Clara tapped at the xylophone experimentally, grinning with glee asshe discovered it made a sound.Beau and Clara looked on, proudly.
“Shes got your creativity, Clara.” Beau smiled, looking from hisdaughter to his wife. Clara gently stroked the canvas with her brush.“Maybe. Id like to think shell be different from both of us,” Clarapaused, mixing the colours on her palette, “do you think shell be likeme? You know, leaving to find out who I am.”“Maybe. Who knows? Lets just let her grow for now.”
Riley looked up from her xylophone, and smiled at Beau.“Daddy! Listen!” She commanded.Beau grinned and moved onto the floor, “Im listening, little lady.”
Later that evening, Clara began showing signs of a second pregnancy.Riley was not going to be an only child.Clara was delighted. She hoped Beau would be, too.
Across town, Dina Caliente was messing about with the coffeemachine.“Youre not happy.” Someone said, quietly.Dina sighed, irritatedly, and stood up, three coffee cups in her hands,“I am happy!”
“See? Do unhappy people juggle?” Dina asked, grinning.Alice, who had been the one to point out Dinas unhappiness, lookedaway, “Doesnt matter. Youre upset.”“Oh, go talk to Mummy or Daddy or something. Leave me be.”“See, youre unhappy.”Dina moodily put the cups away, and went up the stairs.
Dina opened Ninas wardrobe, with no particular reason behind it, andsighed. She was just looking for a distraction from all the tension in thehouse she lived in.The peaceful silence was broken by the entry of Dinas least favouriteperson that she lived with.
“Dina, have you seen Don anywhere?” Lucy asked, nicely.Dina slammed the wardrobe door shut, “No. Do I look like I track themovements of Don?!”“Chill...I was just curious...”
“Why are you searching for Don, anyway?” Dina demanded, “Youknow hes engaged to Nina.”“You know thats an open relationship, and theyve been engagedsince I was a teenager.”Dina pulled a face, “So thats it? Youre just another one of Donsgirls?”
Lucy laughed, “Oh no, Im the last Don girl. See, you know that aislemy parents put up for my wedding? I am walking down that, and backup it, successfully.”“With Don? No chance.”“Dina, were all after different things here, its only a matter of timebefore I get what I want.”“Lucy Lotherio.” Dina said, with a hint of doubt, as Lucy smirked andwandered away. One thing from the conversation was most definitelytrue, however – they were all after different things.
The next day, the Robinsons celebrated a birthday. Riley had growninto a child.“Look! Im taller!”
With a quick change of clothes, Riley emerged from her room,cheerful and adorable.“I am ready for anything! I want to go to school!”Riley, it seemed, couldnt wait to take on the world.
Shortly after Riley was celebrating her birthday, Clara began to feelsome familiar pains.“Oh, why cant the baby wait until Beau is back from work?”
The baby wouldnt wait until Beau had returned, and Clara ended upbringing her baby boy into the world by herself.Welcome Wesley Robinson.
News in Pleasantview spreads quickly, and many of the neighbourswere happy to hear of Wesleys safe arrival.Lucy Burb, however, was disgusted by the news. She ventured outinto the late-winter snow with the sole intention of causing a roachinfestation at the Robinson household.
It was the constant attacks on their rubbish bin that cause Wesleysbirthday party to be a private family affair. Beau didnt even invite hisbrothers or mother along.Clara, at first, had disagreed with the idea, but it became apparent itwas for the best.
Wes didnt mind. He was too young to really want a party anyway.Riley was just happy that her brother was finally a bit older. It wouldntbe long before they could play together.
The day after Wesleys birthday was a Saturday, and as a treat, Beaulet Riley invite over some friends while he took care of Wes.“Alices birthday party is today, Riley, are you going?” Nate Dreamerasked, smiling.“I really want to,” Riley smiled, “Ive never been to a birthday partybefore.”“Theyre fun.” Nate said, encouragingly.
“Then I hope I can go,” Riley frowned, “my Mum and my Dad dontreally like Alices parents...”“Thats silly, Alices parents are really friendly!” Nate paused,thoughtfully, “Well, friendly with each other.”“Friendly is better than fighting.” Riley replied, cheerfully.
Eventually, the children stopped playing on the swings and sat in thedamp grass, uncomfortable in the early spring weather.“Maybe we should all get going,” Cassia Pleasant sniffed, “you know,make sure were ready for the party later.”“Of course.” Riley agreed, though she wished they werent about to go.“I cant wait!” Alice announced, excitedly, “Promise me youll be there,Riley!”
As the children hugged each other goodbye, Clara watched, intrigued.“Why is it that the children in Pleasantview get along better than any ofthe adults do?” Clara wondered, out loud, “Grudges and rivalries justdont matter to them.”Clara couldnt continue her train of thought, as Riley wandered over toher.
“Mum, if there was a birthday party at Alices house, could I go?” Rileyasked, sweetly.Clara smiled – no such thing as rivalries to the children ofPleasantview, “Of course. Its only round the corner.”“Yay!” Riley grinned, “I love you, Mum.”“I love you, too, Riley. No matter what.”
When the party started, Alice and Anthony Caliente were alreadyteenagers. The children – Nate, Cassia and Riley – felt out of placecompared to the bolder, older kids.Everyone was there, from Dimitri Goth to Skip Broke Junior.
Riley couldnt take being in the room any longer. Conversations aboutboys who were suddenly cute, or girls who were suddenly hot madeno sense to Riley at all, and so she set out in search of a bathroom.
Outside of the kitchen, the house was eerily silent as Riley climbed thestairs, remembering that Alice had mentioned the bathroom was upthere.
Pushing open a door, Riley paused, hearing voices talking on theother side.Clearly, it wasnt the bathroom, but Riley wasnt interested in that anymore. She was interested in what the people were saying.
“What are we going to do about the brats?” Lucy Burb questioned,tiredly.“Thought you loved kids.” Came the response.“I do,” Lucy said, before adding, spitefully, “but no kids spawned byher.”
“Then the kids can go to a nice orphanage in Sim City, what with theirfather gone and their mother missing,” Don smirked a little, “that is, ifyou have no objections to terminating Mr Robinson.”Lucy replied, calmly, “Ill handle that personally. It was my idea, Don.”Don set his pen down, carefully, “Why are you doing this?”“To help you.” Lucy said, simply.
“You realise the moment I have, er, dealt with Clara, Im supposed tomarry Nina, right?” Don said, suddenly.“That hasnt stopped you before, has it?” Lucy responded, playfully.She began stretching in her chair.“You know me too well, Lucy,” Don admitted, “it scares me.”
“Knowledge is a deadly weapon.” Don murmured, to himself.“So the plan?” Lucy questioned, clearing her throat.“Simple,” Don answered, “you take out the father, I kidnap the mother,and we ship the little ones off to an orphanage miles away from here.”
Frozen in place behind the door, Rileys eyes widened.“I have to go home.”
Riley had managed to convince her parents the party had been loadsof fun when she walked in. There was no way of convincing them thatDon and Lucy had an evil plan.Instead, Riley found her little brother. Wesley didnt sleep at night, orat least, not properly. For once, Riley was grateful of the fact.“I have a horrible secret, Wes.” Riley told him, sadly.
“Secret!” Wes laughed, clapping his hands. Riley frowned.“I think I might have to wait until youre older before we talk about this.”Riley decided. She sighed, and left her brother to play with his toys.
Riley didnt have to wait long for her brother to join her in childhood.“Whos ready to be a big boy?” Beau asked, as he got Wes out of hisbed.“Me! Me me!” Wes laughed.
But Riley wasnt downstairs by the cake, cheering on her brother. Shewas too busy watching the Calientes house, wondering if she shouldtell her parents.“Riley?” Clara called up the stairs, “Come on! Youll miss Wes growingup!”
Riley made it downstairs just in time to see Wesley growing into achild.“This is so cool!”
Later than evening, Wes found his sister sitting on the balcony, lookingslightly worried.“Why are you up here by yourself, sis?” Wes asked with a smile.Riley didnt return his grin, “Can I tell you something?”“Sure.”
“If you knew something bad was going to happen, would you tell Mumand Dad?” Riley questioned, in a small voice.“Of course. Dads almost Captain Hero, he can save anyone.”“What if it was something so bad that Captain Hero cant fix it?”
“What do you mean, Riley?” Wes shrugged, “Whats so bad they cantknow?”“Were all in danger,” Riley whispered, “Don Lotherio and Lucy...”“Our neighbours?” Wes raised an eyebrow, “I dont get it.”“They dont like us, Wes.”
“Riley, if were in danger, you have to tell Mum and Dad.” Wes said,firmly.“Maybe,” Riley murmured, “I dont know. Im going to bed.”“But its only midnight!”“Exactly. Night, Wes.”“Night, sis. Dont worry.”
Wesley then went down into the garden to play on the swing.Apparently, Wess inability to sleep at night had not been lost with age.“Wheee! Im flying!”
Upstairs, Clara and Beau could hear him.“Do you think we should take Wes to a doctor?” Clara asked Beau,seriously.“About his insomnia?” Beau raised an eyebrow, “Nah. He might stillgrow out of it, yet.”Clara didnt really know whether to agree or not, “Maybe. I dont reallywant to leave him up by himself, but I actually sleep at night, so...”“Hell be fine.” Beau said, smiling, “We live in Pleasantview, not SimCity.”
Wesley didnt change though. He spent his evenings wide awake.Eventually, he stayed awake while his family fell asleep. Some nights,he would dance, or play on the swings.
While other nights, Wes would curl up on the sofa with a book orwatch a film.It didnt really matter what he did. By the time morning came, Claraand Beau would often find their son still on the sofa.
Most mornings, they found him asleep on the sofa.
This is why no one heard Don walking up to the Robinsons house atfive in the morning. Why no one heard him let himself in.
Why Don was able to sneak up the stairs virtually unnoticed.
Everyone was asleep......not a soul was able to catch Donnow...
Wes sat up, hearing footsteps. On top of being an insomniac, Weswas a light-sleeper, and within minutes had realised someone was inthe house.“MUUUM!” He yelled, “DAAAD!”
Upstairs, Beau, hearing Wess cries, snapped awake.“Clara,” he whispered, “wake up. Theres someone in the house.”“What?” Clara asked, tiredly, “Wes probably just had a nightmare.”“Im serious, Clara. Theres someone in our house.”
“Don?” Clara questioned, sitting up in bed. Both of the adultRobinsons got out of the bed. “What the hell are you doing here?”Don fidgeted, nervously, but didnt answer.
“Mum!” Wes cried, running in, as Riley wandered in, terrified, headingstraight to Beau.“Why are you here, Don?” Clara demanded, “Make the explanation agood one, because youve woken up both of my babies.”“Clara...I...” Don began. Claras expression unnerved him. “Im sorry.Ill just leave now...”Mentally cursing, Don headed back down the stairs. The plan wouldhave gone perfectly if only he had not been heard.
“Its okay,” Beau said, soothingly, as Clara watched Don leave, “hesnot coming back.”“He is!” Riley said, loudly. Wes watched her, dazed.“Are you okay, Wes?” Clara asked, quietly. Wes said nothing, butnodded.
Riley turned to face Wes, and began a whispered conversation.“Dont say I told you so.” Riley sniffed.“Would I do that?” Wes laughed.“Yes, you would,” Riley smiled a little, “I will tell them. But not tonight.”
The siblings hugged, both of them slightly shaky from finding a manthey didnt know in their house.“Too bad youre growing up real soon,” Wes commented, quietly,“because we could have hung out some more.”“We can still hang out.”Wes laughed, “Yes, me, you and your teenage friends. Unlikely.”Riley didnt respond, but continued to hug her brother.
In the nights following the break-in by Don, Beau had also sufferedsleeping problems. He wanted to know his family was safe.“Are you okay about everything, Wes? Why is it you dont sleep atnight, do you think?” Beau smiled.Wes shrugged, “Some people just dont match everyone else, Dad.”“That is a very good point, actually.”
“Youre not worried about Don, are you, Wes?”Wesley dropped his gaze, “Just a little.”“You know, he isnt coming back.”“How can you be sure?” Wes asked, thinking of the secrets Riley knewabout Don and Lucy.
“Wes, I am not going to let him hurt you, or Riley, or any of us, okay?”Beau said, determinedly, “Dont worry about him.”Beau reached out and put an arm around his son. Wesley grinned,feeling safer immediately.“Okay, Dad. I wont worry about it.”
The following day was Rileys birthday, and regardless of how shakenup the family felt from their recent encounter with Don, Riley wasallowed a party.“Grow up cool, but not too cool.” Wesley smiled.“Thanks, Wes, Ill try to remember that.” Riley laughed.
Quite a few people from Pleasantview turned out for Rileys birthday,including Skip and Lilith.
Beau and Clara blew on their party horns nervously, thinking abouthow their eldest child was about to become a teenager.
Riley grew into a beautiful young lady of the Pleasure aspiration.
After changing and putting on a touch of make-up, Riley rejoined herold friends, ready to explore what it meant to be a teenager.
A few days later, Alice was puzzled. She had stumbled across somestrange etchings with Dons signature on them, and slowly figured outwhat had been going on behind her back for years.“Mum, what Im saying is, we cant do this to that family.”“I hear you, Alice, but Im not involved with Don and Lucys sickgames.”
“Then help me prevent it!” Alice cried. Nina frowned.“You want to stop Don? Do you know how impossible that is?”“Don is my Dad, Mum, I think I know what hes like.”“I thought I knew what he was like.” Nina shook her head, and lookedaway. Alice noted that Nina wasnt wearing her engagement ring. Thatcould only mean one thing.
“Please help me, Mum? I need to know what Dad is up to.”Ninas frown deepened, “I dont know why it matters so much.”“Because Id like to think Riley would do the same thing for us, ifeverything was reversed.”
Nina nodded, “Alright, Alice, this is what your father is planning...”
And this is where I leave you! But first, some info on Wes:Wesley Robinson10/9/2/10/1TaurusThanks for reading!
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