I made it as far as my bedroom door, before I completely broke down. My father disapproving of each heartbroken sob that escaped my throat. It wasn’t fair! This was why I didn’t want to get attached! Why!! Why did do this to myself! Poor Merlot, I just wanted hug him. Hold him till the hurt would go away, but there was nothing to be done. All I could do was stand by and watch.
He was my family! The one person I had ever felt close to, and now I was left with no one again. I mentally kicked myself for considering my day bad before. This was a nightmare and I had no way to wake up. No pink princesses, no more stories. I was alone, I would never make another friend. I vowed to it. Losing them was way too hard, and I couldn’t go through it again. Ever.
There was no comfort in knowing I might see him again. It wasn’t the same! It wasn’t fair, but really, when is life ever fair.
The first year, was just like we had promised. Writing all the time, several phone calls a week. The second year, the phone calls were less frequent, and even when I tried, I usually ended up leaving a message that was never returned. I became resentful, refusing to write, waiting till he wrote me first. It was one of many mistakes I would make. Soon there were no letters, no calls, no contact at all. I could feel a bitterness beginning to make its home in the already dark corner of heart.
My nineteenth birthday came and went, and it had been over a year since we had spoken. Obviously I was never adopted, and even when I found myself free to go home, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I was scared. Scared of what I might find there. My father haunted its ground, and I knew it. Nothing had been touched since our departure. No one had ever set foot on the grounds since that awful sunny afternoon.
I just wan’t ready. Not yet.
What most other kids found as hard work, or boring chores, I found as a great relaxing way to ease my mind. Clean was always better and poor Gramma Mallow was getting old. So basically if I didn’t do it, it wasn’t going to get done. Most days I could be found, wiping down counters, making sure there were no mystery dishes hidden in any of the room upstairs. Daily maintenance to help keep our home in tip top shape. After Indy and Andy were adopted, by two sperate families thank goodness, the home went through it’s dryest spell yet. Which I suppose was a good thing. All the children around had homes, but it only increased my isolation, since Gramma Mallow was spending more and more time in her room.
It was a Friday afternoon, when I received a surprise visitor. I was busy as usual cleaning up. Dropping a few things into the dishwasher, when I heard a voice, much deeper and smoother than anyone I knew personally. “Hey you.”
Out of instinct, I shut the dishwasher closed, came to my feet, and without even looking started to berate the strange intruder for his lack of manners. “Look I don’t know where you come from, but it is proper etiquette to use the- Merlot?”
Even after he affirmed my question, it was still hard to grasp that it was him. He had grown up so much. A handsome young man now stood before me. For the first time in many years, I could feel a genuine smile trying to stretch across my usual scowl.
“What are you doing here?!”
“I just got my license!” He grinned, holding up the paperwork to prove it.
I took the paper, which I assumed he wanted me to do, and read it over. “96 out of 100. Not bad at all. Better than me… though I have yet to take it.”
“It was super easy.”
“You drove all the way here from Fondant Fields?”
“Well yeah, this is the first place I’ve gone. I had to come see you.”
I handed the paper back. “You came all this way to see… me?”
“Of course! We haven’t seen each other in forever and now that I can come to you. What would stop me?”
“I hand’t really thought of that.”
Merlot took off to the fridge, swinging the door open wide. “Man I’m starving. Gramma Mallow got any thing good to snack on?”
“Not really.” I said gravely. “Gramma Mallow isn’t cooking much these days.”
“Oh… well let’s go get something then! I’ll drive.”
“Haha alright. Let me just do a couple things.”
We hopped in his car, and drove out to the diner across town. It was a comfortable ride, he was a skilled driver, so I was relieved to find, that I didn’t have to resort to putting permanent nail marks on his dash. You never know what you are going to get, when you jump in the car with a newly licensed teenage driver. Ride at your own risk.
Lunch was decent. For greasy diner food anyways. Not my favorite, but lately pickings were slim and I wasn’t that great of cook back at home.
“So then he slipped! Fell face first into the trashcan! It was classic!! Hahahaha”
“Ah, yes that sounds most amusing.”
“It was. It was.”
We started to head back to the car, when he stopped me. “Hey Victoria, I wanted to ask you something.”
“I wanted to know if you wanted to come back to Fondant Fields with me. You know, for the weekend.” He was slowly nodding his head up and down, some sort of silly, mind trick to get me to say yes.
“Oh, I don’t know.”
“We have a room all set up. Auntie Clarette is looking forward to it! Pleaseeeeee?”
He batted his eyelashes and I pursed my lips in reply. “Alright, but I need to go back to the house to get a few things.”
“Woo! Let’s go!” He cheered dangling his keys above his head, already running to the car. Silly boy…
“Man, nothing really changes around here does it?” Merlot asked, making himself comfortable on my bed.
“Not really no.” I was working on gathering a few things for the trip, trying to decide what to bring. I wasn’t very keen on leaving Gramma Mallow alone, but I assured myself she would be fine for the weekend.
“Oh you should bring pants or something warmer. Fondant Fields isn’t nearly as nice as here. It gets pretty cold at night.” He warned as he took hold of the bar underneath the top bunk, and pulled himself up into a half chin up.
“Very well. Slacks it is.” I closed the top drawer and opened the bottom one. Took out a couple pairs of slacks, and threw them with the other pile of clothes I had set aside. Packing them all into my carry on, I threw the bag over my shoulder.
“Ready!” As I’m ever going to be…
We were both greeted with open arms, by his aunt the moment we stepped in the door. Her heartwarming smile was infectious, and I found my own mouth trying to smile just as wide, to match her ferocity. “Hello dear! Oh, I am so glad you could make it! Come in! Come in! Merlot dear, why don’t you take her things to your room.”
“Sure!” Merlot grinned, snagging my bag off my shoulder, zooming up the stairs.
Clarette swooped her arm in mine and pulled me a little further into the house. “Now dear. You must tell me how you’ve been. It has been far too long.”
“Well… I just turned 19.” I had nothing else I could think of…
“Berry side layer, say it isn’t so! My you were just a girl, the last time I saw you.”
“Yeah, it has been a while…”
“So what have you been doing with yourself?”
“Well, I am thinking about going back to school. Getting a business degree.”
“Ohhh well, that sounds just delightful!”
“Back!” Merlot exclaimed dropping right down next to me with an exuberant hop.
“Wonderful dear! Why don’t you show our guest around the old place. Hmm?”
“Right this way madam.” He winked, throwing out his arm, for me to take. I was amused, so I played along. “Why thank you good sir.”
“So this is our room. Auntie Clarette, put a spare bed in here, so we could share a room, just like the old days! So what do you think?”
“Wow, it sure is… purple.”
“Yeah! Isn’t this cool! It will be just like it used to be.”
I surveyed over the room. Purple wallpaper, quilting, pretty much everything was some shade of purple. Some so bright, I swear I could feel my eyes bleeding. For some reason my eyes wanted to open wider, and that only made it worse. Merlot seemed perfectly content, so I left my comment on the decor as stated above.
A stiff chill ran up my back, causing me to clutch my arms for a bit of warmth. “Where can I change? You’re right, it is kind of chilly here.”
“Oh right through that door.” He stopped. “Or I can just go downstairs. You stay. I’ll go.”
“See you downstairs!
With that he closed the door behind him, leaving me in the putrid purple room. I reminded myself it was only for a couple days, as I slipped into something warmer.
“Wow that is a big house.”
“Does someone live there?”
“No one knows.”
“No one knows?”
“Well… someone must, but I have no clue who. No one ever comes in or out. And it’s pretty heavily gated, so you can’t really get up there to have a look around.”
“It is…Rumor has it a crazy old woman lives up there, but no one can prove it and no one has ever seen her… Now come on! There is way more interesting stuff to show you than this dusty old house!!”
In true “teenager with a car” fashion, Merlot wanted to take me all over town. Show me around Fondant Fields. Since I had never been there, I looked forward to seeing what it had to offer. He tried to find all the places I would find interesting, but in the end that left him completely bored out of his mind. While I was fascinated with the art in the local gallery, he was about ready pass out on the floor from sheer boredom.
“This is really interesting.” He yawned, looking at his watch.
“These are some amazing pieces. I have never seen anything like this.” I held out my hand, pointing to the canvas. “See that mark there? It’s some sort of artist insignia, yet it’s not.”
“Oh uh huh, yeah, that’s… great.”
“No… what would ever make you think that.”
“How about you pick the next place.”
Well, I was thinking we could run up to the city! I here Briocheport is totally crazy!! And with you going, I think Aunt Clarette would be willing to let us. What do you say?”
“Have I ever told you no yet?”
“Well, yeah.” A cunning grin curled my lips. “Let’s do it!”
The sun was just far enough down in the sky, that all the lights, as far as the eye could see, were on, welcoming us into the city.
“Wow.” The light flashed past my window, and I could barely take in all that I was seeing. I had never been to the city before. Let’s face it, I had never left Sugar Valley before.
“Welcome to Briocheport.” he smiled. A smile, that came off as more of a smirk. A smirk like, this wasn’t his first time in the city.
“You’ve been here before.” I gasped.
“I may or may not have borrowed my aunts car one night.”
“Merlot, you’re terrible.”
“You know it.” He chuckled, sticking his tongue half way out, playfully biting it with his front teeth. “Now let’s go see what we can get into!”
The night was filled, debauchery and all kinds of other nonsense. I was definitely out of my element, but even I have to admit it was fun. He some how managed to get me up for some karaoke, even though I am probably the most tone deaf person on the planet, and I didn’t put up too much of a fight over it all. I was laughing so hard I was crying and I was feeling more at ease, than I had…ever. The city is truly beautiful and we saw so much of it, I was just in utter awe the whole time. A night I would definitely remember for a long time.
“We’re lost aren’t we?”
“No. Well maybe.”
“I’m pretty sure we are lost.”
“I can find it, I just need a second to think.”
“We’re not even on the road anymore.”
“I know. Just give a minute here.”
I leaned my head against the seat and closed my eyes. We had pulled over after a small “short cut” ended up getting us so lost, we didn’t know which side was up. We couldn’t even locate a main road. Just trees, darkness and an array of bushes, that had a tendency to scrape against my car door, as we passed.
Merlot drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Maybe if we try up that little hill.”
“Worth a shot. Don’t really want be stuck out here all night.”
“Okay.” He put the car back into drive and we slowly moved across the rocky road, my teeth chattering, head bobbing the entire way. The brights were only able to shine along the road in front. It was a pitch black night and it made for even rougher driving conditions. We finally got up over the hill and my entire lurched forward, ramming myself against the seat belt, when a heavy footed Merlot, slammed on the breaks.
“Do you realize what this is?!?!”
“No? What is it?”
“THIS!!! It’s the park! Victoria we found it!”
“What?” I wasn’t getting it. Of course I wasn’t, I had never seen it, I had no clue what it looked like. I Only knew what he had told me about the swing and flowers, the only thing missing was his little pink princess. A thought, which made me want to gag. Why did I ever read him that stupid story…
Before I had a chance to say more, he was unbuckling his seat belt and jumping out of the car. “Merlot wait!”
“It’s real! It’s real! I knew it had to be!”
The headlights shone bright upon the hidden park. Small cherub statues adorned the odd placed swing. “Who would put this way out here in the middle of no where?” I asked as I came up beside an overly ecstatic Merlot.
“I don’t know!!” He laughed, still bouncing up and down. Would have sworn their were springs in his sneakers. “So if this is real, maybe that means she is real too!? WHOA!? WHOA?! HAHAHAHAH!”
“Take it easy Merlot, it’s just a swing in the middle of a weird park.”
“Ah you don’t get it.” He grinned, waving his arm my way. “I just can’t believe it! Hah! Amazing!”
Once he had found his dream park, he didn’t want to leave it. Well, I didn’t want to spend all night in a creepy park, so I made him a deal. We stay for an hour or so and then we try to figure out how to get home. He had no problem with our agreement, so he ran back to car, to turn the head lights off. Just what we would have needed, run the battery down and be stuck. No thanks…
We found a nice place in the grass and settled in, he was still mindlessly chattering about how cool it was and I was mindlessly wishing we could go home. There was a nice view for stargazing, and I found myself quite interested in the constellations that could be seen from my comfortable place on the grassy knoll.
“Since your aunt is your real aunt… Does she know what happened to your mother?”
Every movement beside me stilled, he wasn’t even breathing anymore.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. I was just curious.” I added trying to smooth over my obvious intrusion.
Another small pause before. “I guess I got loose one night. Snuck out of our small little shack and out into the Twizzlerbrook swamp. No one knows what actually happened, when I disappeared, but my mother went looking for me. She looked everywhere. Her flashlight was old, and only lasted an hour or so, but she kept looking anyways. She went way too far out, deep into the bayou below town, got caught in the mud, and was sucked in. It took weeks for anyone to find her, and when they did, my poor grandmother, couldn’t take it. She weeped for days, swearing it was her fault. She should have stopped her, warned her, but she couldn’t. That is not fates design, or some other strange mutterings. The townsfolk didn’t really hold an old gypsy woman’s words for much value. Even though half of them had come to see her on at least one occasion, maybe more. One day, her heart couldn’t take it anymore. I guess losing me and my mother was just one straw too many… So unlike you, I actually did kill my mother.”
I leaned over onto my side, propping myself up onto my elbow. “Now just a minute. Merlot you can’t blame yourself for that. You were just a baby. There is no way, you can pin that on yourself. It was a terrible accident. Nothing more.”
I don’t think he was sure how to reply. You could see, the emotions raging through him, even without saying a word.
He was silent and still for several more minutes after his sad tale. I had this eerie flashback, when I was telling my story. It didn’t make things any easier.
“I really want to thank you….For every thing. You have seen me through a lot, and I really appreciate that. I know I was a pain at first, but you never gave up on me. I wouldn’t even have found this place, if it wasn’t for you. So thank you. I mean it. Thank you for always being here.” He leaned over and planted a small kiss on my cheek.
As sad as it sounds, it was my first kiss of any kind. Well since my mother… I reached up and touched my cheek pulling my hand away. Looking at my fingers, as if I expected to see it on my fingertips. “We’re family. Of course I will be here. Always.”
We did eventually find our way home, swooping into our beds about 4:30 in the morning. Aunt Clarette was not amused, but when we explained how turned around her got, she lightened up a bit. The rest of the weekend was rather uneventful in comparison. We decided we had enough excitement, and spent our last evening, watching movies and stuffing ourselves on all kinds of insanely fattening foods. It was pretty glorious.
Monday after school, Merlot took me back home. He promised his aunt he would come straight home, so he dropped me off at the home and I waved him on, till he was out of sight. Ughhh now to get out of these pants, I thought to myself as I headed inside. It was fun, but home was definitely calling to me.
It was probably a couple hours after I had returned home, that I realized how quiet the house was. There was no noise at all, anywhere. The only sound to be heard was the gentle tick tock from the large grandfather clock downstairs. Something in my stomach sensed something was wrong, but my mind and my heart, didn’t want to beleive it. I searched through every room, praying I would find her, sitting in a rocking chair, or perhaps outside in the garden.
When I first walked up to her room, I couldn’t bring myself to turn the knob. I shook my head. “She’s fine. She’s just napping. That’s all.”
I finally took a deep enough breath that would allow me to let myself inside.
The room was still, so still. She was sleeping peacefully on the bed. I breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh you’re just napping. You scared me half to death!”
She didn’t move. I stepped closer, watching and waiting for her shoulder to rise and fall with her breath. It never did. “Gramma Mallow?”
They said she went swiftly. No pain or struggle, she just drifted off to sleep. None of their reasoning’s helped to lessen my guilt. My heart was aching to get out. How could I leave her!? We might have been able to save her, if I had been there? I lost a piece of my heart that day. The only sort of mother I had, and now she was gone. I took refuge on my bed for several hours, I didn’t know what else to do. I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. I wished for anyone to come and rescue me. I didn’t want to be alone, for the first time it was too much to bear.
“I’m sorry Victoria. I have no authority to change their decision.”
“But this is my home?!”
“I understand that, but this is not how things work. Gramma Mallow was slipping deeper into debt, but felt to guilty to ask you to go home.”
“But I can’t! I can’t go back there! Don’t you understand!?”
I could barely breathe. I was so angry, I wanted run her head through the glass window behind me. I couldn’t go home. I just couldn’t. How could no one understand! I gritted my teeth. “When?”
“You have two weeks, but the sooner the better. I am terribly sorry Victoria.”
“Whatever.” I growled. “You don’t care. You say you do, but I know better. Just get out! I’ll be gone by tomorrow.”
“Very well dear. Goodbye.”
I walked away with no reply. If I had, I probably would have gotten even nastier. I went back to my room and slammed the door.
“I have to be out by tomorrow.”
“What am I supposed to do? They can’t expect me to go back there?”
I started to consider what I might find there and my breath quickened , my finger tips started to tingle, I clutched the clothing around my chest. “What am I supposed to do?” I just kept asking the same question over and over again.
“I don’t know, but we will figure it out. Okay?” I looked up to find those purple eyes bearing down on me. I ran across the room and threw myself into his arms. Sobbing so deeply I could barely stay on my feet. “I’m scared Merlot! I don’t want to go back there?!”
“I know, but what if I went with you?”
“You would do that?”
“We’re family right?”
“Yeah.” I smiled with a sniff as I wiped my nose.
“Let me call my Aunt and let her know I am going to be staying here tonight.”
“No! No need to thank me. I’ll be right back.”
“I can’t do this.”
“You’re doing fine.”
“It’s too hard.”
I reached out for the frame. My fingers graced its edges, before running them over my mothers cheek. “She always had the most beautiful smile. Even when she was sad, she had this way of putting on the most believable smile. I always hoped I would inherit that from her, but I didn’t. I will always look like my father. Ugly.”
“You are not ugly. Don’t say that.”
“Heh. It’s true. I know it.”
“You have a beautiful heart.”
I snorted. “That is definitely not true. I am just like my father. I feel it, all the time. One day it will consume me.”
Merlot placed his hand on my shoulder. “It will not. Don’t say that. It won’t. You’re not. You are a good person Victoria.”
I picked up the frame, squeezing it close to my supposed beautiful heart. “I hope you’re right.”
“Once you have successfully spent the night in this big scary house. You have pretty much conquered everything. So, tell me, what are your plans after that Miss Bitters?”
“Probably go back to school I guess. Try and get what I need to transfer over to the Briocheport state university.”
“Briocheport? But that’s so far!?”
“Yeah, but I can’t support myself here, with no furthered education, besides it will give you a chance to see the city again right?”
“Yeah, I guess so. You gonna be okay, if I actually fall alseep?”
“I think so. Gonna go see your princess?”
*Yawn* I sure hope so.”
The next two years, were a whirlwind of activity. I found myself constantly bogged down with course work, my part time job and any other mundane maintenance to be done around the house. This sadly left me little to no time for socializing. Merlot and I would call and chat briefly here and there, but it would be months at a time before we would actually see one another. I promised during my next break, that I would make it a point to come out to see him, but he assured me, that it would be no problem for him to make the trip out to me.
So the next break to come down the pike, I was sure to call him and set up our visit.
“Talk to me.”
“Hey, just thought I would let you know, that I will be free this weekend if you wanna come out.”
“Umm, yeah. Sure.”
“Great see you then!”
I was more than a little surprised when he popped up on my doorstep, not alone. In toe with a girl about his age, who seemed to have forgotten how stand on her own, and was instead using him like a coat rack, hanging herself all over his shoulder and cooing the entire time. It took everything I had not to throw up on her shoes.
“Uh hey, Merlot. Who is this lovely young woman?”
“Hey Vic. Oh this? This is Rassy. Go ahead darlin say hello.”
“I am kinda surprised to see you both here…” I added, eyeing her suspiciously.
“Well I figured since I was out here, I could see you both. You don’t mind if we both stay here?”
My blood was beginning to boil, but I pushed it all back down, deep down. “Not at all. Come on in you two…”
There is probably no need to tell you, that it was a less than enjoyable afternoon. The two were pretty much locked at the lips the entire time, only coming up for air when I alerted them that dinner was ready. The noises alone were enough to turn my stomach. I did what I could to tune them out, which mostly involved me watching the clock, begging for the day to be over.
That turned out to be a mistake. Well one of many. My second mistake was allowing them to take the room above mine. I had no clue what was happening up there, but I assured myself that I didn’t want to. I ended up covering my head with a pillow, to try and block out the atrocious noises. Waiting ever so impatiently for the night to be over.
“Why don’t you come talk to me~”
“Hello? Is someone there?”
“Victoria dear. Come. We need to to talk~”
“I thought I asked you not to call me that. Oh my my, little Victoria. What a mess you’ve become. And to think you had so much potential. Wasted…”
“What are you doing here? You’re not real. You can’t be. You’re locked in a cell somewhere.”
“Am I? You always were a little dense. One of your many fall backs I’m affraid.”
“No. I won’t listen to you anymore! I won’t!”
“Oh Victoria. Poor insolent child.”
“No I won’t let you hurt me anymore! I’m not a child! I’m not!”
“I’m not here to hurt you dear. I’m here to help you. Don’t you see? When you are nice to people, they view you as weak. You leave them wide open to trample all over you.”
“No. You’re lying!”
“Am I? Did you see what happened today? You let that boy walk all over you. You might as well have laid down on the floor, with a big sign that said Door Mat come on in.”
“No it’s not like that. He’s my friend! My family. He loves me!”
“Do you honestly beleive that?”
“NO! NO! I won’t. You can’t!”
“Do you think he would have come at all if it wasn’t for that girl, he brought here to fraternize with. You’re fooling yourself if you believe anything else my dear.”
“You have no family. No one wants you. Not even me.”
“Stop! I can’t! STOP IT!”
“No Just go away! Leave me alone! I don’t need you anymore!”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA- Victoria? Victoria wake up.”
“Victoria you gotta wake up. You’re having a nightmare.”
My eyes shot open, and I wanted to spring out of bed, but the sight of Merlot and his little tart stopped me half way. Blinking blearily I gazed around the room, both sets of eyes were watching me.
“Are you awake now?” Merlot asked placing a hand on my shoulder. I looked at it. “I’m fine.”
“We heard you screaming.” Said his little female companion. Her voice was like nails on a chalkboard.
“I told you, I’m fine. Now I would like to get back to sleep. Thank you for your concern, but I can take it from here.”
I rolled over and pulled the blankets over my head. “Night.”
The next morning came far too quickly. I was still exhausted, but due to my lovely internal time clock, I was awake at 6:30, just like every other day. My whole body was frazzled, my eyes were a bit red and puffy, and all I wanted to do was shove little tart face out my front door.
My feelings of animosity grew deeper, when I was invited to accompany them to the pier. I should have said no. Perhaps it all could have been avoided…
“Merlot? Who the berry is that girl?!”
“Me? Who the berry are you?”
“Oh hey Apple… Hi. This is um Rassy. My friend.”
“Friend? I thought I was your girlfriend?”
“Girlfriend? Oh no no no. I’m his girlfriend. Tell her Merlot.”
“I can’t believe you?!”
“Oh darlin relax.”
“Don’t you tell me to relax. And don’t you ever call me darlin again. In fact! Don’t ever call me at all!”
Apparently, Rassy was not the only one Merlot had been hanging around with. Apple I think that was her name, was not very pleased to see them together, and everything pretty much broke loose after that. Everyone was screaming and crying and all I could do was watch. When Apple finally had enough, she ran off sobbing around the corner. To my horror, Merlot had this little smirk on his face. Was he actually enjoying it?
Well Rassy had, had enough as well, and demanded that Merlot take her home immediately. Probably the best idea I had heard all day. So I offered to walk back, I needed some time to think anyways.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Everything about him was changing and not in a good way. I had even more time to think about it, after I got home, because it took him forever to get back. I assumed it had something to do with what ever had to pull to try and smooth things over with Rassy, but honestly that didn’t help his case either.
All the anger I had been suppressing was sitting at the surface, just waiting for him to come back. The moment he did, I wasted no time.
“Do you mind telling me, just what the berry happened back there?”
“What? You mean with Apple and Ras?”
“Nothing. Just a little girl fight. It happens a lot. It’s no big deal.”
“No big deal? That poor girl Apple. She ran away crying, and you laughed. I saw it!”
“Look, girls just get too attached to me. She’ll be fine.”
“What’s happening to you?”
“Me? What’s happening to you?!”
“You’re not that same little boy, fighting just to protect someone else’s feelings.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not a little boy anymore.”
“What? I’ll find another.”
“When did you become so arrogant.”
“Look. Just get off my back alright.”
“I just can’t belive it. What happened to your princess? Surely she wouldn’t want to see you this way.”
“You of all people should know, she’s NOT REAL! Okay. Those dreams stopped along time ago, because new flash, I’m not a child anymore!”
“This is not you Merlot. It’s not. What happened to the boy who saw me through the scariest night of my life. What happened to the boy who dreamed he would find his princess. I just can’t believe, he’s not in there anymore.”
“I didn’t think you would.”
“Yeah, well you were wrong.”
My voice dropped very low. “I don’t know what else to say, except that I am disappointed in you.”
“Disappointed?! Geeze lady, where do you come off. You’re not my mother alright?!”
“But we are family.”
“No, we’re not that either. You’re just some lonley woman who needed someone to look after her.”
Everything I had ever known crashed down around me. I turned to walk away. He was right. He had always been right.
“Look, I didn’t mean that. That’s not true. I’m sorry. Victoria, please talk to me.”
“I think you need to leave now.”
Suddenly the realization, of what had just happened sunk in. I felt an arm grab my shoulder, pulling me back. “Please Victoria please?! I’m sorry?! I didn’t mean that! I didn’t!”
I couldn’t move. He was right. Berry how I hated to admit that he was right. Merlot continued to sob, pulling me back, but it was too late. My heart had shut down and those final words sealed it. I took hold of his shoulders. Wthout saying a word, I pushed him slowly out the front door. Closing it behind me, blocking out his cries.
With no more distractions in my life, I was able to fully focus on school. Quickly transferring to my first uni of choice. Graduated first of my class, and before I knew it, I had landed a posh job at a marketing firm, right here in our very own Sugar Valley. The moment I was in the door, I was moving up. Stepping on which ever peon I needed to get where I wanted to go. It was fulfilling and exhilarating. The entire office was terrified of me, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Within five years, I had landed an executive position, with it only one superior above me. It wasn’t perfect, but I had a ways to wait to land CEO…
“Sir that is unnecessary. I assure you.”
“Nonsense. You are doing a bang up job! You really are, but the work load is just too much. Not even a super woman like you can do it all. Which is why we have hired you an assistant.”
“Sir I don’t need one.”
“This is not optional Miss Bitters. You either accept our assistant, or you will be looking for another job.”
“Wonderful. I knew you would see things my way.”
“Hi Miss Bitters! Oh it is so wonderful to finally meet you. You are a legend! Wow this is just. I can’t believe you chose me, out of all the people!”
Fairy Floss… I hated her the moment I saw her. She was perky, pink, freckled and I couldn’t even stand to look at her, let a lone listen to her insufferable voice. This must have been what Merlot’s princess would have looked like if she had been real. The thought only made me despise her more.
She was the reason Merlot changed so drastically. Yes, it had all been her fault, and since I couldn’t punish the real princess. This little pink tart would fill the bill perfectly…
“I was expecting to see that report Wednesday. Where is it? hmmmm?”
“I put it on your desk Tuesday night before I left.”
“Well thats funny I don’t see it in my inbox. You know what i think? I think you forgot.”
“No Ma’am. I made sure it was out well before it was due.”
“Don’t you no ma’am me!I am your superior and you WILL NOT argue back to me!”
“I want to see that report on my desk in one hour! One hour! Now, GET OUT!”
I waited till I was sure she was back at her desk before I returned to mine. Taking a seat, I leaned over and slipped her report out of the trash, dusted it off a bit and set it down. Picking up the in house phone, I dialed over to her.
“Yes, Miss Floss it seems I have found your report. That is all.”
Yes, this could be fun afterall…
“Morning dear. How did you sleep?”
“Alright I guess. I’m starving.”
“As if that is anything new…”
“Hmmm well what you know. Looks like the old spinster’s heart finally gave out.”
“Huh? Oh nothing, just says here that my old boss passesd away a few weeks ago. Rest is Peace Miss Victoria Bitters, you old bitter, bitter bat.”
“Berry Merlot, are you alright?!”
“Uhhh yeah, I’m fine. The milk, I dropped it. I’ll um get some paper towels.”
“Mhmm, I’m good. Everything is under control…You had a boss named Miss Bitters?”
“Yes, I never told you that before?”
“No, I don’t believe you ever did.”
“Horrible awful woman. I can see why I wouldn’t want to bring her up. You’re lucky you never met her.”
“Uhh, yeah. She sounds dreadful…”
“Look I don’t care how much it costs. I need it done…”
“Yes, drain it…”
“Well then it won’t be a problem will it…?”
“Alright. Uh huh. Goodbye.”
“That was work. They need me to take the lead place on the crew going to France.”
“Next week. Just for a couple of weeks.”
“But Merlot, I won’t be here next week. Who is going to take you to the airport?”
“It’s all taken care of. They reserved me a spot in the extended parking, everything will be in order. You won’t have to worry about a thing.”
“Except that you are in France without me. What if you meet a silver little french girl…”
“Sorry. It’s still…”
“France. What on earth would they need you there for?”
“Hey… Victoria, it’s me. I know I am probably the last person you want to see right now, but I just found out, and I really need to talk to….”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t have done this when you were still here. I should have…”
“Those things I said to you. They weren’t right, they weren’t fair, and you didn’t deserve them. I was an arrogant teenager who thought he knew everything. Well you were right, and I was wrong, because I knew nothing. I still don’t, but what I do know, is if I could take back what I said I would. I relive it, even now. Wishing I could catch the words, pull them back, before they did, what they did.”
*sniff* “I’m so so sorry, but I want you to know that I am doing what I can to make it right by you. I hope you know that, and I don’t know if it will make you feel any better to know, but I am being severely punished for everything.”
“I leave tomorrow, to put the final things in order, but I just wanted to come say *sob* goodbye. I love you. Thank you for everything. I never thanked you enough, so thank you.”
“Honey can you come here for a quick second?”
I had been strolling by the living room, heading back to the play room when mom called me over to the couch. I nodded and approached Mom, Dad and Aunt Punchy. They all had big smiles on their faces, which meant most likely I wasn’t in trouble. Funny. Me in trouble, I never did anything to get in trouble, so I wasn’t exactly sure why I was so worried about that.
“We need to start planning for your birthday, but you still haven’t told us what you want to do?”
This was true, even I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and anytime someone would ask, I just drew a huge blank. Staring at them with this totally confused look on my face.
“Love? You still with us?”
“Uh ya! I just don’t know…”
“You know, I got these great tickets for Sunny’s daughter and a few of her friends for a Jammy Bierberry concert, I bet I could pull a few strings and get a couple more. Its gonna be a really small setting at the new strawberry Creme Brulee in Briocheport. What do you think about that?”
My eyes glazed over again, but this time it was from excitement. I almost exploded right there on the spot.
“NO WAY!?! Jammy Bierberry!! NO way!!! and you can get ME in! NO WAY!!!”
Wah I was so excited!! This was going to be the best birthday ever!!
“I might even be able to get you a cake and get everyone to sing happy birthday, even Jammy.
Well it was official, I wasn’t going to live to see my birthday because I was about to melt into the floor like huge puddle.
The night of the party came and I was sitting in awe in my chair. No way this was actually happening I kept thinking to myself. Shamrock kept laughing at me and waving his hand in front of my eyes.
“Sugearth to Olivine, Olivine come in!”
“Funny Bro…real funny.”
Then it was time. The lights got even dimmer and then there he was!! Right on stage! I just couldn’t believe it!! Ahhhhh! I was literally bursting at the seams! Jammy Bierberry!!!!!!!!
I was enjoying every Bierberry second of it, but my brother didn’t seem to be as interested. I didn’t care though. I was screaming and girls were crying and it was an amazing experience that I hoped I would not soon forget!
“Jammy I love you!!!”
After the concert, just as Aunti Punchy had promised, they brought out a cake with candles a blaze all for me. My face was aching from smiling so much. I was having such a good time, I even forgot about all the strangers that were before me. This was like coolest birthday ever! Everyone including Jammy sang me happy birthday, I was the luckiest girl in the world.
I made my wish and blew out those candles. Eeeeeee!!
I had never in my life experienced a night quite like that one. The atmosphere was electric and everything felt so alive!
After I had finished my cake, I snuck into the back room for a little alone time. There was window near the back wall and from it you could see the whole city. All the beautiful lights and bustling going on below. It was truly magical.
That was the night I fell in love with Briocheport.
Special thanks to Alyssum Candy for the Bierberry idea! <3333
“So I need you two to help your auntie today. Its really important that you are both on your best behavior. This is going to be hard enough with out grandma and pappa being here, we don’t need to add you to the mix. OK?”
“Good. Now lets get going.”
It was quite a busy week at the Chiffon’s house. Symphony had offered to watch Eclipse while Sunny and Punchy left town for a business trip. So that brought the count to four, FOUR toddlers. All of which now knew how to walk, that meant, you had to keep a constant eye, because they were getting into anything and everything. I think poor Symph was completely tuckered out by the time it was all over.
In all honesty, I was dreading this trip from the moment we had started planning for it. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to organize a trip when four toddlers are involved. Its not pretty and unless you have the patience of a saint, you can easily get to a point that is easily beyond frustration.
Honey did her best to get the kids help out, and for the most part they did. For the circumstances, I think it all went fairly smooth…for the first 10 minutes or so, then all bets were off. The moment we got in the car, the arguing started. You know…the usual.
“Stop looking at me.”
By the time we reached Butterscotch’s and Lime’s home, everyone was already exhausted. This was not a good thing, because we still had a few more houses to visit and if everyone was already tired at 10 am…what was gonna happen by evening time. I shuddered to think. I could see crying babies everywhere. I was just about run for my life in the other direction, when Lime’s endearing voice brought me back to reality.
“Welcome everyone! Come on in!”
It was really nice seeing both of them again, the last time we had seen them, was at their wedding and that had been close to six months already. Lime was looking lovely and I noticed that she was dawning some much more casual clothing.
“So we have good news!”
“Oh? What is it?”
I kinda had an idea, but I wasn’t about to ruin this moment for her.
“Butters and I are having a baby!!”
Honey sat forward in her chair, the look of excitement written all over her face. “Really!” She squeaked.
“Yup! I am about 12 weeks along now!”
“Oh this is so exciting! Pineapple isn’t this exciting!”
Butterscotch looked a little more scared than excited. I knew Lime was ready, but I don’t know if he was there just yet. A feeling I was all to familiar with, even if it was very brief, there was a moment of realization and worry. Am I ready for this? This huge step! I knew he would be a great dad though. If I could handle five, I knew he could handle one.
While the grown ups were having our “boring talk” time, Olivine and Shamrock were in the pool. Enjoying the nice crisp water. I should rephrase that though.Olivine was enjoying the water, while poor Shamrock was on the verge of tears.
“Shammy? Whats the matter with you?”
“You look like you are gonna cry.”
“No I’m not. Just leave me alone OK?”
We didn’t know it at the time, but our poor dear boy was and still is deathly afraid of water. I think that was the very last time he ever stepped foot into a pool of any kind.
Poor Symphony had volunteered for toddler duty, a choice she much later regretted. She tried several times to gather them all for story time, but there was always one who could have cared less and kept wandering off. Remember what I said about patience of saint? Well she must have been blessed with them.
The next stop on our list was Aunt Rosie and Uncle Forrest’s house. Aunt Rosie had been unable to get away from her work for some time, so she had yet to meet the triplets. I was not as good talking with family as Honey was, a trait she had no clue she had till her first pregnancy. So I let her do most of the talking.
Interestingly we learned that Olive had been coming around quite often to visit with Forrest. To both Honey and my shock, we learned that Olive was actually Uncle Forrest’s mother. This slightly through me off guard, as I started to calculating it all in my head.
“Wait…does that mean that Honey and I are…”
“Haha no dearies! You two are perfectly fine.”
Whew that was a relief.
Symphony was relieved of her toddler duties for this stop, and instead got to enjoy some game time with her two cousins.
After learning about Olive and Forrest, Alpine’s hair color made a lot more sense. We had always assumed it was just a recessive gene. We never put two and two together where it actually came from.
Sage the older of the two had grown up to look so much like Aunt Rosie it was uncanny. I think the only thing he really inherited from Uncle Forrest was his hair color. Honey said it too looked a lot like a Bitter’s color. This day was just getting weirder and weirder.
Up next was Auntie Persimmon’s house, we happened to be in luck, because Aunt Pumpkin and Uncle Apple happened to be there too! Two birds with one stone! Yes this was a welcomed idea indeed!
Again though, I was at a loss for words. I did a lot of smiling and nodding and feeling oh so awkward. Thankfully, little Emerald was getting a little cranky, so I jumped at the chance to get take her out for some fresh air. I had never been so grateful for a fussy child in my life.
Luckily they never even noticed I was gone, they never even skipped a beat and kept on with their discussion about children and what age is right and what age is not. They were very adamant that the younger you are the better. Both wishing they had started sooner. Heck their children were closer to our Olivine and Shamrock, than Symphony or any of my siblings for that matter.
I think the Uncles were more in my boat. They would casually glance at one another and smile, but no real contributions to the conversation. It did make me feel a tad better!
When I stepped onto the porch, I found Symphony and Rock having a conversation about Rebel. It seemed that Rock was actually an acquaintance of his, and Symph was pumping him for any information she could get. That girl was crazy for that boy.
Zine had offered to take the kids fishing, and Olivine jumped at the chance. She may have been shy, but for some reason, all that shyness disappeared when she was around family. They were giggling and shouting back forth to each other. I found this funny, because there was no way they would ever catch anything being that loud. Hah! But they looked to be having a most excellent time.
Shamrock on the other hand wanted to go, but his fear of water was almost progressively getting worse the more tired he got. By the late afternoon, there was no way he was going to go near that bank.
As the sun started to tuck behind the hill, we made our way to our last stop. Sunny and Punchy’s house to return little Eclipse back home. I’m sure all three were just dying to be reunited once again.
Ok folks! You know the drill! and good luck. Its not going to be easy…or is it? I can never tell with you guys! XD
Traits:Slob, Absent Minded, Family Oriented
Current Life Stage: Pre-Teen(2 days from age up)
Traits: Slob, Easily Impressed, Hydrophobic
Current Life Stage: Child
Traits: Virtuoso, Artistic
Current Life Stage: Tot
Traits: Couch Potato, Brave
Current Life Stage: Tot
Traits:Neurotic, Hates the Outdoors
Current Life Stage: Tot
“Hey bro? I need to ask you something.”
“Sure Symph. What you need?”
“I was wondering if it be alright with you, if I took Olivine on a day trip to Peppermint Pier. She hasn’t gotten to go yet and I know she is just dying to.”
“I don’t see why not. Just be careful and don’t be home too late. OK?”
“Absolutely! You can count on me!”
The next weekend, Olivine and I were in the car and on our way to Sugar Valley. I was just as excited as she was, as we pulled into the sandy parking area across the street. I turned off the ignition and turned my attention to her.
“You ready for a day of fun in the sun?!”
We both hopped out of the car, gathered our things and headed across the street.
And what fun in the sun it was!
We spent all afternoon swinging…
Getting our tan on…
Even shakin our groove things!
We topped the day off, by watching the sun set over the ocean. What an amazing and fun trip it had been. It was just so perfect and the smile on Olivine’s face made it all worth the trip. Perfect ending to a perfect day…
Famous last words right? Ya that pretty much summed it up. From the time the sun set, things starting down hill in a hurry. Olivine and I were headed back to the car, still hyped from our amazing trip, but my mood instantly changed the moment we got back to the car.
“What? What is it Symphony?”
At first I didn’t want to say.
“I can’t find the keys.”
Oh man the fear was beginning to run through my brain. There we were stranded, on dark night, miles away from home. Oh this was not good. I cupped my hand on the window and looked in, to my horror, there were keys dangling from the ignition.
“Oh No! They are in the car!” I exclaimed and pulled on the handle, praying to Berry it was unlocked. It wasn’t.
“Just call Daddy. He can come get us.”
“Right! I’ll just call Pineapple.”
I reached down to pull my phone from my pocket, but just like the keys, it was missing. I felt my stomach sink. I peered back in the window, and sitting in the cup holder was my phone. This was a Berry lovin nightmare!!
“You mean you locked the keys and the phone in the car!!”
“Y-yes.” I was so embarrassed.
“Wha!! So what do we do now? Symphony I’m scared. I wanna go home. Please.”
“Olivine please don’t cry. If you cry, I am gonna cry.”
Truth was, I was just as terrified. I am huge chicken and the thought of being stranded with no safe place to go, scared me even more. Before long we were both bawling our eyes out.
“I wanna go home!!” *wahhhhh*
“I know! I’m sorry!! *wahhhhh*
*Crunch Crunch Crunch*
“Miss? Why are you crying? Are you hurt? Is everything alright?”
“I *sniff* locked *sniff* the keys in the car *sniff* and my Phooooooooooone!! *wahhhhhhh*
“Oh hey hey, don’t cry. I have a phone. Do you need to call someone?”
*Sniff* “Thank you.”
I took the phone and reluctantly called Pineapple. He wasn’t to pleased the hear the news, but said he and Honey were on there way. I said my goodbye and hung up the phone again. I handed it back to the handsome stranger and flashed him an appreciative smile.
“Thank you. I kinda lost it back there.”
“Its quite alright. It happens to us all from time to time. Your ride coming to get you?”
“You live far?”
“Yikes thats gonna be a long drive. Would you like me to stay and keep you guys company. You know, just to make sure you get picked up safely?”
“Thats sounds lovely.”
At first I sat in total silence, I didn’t know what to say and I could feel the burning sensation on my cheeks, I was blushing like a mad woman. I only prayed he didn’t notice.
“So whats your name?”
“Symphony Perlette. But you can call me Symph if you want, everyone else does.”
“Such a beautiful name. My name is Rebel. Ya kind of a weird name and pretty much total opposite of who I am, but hey my parents thought it was cool.”
“I like it.” I confided, my cheeks only getting redder in process.
Quicker than I had hoped, I heard the door shut on Pineapple’s car and quickly he was running right toward us.
“Hello sweet heart. Are you alright?”
“Yes Daddy. Rebel stayed here with us the whole time. just to make sure we got picked up safely?”
” (lol like a little mina bird!)
“Well good. Go to the car love, your Momma is waiting.”
When he made his way back over to me I completely broke down.
“Oh Pineapple, I am so so so sorry!”
“Symph, its alright. Everyone’s fine. You didn’t do it on purpose. Just relax OK?”
“Haha! Love you sis. Now here, and make sure you don’t lock these in. Its our only set left.”
I took the keys from his hand and headed back to my car. Surprisingly, Rebel was still waiting.
“You ok to drive now?”
“Ya, I should be.”
“Before you go, I was wondering.”
“I sure enjoyed our time here this evening. Would you like to go out tomorrow night?”
“I’d love to.”
“Great. Would you like me to pick you up? I’ll be sure to keep the keys safe.”
“Haha. Very funny!”
So the next night, we did go on that date and many more after. My boy had finally come along.
Trying something new. Breaking up the chapter into two parts, let me know if it is easier to get the pics to load this way 🙂
“Don’t you think one more baby would be just perfect?”
“Seems like quite a handful, are you sure you are up to the challenge. I mean you are the one here the most taking care of everyone.”
“…Then yes. I think thrid times a charm. Now why don’t you scoot over here.”
Everyone in the house was growing more and more each day, and I think the fact that her little girl wasn’t so little anymore, was the main reason behind her wanting to have another baby.
Our little Olivine was developing into a beautiful young lady. Fun and smart and just as bubbly as ever. Yes the boys would be knocking our door down one day, for just a chance to talk her. A thought I quickly pushed from head. I wanted my little girl to stay little!!
Olivine wasn’t the only one growing older in our house. Little Shamrock was also growing by leaps and bounds. He looked just like his Mommy, but he definitely had my complexion and hair. Such and interesting combination on handsome little guy.
Thankfully the two got along incredibly well together. Unlike me and some of my siblings that shall remain nameless. Oilvine and Shamrock just adored one another. Always making time for her little brother, the two could be found laughing and playing most of the time.
“Shamrock? Oh no! Where did he go? Shamrock?”
“Oh there he is!!”
Last but not least was me. I too had recently had a birthday, though unlike the kids, I really didn’t feel or look any different. Honey said I was still as handsome as that first night. My lady is definitely a sweet one.
Well, after a few midnight waffles attacks, it didn’t take long for us to learn that Honey was indeed pregnant with our third child.
Now I may be slightly biased, but I think my Honey is the most beautiful pregnant woman there ever was. She simply glowed and it exuded from every pore in her body. It was pure bliss to watch her float around the house, only to pause and have a small conversation with her belly. Oh how I love that woman.
Not long after we discovered Honey was pregnant, it was time for Olivine to start school. She was so excited! The morning of her first day, she rushed around her room packing her back pack and getting everything ready. She was even humming a little tune as she worked. Only once she had finished, did she she realize she still had almost 30 minutes before the bus would even arrive. So she grabbed her pack and sat on the porch eagerly waiting. It was pretty dang adorable.
Poor Honey didn’t enjoy the morning quite as well. The moment her little girl was on the bus, the tears began to fall. Its hard to let your daughter grow up. She said it was just hormones…but I know better.
Since there were so many birthdays in such a quick succession, we decided to throw a big party to incorporate everyone. Mostly just family and a handful of friends. Everyone was doing their best to try and cheer poor Honey up, but by the end, she was pretty much “Day Brightened” out.
“Honey if you need anything you know you can ask me. Right?”
“Yes Mom. Thank you. I promise if I need anything I will let you know.”
Of course no party was complete with out Grandpa. We all thanked Berry that he was still in such good health at his age. Still strong and sharp as a tack. Mom made sure to spend as much time with him as possible, something she regretted that she was unable to do with grandma I think.
Not quite as bright to have a party, but a blessing none the least, Olive too was still with us. Olivine absolutely loved her Great Grandma. Watching them together made me think, how amazing it really was, to be able to hug a great grandparent. It also made me wonder… What would my Great Grandma have been like?
The biggest surprise of the evening though, had to have been when Punchy came waddling through the door alone. Honey squealed with delight as she pushed herself up from the couch and as quickly as a pregnant lady could, hurried over to her.
“Oh Punchy! This is so exciting!! Congratulations!!”
“Thank you Honey.”
“But….Where is Sunny?”
“Sunny is in Shang stir fry for the next six months for a business trip.”
“Wha! You mean you are home alone?”
“Oh thats just crazy! Why don’t you stay here with us?”
“Oh it’ll be fun! A couple of preggers together! What do you say?”
“Ya. Ok, I think that would be great!”
So the next afternoon, I escorted the girls back to Punchy and Sunny’s place so she could pack some things. Once she was settled in, the fun really began. Honey and Punchy were like two pregnant peas in a pod. They both enjoyed the midnight waffles and spent almost every waking hour together.
The glow in Honey’s face was definitely back.
Shamrock also was huge fan of Punchy. Pretty much everyone in the house adored her. Well. everyone but me…
But I was pretty sure that the feeling was mutual. We tried to be civil, but every conversation ended with one or the other party getting their feathers ruffled over something. Usually something really minor and stupid. So in the end we kinda learned to avoid one another.
In a blink of an eye, the night arrived and Honey was going into labor for the third time. Symphony and I started freaking out, but Punchy was so far gone in baby lala land, that she just stood there completely oblivious. Finally I gathered myself enough to help Honey to the car and then she and I were off to the hospital.
While we were in the hospital, I got call on my cell. Seeing that it was almost 1 in the morning, I had a pretty good idea it was an emergency, and I was so right. It was Symphony calling to tell me that she was also at the hospital with Punchy. It seemed only an hour after Honey and I had left, Punchy also went into labor. The kid must have been on roller skates or something, because Eclipse had already been born, while Honey was still deep in labor.
To our shock, we brought three new babies into the world that night. 2 boys and girl.
We were gonna need a lot more diapers!
The arrival of the Olivine, was like a breath of fresh air, that the Chiffon house really needed. Her adorable and bubbly personality captured even the hardest of hearts. I had never seen Sunny be so nice in my life. I have to admit, I was a little worried for him to be around her at first, but he quickly proved that my anxiety was unjust. To Olivine, Sunny was just a loving uncle and that was a very cool feeling.
And as she grew older, her charm only grew.
Symphony, like everyone else, wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. It was a treat to see her doting on little Olivine, pretty much the same way I did to her. She said she didn’t remember much of that, but watching the two together, I think remembered more than she realized.
“What does a cow say?”
Yes she was my little angel. She looked so much like me, but there was a softness to her face that was all Honey, and just look at those gorgeous green eyes.
The look in my eyes said it all. I was completely wrapped around her delicate little yellow finger.
“I wuv you Daddy.”
As much as I loved my darling angel, there was someone else just a little closer to her heart. And that someone was Mommy. Which really did not surprise me in the slightest. Though it did make it hard for poor Honey some times. For a about a year or so, once Olivine was eating solid foods, she would not eat one bite unless “Mommeee” had served it to her.
“Here you go sweety!”
“Tank koo Mommeee.”
*Munch Munch* “Mommeee! Belly!”
“Thats right love. There is baby in there. You’re gonna be a big sister.”
“Hewe baby! Hungeee?”
“Awwww we’ll have to wait till he comes out, for him to share your food.”
See what I mean…smitten.
This was a very special time for the Chiffon’s for another very important reason. Not since the beginning had a Chiffon lived long enough to see a great grandchild, and lucky little Olivine actually had two. Great Grandma Olive and and Great Grandpa Pumello were still around to enjoy their time with little Olivine as well. Honey said she had never seen her Grandmother look so happy before in her life.
Four generations all together, what an amazing sight! Joyous times were being had by all! Well…all but one.
Not even Olivine’s sweet face was a match for Mika’s bad mood.
You see, Koda and Mika had both applied for a special course and entry level training program at Sugar Valley General and only the top four students were chosen, Koda claimed the second spot and Mika, well Mika was number five, and to make matters worse, Koda gloated his winning every chance he got, only fueling Mika’s anger.
“Tough break Mik! Maybe next time.”
“Koda I swear, if you say another word!”
Knowing that Koda would be going away, actually was a huge relief off my shoulders. Why do you ask? Two words. Strawberry Shortcake… Little Strawberry was a friend…sort of friend. Ok, She thought she was a friend, but honestly Koda didn’t seem to like her too much.
Everyday after school she would come over, and everyday pretty much went the same.
“Hey Koda! Wanna go play!”
“Uhhhh No thanks!”
“I just don’t feel like it.”
“Ok then. Bye…”
Even though she got the same response everyday, every afternoon, like clockwork, the little pink haired girl would come a knockin. She was persistent I had to give her that.
But once they hit their teen years, Koda stopped coming to the door all together. It was now my job to get rid of her. I am not or have I ever been a good liar. So when I attempted to let her down easy…
I failed miserably.
Still she never gave up. Not until the day Koda left. I guess she had caught wind of his move, because we never saw her again. Poor little Strawberry Shortcake…*ahem* But enough about that! I know what you really want to hear about!
Time passed on and soon we were preparing for the arrival of our little boy. It happened as most labors do, quite unexpectedly. Honey was giving Olivine a bath when the all to familiar twinge of pain hit.
Trying her best to not scare the living daylights out of our daughter, but also trying to call to me, Honey did her best to get my attention.
I had been downstairs at the time, but something seemed amiss. Olivine wasn’t giggling and I could hear a faint.
Something inside me instinctively knew what was happening. I dropped my pencil and rushed up the stairs and knocked on Symphony’s door.
“Symph. I need to you to watch Olivine. Its time!”
“Omb!! Right Now!!?”
The next afternoon, Honey and I returned with a bouncing baby boy. Shamrock Chiffon.
Briocheport. Now I know what you are probably thinking…Huh? This isn’t Sugar Valley?
Well my brother only had half of the story right. I was accepted to Sugar Valley General, but the training course was actually here in Briocheport at Sacred Candy Hearts.
The folks rented me a little studio apartment not far from school. Not much to speak of, only thing I had really brought from home was some of my old bedding. Totally fitting yes? Ya, if you couldn’t tell, I love tigers. Truth is, I am a tiger.
You will have to excuse him, Koda is totally nuts.
What? Truth is the truth. Only he has one small advantage, and thats me. I take care of all the important matters. Take for example the psychological exam to get him into the school in the first place. If they had talked to him, he would have been locked up so fast, it would have made his head spin.
Can I please continue?
Ya ya. Go for it.
Anyways, school was pretty great! The first day we met our instructor, and he was actually a pretty weird guy.
Like you can talk!
Do you mind?
No. Do you?
Prof. Smurfberry was an incredibly gifted scientist, and after many years of study, decided to start a program desigend to help other gifted students get an early start in the medical field.
And being such a progressive guy, he even welcomed cuckoo’s mask.
Thats it. I’m out of here. Do you want to tell the story.
Ok Ok. Fine. Last you will here of me. I promise.
“Welcome students. As you may or may not know, all four of you were chosen because of the incredibly high marks you received on the entry exam. To that I say congratulations. All four of you will make fine doctors one day. Now I want you to take a look around, because your three companions here will be your life line. Together you will go far. I can guarantee.”
As instructed I took a look around.
Maki Zushi was one of the two former exchange students, and what I mean by former is, once they were accepted to the school, they were given a full ride to stay and live in Briocheport, until the training was complete. Then they had to option to move to Sugar Valley or go back home and apply at a Hospital in Shang Stir Fry.
Fugu Sashi was the second and I have to say, not as nice Maki…
Third. Unbelievably was Strawberry Shortcake. Man had she grown, and wow was she beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It couldn’t possibly have been the same awkward girl from home? Could it? But the first time she spoke, I knew it was. Whoa…
The first day of class and we were already deeply emerged in course work.
I did my best to study but…
My mind kept wandering.
After we were let out for the day, the girls came up to me with a proposition.
“Hey Koda, we are gonna go out tonight, you should come.”
“Yup! Its gonna be fun, there is little place called Buri’s. Its super quiet, but its a great atmosphere. Come with us!”
“Strawberry is gonna be there.”
“Ok Lets go.”
So a quick change of clothes later, we were off to Buri’s.
We weren’t even there for 10 minutes and Strawberry was ordering her third juice. I had never seen someone throw em back like she did.
Again I couldn’t help but watch. I had never felt more crazy, than I did right there, thinking back on all the times I had totally dissed the gorgeous creature that was currently sitting in front me. Before I ever had a chance to say anything though, she was up and dancing.
Unfortunately she thought it was a good idea to use a small table as her dance floor. She wasn’t very stable up there and it really started to make me nervous.
I tried to coax her down,but her rhythmic motions made it hard to speak.
“S-strawberry? Maybe you should get down from there. It doesn’t look entirely safe.”
“Oh so now you care?”
“Yes. I mean. Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Huh. Could have fooled me. Koda why don’t you just-“
“Whoa! I got you!”
“Come on. Let me take you home.”
“Take me home with you. Please?”
“I guess I could do that.”
Man was I nervous. I had never taken a girl home before.
I tried to be romantic and that didn’t turn out that well.
He tried to brush her cheek and ended up poking her in the eye!! It was classic!! hahaha!
“Oh Man I’m so sorry!”
“What was that for?”
“I was trying to…never mind.”
“Strawberry can I tell you something.”
“I just wanted to say I was sorry for being such jerk when we were kids. I was stupid.”
“Oh Koda. We don’t need to talk about that.”
“No I think I do. I really want you to understand how bad I feel about that.”
“Really sorry? You mean it?”
“Why don’t you prove it.”
“If you’re really sorry, why don’t you take off that mask and kiss me.”
“See I took mine off, now its your turn.”
And so the for the first time in his life, Koda cast aside his mask to kiss his dear sweet Strawberry, and thats how two crazy kids (literally) found love. Come back and visit us again real soon you hear!
“We’re gonna have a baby!”
“Wah you guys!!!”
“Well how do you like that!”
Shock! I was in total shock! Could it be? Already. Me a daddy? At first I couldn’t get anything to escape my lips. Sure in my head I was going “WOW! Really! Thats amazing!” But on the out side it was just me standing there with my mouth wide open.
Thankfully Symphony broke up my silence with an excited squeal.
“Wow that means I am gonna be an Auntie! That is so cool!”
Symphony may have been almost as excited as Honey was. Immediately she started talking to her tummy and giggling uncontrollably. She was as giddy as school girl…wait she is a…Oh never mind, you get what I mean.
“Hello! Little baby! I’m your Auntie. Can’t wait to meet you.”
Symphony’s cooing over Honey’s belly gave me just enough time to wrap my head around all the new information I was trying to process, once my head was clear, I hurriedly made my way over to her and wrapped my arms around her waste.
“Oh Sweetheart this is amazing! You’re gonna be a Mommy!”
“And you’re gonna be a Daddy.”
Daddy… This time I smiled at the thought of it. Yes, yes I was.
Mom was on the phone almost immediately, getting the good word out and planning a shower. She tried to explain the importance of the shower, but it sounded like a bunch a girl stuff and didn’t really make that much sense to me. Honey was awfully excited about it though, so I quickly fell in love with the idea.
Since Butterscotch had recently moved out and into a little place with Lime. (I know I was just as shocked!) Mom let us set up his old room into the nursery. Honey’s nesting phase was in full swing and she spent hours on end, preparing and re-preparing the little ones room.
“Everything has to be just right.”
“It will be.”
You know how they say pregnant women have this glow about them? Well its true!
I thought she looked beautiful on our wedding day, well amazingly she had even managed to surpass that.
Soon the shower was upon us and we had visitors and family all around. People I had not seen in years all coming out to see Honey’s baby bump. Most of who Honey had never even met before. That didn’t stop anyone from coming around to feel or talk to the baby though. You would have thought she had known them all forever.
Turned out that Honey and I were not the only ones expecting a new arrival. Auntie Persimmon and Uncle Dew were expecting their second child as well. I was begning to see what my mom was talking about. That baby shower was quite exciting! So much happiness and it spread quickly.
Everyone was in the best of moods. Tigra and Lime were even getting along, which was quite amazing. It seemed they had put their differences behind them, at least for the time being. I know Butterscotch and Mika were thankful for that.
And if you can believe it, Sunglow and his fiance Punchette even made it out! She was on break from her latest tour. (Pretty famous singer. I know Symphony almost fainted when she realized who she was.) Two visits in less than a year, it was almost a record!
Sunny did have a slight ulterior motive for coming out though. He still had not been able to have that talk with Mom that he so desperately needed.
“Hey Mom? Remember when I said I needed someone to talk to?”
“Uh, how about now?”
“Of course dear. Lets go inside.”
“Mom. I have done some bad things in my life. You know that.”
“Well there is one that you don’t know about.”
“While I was away, I kinda met this girl and well I sorta accidentally got her pregnant.”
“I know. I really messed up. Now I don’t know what do.”
“I tried to tell him what he should do, but I think this is one for Mommy if you know what I mean.”
“I see. Well are you helping to support this child?”
“No. I want to! But…”
“Dear if you feel you have wronged this girl, the only thing you can do is try rectify the situation. You were adult enough to conceive this baby, you need to be adult enough to help take care of it too.”
“Go to her and first off apologize for what you feel you did wrong. It may not fix the problem, but at least she will know. Second you sure as Berry better start helping support that baby one way or another.”
“I suppose you’re right, thanks Mom.”
“Sunny you crack me up! Is this not almost exactly what I said you should do.”
“Sometimes dear they just have to hear from their mothers mouth.”
Poor Mom. She had always been so kind with Sunny. Even though he treated her so awful when he was younger. I know she was thankful that none of the rest of us ever would have dreamed of talking to her that way. I know I never would have. No the rest of us were angels in comparison. Mika had been studying non stop for his finals. I swear those last few months of his senior year all he did was study.
Koda on the other hand was just the opposite. He never studied, but always ended up with almost the same grades. A fact that irked Mika to no end.
“How can he sit and play chess all day long and still get amazing grades!! Its just not fair!”
“Guess I’m just a genius.”
Before I knew it, it was time. Extremely early on a Saturday, Honey went into labor.
“Ahhh the baby’s coming!”
So…I kinda lost my cool, and started to spaz out. I was screaming and panicking something shocking, but amazingly somehow had the time to tweez from my phone that the baby was coming! Honestly I don’t even remember doing it.
I did finally manage to get her to the hospital, but in my hysteria I practically left her standing out side as I ran in. Thats when it dawned on me, nothing was going to be happening with out her, so I quickly ran back outside to help.
Later that afternoon, I proudly escorted my beautiful wife and our lovely daughter Olivine Bloom back home. My Life was officially perfect.
Sunglow Makes Amends~
As I got closer to the house, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. What the heck was I supposed to say to her. “Hey sorry for knocking you up and bailing?” Ya I’m sure that would just smooth things over real well. Gah I never was any good at that sharing and caring junk. It was like torture. Still nothing in my life had ever made me feel remorse until that. That pinnacle turning point in my life that made me actually grow a conscious.
As expected she was not very happy to see me.
“What do you want?”
“Strawberry I came her to…” Ughhh I just couldn’t say it.
“To what? Insult me and call me nasty names again. No thanks I think you have done enough of that already.”
“No. I came here to apologize to you. For the way I have treated you and for …well pretty much being a righteous berry-hole.”
uh oh, I knew that face all too well. That was the I’m gonna kill you if you don’t get off my porch look.
“Sunny. I don’t really care if you’re sorry. Saying you were nasty to me is almost a joke. You were down right cruel, and there is no way I am gonna let you come in here and apologize, thinking you can make it all magically go away.”
It was in that moment, that I realized just how much I had hurt her. It wasn’t the fact I was nasty that made me feel so guilty, it was the fact that I broken her heart and left her stranded pregnant with my child. Oh man I was a Berry Hole! Suddenly I was overtaken with an emotion I had yet to feel for many years. Suddenly I felt as if I could cry. What the berry was happening to me!
“Strawberry Dulce there is nothing I can do to take back what I did to you, but I want you to know, that I want to do what I can now to make it right. Please just give me a chance to do that. Please?”
Moments later she headed back in the house and door shut with a *slam* Great I thought to myself, but just as I was about to slink my way back home, the door opened again, and Strawberry emerged with a beautiful little girl in her arms.
“Well do you want to meet her?”
Strawberry handed her over and she instantly snuggled right up to me.
“Her name is Cloudberry. She looks just like you.”
Now its a well known fact that I really don’t like children, but the moment she looked into my eyes, I fell in love. She was the most beautiful baby in the world. Again waves of guilt and remorse washed over me.
This time though, I was unable to hold back the tears. If someone would have told me that one day I would be standing on a porch holding a baby and crying, I would have laughed until my sides ached, but sure as Berry, there I was.
“I’m sorry Sunny, but you need to leave now, and no I don’t think I want you around our daughter. You come around here acting like a new man, all understanding and sensitive, well I just don’t believe it. I’m sure you of all people can understand where my skepticism comes from.”
“You don’t have to worry about child support either. You are off the hook, free and clear, just like you wanted to be. Now if you excuse me, I have dinner to make. Goodbye Sunny.”
“Goodbye Strawberry. Goodbye *Slam* Cloudberry…”
I actually felt my heart hurt, and all because I was stupid. It was my fault things turned out the way they did. I made promise to myself right then and there to strive to be better person. Be a good husband to Punchy and who knows maybe we would have a child of our own one day. One day at time though. It was not going to be easy. Especially for me…
If you would like to learn more about what Sunny actually did to Strawberry, you can read it here. Sweet as Can Be
“Tell me the story again! About you and Honey.”
Symphony had been completely enchanted by the story of our engagement, and ever since we had arrived home, she begged to hear it over and over again. This however was the third time in one day, and as much as I loved telling the story, it was getting a little old. I looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “Again?”
“Pleaseeeeee! I promise this is the last time.”
Unfortunately for me, Symphony knew me all too well; so she knew all she had to was smile at me, and I would cave. This time was no exception.
“Ok…” I replied while pulling up a chair.
So there we were at the Pavlova aquarium. Honey wanted to go downstairs to check out the shark exhibit. Nervously I nodded and followed her down the steps. I had been planning to propose all morning, so I was acting a slight bit… odd.
“Odd is not right word Love! You were acting down right weird.”
Ya…I was a mess. Well anyways, while she was busily reading the information plaque, I continued to blankly stare at the back of her head. I guess she felt me staring, because it did not take long before she brought all of her attention back to me.
A concerned look had started to grow across her sweet face as she stepped forward and pulled me in close.
“Sweetheart are you alright today? You seem…distant.”
“Me?” I stammered. “No, I’m fine. Just thinking.”
I never had been a good liar, so I decided this was it, if I waited any longer, she was going to start imagining the worst. So I took hold of her hands and I gently rubbed her thumbs with mine. ” Honey, there is something I have been meaning to ask you.”
“Oh? What is it Love?”
Suddenly my heart was pounding like a jackhammer and I swear it had gotten like 15 degrees hotter. I wasn’t going to back down though, so I continued.
I got down on one knee and pulled the small box from my back pocket. From behind I heard one of the other patrons gasp. “Ohh how sweet!”
“Honey, from the first night I saw you, I knew there was something about you. Something wonderful and amazing, that I knew I never wanted to be without. I love you with all my heart and I hope that you feel the same. Honey, will you marry me?”
“Oh Pineapple! Yes! Of course I will marry you!”
The small group that had gathered, clapped and cheered as I pulled the ring from the box and slid it on her hand.
My heart was soaring as I hugged my dear fiance in front of all the world to see, I was officially the happiest man in Pavlova…
And that once again brings us to the end of our story.
Symphony jumped to her feet, standing in the middle of her bed. “Oooooh I just love that story! Its so romantic! I hope one day, a boy comes along and asks me to marry him.”
“Yes well, I think you have plenty of time before that happens. Right now, I think you should be more concerned about that bath Mom wanted to take. That was the deal remember. I tell you the story and then you get have to go get washed up for dinner.”
Symphony compliantly hopped off the bed. “Ya, Ya…I’m going.”
Suddenly she was off like a shot! Running to the bathroom in the hallway. I had to chuckle at her over-enthusiasm.
After Symphony had left the room, Honey too hopped off the bed.
“Did you ever get a hold of your brother?”
“No. I emailed him, but I have no idea if he ever got it.” The hint of disappointment in my tone was unmistakable. Our wedding was taking place the following morning, and even though it was going to be small and intimate, I really did want Sunny there. It had felt like an eternity since I had seen him and I really was hoping he would be there to share in our special day. I honestly had no idea why I wanted him there so badly, all he did my whole childhood was torment me, but for some reason I did miss him.
“I’m sorry sweety, I know how badly you wanted him to be here for this.”
“Its ok. As long as you and I are there, thats the important thing right?”
No sooner had Honey gotten those two words out of her mouth, when the doorbell rang.
To everyone’s surprise, there was Sunny standing on the other side of the door. He looked a lot better than he had the last time we saw him. He seemed different. He actually smiled when dad opened the door.
“Well hello Son. Come on in.”
Sunny stepped in the house and almost immediately headed up the stairs. At first I was not sure where he was headed, but then it dawned on me. Mom.
“Hello Sunny.” She answered in a dull flat tone. Mom and Sunny had not seen or spoken to each other since that day, and the tension was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. But as I said before, there was something different about Sunny.
And what happened next, well I never would have imagined that I would ever seen the day.
“Mom, I just wanted to tell you I am sorry. For…everything. I said some really mean stuff and I was a total jerk.”
“You said some pretty awful things to me…”
“I know. I can’t even go into right now everything that has happened to me, but I messed up. Mom I did some bad things and the worst of those was talking ugly to you. My own mother. So I hope you can forgive me, because I really need someone to talk to.”
“Oh Sunny. You can talk to me when ever you need. I am your mother, I am always here for you. Please don’t ever forget that OK?”
If I had not overheard it with my own ears, I never would have believed it. Not only was my brother in time to for the wedding, he also shared some real emotions with Mom. Everything was falling into place for our big day, and I could not have been happier.
In no time at all, the big moment had arrived. I eagerly awaited for my lovely bride to come on the scene, and then suddenly there she was.
I don’t think I had ever seen her look so beautiful. I continually had to remind myself to breathe as I watched her make her way across the fresh cut grass. My Honey. It all seemed so surreal. Our past obstacles melted away and all that remained, was the beautiful creature headed my direction.
Only our closest family was in attendance. Honey had tried to invite her mother and father, but neither ever replied to the invites. Her grandmother Olive was the only one from her side of the family to come. I think she was actually kind of grateful for that, I know for a fact she was closer to her grandmother than she had ever been with her mother.
The moment was perfect.
I Pineapple promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I Honey promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride!”
We shared our first kiss as husband and wife, and I don’t know how it was possible, but it was the most amazing kiss yet! Honey Mint Chiffon was officially mine, and I was officially hers.
Once the ceremony had concluded, Symphony ran up to Honey and threw her arms around her. “Yay! I finally have a sister!” She squealed. As always Symphony was just too adorable for words.
Since we did not really have any sort of honeymoon planned, Honey and I just went back to our room for duration of the evening. Being the gentleman that I was, I carried her across the threshold and gently placed her on the bed.
We had only other shared one night of passion, but this was different. I ached for her. I needed her. I was under her spell. That night I gave myself over to her body and soul alike.
And it was incredible…
“Symphony Perlette! Didn’t I tell you to get away from their door! Downstairs now young lady!”
Mean ol Mom had to ruin all my fun. I was having a great time laughing at all the funny noises coming from the other side of the door. Boooo!!
I shuffled down the steps. Now what was I going to do? That had been my entertainment for the evening… now I was bored again.
I was making my way across the living room to the couch, when I heard Butterscotch in the bathroom. The door was open, so I decided to go bug him instead of TV time.
He was busy checking himself out in the mirror, so I hopped up on the sink. “Hey.”
“Oh, another date?”
“Yup. Something wrong?”
“No…Hey now that Pineapple is married. Do you think, he will be to busy for me?”
“Symph that will never happen. Ok? Sure he is going to want to spend more time with Honey, but he will always make time for you.”
“Cross my heart and hope to die. Now I have to get ready, so you run along OK?”
“Ok.” Hearing that made me feel a whole lot better, so I hopped off the sink and went back to the living room.
Geeze! It was like his third date that week. He said it was a girl, I had never met. I begged for him to tell me about her, but he wouldn’t. *hmpppf* Some people…
Once he was out the door, I slid the chair over to the door, so I could watch him walk all the way out to the car. After he was gone, I jumped off the chair and slowly pushed it back over to the desk. *sigh* Now there really was nothing to do!
Instead of being bored for hours though, I decided to just go to bed.
As I slowly drifted off, my mind kept coming back to the same question… All of my brothers had found love. When would it be my turn?
Maybe one day. Maybe one day…