“Let’s just forget who didn’t tell who what or who didn’t notice what and start with the next question.” Ian plopped on the sofa.
“Like?” Tippy sat motherly on the arm beside him.
“Why would Miss Elizabeth do something like that to begin with?”
“Not tell you she’d blocked off half the second floor and all access to the third?” Jesse blinked.
“No, just not tell me…anything…at all.”
“She is in her nineties; maybe she just forgot she did it.” Ripley thought out loud.
“Her mind is still like a steel trap.” Tippy defended.
Colton shook his head. “God love the ol’ girl, but she didn’t do or not do anything unless she specifically thought it was for the best.”
“That’s not even the question, but it is certainly one of those points that gloriously seem to point toward so many other questions.” Ian jumped in the get back to the point. “I want to know why someone would just block off half a house.”
“Well, Baby Doll, the basic reason is because it was she couldn’t bear to look at it.” Tippy smiled.
“And she couldn’t stand the thought of remodeling it.” Reese interjected. “She wanted it to remain as it was. I guess she thought when you moved in you’d, you know, make the place all yours, open those walls back up and she’d never have to think about his stuff being touched again.”
“Okay, still a little lost.” Ian looked at the crowd. “What couldn’t she bear to look at and or touch?”
“The second floor she partitioned off was Herman’s bedroom and the third floor was his studio.” Colton sat next to him. “His death was a hard on her. We wondered for a while if she’d even survive it herself.”
Jesse nodded, sitting beside his father. “It was awful, just awful.”
“It came so sudden.” Reese looked at the floor. “No one expected it.”
“What happened?” Ripley had to ask. “I mean, it wasn’t something, you know, Freddy Krugerish or anything, like here in the house was it?”
“No.” Tippy smiled a little. “He did pass away here at the house, on the third floor, but it was a stroke.”
“I think what hurt her most was the fact that she wasn’t home.” Colton said. “The doctor said it was massive, nothing could have been done to save him, but she wasn’t here, by his side, when it happened.”
Ian nodded and looked to the floor. “No one wants to die alone. You always hope someone you love is nearby.”
“And she wasn’t.” Jesse sighed.
“She was at George’s shop, getting a perm and a touch up.” Tippy said. “Miss Elizabeth never was very vain, so I think the fact that she was getting her hair done when her husband of who knows how many years was dying on his studio floor was almost more than she could stand.”
“A little unorthodox,” Ian finally agreed, “But now I can sort of understand it. She blocked off their bedroom and his studio so she could remember everything as it was and find a way to continue on.”
“Well, it wasn’t their bedroom.” Tippy corrected him. “Just Mr. Herman’s.”
“They had separate bedrooms?” Ripley was a little shocked. “I understand they were part of a very different era, but they slept in separate bedrooms?”
“You did not know the Elysians.” Jesse piped up. “They may have been from a totally different era, but they in no way embodied it.”
“Maybe it was the Hollywood they were a part of,” Reese thought out loud, “Maybe they were just the first hippies but they never blinked an eye at anything.”
“Including Reese and I…” Jesse stopped himself.
“Including Reese and I…what?” Tippy raised an eyebrow.
“You know…” Jesse sputtered.
“Having sex in their pool constantly?”
“You know about that?” Ian’s jaw dropped.
“Well, we didn’t video tape it or anything but yes, we knew our sons occasionally brought dates home for a little…in the pool.” Colton admitted.
“I don’t understand what everyone is tip toeing around for.” Reese spoke out. “The Elysians never seemed to be shocked or horrified no matter what sex Jesse and I had sex with in their pool.”
“Ooookaaay.” Ian said.
“I just wanted to hear Jesse say it.” Tippy bit her lip to stifle a giggle, then leaned over to Ian. “Jesse’s the prude in the clan.”
“Ian freaks out at things like that more than I do.” Jesse pouted.
“But I was raised in the mountains by drunken rednecks. Boxer briefs still shock me.” Ian defended his defenses. “Obviously Elizabeth and Herman Elysian were two very healthy, very progressive people. So why would they sleep in separate beds?”
“Probably so Herman could get some sleep.” Colton said looking around at his family who all nodded in agreement.
“Okay…T.M.I.” Ian shook his head then held it in his hands.
Tippy let loose a snort, then a giggle when she realized what Ian was thinking. “No, no Baby Doll. Miss Elizabeth snored.”
"Miss Elizabeth didn’t just snore, she rattled the windows, peeled pain of off walls snored.” Reese added.
“Okay, well that doesn’t make me feel so icky.” Ian sighed in relief.
“Icky?” Reese teased.
“Hey, I’m the long lost big brother and I’ve still yet to collect on a lifetime of noogies.” Ian warned. “So Miss Elizabeth snored.” Before anyone could add anything else he added, “Reverberating the dead after the nuclear holocaust snored. I’m still a little confused. If she snored so terribly the love of her life had to move to another bedroom, why didn’t she just have something done? You know, one of those sleep apnea machines or surgery?”
Tippy tried to hold back the next in the latest series of giggles. “Face it, Baby Doll, when you are in your eighties that last thing you want to do is go to sleep every night with a mask strapped around your face wired to a machine unless of course, it’s the only way of waking up the next morning.”
Colton nodded in agreement. “And as far as surgery goes, once again I’m not sure of the whole story but when Miss Elizabeth was younger she spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals. Back then they weren’t nearly as much fun as your recent visits.”
Ian rolled his eyes and did his best to ignore that remark.
Reese smiled at his brother. “Snoring like a constipated backhoe was stuck in her sinuses seemed to be one of life’s oddities that she and Mr. Herman learned to live with like we’ve learned to live with your obsessions about, well, practically everything.”
“Yes. We’ve decided to find it quaint.” Jesse agreed.
“Mommy, Daddy, the babies are picking on me again.” Ian whined.
“Aw honey.” Tippy smiled and pulled her husband closer. “See, we are a real family.”