If you want to read the previous installment you could do it here, if not you can just keep reading.
Saturday morning Tomas let Rita sleep in. He soon regretted it. It turned out Maja had not only substituted his shampoo with hair dye, but also her sister’s. He had to yell at her again and throw all the remaining shampoo bottles out, you could never be to safe, then help Lena wash her hair while she cried, furious at her twin sister.
It was a busy morning. When he was satisfied Lena was ok, for a girl her age, it didn’t take long to put it behind, before her hair had even dried she was already on the phone with her friend Brent, he went to look for his other daughter to administer her punishment.
Luckily (for him at last) Maja was not done with her silly pranks, she had also booby-trapped the faucet in the downstairs bathroom causing water to splash Rita as she was washing her hands so it was Rita who yelled at her and grounded her, for the whole weekend, Tomas was in the clear.
That day the girls were supposed to have writing classes downtown. It was more some sort of creative workshop mumbo jumbo for elementary school kids, which still cost them both a lot of money because both of the girls wanted to go but since Rita grounded Maja she was to stay home and her sister got on her bike and drove alone. “Sure you don’t want me to go with you?” He asked Lena as she was leaving the house. “No daddy, I’ll manage.” She said and grinned. He smiled back but he wasn’t really happy. Sometimes he wished his daughters would never grow up…
When he got back inside the living room Maja was on the phone, telling her friend Aenys what transpired this morning. “…and they had already paid for it, like a bag of simoleons, and they are still not letting me go!” He sighed. He didn’t like seeing Maja upset but Rita was right… She behaved badly and deserved punishment. Still he would have to make it right somehow and he had just the right idea…
When he got back from the store Lena was in the study, already eager to write her first novel. “It’s called Warp Infinity daddy and I’ll let you read it, but when I’m done! You’ll like it, it would be a lot like Star Wars!” She was so excited that he had to leave her alone wondering how long would this writing phase hold her.
As he left the study he was met by Rita, already dressed for work, a slight frown on her pretty face. “Rhaenys called… Apparently she heard Maja was grounded, she whined to Rhaenys’ son and he wanted to cheer her up… Anyways she asked if they could come over and I said they could, but I have to go to work so it would fall on you to entertain them. And check on Delores and Nandini, they have been awfully quiet this morning.” He did as she told but wasn’t very happy about it, he didn’t exactly like having people over. He knew Rhaenys, liked her even, she was Rita’s friend who worked in the Science Facility and was one of his last links to the science community of Sunset Valley. She was also Harry’s, his brother’s, girlfriend (part which Rita wasn’t so excited about) which made her practically family, but sill Tomas would have preferred if she didn’t come…
But she did. She came just as Rita was leaving and both her and Tomas were on the porch kissing goodbye. Rhaenys jokingly averted her gaze and he laughed, even Rita smiled a bit before she went to say hi to her friend. She was a very beautiful woman, Rhaenys Targeryen, almost inhumanly so and although she usually wore darker colors, red and black, mostly, today she came to them in a light blue long dress that suited her perfectly. However as Rita approached her he saw her gaze fall on Rhaenys’ hand and her mouth move in the shape of the letter ‘O’ and he looked there as well. “Oh, boy, shit’s gonna hit the fan…” he thought to himself.
Maja and Aenys immediately ran upstairs to play and ended up pillow fighting in her and Lena’s room. Lena didn’t bother to show up, she was still working on her book, or more probably, playing some video game by now. The kids made a lot of shrieking noises but still he managed to talk to Rhaenys. “Congratulations.” He said. “Harry’s one lucky man.” She smiled. She was even prettier when she smiled, if that was even possible. “Well thank you Tomas. I’m a lucky girl too.” She sighed. “If only Rita would see it that way…” “She will. She does.She had just always been protective of Harry… Especially now that their mother is gone…” He didn’t know how to explain it to Rhaenys. He wasn’t sure he understood it himself. Rita loved both Harry and Rhaenys, there was no reason not to like them together but thankfully Rhaenys didn’t wait on him to explain. “Well that is why I thought she would be happy he has someone in his life to help him get trough the rough patches.” She sighed again. “Oh well, she would have to accept it… Sooner or later.” She smiled at Tomas. “I’m glad at least a part of my family accepts me.” And Tomas smiled too.
He spent the rest of the day with Rhaenys. She helped him with the little ones, Lena was silent in the study, Maja and Aenys played by themselves. It was a nice afternoon. When Rita came back she left her and Rhaenys to have their talk and went to Ramon Ayres’ party he had been invited too. And there he ran into none other… Harry!
It was a swimsuit party, he didn’t know why because for all his knowledge Ramon didn’t own a pool but well, he followed the dress code and so did everyone else. It was strange seeing Harry there, he looked much better, and more adult than Tomas remembered. He even had a new tattoo. And somehow from the back of his mind it evoked the image of their father… Of all Harald Prentiss children Harry looked the most like him after all.
He came to him and congratulated him adding: “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me…” Harry shrugged. “I was going to…Really.” He added probably registering the skepticism on Tomas’ face. “Well like i said to your fiancee today, you are a lucky guy.” You saw Rhaenys? Where?” “She and her boy came to our house for a play date with the girls.” “Oh.” Harry said simply. He seamed a little sad. “She couldn’t come with me here today… Shucks. you should have told me she was there I would have come to your place.” “Well she had to talk to Rita. Tell her what her own brother had forgotten…” Tomas told him to try and lighten the mood. Harry’s voice still seamed a little distant when he said: “Yeah that’s probably it…”
“What’s with the tat?” Tomas asked in another attempt to change the mood of the conversation. “Oh this?” Harry asked looking down on his right calf. He laughed. “You wouldn’t believe it… I got so drunk at Hazel’s bachelor party… And I mean it, pass out drunk and in the morning I went and got this.” He laughed, I must have still been drunk because I couldn’t remember it the next day….” The rest of the evening he spent retelling the details of the mentioned party to Tomas.
The next day Tomas found his girls at the chess table. Ever since their butler Yvonne left them he was lacking a good opponent so he was teaching the girls but right now they were still only good opponents to each other but he was glad they were having fun, well Maja only did when she was winning, she was extra competitive but she didn’t have a hard time because Lena would often wander off and make the stupidest move but it was all ok, none of them were professionals after all.
While they were busy he sneaked into their room to install the present he got them yesterday. He didn’t even tell Rita, she knew she would throw a fit, Maja was grounded there was no need to get her presents but she wanted this for a while, and he really wanted to get her. If she was stuck at home at least she would have something to do.
She was overjoyed when she saw the chemist table he had gotten them, with all the equipment and starter pack supplies, they read the manual together and he showed her all the safety precautions and then watched with a smile on his face as she started the experiments.
He then took Lena to his and Rita’s room to show he something. It was her picture, the one she drew a few days ago, hanging on the wall. Lena gave him a faint smile when she saw it. She was reminding him more and more of Rita every day. “It looks nice daddy.” She said and ran out of the room to go and play. He stayed there for a while, just watching the picture, there was something incredibly sad in there, it was too melancholic for a work of an eight year old but it was his daughter’s work and it made him proud.
He went to look for Rita. He knew she would have something to say about getting Maja a present after she misbehaved as much and he wanted to get it over with. She was with Delores who was still at times reluctant to use the potty.
“Need help honey?” he asked from the door. Both Delores and Rita turned to him. “No.” Rita said. “But you know I need to talk to you, right?” Tomas nodded. “You know what I want to know she said, looking from him to Delores, making sure she stays on the potty.” Tomas nodded again and then sighed. “Look I now I undermined your authority and…” “It’s not about that.” Rita cut him off sharply. “It’s about praising the girl even when she is doing wrong. How can we teach her anything if you go soft on her any time she sheds a tear? And it’s not just Maja, what kind of example will she set for Della and Nan?” Tomas felt stupid. It wasn’t rare for Rita to make him feel this way… She always thought of everything and he was just to eager to please, mostly his wife and his little girls. He sighed and just told her the truth. “Look I didn’t think about any of that, not really… I just noticed she was interested in science, or rather she told me so and I wanted to fuel those interests. It’s what I love, it’s what I do after all, I make children interested in science. Can you blame me for trying the same with our daughter?” He took a breath. “I know what you’ll say I should have waited a week or two… But you know kids, they change their minds every day, I just wanted to use the opportunity that was presented. I’m sorry.” It was Rita’s turn to sigh. “I forgive you Tommy. Just.. Try and consult with me in the future, after all we are, or should be a team.” He nodded. As usually Rita was right and he was wrong.
He was in his pjs for the most of that day, it was a lazy Sunday after all. He was getting ready to get dressed and go have lunch with his family when his cell phone rang. He picked it up curious, it was Rhaenys. Why was she calling him rather then Rita? He soon found out…
“What do you mean you are pregnant?” He asked her in shock. “Well Tomas I thought you had been through this with your wife at least… You do have four kids…” She sighed. “I understand the meaning of those words. I just… Is it…?” “Harry’s? Of course it is! Whose would it be? What had your wife told you about me?” He could see she was furious but he was so lost for words… Why didn’t she just call Rita, or her future husband. Why was he hearing this? “Look you should go see a doctor first, be one hundred percent sure. Then… I don’t know. You tell Harry and we’ll find a way to break it to Rita together…” It was the best he was able to come up with. But this distressed him deeply, not because Harry and Rhaenys were probably going to have a child together, they were engaged, they probably talked about those things already, and he was happy for them, he knew what joy children brought to his life. No, it was his wife, he didn’t know why she was so anti Rhaenys and Harry, but also he hated keeping secrets from her. He wasn’t sure how he would manage this… But the day was not over, no, his lazy Sunday appeared to be a string of distastes coming his way…
He forgot to change from his pajamas, he didn’t notice he was still wearing them when he got down to lunch. He was still wearing them when Lena interrupted him doing dishes to ask what boyfriends and girlfriends did besides holding hands, it was apparently research for her book…
He was trying to think of an acceptable answer when his phone rung. Saved by the bell, he thought the moment it rung… “Sorry Lena, I have to take this. You can ask your mum when she gets home.” He answered the phone. “Hello.” “Hello, Tomas Prentiss?” “Yes.” He answered, he didn’t recognize the female voice from the other end. “Nadine Hoves speaking.” His heart sunk. He knew very well who Nadine Hoves was and didn’t feel anything well could come from this conversation. He said nothing so the woman continued. “You teach my daughter Irene science classes. She speaks very highly of you…” He sincerely doubted that but let her go on. “And.. Well I’m beating around the bush too much… I know who you are and who your wife is. And what ever my happened and is still happening between my husband and your wife we are family, bound by blood. And I would like it to be more then that, more than just blood so I thought Irene and I can come over, the girls could meet…” This was what Tomas feared. Rita would flip when she finds out, she never wanted to have anything with her father, and by extension his wife or other children but what could he do, the woman was right, the girls need a chance to meet their family. So he said yes. He wondered what he would tell them… It would be too confusing for them probably to learn Irene was their aunt, maybe introduce her as a cousin?
He was still contemplating this on his way to get dressed at last when he saw Maja. “What on Earth happened to you?” He asked his daughter. “A mishap with one of the potions I was making.” He sighed loudly, maybe Rita was right and this chemist lab thing was a terrible idea. How was everything getting so much out of control? “Quickly get washed and changed. Your mother can’t see you like this. Plus we are having people over.” “Who?” Lena asked in bewilderment. “I’ll tell you, I just need to get dressed girls, please.”
Nadine did in fact come with her daughter as promised. She wasn’t exactly the kind of woman he thought Jesse Hoves would settle with but people change don’t they? The two of them introduced politely and proceeded to watch from the porch as their daughters did the same.
“She is very cute.” Nadine said. “Your daughter.” He simply nodded but she continued. “She really has something of his in her… And the hair… He had the same exact shade before he had gone gray you know.” Tomas nodded. He knew that very well. “What’s her name?” Nadine asked. “Lena.” He said and Nadine nodded. “Jesse would probably like that name.” Tomas wanted to say he didn’t care what Jesse would think about his daughter, or her name, he was terrible to Rita, he ruined his parents marriage but still that was a long time ago… He was his daughters’ grandfather after all so he nodded and kept his mouth shut.
As predicted Rita was not happy when she got home. When she saw Nadine her face went pale. She looked at Tomas fury shouting out of her eyes but then she went calmly to Nadine. The older woman smiled. “Hello, Rita? My name is…” “Spare me.” Rita said as coldly as she had ever sounded. “Is he here? Or is it just you?” “Me and Irene, my daughter, your sister…” Rita cut her off again. “I have only one sister. Did he send you here? Is this another one of his attempts to get into my life?” “No, no… Jesse doesn’t know we are here. I wanted… I just wanted to meet you, and for you to meet us. We are family…” She was about to give Rita the same speech she gave Tomas but Rita wouldn’t allow it. “No we are not. Your husband didn’t want me. He didn’t want anything to do with me for the first sixteen years of my life, then he had a change of heart but it was too late then and it was too late now. Please leave.” Nadine looked stricken. She wanted to say something more but Rita’s gaze was so cold that Tomas himself didn’t bother speaking. “My daughter…” “She can stay. Tomas will take her home.” Tomas nodded weakly when she looked at him. “Very well.” Nadine said getting up. “I’m sorry.” She added. “For the inconvenience… For… I can’t apologize for him. But I’m sorry for what his absence did to you and to you.” She added suddenly turning to Tomas. He didn’t speak this time either. He wanted to say it’s ok. His parents probably would have broken up anyway, or stayed unhappy. But he stayed silent and Nadine left. Rita was still pale and he came up to her to say something but she waved him off and just left outside.
/* Ran a bit long, I’m sorry, hope you get the time to read it. */