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.

Gen 7- Chapter 13: Tranquil Truffle

“Hey.”

“Hey…”

“Are you sure you still wanna go out? I mean, I would totally understand.”

“No. I am fine.”

“Are you sure? It’s not that I don’t want to see you its just…”

“I’m sure.”

“Ok, meet me at the docks in an hour?”

“I’ll be there.”

“Great. Bye.”

“Bye.”

After she hung up, I just stayed on the line. My strength was pretty much spent, but there was nothing more that I wanted or needed at that particular moment than to see Fern’s lovely face. We found out about Gramma’s passing just one night earlier and the entire house was pretty upset about it. Man the house was pretty much packed. Me and the girls plus Lily’s little friend were all staying with aunt Blush and uncle Rowan while Mom and Dad were out of town. Course Chestnut was not there the entire time, just the weekends…

Things only got more cramped after Gramma had passed. Aunt Blush offered for grandpa to stay too, since the last thing any of us wanted was for him to be alone.

Finally I gathered enough energy to hang up the receiver and head to the bathroom to freshen up a bit.

I couldn’t have been in there more than three minutes when a little hand was knocking on the door.

“Ya?”

“Prelude? Can I talk to you?”

“Sure Lily.”

I opened the door and she stepped in.

“You’re goin out?”

“Ya. Fern and I have a date.”

“Ohhh.”

“You’re still gonna tell us that ghost story right?”

I dropped my hands to the sink. Oh berry I had forgotten I promised the kids earlier that when it got dark I would tell them a story. That was hours ago when I still had some semblance of energy.

“Right?” She pressed again.

I knew the girls were hurting just as much as I was and saying no would probably not be the best course of action for everyone’s current fragile states. I looked at the clock located high on the tiled wall…40 minutes to waste. Taking a deep breath and throwing on the best smile I could, I turned to face her. “I made a promise didn’t I? You go back to the room I will be there in a minute.”

“Weeeee!!”

I exited the bathroom and rummaged through the hallway closet for a flashlight. The kids were already set out on the floor eagerly waiting for me.

“Make it a scary one.”

“A reaaaaaaly scary one!”

I racked my brain for a few seconds until the perfect one came to mind.

“They say there is a ghost of woman who walks the swamps of Twizzlerbrook looking for her lost child. He walked out of the house one night and never returned. The moment she realized he was gone she went searching. Clutching only an old lantern she walked the banks calling his name. The rain pored down like buckets and the sheer sound of the falling water was almost enough to drown out her cries completely. Her voice full of fear and heartbreak she continued on…with each step she fell further and further into her despair.”

“Before long the old lantern had burned out, but she refused to give up. She kept calling his name into the pitch black darkness. She never saw the giant mud puddle and she stepped right down into it, pulling her under. Her lungs filled with mud, but she continued calling his name till her last dying breath. They never found her body, but they say if you listen carefully on a dark stormy night, you can still hear her calling his name.”

Once I had finished, I flicked off the flash light. No body moved a muscle, they just sat there, mouths gaping wide. I started to worry that maybe the story was just a little too scary for all of them. I set the flashlight down on the desk just as Lily stood up.

“That was…AMAZING!” She yelped.

“Ya?” I asked again feeling slightly relieved.

“That was like the scariest story ever, ever!”

“Ya!”

“Do you think its true?”

Once the four started discussing amongst themselves the validity of the story, I used the opportunity to step out.

I closed the door behind them and let out an exhausted sigh. It was going to be a long night.

“Something bothering you son?”

I turned towards my grandpa. His face was tired and it looked as if he hadn’t slept in days, even though I knew he had been napping on the chair off and on all evening.

“Hey grandpa, I’m fine just tired. Those girls are a bit on the demanding side.”

“Ah yes. They sure do like you don’t they?”

“Just a bit.” I remarked with smile.

“Sit down son, lets talk.”

“OK.”

I sat down on the couch unsure of what I should say. We hadn’t really discussed grandma since her passing and I was not all that sure if he was ready to. Instead I just sat there drumming my fingers on my knees hoping he would ask me something so I knew exactly where to take the conversation. Luckily I didn’t have to wait to long.

“Big date tonight huh?”

“Yup in about twenty minutes.”

“The girl you met at the pool?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Did I ever tell you how I met your grandmother?”

“No Sir.”

“It was at the Cafe Au Lait laundromat. She had been having a really bad day and was cussing out the one of the washers. HAH! Oh my she was so cute in all her angry fit.” He reminisced with a laugh. Then his eyes glazed over and huge smile began to grow across his face. “She was good woman.”

“Ya. We are going to miss her very much.”

“I made a big mistake with her.”

“What was that grandpa.”

“Laziness. I got lazy. Stopped saying the important things like “I love you. I should have told her every day when I got up and every night when I went to sleep, but I didn’t. I foolishly took it for granted that she knew. Wish I could tell her now.”

“I’m sure she knew grandpa.”

“Doesn’t matter. Should have said it more. This Fern…if you love her or ever get to where you do, don’t be afraid to tell her. Even if she doesn’t feel it back. Love is something that should never be kept secret. HAH! Listen to your old granps going on about love.”

“Its OK. I like talking you.”

“You’re a good boy you know that. You take care of those girls as if they were your own. You have a good heart, just like your grandma. I love you son.”

“Love you too Grandpa.”

“Now you run a long and have fun on your date!”

“Thanks.”

I gave him a hug and stepped out the door, heading towards the docks.

I came up over the hill and saw her sweet face standing there waiting for me. The moment I saw her, I quickened my pace to meet her. The grass crunched underneath my feet till I was standing just foot from her gorgeous green eyes.


“Hey you made it.”

“Of course. You have no idea how happy I am to see you.”

“I think I might have a bit of an idea. How are you doing?”

“I’m OK.”

“Ok? You don’t sound OK.”

*sigh* “It’s my grandpa. He is not doing very well.”

“Oh I see.”

“If you wanna talk about it, I am all ears.”

Her kind gesture was enough to provoke a smile out of me. She grabbed hold of my hand and led me down the steps and out onto the sandy bank. We both took a seat she scooted in close laying her head on my shoulder. “Tell ol Fern all about it.”

Her eyes sparkled in the moonlight and pretty much made it hard for me to concentrate on anything but her lips that danced ever so slightly out of my reach.

“Well he is just taking her death really hard. We all are, but he’s not doing well at all.”

“Well that was his wife. They probably spent many years together, it will probably take him a long time to get over her, and even then it probably won’t ever fully heal.”

“Ya. He just seems so tired. Different. He just stares off into the distance. Its hard to see him like that.”

“Did you call your mom and dad yet?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

“Grandpa said not to. He said the funeral wasn’t until after they got back, so there was no reason to bother them. I thought we should, but he insisted it was OK for us to wait. Mom…I don’t know how mom is gonna take it.”

“Losing a parent is never easy, it doesn’t matter how old you are. But at least she has the best son in the world to be there by her side.”

Her words always filled me with a feeling of joy that I could not quite contain. Grandpa never actually asked me if I loved her, but I knew I did. She was just about the sweetest person I knew. So kind and full of wisdom, sometimes it was easy to forget she was only 16. She had a way about her that made her seem much older than she actually was.

“You know I have been thinking.”

“Oh?”

“I was kinda hoping that this best son in the world would love to have the best girl in the world by his side.”

“As a girlfriend perhaps.”

“That is if you want me?”

“That’s the silliest question I have ever heard… yes.”

I leaned in and gently pressed my lips against hers. How I had been waiting for this moment. Sure it only took me 4 dates to get up the nerve, but as we sat there sharing our first kiss, I was kinda glad we waited. Something about the night was pure magic. I wanted to stay with her on those banks forever. All my worries had been wiped clean from the slate. Sadly curfew was only a few hours away and I had promised Aunt Blush to be on time.

We spent every possible moment right up until the last second that it would have been humanly possible for me to arrive home on time.

“Will I see you tomorrow?”

“I hope so.”

“Its pizza night, you should come over. Mom and Dad are dying to meet you.”

“Sounds like a date.”

“See you tomorrow then.”

“Bye beautiful.”

I got home just two minutes after 11. Totally with in my 10 minute window. I opened the front door and stepped inside. Still flying high on the evenings excitement I set the keys down on the counter. The TV droned on in its hushed tone and grandpa was napping again in his chair.

I walked across hallways when something just didn’t feel right. I stepped closer to grandpa and my heart started to race. My eyes darted from his face to his chest. There was no movement. Not even slight rise and fall could be seen. I swallowed hard. “Grandpa?” I whispered placing my hand on his arm.


There was no movement, no reaction, nothing. I stepped back throwing my hand across my face. It couldn’t be. I was just talking to him. He seemed fine. Sure he was tired but he was fine. I didn’t know what to do, I just stood there. Tears trying to make their way into my eyes.

“Grandpa?”

Sapphire’s voice threw me off guard and I spun around to meet her gaze.

“Is grandpa OK?”

My felt my stomach lurch. I wanted to throw up. I could feel my grip on the situation slowly slipping out of my control.

Through gritted teeth I tried to send her out of the room.

“Go back to the room Sapph.”

“Is he OK? Is he d-”

“GO BACK TO THE ROOM NOW!”

Her eyes grew even larger but she did just as she was told and went back into Beaux’s room.

Again my mind went blank. What was I supposed to do. Did I call for an ambulance first or did I wake up Aunt Blush and Uncle Rowan? I steadied my hands and pulled my phone from my pocket. Once I had hung up the phone I walked over to their bedroom door and reluctantly knocked. “Uncle Rowan I need you.”

The ambulance arrived and everyone rushed outside to watch as they put grandpa into the back. He was already gone, but they didn’t have the heart to leave him with all of us and wait for the coroner. Everyone was crying, myself included. Heartbroken sobs rang out into the night air. The last bit of control I had been clinging to evaporated the moment the doors on the ambulance were shut and they were driving away.

I just couldn’t stop, the tears continued to roll down my face. Some how I felt a deep connection to him, maybe because I was the last one to talk to him when he was alive, or maybe because as a 16 year old boy I witnessed my first death. For what ever the reason, I broke down, I tried several times to calm myself but it was to no avail, and the sobs only increased when I realized there was no possible way to put it off any longer. We had to call mom and dad. I wiped back the tears long enough for me step back into the house and pulled the sheet of paper from the top drawer. Wiping my eyes again I carefully dialed the number.

“Bonjour.”

“Is Granite there? I need my Dad!”

—————————-

This was actually supposed to be part of the last chapter, but I didn’t want to bring down such a beautiful one with all this sadness. So I made it its own. So now we say goodbye to Livi and Cello and welcome Lily. Next chapter she will be taking over <333

Gen 7- Chapter 12 Part 2: Tranquil Truffle

Sightseeing with a blind person is not all that fun. Believe me I should know. Poor Granite had the pleasure of dragging me around every where. since all of it was literally foreign to me, I was pretty much glued to his hip the entire time.

Our first stop was to the nectary, Mara said regardless of the accident it was something we had to do. She said it would be something for me to actually enjoy. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that at first, but by the time we left I knew exactly what she meant.

Mara must have called ahead, because when we arrived, we were greeted by the owner and he personally took on a tour through the facility. As we walked, all I could smell was the wine, the fragrance of the grapes were intoxicating. Again my mouth started to water.

“Now I hear that you want to make your own wine yes? Mara said I should set you up with the entire tour package.”

“Ohhh that does sound fun.”

“Ah wonderful! I hope you brought a swim suit.”

After some fairly quick instructions, the man left me and Granite alone with our Vat. We had already purchased our grapes and placed them in the bucket. The next step was to squish them. We walked off to the changing room and then returned. Making sure my feet were clean, I started to step in. Granite steadied me as I sunk my foot down into the ooey gooey of the grapes. It made a funny smoosh noise and the feeling to my feet was like nothing I had ever felt before. I giggled louder than I had anticipated.

“Ahhh oh wow.”

“Feel funny?”

“Bizarre.” I replied as I started to lift one foot to squish another grouping of grapes.

Next Granite got in with me. His reaction was almost as funny as mine, except he let out a big EWWWWW! I had to laugh. Not many things make him go eww but I guess wet gooey grapes was one of them.

“This is…interesting.”

After a few minutes we had a system going and we were a grape squishing team. Never letting me go the entire time, he and I never fell once.

And it was way more fun than I thought it would be.


After we started our wine brewing (takes a few days) we went out for some more sightseeing. More for him than me. He wanted to take some pictures of me and other things, though I am not that big on photo taking, I figured it would be nice for everyone back home to see what we had been up to.

“Smile beautiful!”

When the sun started to set, we found nice quiet place to watch the sunset. Granite said he had found a great view of the Eiffel tower and there was no one in the world he would rather watch it with. It was nice to know he was so excited over it. He was like a kid at Christmas.

“Wow!”

I just snuggled in and enjoyed his company.

“What are they like?”

“What are what like love?”

“The stars. What are they like?”

“Oh. Well…stars are like little shiny diamonds peppered through a deep dark blanket.”

“Ah ya none of that really helps.”

“Well…they are like…”

“Yes.”

“They are like…”


“They are like you.”

“Like me?”

“Ya. A star is just about one of the most beautiful things that can be seen. It fills a dark night with light and wonder, and if you were ever close enough to touch one or even be near one, you would be luckiest person alive.”

I think I like stars.

—————————————————–

“How is she doin?”

“Not so great.”

“Is there anything I can do. Anything I can get.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Oh I just feel awful.”

“It’s just hard for her you know. She is away from everything that she knows. Nothing is familiar. She feels completely isolated, and I really don’t know what to do.”

“Oh my. Well if she needs any thing. Any thing at all please tell me.”

“Thank you.”

A little homesick was an understatement. I was cripplingy homesick. I had no idea what started it, but soon I was so depressed all I could do was stay in my room and cry. I hated feeling that way. This was supposed to be a fun trip, and all I wanted to do was go home. Poor Granite was stuck my side, because being alone just made things worse. I can’t even imagine how boring it was for him.
After a couple afternoons of me wallowing, I guess Mara decided to try and take matters into my own hands. She instructed me to put on a nice dress and she was not about to take no for an answer. I tried but in the end I was gussying myself to go out even though I felt absolutely terrible.

“How are doing?”

“OK I guess.”

“Hmmm you are not convincing me it is so.”

“Sorry.”

“Oh please! Do not apologize to me!”

“We are going out. Night on the town huh?”

“Yay.” I mocked.

“Haha I have just the thing to make you feel better no. Just you wait and see. Now lets go!”

After our long drive back into town, we stopped and got out. As we neared our destination I could hear the tuning of instruments. My heart did a little flip flop at the sound of it.

“Where are we?”

“Ah my good friends the Eclair’s are putting on the show. You have not heard music till you have heard The Delice’s.”

The show started and with in no time at all, I was completely immersed in the melodic story they were telling.

It was so beautiful.

Once they had finished everyone applauded and cheered. What a delightful experience it had been. Just as I thought we were getting up, Mara jumped from her chair and rushed up to her friends.

“Hang on everyone! Please do not leave yet! We have a lovely pianist in the audience.”

“Oh?!?!”

“Yes and she has traveled all the way from Tweezlerbook to be here. Tranquil would you like to come up and play?”

“Not really.”

The whole audience awwwwwwww’d and I felt my entire body freeze up. I had not preformed for anyone other than Granite is years.

“Ohhh come on. Pistachio would love to play with you.”

“Yes I would!”

Part of me was all for it, while the other side was scared stiff. In the end my more adventurous side won and I was being guided to the stage and placed in front of the keyboard.

After discussing what the three of us could play, we finally decided on a number. My heart was racing close to a hundred miles an hour as I sat down to play.

“Ladies and Gentelmen! The Delice’s and Tranquil Chiffon! Lets give them a hand!!”

Watch Me!!

“You were amazing my little star.”

“You’re the one that makes me shine.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

——————————————-

“There is something I need to talk to you about.”

“Is everything OK Mara? You seem upset.”

“Aye no not upset…there is something I have not been that honest with you about. Something I need to tell you.”

“What is it?

“Are you sure nothing is wrong? I inquired again.” The strain in her voice set me slightly on edge.

“It would be best if I show you.”

“Show us what?”

“I can’t say.”

“I know it sounds strange, but is something you have to see for yourself. Will you go with me?”

I had to admit what ever it was that she was going on about had me completely intrigued. “Well if Granite will take me then yes I would like to go.”

“Oh I am so glad. I will be right back I need to grab a few things. I will meet you out front.”

“Ok.”

As we headed towards the door, the phone began to ring.

*RING RING RING*

“Bonjour.”

“I am sorry. I cannot understand you. Is something wrong? Who is this? Prelude? Are you calling for the Chiffons?”

“You are going to have to slow down, I cannot understand you.”

“I’ll take it thank you.”

“Of course.”

“Hello Son. What is the matter? Are you OK? Are the girls OK? Mhmm. Oh…I see…It’s OK. I know. OK. Bye.”

“Love you better sit down, I have some bad news.”

Gen 7- Chapter 12 Part 1: Tranquil Truffle

After a tireless flight, I learned flying was not for me. I was more than pleased to touch back down the ground and be free of that loud, rocky, metal confinement. 13 hours and I barely slept a wink. Instead, I spent the entire time feeling every little ping, dip and sway that we experienced. All in all, it was not a fun time.

“Hi Granite and Tranquil Chiffon checking in.”

“Ah yes Misiour Chiffon. Give me a moment while I look up you’re paper work.” His accent was quite thick and it was almost impossible to make out what he was saying.

“Oh My.”

I understood that.

“I am so terribly sorr-ee, but it seems the chateau has already been rented out.”

I understood that one too.

This was not good. The whole reason we have rented the chateau was because all the hotels were full. We chose one of the biggest tourist seasons of the year (probably not the best idea) and there were no other places available. It felt like a dream come true when we found the place we were supposed to be staying at. Perhaps it was. Obviously too good to be true.

The tone in Granite’s voice was calm. Too calm and I knew right away he was livid. “Do you have something else available then?”

“I am so sorr-ee I have no idea how it was double booked. This has never happened before.”

“You’re sorry.”

“Yes Misiour.”

“He’s sorry. LOOK what do you expect us to do? We have no where to stay now. What are we gonna do? Sleep on the street? This is why we put down the deposit, so this would not happen!!”

Just as things were about to get ugly, a young woman walked over and tried to intervene.

“Excuse me, I wasn’t trying to eaves drop, but it seems you are need of a place stay, and I have a large house just outside of town. You two are more than welcome to stay with me. I can assure you there is plenty of room.”

The young woman and her kindness was just the distraction Granite needed to calm himself down, though we were a bit unsure if we wanted to stay at some persons house that we did not know from Apple.

“That is awfully kind of you.”

“Ah this is Mara, she works at the flower shop just across the street. She is a good and kind woman, I will vouch for her. She would seem to be the answer to our little problem. I would even be able to reimburse some of her expenses since this is mostly my fault.

Granite turned to me placing his hand on my shoulder. “What do you think love?” Not wanting to sleep on the street, I nodded softly. “I think this will be just fine.”

“Miss Mara, I don’t think we will ever be able to thank you properly. This is a real lifesaver. Please lead the way.”

The next thing I knew we were throwing our things into the back of Mara’s car and heading to her place. It was actually a much longer drive than I was anticipating. She did say she was outside of town, I didn’t realize how far that actually was. By the time we finally got there I was pretty much worn out.

Thankfully she showed us directly to our room.

“So this will be your room and the bathroom is right down the hall. Please make yourself at home. I can imagine you are probably both exhausted from your long trip so please take as much time as you need. If you are hungry I will be preparing dinner in a few hours.”

“Thank you that sounds lovely.”

“I will get out of your hair now. If you have any questions I will be right down the hall.”

Once she had gone, Granite helped me over to the bed. The moment I hit the mattress, I could feel my eyes beginning to droop and call me into a nice and peaceful Chambery nap. The pillows smelled like lilacs and that only seemed to make me even drowsier.

“These pillows smell so sweet. Like fresh lilacs.”

“Well the room is full of beautiful flowers. Purple roses. They are pretty amazing in color.”

“Mmmmm that sounds nice.”

“Not as nice you.”

“Hehe.”

Before too long, we both succumb to our exhaustion and slipped into a restful sleep. This was a wonderful (second start) to our vacation.

A few hours later, the odd yet tasty smell of the fish Mara was cooking made its way down the hallway and into our room. I took a nice whiff and tried to sit up with out disturbing Granite. He must have smelled it too because I felt a hand brush my shoulder.

“Hey you.”

“Hey. Smells good out there.”

“Ya. You wanna go?”

“Please.”

This was one thing I was not going to like about this trip. I wouldn’t be going very many places with out someones guidance. Talk about a fish out of water.

“Ahh there you are. Welcome welcome. Please have a seat. I am almost done with dinner.”

“It smells delicious.” I added with a smile, my stomach beginning to growl just ever so slightly.

Granite helped me locate a chair and then we both took a seat.

Mara continued our conversation as she worked her magic in the kitchen.

“You cannot see no?”

“Um yes. I was born blind.”

“Oh my oh my. You are brave yes. Strong willed. I can tell.”

“I have heard that before yes.”

“Ah here we are.”

Mara set a plate down in front of me and kindly handed me a fork and knife. She was unsure where to place, so carefully put them in my hand.

“I am so sorr-ee I have never…”

“It’s fine. Thank you.”

We ate the rest of our dinner in silence. I think she felt bad even though I assured her not to. Its hard for me to tell some times. Silence can mean many things but, its hard to read when you can’t see whats actually happening. But once we she had cleared the plates she seemed to have gotten over what ever had been troubling her.

“It is rather late to be going out tonight. Would you care to join me in the living room. I would love to hear about your trip so far. There is nice fire going and I can make some coffee.”

“Yes coffee sounds perfect.”

“Wonderful. Please make yourself comfortable, I will be in shortly.”

Making our way to the couch, I heard the crackling from the fire and could feel its heat ever so softly on my cheek. “You have a lovely home!” I called out and into the kitchen.

“Oh thank you. It belonged to my husband and his family.” She replied entering the room. I heard her place a mug down on the table just before me. “Your coffee is there.”

“Thank you.” I carefully felt for the cup and brought it to my lips. The aroma was so amazing. You would have sworn those beans had been growing in her backyard. For all I knew they did. I took another sip. “Mmmmm this is so good. So where is your husband? Is he working late?”

An eerie silence dropped over the room as she placed her mug back down on the coffee table. “I lost my husband 2 years ago.”

“Oh I am so sorry.”

“It is fine. You did not know. We were married only a year when there was an accident at the nectary. He went to work one morning, kissed me goodbye, and never returned home. So now I am here without him. Its nice to have company again.” *ahem* “What about you? What brings you both to Chamber-ee?”

“Well life was pretty hectic at home, so we decided to get away for a little while. Spend some needed time together.”

“You two are very lucky. You’re love is special. I can tell.”

“Thank you. We feel pretty Berry blessed.”

“How did you find each other?”

“We met in school. She kinda found me.”

“Yes his guitar lead the way.”

“Ohhh! So you are both music lovers yes?”

“Very much so.”

“Ah! The music in our hearts will see us trough the shadows.”

“Wow that is so lovely. Did you just make that up.”

“No. I read it somewhere.”

“I like it.”

“Me too.” I added taking Granite’s hand in my own.

We spent a good three hours chatting with our more than gracious host. She was so kind and it exuded from her. She treated us as if we were family or old friends. It was a nice feeling and certainly not something we had expected from a stranger. I guess you can find kind hearts where ever you go.

After our evening came to a close, Granite and I returned to the bedroom for a little alone time. Its hard to get any sort of alone time when you have 4 kids running around the house. Someone is always awake, which means someone is always listening…

“You know its been so long since we have been alone, I kinda don’t know what I want to do with you first.”

Eep! I recognized that tone all to well.

“Anything as long as you don’t tickle me.” I squeaked.

“Awww but that’s the fun part.”

“Maybe for you..”

“Hah well…nope I am gonna do it anyways.”

“Granite! AHHHHHH!”

“Oh look who I found here. It’s my long lost wife. Hello there.”

“Granite you are a goof.”

“A goof with a hot wife.”

“I think I have missed hanging out with you.”

“Ya? Me too.”

Well we spent the rest of the evening *cough* enjoying each-others company. I am sure you don’t want to hear all the details. Oh you do? Well too bad haha! Lets just say it was a wonderful night and he and I had a fantastic time.

The next morning we were awoken again by the amazing aromas from Mara’s kitchen. This time it was the sweet smell of french toast and warm maple syrup. I could feel my mouth watering before I even sat up. “MMMMMMMMMMM!”

As I was dressing there was a knock on our door.

“I hope I am not waking you! Breakfast will be ready in a few. I will serving it in the garden.”

“OK thank you!”

Once we were dressed, we made our way outside to the a small dining table in the middle of her garden. Granite said it was just beautiful, but again all I could do was take his word for it.

“I hope you like egg toast.”

“Oh yes.”


“I have some things I need to tend to. I will be back later this afternoon. Please enjoy. There are many things to go and do, hopefully you will find some that interest you.”

“You’re not going to eat?”

“Oh! I eat as I cook. Not you worry. I had plenty. Enjoy your day you two!”

“We will.”

Then she made her leave and we did not see her for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t help but wonder where she was going…

Gen 7- Chapter 11 Part 2: Tranquil Truffle

Ah Barbeques. It was the signal that summer had officially begun. Dad cooking hotdogs on the grill, mom napping in one of the big loungers…

And all the kids swimming happily in the pool.

All the kids but me that is. You would think with a name like Waterlily that I would love swimming. That was not exactly the case. In fact I did pretty much everything in my power to steer clear of the pool. Pretty much spent my time eating…slowly. Seconds and maybe thirds depending on how long we would be stickin around. Now don’t get me wrong pools are great! I was not actually afraid of the water itself.

No it had more to do with getting in. I was pretty much a bonefied clutz from the moment I was able to walk. So I knew maneuvering around a pool would probably not end so well for me.

“Come on Lily! Get in! The water is awesome today!”

I looked over the table and down to my sister in the water. It sure did look inviting. I did give it some actual major thought before I declined.

“I’m good. Thanks.”

“Ughhh you never get in. You are so boring.”

“Its safer up here.”

“Whatever. You’re just scared.”

“I’m not scared. I’m practical.”

About that same time Chestnut swam over to the side of the pool as well. Come on Lil! She is right. The water is fantastic! I promise you’ll be fine. Just get in.”

“I don’t know.”

“Trust me.”

Ughhh. He knew just what to say. I guess BFF’s are good at that sort of thing. I did trust him. I trusted him enough to cut my hair. Sure my parents hated it, but I loved it. He had never steered me wrong before. I looked at the water and then back him. “Ok fine.”

“See! Just one step at a time and you will be fine.”

I walked over to the ladder. My first thought was to just jump in, but I could just see myself slipping and hitting my head on the side of the pool. A thought that made me cringe. Eeesh. So instead I took one step onto the ladder. Unfortunately the steps were really slippery and my worst fear came true.

Now I don’t know if I set myself up for disaster, but the moment I stepped onto the ladder my foot gave way and suddenly I was falling face first into the water.

Pain and shock ran through my face as the chlorinated water shot up my nose. In an instant everything went black and all I could hear was Chestnut screaming.

“OMB Help! Lil! Lil are you OK?! Help! Someone!!”

To my misfortune the lifeguard was busy settling a dispute between two of the girls and did not hear Chestnut’s cries for help.

Thankfully my brother did.

“Hang on Lil!!!”

*splash*

Before I knew it, Prelude fished me out of the water and set me in one of the loungers not too far away. Everyone was standing around me looking on wondering if I was gonna be OK.

“OMB Lil this is all my fault. I am so sorry! Please wake up!”

“Do you think we should call someone?”

“Lily love wake up it’s Daddy.”

“Granite? What happened?”

Finally I started to come to. This was exactly why I didn’t want to go in the first place. I was mortified at the fact everyone was standing around staring at me. The more my eyes adjusted the more people I saw. How embarrassing.

The moment I tried to stand from the chair, the lifeguard started running over to me.


“Oh My Berry!” She screamed grabbing ahold of my shoulders. “Honey are you alright? Oh man this is bad. Oh geeze. How do you feel? Do you feel faint? Weak? Are you breathing OK?

“I’m alright.”

“Do you need anything? Water? No not water… Oh I am so so sorry!”

She stood back up turning to my brother. “What-…” She stopped mid sentence. “Errr I mean…what happened? I was so busy with he girls I didn’t see. I am a horrible life guard.”

“I think she slipped on the ladder. She is OK now. You’re not horrible. Just a lot of kids here for one guard.”

“You are too kind. If my boss finds out I am dead.”

“No harm done. Don’t worry you’re secret is safe with us.”

Then they started giggling and smiling at each other. Yuck…

I was just starting to get my bearings straight when an annoying voice cut through the air like an annoying knife through butter.

Disco Finn…My sister Sapphires best friend and bane of my existence.

“HAHAHA Agualily fall down!!”

I never hated someone so much in my life. Of course I was young, but there was enough hate for him to go around…

I started to glare at him, the anger boiling over in me like a tea pot ready to be tipped over. It didn’t matter what he said, nothing in the world could get under my skin quicker than him. “Take it back.”

“Why should I? That is your name. Agualily.”

“It’s Waterlily. WATER… LILY.”

“That’s what I said. AGUA Lily.” He snorted.

That was when I snapped. I had officially had enough of Disco constant teasing. I jumped him right there in front everyone. I didn’t get to far though before my dad and the lifeguard were pulling us apart. I was still swinging and screaming as they did. Why did he make me so angry!

“Get it right! Or I will do it again!” I screamed.

“Waterlily Whip Chiffon!”

“We do not hit people young lady.”

I stared back at my dad. Great now here comes the lecture I thought to myself. I knew we didn’t hit people, but Disco was different. He was a big fat jerk who needed to get hit. I wasn’t a violent person. I really wasn’t, but every once in a while they have it coming.

“Now tell him you’re sorry.”

“No way! He deserved it! I am glad I did it. I aint apologizing to him!”

“Young Lady…we are going home.”

That night I had to sleep in the spare room. I was in so much trouble I wasn’t even allowed to talk to my sisters. They dropped me in a chair facing a corner and that was where I had to stay the rest of night. One of the most boring nights of my entire childhood…

But it was so worth it.

Gen 7- Chapter 11 Part 1: Tranquil Truffle

When I caught sight of Orchid, I quickened my pace as I headed across the center of the park, but once I realized it was only her waiting for me, each step there after slowed until I had stopped completely only a few feet from her. Like a light bulb switching on, everything was suddenly crystal clear.

Those evening chance encounters…

The seemingly innocent touches…

I didn’t even think anything of it when I received the text that the family was having a late evening park visit. We went so often, it was a plausible notion that it was true. Which is why in no hesitation I headed straight from work to the park.

I certainly did not expect what I found.

I paused briefly unsure of what was actually happening. Many different scenarios ran through my head, all of which quickened my pulse and made it hard for me to breathe. I cleared my throat in hopes it would break free what ever was blocking my airways.

“Orchid? Where is everyone?”

“They are at home.”

“But you texted me saying you were all here.”

” I know.”

She dropped her head into her hand unable to even look at me. I felt a rush of adrenaline pulse through my system. It was exactly what the scenarios in my mind were saying it was. I reached a hand out to touch her shoulder, but in almost the same instant I pulled it back in. That was probably was not the best course of action.

“So you invited me here alone?”

“Yes.”

“Why?” Heh why…I knew why. That was a really stupid question, but still the words flopped out of my mouth. Perhaps I thought if I actually heard it from her lips I would believe it was real.

Her face was riddled with regret and embarrassment, which only caused my anxiety to worsen.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you here. It was just…well I…I needed to tell you something.”

I just stared back at her, unable to speak or move.

She let out an exasperated sigh and turned her face away from me. “From the moment I saw you, I have loved you. It was like I found my long lost best friend, only you didn’t remember me. I have no idea where these feeling even come from, but I couldn’t go the rest of my life and not tell you. I don’t know what else to say. I love you. Plain and simple. I am not expecting anything from you. You have your wife and beautiful family, you don’t need me, but what I feel for you may have just sent me over the edge if I did not say anything. I’m sorry.”

I am not sure if what she said finally donned on her, but the moment she finished, her whole tone changed. “I…never should have come here. I should go.”

Just as quick as her confession only moments before, she hastily started to make her leave. Before I even had a chance to think I called out to her.

“Orchid wait…”

“There is something you deserve to know.” She stopped mid-step, but still refused to turn and face me. My throat started to close off. I was terrified of what I was about to say. Even the words seem to be enough in my mind to betray my dear Tranquil. Which was the last thing I wanted. She was my everything and nothing would change that.

“You don’t need to say anything. I know.”

“You do?”

“You think I am crazy. A little lost puppy.” She mimicked as she started to leave once again.

“No.” This was it. I had no other choice. I couldn’t let her live the rest of her life thinking she had lost her mind.

“I feel it too!” I sputtered.

“What?” This time she turned back to face me. Her stare ripping right through my soul.

My gaze began drooping ever so slightly. “I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel it. That odd connection. Its as if I have known you a 1000 lifetimes, but this lifetime… This time I am with her. I’m sorry. Thinking about hurting you fills me with a deep regret that I can’t quite escape, but the feelings of being anything but faithful to my wife are even stronger still. I hope you can understand that.”

“I understand.” She whimpered, tears starting to form in her eyes.

“I owe everything to her. She has been there when no one else was. I would be…” I realized my lengthy explanation wasn’t really going to help matters all that much, so I stopped.

“I’m sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize, I am the one in the wrong. I never should have said anything. I am only messing things up further. Why here! Why now?!” Her voice wavered with each syllable.

She was falling apart right before my eyes and all I could do was watch. I had an almost uncontrollable need to pull her into my arms, tell her everything was going to be OK, but that was a lie. It wasn’t going to be OK. I couldn’t give her what she was so desperately searching for. Instead I just stood there, waiting for her to give me some kind of sign she was going to be OK.

“I am leaving.”

She didn’t explain fully what she meant by that, but I understood all the same.

“I think that would be best.”

“The girls are big enough now, I think you two can handle them. I’ll be out within the week. Goodbye Granite.”

“Goodbye Orchid.”

We went our separate ways, and I had a feeling she would not be coming home that night.

I headed for home, only one thing on my mind.

I pulled the car into the drive and immediately jumped out. I ran through the house till I found her in the upstairs hallway. As soon as I was close enough, I pulled her into my arms. I had never wanted to be near her so badly.

“Whoa, well hello there.”

I pressed my lips gently against hers. Each kiss more passionate the next, I was going to let her know exactly how much she meant to me. I could feel the guilt beginning to wash away in the safety of her lips. “I love you.” I breathed against her cheek.

“I love you too love.”

Looking into her sweet face, suddenly my heart was at ease. She was where I was supposed to be, there was no doubt in my mind. I pulled her into my arms again. Unable to bring her close enough, I dropped my head onto her shoulder.

I felt her arms wrap around my neck, just before she whispered in my ear. “You made the right choice. Thank you.”

The moment her words sunk in, I pulled away softly. How did she…

“I think we should go away for a while. Just you and me.”

“Oh that would be so nice, but the kids…”

“Not right away, but soon. The girls are getting older. It will be fine. What do you say?”

“Getting the chance to go away with you alone? How could I possibly refuse.”

Gen 7- Chapter 10: Tranquil Truffle


Prelude Chiffon…Where do I even begin? He was the sweetest boy I had ever had the pleasure of knowing, must have got it from his daddy. And as he got older, the sweetness only grew. Always a smile (I could tell, even if couldn’t see it) and always willing to help out. I think he decided early on it was his job to watch out for his little sisters. Especially little Lily. He was definitely the most protective of her. Only because in his mind she was the one who needed him most.

But it was not just his sisters who adored him to pieces. It was pretty much the whole house. He was Grandma’s little angel. I think she was slightly biased since he came first, but for what ever the reason, Prelude had many fans.

Prelude and Beaux. Those two were inseparable. We started calling them the Siamese twins. They spent most of their childhood lives together. I think if you added it all up, there were only a couple weekends that were not spent together. Best friends forever, and I honestly believed it was true. His brother from another mother through and through.


“RAWR!!!!!”

“AHHHHHH!”

“I AM GIANT TYRANNOSAURUS REX AND I AM GOING TO EAT YOU RAWR!!!”

“AHHHH RUN AWAY!!!!!”

“Boys can you please take that outside?!”

“Sorry Momma.”

Thankfully they were easy to entertain and could find something fun or exciting in everything that they did.

“Count down to blast off. In T minus 5 seconds.”

“5.”

“4.”

“3.”

“2.”

“1.”

“BLAST OFF!!!”
“BLAST OFF!!”


They were not always being rambunctious though. After some serious begging and pleading, we finally allowed them to get a simbook account and a twizzler. They were literally always on that thing. I would wake up sometimes at 3 in the morning to *Click click click* *giggle* *Click Click click* We almost had to take his computer out of his room. Well we did a few times, but we almost had to take it out permanently. I know Blush would not be too happy that I was letting her son stay up all hours of the night.

“Bed now.”

“AWW Mom!”


Even when the computer was on restriction, they always found a way to keep themselves busy. When Prelude was little, I found an old bear in a trunk. I had no idea who it belonged to, but Prelude happened to be at my feet when I pulled it out and immediately started grabbing for it. It was pretty dusty, so I dropped it in a pillow case and gave it a nice wash. Of course I had to listen to about an hour of crying while we waited for it to wash and dry, but once it was clean, that bear went with him everywhere. Which worked well, because Beaux also had a stuffed buddy.

“Mr. Bear did you know that Beaux and Jupiter are staying the night!?”

“Oh really?! That’s great!”

I just knew those two would be life long friends.

————————————————–

*Toddles in*

“Bubba?”

“Bubba.”

“hmmmmmm.”

“Bubbu sleep.”

“Huh?”

“Sleep.”

“Whu…oh. OK.”

*zZzZzZzZzZzZ*
*ZzZzZzZzZz*

“Bubba up!”

Ughhhh. I tried to go back to sleep, but there no way she was gunna let me. I threw a pillow over my head. “Bubba wants to sleep Lily.”

“Up Up!”

I rolled onto my back, looking straight up at the ceiling. It was Saturday, I should have been asleep still, but that’s kind hard when your little sister is bouncing on the end of your bed. “Fine.” I whined sitting up. “What do you need?”

“Park!”

I could barely see her, my eyes were all glazed over. I rubbed them a couple times and finally a few blinks later, her cutie face came into focus. Her smile instantly made all the annoyance I was feeling go away. She had a way of doing that to me.

“You wanna go to the park? Now? Its like…” I turned to my alarm clock. “Good Berry its only 6:45.”

“Park! Park! Park!” She squealed jumping up and down. That made me nervous, she was not too good on her feet yet. I could just see her slipping and falling right off. I grabbed her hands. “OK. Just please stop bouncing.”

“Weeeeee!”

I rolled out of bed forgetting Beaux was still asleep below me.

“Hey! Watch it!”

“Sorry *yawn* Beaux.”

I helped Lily off the bed, and then she and I walked to my parents bedroom. They weren’t there. Stepping back into the hallway, I could hear mom and dad talking downstairs. They were awake already? Sheesh.


“Mom. Dad. Lily and I want to go to the park today.”

“Park park park!”

“Oh we can’t. Your mother and your grandmother are going to be out today.”

“Awwwww! Please!!!!”

“Sorry no can do.”

Well this sucked I thought to myself. I could feel Lily starting to get upset. I had to keep trying.

“Awww Dad, isn’t there some way we can go? Just for a little while?”

“Awwww Granite love, you don’t need me to go. Its not like I am much help anyways. I am sure you and Orchid could manage the girls just fine.”

“Please Dad! Please!”

“I suppose so. Is that OK with you?”

“Works fine for me.”

“See, you guys go and have a good time.”

“OK. As soon as your mother leaves, we will go.”

“Yay!”

A few hours later, we were saying our goodbyes to Grandma and Mom and then we were on our way to the park for a day of fun! Beaux and I decided to race the swings. Who ever got their fastest got the right swing. It was the best. It went wayyy higher than the other. Sadly I lost. Beaux was like a super fast runner!

“Hah! I win!”

“Ya, well I didn’t want it anyways!”

“Suuuuuuuure!”


Well left swing or not, I got pretty high up there!

“I am gonna get to the moon first!”

“Oh I don’t think so!! Activate rocket boosters! ZOOOOOOOOOM!”

Even though the girls couldn’t swing, they still had a good time. Especially Midnight…she must have been having a really good time, because she managed to go the whole afternoon without getting herself into trouble. She played with her rocking horse pony and that was where she stayed the whole afternoon. If only she could have been that well behaved when Mom was around.

Lily wanted to bring Mr. Bear with us, and at first I was not to crazy about the idea, but like always, she had a way of talking me into pretty much anything. So I took the little piece of paper (with his name on it) out of his front pocket, and I handed him over.

“You have to take extra good care of him. You hear?”

“I will Bubba.”

I think she loved that bear as much as I did, but there was NOOO way I was giving him up, but she could play with him for a while…


We played so many games that day. Probably one of the most fun trips to the park we ever had.

“Where is Lily!?”

“Heeeeeeeh.”

“I hear her, but I don’t see her anywhere! Where could she have gone?!”

“Hehehehehe!”

“Oh There she is!”


“WEEEEE!!!!”

I loved those girls so much! I don’t know why, but I always felt it was my job to protect them. Sure Mom and Dad had the same job, but I dunno, I just felt as if they needed me. Mom and Dad were not always around, so it was up to me to look after them in the mean time. Some thing I took very seriously. If some one ever tried to hurt my girls, they better watch out. Lude could be one mean dude…HAH! That rhymed.

Dad and Orchid were so boring. All they did was sit on that bench the whole time and talk. “Blah Blah blah. That’s exactly how I felt. Blah Blah.” Blehhhh…Why are adults soooo not interesting?

By the time the day was over, I was exhausted. I crawled into bed, clothes and all and passed out for almost 2 hours. By the time I woke up it was dinner. Mom and Grandma were not back yet, so it was just me, Beaux, Dad and Orchid. It was a pretty great day! I only wished everyday could be so exciting!

——————————————-

“Bye love. Have a wonderful time.”

“Awww you. Don’t miss me too much?”

“No promises.”

“hehe.”

Mom, Blush and I were off for a day of pampering. It had been years since I had gone out with just the girls and four children later seemed like a good time to start up again. My two amazing boys walked with me to Mom’s car where we said our goodbyes. Oh how I loved them to pieces.

“Bye Mom! Have fun!”

“I will! Watch out for your sisters.”

“OK.”

Sitting in the passenger seat, my mind started to wander. One thing about being blind, car rides are very boring. Unlike everyone else, you have no scenery to keep you occupied. I flipped through the radio stations until I came across something that I liked. Wasn’t too hard really, I like most music, so when I came to the first station that wasn’t commercials, I stopped there. Thankfully its not too long of a car ride to the other side of town, and before long we were pulling into the parking lot of the Esplanade Spa.

Mom had rented out the whole place for the afternoon, so we would have the spa room all to our self. Blush helped me up the stairs and into one of the small fitting rooms. She handed me a robe and and my bathing suit and then shut the door behind her. I carefully got out of my clothes and slipped on the soft terry cloth. It felt like silk it was so soft.

“So that’s what 1000 thread count cotton feels like.” She giggled from the dressing room next to mine.

Once in our robes, we made our way to the spa room. Again I was guided (grumble) to the hot tub, where we just as quickly took the robes off. Pretty silly ritual if you ask me, but the moment we stepped down into the water, all of those thoughts melted away.

Naturally, my mind started thinking about the last time I was in a hot tub. The good part…I could feel a small grin growing across my face. He was so sexy even then.

“Ah this is the life.”

“I think this is the first time you have ever been in a hot tub hasn’t it Mira.”

“I uh….” Didn’t know what to say. Sure I was a grown woman, but the thought of telling her that I had snuck off to Granite’s house in the middle of the night, half naked in a hot tub, still made me cringe. I flipped my foot around in the water. “Yup first time. Its pretty incredible. Thank you so much for taking me.” Whewww nice save.


After our soak and massages, we rounded the day off with a late lunch. It was really nice being to be with just the ladies, having real conversations. Not that I did not love chatting with my girls, but it was nice to be able to have a day away, just for me. Once you have kids, its hard to find time for yourself. So any chance you can get, you should take it.

Even still I couldn’t help but wonder how everyone else’s play date was going.

Gen 7- Chapter 9: Tranquil Truffle

“Hungry!!!!! MOMMA! Hungry!!”

“Down!!! DOWN!!!! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

Since the departure of Blush, Rowan and Beaux, the house seemed slightly more hectic. Poor Granite was working almost all time, which left me in charge of four screaming toddlers. I would love to say that my little angels were easy going and easy to take care of, but regrettably I cannot. Terrible two’s and one three was an absolute nightmare, but I was Tranquil Truffle Chiffon and I was determined to do it all on my own. Of course my mother had her own ideas.

“You know four children is a lot!” She called over the screams of Midnight and Prelude.

“Maybe!”

“Have you ever thought about bringing in a little extra support?”

“Support.” I tried to lean in closer, I was only catching snippits of what she was saying. Frustrated I turned to Prelude. “Baby boy I am trying to get your food, please, it won’t be much longer.” That did nothing, it may have made things worse.

“Mom, I am fine. We are fine. He is just hungry. I can handle this by myself.” I countered turning to the fridge and fumbling through the bottom shelf for the tupper ware of the days dinner. With Lily still on my hip I tried to the best of my ability to prepare Preludes meal. I felt my mother lean over my shoulder. “Dear that’s left over tuna salad.”

“Ughhh!!” I slammed the lid back down and opened the fridge again. Now more than frustrated I slapped the food into the bowl and plopped it down in front of my obviously “OMB I am gonna die if I don’t eat” starving child.

That was just about the time Lily was getting sleepy. I could feel her squirming and wriggling on my hip. She tapped my shoulder a couple times which was her way of telling me she wanted to go to bed. “Ok. Lets get you ready for bed then.” I agreed as I took her upstairs. As we left the room, I could hear Midnight crying behind me.

“Mommy! DOWN!”

“Yes love, I will be right back!”

Mom followed me upstairs still trying to convince me that her idea was a good one, but I was still not going for it. After tucking Lily in she started on me all over again. Always the persistent one she was.

“Couldn’t you at least think about it?”

“NO. MOM I am perfectly capable of doing this. I am a good Mom.”

“I know you are love. It has nothing to do with your capability. Its just-

*CRASH* *THUD* “WAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

Oh sweet berry what was that?!

Adrenalin pumped through my veins as I ran through downstairs, its a good thing I knew the house as well as I did, or may have just killed myself in the process. The screaming getting louder and louder as I neared the kitchen.

Downstairs~

“Down.”

“No! Baby No!”

*CRASH* THUD*

“WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

I could tell from the sound of her voice, she was no longer in her high chair. I kneeled down and scooped her into my arms. Pulling her to my chest I started to cry. “Oh baby girl. Mommy is sorry. Are you OK? I should have never left you.” The sounds of her painful crying was enough to make wanna throw up. I was so mortified, which was only amplified by the fact my mother was there to witness it all.

I think she could tell I was in no mood to discuss it further because she dropped it for the rest of the evening. She helped put Midnight and Prelude to bed and then made her way back home to BP. I followed her to the door and gave her a big goodbye hug. Once she had left, I sulked off to my room. I was exhausted.

That’s where I stayed until Granite returned home. The sound of that sickening thud replaying over and over again in my mind. My breath catching in my throat every time that it did.

“Everything OK?”

“Oh ya. Wonderful! I just tried to kill our daughter tonight is all.”

“You did what now?”

I threw my legs over the side of the bed. I was so embarrassed I was trying to avoid eye contact. I dropped my chin into my chest. “I let our daughter fall out of her high chair today.”

“You let her? Like you did it on purpose?”

“Well…no”

“So she accidentally fell out of the high chair?”

I let out an exasperated sigh. “Yes.”

“I have failed as a mother.”

“I think that is going a bit far. Is she OK?”

“Yes she is fine.”

“Then don’t worry. Accidents happen.”

“I know but.”

“But what?”

“My mom thinks I need help and that didn’t really help my argument that I don’t”

“Aww love. Maybe we do need some help. You know I would be home 24-7 to help if I could.”

“I know, but I thought I could do it.”

“Well you can, but there is no shame is asking for a little support now and again. No one is going to think any less of you. I certainly won’t.”

*sigh* “OK. Can you call Mom and tell her? I just can’t…”

“I can do that.”

“Thank you.”

“You really are the best.”

“No. That’s you.”

So while we were preparing for bed (thank goodness the kids at least slept well) Granite made the call to my mother.

“Hey Mom…Mhmmm….Ya. I think she has decided to go ahead…Ya. Oh she is here, but her mouth is full of toothpaste. Uh huh…OK. See you tomorrow then. Bye.”

The very next afternoon, our new nanny was making her way up the steps and to the front door. It seems my mom had gone home that night and had placed the call. She had a feeling I was going to be calling to approve the go ahead. It really annoyed me she me knew me so well.

Petite Orchid Mauve. Fresh from the graduating class of 2011. Finished with college and ready to start her career in the childcare profession. Live in nanny had always been her life long dream and when my mother called the agency she was the first one on the list. Apparently another secret my mother had been keeping, she had already interviewed 10 different prospective nannies and she was the best.

She seemed nice enough. Soft spoken and friendly. I was still lightly unnerved by the fact I was openly asking for help, but she seemed to understand that and let me have quite a bit of space.

“Its so wonderful to finally meet you.”

“Yes and you as well. Please come in.” I smiled shaking her hand.

We continued our introductions until we were interrupted by Prelude alerting us he was up from his nap. I turned to head up the stairs when Orchid placed her hand on my shoulder. “May I?”

Before I had a chance to answer my mother chimed in. “Yes dear that would be wonderful.”


“Hey little guy. Is that you in here making all that fuss?”

“Hehehe.”

“I thought so. You have some pretty poweful lungs. That is pretty impressive.”

“Impwessive.”

“Hehe.”

“Hey Tranquil are you in-

“Oh…Hello.”

“…”

“You must be the new nanny. Hi. I’m Granite. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too.”

“Do you have a name? Or should I just call you Nanny?”

“Oh! Right! Haha um its Orchid. My name is Orchid.”

“Well its nice to meet you Orchid. Poor Tranquil has been running herself ragged. I think a little extra help around here is just what we need.”

“Yes…I uh better get back downstairs.”

Having the extra help was really like a dream come true. She was amazing with the children. They all adored her and I had to admit it made life so much easier not having to worry about all four at the same time.

It actually gave me a chance to spend quality time with all of them. It was amazing how different all three of the girls were from each other.

Midnight Mousse. I think it should have been Mischief Mousse thinking back. She was our little trickster. Most definitely the biggest handful for a blind momma.

If she wasn’t getting into shenanigans inside the house…

Then it was outside the house.

This wouldn’t have been nearly as bad except, poor little Lily was always crying. It was hard to keep track of Midna over Lily’s wailing. Either she was unhappy or she just tripped over something or hit a wall, coffee table, toilet, bathtub you name it that poor girl had smacked up against it. The doctors were always concerned when I brought her in. Covered in bruises. Ya that did not sit well.

The poor girl also had the oddest aversion to shoes. I could never keep them on her feet. First it would take me entirely too long to get them on and then once I did, I would hear *flop flop* and I would be feeling bare feet again. Finally I just gave up.

Big boy Prelude did his best to help. He would try to console little Lily to the best of his ability. I am not sure if it worked, but it was sure darn adorable to hear.

“Its ok Baby. Don’t cry.”

Ah but he was a resourceful one. When consoling didn’t work, he did not give up. He would try other tactics like reading to her. Of course he didn’t really know how to read, but she didn’t care. She would sit and listen to him prattle on and it usually was just thing to settle her out. My big boy helper to the rescue.

Awww little Sapphire. She was my angel in comparison to the other two. (Though I would vehemently denied it if ever confronted about it) She was my breath of fresh air. The most compliant and most observant, she could always tell when I was having a bad day and did her best to make it just a little bit easier on me. Something I was always truly grateful for.

“LuvvooMummee”

“Love you too sweet pea.”


So I guess all in all having a little help wasn’t too far out. They were certainly a handful and after the arrival of Orchid we got to do so many new things. Like family outings. Something that was much to difficult for just the two of us.

It took me a while to admit it, but bringing Orchid in may have been one of the best decisions my mother ever made on my behalf.

Yup. She was a welcome addition to our little family.

———————————-

Didn’t know where to split it…so I didn’t. Sorry >_<