Chapter 4.48

Wedding bells are in the air!

“You clean up well, baby sister.”

“Aw, thanks!  You two still look like ruffians — just better dressed ruffians.”  My wedding day had finally arrived.  I was as ready as I was going to be.  “Now, which one of you hooligans is going to walk me down the aisle?”

“You know, we thought we’d let someone else do it.  Like that guy.”  Aiden pointed somewhere behind me.

“Am I in the right place?”  I knew that voice.  The accent not quite southern, not quite Irish.

“Daddy?”  I looked at Owen, my eyes asking the questions I couldn’t dare speak.

He shook his head.  “He doesn’t remember, Dani.  I’m sorry.”

I nodded and turned around.

“Um, hello there.  I came here with someone and now I can’t remember who or why.  Happens a lot these days, ma’am.”  He smiled.  “I’m sorry am I interrupting?”

“Not at all!  These two men are my brothers and they’ve both decided not to walk me down the aisle!  Brothers, you know.  Would you be so kind and do me the honor of walking me down the aisle?”

“Well these gentlemen are missing out!  I’d be delighted, my dear.”

“How do I look?”  I was nervous as the wedding march began to play.

“Gorgeous.  You remind me of my daughter.  Funny thing, I haven’t the foggiest idea of where she is.  I’m sure someone told me.”

“Funny thing indeed.”  I smiled to myself despite the sadness of it all.  Then the usher open the doors to the wedding hall.

“That’s our cue, madam!”

Even though I was sure I wasn’t going to cry, I immediately started to get weepy.  I could hear Violet gasp all the way from the back of the hall.

Slowly, Dad and I started our way down the aisle.

“Deep breaths, my dear.  We can’t have you passing out up there,” Dad whispered in my ear.  “Your future husband will be a lucky man.  I can tell you are special.”

Before I knew it we were at the altar and Dad handed me off to Lucian.

Before we got to reading our vows, I paused to look out at my family.  My mom, aunt and uncle stood on one side of the church.

On the other, my brothers, sister, and father.

“Danielle Jayne McNamara, I promise to love you always, even when you are spectacularly difficult.  You are my life, you are my love, forever and always.”

I probably looked really dopey, and to be honest, I don’t remember all that was said.  I don’t even remember saying my own vows.  No matter.  We did it!

“You may kiss the bride!”

“Really!?  Nobody told me there would be kissing!”  Leave it to my kid to speak her mind!

We quickly moved on to everyone’s favorite part: the cake!  Let’s be honest, that’s what I was looking forward to!

Unfortunately, I hadn’t even gotten to my cake yet when the phone rang.  Being a doctor, I expected one of my patients was having an issue.

“Is this Ms. McNamara?”

“Yes, well, Mrs. Orfeo now.”  That was going to be weird.

“Oh!  Lovely!  Congratulations.  This is Ms. Cormand.  From the orphanage.  I just wanted to let you know you were approved for the adoption.  Alice and Hadley are packed and ready to go home with you!”

“Oh my goodness!  Thank you!”  Ooo.  Wedding.  “I’m going to need about 30 minutes but we’ll be right over!”  I figured my family would understand.  I went to hunt down my mother.  Mom is a fabulous hostess so I knew she could cover for us.

“Danielle!  I just wanted to let you know I’m moving in with you.”

“Oh my God.  You’d better be joking.”

“Hardly.  I completely gave up my savings for you.  You owe me, child.”

Thank God Lucian showed up because I might have killed my mother.  “She’s moving in with us, Lucian.”

“Well I guess it’s good I just closed on a house in Van Crest.  It’s got five bedrooms so we should be good.”

“Oh.  Peachy.  OH MY GOD.”  My thought train was back on the tracks.  “Lucian!  We were approved to adopt the girls.  We’ve got to go get them now!”

My roommate — I mean my mother — congratulated us and promised to keep the guests happy.  Lucian and I raced over to get Alice and Hadley.

Best wedding night ever.

Chapter 4.47

Some changes are on the home front.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Long and picture heavy.

“You should have told me you were going to run those tests.  I should have been there with you.”

“I know.  But it was something that I needed to do on my own.  I’m sorry.”

Lucian sighed.  “So what now?”

I didn’t know how to answer but in my gut I knew what to say.  “Well, I don’t think we should have children.”

“I don’t see why not?  There are procedures they can do.  We can do IVF.  They’ll be able to do DNA testing, rule out the embryos with the defects.”

“I can’t, Lucian.  I can’t pick which embryos are good enough for our family!”

I could tell Lucian was getting more and more frustrated with me.  “Then what was the point of the testing, Danielle?   There are options.  We have options.”

“I don’t want to do IVF.”

“Ok.  You know what.  You’re taking my heritage from me.  You’re taking my clinic from me.  You’re taking my home from me.  I am uprooting for you, Danielle.  And now you want to take children from me.  Something has to give, Dani.”

I thought about my family.  I thought about Uncle Adam.  “What about adoption?”

“What about it?” Lucian picked at a cuticle.

“Would you be open to adoption?  I’m open to more children, Lucian, just not biological children.”

For the first time, Lucian looked up at me.  “Let’s ask Violet.  We’ll let her decide.”

Well, it wasn’t a no.

We took Violet out to KidZone to chat with her.  The place is full of video games and rides and my kid wants to play dominoes.  Nerd.

Lucian began our conversation.  “Violet, we know you want a brother or sister –”

“OMG!  Is mom pregnant?!”

“No!” I was maybe a little more adamant than I meant to be.

“Crap.”

“Language.  There are some issues and your mom and I thought maybe we might adopt and we wanted to know what you think about it?”

“Do I have to share my room?”

“No, we’re thinking about adopting a toddler so we already have the nursery all set up.”

“Alright.  I’m game.”

“It’s settled then,” Lucian looked at me.  “Adoption it is.”

Mom was still in town so Lucian and I took advantage of another kid-free night.  We were getting married in two weeks and our relationship was still a hot mess.

Despite needing to chat about our relationship, I had one thing on my mind.

“Who’s going to walk me down the aisle?”

“What?”

“My Dad is…not well.  Who’s going to do it?”

“Owen?  Aiden?  Adam?  Vi?  Relax, Dani.  We’ll work it out.  I think your mom is working on it with your brothers.”

I’d like to say we had a good heart-to-heart after that but we really just had a wicked makeout session.  It’s connecting.  Just not in the way we needed to.


Once we decided to adopt, we moved quickly.  We researched all weekend and decided to adopt locally from Forever Families.  It was a small orphanage that primary took in toddlers.  We scheduled a meeting with Ms. Cormand immediately.

“I was reading your application and I do think you’ll be approved.  There is, of course, the background checks and I still have to contact your employers.  I don’t think I’ll need to do a home visit since you are local.”  She smiled sweetly as I twisted my hands in my lap.  “There are still a lot of steps but I think I have a sweet child that you will love to meet.”

“Really!?”  I was like a kid on Christmas.

“I’ll leave you two here to chat.  I’ll go get Hadley and meet you in the playroom to your left.”

“Are you sure this is what you want, Lucian?”

He pulled me to him.  “Danielle, I want you.  I want a family with you.  However we get there, it’s what I want.  You are frustrating as hell but I love you even when I don’t know what to do with you.”

“I love you, too.  I’m sorry I’ve been a pill recently.”

“It doesn’t matter now.  Let’s go meet our baby.”

We walked into the playroom and we were greeted by the most adorable little redhead.

“Hiya!”  She waved at us, “I’s Hadwey.”

My heart melted.  She was our child.

“Hi, Hadley.  Can I hold you?”

“Um.  Yes.”

I scooped her up and tickled her.  She giggled and it sounded like magic.

Lucian came over to introduce himself.  Hadley was shy around him but he was a little overexcited.  Hadley was meant to be our daughter.  I felt it deep in my heart.  I prayed to every god I’d ever heard of to let the state agree and grant us the adoption.

We went back out to talk to Ms. Cormand about our decision.

“We’d love to put in a formal request to adopt Hadley, Ms. Cormand.”

“BEE!  BEE!”  Hadley started reaching towards something but I didn’t see anything.

Ms. Cormand sighed.  “Well, there is an issue.”

My heart stopped.  There could be no issues.

“Hadley has a sister.  When we took the girls in we promised not to split them up.  However, Alice is…different.”

I put my hand on Lucian’s shoulder and immediately knew we were on the same page.

“If she’s disabled or something, that’s not a deal-breaker, Ms. Cormand.”  Lucian smiled gently at her.

“Oh, I think you’d be surprised.  This is not the first time someone has wanted to adopt little Hadley.”

“We’d love to meet Alice.”  Lucian said more firmly this time.

“Well, if you insist.  I’ll tell her to meet you in the playroom.  Hadley and I will chat about things while you get to know Alice.  I’ll let you know when we’re ready.”

After a few more minutes, Ms. Cormand sent us into the playroom.

There was nobody in there.

“Are you ready for two more children,” I asked uncertainly.

“We can handle it.  How bad can it be?”

We continued to wait but nobody showed up.

“Do you hear something?  Like…laughter?”

Suddenly, the toy train started to move.

Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped and a tiny light popped up off the train and blossomed into a whole girl.  She gave us a disinterested glance before plopping on the floor to draw in the dust.

Lucian took the lead and sat down on the floor next to Alice and I followed.

“Hi Alice.  I’m Lucian.”

“Hi.  Call me Bee.  Cuz my fairy wings.”

“Hello, Bee.  I’m Dani.  How are you?”

“Good I guess.  So you want to adopt Hadley, huh?”

“Very much so,” Lucian leaned in and looked in Alice’s eyes.  “How old are you, sweetie?”

Alice looked back, judging his question.  “Ms. Cormand says I gotta say I’m 10.”

“You’re not though, are you?”  I smiled.

“No.”  Again, Alice looked back, judging her words carefully.  “I’m 236.”

“Whew!  I thought for a moment my daughter was going to be older than me.”  Lucian smiled a smile that few get to see.

“You’re a vampire!”  Alice exclaimed.  “How old are you!?”

“Over 600.  And Dani’s great-grandmother?  She’s a fairy.”

I conjured an apple just for kicks.

“And you’re a witch!  Can I meet your great-grandma?  I’ve never met another fairy before!”  She paused, suddenly hesitant.  “You know, if you adopt me that is.”

“Alice, please tell Ms. Cormand to bring Hadley back.  We’d like to talk to you both.”

Alice hopped up on the coffee table of the playroom pulled Hadley onto her lap.

“Hiya!”  Hadley waved at us again.

“Hi, kiddo.”  I smiled at her.

Lucian looked at both girls and took my hand.  “How would you girls like to be our daughters?”

“Um.  Yes.”  Hadley again.

Alice was more restrained.  She had been down this road too many times before.  She nodded and set Hadley down on the floor.  “Go play, sissy.  I’ll be over in a minute.”

“Will you come play with us?”  She asked me.

“Sure, honey.”  As soon as I stood up, Alice grabbed me and hugged like she was never going to let go.

“Nevermind.  I just wanted you to stand up so I could hug you.”

“So, we’re going to need a bigger house.”  Lucian smiled.

“Yeah.  Can we afford one?”  Two kids was one thing.  Three was another.

“Well, I was thinking if we sold the house and the clinic and moved somewhere with cheaper property values –”

“You know I love you right?”

“Yeah.  I know.  We’re gonna be ok.  You know that, right?”

“Yeah.  I know.  We better go fill out the paperwork if we want to get these girls out of here.”

We hugged the girls goodbye.  I thought I might have to leave Lucian behind.  I could not detach them from their daddy.

Now all we have to do is wait.  Wait and pray.

Chapter 4.46

Wedding planning begins!

Note from SweetPoyzin: I’m sorry for the lack of continuity in the bar photos.  We started at a fancy bar but the bartender randomly left.  Then we went to the sports bar and my bartender kept trying to play skeeball.  After 30 minutes of trying to get those photos I got a little frustrated.  So we got what we got.

The only thing more frightening than the SWAT team charging through your front door is my mother and her sister showing up to discuss wedding details.

“Well your mother and I found the perfect venue.  It’s a cute little church on the outskirts of town.  Very quaint.  Perfect for the evening ceremony we’ve got planned.”

“And it will fit the whole family!  Don’t forget that!”  They were both so excited about this that it was hard to follow.  They kept jumping over each other to get a word in.  Unfortunately, I didn’t want any of it.

“STOP!  No big party!  I told you all this last week!  I want just Lucian, Violet and I!”

“We have to invite your siblings, Danielle.”

“Fine.  But just my siblings!  Aiden, Owen, and Annie.  No sisters-in-law.  No children.  SMALL means small, Mother.”

Poor Lucian.  He had never really encountered the forcefulness that is my mother and aunt.  He handled it well though.  Not that he had any choice in the matter.  I had little choice in it after all.

“Get in the car, kids!  We’re going to see the church.  Now is the perfect time since we scheduled the ceremony for sunset and it’s nearly there.”

“Aunt Liv, I have to get Violet from school…”

“No worries!  I’ll grab her on the way.”

See?  No choice.

Not going to lie, the church was beautiful on the outside.  Mountains in the background, the waterfall was nearby and we could hear it.  They weren’t wrong.

I was further chagrined when I saw the inside of the church.  It was the perfect place for my little wedding.  Ugh.  Damn them for knowing me so well.

There is one perk to having my mom and aunt in town: free babysitters.  God only knows what they were teaching my daughter but Lucian and I desperately needed a night out.  I figured it was worth the risk.

“What do you think about having a baby sooner rather than later?”  Lucian has this habit of just causally throwing out large questions.

“Uh, well, I guess that would be ok.  I know Violet is dying for some siblings.  Especially after she got a taste of what it might be like when she was off at camp.”  I hadn’t really thought about having more children.  I hadn’t ruled it out, but it wasn’t top of mind.

“What say we blow this popsicle stand and get a jump start on it?”  I would have said no, I really needed time to consider what having a baby would really mean, but Lucian has this dreamy quality that always prevents my better judgement.

“Are you at the clinic tomorrow or at the hospital?”  We were laying in bed in the quiet house and I suddenly had time to think about what having a baby might mean.

“I have three surgeries tomorrow so I’m at the hospital all day and maybe most of the night.  Why?  Do we have a new intake?”

“Oh, no.  Nothing like that.  Just trying to figure out if I’ll have the run of the lab or not.  I have some tests pending that I need to get done.”

“She’s all yours, baby.  Speaking of babies, should we try again?”

“So soon?  Don’t you need to be rested for surgery?”  I rolled my eyes at his insatiable appetite and giggled.

“I’ll rest when I’m dead.  Oh, I’m immortal.  No need to rest.”

“Ha!  Better make the most of it, we’re close to finding a potion for you.”

“Well then, get over here, darling.  We’re wasting precious time!”


The next morning I dragged my tired body into the clinic and had one of the nurses draw my blood.  I did have tests pending, but what I didn’t tell Lucian is that they were mine.

I needed to test my DNA.  I needed to know if I had my dad’s genes.  I could not go into a pregnancy without knowing what I might pass on to my future children.

I watched impatiently as the results started to populate my screen…

Thank You!

Thank you!!!

I just wanted to thank everyone for your comments on recent chapters!  I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten back to everyone personally.  Life has been crazy between still being sick and classes starting up again.  It’s no excuse.  I really do appreciate you all!

A new chapter will be coming out in the next week or so and I’m so excited to share it with you!  Thank you for your patience and loyalty!

Chapter 4.45

The hunt for the potion is on!

After Lucian and I arrived back in Plum Grove, I stayed just long enough to give Violet a huge hug.  Then it was back on another flight to the beautiful town of Saint Clair where my Aunt Liv had settled recently.

I had to admit I was a little jealous.  I still haven’t given up on my desire to get Violet out of Plum Grove and my Aunt’s house was so adorable.  Which made being here even more important.

“Dani!  What are you doing here?!”

“Well, on the phone I said I wanted to visit and you said come over anytime.  Uncle Mike let me in.”

“Goodness.  I don’t even have any cookies.”

“That’s fine.  I’m not really in the mood for eating anyway.”

“Good Lord, Danielle!  What is wrong!?”

We’re eaters in this family.  If someone isn’t hungry, something is wrong.  So I explained the whole mess about needing to get Lucian a potion to take away the Vampire Curse.

“Oh dear.  Oh no.  I need to call your mother.”

“Why?  I just need the spell books?”

“No, I need to call your Mom.  Right now.”

“Hi, Twin.  Look, I was just speaking with Dani and apparently Lucian is going to turn mortal.  Yes, that’s right…she’s not going to turn into a vampire.”

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!  IS SHE THERE?  I’M COMING OVER.”  

Aunt Liv hung up the phone.  “Your Mom is coming over.”

“I heard.  Do I have time to hide?”

“No, Danielle, you don’t.”

“Hi, Mommy.”

“What the hell do you think you are doing?  You can’t just change plans like this?!”

“Well why not?  It’s my life after all!”

“Because some of us make plans around what you say you are going to do!  I’ve spent the past 5 years, ever since you told me Lucian was going to change you, creating a potion to turn Annie into a witch!”

“What?!”  This was the first I’d heard of her plans.  “Why would you do that?  Does Annie know?”

“Of course not!  It’s none of her business.”  My mother frowned at me.

“Tell her the best part, Penny.  Tell her how you have to kill yourself to make the potion.”

“WHAT?  Are you kidding me, Aunt Liv?”  What kind of alternate universe was I in right now?

“Yes, and it was all setup.  I had put your father in a lovely home where all of his needs will be met.  I have given him all the money and only kept what I was going to need for the next few years.  So now I have to rework this plan.”

“Well…good!”  What else do you say in this situation?

We sat in silence for a few minutes before I had the courage to speak.

“So…now what?”

Mom sighed.  “Well, now we go dig out Grandma’s spellbooks and see if we can’t find your fiance a cure.”

“Jeez, Aunt Liv.  This is a really bright and happy coven room.”

“No commentary from the peanut gallery.  Just read the potion ingredients.”

Unfortunately, we did not solve the riddle that weekend.  I kept working at in on my own in what little free time I had.

I got some interesting results.  Some were fun.

Some were not so good.

Even Violet has taken an interest in finding the missing ingredients in the potion.  Despite being an Imaginary Friend, she’s got some of my magic genes in there too.

I don’t envy Lucian though.  He has to try the potions whenever we think we’re close.  We haven’t turned him into a toad yet so that’s promising!

We’ll get there…I hope.

 

Chapter 4.44

Dani and Lucian prepare to return home.

“Can you believe we have to go back in a couple of days?  I’m just not ready to return to the real world.”

Lucian and I were sitting in the village square early one morning, just enjoying the quiet small town life.  We so often miss out on this since we live in the big city and have busy, busy, busy lives.

“Oh, don’t be silly, Dani.  You know you are more than ready to return.”

“Ugh.  You’re not wrong.  I miss Violet so so much.  We’ve never been apart for more than a day since she was born.  TWELVE YEARS of always seeing my baby.”

“About that, Dani.  We should talk about Violet and the future.”

“Hold that thought, Lucian.  What’s that thing over there?”

I ran over to the little blob.  “What is this spiky critter?”

“It’s a hedgehog, Babe.  Have you never seen one?”

“No!  I haven’t!  Can we catch it?”

“Why the hell not?  Let’s bring it back to Violet.  She wanted something cool.”

After our excitement with the hedgehog, we went to the winery.  I mean, we were trying to catch a hedgehog in the middle of the day.  We were sober.  We needed an excuse for being weird.

“Good job, Babe!  Squish those grapes!”

“You could help, Lucian!”

“I could, but I already opened a bottle of wine and it would be lonely if nobody sat here drinking it.”

It was about that time that I not-so-gracefully fell on my ass.  I said some things.  It was not a proud moment.

Lucian brought me some of the wine that I made.  It was damn good wine.  I couldn’t think of a good name for my wine so my husband named it…Booty Juice.

Pretty sure we aren’t allowed to return.


Our last day was finally upon us.  We still had so much to do!  I hardly felt rested with the anxiety of seeing everything sitting on my chest.  Regardless, we had a day to seize so we headed off to the catacombs.  They were neat, but I could have done without the death and despair.  I guess they wouldn’t be catacombs without it though.

After the catacombs we decided to dig up some relics at an open dig site.  We found some vases but nothing super exciting.  I don’t know what I thought I would find.  A lost civilization?  Either way we had fun and got to take some neat things back home.

When we stopped back at the resort, we found it on fire!  This wasn’t even the first time.  It was the FIFTH time since we arrived.

For some strange reason, everyone stood around yelling and carrying on rather than dealing with the fire.  Not wanting my shit to go up in flames, I grabbed the fire extinguisher and went at it.  I was able to get the fire out, but Lucian and I decided to spend our last night camping out rather than risk dying in a resort.

We found an adorable little lake and made it our home for the night.

I even got myself a new familiar.  He’s a beautiful little thing with the most amazing voice.  I think he and I will be great friends going forward.

Before long, I was hungry.  Lucian had the great idea that we should fish for our dinner.  I have never done this despite the fact that my Dad and brothers are master anglers.  But I gave it a shot.

I caught a bigger frog than Lucian.  He was a little shocked since he, too, is a master angler.

While Lucian set up the fire and the tent, I did girly things.  I ran around and caught lightening bugs like a child.  I was going to have to be an adult tomorrow so I was going to enjoy my time now, damn it!

Even though I caught some awesome frogs and fish earlier, I decided that hot dogs were the way to go for dinner.

I immediately caught my food on fire while Lucian carefully grilled his fish.  I ate fish for dinner but only after Lucian promised to skin and gut it himself.  I hope Violet was being more campy than I was!

“So, back to what I wanted to say yesterday.”  Lucian was very far away tonight.  “You’ve only been away from Violet for two weeks.  If I turn you, she’s going to die, Danielle.  She’ll be gone for centuries.  I know firsthand.  I won’t let you have that pain, Dani.”

“What are you saying, Lucian?”  I felt my chest tighten.

“I won’t turn you.”

 

“Lucian,” I was thinking outloud, “have you ever thought about becoming mortal?”

“All the fucking time, Babe.”  He smiled to himself.  “But I’ve been around for nearly 1000 years and I have yet to find the antidote to the curse.  And believe me, I’ve looked high and low for that one.”

“Well, you don’t have my great-grandma’s spell book.  She was a powerful fairy and alchemist in her day.  If anyone can crack the code it’s her.  Between that spell book and my mom and my aunt’s powers, we can bring you to life for sure.”

“If they can do it, I’ll turn for you and Violet.  Don’t blame me for not getting my hopes up though.”

“I’ll call my Aunt Liv as soon as we return.”

We drifted off under the full moon of France.

Chapter 4.43

Paris: Week 1

Paris in the morning is lovely!

I, on the other hand, was not.  I was suffering greatly from jetlag.

Lucian was ready to go.  By the time I dragged myself out of our suite, he was already dressed and drawing.

I barely had time for a cup of coffee before Lucian lured me on to our rented scooters.  We were off and running and I still needed a nap.

Our first official stop was the Museum of Paris.  I found this ironic since Lucian loves art so very much.

“I don’t understand why this is here?  It’s a giant vase.”

“It’s amazing though!  I mean, it was made by the ancient Greeks!”

“They made a very big vase.  I can do that!”

“Why did you want to come here anyway, Lucian?  All you’ve done is complain.”

“Come on, Dani.  Let’s explore!  Why do we have to stand here and look at stuff!”  Lucian set about fiddling with doors until he found one he could open.

“No!  Lucian!  We aren’t supposed to be here!”

“Well, then they shouldn’t have left the door unlocked.

Somehow I got roped into pulling on statues, which I’m sure is bad.

“I can’t believe they keep all the good stuff down here!”

“Oh man we are so dead if they catch us down here!”

But that didn’t stop me from investigating a sarcophagus.  Not one of my better ideas.

I got a nasty brain rattling but I was mostly unharmed.

I finally convinced Lucian we needed to leave when I came across the dead guy in one of the hidden rooms.  They just screams get the fuck out.

It took us awhile to find the way out.  It was well past midnight when we finally found an escape route.  That’s the last time I listen to Lucian’s stupid ideas.


The next morning, it was clear Lucian and I needed to have a heart-to-heart.

“So when were you going to tell me that my dad’s health was failing?”

“Who told you?”

“Peter.”

Lucian sighed.  “I asked him not to tell you until after we got back.”

“Well, we work together, Lucian.  And apparently Peter values honesty.”

“I do too and you know it.  You’re hitting below the belt, Danielle.”

“First you ignore the fact that Plum Grove can’t be home anymore and then you lie about my father’s health.  We aren’t even on the same page anymore, Lucian!”

“Ugh.  Hold on let me get something.”

Lucian started rummaging through our luggage.  “Don’t look until I tell you to.”

“I’m not looking.”

Lucian came back to the table with a box.  The box.  He opened it and stood next to me.

“I’m more committed to this relationship than ever before.  What about you?”

I paused.  Was I still in this?

“Yes.”

“Jesus Christ you scared me there!  Come here you brat!”

I threw my arms around Lucian.  Even if we aren’t on the same page, we’re still in the same book and that’s good enough for now.

Oh, and he bought me a real sparkly ring so I was too distracted to say no.

Chapter 4.42

Some major decisions need to be made.

We were robbed.  Again.

Luckily, we have Cerberus to keep our home and our family safe.  Well, physically at least.

“Mommy?  Do I have to go back to bed again?”  Violet had her favorite stuffed lamb with her as she sat in a corner of the living room, unnoticed.  Her eyes screamed that she was terrified.  But it was 3am on a school day, too.

“No, honey.  You can stay up.  I’ll join you.”

Violet and I sat up and watched Disney movies for the rest of the night.

I figured we all needed some comfort food that morning so I made some French Toast since it is everyone’s favorite.

“Mommy?  Do I have to go to school today?”

“Yes, sweetheart you do.  Don’t worry though, your dad and I are going to talk about this issue.”

We finally managed to get Violet off to school and Lucian and I were able to get ready for work.  I was off to the clinic and he was off to the hospital.

I was so grateful that Cerberus was our dog last night.  He saved us again but he was getting older and I’m just not sure how much time we have left him.

“Lucian, we have to talk about this.”

“About what, Babe?”

“About what?!  We’ve been robbed twice and we’ve only lived in Plum Grove for few months!”

“Well, we’re highly respected doctors, Dani, which means we’re well paid.  People know that.  We’re a target.”  He was so nonchalant about it that I nearly slapped him and I’m not a violent person.  “We’ve got Cerberus.  We’ll be fine.”

“We’ve been lucky is what we’ve been!  And clearly we aren’t fine, Lucian.  Violet is terrified.  I won’t raise my daughter here.”

Our daughter, Dani.”

“This is a fight you will lose, Lucian.  Don’t bother trying.”

He sighed.  “Look, let’s just get Violet off to camp and we’ll go to France and then we can come up with a plan.  In one week we’ll be on our way and we can rest and come at this clear-headed.”

I reluctantly agreed.


I finally found myself with a day off.  I had plans to run last minute errands before we left town but the weather was terrible.  It was one of the worst storms I’ve seen in Plum Grove.

I stared outside and pondered what I should do instead.  Ugh.  Laundry.

I grabbed our suitcases out of storage and hauled all our dirty laundry to the basement.  I was on load number four when I heard Lucian come home.

“Babe?  Hey, Babe!?  Where are you?”

“Down here!  Basement!  Laundry.”

“Oh my God.  Did you really bring home a puppy?!”

“You mentioned that Cerberus wasn’t getting any younger so I thought now was the perfect time!  Her name is Pepper.  She’s a sheepdog.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!  The perfect time, Lucian?!  We’re leaving for France in THREE DAYS.  We don’t have time for a puppy now!”

“It’s fine.  She’ll be all grown up when we get back.  At least let Cerberus decide since he’ll be in charge of her!”

Again, I reluctantly agreed.

“Aw, see!  He likes her already!”

“Well good for him.”  I was beyond pissed nonetheless.

Cerberus and I plopped down on the couch to watch TV.  Little Pepper joined us.  She was much too small to jump up on the couch and I wasn’t about to make friends.

“Look, Lucian.  I want to move.”

“Danielle, we just got the clinic up and running.  It’s going so well!”

“I’ll sell my share to Peter.  I want out of this town when we get back.”

“Damn it, Dani.  Please, we need to think about this.  We literally just got here.”

“I can’t raise Vi here.  We can’t, Lucian.”

“Fuck.  Just, let’s think about it ok?  Promise me we will think about this on our trip?”

“Fine.”

I looked down at Pepper who was staring at us intently.

My goodness she’s a cute one.

It did not take long for her to win me over.  Lucian would have to try harder.  He’s cute but not puppy cute.


Lucian was on-call that night and he was called in of course.

So I made Philly Cheesesteaks so Vi and I could pig out.

“Mom?  Are we gonna be ok tonight?  Without Dad, I mean?

“Yes, your dad and I have been talking about what to do long term but we don’t have any answers yet.  Maybe after we all get home though.  Okay?”

“Yeah.  I guess so.”  She sounded so down.  She and I were moving.  If Lucian doesn’t come with us so be it.

“Oh!  I learned a new thing at Scouts today!  Here!  Let me make dessert!”  She jumped up from the table and ran to her little oven.  She grabbed all kinds of things from the fridge.  I was a little scared.

“Ok!  Here!”  She thrust a tiny pie at me.

“Uh, what is it?”

“Cherry pie.  Just eat it, okay!”

“Holy crap!  Vi, this is delicious!  You’re cooking from now on!”

“Oh!  And I learned a song, too!  Can I use your guitar?”

My daughter serenaded me while I fixed our broken dishwasher.  Life is pretty good regardless.

Chapter 4.41

A family outing to the Summer Festival.

Even though we were working to free up more time for family, Lucian and I both found ourselves still working long hours.  However, in an effort to be better parents to Violet, we did manage to create a plan where we both would not work late at the same time.

So while Lucian was hard at work in the clinic, Violet and I were having yet another picnic in the park.

“So, Mom, about this camp thing?”

“What about it?”

“Well, I found a place I want to go.”  She pulled a flier out of her pocket.  I knew it must be important because it was nicely folded as opposed to the crumpled mess I usually receive.

“See, Mom!  It’s a camp for only girls!  Look at all the stuff I can do there!”  She eagerly thrust the flier at me.

“Hm.  How much do it cost?”

“Ok.  You’re going to France for two weeks without me so I just don’t think cost matters here, Ma.”

“Touche, young grasshopper.”  She was a smart one when it came to mom-guilt.  “I’ll tell your Dad about it tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get you signed up.”

“YAAAAAY!  Camp, camp, camp, camp!  I’m going to camp!”  And she skipped off to the treehouse singing her made up song.

When I finally pulled her away from the playground it was way past everyone’s bedtime.  We were still a little nervous after the break-in.  Since Lucian was still at work, Vi, Cerberus, I all crashed in my bedroom.


A few things changed recently.  For one, I got a pinboard.  Now I have my calendar at the ready.  No more surprise sleepovers for this mama.  Violet likes it because she can clip out recipes that she wants me to make.  I find this humorous since her own little play kitchen is RIGHT THERE under the pinboard.  We will have to have some cooking lessons.  Maybe camp teaches that?  Wishful thinking.

Also, I’m a brunette now.  I went into get my roots redone and my stylist said I had to give up the bleach.  My hair was nearly ruined.  So I had to choose to go dark or go bald.  I reluctantly chose dark.

When I told my stylist we were headed to the festival that afternoon, she demanded that I let her fix me up.  I still tipped her well but I was a little less than thrilled about my new, nearly-teenaged appearance.

After a quick brush out and a change of clothes, we hopped in the car and headed to the festival grounds.  Violet chattered away in the backseat.

“First we need to do water balloons.  Then maybe face painting.  And I’ll need a snowcone.  And we need to have lunch at the picnic grounds.”

When we finally found a place to park, Violet made a beeline for the water balloon arena.

“I’m gonna get you, Mom!  Stop making faces!”

And because I am Mother of the Year, I smacked Violet right in the gut with a water balloon.  Lucian laughed when Vi fell on her butt so naturally we are a great parenting team.

Violet finally got tired of getting beaned with water balloons so she and Lucian tried some soccer for awhile.  One of Lucian’s favorite hobbies is soccer, though he calls it football as the Europeans do.  It was cute to see him coaching Violet.  Soccer Dad in the making right there!

We had a bit of a late lunch since we were planning a late dinner at home before we launched our own fireworks.  Violet picked a spot for us in the picnic area and we unfurled our blanket.

“And, so, that’s why I need to take ballet when school starts, ok?”

“My goodness you have a lot of demands for a 12-year-old,” Lucian laughed.

“Well, it’s because I lack siblings.  So I have to do enough for like…five kids or something.”

“Dear Lord!  Violet if you think you are getting four siblings you are sadly mistaken.”

“We’ll see, Mom, we’ll see.”  And she got up and wandered away.

“Lucian, I swear we are not having four more children.”

“I dunno, Babe.  I like big families.”  He smiled at me with that glint in his eye.

“You all are conspiring against me.  I’m going to the tanning booth.  You go take a cold shower.  Jeez.”

Violet finally got her snowcone.

And I got one too.  I gotta admit.  I love me some snowcone.

Violet got busted big time when she stole all of the money out of some kid’s bake stand.  She very nearly lost out on the rest of our outing and ballet and camp.  However, she tearfully returned the money and apologized to the poor little boy.  We decided that she was sorry and embarrassed enough not to do it again.  We did leave the festival early anyway.

She was still annoyed with us when we stopped to see an early evening movie at the drive-in.  Violet refused to sit by us.  That was just fine by me, however.  She needed time to pout and think about what she had done at the festival.

When we finally got home, it was nearly time for the fireworks.  I quickly cooked up some burgers for us so we could eat before Lucian started the show.

After dinner, Violet and Cerberus played in the yard while Lucian put the finishing touches on the mortar arrangements.

Then we were all set!

“STAND BACK, VIOLET!  Cover your ears, everyone!”

It was a perfect way to end our summer day.

Thanks to Bmit for the following: