The peace that rested on the Doran house the first night Rachel joinedthem was short-lived. Perhaps a better turn of phrase would be to say that the quiet was short-lived.
Contractors had been arranged and work on the house addition was moving along at a frenetic pace.Alfred and Alistair moved upstairs and Rachel was given a colorful room across the hall from them. A third bathroom was also added.
The boys old room had been converted to a nursery where Christopher and the new baby would be spending the majority of their time.
That afternoon, the family gathered around a birthday cake to watch Rachelblow out her candles. Lily and John felt that with all she had been through it would be better if just the immediate family was there to celebrate.
John had the honor of bringing her to the cake and after helping her blow out the candles, he gently placed her on the ground for her transition.
After a quick admiration of the changes she had gone through, Rachel ran off to the dresser and mirror to finalize her childhood look.
Feeling more like herself, she grabbed a piece of her birthday cake and took it inside to enjoy. She appreciated the attention her new family lavished on her, but it could be a bit overwhelming.
Christopher s transition was celebrated the following day and had an added level of excitement when Lily suddenly put him down and clutched her belly.
The rest of the family rushed to her side, but Christopher seemedunfazed, crawling back towards the cake to determine the best way to get a piece for himself.
Unable to come up with a solution regarding the unreachable heightof the table, he crawled back to the rest of the family and welcomed the newest family member.
Eugenia Doran. *Eugenia is named after Eugenia Phillips who was a spy for the Confederate States of America during the AmericanCivil War. Her husband, Philip Phillips originally sided with the North. Eugenia was very outspoken about the war and smuggled notes, maps and plans to leaders in the South. She was arrested and imprisoned although she was never convicted of treason.
Day to day life in the house continued. Babies were fed.
Rachel was settling in and becoming a big part of the family. Everyone adored her.
There were still times when she needed quiet, solitary time and she could usually find it in her room.
Lily kept a close eye on her, just in case. She wasn t sure how much Rachelremembered of her past and she hesitated about sharing too much with her, notwanting to press the issue. If the time came when Rachel wanted to know more, she and John would share what they knew.
Right now, there wasn t much causing her concern. Rachel looked and acted like a happy, well-adjusted child.
Days blurred into one another until it was time for Christopher andEugenia s next birthday. This time there was no reason not to have a party, so all their friends were invited.
Spins and twirls and sparkly jumps and Christopher was quite pleased with his new found stature.
Eugenia did not fare quite as well, but was eager to greet the guests, so Lily put off taking her to the mirror and changing table.
A good time was had by all, and some family members even got to sit down together and discuss the scrumptiousness of the cake.
Some preferred a little quiet time to digest it.
When it was time for Eugenia s makeover, Lily found her making fastfriends with Natalie Una. Natasha had recently married Talin Depiesse and Natalie had been born just before Eugenia.
The guests had left, the makeover was done, and Lily gently put a very exhausted Eugenia to bed.
Christopher was excited. It was his first day of school and he couldn t wait to get there. He wasn t sure what was going to happen, but he knew it was going to be amazing.
Rachel, what s school like? he asked his big sister.
It s okay, she shrugged. There s a lot of different things to do and tons of people to meet.
Will you play with me if I don t make any friends? he asked her.
Sure, she answered sagely. C mon. Let s get on the bus. If we sit in the back, it s really bouncy and fun.
At the birthday party, Violet had pulled John aside and asked if she could meet with him and Lily to discuss a proposition.The kids had been sent off to school and Eugenia was playing quietly when Violet arrived.
Violet! Lily welcomed her. It s so good to see you again. Would you like some grilled cheese or coffee? she asked as she led her to the dining room where John was already eating.
Violet pulled her grilled cheese sandwich closer and took a bite before replying. Well, I d like to talk to you about H.E.A.L., she began.
You know the story of how it was formed, and I m sure you re familiar with the bigotry and persecution that has occurred over the past generations towards half-breeds, she continued, looking at Lily.
We are a small group. Well, not so small, but we d like to grow ournumbers. We re constantly looking for people to join us who we think will bring additional skills to the group.
John looked a little puzzled, wondering what Violet was going to ask of him. Lily was pretty sure she knew what Violet was going to say.
Before either could voice their thoughts, Violet continued. I was so impressed when we were taking care of the Ricky issue, and I got to thinking that H.E.A.L. could really benefitfrom the skill levels and potential, and I know that they would be really good assets for us, she rushed on, caught up in her own enthusiasm.
I d like Alfred and Alistair to join us, she finished with her usual flair and took another bite of her sandwich.
Lily and John were stunned. Both had expected her to ask John to join them and both had conflicting emotions about it. The idea that shewould ask Alfred and Alistair to join the cause never occurred to them.
Violet looked up, surprised at the silence, and noticed their stunned looks. Oh. You don t want them to? she asked.
Lily was the first one able to voice a coherent thought. Uhm, no. It s not that we don t want them to. It s that we never really thought about it. They re just teens. They re so young.
John shook his head. No, he said. No. It s too dangerous.
Violet s face fell, then screwed up into a look of determination that her parents werevery familiar with. John Doran! I m surprised at you. You know very well that there have not been any violent episodes in decades with our group. Our mission is to bring about acceptance in as peaceful a manner as possible.
You re the one who brought up skills and assets , not me, he argued back. In my line of work, those do not indicate peaceful methods .
Look, Violet fired back, all I m asking is that you think about it and consider it forthem. They re smart, caring boys with good organizational skills and an ability to step in and think outside the box. H.E.A.L. can use people like them.
They would go through extensive training and wouldn t be allowed in the fielduntil they were of age. H.E.A.L. would even give them scholarships to college.Ultimately, there are no strings. The final decision is theirs and they can drop out of the program at any time.
I came to you first John, as a friend. We d like to start recruiting earlier.Getting our people trained earlier, sending them to college so they have everyadvantage possible. Alfred and Alistair would be perfect for the program. We need them. Half-breeds need them.
I have to think about it, John relented. His first reaction had been soknee-jerk. He didn t want his babies forced into the secretive life he had been forced to lead. He wanted them to have options.
Christopher came home from school, waving his report card in the air. Mama! Mama! I m home! he shouted, looking for Lily. Hello dear, Lily smiled at him. How was school today?
It was awesome! Did you know that there are 204 bones in the body? he asked. We learned all about it today.
Lily nodded and smiled. Let s find Rachel and Eugenia and you can tell meall about it over a nice snack, she told him. As Christopher went to put his homework by the computer, Lily went to the nursery to get Eugenia.
She walked in and was quite surprised by what she saw. Eugenia was floating in the air, playing with the rabbit head toy. Hey Sweetie, she said. What are you doing way up there?
Eugenia giggled. Fwoat Mamma. Huh. I guess powers are still active in the bloodline, she said, more to herselfthan to the floating toddler. Reaching for Eugenia, she grabbed her and carried her into the dining room for the planned snack.
Christopher, she asked, have you ever noticed anything unusual about your sister? You mean how she can play with toys in the air? he replied. Yes, Lily answered. Can you do anything unusual like that? she asked.
Nope, he said after a few seconds of contemplation. But Teacher says that I m a really good reader and that I learned my letters and words quicker than anyone else. Lily nodded her head. That s wonderful. I knew you would do well at school. Now she just needed to break the news to John that their daughter could float in the air.
John had had enough time to consider Violet s proposal and had reluctantly decidedthat she could speak to Alfred and Alistair about it. The boys listened carefully to her and to their father s concerns and determined that a few days would be needed for them to think about it and come to a decision.
The crux of their conversation came while they were out in the pool. So, what do you think Al? Alistair began the discussion.
I m not sure, Alfred answered truthfully. There are a lot of pro s, but the con s are pretty important too.
Dude, imagine the chicks! They d be all over us, Alistair offered as one of the pro s.Alfred frowned. I m pretty sure that Maura wouldn t really appreciate that, he said.
Maura Roennigke and Alfred had just started going steady and Puppy Love had hit with a vengeance. He was not thinking of any other girls at the moment.It would mean leaving Desiderata Valley. Probably for a long time, if not forever, he pointed out to Alistair.
Yeah, but it s not like we couldn t ever visit, or come back when we re done, Alistair countered. Think of all the different places we could see.
It s a good cause to join too, he continued on a more serious note.For generations, Mama Lily s family has been affected by the bigotryof pure bred elves. Think of the change we could help bring about.
I know, Alfred said. We should join H.E.A.L. There s just a lot we would begiving up. Things and people I ll miss and I m sure you will too even though youwon t admit it right now. You re right though. This is an opportunity to make a difference and we can t pass it by.
They both got out of the pool and went inside to let John know about their decision.Later that night, they called Violet, who reacted with her usual enthusiasm, whooping through the phone loud enough for the entire family to hear.
It wasn t much later when Lily began experiencing the now familiarsymptoms of pregnancy. The official pop confirmed her suspicions and the family prepared to welcome the next Doran to the fold.
Coinciding with her latest pregnancy pop was Eugenia s transition tochildhood. This time, the party was limited to family members and Alistair had the honor of bringing her to the cake.
Cheers went all around as Eugenia was placed on the ground to do her sparkly twirl.
She didn t mind her clothes and refused the offer of a make-over from Lily. She liked her pigtails, and the cowboy boots and skirt were kick-butt in her mind.
However, the family was not done with celebrations yet. Rachel was due to become a teenager the next day.
By the time homework was done and everyone s needs wererefreshed, it was already night when they finally made it to the cake.
Rachel did take advantage of the make-over mirror to add some make- up and also picked through the clothing in the wardrobe until she found an outfit that she really liked.
Lily had encouraged her to keep a diary of her feelings and things that were important to her, and she took some time to write about her transition to ateenager and the new feelings she started experiencing almost immediately.
She hadn t thought much about her birth parents. She really had no memories of them. Shealso hadn t thought too much about Rick. She had vague memories of him and could almost recall his face if she thought hard enough. She wanted to ask her mom and dad about him, but wasn t sure how to bring up the topic. She also worried about her own mental health, wondering if she would suffer from the same things he did.
She would find a way to ask John and Lily about it. Someday. Not right now, but someday she would.
The family didn t have to wait long for the next Doran to arrive. Luckily John was home when the pain started and Lily got ready to deliver.
He kept a smile plastered to his face to hide the surprise when Lily quicklyhanded the first baby to him and continued her labor to deliver the second. By the time she was done, the smile was genuine. For both parents.
Lee and Sydney Doran arrived, nearly bursting the house at its seams.*Lee is named for Daulton Lee. Partnered with childhood friend Christopher Boyce, he was arrested and convicted of selling US spy satellite secrets to the Soviet Union. A drug addict and dealer, he was The Snowman in the book and move The Falcon and the Snowman .Sydney is named for Sidney Reilly. Born Georgi Rosenblum, he is considered the first 20th century super-spy and is famously known as The Aceof Spies. It has been said that he spied for at least four different countries and was employed by Scotland Yard, the British Secret Service and the Secret Intelligence Service. He is thought to be Ian Fleming s inspiration for James Bond.
A new crib was quickly added to the old and both babies were fed and put to bed.
This seems as good a place as any to leave the Dorans. Lee and Sydney are the last planned children for this generation, and we ll see more of them in the next update. Of course, Lilyand John are still young enough to throw me an ACR surprise, but they really haven t shown any interest in having another baby.