We began working on getting settled into our new lives in Sunset Valley. The triplets took to their new life quite happily, especially our trips to the beach. Kellen and I looked for work but my heart wasn’t really into it. I had had enough of work to last me a lifetime. So Kellen took a job at the local science facility, and I–having been raised so high in my last job–did not. Instead I stayed at home and fulfilled my needs to work by taking care of the kids and tinkering with my inventions.
Rosalba didn’t enroll in public school. Kellen and I taught her at home, which we were all fine with. When we were out and about, the townspeople seemed vaguely nervous about a rainbow being in town. Especially once they found out she was living with Danevbies. Our family name wasn’t as stained as it used to be, but it still held enough muster that sometimes people would give us a sideways glance.
As more of Rosie’s birthdays passed by I could see she was anxious and edgy. She talked about her own place, a farm in dedication to her parents. Sunset Valley was just too much a town for her and besides, it was lonely being the only rainbow around. I didn’t blame her at all and so it was with great reluctance that I began to look into possibilities for her future. I loved her dearly but I had the feeling that life here was just not for her.
Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, we showed her a website that advertised a town full of rainbows. It was clear on the other side of the country–very far away. But it was built by rainbows, for rainbows. She seemed really cheered up by it and kept talking about going there one day.
I knew that if she moved there, I probably wouldn’t see her again. But I also knew what I wanted to do, and Kellen agreed. So we dipped into our funds and on her eighteenth birthday, we surprised her with a deed to a little house in Zephyr Hills.
“You–you–oh!” she gasped out. “Aunt Luna, Uncle Kellen… this is too much! I can’t!”
“We want you to have it,” Kellen said, closing her hands around the deed.
“Does this mean Rosie is gonna leave us?” Viola asked, looking sad. Over the past four years the kids had grown as close as siblings and I knew it would be hard on all of them.
“I’ll call, and visit when I can,” Rosalba promised, hugging Viola.
“And you’ll write to us too, right?” Sebastian asked, his eyes big behind his glasses.
“All the time,” she said, hugging him tightly and ruffling his hair.
“And send pictures of your farm?” inquired Cesario, and it was his turn to get a big hug from Rosie.
“Loads of pictures,” she laughed.
The calls, the letters, the pictures–most likely. However the visits would be rather expensive and difficult. But who knew? Maybe she would be able to visit someday. It was something to hope for. So long as she was happy with her life, I would be happy.
Saying goodbye to her was very difficult, though. There were plenty of tears, from me and Viola. Sebastian and Cesario–being ‘big boys’–refused to cry but the night that Rosie left, I could hear them both sniffling in their rooms.
“You have that look on your face. What are you thinking?”
I glanced up at Kellen, and smiled. “We’re getting older,” I said. “Soon we’ll be forty. The kids will be grown up, going out to live their own lives. Saying goodbye to Rosie yesterday really made me realize just how close that day is.”
“Not for another seven years,” Kellen said, flopping onto his bed. “They’re only eleven.”
I snuggled close to him, breathing in his scent. “Yeah, seven years is a long time. Who knows, maybe by then we’ll be happy to have them out of the house.”
Kellen wriggled his eyebrows. “We’ll still be young. Maybe we can try for another…”
I laughed, smacking him with my pillow. “Silly,” I chuckled, although the idea wasn’t far-fetched. “I was going through the boxes in the attic today.”
“Is that what’s gotten you so worked up?” he asked, rolling onto his back and watching me upside-down.
“I found something…” I trailed off and looked over at my dresser. “I had forgotten about it. I shouldn’t have forgot about it. Maybe if I had it up, none of this would have ever happened.”
“What? Us? Or Ancora?” Kellen asked, sitting up quickly.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess… even if we didn’t work there, Jay still would have tired of the experiment and destroyed it. Only it wouldn’t have just been two lives lost.” I got up and went over to the dresser, pulling out the plaque my dad had given me so many years ago. “She screwed up his life. Jay, I mean. And my grandpa Jacob. And that messed up my Dad quite a bit plus the whole thing with my Mom. And now she’s messed with me.”
Kellen came up behind me, wrapping his arms around me. “Screwed up? I know she’s done nutty things but because of her, Jacob had Calcifer. And they your mother to your father. And if it wasn’t for Jay… maybe we never would have gotten together.”
I turned, raising my eyebrows. “So what? She’s some sort of twisted fairy godmother?”
He brushed my lips with his fingers. “She is a terrible monster. But the past is the past, sweetie. What she’s done cannot be undone.”
“I know.” I leaned against him and lifted the plaque again. “Fat lot of good this did me. Probably would have been better to give to Orion. Or Kyle, or Tempest…”
Kellen kissed me. “So why don’t you pass it on? Maybe it will do good by one of the kids.”
“Maybe I will,” I murmured, running my finger over the name Jacob Danevbie. It had been a special inheritance of mine but I ignored it. Maybe I should give it to one of the kids when they go off to college. Maybe it will inspire them. I thought of each of them, and instinctively knew which would need it. “Sebastian,” I said.
My husband nodded slowly. “The most quiet, the shyest,” Kellen said, taking the plaque and setting it on the dresser. “Like you?” he added and I looked away with a roll of my eyes. It wasn’t because he was like me that I had thought of Seb. Okay, so the quiet and shy thing was part of it. But I had the feeling he needed a little extra push, more so than outgoing Vi or energetic Zari.
“In the mean time…” Kellen scooped me up into his arms and carried me to the bed, both of us laughing.
“I can’t imagine trying to go through my crazy life without you,” I said, touching his cheek as he lay me on the bed.
“I would never want to be without you,” he replied, stretching out next to me. “From now until the end of time.”
“From this day to the ending of the world,” I quoted.
“But we in it shall be remembered,” he continued, taking my hand and kissing the back.
“We few,” I said and tried to look very solemn. “We happy few. We… Danevbies.”
Kellen gave me a strange look then burst into laughter, grabbing his pillow and hitting me with it. I grabbed mine and hit him back. But by the time the feathers settled, we were once more in an embrace, and my guilt and depression began drifting away as easily as the feathers and I knew that though the guilt may be with me for all my days, it was much easier to bear being around those I loved.