Athena looked at herself in the mirror. “I’m a mother of four. My son is already a teenager. I’ve finally gotten back to work, my best friend and brother are together, and my brother is moving out. Noah is getting older and might be leaving me too…I’m getting older, and things are changing. This is my life, and I feel so overwhelmed.” Athena said to herself. “But I have to smile for Levi and for the kids.”
“This is the house?” Levi asked, frowning. They had been looking into a new house recently because the old house was getting too small to fit everyone. Elliot was moving out, and Athena believed a new house might take everyone’s mind off of everything that was going on.
“Yes, it’s beautiful. You don’t like it?” Athena asked.
“It’s not that. It is beautiful, but…can we afford this house? This house is bordering on mansion…”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m back at work now,” Athena said.
“But, we don’t have the money now…” Levi protested.
“Since when are you the rational one?” Athena smiled and hit his arm playfully. “Don’t worry about it. I have an inheritance. It should be just enough to cover the house with a few thousand left over to live off of until our next few pay checks.”
The day finally arrived that Elliot was leaving. Erin had driven over to help move some of his stuff.
“Be good you two.” Athena warned.
“We’re not children, little sister.” Elliot ruffled her hair.
“You have the mind of a child though. You have a lot of work on your hands Erin. Good luck.” Levi sighed.
“I think I’ll be fine.” Erin grinned, holding onto Elliot’s arm.
“Hey, where is Caleb?” Elliot frowned.
“He hasn’t left his room all day.” Bruce stepped forward. “I tried talking to him but he only opened the door to get food.”
“He’s a little upset, but he’ll get over it. Don’t let him stop you from leaving. We all have to put ourselves first sometimes, and Caleb is going to have to cope with the real world.” Levi said firmly.
“Tough love?” Elliot frowned. “Thats so not my style, but I guess you’re right. I’ll leave it alone now…but tell him that I want him to come visit as soon as he is out of school and has some time.”
Elliot leaned down to grab his bags when Bruce stopped him. “Wait, Elliot. I have something to say.” Everyone gathered around him. “Erin is a beautiful girl that I know will make you a better person. I’m so grateful you’ve met her. She’s done nothing but bring a permanent smile to your face and make you come out of your comfort zone. I’ve been with you since you were just a baby and though I knew this day was coming, and frankly it should have come much earlier, but with all of this futuristic nonsense I’ll let it slide. Thats besides the point though. Elliot, you have grown up into an incredible man despite everything life has thrown at you. I want to thank you for being a fantastic son and changing my life.” Bruce concluded.
Erin smiled genuinely and held onto Elliot tighter. Levi and Athena smiled towards Bruce as well.
“Geez dad, I’m just moving out…I’m not getting married or anything.” Elliot said, trying to discreetly wipe away a tear from his left eye.
“Not yet, but with a catch like Erin, you will in no time. I want to make sure you know how I feel in case something happens.” Bruce said.
“Don’t talk like that Dad.” Athena said. “Nothing bad is going to happen.”
“I love you so much, dad.” Elliot hugged him.
“Take care of her, alright? She’s the one. I can tell from the look in your eyes. She’s the one who’s going to make you appreciate life just a little bit more. Hold onto a love like this and don’t let go. Your mother would be so proud right now.”
“This is just too adorable!” Erin gushed. “Look at them!“
“Elliot is a softie alright.” Levi tried to smile, but he too was losing a friend, yet again. This time it wasn’t for such a long time and he’d be within times reach, but it still felt bittersweet to him. He was sure marriage and children were inevitable for the new couple.
“Come here you big jerk.” Elliot said pulling Levi closer. “I’m going to tell you what dad just told me…take care of her, alright? I’m gonna kick your as if you even look at her the wrong way.”
“That’ll never happen. I love her so much. I wouldn’t dare do anything to hurt her. You take care of Erin. That’s Athena’s best friend you’re dealing with. She’ll kill you and I’m sure you’d stand no chance.” Levi grinned.
Athena had come over after hugging Erin and began to hug Elliot. She couldn’t help but let a tear slip from her eyes.
“Don’t cry. Its not a big deal, I’ll be just up the block.” Elliot rubbed her back comfortingly.
“It doesn’t matter if you lived right next door. You’re not going to be here every morning, laughing and joking with us. It just feels weird saying goodbye. I feel like I’ve just found you and we’ve spent so much time apart. I know I’m just being a baby but it’s bittersweet to me.”
“Don’t worry about anything. Time isn’t going to keep us apart anymore. I’ll be over here all the time with Erin anyway. I have to check up on the kids every once and awhile, Levi included.” They both laughed. “Take care of Caleb, ok?”
“You idiot, you know I will.” Athena said, wiping her eyes.
Meanwhile Caleb sat in his room, alone and terrified. There was so much going on that he never shared. He thought about all of the people he had encountered in school and all of the hurtful things they accused him of. He was lonely and confused. He thought that it’d get better in high school, but he was wrong. The names and pranks just got more vicious. He dreaded going to school in the morning but he couldn’t tell anyone why, not even Elliot. It made him look so inferior. They threw things at him, and knocked his books on the floor. They called him gay for wanting to be a singer. The torment was never ending. Nobody wanted to talk to him, not even the new transfers. His mother would tell him some bogus statement about how it’d all get better. His dad would probably go nuts and confront the kids, which would make the ridicule even more. He was never particularly close to his grandfather and Noah was just too young to understand. The only one who could relate was Elliot and Caleb feared telling him the truth. He had let on that he was fine and that everything was getting better. The only person he could talk to about everything was now leaving and Caleb never felt more isolated. He was slowly going insane and he was counting down the days until graduation where he would no doubt leave Lunar Lakes, he was positive there were other worlds out there. There had to be somewhere better than Lunar Lakes. He was sure of it.
“Caleb!” Athena called for him, but he just shrunk down even more.
“I’m going to bed, leave me alone!” Caleb grumbled.
Athena stood outside of his door, holding her heart. She knew things were getting worse for Caleb but she didn’t want to jump in and ruin anything for him. She wished he would just come and talk to her about it so she could make everything better.
The next few days were fine. Everything went back to normal. Caleb was in a great mood because school closed for a snow day. He spent the day indoors on his laptop. Noah on the other hand took full advantage and dragged his father outside to help him build a snowman.
It was a pretty unique snowman. Noah was already really creative.
Today it was Noah’s birthday. He sat with Kayden and played peek-a-boo while he waited for the guests to arrive. Caleb had left urgently on a phone call. He had said it was from Malissa, one of his friends from school. Athena was a little upset that he’d miss his own brother’s birthday party, but part of her was convinced that he’d need the companionship and let him go. Elliot was going to be at the party so she’d hope he be back in time.
Malissa was now a young adult, meaning she had just recently graduated from high school. Caleb was still a teen and the thought of hanging out with somebody older thrilled him. Somebody outside of his household had wanted too hang out with him and he was going to take any opportunity he could. Malissa and Caleb met through a tutoring program. The year before, Caleb had been tasked with tutoring Malissa in math. It wasn’t that she didn’t know math, but she had no motivation. Caleb had thought it was nothing more than teacher/student so he was surprised when she invited him to hang out.
“Hey Caleb! Thanks for meeting with me!” Malissa grinned.
“Hey…” Caleb said nervously.
“You’re probably wondering why I called you out here right? Well, I was wondering if you’d be interested in tutoring me for the state exam. It’s going to determine whether or not I’ll get into university. My math scores significantly improved because of you!” She watched Caleb shuffle his feet. “Oh! Please say yes!”
“Well, I guess I could…” Caleb said, a little deflated. He had hoped that she’d want to be his friend.
“Oh, thank you so much! This is great! I’ll pay you and everything!” She smiled graciously.
“I don’t want your money, I’ll do it for free…really, I don’t mind.”
“Thank you so much! Do you want to hang out, since we’re already here?” Malissa offered.
“Whaaa…? You want to hang out with me?” Caleb asked.
“Yeah. You’re younger than me, but you’re more mature than any of the guys my age that I know. You don’t sit there and eye every girl like a piece of candy. Plus, we both appreciate good music. I hate that cookie cutter pop star crap on the radio today and I can tell from some of your band t-shirts that you wore to tutoring sessions that you do too.” Malissa smiled.
The two spent the entire day hanging out at the park. Caleb had initiated a snowball fight and by the end of the night, the two were friends. Caleb had been having so much fun with another human being that he had forgotten all about his brother’s birthday party…
Elliot sat alone at the table. Besides Noah, he was the only guy at the party. Bruce was sleeping because Noah insisted he needed a nap even if Bruce wanted to force himself to stay awake for his cake. Levi had been called in for an emergency by his job which he couldn’t refuse. [They had postponed the party until Caleb would come home but it was getting way too late.] He had wanted to catch up with Caleb who he hadn’t seen in awhile. He wanted to smooth things over and make sure Caleb was not avoiding him.
Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay! Next part should be out later on in the week! What do you think of Noah’s new look? I tried to keep his messy hair!! Also, start thinking about who you want to be the heir of gen two because it is slowly approaching. 🙂 Thanks for reading!