Leia put Apollo down in his playpen and went to answer the door. Noah had already gone to bed, Lorie was up in her room working on some fashion sketches and Daisy and Cyrus were upstairs doing who knows what. Leia patted her giggling child on the head before running to answer the door. Seriously, this was what being a mom felt like? She wished the others would help around more often in the house and besides…who was ringing their bell this late anyway? She had ushered the party guests out hours ago.
“One second!” She called out before racing to the door. “I’m so sorry-“
She was cut off by one of the biggest hugs of her life. “Princess Leia!” Caleb grinned.
“Ok, Caleb…you’re crushing me..” She choked out.
“Oh! Sorry!” He rubbed the back of his neck.
“What are you doing here?! It’s been so long! How’s tour?”
“I’m actually in town for a television interview. I’ll be in Sunlit Tides for the next few days. Crazy me, turned down a five star hotel to stay with you guys. If thats okay? I mean, I know I wasn’t here for your wedding, the birth of your child or his birthday party, but I got all of the invites.”
“Caleb, honestly. Shut up. You’re always welcome in this house. You’re part of this family. Noah and I, even Daisy and Lorie, we all understand that your schedule is crazy busy, and yeah we haven’t seen you in over a year but it’s not like you haven’t been here for us. We love you Caleb. Just keep the cameras away.”
“My manager is keeping quiet about my family, so nobody really knows you guys exist. So, you’re safe.”
Leia contemplated waking everyone up with the news of an unexpected visitor, but she figured it’d be much more exciting for them to wake up, come down for breakfast and see Caleb there. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t really work out. Caleb, despite Leia’s sincerest apologies, had no problem camping in Apollo’s room. Apollo was asleep already, and Caleb was slowly falling asleep to the sound of his even breathing. He was the cutest child he’d seen, reminding him of when Kayden was a baby and how he helped his mother take care of the children. Anyway, Lorie had been up sketching. She had to impress her boss. She desperately wanted that promotion that was up for grabs. She was hoping her ambitions would outweigh her inexperience. Before she went to sleep every night, she would slip into Apollo’s room and give him a kiss on his forehead. It was her kind of closure for the past that she and Leia had. She yearned for that kind of love as a child. When she peered into the room, she was shocked to see Caleb on the floor in a sleeping bag.
“Leia couldn’t give you a bed to sleep in? I’ll switch with you if you want.”
“This is perfect actually. I don’t want you guys treating me differently because I’m a star. it’s not like I’m that famous and besides, I wanted to meet the little one.”
“He’s precious isn’t he? Apparently he looks like your little brother, Kayden I think? Anyway, he’s quite the charmer, even though he can’t speak yet.”
“The resemblance to Kayden is remarkable actually.”
“It’s really late, I’d love to chat but Apollo is such a light sleeper and if Leia wakes up, she’s going to be upset. The poor girl is just adjusting to motherhood. Oh and, I won’t tell the others you’re here.”
“Too late!” Daisy called, coming up the stairs. “I can just tell when my family is around. We’ll catch up later. I’m exhausted from work. Nobody tell Noah, this is going to be the best.”
“Guys…shut up. My wife is trying to sleep.”
“Gee, you’re ruining the surprise!” Daisy frowned.
“How can I be surprised if you guys are so loud?” He rubbed his eyes.
“Alright, alright. We’re going to wake up Apollo. Every go to sleep. We’ll talk in the morning.”
Apollo giggled as Caleb tossed him in the air. How he missed his family on the road. Yes, he loved singing. He had come a long way to get passed his fear of people judging him. In fact, he was still terrified of what other’s thought of him, but he was enjoying what he was doing. He loved getting up on stage in front of the crowd and belting out the songs that he wrote. He loved meeting his fans, signing autographs and seeing his face on magazines. It was a huge confidence booster and he was deeply grateful for all of the opportunities he had been giving. But there was nothing like arguing with your siblings at 3 in the morning. He missed pulling all nighters with Kayden playing video games, going to movies with Daisy and just messing with Noah on the phone while he was in boarding school. His birthday was coming up and he’d be an adult. With Noah losing his memory, being on tour all the time, his parents unable to leave Lunar Lakes and his other siblings living in Sunit Tides he felt more and more distant. He was missing weddings and birthdays. What was next? He hadn’t even been able to come here on his own, he was here chiefly for an interview. He wanted to live a normal life where he could watch his nephew grow up. A life where he wasn’t always skeptic of a girl’s intention, where he could settle down and have a family of his own. For crying out loud, his younger brother was married, his even younger sister was married and his other brother had a committed girlfriend. Where did that leave him?
The family’s very loud breakfast was cut short because fo Daisy. Everyone had been joking andd laughing. Caleb was telling them funny tour stories and Cyrus was asking so many questions about the guitar. Lorie was shocked to find out that Cyrus had been the most interested in learning how to play classical music on the guitar rather than some pop acoustic songs. He just didn’t seem the type, according to her.
“I feel like I’m going to hurl.” Daisy held her mouth and quickly ran to the nearest bathroom.
“Is she alright?” Caleb asked, worried.
“She’s still vomiting?” Noah frowned. “Thats not a good sign.”
“Maybe it’s just something she ate.” Lorie offered.
Caleb shook his head. “She only eats food she cooks or five star chefs cook. We all know that.”
“I’m going to check on her.” Leia got up from her seat and went towards the bathroom.
“Daisy, are you, maybe…you know, pregnant?”
“No! Don’t say that word! Cyrus isn’t ready for this! It’s just something I ate!” Daisy said nervously.
“I was doing the exact same thing when I was pregnant. I would have never thought that I was pregnant but things happen. I know our bodies are different but…”
“I took the test!” Daisy cried out, clutching her stomach. “Please don’t tell Cyrus. Please. he hasn’t noticed anything yet. I’ve just been blaming this all on stress.”
“I promise I won’t tell him, or anyone for that matter. It isn’t my place. But, I want you to know that he won’t leave you, and if he does…he has, me, Lorie, Caleb and Noah to deal with.”
“You’re so nice to me..” Daisy breathed.
“You’re going to be a great mother.” Leia smiled and patted her back affectionately.
“He’ll be on in five minutes.” Lorie said excitedly. Having her sister marry the brother of a famous singer? That was every girl’s dream. She just had to find her own prince charming. One that wasn’t only famous, but hot. She really had to get her head out of the clouds.
“What channel is it again?” Noah asked.
“145, the music channel,” Cyrus said.
The group was seated around the TV. It was a live interview, a first for Caleb. He swore he wasn’t nervous, but who wouldn’t be? That was a lot of pressure! Daisy had left to work right after her talk with Leia and Caleb left shortly after. Noah, only being an assistant, called in late. His “car broke down.” Even Apollo was watching from his mother’s arms.
“Oh! Tasha Ledford is interviewing him? I love her!” Lorie gushed. Leia rolled her eyes. “What? She’s only one of the most fashionable people in all of Sunlit Tides!”
“Caleb Gray everyone!” Tasha cheered into the mic. “For those of you who don’t know him, I mean you probably all do, he’s so cute and talented. the girls love him. Anyway, he’s the next heartthrob. His album Second Star is coming out soon. I will definitely be getting it as soon as it releases!”
“Thank you,” Caleb nodded humbly.
“Now, tell me. Are you seeing anyone special?” Tasha flipped her hair and batted her eyes.
“I’m not saying that I am, but if I was, I wouldn’t want her to be out n the public eye like that. I want her to be able to live her life without paparazzi following her around.” The crowd erupted into cheers of “Awww!!”
“Do you see why the ladies love this guy? He’s so sweet! I have heard some rumors, and I’m sure that they’re just that but maybe you can lay them to rest.”
“Sure, rumors are bound to arise when you’re in the public eye.” Caleb admitted.
“You can’t really avoid them.” Tasha agreed. “Everyone in Sunlit Tides is abuzz. It’s no secret that your family lives here in Sunlit Tides. Your brother and sister, right?”
Caleb nodded nervously. He wasn’t liking where this was going. His brain couldn’t process answers fast enough.
“For those of you at home, there’s this rumor going around that Caleb’s brother is wanted for burning down a local community building. Sources say, Noah, Caleb’s little brother was so drunk before his wedding that he couldn’t even remember he did something like that. Now he’s on probation or something. I don’t know.” The crowd oohed and ahhed. “Scandalous right?” She leaned towards Caleb. “So, is this true?”
Caleb was angry more than anything. he didn’t know if it was true. He had in fact heard these rumors but he decided not to tell Noah about it. He didn’t want to involve his brother in any of the fame game. He was certain that his brother wouldn’t be so reckless and if he was, he’d at least let his own brother know. Caleb’s answer was straightforward but followed a pause. He was unsure of his answer. “Really? Is that what they’re saying now? My brother has never gone on any drunken rampages and burned down any buildings. He doesn’t even drink.”
“Ooh, he sounds like the perfect guy too. He doesn’t drink or go on drunken rampages. Ladies, theres two sweeties in the Gray family. Is he single?”
Caleb shook his head. “He’s married actually.”
“Aww, now thats too bad. There you have it ladies and gentleman, Caleb Gray! I wish you the best of luck on your next album and I hope you come back to talk with me!”
“Thank you, it was my pleasure.” He shook her hand and that was it. The interview was over.
“That was like two minutes!” Lorie complained.
“We made the news.” Noah frowned.
“You made the news buddy. For once I’m glad not to be involved in something,” Cyrus said. Lorie shot him a glare. “What? I was just joking.“
“You know what? It’s alright. Its just a silly rumor and Caleb dispelled it. You guys didn’t burn down any buildings.”
“It’s not only that…” Noah muttered. “She didn’t even ask him about his music. It was straight to the gossip. If he was single, who his family was, our personal lives…it wasn’t even about the music. Caleb has so much talent, it isn’t fair that he’s objectified like that.”
“Noah…” Leia placed her hand on his shoulder. Apollo began to cry. He was getting tired. he wasn’t used to this much going on in the house.
“I’ve got it. Don’t worry about it…” He whispered before walking away with already faltering Apollo in his arms.