1.13. The Byrds and the Bees
It’s been awhile since he’s had his sutures removed and he’s completely capable of taking care of himself at this point. But at night--when Clover’s absence is felt the strongest--Crimson texts Elysia and asks if he can go to her place, where there are no memories of his sister. She always says yes. Even if they aren’t in the same room, it’s comforting knowing someone is nearby. Tonight, he is reading while Elysia takes a long bath, part of her nightly ritual. He’s so engrossed in the book that he doesn’t notice the bedroom door open, or Elysia’s footsteps behind him.
Or she could do this--she could read his mind and appeal to his neanderthal side. She feels it will significantly reduce the possibility of rejection, though if it happens, it will be much more devastating than any other scenario.
“What are you reading?”
“Luna’s newest book,” he doesn’t look up.
“Just one more chapter,” he mumbles, “then I’ll leave.”
“You can stay,” Elysia says, “if you want.” She tries to sound as sultry as possible.
“No, I’ll leave. Don’t want to be a nuisance.”
“Goddamit, you dumb bastard. Just turn around and look at me,” Elysia snaps.
“What are you--” Crimson turns around, his jaw dropping when he sees her, “Oh.” She looks just like he imagined she would.
Oh, look. What a lovely bouquet.
Luna doesn’t entirely trust Quentin with the twins, though, even though he’s proven himself a more than capable father. Any time he handles one of them, she stands behind him, barking orders.
“Make sure to support his head!”
“I am, honey.”
“When you feed him, keep the bottle tilted so he doesn’t swallow any air bubbles.”
“That’s what I’m doing.”
“Pat his back when you’re done!”
“I always do!”
“I’m not dealing with him if he gets gas again.”
“Luna,” he sighs before continuing, “I love you, but you are driving me crazy right now.”
“Fine! I won’t help then!”
“Oh no, Luke! What will I do without mommy’s help?” he asks Luke, who doesn’t seem at all unsettled by the bickering..
Luna storms out of the room in a huff. Quentin has tried to be patient with her, but she’s been incredibly argumentative ever since they brought the twins home. His friend Stefan said that’s always how it is, because women’s hormone levels are all out of whack after childbirth. Quentin doesn’t know if that’s true, or if it just the lack of sleep and the massive change in their lifestyle, but Luna has been on edge.
So he tries to find time to show Luna how much he loves and appreciates her.
“Am I doing enough?” he asks one night.
“What do you mean?”
“Am I helping out enough? You don’t seem very happy.”
“I’m happy. It’s just,” she hesitates, “I haven’t gotten to write in a long time. And I don’t get to leave the house very often. I have to take care of the twins when you’re at work.” It’s difficult enough maneuvering the world with one baby, much less two.
“We can get a babysitter,” he suggests, “and if I’m not at work, I can take care of them.”
“Oh, that’s not fair to you, though.”
“No, it’s not fair that you don’t get any time to yourself. You take care of them when I’m at work, so I’ll take care of them when I’m not so you can write. We can do this together. You don’t have to be the only responsible one.”
Even though his offer is sincere and helpful, Luna has a hard time taking Quentin up on it. The thought of leaving her babies is both terrifying and alluring. But one day, it just becomes too much. She just needs to get away from the diapers and bottles and mind numbing boredom for a while.
So she wanders around near the waterfalls in the center of the island, picking up rocks from the ground and thinking about her next book. Most people don’t even notice these kinds of rocks, but Luna knows that they’re raw gemstones. They just need to be cut. So she picks them up, and sometimes sends them to her mother--an avid collector of such things--who cuts them and sends them back. This is how Luna is building her own collection of precious stones.
It must be too hot for her, or it’s too exciting an adventure, because soon Luna finds herself vomiting. At least, she’s trying to convince herself that it’s the weather or the excitement. Deep down, she recognizes this symptom, though: it’s morning sickness.
Luna waits a few weeks before she tells Quentin. When she was pregnant with the twins, the midwife warned her not to tell anyone before the twelve week mark, when the chance of miscarriage goes down. For some reason, Luna worries more about the possibility of having a miscarriage this time. It just feels like something is going to happen to this one.
Quentin is overjoyed when she finally tells him, and immediately begins rubbing her stomach, feeling for kicks.
“It isn’t kicking right now, honey.”
“Oh,” he’s disappointed. The first time he felt the twins kick, fatherhood became real for him. He was hoping to replicate the feeling.
“Do you want a boy or a girl this time?” she asks.
“I don’t know. We already have one of each, so I guess I don’t have a preference.”
“‘One of each?’ That’s one way to look at it.”
“Names,” he says excitedly, “we have to think about names!” He thinks it’s a little unfortunate that the twins are so close to being a pair of Star Wars characters. He’d like to be a little more prepared this time.
“I’ve actually already been thinking about that. Luke is named after my father, so if we have a boy I thought we could name him Lawrence, after your dad.”
“No,” Quentin’s mood suddenly shifts, “I’m not going to name my child after him.” He’s a bit surprised that Luna would even suggest it--he thought she knew how he felt about his dad. He had even insisted the children have Luna’s surname just so his father’s name wouldn’t be passed down.
“We’ll pick something else then. But another L name, please. I want our children to match,” she says sheepishly.
“Fine,” Quentin agrees. He has a name in mind, and he has a few months to wear Luna down until she accepts it.
The twins grow quickly. Soon they’re babbling and crawling and even playing together. Despite his coloration, Luke looks just like his father. Lydia is a good mix of both of her parents: Quentin’s eyes and hair, Luna’s ears and nose.
Luna had always sworn to herself she wouldn’t let her children run around in just diapers and shirts. It is impossible to get pants on Lydia, though--she kicks and screams and says the only word she knows, which is “no,” of course. Luke, on the other hand, is more compliant and eager to please. He happily wears whatever his mother dresses him in, and he even lets her put a little gel in his hair so it sticks up.
They certainly take up a lot of time, and Luna feels guilty that she has hardly talked to her sister or Crimson recently. In an attempt to remedy that, she decides to invite them over for a small celebration for the twins’ recent birthday. She can also use the opportunity to announce her pregnancy.
Luna is surprised when Crimson shows up with a platter of homemade dim sum--she was planning on ordering pizza in honor of their former pizza club--but she’s even more surprised when she sees that Elysia carpooled with him.
Oh, and Elysia’s gigantic, pregnant belly is also kind of a shocker.
“So how did this happen,” Quentin asks once the guest have settled in. Luna is relieved that he’s so direct. She would have beat around the bush a little more.
“Quen, you have twins and Luna is pregnant again. Do you really need to explain it,” Elysia raises an eyebrow.
“Um, no. You two hate each other. That’s what I meant.” Quentin really hasn’t talked to Crimson or Elysia in a long time. He shouldn’t assume that nothing changed during this time.
“It was hate sex, rough, dirty hate sex.”
“Our loathing for each other is so deep, it’s going to make it hard to effectively co-parent. Our kid is definitely going to be screwed up,” Crimson looks at Elysia with adoration. Honestly, though, he’s just as surprised as Quentin. But it turns out that Elysia is a good fit. She grounds him. He’s not quite sure what she’s getting out of it, though. Elysia smirks when he thinks that.
Quentin stares at them, unimpressed by their attempts to avoid the question.
“We just clicked, okay?” Elysia sighs, “Anyway, I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it. We’re together and having a kid. That’s all.”
“Well I’m really happy for you,” Luna says, “and it’ll be great to see our children grow up together.” She's overjoyed, really. Crimson is a close friend, so she’s happy to accept him into the family. And now she doesn’t have to worry about her children having friends, because cousins are obligated to be friends.
The two couples talk for awhile. Quentin gives Crimson advice about being a dad (“You both have to give one hundred percent--there’s no fifty-fifty when it comes to parenting.”), and Luna warns Elysia about the coming hardships (“You will poop while giving birth. If Crimson really loves you, he will never bring it up.”). Before too long, Crimson and Elysia depart for the evening. Luna promises her sister that she’ll be better about staying in contact.
Quentin and Luna double down on teaching the twin’s basic life skills so they’ll be a little more self-sufficient before their younger sibling arrives. Luna, ever the neat freak, works on potty training Lydia so she won’t have to change any more diapers.
“You’re disgusting,” Luna whispers to Lydia has she puts her on the potty, “this is really gross.” She has quickly abandoned her new-mother sense of wonder in favor of accepting the repulsive reality of having children.
Quentin, meanwhile, works on Luke’s verbal skills.
“All you need is love, Luke. When you’re older, find a good woman--or a good man--to support you through life’s challenges. If you’re happy, you’re successful.” Quentin’s parenting style is very different from his dad’s, which consisted of berating young Quentin for not being smart enough, athletic enough, or ambitious enough.
It’s the dead of the night when Luna goes into labor. They had been hoping it would happen in the morning, when it’s easier to wrangle a babysitter. Elysia just had her baby--a boy named Lowell--so they can’t ask her to watch the twins.
“Quentin, wake up,” Luna moans.
“Huh?” he rolls over and squints at her.
“I’m in labor! Ooh, this one’s coming quick--I need to get to the hospital.”
“Oh shit! Oh no. Crap, crap, crap, what do I do?” Quentin jumps up in panic, “we can’t take the twins, and we can’t leave them alone, and we don’t have a babysitter!”
“Help me to the car so I can drive to the hospital,” Luna says through clenched teeth.
“You can’t drive yourself! That’s crazy!”
“Quentin, if I pushed twins out without an epidural, I can drive myself to the damn hospital.”
“Can’t you just hold it in for a bit?” He whimpers. If looks could kill, Quentin would be very, very dead.
Luna breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth as drives to the hospital. It’s so late there is no one else on the street. Every time she had a contraction, she turns the wheel a little, swerving into the oncoming lane. It was a dumb decision to drive herself.
Fortunately, she makes it safely to the hospital, and leaves shortly after with a new baby girl: Lark Bee. Quentin won the battle and got the name he wanted.
***Author’s note: That first scene stands as the sauciest thing I have ever written. I felt intense discomfort the whole time, because I was raised in a traditional, shamed-based household, which was reinforced by some pretty problematic abstinence-only sex ed at school. So thanks, mom and the state of Texas. You did a bang up job giving me a healthy perception of sex.
I used Story Progression to put Crimson and Elysia together, but they share a couple of traits (neurotic and bookworm), so I feel they work well. Crimson knocked up Elysia immediately, which was a little surprising. He’s a hopeless romantic and she has commitment issues, so I don’t know how well the relationship is going to work out in game.
Lark is the last child for Quentin and Luna, even though they keep rolling wishes for more. I rolled for each child and I planned to hold an heir vote, but I’m too lazy to set that up so I randomly generated a number to determine which child is heir. Sorry ‘bout that.