Caleb had become even more enraptured with his doll, Puzzle. It had become clear to Athena that Puzzle was an imaginary friend of his when one day she saw him carrying on a conversation with himself.
She asked him who he was talking to and he just looked at her like she was crazy. “Duh mom, can’t you see Puzzle? She’s right in front of us!”
It was leisure day and Bruce had kindly offered to watch Noah while everyone else went to the summer festival. He had become quite attached to the young boy and insisted quality time with his grandpa was what he needed. Honestly, Athena knew that he wanted her, Levi, Caleb and Elliot to relieve some stress. Bruce was retired in Riverview and thus chose to remain unemployed in Lunar Lakes. Neither Levi nor Athena minded at all. Therefore, he was taking care of the house most of the time. Elliot had taken a job in law enforcement. His boss had been quite impressed with his knowledge of the legal system despite his lack of college degree (if they only knew…Elliot had been very close to graduating). Levi and Elliot needed a break from their jobs, Caleb needed a break from the constant schoolwork and Athena needed to unwind after her sleepless nights with Noah.
When Caleb had found out the family was going to the summer festival, he ran to the bathroom to get ready. “Puzzle, you’re a girl. Tell me what I should wear to the park!”
The first thing everyone did at the festival was take a greeting card photo. They wanted to commemorate the moment. Elliot took his sweet time getting to the booth.
Athena was positive that Caleb was meant to be in front of the camera.
Athena and Caleb played some soccer. Caleb was a natural. Athena wished she would have worked out some more after her pregnancy. She was exhausted! Caleb was having a great time with his mother.
Elliot challenged Levi to an eating contest.
Caleb and Athena watched on in amazement. Those two could really eat!
“Lets go Levi!” Athena cheered.
“Nuh uh, mom! Dad is going down. You can take him uncle Elliot!”
Elliot was still eating when Levi finished. “Oh man uncle Elliot! Good thing we weren’t placing bets!”
“Hey now! You are not a betting man, Caleb!”
Elliot couldn’t handle all of the hot dogs and had to take a minute. He couldn’t let Caleb think his uncle was a wimp! Caleb didn’t care though because he looked up to Elliot. He even styled his pink just like his uncle’s. Athena remembered when Elliot had first held Caleb in his arm as a toddler. My, how time flies.
Athena and Levi found a minute to themselves and shared a funnel cake.
“Are you sure you don’t want anymore?” Athena said in between bites.
“I can’t eat anymore!” Levi whined.
There was a moment of silence which was filled by Athena munching on her sugary fried dough.
“Do you remember when we were roommates?” Levi broke the silence.
“Yeah? You were really annoying back then!” Athena grinned.
“Hey! You were the annoying one! You always left me alone when you went to hang out with your friends…”
“I’m sorry Levi. I was young and naive, I wish I would have spent more time with you…” Athena frowned.
“No. It’s not a jab or anything like that. I’m just recalling a memory I had at the fall festival. You were on a date with Mason I think, and I was going crazy at home by myself…so I went to scope out the fall festival. Luckily for me, you were out all night so I had some time to sneak out and get back before you or anyone else noticed. I was picking some pumpkins for us and I knew at that very moment that I was in love with you.”
Athena listened intently, but offered a small joke. “I remind you of pumpkins?”
“It wasn’t the pumpkins exactly. It was being there all by myself. I wanted to share it with someone. I didn’t want to have to hide anymore. I wanted to be out in the open with you, like we are now. This is what I’ve dreamed of for awhile. It’s kind of stupid but..”
Athena grabbed his hands. “It isn’t stupid! I wish I would have noticed what I had in front of me the entire time. I’m having a much better time with you here than I would have ever had with Mason.”
“I love you so much.” He kissed her forehead. “But, without Mason there would be no Caleb, so no regrets.”
Caleb came over and begged Levi to go skating with him. Elliot was too nauseous to go out with him and he already got to spend time with mommy. “I’m glad I’m your first choice, son.” Levi laughed and ruffled Caleb’s hair.
A few weeks later it was Noah’s birthday. He got a nice cake and a small celebration with his immediate family.
Noah had the same pink hair of Sierra, Athena, Elliot and Caleb. The pink hair must have really been a dominant trait because even the Gray descendants had it. Athena imagined a bunch of pink hair people roaming around Lunar Lakes. She thought it particularly funny, because it would have been a strange occurrence in Riverview but definitely not Lunar Lakes.
The next day, Levi had off of work so Athena took the opportunity to spend some time with her father.
“Where are you taking me?” Bruce asked.
“It’s a surprise, but I think you want to go here.” Athena answered.
“I’m happy at home with Noah, where could I really want to go?”
Within a few minutes they arrived at the cemetery. “Dad, its been really hectic since we’ve all arrived at Lunar Lakes. You haven’t gotten the chance to see mom.”
Athena pointed to the first headstone. “Sweetheart, did you think I could handle this kind of a reunion?” Bruce whispered hoarsely.
It was raining, just like the day Athena had come to speak to her mother after the peculiar incident with Martin January. A name she wished to never have to utter again. Bruce touched the headstone and frowned. The memories washed all over him and it pushed his repressed feelings to the surface. He began to sob heavily. Athena didn’t want to interfere, instead she stood back and let Bruce have his moment. “Sierra…what have they done to you? I’ve never moved on from you, no matter how much I’ve told Elliot that. He’s all grown up now, just like our beautiful daughter Athena whom I’m glad came to find me. Levi is good too, even though your time with him was short, he was greatly influenced by you. Athena and Levi…they make the greatest couple, second to us of course. Nothing beats a tragic love, right?” Bruce let out a sigh. “I’m rambling now, but there’s so much that you’ve missed. Athena is a wonderful woman and you don’t need to worry about her. She is going to change the future of both Riverview and Lunar Lakes. The Gray family will end the terrible governments that have took you from me…Sierra Gray. I will always love you.”
This wasn’t made clear before but some of you may be wondering, why did Levi have to hide before and not now? Lunar Lakes is a huge world, and only the main land has been populated. Over the years, scientists have begun to hypothesize that there are other civilizations located on Lunar Lakes, so everyone just assumes that new people are from other tribes and they’re too polite to ask about it lol.