“Daddy? What are you doing?” Rayne asked me.
What was I doing? Sea Gods… even I didn’t know, any more. I kept staring at that newspaper clipping in my hands like it was somehow going to bring everyone back, but that was ridiculous. Nothing could bring them back. Our lives were so fragile; they could end in a split-second without any warning, just like that freak meteor shower had ended the lives of nearly my entire family in a split-second. I spent my life resenting being only one out of nine children and now there were only three of us left and I found myself regretting all those years I never appreciated just how lucky I was to have such a big family who all loved each other.
“Nothing, sweetie. Just thinking. It’s late. You should be in bed,” I told her.
“I couldn’t sleep. You looked sad. Are you missing them?”
I sighed and nodded. “Yes… but don’t worry about me. I’ll be all right. Go to bed, honey.” I put the newspaper clipping down and stood up to shoo her back to her room, but she stood on tiptoes to hug me.
“Don’t worry, Daddy. You’ll always have us,” she assured me before scampering off back to her room. Despite my grief, I smiled. She had no idea that she and her brother and sister were the reason I still bothered to get up in the morning, no matter how painful it was. If I didn’t have those three kids to take care of, I might have given up on life, myself, and just ended it by my own hands, but I never would as long as my children still needed me. Macie would be so disappointed in me if I ever abandoned them when I was all they had left.
I decided I’d call my sisters in the morning and see how they were. As much pain as I was in, I couldn’t imagine what Aqua and Turquoise were going through right now. Aqua had only just gotten married and she had to bury her husband. Turquoise and Talan had lost their son. I know what it’s like to lose your spouse so unexpectedly, but if I ever lost one of my children… I’d die. I don’t know how she’s still going on, but thank the Sea Gods I at least still have them.
* * *
The triplets were growing up so fast. I was so proud of them, but now that they were in school, it was getting harder and harder to keep the paparazzi away from them. I don’t know how I became a celebrity in Starlight Shores. Sure, I ran several mega-corporations world-wide but I was no Donald Trump. Maybe it was being married to Macie that made me famous. I don’t really know and I don’t really care, I don’t like the attention and I don’t want my kids to be swarmed by cameras and interviewers every time they step out the front door. It drives me crazy but it’s been happening since they were born so they seem to treat it as if it’s normal; like every kid gets followed around by reporters wherever they go.
“Hey! What are you doing on my property?! This is private property! Get out of here before I have you arrested for trespassing!” I shouted at a paparazzi who had the nerve to come onto my property and try to snap pictures of my son and daughter while they played in the yard. Could my family not have a minute of peace, even in our own home?! This was ridiculous! “Come on, Sebastian. Rayne. Play inside from now on,” I told them. Maybe I should invest in an electric fence, but I’m worried about the kids or the dog running into it and getting hurt.
Somehow, even with this media circus constantly hounding them, they still managed to get their homework done every night and consistently get As in school. They’re always on those iPads I bought them for their birthday. I was worried they might just be using them to play games and slack off, but their grades say otherwise. As long as their grades stay high, I won’t bother them about the time they spend on those iPads. They still played with those strange, bizarre dolls a lot, anyway, so it wasn’t like they were on the iPads twenty-four seven. Overall, they’re good kids, though I think Rayne might have inherited her Uncle Wade’s mischievous streak. She like to set traps around the house and prank her sister. It drives me crazy. Now I know how Mom felt with Wade running around as a kid… Sea Gods, I miss them so much…