Chapter 4

John climbed out of the cab and glanced up at the Tree House.

"Hello, Michaela," he grinned before digging his mask out of his pocket and putting it on his face.

"Do you think they know?" Michaela whispered to Jereck.

"Very funny," Jereck mumbled.

"It's not a big deal that they do," she said. "Unless you don't want anybody to know."

He stared at her, realizing she was putting him on notice. He glanced at his sister and brother in law who were peering up at them with amused looks on their faces.

"We were decommissioning the Tree House," Jereck explained.

"In a Oz kind of way," Michaela added, throwing Jereck a look of appreciation.

"So, you're going to start tossing the stuff down?" John asked.

"Sure," Jereck replied. "Just stand back and let it hit the ground."

"Don't worry," Michaela assured Jereck. "They're not going to say anything about catching us. I just didn't want you to be ashamed or embarrassed. We're not kids."

It didn't take that long for Jereck and Michaela to drag the couches and other stuff out of the tree house, slipping them over the side like they were Sailors at sea.

Katie and John carried the spilled pieces to the back of the truck. When they were done clearing out the tree house from junk, Michaela climbed down the rope ladder and went home to get a broom, some trash cans, and a tool box. When she got back, she and a now masked Katie climbed up the rope ladder to sweep out the tree house and put the remains of the posters in the trash bags while John and Jereck repaired the broken bottom rung on the ladder.

"Well, I guess that's it," John announced when the last of the chores were done.

"Thanks for your help," Jereck said cheerfully. "Sorry I forgot about the tree house when we were cleaning out the rest of the place."

"Well, we did too," Katie said as the two couples stood next to Jereck's loaded pickup.

"I suppose it was Freudian in that way," Michaela offered. "Not wanting to let it go."

"Yes," Katie agreed. "I'm sure that was it."

"Well, that's it then," John said, taking his wife by the arm. "We'll get going."

"See you at the closing," Jereck said.

They watched until Katie and John disappeared around the front of the house. They heard their car start and Jereck waited until it was gone before he turned to Michaela. She laughed and fell into him for a hug and a smooch through their masks.

"At least they didn't say anything," Jereck said with a slight blush.

"What were they going to say?" Michaela giggled.

Jereck gave Michaela an affectionate pat on the ass as if they were on a football field.

She broke from him and smiled warmly.

"That was some Wizard of Oz Tree House finale," she said.

"You took me over the rainbow," Jereck quipped.

"Yeah," Michaela laughed.

"What now?" Jereck wondered.

"We could go to your place," Michaela suggested.

"You'd be okay with that?"

"My mother would be too!" Michaela assured him. "We just needed our long anticipated farewell fuck in the fort."

Jereck reached his hand out and touched her stomach with affection. "Thank you," he said warmly.

"This place was special to me too you know," she said. "Katie and I slept out up here plenty of times."

"I know," Jereck said with sentimental nostalgia, leaning in and kissing her through the masks again.

"Are you happy?" Michaela asked. "Even though we're losing the Tree House?" She looked into his eyes. "Even though your mom's dead? And your Dad's sick? And the house is being sold? And we're losing our Wizard of Oz Tree House?"

"I'm very happy," Jereck smiled.

"But what about The Tree House?" Michaela worried.

"It's okay, Mick," Jereck whispered into her ear. "We'll remember."

"We'll always remember," Michaela agreed as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "Somewhere over the rainbow."