The boys were in high school, and with Hazel’s Mom living with them, it made sense to downsize. Hazel loved living right off Lincoln Park, that it took waiting before the perfect house became available. It was a two-story, but much more spacious for holidays and hosting, which was very important to Hazel and Mandy.
They moved directly across the park from their old house, that it didn’t even feel that much like a move. To top it off, everyone loved their new home, so there weren’t really complaints.
That didn’t mean that Hazel got out of hearing whining and complaining however. Monroe was old enough this year to officially work at the diner, and she really needed his help. Bea had been mildly unwilling when she’d started, but she’d really grown to love it before she’d left for EU. Hazel had that hope for Monroe, but he was proving to be quite obstinate.
When he was asked to do a quick repair in the kitchen, he always threw a tantrum.
When Hazel asked him to wear his uniform, mop a floor, wipe a counter, any of the mundane tasks, he always got lippy.
She didn’t absolutely need his help, but she wanted all of her kids to work before they were adults, and this was by far the easiest way. She was going to need a new chef though, as Adam was moving full-time to his own bakery as soon as the twins were born.
Rebecca was a loyal assistant manager, and she definitely had her regulars, but she couldn’t cook well enough for the diner.
That pretty much left hiring out, or Hazel herself.
On her mornings off, Hazel started practicing breakfast foods. She’d heard for years from customers that breakfast foods were a cinch, and they weren’t sure why they were paying for Adam’s bacon.
However, that wasn’t Hazel’s experience.
Mandy was ready to be supportive of her daughter, even going so far as to try the burnt omelette.
But she wasn’t a thespian like her granddaughter, Bea, and she absolutely couldn’t hide the choking from Hazel.
She encouraged Hazel to keep the want-ad live and perhaps take an actual cooking class, just for the kids and Jude’s sake.
Hazel wasn’t sure how she’d find the time. The boys were much more active than Bea had been; it felt like they needed even more supervision now than they did as toddlers.
Just the other day, Shira Dwyer popped up on their front porch. She knew of Shira Dwyer, any Mother of boys did! The ‘most prettiest girl’ at school. Hazel did not appreciate that pretty face showing up on her front porch, though Roman wholly disagreed.
Hazel stood awkwardly inside, hoping that she’d come over for something studious, to borrow notes or suggest that her son read the bible. But it seemed that she’d come over on some weak excuse to ask if their was an assignment, and then continued to giggle shyly.
None of Hazel’s kids were shy, and Shira had practically invited his affections by stopping over. He didn’t hold back, complimenting her shoes, hair, face, smile. Hazel had to stop eaves dropping, all the sugar was making her queasy.
Jude wasn’t quite as concerned for the boys, after all he’d done alright himself. His manager had him preparing for another summer tour, and he was starting to feel weary of the musician’s life.
Bea was already off to EU, and the boys weren’t far behind. He’d been thinking of taking time off the music scene. He was hesitant to use the R-word, but retirement is exactly how he was beginning to feel.
Financially they were set for life, and there should even be some left for the kids when they eventually passed. But retiring at forty-six seemed to leave an empty void for the future, he still loved music and enjoyed writing songs.
It was a conundrum that Hazel was content to listen to, but hesitant to give advice.
There was plenty of time after the tour to think on it more, currently the boys were keeping the schedules full. Hazel had invited the Russo-Traver family over for pizza and catching up. The women had been best friends since high school, but these past few months had barely had time to check in.
Their parenting styles were hugely opposite. During their twenties, Morgan had been a bit of a wild card, sleeping with some doctors, and staying out late. But when it came to parenting, she was more like the parents she’d rebelled against for all those years.
It was precisely due to Morgan’s strict nature, that Hazel did not confide to her friend that their kids were dating. Specifically Roman and Vivienne. Ever since Lewis got Caitlyn pregnant, Morgan had banned all dating, and while Hazel knew it wasn’t her place, she’d felt that it was unfair to the girls.
The kids were all hanging out upstairs, and Hazel knew that it would be banned as soon as Morgan started thinking of her sons as actual boys.
Roman was more likely to spill the beans than Hazel. He was annoyed that Cicely and Vivienne liked Monroe. He didn’t understand how every single girl out there liked his brother more than him. Weren’t girls supposed to like blonde haired boys with bright blue eyes?
Cicely would stare openly, completely disregarding Roman for company. He was only one year younger than them, but he might as well have been a diapered-baby!
His only way in was through Ghost, she happened to like his scary, red-eyed hamster. That gave Cicely extra cool points in his book, although he’d heard a rumor she was dating Chaz Holmes, which would easily take away a hundred cool points.
When pizza was delivered, the kids rushed down and Mandy came out of her bedroom. She was always welcome when company visited, but sometimes she liked to hole up and spend the time alone.
Food wasn’t allowed upstairs, mostly because the boys always let forgotten plates grow mold, so they claimed the living room.
Vivienne and Monroe did a decent job at hiding their relationship.
Monroe would try to make silly seductive faces to make Vivienne laugh. The parents couldn’t see his face so he got away with it.
Roman mostly wished that he could just hang out in a room of his own, without the Russo-Traver twins. Sharing a bedroom was never more inconvenient than when he was babysitting his big brother and his girlfriend.
The Sadie Hawkins dance was quickly approaching, and as the family was leaving, Hazel whispered to Vivienne that she had to tell her parents about Monroe if she wanted him to go with her.
On the way to school, Monroe rode his bike to Vivienne’s path to school. She seemed alright, but slightly sad.
When he asked her, she was hesitant to say at first. She felt emotional, because she had taken Hazel’s advice and spoke with her parents. Mostly Vivienne acted fearless with her Mom, easily quarreling with her Mom and appearing unfazed, but really, she didn’t want to make her Mom mad at her or disappoint her.
It seemed that dating Monroe was something that did both. Her Dad had actually said that Monroe seemed like a good kid, good parents, which Vivienne could tell was a mild joke from her Dad, seeing they were all best friends! Morgan was not in the mood to entertain joking.
She’d angrily forbade them from dating, period. She didn’t say they could when Vivienne turned sixteen in June, like the previous arrangement had been. It appeared to be forever.
The only positive was that Zeke said they could attend the dance together, in which Morgan immediately emailed Principal Grimsley to sign up for a parent-chaperone position.
Monroe came around and pulled Vivienne close. He insisted that if they couldn’t date, they could remain friends. Kissing friends.
It didn’t take much to convince Vivienne of that arrangement, and they sealed the deal with a kiss.
The night of the dance, Hazel had to work. Officer Tim Grimsley came in to keep an eye on the place, Hazel’s was famously popular before all dances excluding prom.
Alex Welsh came with Eden Fink while one of the parent chaperones tried to be invisible from the booths.
Hazel happily took their orders. Morgan had called to tell her of the dating and inform her of their decision to not allow the kids to date. Hazel was not aware of the ‘Kissing Friends’ agreement, just the way she preferred.
Monroe sat opposite of Cicely instead of his girlfriend, just in case Zeke or Morgan popped in to spy. They were hoping it would make them appear more casual.
The twins looked lovely, and she made sure to let them each know.
While they were off to the dance, Roman stayed home and invited Holden over. They played video games in their bedroom and claimed that next year a girl would ask them to the dance, even if they were both unsure if it were true.
When Holden had left, Roman practiced having a girlfriend by giving Ghost a big old kiss. He’d never let his brother see him do this, but he was rather fond of the little buddy.
When Monroe was back home and off to bed, Hazel and Jude finally climbed into their own.
This moment was their favorite part of the day, reconnecting, discussing, and just being close while the rest of the house fell asleep.
Notes: I’m back to summer work hours, which is crazy 7-7. I’m hoping to queue a few updates, but my commenting will be small as I work, vacation, and take my scouts up to the mountains. Sure to be a fun summer!
Woodfolk house tour is up on tumblr. I really like their new house for them, especially as they approach being empty-nesters.
Hazel has 4 cooking points, and Jude has 3 points, I’m not sure what I’ll do for a new cook for them.
Paloma’s birth is up next! Thanks for reading!