Sawyer spent so most of his time in a world of his own that Sky couldn’t help but worry about him. She spent her life in the public eye, and as he grew older, he would have to deal with her growing fame even if he didn’t want it himself. Also, deep down inside, she couldn’t quite believe that he would want to spend so much time alone if he could see how wonderful it was to spend time with other people
That’s how she talked the family into throwing a huge party for Sawyer’s birthday.
The guest list was too big for the Sample estate, so they decided to close the Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy for the day. The family still owned the academy, though Charles named other masters to take over the responsibility of his martial art.
First to arrive was Xia’s older brother, Jian Wu.
With him was his new wife, Dragonwife, who he wanted to introduce to his family and in-laws.
Also among the guests was Raquel Mentary-Sword, who was now one of the academy’s Sim Fu masters.
Xia did the honors and brought the birthday boy to the party.
He then found a quiet corner and threw a fit if anyone tried to make him come out and talk to people.
At least he had his cow toy that his great grandmother Zahra had made for Charles a long time ago. He liked the bolts and screws on it.
Hunter showed up needing a shower. Again.
“What’s with this?” Xia demanded. “I didn’t think gardening involved so much self-immolation.”
Hunter blushed, but he wouldn’t tell her what the problem was.
Xia and Dragonwife really hit it off.
They spent a lot of time talking about Jian behind his back. Especially his rocky relationship with his baby mama, Brenna Ursine-Sample.
The party was a big success.
Everyone had a great time.
Even Sawyer, provided nobody asked him to join in. Trying to pull him into the noise and the crowd made him very upset, but he kept himself happy if everyone left him alone.
The afternoon wore on.
And someone else showed up.
Sky was spending so much time with Sawyer, trying to encourage him to have fun, that it was quite a while before she noticed someone looking at her.
“L-Leah!” Sky stammered.
“I got your invitation,” she said.
“Thank you for coming. Um– you’re just in time for cake!”
She gathered Sawyer into her arms and hurried upstairs to escape.
While the rest of the family was enjoying the cake,
Sky pulled Hunter outside to pour out her soul. “Everything I try to say to her her is wrong! What do I do?
Hunter thought about it for a while. “Have you tried not talking at all? Just listening?”
“Of course I–!” Sky began. Then, more quietly, “Maybe I’ll try that.”
After she made sure everyone had a slice of cake, Sky took a deep breath and headed downstairs to face the music.
Dragonwife was trying to start a fight with Hunter, though Hunter hadn’t noticed yet.
Leah was trying not to pay too much attention to her brother Raen macking on his husband, Mitchell Bachelor Mai.
“Um, hi,” Sky said. “We always invite you, but I didn’t expect you to come.”
“Yeah, I know I surprised you,” Leah said. “I think we should talk.”
“I– I can listen,” Sky said, knowing she probably wasn’t going to like what she heard. “Is here the right place? Should we go someplace more private.”
Leah shrugged. “I don’t think it matters where I say it.”
“You and I had something amazing,” Leah said. “You threw it all away. I don’t think I can ever forgive you for that.”
Sky gulped. “I know,” she said.
Leah nodded to Xia, who was dancing unconvincingly with Jian, watching Sky intently over his shoulder. “I guess it helps to know that you destroyed our marriage for more than just a one night fling. At least she was someone important. I hope she’s making you happy.”
Sky opened her mouth to protest that she and Xia weren’t really an item. Then she closed it. That was unfair, and untrue. She’d been with Xia now almost as long as she’d been with Leah. And yes, she was happy, but there are times when agreeing with someone is the wrong thing to do. She just nodded.
Leah dropped her eyes. “This didn’t go the way I was planning. I guess I still have issues. What I wanted to say is that I want to bury the hatchet. We can’t get out of each other’s lives. Dylan’s too important. If we can’t be friends, I’d at least like to try to not be enemies.”
Sky’s eyes filled with tears. For a split second, she had to fight the impulse to take Leah in her arms. “Yeah,” she said. “We really did have something amazing. Please let’s not fight anymore.”
They settled for an exchange of tear-filled smiles, and Leah promised to come the next time Sky invited her to something. She was a bit more vague about inviting Sky to Marmalade events. Sky wasn’t sure, but she thought there was an issue with Plum. Maybe Plum wasn’t ready to be so forgiving to Xia.
Sky waved goodbye to Leah as she left, and Xia almost pounced her. “You look like you’re all in once piece,” she said. “What happened?”
Sky smiled weakly. “I think we’re both trying to grow up a little bit,” she said.
Xia laughed. “Who wants to grow up? Now is the time to party!” She grabbed Sky and started to bust a move.
It helped. Xia knew how to make Sky relax.
Meanwhile, Eliana found Sawyer dancing alone in an empty practice room. “Hey there,” she said kindly. “Would you like some company?”
Sawyer tossed his curls and glared at her. “I came out here so I could have less company,” he said. “Why does everyone always tell me I should be lonely? What’s wrong with you normals?”
Eliana blanched. “Sorry!” she said. “I’ll just be on my way.”
So the last toddler is done. This is where Sawyer picked up Socially Awkward to go with his amazing combination of Loser and Diva. I didn’t realize until he aged up into a teen this week, but Loser is incompatible with Brave, so he can’t have the family trait. I have mixed feelings about this. It seems like being a Loser would require you to be MORE Brave just to get through the day. Or at least that’s how I intend to play it :-p.
Trying to keep this on the fast track, but man am I wordy.