The next day Melanie was up early with the baby. Olivia came down and told her that since Simone didn’t get to come yesterday; she would be coming today by herself and sleeping over as well. It was the weekend so she often stayed with her grandparents; this gave Mark and Yvette a little time alone together to go out to the movies or dinner or even just relax at home.
As Mark dropped her off, it was just starting to rain so Simone was disappointed; there would be no fishing with Granddad. At least not right now. He grabbed her up in a bear hug the minute she came through the front entrance, though.
Olivia came from the kitchen to greet Simone who immediately launched into a funny story about school. Equipped with a sense of humor from both parents, Simone often made grown adults laugh in surprise. Olivia admired this quality in her and in Errol and Lalique who also had the same thing. She herself could appreciate humor she just couldn’t generate it. Certainly not as well as they could, anyway.
There was another small get-together planned for today; Glenn, was coming to see her new grandchild and to have supper. Errol stayed downstairs for a bit; he wanted to spend some time gaming with Simone to make up for the temporary weather ban on fishing.
Melanie, Gareth and Olivia gathered with Glenn in the couple’s new living space upstairs. When Melanie brought Scarlett in, Gareth took her and then after a little bit of daddy-cuddling, handed her to his mother.
“She’s as beautiful as you were when you were this age,” Glenn grinned at her son and said approvingly,
“Good weight on her—she seems to be a sturdy little thing.”
While Glenn was holding the baby Simone came upstairs to see her new little cousin. When Simone talked to her you could see the Scarlett’s eyes follow her every movement.
“Look at that,” Glenn said, “She’s so alert.”
“Oh, yes, Mom, she just watches everything and is already trying to move around a lot,” Melanie assured her.
At supper that evening the family discussed what Lalique’s baby would be like and when he or she would arrive. It was a very enjoyable night for all of them as Simone kept them in stitches with the things she said.
When Gareth walked his mother downstairs, Glenn hugged him saying,
“I’m so happy for you, honey, and I know you’re going to be as good a father as you are a son.”
Suddenly he felt a little bad for moving out and leaving her alone. She’d always seemed so strong, been so strong, and she’d lived alone for years before he was born, but now he hated sending her home to an empty house. She would have been furious if he’d expressed these thoughts to her, so he said nothing. She was the most independent person he knew. He just hoped she wouldn’t be too proud to ask for help should she need it.
Glenn was over 40 when she’d had Gareth and so while she was not frail at all, she was a senior citizen or close to it. He could just imagine what she would say should he be foolish enough to suggest she might want to think about wearing one of those lifeline necklaces when she was home alone. Well, she was in great physical shape for her age, he’d just have to comfort himself with that thought. But from now on he intended to get over to her house once or twice a week at least for a short visit, maybe make any repairs needed at the house and then he could keep an eye on her, so to speak. He followed her to her car, kissed her cheek and watched her drive off down the road toward her home.
Upstairs in his bedroom Errol reclined on the bed. He wasn’t often still, but when he finally relaxed he often daydreamed. And the truth was that Errol loved his life, his wife and his children and grandchildren, he wouldn’t give them up for anything but…but sometimes he could still imagine himself as a carefree beach bum on an island in Figi with the appropriate native girls in attendance and a fruity drink at his side. Or on the old Sirocco once more—sailing away to unknown adventures, the ocean breeze in his hair. Just a little nostalgia that sometimes haunted him as he slipped into his golden years.
When you hit 35 or so you begin to realize that some of the ill-advised actions of your youth that seemed so fun at the time you now view as bad choices that were foolhardy and less than amusing. But as you begin to slip down the other side of 45 or 50 and edge toward your senior years, those peccadilloes somehow seem golden once more, especially when you realize those times will never come again. Life was raw and dangerous back then, maybe even heartbreaking at times, but it seemed you were more alive. Every day was full of possibilities. Anything that wasn’t right today could be put right tomorrow, or so it seemed. Is life really better when you’re young; just because you’re young? Or is that just a trick of memory that we play on ourselves?
Simone always slept in their room when she slept over. They kept a small twin bed and a toy box there for her so she would feel safe when she slept over in that huge mansion. For her part, Simone loved to stay at her grandparents home. She used to sleep with Melanie until she got married to Gareth. Not quite so jealous since this was what brought about a new baby cousin, Simone was happy enough in the room with Errol and Olivia. Grandmere always spoke gently and was a quiet person. She’d raised her daughters a trifle more strictly than she was with Simone.
“Ha!” Yvette always said, “You let her get away with murder. But, I guess that’s the job grandparents have.”
That was indeed the job that Olivie and Errol thought was theirs. So they gave Simone all their attention, making sure she didn’t eat too much ice cream than was good for her stomach, but managing to have all her favorite foods there whenever she was with them, smiled when she banged away on Errol’s gorgeous and beloved baby grand like it was a player piano, let her roller-skate in the marble-floored lobby, and watched her slide down the banister of the grand stairway as Lalique used to do when they could not see her. They even let her jump on the bed for a while before bedtime every night.
At home Simone had to help with chores, but here she was waited on hand and foot by Grandmere who made the big bed quietly as Simone slept in the next morning. The child had been playing possum, though, so her grandmother would leave the room and Simone could make her own bed. She didn’t think Olivia should have to do it and, anyway, she didn’t want to wear out her welcome. There would be fishing with Granddad today and maybe a quick dip in the heated pool and then Errol would drive her home. Sunday nights were school nights so she must be back home early, but it had been a wonderful weekend for Simone and for all the Flynns.