He was beautiful.
My little nephew. I was afraid of holding him, but Kyle urged me to. I had never held a baby before, I had never been around babies. I carefully slid my hands under him and lifted him up, cradling him in my arms gently.
“Oh, hello,” I whispered, stroking his cheek lightly. He squinted at me and squirmed slightly. “Oh… Kyle, he is so beautiful.”
Kyle looked worn out, but very pleased. “You know Dad always talks about love at first sight… well, after seeing him I realized it was true.”
I laughed a bit and then smiled as my nephew clung to my finger. “He’s amazing. I can’t believe…” I trailed off, unable to stop myself from smiling. By the time I had gotten home, he was born. Since it was a C-section, labor hadn’t lasted very long at all. Now it was two days later and we were all at home, all enchanted by this little guy. “By the way, you still haven’t told me the name,” I said, looking over my shoulder at Kyle.
“We didn’t get a chance to talk to Dad about it until after he was born. We still have to fill out the birth certificate and stuff,” Kyle said with a weary shrug.
“But you have named him,” I said quietly.
“Yes,” he replied. “His name is Jacob.”
“Jacob Danevbie,” I said, looking back down at my nephew.
“Jacob Calcifer,” Kyle said happily.
“That’s a perfect name,” I said, lifting Jacob up a bit more to see his face. It didn’t surprise me that Kenya’s father’s name was not included. Kenya didn’t have a very good relationship with him. “And if it was a girl?”
“When we have a girl,” Kyle corrected me. “Her name will be Elouia Kate. After Kenya’s mother and grandmother. And our third child will be Pendragon.”
I laughed. “Three kids, huh?” I kept staring at Jacob, not voicing my concerns. Kyle was in his thirties. And no male had ever had popped out more than one kid. The only multiples from same sex couples were females. I wasn’t sure what having multiples in a male body would do to his body.
Dad was ecstatic. Everyone was super happy, but Dad hardly ever put his grandson down. Every time Jacob needed something, before Kyle or Kenya could even think about getting up Dad would leap to his feet and go running.
“The newest Danevbie,” he chuckled one morning. “First of his generation.”
We’d roll our eyes at that. Orion, Tempest and I. Dad wanted more grandkids–so did Mom. But I certainly didn’t have any plans. Rion wasn’t ready to settle down, and Tempest just said she hadn’t found the right guy. Mr. Right, Milla had said. Looking at Mom and Dad, and Kyle and Kenya… I knew there was something to be said about soul mates. About Mr. or Miss Right. But did everyone have one?
“No questions, no snooping, no nothing,” I said to Tempest one morning. So far we had managed to avoid each other but now that everyone was back in the house and things were getting cramped, I decided to lay down the law. “This isn’t a time for fighting,” I added.
Tempest folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. “You start half of them,” she pointed out and I blushed.
“I know. But all I’m saying is right now, let’s just do our best to avoid arguing. All right?”
“Fine by me,” she said, holding out her hand. I blinked and opened the door, leaving the room. “What, no shake?” she called after me but I just ignored her.
Mom loved cuddling Jacob. She seemed so at peace with the baby in her arms. It was so weird to think that she had done that three times. Have a baby, I mean. And she raised all of us–including Kyle. Seeing her like this made me see how she must have been when we were all babies. My brothers probably remembered her being like this, and maybe even Tempest remembered. But as the youngest, I never really got to see this side of her until now.
On my fifth day of being home, Kellen called me. I had been sort of hoping to talk to him but had felt weird making the call. As soon as I answered the phone, I felt a smile spread on my face.
“How’s life in the Valley again?” he said in a chipper voice when I greeted him.
“Crowded,” I laughed. “Six adults, one baby, and tons of visitors. Plus the baby’s crib is in the boys’ old room which you get to through my room.” I rolled my eyes and smiled more. “So I can hear him cry and then someone comes running through within a minute.”
Kellen laughed. “Sounds crazy to me. So it’s a boy?”
“Oh, yes,” I replied. “I have a nephew. His name is Jacob, after our grandfather.”
“Well,” Kellen said and I could feel that he was smiling, “congratulations to your brother and his husband.”
We talked for a while, not really about anything in particular but I enjoyed our conversation. I didn’t want to say goodbye but it was getting a it late and we both needed to get to bed so we said our goodnights and I shut my phone, tossing it onto my bed and then staring at nothing while I thought.
“Who were you talking to?”
I blinked and looked over at Tempest who had just come in. “Were you listening in?” I asked, tugging at one of my braids. “I thought we agreed no snooping.”
She took a few steps closer to me and folded her arms, shrugging a bit. “I didn’t hear much of anything but you sounded really happy so I was just…” She stared at me then looked away. “Never mind.”
“Temp…” I looked down at my hands and then pulled them back, bowing my head, my words unable to be said.
“Lune,” she said softly, “why do you treat me like an enemy?”
My chin snapped up and I stared at her in surprise. You push me down, I thought. You’re so… perfect… and I was always seen as your sister. I can’t be under your shadow. I won’t. I wrapped my arms around myself and sighed. “Why do you hate the fact I took a job at a science lab?”
“It’s–not right!” She sounded very strained and looked miffed. “It’s dangerous,” she added, almost as an afterthought.
“Tempest, the only thing I am being hurt by is the fact you are treating me like this simply for following my dreams!” I snapped out and her eyes widened as she turned to face me. Her lips started forming a syllable but nothing came out. “You’re the one treating me like an enemy, you’ve always treated me like an enemy!” I gripped my nightshirt, my chest heaving. “Ever since I started high school, you’ve been pushing me out of your life. And when I was practically attacked by that jerk, all you told me was to grow up?”
Tempest’s nostrils flared and she stepped forward, her eyes cold, her voice heated. “Well you know what, Luna? Did it ever occur to you that my life isn’t exactly all rainbows and unicorns? That maybe I went through some crap too? That maybe I was attack–” She stopped, backing up, not finishing her sentence but it was too late.
“Temp, did some guy–” But she didn’t let me finish my sentence either.
“No. I was not attacked by some guy,” she stated and I felt confused. She sounded honest about it. “I’m sorry I made you so angry… what, six years ago? And you’re still holding a grudge about it?”
“It was eight years ago, and it’s not just that!” I said desperately. “It’s everything! It’s like… you’re better than me. That your dreams are better than mine. It’s like what I want out of life isn’t good enough, because it’s something you disagree with!”
“What you’re doing is wrong!” she gasped out. “Can’t you see that? Experimentation and all that is just… it’s not right.”
“Shut up!” I snapped. “You know, I pointed it out to Dad but maybe you should have the same reminder. Science is what brought us all here. Without experimentation, Grandpa would never have had Dad so we wouldn’t be here! And even if Dad was alive, experimenting is what brought Mom to life! And now Jacob? Without the experimentation you hate, we wouldn’t exist! You owe your existence, your life, EVERYTHING, to–“
All the working out really put a lot of muscle in her. Her slap was like an icy wave hitting my cheek. I stumbled back, clutching the painful spot and staring with anger at Tempest who was breathing so hard it was like gasps of air. “You don’t understand anything,” she hissed out. “I have my reasons and judging from how you are acting, my fears about you…” She trailed off and shook her head, walking towards the door. “As long as you’re like that, don’t consider me your sister.” She flung open the door then stopped and looked over her shoulder. When her eyes met mine, they were so full of hatred that I had to look away.
“And by the way, Luna, try to recall some of the things Dad told us about the Reddings. Particular when he was told he owed his existence to them. From as far as I can tell, you really are beginning to sound like her.” I squeezed my eyes shut, my breath ragged. Then Tempest whispered, “How long until you start acting like her, too?”
I pressed my hands against my face, managing to hold back the sobs until after she slammed the door shut.