Author Topic: Family Time  (Read 666 times)

Rhys Bristol

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Family Time
« on: August 01, 2019, 08:49:42 PM »
((The following takes place after Dev and Amaris take their leave of the Bristols.))

"Mama, I'm hungry!" Ana complained, pouting prettily, though they'd only recently enjoyed a snack of biscuits and iced tea.

Breaking the kiss, Nat looked over at her daughter, reaching up to tweak the little chin fondly. "Are you hungry, or are you bored, solnyshka?" she asked. "What did you do with your brother?"

"He's taking a nap," Ana was quick to reply, turning to point at the little boy curled up in the grass, his thumb in his mouth.

Rhys reluctantly climbed to his feet. "I'll get him," he volunteered, moving over to pluck the little boy off the grass and into his arms. "Time for a nap, sleepyhead."

"Oh." Nat laughed as she sat up, unsurprised to see Micah out like a light on the grass. With Rhys lifting his son up to tuck him in for an hour or so, she wrapped her arm about Ana. "Are you happy, solynshka?"

Ana frowned a moment as if considering her mother's question. She waited until her father and little brother were far enough away not to hear before replying as honestly as she could. "Will you and Papa still love me when the new baby comes?" she asked, though she had no reason to believe otherwise.

"Oh, malyutka, of course we will." Nat sat herself up more comfortably, pulling Ana into her lap. "Love is not something that runs out. It gets bigger the more you have to love. You know I love you more now than I did when you were tiny? I love you more every day, and having a new baby will not change that."

"Really?" the little girl asked, looking up at her mother with big, innocent eyes. She never worried about her parents loving Micah more than her, but she was older now and didn't remember much about her little brother's birth. "Papa said babies take a lot of time." Would there be time left for her and for Micah?

"Really. And yes, babies take up a lot of time, but they don't take up all the time," Nat assured her. "We will always have time for you, and for Micah, malyutka. Always. What would we do without our little troublemakers?"

Ana smiled at her mother's reassurance, eyes bright with mischief, not unlike her father's. "And Papa is your big troublemaker," she said, repeating something she'd overheard her mother say at some point in the recent past.

"Da, he is," Nat agreed with a warm smile. "But don't tell him that too much, or he sulks. With a huge pout, like this!" She stuck out her lower lip as far as it could go, batting her lashes mournfully at her daughter.

Ana giggled, not only at her mother's imitation of her father's pout, but at the thought of her father pouting at all. "But you still love him, just like you love us," she said, snuggling in against her mother, one hand resting against her mother's bump, where somewhere inside the new baby was growing. "Are you sure it's a little brother?" she asked curiously.

"Exactly, little one." Hugging Ana close, Nat brushed a kiss to her curls. "We don't know for sure, but we think it will be a little boy," she told Ana, refusing to lie to her unless it was absolutely necessary. "So you and me, we will be outnumbered by boys! We should stick together."

Ana frowned a little at this, not because she disliked the idea of having a little brother, but because of something else. "If I'm very good, can I have a little sister next time?" she asked, as sweetly as she could, almost as if she was merely asking for an ice cream cone or a new puppy.

Nat blinked, her mind racing to come up with something she could say in response to that. "Perhaps, if you ask the Lady very nicely, she will tell you if we are going to have another little girl," she suggested innocently.

"But I am asking you," Ana said, offering a pout of her own. What did the Lady have to do with it anyway, when it was her mother who would or would not have a baby. Or was it the Lady who decided such things?

"Darling, I do not have any control over whether it is a boy or a girl," Nat told her honestly. "Would it really be so bad to be the only girl? And the oldest, too! And you have Morgan and Amy and Alessandra as well. Why do you want a little sister to have to share your Papa with?"

Ana pouted. Put that way, it didn't seem like such a bad thing, but as much as she adored her little brother, she wanted a little sister, too. What was wrong with wanting to have one of each?

"No, Mama," she said, not wanting to upset her mother, as she snuggled in for a hug. She already loved the little brother growing inside her mother, but she was secretly hoping for a little sister, too.

Wrapping her daughter close in a warm hug, Nat rested her cheek on the wayward braid Rhys had left in his wake. "It would be nice to have another girl," she agreed softly. "And it might happen. But I do not want to make you a promise that I have no way of keeping, solnyshka."

"If I ask the Lady for a baby sister, will she give me one?" Ana asked, assuming it was the Lady of Avalon who had control over such things. She lifted her head to look up into her mother's face with hopeful eyes.

"No, darling, it does not work like that," Nat told her, stroking her hair affectionately. "But she will be able to tell you if there is a baby sister in your future. The Lady can see a little bit further than we can - she can see things that will happen in a few years."
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"Dream On" - Aerosmith

Rhys Bristol

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Re: Family Time
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2019, 08:50:02 PM »
"Oh," Ana said, a thoughtful expression on her face as she considered this. "Is that how she saw Micah and the new baby?" she asked curiously. If the Lady could only see a few years into the future, then maybe there was still hope.

"Da, that is how. That is how we knew you were coming as well, little one." She gently tapped Ana's little nose with her finger. "There might be more babies to come. I only saw our family when this one in here was two years old. Do you think you can wait two years to find out if there will be another one, or should we go to the Lady tomorrow and ask?"

Ana screwed up her nose, unsure what the proper answer to that question was. She really wanted to go ask the Lady now, but she could wait until tomorrow if she had to. Or would it be better to be patient and wait? Two years was such a long time. A lot longer than waiting until Christmas. Her Papa always told her surprises were better if you didn't know they were coming, but she really wanted to know.

"I don't know, Mama."

Nat smiled at her. "Ana, there is no wrong answer," she promised softly. "And you can change your mind. If you say today you want to wait, but tomorrow you want to ask the Lady, then we will ask the Lady. What do you want to do?"

"Papa says surprises aren't as good if you know they are coming," Ana reasoned. Though she really wanted to know, it sort of felt like cheating, and yet, she was just a little girl, after all, and her heart was yearning to know. She thought about it a moment, chewing at the corner of her mouth. "I think I want to know." She was her father's daughter, after all.

"There will still be a surprise, malyutka," Nat assured her. "The Lady cannot tell us when we can expect another baby, only that one may be coming. There will still be a surprise if there is another baby for our family still to come." She kissed Ana's brow fondly. "We will ask the Lady tomorrow," she promised. "I am curious too."

"Thank you, Mama!" Ana said, wrapping her arms around her mother's ever-expanding waist to give her a hug. "Ya lyublyu tebya," she said, in her mother's native Russian. Yes, she had been picking up a little, despite the fact that her parents' hadn't been actively teaching it to her.

Hugging the little girl close, Nat smiled at the beautiful sound of her daughter sharing that sentiment in a language that she would likely never need to learn. "I love you too, solnyshka," she murmured, squeezing for a moment longer. "Shall we go and see what we can make for dinner tonight?"

"Da, Mama!"Ana nodded enthusiastically. Now that that was settled, she returned to her usual bright, sunny self. She popped up onto her feet, and took both her mother's hand to pull her up with her. "Are Maris and Mr. Dev having dinner with us?" she asked.

Careful not to put too much of the effort onto Ana, Nat heaved herself up onto her feet. "Yes, they are," she agreed. "And they will be staying tonight, as well."

That put the bright smile back on Ana's face, and she clapped her hands and jumped up and down with glee. "Yay! Micah will be so happy." It was no secret that her little brother had a bit of a crush on "Umreese".

"I think we still have some of the sugar we smuggled in," Nat told her as they walked toward the house. "Should we make some strawberry fool for dessert?"

"Can we?" Ana asked, face brightening. She wasn't the type to stay moody for very long. "Papa will like that," she said, knowing well her father's fondness for sweets.

"Of course we can! No one make meringues like you, solnyshka!" Chuckling, Nat drew her into the house, moving to find the little stool Ana used to help out in the kitchen.

Given the fact that Rhys hadn't rejoined them, there was a good chance he was already at work getting dinner started, while Micah napped. Rhys was no stranger to the kitchen, and the smell of good things cooking greeted them as they returned.

Nat grinned as she set Ana up with egg whites and sugar to beat into submission, moving to kiss Rhys' cheek. "We have dessert covered," she told him impishly.

Rhys grinned at the kiss. He was always happiest when he was in Avalon. Even if there were chores aplenty here, there were no dangers and no threats to worry about here.

"How are my two favorite girls?" he asked, kissing each one on the cheek and eliciting a giggle from Ana.

"We were just making plans for what to do tomorrow," Nat told him, unearthing the strawberries to begin removing the stalks. She looked over at Ana, happily whipping like a fiend. "Do you think Elaine would mind a visit?"

Rhys arched a brow, moving over to finish peeling potatoes. "Elaine?" he echoed. "Why would she mind?" he asked, curiously. Nat knew as well as he did how lonely the Lady got and how much she enjoyed their visits.

"Well, we do tend to just drop in," Nat pointed out in amusement. "I am sure there have been times when she has had other things she should have been doing. Ana would like to see her."

"Oh?" Rhys said, taking a peek over at Ana. That wasn't all that unusual really, given the fact that their daughter was very fond of the Lady and vice versa, but he sensed there was something there Nat wasn't telling him. He didn't have to wonder long though, as Ana wasn't afraid to share her reason for wanting to see the Lady.

"I want to ask her if I'm ever gonna have a baby sister," she said, as she kept vigilantly whipping the sugar and egg whites together.

Nat chuckled quietly to herself as she sliced the strawberries swiftly, filling the bowl as she did so. "I must admit, I too am curious if this is where we will stop with our family," she said. "I only saw three, but this one was only two years old."

"Uh," Rhys murmured, at a loss for words for a moment. He had just turned forty, but his own age hardly mattered. It was Nat's age that was important, and she likely still had a few years left to have children - if she wanted them. "I didn't know you wanted a baby sister."
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay.

"Dream On" - Aerosmith

Rhys Bristol

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Re: Family Time
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2019, 08:50:36 PM »
Ana shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal. "Two boys and two girls. Then Micah gets a baby brother and I get a baby sister," she said, as though it was perfectly logical.

Rhys shot a questioning look over at Nat without saying a word.

Nat shrugged, smiling back at Rhys. She didn't mind if there was another pregnancy in her future, but she would hope to stop at four. "Of course, solnyshka, a baby brother is for both of you," she pointed out to Ana. "And so would a baby sister be."

"Da, Mama, but then I can share my room with my sister," Ana pointed out, clearly knowing the difference between boys and girls by now. While she was close to Amy and Morgan and Aly, it wasn't quite the same thing as having a little sister of her own. "And I can teach her things. And we can share secrets."

"Ah, I see." Nat's smile was just a little pained, remembering her own childhood with a twin sister who had shared everything with her right up to the point where she'd been forced to set in motion the events that had resulted in Natasha going to prison. She swallowed down that sense of bitterness, her smile relaxing for Ana's benefit. "That does make a little more sense now."

Of course, Ana knew nothing about that, nor was there any reason to suspect any of their children would turn out evil. Rhys knew about that and suspected from the look on Nat's face that she was remembering it. As for himself, his sister had been taken from him at birth, and he'd only been reunited with her a few years ago. He put down the potatoes, wiped his hands on a towel, and moved over between his two "favorite girls", one arm around each of them.

"We'll see what the future brings, okay? In the meantime, we should be grateful for what we have."

"Oh, I am very grateful for what I have," Nat assured him in a teasing tone. "I have two bouncing boys, a glorious girl, and some kind of beach ball growing inside me."

Ana giggled. "Papa isn't a boy. He's a man, and he doesn't bounce," she pointed out.

"Oh, really?" Rhys replied with a challenging grin. "Have you ever seen me on a trampoline?"

"Well, there goes that surprise," Nat muttered laughingly. The children were going to be delighted with the trampoline she had halfway bribed Gina and Joey into setting up in their Brooklyn garden for them while they were away.

"What?" Rhys said, trying to look innocent. "I didn't say anything!" he said, just a little too defensively.

Ana furrowed her little brows, as she looked between her parents. She might be a child, but she wasn't stupid. "You got us a ... What is a tramp'lean?" she asked, unfamiliar with the word.

Laughing, Nat leaned over and kissed the little girl's furrowed brow. "You will see when we get home," she said. "That way, it will stay a surprise."

"Okay, Mama!" the little girl replied, agreeably enough. Whatever the surprise was, she trusted her parents with it. "Can I play outside with Sasha and Cody?" she asked. Now that the meringue was finished, she was getting bored with cooking.

"Of course, solnyshka. Thank you for doing the meringue for me, it looks wonderful!" It didn't, and it needed more of a beating, but Nat was determined to make sure their children felt as though their contribution was always appreciated.

"You're welcome!" Ana replied, as Rhys picked her up and set her down on the floor. She paused a moment to hug her parents both around the legs before skipping out the door to play with the dogs.

"Okay, spill," Rhys said, turning back to Nat, once their daughter was out of earshot.

"What?" Nat blinked, confused by Rhys' unexpected demand for information. She picked up the bowl Ana had been using, automatically beating the contents until they started to thicken up properly.

"What was that all about? I had no idea Ana wants a little sister," he said, assuming their daughter had said something to her mother when he wasn't there.

"Neither did I," his wife admitted with a low laugh. "She asked me if next time we could have a little girl, and she wasn't letting me answer vaguely, so I suggested we ask the Lady if there are any more babies in the future for us."

"Next time?" Rhys echoed, blinking in surprise. "I didn't know there was gonna be a next time," he admitted, which seemed to be Nat's feeling, as well. If there was, the Lady hadn't mentioned it, but maybe she couldn't see everything.

"It is an intriguing thought, is it not?" She set the bowl down, turning to face him. "I would not mind having four little ones, Rhys. But four is enough, I think."

Rhys seemed lost in his thoughts for a moment, imagining what life might be like with four children, rather than three. He smiled as he blinked out of his thoughts and reached over to wipe a bit of meringue from her cheek, only to lick it off his finger. "You mean you don't want a half dozen?" he teased.

"With the dogs, that makes half a dozen." she pointed out, prodding his stomach affectionately. Her smile faded for a moment. "She was worried that we might not have enough love for her when the new baby is born, too."

"Oh, well, that's just silly," Rhys said, batting at her hand as she prodded his stomach, like he was the Pillsbury doughboy. He furrowed his brows at her, another question nagging at him. "But do you want another? I mean, you haven't even finished with this one yet!"

"We will see," she said practically. "Elaine might tell us to expect another, or she might not. Ana will likely forget that she wants a little sister at some point in the next two years, anyway."

"Well, I'm not getting any younger," he pointed out, though he'd heard that forty was the new thirty, or something like that. He frowned further. "I found a gray the other day," he complained.

Nat raised a brow. "Dusha moya, I have been finding grays in my hair since I was 24," she told him with a smile. "It is nothing to worry yourself about."

"There you go calling me a douche again," he said, a teasing smirk on his face. He wrapped his arms around her from behind, his hands settling against her bump, his lips brushing a kiss against her neck. "Gray or not, you're the prettiest girl I ever met," he flattered her. "Do you want me to talk to her?" he asked, coming back around to the subject of their daughter.

Everybody's got their dues in life to pay.

"Dream On" - Aerosmith

Rhys Bristol

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Re: Family Time
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2019, 08:50:56 PM »
She laughed, leaning back into him fondly, her hands covering his over the bump at her waist. "I am sure she would feel better hearing it from both of us," she agreed. "Micah is too small yet to worry too much about a new baby, but it seems to be preying on Ana's mind."

"We'll just have to prove to her that having another baby won't change how we feel about her," he said. He wasn't sure mere words would do that, but once the baby was born and she saw they still loved her as much as ever, he hoped she'd feel better.

"And we will," Nat promised him. "But for now, a little reassurance won't go amiss." She tilted her head back to look at him. "How many people are we feeding tonight?"

"Mmm," he murmured in agreement. He made a mental note to have a little talk with Ana later and make sure she knew no matter how many children they had, their love for her wouldn't change. He shrugged in answer to her question. "Just Maris and Dev, I think," he replied, not having heard otherwise.

"I should make up the spare room for them," she mused, though she made no attempt to move. She liked the quiet moments with Rhys too much to bring them to an end prematurely. "I do not think they would be comfortable to stay in one of the guest cottages."

"Probably not," he said, leaning over her shoulder to scoop up a bit of meringue on his fingertip again and lick it off, with a boyish grin. "We should make their stay memorable," he added, though it was unlikely they'd ever forget Avalon.

"Oh, I do not think they will ever forget today." Nat laughed, smacking his hand lightly. "Stop that. I suppose I should finish making this and put it in the cold store before you eat it all!"

"I only had a little!" he assured her, unable to stop grinning. "Do you think they'll ever come back?" he asked, though neither of them could know the answer to that.

"I have no idea, milaya," she sighed softly. "In a way, we should hope they do not. I believe the only reason they would return would be if something terrible happened."

"I guess," he admitted, untangling himself from her so she could finish up the dessert and he could take a peek out the window at Ana. Though she was perfectly safe here in Avalon, he could never be too sure. "It's just nice having friends and family here sometimes." Of course, they could just as easily see those same friends and family back home in Brooklyn. Except for his sister.

"I know." She smiled as she turned back to the dessert. "But we can always get Rachel and Zachariel to New York for large family gatherings. I think that was the plan for Christmas, wasn't it? We were going to host this year?" With a new baby in the house. That would be interesting.

"Do you think that's a good idea?" he asked. He'd had a vision of Zach and Rachel visiting them somewhere on Earth someday, but he wasn't too sure when or where. Were they ready for a trip to New York, or would it prove too much for them?

"They came on their own last time," she pointed out, but let out a laugh as she did so. "Perhaps we should get them some modern clothing, so they do not end up wearing everything Lionel can find in our closet this time."

"Sorry, I guess I'm a little over-protective," he apologized, as he peeked out the window at Ana, chasing or being chased by Cody and Sasha. As big as they were, they were good with the children and better than a bodyguard at keeping them safe.

"Rhys, they do not even need to attempt the city any longer," Nat reminded him. "I can bring them across the mists to wherever they need to be. I am sure Rachel would have something to say about being told she cannot visit Earth, too."

"I just don't want them to get into any trouble," he said, knowing how naive his sister and her mate were, despite Zachariel having once been immortal. Not as naive as they'd once been though.

"They won't." Nat smiled over at him, gently stirring thick cream and strawberries into the meringue mixture. "Try not to worry so much, hmm? Otherwise you are going to find more gray hairs."

Rhys smiled as he turned back to her, satisfied Ana was safe. "Is that how you got your grays?" he asked, moving over to finish peeling the potatoes. If she had some, he hadn't noticed, or maybe he just didn't care to notice.

"I am very proud of my gray hairs, thank you," she said with impish pertness. "I have always seen them a sign that I am living my life exactly as I should be."

"Hmm, maybe I should ask the Lady for a youth serum," he said, winking over at her. "If we're gonna have four kids, I'm gonna need it!" he added, chuckling.

She snorted with laughter. "You are far too concerned with a number, milaya," she informed him, covering the bowl before picking it up. "That is all it is, a number. You will never be old."

"Young at heart maybe, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get old," he told her. "It's just not enough time, Nat," he said after a moment, frowning at the half-peeled potato he was holding in his hand.

She paused, juggling the bowl onto one hand to let her lay the other on his arm gently. "Then we make the most of the time we have," she told him. "If life went on forever, would we live, or would we just exist? I would rather live."

He smiled, leaning over to touch a kiss to her lips. "You're right, as always. Who wants to live forever anyway?" he asked, believing in the immortality of the soul anyway. "Here, let me," he said, leaving the potato on the table and moving to help her with the bowl. "Where do you want this?"

She couldn't help laughing a little. He was adorably over-protective when she was pregnant, but taking over carrying a bowl was a little much. "It just needs to go into the cold store," she told him, letting him have the bowl.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied obediently. "I need to check the chicken. I'll be right back," he promised, pushing outside to take the cake to the cold storage and check on the spit on the spit outside. If there was one thing about Avalon, it was that they had no modern conveniences here, but Rhys had never complained.

What was there to complain about, after all? The threat from the rogue vampires and lycans had been eliminated, and Rhys was surrounded by family and friends in a place he thought of as home.

No matter where they were, Avalon would always be home. And that was something neither he nor Nat had truly had until they had found each other. So what if their future held one more child than they had expected? They could handle it. They could handle anything, if they stuck together.

And there was no reason to believe they wouldn't; after all, they had the Lady on their side.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 08:52:53 PM by Rhys Bristol »
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay.

"Dream On" - Aerosmith