The more I found out about this Nikki Prince girl, the more uneasy I felt about her. I couldn’t exactly explain why she made me uneasy but it felt like her only interest in befriending my children was because of who their mother was. I chalked it up to just being an overprotective father trying to keep his kids out of trouble, but when Monica confessed that she had a bad feeling about her, too, I knew I wasn’t just being crazy. Even so, I didn’t have any proof that she was any threat to my kids so I couldn’t just forbid the triplets from seeing her. From what I understand, Sebastian’s been seeing her the most… if walking in on them kissing behind one of the pillars in the foyer is any indication of that, anyway. I’m going to go grey early, I swear. My kids are at that age…
I thought it might be nice to take the whole family out to the Summer Fairgrounds at Verde Park. I’d been working a lot and felt like I needed to take a day off to spend with my family. I didn’t talk to my sisters much anymore and I missed them. Besides, Sebastian still seemed mistrustful of Monica and an opportunity for them to spend more time together probably wouldn’t be a bad thing.
So Aqua, Turquoise and her husband Talan, the triplets, Monica and I all crowded into the fairgrounds one afternoon. Monica immediately shoved me towards my sisters.
“Go on, go roller skate with the twins,” she urged me.
“But don’t you want to join?” I asked, perplexed. Monica shook her head.
“They’re your sisters and you hardly get to see them anymore. Go on! Sebastian and I will find something fun to do together, right?” she smiled at my son who just crossed his arms and grumbled. The girls had already dashed off to the sweets stand and… well no one was really sure where Talan got off to, but his wife didn’t seem worried about him, so no one else saw any reason to be. He’s a strong military guy. He can take care of himself. Hopefully Sebastian wouldn’t give Monica too hard of a time, but I commended her for trying to go out of her way to reach out to him.
“Alright. Have fun, you two,” I told them as I was dragged off to the roller rink by my sisters. “So have either of you ever even worn roller skates before?” I asked them skeptically.
“Nope, not once! This should be fun!” Aqua gushed while Turquoise giggled.
“And painful…” I muttered, eyeing the rink warily. Well, at least my sisters were finally starting to get back to their old selves. They both had been wrecks after the meteor shower killed Chuck, Elliot and all the rest of our siblings. I can’t blame them. I was a broken shell after I lost my wife and I couldn’t even imagine ever losing one of my children. Both my sisters are so much stronger than I am.
“Oh come on, you big chicken!” Aqua chided me, pulling me onto the rink. My only consolation was that I had them both to cling to if I lost my balance… which wasn’t much consolation considering they were just as bad at roller skating as I was so I’d probably just take them down with me, which is exactly what happened.
“I told you this wasn’t going to end well…” I groaned, rubbing my sore backside while Turquoise helped me to my feet.
“The rain probably didn’t help. Of course it would start pouring on the one day we all decide to go out,” she said, squinting up at the darkening sky.
“Well let’s go find the kids, Monica and your husband and we’ll get a quick greeting card photo in before we pack up and leave.”
“Where is Talan, anyway…?” Turquoise mused, looking around only to start laughing and shaking her head. “I should have guessed.” She pointed to the hot dog eating stand where Talan was triumphantly stuffing his face. Not even a downpour could stop him from having his fill, apparently.
“I’ll go get Monica and Sebastian,” I told my sisters, gravitating over to the soccer field where I could see the two of them. It looked like Monica was winning. Wait… were they laughing?! My moody son laughing with my girlfriend of all people?! Probably not one of my shining moments as a parent, but I couldn’t help eavesdropping. I ducked behind a festival decoration to listen in.
“You’re really good! I thought I’d beat you easy!” Sebastian moaned. Monica laughed and ran over to help him up.
“Because I’m a girl or because I’m old?” she teased.
“Both,” he grinned.
“Don’t let your sister hear you say that,” Monica warned, smiling. Ariel’s in the Sports Club at school and fits in with the jocks. I don’t know where she gets her athleticism. Maybe Mom. Rayne got her mother’s gift with music and Sebastian got both his mom’s and my brains. Apparently, my hiding spot wasn’t as good as I thought it was because Monica put her hands on her hips and called out to the air. “Okay, Alton, you can come out now. You’re not fooling anybody, Mister.”
I cringed and stepped out into sight. “I was just uh… admiring this great decoration. I love the er… coloured… plastic… stuff,” I mumbled lamely. Sebastian shook his head with a groan and Monica raised her eyebrows disbelievingly.
“Uh-huh…” she muttered, her tone as disbelieving as her expression. I cleared my throat awkwardly.
“So uh… you two had fun, I hope? Before it started raining?” I tried to change the subject.
“I think so. We played some soccer and Sebastian and I got some pictures taken in the photo booth. I think they turned out pretty good,” she smiled and to my astonishment, Sebastian was smiling and nodding his agreement. Well it looked like they were starting to bond after all. It was about time. Monica had been a part of his life since he and his sisters were just little kids.
“Speaking of photos, I want to get a greeting card of all of us before we head out. It’s pouring way too hard to enjoy the festival anymore,” I told them. “Where are your sisters, Sebastian?” Sebastian pointed to one of the concession stands.
“Looks like they’re warming up with some coffee. Good idea, I want some.”
“You can have some when we get home. We’re going to get sick if we stay here,” I told him. It took some running around in the pouring rain, trying to herd everyone into one spot, but we eventually got all eight of us in the greeting card booth.
“Aw Ariel, you totally blocked me in the shot! You camera hog!” Sebastian complained later when the card was framed and hung up in the house.
“Hey it’s not my fault the camera likes my good looks more,” she teased.