When Keiko next met Charles, naturally the disastrous wedding would come up.
“I feel so bad for the poor boy,” Charles shook his head.
“Yes,” Keiko nodded absent-mindedly, “Well, at least he got out quickly and gets a second chances before he is too old to mould into a new life.”
“You’re not old, Keiko,” Charles picked up on where she was going.
“You’re a gorgeous, remarkable woman,” He continued. “And I am honoured that you chose me as your date for the wedding…”
Well, I couldn’t exactly show up on my own, Keiko thought.
“I feel that this is a beginning of something wonderful,” Charles rambled on.
“You mean for us, not the groom, presumably?” Keiko smirked.
“Of course, of course,” Charles confirmed quickly. “I can really see a future with you.”
That makes one of us, Keiko screamed inside her head. He was so dreadfully dull.
“Right, well it’s been… I’ll call you,” Keiko said goodbye to Charles as they bode their goodbyes.
She wasn’t planning on contacting him again. Better be alone then having to fake interest in someone else every day.
Liv tried to mend things with Newton, but he always refused to speak to her. There was only so many times she could try to call or go over to his house, and eventually, she heard he had moved to Willow Creek, a place she wasn’t able to visit. She had to move on.
And so she turned over a new leaf, dyed her hair another colour, and hoped for things to change between them some day. He needed time, she told herself.
With the help of her family, life got better again. She could count on them to be there for her, and put a smile on her face.
And of course, she also had her career to focus on. Having mastered the mixology skill, she was now a head mixologist. Yenn always helped her sample new recipes. Liv couldn’t wait to have a bar of her own one day.
Since she was busy with work most evenings, she made extra effort to spend time with Monty during the day. She didn’t want to turn into her mother.
On one of those days, over at the park, Monty completed his rambunctious scamp aspiration. It had to be thanks to the epic pirate ship, he thought.
“Mommy, please please can we get a pirate ship at home?”
“What’s wrong with coming to the park to play on it?” Liv smiled. “You know Monty, this park was built by your great-great-grandfather. And one day, you’ll continue to build Newcrest, just like he once did. So by extension, the park is a part of your home too.”
“Those are some wise words,” a dark haired woman next to Liv turned around. “You’re Olivia Bloomer, aren’t you?”
“You should listen to your mommy, little one,” the lady turned to Monty. “She sounds like a smart lady.”
“Fine, I’ll play on the ship here,” Monty shrugged and ran off.
“Apologies for barging in like that,” the woman said. “I was just excited to see you, and little Montogmery.”
“Sorry, do I know you?” Liv was perplexed. The woman did look familiar, but where from?
“I don’t blame you for not remembering me, you had quite a bit on your plate when we met,” the woman laughed. “I’m Francesca Kreutzinger. I delivered Monty.”
“Doctor Kreutzinger, of course,” Liv lit up. “I can’t believe you remember me! Do you remember all of the babies you’ve delivered?”
“Some patients are more memorable than others,” Francesca said politely. “And of course, your family is quite known in Newcrest. But to be honest, that’s not the reason why I remember you… Oh, but I can’t tell you that.”
Liv was intrigued: “Well you have to tell me now that you’ve brought it up!”
“I guess it’s been such a long time… but please promise me you won’t freak out,” the doctor muttered hesitantly.
“The truth is, your Monty was the first baby I ever delivered. I remember it like today,” Francesca’s face brightened. “I was so nervous, I mean, I went through lots of training of course, but I’m a perfectionist… and I wanted you to feel at ease, of course! But funnily enough, it was you who put me at ease, because you just kept talking.”
“That’s because I was nervous,” Liv laughed.
“And then little Monty appeared, and he was the most precious beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I brought life to the world,” Francesca beamed. “I knew there and then I made the right career choice. So thank you.”
Liv was overcome with feeling: “I felt the exact same way that day! Well, apart from the doctor career stuff, of course… But thank you, for bringing my little boy to this world. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Liv suddenly realised she was almost late for work. The two women hugged goodbye, and Liv ran off, calling Monty to come along. She knew that she’d recognise doctor Kreutzinger the next time she’d see her.
And by the looks of it, Francesca wouldn’t be forgetting Liv any time soon either.
Malakai had been hitting the gym a lot lately. He wasn’t really into fitness, but for one, he felt like he deserved the pain of exercise, and more importantly, he hoped to run into Newton there. But he never did.
Who he did bump into was Janet, the angel investor from his firm who he’d met at the playground with Monty. She approached him as he was cooling down at the bar.
“Hi Malakai, how are you? I saw you upstairs, but you seemed quite in the zone with the boxing, so you probably didn’t notice me,” she greeted him.
“Oh, hi Janet,” he smiled. “Nice to see you.”
“With all this talk about how I’d never escape you attention, I expected you to be a bit more enthusiastic next time I see you,” Janet smirked.
“Sorry Janet,” Malakai replied calmly. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately… about the way I act, and what kind of example I’m setting for my son.”
“And you’ve had a little to do with it as well, actually. I’ve been testing your whole just be yourself theory.Turns out, myself is kind of boring, and not always as exciting to be around,” he let out a small chuckle.
“Nobody is exciting a 100% of the time,” Janet smiled. “And I’m sure you’re not boring. Tell me about what you like, and I bet we’ll find something interesting there.”
“I love food,” Malakai laughed. “Lots of it. I should be really fat, but somehow, I’ve gotten away with eating the way I do. And it’s not because of the gym. To be honest, I hate the gym.”
“Who doesn’t,” Janet agreed. “But we all do it anyway. It’s not really my thing either, being cooped up inside on a treadmill. I prefer running outside. I just love nature.”
“Really? Me too,” Malakai beamed. “I’ve always loved the outdoors, but none of my friends ever really get it.”
“Gosh, then what are we doing sitting in here?” Janet exclaimed. “Let’s go up to the terrace! It’s the perfect time, the sun is just setting!”
They spent the evening chattering away. Malakai was surprised at how much he had in common with her. When he first met her, he only thought about the fact she was pretty, and very successful.
But it turns out, Janet was unexpectedly down to earth. She loved wildlife and hiking. And above all, she loved her son, just like Malakai loved his.
“Now I’m telling you, we should do it,” she said excitedly.
“Are you sure? You don’t know me all that well,” Malakai pointed out.
“I know enough. I know you’re a good person, and the boys get along so well,” she answered. “We were gonna go camping anyways, and if you have some time off it makes sense for you and Monty to tag along!”
“It would be great fun for Monty,” Malakai admitted. “He loves Granite Falls. Me, I’ve never been there before, so I’d love to go… with you.”
“As friends, of course,“ Janet added quickly. “You need to bring your own tent and everything.”
“Of course,” Malakai laughed.
“Then it’s settled,” Janet stood up. “I’ll see you soon, Malakai!”
Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t as completely awful of a person as he’d thought, Malakai smiled to himself.