About six months after the triplets were born, Orion and Milla were married. The wedding was simple but lovely, and I was so happy for them–especially when Milla pulled me aside before the ceremony.
“I can’t hold it in anymore,” she whispered in my ear. “I have to tell someone before I burst. I’m pregnant!” I gave her a hug, happy for her. She told me she was about four and a half weeks in, just found out a few days ago and still hadn’t told Orion yet. “But,” she added quickly, “I’ll tell him on our honeymoon.”
Since Kellen and I were just going to be gone two nights–Friday, and Saturday–and that was a lot of driving in such a short time, that we had left the triplets with his family. I was glad to get back to them and spent a long time with each of them. They were already half a year old. I couldn’t believe time was flying that much. Of course, work took up a lot of my time which I felt increasingly guilty about.
Boy, did time fly! Before I knew it, we were celebrating the triplet’s birthday. We didn’t want anything big since dealing with three babies at once was already big enough. As I brought Viola to cake and blew out the candles for her, I felt strange. My babies were a year old already, and it just felt like yesterday to me–and instead of the time in between spent with them, it was spent at work. As the sparkles surrounded my daughter, I vowed to spend more time at home.
Viola was just so adorable, and I was rather surprised at how much she inherited from my mother. The fuzz on her head had been too dark to tell what color it’d be (I was assuming black) but this was a big surprise. Plus my eye color really looked amazing with the hair.
Sebastian’s turn was next, and he had inherited his father’s hair and freckles, and my mother’s eyes. He looked so cute that I wanted to scoop him up and tickle him but before I could do that, there was another birthday to celebrate.
Cesario was last and he squealed with delight, clapping his hands and grabbing for the sparkles as he revealed how much like my father he looked. He babbled at me, reaching up his arms and making happy sounds. I bent down and picked him up, kissing his cheek.
“Happy birthday, sweetie,” I told him and he giggled back.
It was time for the biggest adventures: teaching the triplets. As their first birthday fell behind us, we worked on getting the three of them walking and talking. Plus, the one I was excited about the most: potty trained. It was interesting seeing the way each of them took to these new experiences.
Viola was stubborn, refusing to speak and looking bored when we spent time trying to get her to open her mouth. She preferred babbling. She also didn’t seem interested in walking, though picked it up a bit faster than talking. Potty training, however, was easiest with her. She seemed very happy when we made a big fuss over the fact she didn’t need to use a diaper anymore.
Sebastian took to talking almost right away, which surprised both of us. We hadn’t expected our little quiet one to be the first to talk but he’d look up at us, repeating our words in his juvenile way. Walking was more difficult for him and he spent more time falling over than he did taking steps. Potty training with him was a nightmare, as every time he saw the training potty he’d start crying. “Monsser!” he insisted, though we promised him it wasn’t a monster.
Finally, Cesario refused to do all three. He wasn’t scared of the potty like his brother, but when put on it he would show his obvious disinterest. Sometimes he’d sort of repeat us when trying to get him to talk but most of it was babbling nonsense. And walking, well, it took him a while before he finally agreed not to crawl everywhere. I think he decided on this when he realized that by walking, he could get into more trouble. Like pulling books off the shelves. Or throwing toys down the toilet. Or climbing out of his crib.
As their second birthday passed us by, it was easy to see that Cesario was the biggest troublemaker. Anything he could do to push our buttons, he did. Viola liked to play quietly, thank goodness. Though she did pick up her brother’s habit of climbing out of her crib. Sebastian’s favorite past time was toddling around the house, talking to himself and naming things, or else reading.
While all this went on, I was working hard. Most days I was happy working, but sometimes I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling. Kellen had declined a promotion since it meant longer work hours, and he wanted to stay at home with the kids. I found myself rather jealous of that. Sometimes. But then I’d start working on a really interesting project and knew I was doing the right thing.
“You okay, Miss Danevbie?”
I blinked, shaking myself out of my daydream. “Yes, fine, thank you,” I said, getting back to the task at hand. Rosalba Wing stared up at me with big, white eyes which always discerned me. The other strange colors I had gotten used to (probably because of the brilliance of Mom and Sebby’s eyes), but white eyes still made me feel weird. “Now, let’s take a look.”
She stuck out her arm and I carefully peeled off the patch. She had gotten poison ivy the day before and Jay wanted someone to apply this new solution. I, still wanting to understand Ancora, volunteered. Plus I really liked little Rosie. She was probably one of my favorite villagers, always a smile, always curious. I had a little present in my bag for her, since her tenth birthday was coming up.
“Have you been itchy?” I asked, examining the skin where the patch had been. She nodded and I wrote that down before applying another patch on another part of her arm. “Okay, now remember–don’t scratch, and don’t take that patch off. If you feel anything painful let your parents know and get someone from the office to come check you out.”
She nodded again and stuck her lower lip out. “I wish all the doctors were as nice as you.”
I smiled and tugged her sleeve down. “I’m not a doctor. I’m a scientist. Now, close your eyes!” She obeyed, and I pulled the box out and handed it to her. She squealed with delight and grabbed the box, unwrapping it excitedly.
“Oh! Thank you, Miss Danevbie! I love books!” She ran her fingers over the cover and grinned up at me. “I can’t wait to get home and read it!” She wrapped both arms around me and hugged tightly. “Oh! I am sorry! You’ll get itchy now!”
I chuckled and rubbed the top of her head. “It’s okay, sweetie. I’ll wash off very carefully.”
She gave me another hug and then skipped off to her room. I wrote down everything and then asked the Wings if I could use their pump. There was no electricity in this town, or running water. Just wells and pumps. Very old fashioned, but that didn’t bother me. I scrubbed off and then used the Wings’ extra room to change my clothes. I said goodbye to all of them then headed back to the main part of town, as the Wings were one of the farming families.
That day I had two more stops to make. The Quincys, since Mrs. Quincy had undergone some experiment a while ago and needed checking up on, and the Harts, since I needed to take their daughter, Verna, back with me. She was obviously pregnant but wouldn’t answer any of my questions on the trip back.
When we got back to Acinert, she hesitated and grabbed my sleeve. “Mrs. Danevbie, may I ask you a favor?” she whispered.
“Yes, of course,” I replied, raising my eyebrows. “What is it?”
She bit her bottom lip and looked down. “Take me away.”
“E-excuse me?” I gasped.
“Take me away!” She grabbed my hands and her eyes pleaded with me. “Don’t take me in there, drive me somewhere else, leave me there. Just don’t let them take my baby from me!”
I frowned deeply, very confused. “Verna… why… why would they take your baby from you? They’re not going to do that. You were brought here because you are due within two weeks. They need you here to deliver the baby safely.” I tried to pull my hands away but she gripped them tighter.
“No, I know what’s going to happen. It’s happened before. Bianca–they took her baby, and they’ll take mine. Please, Mrs. Danevbie.” She began plucking at my wedding ring. “You love your husband, yes? Do it for the sake of love. Please. Lloyd… oh, Lloyd!” She let go of me and turned away, burying her face in her hands.
I frowned, trying to think of who Lloyd was. It took me a second and then I remembered. Lloyd Chambers, a grey rainbow who worked with his family, doing a lot of the carpentry and repair work around town. “Verna, I don’t know why you have it in your head they’ll take your baby away from you. They won’t. They–“
“They will!” she exclaimed. “Bianca, I made the same mistake as her and now–now I cannot do this, please!”
“Mistake?” I asked. “You mean, your baby?”
Her eyes filled with tears and she shook her head. “No. I want this baby, I want this baby so much but… I don’t want them to take it away. They will! You know they will! And I just want to go somewhere, and wait for Lloyd because I know he’ll come to me!”
I put my hand on my arm to try to comfort her. I had the feeling this had to do with the fact she was unmarried. Ancora was quite old-fashioned like that. “Verna, listen to me. I promise that everything will be okay. I–“
“What is going on out here?” Jay emerged from the building, looking rather angry. Verna gave a whimper of fear and stepped behind me.
“Nothing,” I said, straightening up a bit. “I was just assuring Verna that she’ll be fine.”
Jay folded her arms and scowled. “Well. Now that you’ve had your little empathy speech, please bring her down to the examining room.”
“Examination room?” I inquired. “Not her living quarters?”
Jay’s nostrils flared slightly. “No. The examination room, Danevbie. Or, if you cannot consent to doing such a simple task, I shall take her down myself.”
I shook my head and turned back to Verna who was staring me in fear. “Please. No,” she whispered hoarsely. “I’m begging you.”
“Now, Danevbie!” Jay snarled. “I do not like to be kept waiting!”
I pulled Verna with me, feeling rather sick at this. I felt as though I was doing something wrong but wasn’t sure what. I helped her to the examination room and I asked Jay if I could stay since, after all, I was allowed to do pretty much what I wanted. But Jay rather roughly pushed me out of the room.
“I do not appreciate your actions with Miss Hart above ground,” she hissed out, her nails digging into my shoulder. “I believe you’re getting a bit overconfident with yourself and if you do not watch it, you may be demoted.” She then sucked in a little bit of air and then a cold smile spread on her face. “I suggest you take the rest of the day to clear your head and… think about things. All right?” I looked past her at Verna quaking as she lay down on the table. Jay began scowling again and stepped forward, shutting the door behind her. “All right?” she growled.
“Y-yes, all right,” I gulped. “Am I demoted?” I asked in barely more than a squeak.
“Of course not, Luna!” Jay said, looking very taken aback (and looking very fake). “I wouldn’t dream of demoting such a dedicated worker. I just think getting some rest will help clear your head. Have a good day.” She flashed an equally fake smile at me as she slipped back into the examination room. I stumbled back and then headed to my office to get my things, feeling extremely bewildered.