Sky and Xia had a long talk about Abby. Then Xia came by a few days later, and they had another long talk about it. And then they talked some more in email.
Xia was upset, but she didn’t actually question Sky’s honesty about how Abby was conceived. Sky assumed at first that it was just an even more absurd story that Sky had secretly farmed genetic material from a one-night stand in order to carry that woman’s child while she was already married to someone else. Actually, when you said it that way, it actually did seem more plausible that Sky was a supernatural being with a different route to conceiving children.
But it turned out to be more than that. Xia’s great-uncle Zhan Wu had been Charles’s sensei. Xia had learned just a little bit about ghost people from him.
No, Xia wasn’t upset because she didn’t believe Sky’s story. She was upset because Sky never told her. And Sky honestly had never thought that she was being hurtful. She thought she was doing them both a favor to not force Xia to become involved in an enormous, unasked-for complication in her life.
Sky was certainly reexamining the way she looked at things.
Xia spent several afternoons a week at the Sample house, mostly to spend time with Abby. Xia was training as a fighter pilot with the Camelot Armory Air Force, and she kept very early hours — she was usually at work before the sun was up, and she showed up afterwards before Dylan was even home from school. Sky booked Sing-A-Grams for those afternoons. Her life became enormously easier to manage.
They ate a lot of burned grilled cheese sandwiches for a while. When it wasn’t fit for people to eat, Riddle was always ready to step in and help.
Abby grew into a child.
She was an energetic kid who loved to take on all variety of fantasy roles.
She had a naturally lovely singing voice and would spend hours making up songs and singing them to her favorite doll, Princess. She begged Sky for private singing lessons. Sky was delighted to have someone to share music with, especially since Dylan seemed to have no musical interest at all.
Abby’s imagination seemed boundless, and Sky enjoyed taking little vacations into worlds of Abby’s making. Abby could embellish and expand upon Sky’s bedtime stories to create new stories that Sky liked more than the originals.
Abby also enjoyed telling little white lies and experimenting with just what kind of nonsense she could make people believe. Sky and Xia started sending email notes to each other with things that Abby had told them so that they could compare notes.
Dylan, meanwhile, advanced from block architecture to scale models. He set up a card table in the living room and build a replica of Sunset Valley, where his grandfather came from, and ran a model railroad through it. He used to spend whole evenings perfecting it and adjusting the train track.
One afternoon, when he was adjusting the location of some buildings, Abby came up to watch. “Whatcha doin’?”
“All these houses need to be an inch to the left,” Dylan said absently.
“I wasn’t using the most up-to-date map of the Sunset Valley when I built this model,” he said. “It’s inaccurate.”
Abby looked over the model landscape with wide eyes. “You mean you made this exactly the same as a real place?” she asked.
“I sure did,” Dylan said proudly.
“Why on earth would you want to that?”
Dylan opened his mouth to explain how he’d made the model, then did a double-take. “Huh?”
“Why would you want to make it look like a real place?” Abby asked again. “You can always make up a place that is prettier and more exciting.
Dylan was genuinely puzzled. “I don’t know,” he said. “Then it wouldn’t be real.”
Abby rolled her eyes. “Real is boring,” she said. “In the real world, you can’t be a superhero. Or a princess.” She walked over to their dress-up chest a pulled out her pink satin princess dress. “Your problem is that you have no imagination.”
“I do so have imagination!” Dylan flared. “I can be a prince just as well as you can be a princess.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Abby said.
Dylan pulled on his blue prince costume and raised his scepter. “By the power invested in me as prince, I’ll built a city of emerald and marble. The streets will be paved with platinum because gold is too soft to make a good road. Everyone is guaranteed a good life and a living wage, provided that they donate time to keep the city clean and beautiful–“
“Wow,” Abby said, laughing. “You really don’t know how to do this.”
Dylan crossed his arms. “OK, you show me.”
Abby caught a fold of her skirt in one hand and raised her head regally to gaze over her subjects. She really was quite convincing. “I’m so pleased to meet you Ambassador,” she said as she raised her hand to a man’s imaginary lips. “Of course I would consider trade with your country when you ask so nicely.” She raised her hands and swept around the room. “I know. My people are so loyal. They would do anything for me. A princess like me can do anything.”
“Ugh,” Dylan said. “Why would you want to do THAT?”
“What?” Abby demanded, stomping her foot. “I was perfect!”
“Have everyone looking at you like that,” Dylan said. “It’s so…. exposed.”
Abby and Dylan had a long way to go before they could ever understand each other.
Sky and Xia set careful boundaries on their relationship. Xia might sleep over, but they made it clear from the start that there was no exclusivity. In fact, some day’s they’d just sit up in bed and tell stories about their erotic adventures with other people. Xia preferred women, but she also found the occasional man interesting, so her stories were sometimes truly alien to Sky.
The Sing-A-Grams had really enhanced Sky’s reputation as a performer. There was standing room only in the bars and pubs when Ghostwriter played. And there was more. In addition to her active fan website, Sky started seeing her face on the cover of gossip magazines. She thought she should have been scandalized, but she actually found it amusing. After her performances, she was flocked by attractive young women trying to attract her attention, and every once in a while, she let someone who interested her show her a good time.
So she shouldn’t have been surprised when she started waking up sick in the mornings.
“I’m pregnant,” she said unceremoniously when she left the bathroom one morning after another round of vomiting.
Xia threw up her hands. “That’s a thing with you, isn’t it. Can’t you do anything about it?”
“My mother had her tubes tied,” Sky said. “I’ve been avoiding it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give up having children.”
“I think I’ll have it done after this one,” Sky admitted.
Xia took her hand. “You’re going to need some extra help now,” she said. “I’m over here all the time. What would you think if I just, well, moved in?”
Sky squeezed her hand. “Would you seriously consider doing that?” she said. “It would make things so much better.”
Xia kissed her. “Done,” she said.
“NO COMMITMENT!” And Sky and Xia laughed.
And this is the final baby from Generation 6. One of the sub-challenges I set for Sky was to have three kids by three different women. That certainly shakes up the genetics.
This would have been a couple of posts, but with no pictures I thought I’d toss them all together. Sorry if it’s too long.
Pictures resumed shortly before Abby became a teen, so at least I could share what she looked like. The scene with Abby and Dylan dressed up as royalty was super cute :-p.