Valerie and Amelia were fast becoming inseparable. Amelia wasn’t a particularly clingy toddler, but she and her mother were such close friends that she wanted to be with her all the time anyway. It was nice that they got along so well, since they lived in such a small house, but Valerie still found herself struggling with never having a moment to herself. Some women were natural mothers and loved being the centre of their child’s world; Valerie just wanted an hour’s break.
So it made sense for her next house expansion to be a bedroom just for her! It was still a little bare and uninspiring, but at least she got to spend 8 hours every night away from the constant stream of questions. She built a little bedroom for Amelia, too, and their house was starting to become a real house instead of just a room.
Still, Valerie was struggling with being a single mother. She missed her garden, she missed going fishing, and she missed getting to spend time with her friends. She couldn’t even remember the last time she saw Lily, but she just hadn’t had the time for a catch-up.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love Amelia, or spending time with her, because she did. It was just frustrating that she wasn’t her own top priority any more. It was a great joy for her to see Amelia getting smarter and smarter as she learned how to sort her bricks by shape and make increasingly elaborate towers, and the “why” questions were becoming more substantial. Valerie was beginning to wonder if Amelia was some kind of a genius, the way she was learning!
It wasn’t just blocks, either. Valerie had spent a little money on a dolls house for Amelia, and the lives of the Foonarb family got more and more complicated every day! The other benefit was that Amelia could play with the dolls while Valerie worked on maintaining the garden. It had become their regular routine.
After another full day of almost nothing but caring for Amelia, Valerie felt immensely relieved when her daughter finally went to sleep. An idea had come to her, and having spent a few days mulling it over she’d finally decided that it was a good idea, after all. After tucking Amelia into bed, Valerie crept to her own room and pulled out her phone.
“Hey, it’s me. I wanted to ask you something, can you come over?” She asked, keeping her voice low so as not to wake her daughter.
“Sure thing! I was hoping you’d call, actually. I’ve been missing you and Amelia,” Akira replied, his voice crackling a little over the line. “I’ll see you in about half an hour, okay?”
Amelia smiled as she said goodbye and put her phone away. She had a good feeling about this.
Akira arrived almost exactly half an hour later, and Valerie met him outside the house. She’d been waiting impatiently since they’d spoken. “Hey,” she said gently as he approached. When he reached her she pulled him in for a quick kiss.
“Hey, Val. I’ve missed you so much,” he replied, smiling at her. It had only been a couple of days, but they were getting so used to being around each other, it felt like it had been months. “How have you been?’
“Busy, busy, busy. I can’t get a spare second to garden or fish! I knew being a single mother wasn’t easy, but plum me, it’s hard!”
“You know I’m always here to help out if you want, don’t you?”
“That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about,” Valerie said, leaning in closer to Akira. “I’m really struggling to balance everything at the moment, you know? It’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day any more because I can’t get a break from looking after Amelia to look after myself.”
Akira touched Valerie’s arm gently and gave her a sympathetic look.
“I thinkit would be really helpful if you moved in with me,” she concluded, meeting his eyes hopefully.
Akira grinned. “I thought you’d never ask,” he replied, and the two both laughed as the excitement filled them.
“Do you want to stay the night?” Valerie asked, opening the front door.
“I’d love to,” Akira replied.
The two of them stepped inside, and Valerie took the opportunity to give Akira a quick kiss in the kitchen. “Thank you,” she muttered into his ear.
“You and Amelia have made me happier than I’ve ever been before,” Akira replied, gazing into Valerie’s eyes. “I should be the one thanking you.”
Akira fluorished in his new role as care giver, and although Amelia still got jealous of him for spending so much time with her mum, she grew to enjoy her flashcard sessions with him. Maybe he wasn’t all bad… Maybe.
Meanwhile, Valerie finally had time to get back into fishing and start saving up for some new furniture for Amelia’s room, whose birthday was fast approaching. She had a clear idea of how she wanted Amelia’s room to look, and it would take quite a few tuna to be able to afford it! Back in her old routine of gardening and fishing, Valerie felt like everything was starting to fall into place. It was all going to be okay.
When Valerie got home from another day of angling, Amelia rather unexpectedly aged up earlier than expected! She inherited her mother’s love of cleaning, and decided she wanted to be the most popular girl in school. Plus, as a result of having such a fulfilling time as a toddler, she was smarter than most other children and excelled at whatever she tried her hand at. “Proud” didn’t even begin to cover it.
After a bit of a makeover Amelia seemed much happier with being a child, to everyone’s relief. Valerie was struck by just how much Amelia resembled Johnny, especially in her eyes.
And with the fishing money, Valerie managed to decorate Amelia’s room exactly as she’d planned. It was still a little smaller than ideal, but it was a bright and cheerful room where Amelia could play and have fun. It was perfect.
Meanwhile in Forgotten Hollow, two vampires were conspiring in the dark. “She’s a child already, Lil,” Caleb whispered. “She’ll be ours before we know it, and Vlad won’t get near her.”
“She’s growing so fast,” Lilith replied, eyes wide with shock. “Is that normal? Do mortals really age so quickly?”
Caleb laughed at how out of touch his sister had become. She barely left Forgotten Hollow, so she didn’t know what it was like as well as he did. “Relax, Lilith. Everything is going according to plan.”
I sure hope so, Lilith thought as she watched Caleb return to their house. This was their chance to get out of Forgotten Hollow, and she wasn’t about to let it get away easily.
Note from the Author: Hope you enjoyed this update! I found it a little hard to write, just feeling a bit uninspired at the moment… Anyway, next update coming Monday 25th at 7pm GMT! Let me know what you think 🙂