Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blossoming Branch of the Family Tree: Chapter Two

Chapter Two finds Ricky moving off to college. Paige emerges herself in preparing the home for Royce's imminent graduation. When she does come home, the family is overjoyed. Yet she brings a surprise with her...

... a fellow Sim University graduate, Eric Wakefield! Royce is puzzled when instead of joy, her parents view Eric with alarm.

"Mom, I'm twenty two. I'm in love. Why are you so surprised that I'm preparing to spend my future with someone?"
"You didn't mention being serious with someone." Paige hedges.
"Yes I did." Royce declared, frustrated. "I mentioned going out with Eric all the time. Weren't you listening to me?"
"We're just overtired from the excitement." Zeke breaks in, giving his daughter Paige a searching look. "Why don't we talk about this in the morning."

"Good idea, Grandpa." Royce agrees, ignoring Paige's expression. "Eric and I will be in my room."

"Hold on, young lady." Aeric places a hand on Royce's shoulder, softening his words.
"I don't see a wedding band on that finger. Unless your going to drop on us that you've eloped..."

"Dad," Royce protests. "- of course I wouldn't do that. But-"
"Then Grandpa and I will make over your will to be appropriate." Her father cut her off sternly.

When Eric and Royce were permitted up to her room, Royce was mortified to find two twin beds.
"Twin beds." Royce hisses. "I had no idea they'd be so insane about me growing up."
"Give them time." Eric soothed her, rubbing the small of her back. "They're surprised... perhaps overwhelmed. Its one thing to picture a wedding some day. Its quite another to hear wedding bells."
"We don't have a lot of time." Royce whispered. "If Mom finds out before I tell her..."

"She won't." Eric assured her, his voice hushed. "I'm not saying months. Lets go to town tomorrow and focus on our new jobs. We'll focus on getting to know your family this month. We'll tell them before the month is over. Hopefully by then, they'd have adjusted."

"I hope you're right." Royce whispers, lying down in the bed near her love, but too far from her liking.

Downstairs, Zeke has corned his daughter and her husband in the kitchen.
"Just what was that?" He wondered. "You guys acted like you haven't been planning her wedding since her first kiss."
"It's nothing." Paige lies... badly. She seems deeply shaken.

"Paige." Zeke pressed, but Aeric put out his hand, halting his father in law.
"Let's sleep on it." He suggested. "We'll discuss this later."

Yet it wasn't discussed the next day, the next or even the following week. Zeke watched his daughter look on Royce's romance with deep concern. She demurred any conversation on the subject.

One evening, the young adults were chattering excitedly at dinner. Royce was flush with excitement.
"Mom," she beamed. "Dad, Grandpa... Eric and I have good news."
Eric reached across the table, taking her hand in his. He stroked her palm with his thumb, a loving gesture that seemed to emphasize the lines on Paige's face.

"Eric has proposed and I said yes. We've booked a date for this week end."
The table erupted into shocked reactions. Royce managed to make clear that she and Eric had no interest in waiting, that they hoped for a blessing - but that they weren't changing their minds.

Later that evening, Zeke came across his daughter quietly weeping alone in the back porch. When he inquired what was wrong, she declared that she was forming a scheme to sabotage her daughter's impending wedding. Zeke was appalled and stated so, yet none of his stern admonishments seemed to have any affect.

The week end approached far too quickly. Although Paige had tried valiantly, Royce and Eric remained a unified front. No amount of meddling or outright disapproval had resulted in a rift in the relationship.

The very next week, Zeke caught Paige in deep conversation with the town reverend. He approached and joined what seemed to be a cordial relationship, but no mention was made for the visit. Zeke thought the reverend's parting remark about 'disclosing infidelities before it affects the children.' was an odd thing to say. As he remarked upon it, Paige revealed the cause of her distress- Eric Wakefield was related to the Tams.

"There's no way." Zeke frowned. "I went over the family tree with your mother. There's not a Wakefield in sight. Why would you say such a thing?"
"Because its true- and because the child's family wasn't kept on our family tree."

"The child...?"

"Piper Kearney." Paige said heavily.
"Piper..." Realization dawned. "Damita's child with her first husband."
"My great aunt's child," Paige affirmed. "Married Daniel Weir, Eric' grandfather."
"Eric's grand father."

"You see why this marriage can't continue."

"Its too late." The two turn to see Royce watching, shocked. "I'm in love with him."
"But you can't be," Damita declared. "- you know, now. You're related to Eric-"

"Hardly!" Royce protested.
"That was what? Two generations ago? And Damita married his grand father. We've had two generations since then. Its not like we're cousins. We didn't even know we were related."

"But Royce-"
Royce spoke over her mother.
"But nothing, Mom! I'm pregnant!"

Royce stared at her mother as Paige gasped. "You were pregnant this whole time..?"
"No," Royce stated tearfully. "I'm only three months along."
"Conceived in our own house," Paige gasped, her expression appalled.

"Don't say it like that," Royce declared. "Don't you dare. Eric and I want this baby. We love our child. And if you had cared at all, you would have said all of this earlier!"

Royce fled the house in tears. Eric, having heard the commotion, descended the stairs.

After hearing the explaination, he agreed with Royce. "We're not that closely related," He shook his head. "We're not going to let your obsession with the family line affect our family."Life in Paige' house became more tense after that declaration. try as they might, Paige's animosity for Eric was like a living, tangible cloud. The tension reached the boiling point during pregnancy for Royce, largely with out her mother's support. Grand father Zeke, however, fully supported the marriage - and the baby. Royce delivered a healthy baby girl. Royce and Eric named her Siane.

Eric did not work as hard as his wife to avoid engaging Paige. He loved his daughter and was unashamed that somewhere fifty years ago, his line and Paige's had converged. Royce had a loving relationship with her father and grand father, yet only Zeke respected Royce and Eric's marriage as whole and real. Tension boiled over when Eric let slip of the debate to his own mother, River.

River herself had been unaware of the connection. After a speaking to her mother, she returned to the Tam household.
"I don't know if you're aware of this." She stated quietly. "But there's something else you should know about Damita and Daniel Weir."

Paige was incensed, but River was insistent.
"You all have to know this. This should have been told to you last year, when you first married. But its better to be late than never. Paige, shut your mouth, dear." She said, not unkindly.

"The truth is..."

[Tune in next chapter!]

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