Alpha: "I really didn't want a party..."
Sondra: "You don't have to be all modest, every girl likes parties! Enjoy it and blow out your candles!"
Sondra: "We're having a party for Alpha!"
James: "Why would we do that?"
Sondra: "Because it's fun! Now come watch her blow out her candles!"
Sondra: "There you are! I was starting to think you were hiding from me."
Alpha: "Erm, why would I do that?"
Sondra: "I don't know! I just wanted to tell you that I'd gotten you a present."
She wasn't too enthusiasatic about the idea; knowing Sondra, it was probably a dress or some make-up.
Sondra: "Yeah. It's customary to get presents when you graduate elementary school, right?"
Alpha had never heard about that, but lots of things were weird at her house, so she just shrugged in response.
Sondra: "I was thinking about you taking the bus all over, and it still seems pretty unsafe to me. So, I got a bike for you to ride instead!"
Alpha was momentarily stunned by the gift. A whole bike for herself? That had to have cost at least $100! Finally, she found her voice.
Sondra smiled down at the girl, her expression seeming slightly troubled.
Sondra: "You don't seem to expect much of anything. Doesn't really seem right to me."
Alpha shrugged again, not sure what Sondra was getting at.
Alpha: "It works, I guess. Can I go now? I want to try it out."
Sondra nodded, letting the girl go. She seemed happy, but was that just because she didn't know what she was missing?
In preparation for the baby, Sondra re-decorated the nursery. Gone were the sterile white sheets on the cribs, replaced with spring green nature patterns. There wasn't much she could do about the carpeting or paint job - why these colors, when the rest of the house was painted so nicely? - but she hung a few decorations on the walls and from the ceiling.
Now that Alpha had shorter school hours, she picked up more of the childcare duties around the house. While she didn't enjoy the company of most people, she found that she really enjoyed taking care of her younger sister.
James found himself bored. He'd achieved his life's goal, but what now? He found himself drifting aimlessly, irritated by the most minor things, until one day inspiration hit. He had all the time in the world now, so why not show the kitchen who was boss?
Sondra had planned a private celebration for Epsilon's first birthday, even going so far as to purchase the cake, but her plans were disrupted when she went into labor.
~ * ~
This chapter is shorter than I anticipated, because I realized that a conversation that I'd originally placed in the middle of it should actually take place next chapter. So yay, not as much of a monster of a chapter as I'd feared!
Ah, the kitchen interlude. Just making sure that nobody forgets that James is Greg's son.
Omicron brings the total number of children this generation to three, which is what I've rolled. Alpha is too old to be the heir, therefore she's destined to become a spare. Let the debate begin on whether Epsilon or Omicron will carry the legacy forward. I already know, but I want to watch you guys make up awesome theories.
I propose a caption competition. There are so many things going on in this picture, caption it for me: