Chapter 28: New Plans

Shortly after the dinner party, Melia sat down with her youngest sister, Dory. She was curious about her plans for the future.

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“Plans? I’m not familiar with such a thing!”

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“What? No plans?”

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“Not even the smallest, slightest vision?”

Melia wasn’t surprised to hear that. But she was worried. She didn’t want her little sister to just sit around the house, doing nothing. Since the wedding, Dory’s only activity was  playing My Little Pony. And coloring. And stealing cookies from the cookie jar.

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“Well, I’ve kinda decided to travel a bit.”

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“Oh, that’s…that’s actually a great idea, Dory!”

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“Where will you go? Windenburg?”

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“I’ve been…I’ve been thinking about something more…distant.”

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“More distant? Like what –  Moon?”

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“Have you ever heard about…the Gallery?”

Melia did heard about it. Rumours, mostly. And conspiracy theories. The Gallery was something like aliens – only insane people believed in those.

She slowly looked at her sister and sighed. There was no point in arguing.

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“The Gallery, you say, huh? And then? Where will you go from there?”

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“I will see. No plans, remember?”

Dory left first thing in the morning.

Younger Melia would have been relieved to see her go. To see all of her siblings go, so she could clean the house to perfection and read cooking books for hours. Quietly and alone, with no one running around, screaming or laughing or asking for dinner.

But her older self was nothing like that. Melia found out – to her own surprise – that she was worried. And sad. She was fighting the urge to get up and stop Dory from leaving. She wanted to call her thousand times just to make sure she was all right.

She spent her whole life wishing for an empty house and some privacy and some free time. But when she finaly got it all  – she found out that empty house is just that.

Empty.

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“What are you reading, honey?”

“Well,” Melia said slowly, observing Chris’ reaction , “it’s called Big Book of Baby Names. If you know what I mean.”

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“I think I have a hunch.”

And indeed, a couple of weeks later, despite a fact that they were both in their late thirties already, Melia found out she was pregnant.

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“To put it in culinary terminology – the bun is in the oven.”

Chris was over the moon to hear that. Melia…she couldn’t really decide how she felt. There were days when she was happy and anxious to meet the baby. And then there were those other days, full of worries and hesitation, when everything from pregnancy to bills  seemed terrifying and uncertain.

But most of the time, she was just calm and pieceful, slowly coming to terms with the novelty of it all.

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“Who would have thought that from all people, I would be the one to enjoy pregnancy.”

Eventually, Melia decided to quit her job. She wasn’t doing so well and the boss was horrible. She wanted to shift focus on her garden anyway. It has always been her  passion.

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And it was working beautifully with her other passion – cooking.

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She was getting better and better. It helped that she was using fresh, high quality crops from her garden but even without them, she was a real pro. More and more often, she started to think about not going back to work. Like ever.

Instead, a little idea about her own restaurant woke up in some deep, forgotten part of her brain and wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard she tried to think about something else. It kept growing bigger and bigger.

Just like the baby. And Melia.

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M: “Do you know what is the best thing about the pregnancy?”

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“Having an excuse to get fat.”

Nothing could hold Melia back once she started eating. She wanted to eat all the things. At once.

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“Must. Eat. Everything!”

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“Did you hear that, Devi? I think someone said…”

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“…mmmm, ice cream!”

Luckily, Chris didn’t mind. He had a food passion of his own, after all.

And he found Mel’s new shape pretty marvellous.

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“There’s an actual baby – our baby – inside. Can you believe it?”

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“Yes, I can. And you would believe it, too, if you’d get kicked by the baby all day long.”

“Good point,” Chris laughed and proceeded to kitchen to grab some breakfast. Melia already had her breakfast that day but it didn’t stop her from coming along.

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M: “Soooo, whatcha eating, babe? Can I have a bite?”

It was crazy. Maybe even slightly absurd. But luckily, the pregnancy came to the end before Melia was able to eat all the food supplies they had.

Everyone was relieved.

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Well, except Chris. He was freaking out all over the place when his wife went into labour.

It was not necessary, though. Melia handled it perfectly and she was doing just fine. And so were the babies.

Yes, two of them.

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“Double trouble, double fun!”

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“Aren’t we the lucky ones, my love?”

Chapter 27: The Journeys We Share

‘Hey, Mom and Dad.

It’s such a beautiful day, have you noticed? I hope you have. Although…hmm.. I’m not sure if that’s possible from where you are…’

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‘Anyway.

I’m here to tell you that we’re all doing great. We still miss you, of course, but… we moved on, I guess. We are back to living our lives now. And it’s been quite a ride, to be honest.

Dory’s wedding didn’t go as expected. She actually broke up with Alfred under the wedding arch. It was so shocking, you know, even for Dory – I’ve never thought she was that volatile. Poor Alfred!

It was not all bad, though. Because, well, Chris proposed right then and there and…we kinda got married immediately. I know it was highly inappropriate and I even felt sorry afterwards for acting so unconsiderably. I mean, getting married during my little sister’s wedding? I know it was practically called off by then, but still. It was weird. Really weird.

But at the same time, it was amazing. So amazing. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done. But it was also the truest and maybe even the bravest.

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Because, you know how I am – I’m not the one to jump with both feet into something. Responsible planning and worries and constant doubts are more my style. But I don’t need any of those with Chris. It’s like…like I’m safe with him or something.’

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“Wait, does it make sense? Or am I just amorously babbling like a teenager in love?”

‘Well, long story short: I love that man. So much that I’m willing to take risks. Everything is just so…clear with him. And easy! As easy as breathing.

At least in comparison with my previous, ehm, relationships.’

(I just really wanted to share these relationship panels at some point. Because, seriously, that’s quite a mess. 😀 )

‘But there are other news, much more exciting. Camilla gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Carlie and she is the most precious thing in the whole world. Camilla and Dom were both very happy when we congratulated them. Millie seemed tired, but enthusiastic.

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But you know Millie – enthusiasm should have been her middle name. And she loves Carlie to no extent. She even agreed to stay on full maternity leave with her. I can’t imagine it- restless, energic Camilla trapped at home with a baby? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Oh, and the house suffered some changes, too. We thought it was time to…adjust some rooms. Like your master bedroom – nobody used it since…you know, since you’ve been gone. So we removed your furniture and moved Devi there. She needed some extra space for her collections.

And her old room is now a study. Chris spends a lot of time there, since he has to work a lot. Bussiness is not fun these days. Although I’m pretty sure he sometimes goes there just to play some video games or read quietly, far away from the family chaos. I guess he needs some alone time from time to time.

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And we also moved the piano inside. Actually, we moved everything inside, I don’t think outside weather is good for wooden musical instruments or canvas. So we have a cosy, spacious hall in the middle of the house. Devi loves it, because she can now practise in her pyjamas. And you know Devi – she would spend her whole life in the PJs if she could.

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But considering her occasional laziness, she’s doing great. Her career is slowly proceeding, some company  hired her lately to write jingles for them. And in her free time, you know, she walks around the neighborhood looking for colorful rocks and frogs. And she’s as happy as ever.

And I also sold that small old table we had in the garden. It looked awful and it was way too small for this family, anyway.

But I knew you wouldn’t approve, Mom. I actually heard your upset voice in my head when I was giving it away. You kept saying: “But, but, that’s our table! That’s where Castor did his first homework, where I read fairytales to you, where we shared all of our meals and jokes and talks together. You can’t just give it away like that!” You know what I’m talking about.

So to compensate, I decided to keep the eating area outside for now. I bought a new table – it’s beautiful and, most importantly, big – so it can seat all of us. And that’s pretty something, isn’t it?’

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‘But just to be sure, I organized a little garden party and invited the whole family. We had tons of food, great music, llama jokes and small talks and spontaneous hugs… it was a family gathering you could be proud of, Mom, truly.

And it was so lovely to see us all together. I’m sure your heart would melt if you heard Castor and Damon’s conversation about…wait for it… yes, video games! It felt just like the old times.’

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C: “So while I was at my peak of raiding with my lvl 90 Night Elf Paladin, I was in a 25 man guild, rank 1 guild on the server, about rank 188 in the world…”

‘I didn’t understand a word, to be honest. And it was also nice to see all my siblings-in-law to get along well with each other. Even Kaya, who is practically a stranger to us, had a good time.

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Annabeth: “This food alone was a good enough reason to marry into this family.”

And your grandchildren had a blast, too. Castor’s kids, especially the girls, were their usual charming selves. They totally won the genetic lottery.

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I mean, just look at Serena.

And Damon’s little ones are awesome, too. So polite and smart – they were the first one to appreciate my salad.

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Colin (right):  “Aunt Mel, these tometoes taste like sunshine mixed with unicorn’s blessings.”

It was magical. All these people, some of them related, some of them not, sharing this particular space together in a fragile harmony. Each one of them represented different personality, different opinion, different background. But they were – we were – all so connected to one another, so warm inside – for we have managed to walk through this together, even if it’s just for a short time. Even if it’s just for a day. ‘

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“And getting to share your journey with someone for a little while – that’s what create order in this vast chaos we call life.”

‘And it’s all thanks to you two. You brought us all together, you make us belong. And in that belonging, I feel complete. I feel right. I feel your legacy running through my veins and that – that makes me feel meaningful. Because through these connections, these journeys we share – we are truly infinite.’

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“I can see it clearly now.”

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“And I’ll try to teach the next generation about it. I promise.”