Chapter 13: A Proud Brother and a Father’s Commentary

So there were a few hitches with Falkor’s birthday.  Nothing major.  It wasn’t like my toddler birthday, at least.  I don’t really remember it, of course, but my mother’s always been a bit leery of the candles after that.  The biggest issue was that Faye couldn’t come over until later.  So we waited until she could show up; the reason that Faye hadn’t been able to come over right away is because she was celebrating her own birthday.

Falkor stepped up to the cake, pondering a wish.  He looked at Faye, then blew out the candles.  The sparkles surrounded him as he did a spin.

And just like that, my little brother left teen-hood behind and was a Young Adult.

Once we all partook of the cake, my little brother had a question for Miss Faye.  The rest of us made ourselves scarce… actually, we were all huddled just beyond the arch that lead into the diningroom, listening in.  “What’s Uncle Falkor doing, Papa?”

I looked down at Aurora, grinning even as I put a finger to my lips.  “Just watch, baby.  You’ll see.”

I watched as Falkor lean forward and whisper something into Faye’s ear.

She looked a bit confused for a moment… at least until my little brother got down on one knee and pulled the box out of his pocket.  Gotta hand it to him… his hand didn’t even shake once.  “Faye Almeria-Mancini,” he began.  “You’ve opened my eyes to so many things.  I can’t see my life without you in it.  Would you make me the happiest man in the world and become my wife?”

There was silence for a moment and we all leaned closer, trying to hear her reply.  I’m pretty sure we were all holding our breath too.  I know my mom sure was.

Just when we thought there’d be nothing, a great squeal split the air and we craned our heads more and got to watch as Faye launched herself at Falkor, knocking him back a little bit.  Luckily, he kept his feet.  “Yesyesyesyesyesyes!” she kept blabbering.

The rest of the family figured we’d given them enough time, so then we converged on them, everyone hugging and tears flowed freely, let me tell you.  A bit of fizzy nectar was brought out and we all toasted my little brother and his fiancé.  Faye spent the night and the ladies were all up late, talking wedding plans.  The wedding won’t be for a bit yet.  Faye doesn’t want to leave her parents just yet.  Her baby brother is still quite young and she doesn’t feel right leaving too soon.  Not to mention that her parents are getting up there in years and with a new baby, they have a lot to deal with.  Much to my parents’ dismay, the two are planning on moving out shortly after their wedding.  But for now, they’re gonna concentrate on working, earning some money, and just enjoying their engagement.

The next day was my little brother’s graduation.  We all dressed up in our best and then headed out to city hall.

My little brother and Faye looked good up on stage.  There was definitely a swell of proud.  That was my little brother up there.  I’m afraid I was quite loud when it came to cheering when his name was called.  Instead of blushing though, he grinned at me and even pumped his fist as he collected his diploma.  I looked down at my daughter who was sitting next to me.  I realized with quite a jolt that it wouldn’t be that much longer before I’d be watching HER walk across that stage…   I don’t think I’m ready for that…  In fact, I KNOW I’m not.  I’m trying really hard not to think about that until I absolutely have to.

Remember how much Falkor was really pretty indifferent to school, more just saw it as a necessary evil?  Imagine our surprise when he headed to the school and applied for a job there!  Ignore his outfit… he had just gotten out of the pool.  He assured us that he changed in the locker room before putting in his application.  Regardless of his unusual attire, he got the job.  Seems surreal that my little brother is someday going to be a teacher…

It’s a bit odd for my daughter, too.  She came home from school and was doing her homework, grumbling a little about how all the kids in her class kept asking her about the new playground monitor and how she knows him.  Seems he delighted in tugging on her pigtails a little on the playground.  It’s actually nice to know that my brother will be looking after my daughter as much as he can.  She may not like it so much, but… well, it gives me peace of mind.

Not that I don’t trust her.  She’s got a pretty level head on her shoulders, really.  Though actually, she doesn’t seem to have many friends at school.  She mostly wanders around town after school, snapping pictures.  She really loves her photography.  Sophia is a little worried about how obsessed she seems with it.  I told her not to worry.  Aurora’s her own person.  She’ll make friends in her own time.

I hate writing bad news… the paper always gets a little water stained.  We lost Darcy today.  We can’t say it was unexpected.  She’d been slowing down a bit lately and spent most of her days just sleeping.  She’d rotate between all of our rooms.  Today, she was in Aurora’s room.  We heard a noise, a pained howl from Gage.  We rushed in just in time to watch as the Grim Reaper appeared outside before he disappeared, leaving us only a small urn.

The family is pretty depressed.  Though we expected it, it’s still not easy to lose a treasured family pet.  But at least she can go and join her mate, who we all knew she missed.  RIP Darcy Wyvern.  You will be missed.

Though Faye doesn’t live with us officially, she’s over here just about every night after she goes home after work.  Oh!  Did I mention that Faye joined the force?  I used what influence I have and she’s been assigned as my partner.  Falkor asked me to look after his fiancé.  He would never ask her to give up her dream of becoming a cop, but he does worry for her.  I promised him I’d do all I could to look after her.

After dinner, she and Falkor disappear into his room.

I uh… well, I was half asleep and hadn’t had my coffee yet.  I went to use the bathroom first… and walked in on Miss Faye.  The door hadn’t been locked and the door had been ajar.  She was just climbing off her knees, looking rather green.

“You ok?” I asked her, shaking my head, trying to wake myself up.

“Ugh,” she murmured.  “Yeah.”  A sheepish grin lit her face.  “Think I just ate too much of the leftover cake.  Been craving sweets like crazy.”

“Yeah, too much sugar can have that affect.  Why don’t ya take a few hours flex time?  I can go in, get started on the paperwork.  You can join me after you feel better.”

“You sure, Draco?”

“Yes, I’m positive.  Don’t worry, I’ll put ya through your paces today to make up for it,” I told her with a grin.  She laughed as she padded back to my brother’s room to catch a little bit more sleep.  Then I left for work.  I wanted to make sure I got home on time tonight.  My little girl was becoming a teenager that night.

We were going to have a small party, just the family.  I’m both dreading this and looking forward to it.  Man… just can’t believe my little girl is growing so fast!

Soon as my shift ended, I hurried home.  I may or may not have used the sirens on my patrol car to help me beat the traffic…  I parked and then went inside.  “Hey dad,” I greet as I strolled in.  He was busy making the batter for Aurora’s cake.

“Just gotta get this in the pan, then in the oven.  Should be just about ready by the time our little Northern Light comes home from school.  How you holdin’ up?”

“Gotta say, I’m… torn.  I know she’s gonna be a beautiful young woman… but I wish it wasn’t NOW,” I admitted, shrugging one shoulder.

My dad laughed.  “Yeah, I know the feeling.  Your mother and I both do.  Time moves on, son.  There isn’t much any of us can do about it but enjoy each and every moment, even the ones that we might dread.”

Dad always seems to have great advice.  Everyone in the family tends to look to him for… well, a lot.  I can definitely see why.  I hope I’m half as wise as he is when I get to be his age.

Soon enough, Aurora came home from school and it was time.  She stood on the stool, barely thought of a wish before she leaned down to blow out the candles.

With what I would call an almost wicked little grin, she spun around as the sparkles engulfed her.

Wow… my little girl… she’s not so little now is she?  After a quick trip to the dresser and mirror, she sorted out her own look.  My daughter is gorgeous, isn’t she?  Looks so much like her mother.  Just can’t get over it, really.

I couldn’t help but stare at Aurora for a bit, until my wife took my attention away.  “We’ve done a good job, huh?” she asked me, grinning.

“Yes, yes we have.  Wow, Soph.  I still can’t believe it.”

“Mhm, is a little hard to believe, isn’t it?  And just think… before too much longer, we most likely will be meeting her first boyfriend.”

I choked on the slurp of soda I’d been about to take.  She laughed and pounded me on the back.  “That was a bit too easy,” she remarked, grinning wickedly.

“Tryin’ to kill me,” I muttered, glaring at her.  She laughed and kissed me.

What am I gonna do with the ladies in my family, hm?  Speaking of my wife… she gave us a bit of a scare the other day.  I told you she really loves our pool?  The woman’s a bit crazy about her fitness.  Even though it’s a heated pool, with winter in full swing, it’s still really cold out there.  Does that stop my wife?  Not a chance…

She must not have realized how very cold it was.  She felt dizzy and light headed.  Ended up fainting out there in the snow!  I wasn’t home; I’d had to run to the station to take care of a bit of mix-up with some evidence.  Luckily, my brother was home.  In fact, he and my daughter had sat down for a cut-throat game of Sim’s Underground.

He looked out the window and saw Sophia laying in the snow.  He rushed out.  Between him and one of the paparazzi… yes, they are still hanging around the house.  Every now and again, one of them will get just a bit too inquisitive and I threaten to haul them in for trespassing.  But this time, I owe them.

Of course… I had to find this out after I had gotten home.  Sophia insisted that she was fine.  Falkor checked her out and then gave her a bit of an earful about staying out in the cold.  He was pretty freaked out, really.  He and Sophia are pretty close and when my brother gets scared, he gets upset.

They got her bundled up and made her relax.  Needless to say, once I got home and found out what happened, I was a bit freaked out myself-

“A bit freaked out?” Sophia asked, looking over her husband’s shoulder as he wrote.  “Draco, you acted like you did when I was in labor with Aurora.”  She grinned at her husband, one brow arched.  “Glossing over that, are you?”

“Maybe,” he murmured, trying to act dignified.  “What do you expect?  How would you be if the positions were reversed?”

“Hm, you have a point.  Still, at least make sure your journal is at least somewhat accurate, right?”

“Fine, fine,” he grumbled, as he erased what he’d written.

Ok, so when I got home, I was pretty upset.  I panicked, alright?  Sorry, the wife is looking over my shoulder and keeps snorting when I try to pass it off.  Though it turned out alright, the fact that my wife had almost frozen to death got to me… wouldn’t it get to anyone?  Anyway, I did eventually calm down, though even I have to admit that I was feeling REALLY protective for the next couple of days and wouldn’t let Sophia get out of bed or do a whole lot.

After a few days of this, my wife had finally had enough.  “Draco, I am warning you.  If you don’t stop and go back to work, I may be forced to beat you senseless.”  Considering that my wife had been steadily advancing in her martial arts and the look in her eye… I wasn’t sure she wouldn’t follow through with that threat.  So I admitted defeat.  Pulling me close, she looked into my eyes.  “Draco, I’m fine.  I promise.  I know I scared you and I’m sorry for that.  But I’m not a fragile piece of glass.  Did I mess up?  Yes.  But I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m fine now.”

“You sure?”

“Yes.  Now, c’mere.  Kiss me like you mean it.”

Who can resist an order like that, hm?  Certainly not me.



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