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Archive for the ‘Generation 3’ Category

Reed felt deeply his new position as man of the family. He helped out around the house, stayed on the honor roll at school, and even started helping his mother in the garden.

However, he was still a teenager, and since he had been given a guitar for his birthday, he loved to go to the park and play it.

It seemed that others enjoyed it, too. But he still had his eye out for that one special girl to serenade.

He hadn’t found her yet.

Meanwhile, Iris was exploring new things like painting and writing, but she still enjoyed building towers of blocks. She had yet to settle on any one area of interest. She did wish for one thing, though.

She imagined running her fingers across the ivories, drawing out beautiful melodies. She wanted a piano.

Rose was amazed by her daughter’s request, but she had to tell her sadly that there was no piano shop in all of Legacy Valley. She did promise to revisit the issue if one ever opened.

Another little girl in the Foliage house was growing and learning, and Lily spent plenty of time with Blossom to make sure she taught her as much as she could and instilled in her all the  love and values she would need.

Poppy also enjoyed spending time with the younger generation, talking music with Reed or watching TV with Iris. They kept her feeling young, even though she and Lily had a big birthday coming soon.

But there was one more member of the household. What was Daisy up to? It would appear that she had decided to be more a part of the family. In fact, she offered to plan Iris’ thirteenth birthday party.

Rose considered her offer. She knew that her kids considered their Aunt Daisy ultracool and that Daisy would probably throw quite a party for Iris. But she also knew that the kids didn’t know Daisy and her nocturnal habits as well as she did. Still, this was a friendly, family-centered gesture on Daisy’s part, and how could she refuse her the chance to participate more in the life of the family?

Daisy insisted on keeping her plans secret from everyone, saying she didn’t want the surprise spoiled for Iris. When the day arrived, Rose found out that she was the one surprised. Shocked, actually.

Rose hadn’t gone near the pool since Cedrick had drowned. Just the sight of that deceptively innocent water lapping at the edges of the pool brought all those horrible feelings back in a wave. But she had to be there for her daughter. How could Daisy have done this? She knew what this would do to Rose.

Fortunately, Iris had been too young then to have scarred memories of the pool, and she enjoyed her party, while Rose tried to stay on the outskirts. Poppy noticed the difficulty Rose was having and brought out her guitar to play the happiest songs she could think of to chase away the gloom.

Rose knew that it wasn’t Poppy’s idea of a great location, either, since she always preferred to be indoors, and she appreciated the gesture that much more. She did have to admit that the glowing sunset made for a nice end to the party.

Iris helped clean up after the party. She was such a tidy girl, always making sure her bed was made and the dishes were put in the dishwasher. She kept her new bedroom neat and clean like no teenager Rose had ever known.

Iris had seen her mother and Reed working in the family garden, so now that she was old enough, she met Rose there one evening and asked if she would show her how to grow fruits and vegetables. Of course Rose said she would and told her how proud she was of her interest. As she showed her how to plant the tiny seeds in the soft soil, her heart was close to bursting with joy over her two children and how they were turning out.

Lily was happy with her daughter, too, but she wished that Monty could be there to see the wonder that was their daughter. She also felt a little melancholy about the fact that she was getting older. Poppy cheered her up by joking that she’d come along just to keep her company, and they decided to invite some friends over to make the most of their birthday.

For a while, things went on fairly normally. Homework, carpool, gardening, fishing, dinner, painting, chatting, laughing. But then, one evening, as Iris was alone in the garden, pulling up some weeds that were threatening a young potato plant, a shadow fell over her. She looked up to see her Aunt Daisy.

“Hey Iris, you’ll ruin a nail that way.” Daisy grinned. “Why don’t you put down that trowel and come out with me tonight? I could show you some parts of this town that your mother will never take you.”

“I don’t know, Aunt Daisy. I’m sure Mom has her reasons when she says no… although I wonder sometimes what they are.” Iris straightened up and glanced off at the setting sun. She bit at her lip. “Let me go wash the dirt off my hands and I’ll come back and let you know.”

As the door closed behind Iris, Daisy snickered softly. Oh, she’ll find out what it really means to get her hands dirty. And she’ll discover the thrill of a real adventure! No more of this tame little homebody stuff for the niece that has the same fiery hair as me. I’ll see to it that she finds the fiery spirit to match it! When the door opened, however, it was Rose who walked out. And there was fire in her eyes.

Rose faced Daisy head on. Her question was blunt. “What were you asking Iris out here?”

Daisy grinned at her sister. “I just asked if she wanted to come down to the Diner for an ice cream soda with me. No harm.”

Rose’s eyes narrowed. “Daisy. I heard you through the kitchen window. WHAT are you THINKING trying to involve my daughter in a crime?!”

“Crime! What are you talking about?” Daisy sneered.

Rose looked her twin in the eyes and said calmly, “I saw you.”

“I’ve seen you several times, in fact. I saw you up at the old mine, meeting with a couple of people whose names I won’t mention because the police would be here in a minute at the sound of their names. I’ve seen you other nights, too, dressed in black and running as if you were being chased by the pale horse of death. Maybe you get a thrill from that, but you will not involve my daughter in it.”

Daisy stood quietly for a full minute, evaluating her sister’s words and the level of truth and resolution behind them. She found it a little surprising.

“Rose, you don’t really know me and what I do. And you can’t stop me from doing it. But I’ll… I’ll lay off the kids. They’re pretty good kids, even if they are way over-protected.”

“You’re right about one thing. You will ‘lay off’ my kids. I don’t want to ever hear about this happening again.”

Daisy turned with a smirk and headed into the house without even answering Rose.

Poppy had been losing respect for Daisy for a long time, and after the incident in the garden, she made a point to have a gentle chat with Iris about the dangers of having conversations alone with Daisy. She was careful not to speak badly about her younger sister, but she encouraged Iris in more positive directions.

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An unfortunate bit of fallout of these events was that Blossom’s birthday party was entirely overlooked. Poor Blossom felt very neglected at first, but Lily made it up to her with a big hug and a special mommy-daughter day out on the town. They went shopping and had their hair done together and made a big day of it.  Lily also promised to teach Blossom how to play chess when they got home.

Things were tense around the Foliage house for a while, especially when Daisy was at home. Reed and Iris hoped that it would all blow over, but they were to be disappointed. The morning paper arrived with the headline, “Red Uranium Scheme Strikes Science Center.” Apparently, an unidentified gang of criminals had broken into the Science Lab and tampered with the uranium there. The whole place began sending a red glow up into the night sky, and it had to be quarantined for days. It would have just been a strange bit of interesting news, if not for one thing: Daisy had come home in the early morning hours looking… a little odd.

—-

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Rose still felt the loss of her soulmate, but she had learned to take an interest in life around her. One of her great pleasures that also proved very therapeutic was gardening. She imagined her mother and her grandmother working the same soil before her, coaxing the seedlings up into the sunlight and helping them grow to bear fruit.

She also enjoyed playing with little Blossom, her niece. It was a blessing to have new life in the house.

Blossom’s Aunt Poppy also enjoyed time with the little cutie. She sometimes wondered what it would have been like to follow the motherhood path in life, but she was happy with her art and music. Her legacy would be in the family paintings hanging in the house.

Blossom knew who her mommy was, though. Lily showered her daughter with love every chance she got.

Iris showed an interest in her little cousin, and Lily let her help out in the nursery sometimes. It didn’t seem long ago that Iris herself was sleeping in a crib.

With so many family members around to help with Blossom, Lily and Monty had time to have a quiet dinner alone sometimes. The birth of their daughter had brought them closer together than ever, as each of them saw a little bit of the other in their baby. Every time they looked into each other’s eyes, it was love all over again.

The sisters were all spending more time together these days, too, since they had either achieved or were close to achieving their hard-fought goals in life. They sensed time was passing, and they made the effort to find time to watch a movie together, discuss a painting or a novel or a newly discovered star, or just share a light moment.

………But the family didn’t just hang out around the house. They went to work and study and explore, too. Monty was enjoying his work at the bistro, and had been promoted to vegetable slicer.

Reed enjoyed the freedom of being a teen. He went to tour city hall and take a charisma class, then visited the park. He found himself in a swarm of butterflies, and that sparked an interest in collecting. That day, he got a good start with five different kinds of insects.

Afterward he spent some time hanging out in the park. His Aunt Daisy was there, too, chatting with some older folks. Reed didn’t quite catch what they were saying, but he thought they might be talking about the latest gangster movie or maybe the new end-of-the-world flick.

Daisy said she was going to a game later, and something about checking the entrances and exits. Funny, Reed had never known she was that safety conscious.

Iris liked riding the schoolbus with her big brother Reed. She was also excited about taking a fishing class with him, although his first catch was way bigger than hers.

One event that happened in town was not nearly so nice. Just as the family was growing beyond their grief over Cedrick’s death, Lily got a call to rush to the bistro. The paramedics were doing their best when she got there, but it was too late. Monty was gone.

This was not long before Blossom’s birthday, so the family planned to have a quiet little cake ceremony at home. Everybody tried to put a brave face on it, but Iris couldn’t help but feel for her cousin, who might not even remember her daddy when she got older.

Blossom turned out to be a cheerful little toddler with fair hair and laughing eyes. Much as Lily’s heart ached, when she held her little darling she knew that part of Monty lived on in her arms. Her sisters were amazed at her resilience.

Except for Daisy, that is. Daisy had run off somewhere on the other side of town. What was she up to? And who had seen her?

—-

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3.7 Recovery

Push back the covers, sit up, put one foot on the floor, now the other, push up to a standing position.

These were the steps that Rose repeated to herself every morning to remind herself how to get out of bed. Crazy as it seemed, the world just went on turning and expected her to go along with it, despite the fact that the nice little garden that was her life had been plowed up without mercy.

grief

Take one step forward, then another, force the corners of the mouth up in a smile if someone passes by.

Rose’s sisters were worried about her. She seemed to have aged overnight, and her previously smooth face now had fine lines around her eyes and forehead. She spent hours just staring into thin air. They tried to gently nudge her into some of the things that had given her happiness before, like fishing, but even when she could only be persuaded to go through the basics of life, Lily, Poppy, and even Daisy kept an eye on her, and they tried to step in to care for the kids, too.

Poppy tries to urge Rose to go fishing

Lily helps Reed with his homework

Daisy keeps an eye on Rose

Lily was finally able to interest Rose in the family garden one day by asking her help with some of the more advanced gardening techniques. Rose was very tentative at first, but she gradually put more energy into it, even giving a good solid yank on one particularly obstinate weed. As she raised up to tend to one of the fruit trees, she stared at it and then reached out a hand to touch it.

Rose contemplates the tree

She felt the firmness of the tree trunk and looked at the graceful reach of its branches. In her mind she could hear the voice of her mother as she taught her how to take care of the garden. Rose had been afraid to prune a young apple tree, but Dahlia had said to her, “Rose, I know you don’t want to hurt the tree, but remember that it will grow stronger because of this. It’s a lot like life – we don’t want to be hurt, but if we make an effort, we can learn and grow stronger because of these experiences.”

Rose looked up and pulled a rich red apple from the tree and smiled softly at it. Then she turned her gaze in the direction of the family cemetery. “Cedrick, my love, I will always miss you, but I am grateful for the time I had with you. If people are like trees, like my mother said, then our children are our fruit, and I have got to pull it together for them. Don’t think for a minute that I don’t still love you, but I can’t cry anymore. I have to live.”

After Rose had her revelation, the rest of the family had more time for their own pursuits. Daisy put her efforts into rising up through the ranks of her “organization,” and went as far as to invite her boss over for a chat and outright ask her for a chance to move up. She was very convincing.

Wanna bet I'm not bad enough?

Oh yeah, I'm the sleek black shape in the night.

Crafty plus cunning equals me, mwahahahaha!

Lily continued her work at the hospital, which had her free time in conflict with Monty’s, as he worked evenings at the Bistro, but they were more determined than ever to make their precious moments count.

Monty is pleased to be promoted to vegetable slicer

Come closer, my dear

I have a little news… and it's going to get bigger!Lily was thrilled to tell her husband the news that they were expecting. He seemed to go through around eight different emotions in the space of a minute, and then he pulled her into an excited embrace. They called the family together and shared their news, then Monty ran around the house checking all the appliances and plumbing to make sure the house was ready to receive a newborn. Lily just laughed and told him he had a few months still, but he was a man on a mission. He had never thought that he would be a father at his age, and he could hardly wait to hold a happy little bundle in his arms.

During her maternity leave, Lily returned to an old hobby of hers, stargazing. She spent many evenings on the balcony, peering through the telescope at the stars. One night she spied something falling from the sky! She hopped into a taxi as quickly as her growing tummy allowed and zipped off to find where it landed.

Now that's one big darn rock!

Enormous? Gigantic? There was no word quite capable of describing the size of the space rock she discovered. Now Lily had two things to do: 1) write to her distant cousin Liko and tell him she could now join his BDR club, and 2) figure out how to get this thing home!

The months passed, and soon it was time for Reed and Iris to celebrate their birthdays. Since they fell so close together on the calendar, Rose decided to have a joint birthday party for them in the garden.

Getting ready for the party

Iris in her mother's arms by the cake

Reed, his cake, and the happy partygoers

Reed and Iris grew up very well, and they said they had a great party…

Reed has his father's hair

Grumpy Iris tries to smile but doesn't quite make it

… even if the party ended in chaos with Aunt Lily rushing to the hospital to have her baby!

Meet Blossom!

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3.6 Asunder

In the family cemetery

How did this happen? What brought us to this moment among the cold stones, where the wind stings our faces with its sea salt to match our own tears?

Rose’s thoughts spun in her mind, remembering the past couple of days…

—-

The children were growing so fast, and Rose was hard-pressed to find time to teach Iris to walk, help Reed with his homework, and tend the garden. Her sisters helped, of course, but time got away so quickly.

Put one foot in front of the other

Adverb, adjective, article–why do they all have to begin with "A?"

Who's a cute little sprout?

Cedrick was working hard, pushing himself to get the next promotion in his career. Of course, he always made time to sneak a smooch with his Rosie Posie.

Feel the burn!

No one in the world but us

While the days saw the Foliages running to work, school, and errands, nights were just as busy in a variety of ways…

Lily and Monty still feel like newlyweds

Queen of the night

They were pursuing their dreams, growing and learning, living their lives, until suddenly, one of them wasn’t.

The morning started off ever so normally, with Reed catching the bus for school and Rose feeding and dressing Iris before working in the garden. Poppy was learning a new composition on the guitar, and Daisy was practically unconscious in her bed, with the scarlet top that scandalized her sisters thrown casually over the end of the bed. Monty repaired a leaky faucet, then left early for work so he could go by the bookstore on his way to the Bistro. Cedrick got in a good workout on the weights, then went for a shower. Tired from her battle with the weeds, Rose lay down for a nap, feeling happy and secure.

Then the nightmare came.

The nightmare

She stood absolutely still as the dark figure approached and circled her. Her feet felt rooted in the ground, and she could not make a sound as the inky blackness of the creature’s cloak passed before her eyes. At last, the figure stopped in front of her and began to turn. As she was almost able to see within the folds of the hood, she woke.

Gasping, she she tried to figure out where she was, what time it was, and what the noise was that she heard. Water running? No! Splashing! Reed! Iris!

Rose ran from the bedroom to the pool, but it was too late. Later, they tried to piece together what had happened, unbelievable as it seemed. Always preferring to be active, Cedrick had decided to take a dip in the pool. His muscles must have still been feeling the strain from his morning workout, and a cramp had taken him under the water.

The waters make their claim

—-

The sound of Reed sniffling back his grief returned Rose to the present. The family cemetery was on the behind the house overlooking the sea, as if to remind all who mourn that there is still beauty in the midst of sadness. Rose looked down at her son and hoped that in time, they could learn to see beauty and hope again.

Reed sniffs and gulps back his tears

Today she just couldn’t see it.

a widow

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Being the mother of two growing children led Rose to think more and more about her mother and even her grandmother, whom she only knew through the stories she’d been told. She knew that her grandmother Flora had been a Five-Star Chef and of course that her mother had cultivated the perfect garden, and she wanted to find a way to honor them. After sitting down and spending long hours going over the family finances, she decided that there was enough money to buy a partnership in the local grocery and to completely buy out the bistro. She knew that Dahlia and Flora would be pleased.

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She went home to let the rest of the family know, and found Poppy where she least expected – outside. Poppy was glad to hear the news and let her know where to find the rest of the family.

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Reed and Iris were inside the house, entertaining themselves.

Reed ponders the advantages of cantilevered supports.

Reed ponders the advantages of cantilevered supports.

Iris learns about the fun world of fingerpaints.

Iris learns about the fun world of fingerpaints.

Screenshot-1254-cropIris was learning almost as much as her big brother Reed had at her age. She loved it when her mom or dad sat down with her to teach her something, but she could also entertain herself with a book or a bottle.

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__________

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As Iris learned how to talk about music, Reed was learning about another side of the arts. Sometimes Rose would watch him and think how happy her Aunt Fern would be to see him at the easel.

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Of course, he was a real boy, and he did enjoy escaping the house sometimes on his bike. When he got it for his birthday, Reed was thrilled to see it was his favorite color.

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Reed rides like the wind on his green bike.

His Aunt Poppy and Aunt Lily liked to talk about what Reed and his sister might decide to do with their lives. Poppy thought that Reed might follow in her artistic footsteps. Lily, on the other hand, talked about how much he enjoyed logical pursuits like studying the skies through the telescope. She thought he might turn out to be a doctor or even a policeman.

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Screenshot-1241-cropLily and Poppy were in the prime of their lives. Lily was still feeling like a newlywed; she and Monty were loving married life more than she had ever thought possible. She almost regretted that they didn’t get married earlier, except for one little event.

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Lily realizes her dream of becoming a World-Renowned Surgeon.

Poppy was reaching new heights of accomplishment, too. She had already mastered the paintbrush, and now she dominated the guitar, too!

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After playing her new rock ballad for the family and realizing she had really mastered the arts, she celebrated with a piece of key lime pie. Monty was quite the cook and had been treating the family to his special recipes.

Screenshot-1248In fact, with the encouragement of the family’s rave reviews, Monty took the plunge and made the career change he’d been too unsure of himself to do before. He applied at the Bistro and was immediately hired. Rose made sure he knew it was not just because the family owned the restaurant. Lily teased Monty that he’d only been working at the hospital so that they could meet, and now that they were married, he could put his career on the path of his true talents.

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That put Monty on a similar work schedule as Daisy, although only Daisy would have considered her nightly escapades work.

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Sneaking around at the "abandoned" warehouse

Rose often saw Daisy sneak off in the evenings, but until she had some evidence of what Daisy was up to, she didn’t feel ready to confront her.

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For the moment, Rose would focus on what was good in her life: the family’s accomplishments, her children, and her number one man.

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—-

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Hard days followed Fern’s death. Gradually, though, the family pulled themselves out of the sadness. Reed’s infectious smile was a ray of sunshine into their clouded hearts, and as they dealt with their grief for the passing of the previous generation, they leaned on each other.

Rose sees hope in the eyes of her child.

Rose sees hope in the eyes of her child.

Lily and Rose had a long chat one afternoon. Lily told Rose how excited she was to have climbed so high in her career, and that she wanted to marry her fiance Monty as soon as she had reached her dream of being a world-renowned surgeon. Rose saw the shine in Lily’s eyes as her older sister talked about her true love. She knew the house was already pretty full, but because she knew her sister would never ask, she offered:

“Lily, why don’t you just go ahead and get married? We can have the wedding here, by the garden if you like, and you and Monty can live here instead of you having to deal with moving to a new place, adjust to married life, AND work toward a promotion? You work such long hours anyway. What do you say?”

Lily’s eyes widened, and her smile filled the room like sunshine. “Rose, do you mean it? Monty’s not getting any younger, and I love him so much. He’s been so understanding about my career. This house will be pretty crowded, you know. Or actually, maybe you don’t know…” Lily grinned at Rose.

Screenshot-1160-crop“What are you talking about?” Rose asked her sister.

“Just that you’d better start taking those pre-natal vitamins again. It doesn’t take a world-renowned surgeon to see the signs that you’re expecting another baby, Rose.”

Rose threw her arms around Lily and then ran off to call Cedrick and tell him the good news. Another Foliage child was on the way!

Cedrick was thrilled with the news, and it increased his determination to continue advancing in his career. He knew he needed to time his workouts carefully so that Daisy was not home. Whenever she found him using the exercise equipment, she used it as an excuse to hang around and tried to “help him position himself correctly” on the machine. He didn’t want to cause a scene, but he would rather avoid the situation altogether. He was also concerned about Rose, who was in a delicate situation of another kind now.

Screenshot-1173-cropScreenshot-1163-cropLittle Reed was growing fast and learning everything that a toddler needed to know to grow up strong and smart.

Screenshot-1177-crop Screenshot-1171-cropWhether it was because he was the first boy born into the Foliage family or not, everybody wanted their turn to snuggle him, tickle him, feed him, or read to him. It was a wonder he didn’t show any signs of being spoiled. It was just as well, though, because soon there would be someone to share the spotlight with Reed.

Okay, so maybe taking out the garbage WAS too strenuous.

Okay, so maybe taking out the garbage WAS too strenuous.

Screenshot-1193-cropIris came to join the Foliage household late one evening. She was a fussier infant than her big brother had been, but the family was enchanted by her adorable little face.

The next day, Rose, Lily, and Poppy had lunch together to make sure the last details of Lily’s wedding were taken care of. Poppy said she had rehearsed a special song to play for the couple, and Rose started down the guest list. Lily interrupted and said, “Poppy, I can’t wait to hear your song, but Rose, Monty and I talked, and we just want a simple little ceremony. We’re not two young kids just out of school, and we’re more interested in the marriage than the wedding. If you don’t mind, can we get married here at home, with just the family? I don’t even want anyone to get dressed up. Despite the dreamy fairytale marriage you and Cedrick have, Rose, I know that marriage involves a lot of everyday effort, and we’d like to wear our regular clothes.”

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Rose and Poppy looked at each, then looked at Lily. Their no-nonsense, logical sister knew exactly what she wanted. Why not?

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So Lily and Monty were married the next day at sunset, as the last lazy rays of the sun stretched over the lawn. It was a sweet, simple wedding, and even romantic Rose had to agree it suited the couple.

Rose did not, however, approve of the fact that Daisy ran off and climbed into a truck that screeched up in front of the house right after the wedding, though. She was disappearing most nights, now, and Rose simply didn’t know what to do about it.

Daisy takes off.

Daisy takes off.

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For a while, time passed quickly, as the family adjusted to the changes brought by the birth and the wedding. Cedrick was usually the first one to leave in the mornings.

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The good thing about that was that he was usually home by early afternoon, eager to spend time with Rose and the children, who were growing up faster than he believed possible. It seemed like he blinked and Reed was already starting school.

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Iris was a toddler and, unlike Reed at that age, had grown long auburn hair, making her a new favorite of a certain aunt. Rose and Cedrick knew they were going to have to keep a close eye on this relationship.

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—-

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3.3 On Their Own

Screenshot-1107-cropRose felt her mother’s absence deeply, although at times she thought she could see a familiar glimmer in the eyes of her infant son. Everyone in the family had a different opinion about who Reed most resembled.

Lily couldn’t resist going into the nursery to snuggle him or read to him when she really should have been reading her medical journals. Even Daisy was no stranger to the nursery, although she tried not to let anyone catch her enjoying the sweet scent of baby powder and innocence.

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Rose was starting to come into her own, enjoying her life and establishing herself as head of the family. She worked hard to take care of little Reed, tend the family garden, and of course, spend quality time with her man Cedrick. He tried to convince her that she didn’t need to be such a perfectionist about everything, but he did appreciate her efforts.

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On warm afternoons, Rose could often be found in the garden, where she felt at home in the open air. Daisy, sensing the shift in family power since her mother’s passing, occasionally went to find her there and tried to keep on good terms with her. Rose wasn’t sure if Daisy really wanted to be friends – after all, she could be very friendly at times and was well liked by many in the neighborhood – or if she just wanted to stay in good graces with the heiress. Rose hoped for the best.

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Rose would drop everything when Cedrick got home, though, and usually went running to greet him.

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She hated to see him head off to work so early every morning, but he did look oh so fine in his uniform. Of course, some mornings, he didn’t quite get into the uniform before dashing to the teleporter that mechanically-minded Dahlia had left them. It was a great way to get to work.

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Unfortunately, sometimes it needed a little repair work, and Fern was glad to lend her hand with a wrench, screwdriver, or hammer. The family really did depend on her skills and wisdom more than they knew. She cooked well, painted family portraits, and added to the family coffers through her royalties and through opportunities she had around town at the bistro, the bookstore, and such.

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Screenshot-1113-cropPoppy shared Fern’s love of painting and was working her way through an interpretational series based on famous paintings. She was particularly proud of her version of the Simma Lisa.

Before the busy family knew it, the day had come for three big birthday celebrations. Poppy and Lily were going to celebrate a special birthday. They didn’t want to mention a specific number of years, but they did admit there was a zero involved. Reed was also growing into toddlerhood, so the family rushed around to get ready for a suitably big party. By the time the party started, they hadn’t eaten all day, and Daisy was impatient to get the show on the road, as she put it. She didn’t care what kind of cake it was as long as she could sit down and eat a slice. So she picked up Reed and led the way to the cake.

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Poppy and Lily each had their own cakes in their favorite flavors, and the guests seemed to have a great time.
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Of course, with a toddler in the house, even a birthday girl might have to step away from the party for a minute to help a certain someone go potty.

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Inevitably, time marches on, and blowing out her candles made Lily realize she wasn’t just starting out in life anymore. She still hoped to become a world-renowned surgeon, but she really did love Monty. And if she wasn’t getting any younger, he certainly wasn’t. So she built up her nerve and popped the question one fine day, the minute he got out of his car. He said yes.

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Not long after the happy couple announced their engagement, Cedrick celebrated a birthday. Rose invited several family friends as well as some people from Cedrick’s squadron. They held it out back by the pool, and it turned into a big splash!

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Cedrick didn’t mind turning a year older. His son Reed kept him young! He loved playing with him and teaching him to talk. Reed was fascinated with planes and everything in the sky, which made his military dad proud.

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Reed was also fascinated by Poppy’s music. Fern would often hold him and they’d listen as Poppy rocked out on her grandfather Abe’s guitar.

Screenshot-1145-crop Screenshot-1141-cropDomestic afternoons such as these are not occasions when one expects tragedy to fall. When there is music in the house, and people are diligently studying or cheerfully answering a phone call, no one expects a solitary gardener to be interrupted in tending the young green seedlings by a strange tingly sensation.

Screenshot-1149Rose and Lily came running. Daisy heard them cry out and followed, only to look with horror on the still body of her aunt, stretched across the furrow between the life plants and the death plants. It was too awful.

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Now this generation was truly on its own.

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