When Fern arrives back at Old Pier Beach, her children are waiting for her with big smiles on their faces. “Mommy!” Briar races forward to hug Fern, who laughs. “Did you miss me that much?”
Ash smiles at his sister and mother. “It was alright. More importantly, did you have fun at Isla Paradiso?” Fern nods, already sighing with the memories.
“Yeah, did you have fun?” Briar asks, wiggling her eyebrows. Fern blushes, and Ash rolls his eyes. “You know what I mean, Mom.”
“Oh… well, the island was absolutely amazing! I have to take you two one day to see the gorgeous sights, not to mention the food. When we have enough money, that is…” Suddenly Fern remembers the great news Christopher had told her at the last evening of their honeymoon.
“I have something wonderful to tell you guys.” Briar’s eyes widen. “Really, really?! What is it?” She hops up and down, her panda hat bobbles jumping with her.
“Christopher is at 15 Summerhill Court right now, organizing the build of a cottage…” She quickly dials her husband’s number. “Yep. We will be moving there this afternoon.”
Briar does her happy dance. “Woo!” She yelps. “We won’t be homeless anymore!”
Fern is glad to see that her children are so happy. “It won’t be a big house, and there won’t be a lot of money afterwards…” She says quickly. “That’s okay!” Ash grins.
“Then pack all your things. In a couple of hours, we will be moving into our new home.”
The Kingston family’s new address is in an exclusive estate, up in Summerhill Court. A silver pool, spanned with a bridge and lined with leafy aspens, holds court in between two mansions. They are the biggest houses Fern has ever seen, with grand, swooping entrances and elegant pink/wooden facades. She dreams that one day her family would live in a mansion as luxurious and sprawling as those.
For now, however, she would have to settle on this plain silver cottage. It’s really quite simple, but Fern and Christopher had worked hard on it while they were flying back from Isla Paradiso. With a small budget and little time, this is the best they can do.
This is their new home. Okay, so there’s just about no creativity here, but honestly I didn’t have enough time to make a pretty house. Besides, their budget was $12,000.
The house is simple, but for Fern it feels like she’s finally home. She had picked out a nice blue paint for the walls, as well as light island-type furniture. It only has two bedrooms and one bathroom, but the rest of the family is glad to have a roof over their heads again.
Briar instantly flops onto the couch and switches on the T.V. A low quality, cranky old television, but a television all the same! “It’s so good to see you again too, Mr. Cow.” She giggles to her favourite cartoon character.
Ash explores the kitchen, running his hand along the sea-blue countertop. His mom had obviously chosen the rustic design. It’s a little less fancy than the modern kitchen at his father’s villa, but it would do the job. He has to admit that he and Briar had gotten a bit sick of apples and limes for most of their meals.
As the children settle in, Fern relishes how nice it is to never have to walk through the town to wash up again. It had been inconvenient having to go to the gym every time she had wanted a hot shower.
“I bags this bed!” Briar yells as she flops down on a bed. Ash sighs. As much as he loves having a proper bed now, it’s going to be hard sharing a room with his sister. I better be careful that she doesn’t draw a moustache on my face while I sleep, Ash thinks.
When Ash goes off to work, and Briar heads outside to play with her teddy bear, Fern approaches her husband. “Hey Fern.” Christopher smiles at her warmly. “Hi. I have good news.” “What is it?” “I’m pregnant with our child!”
Christopher’s eyes light up, the way the sea would sparkle in sunlight. “That’s wonderful!” He gasps, laying a hand on Fern’s arm. “I can’t wait! Are you going to tell Briar and Ash soon?”
“Briar!” Fern calls out to her daughter. She had been playing with her panda hat, and now shoves it back on her head. “Good day isn’t it, Mommy?” She greets her mother, who smiles at her. “Well, guess what. You will be a big sister soon.”
Briar glances at Fern’s stomach. “Ooh! A big sister? That sounds fun, am I allowed to play with them when they are born?”
“Of course you can.” Christopher joins them, still grinning from ear-to-ear. “I wonder if it will be a boy or a girl.” He gently lays his hands on her wife’s belly. “I won’t mind, she or he will still be our child whatever the gender.” Fern says softly.
“Ewwww.” Briar complains loudly, turning away from the kissing two. “Lovebirds. Spreading their annoying love songs everywhere.” She mutters, pretending to puke and batting the evening air in disgust.
Then she pretends to strangle herself. Briar, you are a strange, strange child.
Christopher glances over to his stepdaughter, who is scolding her imaginary friend for trying to strangle her. “You know, she will be a very fun big sister for our child.”
Fern strokes Christopher’s jaw, gazing into his eyes. Their lot has a lovely view of the sea, but Fern doesn’t care about the beautiful pink evening. All she’s thinking about is Christopher.
Later Fern cooks macaroni-and-cheese for the Kingston family’s first proper dinner all together. It’s very satisfying to be finally providing a full homemade meal for her family.
“It’s going to be so great having another sibling!” Ash exclaims. “I hope it will be a boy.” Briar narrows her eyes at him. You won’t be the baby anymore, Briar, with the child coming. Soon you will be forgotten, Mr. Teddy growls in her mind.
“SHUT UP, MR. TEDDY.” Briar snaps, confusing her twin brother.
In fact, when the Kingstons gobble down the delicious cheesy pasta, Briar is the first to get up and wash the dishes. All the talk about the baby is causing her stomach to sour. It’s just a baby, she thinks. What’s the big deal?
After tucking her children into bed, dropping kisses onto their foreheads, Fern gazes out of the window. From here she can see a sliver of ocean, the moonlight glittering softly upon it. Finally, her family is living in a proper house, with a good supply of food.
Her hand drifts to her belly and off again. She and Christopher’s child would never have to go through what Briar and Ash did. Fern is sure Christopher will be the best father; he already is to her teenage children.
My family is safe, Fern thinks. And she turns to join Christopher.