Tag Archive | Faye Ferarri

Metamorphosis – Chapter 15 – Sous Chef

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The next morning Faye woke early. She moved carefully so not to wake Tom. She wanted to show her appreciation both to Eddie and Tom for showing her what a family should be like and that she didn’t have to be afraid of it or push it aside as something she didn’t need.

Silently she moved around the room gathering clothes to wear. “What are you doing up so early” Tom asked rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“I’m just going to start breakfast” she said with a smile “Eddie’s been getting up early every morning and I thought for a change I’d do it.”

Excitement filled his eyes “are we going to tell them we’re going to have a baby?”

She smiled at his obvious excitement. It reminded her of a puppy wagging its tail because he’s just so happy to see you. “Don’t you think we should wait” she asked even though she knew Eddie already knew and possibly Rory by now.

“But I don’t want to wait” he pouted “why can’t we tell them now?”

She tilted her head to the side pretending to consider his question. She shook her head “I think we should wait.”

 

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Tom tossed backed the blanket and walked towards Faye. Taking her hands he kissed their palms. “Are you still worried about what your dad might do” his voice and and eyes were full of concern.

Leaning into him she breathed deeply. “No Tom I’m not worried about that. I know that whatever happens we can face it together.” Smiling up at him she said “I’ve changed my mind. I want to tell them now. At breakfast.

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“You were teasing me!” Tom cried in exasperation. “Of course you were.”

She let out a small giggle. “What does that mean?”

“Nothing.” He grinned. “Can I help with breakfast?”

“No,” She replied, shaking her head. “Distract your brother and Rory. I don’t want them to know so easily. Well, Eddie already knows but Rory….” She frowned. “Do you think he’ll be accepting?”

“Why wouldn’t he be?” Tom asked. “Rory is a great guy.”

“I practically ran away from his daughter and all she wanted to do was play with me,” Faye pointed out. “That’s not what a good mother would do.”

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“Rory knows that’s not you,” Tom said.

“Does he?” Faye frowned. “I think he’s going to be hard to please.”

“He was only acting that way because he thought you were being rude to his husband. Now, it’s nothing like that at all. He knows how Eddie feels about you and that’s enough. Rory will forever be on your side now.”

“You guys are too nice,” Faye murmured under her breath.

“What? Do you want us all to hate you or something? I told you a million times, that’s not what you deserve. No matter what anyone tells you, this family loves you. I love you!” He held her hands tightly. “So please stop worrying. Rory will be happy.”

“He’ll be happy,” She said with a determined nod. “Okay, I can do this then.”

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She finished getting dressed and hurried to the kitchen. To her surprise she found Hannah in her pajamas dragging a chair across the floor. “What do you think you’re doing” she asked the little girl.

Hannah let out a little squeak before pointing towards the cabinet. “Crackers” she said moving the chair forward.

“Are you hungry” Faye asked wondering how the toddler had gotten out of her crib. Moving towards the cabinet she turned to Hannah “I’ll give you a cracker but first you need to put the chair away.”

“Cracker” Hannah insisted crawling into the chair.

“No” Faye shook her head determined to get the girl to mind her.

“Cracker” she whined her voice rising.

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Worried that the girls whining would wake her parents Faye gave in and gave her a cracker.

“Tank you” Hannah grinned up at her mouth full of crackers.

“I can see now who will be the strict disciplinarian in the family” Tom laughed as he came into the kitchen swooping Hannah up into his arms.

“I was afraid she’d wake Eddie” she explained turning to the refrigerator to get her ingredients for the the grand breakfast she wanted make for them all.

“Down” Hannah insisted kicking her legs out “me help.”

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“No, absolutely not. You can’t help,” Faye began, watching the water form in the little girl’s eyes. “Oh! Gosh, okay. Don’t cry. You can help.”

Tom let out another laugh. “This is never going to get old.”

“Oh, hush!” Faye patted her dress down. “Hannah, darling. Uncle Tom is a big meanie, isn’t he?”

The little girl stuck her tongue out and pointed at Tom. “Big meanie!”

“Faye, don’t do that!” Tom cried, shaking his head. Uncle Tom is the best Uncle.”

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Hannah toddled over to him and hugged his legs. “Yes, but big meanie too.”

“Go, shoo!” Faye shooed him out of the kitchen so she and Hannah could work. “Okay, honey. Let’s see where do we start? Oh, eggs. You can’t crack an egg right?  Oh, but!” Faye’s eyes lit up. She gathered the eggs, cracked them into the bowl and slid it over to the little girl. “Mix,” She instructed.

Hannah did as she was told, struggling with the big wooden spoon. “Like this?”

“So awesome!” Faye coaxed, noting to remix the batter when Hannah wasn’t looking. “Did you learn to cook from your dad?”

Hannah nodded enthusiastically, causing a shiver to run down Faye’s spine. Would this be her and her child? Tom sitting at the kitchen table awaiting a meal cooked from mother and daughter? She couldn’t wait to raise a child, but it also terrified her. Yet, being with Hannah confirmed something for her. She wanted to be a mom, more than anything.

Chapter 14 – Baby Talk /

 

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Metamorphosis – Chapter 14 – Baby Talk

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“You have to tell him,” Eddie chided. “You know that right?”

Faye nodded, and bit her lip. “I know he’ll make a great dad but I’m nervous. This is way earlier than we planned.”

“The best things in life are unplanned. I have two kids from an old…thing,” Eddie said with some hesitation at the end of his sentence. “I didn’t plan them, but I wouldn’t be able to live without them. They are a blessing.”

Faye smiled gently. “I hope this child looks and acts like his father. I really do.”

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“You have some great qualities too,” Eddie pointed out. “Don’t discount yourself.”

“You guys are so loving. Back home, we didn’t compliment each other. It was more like a battle of who had the most achievements. Dad always won, and if he didn’t….he was grumpy the entire time. So, we just dumbed ourselves down in front of him. Except when cameras were running, because then he wanted us to pretend like we were a different caliber.”

Eddie placed a hand on her back. “We’re family now. When we like something, we let you know. When we don’t, we’ll also tell you but we won’t be jerks about it.”

“And you guys give good advice too,” Faye replied with a nod. “I always wanted a family that felt like home. Not just blood rushing through my body. Thank you again for your hospitality.”

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Later that night Faye watched Tom go through his nightly routine. He looked up catching her watching him he swayed his hips like he imagined a male stripper might. She giggled as he hoped she would. Sitting on the edge of the bed in just his boxers he asked “want to tell me what’s on your mind?”

Shaking her head she mumbled “I’m just tired.” For a moment she thought he would accept that. He nodded and half turned to get up when he stopped and faced her again.

“Faye I know when something’s bothering you” he reached for her hand. He gently squeezed it holding it in both of his. “We don’t have to buy the restaurant if you don’t want to….”

“It’s not that” she assured him. She glanced towards the window. The moon was large and bright it filled her with hope. Hope that things were finally turning around for. That she had finally found a place to call home. A family to call her own. “Tom I have something to tell you” she hesitated her voice catching. “I wanted to wait until I was sure.” She stopped again half hoping that he’d guess and save her from having to spell it out for him.

Frowning he asked “sure about what? Me? My family? The restaurant? I don’t understand.”

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“Remember how I asked you if you thought I’d be a good mom” she waited until he nodded. “Well … we’re going to find out how good I’ll be.” She stopped, smiling up at him “I’m pregnant.”

He stared at her not sure he had heard her right. “Pregnant” he asked as if didn’t quite believe it or know what she meant. “Are you sure” he asked.

Nodding enthusiastically she laughed at him “I’m pregnant I took a test and everything.”

“How? I mean I know how but we were so careful” he stammered as his mind reeled at the information.

“Not careful enough” she said “Tom are you ok with this? I know it’s not what we had planned and so much is going on and….”

“Am I ok” he cried a goofy grin encompassed his face “I’m going to be a daddy.” He threw his arms around her “we’re going to be the best parents. I just know it.”

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“I’m beginning to think anything is possible when I’m around you and your family” she laughed along with him sharing in this moment of joy and wonder. “I couldn’t imagine having a baby with anyone else Tom Bennett. You’re the best thing to come into my life.”

“And you have your dad to thank for that” he teased kissing her cheek.

“Don’t remind me” she frowned at him not willing to give Gino any credit for anything.

“I know a way to help you forget” he said peppering her face with feathery soft kisses.

“How do you aim to do that” she challenged.

“By doing this” he quickly rolled her over on the bed. He balanced his weight above afraid of hurting or the baby by leaning on top of them. He gazed into her eyes “I love you Faye Ferrari. Forever and always” he murmured just before he lowered his lips to hers and sealed the promise with a kiss.

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“Let’s not scar your brother, hmm?” She whispered, gently pushing him off of her but snuggling close into his arms.

“Aw, he ruins all the fun,” Tom whispered into her hair. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a dad. And you’re going to be a mom. We’re going to have the cutest child. A beautiful little girl.”

“I want a boy,” Faye muttered. “Someone to be like his father. You and Eddie are both so wonderful.”

“Our child doesn’t have to be a boy to be wonderful, you realize that right?” He threw his arms around her waist gently. “She can be a strong independent woman like you.”

“Oh gosh, what if she wants to be a cook like us?” Faye murmured. “No TV shows.”

“Better not tell your dad then,” Tom whispered, half jokingly.

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“Oh gosh!” Her eyes flew open as the thought washed over her. She sat up, much to Tom’s dismay. “My dad is totally going to try to exploit this somehow.”

“He’s not going to come near our child,” Tom replied firmly. “I won’t let him.”

“If only it’s that easy! Guess what? He’ll find a way. He’ll take our child. He’ll….” She could feel herself hyperventilating. “Tom…”

“He won’t,” Tom whispered in a soothing tone. “Don’t worry. He won’t.”

“Promise,” Faye said, eyes full of tears. “You promise?”

“On my life,” Tom agreed. “I promise he won’t touch our child.”

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Tom cradled her as she snuggled into his arms. Tremors ran through her as she no doubt tried to believe his promise that her dad would never touch their child. He leaned forward enough to place a tender kiss on top of her head. “I won’t let anything happen to you or our child” he whispered. He wasn’t sure if it was his presence or his words that finally soothed her enough to sleep but he lay there in the dark listening to her even breathing as she slept on his shoulder.

Chapter 13 – Confirmation / Chapter 15 – Sous Chef

Metamorphosis – Chapter 13 – Confirmation

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Tom bounced up from the couch where he and Rory had been discussing the restaurant. For some reason he felt somewhat guilty about discussing it with someone else other than Faye first. “Do you need any help” he offered as he watched Eddie and Faye come in with bags of groceries each.

“Nope we’ve got it” Eddie said kicking the door shut behind him.

“Daddy” Hannah cried running into the room arms spread wide.

Putting the bags down Eddie bent to pick up his little angel. “Did you miss me” he asked her.

Hannah nodded her head like a bobble doll. “Missed you” she mumbled pressing little kisses on his cheek.

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“I guess you did” Eddie laughed squeezing her tight. He was going to enjoy this moment because he knew it wouldn’t last long.

“Down daddy” she whimpered a little before struggling in his arms.

“Alright down you go” he said kissing her round little cheek before setting on on the ground. He looked up to find Faye watching him, a gleam in her eyes that hadn’t been there before. “What” he asked feeling a self-conscious under her scrutiny.

“You” she waved a hand at him “you’re amazing.” She had never known either of her parents ever dropping what they were doing to pick her up or talk to her when she came running to them for attention. They had always put her off in preference to what they were doing. She had always known something else was more important than her.

Shrugging his shoulders he started to put the groceries away. “Hannah knows that no matter what she’s free to come to either Rory or I when she wants. Now that she’s discovered she can run it’s never for long.” He sighed a little “they don’t stay little for long.”

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“Little girls always need their dads” Faye said “even when they wish they didn’t.” She looked up as Tom put a comforting arm around her. She leaned into him taking what he had to offer instead of brushing him off.

“So this is where the party’s at” Rory said joining them. He bent to help Eddie put the food away. “Did you tell her yet” he asked.

“Tell me what” Faye asked moving enough to look up Tom.

“Did you call Uncle Gene” Eddie asked turning from the refrigerator.

“Yeah I did” he said. He could feel all of them watching him. “The restaurant can be ours if we want it. There’s just one problem” he looked down at Faye “Gino is also interested in buying the restaurant. Uncle Gene will never sell it to him but …..”

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“But he has enough power and influence to make sure no one ever goes there. He could shun us from the culinary world for good,” Faye cried.

“I wasn’t even thinking of that!” Tom exclaimed, hitting his forehead with the palm of his hand. “That complicates things further. I was going to say that Uncle Gene doesn’t mind selling us the restaurant. There’s a clause in the contract that says he can sell it to us for any price, even a $1.”

“That’s great news,” Eddie said. “Isn’t it? Uncle Gene will help you fight off Gino.”

“It’s not that. I feel bad not giving him anything for it. It’s like he’s handing down the business to me, without me really earning it,” Tom said with a frown. “That’s not how Faye and I want to do it.”

“We’ll purchase it at the going price,” Faye said in a determined fashion. “I have a stash of money saved up and it is pretty sizable. I’m sure your Uncle could use the extra money too. Not to imply anything.”

“He’d never let us buy it for asking price,” Tom said. “There’s not only that, but you’re right. Your dad hates the Bennett’s. This whole thing puts a target on us.”

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“So?” Rory asked, raising a brow. “Just because you shoot the target, doesn’t mean that you’ll hit it. I think you can call your celebrity friends and stand in solidarity against Gino and people who try to ostracize you from the industry.”

“He’s my dad,” Faye surmised. “Is there no way to….” Her voice trailed off. “I know there is no way to keep his pride in tact and mine as well.”

“He’s fighting you too hard, Faye. I know you love him, but he’s toxic. He’s only hurting you, and I’m tired of seeing that man make you cry. I won’t stand back and let him do it anymore,” Tom said. “So, you tell me what to do. I’ll do anything.”

“Can we sleep on it?” Faye asked, with a forced smile. “I uh…there’s something I need to do first. If you don’t mind.”

“Of course I don’t mind,” Tom said. “Do what you need to, but please. I beg of you, don’t keep secrets. Alright?”

“I’m not,” Faye replied, shaking her head. “I don’t want you to get hurt either.”

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Faye left the room taking the small brown bag Eddie had given her earlier. She had to know. She couldn’t put if off any longer. Closing the door behind her she leaned against it taking in several deep breaths. Too much was happening at once. It was hard to imagine that it had just been yesterday they had gotten off the plane.

Her hands shook as she took the pregnancy test out of the package. Reading the directions carefully she made sure to follow them precisely, not that she didn’t already know how it worked, she just needed the mind numbing task. Something to focus her mind on besides her dad, the restaurant and even what she was doing right at that moment.

She splashed water over her face. She couldn’t be pregnant. She just couldn’t be. They had been careful. She scowled at the test and it’s positive results. She couldn’t deny it anymore. She was pregnant. She was going to be a parent. A mom. She was going to be sick. She rushed to the toilet and emptied her stomach. Rinsing her mouth out she pinched some color back into her cheeks.

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She joined Eddie in the kitchen. He was busy chopping the veggies they needed for the recipe she wanted to try. He looked up “are you ok?”

“I’m fine” she sighed picking up a knife joining him “nothing that nine months won’t cure.”

“So you are” he didn’t finish his question “When are you going to tell him?”

“I….”

“Tell me what” Tom asked walking into the kitchen.

“That we should take your uncle up on his offer” she said giving Eddie a warning look not to say anything.

“I thought you wanted the night to think about it” Tom said sounding as confused as he looked.

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“I changed my mind” she turned back to her task explaining to Eddie what she wanted to do and the adjustments she wanted to make to the recipe. “There’s a lot of things we need to discuss first before like what kind of cuisine to serve. The clientele the restaurant already has. I’ll want to see the existing kitchen and sous chefs before we make any definite decisions.”

“Great” the worry in Tom’s eyes vanished as he listened to her “I’ll arrange all that with Uncle Gene. I’m sure he can arrange for us to see the restaurant before we make any decisions.” Sniffing the air he said “that smells good, what is it?”

“Just a little recipe I’ve wanted to try” she said evasively.

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Eddie lifted an eyebrow at her but didn’t say anything until Tom wandered out of the kitchen. “I recognize this recipe. It’s one of your dads. I think your dad’s worried that you’re going to be the next great chef and he’s doing everything he can to make you think you’ll always be in his shadow.” He stirred the contents on the stove “my advice to you is don’t let  him. Let him know you’re someone to be reckoned with.”

“Do you think I can” she asked an unusual not of vulnerability in her tone.

“I know you can” Eddie said giving her a reassuring grin. “Besides you have us cheering you on.”

Chapter 12 – Preparations / Chapter 14 – Baby Talk

Metamorphosis – Chapter 12 – Preperations

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Faye tugged at the hem of her dress, hoping that Eddie wouldn’t dwell on it. Despite Eddie’s words of encouragement and Tom’s more than radiant outlook on life, Faye was scared. Because, if she really was pregnant…everything would have to go on hold. Could she run a restaurant with a baby that needed to be watched? She saw what happened when her parents left her to her own devices. She couldn’t do that to her child, and she couldn’t very well let Tom run the business. She trusted him, but…she had her own way of running things and this she would not compromise on. She wouldn’t rule with an iron fist but…Tom just didn’t have as much experience as she did running a restaurant.

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“What’s up?” Eddie asked the starry eyed girl. “Are you scared?”

“Maybe…” She mumbled, not meeting his gaze. “You and Tom have both convinced me that I want to have a child. It’s just that…what about everything else? My life will be on hold.”

“Well, not necessarily. You and Tom can work out the details,” Eddie said. “But you have family now that can help watch your child.”

“I don’t want that.” Faye shook her head. “Not that you aren’t a good influence, but…”

“They’re your first child, I get it.” Eddie nodded, turning the corner into the parking lot of the convenience store. “But, you don’t have to give up what you love, and that’s cooking right?”

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“I have to give up the fame. The interviews. The lavish lifestyle. Which, I don’t mind. Truly. But…my restaurant? That’s my heart, Eddie. What is going to happen to that?”

“No dream is ever over. In fact, it could be the start of something beautiful. Maybe you losing your restaurant was a good thing. You’ll have time to enjoy your child’s first few years and then jump back into the business.”

“But…” Faye gulped. “What if I’m not pregnant?”

“Then you keep building your brand and make it so that one day you can step away and be a mother,” Eddie replied. He gave Faye a reassuring smile. “You stay in the car. We don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea when I buy the pregnancy test.”

“Oh…thank you,” Faye replied. “It means a lot to me.”

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Tom walked into the living room to be alone when he made the call to his uncle. He smiled down at Hannah who was playing with some dolls nearby. Absently he wondered what it would be like when he and Faye had kids of their own. He dismissed the idea that she was pregnant. They weren’t even trying to have kids yet and an accident of that magnitude was too far out of character for either of them. They had been too careful. That was one thing he was sure about.

“Hello” the deep voice speaking in his ear brought his  mind back to the task at hand.

“Hey Uncle Gene how are you” he asked “I hope I’m not calling at a bad time.”

“No more than usual” he said and Tom could imagine the easy smile his uncle had on his face. “What’s up?”

“Well I um I was wondering whatever happened to Grandpa’s restaurant.” As the silence lengthened he wondered if he should have done a little more small talk before jumping right into why he was calling.

“It’s still around” Gene’s voice finally said in his ear “we’ve been trying to sell it but the only person interested in buying it Gino Ferrari. I think he’s the reason why no one else has come forward with any bids. I’d rather see the restaurant close than sell it to that man.”

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Tom was silent for a moment wondering if Faye would want the restaurant if she knew her dad was interested in it. “Well Faye and I were thinking of starting our own restaurant and Eddie suggested I give you call….” his voice faded unsure what else to say.

“Your grandpa started that restaurant in the hopes that someone in the family would continue his legacy. He would be delighted to know you were taking over.” In the background Tom could hear his uncle rifling through papers. “There’s something in the will that, at the time I thought was odd but now I understand. He stipulated that if any of his children or grandchildren were interested in taking over the restaurant they could do so at whatever specified amount the executor of his will stipulated.”

“So what does that mean” Tom asked.

“Basically I could sell it to you for a dollar….”

“You can’t do that” Tom cried “that’d wouldn’t be right.”

“We can discuss the price later but the point is if you want the restaurant you can have it” Gene said laughing a little. “Why don’t you and Faye come see me and we’ll iron this out together.”

“We’ll do that” Tom assured him. After a little more small talk he sat heavily on the couch like he was in a daze. He couldn’t believe it. It was all starting to fall into place. He couldn’t wait to tell Faye!

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The drive back to the house was quiet. An awkwardness fell over the pair as soon as Eddie entered the car with the pregnancy test. “It can’t be,” She murmured. “I don’t think I’m pregnant.”

“We’ll find out soon enough. Don’t stress it too much,” Eddie assured her. He pulled into his driveway and parked the car. “I hope all went well with the restaurant. I don’t see why Uncle Gene wouldn’t do everything to help you guys get a restaurant.”

“I really appreciate it. I don’t like what my father is doing. It isn’t right. He wants me to do some stupid reality show, because he knows he’s starting to become a wash up in the kitchen. He could deal with me being better than him, because he can latch onto my fame. But someone else…”

“Is there someone else?” Eddie asked. “A new face on the scene?”

“Maybe Sonny,” Faye replied. “He’s getting really good. Then there’s Violet Ashe too. Point is, he won’t be the best chef forever. He’s getting older and he wants me to do a reality show to make money off of me. It’s not okay. And imagine if I had a baby?”

“That’s not a safe environment,” Eddie agreed.

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“No, it isn’t.” She let Eddie help her out of the car. “What do we tell Tom now?”

Eddie folded up the bag and handed it to Faye to put in her purse. “Groceries. You’re going to help me carry the bags?”

“I could be pregnant,” Faye said, feigning shock. “I couldn’t!”

Eddie raised a brow. “I carried groceries when I was pregnant. No excuses, missy. Help me.”

“Okay, fine.” She grinned. “Can I help prepare dinner tonight?” Faye asked, her smile widening. “I was messing around with this new recipe that Tom said tastes good. But he’s Tom, you know? I think your husband will be honest with me if he doesn’t like the taste. Oh, and you can prepare some as well along with me.”

Eddie nodded with a smile, wondering what kind of recipe Faye had in mind.

Chapter 11 – Acceptance / Chapter 13 – Confirmation

Metamorphosis – Chapter 11 -Acceptance

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Before Eddie could say anything else the door behind them opened and Tom walked out. Tom stood up facing his brother “Faye and I will be going into town later. We need a few things from the store for a recipe she wants to show me tonight for supper.”

“That’s great” looking towards Faye who was nodding in agreement “maybe we could all go together.”

“No” she cried “I mean you need to stay here and call your Uncle. If we’re going to open our own restaurant we need to get things rolling before my dad can stop us.”

“But I thought” he glanced at Eddie “I thought you were going to call.”

“I was but it would be better if you made the call” Eddie glanced at Faye “after all it’s your idea. Plus I’d love more time with Faye.”

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Tom looked between his brother and Faye a frown forming between his eyes. He had a feeling something was going on between them. Not that he didn’t trust them it was just unusual to see his brother so relaxed around someone. “Obviously you don’t want me tagging along” Tom scratched his head “I won’t ask any questions but I’m dying of curiosity.”

“You make sound like we’re keeping secrets from you” Faye teased moving closer to him. “You don’t have anything to worry about. Eddie just helped me see things differently.”

Sliding his arm around her trim waist he grinned down at her. “As long as your happy” he grinned.

“Oh I’m more than happy” she reached up stretching on her toes to tenderly kiss his cheek.

“I don’t know what Eddie did but I like it” he winked at her “I hope you’ll let me in on the secret sometime.”

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“We will I promise” she assured him. “Eddie when do you…” her voice faded when she realized the blond as no longer on the porch with them. “When did he leave?”

Shrugging Tom shook his head “I don’t know. I guess he thought we needed some privacy and went inside.” He lead her over to one of the chairs on the porch. Sitting down he pulled her into his lap making her squeak in a way that her previous Ferrari persona would never have done. “Are you sure you’re alright” he asked “you did just vomit all over my brother’s kitchen floor.”

“I’m fine” she leaned into him resting her cheek on his shoulder. “I’m glad we came here” she murmured softly in his ear “I’m sorry I almost ruined it yesterday.”

“Hey no looking into the past” he poked his fingers into her side tickling her. “You already apologized. Don’t keep beating yourself up about it.”

“I won’t I promise” she snuggled into him. “Tom can I ask you something?”

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“You can ask me anything” he assured her.

She sat up gazing into his eyes “do you think I’ll be a good mother?”

“Of course” he said without thinking.

“No I mean it” she held his face between her hands “do you think I’ll be a good mom?”

There was something in her eyes that told him she didn’t want an easy answer. “Are you worried that you’ll be like you’re parents? Is that why you’re asking me this?” He paused watching her eyes shift. There was  a sadness in her eyes. A sadness put there by her parents never being there when she needed them. Never having their support. Never knowing if they truly loved her. She was just another pawn to be used. Like now with the reality show offer Gino called about. “I think you’re not your parents. I think you know how it felt like to not have supportive parents that you’ll do whatever it takes not be be like that. I know you. You’ll put your all into being the best parent you can be just like you put it into being one of the chefs in the world.”

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“Yeah but…” Faye looked down at the ground with a look of fear and vulnerability. “I know I’m not my parents, but what if I fail anyway? What if my best isn’t good enough?”

“Parenting is a team effort,” Tom replied, stroking her back lovingly. “You won’t be doing it on your own. And of course, we’ll fail. I know it’s not something you’re really used to, but us regular people make mistakes.”

She hit his arm. “Hey, stop that. I make a whole lot of mistakes. Like, listening to my father all this time.”

“You think that was a mistake? Because if it was, then we’d never have met. You wouldn’t have been able to grow as a person.”

“But maybe I wouldn’t have been this way to begin with,” Faye cried. “I might have been happy and loving and….everything I’m not.”

“I just saw you with Eddie, being happy and loving. You’re everything you say you’re not. You’re absolute perfection and I’m not even just saying that,” Tom said. “I love being with you, because it’s never dull. You always surprise me, and I love when you make these self realizations, one at a time. So, to put it short….I think a kid would only help us grow. Why? Do you maybe want one?”

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“I…yes. I really do want a little you running around. I think it would be so cute. A blonde little boy toddling around…grabbing for everything.”

“I would like one too,”  Tom replied. “A little girl who looks and acts like you. Maybe with a little less attitude but, we can work on that.”

“Baby!” Faye cried. “You love my attitude and you know it.”

“I do. But, you should still try to be nice with my family, okay?” He pinched her nose. “Love you, muffin.”

“I do not want to be compared to a muffin!” Faye cried. “Call me something good like a…puff pastry!”

“It’s not as romantic,” Tom sighed, helping his girlfriend stand up with him. “Let’s go inside.”

159

They came inside to find Eddie writing a list of things they needed from the store. He glanced up with a smile “you ready?”

Nodding Faye reached up to leave a soft kiss on Tom’s cheek. “I’ll see you later. We shouldn’t be long.”

“You better not be” he teased pulling her close “you know how much I hate us being apart, my little apple dumpling.”

“Ugh don’t call me that” she laughed moving away from him.

“What’s wrong with that” he demanded with a wounded expression “you told me not to call you muffin.”

“Apple dumpling is even worse if that’s possible” she shook her head at him. “Eddie help me out here. Would you want to be called muffin or apple dumpling?”

158

Eddie’s eyes darted between them. “Um neither” he said with an apologetic look to his brother.

“I think you can do better Tom,” Rory said joining them in the kitchen. “So what’s the plan for the day?”

“Well Eddie and I are going shopping” Faye announced taking Eddie by the arm and leading him towards the door.

Glancing at his brother in law Rory said “looks like it’s just you and me this afternoon. I know Eddie any trip to the store is always longer than he plans.”

Despite his teasing tone Eddie explained “it takes so long to get the right produce. It’s not my fault that it takes  me a while to find quality produce.”

“And I appreciate it” Rory assured him. “Before you go did you find your uncle’s number so Tom can call while your out?”

157

“Yeah I wrote it down over there” he waved towards the notebook he had been using for his list. “Good luck” he called as Faye pulled him from the house.

“I’m going to need it” Tom mumbled as he got his phone out. Now that he was going to put his idea into action he was being overwhelmed with doubt.

“Don’t look so worried. Gene will know if anyone does” Rory moved to the sink “I better get these dishes done or Eddie will be livid when he gets back and his kitchen isn’t pristine.”

“Oh sorry” Tom mumbled as he keyed in the number “I kind of got distracted.”

“At least you cleaned up the vomit” Rory said running the water “that’s something at least.”

Chapter 10 – Denial / Chapter 12 – Preparations

Metamorphosis – Chapter 10 – Denial

102

“Oh, why don’t we just run our own television show there and compete with my father’s huh?” Faye asked sarcastically.

“Not a bad idea,” Rory said, still munching on some food. “We’ve got a lot of high profile people in this family that could help. I’m in a band. Caleb does music too. Gene preforms. You, Eddie and Tom cook.” Rory held his fork up. “Don’t look at me like that, Eddie. I’m just saying why not go big and take down his entire brand?”

“Sim Star is so toxic,” Tom agreed. “It makes a mockery of talented people. We should take it down. Could we really run our own show?”

Faye and Eddie looked at each other, both nauseous with the idea of putting themselves in the spotlight.  “I turned down my Father’s offer for a reality show, Tom. Why would I want to bring that sort of attention into my life?”

“It’s on your terms this time,” Tom said. “Anyway, we’re just teasing. One step at a time. Here, let me help clean up this time.”

101

Tom stood up and began gathering dishes.  Faye realized the nausea from before hadn’t been from Rory’s suggestion that they run a TV show but because of something else. Her hand rested on her stomach. She looked around wildly, trying to find a way out of this situation. She felt the need to vomit but didn’t want Eddie to think it was because of his cooking. What was it?

“I uh…” But it was too late. Vomit flew out of Faye’s mouth and onto the floor beside her. She was horrified.

“Are you okay?” Tom asked, rushing to her side.

Eyes wide, she rushed from her seat and out into the cold fresh air. They were having a nice conversation and here she vomited right on the floor of Tom’s brother’s house. This had never happened before. She had an iron stomach. Faye Ferrari didn’t get sick because of food.

100

Eddie swayed a bit on his feet. He could hear Rory saying something he couldn’t hear over the rushing in his ears. He had to get away before he too added his own vomit to the mess on the floor. He rushed towards the door following Faye outside.

Rory stared after him laughing softly “I knew that was coming.” Turning to Tom he asked “which do you prefer vomit or dishes?”

Dragging his eyes from the door he grimaced at his brother-in-law. “I should check on Faye” he stammered. He’d never seen Faye become so ill so quickly before.

“Eddie will take care of her” Rory assured him “she’ll be ok. The best thing we can do is clean this mess up.”

“I guess” he sounded unsure “I really should check on her.”

99

“Trust me right now she won’t appreciate you hovering over her” Rory said “give her a chance to get some fresh air then you can check on her.”

Tom nodded trusting the older man. “I guess I’ll take vomit duty” he grabbed a roll of paper towels to clean up most of the chunks before getting the mop out.

“I’d have taken dishes” Rory chuckled lifting Hannah from her highchair. “I’ll be back to help. I don’t want Hannah getting into that mess.”

Nodding Tom only half listening as he went to look out the window. He was reassured finding his brother and Faye talking on the porch.

98

“This is so much better” Eddie breathed deeply of the cool fresh morning air. Kneeling beside Faye who was sitting slumped over like a discarded doll “are you alright?”

“I’m so sorry” she mumbled hiding her face behind her hands. “This has never happened before.”

“It’s alright” he assured her. Tentatively he put a hand on her shoulder.

Looking up, her eyes red from crying “I don’t know why I’m so emotional. I’m never like this.” Sniffing she dragged a hand across her eyes drying the tears. “I promise it wasn’t your food. It was delicious. I wasn’t lying about that.” She felt the need to reassure the soft spoken man. She didn’t want him feeling bad or worrying he had given her food poisoning.

“How long have you been feeling like this” he asked sitting beside her.

“I don’t know. It’s been coming on so gradual” she closed her eyes thinking “last night I was nauseous. Now this. I don’t know maybe I have the flu.”

97

“Or it’s something else” Eddie said. He looked out across the yard remembering back to right before he learned he was pregnant with Hannah.

“What do you mean” Faye asked him staring at him refusing to acknowledge that she knew what he was getting at.

Eddie fumbled with his hands, not wanting to upset the girl even further but also trying to find the right words. “Don’t say it,” Faye mumbled. “I can’t be pregnant. That’s impossible.”

“You and Tom haven’t…?”

“Oh, we have,” Faye said. “But I can’t be pregnant.” She shook her head, hoping to will the possibility away with sheer thoughts alone.

“Why not?” Eddie asked. “Is it something biological preventing you from having a child?”

96

“No!” She shook her head. “I just can’t have a baby. It just wouldn’t be right,” She said.  

Faye let those words ruminate in the air. It was something she had wanted to tell Tom. No babies. Ever. Her genes were not to be passed down to anyone. The Ferrari genes were tainted. She believed in that wholeheartedly. She wasn’t a perfect individual. On the outside sure, she was beautiful and her skills in the kitchen were unmatched. But it was just that, the outside. On the inside she was rotten to her core. Selfish, afraid and arrogant. Whatever she touched got destroyed.

It didn’t matter that Tom’s amazing genes would be passed down. It didn’t matter that he was donating the Bennett traits, kindness, understanding, compassion and patience. It didn’t matter when her mother was pregnant.

Carly was as sweet as pie and Faye still got the short end of the stick- the Ferrari namesake, signature brown hair, tan skin and ability to cook like no other. She could command the attention of whoever she had wanted when she walked into a room. She could turn heads and stun people with her brisk attitude, no nonsense ways and skill under pressure.

None of that mattered though. Because a person like that was shallow. Looking at Eddie beside her- he wasn’t as confident as she was. He wasn’t as aggressive. He was well off but he didn’t dress the part. He was what she would want her child to be like. Compassionate, caring, smart, intuitive…

“I can’t raise a child,” Faye whispered. “I’m not mother material. I’m afraid I would be just like my father. Or my mother for that matter. For all of her good traits, she was never there. They were both so busy that growing up I couldn’t do anything but stay in the kitchen.”

 

95

“That sounds like a failure on their part. But look at you now,” Eddie said with a smile. “You’re successful.”

“Successful but empty,” Faye said. “This child…” She placed a hand on her stomach. “If I open up a restaurant with your brother, or run a show or whatever…if I choose to keep my fame, I can’t raise this baby as it deserves to be raised.”

“Why not?” Eddie asked. “Rory is doing it. He’s on tour a lot, makes music, but always puts Hannah first. You have Tom to help. If you don’t want to give up cooking, having a child won’t be in the way. Keep cooking. But instead of doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for them.”

“Is that why you write now?” Faye asked.

“For Hannah,” Eddie said. He smiled at Faye.  “Listen, you’re not a product of your environment or your genes for that matter. You know that, because you took the next step to come here with Tom. You’re making an effort. You have Rory and I, and Tom. Hannah would love a cousin to play with too.”

“Tom would make a good dad,” Faye said, thinking about him holding a toddler in his arms. It brought a smile to her lips. “And they would have a cousin to play with and not be alone. I quite like that idea too.”

94

“Take a test to be sure,” Eddie said. “And if it’s positive, don’t be too afraid to raise that child. Raising a child will always be scary. I’m still scared when Hannah cries in the middle of the night. That will never go away, but if I let those fears consume me, she would suffer.”

“I have to work on it,” Faye said with a sigh. “But I want to be a good mom. I really do.”

“Then be a good mom,” Eddie said with a grin. “You can do it.”

Faye could feel herself returning Eddie’s grin. Her hand holding her still flat stomach. “I never thought I’d be happy over the prospect of becoming a mom. I …. Thank you!” She threw her arms around him in an uncharacteristic display of affection and joy. She could almost feel the shackles of the past falling from around her like she was shedding her cocoon that she had been living in.

“You’re welcome” Eddie squeezed her tight “now we just need an excuse to go into town. I’m guessing you don’t want to tell Tom until after you have the test results.”

“Oh no” she shook her head “I don’t want to get his hopes up.”

Chapter 9 – Pressure / Chapter 11 – Acceptance

Metamorphosis – Chapter 9 – Pressure

110

The sun shone on Tom’s face, making him groan. “Close those curtains babe,” He murmured burying his face into his pillow. He didn’t even know if they were open at all, and he didn’t feel the bed beside him shift. Turning over, he noticed Faye standing by the window with the curtain pulled back and her phone up to her ear.

“Oh shut up, dad! You have no right to even make such claims. I will not be coming back to Sim Star Chef so go and bank on someone else,” Faye said angrily. “Ok, fine. Sim Star Whatever. Doesn’t matter to me regardless. I’m not going back to some television show that you produce… You’ve got some nerve saying that…”

Tom watched with interest as Faye curled the floral print curtains into her hands. She hadn’t even heard him before, had she? She was enraptured into her own world. Her father’s world. He frowned. What the hell did Gino want now?

“Yeah, so what? Tom did change me. Do you have a problem with that? Because I don’t care what you have to say… Oh? Do whatever, I don’t care!” Faye hung up the phone angrily and tossed it at the wall, an unbound anger rising within her.

109

“What’s wrong?” Tom’s soft voice broke her from her reverie of violent thoughts. “Your dad wants you to be on TV again?”

“Sim Star is all that’s ever on his mind these days. He wants me to be on some reality show with him. A camera following me and him around everywhere we go.” She frowned, trying not to show Tom the tears forming in the corner of her eyes. “He said that if I don’t do the show with him and basically abandon you and the Bennett family that he will take away my restaurant in Monte Vista.”

Tom’s brows furrowed. “He can’t do that. It’s your restaurant. You worked to make it what it is today.”

“Sure he can. The lease is under his name. He bought it and signed for it. I didn’t do anything but cook in it,” Faye said. “I built that place up from the ground. When I got it, there wasn’t even a stable menu! The decorations were gaudy and the staff was terrible.”

108

“Let him take it,” Tom said. “People who are a fan of your food will follow you anywhere.”

“Follow me where?” Faye asked. “Anyone worth anything in the culinary industry knows not to go against my father and hire me somewhere. Besides it’s not the same as running my own business.”

“I’m not saying that,” Tom said, waving her off. “I’m saying we open a new restaurant for you. You have some money separate from your father, right? I have some money set aside. I’m sure Eddie has some insight on this. He’s really business savvy now that his books are getting popular.” Tom was sitting up on his knees chatting excitedly. “We can do this, Faye.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I don’t want you to have to invest any money into this and my father will no doubt slander our business. He’s be doing it to your family for awhile now.”

“Like we’re scared,” Tom said. “My family isn’t afraid of anything. Let that man come, and watch what happens. We’ll kill him with kindness and take all of his business.”

107

A knock on the door stopped Tom short. “Er…I don’t want to barge in, but I made breakfast…” Came Eddie’s nervous voice through the door. “I would really appreciate it if you guys ate with us this morning. If Faye is feeling better that is.”

“I’m going to ask him about it,” Tom muttered, standing up to get the door. “At the breakfast table.”

“Tom, no!” Faye shook her head. She had never had to ask for help before from anyone besides her father and it was embarrassing.

106

Tom quickly threw some clothes on before taking Faye’s hand. “I know this is difficult for you. Your father didn’t make asking for help easy but it’s time you see what a real family can do for each other.” He pulled her close gently kissing her forehead “trust me we can do this.”

Faye clutched at his shirt, her fingers stretching the material as it balled in her fists. Leaning forward breathing deeply she nodded. “I’ll try” she murmured.

“That’s all I ask” he rubbed her back trying to reassure her that no matter what she could rely on him. “Come on babe let’s go eat.”

Smiling to she took his hand allowing him to escort her to the breakfast table. “It smells delicious” she gave Eddie a grin as the entered the dining room. She could see by the way he relaxed his almost ramrod posture that her words had reassured him enough to relax.

105

“Thank you” he waved a hand towards the table “I hope you like crepes.”

Sitting at the table she turned to Eddie “you didn’t have to go to all this trouble.”

“It wasn’t any trouble” Eddie sat down beside her as Rory walked into the room carrying Hannah.

“Eddie is being modest” he said putting Hannah in her highchair. “He’s worried over the menu for weeks. Probably from the day he found out you and Tom were coming to visit.” He leaned over kissing the top of Eddie’s head “don’t let him fool you into thinking this was all thrown together at the last minute.” His voice and eyes was full of the pride he felt for his husband’s accomplishments.

“You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble” Faye murmured.

“I just hope it tastes as good as it looks” Eddie gave her a self-deprecating smile watching as she took her first bite.

104

“It’s delicious” she said “I couldn’t have done better myself. You’ll have to give me the recipe.”

After everyone had started eating Tom looked over at Faye before asking “Eddie do you know whatever happened to Grandpa’s restaurant?”

“I’m not exactly sure, why?” Eddie asked wiping strawberry remnants from Hannah’s face.

“Well Faye and I were discussing the idea of opening our own restaurant” Tom informed him.

“As a chain to the restaurant Faye has in Monte Vista” Rorya asked.

“Not exactly” Faye looked down at her plate “I may not have the restaurant much longer. It’s..”

103

“Let’s just say Gino is making ultimatums and we’re looking for alternatives” Tom explained.

Faye looked up at him eyes full of gratitude that he hadn’t ripped her father apart, not that Gino didn’t deserve it. “We were hoping that you might be able to give us some business advice.”

“Me” Eddie asked eyes growing large at the idea anyone would think he had business smarts.

“Yes you” Tom nodded “you have a successful business as a writer. I’m sure you can help us. At least get us going in the right direction.”

“Alright” Eddie nodded “is that why you were asking about Grandpa’s restaurant?”

“Yeah” Tom nodded “I thought if it was still in the family that we’d have a firm foundation to start from.” Taking Faye’s hand he continued “I was thinking it might be something Gino wouldn’t be able to slander or run into the ground.”

102

“I think Uncle Gene might know more about the restaurant” Eddie said “I could give him a call he should at least be able to point us in the direction.”

Faye’s eyes widened. “Dad hates Gene Bennett. Something about Sim Star Idol.”

“You didn’t watch it?” Tom mused. “I figured it’d have been part of the family business.”

“Ha! Leisure activities? Not for a Ferrari. Mom let me watch it sometimes but I never watched it completely through. But I know my father hates him and Caleb Gray.”

“The Grays…” Eddie mused. “Ah, Gene talked a lot about Caleb Gray. I think they’re still friends. Maybe he’s the celebrity endorsement you need.”

“Oh! That’s right!” Tom nodded enthusiastically. “We see if grandpa’s restaurant is still in the family and then we rebuild it to fit our new brand. When that’s complete, we get some celebrity endorsements!”

Chapter 8 – Apology / Chapter 10 – Denial