's a knock at the door then. It's Susie. “Kris, are you finished hating my aunt?”

“Yup. Want to help us?”

“Yeah. Susan?”

“Yes Pumpkin?”

“Is Mommy sick?”

“She is but don't you worry. Joe is going to help her get better and you are going to stay with me for awhile. I promise everything will be fine.”

Kris goes over and gives her a hug. “I know everything will be fine too Susie.”

We go downstairs and I find Alex sitting on a chair looking very pale. I walk over to her and give her a hug. “Please have a nap while I make supper.”

She looks like she is about to protest, but a yawn gets in the way. “Okay. Will you take me up?” I pick her up and she leans her head on my shoulder. I put her to bed with the promise to wake her for supper. I stand there and stare at her for a minute while she is sleeping, and pray to God that she will be okay by the kid's spring break. Then I go back down and enlist in my two little helpers to help cook.

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