**Standard Mice Disclaimer**
Mice is in no way associated with the Marvel Comics Group. She is merely trying to write a story and this is all she has to show for it. A noble effort. Though she would one day like to be paid for writing, please don't send her any money (send mail to urmonkeyifudo@yeahright.com on instructions to send her money). The characters of William, Madeline, and Bobby Drake do not belong to her, but to the Marvel Comics Group. The superfluous family members [Hannah, Seth, Holly, Cliff, Jake, Hollis Bass] are of her own mind. Any archiving of this story that is unaware of her attention will be ily received (Read: Tiki Curse). If you e-mail her, explain your intentions to archive the story and address of your archive, she will be MORE than gracious and will probably do something nice for you, like bake you brownies, not to mention permission to archive the story. In truth, she just wants to know where she can drool over the sight with her name. *G* If you want to e-mail her comments (read: FEEDBACK), do it at mice5k@hotmail.com. Good or bad, youíll still probably get some brownies out of the deal, but itís not really that great of a reward because she canít cook.
Note 1: NEVER expect this to happen again...two stories in one night? Good lord, at this rate, I might have Alyson Hurt's birthday fic done only two days late! ;)
Note 2: This is part of the "Everyone Says I Love You" set that also includes "God...er, Dog" and "When in Rome". Think of it as Episode One. Hey, they had an annoying character you wanted to kill, I have Hollis Lubbock-Bass. Draw your own conclusions. If you read this and are interested in these stories, they are archived at these sites:
"God...er, Dog":
The Wolverine and Jubilee Page
The X-Zone
"God...er, Dog" and "When in Rome":

Bands of Gold: May 1981
by Mice

Chapter 1

She sat at her vanity and looked in the mirror and managed a half smile. She was searching for her youth in the new bulges in her stomach, hips, and thighs that had come from two pregnancies. Finding nothing that could bring her to a full smile, she took out a picture from the top drawer of the vanity and began to compare the young beauty queen's face with her own. To the common, untrained eye, the faces were identical, but Hollis Bass's cruel, focused eye could the few differences between Miss Texas 1974 and Mrs. Bass 1981.

Hollis smiled to herself out of pity as she placed the picture back in the drawer. "And it's only going ta get worse..." She rested her head in her hands, careful not to smudge her make up. She was now eye level with a framed picture of her new family; her husband, Jacob, their children, Holland and Heathcliff, and herself. After a few moments of staring into the happy mother's eyes, Hollis slammed the picture face down.

"You signed him up to do what?!" William Drake bellowed at his wife as he sat down in his chair.

"Willie, please? I need some time for myself and I want to get Bobby interested in other things besides baseball," Maddy explained while gingerly setting down a cold beer for her husband.

"Then why didn't you sign him up for swimming, Maddy -- or at least get him in one of those damn reading programs at the library!"

"Bobby hates swimming, you know that, hon--"

William grunted as he sipped his beer. "He needs to learn, Maddy, you just can't keep coddling him."

Maddy nodded submissively. "Then I'll go and see when the next class opens at the Y. And as for the library, Bobby's already signed up and reading."

"Then why for the love of God, Maddy, did you sign him up for ballet!"

"It's not ballet, William, it's just dance class!"

"No son of mine is going to wear tights!"

Maddy pouted. "My brother took dance and he turned out fine..."

William snorted.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"To cite your brother as an example of masculinity ... Maddy, I have heard some of the strangest ideas come out of that mouth of your's and this is by far the most preposterous!"

"Well, if he didn't have that shiksa for a wife, you'd see just how manly Jake is!"

William threw his bottle of beer against the wall in frustration. "Damn it, Maddy, see what you made me do? Now, all I want is to sit here with a cold beer and read the paper, and I don't want to hear about how my son should be prancing around in tights, all right?"

Maddy cast her eyes down as she began to clean up the mess. "All right, William. If that's what you want."

Bobby jumped up and down on home plate which was a purloined copy of his aunt's copy of Cosmopolitan. "Bobby "The Heat" Drake has hit another grand slam for the Yankees, and wins the World Series!"

Holly Bass rolled her eyes at her cousin. "Bobby, I haven't even thrown the ball, yet!"

"Yeah, but when you do ... grand slam!" Bobby started doing his victory dance again.

"If you don't stop doing that stupid dance, I'm going to throw this ball at your--"

"Holly, c'mon, be nice!" Cliff Bass shouted to his sister from the sidelines. "You can be mean to Bobby when we're done playing baseball, okay?"

Holly smiled in agreement. "Deal!" Holly wound up her arm and was getting ready to throw the ball when she heard her mother scream.

"Holland Suzanne Bass, just what in the hell do you think you are doing?!" Hollis Bass yelled from back door of her porch. "Ah have half a mind ta go out there and drag you in back in here!"

"We're just playing baseball, Mom!" Holly whined.

"No daughter of mine is going ta play sports! Now, come in here and help me with dinner."

Holly rolled her eyes and threw her mitt and the ball down on the ground.

"Don't roll your eyes at me, Holly."

"Well, don't tell me what to do, Mom."

"Don't take that tone with me."

"Don't take that tone with me!"

"Ah have half a mind ta--"

"Is that all you have?"

Bobby and Cliff covered their ears as Hollis slammed the door. "Boy, am I glad that I don't have your mother..."

Cliff shrugged. "She's not bad, Bobby, really. It's just that Holly is a brat ... or that's what Mom says."

Bobby scrunched his small brow. "Wow ... I mean, Holly is a lot of things, but I think 'brat' is taking it a bit far..."

Cliff shrugged again. "I guess. She tells me that I'm 'not right' ... I don't have a clue about what she's talking about."

Bobby nodded. "My dad tells me that all the time."

Cliff shook his head as he laid back in a patch of clover. "Do you think he'll let you take the dance lessons?"

"I dunno," Bobby shrugged as he joined his cousin. "I'm not too happy about it myself, but if this is what I'm going to have to do to get out of swimming lessons, I'm willing to be a sissy."

Cliff nodded. "Me too."

"Ah'm just tryin' ta get you ta act more lady like, Holland. Your great-grandmother Helen used ta teach me all sorts of wonderful things when Ah was your age--"

"Obviously cooking wasn't one of them."

Hollis planted her hands firmly on her hips so they wouldn't accidentally slip and hit someone. "If Ah would have said that ta mah mother, she would have told Daddy to go out and get a switch ta swat me with."

"A what?"

"A switch ... a thin branch from a bush?"

"Not following you, Mom."

"Those things that you and your brother and your cousin use for swords."

"Oh." Holly looked around the kitchen in confusion. "What do you want me to do for dinner?"

"Ah need you ta get me the phone book."

Holly sighed. She knew her mother actually cooking something was a longshot. "Where are we ordering take out from?"

"Il Fornaio."

Holly's eyes flew open. "Grandma and Grandpa are coming over?!"

Hollis nodded.

Holly let out a small sigh of relief. Is Nana and Poppa Bass were coming over, her mother wouldn't notice her and focus all her attention on trying to get on Nana's good side.

"Willie, are you ready?"

"Ready for what?"

"We're going over to Hollis and Jake's for dinner!"

William hmmphed. "Great. More take out food."

"Well, some women just can't cook."

"Just like your brother to choose the most incompetent woman on earth to marry."

"Willie, please stop ... I don't want Bobby to think we're arguing."

"And there you go again, Madeline, coddling him! Making excuses!"

"He's just a boy, William!"

"And he'll remain that way if you keep at him like you have!" William got to his feet and grabbed his coat. "Well, I'm ready, where's the boy?"

Maddy bit her lip as she mumbled an answer.


"He's already at Jake's."

William closed his eyes. "Madeline, what have I told you about Bobby hanging out at that house?"

"They're his cousins, Willie! You can't keep him away from them!"

"Well what's wrong with Joel?"

"Joel is thirteen and Bobby's seven!"

"What about Mary?"

"Bobby doesn't like playing with girls."

"He plays with Holland!"

Maddy snorted. "I don't think that child qualifies being a girl."

William nodded as he grabbed his hat and opened the door. "Well, at least we agree on something..."

Holly looked fondly to the back yard where Bobby and Cliff were seated eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Lucky bastards, she thought as Bobby stuck two round pieces of hot dog on each eye and pretended to be Little Orphan Annie. Just because I'm ten, I'm considered old enough to sit here at this stupid table and eat their stupid food and stupid conversation, not to mention their stupid arguments...

"Well, how nice of you, Ms. Lubbock, Italian food again. You really must give me the recipe."

"Ah couldn't possibly, Hannah, it's a family recipe, handed down from Lubbock to Lubbock."

"to fornaio," Holly added under her breath.

Hannah smiled at her granddaughter and gave her a wink. "But we're all family now, Ms. Lubbock--"

"Then you could start calling her Hollis or Mrs. Bass, Mom--" Jacob Bass spoke up.

"Jacob, I wasn't talking to you."

Jacob nodded solemnly as he went on eating his chicken Parmesan.

"Maddy? I'm ready to leave!" William hollered as Hannah and Seth settled into the plush couches that adorned the too modest middle class house. His mother in law liked him enough, though the feeling was never mutual. And all his father in law did was sit there and quote old song lyrics from his days as a piano player.

He couldn't get out of there fast enough.

"Sorry, Will, Jake's ulcer is acting up again..."

As Madeline turned to leave, William mouthed a curse.

"Don't worry, Will, Seth and I will take care of the kids ... you go out and smoke your cigar, all right?"

William took Hannah's offer and walked out of the living room into the backyard with Hollis hot on his heels.

"Who wants to help me sing with Poppa?"

A faint chorus of "Me's!" rung in William's ears as he lit his cigar.

"Nice night."

William looked to his side and found Hollis. "What are you doing out here, Face?"

"Talking with mah brother in law."

William raised an eyebrow. "And is that all it is?"

Hollis turned her eyes down to the grass as if it were the most interesting thing alive. "If that's all you want it to be, Will. You know Ah'm here if you evah need something..." Hollis's voice trailed off as she took William's hand into her own and placed it near her hips.

"Stop it," William managed to say. "I love my wife--"

"As you've told me repeatedly. But Will, when was the last time you made love to her? Took her inta your arms and just looked at her?"

"I ... don't remember," William answered, getting more and more comfortable.

Hollis brought William closer to her body. "Ah remember the last time you took me inta your arms. Our New Year's Eve party. You wanted ta kiss me, Will. Why didn't you?"

"I love Maddy."

"You keep saying that, Will, but you nevah do anything that shows me any different." Hollis shifted William's head to where his eyes were locked with her's. "Why don't you kiss me now, Will?"

William opened his mouth up to answer when the screen door screeched open and Maddy stood in the opening. "Willie? We can go home now."

"I'll be there in a minute, Maddy." William watched as his wife went back into the house before turning back to Hollis, not able to say a word to her, and then left.

Hollis smiled as she watched William disappear into the house. "You didn't have ta say it, Will. Ah know."

continued >>

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