Yule Tidings
if she’d made any progress, and even then she knew the damage her Mother had caused would last for quite a while.
                  Three days later, her phone was still ringing.  But this time it was Kelly calling and Rose picked up the phone without hesitation.  Everyone was trying to make Alex feel better, like she was welcome in the family.  After their Mom’s behavior Rose wasn’t sure it was possible, but they were all trying.  Rose was throwing her a baby shower when she was further along, and Michael’s wife, Kelly, was planning the wedding shower.  She’d already sent out invitations.  The shower would be two weeks before the wedding, so they didn’t really have a lot of time to get everything around, but they would manage. 
                  “Rose, it’s Kelly, I think I know the answer, but I wasn’t supposed to send an invitation to your Mom, was I?”
                  “Uh oh.  Well, I’ve been planning this since they announced it, before the whole catastrophe with your mother, and I think Michael mailed out her invitation.”
                  “Oh my God.” Rose couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  It would be horrible if her mother showed up for the shower.  She doubted Alex would be able to handle it.  She was already stressed, feeling like she was forcing Jason to marry her.  They’d tried to tell her that Jason had been planning on marrying her for months, but she wasn’t convinced.  The seed of doubt that their mother had planted in Alex’s mind was firmly taking root, and they were having a hard time getting it out of her head.  “Are you sure?”
                  “Pretty sure; almost positive, really.  What do I do?”  Kelly asked, afraid to hear the answer.
                  “I don’t know, Kelly.”  Rose looked upstairs.  The kids were playing in the hallway, throwing a ball around and being silly.  “You could call Mom and tell her she’s not invited,” she suggested, half serious, half joking.
                  “I hope you’re kidding,” Kelly said, sounding horrified.  “I know I made a mistake, but does it really warrant torture?”  Kelly could already hear Anne screeching at her in that high pitched maniacal voice she used whenever she felt betrayed and overwrought.
                  “Well, that’s up to Alex.” Rose teased.  Alex was laid back, and she would understand the mistake.  It would still be difficult for her, though.  “I think we should be certain Mom isn’t coming, one way or another.”
                  “How do you suggest we do that?”
                  “No idea, really.  Good luck with that.”  Rose wasn’t entirely sure they could find out if Mom was coming or not.  She always waited until the last minute to share her plans as it was.  Something like this would give her great pleasure.  She’d know everyone would be on edge about her attendance, and she’d leave them all thus.
                  “Thanks, so much,” Kelly said, irritably.  “What am I going to tell Alex?  She doesn’t need the stress.”
                  “Tell her the truth, she’ll understand.  Even with her preggers hormones she’s not as bad as Mom,” Rose reasoned.  “Besides, maybe she’ll have an idea.  When should the invitations come in?”
                  “It should be there today or tomorrow at the latest. I don’t know; it might be there already!” 
                  “I think you should warn Alex.  Mom might even try calling there, and the last thing she needs is to talk to Mom on the phone.”
                  “Yeah.  It’s not Alex I’m afraid to tell.  It’s Jason.  He’s going to be irate.  You know he will.  He doesn’t want anything to do with her,

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