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  #501  
Old 11-14-2009, 12:52 AM
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Oh my. What fantastic additions! That cult thing was pretty crazy.

Side note: I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but Uncle Doug in this story is like my dad. His name is Doug, he is an uncle to many, and he's from Pennsylvania. Pretty cool.
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:21 PM
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I'm still enjoying this. And yes I am working some on Summer.
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  #503  
Old 11-15-2009, 01:54 PM
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PART TWENTY-SEVEN:
PASSAGES TO ADULTHOOD



On the Tuesday after the Kramers had been hosted by the Wesselroods, there was fine autumn weather at the campus of Doverwood Community College. In a late-morning period when she had no class meeting on Tuesdays or Thursdays, Kim Tisdale went walking across the main quadrangle toward the library, meaning to put in some useful study time there before having lunch at the modest cafeteria.

Halfway to her goal, however, Kim's plans were changed by an unexpected experience. In one moment, she was abruptly struck with as much fascination as she, a normal female, could feel toward another girl.

Kim had long known that there was a dance curriculum at the community college. Several of the Tai Chi students were in dance classes, including Yvonne Delany's older friend Lenore who had been part of the visit to the Escrima school. But Kim, with her long-standing inhibitions about dancing in the sight of anyone else, had never even considered enrolling in a dance course, or even joining after-hours dance activities for which no fee was charged. So it was the more startling when the dance curriculum seemingly went out of its way to encounter her.

First, Kim's ears were caught by a boombox playing an Eighties tune: "Doin' It All For My Baby," by Huey Lewis and the News. When her eyes followed her ears, she saw ten or twelve students seated in a ring on the grass. Their circle was much wider than the one which had been formed the day Alipang had his contest with Curving Breeze, affording more space for action within. And within _this_ enclosed space....

Curving Breeze was an attractive woman, but she would have seemed ordinary by comparison if she had stood alongside the girl who was dancing to Huey Lewis, wearing shorts and a T-shirt and no shoes.

She was a natural blonde, about Kim's height, but a bit slimmer. That was what caught the eye, that she was slim without being skinny or flat. If some engineer or technician with sophisticated laser-measurement apparatus had constructed a girl android, setting her bodily proportions just barely on the good side of a razor-fine boundary between "sexy" and "too thin," the result would have resembled the girl Kim saw dancing. She could have gained a few pounds and still been exquisitely beautiful, but _losing_ the least bit of her current weight would have been unhealthy. As it was, she appeared to have achieved safely the elusive "perfect" figure which anorexic girls killed themselves trying to achieve. Her dance movements were a blend of ballet and jazz dancing, including some astonishing leaps which seemed as if they should carry her ten yards forward in space, yet which really were vertical and landed her where she had started.

The solo ended, a new song followed it, and the students got up and began dancing also. Kim, standing in self-forgetful attentiveness, took no notice of the fact that some of these students had been present at the idiotic "Theatre of the Absurd" show; she had eyes only for the girl who seemed to be their teacher, albeit an exceptionally young teacher. Nothing could budge Kim from the spot, until the outdoor teaching session broke up.

Then the dark-haired beauty with some residual insecurities hurried to introduce herself to the fair-haired beauty who seemed like an embodiment of benign self-confidence.

"Excuse me! That was wonderful! I never saw anything like it! Are you a teacher? My name's Kim Tisdale, what's your name?"

The dancer's face was narrower and longer-nosed than Kim's; but like her slenderness of build, it was perfect of its kind. She put out a smooth, strong hand to shake Kim's eager hand. "Yes, I'm a teacher, brand new on the faculty this semester. And thank you; I'll take all the positive reviews I can get. My name's Holly Brighton."

Last edited by Copperfox; 03-25-2011 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:37 PM
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As she found herself walking with Holly, the reality was that boys within eyesight were admiring Kim equally as much as they admired Holly; but in Kim's mind it seemed that Holly was getting all the attention--not that Kim wished to be scoped out by all boys anyway. This perception only added to the aura that the 23-year-old dance instructor was acquiring for Kim.

Holly, however, far from being stuck up, took a real interest in her new friend, asking Kim various perfectly reasonable questions. This led to expressions of Holly's sympathy when Kim told of her father's desertion; Holly's parents in Pennsylvania had a durable and happy marriage. (Holly being this far away from her parents now did not signify any rift between herself and them; it had simply happened that the first available teaching position that appealed to her had been here at Doverwood.) Then, having briefly mentioned that her sisters all were unlucky so far in romance, Kim told Holly about Alipang.

The initial news of Kim having a serious boyfriend younger than herself, who still had one year of high school to go, left Holly guardedly quiet, as if not wanting to give offense by saying out loud that this was weird. But when Kim gave Alipang's name, and said that he was a martial artist, a lightbulb seemed to go on for Holly.

"Oh! Sister! Tisdale! Havens! Martial artist! I've heard about this from students right here! Wasn't one of your sisters a material witness in a criminal case last year, and gangsters were sent after her, and your boyfriend...?" Thus far and no farther; Holly's careful stillness returned.

Kim nodded soberly. "Yes, Al shot one of the crooks with the crook's own gun, then killed another one in a knife fight." The grim part confirmed, she could relax again. "Even worse than that, he plans to become a dentist. To everyone who isn't a criminal predator, Al is a teddy bear."

Holly's long, straight blonde hair stirred as she lightly shook her head in awe. "Wow, and double wow: you've got a hero for a boyfriend! And here I don't have ANY boyfriend."

It was Kim's turn again to be surprised. "You don't? But you're so beautiful, and talented besides! You should have boys taking numbers for the privilege of fighting over you."

"I'm not really any better looking than you, Kim; and of course, I've only been in Virginia for a couple of months. I have a little apartment in Shilohsville: part of being a grownup woman, but with no interesting male neighbors." The smile she had been giving Kim for most of this conversation widened. "Still, it's nice to have just made a local female friend."

Kim now mirrored Holly's smile. "I'm very local. We live on the edge of Smoky Lake that's closer to Shilohsville--a literal stone's throw, if one end of the reservoir weren't in between. Hey, my family boards and exercises horses. Would you like to come over and ride sometime?"

"Oh my God, I would love that! Even if you don't set me up with Alipang's older brother."

"Good thing; the only brother Al has is about five months old. As for a boyfriend for you, I'll pray for God's will in that area."

These last words evoked a still more dramatic response: Holly flung her arms around Kim and squeezed her like a big sponge. "You'll pray! Oh, hallelujah! Finally, someone on this campus who prays about things, instead of putting on a mask and yelling obscenities!"

Kim hugged back. "What, were you at the Theatre of the Absurd? I don't know how I could have missed seeing a super-hottie like you in that crowd of geeks."

"No, I didn't attend that, I just heard about it. I could see trash like that in Philly if I wanted; it isn't what I came to Virginia for."

Kim's dark eyes fastened onto Holly's blue ones at close range. "I think God brought you to Virginia to be my friend;" and they hugged more deeply.

Last edited by Copperfox; 08-03-2011 at 04:17 PM.
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  #505  
Old 11-15-2009, 08:39 PM
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With one thing leading to another, and since she knew that Alipang would be working on two highschool projects tonight AND helping Chilena with one besides, Kim ended up asking Holly to come to her house for supper; this, as the two young women ate lunch together on campus. Kim had classes to attend in the afternoon, and Holly had classes to teach--one of them an ordinary English course, to fill out the workload otherwise made from the dance curriculum. During the afternoon, Kim reached her mother by phone to secure approval after the fact for the supper invitation.

"Can you reconcile the invitation with a call I just got from Peggy Holder?" said Elizabeth Tisdale. "She wants you to eat out with her tonight."

"Oh boy; I'll try to reach her and ask if she minds a third person." But Peggy, though graduated from Smoky Lake East like Kim, was not in any college; rather, she was a checker at a grocery store. Kim was unable to reach her friend's phone during the remainder of the class day. This made a conference necessary when she next got together with her new friend.

"Holly, when we go by your apartment as planned, do you think you can do me a favor, and try NOT to look scorching hot? We're going to be making a threesome with a highschool friend of mine--almost the ONLY female friend I had at East High. She's a bit heavyset, a bit Goth, and a LOT envious of girls who look like supermodels, though she seldom admits it."

"Then how could she stand hanging out with supermodel Kim Tisdale?" asked Holly.

"For almost all our time at East, all I was modelling was indie style. See these boots I've got on? Used to be, I didn't only wear them with jeans, like now, I also wore them with dresses. It's only since getting together with Al that I make any effort to look girly. So Peggy's been comfortable with me."

"Okay, I'll put my hair in an Amish bun and wear baggy khaki pants. More importantly, is Peggy a believer?"

"Kind of on the front porch of it. She's been hovering there for months; does come to church sometimes, but hasn't yet made a commitment to Jesus."

Kim and Holly got in their respective cars, Holly's being a Cooper Mini which looked as if it would fall to pieces if a squirrel jumped onto it. Upon reaching Holly's place in Shilohsville, Kim was handed a Brighton family photo album to look at while Holly changed clothes and uglified her hair. Then they both got into Kim's white sedan and set out for the Tisdale house, hoping that Peggy would make contact.

She did. Kim's phone signalled an incoming text message, which she asked Holly to read aloud.

"It says, '3 isnt bad if 1 of the 3 is U. Chicksteel.' Is that Peggy?"

"Yeah, Chicksteel is her internet nickname. Unlike me, Peggy hasn't outgrown online fantasies in which every twelve-year-old girl can break a 300-pound linebacker's neck with a strand of her hair."

"That just might be one of her problems in coming to a male Savior," mused Holly.

"She's not nearly as bad as she used to be in that area. She will at least listen to male Christians now, such as Pastor Tom at my church. But it may still take female urging to help her over the line to the light. Which could be another reason why God brought you to northern Virginia."

Last edited by Copperfox; 03-25-2011 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Filling in Peggy's belatedly-supplied last name
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  #506  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:24 PM
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Lovin' it. Man, this Holly sounds like a hottie. :-P
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:30 AM
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"You danffed onda graff? Howgum?" Peggy asked, around a mouthful of pepperoni pizza.

"Partly just because it was such a nice day, of course," replied Holly, _between_ mouthfuls of pepperoni pizza. "But also to demonstrate to the students directly what a difference the surface you dance on makes. It is totally physically impossible to tap dance on grass; but on the other hand, you can do something like a shoulder roll on grass with much less risk of hurting your shoulder than on a polished hardwood floor."

Peggy swallowed, then grumbled, "Grass can seem as hard as that wooden floor, if someone _throws_ you down on the grass. I found that out when I tried to join the East Falcons football team."

Holly blinked; though Peggy was a sturdy girl, this was not something Holly had expected to hear. She took a long drink of Mr. Pibb to delay having to comment.

Kim filled in the vacuum between her new and old friends. "Yes, Peggy was the only girl in the history of _either_ high school in Smoky Lake to try to play on the football team. I have to give her credit; the players all said she kept on getting back up."

Her mouth full again, Peggy sputtered, "Phyzhigs wuz agains' me. Any boy weigh'n a hunner pondz more'n me, weighs a hunner pondz more'n me." She swallowed again, and then: "Coach Escobar just _refused_ to put me in scrimmage against geeky spazzy 105-pound freshman boys wearing glasses."

Feeling that laughter at this was welcome, Holly laughed.

Kim also laughed, knowing Peggy well enough to _know_ that laughter was welcome. "Holly, I forgot to ask you: have you ever studied Tai Chi Chuan?"

"I've heard of it, naturally, but never studied it. I know from our talk that your boyfriend's in the Mixed Martial Arts Club that includes Tai Chi. What does he think of it?"

"He thinks it's a little overrated as a fighting style, but he's openminded to the health benefits." The _real_ reason why Kim had asked Holly about Tai Chi was because she had experienced a spontaneous vision of Holly, dressed as she had been while dancing, strolling past a crowd of Yvonne Delany's male admirers and swiping all of them away with ease. But Kim choked back any word about this cheerful fantasy, for she had a policy never to make Peggy feel herself adversely compared with other girls.

As it was, Kim and Holly both succeeded in putting Peggy at ease with the addition of Holly to the friendship. Thus, after more casual talk, they were eventually able to induce Peggy to discuss the Christian faith with them.

Last edited by Copperfox; 11-17-2009 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:06 PM
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"Drawing a face, or a whole body, is just a matter of proportions," Chilena calmly explained.

This was late on the same evening as Kim's pizza outing with her old young friend and her new older friend. Alipang was seated at the kitchen table, with several pencils and several sheets of graph paper in front of him. Chilena was standing behind him, leaning in to rest her chin on his right shoulder, while her arms alternately hugged him from behind and reached past him to perform bits of drawing.

"Now, Al, count the number of graph squares between the two eyes. You'll see that the _distance_ between the inner corners of the eyes is right about equal to the _width_ of one eye from corner to corner. Now, put your pencil at the center of the space between the eyes. From there, move the point down the page for a number of squares equal to twice the width of one eye....Okay, now go back up just one square; no, make it two. There, make a very small smiley curve there....Good." Chilena paused to kiss her brother's cheek. "That little curve is the tip of the nose; an average nose extends downward for a bit less than twice as far as the width of one eye."

She went on to help Alipang with the nostrils; then they moved up the page again to add eyebrows before tackling the mouth. Chilena had already helped him to draw a successful profile view, which had been easier than full-face drawing was proving to be. When this picture was completed, with a much more realistic look than Alipang's previous two tries at front views, Chilena kissed him again, called a halt, and parked herself on his lap--where she had not sat in many days.

When she was settled, Alipang kissed her in return. "Sweets, this is a course I would flunk for sure if not for you. As it is, I almost feel as if I'm cheating."

Chilena's arms tightened around his neck. "You're not. The drawings you actually turn in for a grade will be your own unassisted work. There's no rule against my helping you practice, any more than there's a rule against you helping Jason study chemistry. Besides, I'm glad to be the one helping you for a change. You made all the difference for my Economics essay." She did not loosen her hold on his neck; he tightened his arms around her waist; and they sat this way in loving quietude for more than a minute, listening to each other's breathing, the way they had formerly done every night on the living room couch.

Then Chilena softly rubbed her left cheek against Alipang's left cheek. "Just where did the Wonder Twins go, anyway?"

He stroked her hair. "Not far; but they have new uses for their activated superpowers."

Chilena shifted to listen to her brother's heartbeat in her old way; then: "Why do things have to change?"

"So there can be new things. If my life on Luzon hadn't been changed by adoption, you and I would never have had the years together that we've had. But now you're eighteen, and I will be soon, and--God willing--we each have a future. Deputy Dawg told me one day that you can't step into the same river twice, because the water moves."

Chilena set her nose and forehead against Alipang's nose and forehead. "Please don't move out of sight just yet."

They finished up the schoolwork, then indulged in a few minutes of cuddling on the meeting sofa. The only words uttered during this were when Alipang whispered into Chilena's blonde hair, "What we've had will always mean something. Everything means something; and our loving each other can only mean good things. It has largely made us what we are."

At last they mounted the stairs...held each other for a long while on the landing...kissed goodnight four times...then parted and went to their rooms, where each had mostly an entirely separate list of items to pray about.

One way or another, they were developing lives independent of each other.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:15 PM
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I miss the brother/sister bonding moments. I'm glad you added another in.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:34 AM
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The following Saturday, Eric Havens emceed a third healthcare townhall--this one in the auditorium of Shilohsville High School. This building was more decrepit than either of the high schools in Smoky Lake; but the crowd that came was the largest yet, and lively in its participation. Eric was ready with printouts of information about how the state of Hawaii had inflicted huge fiscal damage on itself with a "public option" health plan. On the whole, the meeting went well.

Alipang and Kim had ridden there with Eric--certainly out of loyalty, but Alipang's father had arranged a treat for them besides. By prior arrangement, one of his regular dental patients had lent him a fiberglass canoe, with trailer and equipment, in return for a free checkup at Eric's regular office. The trailer was hitched to the Havens family SUV. When the townhall was finished, Eric drove the young couple into the county forest preserve on the Shilohsville side, right up to the shore of Smoky Lake the lake. He and Alipang unloaded the canoe from the trailer and set it near the water; then Alipang and Kim donned two of the supply of lifejackets, picked up their paddles, and placed a small cooler in the center of the canoe.

Eric watched to make sure they launched the canoe properly, then said, "Al, you can cross the reservoir at a relaxed pace in half an hour or less. There probably won't be any motorboats out this late in the season, but keep your eyes open. Don't count on them to respect your right of way. I'll give you a hair over an hour after the crossing to eat your picnic lunch; then I'll come to Lakeshore Park looking for you. I'll have the rest of the family with me, and I'll take a turn giving Chilena and Harmony a canoe ride while you digest, then let Chilena watch Terrance while I take Mom and Melody out on the water. After that, you and Kim can go again, before we call it a day."



Once they were in the privacy of the lake, happily with no motorboats around, Kim remarked, "You and your Dad are alike in that way: both of you are capable of being spontaneous, but most of the time you like to plan things carefully."

"I have to think of the future, it can't be helped. Counting this last year of high school, it's going to take me NINE YEARS to earn my D.D.S. degree. By the time I'm able to hang out my shingle as a dentist, I'll be older than Dad was when he married Mom."

"Which means that he married Mrs. Havens before he had completed all his training and internship. So you have an honorable precedent for doing the same."

From where he sat in the stern, Alipang couldn't see Kim's facial expression; but he felt confident that he could kid around a little about the utterly serious matter on both of their minds. "It does require a woman, though. Do you know any young Christian woman who might be willing to marry a dental student, and go through all the struggles with him on the way to a distant career?"

"I think I know one; at least, she would be diligent at praying that the government doesn't somehow take away your career before you can even get started."

Alipang's paddle made the canoe surge ahead. "That's a good feature. But remember that I'm pretty choosy. The girl I propose to has to be a dark-chocolate brunette, she has to like Tori Amos, and she MUST own a pair of combat boots."

Kim was quiet for longer than Alipang would have preferred. Then she said, "That model is probably available. But the man who proposes to her will need to be patient, because she may have seen her own parents' marriage fail. That could make her overanxious about her own risk of a failed marriage...." She looked over her shoulder at him for the first time in this conversation. "Even with the best and most wonderful boy she ever met or heard of."

After a silence of his own, in which he let the canoe drift, Alipang stated simply: "I can be very patient."

Last edited by Copperfox; 11-19-2009 at 03:36 AM.
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