“Hey darling, what have you got there?” I bent down to look at the doll Akima was playing with, it was cute in a hideous patchwork kind of way.
“Papa buy me dolly!” Akima gestured a chubby fist to Nico who was drinking his morning coffee and promptly choked on said coffee,
“Akima sweetie I’m not your papa!” Akima glared at him for a minute before turning back to her doll and singing to him,
“What’s your dolly’s name Akima?” I asked, frantically trying to shake of the discomfort of my daughter thinking Nico was her father.
“Rydder Googly-Boo.” She looked me straight in the eyes with a dead serious look on her face,
“Rydder?” She nodded. “Googly-Boo?” Akima nodded once more before picking up her song where she left.
“So is everything packed?”
“Almost, just got some clothes of mine upstairs to pack and then we can load up the truck!” Nico nodded and picked up Akima awkwardly, setting her down in a playpen in the shaded part of the front garden.
“Passports?” I nodded,
“You definitely handed in your notice two weeks ago?” Again I nodded,
“Like I’d forget that. You, my friend, are looking at an unemployed single mother!” Nico guffawed,
“Well, if you ever need anything..”
“I know. You’ll be on the first flight out!”
“Yes. And don’t forget I’m coming over for Christmas!” I smiled and pulled Nico into a hug,
“How am I supposed to cope without you Nico?”
“You’ll be fine Mimi.”
“Shh baby girl, try to get some sleep, it’s going to be a long flight for you!” Akima folded her arms and frowned,
“No sleep. Wanna play with Googly-Boo!” I kissed Akima’s cheek and placed her into her seat next to me, pulling Rydder from my bag and setting him next to her. Soon enough Akima fell asleep with her arms around her doll. I stayed awake the entire flight. God knows how I’ll explain having a two year old daughter in the space of 18 months.
“Mina! And who’s this little monkey?”
“Her name’s Akima,”
“Oh sweetheart you should have told us you were adopting!” Mum scooped Akima out of my arms and pulled her close for a cuddle.
“Er. Mum, she’s mine.”
“Oh, haha, don’t be obtuse Mina!”
“Look at her and tell me she’s not mine.” Mum lifted her head from Akima’s and studied her face while dad and Sophia stood behind her, jaws hanging.
“Can we go inside and I’ll explain.” I took Akima back from mum and everyone sat down in the living room as I explained the ludicrous story of how Akima came to be, but mum and dad weren’t that disbelieving, after all they used to be vamps and they are friends with werewolves, to question the existence of aliens, to them, was stupid. Sophia was the hardest to convince until Akima walked straight over to her and said clear as day,
“Auntie Soph-soph!” and pointed to her face, beaming at her, Sophia laughed and pulled her onto her lap,
“Yes sweetheart, I’m your auntie!”
After a few hours the truck arrived and dad and Sophia helped me unload while mum was feeding Akima, who was going to be seriously spoilt for as long as we lived here! By the time we’d unpacked it was well past Akima’s bedtime so I had to separate her and her apparent family favourite, Sophia. She wriggled as I took her upstairs,
“No bed! Kima not tired!”
“Come on baby girl, just ten minutes?”
“No!” As she tried to protest again she gave a huge yawn and I laughed at her,
“You sure you’re not tired?”
“I not tired!”
I settled Akima down with Rydder and she drifted off almost straight away, I stood beside the cot, rocking on my heels, making sure she was asleep before going back downstairs to where everyone had assembled in the living room at my request,
“Okay, so I have some bad news.”
I explained to my family about the situation and they agreed that the best plan of action was to wait and see, nothing was definite but that property purchasing was a must. Mum and I, acting as joint leaders, chose St Clare’s to relocate to, it would be perfect for future generations, but we were only able to buy a small cottage on a large lot due to overcrowding in the town, mum shrugged and said it was better than nothing and I agreed.
“Hey Akima, what day is it today?”
“My birrday!!”She clapped her hands and I smiled at her, her 6th birthday in Sunlit Tides, her growing had slowed down when she tuned 3 and now she’s hardly even a toddler, after a little “incident” on her first birthday here we chose to always have family parties. We were waiting on Hannah and Darius who had been delayed by Ariel falling down the stairs, she’s fine, just a combination of unlucky and clumsy the poor kid!
“Okay Akima are you ready to blow out the candles?” Mum passed Akima to me and I helped her to reach the cake,
“Oh plumbob! Not this again!” We all ducked behind a sofa as sparkles enveloped Akima and her small body seemed to explode, I was the first to peer over and did a double take,
“So does this happen every milestone birthday or something?” Akima shrugged,
“I don’t know, but boy was that uncomfortable! Can I open my presents now?” She didnt even wait for an answer, she just ran straight to the pile of gifts and clicked her fingers, one present appeared to unwap itself,
“Hey! No cheating! Unwrap them properly that’s part of fun!” Hannah laughed at Akima’s impatience
“For you maybe.. mortal!” She grinned over at Hannah who burst out laughing,
“Sweetheart, I’m not mortal, trust me!”
As seemed to be the theme with all of her other birthdays Akima was spoiled by everyone, even receiving cards from the neighbors. On particular card had been withheld from Akima after I noticed the stamp was from Lucky Palms.
After we’d tidied up I settled down in the office to read the letter, I was probably overreacting but Nico always emailed us on Akima’s birthday, he’d never sent us a letter. I ripped it open and a small slip of paper fell out, landing face down.
“Soon” read the paper, in handwriting that I couldn’t quite place.