"So, Kenny, how would you like to spend your birthday/graduation?"
"Well, I've been thinking about it, and I'd like to just have a nice, quiet birthday, just you and Grace, and maybe Carol, if you don't mind?"
"Oh, sure! That sounds great."
"Could Carol actually celebrate her graduation with us too? Her Gammy has been sick, and isn't going to be able to have any kind of party for her right now."
"Oh. Well of course! Are you sure she wants to spend her birthday with people she doesn't know all that well?"
"Oh definitely. I've already talked to her about it. We really want to celebrate together. But, there is something that would help. Do you think you could call Gammy and invite Carol over to the party? I think it would make her feel better to know that we want to help with Carol's birthday since Gammy can't."
"Oh sure, no problem! I'll get on the phone tonight, and tomorrow, we'll have a party!"
It's true, Gammy had been sick, and couldn't throw Carol a party. Once she got completely back on her feet she was planning to do one big party for all of the kids for their graduation. But, Carol still hadn't found a way to break up with Seiko peaceably, so we knew the only way he wouldn't make a big deal about Carol coming over here was if it was Gammy's idea. Hence my mom asking Gammy to have Carol over. I really hoped our plan would work, and finally Carol and I would be able to spend some time out of school together. I was so ready for her to graduate and break up with Seiko, so we could move on with our lives!
Carol came home with me from school, and sure enough, my mom had bought two identical cakes for us. Before we went in, Carol looked at me nervously. "Are you sure your family is going to like me?"
"Sure they will! My mom and sister are cool. I promise. Come on!"
As soon as Carol had a chance to greet my mom and Grace,we lit the candles and celebrated becoming young adults!
Happy Birthday to Me! And Carol!
Carol looked stunning. I couldn't get over how pretty she was. She's always been pretty, now she was gorgeous. I kept watching her out of the corner of my eye while she chatted with my mom. They were getting along well, I think my Mom liked her! I think I was starting to become more of a Hopeless Romantic, I really believed that no matter how difficult the road ahead was, her and I were meant to be.
After cake, Carol went to go watch TV, and it was just me and mom in the dining room, I took my chance to ask her what she thought of Carol.
"She's a very nice girl, Kenny. I could see the two of you together.”
I smiled. "Yeah, me too."
"Don't rush things, though, ok? Let your relationship happen naturally. I mean, you both just now became young adults, you both should probably take some time to figure out what you want to do with your lives, and focus on that at first."
"Don't worry mom, I wouldn't rush things."
With that, I went to find Carol.
"Hey, we're adults now!"
"Yeah, I know! Thank you so much for letting me celebrate with you guys. You were right, you mom and sister are great, I really like your mom a lot."
"I think she likes you too."
"So, we haven't been alone together outside of school, in well, forever!"
"I know. I've missed spending time with you."
"Carol, now that we are free from school, and we're adults, could we talk about something that we haven't been able to talk about?"
“Oh, right, I suppose we can.”
"So, what are your plans? Are you going to move out? Have you thought about how you are going to deal with Seiko?"
She let out a big sigh and gave me a small frown.
“Kenny, I can’t move out right now. Not with Gammy being this sick. She’s the only parental figure in my life who has really cared for me. If I move out now, I might be missing out on valuable last moments with her.”
“Well, I guess I can understand that. My mom is getting older too, and I definitely wouldn’t want to move away from her right now, either.”
“I’m glad you understand. As for Seiko, well, he and I have been fighting a lot. I think he knows just as well as I do that we are almost over. But we’ve been careful not to fight in front of Gammy, we don’t want to add any stress. So, I don’t know if trying to break up with Seiko right now would be a good thing or not.”
“Well, if Seiko is also trying to keep Gammy from unneeded stress, maybe now would be a good time, because he’d have to control himself, for Gammy’s sake.”
“Hmm, you know, I never thought of it that way. You might be right. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about just the right things to say and the way to do it. It might take me a while to figure that out.”
“Well, I understand how delicate the situation is, but please, tell me now that we are adults we can start hanging out again! We don’t have school anymore.”
“Yes, I think we can get away with hanging out again. I would like to try to at least keep it somewhat discreet, like maybe just not hang out at my house.”
“Sure, that works for me!”
“Well, it’s getting late, I better get home. Thank you again Kenny, this evening was so wonderful. I can’t imagine anyone else I'd want to spend my birthday with.”
“Right back at ya. Will you call me tomorrow?”
“I’ll try. Maybe if Gammy’s ok, I could even come over for a little bit.”
“Ok, that would be great!”
I didn’t hear from Carol for 3 days. I decided I had done enough pushing lately, and I really wanted Carol to start showing some signs of wanting to be with me like I wanted to be with her. There was always an excuse of why not to break up with Seiko, and I understood it wasn’t an easy thing. But, really, I needed her to at least make a few steps towards our relationship.
I did a pretty good job of keeping myself busy in the mean time. My mom’s job was going well, and she was still working full time hours, but her age was making it hard to keep up with the extra things she did around town, since she was a pretty well-known celebrity. So, I started taking a few of her tasks to help lighten her load a little. Besides, a lot of the extra things she needed done involved meeting some of her friends, who were elders in the community, and when you have goals like mine, it’s good to know the people who make things happen!
One day while taking a breather at the beach across from our house, I ran into Mikinna, and boy did she surprise me!
“Hey little bro!!! Look at you all grown up!”
“Hey, look at you, all knocked up!”
She laughed so hard, I started laughing with her. I missed my sister’s carefree attitude about life. She let me feel the baby kick. It was so cool!
“So, who’s the lucky guy?”
“His name is Cody, I met him at the consignment store. I’m due any day now.”
“Wow! Congrats! Do you know what it’s going to be?”
“Well, no. But, uh… how do I say this, the baby will definitely take after the father.”
“What does that mean?”
“Cody is a vampire. Our child will be too.”
“Does that bother you?”
“Psh… no way. As long as you are happy and this Cody guy is a good guy and treating you right, I’m totally happy for you sis!”
“Cody is great. We’ve been living together for a while now, and I really love him a lot.”
“That’s awesome sis, it really is. Well, I gotta go. Good bye little niece or nephew!”
So, what do you know, my wild and crazy sister settled down with someone, and is having his kid! Woah.
I also spent some time at the clubs. I met some of Mom's friends there to talk civil type stuff, you know. I know the elderly ladies I hung out with got a few looks from the other people at the club, no doubt thinking they were cougars, but eh, what did I care what other people thought! Mom’s friends were nice, wise, and chill. My kind of people to hang out with.
I also spent some time at the junk yard collecting scrap for my next invention. It had been a while since I’d completed one, so I was quite proud when I finished one in one night!
Once Mom saw how great I was handling all of her social business, she just skipped the middle man and had her coordinator call me instead of her. I had no problem filling in for Mom, and luckily for me, everyone seemed just as happy to see me as they would have been her. I often made special presentations as well, which was probably my favorite thing to do.
Then, that next morning, I finally heard from Carol. She invited me to the Graduation bash that Gammy was throwing for all of her foster kids in honor of them graduating. Of course, I said I’d be there.
Then that night Mom and I had an unforgettable conversation in the kitchen.
“So, I delivered that check to the school, they were so happy to get that money for a computer lab!”
“Oh good. I knew it would be a big help. You know, I’ve been so proud of you these past few days. I watched you and Carol at your party, and I noticed how much you adore her. And for you to be giving her space like this without losing your mind and growing lovesick, well, I just think you are amazing.”
“Thanks Mom. It hasn’t been easy, but I thought about what you told me that one day about knowing whether someone is right for you or not, and I think I do know. I think I knew the minute I saw her turn into a young adult that she was the one. And now that I know that, I’m just going to be patient, and let love come to me. I don’t want to chase it too much, you know?”
“I know. Well, just keep doing what you are doing, spend time making new friends, and contributing to the world. It will make the wait more worthwhile.”
“Yeah, I think you’re right mom.”
She hugged me tight.
“Just remember to follow your heart, ok? If you promise me you'll listen to your heart, I won't worry about you so much.”
“Ok Mom, I promise.”
Then it happened. My mom sort of dissipated into a glowing light. It took me a few seconds to realize what exactly was happening. Then, I heard the thunder and maniacal laugh of the Grim Reaper, and I knew. My mom was leaving me.
Even our Butler was distraught over the passing of my mom. I couldn’t believe she was really gone. I had just barely started my Young adult life, and now, I had no parents to glean wisdom from. I would hold that last conversation with me for the rest of my life, a treasure.
We laid her remains to rest next to my father’s grave outside. Together forever.
The next night was Carol’s party, and I was not in a partying mood. But I did desperately want to see Carol, as I felt like she was the only one who could comfort me right now. I also wanted to tell her that she was right for wanting to spend as much time with her Gammy as she could. I understood that now.
I stood outside the door, and tried to psyche myself up to go inside and act at least somewhat happy. I got the last bit of my grief out, and headed up the stairs.
After asking several people, I finally figured out that Carol was up on the 3rd floor chatting in one of the bedrooms.
When I walked in, Carol immediately cut off the conversation she was having with a nice man, and hugged me.
“Oh, Kenny, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. Please tell me you are doing ok?”
This left a bit of an awkward moment, for the guy to realize he was suddenly not in the conversation anymore, and he excused himself and left the room.
“I’m doing alright, I guess. I mean, me and my mom were close, and we were having a meaningful conversation when she passed.”
“That’s good to hear. I worried about you all night last night.”
“Aw, thanks. I’m sure I’ll be ok soon. I hope you understand, I don’t plan on staying here at the party long, I just wanted to see you and talk to you.”
“Oh, of course, I’m so glad you came despite of everything.”
“I wanted to tell you that you are doing the right thing by staying close to Gammy while she’s sick, and probably has her days numbered. I was starting to think that you were just making excuses or something, to delay moving out and starting something with me, but now I know it really is important for you to spend as much time with her as you can.”
“OH. Wow. You thought I was just making an excuse? Why would you think that? I wouldn’t do that to you Kenny, not purposefully, anyways!”
“Well, I see that now. You were right about making sure every moment counts. I just wanted to let you know that. And that I’ll be here waiting for you once your duties here are done. That is, if you’ll still be interested.”
“Of course, I’ll still be interested. I’ve never stopped being interested. Even if it didn’t seem like it.”
“Good. Well, those are the words I’ll hold close to me until I see you again. I’m going to go now. Have a great party. And congrats again.”
“Thanks Kenny. Take care. Call me if you want to talk, ok? Since Gammy has been feeling well enough to finally throw this party, I could probably get away one afternoon to see you.”
“Ok. I’ll call.”
And with that, I left for home. I wasn’t looking forward to going home to a huge house that was now practically empty. Just me and Grace when she wasn’t working, and occasionally the butler. I hoped it wouldn’t take long for the depression and emptiness that my mother left in my heart to pass, and for life to move on. I couldn't help one other thought creeping into my mind as I was leaving. Would Carol and I ever be together?
****buckey's notes*- Just because I probably won't be mentioning it in the next few chapters, Mikinna's man is the Vampire boyfriend that Jeanna's brother, Jacques was living with way back in Gen 2! And, eventually, he and Mikinna have 3 kids together, 2 girls and a boy. And we say goodbye to Symphony in this chapter. :*( Just for fun, I'll include one more pic from her death scene, I don't know if it's noticable from the pics above or not, but she had a bowl stuck to her hand when she died! So when she pleads for more time, it looks like she's offering Grim a treat!