Aidan Martel had grown used to picking up his father’s slack when it came to taking care of the house and caring for his younger siblings. The loss of their mother had hit them all hard, but while the children had grieved openly, Luis had bottled it up in an effort to show strength and solidarity for the kids. Now it was coming back to bite him.
Sandra was still reeling. Things had improved for her, somewhat, but her fragile, sensitive nature made sure that it wasn’t something she took lightly. She had night terrors about the incident and still checked underneath the bed religiously. It had taken forever to get her inside a car. She was terrified of them!
Zoey had suffered the least, being the youngest at Sacha’s death. As happy as Luis was to see her smiling, he was also saddened. She would never really know her mother or have the memories her siblings had. There would always been an empty space in her head where her mother should have resided. It was really sobering.
Despite being the youngest of the three, Zoey did her best to pull her own weight. She helped her big brother out with the chores. Their father worked a lot, so it was mostly up to the kids and the maid to keep everything running smoothly.
Luis wasn’t at all pleased with the fact that Paula Novak had been to his house, talking to his children. He’d arrested her years before and the entirety of her family was known to be ‘bad news.’ Everyone knew their history and that Luis held a considerable grudge against the terribly unlucky woman. She’d done it to herself, true, but it was amazing how long something like that could carry.
Paula insisted that she hadn’t meant any harm and really had no intention of dragging Aidan into his departed mother’s old business, especially not after everything she saw! Luis got a lecture on caring and being there for his kids, which nearly had him hanging up.
Time heals all wounds and that certainly helps when you’re an optimist to begin with. As much as Aidan and Sandra missed their mother, they continued on. Sandra found creative ways to remember her, like the picturesque view from their back porch. Sacha had always loved it. She especially liked when the sun would set and cast this glow over the sea.
They often worked on their homework there, just reveling in the last bits of sunlight.
Aidan wasn’t given much of a chance these days to think about his sorrows. He was too busy caring for his siblings and dealing with teenager problems. High school was a nightmare. He was popular and everything, but that didn’t mean a whole lot when your best friend is pointedly ignoring you. Stella Novak had been his friend since they were scrappy children, something his father only tolerated because of his mother’s insistence.
Now she wasn’t speaking to him and he hadn’t the foggiest why.
It certainly wasn’t about Hilda Redford-Tyson. Everyone assumed that because they were both popular, they were dating, which was untrue. They weren’t really the type to date. They’d messed around a little, but that was it. They were teenagers. Neither one of them was terribly interested in pursuing a relationship. They mostly just liked to have fun.
Hilda would hang out and they’d work on their homework. As nice as it was to have someone who came from the same ‘social echelon’ as he did, Aidan still missed Stella.
Especially since Sandra decided to blossom into a young lady as soon as she hit middle school! It was complete madness. Even his high school classmates had commented on her, which he did not like and vocalized quite pointedly. Luckily, Sandra wasn’t even remotely boy crazy and her zany personality kept most of them from pursuing her for long.
She preferred to spend her after-school hours in art class and her evenings at home. She hadn’t quite gotten to the point where her entire family was viewed as ‘lame’ yet.
Meanwhile, Luis was dealing with his own issues. He was getting better at being around more now, but Paula was there checking up to make sure he’d listened to her. It was just… strange to have Paula being the responsible one for once. Suddenly, Stefan’s kids not being little hellions was beginning to make sense–Paula was around to help care for them.
“I really don’t need an ex-criminal checking my parenting skills.”
“Um, yeah, you do. You also need this ex-criminal to pull your head out of your ass. Stop being an idiot. What happened sucks and it’s really, really sad… but you have to keep going.”
Paula eventually wore him down, though it took some time. Luis was thoroughly entrenched in his hole of misery and despair. Luckily for him, Paula was used to this sort of thing. She drug him out of it, kicking and screaming. All of that ended once he stopped demonizing Paula for her past exploits and realized how much she’d grown.
Not that he trusted her or anything. That would just be dangerous. Instead, they befriended one another all over again. Paula had even convinced him to come out with her a few times. Luis hated to admit that he was actually enjoying himself for the first time in a long time.
While most of their outings were filled with easy banter and some playful insults, this one was a bit different. They were at a lounge frequented often by Paula and the sorts who liked dark, mysterious places. It was either the atmosphere on the fact that Luis had perhaps drank a little more than he’d intended to… but their friendly get together was beginning to seem something else entirely.
Luis and Paula had each been one another’s firsts–crush, kiss, and more. It was almost too easy to fall back into that stride. Their relationship hadn’t ended easily and there really hadn’t been any closure. Between the alcohol and the atmosphere, things heated up rather quickly.
The morning after was awkward, but not for the reasons Luis expected. He wasn’t ashamed or upset at himself–he was a grown adult and his time of mourning had been long and arduous. Instead, he was concerned for his children and exposing them to something like this so suddenly.
Luckily, Paula was understanding. They agreed that the night had been fun, but that she needed to head home as soon as possible and this wouldn’t change anything, at least not right now. Besides, Paula admitted to being completely wasted anyway. She hated making big decisions hungover.
Unfortunately, the two had no idea that Sandra had stirred earlier than usual and had been on the patio. She watched her father with Paula through the patio doors, not daring to move. She wasn’t angry so much as… confused. It all seemed so sudden. Still, she didn’t storm in. Instead, she crept back downstairs and didn’t bother informing her siblings. She needed to stew on this for awhile.
Not that Aidan would have cared. He was too busy with his own drama to concern himself with his father’s! There was still the issue of Stella Novak avoiding him like the plague and he was tired of it. He managed to track her down at the laundromat. It was a haul to get there from his suburban home by the beach, but worth the trip.
She didn’t bother greeting him when he walked in. He knew she saw him. It was a deliberate slight and it stung.
“You can’t just ignore me forever and hope I go away, you know,” Aidan said, flopping down next to her. Even with his eyes leveled on her, she didn’t bother looking up from her phone. “Stella, seriously.”
“What is your problem?”
At this, Stella finally put her phone down and faced him. “My problem? What’s yours?”
Aidan let out a frustrated breath. “Girls! You’re all nuts.”
“And you’re a jerk! First, you completely snub me and then you’re blowing up my phone and now you’re stalking me! I don’t get you at all. Why are you even here?”
“Are you serious? I wasn’t ignoring you! I was busy with family stuff. My dad’s been a complete idiot and I’ve been picking up the slack. I know it’s been a little while, but the whole ‘losing your mom’ thing doesn’t exactly just go away.”
“Crap,” Stella said suddenly, looking away, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant… I event tried texting you. I was worried. I just don’t like feeling ignored, you know. It’s a thing. I didn’t mean that I expected you to just drop everything… but texting me back, ‘sorry, busy’ doesn’t exactly take hours.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, too. I could have done that. Stuff just got a little crazy.”
“We’re such teenagers right now, you know?”
“Pathetically so…” Aidan laughed, feeling relieved. “At least we didn’t do a dramatic show down or anything.”
The two patched things up while Stella waited for the laundry to finish. Aidan hadn’t intended on being there long, but he stayed the entire time. It wasn’t until Paula showed up to get Stella that he realized how much time had passed. The two parted ways amicably, each growing a bit after their little brush with teenage drama.
Paula was amused by it all, but didn’t say anything. She didn’t let on at all that things had the possibility of getting a lot more ‘weird’ in the future…
Before we get to anything else… THE LUIS AND PAULA THING HAPPENED BY ITSELF! Seriously. I had Paula drag him out because he wanted to go to a lounge and all hell broke loose. These two just went at it. I sat back, mouth agape. My husband even commented on how unusually quiet I was being, lol.
Luis also spun up this wish. Oh, oh!
Aidan and Stella stopped being friends for some reason. I got the alert that he’d lost her as a friend and was confused! Immediately after the alert… he spins up this wish. Clearly, the boy takes after his father. What is with these two?
We’ll see if any romance blossoms between Aidan and Stella. There’s still plenty of time for that yet. As for Paula and Luis, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m playing it by ear… but hoping for the best.
This post took longer because I was having writing issues. I’ve had it half-done since last weekend! I’ve been messing with TS4, but as I’ve said a million times, will not be switching to it. So, no worries. Weekly updates can hopefully continue while I manage them… I need to get a backlog for impending baby arrival, haha!