True to her word, Veronica honeymooned with Charles on a backcountry hiking and camping vacation. She didn’t have a lot of experience roughing it, but she met it with the same enthusiasm she met any new experience.
One night, as they cuddled under the stars, she admitted, “You know, I really hate the military.”
“Why on earth are you working there, then?”
“I don’t know. I hated my last job, and I wanted to try something really extreme.”
“The dojo is bringing in enough money these days. Mom and Fabian make a ton. We hardly need your paycheck. Find something you like and do that.”
“You really don’t mind if I just quit and coast for a while?”
“Absolutely not! Why should you be a slave to The Man?”
As soon as they made it back to civilization, Veronica gave leave to Gnome Military Base and began exploring her Eccentric side.
This meant she spent a lot of time with Zahra. The most logical place to set up a chemistry station was next to Zahra’s inventor’s workbench.
After Veronica stepped in it a few times by trying to make jokes, she and her mother-in-law got along swimmingly. To Charles’s taste, they almost got along too well.
“You know,” Zahra said with a sort of forced casualness one day, “Maternity leave can really crush your career. If you and Charles are thinking about kids, you might want to do it now while you’re between jobs.”
“We what?” Veronica choked.
Meanwhile, Ada was spending a lot of time with her muse, either writing or painting. She loved to hang out at Second Chance Consignment, where the every-changing odds and ends gave her inspiration.
She was selling more and more paintings these days, and she was getting higher and higher fees for them. It was exciting to get a sense that her name was out there.
Unfortunately, though the shopkeeper appreciated her art, he didn’t much appreciate her musing about life. After a couple of conversations, he made sure to keep the counter between them.
One day, she ran into Jabari’s mom, Justine Keaton, stopping by on her way home from work.
“I just wanted to tell you that even though I’m sure you’re thrilled that your son is married and happy, Latisha is always going to be a tramp in my imagination, even if it isn’t true. I prefer to think that she’s making Jabari miserable. She can’t possibly deserve him.”
“You what?” Justine said, stunned.
“Thanks for listening!” Ada said, her face brightening. “I just needed to get that off my chest!”
She went home feeling much more relaxed and had a bit of fun.
Zahra’s scientific research had reached international attention. It was certainly going to her head.
She began dressing and acting more eccentrically. She kept a note pad with her at all times and interrupted conversations to write down ideas for experiments.
She was growing some strange fruit in the garden that kind of looked like beating hearts. Better not to look at those fruits too closely.
Still, there were some definite advantages to all her hard work. She Did Science to all sorts of things around the house.
She found a way to make the beds float.
She invented this amazing new automated way to harvest the garden. It was ten times faster than the normal hand-picking, and it only upset your stomach most of the time.
She didn’t know when to stop, though. Fabian and Charles found themselves carrying her to bed plenty of times.
Good thing she had less single-minded loved ones to look after her.
Basically an interlude piece to show how the girls are doing!
So the big news here is that my husband has taken a job with Google in Boston, Massachusetts. We’re going to be moving in mid-May. Before then, we need to get our house in Albuquerque, NM ready to sell (with a toddler), and we have to go on at least one house-hunting trip to Boston! We are going insane over here, and I don’t know how much I’ll be around.
We moved to Abq from Boston 10 years ago, and we have some very close friends there that we are looking forward to living near again. Still, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, and moving is front-loaded with suck. Lots of goodbyes and lots of stress. Aaaagh!