narrated by: Cole
I’ve been under a significant amount of stress lately, with keeping my law firm afloat, while taking care of my Mayor duties, and juggling my home life. Some nights when I come home, the downstairs is empty with only the kitchen light on for me. I usually find Alice is still awake, chatting with her friends on the laptop, or reading about starlets. She’s gotten it in her mind that she’s going to be a movie star, or an old fashioned pin-up model. I keep hoping it’s a phase, but Lucy isn’t sure it is.
Sometimes all I see of Itzel and Milo in a day, is them asleep, and me tucking them in unnoticed.
It’s summertime, so Lucy is off of work and home with the kids during the day, part of me wishes it could be like this all the time. While I do find Lucy up in bed some of these nights, I can usually talk her into coming back downstairs with me, since she doesn’t have to be up too early.
Everything at home should be getting easier, there isn’t diapers anymore, but I feel worse about these long hours than I would have back then. I might have felt worse for Lucy to handle it all, but the kids wouldn’t really notice. Now they do notice that I’m not home for dinner, and they will remember that about me. My Dad worked long hours at this very law firm, and as a teenager I didn’t understand how he could pick that over spending time with me and Mom.
Lucy doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal, that the kids understand, and that the Mayor position won’t last forever.
She’s right, but it doesn’t change that Alice is becoming a young lady. I walked into the bathroom the other day and found her admiring her appearance in the mirror. It was embarrassing for both of us, but I imagine more so for me.
She’s always had a bit of pudgy weight to her, but is also a tall girl so it wasn’t as noticeable. But recently, she got it in her mind that she wanted to look better, about the time that she started seriously researching how to be an actress. Now she’s using my treadmill more than I ever have, and is frankly, getting into too good of shape, that I worry boys will try and derail her from her college education.
I trust Alice though, shes’ been a good friend to Julia these past months, we don’t really see Lainey at all anymore. Lucy told me that Lainey was having a difficult time being around a young mother, that was like her own. Made her question her own mother putting her up for adoption. Maybe it’s worse that her Birth Mom isn’t from the states, so she can’t just call her up with questions.
I often find Julia and Alice hanging out inside watching tv if I sneak home for lunch. She’s asked me questions about adoption and what her rights would be, but mostly the girls just do their own thing. Her parents let her stay over a lot now that school is out, I think they’re trying to keep her young in whatever way they can.
Julia is self-conscious of her figure though, so she only goes out to swim once everyone else has gone inside.
They’ll stay outside talking and giggling about whatever it is girls like, until midnight, when Lucy calls them in to get some rest.
I’m about to have two teenage girls, and I just hope that Itzel has some of the logic and level-mindedness that Alice portrays. I keep trying to persuade her to go into Law, like me and her Grandpa had, take over the family business. She’s downright pushy and persuasive when it comes to the Farmer Market. My Mom tells me that she could sell molded produce to the weaker minded customers, which is a great ability to have for law.
I watch her with the customers, and then bring up points later about how each of them would transfer well to law. But she’s never interested, not even remotely.
As a little girl, she’d humor me, but she’s past that now. She thinks I worry too much, and that I’m out of touch with the young world. I suppose at fifty-five it’s a safe assessment for her to make.
My biggest case right now is this divorce that has been dragging on for months, with neither party being particularly amicable with the separation. When it was first brought to me, I thought it would be a simple case, with maybe a little bit of mess just because children were involved, but it has proven to be an exhausting nightmare.
This month, we finally came to the table, in hopes of it being the final time to discuss the final stipulations. It didn’t help that as I got to know my client, I didn’t really care for him. I’ve never been the type of lawyer to work for the “bad guys” and this case gave me that vibe, I felt dirty after spending an afternoon with him.
It was his spouse, Jessica that filed for the divorce, and full-custody of their twin boys Flint and Jett. Which led to a month of debating on who gets primary custody, and how to split that time.
Jessica likes to play the victim card, which I’m not denying she has a bit going for her, what with Matt’s multiple affairs, and at least one child out of wedlock. Something that Jessica did not know until recently. She forgets though, that it was her who wanted to end the divorce, because she was starting to see someone else. The courts don’t care who did what first, so much as what you did, period.
In the end though, Matt isn’t a stand-up guy that I’d want to have raise two boys alone. Jessica would at least provide maternal care, and hopefully a stable environment. But I can’t say or do anything that wouldn’t be in my client’s best interest, or I risk losing my right to practice law.
I don’t have to work hard though, Matt makes his opinions known, along with all his outlandish demands.
The twin boys were outside the hall, the entire time, and so me and her lawyer had to keep suggesting they lower their voices. It wasn’t in the better judgement of Jessica to bring the boys to the divorce proceeding to begin with.
In the end, they agreed to split custody with Jessica being primary, and Matt paying her. They would share every other weekend, and Matt would have Wednesday after school until eight in the evening. Though Matt had made a big deal of wanting the boys for more than that, back in the beginning, he was happy to settle with it now. I think he didn’t really want all that responsibility.
There was also a stipulation that they had to continue seeing a counselor for the next few months to help with the transition. Both the adults together, as well as the children individually. I know that Matt and Jessica will need it if they have any hopes of doing this parenting gig in a way that won’t further harm the children.
I’m not sure what they had told the kids, but the boys took it especially hard when Jessica came out and said that they were officially divorced.
Matt didn’t stick around, he wanted to discuss his next task at hand, leaving his kids crying in the courthouse hallway, with his ex-wife.
He’s decided to go for partial custody of his daughter Ella, which I think is one of the worst decisions yet.
I told him that there isn’t a judge who will take him seriously until he’s proven he can handle the twins, and get himself in a stable living environment. I wouldn’t even consider moving that case forward, until he got his ducks in a row. I told him he needed a two to three bedroom apartment, beds, toys, furniture that would make it a home for a child, and a good standing reputation with Jessica. No taking off with the boys, dropping them off late, or not picking them up when it was his weekend.
He wasn’t happy with my input, but I was firm. I told him the earliest I’d look at doing this case, would be in October, and not a single month sooner. And if he messes up, to start the month counting all over again, because no judge is going to look kindly on a guy who abandoned his pregnant mistress, and stepped out of the picture for six years.
When the case was over, I took a few days off of work, to unwind and spend time with the family. I would have liked to take them on a real vacation, but there just wasn’t enough time to get away.
Miriam has spent most of the summer here, sunning with Lucy. They weren’t really friends in the beginning, but must be getting along much better these days.
When Lucy says that I shouldn’t worry about being home more, I sort of understand now. There are loads of children running wild here, it’s almost like I came home to a daycare or a classroom.
I was a little worried when I saw that little Flint Picasso was over, making Itzel laugh particularly hard. Lucy said I should worry if that’s happening in a few years, but not yet. There is no way I’d wish for one of my daughters to marry into that deranged family, not that the kids are bad, but the father-in-law would be.
When I get the time to come out here and swim in the sound, I feel relaxed and glad that we moved just a smidgen out of the downtown area. We are farther from the Bekah and Tim Grimsley, but it almost feels like a vacation having this in your own backyard.
This is my third year as Mayor, just three more to go before it’s election time again. I haven’t decided if I’ll run one more time or not. I suppose I’m leaving it in the hands of fate, to see where we are, we’ll have two teenagers, and Alice will be away in college. It’s almost hard to imagine Alice being grown up. I’m sure Lucy won’t handle it well, so I’ll just have to see where we are at then.
Notes: Itzel will be turning to a teen this upcoming winter, which I’m crazy excited about, and also a little in shock. At the beginning of the round, I had slotted for Matt and Jessica Picasso to get divorced, she was rolling wants for Warren Dennis (Miriam’s brother.) And we all know that Matt has been rolling wants for other ladies for years now, so it just made sense to call it quits. However, at the time, I did not know that any of this Annie stuff was going to happen, she was not pregnant at the start of this round, she was raising Ella alone in Millwood in that little duplex, everything perfectly fine. Now she has twins, DHS at her door, and a dirty, un-safe house. I’m just rolling with this, to see where it ends up. The timing couldn’t be better for Matt and worse for Annie.
How I decided Matt would be interested in Ella: Matt has never met Ella, he only saw her through the nursery glass window, as such he can’t roll wants specifically when it comes to her. So I’ve kept my eyes on him, and was waiting for a sign. It finally came around. He rolled three wants that shouted to me that it was time for him to step into Ella’s life. He rolled the want to “meet someone new” along with “talk to a family member” and “invite Annie over.” Now, that last one could be for some romance, but otherwise it was a sure sign that Matt was ready to meet Ella. He rolled all these wants after his divorce went through with Jessica, so it was almost like a wake up call… or he’s being a jerk and wants to cause a lot of waves. Time will tell!
Julia’s delivery will be next! Shooting for Wednesday, but then again, I’ve missed Wednesday the past two weeks, so no promises.