Finale Part 2

It seemed as if we had walked for miles. It was probably wasn’t nearly as long as it felt, but we did walk deep into the forest sitting just over the hill from Mara’s home. It was amazing how untouched the land was around the little village. Nothing for miles and it didn’t look like that would be changing anytime soon. The grass was so incredibly green and the moment we closed in our final location, I recognized it immediately. I found it Tilly! Rocks I had seen only once before, sprinkled the ground before the open mouth of a large gate. A gate that was hidden beyond the wall that had kept me out in my dream. I stopped for a second. Now that I was there, I wasn’t sure if I was ready. Tulipes ruffled the back of my hair. “Are you scared?”

“No. Just nervous.”

“I think you will like what you see.” Mara grinned.

Framboise, grumbled to herself. “Sure I have been asking to come here for years, but nooooo two strangers pop up and it’s lets go.”

“Hush Framboise.”

Mara pulled a key from her pocket and unlocked the large gate. The door swung wide on its hinges, coming to stop as hit on the other side. She stepped out of the way and placed a frail hand in the small of my pack, pushing with her might to move me forward. “Blanc jardin.” She grinned.

I could already see a bit as the door opened wide, but it was hard to take in what I was actually seeing.

“They’re statues.”

“Oui. Go inside. Take a closer look.”

Crystal statues, lined  the perimeter in a neat circle. They were all so beautiful. The glass was so slick and clear, it looked almost like ice, it would not have surprised me to reach out only to find its icy touch reaching back.

All of the statues were in pairs.

Friends…

Lovers…

Each carved in an incredibly moving fashion…

I wasn’t sure what they meant, but it was so lovely. It didn’t really matter. I felt honored to be in it’s presences. My breath weighing heavy at the back of my throat.

“This is incredible.”

“Mara? Did you build this?” I asked looking back over my shoulder.

“Oh no. It has been here, forever. Long before my time.”

“It’s beautiful.” A joy unlike I had ever experienced filled my entire being, there was so much love infused in the picturesque statues before me.

Some had long been grown over with the trees and shrubery, but the feelings of intensity only increased as I made my way down the line. I got a little sidetracked which was pretty normal for me, about two statues from the end. I started to make my way back to the first, when a small inscription set at it’s base caught my eye.

I knelt down to study it closer, my knees gently dropping into a tuft of bright violet colored flowers. Everything was so vibrant you could see the care that was given here, just by looking at all the beautiful colors surrounding us. To my surprise the plaque was not in french, so I was able to read without issue. At first, I read it only in my head, but then Tulipes called out as she made her way to stand beside me. “What does it say?!”

I spoke a little louder so everyone could hear. “Two hearts divided, can finally be one. Always in my heart, and never forgotten.”

Framboise and the others walked across the grass, closely inspecting the other statues. I pushed myself to standing and dusted a little dirt off of my hands. “This is truly amazing, but I don’t quite understand what it all means. Or what it has to do with us.”

A small gasp escaped Tulipes’s lips as she stepped up beside me. “Tosca? Look.”

I wasn’t sure how I missed it before, but there it was now clear as day. The statue nearest the one I had knelt down to read. It took only a moment to realize what I was seeing…

“That’s you.” I choked.

“Yes.” She grinned.

“And that’s… me.”

“Oui.”

“How can that be? How could something that has been here for so long possibly have us here?”

A small hand reached out, gently brushing my palm with her fingertips.

“I don’t know…”

Mara trudged across the grass, her cane sinking deep into the earth below our feet. “Many years ago. Long before my time. Long before my mothers time. Eh, it was a long time ago.” She winked. “A strange man arrived on my great of many removals grandmothers door. Her name was Mara too. It is how I got my name. She was a gardener, a beautiful woman and believer in love. The man pleaded with her to make a garden. One that would symbolize love in it’s truest form. She was very taken with the man, but it took some convincing for her to finally agree. He regaled her a story, a story of lost love, devotion and heartache. It was very moving, because it brought her to tears. Sadly the story died when she died and was never told to another soul. I remember as a little girl, making up storied for each other couples. They were all happy by the end, except the first. There is a sadness there. Much sadness.”

“That still doesn’t explain how we are there.” I looked from statue to statue. Suddenly a few more faces looked a whole lot more familiar. “It’s my family…. every generation from the beginning, but how could he?” I scratched the back of my head. This was all very confusing to say the least.

“He never said. They worked on the design for several months, his coming and going, he sketched out the statues and she brought them to life. She was very talented.”

“So it would seem.”

I spent another hour or so just looking in awe. Studying every statue over and over again. There was my mother, my father, grandmother, grandfather. It seemed so surreal. Wait until Tilly sees this, I thought to myself. “Tilly!” I had to call Tilly, she had to see this. I recommended we go back to the house, but Mara held up a hand, giving her niece a forceful glare. With a huff, Framboise pulled a phone from her back pocket and handed it over to Tulipes. It took some doing, but we were able to track the pair down. Mara sent Framboise back to the house to wait for Tilly and Valencia to arrive. She wasn’t happy about it, but she did everything Mara asked of her. Though she made sure everyone knew how much she hated it.

Tilly’s reaction was quite reminiscent of mine. She pulled her signature sunglasses from her face, just to fully take in the awe inspiring view around her. She totally lost it when we pointed out our statue and made an off hand joke asking where she was. “Probably in another garden.” I teased.

We stuck around until the sun went down. Paying homage to the beautiful lives and loves depicted before us. We were in for a surprise as the sun headed over the horizon, a bright orange glow brought them all to life, it almost seemed if they were slowly moving in its light. “I wish mom and dad could see this.”

“They wouldn’t beleive it.”

“Or would they.”

“You had family here once. I almost showed them.” Mara walked to my Grammy and Papa’s statue. “Here. They stayed with me for several days, but I never got the chance.”

Once the sun had gone down, a cold breeze pressed through the trees. We wanted to stay forever, but that just wasn’t possible. The photos we had taken with Tilly’s camera were going to have to do the trick. We thanked our lovely hostess and bid our goodbyes, heading back to our rental car that was still sitting in a ditch a couple miles up the road. Valencia brought with him a small canister of gas, that was just enough to get us to the station outside the city. The village disappeared into the night air, along with our adventure. Tulipes was crashed out in the seat beside me, sleeping peacefully, her head gently bobbing every time we hit a small bump. Though I had found a pretty nice souvenir. The thought of leaving her crushed my soul, but that wasn’t to happen for several weeks. Instead I enjoyed every moment we had with her. Hopefully a few more kisses to be found in between.

We arrived home about the same time, both pairs making our way to our hotel room door. It was far too awkward to have both us and our “friends” stay the night, so we both said our goodbyes and promised to meet one another first thing in the morning.

Oh berry how I wanted her to stay. In just a few days time, she had found herself a niche deep inside my heart. The fact that she felt the same, to any extent at all, still had me reeling. I wanted to say it right there, confess my undying love and devotion, but decided I wanted the moment to be a little more private and special, not with my sister and her guy beside us, it definitely wasn’t right. Still I held her close, refusing to let go. I know it would only be over night, but I wanted her with me always. As cheesy as it sounded, I could no longer imagine life without her. I wasn’t sure if she felt as strongly as I did, but only time would tell.

“Goodnight sweet Tulipes.”

“Goodnight sweet Tosca.”

“Awww aren’t you guys cute.”

“Shut up Till.”

The room seemed a bit smaller after that. Even though we had not spent much time together, it felt as if our already strong bond had been added another coat of sealant. Passing along triumphant grins every time we caught each others gazes, we settled in for the night, telling each other stories of our days adventures. Hers mostly consisted of her and Valencia, kissing in every possible location in the city, but I didn’t care. I closed my eyes and listened intently, occasionally tossing in an “awwww” or “that is so sweet” now and again.

It was a job well done, but I was most excited to see Tulipes when I woke, more than anything else. Soon I was dead asleep, waiting for my dreams to come once more.

Sunlight caught me by surprise. It filled every corner of the park, I rarely saw it in the day. Not since I was a child, it was easy to forget just how beautiful it all was, but seeing it again brought all my childhood memories back to the forefront of my mind. I smiled softly at the swing sitting alone, carelessly swaying in the breeze. Wait till I tell Orange she was right. The thought brought forth a chuckle, which spilled onto the grass.

Soft steps across the grass caught my attention, but it wasn’t until I heard my name, that I actually turned around. “Hello Tosca.”

I was greeted by four figures. Two I recognized, two I did not. The man at the front seemed to be the one addressing me. He looked familiar, but it took a moment or two, to throw it all together in my mind. He was the one in the picture. The one in the folder. The clues. “Hello.” I ventured, thoughtfully.

“I don’t know if you recognize us, but we know you very well, especially this little lady.” The man put his arm around the woman on his right bringing her forward a few steps. “Say hello darlin.”

Crystalline eyes of aqua glinted in the sunlight as she smiled. “Hello sweet baby.”

I paused for a second. Wait… “Grammy?”

“And you said he wouldn’t recognize you!”

I blinked a few times. “Orange?”  I asked, pleading to the one person I knew well. Other than Grammy, but Grammy didn’t look like Grammy and I was lost in a sea of thoughts. “Who are all these people?”

The man laughed. “We are all dreamwalkers, like you. The family is chalked full of them you see. Merlot, that’s me.”  He said with a wink. “Saffron, Orange, Miracle and you. Well, and your sister, but you knew that already.”

“Right.” I surveyed the grounds. Speaking of my sister…

“No she isn’t here. We came to see you.” Merlot explained.

“You sent me those clues. The fountain, the garden. It was you… but why? Why so cryptic. You could have just as easily spelled it out for me. I wanted to rip my hair out at one point.”

“I could have, but that doesn’t seem like very much fun for a boy with a heart for adventure does it?”

“Well, no.” He had a point there.

“Besides, you would have missed out on meeting a certain little lady if you had taken the easy route. We wouldn’t have wanted that. Now would we?”

The thought ripped my heart to shreds. “No. But, how? How do you know all this? How is it possible to see so many lives before they happen?”

“Ah I can’t tell you that.”

I narrowed my eyebrows. “Of course you can’t”

The quartet shot glances all around, a slyness to their behavior.

“Look kiddo there is a reason we are all gathered here today before you. There is someone who is dying to meet you.”

“Me?”

Merlot nodded. “Oh yes, it took some doing but we pulled many a string to get her here.”

“Oh, where is she?” A small tap on my shoulder, caused me to spin full circle. A woman all in white standing before me.

“Tosca may I present your great grandmother of many many many generations. Chantilly Lace Chiffon.”

“Hello Tosca dear.”

Her loving sweet energy pulled me in immediately. She was adorable, her nose was just about the cutest thing I had ever seen. “Hello.” I smiled. Allowing myself to fall into her open arms, I was enveloped in a hug, a hug like no other. It felt like a barrage of them at once. Like my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and Tulipes all wrapped in one. It was incredible. I buried my face into her shoulder, just as I had done with my grammy, since I was a child. She smelled like vanilla and sugar, like a sugar cookie come to life.

“You have come such a long way my love.” She spoke soft and low, stroking my hair. “I am so very proud of you. You are the tenth generation in a line of a beautiful family, one that I had wished for from a very young age.” I sadly never got to meet my grandchildren, but I always envisioned them to be a lot like you, full of love and adventure. Thank you Tosca. My life’s mission seems a little more complete.”

“You are welcome, but there is so much I want to know. So much to ask.” I turned back to Merlot, but he was gone. Everyone had disappeared. Only Chantilly Lace and I remained.

“Our time is running short.”

Another voice seemed to boom from the sky. “Hey sleepy head. Wake up~” The voice was sing songy, and pulled at me quickly yanking me from my peaceful sleep.

I looked to my hands, they were slowly fading away. Fading as Orange had done so many times before. “Wait!! What’s happening!? I don’t want to go yet! I want to stay with you! Please just a little while longer! Please!”

“Please don’t forget me! Don’t forget us!” She pressed, an urgency hidden beneath the surface. “I love you.”

“I love you too! I won’t forget! I promise! I couldn’t if I tried!” Those were the last words we spoke, before I was ripped fully from my sleep, back to reality.

I opened my eyes to a brilliant white light. It looked as if someone was shining the sun directly into my eyes. The voice from before still beckoning me to wake. I blinked a few times before I closed them again completely. This time squinting slowly I allowed the sun to enter my eyes from the glaring bedroom window at a much slower rate.

For a second I didn’t recognize her. I didn’t recognize anything. The room and everything inside it felt foreign. Long forgotten. Then suddenly it all sank in. “Fairy?”

“Yes. You dork. Who else would I be.”

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you were going to sleep forever.” She teased walking to the far side of the room. Still wrapped in a towel, small droplets of water still speckled her shoulders.

“What time is it?” I asked, looking to the window again.

“Almost noon.” She informed me, opening the dresser.

I rubbed my eyes and looked to the clock. 12:05… “That’s it?

That’s it? You slept half the day away! I have to leave for work now and you aren’t even out of bed yet!

A feeling of dread stabbed me deep in my stomach, the dream was fading, everything was slowly disappearing from my thoughts. I missed it already. I wanted to grasp onto every last piece, but it slipped through the cracks, just like sand through slender fingers pale fingers. I closed my eyes, maybe I could bring it back if I just closed my eyes.

“MERLOT!”

My eyes shot open again. “Yeah? I’m here.” I winced through gritted teeth.

“Yes, I know you are here, but that isn’t what I asked.”

“You asked me something?” I hadn’t heard a thing.

“Just now… Merlot, seriously. Are you even awake? Or are you sleep talking or something creepy. You are acting weird.”

I didn’t know how to answer that. I was awake, or at least I was pretty sure I was awake. I stared blankly ahead. “I had a long night. Weird dreams.”

“About what?”

About what… how in the berry was I going to answer that. I watched as she slipped her stockings over her feet, sliding them high up on her thigh, doing my best to keep all my attention on her. “A bunch of different things. It’s pretty hard to explain. It was a complicated. Most of it is gone now. You  know how it is.”

“Must have been a doozy, you have been at it for hours.”

“Right…”

“Well, it is late, I am going to be super late if I don’t get out the door, this instant.”

Fully dressed she came over by me to give a quick hug and kiss before she was out the door. I pulled her closely into my arms. It seemed like centuries since I had been there. “You sure everything is alright?” She asked, throwing me a disconcerting frown.

“I’ll be fine.”

“Now don’t you go back to bed. You have things to do today!”

“I won’t.”

She blew me a kiss from the bedroom door, before she was clipping carefully down the stairs in her work heels. I watched from the window till I saw her step onto the walk, she was headed safely to our car, so I decided to throw on some clothes. I had a little “honey do” list I was supposed to  be working on, so there was no need for a shower. I had barely slipped my pants on when I heard the doorbell ring.

“That was quick.” I chided. “I gave you two weeks at least.”

I rushed from the bedroom door tugging at my shirt as I went. The dream still continuing to fade with each heavy step I took towards the front landing. Not really paying attention, I reached for the handle and began to teasingly berate my wife through its locked but obviously transparent surface. “Lock yourself out again. How many times is this now. I think we might have to-

But the next few words froze in my throat. My mouth gaped open at the realization it wasn’t Fairy who was now standing patiently on the other side of the glass. The door was wide open now and the pale figure standing before me came into clearer focus. Bundled in her arms was a tiny baby. My hastiness to rip open the door had caught the young woman by surprise and immediately her eyes shot up and met with mine.  In that same instant my dream came flooding back, only it no longer felt like a dream. No, it was more like a distant memory. Each line of her face felt like home, but all I was able to cultivate in my state of shock was a mystified “Hello?”

“Hi there.” She smiled adjusting the tiny bundle in her arms. “I hope we aren’t intruding. I was just taking Roz here for a walk, and decided this would be a good time to meet the neighbors. Probably shouldn’t have waited this long.” She chuckled brightly. “But that is besides the point isn’t it? Hi. I’m Lacey, it’s nice to meet you.”

She grinned reaching out her delicate hand for me to take. Warily I wrapped my rather large hand, by comparison, around hers and gave it a small shake. I must have looked like a total loon, but my mind was swirling in about three hundred different directions.

Could it be? The elegant figure from my dreams in the flesh? I felt my cheeks flush with excitement and shame. It was obvious she had no recollection of who I was, but even so, I found myself fighting every instinct, to throw my arms around and hold her yearningly close. So carelessly I wanted to kiss those cheeks, that adorable nose I had hopelessly fallen in love with, to greet her like the old dear friend she had been.

Oh Berry, she was beautiful. Perhaps even more so in person, than she had been in my mind.

I smiled again in my attempt to keep a safe distance, but there was no changing the inevitable. This day, this moment, it had all been done before. This was the moment my existence would forever alter countless futures if I allowed it to.

I had one hell of a decision to make, one that could change everything, for better or for worse, depending on who you were speaking to. My life had always been one of fatalistic proportions, but this…this only drove that nail in harder. Was my only reason for being, so that the cruel fates had someone to do their sinister bidding? Given the chance to learn where my decisions would lead me and others that I cherished…Would I be able to make the needed sacrifices that were now so apparent in their calling? Would I be willing to withstand the hardships I would undoubtedly endure to see them come to fruition? I looked deep into her luminous eyes, and felt myself crumble under the weight of my own breath, just the way it had before. I knew my answer, but what right really did I have to refuse? Was it fair for me to be selfish? Refuse to play my part? So many lives affected, all those amazing and inspired souls, the world would be deprived of knowing.

Would Fairy the woman I had so fiercely fought to have and keep, win out? Or would it be the woman I would unwittingly fall for in a moment of passion, one who was destined to bear my child and bring with her generations of light and love? Lacey…What of poor Lacey? I had seen her agony as well as my own. My conscience ripped at the very fibers of my heart, the thought of knowingly deceiving her, a woman one who would teach me more in our brief, yet poignant encounters, than I had learned in all my thirty one years of living. Lessons, I already knew, but if decided upon would have to learn yet again. Undoubtedly doubling all of the pain, all of the hurt, but there was something, something that trumped all the suffering I envisioned in my mind. The love that we would share, the moments I would have to hold her, as short as they were, it all seemed worth it, and after seeing the world through ten very different pairs of eyes, it was all clear to me. My life was merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things. My happiness was and always would be inconsequential. Guess that was part of my curse, but being near her, knowing what I would have the chance to experience, even if only for those few fleeting moments. I knew I would be inviting her not only into my home, but into my heart as well. There by ensuring the rest of my days would be spent, begging for her unknowing forgiveness.

“I was just about to put on some tea, would you like to come in?”

The end~

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Finale Part 1

“You’re mad…” Tilly slinked through our hotel room door, setting her key-card and a bouquet of flowers on the dresser. It had been hours since she had left the room, and even longer since I had returned. I wasn’t sure where she had been, but there was an instant relief when I heard her jiggling the handle from outside. My heart rate rattled a little faster than normal, and I felt torn between, wrapping her up, thanking the great Berry above that she was alright, or giving her the hairy eyeball for scaring me half to death. I decided on the latter.

I narrowed my eyes, allowing my rather menacing eyebrows to furrow. Getting my point across that I was not pleased, I spoke in a low unapproving timbre. “You think? Where have you been? It’s been hours.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I got a little sidetracked.”

I looked to the window, it had been dark for several hours, a small tinge of worry still remained in my gut. I crossed my arms over my chest to further express my annoyance. “Sidetracked? I heard you ran off with some guy. What if something had happened to you? You don’t know this guy. He could have hurt you or worse.”

“I know, he could have, but he didn’t. He’s a good guy.” She explained a curl at the edge of her lips, masking a full blown smile, obviously induced by this Valencia character. “I think we might have something. Something special.”

I threw my hands in the air. “Well that’s great in all, but what about our reason for being here? Are you just going to throw that away for this french…”  I didn’t even know what expletive I wanted to use. “guy?”

“No. Look! We were searching today as well. Okay? We didn’t find anything, but we were looking.”

“What about you?” She asked heading towards the bathroom door. “Have you found anything for us to go on yet?”

“No, but I did find someone who has offered to help.”

“Who?”

“Her name is Tulipes. She works with your boytoy at the pub.” Now I could feel the curl at the edge of my lips.

Tilly must of sensed it too, because she stopped just short of the door and turned back to look at me. “Tosca? Did you make a lady friend?”

“A guide.” I corrected. Lady friend was too big a step for me to admit just yet. It didn’t matter the way I coated it, Tilly saw right through. “I never thought I would see the day! What does she look like? Is she pretty?”

My mouth was agape, a stupid grin plastered all over. “Very.” I blushed.

She clapped her hands together. “HAH! This is amazing. First night in France and you found a lady! Bro I am so proud of you.”

I could feel my head moving in all directions, wanting to nod, wanting to shake a way the title, it was all too much. Oh man, why was she helping me? What was she expecting? Did she like me? Did she feel sorry for me? I pulled back the plush covers on the bed, and hid underneath. “It’s been a long day. I’m going to bed.” I exclaimed from my down covered confines.

A small giggle, tucked me in before the bathroom door shut behind her. “Night lover boy.”

I heard the water as she turned it on, I even heard the shower curtain clink a bit on the metal track, after that, the sounds in the hotel began to fade into the walls. Sleep came quickly, for me that night. No time to think about it, no doubt I was snoring heavily by the time Tilly emerged, ready for bed. A brief recollection of a small clicking sound as the only lit  lamp in the room went out and I was gone to the world again.

It was a welcome sight to find my home away from home in my sleep that night. With the fact I was so far away from everyone in Twizzlerbrook. I felt a little bit closer, opening my eyes to find the beautiful moon-drenched cherry blossom trees, swaying above me. It always surprised how real the dreams felt. Very different from normal dreams. I could feel the soft breeze that ran across my bare feet, and smell the blossoms on the trees.

I took in a deep breath, drawing in with it all the amazing scents that resided there. “Ah it’s good to be home!” Looking around, the place was deserted as per usual. Wasn’t really expecting to find anyone, not right away at least. Orange always made her appearances after I arrived, so I figured she would be along any time. Taking the opprotunity while I had it, I ran to the swing and sat down. Hah! Made it before she had a chance to steal it out from under me. Digging my toes into the grass and dirt, I pushed off into a large swoop. That tickle in the bottom of my stomach was still there every time I lifted up into the air. Nothing as free as the feel on a swing.

Almost on cue a slender silhouette stepped out of the darkness. A small snort escaped her nostrils, alerting me to the fact, she was not pleased to share her swing. “Leave for months and then have the audacity to take my swing.” She spat, sticking out her tongue. “Some friend you are.”

I slammed my feet to the ground, bringing myself to an abrupt halt. I could tell for the most part she was teasing, but there was a small undertone that was undeniable. “Sorry.” I sheepishly grinned, swaying to the right and then left. “Would you like to sit?”

“No. You’re there now. You should stay.” She pouted, jutting out her hip, to its furthest possible limit.

“Suit yourself.” I picked up my feet and started to swing freely again, her face bobbing in and out of view. “So I’m in France right now.”

“I heard.”

“No clue what I’m doing here!” I yelled, swinging so high into the air, that I lifted off the seat, hitting back down with a thud.

“That makes two of us.” She mused. I could tell she was getting a little satisfaction from my ongoing confusion.

I came to stop again. “I was really hoping you weren’t going to say that. I could really use some help.”

“I think you misinterpret my reason for being here.” She explained. “I’m here more for moral support, to keep you going. Not feed you the answers. Besides that, I truly don’t have the answers. You can do this though, I mean look at what the two of you have accomplished already. You traveled quite a distance to get where you are. You just have to keep looking.”

“But I don’t even know where to begin!” I wanted to say more, but she started to dissolve into the night air, preparing to leave me alone with my thoughts again. “No! Don’t leave! Please!? We need help! Where should I look?! I’m so confused!”

“Perhaps what you came here to find, isn’t what you are searching for.”

“What?! What does that mean?! Orange!” Slowly her eyes faded, before she was no more.

I watched the spot where she had been mindfully. Wishing and hoping she would come back. “Perhaps what I came here to find, isn’t what I’m searching for?” I scoffed. “Way to make me even more confused.” Looking to my feet, I flicked a small rock with my big toe across the grass. “What else could I be looking for then?” My shoulders slumped in surrender, before I sneered at the spot again. “You know you could have left without saying that. Because it didn’t help!! And I don’t really know who I am talking to. But you!! You!! You aren’t very helpful! I don’t need moral support!” Realizing how crazy I must have seemed, I lowered my voice a bit. “Just answers…”

The next morning I woke with a feeling of serene calm, the birds chirping outside on a clothes line, softly waking me from my dream. The moment I remembered who I was about to meet up with however, everything clicked into overdrive. I shot out of the covers and ran for the bathroom, slamming it behind me. Tilly was still wrapped up in bed, but my sudden movements, jolted her awake as well.

“Geeze.” She groaned, throwing a pillow over her head. “I don’t think the shower is going anywhere!”

I flipped on the water; had to get dressed, had to be ready, had to brush teeth well. I was in and out in a flash, and before I knew it, we were ready, rushing our way out to the elevator. We stepped in to morning air, it was a bit cool, but certainly not uncomfortable. We walked to the front of the pub to wait for Valencia and Tulipes. If you haven’t guessed by now, I was nervous.

Tulipes was the first to arrive. My heart literally stopped beating for a couple of seconds when I saw her walking across the road. Hopefully this wouldn’t be an on going problem, I thought to myself. Could be detrimental to my health if exposed to her for an extended amount of time. When Tilly realized the gorgeous figure walking towards us was indeed my friend, I heard her breath hitch in her throat. “Bro.” She whispered. “You picked a stunner.”

I couldn’t help but grin. I did didn’t I? Though in all honesty, it felt more like she picked me. I stepped forward to greet her, when Tilly pushed in front. “Bonjour!” She beamed, reaching out a hand. “I’m Tilly, Tosca’s annoying little sister.”

“Bonjour Tilly.” Came a sweet angelic voice in reply. I had to refrain from melting right there on the spot, that girl had me so deep under her spell, I could hardly think straight. I watched the two talk for a couple seconds more, before she turned her beautiful smile to greet me. “Bonjour Tosca.”

“Bonjour.” I smiled, holding up a hand giving my fingers a miniature wave.

The three of us conversed comfortably as we waited for our fourth party member to arrive. Tilly and I took turns explaining, in a bit more detail, what we might be looking for, while Tulipes did her best to take in as much of our information as she could. There was a still a bit of a language barrier, but Tulipes was sharp, she picked up on things right away. Learning more and more as we chatted. We didn’t have to wait too long before Valencia strode up beside Tilly and wrapped an arm around her waist. She let out a squeak before practically jumping up into his arms. Tulipes looked to me and gave me a wink.

“Bonour cutie!” Tilly cooed.

Sure was a lot of bonjouring going on….

After a short round of introductions, we decided to split up into teams. It would allow us to cover more ground, and since we both had guides with working cell phones, we still had a way to contact the other, just in case of an emergency or in the off chance we actually found what we were looking for. Tulipes and Valencia exchanged numbers before we were off and running.

One thing I had managed to do during my time alone in the hotel, was rent a car. I wasn’t entirely sure if Tulipes owned one, seeing that public transit was much bigger in the city, and I didn’t want to bother her even is she had, so I spent a bit of money to rent one for the week. It’s amazing what you can get done online these days. I was ready to go in a couple clicks, and the car was to be dropped off to the hotel parking lot that morning. I found myself holding my breath as I lead her around the building to find it. Must remind myself to breathe, lack of oxygen to the head, might end up getting us in a crash and then where would I be? Unaware of my underlining awkwardness, the ivory beauty floated across the gravel, to wait at the passenger door. I nervously unlocked her door first, before stepping around the car to mine. You can do this, I assured myself again. It probably looked a little off from her perspective, but she busied herself with the mirror, as I gave my little pep talk.

Mapping out a bit of a trail, we decided to split the city in half. Making sure to hit every park, garden, flower shop that we could find. It was a long shot, but it was all we had. As we headed for the top edge of town, the Eiffel tower seemed to loom ever head, it was quite an amazing structure. Not quite as impressive to her as it was to me of course.

Things got off to a slow start and nothing seemed to improve after that. There was a plethora of places to go and see, but nothing seemed to have any connection to what we were searching for. The fact we had no clue what we were looking for didn’t really help matters much. I was relying fully on gut instincts and so far nothing was waving a flag in my face. About noon, we hit a rather large park below the tower. There were fountains similar to the one at home in the small grassy areas, surrounded by flowers no less, but it wasn’t the place. Tulipes gave me a hopeful glance, and I shook my head. A half hearted smile graced her sweet face and then we continued on to our next place. Mark another off our list.

By the time we closed in on the edge of town, our situation, to me, was feeling more and more hopeless. The only good thing from the day was all the time we had spent together. Stepping up the large steps of the cathedral, we walked to it’s edge, where a delicate garden had been constructed.  It wasn’t right either and I let out a disappointed sigh. Tulipes bit her lip as she shook her head. “No?”

“No…”

This was one of our last stops. If it was in town, it was surely on the other side because we had stalked the streets, coming up with nothing. “I’m really sorry.” I groaned. “I am just wasting your time.”

“No. I’m having fun. Not a waste with you.”

She was being awfully sweet, but my spirits were so low, I didn’t even know how to respond. “Let’s just keep going, I guess.”

Nodding patiently, she headed back to the car.

We only had a few places left to check and things were not looking bright. We shuffled through a small market in the middle of the lower east square, when a woman with a cart, shoved a beautiful bouquet of flowers at Tulipes’s face as we passed. She spoke in their native tongue, but I was fairly certain it had something do with the flowers and their price.  She gave them a once over before checking with me. I shook my head, and she politely pushed the flowers away from her nose. Unfortunately the seller was not so easily swayed, and continued to try and push her wares, long after Tulipes had adamantly refused.

The two argued for several minutes, a small back and forth of wills. I felt weird just standing there, knowing I would’t be much help in a domestic discussion, so I decided to study the collection of rather eclectic sundries the woman had on display. She had a small stack of pots and pans, little glass containers with several different tops, including butterflies, hearts, leafs and neat row of potted plants. I passed by two pots before my eyes settled onto the third. A small flower was painted on it’s side and it looked an awful lot like the symbol from our clues. My mouth dropped open and I reached out for Tulipes’s shoulder. The ladies squabble subsided instantly as I jumped between them.

Completely forgetting the woman before me spoke only French I blurted out my question. “Where did you get that?!” I asked, pointing to the potted plant in question. The woman stared back at me blankly. “Oh right.” I turned to Tulipes. “Ask where she got that. Please.” Tulipes obliged and the woman nodded a couple times before answering back. Not understanding a word, I waited for Tulipes to clue me in.

“She says she buys from a shop near the front of a cathedral in Chambury. She gets a whole sale price so she buys many to sell here.”

“Chambury? Where is that?”

“It is a small village. It is a few hours time from here.”

“I think that is where we need to go.”

“Are you sure?”

“I think so yes.”

We didn’t even thank the woman, we just started running back to the car. Hurried feet crunched across the cobblestone road, till we were safely at the car once more.

I unlocked the passenger side door, before walking to my side, I was in such a rush to get on the road again, I wasn’t paying attention to the trouble, she was having getting the door open. I was in my seat when I looked up to find her pulling on the door. “It is stuck.” She grunted, pulling on the handle again. I started to get out of the car to help, but I was too late. I heard a small yelp, before she disappeared from view.

“Mon baie.”

“Are you alright!?” I rushed around the edge of the car, to find her on the ground. She wrapped her arm around my leg to help herself up, but it didn’t put her at quite the right angle and she tumbled over again  Here, let me help.” I reached out my hands for her to take. She smiled weakly before setting her hands on top of mine. Using the car for a bit of leverage I helped to bring her back to her feet. Her cheeks were red, more from embarrassment, than any sort of injury, but at first she wouldn’t look up.

Her eyes were transfixed on our hands. It seemed in all the commotion to get her upright, I had failed to remember to let go. Sweet soft hands were still safely guarded in my own, even after the realization of my error, I found myself resistant to release them. She didn’t seem to mind to much. Her eyes finally fluttered up and met with mine, that sweet face staring back at me.

“Are you alright?” I asked, giving her hands the tiniest squeeze.

“Yes, but your door does not seem to like me.”

“Let me see if I can fix it.” I finally released her hands, and jiggled the handle a few times before, it finally decided to give and pop open. “I’ll help you next time.” I said, opening the door a bit wider.

“Thank you.” Not waiting for me to get out of the way, our bodies connected for brief moment as she slid past me and into the seat. I gripped the door frame above her head and thankfully out of view, oh sweet berry what was she doing to me?

The drive to Chambury was short. Too short in my honest opinion. Not nearly enough time to study the beautiful woman in my peripheral, before it started to get dark. The sun was just heading over the hill as we pulled into the small village of Chambury. It didn’t take us long to find the cathedral or the woman in question. If we would have arrived any later though, we might have just missed her all together. She was in the middle of packing her things as we came up the steps. I tapped her gently on the shoulder, and she turned to greet us. Tulipes inquired if she had gotten the flowers from a florist or if she grew them herself. The woman explained that she did buy them from a local florist, but she was not at liberty to disclose the woman or her location. Tulipes’s expression dropped. “She says she will not tell us.”

“What? Why not?!”

“She says it is not a buisness, it is a family friend. She says it is not our buisness to know where she lives.”

“But…”

“I’m sorree Tosca. She refuses.”

It was a disheartening walk back to the car. How could we be so close, only to be thwarted by an address… My footsteps were heavy and deliberate and I felt more like a petulant child than a grown man. I didn’t care, I was crestfallen, this was the end of our road. There was no possible way to find where the flowers came from now. Not unless we wanted to knock on every door in the village till we found it, that is if they even lived in the village. I walked to the passenger side first, unlocking the door and then using my new technique to open it. Tulipes just watched as I silently moved to my side of the car. I was in the middle of unlocking my door, when a gentle touch graced my back and arm.

“I am so sorree Tosca.”

“It’s fine.”

“We tried.”

“We did.”

The moon seemed to race into the sky after that. I pulled out to the street and we headed back for the city. We were barely out of the village before the car started to rattle. The engine heaving each time I tried to apply the gas. I frantically studied all the guages before me. Everything seemed fine. The tempurtaure guage was good. No check engine light. The gas was still half full. Come to think of it, the guage had been half full for a while now… oh berry, no. We were out of gas. The car slowly rolled to a stop and I smacked the steering wheel.

“Mon baie.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it must have been something good, because she used it every time there was trouble.

I unbuckled my seat belt.. “We better call my sister.”

Tulipes nodded in a agreement before reaching into her pocket for her phone. It was hard to see in the dark, but even still, her eyes opened wider than I had ever seen. Her arms frantically patted her front pockets, before she pushed her feet into the floor of the car to lift herself up so she could pat her back pockets. “Pas!”

“What?” I asked, flipping the overhead light on.

“My phone. It is gone.”

“What?!”

Tulipes was already opening the car door to get a better look at the floorboards and the dark corners underneath her seat. ” I had it.” She whined. “It was here.”

“You don’t have your phone?!”

“I did!! But it is not here.” She thought for a moment and then gasped. “Mon baie, it must have fallen when I fallen.”

As my sister would say, oh sweet lavenous days. This was not good. “What do we do now?”

“I don’t know. Find help.”

I looked across the empty field, there were trees, grass and sky. No houses, no cars and no phones. “I guess we walk then.”

“I am so sorree Tosca.”

“It’s alright. We will be fine, we just need to get walking.”

Even a small distance can seem like a lot when you have to walk it. We had passed only one house for a good couple of miles, but I was able to navigate us back to it with little to no trouble. The lights on the porch were burning brightly and breathed a sigh of relief as came up over the hill. Just a few short minutes and we could get things back on track again.

Wrong again.

“Bonjour. We need to use a phone. Our car ran out of gas, and we need to call someone to come pick us up.”

The woman shook her head solemnly. “Pas.  Il n’y a pas de téléphone ici.”

“Oh right. You don’t understand me…” I looked to Tulipes who was preparing to translate when….

“No, I understand you. There is no phone here. You need to go.”

“But… no phone? You have no phone? Please you must.”

“It is late, and you should not be here.”

I was more than willing to continue our absurd argument, but a small shaky voice cut right through. “Framboise, where are your manners? Let them in.”

All three of us turned to the direction of the voice. A tiny woman was heading up the walk, her expression not very impressed with Framboise’s behavior. “I am very sorree, please come in. We will be happy to get you a phone.”

The woman on the porch glared at us both before opening the door allowing everyone outside entry. “We really appreciate it. Thank you.” Doing my best to express our true appreciation seemed to fall on deaf ears, well one set of them anyways.

We were guided through to large living room. There was a small fire burning in the fireplace and its golden light seemed to bounce off of the furniture, setting a slightly rustic homey feel to the place. Framboise shoved a phone into Tuilpes’s chest before stalking back to the kitchen. She immediately started to dial, when it dawned on her that she had no idea how to get a hold of them. She had entered the number into her phone, so she had no reason to memorize it. She patted the phone to her chest before turning to face me. “I don’t know the number.”

“Right….” Made sense. Why didn’t I think of that.

“I will call my mom!” She exclaimed as she dialed a number furiously fast. There was no immediate answer but she refused to get off the line.

“Car trouble?” Asked the woman sitting just across from me.

“Ran out of gas.” I explained.

“Fate is funny no?”

“Hilarious.”

“You are looking for something. Something you can’t seem to find.”

Suddenly the woman had my full attention and I waved at Tulipes to hang up the phone. It took her second to catch my frantic arm gestures with her back turned, but finally she caught on.

“How did you know that?”

“I think I have what you are looking for?”

The phone in Tulipes’s grasp dropped to the floor with a thunk.

“You do? Where?! Where is it?”

“It is hidden, safe. Locked away from the world. I can show you, but not tonight. I can take you in the morning. It is too dark now. Can you stay?”

“Auntie!” A voice piped up from the other room, but she ignored it.  “You will have to excuse my great niece, she is a bit overprotective. Please, call me Mara.”

“Tosca and this is Tulipes.”

“It is an honor I assure you.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I gave a small smile in gratitude anyhow.

“It is late. Let me show you to your rooms.”

“Thank you.”

We followed the Mara down a dimly lit hallway, where we stopped before one of its closed doors. Her wooden canes rhythmically clunking coming to a halt. “Shall I make up two rooms, or would you care to share?”

“I started to say two, but Tulipes beat me to the punch. “One… please.”

I shot her a sideward glance, and my jaw dropped to the floor. Did she just say one?

“Very well. You can take this one then. I must apologize the walls are in desperate need to repair, but I burden with dear niece with so much already.”

“It’s fine.” My heart was racing in my eardrums, probably wouldn’t be able to see the walls let alone appraise their condition. “Thank you.”

After bidding our gracious host goodnight, we retired into the bedroom. I was pretty sure there would only be one bed, but some how it didn’t quite sink in till I saw it sitting there. What did all this mean? We were sharing the bed? She wanted to share? With me? She didn’t seem to have the same reservations as I did, so she walked across the room and settled onto the increasingly more inviting mattress. I however couldn’t move from the door. A playful grin beckoned me to move closer, along with a small wave of her hand in a come hither motion. “I will not bite.” She teased.

I laughed nervously. “I know. I just thought, well.. are you sure about this?”

“If you are uncomfortable. I can sleep on top.”

“I’m sorry what.” I almost fell against the door behind me.

“I can sleep on top of the covers. You can sleep under.”

“Oh. Right. Of course. No. I will be fine. You can have the covers.”

“It it warm. Let’s just sleep. Hmm?”

“Sure…”

I cautiously moved across the room and lowered myself onto the other side. The mattress dipped at my weight, letting out a loud creak. “Heh.”

Turning our back towards one another, we attempted to sleep. I say attempted, because my heart was still beating so hard, I could barely breathe, let alone sleep. She seemed to slip right off, and I could feel my internal temperature start to cool. Listening intently to the soft lull of her breathing, before my eyes drifted shut and I too was out.

Some time during the night we both slipped under the covers. Not knowing exactly how it happened, it came as quite a shock, when I woke to find my arms clinging tightly to her middle. My eyes shot open, but I didn’t move. If I moved she would wake up, but if I didn’t move she would wake up too. Mon baie, I was in a pickle. She let out a soft moan and my eyes rolled to the back of my head. Oh sweet berry babies, I needed to move before it was too late. I decided to try and seperate us slowly. “Tosca?” Not slowly enough.

“I don’t know how this happened.” I explained. It sounded stupid, but it was the truth. I slipped my arm from underneath her and stood from the bed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean. I really don’t know….”

“It is fine. It felt nice.”

“I just… I wouldn’t invade your privacy like that. Not on purpose.”

I thought she was going to reach out and slap me, but a pair of sweet lips parted the air between us, landing directly on mine. It was only a peck, but it sent a shiver so far down my spine, it went through the floorboards.

“You worry much.” She giggled. A giggle I recognized immediately. Suddenly one of the things on my agenda was crystal clear. I think I had just found one of the things I was looking for.

After a delicious breakfast, Mara in the lead, guided us out of the house to her back yard. “It is here.” She pointed up the hill. “I am so glad you made it, I don’t think I will make another trip. It is hard walk.” Tulipes and I nodded. Following closely to keep an eye on our frail guide, she lead our way, we were finally going to see the fruits of our labor. Tulipes slid her arm through mine as we continued up over the hill.

Happy Birthday Splash!!!!

That is right! A year ago today, I excitedly posted the prologue for Splash! And now a year later, we are about jump right into Generation 7. Oh how the time flies. There is a big celebration happening today over on the thread and if you would like to join in I would love to see you there!

http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/8565/181899.page#4909555

and now without Further ado, here is your gift! I hope you enjoy it! I think you will :3

Gen 4- Chapter 15: Saffron Sugar


{alt}

Sunny had been sitting on the couch watching TV (what a surprise) when Glaze and I slipped into the seats on either side of him. An ambush of sorts, I guess you could say.

“So we have a proposition for you.”

“Oh ya? What is it?”

“Well if you agree to have a joint birthday party with your dad, we will let you choose the place.”

From the look on his face, he did not seem to happy about the idea of possibly sharing his big day, but then a realization hit him, and a sly grin started to grow across his face.

{alt}

“Ok, but on one condition. I can invite who ever I want. Deal?”

{alt}

Oh what did I just get myself into. I thought about it long and hard before I finally replied. We needed a little break financially, and with almost everyone’s birthdays coming up, it was the sacrifice I would have to make.

“Ok. You have a deal. Now where are we going?”

“The Blue Apple!”

“Ok.”

{alt}

Once he had picked the place, I handed over his cell phone so he could invite his friends. He snatched it from my hand and started texting someone right a way. I had a feeling it was Razzy, but he was already heading to his room before I could ask. His door slammed, and I let out a big sigh.

“I bet she will be there.”

“Sweetheart he is growing up, and he is a teenage boy.”

“Ya well I am not use to teenage boys.”

“Hah Come here!”

{alt}
{alt}

The Blue Apple, was the newest hot spot in town. Formerly called the Holly Berry Dive, but was bought out by Laynestix Candyapple. She completely remodeled the place, head to toe and for the better I might add, and let me tell you, it was not easy getting a booking there either! If it kept on this track, it could turn into Twizzlerbrooks version of Peppermint Pier in no time at all.

So the night of the party, we packed everyone up in the car and headed over. We put the cake out on the counter and we let Sunny go first. He smirked as he approached his cake. He took one look around the room, and then blew out his candles.

{alt}

There before me was the orange version of Glaze. Berry sakes a live.

{alt}

The candles hadn’t even finished smoking, when Sunny hopped over the counter and over to a purple haired girl. He immediately wrapped his arms around her and they started kissing.

{alt}

I watched in awe as my eldest son tried to eat the girls face off. I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks, and all the giggling and snickering from the other party goers was not helping anything. I felt so embarrassed, but I could not look away. Glaze leaned over to me.

“That must be Razzy.”

“Duuhhh you think?!”

“Heh.”

Finally they stopped and I cleared my throat. *Ahem* “Well the party isn’t over yet! Glaze I think its your turn!”

{alt}

Glaze nodded and handed Mika over to me. He made his way up to the cake, he gave me a wink and then blew all the candles out in one mighty breath.

{alt}

He did not look any different to me, but he said that he felt older. I only hoped I would be as lucky.

{alt}

Once the cake had been cut, Sunny and Razzy made their way over to the Foosball table, and they pretty much stayed there the rest of the night. I was pretty happy about this, because it was keeping their hands busy…

{alt}

I tried to eat my cake, but the whole thing kept playing over and over again in my head. I was pushing the frosting around with my fork, and then finally Glaze noticed.

“Oh Honey it will be alright. They are just kids.”

“I know, that is why it bothers me so much. HE is just a kid. SHE is like two years older than him. Its sick.”

“Don’t you remember what you were like at that age?”

“Of course I do… Thanks I think you may have just made it worse!”

{alt}

Once the party was over, the two love birds said their goodbye. I stood by the car being as patient as I could, but after 10 minutes of hugging and smooching and me tapping my foot, my patience finally ran out.

*Cough*

“I gotta go.”

“Ok.”

{alt}

*Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah*

The most shrill sounding scream I had ever heard, was escaping my poor Mika’s lips and it was so loud, that it startled both me and Koda. I just knew I was going to turn around and see the poor boy with a broken finger or toe, or blood gushing out everywhere!

{alt}

As I turned around to see, I was not pleased with the scene I found. There was no blood… just Sunny and Mika and Sunny was holding Mika’s toy lollipop. He was grinning and looking all proud of himself and Mika was still crying and screaming on the carpet. I had hoped this behavior would have stopped when he grew a little older, but it looked like it had not.

{alt}

“Sunglow Chiffon! What do you think you are doing?”

“What?”

“Don’t what me! I saw you. You were tormenting your poor brother again.”

“Geez Ma take it easy. I was gonna give it back.”

{alt}

You’re darn right you are a gonna give it back. Now!”

“Fine…Here.” He said, as he dropped the oversized plastic sucker on the ground.

“I don’t like your tone.”

“Ya.. Well I don’t like them. They cry all the time. Babies…….Suck!”

“Young man, this has gone on long enough. I am sick and tired of your attitude towards children, especially your own siblings! You are grounded!”

“But!”

“No buts! Here I think its your turn to watch Koda, and I am gonna watch you. In fact why don’t you two work on his walking. Yes I think that would be a great learning experience for you.”

*Sigh*

{alt}

For the next hour or so, I watched as Koda and an unwilling Sunny practiced walking. I think after a while he was kinda getting into it. Koda made some great progress that day too! Sunny was so good with him when he wanted to be, I didn’t understand why he acted like such a nasty all the time…

{alt}

Thank goodness, that Pineapple and Butterscotch were so much easier to deal with. They were grumpy grumps from time to time, but they never took it out on their poor brothers, and they always did their homework. I couldn’t help but wonder what Koda and Mika would be like as children…

{alt}
{alt}

Sunny’s behavior was so bad, I almost sent him to military school. I even called my second cousin Sargent PixyStix-Witt out for a consultation. She was quite pleased with the idea, so she came out immediately. We discussed procedures and protocols, but by the time we had finished, I had talked myself out of it.

“Thank you Amanda, I will definitely keep this in mind, but I think I might just hold off for a little.”

“What ever you think is best. If you change your mind though, just call me.”

“I will do that. Thank you again.”

{alt}

By the morning, I was already regretting my decision…

“Momma?”

“Guhhhh Baby what is it?”

“Its Sunny. He is on the couch with that girl, and they are doing stuff.”

Half of what Pineapple had said did not even register to my still sleeping brain, but what I did hear…Sunny, girl, doing stuff. Made me return from my slumber.

“What?” I gurnted as I sat up and looked at the clock. “Its like 6am.”

“Ya, she just got here like 10 minutes ago.”

{alt}

Well Pineapple wasn’t lying, Sunny let Razzy in and they quickly made their way to the couch.

{alt}
{alt}

Half asleep I stomped down the stairs, and found the pair on the couch looking just a little to close for my taste. This boy was seriously learning how to push all my buttons. I scowled at the two unnoticed, because I guess in the heat of their moment, they did not even realize I was there.

“I think it is time for Razzy to leave now.”

“Mom!?”

{alt}
{alt}

“Whoa take it easy Mrs. C. We weren’t doing anything.”

“Razzy, I don’t really appreciate the fact that you are in my house at 6 am in the morning, and I bet Violetberry would not appreciate it either.”

“Aww weak. Don’t call my mom. Please?”

“I don’t know. I am going to have to think about it, in the mean time I suggest you leave.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

{alt}

Slightly irritated and embarrassed, Razzy headed to the front door.

“Bye Sunny!”

“Bye Razzy…”

{alt}

Once she had exited the house, I turned my attention back to Sunny.

“And you mister. I don’t even know what to do with you anymore. You pretty much disobey all the rules that we set in this hou-”

{alt}

“Blah Blah Blah…Disobey all the rules that we set in this house.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Sunglow I swear If you don’t cut this out.”

“Sunglow I swear If you don’t cut this out.”

Oh that was it. I grabbed him by the ear and just like in those old movies, I dragged him all the way to his bedroom. “You will not be coming out of here until you have learned some manners, and you can bet your berry sweet butt that I am going to tell your father!”

*Slam*

{alt}

He stayed in there an entire day doing who knows what…and then finally the next morning, he emerged and apologized. “Mom…I am sorry I have been acting like a jerk. Do I still get to come to the party?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if I help. I can take one of the boys to the cake? Pleassssse.”

“Fine, but you better be nice.”

“Promise.”

{alt}

True to his word, Sunny was on his best behavior and was a very helpful older brother. He and Koda got to go first. Watching them being so sweet together was actually frustrating me more. I knew what he was capable of, why did he have to do all that mean stuff?

{alt}

Koda was a handsome little guy, or at least I think he was. He was still wearing that darn tiger mask. Oh well I was sure he would take it off once school started…

{alt}

Then it was Mika’s turn…

{alt}

He reminded me quite a bit of Persimmon, he was very proper and everything was so crisp and clean. Oh and a cutie to boot!

{alt}

Lastly was me. I really thought about my wish before I made it, but I can’t tell you or it may not come true!

{alt}

Not to bad huh? As I stood there looking at all of my amazing family clapping and cheering, I couldn’t help but think about what Grandpa Merlot had said. “There are many surprises to come along your journey. Always remember to face them with and open mind and an open heart. Everyone deserves a second chance.” Even though I did not quite understand what those words meant, I felt a new sense of power that I was ready for whatever was in store.

Gen 4- Chapter 14: Saffron Sugar

SSC396

The party was amazing! I was so glad that I went with my gut instinct, to call in Rose for reinforcements. I knew I was not up for another party at the house, so Rose suggested we throw it at the little park on the water front.

“It has a gazebo and it would be a wonderful venue for a party! We can show off our new swim suits too!”

Unfortunately once the party started, Rose was no where to be found. She helped me out so much with the organizing, so I have to say I was surprised and slightly disappointed, when I did not see her smiling face. She was missing out on all our hard work! I couldn’t let that get me down though, my boys were celebrating their big day!

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Glaze and Butterscotch were up first! Surprisingly, Butterscotch was in a great mood! Something about the overcast weather, really suited him. He was thoroughly enjoying his moment in the errr non-sun? “Ok Son watch me. Blow like this.”

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My goodness it was hard to tell who he took after more. He looked like me, but there was definitely Glaze in there as well! Handsome boy!

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After our rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Butterscotch, Pineapple and I were up to the plate! He was laughing and giggling the whole time, and as he did so, the sun started to emerge through the clouds. I also happened to see a pink haired beauty emerge over the hill.

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“You ready baby?”

“Ready momma.”

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Just as handsome as his brother! What a sweetie!

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After the cake was cut, and we had time to talk, Rose approached me with the most excited smile across her face.

“Oh Saffron I am sooo sorry I am late! I was trying to get here earlier, but I have been feeling a little under the weather.”

“Oh Rose. Are you alright now?”

“Yes I am fine. Saff…Forrest and I are having a baby!!”

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The news my bestie was expecting, took a moment to sink in, but once it did, I was ecstatic! “OMB! Rose thats so wonderful!” I grabbed her hands in mine, and we started hopping around screaming. All of the party goers were looking at us like we were crazy, but we couldn’t have cared in the slightest, we kept right on going.

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“I know it is kind of early, but I want to know if you would be the Berrymother?”

As soon as the words left her lips I said yes. “Of course I will!” I pulled her into a big hug, and we both cried (in a good way though!) The party was turning into quite an epic day!

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After Rose and I stopped dancing around like crazy fools, I went and congratulated Forrest. He was also quite excited and the proud pappa face was beginning to set in!

*Hehe*  “Thanks Saff.”

{alt}

Later that week, I decided to take Rose out for a little day shopping. I knew she was in need of baby things, and since this was my Berrychild, I was going to help out anyway that I could. We decided to start at the little consignment store just across from the park. I had gotten really lucky, and found some really cool stuff there when I was pregnant with the twins.

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Sadly we were not so lucky this time. The only thing I did find, was this perfect little teddy bear. It looked brand new, and the colors were exquisite. “Look Rose! What do you think about this little guy?”

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“Ohhh my.” She exclaimed as she reached out to touch it. “He is so soft! Yes, he is perfect!”

“Ok then! He is yours!”

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So armed with my only good find of the afternoon, I went up to the register to buy Mr. Bear ( I am sure he would have his own name one day, but till then, he was just Mr. Bear) The cashier informed me, that they were having a sale on all baby items, so Mr. Bear ended up being half off. Thinking back, that is probably why the pickings were so slim that day.

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Once we left the consignment store, and had safely placed Mr. Bear in the car, Rose and I went across the street to the park. Her feet were killing her, so we took a seat on the fountain and just chatted and people watched for a while. Suddenly though Rose was no longer paying attention to my rant. Her eyes were completely transfixed on a person walking by.

“Isn’t that your momma?”

“Huh? Where?”

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“Mom!?”

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I could scarcely believe my own eyes. There was my mother casually strolling through the park. I jumped up from the fountain and trotted over to her.

“Mom!? What are you doing here!”

“Saffron darling!”

I pulled her into a huge hug, and it was not until that moment, I realized just how happy I was to see her.

“We just got back into town! We were gonna come by tonight and surprise you guys.”

“Oh the boys will be so excited! Where is Dad?”

“Oh, he just went over to the Esplanade to grab us a little snack. We have some big news. I will tell you all about it tonight.”

“Ok!”

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About dinner time Mom and Dad arrived on the front step, to my surprise they had no sort of luggage with them. My train of thought was interrupted though, by all the excited chatter through out the house! Butterscotch almost jumped right up into his grandmas arms. “Grammy!” I think Mom was as shocked as I was that he could even remember that far back!

“Hello my angel!”

Pineapple had been in the backyard with Glaze and Mika, and was just as equally happy to see his Granpy come into view. “No way! Granpy!”

Sunny on the other hand really could have cared less, he never even took the time to get off the couch…

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After everyone had started to normalize from the excitement, Mom started in with her big news.

“You’re father and I have decided to move to Shang Stir Fry permanently, well we have not decided. We already bought a place there.”

“You did what?!”

“Now I know this may be quite a shock, but we just love it there. You are a grown woman now with a family of your own, and you all are doing so wonderfully! You don’t need a couple old fogies like us hanging around.”

“You know we don’t feel that way about you.”

“Yes my love. I know that. We just want to enjoy our retirement. I am sure you can understand that. I bet you will want to do the same when the time comes. And we won’t be gone forever, we will be back to visit when we can. Ok?”

“OK…”

{alt}

Glaze and Daddy were having almost the same conversation in the backyard. Though Glaze was not nearly as torn up about the whole prospect as I had been.

“Well Dad. I wish you both safe travels and we will be eagerly looking forward to your next visit.”

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Mom and Dad stayed with us for another week, while they made their final arrangements for the full move. The boys were not to happy about the idea that they would be losing their grandparents again, but their attention was quickly taken in another direction, as we started preparing them for school.

Within the first week, Butterscotch had made a friend, and he came home with him one afternoon for the whole family to meet him.. Cotton Raspberry…

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Cotton was a whiny little guy. He was always complaining about something. If it was cold outside, he was “Freezing” if it was hot he was “going to die of heat stroke” I personally was not a fan of this kid. If it had been up to me, I would have never allowed him in the house, but I didn’t think it was my place to tell my son who he could and could not hang out with.

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Besides it was pretty obvious that Butterscotch was getting fed up with his antics. So it would only be a matter of time before he dropped him like a hot potato. For Sunny, that time was not coming soon enough. You could see the annoyance all over his face.

{alt}

Later that evening, Sunny took matters into his own hands.

“Why are you such a baby??”

“Huh?”

“You whine and cry about everything!”

“No I don’t!”

“Uhhh ya you do. Its flippin annoying too. I suggest you cut out the belly aching, or I may just decide to really give you something to cry about.”

Normally I would have interceded, and if it had been anyone else I probably would have, but perhaps this was just what Cotton needed to hear.

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My Sunny had no inhibitions when it came to telling you what was on his mind and did not care what anyone else thought. Most of the time, I did not really consider this a bad thing, but when I learned he had a girlfriend two years older than him, I almost hit the ceiling. They had met in school, just before she graduated to the middle school. I tried to put a stop to the phone calls, but he was a sly one, and grounding did nothing to deter him. What was I gonna do with this kid?

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Like with most pregnancies, time flew by! Every time I got to see Rose she was getting bigger.

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and bigger…

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and bigger!

I was so excited to see my little Berryson, I could barely stand myself. I reminded myself of Glaze and the way he would talk to my tummy. I have to say it was a really fun change of pace to watch someone else be pregnant for a change!

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Finally the day arrived and Rose just happened to be in our front room when she went into labor. I called the babysitter and then Rose and I were on the way to the hospital!

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Trying to drive and dial my phone was not working out so well for me. For the first time ever I seriously regretted not setting up my voice calling! Finally I got the number dialed and alerted Forrest that we were on the way to the hospital! He said he was already out the door and then the line went dead. *Click*

“He’s on his way Rose! Keep breathing!”

*Hee Hee Hoo, Hee Hee Hoo*

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Later that night, we welcomed Sage Chiffon into the family. Momma and baby did well through delivery and in no time at all they were ready to come home. He was so darling. Just like my boys, I fell in love with him instantly. My little Berryson Sage.

Gen 4- Chapter 13: Saffron Sugar

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“YES!!!!!!”

Sunny’s face lit up as we made our way out onto the front porch. I had lured him out there with the assumption he was recycling the old papers, but when he opened the door he noticed there were no papers in sight. Only Glaze…

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and a brand new bike! Glaze had picked it up after work and secretly assembled it in moms sanctuary. Once it was finished, I helped to keep Sunny’s attention while Glazed wheeled it out front.

“What do you think son?”

“Dad its totally cool! I love it!! Just the color I wanted! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

{alt}

Sunny wrapped his arms around Glaze and gave him the biggest hug. Probably the biggest hug he had ever given in his life. Unfortunately for Glaze, I missed the whole thing. I was off in my own little world staring off into the distant horizon.

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Something I had read in Grandma Lacy’s (I know its Great Grandma, but thats a mouthful you know) diary had me completely perplexed. “just look at how they got together”… “just look at how they got together”. The phrase kept playing over and over again in my mind. What did she mean by that? I searched all through her entries looking for any sort of answer, but there was very little about Fairy. So many questions were rolling around in my head. How did he know about Grandpa Peche? He wrote the letter when she was just a baby.

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Still in a daze, I missed it as my eldest child took off on his bike, with absolutely no training. Probably not the shining moment of my motherly career. Sadly I could not shake the nagging thoughts from my head.

“You’re doing great son!”

“Bye Dad! I will be back later!”

“Not too late you hear!”

“OK!”

{alt}

Once he was out of sight, Glaze made his way back up the porch to where I was still totally out of it.

“That boy is a natural.”

“Hmmm? Oh ya…he’s… good.”

Not quite impressed with my exuberance (or lack there of), he took me by the shoulders and spun me around.

“Ok…Saff what is going on with you? You have been acting weird since you came home from that visit to your Grandmothers. I thought you said you had closure now?”

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“I thought I did. I mean…well I guess Grandma does. I still have questions. Glaze that letter was so eerie! Yet almost magical. He knew about things. Things that had not even happened yet! After reading it, I would have not been surprised if it had said “Thanks Saffron!” at the bottom.”

“So what are you saying?”

“I think he was like us. Maybe thats where I got it! So many questions left unanswered! Grandma Lacy mentioned something about how he and his wife got together, but never explained in detail what she meant. I wanna know! Maybe I can find someone. Family. I know there were other daughters, I met one once! I don’t think I can leave this alone until I know.”

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“Well love, if this is something you need to do. Then do it. I have the weekend off, I can take care of the boys. If it is bothering you this much, then I think its best that you take care of it. I know the boys would like you back on this planet sometime soon.”

“I know. I promise once I get the information I need, I will put this all behind me. Thank you love.”

{alt}

So the first step on my journey was finding out the basic information I needed to even locate family. I knew his name was Merlot, but I had no idea what his last name was. I had known it at one time, but for the life of me could not remember. The only one I could even think of having any information like that was Mom. Desperately hoping I was not calling at like 2 am in the morning, I gingerly dialed the phone. Three rings later, I heard the bubbly voice of my mother come on the line.

“Hello Saffron dear! We were just talking about you!”

“Hey Mom! How is ‘The Fry’?”

“Oh its beautiful, Its so nice to come back and visit again.”

“Aww thats great…Hey mom I have a question for you. What was Grandma’s fathers name?”

“You mean Bubbie?”

“No no…her other father. Her biological father.”

“…”

{alt}

“Hello?”

“Oh goodness. Hmmm let me think for a second. Its started with a P. Pen…Peno…Pinot Noir! Yup Merlot Pinot Noir. Man that took some massive memory recall on my part. Why did you need to know?”

“Oh no reason. Just wondering…well I better let you go. I am sure this call is going to cost us both an arm and a leg.”

“Ok dear! Love you! Bye bye! Oh! Daddy says he loves you too!”

“Bye Dad!”

{alt}

Step one completed. Next was to find any information on the family. After a stint at the computer that could have easily put Persimmon’s record to shame, I found out that descendants of Candy Pinot Noir lived not far from Twizzlerbrook. It was only about a thirty minute drive from the house. I jotted down the address and any other information i needed. While Glaze and I were preparing for bed, I told him about my trip.

Bright and early the next morning, I was up and ready to go!

{alt}

While I was doing my hair, a visitor waddled into the bathroom. It was Pineapple and he was looking none to happy at the idea I was going somewhere.

“Mommy go?”

“Yes Sweety, but I will be back real soon.”

“Me go to mommy!”

Aww how could I refuse! “Ok love.” After I was finished with my hair, I  prepared a diaper bag and some toys. Pineapple and I made our way to the front room where Glaze was waiting to say goodbye.

“I guess this one is going with me.”

“Ah i see. You be a good boy kiddo!”

“K Daddeee”

“You drive safe out there, and be home soon. OK?”

“Promise.”

After a small goodbye kiss, Pineapple and I headed to the car. I buckled him into his car seat and off we went.

{alt}

When I pulled up to the Pinot Noir residence, I pulled the paper from my purse and re-read the address just to make sure. Pineapple was completely asleep in the back seat. So I quietly unbuckled my seat belt and got out. In the most quiet voice I could, I started talking to Pineapple, as I tried to gently wake him and get him out of his car seat. “Welp, kiddo this looks like the place.”

We went up the front step and I rang the bell. I could hear a small voice on the other side of the door. “I’ll get it!”
A moment later the door opened and standing in the doorway was a small girl who looked about the same age as Sunny.

“Hi. Can I help you?”

“Hi Sweety is your mommy home?”

“Ya one sec. Mom! Its for you!”

{alt}

After a quick introduction, Freeshiaberry invited me and Pineapple into her home.

“Goodness this is certainly a surprise. I have not heard anyone mention the name Cherry Blossom in years. Is she still…?”

Solemnly I shook my head. “No she passed a few years back.”

“Oh my. I am so sorry.”

“Its quite alright. I did have a reason for coming today. I am trying to learn more information about Merlot. Is there anything that you could tell me about him?”

“Gosh I really don’t know that much, but I will answer any questions that I can. We have a picture of him though! Would you like to see?”

“Yes, I would love to.”

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Freeshia hopped off the couch and over to the fire place. There were several photos of family and friends all along the mantle.

“Thats him right there.” She said she she pointed to a small pink frame.

I leaned in to examine the photo closer. “Is that…Fairy?”

“Yes.”

“My they sure were a lovely pair.”

“Yes…I have no idea what he was thinking when he…. errr I am sorry that did not come out the right way.”

“Its alright.”

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“I know you said you did not know much, but is there anything at all you can think of? Do you know how they got together?”

“Oh yes! Everybody knows that one! Its the sweetest story ever!”

As Freeshia regaled me with the most amazing and heartfelt story I had ever heard, I was over come with excitement. It was just like me and Glaze. I was literally beaming from ear to ear. “This is going to sound crazy, but I met my husband the same way.”

“OMB! You are a dream-walker?! You are so lucky! Wow! This is so exciting. No one has had ‘the gift’ in generations. My grandma Candy had it, but we thought she was the last. You are a special girl. I envy you so.”

“A Dream-walker? So thats what we call it?”

“Yes. It is a very special gift. Your dreams are extremely powerful. I heard that Great Grandpa Merlot could see into the future! How cool would that be!?”

“I am not sure I would want that power. Seems like a set up for a lot of pain and heartache.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind.”

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Pineapple and I spent about half the day at Freeshia’s house, just talking and sharing stories. She told me about Grandma Candy and I told her about Grandma Cherry Blossom.

“Oh I wish I would have had the chance to meet her. She sounds like an amazing lady.”

“She was.” I replied with a smile.

In no time the sun was starting to set and little Pineapple was getting cranky. I wanted to stay longer. It was so interesting learning about the other side of our family. I decided I would have to come back sometime when I could come alone and we could talk again. We hugged goodbye and then we headed back to the car. While I was buckiling Pineapple in, Freeshia called out from the porch.

“You know you can call me any time!”

“I will! Thanks!”

{alt}

The sun had already set by the time Pineapple and I pulled up the drive. I couldn’t wait to get inside and tell Glaze all the cool things I had learned. All the boys were in bed, so I quickly got Pineapple up to his room. He barely even woke up as I transferred him from the car seat to his crib. I kissed them all and then flipped off the light. From there I was off like a shot, down the stairs to tell Glaze.

“Wow Honey thats really neat.”

“eeee I know!”

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After my exciting day, I was totally zonked. I was even yawning in the middle of my story, and it certainly was not because what I was talking about was boring. Being home with the boys all alone, Glaze was pretty tired as well. So we threw on our pj’s and fell right asleep.

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Little did I know, that when my head hit the pillow, I was in for another dream. I woke to find myself near the swing at the park where we had our wedding. It looked different though. It was all foggy and cold. Wondering why the heck I was there I called out for Glaze.

“Glaze honey! Is this really necessary. I mean you’re right next to me in the bed.”

“…”

“Hello? Glaze? Are you there?”

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“Glaze isn’t here.”

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“Oh Sweet Berry!!” That was not the voice I was expecting to hear and I just about jumped right out of my skin. My heart was pounding in my brain it was beating so fast.

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“Haha! Take it easy darlin. Its just me.”

“You…really should not sneak up on someone like that you know. I think I felt my heart stop.” I said as I playfully shoved his shoulder. “You look a lot younger than I would have expected.”

“Well if you really want, I could…”

“No no. Thats fine.”

{alt}

“You are probably wondering why I brought you here.”

“Well kinda.”

“I just wanted to thank you. It was a very kind and endearing gesture you did for Cherry and I really do appreciate it greatly. As you have already discovered, you have a very special gift. We have no idea why it happens, but it chooses those who are pure of heart. Berry knows why it chose me! I guess maybe to share it with you. Its funny how the world works.”

“Ya…”

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“I say thank you, but that’s not even the right words to express how grateful I am about your noble choice.”

He reached his arms out and with out thinking twice I hugged him. It felt so much like a hug from daddy, that I completely surrendered into it. “You’re welcome.”

{alt}

“Now my dear child, no good deed should go unrewarded. So listen carefully. You have a very important task ahead of you. Your decision could change a gentle souls life forever. There are many surprises to come along your journey. Always remember to face them with and open mind and an open heart. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

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Then suddenly he vanished…

{alt}

“Wait! What does that even mean!” I yelled into the darkness. “You can’t leave now! There is so much I want to know!” I knew full well that my actions were futile and quickly conceded. “Fine! I guess I should just be thankful for the heads up. Though it was pretty vague Grandpa Merlot! Sheeesh.”

{alt}

Running through the message over and over again in my head as I walked, I took a seat on the swing. “I guess I will just wait here until I wake up then!” I did not have to wait for long, in no time at all the irritating beep of my alarm soon filled my ears. *BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP*

—————–

Ok… I promise, no more Magic for a long time. *Sigh*

Gen 4- Chapter 12: Saffron Sugar

ATTENTION: If you have not read Dream A little Dream. I recommend that you do. Its going to help this chapter make a lot more sense. 🙂

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM

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Five children. Not only five children. Two toddlers and two infants and one child. Saying we had our hands full would have been the understatement of the century. I knew I wanted five children, but wanting and having are two totally different things! Five children is not for the weak of heart let me tell ya.

Just like with the twins and Sunny, we put all four in the same room. Its amazing how small a room can get once it has four cribs in it.

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Mika and Koda are two of the most joyous babies I have ever known. Unfortunately though Koda very early on started exhibiting some very very odd behavior. He will be in his crib just sleeping away, when all of a sudden he just starts laughing. Like there is something really funny up there on the ceiling. At first I thought it was the mobile above his crib, but after my suspicions started to grow, I removed the mobile and he continued to laugh. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, no one wants to think their child is not right in the head. I vowed from that point to keep an eye on him. If things got worse, then maybe we would have to have him checked out.

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If it were not for the dirty diapers, you would have never known that little Mika was around. He was such a good natured baby. He really made my life a lot easier. Just pop on some music and he was a happy camper. I only hoped his good nature would stick around into his toddler years.

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Lets not forget about our other boys though! Pineapple was just getting more handsome by the day. He looked so much like Glaze it was shocking. In a good way though. Already walking and talking, he was a blast to hang out with. Glaze and Pineapple became extremely close. How could your heart not melt, when you get home from work and the first thing you here. “Daddeeeee Home!”

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Butterscotch was slowly but surely catching up with Pineapple development wise. He was talking and almost had the walking thing down. Pretty soon he would be venturing away from the safety of the couch. This made me slightly nervous, because well lets face it the poor boy was a clutz in the making. We got rid of all furniture that had any sort of sharp edges…just in case.

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Every once in a blue moon, we would get lucky and all four boys would be down for a nap at the same time. When this miracle from Berry happened, we would take full advantage. Getting some alone time and thoroughly enjoying each others company. Not to mention a grown up conversation here and there.

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Slightly disgusted by the affection that Glaze and I shared with each other (nothing inappropriate mind you) Sunny chose to watch TV in the guest house. He always wanted to watch some of the weirdest shows. If he could have, he would have spent his entire childhood watching TV. I desperately tried to get him to go out side, but he wanted little to do with anything, that was not found on a 34′ screen.

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That being said, I almost fell off my chair when Glaze told me that Sunny wanted a bike.

“A bike? Like an outside kind of bike?”

“Yup, he said that he would even try to get a paper route if we got him one.”

“Wow I am so impressed.”

“Me too.”

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“Well what did you tell him?”

“I told him we will see.”

“Hmmm, if we can get that boy active, we have to do it. After the boys birthday, lets go get him one.”

“Alright, but if his behavior starts to go south, the deal is off.”

“Deal.”

{alt}

Yup you heard right, before long our youngest boys were ready to celebrate their birthdays. It sounds cliche, but it seemed like only yesterday, I was cuddling them in my arms and preparing to bring them home from the hospital. After three big parties though, I was totally partied out. I decided another big party was not on my list, and that we would keep this one much smaller. Little Mika got to go first…I was excited and so was he!! He was giggling and gurgling the whole time we were blowing out his candles.

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What a little angel! Just the opposite of Sunny. I was pretty sure he would be the good son, and not in the creepy Muscacholi Coconut kind of way! Though I never would have dreamed of uttering those words out loud!

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Then little Koda and I made our way to the cake. Slightly nervous and happy at the same time, we blew out those candles.

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Such a cute little guy! One of his birthday presents was that tiger outfit, and it was so dang adorable I had to put it on him immediately!  Mom and dad had sent it from Shang Stir Fry. They had actually sent two, one for each, but Mika did not seem to like his. After trying for about 5 minutes to try and get him in the darn thing, I gave up.

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With four toddlers now running and crawling around the house, I really had little time for anything else, but it was not until we were having our reading time, that I noticed how incredibly messy the house was. I probably had not vacuumed in months. The thought of us sitting on the dirty carpet started to eat at me more and more.

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So the next time one of those Berry miracles happened, i used it to clean clean clean! I started in the kitchen and as quickly as I could I moved all through the house cleaning up. It did not take nearly as long as I had imagined it would. Before I knew it, I was working my way to our upstairs bathroom, the last stop on the clean train.

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I even went as far as to organize our basement. I don’t think I had been down there since I was kid. It was dark and creepy and even for a brave kid like me, it freaked me out. After I had organized, I brought a few of our own various unused items and placed them neatly to one corner.

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I was heading back up to the surface, just about to switch off the light, when something caught my eye. I am sure it had always been there, but seeing I had not been down there in about fifteen years or more, it was new to me. I dropped my hand from the pull string on the over head light and made my way to the back of the small room. I had to move a few items out of the way to even get to it, but once it was in full view, I saw the pink and white trunk pressed all the way against the wall. It had a small engraving on the top. CLC was almost not visible due to all the dust. CLC…it must have belonged to Great Grandma Chantilly Lace. I opened it and inside I found a very nice paint set. It was so exquisite. The brushes all looked brand new. I wondered if mom would allow me to use them. Next to the brushes was a small book. I lifted the book out of the chest and closed the lid.

{alt}

I took a seat on one of the old bar stools and opened it up. As I suspected it was Great Gramma’s journal. The book opened rather oddly due to a small unopened envelope tucked into the pages. I gently picked up the envelope to examine it further. It had been lying face down, so there would have been no other way to read the recipient. I turned it over and there neatly written on the front was “Cherry Blossom”. I placed the envelope in my lap so I could read the corresponding entry…

{alt}

My dear friend. I write to you today with some very important developments. Since there is no one else I can talk to about this. I turn to you. It was a normal day, or as normal as it could be after that fateful day. Bubbie had left for work, the children were at school. Cherry Blossom had just gone down for a nap, so I seized the opportunity to paint. I was doing fairly well of keeping my mind occupied, when i heard the doorbell.

{alt}

I can tell you I was more than a little surprised to see Merlot on the other side. I felt a huge lump in my throat starting to grow. I swallowed it back down and unlocked the door. Mustering the most indifferent (fake) voice I could and then I greeted him.

“Hello Merlot.”

“Hey Lace. I know I am not supposed to be here, but I really need to speak to you. Could I come in for a second?”

Again I put on the charade. “Yes. But make it quick. Bubbie will be home soon, and we don’t want a repeat of last time. Do we?”

Against my better judgment, I let him inside. He followed me to the living room, where firstly I went to take a seat, but then thinking perhaps that would not be the best idea, I stood back up.

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“I came here because…well Lace. I owe you an apology. I really made a mess of things for you and your family and I feel awful about it.”

At this point I was failing miserably at hiding what I was feeling. I felt so angry and upset and missing my friend all at the same time. “You know it was my choice too.”

“I know…I just feel like…if it was not for me it would have probably never happened.”

I started to say something, but he was not finished.

{alt}

“This is probably the biggest mistake I have ever made, and trust me I have had my fair share. And its not the mistake you are thinking. We made a beautiful little girl, and for that I will never regret. No my mistake was hurting you. Lace you are an amazing woman, a wonderful friend, and I really do care about you, and then I let stupid Lo get in the way of all that. So I came here to tell you. I think you deserve that much, and I will help with Cherry Blossom anyway that I can. If she ever wants to see me one day. I will be here in a heartbeat.”

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His words started to break as he spoke, and as they did I could feel my heart ache. There was no way around it. I loved him, but I love Bubbie too. This was a mess… Nothing like you see in movies or read in books. You meet “the one”, you settle down and you are together forever. Right? Well this was certainly not a fairy tale. I knew it was not meant to be. He and Fairy were the ones with the amazing fairy tale life (just look at how they got together) and then I enter the scene and blow it all to pieces. You can see now why I can only talk about this with you… yes?

{alt}

Again I was just about to speak, when there was a cry from the girls room.

“That would be Cherry. Excuse me a moment.” I rushed to her crib and took her into my arms. Quickly I returned to the living room, where finally the words returned to my mouth.

“I owe you an apology as well. Its very sweet of you to try to take this all on yourself, but like I said before, it was just as much my fault as yours. I knew better. I guess we both did.” Ugggh I was starting to ramble. I cut myself off before I got way off track. “What I am trying to say is, I appreciate your apology. I only hope you will accept mine.”

He nodded, and then turned his attention to Cherry. “May I?”

“Of course.” He placed his arms out and I carefully handed her over.

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“Hello beautiful.”

At first she was a little unsure. “Its OK sweety. Thats your daddy.”

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That was all I needed to say. Cherry buried her tiny head into his shoulder, just like she did with Bubbie and I. He was so good with her. Watching them together and knowing he would be missing out on most of her life, was breaking my heart all over again.

“You be a good girl for mommy. OK? I love you.” With those final words he kissed her forehead and handed her back to me. “I— uh*ahem* I should probably be going.”

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“Yes you are probably right.”

I took Cherry back to her room and then I escorted him to the door.

“Oh I almost forgot.” He said as he stopped to pull an envelope from his back pocket. He tapped it a couple times on his palm and then handed it to me.

“What is this?” I asked as I examined the small envelope.

“You were not the only one I came here to apologize to. Please make sure that she gets that one day?”

“Ok I will.” I felt one tear drop fall, and I quickly wiped it away hoping he would not see, but he did.

“Oh Lace.” He stepped back in the door and pulled me into a hug… our last hug, we held on to eachother for several moments, and then I opened the door. “Goodbye.”

“Bye Lace.”

With that I watched him walk out to his car and out of Cherry’s and my life forever. I closed the door and fell against it, sliding all the way down to the cold hardwood floor, I couldn’t fight the tears any more. What an absolute disaster. So that is why I came to you my friend. I desperately needed someone to talk to, and you are always so welcome to listen, and that is why it is also with you that I will leave Cherry Blossom’s letter. I know you will keep it safe until the time is right.

Thank you again,

Your ever grateful Lacey~

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I closed the journal and once again picked up the envelope. Looking around the small cold room, first almost as if I was afraid someone was going to jump out of the corner and yell “Don’t open that!” I gingerly ripped open the envelope. I pulled the paper from inside and carefully read the century old apology. Once I had finished, I knew what I had to do. I waited for Glaze to get off work. Once he was home, I told him I needed to take care of something and that I would be back soon.

I kissed all the boys on the head and made my way to the car. I drove all the way across town to our family mausoleum. Originally we had Grandma and Grandpa buried in the back yard, but city officials were not to keen on that and we eventually had to move them.

I made my way to the very back corner where Grandma was resting. “Hi Grandma its me Saffron. I know you were probably expecting Pumpkin, but I have something here that belongs to you.” With that I opened the small envelope again and pulled the note from inside.

“To my dea-  Choking on my own breath I was silenced before I even had a chance to start. Suddenly I was filled with such deep and strong emotions, that they did not even feel like they were mine. I exhaled deeply and began again.

“To my dear Cherry Blossom. If you are reading this, that means that your mother has finally deemed the timing just right. If I know her as well as I think I do, it is probably your wedding day. You are probably reading this in your gorgeous wedding gown looking as beautiful as ever, and hopefully I will be here to see you.

But If I am not, I want to take this time to tell you how sorry I am for the way things came to be. You are such a special girl, more so than you even realize. I knew who you were even before you ever came to be (Kind of a special talent I have), but even with my special talent, it was not until the moment I saw you sitting there in the kitchen floor, that I realized how you would come into my life.

I wish things had been different. I wish could have been there with you everyday. It breaks my heart to know I will be missing out on most of your life. I guess it is the punishment I deserve, but it does not make it any easier. I just want you to know that I am so sorry and I love you and your mother very much. You are going to have a very blessed life, I only wished I would get to be a part of it. Peche is a good guy. Treat him well and he will take care of you for the rest of your life. I better wrap this up, you have a good man waiting for you out there. I love you baby girl.

Your loving father

~Merlot

{alt}

Once I had finished I closed the letter and placed it back into the envelope. I started to cry and amazingly it felt really good. All of those deep emotions were escaping through my tears, once I got it all out of my system. I felt so much better. I smiled as I placed the small envelope on her grave. “I think this should stay here with you.” I knew it would probably get blown away in the first storm, but it was hers and I felt its rightful place was with her.

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I don’t know if she heard anything that I said that day, but I like to think that she did.

——————————

Writers note: I have had this idea for a while, I was just not sure who it would be. Seeing that Saffron kinda channels Merlot’s energy with the whole dream thing. There would be no one better. 🙂

Gen 4- Chapter 11: Saffron Sugar

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When we brought the boys home, we decided it would be best to keep everyone in the same room. We purchased two more cribs just like Sunglow’s and set up everyone in his bedroom. Little Pineapple and Butterscotch were much more fussy than Sunny had ever been.

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Thankfully Momma was right there to offer a helping hand. She pretty much split up the workload of the twins. More often than not, they would start to fuss just as I was falling asleep. I would hear them crying and throw myself out of bed. I would then trudge half awake to their room to find Mom was already there. “Its OK sweetheart. I’ve got you. Lets let Mommy sleep ya?” Pineapple and Mom connected right away. She just loved to watch him. He was a thinker; completely alert and was always watching.

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Butterscotch was very similar in his temperament to Pineapple. Both fussy as could be, but there was one major difference between the two. We had the most horrible time trying to feed him. We would feed him his bottle, but it would always slip. He would try to latch on and then it would slip again. In his nose, on his cheek, one time even in his eye! We still have no idea how that one happened…

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With new babies in the house, we did our best to give as much attention as we could to our little angel Sunny. He was talking a mile a minute and for the most part, it was pretty clear. There were a few words that were questionable, but we got the gist of what he was saying.

“Momma go vroooom!”

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Vroom must have been the name of his car. He loved that thing. I could just see him growing up to own a big yellow sports car one day. He even wanted the darn thing in his crib, but just like most children, he was not always careful where he left them.

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And after about the third time of finding it just on the edge of the stairs, I decided maybe it was time we put Vroom on the shelf. At least until he was old enough to keep a better eye on it. So many times I almost slipped right down those stairs. I felt much more at ease knowing it was out of his reach.

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With the arrival of the twins came a calm wind. Life at the Chiffon’s was good. We knew it would not last forever, so we intended to enjoy it while we could. Daddy had moved up the ladder and was appointed the new fire chief. He didn’t exactly retire, but he did retire from the house calls. He was much safer at the station house. Which me and mom liked a great deal.

{alt}

Mom was keeping busy playing marriage counselor to Persimmon and Dewey. They had just moved into their own house, and money was tight. Which in turn was causing all kinds of arguments in the house. Persimmon wasn’t happy with the location, but it was all they could really afford. Dewey was upset that Persi was upset, but didn’t know what to do.

{alt}

“You guys will work this out.”

“All families have trouble starting out. Heck even your Dad and I argue from time to time.”

“Really?”

“Well Sure. It takes a lot of work getting a house together. Its very stressful. Added to that you two are learning how to live with one another. You guys will work it out. Just be patient with each other.”

“Thanks Mom.”

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Back at home Sunny and I were making serious progress with his potty training. It took us a good six months of trying, but finally we had it down!

“I deeeeed it maahmeee!”

“You sure did sweet pea!”

{alt}

I was even making a little money here and there teaching a special art class at the Huckleberry Academy. They had called me in for a three week class, where I would be working with the schools elite artists. I was truly amazed and inspired by some of their pieces. A few of them even remembered seeing me at the gallery. They said they were quite honored to have me come and teach. Being in the art atmosphere was making me miss my own painting. I had put it all on hold until the children were older, but I vowed as soon as they were all in school, I would start painting again.

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Which was going to take longer than I had previously planned, because I wanted one more little angel to add to our crew. Both Glaze and I wanted a little girl, and now that the twins were getting older and Sunny was almost a child, we decided to try again. I have to say baby making was quite fun!

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When the Twins celebrated their birthday, I still was not pregnant. It was much harder this time around. Not from a lack of trying though! I was getting a little older, and I thought Perhaps that was the reason. We were not worried, we planned to keep trying until we succeeded. In the mean time, we focused all of our attention on the boys. Momma brought Pineapple to the cake first.

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Ohh I just wanted to gobble him up!

{alt}

Since everyone and their uncle (literally) were in our back yard, we set up the play pen for Sunny, so he could be with the family. We filled it with his favorite toys and books and set him inside. I couldn’t help but notice though the way he liked to read. The way he would wring his hands reminded me of an evil scientist from those old black and white movies. My concerns about his personality were starting to grow.

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Butterscotch was next. I was blowing my horn with as much zest as I could muster, when in a flash I felt really lightheaded. I placed my hand on Glaze’s shoulder.

“You alright babe?”

“Ya. I..think I am gonna be sick though…”

Sadly while I was in the bathroom, I missed Butterscotch blow out his candles.

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When I returned I found him crying in the grass. Poor little guy was so upset.

{alt}

I rushed over and scooped him right up into my arms. He buried his head into my shoulder, and I felt my heart melt. “It’s ok sweety. Mommy’s here now. I am so sorry.”

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Our little family was not the only ones who had recently celebrated a birthday. Macadamia also was looking a little older. “She has the family lips.” I heard my mom remark to Daddy. Even so we all agreed she was absolutely gorgeous.

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Things seemed to be going better for Persi and Dewey also. Dewey had gotten a raise at his work, and they were able to fix up the house a little bit. It wasn’t much, but it seemed to be enough to help everyone relax. I was hoping we would see some babies soon. “Sorry to disappoint sis. We are just not ready yet.”

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Three toddlers…What was I thinking?! And now another one on the way. I was starting to think I had totally lost my mind. The twins were not the problem though. It was Sunny. He would not share anything. If Butterscotch was to pick up a block, Sunny would want it, and since he was bigger, he held no qualms about just taking it. Butter would start to cry and Sunny would laugh. After so many trips up the stairs to see what was happening. I contemplated moving the play area closer.

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It was just too dang hard to stay mad at the little guy! We would switch off consoling and uhhh reprimanding…

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But how could you be mad at that!

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Pineapple seemed to receive less abuse from Sunny. The reason for that being is he spent more time playing with us. He picked up talking lightening quick. Dad was so surprised with his progress, that he spent hour upon hour with him. Increasing his vocabulary as they went.

“Ok now say Kalonimos.”

“Kahl-oh-mimooos!”

{alt}

All was going along great until mom came to me with her “Exciting News”.

“You’re father and I are going to be taking a trip! The station has awarded him a trip to Shang Stir fry!”

“Oh mom thats great!”

“Yes, but thats not all!”

“Oh really?”

“Yes. You see. The station is paying for the round trip plane tickets. To depart when we decide and return when we decide.”

“Ya…” I had a feeling I knew where this was going.

“And…well we are going to stay for 6 months at least.”

“6 months!?”

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{alt}

Well there was little I could do to argue. They had certainly earned it. My father had never used a day of his vacation time or sick time in all the years he worked for the department. So the morning of their flight, I walked them out to the car and wished them well.

“I’m gonna miss you guys.”

“We will be back before you know it!”

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As the kids started to grow, their personalities really started to shine through. Pineapple was a lot like me. We would watch cartoons every Saturday morning. Persi would have been proud to know he was a huge fan of Fluffy Bear!

{alt}

Butterscotch was just the opposite. He did not speak a word and did not want to hang out with us big kids at all. We tried and tried, but there was no use. Not even simple words like Mom or Dad or even go!

“Can you say Da-da?”

“mmmmm.”

*Sigh*

{alt}

This was the day I had been dreading since my Mom and Dad got on that plane. It was Sunny’s birthday, and all the preparations were up to me. Mom had always been the one to take care of this stuff, but with her thousands of miles away sipping green tea, it was all up to me. I reassured myself I could do it. I made all the calls and invited everyone I could think of. Ready or not here we go.

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It was not quite the extravagant shindig like Moms, but I did get to carry Sunny to the cake! He refused to get out of his feety bunny pajamas, so I just took him as he was to blow out the candles. I told him to make a wish, but I am not sure that was a concept he quite grasped. We blew out the candles though. How adorable he was!

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And what a sweety. I was starting to think his mean streak had passed. I was in the living room with the boys when Sunny walked in.

“Mommy? Why is your tummy so big? Are you sick?”

“No sweety. I am having another baby.”

“Oh…can I feel.”

He gently placed his hand on my belly and just as he did, there was a kick.

“Whoa! Hello baby. I love you.” he said as he kissed my tummy.

“Awww Sunny You are so sweet.”

{alt}

But not 5 minutes later, he was outside picking on his brother. He had gotten a fairly large lolly pop as one of his presents, and he decided it would be fun to hold it just high enough so his brother could not reach it. I heard crying and went to see what was happening. Disappointed I dragged Sunny to his room.

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“Sunny its not nice to pick on your little brother.”

“But hes stupid.”

“Sunny!”

{alt}

“Its not my fault! He makes me mad, and I have to.”

“Sunny. You need to leave your brother alone. He loves you, and it really hurts his feelings when you do that.”

“Shut up Mom.”

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“Don’t you tell me to shut up. You are going to stay in here until you learn some manners. Oh just wait until your dad gets home.”

*Slam* Oh I was so angry. I slammed the door a little harder than I should have, but that kid was infuriating. How could he go from sickening sweet to downright awful in a blink? All the anger was making me hungry, so I stormed off to the kitchen to fix myself a snack.

{alt}

When I returned from the kitchen, I could hear the TV on in the living room. I knew the twins were asleep and Glaze was at work. So that only left one more person. Sure enough there was Sunny on the couch watching Btv. ”

“Sunny! I thought I told you to—aghhhhhh”

“Mommy! Are you ok?”

“Yes sweety I’m fi- agghhhhh”

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“Mommy! I’m sorry for being mean to Butter! I promise I won’t ever do it again! Mommy!”

“Mommy is going to have the baby now. Its ok.”

I called Persi and asked if she could come and watch the kids while I was gone. She got there before my Taxi had even arrived.

“I got it from here sis. You take it easy. Oh and I called Glaze!”

{alt}

A night later, Glaze and I welcomed Mikado…

{alt}

and Koda into the world. I was slightly disappointed that neither of them was the girl I had hoped for, but I guess it was just not meant to be.

Gen 4- Chapter 10: Saffron Sugar

In no time at all, our little Sunglow was preparing to celebrate his birthday. Daddy’s little man was growing at a rate that was almost incomprehensible. Everyday was different. He grew right before our very eyes. We decided to throw a big birthday bash. Mom and Dad were also having a birthday, and since Sunglow wasn’t old enough for us to worry about throwing him his own party, we opted for a collab.

The night before the party, that was when I confided in Glaze, that I wanted more children. He seemed to be agreeable with the idea, so we got to work on baby # 2.

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The next day all of the family started to arrive, and we quickly migrated to the cakes. Mom was up first, she said she had been looking forward to this day for weeks now. A concept I didn’t quite understand, but perhaps maybe when I was older? Mom made her wish and blew out the candles.

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Still a beautiful woman. I loved my Mommy.

Next up was our little Sunglow. Mom asked if she could take him to the cake. I kinda wanted to do it, but it really made her face light up when I said yes. So in the end I think it all worked out for the best. I had tears in my eyes as my little angel blew out his candles with his Grammy.

Omb! What a doll! And was that Grandpa Peche’s and Mammas hair? *Sniff Sniff* So handsome.

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Dad thought he was gonna sneak off to work, but Momma and I snagged him before he got to the car.

“Oh no you don’t! Come make your wish!”

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Look at that proud Grandpa.

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I don’t need to really explain how much light Sunglow brought to our family. He captured every last heart. He and Auntie Rose spent many hours playing with the little doll house upstairs. He and she were the best of buds, just like me and her! I knew she would make a great mommy one day.

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But I think it was Daddy, who fell the hardest. He was so wrapped around that little guys finger. He tried to spend as much of his free time hanging out with him. I sometimes had to get on him about skipping his reading. Glaze would have spent the whole night talking with him, if I hadn’t of stepped in. Of course I did not intervene that often. I knew Glaze had a handle on stuff…most of the time.

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“Hello?”

“Hey Sis its me.”

“Oh hey Pumpkin. Whats up?”

“He proposed!”

“Pumpkin! Thats wonderful. Congratulations!”

“Thanks! Thats only half of the reason why I am calling.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. I just got off the phone with Dewey. It sounds like he will be proposing to Persimmon soon. So I was thinking what if we all got married together! We could have a huge ceremony. The three of us together one last time! What do you say?”

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“I have found the most perfect venue! Its to die for! Come on sis! Pleaseeeeee”

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Easy for her to say, the time she had planned, I was gonna be big as a house. I tried to argue my point, but I did not get far.

“I will be ready to pop then!”

“That just means you will be glowing more than me and Persi! You know you wanna!”

“Ok Ok.”

“Yay!!”

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Time marched on and soon we were gearing for the wedding. Though I almost didn’t make it to the wedding. On the eve of the big day, I almost tripped on a toy car sitting at the edge of the stairs. Unaware, I stepped down on it and started to slip. Luckily I was able to grab the banister. I cushioned the blow by landing on my pregnant padded behind. Whew that was close, I thought to myself as I put the car safely in the toy box. It was almost as if someone had planted it there.

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But who could have possibly done that?

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I didn’t think much of it. No time. The photographer from Moonfruit Photography was late! Our Big day! Glaze and I would finally be united, just like we always dreamed we would be, and Pumpkin was right. The venue was breathtakingly beautiful, but we weren’t goin anywhere till the photographer arrived. Finally we saw her running across the grass with her camera bag.

“Sorry!”

In her Persimmon style, she was the classic beauty. Such a lovely site to see.

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Pumpkin spent almost $150 to get her hair done in a 20’s style finger wave. It was beautiful, but wow really $150?

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We all exchanged our vows one at a time. Starting with Pumpkin, then me and then Persimmon.

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When they pronounced us man and wife, all of the husbands kissed their brides. It was quite a momentous moment. There was a magic all around. Even though I had never set foot there before, something about that place seemed so familiar.

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Forrest and Rose were dancing during the reception and you could see the love in their eyes. Just like the rest of us, the love bug had bitten hard.

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All of a sudden though, Forrest stopped.

“Rose, can I ask you something? This seems like the perfect place.”

“Of course dear.”

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He knelt down to one knee and pulled a ring from his back pocket.

“Rose Tea. I love you, the luckiest day of my life was the day I met you. Will you marry me?”

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“Yes! Forrest Yes Yes yes!”

Looked like we had another wedding to go to soon!

The wedding went off without a hitch, and thankfully I did not go into labor. I was quite worried that it was a possibility. The wedding had only been a week from my due date after all. When the reception ended, we all went our separate ways. Glaze and I spent the evening cuddled up on the couch watching cartoons. One of our secret pleasures. Grown adults, but we sure did love cartoons.

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Our show was just coming back from commercial, when I felt a sharp pain.

“OOF! Oh man. Glaze we gotta go.”

“Now?”

“Yes! Now!”

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I waddled into the car and we were on our way. Knowing what to expect this time, I was much more relaxed. I was breathing and visualizing just like I was supposed to. We got to the hospital and into a room very quickly, and soon I was up in the stirrups, but then everything went wrong.

“Mrs. Chiffon it looks as if this little guy is breech. It doesn’t look like he is going to turn around on his own. We will have to do a C section. Nurse prep her for the operating room.”

“Yes Doctor.”

Suddenly my relaxed and calm demeanor had evaporated. I was scared. The nurses reassured me I would be fine and so would the babies. Babies? Yes it seemed I was carrying twins. The surgery was fairly quick and there were no complications.

Two nights later, I returned home with two beautiful boys. Thats Pineapple in my lap, and Butterscotch in Glaze’s. Welcome home boys.

Moonfruit Photos


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