“So you are pregnant?” Solaris breaks the silence, “you’re going to have a baby?”
“Yes, I’m pregnant. Probably just a few weeks along, but you’re going to have a little brother or sister.” Or both, she shudders at the thought of having another set of triplets.
Polaris hesitates, “No, not with your father. We’re not together anymore, Lulu.”
“Why not,” Luna whines, “I don’t understand.” She’s held out hope for a while that her parents would get back together.
“It’s simple Luna. Ummm…well…I guess it’s time I told you about this,” Polaris explains, ignoring the subtext of Luna’s statement,“when a male and a female of a species desire to procreate, or when they…um…want to show their love for each other, they engage in—they, um—they copulate.” Luna and Elysia exchange horrified glances. It’s The Talk.
“This will go faster if you don’t interrupt me,” Polaris insists, “Anyway, back to business. The man inserts his penis into the woman’s vagina, though usually he requires the woman’s guidance. He quickly ejaculates and releases sperm—“
“Mom, please, we—“
Solaris is wondering what he’s done to deserve this while Elysia tries her hardest not to read her mother’s mind. Luna’s eyes glaze over as she tunes out most of the information.
“…the sperm releases an enzyme that breaks down the membrane of the egg, and then the two fuse together. Once they unite, the egg becomes a zygote. See, the egg participates in this process too; it’s just not as mobile as the sperm.”
“Mom, we just want—“
“People describe this whole process as miraculous, but miracles are for the birds. I’d say a miracle is when something unexpected happens. It’s not like you all fall out of the sky like rain or anything,” Polaris rambles a lot when she’s nervous, “though it feels that way sometimes…but my point is that one day the three of you will likely participate in such as process.” Luna and Elysia giggle and Solaris gives his mother a mortified look.
“Though, this is not the only type of intercourse; it’s just the type that produces offspring. You’ll likely experience those other types, too, once you meet the right men,” she looks at Luna and Elysia, “or woman, Solaris. “ She smiles at her son. He grimaces.
“Okay then, can we—“
“Though that’s a bit narrow minded,” she declares, “I mean, I don’t want to box you all in! Your sexuality isn’t set in stone. And I’ll love you no matter what: gay, straight, bisexual, whatever!”
“MOMWEJUSTWANTTOKNOWWHOTHEFATHERIS,” Elysia, having designated herself the triplet’s spokeswoman, finally interrupts her mother.
“You’ve been seeing a man and you haven’t even told us about him,” Solaris says quietly. He’s not like Luna—he isn’t holding out hope that their parents will get back together. He just didn’t want to imagine his mom carousing with some random guy.
“Lulu, we’re not together anymore! You can’t keep expecting that we’re going to get back together.”
“Then who?” Solaris demands insistently.
Polaris pauses. She can feel her face growing hot. “His name is Crux. You haven’t met him.”
“Yes, of course! I talk about you all the time. It’s just,” she hesitates, “I didn’t know how to introduce you to him without upsetting you.”
“Yeah, this isn’t upsetting,” Solaris remarks.
“Tomorrow is feast day. I was thinking of inviting him over, so you can meet him. Does that sound okay?”
“Whatever,” the triplets respond in unison. They don’t often speak all at once, but it’s unnerving when they do.
“Alrighty then,” Polaris sighs.
“Hey, Polly. Thanks for inviting me.” Polaris shrieks and whips around to face the intruder.
“Luke! What the fuck are you doing here?”
“No, what are you doing here. In my house. At dinner time. Without telling me first.”
“Luna called me and invited me to dinner,” Luke sounds surprised, “I thought you said it was okay.”
Polaris sighs, “I didn’t know she invited you.”
“Oh. Well…um. Do you want me to go?”
“Hi darling!” Luke brightens at the sight of his daughter. He picks her up and spins her around before hugging her tight.
“I missed you,” she mumbles into his shoulder.
“I saw you two days ago,” Luke laughs, but he’s not complaining. It feels good to be so loved.
“Luna, you need to ask before you invite people over,” Polaris sighs.
“Dad’s not just anyone, mom! He’s family,” Luna insists, “He has to stay for dinner.”
“Yeah, I guess it’d be pretty cold-hearted to kick him out now,” she says. She had planned to break the news to Crux over dinner, but she didn’t
“I see we have company,” Crux says coolly. Uninterested in being sucker-punched again, he’s taken a wide, defensive stance.
“Crux Court,” Crux cordially extends his hand to Luke, “pleasure to formally meet you.” Luke grabs it and grips as hard as he can as he shakes, but Crux seems unimpressed.
Polaris covers her face with a hand, “Oh, maker…”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“What do you suppose it means, dullard?”
“Boys!” Polaris snaps, “stop this right now or I will send both of you home. For fuck’s sake…”
“Polly! Language!” Luke looks pointedly to the children in the room. The triplets are unfazed—they’ve heard much worse.
“So, Luke…how’s the band?”
“Okay. Might have another tour coming up.”
“And how are Lily and Lyra, Crux?”
“They are well.”
“School’s fine, mom,” the triplets mumble together, more or less.
“It’s a two-way street, and you’re not helping!”
“I have nothing to say; at least, nothing in the company of others…” he grins. The two of them giggle conspiratorially.
Luna eats slowly while watching her mother and Crux through narrowed eyes. Seeing his opportunity, Luke spears one of Luna’s rolls with his fork and pops it in his mouth.
“You weren’t eating! So I thought’d I’d help myself,” he winks at her playfully. He pauses when he sees her crestfallen face. “I’m sorry, Lulu. I’m just playing.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m not that hungry. Actually, my tummy feels bad.”
“Are you sick?” Luke feels her forehead with the back of his hand.
“That’s not it,” Luna pauses hesitantly, “I feel yucky because mom and Crux are having a baby.” She doesn’t know what compelled her to reveal the information, but it’s done.
“You’re—you’re pregnant? How'd this pansy manage that?” Luke is incredulous.
“Polly, is this true? Are you with child?”
“Surprise,” Polaris says weakly.
“We should discuss this later!”
“When were you planning on informing me?”
“Tonight. At dinner. Eventually.”
“Well, one, I didn’t invite you, Luna did. Two, I was going to be a lot more tactful about it,” she says.
“Yeah, I’m sure you were planning on being so tactful,” he sneers, “whatever. I’m leaving.”
“Dad, no! I didn’t mean to,” Luna pleads, “please stay for desert.”
“I’ll see you this weekend,” Luke says gruffly as he bolts out the back door and into the night, “Thanks for the fucking lovely dinner, Polly.”
“Can you watch the kids real quick? I’m going to see if he’s okay,” Polaris sighs, “I want to try to smooth this over.” Crux wants to question her (why bother comforting a worthless Neanderthal?), but knows better than to disparage Luke in front of his children.
“Way to explode, dickhole. You comfortable?”
“Not really,” he mumbles. She sits down next to him, trying not to shiver. “Sorry for that. I just…sometimes I have a hard time holding it in.”
“You don’t say,” she rolls her eyes, “you can’t act like that in front of our kids. It scares them.”
“Make sure you do apologize,” Polaris says, “though I’m sorry you had to find out that way. I did intend to tell you at some point.”
“So what’s next? You gonna get married?”
“No, I’m just being an idiot. As always,” he sighs.
“I just have to accept that this new guy’s taking over. I’m old hat.”
“What the hell, Luke?! You moved on, made your choices to put your band before your family.”
“I know! And I’m working on it!”
“You are, admittedly, doing a great job with the kids. They love you,” she says, “and no one’s going to replace you. Not even Crux.”
Polaris groans, “don’t even joke about that.”
“Ugh! Please, maker, give me just one!”
“Are we friends?” Luke looks at her pitifully.
“I don’t know what the hell we are, Luke,” she looks thoughtful, “frenemies? You’ve really pissed me off, what with your alpha-male schtick.”
“I can be pretty shitty sometimes.”
“You’re telling me.”
“Thanks,” she says with a wide smile.
“What?!” Luna snaps, “what is it?!”
“You do not really care for me, do you Luna?”
“Duh. Of course not.”
“She’s also afraid you’re going to marry mom and kick us to the curb.” She’s trying to impress Crux.
“I said stop, Elly! I hate it when you do this!”
“I’m not little,” she sniffles.
“My apologies. Of course you are not."
“Ugh, you talk like a nerd.”
“Nerd? Is that a bad thing?”
“I don’t think so,” Solaris says. He’s often been called a nerd by his peers.
“What’s he thinking, Elly?” Luna, suddenly forgiving of her sister’s intrusion, turns to Elly. Elysia tilts her head and looks at Crux. He stares back at her, puzzled.
“We don’t talk about that,” Solaris says, “some unspoken rule. We like to pretend we're a normal family. We're not.”
“Do you love mom?” Luna asks abruptly.
“Of course,” he hesitates, “though I do not believe I have told her so.”
“I still don't like you,” she says.
“Then I will do my best to win you over, little one,” he promises. He finds himself surprised by how charming he finds Polaris’ children. He thought they’d be tiny little nuisances.
“I’m not little!” she tries to hide a smile. She’s determined not to like him, out of solidarity for her father, but he’s rather endearing.
“Oops—again, my apologies.”
“You too, Elly,” Polaris points towards Elysia’s bedroom.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Miss Bee,” Crux’s reply is stiff—he’s surprised by her affection.
“Should I be jealous?” Polaris jokes.
“Mom!” Elysia giggles, “he’s so old.”
“Old?” Crux looks genuinely hurt, “I am not yet thirty…” Elysia giggles again as she skips off.
“That was actually kind of adorable,” Polaris smiles, “I’ve never seen her be so sweet.”
“Yes, she seems to be rather interested by me.”
“I’d say she has a crush on you, Crux.”
“Yeah, it probably is.”
“How did this happen, Polaris?”
She groans, “I already explained sex to the kids, please don’t make me explain it to you.”
“I am perfectly aware of the fertilization process, Polaris. I mean, we were careful…”
“You are hardly showing. How far along are you?”
“Just a few weeks, probably. First trimester."
“First trimester! Polaris, you are not supposed to announce a pregnancy until the second trimester! I read so in a book,” his voice is grave. He had been devouring etiquette books recently in order to train himself in the art of conversation.
He rubs her stomach—there is definitely a baby bump.
“You are pregnant,” it suddenly real to him, “with our child.”
“Yeah, dummy, that’s what we’ve been talking about.”
“What are you doing?”
“I am trying to hear her. She should be kicking, no?”
“I’m not even sure it has legs yet. Also, why ‘she’?”
“I am wagering that you are pregnant with a female,” he says, “in fact, I will bet 100 simoleons it’s a girl.”
“You don’t have 100 simoleons, you dweeb,” she laughs, “and you’ve been spending too much time around Lyra if you’re gambling.”
“You will see. I am correct,” he smiles, looking into her eyes, “and then you will owe me 100 simoleons.”
“I do not know,” he admits, “I am just ecstatic. Gleeful. We are having a child! This is a happy accident indeed. I love you, Polaris.”
Author’s Note: This was a longer chapter than I expected! I don’t know why, but I felt it would be wrong to gloss over everyone’s reactions to Polaris’ pregnancy. Maybe I’m just too invested in these stupid little pixel people.