Afterthoughts~Forgive and/or Forget

Written by Isa

Set after "Forgive and/or Forget"

Griffin handed Claudia her suitcase. "I don't know why you didn't check this, it's gonna be hell to--"

"Griffin, I can't."

"You can't carry it? I think it's too late to--"

"No, I mean I can't go back."

"Why not?"

"I don't belong there, I belong here, with Charlie & Diana & even Daphne."


"You're not my parent k? You weren't when you and weren't then so don't start now, all right?"

"I was just tryin' to help."

"Don't try so hard." she picked up her backpack. "Come on. Let's go home. I haven't seen the baby all day."

Julia knocked softly on the door to the house. No one answered, so she fished in her bookbag for her keys and let herself in. She immediately headed up to Diana's nursery. She hadn't been home yet to see it, and as she tiptoed up the stairs of the house she grew up in, she felt like a visitor instead of an inhabitor.

She entered the nursery in the dark so she wouldn't disturb the baby, but Diana wasn't alone. Asleep in the chair someone had stuck in a corner was Daphne. Diana was asleep in her arms. Julia carefully took the baby out of Daphne's arms and set her in the crib.

"Julia?" Daphne whispered.

She put a finger to her lips & walked out, waiting for Daphne to follow. She lingered at the crib a long time, staring at the baby and then finally came out, pulling the door to a close behind her.

"Julia, what are you doing here? It's late."

"Around midnight. Can we...." she ran down the stairs and Daphne followed, slower, taking the steps one at a time. She followed Julia into the living room and stopped at the doorway.

"Bailey's here?"

"I didn't know he was here."

Julia took off for the kitchen. "I guess he & Sarah must've had a fight." She sat on a bar stool and Daphne sat across from her. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm tired, but I'm okay."

"I need some advice."

"You're coming to me for advice? Me and not Charlie or Bailey or Sarah?"

"I know them all too well."

"Why don't you ask your roommate? Or that guy you had tagging along with you?"

"It's kind of about them. Griffin's out in the shed, right?"

"I guess so."

"So, my roommate is Maggie, and Ned is her boyfriend."

"Isn't Ned the guy you brought to the hospital?"

"Yeah. So, Ned was her boyfriend, but now he's sort of my boyfriend."

"How can you have a boyfriend if you're still married?"

"Daphne, interupting me isn't helping."

"Sorry. Go on."

"Okay, so....should I start over?"

"Please." Daphne re-adjusted how she was sitting and started to eat pretzels from the bag one of the guys had left open on the table. Julia didn't seem to notice.

"So I was married to Griffin and he cheated on me, so I went away to school to get away, but I didn't really mean to get away from him, I guess I don't know why I went. But I went & he told me he was seeing someone else and that I should see someone else, so I almost went for this guy Josh, but that didn't work out. So Maggie was my roommate and Ned was always hanging around with her all the time and before I knew it we were talking all the time, and then one night he kissed me."

Daphne opened a box of Triscuits and started to eat on those as Julia went on.

"So we started just kissing and fooling around all the time, and then one night we were gonna do it, but I pulled back at the last minute because of Griffin. And then when I came down to watch Owen and Ned came and Griffin saw us.....I just sort of threw myself into the whole Ned thing to get away from the Griffin thing."

"Do you love Ned?"

"God, no."

"Do you love Griffin?"

"I did."

"Do you still?"

Julia sighed. "I don't know. I really don't. I mean, I just came from spending half the night with Ned. In bed."

"Oh boy."

"And I really want to be with Ned and have everything be okay, but I don't think I can."

"Because it's weird since he was your roommate's boyfriend?"


"Because of Griffin?"


"Then why?"

Julia sighed again and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "I don't know. I really don't."

"I wish I knew what to tell you Julia, but I don't think I can know what to tell you because you don't even know what you wanna hear."

Julia stood up and shook her arms in frustration. "Maybe I should wake Charlie."

"You could try your sister. I think I heard her crying earlier. And do you know where Owen might be? He said something about pitching a tent."

"Claudia's here?" she totally ignored what Daphne had said about Owen.

"Yeah, she's in the attic, I think."

"She didn't go home?"

"I think she missed her flight."

"Why don't you know these things? You live here."

"I was--"

Julia didn't wait for her to answer. She trekked up the two flights to the attic and opened the door without knocking. Sacked out on the floor, still in her clothes, a journal and pen in her hands, was Claudia. In front of the window sat Claudia's old tent. She peered in the opening. Owen was asleep inside, and all his Pokemon figures and his Hot Wheels were beside him. She almost laughed, but held it in so she wouldn't wake them. She ran back down the stairs and found Daphne pulling a piece of leftover pizza out of the microwave. "Owen is asleep in the tent up there. Is Charlie awake?"

"I don't know. I was gonna head up to bed after I eat this."

"I'm gonna go wake him."

"Go quietly. You don't wanna wake the baby."

Julia ignored her and thundered up the stairs. She barged into Charlie's bedroom, but he was totally sacked out on top of the covers. She took a throw off the rocking chair, covered him, and headed up to the attic to crash on her old bed. The last thought she had before drifting off was that it was the first time in a long time that all five Salinger children had slept under the same roof.
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