Gem hummed to himself as he began mixing the ingredients for today’s breakfast. Outside the winter raged hard and threatened the windows with its windy howl, but inside the temperature was set to a comfortable warmth, at least comfortable enough to be walking around in your underwear for most of the day.
In truth, it was far too early to be up, but after a few promotions at work, holidays were short and far in between. The holidays were upon them, so he’d taken the opportunity to wake up before his girlfriend in order to take some of the daily chores off her shoulders.
Speaking of girlfriend…
“Gem, I smell something burning. Is everything okay down here?”
He sighs in annoyance. “I wanted to surprise you… surprise?”
She laughs, pulling him on for an embrace. “What a wonderful surprise. Merry Christmas, my love.”
He kisses her, enjoying the feel of her soft skin on his. She’d lost weight after her miscarriage last month, but it wasn’t as bad as the first time they thought they’d been expecting. Blaine’s comment to him in the graveyard had confused Gem at first, but now it helped him and Bayrose move forward together.
They’re about to head back to bed together when a baby’s wail from upstairs alerts them that “the twins” are awake.
Isidore is the source of the wails, screaming for attention while little Leya rocks back and forth in her crib, playing with her feet. She giggles happily as her papa pulls her out of the crib.
Bay and Gem’s attempts at having a biological child together have been fruitless so far, but they still have a full house.
“Leya noisy.” Isidore states, eyeing the other baby. “No like her.”
“She’s your sister.” Bayrose smiles. “And it looks to me like you were the noisy one this morning.”
“No! Leya noisy! And smelly! And ugly!”
They have this conversation almost every morning. Bayrose would worry if it wasn’t for the arguments she and her brother used to have when they were toddlers.
A small stab hits her in the heart when he remembers Beacan, but she quickly pushes it away. She doesn’t like to think about him.
Gem doesn’t notice his girlfriend’s unease. He’s too focused on his little girl. It took a while and a few favours, but he was granted custody when she was only a few months old. Fawn hasn’t even asked to see her since it was decided, and part of him is happy for it. He wants his little girl growing up seeing Bayrose as her mother.
Leya hates getting dressed for the day, so Gem and Bayrose leave her in her pyjamas. Isidore wants to be a big boy, she he happily puts on his little suit for the Christmas Party and struts it in front of Leya. She doesn’t understand why he seems to be so proud of himself. It’s just clothes.
This is their first Christmas living together, and a few since Beacan died and Blaine disappeared from town. Most of the time, they spent Christmas with Gem’s parents, but this year their families will be meeting for the first time. Everything has been set up for days, so while the kids spend time in the playroom, Bay and Gem spend some quality time together.
After Leya’s birth, Gem dyed his hair black to better match his step mother. Coral was always more of a mother to him than the woman who gave him his genetics.
And she makes his dad happy. A little too happy if you ask Gem. He never did get used to seeing his parents acting like love struck teenagers, a food twenty years into their marriage.
Trinity is used to it. Her parents bore her terribly.
Alexis aged quickly after she lost her boys. Dora claims that her mind isn’t as lost as it was the first few days and weeks after Beacan’s death, but Alexis barely speaks to anyone else, even Bayrose. At the party she looks nervous, constantly holding herself close and staying in a corner.
After dinner (with plasma fruit burgers for Gem’s parents), Trinity turns on the radio and Dora pulls Alexis in for a slow dance. Her patience is paralleled by none. Bayrose only wishes she could be as good a partner to Gem.
The party was a hit, and all four grandparents were thrilled to spend time with the toddlers. Everyone goes home when it begins to get dark, even though its still early. So early in fact that Bayrose gets a few calls for Christmas sing-o-grams and goes out to fulfill them. Sometimes it feels like whenever Gem has time off, Bayrose has to work, and vice versa, but thats the life of being working parents. At least someone is always home with the kids.
Winter goes, and spring comes. Bay’s work picks up and she’s even offered a few stage performances at the local park and coffee shop. With the extra money they’re planning on taking a vacation to a beach somewhere warm, but Gem can never get time off work.
Leya grows a bit in comparison to Isidore. She can talk now, and boy does she use her limited vocabulary well.
“Blocks not for eating, stupid.”
Isidore growls at her, baring his tiny little werewolf fangs. “M’hungry. I’ll eat you.”
She just giggles at him, unaware that being a werewolf or being a human means anything. He’s just her dorky brother.
It’s almost mother’s day when Gem gets call from Dora’s cell phone. A stab of unease goes through him. His mother would claim it was his fae ancestry acting up, warning him of danger, but he doesn’t believe in that nonsense.
His heart drops when he answers. “Hey Dora, what’s- … what? … No, calm down. Who-… what do you mean she’s gone? People don’t just disappear.” He doesn’t need her to explain what going on to know that final straw just broke her. She’s been strong for too long, and now her rock, her Alexis, is gone.
Isidore and Leya are so friggin cute. I wuv them <3 Isidore is potential Heir #1.
Alexis is "gone" not dead, FYI. More on that next chapter.