To Morgan, it seemed like yesterday that the nursery was decorated, and yet it was time for a renovation already. Lor couldn’t fit into the cot, after all. He was allowed (with supervision, of course) to choose his own furniture and colour scheme. She was relieved that it hadn’t been too unusual – in fact, she would have loved this room as a child. Without the chemistry set, anyway.
Lorcán was an intelligent boy, with an active mind. He wanted to know everything, and he wanted to know it as soon as possible. Preferably sooner.
“Mum, Grandpa! I saw this huge flying thing. It went whoooooooosh and it landed in one of Mama’s trees. I went after it to see but it shot up into the air and I couldn’t get close enough. What was it? How does it stay in the air? Can I fly too?”
“Did it have feathers?”
“What are feathers?”
This was going to be harder than she’d anticipated.
“Go on, Morgan. Answer the poor boy.”
Dominic was having far too much fun watching her struggle. She’d like to see him figure out how to describe a feather properly!
Thankfully, Moira’s voice interrupted the conversation. “Lorcán? I’ve set up the chess table. Are you ready to play?”
He ran around to the other side of the house, the mystery of the flying object forgotten. Morgan sighed with relief – she’d have time to find some pictures of birds and insects. She didn’t doubt that he’d remember his question later on.
“Dad. You could have helped me.”
Dominic hid his mouth behind his hand, giggling quietly. Morgan rolled her eyes and smiled. Time to do some research.
“You see, the bishop can only move diagonally.”
“Not quite, dear.”
“But I went diagonally!”
“You did, but you can still only go in one direction per turn.”
“Did it work?”
“Here, have a look.”
Lissa looked at the photo and grinned. Even though they were both proper adults now, they still looked amazing.
“Is it ok if I upload this?”
“Upload it? What does that mean?”
“Can I put it on the internet? It’s ‘#FamilyFriday’ and I want everyone to see my favourite sister-in-law.”
Lissa felt warmth filling her. Family Friday. She wasn’t sure what a hashtag was, but that wasn’t what was important. She was family. She didn’t want to get too sappy, though, so she decided to put to use a new skill of hers. Humour. The art of lightening the mood. It wasn’t something that was used on Sixam, so it had taken a while to get the hang of.
“I’m your only sister-in-law” she teased, relieved when she got an answering smile.
“You’re still my fave, though.”
Lissa thought about it for a few seconds, and then nodded. “You can ‘upload’ it.”
As Siobhan fiddled around on her phone, supposedly ‘uploading’ the photo, Lissa heard her son and her mother-in-law talking.
“Why is it called a ‘checkmate’? Is it because of all the squares? Why isn’t it just ‘I win’?”
“Hold your horses, young man, one question at a time.”
Lor picked up the knights off the board and held them up in confusion.
“Now can I ask? I am holding the horses. Do I need to hold your ones too?”
Lissa grinned. It looked like she wouldn’t be the only one taking things too literally in this family anymore.
Meanwhile, in the research department:
Morgan jumped. Had the time come? Had he remembered?
“Can I go to the play area with Mama? I promise I’ll be back for bedtime.”
“Of course, honey. Just make sure mama can see you at all times, ok?”
“Ok! I love you~” Lor hugged her and ran over to Lissa.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep him safe.” Lissa said, and waved as she started to jog towards the play area. Lorcán ran after her, giggling. “Mama wait! Your legs are longer than mine.”
Lissa waited, but as soon as he caught up she would jog away again. Morgan could hear their laughter as the walk turned into a game of tag, and kept watching as they disappeared around the corner. She turned back the the computer with a grin – at least she didn’t have that song in her head still.
Oh. Wait a second. Nope, the song was back.
The sun was already beginning to set, so the play area was quiet. There was only one other child there, but the boy’s eyes widened as he spotted Lor.
Lor saw the boy swing down from the monkey bars and walk towards him. He put on his best smile – he wanted to make a good impression.
“Don’t worry, I come in peace” the boy said, grinning at the look of bafflement that crossed the redhead’s face at his greeting. “I’m Rhett. What’s your name?”
“Lorcán. I also ‘come in peace’. Is that a local greeting?”
“It’s a pop-culture thing. Have you not seen ‘Space Adventures’? It’s on TV most mornings.”
“I don’t have a tv.”
Rhett looked surprised, but his face cleared as he saw the opportunity. “In that case I’ll have to fill you in! There’s this group of people who live in a spaceship, and…”
Lor listened, thrilled at the adventures that these sims got into.
“That sounds so cool! Mama is from space, maybe she met them!”
“They’re fictional, so probably not” Rhett laughed.
“What’s that about me?”
“It’s ok. I was just saying that you’re from space, like Ms Spork from ‘Space Adventures’!”
“She works on a spaceship!”
Rhett seemed at a loss for words. He was talking to real aliens!
His pocket let out a beep, and he took out his phone with an apologetic look to his companions.
“Already? It’s only seven-thirty, can’t I stay just a bit longer? Ok… see you soon.” He hung up with a sigh.
“I’ve got to go home now. I’ll see you again sometime. I come here quite a bit.”
“Speaking of going home, it’s about time we went back, too.”
“Yes, really. We don’t want to worry your mum, do we?”
“We can come back tomorrow, ok?”
“See you soon, Lorcán.” Rhett said. He was surprised that the boy had no issues with hugging his mother in public, but maybe they did things differently in space.
“Mama? Where are you from?”
“Do you see that star over there?”
“The blue one?”
“No, the green one just a bit to the side. That’s Sixam.”
“Will I ever get to go there?”
“I hope so, Lor. It’s beautiful.”
“Does it glow like you do?”
Lissa smiled. “Yes, it does.”