Chapter 17 – An Unwishful Birthday

The next morning was the twins’ birthday. Mei woke up earlier than usual, and she was unable to do anything. So, she settled for cleaning because it was busywork and would help to take her mind off the recent passing of her Dad. She still felt a horrible guilt for not telling him she loved him, for letting it end on a sour note, but she didn’t want to dwell on that fact for her birthday. She wanted to be able to be semi-decent for the day.

Raelynn still carried through with her party plans for the girls. She figured it would help ease the sadness a bit for everyone. For Raelynn, it helped to see her sister with her new figure after giving birth. “Twins!” Raelynn was ecstatic at the news. Dayna gave birth to a boy and girl named Ian and Oma.

“They’re a handful!” Dayna commented as everyone sat down for cake. Belle had her turn to age up, but as everyone gathered for cake, Mei still had to wait to become an adult.

Finally, her turn arrived and she made a wish and blew out her candles. I hope my Dad is happy wherever he is, she wished.

After the party, the girls stayed at the table. “I have something important I need to discuss with both of you.” Raelynn told them.

Mei looked down at the table, half-listening, and Belle stared intently at her Mom, already guessing what she wanted to talk about.

“I had to make a decision about who would be heir for the legacy…” Raelynn started. She looked back and forth between both of her girls. “It was tough because I love both of you so much. So I came to the decision that I would go with the oldest…”

Perking up at the news, Mei looked at her twin along with Raelynn. Belle stared at both of them in complete shock. “M-me?” She said.

Raelynn nodded.

“But…” Belle looked down at her hands, twiddling her thumbs nervously. “I don’t want to be heir. I mean, I appreciate you choosing me, Mom, but I want to have my freedom and not be tied down to the house.”

Raelynn thought carefully. “I understand. Mei?” She turned to her younger daughter by only a couple minutes.

“Yes, Mom. Thank you.” Mei originally hadn’t wanted to be heir either, but she knew someone had to carry on the legacy. It was her duty to carry the tradition even if she didn’t want to.

“I’m glad that’s settled.” Raelynn sighed in relief.

Later that night, Belle changed her wardrobe completely and sat down at the computer to work on her writing. However, Belle couldn’t escape the grief over her Dad passing and broke down in tears in the middle of writing. Also, she felt guilty for turning Raelynn down, but she knew she wouldn’t make a good heir and that Mei was better suited for the position. Belle also knew that Mei would want to honor Rey and not live his memory down.

The next morning, Belle knew it was time for her to pack her bags. Raelynn grabbed her in a tight hug. “I’m going to miss you terribly.” She told Belle.

“I’ll miss you too, Mom.” Belle hugged her back.

“Keep in touch?” Raelynn asked, pulling away slightly.

“I promise.” Belle smiled and kissed her Mom on the cheek.

After saying goodbye to Mei, they had stayed up the previous night after Belle’s breakdown watching movies, Belle grabbed her bags and walked out the door. Raelynn pulled Mei close to her as they watched their loved one leave them to explore the world on her own. “I’m going to miss her.” Mei said, and started to cry into her Mom’s shoulder.

“Everything will be okay.” Raelynn said, attempting to comfort Mei. “You’ll see her soon.” She promised Mei.

“I know, it’ll just be hard not having her by my side all the time…” Mei confessed.

“Dayna and I still make time for each other, so I know you two will. You two are closer than we were, so I have no doubt you’ll find a way to make it work.” Raelynn told Mei, reassuring her. “Now, would you like some ice cream?”

Mei smiled slightly at the thought of cold, delicious ice cream, “Yes.”


Chapter 16 – Playing Catch

A few days later, Belle was getting ready later than normal. She was rushing around, and realized she forgot her lip gloss on her Mom’s dresser. She opened the door quietly, thinking Rey was asleep, only to find her Dad crawling on the ground, his face twisted in pain. “Dad!” Belle shouted, running to his side. “Dad, hold on, I’m calling an ambulance!” Belle pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

Frantically, she directed the ambulance to her house, but she knew in her heart that it was time for him to go. Rey, the man who made her a bookshelf so that she could read all the time, who helped her with her homework even if he was exhausted from work, who would watch TV with her if she needed company. “Oh, Dad.” Belle cried.

In the other room practicing her programming skills was Mei, who finally entered her parents’ bedroom upon hearing all the commotion. “W-what?” She stuttered, seeing the Grim Reaper in the room with her father lying limp and crumpled on the floor. “Dad! No!” She shouted, tears starting to fall. She buried her face in her hands, wailing. How could I have not talked to him? Now, he’ll think I hated him forever… Mei thought depressingly.

Belle stood by her sister, wrapping a warm arm around her shoulders. She knew that they had been fighting, so she felt worse for Mei. “It’ll be okay.” She said, trying to calm her twin even though her own grief threatened to overtake at any moment.

Once the Grim Reaper had escorted Rey to the afterworld, Belle called Raelynn. Raelynn knew Belle never called unless it was an emergency, unlike Mei. “Mom?” Belle asked before Raelynn could even answer.

“Belle?” She asked, as Belle burst into desperate sobs at the sound of her Mom’s voice. “What’s wrong? Calm down, sweetie.” She said, trying to understand Belle’s upset babbling.

“Dad, it’s Dad.” Belle managed to choke out.

“I’ll be home as soon as I can!” Raelynn replied, hanging up. She was already on her way out of the building when her boss tried to stop her.

“Where are you going Raelynn? I didn’t give you permission to leave early!” He was obviously angry.

“Listen, Leonard. I don’t have time for this. My kid just called about my husband, and I need to leave.” Raelynn told him and then ran out the door.

Raelynn rushed home, but it was still late afternoon by the time she arrived. She saw Rey’s grave outside the house, and burst into tears. She felt as if the pain was overwhelming her, and her heart could explode at any second. I knew he was getting older, she thought, but I didn’t expect his time to come so soon. “I just need one more day.” She begged to no one in particular. She felt his absence immediately, she couldn’t sense him anywhere near. But then she felt an arm she couldn’t see wrap around her shoulder, and a cold wind passed through her shortly after. She knew Rey was there with her trying to comfort her.

Raelynn stayed by her late husband’s grave all night. She grabbed Luna and started playing a soft lullaby. “I finally wrote that song for you that I promised you forever ago.” She told him, strumming her guitar. Quietly, she began singing the song she had written just for him. When she was finished, she whispered: “I was going to play it for you tonight.” And then she broke into tears all over again.

After a while longer, Belle found her Mom outside. “Come on in, Mom.” Belle said gently, guiding Raelynn into the house. She sat her down on the couch and brought her a cup of coffee.

“Thanks.” Raelynn muttered in a zombie-like tone.

As Raelynn sipped at her coffee, both girls could hear the sobs coming from Belle and Mei’s room. Mei had taken the death really hard, especially because of her fight with her Dad.

“I should probably go talk to her.” Raelynn said matter-of-factly. She set her cup of coffee by the TV and walked to the twins’ bedroom door. She knocked softly, but Mei kept crying, so she opened the door to see her daughter.

“Mei?” She called softly.

Mei sat up in bed and ran over to her Mom, pulling her in a tight hug. “I’m so sorry. He knows I’m sorry, right? Right, Mom?” Mei asked Raelynn, desperate.

“Shhh.” Raelynn replied, brushing Mei’s hair from her face. “He does, I promise. He knows you love him.” Raelynn told her.

“I was so horrible to him.” Mei gushed a new stream of tears.

“Let’s sit down.” Raelynn brought Mei to her bed. Raelynn rubbed Mei’s back, crying softly while her daughter sobbed beside her. Eventally, Mei passed out, and Raelynn laid her on her bed, tucking her in.

Emerging from the room, she noticed Belle curled up on the couch, sleeping as well. Sighing, Raelynn knew she should lay down too and attempt to sleep even though she knew it would never happen.

Hearing the sound of Raelynn’s door shutting, Belle woke up. She stood up for a minute before she headed to her Mom’s room. “Yes?” Raelynn called.

Belle didn’t say anything as she crawled into bed with her Mom. Raelynn rubbed Belle’s back until she was sound asleep, and then closed her eyes and fell asleep too.

Chapter 15 – The Reveal

After school and work, Mei and Belle sat down to do their homework together at the table. Rey felt the need to join the two girls as him and Mei hadn’t been getting along so well recently. “So Mei, how has everything been going?” He asked her casually.

“Fine.” She mumbled almost incoherently.

Rey continued to try to talk to his daughter, but she wouldn’t have it. Finally, she snapped her book shut and walked to her room leaving a confused and sad Rey behind her. Belle looked at her father sympathetically. She wanted to say sorry, but she knew it wasn’t her place. However, Belle didn’t think Mei was handling the situation right, and it was a new side of her twin she hadn’t seen before. Maybe that job really is getting to her…Belle thought sadly.

After school the next day, Dayna and Chance stopped by the house. Belle eyed Dayna’s slightly bulging stomach curiously, but she didn’t say anything. Instead she waved, saying “Hi!” and invited her family into the house.

Chance and Dayna kept sharing looks with each other, and Belle waited for them to tell her the inevitable. Finally, Dayna looked at her niece, and then she smiled really big telling Belle, “I’m pregnant!” Belle would have squealed she was so excited, but she settled for hugging her Aunt.

“I’m so happy for you!” She told her.

“Thank you. Arron and I are too! Where’s everyone else?” Dayna asked looking around the house, mostly looking for her sister.

“If you’re looking for Mom, she won’t be home until after work.”

“Oh right…” Dayna resonded wondering how she could’ve forgotten that detail.

“How about you tell me all about the baby?” Belle asked, gesturing for them to have a seat.

Rey made it home before Raelynn, and he was shocked when he walked into his living room. There, his once tiny sister, had a growing belly. “Dayna!” He called, coming toward her.

“I’m pregnant!” Dayna could nearly contain herself as she walked toward her brother-in-law.

“Congratulations!” Rey said happily and pulled her in for a hug. “Raelynn will be ecstatic when she hears the good news.”

While they waited for Raelynn to come home, everyone sat in the living room talking about Dayna’s future addition to her house. Everyone except Mei and Raelynn because they were both working. Belle felt her sister’s absence as she tried to be giddy and listen to the conversation enthusiastically.

Soon, Raelynn was home for work. She had no idea what news was awaiting her when she arrived home. She came in through the door and stopped in her tracks when she saw Dayna. Quickly, her gaze noted Dayna’s belly. “Oh my gosh!” She squealed, running over to her sister.

“I know!” Dayna responded cheerfully.

“Can I feel the baby?” Raelynn asked, excited to have a future niece or nephew.

“Of course!” Dayna replied.

Raelynn bent over to feel her unborn niece or newphew. “You are loved so much.” She said quietly to the baby. “I can’t wait to meet you.”

Dayna and Raelynn headed to the couch to talk about her pregnancy. Dayna started asking Raelynn a multitude of questions to find out everything she could about what awaited her further along in her pregnancy. Raelynn was happy she could finally talk about this with her sister.

Satisfied with their conversation, Dayna left because she was exhausted. Raelynn and Rey, happy for Dayna, settled down to cuddle on the couch. “I’m so happy for her.” Raelynn told her husband.

“Me too.” Rey agreed and kissed his wife on the forehead.

“Remember when I was pregnant with the twins?” Raelynn asked Rey.

“Of course! I wish I would have known beforehand that they were twins so that I didn’t have to run around to find an extra bassinet!” The two lovebirds laughed together, thinking fondly back on that happy time in their lives.

“I wish I could have warned you! I had no idea I even had a chance of having twins. I never dreamed of it. But the girls are great together…” Raelynn told Rey.

“They are great together…” Rey was quickly lost in a train of thought of Mei, wishing he could get their relationship back to how it was. We will have a nice talk, he promised himself. Turning to his beautiful wife, he said: “I think I’m going to head to bed. Goodnight.” He kissed her and left for the bedroom.

Raelynn was too thrilled to sleep. She couldn’t stop thinking about Dayna and the baby, possible names, what the nursery would look like, if it was a boy or girl…Raelynn decided to play her piano and express her happiness. She played more jazz-inspired music, music she wasn’t normally accustomed to playing. However, it suited her mood, and she played for a little bit before she calmed down enough to sleep.

That night she dreamt of her sister.

Chapter 14 – Dayna’s Surprise

Belle and Mei got along as great as ever. They were as close as it was possible, each claiming the other as her one and only BFF. Raelynn was happy to see the twins getting along so well, but she knew they always had a great relationship. Especially now that they had even more things to bond ove and more freedom to go out and see the world. Raelynn would sometimes give them a little money so that they could go see a movie together.

However, Mei really wanted a job. She saw how hard her Mom and Dad worked, and she wanted to work just as hard as they did. So, she made a resume and filled out some applications. She was finally hired at Rosemary’s, a clothing store on the outskirts of town. Mei was so excited and couldn’t wait to share the news. Luckily, Belle had been standing close by, and Belle clapped her hands excitedly telling Mei, “Congratulations.”

That night, Mei changed into her pajamas and started practicing her charisma skill right away. She needed to be as prepared as possible for her first day of work. Even though she was an A student and had always been, she was never excited about doing homework. But her first day of work was thrilling to her, and when she finally made it to bed, she couldn’t fall asleep right away. She tossed and turned until finally she fell asleep at 5 a.m. only to have to wake up in an hour to get ready for school. “This will be a lovely day.” She grumbled.

The next morning, Mei stumbled out to breakfast. Her Dad was talking a mile a minute to Belle and looked over at Mei as she walked to the table. “Good morning, Mei!” He said cheerily.

Even though Mei was excited for her new job, she was annoyed and crabby. “Morning.” She mumbled before slumping over onto the kitchen table.

“Would you like something for breakfast?” Rey asked, concern clouding over his earlier happiness.

“No thanks.” She muttered. She was completely exhausted.

Rey let his daughter be and turned to Belle to resume their previous conversation. Mei didn’t move from the table until Belle was shaking her wildly to wake her up and get ready for the bus.

Later on that evening, Dayna was having fun with her new boyfriend when Chance walked in unexpectedly. He wore a mask of horror as he witnessed the event taking place in his sister’s bed. Shocked, he quickly ran out of the room to watch TV and pretend like nothing happened. He forgot the queston he had planned on asking her before he had walked in on her little adventure.

Dayna waited until Arron was fast asleep and then she walked quickly and excitedly over to her bathroom. She pulled out the pregnancy test she bought and waited for the results to appear. Tapping her nails impatiently on the rim of the sink, the test finally revealed her results. “I’m pregnant!” She shouted, and then slapped her hand over her mouth hoping no one had heard her. She didn’t want the news to be revealed this way.

“I guess I should tell him now rather than later though…” She said quietly to herself.

Dayna woke Arron up, “I need to tell you something.” She whispered.

“Okay.” He mumbled sleepily. A few minutes later, he arose from bed and met Dayna out in the living area.

Dayna looked at him, worried and excited. How will he take the news? She wondered to herself. Finally, she managed to say, “I’m pregnant.” She looked away from him at first, and then back at him to see his expression.

“That’s wonderful!” He replied euphoric. “I’m going to be a Dad!” He pulled her close to him and kissed her.

At dinner that evening, Mei came home even more exhausted and tense. She had managed to scramble into her pajamas and stumble out to the living room. Upon seeing her, her Dad was slightly concerned. “Are you sure you can handle this job?” He asked Mei.

“Yeah, Dad.” She said, exasperated.

“You need to have balance in your life and not put too much on your plate.” He told her.

Raelynn was happy that Mei was working, but she was slightly concerned as well. “I think she just needs to adjust.” She told Rey, placing her hand on his arm to reassure and calm him.

“Of course, she needs to adjust, but she can’t do everything either.” He replied to Raelynn. Then he started droning on and on about Mei and her well-being.

“Enough!” Mei snapped and left the table, running to her room. Even though she was frustrated, she was more tired than anything, and passed out almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

Chapter 13 – Yin and Yang

A few days later, it was time for the girls to age up. Belle was first since she had been born first. She wished for a giant library one way and blew out the candles. Raelynn threw confetti afterward, and Rey cut her cake, giving her one piece. Belle was so happy to finally be teenager. Now, she could officially begin the writing career that she desperately wanted.

Next, it was Mei’s turn. Belle ate her slice of cake while she celebrated Mei’s aging up. Mei wished for a fabulous house one day and puckered her lips to blow out the candles. Rey sliced her cake as well and finally everyone could sit down and enjoy their slice of cake. “Mm, it’s delicious, Rey.” Raelynn told her husband.

“Yeah! Thank you, Dad!” Mei chimed in.

“It’s greatly appreciated.” Belle told her father.

The girls soon were giggling and talking about what high school would be like. “Do you think there’ll be a lot of cute boys?” Mei asked her twin.

“Probably!” Belle said excitedly.

Even though they were both excited, they were also nervous. “I don’t know what I’m going to wear my first day!” Mei said, starting to freak out a little.

“Relax, wear what you’re wearing now. You look great!” Belle calmed her sister.

“You really think so?” Mei asked again for further reassurance.

“Of course!” Belle smiled. “Now, let’s take a picture to commemorate this occasion!”

The girls were getting along better than ever before.

However, there was only one computer they had to share. Belle was able to get some writing practice in before Mei bugged her touse the computer. “Belle, you almost done?” She asked her twin.

Finally, Belle managed to find a place where she could stop writing. “I can go read for a while.” Belle knew she had to share, but she wished she could have a computer of her own so that she could write wheneve she wanted to.

Mei was ecstatic to finally begin practicing programming. She wished to be a Start Up Genius one day, and she knew she had to learn this skill to be successful at that job.

Mei hadn’t quite realized how much time she had spent on the computer practicing programming until her Mom called everyone to dinner. “Dinner’s ready!” Raelynn called.

After dinner was over, Mei and Belle sat down to start their homework together. “Our first set of high school homework and it isn’t even that difficult.” Belle said excitedly.

“I’m having a bit of trouble on certain problems, but other than that I’m breezing through too.” Mei said, furrowing her brows as she examined the question she was stuck on.

“What problem are you confused about?” Belle asked her twin, hating to see her so frustrated.

“Number forty-four.” Mei replied.

“Alright…” Belle said, flipping back to the problem Mei was on. “You have to do this…”

Belle managed to finish her homework and help Mei finish by eight that night. She was slightly concerned for her sister, but she knew she’d always be there to help her out if she needed it.

Raelynn came home from a late night, and decided to play the piano softly. She really wasn’t very tired, and her fingers ached to play even though she just came home from work. She was inspired to work on the song she promised she’d dedicate to Rey forever ago. “I will finish this.” She said determinedly.

However, she quickly grew frustrated as it wasn’t sounding right. She had managed to write a little part of it, but after that she couldn’t seem to make the notes flow together well. “Ugh. I’ll work on this tomorrow.” She said, exasperated. She gave up for the night, thinking that a good night’s sleep would help her have a clear mind and get her further along with the song.

As Raelynn laid in bed that night, she had a sinking feeling in her stomach. Her daughter’s were getting older everyday and were now officially, teenagers. Her husband was elderly, and she wasn’t so young herself. She looked over at Rey sleeping peacefully, how much longer do I have with him? She thought.

After a while, the horrifying thoughts subsided and she fell asleep.

Chapter 12 – Attempting to Cope

Raelynn had locked herself away in her room, so the girls bombarded Rey with questions about Grandma Jane. They had only seen her a handful of times, so they were both curious of her past. “What job did she have?” Mei asked her Dad.

“She didn’t have a job, she collected everything around her from frogs to rocks in order to sell them for money. She was pretty successful at it if I do say so myself.” Rey told his daughter.

“Did she display anything she collected?” Belle asked, interested in seeing the possible collection she may have had.

“Definitely! She had managaged to find every single frog in Willow Creek and created a room for all of them to live in. Give me a second.” It took Rey a minute to get up, despite his good health, but he grabbed her Scrapbook and sat down in between his two girls. He flipped to the page of her collection. “See?”

“Woah!” Mei commented. “That’s a lot of frogs.”

“Yeah, she was a frog lady.” Belle teased playfully, giggling. “That’s so cool! I wish I had a collection of frogs.”

“You’d be too busy reading to take care of them!” Mei teased her.

The girls’ playful banter soon distracted them from the conversation of their Grandma, so Rey was able to sit back and watch some TV.

When Raelynn had finally managed to come out of her room, she was dressed for work. She grabbed a bowl of garden salad and sat at the table with Mei, who was diligently doing her homework.

Mei was really stuck on a question and kept glancing at her Mom and then back down, too afraid to ask Raelynn for help.

Finally, Raelynn noticed and asked: “Are you stuck on a problem?”

“Y-yeah.” Mei answered quietly.

“What’s gotten into you? You’re acting as if you’re almost scared of me…” Raelynn told her.

“I just don’t want to upset you, is all.” Mei responded.

“Aw, sweetie, don’t worry about that. I’m fine enough otherwise I wouldn’t be going to work. You can always come to me with whatever problem you have.” She promised her little girl.

“Okay. I’m stuck on number three…”

When the weekend had arrived, Raelynn was starting to feel better. She had played her music every night, allowing it to heal some of her grief. On Saturday night, she called Rey into the living room. “I want you to listen to this song.” She told him. Happily, he agreed. Rey had always loved his wife’s music, and now he was ecstatic that she seemed to be doing better and even had a slight smile on her face.

Raelynn started to play. The music seemed to almost caress Rey and by the time she was done, Rey was enraptured with her all over again. Her music was almost hypnotic to him.

The two lovebirds started flirting as if they were young again and had nothiing to worry about. “Thank you so much for taking care of the girls while I was out of it.” She told him.

“Any time.” He replied, and leaned in to kiss her.

“You’re always there for me and to help the family. I love that about you.” She caressed his cheek. “I know I can always count on you no matter the problem.”

“And you’re always doing everything you can to support this family, working long hours, and still make time to watch movies with the girls and help them with homework. I love that about you.” He told her, kissing the hand she was using to caress his cheek.

They both giggled and headed to their room. Raelynn had known where their affections would lead, but she didn’t mind. She was the happiest she’d been since Jane had passed away, and she knew it was all because of the man she loved so much. She was happy that she was able to enjoy this moment with him instead of mopingin bed or moping watching TV or moping in general. She loved spending time with her husband, and the few times when they could get a moment to themselves, were precious to her.

After their rendevouz, the pair quickly fell asleep, Raelynn managing to have a small smile as she slept wrapped in Rey’s arms.

Chapter 11 – Jane’s Scrapbook

The next morning, Dayna stopped by with a photo album in her hands. “I thought you’d like to see this.” She said as she handed the album to her nearly catatonic sister. “It was Mom’s.” Dayna clarified before she left, tears fresh on her face. Once Dayna had left, Raelynn sat on the couch, scared to open the album. However, she longed to see her Mom again, so she flipped the front page over.

“I love you, Mommy.” Raelynn said as she buried her face on the last page and sobbed her heart out.