It took us nearly a year but we finally made the house our home. I’m not really sure what my theme was for downstairs. Beachy farmhouse? Oh, and the whole “everything should be white” idea did not fly with the toddler. So. Much. Cleaning.
Violet’s room also got completed. It’s pretty much every little girl’s dream room. You know, minus the weird drawings by Lucian. I even found a home for one of Uncle Adam’s paintings. He painted that when he was a teen!
The only room that has yet to be completed is our room. Nobody but us ever goes in there and I can live with it that way a little longer. And our bank accounts would prefer it look like that.
We are pretty much a model family now!
Well, except for Cerberus. He lives up to his Hell-Hound heritage.
A few months after we finished the remodel, Lucian and I decided to have a house-warming party. We invited my family and friends to come over and see the house but more importantly, to meet Lucian!
Everyone was going to be shocked by how big Miss Violet had gotten! She’s grown like a weed over the past year. I don’t even recognize my “adult” toddler!
We had just finished getting everything prepped for the party when the phone rang.
“Hi, is Declan there?”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, you must have the wrong number.”
“Really? Dr. Hale said this was his home number now.”
Dr. Declan Hale? I thought he was Dr. Lucian Orfeo?
“Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am, I didn’t realize you were from the hospital. Let me grab Declan.”
I handed Lucian the phone and tried hard not to listen to his conversation with the very pretty-sounding woman on the other end.
“Hon?” He called me into the kitchen. “I’m sorry but I have to miss the party. They need me for a consult at the hospital. A toddler with probable meningitis. It’s going to be a long night if the tests are positive.”
“Hey, now, it’s not what you think it is.” Lucian rushed over from the sink and wrapped me in a hug. “I will explain it all when I get back. In the meantime, do not let your brain run amok!”
“Well it sure sounds like something,” I said pouting.
“It’s not. I promise.”
He kissed my forehead and left to save a kid.
My parents and sister were the first to arrive to the house. Somehow, I missed them more than I thought I would. I was really glad to see them.
“You’ll be seeing a lot more of us! We’ve decided to rent a house here until the kitchen is finished being remodeled.” My mom gave me a 10-second update on their lives over the past two years.
“Oh? Are you guys finally updating the house?”
“No, no. Just the kitchen. Your father caused a bit of a fire but all is well.”
Annie choked on her coffee.
“Jeez, Ann. Don’t die!”
“I’m fine, I’m fine. I’m ok,” she stared ahead.
Before we knew it the doorbell started ringing. Owen was able to bring his youngest daughter, Daisy to the party. I was sad that Mo couldn’t come but the triplets had SATs to take and a football game for Basil. Hard to believe my nieces and nephews were growing so quickly!
Everyone got along wonderfully! I was glad to see my old family and my new family merging into one awesome family.
After dinner my mom did what she does best: fix and upgrade my appliances. My dad helped wash dishes. They shooed us kids into the backyard to play. Just like old times, eh?
So we took advantage of being kids. At least I did.
After everyone left, it was just Willow, Sonia, Annie, and I hanging around having girl talk.
“Hey, uh, Dani,” Sonia cleared her throat. “I need to tell you and Annie something.”
“Ok, go ahead.” I rolled over on my elbow to look at her.
“Your dad hit on me tonight at the party.”
“WHAT? No way. You must have misunderstood.” I was furious that she’d accuse my dad of trying to cheat on Mom.
“No, I don’t think she did, Dani.” Willow, always the voice of reason. “He came on to me, too.”
“No! No, you’re wrong!” This was bullshit. These guys were my supposed to be my friends.
“Hey guys, can Dani and I have some time to chat?” Annie looked at Sonia and Willow with pleading eyes.
“Yeah, that might be a good idea. Call us later, Dani!” Whatever.
Annie plopped down next to me.
“Ok, so obviously I wasn’t fine earlier. Mom’s story about the fire is bull,” she sighed. “Dad was storing newspapers in the oven, Danielle. He forgot where recycling bin was.”
“We never had a recycling bin…”
“EXACTLY. Something’s wrong with him, Dani. Something bad. I don’t know what but it’s bad.”
We sat there in silence for a while.
Annie finally went home after midnight but I wasn’t tired. I tried to clean the house to take my mind off Lucian and my dad but it wasn’t helping. Despite the hour, I decided to make some phone calls.
“Hey, Mo, it’s Dani.”
“Jeez. Is everything ok? It’s 2 A.M. You know that right?”
“So Dad hit on a bunch of my friends tonight.”
“Crap. Have you called Kari? If not, call her. Call her now and we’ll chat tomorrow.”
I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.