August 26, 2010 § 2 Comments
The day after the return to China, Cora woke up with an odd sense of calm. Yesterday had been the longest, most stressful day she had ever lived, but this day showed potential. When Cora woke up, pregnant, she knew that things could only get better. Soon, an official third generation of Hallovins would run around the mansion, and one of them would carry on her grandmother’s legacy. Cora felt that even if her first child was a girl, she would still want to have multiple children with Brant. Growing up, she had only had her older, twin sister, who was her exact opposite. Her children would have better childhoods than she had.
Brant, Bryce, and just about everybody she told was thrilled. Bryce was especially excited, since his only grandchild outside the womb never visited. Rayna didn’t seem to like coming back to her first home, so that meant Sarah didn’t come out too often either. Like her sister had before her, Cora enjoyed being pregnant. It was probably the least stressful period she had ever gone through, and her husband and father were ready to do anything for her.
Cora spent most of her maternity leave painting. After Evelyn had passed away, the studio had been an empty, desolate place, with one unfinished painting by Evelyn still on its easel. But pregnant Cora felt somehow inspired, and what better way to pass one’s time then by releasing feelings onto canvas? The money made from her paintings was also nice, since Bryce had been doing poorly at work after his wife passed away.
As if Evelyn could read her family’s minds, her ghost appeared very early one morning. Coincidentally, Bryce had a day off and hadn’t been able to sleep that night, and could be found in the little library that the household called the Green Room. Evelyn’s ghost homed right in on Bryce, and the couple was reunited. When Bryce tried to kiss her, though, Evelyn’s ghost stopped him.
She explained that since they lived in two different realms, as two different beings, they could not yet be together. But once Bryce passed away, they would get married in the netherworld. Above them, they could hear Cora and Brant start to wake up. Evelyn knew how much her death had shaken her daughter, and since she was now pregnant, she didn’t want to unsettle her further by making an appearance. She promised Bryce that she would see him soon, and disappeared. Bryce never told his daughter about Evelyn’s appearance.
Every day of her pregnancy, Cora knew that she had made a good choice in choosing Brant. He was constantly feeling her belly, anxiously hoping for a kick, and every morning when he heard her come down for breakfast he would jump up and help her, talking to his unborn child the whole way to the kitchen. Everyone in the town knew that Brant would make an excellent father.
Cora should have known that the peace she felt while pregnant was unnatural, and couldn’t last long. She and her father were enjoying a nice lunch together when he suddenly stopped eating. Slowly, he stood up, and as if in deep thought, he moved to the other end of the room. He took out his cell phone and phoned Sally, who had become his rock. Their conversation was quick and low, an as if that wasn’t creepy enough, the Grim Reaper appeared as soon as Bryce pocketed his phone. Whereas Evelyn had begged on her knees to stay, Bryce happily shook the Reaper’s skeletal hand. Bryce had lived to be a little older than his wife, and he was ready and willing to join her. He knew that he wouldn’t see his grandchildren, but he knew that Brant and Cora would do fine without him. Besides, he had a wedding to attend to shortly, anyway.
Never before had Cora been so stressed. Both of her parents, gone, in such a short span? She couldn’t cope with such a loss. She had Brant put Bryce’s urn safely by the fireplace in the foyer, and retreated to their bedroom. Touching and seeing the urn, it would make the whole thing real. She knew that she would have to lay Bryce to rest next to Evelyn, but she couldn’t just yet.
There were two people alive left in the large, three story mansion. But as they went to bed the night of Bryce’s passing, a third Hallovin was ready to join them. Cora had been barely asleep for a few minutes when she began to go into labour. When her screams woke Brant up, his only thought was that she was a few weeks early, and that the stress from her father passing away so shortly after her mother must have induced labour. Cora’s wails were so loud and painful, both parents-to-be expected a very messy home birth. But fortunately for Cora and baby Charles, they had made it to the hospital just in time. He was born absent-minded, and he loved the outdoors. So far, the first boy born into the legacy would be just like his father.