I just love having a captive audience.
“Mommy sing pretty!” said Marley.
“I’m only strumming, honey.”
“No. You sing!”
I don’t sing.
“Look out below!” called Albus.
“Not like you’ll hurt us, dumbo.”
“I can bathe in shorts if I want to…not like I’m actually dirty, being dead and all. Being dirty is simply a figment of my imagination,” said Harry.
I nearly had a heart attack when I saw Bonehilda on the floor. I thought she was dying.
That was nothing compared to what I felt when I saw Curly mirror her.
“Stop it! Stop it at once!” I snapped.
Seeing that had reawakened one of my worst fears – that my baby would die on me despite Holly’s longevity spell.
Nikko aged up and decided to spend his life hunting down a unicorn. His day job is teaching, though. I hope he doesn’t get too many angry calls from parents whose kids keep fainting when he walks into the room.
Of course, he also decided to move in with Teddy.
My sweetie stuck around long enough to cheer on the younger quads as they aged up.
From left to right: Finnick, Prim (who of course had to be at the front), Mags, and Cinna.
“I know I don’t have normal skin, but this thingie has to work, right, right? If nothing else, I’ll get a nice warm electric shock. I do love nice, warm electric shocks.”
“Huh, I don’t look any different. The makers of this tanning booth are ghostist! I didn’t even feel the heat running through my feet!”
I should really have a separate guitar for the kids. That cheetah print isn’t doing Finnick any favors.
“Dude, when do I get a turn?” asked Cinna.
“In a minute. I’ve almost learned this song.”
“Thanks, ya pushover.”
“I’m not a pushover!”
“Yeah, you are. You don’t even look like a rocker, but I totally do!”
Hm. I just realized.
How the heck does gravity work on ghosts when they can float at will?
Oh. Right. Not floating.
“Prim! Stop splashing me!”
“Why should I? You can’t even feel it.”
“Oh yeah? Do you like being splashed?”
“Yep! I ain’t afraid of no water!”
I finally left the kids to their own devices and went to the Red Velvet Lounge. I do enjoy watching my kids like a creeper, but I also enjoy some peace and quiet, which I haven’t had since the quads were born.
“A lady should never drink alone.”
Oh, dear. Why did he have to pick the point when I had a glass to my mouth to approach me? Is this the Watcher’s idea of a joke?
“If you change your mind, I’m over here.”
What? I’d never said I didn’t want to talk to him. The guy hadn’t even given me a chance to talk!
“Excuse me, but generally you should wait until a person isn’t drinking up to try to strike up a conversation.”
“The irony is noted. But I forgive you. To be honest, I was kinda nervous about approaching you.”
“Why? Because you know who I am and think I’m too worldly for you?”
“What? No, I don’t know your name. I’m new here, I only just moved into a hotel last night.”
“I just tend to get myself worked up over things. I’m an unlucky fella, see. Somehow, I always manage to screw my life up.”
“Really? So do I. Well. I’m Elena Queen. Welcome to Moonlight Falls.”
“Queen? I have a brother-in-law whose surname is Queen. Which is funny, because he lives in Queenstown with me and the rest of my family.”
“None of my children live in Queenstown, they’re all in Twinbrook, Lucky Palms, or here. And my parents are in Riverview. It might be a cousin of mine. My grandfather had a brother. ”
“Well, that’s interesting. Anyways, my name is Bael. Bael Young.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Bael.”
“So what brings you to Moonlight Falls when all your family’s in Queenstown?”
“I’m a writer. Well, and a painter, but right now I want to focus on writing. I realized I don’t have anything to write about, so I decided – why not come to the most famous haven for supernatural beings? Supernaturals have some of the most interesting stories to tell. If I can’t come up with anything here, then I’ll never be a published author.”
“Well, don’t go asking me for an interview.”
“I like my privacy.”
“You do? Then why did you seem to think I know you?”
“Oh, because I aim to have 100 kids. People tend to gossip about that sort of thing.”
“What a coincidence, my mum is doing the same thing.”
“I promise not to put this in my book, but I’m curious – didn’t you figure people would gossip about that sort of thing?”
“Well, yes. That was why I moved to Twinbrook at first, to protect – wait, I don’t even know you. Why am I telling you so much already?”
“You don’t have to tell me anything else if you don’t want to.”
“But that’s the thing, Bael. I do want to. There’s something about you I like.”
“Really? I feel the same way.”
“Would you like to dance instead, Elena?”
“I’d love to!”
I didn’t know what it was…but he made me feel…happy. Okay, I knew what it was. But I was scared to put a name on it, scared to rush into things again, scared to let my heart be touched again. Because I was more unlucky than he was – I was able to break my own heart to pieces time and again.
But as he held me, it was hard to be scared, hard to think too far ahead. This moment was perfect, just like other moments with another man…I snapped my memory bin shut.
Then, of course, I had to step on his foot.
“I’m so sorry – ”
“It’s fine, I told you, I manage to mess things up.”
“But I – ”
“Shhh. Want to get something to eat?”
“So tell me more about yourself. How many kids does your mom have?”
“Oh, I dunno. My brothers and I have a joke about that, that Mum won’t even notice when she’s reached 100 kids because she doesn’t keep count. What about you?”
“I have 70 kids so far.”
“I think Mum has more than that, at least. How many of them are living with you? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“I told you, I do want to. I have two sets of quadruplets and a set of twins.”
“Oh, cool, I’m part of a set of quads myself. Well, sometimes I wish I were a triplet because my brother Rolan is a pain, but he is my brother. And if he weren’t my brother then I wouldn’t have an alien nephew. His name’s Crux.”
“Really? We seem to share a lot in common. I have a granddaughter who’s an alien as well.”
“You don’t look – what am I saying? My mum’s a grandmother herself and she doesn’t look any older than me. Can I ask how old you are?”
“You can ask, but I’m not going to tell you. Ladies never reveal their age.”
And that’s how it went. Never once did I fear he was going to write about me in his book and possibly put my family in jeopardy because of my grandmother hiding from the scientists. There was something about him I trusted instantly. And I think he felt the same about me.
Then, to lighten the mood, we didn’t talk again for a while except to tell ourselves what great dancers we were.
In time, we stopped dancing but didn’t seem to really notice we’d stopped. He seemed to be nervous about something.
So I offered him a massage.
“Gee…thanks, I think.”
“What? I’m just loosening you up. You seem tense.”
I knew what was coming, but I found it so cute anyways.
It’d been so long since I’d been treated like a girl instead of a woman.
“Was that…was that okay?”
“Yes. But I think I can top that.”
I’ve had my share of kisses, but I think this one ranks up there.
“Do you want to take this somewhere private?”
“Oh. I know this is going to sound weird…but no.”
“What? Why not?”
“Look. I like you, Elena. I really do. But…well, I’ve never been a fan of the one-night stand. And…well, knowing what you do, you’d probably wind up having my kids and I’d never even get to meet them.”
“That’s not true. A lot of my kids know their fathers.”
“Even so. I don’t think this is such a good idea.”
“So that’s it, then?”
“I never said that. Why don’t we get to know each other more first?”
“Yes. I expect you haven’t been doing a lot of dating, have you?”
“Well, I’d like to treat you as a person, as a woman. What do you say?”
“I think I’d like that.”
We exchanged phone numbers.
As he left, I didn’t feel disappointed.
I felt anticipation.
Okay, so I was disappointed. But I’d get over it.