Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chapter 4-11: Bump in the Road

                “Oh my gosh. Moshe is so cute,” Brielyn gushed to her best friend, Hilary. “I think he’s the one.”
                “Wasn’t Alan ‘the one’ last week,” Hilary teased.
                “Oh shut up,” Brielyn countered, splashing Hil in retaliation. Truthfully, Alan had never paid one bit of attention to her so she had told herself he didn’t matter. At the dance, he hadn’t even noticed her when he practically ran her over, trying to get to the pretty, new girl who had tripped over a wire on her way to the punch bowl. She knew she couldn’t compete with Audrina but it still hurt.

                 Camille always made sure to do her homework. She wanted to get the gold stars for top student of the week, every week. She made sure to do it when Brielyn wasn’t home though. Though her sister was nice, nice didn’t make you smart. Brielyn didn’t even try in school though and was perfectly content with a C average. Camille had her expectations set on the top grade in the class.

                 Yalena was getting more and more fans when she would perform in the park.
                “You’re really good,” one tipper said, pulling her aside after the show. Yalena smiled and thanked her, inwardly rolling her eyes and wishing for a larger tip if she was that good.
                “My brother-in-law runs the Brew House. He’s usually pretty harsh when it comes to letting newbies perform there but I think I can talk him into it. If you would be interested that is.”  

                “Now that’s more like it!” Yalena thought with excitement. “That would be fantastic. Here is my contact information,” she said, handing over a business card Lyric had made up for her. The thought of Lyric reminded her that she needed to hurry home and get ready for the date they had that night!

                “Wow, that dress is fantastic,” he wolf-whistled when she arrived, taking her in. 

                They spent the evening out, drinking and dancing. As the night started to dwindle down, they heard the bartender announce last call.

                 “Would you like to come back to my place,” Lyric offered, pulling her in close. They hadn’t yet taken this step but she was more than ready and quickly pressed the elevator button.

                Once inside though, she found that she couldn’t wait any longer. She just hoped there weren’t any cameras on the inside.

                 “Wow, I can’t believe how big she is,” Yalena exclaimed when she picked up Artemis.
                “Yeah, she’s growing pretty fast.” Zane paused. “Why weren’t you at dad’s funeral? I thought you were on speaking terms again?”
                “Dad died? When?”
                “The funeral was two days ago Yalena. Didn’t Wren call you?”
                “Yeah, but she didn’t leave a message. I didn’t realize it was something like that.”
                Zane just gave her a disapproving look and began to say something when the kids ran through the room playing tag. Camille, sensing the tension, stopped at the door but Zane quickly dropped the subject and went back to glowing over his daughter.

                “Oh my Watcher! Oh my Watcher,” Yalena freaked out, knowing that she was about to perform in front of a live audience. This time may be her big break. This may be her last chance to be discovered, especially now that she was getting older.

                 She climbed on stage and began her show. As she sang, she glanced over at the owner of the shop to see his reaction. She was appalled to see that he wasn’t even paying attention. “The jerk is reading a book! How am I ever going to impress him?”

                 She pushed herself harder, giving her everything into her performance. “Whoops, that might be a bit too much,” she thought to herself as she threw herself back, guitar in air. Luckily, she didn’t miss a note or a chord and kept right on playing. The patrons who were watching her seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed with the show.

                 Afterwards, the owner came up to her to pay her for her show. “You know, when you came in here, I figured that it would be a mediocre performance, maybe even something I could laugh at afterwards. But, honestly, it was one of the best performances I have ever seen. I’m going to give you the number to my cousin’s wife’s father-in-law. He’s a producer for a record company. See if he’ll let you use his studio to record an album, and, if he does, I’ll sell it here at the Brew House exclusively.”

                As she walked home with her §500 in her pocket, Yalena couldn’t have been happier, floating on cloud nine. She gave Lyric a call, to share her good news.
                “I think we should go out and celebrate,” she suggested.
                “I’ve got an even better idea. How about we go to a little bed and breakfast over in the country for the weekend? Just you and me?”
                They agreed to meet there Friday afternoon, after he took Cody back to Katherine’s.

                “Watcher, it’s good to see you. He leaned in, giving her a kiss, making the concierge wait to check them in. Lyric had taken care of all the reservations before they arrived.

                 “You whore,” a woman shouted from the side of the room. Before Yalena even knew what was happening, she was being slapped in the face by an angry woman in a trench coat.
                “Katherine,” Yalena yelped in shock. The redhead glared at her, said a few choice words to Lyric, and stomped out, leaving Yalena stunned.

                “Lyric, what was that about?”
                “Yalena, I’m so sorry,” he closed his eyes in shame.
                “Kaherine and I, we’re not exactly over.”
                “You lied to me?”
                “When we first discussed our separation, she wanted huge child support checks. She knows who my family is. I tried telling her that they left me nothing but she’s got quite the investigative nose. She knows that I’m worth six figures.”
                “And? I’m not seeing a connection here.”
                “I may have led her to believe there was a chance of reconciliation to avoid payments,” he admitted, avoiding her eyes. “She must have followed me here.”

                 Yalena closed her eyes, trying to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill. She couldn’t believe he would do this to her; not now. Not after everything they had been through. Then, partially surprised at herself, she took his hands in hers.

                “Lyric, we’ve been through a lot. This is just another bump in the road. We’ll get through it too.” His expression revealed that her forgiveness was the last thing he had expected.

                 ‘Daddy, play hopscotch with me,” Camille pleaded with Ace when he arrived at the park for her birthday. He had been spending less and less time with her because of his impending marriage to Kristi and, when that fell through, his lack of motivation to get up and do anything. He quickly positioned himself at the beginning of the hopscotch court, hoping that his participation would earn some brownie points.

                 “Oh, look, they’re here,” Camille squealed, running off, leaving him mid jump as she noticed her friends’ arrivals at the park. She bounded over to them, excited about her birthday party at the park that her mom was throwing for her.

                 Soon, all of the guests crowded into the park pavilion. Yalena brought out a cake and lit the candles with fanfare, signaling for everyone to start singing. As Camille contemplated what she should wish for, her friends and family tooted their birthday horns and clapped on in encouragement.

                “Hey sweetheart, I wanted to give you this,” Ace presented her with a bow topped package after she blew out her candles.

                “Oh daddy, thank you!” When she opened it, she found a tablet inside. She couldn’t believe that her father would get this for her for her birthday! It was one of the new models, just recently released to the public.

                She promptly sat down and began going over the features while Kori looked over her shoulder. Party forgotten, she flipped through the tabcasts and different options for purchasing read material. With the slightest touch, her email would be available to her wherever she went.

                “Ace, really? Was that the best present you could come up with,” Yalena asked, exasperated, especially when she saw her daughter gazing at him in adoration, a look that hadn’t really existed before she opened her gift.
                “I happen to think it is. Did you see how much she loves it?”
                “I thought we were going to just do small things? You know I can’t afford anything like that.” She knew it wasn’t supposed to be a competition, but it sure felt like one. Before things got heated and out of hand, Lyric pulled her outside.

                “Hey there,” she said, smiling up at him. Even during moments like this, he always knew how to make her feel better.
                “Hey yourself.” He took her in his arms and threaded his hand into her hair. “I just wanted to tell you, Katherine and I are officially done. For real this time.”

                “Oh my Watcher you guys! Seriously, get a room,” Camille was disgusted with her mother’s behavior. Not only was Lyric her uncle, in a way, he was also a cheater. Cami didn’t care that Katherine and Lyric had broken up. In her eyes, he would forever be the cheater that had Cody with her aunt and then left them for her mom. She turned, flipping her hair, and headed home. No way was she going to enjoy herself watching those two.

                 Lyric and Yalena settled down to watch the stars as the party dissipated. Everyone headed home and they just enjoyed their little world together.

                Looking back, Yalena realized that, if she could, she wouldn’t change anything about her life. She had her lovely daughters and she had Lyric. Everything had fallen into place exactly as it should.

Chapter 4.10                                                                                                                                           Chapter 4.12
As some of you may be aware, I have been getting bored of the regular legacy rules. Not that I actually follow them anyway. So I am on my way to switching over to the Random Legacy. It will be a continuation of this blog, without actually changing to a new site or anything. Since I decided this about, er, 3 days ago, Generation 5 will be a combination generation. Either heir will have their number of children, generation goal, and miscellaneous fun rolled for. Then, Generation 6 will start a full blown RL. I'm looking forward to it!

Speaking of heirs, the heir vote is up! You have until Friday, July 6th to vote and I do plan on getting one more chapter in before that. So you can wait until then to vote and get to know the girls a little better or you can make your choice now. Their fate is in your hands!!! Muahaha...yeah, okay, I really should get some sleep. :P

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chapter 4-10: Waiting for a Girl Like You

                “Hey mom, I’m heading over to the gym for the afternoon,” Brielyn called over her shoulder.
                “Okay honey. Have a good time. Don’t push yourself too hard,” Yalena advised.

                 Brielyn didn’t bother taking her mom’s advice. Her mom had never really been the athletic type and thought “pushing herself” meant breaking a sweat. Brielyn wanted to feel the burn, she wanted her muscles to ache and complain. She pressed on, climbing the rock wall at Core Fitness higher and when she made it to the top, she just dropped down and started over at a harder level. She kept climbing, even when her muscles started to shake and protest, feeling that they couldn’’t make it one more hold. She made herself reach for the completed button before she would give up. No one could ever get away with not calling her persistent.

                 Yalena had decided that it was a fine day for a trip to the park. There was supposed to be a big event later that night and she wanted to see if she could score a chance to perform. She spoke with the proprietor about it but he shook his head and turned her down, without so much as an addition.

                ‘What an ass,” she muttered to herself. The show wasn’t starting for another couple of hours so she decided to show him what he was missing out on and began performing for some of the park visitors. She was pleased to see that most of them enjoyed her performance, even if half of them were her relatives.            

                 The next day, Yalena and Jeanie had scheduled a play date for Camille and Hunter. It was nice having your best friend and sister in law who had a baby the same age as yours living so close. Yalena couldn’t help but hope that Hunter and Camille would grow up close.

                “So, tell me, why exactly did you two choose Hunter as his name,” Yalena asked.
                “Don’t get me started,” Jeanie groaned. “How awful to grow up a vampire with that name? Much less with Fierce as part of your hyphenated last name. Your darling brother thought it would be cute and I was a little out of it during the labor process.”
                Yalena laughed. “You didn’t consider changing it?”

                 “No. I just threatened him that if he named the next child Chase or something similar, I would strangle him and leave him human.”
                “So…you are going to turn him?” As much as she had accepted the idea of her best friend being a vampire, she still was unenthusiastic about her brother being one as well.
                “It’s what he wants. We’re his family. He doesn’t want to grow old, watching as our children slowly stop aging, knowing that one day he will die and we will continue to live on without him. I don’t want to live without him.”
                “What are you waiting for then,” Yalena asked curiously.
                “Your father. He…he still doesn’t know what I am. Zane doesn’t want to tell him. He thinks it would just be too much to handle. So, we’ll wait…”.

                Yalena glanced over to her daughter on the floor with Hunter. She couldn’t imagine watching as her daughter grew old and died yet Yalena stayed the same. She could comprehend a little of how Jeanie would feel with Zane. At the same time, she considered the ramifications of Camille growing older and watching her cousin stop aging. She wasn’t sure how to proceed from here.

                 She couldn’t believe how quick her Camille grew up. Before Yalena knew it, Camille was walking. There hadn’t been many bumps and falls along the way. It seemed that just one day she had decided that she was ready and went for it.

                 The same happened with talking. The little girl would watch the people around her with those big, brown eyes, hanging on to their words. Then one day, as Yalena was playing with her on the floor, she just up and said “Mamma, hungwy.”

                 “Mom, the Homecoming dance is Friday night. I was hoping that I would be able to go,” Brielyn asked.
                “Friday is Camille’s birthday. It would be really nice if we celebrated as a family.”
                “Mom, please,” she begged. “I’ll stay so Cami can blow out her candles. It’s just, there’s this boy I kind of like and he didn’t ask me or anything and I don’t even know if he knows I am alive but I was kind of hoping that maybe, if he saw me there, we could talk or dance or something,” she spurted all this information in rapid fire.
                “Okay, as long as you stay until the candles are blown out, I don’t see a problem with it.”
                “Oh, thank you, thank you!”

                Brielyn went out jogging that evening. She wanted to make sure that she looked as best she could for the dance. Alan was a cute boy from her math class and, even though she had never talked to him before, she had a huge crush on him. He was on the football team and she had seen him out practicing with one of his teammates. He seemed to enjoy physical activity as much as she did. Plus, he was really cute. She just hoped that he would like her too.

                 Camille’s birthday finally arrived. Yalena invited over Lyric and Cody, Jeanie, Zane, and Hunter, Zarah, Marshall, and Joe, and, of course, Ace. The toddlers formed a circle on the floor, all eying each other. If Yalena hadn’t known better, she would have suspected Cody was Camille’s half-brother instead of her cousin. The only feature he seemed to have inherited from Lyric were those brilliant green eyes.

                 “Time to blow out the candles,” Yalena announces cheerily. Though she was sad that her daughter was a child now, she was more relieved that the baby stages were behind her. She was ready to pursue singing more now that she would have some free time while both her daughters were in school.

                “Why don’t you visit me more,” Camille asked her father as they sat down for cake.
                “Well, I’m busy with work. And I’m getting married soon. We’ll have to visit with your step-mother before the wedding.”
                “Why are you getting married,” she asked.
                “Because I am in love.”
                “Why are you in love,” she pestered him even more.
                “Camille, enough. I love Kristi and we’re getting married. No more questions,” he snapped.

                Monday morning, Camille was up bright and early for her first day of school. She was excited about learning new things and meeting new people and had barely slept the night before.

                “Daddy, do you think you can walk me to school with Momma this morning,” she called her father as soon as it was light outside.
                “Oh, honey, I don’t know. I’ve got some meetings I need to prepare for this afternoon and some budgets to go over before that and Kristi wanted to meet for breakfast to discuss wedding plans,” he hesitated, making excuses, without actually saying no. “I’ll see what I can do.”

                 Camille showered and donned her best dress for her first day. She wanted to make a good first impression and, hopefully make some friends. Her cousins her all a year behind her in school and wouldn’t be starting for a few months. As they approached the school, she glanced around, hoping to catch of look of Ace coming to at least give her a hug and wish her luck before she went in.

                Yalena watched her daughter out of the corner of her eye. She had hoped that Ace would be a better father than he had a boyfriend or fiancĂ© but he seemed to have more important things to do. It infuriated her that he could stand his own child up but she kept her cool, trying with all her might to be the bigger person instead of poisoning her daughter’s mind because of her own failed relationship with him.

                After her first day of school, Camille went home, ready to work on her homework. She liked her teacher and some of her classmates looked promising for potential friends. Brielyn remembered her mother’s horrible attempt at helping with homework and was waiting for her sister when she came inside.

                “Like this,” she asked, pointing to her math problem that her sister had helped her solve.
                “Yeah, just like that. Good job,” Brielyn smiled, ruffling her sister’s hair when they were finished.
                “Wrong, but I’ll fix it before class tomorrow,” Camille thought, looking over the problem. Obviously Brielyn wasn’t very good in math but she didn’t have to know that. At least, Camille wouldn’t be the one to tell her.

                 She quickly discovered that one of her favorite past times was playing chess. They didn’t have a table at home but, often after school, she would head to the library to rifle through the books and would get on the computer there. She hadn’t actually beat the computer yet although she had sure gotten close.

                 “Ms. Avendale,” an unfamiliar voice asked when she answered her cell.
                “That’s me. Can I help you,” she said warily.
                “This is Ms. Griffin from the theater. We remember your audition with us a few years back and, although we don’t have any permanent spots, we do need a sub for a concert tomorrow night. It pays,” she added helpfully.
                “I’ll be there,” Yalena agreed, jotting down the details.

                Yalena left the theater absolutely exhausted. She was lucky Brielyn was old enough to stay home and watch Camille herself at night because it was close to midnight by the time the show had ended. Yalena had been well congratulated on her performance and her promised check was more than doubled when not one, but two encores were requested.

                 With her birthday just around the corner, Brielyn and Camille quickly set to work, coming up with a surprise for their mom. They didn’t receive allowances but Brielyn was able to train with some of the athletes at school, earning her a little money. Ace, feeling guilty for not spending as much time with Camille as he should, have her just about anything she asked for. With this money, they were able to get tickets to see the Green Man Group, a performance they knew Yalena had wanted to see.

                 The next night, Brielyn agreed to babysit so Yalena could have a private birthday date with Lyric. Camille wasn’t very happy about it though.

                “Mommy, do you have to go,” she whined.
                “Honey, Lyric has been planning this for a while.”
                “But Lyric is Cody’s daddy and Cody is my cousin. Doesn’t that make Uncle Lyric your brother,” she asked. She knew very well that it didn’t but maybe it would work.
                “No honey. Aunt Katherine is your daddy’s sister.” No such luck. It was time for a different angle.
                “But, that means that Uncle Lyric is her husband then. Why do you want to go on a date with him? Aren’t dates for unmarried people?”
                ‘Camille Avendale. I am going on this date. You know very well that Aunt Katherine and Uncle Lyric are not married and don’t even live together. That’s why Cody visits his daddy on the weekends, just like you and your sister visit your daddies.”
                “Ugh, boys are stupid,” Camille muttered under her breath, stomping off to her room.

                 Lyric arrived and took her to the beach for the evening. She didn’t think she had really ever been to a true beach before, not like this. Not one that had water that stretched as far as the eye could see. Yalena, not growing up around the beach wasn’t really sure about getting in that open water so they decided to take a dip in the salt water pool on site.

                 She glanced over the horizon as they floated in the cool water. She couldn’t believe how much things had changed yet not changed since she had first run here. She and Lyric were still circling each other, though much closer than before. They still weren’t officially a couple though and, finally leaving her young life behind her, she wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

                 “Hey, c’mon,” Lyric called to her as he hoisted himself out of the pool. She followed him down the beach to the sand where they sat next to each other, holding hands, watching the sun go down. She leaned into him, relaxing in his arms. When he leaned in to kiss her, she let all her worries melt away with it.

                 This was what she had wanted, right from the start. It felt so right to be with him. She wasn’t sure how she had gone so long before realizing that he was the right one, but this was what she had been waiting for all along.

                 The hard questions and decisions could wait for tomorrow.

Chapter 4.9                                                                                                                                              Chapter 4.11
I just want to say thank you to Reya/Cece for helping me, though probably unintentionally, with the dialogue between Jeanie and Yalena. It was just us joking around in chat. I love to hear people's takes on my screenshots (when I am nice enough to show them, that is) and her commentary was just too good to pass up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chapter 4-9: Maybe Tomorrow

                The months dwindled by. Yalena felt as though she had lost everyone important to her. The fight with Jeanie had been on ice since that night. Neither woman felt big enough to find the other one to at least talk about what happened. Lyric was off with his pregnant girlfriend and, even though he and Yalena still talked occasionally, he made sure to keep it phone based only. Xander has been busy with his family and Yalena felt ashamed to see him, knowing what he thinks of her. As for Ace and Glen, Yalena had been right when she finally acknowledged that neither man was for her and refused to go down that path again, regardless of how lonely she was.

                She spent most of her time with her girls. Of course, there was work as well but, honestly it wasn’t worth mentioning. Mr. Martin wasn’t raking in the money like he had hoped, even with the sexy grams, as he had taken to calling them, and her jobs were few and far between. She was still struggling to make ends meet but she got by.

                Brielyn wasn’t so sure about her mom’s math skills. When she would ask for homework help, her mom would count on her fingers or waver back and forth on her answers so much that Brielyn finally gave up asking for help. She wasn’t going to flunk from getting back tutoring from her own mother. How embarrassing!

                 A coffee shop nearby was hosting a small scale talent show. The owner was only allowing a certain number of people to perform and Yalena knew she had to be one of them. Her job wasn’t making her much and playing for tips in the park had only ever yielded Mr. Martin. Perhaps she could get discovered at the show.

                “So, what do you say? Can I perform,” Yalena asked the owner, rather desperately.
                “You look a little too cookie cutter to be that interesting but what could be worse than a fat acrobat,” she said gesturing to the man up next. “Go change. You’re on in five.”

                 Yalena hurried to the stage but the moment she set foot up there, she felt her throat start to close. “What’s happening, I’ve never had stage fright before,” she panicked. She lunged for the glass of water and gulped at it and slowly felt her control come back. She took a deep breath and began singing.

                When she was finally calm enough to get past the nervousness, she was able to enjoy the moment. It was such a rush to sing in front of a crowd with the lights on her. They were there to see her!

                The owner of the coffee bar even seemed to like her.

                 Unfortunately, she was not the one to win the show. Surprisingly, it was the fat acrobat who, despite his size, was rather agile. Yalena figured it was all part of his hook: lower everyone’s expectations and then come out with some amazing moves that blow those expectations out of the water. It was brilliant really but no use to a singer.

                When she wasn’t singing for tips or Mr. Martin, she often would go to the indie coffee shop by her house to read. During one such occasion, who should she run into but Katherine? Damn, she really is gorgeous, even that pregnant, Yalena thought forlornly. She tried ignoring her but when she waddled up the stairs, Yalena couldn’t avoid her gaze.

                 So she offered a polite, one sided smile, hoping that it would be enough and Katherine would keep moving on. No such luck, of course.

                “Well, well, look who it is,” she smirked.
                “Good afternoon Katherine.”
                “You look lonely. Must be no drama for the moment.”
                “What are you talking about,” Yalena rolled her eyes.
                “It’s always something with you. Everything has to revolve around poor, pitiful Yalena who’s had such a rough life. Don’t you wonder why people don’t stick around? They’re tired of playing second fiddle to your one note symphony,” Katherine ridiculed her.
                “You’re such a bitch!”

                Katherine gasped in pain, grimacing through her teeth.
                “Oh cut it out, you drama queen,” Yalena scoffed.
                Katherine grimaced again and doubled over in pain.
                “Oh my Watcher. Your water broke. You’re in labor. Crap, what do I do? Oh, right. Hurry, let’s get you to the hospital.” A barista hurried up the stairs to help Katherine to a taxi while Yalena pulled out her phone.

                “Lyric, Katherine’s water just broke. You need to get to the hospital.”

                 Even though she was there when it started and had been friends with Lyric so long, she didn’t join them there. She went home instead and waited, not feeling that she would be welcome at such a happy moment. Finally, he called to tell her that Katherine had given birth to a healthy baby boy they promptly named Cody.
                She reflected yet again on another’s person bad opinion of her. Normally, what Katherine thought would be discarded. Yalena noticed though that it seemed to be similar to what Xander had told her. Her decisions kept leading her to be alone. Maybe Katherine was right too; maybe she put herself first and didn’t give enough attention to the people who were supposed to be important to her.

                When she received an invitation in the mail to Hunter Fierce-Avendale’s christening party, Yalena decided that she would definitely be there. It was time for her to make amends. She walked down the street and headed up to her brother’s apartment. She had no clue what to say or how to start.

                “He’s beautiful,” she said when she saw their son for the first time.
                “Yeah, he is,” Zane cooed over his son while Jeanie eyed her warily. “I’m going to go put him down for a nap. It’s been a long day.”

                 Yalena watched her brother walk up the stairs with the infant cradled close.
                “Jeanie, I am so sorry. I can see how happy he is. How happy you make him.”
                “I just don’t understand why you would think those awful things of me,” Jeanie pleaded for some kind of explanation.

                 “Honestly, I don’t either. I was just, just stupid and selfish. And jealous. You had everything I wanted and I had another baby with another guy that didn’t care enough to stick around.”
                Jeanie leaned in and grabbed her close and they shared a heartfelt and tearful reunion.

                As she began making amends and trying to change her life, things started to look brighter for Yalena. She was finally becoming happy with where she was in life. Sure, she wasn’t a mega super star. She didn’t have a husband. She did have two daughters who she loved more than life itself. Her family and friends were becoming a major part of her life, as they should have always been.

                “What are you so cheery about this morning,” Yalena scowled at Brielyn early one morning as she got up to make breakfast.

                 “Momma, it’s my birthday! You didn’t forget my birthday did you? You better not have,” her little face wrinkled up into her angry face.
                “No baby, of course I didn’t.” Yalena’s face however told a different story and soon her daughter would be old enough to tell. Right now though, she was young and still innocent and failed to notice the panic and shock in her mother’s face.

                After pancakes, Yalena sent Brielyn off to school and scooped up her younger daughter. “C’mon Cami, we have a lot of planning to do if we’re going to get a party ready by tonight.” Camille cooed in happiness and gurgled her agreement.

                “Daddy, you’re here!”
                “Of course I am baby. Where else would I be on my favorite daughter’s birthday,” Glen smiled at Brielyn, always overjoyed to see her excited to see him. He hoped her teen years would not change that.

                 Yalena had managed to get everyone gathered in one place tonight. Her apartment really was small for her large family but it meant so much to her that they had dropped what they were doing to be there for Brielyn. Noticeably absent was Lyric whom she had called and invited to drop by, with Katherine and Cody, of course, and she tried to ignore the gloomy mood that arose from his nonattendance.

                Everyone cheered as Brielyn blew out her candles. Yalena watched, thinking that her beautiful little girl was now a teenager. She couldn’t believe it. Yalena herself was not yet considered middle aged and she had a teenage daughter.

                Glen didn’t seem too happy about it either. He and Yalena shared a look over their daughter’s shoulder. It was then that Yalena realized that her youngest sisters were still teens too! She knew it was almost time for them to finally be adults but, the thought that her daughter wasn’t much younger than them made Yalena feel old.

                 “Thanks mom. The party was nice,” Brielyn kissed her mother’s cheek and headed to bed. The other guests filed out, leaving only Jeanie to help with the mess.

                “Thanks for staying. It’s nice to have someone to clean with,” Yalena laughed wearily. “I’m just going to go put this little monster to bed.”

                As she took Camille to her crib, Lyric came in the door, only about five hours late.

                 “Hey Jeanie, where’s Yalena,” he asked with a deep breath.
                “Lyric, do you really think it’s a good idea to be here?” She knew about the situation between him and Yalena; her friend had told her everything.
                “I don’t know. I just need to talk to her. And wanted to drop something off for Brielyn.”
                “She’s putting Camille down. Just tell her I’ll see her tomorrow,” Jeanie sighed as she left.

                “Lyric, I didn’t expect you,” Yalena was surprised by his appearance.
                “Sorry I’m so late. We need to talk. Will you sit with me?” He gestured to the seat next to him and she sat gingerly, unsure of what he could possibly need to say.
                “You hurt me, turning me down like that,” she began as he just sat there in silence.

                “I know. You hurt me, constantly choosing other guys besides me. Every time I came around, you made it clear you weren’t interested. Katherine and I just sort of fell back together after you and Ace got engaged.”
                 “I’m sorry. Really I am.”
                “I know. I just wanted you to know that I am too. I don’t want to lose our friendship.”
                “Oh Lyric, we’ll always be friends. Nothing will change that. You’ve always been there for me. Even when I’ve been a stubborn cow,” she laughed, pulling him into a hug.

                 “That’s true. Is Brielyn mad I wasn’t here,” he asked, feeling guilty for showing up late.
                “I think she was a little disappointed but she was so excited and there was so much going on I don’t think it really registered. She’ll be fine.” She paused, unsure of where their friendship boundary line was drawn. “How’s Cody, and Katherine.”
                “Cody is amazing. I love that boy more than I can explain,” his eyes lit up as he talked about his son. “But Katherine, she’s no you.”
                He leaned in and softly kissed her. Really, the kiss was more his lips brushing over hers. He pulled back suddenly, aware of what he had done.

                 “Lena, I want this, really I do. I just need to figure some things out first. With Katherine and Cody. I don’t know,” he stammered, insecure for the first time in his life.
                “I’ll be patient. I’ll be your friend and wait until you figure it out,” she smiled, repeating the words that he had once said to her.

Chapter 4.8                                                                                                                                              Chapter 4.10