Learning to ride was filled with embarrassing moments. Fortunately Neptune was the only one to witness most of them, and he kept his secrets.
Even though Jonah knew next to nothing about horses when he adopted Neptune, he was devoted from the start. Neptune basked in Jonah’s awkward but earnest attention, and in return he treated Jonah gently.
Soon, Jonah was riding with confidence, albeit slowly.
His first winter on land was also an awkward adjustment. The cold did not hit as hard in the open sea. When the beach was covered in inches of snow, Jonah’s regular swims in the sea just weren’t practical.
A merman isn’t intended to be away from the sea for very long. After a while, his skin felt dry and chafed, and he was dragged down by fatigue.
Frustrated, he tried to satisfy himself with tap water in a tiny landwalker bathtub.
It wasn’t awful. It would get old after a while, but it was only for the coldest part of winter.
What he lost in space to swim, he gained in temperature control. Soaking in hot water turned out to be a lot more fun than he’d expected.
They boys were active and cute and exhausting. They only stopped moving when they were asleep.
This pregnancy seemed much more awkward and uncomfortable than the last two, even with Jonah’s constant attention.
To occupy her mind as she got bigger and more immobile, Vickie experimented with some kelp and fish recipes that were more appropriate to Jonah’s palate.
Jonah loved seaweed salad and miso soup, but Vickie didn’t enjoy the cooking nearly as much as she’d hoped. If he wanted more, he’d have to learn to cook himself.
[Read: Vickie’s cooking ability got glitched. She was doing each animation in the cooking process about a dozen times each, and it would take her most of a day to finish cooking something. I have no idea, but it doesn’t affect anybody else, so that’s the end of her cooking hobby.]
With a lot of the performances spaces outdoors, Winston had fewer gigs. He spent the extra time trying out winter sports with Emilie.
She had one heck of a throwing arm.
They challenged each other to try out snowboarding.
Winston’s performance was less than stellar.
Jonah was able to cajole Vickie outside for some more modest winter fun.
He never let her forget how lovely and desirable he found her.
Vickie appreciated Jonah in more ways than one. There was no question she’d landed an attractive partner. But even physical contact was starting to feel gross. She was ready for this baby to come out.
Then at last labor hit.
Jonah proudly drove her to the hospital this time.
Winston looked after the boys while they were gone. Caspian and Jordan were having their last night in the nursery. They would shortly be moving into a new room with bigger boy beds.
Labor was long and exhausting, and by the end it was no surprise that there were two! Victoria had twins — Ross (front) and Serena (rear).
“This is it,” Victoria said as she laid little Ross in the crib that used to be Caspian’s. “Assuming nothing weird happens… this is the endpin to our family.”
“Four kids is a good family,” Jonah said, gazing tenderly into Serena’s sleeping face.
Then they fell into bed to get what sleep they could before the first kid woke up.