narrated by: Violet-Adele
When Cole London offered me lead architect for Boone county, I only briefly hesitated. My first project was to design 3-story homes for the East side of Lincoln Park, to replace the billboard signs. They were to be affordable, and for the younger crowd with none or maybe one child. One of the perks was that I got to purchase one of the homes, whichever I pleased when they were completed.
Now that the project is done, I’ve been working with Cole on the next big project. He’s received high accolades on the last one, that he’s confident in my skills now, even if I am a new architect, and that was my first project as lead. This new project is a personal favor to his wife, the principal of the Grammar School. He says that she’s been complaining about the size of cafeteria, and need for another classroom for years, and we are finally going to remedy it.
It’s more complicated then just tearing it up though, and making it all new. It’s a historical site, and we have to really jump through hoops to keep the integrity of the building, while adding on. The property behind has already been purchased, so as long as the snooty Historical Society allows, we will begin working on an addition in the new year.
The great thing about Cole is that he’s laid back, he doesn’t get bent out of shape if I’m not at the office, or if I want a week of vacation. He also thinks each of my ideas are gold, which doesn’t hurt my opinion of him.
Unfortunately for Etienne, he doesn’t feel that confident in his skills. I’ve been trying to get the two more involved in conference calls, and decisions, but Cole is not interested in what Etienne has to offer.
I offered to teach Etienne how to golf better, maybe impress some Historical Society guy, and really help move this school renovation through. I know that would impress Cole, and Etienne wasn’t opposed to the idea himself. In the end though, he just doesn’t have any game.
Part of me thinks he might pack up and move back to Paris. He had come here because of me, hoping for a relationship at some point. There were a few times we came close, when he met my sister Hazel and had dinner with us. That night, I thought he might kiss me. But it’s all added up to nothing, and now he doesn’t look at me the way he did.
I would miss him, and I do hope he stays. Which is partly why I’m trying to build his career here, and get Cole to give him some recognition. After all, Etienne worked on the project with me, it wasn’t a solo act. I don’t know how I feel about him anymore though, on a deeper level. He was the one that wanted marriage, and I was just an intern at the time. Even now, on the edge of turning thirty, I’m not too concerned with marriage.
I hated the idea of him engaged to Brenda, and was pleased when it was broken off. Maybe that’s what love is at the end of the day, a displaced feeling of ownership over someone.
Ether way, I don’t feel that way now. Cole thinks I’m a rockstar, and can do no wrong, and I’ve been greedily enjoying that attention. He stops in sometimes when I’m working late at the office, we usually talk about things outside of business, and I’ve caught him checking me out a time or two.
He’s never even so much as flirted with me, but I can’t help but think that if I initiated something, that he wouldn’t be able to resist. I haven’t done anything, I don’t have time for a legitimate boyfriend, let alone another affair with a married man. It turned out poorly with Reed dropping me like an old hat, I’m not really interested in setting myself up for that again.
But I had no doubt that I could use some type of frivolous hook up, and to just get away from Cole and Etienne for a break before I did something I might regret. It didn’t help that I found out Reed’s wife, Caroline was expecting their third. I didn’t know he wanted to be such a breeder back when we were together.
I caught lunch with my parents over the weekend, we stopped at Hazel’s Diner. It’s the only place my parents ever eat, at least during daylight hours when Hazel is working. I took that opportunity to invite Hazel and her family to go on a trip to the Cascade Mountains with me. I’d researched and found a cabin that could house her giant brood, and she loved the idea.
She didn’t want to go on vacation with us, she wanted to hark on me not having any children. Dad was easily distracted to the new topic, he didn’t understand why I couldn’t find a nice enough gentleman to settle down with. I didn’t want nice enough I wanted something more then that.
I tried to joke that I might use a sperm bank if I hit forty and haven’t married. But neither of them thought it was humorous. Maybe they just raised us girls to be this way, and none of us can pinpoint the why. Hazel hadn’t wanted to settle down, it just got thrown on her lap with a surprise pregnancy. And sure she went crazy and had two more after, it wasn’t something she willingly did the first time.
Or what I’d never say to my Mom, but maybe it’s genetic, and my birth parents were anti-kids, which is why they gave me up. Maybe she’s a big career woman now, and happy to be kid free. It would devastate my parents to even talk about my birth Mom though, they are both sensitive to that topic.
I tried to assure them that someday, I may settle down and have a baby, but it just wasn’t happening right now.
They both gave each other a look, and I felt a twinge of regret for disappointing them in this. They are proud of the career, they’ve told me numerous times, but they both think I’m missing a large piece of the pie when it comes to life and family. I don’t know if I agree with that, I love being an aunt, and spoiling them rotten. If I had my own family, I wouldn’t be around to do that for them.
The rest of the lunch went by without further issue, but I didn’t feel happy that I had come. Hazel came to say good-bye to us and square the plans for vacation, the only positive thing the afternoon had brought. Mom and Dad both whispered that they loved me, they always do, and I always know that they do love me. It’s just hard, this parent-adult relationship, add that I’m the youngest, and doing things completely opposite of my brother Finn and Hazel, and I guess I’ve stumped them.
The cabin turned out to be perfect, there were three bedrooms, with one having a bunkbed. At the last minute, Mom and Dad took Roman, he turns four in September, and really wanted to go. He was promised lots of spoiling and treats though, and seemed to be appeased with staying behind.
I was glad, Bea and Monroe are plenty. She’s eight now, and really thinks she’s a big kid, a bit bossy, and definitely a know-it-all. Paired with Monroe, they are the goofiest kids I’ve met. She’s always telling him tall tales, and he’s such a gullible kid, that he eats it right up.
She told him teeny tiny men lived in the trees that they used to build the cabin, and that they were angry, and would steal away the littlest in the night for retribution. He had nightmares the first few nights.
I can appreciate their humor, because I have no qualms about raising them proper, and their manners. That burden is for parents, and it’s one of the reasons I’m not worried about having a kid.
Hazel is worried about me, dying alone with only my dog, Gustave as a companion. She forgets that dogs don’t live as long as people or even cats, so he won’t be there to see me into my old age, but maybe forty.
I always cringe when she hunts me down, and has the kids off on an adventure with Jude, then I know she’s in the role of big sister. It’s almost like Mom sent her with a cue card to help her move the snoopy questions along.
I told her more than I told Mom and Dad though, admitting that maybe genetically, my genes aren’t made for having babies. Maybe my birth parents were just the same as me. I can tell Hazel these things, even if it hurts her that we aren’t blood related, she never rebukes me for remembering that I was adopted.
She didn’t have any answers for my questions, and I had none for her. I don’t want to become a nun though, I told her that I am still interested in men, and having them around for fun. I think she’s hoping for an accidental pregnancy like she had, but I doubt that will happen. I’m very careful with my birth control pills.
We know the kids are back before we even see them, they are tearing through the house, asking for snacks and food, and Monroe starts calling out for Gustave. He’s not normally a kid-friendly dog, but he seems to have warmed up to them.
And before we can really finish our conversation, Jude is in the hot tub, arms around Hazel and it goes from uncomfortable conversation to awkward, third wheel.
I don’t lie to myself and say that I want no part in having something like they have. I just haven’t had it myself, and I’m realist enough to know that I might not, and am fine with that too. I do get out though, I can only handle whispers and giggles so much before I reach my limit.
Later on, when they’ve composed themselves, Jude fixes dinner, and Hazel keeps him company while spoiling Gustave. I know he will be a rotten little, needy guy when we get back home, which will wreck havoc on my working from home.
It’s nice laying in the hammock though, listening to them with their conversations, and the kids playing. I enjoy being allowed to be apart of this family, and it’s nice to be away from Cole, and my thoughts about him and I, naked somewhere. I think of Hazel, and how I’d kill anyone that tried to take Jude away, but then I don’t think he’d ever accept anyone elses’ offer ether. Clearly, Reed wasn’t happily married, and Cole must not be as happy as they let people believe.
Hazel gets the kids all tucked into bed that night, and instead of sitting around playing a game of Monopoly, I make plans to wander the Harbor. She tries to get me to stay and hang out, but it’s weak, and we both know that her and Jude could find good use of their alone time once the kids are asleep.
The Harbor is a different scene at night, mostly couples, no children in sight, and just a lot of crickets and distant animal sounds.
It’s never hard for me to find someone, because they always find me. I was watching the dark lake, and listening for the sound of fish out of water, when a man approached me and asked if I was a local.
I clearly am not, I don’t wear plaid or suspenders. It wasn’t a good pick up line at all. I’m a pro at this game, and know how to reject just enough to make myself more irresistible, but not too far to become the opposite.
Once we went inside to get a drink, I didn’t mind him much at all. He wasn’t what I’d consider marriage material, spending most of his time in a cabin up here, and hiking around the mountains like a hobo, but definitely agreeable in a fun way.
A few drinks into him, and I got him to do some karaoke with me. He said he’d never done it before, and it was painfully obvious, but his voice wasn’t unpleasant, that is when he was able to keep up with the words.
Brody was his name, and we ended up hanging out several times, I even had him tag along with us when Hazel was around.
I schooled him. He had no chance, we did family vacations up here every summer as a kid.
The kids didn’t ask questions about who he was, or how I knew him. They were too busy beating Jude. He lost almost every single time, that I was beginning to worry that he wasn’t just letting them win, but actually, legitimately sucked at log roll.
But at the end, without any effort, he totally beat Bea, she was shocked to put it mildly.
I invited Brody up to the cabin, but only when it was past midnight, and the kids were asleep without a doubt. Hazel and Jude just occupied themselves upstairs, there was a pool table, and a bed of course.
Brody was a bit of fun, I need one of him back home, to keep me from mixing business with pleasure. Etienne is too serious of a man to fool around with, Reed isn’t interested now, though maybe he is again with Caroline expecting, and Cole is the Mayor. I need my own personal Brody.
Our last night there, the kids wanted to sleep in a tent under the stars, and Hazel and Jude being such good parents, agreed. I wasn’t really interested in tent sleeping, did that when I was a kid about Bea’s age, and have had zero desire to repeat. It was me and her that were awake late into the night, roasting marshmallows and talking.
She’s a good kid, and when it was just us out by the fire, she talked about all the kids at school, and how hard it is to be in the second grade, when her best friend, Scarlett is in the third grade.
She’s real excited that I am planning the renovations to her school, I told her that with all the red tape, it might not even get started until she’s started the sixth grade. I hope not though, I’d really like to get it moving while Cole is still Mayor.
Back at home, I throw myself back into the project, hoping that Etienne can take care of the schmoozing, and that I can find a way to meet the student and teacher needs while making sure it still keeps it’s historical integrity. Which is something none of the students care about.
Cole wants to get the plans approved before this year is out, and break ground on the addition in the spring. I’m going to work my butt off to try and make that happen.
Notes: Violet-Adele would not be opposed to flirting with Cole, as she has rolled the want to do just that thing. She’s just this little home wrecker, and I don’t know what to do with her. Even when she is in a serious relationship, she gets bored in time, stops rolling wants, stops acr actions (unless it’s with someone else that is married!). Her IFS is one, and I just can’t see her settling down, not yet anyway. She’s not even like crazy into woohoo ether, she’s relatively happy just destroying marriages, and having some once in a while.
She rolled to do Karaoke in the ROS, she actually had the want when she went to the Harbor, so it wasn’t a big deal for her to perform.
I hired Oliver for the Grammar School, and have been needing to add an addition to it, as for two school updates, I have not been able to fit all the students in the cafeteria. Always one chair short! And each student I lose, I am gaining back at the lower levels. I do love my old time school though, with pieces based on my school as a kid, so I’m not rebuilding.
Thanks for reading!