With all the new babies, the Hasslich household was filled to capacity. As much as Sylvie wanted to stay, she knew that the time had come for her and Abe to move out and make a home of their own.
Aurora: I really wish you would stay, Sylvie! We’ve got plenty of space, really!
Sylvie: Oh, sweetie, you really are the best sister I could ask for. But I have TWINS! And I know you want more babies – if the four of us were to stay, you wouldn’t have room for your own family!
Aurora: But you are my family!
Sylvie drew her little sister in for a tight hug.
Sylvie: Seriously, Aurora – we’re only moving down the block! We’ll see each other all the time, the kids will still grow up together. And I’ll always be around to put Addie in her place – since you insist on letting her stay here.
Aurora glanced around, making sure they were alone, not to be overheard.
Aurora: She’s family, Sylvie. I want to see the best in her, despite her…..short-comings. And where would she go, anyway? She has no money, Beau’s father abandoned her, and Roxas is out of town ….. Look, I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her. I’m not delusional – I know she’s not a nice person. But people can change, right? Besides – if she’s here at least I can keep an eye on her….
Sylvie nodded appreciatively.
Sylvie: Ahhhhh, you’re much more wily than I give you credit for, baby sister! I see what you’re doing here – keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
Aurora: No! That’s not what I’m doing at all! Addie’s not an enemy….
But Sylvie just smiled conspiratorially.
The day after Sylvie and her family moved out, Aurora woke up feeling lonely. She missed her sister – the house seemed empty without her, too quiet without the extra ruckus and hullabaloo.
But as she rolled over and pulled herself out of bed, it dawned on her that today was also a double birthday! Today was the day that Sebastian would spin into childhood, and the day that Coralie would officially become a teenager. And Aurora could think of no better way to celebrate than by throwing a party and filling her empty home with friends and family.
Of course the first person on the guest list was her sister, so she immediately picked up the phone to call Sylvie.
Sylvie laughed on the other end of the line.
Sylvie: A party tonight? You just can’t survive without me, can you? Of course we’ll be there! This couldn’t be any more perfect – you know it’s my elder birthday today, and Abe’s too!
Aurora hung up the phone and slipped on her shoes. There was a lot to do if she was going to pull this party off in one day – she had errands to run.
After a whirlwind shopping trip in town, Aurora was passing the pool on her way home when she was approached by a handsome, and flirtatious, stranger.
Okay – upon closer inspection, maybe he wasn’t actually as handsome as she’d thought. But at least they weren’t related, and that was saying something in this town.
She checked her watch. Three hours to go until the party – which left plenty of time to work on another addition to her family. Coralie was at school, Addie had taken the babies to the park, and the house was completely empty. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Aurora: Would you like to come by my house for a glass of lemonade?
Mathias (that was his name, she had learned) jumped at the chance.
Aurora: Let me be clear. This isn’t ever going to be anything serious. I’m just after a bit of fun. Well, fun and a baby. But don’t worry! – if there’s a baby, your level of involvement in the child’s life is entirely up to you. Me and you, though – it’s just never going to be a thing.
Mathias shrugged. Aurora had expected more of a reaction, maybe a little protestation, some semblance of romance – but there was nothing wrong with a shrug.
Mathias: Works for me.
Afterward, Aurora jumped out of bed to take the pregnancy test. Mathias didn’t seem to mind, as he was already gathering his things.
Aurora: Well it worked! I’m pregnant!
Mathias: Works for me.
Man of few words, Aurora thought.
But then Mathias surprised her. REALLY surprised her.
Mathias: I mean, it’ll be cool to have another little Goth running around.
Aurora: A GOTH?! You’re a GOTH?! My Uncle Elliott was the only Goth left! He was the heir! Uncle Elliott is….your dad?! You’re… MY COUSIN?!
Mathias: What?! NO! Chill, babe, I don’t have any cousins. And Elliott’s not my dad. I know who he was, being a Goth heir and all. But my pop’s name was Jaxon Goth, and my grandmother was Elisa Goth. My dad was some kind of a secret love child or something, says he had to stay hidden in the basement until he was like 30 or some plum. Anyway, we’re not related. Chill out.
Aurora heaved a sigh of relief, wiping the sweat from her brow. But, still, she thought – it was too close a call. And as Mathias headed for the door, Aurora cast her eyes skyward.
“I swear next time I’ll be more careful, I’ll do my research! But please, Watcher – next time, send me someone from OUT of town?”
She took a deep breath and pushed the whole thing out of her head. She had a party to throw.
The idea had been for Sebastian to age up during the festivities, but as eager as he had been to enter the world just days ago, he was equally impatient to leap out of his crib.
Aurora held him for the last time as a baby, and then it was time.
Sebastian: Sorry, mom, I just couldn’t wait! No WAY am I spending half of my own birthday party stuck in a bassinet!
Sebastian’s first trait was self-assured – here he is in CAS:
Soon the guests began to arrive and the party was underway.
Roxas surprised everyone by showing up, even if he could only stay for an hour or so. But he had wanted to meet his nephew Beau, and so the men gathered around Beau’s cradle, cooing and tickling his soft tiny feet.
Mackenzie had also brazenly shown up with Dante, and while Roxas had left before she even arrived, Milo took the opportunity to tell her exactly what he thought of her.
Milo: Ballsy of you to show up here, Mackenzie! Does Dante know you used to date his cousin? I could tell him… but it turns out Roxas is better off without you anyway, so I won’t bother. He’s off traveling the world with his beautiful fiancé, Beth – see what adventures you miss when you marry for money?
Mackenzie stormed off, and Milo smiled mischievously to himself.
Meanwhile, Sylvie and Abe celebrated their spin into elderhood…
And Aurora spent some time getting to know her son…
Of course Lamont even showed up to see his baby girl grow up. He wasn’t exactly thrilled to see that Aurora was pregnant with another man’s baby, and so he spent most of his time passive-aggressively hurling horseshoes into the horseshoe pit.
But before they knew it, it was time for Coralie to blow out the candles.
Here is Coralie in CAS. She is a romantic goofball with the bodybuilder aspiration.
Hours later, after all the guests had left and the family was tucked into their beds, Emmeline floated alone, unnoticed, in the backyard.
“I tried to tell them,” she muttered to herself. “I tried to warn them, but no one believed me!”
She paced back and forth, on high alert. She’d seen the strange figure lurking around the house over the past week. She’d watched him as he had watched them.
Tonight she patrolled the perimeter, unseen, as the party raged on. She would protect them from harm. She would fight for them, fight to keep them safe. She would defend the legacy.
But tonight the figure was nowhere to be seen.
“Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Creepy has no idea who he’s up against.”