Ashley Hart was excited. It was her first time at camp, and she was literally bouncing with joy. Her mother and grandmother had forbidden her to go until now.
William, the chauffeur, was a good friend of hers. “Now, here’s your stuff,” he said, handing her a couple of bags. “I hope you have fun, Ash. And be careful.”
“You sound like my grandmother,” Ashley joked, “’Be careful around plants, or you’re likely to get poison ivy.’” Now, Ashley loved her grandmother, but the woman was just too controlling most of the time.
“Well, I certainly didn’t mean to do that,” William said. All of a sudden, he pulled her into a hug. “I’ll miss you terribly, Ashley .” That was his nickname for her.
“I’ll miss you too, William,” Ashley said. Her British accent was choked with held back tears.
“I’ll be right here, to pick you up, in two weeks,” William said, as they broke away. “Call me if you need me to come pick you up or anything.”
“I will,” Ashley said, “Did you remember the...”
“Here you go, madam,” William said, “A never before used pack of playing card. I do hope you can find someone here that can beat the pants off you.” He handed her a plastic container.
“It’ll never happen,” Ashley said, “I’m just too good.”
“I wouldn’t be so cocky, miss smarty pants,” William said, “You might just meet your match here.”
They both stopped and seemed to consider that. “Nah,” they both said. After they did they’re special handshake, William gave her one, last hug, then climbed into the driver’s seat of the car and left. Ashley grabbed her bags and started for this big gathering of girls.
If she had been watching a bus that just arrived, she would have gotten the shock of seeing a girl that looked just like her, except with a bit shorter hair and no earrings.
Ann Oliver was excited. While she loved her dad and his karate schools dearly, she had been waiting for the day she’d return to camp, and hopefully see all of the friends that she had left the summer before. She was what you’d call a tomboy.
She looked around, to see people taking bags from the storage compartment of the bus and putting them into a big pile. She spotted her bags and went to grab it, when a bunch of bags fell on top of it. She tried getting it out.
“Ann.” She spun around, to see her friend Lindsey Fitzpatrick running over to her. They met in a big hug.
“It’s so great to see you, Lindsey,” Ann said, “You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve missed you. Help me with this, would you?” She had been ragged on all last summer for her “Valley Girl” accent, which stumped her dad, because he always told her that her mother had a British accent.
“Sure thing,” Lindsey said. Between the two of them, they easily got the bags from the pile. “I hope we get the same bunk again this year.”
“So do I,” Ann said. If she had looked to her left as she walked up to the crowd, she would have seen Ashley .
“Welcome to Camp Wachati, girls,” the camp director said, “Now, listen up, while I call bunks.” She rattled off lists of names, as she lead the big group to each bunk. Ashley wasn’t paying close attention, and didn’t see Ann’s face as her bunk was called before Ashley ’s.
When it came lunch time, they, coincidentally, never ran into each other. If they were on either side of the counter from each other, they usually weren’t paying attention to what was in front of them, but talking to someone beside them.
When they finally got to be where they were almost side by side, the camp director was right between them. “Good afternoon, ma’am,” Ashley said, “How are you today?”
“Very good, dear,” the director said, “How about you?”
“Marvelous,” Ashley said, then she walked away.
“Hello, ma’am,” Ann said, “How are you today?”
“I’m fine, dear,” the director said, “Wait, didn’t I just tell you...”
“Tell me what?” Ann asked.
“Oh, never mind,” the director said, “This old brain of mine isn’t running on all cylinders, if you know what I mean.” When she turned back, Ann was gone, and a girl was looking at her strangely.
After lunch, Ashley was going for a swim, when she saw a group of girls doing what looked to be fencing.
“And the winner is Ann Oliver,” a counselor said, “Now, who wants to challenge the reigning champ?” All of the girls were very hesitant, so Ashley thought that the girl obviously must be very good.
“I think I’ll take a swing at it,” she said, walking up to the counselor.
“All right,” the counselor said, “The new challenger is...”
“Ashley Hart,” Ashley replied, as she donned the fencing equipment.
“The new challenger is Ashley Hart,” the counselor said. The two girls, suited up for fencing, turned around and put their swords into the air, barely touching the others sword.
“All right, begin,” the counselor said.
The two girls started fencing with all they had. They were ferocious, neither giving the other an inch. When it looked like one would win, the supposed loser found a way to turn it around.
They finally ended up on the porch of the activities cabin. They fought up to this rail, then both promptly fell over, into a water trough.
They both got up, giving big sighs of frustration before climbing out of the trough. “I do believe it’s a draw,” the counselor said, “Now, take off your helmets, face each other, and shake hands.”
The girls had their backs turned from each other. They took off their helmets, then, with slightly over-exaggerated sighs, they turned around and got a big shock.
“Whoa,” Ann said, “You look just like me.”
“Well, with a bit longer hair and some earrings, yeah I guess I do,” Ashley said. Other than the subtle differences, the two did notice the very uncanny resemblance and so did their “audience.
“Not too often that we have twins around here,” the counselor said.
“Oh, we’re not twins,” Ann said, “Well, not sisters at least. I’ve never met this girl in my life.
“But the resemblance is amazing, you’ve got to admit,” Ashley said.
“Whatever,” Ann said. With that, she walked away.
“What a rude girl,” Ashley said. She then started for the lake again.
Later that day, Ann and Ashley were facing each other down over a small table, playing poker. The other girls were dropping out like flies, leaving only the two look-a-likes.
“I raise you fifty cents,” Ashley said.
“I’ll see your fifty cents, and raise you twenty,” Ann said, “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
“Two pair,” Ashley said, “I guess that means I win.” She started for the small change pile in the middle of the table.
Ann stopped her. “I don’t think so,” she said, “Three of a kind. I win.” Ashley pulled back, and Ann grabbed up her winnings. “It was good playing with you, but I’ve got to be going.” She left.
“Ooh, that girl,” Ashley said.
Later that night, when Ashley and her bunk mates were asleep, Ann and her friends slipped into their bunk. They sprayed all kinds of stuff over the room, and for the finishing touch, put a bucket of something where it would drop on anybody that walked through it. They then left.
The next morning, their curiosity got the better of them, and they went to Ashley’s cabin to see how the prank turned out.
Ashley woke to see her cabin in a mess. “Oh, who did this?” she demanded. With her sensitive ears, she heard Ann and her friends giggling. “Oh, that girl.”
Ann and the rest of them were dying of laughter when the camp director came walking up.
“Good morning, girls,” the director said cheerfully, “We’re making our daily inspections. I hope that your cabin is all cleaned up.
“It is, ma’am,” Ann said.
“Good,” the director said, “Now, let’s see about this cabin.” She started for the door, but Ann got in her way right before she could open the screen door and make the bucket fall on her.
“Wait,” she said, “I don’t think they’re quite ready yet. They have to put on their make up and all that.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you, Ms. Oliver,” the director said, “But we won’t be able to check in any other time today.”
“Oh, come on in.” Ann spun around, to see Ashley on the other side of the screen door. “We’re all ready.” There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
“See? They’re ready,” the director said, “Now step aside.” Ann reluctantly did as she was told.
The director went over and opened the screen door. All of a sudden, the bucket tipped over and emptied its contents right on her head.
“Who did this?” she demanded, as Ashley stepped out of the cabin.
“She did,” Ann and Ashley said at the same time, pointing at each other.
The camp director sighed. “I suppose I’ll have to punish you both,” she said, “Both of you, get your things together. You’re moving.”
“Where?” both girls asked.
“That’s for me to know, and you to find out,” the director said, “Now, move it.”
Glaring at each other, Ann and Ashley went back to their respective bunks and started getting their things together. They then followed the director to an unused cabin.
“This is where you’ll be staying,” the director said, “Together, I might add. You’ll stay here the rest of the time and you’ll sit together at a certain table in the lunch room. You’d better become friends quickly, if you wish to stay in this camp. Now, that is all. Good luck.”
With that, the camp director took the other campers back to their cabins. Ann and Ashley made their way inside the cabin and put their stuff on the floor.
“Okay, this is how it works,” Ashley said, “You’ll have one side of the room, to put up what you wish, and I’ll have the other to do the same. Neither will go onto the other’s side, unless absolutely necessary, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Ann huffed, “I was really hoping to spend my summer with Lindsey, not some stuck up, British snob.”
“Actually, I’m not that bad once you get to know me,” Ashley said.
“Yeah, right,” Ann said, “Like I’d want to get to know you, after what you did.”
“Hey, you were the one who put that bucket over the door,” Ashley pointed out.
“Yeah, I guess I was,” Ann said, “You know that it was a harmless prank, the same with the others, right?”
“Sure I do,” Ashley said. She extended her hand. “Friends?”
Ann hesitated, then took Ashley’s hand. “Friends,” she said.
“Come on,” Ashley said, “Let’s get down to the lake, before it gets crowded.”
“You go on ahead,” Ann said, “I’m going to put up a few pictures on my side of the cabin. I might join you later.”
“All right,” Ashley said. She quickly slipped into her bathing suit and jogged in the direction of the lake.
“And people call me strange,” Ann muttered. She set to taking a bunch of pictures out of her suitcase and hanging them up on the walls. When she got to a picture, the only one she had of her mom in fact, she put it under her pillow. When she was done, she got into her bathing suit and headed for the lake.
Once there, she saw Ashley swimming around by herself. With a mischievous grin, Ann took a running leap into the water right nearby Ashley, completely soaking her more than she already was.
“Hey,” Ashley said.
“Just playing,” Ann said. When she turned her back, Ashley playfully dunked her. “Hey.”
“Just playing,” Ashley said. They both giggled and got into a splashing contest with a couple of girls nearby.
That evening, a storm came in. All of the girls headed for their respective cabins immediately to lock up.
Ann and Ashley worked together, getting the windows all closed or at least covered up.
“Who’s that?” Ashley asked, nodding towards the pictures Ann had put up earlier.
“You don’t know him? That’s just Dennis Quaid, one of the big hunks in Hollywood,” Ann said, exasperated.
“Well, maybe here,” Ashley said, “But in England, they’re what my grandmother would call small potatoes.”
“You’re kidding,” Ann said. Ashley shook her head. “Gosh. Is your grandmother cool?”
“A little bit sometimes,” Ashley said, “She’s mostly domineering, over-protective, and controlling.”
Ann giggled. “Sounds like Jesse,” she said, “She’s the maid at my dad’s house. He’s not exactly what you’d call in the big time rich, but we’re very far from poor.”
“What does he do?”
“He owns a string of martial arts studios in our town, and a few neighboring towns,” Ann said.
“Is he handsome?” Ashley asked, “And what’s his name?”
“His name is Tommy, and he’s absolutely gorgeous, for being my dad,” Ann said, “He’s also very loving and gentle. And he always takes the time to do something with me.”
“What about your mum? What does she do?”
“My parents got divorced a long time ago, right after I was born,” Ann said.
“Mine too,” Ashley said, “Weird coincidence. I’m missing my father, and your missing your mother.”
“Maybe it’s not a coincidence,” Ann said, “I mean we look a lot alike, we both have parents that had been divorced almost as long as we’ve been alive. Doesn’t that seem to be too strange to be a coincidence?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Ashley said, “Wait a minute. I’ve got a picture of my dad my mom has kept for some time now.” She sprang up from her bed and started going through a suitcase. “Ah, here it is. Half a picture, really. I found it sometime back, and my mum let me keep it.”
“And here’s a torn picture of my mum, er mom,” Ann said, “On the count of three, we’ll put them side to side, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Ashley said, “One...”
“Two...” Ann said.
“THREE!!” they exclaimed at the same time. They fit the two pictures together, and gasped at the result, which was a completed picture, of their parents at the altar, with a bunch of people in the foreground.
“I can’t believe it,” Ashley said, “We’re really sisters.”
“Yeah, and not just sisters,” Ann said, “Twin sisters. You know I’ve always wanted to meet mom.”
“And I’ve always wanted to meet dad,” Ashley said. They both got that mischievous look in their eyes. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I think so, but I don’t know how we’re going to pull it off,” Ann said, “Jesse’s really perceptive. And you’ll have to learn to fake a ‘Valley Girl’ accent.”
“And you a British one,” Ashley said, “But we’ve got two more weeks. Surely we can perfect it by then.”
“You’re right,” Ann said, “You know, the biggest difference in looks between us is your long hair. You’ll have to get it cut, you know.”
“I’ll do anything, to have a chance to meet dad,” Ashley said, “And your lack of earrings is one, too. There’s no way I’m going to let my earring hole fill grow back. It took me too long to talk grandmama into letting me get them pierced in the first place.”
“You’re right,” Ann said, “And, to partially quote you, I’ll do anything to get a chance to see mom.”
“Let’s get started,” Ashley said, “We’ll take care of the hair near the end of camp, but there’s no time like the present to do the ear piercing.”
“You’re right, but can we at least wait until tomorrow night?” Ann asked, “We don’t have most of the tools anyway.”
“You’re right,” Ashley said, “We’ll do it tomorrow night. I have to warn you, though. It’s going to hurt.”
“It’ll be worth it,” Ann said, grinning.
“Let’s get you started on your British talking lessons,” Ashley said, “I’ll take the day after, say, lunch to teach you, and you have before lunch to get me to talking like a ‘Valley Girl.”
Over the next two weeks, the twins spent all of their time together, working on each others accents, piercing Ann’s ear, and cutting Ashley’s hair.
Then came the day that they were officially going to switch places. “All right, here’s the scoop,” Ann said, “Dad’s going to meet you at the airport and probably take you to the house. Shower him with love. I always do.”
“No problem there,” Ashley said, reminding her twin sister that she hadn’t seen their dad in ages. “What else?”
“Let me think,” Ann said, “At the house, Jesse will probably be waiting on you. I have a dog, whose name is Sandy.”
“Male or female?” Ashley said.
“Female,” Ann said, “What about you?”
“William will be picking you up at the airport,” Ashley said, “When you get to my house, grandmama will probably be waiting on you. Dodge around her as much as you can, because she’s very perceptive. Then there’s grandpapa. And, of course, dear mum.”
“William, grandmama, grandpapa, and mum, er mom,” Ann said, with a perfect copy of Ashley’s British accent.
“Yeah and, like, dad, Jesse, and Sandy,” Ashley retorted playfully, doing her ‘Valley Girl’ accent.” They both giggled.
“Hey, sis,” Ann said, “I gave you dad’s name. What’s mom’s name?”
“It’s Kimberly,” Ashley replied.
“Kimberly,” Ann repeated, “What a beautiful name.”
“Ashley Hart?” the camp director called.
“That’s you, silly,” Ashley said, nudging Ann.
“Oh, right,” Ann said, “I’ll call you every time I get the chance. Later on, we’ll tell mum... mom and dad who we really are, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Ashley said, “Like, I’ll see you then.” She had the Valley Girl accent down pat.
“See you then,” Ann said, using the British accent. The twin sisters hugged, then Ann went running in the direction that the camp director was calling for her from.
“Good luck,” Ashley whispered, with her British accent. A few seconds later, she was called to get on a bus, which she did.
A little while later, she was on a plane heading for California. “This is going to be great,” she whispered.
When she landed, she was one of the first to get out of the plane, she was so excited. She hadn’t mean to seem so rude to the other passengers, but a rush of adrenaline had taken a hold of her.
All of a sudden, she ran into what seemed like a human brick wall. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. She looked up.
“Hey there, Angel.” It was her dad.
“Dad!” she cried, flinging herself into his arms. “I’m so glad to see you, dad.” ‘Boy, was Ann right,’ she thought, ‘He is gorgeous.’
“I’m glad to see you too, Angel,” Tommy said. He noticed the earrings right away. “When did you get your ears pierced?”
“At camp,” Ashley said, “Do you mind?”
“No way,” Tommy said, “In fact, I love it.” Ashley beamed at her first appraisal from her dad. “Ready to go?”
“Sure, dad,” Ashley said. She thought that she seemed a little too enthusiastically, but Tommy didn’t seem to notice it.
They grabbed her bags and headed for Tommy’s vehicle, which was a pick up truck. They threw them in back and hopped into the front seat.
“So, did you enjoy camp?” Tommy asked.
“I sure did, dad,” Ashley said, “I met a girl there, and we hit it off famously. She reminded me a lot of myself.” She grinned at that.
“That’s good,” Tommy said, “I like to hear when you make new friends. What was her name?”
“Ashley something or other,” Ashley said, “How have Jesse and Sandy been doing?”
“Good, but they’ve missed you,” Tommy said, “And so have I.”
“I’ve missed you too, dad,” Ashley said. ‘I wish I could tell you how much I’ve missed you,’ Ashley thought. She was ogling the sights and was quiet the rest of the way to the house.
When they got there, Ashley jumped out of the truck. A rather attractive, middle aged woman came and swept her up in a big hug. “Hi Jesse,” Ashley said.
“Oh, I’ve missed you so much, kiddo,” Jesse said.
“I’ve missed you too, Jesse,” Ashley said. An odd look crossed Jesse’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“You seem a bit heavier,” Jesse said, as she put Ashley down.
“I probably put on some weight at camp,” Ashley said.
“Yeah, I guess that’s it,” Jesse said.
“Well, I’ve got to be going,” Tommy said, “Class to teach in a little while. Bye, Jesse. Bye, Angel.”
“Bye, Mr. Oliver,” Jesse said.
“Bye, dad,” Ashley said. Tommy handed them Ashley’s bags, jumped back into the truck, then left.
“You know, something seems different about you,” Jesse said, “I don’t know what it is, but.. oh well.” Just then, Sandy came trotting up.
“Hey, Sandy,” Ashley said, “Come here, girl. Come here.” Sandy stopped where she was, then started barking at Ashley.
“Well, come here, you silly dog,” Jesse said, “It’s just Ann.” Sandy barked some more, then ran. “I wonder what’s wrong with her.”
“Dogs,” Ashley said, shrugging. “Who can figure them sometimes?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Jesse said, “Come on, let’s go get you settled in.” She grabbed up Ashley’s bag and led her to Ann’s room.
Meanwhile, half a world away, Ann was getting off a plane. She looked around the terminal. “Ashley!!” someone cried. She spun, to see William running towards her. When he got to her, he swept her up in a big hug. “It’s good to see you, Ash.”
“It’s good to see you too, William,” Ann said. When he let her go, they did they’re special greeting, which Ashley had taken hours to help her perfect.
“Come on, Ash,” William said, “Let’s go home, shall we?”
“Quite,” Ann said. William led her out a stretched limo. He took her bags and put them in the trunk. He then opened the door and let Ann in. Then, he went around to the drivers seat and got in.
The drove for a good twenty minutes. Ann was ogling the beautiful sights of London.
“How was camp, Ash?” William asked.
“It was great,” Ann said, “I met a bunch of friends there, and I had lot of fun doing all kinds of activities.”
“That’s good,” William said, “I’m glad you had a good time. By the way, I like the new haircut.”
“Thank you,” Ann said. They talked the rest of the way, about mostly little things.
“Here we are,” William said, as he went around a circle in front of a pretty big house. He brought the car to a stop, then hopped out. He then quickly walked around the front and to Ann’s door, which he promptly opened.
“Thank you,” Ann said.
“I’ll see you later,” William said. Ann waved, as he hopped back in and left. Ann turned back to the house.
“You told me this place was big, but I never expected this,” she murmured. She walked up to the door and went in. “Hello? Anybody here?” She went from the hall inside the front door to the stairs, but she couldn’t hear anybody up there. She then went into a small room on the left. No on was there. Then she went to the right. It was a library, and someone was reading the paper. “Hello?”
The man folded down the newspaper. “Grandpapa,” Ann cried, rushing around the desk to hug him. Ashley had loaned her a picture and she had looked at it on the plane, remembering. She also told Ann that, like Ann does their father, Ashley pours attention on her grandpapa.
“It’s good to see you, Ashley,” Grandpapa said, “What did you do to your hair?”
“I got it cut at camp,” Ann said, “You don’t like it?
“I love it, but your grandmother won’t be pleased,” Grandpapa said, “You know how she feels about short hair. ‘Young ladies wear their hair long.’” Ann rolled her eyes playfully, and Grandpapa laughed. Then, she started sniffing. “What are you doing?”
“Making a memory,” she said, “As long as I live, I’ll always remember you by your aftershave and...” She took another sniff. “Cherry smelling tobacco.” He laughed.
“Ashley, are you here?” she could hear someone calling.
Ann hesitated, but left the study to go back to the main hall. Once there, she saw a beautiful woman coming down the stairs. “Mom,” Ann cried, rushing to give her a big hug. “It’s so good to see you. I’ve missed you so much.”
Kimberly was more than a bit surprised, but returned the hug. “I’ve missed you too, Ashley,” she said, “But you’ve only been gone two weeks.”
“It feels like a lifetime to me,” Ann replied, “I love you, mom.”
“I love you too, sweetie,” Kim said, giving her a kiss on the forehead. “I like your new haircut.”
Ann beamed. “Thank you,” she said, “I thought I’d try something different, so I had the camp barber shorten it pretty drastically. I doubt grandmama will like it.”
“Probably not, but don’t let that discourage you,” Kim said, “You look very distinguished with shorter hair.”
“Thank you, mom,” Ann said.
“Is that Ashley I hear?” she could hear someone asking. A woman stepped out of a room upstairs. It was her grandmama.
“Grandmama,” Ann cried, rushing up and gently gave the family matriarch a big hug. “I’m glad to see you.”
“I’m glad to see you too, Ashley,” Grandmama said, “Now, why did you butcher your hair, child?”
“While at camp, I thought I’d try something different, so I got it shortened,” Ann said, “Don’t you like it?”
“Normally, no,” Grandmama said, “But on you, it seems natural.”
“Thank you,” Ann said, almost sighing with relief.
“Come on, Ashley,” Kim said, “We have a lot of catching up to do.” Giving her mom another hug, Ann followed her up the stairs, waving to her grandmother.
Ashley was just about finished unpacking when she heard Tommy’s truck pulling up. She looked out onto the balcony of her room, to see him climbing out with a beautiful woman that looked to be at least five years younger than her dad.
“Who’s that?” she asked Jesse.
“Oh, that’s Christina Cartwright,” Jesse said, “She’s a... friend of you dad’s, if you know what I mean. I think she’s way too young for him, but he doesn’t listen to me. He thinks she’d be a good influence on you, because she seems so ‘refined’. If she’s refined, then I’m the Queen of England.”
Ashley giggled. “So, he’s not in love with her?” she asked.
“No,” Jesse said, “He just thinks that you need a motherly figure around here, and thinks she’s the right person.”
Ashley bit her lip and looked back out to her dad, who spotted her and waved. “Hey, Ann,” he yelled, “Why don’t you come on down? I need to talk to you about something.”
“All right, dad,” Ashley yelled back. Her sensitive hearing picked up most of their conversation.
“You mean you haven’t told her yet?” she heard Christina ask.
“I haven’t had the chance,” Tommy said, “I had to go check something at the school in town, and had to leave before I could.” Ashley didn’t hear the rest, as she closed the doors.
“I’m going on downstairs to swim, Jesse,” she said.
“Go on,” Jesse said, “I’ll finish up here.” Ashley quickly slipped into her bathing suit and ran down the stairs.
When she got down to the pool, Tommy was waiting for her, along with Christina. “Angel, this is Christina Cartwright,” he said, “Christina, this is my daughter Ann.”
“From what Thomas had told me, I was expecting a little girl,” Christina said, “But you’re practically a grown woman.”
“Well, I do turn 13 in a couple of months,” Ashley said, adjusting her swimming cap. She jumped into the pool, accidentally splashing Christina. She actually hadn’t meant to, she had just misjudged her jump.
“Oh, I’m all wet,” Christina said, sighing.
“Oh geez, I’m sorry, Christina,” Ashley said, “I misjudged my jump into the pool, and I didn’t mean to splash you.”
“Oh, it’s all right, Ann,” Christina said, “I know you didn’t mean to.”
“I’ll go get you a towel,” Tommy said, trying not to laugh. Jesse came out with one. He took it from her and gave it to Christina. “Thanks, Jesse.”
“Yes, thank you, Jesse,” Christina said. She toweled herself off. “I think I’d better be going. I’ve got millions of things to do.”
“All right, Christina,” Tommy said, “Well, I guess I’ll see you later.” He walked her to her car, and she drove off. He started back to the pool, where Ashley was still taking laps. “Angel, I need to talk to you.”
“What is it, dad?” Ashley asked, as she went over and hopped up to sit on the edge of the pool.
“It’s about Christina,” Tommy said, “What would you think about her becoming a part of the family?”
“That’d be great,” Ashley said, “I’ve always wanted a sister.”
“No, that’s not what I mean,” Tommy said.
“Mr. Oliver, telephone,” Jesse called from the house.
“I’ll be right there, Jesse,” Tommy called back, “Ann, this is really important, so I’ll talk to you later, all right?”
“All right, dad,” Ashley said. Tommy went back to the house to take the call. It was somebody at one of his dojo’s, calling to remind him that he had a class in just about an hour.
That night, Ann called Ashley. “How’s it going in jolly old England?” Ashley asked, glad to finally be using her natural British accent.
“It’s going great, but I think grandma’s already suspecting something’s up,” Ann replied. She sounded relieved, as well, that she could use her usual “Valley Girl” accent instead of the fake British one.
“I told you she was perceptive,” Ashley said, “Be more careful around her, all right?”
“I will,” Ann promised, “Say, we never discussed when we were going to tell them and switch back.”
“We’ll just take things one step at a time,” Ashley said, “Right?”
“All right, Ash,” Ann said, “Well, I’ve got to go, or grandmama is really going to be suspicious. Good night, sis.”
“Good night, sis,” Ashley replied. She hung up the phone and quickly went to sleep.
It was still pretty early in the day in England, so Ann went to see Kim. “Hi, mum,” she said, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, nothing really,” Kim said, “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, just curious,” Ann said.
“Ms. Hart, I found something in Ashley’s suitcase,” William said. He held up a doll, Ann’s keepsake from her childhood. “What should I do with it?”
“I’ll take it,” Ann said, snatching the doll away from him gently. “It belongs to a girl at camp, the one I was telling you both about. She really loves this little old thing, so I’d better send it to her.”
“Right,” William said, surrendering the doll. Ann took it into her arms and walked back to her room.
The next morning, in California, Ashley woke to the sweet smell of breakfast cooking. Still in her nightgown, she went downstairs, and found Jesse at the stove, cooking.
“Good morning, sleepy head,” Jesse said, “Or should I say afternoon. You looked so peaceful, I just couldn’t wake you.”
Ashley grinned. “Thanks, Jesse,” she said, “Where’s dad?”
“He had to go check something out at one of his dojos’, but promised to be back as soon as he can.” She put their lunch on the table, and the two sat down to eat. Tommy came in a few minutes later and joined them. Then, they went to sun bathe by the pool.
On the other side of the world, Ann was on a shopping trip with Kim. She had always thought that she was a heavy shopper, but she was nothing compared to Kim, who made her own money in clothes designing.
“Mom,” she said, when they sat down for a break.
“Yes, sweetie?” Kim asked.
“Whatever happened to my father?”
Kim hesitated big time. “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask this,” she admitted, “Tommy, your father, and I met a long time ago, on the Queen Titania. We were married there, in fact. But it didn’t last long. It took the time to have you, but that’s it.”
“But why?” Ann asked, “If you were married in such a short time after meeting each other, wasn’t it true love?”
“The main reason, I’m afraid, was your dad’s business,” Kim said, “He only ran one dojo then, and was always away, teaching classes or tutoring students at their houses or something. One day, I just couldn’t handle it anymore, grabbed you up, and left. Even though I was mad, I had hoped that he would come after me, but he didn’t, and I haven’t seen him since our short meeting to decide custody.”
“Which you both decided should go to you,” Ann said. Kim nodded. “Bottom line, do you still love dad?”
Kim took a long moment before answering. “Yeah, I do,” she murmured softly, “Even after all these years, I do. But it’s silly of me to think that he still loves me. He’s probably remarried by now.”
“Oh,” Ann said, “Well, now what do we do?”
“I say we do some more shopping,” Kim said. They both laughed, and headed for the nearest store.
“Ann, there’s something I need to talk to you about,” Tommy said, “Alone.”
“I’ll go straighten the living room,” Jesse said, as she left the pool side area, which was where they were.
“Ann, do you remember when I was talking about Christina becoming a part of our family?” Tommy asked.
“Yeah, I remember,” Ashley said, “Why?”
“When I said that, I didn’t mean I was going to adopt her,” Tommy said, “I meant I was thinking of marrying her.”
“Marrying her? Dad, you can’t,” Ashley insisted, “She’s mean, and she’s way younger than you.”
“You don’t know that,” Tommy said, “You hardly even know her.”
“No, but I know women like her,” Ashley said. Before she could think, she threw out a Japanese insult. “I just can’t believe you. You’re not young anymore.”
Tommy was surprised to hear her speak Japanese. “Ann, was that Japanese?” he asked, “I didn’t know you could speak Japanese.”
“I picked up some from my friend at camp,” Ashley said, “And don’t change the subject.”
“All right, I won’t,” Tommy said, “Look, I...”
“Dad, do you love this Christina?” Ashley asked, point blank.
“No, but you need a mother around the house,” Tommy said.
“What about Jesse? She’s been the only mother I know,” Ashley pointed out.
“I know, but Jesse is too close to you,” Tommy said, “She’s so close to you, she wouldn’t discipline you. You need a motherly figure to help do that.”
“Of all the pigheaded... Oooh.” Ashley was really getting frustrated. “Dad, what about mom? Don’t you still love her?”
“Wait a minute,” Tommy said, “What’s this about your mom? And you were getting on to me about changing the subject.”
“Just answer the question, please,” Ashley implored.
“Yes, I do love your mom,” Tommy said, “But I haven’t even seen her since only a few months after you were born.” All of a sudden, his cell phone went off. “Ann, I’ve got to answer this. We’ll talk about this later, all right?”
“Don’t bother,” Ashley said, as she stormed away. Tommy started to stop her, but knew that she just needed to blow off some steam. He flipped open his cell phone and pushed the send button.
Ashley made her way into the living room. “Of all the pigheaded, thick skulled fathers,” she started saying, not noting that her voice had reverted to her natural British accent. “I can’t believe that he...”
“Is there something you want to run by me?” Jesse asked, as she suddenly sat up on the couch, scaring Ashley.
“Oh, Jesse,” Ashley said, “You startled me. I didn’t think anybody was in here with me.”
“Obviously,” Jesse said, “You know, I think I know what’s going on here. Sandy’s avoiding you, the small changes in your behavior and such... you have a lot of explaining to do, Ashley Jessica Hart. But first... come here.” Jesse pulled Ashley over the back of the couch, into a hug.
“What was that for?” Ashley asked.
“That was because I haven’t seen you in so long, before you came yesterday,” Jesse said, “You’re so grown up and beautiful.”
“Why thank you,” Ashley said, blushing. “I guess I do have a lot of explaining to do, don’t I? Well, I’ll start with how I met Ann. It was at that summer camp. We were fencing with each other, but we didn’t know it yet. After we came out a draw, we took off our helmets. You should have seen our faces when we noticed that we were looked so much alike.”
“I can imagine,” Jesse said.
“Well, we were enemies at first,” Ashley said, “Until she pulled this prank on me, that the camp director walked into. She put us both in a cabin, away from the others. There, we became fast friends. Then, one night, I showed her a picture of dad, and she showed me a picture of mom. We put them together, and they fit perfectly. It was a photo of the day they had gotten married, on the Queen Titania. From there, we made plans to switch on you guys. Sorry to be so much trouble.”
Jesse shook her head. “You girls have been trouble, ever since you were born,” she murmured jokingly, “But I love you both anyway.”
“I love you too, Jesse, even in the short time we’ve known each other,” Ashley said, “Are you going to tell dad who I am?”
“No,” Jesse said, “I won’t take away any time you should have with your dad. Its not like you’ll see him very often, after he knows which one you are. He’ll have to take you back to your mom, who Ann should tell by then.
“I don’t know if I want to,” Ashley said, “I mean, I don’t know if I can handle being away from my sister, my dad, and you after finally finding you.”
“That’s just the way it’s gotta be,” Jesse said, “Legally, your mom has custody of you, and your dad has legal custody of Ann.”
“I know,” Ashley said, “I just...” All of a sudden, Tommy came through the front door, with Christina. Two people, who looked to be her parents, were with them. Scowling, Ashley got up and went over to them.
She spent the next few days there, watching Tommy and Christina go through plan after plan for the wedding and waiting on calls from Ann to give her an excuse to hide away and talk to her. When the phone finally rang, she picked it up hurriedly. “Ann?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s me, Ash,” Ann said, “What’s wrong?” Ann was at a phone booth a few corners down from the house, because she had been found while hiding out in a closet to call Ashley one time.
“You have to come back, and now,” Ashley said, “Dad’s getting married, and we have to stop it.” She had overheard Christina and her mother talking, about swindling Tommy’s money away, of sending her to a boarding school, and of firing Jesse.
“Wait a minute,” Ann said, “Just calm down for a second. What do you mean, dad’s getting married. He wasn’t even dating when I left for camp.”
“I know, but he got engaged while you were gone,” Ashley said, “Oh, and by the way, Jesse says hi and that she loves you. She figured it out.”
“I knew she would eventually,” Ann said, “How’s Sandy?”
“She doing great,” Ashley said, “Anyway, like I said, you need to come to California right away. Tell mum the truth, if you have to.”
“All right, all right,” Ann said, sighing. “I’ll tell mom about our switch and we’ll try to get down there as soon as possible.”
“Thanks,” Ashley said, finally feeling calmed down. “Well, I guess I’ll talk to you later then. Bye.”
“Bye, Ashley,” Ann said. She then hung up the phone and hurried out of the booth, almost knocking over a man in the process. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I-” She broke off when she saw that it was her grandfather. “Uh oh.”
She thought he was going to be mad at her, but all he did was sweep her into a gentle hug. “Oh, Ann,” he said, “It’s so good to see you. The last time I saw you, you were knee high to a bat.”
Ann giggled. “Well, other than the time on this trip, it has been almost thirteen years, grandpa,” she said, “You heard me talking to Ashley?”
“Yes, I did,” Grandpa said, “And she was right about you needing to tell your mother. She has a right to know.”
“I know, but I don’t know how to break it to her,” Ann said, “I mean, we’ve only spent a couple of days together.”
“But think about it,” her grandpa said, “It’s really not your decision to make, now is it? Besides, I know you have to miss your dad tremendously.”
“Yeah, I do,” Ann said, “I’ll tell her first thing in the morning, all right? It’s getting kind of late.”
“All right, but first thing,” her grandpa said. With that, he put her down and they walked, hand in hand, back to the house.
The next morning, she went into her mother’s room. There, Kim was reading a book and was pretty engrossed in it. “Mom, could you please scratch my back?” she pleaded, plopping down on the bed and snuggling up next to Kim.
“Sure, sweetheart,” Kim said, “Here.” Ann turned her back and moved closer, and Kim started scratching her back gently.
“Why did you leave us? Why didn’t you stay?”
“What do you mean, sweetie? Who’s we?”
“Me and dad,” Ann said.
“You and dad? What are you talking about?” Kim demanded, “You talk as if you’re Ann, and not Ashley.”
Ann hid beneath the covers. “Have you ever thought that I am?” she asked, reverting to her Valley Girl accent.
She couldn’t see Kim’s face, but knew that she had to have been shocked out of her mind. “Oh my gosh,” she said, “Ann?” That brought a sheepish Ann from out of the covers.
“Hi, mom,” she said.
“Tell me this is a joke,” Kim said, “Please tell me this is a joke.”
“It’s not a joke, mom,” Ann said, “Ashley and I met during summer camp and switched places.”
Tears were welling in Kim’s eyes. “Ann,” she cried, pulling the girl into her arms for a big hug. “I never thought I’d see you again.”
Ann had started crying, too. “Are you mad at Ashley and me?” she inquired.
“No,” Kim said, “How could I be? You’re my little girls.” Ann snuggled closer. “Who knew about this?”
“Grandpa caught me making a call to Ashley, so he does,” Ann said, “But he’s the only one so far.”
“I’m surprised your grandmother hasn’t figured it out, too,” Kim said, “I just can’t believe that you’re here, and not Ashley.”
“After Ashley and I figured out we were twin sisters, I just had to see you,” Ann said, “I’ve missed having a mom.”
“I’ve missed you too, sweetie,” Kim said.
All of a sudden, they hear sniffling in the hall. They look to the door, to find it open. William was standing there, crying. “This is so emotional,” he said. Laughing, Grandpa closed the door.
Grandma was just about to go in. She had been there to hear it as well. But Grandpa stopped her. “What are you doing?” she demanded, “I want to see Ann, too.”
“Let them have some time to themselves,” Grandpa said.
“Oh, all right,” Grandma said. She left in a huff.
“So that’s what happened,” Ann said, “We didn’t mean to trick you. It was just that Ashley wanted to see dad badly, and I wanted to see you just as badly.”
“Oh, sweetie,” Kim said, “Your dad and I had come to an agreement during the divorce. We were going to renegotiate the custody terms, so that the two of you could stay together, mostly with me, when you were both old enough.” Ann looked up at her, more than a bit surprised.
“You were?” she asked.
“We were,” Kim said, “You would have been needing me in a couple of months, when you turned thirteen, if you know what I mean.”
“Jesse would have been more than happy to help with that,” Ann pointed out, “For me and Ashley, if need be.”
“So, your dad still has Jesse on his payroll, huh? That’s no surprise,” Kim said, “To tell you the truth, one time, I thought those two had gone and had an affair behind my back. It turned out later that it was just a bit of paranoia on my part.”
“She’s a wonderful nanny,” Ann said, “She helped dad teach me martial arts.. Turns out that she’s a second degree black belt, and dad had trained her a long time ago. Did he ever do that with you?”
“He tried, but I could never get the hang of it,” Kim admitted, “I was good at gymnastics, and I still am, but I just couldn’t quite get much past the basics of martial arts, though its basically not too much different from gymnastics, if you get right down to it, right?”
“I guess so,” Ann said, “Though I really wouldn’t know. I’m not really big on gymnastics.”
“Oh, too bad,” Kim said, “Now, what am I to do? I mean, you should go back to your dad.”
“I was thinking of a little trip,” Ann said, “To go and get Ashley.”
“Well, I guess we’ll need to go,” Kim said, “I’ll have mom call the tickets in, while we pack.”
“All right,” Ann said, “I’d better go get started.” She gave Kim another hug then got up to go to her room.
“Ann?” Kim inquired. Ann turned around. “I’m actually glad you two did this. I’ve been wanting to see you for years, and I didn’t know how to approach your father about it.”
“I’m glad we did, too,” Ann admitted, then left.
Kim started packing. Without thinking, she started packing outfits that Tommy had liked seeing her in. ‘I’m being silly,’ she thought, ‘I feel like a school girl going to a dance or something. Of course, it doesn’t help that I still love him a lot.’ Frustrated, she went back to packing.
Ann called Ashley, to tell her that they were flying in. “Good,” Ashley said, “Dad’s wedding is going to be in a couple of days. Who all is coming?”
“Me, mom, and probably William,” Ann said, “I think grandmama and grandpapa are feeling a wee bit under the weather, and are going to stay.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” Ashley said honestly, “I’ve been dying to see them, even grandmama. But if they can’t make it, they can’t make it. I’ll see them when I go back there.”
“Yeah, you probably will,” Ann murmured softly.
“What’s wrong, sis?” Ashley asked.
“It’s just that, when you come back, I’ll be there,” Ann said, “I mean mom and I have only had a few days together. Don’t you feel that way, about your time with dad?”
“To tell you the truth, yeah, I do,” Ashley said, “But I don’t know of anything we can do about it.”
“Well, we could ask to stay the half the rest of the summer together here and there,” Ann said, “That way, we can spend time with each other and with the parent we miss.”
“Sounds great to me,” Ashley said, “You spring it on mom on the way up here, and we’ll both run it by dad when you get here.”
“All right,” Ann said, “Well, I’ve got to go pack. See you then, sis.”
“All right, sis,” Ashley said. They both hung up. Ann went to her room and started to pack her things.
On the way to the airport, Ann decided to spring the idea on Kim. “Mom?”
“What is it, sweetie?” Kim asked.
“I was talking to Ashley earlier,” she said, “I’ve spent so little time with you, and her with dad, and each other, we... we want to spend the rest of the summer together. Half of it with you, half with dad. Together.”
“That’s sounds all right to me,” Kim said, “I would love for both of you to be around the house, even if it is a few weeks. And I’m sure your dad feels the same.”
“He probably will,” Ann murmured softly. They were quiet the rest of the way. They fell asleep quickly on the plane, all three of them.
“Your dad’s going to be at the wedding coordinators all afternoon,” Jesse said, “That gives us more than enough time to pick up your sister and mother, and bring them back for a big surprise for him.”
“This is going to be great,” Ashley said, “I’ll see Ann and mum again, and maybe mum and dad will fall in love again.”
“I have tell you now, sweetie,” Jesse said, “That has the least chance of happening. The best you should expect to happen from this is that you get to spend some time with all three of them at the same time.”
“I guess you’re right,” Ashley admitted reluctantly, “And if the plan follows through, I’ll spend the rest of the summer with my sister, and half of it right here with dad and you.”
“And I hope it does,” Jesse said, “I haven’t had very long to spend with you, and neither has your dad. When are you going to tell him, about you not being Ann?”
“When Ann and mom get here,” Ashley said, “Besides, when am I going to get the chance. You said it yourself that he was going to be gone most of the day.”
“You’re right,” Jesse said, “Boy, sometimes I wish you had a bad memory like your sister and your father. Your mind is like a steel trap, just like your mom.”
“It’s just because I haven’t spent my whole life with dad,” Ashley said, “I’ve only been around him this past week.”
“True,” Jesse said. Ashley looked up at the clock, for what seemed like the hundredth time. “Now, stop that. You’re making me nervous.”
“I’m sorry, Jesse,” Ashley said, “I’m just so anxious to see Ann and mom again, I can’t help it.”
“I know you can’t,” Jesse said, “Well, we’ve still got a few hours. What do you want to do until then?”
“I think I’m going to go do some practice on the balance beam in the gym,” Ashley said, “It’s been ages since I have. There wasn’t one at camp, and dad would have been pretty suspicious if he had caught me on it here. Why did he put that thing up, anyway?”
“For your mom,” Jesse said, “She kept on bugging him to put one up, so he did eventually. Ann usually uses the mats, to practice martial arts. Well, come on. I want to see how good you are.” They headed for the gym.
Ashley made a bee line for the balance beam. “Oh, I better change into some workout clothes,” she said. She took the bag she had on her shoulder and pulled out some clothes and quickly changed. Then, she tossed the bag into a corner.
Then she jumped up on balance beam, landing perfectly. Then she did a careful cartwheel. Then, she did a back flip. She then did a splits on the balance beam, then turned it into a handstand.
Jesse was so engrossed in watching Ashley, that she didn’t notice Tommy coming up behind her. “Wow, she’s good,” he murmured, scaring Jesse.
“Yes she is,” Jesse said, “Well, we always said that she had the natural grace and agility of her mother. Now, she’s showing us just how much.”
When Ashley did a back flip dismount from the balance beam, Jesse and Tommy both started clapping. She was startled to see her dad watching, but she covered it quickly.
“Hi, dad,” she said, “So, what did you two think?”
“You were great, Ann,” Jesse said.
“You were more than great,” Tommy said, “You were awesome, Angel.” Ashley beamed with pride.
“Thanks,” she said, “Just a little something I picked up at camp. Don’t think me rude, dad, but I thought you were going to be gone most of today?”
“I came back to grab a shower and a change of clothes,” Tommy said, “I just got out of a class, and I’m sweaty.”
“Oh,” Ashley said, rather sheepishly. It was his house, after all.
“How about you come with me, and we can grab some ice cream on the way or something?” Tommy inquired.
“Um, I have plans,” Ashley said.
“We were planning go for a drive a little later,” Jesse interjected quickly, “Maybe pick up some cute guys.” That made Ashley blush.
“Well, all right,” Tommy said, “I hope you have fun.” With that, he left the gym area.
“Whew, that was close,” Ashley said.
“A little too close,” Jesse agreed, “We’d better be going, if we’re going to be at the airport on time.”
“Let’s go,” Ashley said, hopping out of the room. They got a few things together, called bye to Tommy, then hopped into Jesse’s car and took off.
“I can’t wait to see them,” Ashley said.
“I can’t wait, either,” Jesse said, “It’s been too long since I’ve seen your mother. We used to be good friends. That is, until she suspected me of sleeping with your father.”
“She did? That’s awful,” Ashley said, though she could see why. Jesse was very pretty for being middle aged. Ashley could only imagine how pretty Jesse had been all of those years ago.
“Oh, it was just a little misunderstanding,” Jesse said, “We kissed and made up.” Ashley giggled.
When they got to the airport, it was just a few minutes until the plane was scheduled to arrive. They hurried to the gate they were supposed to be coming in at, almost knocking down a few people in the process.
When they got to the gate, the plane was taxiing into the terminal. They only had to wait a few minutes, until Ann came flying from the passenger tunnel, to give both of them a big hug.
“Oh, I’m so happy to see you, sis,” she cried, as she hugged Ashley.
“You too, sis,” Ashley said. Ann went to hug Jesse, who gave her a big bear hug, while Ashley went to hug Kim and William, who was lagging behind the enthusiastic young lady.
“Oh, hi,” Jesse said, when she spotted Kim. “I don’t know if you remember me, but...”
“I do remember you, Jesse,” Kim said, “I don’t have a bad memory like my ex-husband, after all.”
“I know,” Jesse said. It was then that she noticed William, and felt an instant attraction. “Well... who are you?
“My name’s William, and I am their chauffeur,” William said.
“As well as being one of my best friends,” Ashley said, “I’ve missed you, mum. I hope you’re not mad at us.”
“No, I’m not,” Kim said, “How can I be? You two are my little girls. Now, come here.” She caught the two of them in a big hug. They were there several minutes, before breaking away. They went to Jesse’s car. William insisted on driving. Jesse sat beside him, and Ann, Ashley, and Kim were in the back, catching up.
“And that’s what all happened in England,” Ashley said, “Now, are we too late?”
“Late for what?” Kim asked.
“You mean you didn’t tell her?” Ashley inquired.
Ann shrugged. “I didn’t think to tell her,” she said.
“You’ve got your father’s bad memory, sweetie,” Kim joked playfully, “But what do you mean, are we too late?”
“Dad’s getting married again,” Ashley said, “To a woman named Christina Cartwright.
“Oh,” Kim said in a small voice, “Well, I’m happy for him. I’ll just be here long enough to settle about the summer and renegotiate the custody terms, and then William and I will be leaving.”
“Renegotiate the custody terms?” Ashley asked, “Huh?”
“I’ll explain later, sis,” Ann said, “It’s a long story.” Ashley nodded.
“Coming up on the estate,” William said.
Kim took a look at the house. “Hasn’t changed a bit since I’ve been here,” she murmured. They got out and took their stuff to their rooms. Since Ann had a bunk bed in her room, her and Ashley were going share her room, while Kim and William took the two guest rooms.
“This is so cool,” Ann said, “Being here with you, mom, dad, William, Jesse, and Sandy at the same time.”
“Yeah, it is,” Ashley said, “So what’s this about custody terms?”
“You’re not going to believe this,” Ann said, “But mom and dad had actually made an agreement when they got divorced, that they were going to keep us together once we were old enough. Mostly with mom, because we’ll need her help when we turn thirteen, if you know what I mean.”
“That’s wonderful,” Ashley said, “Then we didn’t even need to do this?”
“No, we still should’ve done it, even if we knew about that,” Ann said, “Otherwise, we might have passed on the possible chance of getting mom and dad back together.” Ashley grinned.
“Well, girls, I’m hitting the shower,” Kim said, “Yell at me if you need me for anything.”
“All right, mom,” the girls said in unison.
Kim gave them both a kiss on the forehead. “It’s so good seeing the two of you together,” she murmured, before heading for the shower.
The girls gabbed until Kim got out, then she joined in. They were caught unaware when the front door opened. “Ann, can you come down for a minute? I want to talk to you.” It was Tommy.
Ashley looked to Ann, who yelled, “I’ll be right down dad.”
“Christina is probably with him, if you want to see her,” Ashley said. That got Ann and Kim both up, anxious to see her.
“Are you coming?” Ann asked.
“No thanks,” Ashley said, “I’ve seen enough of her.” Ann and Kim went into the hall, where they peeked around the safety of a hanging plant. Ann went downstairs, while Kim went to her room.
“Hi, dad,” she cried enthusiastically, lunging at him for a hug.
“Whoa, and here I was thinking that you were still mad at me,” Tommy said.
“Huh? Oh, never mind,” Ann said. She turned to Christina. “Hi, Christina.”
“Hello, Ann,” Christina said.
“What did you want to see me for, dad?” Ann asked.
“Oh, just checking to see if you were here,” Tommy said, “The priest should be here any minute now, so be on your best behavior.”
“Aren’t I always?” Ann asked. Tommy had to concede the point. She scrambled back up the stairs.
A little while later, Tommy was going into the bathroom to shave. He found one of Kim’s bras there. He opened the door to the twins’ room. Ashley was lying down on the bed, reading. “Ann?”
“Never mind,” Tommy said. He closed the door and looked at the bra. ‘Can’t be hers,’ he thought, ‘Must be one of Jesse’s.’
A little while later, he was out by the pool, with Christina, her mother, and the minister. The wedding was supposed to be there, and they were going over the plans. Kim and the twins were curious, so they looked out an opened window.
“And I was thinking that the sculpture will go over there,” Christina said.
“That sounds good to me,” Tommy said. All of a sudden, he looked towards the window and caught a glimpse of the trio there. He moved around to get a better look through it.
“What are you doing?” the minister asked politely.
“I thought I saw someone at the... ahhh.” With that, he tripped over a pool side chair and fell into the pool. Christina and the minister raced right over and helped him out. He then looked at the window, but Kim and the twins weren’t there anymore.
“Are you all right, Mr. Oliver?” the minister asked.
“Yeah, I’m all right,” Tommy said.
“Are you sure, Thomas?” Ms. Cartwright asked.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Tommy said, “I-I’m going to go change, before I catch a cold. I’ll be right back.” Without waiting for an answer, Tommy made his way to the house and to the window.
There, Kim was just looking out the window when he came storming into the room. “I thought it was you,” he said. She turned around, and he barely bit back a gasp. ‘She’s just as beautiful as I remember,’ he thought.
“Hi, Tommy,” Kim said. ‘@#$%, he looks good, even wet,’ Kim mused.
“Hi, Kim,” Tommy replied, “Look, I’ve got guests here and I’m about to get married. Why in the world are you here?”
“Don’t ask me,” Kim said, “It wasn’t my idea to come.”
“That’s surprising,” Tommy said, “You’re so impulsive, its not funny.” The two didn’t notice that their voices were raising, or that Ann and Ashley had appeared in the doorway.
“Oh, don’t raise your voice at me, Thomas Oliver,” Kim warned.
“Look, I’m sorry,” Tommy said, “You’ve just caught me at a bad time.”
“I can understand,” Kim said, biting back a giggle. “I saw you fall into the pool, as you can gather.”
“This is just great,” Tommy said.
“If the two of you would stop arguing for a minute...” Ann started.
“... we’ll explain everything,” Ashley finished. That got their parents attention and they turned towards the twins.
“Surprise,” they said in unison.
Shock dawned on Tommy’s face. “What in the world...” he muttered, “Both of them... here?”
“That’s what I tried to tell you,” Kim said, “They met at summer camp and pulled the old switcheroo on us.”
“You mean I’ve had Ashley this whole time?” Tommy asked.
“That’s right, dad,” Ashley said, “I’m sorry for lying to you, and saying I was Ann.”
“Come here,” Tommy said. The two girls rushed into his open arms and he enveloped them in a big, warm hug. “I just can’t believe it.”
“Imagine how I felt, when I found out,” Kim said.
“Dad, we need to talk to you,” Ann said.
“What is it, Angel?” Tommy inquired.
“Well, we were thinking about the summer,” Ashley continued for her sister, “We were wanting to spend it together. Half of it here, so I can be around you, more...”
“And half at mom’s, so I can be around her some more,” Ann finished. The two were already good about ending each others sentences.
“That sounds great to me,” Tommy said, “I would be glad to accommodate the two of you. I love you.”
“We love you too, dad,” the girls said in unison, as they gave him another hug.
“Hey, what about me?” Kim asked, mockingly indignant. Ann and Ashley broke away from Tommy and went to hug her. “I love you, girls.”
“We love you too, mom,” they said.
“Why don’t you girls run upstairs? I need to talk to your mom,” Tommy said. Grinning, the girls ran up the stairs. “They’re quite a pair, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they most certainly are,” Kim said, “Look, Tommy, I’m sorry if this caused you any trouble. Has Ashley been minding you?”
“Yeah, she has been,” Tommy said, “It hasn’t really been any trouble. Well, except when you accidentally distracted me and caused me to fall in the pool.” They both laughed. “I guess it’s time for the girls to be together, like we agreed upon when we got divorced, huh?”
Kim nodded. “Yeah, I think it is time,” she murmured, “It’s only about three months until their birthday, and I need to be with them when they turn thirteen. I know they would have Jesse here, but...”
“Times like those takes a mother’s care,” Tommy finished. Kim nodded. The two still had an uncanny knack of finishing each others sentences, even though they had been divorced for many years.
The two stood in silence for a while, looking at each other. “Speaking of you falling in the pool,” Kim said, “You should go change out of those wet clothes, before you catch pneumonia or something.”
“Yeah, I guess I’d better,” Tommy admitted softly.
Just then, Christina, her mother, and the minister came walking in. “Oh, hello,” Christina said, “Who are you?”
“I’m Kimberly Hart, Tommy’s ex-wife,” Kim said, “You must be Christina. Ashley was right. You’re a living doll.”
“Thank you,” Christina said, “Who’s Ashley?”
“Our other daughter,” Kim said, “What, hasn’t Tommy told you that we had twins right before we were divorced?”
“I, um, usually don’t talk about it,” Tommy said.
“Oh, then, we should do lunch,” Kim said, “I’ll tell you all about it, if you want to know.”
“Why not,” Christina said, “Certainly sounds interesting enough.” She then eyed Tommy’s wet clothing with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m going to go change,” Tommy said, “Make yourselves right at home.” Christina then gave him a kiss, which made him blush and Kim frustrated.
‘Not like I didn’t expect it,’ she thought, ‘After all, they’re supposed to be getting married.’
“Actually, we need to be leaving,” Ms. Cartwright said, “Good bye, Thomas, and it was nice meeting you, Ms. Hart.”
“It was nice meeting you too, Ms. Cartwright,” Kim said, shaking her hand. The minister’s too. The trio then headed out the front door.
“I’m going to go change,” Tommy said. He went up the stairs.
“I’m going to go fix lunch,” Jesse said. She glanced at William. “Want to help me?”
“Sure thing, madam,” William said. The two went into the kitchen.
Ann and Ashley came down the stairs a few minutes later. “So?”
“He loved the idea,” Kim said. The girls cheered and slapped a high five. “So, what do you girls want to do now?”
“I’d like to go to the gym room,” Ann said, “It’s been a while since I’ve practiced martial arts.”
“Sounds good to me,” Kim said, “Is the balance beam I begged your father to put in there still up?”
“Yep,” Ashley said, “I was practicing on it just this morning.”
Kim eyed her workout clothes, which Ashley still had on. “So I see,” she said, “Let’s go then.” The three headed for the gym.
“Race ya,” Ann said.
“You’re on,” Ashley said. The two started in a dead run down the hall. Kim couldn’t help but laugh at their youthful enthusiasm.
It only took them a few minutes to get to the gym room. It was actually a couple of rooms put together, with the wall between knocked down. It was large, and had all kinds of equipment, including a heavy bag and a balance beam. When they had been married, Tommy had one part of the room for his martial arts, and Kim had the other, for her gymnastics.
Ashley made a beeline for the balance beam, while Ann made a beeline for the heavy bag.
Ashley jumped up onto the beam with grace that she gained mostly from her mother. From there, she did a cartwheel and then a back flip. Kim had forgotten how good she was at gymnastics.
Ann was pounding away at the heavy bag, glad to have something to work out her frustration on. ‘Our plan to get mom and dad back together just isn’t working,’ she thought.
Kim watched Ann do an amazing four step combination. Left punch, right punch, left punch, then a side kick that would have hit the head of any opponent. “Wow, she’s amazing,” she murmured.
“Yeah she is. Jesse taught her everything she knows.” Kim spun around, startled to see Tommy standing behind her.
“Tommy, you scared me,” she scolded.
“Sorry, Kim,” he said.
“How long had you been standing there?” Kim asked.
“Oh, just a minute or so,” Tommy said, “Just look at them.” He looked at Ann and Ashley. “They’re just perfect.”
“Of course they are,” Jesse said, as she and William joined them. “Just look at their parents.” That got both Kim and Tommy blushing.
“I think I’ll go see how Ann’s doing,” Tommy murmured self consciously, as he started walking over to the girl knocking the stuffing out of the heavy bag.
“And I’m going to see how Ashley’s doing,” Kim said. She went over to Ashley, who was starting on her floor routine.
When they were done, all of them went into the dining room, to eat the lunch Jesse had prepared for them.
After they ate, they decided to take a drive through town. “Let’s go to the park,” Ann suggested. Kim had told them about her and Tommy’s old favorite make out spot when they moved here, by a small lake in the park. Kim had also confided in Ann that one day that, late one night, that was also where the girls were conceived.
“Yeah, let’s make a picnic out of it,” Ashley said, getting into the swing of things. They had to go back to the house to get a few things, but then they headed for the park. Once there, the girls deliberately led them to the place Ann was sure that Kim had been talking about.
“Do you get the feeling we’re being set up?” Tommy asked Kim quietly, when Jesse and William joined the girls in a game of frisbee toss. “I mean, did you tell the girls about this place?”
“I told Ann, when she was asking me about you,” Kim said, “And you’re right. I’d almost swear that they were trying to set us up.”
“Kim, why did you leave? I mean, I thought we were happy,” Tommy said.
“The real reason?” Tommy nodded. “It was your job when you only had one dojo, the Dreaming Falcon. Before, and after coincidentally, the girls were born, that’s all you had time for. I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
“Kim, I had a reason for working so hard,” Tommy said, “I never wanted to tell you this, but... I was running into big time money problems. I had to fire most of my staff at the dojo, and I had to take a lot of classes myself. Don’t you remember how, even if I came in early, I was so exhausted, I just had to sleep?”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Kim asked, “Didn’t I have a right to know, as your wife?”
“I didn’t want to worry you, so I never said anything,” Tommy said, “I know you could have called your parents up and asked for a loan to help out, but I was wanting to try to prove to you that I could take care of you, and the twins, all by myself, without help from your parents or mine. In fact, after you left, I had to build myself an apartment above the dojo, and live there. I almost lost Ann because I lived that way. If it hadn’t been for Jesse, reminding me of my responsibilities, I would have been dead within the week after you left. I would have killed myself.”
Kim could feel her heart breaking. “Oh geez, Tommy,” she murmured softly, “I never knew. You know, when I left, rather cowardly, I wanted you to come to England after me. I wanted you to wrap me in your arms and tell me that it all would be all right, and that it was all just a bad dream or something.”
“I couldn’t come after you for one simple reason,” Tommy said, “I couldn’t have afforded a ticket to England if my life depended on it. Then, that is. Since then, I’ve opened up a string of Dreaming Falcon dojos’ all across California and Nevada. Did you know that Jason lives in the apartment now? His parents kicked him out a while back and he needed a place to stay, so I let him live there.”
“That’s good,” Kim said.
“For what its worth, Kimberly,” Tommy said, “I still love you. I love you just as much as the day I said I do.” With she didn’t answer him, he got up and went to join in the frisbee catch game, which had expanded to include a couple of Ann’s friends.
What he didn’t see was that Kim was crying. “I love you too,” she sobbed quietly. They headed home after a while and to bed, because it had gotten late while they were at the park.
Kim was in the guest room, too twisted up inside to sleep. “All those years, I thought he hated me for leaving,” she muttered, “And all the while, he loved me just as much as I love him. I think I need to talk to Jason about this.” She fell asleep, dreaming about the day she had gotten married to Tommy.
The next morning, she and the twins were supposed to leave, but she wanted to do one last thing before she left; to see Jason. William drove her in Tommy’s truck and followed Tommy’s directions to the original Dreaming Falcon dojo.
When they got there, Kim found that she was nervous. “I’ll be right back, William,” she said.
“All right, madam,” William said.
Kim slid out of the truck and went inside. There, a bunch of students were on a big mat, sparring and stuff. She made her way to the front desk. “May I help you?” a clerk asked.
“Yes, I’m looking for Jason Scott,” Kim said.
“I think he went back to the office,” the clerk said, “It’s right down the hall here, and the third room to your right.”
“Okay, thanks,” Kim said. She then went down the hallway the clerk had pointed to. It wasn’t hard to find the office. She knocked.
“Come in,” a gruff voice said. She opened the door. There was Jason, at the desk, totaling something.
“Jason?” she inquired timidly.
“Yeah?” When he turned to face her, his jaw dropped. “Kim? Kimberly Hart? Is that you?”
“Yeah, it’s me, Jason,” Kim said, “Long time no see.”
“It has been a long time,” Jason said. He sprang up and grabbed her up in a big, but gentle, bear hug. “You’re a sight for sore eyes. How have you been? And how has Ashley been doing?” Jason was Ashley and Ann’s honorary Godfather.
“I’m fine, and so is Ashley,” Kim said, “I’ve missed talking to you.”
“I’m betting you miss talking to Trini face to face more,” Jason said, grinning. Kim returned it, rather sheepishly. “What brings you around here? Did you and Tommy finally get together to renegotiate the custody terms?”
“Well, we didn’t have much of a choice,” Kim said, “The girls met at a summer camp we sent them to, and switched on us. After Ann told me what they did, I had to come back. And since I was here, we faced the inevitable, and yes, changed the custody terms.”
“That’s great,” Jason said, “Well, like I said, what brings you here to the Dreaming Falcon?”
“Tommy,” Kim said.
“I figured as much,” Jason said, “Let me see. You both love each other a lot, and you don’t know what to do about it, right?”
Kim nodded. “I mean, we are so different,” she said, “He’s into karate, I’m into gymnastics. We have next to nothing in common, now or then.”
“All I’ll say about that is opposites attract,” Jason said, “Billy, Trini, Zack, Angela, and I have always felt that you two should be together forever. You’ve always seemed to love each other enough to.”
“I know,” Kim murmured softly, “Well, I’ve got to be going. Mine and the twins’ flight leaves in a couple of hours. Thanks, Jason.”
“You’re welcome,” Jason said, as he got up and gave her another hug. “Don’t be a stranger now, you hear? Call me sometime. I don’t think the boss will mind if you make most of them collect.”
Kim smiled. Then she walked out of the dojo and climbed back into the truck, where William still waited. “How did it go?” he asked. He then took in the tears in her eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, just please drive,” Kim said. William wisely did as he was told.
A little while later, they were back at Tommy’s house. She was packed and ready to go. “Ann, Ashley,” she called, “It’s time to go.”
“Are you sure I can’t talk you into staying a day or two more?” Tommy asked, “I definitely wouldn’t mind the adult company.”
“I’m sorry, Tommy, but we need to go,” Kim said, “As much as I like it here, England is my home now.”
Tommy smiled rather sadly. “I understand,” he said, “It would be like me going to England, I suppose.” That got Kim to crack a smile.
Ann and Ashley came down. They were wearing the exact same outfit and looked exactly the same. “Come along, girls,” Kim said, “We need to get going, or we’ll miss the plane.”
“We’ve come to a decision,” Ashley said.
“Yes, we have,” Ann said, using her now flawless British accent. The girls sounded exactly alike. “The both of us want the four of us to go on the annual hiking trip, together.”
“What annual hiking trip?” Kim asked.
“The one I take Ann on every year,” Tommy said, “Look girls, this isn’t funny. Your grandmother can’t get a refund for these tickets. Ann....”
“Yes, dad,” Ann said, with her Valley Girl accent.
“Yes, dad,” Ashley said, with her now flawless Valley Girl accent. Tommy came closer, inspecting the two.
“This is Ann,” he said, “I’d know her tomboyish musculature anywhere.”
“But you’re not sure...” Ashley started, with her British accent.
“Are you?” Ann finished, with her British.
“This isn’t funny,” Ann said, using her Valley Girl one to confuse their parents.
“No, it’s not,” Ashley said, using her Valley Girl one.
“All right, all right,” Kim said, “If we go on this trip, can we leave afterwards?”
“Yes,” the girls said in unison, with the Valley Girl accent.
Kim gave Tommy an exasperated look. “William, get our bags,” she called out the front door. “It seems that we’re not leaving tonight.” William grudgingly brought the suitcase back in. Kim, Tommy, Ann, and Ashley then went to pack their stuff for the trip.
A little while later, they were taking their stuff out to the truck. Christina had come by, and was complaining very vocally.
“The wedding’s in a few days, and you’re leaving with your ex-wife on a camping trip? You’re insane,” she said.
“Look, you know how hard it is to tell the girls apart, even for us,” Tommy said, “They refuse to tell us which is which. I don’t want to go on this, but it’s the only way, Christina.”
“No, it’s not the only way,” Christina said, “You could spank them and make them tell you which is which.”
“You can’t take a couple of near thirteen year olds over your knee and spank them,” Tommy said, “Especially not in this day and age. Look, we’ll be back in a day or two. You, and the wedding, can hold out until then, can’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Christina said.
“Why don’t you come with us? We’ve got plenty of room,” Kim suggested.
“No, she can’t come,” Ann said.
“Yeah, that wasn’t part of the deal,” Ashley replied.
“If they don’t like it, then I’m going,” Christina said, “Just so happens I planned to stay the night tonight to spend some time with the girls, and happen to have all I’ll probably need for the trip.” With that, she went to her car and grabbed a bag. She then tossed it into the back of Tommy’s truck.
“Why don’t you go on along without me? That way, you’ll be able to get to know the girls better,” Kim said, “After all, you’ll have them six months out of the year.” She winked at the twins, hoping they’d take it as, ‘They’ll be so sick of each other after this trip, you won’t have to worry about her.’
They took her meaning and grinned wickedly at her. “Bye mom,” they called, as they sped away. She waved goodbye to them and went back to the house, grinning to herself.
When the quartet got to the place where they would climb to get to the campsite, Christina groaned when she saw the climb. They started on up.
About halfway there, Christina called for a stop. “Already?” Ann asked, “But we’re only halfway there.”
“Take it easy on her,” Tommy said, “She’s just not used to this like we are.”
Though she didn’t say anything, lest she give herself away, Ashley was just as tired as Christina. She wasn’t used to stuff like this either, at least not as much as her tomboyish sister was.
“Look at this,” Ann said, when Tommy went on to scout ahead. “Cougar tracks.”
“Jeepers,” Ashley said, “You know I heard from this old Indian guide at camp, that if you bang two sticks together, it’ll scare them away.” Hearing that, Christina quickly grabbed up a pair of long sticks.
At the next break stop, the girls decided to play a bigger trick on her. Putting a tree lizard on the water jug, Ann took a drink while standing right next to Christina. “Boy is it hot,” she said, “Here, you look like you could use a drink.” She held it out to Christina, who looked at it suspiciously.
“Thanks,” she finally said, taking it. She was about to take a drink, when she saw the lizard on top of it. “Ahhh!!!” With that, she tossed it away. The girls dissolved into laughter.
“What’s going on?” Tommy asked, as he came walking back.
“There was a giant lizard on the water jug,” Christina said, “It was big, and gross and just...”
“It was just a harmless little old tree lizard,” Ashley said, picking it up and walking forward to show her dad. She seemed to trip, and the lizard flew from her hand into Christina’s hair. She swatted it away then glared at the girls. “I’m sorry, Christina. I tripped.”
“Yeah, sure,” Christina said. They continued and made the campsite by nightfall. Ann and Tommy went fishing, while Ashley sat near the fire, keeping it going and Christina was taking a little nap.
Ashley had to move fast. She took Christina’s bottle of bug repellent and replace with a container of something else. She then went back to tending the fire.
When Tommy and Ann got back, they had a bunch of trout with them. They all sat down to eat. Everybody was eating the trout happily, except for Christina, who was just picking at it. “I know it isn’t much, but it’s all we have to eat out here,” Tommy told her.
“Well, I wasn’t hungry anyway,” Christina replied, “What are we having for breakfast?”
“Trout,” Tommy said.
Christina made a face, then swatted at a bug that had just landed on her arm. “What’s with these bugs? It’s like I have sugar for blood,” she said. She applied some more of what Ashley gave her. “I think they like this stuff, instead of supposed to be hating it.”
“Let me see that,” Tommy said, taking the container. He smelled the top, then put some on his hand and took a lick. “Why, this is just sugar and water. No wonder you’ve had so many bite you.”
“Oh, I must have grabbed the wrong bottle,” Christina said. The girls got to giggling. “Well, I’m going to turn in. Good night.”
“Good night, Christina,” Tommy said.
“Good night, Christina,” the girls said in unison. Christina got up and made her way to the tent, banging two sticks together.
“What are you doing?” Tommy asked, trying not to laugh.
“I’m banging the sticks together, to scare away the cougars,” Christina said, “I heard that scares them away, so I-I... There’s no cougars around here, are there?” Tommy shook his head. Glaring at the girls, she went to her tent.
“Girls that wasn’t very nice,” Tommy scolded them, “But it sure was funny.” They dissolved into laughter.
Late that night, the girls decided to play their trump card prank on Christina, one that was guaranteed to drive her away. First, they went into her tent and gently pulled out the air mattress she was on.
Then, they put her out onto the lake. They pushed her out, and she drifted to about the middle of the lake. Suppressing their giggles, they went back to the tent to get some sleep.
The next morning, they woke early. They heard a cry and a big splash. They hurried outside, where they saw Christina making her way out of the lake, pulling the air mattress behind her, completely drenched. They were trying not to laugh, and were barely doing so.
“Ooh, that’s it,” Christina said, “Boarding school for the both of you all the time you spend with us.”
“Now, wait just a damn minute,” Tommy said, “What did they do to you?”
“What did they do to me? What, are you blind? They put me out onto the lake, on my mattress. Now, you’re going to have to decide. It’s either them or me. Which is it?”
“Them,” Tommy said, “They’re my girls.”
“Then the wedding’s off,” Christina said, storming off. Tommy and the girls broke camp and headed back down, where Christina was waiting for them. They went to this house, where Christina left in a big huff.
“Hi, mom,” Ann said, as she rushed through the front door into a hug. She was using her usual Valley girl accent.
“Hi mom,” Ashley said, as she rushed to join in. She was using her British accent.
“Hi, girls,” Kim said, returning the twins enthusiastic hug. “Now, which of you is which?”
“Well, that’s Ann,” Ashley said, pointing to her sister.
“And that’s Ashley,” Ann said, pointing back.
Tommy came in behind them. Giving him sheepish grins, the twins went and gave him a hug. “We’re sorry, dad,” they said in unison.
“It’s all right, girls,” Tommy said, “I was beginning to realize that Christina wasn’t the one I wanted to marry anyway. Somebody already had my heart.” He looked up at Kim, who gulped rather dryly.
“You girls better go get washed up,” Kim said, “I’ve got supper cooking.”
“I’m not really hungry,” Ann said.
“Me neither,” Ashley said, “Not after the way we spoiled dad’s wedding. Do you forgive us, dad?”
“Yeah, I forgive you,” Tommy said, “Now get on upstairs, you little monsters.” They could tell he was joking, but hurried, nonetheless.
“So, what all did happen?” Kim asked.
“Now, don’t you go playing innocent with me,” Tommy said, “You knew what was going to go on up there, didn’t you?”
“I didn’t,” Kim said, “Would I do that?”
“No, I guess not,” Tommy said, “To make a long story short, Christina, as you can probably tell, called off the wedding.”
“Oh? That’s too bad,” Kim said.
“Yeah, it is,” Tommy said, “Remind me to thank the girls sometime. That would have been the biggest mistake of my life, marrying her just to have a mother figure around the house for Ann. I guess growing up on the farm...”
“Now don’t you give me that growing up on the farm bit,” Kim scolded playfully, “You handed me that over almost sixteen years ago.”
“It worked, didn’t it?” Tommy asked.
Kim laughed. “Yeah it did,” she said. The two locked eyes and held each other’s gaze for several moments, before turning away.
“Where’s Jesse? She’s supposed to be making supper,” Tommy said.
“I wasn’t expecting you back until tomorrow morning, so I gave her and William the weekend off,” Kim said, “Yesterday afternoon, right after you left. I think those two have fallen for each other.”
“Yeah, I think so too,” Tommy said, “Wait a minute. You, me, and the girls are the only ones here?”
“Yeah,” Kim said.
“Um, I think I’m going to change into something,” Tommy said, “I’ve got dirt all over these clothes. I’ll be right back, all right?”
“All right,” Kim said, “But don’t take too long, or the dinner will get too cold to eat.”
“You’ve got it, Beautiful,” Tommy murmured, unconsciously using his old pet name for her. Kim turned to stare after him a few minutes, then turned back to finishing up supper.
Tommy hurried up to his bathroom, where he quickly shaved and got dressed in some really nice clothes. He even slapped on some aftershave, the kind Kim liked in fact.
When he went by the girls’ room, Ann whistled appreciatively.
“Wow,” Ashley said, “What are you all dressed up for?”
“Good night, girls,” Tommy said, as he stepped in and pulled the doors shut. The girls then crossed their fingers.
On the way to the kitchen, Tommy popped on some music. Then, he went into the kitchen, where Kim also gave him a whistle of appreciation. This time, he blushed.
“That was some change of clothes,” she said. Then, she heard the music Tommy set to playing. “Is that music? I told the girls to go to bed.”
“Oh, its just a little something to soothe my nerves after what happened,” Tommy lied, “Do you like it?”
“I love it,” Kim said, “The one thing we apparently still have in common; our love for classical dance music.” They ate, and were starting to put their dirty plates up, when Tommy spun her around suddenly. “Tommy?”
“May I have this dance, madam?” he asked.
“I guess so,” Kim said.
Tommy did a deep bow to her, and she giggled. She curtsied and he laughed softly as well. They started dancing at the next slow song.
In the middle of the third song, he stopped. Kim stopped, too, and gazed up at him confusedly.
Tommy bent down and gave Kim a gentle kiss. Kim responded, and the kiss got heated quickly. Kim felt like she was melting against his lips.
In the twins’ room Ann sat up suddenly. “What is it?” Ashley asked.
“I just had the weirdest dream,” Ann said, “I was dreaming that we were in this big hall, and that we were decked out in beautiful gowns. Mom and dad were standing on this funny platform, facing some guy.”
“I had the same dream,” Ashley said, “I wonder what it means.”
They found out the next morning. Tommy and Kim announced that they were, once again, engaged to be married.
It wasn’t very long until the wedding. It was beautiful. Ann and Ashley were the bridesmaids, and Trini was the maid of honor. Billy gave Kim away, and Jason was the best man. Zack was the music coordinator.
When it was over, and Kim tossed the bouquet, Jesse caught it. When Tommy threw the garter, William caught it. “An omen if I ever saw one,” Kim joked..
It turned out that William had proposed to Jesse earlier that day, and she had said yes.
The next morning, Tommy woke up and headed into the kitchen. All he had on was a bathrobe.
Ann woke up next. “Good morning, daddy,” she said, giving him a kiss.
“Good morning, Angel,” Tommy said, “Hungry?”
“A little bit,” Ann said, “Ashley and I stayed up late last night.” Kim was the next to come into the kitchen. When she saw that both of them were in bathrobes, Ann gave them knowing grins.
Ashley was quick to join them. “I wish we didn’t have to go to school today,” she whined. Her and Ann had their first periods a few days prior, though they somehow managed to stay nice during the wedding.
“Tell you what, Ash,” Tommy said, “How about, instead of school, we all go down to the park, and spend the day there?”
“Awesome,” Ann said.
“Yeah, awesome,” Ashley said.
They quickly finished up breakfast and got dressed in nice clothes. Then, they headed to the park.
When they got to their favorite picnic spot, Kim got everybody’s attention. “I have an announcement to make,” she said, “I hope you like the idea of becoming big sisters, girls. Because I’m pregnant.”
“That’s great,” the girls cried, rushing in for a gentle hug.
“That is great,” Jesse said, as she gave Tommy a hug. Then, her and the twins switched and she gave Kim a hug.
Kim smiled. “This is just the way I like it,” she said, “All of together here, with no interruptions, for joyous announcements like these.”
Tommy smiled, knowing what she meant. They both had a feeling that their life was going to be wonderful from then on.
Note from the author: What’d you think? I made this story, because I was dying to see what might happen if Tommy and Kim were the parents in Parent Trap. This is the unofficial part 3 of my new “What if?” line of stories. Did you like it? Please, write me at Lbh0408@aol.com, and tell me what you think.