Danny remained in the living room to speak with Detective Newman on the phone while the three women took the two kids down into the family room in the basement. Shanna had been able to recall the name of the patient from the Vetiver study--Harvey Redman--and gave it to Danny.
Lex smiled as Brandy pulled out toys from the toy box and handed some to Olivia so they both could play. Brandy was as loving and including as her mom. That’s why Geni let Danny back into her life. The thought sprang into her mind in flashing neon lights and Lex quickly hid her gasp in a cough--easily done since she’d had a tickle in the back of her throat for the past few minutes. Yes, Geni, with her heart of gold and full of love, would have shown Danny forgiveness and given him another chance.
Lex was nowhere near as kind and understanding. Or forgiving. She felt tears sting the back of her eyes and she pulled out a tissue, not realizing she’d pulled out the oil scented ones until she’d raised it to her face and breathed in. The mix of oils filled her lungs and calmed her in a way nothing ever had before. Man, these oils really were amazing. Shanna certainly knew her stuff. At the thought of Shanna, Lex felt a tightness behind her eyes, not from annoyance at Shanna, but anger toward herself for her behavior. Shanna had been nothing but kind and helpful since the day they met, and Lex had not been either of those things.
Oh, she was a horrible human being. To Shanna, who didn’t deserve it. To Danny, who’d hurt her, badly, but maybe Geni was right, giving him another chance was the right thing to do. No, that was pushing it too far for Lex--baby steps, right? Lex could start with Shanna, and maybe, a big maybe, she’d be able to see past the hurt and anger toward Danny to forgive him. The tightness behind her eyes began to spread down her neck. Lex rolled her neck and shoulders out and rubbed her temples. In all her cold medicine planning, she’d forgotten to grab something for a headache.
A cool hand was placed against her forehead. “Do you have a headache, sweetie?” Shanna asked.
Lex nodded without opening her eyes.
“Is it a sinus or tension headache or a migraine?”
Lex opened her eyes and stared blankly at Shanna. “There are kinds?”
Geni said, “Lex doesn’t get many headaches.”
“Since you just breathed in eucalyptus from the tissues, that will help open your sinus cavities; I’ll use peppermint for the headache,” Shanna said, and opened her bag to pull out a MyBase Carrier Stick. Lex recognized it from when Shanna had used it a couple of months ago. This time Shanna had an oil bottle of peppermint as well.
“This won’t hurt, I promise.” Shanna must have seen the look of unease Lex tried to hide. She removed the carrier stick lid and rubbed the warm cream along Lex’s temples and forehead. Lex relaxed when there was no burning sensation where it was applied--it felt like lotion.
Shanna said, “Since I’ve applied the solid carrier oil, I can dab the liquid peppermint oil on your skin and it won’t roll into your eyes, nor will the strong peppermint scent overpower your nose--though it couldn’t hurt with your cold. Also, 70% more of the oil will be absorbed into your body to give you relief from your headache.” She proceeded to dab the peppermint where she’d put the carrier oil. It felt cool against Lex’s skin. “Now,” Shanna continued, “I’m going to do the same to your wrists and the back of your neck to help alleviate the headache and any tension you may have.”
Lex nodded and Shanna did exactly what she said she’d do. It felt amazing on the back of her neck and Lex leaned against the couch with a smile. Shanna patted her leg and went to wash her hands. Geni settled on the couch next to her and absently plucked at a thread that had come loose from the couch.
“Hey, Lex,” Geni started and stopped. Lex knew what was on her mind and what Geni wanted to talk about. She also knew Geni well enough to know that she needed time to get her thoughts together before she could continue. Lex sat quietly and waited. “Lex, I need to explain why I’ve let Danny back into my life, into my kids’ lives.” Once she started, Geni’s words rushed out and if Lex wasn’t used to Geni’s quick way of speaking at times she probably wouldn’t have been able to keep up. “He told me what happened that night, what she did, and it wasn’t completely his fault, Lex--he shouldn’t have drunk so much--but she made herself resemble you as closely as possible between the time she left us and got to his hotel room. It’s really her fault. She seduced him, using you as the tool of her crime. I don’t condone his behavior at all. But after talking with him, I felt I needed to forgive him. Can you understand?”
Despite her thoughts of forgiveness earlier, all Lex wanted to do was lash out and scream at Geni. How could anyone forgive him? He was horrible for what he did. Lex couldn’t forgive him--not yet anyway--maybe one day. But Geni hadn’t asked her to forgive Danny, she’d asked if Lex could understand why Geni had forgiven him. And Lex could. This was Geni after all.
Lex rested her hand on Geni’s knee and smiled, “I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you, Gen. You have the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. I am lucky to have you as my friend--so is Danny--he couldn’t have a truer friend than you.”
“Oh, thank you. Lex,” Geni threw her arms around Lex and gave her a big hug.
Lex chuckled and hugged her back. “Now, that doesn’t excuse your behaviour since Thanksgiving. No more secrets, avoiding my phone calls and texts, or having Jocelyn and Trevor make excuses for you when I drop by to see you.”
Geni pulled away with a frown. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure what to say to you and so I avoided you. I’m so sorry, Lex.”
Lex let her stew for a couple of seconds and then half smiled, saying, “Okay. Just don’t do it again.”
“Newman sent a car to pick up Harvey Redman from his apartment.” Lex looked up to see Danny standing at the bottom of the steps holding his daughter in his arms. Shanna was standing by him playing with Olivia’s dark curls. His eyes were trained on Lex and she knew he’d heard her and Geni talking, and, unlike Geni, he’d realized that Lex hadn’t said she forgave him for what he did. She raised her chin. He hadn’t earned her forgiveness yet. He said, “We need to leave now if we want to meet with Newman at the station before he interviews Redman.”
“Okay,” Geni said with her old friendly tone and jumped from the couch to gather up Brandy. Everything was right in her world now that she and Lex had “talked it out”.
Lex stood up, watching Shanna look from Olivia to Danny and then leave her gaze on Lex. She saw it in Shanna’s eyes, she’d heard Lex and Geni talking as well. Welcome to our messed up lives, Shanna Burton, Lex thought.
“Are we going?” Geni stood amongst the group with Brandy on her hip. “I need to be back by 3 to meet my kids as they get off the bus.”
“Yeah, Gen,” Lex said, “we’re going.”
Danny nodded at Lex and led the way up the stairs.
Written by Linsay Ernst