Monday was Kolby’s birthday, and he woke up extremely excited about the next phase of his life. He looked forward to taking advanced piano lessons, hanging out with older kids without looking like a goober, and talking to girls. Perhaps if he met one he really liked, he’d write a song for her when his skills were up to par.
Kaiden wanted to be excited for his big brother’s day, but he was afraid this would be the day he lost him. He heard horror stories from his classmates about how older siblings ignore younger siblings after their teen birthday. He hoped they weren’t true. Asia may have been the most excited. Between her recent promotion, schedule change, and Kolby’s birthday, there was nothing that could bring her down as she bustled through the house all day making sure it was in tip top shape, preparing food, and baking the cake.
The cake was in the oven by the time the boys came home from school, so she took a break. She grabbed a glass of nectar from the refrigerator and sat outside to watch Kaiden play. The wind blew lightly as she sipped her beverage. She couldn’t explain why, but that moment was so perfect. The thought of having more of those was the cherry on top of her parfait of happiness.
The buzzer on the oven went off, so she left Kaiden to take the cake out. She placed it on the dining table, stuck candles in it, and sat for another pensive moment. She had been trying to get used to the idea of her little maestro not being little anymore and more independent. She hoped he wouldn’t change drastically and their tender moments would still exist.
The guest would be arriving shortly, so she went and got herself ready. After she changed into her party outfit, styled her hair, and put her face on, she went back to the kitchen to wash the glass she was drinking from. However, she was very surprised—and a bit annoyed—to find someone where they shouldn’t be.
“Moira…why are you in my fridge?”
Dr. Fryers was startled. “Asia! You made me almost drop this!”
“What are you doing?” Her tone was friendly, but also daring.
“Come on, Asia. I knew you would have something age appropriate in here. I just need to relax.”
“So you go in my fridge and drink my juice?”
Moira tried to wave her away and slip past her, but Asia stood in her way. She narrowed her eyes and said, “If you get juiced at my son’s party, I swear I’m going to have plenty to talk about at the next gathering.” She moved out her of her way.
Asia didn’t like secrets, but she always seemed to be in the position of keeping them for her friends. She joined the Upper Crusts, much to Eliza’s chagrin. Let’s just say that Asia knew things about one of the members that Moira wouldn’t want him or her to know and leave it at that.
Jared, Kolby, and Kaiden were having some salad when more guests arrived. Breanne Pancakes joined them at the table.
“My mommy says I should say happy birthday to you,” she said.
“Thanks,” Kolby said.
He thought she was weird. Kaiden on the other hand thought she was funny and always enjoyed her visits.
“Are you off duty, Officer Pancakes?” Asia asked.
“Yeah. Bad people don’t like to be around happy people, so they’re not around at birthday parties.”
“Oh!” Asia laughed internally at how sure of herself Breanne sounded despite the fact that she made it all up. The sad thing was, she probably believed it.
Meanwhile, other guests were trickling in, and Moira Fryers had joined them at the table. She was enjoying her beverage. “Mmmm! Oh Asia! What year is this? It’s divine!”
Asia gave her the stink eye.
Bjorn Bjergsen came in and disregarded everyone in the room except one. Asia didn’t remember inviting him and figured he was Clara’s plus one, but she hadn’t even arrived yet.
“Hello, Moira,” he said
Asia gave him the stink eye.
“Bjorn!” She looked even more delighted and very shocked. “I didn’t know you’d be here!” She looked at Asia with a question on her face.
Asia continued to give her the stink eye.
“Happy birthday, Kolby,” Susie said. “Hello…everyone else.”
Moira had gotten up to greet Bjorn, so Mary took her place. Despite trying to sound cheerful in her greetings, her face did not match the sentiment. Asia was worried. Ever since she had the baby she had been acting strange. As she tried to see what was happening with Mary, Moira and Bjorn were greeting each other with a not-so-friendly hug. Asia was stewing inside, but she said nothing.
“Mary…please tell me what’s going on. You haven’t been yourself lately.”
“You are a dear, but please. Don’t worry about me.”
“I think you should see a doctor,” Asia whispered.
Mary appreciated her concern, truly, but she was growing tired of the prying. She didn’t think it was an appropriate time. “Oh? Is that what you think?”
“I’m not trying to be offensive, Mary. I just think…well…I think you might be depressed…”
Mary smirked mischievously.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Many women are depressed after having children.”
Mary briefly wished she were depressed. At least then she could take something to be happy. She glanced over at her husband and daughter who were chatting in the corner as always. “Asia, my dear, I can assure you that I am not depressed. And, if I am, it has nothing to do with the baby.”
India walked in and Mary quickly changed gears. She plastered a smile on her face and began asking Asia about their prospects for the next child.
“Happy birthday, Kolby,” India said.
“Where’s Lester?” he asked.
“Awww, I’m sorry, Kolby. He’s with his dad this weekend.”
He huffed. “But I told him my birthday was this weekend!”
“I know. But, he doesn’t get to see his dad much, and he was free this weekend, so…”
Kolby sighed. “Ok. I guess that’s fine.”
India joined Mary and Asia at the head of the table.
“Hello helloooo,” Eliza said as she walked in.
“Mommy! Come watch me on the monkey bars,” Breanne said.
Eliza laughed. “Ok, my dear.”
Moira left Bjorn to go to the bathroom. While she was gone, he seemed to take an unwelcomed interest in India. Unfortunately, that was also when his wife arrived.
Moira came back from the bathroom, so Bjorn released India from his stare. However, Moira seemed to be caught in her own trance with a new face. John was also caught off guard by her presence. They were so taken with each other. Susie noticed.
“What are you doing? Mom is here!”
That was the moment he learned his daughter was a lot more keen than he thought, and he felt ashamed.
“Mom, can I blow out the candles now?”
“Of course! If you’re ready.” I’m not sure I am.
Everyone gathered around and began to sing for Kolby and make a great ruckus. He was one of those kids who was always well liked and well received. It was no mystery how this young man had a house full of adults on his teen birthday.
Everyone congratulated Kolby and commented on his good looks. He sliced the cake, and everyone grabbed a slice and continued mingling.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, there was an unhappy guest commiserating with a friend.
“…don’t ask me how I know, but I know!” Clara was pacing the floor while Mila was trying to figure it out. “It’s her! I know it is!”
“The doctor! She looks like the type.”
“Moira? But, isn’t she married to Dominic?”
Clara scoffed at her friend. “Have you learned nothing from your divorce?”
Mila shamefully lowered her eyes.
“Besides, he’s running around on her too!”
“Oh dear. What’s happening in the world?”
“Who cares! He can have her. All of them! I’ve got my own thing going on.”
“Don’t preach to me, Mila!”
“Look,” Mila said. “Just…be smart, ok? Don’t end up like me.”