The Pruetts stood in the kitchen for the last time taking separate trips down memory lane. Jonathan revered the house as the place where he became a man. This place he once referred to as “the trailer” with complete disdain and disgust had become his happy home where his heart lay. He was the most excited about the move, but there were many parts of him that would miss that old place.
He gazed upon his wife and wondered what she was thinking about. She grew up in that house, so having to come back to it and spending the rest of their lives there was quite easy. He knew letting go would be hard but was glad she finally came around to the idea. Hopefully it wouldn’t take her long to adjust to the new place like it did when she moved into the Estate with him. That was a different situation. They were going to be married soon, and legacy life was such an adjustment. Going from being dead broke to uber rich was almost too much to handle. In recent months, he realized that. He should have prepared her more. Eased her into it. He never even asked her how she was settling in.
“So, Sky…it’s our last time in this house…. We should give it a proper goodbye. Say, like, in all the bedrooms…maybe on the counter…”
“Ha! You’re insane.”
“What? It’ll be romantic. We’ll leave the essence of love behind for the next owners.”
She sighed. “It’s weird to think about leaving this place again.”
“Yeah…. But, this time, we’re not coming back.”
“No. No, we’re definitely not.”
They finished their breakfast, got dressed, gathered the last bit of sentimental items they wanted to keep, and left the arid, dusty lands of Oasis Springs for the humid, green pastures of Willow Creek. Jonathan wanted to move to another neighborhood in Oasis Springs, but it had gotten so expensive over the years. All the houses with enough bedrooms and bathrooms for them weren’t even worth looking at. Willow Creek was his home, and in a way it felt good to come back, but his return was not without its apprehensive moments. At least their new neighborhood was nowhere near the Pruett Estate. The house was right across the street from the place Uncle Emerson and his wife bought years ago. He wasn’t that close with his wife or son, but hopefully being neighbors would open the door for a better relationship.
When they arrived at their new address, they stood on the sidewalk looking around their new neighborhood. He grabbed her shoulders and pressed his lips against her cheek. “Welcome home, Mrs. Pruett.”
His hand slid down her arm and held her hand.
She smiled. “It’s really beautiful.”
She blushed and waddled up the stairs. He shook his head although he loved her shyness and the way she tried to keep him at arm’s length. It only made him want her even more.
She walked around the partial wrap-around porch to the back of the house. That’s where her new easel was, and the house was in desperate need of art. Jonathan went inside and made himself a celebratory welcome home drink. It was so nice to have a bar in the house again. A few hours later, Aubrey arrived home as he was making another drink.
“Aubrey, my love! Welcome home!”
It took almost an act of The Watcher to keep her from exploring the house while they waited for Maya to get home. Jonathan wanted to give them a personal tour and show them their rooms. Luckily, Maya got home an hour after Aubrey did, so they didn’t wait long. Once he heard her heels clacking up the stairs, he dashed to the door–grabbing Aubrey–and met Maya outside. To his surprise, Maya and some neighbors were collecting on the porch. He appreciated the gesture, but he couldn’t help but feel negatively about it. Back in the day, when they had nothing and moved back into the trailer, there was no one to welcome them. But now that things were different, and they were in a nicer neighborhood, the welcome wagon came rolling in. All he wanted to do was show his daughters their new home.
Just as he greeted them and accepted their gifts, he heard a familiar series of groans coming from around the porch. It was baby time! He apologized to the neighbors and told them to come back in a few days if they wanted. Then, he made his daughters promise not to explore the house without him.
Being back at Willow Creek General was weird. The last time they were there, they were not in a good place, but he put that behind him as he ushered his screaming wife into the hospital. He was so glad when she was safely enclosed into the birthing machine and administered pain killing drugs. There was not a sight more upsetting than seeing his wife in so much pain.
The birth was quick, and they both were glad. When the doctor said it was a boy, Jonathan didn’t believe him.
“A boy, Mr. Pruett. You have a son!”
“…a-a-a s-s-son? I have a son??” Jonathan didn’t know what to feel. There was joy, panic, anxiety, fear, relief, disappointment, and more joy. “Sweet Watcher, Sky! We have a son!”
She giggled at his shocked state and couldn’t wait to be freed from the machine’s tight grasp. As soon as she was able, she rushed to the bassinet where young Master Pruett lay and scooped him in her arms. He was still screaming for dear life, but she calmed him. That was also the moment Jonathan stopped panicking about having a son and figured up a name for the little dude.
He watched her from behind comfort their son. The baby’s head rested on her shoulder, and Jonathan could barely see his eyes. But, from the tiny glimpse he did catch, he was struck. There were so many things he wanted to say to the little boy. So many things to teach. So many feelings. So much change.
It was time for the baby to be transported home, so Skyla gently laid him in the bassinet.
“Sky,” he said just above a whisper. “I just came up with the best name.”
“Let’s hear it.”
He started to just tell her the name but knew he would have to explain it anyway and began the most beautiful monologue. “I never thought I would have a son. I didn’t think I needed one. But,” his eyes began to water, “now that he’s here…I…I feel so complete!”
She nodded and wiped her own tears.
“It’s not that I felt incomplete before…I mean, you, Maya and Aubrey are all I ever needed, but…I don’t know. I guess it’s that Pruett man thing.”
They shared a brief moment of laughter.
“The money and the Estate are gone, but the family is still here. The Pruett legacy is about the family, and it will go on forever. I think because I had daughters it was easy to lose sight of that sometimes. But, now that we have this beautiful baby boy, I can’t ignore it.”
Skyla grinned and nodded approvingly.
“But, this isn’t the same legacy that started centuries years ago. We’re not going to keep doing things the same way. Heck, we’re not going to do anything. Having a son doesn’t change anything. We’ve forged our own path, Sky. With the plans for all these restaurants, we’ve kind of created our own little legacy. But, whether we’re talking about my dream or the Pruett family history, I can’t acknowledge the legacy without recognizing and honoring you.”
Her eyes grew wider at the sudden change of pace.
He stepped closer to her and grabbed her hands. “All my life’s stories, whether it’s the legacy chapter or the chapter that’s still being written, wouldn’t be the same without you. You, Skyla Renée Oliver-Pruett, are the common denominator in all my stories.”
She began crying again.
He lifted his finger to her cheek and wiped her tears away. “I couldn’t be a proper heir without you. So…I’ve decided not to go by the usual naming convention for Pruett males. I want our son to have a name that honors you and recognizes your role in Pruett family history. Do you want to guess what his name is?”
She laughed through her tears. “Just tell me already.”
She fell into his arms, and they both cried.
“I love you, Sky! My life would be meaningless without you.”
“I love you too. So much! I don’t tell you enough.”
It was almost time for Baby Oliver to go home, so Skyla broke away from Jonathan to see their son one last time before they went home.
“Hi, Oliver…” She blushed at the sound of that name. “We’ll see you soon, ok?”
When they got home, Skyla fed Oliver and introduced him to his sisters while Jonathan remained downstairs realizing–officially–he needed to talk to them about the Pruett family history sooner rather than later.