9.7 Family Time

One Saturday morning, Julian longed for a little family get together so he gathered his daughters, little brother, and sister for a visit to the park. Viviana declined. He called Callie to meet them there, and Sasha called CiCi and Sydney. Upon arrival, the children dashed for the playground, Julian and Jeannette cloud gazed, Sasha and the cousins caught up, and Callie happily went around the park cleaning up after everyone.

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When Julian and Jeannette were done cloud gazing, she tried to get up, but her third trimester belly was making it a bit difficult.

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“Ummm…a little help, please?”

Julian smiled. “Of course.” He grabbed her hands and pulled her up. “Perhaps next time I offer unsolicited help you’ll happily take it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. Just let me care for you,” he said and kissed her hands.

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“How’s our baby doing,” he asked.

Jeannette smiled and gentle rubbed her baby bump. “Wonderfully.”

Julian bent over and held her belly in his hands. “Hello, my child! We’re so excited to see you tomorrow!”

“Not knowing what it is is so exciting! Do you think so,” Jeannette asked.

“Yeah! I kinda like this whole element of surprise thing. It’s driving me nuts!”

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Meanwhile, Sasha and the cousins were deep in conversation.

“…oh! And Dexter also said that Landen said hi,” Sasha said to Cienna.

“Aww! How nice! Definitely tell him I said hello back. And Lou too!”

“Grrrr! How come you two get all the nice guys,” Sydney lamented.

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“Ummm, probably because you scare them all away! If you could control your temper, maybe someone would be nice to you,” Cienna said. “Oh! Sasha! Remember your friend Neelesh from elementary school?”

“Yeah! Is he back?”

“Yep! He’s here permanently now…and he’s been calling me. I hope you don’t mind…”

Sasha smiled briefly and thought it was sweet how her cousin thought that her brief school-girl crush was serious enough to warrant permission. “Of course not! That was so long ago…and I was like nine years old!”

“Oh, good! He wants to go out sometime next week.”

“Have fun,” Sasha said. She was happy for her cousin, but there was something else she couldn’t quite place. Perhaps it was hope–hope that her own love life would soon begin to blossom…but with whom? She had an idea, but wasn’t quite sure how or if it would even work. “Oh! You know where you guys should go? There’s this new place over in Newcrest…”

Cienna listened as Sasha was granting her permission and offered up suggestions, but she saw that brief look of disappointed on her face. She knew back at the festival that something may have been brewing between Sasha and Dexter, but she didn’t realize it was still going on until that moment.

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Later on in the afternoon, Julian spent some time with his little brother at the chess table. Being at that particular table in that seat made him think about Uncle Roland. He smiled as he recalled his favorite memory once again.

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Julian decided to have a bit of fun with Emerson in light of the memory.

“Emmy J…tomorrow is your birthday. Because dad is gone, I’m gonna teach you all about being a man…”

Emerson sat and listened attentively.

“Playing chess with a girl is how relationships start,” Julian said trying to keep a straight face.

Emerson was a smart kid and was very confused. “…chess?”

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Heh, every child should receive horrible advice at least once in his life, Julian thought.

See this kid?

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This is Deon Pruett! Why do we care about him? Well…we don’t, really, but we care that his family still has the original Pruett nose. It’s not lost, people! He is Allen Pruett’s great grandson.

Before the Pruetts all left the park, Emerson decided to have one last go on the playground on his last night as a child.

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