“Sometimes breaking up is just another way to say,Anonymous
Open your eyes and use your mind.”
San Myshuno Harborview Restaurant
Seated at the table of the restaurant, Nick looked back and forth between his parents, both staring at their plates while pushing their food around on them without eating.
“Are you guys fighting again?” he asked.
“No honey. Why would you ask that?” Vivien forced a smile, not fooling her son.
“You’re weird with each other, not really talking to each other, and you are not eating. The baby needs food, you told me. And you both are not smiling. You’re grumpy, probably at each other again. I am not stupid!” Nick declared.
“Honey, it’s the baby making mommy a bit queasy again. It’ll pass. Eat your breakfast.”
“So why is dad not eating? Is he having a baby too?” Nick pouted.
“NICHOLAS! For heaven’s sake, just eat your food!” Liam grumbled at his son.
“No! I am not hungry!” pouting, Nick pushed the plate away.
“Don’t be like that. Eat your breakfast, so you can grow up to be healthy, tall and strong – and smart. Brain needs food too.” Liam said softer.
“So, are you coming back with us this time? Or are mommy and I moving in with you now?” Nick whined impatiently.
“Nicholas … baby, it’s not quite so simple. You and I live in Del Sol Valley, where your school is, and daddy lives and works here now. See, it’s not an easy fix. Dad and I are working on a solution, but that takes time.” Vivien tried.
“I hate school, all the kids there are stupid and vain, grampa says so too and great-gramma yelled at some of them last time she came to pick me up from school and they were telling lies about why you broke up! I don’t want school; I want my mommy AND daddy! You said you want daddy to come home! And you said you miss mommy! You both are dumb – YOU need to go to school!” Nick retorted, close to tears.
Before either adult could reprimand him, he had pushed back his chair and was running for the exit. Both adults jumped up to run after him, Liam was faster as Vivien had to battle another bout of morning sickness first, she quickly recovered, then was hot on Liam and Nick’s trails, as the hostess tried to stop her at the door, so she pulled a handful of large money bills from her pocket and slammed them into the woman’s chest, then pushed past.
“So incredibly sorry! Emergency!”
Nicholas was quick, as was Liam, almost caught him until Nick made it across an intersection, while Liam got stuck at a red light, unable to just jaywalk across due to by busy traffic. When he finally could follow, Nick was far ahead. Liam chased his son for several minutes, Vivien teetering on her heels behind them surprisingly speedily, until the boy finally stopped.
Liam caught up with him, Vivien not too far behind, all of them out of breath, he huffed his complaints at the boy as he pulled him into his arms, relieved.
“Don’t you know how dangerous that was?! Seriously, Nick, what were you thinking?! God, this was so dangerous! Do you even know how badly you scared me! Never do that again!”
Vivien battled more morning sickness then snuggled their son in Liam’s arms.
“Baby boy! Never do that again. I just about had a heart attack you scared me so badly!” she told Nick, kissing his forehead and cheeks.
“Mommy, look!” Nick pointed at something, Vivien’s eyes followed the direction her son was pointing, she inhaled sharply, then fought tears, while Liam was still trying to calm his frayed nerves, pressing Nick against himself, when he noticed Vivien getting emotional.
“Viv, what’s wrong? Nick’s fine. Look, he’s completely fine. Good as new.”
She shook her head and pointed up.
Liam looked up too and realized they were right outside their old penthouse. When he looked back at his ex-wife, he knew that both were thinking the same thing.
“You wait here with Nick; I’ll get my car!” he said as he put their son down and rushed back the way they had come.
University of Britchester Cameron, Hanson, Vatore and Barlow on-campus home
“CHAAAAAAAAAAASE – get off Hailey and then get that skinny ass out here! You have visitooooors!” Colton’s voice sounded through the door he was banging on with his fist, making Chase groan and roll his eyes, while Hailey gave Colton some off-color suggestions about what to do with his time.
“Which part of ‘we need to study’ does that dude not get!?” Chase grumbled, as he jumped up from his desk chair to go see who stopped by in the middle of a school week during finals.
Hailey stopped her studies too, followed Chase, punching Colton’s arm for his insinuation, while Chase stared in awe at the new arrivals, which were his oldest sister Vivien, ex-brother-in-law Liam and nephew Nicholas.
“Ahem, Nick, you wanna come see the drafts for 2Dark 2C’s next tour posters and merch?” Colton’s fiancée Maddie chirped, assuming this would probably end up being an adult conversation and not suitable for a 7-year old’s ears.
“I do, but this is gonna be much better, watch.” Nick told her confidently.
“Ahem, yeah, Chasey … the penthouse keys … do you have them here?” Vivien smiled at her little brother.
“Penthouse keys? What do you need those for? None of us had time to go there and measure anything. Remember finals, Viv. We’re all in the middle of them RIGHT NOW.”
“I know, and I am sorry to bother you, but we kinda need those keys back, please.”
“What? Nah, Viv, come on now, you and Liam said we could have it. All four of us are counting on the place. We’re in the middle of finals, remember, we don’t have time to go house hunting now, so where are we supposed to go after graduation?!” Chase protested.
Colton, Maddie and Hailey voiced their complaints too. The idea of a fancy, luxurious, huge penthouse as their first place and all of them being able to stay together had pulled them through the stressful finals prep time.
“Yeah, come on you guys, you can’t do us like that! Duuuudes …. I mean, seriously!” complained Colton.
“We’re not doing you any which way; we are upgrading you, here.” Vivien handed her little brother Chase a different set of keys.
“What are those for?” he wondered, turning them in his hand.
“To my home. Trade you the penthouse for the mansion in DSV. Definitely enough room for all four of you. And a big rooftop pool.”
“WHAT?!” Hailey coughed, surprised, eyes big as saucers.
“Is that like an actual mansion? Did she say Del Sol Valley – and rooftop pool?” Maddie wondered.
She had never been to Vivien’s home, but Colton had and he finally snapped out of the paralysis.
“Oh my fucking god! YES, Mads, a gigantic mansion right the fuck in the fucking Del Sol Valley hills! Vivien, we all agree and want it! Chase, give her the damn keys, man!” Colton nudged his best friend, but Chase was still chewing on the news presented.
“The mansion?! YOUR mansion? The luxury mansion?!?!” parroted Chase, still confused, swatting at Colton when he started trying to stick his hands into the pockets of his jeans, quickly assisted by Hailey.
“Get away from me! What’s wrong with you both?!” Chase grimaced at them.
“Chase, give her the damn keys!” ordered Hailey.
“Yeah, listen to the future wifey and give your sister the keys or I swear, we all will take those damn keys from you by force – and if we have to strip you naked right here!” Colton told Chase.
“Okay okay, chill, but why? The penthouse is huge, but still much smaller than the mansion. And now you’re preggers, so why? I don’t get it.” Chase wondered, while pulling the keys from his pocket and starting to separate them from the rest of his key fob.
“Because it’s the golden middle we desperately need for a new start, but still an old, familiar place, where we spent some of the happiest times. This way, we both compromise without having to live in a place we don’t like, Nick loves it, San Myshuno is a metropolis just like Del Sol Valley and I have to come here for work all the time anyway, but with all the many businesses and people it’s a lot more anonymous so I can fly under the radar a lot easier than in Del Sol Valley. Liam’s parents are just a car drive away, mine can visit a lot faster and easier than his. And it is Nick’s birth town. It’s genius!”
“I came up with it!” gloated Nicholas.
“Yes, you did, my little genius!” Vivien started smooching on her son, which he didn’t like too much either.
“Mooooom – noooo! Dad stop … uncle Chase not you too, Hailey, Maddie, Cole – nooo …guys … eeeewww!” Nick protested when everyone started smooching on him now.