Hi! We’re back, just like I promised! So, please disregard that whole dropped-off-Earth-for-a-month thing! >.>
My…relationship with Mortimer was going well. We had been…acquainted for a few years now. However, I wasn’t completely sure where we stood. We were somewhere in between ‘friend’ and…’something more’. And it was nice. I didn’t require knowing what I was to him. Now, figuring out my own invasive emotions…that was another matter.
But that would take time. After all, even the most efficient programs require time to compile.
In the meantime, I split my time between days with Mortimer, late nights of programming and research, and early mornings tending to my nieces and nephews.
They were quite adorable.
After Medea, Lucy and Donovan moved out to be on their own proper, everyone else needed to devote at least a fraction of their time to the toddlers. As infants, they were very needy. Now, though, they required instruction on basic functionalities, as well as social stimuli.
Once Darlene returned to work, Thomas asked for some time off to be at home with his children more often. Instead, his employer, Mr. Stiles McGraw, awarded him a promotion with better pay and more convenient hours. Apparently the older man was a sucker for small children.
Thomas used his new free time wisely, teaching his children many important life skills.
I think he’s very good at this ‘parenting’ thing. I know I could never do it. Children simply don’t factor into my future.
Even with us all devoting time to the quadruplets, it was by no means an even split. There were days when Darlene would be called in to the station to examine new evidence and wouldn’t get home until midnight. On a more positive perspective, she was getting more promotions and raises due to all the time she spent at the station.
There were also times Thomas and Darlene simply had to get out of the house. Sometimes they would leave a note on my bedroom door and the fridge and take off for the movie theatre or the diner or something. No one would even think to say they didn’t earn it though.
And there were times I would forget the time and stay with Mortimer long into the night, leaving my family to suffer alone.
During these times, I’m ashamed to say, Shaye was the only responsible adult. She often stayed home with the quadruplets and Lucky, teaching everyone life skills and tending to every need. And in between caring for toddlers and frightened puppies, she still made time to tend her growing garden and expand the family stash of nectar.
I was incredibly intrigued by one plant in particular that Shaye was growing. I’d studied a sample from a leaf and determined that an interesting chemical resided inside the plant. I was interested to study any fruit that the plant might bear. It could prove useful to my research.
While waiting for the plant to bloom, I spent spare moments studying mechanisms. I was particularly interested in the pioneering field of constructing nanites. I do believe that this field is the path to my robot.
We do occasionally hear from our siblings. Medea and Humberto had recently became engaged. Shaye and I have been invited to her bachelorette party sometime next year.
Thomas and I visited Lucy and Glen just last week, and they were thrilled to tell us that they were expecting their first child. It seems the quadruplets will have cousins!
Donovan’s the one I hear the least from, but that isn’t too surprising. Right after he moved out he adopted a chihuahua puppy. What is surprising is the last thing I heard from him: he had begun dating Karri Sekemoto. Which was…interesting, to say the least. Those two had been enemies throughout high school from what I’d gathered.
Here at home, Darlene was always working on reports and such. She was eager to progress to the next level. Something about getting some kind of clearance. I only wished she’d use her work computer. I was getting tired of fixing ours after every time she used it. It had been smoking last time! Visibly smoking!
Over the last few years, life had settled into yet another routine. Another routine that was about to be ripped apart. Yet again.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
Darlene nodded. Her expression was one of pure determination. “The quads are almost five now. They’ll be starting school soon. I want to be closer to the school for that. I just…I want them to be safe. I want to be able to trust that they’ll come home every day in one piece. And I can’t while we live here.” She hugged herself. “We live four hours outside of town! Anything could happen!”
It was what I considered the bad part of being a cop. Darlene knew first hand exactly what could happen to children out in the world. And the statistics were usually of the 1 in 4 variety. Well, we had four kids.
“I don’t want anything to happen to them!” Darlene continued, gesturing animatedly.
“We have saved up quite a lot of money.” I pulled Darlene close. “We can do this. It’ll be okay. Okay?” She gave me a small smile. “I’ll talk to Chloe about it, and we’ll go house hunting. Anything for the kids.”
“I think it’s just time,” I told my sister a few days later.
Chloe sighed and nodded. “I was expecting this. The quadruplets will be starting school soon. This house will be incredibly empty without you and your children. And Shaye won’t want to move because of her blasted garden!” We shared a chuckle. Shaye’s garden was her baby. She’d never leave it.
Chloe sighed again, then squared her shoulders. “Have you looked at houses yet?”
It was my turn to sigh. “Welp, with four kids we’re gonna need at least four bedrooms. But we have found a few. I thought we’d be right up against the school with how Darlene talked about it, but she really likes this gated community up the mountain. It’d be only an hour ride to school for the kids, so that’s a big improvement.”
Chloe smiled. “Has Darlene already filed the paperwork?”
I grimaced. “No, she’s too busy with work. They want her to fly out to Germany next weekend for…something.” I shrugged. “So paperwork duties fall to me for now. As well as moving. At least the station’s willing to help with that since Darlene’s last promotion.”
“That’s good to hear. Darlene might slow down now. Isn’t that what she’s been working towards all these years?”
“Yep. She’s got plans to slow down after we move. She never wants to miss a kid’s recital or anything! She’s also talking about getting me a proper mom van to drive them around!”
We sat in companionable silence for a while. I’ll miss times like these. Just sitting together, enjoying each other’s company. Mentally prepping for whatever comes next.
“Well, the goal is to get moved out right after the quads’ birthday,” I explained finally.
Chloe’s mouth dropped open. “That’s only a month away!”
Thomas is really a great parent. Darlene had to work a lot to reach her LTW, so Thomas took on most of the toddler training. And he did it! All four toddlers were fully skilled, along with maxing out the peg box and xylophone! Woo!
I am amazed that Medea and Humberto are still together, what with Medea being a Hot-Head and all. But they are! And they do cute googly-eyes at each other around town! ❤
Next time: Moving day will arrive and Chloe will be officially on her own! Oh, and birthdays.
Thank you for your patience and for still reading this old thing! See you in two weeks! ^_^