After a weeklong bout with the flu, Illdrid decided she was really too old to be taking her health for granted. She might have a decade left in her or just one day, but regardless, she wanted to make sure she visited with her grandchildren at least once before her time was up. She left the house late into the evening hours and showed up on Dagon’s doorstep.
“Uh, hi mom,” Dagon said, eyes bleary with sleep, as he invited his mother inside. “What brings you out here so close to midnight? Is everything alright?”
“Of course,” Illdrid responded, “Just thought it would be a nice time for a visit.” She smiled sheepishly, hoping her son wouldn’t hold her poor timing against her.
Dagon sighed. “Alright, well, money has been tight lately. My paintings aren’t selling like I hoped they would, so I’ve been working at the festival part time. I’ve got a long day tomorrow, but I’m sure the kids would be happy to stay up late and spend some time with you.”
Percy wandered out of the bedroom as Dagon wandered back into it. He gave Illdrid a wink and a smile before heading back to his husband with a glass of water, leaving Illdrid alone with her practically grown up grandchildren.
Illdrid excitedly rushed over to her granddaughter. “Oh, Kylee, sweetheart! You’re so grown up; I feel like I’ve missed your whole childhood. Do you remember me?”
Kylee smiled patiently at the older woman, but kept glancing over her shoulder at the book she had been reading. “Sure, grandma. I remember you.”
Illdrid felt a little disappointed that her granddaughter didn’t want to talk to her, but kept it hidden from her voice. “I see you’ve got a book you’d like to finish. Reading is important. Keep it up and you’re sure to be very successful today. Don’t let me bother you. I’ll go fuss over your brother.”
Kylee traipsed over to the sofa and immediately picked up the adventure novel she had been reading, and Illdrid focused all of her energies on Jeffry. “Now you. You’re not much younger than your sister, and yet, Dagon hasn’t had time to bring you around. I’ve completely missed out on your life.”
Jeffry grinned, immediately enjoying the older woman’s company. She looked so much like his dad, how could he not? “None of that melancholy!” Jeffry exclaimed. “There’s plenty of time for family bonding. You can’t be a day over 50!” Illdrid’s eyes were shiny with a mixture of mirth and sadness. She kept the negative emotions to herself and gave Jeffry her biggest smile.
Jeffry launched into his life story, figuring Illdrid would be interested. He started at the beginning with his birth father’s violent temper and his mother’s drug habit. The volatile combination ended in a murder-suicide, not that Jeffry remembered; he was an infant at the time. He spent most of his childhood in an orphanage, before Percy and Dagon decided to adopt him. Kylee was the one who had picked him out. She said, “That one. That one will be my baby brother.” He wasn’t a baby at the time, but it didn’t matter, he became part of the family.
The story was admittedly a bit of a downer, so before they even had time to dwell, Jeffry launched into a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Kylee rolled her eyes at the whole ordeal. Sometimes Jeffry could be such a drama queen.
“I think it’s time to make some changes,” Illdrid said to Shae the following morning. “Derek will be moving in after the wedding, and you’ll finally get to start your life together. As much as I love being here with you, my kids are grown and gone, and I think it’s time I do some living of my own. James is back. I don’t know if he’ll still have me. But he did make a promise before he left.”
“So what you’re saying is…you want to move out?” Shae asked.
Illdrid shrugged. “Well, I think if James would have me, yes. It’s time I devote some of my life to me and not to raising children or witch curses or trying to get back to the Realm.”
Shae hugged her sister tightly. A chapter of their life was closing, and a new one was about to begin. She only hoped they had enough time to fully experience their new lives.
Keli came home with Elisedd after school, again. She made inane comments about the weather while Elisedd thought about what could possibly holding Diarmuid up at school. They were all supposed to have a group outing – not a date between him and Keli. Ever since their chess match/prom date fiasco, things had been awkward between them. Were they friends? Or something more? Elisedd didn’t have the guts to ask her, so he nodded mutely while she went on about cumulous clouds and the impending threat of Spring snow.
An awkward quiet settled between them. Elisedd cleared his throat. Keli looked at her shoes. Elisedd glanced at the door. Keli bit at her nails. “Chess!” Elisedd exclaimed, breaking the thick silence. “I challenge you to a rematch!”
Relieved, Keli agreed. Although she wasn’t sure that Elisedd even wanted her there anymore.
Keli was the distracted one, this time. She frowned as she mulled over each move, but she knew she was marching toward defeat. Her heart just wasn’t in it.
Elisedd grimaced as Keli made one juvenile mistake after another. Was she trying to appear stupid so he’d find her more attractive? How could he tell her to stop without coming across as presumptuous again? Elisedd felt they were at a crossroads, and he just didn’t know how to get on the right path.
Diarmuid came home to find Keli and Elisedd at the chess table. Again. He rolled his eyes before strolling over and clapping his hands. “Great job, guys, now let’s go. LaShawn will be here any minute now, and I want to be ready to go when she gets here.”
Keli slumped in her chair, clearly miserable and glanced up at Diarmuid. “I surrender. El, you win. You bested me.”
Diarmuid quirked his head to the side as he studied Keli. Elisedd was singing a victory song as he cleaned up the chess piece. But Keli looked dejected, even more than she should.
They moved their little party into the kitchen, where Elisedd immediately began rooting around in the fridge for a snack. Diarmuid approached Keli and put his mouth close to her ear and whispered, “Don’t freak out. I noticed you and El seem to be stuck in neutral. Don’t worry, he likes you. He’s just an inexperienced idiot. Be patient with him.”
Keli began giggling and Elisedd spun around with a frown, eyebrows furrowed. “What are you two giggling about?” he sulked.
Diarmuid smirked. Jealousy. That should get things moving along nicely.
Within moments, LaShawn had arrived and Shae let her in. She found everyone in the kitchen. She quirked her lips into a wry smile as she sauntered toward Diarmuid. “Well, well, well. Inviting me here to watch you flirt with other girls? Be careful, Keli. This one has quite the reputation.”
Diarmuid crossed his arms over his chest as he turned to glare at his friend. “I don’t know what you could possibly mean,” Diarmuid said through gritted teeth.
LaShawn circled Diarmuid like a hawk circling prey. “Oh, I think you do. Kacey has been telling everyone about how you like to steal other guys’ pregnant girlfriends.”
Diarmuid groaned and threw up his arms in defeat. “Sure! That’s right. Obviously that’s why I invited you here. Pain in my ass.”
LaShawn cackled and punched his arm. “You know I’m just playing with you.”
Elisedd and Keli exchanged bewildered looks and launched into a discussion about a new mathematical chess theory.
Diarmuid and LaShawn ignored their more studious counterparts in favor of their own conversation. “So where are we going, anyway?” LaShawn huffed.
“Always so impatient,” Diarmuid responded, shaking his head. “We’re going to the arcade. And I guess we can go now that you’ve finally arrived. If we can drag El and Keli away from their nerd conversation.”
Diarmuid managed to convince Keli and Elisedd that it was perfectly possible for them to be able to carry on a conversation while they walked to the arcade. When they arrived, all eyes went to the already occupied dart board. Elisedd pushed back his shoulders. “No worries, guys. I got this.”
He approached the sole woman who was haphazardly throwing darts at the board. She scowled and grunted, “The hell do you want.”
Elisedd gulped and crossed his fingers. “I just thought I’d let you know that somehow you managed to get a dart stuck in the ceiling.”
“No way, you stupid, ass-faced kid. Get out of my face,” the surly woman responded, but despite her protestations, she looked up.
Elisedd smirked and began muttering the spell under his breath. With a swift flick of fairy dust, the woman started to pale and clutched at her stomach. Elisedd scrunched his nose at the foul smell she emitted from her mouth. “What did you do to me?” she shrieked, and ran out of the building.
“And that takes care of that,” Elisedd gloated and picked up the dropped dart. “You guys playing?”
“Heck yea!” Diarmuid exclaimed before turning to Keli and whispering, “Now, you want to play hard to get. Go play with the arcade machine.”
“But I don’t like it,” Keli whined with a pleading look. Diarmuid shrugged, as if to say she was doomed to failure, and Keli went sulking off to the machines in the corner.
The teens took turns throwing the darts. And despite the athletic inclinations of Diarmuid and LaShawn, Elisedd easily came away with the victory. “Rematch?” he asked, feigning nonchalance as he examined his finger nails.
Diarmuid rolled his eyes and grumbled, “What, so I can lose again? No thanks!”
“Fine!” Elisedd retorted. “I’ve got homework to do anyway.” He plunked down on the ground and pulled out his book. Diarmuid sighed and turned his attention to LaShawn.
“What kind of name is LaShawn anyway,” Diarmuid asked with a teasing grin.
LaShawn swatted at him and replied, “Daddy wanted a boy, but he got stuck with me. Thus the stupidly masculine name. At least track record has managed to make him proud,” she glanced at the floor, momentarily shaken. “But don’t even start with the “who is weirder than who” game. Your brother is a fairy. Like for real.”
Diarmuid chuckled as he grabbed at her wrists and pulled her closer, “Alright, you got me there.”
“Okay, D. Knock it off. I know you’re just a flirt,” LaShawn said, her voice tense, as she took a step backward.
But Diarmuid persisted. “I know that might be my reputation, but it’s not true. Come to prom with me. Let me show you off as my girlfriend.”
LaShawn’s eyes widened. She looked away, pondering her decision, before whispering, “Yes.”
Diarmuid’s heart flipped in his chest. He could hardly contain his excitement. So he leaned forward, ready for that first, magical kiss.
LaShawn pushed him away, once again full of lighthearted giggles. “Whoa there buddy. I don’t know what sort of a girl you think I am, but I’m not one of your pregnant floozies!” LaShawn squealed as Diarmuid lunged for her. She ducked left and playfully kicked at his knees. He chased her around the arcade until they were both breathless. Curfew was fast approaching, and as much as Diarmuid wished he could spend just a few more minutes with his new girlfriend, he knew it was time to go home.-- - - - - - -- - - -- - -
Really, game? LaShawn? Sigh. At least she's pretty. Generation 2 is right on the brink of taking over. FINALLY. I guess that's what I get for using the last born child of a five child household become heir.
Next chapter, Shae gets married to Derek and the twins go to prom! Sorry for all the filler.