“Hey, lady,” said Serpent. “Do you believe, as I do, that mustaches are the supreme form of facial hair?”
“Uh, no,” said Zoey. “I prefer clean-shaven.”
“Zoey!” I said, joining them. “I’m so glad you decided to come over. It’s been ages, hasn’t it?”
“Yeah,” said Zoey, and she smiled.
“Elena,” she added. “I’m glad you and Cam worked things out.”
“So, um, you’re not mad at me?” I asked.
“I was, yes,” said Zoey. “But I’m doing my best to forgive you. If Cameron can forgive you, then so can I.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“Who is she?” Serpent asked, looking annoyed. “Dad’s old girlfriend?”
“No!” Zoey and I said at the same time, and Zoey laughed. “I’m your dad’s aunt,” Zoey answered.
“Which dad?” Serpent asked.
“The one I’m married to,” I said.
Scarab and Serpent hung out with Zoey for quite a bit in the basement. They reminded me a lot of their bio-dad Liam with the way they kept trying to impress her.
Although I’m not sure how eating dirt is supposed to be impressive.
“Smooth, bro, smooth,” said Serpent.
“Actually, dirt has a crunchy aftertaste,” said Scarab.
“Ugh,” Zoey said, making a face.
As for me, I was discovering the wonders of gaming. And shaking my fist whenever I lost a fight that should have been easier than a real fight. I wished I could take a frying pan to the monsters’ heads.
After I lost my game, I ran outside to cool my anger off. I tried to hug the sprinkler, but it just made me wet. So I hugged the air and water instead.
“Hey, Auntie,” said Cam. “I’m glad you came over.”
“I’m glad too,” said Zoey. “It’s lovely to see you and Elena again. You really seem to be doing well.”
“You haven’t seen much yet,” said Cam.
I was doing a lot that night to relax. It was so nice to play some music again. I had missed this. Sometimes I wish it were me in the band, not Cam. But I don’t have time for that and raising babies.
I think Cam and I would be happier if Cam were the painter and I were the musician. That’s how things should have been. Maybe after I’ve had seventy more kids, we can do that.
When I’d gone to bed, Scarab snatched his chance. Cam told me later he thought Scarab would make a good addition to his band.
My sleep was once again interrupted for birthing. This time I let Cam come with me. He was actually calmer with doctors about to help. Maybe it’s just the panick of not knowing what to do that makes him freak out.
At home I unloaded the carrier. We had decided to name the next nine children who aren’t adopted after our family members. The firstborn is Jenna, named for Cameron’s mother.
Then there came Victoria, named after my mother.
And finally we had Elderberry, which is also Cameron’s father’s name. Yes, I did notice that Curly is so used to babies that he didn’t even pretend to care.