Nicole has been happy having Elias back home, she was wary that he would marry the city-girl and run off to South Port to live. The debt involved with the farm and renovating the house were extreme, and it was all for naught if Elias abandoned that dream.
She wasn’t happy that her son was heartbroken over the break-up. He mostly kept it under the lid, but now and then she could hear him from his bedroom. It was an unhappy coincidence that the two largest rooms in the renovation were next to one another.
Mostly though, the guys worked the fields, and she enjoyed seeing them out there. She was inclined to lend a hand when necessary, but it was mostly in the fall that she chipped in the most.
They worked until the sunset, and were prepping the orchard for a hopeful banner year. Offering apple cider was her dream, along with opening a farmer’s market on a separate piece of land.
Nicole wasn’t entirely happy about Brooklyn’s unexpected pregnancy. She loved grandchildren, and was happy for them to have them, one day. They had just gotten settled in her inlaws old house, and a baby seemed too sudden.
There wasn’t much she could say about it though. Oliver turned 32 in two months, and the baby was already on its way. She just wanted them to have more time before kids. Her and Finn had never had that time.
Nicole hoped that eventually Brooklyn would like her more than she does currently. They don’t have beef with one another, they just aren’t terribly close. She’s about to be her first daughter-in-law and had hopes of a daughter-like relationship, well like her and Grace, not so much Emma, though it had much improved in recent years.
She did convince her to join her upstairs so she could take some measurements. The entire wedding planning was driving Nicole batty. Brooklyn couldn’t make up her mind involving anything, not even a season! And now that the baby was on the way, she was less interested in the wedding than what she was having for lunch the next day. Nicole had offered to make the wedding dress, but she really needed some firm information before she could get started. Seasons especially mattered for the style of the dress.
Brooklyn knew how to butter Nicole up though, insisting on how grateful she was for the custom gown, and promising to narrow down a season, maybe even a venue.
Thankfully, Brooklyn’s Mom, Trisha was fed up with all the wishy-washy plans as well. Together they united and forced the kids to check out some local venues, just to get a feel for their options and maybe form some opinions. First stop was the small church in Millwood.
Which Trisha hated. She said the colors were dated, the red carpet was appalling, and that there was no space for a real gathering. She didn’t mention how Oliver’s family was huge and required all that space, but that was the truth of the matter.
Neither of the kids formed an opinion on the church. Oliver whispered something mushy, and then kissed Brooklyn, leaving both the Mothers feeling rather hopeless. Trisha especially wanted a date so she could request time off of work, and really devote herself to the event, while Nicole just wanted time to make the wedding dress.
Later in the week, Nicole went to visit Oliver, and try to get an understanding for the delay. He had proposed in May, nearly a full-year later and still no date.
She tried being subtle, but Oliver knew his Mother pretty well after all these years.
He went on to explain that he was leaving the entire wedding up to Brooklyn, even though Nicole insisted that she might not appreciate that pressure. He was weighing in on issues, but wanted her to decide the season, and whether it was before the baby’s arrival or after. He wasn’t going to force her to walk down the aisle with cankles and in an unflattering dress that she didn’t dream of wearing.
He added that he was working towards his Masters now as well, and with everything going on, the wedding itself wasn’t that important to him. Brooklyn moved in after the strip turned pink, and he was happy with the way things were.
Nicole had to accept the way it was, and despite the disappointment in the wedding plans, she was proud of her son. She’d been hesitant for him to go back for his Masters, but becoming the principal of Longfellow would be a good income boost for him.
Things at Zoe-Gen weren’t going as smoothly, although the income was still great. It started with Marta quitting, which Nicole knew was coming once she had demoted her.
Nicole tried to act devastated but really Marta had been a festering sore for years.
She had been very thrilled as Marta walked out the doors for hopefully the last time.
However they were severely short staffed now, and that meant extra work for Nicole and Lily-Mae.
Lily-Mae didn’t mind, she hoped to take over whenever her Mom was done with owning the place, and Marta had always been her least favorite person. Nicole didn’t feel the same though, she didn’t want her high school daughter working so much, and so put out an ad for sales.
Lulu Grimsley answered the ad, and they set up an interview. Eighteen years old, fresh out of high school, and working at a pizza joint in Millwood. It seemed to Nicole that she was a great candidate to take on some of the workload.
She had no ambitions, which wasn’t exactly making her out to be a winner in the eyes of an employer, but it was exactly what Nicole wanted. Marta had too many ambitions, always trying to sabotage others, and take over the boutique instead of Lily-Mae.
But when Nicole offered her the job, she flat out refused. Nicole felt baffled, she didn’t understand why she had agreed to an interview if she wasn’t interested in working outside of Millwood.
Trisha came by to look at gowns, and talk wedding plans. Together the Mom’s decided to hire Eva to plan the wedding.
Nicole knew that Oliver would never hire her, just because she was Paloma’s Mom. That was all rubbish to Nicole. They had been all been friends for many years, and a little bit of young dating shouldn’t ruin that.
Trisha was thrilled with the idea. She felt that they just needed a little push and assistance from someone who was not a Mother. They wouldn’t be concerned about hurting Eva’s feelings like they might their Mom.
So it was set, and Nicole convinced Trisha to be the one to share the news. Oliver was incredibly disagreeable whenever Paloma’s family was mentioned, he often accused her of favoring Paloma over Brooklyn, which wasn’t anything Nicole tried to deny. Of course she loved Paloma more than Brooklyn, she’d watched her grow up! But it didn’t mean she wanted her son to marry her, not now anyway since she married Adam.
While Nicole and Trisha were meddling in their children’s affairs, Elias was moving on from Caitlyn. He enjoyed being back in Millwood, and took his nieces to the park whenever he got the chance.
Lily-Mae usually joined him, she was the usual babysitter for Grace’s kids, and enjoyed spending time with them. Mostly her services were unneeded now that Ainsley and Isla were in junior high.
They didn’t usually join on the park adventures, but Elias wasn’t wounded over that. He had a blast playing with Tillie and Hatty.
One such afternoon, his cell rang with an unknown number, and it was Bobbi from Paloma’s wedding. Unlike his brother, Elias had maintained a strong friendship with Paloma, and was flattered that Bobbi had sought him out. She had been dating someone at the time of the wedding, but he had thought that they’d hit it off on the beach.
It felt good to know that she felt the same way. He agreed to a date, and they took a taxi over to The Red Mill. Elias couldn’t help but admire her long legs, and think what a contrast Bobbi was to Caitlyn, not that one was better, just different.
Elias had a grand time with her, he found her spunky and hilarious, and that she made the most adorable faces.
He didn’t ask about her ex-boyfriend, other than to confirm that he was indeed an ex. He wasn’t interested in being with a cheater, and Bobbi alleviated his fears.
Elias knew his Mom would likely hate her. She had her own apartment in Oliver’s old warehouse building, and loved city living. Once he found out her address, they spent the next twenty minutes trying to figure out if they had ever bumped into one another when he was visiting his brother.
They couldn’t think of a specific time, but she definitely knew Oliver, and his old roommates, Isaiah and Maeve. They hit it off so well, that he invited her back to his house.
He asked her to stay the whole night, even after she mercilessly teased him for his Granny-style bedroom. Elias knew it wasn’t to his taste, but his Mom had gone to the trouble of decorating it years ago, and he wasn’t bothered by the butterflies or frilly patterns.
When they woke up, she whipped up a fruit salad for them to enjoy. She also explained that cutting fruit was about the extent of her kitchen expertise unless he wanted a martini, she could make those.
He definitely picked up vibes that she was in to him, and he was hopeful that they could see one another again real soon.
His Mom wasn’t so pleased with the idea. She started hacking away at the dirt in her private garden while they feasted on her hard-earned fruit. City girls for her farmer son were pretty much her nightmare.
If he abandoned them, then Finn would have to work the land as an old man, and still they might never retire or pay off the debt. Finn agreed to talk with Elias about it, in a roundabout way. He wasn’t concerned like Nicole, in fact if Elias decided that farming wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t begrudge him.
He let Elias know what he already knew, that his Mom was going crazy with him dating city girls. Elias laughed it off, and insisted that he wanted to work the land, this was his dream, and one day, he hoped to share it with someone.
For now he was happy just dating, and taking his time. They made a few more jokes about city-girls, and how crazy his Mom was, and then they finished checking the field.
That night, Nicole called Zilla to check in on her. She’d never had a child move so far away, and the southwest seemed ages away, although still in the same time zone.
Zilla was happy working on an excavation out in the desert, and her live-in boyfriend, Pete was still looking for work. Nicole didn’t really enjoy the idea of him free-loading off her daughter, but let it go.
She ended the phone call promising to come and visit soon, whereas Zilla didn’t sound quite as enthused about the idea as Nicole had wanted. Zilla did promise to come back for the wedding, if Oliver and Brooklyn ever did tie the knot, and as long as she could take the time off. That appeased Nicole for the moment.
Notes: This was a rough household, everyone has so much happening that poor Lily-Mae and Finn got a bit of the backburner here.
I absolutely LOVE that Marta quit, and Nicole was smiling the whole dang time!! She is incredibly short staffed now though, and I thought Lulu would be a good hire! She just works at the pizza joint, shacking up with her boss. But she flat out rejected the job offer. Pfft.
At Paloma’s wedding, there was some long talks on the beach with Bobbi, and maybe a bit of ACR flirting. It was another reason for Caitlyn and Elias to break up. They really hit it off, that I think its safe to say that Bobbi will be around again. I haven’t had a red head baby forever, but I think Nicole’s kids are going to make up for that. *crossing fingers*
Thanks for reading!
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