My family was flying in from New Orleans, Louisiana, they were due to arrive at 12:00 pm. I was driving to the airport to pick up my parents, my brother and his wife, Kevin and Zerha had married seven years ago and until then my parents had honestly been worried about having grandkids, it was nothing against me, we just both married later in life and they were worried they wouldn’t be around for them. They ended up having a son, Gavin who was now our ring bearer. The rest were taxying to hotels, my aunts, uncles, and the few cousins and their kids that I had. John’s friends were flying in from NYC and New Orleans, and Annie had flown in from Mexico this morning. She was staying in a nearby hotel, the Harbour Light Inn. John didn’t know she was here, yet. She had called to let me know the flight had gone well.
I hadn’t told them about Astra, it would be a nice surprise for them when they arrived at Danversport tomorrow.
I had to leave to pick my family up at 11:30 am, John was staying here with Astra and Day so we’d have enough space to carry six in my car and their luggage.
John laid Day down for a nap now so he’d be up by the time they arrived later. Astra was in the backyard swinging, John was watching from a back corner with a smoke in hand. I sigh, he said he’d try and to be fair my family was arriving in a couple of hours so it was a stressful time, I just wish he had a better coping mechanism that didn’t endanger his or others’ health.
My family had met John over skype but we’d never gone down to visit them, mainly because John didn’t want to put them in harm’s way. They knew nothing about monsters or demons, that was another secret I had harbored from them aside from John. Well, they accepted me, I wasn’t sure how much they actually liked John as an individual or his personality. They had never been left alone with John either, I wasn’t sure how they got along. I had my own worries obviously, would they want biological grandkids? Not that that was entirely possible. And would they ask questions in seven years when John was dead?
Would they want me to move back to New Orleans so I and the kids could be closer? I’d never been one for the bigger cities, I liked Salem and how small it was. I also didn’t want to leave the house me and John shared our life in.
I was thinking about John’s death too much. My thoughts strayed there every time I was alone. Before John told me, I barely thought about it, but back then I thought I had about thirty more years with him, to figure I had less than ¼ of that was devastating.
I stood on the porch watching John and Astra.
John put out his smoke and went to Astra to push her. We’d talked about painting her and Day’s rooms, Day had a crib but I wanted to go out and buy more things for him, more clothes, toys, and a stroller.
I was worried my parents would judge our parenting methods. Day had everything he needed to live and enjoy his life, his room just felt empty and plain to me, that was why I suggested painting it and buying more things.
I heard my alarm go off for me to leave to go pick up my family. I left the porch and went down to where John and Astra were. John stepped back from Astra. I kissed him and he smiled.
“I’ll see you later,” I whisper.
“Yeah,” he replied.
“Bye, Art,” Astra called from up in the air as she swung back.
“Bye,” I reply.
I left and made the drive to the airport. Their flight ended up being fifteen minutes late so I was left waiting. My parents were staying with us but Kevin and his family were getting a hotel room, I was driving them there.
“Hey, brother. Long-time no see,” my brother was the first one to spot me.
“Arthur, my boy,” my father shouted.
My father and mother hugged me.
“Remember, John’s not a hugging person,” I remind them so they hopefully won’t attempt to greet him the same way when we get back to the house.
“Nonsense, we’ll make him one,” my mother replies.
They grab their luggage and follow me to my car, little Gavin scampering along behind us. Kevin was rolling his suitcase along with his own.
“How is the baby?” my mother asked.
“He’s doing well, lots of late nights,” I comment.
“What’s his name again?” Kevin asks.
“Day,” I reply.
“That’s an unusual name,” Zerha replies.
“John choose it,” I reply.
I help pack the luggage into the back of the van and help Gavin into Astra’s booster seat. Kevin and Zerha sit in the back, my mother sits in the middle with Gavin and my father sits up front with me.
Kevin gives me the address to their hotel and I start driving.
“Are you enjoying having kids?” Kevin jokes.
“I can’t wait to meet the flower girl,” my mother comments. She always wanted a granddaughter.
“Her name’s Astra,” I remind her.
“Is she an astronaut?” Gavin asks.
“No, that’s just her name,” my mother replies smiling.
I drop Kevin and his family at their hotel and continue the drive to my house. The tension in the car rose when they left. I hadn’t been alone with my parents since before moving out to Salem over a decade ago.
“Your mother brought some gifts for the children,” my father mentions.
“That’s nice, I’m sure they’ll like them,” I reply.
We pull into the driveway. I can hear Day crying inside.
“Sounds like somebody’s awake,” my mother comments.
I unlock the back and they take their luggage out well I unlock the door and see why Day is crying.
John is in the kitchen with Astra who has a scrape on her leg, it’s bleeding.
“What happened?” I asked.
“She thought it was a great idea to jump off the swing,” he replies. “Day just woke up, just let me clean and bandage this and I’ll go get him, okay?”
“I’ll go get him,” I reply.
“Don’t they need help with their luggage?” John asks.
“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” I answer.
I walk down the hall to Day’s room. I pick him up and try to calm him.
By the time I come back to the kitchen John has bandaged Astra’s wound.
“No more swing jumping, okay?” he reasons.
“Okay,” she answers.
My parents are by the front door hanging up their coats. Astra goes to the kitchen doorway and peaks at them.
“Hi, Honey,” my mother greets her.
John comes to stand beside me nervously.
I hand him Day so maybe my parents will be less inclined to try and hug him.
“Hey, John,” my father greets.
“Hello, Mr. Weston,” he greets, trying to be nice.
“I have gifts for the children,” my mother offers trying to coax Astra out.
Her head is around the doorway corner looking.
“It’s okay, Astra,” John assures her.
My mother pulls out a pretty blue, frilly dress, some barbies and holds them out to Astra. Astra steps forward cautiously and takes them.
“Thank you,” she whispers.
“You’re welcome,” she says smiling. “You can try the dress on to make sure it fits.”
Astra smiled scampering off to put the dress on.
“She sure is shy,” my father comments.
“It’s been a big adjustment moving here,” John replies.
“What happened to her family?” my mother asks.
I don’t have an answer; the truth will confuse them.
“They were my sister’s children, she and her husband died in a car accident. Day was their biological son and they adopted Astra,” John covers.
If they knew what really happened to John’s family members it would be more shocking.
My parents were quiet after that.
Astra scampered back in with her frilly blue dress on. She spun around.
John smiled at her.
“Do you like it?” my mother asked.
Astra surprisingly took my mother’s hand and led her off to her room.
“Your mother brought some supplies for the baby,” my father mentioned again offering me a small suitcase.
“She didn’t have to bring us an entire suitcase,” I comment taking the luggage.
“She’s your mother, she always gives more than is necessary,” my father replies.
“Well, the guest bedroom is downstairs, you can go get settled there,” I inform him.
“Thanks, Arthur, I’ll do that. I might take a nap before dinner, too. Jet lag and all that,” he answers.
He goes downstairs to the guest room with his and my mother’s luggage. I place the suitcase they brought for Day in his room.
I joined John in the living room. He’s set Day under a spinning mobile on the ground.
Day tries to hit the dangling objects with his fist.
“Sorry, it was none of their business. They shouldn’t have asked,” I apologized to John.
“I knew they were going to ask. It’s not like we planned for and adopted them,” John answers.
“But it made you think of your sister,” I reply.
“Lots of things make me think of her, our wedding…I was meant to go but I didn’t and now I regret it, and she’s dead because her husband was possessed and killed her and himself, at least I would have got to see them if I went,” he replies.
“I’m gonna go for a cigarette, you okay to watch him?” John continues.
“Yeah, don’t be too long,” I reply.