Oliver excelled in almost everything he did. He wasn’t even halfway through his toddler days yet and had accomplished so much; demanding flash cards night and day worked in his favor. He spoke extremely well, although his pronunciation of some words needed work, that would improve with age. His motor skills were above average for boys his age. He had the absolute wildest imagination of any child Jonathan had ever seen. Slowly but surely, his logical reasoning improved. He had fewer and fewer nightmares and barely any tantrums. To say Jonathan was proud was an understatement. The little boy amazed him every day.
Thinking about his own pride reminded him of the pride his father, Julian, displayed with him. His grandma used to tell him about how incredibly happy he was when he was born. “I HAVE A SON,” was all he could say when spreading the news of the generation nine heir. As a teenager, Jonathan remembered how he would smile whenever he would talk about Skyla. His father even tried to hurry things along. “I want you to be near engaged by the time your young adult birthday arrives,” he would say. Jonathan rolled his eyes and thought his father was crazy, but that was exactly what happened except he didn’t have to rush. He and Skyla were made for each other, and their relationship escalated naturally. He gave her a promise ring at his birthday party.
If only Julian could see him now. That thought gave him pause. His parents had no idea what happened to him. Night after night they probably haunted the empty estate with a thousand questions in mind. Jonathan was done beating himself up about the legacy, but he did want to put his parents at ease.
“Sky,” he yelled upstairs.
“I’m gonna take Oliver out for a little while, ok?”
“We’ll be back soon.” He picked up the little boy and whispered into his ear. “Say, ‘bye mommy!'”
“Bye bye, mommy!”
“Bye, handsome! Have fun!”
It was nice to be back on the property again without being laden with guilt. Maybe the fact that Oliver was so young and wouldn’t think he was crazy for talking to himself had something to do with it. As he approached the sea of graves, butterflies flit around his stomach. Most of the graves were empty, but the scene was so symbolic it was painful. Not only would he admit his mistakes to his parents, but also to every past heir.
Oliver got restless and began squirming.
“Oliver…this is my where my daddy lives.”
“Where is he?”
“In the ground.”
His eyes traveled to the lush, green grass and back to his father. “In the gwass?”
Jonathan chuckled. “I guess you could say that.”
He had to get the introduction underway before Oliver found interest in something else. “Say, ‘hi grandma and grandpa.'”
Oliver waved to the grass. “Hi gwanma gwanpa.”
He had the cutest little voice.
“Mom…dad…it’s me. I brought my son…” He knew they could hear him, but he still felt silly talking to the air. “His name is Oliver. I wanted Sky to be a huge part of his name… I have two daughters too, Maya and Aubrey. They’re both grown…”
Oliver was squirming up a storm, so Jonathan put him down. It wasn’t completely necessary for him to be present for this meeting.
“Ok…I’m gonna let you go, but don’t run off, ok? Stay where I can see you.”
He took a few steps toward nowhere in particular, so Jonathan got back to business.
“I came back here a little while ago with them…don’t know why I didn’t think to introduce you then. They’re beautiful. Heh, all the guys think so too.” He snorted. “Anyway…I came to talk about the obvious. We don’t live here anymore. I…” It felt like his throat would close up. “I made a huge mistake. And…and, well…I lost the house, the money…all of it.”
He swallowed a few times to lubricate his dry throat. “I’m very sorry. I spent a long time punishing myself. I even lost sight of what it all meant…the legacy, that is. But, when Oliver came along, I remembered. I won’t say much more about it because I’ve grown past it. I really came here to let you know that we’re ok. We moved into Skyla’s old house in Oasis Springs and lived there up until a few months ago. We’re back in Willow Creek now.”
He smiled as he thought of all the wonderful things he could share with his dearly departed. “Grandma…if you’re there…I opened a restaurant. I called it Viviana’s, and I make all the dishes you taught me how to make. It’s doing really well. I still want to have restaurants all around the world, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it by myself. My daughter, Aubrey, she’s gonna follow in my footsteps. I’m sure she’ll have restaurants on every continent in no time, heh. She’s quite ambitious.”
He turned around to check on Oliver. “My children are wonderful. You all would be so proud of them. The legacy may not operate how it’s documented, but Maya, Aubrey, and Oliver will all do great things and continue to make the Pruett name great…legacy or no legacy.”