Clara closed the chat window, smiling to herself. It had only been about a month, but her brother had changed so much since he gave up drinking. He was seeing a therapist. He spent more time with his family. He smiled more.
He still had a long way to go, but it was finally starting to feel like they were getting the old Tobi back.
“Hey, baby.” Florian’s voice called from over her shoulder. “How’s it going up here?”
“Not bad… Just taking a break.”
“Me too.” Her husband smiled. “Want me to whip us up some lunch?”
Clara rose to her feet, nodding gratefully. “Sure.” She followed him as he headed into the kitchen. “So how’s the mixing going?” She asked kindly. “I caught a few bits and pieces. It sounded great!”
Her husband smiled. “It’s not bad. I’ve probably done everything I can do on my own though.” Florian shrugged. “I’m gonna take it to Rick this weekend and have him help clean it up a little.”
“Well if you need a test audience, you know who to ask.” Clara winked at him. “I’m so proud of you, babe. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing.”
Her husband had spent the past several months working on his first ever solo album. Continuing the band without Lucas had felt so wrong. Florian struggled for a while, trying to figure out how he could move forward with the band alone…
Then he realized he didn’t have to.
“So what have you been up to today while I was hiding away down there?” Florian asked with a smile as he began chopping up some lettuce and tomato for their sandwiches. “Working on an update for the blog?”
She shook her head. “I kinda got side-tracked.” Clara admitted. “Oh, and I talked to Tobi – he’s taking the kids to the park sometime next week. Remi’s been dying for another football lesson, and I thought it’d be nice for him and River to spend some time with their Onkel.”
Florian nodded. “I think it’d be nice.” He agreed. “I guess he’s doing a lot better now, huh?”
“Definitely. I mean, he’s still not completely himself, but… It’s better. Way better.” She assured him.
“Thank God.” Her husband’s voice was serious. “I was really getting worried about him.”
“We all were.” Clara agreed sadly.
They were both silent for a few moments then. Florian continued preparing their lunch, and Clara did her part to help get out the plates and napkins.
At last, Florian broke the silence. “So… you talked to your Bruder for three hours?” He asked skeptically, smiling crookedly at her. “I’d believe it if you were geeking-out with Stefan on Skype or something, but…”
Clara shook her head, laughing. “Well, before that, I was working on baby names.” She explained. Her eyes suddenly lit up. “And y’know, I think I found a good one.”
The young woman nodded. “I think it’s just what we’re looking for — a way to name her after Lucas and Hazel without being too cliché.”
Florian smiled. “So no Lucy or Lucia?” He asked with a wink.
“Definitely not.” They’d already vetoed both names long ago. “I decided we’ve been thinking way too much about spelling instead of meaning.” Clara explained. She paused for a moment before continuing. “So ‘Lucas’ means ‘light’, right? And Hazel’s maiden name was Bright…”
Her husband nodded.
“And when we lost them, I guess we kinda lost that brightness and that light too… But this little girl will bring some of it back. I know she will. So I thought it would make sense to name her after the brightest and most beautiful light in the sky…” She smiled softly. “Aurora.”
Florian’s smile widened. “That’s beautiful.” He said seriously. “It’s perfect.”
“Yeah? You think so?” Clara smiled hopefully.
“Absolutely. And, y’know, if we want the extra geek-factor in there… We could always call her Rory for a nickname.” He suggested. “Like that Doctor Who guy…”
Clara couldn’t help but giggle. ‘Doctor Who guy’… I freaking love this man. “Amazing!” She beamed at him, then closed the distance between them to kiss his cheek. “It even fits our ‘R’ theme too.”
“Well I guess that settles it.” Florian laughed softly and leaned forward, placing his hands on his wife’s stomach. “But what do you think?” He whispered. “Do you like that, Rory? Do you think Aurora’s a nice name?”
The baby’s reply was a series of small kicks. Clara laughed. She always kicked when she heard Florian’s voice, so the response wasn’t exactly surprising. But the timing was just too perfect. “There’s your answer!”
Her husband smiled warmly at her, and pressed his lips softly against hers. “I bet your family will love the name too.”
“I hope so.”
“And y’know… I guess I kinda can’t help but wonder what Lucas and Hazel would think.” Florian muttered with a shrug. “Of the name, I mean.”
“Hmm…” Clara furrowed her brow for a moment, thinking. “Hazel’s like me, so she’d get all emotional and sentimental for sure.” She decided. “We’d probably need to break out the tissues! And Lucas would totally roll his eyes and put on his stupid tough-guy act like always.”
Florian nodded in agreement, laughing. “Yeah, I think you’re right. But we’d both know he loved it. And he’d definitely approve of the nickname.”
“Think so? Lucas was never much of a Whovian…”
“Well no, but he loved enabling your geekiness whenever he could.” Florian paused for a moment, almost wistful. “Remember that year he got us those Geekcon tickets for Christmas?”
“Yes! That was the best!” Clara’s entire face lit up at the memory. “Even if he screwed up and got us passes for the DC panel instead of the Marvel one…” She shook her head as she remembered her nephew’s mistake.
“Hey, he felt like shit about that, remember?” Florian smiled. “Give the guy a break!”
His wife nodded. “And he did agree to that Marvel movie marathon to make up for it.” She smiled at the memory. “With commentary! Even you still haven’t let me rope you into that.”
“What can I say? He’s a stronger man than me.” She watched as Florian’s smile suddenly faded. “God, I miss him. I miss both of them.”
“I know.” Clara’s own face fell. She suddenly noticed a wetness in her eyes she had not felt before. “Me too.”
It had been nearly eight months since the fire, but there were still days when the pain and sadness hit so hard that it felt like only yesterday. And with what would have been Lucas’ 31st birthday quickly approaching, things were only getting harder. Jocelyne had already told the family she didn’t want any kind of celebration for her birthday. And Clara couldn’t exactly blame her.
She tried to imagine what that would feel like — to turn another year older without your twin. The thought made her think of her own little Remus and River, and Clara found herself holding back more tears.
At last, Florian cleared his throat softly. “Hey, lunch is getting cold, y’know. And you are eating for two…”
Clara laughed, grabbing a plate from the counter. “Hey, at least I wasn’t eating for three like last time. You were spared the worst of it. Count yourself lucky.”
“Okay, seriously? Honey, with ONE baby, I’ve seen you eat enough to feed a small army.” Florian teased. “And oh my God, remember when Hazel was pregnant with Zayne?!”
“Entire pizzas gone in minutes!” Clara nodded as she sat down at the dining room table. “It was almost as bad as Auggy.”
“Lucas was so sure it was gonna be twins, remember? Or triplets like Jocelyne.” Florian smiled. “He called it the ‘Rosebrook family curse’.”
His wife shook her head. “Nah, the curse doesn’t work that way. They were planning on Zayne. Wouldn’t have happened.” Clara giggled.
Florian nearly choked on his sandwich. “Touché!”