Chapter 38: The Meaning of Family

We ate breakfast at the dining room table.  Conversation was light.  Roark sat there next to me, his voice quiet when he was asked a question, but otherwise he was silent.  Cyn sat there, looking all around her, sometimes in fascination, sometimes with an almost calculating look.  It was hard to know sometimes just what she was thinking.  My family was welcoming, smiling and joking like normal.  Once everyone had eaten (Cyn had finished her tube of plasma juice; Roark was nursing his, deep in thought), the dishes were cleared.  Nan stood up.  “Roark, Cyn,” she murmured.  “Welcome to our home, both of you.  We have something to show you both.  When Luna told us you were both coming, we had some work done.”

She looked at Roark and smiled.  “I know you worry about your sister, but you want her to have her privacy.  We think this will work nicely.”  She led the way to the garage.  “We had a small room constructed up there ages ago and just hadn’t really thought of what to do with it.  I think we found something.”  She ushered them up first.  I followed them.  I couldn’t believe it.  They’d turn it into a small efficiency apartment, decorated in bright yellows.  It had a mini fridge to house all the plasma juice she’d need, a double bed, a small bathroom, a large TV, and a sink.

Cyn went crazy.  She ran and jumped on the bed, and ran around the little space.  Roark just looked on, tears in his eyes.  “T-thank you,” he murmured gruffly, his arm around my waist.  He looked at my family.  “Thank you, all of you.  This-this-“  He let out a shuddering breath.  “What you’ve done here… I can’t ever repay you but-“

“Hush on this talk of repayment,” Nan scolded, hand on her hip.  “We’re family here, Roark.  Cyn’s family now, so we’re happy to do what we can.”  She smiled as she watched Cyn dive onto her bed face first again.  Pop, his stance much like Roark’s, with his arm snaked around my grandmother’s waist, nodded, grinning from ear to ear.

“Sophia’s right,” he announced.  “Family does what it needs to do to see to their own.  You’re our own now.”  He laughed at Cyn’s antics.  “Let’s let her enjoy herself.  We can all go have a cup of coffee… tea for you, Eclipse.”  I gave him a pout.  I missed coffee…

We all trooped back into the house, leaving Cyn to enjoy her new space.  We all ended up back at the dining room table.  We were too numerous for the island or even the living room now.  Mom, Dad, Nan, and Pop took a seat.  Roark was holding my hand.  After they were seated, he cleared his throat.  He looked at me, holding both of my hands in his.  Then he addressed my family- no, OUR family.  “I want to say something to all of you.  I want to thank you all.  I know you say I don’t have to.  But I want to.  I don’t have experience with a family like yours.  My own… you know who my mother is.  And that, in and of itself, is a miracle.  I made mistakes when it came to your daughter.  Mistakes I regret with all my heart.  I made those mistakes because I made assumptions.  You have welcomed me, the son of someone who has caused you all so much pain…”  I could see the tears in his eyes.  My own watered.

He cleared his throat.  “I didn’t believe Luna when she said you’d welcome me.  I’m sorry for that, baby.  I really am.”  He looked at them all now.  “I love her with all my heart.  I know she told you what happened.  No matter what went on between us, I want us to move on, to look to our future.  Our future together, our child.”  Now I was really crying.

“I just want you all to know that I am humbled by what I have been shown here by you all.  So thank you.”

Pop stood up.  He had a serious look on his face.  “The measure of a person is their actions.  What they do because- or despite- their blood, their environment says a lot about them.  Son, you’ve had a hard life, a lot harder than most.  What you’ve done is just short of miraculous.  You’ve looked after your sister and have done a heck of a job with her.  She’s happy and healthy.  I know her condition can be difficult to deal with.  But you’ve embraced it.  And I see the way you look at our Eclipse, like she’s your whole world.  I can’t ask more than that.”  The serious face fell away and his eyes twinkled as he winked.  “Especially not with this family.  Our women are a bit of a handful, after all.  We try to look after them, but-“  Nan reached up and smacked her husband on the shoulder.

“You better watch it, or you’ll need to be looked after,” she growled.  “Sit down, Draco.”  Her eyes twinkled with mirth… and something else as she looked at Roark.  She nodded.  Even my mother gave him a nod.

I was oblivious to what was going on.  Roark pulled me to him, hugging me tightly.  “I love you, Luna,” he whispered.

With what I’d calling a steeling breath, he got down on one knee.  My eyes must have been the size of saucers.  He pulled a box out of his pocket and opened it.  “Luna Eris Wyvern,” he murmured, “You are the light of my night, that which illuminates my life.  I love you with all my heart.  Please, you would make me the happiest man in the world if you’d agree to become my wife.  I don’t want to go another day with regrets where you’re concerned, baby.”  His voice cracked.  “Luna, marry me.”

He slid the ring on my finger; I couldn’t speak.  I had clapped a hand to my mouth to keep the squeak I knew was coming at bay.  As I looked at that ring twinkling on my finger, I took my hand off my mouth and just looked at him.  Even before, we’d never actually defined our relationship.  We’d never actually been a couple.  Things had just… tumbled into place after our first meeting.  And then things had gone so very wrong.  I’d betrayed Roark, plain and simple.  And because of that, because I’d allowed my own pride interfere, we’d both been manipulated and someone had died.  And yet… there he was, asking me to become his wife.

All of these whirled through my mind at warp speed, but I’d been silent for long enough that I could hear the uncertainty in his voice when he asked, “Luna?  Baby?”

I threw myself at him, a very pregnant woman, my arms twining around his neck.  “Yes,” I sobbed, unable to hold the dam back.  “Yes, Roark.  I’ll marry you.”

He held me tightly, though very conscious of my condition, I knew.  As my family cheered around us, he put me at arms’ length.  When he did, he said, “Luna, I hope you or your family doesn’t object, but… I’d like to take your name.  I want to be a Wyvern.  I-is that ok?”

In answer, I just stared at him.  “Of course you can!” I exclaimed.  Then, I looked at him, an urgency egging me on. “Let’s do it now, Roark.  I don’t want to wait.  I-I want to be your wife.  I-I want a fresh start for you and I.  Can we do that?”

“Now?  I… I don’t mind, Luna, but… don’t you want your brother here?”

“I would love it if Alduin could come back for this.  I really would.” There were tears in my eyes again.  “He’ll understand.  And I’ll make it up to him when he comes home to visit again.  I just… I want this fresh start, Roark.”

He kissed me gently.  “Alright.  We’ll do it now.  Any objects here?”

My family shook their heads.  If any of them were shocked, they didn’t show it.  They just smiled at the both of us.  Mom and Pop got up and went to me.  “Don’t you want a dress baby?” Mom asked me.

“No, Mama.  I wouldn’t be able to fit into one right now anyway,” I told her wryly.  “Y-you understand, don’t you?”

“Of course I do baby.  I do.  It’s alright.  You should at least get dressed though.  It’s cold out there, baby.”

“I’ll be ok, Mama.”  I know I was being ridiculous.  I was still in my nighty for crying out loud!  But… I just wanted to marry Roark.  Maybe it was the hormones talking after all, but I wanted it so badly.  Roark was talking to my grandmother about something, though I couldn’t hear what she said.

Pop seemed to know not to say anything.  He just leaned down a bit and gave me a hug.  There were no words needed.

After a few minutes, Roark went to me and grabbed my hand.  “Your grandmother says we might as well go use the wedding arch in the backyard.  I’m not going to argue with her.  Are you sure you don’t want a coat, baby?”

“I’ll be ok, Roark.  Really.”

And so, we trekked through the several inches of snow to the wedding arch at the back of the property.  Roark and I stood under the arch.  It was cold, but to be honest, I barely felt the wind.  Standing there, just looking at him, knowing that soon enough, we’d be husband and wife, that part of me that was still bleeding, still scarred from the mistakes I had, was finally healing.  Oh we had a long way to go, I knew.  Maybe we’d never fully be at peace over what happened, but we had each other.  And soon enough, we’d have a child to love as well.

Apparently, what my grandmother had been talking to Roark about was rings.  She’d given him the set she and my grandfather had used almost 40 years ago.  So, with my grandparents’ rings, Roark and I exchanged vows with our family looking on.  As he slid the ring on, he murmured, “With this ring, I pledge my life to yours, to unite two lives, and two hearts.  I vow that I will love you, and cherish you with my last breath.”

Tears slid down my cheeks when it was my turn.  I slid the ring on his finger and gave my own vow, “With this ring, I pledge my life to yours, to never give up on you, to treat you as my partner, my friend, and above all, my heart of hearts.  I vow that I will love you, and cherish you until the end of my days.”

We clasped hands.  We were both trembling with emotion.

“Kiss already!” Nan called out after a moment.  It brought out a chuckle from the gathered family.  Roark laughed and he pulled me close, his lips soft and tender against mine.  I didn’t want soft and tender.  My arms went around him and I gave him a real kiss.

When we finally came up for air, Roark took my hand and led me back inside.  I didn’t even notice that my teeth were chattering.


 

Aurora leaned against her husband, ignoring the cold snow against her bare legs.  “Well… this has certainly been interesting.”

Jeff sighed.  “Yeah, you could say that.”  The wedding was over.  Roark had led Luna back inside already and Draco and Sophia had followed.  “I think they’ll be ok, though.”

“I hope so,” Aurora murmured.  “I think they have a long way to go yet, but I think they’ll get there.  They’ve both been through so much pain, it’s almost cloying for me, Jeff.”

“I’m sorry, Rora.  I wish there was something I could do for you, and for them.”

“Sometimes there’s nothing we can do.  Just give them time.  It’s a beautiful night.  Though… I’m cold now.  Let’s go inside and get some cocoa, ok?”

He laughed and took her hand, pulling her up beside him.  Then they walked inside.


 

The house was quiet.  Most everyone had gone to bed already, though it wasn’t too late.  I was having trouble sleeping anyway.  I knew I had to do something.  I’d put it off long enough.  Of all the calls I had made, this one was the toughest for me.  I pulled out my phone and looked at it for a long moment, then hit #3 on the speed dial.  As soon as the familiar voice answered with a tremulous “Luna?”, I had to swallow.

“Hey little brother,” I whispered.  “I uh… I have a lot of explaining to do, I know.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry, Alduin.  I-I can’t imagine how worried you’ve been.”


 

Alduin couldn’t quite believe it.  His sister was ok.  He’d feared the worst and had had to argue out of leaving Uni to go and search for her.  Any of the feelers he’d put out online had gone strangely without answer.  But here she was.  He looked at his watch.  He should still have time to meet Cali.  “Yeah, you could say I’ve been worried.  Luna, what happened?”


 

“I-it’s a long story, little brother.”  Tears stood in my eyes.  I had to fight to keep my voice from cracking.  “If you’ve got a minute, I’ll tell ya about it.  I messed up, Alduin.  Really bad.”  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep my voice steady as I told him all of it, much as I had my mother.  Yet this was harder, somehow.  Admitting to my baby brother how badly I had messed up, how badly I’d handled everything was painful.


 

Alduin rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.  “Luna… Oh Luna.  I’m so sorry.  Is-is there anything I can do?  Are you ok?  Wait, don’t answer that.  Stupid question, sorry.  Are you and the baby ok?”


 

That brought a smile to my face, briefly.  “Yeah, we’re fine.  You’re niece or nephew is worse than I am, though when it comes to being a night owl.  Won’t give me a moment’s peace, and yet doesn’t seem to want to come out and greet the world.”

He chuckled.  “Definitely your kid, sis.  Ok, spill it.  What’s wrong?”

“Alduin, Roark and I got married today.  I-I’m sorry I didn’t wait.  I know you’d want to be here for it.  I-I just-“  My voice cracked and I had to choke back the sobs.  “I needed to do it.  I needed to make as clean a slate as we could.  I-I didn’t want to wait.  Can you forgive me?”

He was silent for a moment.  “Luna, you shouldn’t have to ask that.  Of course I forgive you.  There’s nothing to forgive.  Though, I think you owe me some cake when I come home, at the least.”

I laughed, the horrible weight I’d been carrying evaporating.  “You got it, little brother.  By the time you get here, you’ll have a niece or nephew to help spoil.”

“Oh you bet I’ll spoil them, I’ll-“  The mirth died from his voice as I heard a noise coming from that end of the conversation.  I was suddenly bombarded with a cacophony of noise.  It was panic.  Sheer panic.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, except something was wrong and it involved someone he greatly cared about.  ‘Cali’ flashed through my mind.  It was a litany that he was repeating in his mind again and again.

I didn’t question it, just told him, “Go.  Go to her.”  Then I hung up.  I stood there for a moment, hoping my brother didn’t do something stupid.  I hoped his lady friend was ok.  A shiver ran down my spine.  “Be careful, Alduin.”


 

The last couple days have been another roller coaster of the worst kind.  Aunt Faye called.  She had two pieces of news for us.  We lost Uncle Falkor last night.  He and Aunt Faye had gone to bed at their normal time.  When she awoke… Uncle Falkor was gone.  He’d had a heart attack during the night and had slipped away quietly in his sleep.  He was buried today in the family crypt with his mom and dad.  Pop’s been pretty quiet, but he has Nan to be there for him.  It’s weird, considering Falkor was a few years younger than Pop.

If that isn’t bad enough, the other news she gave us was about Alduin.  Apparently, she had helped him set up the device he’d rigged himself.  He’d been concerned about his friend Calysta and had made an app that he’d installed on her phone.  It notified not only himself, but the University police, and my Aunt Faye.  She’d waited a day to tell us because she’d wanted to get as much information as she could.  Alduin’s friend had been attacked.  One of the fraternity boys had lured her to a party.  But he’d been the only one there.  This same guy is also being questioned in a rape/murder on their campus.  I had a bad feeling about that one.  I think I know why Alduin had been so afraid for his friend.

He had been going to meet her there when I had called him.  I haven’t quite been able to process that.  The guilt is already mingling with what I have so that I can’t tell the difference right now.  After she’d put up the distress signal, he’d gone there.  He found her, beaten and bloody.  According to Faye, not only had he fought off her attacker, but he’d given him a hell of a beating.  I can’t say I wasn’t happy to hear that, though I knew my brother was pretty sensitive.  He’d feel the guilt of that for a while.  He hasn’t called us yet.  I hope he’s ok.  And I sincerely hope his friend is ok.  Faye couldn’t give us a lot of details about how she was.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m as big as a house right now.  I can barely walk.  Even a trip to the fridge can be laborious.

I’m trying so hard not to concentrate on all the negative.  Maybe that’s why my child hasn’t made an appearance yet.  Their afraid because their mother is always so upset.  I’m really trying.  Though it’s hard.  I’m so uncomfortable.  Dad says another three-four weeks and then the C-section.  I hope it doesn’t come to that.  But it’s all up to the little one, I guess.  Hopefully, they’ll decide to make their appearance sooner rather than later.


 Author’s Note: Special shoutout to Ivane’s Chronicles of Clarke.  The link is in the right hand corner.  Calysta and Alduin’s adventures can be seen there if you haven’t checked it out yet!  Go, check it out!

Chapter 20: The End of an Era

Only a little bit longer, and I’m going to be a grandfather.  As we all await D-day (the name we use for Aurora’s due date), all of us get more excited.  Sophia’s been feeling a little cooped up lately.  Jeff and Aurora have things pretty well in hand so far.  Her and I talked a few things over.  The spa went up for sale after the first owner decided they were going to sell it.  We decided to buy it.  It’s now called the Dragon’s Lair Spa.  Sophia has decided that she’s going to run it, at least part time during evenings.  She figures it still gives her plenty of time to be here at home for when the baby comes.

When the weather’s nice out, ‘Rora’s been out on the deck as much as she can be, often reading.  Her and Jeff are both still reading a fair number of pregnancy books.

I have to rib on Jeff a little bit for that one.  After all, he’s the doctor, or he will be.  He’s pretty close to getting his residency already.  He’s as giddy as a school boy about the prospect of being a father.  Aurora can’t stop smiling either.

Oh, Megara has joined her mate in elderhood just today.  She’s feeling a little creaky, I think.  But even the dogs sense the excitement in the air.



Being a police officer for as long as I have has not prepared me for everything, it seems.  I thought seeing my pregnant girlfriend go into labor was bad.  Seeing my daughter, my little girl (despite her not being little any more), was so much worse.  I tried to remain calm, really I did… At least Jeff and Sophia kept their heads.

Jeff loaded her into the car and took her to the hospital.  Sophia and I followed behind them.  I wanted to go in the same vehicle, but Sophia overruled me… she said that Aurora didn’t need a- hm, what had she said?  I think it was “…she doesn’t need some psychotic drill sergeant yelling in her ear to breath.  Really dear… what am I going to do with you?”  In hindsight, she was right.  We made it to the hospital without incidence.  Jeff stayed the entire time in the room with his wife and Sophia ran back forth, between me and checking on Aurora.  I was too nervous to stay more than a few minutes in the room, particularly with her abilities seemingly heightened with the pregnancy.

After a few hours of hard labor, my granddaughter, Luna Eris Wyvern, was born.

It seems so surreal… but then I look down at that beautiful little baby, smell the fresh powder, see those beautiful red eyes, and it hits me all over again.

I remember when Aurora was this age.  I had been terrified.  I was little more than a kid myself.  How was I supposed to take care of one?  I knew my parents would be there, and Sophia.  Still, I hardly slept, could barely eat.  There were equal parts of terror and joy as the day slowly approached.  Then, Sophia had gone into labor.  The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever and being there, in the room with Sophia… I was even more of a wreck.  And then they handed her to me…  Everything in me stilled.  The storm that had been brewing seemed to have died in that one instant.  Seeing my little girl go through the same thing was tough.  But holding Luna, looking down at the little bundle smoothed everything out once again.

And watching her mother and father with her is another kind of miracle.

My wife loves having another baby in the house.  I have a feeling our little Luna is going to be rather spoiled.


Jeff and Aurora decided to get married in the evening.  There had been talk before of having the ceremony before Aurora gave birth, but it was decided that after was soon enough.  So it was that Jeff and Aurora got married where her mother and I had, at the edge of the property, overlooking the water.  First, of course was the fittings.

As Jeff and Aurora stood under the arch, I sighed and pulled my wife to me.  I’m not ashamed to admit that we were both teary-eyed.

They exchanged vows and rings, looking as if there was no one else in the world.

Then they sealed it with a kiss, the half-moon in the sky shining down on them.

There was clapping and cheering from their family as we looked on.

Then it was time for them to cut the cake.

Falkor and his brood stayed for a while, congratulating my daughter and son-in-law, both on their marriage and their new addition.  The two couldn’t wait to get back to their little one.  Aurora had brought Luna out to the living room to show her off, still dressed in her finery.  “I’m so lucky,” she murmured.  “I’m now married to the love of my life, and look at this child.”  I watched her look into her daughter’s eyes and felt my throat close up with emotion.


I can’t believe how time flies.  Is that a product of aging, I wonder?  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s just that when one is immersed in their life, it’s hard to keep track of said time.  There I go again… going off on one of my tangents.  Can’t seem to help myself.  Anyway, before we all knew it, our little Luna was becoming a toddler.  Aurora had the honor of bringing her to the cake.  I could see the tears that she refused to let fall.  Still, there was pride there, too.

Aurora leaned down and blew out the candles.

The sparkles surrounded her as she laughed and cooed.  Then our little Eclipse (my nickname for her) was no longer a little bundle wrapped in pink.

Now that our line is continuing on, not just in my daughter, but now my granddaughter, I think it is time to hand this off to Aurora.  I know she keeps her own journal.  But I think it is now her right to record the family history for this new generation.  To those who will read this later: I am Draco Wyvern and I am so very proud of you.  May the Watcher and our Mother bless you.


 

Chapter 16: Moving Forward

My birthday was today… but I didn’t feel like celebrating.  No one did.  So I let the sparkles hit quietly, on my own.  I’m an adult now.  I don’t feel much different, not in body anyway.  In my heart, maybe.  I miss my parents, more than I thought was possible.

But life does go on.  Losing mom and dad has been difficult.  No one ever gets over a loss, not truly.  But we do move on.  And we’re moving on as best we can.  I know I cherish my time with my wife more than I ever have before.

We’ve taken in another dog.  She’s a sweet animal and according to the adoption center, she’s a purebred Rottweiler.  Aurora has been awfully quiet since she lost her grandparents; we were hoping this would help her a little.  She did name the dear girl.  She called her Megara.

Megara has been welcomed to the family very enthusiastically by our Hercules.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see another generation of our dogs in the near future.

Aurora’s class went to the town Mausoleum, to learn some of the town history through the families that settled it.  She seemed to enjoy it.

It’s taken a long while and it took a lot of convincing from my wife, but she and I have finally taken our place in the master bedroom.  “Draco,” she murmured quietly, one hand on my cheek.  “I know you miss them.  I do too.  You know I loved them just as much as you did.  They-they were here for me more than my own family.”  She smiled sadly.  “But it’s time.  Soon enough, Aurora’s going to bring home someone and the downstairs will be hers.”

My wife was right… It was difficult, but we moved our bedroom upstairs, into the room that my parents had shared.  At first, I wanted to keep it the same, but my wife was once again right: they would want us to make it our own.  So we did.  Our old room was turned into a cozy little library/study of sorts.

Life goes on, but we never forget those we have loved and lost.


The weather has turned cold once more, though the snow hasn’t started quite yet.  The grass is frosted, though.  It was early morning and no one else was up yet.  I’d left my wife sleeping comfortably in our bed.  I stepped out of the sliding glass door that opened onto our backyard and stopped a moment to catch my breath, rubbing at my chest.  Mom and Dad have been gone for almost two weeks now.  But still, I feel it.  And today, I feel it more than normal.

I walked across the lawn in the silence of early morning.  No song birds sang; I could see my breath, even after I entered the mausoleum.  I glanced at the legacy that my mother and father had left and smiled a little.  Then I descended the steps.  My steps echoed off the rock walls eerily.  As I stepped through the arches, I stopped and just looked.  This was the first time I’d been done here since we had laid my parents to rest.

I stood there for a long time.  Then I stepped forward.  “I’m sorry,” I murmured to the air.  “I should have come down here before.  It’s been… hard without you.  We all miss you so much.”  A chill ran down my spine.  It surprised a laugh out of me, even as I rubbed a hand over the back of my neck.  “Ok, ok, I think I get it.  Anyway, I came down here today to tell you something.  I know you guys are watching over us, but I thought it only right that I tell you that your granddaughter is going to be a young woman today.  I can’t quite believe it myself.  And… she’s going to be going to University as well.  You guys would be so proud of her.”

I talked to them for quite a while.  When I finally emerged back into the daylight, I felt lighter.  The day was cold, but sunny.  For the first time since my parents died, I felt much lighter, and the grief had lifted.  I’d always miss them, that was a given.  But I’d see them again, someday.  And today… today was for celebration.


Aurora didn’t want a big party; so it was just her mother and I, and the dogs, of course, to welcome her to her young adulthood.  Sophia made the cake.  “I know it’s not your grandfather’s, but I hope you like it,” she told our daughter.

“I’m sure it’s great, mom,” Aurora assured her with a soft smile.

The candles were lit and Aurora took her proper place.  She leaned over, thinking deeply about her wish.

The sparkles surrounded her.  I felt a shaft of pain run through me.  My little girl was really growing up…  She must have sensed it, because her gaze went to mine and there was a knowing look in her eyes.  But while I might lament the fact that my little girl was no longer little, there was a great swell of pride when the sparkles finally cleared.  She’s always been beautiful.  But now, our little Northern Light truly shines.

After a bit of cake (which was really good), she went to the mirror, then the dresser to really put herself together.


The next day, it was graduation.  Sophia and I dressed up in our best, while Aurora got into her cap and gown.

As Sophia and I sat there amongst the crowd of parents and family members, I could only stare up at the stage proudly as my daughter gave her Valedictorian speech.  That’s right, my little girl was the valedictorian of her class.  Her classmates are as big of jokers as mine were considering that they voted her Most Likely to Burn Down Their Own House.

My brother Falkor gave out the diplomas and he had an extra hug for his niece.  Sophia made it out of there without crying… I didn’t quite.  I wasn’t a blubbering mess, but my eyes weren’t completely dry.  However, when we got home, we all got a shock.  Our beloved Gage passed away.

We knew he was living on borrowed time, sadly.  His brother had already gone before him and the old fella had really slowed down the last little while.  In some ways, it was a mercy, though we will certainly miss him.  He will now join his brother, mother, and father.


Aurora is preparing herself for college, reading up on things, practicing her photography, and even doing some painting.  She’d always loved to watch her grandfather when he was at work on a canvas.  Then she took one last placement test.  Once she got the results back, she was online, finalizing her enrollment.

The night before she was to leave, Grim visited once again.  Though… I hate to say this, it was almost a relief.  Glena had never been a very peaceful animal, though she was special in her own way.  But since we’d lost Gage, she’d been almost insufferable.  It made sense, in many ways, Gage was the only one that Glena really loved.  Be that as it may, it was still sad, but at least she can join Gage once again.


Despite all that, the next morning, bright and early, the moving van came to pick up my little girl.  Sophia and I stood outside in the snowy morning air as Aurora emerged with a single suitcase.

We watched her climb into the front seat.

Even after it pulled away, my wife had one hand up waving.

I slid my arm around her waist.  “There she goes,” I murmured.

Sophia sighed and lay her head on my shoulder.  “Yeah… there she goes.”  We watched until the tail lights disappeared from view, then headed into the house.  We were both a little subdued, and very quiet.

After a while, I finally said, “C’mon, there’s a hottub calling our name.  I think we could both use a nice bit of relaxation.”

“It’s snowing out,” my wife pointed out, raising an eyebrow.

“Like that would stop you,” I retorted with a grin.  With our butts freezing, we ran out to the hot tub and slid in, cuddling close.

Finally, we climbed out and hurried back inside.  We got dressed and then decided to spend a lazy day.  Aurora had promised that she’d let us know when she got there.  But it would take a while; it was a long drive.  So we settled in, watching movies that we’d both seen a dozen times.  As evening descended and then it got later and later, my phone finally  went off.  It was a text with a picture.

I’m here.  The house looks great, doesn’t it?

I looked at my wife and smiled, showing her the picture and the text, then gave her a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  “Let’s get to bed, huh?”

Author’s Note: I don’t think I have ever had an animal in the Sims that I was as glad to see go as I was Glena XD That sounds awful, I know, but… man, she was disliked by pretty much everyone because her only trait for the majority of the time was aggressive and she just constantly growled at everyone.  Her only good relationship was with Gage and even that had begun to fall just a little bit toward the end.

 

Chapter 15: It Comes in Threes…

I’ve been sitting here, staring down at this book for close to an hour now.  The paper is beginning to rip from where I’ve scratched out what I’ve written so many times.  I know I’m supposed to record this.  My mother would want me to.  But I’m… numb.  There just seems to be… nothing inside of me right now.  Is that normal?  Whether it is or it isn’t, it’s what I’m experiencing right now.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.  Maybe I’ll find some kind of perspective on all of this.  At the least, I hope to finally feel SOMETHING.

It didn’t start out bad.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  The day started out with my wife’s birthday.  She was a little apprehensive about leaving her youth behind, though I told her she was being silly.  She would still be beautiful and I couldn’t possibly love her anymore.  She had a beautiful and talented teenage daughter and our marriage couldn’t be happier… well, except maybe for me working less days, though it was getting better.

We all gathered around: Mom, Dad, Falkor, and Aurora.  Faye had gone home the night before, but we would get a call from her later on.  But that’s later.   Anyway, we all gathered around the cake and Dad lit the candles.  Sophia seemed to think for a moment as she leaned over the cake.  The rest of us cheered and blew noisemakers for the occasion.

After the sparkles hit, my wife stood there for a moment, biting her lip.  “How do I look?” she asked.  “I’m sure the wrinkles are awful, aren’t they?”  In answer, I went to her and pulled her close, kissing her soundly.

“Does that answer your question?” I whispered into her ear before putting her at arms’ length and grinning at her.  She seemed to forget about her wrinkles.  Though, she did want to change her hair.  Her curls, apparently, are a pain to take care of.  So she, Aurora, and my mother went to the bathroom to help her cut it and straighten it to within an inch of its life.

She’s beautiful… but then, she always has been.  And if it makes her happy, then I’m all for it.  Her birthday also happened to fall on our year anniversary.  It seems a little unreal that we’ve been married a year, though we’ve been together quite a bit longer.  Contrary to popular belief, I did NOT forget about our anniversary.  In fact, I even took a few days off work and told them don’t bother to page me;  I wouldn’t answer.

We decided to actually head to Varg’s Tavern, grab a drink.  We don’t get out much, her and I, so this was a nice interlude together.  We talked of silly things, of life in general, about music and even had a spirited discussion on who was going to win the high school football tournament.  That’s one thing about Sophia; I’ve always been able to talk to her about anything and everything.  Even when there’s silence, it’s a comfortable silence and we can speak without saying a word.

After our drinks and a bit more conversation, we headed to Venice Beach.  It was early summer, but still, the water was fairly cold.  That didn’t stop us, though.

After a brisk swim and some fooling around and splashing one another, we decided to head home.  The hot tub beckoned to us; I swear, it was calling our names, even.  It was nice, just the two of us.  The balmy summer night air, the warmth of the water, and having my wife next to me made it all perfect.

But… while my wife and I enjoyed ourselves… all was not well.  From what my mother had told me, Dad had gotten up, rubbing at his chest.  He’d been uncomfortable since they’d gone to lie down and his sleep had been troubled.  She asked him if he was ok.  He’d smiled at her, like he always did.  Then something passed over his face.  “I’m sorry my love.  My Queen…”  He fell to the ground.  There… was nothing my mom could do, though she tried.  Her screams brought Aurora and Falkor running.  But they could only watch as my father’s spirit began to drift to the dark shape that waited for him on the deck outside my parents’ room.

I had no idea… no clue what was happening, still too wrapped up in my wife.  Why didn’t I know?  H-how could I not know what was going on?  Why couldn’t I feel it?  I still don’t have any answers to that… other than I wasn’t meant to.

Aurora told me later that my dad looked back at them all through the doors.  He wore his normal smile.  “Don’t be sad for too long, my loves.  We’ll see each other again.  I love you all.”  Then he looked at my mother.  “My Queen.  Thank you.  Thank you for everything.  I love you.  I’ll be waiting.”

Sophia and I had come inside by this time and I was still oblivious.  Until I heard my mother’s wail of agony.

And then I knew.  Something ran through me then.  It was like a lance through my heart and that’s when I realized that I couldn’t feel my father anymore.  Always before, there was an… awareness of those around me, particularly those I shared blood with.  It wasn’t very overt, but it was always there.  But now… that awareness of my father was simply… gone.

None of us handled it well.  My brother and I did our best to comfort mom.

But I’m afraid that there is so little we can do…  Not when it feels like we’re missing a piece of ourselves.  I can’t imagine how mom feels.  When she isn’t sobbing uncontrollably, she just stands there, looking lost.  I don’t know what to do for her.  And then there’s my daughter.  Poor Aurora.  She was so close to her grandfather.  And with all the grief around her… she’s just being bombarded.

It didn’t end there.  Grim had barely left us, taking away my father, before he returned.  This time for our dear Gabe.  The old fella had been close with my father and I think watching him die had been too much for the poor dog.

Hasn’t Grim done enough?  He took dad… and I never got to say goodbye.  Now Gabe.  Could it get any worse?  It can… it really can.  I can’t help but think that we get so complacent, that we can’t help but take things for granted.  We go through life, getting used to something.  For me, it was my parents.  Death happens, I knew that.   But they just seemed so… eternal, I guess.  I never thought that I’d lose them.  It just… never entered my mind.

I’d just gotten Aurora to lie down when I heard a whisper in my mind, <”Take care of them, Draco.  You are my heir, my first born.  I love you, my son.  We’ll meet again.”>  I tore out of my daughter’s room and took the spiral stairs two at a time.  I got to my mother’s room.  But it was too late.  <”Goodbye everyone.”>

Losing Dad had been too much for her.  She died of a broken heart.  A part of me wants to rage… weren’t we enough to keep her here?  Didn’t we matter?  But another part understands all too well.  The thought of losing Sophia, after living a lifetime together… and my dad was really what made her.  If not for him, I’m not sure how her time here would have played out.  He gave her something no one else could.  Losing that, losing him… it broke her spirit.  She was never a normal Sim to begin with.  I don’t know what my aunt’s game was in what she did to my mother.  But my mother made the most of her situation here.  I don’t doubt that she loved us.  But she couldn’t stay.  Not without my father.

While it angers me and it saddens me… I understand.  I’m no longer numb now.  But I can’t succumb to what I’m filled with now.  I have a family to take care of.


The last few days have been more than hard.  Before, I felt numb.  Now… there are so many emotions, I don’t know what to do with all of it.  I’m trying to be strong, trying to keep it together for the family.  My parents would want that.  But it’s hard.  It’s so very hard.  We lay mom and dad to rest a couple days ago.  We didn’t have a service; mom and dad wouldn’t want that.  They would have wanted us to celebrate their life.

Monte Vista is an old village.  On our property, we found what had probably been an old wine cellar or maybe even a crypt.  We had it dug out and finished off.  This will be where our family is laid to rest.  Above ground, a mausoleum was also built, a place to show life, as my parents would have wanted.  As I said, we lay mom and dad to rest, side by side as it should be.

In the mausoleum, they each have a corner.  Dad’s holds the easel, with the last painting he had been working on as well as one of our favorite paintings of his.  Mom’s corner holds her potions and her spell books and components.  It seems like so little, but I can’t help but feel that they’d appreciate this.

As much as this hurts, there is another who feels it more.  My daughter.  Poor Aurora… I don’t know what to do for her.  Losing her grandparents has been devastating to her.  She was so close with both of them.

Art club, which she had been going to since elementary school, had a ceremony for her.  She had won a painting competition she had been in.  During her speech… she’d lost it.  Bursting into tears, she’d run out, sobbing.  I found her outside the school, bent over, trying to stop the tears.


With everything going on, we did have a good bit of news.  Amidst all the grief and sadness, there is life.  There is always life.  Falkor ran off to the hospital to be with Faye.  She gave birth to their second child, a little girl they called Katherine Elise Wyvern.

After the “services” were over and things had begun to settle down just a little bit, we got another surprise.  A gentleman called.  He called himself Gerome Giacomo.  He was a lawyer, he was dad’s lawyer.  Apparently, he and mom had left a letter with him.  Could be called a will, I suppose.  In it, they left the house and the land to me, Sophia, and Aurora.  But they didn’t forget Falkor and his family.

Falkor, the letter read, we know you wanted a home of your own, a place to raise your family.  We’re sorry that we couldn’t be here for you more, to see your children grow up.  I know it isn’t much, but I hope you will accept this; Sophia’s mother and father left her their home, but she has no need of it and placed it in our care.  We want you to have it.  It will be your and Faye’s home and should give you plenty of room for you and your children.  I’m sorry we aren’t there for you, my boys.  Your mother and I love you both very much.  Give our love to your families.  We’ll meet again, someday.

Love, forever and always,

David Michael Haynes and Celestia Wyvern-Haynes

Falkor had been a big help to us.  But he was right.  He and I talked about it.  “Draco, it’s time,” he told me softly.  “Mom and Dad are-are gone.  I miss them too.  But it’s time to move on.  You have a family of your own now.  I do, too.  Little Katherine’s a toddler now, Rickie’s in elementary already.  It’s time.  I want to live with my family.”

I gave him a hug and hung on a little bit.  “Take care of yourself, little brother,” I murmured.  “You know you’re always welcome.”

He grinned a little.  “Same goes for you, ya know.  Come and visit.  The kids would love to see you, you and Sophia and Aurora.”  He frowned.  “How’s she doing, by the way?”

“She’s… withdrawn.  Her mother and I can’t get her to open up.  When she’s ready…”  I shrugged.  “I can’t force her to talk about it.  I can only hope that she’ll talk to us when she’s ready.”  I slapped him on the back and then waved at him and his family as they loaded the last of their things up and then left.


The house is quieter without my brother and Faye running around.  I still wake up, expecting to see my dad in the kitchen, mixing up pancake batter or see my mom playing with one of the dogs.  It hits me hard at times.  I finally let loose.  My wife just held me to her, letting me get it out.  She had known this is what I needed since we lost them both.

It felt… good, surprisingly.  I’m always going to miss them and while I’m fully prepared for it to sneak up on me every now and again, life moves on.  I’m going to live life, like they would have wanted.  I’m going to keep doing what I need to, concentrating on my family and on my career.  It’s because of them that I can.  They gave me everything in life.  I can only return that favor by being what they would have expected of me.

Good bye mom and dad.  You will never be forgotten.  We had a plaque made from old photos of mom and dad, then hung it up.  I think it looks good.

In memorium of David Haynes and his beloved wife, Celestia Wyvern-Haynes.  May you watch over us always.


 

Chapter 14: A Few Surprises

My little girl… I probably should stop calling her that, shouldn’t I?  She’s not so little anymore.  It seems like before my very eyes she went from a little nooboo wrapped in her little pink blanket and now she’s a teenage, going for her first day of high school.  Before I know it, she’s going to be a young adult and off to University… find a guy and-… Ok, gonna stop there.  I REALLY don’t want to think about that kinda stuff at the moment.  Not where my daughter is concerned.  As I was saying, she went to her first day of high school today.

Just like when she was in elementary school, she comes right home and heads up to my parents’ deck to sit out there to do her homework.  She’s just not much of an inside girl.  I don’t blame her.  She certainly takes after her mother.

My wife still insists upon spending time outside, training, no matter the weather.  At least we haven’t had a repeat of before.  I don’t think I could handle another episode like that, honestly.  I told her that the other day and she laughed.  “Oh, please.  You’re as fit as I am.  You’ll live to a ripe old age.”

“Not if my wife has a habit of scarin’ me half to death,” I retorted, grinning.  I do have to admit, though, watching her work out certainly isn’t a hardship.  There is definitely something about a woman who knows how to handle herself.

Luckily, the weather is starting to warm up and now everyone’s gettin’ in on the pool action.  Including my parents and my daughter.  I might have snuck in there once or twice as well, though I’ve been too busy with work lately to really enjoy the nice weather or the pool.

Monte Vista is a peaceful place, for the most part, but we have our share of petty crimes.  We also have quite the reputation for investigative work and often are asked by other towns or cities for assistance.  I’m a Lieutenant now so I have a small division to look after, to oversee.

It’s rewarding work, though it keeps me away from home all hours of the night and day, but I spend what time I can with everyone.  Once I rise a bit more in rank, I’ll see about slowing down a bit, maybe.


I’m gonna be an uncle!  Faye’s been out sick for a little while and I found out why today.  It was my day off and I was just relaxing on the couch, watching some TV for once, when I happened to look out the window and saw Faye come waddling up to the door.  Yup, waddling

I recognized the gait.  Sophia had walked just like that.  And hey, I’m paid to observe.  “So that’s why you’ve been out of work!” I exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear.  Then I turned to look at my brother.  “You knew!  How could you not tell us!?”

He shrugged and winked at me, throwing an arm around his fiancé’s waist.  “We wanted it to be a surprise.  Right, love?”

Faye smiled sheepishly.  “He told me I wasn’t allowed to tell.  And to be honest, I didn’t realize what it was at first.  Just thought I had some bad food at the diner.  But when it continued, I suspected it was something else.  I got a test and sure enough… When Falkor came over to visit and help me with my parents, I told everyone.  Then he swore me to secrecy.”

Falkor held up a hand before I could yell at him some more.  “Part of it was because I wanted everyone here and you’ve been busy lately.  The other part was because Faye’s morning sickness has been pretty bad and she hasn’t been out of bed much.”

“That’s true.  Haven’t wanted to get up or I risk another mad dash to the toilet,” my future sister in law murmured, making a face.

My brother kissed her, then leaned down to rub his girl’s belly, murmuring to their unborn child.

Then he pulled her close.  “I’m gonna be a daddy,” he murmured to her.

Then he turned to us all.  Everyone had gathered in the living room once Faye had arrived.  “I’m gonna be a father!” he announced.  There were cheers and tears and lots and lots of hugging.  Of course, there was talk about the wedding as well.

Even with Faye being pregnant, with her parents’ health declining, they’re pushing the wedding back a little bit.  Though it’s delayed, they see each other every day as it is.  If she’s not at our house, Falkor’s at hers when he isn’t at work.  I overheard a conversation between Dad and Falkor as I was coming into the kitchen to grab something to eat before work.  The two sat at the table.

“You don’t have to worry about it.  We have plenty of room here.  You know that.”

“I know that, Dad, and Faye does too.  But we’ve talked about it.  Draco’s the oldest.  The house is his and his family’s.  It’s ok, really.”  He grinned.  “Being in our own place will give us a little space to spread out, provide more grandchildren.  You can’t tell me you and mom don’t want more.”

Our dad laughed.  “No, I suppose I can’t tell you that.  And while your mother and I would rather keep you all here, with us, we understand.  Well, I do.  Your mother will pretend not to, but she does.”

I stepped out then.  “Falkor, you guys don’t have to leave.  Really.”

My brother let out an exasperated sigh, then laughed again.  “Not you too!  Draco, what I just told Dad is true.  It’s what Faye and I want.  The house is yours.  It’ll be Aurora’s someday as well.  And that’s fine with us.  Honestly, I’m not sure how long Faye’s parents will be around and they’ve offered us their house.  We’re going to take it.  Don’t worry, we’ll visit all the time.”

As much as I wanted to argue, I really couldn’t.  I wanted my brother and his family here, with us, but everyone has to find their own way.  Hadn’t I told my wife just that when she had talked about how Aurora seemed so very alone?  Aurora made that choice.  She does things her own way.  That’s all Falkor and Faye would be doing.  We may not like it, but we have to accept it.  And really, I’m proud of my brother.  Proud of both of them.  I can’t wait to meet my niece or nephew!


I think having Faye around is giving my wife ideas.  We keep talking about having another, but it just hasn’t seemed like a good time.  Sophia is constantly whispering to Faye’s belly and rubbing it gently.  I almost feel guilty about it.  But with as much as I’m working, I don’t want to leave Sophia home by herself with a baby.  And yes, I know Aurora would be there, as would my parents, but still.  I don’t want to miss things more than I already am.


Celestia curled up against her husband.  “I wish Falkor would reconsider.”

“I know you do, my Queen.  I do, too,” David murmured, holding her close.  He kissed her temple.  “But they need to make their own way, you know that.  And it’s not like they’ll be moving far.”

The Queen of the Dragons sighed.  “I know.  It’s not the same though.  But you’re right.”  A soft smile stretched the corners of her mouth upward as she took his hand in her own.

“We’ve done well, haven’t we?”

“We have,” David confirmed.  “We have two beautiful boys who are now very good men.  They’ve found someone who completes them as much as you and I complete each other.  We have a beautiful granddaughter and another grandchild on the way.  Thank you, Celestia.  Thank you for being a part of my life and making all this possible.”

Celestia hugged him tightly, unable to speak past the lump in her throat.  But in her mind, she murmured, ‘Thank you, Lyall.’


Dark red lips curled up into a soft, almost tender smile.  “You’re welcome, sister.”  Lyall sat back from the softly glowing orb in front of her.  It was good to see Celestia HAPPY.  But it wasn’t over yet… The Goddess frowned.  No, it wasn’t over.  But there had been a beginning.  And the wheels were in motion.  They could only hope that what they were doing would work…


Today’s been a rather exciting day.  I got home to some chaos.  Apparently, Aurora had been chatting with her aunt Faye about her favorite subject: photography.

According to her, she was going to ask her aunt to pose for her when she stopped, getting a funny look on her face.  “It’s time,” my daughter murmured softly.  Not a moment later, Faye froze and clutched at her belly, letting out a wail.

Yeah… I think my brother lost his mind a little bit.  At first, he began to laugh hysterically, then just hop around like a fool.  I can relate.  When Sophia went into labor, I was a mess.  Eventually, though he recovered his head enough and he took his laboring fiancé to the hospital.

The rest of us met them there, though we waited out in the waiting room.  A few hours later, my brother came running out, a grin threatening to split his face open.  “It’s a boy!  It’s a boy!”  There were another round of hugs and tears all around.  We went in and visited with Faye and the baby for a little while and then took our leave, leaving Falkor with his family.  As we left though, Faye called to Aurora.  “Rora, how did you know?” she asked her curiously.

It took a while for Aurora to answer, but finally, she shrugged.  “I could feel it.  I… can feel things from people.  I actually felt him at that moment.”  Before anyone could comment on that, she darted out.  Sophia and I shared a concerned look.  We’d have to talk to our daughter later on.  We’d give her space and some time first, though.


Falkor emerged after his fiancé, still feeling on cloud 9.  In her arms, Faye held their son, Rickie Merik Wyvern.

When they got to Faye’s house, Falkor took his child into his arms and just looked down at him, smiling softly.  “Hello there, little one.  Welcome to the world.”


Things have calmed down a little, at least as calm as they can get around here.  Faye and Donald are still living at her parents’ house, but alternate arrangements are being made as we speak.  My daughter had her prom tonight.  She took my breath away.  She was beautiful.

Her mother and I waited up for her, of course.  No matter how much Sophia told me not to, I couldn’t help it.  I’m a protective papa, guilty as charged.  Soon as the door opened, I leapt up.  “How was it sweetie?”

My daughter laughed.  “It was great, dad!  I couldn’t stop looking at all the different dresses.  The way the light glinted off all the jewelry.  I really wish I’d thought to bring a clutch so that I could have taken my camera!”  We all took a seat in the living room so she could regale us of tales of her night.  She gushed about the shapes and the colors, the lighting and the way the angles and composition… frankly, makes my head spin a little.  Unfortunately, she certainly didn’t inherit her artistic talent from me.  That would be her mother and grandfather.

She did tell me that she got rejected for a dance.  Immediately, my hackles went up.  “What!?  Someone rejected you?  Who?  What little-“

“Draco!” my wife commanded sharply.  I subsided, but sat there brooding.

“Dad,” Aurora murmured, leaning over and putting a hand on my knee.  “It’s ok.  Really.”  The way she looked at me had me frowning.

“Aurora… baby, what you said to your aunt.  About being able to feel other people.  What did you mean?”

She sighed and didn’t answer right away.  “I asked Gram about it when I was younger.  She calls it empathy.  It seems to have to do with the power that runs through us.  Aside from the abilities that all of us have, we all seem to have something else as well.  You’ve always been really perceptive and it’s why you’re such a good cop.  Grandma has a multitude of different powers, but because she’s trapped in mortal form, they’re weaker than what they were.  Me, I have this empathy.  I can feel what other people are feeling.”

“Oh baby,” Sophia murmured, looking down.  Then she looked back up.  “I-is that why you prefer being on your own or with just us?”

Aurora nodded.  She smiled at her mother.  “It’s alright, truly.”  She stood up and gave both of us a hug and kiss.  “Don’t feel bad, ok?  I probably should have told you before now, but I’m alright with it.  It’s as natural as breathing, really.  I’m going to go to bed.  I love you both.  Night.”

We murmured good night, and then Sophia and I stayed up a bit longer, talking about this newest revelation.  “What do you think?” she asked me, standing up.  Almost without words, we headed outside.  Like our daughter, we both enjoyed the outdoors and star gazing was one of our favorite pastimes.  And it was a good, clear night.  So we settled ourselves on the ground.

Sophia sidled close and I tucked her against my side.  “Well?”

“I think that she’s got it handled.  I wish she had told us earlier though.  If for no other reason, just so we’d know.  It can’t be easy for her, constantly feeling what other people do.”  Sophia nodded in agreement.  We sat there in silence for a long time, then we went back inside.

Sophia went to bed.  Before I joined her, I opened the door to Aurora’s room, just to check on her.  I grinned when I saw her dresser.  She had told us that she had won Prom Queen.  She had lovingly placed the crown and the picture there.

I closed the door, then slipped back to our room and slid into bed next to my wife.  I smiled softly as I slid into sleep.


The last few days have been hectic.  Got a break in a huge case my squad and I had been working.  And with Faye still on maternity leave, I spent a lot of time at the station.  If I wasn’t there, I was writing reports on the computer.

And I’m going to be busy for the foreseeable future… Faye came over today, like usual.  She’s pregnant again.

Apparently, my brother hasn’t quite figured out how that happens… I say that with a hint of sarcasm, but actually, I’m very happy for them, truly.  It’s just with being so short-handed, I won’t be home for a while.  Hopefully, by the time the baby is born, things will have slowed down enough and I’ll get a chance to see my nephew and the new baby.

Faye and Falkor are, of course, over the moon about the good news.  It really is sweet to watch them together.  This has pushed their plans back a little bit once again, but they don’t seem to mind.


 

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.


 

Chapter 12: On to Childhood

Doesn’t seem possible… but my little girl is about to become a child.  As has been the tradition, we had a small party, just the family.  Sophia took her to the cake.  Somehow, she’s the more practical one of us in this regard.  Much like my mother, there was a large part of me that wanted Aurora to stay little forever.  However, I know better.  And so, the whole family gathered around the cake to watch Aurora grow up.

“Candles, mama, candles!” she babbled.  “Down, down!”

My wife obliged and leaned down so that Aurora could blow out the candles, though Sophia helped her a bit. Once the candle was blown out, we sat her on the floor.  She stood up and whirled around as the sparkles hit.


And now my baby was no longer a baby, but a child.  She took herself to the mirror, politely refusing her mother’s offer of help.  Hm, she’s already pretty independent.  Going to have to watch out for that…  But I have to say, my little girl is beautiful.  I’m not biased at all, of course…

After we all sat down to eat cake, I was sitting there, feeling a little nostalgic and maybe just a touch melancholy as I thought about how fast time flies.  Aurora came over to me.  “Daddy?”

“Yes, sweetheart?”

“Don’t be sad.  I’m still your little girl.”

“Oh, Aurora…”  She wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a tight squeeze.  “That’s right, you’ll always be my little girl.”

“Love you, daddy.”

“Love you too, my little Northern Light.”

While we were gone, Mom and Dad contracted for some work to be done around the house.  The dogs have their own little covered porch just for them.  They thought about enclosing it, but since they are all long-haired dogs and the cold doesn’t bother them with their fluffy coats, they left the walls open.

Mom and Dad did this because they added on a separate nursery, taking out the space that had been their area up in the top right hand corner there.  I jokingly asked my parents if they were giving us a hint by any chance.

Dad grinned at me and winked.  My mother protested, though I could tell by the hint of the blush on her cheeks that she certainly wouldn’t mind another grandbaby.  Sophia and I are open to it, but we’re not forcing the issue at the moment.  If we have another one, then we have another one.

Dad confided in me that mom is boasting about her granddaughter to anyone that will listen; like when she heads to the Elixir Shop to consign more of her serums.

There is also a pool with an adjacent hot tub as well.  “A pool hm?” I asked my dad as we looked out the window.

My dad shrugged.  “What kid doesn’t want a pool?  What adult for that matter?”  He laughed.  “See?  Looks like your wife is already enjoying it.”

I looked out, and sure enough, there was Sophia, floating languidly on a little inflatable raft.  I joined my dad in laughing.  “Well then…”

Looking back on the pictures from when Mom and Dad first started out, it’s hard to believe how far they’ve come.  They started with what amounted to little more than a one room shack.

They worked and scraped by more often than not, relying on the money from dad’s paintings or mom’s potions or anything that the dogs ended up finding in order for us to have this now:

It’s humbling to think about really.  It makes me appreciate things even more.  They’ve given me the tools to be able to raise my daughter in comfort and make sure she wants for nothing.  I’m more and more grateful for that every day.  It’s the kind of thing that lets me run around after my daughter in a simple game of tag without having to worry about whether there will be enough money for food the next day.


Haven’t written in a while, mainly because it’s been a bit of the same, day in and day out.  Aurora started elementary school, of course and is doing even better than I did, I think.  She doesn’t ride the bus, preferring to use her powers to get her there.  I’ve been steadily progressing within the department and am very close to getting a promotion to being a traffic cop.  Sophia is still diligently working on her Sim-Fu.

In other news, though, both Gage and Gabe have become elders now.  Like their father, though, it hasn’t seemed to slow them down.

There’s been another doggie birthday; Hercules is now a mature dog.

And as you can see, now that he’s big enough, he’s already become protective of Aurora and he often sleeps in her bed at night.

Unfortunately, there is some bad news.  My wife received a call a few days ago that her mother wasn’t doing well.  Her father has been gone for a little while now.  Since Aurora was born, Sophia hasn’t been close with her family.  As mayor, a teenage daughter who became pregnant doesn’t look very good so except for a few phone calls every now and again, Sophia had no family but ours.  They’ve never even met Aurora.  It never really bothered my wife, though.  She had never been that close to her parents or to her older brother.  But still… when the inevitable call came from Eli that their mother was gone, it was difficult for her.  Imagine our surprise when Sophia was left with half of their estate.  Over $300,000.  Maybe Adalina had regretted cutting herself off from her only daughter and from her granddaughter and this was a way to apologize for it.

We talked for a long while about whether to accept it, but finally, we decided that we would use it for Aurora, put it in an account for her for University or anything that she wanted it for later on down the road.  Which… she told her mother just the other day that she really wants to learn about photography.  We have an old camera around, so Sophia gave it to her so she can start practicing now.

Winter’s here and it’s been pretty bitterly cold.  Normally, it’s not quite this bad.  The deep snow is keeping us all inside.  Mom and Dad have been up in their master suite for a while, just enjoying each other’s company.

I have to admit, Sophia and I are following their example.  What?  Aurora’s in school, so have to enjoy our time when we can, right?

Despite the cold and the amounts of snow, my little girl loves the outdoors enough that she goes up to my parents’ balcony and sits at the table out there to do her homework.

Oh and did I mention that my little brother got an award from the school?  His time in the art club (a way to keep close to Faye, from what my father has said) was good for him, got him socializing a bit more.  He’s proudly displayed the little trophy on his dresser.

Speaking of my little brother, we’re actually getting ready because in two days, he’ll be turning into a Young Adult.  He’ll join the rest of us in the work force.  He’s been a bit close-mouthed about what he wants to do after high school.  We only know he doesn’t want to go to University.  He’s done with school, he says.  We’ll see.  I have to go help get things ready.  We’re not having a big party, just the family- and Faye, of course.

Chapter 11: China and Back Home

I just spent the last little while reading over my mom’s previous entries.  I’ve known the family lore since I was a kid.  Mom never kept it from me.  And I look back and can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel the power that ran through me, so it’s not that I didn’t believe her.  Still, it’s odd to look at it from her perspective.  Compared to some of my friends’ parents, she was definitely… different, some would say odd.  She just didn’t come from the same world.  What must it have been like for her?  I don’t think I ever really thought about it.  From where I stood, she was just my mom.  She was unusual, but no one could dispute how beautiful she was.  I always loved her; she was my mom.  But after reading and after really thinking about it, I realize how amazing she really was.  Not because she’s the Queen of the Dragons.  No, she’s amazing because she’s my mom.

Hm, perhaps that’s a bit too philosophical.  Mom gave me this to record our lives.  My little brother always said I tended to over-analyze and think a bit too much.  It’s just always been my way.  Though joining the force seemed a bit counterintuitive from a certain perspective, it works for me.  The puzzles are right up my alley… even if said puzzle is just figuring out who took the last donut from the breakroom…

Sophia and I are doing very well.  We’ve been together since we were teenagers and even though we just became young adults, it seems so very right.  Though Aurora was not planned and we were young, I really can’t imagine my life without my wife and my daughter.  Were we too young?  Perhaps.  Do I regret anything?  How can I when I have a beautiful, smart, and funny wife to share the rest of my life with?  Or when I look into my precious daughter’s eyes?

Graduation was held the day after our wedding.  Sophia and I both graduated with honors.  For some reason, the others voted me as Most Likely to Take Over the World.  A joke, I think.  My lovely wife was voted Most Likely to Become a Sports Star.  The whole family came out.  Mom, Dad, and Falkor sat in the front row, Aurora taking turns on each of their laps.

As a surprise, mom and dad presented Sophia and I with tickets to go to Shang Simla.  Sophia and I had talked about going there at one point, before we knew that Sophia was pregnant.  But we figured it could wait until Aurora was older.  “Draco Maxim Wyvern,” my mother told me sternly, standing with hands on her hips.  “You and Sophia deserve to have some alone time together.  You’re married now and the two of you need a bit of time to get away.  Your father and I want some alone time with Aurora anyway.  We should be allowed to spoil our granddaughter a bit without the two of you underfoot, hm?”

I knew that look all too well and quite frankly, I was powerless to resist it and to resist the way that she and my father looked at me.  Dad’s hand rested on mom’s shoulders as he stood behind her, looking at me over the top of her head, a little grin on his face.  My mother’s face was stern and brokered no argument.  Swallowing, I swooped my mother up in a bear hug and spun her around then planted a wet kiss on her cheek.  “Alright, mother.  Thank you.”  I looked at my father and grinned.  “Both of you.”

My mother picked up Aurora and tickled her even as I ran to find Sophia to tell her that we were going to Shang Simla and that she needed to pack immediately.

Sophia was ecstatic.  She was packed and ready in record time.  The taxi showed up and took us to the airport.  It was a long flight.  Sophia was able to sleep for most of it.  I spent time reading and listening to my SimPod.  Finally, after many hours and two layovers, we arrived in China.

The landscape was gorgeous and so very green.  I couldn’t help myself; I grabbed my wife and kissed her soundly.  “We’re here,” I murmured in her ear.

She grinned and threw back her head, laughing.  It was good to hear it.  We both loved our daughter but we really hadn’t had a lot of time just her and I.  We were parents before we really got a chance to see who we were together.  This honeymoon is going to be a great way to see, both together and separately, who and what we are.

From: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
To: bigdaddydragon @MonteVista.net
Subject: Checking in

Hey Mom and Dad,

Soph and I made it to China fine, just like we told you when we called.  Sorry if we were a bit… incoherent.  It was a long flight, but it was well worth it.  We really can’t thank you enough for buying the tickets.  Sohpia’s been dying to learn Sim Fu since she was a little kid and now she’s finally gotten the chance.

She’s already an orange belt.  The master at the Academy seems quite impressed with her discipline and her determination.  That’s my wife alright.

While Sophia trained hard, I decided to go exploring.  As you know, I’ve always been fascinated with knowledge.  History has always been one of my favorite subjects.  So you know I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to explore the Halls of the Lost Army.  I uh… might have lost my head a bit and just “dove” right in.

I found some very interesting things though.  Sophia says I was as giddy as a school boy when we met back up at basecamp that night.  We were both so tired that we ended up sharing how our days went and then we just lay down together.  Before we both knew it, we were asleep!

How are things at home?  How’s Aurora?  Though we’ve been busy, she’s never far from our thoughts.  What’s Falkor up to?  I’m writing this at the table while I grab some breakfast, so I’m gonna sign off now.  Today promises to be another whirlwind day.  I’ll check in with you later though.  Give everyone our love.

Love,
Draco and Sophia

From: bigdaddydragon @MonteVista.net
To: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
Subject: RE: Checking in

Draco,

Your mom and I were very glad to hear that the flight went well.  Believe it or not, we actually understood all the tired-talk.  Comes from raising two kids and listening to toddler babble.  Which, your little one is doing less and less of.  In fact, she and Nana are quite the pair.  ‘Rora likes to lean over and whisper secrets into your mother’s ear.

As for Uncle Falkor, she’s also got him wrapped around her little finger, as you can well imagine.  When he gets home from school, he makes a bee-line for her crib and lifts her up into his arms.  He’s completely smitten with her, I think.  Considering how he was when she was first born… I think he was just a little scared of her.  That is most certainly gone now.

And Aurora absolutely loves her Uncle.  We’re in trouble with her, my boy.  I’m glad you’re a cop and that your wife knows how to handle herself… we’re going to need an army to keep the boys away from our little girl, huh?

And when Falkor isn’t spoiling our little Northern Light, he’s composing letters and little poems to Miss Faye.  Yup, you heard right.  He’s gotten quite sappy.  It’s actually sweet, though don’t tell him I said that.  He’s a bit sensitive about it yet.  Though he’s crazy about Faye, it’s a little hard for him to talk about.  He’s always been the more private of us all.

Anyway, loved the pictures so far.  Your mother was a little… worried, I think when she saw you in the tomb.  So if I were you, I wouldn’t tell her TOO much of what you’re exploring.  She likes to think of herself as practical and realistic, but we all know better, huh?  Look forward to your next email.  Be safe son.  Give our love to Sophia and we’ll surely give yours to Aurora.

Love,

Dad, Mom, Falkor, and little Rora

From: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
To: bigdaddydragon @MonteVista.net
Subject: RE: Checking in

LOL Dad,

Ok, I’ll keep my harrowing pictures to a minimum.  Though got some fun shots of the tombs.  China really is amazing.  Sophia and I really are having a lot of fun.  Though we’re doing some separate activities, we both return to basecamp at night and just spend time in each other’s arms.

Sophia has already reached her green belt while we’re here and her master suggested a sparring match against another of his students.  She was amazing.

She won the first and only just lost the second one.  But it was still very impressive, all-in-all.  Oh, I have a great picture for mom.  I think she’ll appreciate the symbolism.

It’s called the Dragon’s Maw.  You know I just had to go check it out.  Here are some rather innocuous pictures of the inside of the tomb.

That’s about it.  I’ll be sure to show you the rest of the pictures when we get home.  We’ll be heading to the airport shortly.  Gonna be another long flight, but we’ll there about midafternoon for you guys.  Love you.  See you in a few hours.

Draco and Sophia


Sophia and I touched down a little ahead of schedule, thankfully.  Adventuring is great… the actual traveling not so much.  While mom and dad paid for first class seats, no flight that lasts over 15 hours is comfortable after a while.  As the taxi headed toward home, Sophia looked out the window.

“Penny for your thoughts?” I asked her, drawing her against me.

Smiling, she snuggled close.  “It’s good to be home.  As nice as it was, I’m glad we’re back.  I can’t wait to see Aurora.  I missed her.”

“Yeah, I did too.”  She laid her head on my shoulder and we both looked out the window at the familiar scenery.  Home was just around the corner now and we both wanted to catch sight of it, together.


Aurora was waiting for us.  Mom and Dad had brought her out with them.  Sophia was the first to scoop her up.

Then it was my turn.  Aurora seemed awfully happy to have her Mama and Papa back.  She wasn’t put down for quite a while.

But eventually, we all sat down to catch up a little.  Mom and Dad wanted to see the other photos that I hadn’t sent via email.  After showing them off, we went to look for Aurora.  Apparently, even in the three days we had been gone, she had gotten rather adept at hiding.

Once we found the little Simkin, we got her put to bed.

Then it was our turn to head to bed.  We were tired from the flight.  So Sophia and I bid our family goodnight, then went to bed.  As I held my wife tightly while I drifted off, I could hear the familiar sounds of the house I’d grown up in; the creaky floorboard right above our bed, the noises coming from my little brother’s room next to ours.  A smile curved my mouth.  It was good to be home.


 

Chapter 10: The Passage of Time

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.  Though there are five of us, caring for a toddler is still very busy, especially with Draco and Falkor still attending school.  They’re doing well.  Even as attentive as he is with Aurora, Draco’s grades have remained steady and he’s managed to hold onto his academic standing.  We’re very proud of him, of course.  Oh yes, so I was describing how busy it’s been.

While I have come to love our canine companions, Glena is a bit aggressive and doesn’t seem to feel any loyalty to anyone but Gage.  I was working on doing some cleaning up while it was quiet in the house when the quiet was shattered by Glena carrying on.  This wasn’t so unusual; she seemed to bark and growl at anyone or anything… and being that we were still plagued by paparazzi on a regular basis, we had almost gotten used to the noise she could produce.  Except this didn’t stop… and it had a different quality to it.

As I stepped out into the hallway, I gasped even as the sparkles engulfed her.  When they cleared, there was a tiny fluffy little shape there.

Draco named the little guy and has decided to call him Hercules.  So welcome little Hercules Wyvern.  We’ve decided he will be Aurora’s since they will be growing up together.

Now that we have a puppy and a toddler in the house, it’s quite a bit more lively, even more than it was with three teenagers in the house, though one of them is now a Young Adult.  As if that weren’t enough, David celebrated his elder birthday, by himself, in the kitchen.  It’s just been so crazy lately that none of us really thought about it.  Though time has begun its ravages, he is still one of the most handsome man I’ve ever met (aside from our sons, of course).

That night, everyone else had gone to bed and David and I took the time to sit together and enjoy each other’s company over some leftover spaghetti.  “So, my Queen,” he rumbled.  “Do you regret losing your immortality now?”

I could only stare at him askance.  Even after all this time, Sim humor often left me a bit confused.  “What are you talking about?  What brought this on?”  I’m afraid I was rather distressed.

David just laughed and reached for hand.  “I’m sorry, love.  I shouldn’t tease you.”  He brought my hand up to his lips and brushed them over my knuckles.  “I hope that I’ve given you a fraction of the happiness you’ve given to me.”

“Oh David.  I never knew what I was missing,” I murmured.  “This is all just so much… more than I ever thought it could be.  I love you so much, only more so now.”

“Even now that I’m old and wrinkled?” he asked, squeezing my hand and winking.

At least now I was fairly sure he was kidding.  “Yes, even now,” I responded, rolling my eyes.  A sigh of contentment escaped.  “I look at our children and at our grandchild… It’s almost overwhelming, in a good way, though,” I hastened to add.

He nodded.  “Yes, yes it is.”

It hasn’t been ALL craziness.  Falkor is quite taken with his little niece and I often find him sneaking into Aurora’s room.  As soon as she stirs, he has her out of the crib and playing with her.  It’s very sweet, though he seems just a little reluctant to admit how much he enjoys being Uncle Falkor.

It seems that our little Northern Light is carrying on the tradition, and is indeed an heir of the Dragons.  She’s already exhibiting powers.  She seems to be more prepared than even her father was; I would say she almost takes it for granted, in a way, as if this is perfectly normal.

I have been in the Sim Realm for over two years.  In the life of a Sim, that is a very long time.  Yet, in my old life, it would have been nothing.  And yet, in that time, so much has happened.  I met David and fell in love.  We created two beautiful children and watched them both grow into children, then into teenagers.  And while it hasn’t been without some grief and some stress, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Even as I celebrate the last birthday I will experience, I can only look back on my mortal life and feel very blessed.

Though it is probably a silly thing to worry about, I found that gray hair clashes horribly with my skin tone.  I have never been vain, but found that I missed my normal hair color so Sophia helped me color it, though I didn’t mind a hint of the gray showing through.  I thought it is a kind of badge of honor.

David and I have changed; our bodies are old now.  I can’t help but be aware of time as it passes.  It’s in my nature.  Yet, when David grabs me and holds me close, it’s as electrifying as the first day we met and he held me.  After over two years of marriage, we still are as passionately in love as we were in the beginning.  And yet, somehow, there is… MORE than there was.

We are enjoying our time with our granddaughter.  There’s something to be said for being grandparents and getting to spend your ‘declining’ years spoiling them.

Though we never really had ‘jobs’, such as they were, David and I are determined to enjoy the rest of our days with one another and with our family.  Today, Draco is no longer a teenager.  David baked the cake and we all stood around, waiting as my oldest child stood there, thinking upon his future, trying to decide what he wanted to wish for.

After the sparkles hit, he took himself to the mirror and dresser.  My son, Draco Maxim Wyvern, the heir of the family.  He is certainly handsome, like his father.

Aurora is still very much a daddy’s girl.  She just loves Draco so very much.  She waddled up to him and begged to be picked up as soon as he finished dressing.

After he’d given his daughter sufficient attention, he asked to speak with his father and I.  Sophia and Falkor both gave us privacy.  David and I sat on the couch while Draco perched on the coffee table, looking at us.  “Mom, Dad.”  Draco let out a short puff of breath.  “I know I always talked about going to University before getting a job.  But… I have a family to think about now.  I… I’ve decided that I’m just going to join the Force.”

I could only stare at him a moment.  “But Draco… you always wanted to go to University!  You and Sophia wanted to go so badly…  You know we’d look after Aurora!”

“Oh I know that Mom!  I do.  And it’s not that I don’t trust her with you.  You’re the only ones I would.  But… I just can’t leave her for that long.  Even doing it a term at a time… I don’t want to miss her growing up.”  He smiled at us.  “A degree just isn’t as important as she is.  I’ll just have to start at the bottom, work my up, that’s all.  And really… I think the more practical experience is important in law enforcement.”

What he said made sense, but I couldn’t help but feel he was sacrificing something for his family.  I sighed and leaned forward, putting my hands on his knees.  “If this is what you want, then you know we’ll support you.”

He hugged us both and then immediately left to go fill out an application at the precinct.

Once he returned, he and I discussed the wedding.  Neither or Sophia wanted a big one.  It just wasn’t important to them.  We set up an arch in the backyard.  Sophia did insist they both wear formal attire.  Her mother had given her the gown she had married her father in.  So David took Draco and had him fitted for a tux.

They were married in a private ceremony as the sun set.  There was a light rain, but David said that it was good luck.



It was simple and yet so very beautiful for the simplicity.   Look at that… my son is married, with a child of his own.  Time moves on.  But I don’t fear it as I did when I first arrived.  In fact, I look to the future, not to my own future, not really.  I look to my children and in turn, their children.  This might be my last entry.  It’s Draco’s turn now.  For those of my descendants who may someday read this, I wish you all the happiness life can bring.  Enjoy it.  Cherish it.


 

Chapter 9: Grandchild Spam and Take 2 for a Prom Night

A/N: Warning, the first part is completely toddler spam because Aurora is just too cute and a lot of this is actually autonomous, other than the skill teaching.  Her interactions with the family are just adorable so I took a lot of screenshots XD

Aurora really is our little light.  She’s always so happy and good natured.  Even when she’s hungry or has a dirty diaper, there’s a little grin on her face when someone goes to take care of her.

Teaching her her skills has been a treat.  Sophia and Draco are so good with her.  They dote on her so.




They aren’t the only ones of course, though.  Her grandpa, her Uncle Falkor, and I sneak in what time we can get with her as well.


While she loves everyone and loves the attention, there is no doubt that she’s a daddy’s girl.  Whenever Draco’s anywhere around, she reaches for him and when he plays the Claw or Tickle Attack, she just shrieks with delight.  No one else seems to get quite the same reaction.



Though Sophia and Draco are wonderful parents, David and I are still adamant that they are as normal teenagers as possible so when the final prom was announced, we insisted that they go.  Falkor was already going with Faye.  He’d asked her ages ago.

So on Sunday night, Draco, Sophia, and Faye loaded up into the limo.  Falkor was a bit late in getting ready, but he followed after them shortly.

It was a rather eventful night apparently.  Falkor was crowned Prom King, while Sophia was crowned Prom Queen.  Draco had just shrugged and grinned.  “She’s already my Queen,” he murmured to his girlfriend as they regaled us of tales of their night.  While the kids’ humor at the prom was a bit off, no one could doubt that Sophia and Draco were the favorite couple at the dance; no one doubted how in unison they were.  Draco couldn’t help but tease his brother a little bit.

“I’m not the only one with his Queen,” he snickered.  “Little brother over there… ask him what Faye told him tonight.”

As he fidgeted and glared at his brother a moment for putting him on the spot while David and I waited expectantly, he finally shrugged and mumbled, “She told me she loves me.”

“It was really sweet,” Sophia added, sighing dreamily.

All in all, it sounded like they had a very enjoyable time.


They all proudly displayed their mementos from the occasion.

Oh and when the kids came out of prom, Sophia celebrated her birthday.  I’m very glad she got this last chance to be a teenager before she joined the adult world.

Both of her parents made a beeline for Aurora’s room so they could see her and say goodnight.  Draco put her on the potty, and then her mama put her to bed.


And to leave you with more cuteness