“You ready for school, baby? You look very pretty,” Han told Ripley as they sat down for breakfast. They had a lot of leftovers from all the parties, plus all of the practice Ulrike had been doing.
“You bet, Dad! I can’t wait!”
He grinned. “That’s my girl. Have a good day, Ripley.” There was the sound of a honk. “Oo, sounds like the bus. Better get going!”
Ripley had already jumped up. “Bye, Dad!” She waved at him over her shoulder as she disappeared down the stairs.
Han sighed, looking down at the rest of his breakfast.
“She’s growing up so fast.”
That’s what children do, Han. You did.
“Yeah, but-“ He sighed again. “Maybe a workout will do me some good.”
Ulrike was out in the sunroom already. Han hopped on the treadmill, determined to work it off.
“You ok, Han?”
“Just feeling a little- melancholy. Ripley’s off to school.”
Ulrike smiled softly. “It’ll be ok, Han. She’ll always be our little girl.”
“I know. Just seems like just yesterday, she was small enough to fit in my arms.”
“I know, baby. I know.”
The two lapsed into silence, the only sound was Han’s footfalls on the treadmill.
“How was school, lil thang?” Marcus asked Ripley as they sat at the dining table.
“It was great, Uncle Marcus! Had a lot of fun!”
“Look at you, doin’ yer homework already!”
“Uh huh. Need to make sure I get good grades.”
Marcus shook his head, grinning. “You’re too good, kiddo. Yer mama and papa are lucky. I’ll see ya later, ok?”
“Sure, Uncle Marcus!”
Once her homework was finished, Ripley went to the couch to watch TV. “H-hey Watcher?”
“I-I’m not feeling so good…”
Let’s get you some orange juice, then it’s bed time!
“O-ok, Watcher. But what about helping daddy with his parties?”
You don’t worry about it. You need to feel better first.
Ripley nodded and she trudged down to her bed.
Ok, Han, a slight change in plans. Ripley’s gone to sleep. Poor thing has come down with something.
“O-ok, Watcher. She alright?”
Yes, just a little under the weather. Just needs some rest. Ok, so, first one is going to be a house party. Places everyone!
“You made some lovely food, baby. And you look just- magnificent,” Han told his wife.
“Han’s right, Ulrike! Food’s great!” Marcus agreed.
Ulrike grinned, a spoonful of stew halfway to her mouth. “Thanks guys. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.”
Hm, ok, great job so far guys! That’s the house party and the dinner party, both gold! You guys are doing wonderfully!
There was a few cheers, though most everyone was pretty tired.
You guys have all earned a bit of a break. Plus, I have some things to do. Come on then, to bed.
Han pulled his wife close. “Couldn’t have done this without you, Ulrike,” he murmured as he kissed her.
The Watcher went on a slight building spree, including constructing the all-important museum. **
** To see all the work on the house, go here: The Dynasty House, Version 2
“This is nice. Nice night, just sitting in front of the fire,” Marcus murmured.
“Yeah, it is,” Han sighed softly, smiling.
“This is fun, huh, Daddy?” Ripley said with a giggle as she roasted a hot dog over the fire.
“Sure is, sweetie. Don’t know what the Watcher was talking about. This Weenie Roast isn’t hard at all!”
“Uh… does someone smell burning plastic?” Ulrike asked after a moment.
“FIRE!” Han leapt up, grabbing the extinguisher. All he could think about was his little girl there.
“I-I don’t know if I can take another night like that!” Ulrike blurted out. The fire had been taken care of, but everyone was tense and uncomfortable. They knew it had been a close call.
“Oh sweetie, it’ll be alright. The Watcher has already said no more of that, not until someone completes Freelance Botanist,” Jaimie soothed. “So we won’t have to worry about a party like that for a while.”
“C’mon, baby. Let’s go get some sleep, huh?” Han took her hand and led her into the bedroom. Once inside, he stopped and he simply looked at her, as if memorizing every feature. Then he brought a hand up to her cheek. “I’m sorry, baby. I-I know this isn’t easy on you. Y-you didn’t realize what you were signing up for.”
“N-no, it isn’t that, Han. Not really. I knew what I was signing up for. I-I was just hoping we wouldn’t run into all these problems, all at once. A-and then the fire…”
“Shhh, I know, baby.” Han spun her around and went to work on her back and shoulders, trying to help her relax. As he did so, the door to their bedroom opened.
Ripley looked in. “Mama? Dad?”
“Hey baby, c’mon on in. You ok?”
The little girl hopped up on her parent’s bed. “Yeah, I’m alright.”
Han sat down beside her. “What is it, baby?”
“I’m just wondering what this Dynasty thing is you guys keep talking about is. Will you tell me?”
Han swallowed and looked at Ulrike. She sat down on the other side of Ripley and shared a look with her husband.
“Well… it’s a little complicated. But- I can try to explain it,” Han said slowly. He looked at Ulrike. She nodded and then Han told his daughter the truth about himself, where he had come from, and why he was there on Earth. When he finished, Ripley wore a thoughtful look.
“You believe in me right? You think I can help you?”
Han had to swallow past the lump in his throat. “Of course I do!” He hugged her tight, looking at Ulrike over the top of his daughter’s head. She smiled at him and the little family remained like that for a while.