Jasmine was the greatest thing that ever happened to Hydrangea and I. She was such an amazing baby, neither of us wanted to leave her. But Drea started working at the elementary school, and I started taking night shifts at the bookstore so one of us could be with her at all times. We didn’t want to hire a babysitter or a nanny, we were extremely protective of our baby.
But we couldn’t keep her to ourselves forever. Mom was begging me to come over, she was dying to meet her first granddaughter, and she was so hard to say no to.
My parents came over about a week after Jazzy was born. They brought Aster with them, and I was excited to try and get to know my nephew better.
“How are you guys?” I asked my mom after I greeted them at the door.
“We’re doing okay.” She smiled tightly then turned to Drea with a huge grin. “So, where’s my little granddaughter?”
The girls headed upstairs to visit with the baby, and Dad and I headed for the video game system that Aster was already setting up.
“Hey, what’s up kiddo?” I asked as I sat down next to Aster.
“You have a lot of video games.” he stated without looking away from the TV screen.
“Yea, I’ve been collecting since I was your age.”
“You’re old.” He said, and Dad laughed.
“Hey, I’m not that old.” I picked up my own controller and joined him. “You are so on. Dad, wanna join?”
“Sure, why not.” He laughed and grabbed the remaining controller.
“I’m gonna destroy both of you.” Aster threatened.
“I’d love to see you try.”
“Oh my god Drea, she’s gorgeous.” Primrose carefully lifted Jazz from her crib.
“Hi sweetheart. I’m your Gamma.” She said in a baby voice. Jazzy cooed, and snuggled against Prim’s shoulder.
“How are you guys doing?” She asked when she turned to me.
“We’re doing good, we’ve developed a system, and it’s been working so far.”
“Good, that’s good. Are you guys nervous?”
“About being parents? Yea, I guess you could say that.” I admitted. I was terrified of messing up, but I guess all parents feel like that at some point.
“No, that’s normal sweetheart. I was talking about her… status.” She hesitated, and suddenly I understood what she was saying. She was worried about Jasmine’s mixed occult status.
“Oh. Yea, I’m nervous. But the doctors said not to worry, it was bound to happen eventually, now that vampires and Fae are interacting.
“I know, but I’m a little worried. Technically speaking, she shouldn’t even exist. Hybrid occults aren’t supposed to happen.” I was a little offended, but she did have a point. We always learned that it was physically impossible.
“I know. But it happened, so now what?”
“Well, we don’t know what kind of power she has. There’s a number of possibilities. She could have extremely heightened powers from both states, or she could have extremely dull powers.”
“Which would be better?”
“The dull powers. If she’s too strong, people will get scared. And when people get scared of someone, the do terrible things. We need to watch out for this one.” She said, snuggling Jazzy close to her.
“What do we do?”
“All we can do is wait.”
“Are you serious?” Dad whined when Aster beat the both of us.
“I told you I was gonna destroy you.” He laughed.
“Yea, yea, whatever.” I brushed it off, I was pretty embarrassed to get my ass handed to me by a six year old boy, but I didn’t let them know that.
“I’m bored.” Aster tossed his controller onto the coffee table. “Do you have anything fun around here?”
“We just got some new playground stuff put in the backyard, wanna go test it out?”
He was running out the back door before I could even get off the couch.
“Watch out for that one, he may seem sweet but that’s how he reels you in.” Dad said as he was starting a new game.
“He can’t be that bad.” He’s just a kid, he can’t be that terrible, right?
He was already up in the tree house by the time I got outside. “Hey kiddo, how’s the tree house?”
“It’s so awesome!” He yelled back, before disappearing inside it.
I took a seat at the picnic table and made sure he didn’t get hurt. The kid was still a little hostile towards me, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as the first time we met. He was a pretty good kid, and he deserved a better mother than my sister. Poppy had willingly given custody to our parents and now no one knew where she went. Dad thinks she’s with her latest boyfriend, who’s a part of the crime circle in the bad part of town.
The poor kid didn’t have either of his parents in his life. But t least he had my parents, which were probably better than his actual parents anyway. But still, people want their biological parents in their life in one way or another. I know I did.
“Hey, Uncle River, come over here.” Aster called, breaking me away from my thoughts.
“Hey bud, what’s up?”
He stuck his head back into the tree house, and was confused. Why would he call me over here if he didn’t want something?
But I realized too late what he was about to do.
Somehow, he’d gotten a bucket full of water up there. He emptied the entire thing onto my head, in the middle of winter. He was so gonna get it.
“ASTER. GET DOWN HERE.”
“No. You’re not the boss of me.”
“Fine, then I’ll go get someone who is.” I felt like a child, but I didn’t exactly know how to handle a situation like this.
“Oh my gosh, River what happened?” My mom asked when I came storming inside.
“Aster.” I said before heading for the shower upstairs.
“I’ll go talk to him.” Jeremy laughed before heading outback. I felt bad for River, but it was kinda funny.
“God, that kid is gonna be the death of me.” Prim said with a small laugh. “Hopefully Jazzy won’t be so difficult.”
“I hope so too.” We laughed, and Jeremy came back with Aster in tow.
“Jasmine is getting fussy, I’ll take her upstairs.” Primrose said as soon as they took a seat.
“Am I in trouble?” Aster asked.
“Yes, that wasn’t nice, bud.”
“It was just a joke!”
“It wasn’t very funny.” Jeremy scolded, making Aster roll his eyes and look at me.
“Aunt Drea, did you think it was funny?” He asked. It made my heart soar to hear him call me his aunt. I honestly never thought I’d be an aunt after I lost Tuli.
“I can’t answer that.” I glanced at Jeremy, who was biting his cheek to keep from laughing.
“Am I allowed to come back here?”
“Of course, It’s fine with me, but all you gotta do is apologize to your uncle.” I hoped I was saying the right thing, I honestly didn’t know much about disciplining a child.
“We’ll have him call later.” Jeremy smiled at me, and I knew I said the right thing. “We should get going, Aster’s got a soccer game later.”
“Can I come back in the summer? I really wanna try out that water slide.” He asked.
“Of course, we’d love to have you over.”
“Thanks Aunty, I can’t wait!” He cheered.
“Of course. Good luck at your game today.” I added, and gave him a hug goodbye.
It felt great to be an aunt.
*Two months later*
Drea and I were finally comfortable with having a babysitter, so we decided the first thing we’d do was get married. Mom did most of the planning, but there wasn’t much to plan. We were just having a small wedding with some family. Not everyone could make it due to work or other commitments, and we didn’t really mind. We knew that they’d be here if the could, and that’s all that really mattered.
Drea looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress. As she walked down the aisle towards me, I felt like my chest was going to explode. I really, really loved her. And now I was about to marry her.
“Hi.” She whispered when she reached the arch.
“Hi.” I said back. We stood the for a second, just staring at each other. I wanted to remember every second of this day.
“We should probably get started.” She laughed.
“You can go first.”
“Okay, well um River, honestly when I met you I didn’t think much of you. You were important to my organization, but back then I didn’t realize how important you would become to me personally. But I’m so glad you’re in my life now. You’ve given me so much. A second chance at happiness, a home, and a daughter. The least I could do is give you my hand in marriage.” Both of us were tearing up as she slid the ring onto my finger.
“I remember getting that first call from you, asking me to help you with the case. In all honesty, I almost didn’t answer. I had no idea how much that one call would change my life. We’ve both been through a lot, but now we have each other, and we never have to go through anything alone. I want to make you the happiest woman in the world, because you’ve already made me the happiest man.” I slid her ring onto her finger, and now everyone was bawling.
“I love you, Hydrangea Fae.”
“I love you too, River Fae.”
We shared our first kiss as husband and wife, and it was absolutely magical.
Everyone cheered as we pulled apart. I grabbed her hand and squeezed it.
I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.