Since Marta quit after her demotion, Zoe-Gen had struggled to find employees. Nicole had interviewed Lulu Grimsley, and then the girl had the audacity to refuse the job offer. Hiring was a weary process, but even more pressing with Lily-Mae starting at EU in a month.
She had called Riley Gray to come in after seeing her application. Failing to get a fashion degree from EU was mildly alarming, but it wasn’t enough to say no. Bethany Louie had zero experience when hired, and she’d just been promoted to assistant.
She explained her daughter, Quinn, and she shared her struggles with parenting. Nicole could empathize with that, having Grace and Emma back to back while still in her teen years. She had managed to get her degree, with three kids in tow by the end of it. Sometimes she wished she’d dropped out though, as they’d paid the debt for many years.
Nicole was impressed with Riley’s interests and openness, and offered her the job. She shadowed Bethany at the start, to learn the lingo, and restrictions on what they could do with custom order dresses. Bethany was going to move to inventory when Riley took over the sales floor.
Their granddaughter, Ainsley came by with her friend Elodie to see the dress they’d specially ordered in. Ainsley was hoping she could attend the wedding, but Elodie’s Dad and Miriam weren’t sure they were inviting anyone.
Lily-Mae was hoping to work during the holidays. While her tuition was fully paid, she still needed fun money to splurge with.
Violet-Adele came in to purchase a dress for a banquet event. As usual, she rejected Nicole’s attempts at friendship; she had hoped that being pregnant would soften Vi, but that hadn’t happened.
Working late with Bethany, they ordered in new fabric swatches for winter and spring dresses.
Back at the farm, Elias gathered his nerve and dialed Julia. They’d really hit it off at Oliver’s wedding, just over a year ago. They’d both been seeing people at the time, but as far as he knew, they were both single now.
She agreed to the date, and they headed to Lumberjack Pancakes.
He gave her a rose while they waited to be seated. He’d never noticed Julia much before. While they had gone to Jefferson High together, Julia had been three years older, and they weren’t in the same circles. At the time she had been crushing on his older brother, Oliver.
Because they had gone to high school together, he hadn’t forgot when she’d been pregnant. However, he was foggy on what followed for her and the baby.
Julia explained how her parents raised her son, she lived with Alice in an apartment, and she was still trying to break into a career in her journalism major.
While she wasn’t repulsed with him living with his parents forever, he was disturbed with her nonchalance over her son. He’d dated Caitlyn, parting ways merely for different wants in life, not their lack of compatibility. She’d been a fierce single Mom, and he’d admired her tenacious outlook on life.
Julia hinted to go out again, but Elias needed time to think things over. He wasn’t sure he could fall for someone who could abandon their child, even though it sounded like Nolan had been raised well. It didn’t easily sit with him.
When Finn got home, he could hear his twin and Mom getting into it. Julius rarely came around, mostly when he was desperate for money.
Nicole grieved for the lost relationship with her son, while Julius held grudges for things he could no longer recall.
The next day Elias asked his Mom to talk with him. He really liked Julia, but he felt a disconnect with how she’d left her son. Was it a deal breaker?
“I remember when that young girl got pregnant, she was just fifteen. We can’t judge others for their past decisions, besides none of us know how this decision has effected her internally.” His Mom gently guided.
She came out one day after work to visit while Elias was in the field. He’d decided to give the relationship a try.
They had a good amount in common, and he really did like her. There was uncertainty in building a relationship with her, but there weren’t guarantees in life anyway.
Unlike Caitlyn, Julia wasn’t in love with the city life. While she loved her apartment and living with Alice, she didn’t want to settle there. This had always been an issue with Caitlyn and Bobbi for Elias.
While he was busy wondering about Julia’s past, possibly she was concerned about him living with his parents for the rest of their life.
If she had been weighing those things, she must have come to the same conclusion as him.
Notes: Elias and Julia hit it off at the wedding, and I thought they could give it a try. Elias rejected some of her advances on their date, but then he rolled quite a bit for her afterward. I peg Elias as a fiercely loyal family guy, who expects a lot from people. Caitlyn did really well wit her son, and I don’t think he’d easily accept someone doing less than that.
However, by the end of the round, they were both pretty happy on their dates. Of all the people he has dated, I could see Julia living on the farm with him. I always intended to move her back to Millwood after her and Alice were done sharing an apartment. She’s tried the city, but she’s a small town girl at heart.
(Can I just say that I’m super looking forward to Christmas break? The first half I will only be working parttime, then back to my mega 6 days a week… but those first two weeks? I can’t wait.)
Thanks for reading!