Ivy was sat watching television in her pyjamas. Dylan was all tucked up in bed with Puzzle and Tristan was out for the night at some science thing. He’d met someone who worked at Bridgeport’s Science Facility who’d invited him to some conference. He was hoping to be able to talk to the boss, see if he could find a position there. So Ivy had spent a lovely night in on her own, having some quality ‘me’ time.
The peace was broken as she heard a singing voice out in the hall. The front door burst open and a slightly inebriated Ethan danced in, lifting Ivy up by the hand and planting a kiss on her cheek, whipping out a bouquet of white roses from behind his back.
‘Ivy Rivers, you are a GENIUS!’ He beamed at his wife as she took the flowers, delighted.
‘I take it everything’s alright now, then!’
‘Yep! Thanks to you and your genius scheming!’ Ethan nodded hyperactively before calming himself down. ‘You’re the best wife ever,’ he said seriously, reaching out a hand to stroke Ivy’s cheek gently.
‘Best wife ever? Well aren’t you the lucky one!’ Ivy laughed, gazing lovingly into her tipsy husband’s eyes.
‘Nono, I mean it. Best. Wife. Ever.’ Ethan suddenly pulled Ivy close to him, holding her tight. ‘I’m the luckiest guy in the world.’
* * *
The conference went well for Tristan. It turned out that the owner of the science facility in Bridgeport was a leading expert in the field of Maxisosia, something Tristan was very interested in. He’d even written a dissertation on the subject, and he was over the moon when Dr. Roomies said she had heard of it!
The two had spent the conference discussing the ins and outs of Maxisosia, and by the end Tristan had got himself an interview. Dr. Roomies would have given him a job on the spot, but Tristan had decided to tell the truth about how he came to be in Bridgeport and was applying for a job much lower down than the one he’d had previously. Dr. Roomies understood what had happened, but had to agree that Tristan would need to prove himself before taking on a higher position.
Tristan spent the next few weeks reading up and researching for his interview, squirrelling himself away in the Butterfly Sanctuary with a pile of reading material. He was determined to get the job, hating being a burden on his family. If he got this job he’d be able to contribute to the household, and while it would take him a while to save enough to be able to move out contributing was definitely better than sponging!
Still, he needn’t have worried. His impressive CV coupled with his brilliant interview and endorsement from the owner meant that Tristan got the job!
He began work as a Fertiliser Analyst almost immediately. It was pretty dirty work a lot of the time, but he found it fascinating. He also got to use the lab computers to analyse samples, and he loved tinkering about with the programs getting them to work more efficiently. Life was pretty good for Tristan Forest!
* * *
‘Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Dylan!
Happy birthday to you!’
It was a good job Leon was there for the chorus as everyone else sounded like a group of strangled cats! Little Dylan sat proudly in his mother’s arms, laughing as all the attention was heaped on him and conducting the singing group. His Mother, Father and Uncle were there, as well as Leon and Maria. Andy was out of town working, but had sent him a present and was going to take him to his first game at the Stadium later that month.
‘Alright, baby! Close your eyes, blow out your candles, and make a wish!’ Ivy closed her eyes and blew, showing the baby what he needed to do. Dylan studied her very carefully then copied his mother.
Ivy had gone to bed shortly after Dylan had blown out his candles. She wasn’t feeling too good, and so decided to get an early night. She wanted to be okay to see Dylan off to school in the morning!
The rest of the small party guzzled down the cake, made at Bridgeport’s finest bakery, before turning in for the night. It was a school night, after all! Ethan tucked his little boy into bed before selecting a book to read to him. The bedtime routine was usually Ivy’s domain, so he relished his moment! Carefully placing Puzzle on the bedside table he read through Where’s Bella, putting on voices for the characters and acting out scenes, much to Dylan’s delight!
‘…And so Bella and Mortimer got married and lived happily ever after. The End!’
‘That was great, Dad!’
‘Pleased you enjoyed it, kiddo! Now then, get some sleep. You’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow!’ Ethan turned off Dylan’s rocket-shaped lamp, kissed his son on the forehead, and went off to tuck himself into his own bed. Settling down, Dylan closed his eyes and tried to drift off. He was soon interrupted by a bright light shining in his room. Thinking his light had somehow come on again, he opened his eyes.
‘Oh. Hey Puzzle. Where’ve you been all day?’
Puzzle tilted his head from side to side, the light on his antennae bobbing about. ‘Happy birthday, Dylan.’
Dylan smiled. ‘Thanks, Puzz! Did you enjoy the story Dad read us?’
Puzzled nodded, and Dylan shielded his eyes. ‘Watch out with your light! Can’t you dim it?’
Puzzle nodded again, and suddenly the light’s beams retracted. ‘Better?’
‘Much! So what are you going to do tomorrow? Think you’ll manage without me?’ Puzzle gave Dylan a thumbs up and nodded again.
‘Good. I don’t want you to be lonely or anything, Puzzle…’ Puzzle tilted his head and looked inquisitively at Dylan. ‘Dylan okay?’
‘Yeah, yeah. I’m a bit nervous about going to school, actually,’ Dylan confessed. ‘I wish you could come with me, Puzzle.’
Puzzle looked kindly at his friend. ‘Dylan be fine!’
‘But what if I don’t make friends? Or what if I’m stupid? I don’t know if I am or not yet. I don’t want to be stupid…’
‘Dylan not stupid.’
‘I might be.’
‘Dylan not! Dylan make friends.’ Puzzle walked over to Dylan and gave him a hug. ‘Dylan fine. Dylan best friend!’
Dylan laughed, and sat on his bed. ‘Thanks, Puzzle. Think we’d better get some sleep, anyway. Busy day tomorrow! We can play with my new toys when I get home tomorrow.’
* * *
Ivy found Ethan sat having some brunch on the balcony when she got home from the hospital the following day. She hadn’t felt better that morning and had spent the night with the toilet, so had decided to pop to see a doctor. Ethan looked up as she walked out.
‘Hey, Ivy. What did the doctor say?’
‘Well… I’m not exactly ill…’
‘Huh?’ Ethan’s eyes widened as Ivy grinned and rubbed a hand over her stomach, noticing the slight swell underneath her loose shirt. ‘You’re not!’
Ivy nodded, her eyes brimming with tears of happiness. ‘Yup! We’re having another baby, Ethan!’
Ethan bounded over to his pregnant wife and placed an ear to her stomach. ‘Hey baby!’
‘You know, we’re going to have to find somewhere to put him or her.’ Ivy scratched her head, looking back at the apartment. ‘Dylan’s room is too small for them to share, and Tristan’s in the box room. That’s definitely too small, I was amazed that we managed to fit the sofabed in there!’
Ethan straightened up, placing a protective hand on his wife’s stomach. ‘You know, I have been looking at property over the river. I’m not too happy with the thought of Dylan having to go all the way uptown to the park if he wants to run around.’
‘Oh yeah? Did you find anything?’
‘A couple of places. One in particular…’
* * *
‘Oh Ethan, I can’t believe we’ve got the house!’ Ivy hugged her husband tight outside their new home as Dylan went to go up the steps of the porch.
‘I’m going to see what the back garden’s like! Then I’m picking my bedroom!’ he called back over his shoulder.
‘You’re not having the one with the balcony! And watch out for the pool’ Ethan called back.
‘We’ve got a pool!? Amazing!’ Dylan’s face lit up and he ran into the house. Ivy and Ethan laughed as they watched him go.
‘I think we’re going to be very happy here, Ethan!’