Bogen County Farewell

WebMistressGina

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Happy Turkey Day Mupps!

And in the gift of being thankful, I'm giving you this Miss Piggy Mupp Adventure early! I'm at a good point where I can start posting, but expect it to be a bit slow as I work to finish both 2 Ball and Deadly Delay.

Before we get to the story, here is your obligatory trigger warning and other admin stuff -

So this story is NOT going to be like the previous or even following Mupp Adventures. This is actually a lot more dramatic, however because this is, really, a character study in the Divine Miss P, I decided her adventure serial made it a better place than that of, say the Monday series. So why so serious, Gina? And what's up with the warnings?

Long story short - not really - this idea came from another series I thought up, called 3 Funerals and a Wedding, with this being one of the stories. In recent weeks, this became the forefront so I decided to make it an actual story. As you may see from the former title, this story was going to be about one of the funerals, which is not funny for anyone there. Usually.

So there's that. As I went further into Piggy's family, mostly from the sometimes conflicting stories from Piggy herself, I came to the conclusion that her family life was more dysfunctional than fun, so I went that route. Against some of our starring Mupps - Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo, and Scooter - Piggy has been very closed mouth on her family and is, in a way, very standoffish when it comes to the others. So I ran with that.

While dysfunctional, there's nothing traumatic involved here - other than maybe her father's death - but you're gonna hopefully learn some things about Piggy and her family that are of course just coming from my mind and will be Jossed should the new show (or any new movie) change anything. Um...what else?

Oh! You guys should know by now that I leave nothing to chance, so I totally did the research from characteristics of dysfunctional families, roles both children and parents play in these types of families, signs of grief, types of funerals, types of cemeteries, yadda yadda. As an only child, I of course have no biological reference for siblings other than what movies and television have told me, so those of you with bros and sis', do let me know if I'm on track.

As always, while Piggy's got her neighborhood sidekicks - Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo - this is all Piggy, with a focus on her immediate family, including her siblings, her parents, and a couple others. Obviously, questions and answers along the way. Okay, I think that was it.

Oh, of course, Happy Thanksgiving to my US homies celebrating today. Please have a good time, be safe, and enjoy your fam and friends! Also, be sure to root for your teams today if you're football fans. Go Wildcats! and Go Packers!
 

WebMistressGina

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Okay, so that was a long admin post, but here's what you've been waiting for!



Miss Piggy Muppet Adventures Presents

Miss Piggy

In

Bogen County Farewell

Featuring

Nate Hogglesworth | Hamilton Pig | Ida Rose Maline






The end of the week on the set of Up Late with Miss Piggy was like any other work week, though the idea of getting out for three days was always a highlight. Up Late usually ran Monday thru Thursday, allowing for three day weekends, four during a holiday weekend, but it also meant that Thursdays had a focus of not only that night’s show, but the following week’s show start.

This Thursday was already shaping up to be…well, unproductive.

The Mayhem weren’t actually rehearsing, more like playing a very drawn out set that started with some blues song and escalated into a now growing hour of riffs and solos.

In the writer’s room, Gonzo, Pepe, and Rizzo had somehow gotten into some Nerf shoot-out that had all but demolished their own office.

Warm up comic and announcer Fozzie Bear was – still – trying to convince his girlfriend’s parents to love him and was currently in the midst of building the largest care basket in the world.

And the talent manager and the star of Up Late had seemingly disappeared.

The first three didn’t really concern Kermit the Frog as much as the last one did. Anytime Scooter and Piggy were together, it never boded well, usually for him. Especially for him. However, in the recent weeks, their team ups had resulted in having to bail Piggy out of county lock up and keeping her from killing Scooter, who had pretty much dug himself into Christina Applegate’s house, refusing to come out as long as Piggy was outside and angry.

“He’s pretty much dug in there like a tick,” the television and movie star had replied, speaking to Kermit outside the front door of her own home.

Stepping outside to try and calm the diva down had been a huge mistake, as Scooter took that opportunity to not only lock himself inside, but locked the star out.

“I am so…” Kermit begin, shaking his head and trying to block out the argument that was happening to his left. “Normally, I try to keep them as far away from each other as possible, because any time they get together, they’re usually out to destroy me. And they never listen to anything I say because the next week, they’re back to trying to drive me insane. Do you know how close I’ve been to just committing myself to Hollywood Mental? I tried committing them once, but the hospital refused to take them.”

“I can’t imagine why.”

“Either can I!”

At that point, both Kermit and Christina had to prevent Piggy from throwing a large rock at the window Scooter was standing at.

And like the Twilight Zone, everything went back to the way it always was, with the two of them completely forgetting that they had literally held a siege at Christina Applegate’s house a while ago. No, having Scooter and Piggy together was never a good combination, especially when he couldn’t find them anywhere in the studio or on the lot. And of course, no one ever worried about the two of them together, so no one had noticed they were missing.

A little before ten o’clock, the Destructo Twins finally made their appearance, laughing and joking as though they hadn’t been planning his demise over breakfast. “Whatever the two of you have planned for my demise,” Kermit began, not even waiting for them to say their greetings, and pointing at them both. “Put it right out of your heads.”

“Always the tone of suspicion,” Scooter replied, a small smirk on his lips.

“Some may call it paranoia, Frog,” Piggy joked. The strains of a pop song rang, signaling that one of Piggy’s many suitors were probably calling. Answering quickly, the diva replied with “Vote for Piggy.” A few minutes passed as Piggy listened to the person on the other end, while Kermit and Scooter could only hear her side of the conversation.

“Hey. Really. Huh. Uh…yeah, Moi doesn’t think that’s gonna happen, but hey thanks for calling. Ciao!” Placing her phone back in her pocket, she replied, “Well, that’s over with.”

“What was that about?” Kermit asked.

“Hmm?” Piggy questioned, now clearly distracted. “Oh, nothing. Nothing! It was…it was just Nate. Anyways, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, your paranoia.”

“Wait, wait,” Kermit interrupted. “Nate? As in your brother, Nate?”

“I didn’t know you had a brother,” Scooter commented. The red head had always thought he was the closest thing the diva would consider a best friend; certainly he considered her his best friend.

“It’s nothing,” Piggy said, her voice now louder than before. “Now, if vous will excuse me, Moi has things to do.”

If Kermit could count the number of times his brain and his heart warred against each other when it came to Miss Piggy, he would literally be a billionaire at this point, probably five times over by now. But, as in most cases, his heart won over any objection his brain had, and decided that he needed to find out about this phone call.

Knocking once, Kermit made his way inside, only hearing the tail end of Piggy’s call to come in. She was sitting in front of her vanity, her make up person having not come in before him or being dismissed by Piggy, which was more likely.

“Need something, Frog?”

“Yeah,” he said, walking over and leaning against the table. “You alright?”

“Would I not be?”

“Well,” the producer began, slowly. “You said Nate called. You hardly ever have any contact with him or the rest of your family and usually when he calls, he’s calling for a reason.”

That was certainly true – Piggy never liked talking about her past, not even to Kermit, who probably knew more about Piggy than anyone. From the various tales, the clear message he got was that Piggy was nearly estranged from the entire family, with exception to her older brother Nate, whom she clearly had some affection for, as he was the only family member who actually had her personal cell number, something she never gave out. Even in their own group, there was probably seven people who could directly reach her. Huffing in annoyance, Piggy asked, “You’re just not gonna let this go, are you?”

“Despite popular belief,” he retorted. “I actually do care about you and I can tell when you’re upset.”

“Moi is not upset.”

“Distracted then.”

“Not that either.”

“Alright, fine,” he huffed, throwing his hands up. Why did he never just wash his hands of her, he didn’t know. Pushing himself away from the vanity, he began to march himself towards the door. “I don’t care then.”

“Don’t let the door hit you.”

“Sometimes Piggy…”

“Yes, yes,” she said, waving him off. “Drive you insane, can’t understand me, can be such a pain, blah blah. Thank you for visiting.”

“Living end, Piggy,” Kermit sighed. “Just the living end, with no irony intended.”

“Kermit…”

The heavy sigh was the only thing that stopped him from walking out the door he had just opened. In times past, nothing would have stopped him from storming out, stewing over the fact that she would never listen to anything he would ever say and he would ask himself, for the millionth time, what it was that he saw in her. It took arguments, pretty bad ones, and a painful break-up before they could actually be friends, something that had seemingly alluded them when they had been dating.

It also helped that they had dated other people for a while before they reached…whatever this was. It didn’t escape Kermit’s notice that they seemed to be a lot closer than ever before and not for the first time, the frog wondered exactly what could be going on between them. It had to be something big, because Piggy never would have given in as quickly as she did.

“My mother died.”

Well. That was completely unexpected.

Closing the door quickly, he swallowed hard. “What?”

Turning in her chair so she could face him, she whispered, “That’s…that’s why Nate called.”

“Aw, Piggy,” he whispered, walking over and putting his arm around her. “Sweetheart, I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing…” she started, before sighing again. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it matters!” he insisted. “What’re you gonna do? Are you going back?”

“What?” she sputtered. “No! That’s…that’s…no, of course not.”

“Piggy.”

“Kermit, I’m not…why would I want to go back?” she asked, clearly agitated. “The last time Moi was in Bogen County, was the last time Moi was going to be in Bogen County.”

“Piggy,” Kermit replied. “She was your mother. Besides, it’s not like you left on good terms, so…maybe you can put some things to rest.”

“That won’t help.”

“It won’t hurt either,” he retorted.

It wasn’t an easy decision, that was obvious, but this wasn’t an easy situation either. Piggy hadn’t been back since she left decades ago and that leaving hadn’t been good at all, for anyone involved and quite frankly, Piggy never wanted to go back.

“I’ll think about it,” she sighed.

“That’s all I ask,” he said, giving her a kiss to the side of her head. “Get some work done, please.”

“Could’ve phrased that better.”


[hr]


Lunch time on a studio set could be anything from catered lunch to pick up. Kermit, who in most cases forgot to eat, was actually ahead of the curve today, hitting the cafeteria and grabbing a sandwich and a salad before heading back to his office. He was already halfway through his sandwich, with his salad seemingly being forgotten on his desk, when the diva entered with a hot cup of coffee and some iced thing that was probably full of sugar and less on coffee.

“So a little managerial birdie told me I had plane tickets to Cedar Rapids later today,” she announced, setting down the coffee.

“Aw sweets, how did you know I wanted a coffee with my sandwich?”

“It’s decaf.”

The horrid look on his face was almost satisfying for whatever underhandedness he had done to get plane tickets to Iowa for that day and leaving later in the afternoon.

“And after I got you a lovely salad,” he retorted, pointing to the salad on the desk.

Pulling said salad towards her after taking her spot in the chair across from him, she asked, “Did you really get Scooter to book tickets to Iowa today?”

Shrugging, Kermit smiled slightly. “I figured you’d change your mind.”

“Know me so well, do you, Frog?”

His face softened for a moment before saying, “I’d like to think so.”

“You may not think that when we get there.”

“Please,” he huffed. “We’ve seen the best and worst of each other. Heck, we bring out the best and the worst of each other, so I’m counting this as a regular day.”

Shaking her head in mirth, Piggy couldn’t deny that. Very few people could get her as angry as Kermit could at times, however he had also never met her younger brother, whom she had on occasions literally wanted to kill. “Okay,” she sighed. “Far be it for me to try and dissuade you, you never listen to me anyway.”

“Isn’t that my line?”

“One question though.”

“Hmmm?”

“Scooter said he bought four tickets,” she replied. “Obviously, two of those are for us, so who are the other two for?”

The answer to that question wouldn’t come until after lunch, when Piggy and Kermit headed out of the studio to catch a plane and she saw Fozzie and Gonzo standing by their rented car. “What’re Heckle and Jeckle doing here?”

“We’re what you would call, ‘le moral support’ in French.” Gonzo replied.

“Not French,” Piggy said, before being engulfed into a tight hug by Fozzie. Ever since losing his own mother a few years ago, Fozzie seemed to take extra care for anyone who went through what he had; they actually weren’t sure just how well he had moved past it. “Fozzie…” the diva huffed, waiting for him to get off, but not wanting to upset him anymore than he clearly was. “Alright, alright. Thank you for your emotional support, Moi is fine, now get off me.”

Untangled from the comic, Piggy looked at the three of them. “Okay,” she said. “Two problems with this whole plan. One, if the four of us are leaving, who’s going to be running the asylum? And two, we have a show tonight; if I’m gone, who’s going to be hosting?”

“Firstly,” Kermit said, opening the door and pointing inside. “Everyone in the car, we do have a plane to catch after all. Second, I’ve got the boy and Rowlfie looking after the place while we’re gone. Third, I’ve already talked to the network, letting them know there’s a death in the family and thus we have the leeway of having a guest host.”

Piggy was not amused.

“Who’s hosting my show, Kermit?”

“C’mon,” he said, gently pushing Piggy into the car before following her in. If he could get the car moving, there was a less likely chance for the diva to actually get out. There was of course the 50% chance that she would throw them out while the car was moving…

“It’s me. Of course I got you a good guest host.”

“Who. Is it.”

“So Fozzie, I heard you finally found that book you wrote?”

“Kermit…”

“Piggy, I’m trying to ask Fozzie about his book.”

“Do you really have no consideration for your safety?” she growled. “Or the safety of others?”

“Kermit,” Fozzie said, throwing a look at Piggy. “I don’t want to die.”

“Oh c’mon,” Gonzo replied. “She has to get through the frog first.”

“Look at him!” the bear pointed. “He’s like the size of a twig! She’ll roll right over him and then I’d be next! Gonzo, switch seats with me.”

“No,” replied the head writer. “For Pete’s sakes, you’re a bear! I’m sure you could take her.”

Fozzie stared at the weirdo before turning to look at Piggy, who was equally looking at him before raising an eyebrow in silent challenge. Turning back to Gonzo, Fozzie shook the weirdo. “Gonzo, switch seats with me right now!”

“Piggy, go after him first,” Gonzo grumbled, pushing the bear away. “The frog is useless to you when you can catch the bigger fish.”

“Please tell me this isn’t a preview of our flight,” Kermit muttered.


[hr]


Flying to Bogen County was a little like flying out to Leland; both were small towns, set back from the main cities that may surround them, meaning that major airports were usually nowhere near the city. When Kermit went home to Leland, MS – assuming he didn’t take Fozzie up on his long haul drive to New York to visit when his mother was still alive – he usually had to fly in to the closest major airport and then make the hour and a half drive down to his parents’ house.

As much as Kermit thought he knew his ex-girlfriend, he had never met her family, only learning about her brother when he answered her dressing room phone once, a long time ago. Piggy had gone with him to Leland a few times, easily winning over his parents and siblings, to the point where the frog was convinced his mother had been upset when he not only told her that they had broken up, but that he was seeing someone else. In fact, when he thought about it, he thought his mother seemed a little too happy to hear about his break up with Denise.

Despite being a couple for an eternity, this was the first time Kermit had met her family proper; he never counted the time her nephews had been working on one of their shows. The idea had been hers, but even when she had pitched it to him, she hadn’t exactly been enthusiastic about having them around; it was only now he knew it was because they were her younger brother’s children.

Gonzo and Fozzie, who had known Piggy for just as long, had at least known she was from a big family, but they didn’t know how big or if she even kept in contact; they had both looked at each other when Kermit had told them he needed them to come with, knowing Piggy might need all the help she could get. But because they had known her for so long, they also knew the subject of her past was a sore subject, so for them to even be going meant Kermit had put her in a good mood or the situation was worse than they thought.

Bogen County was set in the rural farming lands of Iowa, set to the east of Keota and to the north of Washington; it would take a little over an hour to reach from Cedar Rapids. It was clear, before they even boarded the plane, this was something Piggy absolutely did not want to do; Kermit was actually surprised they managed to make it onboard without her trying to run off. Of course, now that they were sitting in a rental and were about the drive off, that flight or fight reflex seemed to be kicking in and unlike her other times, flight was gaining the upper hand.

Kermit had very much put his foot down on them getting anything that was labeled under the signature series (including the Maserati, the BMW, and the Corvette) going against a trio of protests and picked the Prius, even when he heard Piggy’s muttered, “Ugh! My brother drives a Prius. Never gonna let me hear the end of it.”

Piggy had immediately taken the keys and made her way angrily to the driver’s side, running a hand over her face before turning to the others once they got into the car. “Okay,” she said. “Moi has a thought, just hear me out. What if…we didn’t go to Bogen? Okay, with me? Instead, we…go…to…Chicago. Chicago! Right? It’s three hours from here, in fact, I totally know a shortcut and I could probably cut it down under that. Huh? Huh?”

Getting an unamused stare from Kermit, she amended, “Okay, Moi can see the frog’s not onboard. No Chicago. Instead…why don’t we go to Wisconsin and get a cheese head for the bear?” Fozzie’s excited gasp had sealed a vote for at least two for and one against; Piggy just needed to get Gonzo on her side. “Yeah,” she cooed, smiling at the bear. “Someone wants a cheese head.”

The comic turned his hopeful gaze towards the frog, but was immediately shot down by the irritated look on his face. “Oh come on!” Piggy insisted, looking between them. “Fozzie, don’t let him cheat you out of a cheese head!”

“Piggy,” Kermit replied, sternly. “You are going to your mother’s funeral.”

“Kermit,” she said, a near plea in her voice. “I will drive anywhere in the Midwest; we can go to Omaha, if you want. There’s nothing in Omaha, but we can go! Heck, I will drive down to Nashville, just…please don’t make me drive back.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to just demand the keys and let him drive, but that would not only be rude, but incredibly insensitive. Fozzie had dropped everything when he had heard his mother was sick and Kermit knew he would’ve done the same thing, but Piggy was not a bear or a frog. The strong familial ties the two of them had, even with the others, was not something Piggy had; in fact, she was still rather stand-offish to most of them, which was why Kermit was always surprised when he learned Piggy had gone and done something nice.

“Piggy, we wouldn’t do this if we thought the outcome would be a bad one.”

It was supposed to be a hopeful and helpful push to get her moving. It got her moving, because she did start the car, but she wasn’t happy, not at all, not with the way she huffed that they were going to regret this. Of course the silent hour of driving didn’t help either, even with the various streams of music being played in the background; the two backseat passengers were used to the silent treatment of both the driver and front passenger, so they amused themselves – Gonzo finally settling down and reading a book on his phone, while Fozzie was the victim of the smooth rolling motion of the car and dozed off.
 

The Count

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Will come back to read after eating, thanks for posting and have a good time with the rest of your family.
:hungry: :insatiable: :fanatic: :batty: :halo:
 

WebMistressGina

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And happy post-Thanksgiving everyone! Here's a little something while we're still recovering from all that turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more stuffing. I really like stuffing. :big_grin:



Kiwi Ave was a two-way dirt road, with a mix of farm land and dirt lots scattered on either side of the road. 4981 S Kiwi Ave was situated on the grassier plot of land, with a dirt driveway that sat outside a two story home that looked long lived, with some modern adjustments having been made in the last few years. Painted white, there was a surrounding porch, with wooden structures on the left and a more solid white painted post and side on the right.

There was already a large SUV sitting in the driveway when they pulled up, causing a low growl from Piggy.

“Bet that’s Ham’s car,” she muttered. “Told you we should have gone with the Maserati.” Sending a sharp smack to the wheel, she let out a frustrated sigh, gazing at the house, blue eyes narrowed behind her shades. “Home sweet home.”

“Looks like they put out the welcoming committee,” Gonzo replied, nodding to the figure that was leaning against the post to the left. He looked an imposing figure, built like a brick wall, though he was leaning casually and chewing on what looked like a toothpick or a piece of straw. It was obvious he had to be a relative of Piggy’s - same brunette mop that matched a same colored thin beard around his chin and the same baby blues shining in the sun as he took in their car.

“Terrific,” came the mutter before she turned off the car and got out.

“Not too often we get starlets out this way, Hollywood,” the elder pig replied, watching as the group came forward.

“Well, I thought I’d come and class the place up a bit,” came Piggy’s retort, walking up the steps and facing the brawly pig. “How’s it hanging, Slick?”

“It hangs.”

Nodding her head towards Kermit, she asked, “You remember the frog, don’t you?”

Nodding, the other pig replied, “Nice to finally meet you, Mitt.”

“Likewise,” Kermit replied, smiling slightly. There were only a handful of people who actually called him that, mostly some of his younger siblings, so it went a long way to show that at least one member of Piggy’s family liked him enough to use the nickname.

“Oh uh, that’s Gonzo and Fozzie; Gonzo, Fozzie, my brother Nate.” Indicating her head towards the door, Piggy continued with, “So what’s the situation?”

“Well,” Nate replied, looking inside the front window. “Hattie and Millie are here, so are Ricky Lane, John…oh, cousin BlackJack...”

“You have a cousin named BlackJack?” Gonzo asked.

“Yeah.”

“Why do they call him BlackJack?” Fozzie asked, nervously.

“You don’t want to know,” Piggy responded.

“Oh, and Grandma’s here.”

“Grandma’s here?” Piggy asked, a grin lighting her face for the first time since leaving California and arriving in Iowa. “How is the old battle-axe?”

“Old, obstinate, cranky…” Nate began. “You know…Grandma.”

Piggy nodded, before looking over at the SUV she parked next to. Most of her family still lived in the area, but she couldn’t remember any of them owning that large of a vehicle. “Who owns that monstrosity?” she asked, thumbing at the larger car behind them.

Nate smiled, though it was more playful than anything else. “Oh, that’s baby Hammy’s.”

Rolling her eyes, Piggy muttered, “Of course it is, because this day has been going so well. I bet he brought the ‘smart’ twins with him, too.”

“Now, now, darling sister,” Nate chuckled. “Those are our nephews and it is our duty to love, honor, cherish, blah blah. Yeah, dumb and dumberer are here.”

“And my day gets better,” she sighed. “You didn’t happen to mention that I planned to be here, did you?”

Nate outright laughed. “What?” he sputtered. “Of course not! Why ruin the surprise?”

Glaring at him, Piggy deadpanned, “You’re all heart, big brother.”

“In case you forgot,” he retorted. “There’s nothing to do around here. Watching you and Hammy go at it will pick up a slow day.”

“Ugh, let’s get this over with.”

The quintet headed inside, being announced with Nate’s, “Look who the gypsies left on the doorstep!”

The living room held a number of different pigs – their aunts, Hattie and Millie, who were the younger sisters of Piggy’s mother Hortense; Millie’s husband John and their son, the aforementioned BlackJack; and their uncle and Hortense’s only brother Ricky Lane. Introductions were made all around, along with the standard condolences and apologies for meeting during such a sad event. It only took five minutes before the group heard, “What’re you doing here?”

“Hamilton,” Piggy sighed, turning around to face a younger and shorter pig, this one dressed in what had been a suit, just without the jacket and his shirt sleeves rolled up. He had the same brown hair he shared with the other family members, except his eyes were a chocolate brown versus those of his older siblings’ blue. “Because my life wouldn’t be complete until I saw you.”

Throwing a look at his older brother, the younger pig growled, “You could’ve warned me, Nate.”

“Again,” the eldest smirked. “Why ruin the surprise?”

“There was a reason we called him ‘the instigator’ as children,” Piggy huffed. Pointing outside to the SUV, she asked, “Who’d you scam to get large marge out there?”

“Unlike you,” Ham replied. “I drove here when I heard Mother was sick.” Looking out the same window, the younger pig smirked before glancing back at his sister. “Aw, did you drive your little put-put car up from the airport?”

Crossing her arms, Piggy glared at him. “Not my choice.”

Kermit wasn’t completely sure she was just talking about the choice of car, but the reason she was there in the first place.

“Oh I see,” Ham said, smiling widely. “And what was your first choice, sister dear? A BMW? Caddy? Corvette?”

“A Maserati!” Fozzie supplied, unhelpfully.

Throwing a look at the comic, Ham’s smile grew larger before turning back to his sister. “A Maserati. Kudos. You know, some would say that was a desperate cry for attention.”

“So glad to see that psychology degree has come in handy.”

“Well,” Ham retorted, leaning in towards her. “It is a real profession.”

Not even ten minutes inside and already there was trouble from the way the diva took a few steps towards her brother, brandishing her fist at him. “You know, baby Hammy,” she snarled. “It would be a great disservice if I let you head back to New York without prettying up that face of yours.”

“Piggy…” Kermit warned, blocking her path.

From behind him, Kermit could feel the younger pig stepping up towards his sister. “Do not call me ‘baby Hammy’,” came his warning.

“Hey, Grandma, look who’s here!” Nate shouted, causing a total stand down process for Piggy and Ham – the raised fist from Piggy suddenly became a wave, while Ham turned around sharply to smile at the smaller, older pig who was walking towards them.

“Is that my little diva?” the elderly matron asked, as she came over. Ida Rose Maline, mother to Hattie, Millie, and Ricky Lane, grandmother to Nate, Piggy, Ham, and BlackJack, and great-grandmother to Ham’s sons, was on the short side, easily being dwarfed by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her greying curls sat on top her head in a tight bun and while her movements were slightly slow, she seemed to carry herself as an elder you should and had better respect.

“Even as a child,” Kermit whispered, throwing a look towards Gonzo and Fozzie, who smirked.

“Don’t start with me,” came the retort before said diva greeted her grandmother. “Yes, yes. It is Moi, here in the flesh.”

Looking at three of her twelve grandchildren, Ida smiled widely. “Look at my little piglets, gathered together again,” she cooed, causing a round of scandalized “Grandma!” from the trio.

“We’re not kids anymore,” Ham groused.

“Well, you’re still old enough to cut your own switch, aren’t you, Hamilton Lee?”

Piggy’s snicker didn’t go unnoticed either. “Something funny, Pigathia?”

Clearing her throat, Piggy seemed to stand up straighter and regain her composure. It was probably the first and last time the other Muppets would ever see Piggy cowed by anyone. “No, ma’am,” she said. “I just…nothing. Clearing my throat. Have you met my friends, Grandma?”

Again, introductions were made before Ida turned her attention back to her three ‘favorite little piglets’, earning another round of embarrassed groaning. “You’re my grandchildren,” the elder pig admonished. “And if I wanna call you piglets, I’m gonna call you piglets until I die. And even then, when we get to heaven, I’m still gonna call you piglets. Unless the three of you want to do something about it?”

The three piglets did not want to have anything to do with that, with all them shaking their heads, and Nate sending a little, “Piglets forever, Grandma” to appease her. Satisfied her message was heard loud and clear, Ida nodded before clapping her hands together once. “Now,” she announced. “Who’d like to help me with dinner?”

Immediately, the fuzzy arm of one Fozzie Bear shot up, excitedly. “I would!”

Smiling, Ida patted the bear on the arm. “What a delightful young man,” she cooed.

Offering his arm, Fozzie said, “Allow me to escort m’lady to the kitchen fair.”

“Oh, I like you!” Ida chuckled, taking the arm and letting the comic lead her towards the kitchen, leaving a group of surprised spectators.

“You see that?” Piggy complained, poking Kermit in the shoulder. “Been here fifteen minutes and your bear absconds with my grandmother!”

“Rather ironic,” Ham observed. “A bear who’s a Cub.”

“What?” Gonzo sputtered, a mix between laughter and disgust. “Fozzie!?”

Kermit turned to look at the younger pig. “What’re you…?” When the term caught up with the frog’s brain, like Gonzo, he also sputtered, though more on the disgust side than anything else. “What!? No! No, he just likes being babied by mothers and grandmothers!” Glaring at the diva behind him, he spat, “Phrasing, Piggy!”

“Right,” Gonzo replied, sarcastically. “Cause your explanation makes it sound less creepy.”

“Hey!” Ida called, standing in the kitchen doorway. “Piglets! Frog! Turkey! You all just gonna stand there or you gonna help in the kitchen?”

Those who were still in the living room were immediately on their feet and heading to the kitchen before Ida could come back out, leaving Kermit to whisper to Piggy, “It’s like looking at a future you.”

“You know,” the diva said, holding up her right fist. “This is specifically for baby Hammy, but the left one will easily have your name on it if you keep this up.”


[hr]


If Kermit had any idea of the tension filled, disastrous dinner that was about to take place, he probably would’ve given Piggy a free pass on her mother’s funeral.

After decades of trying to pull the smallest hints of her past and family, the little tidbits he did get didn’t paint the picture he could clearly see once arriving at her childhood home. He knew not every family could be his – cheerful, loving, kind, joking - even when they did have flare ups, they usually made up within the same day or by the week’s end; the frog didn’t know anyone who held a grudge longer or with more personal vengeance than Piggy and apparently, it was a shared trait.

The bits that he had gotten didn’t really pull a red flag – Piggy wasn’t the first person to grow up in a one parent home; Fozzie’s mother had raised him mostly on her own after the death of his father, Scooter’s mother had also died when he was very young and he had never known his father, even now, his own nephew was being raised by his brother after the death of his mother. As sad as it was, it was a normal fact of life. From what Kermit knew, Piggy’s father had basically abandoned the family at one point before dying in tragic tractor accident – that she never went into – thus leaving her mother to raise a liter of six on her own.

Piggy’s mother was such a taboo subject, the frog was surprised he had even gotten a name out of her, much less a story. Her mother was the reason she had gotten into beauty pageants and as much as they had helped her get to where she was, it was very clear to Kermit that she had hated it as a child. She got along with her brother Nate, only a few minutes older than she was, but she wasn’t as close to her younger siblings; other than Ham. At times, it seemed they had been close, but it was fragile; all it took was one fight and they could be at each other’s throats in no time.

For the trio that accompanied her, this was actually the first time they had meet or even knew Piggy had relatives outside of her parents and siblings. Ida had even stated that this was the first time in a very long time that a good portion of the family had been gathered in one place, at the same time. The elderly swine also stated they get ready for some excitement –

“Don’t get worried about any arguments,” she said. “Malines and Hogglesworths are a headstrong bunch, so sometimes a simple conversation can go south pretty quick.” Elbowing Kermit in the side, she said, “You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Frog?”

“More than you know,” Kermit chuckled.

Okay, so Piggy’s stubbornness and never back down attitude was a family trait. They had pretty much figured that out, after all. They just never imagined that Piggy was probably the tamest when it came to arguing with them.

It started almost as soon as they had gotten into the kitchen, finding Andy and Randy Pig – Ham’s sons – eagerly looking for something to eat before being admonished to leave and find something else to do. “Like two walking rocks,” Ida muttered, ignorant of the look Ham threw her. “You’re too soft on those boys, Hammy.”

“Grandma!” the youngest sighed. “They’ve just gone through a huge emotional upheaval, first their mother and now their grandmother…”

“It’s been twelve years, Hammy!” Piggy exclaimed.

“Let it go,” his brother added.

“Let it go?” Ham repeated, incredulously. “‘Let it go’, he says. Like that makes everything alright.”

“Junior, Piggy Lee, apologize,” Ida said, pulling out items to get dinner started. “It’s ill advised to speak unwell of the dead. And if your brother wants to mourn his wife for the end of time, then you’ll let him.”

“Sorry.”

“Sorry, Ham.”

“Now that you’ve resolved that,” Ida began, clapping her hands together. “What to have for dinner? I’m thinking we should have one of your mother’s favorites.”

“Roast beef?” Nate supplied.

“Maybe tomorrow,” Ida said, patting her oldest grandson on the arm. “I think we need something simple. It’s almost dinner now; you saw the scavengers in here earlier. We need something quick and easy.”

“Steak frites!” Ham suggested, only to get a slap on the back of the head from Piggy.

“Are you deaf?” she asked. “Grandma just said simple.”

“Steak frites is simple!” Ham argued. “It’s steak and fries.”

“Well, unless you’ve got twenty steaks hiding in that fancy suit of yours, I’m pretty sure we can’t have that.”

“You know,” Ida interrupted. “I had been thinking about making Dutch letters, but obviously…”

The tone immediately changed in the kitchen, with the two siblings trying to win their grandmother’s favor. The treat must have been something because BlackJack, who had been out in the living was suddenly in the kitchen, asking, “Grandma, did you say you were making Dutch letters?”

“I might be persuaded,” the elder pig sighed, glancing around at her kitchen helpers. Pointing at each of them, she stated, “No funny business.”

The group assured her there would totally not be any funny business or shenanigans in her kitchen; however, as with any household that holds siblings, there were shenanigans taking place as soon as the matron’s back had turned. The most audacious was the ‘sword’ fight that took place between Piggy and Ham over, no one was even sure really, and it culminated in Ham blocking a swing from Piggy’s rolling pin with the spatula he had grabbed, which allowed him to punch the diva hard in her shoulder.

Not that Piggy was to be outdone because her other hand had snaked out towards her brother’s chest, grabbing, and twisting shirt and skin until Ham gave a muffled cry and fell to his knees on the ground besides the kitchen island in the center of the room.

Ham and Piggy had both wanted to help with the Dutch letters – a delicious pastry treat that had been a staple in the house when they had been especially good – so Ida, perhaps against common sense, paired the two up, stating that if they started anything, they wouldn’t be getting any.

“What is going on back there?” Ida asked, turning from the stove where she had been making a not simple meal of spaghetti with meatballs, with a homemade sauce that required a team of vegetable and meat cutters.

“Nothing, Grandma!” Ham wheezed from the floor. “Just dropped the spatula!”

“Piggy Lee, what’s wrong with your arm?”

“Nothing,” Piggy whined, grimacing even as she rubbed her shoulder from where her brother punched her. “Pulled a muscle.”

“You pulled a muscle?”

“Yes.”

“From rolling dough?” Ida asked, suspiciously.

Gulping slightly, Piggy nodded. “Uh huh.”

“That’s just sad,” Ida replied, shaking her head. “You relay too much on your fancy caterers. The Piggy Lee I knew could whip up dinner in no time flat.”

“I’m sorry,” Gonzo interrupted. “Are you insinuating that Piggy can cook?”

“Of course she can cook,” Kermit said, staring at the head writer like he had lost his mind.

“You’ve been holding out on us, Pig,” Gonzo admonished, turning to the diva. “Why does the frog get a home cooked meal and we don’t?”

“Okay, because first,” the diva began. “I was dating the frog and the fastest way to a frog’s heart is through his stomach. Why do you think I keep piling him with coffee every day?”

“Okay,” Kermit retorted. “Not true and a little disturbing.”

“Second,” she continued. “Why would I cook for you? I’m not dating you.”

“You could start,” the writer quipped. “Besides, you still cook for Kermit and you’re not dating him anymore.”

“That’s the rub,” Piggy said. “I like Kermit.”

“Why stay on a sinking ship?” Ham mumbled, finally coming to stand on his feet. While he knew he had tagged his sister pretty good, she had gotten him equally as well and he could feel the bruise already forming on the right side of his upper chest.

“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle?” needled Nate, handing his grandmother all of the ingredients he had been tasked to cut.

“It sounds like you kids don’t want any Dutch letters.”

“No, we do!”

“We’re totally behaving!”


[hr]


The incident in the kitchen should have been their warning shot, but they got lulled into a false sense of security by the time they got to the table with food. So used to Piggy’s antics, the trio didn’t even consider this to be out of the ordinary, even when the diva rolled her eyes at Fozzie’s coveted place next to her grandmother’s left.

The small table that had been cramped when they had been children seemed have enlarged itself, though whether it was because of Hortense’s passing or just a change in tables, they didn’t know. A small table had been placed at the end, to ensure that all of the fifteen people in attendance were able to sit and enjoy their meal. Ida sat at the head of the table, with Fozzie, Kermit, Piggy, Nate, Andy, and Randy to her left and BlackJack, Gonzo, Hattie, Millie, John, and Ham to her right, with Ricky Lane seated at the other end’s head.

It started out small, a casual question from Hattie in regards to Piggy’s show –

“Piggy Lee, is your show still going to be on tonight?”

“I don’t know,” she said, turning to look at Kermit. “Is it?”

“C’mon,” the frog replied. Turning to speak to Hattie, he said, “I got a guest host to sub for Piggy tonight, as well as next week should she decide to stay on a few days.”

“You still haven’t answered my earlier question,” Piggy said.

“Whoopi and Melissa,” the frog stated. “You’re welcome.”

“You got Whoopi Goldberg to host your show?” Nate asked, a little bit of awe in his voice.

“Whoopi has been a long time Muppet friend,” his sister smirked. “And of course she would be happy to do a favor for Moi.”

“And this Melissa?” asked BlackJack.

“Oh, that’s Melissa Rivers,” Fozzie supplied.

“You know, Joan’s daughter,” Gonzo added.

That Piggy was surprised at – after the feud with Joan had flamed and withered out, the diva had been shocked to hear of her fellow diva’s death. The feud had been played up in the media, but the two did have a friendly rivalry that pushed their status to legendary; with Joan’s death, Piggy had sent her daughter Melissa a very lovely letter, stating that Joan was always a pleasure to play off of and she was the only woman Piggy knew who was a ballsy as she was, maybe even more so.

In thinking back, Joan had been the role model her mother should have been and she wasn’t at all concerned that she just happened to feel more pain at Joan’s death than she did her mother’s. “You got Melissa to host for me?”

“She was happy to do it,” Kermit shrugged. Leaning over, he whispered, “We’ll have to have to talk some stuff out when we get back. No rush for it now.”

“Typical Piggy,” came the mutter, though it was clear Ham had definitely meant for that to reach his sister’s ears.

“What did you say?”

“You manage to miss out on work,” Ham began. “You get two celebrities to cover for you, and I can almost guarantee everything will be back to normal on Monday. I, on the other hand, had to completely close my office this week.”

“Does baby Hammy want a medal?” Piggy teased. “Would that make baby Hammy happy?”

“If you call me baby Hammy one more time…”

“You’ll do want?” interrupted BlackJack. “Everyone knows your bark is worse than any bite you think you have. You’re always whining about something, you big baby.”

Ham was obviously seething at his treatment, said something under his breath, but hadn’t exactly been heard by its intended victim, but his brother and sons must have heard it.

“Dad,” asked Randy – or was it Andy? – “What’s a…”

“Don’t repeat that,” Nate growled.

BlackJack managed to slam down his silverware before leaning forward to glance around the others that sat between him and his cousin. “You got something to say to me?”

“Jackie, sit down,” Ida commanded, giving her grandson a stern glare. She waited until he was firmly back in his seat before she addressed the entire table. “In case you ungrateful sows have forgotten, my daughter died yesterday. So I will thank you to keep a civil tongue in your mouths for this occasion or else I’ll make each of you cut a switch from that oak tree outside. And I know each and every one of you don’t want that.”

Children and grandchildren shook their heads, knowing full well it wouldn’t matter that they were adults, Ida Maline wouldn’t allow for any more of these low brow hits on a day they should have been grieving. “Hamilton, man up for once in your life; Pigathia, stop antagonizing your brother; Pignatius, stop instigating; Jackson, threaten a member of this family again and your nickname will be Dead Eye Jack. Am I making myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Letting out a sigh, Ida whispered, “Hortense would surely be sad to learn that most of her siblings couldn’t bother to show up and pay their respects. And her own children can’t bother to stop their squabbling for two seconds to even think about their poor mother.”

“I cared, Grandma!” Ham exclaimed. “I was here when mother became sick!”

“Oh yes,” Ida nodded, sarcastically. “It was such a comfort that you come the two days before she died and not the year she was sick in the first place.”

The burn was obviously not what the younger pig had hoped to hear and he immediately shrank back into his chair, suitably chastised. His siblings, of course, couldn’t leave well enough alone. “What’s that?” Piggy asked. “Is that the sound of silence coming from Mount St. Hammy?”

“I believe it is,” Nate said, turning and smiling at his sister. “The danger has passed.”

“Don’t you two ever give it a rest?” complained Hattie, rolling her eyes.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Piggy retorted. “Did you want to listen to Ham go on and on about how he’s the saint to the rest of us?”

“Why would she bother?” snorted Millie.

“She’s had that speech down pact since she was a kid,” huffed Ricky Lane. “I used to call her Mount Vesuvius.”

“Well, if I’m the saint,” Ham huffed. “Nate and Piggy were always the heroes, because nothing they did was ever wrong.”

“No one wants to hear your psycho-babbling, little brother,” Nate retorted.

“Gets a fancy degree and now he wants everyone to think he’s a big shot,” BlackJack stated.

“Well, at least he applied himself, Jackson,” Hattie said, the distain in her voice quite clear.

“I’ll thank you to keep your opinions on my son to yourself, Hattie,” Millie shot back.

“Alright, that’s enough,” Ida growled, silencing the combined snickering and huffing that was happening on both sides of the table. “Is it too much, really too much, to ask that we have a civil dinner in this house for once? Especially in light of the death of one of our own? I would think as her siblings, one of you would have something nice to say about her and I would certainly hope that her own children would. But if I have to make you say something nice, then so be it – Ricky Lane, both you and Piggy Lee can say something nice at the funeral.”

Ricky Lane made an audible groan, which was only covered slightly by Piggy’s annoyed, “Why me?”

“Because I said so, Pigathia!”

That answer did nothing to make the diva any happier, if her muttered, “Unbelievable” was heard towards the head of the table. “Fine,” she huffed.

“Grandma,” Nate piped up. “Why don’t you let me give a eulogy?”

“Nate, I already said I would do it, so back off.”

“Hey, I’m trying to be nice. You don’t have to be a brat about it…”

“You always do this. You’re always trying to take something I get. Six minutes doesn’t mean you’re the boss of me.”

“It’s seven minutes, thank you very much. And yes it does…”

“Aw Piggy,” Ham cooed, sarcastically. “Let big brother play the role he’s used to.”

“Shut up, Ham!”

Ida rolled eyes, sighing as she stood up from the table, grabbing her plate and glass as she did so. “Mama,” asked Millie. “What’re you doing?”

“I am obviously done with dinner,” the matriarch said. “For some reason, I seemed to have lost my appetite; I can’t imagine why.” With that, she lumbered into the kitchen, leaving the table silent, if only for the short amount of time it took to make sure she was out of earshot.

“Well, look at what you all did.”

With the exception of three non-Hogglesworth or Maline family members (and two confused twins), most eyes turned harsh towards Hattie, who had broken the silence first.

“Oh put a cork in it, Hattie,” Ricky Lane said, throwing his older sister an annoyed look.

“Like you weren’t a part of that conversation,” Ham replied.

“Certainly didn’t stop you from throwing your hat into the ring,” Piggy countered.

“Well, you certainly weren’t stopping it, Pigathia!”

“Why would she want to?” Ham smirked. “She’s always liked the attention.”

“And you don’t?” Nate spat. “You look for any excuse to drop that psych degree in any conversation.”

“I do not!”

“Yes, you do,” Piggy said. “We could be talking about anything from astronomy to the menu at McDonald’s and you’d find a way to insert the fact that you have a psych degree before we’d even finish.” Turning on Nate, she said, “And I don’t need you to defend me against Short Round over here…”

“Um…guys…”

Before another argument could start, the eyes turned again, this time at Fozzie, who cringed slightly when he noticed he was now the focal point of topic. “Do…do you think we should help Ida in the kitchen?”

“That,” Hattie began. “Is a very thoughtful gesture, Mr. Bear.”

Everyone looked around, waiting for the first person to get up.

“Well, don’t everyone all get up at once,” BlackJack huffed, grabbing both his and his parents’ plates before standing, causing Nate and Piggy to do the same.

As she reached between Kermit and Fozzie to grab their plates, she made a comment of, “Hope you boys are enjoying the show.”
 

WebMistressGina

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We all still recovering from Thanksgiving? Or was it Black Friday that knocked you all out? LOL Get set, cause you've got Cyber Monday tomorrow and another section of this! Hope this will tide you guys over for a bit, as December is gonna be fast moving for me, literally - I move at the end of the month. Luckily, hopefully, we have decided on the next place and now comes the waiting process.

I've also got another big project that's non-work related, but of course I also have work, so enjoy! Maybe I'll give you guys two. Yeah. We'll consider it a post Thanksgiving/early Christmas gift from me to you :big_grin:




The house on Kiwi Avenue was a two story, five bedroom, two and a half bath that had once been home to a family of eight. Currently, the Great Gonzo – former performance artist and current head writer of Up Late with Miss Piggy – was putting his stuff away in the third bedroom on the first floor. Getting that room and the others on the first floor had started, thankfully, the last argument for the evening –

“That’s not fair!” Hamilton exclaimed. “We were already here, Piggy!”

“I have an extra person, Ham!” his sister screamed right back. “There’s no reason why you and the boys can’t go upstairs.”

If the awkward dinner wasn’t a fine signal to just end things for the night, Piggy and Ham’s current argument pretty much settled it for them. Kermit had known they were most likely walking into a hostile situation – Piggy had warned him that her family could get into arguments at the drop of a hat – but he hadn’t ever imagined this. This wasn’t a drop of a hat; this was ‘the very air you breathe will make me beat you’.

He had been discussing football with Ricky Lane of all things – The Frogs and Hogglesworths were huge football fans, it being a popular sport in the south and the Midwest – while Gonzo had found another kindred and probably dangerous spirit with BlackJack when they first heard the rumblings of a fight from the hallway.

“There’s no reason you and your boys can’t go upstairs,” Ham countered.

“There’s two rooms up there!” Piggy said. “And there are three down here.”

“Which fits perfectly with a family of three!”

“We should probably…” Kermit said, making a move to head in that direction, but was stopped by John.

“Better let Nate handle this,” the pig replied, watching as the elder brother in question stopped whatever conversation he was having with his grandmother. “He’s the only one they’ll listen to at this point.”

“The two of you make me wish I was an only child,” Nate growled, stomping over to the combatants. “In fact, I’m going to check cause I’ve been convinced for years that I’m adopted and am living in some sick version of the Twilight Zone.”

“How the heck can you declare you’re adopted when you’re a twin!?”

“That has never been proven!”

“Piggy’s a twin?” Gonzo asked, turning to look at Kermit. “Did you know that?”

“Ham, there’s more than enough room for you and the boys to stay upstairs,” Nate insisted. “Piggy, one of you guys is gonna have to take the couch.” Turning to find the frog still in the living room, he asked, “Mitt, do you mind taking the couch?”

“No…”

“There,” the elder huffed. “It’s been decided, it’s done. Now can the rest of us please go back to our quiet conversations or do the two of you have something else to argue about?”

“Well, it’s still early,” Ham smirked.

“Hamilton, I don’t want to hear any shenanigans between you two,” Ida replied, sternly. “That goes for you too, Pigathia.”

Ham, Andy, and Randy had dutifully moved their belongings upstairs, while he, Fozzie, and Piggy picked their rooms downstairs. Gonzo wouldn’t pretend that he wasn’t witnessing a complete meltdown of Piggy’s family or rather, the aftermath of a complete meltdown.

The head writer knew better than anyone that life was not all sunshine and roses; while he always liked to look on the bright side of life, he knew that sometimes life didn’t have a bright side. He had always known there was more to Piggy than what those good looks and pretty blue eyes looked like on the outside; if he was honest with himself, he had even entertained the idea that their similar backgrounds were the reason he would’ve been the better boyfriend if she had given him the chance.

But that was a long time ago and Gonzo had gotten over that particular heartbreak, probably making him all the better for it. He loved Piggy and if he knew her – and he did – he could tell her reluctance to coming down here wasn’t because of the family she had here, but because of the family she had in California. Their diva prided herself on the outer appearance and personality she showed them and the world, but those that knew her – a few, but enough – were well aware of just who the real Piggy was.

Actually, that was probably the reason they all got along so well and worked together well – their mismatched, ragtag bunch all got what they needed – Kermit needed a group that reminded him of his family back home; Rowlf needed to belong to a pack; Scooter needed parental figures and a family that loved and accepted him; Fozzie needed someone to let him stand on his own (and give him a little babying); and Gonzo needed people who accepted him for him.

The same reason Piggy needed them. And they needed her to be their tough love leader and defender.

A knock on the doorjamb interrupted his thoughts, causing him to turn to see the very topic of his thoughts entering his room.

“All set?” she asked, looking around the somewhat familiar surroundings.

“Just about,” he replied, pulling out his suit for the funeral the next day. He watched her for a moment, observing as her eyes trailed across the walls and the furniture; it was clear the room had been fixed up since its original use, though Gonzo had noticed that a few mementos still remained, such as a few figurines that were placed on the dresser, surrounding a few photographs of what had to be the family and friends of a teenaged girl.

“Yours?”

“Hmm?” she asked, startled out of the obvious trip down memory lane. “Oh. Oh no, c’mon! I would never let you stay in my childhood bedroom.”

“Too many secrets to be explored?” he asked, cheekily, causing her to snort in laughter.

“Hardly,” she huffed, though there was a grin on her face. “Or maybe, not sure. But I’m in my room; no, this was Virgi’s.” At his look, she clarified, “My sister, Virginia. We called her Virgi, it was a nickname; anyways, you’re in her room, Fozzie’s in what had been Nate’s, and I’m in mine. Nate was the buffer between us. Virgi and I..uh…kinda didn’t get along.”

“What? No,” he said, giving her a look. “Your family seems so quiet and non-confrontational with each other.”

To any other person, the joke would have fallen flat and certainly, if it wasn’t between the two standing there, it might have, but Piggy took it for the irony that it was. “Yeah,” she sighed, fidgeting slightly. “About that…”

Piggy had never been good at apologizing, even when she was a child. It wasn’t that she couldn’t apologize or in some cases, didn’t want to, it was just very hard to admit that she was wrong or worse – a situation she had gotten herself into was wrong. She had known immediately what would happen if she came back and she had tried to steer the others away from seeing what she had lived with until she was 18.

“Gonzo…”

“Hey,” he whispered, patting her on the arm. “Don’t sweat it, okay? Besides, that’s why we came down here, remember? Moral support?”

“That’s supposed to be for tomorrow,” she huffed. “I had no intention of using that for…” Thumbing over her shoulder, she indicated the scenes from earlier.

“We never described the time or place or situation of the support,” Gonzo said, smiling. “We know who you are, Piggy, but maybe they don’t.”

“What?” she giggled, nervously. “They’re the family, Gonzo, of course they know me.”

“Do they?” he asked, raising his eyebrow.

It was an obvious question, something she hadn’t even considered – even with the deliberate omission of the word my in front of family. Of course they knew who she was; they knew her before anyone else! But she wasn’t that same little piglet, was she? No! She was Miss Piggy, star of stage, screen, and television! She wasn’t that same little girl from the sticks.

“Have a goodnight, Princess,” he said, giving her a hand a quick squeeze. “Long day tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” she whispered. “Night, Gonzo.”

From there, she went next door to check on Fozzie, who was already dressed in his jammies. “Hey Bear.”

“Piggy!”

Fozzie Bear was the only person she knew who could be happy in the worst of circumstances. It was actually very comforting, given his upbeat attitude; the only time she had ever really seen him down – really down – was at the death of his mother a few years ago. Ever since, the bear seemed to be inexplicably drawn to the others’ mothers or, in Piggy’s case, grandmothers; Kermit’s mother loved the bear like her own and it was clear that he had already wormed his way into Ida Maline’s heart as well.

Before she could get further into asking if he was ready and set for bed, there was already a comic surrounding her. “What’re you doing?” she asked, her voice muffled by his shoulder.

“Hugging you.”

“Why?”

“You looked like you needed it,” he said. He could feel that she was about to protest and was actually about to release her when he felt her finally wrap her arms around his waist and gave him a slight squeeze.

“It’s been a long day,” she whispered.

“Yeah,” he whispered. “Tomorrow will be too.”

Laying her head on his shoulder, the diva sighed. “I don’t want to do this.”

“I know.”

And he did. He had gone through this very thing not two years ago and he still had a big piece of his heart missing and he liked his mother! Piggy and the others had been there for him – in fact, it had been Piggy who had arranged the funeral and everything else.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” she continued. “Even if you are trying to steal my grandmother.”

The comic smirked, before releasing her. “I can’t help it if my charms are wowing your grandmother,” he teased. “And don’t worry about earlier. I mean, it was kinda like a normal day at the office, except instead of you and Floyd, it was you and your brother.”

“None of that should make any sense,” she said, chuckling. “But coming from you…”

The last person she went to check on was in the first room on the floor, what had previously been her room as a child. Walking in, she could see the silhouette of Kermit coming from the bathroom. Their earlier conversation - which saw the frog switch from sleeping on the couch to sleeping with her - still weighed on her mind, especially after hearing Gonzo nearly repeat the same sentiment.

She was still spitting mad by the time she had roughly brought her belongings into that first bedroom. It took her nearly fifteen minutes to realize that she had, by rout, picked her childhood bedroom; it had changed, obviously, after her hasty departure at eighteen, but some of her old knickknacks still seemed to be there, using the room as storage most likely.

She knew this was a bad idea, she knew it. And with everything else, she managed to let Kermit talk her into doing this for…who knew what purpose. No, that wasn’t fair; she knew the reason. One of the many things she loved about the frog was the fact that he was so family orientated – he loved his family in Mississippi and he loved their little family in Hollywood; it was one of the reasons she was convinced Kermit was going to be an excellent father if or when he ever became one.

But her family was nothing like his or their little ragtag bunch, as demonstrated by dinner. Only six hours in town and already she and Ham had been at each other quicker than a cat went after catnip – the same old tension and rivalry they had as kids reared up as soon as she walked in the door; Nate had been no help, of course, and the addition of her aunts, uncles, and cousin did nothing to alleviate the situation.

She was still seething, angrily unpacking, when Kermit came to check on her some twenty minutes later. The frog knew the diva, hence why he was smart enough to wait a certain amount of time before he went after her; experience had shown that following after her when she was upset or angry only resulted in him getting hurt. He could tell she was still angry, though that anger had lessened to a steam instead of the inferno as it had been earlier.

“Hey.”

Turning, Piggy spared him a glance before she continued unpacking. “Look around, Frog,” she said. “Here are the last vestiges of Piggy Lee Hogglesworth or so I would have thought. Apparently, walking through the front door has rendered me into a fifteen-year-old girl, with two annoying brothers and three even more annoying sisters. Well, maybe not Ro-Ro or Marjie, but definitely Virgi.”

Sighing, she paused in her packing and whispered, “I thought I left all of this behind when I left and all it took was walking through that door to remind me that obviously I haven’t.”

“Piggy, I’m sorry,” Kermit said, his first time speaking since entering. “This is all my fault.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes, it is,” he said, taking a few steps towards her. “Piggy, I never meant for this to hurt you. I just…I just thought it would be better to face the bullets then have to regret not doing it when you could.” Taking the final steps so he could physically touch her, he grabbed her hand, tugging on it until she turned and faced him. “Say the word and we’ll pack up and go. We’ll forget the whole thing and we’ll never bring it back up again; just say it and I’ll make sure it gets done.”

It was a tempting offer, she couldn’t lie. It was the perfect out and the one thing she had been looking – had practically begged for it before they had even left Cedar Rapids – and right here, right now, Kermit was giving it to her.

All she had to do was take it.

“No,” she sighed. “You’re right. It would’ve bothered me if we hadn’t come, I just…I never wanted you guys to walk into this. I don’t you guys to think…”

And that was the heart of the matter. Piggy had buried so much of her past where it belonged and being back in Bogen County had not only dug it back up, but dug it back up in front of three people she hadn’t wanted to show that side of her. It was embarrassing, humbling, and really…devastating. Who knew the kind of damage just a few hours in this house had done to her image?

“Hey,” Kermit whispered, tugging her hand again. “Piggy, look at me.” As much distance as she had tried to keep most people, Kermit was probably the only person who knew her better than anyone and even now, with a fierce determined look that hung on her face, he could easily see the sadness and fear in those baby blues. “I have always seen past Miss Piggy to the heart of Piggy Lee; that out there, is really nothing to some of things we’ve said to each other. And you know what? It doesn’t matter.

“This doesn’t change how Gonzo and Fozzie feel about you; they love you. And it’ll never change the way I feel about you, because I have and always will love you, Piggy.”

Taking a deep breath, the diva nodded, giving his flipper an encouraging squeeze before leaning her forehead against his. “You’re a menace at emotionally guilt tripping me.”

“It works though,” he said, grinning. “So what’s the word? You wanna go?”

“No,” she sighed. “We’re staying. I hate when you’re right.”

“I know,” he said, dropping her hand so he could move his to her waist. “Which is why I try not to be all the time.”

She smirked, trying her best to hold in the obvious giggle that wanted to be released. “You know,” she whispered, her hand going to play with the fringes of his collar. “If…if you didn’t want to sleep on the couch, you wouldn’t have to.”

Normally, that kind of request would have been straight forward, with no type of hesitation, but it was obvious Piggy was still bothered by being there or even with the display that had happened earlier. Piggy’s image was everything to her and she cherished it above anything else and it was clear that being in her hometown and her childhood home had started to chip away at that.

“Do you want me to stay?”

Eyes downcast, the diva nodded, shyly. “Then I’ll stay,” he whispered, bringing his lips to hers in a sweet kiss. “I’ll get my stuff.”

Letting out a shaky breath, she said, “I’ll go check on the boys.”

Piggy had always been grateful to Kermit, not just in the professional sense for his taking a bright eyed, up and coming starlet to Hollywood, but the fact that – even when they hadn’t been together – he still managed to have her back in most cases and probably knew her better than anyone, maybe even the family she’d come to see. Even now, after all this time, she was still so very much in love with him.

“Guys okay?” he asked, leaving the bathroom and letting her take his place.

“Gonzo is Gonzo and Fozzie is Fozzie,” she quipped. “So everything is good on that front.”

“Excellent,” he replied. “I’m gonna call the boy and see how things went today.”

She nodded her agreement, grabbing her pajamas for the night, as well as her dress suit for tomorrow, while he grabbed his phone and started dialing. The other end only rang once before Scooter’s cheerful voice came on the other end. The two discussed the show, which went over fairly well, even if Piggy wasn’t the host for the night. Whoopi had hit it out of the park, as always, not only explaining to the audience that Piggy was out for the week, but creating a great opening monologue right before going on.

Overall, the show seemed to be a success, which Kermit already knew it would be, but figured it was better to let the diva hear it herself. Piggy had already changed – a soft maroon t-shirt with a pair of black boy shorts – and was in the process of brushing her teeth when Kermit walked over to lean against the door jam. Putting his phone on speaker, Kermit said, “Say again, Scooter.”

“The show worked out perfectly,” the manager and acting producer replied. “Whoopi said she was pretty sure she could do Monday’s show, but if not, Melissa’s all set to go. Oh, Rosie called back and she could finish out the week if we needed her.”

Kermit tossed a look to the diva, a mix of ‘I told you so’ and questioning. “Thank you, dearheart,” she replied, drying her mouth with the nearby towel. “Vous is, as always, one step ahead of the curve.”

Scooter chuckled, before clearing his throat, nervously. “Piggy, you got a minute?”

The frog took the phone off speaker, before handing it over. Scooter always did like to check in, especially with the two of them, but in this case, the manager was a little left out; and Scooter hated being left out, especially on something as big as this. Figuring the two would want some privacy, as evident by the way Piggy actually closed the door partway, – which she hadn’t bothered to do earlier – Kermit went about getting ready for bed, including setting the alarm on Piggy’s phone to go off around eight am. He had already set his for 7:30am, though it was likely he’d be up much earlier.

Kermit had already given in to his curiosity of the room, especially when he had noticed the various photos that had been on the dresser; while he had known she had been a beauty queen, he hadn’t known she had been a cheerleader until he had seen the pictures of her and the cheer squad, with a trophy sitting off to the side. There was a group image that sat the middle of the other two, with what was probably Piggy and her cheerleading squad – a young Piggy sat center stage, her brunette locks tied in a ponytail, blue eyes sparkling in the sun, and a huge smile on her face. Kermit had almost forgotten about Piggy’s natural locks before their arrival; he of course remembered meeting the beautiful brunette for the first time, but he would of course would never forget the day she had arrived to work as a blonde, literally flooring him when he saw her.

It was a little surprising seeing a younger version of his favorite person, much like walking through a door to the past. Piggy of course kept her past strictly where it belonged – in the part - with only bits and pieces of it coming out at random times. While he knew nothing sinister was hiding in her closet, he couldn’t lie and say that he hadn’t wondered about some of her past, especially when he had been so forthcoming with his own.

Hearing the door finally open, Kermit turned to hear the end of Piggy’s conversation with Scooter. “Of course,” she was saying, walking out and throwing something in her bag. “Look, you and I both know Cheesy talks more than he actually does anything else. Pay no mind to whatever you think he’s up to.”

“What’s Cheesy up to?” Kermit asked, turning to face her fully.

“Nothing, darling,” Piggy replied, smiling at him before going back to her conversation.

Kermit let it go, for the moment, before turning back to continue getting ready for bed before he turned back to look at Piggy, who had finished her conversation and was in the process of handing back in his phone, when he asked, “Is that my shirt?”

Looking down, Piggy looked at the maroon shirt, which had Leland Track & Field emblazoned across the front of it. “Oh yeah,” she said, looking back up at him. “I may have borrowed this. Well…I should say, I borrowed it a while ago and then forgot to…give it back. Why? Did you want it back?”

He couldn’t help it, he chuckled. “Any other time,” he said. “I would absolutely call you on this, but you know I don’t mind if you steal my shirts; you look better in them anyways.”

“Aw Kermie, you always say the sweetest things.”

Despite no longer being together and even being apart for quite some time, the two immediately found themselves falling into their previous domestic routine, right down to Kermit setting both of their alarms for the next morning and even Piggy putting his phone within reach, with unimportant notifications and calls blocked so he could sleep through the night. With lights out, the two settled under the covers, though it was clear the diva was anything but - back turned to Kermit, it was unlike her to be so distant from the frog.

“Hey,” he whispered. “Hey,” he tried again when he got no answer, finally giving a tug on her t-shirt and then the ponytail she had her hair in before she finally turned slightly to him. “C’mere darlin’.”

Kermit may not have known everything there was to Piggy, but he knew her enough. A Piggy who didn’t want to cuddle with him was a distressed or an angry Piggy; this Piggy just happened to be a stressed one and he could handle a stressed Piggy. Pulling her towards him, she relented, draping her arm across his midsection and resting her head on his shoulder. Dropping a kiss on her forehead, Kermit asked, “What’re you gonna say tomorrow?”

“What can I say?” she whispered. “Here lies my mother, Hortense Hogglesworth, a beaten down sow who may have been living vicariously through her children; that is, when she bothered to acknowledge she had children. Wife to a philandering boar…” Sighing sadly, she chuckled. “Yeah, that’ll go over great.”

“It wasn’t all bad, was it?” he asked, nodding towards the dresser. “The teenager in those pictures seemed happy.”

Piggy waited a moment before answering. He was right – her high school years weren’t horrible; in fact they were very good until the day when she ultimately left. And there had been times in her childhood when her father had been alive that she certainly, now in the aftermath of his death, cherished.

“No,” she whispered. “It wasn’t all bad. Not all of it.”

“Well, that’s important, yeah?” Kermit replied. “I know everything wasn’t what you would hope or wanted, but you can’t forget that things were good at a few points.”

“Yeah.”

Things had been good, for a time; Piggy had always felt things got worse when her father died, that seemed to be the point where everything just fell apart as far as she was concerned. Her mother had never been the same, despite her husband’s wandering eyes and hands, she had loved him and at some point, he had loved them.

Tomorrow was going to be a long day.


[hr]


Friday morning came with no more than a whimper and the smells of breakfast and fresh coffee. Normally an early riser, Kermit was already awake before his alarm went off, comfortably snug under the covers and with an arm slung across his chest. It never seemed to surprise him that the two of them always seemed to be snuggled together, even when they were angry with each other. “Baby?” he whispered, wondering if she was perhaps awake as well; he doubted it, as she normally wasn’t up at the same time he was.

Turning over so he could actually look at her, he confirmed that she was indeed still asleep, looking more relaxed than he had seen her that entire week, not to mention yesterday as a whole. Not wanting to disturb her, Kermit eased himself from under her arm before dropping a kiss on her cheek, sliding out of bed, and out of the bedroom to see who else may have been up.

The house itself was still in shadow, though the rising sun was throwing its rays through the windows; the light in the kitchen was on and Kermit was actually surprised to find Nate at the sink, washing a few dishes, while behind him, was the sound of food cooking on the stove. “There you are,” replied the pig, turning when he heard someone enter.

“Looking for me?” asked the frog, taking a seat on the first bar stool at the kitchen island.

“Well, I was under the impression that you were sleeping on the couch,” Nate said, turning from the sink and heading back to the stove. Throwing a look back at him, he continued with, “So you’ll imagine my surprise when I don’t see you on the couch this morning.”

Kermit cleared his throat and tried to keep the blush off his face. He should’ve seen this coming and maybe subconsciously he did, but he wasn’t about to ignore or downplay the fact that Piggy had needed him and he had been there for her, just as he planned to there for her today. “Piggy needed me,” he said, honestly. “And I’m always there when she needs me, regardless of where she is.”

Nate nodded, his concentration back on the breakfast he was making. He almost asked if the two were back together, but refrained, not wanting to cause any issues between him and Kermit or worse – between himself and his sister. Out of all of them, Nate probably knew more about his sister’s relationship with the frog, even when that relationship had ended and it had hit all the papers. He was sure – or so he thought – he was the only besides the parties involved that was aware of how painful that breakup had been, but he was also sure he was the only one who thought it was a long time coming.

Not that he didn’t like Kermit – this was the first, actual physical time the two of them had met, but he had heard about him and had even spoken to him on occasion when he just happened to be the one to grab the phone instead of her. He hadn’t been sure about him at first – the constant denials that he was even dating his sister had rubbed him the wrong way – but he could tell, even over the phone, that the frog actually cared about his sister. When he had walked in that morning and didn’t see Kermit on the couch, he had gotten slightly worried – his twin would indeed murder him if he reported they managed to lose her ex-boyfriend and producer – but the frank answer he had gotten left no doubt that Piggy, like them all, was an emotional wreck and whatever the frog was to her now, it still meant he would come to her aid if called.

“Need any help?”

Nate shook his head, the question pulling him from his own. “Actually,” he said. “If you wanted to start the coffee maker, that would be great.”

“You had me at coffee,” the frog chuckled, sliding off the stool and heading for the machine. All the necessary ingredients were at his fingertips, though he did suggest they actually keep the coffee in the refrigerator for continued freshness, and made a full pot. Looking up at the wall clock and seeing the time nearing the half hour mark, he made a mental note that on his second cup, he’d start making Piggy’s.

“What’re you doing here so early?” he asked, pulling down an extra mug so he wouldn’t forget. He didn’t remember Nate staying in the house overnight, in fact he was sure the older pig had gone home.

“Figured I’d make breakfast,” he said. Glancing at the frog’s look, he chuckled. “I used to make breakfast in the morning when we were kids after...” Nate interrupted his own thought before changing it to, “Old habits, as they say. No worries, Frog, the wife and kids should be here soon.”

Kermit nodded, filing that piece of information away. Was Piggy aware that she had more nieces or nephews or that her older brother was married? Come to think of it, he actually hadn’t known Nate was Piggy’s twin until yesterday; he didn’t think that was something so awful she couldn’t admit. Was it? The two went about their duties, with Nate continuing to make breakfast and Kermit retreating back to the kitchen island, picking up the paper that rested near him to read the day’s headlines.

At ten till eight, Kermit made his second cup of coffee, while also preparing Piggy’s for when she awoke, putting in the required amount of sugar when he couldn’t find any creamer. Five minutes later, the diva – dressed in a lavender robe – made her entrance, running a hand along the frog’s shoulders in greeting before saying ‘Good morning’ to her brother. Seeing the mug of coffee coming towards her, Piggy made a grateful sigh before taking the stool next to Kermit.

“You are an angel.”

“Oh I know that.”

“Junior,” she asked, turning to watch her brother. “What’re you making over there?”

“Pancakes.”

“I love pancakes.”

“I know that,” he smirked. “Also thought you’d like a little bit of home. Check out the fruit basket.”

Piggy turned back to the island and observed the fruit basket that was now in the center, holding several different green fruits. “Paw paws?” she asked, excitedly, grabbing one and the cutting knife that had been inside along with them. Paw paws had been a favorite within the Hogglesworth home, with the mango like fruit a natural resource in the state and growing wild within the Midwest. The taste could range from a sweet banana to that of a cantaloupe depending on its ripeness; for the Hogglesworths, the sweet banana version had been the favorite and was the type Nate had managed to pick up from the store that morning.

Cutting it open, Piggy used the knife to snag a piece before spooning out a portion for Kermit and holding it out to him. “Right?” she asked, seeing the surprised but delighted expression on the frog’s face. “Nate, you are the bestest of brothers.”

“Now, now, sister dear,” the eldest said, walking over with a plate full of pancakes and holding it out of reach. “You know that’s not what I want to hear.”

“Oh c’mon,” she whined. “It’s early and I’m hungry.”

“Do you want pancakes and paw paws?”

Huffing, the diva rolled her eyes and said, “You are and have always been the good twin.” Turning to Kermit, she groused, “Do you see what I had to live with? I envy Scooter for being an only child; I bet it was a wonderful experience.”

“Then where would you have gotten your good looks and personality from?” joked the good twin.

“Don’t you have a home?” she retorted. “And a wife who would willingly make you breakfast?”

“Fear not, she’s coming,” he said, glancing at the wall clock. “Give or take five minutes.”

It was less than that when the sounds of a car driving up could be heard, complete with what sounded like an adult trying to herd several children out of the car and into the house. “Daddy? DADDY?” A little piglet walked in, before running over to Nate with a loud “Daddy!” before he reached over to hoist her in his arms.

“Hi,” he said, a large smile on his face. “What have we said about inside voices?”

“It’s quiet,” she said, with a playful look on her face.

“Uh huh. And where are we?”

“Inside!”

“Shhh,” Nate cooed. “Inside, remember?”

“Shhh,” the toddler repeated. “Inside.”

While father and daughter were going over the difference of inside and outside, a teenager had started in the kitchen before he stopped to stare at Piggy. “Oh my god, you do exist!” he exclaimed.

“And good morning to you, too,” the diva deadpanned.

“Hey,” the teen said, walking over to stand next to her. “I haven’t seen you since I was five. I thought you were like a mythical figure, like a unicorn or a yeti. I was convinced you were a figment of my imagination.”

“See, I wasn’t sure,” Piggy began. “But clearly you’re insane, so you must be Nate’s child. Hello, Eli.”

The teen, Eli, covered his heart with his hands. “Gasp!” he said. “She remembers my name! I think I’m gonna cry!”

“I think I’m gonna cry,” Piggy retorted, giving him a look. “You’re a horrible actor.”

“She wounds me,” he cried, staggering slightly. “With intent to kill.”

“No honestly,” she insisted. “What are they teaching you at school?”

“Oh terrible, horrible things!” Eli cried. “Math, science, history…dogs and cats living together! Pigs, frogs…” His comical rant seemed to stop once he saw the person to his aunt’s right. “And speaking of, you’re the frog. I mean, you’re him! You’re Kermit the Frog!”

“I am.”

“Can I hug you?” the teen blurted, before reeling back as though he was dismissing the idea. “Wait, what? No, that’s not…I meant, could I shake your hand in a totally manly way. Why would I say hug? I don’t even know. I totally meant shake your hand.”

Kermit couldn’t help but smile. He was used to people wanting to hug him and even more, he was used to people pretending that they didn’t want to hug him due to their age, but they were too shy or embarrassed to actually want to request it. “You can hug me.”

“Really?” Eli asked, his voice excited and cracking slightly when it went higher. Clearing his throat, he amended that with the more adult, “I mean, yeah. Okay, that’s cool.”

“I’m so glad those manners we taught him have not sunk in,” replied another pig. She was around Piggy’s height with dark hair hanging just above her shoulders and steel grey eyes. It was clear she was Eli’s mother, as he had the same coloring, though he did have some of his father’s features.

“You probably got a hug,” Piggy huffed, taking a sip from her coffee. “I’m related and I didn’t even get a hug.”

Correcting his blunder, Eli threw his arms around his aunt’s shoulders, delivering a sloppy kiss to her cheek while doing so. “Hello, my darling Aunt Piggy,” he said. “Whom the angels have blessed with my presence.”

“Mitt,” Nate called. “This is my wife, Sarah, and you’ve already met Heckle. And that, is Ellie Mae.”

Ellie Mae, the toddler that was still learning about inside voices, had left her father’s side in order to see the new people who were sitting in the kitchen. She had immediately made a beeline to the frog and had been patting him on the leg since her brother had turned to their aunt. “Hi!”

“Hi,” he said, smiling down at her. Like her brother, Ellie Mae was very much her mother’s child, though her hair was slightly lighter most likely due to her father’s own brown locks and her eyes held a mix of her parents.

“Up?” she asked, holding her arms up. “Up! Up up up up up!”

“Ellie, what do we say when want something?” her mother chided.

“Peas!”

Never able to resist a child’s request, Kermit did her bidding and picked up the child and placed her on his lap. Pointing at his plate, Ellie looked back at him and asked, “Some? I some?”

“Ellie,” Sarah said. “Why don’t you let Daddy make you your own plate?”

“Nooo,” the child whined. “Sharing!” Patting the frog on the arm that was holding her, she said, “Mitt share. Share, Mitt! Share!”

“We can share.”

“Kermit,” Sarah replied, shaking her head. “You don’t have to do that. I promise you those manners we taught them have obviously gone to waste.”

“I don’t mind,” the frog said, smiling and cutting a piece of his pancake to give to the toddler. “This isn’t the first time I’ve had one of my nieces steal breakfast from me. Or nephews. Or younger siblings. Or friends. Or anyone really, now that I think of it.”

“Well sharing is caring, Kermie.”

The small group started in on breakfast, only interrupted by the arrival of Ham and the younger twins. Andy and Randy quickly said hello to their cousins before being distracted by the growing food on the table, while Ham went to get a cup of coffee. “You look like death, Hammy,” his sister replied. “Rough night?”

“Only in thinking of the coming destruction you plan to deliver to Tokyo, Pigzilla,” he snapped back, coming to a stop in between her and Kermit.

“Hey, here’s a thought,” Nate started, walking to the sink to drop dishes off before having his own breakfast. “How about, for once, we cease and desist with the constant arguing as to not upset our poor grandmother who has lost her daughter?”

“And with respect to the three of you, seeing as you’ve just lost your mother,” Sarah added, throwing a look at her husband.

Appropriately chastised, Nate nodded. “That too.”

Sarah shot Kermit a look, one of concern that they seemed to share. There seemed to be a healthy amount of denial where it came to the three accepting that their mother was dead, though it shouldn’t have been a surprise – people grieved differently, in different ways, and certainly with the seemingly amount of animosity the siblings had not only for both of their parents but for themselves, this was not going to be an easy day.
 

WebMistressGina

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Holland Creek Cemetery was a little out of the way location, set with a modest church to the west and the cemetery to the east, just to the side. It was established by one Hollis Concorde, starting with the church before the creation of the cemetery in order to have a place to bury its founder when he died. Two hundred years later, the area was maintained by a few of the Concorde family, though it was mostly non-family that worked there.

Holland Creek was the resting place for many a family within Bogen County and surrounding areas, including the Malines and Hogglesworths. Ida’s husband Alan and his brother were buried here and today, she would add her eldest daughter to that list. The childhood home was the starting place for the majority of family to meet and would be the setting for the memorial after Hortense was buried, culminating in most of the family and friends having lunch in the home.

Ida had gone with Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie after the diva and Nate had gotten into an argument on who would drive which family member to the service. Ida had made the decision herself, stating that she wasn’t about to step in Nate’s beast of a truck nor was she riding around in Ham’s large marge mobile and she certainly wasn’t going to be privy to another conversation with Hattie. The atmosphere in their car was actually pretty jovial, well as jovial as one could be when heading to a funeral. They made one stop on the way, a nearby store so Piggy could stop; it was only when she returned that the reason was obvious – she had purchased a small bouquet of flowers, which the others had assumed would be for her mother.

The stop managed to put some distance between them and the rest of their caravan, with their Prius pulling up next to Nate’s blue F-150 in the church parking lot. “Grandma,” Piggy whispered. “Can I make a stop before heading into the church?”

“Of course, sweets,” Ida replied, patting her eldest granddaughter on the arm. “You know, I think a little walk would be good, don’t you boys agree?”

Holland Creek was categorized as a lawn cemetery, with a lush, green lawn that posed a scenic environment for loved ones both above and below ground. The group followed their diva, who even decades later knew exactly where she needed to go – through the parking lot and past the church to the official gate entrance to the cemetery; her walk continued forward, seven rows in before heading back west towards the church.

In the middle of the area, it was clear they were working on a burial for the day – a hole had been dug between two of the present graves and it confirmed this would be Hortense Maline Hogglesworth’s final resting place when Piggy stopped at the grave to the right of the open area. Kermit’s arm immediately found its way around her waist upon reading the name on the headstone.

“Pignatius Hamilton Lee Hogglesworth,” Gonzo read once the group had stopped. “That’s a name to conjure with.”

Piggy smirked, removing the shades she’d been wearing ever since they had left the house. “Hammy and I lucked out,” she said, smiling down at the headstone. “It’s Nate who has to go through life with a junior attached to that.” Kneeling down, she placed the purchased flowers on the grave, brushing a few leaves off the marker. “Hello, Daddy.” Standing upright, she took a deep breath before glancing at the open grave next to him.

“You’re getting a new neighbor today,” she continued. “At least it’s someone you know. It’s Mama.”

“Maybe he’ll treat her better in death than he did in life,” Ida snarked.

“Not now, Grandma.”

Piggy liked to think she had a decent amount of control when it came to her emotions, but there were times – usually involving one Kermit the Frog – when they threatened to overwhelm her. This was one of those times that not only didn’t involve Kermit, but seemed to heighten by ten thousand. Her father’s grave had been the last thing she had seen of her family before she left Bogen County for good all those years ago; back then, there had only been her grandfather and great uncle to visit.

There was a reason Piggy hated funerals and cemeteries. Besides being desperately depressing, they always brought up that day she had stood in this very cemetery and buried her beloved father. And now here she was, decades later and about to bury her mother.

The universe sure thought it was funny.

And today it must have felt extremely hilarious.

Glancing over at the open grave that would soon be the resting place for her mother, Piggy’s eye got the last name of the grave on the other side, a last name that was shared with her siblings. Taking a step back to actually see the name clearer, Piggy felt her heart lurch before it dropped to her stomach.

“Piggy?” asked Kermit, hearing the startled gasp before she made her way over to it.

Confirming the name only caused the diva more distress, even when Nate quickly made his way over to console her. The others, other than Ida, were completely confused over the problem and had to look at the headstone to try and figure out why Piggy had startled so suddenly.

MARJORIE HELLESE HOGGLESWORTH

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men” ~ W. Wonka

“Did you know about this?”

“I…” Nate began, but was unable to come up with the words. He was able to come up with some as soon as Piggy hit him, exclaiming, “How could you not tell me about this!?”

“I didn’t know!” he shouted. “I only found about it today. And I am telling you! Why do you think I’ve been looking for you?”

Taking a breath, the diva tried calming her heart, but it wasn’t working as well as she hoped. Looking at the headstone again, her eyes darted to the dates. “That can’t be right,” she whispered.

“What?”

Pointing, she indicated the date of death. “That,” she said. “That was two years ago. How the heck do we not know of our sister’s death for two years?”

Nate was also at a loss for words, equally surprised and devastated at discovering one of their sisters had died and neither one of them had known about it.

“Does Ham know?” she asked, quietly.

“I don’t know,” he whispered. “I don’t think so.”

“Oh god, we’ll have to tell him.”

“I’ll tell him,” Ida said, making her way towards the church. “Now certainly isn’t a time for an argument. Fozzie, dear, would you walk with me up to the church?”

“Of course, Miss Ida.”

“Gonzo, go with them,” Kermit whispered, watching as the head writer nodded before catching up to the duo. Once he saw the trio further down, he replaced his arm back around the diva, rubbing her back as she regained her composure.

“You should’ve told me,” she whispered.

“I’m sorry,” Nate repeated. “And I did tell you.”

Before I arrived at her grave, Nate.”

“She was my baby sister, too, Piggy.”

“Guys,” Kermit interjected, hoping to stop an argument before it started, especially here. “I don’t think your sister or father would appreciate you arguing in front of them, do you?”

Both seemed to be equally chastised, nodding at his reasoning. “Come on,” Nate whispered, tugging on his twin’s hand. “They’re gonna start looking for us soon and we should probably be in there for Hammy.”

“This day has just gotten worse,” Piggy muttered, following her brother as he headed towards the church.


[hr]


The church ceremony was what you would expect for a funeral – it was open casket, however Piggy had been adamant that she didn’t want to view her mother and no matter how many family members went up there, she was content to sit in the first row pew and wait for the service to start. Apparently Andy felt the same way because he joined her and the two waited for the others to finish.

“You alright, kid?” she whispered to him.

Looking around, Andy leaned over and said, “There’s a lot of people here. I don’t…I don’t know a lot of them.”

Piggy took a good look at her nephew and she felt a pang in her heart. Like her, Ham obviously had left home and hadn’t returned until he heard their mother was sick; while that would’ve been fine for her, the difference with her brother was he had children. Children who obviously hadn’t known their relatives outside of her and even then, she had only spent a few months with them before insisting Ham take them back.

She hadn’t realized just how much the boys were missing until now. She had even missed the very existence of her only niece, that she knew of at least. She was so disconnected from her family she didn’t even know her youngest sister had died and apparently no one else had been aware of it either. Robin the Frog could catch a cold and the whole set of Up Late would not only know about it, but would start the process of sending soup and get well cards.

When Fozzie had gotten the call that his mother had died, she, Kermit, Gonzo, Rowlf, and Scooter had been at his apartment within five minutes; she had even arranged the funeral service for him because he had been so distressed and depressed.

Her mother had died and it took three people to get her to come back home. She didn’t even know about her sister until she happened to see the headstone. “Yeah,” she said, looking at family members who had changed while she had been gone. “I don’t know some of them either.”

“I wish I knew them,” Andy admitted, a small grimace on his face. “I don’t think Dad likes coming out here. He wasn’t happy about coming. He always gets upset when I mention Mom, too.”

“Do you miss her?”

Andy shrugged. “Sometimes,” he whispered. “I don’t remember a lot about her; I think Randy does though. Dad doesn’t like to talk about her.” The twin waited a beat before asking, “Do you miss your mom?”

That was the question, wasn’t it? She hadn’t wanted to even come here and now her nephew, whom she hadn’t seen in at least five years and whom she hadn’t even met until eight years before that, was asking if she missed the very woman she had hated for decades. “I don’t know,” she answered, honestly. “I really don’t know.”

The viewing took longer than the diva would have liked, but soon Pastor Dean had the congregation sitting in their seats as he got the service started. It was the standard funeral fare, with the pastor acknowledging the passing of Hortense and the kind of person that she was; Bogen County was a fairly small community, meaning that most people knew each other and therefore were aware of both the Malines and the Hogglesworths. There was a decent turnout, with at least fifty people in attendance.

When it was time for anyone to speak up, Ricky Lane fulfilled his deal from the night before, reluctantly standing from his seat before taking his place at the podium. Despite all of his bravado the night before, the actual impact of his sister’s death seemed to have hit him between last night and this moment. “Well,” he began, clearing his throat. “I can honestly say that I never expected to be up here any time soon, especially for my older sister.

“Being the only boy in the family was hard, especially when you’re surrounded by girls. It seems like I’m always mad at my sister or maybe it was vice versa. I always stole her toys, well we all did, cause she got the better toys. ‘Sissy’ we used to call her that, you know? ‘Sissy’s got the better toys!’.” Looking over at his sister, he continued with, “It’s been a while, Sissy, and for once, this is the one thing I don’t want from you. If I had to trade, I’d trade for you to come back.”

Nodding, Ricky Lane stepped down and retook his seat. The pastor continued, directing everyone for the burial that would take place in a few moments; Nate, Ham, Ricky Lane, and John were going to be the pall bearers so they stood to take their places, with Ida leading the pack as they headed outside to the plot that was designated for Hortense. The procession was quiet, with the family following out first before the others.

There was small service once the casket had been brought to the grave, with Pastor Dean stating that Hortense would be remembered by her mother, her sisters and brothers, and her children. After finding out about their youngest sister the way they had, Ida decided to dismiss Piggy and Nate from any speeches, her own guilt at knowing about Marjorie’s death, as well as her own sadness about the loss of her own daughter kept her reserved throughout the service.

The rest of the family, at least Hortense’s siblings seemed as reserved as their mother; Hortense’s children were anything but. Kermit had been holding onto Piggy’s hand since they walked out of the church and he could literally feel the tension within her; Nate, he noticed, also seemed to be very stoic with his arms crossed against his chest. Sarah had to literally pull one of those massive arms towards her to get him to relax, but only slightly.

Both twins had their eyes covered with their shades, Piggy having extra cover with a stylish black hat she wore on her head. Even Ham didn’t seem to be completely at the funeral, his eyes focused forward, though it was clear he wasn’t exactly focused on anything at the moment.

The pastor continued the service, with a few more words, citing the spirit of Hortense and that she was now reunited with both her husband and her youngest daughter before lowering the casket into the ground.

And like that, Hortense Roseleen Maline Hogglesworth was no more.

Mourners started to leave, whether it be to their own homes or back to the Hogglesworths’ for the memorial; the family of course were stragglers, with Ricky Lane finally saying they needed to get back before the others beat them to the house. John agreed, getting BlackJack to help get his mother and aunt to head off with them, while the others stayed with Ida. “Piggy?” Kermit whispered, giving her hand a squeeze. “Sweetheart, why don’t you give me the keys?”

It took a moment before Piggy answered him. “What?”

“The keys, baby,” he repeated. “To the car.”

“Oh,” she said, shaking her head slightly. “Pocket, I think.”

Kermit didn’t hesitate to reach a hand into her jacket pockets before he ended up finding them in one of her pants’ pockets. “Guys,” he whispered, standing in front of both Fozzie and Gonzo. “Do you think you could find your way back to the house?”

“I can, Kermit,” Fozzie volunteered, holding out his paw for the keys.

“Go get it started,” he said. “And I’ll get the others gathered up.”

“You got it, Frog,” Gonzo replied, turning and heading after Fozzie as he headed back down to the car. They both climbed in, as driver and passenger, and waited for the other three members of their party to join them.

“This is going to be a long day,” the comic sighed.

“Yeah,” Gonzo whispered. “I’ve never seen Piggy so shaken before.”

“Even at the height of their worst arguments,” Fozzie agreed.

They had known the couple for decades and while they had known just about everything about Kermit and his family, Piggy was still a mystery to them. It wasn’t to say they told each other everything – they all had a past and sometimes the past was best left where it needed to stay, but with being friends for so long, they had expected her to maybe let lose some things about herself. But Piggy was a tough cookie and maybe that was what concerned them above all – Gonzo had been right.

They had never seen her so out of sorts before and they were worried.

“Do you think she’ll be alright?”

“If anyone can handle Piggy, it’s Kermit,” Gonzo replied. “So it’s our job to make things easier on her and everyone else.” Giving the bear a look, he joked, “You seem to have already started on Ida.”

Fozzie cracked a smile, chuckling to himself. “She’s alright,” he said, with a wistful look in his eye. “She reminds of Ma, don’t you think?”

Gonzo had to nod at that. Ida Maline was a straight shooter, that was for sure and Gonzo could see where Piggy got some of that moxy of hers. And she did remind him a bit of Fozzie’s mother, the same no nonsense attitude and straight forwardness that seemed to crop up in most of their female cast members and family. “She does at that.”

The two didn’t need to wait any longer, as the rest of the family came from the church, obviously ending a conversation with the pastor there. Nate and his family were finishing a chat, while Piggy was walking with her grandmother towards them, Kermit only two steps behind. Their walk was silent until Kermit opened the backdoor, as Ida was telling him she would get in first, so that Piggy could sit in between them.

“Fozzie dear,” Ida whispered. “You can follow Nate so you won’t get lost.”

The comic nodded, starting the car just as Nate started to back out of the parking lot. The ride back was nearly as silent at the ride there, complete with Piggy asking a question of her grandmother as they drove. “Grandma? Did you know about Marjie?”

Ida sighed before taking her granddaughter’s other hand in hers. “I did, sweets,” she said. “But only this week when Hortense told me. I hadn’t even known she knew until she told me. I wouldn’t be surprised if that lead to her eventual downfall. No parent ever wants to outlive their child.”

Piggy held her tongue, not wanting to upset her grandmother any more than she was, but she couldn’t help the anger that seemed to be growing within her. Of course her mother hadn’t managed to spare a thought to her other children to let them know their sister had died, even if it meant they at least had a head’s up before her own funeral. The anger was a good mask for the sorrow that had pierced her heart – much with the rest of the family, Piggy hadn’t talked to her baby sister in years and now, she would never talk to her again.

The diva knew her older brother tried his best to keep tabs on all of them and then became the messenger for telling everyone how they were all doing; even then, Piggy only spoke to Nate a few times in the year, maybe four at the very most. Obviously less than that if she had gone so long she didn’t even know he had had a second child. So lost in her thoughts, Piggy hadn’t even been aware they arrived back to the house until Fozzie stopped and turned off the car.

“Hey Ida,” Gonzo said, turning slightly so he could view the people in the back. “Why don’t you take a break, relax, and sit down? Fozzie and I can handle anything in the kitchen, including any hungry guests.”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yeah,” Gonzo said, nodding to Kermit. “The frog will vouch for us; we tend to do this a lot. I mean not…parties, I meant.”

Kermit leaned forward to look at the matriarch. “They’re good at what they do,” he said, sending a soft smile her way.

“That’s very nice of you, boys.”

“You guys don’t have to do that,” Piggy protested, though her voice didn’t hold any malice.

“Moral support, remember?” Gonzo asked, smiling gently at her.

“Yeah.” No one mentioned the fact that her voice hitched when she said it.

Leaving the car, the quintet headed into the house, which was now much fuller than it had been when they had arrived the day before. Most were there to offer their condolences to the family, with some of them not really knowing Hortense herself, but knew of Ida or her other children. As promised, Fozzie and Gonzo made themselves at home within the kitchen, helping John kick out both his wife and sister-in-law, stating nearly the same things the former had been telling their niece only minutes ago.

“Expect to see those two back in here again,” the pig chuckled, shaking his head at them both. John Gillespie had been largely silent during this whole ordeal, mostly sticking to his wife while the family went through this tragedy. The elder pig was slightly taller than that of Nate, though it was clear at one point he may have had the same wall like physique his nephew managed to maintain.

His raven hair was thinning slightly, with a few strands of grey sprinkled throughout, and dark green eyes that made him stand apart from the brown that his in-laws held. “Bet you boys weren’t expecting to enter into the lion’s den when you came in, did ya?”

“How’s that?” Gonzo asked, setting out plates for the lunch and snacks that would be served.

John chuckled. “The cat and dog atmosphere between every single one of these guys,” he said. “This family’s mired in conflict, starting all the way back to Alan and Conrad Maline.”

“Who’re Alan and Conrad?” asked Fozzie.

“Alan is or rather was Ida’s husband,” he continued. “My departed father-in-law, so to speak. And his brother.”

“What happened to them?” Gonzo inquired.

“Stopped talking to each other,” John said, bringing out some glasses from the cabinet and placing them on the kitchen island. “Fifteen years, not a word between them until…I think their father died? May have been their mother, one of their parents. Anyway, this is the first time Hattie and Millie have spoken to each other and have been in the same place in five years and this is Ricky’s first time in seven.”

Gonzo and Fozzie looked at each other in surprised shock. “So what happened?” the bear asked, wondering what could possibly keep siblings away for seven years.

John shrugged. “Not sure actually,” he admitted. “Something stupid, most likely, between Hortense and Ricky; and you saw how the three of them can get in it with just a sentence. Apples don’t fall far from the tree, do they?” Turning, he began to pull out silverware, but continued his commentary. “Anyway, I’m not surprised the other girls aren’t here. Hortense had three younger sisters no one has seen in like…I don’t know, twenty years maybe? Heck, you notice that two of her own daughters aren’t here.

“And I bet it took you fellas a down right heck of a time convincing Piggy to come along.” Placing the silverware on the island, John joked, “I’d avoid the water if I were you; brings out something fierce in everyone.”

“I hope you aren’t telling tales out of school, John.”

All three turned and watched as Sarah walked through the kitchen, two glasses in her hands. Sarah, much like Kermit, was trying to do her best to gauge her husband’s grief, which seemed stuck on none for the moment. Almost as through unspoken word, the in-laws and friends had taken it upon themselves to play hostess for the house, allowing for the Hogglesworth family to accept condolences and comfort each other.

Well…the first part of that at least.

Again, John chuckled. “I’m just giving them a crash course, that’s all,” he said. “You know well as I do, newcomers don’t come in with any warning with that bunch; you show up at the pool and you get thrown into the deep end, no life vest, no nothing.”

Sarah smiled kindly at her uncle before looking at the friends to her sister-in-law. “You get used to one Hogglesworth, you’re used to them all,” she said, refilling the two glasses and heading back towards the living room, but stopped to throw the comic and writer a parting word. “It goes without saying of course that this is something entirely different.”

“And volatile,” Gonzo said. “I can tell you from experience, the last thing anyone wants is to get Piggy mad enough that she starts swinging.” Rubbing his nose slightly, he said, “No one wants to be on the receiving end of one of her karate chops.”

“Or her right hook,” Fozzie added. Luckily, the comic only needed to be told – or chopped, in this case – once before he got the message. Others – like Gonzo and Kermit – needed to be told several times and even then, they would sometimes forget; Rowlf, by mistake, had been on the receiving end of that right hook once, when the person the diva was aiming for ducked and her fist had landed on the tavern owner’s jaw.

“Well, keep Ham in your prayers,” she said, drolly. “Cause he’s put a target on his face.”
 

The Count

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*:sigh: Family drama, it's the one thing that makes our lives, *draws in breath like Long John, "interestin'".

Always a sad time when a parent or other loved one in the family dies.
Nice little bit between Piggy and Andy there. And the devastation/private indignation at finding out her younger sister passed away are all good touches helping further the story along.

Thanks for posting.
 

WebMistressGina

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Mupps! What it is! So here's the continuing section from where I left you last time, with of course some admin stuff.

So, after thinking about it for a while, I've gone ahead and decided that Andy and Randy are teenagers, around 13, so about two years younger than Eli or Robin. I came to that decision based on their characteristics here and maybe in a follow up story and some of their traits from MT. It just didn't seem to make sense to me for them to be older, so I decided to go younger.

Along with this, I'm also referencing a quote another member posted in one of the episode threads -

Their being Piggy's nephews on MT was the perfect punchline to my favorite MCT tale:

Piggy: "Wait. Think. Christmas is in December. And this is the middle of summer."

Randy and Andy: "He's EARLY!"He's EARLY! Santa's early!"

Piggy: "They coulnd't be Moi's brothers."
And of course I have now forgotten which post and which thread, however it was Piggy's response that I wanted to explore. After I wrote the following section, I realized I had read her line wrong - I thought she was saying she couldn't believe that Andy and Randy were her brother's not that she couldn't believe they were her brothers. Basically, I inserted an apostrophe where there wasn't one.

However, that point was kinda essential in this, so I went with it. Of course, now it's been established in Muppety canon that Andy and Randy are her nephews, so yeah.

Anyway, just wanted to explain that before we get our start. Let's check in on this, shall we?




Sarah left the kitchen, carrying the glasses for the two guests that she had offered to get them for. She had left in the middle of a not at all interesting conversation between Ida and Mrs. Gloria Nader, the former neighbor to the Hogglesworths. It had started out about a story involving her deceased husband before it got to the point where, if the raven haired swine hadn’t stood up and left, she would have no doubt fallen asleep from boredom.

The conversation in the kitchen rang true enough – if one didn’t know how the Malines and Hogglesworths worked and interacted with each other, it could be a bit disconcerting when the first argument started. And while Sarah was used to Nate and even the Gillespies, she had to admit that she hadn’t ever encountered the clear animosity his siblings not only brought out in him, but each other. Certainly, as she mentioned, the death of their mother was hard enough, but the added shock of discovering their sister was dead just added more weight on an already stressful and distressing day.

The tension had been rising since that morning and it almost felt like a powder keg once they had arrived back home from the service. She was sure Kermit noticed it too, with the way the frog kept his eye on his not at all girlfriend –

“Have you noticed that when Piggy is upset, she tends to start an argument just for the sake of starting an argument?”

“I’ve known Piggy to start an argument because it was Wednesday,” he joked. “I take it you’re worried?”

“This is the most agitated I’ve seen him,” she whispered. “I know the situation calls for it, but…since we’ve been married, it’s very rare for him to shut down like this. And I’m sure you’ve noticed Piggy and Ham seem to be circling each other, like a bunch of buzzards.”

“How much do you know about Hamilton?”

“Not a lot,” she said. “Other than he’s the baby, he’s raising his twin boys by himself – his wife died a decade ago – and he’s a therapist in New York. If you’re asking if I know what’s between him and Piggy or between him and Nate, I don’t. What I do know is, Nate has never forgiven their father for whatever slight it was that he did.”

That was surprising to Kermit, at least to the point that Nate hadn’t told his own wife about his father’s infidelity; actually, even Piggy didn’t speak about her father, despite the fact that she had more positive feelings towards him than she did her mother.

“You didn’t know, did you?” she asked, giving him a side look. “That Piggy and Nate were twins?”

Kermit shook his head, failing to hide his disappointment.

“Don’t feel so bad,” she said. “I didn’t know until last week. It would also explain why my OB/G thought Ellie Mae was going to be a twin.” Giving him a knowing look, she smirked, “They apparently run in the family.”

Ham would’ve preferred being able to have a quiet moment to himself, just him, his thoughts, and his drink. Professionally, he was well aware that he had become very anti-social with the death of his wife twelve years ago and that maybe the seeds of that had started sometime in his youth, but at this particular moment, he wasn’t a professional. He was just Hamilton Hogglesworth, abandoned younger son of a cheating father and a rather domineering mother, with two elder siblings who never did anything wrong, a vain older sister who thought looks were more important than anything, a know-it-all middle who thought she was the smartest person in the whole family, and then…

Then there was Marjie.

Marjie was the class clown, the humorist who used comedy to try and keep their fledging family together. Ham had always thought she was the closest to him, but maybe that wasn’t true; they hadn’t spoken in years, decades, the same amount of time that had passed between his speaking with the other girls. And now she was dead. Gone and buried.

“It’s a bit early to be drinking, isn’t it, Ham?”

The reprimand from his eldest sister brought him out of his thoughts, but only just. Eyes narrowed, he took a deliberate drink from the whiskey glass before saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

“Hamilton, you’re a psychiatrist, aren’t you?”

The question came from Mrs. Nader, who was still discussing her dead husband – regardless on how very boring the story was – which Ida, quite frankly, was happy for. Her daughter-in-law and future son-in-law weren’t the only ones to notice the heightened tension between the siblings; she could just tell from their postures the two were itching for a fight and she was hoping they would have better sense than to bring up family skeletons in front of company.

“Is it normal to still feel so sad after all this time?”

Tearing his eyes away from his judging sister, Ham looked at the elder woman. “I’m a psychologist, Mrs. Nader,” he corrected, jumping in before she could ask what the difference was. “But I essentially have the same role as a psychiatrist, I just don’t prescribe anything. As to your question, yes, it is normal for you to still feel grief or…or still be in a period of mourning.

“Everyone deals with grief in a variety of different ways, it just depends on the person or the situation. For example -” Here, his eyes moved back to Piggy. “Some people lash out at others.”

The diva smirked. Nodding to the drink in his hand, she asked, “Doesn’t drinking also go up?”

Ham chuckled before downing the rest of his drink. Intellectually, he knew she was right; professionally, of course she was right. Grief took many forms for many people – sadness, anger, depression, denial – he knew all of this, had trained in all of this in order to get his license to practice. In fact, once he had heard about his mother, he had expected this; he knew he would need to battle sadness (this was his mother!), anger (how dare she wait until now to see him!?), and of course guilt (why hadn’t he come sooner? Years wasted when he could have made amends with her and the others).

What he hadn’t expected was seeing his sister – any of his sisters – again and even he was surprised Nate had bothered to come as well. He hadn’t expected that and he hadn’t expected those latent feelings of betrayal, jealousy, and envy to pop up either.

“I didn’t realize that sharing a lot with Dr. Phil qualified you in family psychology and behavior.”

“Well,” she said. “He makes it look easy. I’m guessing you don’t have to be that smart to be a therapist.”

Oh, she wants a fight, does she? All right. Let’s dance.

“Well,” he countered. “It takes less thought to work in Hollywood. More beauty than brains, as they say.”

“Ham, that’s enough,” Kermit warned. He was sure he didn’t mean it and he had said it in order to get a rise out of Piggy, but that didn’t mean the frog was going to let it continue.

“Oh no, Kermie,” Piggy replied, smoothly. “Let baby Hammy talk. He brings up a very good and interesting point on smarts. Tell me, Hammy, how far from the tree do you think your boys fell? Assuming of course they fell from your tree.”

“Children,” Ida growled. “Do you really think this is an appropriate topic to be discussing at your mother’s funeral?”

Of course, they ignored her because they had been looking for an excuse to rile each other up; Ham had thrown down the gauntlet and not only had Piggy picked it up, she had smacked him in the face with it. “You trying to insinuate something?” Ham snarled.

“No insinuation necessary,” Piggy replied, brazenly. “I thought it was perfectly obvious. In fact, let’s test that theory, shall we?” Turning to her right, she noticed one of Ham’s boys passing through the hallway and headed towards the kitchen. “Hey Andy!” she called, causing the twin to turn.

“It’s Randy, actually,” replied the youngster.

“Whatever,” the diva dismissed. “How’d you like to make a nice, shiny dollar?”

“Would I!?”

“That’s the ticket,” she said, smiling widely at him. “All you have to do – very simple! All you have to do…is…tell us what state we’re in. And I mean, actual, physical United States state; as in, the name of the state, that we’re currently residing in. The state that you came to, from New York.”

There was an immediate blank look on the younger pig’s face before he asked, “Can I think about it?”

“Take your time,” Piggy smirked. “No rush. Though sometime today or in our lifetimes would be nice.”

Randy and his twin brother Andy Pig were not known for their intelligent conversations, despite being old enough to have intelligent conversations. Ever since meeting them, Piggy had been hard pressed to equate her nephews with her baby brother, who was probably the smartest person she knew, aside from their sister Ro. How two dumb as a rock kids came from her intelligent brother and supposedly intelligent former sister-in-law, she wasn’t sure.

In hindsight, this was a poor exercise, especially when done with a house full of people that were not family, and it exposed a possible ghost or skeleton in the room that maybe hadn’t been dealt with or at least, not with the rest of the family. But in the moment, Piggy hadn’t been thinking about that – she had been thinking about knocking her baby brother down a few rungs and the best way she knew how was to hit him in his heart.

“Could I get a hint?” Randy asked, still unable to come up with the answer.

Tossing a knowing look towards Ham, who had his own murderous look on his face, Piggy turned back to her nephew. “Sure,” she said. “So, football’s kinda big around here; we watch it, we love it, we live it, right? And we Hogglesworths are a Panther nation; we are all fans of the University of Northern Iowa sports teams. So at heart, we are UNI – the I standing for Iowa – Panthers.”

Randy continued to think, his brow furled in concentration. Snapping his fingers, he exclaimed, “I got it! China!”

Snapping her own fingers, Piggy feigned a disappointed sigh. “So close.”

“Darn,” the twin said, turning away to head back towards his original destination. However, he did stop and turned back around to look at his aunt. “Narnia!”

Even the other guests privy to the conversation looked at the teenager in surprise and incredulousness. “Not a real place,” Piggy said, holding in a sigh of annoyance. “But I do like your determination.”

Knowing when he was defeated and really not wanting to play anymore, Randy turned back around towards to kitchen to get something to hold him until lunch.

Piggy, for her part, turned back around to her brother. “I think that proves my point,” she replied, smugly. “You should owe me that dollar.”

“I should owe you a dollar?” Ham asked, putting his empty glass on the mantle above the fireplace. Taking a few steps towards his sister, he growled, “Yeah, okay. I’ll give you a dollar. I have the perfect place where you can stick it.”

Truly the only thing that stopped the two, other than Kermit who was trying his best to keep the two apart, was the coffee table; though, knowing Piggy as well as he did, the frog was aware that it wouldn’t take much for her to just rid herself of the obstacle if it meant she could get at her brother easier.

Ida didn’t think she’d ever been so embarrassed in her life, with the way her grandchildren were acting. Poor Kermit was a slight little thing, barely able to handle Piggy, much less Ham, as the two were more than happy to knock each other around in a house full of people. BlackJack and Nate were trying to intervene, but the elderly swine had had it.

“Stop it, both of you!” she exclaimed, standing from her spot on the couch and pushing her way through the crowd. “At this point, I don’t care if the two of you beat the stuffing out of each other at your own mother’s funeral, but I’m not about to have you do it in a house full of people. You take this outside and don’t come back in here until you’re done. Nate, go out there with them.”

“Why me?”

“Pignatius Hamilton Lee, the second,” she growled. “If I want back sass, I will ask for it. Now take your brother and sister outside right this minute!”

“Great,” the oldest muttered, shoving both of his siblings towards the kitchen and thus the backdoor. “I told you idiots to not start anything. I said it not more than four hours ago!”

“This isn’t my fault, Nate!” Ham whined. “Piggy’s always picking at me…”

“Me!?” the diva exclaimed. “You’ve been riding me since I walked through the door!”

“If fate had any sense of fairness, the two of you would kill each other and I could knock off two more siblings from my list.”

It was a completely crass statement, everyone who heard it knew it, and Nate knew it as soon as it left his mouth. But he was just as upset as they were and, like always, he had to be the responsible one, the one that had to pick up the slack and save everyone else because no one else could or would do it. Always Nate to the rescue.

Both his younger siblings stopped short, turning wide eyed stares on him. “That’s not funny,” Ham whispered.

“That’s not at all funny,” Piggy stressed.

“It’s hysterical,” he growled, shoving them both through the kitchen door. “Outside. Move!”

It was a long time in coming, they knew that before they had stepped outside. Had they been so hostile to each other as children? It was honestly so hard to remember, especially when grief and anger were clouding their judgements, that it felt like they were always walking around on eggshells with each other. Actually, they had the opposite problem – there were no eggshells because they had gone stomping on each and every one of them until there was a huge mess on the floor.

Nate must have thought that even the outside air and area couldn’t contain the explosion that was coming because he immediately led the other two into the barn that had been on the property, but had been hardly used. There were still hay bales that littered the floor, when the house had been on a farm; they had tried turning the barn into their own little playground, putting in a dartboard in order to past the time.

There had been a table in there at one point, allowing them to play board games when they were there. More often than not, each of them at some point had found the seclusion of the barn a haven to get away from the issues that plagued their mother and siblings. Today, however, this was not going to be a place of happiness, not if the three of them had anything to say about it.

“Insolent brats, the both of you!” Nate screamed as soon as they stepped inside the barn.

“This is not my fault!” Ham cried in retaliation. Pointing to Piggy, he said, “She’s been busting my chops since she arrived!”

“Oh don’t try to flip this on me!” Piggy retorted, pointing right back at him.

“Idiots!” Nate exclaimed. “I gave you one simple thing to do, one! All you had to do was keep your cool so we could give Grandma a break and you couldn’t even do that. And like always, I’m the one who has to come to your rescue and save you from your own stupidity! And I’m sick of it! I’ve been doing this since I was six years old. I wish I was an only child, then I wouldn’t have to have you five as a permanent burden!”

“Oh stop acting like you’re only here to save us from ourselves,” Ham spat.

“Cause that’s your job?” Piggy needled.

“Well I’ve certainly done a better job than the two of you.”

“And what do you mean by that?” the diva challenged.

“If the two of you really cared,” Ham shot back. “You would’ve known about Marjie before today. How the heck do the two of you go through life for two years and not know your own sister’s dead and buried?”

That was enough for Nate and if it wasn’t from some manner of the control he kept, his fist would’ve found its way to his brother’s face. That didn’t stop him from pushing the younger pig hard though, causing Ham to stumble backwards. “I raised you,” he said. “You don’t get to talk to me like that.”

Pushing his brother back, though with less force than the older and bigger brother had, Ham snarled, “You are not my father.”

“You’re lucky I’m not,” Nate said, his voice low and probably a bit dangerous. “And you’re lucky you didn’t have to know the piece of dirt that he was.”

“Don’t say that,” Piggy said, hurt evident in her voice.

“Stop defending him!”

“I’m not!”

You are!” Nate growled, swinging his anger towards his twin. “You’re always defending him! Well, here’s a news flash for you, little sister – he didn’t love you. And he didn’t love us.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is!” Nate shouted. “Because if he did, he would’ve stayed! Defend that!”

“God, the two of you are pathetic,” Ham groaned.

Despite the shock from her twin’s statement, leave it to Ham to bring her back to the present. “We’re pathetic!?” she exclaimed. “I don’t suppose you want to discuss our previous conversation topic?”

“No, actually, I don’t,” Ham replied, taking a few steps towards her. “And by the way, thank you very much for insinuating that I may not be my sons’ biological father! Because that’s just the thing I wanted the neighborhood to know!”

“Oh, so it is true?”

Ham lunged at Piggy, only to be stopped by Nate. Not that it helped, because that just made Ham a non-moving target, which made Piggy’s punch to his face not only easy, but rewarding. It of course did nothing to make Nate happy because he turned and shoved Piggy back.

“What is wrong with you?”

“What is wrong with you!?” she echoed. “He deserved that! You were gonna do it yourself!”

“Worst siblings ever,” Ham muttered, wiping away from of the blood that now oozed from his split lip. “Why mother thought you were the best things since bread, I’ll never know.”

“Get off your ‘woe is me’ routine,” Nate spat. “It’s always ‘oh, I’m the baby’ or ‘oh, I can’t do the stuff the older kids can cause I’m underage’ blah, blah. You aren’t the only person in the world who has older siblings, you know.”

“I made sacrifices…”

“We all made sacrifices, Ham,” Piggy shot back. “Do not think for one moment you’re all alone in that.”

“At least during your sacrifices, you got praised for them,” Ham continued.

“You know what?” Piggy snarled. “I think you’re mostly mad about the fact that Mommy Dearest didn’t bother to tell you about Marjie, even when you made the supposed ‘effort’ to see her before she died.”

“I’m mad, Piggy, because nothing I ever did was ever good enough compared to what the two of you could do! You were the prince and princess of the block and everyone knows that Mother loved you the most!”

Mother never loved me!”

The clearing of a throat, coupled with the sound of a knock caused the three to turn towards the doorway, shocked to see Gonzo standing there. The weirdo had been asked by Ida to see if her three grandchildren had managed to kill each other, though he hoped she had been joking about that, and if they were still alive to let them know lunch was being served. He hadn’t thought anything about it until he heard the shouting coming from the barn, causing him to quickly hurry towards the commotion.

From all appearances, it didn’t look like anyone was dead – all three were still standing - however Ham was holding a bloody handkerchief to his bottom lip. He had caught Piggy’s last statement, it was rather hard to miss when it was being screamed with such ferocity, and it was clear his arrival had stopped whatever conversation had been going on before he got there.

“Your grandmother wanted you guys to know lunch was being served,” he said, glancing around at all three, though his eyes settled on Ham. “What happened to you?”

“Nothing,” Ham said, making the first move by walking out past Gonzo and heading to the house, with Nate and Piggy following in his wake.

Gonzo stopped the diva as she passed, grabbing her arm to ask, “You alright?”

“I’m fine,” she said, pulling her arm from his grasp and continuing on her path, heedless to whether or not the head writer was behind her.

Walking in, the family and those that had stayed for lunch were already seated around one table, with a few using the couch and coffee table. Conversation seemed to stop when the quartet entered from the kitchen, though Ida was able to pick up the previous thread of topic. “The three of you are just in time,” she said, gesturing to those around the table. “I’m sure beating the fluff out of each other has given you an appetite, food’s in the kitchen.

“But in other news,” she continued. “We’re just going over some stories about Hortense. I figured you three might have some good ones about your mother.”

“No.”

“I don’t have any at this time, Grandma.”

“I can’t think of anything.”

“The three of you don’t have any stories about your mother?” Hattie asked, incredulously.

“No Hattie, we don’t,” Piggy spat, giving her aunt a glare. “Why don’t you share a story?”

“I’ve already shared my story,” Hattie huffed.

“Well good for you,” Nate muttered.

“Hamilton, what happened to your lip?” asked Millie.

“Ran into a door,” came the sour reply.

And lunch began and ended much like dinner the night before.


[hr]


Grief takes on many different forms, from anger, to sadness, to denial; when a family loses one of their members, it’s hard on everyone. When a parent loses a child, it may be the most horrible thing they can imagine; the same could be said for a child losing their parent. What’s usually not talked about is the grief that people experience when they lose a sibling.

While the thought is to speak to children about their loss, adults can also experience overwhelming despair when they lose their brother or sister. Loss of history and future occasions are now changed – bonds are shattered, both from past experiences and new ones that would have been created. As with many other aspects of grief, guilt is a heavy burden for the sibling that’s left, for the time lost and the inability to overcome any issues between them.

Hamilton Pig, nee Hogglesworth, knew all about overcoming familial issues and conflicts – as a psychologist, his very business was about helping people discover the root cause of their issues, to try and understand why these things were manifesting themselves in a particular way, and how they could move past these in order to maintain or pursue a healthy life and healthy relationships.

He knew just about everything there was to know about how the mind, body, and soul worked in terms of expressing emotion and how holding in negative feelings can affect more than just the person dealing with the issue. He knew this, he went to school for this, and had gotten a license to practice in order to help people and their families.

So why then, when dealing with his own family, did he feel so out of his depth?

Whatever he had expected, was not what had happened. When his brother had called him, nearly four years to the day of his last call, he certainly didn’t think he’d actually see his brother or sister at all when he returned. And even if some part of him considered the thought that maybe his older siblings would be there, he didn’t really think they would show up; so imagine his surprise when not only did his brother show, but his eldest sister as well. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to discover that his older sister had died two years previously.

Sibling grief was still something that surprised many therapists, doctors, family members, and others - an interesting concept - though why it seemed so unheard of, Ham didn’t know. What he did know was that he was obviously suffering from a double bout of grief – losing his mother was one thing, but to discover that his sister was gone hurt his heart. His family certainly put the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’ – he counseled families like his on a daily basis, telling them the solution to their problems was to talk with their loved ones and to be honest about what was actually troubling them.

Ironic then, that the very advice he gave his own patients was advice he didn’t bother to take himself.

He had driven from New York to Iowa in a little under sixteen hours, setting everything up before his departure so that his patients could at least get a hold of one of his colleagues while he was out, though it did mean he had to close his office for the week most likely. He had immediately taken the boys out of school, packed them in the rental car he had gotten to replace his Prius, and he’d taken off for Bogen County. He’d managed to reach the house while his mother was sick, slowly dying from he wasn’t sure, seeing as she refused to see their family doctor.

He hadn’t been with her when she took her last breath – that had been his grandmother – but he had seen her beforehand and at no time had she told him about his sister. If anything, there was a bit of disappointment when he corrected her, telling her that he hadn’t gotten his doctorate yet, so he couldn’t be called a doctor, even though he was licensed to practice. Her smile had dropped a little and he was convinced there had been a sigh when she had said, “Oh.” When she had asked after his siblings – if Nate was still farming, if Piggy was still doing her show, if Virgi was still reporting, and if Ro was still doing science – he should’ve realized something was wrong when she didn’t mention Marjie, however the last he had heard from her she was on some skiing trip.

Marjie had really been the adventurous one, doing several different sports in school, though basketball was apparently her specialty. After high school, she had gone out of state to ‘see the world’ as she said; from there, they had each gotten postcards from all over – Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and even London and Germany. She had done what the others had been hoping to do, though to his knowledge, it sounded as everyone had done fine. To their own achievements.

Not that Hortense Hogglesworth seemed to care about that.

He had suffered from insomnia since his college days, when he studied until his brain couldn’t remember his own name at times. He had gotten over it, at least until his wife had died and then it startled all over again; from experience, he knew this recent bout was just his body and mind reacting to the changes and stress he was faced it. He was also well aware that drinking alcohol wasn’t going to help his situation, however he was already disregarding most of his training in other areas, so why should this be any different?

He was on his second glass, staring at the fire that was roaring across from him when he heard his name being called. “Ham? What’re you doing up?”

Turning, he saw Piggy standing in the room, obviously having woken up from her own sleep. Shaking his head, whether it was the whiskey kicking in or the lack of sleep, the psychologist sighed. “Couldn’t sleep.”

Piggy nodded, slowly, seeing the glass sitting on the coffee table. “I was hoping to get a snack,” she whispered. “You in?”

Ham looked between his sister and his glass, before deciding it might be better to have the conversation over the drink. “Yeah,” he said, nodding and standing to follow her into the kitchen. From the darkness outside, it was still in the middle of the night; according to the wall clock, it was just a little after two in the morning. Ham took a seat at the kitchen island while Piggy rummaged around in the fridge, looking for a snack.

There was plenty of food, both from their earlier lunch and dinner, as well as food for tomorrow. As was seemingly custom, many of the mourners had brought over some dishes, like a morbid potluck; pushing past actual food, Piggy was able to pull one of the three pies that were sitting on the bottom rank. Just looking at the saran wrap, the diva knew this was their grandmother’s prized rhubarb pie, something she hadn’t eaten in decades. Grabbing the pie, she went to reach for the carton of juice, before casting a look at her brother.

“How much have you had, Ham?”

The younger pig took a moment to figure out what exactly what his sister meant before his brain caught up to the question. “Two,” he said, shaking his head clear again. “Just the two.”

Nodding, Piggy took out both the juice and the pie, placing them on the kitchen island, while Ham stood and reached for two glasses, two forks, and the pie cutter. He began to pour juice in both glasses before Piggy stopped him, instead taking his glass and filling it with water. “Trust me when I say you’ll need this instead of the juice,” she replied.

Taking the glass with a scowl on his lips, he muttered, “I do know how to handle a hangover, you know?”

“I didn’t,” the blonde replied, starting to slice into the pie. “But you can never be too careful. How’s the lip?”

Shrugging, Ham fingered the still bruised and a bit puffy left side of his bottom lip. “Not too bad,” he said. “A little puffy, but nothing a bag of ice can’t handle.” Here he chuckled, saying, “You’d think I’d know better, after seeing you go toe to toe with BlackJack.”

Piggy chuckled in spite of herself. BlackJack was pretty much built the same way Nate was, both of them being on the same football team in high school. While she wasn’t exactly clear on why Nate hadn’t taken his skills with him to college, she knew that BlackJack had blown out some ligament in his knee his senior year of high school, effectively ending any football dreams he may have had.

Piggy went through the process of cutting a slim piece from the pie, knowing that any bigger, their grandmother would know someone – most likely one or more of them – had gotten into her pie. “Share a piece?” her younger brother asked, getting a nod of confirmation. “Good idea.”

“Figured why make the ole battle-axe any angrier than she is now,” replied the diva, setting the plate in the middle and taking her own seat.

Shaking his head in mirth, he said, “We really f-ed up. Really badly. I’m honestly surprised she didn’t send us out to break off a switch.” The two were silent for a few moments, the silence broken only by the sounds of chewing, before Ham whispered, “Did you know? About Marjie?”

Shaking her head, Piggy responded, “No. Grandma did though; apparently Mama told her before she died.”

Ham let out a defeated sighed. Why would their mother not tell them about their sister? And worse, why didn’t any of them know? “I always thought we were close,” he whispered. “We were the babies, close in age, the only ones left at home really. I thought…I thought a lot of things.” Pausing to take a drink, he asked, “What is wrong with us?”

“You’re the psychologist,” Piggy replied, looking over at him. “I was hoping you would know.”

Chuckling, Ham said, “I talk to families like ours every day, telling them how they can better speak and relate to each other. I came down here, knowing for sure that I would experience all the standard effects of grief – sadness, anger, denial, guilt – I knew it and I was ready for it. And you know what?” Looking at his sister, his concluded his statement. “As soon as I walked through that front door, I was back to being ten – fighting with five other people to get my mother’s attention, doing anything I could to make her happy so she’d see me. And for what?”

It was strange hearing her brother be so open, especially about their mother and their childhood. Had he always felt this way? That he had been lost in the sea of five older siblings? She had always thought he and Marjie had it all; their mother wasn’t nearly as hard on them as she had been on her and Nate and to a lesser degree, her sisters Virgi and Ro. Maybe it was time to ask some questions of her own.

“Is that why you hate me so?”

“I don’t hate you, Piggy,” he said, turning to look at her. “I don’t! I just…” Sighing again, he whispered, “You didn’t say goodbye. You said goodbye to Nate, but not to us. You just left.”

It was shocking and startling to hear what she had thought was just a blip in her life. “Ham, I did,” she insisted. “I…you were asleep. I would’ve left clean if Nate hadn’t been waiting for me. You were…you got tangled up in your sheets. You’d knocked that weird duck of yours to the floor; what was its name?”

“Mr. Quackers.”

“Right,” she chuckled, her downcast at the tabletop. “I put you back under the covers, tugged Mr. Quackers back under your arm, and kissed you goodbye…”
 

WebMistressGina

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Apparently, the previous post was too long, so here's the continuation of THAT -





She was sure he was going to wake up once she kissed his forehead. Piggy hated leaving like this, but it was the only way; no one would stop her, not this late at night. But she couldn’t find it in her heart to just take off; she just couldn’t. As much as her younger siblings could drive her insane, she loved them and leaving them here – especially with their mother – didn’t seem right, but she had barely put together an idea for herself, what could she do with siblings ranging from 12 to 16?


She had been packing for a week, making sure she could fit what she would need into her backpack. She had grabbed some of their non-perishable food and stuffed it in there, which had caused her to remove her good makeup kit from the supply. Luckily, she had a smaller one that she took with her when her mother had her do those pageants, though they were far and few these days, thanks to being in high school and being head cheerleader. It was hard to believe that she was a high school grad, only a month had gone by since she had walked down that aisle to get her diploma.

This had been a plan two years in the making, however her more studious side had wanted to ensure that she was a high school graduate before she ran away from home. That and she had just made head cheerleader and she wasn’t about to give that up without a fight. But now that the day had arrived, it was a lot harder than she imagined. Around two-thirty in the morning, Piggy made her move, opening her door before going across the hall, turning on the light in the bathroom across the way and closing the door.

Now she had an alibi.

Starting with her sister Virgi’s room, Piggy was able to peek in, seeing the outline of her sister before she walked in. Virgi was sleeping on her side, with her back to the door; that made it easy for Piggy to place her favorite makeup kit on the bedside dresser. She and Virgi were teenage girls who fought over just about any and everything, whether it be makeup, bathroom time, food, etc. But Virgi was her kid sister and as much as they fought, she still loved the little beast; giving her shoulder a squeeze, Piggy departed from the room before reaching her older brother’s, the room in between hers and Virgi’s.

Nate was deep in sleep, lying on his stomach and head buried in his pillow. Oh all of her siblings, Nate was probably the person she was closest to; they were twins and shared a lot of similarities that weren’t just based on their physical appearance. They shared eye color, hair color, and were named after their father, but they also shared other things – they were shoot first, ask questions later, both of them tending to hide their deeper emotions, despite having them clearly visible to anyone else; they were both outgoing, while their younger siblings only tended to be so if called upon for it; they were achievers, though whether it was due to their own personalities or their environment, they weren’t sure. Staring at him now, that familiar pang of hurt hit her heart – she wouldn’t admit it, but her twin was her favorite sibling; she couldn’t help it. He was her first friend, her first confidante, her first rival, and more – it was going to be very strange going through life without him.

Backing out of the room quietly, Piggy had headed upstairs to say goodbye to her younger siblings, starting with her baby brother Ham. They didn’t fight as much as she and Virgi, but they did argue from time to time, but she loved him. She was his protector, his bodyguard, even if he didn’t think he needed it anymore. Tucking him back in with his favorite duck doll, she went next door to say goodbye to her younger sisters. Due to the size of their home and their large family, the five bedrooms had gone to the kids, though Ro and Marjie had to share a room, while their mother slept on the fold out couch downstairs.

That of course would be the true test – while Piggy had managed to get around without her siblings taking notice, she was going to have to get past her mother in the living room in order to reach the kitchen and head out the backdoor. It didn’t even cover how she was going to manage to get her beat-up-mobile to start without waking the entire house; actually, she was pretty sure she would have to leave that.

Shame, she really liked that piece of junk.

Coming down the stairs, Piggy made her way into the living room and stood watching as her mother slept. Fury, rage, hurt…too many emotions roared within her as she looked at the sow – a part of her, a large part, wanted her mother to be devastated upon waking up and seeing her note, wanted her to wish that she had been better mother, that she had given Piggy and the others the love they needed instead of trying to control their actions and their lives, that she had accepted their hopes and dreams instead of imparting her own; but she knew the real reaction.

Hortense would be sad, yes, but only because her favorite source of attention and cash was gone; if Hortense had her way, Piggy would never leave, but it didn’t matter – Virgi loved being the center of attention as much as her eldest daughter did and she had been asking about trying the pageant circuit for a year now and it wasn’t too hard to imagine that Hortense would turn her second daughter into the star she wanted her first daughter to be.

Placing the note she had written on the coffee table in the center of the room, Piggy made her way quietly through the kitchen and out the backdoor.

“Going somewhere?”

Spinning around in fright, Piggy placed her hand on her heart, trying to calm it down. If the sudden fright didn’t get her, the surprise at seeing her twin standing outside by the side of the door did. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack!?” she whispered, hurriedly. “What’re you doing up?”

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” came the retort. “You’re the one dressed and with a backpack. So again, I ask little sister, are you going somewhere?”

It would have been so easy to just straight out lie, tell Nate that she was meeting up with one of the cute boys she had known in school; it wouldn’t be completely untrue. She was popular, head of the cheer squad, and she had attracted the eye of several of her classmates and while she was known as a flirt, she’d only had three boyfriends in the four years she attended Bogen County High School. “I’m leaving.”

“I can see that.”

“No Nate,” she said, sighing. “I’m leaving. I’m…I’m not coming back. Probably never.”

If she was expecting her brother to stop her, tell her she couldn’t possibly do this, she was surprised. Instead, Nate just nodded, though she could easily see the disappointed look on his face. “Okay,” he whispered. “Do you…do you have everything?”

Shrugging, she said, “I have what I need.”

“Food?”

“yeah.”

“Clothes?”

“Of course.”

“Money?”

“I’ve been saving up.”

“Where you going?”

Again she shrugged. “I’m not sure, to be honest,” she whispered.

Nate nodded. “You should take a car.”

“If I take my car,” Piggy reasoned. “I’m going to wake everyone up. I’d like to avoid more of these heartfelt talks if I could; pushes me off my schedule, you know.”

“Then take my car.”

Piggy immediately shook her head. Nate had spent his junior year working and saving up money for his first car, getting a very nice 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta spider, in greenish blue hue; it had belonged to one of their neighbors who had wanted to sell it but didn’t want to just sell it to anyone. Piggy, in contrast, had gotten a rather beat up 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt; her mother had found it while they had been at the spring fair, the very last pageant she would ever be a part of, thank you very much! Despite any protests on her part, her mother had presented her with the car, a discount thanks to the former owner being one of the judges who had liked her in the lineup that day.

Nate and Ham had plans on turning that car into something you could actually enjoy, something that had included Piggy, except that she was running away before they could actually start.

“Nate, you love your car,” she sputtered.

The elder pig shrugged. “I love you more,” he stated. Putting his hand in his pants pocket, he pulled out the keys to his car and held them out to her. “But you have to come get them.”

Holding back a sob, Piggy went over to take the keys, not at all surprised when her brother pulled her into a hug as she did so, dropping a brotherly kiss on the side of her head. “I can’t talk you out of this, can I?” he asked, receiving a shake of her head. “Okay.”

Sometimes, having a twin was great, kinda like now. Piggy didn’t need to tell him why she was doing this or what had lead her down this path, he knew. Folding her hand over his keys, Nate pulled back to look at her. “If you run into trouble…”

“I know.”

“If you run into trouble,” Nate repeated, his narrowed at the interruption. “Call me. Regards where you are, call me and I’ll come, I’ll be there.”

Nodding her understanding, she whispered, “I will. I promise I will.”

Giving his sister one last look, he said, “I love you, Sweets.”

“I love you too, Junior.”

“Then I left,” Piggy concluded, a faraway look in her eye as she remembered that night. She hadn’t talked to Nate until after the first season of the Muppet Show had been running on TV, which was the first time her older brother had seen her in nearly a decade. After the show one night, she had a letter waiting for her in her dressing room; it was from Nate, telling her that he had met someone and that they had been speaking about getting married. He wished her well and kept her up to date and what everyone was doing. That was the start of their correspondence, then as both of their lives continued to grow and as technology grew, their correspondence went from letters to phone calls to texts to emails.

Looking at her younger brother, Piggy whispered, “I’m sorry, Ham. I should’ve…”

“No,” he interrupted, shaking his head. “I know why you left. Isn’t that why we all left? I don’t blame you for leaving, I don’t…”

Whatever Ham was going to say was interrupted with the arrival of Nate, who looked just as surprised to see people up and about at two in the morning. “Again,” Piggy smirked. “Don’t you have a home?”

“As I told your frog,” Nate began, pulling out a stool. “Force of habit. And sometimes I can’t sleep.”

“Obviously,” chuckled Ham, causing his brother to roll his eyes.

“What’re you two yahoos doing up?”

“Obviously, we’re having a snack,” Piggy answered, holding up a piece of pie that was sitting on the end of her fork.

Looking at the pie on the kitchen island, with one slice removed showing the delicious, gooey insides. “Is that Grandma’s pie?”

“We’ve only had one piece,” Ham insisted, quickly shoving the piece on his fork in his mouth.

Looking at the pie before looking at his siblings, Nate asked, “Grandma wouldn’t be upset if there were two pieces missing, right?”

“Well…” Ham began, glancing between his older brother and sister. “We only took a small piece, so…”

“If you also took a small piece,” Piggy concluded, a familiar look in her eyes. “Then we could claim we only had one piece, ya dig?”

Pointing at his twin, Nate nodded before turning and grabbing himself a fork, while Ham went to work at slicing up another piece for his brother. Maybe they wouldn’t admit it just at the moment, but this took them back, though they were missing three other pieces; sneaking out at night into the kitchen, finding some forbidden treat either in the fridge or the cabinets, and doing their best to eat it all before being found out.

It was the first time in years, decades literally, that the siblings had been together in this kitchen, talking and laughing; back then, they had used that time as part catch up and confessional – it was where Ro had first announced she wanted to go into science, that Virgi shyly had admitted to having a crush on the captain of the debate team, where Ham stated he wanted to be a musician or maybe a director, and where Margi had announced she was going to travel all around the world. Nate and Piggy had big dreams that were too big for Bogen County – Piggy was going to go to Hollywood one day, while Nate had plans to play college football, but that his major was going to history or social something, he hadn’t quite decided yet.

In the present, despite having been at each other’s throats most of the weekend, the three siblings were actually able to have not only a friendly conversation, but one that closely resembled how much of a close knit group they had been as children. Piggy and Nate apologized for their callous comments, both about Ham’s mourning and the biology of his twin boys; that’s when their confessional began. Ham admitted the idea that Piggy had proposed – that he might not be Andy and Randy’s birth father – had entered his mind on occasion, more than one actually, which had lead him to file for divorce; it was during that beginning when his wife had ultimately died.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” he laughed, bitterly. “That I should end up marrying the female version of our father?”

“Isn’t that typical behavior though?” Nate asked, taking a bite of his pie. “Isn’t it…genetics or environment that would dictate you go with what you know?”

Ham nodded, impressed with his brother’s insightful thought. “Exactly.”

“It doesn’t matter, Hammy,” Piggy said. “Family is what you make it. Those boys love you and as far as they’re concerned, you’re their father – you raised them, you taught them everything they needed to know, and you’ve been with them from start to now. And that’s all that matters, regardless of what anyone says. And if anyone says anything about it, you can tell them to talk to me and I’ll settle the matter for them.”

Ham couldn’t help but chuckle at that. Leave it to his family to bring him down the lowest and then turn around to defeat him should anyone say the same thing.

Their conversation went from there, with the reasons for Nate’s need to stay behind when everyone had left, to the fact that they would need to contact Virgi and Ro to tell about Marjie, to the fact that Piggy had brought moral support. The diva laughed, saying that if Kermit had his way, the whole crew of Up Late would have been there giving her moral support.

“He’s in love with you, you know,” Ham mentioned, giving his sister a look. He had only heard about her relationship with the frog thanks to the media and news outlets and to be honest, he wasn’t really sure where the two of them stood now, given that the last reports he had read stated that Kermit was dating some other pig at their company. He’d have to ask Nate, as his older brother seemed to know more.

“I know,” Piggy said, blushing. She had never had trouble admitting to her on again, off again relationship with Kermit, however now that they were – well, on the beginnings of something that was familiar, but not quite what they had been, hopefully – and she was in front of her brothers, the thought of discussing her relationship was…well…weird.

“Really don’t want to discuss my love life with my brothers.”

“Fair enough,” Nate said, finishing off his first whole piece before cutting himself another. “Just know that if he hurts you again…”

“We’ll hurt him,” Ham finished.

Like her baby brother before her, Piggy giggled at the prospect of her family coming to her defense. “I’ll try moving you up to the front of the line,” she joked. “But you’ve already got at least seven other people ahead of you who’ve offered to do the frog in should anything like last time happen again.”

Though they weren’t sure who she was talking about exactly, but it seemed clear that her friends were more than willing to throw their boss under the bus if he acted up a second time. “You got good friends there, little sister.”

“I know.”
 

WebMistressGina

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And here are your examples -

This is Nate's car, with the top up (below is top down)




And this is Piggy's car -

 
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