Veronica was inventing again. That made for plenty of adventures for the family.
“I call in the Routine Machine!” Veronica explained after she roped Sky into helping her test. “It uses advanced levitation and teleportation technology to get you fed, lighten your bladder, and zap you to your chosen location!”
Testing it was certainly exciting.
But the teleportation part turned out to need some work.
Hunter’s production was down for the winter, as expected.
But he could hardly spend a lot of time fretting. In addition to emails, he was exchanging letters with Eliana Baerwyn every other day.
She would be graduating soon, and he was terribly nervous. He wanted to visit her and tell her how he felt, but what if turned him down?
After the failure of his last date, Forest paid a lot more attention to Ali. One evening, he invited her out to the new western-themed club to watch a Simfest.
“I know things haven’t been great between us,” he said to Ali sincerely. “I’m hoping we can have some fun together and get past our troubles.”
Ali looked troubled, but she nodded. “I’m willing to try if you are.”
They watched a couple of performers and then made it upstairs to the lounge to get away from the noise and heat for a little while.
“How was your presentation?” Forest asked.
“It went very well!” Ali said. “I think they’re putting me up for a promotion.”
“That’s wonderful. I’m bringing in some great profits as well. We could make a good team.”
Ali gave him a hard look. “You never told me what you do,” she said.
“It’s really boring,” Forest said quickly. “You wouldn’t want to hear about it. Here, why don’t I help you relax –“
“Don’t you do that again!” Ali shouted.
She jumped to her feet and out of his reach. “I’m sick of you treated me like I’m some kind of gullible innocent! You’re involved in something you think I won’t like. I’m done with being patient. Tell me now, and we’ll see what it does to our relationship.”
Forest was suddenly terrified. “I–” he began.
Then he reached into his pocket and brought out the one thing that could end this conversation.
“Hey,” he said. “Let’s go back down and watch the rest of the performance.”
“Yeah,” Ali replied, sounding dazed. “Sure thing.”
Sky spent the tail end of her pregnancy bumming around the house. She felt too tired and too much like a whale to do any promotional work for Ghostwriter. Leah had decorated the nursery. Veronica was so eager to share intimate advice that Sky had started avoiding her. Charles was always asking her if she was warm enough or had had enough to eat.
Just to defy all of them, she took to practicing guitar on the front porch.
She also returned to painting, something she hadn’t touched since her band became a reality. First on her list was a portrait of Leah.
“I’ll start with your eyes. They’re so captivating.”
Leah enjoyed the attention, at least.
When the contractions came, Sky was more than ready for them. Childbirth couldn’t be as bad as continuing to be pregnant.
Sorry to end on a cliffhanger! The second half will be posted shortly.
It turns out that the Not So Routine Machine teleportation feature conflicts with Sky and Charles’s innate teleporting, so it’ll be a while before you see it used again.