“Babe? What are you doing?” Regan was awakened in the middle of the night bythe constant thumping from the hallway. This had been going on all week, clearlyClaus was uncomfortable.“I can’t stay here anymore, it’s driving me crazy Regan.”Regan sighed. “Claus, I love this house to death, but if you’re not comfortable thenwe’ll have to move.”
“And where are we going to go?”Regan smirked, Claus always put too much thought into everything. “Claus, we canget a piece of property and start building. I think we’ll both be more comfortable in ahome that reflects us.”Claus looked up at Regan, trying to figure out what he did right to deserve such awonderful woman.
Regan smiled lovingly at her husband. “We’ll be fine Claus, with or without yourfather’s money. Plus, I want five kids and this house will never hold that many.”Regan winked and looked out of the window, “The sun’s up? What do you want forbreakfast?”
Claus pulled Regan in to a hug. He knew how much she loved this house and he wasthankful that she would give it up for him. He smiled hen he thought about how hisfamily oriented wife wanted five children, he never thought about having more thanthree but Regan gets what Regan wants. “It’s fine, I’ll pick something up on the wayto work.”
Regan had had a long day, as soon as Claus left for work, she dressed and went outproperty hunting, although she hardly had to do any hunting. Just before the weddingshe had found a piece of property in a nice area, then Jack had surprised them with thehouse. Regan called the landowner to find out if the lot was still available, when he saidyes she agreed to a meeting and darted out of the house. Of course the money for thelot came from Jack but she would never tell Claus that, she had concocted a story abouta distant aunt who died and left her fourteen thousand dollars.
Claus came in and dropped beside Regan on the couch. Regan hid her smile.“Claus?”“I’m fine.” He lied, he had spent all day trying to figure out where he would getmoney from, then he realized that they could not afford to leave this house forsome time.“Guess what!” Regan shouted, ignoring Claus’ obvious lie.
“We’ve got ourselves a lot, we’re the proud owners of our own property and well onthe way to having a new house!” She shrieked without waiting for him to guess.Claus looked at her blankly. “What? How?”“Long story, but babe don’t worry about that, focus on the house. Think about thecolor schemes and the themes and oh my gosh, the furniture!”
Snowie stopped by later on to see how her brother and new sister-in-law were settlingin. Regan pounced on her, wrapping her in a tight hug, and telling her the news aboutthe lot and the house they would soon own. Then she yawned, sang good night andturned in for the night.
“Claus are you sure about this? It’ll break Daddy’s heart.”“I can’t stay here knowing that his blood money paid for this house, especially if thatblood belonged to our mother.”“First of all Claus, we’re not sure that Daddy actually killed Mom.”“I intend to find out if he did, and if he didn’t then we can pick up where we left off.”“And what if you can’t?”
“Then it’ll be his fault for never telling us about her, for not just coming out andsaying what happened.”“She died when she hit her head after she slipped.” Snowie told her brother. “Youwere the one defending Dad, how the tables have turned.” Snowie mused.
“Snowie…”Jack’s eldest child held up her hand. “Claus, please. That man loves you, it’ll hurt ifyou find that he did kill our mother, but remember he raised us, he is the only parentwe knew and until that night at Mortimer’s we never questioned him, we never eventhought about not having a mother. Promise me that you won’t let the outcome ofthis get between you and Daddy.”“I can’t.” Claus said, but he did consider his sister’s words and he had to agree, buthe had to know for sure what happened the night his mother died.
After Claus saw his sister out he went to the bedroom where his wife waswaiting for him. Regan smiled seductively. “Now that you’re morecomfortable…”
Regan got a job in the military to help out with the bills. She always wanted to be asoldier but when she starts having children she may consider changing her career toallow her more time with the kids or she may stop working all together.
A month later Regan stood in the front yard of her’s and Claus’ new home. Shescribbled her signature on the checks, sealed them into envelopes and put them inthe mailbox, as she headed inside she looked curiously at the tombstones that Claushad brought home to clean and shook her head.
So far their house had a small living room, a kitchen, a restroom and a bedroom.They planned on expanding as the money came in.
Their second night in the house there was a burglary, although the police inClaus kicked in, the burglar was a much better fighter than the rookie copthought and escaped with everything in the bathroom with the exception of thelights.
Claus, as if he weren’t already distraught over money had to buy a new lesserquality toilet and a shower rather than the tub with the shower built in. Claussighed, so far the start was rocky.
Bills came once a month, the Winter’s strategy to save was to alternate turns payingbills and putting money in the bank account. So far it was working pretty well.
One day Regan cornered her husband who was looking especially sexy in his uniform. “HeyBabe, I’ve got a surprise for you.”Claus grinned, “Well, aren’t you full of surprises. What is it this time? Are we getting apool…or at least a video game system?”“I’m pregnant.”
“We’re having a baby? No, no we can’t. Not yet at least, we can’t afford a babyyet. We’ll need a crib, diapers, formula, clothes…”“Claus! Claus! Focus!” She shook her husband’s shoulders, “Claus, I’m not havingthe baby right now, we’ve got nine months.” Regan pulled the hat off her head.“Are you good now?”“I…I…I think so…”Regan smiled. “No you’re not. I called your sister, she’ll give you something elseto stress over.”
Regan was still early in her pregnancy but she was already feeling fatigued. Anhour after she went to bed Snowie came over and grinned at her brotherupheaveled look. “Regan told you?”“Yeah.”“Claus, what are you stressing about? You’re going to be a father, that’s somethingto be happy about.”
Claus gave his sister a long look. “Well…I guess you’re right.” Claus smiled, itwas sinking in that he was going to be a father, in a few months he will besomebody’s Daddy.“And then you will understand the love of a father for his child.” Snowiehinted as she strode casually out the door.
Over the course of Regan’s pregnancy, she and Snowie became very close.They had become a team to keep Claus calm, but talking to Snowie kept Reganstress free too.
“So I’m going to be an aunty soon then?” Snowie asked.“You have another three months.”“Do you know what you’re having?”“I know.” Regan winked, “But you and Claus won’t until the baby’s here.”“But Rey!” Snowie whined.Regan beamed at her sister-in-law, sometimes Snowie and Claus were so muchalike.
“Oh but when the baby get’s here your poor brother!” Regan threw her hands inthe air. “There’s going to be a crying a baby, a demanding tot, some peace duringit’s childhood and then it’ll become a teenager and Claus will want to keep it awayfrom other hormonal teenagers of the opposite sex.” The two women shared alaugh at Claus’ expense, then Regan left to take a powernap.
Claus stood under the twilight sky staring at the home he grew up in. Finally therewas nobody home. Jack was his boss which meant that he breathed down Claus’neck all day at work, and when he went snooping around Jack’s house there wasalways someone there so he couldn’t do his snooping.
Claus took the top off the garbage and dug in. He had no idea what he’d hoped to find oreven what he was looking for. But when he found it he was shocked. He pulled out theshoebox and looked at the contents, he doubted that his father would be so negligent asto dispose of all of Kate’s dirty little letters without shredding them. He frowned, now heknew who he would be interviewing first.
When he arrived home, he was surprised to find his wife sitting up in bed giving himthe look. “Regan, I smell like garbage.”“So what? We can go take a shower once we’re done.” She winked naughtily.
When Regan woke up the next morning Claus was long gone, she found a notepinned to his pillow, attached was a receipt for a full spa package. Regansmiled, she had hit the jackpot when she married Claus Winter and pitied allthe other women in town who had missed out on the opportunity to have sucha loving man.
Regan didn’t use the ticket for another two months. She could go into labor anyday, her heavy stomach was a constant strain on her back which ached all the time.Regan went into the spa waving her receipt, she was prepared to enjoy this spa dayto the fullest.
After her day at the spa, Regan decided that she should go to the park as she wasnot yet ready to go home. She ran into her best friend Melissa who she hadn’tseen since high school and announced her pregnancy. The other woman took awild guess at who the father is.
As Claus was unable to catch up with his father’s ex-wife he went over to his neighborVita’s house. She was a good friend of Agnes’ and he figured she would be able toanswer some of his questions about his parents’ rocky marriage. Vita was also a goodfriend of Jack’s so Claus figured if anyone would give him unbiased answers it would beVita Alto.
“Claus darling, I haven’t seen you since your birthday. How are you and the wife?”Claus smiled. “We’re fine, Regan is going to have the baby any day now.”“A baby? Congratulations. Now why are you here and in your uniform?”“I want to know about my parents’ marriage. I know from Mom’s book that it wasn’tthe best, but do you actually think it was bad enough for him to kill her?”
“I always wondered why that girl married Jack Winter, I never approved of their union. ThenI met Jack and found that that guy could charm the panties off a woman and understoodhow he convinced Agnes to marry him. I heard from Cornelia that they argued all the time.Well the two of them were hard headed, stubborn individuals, that is why they argued allthe time. That’s the reason Jack never admitted that he loved her. Oh yes, somewhere alongthe line he fell in love with her, at the funeral it was clear to me that he was devastated byher death.”
“You think he loved her?”“I know he did.”Jack was about to say more when he received a call from the hospital. “Thank you foryour time Vita. My wife’s in labor, I have to go.”“It was good to see you Claus.”