Alexa B-Side: #11 - Grandma Mary

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“Mrs. Thompson. You have a telephone call.” The maid said to the mistress of the house.

“And who is it, Candice?” Mary asked her maid.

“It is your granddaughter Jennifer, ma’am.” Candice replied to her boss. Mary’s mood instantly brightened. Jennifer, or as she preferred Jenny, was one of the few members of her family Mary actually liked. Mary instructed Candice to have the call put through to the sitting room she was currently in.

“Hello, grandma?” The voice on the other end of the line sounded confused and a little nervous.

“Jennifer? What is it? Is something wrong?” Mary’s mood quickly changed to one of concern. She then heard her granddaughter tell her about a situation regarding her partner, Alexa. Alexa was a young man who was in the process of transitioning to a woman. A process that began just after Jennifer and Alex had begun dating. And as crazy as it sounded, Jennifer had supported Alex, now Alexa, in this change. She not only supported ‘her’ she loved ‘her’. This support was no more evident than on Christmas Eve. Jennifer had received a phone call from her roommate, Katie, that Alexa’s father had accidently discovered that his son Alex was transitioning into Alexa and he had blown his top. The incident was enough for Jennifer to abonded her family on Christmas Eve and rush back to Minneapolis. So, when Jennifer called asking for help it got her attention.

“Alexa was harassed at work today and her employers decided to weasel their way out of it and asked her to sign a waiver, limiting their liability. I think she needs a lawyer, no wait I know she needs a lawyer. Can you help?” Jenny said to her grandmother. Mary paused as she took this all in. She had not been completely comfortable with the whole arrangement Jennifer and Alex had. To Mary’s way of thinking, the whole thing was odd, but to Jennifer it meant everything. She could hear in her granddaughter’s voice a slight plea for help. Pushing her feelings to the side, she told Jennifer she would help. She would make a call and that Jennifer would be contacted as to what the next step would be. “Thank you grandma. I knew I could count on your help. Say hi to my parents. I love you grandma.” The older woman smiled, “I love you to Jennifer. Take care of yourself and your boyfr, I mean friend.”

Mary sat there as the phone call ended trying to decide what to do. She wanted to help but still had many concerns with the whole situation. Was this some sort of game or was it real life? While not a judgmental person she struggled with people who wanted to change their gender. It was then she thought about her cousin Bridget. Bridget had been a few years younger than her and the two of them had grown up together. Like many young girls, the two were more tom-boys than girly-girls in their younger days. But Mary had grown out of that phase while Bridget never had. She continued to do ‘boy’ things as Mary moved into being a woman. This caused many problems at home for Bridget and led to the eventual downfall of her life. After her father found her kissing another girl, she was sent off to a convent in Kansas where after a short period of time she had passed away, and no explanation was given. Mary had always felt that Bridget had taken her own life because she had been denied the chance to live life the way she wanted. Those events caused Mary to become more open-minded about homosexuality and the way people wanted to live. While never a crusader on the subject of homosexuality, she was much more understanding of it than others of her generation. It was those thoughts that compelled Mary to get up from her sitting room and head for her study. Once there, she opened an address book so she could make a call. For some reason she did not have the direct number she needed, she knew her private secretary did but she was on vacation. She found the main switchboard number for the firm she was looking for.

“Hamilton, Larson and Rosburg, how may I direct your call.” Mary hears from the cheery young voice on the other end of the line.

“Yes, Barton Hamilton please.” After assuring the young girl he would take her call, Mary was transferred to Barton’s secretary. The secretary was not used to phone calls being transferred into her line so she was a little annoyed by the sound. The nonchalance at which she answered the call was instantly changed and she heard the voice at the other end. “Louise, this is Mary Thompson. I need to speak with Mr. Hamilton immediately.” Louise began to almost panic. Mary Thompson was one of the largest clients in the firm as well as a personal friend of Mr. Hamilton. Mary was one of the few who had Mr. Hamilton’s private number, so she was a little shocked to be speaking with the Matron of one of the wealthiest families in the state.

“One second Mrs. Thompson. I will get him for you.” A nervous Louise put Mary on hold and raced into Mr. Hamilton’s office. “Mr. Hamilton, Mary Thompson is on line 3 for you.” Louise told her superior. The near look of panic that crossed Mr. Hamilton’s face concerned the secretary. As much as she was not use to having to talk directly to Mrs. Thompson, Bart Hamilton was as confused on how to answer the phone in his office by picking up a line. After a few seconds of fumbling and some assistance from Louise, Bart was finally able to retrieve the call.

“Mary?” He said into the phone.

“Bart, what the hell took so long. Did you need to have Louise show you how to answer it?” Mary said to her attorney, partially as an annoyed client but mostly as a friend needling another friend. Both Mary and Bart chuckled at the comment, but Bart’s was a little more restrained. If Mary Thompson had taken the time to go through the switchboard, he knew that this was a priority that would take over his life.

“I still haven’t gotten used to push buttons, you know that. I miss the rotary phone.” Bart said with a chuckle as he braced himself for the approaching doom. “What can I do for you today Mary?” Mary cleared her throat and begin to relay the details of the events that had fallen upon Alexa and then clearly stated what she needed from Bart Hamilton. Bart was a little confused as to why she was getting directly involved in such a matter, until he put together that Mary’s granddaughter and this transgender person were more than friends. If he had any doubts as how to proceed the were erased when Mary spoke again.

“Bart I realize that this is not your firm’s normal case, but I do not want it handled by some pro-bono zealot who just graduated from Bob’s Law school. And I would appreciate it if you personally made sure all went well.” The last request by Mary really put the wheels in motion for the senior attorney. He assured Mary that all would be handled properly and to have Miss Quinn and Jennifer at his office at 9:00 AM on Tuesday morning to meet the attorney he was appointing. The assurances from Bart, seemed to calm Mary a bit, but something still nagged at her. She let Jennifer know the details for the meeting on Tuesday and went about the rest of her day. However, the nagging feeling she had kept at her.

When she awoke the next day the first thing that crossed her mind was the discussion she had with Bart. She had realized during the course of the previous evening that she needed to support Jennifer through this and if that meant supporting Alexa she would be there for ‘her’ as well. She would be there much more than Jennifer’s own mother. Marilyn Thompson was, in Mary’s opinion, a spoiled little bitch who lived in her own little bubble. Ever since the death of Abigail, Mary’s granddaughter and Marilyn & Marty’s daughter, Marilyn had become even more snooty than she had been. The interest she took in her remaining daughter vanished. Marilyn was one of those types who always had privilege in their life and had never lifted a finger for themselves. Mary was fortunate not to have that upbringing and had tried to impart a little real-world knowledge to her three children when they were younger. They had to clean their own rooms, no maids doing it. Once a year they would have to work on at least part of the yard at the family’s expansive estate on Lake Minnetonka. Mary had been raised by a police officer and bar owner father and stay at home mother who expected their children to work hard. Mary tried to impart that wisdom on her own children and for the most part it had worked. Unfortunately that had not happened with her son Marty and his snooty wife.

As Mary headed down to breakfast on that New Year’s Eve morning the thoughts of what the lawyer might due to her granddaughter and partner grew even more pronounced. When Mary entered the breakfast area, those thoughts were forgotten somewhat as Mary realized who she would be dining with. The only person at the table was Jennifer’s mother, Marilyn. After the morning niceties Mary told Marilyn that she had spoken to Jennifer the day before and Jennifer had asked Mary to tell her parents hello. Marilyn barely acknowledged what was said and Mary instantly became mad. When Mary informed her daughter-in-law about Jennifer and her partner needing a lawyer, Marilyn completely ignored the older woman, instead telling her she needed to be off to her tennis lesson. That was the final straw for Mary. She had put up with this little bitch for long enough.

“So I take it the Tennis Pro is the flavor of the month for your philandering ways?” Mary stated, trying not to get her Irish temper up too much. Marilyn gasped in shock as this was said. Marilyn attempted to act all indignant, but it was too much for Mary to take. Her heritage won out. “Listen Marilyn. I know all about the golf pro at Wayzata Country Club and I know all about the gardener and that dentist. I could care less what kind of arrangement you and Marty have. But when it comes to my granddaughter I do care! If you want to ignore her fine. You have never been much of a mother to her. If I remember correctly she came to me when she had her first period and asked me to take her shopping for her first bra. Things a mother would normally do. You on the other hand were too busy getting it on with that attorney! Yes, I know about him too. Most of the mothers I know would take a strong interest in what was going on if their daughters called looking for legal assistance. You acted like I just told you it might rain today! Get out of my sight you little bitch! Go play with your tennis pro. I will be worrying about your daughter!”

Twenty-Six years of frustration had just erupted on the aloof mother of Jennifer and she was in shock and stormed off. Mary smiled as she watched her daughter-in-law leave. “I’m 85 years old. That felt good. Screw that little bitch.” The feeling carried over into the next action as Mary marched into her study and reached for the phone. She placed a call to her personal secretary, who was presently on vacation. “Sandra?” the older woman said. “I know you are on vacation, but I need your help. Can you please call and have them set up my plane for Monday late morning to take me back to Minneapolis for a few days. Please let me know when it will be available. Tell them I will plan on coming back on Thursday morning.” And with that Mary hung up the phone and drank her cup of coffee. It took no more than 10 minutes and Sandra returned the call, informing her employer of the details. ‘Thank you Sandra. I feel terrible for bothering you on your vacation.” Mary paused to let her assistant speak “ No you will not be needed in Minneapolis. I can make arrangements. Where are you at by the way? Disney World? Are the boys enjoying themselves? That’s good. Take a few extra days if you need to. Take care and have a good New Years and I will see you on the ninth.” With that Mary hung up, but then made one more discrete call to Walt Disney World and made arrangements to have her assistants bill paid for completely. Mary felt it was the least she could do for interrupting her secretary’s vacation.

Dinner that night was an interesting event. Not only were Jenny’s parents joining Mary but also her other son Robert. Robert was her youngest and probably the most like Mary of her three children. Her daughter, Bridget, was a little like Marilyn but knew better than to act the snooty one around her mother. Robert was much more hard working. He had shunned the family business and had struck out on his own to be a rancher in Montana. He enjoyed working with his hands and had recently divorced his latest gold-digging wife. So he had come here for the holidays to enjoy the sun and warmth of South Florida. As the family sat down, Mary completely ignored the death stares being directed at her by her daughter in law and spoke to Marty about her recent conversations with Jennifer. Marty, while completely wrapped up with running the family fortune was still concerned with his daughter, but not enough for Mary’s liking. Marty also knew better than to cross swords with his mother. He voiced his concerns over Jennifer’s boyfriends plight and asked if he could help. Mary brushed him aside but subtly let him know his concern was noted. Marty saw the determined look in his mother’s eyes and backed off, He knew better than to argue with her when she was in this mood.

It was also at this time she announced that she would be heading to Minneapolis on Monday to attend the Foundation Board meeting and that any of the occupants of the table would like to come along, they were more than welcome. Marty begged off indicating he had a meeting with the citrus group of the company Tuesday morning. Robert indicated he was already flying back to Montana on Monday so he was out. Marilyn said nothing. Mary made a mental note to check on a few things when she was back home to try and confirm some rumors about her daughter-in-law that she had heard. She wanted as much leverage as she could have over this little twit as she knew a storm was brewing and Mary being a good Momma bear was going to protect her full-grown cub. Dinner passed with very little incident and Mary excused herself early from her family so they could celebrate the new year.

Come Monday, Mary sat back in her seat on her private Gulfstream jet. This was one of the few things that she spent frivolously on. Mostly because she hated airports and as much traveling as she did this luxury was well worth the cost to her nerves. Mary thanked her flight attendant Kristin for the coffee she had brought to her and stared out the window. Two things crossed the woman’s mind. The first was she wanted to make sure that Jennifer and Alex, or Alexa, were not playing some game. She had only met the young man once and could see the beginnings of something wonderful for her granddaughter. But becoming a lesbian for all intents purpose over this one person concerned Mary. She knew that college kids would play little games and Mary was afraid this one could come back to hurt Jennifer. The second thought was, I must really care about my granddaughter to fly back to Minneapolis in the middle of winter. If Mary hated anything more than her daughter-in-law it was cold weather.

The flight went without incident and Mary soon was back in Minneapolis. She was met by her driver Lewis and she instructed him to first take her to the Marquette Hotel so she could check in to her suite and then they would be going to her granddaughter’s apartment. The time at the hotel did not take long and at 4:33 PM, Mary found herself standing in front of the door to the apartment her granddaughter called home. She knocked and could hear voices on the other side of the door. Getting a little irritated she knock again and the door was opened. Standing before Mary was an attractive young woman wearing a pair of faded jeans rolled up to about mid-calf, a white top of some kind covered by a blue, yellow and white plaid shirt left open and tied at midriff. On her feet, she wore a pair of non-descript white tennis shoes and her head was topped with a kerchief that matched the shirt she was wearing.

“Mary? What are you doing here? Please come in.” The young woman addressed Mary. Mary had never met this woman but instantly knew who she was. After the young woman took Mary’s coat, Mary greeted her as Alexa and asked if her granddaughter was about. From around the corner a light squeal could be heard. “Are you teaching her how to cook?” Mary asked Alexa and Alexa answered in the affirmative. After Jennifer, had inquired about who the visitor was, she was invited by her partner to see for herself. Jennifer stood there in minor shock as she realized it was Mary. Jenny instantly felt almost ashamed that she was looking the way she was and was cooking. Mary looked over at Alexa and gave her a little grin and a wink. She then began to speak with her granddaughter “What were you doing in the kitchen young lady and why are you dressed that way?” Jenny shrunk back a little more as her grandmother walked up to her and lifted her chin up so she could look Jennifer in the eye. “It’s about time you learn a useful skill” Mary said to her granddaughter and soon the giggles and the hugs ensured. Mary thought to herself that no matter how many times she teased her granddaughter in a similar way she always fell for it. Mary had a few other grandchildren but Jennifer was special to her. And from what she was seeing here so far, Alexa was good for her. Mary’s fear had always been that Jennifer would turn out like her mother. However, Alexa was showing her a few things.

The two girls led Mary to the living room area. As Mary took the lone chair, the two girls sat on the couch. Instantly the two interlocked hands, an action that did not go unnoticed by Mary. The two girls looked comfortable together and seemed attentive of the other. This surprised Mary somewhat. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but she did not think she would find two people who seemed to care about the other so much. When Mary asked about the outfits, the two looked at each other and began giggling like school girls, but there was something more to it. The look was one of caring and togetherness. It was a look that melted Mary’s heart, but she could not let on that it did, at least not yet. There was some small talk about how Alexa was holding up through all the upheaval in the recent days and apologies from Alexa about disrupting Christmas. Mary knew she wanted to speak privately with Jennifer for a moment and needed a way to get the two of them to split up. She decided to use the outfits as her hook. “Before we go on, could you two please change? While the costumes are cute, I find it difficult to hold a serious conversation with the two of you.” The two rose from the couch and began to head back to change, Mary spoke up “Jenny, please stay back a second. Alexa, please give us a minute.” Jenny became nervous Mary could tell, and that was not the direction she wanted this conversation to go. As Alexa moved off, Mary began with Jennifer.

“Jennifer, I was not kidding when I said I wanted to make sure that this was not some game you two are playing. I am calling in a few favors on this little deal so naturally I had concerns. However, I see now that all those fears are unfounded. You two are obviously in love, not just lust. Now listen to me young lady. You watch out for her. She is going to go through some hard times and you need to be strong for her. And be prepared, life is not going to be easy for you either. Are you ready for that?” Mary had just laid out all of her thoughts on the situation in hand. She sat back and waited for Jennifer to answer, however she didn’t have to wait long.

“Grandma, I care about Alexa more than anything in the world. I don’t care what people say about me. Scr, I mean forget them.” Jenny said to her grandmother. The self-editing of her granddaughter brought a grin to Mary’s face. “I will tell you what I told Lex’s counselor the other day. I will standby by Alexa no matter what the consequences to me.” Jenny suddenly stopped again and started to tear up. Mary got up and put an arm around her granddaughter.

“Well then, if you are that committed so am I. I care more about you Jennifer than most people in our family. Like I said take care of her. Now go get changed.” Mary wiped the tears from Jennifer’s face, gave her a light hug and sent her on her way. Mary saw the tears give way to a big smile as she headed down the hall. Mary found out the reason for the smile, as Alexa entered the room looking like any other young girl she might encounter. She could also see the nervousness in Alexa. She knew she had to try and allay her fears. “That is much better Alexa. I will say you are a very attractive young woman. I also realize how much Jenny cares for you, which she just stated to me.” Alexa let out a sigh of relief as Mary’s words were digested. “One reason I came here is that I wanted to see for myself that this isn’t some game you two are playing.”

Alexa sat up straight and looked Mary in the eye. “I can assure you Mary that it is not. It just happened that as I was coming to terms of what I am when I connected with Jenny. I know it seems strange, but I really do want to live my life as a woman and I want to live it with Jenny. I, I um...”

Mary finished the sentence for Alexa, “You love her I believe is what you want to tell me isn’t it? And she loves you, I can tell. And that’s why I am here. Whether you realize it or not, your actions will affect Jenny. There will be a perception of her that will not be very flattering. I just said the same to her. Do you want to know what her answer was?” Alexa nodded her head as Mary continued. “She said she would stand by you no matter what you decided.” The comment brought a smile to both the younger woman’s face as well as the older woman’s face. Soon the two were joined by Jenny and Mary watched as Alexa slid over to allow Jenny to sit near her grandmother and they once again linked their hands. Alexa asked why Mary was being so accepting of this. At that point Mary went into telling her story of her cousin and how it had affected her. It was not a story she had told very often but she thought it was appropriate. The emotion soon became a little more than Mary wanted to share, so she tried to change the subject and told the girls she wanted to take them to dinner. She was somewhat shocked to hear the next comment from her granddaughter

“We don’t need to go anywhere. We have already made something grandma.” An obviously excited Jennifer stated. Mary became a little nervous at the comment. As much as she was glad her granddaughter was learning to do something normal, the thought of actually eating the food was another matter. She tried to get out of it by asking if there was enough. She was assured there was and then when Alexa made the comment Mary needed to stay because she didn’t want to die from food poisoning alone convinced her a little more. The playful banter between the two girls caused Mary to laugh. The next few hours were spent by the three talking and laughing, with various tall tales being told. Soon Mary decided it was time to head back to her hotel. As she took her leave of the girls, she told them to remember to dress appropriately, no costumes like early. Mary gave Alexa a brief hug before giving her granddaughter a much longer hug.

As Mary took her leave and began walking down the hall, led by her driver, Mary reflected on the evening. She had seen pure love between two people, something she never thought she would witness in her life. She just hopped that those two realized what they had. And Mary also realized she would do everything in her power to protect the two of them. Grandma bears protect their cubs eve more.

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