Chapter 4.40

Family adventures with Dani and crew.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Happy Birthday, Bee!

We are so in love with our little town.  Just down the street from our house is a little park that is hopping on long summer evenings.  Townsfolk show up to sell fresh produce from their gardens, couples dance while local bands play tunes, it’s magical, really.

Violet became a little entrepreneur in her own right.  She and Lucian built a little lemonade stand so she could earn some money.  Not only does she sell lemonade, but she also offers fruit juice and personal advice — for a fee.

I decided to take her up on some advice.

“So, Dr. Violet, what do you think I should do next?  I’m a doctor, I’ve got a busy private practice, what’s next for me?”

“Hmm.  Well, Mommy — er, patient — I think you should get married!”

“Married!?  Really?”  I had no idea she had even been thinking about my relationship with Lucian.  I’ll be honest, I don’t think about it often.  I’m too busy.

“Yes, you should get married.  And perhaps provide your daughter with siblings.  I do believe she gets lonely when you and your boyfriend work all the time.”  Vi smiled slyly at me from across the table.

“This is good advice.  I had no idea my daughter felt this way, Doctor.  I’ll talk to my boyfriend about this.  Also, I’ll have to talk to my daughter about possibly going to camp this summer so she won’t be so lonely.”

“HOORAY!” Vi jumped up from behind her lemonade stand and darted around the table to hug me tighter than she had in a long time.

“Oh no!  It’s raining!  Moooooooooooooooooooom!  Mom!  Mom!  MOM!”

“Violet.  I’m.  Right.  Here.”  Literally.  My darling daughter was holding court at the kitchen table while I cooked up crepes for breakfast.

“Mom, it’s raining.  We were going to go to the festival today!”

“Well, we could always go later in the summer.”

“Aw!  That sucks!”  Queen Violet plopped down on her royal behind.

“Well, your Dad was talking about going to the Family Fun Center that just opened but we can just hang out here and pout instead.”

Violet jumped up, “No!  I’m not pouting!  I, Queen Violet, deem this a good plan!  Now, deliver to me some royal breakfast!”

“Would you like to try that again, daughter?”

“May I please have some crepes, Mommy?”

After breakfast, Violet cleared the dishes and showered faster than I’ve ever seen.  Amazing what some motivation will do for a kid’s productivity!

We hopped in the car and headed to the new Family Fun Center.  It had everything a kid (and her parents) could want.  Skee-Ball, claw machines, skating, bowling, darts, karaoke, and the ever important bar — all in one convenient location!

We let Violet choose our activities once we arrived.  I’m still pretty much a kid at heart so I was up for anything.  Naturally, Violet chose Skee-Ball because she is my daughter and she knows that is the best arcade game.

Never one to let my kid win, I beat both her and Lucian by a mile.

“Daddy?  Can I have some money?  I gotta win this teddy bear.”

“Vi, it would probably be cheaper to just go to the store and buy one.”

“But we aren’t at the store, Daddy.  We are here and this is fun!”

Lucian sighed and handed over $20.  She didn’t win that teddy bear but while Vi and I went downstairs to bowl, Lucian dumped another $50 into the machine and won that damn teddy bear.

Violet had never been bowling before and to be honest she wasn’t that good at it.

I ended up bowling mostly alone since Violet decided that bowling was not really her cup of tea.

Instead, she roped Lucian into some karaoke.  They were adorable on stage together.  They were terrible but they put their heart and soul into their music.

After we exhausted ourselves at the Family Fun Center, we headed out to dinner.  There was a wonky little diner that opened up nearby.

It was eclectic for sure.  None of the tables and chairs matched but the food was delicious!  Violet filled up on cotton candy and popcorn so she busied herself with my  tablet while her dad and I chowed on burgers.

Poor Violet was forced to take another shower when we got home.  I lucked out when she let me read her a bedtime story.  We really wore the kid out today because she fell asleep before I was even halfway through the book.

She really thinks of herself as a big kid these days, and truth be told, she’s bigger than I realize.  However, she’s still small enough to fall asleep during bedtime stories and to have her Dad carry her to her own bed.

It’s been a crazy few months.  Everything that has happened with school, moving, starting our practice, and caring for our kid has really taken a toll on the relationship Lucian and I used to have.  Luckily, we were on solid footing to begin with and we are stronger than ever now.

I’d like to say that our night ended here, but unfortunately it did not.

All I can say is thank goodness for big dogs and burglar alarms.

The pesky thief didn’t get anything but a bite on the bum from a very loyal dog.

I don’t want you thinking that my family is all sunshine and roses all the time.  That’s hardly the case.

Today, I got home to find that Violet had not let Cerberus out to potty all day.  How did I know this Violet wondered?  Well, from the very large puddle of dog pee in my dining room, of course!

“Violet!  You have to be more responsible if you’re staying home alone!”

“But, Mooooom!  I was prepping for the sleepover tonight!  Remember?!”

Suffice it to say: I do not remember.  However, Violet believes that last week, I apparently agreed to a sleepover with nine 12-year-old girls.

The arrival of children proved Violet right.

When the kids starting showing up, I was a little overwhlemed.  I wasn’t entirely sure how Violet had managed to make so many friends so soon!  The look on my face pretty much sums up my feelings.

I did what good moms do during sleepovers.  I ordered some pizzas and made myself scarce.  That’s not to say I disappeared completely.  Violet is going to have way more oversight than I ever did but I can be totally cool about it.

I was a little worried that the kids wouldn’t sleep.  But by 11pm they were conked out in the backyard.  Mostly.

I peeked out the window to see Violet still wide awake, but she looked so happy and content.  I must be “momming” the right way.

As much fun as that sleepover was, I was happy to see the kids leave the next morning.

I’m going to need a calendar so this never happens again.

Chapter 4.39

We return to find out that much has changed for Dani since we last saw her!

Note from SweetPoyzin: Welcome back, Dani!

So much can change over the course of a few years.  After 8 years (though some days it felt like hundreds), I finally became a trauma surgeon.  Can you believe it?!  They let me operate on people now!

My spunky toddler is now a spirited 11-year-old.  She’s on the honor roll at school and she’s taken up playing the violin.  However, if you love me, please do not ask her to play the violin until we get some additional lessons under our belt.

After a residency in Twinbrook and a fellowship in Sunlit Tides, I got a job offer as Chief Trauma Surgeon in the sprawling town of Plum Grove.  After some negotiation, which included a job offer for Dr. Declan Hale, we packed up and headed across the country.  Luckily, we were able to set a start date for early summer so Violet wouldn’t miss year-end school activities with her friends.  It was obviously a job-match made in heaven.

We were even able to get our dream house after the hospital offered to pay our moving expenses.  With extra money for the down-payment we snagged this adorable 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home.  Turn left and the park is just a few blocks away, turn right and there’s the community pool and a dog park.

Aside from our jobs at the hospital, Lucian and I also started The Finley McNamara Institute for Brain Study.  My dad’s still fine, don’t worry.  I’d be lying though if I said that he didn’t inspire Lucian, Dr. Pagano, and I to delve deeper into the mysteries of the mind.

As a trauma surgeon, I see a great deal of brain trauma.  As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Lucian has seen some terrible things attack the brains of children.  Peter (Yes, he works with us.  No, mom doesn’t know) is still searching for treatments of dementia and other disorders of the adult brain.  I’m not saying we’ll make any huge discoveries here, but through our community lectures and studies, I’m hoping we can at least help Plum Grove.

Violet is such a trooper.  Lucian and I have been working some long hours to get things off the ground here.  She enrolled in some summer school courses and is often home alone after class.  She still manages to get her homework done without us watching over her.  Hopefully, things will calm down soon and we’ll be able to devote some time to a vacation.

A month after our move, we still hadn’t unpacked most of Violet’s boxes.  It was just a huge job.  Let’s be honest, kids have a lot of crap and it’s never more apparent than when you move.  Vi and I finally made a plan to tackle it one Saturday evening.

“Alright, where do you want the picture of your dad?”

“Ummm.  By the windows, please!”  Violet climbed up on her bed and looked at me.  “Mommy?  Will you tell me about my dad again?”

“Of course, sweetie.  You know I’ll tell you about him whenever you want.  What do you want to hear about today?”

“I dunno.  Just more about him I guess.”  She pulled her knees up to her chin and looked at me expectantly.

“Hmm, well.  You know he was an imaginary friend.  You actually look so much like your dad.  The only thing you got from me was your pointy ears.”

“Nuh-uh!  I got my green eyes from you!”

“You got those from your grandma, my mom.”

“Whatever.  Same thing.”  She rolled her eyes in mock exasperation and giggled.  “Was he nice?”

“Your dad?  He was very nice, actually.  And he really loved you.  Don’t ever doubt that he loved you, okay?”

“I know.”  Violet got quiet and I knew that there was something important she wanted to say.  “Um, Mommy?  Do you think it makes Daddy sad when I talk about my other dad?”

“Oh, goodness, no!  He knows that Oscar, your dad, was once part of our lives.  But Lucian, your Daddy, also knows that he’s here right now, whenever we need him.”

Violet sighed.  “That makes me feel so much better!  Oh no!  I forgot what time it is!”  She leaped off her bed and ran to find Lucian.  They have a standing video game date night on Saturdays.  Even Mom can’t stand in the way of that one.  I finished unpacking Violet’s toys while listening to the laughter drifting up the stairs.

I had to work the overnight shift and I poked my head in Violet’s room before leaving.  Cerberus was passed out next to Vi.  He’s never far from his little human.  At least I’ll never have to worry about her safety as long as he’s around.

Time Travel

So…time travel, anyone?

Hi all,

Just a quick heads up that I’ve got to scrap my Eternally Yours save.

Don’t panic!

I’ve got about 5 posts in the hopper for you guys.  However, I’m going to have to do some fancy footwork next weekend in order to get us where we need to be on the other side of University.

I’m not worried though.  This is nowhere near as bad as the hard drive crash that sent Penny to the hospital in a coma.  We’ll all come out alive this time…however there might be some delay while I work on Dani’s time machine.

Love always,

Chapter 4.38

Lucian pushes Dani to her limits.

Before we knew it, summer had ended and autumn was upon us.  We had little to no resolution in any aspect of our lives.  Mom still hadn’t decided if she wanted to meet Peter and Dad was still puttering along as usual.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do, Lucian.”  It had been another rough day at the art gallery.  “If I have to deal with one more entitled, wannabe artist I might explode!”

“Well, is this your dream job?”

“No, of course not.  It’s just a job I took when I moved here with Vi.  It didn’t require a degree or experience so it was perfect.”

Lucian carried over our dinner and served me a hotdog.  He was quiet for a moment before he finally smiled.

“What do you want to do with your life?  Even better, what did you want to do before you became Violet’s Mommy — back when you were just Danielle Jayne McNamara?”

I sighed.

“It’s stupid really.  I wanted to be a trauma surgeon.  This was before I even knew that my mom had been a top-notch doc in her day.  Once I heard her story it kinda made me want it even more, tradition I guess, but I’d already had Violet by then.”

“So go back to school and become a surgeon,” Lucian said matter-of-factly as he took a giant bite out of his hotdog.

“It’s not that easy, you know!”

“Why isn’t it?”

“Because I have to take an entrance exam and apply!  It’s probably past the deadline.”

“Maybe,” he said.  “But you don’t know that for sure.  And if it is, so what?  Apply anyway for next term.”

“Well, we don’t have the money.  We need both incomes.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it.  I make enough money to support us and pay for your classes.”  Lucian smiled wickedly.  “I can do this all day, Danielle.  There’s no valid excuse you can give that I can’t shoot down with logic and reason.  There is no good reason why you can’t and shouldn’t follow your dreams.”

I was struck with fear at the thought of going back to school, especially medical school, at this point in my life.

“I’ll think about it.  Someone will have to watch Violet.”

“I’m out of work most days by 2pm, Danielle.  Vi will be starting school soon anyway.  I’ll be here when she leaves and here when she gets back.  Go back to school, Babe.  You can do it.”

“I’ll think about it,” I sighed.  I wasn’t going to win this battle.

The only saving grace in my life right now was that Dad was no better or worse which was why I found it so odd when he showed up on my doorstep at 8pm one chilly night, arms full of notebooks.  I was certain he’d gone off the deep end.

I ushered him into the kitchen and he started spreading out his bundles.

“Sit, Dani.  We need to talk.”  He rifled around though his notebooks, looking for something.

“Uh, sure, Dad.”  I sat down across from him and eyed him carefully.

“Stop looking at me like I’m nuts, Daughter.  In fact, according to today’s entry, I’m quite lucid.”  He pushed the notebook over to me.  “Here, see for yourself.”

I started to read my dad’s journal:

“If you need a comparison,” Dad interjected,  “just flip through the pages.  I’ve been trying to keep detailed notes.”

I turned back a few pages to one with less writing:

“Daddy, what is all this?”  I was shocked and dumbfounded by all the notebooks, all the pages, that my dad had written.

“I’ve had an inkling for awhile that something wasn’t quite right in my old noggin.”  He smiled sheepishly and sighed.  “I wasn’t entirely sure but it felt like things were here some days and wavy the next.  So I decided to try and find out.”

I was still flipping through notebooks that went back years.  “Daddy, how long?  How do you remember to write this when some days you can’t even remember Mom?”

“I asked some geeks to set up a reminder system.  It sends a text message to my phone and it tells me exactly what to do.  The notebooks are in the same place and I date them on good days.  Some days are better than others and I remember what I am doing even when fuzzy.  Other days…well there are some blank pages in there.”

“Oh, Dad–”

“I’m forgetting more, Danielle.  The iffy notes and blank pages are becoming more frequent.  I’m going to transfer power of attorney soon.  I’m giving it to you.”

“Daddy, no!  You’re fine right now!  And what about Mom?”  I was on the verge of tears.  Why me?!

“Everyone thinks I’m too off my rocker to realize who my doctor is.  I know your mother’s past better than most, kiddo.  I’m not going to stand in the way of her future.”

We sat in silence while Dad’s words sat on the table between us.

“Does Mom know yet” I whispered.

“No, and don’t you tell her either.  Your mother and I will cross that bridge together when the time comes.”  He stood up and hugged me.  “I’m leaving these notebooks with you.  Maybe it will give the doctors a better glimpse at my head.  Maybe it will help them come up with a plan?”  He hugged me again.  “Hang in there, kiddo.  We’ll all be fine in the end.”

Late that night, Lucian and I dug deeper into my Dad’s stack of notebooks.

“Jesus, Dani!  There’s got to be thousands of pages here.  And they go back at least 10 years.  This is impressive for a man in the early stages of dementia.”

“Well, he was a doctor himself.  I guess that part of his brain never quite left.”

He wasn’t wrong though.  The pages were becoming more sparse with each passing month.  It would only be a matter of time before my Dad became a blank notebook.

Time trudges on despite personal issues.  Work still sucked but it paid the bills.

“Hey baby!”  Lucian was waiting for me with a glass of wine one particularly difficult day.  “I opened us a bottle of wine to celebrate.”

“Uh…celebrate?  What are we celebrating?”

“I got you an interview with admissions at the university.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?!  Why would you do that behind my back?!”  I stormed out of the room.

“Because you were never going to do it and you deserve to go to medical school.”  Lucian grabbed my arm and spun me toward him.  “Seriously, Danielle.  Give it a chance.  The school understands non-traditional students.  That’s why your meeting is at 7pm tonight.  I know you are scared but I wouldn’t be telling you to do this if I thought you couldn’t.”

“Fine,” I pouted.  “But you owe me a brownie after the meeting.”

After swearing up and down that he would give me a brownie, we piled into the car and headed to the University.

I had to take a painfully difficult placement test.

“Who really needs to know the answer to crossing the river with a wolf, a goat and a cabbage?”  I grumbled to myself.  Of course, Lucian overheard.

“The acceptance committee.  And don’t think I can’t feel you making faces at me!”

Turns out I did fine on the testing but it was going to take an extra year to finish my degree.  Apparently, art credits don’t transfer to medical school though I did try to argue that medicine was art.

“See, I told you it would be fine!”

“Is that like ‘I told you so’ only less offensive?”

“Shush and eat your brownie.  You have 5 minutes before you have to meet your new advisor and talk about a plan to get you that degree.”

I went to meet my advisor and she handed me a schedule.  It turns out I’m in Med School now based on stellar recommendations from Dr. Penelope McNamara, Dr. Peter Pagano, and Dr. Declan Hale.

We drove home in silence, mostly because I was in shock.  We weren’t home long though when Lucian was called to the hospital for an emergency.

By the time he got home and got to sleep, I was already studying for my first lecture.  I guess this is our life now.  I’m sure we’ll see each other in passing…I hope.

Medical School is going to keep me busy for a while.  See you on the flip side!

Note from SweetPoyzin: Sorry for the two-month-long hiatus between chapters — things got a little crazy.  Thanks for being patient, dear readers!

We’re going to give Dani a break for a bit so she can focus on medical school.  This will give us some time to hang around with our other favorite peeps.  I wonder what Penny’s been up to lately…

One final thank you to Ms. Addy Wilson for supply the entrance exam question and for nominating me for my Sunshine Blogger Award.  You are awesome.


Chapter 4.37

It’s one of those days.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Language warning.

The big day dawned over Salmon Woods.  Most people had no idea.  In fact, even most of the people who would be changed by today’s events didn’t know.

“Don’t you dare tell Dr. Pagano who I am and certainly don’t tell him who my mother is.”

“I won’t, Dani.  Relax.”

“I will do no such thing!  Today I’m finding out my father’s future and the guy who is going to tell me is the man my mother considers ‘the one who got away’ so don’t tell me to relax.”

Try as I might, I couldn’t relax.  Despite hardly sleeping, I was full of anxious energy.  I should have had Lucian cancel the appointment as soon as I knew who his expert was.  This was an epicly bad idea.  I pondered just how bad it was as I raked the sidewalk.  It was definitely one of those days.  Then it was time to go get Dad and the day went from bad to worse.

“Do I know you?”  In all the excitement, I had forgotten that Lucian missed the party and therefore knew absolutely none of my family members.

“No, sir, you don’t, but I’m dating your daughter so I’d love to get to know you.  I’d shake your hand but I’m driving.”

“Hm.  Well, you seem odd but if Ellie Jayne likes you then so be it.”

“Ellie Jayne?”  Lucian cocked an eyebrow at me through the rear-view mirror.

“A life time ago.  Very similar to Declan.”  I sighed and went back to staring out the window.  Unfortunately, we were meeting Dr. Pagano at Lucian’s office which was only a five-minute car ride.  Before I knew it we had arrived and I was about to come face-to-face with Mom’s Mr. Right so he could diagnose my dad with something bad.

Lucian had my back like a champ.

“We’re all set, Ms. McNamara.  Lucian sent your father’s records and a history to me via email so I can start chatting with your dad here right away.”  Dr. Pagano did appear to be as sweet as my mom imagined him to be.

“Oh, um ok?  Daddy?  I’ll be right outside.  Dr. Pagano is going to get to know you a bit.”  I choked back a sob and Lucian ushered me from the room and into his office.  It felt like we waited for years but it was only an hour.

Dr. Pagano came in and made himself at home behind Lucian’s desk.  It was obvious that he and Lucian were good friends given how quickly Dr. Pagano arrived, but today he was all business.

“Ms. McNamara, based on the cognitive tests that I just gave your father, it would appear that he is in the early stages of dementia.  I’m so sorry.”

“How can that be?!  My dad?  He’s so young still!”  Lucian grabbed my hand.

“Sometimes it just happens.  There’s so much we don’t know about the brain yet.  I’d like to see your father regularly to monitor his function and we’ll get him on some medication.  Is he married?”

“Uh, yes.  I — I’ll have to talk to my mom about everything but I’ll make sure he’s getting what he needs.”

“Good girl.  Lucian is a lucky man.  I’ll make sure to brief him on everything as well.  That way, if you have questions and can’t reach me, you’ll have the next best thing.  Do you have any questions now?”

I sighed.  “I don’t even know what to ask, Dr. Pagano.  I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.  This is a lot to process.  Take your father home and get some rest.  I’ll call you tomorrow to create our plan of attack.”

We all stood and shook hands.  Lucian and Dr. Pagano chatted quietly while I led Dad out to the car.  Since Owen was still in town, we dropped Dad off there so I could tell Owen we finally had some answers.  Then Lucian and I began and long, silent ride home.

“FUCK!”  We were all out on the patio enjoying the sunshine.  It was odd for Lucian to be outside in the middle of the day, but he was willing to take one for the team.

“Mommy say a bad word,” Violet giggled from her swing.

“Sorry, kiddo.”

“Sokay, mommy.  Are you sad?”

“I am, Beanie.  Mommy’s Daddy is sick.”  This was the first time that Beanie had asked me questions about my own feelings.  Perfect.  She could have picked a better time…like if I had stubbed my toe.

“Then my Daddy fix him.  Right, Daddy?”

“I’m going to try.  My friend will try too.”  Lucian squeezed me closer to him.

“They is a good friend, Daddy.”

“Oh shit.,” I looked at Vi, “Mommy didn’t say shit.”  I rolled over and looked at Lucian, “I have to talk to my mom before Dad gets home and starts chatting about Dr. Pagano.  What the fu – fudge do I tell her?”

“I think you just tell her, babe.”

“So like ‘the bad news is Dad has dementia but the good news is that he was diagnosed by the man you never stopped loving.'”

“Sure why not?  You’ve just got to start the conversation somewhere, Dani.”

So I called my mom and told her to meet me at the bakery.  I bought us a peach pie, Mom’s favorite, to share while we chatted.

“Act natural, Dani.  Get it together.”  I sat on the bench and talked to myself until I saw Mom pull up.

“Ok, Danielle, what’s wrong?”  Mom plopped herself down across from me.

“Whatever do you mean, Mother.”

“That is exactly what I mean.  Something’s up.  You’re acting too weird.  Weirder than when you were trying to hide your pregnancy.”

I should have asked Aunt Liv to do my dirty work again.  I let out a deep breath and inhaled.

Dad’s been acting really weird, Mom.  Everyone is concerned, especially Annie and I.  So today I took Daddy to the doctor.  And — well, Dad’s got dementia.”  Have you ever seen someone implode?  Like literally implode?  Life as they know it gets upended and they just get smaller because suddenly the burden is too big to bear?  That’s what happened to Mom right in from of my eyes.

“I knew he wasn’t entirely himself lately.  He made some odd decisions –”

“Mom, there’s more.  Dad’s doctor.  The guy who is an expert in this field.  It’s Dr. Pagano.”

“As in?”

“Yeah, Mom.  That Dr. Pagano.”  Before I could assess how she was, my mom jumped from the table.

“I have to go home now.”

“Mom, you need to sit.  You look pale.  Mom, sit!  MOM!”

“I’m fine.  Just leave me here for a few minutes.”

“Mom, it’s been ten minutes already.”  At least she was talking now.

“Hm, well.  I guess I should get up then?”  I helped her to her feet.  “Can I get a slice or five of that pie, Dani?”

“How about I just buy you your own on our way out?”

“Fair enough.”

In the meantime, we sat and ate some pie.

“He doesn’t know you’re my mom.  I didn’t tell him.”

Mom was quiet for a beat.  “How long have you known he was coming?”

“Yesterday.  Do you want to meet him?”

“I don’t know, Danielle.  What am I supposed to do now?  I was happy.  I was finally happy after all these years.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“I know, Mom.  I can’t promise we’ll be okay but we’ll get through this together.”

Note from SweetPoyzin: I know the end of this chapter might seem like I’m not taking the subject matter seriously.  That is not the case.  Dementia runs deep in my father’s genes and while he is not suffering any signs currently, that day will come no doubt.  In my own genes, is a terribly dark sense of humor bestowed upon me from my grandmother.  She never once felt sorry for her situation.  She laughed irreverently at every curve-ball.  The conversation between Dani and Penny is one I could see my grandmother and I having.  I sincerely apologize if my demeanor offends, but I cannot separate the writer from the characters when the subject is so personal.

Chapter 4.36

Dani and Lucian talk about their pasts and the future.

Warning: Language

Lucian had arrived home not long after I’d fallen asleep so I missed my chance to angrily accuse him of having an affair using a false name.  It was just as well since the truth was almost worse.

“And ever since my brothers and I escaped the fire that killed my mom, we’ve moved from town to town hiding out and changing our names.  We have to move every generation or so, people get suspicious when they remember seeing you hang out with their grandfather 60 years prior but you haven’t aged a day.  My brothers are here in town too.  Maybe you can meet them some day.  Don’t take it personally if they won’t meet you.  They are wary of mortals.”

“Wow.  Um?  Were you ever married?”

Lucian tensed beside me.  “Yes.  Her name was Bianca.  We lived in Florence near her family.  She –” he cleared his throat, “she died a long time ago.  She was mortal.  We had two children: Caterina and Giorgio.  Also mortal.  I haven’t allowed myself to get close to another mortal woman, or any woman really, since I lost Bianca.”

“Jesus, Lucian, I didn’t know.  Um…are you Declan or Lucian?”  I asked as I snuggled closer to him.

He paused before he answered.  “Right now, most people know me as Dr. Declan Hale.  However, I was born Lucian Orfeo in 1199.”

“You know, that date should phase me but it’s really not all that bothersome.  My great-grandma is a fairy after all!”

“So she’s older than me then?”

“Good Lord, no!  I’m just used to a wonky time line that’s all!”

“Huh, I’m older than your great-grandma.  Well, that’s a first for me!”  He pulled me to him and kissed me.  “I should have told you sooner about my past, Dani.  I’m sorry I kept you in the dark.”

“Shh…it doesn’t really matter,” I pulled away from his kiss.  “I knew you had something deep and dark inside you.  If I’ve only learned one thing from my mother, it’s that we all have our secrets.”  I kissed him again.  “Violet will be awake soon so we should make good use of the time we have now…”

“I meant to ask you how the party went!  Sorry, I would have asked sooner but lack of coffee and your distractions.”

I sighed.

“That good, huh?”

“Lucian, can we not do this?”  I slammed my coffee cup down on the counter and stormed out of the room.  I was not processing the news about my father all that well.

I slumped on the couch because sitting was too much work.  Lucian seemed to think that everything was not as ok as I was making it out to be.  Imagine that.

“Baby, come here.  What the hell happened last night?”

“My dad.  He’s — something is wrong with him.  Has been for a long time, I guess.  His brain.  I don’t know?”  I broke down in sobs while Lucian held me and whispered in my ear.

“Ok, ok.  Breathe, Dani.  What do you know?”

“At the party he made passes at Willow and Sonia.  Um, and my parents had to move out of their house because of a fire.  My mom tried to make it out to be nothing but Annie said Dad was storing newspapers in the oven because he forgot where the recycling can was.  THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE ONE!”

“Ok, did he fall or get hurt?”

“He kissed my brother’s first wife, like 16 years ago.  I guess Aiden got pretty mad at him and punched him out.  My dad — he hit his head on the pool deck.  Do you think it’s brain damage?  I mean, is he hurt or just a terrible cheating jerk?”  I had an idea.  “LUCIAN!  You’re a neurologist!  Will you look at him!?”

“Oh, honey.  I can’t.  I’m a pediatric doctor.  I could look for major brain anomalies but I won’t know what to look for on a deeper level.”

“Well, bummer.”  I sighed.  Lucian scooped me up into his lap and kissed me.

“Hold on now.  I know someone who can help.  He’s my mentor and I was gonna have him meet you anyway.  He’s the whole reason I became a doctor.  I’ll make a call.  Go outside and play with Violet.  Breathe, Dani.  It’ll be fine.”

“Good news, ladies!  Your dad has an appointment tomorrow.  Once we know what we are fighting, we can plan our attack!  We will make this plan over dinner at the Flying Fish.”

“Up!  Up!  Fly me, Daddy!”  Violet rushed over and grabbed Lucian by the arm.  This daddy thing was new.

“Daddy, eh?  Alright, we can do that.  Hang on Miss Thang!”  I smiled and thought we could certainly call Lucian Violet’s daddy.

“One thing though, honey.  He’s gonna regale you with stories about ‘the patient that started it all!’  Humor the old man, ok?”  Lucian started speaking with a mock gravelly voice as he waved his arms around for emphasis flinging Violet around as he did it.  “It was a dark and stormy night.  Literally!  That’s what caused the crash, ya know.  Sad story really, a newlywed — a brilliant neurosurgeon in her own right — and her husband.  He died instantly but she held on.  Hardly knew what she looked like thought the swelling.   She was pregnant but lost the baby due to the trauma.”

“Oh, fuck.  I know this story.”

“Everyone thinks they know the story, Dani.  They never do.”  He plopped Violet on the ground and stared at me, hands on hips, clearly annoyed that I’d broken into his scathing rendition.

“Let me try.  She was in a coma, a deep coma.  Very little brain activity.  They were sure she would die but since she didn’t need a ventilator they kept treating her.  And then one day she just…woke up.  She was completely fine except for the shock of being in a coma for 18 months.  She checked herself out of the hospital, which I believe was called Whispering Pines, and was never heard from again.”

“Uh…yeah actually.  Dani, how do you know that story?”

“Because my mom, Penny McNamara, was once Dr. Penelope Sutton.”  Lucian just stared at me wide-eyed and open mouth.  “Which can only mean that your mentor is the doctor who treated my mom.  What’s his name, Lucian?”

“Peter.  Dr. Peter Pagano.”

Welp…shit’s about to get real.

Chapter 4.35

A house party sees the return of all our favorite characters!

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.”

“Ok, Declan.”

“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.

Uh huh.

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.

Chapter 4.34

House hunting with Dani and Lucian!

“So we’re all set to move in together?  After we find a house, I mean?”  Lucian and I had been trying to sort out the details of this whole moving thing for about a month but we were finally on our way.

“Yeah, I think so.  I mentioned it to the girls last week and they almost seemed relieved that I was leaving!”

“Don’t take it personally, Dani.”

“Pfft!  I’m not.  I think we were all getting too big for our compound.  It’s probably a good thing the sister wives are divorcing.  Maybe that way we still have a chance to be friends in the long run.”  I chuckled to myself.  Lucian grimaced but it was unclear if it was due to my poor pool skills or my bad jokes.

“If I sink this winning shot, can we agree to never speak of you, Willow, and Sonia as sister wives again?”  Well, now I know it’s not my pool skills.

Now that we had Sonia and Willow on board, Lucian and I just needed to find a house.  We narrowed our choices down to our three favorites and decided to tour them after sunset.

This pretty home features a parking pad in the front.  The main level has an eat-in kitchen, master suite, office and an additional half bath.  The living room has a fireplace and walks out onto the back deck with a lower patio.  The upper level is a large loft bedroom with full bath.

Beautiful two story home with a backyard for entertaining.  There is a pool and a bar.  This house has a two stall garage as well.  The main floor has a formal dining room, full bath with laundry, office and living room with fireplace.  Upstairs is a rec room with fireplace, two full baths and 3 bedrooms.

Historic home!  Open living room and eat-in kitchen on main level.  Two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.  2-car garage with extra room for workbench.  Fenced-in backyard with patio, grill, and playground.  Main floor laundry and half-bath off the kitchen.  Lake view!

It was well after dark before we made it to house #3.  Luckily, it was already vacant so we didn’t look too creepy wandering around the property after dark…or maybe we looked more creepy?

I was immediately won over by the view from the patio!

The only real problem was the view on the way to the patio.  Historic must be a marketing term for dated.  It would probably be more appropriate to say that the 1960s vomited into a 1950s tornado that rolled through the house.

“This is the house, Lucian!  This is our house!”

“Danielle, are you high?  You must be having hallucinations brought on by the wacky walls in there.  We cannot buy this house.”

“It’s a fixer-upper, yes, but it has so much potential!  It’s only $30,000!”  I was ready to beg on my knees if needed.

“$30,000 to start!  It’s going to need insane amounts of overhaul.  It’s going to be $250,000 by the time we finish this nightmare!  And it has concrete stairs with no railings.  That’s dangerous for Violet.”

“Please?”  I batted my eyes and did my best pout.

Lucian threw his hands into the air, clearly exasperated by my adorableness.

“Fine.  But I’ll get you back for this!”

“Thank you!”  I squealed and kissed him right there on our soon-to-be doorstep.

We were approved for the home loan and closed on the house a week later.  It turns out that Lucian is a hardcore bachelor despite being a famous brain surgeon.  His furniture is total crap and mine’s not much better.

It’ll take some time but I’m sure we can make it work.  I hope we can make it work.  God help us.

Oh, and he did get me back almost immediately.  He bought Violet a dog.  I’m fairly certain he’s not evil but I can’t be 100% sure.  What did my boyfriend name the puppy he got for my daughter?  Go ahead and guess, I’ll wait…


Yeah, as in the dog that guards the gates of Hell.

Beanie adores the little beast though so who am I to complain?  I just don’t want to find that dog in the dark.  I bet its eyes glow…

Chapter 4.33

Dani plays the dating game!

Ahem…well, as you can see, Lucian and I did have more than one date.

The only trick for dating a vampire?  Lots of night outings and indoor activities.  That sun is a killer…literally.

Turns out, we were a pretty good fit for each other.  He’s goofy, brilliant, sweet, sarcastic — well he’s kinda my perfect match, I guess.  Not to mention the fact that he’s great with kids and Beanie LOVES him!

Anyway, this whole dating thing went on for awhile (be thankful that I have the common sense not to show you all the scrapbook pages I’ve made).

My dates tended to be on-the-cheap (even though I knew he was going to be a gentleman and pay for me).  Lucian, however, knows how to treat a lady!  Seriously — I didn’t even know fancy piano bars were a thing anymore!  It was some time after he asked me to dance in the middle of the restaurant that I lost my head and my heart.

“Move in with us, Lucian.”

“Uh, you mean into the house with you and the two other women and the three babies?”

Oh crap.  I forgot about the team.

It was easy to forget though.  Willow was making a fortune selling her work at the consignment shop.  I’d even grabbed a few of her best pieces and sold them at the gallery.  She was on her way and needed very little financial support from the group anymore.

The same was true for Sonia, as well.  She was quickly becoming a star children’s author.  Her books were selling like crazy.  And not just in Salmon Woods but around the world!  We were all getting too big for our little group.  Sonia and I bicker constantly and Willow desperately tries to keep us sane.

Of course, the real reason we grouped up in the first place is for the kids.  We needed a support system and they needed mommies who were not losing their marbles as single parents.  Violet and the boys have such a wonderful relationship.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.

Lucian pushed a stray hair back from my face.  “Hey, don’t worry about it.  We’ll work it out.”

And I believe him.

Notes from SweetPoyzin:

Dani and Lucian’s Dinner and a Movie date was to Drive In Old Fashioned Style by Bmit.

The bakery visited in the Art Class Date is Cocoa Lush by SweetPoyzin.

For full sized images from Dani and Lucian’s dates, visit the Flickr album.


Chapter 4.32

Dani gets two unexpected phone calls.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Sorry for the delay.  Enjoy!

A few months had passed since I started my job at the art dealer and I’d been promoted a couple of times.  Now I got to choose the art that we were to sell.  Oddly enough, it was pretty easy because most people who think they are artists are not.

I was pondering over our latest batch of submissions when the receptionist hollered at me from the lobby.  “DANIELLE!  TELEPHONE!”


Dani!  It’s Willow.  There’s been an accident!  Sonia is with Violet at the hospital.  Hurry!”

I didn’t need specifics.  The hows and the whys and the whens and wheres don’t matter when you get that call.  I jumped in my old van and floored it.  I still barely hit 50mph, but that was probably a good thing given my frayed nerves.

The front desk ushered me to the pediatric ward and I burst into the room.

“SONIA!  WHERE’S MY KID!?”  She didn’t answer, just tilted her head to the right.  I turned around and saw…

Violet.  She was fine.  In fact, she was full of giggles while playing peek-a-boo with this weird ass nurse.

“BEANIE!  Oh, baby, I’m sorry!”  I gave her what must have been close to a thousand kisses.  I kissed her sweet little face until she actually had the audacity to push me away!  “Nurse, could you get the doctor?  I’d like to talk to him.”

“Ahem, well, er, actually, uh.  I’m the doctor, Mrs. Friend.”

Sonia brought my baby to the hospital and let this crazy ass, long haired, tattooed, scarred, fanged man touch my baby.  Good grief.

“I’m sorry, you just–”

“Don’t look the part.  I know, I get that a lot.”  He smiled at me with those god-awful fangs.

“Uhm, right.  Also, I’m Ms. McNamara.  Vi’s father isn’t in the picture.”  Why I felt the need to insert that into the conversation I’ll never know but there it was, out in the open.

“My apologies, Ms. McNamara.”  He smiled again.  “Anyway, I’m releasing Violet.  Her scans and x-rays came back clear and her blood work didn’t raise any concerns either.  She does appear to have a cookie addiction but in the grand scheme of things, she’s completely fine.”

“Thank you, Doctor…uhm?”

“I’m sorry.  I’m Dr. Hale.  You can call me Lucian if you’d like.”

“Dr. Hale.  Thank you.  We’d better go now.”  I almost added before I say something stupid again but I caught myself just in time.

After we were safely out of Dr. Hale’s earshot, I tore into Sonia.

“What the hell did you think you were doing!?  Taking my kid to that man!?”

“Uh, your kid fell down the stairs and smacked her head pretty hard on the floor!  I had to take her somewhere and it turns out Dr. Hale is a pretty famous pediatric brain surgeon so we won the lottery on that one!”

“Did you see him though!”  I screeched back.

“Ok, well next time your kid gets hurt I’ll just wait until I can get a look-book of area doctors.  Then I’ll wait longer for you to pick one out who matches your weird standards!”

We went back and forth like this the entire drive home.  Willow literally had to jump in between the two of us or we might have resorted to blows.

I came to my senses later that night and resolved to apologize to Sonia.  My emotions got the better of me and I took my fear of losing Violet out on Sonia.  I spent the evening with Vi just to put my fears at ease.  It turns out the weirdo doc was right.  She’s fine.

Still, I couldn’t bear to part with her and I let her sleep on the sofa while I cleaned the house a bit.  At 9:30 my phone rang and I stepped outside so I wouldn’t wake Vi.


“Uh, um, yeah.  Oh, it’s Dr. Hale.  I was, uh, calling to check on Violet?”

“Oh!  She’s fine, Dr. Hale!  She played all evening and then fell asleep on the couch.”

“Good!  Um, don’t let her fall off the couch I guess.”

“Of course not!  I’m watching her now.”  This was a weird call to say the least.

“Ok.  So, that’s not why I called.  Um, jeez this is dumb I could lose my job over this.  Uh, do you maybe want to go on a date?”

I didn’t even know how to answer that.  So I told him I’d get back to him.  Which was a brilliant answer.  Oy.

The next morning over breakfast PB&J (don’t judge, we’re still squeaking by), I asked the girls what they thought.

“Do it.”  Sonia chimed in.  “I mean, I watched the whole awkward scene yesterday.  I was worried I’d have to cover Vi’s eyes while you two went at it on the counter.”

“Wow.  Thanks for that vision, Sonia.”  Willow grimaced, “but if it’s as bad as she says it is, then yeah, you should meet up with him.”

I decided to tell him to meet at the arcade.  It was literally across the street from the house so Sonia and Willow could “rescue” me if the date was awful.

It wasn’t awful at all.  In fact, I made a scrapbook page like some lovesick tween.  This would be totally normal if I actually scrapbooked.

He’d better call because if I spent $150 on scrapbook materials and this is the only page I make, I’m gonna be seriously pissed.

Lucian Hale is modeled off of bmit’s creation Derek Hale.  I changed his hair, clothes, occult status, and gave him the scar.  Many thanks to Bee for allowing me to modify her sim!