Dinner service was strange that night. Usually, the older crowd came early, but that particular night the elders were the last guests sitting at the end of the night. Jonathan enjoyed the peaceful quiet they brought with them. He often sat with them and gleaned from their garden of infinite wisdom. That particular night, he was speaking to Dr. Vinson; she used to care for his late father-in-law. Something kept stealing her attention away from their conversation.
“I’m sorry…that girl there. She looks an awful lot like your wife.”
He looked over his shoulder to find Aubrey holding Oliver. They were the most lovely and unexpected surprise of the day, and his face lit up brighter than fireworks at the romance festival. “That’s because she’s my daughter! And she brought me my son. Hey, buddy!”
The little boy was just as excited as he was, kicking and trying to wiggle himself free of her grasp. “Dah-dee!”
She couldn’t hold him and let him go. He ran toward Jonathan as fast as a bow-legged toddler who was still getting the hang of walking could run.
“Mom is sick, so I thought we’d come see you.”
Oh no. I hope she’s not pregnant. “She ok?” He kissed her cheek. “Hello, sweetheart.”
“I think so. She has stripes and didn’t want him around.”
“Oh, ok. That’s good. She’ll be fine in a few hours.” He bent down to see the little boy. “We can’t have you getting sick, right? Hey, buddy! You came to see where daddy works?”
Jonathan hugged and kissed his little guy and tickled him. Oliver’s shrieks filled the air, and everyone couldn’t help but look on and smile.
“Guys! Look who came to see me!”
Archer stopped to greet him. “Hey, little dude!”
“This is Mr. Archer. Say hi, Oliver.”
The boy threw up his hands dramatically and yelled, “Hi!”
Everyone laughed. It was amazing how alike his children were in their younger years. Maya always had to be the center of attention. Aubrey liked being near Jonathan when he was the center of attention. Being near “big people” made her feel like a big girl. And now, here was Oliver. He didn’t seem to crave attention like Maya or leech off the attention of other’s like Aubrey, but his personality was so big already, he commanded attention everywhere he went.
“Do you remember Miss Savannah?”
Oliver threw his hands up again. “Mis-nah-ban-nah!”
Everyone laughed again.
“He gets more and more adorbs every time I see him!”
While Jonathan took a moment to show off his son to everyone, Aubrey got down to business, checking on everyone like her mother did.
Jonathan scooped up Oliver. “You have to meet our most special guest.” He carried him over to meet Adrianna McDonnell. “Look who’s here!”
She gasped. “Oh my word! I know that’s not the baby!”
“He’s not so little anymore, huh? Oliver, this is Miss Adrianna!”
He flashed his most charming smile. “Ah-din-nah-nah!”
Adrianna was so tickled. “Ooooh honey, that is Skyla’s baby right there! She left her mark on all your children!”
Jonathan smiled. “Indeed she did.”
Most men would have been upset to learn their families’ genes ended with them. But with a wife as gorgeous as Skyla, Jonathan never once considered the Pruett genes not continuing. Besides, from the pictures he remembered of past generations, it seemed the “Pruett genes” were reinvented every few generations. The original Pruett look had been gone for a very long time. All three kids got his eye and skin color, and that was enough for him. Aubrey was a bonus and carried his eyes and face shape. It was too early to tell exactly what Oliver would look like, but he definitely favored his mother.
Jonathan brought him into the kitchen, holding his hand tight so he would touch anything. “Hey, Tiana! Look who’s here!”
She gasped too and smiled real big. “Hey there, handsome!”
“Say, ‘hey, Miss Tiana,'” Jonathan sang.
“Ha! Yours is the only name he can say right!”
“Pway fass cahs!”
“We can’t do flash cards in here.”
“Pway fass cahs!”
Tiana giggled. “My son loves flash cards too.”
“We’ll do flash cards when we get home, ok buddy?”
“Oh-kay,” Oliver sang.
“Let’s get outta here. You wanna walk?”
“Ok, but don’t run off.”
He found Aubrey and sent Oliver with her while he finished up his management duties. Twenty minutes later, Aubrey found him. “How long will you be?”
“Probably just an hour or so.”
“Ok. I’m gonna take him home then. I don’t want mom by herself long if she’s still not feeling well.”
Jonathan grinned. Aubrey was the second sweetest person in the world for sure. When he and Skyla got old and couldn’t do for themselves, she’d make sure they were placed in the nicest nursing home money could buy if she couldn’t care for them herself.
“Make her some green tea. That usually helps.”
“Hey…thanks for bringing him by. That was really nice.”
She grinned too. “Yeah…sure.”
“All right. I’ll see you guys later. I love you. Bye bye, buddy!”
Oliver grinned and waved. “Bye bye dah-dee!”