Violet-Adele’s previous update/next update / Hazel’s previous update/next update
Hazel Woodfolk (35 years), Jude (34 years), Violet-Adele McCarthy (27 years), Bea (6 years), Monroe (3 years), Roman (2 years),
Etienne Benard (32 years), Reed Welsh (27 years)
narrated by: Violet-Adele
In the past, I’ve always stayed at my parents house when back in the states, but not this time. They always get their heart set on me finding someone local, and settling down here. I’ve never been opposed to South Port, it’s just all the baggage that is here, a fresh start felt necessary. Now with Reed, I’m conflicted.
We were meeting regularly at his toy shop, but with Caroline’s work schedule change, he needs to be home with the kids. And it’s not that I’m unoccupied ether. Etienne meets up with me at Hazel’s diner to go over the next work week and mapping out what we need to accomplished next. He’s sort of my boss in this entire “home-building-endeavor” so I need to invest a lot of my time into this project.
Despite that we used to be intimate, it isn’t awkward when we are working together. I’m grateful for that, it could have been a career killing move to sleep with one of my bosses, let alone rejecting the idea of marrying him. It was all seven years ago though, so I suppose that time has made it easier.
It didn’t mean that I wanted Hazel to invite him over for dinner though. We get along for work, we haven’t done anything socially since we were seeing each other.
My family seems to think they need to adopt Etienne like a foreign exchange student, he doesn’t seem bothered by it in the least. In fact he’s being quite friendly to my family when they pop into the diner to sneak a peek at the “hot Frenchman.”
Even Etienne’s good nature couldn’t save the dinner though. Jude and Hazel fussed in the kitchen while I helped with the kids, and when we all sat down, we realized there wasn’t anything to discuss.
Jude asked if I was planning to stay in the states after the project was finished, Mayor London has offered me a full time position as Head of South Port Architecture Development. I hadn’t even told Etienne yet, I don’t want to jeopardize my position back in Paris.
Hazel tried to save the conversation by asking if Etienne considered staying in the states permanently. I don’t honestly think it’s even crossed his mind, so he was trying to find a polite way of saying no without sounding like he disliked South Port.
If my parents had come it couldn’t have been more awkward of a dinner, except they might have asked if we were going to settle down and have babies. It seems to be on Dad’s mind, I’m his last chance to give him another grandchild.
When I walked Etienne outside, he was concerned he’d been rude to my sister and brother-in-law. I assured him that they had thick skins, family always seems to at these type of dinners.
Otherwise, on the nights that I’m not having late night work sessions with Etienne, then I’m stuck in the way at Hazels. They don’t really have room for me here, I sleep on the sofa, and they share their bedroom with Roman still. All of which means when I come home early, they are generally snuggled up on the sofa recapping their days.
Hazel always insists I can stay of course, or that they can head up to bed if I want to go to sleep. I just excuse myself to the backyard though, and spend time with Gustave.
I’ve always liked the noises of a city at night, there is usually a garbage truck in the distance, basketballs being bounced down the street, and cars whooshing past. But lately, even with a house full of people, I find myself feeling lonely.
I had been hoping that Reed might be able to squeeze time to be together on Valentine’s Day, maybe just lunch or brunch, since I assumed his wife would have the dinner time block. But he never called to ask, so instead I volunteered to babysit my niece and nephews. I didn’t want to be found sitting around waiting in the end, in case he did call last minute. Plus, Hazel and Jude could really use the time out together.
Hazel was beyond excited when I offered, she loves dining at The Red Mill, but at last minute she went crazy with the routine rundown. Jude joked that I’d been here for more than a year, he was certain I could handle bedtime.
He might have more faith in me than is warranted. I’ve never been alone with a kid before, I didn’t really think that through until they were out the door. Suddenly I had three kids, two of which are toddler boys to take after.
Thankfully they are all used to having me around, I’ve been helping Hazel with Roman for as long as he can remember, so he doesn’t bat an eye at me caring for me without his Mom here.
And Bea was all excited to be my big helper, and set forth to entertain Roman when Monroe started crying for his Daddy.
I got Monroe all snuggled into bed though without an issue, all of Hazel kids go to sleep really easily. I might not be opposed to one, and only one, if I could guarantee they’d be this good of sleepers.
I allowed Bea to stay up later than her brothers, I remembered staying up late with my sitter, and how special I felt. I did have to send her to bed by ten o’clock though, just in case her parents didn’t stay out very late. She was disappointed to head off to bed, but she didn’t object, too much.
Out of all the kids, it’s Bea I’ve missed the most with being in Paris, she’s really grown into this big kid while I’ve been away. I’m grateful I’ve gotten the chance to know her better, and at least now she’ll remember who I am. I’m not sure if Roman would remember me in a few years if I leave again.
Once Bea was asleep, I stepped out back to let Gustave out and give Reed a call. I told myself he wouldn’t answer, that he was probably with Caroline, but I was still disappointed when I got his voicemail. I felt foolish just for calling on Valentine’s Day, but left a message anyway, since his call history would show that I’d called.
By the time Sunday rolls around, I still haven’t heard back from Reed other than a text message that he’ll call when he can. With no excuse handy, I’m whisked away with my Mom and Hazel to buy some spring pajamas for the all the kids. Mom likes to buy all the grandkids clothes, which I didn’t know until now.
We went to the Mini Sprout, which is nothing but depressing and boring as a twenty-seven year old mistress. It’s not that I’m even on the baby train, I don’t even know if I ever want one, but society pushes it toward me. My mother pushes it toward me, and it’s just suffocating. What kind of woman am I if I don’t procreate?
My parents have always been great, and they really enjoy their role as grandparents, but I wish they wouldn’t worry about me as much. I know that it’s probably not likely, being a parent and all, Hazel worries herself silly over things with Bea and her school. I just don’t have any answers to their questions.
While Mom is saying her good-byes, I call Reed to see if I can stop by. I know Caroline is working at the hospital tonight, and his kids should be in bed, so there’s no reason why we can’t see each other. I offer to pick up a movie from the rental store, he hesitates but eventually relents.
I’ve never been in his townhouse, I know that Quint and Rebecca are still friends with him, and they all do stuff together. I want to feel normal and comfortable on the sofa, watching him lay Molly on her mat, but it’s unnerving seeing his wedding photo on the wall.
We watch the movie, hands held on his lap after I made the effort. He spends much of the time checking the clock off to the side, though Caroline still has hours until her shift ends, and when Alex cries out in his sleep, he disappears upstairs missing the last half of the movie.
After the credits begin to roll, Molly fusses a little and I slide off the sofa to her level. She has his bright green eyes, just like Alex does. A deep chill runs down my spine as I think of our own child, if I hadn’t miscarried, maybe they would’ve had his beautiful eyes too. They would be seven years old now, just a little older than Bea. Maybe they would have been best friends, and it’d be our wedding photo on the wall instead of him with Caroline.
I didn’t want to be a mother then, but it’s never meant I was alright with losing an innocent baby.
Reed had come down the stairs without me realizing, his face serious and conflicted. Maybe it’s the familiar expression that I recognize from myself, that I know where it’s going. Or that he’s been distant, and never available these past months. But he didn’t have to say anything.
That didn’t stop him though. He felt bad, but he said that he just couldn’t split himself anymore. That we were just trying to live in the past, and he had a future here with Alex, Molly, and for added measure, Caroline. Maybe it’s human nature to add those little specific inflictions of pain, and as much as he said he hated to break my heart, he had to mention that I was the one that ended things with him all those years ago.
Truth hurts more than lies, and I had no ground to stand to try and change this outcome. He’d made his mind, I was the mistress, and as much as I wanted claim on little Molly, and this life, I had no right to be there.
I’d never told anyone about the affair, and had no one to turn to now that it was over. I couldn’t go to Hazel’s, they would still be up, and I didn’t want to see them, happily married with their glasses of wine and entwined on the sofa.
It was Etienne’s hotel room that I knocked on, I’d told myself if the light was off that I would just face Hazel, but it was on.
He wasn’t laying around waiting for me to unexpectedly arrive though, he was on the phone, in all likelihood with his fiance back in Paris. He never talked about her to me though, maybe he assumed I was single and it’d be bad form to rub it in. Or at least that’s how I always took it, and I never asked because it’d always hurt that he found a replacement so quickly.
He’d been surprised to see me, and asked what was the matter, but I’d told him I’d just see him the next day. I didn’t need to get in the middle of another relationship.
I wound up at Lincoln Park, no one would be missing me, there was nowhere for me to be, so I just sat.
I watched the stars as they broke through in pieces despite the city lights. The stone beneath me was cold, the trees barren against the sky.
I felt barren inside. No matter how I tried to focus on my work, I wound up in relationship messes, breaking hearts, and now having mine broken. The words of Reed reverberated in my mind, and I saw myself in them. He’d said we’d been living in the past, but it’d always been me. I saw this fork in the road where everything changed, and to some, it might seem like for the better. An internship in Paris, a fresh start, but it’d felt empty most of the time. I missed my sister, and if I allowed myself to really think about it, I missed the opportunity to know the baby I’d lost. But there was no way to fix any of it, and I didn’t know how to move on.
The problem with staying out late in the cold, thinking about choices, is that the workday still beckons before the sky has the chance to become bright. By the time I get my shower, and a cup of coffee from Planet Java, I am ready for the work day. Unlike a personal life, my work has a series of steps that need to be completed, and I can do this well.
I take care of my weekly check-in with Mayor London, I call the electrician who was supposed to be in the past Friday to scope the house but failed to show, and I finagle with the Superintendent over fine details. I don’t just do my job well, I excel at it.
When Etienne gets in an hour later, he asks briefly if everything is alright. When I tell him it will be, he doesn’t bring up my impromptu visit again, which I’m ever so thankful for.
In the beginning I felt that my Paris boss, Maurice was trying to stifle my moment by sending Etienne to boss me around, but I’m really grateful he’s been here. This was a big project, building these five houses within a specific budget, with a specific type of family unit in mind, and his help in this project has been crucial to it’s seeming success.
While Vi is staying with Hazel, this isn’t Hazel’s update. So before I get into Vi here’s some spam of my favorite kids.
Monroe getting a big lick from Jedi (I think Carla said I should share this like a month ago! It’s taken me a long time to write this update)
And Roman snuggling with Jedi, the boys are all friends with Jedi, not so much with Hazel’s dog, Juno.
Poor Bea is not a fan of bedtime, nor heading off to school. She went from super happy, and chatty in the house to this face.
And now onto Violet-Adele, this update did not go as I had expected at all.
*Babies, Babies – George has the never-ending want for more grandbabies, and Vi is the last to do this for him. (Is there a hack that allows great grandchildren to fulfill this want?) Violet-Adele never seemed to recover from everything that happened with Reed originally, she moved to Paris, and started over, but in the end she really just ran from her problems, and didn’t face anything.
She is absolutely smitten with Molly, she is not generally that type of girl. I take that she wants to replace what she has lost, which I’ve seen in real life by many. Reed doesn’t have that anymore, he’s moved on with Caroline, and he has two kids with her, so his “what-ifs” are now filled with, “If that didn’t happen, then I wouldn’t have Alex and Molly.” If you follow?
*Rejection? – Reed rejected Violet-Adele, three times before I just gave up trying. (I had to test his will power.) He was still in love with her, but his one has never changed from Caroline, and for whatever reason, in his own home, on his sofa, he said, “Heck no!” to Vi. Poor girl was pretty devastated.
She still has time left here before she’ll be finished with the buildings, so it’s in her hands what happens after she’s done building. I have stopped planning for her, other than a girl name if she has a daughter at any point, I picked that out quite a while ago. But she is on birth control, so she’ll likely get to make the decision on parenthood, and if she finds it fitting for herself.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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