21-year-old Clara Oswald was not the type to give up on a challenge. She was tackling uni with all the gusto that she could and would persevere. However, she did come up with some challenges. One of them was tagging along with the girls when they went shopping. One of them, a tall, pale, freckled blonde woman with green eyes squealed, "Oh my god, Clara, this is so cute!"
Clara looked at the crop top, then at the blonde. Finally, Clara said, "Sorry, Genevive. I don't think your boobs will fit in that."
Another woman, an olive-skinned woman with dyed blue hair, nodded and said, "I agree with Clara. Sorry, Genevive."
Genevive huffed and said, "It's hard to find cute tops that fit."
The olive-skinned woman held up another cute top and asked, "How about this yellow one?"
"Ew!" Genevive huffed. "Tasoula, you know that I look terrible in chartreuse!"
Clara eyeballed the ruffled top and said, "It looks yellow to me."
Tasoula turned to searching for an outfit of her own. Suddenly, her phone rang. "Clara, could you get that?" she asked.
Clara nodded and answered the phone. "Tasoula's phone."
When she heard the familiar voice, the young woman said, "Hello, Mrs. Crespo. Yes, this is Tasoula's friend, Clara Oswald." Clara frowned at the shouted rant and said, "Mrs. Crespo, I don't speak Greek."
There was some more yelling in Greek as Clara held the phone away from her ear. Finally, in a thick Greek accent, a the woman on the other end of the phone said, "Put Tasoula on."
Clara held the phone out for her friend. "It's for you."
Tasoula swallowed audibly and took the phone. In a falsely chipper voice, she said, "Hey, Mum! No, I'm out with Clara and Genevive." Tasoula frowned. "Mum. Mum! It's just hair dye! Yia Yia won't care! MUM! She dyed her hair purple. No, I'm not lying. Mum, your mother is- MUM! Ask her to email you the photos! Yes, she does have a mobile. Mum, stop shouting! I don't care! Ben is my boyfriend! It was Yia Yia's idea to go!"
The olive-skinned woman noticed all the people looking at her and let out a sigh. She spoke into the phone and said, "I'll call you later, Mum. Love you. Bye!"
With that said, Tasoula hung up. She looked at her friends and said, "We should probably finish shopping before my mum calls the police on my boyfriend again. She's convinced that Ben abducted my grandmother and forced her to go to a horror film with him at the cinema. Mum is trying to convince me to break up with him and Yia Yia is trying to convince me to marry him."
"Ben?" Clara questioned. "He's the goth one, isn't he?"
"Yeah." Tasoula replied. "He's a nice, respectful bloke."
"He's cute, too!" Genevive said with a grin. "You could just drown in those gorgeous blue eyes of his!"
"My family is crazy." Tasoula sighed as she and Genevive headed to pay for their items. "The Greek side is full of nutters. The Italian side? Also crazy. My maternal grandmother is one of the few ones who is the fun kind of crazy. My mum is super critical and never shuts up and my five sisters aren't much better. I'm pretty sure that at least one of them is evil. Probably Aleka."
Genevive nodded and said, "I know the feels, Tasoula. I have an older sister and three younger brothers. They're triplets and I'm pretty sure that Damian- he's the blonde one- is the Antichrist."
Tasoula looked directly at Clara and said, "Clara Oswald, you should consider yourself extremely lucky that you are an only child."
"I wouldn't know." Clara said with a shrug. "Though I've met both of your grandmothers, Tasoula. Every time they see me, they turn it into a competition about who feeds me the most, generally feeding me until I become ill. I would like to see pictures of Yia Yia Eleni with purple hair, though."
"Here." Tasoula showed Clara the pictures. "What do you think?"
"Where was this picture taken?" Clara asked.
"At some metal festival that my cousin took her to." Tasoula replied. "She told me that back when her first grandchild was born, she decided that she wanted to be the 'fun grandmother'. It took Nik almost a half an hour to convince Yia Yia not to get her tongue pierced."
"Clara, can you hold by bags?" Genevive asked.
Before Clara could respond, she was overloaded with a massive pile of bags. She managed to keep ahold of them, but she couldn't see over them. "Thanks, Clara!" Genevive said. "Follow me!"
Clara tried to follow Tasoula and Genevive, but she got lost behind them. She almost dropped the bags several times before she heard a masculine voice ask, "Do you need any help?"
Clara turned to see a very attractive man smiling at her. "Oh, I couldn't possibly." the petite brunette said, blushing slightly. He was very handsome.
"I insist." the man said politely.
The man then took about half the bags that Clara was carrying, significantly lightening her load. He followed Clara to the parking area, then over to Genevive's car. After they both packed them into the car, Clara smiled at him and said, "Thanks for your help. By the way, I'm Clara Oswald."
"Danny Pink." the man said, returning her smile.
Clara thought about it for a bit before saying, "Say, would you like to get something to eat some time? As my thanks for helping me, I mean."
"Sure." Danny said. "Let's exchange numbers- if I'm not being too forward, that is."
"Well, we'd have to if I wanted to get into contact with you, right?" Clara said.
The two then exchanged numbers. Danny waved goodbye before heading over to two young women. Judging from the way they reacted to Danny, he was not romantically involved with either of them. Clara got into the car. As she was buckling her seatbelt, she heard a cheeky Genevive ask, "If you want, I can give you some recommendations for where you can have your date."
Clara turned red and said, "Genevive, it's not a date. I'm just thanking him for helping."
"Whatever you say, Clara." Tasoula smirked. "You have to admit that he is a cute one."
"Yeah." Clara said with a smile. "He kind of is."
It was their one month anniversary dinner and he dreaded that he might end up being late. Damn it, why didn't he remember how to put on a tie? He had dressed up nicely and he wanted to impress Clara. She was someone worth impressing. They had some stuff in common. She was studying to be a teacher and so was he. She planned on teaching English and he wanted to teach maths. They also enjoyed similar music, they both like the same television programmes, they both loved romantic comedies, and they both had a passion for Indian food. They even had some of the same dislikes. They both disliked cabbage, sour foods, glitter, horror films, and people who chew too loudly. Tonight was an important night and he absolutely did not want to be late! After finally managing to properly fasten his tie, Danny hurried out the door.
When Danny arrived at the restaurant, he saw that Clara was already waiting for him. She smiled at him. When they confirmed their reservation, they were shown to their tables. As they were walking through the restaurant, the young man heard two people bantering. Both sounded extremely Scottish. He glanced over to see that one of them was a man, perhaps in his forties. He was rather pale and his thick, curly hair had already started greying. The other was a young woman, perhaps in her early to mid twenties. Her skin was a few shades darker than Danny's and her thick, natural hair went halfway down her neck and the same distance out in all directions. It was such a dark shade of brown that it was almost black. Mid-banter, the woman adjusted her black-framed glasses as she let out a laugh. When Danny and Clara arrived at the table, he pulled out the chair so she could sit down. "Such a gentleman!" she chuckled.
Danny sat down on the other side of the two-person table and smiled. "Well, I do my best."
As they were handed their menus, Clara said, "This is an amazing place for a one month anniversary date. It's really expensive, too. How did you manage?"
"I have a friend who owes me a favor for something I did." Danny replied. "He really, really owes me."
"What did you do for him?" Clara asked.
"I, uh..." Danny leaned in so only Clara could hear him. "I pretended to be a particularly flamboyant gay man and hit on his step-daughter's boyfriend to scare him away."
Clara tried not to laugh, but a small titter escaped. She blushed slightly and said, "Sorry."
"It was embarrassing." Danny said awkwardly. "I mean, I know that it's 2003 and not the Middle Ages, but that's not something I'll be doing again."
"Well, you might have to do it again if we have a daughter." Clara joked.
Danny looked away with a frown. Clara frowned and asked, "What's wrong?"
Danny rubbed the back of his neck and confessed, "I, ah, can't have kids."
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry." Clara gasped quietly. "Was that insensitive?"
"No, don't be sorry." Danny said reassuringly. "You deserve to know."
Clara gazed down at her menu. She thought about asking if something had happened. As if he had read her mind, Danny elaborated, "Testicular cancer, four years ago. I found out the day after my eighteenth birthday."
"I'm sorry, Danny." Clara said quietly.
"Well, I've been cancer-free for a while now." Danny said. "Anyway, let's enjoy our date. What are you going to order?"
The curly-haired man watched as the couple entered. He couldn't help but notice how lovely she was, how animated her face was when she laughed. She had that funny but cute nose, those dimples, and those brown doe eyes that would cause any man to melt. She happened to glance at him. He smiled at her and, in a friendly manner, she smiled back. Suddenly, a hand waved in front of his face. "Hello? Earth to Basil!"
He looked around the hand and saw that her attention had returned with the man with her. "Basil, you know that I'm talking to you." the voice of his table-mate said with a slight bit of irritation.
Basil turned his attention back to the woman he was sitting with. "Sorry, Mae." he said with an awkward grin. "You were saying something about a car?"
"His Corvette." Mae replied. "You know that I only let you call me Mae because you can't pronounce 'Amelie', right?"
"The Corvette." Basil said. "You were telling me about the Corvette."
"Right. William loved that Corvette more than me. After he started cheating on me, that Corvette mysteriously caught fire." Mae grinned wickedly.
Basil groaned and said, "Mae, you didn't..."
Mae took a sip of her water and said, "Don't be ridiculous. His other girlfriend did it."
"What does this story have to do with your stay in California as an exchange student?" Basil asked.
"This was in California while I was there." Mae replied.
"Wait." Basil raised a brow. "I thought you said that he was twenty-two."
"He was." Mae replied. "That's how I learned my lesson that older men aren't always worth it. I still like older men, but I'm a bit more judicious with my choices now."
"Is that why you're here with me right now?" Basil asked teasingly.
"Hell no." Mae said. "I don't date fellow medical students. I still can't believe that you decided to start studying to become a doctor at your age."
"It took me a while to decide that being a somewhat overqualified secondary school history teacher wasn't the career for me." Basil said defensively.
"You have a PhD." Mae pointed out. "You're already Doctor Basil Foreman. You could have taught at uni. You quit your job and now you want to become a different type of doctor." The young woman glanced at Basil over her drink. She added, "That's kind of strange."
"Teenagers and young adults are two completely different things." Basil argued. "Teenagers have a feeling that they know everything. Young adults are convinced that they know everything. Teenagers are a little less likely to show up to class hung over."
"Clearly you've never met some of the people I went to school with." Mae deadpanned. "I didn't start drinking until after I was out of school. Never touched a drop."
"You're forgetting the time your grandmother dumped you at my house when you were eight." Basil pointed out. "You got into River's alcoholic ice cream, with predictable results."
"I got completely pissed," Amelia laughed. "and my granny never let you babysit again."
"It's just as well." Basil said with a shrug. "Neither River nor I were the parenting types."
"Oh, please!" Mae scoffed. "Everybody knows that you wanted kids. Now that you're divorced, you won't even think about having kids unless you're married."
"If you can think of a no-strings-attached way of spreading your genes, let me know." Basil snarked.
"You could donate sperm." Mae suggested. "You wouldn't even have to raise the kid. Wanking into a cup is the most commitment you'll have to make."
Basil frowned and said, "Please do not refer to sperm collection as 'Wanking into a cup'."
"Well, that's what you'll be doing." Mae said with a shrug. "Draining your danglers if that's what you want to call it."
"Amelie Dupont, I'm only going to say it once. Don't refer to my testicles as my 'danglers'." He paused and continued, "In fact, I'd rather you not talk about my testicles at all. You're not my doctor. You're not even a doctor at all. Not yet."
"We'll both be doctors." Mae said with a great deal of determination. "Two slightly socially inept Scottish doctors."
"You're Haitian." Basil pointed out.
"I may have been born in Haiti, but I grew up in Glasgow. I'm Haitian by birth, but I'm Scottish at heart." Mae said airily. "Besides, my maternal grandmother was 100% Scottish. Lived with her from age 2 to 17. When my granny's heritage is combined with my upbringing, I'm at least semi-Scottish."
"Semi-Scottish." Basil said, raising his brow. "I've never heard that one before. By the way, how did you manage to get a reservation here?"
"My step-dad owns the place." Mae said with a shrug. "He lets me eat here cheap and bring a friend here for free as an apology for having a very flamboyant gay man chase away my last boyfriend."
Basil tried not to laugh but a snort escaped. Mae rolled her eyes and said, "Sure, laugh it up. You know you'd do the same thing for your baby nephew."
"John isn't a baby anymore." Basil said. "He's eleven years old."
"Technically, John isn't actually related to you." Mae pointed out.
Basil frowned. He did view John as his nephew, even though they weren't related by blood. Hell, he wasn't even related to River by blood. He was River's half-sister's step-son. The boy was sweet and energetic, but that chin of his was rather prominent for an eleven-year-old. Basil loved the boy like family, though. He'd baby-sat him a few times. Really and truly, John was the closest thing Basil had to a son. "No need to glare, Basil." Mae said, rolling her eyes once more. "I know that you love the kid."
"As you know, I don't have any children of my own." Basil said. "That's unlikely to change in the future. There's no child out there with any sort of resemblance to me."
"You could still wank into a cup." Mae suggested.
"Mae!" Basil groaned.
Clara was running late. She had been with Danny for a year and they were supposed to go to the restaurant where they'd had their one-month anniversary. She had managed to get her makeup on, but there was no time to put her dress on. So, she put a charcoal button-down shirt on, a black and grey plaid miniskirt, and black leggings. She put on a pair of boots and her jacket. She hurried out to her motorcycle and put her helmet on before mounting the thing and shooting off to her date.
To her relief, the traffic wasn't as awful as usual. She managed to make it to the restaurant just in time. She found a place to park her motorcycle and took her helmet off before heading into the building. When she arrived, she saw Danny waiting for her. He quickly hugged her and gave her a peck on the lips. Clara looked past her boyfriend and saw in one of the reflective surfaces that she had a severe case of helmet hair. She stepped back from Danny and sheepishly said, "I'm sorry. I look kind of a mess."
"You're beautiful, Clara." Danny said before teasing her. "Though helmet hair is a new look for you."
Clara rolled her eyes and gently pretended to punch her boyfriend in the arm. Danny laughed and used his index finger to boop her in the forehead. The petite brunette pouted at her taller boyfriend, pretending to be upset. The hostess rolled her eyes before directing them to their table. Clara hung her jacket up on the coat rack before following Danny to the table. The two sat down and the young woman noticed that her boyfriend seemed kind of nervous. "Are you okay, Danny?" she asked.
"I'm fine." Danny said with a smile as they were handed their menus.
"What do you want to order?" Clara asked.
"The herb roasted chicken sounds good." Danny said, pointing at the item in the menu.
"I think I'd like the pork milanese." Clara said.
The server arrived and asked them what drinks they wanted. Both requested water, as they would both be driving. "I'll have the pork milanese and he'll have the herb roasted chicken." Clara said to the server.
The server nodded and said, "Your food will be ready in a few minutes."
About fifteen minutes later, the server returned with the food. Clara could feel her mouth water. Both entrees smelled absolutely scrumptious. The petite brunette took a bite of the pork and let out a happy groan. "The food is even better than I remember."
"Good food makes for good dates." Danny said with a grin.
"You really know your way to a girl's heart, Pink." Clara said, returning the grin.
"I'd certainly hope so." Danny replied. "Tonight is going to be a night to remember."
The two continued to banter, periodically laughing at each other's sometimes-dumb jokes. They ate their meals happily, punctuating each bite with continued banter. After a while, when the food was finally finished, Danny got that nervous look on his face again. "Danny?" Clara questioned as the man got up.
Instead of answering, Danny got down on one knee and pulled something out of his pocket. It was a little black box. He opened it, revealing a beautiful but simple ring. "Clara Oswald," Danny said, "Will you marry me?"
Clara stared in silent shock at the turn of events. Danny seemed to get nervous again. "Clara?"
Clara took a deep breath before exclaiming, "Yes! Yes, I'll marry you!"
Danny stood up and pulled Clara to her feet. He removed the ring from the box and slid it onto her finger before leaning in to give her a passionate kiss. In the background, she could hear the rest of the patrons clapping and cheering.
Danny was running late. He couldn't believe it. Six months ago, he had proposed to Clara and now there was the very real possibility that he would be late to his own wedding. His old junker of a car had broken down and he'd had to take the Tube. He'd had to run quite a bit before arriving at the venue where the wedding would take place. He pulled the door open, stepped in, and bent over, panting loudly. He then power-walked down the aisle. He looked at his best man- or rather best woman- and asked, "Am I late?"
"A little." The pleasantly plump brunette said. "You're not too late, though. Clara's still waiting."
He looked at the vicar, who nodded at him. Music then began to play. Danny turned to see Clara, who was being led down the aisle by her father. She was wearing a beautiful, lacy white dress with a small train. Her veil was pinned to her hair, which was up in a chignon. The bouquet of white roses in her hands completed the look. She grinned broadly at Danny before stepping up to the alter next to him. They then turned to the vicar, who began to speak. "Dearly beloved, we are here today to join Daniel Pink and Clara Oswald in the bonds of matrimony." He looked at Danny, then at Clara. "The two of you have written your own vows."
Danny smiled at Clara, cleared his throat, and began to speak. "Clara, when we met eighteen months ago, I was taken by your beauty. I was barely able to talk without sounding like an idiot when I asked you for your number."
There were titters in the crowd. Danny continued, "We'd only known each other for a few minutes, but right away I somehow knew that you were the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Then came the process of trying to convince you."
There were more chuckles. Danny once again spoke. "A year may have been a short time, but I knew that we were meant to be. I knew that I wanted you to be my wife and that I wanted to be your husband, if you'll have me."
Clara smiled at her fiancé before speaking her own vows. "When I met you, I thought, 'this was a nice person'. I also thought, 'he's cute, too.' When you asked me out on our first date, I never hesitated to say yes. The rest, of course, is history."
Clara watched Danny smiled tenderly at her and continued. "Over the year before you proposed, you've gotten to know me better than almost anyone else. You love me despite my faults, including the one where a big, neon arrow with 'control freak' written on it and pointed at me would be appropriate."
There were more soft chuckles before Clara spoke up again. "I love you more and more every day. Thank you for being my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, and my best friend. I've been waiting for this day for six long months and today I'm so happy to become your wife."
The vicar nodded and spoke up again. "Do you, Daniel Pink, take Clara Oswald to be your wife?"
Danny smiled at Clara and said, "I do."
The vicar then asked, "Do you, Clara Oswald, take Daniel Pink to be your husband?"
Clara smiled back at Danny and said, "I do."
The vicar then said, "By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Clara then flung her arms around Danny's neck, pulling him down to kiss him passionately as the others clapped. Lips still locked with her husband's, the happy wife threw the bouquet. There was a quick scramble before it landed in someone's hands. Clara looked to see that the bouquet was being held by her ten-year-old cousin, Oswin. Oswin's mother smiled at her and said, "You'd better wait until you're a little older to get married, young lady!"
Everybody laughed at the situation as Oswin sheepishly said, "I don't even have a boyfriend."
"Not until you're older!" Oswin's mother exclaimed.
There were scattered chuckles. The group headed out of the venue, followed by Clara and Danny, who were holding hands. They walked past their cheering friends and family and into a limousine. Clara smiled and asked, "So, where do you want to go for our honeymoon?"
Danny laughed and said, "Planning our honeymoon already, Mrs. Pink?"
"Control freak." Clara said with a shrug, as if explaining everything.
"Call me stereotypical, but I'm thinking someplace warm rum cocktails." Danny said with a smile.
"What about Bermuda?" Clara asked.
"Bermuda it is." Danny replied.
It was the day before Danny and Clara's first wedding anniversary and they were spending a comfortable day at a nice park. The husband had his arm around his wife, who was smiling happily at him. "I can't believe we've been married for almost a year." Danny said.
"Well, believe it." Clara replied. "You're not getting rid of me any time soon."
"Curses!" Danny said teasingly. "Now I'll never be a bachelor ever again!"
"I'll get you back with my feminine wiles." Clara said, teasing her husband back.
"I'll never be able to resist." Danny said before kissing Clara's forehead.
"You'd better not." Clara snuggled into her husband's side.
"Never." Danny said, his voice saturated with happiness.
"Clara and Danny Pink, together forever." Clara said with a content sigh.
Danny noticed the far-off look on his wife's face as she watched something off in the distance. He looked to see what his wife was looking at and saw a group of children laughing and playing. There was a look of sadness in her eyes. Danny took a deep breath before saying, "You want children, don't you?"
"I'm fine with not having children." Clara replied. "I mean, I know that we can't have any because of, well..."
"The cancer." Danny finished.
"I'm sorry." Clara said softly.
Danny looked at his wife directly in the eye and asked, "Do you want to have children, Clara?"
The petite brunette exhaled audibly before admitting, "Yes. I know that you can't give me any. I'll get over it."
Danny gave his wife a one-armed hug and said, "If it means that much to you, let's have a child."
"I can't," Danny said with a smile, "But that doesn't mean that we can't get a little help."
Clara and Danny found themselves in the doctor's office. The man was pacing around nervously. "Well, what is it?" Clara asked. "Is there something wrong with the baby?"
Clara was sixteen weeks pregnant, having conceived with the help of donated sperm. She and Danny had been careful to try to pick sperm from a donor that would produce a child that would look at least somewhat like him. They had already picked names: Rupert if it was a boy, Isabel if it was a girl. The doctor finally admitted, "Mrs. Pink, Mr. Pink, I'm sorry but there was a mix-up in the files."
"What do you mean?" Danny asked.
"I'm sorry, but we've used the wrong sperm." the doctor said.
"What?" Clara and Danny gasped simultaneously.
"How can you use the wrong sperm?" Danny asked angrily.
"There was a mix-up in the files." the doctor said defensively. "The entire facility is deeply regretful."
"At least tell me what the donor is like." Danny said tersely. "Will the baby look like either of us?"
"It might look like Mrs. Pink." the doctor admitted. "It won't look like you, though."
"Tell us about the donor." Clara said harshly.
"Donor 386. He's Scottish." the doctor said. "Curly hair, blue eyes. I can't tell you a lot of details, but he has one sister."
Clara looked at Danny, unsure what to do. "What happens next?" she asked.
Danny thought about it for a moment. For weeks, he had been so happy about the prospect of being a father. Now he knew that the baby wouldn't look anything like him. He looked at his wife and thought about it some more. The baby could end up looking just like her. That wouldn't be so bad. Even if the baby didn't look like him, he had already bonded. When they decided to use donor sperm, he came into the situation knowing that the child wouldn't be genetically related to him. The young husband took a deep breath before finally saying, "We keep it."
"Danny?" Clara said, somewhat puzzled.
"I already knew that any child we had wouldn't be mine by blood." Danny said. He turned to his wife and smiled. "Besides, if there's any chance that the baby looks like you, I'd say that we go for it. Mere genes won't make it any less my child."
Clara hugged her husband and said, "Everything will be okay, then?"
"Yes." Danny said. He then gave his wife a kiss on the forehead. "Everything will be okay."
Clara was late. She had made it almost a week past her due date before finally going into labor. They both had known that it would be difficult for her, but neither of them were prepared for just how difficult it would be. "Sixteen hours." Clara panted. "Sixteen hours! Please, just get this thing out of me!"
"That 'thing' is our baby, Clara." Danny said gently. "You wanted to have a baby."
Clara grabbed Danny by the front of his shirt and, with surprising strength, pulled him down so they were face to face. "You agreed to this!" She snapped.
"Clara, it's going to be okay." Danny said, trying to pull himself out of his wife's grasp. "Just a little longer and we'll be welcoming our baby."
"That's what you said two hours ago!" Clara barked.
"All right, Mrs. Pink, it's time to push." the obstetrician instructed.
"Fuck!" Clara swore.
"You can do it, honey." Danny said, taking her hand in his.
Clara's screaming began in earnest as, for what seemed like forever, she struggled to squeeze a human being out of her vagina. Danny looked at Clara's sweaty, straining face before suddenly there was the sound of a cry. The couple looked to see the doctor holding a newborn baby. "It's a girl!" one of the nurses exclaimed.
The baby was quickly cleaned off before being placed on Clara's chest. She appeared completely exhausted, but nonetheless was smiling. Danny could see the child and knew that she looked nothing like him and never would. However, the feeling that suffused him was not disapointment but a love like no other. He was finally a dad. Clara cradled the babe and, in a voice saturated with exhaustion, she said, "Welcome to planet Earth, Isabel Pink."
Danny stroked his wife's hair and said, "Our little Izzy."
Because I consume too much caffeine, I decided to get things rolling again. This particular ship is important for future chapters. I'm not going to give any spoilers, though. Mwahahahaha!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Today was her fourth birthday. Izzy was becoming a big girl. She could count to twenty, she knew the whole alphabet, and she could even tie her shoes on her own! Unfortunately, Mummy and Daddy were busy doing stuff. She wasn't sure what. Was it birthday stuff? What if there was a cake? She hoped that there was cake. Preferably chocolate. Maybe some sor-bay, too! She hoped that it wasn't pear flavored. Pears were icky. Suddenly, she was grabbed from behind. Fingers danced across her sides and she squealed with laughter. "Ozzie, cut it out!"
Izzy's cousin, Oswin, laughed said, "Never!"
Izzy knew that Oswin was a cousin, but Mummy had said that she was her second cousin. That didn't make sense because she didn't have any other cousins. There was just Oswin. She looked so much like Mummy that it was almost scary. There was no time to think about that, though. Not while she was under the full force of a tickle attack. Izzy laughed uncontrollably before finally managing to wiggle her way free. She glared at her cousin and said, "I'm gonna get you, Ozzie!"
The four-year-old then charged at her cousin before launching herself into the teen's torso. She was snatched out of the air by a lanky teenage boy who was a couple years older than the sixteen-year-old Oswin. "Gotcha!" he exclaimed.
"John, let me go!" Izzy squealed.
"Never!" John exclaimed, hugging Izzy to his chest. "There is no escape from John Smith, Lord of Time and Hugs!"
"John, your chin is poking me!" Izzy protested.
"Sorry." John apologized, putting Izzy down.
The little girl then tackled his leg and he allowed himself to fall to the ground. "Oh no, you got me!" the eighteen-year-old groaned.
"Yeah, I got you!" Izzy exclaimed.
"This is the end!" John groaned, clutching his chest. "I've been defeated!"
Oswin rolled her eyes at John's antics. "Everything's going dark!" The older teen then reached out to her and gasped, "Never forget me, Oswin!"
John then went limp and closed his eyes. Izzy giggled and crawled up to John before tugging on his shirt. "John, cut it out!" she giggled.
The floppy-haired boy opened his mouth, and allowed his tongue to flop out theatrically. "John!" Izzy tugged on her friend's shirt again. "John, stop it!"
Not opening his eyes, John said, "I can't talk. I'm dead."
"You're not dead, John!" Izzy said, torn between amusement and exasperation.
John let his tongue hang out of his mouth again as Izzy tried to shake him. "If you don't get up, I'm gonna make Oswin kiss you to wake you up like in Mummy's bedtime stories!" Izzy threatened. "I don't wanna do it 'cause kissing boys is icky, but I'll do it if you make me!"
John's eyes flew open at these words. He looked at Oswin and met her eyes. He quickly looked away. "John, why is your face red?" Izzy asked.
"It's a grown-up thing. You'll understand when you're older." John said, booping Izzy on the nose.
"But you're not a grown-up!" Izzy protested. "You're a John!"
Ozwin snorted with laughter and John shot her a mock glare. He slowly got to his feet and said, "Hey, Izzy. What do you want to do now?"
"I think you should tickle Ozzie!" Izzy suggested.
With a wicked laugh, John charged after Oswin, who laughed as she fled. "I'm gonna get you, Oswin!" the floppy-haired teen exclaimed.
There was more laughing before Izzy quickly lost interest and turned on the telly to watch cartoons. She sat there, completely content as she watched the brightly colored creatures interact with each other. Some of the stuff was really funny, like when one character bonked the other on the head. After a few minutes, Izzy heard her mother arrive and sit down next to her. "What are you doing, Izzy?" Clara asked.
"I'm watching cartoons." the little girl replied.
Clara looked around before turning her gaze back to her daughter. "Do you know where John and Oswin went?"
"I don't know." Izzy said with a shrug. "Maybe they're hiding in the closet?"
Clara rolled her eyes and said, "I doubt it."
"We could look." Izzy suggested.
Clara let out a melodramatic sigh and said, "Fine. We'll look."
The two of them headed down the hall until they were in front of the closet. "There's nothing inside, Izzy." Clara said.
"Maybe there is!" Izzy replied.
"I'll show you." Clara said, opening the closet. "Look-"
Clara's eyes widened when she saw what was in the closet and Izzy covered her eyes with a squeal. Oswin and John were practically wrapped around each other, their lips locked. They periodically broke free and panted before locking lips again as they groped at each other. Neither of them seemed to be aware of Clara until she shouted, "Oswin Clarice Oswald!"
The two quickly separated, breathing heavily as they looked at Clara, completely red-faced. "What do you two think that you're doing?" Clara asked in a stern voice.
"They were kissing!" Izzy said with a melodramatic gagging sound.
"We were just messing around, Mrs. Pink." John said, trying not to look at Clara.
"We weren't doing anything serious, Clara." Oswin added, also not looking at her cousin.
The two teens stood awkwardly while Clara glared silently at them. Finally, she relaxed and said, "All right. Try not to get too carried away. If you do, use protection- and make sure to lock the door! There's a four-year-old in the house."
John nodded awkwardly and said, "Yes, Mrs. Pink."
"Don't make a mess in my closet." Clara instructed before closing the closet door.
John smiled at Oswin, who giggled as he pulled her against him. "Where were we?" he asked.
"I think you were showing me how good of a kisser you are." Oswin replied.
"Ah, yes." John said.
The lanky teen then leaned in for easier access to the shorter teen. His lips were centimeters from hers. Before he captured his lips once more, he whispered, "Geronimo."
Basil staggered up the front stairs to his house, completely exhausted. It was a two-story house if you didn't include the attic. He had inherited it from his father. Behind Basil was a less-exhausted Mae Dupont. "These hours are going to kill me!" Basil groaned.
"It's what you signed up for." Mae replied. "You picked emergency medicine, not me."
"How are you not staggering?" Basil asked.
"I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-ish. I'm not telling you the exact number." Mae replied. "You're almost fifty. You also don't work out as much."
"What, and you spend every hour doing squats until your arse falls off?" Basil shot back.
"Rude thing to say to a woman, Basil." Mae said. "And yes, I do. It kept me sane in medical school and I got into the habit of it over the years. Throw a coin at my arse and it'll bounce right off. I can also crush a small melon with my thighs."
"Why would you even do that?" Basil asked as he opened the door.
"I was bored." Mae replied. "And before you ask, no, I never miss leg day."
"I wasn't going to ask that." Basil said tersely as he stepped into his house. "I don't care about your taut, firm arse."
"For someone who claims to not care about my arse, you certainly talk about it a lot." Mae said wryly, following her fellow doctor into the house. "If you're obsessed with arses, you should have become a proctologist. Or a plastic surgeon. I still wouldn't let you nip and tuck my arse, even if you could transform said arse into the finest arse in Europe."
"Would you doubt my skills as a surgeon that much?" Basil asked with an amused expression on his face as he closed the door behind them.
"Nope." Mae replied. "I just don't want you to see me naked."
"Mae, we're both doctors." Basil groaned.
"Besides," Mae added, "I wouldn't want you to see my tattoo."
"You have a tattoo?" Basil's brows raised. "What kind of tattoo?"
"It's Priapus, minor Greek fertility god and protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens, and male genitalia." Mae said with a smirk. "Priapus was known for his oversized, permanent erection."
Basil's brows nearly disappeared into his hairline. "Really?"
"Maybe I'm lying. Maybe I'm telling the truth." The younger doctor laughed. "Either way, you'll never know."
"Well, you'll never see my tattoo, either." Basil said with a smirk.
"What's your tattoo?" Mae chuckled. "A pinup girl?"
Calmly and smoothly, the greying doctor said, "You'll never know."
Mae laughed again. "Just shut up and tell me where you keep the beer."
Basil was about to tell her that he did not, in fact, have beer when suddenly, there was a loud thud from upstairs. Both doctors froze. "Basil, did you get a cat since I was last here?" Mae asked quietly.
"I don't have a cat." Basil replied.
There was some more noises upstairs. About a minute later, his eighteen-year-old nephew came down the stairs, followed by a petite teenage girl. With a sudden realization, Basil noted that the girl had a surprising resemblance to the woman he had seen at a restaurant seven years ago. Both teenagers were very disheveled-looking, with messy hair and clothes askew. John's trousers were unbuttoned and the top three buttons of the girl's blouse were undone. Several prominent love bites were showing on her decolletage. "John Matthew Smith..." Basil said sternly.
"Oh, hello, Uncle Basil." John said, trying to flatten his tousled hair. "You gave me the key and I came over to water the plants."
"Apparently he was 'watering' someone else's 'plant'." Mae muttered.
Basil shot his friend a harsh glare before returning his gaze to his nephew. He took in the pair's appearance. It was easy to figure out that the two had most likely been shagging each other's brains out while he was gone. They probably had been for a while, considering that three months ago, John walked in with the biggest grin on his face. It was the kind of expression made by a lad who had just lost his virginity. Basil looked at John, then at the girl. "John, who is this?" the heavily greying doctor asked.
John put his arm around the girl and said, "This is my girlfriend, Oswin. Oswin, this is my uncle, Dr. Basil Foreman."
Oswin waved and said, "Hello, Dr. Foreman."
Basil couldn't help but let out a sigh, followed by a chuckle. "I was waiting to finally meet this elusive girlfriend of yours."
"We used protection." John blurted.
Oswin elbowed her boyfriend, who grinned sheepishly at her. Basil was a bit relieved at this. He didn't think that the world was quite ready for a miniature John Smith.
It was an ordinary supper at the Pink household and everyone was just sitting down. Danny had nearly burned down the kitchen trying to cook spaghetti, so they bought a pizza instead. Danny and Clara were chatting about the trials, tribulations, and joys of teaching secondary school. Izzy, however, wasn't really touching her food. Danny looked over at her with a concerned look on his face. "Izzy? Is something bothering you?"
The six-year-old Izzy looked up at her father and said, "Daddy, why don't I look like you? 'Cause Shauna Blake at school said that her big sister said you can't be my real dad because I don't look like you and that Mummy slept around but I don't think she sleeps that much."
Clara and Danny both inhaled audibly before looking at each other. They had expected this question eventually, but they had hoped that it would be under better circumstances. Danny thought up a response before replying, "Well, Izzy, I can't make babies on my own, so Mummy and I went to a doctor and got help. The part that made you that comes from a man came from someone else. However, I love you so much that it doesn't matter. I've loved you since the very moment I knew that Mummy and I were going to have you. I didn't help make you with my body, but I did help make you with my heart."
"So..." Izzy had a hopeful expression on her face. "So you're still my daddy?"
"Of course, baby." Danny said with a smile. "I'll always be your daddy and I'll always love you."
Izzy smiled brightly and said, "I love you, Daddy."
Danny had a gentle smile on his face as he said, "I love you too, Izzy."
Izzy grinned before returning her attention to the pizza and eating it with gusto. While their daughter wasn't looking, Clara gave Danny a covert thumbs-up. Crisis officially averted. They would be honest with her daughter and tell her more about her being conceived by using donated sperm, when she was older and more capable of understanding what it meant.
Izzy was ten years old. One would think that a girl of her intelligence was mature enough not to let others bait her. Unfortunately, she wasn't. That was why she was sitting outside the office while her parents talked to a certain school official about what she had done. Her split lip was a sign of the fight that she had gotten into. She was also developing a bit of a bruise on her arm, where she had been bitten in the fight. She was lucky that it hadn't broken the skin. The other girl was in worse shape, though. Izzy was the tallest girl in her class and she'd had reach on her side. She had managed to defend herself quite well. After waiting what seemed like forever, her parents came out. Her mother put her hands on her hips and said, "Isabel Carmen Pink, I am very disappointed in you!"
"But Mum, she started it!" Izzy protested.
"I don't care who started it. You got into a fight and that is not acceptable!" Clara said sternly.
"Izzy, you broke another student's nose." Danny said.
"I told you, she started it!" Izzy exclaimed.
"Izzy..." Danny sighed.
"Why would you get into a fight anyway?" Clara asked.
Izzy paused before looking at her father, then at her mother. "I'd rather not say in front of Dad."
Clara let out a sigh before turning to her husband. "Danny, could you give us some time alone?"
Danny nodded and said, "I'll be in the car."
After Danny left, Clara sat down next to her daughter. "Now," she said, "Why were you fighting?"
"Shauna Blake said that Dad's not a real man because he can't have kids on his own." Izzy said, not meeting her mother's eyes.
Clara shook her head and sighed. "Izzy, you know better than to let Shauna bait you like that."
Izzy shook her head. "I shouldn't have told Jaimee Cox about, you know, Dad missing some parts 'cause of the cancer when he was younger. Now everybody knows."
"Izzy, neither you nor your father have anything to be ashamed of." Clara said, placing a hand on her daughter's back. "Your father doesn't love you any less."
Izzy nodded and looked up at her mother. "Can we go home now?"
Clara nodded and stood up. As the two headed to the car, the petite mother said, "You're still grounded for a month."
"But Mum-" Izzy protested.
"Izzy, I know that what Shauna said was wrong, but you still shouldn't have broke her nose." Clara said.
Izzy sighed and nodded her head. "Okay, Mum. I won't do it again."
The two females got into the car. Clara decided that when she got home, she would go over to Shauna's home and have a long, long talk with the girl's parents.
Izzy was only grounded for a month and she was very relieved about that. Her mum was home sick, so her dad would be driving her to the Blake home to talk to Shauna's parents. Izzy wasn't happy about that. "Dad, what if Shauna is even more of a bitch after you talk to her parents?" Izzy asked.
"Sweetie, I find that bullies get away with stuff less if their parents know about it." Danny said with a smile.
"You haven't been to school in ages!" Izzy argued. "How would you know?"
"I got picked on in school, too." Danny explained. "My foster parents had a talk with a bully's parents and he left me alone for a while."
"That would imply that he bothered you again." Izzy said with a frown.
Danny smirked and said, "Yes, but by then, I was bigger than him."
Izzy sighed and said, "I'm bigger than Shauna and she still picks on me."
"This is still the smart thing to do." Danny explained. "It's better that they know what their daughter has been doing. We're going there one way or another."
Izzy snorted and said, "Maybe we'll get in a crash so I don't have to go."
Danny couldn't help but laugh. That laugh was interrupted by the sound of screeching tyres, followed by the clash of metal ripping against metal. The last thing Danny Pink heard was his daughter screaming as parts from the other car tore through his body.
You guys knew that I'd have to kill him off eventually, right?
Hello, readers! It's me again. I know that the last chapter was kind of intense. This chapter might be a bit intense, too. I started this chapter while drinking coffee, so here's hoping that my caffeinated state would have provided the proper energy and inspiration for a good chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was another day in A&E for Dr. Basil Foreman. Typical people injuring themselves through strange, sometimes preventable means. Bloody pudding brains. However, tonight had been a bit crazier than usual. There was a very nasty vehicular collision. Both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene and, well, let's just say that there would probably be closed-casket funerals. The only survivor was a ten-year-old girl, whom Basil was currently attending to. Her curly, brown hair were soaked with blood and her blue eyes had seen things that no child should see. She was covered in blood, not all of it hers. She hadn't said much but her hands were shaking. One of the nurses, Tasoula Crespo, was holding her hand and the girl would not let go. The driver in the car with her had been identified by his driver's license as Daniel Pink and the girl had ID that indicated that her name was Isabel Pink. It was a miracle, really. The driver had been crushed and shredded, but the girl had fairly minor injuries. X-rays indicated a broken wrist and a few cracked ribs and she had a laceration near her hairline that was bleeding quite a bit, but it looked worse than it actually was. It needed stitches, though, and Basil was currently stitching the now-cleaned wound shut. The wrist had already been splinted. Suddenly, he heard a panicked shout of, "Where's my daughter?"
A woman in her thirties, suddenly burst through the curtain. Basil saw that she was undoubtedly the woman he had seen at the restaurant thirteen years ago. "Izzy!" the woman gasped.
"Mum!" the girl cried.
Just as Basil was about to finish the last suture, the girl tried to get up and run to her mother, but Tasoula said, "Stay here, Isabel. Dr. Basil is almost done."
Tears were running down the girl's face as Basil finished the last suture. The woman made her way over to the little girl and wrapped her arms around her mother. "Mum!" the girl wept.
"Thank goodness you're alive!" the woman sobbed.
"Mum," the girl choked out, "Mum, Dad's dead!"
The woman then began to cry even harder. The two females held each other tightly as tears poured down their face. Basil cleared his throat and said, "Excuse me, but are you her mother?"
The woman nodded and choked out, "I'm Isabel's mum, Clara Pink. My husband, is he really...?"
Basil nodded and said, "I'm sorry."
Basil tried to maintain a level of professional detachment, but something about Isabel made his heart ache. When he looked into her eyes, he felt a strange sense of protectiveness that he could not explain. It was never pleasant to treat patients this young, but for some reason, seeing her so hurt felt so wrong. He vowed to go above and beyond what it took to take care of her, even if she didn't remember him afterwards. He didn't know why, but he felt like he owed it to her.
Clara was currently on the phone with her cousin Oswin, who was very excited about her upcoming wedding. The petite mother's mind was partly elsewhere, though. It had been a year since the accident and Izzy was just starting to return to normal. She hadn't been able to sleep through a night for two weeks and for six months after the accident, she would often wake up screaming. Clara had to quit her job as a teacher and start working from home. She'd written a few books that sold pretty well and the royalties allowed her to pay her bills and do everything she needed to take care of her daughter. When Izzy had gone back to school last year, Shauna had given her a great deal of bullying, accusing her of being the reason why Danny died. It had resulted in the lanky ten-year-old having a mental breakdown, which took her out of school for nearly a week. Thankfully, Shauna was disciplined for it. Now Izzy could enjoy life again. Clara smiled. Children really could bounce back sometimes. Izzy had grown up quite a bit. She was almost the same height as her mother. The eleven-year-old was just as excited as she was about Oswin's wedding. She had even been made the maid of honour, though her position was mostly honourary and her mother would be doing all the maid of honour's duties. The wedding was tomorrow and Clara and Izzy had to travel a bit to get to the area where the wedding would be. Thankfully, there was a room available in a local hotel. Clara smiled at Izzy, who was playing a game. "How goes the DNA test?" Clara asked.
"Fine." Izzy replied. "I just found out where your ancestors came from."
"I'm pretty sure I know, but where?" Clara asked.
Izzy grinned and said, "You'll have to take your own test to find out."
In truth, the secret that Izzy was keeping from her mum was that she had found an aunt that she didn't know about. She knew that her mother didn't have any sisters, so it couldn't be her. That could only mean one thing: the woman she had been corresponding with for the past week was her sperm donor's sister. Izzy had found herself more and more curious as she had gotten more details about her biological father. He was currently fifty-five years old and he worked at Hartnell Memorial Hospital, which was where she was treated after the accident that took her father's life. She knew from Donor 386's sister, who called herself Missy, that he had what she called 'attack eyebrows'. Maybe when she learned more about him, she might try to contact him. She wasn't looking for a dad. She'd already had one of those. She was, however, very curious. She knew that he was Scottish. Did he look anything like her? She knew that they both had curly hair and blue eyes, but how else did they look alike? Were their personalities in any way similar? What were his likes and dislikes? How did he feel about pears? She hated pears, but what about him? She wanted to seek him out, if only to just satisfy her curiosity. She decided that after the wedding, she would try to find and contact him.
Basil was straightening his necktie. He refused to wear a bowtie, despite John's pleading. The boy looked tacky enough as it was in his tuxedo with a red and white polka-dot bowtie. Still, bowtie aside, he knew that his nephew would look quite handsome in his tuxedo. His thoughts were interrupted when John said, "I can't find my jacket."
"What?" Basil questioned, having been caught off-guard.
"I can't find my jacket." John repeated himself. "It was in the closet when I last saw it, but it's not there now."
Basil let out a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. "John, this is why we should have booked a better hotel."
"What's the alternative?" John asked. "Staying with your sister?"
Basil frowned and said, "Hell no. Do you remember what happened last time you stayed there?"
John shuddered and said, "That woman has to be evil. She made me watch all the Saw movies in a row. Repeatedly."
"At least there was popcorn." Basil said, trying to comfort his nephew.
"I didn't eat the popcorn." John pouted. "How am I supposed to know if she poisoned the popcorn?"
Basil sighed and said, "John, Missy wouldn't poison the popcorn. Probably. I think."
Basil noticed the look that John was giving her and said, "Well, if she did poison you, it would probably just be a tranquilizer again."
"She drew penises on my face with a permanent marker." John huffed. "It took me ages to get it to come off. I almost got fired from my job at the MAC counter. I was made to wear makeup. I'm not used to full coverage foundation."
John had worked at a MAC counter at a mall for three years now. It had taken Basil a while to get used to it, especially when John had to practice applying makeup on himself to better serve his customers. It was completely bizarre to the middle-aged doctor, but his nephew could apply a cat eye better than any woman he knew. John was 100% straight, but Basil figured that these were just the times they lived in. He supposed that he wasn't one to talk because he had worn eyeliner in the 80s during his punk phase. Basil decided that if he could survive seeing John practicing what he called a 'cut crease' every other day last year, he could survive seeing the boy in an ugly bowtie. "You'd better not wear a smokey eye at your wedding." Basil groused. "You made some people very uncomfortable at Donna's wedding."
"Don't worry, Uncle Basil." John said with a grin. "I'm thinking the 'no-makeup' makeup look."
"You take your job too seriously, you know that?" Basil said.
"I could be a makeup workaholic." John mused.
"Please, please don't wear makeup at your wedding!" Basil pleaded.
"I make no promises." John said with a grin. "However, if I do apply makeup, I will ensure that it is more subtle than Oswin's makeup. I can't upstage her makeup-wise, after all."
"John..." Basil groaned.
Basil knew that John was good at his job, but sometimes it was frustrating when he put makeup on himself. Couldn't he practice on someone else? He wondered if John was strange or just devoted to his job and perhaps these were the times they lived in. It wasn't as strange for a straight man to wear makeup as it was ten years ago. John continued to search for his jacket before declaring, "I can't find it. Maybe I should-"
"You are not wearing tweed to your wedding." Basil said tersely.
John stuck his head under the bed and shouted, "I found it!"
"Good." Basil said. "The wedding is in a few hours and you need to prepare yourself, however you choose to do so. Something tells me that you won't listen to me about the makeup."
The wedding would be happening very soon and Izzy was as excited as could be. She was heading over to where she would be sationed as maid of honour. She was wearing a lavender floor-length chiffon halter gown with a criss-cross bodice. All of the bridesmaids were wearing similar dresses, only the colour was baby pink. The eleven-year-old was excited as she moved up to stand near the arch where her Oswin would marry John, next to where her cousin would stand. She was trembling in her lavender flats. Whoever the best man was, he was running late. She hoped that he would arrive before the wedding started. Izzy knew that it would start soon. Suddenly, the door opened quickly and a middle-aged man with blue eyes and silver curls hurried in and made his way next to the arch, where the best man would stand. Izzy took a quick look at him before recognizing him. "Dr. Basil?" she gasped.
The best man quickly looked at her and exclaimed, "Isabel! What are you doing here?"
"I'm sort of my cousin's maid of honour. Kind of." Izzy replied. "You?"
"I'm my nephew's best man." Basil replied. "Aren't you a bit young for the maid of honour's responsibilities?"
"My mum does the stuff that the maid of honour does." Izzy explained. "I sort of just stand here and support my cousin."
"Ah." Basil replied.
The officiant cleared his throat and said, "The wedding is about to start."
A few minutes later, John Smith arrived. He walked down the aisle over to the arch. Basil smiled and gave him a thumbs-up. So far, so good. There was something oddly familiar about his smile, Izzy thought. She couldn't place it right now, though. She'd figure it out after the wedding. A few minutes later, Clara and Oswin arrived. The older woman hooked her arm abound the young bride's. She would be 'giving away' Oswin, as Oswin's parents had passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning. Clara was wearing a dusty rose A-line scoop neck tea-length chiffon dress with cream-coloured wedge sandals. Oswin was wearing a strapless A-line asymmetrical tulle wedding dress with a lacy bodice and white pumps. Pinned to her hair, which was in a half-updo, was a two-tier elbow-length veil with applique edges. She was carrying a bouquet of white flowers that Izzy couldn't quite identify. To say the least, Oswin looked stunning. Izzy couldn't help but smile and wonder if she would be as pretty if she ever got married when she was an adult. When they were a few feet away from the arch, Clara smiled proudly at her cousin before releasing her. Oswin walked up to the arch and handed the bouquet to Izzy. The officiant then began to speak. "Dearly beloved, we are here today to witness the union of John Smith and Oswin Oswald."
John smiled at Oswin and said, "We've written our own vows."
The officiant nodded and John began to speak. "Oswin Oswald, there has never been a time when I didn't love you. We met as teenagers, but it was love at first sight. It was my desperate hope that you would one day fall in love with me. I was so happy when you decided to become my girlfriend. I don't know how you put up with me, but I'm glad that you still chose me. Seven years later, we're still together and I look forward to many more years of being together."
There was a sniffle from the crowd. Oswin then spoke her vows. "John, I've always thought you were kind of a dork, but you're my dork. For the longest time after my parents died, I felt like I was stuck in a machine. Then you came and taught me how to laugh again. You made me feel human again and I can't thank you enough for that. You were the best thing to ever happen to me. Words can't describe how much I love you and I've loved you even more with every year we've known each other. If there's such a thing as soulmates, I'd like to think that such a word would apply to us. I want to be yours forever, just as I'd like you to be mine forever. For as long as I breathe, I will always love you."
Izzy looked at her granddad, Dave Oswald. He looked to be on the verge of crying. The officiant spoke up again. "Do you, John Smith, take Oswin Oswald to be your wife?"
John grinned his ridiculous, dorky grin and said, "I do."
The officiant then turned to Oswin. "Do you, Oswin Oswald, take John Smith to be your husband?"
Oswin looked at John fondly and said, "I do."
"By the power vested in me," the officiant anounced, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. If anyone has any objection, speak now or forever hold your peace."
No one spoke. The officiant then said, "You may now kiss the bride."
John took Oswin and dipped back into a passionate kiss, like the kind one would see in a movie. It was then that Dave Oswald began to bawl loudly. Linda rolled her eyes and gave her husband a pat on the back. Izzy knew that her granddad's wife never approved of John, but there was nothing she could do now. She hadn't protested. Izzy glanced at Basil once more and saw that once again, he had that oddly familiar grin on his face.
After everybody arrived at the reception, the cake was brought in. It was a tall, white thing with fondant flowers and bowties decorating it. Together, John and Oswin cut the cake. They then fed each other in an adorable fashion that was almost enough to give Izzy diabetes. There was the sharing of cake, a meal, and then music began to play. John and Oswin had their first dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller, complete with the proper dance steps. Half the attendees were laughing. Basil rolled his eyes, which also seemed oddly familiar to Izzy. Over the course of the continued dancing, Oswin grabbed her young cousin and began to dance with her. Izzy laughed happily. After that, Izzy broke out her best dance moves, which weren't actually very good. Izzy sat down at a table, where Basil also happened to be sitting. "Fun wedding, right?" the eleven-year-old said.
"I've been at worse." Basil replied.
It was then that a woman in a burgundy knee-length dress approached. She grinned at Basil and said, "Fun wedding, isn't it, brother?"
"If you crash this one, I'm going to be very cross with you." Basil said calmly.
"I promise not to tranquilize the bride this time." Basil's sister said with an evil grin.
"Missy, you promised that at my wedding. You still tranquilized River." Basil said, furrowing his mighty eyebrows at his sister.
"Missy?" Izzy whisper-yelled.
Izzy wondered if this was the same Missy that she had exchanged messages with on that DNA ancestry website. She took a good, long look at the woman before looking at the still-glaring Basil. There was something oddly familiar about the way that he glared at his sister. It was then that Izzy realized it. That smile from earlier, the eye-roll, and the glare were very familiar because she saw them often when she looked into the mirror. They didn't have the same face, but they had the same facial expressions. They stood with the same posture. They had the same eyes and they both had curly hair. With a gasp of surprise, Izzy came to a conclusion that was impossible to deny. This doctor was Donor 386. Basil Foreman was her biological father.
DUN DUN DUN! What happens next? You'll have to wait to find out! BWAHAHAHAHA!
Izzy now knows the identity of Donor 386. What happens next? Well, you'll have to trudge through this swamp of caffeine-induced depravity. Just kidding. It's not really depraved, but is caffeine-induced. Caffeine and sugar. This chapter was written under the influence of Mtn Dew. Fear my caffeinated fury. FEAR IT!
Anyway, on to the story!
Oh god, it's him. How could it possibly him? How could it be Basil? Sure, he had taken care of her at A&E at Hartnell Memorial Hospital, but there didn't seem to be any special bond between them. Of course, there wouldn't be. It was mere genetics, wasn't it? Never mind that she liked him right away when she met him. Maybe Basil was just a likeable fellow. It couldn't be him. However, the evidence was undeniable. They were too much alike and Izzy was 100% certain that the doctor was her biological father. Inside, she was freaking out and trying not to show it. She looked anywhere but at the man. Basil, curse him, seemed to notice her distress. In a concerned voice, he asked, "Isabel, are you all right?"
"Peachy." Isabel said faintly.
Basil's sister seemed to be contemplating the young girl. Finally, she said, "You're the one who sent me messages, aren't you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Izzy said, trying not to panic.
Did Missy know that she was the girl from the website for MyOrigins DNA test that she used? To Izzy's relief and mortification, Missy narrowed her eyes and said, "I knew that it was you. You said that you were forty." She threw her arms up into the air. "God! I can't believe that I catfished an eleven-year-old! She counter-catfished me! Basil, I'm many things, but a paedophile is not one of them! She was supposed to be a forty-year-old man from Manchester!"
Basil groaned and said, "Calm down, Missy! I don't think you're a paedophile! In fact, this sounds like the exact kind of mess that you'd get into."
The older man then narrowed his eyes at Izzy and, in what sounded a suspiciously like a 'dad voice', said, "You have a lot of explaining to do, young lady."
"I didn't catfish her, I swear!" Izzy said desperately. "Mum won't even let me have a Twitter account!"
Basil gave her a good, long look before nodding. "I believe you."
"She reminds me of you, Basil." Missy said wryly. "I bet she's a horrible liar, too."
"Um..." Izzy said awkwardly.
Missy waved her hand dismissively and said, "Anyway, I have people to schmooze."
"Missy," Basil said, "don't even think about it."
"Fine!" Missy pouted. "People to schmooze and not tranquilize. God, you're boring!"
With that said, the woman strolled away. Basil returned his attention to Izzy, who was chewing on her thumb. "Isabel, are you sure that you're okay?" Basil asked.
"I'm fine." Izzy lied. "Just fine. I chatted with someone who called themselves Missy in a," The young girl tried to think of a lie. "80s slasher films chatroom."
"Your mum lets you watch those kinds of movies?" Basil raised a brow.
"I'm eleven, not four." Izzy said with a frown. "Besides, it's tame compared to some of the creepypastas out there."
"Creepy... pasta?" Basil questioned.
"You know, a creepypasta." Izzy said. "Jeff the Killer, Slender Man, the Russian Sleep Experiment. Things like that."
"What's a 'Slender Man'?" Basil asked.
Izzy let out the type of groan that could only be accomplished by an exasperated pre-teen who was frustrated by a clueless adult. The eleven-year-old then proceeded to explain everything she knew about Slender Man. By the time she was done, Basil was frowning at her. "You shouldn't know these stories." he said.
"There's an app." Izzy explained. "I can show you if you'd like."
"I must admit, I am curious." Basil admitted.
"It's easy." Izzy said. "Just search 'Creepypasta.'"
The conversation about apps led to a conversation about board games, which led to a conversation about card games. "So you're saying that Missy's tell is that she crosses and uncrosses her legs repeatedly when she has a good hand?" Izzy questioned.
"Yes." Basil replied. "Whenever John deals, he sings The Gambler by Kenny Rogers."
Izzy snorted with laughter. "That so sounds like John!"
It was then that Izzy realized that Basil's nephew marrying her mum's cousin was kind of weird. "So John's your nephew, right?" the young girl questioned.
"Well, technically he's my ex-wife's half-sister's step-son, but I've always viewed him as a nephew." Basil said with a shrug. "I never had any children, so he's always been family."
So she wasn't in any way related to her cousin's new husband. Good. That left one question. "You never had any children?" Izzy questioned.
"None at all." Basil said. "At my age, I've kind of given up on the idea of fatherhood."
Izzy nodded. She felt kind of sorry for the man. He would never be her dad, but he still seemed like a decent person. She could tell by the sound of the voice that he had wanted children at one point. Izzy wiggled her toes in her shoes. She glanced back at the dance floor. She noticed that Basil was doing the same. It was then that a red-haired woman about John's age appeared. It was revealed that she was Scottish when she spoke. "Hello, Basil."
Basil smiled and said, "Hello, Amelia. Where's Rory?"
"Resting." Amelia indicated a man who was sitting at a table who was holding a handkerchief to his nose. "One of the guests elbowed him in the nose while he was dancing. It's not broken. He's more embarrassed than anything."
"That would happen to Rory at your co-worker's wedding." Basil chuckled.
It was then that Amelia noticed Izzy. "Oh, were you going to dance with your daughter? I'm sorry. I'll leave you to it."
"She's not my-" Basil tried to say, but Amelia was quickly out of earshot. "-daughter."
He saw the young redhead chatting with John. The floppy-haired man then looked at Basil and began waving his arms in the air. "Dance with my cousin-in-law, Uncle Basil!" John shouted.
Basil and Izzy let out simultaneous, eerily similar groans. The two then headed to the dance floor. The music changed to Watch Me by Silento and Izzy did one of the only dances she was good at- the dance featured in the song. When she glanced to her side, she saw Basil dancing some severely outdated moves. She snorted and said, "My granddad has those moves!"
"Next song!" John shouted.
The DJ switched to the next song, which was The Hustle. Basil raised a brow and asked, "Can your granddad do this?"
Basil then proceeded to dance the Hustle. Izzy rolled her eyes and joined the man. With surprising ease, she joined him in doing the Hustle. Yes, her granddad did this dance, too. For someone who looked like an uncoordinated stick insect, he wasn't a horrible dancer. The rest of the guests who were dancing joined them in the iconic dance. When the song was done, Basil and Izzy both sat down, laughing. "Not bad for a stick insect." Izzy laughed.
"I'm glad that I did a good job." Basil chuckled. "The only dances I can do are from between 1974 and... when did the Macarena come out?"
Izzy groaned and facepalmed. Why did Basil have to be such an adult?
Clara spotted her daughter chatting with John's Best Man, an older man in his fifties. When she got close enough, she recognized him as the doctor who had taken care of Izzy. Still, there was something else about him that was oddly familiar. He looked somewhat like the man she had seen at the restaurant where she and Danny had their one-month anniversary date. His hair wasn't as grey back then. He was quite a bit taller than she was. He wasn't exactly an eyesore, either. One might speculate that he had kind of a silver fox thing going on. Still, she was a thirty-something mother of an alarmingly intelligent child, so she didn't really put any further thought into the man's appearance. Izzy smiled and said, "Mum, you've met Dr. Foreman, haven't you?"
Clara nodded and said, "Dr. Foreman, it's nice to see you again. I didn't recognize you at first."
"It's the scrubs. Some people actually don't recognize me when I'm not in scrubs." Dr. Foreman said wryly. "It's like I have an alter-ego."
"Superman in scrubs, then?" Clara said teasingly. "I suppose that makes you Clark Kent."
"Though X-ray vision would be a time-saver, I don't think anyone would be able to print the films." Dr. Foreman said with a smirk.
A ginger woman rushed over and said, "Basil, Oswin is going to throw the bouquet. Typical that she'd wait this late to do it."
"How is this my problem?" Dr. Foreman asked.
"John told me about what happened at Donna's wedding when she threw her bouquet. Someone might need medical assistance again." the woman replied.
Dr. Foreman sighed and stood up and headed off to where the event would be happening. Clara, of course, followed him. "I hope nothing bad happens." Clara said. "I know that these things can happen, but the bouquet toss at my wedding was not in any way violent."
"Last time, I had to treat someone who had been trampled by a dozen women in heels." Dr. Foreman said flatly. "It wasn't pretty."
"Yikes." Clara grimaced.
When they arrived at the area where many women were gathered, the duo saw that Oswin was standing proudly in her dress. She tried to toss the bouquet, but she had always been terrible at tossing and ended up flinging it at high speed towards Clara's face. On instinct, she reached out to catch it so it wouldn't hit her. The next thing she knew, her hands were on the bouquet, along with another pair of hands. That pair of hands belonged to a certain emergency doctor. Dr. Foreman released the bouquet and cleared his throat. "I didn't want it to hit you." he said. "I've seen how hard Oswin can throw something."
"What happened?" Clara asked.
"One of the nurses, an American named Jack, tried to teach Oswin about baseball and how to pitch." Dr. Foreman replied. "She got me in the head with a ball and I got a concussion."
"Ouch." Clara grimaced.
It was then that Clara realised that she was still holding the bouquet. She laughed at the silliness of it all and handed it to another woman. Oswin, of course, was smirking at Clara and Dr. Foreman as if she had discovered a truly delicious secret. It was then that John grabbed the microphone and shouted, "Hit it!"
The DJ started playing a song that was oddly familiar. It was quickly identified when John started singing. "We're no strangers to love. You know the rules and so do I! A full commitment's what I'm thinking of. You wouldn't get this from any other guy! I just wanna tell you how I'm feelin'. Gotta make you understand! Never gonna give you up! Never gonna let you down! Never gonna run around and desert you!"
John continued singing Never Gonna Give You Up in his surprisingly not-awful voice. When he was done, he dived off the stage and began to crowdsurf while Oswin rolled her eyes. Clara watched the whole thing and said, "John certainly has a lot of friends. He wouldn't be able to crowdsurf without them."
"John has a habit of making friends so easily that it's almost alarming." Dr. Foreman replied. "On his twenty-first birthday, he went to a pub and got into a fight with a man. By the end of the evening, they were drinking together and laughing. One month later, John was Best Man at his boss' wedding. He made friends with her and her wife, too. My nephew can't even get into a fight without befriending someone."
Clara chuckled and said, "That definitely sounds like John."
"Of course." Dr. Foreman said. "Unfortunately, John brought his little friend to my house after a night of drinking. Strax, I think his name was. He drove his beast of a motorcycle through my sliding glass door. When I came back the next day, my flatscreen was destroyed. According to John, there was wrestling on the telly and Strax tried to pick a fight with them."
"He sounds like someone that Izzy would call a 'pudding brain'." Clara mused.
Dr. Foreman scoffed. "Potato brain is more like it. That's why John isn't allowed to have friends over unless I've already met them."
"I'm lucky." Clara said. "The only one of Izzy's friends that I have to worry about is Stormy."
"Stormy?" Dr. Foreman seemed intrigued.
"Well, his real name is Alfie, but Izzy calls him Stormy." Clara explained. "They've been best mates since they were in nappies. They were about five at the time and they were playing superheroes and supervillains. Izzy was Time Girl and Alfie was Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. After John learned of it, he started calling him Stormageddon and it sort of stuck."
"Ah." Dr. Foreman said. "That Stormageddon. All I knew about the boy was that John had babysat him a few times."
"John's a decent sort." Clara said with a smile. "One of the things that I like about him is that he never says 'would of' instead of 'would have'."
Dr. Foreman chuckled and asked, "English teacher?"
"Former." Clara replied. "I'm a writer now. My pen name is my maiden name."
Dr. Foreman raised a brow and said, "You're Clara Oswald?"
"Yep." Clara replied with a smile.
"John gave me a copy of Impossible Girl for my last birthday." Dr. Foreman said. "It's an interesting take on science fiction. Were Claire and the Doctor based off of Oswin and John?"
"Call it an author's secret." Clara said cheekily.
"Shame." Dr. Foreman smiled at the petite brunette.
Suddenly, there was loud thud as the mother of the bride's face hit the table as she slumped forward from where she was sitting at a table. Clara and Dr. Foreman spun around to see what had happened. There was a sense of alarm until she let out a snore. Dr. Foreman seemed to spot something, so Clara followed his gaze to a woman with some of the sharpest cheekbones she had ever seen. The woman seemed to be attempting to look as innocent as possible. Dr. Foreman sighed and said, "I have to go. It's been nice talking to you, Ms. Oswald."
"Call me Clara." Clara said.
For some reason, she didn't correct him by telling him that her married name was Pink. Dr. Foreman looked back at her and smiled. "In that case, you can call me Basil."
Izzy plopped down on the immaculately made bed with a sigh. She absent-mindedly took note of the World of Warcraft duvet. She then picked up an Xbox One controller. The brown-haired boy sitting next to her seemed intent on starting the game. He was adorable, much like a puppy, even if he was a teensy bit on the pudgy side. "You want player one or player two?" the boy asked.
"Player one this time." Izzy replied. "I call dibs on the Lamborghini."
"You got it last time!" the boy protested.
"Tough biscuits, Alfie." the girl said. "I called first dibs. First dibs are binding."
"How about rock, paper, scissors?" Alfie asked.
"Fine." Izzy rolled her eyes. "Let's play your game, Stormageddon."
"All right." Alfie said with a determined smile. "You ready?"
Simultaneously, the two eleven-year-olds shouted, "Rock, paper, scissors- go!"
"Ha!" Alfie exclaimed triumphantly. "Paper covers rock!"
"Oh, fish fingers!" Izzy huffed.
"I get the Lamborghini." Alfie said. "You can have the Franken-car. It's just as good."
"Fiiiine!" Izzy groaned.
"Select course." Alfie said. "How about Urban Gauntlet? I heard that there's an unlockable car near the hospital."
"Hospital." Izzy said thoughtfully. "Right."
"Okay!" Alfie said with a grin. "Start!"
As the two pre-teens started the race, everything seemed intense. However, Izzy seemed distracted. Eventually, Alfie noticed it. "Izzy, are you okay?" he asked. "You haven't run over a single furry for extra points."
"Sorry, Stormy." Izzy said. "Slaughter time."
"We need to hit fifty purple furries in this course if we're going to unlock the new car at the hospital." Alfie said. "I heard that it's a Lamborghini police car!"
"What would it be doing at a hospital?" Izzy asked.
"This is Auto Charge 4." Alfie replied. "Anything is possible."
"True." Izzy said.
The two then returned their attention to the game. Izzy, for some reason, wasn't hitting as many furries as usual, let alone the rare purple ones. This was strange, because she was usually an expert at in-game vehicular furrycide. Eventually, Alfie made the decision to pause the game. "Hey!" Izzy protested.
"Something's wrong." Alfie said with a frown. "Spill."
"Alfie, nothing's wrong." Izzy growled.
"Izzy, who knows you possibly better than your mum?" Alfie asked.
Izzy sighed and said, "You."
"That's right." Alfie said. "I know something's bothering you, now spill and we'll get back to trying to hit fifty purple furries or one golden furry."
Izzy let out a soft sigh and gazed down at her controller. Finally, she spoke up. "I found him."
"Who?" Alfie asked. "The golden furry?"
"No." Izzy said. "I found him. I found the donor. I found my biological father."
"Oh." Alfie said softly. "Does your mum know?"
"No." Izzy replied. "I haven't told her. I don't know what to say to him."
"Do you know where he lives?" Alfie asked.
"No." Izzy said. "I met him where he works, then at my cousin's wedding. His nephew was marrying my cousin."
"So your cousin is marrying your second cousin?" Alfie wrinkled his nose.
"First of all, John is his ex-wife's half-sister's step-son, so he's not related to me in any way." Izzy said, clearly exasperated. "Second of all, Oswin is my second cousin."
"So there's no creepiness involved?" Alfie said. "That's good."
"No creepiness at all." Izzy said. "Though even if they were related, it still wouldn't technically be incest."
"Why do we have these conversations?" Alfie groaned.
"Because we're both bad influences on each other." Izzy replied. "You with your violent video games and me with my tendency to be blunt about all things."
"Right." Alfie said. He then got a thoughtful expression on his face. "You know what his name is, don't you?"
"Yeah." Izzy said. "His name is Dr. Basil Foreman."
"All right." Alfie said with a grin.
The eleven-year-old boy then got up and sat down in his computer chair before signing in on his computer. "What are you doing, Alfie?"
"Well, with a little searching and some internet magic," Alfie said, typing something down in the search bar. "I might be able to find out where he lives."
Izzy couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement and trepidation at the thought of finding out where Basil lived. She didn't know what she was going to do with the information, but one way or another, she was going to find out.
Izzy stared down at the piece of paper that she held in her hand. After a bit of searching, Stormageddon had found this particular address and had written it down for her. Izzy didn't know what she was going to do with her knowledge of this address. She was eleven years old. Why would she seek out this address and the person it belonged to? The person who lived at that address was none other than Dr. Basil Foreman, the man whom she was absolutely certain was her biological father. Her mum still didn't know that her eleven-year-old daughter had found her sperm donor. Izzy couldn't tell her. Not until she knew what she was going to do with this information. Basil seemed like a nice enough fellow. Did she want him in her life? She hadn't really thought of this before. She looked up at Alfie. "What should I do with this?" she asked.
"It's up to you." Alfie said with a shrug. "He's your dad, not mine."
"He's not really my dad." Izzy said. "Not in the familial sense. He didn't raise me."
"You're still curious, though." Alfie pointed out.
"Of course I am." Izzy said with a frown. "Wouldn't you be curious?"
"I probably would." Alfie said affirmatively.
"Curious or not, I have no idea what I'm going to do with this information." Izzy sighed.
"If you come up with an idea, make sure to think it over." Alfie advised.
"I will." Izzy replied.
The main theme for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim started playing, indicating that Izzy was getting a call on her mobile phone. The ID said 'Mum'. Izzy answered and said, "Hey, Mum."
"It's time to come home." Clara said. "It may be 5 PM on a Friday, but you still need to do your homework."
"Fine." Izzy sighed. "I'll be right over, Mum."
"All right." Clara said. "See you soon. Love you!"
"Love you too, Mum. Bye." Izzy hung up before turning to Alfie. "Homework calls, Stormageddon."
Alfie nodded and said, "Okay. See you later."
"You too." Izzy said.
The girl then turned to leave her best mate's room before exiting his family's flat. She had some options regarding what to do with Basil's address. She would consider those options after she did her homework.
Clara stood outside the bathroom door. "Izzy, are you okay in there?" she called out.
"I'm fine, Mum!" Izzy replied, sounding almost frantic.
"Izzy, you really don't sound fine." Clara said.
There was the sound of shuffling in the bathroom. A few seconds later, Izzy opened the door, looking rather embarrassed. "Now Izzy, can you tell me what's wrong?" Clara asked.
"I had my period." Izzy blurted.
Clara's eyes widened in shock. "You did?"
"Yeah." Izzy looked away, embarrassed.
Clara smiled and said, "Well, that's wonderful!"
"Isn't eleven a bit young to have your period?" Izzy asked.
"I had my first period around that age." Clara reassured her daughter. "According to my mum, so did she."
"What am I going to do?" Izzy asked.
"Did you put something on?" Clara asked. "A pad? A tampon?"
Izzy turned bright red and said, "I put on some clean pants and used one of those thin things! All you had were those things and tampons!"
Clara nodded and said, "Well, make sure to get a jacket to put around your waist, just in case. We're going to the store to get you some sanitary towels."
Izzy was clearly mortified. Clara placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder and said, "It's okay, Izzy. This is something that every woman goes through."
"Is it always this messy?" Izzy asked.
"Like I said, this is something that happens to every woman." Clara said. "I've leaked through my sanitary towels and tampons a few times."
"Let's just get the sanitary towels before I make another mess." Izzy said.
"All right." Clara said. "Let me grab my purse."
Izzy found herself at the nearest Tesco. She was standing by her mother, who was perusing feminine hygiene products. The eleven-year-old was completely mortified and would periodically glance around to make sure that no one was watching them. "Hurry up!" Izzy hissed.
"Izzy, you have nothing to be embarrassed about." Clara said. "Millions of women all around the world buy sanitary towels every single day."
"It feels weird to be here again." Izzy admitted. "The last time I was here, I was here with Dad."
"He was picking up tampons for me." Clara said. "The cramps were bad that time."
"Cramps?" Izzy seemed quite alarmed at this.
"Weren't cramps mentioned when periods were discussed?" Clara asked.
"How bad are they?" Izzy asked.
"They can vary from person to person." Clara replied. "Does your lower abdomen hurt?"
"A little." Izzy admitted.
"We have some paracetamol at home." Clara said. "However, while we are at the store, we will get you the panacea of all that ails you during your period."
"A hysterectomy?" Izzy snarked
"Hah ha." Clara said non-seriously before smiling and continuing, "I'm talking about chocolate."
Izzy perked up a bit at this. "Any excuse to eat chocolate is a valid one."
"Here." Clara said. "These towels are the ones you want."
Clara held up a package of sanitary towels with the word 'teens' printed on it. "But Mum, I'm not a teen yet." Izzy pointed out.
"That's just what they're called." Clara explained. "These ones should be your size."
"If you say so." Izzy sighed.
"Cheer up." Clara said with a smile. "You'll get to eat chocolate and ice cream when we get out of here."
The two then left that particular area of the store. On the way to the check-out area, they picked up some of Izzy's favorite chocolates. However, when the eleven-year-old saw who was in line in front of them, her heart sank. "Clara! Isabel! I didn't expect to run into you here." Basil said with a smile.
"Hello, Basil." Clara said with a smile.
"What are you doing here?" Izzy asked.
"I was visiting a friend and they ran out of milk." Basil replied. "Also, I needed batteries for my wireless mouse."
Izzy noticed that Basil had spotted the menstrual products. She was definitely embarrassed, but she was also grateful that he had the tact not to mention it. Still, she didn't think that she'd be able to look him in the eye for a while. After short while, Basil paid for his items before leaving. Izzy turned to her mother and said, "He saw them."
"Saw what?" Clara asked.
"The sanitary towels." Izzy replied.
"Well, he's a doctor, so that shouldn't bother him too much." Clara said reassuringly.
"If you say so." Izzy sighed. "Let's just go home."
Clara couldn't help but notice that Izzy wasn't touching her lunch. Her period had started Friday evening and it was currently Saturday afternoon. "Izzy, I thought you loved curry." Clara said, clearly concerned.
"I'm just not hungry, Mum." Izzy replied, still picking at her food with her spoon.
Clara thought about it for a moment before asking, "Is it the cramps?"
"Mum!" Izzy groaned, her face turning somewhat red.
"It's okay to answer me." Clara tried to reassure her daughter. "We're both girls here."
Izzy grumbled and said, "It's there, but it's not awful."
"What's wrong, then?" Clara asked.
"I'm just not hungry." Izzy said, frowning once more. "Curry doesn't sound good."
"What does sound good?" Clara asked.
"Chips." Izzy replied.
"I'm not going out for chips, Izzy." Clara said. "Maybe once you're done with your curry, you could check for relatives on the MyOrigins website. Have you found any yet?"
"Not many." Izzy said, still picking at her food.
"If you do find any, maybe we can meet them if they live nearby." Clara suggested.
"None of them live nearby." Izzy said.
"It would be nice to meet them, though. Wouldn't you like to meet a long-lost relative?" Clara asked.
A thoughtful expression appeared on the eleven-year-old's face. "Can I go hang out with Stormy tomorrow?" she asked.
"Sure." Clara replied. "Will you be staying for supper?"
"I'll call you if I do." Izzy said.
Clara was about to say something, but her daughter started to finally eat her curry. Izzy knew her daughter well enough to know that the way she was acting was basically a sign that she was done talking. It must be the hormones, Clara thought as she took a bite of her own chili.
It was another Sunday morning and Basil was in his house, generally avoiding people. He knew that he had to avoid them. His Catholic neighbors would always try to make him go to church with them. They must know. He knew that they must know. They could smell his fear. They had to know that he himself was a lapsed Catholic and wasn't even sure whether he believed in god or not. They probably didn't know, actually. How could they? They had no way of knowing unless they could somehow smell communion wafer on his breath after twenty years. They couldn't... could they?
No, he was just being paranoid. Everything would be better after some tea. Tea fixed everything. Tea was always the answer. Basil thought about this as he filled a kettle with water from the tap. "Definitely being paranoid." he thought out loud. "They're Catholics, not bloodhounds."
When John put the kettle on the hob, turning on the heat before heading to watch the telly. There wasn't really much on. On to Netflix, then! John had convinced him to subscribe. He decided on a documentary about deadly animals. He would have to see whether it was boring or not. Suddenly, there was the sound of extremely sensual moaning. Basil quickly answered the call on his phone. "Hello, Uncle Basil!" John chirped.
"Damn it, John! This is the fifth time I've told you not to change my ring tone!" Basil snapped.
"At least it wasn't Barbie Girl again." John pointed out.
"John, my ring tone sounds like a porn video!" Basil said angrily.
"That would imply that you know what porn sounds like." John said cheekily. "You've better not have been using my laptop."
Basil sputtered for a few seconds before shouting, "I do not watch pornography on your laptop!"
"Good." John said. "Though according to Missy, if you could get a computer pregnant, you and your monitor would have at least six kids by now."
"Do you want me to send her to your house?" Basil asked angrily.
"Please don't." John pleaded. "She doesn't know mine and Oswin's address. She already tranquilized Oswin's step-mum."
"Good point." Basil said. "Now, if you could shut up and never again mention pornography, that would be great."
It was then that the door bell chimed. "I'll have to talk to you some other time."
Not giving his nephew a chance to respond, Basil hung up. He then headed over to the front door. He opened it, revealing a somewhat familiar eleven-year-old girl. "Isabel!"
"Hello, Basil." Isabel said awkwardly.
"What are you doing here?" the middle-aged doctor asked. "How did you even know my address?"
"Internet." Isabel replied, as if that explained everything.
A stern expression appeared on Basil's face as he said, "That still doesn't explain what you are doing here, young lady."
Isabel ran a hand through her curly, brown tresses as she let out a frustrated sigh. "I thought I knew what to say." She said, sounding like she was on the edge of panic. "I should have made cue cards for this. I thought I knew what I was going to say. Give me a minute and I'll say it."
"Isabel?" Basil questioned, thoroughly puzzled.
Isabel took a deep, deep breath. Basil's mouth fell open in shock when the girl said, "My name is Isabel Pink," She looked up, directly into his face. "and I'm 100% certain that you're my father."
AAAAAND, things really get rolling. What happens next? You'll have to wait until the next chapter. Mwahahahaha!
Had it been a cartoon, Basil's jaw would have hit the floor. Isabel Pink, the girl he had treated at A&E and met again at his nephew's wedding, was his daughter? How could this be? It wasn't like he had slept with anyone without a condom in that past eleven years or so. He especially knew that he hadn't slept with Clara, whom Isabel resembled a great deal. This was absolutely insane. Isabel cleared her throat to get his attention before asking, "Are you going to keep standing there like a pudding brain or are you going to let me in?"
"Oh, right." Basil said hastily before stepping aside to let her in. "Come on in."
Isabel stepped into the house and Basil closed the door behind her. He cleared his throat nervously before saying, "I'll show you someplace where we can talk. Would you like some tea?"
Isabel nodded and said, "Yes, please."
The sound of the kettle whistling emerged from the kitchen and Basil said, "I'll be right back."
A few minutes later, Basil called out, "How do you like your tea?"
"I like it with just a teensy splash of milk." Isabel replied.
A short while later, Basil returned from the kitchen with two steaming cups of tea. He handed one to Isabel before sitting down. The middle-aged doctor then spoke. "So... I'm your father? Are you sure?"
"Very." Isabel replied.
Basil took a good look at the girl. She definitely had the same eyes as him. Her hair was also curly and she sat with a similar posture. Still, he couldn't be sure. He couldn't think of a way for this to happen. "How?" he asked.
"My mum and dad are named Clara and Danny Pink. They used your donated sperm." Isabel said. "There was a mix-up in the paperwork, which resulted in your sperm being used instead of the chosen donor's sperm. That's why I look nothing like my dad. Nine months or so later, I was born."
Basil nodded. Back at the time of the car accident, there had been enough of Danny Pink left over for him to tell that Isabel didn't look anything like him. The whole mix-up thing was completely strange. However, her being his daughter was plausible. Around twelve years ago, he had done as Mae had suggested and, to quote her, 'wanked into a cup'. Apparently, someone used his sperm and now he had a daughter. "I did donate sperm." Basil admitted. He let out a chuckle at how strange things were right now. "I didn't expect a biological child to track me down, though."
"I had to meet you." Isabel said sincerely. "I had to talk to you and find out what you were like."
"Well, I'm a 55 year old unmarried Scottish doctor who works at A&E at Hartnell Memorial Hospital." Basil replied. "Some people don't like my bedside manner because I don't like idiots hurting themselves out of stupidity. I also don't like pears or idiots and I have one sister, whom you've already met. I drive a blue 2008 Honda Jazz. That's about it."
"All right." Isabel said. "I'm an eleven-year-old who is not from Scotland and I'm a student who is too young to have a job. I've been told that I'm somewhat rude and more intelligent than most of my peers. I also don't like pears or idiots and I'm an only child. I ride a bicycle and I want to get a motorcycle when I'm old enough."
"Okay, now we know each other." Basil said. "Ish."
They were both silent for a while, each taking sips of their tea. Finally, Basil spoke up. "What now?" he asked.
"We get to know each other better." Isabel replied. "If that's okay, that is."
Basil thought about it for a moment. It would be easy to say no, but she was his daughter. He had always wanted children. He suspected that he would never be 'Dad' to her, but in some ways, she was still a part of him. She looked at him with such earnesty in her eyes, her eyes that were so much like his, and he realized that he wanted to be a part of her life. Basil nodded and said, "Yes. Yes, it's okay. You don't have to call me 'Dad' or anything. You already had a dad, right?" He smiled and added, "None of that 'Dr. Foreman' stuff, though. You can just keep calling me Basil."
Isabel grinned broadly and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you again, Basil Foreman."
Basil returned that smile and said, "Likewise, Isabel Pink."
The two spent the next hour or so talking before Isabel's phone sounded, indicating that someone wanted to facetime her. The eleven-year-old answered her phone. The girl on the other and had long, blonde hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. Her skin had patches on it that were far lighter than her natural skin tone. She appeared to be around Isabel's age. Basil recognized it as the skin condition, vitiligo. In an extremely Irish accent, the blonde girl asked, "Where the hell are you, Isabel Pink?"
"I'm at Stormy's house." Isabel lied.
"That's a load of bullshit." The girl scoffed.
"I really am!" Isabel insisted.
It was then that a slightly chubby boy poked his head in behind the blonde girl. He also appeared to be around Isabel's age. "Hey, Izzy!" He called out. "We're calling from my room!"
Isabel swore under her breath. "Language!" Basil scolded.
"Who's that?" the blonde girl asked.
Isabel sighed and said, "I'm at you-know-who's house."
"What do you mean by you-know-who?" the blonde girl questioned.
"My biological father." Isabel elaborated. She widened her eyes and said, "Sloane, please don't tell my mum!"
Sloane smiled evilly and said, "What's in it for me?"
"I won't translate what you are saying when you're saying rude things about Mrs. Wiggins in Spanish." Isabel said, returning the evil grin.
"She has it out for both of you." the boy said. "Ever since you got Mr. Wiggins fired."
"He deserved it." Sloane huffed.
"What did he do?" Basil asked.
"He made fun of Sloane's vitiligo when no one could hear." Isabel explained. "He said that she looked like a cow. Repeatedly. He also had a thing against Spanish people. So, we did our homework and found a few fireable offences."
"Spanish people?" Basil questioned.
"I'm half Spanish." Sloane provided. "My da is Irish and my mam is Spanish. I have two sisters who are lighter than me and one sister in between."
"Anyway," Isabel said, "He was fired and Mrs. Wiggins has hated us ever since. So, how about it, Sloane?"
Sloane sighed dramatically and said, "All right, I'll keep your secret. For a thing of Pringles."
"That's all it'll take?" Isabel's eyes widened.
"I'm a woman of simple needs." Sloane said with a smile. "At least I'm not asking you to make me pasta."
"Why would I make you pasta?" Isabel asked.
"Well, you are thirteen per cent Italian." Sloane teased.
"Is that racist?" Isabel asked. "I'm really not sure."
"I dunno. Anyway," Sloane said, "get me some Pringles tomorrow and I won't tell a soul."
With that said, the blonde girl hung up. Isabel looked at Basil. The doctor raised a brow and said, "Those are your friends?"
"Yeah." Isabel replied. "The boy is Alfie Owens and the Irish girl is Sloane MacGowan. Me and Alfie have been best mates since we were in nappies and Sloane is a more recent friend. We got into a fist fight and lied and said that we were running and tripped over each other and fell down the stairs, otherwise both of us would have gotten in trouble. We got into another fight after school and the next thing you know, we're having snacks and playing Mass Effect 3. Weird way to make a friend, I know."
"How often do you get into fights?" Basil asked, somewhat perplexed.
"Not often." Isabel replied. "I haven't gotten into a fight in over a year."
"Don't lie to me, Isabel." Basil said, unintentionally slipping into a 'dad voice'.
"Okay, fine!" Isabel groaned. "I haven't gotten into a fight in over two months. She started it. It's not my fault that the same height as my mum."
Basil was still a bit surprised that Isabel had gotten into a fight so recently. "Why did you fight?" he asked.
"She's a pudding brain." Isabel replied with a huff. "Pudding brains don't need to have a reason to be pudding brains. She said that I have legs like a giraffe and called my mum a useless slag."
"Language!" Basil scolded. He then asked, "Can't you tell a teacher about it?"
"It usually happens around Mrs. Wiggins' class." Isabel said with a frown. "You've overheard me and Sloane, so you know that Mrs. Wiggins hates me. She never believes me. Shauna is her favourite anyway. A lot of people believe that she's a perfect angel. In reality, she has a heart of stone and strikes when you're not looking. Some angel, right?"
Isabel glared at her tea and said, "I don't know why I'm telling you this. It's not like you're my dad-dad, Basil. Like at best, we're potential friends. I mean, I have Alfie and Sloane, but..."
Basil really didn't have many friends that weren't somehow related to him, even if not directly. When he saw the look on Isabel's face, he realized it. Sloane and Alfie were her only friends. Isabel looked rather sad and alone. Seeing her like that made his heart ache. Making up his mind, Basil smiled at the eleven-year-old and said, "We can be friends if you want, Isabel."
Isabel smiled at him and said, "I'd like nothing more, Basil."
About an hour after meeting Basil, he dropped Izzy off a few blocks away from the building where Alfie's flat was located. Once the man drove away, Izzy headed over to her best mate's dwelling. Once she arrived at the flat, Stormageddon's mother let her in. The eleven-year-old girl then headed to Alfie's room. Inside, she saw Afie and Sloane playing one of the Soul Calibur games. "I'm going to kick your arse faster than you can say 'holy shit, it's a fist!'" Sloane declared.
"Watch your language, young lady!" Alfie's mum shouted from another room.
"Sorry!" Sloane called out.
"She's pretty lenient about your occasional swearing." Izzy observed.
"Yeah. My da says that when he was a boy, my granddad would get his belt out when ever my da swore." Sloane admitted. "Kind of hypocritical, considering how much Granddad used to swear."
Izzy nodded. "I don't think your granddad liked that American fellow that your oldest sister married."
"Grandad hated that Abernathy doesn't have what he considers a 'real job'. I don't think that being a video game designer is a bad job." Sloane said with a smile. "Now Jen is Mrs. Dunlap and there's nothing he can do about it."
"How are Abernathy and Jen doing anyway?" Alfie asked.
"I just got a call today and she told me that she's expecting." Sloane grinned evilly. "In seven months' time, there will be another little probably-blonde child with the attention span of a squirrel."
"You really don't like your granddad, do you?" Izzy asked.
"Nope." Sloane said.
Sloane waited until she was sure that Alfie's mum was out of earshot before quietly asking, "How did it go? The visit with your da, I mean."
"I wouldn't really call him my dad." Izzy replied. "My father, maybe, but not my dad. It went pretty well, though. He's a pretty cool person. No a pudding brain at all. He doesn't like pears, either."
"Are you going to visit him again?" Alfie asked.
"Maybe." Izzy said with a shrug. "I haven't really thought about it yet."
It was then that Izzy's phone went off, indicating that someone was calling her. The young brunette picked up the phone and answered, "Hello. Izzy Pink speaking."
"Supper will be ready in about an hour." Clara said. "Will you be home by then?"
"I will, Mum." Izzy promised.
The girl hung up the phone before looking at her friends. "I have to go." she said. "See you some other time?"
"See you later, Izzy." Alfie said with a grin.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Sloane said, also grinning.
"That isn't very comforting, Sloane." Izzy said. "Anyway, I'll be going now."
With that, Izzy left. It took her about forty-five minutes to get home. When she was there, her mum was fixing some soup. Izzy took initiative and started setting the table. When supper was ready, Clara set the pot down on the table, keeping it safe with a pot holder. As she filled her daughter's bowl, the young mother asked, "How was your visit with Alfie? I heard that someone else was there, too."
"Yeah." Izzy lied. "It was someone that I don't hang out with often."
"All right." Clara said, filling her own bowl. "Did you make a new friend."
Izzy couldn't help but smile as she said, "Yeah. I think I did."
As Basil ate his Chinese take-away, he couldn't help but think about today's revelation. He had a daughter. It was hard to believe that he had somehow won the genetic lottery and had spawned, even though he hadn't been directly involved. To top it all off, Isabel seemed like a pretty decent kid. In some ways, she seemed very much like him. It was almost impossible to doubt that she was his. He wasn't sure why she didn't want him to meet her mum quite yet, but she was a good kid and he knew that he should trust her reasoning. Still, it was difficult to believe that he had a daughter. It all seemed kind of surreal to him.
Basil sighed and fiddled with his chopsticks. "Isabel Pink." he said with a chuckled. "It had to be her."
He had met this girl enough times and oddly enough, he felt a strange sort of bond with her. He hadn't been able to explain it at the time, but he kind of understood now, even if it didn't make complete sense. It was as if, though he didn't realize it, he had somehow instinctually known that the girl was his daughter. He had, to put it the way Mae had put it, 'wanked into a cup' with the possibility of science spreading his seed. He never really expected that science to catch up with him. To be honest, he wasn't sure what to do.
Basil looked at his phone. He wasn't ready to call her. If she wanted to meet again, he would probably wait for her to visit him. When she was ready to tell her mum, she would do it. Until then, he would respect her privacy. If he had to have a daughter, he didn't mind that the daughter was Isabel Pink. He wondered how many ways she was alike him. If she was willing, he looked forward to finding out. He would be happy to get to know his daughter, Isabel Pink.
If you can guess what movie Abernathy Darwin Dunlap is a reference to, I'll consider granting a story request. I'm not making any promises, but if I like the idea, I might write it. NO USING A SEARCH ENGINE TO FIND THE ANSWER!
Izzy was kind of bored. She was at the MacGowan family's home for dinner and she wished that she was somewhere else. She was having trouble understanding them, too. There were way too many inside jokes that she, as an English person, didn't get. They were all was here around the telly and two of the MacGowan sisters were fighting over the remote. "I got to it first!" Áine argued.
"Well, I was born first!" Mary argued back. "I deserve it!"
"Girls, don't make me raise my voice." Tom MacGowan, the girls' father, said calmly.
The man was weirdly calm sometimes, Izzy thought. He was nigh unflappable. All four of his daughters were kept in semi-order by his calm but firm voice and demeanor. Mary was fourteen and Áine was ten. Having been born a little over eleven months after Sloane, Áine had been unplanned but was still very much loved. They were currently waiting for the oldest sister, whom Izzy had always been told was named Jen. Jen was twenty-three years old. She was supposed to arrive soon with her husband, Abernathy. They lived in New York and didn't visit as often as the MacGowans would like. This was one of their rare visits. Izzy knew why. Sloane also knew why, but none of the other MacGowans did. There was a knock on the door and Tom got up to answer the door. When the door was opened, on the other side was a man with pale skin and messy, light blonde hair. He was dressed in a grey suit and seemed to be bouncing with energy. He took Tom's hand in his and vigorously shook it. "I'm Abernathy Darwin Dunlap, sir! It's nice to meet you!"
Tom, unsurprisingly, was completely nonplussed by this. He hadn't met his son-in-law before, even though he had visited a few times. "Tom MacGowan." he introduced himself. "Come on in."
"Thank you!" Abernathy said with a grin.
He stepped in and was followed by a golden blonde woman whose skin was a colour somewhere between Sloane's deep olive and Áine and Mary's stereotypical Irish pale. The woman had green eyes that matched those of her father and her youngest sister. Her arm was currently in a sling. "Hello, Da!"
She then gave a one-armed hug to Tom, who hugged her back before letting go. "Hello, darling. How was the flight?" Tom asked.
"Absolutely insane." the woman, who appeared to be in her early twenties, said. "You wouldn't believe it!"
"A woman tried to steal Éadaoin's seat." Abernathy said. "She wanted it for her twelve-year-old because she didn't reserve her seats. Éadaoin said that it wasn't her fault that she had planned poorly and that she wasn't going to give up her seat because she was afraid that if she moved, she would throw up on someone because she wasn't feeling good."
Abernathy was just as talkative as Izzy remembered. Still, one thing puzzled her. "I thought her name was Jen." she whispered to Sloane.
"A lot of people who read her name can't pronounce properly it and a lot of people who hear it can't spell it properly." Sloane explained. "One substitute teacher kept getting it wrong so many times that Éadaoin just shouted, 'Jen!' and it stuck as a nickname, even though it sounds nothing like her real name."
"Is it one of those Irish names that is that hard for some people to spell and/or pronounce?" Izzy asked.
"Not to me, but to some people, yeah." Sloane replied. "She is used to people calling her Jen. I'm glad that Abernathy can pronounce Éadaoin's name, though."
The two eleven-year-old girls then heard Abernathy speak again. "Where is Mrs. MacGowan?"
"Alice is in the kitchen." Tom replied. "Now both of you, come have a seat. Dinner should be ready soon."
Izzy could smell the roast from where she was. It smelled absolutely mouth-watering. This particular Friday night, the dinner would be delicious. Veggies, potatoes, rolls, and a yummy beef roast were on the menu, followed by apple crumble. Yum! None of them could wait for dinner.
After a while, Alice called out, "Dinner's ready!"
There was a hustle over to the kitchen, with Mary and Áine almost tripping over each other in their haste. This led to an argument at the table, which Tom silenced with a surprisingly calm, "Mary, Áine, that's enough."
The girls settled down as everyone sat down at the table. The meal was served and, once everyone's plates were full, the family settled down for the meal. "You said that the flight was difficult." Tom said.
"Yeah." Éadaoin replied. "The mother was screaming like a toddler about how me and Abernathy were hogging seats that she was entitled to and that we must hate children, which is not true."
"Yeah." Abernathy added. "If we weren't in mid-flight, she could have been kicked off the plane. She was crazy and called us lots of mean names, including calling me an idiot because I'm not an idiot, I just have ADD and she was interrupting the movie, which was something with Adam Sandler in it. I don't remember what movie it was because the crazy mom wouldn't let me focus on it. She had issues and her kid was way better behaved than her."
Abernathy finished his sentence with a nod. "Oookay." Alice said, raising her brow at the man's hyperactive rambling, which she was aware of but had never gotten used to. She turned to Éadaoin and asked, "Bad flight aside, how have you been doing, Éadaoin?"
"I'm looking forward to a lot of things." Éadaoin replied. "My bakery is doing well. I'm looking forward to a lot of things. You know, continuing business, a continuing happy marriage, motherhood, me and Abernathy's anniversary, and getting a new car."
"What kind of car?" Tom asked.
It was then that it hit Tom and Alice. "Motherhood?!" Alice gasped.
"Éadaoin, are you saying what I think that you're saying?" Tom asked.
Éadaoin nodded. Abernathy took his wife's hand in his and exclaimed, "We're going to have a baby!"
Alice let out a squeal of delight. Tom let out a sigh and a chuckle. "I'm going to be a granddad."
"How far along are you?" Alice asked.
"Thirteen weeks." Éadaoin replied. "We just found out last month."
"Wait, does this mean that there's going to be a miniature Abernathy?" Mary groaned. "The world is not ready!"
"Mary Dianne MacGowan!" Alice scolded.
"It could easily be a miniature Éadaoin." Abernathy said helpfully.
"Or both of us." Éadaoin added. "We're really happy. Mary, Sloane, and Áine are going to be aunts and my mam and da are going to be grandparents."
Izzy turned to Sloane and flashed her a subtle grin. They had found out before the MacGowans. "Have you thought about any names?" Áine asked.
"Niamh if it's a girl and Seán if it's a boy." Éadaoin replied.
"We decided to go with an Irish name." Abernathy added. "Niamh was also my mother's middle name."
"Is your da's name going to be the baby's name if it's a boy?" Áine asked.
The table suddenly went silent. After a moment of silence, Abernathy said, "My dad really isn't in the picture." He looked at everyone and said, "I'm not gonna run away like him, though. I'm gonna be there for my son or daughter. A child deserves to know their father."
"Okay." Alice said before looking to Áine. "Áine, how was school today?"
Áine launched into a story about the insanity of school, which took up the attention of the Dunlaps and the MacGowans. Izzy, on the other hand, couldn't help but think about what Abernathy had said. A child deserves to know their father.
It was a lovely Saturday, or at least it would be if Basil hadn't caught his sister catfishing someone again. He had, of course, sent the person in question an email letting them know that they were being catfished. What they did with that warning was up to them. There was something satisfying about sabotaging his sister's attempts at messing with people, though. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Basil got up and headed over to the door to answer it. When he opened it, he saw Isabel Pink standing there with a backpack. "Hi, Basil." the girl said. "Can we hang out?"
"Um, sure." Basil said. "Come on in."
The eleven-year-old entered the doctor's abode, once again looking around her. "Would you like some tea?" Basil asked.
"No thank you." Isabel replied. "Do you have any fizzy drinks?"
"I have some Coca-Cola, but you really shouldn't be drinking that." Basil said, frowning at the last bit.
"Jeez, Basil, do you have to be such a doctor all the time?" Isabel groaned.
"No, I suppose not." Basil said with a shrug. "Go ahead and sit down somewhere and I'll fetch you one."
He watched as Isabel headed off to sit down before he headed into the kitchen. He opened his refrigerator, reaching to the back before grabbing one Coke for Isabel and one for himself. He headed into the living room to see if she was there. When he got there, he saw her setting up some sort gaming console. "What are you doing?" he asked.
"Setting up my PS4." Isabel replied. "I brought some games that we could play."
"I'm not really into video games." Basil admitted. "I haven't played in a long time. I'm not really up to date with the current consoles."
"What was the last system you owned?" Isabel asked.
"My last one was an Atari 2600." Basil replied.
"A what?" Isabel questioned.
"An Atari 2600." Basil explained. "I was in my twenties at the time. I'll show you a picture."
Basil got out his smartphone and looked up a picture and an article about the game, which he showed to Isabel. The girl looked up at the older man and said, "You haven't played a video game in 30 years?"
"I played a game on John's PlayStation 2 once." Basil said defensively.
Isabel sighed and said, Just get over here and let's play a game. Basil walked over and sat down on the couch, setting each soda on the coffee table between the couch and the telly. Finally, Isabel seemed done. She brought one controller to him and one for herself. "What are we playing?" Basil asked.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops III." Isabel replied. "We'll be playing campaign mode. Don't worry. I won't let you get shot up too much."
A few hours later, Basil was doing a surprisingly not-horrible job. He was killing bad guys and periodically complaining. "A lot of these deaths are medically inaccurate." Basil complained. "There would be a lot more blood. Not to mention-"
"Basil, just shut up and kill these guys." Isabel groaned.
"This combat knife-" Basil tried to say, but Isabel interrupted him again.
"Basil, look out!" Isabel shouted.
"Oh shi-" Basil exclaimed, though he made sure to stop himself before he swore.
"Nice shooting." Isabel said with a grin.
"This game is ridiculous." Basil groaned.
"You only died eight times." Isabel said. "That's not completely awful."
"Why are we playing this particular game again?" Basil asked.
"You're enjoying it." Isabel said with a smirk.
"What makes you so sure that I'm enjoying it?" Basil retorted.
"You go 'pew!' under your breath whenever you shoot an enemy." Isabel said smugly.
"I do no- oh, damn it!" Basil groaned as his character once again died.
Just after they started again, Isabel paused the game and said, "How about a break?"
"A break might be nice." Basil admitted.
"All right, then." Isabel said with a smile. "Do you have any snacks here?"
"I have some crackers and jam." Basil replied. "You are not eating those in the living room."
Isabel let out a sigh and asked, "Anything else?"
"I have some frozen pizza." Basil replied. "That might be a bit much, though."
"I told Mum that I would have supper while I'm out." Isabel said with a shrug.
"Pizza it is, then." Basil said. "Do you like pepperoni?"
"Love it." Isabel said with a grin.
"All right, then." Basil said with a smile. "I'll take care of it after I pre-heat the oven."
Not long afterwards, Isabel and Basil were sitting at his dining room table, eating some pizza with two more Cokes. "How do you stay so skinny when you eat this so often?" Isabel asked.
"I'm naturally thin." Basil replied.
"You're practically a stick insect." Isabel said. "A strong wind would blow you over."
The girl, of course, wasn't considering the fact that she was also a skinny stick. Basil had the tact to not mention it. "I fare just fine in strong winds, thank you very much." Basil said tersely.
"If you say so." Isabel said with a shrug. "I don't like banter."
"I don't like banter, either." Basil agreed.
They were both in agreement on their mutual dislike of banter, but neither of them really realized that they were, indeed, bantering. After about an hour, Isabel's mobile went off. "Hello." she said.
There was a brief discussion on the other end before Isabel said, "All right, I'll head home, Mum."
The girl then hang up. "How are you going to get home?" Basil asked.
"Same way I got here." Isabel said with a shrug.
"You are not going out at night alone." Basil said sternly.
"How am I going to get home, then?" Isabel asked with an annoyed expression on her face.
"I'll drive you home." Basil said. "If it helps you feel better, I'll park out of sight, where your mum won't see me. I know that you intend on keeping this a secret for a while."
"Good man." Isabel said with a smile.
"I'll go get my keys." Basil said, returning the smile.
After a few minutes, the two were heading out to Basil's car. When Isabel saw it, she said, "That thing is really small."
"It's not that bad." Basil defended his car.
"You have to be six feet tall." Isabel said. "How would you fit in it?"
"I can fit." Basil insisted.
He unlocked his car and got into the driver's seat. Isabel went around and opened the passenger side door. She got inside, closed the door, and buckled up. She looked around and said, "This car is surprisingly roomy."
"I told you I'd fit." Basil said smugly.
"Only because your car is bigger on the inside." Isabel retorted.
"One of many remarkable things about Sexy." Basil said with a grin.
"Remarkable things about who?" Isabel questioned.
"Sexy." Basil replied. "That's what I call her."
"You've named your car 'Sexy'?" Isabel said, sounding somewhat surprised. "That's just weird."
"Weird is my middle name." Basil said with a smirk.
"According to the web search, your middle name is Peter." Isabel said.
"Just buckle up and let's head back to your place." Basil said, rolling his eyes.
"I'm already buckled up." Isabel rolled her eyes in a manner that was almost identical to Basil.
Basil realized that though the girl didn't look that much like him in regards to facial features, she had his facial expressions. That was interesting to take not of. Putting his key in the ignition, Basil turned it and started his car. He had to get this young lady home safely because he was a gentleman. Well, not so much of a gentleman, but he was a decent person and Isabel was his daughter. Violent video games or not, he had still enjoyed himself. He had enjoyed seeing her smile. She definitely had his smile.
When Izzy got home, she let herself out of the car. She smiled at Basil and said, "Thanks for the ride."
"It's no problem, Isabel." Basil replied.
Izzy then closed the door before heading back up to her mother's home. When she let herself in, she headed to the kitchen to see her mother washing the dishes. "How did your day with Alfie go?" Clara asked.
"It went fine, Mum." Izzy replied. "My friend and I enjoyed playing on my PS4."
"I hope you took care of it." Clara said.
"It's fine." Izzy said. "No damage at all. We just played CoD and had fun."
"It's good that you've made a friend." Clara said with a smile. "You seem much less stressed now."
"It really helped to meet up with him." Izzy said, also smiling.
"Good." Clara said. "Now, do your homework."
"Yes, Mum." Izzy sighed before heading to her room to complete her homework.
A bit of fluff with Izzy and Basil was in order, I think.
Hello, dear readers. I know that my chapters have been on the short side as of late. I am deeply apologetic for that. I have struggled with ADHD my entire life and lately, I haven't been able to get my Adderall prescription. Thankfully, on the morning that I began to write this chapter (the 13th of March, 2019) I have gotten my Adderall again after well over a week without it. It's hard to write when you can't focus. Because of my ADHD, it's hard to focus on things long enough to enjoy them. Hopefully, I'll be able to churn out better chapters now that I have my medication again. Thank you for your patience.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been a bit over two months since Isabel had started meeting Basil and they had fallen into a comfortable routine. She would visit him at least once every weekend and they had gotten to know each other fairly well. When he first got his guitar out, he loved seeing the way his daughter's eyes lit up. He would play covers of songs from the 70s and 80s and she would watch and occasionally complement. Sometimes she would jokingly complain about him having nothing in his repertoire that was more recent than 1989. He had recently started learning a few newer songs. Mostly some Meat Loaf from the 90s, which wasn't exactly new, but it was newer than the other songs he knew how to play. He wasn't willing to pick up any of the new garbage that somehow passed as music these days. As Basil belted out Crazy Train, he noticed Isabel looking at him in a peculiar way. When he finished the song, he looked at the girl and asked, "What is it, Isabel?" He smiled and asked with playful snark, "Do I have something in my teeth?"
Isabel laughed and said, "No. I was just looking at something."
"What?" Basil asked. "If it's my guitar, I'll show you how to play, but you can't have it."
"It's not your guitar!" Isabel said reassuringly. "I was just looking at your shades."
Basil quirked a brow and said, "You like my Ray Bans?"
Isabel nodded. Basil set his guitar down and walked over to the eleven-year-old. He took his Ray Bans off and gently put them on her face. "You're letting me try them on?" Isabel questioned.
"I'm letting you have them." Basil replied.
"Oh, you don't have to!" Isabel said hastily.
"Nonsense." Basil looked at his daughter appraisingly. "They suit you."
Isabel grinned broadly and said, "Thank you, Basil!"
Basil returned that smile, very pleased to see Isabel so happy. "All right, now." he said. "Let's show you a few tips on electric guitarmanship."
"Basil, 'guitarmanship' isn't a real word." Isabel rolled her eyes.
"John came up with it." Basil said with a shrug.
Isabel rolled her eyes and got up again to head over to Basil. He handed her his guitar and said, "Okay, this is how you hold it."
Over the next few hours, the doctor gave his daughter a series of lessons on how to play the electric guitar. She was clearly an amateur, but he felt that she showed some degree of promise. Around 6:30 PM, Isabel got a phone call from her mum. It was time for her to go home. The eleven-year-old sighed and said, "I'll see you tomorrow, Basil."
Clara was very pleased when her daughter came home safely. "You're back just in time." the thirty-something mother said. "I made lasagna."
"Yay!" Izzy said happily.
"Can you set the table?" Clara asked.
"Sure." Izzy replied.
The eleven-year-old nodded and got the plates and silverware out before setting the table. It was just the two of them, so there was no need to get fancy. Izzy made sure to get out some cold filtered water and pour them each a glass. When Clara sat down, she noticed that her daughter was wearing a rather nice pair of wayfarer sunglasses. "Nice shades." Clara commented.
"A friend gave them to me." Izzy said.
Clara nodded and left it at that. After all, how much could a pair of sunglasses cost? It wasn't like they were super expensive. They were just a pair of sunglasses. They definitely suited her, though. Izzy was growing like a weed. She was currently taller than her mother and she seemed to be going through a growth spurt, so she would get even taller. She was already the tallest girl in her class. Clara wondered how tall her daughter would be by the time she was done growing.
Izzy had been forced to endure her grandmother's harping that past Sunday, so she had been forced to wait another week before she could see Basil. "I'm going to Stormageddon's flat!" Izzy called out.
"Make sure you bring an umbrella!" Clara called out.
"All right!" Izzy called, grabbing the aforementioned object before leaving.
Izzy decided to take the bus to the stop closest to Basil's house. She had taken her Nintendo Switch with her to play a few games on the bus. She was enjoying her gaming when suddenly, she heard someone behind her. She glanced back to see that a boy of around 7 or 8 was watching her play. Not paying the child any heed, Izzy returned to her game. After a minute or so, she heard the boy say, "Mummy, can I play the game?"
"Of course." the boy's mum replied.
The boy headed over to Izzy and said, "I want your game."
"You can't have it." Izzy replied, not looking up from her game.
It was then that the boy did something unexpected. Raising his voice, he wailed, "MUUUUM!"
The mother stormed over to Izzy and angrily said, "What did you do to my baby?"
"Nothing!" Izzy said.
"Give him the game." the mum ordered.
"No." Izzy said with a frown.
"You made my baby upset. Give me the game." the mum ordered.
"No!" Izzy said. "It's mine."
"My son deserves it more than you." the mum argued. "He's been a good student and he deserves that game, so give it to my son!"
"No!" Izzy exclaimed. "I'm not giving it to your kid!"
The entitled mum let out the most ear-piercing shriek of rage as she tried to snatch the Nintendo Switch from Izzy's hand. Izzy tried to fight it, but the woman yanked it out of her arms. The struggle had caused some damage to the device. A woman turned and looked at the two. "What's going on?" she asked.
"She stole my baby's game!" the entitled mum screeched. "She took it right out of his hands!"
"It's my game!" Izzy argued. "You stole it from me!"
People were staring now as the entitled mum handed the game to her entitled spawn. The boy tried to play the game, but he realized that it wasn't working properly. "It's broken!" He yelled.
"Give it back." Izzy ordered.
"You broke it!" The boy shouted.
He then did something that Izzy did not expect. He threw the Nintendo Switch, breaking it beyond any hope of repair. The bus was stopped and the driver quickly kicked the protesting entitled mother and her demon child off the bus. The distraught Izzy cradled her destroyed game in her hands, unsure of what to do. She couldn't exactly ask her mum for a replacement. It had been a present from her granddad.
When Izzy arrived at her stop, she trudged to her destination until she arrived at Basil's home. She rang the doorbell and Basil opened the door. He smiled at her and said, "Hello, Isabel."
Izzy, unable to hide her despair, said, "Hello, Basil. Can I come in?"
"Of course." Basil replied, stepping aside to let her in.
Izzy headed over to the living room, staring down at her ruined Switch. Basil noticed her demeanor and asked, "Isabel, is something wrong?"
"It's nothing, just..." She showed him her broken game. "Some entitled bitch and her demon child destroyed my Nintendo Switch."
"Language!" Basil scolded.
"I don't know what to do." Izzy said earnestly. "How am I going to explain to Mum that I let a stranger break my game?"
Basil nodded and seemed to think about something. He then said, "Grab your coat, Isabel."
He then began to head to the door. Izzy put her jacket back on and headed after the man. "Were are we going?" she asked.
"Shopping." Basil replied.
Izzy followed him to his Jazz, more confused than ever.
Izzy was surprised beyond belief when Basil led her into a game store. "What are we doing here?" she asked.
"What did your Switch look like before it was broken?" Basil asked.
"It was red." Izzy replied. "Why?"
Basil picked up a box with a Nintendo Switch on it. "Like this?"
"Yeah." Izzy replied.
"All right." Basil said. "Pick out a game."
"What?" Izzy questioned.
"Just pick out a game." Basil said.
Izzy was confused, but she still picked out a game. Basil walked over to the counter and placed the box with the Switch in it, along with the game that Izzy had picked out. "I'd like to buy these." Basil said.
Izzy gasped in surprise. The cashier told Basil the price and the doctor nodded. He then got out his credit card and paid for the items. The items were bagged and Basil handed the bag to Izzy. As they left the game store, the eleven-year-old asked, "Basil, why did you buy me these?"
"You deserve it." Basil said with a shrug.
"I'm really not sure-" Izzy tried to say, but Basil interrupted her.
"Just take the present, Isabel." Basil sighed.
Izzy nodded and hugged the bag to her chest. What did she do to deserve someone like Basil? She would probably never know. She loved the man, she decided. He was definitely family. He didn't need to buy her a game to show her that.
Izzy sat in the living room at her home, playing with her Ray Bans and trying to look cool. She heard someone knock on the door. She heard her mother call out, "I'll get it!"
A few seconds later, she heard a familiar shout of, "Clara!"
It was followed by a surprised shriek, indicating that John had picked her up and spun her around. "John..." Oswin sighed.
"It's good to see you." Izzy heard John say. "Where's my adorable little step-cousin?"
"She's in the living room." Clara replied.
A few seconds later, John arm-vaulted over the back of the couch before landing on the cushions. "Hello, Izzy!" The floppy-haired man chirped.
"Hi, John!" Izzy said with a grin.
"The womenfolk are in the kitchen, doing woman things." John said. "So, how's my favorite step-cousin?"
"Fine." Izzy replied. "I made a new friend."
John laughed and said, "Let me guess. It's Uncle Basil, isn't it? Ha! As if."
Izzy was silent. John looked at her and said, "It's not Uncle Basil... is it?"
Izzy didn't say anything. John sighed and said, "It's definitely Uncle Basil."
"Please don't tell my mum." Izzy said quietly.
"Why?" John asked. "It's not like he's your father and you're trying to keep it a secret until you're ready to tell Clara."
Izzy didn't say anything. John sighed once more. "He is, isn't he?"
Izzy nodded. John smiled and said, "I should have known. You have the same smile."
"Don't tell my mum." Izzy said quietly.
"My lips are sealed." John replied, making a motion with his hand as if he were using a zipper to close his lips.
It was then that John's eyes locked on hers. Izzy grew uncomfortable at this. Quietly, John asked, "Are those Uncle Basil's Ray Bans?"
"Yeah." Izzy replied quietly. "He saw that I liked them and he gave them to me."
"Izzy, Uncle Basil loves those glasses." John said. "He wouldn't give his favorite sunglasses away to just anyone, especially considering what he spent on them."
"How much?" Izzy asked? "£20?"
"Try over £100." John said quietly.
Izzy's eyes widened dramatically. He had given her his favorite expensive sunglasses to her and he had bought a very expensive Nintendo Switch for her? "But.. why?" Izzy asked.
John smiled and said, "He must really love you, Izzy. Don't you see? To him, you're family."
Izzy stared down at her Ray Bans, which she was currently holding in her hands. Over £100 for a pair of sunglasses and Basil had given them to her without a second thought. John said that his uncle loved her, that she was family to him. "When are you going to tell Clara?" John asked.
"Eventually." Izzy said. "When I'm ready. Please don't tell until then."
John nodded and said, "My lips are sealed."
It was May and Izzy was happy that Basil considered her family, though she wasn't sure what to call him further than just family. He wasn't her dad or anything, but he was still family. She tried to think about it as she walked up the steps to Basil's porch before knocking on the door. She felt a bit hungry, but she had brought a snack with her so she would not inconvenience Basil for her missing lunch. She rang the doorbell and, as always, Basil answered. He smiled happily and greeted her. "Hello, Isabel. Come on in."
Izzy grinned and entered the house. They sat down together in the living room after Basil made her some tea. Holding his cup in his hands, the doctor asked, "So, how have things been going lately?"
"Fine." Izzy lied. Shauna had been giving her trouble again.
"Good." Basil said. "I hope you've been enjoying your game I got you last month."
"I love it." Izzy said with a grin. "Thanks again, Basil."
It was then that Izzy's stomach loudly protested its emptiness. Basil raised his brow. "Hungry?"
"I missed lunch." Izzy replied. "Don't worry. I brought a snack."
"You missed lunch?" Basil questioned.
"I'll get some chips on the way home." Izzy said.
"Hmm." Basil said, contemplating something.
Izzy reached into her bag and pulled out a protein bar before turning to head into the kitchen. "Isabel." Basil called out.
"What?" Izzy asked.
"All right." Basil said with a smile. "We're going out for lunch."
"Basil, I have a snack." Izzy protested.
"We haven't had lunch together." Basil said. "Not a real lunch. There's this café not far from here that serves great sandwiches."
Izzy smiled brightly at Basil as the got up and followed the man. He spoiled her too much, but she wasn't going to complain too much about it. Besides, they had hung out a lot, but they'd never really gone out that much. Lunch sounded good.
Clara was going through Izzy's room, picking up a few articles of clothing to wash. The girl wasn't that slobby, but she was still a pre-teen and liable to make a few messes. When Clara lifted up her daughter's jacket, she spotted the eleven-year-old's Nintendo Switch. It was an interesting thing. Her daughter had dropped it a few times, but had otherwise taken care of it. The only thing there was a small scratch. It was then that Clara noticed that there was not a scratch on the Switch. How peculiar. She spotted her daughter's sunglasses on her bed stand and picked them up to look at them. She saw the branding. They were Ray Bans. She had thought about getting a pair of her own earlier that year, but she wasn't willing to spend over £100 on them. She then spotted a game that she knew that Izzy hadn't had before. She had said that she had gotten her sunglasses from a friend. She realized that the Switch was probably new, too. What kind of friend Izzy's age had the money to spend that much on gifts? Clara was immediately suspicious. As she heard her daughter leave her house, she made up her decision. She would follow Izzy.
Clara had managed to follow her daughter for a while, but she eventually lost her. Still, she knew what part of town her daughter was. She couldn't have gone far. The thirty-something mother searched for a bit before spotting her daughter in a café. Clara was both relieved and angry that her daughter had lied about going to Alfie's place. She was about to storm into the café when she noticed that her daughter was sitting at the table with a much older man, probably in his fifties. As she got closer, she saw that it was Basil, the man from the wedding. What was a man in his fifties doing alone at a café with an eleven-year-old girl? Clara's alarmed mother-mind immediately came up with the possibility of a paedophile grooming her daughter for horrible things. Clara didn't see how happy her daughter looked. All she knew was that she needed to save her daughter from someone who was possibly a horrible, horrible man. Balling her fists at her side, Clara stormed into the café. She didn't care that people were staring at her when she stopped at the table and angrily shouted, "What the hell do you think that you are doing with my daughter?!"
Aaaand, enter Clara!
Hello, dear readers. I probably owe you all an apology for leaving you with that cliffhanger in the last chapter, but I knew that you would keep reading. I'm a manipulative little shit like that. Interestingly enough, I regret nothing. However, I will try not to disappoint you with the content that I am churning out. Events are starting to come into motion that will lead to the good part of the story. I mean the slow burn, not smut. I promised slow burn and over the next (at least) dozen chapters or so, I will give you the slow burn. You came here for the shipping. You stayed for Izzy. Now it's time to move on to Clara and Basil. I hope you enjoy this chapter, which I started writing while doing laundry on a boring Thursday. I'm currently snowed in and there's not really anything else that I can do. Hey, if you're lucky, you might get more than one chapter! I'm not making any promises, though. If you're snowed in like me, just sit back and enjoy the story.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Basil quickly turned around to see an irate Clara glaring at him. "I beg your pardon?" Basil questioned.
"What," Clara asked, "are you doing with my daughter?"
"We're just having lunch." Basil said.
"With my eleven-year-old daughter?" Clara snapped.
"She wanted it." Basil said.
Clara, in a fit of fury, immediately slapped the older man. Izzy's eyes, which had widened upon her mother's entrance, grew even bigger. "Mum!" she gasped.
"What the hell was that for?" Basil asked angrily.
"You know what it's for!" Clara snarled. "You, an older man, alone with an unsupervised eleven-year-old girl. You're the one who has been giving her expensive gifts! What are you trying to do, make her trust you so you can have your way with her?! You're trying to justify it, too!"
"Mum, stop it!" Izzy cried.
Basil's face contorted into an expression of pure anger. He stood up from his chair, suddenly seeming much taller. He had almost a foot on her. "You did not just say that. What kind of man do you take me for?"
"You're a pervert who chases after children, obviously!" Clara retorted. "Izzy, get behind me." She got out her phone. "I'm calling the police."
Izzy seemed to break after the unbearable tension between the two adults. She stepped between the two and put one hand on Basil's chest and one hand on her mother's shoulder. "Isabel Carmen Pink, I told you to get behind me." Clara said sternly.
"No!" Izzy said, clearly very stressed. "Basil isn't a paedophile! He hasn't done anything creepy and I was taught what it would be like if he was. It's just an ordinary lunch! I was just hungry!"
"Why would a man in his fifties go to lunch with an eleven-year-old, then?" Clara snapped, glaring at Basil.
The two adults began to argue again and Izzy clenched her eyes shut, looking as if she was trying to hold back tears. "Shut up! Both of you, just shut up! Shuttety up-up-up!" She opened her eyes and tears of frustration rolled down her cheeks. "HE'S MY FATHER, OKAY?!"
Clara's eyes widened. "What?" She gasped.
"He's the donor." Izzy explained.
"What makes you think that he's the donor?" Clara asked.
"Look at his face, Mum." Izzy said. "Just look at it."
Clara took a good look at Basil. The look of intense frustration but slowly-calming anger was identical to the looks that she had seen on Izzy's face before. "Please, you two." Izzy begged. "Please, just stop arguing."
Basil looked down at the girl with a look of fondness that also matched an expression that she had seen on Izzy. "Okay." the doctor said.
"See, Mum?" Izzy said quietly. "Please tell me that you see it. I look more like you but..."
"You have the same facial expressions." Clara said softly, taking a good look at the two of them. "You have his eyes, his curly hair..."
"It really is him." Izzy said with a nod.
"We're too similar for it to be a coincidence." Basil added.
"She wasn't supposed to look for you." Clara said.
"Well, she found me." Basil replied.
"You're just a donor." Clara said, still somewhat confused. "Why do you want to see her?"
Basil smiled softly and said, "She's my... family." the older man said.
Clara suspected that he had stopped himself before he had said 'daughter', which she somewhat appreciated. She wasn't quite ready for another man to call Izzy his daughter. "Please, Mum." Izzy said softly. "I really want to know him."
Clara sighed and said, "Okay."
"Okay?" Basil and Izzy questioned.
"Okay, you can know each other." Clara elaborated. She then looked up at her daughter and said, "However, you, young lady, are grounded."
"What?" Izzy gasped. "Why?"
"You shouldn't have kept this a secret from me." Clara said. "How long?"
Izzy stared down at her feet and mumbled, "Almost three months."
"Well, you're grounded for a month, then." Clara said.
Clara and Izzy both looked at Basil. The man cleared his throat and said, "Your mum is right. You should have told her sooner."
"You're not off the hook either, mister!" Clara pointed her finger angrily at the doctor.
"What did I do?" Basil gasped.
"You kept it a secret, too." Clara said. "You both should have told me."
"Sorry, Mum." Izzy mumbled.
It was then that Clara noticed all the people in the café staring them, some of whom had their phones out. "False alarm." the petite brunette said. "He's not a paedophile. He's my daughter's biological father."
Slowly, everyone put their phones away and returned to their own business. Izzy let out a sigh and sat back down. Basil awkwardly pulled a chair out. "You can join us if you'd like." he said. "I'm paying."
"You had better." Clara said sternly.
Izzy let out a sigh of relief. At least the two most important adults in her life weren't arguing anymore. Clara was extremely relieved that the man who had given her daughter those expensive gifts wasn't a paedophile that was grooming her for his wicked deeds. She didn't agree with the secrecy, but she kind of understood her daughter's reasoning. She must have been worried that Clara wouldn't let her visit Basil if she knew that he was her biological father. She wasn't sure how she felt about it, but things had been set into motion and it was too late to change things. Until he gave her a reason to refuse, for better or for worse, Basil was now an important part of Izzy's life.
Izzy was on the final day of her grounding and she was finally allowed to have her mobile back. She wasn't allowed to use the computer unless it was for homework, though. She wasn't allowed to play video games, either. She was only allowed to make calls to her friends after she was done with her homework. This did not include Basil because her mum was still punishing him. Izzy sighed and called Alfie for facetime. The boy answered and said, "Hey there, Izzy!"
"Hi, Stormageddon." Izzy said. "How are you doing?"
"I'm on the last day of my grounding." Alfie replied. "Mum grounded me, too. She was really angry at me for lying and saying you were visiting Sloane. Sloane's parents grounded her, too. She lied and said that you were at my flat."
"I'm really sorry." Izzy said. "I called her earlier and apologized to her, too."
"Well, you got to know him, right?" Alfie said with a grin.
"Yeah." Izzy said with a smile. "He's a great guy. He taught me a bit about playing an electric guitar."
"Cool!" Alfie exclaimed before asking, "Are you going to keep taking lessons?"
"I don't know if Mum would spend money on a guitar, an amp, and other stuff that's needed for it." Izzy said with a sigh. "Maybe Basil will keep teaching me when I go to his house. Mum says that I can when my grounding is over, but I have to tell her that I'm going there. She'd prefer to be the one to pick me up and drop me off."
"You're really lucky, Izzy." Alfie said.
"Why?" Izzy asked.
"You lost one dad, which is horrible, but you still have your other dad." Alfie replied.
Izzy frowned. "Stormageddon, please don't call Basil my dad. He's not my dad. He's just my father."
"What's the difference?" Alfie asked.
"My dad is the one who raised me." Izzy replied. "My father is the one who is only related to me by blood. I mean, he's family now, but I don't think he's ever going to be my dad."
"Are you happy with Basil officially being part of your life now?" Alfie inquired.
"Yeah." Izzy admitted. "I'm really happy, especially now that Mum is okay with it."
"Good." Alfie said. "I'm happy about that, too. You're my best mate, so as long as you're happy, I'm happy."
Izzy smiled and said, "What did I do to deserve you as a friend, Alfie Owens?"
"Well, it helped that you gave me Skyrim for my Xbox One for my birthday." Alfie said jokingly.
"I saved up for a while with my allowance." Izzy said. "Been saving up again for a while. I don't know what I'll spend it on."
"Well, don't spend it on anything stupid." Alfie said. "Like heels or makeup."
Izzy scoffed. "My mum won't let me wear makeup until I'm thirteen and I think heels are dumb. Besides, I'm already the tallest girl in our class."
"You're taller than me." Alfie pointed out.
"I just keep growing." Izzy sighed.
Both pre-teens heard Stormageddon's mother call for him to go to bed. Alfie smiled and said, "I'll call you later, Izzy. See ya!"
"See you later!" Izzy said with a smile.
Izzy hung up and headed to her dresser to get out her pyjamas. She selected a pair that had little flying saucers printed on it. She then headed to the bathroom to change. When she took her top off, something seemed amiss with her training bra. Curious, she jumped a bit and saw her chest show a sign of a bit of bounce. Her training bra also fit differently than it used to. It seemed that she wasn't just growing up. She was also starting to grow out. She would probably have to ask her mum for a real bra in the nearish future. Letting out a sigh, Izzy removed her clothes and put them into the clothes hamper. She then put on her pyjamas. Once she was clothed again, she got out her toothbrush and put a little toothpaste on it. She brought it to her mouth and spent about a minute brushing her teeth. After that, she swished some mouth wash in her mouth, gargled, and spat it into the sink. She made sure to rinse her toothbrush thoroughly before putting it away.
She definitely knew that she was going to talk to her mum. Puberty had truly begun. Isabel Pink was starting on her path to womanhood and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about it. She was kind of scared. It wasn't about growing up. Not necessarily. It was about a sudden, quick change. When she turned eleven, she hadn't had her period and was completely flat-chested. Now she was growing boobs. Was it normal for an eleven-year-old to start developing like that? She wasn't sure. Would her mother know? She wasn't sure. She would have to ask her in the morning.
It was June and Clara was busy making breakfast for her daughter. She enjoyed the time they sat down as a family during breakfast and supper. Izzy was a busy student. She had troubles with some of her peers, but she was a very clever girl. It was hard to believe how fast she was growing up. Next year, she would be in secondary school. Clara wondered if her daughter would still be the tallest girl in her class then, possibly one of the tallest students in her class. She hoped that her daughter wouldn't be teased about it like she had been for most of her life at school. Clearly the girl hadn't inherited Clara's height. She wondered if Izzy would grow to be as tall as Basil. If that would happen, there wouldn't really be anything that anyone could do about it. She herself was done growing by the time she was fifteen. She wondered if it would be that way with Izzy. How tall the girl became depended on how fast she would grow and how soon she would finish growing.
Izzy stepped out, fully dressed for school. She sat down at the table. She looked a bit awkward, Clara thought. "Izzy, are you okay?" the thirty-something mother asked.
"I'm fine." Izzy replied. "It's just that... well..."
"Izzy, you can tell me." Clara said with a smile.
"Mum, I'm getting boobs." Izzy confessed.
"Already?" Clara questioned.
"Yeah." Izzy said. "I jumped in front of the mirror and they bounced a little. Can we go shopping for bras soon?"
Clara smiled and said, "Of course. We'll go after school."
"Okay." Izzy said with an awkward smile before digging into her scrambled eggs.
Yep, Clara thought, her little girl was definitely growing up.
Izzy was not happy. Her mum had come down with strep throat and had instructed her to stay with Basil until she was no longer contagious. Normally Izzy would be happy to spend time with her father, but her need for bras was pressing. She didn't really know what to do. If she had a bra, things might be easier for her. She didn't want saggy boobs when she was older. She had spent two days at Basil's house before making her decision. The eleven-year-old walked up to her father and awkwardly said, "Um, Basil?"
"What is it, Isabel?" Basil asked.
"I need a favor." Izzy said. "You have to promise that you'll do it."
"I promise." Basil said with a smile. "What do you need?"
Izzy was beet red as she asked, "Can you take me out to get measured and find a bra?"
Basil's face turned red as well. "Um, I don't think I should."
"You promised that you would!" Izzy protested. "I need this."
She looked into Basil's eyes with the wide-eyed look of cuteness and innocence and pleading that she had long ago learned from her mum. Basil stood there awkwardly before letting out a sigh and saying, "All right, I'll do it. Let's go."
Izzy was still a bit embarrassed but she was glad to go. They headed out to Sexy and got in before driving off to the mall. When they arrived, they went to a store that catered to that sort of thing. When an employee spotted them she headed right over to the pair. Basil gulped audibly. Blushing intensely, the doctor said, "I, ah... um... she needs to be measured for a bra."
"No need to be embarrassed." the employee said. "You're not the first father to get his daughter her first bra."
Izzy saw the woman's name tag, which read 'Destiny'. Basil mumbled something under his breath and Destiny nodded. She smiled at Izzy and said, "Come to the changing room. Let's get you measured."
Izzy followed Destiny into the changing room. "All right, if you have a training bra on, you can take it off." the woman said. "Your shirt is fairly close-fitting, so you can wear it while I measure you."
Izzy nodded and took her shirt off before removing her training bra and putting her shirt back on. "Okay, exhale and slightly raise your arms." Destiny instructed.
Izzy followed the woman's instructions, exhaling and slightly raising her arms. Destiny took some measuring tape and measured around the eleven-year-old's rib cage, directly under the bust. She then jotted down the measurement. "That's the band size." Destiny said. "Stand straight with arms loosely at your side."
Izzy nodded and did what she was told. Destiny took the measuring tape and measured around the fullest part of the girl's bust, making sure not to pull the tape too firmly. She then jotted that down, too. The woman looked up at the eleven-year-old and said, "Okay, this says that you're a 32B. I'll bring in a sizing bra for you to try just to be sure."
Izzy nodded and watched as Destiny left. A few minutes later, she returned with a bra. She helped the eleven-year-old put it on before stepping back and nodding. "Yeah." she said. "You're a 32B."
"Are you sure?" Izzy asked. "I thought they would be smaller..."
"The measurements don't lie." Destiny said with a comforting smile. "Now, go have fun and pick out a cute bra. If you need help, I won't be far away."
Izzy nodded and left the changing room. She quietly headed over to one of the racks to select a bra. She found one that was white with little blue polka dots on it. It seemed age-appropriate. She kept looking and found a simple white bra that seemed to be convertible. The straps were removable, so it could have straps or be strapless. She didn't know if she wanted something that complicated. She kept looking before returning to the white bra with the light blue polka dots. She picked it up before carrying it to the checkout counter, where Basil was standing. Okay, now Izzy was blushing again. She held up the bra and said, "I'd like to get this one."
Basil nodded, trying not to look at the bra in Izzy's hands. The eleven-year-old handed the bra to the lady at the checkout counter, who scanned the bra. The price was displayed and Izzy reached into her purse to pull out her wallet so she could pay with some of her allowance. Before she could, the deeply flushed Basil whipped out his credit card and said, "Let me."
"Thanks." Izzy mumbled.
Basil paid for the bra, which the cashier bagged and handed to him. The doctor quickly handed the bag to his daughter before leaving the store, Izzy tagging closely behind him. This had to be one of the most awkward things to ever happen to her, Izzy thought. She and Basil were both a bit embarrassed, but at least she had her bra.
I had to include a bit of cuteness and Izzy growing up. Soon we will get to the slow burn Whouffaldi, I promise.
Hello, dear readers. As you know, it's me again. I wasn't able to get a twofer last time. I don't think I'll apologise because I didn't make any promises. Still, I'm deeply grateful for your lovely comments. I hope that I will keep satisfying you with my story. I love writing but I also love making my readers happy. Thanks to you all, the story has gone from obscure and unread to over 500 hits. It seems that more and more people are enjoying this story and it's likely that there are repeat readers. I'm happy that my story is appreciated and I always look forward to your comments. With great appreciation towards my readers, I present the much-awaited chapter 10.
At last, at this wonderful point in July, the school year had ended. Izzy would go a while without being harassed by Shauna Blake. Clara hated seeing her daughter weighed down by the misery caused by that brat. There wasn't a lot she could do about it, though. Izzy had been labeled a troublemaker and Shauna was supposed to be a sweet little angel. Clara tried to be patient, but it wasn't easy when her daughter would sometimes get into fights. Izzy wasn't a bad girl and she really was a good student, but sometimes she had difficulties with her peers. Somehow Clara knew that things would still be bad when Izzy went to secondary school, having started developing a little earlier than most of her peers. All she could really do is hope that Shauna found another target. Clara felt horrible for thinking that, but realistically it seemed like the only way that the girl would leave Izzy alone.
At least something good was going to happen soon, Clara thought. Her daughter was going to turn twelve in three days. She hoped that Izzy wouldn't get bad acne any time soon. When she was a teen, she had acne. It had started when she was twelve. However, it was currently a time for celebration. Izzy was growing up and Clara was equal parts pleased and terrified about it. She knew that her daughter hadn't wanted a big party, just something with some friends and family. Just a cake, a few presents, and the company of the people she cared about. Clara had already invited Sloane MacGowan and Alfie Owens. Her dad wouldn't make it to the party. Neither would her gran. She couldn't think of any other family members to invite. Well, there was the possibility of inviting Danny's foster parents, but they had been very protective of him and his foster mother didn't approve of him being 'forced to raise another man's child'. Clara thought that it was a bit hypocritical of her, considering that they considered Danny, a child who was not their by blood, to be their son. Besides, having Izzy had been Danny's idea. It was just plain ridiculous. Still, Clara would invite them anyway and knew that she should invite another family member. She just couldn't think of any. Danny's foster sisters loved Izzy but they both lived far away. The thirty-something mother knew that she was forgetting someone. She knew someone she could invite, but she couldn't recall who. It was then that it hit her: Basil Foreman. Though he hadn't embedded himself that extensively into her own life, she knew that Izzy considered him part of her family and that he felt the same about her. First, she would call Danny's foster parents. Clara headed over to the home phone, picked it up, and dialed the number to Dane and Nadia Harper. The dial tone went off for a while before a deep, masculine voice answered. "Hello?"
"Hello, Dane." Clara said, "It's me, Clara."
"Oh, hello, Clara." Dane said. "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine." Clara replied. "I was just calling you to see if you and Nadia wanted to come to a specific event in three days."
"Sure." Dane said. "What sort of event?"
Clara paused before saying, "Izzy's twelfth birthday."
"I'd like to, but I'll have to ask Nadia." Dane said.
The man called out, "Nadia, it's Clara! She needs to talk to you!"
There was a brief silence before Nadia's slightly nasally voice spoke into the phone. "What do you need, Clara? Are you having trouble with money? You know that you can ask us for anything."
"No, that's not it." Clara laughed. "It's Izzy's birthday in three days and I was wondering if you'd like to come."
There was no reply, just whispers that Clara couldn't quite decipher. Nadia sighed into the phone and said, "All right, we'll go. Dane really wants to come, so I'll go too."
Clara hoped that things would go well. She cleared her throat quietly and said, "All right. I'll see you in three days, then."
"I'll see you then, Clara." Nadia said.
Dane spoke into the phone again. "We'll definitely be there. I'll see you then, Clara."
"Goodbye." Clara said.
She heard the Harpers hang up. Clara then looked at the refrigerator, which had Basil's number written on a piece of paper that was held there by a magnet. The petite brunette dialed the older doctor's number. She waited for a few seconds before Basil's gravelly, Scottish voice spoke up. "Hello?"
"Hello, this is Clara." Clara said. "You know, Izzy's mum."
"I remember you." Basil said. "What's the reason for the call?"
"Izzy is turning twelve in three days." Clara replied. "I was wondering if you wanted to go to her party."
There was a brief pause. "I have a few vacation days accumulated." Basil said. "I'll have to call one of my co-workers, but I think I'll be able to make it."
Clara smiled and said, "Thank you, Basil."
"How is Isabel doing, anyway?" Basil asked.
"She's... doing okay." Clara replied. "She's kind of looking forward to secondary school."
"Kind of?" Basil questioned.
Clara could practically hear him raising a brow. She let out a sigh and said, "She's been having trouble with a few other students. It should probably get better."
"Good." Basil said. "She's a good kid. No pudding brain."
Clara burst into laughter. "What?" Basil asked.
"It's just that," Clara chuckled. "Izzy uses that phrase all the time. She calls people she finds stupid 'pudding brains'."
Basil chuckled at this. "She stole my line!"
"She's been doing it for longer than she's known you." Clara said. "You can't take credit for it."
"Damn." Basil said. "Clever girl, that Isabel."
"Oh, you have no idea." Clara said.
"Well," Basil said, "My break is over soon. I'll see you in three days. Bye, Clara."
Clara smiled and said, "Goodbye, Basil. I'll see you then."
Basil had indeed shown up to Izzy's birthday, much to Clara's relief. She didn't see any sort of box or package or even envelope with him. "Didn't bring a present?" Clara joked.
"It's in my car." Basil replied, indicating his blue 2008 Honda Jazz.
Suddenly, there was a blur as someone dashed into the room. It was John. "Uncle Basil!" John happily greeted the older man.
John flung his arms wide open and approached Basil. The silver-haired doctor took a step again and said, "You know that I'm not a hugger, John."
"Just this once!" John pleaded. "It's my step-cousin's birthday!"
"Wouldn't she be your cousin-in-law?" Clara asked.
"Well, she's Basil's daughter, so she'd also be my step-cousin." John pointed out.
Basil groaned and said, "He knows, too?"
John shrugged and said, "You have the same smile. And the same frown. Basically, the two of you have the same facial expressions. She snores almost as loudly as you do. She has the same room-clearing farts that linger for several long minutes and are almost enough to curl your nose hairs. She also glares at me, just like you're doing right now, only with less eyebrow."
"I can't help it." Basil grumbled. "I'm lactose-intolerant. It's impossible to avoid all milk products."
"Izzy is lactose-intolerant, too." Clara said, her brows raising in surprise. "She still insists on eating dairy, but she usually remembers to take her pills."
"Uncle Basil is the same way." John laughed. "He loves his cheese. That can't be healthy."
"Says the man who won't stop eating jam." Basil retorted.
"Hey!" John defended himself. "Eating a jar of jam a day with my bare fingers is a perfectly normal and healthy habit."
"A jar of jam per day?" Clara's eyes widened. "Oh my god. Oswin wasn't kidding."
"I thought you knew." John said.
"I didn't know." Clara replied. "Though that would explain why the jam kept disappearing."
"It took me fifteen years to figure out why my jam kept disappearing after John visited." Basil glared at his nephew.
"Well, when I was twenty-two, you made me promise not to steal jam again." John said with a sheepish grin. "Now I just buy it with my own money."
"Anyway," Clara said, "The kids are in Izzy's room, playing video games. They've each brought a present."
"Oh!" John exclaimed. "I forgot mine!"
The floppy-haired man reached into his pocket and pulled out a rectangular object, which was rather tackily gift-wrapped. He walked over to the table and set it down with the other presents. "What now?" John asked.
"The cake is cooling." Clara replied. "The party will start once I've finished decorating it."
Basil nodded and followed Clara into the living room. Out of nowhere, John pulled out a deck of cards. "Anyone want to play? I'm thinking Go Fish, Tijuana street rules."
"I'm not going to play by Tijuana street rules again." Basil grimaced. "Not after what happened last time."
"It wasn't that bad, once you get over the whole dancing shirtless on the table while singing It's Raining Men thing." John said with a smile. "Nothing bad happened."
"You got a concussion and needed stitches." Basil pointed out. "It was completely embarrassing to take you to A&E."
"Well, I suppose showing up in Oswin's bikini top was a bit awkward." John admitted. "At least it was a normal tetanus shot."
"I really don't need to know this." Clara sighed.
"Let's finish this conversation on the note that if John asks you to play Tijuana street rules Go Fish, always say no." Basil said finitely.
"Oh." John said simply.
The young man then got his cards out and started shuffling the deck. "How about Moscow discotehque rules?" he asked.
"Fine," Basil sighed, "but don't expect me to eat that disgusting combination of foods."
"Fish fingers and custard is a totally normal thing to eat!" John huffed. "Besides, it's Clara's fault that I got into eating them together."
"Give me a break." Clara defended herself. "I was pregnant at the time. You didn't have to eat it, too."
"Just deal the cards, John." Basil sighed.
About an hour later, it was time to take care of the cake. It was just in time, too. If Clara ran out of sixes, she'd have to sing the State Anthem of the Soviet Union- backwards. That left her frosting the cake, doing her best to decorate it. It was plain white frosting with a PS4 controller depicted on it and the words Entering Level 12 below it. Clara had spent a while on it, another few hours. Finally, it was done. Clara placed twelve candles around the edge of the cake's top. "All right, everybody in here!" she called out.
Izzy squealed with delight when she saw the cake. Clara was very proud of it. "Mum, it's great!" Izzy exclaimed.
"Aye, that's a pretty cake, Mrs. Pink." Sloane nodded.
"Are we going to sing anything?" Alfie asked.
"Nope." Izzy replied. "Not after last year."
"Fine." Alfie huffed.
"Can I open the presents?" Izzy asked.
"Sure." Clara replied.
"Mine's gonna wait until last." John said with a secretive smile.
Clara didn't know what that meant, but she would focus on the party. Izzy grabbed the first one and unwrapped it to see that it was a new game for her Nintendo Switch. "That's from me." Sloane said with a grin. "Saved up for it with my own allowance."
"I've been wanting this one." Izzy said happily.
"Open mine!" Alfie insisted, holding out a box.
Izzy took the box and opened it, revealing a tea pot with Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On written on the side. The lanky eleven-year-old snickered and said, "I love it."
Next came John's present, which Izzy quickly unwrapped. She looked down at it, then up at John. "A phone case?"
"Yep!" John replied. "Open it up!"
Izzy opened the package and saw that it was definitely a case for her mobile phone, but it was decorated with the Imperial Dragon Seal from the Elder Scrolls games. She smiled up at her cousin-in-law and said, "You know me well, Johnathan."
"Just as well as you know me, Izzy." John replied with a grin.
Clara noticed Izzy's eyes land on the last box on the table. It was something small, probably not all that complicated. The birthday girl took the box and looked at her mother. "It's from me." Clara confirmed. "Open it."
Izzy opened the box and when she saw what was inside it, she teared up a little. It was a necklace. On the necklace was a little glass ball that had a cherry blossom suspended in it. They both knew that it was something that she had spotted while out with Danny. She probably never expected to actually get it. Izzy looked at Clara and softly whispered, "Mum..."
Clara smiled and said, "He wanted you to have it when you turned twelve."
Izzy smiled and said, "Thanks, Mum."
"Basil, is it time to get your present?" John asked.
"Yeah." Basil replied. "Follow me."
The woman and the three tweens waited for a few minutes before Basil walked in with a well-loved vintage electric guitar and John staggered in behind him with a vintage-looking amp. Izzy's eyes widened dramatically. "Basil?" she gasped. "What is this?"
John set the amp down, panting. Basil smiled at the girl and said, "It's my first guitar. I got it when I was a teenager and I never really use it anymore, so I figured I'd give it to you since I know that you wanted one. You'd need the amp too, of course."
Izzy let out a squeal and flew over to Basil, flinging her arms around him. "Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!" Izzy shouted.
Clara frowned as she watched Izzy separate from the older man before going over to the cake. "Basil," Clara said calmly and quietly, "can I talk to you in private?"
Basil shrugged and followed Clara to the bathroom. It was then that Clara placed her hands on her hips and asked, "What was that?"
"What was what?" Basil questioned.
"You know what 'what'." Clara said with a frown. "Your present to Izzy."
"Oh, my old guitar and amp?" Basil said. "I never use them anyway, so-"
"Basil, just stop." Clara said quietly.
"Stop what?" Basil asked.
"You don't need to try to be her father." Clara replied. "She lost Danny two years ago and I don't want her to get hurt."
"Clara, I'd never hurt Isabel." Basil said earnestly. "If there's one thing I can promise you, it's that."
Clara let out a sigh and said, "I just want her to be happy."
Basil smiled and said. "We have that in common, I guess. I'm not trying to be her dad. I'm not going to put labels on this relationship."
Clara smiled back at Basil. "Why did you have to give her your old guitar?"
"She wanted to learn." Basil replied. "She's an old girl, that guitar, but she's still got plenty of spirit left in her."
"If you're going to trust an eleven-year-old with a vintage guitar, that's your problem." Clara chuckled. "You'd better put that thing back into your car, though."
"Why?" Basil asked.
"She'll be practicing that thing at your house." Clara replied.
"You're the boss." Basil said with a shrug.
"Okay." Clara said with a smile. "So you'll give her guitar lessons when you can, then. I'll be sitting in every now and then."
"I could play for you a bit." Basil offered.
"You really know your way into a girl's heart, Basil." Izzy joked. "But seriously, I'd love to."
"Yeah." Basil said. "Isabel is probably going to try to make us be friends, though."
"Well," Clara said, smiling once more, "I can do it- for the sake of Izzy, of course."
"Of course." Basil said with a smile. "For the sake of Isabel."
There was a loud thud coming from the kitchen, along with the children yelling in surprise. Seconds later, John's voice called out, "Am I bleeding?"
Clara and Basil looked at each other before rushing off to attend to the poor, loveable idiot. What had he gotten himself into this time? Honestly, all things considered, she didn't know how her cousin put up with him.
Hello, dear readers. I haven't posted a chapter in a while. Life kind of gets in the way, you know? Life and The Sims 4. That game really sucks you in. I've played over 75 hours of it. I love playing it and using mods and custom content. I'm considering fanfic-ifying some of my adventures. For instance, my lovely sim Avery Wu moved into Forgotten Hollow. In my headcanon, she inherited the house from a mysterious "relative", about whom there were no details other than his name: Baron Dominic Bludworth. She didn't know that most of her neighbors were vampires. She befriended and eventually ended up hooking up with vampire heartthrob Caleb Vatore. My bisexualness approves of this. Unfortunately, I had a risky woohoo mod and didn't realize that I had it set at 30%. Yeah. Guess what happened on Avery's first time. Poor girl. There was a vampire baby and I named her Mina because once upon a time, I read Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. Caleb decided to make an honest woman out of Avery and there was a small vampire wedding. Caleb turned Avery on their wedding night and there was consummation of the union, but thankfully no babies because I reduced the rate to 1%. Also, Avery somehow managed to make friends with Vladislaus Straud, the damn creeper. Not bad looking when he's not in his dark form, but still a creeper. Admittedly, I kind of have a thing for older men. Looking back on it, I always have. I'm that crazy bisexual friend who is attracted to men old enough to be my father. Unfortunately, sometimes I get mistaken for someone young enough to be a grandchild. On my 30th birthday last July, a recent trip to the ER (I'm fine now), and several other occasions, I was mistaken for a teenager...
Anyway, enough rambling. On to the story!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was one of Basil's days off of work and Clara had finally decided to visit Basil's house. She honestly didn't know what to expect. She knew that he had a house and that there were two storeys and an attic, but that was about it. She was in the car with Izzy and she was following directions to the house. She knew that she would have to make friends with the man for Izzy's sake. How hard could it be? Izzy had made friends with the man and she had some of Clara's best and worst traits. Some people described her daughter as a "take charge kind of girl" while others described her as a raging control freak. Whatever the case, Isabel Pink often ended up in a leadership role when it was necessary for someone to take charge of a situation. It was times like that when Clara was very proud of her.
Eventually, they arrived at Basil's house. It looked old and a little boring, but well-maintained on the outside. Now Clara just needed to find out what it looked like on the inside. Her daughter at her side, she headed up to the door and rang the bell. A short time later, Basil answered the door. The frown on his face quickly changed into a smile when he saw who they were. "Clara, Isabel! Come in!"
The older man stepped aside and let the mother and daughter into his house. "Would you like some tea?" he asked.
"Yes, please." Clara replied.
"I can make it!" Izzy said happily.
"Isabel, I-" Basil tried to say, but the girl interrupted him.
"I. Can. Make. It." Izzy said slowly and evenly.
There seemed to be some unspoken words- you get to know my mum while I'm busy. The twelve-year-old then headed off to the kitchen. Basil led Clara to the living room and they both sat down on the sofa. "So," Clara said, "How are Izzy's guitar lessons going?"
"Isabel is doing well." Basil replied. "She's progressing surprisingly quickly for a beginner."
"She must be related to you." Clara quipped.
Basil laughed and said, "Goodness forbid."
A while later, Izzy returned with two mugs of tea, one for Basil and one for Clara. She looked at the doctor and asked, "Can I go to the music room and practice?"
"Sure." Basil replied.
With that said, the pre-teen hurried off, leaving the two in slightly awkward silence. Finally, Clara asked, "So, do you have any photos of you and Izzy?"
"A few." Basil said. "They're in my photo album. Please don't judge."
Clara smiled and said, "I'll try not to. I'd like to see them."
Basil nodded and headed off to retrieve his photo album. A few minutes later, he returned to a book that was about two and one-half inches thick. He sat down next to Clara and opened it. She perused the photos and laughed when she saw Izzy in the throes of an epic air guitar solo. Then there was a picture of Basil and Izzy in what looked like a dance-off. There were more photos, many making Clara smile. She turned the page, looking at older photos. There were photos of John and Oswin's wedding, some of which involved photos of Basil wearing a rather cross expression. Clara looked at him and said, "You look like you wanted to murder the camera man."
"It's the eyebrows." Basil said with a shrug. "Also, I'm Scottish. I reserve the right to be cross."
Clara rolled her eyes before returning to the photos. There were a few pictures of a rather mischievous-looking woman from John and Oswin's wedding. Next, there were photos of what looked like another wedding, which featured a rather bold-looking ginger woman. "My friend, Donna Noble." Basil supplied.
They spent a while flipping through the pages before Clara came across some photos that appeared to have been taken in the 90s. Included in the photos were photos of a strangely familiar-looking man. "I swear that I've seen this person before." Clara said, looking at the photos and then at Basil.
"That's because that's my sister, Missy." Basil said.
"How can that be Missy?" Clara raised her brows.
"Well, she was Harold back then." Basil explained. "Our parents weren't happy, to say the least. She's happy now, though." He paused before asking, "You don't have a problem with this, do you?"
"No." Clara replied. "Missy is Missy. Has she always been as crazy as Izzy said she was?"
"Even if she's not making trouble, trouble always seems to find her." Basil chuckled.
"What did she do, tranquilize your wife at your wedding?" Clara snarked.
"Ex-wife, but yes." Basil replied. "They never got along."
"Why?" Clara asked.
"Well, Missy never thought that River was good enough for me." Basil said. "She and I argue a lot, but if someone messes with me, woe be to the one who earns my sister's wrath."
"Only she's allowed to mess with you?" Clara guessed.
"That sounds about right." Basil said.
"It sounds interesting, having a sibling." Clara said. "I mean, I only know this from friends with siblings. I'm an only child."
"There can be banter." Basil explained. "Missy and I banter. My friend Mae and her brother, Louis, banter. Even John and his older brother, David, banter."
"I've met David." Clara said. "Great hair, that one."
"Normally I hate banter, but sometimes it's unavoidable." Basil said. "Sometimes you get caught into banter and don't realize that you're bantering until it's too late."
"Banter isn't always that bad." Clara said with a smile.
"You say that now, but wait until you're stuck in an endless loop of pointless pleasantries." Basil suppressed a shudder. "There are few worse fates."
"Izzy isn't good at small talk, either." Clara admitted. "She hates it."
"Maybe she gets it from me." Basil suggested with a shrug.
"Could be." Clara also shrugged. "I don't know how many ways that she's like you."
"We both hate pears." Basil supplied.
"Oh god, don't get me started on her and pears." Clara groaned. "She's gotten into fights over pears."
"She's fought with you over pears?" Basil raised a brow.
"Well, not me." Clara replied. "Other students at school. I hope that when she goes to secondary school, she won't have to deal with some of the students who've been giving her trouble for so long."
"Who?" Basil asked.
"Basil, that's not important right now." Clara said. "If it'll put you at ease, you have my permission to go to school to deal with staff about Izzy getting into a fight. Not that that'll happen."
"Good." Basil said. "I can deal with pudding brains."
"Don't get too carried away." Clara replied. "I don't want to get her into more trouble."
"Clara, I won't get her into worse trouble." Basil reassured the thirty-something mother.
"She's a good kid, you know?" Clara said.
"I know." Basil said with a smile.
"She likes you, Basil." Clara said. "I want to be able to trust you with her."
"You can trust me." Basil promised. "I'd protect her with my life."
Clara smiled at the older man. It was then that she knew that this man, this new family member, was worthy of her daughter. He wouldn't be Izzy's father per say, but Clara approved of the girl considering the man family. She didn't know if she would ever feel the same way, but she knew that Basil would earn her trust. She had known about his relation to her daughter for months and she was okay with it. Clara looked at Basil and said, "Basil, I think I would like to be your friend."
Basil nodded and said, "I would like the same thing, Clara."
They heard a happy, if somewhat muffled squee from nearby. They both looked to see that Izzy was trying to conceal herself and she looked quite happy. Clara let out a melodramatic sigh and said, "Izzy, just practice your guitar."
Izzy also let out a melodramatic sigh and said, "Fiiiine!"
The twelve-year-old then stomped off in a huff to head to the music room. Clara looked at Basil. Her lips twitched before she burst into laughter. Basil also smiled and began to laugh. Clara decided that when he smiled, he definitely looked kinder, more approachable. Not necessarily attractive, but still more approachable than before. At least his eyebrows didn't look like they were about to drop off his face and attack someone. Izzy would get one similar expression on her face, only with less eyebrow. It wasn't quite as intimidating on Izzy as it was on Basil in the photo, but it worked on some people. Maybe there were other ways that her daughter was like Basil. Clara looked forward to finding out.
Izzy plugged her guitar into the amp, feeling quite happy. Her mum and Basil were finally friends. Things were going very well for her. If the two of them got along, it would make things easier for her. Izzy wanted this so badly, especially after the drama of their first meeting at the café. That had been awkward, to say the least. It had been upsetting, too. Izzy hated to hear her mum say those things about Basil. He was a nice guy. He didn't deserve that. Izzy strummed her guitar. Life had gotten more interesting since she had met Basil and now that her mother knew him, it would be even more interesting. What would happen with that friendship? Only time would tell. The twelve-year-old cleared her throat before she began to sing.
"She's got a smile that it seems to me,
Reminds me of childhood memories,
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky.
Now and then when I see her face,
It takes me away to that special place,
And if I stared too long,
I'd probably break down and cry.
Sweet child o' mine,
Sweet child of mine."
She didn't really think much of her singing voice, but she enjoyed singing and she loved music. No, she wasn't really impressed by her own voice. However, Basil and Clara could hear her from the living room. The thirty-something mother turned to the doctor and smiled. "That's my girl." Clara said happily.
Basil smirked and said, "She definitely gets that from me."
"The voice of a twelve-year-old girl?" Clara snickered.
"Clara!" Basil groaned. "I'm talking about her love of music."
"She's always been that way." Clara said. "I'm glad that she inherited that from you."
"She's going to go far." Basil said with a smile.
From the other room, the song changed as Izzy sang,
"Now dance, fucker, dance!
Man, he never had a chance,
And no one even knew,
It was really only you,
And now you steal away.
Take him out today.
Nice work you did!
You're gonna go far, kid!"
"Isabel Carmen Pink, watch your language!" Basil scolded.
"Not the full name!" Izzy groaned
"She definitely doesn't get that from me." Clara said.
"I don't swear, either." Basil said. "Not in a while."
"How much did you swear back in your day?" Clara asked
"Give me some slack here!" Basil groaned. "I survived the 80s. What more do you want from me?"
Clara rolled her eyes. Clearly the man was more like Izzy than she had ever suspected. The girl didn't swear often, but when she did, she swore with skill. Isabel Pink was a clever girl and Clara didn't know how often she swore when she wasn't around. Hopefully with Basil's influence, she would swear less. It kind of sucked that she had chosen to sing a song with "Fuck" in the lyrics. The Offspring had some good songs, according to a few friends. She really wasn't into them. Clara liked other bands and artists. Some of the stuff she liked was newer. She would never admit it, but she was a Lady Gaga song and would sing Bad Romance or Born This Way while she was cleaning. Her voice wasn't as nice as Izzy's, though. She had the raw talent. Maybe Izzy would go far. Only time would tell.
'You're Gonna Go Far, Kid' by The Offspring and 'Sweet Child O' Mine' by Guns N' Roses don't belong to me. Good songs, though. I recommend that you listen to them. I'm sorry if the chapter is a bit short, but the banter took up a lot of space.