Chapter 17

All Good Things…

Luckily for Cora and Zane, the very first IVF treatment is a success.

Zane is thrilled with the news, scoops Cora into his arms and swings her around the kitchen when he comes home from work, almost knocking over the fruit bowl.

“This is it, honey. There’s no backing out – or changing your mind again.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Cora. But I have been thinking about something…”

He gently puts her down.

“So, since you got to name Daniel on your own, it’s my turn this time, right? So I say Sue if it’s a girl and Lou Paul if it’s a boy.”

“Wait, like loophole? I love you honey, but I will literally kill you if you name our child a lawyer pun.”

“Understandable. We’ll workshop it some more. What about Misty Meanor?”

“Guess what, Daniel! You’re going to be a big brother! And you have no idea what that means, do you?”


“Yeah, I thought so.”

“Good morning, my lean, mean, baby-making machine.”

“First of all, good morning. Second of all, ew.”

“Yeah, that didn’t sound right. Sorry, honey.”

“Just kiss me and get to work, you big dork.”

Meanwhile, Daniel is oblivious to the fact that in 6 months he’ll have to share his family (and his room) with someone else.

“Goodbye son, take care of your mom while I’m at work.”


“Shhhh, honey, I can’t hear if he responds.”


“Zane, have I ever told you that you’re a huge dork?”

“Often, my love. See you tonight.”

“Zane, your phone is going off like crazy, you better get going.”

“Work can wait, I just don’t like leaving you today. Are you sure everything will be fine?”

“Honey, babies aren’t born exactly on their due date. It’s more of a guideline.”

“I still don’t like it.”

“Hey, I’ve tried this before. There are no signs of your son wanting to come out today. And if he does, I’ll call you.”

“Alright. I love you.”

“Hey Zane. Sorry to disturb your probably very important meeting, but you should come home.”

“Yes, right now. And I wouldn’t say ‘I told you so’ to her if I were you.”

And so little Eric arrives, thankfully with no lawyer puns in his name.

Zane is just as immediately and intensely in love with his son as he hoped.

As much as he loves Daniel, this is still different. Zane is particularly excited about the faint red wisps of hair on Eric’s head.

“Daniel! Come on, buddy, I’ve got someone you need to meet!”

“Promise daddy that you’ll help take care of your brother, alright?”

Luckily, Daniel is excited about the baby, and not too jealous. Although he is slightly disappointed that Eric can’t play with him yet.

Don is going out for once. When he arrives at the restaurant, he is surprised to see Jodi as host.

“Oh no, it’s you. Your… date is waiting. And don’t tell anyone I work here.”

“Sure, Jodi… Say hi to your mother for me.”

Luna, my dear, you are as radiant as the first time I saw you.

“Don, smooth as always. Unlike me. Literally. The last 30 years have taken their toll.”

“I was very sorry to hear about your husband.”

“Hey, we had 25 good years. I was sorry to hear about Alex too.”

“So what are you up to these days? No grandkids yet?”

“Oh, I should hope not, my daughter Amy is still a teenager.”

The food arrives, and Luna and Don spend a few hours catching up.

“Don, it was lovely to see you again. Do… do you want to come back to my place?”

“I’m sorry, Luna. I’m not ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever be. But it was great to see you.”

Cora is back at work after having Eric, and the entire lab has been moved to a new, bigger facility with better security.

Cora is still stubbornly working on rocket upgrades. Surely it should be possible to get to Sixam in less than 7 months. Or at least in a smaller ship.

Payton, no longer her supervisor but her equal, tries talking her into doing other things.

“You never know, Cora. Inspiration could come from anywhere.”

“And me planting this has nothing to do with your bad knee?”

“That’s just a bonus.”

She also spends a lot of time experimenting with new and more efficient fuels, but she makes little progress.

Some of her co-workers are a little worried. Why does Cora act like she’s running out of time?

She almost seems like she has some sort of deadline coming up.

The next few years fly by. Daniel starts school, and with two workaholic parents, he becomes especially close to his grandfather.

Grandpa Don always has time to help with homework, although Daniel is a smart kid and barely needs help.

Don is also good for a hug and a confidence boost if the other kids are mean. Most of the other kids at school have gotten used to the way Daniel looks by now, but it was a tough start.

Eric has started walking, and to Zane’s utter delight, he has inherited both his red hair and green eyes, although Don jokes that the green eyes are his, and just skipped a generation.

Don is always ready with milk and a cookie after school so the boys have someone to spend time with, even if their parents are rarely home until dinner time.

“Easy there, Daniel. I’m not as strong as I once was.”

“But you were the strongest in the whole world!”

“Come on, Eric, get into bed. We can read or we can dance, but we can’t do both. Look at Daniel, he’s already in bed.”

“Boof! Boof boof!”

“No, no dog book, it’s the dino book today. We read the dog book yesterday. And the day before.”


And so the boys sleep, blissfully unaware of what is about to happen.

In the early morning hours, Don stumbles out of bed. She was there, in his dream, kissing him like she used to do, taking his breath away. He can still feel her lips on his.

“Alex”, he whispers breathlessly as he collapses on the floor.

And then he’s gone.

5 thoughts on “Chapter 17

  1. Godspeed, Don. You touched the lives of those around you, and you also sometimes touched those around you.

    Daniel, I’m worried about. The person he most leans on for support just died, there’s no guarantee the discrimination around his skin color won’t come back, and he has no idea what’s about to happen to him.

    You can ask Zane to file Eric-straining order against a disgruntled spouse… sorry, yeah, no. Sorry. I was Team Legal Puns and that’s the best I could do.

    Liked by 1 person

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