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Be My Valentine

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Bridget was over the moon when her parents had supported her decision. She had been nervous that Jubal’s family might have had reservations, but his mom was just as much on board as hers was. The only thing that really mattered was about protecting Hope, they didn’t want any surprises and the last thing they wanted to deal with was more uncertainty.

 

Even though they legally were Hope’s parents, so many things could happen and it wasn’t something that Bridget was going to take a gamble on.

 

Jubal and Bridget had decided that after telling all of the important adults in their life, it was time for them to tell Hope. They had had a nice dinner how at a restaurant on a school night which made Hope really happy because she wanted to wear a new dress that her grandmother bought for her.

 

Jubal told her that it was a special occasion. It had made Hope really excited because it wasn’t anyone’s birthday or a holiday. She wondered if a surprise was going to happen. Jubal had started to explain that he and Bridget had been thinking long and hard and thought it would be a good idea to move.

 

Hope became really excited because she thought that they would be moving to George. Her daddy told her that he didn’t need a job from Sprite, but he was very impressed with her trying to take care of their family and get him a job. She let it go because it earned her a kiss on the cheek.

 

Bridget had told Hope that they wouldn’t be moving to Georgia which made Hope very disappointed. The couple tried to explain that even though they weren’t moving to Georgia it didn’t mean that they weren’t moving to somewhere really great. Jubal had said that they were moving to his hometown and it made Hope a little happy because she knew that New Orleans was a great place. Her grandma and aunts were always talking about it.

 

“We want to make sure that this is something that you will come to love. Your mother and I think that we will be really happy in New Orleans, we want you to love it as much as we do.” Jubal was trying to make hope more excited about their move.

 

“Mommy lived there too?” hope hadn't known that Bridget had been to New Orleans.

 

“Yeah, I did, me and daddy lived there for quite a bit of time. We were so happy there, we made so many friends and we have family there, you know Jubal’s grandma lives there. And even though it’s not Georgia, we can still visit. It’s not far from where Melanie will be so you two can still see each other. It won’t be as often as it is right now but is very important to me for you to have your best friend. Hope, I will always do whatever I can to make sure that you’re happy.” Bridget wanted her daughter to know that there is no limit to what she would do for her.

 

“I know mommy. My big grandma lives there! That’s nice… She likes flowers like me and daddy. Daddy do you think I’ll be happy there?” Hope looked towards Jubal, she already knew that her mother wanted to go but she wanted to hear his answer.

 

“Yes, I do. It’s so much fun to be there, I had the best times there when I was a kid. And we get to enjoy it together. And you’ll be closer to Melanie there than you would be if we stayed here... You would also be closer to Disney World and I believe I can convince this lady here to let us go.” Jubal added a wink to really drive his message.

 

Hope giggled, just about anything Jubal did made her smile or laugh.

 

“I guess if we can’t go to George then it’s okay to go to New Orleans. it would be nice to be closer to Melanie, I know I won’t be able to see her every day but if you promise I’ll still see her then I want to go. Since we’re going to be moving really far, are people going to come and visit us?” Hope started to wonder because how would her weekends be now…

 

“Of course they're going to come and visit us. Family is the most important thing to us, I know that everyone is going to miss you so much but we're going to make sure that even though we won't be living here anymore it doesn't mean that we won't get to see them or hug them... We’re going to come back for the big holidays, I know both of your grandmothers are super excited to come and visit you. Baby, I promise that you’re going to have a great time and life will be even better.

 

“How can life be better than this? That’s very hard.” Hope was finding it very difficult to believe that her life could get any better. Her mother wasn’t one to lie but this was a hard thing to find true.

 

“Because she said so… that’s why.” Jubal just smirked as he glanced from Hope to Bridget.

 

Bridget appreciated the assist, she could always count on her husband to hype her up.

 

“I guess. So when are we going to move? Melanie is not leaving until school is over. Am I going to have to move before school is over?” Hope just realized that she didn't want to move yet because she still had school and she wouldn't be seeing her best friend if they moved to New Orleans now.

 

“So we are going to move after the school year is over, we’re going to stay here for a little bit and then move over probably in the middle of the summer so you can get used to living in New Orleans. It's going to be very different so you're going to need some time to adjust. The people are different, the city looks different.”

 

Jubal was trying to subtly show Hope that she shouldn't expect her new hometown to be like her old one.

 

“Okay daddy. If you say we’re going to have fun, then I know we’re going to have fun. It might be different but if it’s a place that you and mommy love then I know I will love it too. Do you think my big grandma might give me a job?” Hope was starting to like the opportunities that New Orleans could bring.

 

“And why do you need a job?” Bridget could not understand where these ideas come from.

 

“I need a job so I can make money. And if I have money, I can buy you presents all by myself.” Hope that it would be obvious why she needed a job.

 

Bridget thought it was cute Hope wanted to be the one to give them presents.

 

“How about this… You won’t get a job but if you are a good girl, you can earn an allowance. So I want you to focus on being a good student and getting good grades. Being really nice girl for me and for your mother. Being a really good friend and family member. Do you think you can do that for me?” It was very easy to convince Hope of anything when it came from Jubal’s mouth.

 

She had a deep trust for him, and she knew if he was the one to tell her something then it had to be true. She always listened to Bridget, but Hope knew how to have a little bit of sass for her, but for Jubal she but always blush under his praise and she would do anything to keep that coming.

 

“Okay daddy I won’t get a job. Only because you don't want me to. I think I can be a good student, I can be a good friend too and I love all of my family, so I’ll keep doing that.”

 

“Baby that’s all I ask.”

 

The rest of their dinner went on to be very smooth. Hope was excited to embark on this new journey. She was a little scared because she had never left LA before, but she wasn’t going to be alone. She had parents who loved her more than anything and they were going to do this together.

 

The school year was winding down and the excitement was growing. Bridget was happy to have this new start and she honestly couldn't wait to hop on a plane. All of her life she had someone fighting for her with everything they had. She could always count on Stephanie to guide her through every big-time heartache in her life. But it wasn’t about the sad times.

 

She could think back to her childhood and remember all of the birthday parties and all of the activities that she used to think were so boring when she was a kid but when she looked back on it, she loved going to the planetarium. She loved when her mother took them to a museum. When she was a little girl, she was so astonished that her mother knew everything or at least that's what it seemed like. She thought her mom was so classy and knowledgeable. So intelligent and sophisticated, when she walked into the room it was as if you could feel when grace and power became one.

 

As the years have gone by, that notion has only gotten stronger. She could see just how strong her mother was and still is. She still looked to her mother for that guidance. She was a mother now and she wanted to be able to show Hope that kind of strength. That was the strength that built her into being the woman she is today. The kind of heart that her mother showed her and her siblings was the reason she was able to love her own daughter with just as much ferocity.

 

The empathy she learned from Stephanie was the reason she could protect Hope from every single person whoever done wrong in that little girl’s life. She has seen her mother pick up the pieces through terrible events, she seen her mother survive when other people would break.

 

Being able to witness such a strength in a woman that she admires, admires more than anyone else in this world, made her believe that she can weather any storm. She could ride out any wave… Life may try to bend her, but she would not break. She would do anything to protect her family.

 

She remembered what it was like having her mother read to her at night and feeling as if she was the luckiest girl in the world. That her and her siblings were gifted with the best mom. It also gave her a template and she was going to give her love in more ways than one.

 

She wasn’t a kid anymore, as much as she loves her mother, she doesn’t need that kind of protection anymore. Stephanie raised someone who can defend themselves and stand to any foe. She was a mother now and she was going to be the best mother she could be tonight just only Hope, but the child that was growing inside her as well.

 

When Bridget got off the plane, she felt the biggest sense of relief. The air was different, the aura was different it was just like when she came here before, but it was different now. It was silent the last time she came here too… It was silent but you could feel the chaos. The city still needed help, but it was better now, this place led to the foundation of her love for her husband. Now it would be the foundation for her family.

 

She would still be Koko Douglas… But this new adventure would be the Chronicles of the Valentines.