Harry found his children waiting for him on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store. They seemed lost in conversation, or rather it was his daughter Vaela speaking enthusiastically and Aenar, the good brother he was was, patiently listening. It made Harry smile. His children were growing up so fast it seemed. Vaela was already in school and Aenar would soon be a teenager. It was crazy how quickly time went by.
Harry sighed. He remained still a moment longer just lingering and watching his children. There were moments in life that one just wants to hold on to as long as possible, Harry learned as he grew older. Today was a day of such moments. Harry took his children to see a movie, he had bought them a big pack of popcorn each. They watched the movie, talked and laughed and then walked together to the grocery store. With all the bad things happening around him lately it was just what he needed.
“Dad!” Aenar said at that moment turning his head to him. “Do you need any help?” He asked stepping closer.
“No.” Harry said smiling, and gripping the grocery bags harder. “Your dad is a strong man.” He added with a smile. Aenar nodded and turned to his little sister.
“Race you to the car then.” He said and started running. His sister went after him without a word, her little pigtails bouncing in the air as she hurried to catch up. Aenar of course slowed down a bit and allowed her to get close and if Harry had to guess he might even let her win. His son played the role of big brother well, he was always kind to his little sister, even when he was the scary red monster that chased her around the house he was careful not to scare her too much and allow her to slay him and saved her dolls, or whatever it was that the monster had chose to threaten at that very moment.
Harry hoped things wouldn’t change much as they grew older. He hoped his children would stay this close and remain so their whole life, just like he and his little brother Hazel were.
Once they were all together in the car Vaela continued the talk she had been having with her brother before Harry interrupted. The talk was about movies of course. Moving pictures were becoming quite a passion for his little girl.
“And did you know what uncle Donnie told me the other day? Movies were once just black and white! No colors!”
“Even cartoons?” Aenar asked and Harry saw Vaela nodding in the backseat.
“And before that people didn’t even speak in movies.” Harry added in.
“Really?” Aenar asked in awe.
“What were those like?” Vaela asked quickly.
“Were they any fun?” Aenar joined in. Harry smiled.
“I don’t know buddy. That was way before my time.”
They continued talking and laughing all the way home and as soon as Harry parked the car they ran out towards the house and he stayed to carry the groceries in. His wife had made mac and cheese and the four of them ate together, Hazel was out and Donovan said he had already eaten so he didn’t join them.
When they all ate the kids went back into the house and Rhaenys, Harry’s lovely wife turned to Harry.
“Can you take this out and do the dishes? I meant to call Tomas* tonight.”
Harry just nodded and started picking up the plates. He was glad he got the better part of that bargain. He loved his big brother Tommy, and he knew it was the right thing to call and check up on him but he was glad to leave it to his wife. Rhae knew what to say, he simply didn’t. “Sorry you lost half of your family in less than a year. It sucks to be you.” That was neither nice, nor comforting. it was just the cold harsh truth. Harry was sorry but there just wasn’t anything he could say that would change what happened.
He still remembered the day little Dalma Pretniss died. She was only two when she contracted meningitis and she died in the hospital. He and Rhaenys rushed there together once they heard how bad the little girl was and Harry remembered being lost. It was Rhaenys who took charge of the situation, looking over the board to find the room the girl was in.
All Harry could think about was how random and terrible it all was, how it could have been any other child, how it could have been his Vaela s dying in a cold sterile hospital room… He always thought of himself as a brave man, ready to face any challenge, do whatever it took for his family and loved ones. But a thing like that…. Loosing a child… It would have killed him he realized when he faced Rita and Tommy that night.
There was nothing worse than this. He remembered thinking that night at the hospital. He wondered if Tomas thought the same that day, because if he did very soon after that he would have been proven wrong…
Harry shuddered. He hard his wife’s voice coming from their bedroom, she was still on the phone with Tomas and he focused on the water coming from the faucet and the sound he made as he scrubbed the dishes. He wanted to think of something else, anything else than the horrible tragedy that had hit his family…
When he was done with the dishes Rhaenys finished the phone call and got out of their bedroom with tears in her light violet eyes. Harry was about to go and cheer her up when Donovan came in. His brother’s husband smiled when he saw them, seemingly oblivious to the state Rhaneys currently was.
“Evening Harry.” He said. “How was the movies?”
“Good.” Harry replied and then even managed to force a smile. He really tried his best to like the other man but it seemed like Donovan saw right trough him since his own smile fell abruptly and he only managed a nod. Luckily for Harry Rahenys stepped in.
“The kids returned happy. And I got a day all for myself. So I would say it was more than good.” She smiled, all the traces of that horrible phone call gone away in a instant. Harry was impressed. He guessed that is what being a politician meant.
The polite chat soon turned into what Donovan and Rhae called “discussing politics”. Harry called it pointless bickering. When the first opportunity arose he went outside in the cold pre-winter night.
He opened a bottle and poured himself a drink. Being here alone and missing the Llama’s game was better then listening to Donovan accusing Rhaenys, actually her old boss, of racism. It turned out old Tori Jackson approved of a bar that opened in town, a vampire bar. Donovan argued that was insensitive to the vampire population of Sunset Valley and Rhaenys argued that it wasn’t, Tori Jackson was a vampire herself. Donovan of course wouldn’t listen and would rant about it anyway.
It was all pointless to Harry anyway, Tori Jacskon was dead. She took some pills and mixed them with alcohol at one of her house parties. She accidentally overdosed and died. Rhaenys was now working for Laquita Hoves**, the youngest woman in the City Council. She had nothing to do with that stupid bar. It was all just so stupid. And pointless. Not to mention pointless… Harry thought as he downed yet another glass…
/* After the long wait here we are with the Brown’s again! I hope you liked this update. I plan to have a few more, there is more of the Brown’s story to tell.
I have made a family tree of the Brown family so you could remember who is who easier, you can see the tree here, it is made using this great webapp. I will add it in the table of contents page or somewhere and update it as things change.
*Tomas Prentiss is Harry’s father’s son from his first marriage. You can read more about him on the People Page. The death of his daughter Dalma is mentioned briefly in one of last round’s bonus chapters, Wounds. The other tragedy Harry refers to will be explored more this round, especially in the Prentiss family story that should be continued right after the Brown story line.
**Laquita Hoves is a young politician who raises to City Council last round. You can read about her campaigning trough the eyes of her step-brother and best friend Zeke here.
Thank you all for reading!!*/