When Asiaq stepped inside Beate’s house, she realized she had never been to visit since Eira was born.
“Wow, it looks exactly the same! You kept all of her paintings?” Beate’s grandmother had passed and left her the house.
“Yeah, you know me, real sentimental!” Beate laughed.” No, honestly I just haven’t had the time to change anything. Since I had Erik, it feels like all I do is watch the Simelodeon and wipe his bum. I started working evenings too. Can I fix you a cup of coffee or something?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
“Well, I’ll have a sandwich anyway. Sure you don’t want one?”
“I just ate a while ago. So how are you holding up then, with your gran and all?”
“Well.. you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead but she kind of had it coming, you know? That woman started drinking her weight in Cuba Libre after moving to Sunlit Tides. I’m glad she was enjoying herself, anyway, I’m pretty sure she died a happy woman and that’s all I ask. Did you know I had Erik in Sunlit Tides? She got to meet him.” Beate went silent for a brief moment, staring into space.
“I wish I had been here for you”, Asiaq said regretfully.
“Oh don’t worry about it!” Beate smiled, “I had been prepared for a while honestly. And with a baby, you don’t have time to be depressed anyway, do you. I wasn’t there for Damon either when his mum passed and that makes me the shittier friend, doesn’t it? After all, it was his mum. Poor Damon! And Declan too, bless him.”
“It’s sad, but they have each other, I think that’s a real comfort for them both. And Eira takes a lot of his time as well. Speaking of which, you never told me who the father is?”
“I didn’t?” Beate giggled. “Oh man. Well, I’ll tell you that sordid story!”
“I went to the Last Frontier one night after work, I thought I might pick up a hot mountaineer or whatever. There were some German scientists who didn’t look like much fun, and then there was Ód Arnulfson, drinking alone.”
“The hermit?” Beate burst into hysterical laughter at Asiaq’s comment.
“Yes, the HERMIT! Oh my watcher.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “Well, we started drinking pretty heavily, at first just sitting next to each other and not really talking, but then we got drunk, and you know how I don’t normally drink, I’ve seen first hand what that does to people. And so, long story short, that’s when Erik was.. made.”
“Like what, in Frontier’s bathroom? With the hermit?” Asiaq still couldn’t believe Beate would have sex with the town hermit, that was too weird even for her. Even for Mimi, come to think of it.
“No, silly, in a bed! His bed, actually. And may I inform you that he was hung like a …” Asiaq covered Beate’s mouth with her hand.
“Babies in the room, mind!!”
“Whatever, they don’t understand it. He was surprisingly good in the sack, and we… well, we kept seeing each other after that. Sober. He never said much, sometimes he’d make me a cup of coffee afterwards. And give me a biscuit.” She stifled a laugh.
“A BISCUIT? Thanks for the intercourse, here’s a biscuit??” Asiaq totally forgot about their toddlers who were merrily playing with a stuffed elephant on the floor. She laughed so hard she couldn’t stand straight, and Beate laughed even harder.
“What’s happening in here??” Damon had joined them, coming straight from work. “It sounds like a riot from the street!”
“Oh, nothing much”, Beate said innocently, “just catching up!”
“Sounds like I missed out on the good parts! Helloooo little man! Who wants to fly? Erik wants to fly! Yes you do!” Damon entertained Erik for a good 60 seconds before the boy got bored or scared and began wailing to be returned to the familiarity of the floor.
“How are you coping, Beate? You tell us if you need any help, won’t you? We could babysit three kids just as well as two.”
“Oh that’s right, you have another now! What’s she like? When can I see her?”
“Soon, I hope. She’s fine. She’s… I dunno. No, she’s fine. She’s trying really, really hard though. Perhaps too hard, it seems.”
“Can’t blame her. Being adopted, and you have Eira already, that’s hard to compete with.”
Damon looked at their toddler, walking with determined steps towards the bathroom. Soon she’d be all grown up, go to school and do her homework, perhaps take up ice-skating or ballet. Have pigtails and then maybe a mohawk, if they were still in style.
“I wish she didn’t feel like she had to compete. Sometimes it’s hard, I admit. It just feels.. like she’s watching us, you know? And trying to figure us out and do exactly what we want her to.”
“Sounds a little creepy when you put it like that, but I’m sure it’s nothing. She just wants to fit in.”
“Yeah, you’re right of course.. anyway, she’s very cute and well-mannered, and also very bright, I think.”
“That’s great. I mean, it will make things easier for her, you know? It’s no picnic looking like a wet rag and having no manners whatsoever, l tell you!” Beate winked.
“Stop it, you’re be-jooooot-iful!” Asiaq and Beate started a tickle war and ran up the stairs chasing each other like a couple of 9-year-olds, leaving Damon to fend for himself and the kids.
“Like old times”, he muttered to Erik. “Ba-da?”, Erik replied, drooling on Dumbo.
Ugh, still no in depth presentation of Marina, I’m sorry about that, but when I tried to write that chapter it just didn’t happen at all, for almost 2 months. I don’t know why, but I decided to roll with it and visit Beate instead. Ód Arnulfson is actually the Corona family’s next door neighbour, he’s living alone with his small dog. Beate and him had a “oups..” moment with story progression, so I said fine, have a baby with the hermit, we all want to see the Beate clan live on anyway, AMIRITE? They split up like literally the same day.
I hope the next chapter won’t take me 2 months to write! Maybe I just had to get started again.