The triplets made good use of the birthday counter. It’s so much easier to get good pictures of them this way. Richelle insisted on blowing her candles out as a werewolf, but she had to transform to human before she could age up.
Nikial wants to be a professional author, Selena a stylist, and Richelle empress of evil. I am really not surprised by Richelle’s choice. I just hope her triplets will keep her in check. She’s always been a very imaginative child.
“Hey, Aston,” I said.
“Wait, where are you going?”
“Anywhere but here.”
I’m not the only one Aston’s been avoiding. He and Cameron don’t really talk much. Sometimes it seems to me like Aston is the least happy of us that his brother came back to life. But I dismiss such thoughts with a strong shake. Aston’s just always been distant, that’s all.
Speaking of distance, Cam and I don’t really talk much either, unless it’s about Cameron. Especially after I ran out in the middle of our dance. It’s for the best. I have to keep telling myself that. But I can’t help wishing he would go find a place of his own, even if it meant he saw less of our son.
I don’t say that, though. Little Cameron will be an adult sooner rather than later. I can wait that long.
I noticed when Cameron came home from school that Aston wasn’t with him. “Where’s your brother?”
“I don’t know, Mom. He wasn’t on the bus. He wasn’t in our classes either.”
“Cameron says Aston wasn’t at school today, and he didn’t come home. I’m calling the school.”
“I got a tip from one of Aston’s teachers that he’s been seen hanging out at a park often. I’m going over there. Call me if he comes home.”
“Aston’s not in trouble, is he?” little Cameron asked.
“I haven’t decided,” I said.
I flew to the park, in too much of a rush to take a taxi or broom. Some of my other kids would sometimes run off to the park, but I usually knew where they were without having to call the school.
“So you found me, Mother.”
“Why’d you run off? Cameron said you weren’t in class today.”
“So that’s why you came. Because my dead brother told you to.”
“Well, you know what, Mother? I don’t need you. My father has been good to me. He teaches me things you would never even dream of. Go on back to your perfect little life and just leave me be! I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself, far more than that idiot fairy.”
“Whoa! You listen right now, young man! I am not going home without you. You are my son, just as much as Cameron is.”
“I’m sorry if you’ve been feeling neglected. Rather than running away and insulting the people who care about you, you should have told me. I am always around. All you had to do was say, ‘Mom, can we play a game?’ I was all set to talk to you, but you, Aston, were the one who stomped off. Not me, you. So before you go moaning about how unfairly we’ve treated you, think about the fact that your brother was dead only a couple of days ago. Dead. Not just a ghost, but dead.”
“He should have stayed dead.”
I reeled back as though slapped. I could not believe I’d heard my son say that.
“You don’t mean that. He’s your brother. And I know he loves you. We all love you.”
“Love? Love’s nothing but a bunch of lies. Nobody loves me. And I certainly don’t love you or him.”
And that was the last word I got out of him. We went home in silence, each of us stewing. I could not believe I’d never noticed this about my son. Then again, he’d usually been the silent one.
That night also happened to be Aston and Cameron’s birthday.
“I can’t believe it!” said Cameron. “It doesn’t feel like enough time’s passed yet!”
Aston just glared at him. I knew he hadn’t meant what he said, but it still scared me to see that look on his face.
Aston resembles me strongly in the nose, eyes, and skin, but the rest of him is clearly the Master’s.
As for Cameron…well, it’s hard to see much of his face. But even as a child, I thought he took after me. I’m sure his dad would disagree.
I didn’t get much time to reflect on that. The pain I was in was somehow much more intense than previous pregnancies.
Merik has his dad’s eyes and hair, but my skin and wings.
Yoshi’s eyes remind me of his brother Endon Marine’s. The vampire glow really makes them pop.
Bonehilda is overjoyed to have toddlers in the house again. She’s been playing with them almost nonstop. I’m glad her skeletal features never scare the kids. I don’t know how I managed without her.
I was happy to let Cameron help finish teaching Yoshi after I’d done talking for both boys and walking and flying for Merik. I can’t help thinking he would make a good father someday, if he wants to go that route. It’s been a while since I had a new grandchild.
Merik hid from Cameron, though I think that was because he was afraid he had more skills to learn.
I found Aston staring out the window at nothing in particular. I feel like I should talk to him again, but I don’t know how. He is so different from any of my other children.
A/N: The name scheme for the next nine or ten kids will be in honor of a roleplay I used to frequent, The Night Coven. The kids will be named after the original characters from there. As you’ll see, my fellow roleplayers and I liked a wide variety of names.