Friday, 27 December 2013

Baby 83 Part 1: I Still Got It... Whatever IT is....

Okay, just before we begin. There's been some ageing up which isn't mentioned in the post for story reasons, and so here's a picture so we're all up to speed. Calinda has moved out now, since she's a young adult now. This post also contains a little NSFW content. Nothing too severe  but I'm warning you all anyway.
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"I cannot freaking believe you. Why in the name of all that is holy would you ask me to do that? God, I thought you had some sense."
"Oh, terribly sorry, how dare I do my cousin a favour. I'm asking you to show up and be civil, not marry her yourself and make friends again. Please Skye, for me."
I stare into Paisley's eyes, which are glittering in the low light of the evening lamps. She seems genuine, not that she ever doesn't, and that hurts me. Why can't she just understand how hard this is for me? "Would you want to go to Jack's wedding, or James'? I know this is important to you, it's just... hard. I need some time to think about it, okay?" I murmur, as I stand up from the couch in my bedroom and storm out.
I pass Natasha and Natalia who are sat on one of the couches in the lounge and call "You're babysitting your siblings tonight. I'm going out." The two don't seem particularly bothered by this, and simply continue to flick through the various channels available to them. I grab one of the sets of keys hanging from the hooks by the door and stomp into the garage.
I click the button, not entirely sure which keys I grabbed, and am only a little surprised to see that they're the keys for the Impala, which is a replica of the one from Supernatural and Electra is more than a little jealous of. I had been using the car to teach the kids to drive, with some success for once. I walk to the car and open the door, sliding in through the small gap created. The garage doors are already open, so I rev the engine and am quickly on my way.

I glance down at my outfit and realise with a start just how un-suitable for my intentions it is. At the next nearest boutique-looking store I pull into the car park with a screech of my tires. I suspect that my anger is making me drive so recklessly but throw the car into park and slam the door shut behind me. The small sign above the dooreads Madame Mimi's Evenglory Boutique. The outside is a mixture of pink and green pastels and I find myself almost transfixed as I stare at the brickwork. 

I stride purposefully into the store and find myself greeted by a short, white-haired fairy woman. She smiles, saying, "Hello. And welcome to Madame Mimi's Evenglory Boutique, how may we help- M-Miss Everard? Amy, it's Skye Everard!" Normally I would have been happy to meet one of my fans, but today I am too annoyed to even consider being a nice person. 
"Look, I really don't need some kid fawning over me. I'm in a real hurry and I need you to hook me up with something hot to wear. So run along and find me something short, black and strappy." The girl manning the counter looks momentarily horrified, but puts on a mask of indifference before scuttling off into a back room. I try to tell myself that I cannot see the tears in her eyes at my cruel treatment, but I know I can and find myself  not caring regardless. When the girl returns another is following her, and they each carry part of an outfit. One directs me into a changing room and the other places down a dress, before going and sitting on a love-seat just outside.
The dress is just as I requested, small, black and laces up at the back. I smile at the thought of how much of my skin will be on show tonight, and don the outfit. As I step out of the changing room the second girl, Amy directs me over to a section of mirrors where I can see the full effect of my new outfit. In addition to the clothes, I completely change my hair and makeup. Even in my newfound state of diva-hood I appreciate the wonderful jobs the two have done, with the contacts that they managed to scrape up from somewhere I look like a completely different person.
"Great job ladies." I toss them a few of the notes from the wallet in the jacket of my old clothes and walk out. "Be a dear and look after those, would you?" I saunter out of the store and back to my car, where I set off looking for the busiest bar in town.
I've never really drunk anywhere in this town and so I'm not entirely sure where I'm supposed to be going, but thankfully it's only a few minutes down the road that I find a small dance club. I park up in one of the few remaining spaces and head into the bustling main room. Inside, there is a long bar and a flight of stairs, at the end of which I can hear music. I approach the bar where a brown haired man is draped over a stool and leaning on the bar top. I slide in next to him and gesture to the bartender to give us another of whatever he has been drinking and she seems more than happy to comply.
"So. What are you in for?" I ask him in my most sultry tone of voice, leaning over to give him a better view of my dress.Or lack thereof. He chuckles dryly, "Well look at that. She's got a sense of humour too. I was just lookin' for a friend in this little town o' yours. And does the lady have a name?" he replies in a strong southern accent.
"I a Ezekiel, but my friends call me Zeke, and you are mostly definitely a friend, freckles."
"Hi there Zeke. Call me... Faith." I shoot him a smile before glancing upstairs. I'm almost certain that on the second floor there's going to be a little more room for us to move around, and the source of the music is there so I figure it's a good bet. Zeke follows my gaze and smiles slyly. He takes my hand and follows me up the stairs to the small dance floor we find.
It is deserted except for the CD player we find plugged into the wall and an unmanned DJ booth. I resist the temptation to go and take a shot at it, but only because I feel Zeke's eager kiss trailing a way along my neck and across my collar bone. It is going to leave a tell-tale pattern of marks across my chest and neck but my inhibitions are loosened from the drinks we have shared and the excitement of the moment. His hands trail lower and begin to undo the fastenings of my dress.
I pause for a moment, 'Right here, on the club dance floor?' I think for a second, but Zeke's tongue performs a truly wicked move and I find myself again not caring about anything other than my own pleasure. By this time he has me pressed against the floor with his hands wrapped around me and I am more than a little distracted. The two of us are 'entwined in the throes of passion' as most romance novels phrase it these days when the manager rises up the stairs and yells at us to get out.
 We barely bother to clothe ourselves as we run quickly out of the club and into my car. We dive onto the back-seat and finish what we started. It's a marvelous experience, and one which takes me right back to my youth. Zeke lays a hand on my thigh. "We should go have fun." he tells me and I allow myself to be dragged along for the ride.
He stops off at a liquor store and grabs a few bottles while I wait in my underwear in the car, then we drive off and end up at the beach. We stay there for hours as we drink ourselves silly and get to know one another intimately. Then we return to my home where we fall into my bed and spend our time split between napping between our bouts of activity. And not once during those hours of drink-induced blurs does it occur to me that we have not used protection. 
 I wake the next morning unclothed and alone. There is a note on the pillow beside me and it reads,
Hey Freckles.
I had a great time; you sure got some stamina don’t you? My no. is on the back, call me if you’re ever lonely again.
-Zeke
But before I can get much farther into my day I am struck with a wave of nausea which sends me barreling to the bathroom. Quickly I dismiss it as the aftereffects of last night, since I've not drunk so much since my last night out with Hadley, over a year ago now. That's not the only way I'm feeling the aftereffects either, under the low buzz of pleasure which remains is the aching of every single muscle. Ugh. Right now I could really go for an hour or two in the sauna. 
I glance at the clock and realise with a start that it is four in the afternoon. I was lucky that Willow had been picked up by Loki and his daughter for a playdate at their house (most likely he just wanted a baby to look after again) because otherwise I would have been screwed. I have no idea what time Zeke eft, but I'm hoping that it was AFTER the kids left for school. As I lean my head against the bedroom door I hear the telltale moan of the engine of the school bus. Everyone is home now and I'm naked. Great job. I run into my bathroom and grab some of my clothes from the hamper, only to have to turn around and vomit again.

I leave the bathroom after brushing my teeth and head out to meet my kids. They jump up and nown excited for their upcoming birthday party. I had promised them that they could move out tonight and I was not about to go back on my word.

Castiel grows up into a reserved and quiet music lover. He's gotten a job as a librarian but is working on opening his own music/book hybrid store. He has most of his father's facial features but a lot of my personality and worldview. Cas also has an unnatural love of cats and took Lilith with him when he left home. 
 Gabriel is a very talented photographer, but his true passion lies in swimming, so he has decided to become a lifeguard. He still gets up to his old pranks but they're calming down a little thanks to the influence of his new fiancee Katie and his two bothers. 
Natalia is very quiet until you get to know her, but only because she is deciding whether to trust you or not. She reminds me a lot of her mother and I am hoping that she will excel at whatever branch of SHIELD she becomes involved in. 
Natasha is the opposite of her sister. Though the two share a childlike mischievousness Natasha is far more looks orientated and rarely does anything which could damage her perfectly styled hair. 
Cael is the most easy-going of all my children at present, and he wants to be a dog breeder once he leaves. I have given him a little money to start him off and he's already bought a small plot of land. 
Willow has missed out on another of the birthday celebrations because I have not yet taught her any of her skills and so we are going to spend time just us two together until the next baby arrives after I get pregnant. Those plans are delayed by the late hour, so I take my time in putting Willow to bed and then take a quick soak in the sauna before heading to bed.  I wake up a few times in the night to throw up and slowly come to realise that maybe I'm not just hung over after all. These suspicions are confirmed later that night when I feel the stirrings of a small child in my abdomen.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Baby 82 Part 2: Tell Me What You Want Me To Say

A/N: I’m going to jump right in with this, as I remember leaving you with a rather nasty cliff-hanger. Or rather, you had no idea it was a cliff-hanger, but it was.

Skye’s POV

 

Despite the relatively early hour it was sweltering, and I could have turned on the air-con, but that would have been more work, and there’s all that climate change stuff; so I head inside to grab a sunhat, but find myself distracted.

I am momentarily paralyzed when I feel the first pains of labour. “Mama, why you stop?” asks Gabriel. “Sorry kiddo. Momma just forgot something. You guys go  on back outside, and I’m going to go get it.” I reply, quietly. Gabriel and his siblings all run off outside, seeming happy to be roaming free. My thoughts are already spinning at a mile a minute, trying to come up with a solution for the current problem. Screenshot-36 Unfortunately, before that can happen I am struck by further pains. “STEVE.” I yell, though gritted teeth. “Look after your… siblings, and get Paisley. I need to go to ….aargh hospital.” He replies something, but I don’t hear or care what, and then Steve and  Paisley are steering me towards the back of her station wagon. Someone had the foresight to grab me and Paisley a short and comfortable dress to put on over our swimsuits, and I feel a lot more comfortable once Paisley has slipped it over my head. I lean back in her arms, and allow her to hold my hand as we walk into the hospital. Screenshot-42

A LITTLE LATER

I grip Paisley’s arm tight when I feel the stab of another contraction. They’re now about five minutes apart, in quite possibly my most painful labour to date. I assume Paisley is trying to take my mind off things when she asks me, “So how much of what Jesse said did you hear?” I gawk at her for a second.

“Now, you’re doing this now?” I grumble, but find myself filling the space with an answer anyway. “Absolutely nothingI reply, my brow furrowing in a mixture of pain and confusion at the question. A nurse walks into the room, clipboard in hand. “Ms. Everard. We’ve found a bed in the maternity ward for you; it’s time to deliver this baby.”

A LITTLE BIT MORE LATER

I cradle the new baby in my arms as Paisley stands anxiously outside the room. I wave to them in a gesture to come in, and show them the new baby girl. “Meet Willow Everard.” They both coo over the baby and then start to leave. I’d just finished changing and packing my things before we left, and though the initial pains of labour had been great, I was now feeling nothing but a pleasant numbness. Of course, that may have something to do with all the pain gas they pumped me full of, but for now I don’t care. Screenshot-43 ELECTRA’S POINT OF VIEW

Paisley had called me in to help Steve look after Skye’s kids while she went to the hospital. Being the only challenge mother outside of Paisley that Skye still reliably contacted, I’d found it prudent to install myself one of those handy-dandy new teleportation pads in the basement of my home. This way, I could zap over whenever I was needed in sunny Hawaii.

This did, of course, also mean I was easily accessible for slave labour. I didn’t mind too much today, as Arthur was taking my kids out fishing. Fishing, of all things. But it meant I was free, and I was always willing to help out a fellow Englishman. Or woman.

So here I was, sat on a couch watching Skye’s copy of Phantom of the Opera. Only because it was the DVD in the player, and I was too lazy to go change it. Thankfully it was nearly over, and that meant I’d be forced to change it over, and I could see her growing stack of Supernatural DVDs on the corner of the TV table. There are sleeping children lying all around me in various states of undress. Screenshot-40That sounded better in my head. Gabriel and Cael, who I sensed were the trouble makers of the group, had been convinced by Natasha and Natalia to get out the paint pots, resulting in the paintification of all Skye’s toddlers. And I was NOT bathing them. So I’d removed the painty clothes and sat them all in front of the TV until I found something for them to watch. Thankfully, by the end of Music of the Night, they’d all conked out.

Calinda creeps into the room, stepping over children. “Aunt Electra, where to babies come from?” she asks me. “I figure it must be some place cool, or Mom would stop popping ‘em out, right?” I turn a really un-sexy shade of red. Screenshot-35 “Ask your mother.” I croak, voice hoarse. I fake a cough. “So how about some juice?” I say, standing up and walking the short distance to the kitchen. Well short for me because I vault the half wall separating the two rooms. Calinda has to walk all the way around because she’s a midget.

The sound of voices in the garden perks me right up. There’s only two people I know of who can sound so very annoying, and one of them lives in this house. The other is currently fishing with my children. Skye must be home with a new youngling for me to torture. Screenshot-38 She makes her way through the door, every movement an effort. “Hey Electra.” She yawns, evidently tired from pushing a creature the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of… not a watermelon. “There’s a kid somewhere if you wanna see it. Maybe Paisley has it; I’m going for a nap.” Screenshot-44 And just like that, she leaves me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had chance to tell her about the children in the lounge, and soon she is back to stare at me. “Why are my children passed out in the lounge in various stages of undress?”

“They got covered in paint.” I explain. Skye nods, heading back into the lounge.

“WAKE UP MY LITTLE JELLYBEANS OF JOY. TIME TO GROW UP.” I hear her yell. I don’t question her out loud, but all I can think of is Jellybeans of joy. “What about your nap?” I ask her. She shrugs.

“It can wait.” Now I know something is up, and I make my mind up not to leave until I’m 100% sure of what it is. Skye loves to nap, almost as much as I love tea, and she loves pie. (Which is a lot.)

SKYE’S POV

As I walk into the lounge and see my children in various stages of undress, I am reminded of why I had planned this whole swimming thing in the first places. It is Natasha and Natalia’s birthday, and it is only common decency that makes me decide to have their birthdays despite the trauma and physical exhaustion. I’m totally not avoiding sleep. Okay, I’m avoiding sleep, but my nightmares have been growing more and more common, making sleeping at all a hazard. I wake up Natasha and Natalia then make a snap decision to make it an entire family birthday. Electra stares at me in shock, which I guess is reasonable, before going to get Steve. During the five minutes this takes,Paisley still hasn’t come inside, so I try to avoid looking out of the windows to spy on her. The look on Electra’s face tells me that she’s not going to leave any time soon; she just can’t stop meddling in my affairs. Screenshot-45 The birthdays pass quickly, and then Steve has to go. I’m sad to see him leave, but I have very little choice. He’s been promised to SHIELD and I need the room.Screenshot-77 Calinda experiences the biggest change, she very quickly finds the make-up stored throughout the house and suddenly she has a new love. I’m expecting that she’ll be very popular when she goes back to school on Monday.Screenshot-46 Natasha and Natalia keep their mischievous streak, and the only difference now is that they’re better at putting it into practise. They’ve also asked me to sign them up for ballet and gymnastics club, something very few of my children do.   Screenshot-57 Gabriel is very similar to his older sisters, but he also likes to play chess, something I hope he will pursue in the future. Similarly, Cas and Cael both like singing, but Cas prefers to do it without an audience. He’s very shy and withdrawn. Screenshot-47Obviously there’s also Willow. I’m very excited to see that she has small fairy wings, and I’m looking forwards to finding out if she’s a werewolf as well.

 

After the birthdays, which Paisley joined us to celebrate; there is another knock at the door. Electra answers it with me, and she almost closes the door on the face of the young girl stood wringing her palms by my door. “Hi! Is this where Skye lives? I’ve come to collect my kittens.”Screenshot I lead George into the house, where we are conveniently almost run over by a couple of kittens playing. The ones we have temporarily named after Supernatural’s demons Azazel and Ruby are playing, while Lilith is lying quietly in her kitty bed. She is immediately taken by Ruby and Azazel, and I know that those are the two she will be taking home. Screenshot-48 George ends up picking those two, and after  tearful goodbye on behalf of the whole family, Ruby and Azazel leave. Screenshot-58 After that, everyone goes to bed, Luci and the rest of the remaining cats curled together, I guess they were feeling the loss of their siblings a lot more than we were. I lie in bed, fast asleep.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Baby 82 Part 1- Remind me again why I try to relax

AN: Skye used to have a dog, if anyone remembers Slender. But I was just in game now and she seems to have vanished, so if we can all just pretend Slender never happened, that would be brilliant. Also, ignore the sudden change of appearance of a few sims, I recently had to completely revamp my CC collection, and a lot of it vanished. 
Much obliged, The Writer.
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Edward and Stark grow up into a real pair of heartbreakers.  Stark always has to have perfect hair otherwise it’s cause for a major trauma, despite getting his father’s good looks.
It turns out that little Steve was right, and the night before prom Edward paid a visit to his girlfriend, only to have the captain of the baseball team answer the door. In his underwear.
Steve also ages up. He is still a real gentleman, something sorely missed in my house these days, which is probably how he attracted himself such a lovely best friend. Her name is Persimmon, and she’s a sweetheart who is really shy, but really close to Steve. Steve himself has developed an unusual obsession with bugs and other such small animals. I’ll often walk into the garden to see him playing around with a new bug, or he’ll come and find me, cradling a chipmunk to his chest that we absolutely have to keep.
I don’t age up the toddlers, which may prove to be a stupid decision with 5 toddlers in the house, but I just hope that I can cope.
Later that day, I’m lying on my bed when I’m struck with the sudden realization that I have less than twenty babies to go until I’m finished with my challenge. I knew that baby 100 wouldn’t be here for a while, but the thought of laying that last child into his or her crib got me thinking about what I could do after the challenge. I had to real employable skills, nothing to make me noteworthy. I could sculpt, I supposed, but there wasn't likely to be much business in that.
I am ripped from my daydreams by a knocking on my bedroom door. “Momma!” shouts Calinda. “There’s a man here. He says he’s my brother.” I frown for a second, wondering who it could be. I mean, out of 81 children, very few ever come to visit me. “Momma. They’re multiplying. THESE PEOPLE ARE LIKE TRIBBLES! THERE’S MORE OF THEM! AAAAHHHH” she continues, trailing off into a scream as she no doubt runs off into another room.
I stand up from my bed and am pleasantly surprised to see not just Jesse, but Loki as well. Behind them are stood two girls, one, a teenager with dark hair and violet eyes similar to mine, the other a red-head. I hug my two sons tightly and they both laugh. “Jesse! Loki, what are you doing here?” I ask, grinning.

“Well Jesse here moved to town a couple of weeks ago, about the same time you did, and I flew in some time last week. I would have visited sooner, but I have been unpacking and trying to get Laurie settled in.” replies Loki. I figure that the teen must be Laurie, since the redhead has no real connection to Loki. “Yeah. And I've been working up the courage to come and tell you something Mom. This is Georgia Mason, soon to be Everard. We’re engaged.” He grins. I resist the urge to cheer because I can sense he has something more to tell me. When he notices this, he sighs, and Georgia shoves him to the side and says, “I’m pregnant.”
This time I do cheer, and I swing my arms wide. My son hugs me again and his fiancĂ©e laughs melodiously. “Well it seems we have a lot to talk about, doesn’t it. Do you guys want a drink, tea, coffee, water, anything at all?”
“Tea would be lovely Mother.” Says Loki, and Laurie looks up, adding quietly,
“Do you have any orange juice?” I nod enthusiastically, and look at Jesse and Georgia.
“Coffee for us, thanks.” Responds Georgia, and I set off out to make the drinks.

We talk for a long time and I learn a LOT about my favourite children’s new families. Laurie is Loki’s adopted daughter and she’s very shy around strangers because she has a couple of social disorders and suffers from anxiety as well. To top it all off, Jesse asks me to be Georgia and his wedding planner. I tell him that I would be honoured, and just to call me when they want anything doing.

Soon though, they have to leave and I decide that it is time for me to get into my pregnancy mindset. This time I tied to choose somebody with really unique genetics; and so I decided upon a man called Thurman Fuller. To make it even more interesting, I found out that he is a werewolf and fairy cross breed (though his fairy gene didn't present), so there is a chance that my children could get any of those traits.
I sit back down on the couch with a smile on my face, happy that even though my kids have left me, I still get thought of. Steve and Calinda, however, don’t seem to be thinking very much because they walk up silently behind me. “Hi mom.” Says Steve, and I jump a mile into the air.
“Hi guys.”  I respond with a smile after I slow my racing heart a little. “What’s up?” Steve shrugs in response. “Nothing much. Gabe and Cael just got fed, and we were hoping you’d come and play some basketball with us.”
“Sure I will, but I must warn you that I was dunk champion at my elementary school three years running.” I joke. Calinda laughs and runs off to the nursery to grab her youngest brother. I follow closely behind her and pick up Gabriel and Cas then go and change into some less pristine clothes. We take them out if the house and round the back to where the basketball court is.
I set down the boys and prepare to have the crap beaten out of me. The kids pick up the ball and start running. Surprisingly I do quite well at playing them, though my decision to throw the game against myself is a good one. The work leaves me sweaty and quite tired, and I’m rather looking forward to my shower.
It is just my luck that as I step out of the shower and am drying off, I notice the slight swell of my baby bump, and feel the first kicks of the new life. I put on a pair of old sweat pants and a shirt that Paisley gave me one Christmas as a joke and then check my emails. I want to check if anyone has replied to the ad I posted in the newspaper about Isis’ kittens. Since there’s no way we can keep them all, I've elected to adopt out the three we aren't keeping. To my surprise we’d gotten a reply almost instantly, and apparently there was someone interested in a kitten.
Hello there Ms. Everard.
I travel around a lot for my LARP (Live Action Role-Play)-ing as various fictional characters and often find myself alone. One of your kittens sounds perfect; I’d love one to keep me company.
Do you have any of them left?
-George H.

Quickly I write out a reply.
Hey George.
I’d be delighted to give you a kitten, you can swing by and pick one out. Does 9PM tomorrow suit you okay?

-Skye Everard.
There is a reply to the affirmative a few minutes later, and so I make a mental note to collect up the kittens before then. They have a habit of getting into everything, but they’re relatively easy to find.

I consider taking a nap for a minute, but I make the decision to go and spend time with the kids. I walk into the nursery and pick up Natasha. “Hey baby girl.” I say. Natasha scowls at me. “I’m not a baby momma.” I giggle at her seriousness and carry her across the room to the small changing table I have. “Are you ready for a bath?” I ask, and she smiles happily.
“Baff! Baff!” she grins and I don’t have the heart to correct her. Instead I just run the water and place her in the small tub.
She splashes around happily for a little while as I clean her off, but then the approaching night and the warmth of both the water and the night lull her into a tired state. I take her out and change her into some pyjamas. “Where are your siblings?” I ask my daughter, not really expecting her to reply. “Uh… Steve!” she tells me, and I nod. I place her into her bed where she quickly falls asleep with her favourite bear.
Once I’m sure that Natasha isn't about to wake up I leave the room and head towards Steve’s. If what Tasha told me is right, then that’s where they’ll be. And sure enough they are. Cael and Gabriel, who are normally the ones getting into trouble, are sitting quietly on the floor playing with their toys. Steve is sat with Cassie on his stomach playing a game of peek-a-boo, and Natalia and Calinda are asleep on the bed opposite. It’s probably the single most adorable thing I've ever seen.
Steve sees me and waves, causing Cas to turn quickly and grin at me. “Mommy!” he smiles and gets off Steve to come running up to me. The noise wakes up Natalia, and so she gets down and toddles groggily over to me. “Is it bed time?” she asks, rubbing her eyes.
“Yep. Bed time for all of you.” I reply. Cas smiles, but Gabriel glares at me for a minute, then decides he actually is quite tired and begins to walk to me on the other side of the room. Cael follows him, and reaches me first, thanks to a little fall-down for Gabe on the way here.
“Ouchies.” He says, rubbing at his knee. Steve is there in a flash to pick up his little brother and hold him close. “Hey little man, are you okay?” he asks quietly. Gabriel nods and snuggles into his brother’s shoulder. “Tired now Steve. You take me to bed?” Steve nods and carries his brother into the lounge. “Do you want me to leave Calinda there?” asks Steve. I nod in reply. “Let the poor mite sleep. She’s had a busy day.”
The rest of my children follow me quite happily to the nursery, in a rare turn of events, and I manage to get them all settled quite quickly. With all the children asleep I take a second to lean on the doorframe and smile happily.

I walk into my bedroom and lie on my bed, making plans for the next day. It’s a weekend, so I have everybody to think about. Then I realise that while I’ve taught all the kids their basic skills, it’s very reasonable that I teach them to swim. I lie down to sleep, making plans to leave relatively early the next day.

It’s around half four in the morning when I wake up in a cold sweat. The nightmares I had avoided so far had returned, and in force. I’m tempted to call Paisley, but eventually decide not to, since it’s four AM, and she’s been having a lot of trouble lately with her toddlers not sleeping.  Instead I force myself to remember what happened in the dream.

It is dark. That’s the first thing I notice. So dark that I can’t see anything beyond my hand, which I assume is stretched out in front of me. But it’s not stretched far, because as I press it forward I come into contact with something solid. It feels like wood, though not quite. It’s colder somehow, like somebody had locked it in a freezer for a couple of days.
It’s becoming harder to breathe, and I can feel the walls of the small wooden box closing in on me. I swear I’m going crazy because I can hear a voice. It’s shouting my name and I feel myself being drawn towards it, but as I move forwards the air runs out and I begin to gasp for air.  
The memory of the dream is almost as scary as the dream itself and so I decide to stop where I am.
Consequently, I stand up from my bed and step into some slippers. I can hear the quiet breathing of most of the toddlers, but the quiet sounds of Cael's whimpering are surprisingly loud. When I reach his cot, one room over from mine I am not surprised to see him twitching about a little bit and frowning in his sleep. I pick him up and whisper quietly n his ear. "Shush little one. It's going to be all right."
His whimpering stops, but he wakes from the light sleep he was in. "Mama." he murmurs, "I had a bad dream." I cuddle him close and rock up and down. "I know sweetie. I heard you so I came to chase the monsters away."
This entire conversation has been conducted in whispers, but I am wary of waking his siblings. "Momma's gonna go back to bed now. See you in th morning chicken." Cael grips tightly to my hair and shirt in response. "Mama no go. The monsters will come back." he says. I giggle a little, but don't put him down. "Okay Cael. How about you come and sleep in Mommy's room?"
Cael nods excitedly, and so I carry him back to my room. I lie on the couch and cradle him in my arms. Soon enough he has fallen into the quietly restful slumber which is unique to children. It is clear by now that I'm not going to get back to sleep, since the fear of returning to the dream is still with me. I would normally have recovered by now, but this one felt so real as to be terrifying.
With that in mind I stand up, leaving my son to nap, switch on the TV in the corner to provide a little light, and then I pick up a book from my shelf. While it doesn't do my eyes any good, there is something calming in the predictable plots of my favourite classic novel, The Phantom of the Opera. I am almost half of the way through when the purple light of dawn bounces from the horizon and hits the low black screen of my laptop. I stand up, check Cael and his siblings are all okay, and then make my way into the bathroom for another shower.
While in there I find myself thinking about just how often I shower, and what I could do in the time I spend here, but eventually I turn off the water, my mind at rest. I leave the bathroom and grab some clothes from my dresser. Today I go for a simple top and shorts combination, because the day is already warm and I'm not looking forward to the intense heat. I slide my feet into a pair of flip-flops and patter my way into the kitchen where I begin making the breakfast. Today's is French toast, and out of nowhere I find myself crying onto the pan.
"Mom?" yawns Calinda, as I dab at my eyes with a tissue. "Are you alright Mom?" I nod quietly.
"Yeah. It's just the baby throwing all my hormones out of whack. The toast reminded me of Ellie." I say, though it isn't entirely true. The baby is throwing my hormones out of whack, but the more likely culprit is that I'm so tired. The sleepier I get the more emotionally unstable I am. It's a flaw, but I live with it. And the toast did remind me of Ellie. She'd given me the recipe before she left, and now it made me sad every time I tried to make any. But I coped with the pain because it was one HELL of a delicious breakfast.
I also made sure to make a few sandwiches. Later that day I had planned to take everyone to the beach, though that was not a good plan, and so I changed my mind and we were going to stay in the pool. Inevitably, I decide to invite Jesse and Paisley to hand out with us, because I like having my son and girlfriend together with me, it makes for a nice environment.

The kids jump out of bed as soon as they hear that we’ll be swimming that day, and Calinda and Steve are the first out.  Almost at the same time they leap into the pool, one using the pool side and the other the diving board. Thankfully, they’re quiet enough that their younger siblings manage to stay asleep, so I carry out a baby monitor and prepare to relax.
I lay myself down on a pool float and look up at the sun through the tree branches, waiting for Paisley to arrive. When she does, the first thing she does is lie down on a towel and start to soak up some sunlight. Apparently her kids are all young adults right now, a rare occurrence indeed, and she is taking the chance to not be pregnant for a while.
“Hello?” asks a voice. I sit up and look towards it, seeing my son Jesse standing on the edge of the pool. Attached to his leg is at least one of my children, and closely behind are the rest. It seems they have escaped their cribs once again, and have been hiding from me. “Jesse!” I grin, swimming over to him.

I stand up and hug my son lightly, not bothering to stop getting him wet, since he’s about to be getting in a pool. “Hey. Let me remove those.” I joke, pointing at Cael and Cassie. “I’m off to change their clothes. Don’t blow up the pool.”  That being said, I set off into the house, already planning what my children will have to wear.

Paisley’s POV
I stare at the back of my retreating girlfriend with a sigh. Silently I turn to face Jesse, frowning. “WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY ARE YOU DOING HERE?” I yell. Steve and Calinda are busy having a breath holding contest, so don’t appear to hear me. Jesse takes a step back but is otherwise undeterred by my words. “I was invited here. By my mother.” He replies frostily. “What, and you just- just decided to ignore the fact that I was gonna be here?”
“As a matter of fact, not that I see why I should tell you anyway, I had no idea you were gonna be here. Mom neglected to mention it.” He sighs, spinning around and rubbing his hair. “Look. What happened between us was a mistake. I shouldn't have done what I did, and certainly not when I knew you were with my mother. I don’t suspect Georgia would be too pleased about it either. So yes. Be pissy at me because I kissed you, but DON’T NEGLECT TO MENTION THAT YOU KISSED BACK.” He roars. I turn away from him and ignore his presence near the pool.
It’s probably not the most mature thing to do, but I find a great sense of satisfaction in doing so.



AN: And, just for kicks, have this image to make your life better.