“You do realize I yell at the children for sitting on the counter like that, yes?” Titania raised an eyebrow as
she moved ...
“I have a few weeks before I need to go back.” He fell silent for a moment as she moved over towards the
stove. An unguard...
She made a cluck of disapproval as she placed the pan on the stove, but her smile did not waver,
“Differing points of view...
Sliding off the counter and moving to slide his arms around her, he purred intimately, “Let ME fill your
world with life, ...
“I thought that was my line.” Leaning against him and sliding her arms up his back, Titania gave a wistful
sigh, “Perhaps ...
“What unholy monster wrote these questions!? These are impossible.” Mercutio announced his pain to
the world as he and Tyb...
Everyone in the house had smoothly adjusted to life off campus in the house they were renting together.
Most of them were ...
Life off campus was not all work and no play even if they did keep up with their grades. It wasn’t long
before the house b...
In addition to their campus friends, the house also became a refuge for their respective families.

Early on, there were a...
Well, at least he didn’t have any complaints until Tybalt had decided he’d leered long enough.

All in all, things were go...
Beyond education and fun, romance also seemed to fill the house.

Ainsley and Puck’s relationship carried a hint of tentat...
The dark visions of their potential future still worried Ainsley, but she realized that Puck had been right
about visions ...
On the other end of the spectrum, Bo and Mercutio were the epitome of a strong couple refusing to
acknowledge any sort of ...
For Tybalt, his relationship with Jaiden quickly became something very serious. They found they were a
well matched pair, ...
The year seemed to last a lifetime and a moment all in the same breath. It wasn’t long before finals had
come and Puck had...
Finals may have been over, but the day was still young. Of course, all that brain power had stoked their
appetites, so the...
As Puck looked back at her, a boyish smile formed while his eyebrows listed speculatively, causing her to
blush and laugh....
There was something that might have been an affirmative response, but it was hard to interpret amidst the
snorfling sounds...
“UGH! You guys are gross!” Puck held his nose and waved his hand to fend off the soup burp smell
wafting across the table,...
Looking out over the lapping waves of the lake, Ainsley gave a contented sigh.

“Penny for your thoughts.” Puck came up an...
“Well, I was adopted, right? I didn’t have to run for my life like you and your family did, but I guess it
easily could ha...
Sinking down to one knee on the sand, Puck looked up at her with a hopeful gaze, “Ainsley Doran, from
the moment I met you...
“The moment I met you, I knew you were special. Even when you were trying to avoid me or keep me at
arms length, I knew yo...
Pulling a small velvet box out of his pocket, Puck popped it open to reveal the shining ring inside. With
another deep bre...
“Yes, yes, yes, and yes again!” With those words, she threw herself into his arms.

At that moment, it didn’t matter what ...
“Did you know he was going to do that?” Tybalt raised an eyebrow as he looked away from the happy
couple to the pair at hi...
“What is that supposed to mean?” Tybalt turned and glared at the other man.

Mercutio grinned as he leaned back into Botto...
It wasn’t the largest party they’d ever thrown, but most of them would remember it as one of their best. It
was, in every ...
It was an evening of good times and good friends, of grievances forgotten and friendships renewed.

Not to mention, there ...
As the night wound on, couples began pairing off for some quiet time. Bottom and Mercutio stood off to
the side watching T...
Mercutio stepped up to her and slid his arms around her waist, “What? Never see the day that Tybalt got
married or that he...
Giving a snort and wrapping her arms around him, Bottom laughed, “No. But I will stick with you for
now. You make me laugh...
“Penny for your thoughts?” Ainsley and Puck lay together on the sand watching the stars as the bonfire
crackled behind the...
There would be other nights that would vie for the title of ‘best night ever’, but the night of Puck’s
graduation and thei...
After Puck moved back to Veronaville, the next year seemed to fly by. As seniors, their workload was
simultaneously easier...
Eventually it all came to a sudden stop as the four of them graduated. It had only been four years, but it
seemed to have ...
“BOTTOM! YOU’RE HERE!” A teenage girl and young boy threw themselves down the stairs of the large
house as Bottom and Ains...
The little blond boy came over to Ainsley and looked up with an inquisitive expression, “You’re green.”

Blinking, she loo...
“Tey, don’t drown her in questions.” Puck came out and interrupted the gregarious child, rescuing Ainsley.

“But Puck...” ...
Sliding his arms around her, Puck just grinned, “He’s my baby brother, so I know what he’s like. If you
give him an inch, ...
Taking Ainsley inside, Puck smiled, “Ainsley, this is my mother, Titania. Mom, this is Ainsley.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet...
Titania broke the awkward silence with a sparkling little laugh, “Oh Puck, it’s far too late for me to be
anything other t...
Waving her hand in a gesture that was both motherly and imperious, Titania said, “Puck, be a darling and
go fix some sandw...
Titania lead Ainsley up through the expansive house until they reached the attic and her inner sanctum.
Each step deeper i...
“T..training?” Ainsley gulped.

“Yes dear.” Titania smiled reassuringly, “I wish things had worked out so that you could h...
Ainsley’s expression twisted, “I.. I don’t want to be a Seer.” She swallowed and steeled her shoulders, “I
don’t even want...
Titania considered the young woman’s words and nodded with a smile, “For now. There will come a day
when you will not want...
“This is for us!?!?”
They stood outside the entrance of a home at the edge of the Summerdream estate. When Ainsley had first
seen it, she thoug...
Ainsley would definitely prefer that, but something about hearing it said aloud made her hesitate, “Oh
Puck, I never would...
Inside, Ainsley was breathless, “Oh Puck. This is amazing.”

Showing a hint of his own nervousness, Puck explained, “I hav...
Stepping up to her and taking her hands in his, Puck asked, “You’re not fibbing me, right? You really like
it?”

Letting h...
Puck pulled her closer, “You wouldn’t have said it, but you would have still felt it. What kind of man
would I be if I did...
He responded in the only way that made any sense.

~-~-~-~
Ainsley stood in front of a mirror, nervously assessing her appearance while smoothing down the strapless
dress once more....
Ainsley’s eyes flew upwards and her jaw dropped open as she lifted a hand to her chest, “Fee! You came!”

The redhead in t...
Forgetting about her appearance, Ainsley moved over to pull Fiona into a fierce hug. Her voice grew thick
with emotion, “I...
Fiona gently pulled back as she smiled softly and teased gently, “Oh god, don’t cry. You’ll ruin your make
up and everyone...
Ainsley couldn’t help smiling, “Promise me you’ll stay long enough for us to talk later. We need to get
caught up. Go get ...
Outside, the guests had gathered in the seats set up out by the pond. All of Puck’s adopted brothers and
sisters were ther...
And if Titania seemed a little pleased with herself regarding that fact, no one was going to question her on
it.

“Stop fi...
“This is nice, isn’t it?” Mercutio asked leadingly as he sat beside Bottom.

Bottom looked out over the crowd and gave a s...
Bottom responded with a shrug, “Oh Merc. I love you, but I don’t want to get married right now. I’m
happy with the way thi...
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of ...
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime decl...
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in...
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

  ~William Shakespeare
“There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Titania, still beaming from watching her eldest child get married,
turned to Ober...
As he walked away from her, his expression darkened with frustration and just a hint of distaste. Under
his breath he murm...
Unaware of one guest’s ill wishes, Ainsley and Puck enjoyed their day without any worries. Much to
Ainsley’s delight, Puck...
That isn’t to say they didn’t party it down. With everyone taking turns at the DJ booth to keep the music
flowing, the dan...
The last guest to leave was the one Ainsley had been happiest to have there to share their day.
Unfortunately, goodbyes ev...
Leaning closer, Fiona spoke privately even though Ainsley was standing right there and could hear every
word, “She really ...
Fiona turned to cousin, but before she could say anything, she was engulfed in a hug. Ainsley whispered,
“I wish you could...
“Be safe, Fee.”

“You too, Aine.” She paused and said with a smile, “This isn’t the last time you’ll see me. I promise.”

...
That night, Puck slid onto the bed and paused, “You put your hair back into a braid.” Though it was a
statement, it was vo...
Sliding over and pulling her close, Puck smiled, “Love, I’d think you were gorgeous even if you shaved all
your hair off. ...
~-~-~-~
The next morning, Ainsley showered and dressed. Pausing to look in the mirror to check her makeup,
she hesitated. Sliding ...
Taking a deep breath, she looked at her reflection once more. The many years of wearing her hair in a
braid gave it a wave...
Puck’s reaction was all she needed to know she’d made the right decision. His face lit up when he saw her
hair pulled back...
It wasn’t too long after the wedding before Ainsley woke up in the morning feeling nauseous. The first
time it happened, s...
Puck was thrilled when she told him. By the time she was showing, he was as excited as she was.

For Ainsley, having a fam...
Since Ainsley couldn’t exactly perform as a dancer while heavily pregnant, she spent much of her time
putting finishing to...
Leaning down to look in the glass and watch the fish swim back and forth through their little world, she
smiled. Whisperin...
“How’s little Cali doing?” Ainsley asked a few nights later during game night. They’d quickly established
an open door pol...
Tybalt grunted, “As long as she doesn’t bring any guys over.”

“You talk about her like she’s still a teenager, Ty.” Ainsl...
Ainsley frowned at the tower of sticks on top of the llama, “The baby’s fine. A little restless tonight, but
that may be t...
Ainsley stumbled up out of the chair with another cry of pain as she clutched her pregnant belly, “Oh ow..
Puck! Puck, I t...
The baby was a little early, so there was an unexpected audience for the birth. As everyone got out of the
way to give the...
Whether or not they wanted an audience, whether or not they were ready, it didn’t matter. The baby was
on the way.

Ainsle...
Moments later she was staring in amazement at a tiny, blond baby girl, “She’s… beautiful.”

“You’re both beautiful.” Puck ...
Hero was a content, happy baby. She rarely fussed and was extremely curious about the world around her.
The blond hair had...
“So.” One night after dinner after Hero had been put down to sleep, Puck approached Ainsley in the
kitchen as she finished...
Puck gave a little shake of his head, “I’m not saying we need to be crazy and have ten kids or anything,
Aine. I think my ...
And insist he did. They didn’t get pregnant that time, but they certainly made a game of trying any chance
they could get.
That isn’t to say they neglected their daughter. Hero was a good baby, but they both loved getting a turn at
taking care o...
Time flies while you’re living your life, though. Before they knew it, their little baby’s birthday had arrived.
There was...
... and Hero was tossed into toddlerhood.
They’d already figured out that Hero’s blond hair came from the Doran line and that her obsidian eyes
came from Ainsley, b...
Sitting amidst the party goers either dancing or grabbing slices of cake, Hero looked up at Oberon as he
danced with Julie...
“Never you mind them, little one.” Titania lifted Hero up into her arms and gave the child a
grandmotherly kiss on the for...
Titania smiled and obliged her granddaughter as she began to sway to the music, joining in with the other
dancers, “You ha...
“You’re sure she’s sleeping?” Puck scooped his wife into his lap and waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Ainsley laughed a...
“They’re only easier until they hit puberty, then they’re much, much harder. I was there when Bo hit
puberty and became th...
In an instant, both of them were on their feet and racing towards the nursery. Amazingly, Puck didn’t drop
Ainsley to the ...
Throwing open the door, the two young parents rushed in with no idea what to expect.

Puck’s jaw dropped and his eyes wide...
“Mama! Dadda! Look! Hewo fwy!”

The little girl hovered about five feet off the ground while a playful tornado of toys swi...
Puck blinked a few more times before he stated rather succinctly, “I think we need to call my mother.”

~-~-~-~
Later that night, Puck sat on the couch holding his head, “How did this happen?”

Ainsley fidgeted beside him, obviously u...
Titania gave an amused chuckle at her son and daughter-in-law as she watched her granddaughter happily
float up to the cei...
“Come here, munchkin.” Titania reached up to pull the little girl down into her arms, “Your parents are a
little unnerved ...
What Titania had said slowly began to sink in, bringing them out of their initial reaction. Ainsley worried
at her finger ...
“Of course not, Puck.” Titania smiled at Hero as she murmured to the little girl, “Stop thinking like a bird,
love. Mommy ...
“But ..” Puck hesitated and then shrugged helplessly, “There was never anything special about me, Mom.
How can my bloodlin...
“Normal is overrated, dear. Still, there is something to said for being able to fit in when necessary.” Titania
gave Ainsl...
Taking a deep breath, Ainsley looked up at Titania with a resigned expression, “Alright. When do we
begin?”

~-~-~-~
After that momentous day, life settled back into a somewhat normal routine for the little family. Though
very young, Hero ...
In between teaching and caring for Hero, Puck and Ainsley continued to try for another baby without
much success. Their re...
... and again and again.

Hero’s next birthday was fast approaching and there was still no sign of another pregnancy.
Ainsley settled her head against Puck’s shoulder as he wrapped his arm protectively around her. Sighing
softly, she murmur...
“The pool of water acts as a focal point to direct the vision. As you know intimately, it is not a required
tool since imp...
Ainsley’s shoulders slumped, “I’m sorry, Titania. I just..” She shrugged, “I’ll try and focus.”

“Child, if your mind is w...
Titania looked at her for a long, searching moment before she gave a little shake of her head, “No, there is
naught wrong ...
“They’re not, though. They’re a burden and I don’t want to see my children suffer.”

“Ainsley.” Titania’s tone was firm, “...
Ainsley’s brow furrowed as she thought about that. Could she be the strength and heart for her family?
Was that ability ev...
Titania smiled and held her hands out to her, “Dear child, I have been waiting to hear those words for far
longer than you...
After that, Ainsley grew more comfortable with her unique situation and odd little family. It might not be
as normal as sh...
Even though it wouldn’t have hurt anything outside, an odd sense of modesty sent her hurtling towards
the house as her bre...
Everything she’d eaten since the night before came up in one nauseating burst. She remembered feeling
like this right afte...
Not this time, though. The following night, Ainsley woke up and climbed out of bed only to realize that
they had finally s...
And then she let loose with a joyous yell loud enough to wake the neighbors several streets over, “YES!!!”

From Puck’s st...
“You’re pregnant! You’re really pregnant.” Gently touching the swell of her belly, he looked up at her with
an adoring exp...
“The rest of the guests won’t arrive until Puck gets home from work, but I have everything ready and
Hero is down for a na...
“... I do wonder what your surprise could possibly be.”
The two women sat down on the couch and Ainsley stared with her mouth open, “How did this happen?”

“Well, when a man and ...
Bottom sighed and shifted to get more comfortable, “Nothing, really. I mean, we’ve been happy living
together since we gra...
“You also weren’t very careful about the things you were throwing at him when you found out either.”
Jaiden came in with a...
“I’m definitely ready for this baby to be born.” She gave a quiet smile as she answered, “Beyond that, we’re
all doing rea...
The sound of the doorbell ringing interrupted the chat, causing all three pregnant women to rise at once.

Ainsley smiled,...
Sure enough, as soon as Puck walked in the door, his precocious little girl was demanding to blow out the
candles on her b...
Ainsley paused as everyone cheered her daughter on. Thoughtfully, she looked around at all their guests.
Since she had beg...
“Mama! You not cheerin’!” Hero drew her attention back to the party at hand.

“Sorry, punkin!” Ainsley smiled and swung th...
Moments after Hero grew into a precocious child, she became the life of the party. While she wasn’t quite
on eye level wit...
Though they’d loved her adorable days as a toddler, having Hero around the house as a child was a whole
new experience. Sh...
It was on an unseasonably cold, spring day with snow on the ground when the day finally arrived.

“I hate this part!” Ains...
“I’m here, love. Hang in there.” There wasn’t really anything Puck could do, but at least he was there to
provide moral su...
Moments later, Ainsley held another beautiful baby girl in her arms.

Puck gave a relieved, happy smile, “She’s got your c...
“Twins!” Ainsley stared in shock at the red headed baby boy that had just joined his twin sister, “It’s a
boy.”

Puck stay...
They definitely hadn’t been expecting twins, but Ainsley and Puck were quickly won over by the whole
idea. After all, they...
When the time came for the twins’ birthday, they decided to not have a party. Though they loved their
family and friends, ...
Within moments of each other, just like when they had been born, Rosalind and Lysander were spun into
toddlers. As Puck an...
Despite looking as different as night and day, Lysander and Rosalind were amazingly close. Where one
was, the other was su...
Of course, it was soon discovered that they weren’t going to be the babies for very long.

“Oh my!” Ainsley stared at her ...
Early summer had arrived, bringing with it warm weather and a thriving garden. Though she was
pregnant, Ainsley was happy ...
She paused and closed her eyes as she tilted her face towards the sun. Taking the moment to reflect on her
life, Ainsley r...
She was married to a wonderful, creative and talented man that loved her as much as she loved him.
Together they’d worked ...
Hero had proven to be a wonderful big sister. There had been a little jealousy when the twins were
infants, but once they ...
.. well, until the last baby was born.

Ainsley rose up from where she’d been kneeling in the garden and clutched her stom...
Puck dropped the phone and ran outside, quickly followed by Hero who had heard the shout as well.
Puck tried to calm his o...
Well, the answer to Hero’s question was that it was both. Surprising both Ainsley and Puck, they had
another set of twins....
Hero suddenly leapt up into the air and did a twirling loop-de-loop above her parents’ heads, “TWINS!
Yay! I got another b...
And here we come to the end of Part Four! Part Five should hopefully be up within a week or so,
concluding this generation...
BRRL - Gen Five - Part Four
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BRRL - Gen Five - Part Four

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Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy - Generation Five - Part Four

Staring Ainesly Doran, continuing her story as she graduates from college and moves to Veronaville to marry Puck and start her own family.

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BRRL - Gen Five - Part Four

  1. 1. “You do realize I yell at the children for sitting on the counter like that, yes?” Titania raised an eyebrow as she moved around Oberon to finish preparing dinner. “I was tired of standing.” Oberon responded nonchalantly as he gave her a teasing smile. Settling onto the counter, he turned to watch her work, “Besides, you’ve always had a soft sport for charming rogues, present company included.” Titania gave a soft laugh and a shake of her head as she turned back to the salmon in front of her, “You could have brought a stool in. How long are you planning on staying this visit, Obie?” “You know I don’t like it when you call me that.” In response, she just gave him a knowing little smile.
  2. 2. “I have a few weeks before I need to go back.” He fell silent for a moment as she moved over towards the stove. An unguarded smile formed on his face as he watched her. Oberon continued, “I was thinking we could take a few days and go up to the lake. What do you say, Tania? A romantic weekend, just you and me?” “It sounds lovely. We’ll have to see, though. Emalyn is still a bit young to be left in charge of Tey and Warner and Pendelton have both been talking about going up to SGU for a weekend to get a feel for the campus.” A growl escaped his throat as he looked away from her to hide his frustration, “Your children are always in the way, Tania.”
  3. 3. She made a cluck of disapproval as she placed the pan on the stove, but her smile did not waver, “Differing points of view, love. You see them as in the way because you cannot get what you want when you want it. From my perspective, I see them filling my world with life, laughter and love.” She turned her attention back to the stove, “I do wish you would accept that they are an important part of my life.” He grunted unhappily and was silent for a long moment before he responded, “I would have loved to have given you as many children as you wanted, Tania. We could have raised them together. There’s still time for us.” Titania gave an amused, soft smile as she arched an eyebrow in his direction, “You are asking early this year.”
  4. 4. Sliding off the counter and moving to slide his arms around her, he purred intimately, “Let ME fill your world with life, laughter and love, Titania Summerdream. Marry me.” Looking into his eyes for a long moment, she gave him another of her mysterious little smiles, “No.” Still, she slid her arms around him affectionately as she asked, “What makes you so impatient this year, love?” For a brief moment, another flicker of angry frustration crossed his face, but then he pushed it away and gave her a sad smile, “Reminders that time passes and all things change.”
  5. 5. “I thought that was my line.” Leaning against him and sliding her arms up his back, Titania gave a wistful sigh, “Perhaps for this weekend, I can make arrangements for us to go up to the lake together. After all, I do counsel my children to savor those they love whenever the opportunity presents itself. One can never tell when life will change.” ~-~-~-~
  6. 6. “What unholy monster wrote these questions!? These are impossible.” Mercutio announced his pain to the world as he and Tybalt sat at the kitchen table working on class assignments. “Yelling at your homework is not going to make it easier, Monty.” Tybalt scribbled in another answer as he calmly worked on his own assignment. Wrinkling his ample nose, Mercutio frowned, “Hey, Mr. Access to the Best Tutors Growing Up, some of us have a little trouble with history.” “Hmm. That is quite a problem.” Tybalt didn’t look up, “Considering that you’re working on your developmental psychology homework.” The bickering between Mercutio and Tybalt had generally continued unabated, but it had taken on a significantly lighter tone as the two adjusted to being ‘not-enemies’. Though neither would admit it, their relationship was what most people would call ‘friendship’.
  7. 7. Everyone in the house had smoothly adjusted to life off campus in the house they were renting together. Most of them were studious enough to stay on top of their varying studies while also keeping the more playful members (i.e. Mercutio) on track as well. Bottom had acquired a couple of mostly-functional computers to create their own little lab for term papers and internet surfing. For the more creative residents, Ainsley had installed a ballet barre in her room so she could practice at home and Puck had set up his own little studio space in the kitchen.
  8. 8. Life off campus was not all work and no play even if they did keep up with their grades. It wasn’t long before the house became one of the more popular spots on or off campus. Friends stopped by at all hours, usually to get a taste of something other than cafeteria food. There was pretty much a guaranteed party each weekend. A couple of the parties even gained the attention of the local constabulary. There was never any major trouble, but a couple of times they were asked to quiet things down.
  9. 9. In addition to their campus friends, the house also became a refuge for their respective families. Early on, there were a couple of incidents when it came close to blows between Tybalt and Romeo, but somehow the two kept their tempers for the sake of their siblings. It was unlikely the two would ever be friends, but they were at least building up a degree of tolerance. For Mercutio’s part, he NEVER had any complaints when Tybalt’s female relatives came by to hang out. Especially when they decided to make use of the beach across the street or the hot tub out back.
  10. 10. Well, at least he didn’t have any complaints until Tybalt had decided he’d leered long enough. All in all, things were going well for all five of them. Ainsley, Bottom, Mercutio and Tybalt all continued pushing through their junior years while Puck put the finishing touches on his degree with his senior year projects.
  11. 11. Beyond education and fun, romance also seemed to fill the house. Ainsley and Puck’s relationship carried a hint of tentativeness in the early days, but they quickly moved past that and into something warm, passionate and comfortable. It seemed that once the barriers between them admitting their feelings came down, their relationship couldn’t help but race forward. No matter how afraid they were of moving too fast, it still felt right.
  12. 12. The dark visions of their potential future still worried Ainsley, but she realized that Puck had been right about visions not always being a sealed fate. She shared with him the very first vision she had ever had and how it changed her family’s life, but how it hadn’t ended in the bloodbath she originally saw. Occasionally the nightmares would still come, but Puck was there to hold her each time, soothing away her fears.
  13. 13. On the other end of the spectrum, Bo and Mercutio were the epitome of a strong couple refusing to acknowledge any sort of commitment. Their relationship was playful, affectionate and heated. Though Mercutio had already decided he would spend the rest of his life with her, Bottom refused to put a label on what they had. Regardless of that, it was common knowledge across campus that they were a serious couple no matter what they called it.
  14. 14. For Tybalt, his relationship with Jaiden quickly became something very serious. They found they were a well matched pair, surprising most of their friends. Jaiden could bring him out of his darker moods easier than anyone. Meanwhile, Tybalt had developed a respect for her as an equal such that he challenged her to drive herself even harder towards the goals she wasn’t sure she was capable of. It didn’t take too long before Tybalt had decided that she was the only one for him. When he called his grandfather to explain the situation, the conversation did not go well. By the time Tybalt hung up the phone, he was frustrated and disappointed, but also even more determined. Besides, it was about time his grandfather realized that Hermia was interested in the family’s businesses and would be more suited to taking over.
  15. 15. The year seemed to last a lifetime and a moment all in the same breath. It wasn’t long before finals had come and Puck had graduated. ~-~-~-~
  16. 16. Finals may have been over, but the day was still young. Of course, all that brain power had stoked their appetites, so the first thing the housemates did upon returning home was settle down for lunch. Looking down the table at her friends as they ate, Ainsley smiled. Life was good. Turning her attention to the man across the table from her, she said, “Congratulations on acing your exams, Puck.” Looking up to meet her gaze, he smiled, “Well, they still need time to post the final grades, but thank you.” “So how do you want to celebrate now that you’re officially a graduate?”
  17. 17. As Puck looked back at her, a boyish smile formed while his eyebrows listed speculatively, causing her to blush and laugh. With a furtive glance down at the other end of the table, she whispered, “Later.” Satisfied with that answer, he considered the question more seriously, “I thought about doing the traditional big party, but I think I would rather spend the day with you guys. Why don’t we make a day of it at the beach?” “That sounds lovely.” Ainsley looked back down the table at their housemates, “What do you guys think?”
  18. 18. There was something that might have been an affirmative response, but it was hard to interpret amidst the snorfling sounds of their three other roommates inhaling lunch. Bottom at least paused long enough to respond, “Sounds good to me.” Mercutio looked up and grinned before letting lose a rather spectacular belch.
  19. 19. “UGH! You guys are gross!” Puck held his nose and waved his hand to fend off the soup burp smell wafting across the table, “And for a second there I was regretting moving home tomorrow.” Tybalt grinned, “I think it’s a great idea. I’ll give Jaiden a call and have her meet us there.” So it was settled. Puck’s graduation would be celebrated without pomp and circumstance. Sand and sun would suffice. ~-~-~-~
  20. 20. Looking out over the lapping waves of the lake, Ainsley gave a contented sigh. “Penny for your thoughts.” Puck came up and stood beside her. He looked out at the waves for a moment, but found his gaze drawn back to her, memorizing her profile. “I was thinking about my family. I miss them so much sometimes.” Turning slightly, she looked at him and smiled softly, “But then I remember that I’ve got new family I care about too.” “I.. was thinking about family too, Ainsley.” Puck was nervous. He was never extremely outgoing, but his hesitation and uncertainty was uncharacteristic. Tilting her head, she gave him a questioning look.
  21. 21. “Well, I was adopted, right? I didn’t have to run for my life like you and your family did, but I guess it easily could have gone that way. Still, I do know that family is what you make of it. It’s the people you choose to let into your life and your heart. My mother taught me that above everything else.” His tongue darted over his lips in another nervous gesture as he took a deep breath, “But I also know that I want.. I want more.” Ainsley held her hands in front of her as she listened to him. She nodded in understanding, though she didn’t quite realize where he was going with this, “Me too.” “Good.” Her black eyes widened, “Puck, what are you doing?”
  22. 22. Sinking down to one knee on the sand, Puck looked up at her with a hopeful gaze, “Ainsley Doran, from the moment I met you, I knew you were special. Even if I was completely and incoherently drunk at the time.” She couldn’t help but give a little laugh, “Puck..” “No, let me finish.” Taking a deep breath, he slowly grew more confident as he gave her a lopsided, charming smile.
  23. 23. “The moment I met you, I knew you were special. Even when you were trying to avoid me or keep me at arms length, I knew you were someone I wanted to know. Then we kissed. That was the moment I knew I could love you with every fiber of my being and I would never want to be separated from you. Every happiness, every sadness, ever failure, every triumph. I want to share it with you, Ainsley. Everything.” Her eyes started to well with tears even as her smile felt like it was going to break her face.
  24. 24. Pulling a small velvet box out of his pocket, Puck popped it open to reveal the shining ring inside. With another deep breath, he whispered, “Will you marry me?” “Oh Puck..” Voice catching, Ainsley reached out and timidly touched the ring, almost afraid that it couldn’t possibly be real. Giving a desperate laugh, Puck pleaded, “Say yes, Ainsley. If you don’t, I think I’m going to fall over and pass out.”
  25. 25. “Yes, yes, yes, and yes again!” With those words, she threw herself into his arms. At that moment, it didn’t matter what the future held. Where they were at this moment was exactly as it should be.
  26. 26. “Did you know he was going to do that?” Tybalt raised an eyebrow as he looked away from the happy couple to the pair at his side. Bottom gave him a quirked smile, “I helped him pick out the ring a few weeks ago. I was beginning to wonder if he’d chickened out.” She sat perched on the back of the bench watching her brother with a pleased expression. Tybalt grunted in response, “Why am I so oblivious to these things?” Mercutio’s response was less than helpful, “Because you’re a guy?”
  27. 27. “What is that supposed to mean?” Tybalt turned and glared at the other man. Mercutio grinned as he leaned back into Bottom’s arms, “I don’t know. It’s something they say in the movies.” “They also say ‘Hasta La Vista, Baby’ before they open fire on a police squad room.” “Wrong movie. He said ‘I’ll be back’ in that one. Hasta La Bye-bye was in the second movie.” Bottom chuckled, “Boys, if you’re done tossing movie trivia at one another, I think our happy couple is done sucking face and ready to rejoin the rest of us here on the ground once more. Let’s get this party started.”
  28. 28. It wasn’t the largest party they’d ever thrown, but most of them would remember it as one of their best. It was, in every way, a perfect night. There was a full moon out, bathing the beach in a pale glow while the air coming off the lake was warm enough to be comfortable, but not so hot they didn’t enjoy the celebratory warmth of the bonfire.
  29. 29. It was an evening of good times and good friends, of grievances forgotten and friendships renewed. Not to mention, there were marshmallows.
  30. 30. As the night wound on, couples began pairing off for some quiet time. Bottom and Mercutio stood off to the side watching Tybalt and Jaiden dance in the flickering light of the bonfire. Bottom gave a soft snort, “I suppose it’s not too long before he proposes to her, isn’t it?” “Considering he got the ring last week, probably not.” Mercutio gave a shrug, “They’re good together.” “Wait, you know about Tybalt buying a ring? How do you know that?” “He told me.” Bottom blinked and then laughed, “I never thought I’d see the day.”
  31. 31. Mercutio stepped up to her and slid his arms around her waist, “What? Never see the day that Tybalt got married or that he’d confide in me about it? He said something about taking me along so he could do the exact opposite of whatever I recommended.” Bottom smiled and wrapped her arms around him, “That sounds like him.” Raising both eyebrows, Mercutio regarded her for a long moment before he admitted, “I thought about buying a ring too.” Her cheeks colored and she smiled, “You did?” “Yep. I thought about it, but didn’t buy one. Only because I know you.” He gave her a crooked grin, “Marry me, hot stuff?”
  32. 32. Giving a snort and wrapping her arms around him, Bottom laughed, “No. But I will stick with you for now. You make me laugh, Merc.” He grunted but hugged her back anyway. He hadn’t expected a different response. “Well, as long as I don’t make you laugh in the bedroom.” “Well, now that you mention it...” “Hey now!”
  33. 33. “Penny for your thoughts?” Ainsley and Puck lay together on the sand watching the stars as the bonfire crackled behind them. She rolled up onto her shoulder so she could look down into his face. “I was just thinking about how lucky I am.” His hand gently caressed her shoulder. “Despite everything, I grew up with a great family and had more brothers and sisters than any orphan has a right to. On top of that, I was able to go to school for my art and actually be successful at it.” Turning slightly to face her, his expression took on a glow, “And on top of that, somehow I ended up with a girl who is out of this world. Literally.” Ainsley laughed and nuzzled his shoulder, “Did I ever tell you which star my father said I came from? He had this whole fabulous story about it.”
  34. 34. There would be other nights that would vie for the title of ‘best night ever’, but the night of Puck’s graduation and their proposal would always rank as one of the highest for both Ainsley and Puck. It was a good night for endings and beginnings. ~-~-~-~
  35. 35. After Puck moved back to Veronaville, the next year seemed to fly by. As seniors, their workload was simultaneously easier and harder all at the same time. Though there might be fewer small assignments, the final projects took on more weight. They still found moments to enjoy themselves, but the year became a blur of projects, performances, presentations and parties.
  36. 36. Eventually it all came to a sudden stop as the four of them graduated. It had only been four years, but it seemed to have lasted a lifetime. Now it was time to start the rest of their lives. ~-~-~-~
  37. 37. “BOTTOM! YOU’RE HERE!” A teenage girl and young boy threw themselves down the stairs of the large house as Bottom and Ainsley stepped out of their taxi. Ainsley couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive as she looked at the large house and elfin children came running out. Even though she had become close with Puck and Bottom, there was still an instinctual and ingrained sense of caution when dealing with elves of any sort. “Damn Emalyn, you and Tey have gotten huge!” Bottom had no reservations of her own as she opened her arms for the teenager hurtling towards her. “You take that back! I am not huge!”
  38. 38. The little blond boy came over to Ainsley and looked up with an inquisitive expression, “You’re green.” Blinking, she looked down at him and gave a nervous smile, “I am. I’m part alien.” She hesitated and then said, “You must be Tey. I’m ...” Before she could get much out, he interrupted her. “Really? You’re part alien? That’s really cool. I’ve heard there are nymphs and stuff that are green too, so I was wondering if maybe you were one of them. Or maybe a dryad. Warner tells me I’m silly for believing in them, but we’re elves and if elves exist, then why don’t the other things exist? But Puck is going to marry you, isn’t he? That means you’ll have part alien babies and if you have one soon they’ll be old enough to play with me before too long, right?” She just stared with an open mouth as the questions and comments came pouring out of the blond little boy.
  39. 39. “Tey, don’t drown her in questions.” Puck came out and interrupted the gregarious child, rescuing Ainsley. “But Puck...” He took one look at his older brother’s expression and began to pout, “You’re no fun. I just wanted to know what it was like to be an alien and be an elf at the same time and why she was going to marry you and where she came from...” “Tey.” Puck grinned, “Go bug Bo. She brought you home a present.” “Woo!” Ainsley turned towards the stairs with an embarrassed smile as the boy rushed over towards the other woman, “My hero. Rescuing me from the questions of a grade schooler.”
  40. 40. Sliding his arms around her, Puck just grinned, “He’s my baby brother, so I know what he’s like. If you give him an inch, he’ll have you locked down with questions for the rest of the evening, and I’m not about to let anyone other than me monopolize your attention.” A blush colored her green cheeks as she kissed him, “I missed you.” “Missed you too. Come on, there’s someone I’ve been wanting you to meet. Hopefully this one will actually behave like an adult.”
  41. 41. Taking Ainsley inside, Puck smiled, “Ainsley, this is my mother, Titania. Mom, this is Ainsley.” “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Summerdream.” Ainsley swallowed as she finally met the woman she’d been hearing so much about for the last couple of years. Titania stood there for a long, awkward moment as she looked Ainsley over. Her gaze seemed to see something different than what was on the surface, looking at something no one else could see. “Uhm.. Mom?” Puck sighed, “Please don’t be completely weird.”
  42. 42. Titania broke the awkward silence with a sparkling little laugh, “Oh Puck, it’s far too late for me to be anything other than completely weird.” Turning to Ainsley she said, “Please dear, call me Titania. Mrs. Summerdream makes me feel like I should be wearing a matronly muumuu or some such.” “Oh, I’m sorr..” “Hush dear.” Titania leaned forward and planted a kiss on Ainsley’s cheek, surprising the girl, “I am pleased to finally meet the young lady that’s made the lives of my children so interesting.”
  43. 43. Waving her hand in a gesture that was both motherly and imperious, Titania said, “Puck, be a darling and go fix some sandwiches for lunch. There’s some chicken salad in the yellow bowl and there are deli meats in the drawer.” Her gaze never left Ainsley, “Your young lady and I have some things we need to discuss privately.” Ainsley’s expression took on a look of panic as she squeaked, “We do?” “Yes dear, we do.” She laughed at the expression on the young woman’s face, “Don’t worry, it is nothing horrible, just a long overdue conversation.” Puck had a pained expression on his face, “Mom..” At her pointed look he sighed. He knew better than to argue with that particular look. “I’ll go make some sandwiches.” ~-~-~-~
  44. 44. Titania lead Ainsley up through the expansive house until they reached the attic and her inner sanctum. Each step deeper into the house seemed to make Ainsley even more nervous. The secret door through the bookcase did nothing to ease her worries, but it was the innate sense of power radiating from the tiny room that made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. “So, this is it.” Titania smiled and gestured grandly at her little room and the weird painted symbols on the walls. Ainsley blinked as if she’d missed something, “This is.. what?” “Where we’ll be training.”
  45. 45. “T..training?” Ainsley gulped. “Yes dear.” Titania smiled reassuringly, “I wish things had worked out so that you could have joined me at a younger age, but we cannot always get what we want. Your abilities and gifts are quite powerful, so it is only logical that you will be my apprentice. You are a touch old for such things, but we work with what we are given.” “Apprentice?” Shaking her head, Ainsley quickly backpedaled, “Why would you want me as an apprentice? I don’t...” Titania’s tone was patient as she spoke, “Ainsley, you do not need to pretend with me. I know who you are, I know what you are, and I know what you are capable of. The visions still come to you and they’re still strong even though you are past adolescence. With training, you could become a magnificent Seer.”
  46. 46. Ainsley’s expression twisted, “I.. I don’t want to be a Seer.” She swallowed and steeled her shoulders, “I don’t even want the visions. They’re horrible and I wish they would go away.” Taking a deep breath, she confessed, “I just want to be normal. I want to marry Puck and have a family with him. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be your apprentice.”
  47. 47. Titania considered the young woman’s words and nodded with a smile, “For now. There will come a day when you will not want to hide from your abilities. On that day, I will still be here for you.” She reached out and gave a maternal pat to the young woman’s shoulder, “Let us go downstairs and rejoin the others for lunch. I believe Puck has a surprise he wishes to share with you after we eat.” ~-~-~-~
  48. 48. “This is for us!?!?”
  49. 49. They stood outside the entrance of a home at the edge of the Summerdream estate. When Ainsley had first seen it, she thought it must be the neighbor’s house. What she was hearing was something completely different than she had expected, “This whole thing?” “It was the old gatehouse. No one’s lived here in years and Mom was mostly using it as storage.” He gave her a tentative smile, “She told me I could have it as a graduation present. I guess she figured I could use it as a home and studio space. It needed some work, but I figured you’d prefer living here than sharing a house with my mother.”
  50. 50. Ainsley would definitely prefer that, but something about hearing it said aloud made her hesitate, “Oh Puck, I never would have.. I mean, your mother is a wonderful woman.” “A wonderful, weird, awkward, intimidating and pushy woman.” Puck grinned, “She’s set in her ways and it wouldn’t be fair to you. Do you like it?” She blushed and looked at the house, “It’s gorgeous, but can we afford this?” “Come on, let me show you the inside.”
  51. 51. Inside, Ainsley was breathless, “Oh Puck. This is amazing.” Showing a hint of his own nervousness, Puck explained, “I haven’t really gotten any furniture and the paint’s still a little wet in some of the rooms. I painted or wallpapered most of the main rooms since I wanted it to be ready for us to move in when you graduated. I hope the colors are okay. I didn’t do all the rooms because I figured you might want to decorate them, especially the nursery.” At the mention of the nursery, Ainsley blushed again and smiled softly at him, “I love it.”
  52. 52. Stepping up to her and taking her hands in his, Puck asked, “You’re not fibbing me, right? You really like it?” Letting him begin waltzing her around the empty room, Ainsley nodded, “I do. It’s better than anything I imagined.” “Well, that’s because you imagined living with my mother, didn’t you?” She laughed, “Maybe, but I never would have said that out loud.”
  53. 53. Puck pulled her closer, “You wouldn’t have said it, but you would have still felt it. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t see that. So, do you think we can make a family here?” “I think I would be willing to make a family with you anywhere, Puck Summerdream.” “Speaking of that, I’ve been thinking.” He held her closer as he said with a little smile, “I want to take your last name. My mother told me a little bit about your great-great-something-great grandmother and how she’d always wanted to found a legacy. It makes the Doran name as noble as anything else we could choose. I want to help you carry the family name on.” Breathless with a happy laugh, Ainsley declared, “Shut up and kiss me before I start crying.”
  54. 54. He responded in the only way that made any sense. ~-~-~-~
  55. 55. Ainsley stood in front of a mirror, nervously assessing her appearance while smoothing down the strapless dress once more. Raising a hesitant hand, she smoothed the hair back from the delicately pointed ears that were so obvious with her hair pulled back in this style. Biting her lip, she considered for a moment, “Maybe I should wear it down.” “Oh please. As if you’ll suddenly be less pretty than you are.” An amused voice came from behind her, “Deal with it, cous. You’re gorgeous and stunning and nothing you say or do is ever going to change that fact.”
  56. 56. Ainsley’s eyes flew upwards and her jaw dropped open as she lifted a hand to her chest, “Fee! You came!” The redhead in the reflection smiled, “Pfft. Of course I came. Like I would miss your wedding.”
  57. 57. Forgetting about her appearance, Ainsley moved over to pull Fiona into a fierce hug. Her voice grew thick with emotion, “I’ve missed you so much.” Fiona couldn’t help but smile as she hugged back with equal ferocity, “Once I got the invitation, wild horses and plagues of locusts couldn’t have kept me away.” She paused and asked, “Did you get ahold of anyone else?” Closing her eyes tight against the tears that threatened to ruin her makeup, Ainsley shook her head, “I tried, but I couldn’t find anyone else. You’re the only one I’ve been able to keep in touch with.” Voice choking up, she said, “I wanted so much for my family to be here.”
  58. 58. Fiona gently pulled back as she smiled softly and teased gently, “Oh god, don’t cry. You’ll ruin your make up and everyone will know it’s my fault. I don’t want that on my conscience.” Ainsley laughed and repeated herself, “I’ve missed you.” “I’ve missed you too, Aine.” Fiona smiled and reached a hand up to touch the delicate point of her cousin’s ear, “I can’t believe you found more half-breeds like us.” “I need to introduce you to Puck. Oh, and Bo and Merc, and Ty and Jaiden. And all of Puck’s family is going to be here. They’re all wonderful and they’ve heard all about you and..” “Whoa there, Aine.” Fiona smiled, “I’m no social butterfly like you. You can worry about introductions later. I seem to remember this very important ceremony that’s supposed to start at any moment now.”
  59. 59. Ainsley couldn’t help smiling, “Promise me you’ll stay long enough for us to talk later. We need to get caught up. Go get your seat. I’ll be out in a moment. I just need to fix my makeup.” Fiona rolled her eyes but smiled fondly, “I’ll see you out there.” ~-~-~-~
  60. 60. Outside, the guests had gathered in the seats set up out by the pond. All of Puck’s adopted brothers and sisters were there along with his mother. Friends that might as well be family were there, as well as many of their other friends from college. The ceremony was an event that no one wanted to miss. It was a beautiful day with the weather as perfect as it was capable of being. It was almost as if it didn’t have a choice.
  61. 61. And if Titania seemed a little pleased with herself regarding that fact, no one was going to question her on it. “Stop fidgeting, Obie. The ceremony will begin soon.” “You said that ten minutes ago.” Oberon sighed and straightened his jacket once more before shifting in his seat to look at her, “It will start soon, right?” “Yes, dear.”
  62. 62. “This is nice, isn’t it?” Mercutio asked leadingly as he sat beside Bottom. Bottom looked out over the crowd and gave a shrug, “If you like an over abundance of taffeta and flowers.” “Aw, come on, Bo. You know this is perfect for Aine and Puck.” Mercutio paused a moment and added, “Personally, I think you’re more of an autumn wedding type of girl. Little harder to do an outdoor reception, but the colors would be better for you.” Looking back at him, she arched an eyebrow, “Are you asking me to marry you, Mercutio Monty?” “Maybe?”
  63. 63. Bottom responded with a shrug, “Oh Merc. I love you, but I don’t want to get married right now. I’m happy with the way things are. Why do we have to slap labels on our relationship just because everyone else thinks we should get married?” Glancing away, he shrugged, “I’m not trying to pressure you, Bo. I just wanted to remind you occasionally that I’m here, I’m ready, and I’m willing to marry you any time or any way you want.” He turned back to smile at her and then made a little ‘ooh’ sound, “Here she comes.” The guests all fell silent as they turned to watch the bride approach.
  64. 64. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
  65. 65. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
  66. 66. But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
  67. 67. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. ~William Shakespeare
  68. 68. “There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Titania, still beaming from watching her eldest child get married, turned to Oberon. Giving a quiet chuckle, he shook his head, “No, it wasn’t too bad at all. They seemed very honest with their vows.” Raising his eyebrows, he commented, “I can think of one thing that would make this better. Tania, would you..” Leaning forward and giving him a fond, gentle kiss to stop what he was about to say, she smiled her mysterious little smile, “Not right now, love. Let’s not distract from their day. It belongs to them after all.” His smile tightened, but he returned the kiss, “I’m going to go see if the buffet is opened.”
  69. 69. As he walked away from her, his expression darkened with frustration and just a hint of distaste. Under his breath he murmured, “Enjoy it while you can.”
  70. 70. Unaware of one guest’s ill wishes, Ainsley and Puck enjoyed their day without any worries. Much to Ainsley’s delight, Puck had arranged for all the traditional wedding trimmings, including a wedding cake that she delicately fed him a bite of. The day was everything she’d dreamed of since she was a little girl and dared hope for some hint of normal happiness.
  71. 71. That isn’t to say they didn’t party it down. With everyone taking turns at the DJ booth to keep the music flowing, the dance floor was never empty. Some dancers were a little more skilled than others, but everyone had a good time, including the bride and groom. By the time the sun was getting ready to set, everyone had eaten and danced their fill, declaring it a fabulous reception. ~-~-~-~
  72. 72. The last guest to leave was the one Ainsley had been happiest to have there to share their day. Unfortunately, goodbyes eventually needed to be said. Before that, though, Ainsley dragged Fiona over to meet Puck. Practically shoving the two together, she stood back and watched anxiously as two of the most important people in her life met for the first time. “It’s really great to finally meet you.” Puck smiled as he shook Fiona’s hand, “Aine’s told me so much about you.” Fiona’s mouth quirked up at the edges, “I can imagine the horror stories. It is good to meet you finally. From her letters, I expected you to be about ten feet tall and glow like some sort of beacon of hope.” Puck’s cheeks colored, “No glowing.”
  73. 73. Leaning closer, Fiona spoke privately even though Ainsley was standing right there and could hear every word, “She really loves you, so take good care of her. If you hurt her, I’ll hunt you down and make you pay.” Though she was smiling, there was a hint of warning in her joking tone. “Fee..” Puck quirked a smile and nodded understandingly, “Gotcha. I wouldn’t expect any less.”
  74. 74. Fiona turned to cousin, but before she could say anything, she was engulfed in a hug. Ainsley whispered, “I wish you could stay.” “Yeah right. You wouldn’t want me around. I’d just get in the way.” Fiona hugged back, not worrying about wrinkling the wedding dress at this point. “That’s not true and you know it.” “I know.” Fiona gave a crooked little smile, “But I’ve got places to go and things to do. I’m thinking about heading out to the coast and getting a little place to stay for a while. Time to write my great novel.” “You’ll let me know wherever you end up, right?” “Right.”
  75. 75. “Be safe, Fee.” “You too, Aine.” She paused and said with a smile, “This isn’t the last time you’ll see me. I promise.” Pulling back, Ainsley regarded her cousin for a moment before she nodded with a half smile, “I know.” ~-~-~-~
  76. 76. That night, Puck slid onto the bed and paused, “You put your hair back into a braid.” Though it was a statement, it was voiced as a question. Despite the fact that they had been intimate together many times before, something about their first time together as husband and wife was making Ainsley nervous. Wearing his pajama top to force him not to wear one, she blinked, “You don’t like it?”
  77. 77. Sliding over and pulling her close, Puck smiled, “Love, I’d think you were gorgeous even if you shaved all your hair off. It just surprised me.” His eyes danced playfully as he slid his hand over her stomach and began unbuttoning the pajama top, “I liked seeing your ears. It’s easier to nibble them when you’re wearing your hair up.” A blush blossomed over her green cheeks even as she smiled and murmured teasingly, “Is that the only thing you like to nibble, Mr. Doran?” Puck leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers, “Let me show you just what I like, Mrs. Doran.”
  78. 78. ~-~-~-~
  79. 79. The next morning, Ainsley showered and dressed. Pausing to look in the mirror to check her makeup, she hesitated. Sliding onto the vanity stool, she ran a hand down her braid. She’d always worn her hair this way. Her earliest memories were of her father and mother taking turns braiding her hair. Ed would always tell her some outrageous, surreal story while deftly plaiting her hair into the long braid. Chloe would grumble affectionately about how much easier it was to take care of short hair, but still reassure Ainsley about how pretty she was. When she got older, she’d come to understand that the way she wore her hair was important to hide her elfin heritage. The braid had just been a part of her life for as long as she could remember. But that wasn’t necessary any longer, was it?
  80. 80. Taking a deep breath, she looked at her reflection once more. The many years of wearing her hair in a braid gave it a wave that cascaded from the ponytail, tickling the back of her neck. For a moment, she thought about taking it down and pulling it back into a braid. Then she pushed away from the vanity and went in search of her husband.
  81. 81. Puck’s reaction was all she needed to know she’d made the right decision. His face lit up when he saw her hair pulled back and the points of her ears showing for all the world to see. It had been time for a change. ~-~-~-~
  82. 82. It wasn’t too long after the wedding before Ainsley woke up in the morning feeling nauseous. The first time it happened, she wondered if something she’d eaten the night before wasn’t sitting well with her. By the second and third time it happened, though, she knew it was something else completely. She was definitely pregnant.
  83. 83. Puck was thrilled when she told him. By the time she was showing, he was as excited as she was. For Ainsley, having a family was something she’d always dreamed of. When she was on the run with her family, it seemed like an impossible desire, but once she married Puck, it seemed like something she might actually achieve. From Puck’s perspective, he’d never seen himself as a family man, but once he married Ainsley, filling the house with the laughter of children seemed like the most important thing they could do.
  84. 84. Since Ainsley couldn’t exactly perform as a dancer while heavily pregnant, she spent much of her time putting finishing touches on their home. Puck had done an amazing job setting up the house, but some rooms still needed to be finished and furnished. The nursery had been her favorite room to set up, but there were other touches she put elsewhere in the house. One of the most emotional for her was a fish tank at the bottom of the stairs.
  85. 85. Leaning down to look in the glass and watch the fish swim back and forth through their little world, she smiled. Whispering softly, she explained to the fish, “I never met my grandfather, but my daddy told me how much he loved having fish. I hope you make my baby as happy as those fish made my grandfather.” ~-~-~-~
  86. 86. “How’s little Cali doing?” Ainsley asked a few nights later during game night. They’d quickly established an open door policy for all their closest friends and one night each week they had everyone over for dinner and games. Tybalt frowned, “He’s going to hate that when he gets older. We should be calling him Caliban now so we get used to it.” Jaiden examined the board and considered where to place her next piece, “You worry too much, Ty. I was called Jay-jay when I was a kid and it didn’t do me any harm. Cali will know when to tell people to stop calling him that.” Looking up at Ainsley she smiled, “He’s doing great. Getting bigger every day. Juliette is babysitting tonight which should be amusing.”
  87. 87. Tybalt grunted, “As long as she doesn’t bring any guys over.” “You talk about her like she’s still a teenager, Ty.” Ainsley grinned as she leaned forward to place her own piece. “If she’d act like an adult, I’d treat her like an adult.” He grumped and then shrugged, “She’s my little sister. I’ll probably always treat her like a teenager.” He paused and asked, “How’s your baby doing?” Behind her, Puck spoke into the phone, “Mom, everything is fine. We’re just having some friends over. Nothing’s wrong, you don’t need to come over.”
  88. 88. Ainsley frowned at the tower of sticks on top of the llama, “The baby’s fine. A little restless tonight, but that may be the chili. Remind me to avoid Merc’s cooking when my stomach is feeling delicate.” Tybalt arched an eyebrow, “Shouldn’t I remind you to avoid Merc’s cooking at all times?” She laughed, “Oh don’t be silly, that’s just... OW!” “Ow? What’s ow? There’s no ow in this game.”
  89. 89. Ainsley stumbled up out of the chair with another cry of pain as she clutched her pregnant belly, “Oh ow.. Puck! Puck, I think it’s time! The baby, it’s time.” Puck made a sound of surprise and mumbled into the phone something about baby time and that he’d call his mother back later. The phone didn’t quite make it back into the cradle before he was rushing to his wife’s side, “Hang in there, Aine!”
  90. 90. The baby was a little early, so there was an unexpected audience for the birth. As everyone got out of the way to give the new mother space, Bottom stared in horror, “This is what birth is like?” Swallowing, she muttered to Mercutio, “I’m going to shoot you if you ever get me pregnant.” Mercutio wavered on his feet for a moment before saying in a weak voice, “I think I need to sit down.”
  91. 91. Whether or not they wanted an audience, whether or not they were ready, it didn’t matter. The baby was on the way. Ainsley gasped again and prepared for the spin, “Oh.. oh my! I think the baby’s coming now!”
  92. 92. Moments later she was staring in amazement at a tiny, blond baby girl, “She’s… beautiful.” “You’re both beautiful.” Puck came over, beaming with pride as only a new father can, “What do you want to call her?” Ainsley thought about it for a moment as she cradled her daughter, “Hero. I think it’s going to suit her.” Hero Doran looked up at her mother and happily cooed. The first member of generation six had arrived. ~-~-~-~
  93. 93. Hero was a content, happy baby. She rarely fussed and was extremely curious about the world around her. The blond hair had surprised her parents, but after thinking about it, they realized it must have come from Ainsley’s grandmother. She’d never met the woman, but she could remember her father exaggeratedly describing his mother’s fiery personality and beautiful blond hair.
  94. 94. “So.” One night after dinner after Hero had been put down to sleep, Puck approached Ainsley in the kitchen as she finished cleaning up the dishes. She arched an eyebrow and smiled, “So... what?” “You wanted a big family, right?” Puck stepped up and took her hands in his own. “I do, but..” She trailed off and then smiled sheepishly, “I wasn’t sure if you would want a lot of children.”
  95. 95. Puck gave a little shake of his head, “I’m not saying we need to be crazy and have ten kids or anything, Aine. I think my brain would explode at that. But, you want another baby. I want another baby.” His eyes danced as he leaned in teasingly, “At the very least I’d like to help you make another baby.” She couldn’t help but laugh and plant a quick kiss on his lips, “If you insist.”
  96. 96. And insist he did. They didn’t get pregnant that time, but they certainly made a game of trying any chance they could get.
  97. 97. That isn’t to say they neglected their daughter. Hero was a good baby, but they both loved getting a turn at taking care of her. Hero never wanted for food, attention or affection.
  98. 98. Time flies while you’re living your life, though. Before they knew it, their little baby’s birthday had arrived. There was only one thing to do. They threw a party. A cake was baked, family and friends were called up and invited over, and a birthday song was sung...
  99. 99. ... and Hero was tossed into toddlerhood.
  100. 100. They’d already figured out that Hero’s blond hair came from the Doran line and that her obsidian eyes came from Ainsley, but until she turned into a toddler, they weren’t quite sure who she took after the most. The moment everyone got a look at her, they realized the rest of her features came straight from Puck. From her little nose to her strong eyebrows, Hero was easily recognizable as Puck’s daughter. Personality wise, she was similar to both of them, inheriting her mother’s love of people and both of their good natures.
  101. 101. Sitting amidst the party goers either dancing or grabbing slices of cake, Hero looked up at Oberon as he danced with Juliette. Watching him for a moment with a curious tilt to her head, she screwed up her expression and gave a very eloquent toddler demand for attention, “Gah?” Oberon spared her the briefest of dismissive glances before turning his attention back to his dance partner. Before Hero could parse what that rejection meant, a pair of gentle hands reached down and scooped her up.
  102. 102. “Never you mind them, little one.” Titania lifted Hero up into her arms and gave the child a grandmotherly kiss on the forehead, “Oberon has always been more interested in dancing with pretty women when he gets the chance, and while you are pretty, you are not his type. Or even in his age bracket.” “Gah?” Hero inquired with a faint furrow between her brows. Titania had to laugh, “You look so much like your father, sweetling. He used to make that exact same face when he was your age.” “Gah!” Hero patted Titania’s shoulder and then began bouncing in time to the music like the rest of the party goers.
  103. 103. Titania smiled and obliged her granddaughter as she began to sway to the music, joining in with the other dancers, “You have a bright future ahead of you, my little Hero. I know you’re just going to soar to the highest heights.” “Gah!” ~-~-~-~
  104. 104. “You’re sure she’s sleeping?” Puck scooped his wife into his lap and waggled his eyebrows suggestively. Ainsley laughed as he leaned in suggestively, “Of course I am! You know she’s always good about taking her nap. We have another half an hour before she’ll wake up.” “Well then. That’s more than enough time to work on getting her a little brother, isn’t it?” “A brother? Why can’t we get her a little sister instead? Little girls are easier.” She wiggled into his lap and reached up to start undoing the buttons on his vest.
  105. 105. “They’re only easier until they hit puberty, then they’re much, much harder. I was there when Bo hit puberty and became the hormonal sister from hell.” Puck nibbled her chin, “Either way, even though we’ve been practicing this baby-making process, we haven’t been having much luck, so we better get to it.” “Practice makes perfect?” “Our babies are already going to be perfect.” As she laughed and leaned in with a passionate kiss, there was a sudden THUD and a surprised yelp from the nursery.
  106. 106. In an instant, both of them were on their feet and racing towards the nursery. Amazingly, Puck didn’t drop Ainsley to the floor and she didn’t step on his feet when she leapt to hers. “The baby!” Another, slightly softer thud came from the room, followed by something that sounded suspiciously like a giggle.
  107. 107. Throwing open the door, the two young parents rushed in with no idea what to expect. Puck’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened, “What the..” Ainsley threw her arms up in shock and she yelped in surprise, “Hero!?!?” What was awaiting them was probably the last thing they expected.
  108. 108. “Mama! Dadda! Look! Hewo fwy!” The little girl hovered about five feet off the ground while a playful tornado of toys swirled around her. With another delighted giggle, she reached out to grab her stuffed giraffe, but instead ended up doing a little somersault, “Weee!”
  109. 109. Puck blinked a few more times before he stated rather succinctly, “I think we need to call my mother.” ~-~-~-~
  110. 110. Later that night, Puck sat on the couch holding his head, “How did this happen?” Ainsley fidgeted beside him, obviously upset and feeling guilty, “It’s my fault. It has to be my fault. I just.. I don’t understand. My father said that powers only sometimes appear and only after a child has reached puberty. My brother and sister and I only had visions, nothing like this.” She looked sideways at her husband and tentatively reached out to touch his arm, uncertain that he would even want her touch. “I’m sorry.” Puck glanced at her and took her hand to hold in his own, “It’s not your fault, Aine.” “You two are SO melodramatic.”
  111. 111. Titania gave an amused chuckle at her son and daughter-in-law as she watched her granddaughter happily float up to the ceiling until she pushed off it and floated back down towards the ground. It had obviously become a game for the little girl. With a shrug, she spoke, “So she has a little bit of telekinesis. It’s not as if it’s unexpected. You’ve combined two very powerful lines of elfin blood along with the unexpected catalyst of alien blood.” Hero rose up to the ceiling and pushed off again, starting an unexpected somersault that earned another delighted burst of laughter, “Weeee!”
  112. 112. “Come here, munchkin.” Titania reached up to pull the little girl down into her arms, “Your parents are a little unnerved by your little gift. Let’s give them some time to get used to it.” “Wanna fly, Gamma!” She laughed softly and gave a nod, “I know. Soon enough my little love. Soon.”
  113. 113. What Titania had said slowly began to sink in, bringing them out of their initial reaction. Ainsley worried at her finger as she considered it, “But these things aren’t supposed to appear until puberty.” It was reassuring that Titania didn’t seem phased by it, but her child wanting to fly before she crawled was still nerverwracking. “I didn’t start having visions until I became a teenager.” “And what did you mean about two powerful lines, Mom?” Puck asked uncertainly as he calmed down. “I thought we didn’t know who my parents were?” Frowning, he asked, “DO you know who my parents were?”
  114. 114. “Of course not, Puck.” Titania smiled at Hero as she murmured to the little girl, “Stop thinking like a bird, love. Mommy and Daddy need you to be on the ground for now.” Settling Hero on her hip, Titania turned to face the distraught parents, “Things like this usually manifest at puberty, but not always. In cases where there’s a mix of bloodlines like this, it can show up earlier. It is also possible that some of the quieter powers, like visions, may show up earlier, but are assumed to be dreams.” She turned to face Puck as she continued to explain, “While I do not know exactly who your parents were, Puck, I have my suspicions. After all, I have the genealogy records of the North Forest elves. I can trace most of the bloodlines back more generations than you’d care to imagine. There are only a few possible lines you could have come from, dear.”
  115. 115. “But ..” Puck hesitated and then shrugged helplessly, “There was never anything special about me, Mom. How can my bloodline be anything like that?” “Tsk, Puck. You always underestimate yourself.” Titania gave him a brief maternal frown, “Never discount your own importance, son. You are worth far more than you realize.” He started to protest, but Ainsley took his hand and distracted him, “So what do we need to do?” Trying to be practical, she looked at her daughter happily bouncing in her grandmother’s arms. Taking a deep breath, she asked, “What do we need to do to help her with these powers and help her be normal?”
  116. 116. “Normal is overrated, dear. Still, there is something to said for being able to fit in when necessary.” Titania gave Ainsley a pointed look, “First things first, it is time for you to reconsider my offer of apprenticeship.” Ainsley’s eyes widened, “It is? Why?” “Your control over your own abilities will translate directly into your ability to understand and guide your children with their abilities, dear. While you may not ever be able to do what Hero can, you will understand what she is going through and be able to help her develop techniques that will work for her.” She gave another mysterious little smile, “That and it is time. No more waiting.” Giving a sigh, Ainsley looked at Puck who simply gave her a reassuring look and squeezed her hand.
  117. 117. Taking a deep breath, Ainsley looked up at Titania with a resigned expression, “Alright. When do we begin?” ~-~-~-~
  118. 118. After that momentous day, life settled back into a somewhat normal routine for the little family. Though very young, Hero seemed to understand that she should only make herself and her toys fly on special occasions, so it was only once in a while that her parents found her and her toys careening around the nursery. They quickly discovered that there was no high, out of the way place they could put the cookie jar that she couldn’t reach, but beyond that, life seemed fairly normal.
  119. 119. In between teaching and caring for Hero, Puck and Ainsley continued to try for another baby without much success. Their relationship was as passionate as ever, so the lack of pregnancy was not for lack of trying. Still, there was a hint of worry settling over them both as they tried again and again and again...
  120. 120. ... and again and again. Hero’s next birthday was fast approaching and there was still no sign of another pregnancy.
  121. 121. Ainsley settled her head against Puck’s shoulder as he wrapped his arm protectively around her. Sighing softly, she murmured, “Maybe there’s something wrong. I’ve never heard of it taking this long without there being something wrong.” Running his hand over the smooth skin of her shoulder, Puck set aside his own worry to try and be reassuring, “The second one just takes a little longer. I’m not worried, love. Even if Hero is the only child we have, I’m still the happiest man alive.” That earned a smile and a kiss on the cheek, even if the worry didn’t leave her dark eyes. ~-~-~-~
  122. 122. “The pool of water acts as a focal point to direct the vision. As you know intimately, it is not a required tool since important visions can come whenever they need, but the scrying pool can allow for a Seer to pull forth visions on their own terms. Each Seer may use a different tool that is suited to their personality. For myself, I prefer a simple pool of water in a quiet place. Others may prefer a crystal, a mirror or even a natural body of water.” Titania spoke clearly and concisely as she explained the properties of the basin of water during one of their lessons. Ainsley had found Titania to be a good teacher, and surprisingly, herself to be a good student. Though she would have never taken the lessons for herself alone, now that concern for her family had pushed her into it, she was enjoying herself. Most of the time. Today, her worries wouldn’t allow themselves to be pushed aside so she could concentrate on what was being said. Titania was not unaware of this. “You are not paying attention, are you?”
  123. 123. Ainsley’s shoulders slumped, “I’m sorry, Titania. I just..” She shrugged, “I’ll try and focus.” “Child, if your mind is wrestling with worry, anything I try and teach you will be lost and need to be relearned anyway.” Titania spoke gently, “Tell me what is eating away at you? Let me be your mother-in- law rather than your teacher for once.” Biting her lower lip, Ainsley considered for a moment before she confessed, “We’ve been trying to have another baby, but I can’t seem to get pregnant. I’m worried something’s wrong with me.”
  124. 124. Titania looked at her for a long, searching moment before she gave a little shake of her head, “No, there is naught wrong with you other than perhaps a bit of poor timing and a lack of luck.” “But..” Ainsley considered for a moment before she explained, “Maybe it is my fault. After Hero showed her powers at such an early age, what if I’m subconsciously sabotaging us because I’m worried what might be wrong with any other children we have?” “Oh child.” Titania gave a little shake of her head, “There is nothing wrong with Hero and there will be nothing wrong with the rest of your children. You must learn to accept that these things are as much a part of you and your children as your eyes or your hands.”
  125. 125. “They’re not, though. They’re a burden and I don’t want to see my children suffer.” “Ainsley.” Titania’s tone was firm, “If you treat these abilities your children have as a burden, then THEY will believe it is a burden and that they are flawed in some way. You are a better mother than that.” Turning slightly, Ainsley blinked in surprise at Titania. “You are the strength and heart of your family. Treating any abilities your children have as defects will teach your children the wrong lesson. If you doubt them before they are even born, then how can they not doubt themselves? I know the strength to be better than that is within you, but you must see it yourself first.”
  126. 126. Ainsley’s brow furrowed as she thought about that. Could she be the strength and heart for her family? Was that ability even within her? As she thought of her daughter’s smile, she realized something very profound. Could she afford NOT to be? Taking a deep breath, she nodded in understanding. Turning to Titania she asked, “Teach me? Teach me how to be that strength and how to protect my family?”
  127. 127. Titania smiled and held her hands out to her, “Dear child, I have been waiting to hear those words for far longer than you may ever understand. Let’s begin again. There are so many things I want to teach you.” ~-~-~-~
  128. 128. After that, Ainsley grew more comfortable with her unique situation and odd little family. It might not be as normal as she had always hoped for, but it was hers. She was slowly coming to the understanding that normal may simply be an illusion. One unexpected joy she found in her non-normal life was the little orchard and garden behind their house. Though she had never expected to have a green thumb in any way other than the pigment of her skin, she found that she enjoyed spending time in the garden. When Hero went down for a nap, she would spend time outside, preparing the garden for spring and summer. That was where she was when her stomach first lurched with a wave of nausea.
  129. 129. Even though it wouldn’t have hurt anything outside, an odd sense of modesty sent her hurtling towards the house as her breakfast threatened to evict itself forcibly from her stomach.
  130. 130. Everything she’d eaten since the night before came up in one nauseating burst. She remembered feeling like this right after the wedding, but she didn’t dare hope. Every time they’d hoped, it had turned out to be a false alarm.
  131. 131. Not this time, though. The following night, Ainsley woke up and climbed out of bed only to realize that they had finally succeeded in getting her pregnant again. At first she stood there in shock.
  132. 132. And then she let loose with a joyous yell loud enough to wake the neighbors several streets over, “YES!!!” From Puck’s studio, there was a crash as if he’d suddenly bumped into something. He yelled out anxiously, “Ainsley!? Are you okay, what’s wrong?” “Come see! Come see, Puck! We did it! We really did it!”
  133. 133. “You’re pregnant! You’re really pregnant.” Gently touching the swell of her belly, he looked up at her with an adoring expression, “You’re amazing.” “I think you might have played a part in this too.” He just laughed and pulled her into a kiss. ~-~-~-~
  134. 134. “The rest of the guests won’t arrive until Puck gets home from work, but I have everything ready and Hero is down for a nap, so I was wondering if you’d want to come over a little earlier to keep me company.” Ainsley smiled as she spoke into the phone, “It’s been far too long since we got to hang out and chat, Bo.” She listened for a moment and then raised her eyebrows, “You have a surprise?” With a laugh she asked, “Are you and Merc getting married?” She laughed again at the grumpy response on the other end of the line, “Okay fine, no wedding bells. But...”
  135. 135. “... I do wonder what your surprise could possibly be.”
  136. 136. The two women sat down on the couch and Ainsley stared with her mouth open, “How did this happen?” “Well, when a man and a woman get a little horny, especially after indulging in a night out on the town with a little bit more booze than they should have drunk, they...” Bottom replied with a smirk. “That’s not what I mean.” Ainsley gave a scandalized laugh, “You always said you didn’t want to have children and you keep saying that you don’t want to get married to Merc even though it’s obvious he loves you for everything he’s worth. What changed?”
  137. 137. Bottom sighed and shifted to get more comfortable, “Nothing, really. I mean, we’ve been happy living together since we graduated. We make a good team, I just don’t know that I want to get married.” Ainsley hesitated for a moment as her expression grew concerned. Gently, she said, “Bottom, Mercutio is nothing like Oberon. You know this in your heart if you think about it.” “Oh, I know.” Bottom wrinkled her nose and shrugged, “It just seems so traditional and we’re just not traditional. Though, I guess we did get a bit complacent. We stopped being as careful as we should about certain things.” She ran a hand over her pregnant belly, “As the lump here shows.”
  138. 138. “You also weren’t very careful about the things you were throwing at him when you found out either.” Jaiden came in with a matching waddle of her own, “He slept on our couch for two nights until she calmed down.” Ainsley arched an eyebrow at Bottom, “You actually threw something at him?” Bottom grumped, “It was just a pillow and maybe a shoe. He had the nerve to get all giddy when I told him what he’d done to me.” Jaiden smirked as she sat down on the other end of the couch, “He is pretty psyched.” Ainsley laughed, picturing Mercutio’s reaction when he found out he was going to be a father, “I bet. How are you doing, Jaiden?”
  139. 139. “I’m definitely ready for this baby to be born.” She gave a quiet smile as she answered, “Beyond that, we’re all doing really well. Ty got another promotion at work and he’s more excited about the next baby than I am. Cali’s getting bigger every day and demanding to meet the new baby. We’re hoping for a little girl, but I’m also hoping she gets Ty’s red hair.”
  140. 140. The sound of the doorbell ringing interrupted the chat, causing all three pregnant women to rise at once. Ainsley smiled, “I’m guessing the guests have arrived. If one of you will get the door, I’ll get out some of the snacks.” Barely containing her own excitement, she added, “Puck should be home any minute and I know Hero is getting anxious to blow out the candles on her cake. It’s all she’s been able to talk about.”
  141. 141. Sure enough, as soon as Puck walked in the door, his precocious little girl was demanding to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Luckily for them, she’d learned enough self-control over her telekinesis that she didn’t fly at her father through the crowd of guests. If her little toddler leap was a little higher than should have been normal, no one seemed to notice. Puck quite happily took the honors in bringing her to the cake.
  142. 142. Ainsley paused as everyone cheered her daughter on. Thoughtfully, she looked around at all their guests. Since she had begun seriously training with Titania, she’d come into a whole new understanding of her abilities and how they related to those around her. It seemed as if her instincts about people and their intentions had grown stronger and sharper. Of course, that also led to confusion questions about why Oberon’s presence always left her feeling unsettled when it was obvious that Titania was fond of the standoffish man.
  143. 143. “Mama! You not cheerin’!” Hero drew her attention back to the party at hand. “Sorry, punkin!” Ainsley smiled and swung the noise maker as her two favorite people in the world held the center of attention. It was time for Hero to grow up.
  144. 144. Moments after Hero grew into a precocious child, she became the life of the party. While she wasn’t quite on eye level with all the adults, she wasn’t as easy to overlook. Gregarious and happy, she made the rounds and introduced herself to everyone. ~-~-~-~
  145. 145. Though they’d loved her adorable days as a toddler, having Hero around the house as a child was a whole new experience. She was growing into her own person, but excited to try the things that her parents enjoyed. She and Ainsley would dance at a moment’s notice and Hero was thrilled to practice at the ballet barre with her mother. Puck did the most traditional thing he could think of and built a playground for his daughter. Together they put the swing and slide together and then played whenever they could get away with it. Hero was also thrilled when Puck presented her with her own child-sized easel to share in his studio space. As fun as it was to be an only child, though, Hero was anxious to meet her brother or sister.
  146. 146. It was on an unseasonably cold, spring day with snow on the ground when the day finally arrived. “I hate this part!” Ainsley clutched her stomach as the labor pains came. This time they’d planned things a little better. There was no audience of visiting friends and Hero was at school. “PUUUUUCK! It’s time!” He could be heard rushing down the stairs from his studio upstairs.
  147. 147. “I’m here, love. Hang in there.” There wasn’t really anything Puck could do, but at least he was there to provide moral support. “AAAAHHHHGGGG!”
  148. 148. Moments later, Ainsley held another beautiful baby girl in her arms. Puck gave a relieved, happy smile, “She’s got your coloring. What do you think of the name Rosalind?” Breathless, Ainsley laughed softly as she kissed her new daughter, “It was on the short list. I think it’s perfect.” Suddenly she winced, “Puck, can you take her for a moment?” Instantly concerned, Puck held out his hands as he took Rosalind just in time, “Are you okay?” “I.. OW!” Ainsley’s eyes widened in shock, “I.. I’m still having labor pains!” Suddenly Rosalind wasn’t the only baby in the house.
  149. 149. “Twins!” Ainsley stared in shock at the red headed baby boy that had just joined his twin sister, “It’s a boy.” Puck stayed silent for a long moment as he slowly processed the whole concept, “Well, we did agree on the name Lysander if it was a boy, right?” Suddenly his face lit up in a grin, “I think we’re going to need to run out to the store and get some more supplies.” ~-~-~-~
  150. 150. They definitely hadn’t been expecting twins, but Ainsley and Puck were quickly won over by the whole idea. After all, they’d wanted a large family and as hard as it had been conceiving this pregnancy, they might as well take pride in their two-for-one deal. Lysander and Rosalind were a little fussier than Hero had been, but they were still good babies. The two seemed to be much more content when they were in the same room together, as if they could sense that their twin was close by. Each time Ainsley held one of them, she was amazed again at what a miracle each baby was.
  151. 151. When the time came for the twins’ birthday, they decided to not have a party. Though they loved their family and friends, it was a school night for Hero and Puck had a major meeting with a prospective client in the morning. It would be easier to have a smaller family celebration. While Hero was disappointed they weren’t having a party, she was anxious for her brother and sister to get big enough to play with. Babies were all fine and good, but they were really kind of boring.
  152. 152. Within moments of each other, just like when they had been born, Rosalind and Lysander were spun into toddlers. As Puck and Ainsley had suspected, each child took after a different parent. Rosalind had her mother’s coloring in every respect - green skin, black hair, black eyes. Her nose and her brow were a little closer to her father’s, but there was no way that Ainsley could ever deny that this child was her daughter. On the other hand, Lysander was the spitting image of his father with a shock of red hair, blue eyes and all of his father’s prominent features. If there were any of Ainsley’s features there, she couldn’t quite see them.
  153. 153. Despite looking as different as night and day, Lysander and Rosalind were amazingly close. Where one was, the other was sure to follow. More often than not, they could be found playing together in the nursery or out in the living room watching the fish. They were the light of their parents’ eyes and adored by their big sister. It was good to be the babies of the family.
  154. 154. Of course, it was soon discovered that they weren’t going to be the babies for very long. “Oh my!” Ainsley stared at her unexpectedly pregnant stomach and gave a little laugh, “Puck? You might want to wake up for a moment.” “Hmm?” He responded sleepily as he rolled over and pulled the covers back up around his shoulders, “Wassup?” “Our back-to-school costs?” Turning around she smiled, “We’re going to have another addition to the family.” ~-~-~-~
  155. 155. Early summer had arrived, bringing with it warm weather and a thriving garden. Though she was pregnant, Ainsley was happy to spend the afternoon working on helping her plants thrive. It seemed as if the garden had almost become an outward symbol of the rest of her life. With a little love and attention and some patient work, the garden and the orchard thrived.
  156. 156. She paused and closed her eyes as she tilted her face towards the sun. Taking the moment to reflect on her life, Ainsley realized something that she’d been aware of, but had never really put into words. She was happy.
  157. 157. She was married to a wonderful, creative and talented man that loved her as much as she loved him. Together they’d worked hard to create a good life for themselves and their children. Their children.
  158. 158. Hero had proven to be a wonderful big sister. There had been a little jealousy when the twins were infants, but once they were old enough for Hero to interact with, she took on the role of protective big sister almost instantly. Very often, she could be found playing with her two little siblings. As far as Rosalind and Lysander were going, they were growing like weeds, getting bigger every day. Rosalind seemed to be the more adventurous of the two, but Lysander was always there to back her up whenever she wanted to try out something new. So far neither had shown any signs of supernatural abilities which was a relief for Ainsley, even if she had begun to understand what Titania had been trying to tell her. Now it was just a matter of time until..
  159. 159. .. well, until the last baby was born. Ainsley rose up from where she’d been kneeling in the garden and clutched her stomach, “Oh dear. Oh dear.” Taking deep, steady breaths, she mumbled, “Okay this is crazy. My grandmother must have been insane. Last pregnancy.” Feeling another wave of pain, she yelled out, “PUCK! THE BABY IS COMING!”
  160. 160. Puck dropped the phone and ran outside, quickly followed by Hero who had heard the shout as well. Puck tried to calm his own nerves as he attempted to be supportive to Ainsley, “You can do it, love. This is easy. Just one little baby.” Hero came rushing across the lawn, “Mommy Mommy! Is the baby coming? Is it a boy or a girl!?” Ainsley clutched her stomach and gritted her teeth, “Don’t know yet, sweetie. We’ll see in a moment..”
  161. 161. Well, the answer to Hero’s question was that it was both. Surprising both Ainsley and Puck, they had another set of twins. This time, it was a little blond boy they’d named Sebastian and a dark haired little girl they’d named Portia. Ainsley held her daughter and gave Puck a fond smile, “Okay, we’re done, love. I think our family is big enough.”
  162. 162. Hero suddenly leapt up into the air and did a twirling loop-de-loop above her parents’ heads, “TWINS! Yay! I got another brother and another sister! This is awesome!” Puck just gave a laughing groan, “Hero, what have we told you about flying in the backyard?” Their family might not be exactly normal, but it was theirs. ~-~-~-~
  163. 163. And here we come to the end of Part Four! Part Five should hopefully be up within a week or so, concluding this generation of the Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy. Though Sebastian and Portia are just infants, this update introduces all of Puck and Ainsley’s children, FINALLY. I will be putting up a post to share all their stats with everyone. I couldn’t be happier with this mix of kids as you’ll see in the next part when we get to know them and their personalities. I want to thank everyone who’s been patient with me for being a bit slower than the other participants in this legacy. We’re in the home stretch now, so hopefully everyone has enjoyed Ainsley’s story and is looking forward to the conclusion! Until then, happy simming!

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