“I think I’m getting a job.” Quinten spoke brokenly between tapping at the keyboard.
“A job? Doing what? What about Scarlett?” Rebecca was relaxing on the bed, she’d already read Scarlett a bedtime story and gotten her to sleep.
“Paramedic. South Medical Center is hiring.” He peered closer at the screen, Rebecca already told him that he should get his eyes checked. “Same hours as yours at the diner. We’d have our nights together then, just like now.”
She crossed her arms with a slight huff, “And Scarlett? What about her? What will she be doing while her parents are busy with their careers?” They had decided early on that he would stay at home until Scarlett began school, and now he ups and decides that two years is plenty of an investment into their daughter. She would have made it the entire five years; she didn’t like missing out, or at least it felt like missing out.
Quinten gave her a sideways glance. “She’ll be fine. Hazel has a nanny for Bea, and..”
“So if my boss can have a nanny, then any lower class like us shouldn’t be so put off of having one?” She rolled her eyes and laid down in bed. “Do whatever you want, I’m going to bed.”
Quinten slumped his shoulders, and turned the computer off before getting in bed with her. He’d already submitted his information on the simple application. It seemed wasteful to him to have a two year degree in biology, if he couldn’t use it in the medical field.
A few days later he received a phone call from Chief of Staff, Regina Russo, inviting him in for an interview. He arranged for a teenage girl to come and babysit by the name of Meg. He would tell Rebecca about it if he got offered the job, otherwise it was one fight he would rather avoid.
Though the interview went well, and he was offered the position on the spot, he had his own misgivings when he came home to find Scarlett stinky, hungry, and asking Meg for help, who was clearly frustrated with her. Meg had her arms in the air, and even raised her voice towards Scarlett. She immediately stopped once he stepped into the house. But that just made him more worried about leaving Scarlett with someone, even if it was a nanny.
He had accepted the job though, and now he had to tell Rebecca. He decided it would be a good time in the evening, before Scarlett was in bed. She was happily playing on the floor with Gulliver, and her mere presence would keep the conversation from escalating, or so he hoped.
He cleared his throat, “I got the job.” Her back stiffened, but she continued reading the cook book. Hazel had requested she learn to cook so she could cover the stove if it was necessary. “I know we discussed having one of us stay home until Scarlett started school, but I think it’s best if we both earn money.”
She turned to him. “Oh yes, when I think of my childhood, I think, Gosh, you know I”m real glad that I never saw my parents but had loads of money.” She rolled her eyes and turned back to her cookbook.
“Rebecca,” he softened his voice. “I’d like to have a little brother or sister for her someday, so she’s not alone once we are gone, like you were.” He saw her shoulder relax slightly, and he pressed on, “We can’t afford to have another baby right now, but if we both work, I think we can begin trying next year.”
She was quiet, staring down her cookbook, but she hadn’t turned the page from Hungarian Goulash since the conversation began. She spoke in a quiet voice after a moment, “And who will stay home with the new baby?”
Quinten laughed, “We’ll discuss that when we are trying, maybe we can get ourselves a nice little nest egg and I’ll retire at the ripe age of 24.”
She laughed at that thought too. Scarlett looked at her parents, and waddled across the floor to see what was so funny. Rebecca smiled down at her, “I’ll start your bath water.” She patted her head and headed to the bathroom, which was nothing more than a closet.
Quinten swooped up Scarlett, and tickled her tummy. “Tomorrow, Daddy is going to work, so a nice lady is going to take care of you.”
Scarlett’s chubby finger pointed toward her Daddy’s eye, “Eye!” She exclaimed.
“Yes that’s my eye you silly girl.”
“Bath is ready.” Rebecca called out.
The next morning, Gretchen arrived bright and early. The carpools arrived at 5:00am, and both parents would be home at two in the afternoon, after a night of rest, Rebecca didn’t think that was too horrible. Especially when Scarlett school in two more years, they wouldn’t get her off to school, but they’d be there when she got home.
Gretchen gushed later in the afternoon at how well behaved Scarlett was, and how much fun they had together. Quinten hadn’t told Rebecca about Meg’s behavior, and didn’t suspect any misconduct from Gretchen. Scarlett seemed to genuinely like her, and it seemed mutual.
“I’m going to head out with Violet-Adele, pick up a toy for Scarlett for being such a good girl today, and then some dinner. You good here?” Rebecca asked after Gretchen had gone home.
“We’re good. I’m going to fix this tv, then I’ll walk down to the park with her.”
“She’ll like that.” Rebecca paused at the door. “Love you, you know.”
“I know.” He looked at her then went back to the tv.
Violet-Adele was back in town for the summer after a two year stay in Paris, and while they had been tight back at SPBC, they hadn’t kept up their relationship as well as they might have thought. It was hard for Rebecca to get away from her family, it wasn’t that Quinten wouldn’t allow her to go out with her friends, it was just a lack of desire to do those things. She felt she worked enough out of the house, that she didn’t need to spend her evenings away as well. She thought this would work perfectly though, meeting Violet-Adele up at the Toy Box, because this was technically an errand she was doing.
They hugged when they saw each other. “You look great, can’t even tell you had a baby.” Violet-Adele held Rebecca out from her then brought her in for another hug. “How is Scarlett? She isn’t even going to remember me, I haven’t seen her since she was three months old.”
“She’s good. You’ll have to come by for dinner sometime this week.”
They stepped into the little shop, and Rebecca went straight to the summer toy display. Scarlett didn’t have any outdoor water toys. “I think I’ll get her one of these, what color do you like best?” Rebecca asked, when Violet-Adele didn’t answer, she turned to look at her. She was still standing beside her, but her face was pale and she wasn’t talking. “What’s wrong?”
Violet-Adele turned to her, her face panic-stricken. “Reed?” she barely whispered. Then before Rebecca could talk, she had ran to the bathroom at the back of the store. Reed was walking towards her with a smile.
“Rebecca, good to see you. Was that Violet-Adele I just saw?”
“Um.. yes? She just ran into the bathroom, maybe she’s not feeling well.” Rebecca looked towards the back with a perplexed look. “Let me check on her.”
She knocked hesitantly at the door. “Vi, are you ok?”
She cracked the door open, “No, get in here.” She pulled Rebecca in quickly and slammed the door. “Reed is here.” She was nearly hyperventilating.
Rebecca stared at her, waiting for more explanation. “And?”
“Seriously, Rebecca, don’t you remember? The baby? Him wanting to get married, I said no. Gosh, I know you remember.”
“Of course I remember, but I don’t get why you are acting like this. He’s married you know, and has a son now. He’s clearly moved on.” Rebecca stopped talking, it seemed Violet-Adele wasn’t listening.
“Look at me, I’m sweating like a pig.” She began washing her underarms in the sink and inspecting her face in frantic intervals.
“Are you coming back out?”
“No. Are you crazy? I’ll meet you outside.”
Rebecca left her in the bathroom and went to pick out the color on the water toy herself. She smiled a little, knowing how much Scarlett would love it, and with Sunday coming up, they could spend the day outside grilling hot dogs and playing in the water.
It was busy for a weekday afternoon, the Toy Box was really the only place to buy toys in the greater area unless you shopped online. And still, Rebecca hadn’t expected the business to be as popular as it clearly was. The girl at the register with the neon hair checked her out, and was a tad slow at the register. Rebecca couldn’t help but think that if Reed hired people from their alma mater that the lines wouldn’t be quite as atrocious, especially for such a small shop.
Outside, Violet-Adele was waiting impatiently for Rebecca to get through the check out line. She wasn’t sure why Rebecca couldn’t come back later, after all she lived just down the road from the shop. If she tried, she could even see Quinten and Scarlett at the park down the road. She couldn’t believe that Rebecca would bring her here, after all her history with Reed, she should have known it’d make her uncomfortable. She should have known that he was the reason she so hastily accepted the Paris Internship.
“Hey,” a familiar voice said. She looked up to see Reed knocking a little pebble around with his feet, she didn’t say anything. “So, you’re back from Paris? Is it for good?”
“I am, I mean, I don’t know. I might go back.” She stood up, flustered. She didn’t like him standing over her, but didn’t want to invite him to share the bench with her ether. “It’s complicated.”
“It always is with you.” He didn’t mean it to be rude or hurtful, but he could tell it stung her. “I mean… ah hell, I don’t know.” He brushed his hand over the top of his head, flattening it over his forehead. “Hey now, no hard feelings.” His voice softened when he looked her over.
“You’re right. I always make a mess of things.” A half-crazed laugh escaped. “Stay clear of that crazy ole Violet-Adele.”
He took a hesitant step closer, he couldn’t deny that he cared for her all these years. It seemed like a lifetime ago that he touched her, or even seen her, he didn’t know if he expected to be shocked when he laid his hand on her shoulder, but he wasn’t. “Don’t talk that way.” She scoffed, and turned her face further away. “Between me and you, things are good. OK? So don’t feel you have to rush back to Paris, stick around, enjoy your new nieces.”
She looked up at him in surprise. “It’s Millwood, remember? I hear a lot.” He shrugged his shoulder. “Hey though,” he tilted her chin to look at him when she went to turn away. “I’m good, ok? Don’t hold on to any regrets over us, I’m happy with Caroline and our son, Alex. He’s really great.” He beamed a little, thinking of his son. He just knew that in a few years, his son would think he had the best job in the world, owning a toy store. “Hey now, here comes Rebecca. No hard feelings ok?”
She meekly nodded. He seemed satisfied with her response and turned to go back inside. “Rebecca tell Quinten I say Hi. I’ll call him tomorrow to make sure we’re still on for Friday night.”
“And give my best to Caroline.” Rebecca smiled cheerfully at him. She didn’t know if Violet-Adele would be upset with her for being friends with Reed and his wife, but it couldn’t be avoided. Caroline worked with Quinten at the hospital, and all of them, except Caroline had attended SPBC together. The only one not in the group anymore was Violet-Adele, even Grace Andersen hung out with them all from time to time. “Let’s eat, Soleil Cafe sound good?” Violet-Adele nodded.
At the cafe, Violet-Adele was barely speaking. The owner had insisted they try out her new recipe for berry pie, but neither of them had even nibbled at it.
“What’s wrong?” Rebecca finally asked. She had wanted to be a bit more huffy in her question, but held herself back. She couldn’t help but think that Violet-Adele was upset that she was friends with Reed and Caroline.
“It’s just weird seeing him. He looks good. Happy, you know?”
“I suppose that’s because he is happy.” Rebecca didn’t want to point out that when she dumped him, and left for Paris that Reed had been an empty shell for many months. She knew all about it because Quinten was good friends with him, she couldn’t help but be in the middle of it. It had seemed to her that Violet-Adele had moved on, and she had been happy when Reed did as well.
“He’s a good guy. It’s hard to find good guys. Did you know that he said there were no hard feelings between us? Who says that? If I had been treated the way I treated him, well I wouldn’t say that. That’s for sure.”
“I can only imagine what I’d do.” Rebecca said lamely. In some relationships, years pass by and there is no disconnection with friendship, but she couldn’t say that about this. It felt like it had been more than two years since she hung out with Vi, it seemed like many lifetimes. Her friend’s troubles, and thoughts were like nothing in her own life. She was concerned over Scarlett being in the care of a nanny, while Vi was still hung up on college sweethearts. “So, you know that’s great about Grace getting married. I remember when you two were in my wedding, that was a lot of fun right? Do you remember that she brought Benjamin with her to that, even though they had just started dating?”
Violet-Adele inhaled sharply. “Reed. We were together at the wedding. Remember that?” She spoke softly, her voice mixed with sadness and fondness.
Rebecca was relieved when the check was delivered. It seemed like ages since she was home with her family, and she wondered if Quinten and Scarlett had fun at the park, and if they ran into Cara and Lulu, who lived across the street from the park. She waited outside for the taxi to come pick them up, and she wished there was a cafe in Millwood, then they wouldn’t have had to come all the way out to South Port.
“So this has been real, fun.” Rebecca tried sounding genuine. “Give me a call if you want to come for dinner, we’re going to grill out on Sunday.” Even though she had semi-invited her, she was also thinking how great it would be to have Reed, Caroline, and Alex over instead. They would make for more enjoyable company.
“I wish I had said yes to Reed.” Violet-Adele admitted, though she didn’t seem to be talking particularly to Rebecca.
“Oh.” What else was she supposed to say?
“He’s gotten even more handsome since college, don’t you think?”
“I don’t even know what you are saying. I’m friends with Reed and his wife, you can’t be seriously saying these things.” Rebecca softened her voice a little, she didn’t realize it had been quite as sharp. “Things have changed while you were gone. Everyone is over the whole college romance thing, and moved on with their lives. You should too.”
“Obviously I can’t change the past. I thought we were friends, that I could tell you what I was thinking.” Violet-Adele crossed her arms, she knew she was talking crazy. It was hard coming home after so much time gone, she didn’t know all the details of everyone’s life, and there was a lot to take in. But she didn’t seriously consider going after Reed, or taking action to any of her thoughts.
“Maybe we aren’t as close as we used to be.”
“Well I guess just tell Scarlett hi for me.”
“I’m just going to walk, my parent’s house isn’t far from here. See you around.” Violet-Adele turned, and left Rebecca standing alone.
That night, Rebecca went through her night time routine, reading a story to Scarlett and snuggling with her until she drifted off. Quinten picked up in the kitchen, and they met eachother in the bedroom.
“Have I told you that I’m so happy with my life?” They were making the bed, since Quinten hated sleeping in a messy bed.
“Probably about ten times since you got home. Did you have that terrible of a time with Vi?”
“Maybe.” She paused. “I don’t really know how to relate to her. Maybe it’s marriage and Scarlett, but I feel so much older then her.”
“Parenthood has changed us both. Someday it will happen for her too, maybe try the friendship thing then?”
Notes: Sorry this took so long. I totally got sucked into building a new high school, I was supposed to play it in the spring, but my students didn’t all fit. I was inspired to get off my butt and finish it from seeing Belladonna cove pictures at GOS, and then I saw Carla’s college pictures at N99. Then I got sucked into N99, and posting pictures (I love the new things they have going on there!), and then real life too of course… so here it is, days later then I anticipated.
You may recall that Quinten was a bit of a bum the last time we checked in, constant wants to throw parties, fears of changing nappies, and just a total lazy-butt. He seems to have grown up, he had the want to get a job, and spent a lot of time playing with Scarlett on his own. He has a higher relationship with her then Rebecca even, which is probably because of her giant hours at the diner, she works 6-2, but only has Sunday off.
Seeing as Quinten has a biology major from the community college, I thought paramedic would be the perfect job. He won’t be able to go too high in the medical career, being that he has a 2 year degree only. But he can go as high as a nurse (or so), without looking at the chart to know all the job titles.
Rebecca wants another kid, and maybe Quinten (I can’t remember), I’ll have them try for one more in another year or so. Help them get some more money, he got promoted quickly from EMT to paramedic, and they both make decent money, so they should be good to go then. I’d like them to buy a car since Rebecca works in South Port, so does Quinten, so they can carpool together (I love that option).
Rebecca just seemed perplexed hanging out with Violet-Adele, kind of like, what the heck?? She is friends with Reed and Caroline, and I think it’s fitting that everyone has continued with their lives while Vi was in Paris.
I just remembered that Grace and Benjamin fell in love at Rebecca’s wedding… and it’s also where Vi and Reed got it on in the church. *horror*