Things went a little sideways… But that’s because the two characters truly have two separate goals even if they are solved by the same answer.
First drafts don’t necessarily have the proper flow.
[Dove] is preorder for August 1st. Everything is set. Paperback is already set up. There are a lot of blog posts relating to the story now. And more will be posting until the end of August.
I turn a whole five years old tomorrow. It’s been five years since I flew into my parents arms the first time. It’s been five whole years since I was born.
And I know exactly what I truly want for me birthday.
Papa and Tata has asked and asked and asked. But they can’t give me what I truly want. So I’ve refused to tell them anything.
The person who can give me what I truly want is Auntie Kristyn. And she just got back from a trip to Europe. She was gaining knowledge for her new book. I think. She writes a lot. About seemingly everything. “Auntie Kristyn!” I fly into her arms.
She’s shocked by it. “What’s wrong, Ara?”
I snuggle against her. She’s comfort. “My birthday is tomorrow.”
“I know. That’s why I made sure I came back. I didn’t want to miss your fifth birthday. Such an important year.” She forces me to stand on my own. She isn’t strong enough to carry me any more. Papa and Tata can. The wings are heavy, though. Most can’t manage to carry me anymore. “So… What do you want as a present?”
I grin at her. “A sibling.”
She blinks back staring at me. Where ever we were headed is no longer our destination. We’re just standing in a hallway of Homer. It’s home. Even if we’re not in the family section. “A sibling?”
“Mhm. Can you give me one?”
Kristyn stares at me. It’s like I’m requesting the impossible. But that’s not true. Auntie Kristyn is the one who gave birth to me. She can be the one to give birth to a sibling. I can’t ask my parents. They can’t offer me a sibling.
She closes her mouth and scans a moment. Nothing is really worthy of focusing on. It’s just a random hallway. And it’s not normal business hours, so few people are in the area. Tomorrow it will be extra busy. For me. For my special day. Workers will come in on their day off for the free cake. “That’s a big request, Ariande.”
“So you can’t?” Tears bubble up in my eyes. I can’t help it. Amelia has a two siblings. She comes in with Romeo often to play with me. And tells me how much they are trouble, so the stories… I’ll never get that chance?
Kristyn wraps me up in a hug. “It’s asking a lot. I thought you’d like a random toy or special chocolate. You really can’t ask for a human being. That’s not how it works.”
“But you had me. Tata asked you. I was born because he wanted me. Can’t I have a sibling the same way?”
Kristyn hisses lightly and closes her eyes. “I can talk to your parents about it. It may be an option in the near future. But it will not be an option for your birthday tomorrow. You can ask for a lot of things besides. What do you want?”
I sigh. “It’s fine.” I take to wing. I thought it would be easy. Why can’t I have a sibling too?
“Ara asked you for what?” Joe questions. He looks to Icarus. I came to them because they need to know Ariande’s request.
I fidget. “I’m glad we told her the truth. That I carried her, but…”
“She can’t just ask for a sibling.” Icarus rubs his face. “She has no idea the possible concern…”
I bite my cheek. “I worry, but I’m not against it.” Joe takes up my hand. “The curses are gone… Is it even possible?”
“No. You will not even attempt having another birdman. It’s too dangerous.” Icarus turns away.
Joe squeezes my hand. “Dove… I…”
Icarus looks at Joe. Then at me. “Joe brought up adoption the other day. We can’t foster kids, but we can let it be known we’re willing to adopt. It creates a bunch of worries. I’m not against any of it. But…”
Joe leans on my shoulder. “Putting you through that again…” I nod. Ariande’s pregnancy was difficult. “I suggest you try, though, Dove. See if you’re infertile. See if it’s possible.”
“See if the magic is there.” Icarus sighs looking to us. “Alright. We’ll try. But only once.”
I nod looking to Joe. “Did you want me carrying your child instead if it doesn’t work, Joe? You’ve always…”
Joe pulls me into a tight hug. “I am perfectly happy as is, Kris. There’s no need to go through it again. Unless you want to. I’ll offer.”
I fidget again. There was benefits with the pregnancy. I’m currently… “They want a story finished in six months. I am completely burned out. I never felt writer’s block to this level before. All my previous ideas are already down. And they just want more.” I rub my head. “I thought the trip around Europe would do something but…”
“Nothing?” Joe eyes me worried. “You’ve never truly lacked with story ideas.”
“I know.” I gulp. I’m being honest. I’ve refused to tell anyone. “I… I think I need to take a break from writing for a while.”
“The pregnancy would make people think you aren’t truly breaking.” Joe nods.
I sigh. The pregnancy… Their relationship… Everything… It made the muses rush. I could ignore all the hard ships of the pregnancy because the story distracted me. I thought I’d never get that one down. It turned out to be the favorite of so many.
Now… Those characters… Their stories are told. They’re in happily ever after. How do I let my agent know that? That they have reached the end.
“We’ll organize that, then.” Icarus nods. “Whatever you need for comfort, Kristyn, please ask.”
“Is Doctor Nour still an option?”
“We’ll check.” Icarus looks to Joe. “Tell Romeo to scout it out again. Tell no one else, though.” I nod. Not until we have something solid.
I stare at everything. My birthday party. I won’t get a sibling.
Amelia walks over to me scanning me. “I knew you’d go halter top.”
“I hate confining them.” I pout at her. Halter tops are the only option that doesn’t hide my wings.
“Your party, your rules.” Amelia grins. “Brat and Brat Two are over there with Dad and Mom.” She points out her siblings still with Romeo. “I told my parents I don’t want another sibling.”
“They said I have no say in the matter.” She growls in their direction. Then huffs. “I’m nearly thirteen! I don’t want another brat running around.”
“I didn’t mean…” Amelia fidgets. “What do you want to do?”
“Can we play with Doug and Taylor?” I ask.
“Why would you want to?” Amelia twirls in her skirt. “They never like playing our games.”
“Taylor didn’t mind flying around.”
“He can’t fly though. You just carry him.” Amelia sticks her tongue out at her siblings. It’s something I won’t get. That’s the suggestion. “Let’s just get the ball and head-“
“Happy birthday Ara!” Doug and Taylor came over to us. I sigh. Doug nudges his sister. “What are you doing to the birthday girl?”
“It wasn’t me.” Amelia waves her hands wildly.
Taylor sits down next to me. He’s the only one younger than me. We have a tendency just to watch the other two bicker.
Romeo walks over with the most dour face. “Excuse me, children?” Amelia and Doug stiffen and slowly look up at their father. “You do not come into Homer to fight. That is not allowed.”
“Unless in the ring.” Taylor adds. I nod. “Can I go meet Master?”
“No. He will be by later, but he’s off like most.” Romeo sighs scanning his kids. “Do I need to take anyone home? Or will you celebrate properly?” His kids respond the way they need to to stay. He sighs walking off. He’ll hang out with others. I like Romeo, but he’s more of an adults only type of person.
“What’s really wrong?” Amelia turns to me. I look over the three siblings. They wouldn’t understand. “Ara?”
“I’m not gonna get what I want.” I hop up.
Taylor takes my hand. “Wanna go flying?” He points above us. I look to see a skylight. He knows them.
“Later.” I step away from them. “I’m going to see what situation the cake is in.”
Romeo shakes his head at me. “Are you sure you’re open to this again? Without a ton of caveats and requirements? You’re not even asking for money.”
I shrug. “I want to offer this to them. I am gaining from it.”
“You nearly died the last time.” Romeo looks to his wife. “I’m glad you didn’t suffer.”
“Suffered enough. Pregnancy on it’s own is dangerous.” She takes up his hand. “But it was also worth it. I love our kids.”
Romeo looks to the three playing with Ariande. I glance at them too. “Kristyn… I don’t suggest this…”
“Even you suggested there should be another attempt.” I point out. It was part of the contract I signed the first time. As long as things didn’t turn poorly. I lived. It broke through my hardest story I ever wrote.
“I did… Before realizing…” Romeo sighs and shakes his head. “Fine. I’ll call up those I know. I’ll get the ball rolling when I clock in tomorrow.”
I spin and point out Doctor Nour in the corner chatting with a Homer employee. She always comes to Ariande’s birthday. “Or we can chat now.”
“I do not work off hours.” Romeo states. His wife squeezes his hand. “But…”
“This is bigger than your position as assistant, Romeo. They want a bigger family. They don’t have our option.”
Romeo rubs his face. “Alright. We’ll chat now. But I am not truly progressing anything until tomorrow.” I nod. We easily walk across the room. Nour spots us and offers a bright smile. It’s been a while since I saw her. She was someone I trusted so quickly. I was worried first time around.
“You can open my present.” Taylor holds up a gift bag.
I look at him and take the bag. There’s no order. No one really cares how I have my party. Pulling out the halter top has me smiling. “You found another one?!” I stare at the image of Tata center of the chest.
“I helped make it. Mom taught me how to transfer pictures to fabric.” Taylor rubs the picture. “Like it?”
“Love it!” I hug it then capture Taylor into a hug. I step back to look for Papa and Tata. They’re chatting with grown ups. “I’m gonna go put it on.”
“Okay.” Taylor waves at me as I take off.
It doesn’t take long for me to fly back to my party. I hover before Tata wanting him to see the new shirt. Papa is the one to notice me and smile. “New present?”
“Taylor did it. He made it for me.” I show off the image better. Tata is a proper flyer. He is a proper superhero. He’s my hero.
Tata scan the shirt before pulling me into his arms. “I should have you create an entire line of Birdman outfits.”
Papa chuckles. “Homer can add a clothing line.”
Tata Frowns at Papa. “We normally work with…”
“A change in scenery is always nice.” Papa pulls me into his arms. Papa can carry Tata, so it’s not surprising he can still carry me. “Did you want to create a clothing line?”
I nod. “With lots of pictures of Tata.”
Tata sighs. “I’ll look like a sell out.”
Papa chuckles and kisses his cheek. I lean against Papa. I’m happy here. “You own a company already. There’s no selling out. If Ara wants to build an entire clothing line around her love for you, we let her. She isn’t the only one who wants you on her shirt.”
Tata nods looking at the entire room. A lot of people came for the party. “If she desires, we’ll set it up.”
“Happy Birthday Baby.” Papa holds me close. “What do you really want to do right now?”
“Can I dance?” I point to the area dancing could happen. “In the air?”
“Sure.” Papa takes me to the DJ. Music for dancing comes on easily enough. “Be careful when fly-dancing. It requires a lot of skills.”
“Yes. I know.” I hover before Papa a moment. “Taylor said he’d let me fly him later.”
“I don’t mind. Just make sure he tells Romeo before you fly off.”
“Thanks, Papa.” I fly into the center the dancing space. No one else can dance like this. But dancing teaches a lot of tight maneuvers. Tata was explaining so much by dancing in the air with me.
I look at Tata. He’s the only one who can fly like me. I look over at the three siblings. They look alike even if they’re different.
Can I really not have a sibling?
Will I truly be the only one like me in my age group?
It has been thirty days. I look over at Nour. Her face says everything. “Are we going to try again?”
“We can.” Nour closes my chart. I’m not pregnant. “Nothing says we can’t. But this happened with Daedalus too. He could not create a second child. He tried. But I have his records. Icarus matches too well to that.”
I nod. “Then…”
“Are you sure you wish to offer them a child? To put yourself through it again?” Nour sits down next to me. She takes up my hand. “I normally counsel infertile couples. Making sure they are open and willing to do whatever it takes. I suggested to Joe and Icarus about adoption over surrogacy. I know they’re open, but that will only be the case if a superhero drops into their lap an orphan.”
I nod. To adopt a random person probably wouldn’t lead to the best option. “I know Joe doesn’t put much weight on it, but I promised him when we were teens I’d surrogate for him. He’s done so much for me. He gave me far more than most realize. There’s no way I’d be the same author I am now if not for him.”
Nour nods patting my hand. “If you have fully accepted and agreed, I cannot change your mind. I’ll tell Joe and Icarus. We’ll process through the treatment again. You know the expectations and rules.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
“You will have my full support during this time.” Nour offers a smile while taking up my chart. “Call me for anything.”
The test comes back positive only a few weeks later. My fertility is there. The doctor knows what she’s doing.
I’m going to carry Joe’s child. To term. I’ll be able to offer him life. As thanks for giving me a chance to live mine.
“Papa?” I land next to him. Papa stopped before a clothing store. I look at the baby clothes in the window. “I don’t fit in these sizes anymore.”
“Sorry. Caught in thought.” Papa offers me a smile as we start on our route again. I fly just above him as we return to Homer. “We’re going to have a celebration soon, Ariande.”
“For my first sale?” I giggle. It took me forever to figure out what I exactly wanted. It’s been months. But I did come up with something. And they made it to my suggestions. Now I am a fashion designer. Although it’s more like I am marketing Birdman.
“No. For something else. Did you want to celebrate your first sale?”
“You said there’ll be cake tonight. Special cake. To celebrate.” I pout at him.
“I did. I made it earlier today. A special cake for the three of us.” Papa offers me a grin. “But this is bigger.”
“Bigger than my first sale?” I question him. He nods. “What’s it for?”
Papa grins at me. “Secret. It’s known to be a celebration party, but we haven’t told anyone what it’s for yet. Homer will be excited.”
“Homer always gets excited.” I roll my eyes. If Papa calls it a celebration, then there is a reason. He knows how to appease Homer.
“There’s another thing, Ara.”
I look at him as we walk into Homer. I can fly once we’re back inside. “What?”
“We are moving out of the family rooms for some time. We need to redecorate. Did you want to pick your guest room while they do so?”
I stare at Papa. “Why?”
Papa taps my nose. “Don’t worry. You’ll pick out everything of importance in your new room. We’ve been meaning to do this for a while now.”
“Okay…” I frown. “Good and bad news normally comes together.”
Papa’s eyes widen. “Bad news? Getting your room revamped is bad news?” I shrug. He sighs. “Let’s call Tata in for that cake now.”
“Yes.” I fly forward. I succeeded. I’m getting cake.
I exhale staring at the banner being hung up. Joe and Icarus have been hiding it from most. ‘Congratulations, it’s a boy!’ I bite my cheek. I’m twenty weeks. I have a bump. It’s noticeable without being noticeable. Homer doesn’t know. A rare few do. Several have questioned about Nour being around. But she has done this before. She is pulled in for various medical questions and concerns. She likes learning a little something here. She always agrees.
Now… I look at the room. Those being pulled in for the celebration are showing shock and excitement. The surprise won’t be as surprising now. Word will get out.
I sit down at the main table and just wait. Joe places a drink before me and a platter of food. “Need anything else?”
“A foot massage.” I sigh.
Joe chuckles. “Afterwards. I already promised.” He sits down next to me. “You didn’t have to do this.”
I look at him. Everything he’s done for me. This feels like the least I can do in return. “I’m getting a lot from this.”
“Yes and no.” I sigh. “That story is still closed. New stories have appeared. New worlds. New ideas. I wonder if they’re close enough to appease my readers.”
“I mean you did leave Sandy and Tom as not really best friends.” Joe pokes me. “We would love to see them truly become a proper friendship.”
“Tom refuses to…” I frown. Nothing I did made him look at Sandy as best friend. He wants her as significant other. She has that person in her life. “I saw a fanfiction recently of the two being a couple. But… Sandy has to subjugate herself to be with him. Tom will never help her reach her full potential.”
Joe nods. “Makes sense.”
“Sorry. It was part of the original story. The first in the series. You could follow their relationship from the beginning. And I just leave it broken. It would never work.”
“I don’t mind, Kris. If you say the series is done, then it’s done. Be proud of completing it. Even if you write within the world again, it can be called a new series. You can pick completely new characters, see it from a different perspective. Or you could never touch it again. You are the author.”
I nod taking up my best friend’s hand. “I was Tom.”
I chuckle holding his hand tightly. “You are my Sandy.”
Joe shivers staring at me. “Your what?”
I release him. “I wish we could’ve been something, Joe. That one day you’d look at me the way you look at Ike. But I know, I’ll never get that. You’ll never reach your full potential beside me. So I never tried. I know that left me hurting you more than I would think I could.”
“Like Tom did to Sandy.”
I chuckle. “Tom will never get Sandy. They’ll never be together. They must have a level of distance. When I realized…” I bite my cheek looking at the banner. “When I realized we were possible. When it truly hit me. I… I had no more stories for them. I can’t continue them.”
Joe nods slowly. “I’ll… I’m going to reread everything as if I’m Sandy.” He stands up. “Text or call if you have any needs. I’m here for you.” He pauses before leaving me. Just to stare at me sitting here. “You were never my Tom. You didn’t try to control me like he did. You saved me so many times, Kristyn. I wouldn’t be here as I am without you. I may never be your perfect sexual or romantic partner, but we are best friends. I will be here for you no matter what.”
“As long as I don’t cross boundaries.”
Joe grins. “That’s the case for everyone, though. Everyone needs boundaries. If Tom could listen to Sandy’s boundaries, I don’t see how they couldn’t have what we do.” He knocks the table and walks off.
I blink staring at him. Joe is my muse. That’s it. I tried to find my muse elsewhere. When I just need… I pull out my phone. I can work on the phone a bit, but it’ll only work so well. I send a text to Joe ‘I need my computer ASAP.’ He knows how to handle the request.
I have the final book crashing around my head. To close all the final ties. To make everything look like roses for everyone included. I know what to do and how to write it.
The series isn’t closed.
There’s one more book.
I hope you enjoy the chaos here.
I hope you look forward to the chaos in [Dove].