The air turned colder, and Autumn eased into Winter.
Winston’s crowds at outdoor venues started to get thinner as it got colder. He’d performed in the snow before. He didn’t feel the chill when he was moving and playing with fire. But the park stage was probably not going to be the best way to draw an audience for a while.
He spent a lot of his personal time on dates with Emilie.
Andria decided to write her memoirs and began to fill spiral-bound notebooks cover-to-cover with pencil scratches. “Don’t tell me to put it on the computer,” she snapped when VIckie suggested just that. “I can’t stand computers. They make everything feel artificial. I guess they call it ‘virtual’ these days.”
Vickie didn’t argue with her.
On the other side of the tech divide, Jonah had just discovered computer video games and would disappear for hours.
They found other ways to have fun too.
That fun had the logical outcome. Vickie was delighted to be expecting another child.
So was Andria. She knew she was living on borrowed time. Every moment she spent with her family, especially her grandchildren, was a blessing.
When Caspian’s birthday rolled around, Vickie decided it was high time for a party. “I’ll invite the entire family, and anyone who can’t come losing the right to complain that I left them out,” she declared.
Jonah looked pensive.
Vickie, who had gotten a lot better at noticing everything he said without words, noticed immediately. “What’s wrong?”
“The Waves pod will be headed back in our direction toward our winter fishing grounds,” he said slowly. “I would like to invite my mother to this party. She hasn’t met her grandson.”
Vickie blinked. “I thought you said your clan disowned you… because of me,” she finished more quietly.
Jonah stared at his hands, “It wasn’t that simple,” he said. “I can’t be a part of the pod anymore, but if I could persuade her to visit, she might want to continue associating with us.” He sighed. “I would like to try.”
Vickie hugged him. “I still don’t understand why you were willing to give all that up to be with me,” she said. “I think she’s crazy to give you up completely. I support you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
Jonah kissed her instead. He was a merman of few words.
For Andria, the best part of any party was baking the cake.
Snow was falling when the time of the party rolled around. Vickie stood at the door to say hello to Edmund, Gamora and Emmett, Judith and Mason.
Last to arrive was a woman Vickie didn’t recognize but knew without asking.
“Um, you must be Joyelle,” Vickie stammered. She had an ageless face, a far-away look in her eye, and was wearing a completely inappropriate, gauzey dress in the middle of the snow. She didn’t even seem to be cold.
Joyelle of Waves rewarded Vickie with a piercing look. She nodded slowly.
“Jonah’s getting the baby up from his nap…” Vickie trailed off.
Joyelle looked past her and walked by.
Jonah brought Caspian downstairs, and it was time for the big moment.
Caspian grew into a little merman who looked a lot like his father.
But with Grandma Andria’s eyes.
She couldn’t have been more delighted.
Andria served up the cake. Jonah and Joyelle exchanged glances that Vickie couldn’t read, but they didn’t say much to each other. Vickie sat down to spend some time with Judith, which was a lot more comfortable.
Caspian, on the other hand, pondered how to pull the carving knives down off the counter.
“I have to ask,” Judith said. “You have always been such a free spirit. What do you think of motherhood? Doesn’t it tie you down?”
“I was afraid it would,” Vickie admitted. “But I had to try. It’s been crazy but wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I guess I’m doing it again!” She looked down at her belly, which was barely showing her new pregnancy.
“Another baby already!” Judith said. “You didn’t waste any time!”
“I’m not getting any younger,” Vickie said. “I guess I thought it was now or never. Have you and Mason thought about kids at all?”
“We’re…. talking about it,” Judith said. “I think want to, but Mason isn’t so sure. He has such a disruptive job, you know. Would we really be able to raise a family with him working nights and disappearing at odd hours?”
Judith had made it clear that Vickie shouldn’t ask too much about what Mason did for a living, so she didn’t go there. “You always have me to help!” she said instead. “I don’t want to push you into anything, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we were moms with small kids together?”
[Mason James is in the Criminal career, but I realize that I don’t know what Judith does or if she has a job.]
After cake, Jonah started cleaning up, and Joyelle helped him. Vickie called the rest of the guests to come play with Caspian, who had crawled into the kitchen and was trying to pull the grating off the dishwasher. This kid was going to be a handful.
Vickie could hear her husband and mother-in-law speaking in low, singsong voices. She didn’t think it was in Simlish.
After a while, Caspian started throwing a tantrum, and Vickie bundled the overstimulated toddler upstairs to rock for a while in the rocking chair to try to calm him down. Jonah said goodbye to the guests.
“Did it go all right with your mom?” Vickie asked anxiously when he joined her upstairs.
“I… don’t know,” Jonah said. “She was interested in learning more about her grandson. She wants to know what my plans are for his ocean education. We can lose our tails, you know, if we don’t spend enough time in the sea.”
“I didn’t know!” Vickie said. “You haven’t been swimming since Caspian was born. Are you sure–?”
He took her hand. “I know my own body,” he said. “You don’t need to worry.”
Vickie would have said more, but downstairs something more important was happening.
When Grim came for Andria a second time, she didn’t have a flower for him. It seemed almost disappointed.
“Not now!” Andria begged. “I have another grandbaby on the way!”
“I granted you one favor,” Grim said in its deep, grating voice. “Most souls don’t get any. Don’t push your luck.”
Then they departed for the Netherworld together.
Vickie knew she should be grateful for the extra time she had with her mother, but it wasn’t enough. No time could ever be enough.
Not a lot of commentary here. There’s going to be baby and toddler spam for a while.
Joyelle was the original mermaid generated for the dive lots I created on this world. Since she was going to be donating genes to the legacy, though, I gave her a new face.