“Are you sure you’ll be okay? Parenting is much harder than you ever think it’s gonna be. I know when I was first starting out I had to pretend to be a famous painter on the internet just so I could make enough money to survive.” Mum says as we stand on my doorstep.
“Yes Mum. You and Aunt Paisley paid for the down payment on this place, and with my garden, my photography and everything else I have going on I think I’ll be alright for money. I’ll phone if I need you, yeah?” I reply, keeping up a brave face for my mum. Every so often I notice her lip quivering, and Paisley will take her hand or loop an arm around her shoulders. She nods, and wraps me in a hug.
I step back awkwardly and rub a hand on my arm. This isn’t the first time Mum’s seen me move out, but I guess the idea of me starting a challenge of my own is enough to bring out the clinginess in her. She steps back and buries her face in Paisley’s shoulder as she walks down the garden path and I hear her say, between quiet sobs, “She’s doing it to carry on the legacy Pais! I inspired her so much, and it’s just so sad-” before they get out of earshot and I am left to an empty house.
First things first, I get down to tending to my garden. Although it’s small at the moment there is a lot of space available for it and as I nurture my natural talent I expect it’ll grow more. Currently I have a few apple trees, watermelon plants and some tomatoes, all courtesy of Mum’s original garden.
As I’m harvesting, I happen to hear someone walk past whistling. Expecting it to be one of my neighbours, I step away from the tree and make my way towards the road. To my surprise, it isn’t one of my neighbours, but someone from further down the valley, closer towards the lake. I head towards the fence nearest the road and shove my hands in my back pockets with a grin. “Hi there,” I say with a grin, and whistler freezes on the spot. When he notices me, he walks over and shoves a hand in his pocket with a blush.
“Hello ma’am. I don’t believe we’ve been introduced. And that’s suprisin’ since I walk past your house every day on my way up to the mountains.”
“It’s understandable,” I reply “Seeing as I just moved in. I’m Peggy Everard.”
He gawps when he recognises my name. “So you’re one of Skye’s then? I read about her. Gee whiz, that challenge. How’d she do it?”
“Oh, mostly emotional breakdowns and tears, I hear she parented a bit too. I honestly have no idea.”
“Gee. All those kids. I’m James, by the way. James Oxford. If you’re not too busy, I’d like to take you to dinner, you seem like fine company.”
I blush, then nod. “I’d love to. And hey, maybe over dinner I could make you an offer, I have a feeling there’s somethin’ you could offer me that’d help me out more than a little.” He frowns slightly at my comment, but shrugs it off. “It’s nearly evening already, if you wanna wait inside I’ll just go wash my hands and freshen up a bit—we can go for dinner now.”
He grins at the suggestion, and I show him into the kitchen diner. With his pick of the rather ridiculous number of chairs around the dining table, he perches on one of the stools by the island, allowing him to continue chatting idly to me as I wash up.
To my surprise, the local bistro is empty, save for the staff, when we arrive and so we have ample time to spend perusing the menus. “I think I’ll have the lemon and eggplant lasagne,” I say, “What are you thinking?”
“That there’s way too many kinds of pie on this menu.” James says, smiling. “Seriously though, have you tried this place’s Bouillbasse? It’s to die for,”
“I don’t think I can even say Bouillbasse, if I’m entirely honest.” I reply.
Our food is, of course, delicious and it was an ideal introduction to the restaurants of this town. I make a note of the name, deciding to try and sell a few of my fruits and vegetables here when I get a big enough harvest.
Over dinner I finally broach the subject of my own challenge, and James has the decency to pretend to be alarmed. Of course, he’d been expecting it since I told him he might be able to help me out. Thankfully, with a little convincing,
and the assurances that he can see me again for a second date, I get him to agree to participate.
He has to leave, that morning, to get to work at the local bookstore. Thankfully for me, I have reason to go down with him. Unlike my mother’s challenge, where multiple fathers are actively encouraged, I see no reason why I shouldn’t have all my kids with one father. If that just happens to be James then good for me. Of course, there’s also nothing stopping me from having multiple fathers AND a long term relationship.
I do indeed follow James down to the bookstore, where I pick up a couple of pregnancy books to read over the next few days. Then, I head back home and continue looking after my garden—which I’d interrupted yesterday in my eagerness to get this challenge moving.
Unfortunately, I’m interrupted again, this time by the nausea my mother had warned me about. Despite her warnings, I hadn’t expected it to be nearly as bad as this, and I gain a newfound respect to her for doing this 100 times. I groan quietly, realising that I could potentially have to do this 26 times, or even more.
I’ve just finished dinner and found myself in great need of a shower when my bump pops. I snap a picture and send it to Mum straight away. I get a series of emoji’s back suggesting that she’s happy for me.
The next few days pass as normal, although slightly slower due to my increasing size. I read
work out a little
and maintain my garden.
When I’m not letting James speak to the baby, or trying to get some sleep. It’s all much easier than I’d been expecting, save for the occasional uncomfortable moment.
Of course, all my ideas are shattered instantly the moment I go into labour. The pain is so bad that I think for a second that I might be dying, but I cast that idea aside. Highly unlikely. Based on what Mum had said, this would be labour. Unwilling to go through this for the first time at home alone, I phone James and head down the valley to the hospital.
There, I give birth to Baby 1: A little girl who I name Audrey Arabella Everard.
A/N: SO it would appear I’m blogging again. Much like when I first started, I’m going to be surprised if anyone actually reads this. If you do, hello! *waves*. This is mostly just for my entertainment, since I actually graduated from high school this year, so I have an extended summer before I start at university. *ghostly whoo noises*. Feel free to comment, or not, as the feelings take you. I’m just glad to be back!
A/N 2: I’m actually going for a naming theme for this challenge too. First names will be the names of Fictional characters, and the second names will be song titles/Artist names. Just wait until I get to H, . In this case, Audrey was named after the girl from Netflix’s Scream TV Series, and the song is Arabella by the Arctic Monkeys.