It had just been another day at Maple Grove Manor. Not a birthday or a holiday or a special day of any kind, just a normal day filled with the usual, mundane, everyday tasks - the usual hustle and bustle that surrounded the lives of Jon and Vicki Granger, their small brood of children and pets, and one Old Man who took immense joy in just being part of it. Theirs was a busy life, but a gratifying one; and though they might be exhausted by the end of the day, they always had time left for each other.
This evening found them not at the kitchen table sipping tea and reading the paper, or falling asleep in front of the television set, but sequestered away in their bedroom in hopes of enjoying just a little time alone.
Vicki cuddled happily into Jon's arms, smiling as she relaxed into him. She loved their family, but good grief, the children could be exhausting at times. "Think Cosmo's managed to herd the twins back into their beds permanently yet?"
"If anyone can do it, Cosmo can," Jon remarked of their dog, who seemed to have instinctively taken to herding their children like a herd of sheep. He touched his nose to hers, relaxed and content now that the day was done and they were alone. "Remind me again why we wanted such a big family?" he asked, a teasing smirk on his face, knowing that was entirely his fault.
"I think it was you who wanted a dozen kids," she pointed out in amusement. "I think I got lucky with just the three pregnancies, personally." She grinned up at him, eyes sparkling with the same teasing light. "Wouldn't change anything, though."
"Half dozen," Jon corrected, though he wasn't sure exactly how many he had actually said. Had he said a dozen? Maybe he had, but that was before he'd realized how much work they were. "No regrets?" he asked, as if to ensure she meant what she'd said.
"Not unless you catch me on a bad day, nope," she assured him. One thing he could always rely on his wife for was honesty, even when it didn't make her look good.
"We all have bad days, baby. I'm here to catch you when you fall," he assured her in return, his nose circling hers affectionately. "Do you want me to get snipped?" he asked, perfectly willing to take one for the team, so to speak, if they were sure they were done having children.
She shook her head, smiling. "I'm never going to ask you to do that, and you know it," was her response. "The magic block is working perfectly well, and that means you don't need to go through any kind of surgical procedure for my sake."
"Well, if you ever change your mind," he told her, more than willing to make that small sacrifice for the good of her health and their sanity. Then again, who knew if they'd change their minds about having another child someday?
Vicki laughed, nuzzling closer to kiss him tenderly. "I hear there aren't many new faces in the theater this year," she murmured. "Any changes for you?"
"Not really, but we haven't really lost anyone either," he said. "And Eregor jumped ship from the theater. We'll be okay. I'd go back to acting, but I'm enjoying directing, and honestly, they don't really need me."
"So you've got a full time Eregor stretching his pure acting chops this time around?" she asked, raising her brows curiously. "I did hear that there's a new ballerina in the works, but according to Irina, she's as green as an uncooked pistachio."
"Yep," Jon confirmed with a grin. He was thrilled to add Eregor as a full-time member of the repertory company, but he couldn't take the credit for it. He chuckled at her remark about the ballet. "Irina thinks everyone is green until they've proven themselves otherwise."
"That is true, but she might be right in this case," Vicki mused cheerfully. "A little girl straight from someone else's corps might be taking on more than she can handle as a principal dancer."
Jon shrugged. "Not my place to say, but they could always make her a soloist. I don't think they had as many auditions this year though. Zahan is an apprentice, but she's still too young to join the corps."
"She's getting so much one-on-one training with Merethyl, she's going to be ballerina material as soon as she's old enough to join a company," Vicki predicted.
"From what I've seen, she's got a lot of potential, not to mention talent," he agreed, though he was no expert on the ballet. His area of expertise was dramatic theater, and to a lesser extent, film. "You know who I think might be a natural?" he asked, with the slightest hint of a smile on his lips.
"Surprise me," she dared him, expecting him to name at least one of their children. All five of them had their own talents and merits, but it was fun to imagine careers for them that they might never choose for themselves.
"Bea," he said, without hesitation. "Not as a dancer, but an actress. She has a rare presence on stage, but I don't think she's aware of it." And though she was their daughter, she didn't share their gene pool, as she'd been adopted. A child of choice.
"Have you talked to her about it?" Vicki asked, curious about this. She trusted Jon's instincts when it came to things like this. "If it's something she'd like to pursue, we should probably reserve her a place in 'Taya's school."
"Not yet. I mean, I don't want to single her out or make her feel awkward, but I really do think she has talent," he replied. "Right now, it's fun. It might not be so much fun, if she gets serious about it."
"She has always been very interested in performing," she agreed thoughtfully. "Kaylee says her voice is getting stronger every week, too."
"Thing is," Jon said, frowning a little before he went on, "I don't want her to do it for us. She has plenty of time to decide, but she should do it because she wants to, not because she thinks we want her to."
Vicki nodded in agreement. "I know what you mean," she said. "We just have to hope that she's been paying attention to the way we deal with Emily and Ben changing their minds about their hobbies every other month."
"She's young yet. She has plenty of time. I do think she has talent, but I don't want her to miss out on being a kid," Jon reasoned, in complete agreement with his wife.