narrated by: Elias
Dad was discredited back in 2016, I was ten, and it was all over my head. The basic gist was that Dad could never go back into his Natural Science field at the university, so he’s been babysitting Grace’s daughters ever since. It was supposed to be temporary, so I don’t know why he didn’t try to find a job, but we’ve all grown used to having him and the girls’ around the house.
Lily-Mae plays better with Tillie, mostly because she doesn’t have any say. Lily-Mae is the youngest, and is the typical, spoiled, limelight hogging sister that I’d expect to have. Ainsley and Isla have a mind of their own, and often run off to do their own thing.
Grace is due next month, so sometimes she drops the kids off here just so she can go home and nap. Emma has been covering a few of her shifts at the Salon. On those days she usually hangs out with Mom in the greenhouse. She’s concerned that four kids will be too much for Dad to watch, but it’s really only two, since Ainsley and Isla go to school now.
She asked Dad about how he felt over it, and he didn’t hesitate. He really enjoys having the girls over here, and there’s plenty of outdoor space for them to play. We already have a mad house, whats a few extra?
Mom’s bridal boutique, Zoe-Gen has been doing really well. It’s been easier for her to focus on it now that we are all in school, and Dad is here to take care of the house. It’s funny how they’ve switched roles, and both seem happier than before. Mom even had to hire a second person to help with the floor, her and Marta had been the only ones since Oliver lived at home, but business is really picking up.
She ended up hiring Bethany Louie, a new girl to town. Mom said that she sounded good on paper, with a college degree, well-traveled, but what it all boiled down to was a girl without any real life experience.
Mom can’t find anywhere to put her, because she’s so lousy at all of it. I think Mom wishes that me and Julius would help her out like Oliver did, but I promise her that we would suck just as bad.
Once Bethany knows how to do her job though, she anticipates a more stream-lined experience for customers, and more free time for family. Until then, she’s been going in six days a week, even on Sunday mornings when they are closed. She’s teaching Bethany how to do inventory, and restocking, while Marta teaches her how to use the register.
Dad doesn’t mind having all of these kids at home, even though all of us teens have boyfriends and girlfriends, the most surprising was Zilla, landing Peter Steinman. She eats him alive, and he apparently enjoys it. It creeps the crap out of me and Julius though. When it’s nice out, we almost always stick to the outdoors.
And Julius bagged Perla Martinez. I fell for her when she was the new student, and she humiliated me; it made me pretty much hate her. I don’t get why she is with him, sure they can be sort of rude together, but still.
On a basic level, they seem fine, but anything deeper than a teaspoon, and they are fighting.
I found out one afternoon what her great draw to my brother was, and it was me. I’m not being egocentric over it, she flat out told me that I was the better twin, and that she wanted to date me.
I rejected her, I’m happier with Rachael then I thought possible, we don’t fight ever. But I didn’t tell Julius about it; I didn’t think he’d believe me, and he’d just keep dating her anyway. But it didn’t meant that Perla made it any easier.
Mom had all of us work on the orchard to prepare it for this growing season, and we all had our special someone’s come and help. Perla spent the entire time making out with Julius, and was really vocal over it all, as if I might regret my decision to turn her down. I guess she doesn’t take no for an answer.
Peter was a light weight, and totally passed out. We are experiencing a very early, warm spring with a heatwave that is barely seen in the summertime.
Dad was in fine spirits, and made fun of Peter. I tried joining in, but Zilla gave me her evil eye, and I left her to him. She may be my sister, but she can be wicked tough.
Mom and Dad love Rachael, I think they’d adopt her if she was available. Even Lily-Mae loves her, but no one feels that way towards Perla. No one dislikes Zilla’s Peter, but no one necessarily loves him.
I enjoy tending the garden and orchard, I didn’t really give it much thought until I helped Grandma Mandy set up her garden a few years back. Mom started it to save money, and the orchard was just there when we moved in, no one took care of it when Lily-Mae was a baby.
I mentioned to Mom that I might enjoy taking over the place, expanding it to be an actual farm, maybe set up a roadside market to go with it. She didn’t say much in response, she likes to process things before she commits herself to an idea, but I think she liked the sound of it.
That night after we had finished up all the yardwork, I told Rachael about my ideas. I don’t think she expected her sixteen year old boyfriend to say he wanted to grow up and be a Farmer, but she took it well enough.
She’s more ambitious than me, wanting to be a professional ice skater, she could choose between that or ballet if she wanted, and the road is open for her. But she’d never say anything condescending about my dream, she’s too sweet and kind.
As much as my parents love her, I think I love her more. I’m not foolish enough to think that someone like her would settle down, and become a farmer’s wife, at least I’m not foolish enough to say it out loud.
Mom talked to Dad about my thoughts, we could overhear them from the orchard. It sounded like Dad was on board faster than Mom was, she thinks farming is risky, and she wants me to have more stability.
Dad was thrilled with the idea. He wants to start on it immediately, started talking about purchasing some of the land that surrounds us, and bringing in income while he watches his granddaughters. Mom was hesitant over it, especially the loan for more property, but when he mentioned expanding the house, and me living here one day with a wife and kids, well she was sold.
She loves babies, which is obvious, seeing that she has seven kids, but still wants more. Dad knew how to sell it to her, the idea of babies in her house even longer, really sealed the deal. The expansion was great too, she’s been complaining about our living room for years, it’s not large enough to house the whole family for holidays, and only two have married and had kids yet. We are going to need a museum sized living room to house all of us with spouses and kids when that happens, of course by the time Lily-Mae settles down, it’ll be about the time that Ainsley does too.
Dad got started immediately on researching, and Mom started planning expansions. She’s already got it in her mind that I’ll get married, and have a large family like her. It’s not technically false ether, unlike my sister Emma who seems to have hated our family life growing up, I’ve really enjoyed living on the farm, and always having someone to hang out with.
When Zilla and Julius found out, they thought I was crazy. Julius isn’t necessarily against having kids one day in the distant future, but he’s a million times against living at home for the rest of his life.
He’s always been my built in best friend, but this past year we’ve grown more apart. He started getting more secretive, and skipping basketball practice. I don’t know where he goes when he does that, he won’t tell me, and I don’t like to skip practice. He also started bringing home nice electronics, our room is full of the latest and greatest.
I asked Zilla what she thought about it all, and she thinks we need to spy on Julius. Our parents are buying that Julius is doing odd lawn jobs around Millwood to pay for it, but that is not happening. We made plans to keep our schedules open, and follow Julius next time he ducks out with a flimsy excuse.
Two days later, and Julius was heading to Perla’s house late at night. He took the bus, and Zilla got to take Mom’s mini van, not exactly sleuth material, but it worked. He got off at a seedy looking liquor store and we hung back, parking in an overfilled lot where we wouldn’t be conspicuous.
An angry looking guy came up to him, and Julius started counting out mad amounts of money, while the guy waited greedily for his share. We don’t know what he has gotten himself into, but it’s definitely bad. We just don’t know if we should tell Mom and Dad yet, before we really know what is happening.
Afterwards he got on the bus back to Millwood, and we figured we’d approach him at home, but the bus took so long that we fell asleep before he came in. We woke up later that night to Dad shouting from the downstairs for Mom to call the police, that we were being robbed.
Dad wasn’t exactly quiet over it, and the robber stole Mom’s mini van as a getaway.
I confronted Julius about it all as soon as the police left. Naturally he tried to deny it all until I told him what me and Zilla had seen.
He was pretty freaked over the entire robbery, said he paid the guy back most of what he owed, and arranged to pay the rest in a week.
He didn’t divulge the details, said it wouldn’t be safe for me and Zilla to know, but that he was working to get himself out of this situation. I just don’t know if he can get out of it without some adult assistance, we were robbed for pity sake, and our only vehicle was stolen. We can’t even leave Millwood now unless we take a bus, and our entire family getting on the bus is a bit absurd, not to mention Mom needs to get to Zoe-Gen to open the store regularly.
Notes: Apparently this spring was a heatwave! First a snow-free winter, and now heatstroke in March!
They had the robbery ROS, and I decided that it would be Julius’ fault, that he’d get involved with some shady people and owe some money back.
Super excited about Elias being a farmer! It matches his personality 100%! I need a new Farmer’s Market now that Myra is retiring. I adore him with Rachael, they are too cute, that’s why they are my new banner. But I don’t know that she’d make a good farmer’s wife unfortunately.
Julius and Perla kept doing the “crazy” sign, nonstop! Anyone know what causes them to do that? And she came after Elias with ACR, and the good guy rejected her. Which made her angry, naturally. She’s a little crazy.
I don’t know what to do with Zilla, plastic surgery maybe… she doesn’t need it to have okay kids (as long as she marries a beige guy), nobody with striking looks, because she has enough “strike” going for her. Otherwise if I don’t do plastic surgery, she will be a PNPC.