Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chapter 5-8: This = Love

               “I’m bored,” Evangeline grumped, less than ten minutes into their play session. She had wanted to play princess but Emerson wanted to go to the moon. She had compromised deciding that she would be the princess of the moon colony that Emerson discovered. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that the visit of a human to her planet would interrupt the daily fawning of her subjects. They were far more interested in the newcomer than their benevolent ruler.      

               “But I just got to Asenath. I haven’t had the chance to discover it yet.” Evangeline sighed at her brother’s dedication to their game but decided to play along with it and still do something more interesting.
               “As ruler of this planet, I say that you must travel to the haunted realm outside the palace gates and get a rare plant to prove good plans towards my peoples.”
               “But, where am I supposed to get that?”
               “Em, you have no sense of imagination.” She beckoned him closer. “We have to travel to the graveyard, of course,” she whispered in his ear. Mom had told them they weren’t allowed outside after dark but what better way to liven up their game a little?

               The two of them snuck out of the house as Donovan worked on an article for the paper and Camille was in the shower after her long day of work. When they arrived though, Evangeline realized that it wasn’t that exciting. In fact, it was a little scary.

                “What was that,” Emerson whispered, eyes wide as they heard a noise on the other side of the fence.
               “I don’t know,” Princess Evangeline’s bravery was starting to wilt with the threat of the unknown.

               “I’m scared,” Emerson admitted, not ashamed at all to say this.
               “Me too!” The twins hugged each other close, hoping that whatever was out there in the bushes would just leave them alone so they could get home safe to mommy and daddy. Luckily, it only took a minute for the raccoon to take off toward a nearby garbage can, showing himself under the halo of a streetlight. Emerson and Evangeline quickly rushed home, thankful that they lived close by and didn’t have to be outside any longer.

                They were lucky to evade detection as they snuck back inside and managed to avoid being caught and grounded for disobeying the rules. When they reached their room though, another predicament awaited them.

               “What if a monster followed us home and is hiding under the bed,” Emerson asked, not quite willing to go close enough to find out.
               In the comfort of her home with the lights on, Evangeline’s fears had evaporated. “Em, nothing is under here! Look!” She checked it out for him, proving that it was safe to step close and climb up to his bed.

               “Hey! Why do you get waffles for breakfast? I only have cereal.”
               “Because I woke up first. Maybe you shouldn’t take so long to get out of bed.”

               With Camille working hard to get as in shape as possible with her courses and tests for this new position, the twins had taken notice of the fun she had while working out. They turned on the stereo and began to mimic the moves their mother did every day.
               “This is boring,” Emerson grumbled as he stretched from side to side.
               “Uh, no. Fun. At all.” Evangeline agreed as she puffed her way through her jumping jacks. Why anyone would do this every single day was beyond the two of them. They quickly decided that they had enough and went to play chess on the porch instead.

                Donovan had noticed some strange behavior from his son lately. He knew, from reading some parenting articles, that imaginary friends were normal. No matter, he was concerned since Emerson seemed to be beyond the age of normal imaginary friends. He also seemed to take it a little further than most kids. He’d find him talking to Who at all hours of the day and sometimes the “two” of them would be playing chess or even tag together. Emerson could not seem to realize that Who was indeed just make believe. Camille assured him though that it would be fine so he tried to accept it.

                “It won’t be so bad.” Evangeline promised Emerson as they boarded the bus to their first day of school. He didn’t look so sure. Truthfully, Evangeline was trying to convinve herself as much as she was trying to convince him. She didn’t care about school herself; she had other things she thought would be more fun to do during the day. School seemed like a waste of time.

                “What are you doing,” Titus Kline asked Evangeline. His mother and Camille had been neighbors back when she had first moved to St. Claire. The two women had decided that their children could use more friends and set up a play date after school.
               “What’s it look like I’m doing,” Evangeline muttered. “Gosh, why can’t you use your eyes?”
               “Don’t you wanna play cops and robbers? You’re the robber! I’m coming to get you on my loyal steed!” He jumped on the rocking horse while Evangeline rolled her eyes and continued mixing her ingredients for her toy oven.

               Emerson wandered in the room and began rummaging thorugh the dress up chest. He’d look at one outfit, shake his head and throw it on the floor, and move on to the next.
               “What are you looking for,” his sister asked him.
               “Something for a tea party. Who wants to have tea.”
               “Don’t any of you guys know how to play like real kids!” Titus threw his hands up in the air, frustrated with these strange Avendale weirdoes. “I’m calling my mom.”

               “Hey honey, how’s your day going,” Donovan called Camille during his lunch hour, as he often did.
               “There’s something I’ve been meaning to sit down and talk with you about actually.”
               “Let’s go out for a nice dinner tonight then. It’ll be a date.” She could hear the smile in his voice as he said it. Discussing her clandestine job over dinner in public wasn’t really a great idea but they could always talk when they got home. A date night would be fun and loosen the mood before she brought up the serious discussion they needed to have. Chief had offered her the job today and there was a job that night. She had a few hours to mull it over as they had a backup chosen in case she decided she would pass it up. She wanted this opportunity though and everyone knew that she was the best person for the job.

               Donovan and Camille got the twins dressed up and headed downtown to the nicest restaurant in the city. It wasn’t somewhere they had been before but Donovan had just written a review of the food and service and thought it would be a fitting place for the evening.

               They enjoyed their dinner together, talking and laughing in quiet tones. Her life wasn’t what she had expected nor was it what she had planned but sitting here, surrounded by the people she loved, Camille realized that she wouldn’t have wanted her life any other way.

               “Oh wait, Mom. I think Daddy dropped something,” Evangeline called back to Camille as they left the restaurant. She turned, just in time to see Donovan drop to his knee and pull a delicate, black velvet box from his jacket pocket. With all her recent revelations, she had nothing to say except yes.

                “Oh no! Is there actually something under there tonight? I think I saw an arm!” Evangeline could have sworn she saw movement under her bed that night and ran, terrified into her parents’ room. Emerson was in the bathroom and missed his sister’s fear, climbing into his own bed with no problems.

               With her big, strong daddy next to her, Evangeline finally fell asleep, sure that if any monsters came for her, her daddy would fight them off and keep her safe.

               With Donovan’s proposal, Camille hadn’t had the heart to talk to him about her job proposition. What if he found out and decided he didn’t want to be married to a secret agent? After keeping him at arm’s length for so long, finally letting him in and actually be excited to marry him, she couldn’t even bear the thought that he might change his mind. She knew she would have to tell him, but it wouldn’t be tonight. She slipped out, kissing him and Evangeline on the foreheads, and headed for her secret mission.

               “Okay, really, no fair! Why do you have a cookie for breakfast?”
               “Because I made it.”
               “You couldn’t make me one?”
               “I’m sorry! I promise, I’ll make you one next time.” Next time still meant he had to have cereal, yet again, for breakfast today.

                “You’re getting married!!!” Pearl exclaimed, spraying champagne all over Camille as they celebrated with a bachelorette party. Donovan had been nice enough to take the kids out for the evening so the girls could have the house to themselves that night.

               “Oh Watcher Pearl! What did you do,” Camille laughed and sighed at the same time. Dan the Fireman had just come through the front door in little more than his hat.  

               Sylie and Lindy ended up staying until almost 4 in the morning, dancing the night away. Camille had sent Dan home after Donovan texted her to let her know they were on their way home. She didn’t think her kids were quite ready to see almost naked dancers in the living room. Everyone had a fantastic time at the party. In fact, if the gossip around town was to be believed, the party was one that would go down in history as one of the best parties ever thrown. Too bad it had been an exclusive event.

               And, in what seemed like no time at all, their wedding day finally arrived. Though she had never expected to be married, Camille found herself awaking with no jitters or even a hint of cold feet. She was excited to finally become Mrs. Matter and the only thing she regretted at that moment was holding the wedding at 3pm.

               Camille had chosen a traditional, but simple gown for the occasion. She had gone dress shopping with Pearl who had tried to convince her into a dress that looked more like icing on cupcakes but Camille had put her foot down. She liked straight lines and simple design and no way was she going down the aisle looking like she was trying to match her wedding cake. She compromised by letting Pearl choose Evangeline’s flower girl dress which was certainly more frilly than Camille would have picked out. Pearl had a good eye though and the dresses, though different in composition, complimented each other well.

               Evangeline and Emerson walked down the aisle together, as flower girl and ring bearer, preceding their mother who was a few steps behind them. Donovan watched as his family walked towards him as a little group, unable to believe how lucky he was. He never would have believed someone had they told him a scoop would have turned to love.

                Rings were exchanged with their closest friends looking on. The kids sat in the front row so they wouldn’t fidget through the ceremony. Pearl and Joshua were there with their small brood. The Malones came as well, Danny with his newly grown out hair. Even Chief Randall, recently retired, came to celebrate with them.

               They walked down the aisle together, newly announced Mr. and Mrs. Matter with rice being flung in their faces with a little too much enjoyment. Camille even saw Evangeline nick some of her brother’s rice so she could throw more.

               The reception was just as beautiful, but even more fun than the ceremony. The guests crowded the dance floor, boogying down to the funky music that the DJ played. Emerson was amazed that just a little music could get so many people having a good time together. Who would have thought it so?

               Yeah, this family knows how to have a good time.

                “Well hello there Mr. Matter. Would you mind if I join you,” Camille asked, with a hint of a smile.
               “Wow,” Donovan’s eyes widened as he saw her standing in the doorway. “Yes, please do come in Mrs. Matter.”
               She laughed as she walked in. “You know, I love hearing you say that.”

                They lay cuddling in bed and Camille thought to herself that life couldn’t get any better. Sometimes where you end up is where you belonged all along, even if it’s not where you thought you should be.

Chapter 5.7                                                                                                                                                                              Chapter 5.9

The kids are still going to be Avendales. When they were born, Camille gave them her last name, since she didn't expect this relationship turn with Donovan. Now that they are older and in school, it would be more complicated to change their name than just leave them as is.

Also, I'm not sure when I will have a chance to update again. Seymour (my supposed-to-be awesome gaming computer) has lots of faulty equipment. Since I got it, I've had issues with either the graphics card or memory card that causes random freezing. Tech support can't narrow it down over the phone. On top of that, neither of my front USB ports work and now the CD/DVD drive is randomly disappearing from the computer. The husband tried to burn a CD using the program that came with the computer; entire drive disappeared. I had to restart the computer to get it back. I tried installing Medieval on Seymour and the drive disappeared then as well. Not sure what is causing it to disappear but it's even gone from the Device Manager. I've not even had it for 4 months and am getting so frustrated with the entire process. It will be sent out for warranty repair this week and I have no idea how long it will take to get it back. At this point, I wish I could just get an entire replacement PC or return it and get my money back but, according to the company's tech support, I had to do that within the first 30 days, regardless of all the problems I am having with it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chapter 5-7: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

               The day of the celebration arrived quickly enough. Dahlia had stayed long enough to celebrate but then she had to head back to Storybrook. Summer was slowly fading away and she would need to prepare for her senior year of high school.

               While the guests mingled around, Camille and Donovan decided it was time to bring the twins to their cakes. Being the first to be born, Evangeline was the first to blow her candles out.

                Next was little Emerson. As his family cheered him on, Joshua was perplexed at Sylie’s tears. How can anyone be unhappy at a little kid’s birthday party? What no one knew yet was that Sylie had just discovered she was pregnant again and was a little emotional about, well, anything. Her babies were growing up and seeing the Avendale twins blow out their candles reminded her of that.

               Little Evangeline was not impressed with her brother’s nose picking skills.

               Even though she had been older when Dahlia was born, Camille couldn’t recall that toddlers were so messy. She knew she had to let the kids learn to do things on their own but sometimes it pained her to watch them feed themselves. Baby food everywhere!

               Evangeline was still a sour puss but Donovan could always make her smile. He tried not to have favorites between his children but his daughter was such a character. Every day when he got home from work, he would go to the nursery or playroom or wherever the kids happened to be and snuggle them both before changing and working on any articles he needed to finish before his deadlines.

               Soon, the twins were starting to babble on their own. Each day, Camille and Donovan would sit down and tell them stories about teddy bears on picnics and princesses in castles. They’d practice making their sounds and it wasn’t long until each was trying to mimic those noises. Evangeline hung on to her daddy’s every word, always fascinated by the stories he told. Emerson never liked to sit still for long though. The only time he would really be captivated by what his parents were saying was if they were singing lullabies to him. Otherwise, he had no use for their stories.

               “Who,” Emerson gurgled to a strange looking doll while Evangeline looked at her brother with mild curiousity.  Donovan didn’t remember seeing this thing before and it creeped him out just a little.
                “Camille, what is that thing Em’s been playing with,” he asked her as they laid down that night.
               “The doll.”
               “I know. His name is Who. I have no idea why but that’s what Em calls him.”
               ‘Where did it come from?”
               “I don’t know. I think Brielyn or Dahlia must have brought it for him. I don’t remember seeing it before that.”
               Strange, but what harm could a doll do, right?

               Her blossoming feelings for Donovan scared her. Camille wanted to make things work for her kids and she wanted them to grow up with both a mother and a father. She was scared of being in an actual commitment though and scared that by advancing their relationship things would be more severely harmed if they did not work out in the long run. So when Keith Hopkins, an aspiring politician, invited her to a black tie party at his loft, she readily agreed and failed to mention to Donovan that she could bring a plus one.

               Keith was a handsome man, and an eligible bachelor that most of the single ladies in St. Clair would have traded their first born for a chance to be on his arm. Camille wasn’t really one of his adoring fans but he was nice to look at.

               “Apart from being sexy, what do you do for a living?” Camille laughed, knowing that Keith knew she was a cop but flattered to be called sexy anyway.
               “I could put you in handcuffs and let you find out the hard way.” She couldn’t resist a little flirting back. The thrill of a new conquest, even if she didn’t have the actual intention to follow through made her feel like herself again.

               The playful bantering went on for a while and Camille could feel the eyes of jealous women boring into her back. It made her feel superior and powerful, both feelings she relished and had strived for when she first set out on her own. She had something to prove then and she had done so. So why do I still need to feel that way? She didn’t have time to contemplate further as her phone rang.

               “Excuse me, I have to take this,” she apologized to Keith who immediately turned his attention to a buxom blonde.
               “Donovan, I’m sorry, I’m at that fundraiser event.” She listened before hurriedly rushing out, forgetting to play the grateful guest and thank her host for a lovely night.

               She rushed to the hospital. Donovan’s phone call had been to tell her that Emerson had been running an extremely high fever that wouldn’t go down; not with cool rags, not with baby medicine, nothing. Donovan had called the pediatrician’s after hours number and was informed that they needed to go to the ER. She rushed her way back through the nurses, running in her heels, ignoring the requests to slow down and sign in with the head nurse. Finally, she caught sight of her son behind some curtains, Donovan sitting there in his grungy clothes. He must have called a sitter for Evangeline.

                “Oh my poor baby,” she reached over to him, smoothing his sweaty brow. He didn’t seem too fussy for being so sick which Camille took as a good sign. He was always good natured though, unlike his sister. She knew if this was Evangeline, the girl would be screaming her head off.
               Donovan came up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder. She turned into him, worried and trying not to cry, feeling guilty that she had been gone when her son needed her most. Mixed with those feelings of guilt were feelings of relief that Donovan, reliable as ever, had been there and known what to do. What would I ever do without him?

               “He’s going to be fine. It’s just a pretty bad earache,” Donovan assured her. “They’ve got him on antibiotics now and, as soon as his fever breaks, we can all go home.
               With his antibiotics, Emerson quickly got over his ear infection. Some toddlers were more prone to them than others so his doctor gave them signs to look out for to try and prevent another late night emergency room run.

               If others knew her guilt, people may have said that it drove Camille to spend even more time at home and with Donovan but she would tell you that wasn’t true. She realized now that she had slowly been falling in love with Donovan since before she had even gotten pregnant. Maybe she would have come to the conclusion on her own but the pregnancy had forced her into a relationship with him. It had required her to form a bond with him that she otherwise would have run from.

               She didn’t know what it meant though. She certainly wasn’t ready to admit it to him and could barely admit it to herself. Letting people in, after being sent away from home, after being tricked by her “friends” was no easy task. Hopefully his patience wouldn’t wear thin before she could come to grips with her feelings.

               One weekend, they decided to take the twins to the park. As with all small children, they seemed to love the spring riders the best. Who could resist the fun noises and bouncy ride?

               “Mama, buwdy!” Evangeline shouted. Camille assumed she was talking about the pigeons.
               “No honey, don’t touch those. They’re dirty.”
               “Dutty, dutty, dutty!” She certainly liked hearing herself talk.

               With the twins learning more and more words every day, Camille and Donovan began sitting down with them to teach them colors and bigger words. Evangeline was such a daddy’s girl that he had to be the one teaching her while Camille worked with Emerson. She hated if Daddy paid more attention to her brother!

               The next party Camille got invited to, she made sure to bring Donovan along. This one was actually at Ian’s house. They hadn’t seen each other much since she had the twins and, in that time, he had also knocked up Jane and married her. Mostly because her daddy was a high profile judge who liked to hunt on the weekends. Ian figured that a shotgun wedding was better than a funeral.

               She was nervous about showing up with Donovan as her official date, especially to Ian’s party. Donovan looked uncomfortable which made her feel even more nervous. Does he not want to go? Would he rather me go alone so he can have time with the kids? Maybe he has an actual girlfriend? In actuality, Donovan had no idea how Camille felt and was worried that seeing Ian would reignite her old feelings for him. They’d never had that “exes” talk so he had no idea that Camille had never felt anything but friendly affection for the guy, despite their one night stand.

                When they got up to the party, they both loosened up some enough to start enjoying themselves. Donovan was pleasantly surprised that Camille spent the whole evening with her eyes focused on him. Ian kept stealing small glances over to her but she was oblivious.

                Donovan slipped off to the bathroom and Camille pulled Ian to the corner.
               “I finally catch your attention,” he smirked at her and reached a hand towards her hip. She pulled back just enough to be out of his grasp and he caught the hint.
               “I’ve noticed you trying to get my attention all night,” she remarked. “You knew I was binging Donovan.”
               “And you knew Jane would be here. We can still have a little fun though.”
               “You know, once upon a time I would have taken you up on that offer. Although, back then, I probably would have come alone.”
               “You’re falling for him, aren’t you?” Ian was far more insightful than she had ever given him credit for.
               “Yeah, I am.” She smiled, lost in thought. She didn’t notice Donovan had stepped out of the bathroom just in time to hear her confession.

               To his credit, Donovan said nothing. He didn’t want her to know that he knew. She may be ready to admit it to Ian but she obviously wasn’t ready to say anything to him about it. He felt that waiting was all there was to their relationship but she was worth it. She was such a strong, brave woman who was fiercely independent. He respected and loved that about her and didn’t want her to change for or because of him. Her dedication to both the twins and those she considered her closest friends, Pearl especially, showed that when she did love someone she loved them completely and with a fiery passion that no one could hold a candle to.

               Unbeknownst to them when they first started seeing each other, Camille and Donovan had since discovered that they shared a birthday. The day arrived and they decided to throw a joint party for the two of them with a ton of people. Camille had no idea what to wish for. For her last big birthday she had wished for her mom’s forgiveness and look how long that had taken. She didn’t want to risk wishing for something she’d have to be patient for years for again.

               “Camille, we just got a beep. We need to head into the station,” Chief Randall summoned her. It didn’t matter that they were celebrating her birthday, or Donovan’s birthday. All that mattered was that duty called. She quickly changed and stayed long enough for Donovan to quickly blow out his candles and then she and the chief headed out the door.

               Luckily, Pearl stayed and volunteered to help clean up behind the remaining guests. Can anyone guess what she is hiding behind that stack of plates?

                Camille swore that Donovan must be the baby whisperer. Evangeline had him wrapped around her little pinky but she was wrapped around his as well. Emerson adored him and giggled any time Donovan picked him up. Of course, the awful claw attack was no end to some of the giggle fits.

               Now that she was getting older, Camille felt even more pressured to stay in shape. She wanted to stay with her career and make it to the top. Chief had talked to her about becoming a secret agent. She wanted to take the job and she knew she would be good at it but now she had to think of her children instead of just herself. Running in the morning before she left for work helped her get her thoughts in order and really focus and kept her in shape in case she wanted to take the job.

                At some point, she would need to sit down and talk to Donovan about it first. Though it was unspoken, both were of the opinion they were a real couple now. Camille wanted to share decision making with him but wasn’t sure what she would do if he asked her not to take the job. She figured she would go through the courses and training without accepting the actual position. If she made it through, and wanted it, then she would talk to him. If not, then there was nothing to discuss.

               Donovan met her at the steps, as he left for the morning and she came back from her run. From there, she would head inside to shower, feed the twins their breakfast, and leave for work herself when the sitter arrived. They’d discussed putting the kids in preschool but the only decent school on the islands was full with a waiting list of over a year.

               Luckily, with their schedules, Camille and Donovan had enough time between them to get Evangeline and Emerson ready for school without the benefits of preschool. Also, Pearl and Joshua would come over with Lowell to help socialize all three kids. None of the parents wanted the kids biting or not knowing how to share when they finally went to big kid school. Pretty soon the Panems would be adding to their family as Pearl was pregnant again, this time with twins of her own.

               And in no time at all, once again, it was time for the Avendale-Matter family to celebrate birthdays. They decided to hold this one at the nearby park so the kids could play at the playground once they had blown out their candles.

               Evangeline, finally a “big kid”, waited for her brother to join her. Joshua had come alone since Pearl was home taking care of her new twins, Darrel and Casie.

               With both the twins aged up, they had the last few remaining weeks of summer before they would start school. During that time, Camille had the final weeks of her training classes before she had to decide once and for all whether she wanted to become a secret agent. And Donovan had something on his mind as well that he needed to discuss with Camille.        

Chapter 5.6                                                                                                                                      Chapter 5.8