Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 53: We are Family

   Alder whistled a tune as he drove through downtown Sun River, and then out towards the city limits, the suburbs of Sun River, where their new house was located.


   To Alder's surprise, Lia had actually been excited about moving.  She had hated New City and couldn't wait to leave it.  Since she had taken that little bit of news so well, he had then told her about Dora and the baby.  She had opened her mouth, but Monty intervened with some throat clearing and pointed looks.  After a brief stare down between the two, Lia held her tongue and didn't have much to say about him signing away his parental rights.  Alder hadn't known what Monty did exactly that made Lia back off, but he had been grateful for it.  He hadn't been in the mood to be lectured again.

  The first lecture had been because he hadn't intended on bringing Spring or Ryder with them to Sun River.  Spring had assured him they had a place to go to.  Alder had looked at it as an excellent way to get out of an awkward situation.  He didn't want to get used to them being around, nor did he want Spring getting any ideas.

  Lia had then promptly called him an idiot, among a few other choice names.  She had told him of course Spring would say that, Spring had her pride too, and only an idiot would believe her.  Alder had given Lia all his reasons, they were good ones, he had thought, but Lia had shot every one of them down.  Finally he had just given up, the argument was pointless, and he was secretly glad they were coming with anyway. 

  He had found it amusing though to watch Spring flounder as she tried to argue with Lia.  Spring had tried the same arguments that Alder had, but Lia would have none of it.  She had ended the whole thing by telling Spring, "We are family now, and family sticks together."  So in the end, Lia had gotten her way, and Spring and Ryder had made the move with them.

    Alder pulled up in front of the house that would be their new home, he hoped for quite a while.  Moving was a pain.  They all got out of the vehicle and got their first glimpse of it.  He breathed a silent sigh of relief at Lia's first response. 


  "I like it here Alder, much better than that nasty old city we were in."

  "Well, as long as you're happy Lia."  Alder said, with a hint of sarcasm.  Sarcasm usually went over her head though, and this time was no exception.

  Lia nodded.  "That's right.  And so far I am happy."  Alder's eyes met Monty's, and Monty just grinned at him.

  They settled into Sun River, and their new home rather quickly.  Lia happily planted a few herbs and vegetables in the large backyard.  "Mama always said fresh is better." she would tell anyone who would listen.


  It wasn't too long after the big move, when Spring started showing again.

 Lia had a bunch to say to her brother about it, but one look at Claudio, and she kept her mouth shut.  She still remembered the long discussion they had over her putting her nose into Alder's business.  Discussion, because they never fought, they only had loud discussions.  Claudio had actually won that loud discussion.

  She sighed.  It was just so hard though.  She could make better choices for Alder than what Alder was making for himself.  The only thing that was making it easier on her, is she had her own suspicions that she was pregnant as well.  She didn't have time to fuss over Alder and his choices, she had a whole other person to plan for.


  Alder cautiously opened the front door and peeked in, was it safe?  With two pregnant hormonal women in the house these past months, he never knew what he was walking into.  Paradise or Hades.  "Alder, if you're thinking of escaping you'd better think again."  Alder groaned.  Lia.  He was busted, not that he would admit to it.

  "I was just on my way up to spend some time with Ryder." he lied.

  "Like I believe that one!" Lia hollered at his quickly retreating back.

   Alder flew into his son's room, and quickly shut the door behind him.  He turned around to find Ryder looking at him.


    "Now, don't look at me like that little Dude."  Alder smiled as he hefted Ryder up into his arms.  "You're lucky, you're still a little boy, so you only get the happy side of Mommy and Auntie Lia.  Daddy on the other hand, is not so lucky!"  He tickled Ryder and Ryder laughed and laughed.

  "'gin Daddy!  Gin!"

  "You want the Tickle Monster to get you again, do you!  Aaaah!"  Alder made his hand into a Tickle Monster puppet, and Ryder squealed with glee.


  "Mo Daddy!  Mo!"


   "Okay little Dude, no more Tickle Monster until you use the potty.  Daddy doesn't like stinky diapers, remember?"

  "'tinky!  'tinky!"


    Alder ruffled his son's hair.  "Yeah, no stinky stinky in the diaper.  Big boys use the potty."  Alder smiled at his son.  Alder had once thought that nothing could replace his affections for his music, but looking at Ryder, he knew something had.  Rather someone had.  While he grumbled about hormone driven pregnant women, he could hardly wait until Spring had their second child.  Now that he knew more of what being a parent was like, he was excited about this next one.

  Lia climbed up the stairs, and was about to get ready for bed.  "Hey there little one." She spoke softly to her unborn child.  She patted her tummy.  "Last night you didn't let me sleep.  How about letting me sleep tonight, okay?" 


  She looked up to watch her husband pacing back and forth while talking on the phone.  He spoke in a harsh whispers, Lia was having a hard time eavesdropping on his conversation.  Really, Claudio should speak louder!   It was rather inconsiderate of him to speak in such low tones.

  "Antonio..."  Claudio started to say, then paused while he listened to what his brother had to say.

   "There's no need to put us under surveillance! Don't be..."  Claudio frowned, as he looked out the window.  Antonio kept interrupting him, and talking over him.  What Claudio really wanted to do was hang up on Antonio, but that wouldn't solve anything.  "Antonio," he tried again, "Stick to our deal.  You leave me and the Kahekili family alone, and in return, those unfortunate documents, that are in my possession, that paint you and our father in a very bad light, won't see the light of day.  Come within a hundred yards of my family, and I swear you'll regret it." 

  Claudio hung up the phone, and turned around to see his wife watching him curiously.  "Who were you talking to?"

  "No one important."  He kissed her lightly on the lips.  What he said was true, Antonio was a part of his past, not important to him anymore.  Now if he could just get Antonio to stop calling him and interfering in his life.  Antonio claimed that he was in the middle of a turf war with another family, and that he was simply putting Claudio under surveillance for his own protection.  Claudio didn't believe him.  Antonio couldn't care less about his little brother, so something else was going on.

  The pain was pretty intense.  Funny how you forget that, Spring mused to herself.  She had been in labor with Ryder for hours, so she knew she had a long night ahead of her with this second one.  She eyed the bar.  Maybe one little drink wouldn't hurt.  It might even help her relax a little. 


     That was one of the benefits of having been a mixologist.  She knew hundreds of different types of drinks.  This occasion called for a special drink though.  She couldn't decide between Woohoo on the Beach, which indirectly had led to this second child, or Big Mistake, because sometimes she really felt she had made a big mistake in moving here.

  She so badly had wanted to be part of a family, and while it had thrilled her to hear Lia say she was part of theirs, Alder never said the words.  She wanted to hear those words from him.  Followed by will you marry me.  She laughed at herself, then a moan slipped out as another contraction hit her.  She downed another drink.


    The contractions were getting closer and closer.  Spring frowned, hiccuped, and then giggled.  This baby was in a bigger hurry to get here than his brother Ryder had been.  The next contraction had her howling though.


  Son of a baby monkey!  That one really hurt!  The end result was worth it though, when she held her newborn son in her arms, the pain a thing of the past.  "Hello Niall."


    The next afternoon found Alder in a slight panic.  "Lia!"  Alder hollered..  "Lia!  Help!  She's found me!"

  Lia rolled her eyes.  "Alder, stop being ridiculous.  Of course our mother is here, her only grandchildren are here.  You know how she feels about babies!"   Alder moaned, while Lia shook her head at him. "Frankly I'm surprised it took her this long to visit us, and I told her so last time we talked on the phone."  Lia turned and headed for the front door.


  "I don't know how she does it, but she makes me feel like I'm six years old again with her heavy sighs, and her eagle eyes and..., what did you say?  It's your fault she's here!  Awww, Lia!  You know how she is with me."

  "I think it's adorable."  Lia said over her shoulder.  "She worries about you."

  "She just wants me to get married and have lots of babies!  She talks of nothing else!  It drives me batty!  I sure hope she isn't staying here."  Alder said worriedly.  He loved his mother, he truly did, but she just didn't understand that he didn't want the same things that she did.

  "Relax, Alder, she's not staying here."

  "Thank goodness!"  That was a happy thought.  His mother really put a crimp in his dating style, so he was glad she wasn't staying with them for this visit.  She liked to interview his dates to see if they had potential as future brides.  Really it was quite embarrassing to him.  She very nearly had them open their mouths so she could check their teeth!

  "Daddy and her have decided to move here, to be closer to us, so they already bought a house and everything.  Isn't that great?"  Alder stopped in his tracks and froze as Lia threw open the front door.  "Daddy!  Mama!"  After Lia got her hugs, she led them into the house.

      "Alder!  I am so pleased that you given me two grandbabies, but I still need a daughter in law!  It was supposed to be marriage first, Alder.  We'll have to work on that.  Where is the mother of your two boys?  Her name is Spring correct?  I think a lovely spring wedding would be perfect!  After I have seen my grandsons, I should like to meet her, this Spring."

  Lia took pity on her brother, and answered his silent plea for help.  "Mama, I can feel the baby moving.  Do you want to feel?"  Which effectively drew Elly's attention to her daughter.

  Alder quickly made his escape.  "Would you like a tour of the house Dad?"

  Reilly chuckled, "Yes, I do believe I would like a tour."

  Spring found Claudio upstairs in his bedroom.  She paused a moment, to consider her plan, and whether or not she wanted to follow through with it.  Then she pushed the door open.  Alder wasn't the only one who could sleep with other people.  She lifted her chin up.  She had been told by plenty of other men that she was pretty.  She needed to feel pretty again.  Alder only paid attention to their boys, and not her.  She was jealous of her own children.  It was time for a little payback.

  She tried to surprise Claudio, but her balance wasn't quite right after those few Big Mistakes she had made for herself.  She wobbled too much, and made too much noise.  "Claudio!" she said brightly.

  He frowned at her.  "What are you doing in here?"

  Spring moved in closer to him, and smiled.  She ran one finger down his bare chest.  "Well, I was thinking..."  Before she could finish that thought, she found herself thrust far away from him.

  "What in the hell do you think you are doing?" he asked harshly.  "Obviously you're not using your brain, because that was a pretty brainless thing you just did!  You need to figure out your relationship with Alder, and leave me out of it.  Sober up Spring, and don't let this happen again!  I won't tell Lia this time, because it would kill her, she actually likes you!"


  Spring hung her head, and whispered, "Sorry."  She felt so humiliated, what had seemed like a good idea, wasn't.  She hadn't even been thinking of Lia, who had befriended her, at all.  She had only been thinking of herself.  She ran out of the room.

  Claudio tracked his wife down.  She was standing in the kitchen with her parents, her eyes alight with excitement as she and her mother discussed the benefits of different herbs.  Her father just nodded his head every once in while, a slight smile on his lips.   Claudio watched her for several minutes, waiting for a break in the conversation.  He had never seen anyone as beautiful as his wife, she just glowed.   Once the conversation died down, Claudio pulled his wife into his arms and kissed her passionately.

  After the kiss ended, Lia smiled at Claudio.  "What was that for?"


  "I love you Lia."  Monty said.  He had married the most amazing woman.  He was so blessed.  He felt sorry for Spring, and he sincerely hoped that she could get things straightened out with Alder.

  Lia snuggled closer to Claudio.  "Hmmm, I  love you too." 

  Several hours later Lia went into labor.  Her labor was much shorter than Spring's, for within twenty minutes she gave birth to a daughter, Alyssa.


  Reilly was already smitten.


  He loved being a Grandpa, and he was glad that he and Elly had decided to move to Sun River to be closer to their grandchildren.


    Reilly was not the only one smitten.  Claudio adored his daughter, and spent countless hours with her.

  "Claudio!"  Lia said exasperated.  "I do wish you wouldn't toss her about and get her stomach upset right before I have to feed her!"


  "Ooops, sorry Love."  Claudio said, chagrined.

  Claudio was not the only involved father.  Alder was really enjoying being a parent, he found great joy in teaching Ryder new things.  Like how to walk.

  He couldn't wait until Ryder got older, there was so much he wanted to teach his son!   Thankfully he didn't have too long to wait.

  A couple days later it was Ryder's, Niall's, and Alyssa's birthday.

  Ryder, being the oldest, went first.


  Followed by his little brother Niall.


    And Alyssa.


  Alder was a bit preoccupied though, and missed out on the cake and ice cream.  An old friend from his University days had shown up on his doorstep, she said she really needed to talk to him.  So he let her in, where they stared at each other for several moments.  Then she launched into his favorite kind of talk, and she ended up staying.

  It made for some awkward moments, especially for Spring, who pretended that she didn't care that one of his old lovers had shown up unexpectedly.   Spring was unhappy to hear that woman was staying for a couple days, at Alder's request.  In fact, Spring was downright ticked at Alder, and could have happily, cheerfully even, strangled him.  She wished she didn't love him so much, she wished that she could just move on, but she seemed to have this masochistic desire to stay with him, no matter how much it hurt. 

  What was her other choice?  To end things between them?  To move out, and never be a part of his life?  And what of her boys?  She just couldn't let go of her dream yet, she couldn't let go of him yet.  But she was darned if that woman was going to sleep in her bed!


  Alder didn't get what the big deal was.  There was plenty of him to go around.  Sheesh, women.


   The next few days passed by quickly, Alder showed Esther around Sun River.  He had been happy to see her, but he couldn't deny that he was happy she was leaving soon.  Things had been tense between him and Spring, and he found he didn't like the tension between them.  She was mad at him for some reason, Alder couldn't figure out why, but he knew that after a few days of charming her, she would forget all about whatever it was that had made her so upset.

  Alder wasn't a cook by any means, but he could make a pretty mean salad.  After dinner he was dropping Esther off at the train station.  Though, now that he looked at her, she looked a little green like the salad she had just eaten.  He sure hoped he wasn't sending her home with food poisoning!!?


  It was funny though, Alder mused to himself.  Esther never did tell him why she had needed to talk to him in the first place.  Unless she had just wanted to see him again?


  Notes:  In case you all are wondering, Lia has the insane trait.  So sometimes her clothes don't match up to the occasion.  She prefers sleeping in her swimsuit, for example. lol  The nice thing about insane sims, is I actually get to see the wardrobe I spend hours putting together but rarely use! =)

  Birthdays and age---I had some sort of an aging glitch, which was quite irksome.  I almost lost Reilly to a premature death, talk about your heart attacks.  How funny too, because he is not real, lol  But I literally pulled him from the jaws of death.  I invited Reilly and Elly over from MV, when he arrived he was OLD!  Reilly was still not quite half way through his adult stage when I left him in MV.  Kit still wasn't old.  So I added Reilly and Elly to a local household, so that I could fix Reilly's age.  I made him an adult again, and adjusted his age using MC.  I figured he should still have a few days left of adulthood.  10 minutes after I did that, SP gave me a notice that he died of old age.

  I went into a panic, and actually posted at Twallan's site, lol  I was concerned that SP was going to take away Reilly if I hit the unpause button.  Thankfully it did not, but that's how close he was to dying.  I think whatever that was may have affected the kids.  Because somehow they all ended up with the same birthday, when clearly Alyssa and Niall were born a day apart.

  Spring really did try flirting with Claudio.  Darn sims, got to keep your eye on them every moment.  She is flirty, Claudio is not.  He didn't appreciate her effort at all, and rebuffed her quite harshly.  Then he berated her ignorance, lol  Funny enough, after that happened, he did go looking for Lia, and gave her one of those heat of the moment kisses, which I thought was quite sweet.  All of that was autonomous.  I also had Spring working on her mixologist skill while she was pregnant.  I was taking pics of that, and suddenly she goes into labor.  Ha!  So I had to include all that, lol

  Alder can be a blockhead, lol  But he can be a loveable one too.  He was the one that taught Ryder all of his toddler skills, because I had to have Spring leveling up her Mixology skills, Claudio was off spreading his wonderful works of art in town, while Lia was gardening/working.  =)

  My baby brother, who is 21, is autistic.  I still watch him for my Mom while she is at work.  When he is upset, he will say quite loudly, "Son of a baby monkey!"  lol  So, I got that from my *little* brother.

 Two final notes--Dora had a boy, and it was named some awful name, poor boy.  Wilbert I think it was, it fits for her high end society type.  And two,  Antonio keeps calling Claudio, he's even shown up in town~

  Blooper pic----

  "Mother!!  Aren't you supposed to be playing with your grandchildren, NOT their toys?"


  Thanks for reading! =)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chapter 52: Surprise!

 When they got back home, Alder excitedly shared their plans for the future with his father.  "So, Dad, while we were at University, Lia and I, well, and Monty, we started talking about what we were going to do when we graduate.  Lia wants to get into directing movies, and I have my band, well, Monty follows Lia, anyway, we all decided that Monte Vista simply doesn't have the opportunities to grow in our careers."

  "So we all decided we should move to a bigger city together.  We can split the higher costs of living, so finances won't be a problem.  I already have several gigs set up there and I've talked to several people in New City about renting a house there, so our housing is taken care of.  Monty and Lia want to get married here first, before we go, so that the family can be there to see her get married."

  "Hmmm," Reilly said.  "It sounds like you all have it all figured out then.  So how soon after the wedding will you guys be moving?"

  "Well," Alder thought for a moment.  "Lia says she can pull together her wedding in less than a week.  So I hope to be in New City within the next ten days."

  Reilly nodded.  "Ten days huh?  That won't give your mother much time to get used to the idea of you guys moving out.  Moving out and moving away."

  "I know."  Alder nodded his head.  "Mom's gonna freak."  He rolled his eyes.  "She wants me to move to her homeland and give her grandchildren.  I have no interest in getting married or having kids, I just want to write my music and play my guitar.  And get paid to do it!"  He shrugged.  "I can't stay here, it would be career suicide."

  Reilly smiled sadly.  "I understand Alder.  I will miss you guys, but I agree with you that it is a good idea for your chosen careers."

 Lia declared that she wanted to get married at the very spot where she first met Claudio.  So the next several days the house was a flurry of activity as everyone pitched in to help with Claudio and Lia's wedding.  Until finally, the Wedding Day arrived. 

  Alder had to fortify himself, weddings were not his thing.  The juice keg had been his idea, and it was pretty fine idea if he didn't say so himself.

 He thought Monty looked a little stressed and tense, so Alder helped him loosen up a little.

    "Alder!  What are you doing?"  Reilly hollered.

  "Helping Monty loosen up."  Alder told his father.

  "If you get the groom juiced up before his wedding, your sister is going to loosen your head off of your shoulders.  And I'll help her!  Now,  go make yourself useful!"

  "No good deed goes unpunished."  Alder grumbled under his breath as he set Monty back on his feet.  At least, Monty no longer looked like he was about to pass out from nerves, he even had some color back in his face, Alder thought.

  Alder was finding it quite amusing that Monty,  Mr. Calm himself, kept letting his nerves get to him.

Not that he blamed him, if he had to marry Lia, he would probably jump off the nearest cliff to end his suffering quickly.  Monty had given him a funny look when Alder told him that.  He even said he wasn't nervous about marrying Lia, he was nervous about being around so many Kahekilis at once, en masse.  Monty's family wasn't as large and as extensive as the Kahekilis, and Lia didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so she had invited every family member, no matter how distantly related.

  Claudio's nervousness faded though along with the rest of the world, once he was standing under the arch, with his beautiful bride looking at him in adoration.



  The next morning, Alder, Claudio and Lia left for New City.  Lia's first impressions of New City were not favorable.  Nor were her second impressions.  The house was the clincher though, she didn't like it.  "I don't like it." she said emphatically.

  Alder rolled his eyes.  "You've come to this conclusion after being here for an hour?"

  "No, " Lia countered, "I came to this conclusion as soon as we hit the city limits.  It is dirty, stinky, everything is hard and concrete, there is barely any grass or trees or..."

  "You've got a whole yard full of grass."  Alder shot back.  "I don't see the problem."

  Lia opened her mouth to fire back, but Claudio swooped in and kissed her, forestalling her next words.  "Lia, we need to be open minded and give it a chance, okay?  If you still don't like it, we'll find a different city to live in."

  Lia smiled at Claudio.  "Okay, I'll give it a chance."

  "That's my girl."  Claudio kissed her again, and soon both had forgotten about Alder standing there.

  Alder snorted.  Here was the fatal flaw to his plan.  He was going to be living with newlyweds.  At least Claudio got Lia to see reason, which was a miracle in Alder's opinion.  Lia was rarely reasonable.  Alder decided this was a good time to check out where his next gig was going to be.  "I'm going out." he said to no one in particular.  He wasn't surprised when no one answered either.
  A few wrong turns later, he finally found the place, and walked in.  He pushed the door open, walked in and seated himself at the bar.  Then he got a good look at the woman behind the bar, and a smile crept on his face.  His night just magically got better.

   "Hello Doll." he said warmly. "I'm Alder."

 Without even looking up she said, "We're not open yet."

  "Good, that gives me some time to check the place out, and figure out where I want to place our band equipment, look over the sound system, all that jazz."

  She finally looked up at him.  "Excaliber?" she questioned.

    "Yeah, that's the name of my band.  You heard of us?"

   "Heard of you!  I heard you guys at University Park, and you were simply amazing!  When Jones told me that you guys would be playing here for a few nights, I actually begged to come to work!"  With stars in her eyes she asked him, "Would you mind autographing this napkin?"  She slid a napkin and pen over to him.  Alder scrawled his signature on it and passed them back to her. 

  "What's your name Doll?"

    "Spring." she said shyly, looking away.

    "Spring is a beautiful name, it suits you."

  Alder didn't know why, and he didn't question it either, he just had this way with chicks.  Within a manner of minutes, he had Spring's phone number, and her address.  And some passionate kissing behind the bar.

   Which lead to some fooling around in the photo booth.

   After a few more tussles in the photo booth, he made his way home.  He was still too keyed up to sleep, so he swam some laps in the indoor pool at his new digs.  He called that quits though and decided to go outside for a walk when he overheard his sister and Monty.  There were just some things a brother didn't want to hear, he thought in disgust.  Newlyweds, what was he thinking?

  He noticed a woman standing out on the curb, hesitant and unsure, and as he walked closer, he recognized her and gave her a warm hug.  "Mrs. Martell, what a delightful surprise."

  "What kind of a greeting is that?" she asked with a pout.

  Alder obliged her.

    "Mmm, much better."

  "You're dressed up pretty fancy for just visiting little ole me.  The dress is nice, but you know what I prefer."

  "Oh, I know what you like." she smiled at him.  "I had to attend yet another one of Tobin's boring fundraisers, then he informed me that I should run along home now, like I'm some kind of lap dog poodle." she said bitterly.  Then she brightened up, and ran a finger down Alder's chest.  "I was hoping you'd be here." she whispered.  "Do you like the house I found for you?"

  "The house is great!  I love it!  You said it's owned by your husband's father, the Mayor of New City, right?  Won't he mind..."

  Dora laughed softly.  "Not in the slightest.  They both think they have me under their thumb, but no one owns me.  They were pathetically happy to lease it out too, the taxes are so expensive in this neighborhood.  It is one of the few green areas in New City."

  "So I noticed."  Alder thought of his sister, but then firmly pushed the thought away.  "Would you like to come in?"

  "I thought you'd never ask."

  Alder was relieved that the house was all quiet when they went inside.  He hoped his sister and Monty were sleeping.  Another thing he didn't think about, roommates could really cramp his style.  It didn't take Dora long to bring his attention back to her.

    She stayed overnight, which Alder usually didn't allow sleepovers.   In this case, he made a small exception, because one, she was his landlady, and two, they did very little sleeping.

  The weeks passed by quickly.  Alder was thrilled with his new life, while Lia was still trying to adjust.  She just didn't like all the concrete and smog, she felt like she was being suffocated.  Her career was going well, she was making lots of great contacts, and she spent hours going through scripts.  Claudio holed up in a room and painted while Lia was at work.  Everything fell into a rhythm, until that fateful day, when Alder's life was changed forever.

  It started with a knock at the door.

   When Alder went to answer it, he noticed it was Spring.  He hadn't seen her in a while, she had started making noises about commitment, and he had backed out as fast as his wings could take him.  He had this faint premonition, that if he let her inside his home, his life would never be the same.  He contemplated not answering, but in the end he decided that was a cowardly thing to do, and he wasn't a coward.  So he opened the door.

  "Hi."  Spring said nervously.  "I haven't seen or heard from you in a while."

     "Uh yeah, sorry, I've been busy."  He winced at his own lameness.  "You look well, though," he said.  "you've put on some weight, but hey, you carry it well."  He groaned inwardly.  Where was his legendary charm now?  He had pretty much called her fat, and that was number one no no in the Charm handbook.

  "It's not fat, Alder, it's called a baby.  I'm pregnant.  And it's yours."

  Alder stared at her, his face frozen in a smile.  Did she just use the words pregnant and yours in the same sentence?!

  Spring continued to talk, the words nervously pouring from her lips.  "Sorry to spring this, ha ha, spring, anyway, sorry to spring this on you this way.  But I'm in a bit of a bind.  I lost my job, because the Boss man says a pregnant lady doesn't sell drinks, that in fact she scares away customers.  And he can't afford to lose any business due to my stupidity.  But without the job, I didn't have any money, so I lost my apartment.  I don't have a place to stay, I don't have any money, I'm due to give birth to your child any day now, and I just need a place to crash for a while.  Can I stay here?"

    She did!  She used the words pregnant and yours in the same sentence!  Then she added to it, with the whole can I stay with you bit.

  "Alder?" she asked, hesitantly, as he continued to stare at her, his face frozen.

  With an effort, he shook the shock off.  "Uh, sure."  Really, what else could he say?  She was homeless, penniless, and pregnant with his child, only a complete jerk would tell her no.  He was going to be a father, he felt ill at the thought.  He still had to tell Lia and Monty they were going to have another roommate.  Lia was going to freak.

    He was right.  Lia freaked.

  "I can't believe this Alder!  Of all the irresponsible..."  Lia raged.

  "Bah, get over yourself Lia.  You're not my mother.  It's just temporary anyway."

  Lia looked at Alder as if he had lost his mind.  "Temporary?  Are you crazy?  This is a child we are talking about Alder!  A child!  A child is not temporary, a child is a lifetime commitment!"  Both siblings were yelling at each other, forgetting that the object of their conversation was in the same room.

  "What do you want me to do about it?" he asked her irritably.

  "Are you going to marry her?"

  Alder was horrified.  "Heck no, I'm not the marrying kind.  I told her that..."

  "...when you first met her.  Yeah, yeah, I'm familiar with your game plan Romeo.  The way you lead these girls on, it is despicable!  This one just happens to be pregnant with your kid."
  "A fact I am well aware of, thank you very much!  And what do you mean about leading them on?  I'm upfront and honest from the get go, I'm not interested in long term.  I can't help it that some seem to take that as a challenge!"  He started to say something more, but Spring's soft voice stopped him.

  "I didn't ask you to marry me." she said with quiet dignity.   "I just need a place to crash for a little bit, while I get back on my feet.  I'm sorry to be such a burden on you, but I'll get out of your hair as soon as I can."  Alder turned towards Spring in surprise, he had forgotten she was even in the room.

   "Uh, sorry Spring." he said sheepishly.  "It's an old fight between Lia and I, and doesn't really have anything to do with you personally.  She's just an annoying, nosy busy body that tries to run everyone's life her way."

  "Annoying...busy..."  Lia sputtered behind him.

  Alder hugged Spring affectionately.  "Take no mind of us, we argue a lot, just ask Monty.  You're not a burden, but you did give me quite a surprise!" he added on, when Spring looked at him skeptically.  "But hey, I'm an eternal optimist, and I already see several good things about this situation."

  "Like what?"  Spring asked curiously.

  "Yeah, like what?"  Lia repeated.

  Alder smiled at Spring.  "Well, I've been thinking about it, and if I have a little dude, I can teach him all about guitars and girls."  Alder warmed up to his subject.  "I've also decided you look really hot."  He eyed her body appreciatively.  "I've never said that about a pregnant woman in my entire life.  Never thought it either, but being that's it my kid in there, makes all the difference.  You are rocking some curves woman!  And even better..."   He pulled Spring into his arms, and she went willingly.  "We can have sex and not worry about you getting pregnant, the deed is already done."

  "I like how your mind thinks."  Spring whispered.  She sighed happily when his lips found hers.

     Spring had tried to let him go, though it had nearly killed her.  She had made the tragic mistake of talking about marriage and children, and he had backed off so quickly it made her head spin.  It hurt too, that he could so casually and easily walk away from her.  Then she found out she was pregnant.  She thought briefly about telling him, but decided against it.  She didn't want him with her because he was forced into it.  She wanted him to choose her.

  Then she lost her job, and her place, and she had no where else to go.  Ten minutes in his company, and she found herself wishing he would offer to marry her.  Ten minutes for her to realize she wasn't over him, she still loved him, no matter that he had hurt her.  He had told her he wasn't into long term, and she hadn't been either, at first.  The more time she spent with him though, the more that changed.  She couldn't really blame him, she had changed the rules, and he had decided he didn't want to play by them.

  Now they had this baby to consider.  She wanted them to be a family.  She wanted his answer to his sister's question, Are you going to marry her?, to be a yes.  Maybe, with enough time, he would fall in love with her.  So she would use whatever time she had, to tie him as close to her as she could.  It had to work.  The heartache if it did not was unthinkable.


    Lia stared out the window, grumbling to herself.  Alder was impossible, and if he couldn't tell that girl was in love with him, and looking for more than his usual thanks it was fun lets do it again sometime, then he was an idiot.


  Less than a week later, Spring felt the first labor pains hit her.

    It was Alder's turn to freak out.  He was about to become a Dad.  The responsibility of it was frightening.  He wasn't ready.  What did he know about babies?  What if he dropped it, or rolled over it in bed while sleeping, or ???   His brain hurt with all that thinking!

   Ready or not, it didn't matter, he watched in awe as Spring gave birth to his son, Ryder.

  Alder felt a mixture of awe, elation, and pride as he stared at his son.  He could hardly believe he was half responsible for his little dude being here.  He was even cute, for a kid.  Spring's thoughts must have been similar to his own as she commented, "He's gorgeous, the best looking baby ever!"  She crooned nonsense words to Ryder, who made little mewling noises back at her.

  They looked at each other and smiled.  Alder felt exhilarated, flushed with joy.  This having kids thing wasn't so bad, he decided.  Spring handed Ryder to him, and he stared at the blue bundle in his arms. "Hey little Dude, welcome to the family!"  Ryder started fussing within a couple of minutes, and rooting about Alder's chest.  "Hey little Dude, I don't have the equipment you're looking for.  Let's get you back to your Mom, okay?"  He handed Ryder off to her.  Spring sat down in the rocker and began to nurse Ryder.

  Who knew the sight of Spring nursing his son would be such a turn on?  Alder thought to himself.  But it was, and he could have happily stayed there and watched, except for the untimely doorbell ring followed by Lia yelling, "Alder, it's for you!"

  So, with a sigh, he left Spring and Ryder and went downstairs to see who his visitor was.  He saw a very pregnant Dora Martell on his doorstep.  Crap, he had a bad feeling about this.

    She wasted no time either, but started talking as soon as he opened the door and stepped outside.  "We have a problem."

  "We have a problem?" he echoed her words, but he couldn't stop staring at her stomach.  She was so...fat.  Whereas he had found Spring so irresistibly attractive he had a hard time keeping his hands off her while she was pregnant, perversely the same could not be said of Dora.  She just looked fat to him, he didn't have the slightest interest in her pregnant body.  Maybe her kid wasn't his?  He tried to count back the number of months it had been since they had ended their affair, but he was hopeless.  He just couldn't remember the particulars.

  "I'm pregnant."

  "So I see."  He looked away briefly, and rolled his eyes.  Talk about stating the obvious.


  She pasted on a fake smile.  "Cute.  I'm not in a cute mood Alder.  Tobin found out that you are the father of this baby."  Darn, shot that theory down, Alder thought bemusedly.  What was the difference between Spring and Dora then?  Dora was more his type, she didn't want permanence either, their break up had been amicable.  Spring, she wanted more from him than he was capable of giving.  He tried to put distance between them, but it was just no good.  She'd give him a look, and he was a goner.  Maybe once she was out of his house, things would go back to normal.  He refused to acknowledge the small pang that thought brought.

  "Right.  Baby is mine, Tobin found out, got it."

  "No, I don't think you've got it, Alder.  Tobin and I haven't slept together in years, we stay together for our kids and his political aspirations.  He has money, power, connections, things I find important.  He is furious that I slept with you.  For his attachment to his political career, and my attachment to his position, we have come to an agreement.  Can we take this inside?" she asked suddenly, as if she just became aware they were still standing outside his front door for all to see.  Alder shrugged, and led the way into the house.

  "So, this is what Tobin and I have decided about the baby situation.  He'll claim this child as his, but he wants you gone."

   "Ooo...kay."  Alder said, but he didn't get it.  He was already out of her life.  Were they afraid he was going to take the kid from them?  He could calm her fears on that one, while he liked little Dude well enough, he wasn't exactly ready for two of them.

  Dora sighed and shook her head.  Then she spoke to him as if he were a dull witted child.  "Gone, Alder.  As in leave this house, leave this town, gone.  No contact with us or this child ever, type of gone.  For all intents and purposes, this child will be Tobin's, and not yours."  Her phone beeped, she took it out and looked at it.  "Just a second, Tobin texted me to ask if we were done talking yet.  I'll just text him back and let him know we're just wrapping it up."


  "Whoa, Dora, I'm not sure about that type of gone.  There is my career to consider and all.  We could move, I suppose."  He winced when he considered what Lia's reaction to that would be.  She already hated the town, but at least this house gave her a small patch of grass.  She would really hate living in an apartment downtown.  Still, if that is what they had to do, but Dora was shaking her head no.

  "I've used some of my contacts in Sun River.  It's a lovely little town, with a growing downtown area.  It is in the top 100 places in the world to live in.  I've procured you some starting gigs, a new job for your sister, and even a house to rent.  Or, if you like it well enough, you could buy the house."

  "I'd have to check it our first."

  She shrugged.  "Of course."

  Alder thought for a moment.  Could he really turn his back on his own child, and pretend like it didn't exist?  What other choice did he have?  He wasn't father material, even if he still felt a little warm and fuzzy over seeing the birth of his son.  If he forfeited his rights to it, his child would grow up wealthy and privileged, with two parents looking over it.  As if sensing his struggling thoughts, Dora chimed in with, "Think of what's best for this baby Alder.  Do you really want to take responsibility for me and it?"  Alder was horrified by the thought.  Another woman underfoot in his house?  Unthinkable.  Seeing his reaction, she pressed on, "I didn't think so.  This is the best idea, all around.  You'll know that your child is well provided for, and you'll have none of the responsibility for it."

  Reluctantly, Alder agreed to the deal.  He felt slightly sick as he signed the legal paper she handed over to him that outlined the particulars of their deal.  There was nothing else to be done though, it did seem to be the best thing for it.  After he signed the paper, she whipped her phone out again and started texting.  To her husband, he presumed.

    When she was done, she looked up from her phone with a genuine smile on her face.  "Thanks Alder.  This really is best, you'll see.  I wish you the best of everything in your new life."  She started for the door, but Alder called her name before she reached it.  She turned towards him.  "Yes?"

  "Will you text me, when you have the baby?  Let me know if it was a girl or boy?  What you named it?  I know I don't have the right to know, but I'd like to."

  She regarded him for a moment.  "Okay."  Then she was gone.

  Alder slumped into the nearest chair.  Gone was his elation from earlier, instead he felt an inexplicable sadness in its place.  Why did doing what he felt was right, feel so wrong?  This was what he hated about responsibility, he grumbled to himself.  It was a huge weight on his shoulders, and it never seemed to go away, even when he did something right.  Now he had to figure out a way to tell Lia they were moving, and why.  And then he had to figure out what to do about Spring and Ryder.  He sighed grumpily.  How did he get himself into these situations?

  Notes:  So, Lia's thought on NYC were my own, lol.  I liked the big city feel of it, but egads!  So many goofy glitches it was driving me batty, so I decided (again!) to move them to a different city.  I found one I like much better.  It has a nice downtown center, and a suburban area for Lia.  So, we'll all be happier. =)

  A big thank you again, to Reya, for uploading Gem Sari.  Spring is genetically his, but there is no connection between our stories, lol 

  Ryder counts, but Dora's baby does not.  That one is staying with its mother, in NYC.  Alder is sad about it. :(  He thinks he's done the right thing for the baby though, because he is not in a position in life to care for it himself.

  On the wedding---sorry it was so short.  They refused to get married under the darn arch, no matter how many times I clicked on it, or them.  They would walk over there, stand under the arch, and then the queue would drop from both of them.  So I would try it again, and after wandering all over the place trying to find a spot where there wasn't a Kahekili standing (whose idea was it anyway to invite so many of them???) they would repeat the process.  So---it is what it is, lol

  Thanks for reading! =)