“Okay… What do you think?” Emberlynn asked her friend with a smile as she finally pulled her pencil away from the page. “Princess Superheroes!”
Zelda’s eyes lit up the moment they fell on her cousin’s sketchbook. “Perfect!” She cried happily. “Nat 20 on your drawing roll!”
“Thanks!” She replied proudly, her smile widening. “I dunno what I’m gonna get on my sewing roll though…”
“It’s okay. Daddy and Papa will help!“ Zelda assured her, speaking at her usual lightning-speed. “Papa’s SO good at math. He’ll figure out ‘zactly how much cloth you gotta buy. And Daddy makes a bajillion costumes every year and he can totally help you make ‘em perfect!”
“I hope so… I’m gonna ask when they finish playing.”
Emberlynn’s uncles were downstairs with her parents for their ‘adults only’ D&D game. Emberlynn and Zelda thought it was very unfair that their parents insisted on doing a special game without them. But, despite their protests, the grown-ups never seemed to give in. They got together once every couple weeks to play while the kids kept each other company.
“Am I allowed to see the other stuff you drew too?” Zelda asked, lifting Emberlynn’s sketch book from her desk without even waiting for a reply. “You told me ‘bout all the cool wedding clothes. But I wanna see ‘em!”
With a shrug, Emberlynn hopped to her feet to join her friend at the end of her bed. “Sure. There were some really pretty ones… WAY too hard to try and make for a GeekCon costume. But still awesome!”
She watched as Zelda flipped back a couple of pages, her brow furrowing in confusion a bit. “A dragon? A space ship…?” She looked over at her friend, shaking her head. “Ember, are you sure you went to a WEDDING and not a CON or something?”
Emberlynn felt her cheeks grow slightly warm. “I drew those for Xander.” She explained quickly. “Remember?”
“Ohhhhhh! Duh!” With a laugh, Zelda turned the page. “I was gonna say, that must’a been the coolest wedding EVER!” She peered down at the page full of sketches of formalwear. “These are still neat though!”
“Yeah, it was so cool!” Emberlynn had never seen so many well-dressed people in the same place at the same time. Her lips curled into a smile at the memory. “It felt like I was at a fashion show or something!”
Zelda nodded slowly as she finally put the book down. “When I get married, everyone is gonna look amazing.. But it’s not gonna feel like a fashion show.” She explained. “It’s gonna feel like a super-awesome convention!”
“What kind?” Emberlynn asked with a laugh.
Her cousin just shrugged. “I dunno. Everyone’s gonna show up dressed as their favorite character. Whoever they wanna be!”
“Onkel Tam and Onkel Jasper are gonna love that!”
Zelda beamed. “I know! It’s gonna be the best EVER. And instead’a walking me down the aisle, the three of us are gonna fly.” She said confidently.
“Fly?” Emberlynn raised an eyebrow. “How?”
The other girl seemed completely unconcerned. “I dunno yet. But I’m not getting married until I’m SUPER old. And that’s like, a billion years from now. So I bet they’ll have like jet packs or hoverboards or something by then.” Zelda explained.
“Yeah, maybe!” Or maybe I’ll invent something like that after I figure out my teleporter. Emberlynn added mentally.
“So what about you, Ember?” Zelda asked excitedly. “What’s YOUR wedding gonna be like?”
She shook her head slowly. “I’m not getting married.”
There was no hesitation or uncertainty in Emberlynn’s voice when she spoke. She said the words with such confidence, it almost felt like this was some sort of very purposeful, deliberate decision she’d made long ago. Something she’d thought about for a long time.
But it wasn’t. She’d never even thought about it until that very moment. But Emberlynn just knew. There wasn’t a single doubt or question in her mind.
“But… why?” Zelda asked almost incredulously.
Emberlynn sighed. The last thing she wanted right now was to get into some long talk about it… But she knew her friend just wanted an explanation.
“Mama and Papa.” She replied with a small shrug.
“It just doesn’t look like being married’s a lot of fun. It’s just a bunch of stupid fighting and feeling sad and acting weird.” Emberlynn explained. “Who’d wanna do THAT?”
“It can’t be bad ALL the time though.” Zelda shook her head as she spoke. “Tante Gigi and Onkel Phee are FUN! Can’t you hear ‘em laughing down there?” The little girl paused, and they both listened.
And Zelda was right — the sound of her parents’ laughter was carrying up the stairs from the dining room. But that didn’t really mean anything to Emberlynn.
“Well, yeah. They’re fun and they laugh together sometimes. Especially when your Dad and Papa are here.That just means they had a good Marriage roll today.”
“So maybe if YOU get married, you’ll have good rolls all the time, like Daddy and Papa!” As usual, Zelda kept her sunny demeanor.
But Emberlynn wasn’t having it. “There’s no way to KNOW though.” She insisted. “And even if it starts OUT with good rolls, that doesn’t mean it’s gonna stay that way. I think it just keeps getting worse and worse if you’re married a long time. It’s like me and Tristan.”
“Huh? What’s Tristan got’ta do with it?”
“You can’t EVER tell him this… But I love him. He’s fun. But he’s also REALLY annoying.” Emberlynn explained. “And the more time we spend together, the harder and harder it gets to pass my Will Saves to not go CRAZY. I think there’s some kind of secret Sibling Penalty that keeps getting bigger and bigger the longer we’re together.”
Zelda was thoughtful. “So… You think there’s a Marriage Penalty too?”
Emberlynn nodded, her voice suddenly hardening. “I know there is. And I don’t wanna ever have to deal with it.”
“What about Daddy and Papa though? They’ve been married for forever! And they always have good Marriage Rolls.”
Emberlynn shrugged. “Maybe they’ve got some special modifiers or something. I dunno. I just know I’m never getting married.” She paused for a moment. “BUT…”
Her friend eyed her questioningly. “But what?”
“I’m totally gonna have some kind of big party where I get to wear a pretty dress and everyone wears fancy clothes anyway. It just won’t be a wedding.” Her lips stretched into a wide grin. “It’ll be something even better! Like… Like an un-wedding!”
“Oh… Cool!” Zelda’s eyes lit up. “Can I come?”
“Knock, knock!” A voice called from the doorway, causing both girls to jump.
“Hey, Oma!” Emberlynn called happily when she realized who it was.
Harper smiled warmly at the pair of them. “Just wanted to know if you girls were interested in some cookies… Tristan just finished helping me make a batch. And I THINK if we’re quick enough, we can get down there before he and your Opa Dev eat them all…”
Emberlynn and Zelda didn’t need telling twice. With a bright burst of giggles, the two girls followed Emberlynn’s grandmother out the door and down the stairs to the kitchen. Their earlier conversation was almost completely forgotten.
After all, Emberlynn knew she’d have plenty of time to worry about not getting married and planning her un-wedding when she was older. For now, she had more important things to worry about…
Like designing GeekCon costumes, having fun with her best friend, and making sure she got the last chocolate chip cookie before Tristan did.
I know that mini-arc went by super fast, but that was the last child chapter! 😮 Just a little prelude to the heart of Emberlynn’s story, which will begin in the teen arc and carry on into her YA one, as is the norm with most of my Rosebrooks (I love writing kids, but dang it, they can’t get up to quite as interesting shenanigans as they can when they’re older 😉 )
I’ll be back early next week with the debut of the teen arc! In the meantime, since I want to gratuitously share my baby (since she’s so pretty ❤ ), below is a peek at the teen banner, if you haven’t seen it on the forums or front page yet 😀
(Oh, and I also updated the Rosebrook Family Tree, which has become a freaking monstrosity at this point LOL)
Thanks for reading, guys! ❤