Children of Starlight, part 3 episode 12 of “The Starlight Trilogy” by Thea Washington
The character “the Rock Star” is based on Adam Lambert.
The videos in Part 3 feature Adam Lambert, Queen, Depeche Mode and Savage Garden.
Chapter 23 – LOVER’S TURN
Angel gave up. Lover was going to be Pop-Pop whether he liked it or not. Not that it bothered Lover. He grinned whenever their son looked at him. He grinned even if Son wasn’t smiling. He’d mirror Son first and get him to stop feeling bad about whatever he was feeling bad about. And then he grin that beautiful, amazing grin of his and, as far as their son was concerned, all was right with the world once again.
Angel had wanted to surprise Lover by teaching Son to say “Papa” correctly by the time he got back from London but Lover had called from the private jetway to say he’d be in home in an hour or so. Oh, well, this surprise was going to have to wait.
His phone rang. He picked up their Son and the phone at about the same time. He was getting very good at multi-tasking. It was Lover on the phone, almost screaming and out of breath.
“It’s time, it’s time, she’s on her way to the hospital. Thank God I made it back. Ohmigod, ohmigod. It’s now, it’s now. I’m taking the helicopter to the hospital.”
Son heard Lover’s voice on the phone and began to wiggle and clap his hands. “Pop-pop! Pop-pop!”
Immediately Lover was in the moment. “Oh, it’s Son. Hi, little man. How’s the little man? Hi!!!”
Angel said, “He’s got that silly smile on his face, you know, the smile with a hint of smirk? Where’d he get that from?”
Lover was too excited to bite. “Pack him up and meet me at the hospital. But put him on the phone again.” Angel did as he was told.
“Guess what, little man? You’re going to have a little sister.”
Their Son was neutral about the momentous announcement.
“Pop-pop!” he yelled.
That was good enough for Pop-Pop.
The paparazzi weren’t allowed on the helipad so Lover got to run straight for the door, to the elevator and down to the Maternity level. He met the Second Surrogate in the hallway being rolled into the Delivery room. He immediately began to grin and shake just to see that she’d made it safely to the hospital.
Starlight whispered in his soul, “If you’re a mess at this point I can’t wait to see you when she gets here.”
That just made him feel even better, which made him shake even more.
It was Angel’s experience all over again, only this time it was Lover in the Delivery room and Angel with their son and Starlight looking through the window. Her boys wondered what their son’s relationship was with Starlight. They didn’t worry about talking about her in front of him. It was just that he’d begun to recognize the glittery signs that she’d been there. Once he even pointed to the glitter and said her name. It hadn’t exactly come out as “Starlight” but it was close.
Angel and Lover didn’t know whether or not to be worried about that. They both remembered talking about how hard it was going to be to explain Starlight to anyone they were really close to. There was more mentions of asylums at that point.
Second Surrogate was just as careful as First Surrogate had been. First Surrogate was there, too. Her sister would have been there for Son’s birth but she’d been under strict Doctor’s orders for total bed rest during that second AI attempt. It hadn’t helped and that baby had been lost, too. But the third attempt was successful and today was going to be the day Daughter would be born.
They hadn’t been surprised that Lover would have a girl. Starlight was so much a part of him now that they’d all hoped for a girl. Well, Starlight hadn’t needed to hope but she did, just to be supportive. They all pretended she didn’t know but they all knew she did.
“Are you sure this is going alright?” asked Angel. “I don’t know what it would do to him if …”
“Why are you worried? You were never a worrier before. Is this what parenthood does to a human?” Starlight had never had children when she was human so, in some ways, she was learning right alongside Angel and Lover.
“Yeah, parents worry about everything and I do mean everything. You know what, though? After a while it gets to be almost second nature, so you don’t even realize you’re worrying. It’s like a running bass line in a song. You know it’s there, you know it’s holding everything together, but you don’t focus on it. You’re just afraid things would be a mess without it.”
“Well, you can take this one off your list, my Angel. Everything’s going to be fine. It is labor so it’s not a walk in the park but Lover will have his healthy Daughter before this day is over, I promise.”
Son clapped his hands and gleefully repeated, “I p’omise.” Starlight giggled and brushed his cheek with her hand. Angel shook his head, wondering what this meant.
It took longer than Son and it was harder. Daughter wasn’t just not in the right vertical position, she was horizontal. They waited a while to see if she’d turn on her own but, when it was clear that she wasn’t going to do that, Second Surrogate said she wanted Daughter either turned manually or she wanted a caesarean done.
It was her decision alone but she discussed it with both her Husband and with Lover. She, like her sister, had three children already and didn’t plan to have any more; in fact, she and her Husband had decided to have her tubes tied after this birth. He’d already had a vasectomy. Lover had some concern about the effect of an anesthetic on the baby so the Doctor spent some time explaining that to the three of them. After they talked about it again, all agreed it was the best decision.
Lover turned to Starlight, who nodded in affirmation. He was fine after that.
The surgery went flawlessly. Lover was able to observe but not to be in the sterile environment. He and Second Surrogate’s Husband shook through the entire procedure until the baby was removed from the uterus and taken for the newborn procedures and checks. At that point he told Lover it was OK if he went downstairs to be with Daughter. Starlight stayed with the Husband, who felt a mysterious sense of calm through the rest of the surgery.
Daughter had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days and couldn’t come home right away. Second Surrogate was recovering nicely and even began to breastfeed her. The two females, one the surrogate mother and the other the newborn little girl, left the hospital on the same day, each pronounced healthy. Lover got to spend a few minutes with Second Surrogate before she left. His heartfelt gratitude was so obvious that everyone could feel it. Next to his wedding days, getting to take Daughter home was the best day of his life.
Lover’s first year as the father of a little girl was the best year of his life. She was almost his twin, having many of his features in smooth, almond-toned skin. As the children of twin sisters, her resemblance to Son was as obvious as his was to Dad. When you put all four of them together, it was clear that they were somehow related, a family.
Chapter 24 – COMPANY
Angel was on a short tour (for him) of South America and Lover was at home with the kids, who were now four and three, soon to be five and four. The house was often a mess, the crystalline sounds of childhood giggles and sibling rivalries just as they should be. People loved coming over to Dad and Papa’s house.
Just like Independence Day was still a tradition at the Guitarist’s, the holidays once again saw a blowout party like the ones Angel and Starlight had hosted while she lived. And like then, there were two parties held during the season: one for the industry and one for families and friends. Usually the second one saw some of the same adult guests as the first, only this time accompanied by their children. There were still presents for everyone no matter what holiday was celebrated: religious, secular, ethnic or pagan. It made no difference. The season called for rejoicing and that’s what Angel and Lover did.
It also made no difference that planning for the parties began in April. After all, planning was Lover did and, when it came to holiday parties, caterers and florists were booked early in the year. So he was happily multi-tasking, keeping an ear open to the tone of the children’s sounds, checking in at his ofices around the world, Skyping with Angel, making list for the parties and expecting personal messengers with papers to be signed and contracts to be reviewed. And indeed, there went the doorbell. It was answered by the Housekeeper, who knocked on the open door before entering Lover’s office.
“There’s a gentleman here to see you,” she said. “He says the two of you are old friends.” The man had followed the Housekeeper into Lover’s office.
This was no gentleman. It was the Reporter.
For a moment Lover felt a surge of rage he could barely control. The Reporter came into the room and sat himself in the comfortable leather chair across the desk from him. Lover kept his cool enough to ask the Housekeeper to go check on Nanny and the kids. The Reporter had the audacity to instruct her to close the door behind her. She looked at Lover for confirmation and, only when he nodded, left the two men to their business.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, coming here?” scowled Lover, his eyes in slits and a look of disgust on his face.
“Now is that any way to treat someone who knows you so well?” smirked the Reporter. “I just wanted to stop by and give my regards to the family. Oh, by the way, is ‘Angel’ around?”
Lover didn’t answer the question. Instead he picked up his cell and began to dial 911.
“Believe me, you don’t wanna do that,” the Reporter said as he quickly reached across the desk and snatched the phone out of Lover’s hand. “You really don’t.”
“And why not, you piece of shit? How dare you come in here, ordering my staff AND me around.”
“Hey, bitch, I can do anything I damn well please in this house.”
That was it. Lover came over the desk and, before the Reporter knew what had happened, had him a martial-arts hold designed for defense but usable in all sorts of situations. Like this one, which called for a defense of house and home.
The Reporter said one word. “Snake.”
In an instant, all of Lover’s long-buried memories came back.
Lover let him go.
“Well,” the smarmy man continued, “I thought that would get your attention.” He sat back down in the leather chair, returning his cheap suit into some modicum of neatness. “Aren’t you going to offer me a drink or something? After that little roustabout I sure could use one.”
Lover didn’t move. The shock of it all immobilized him. He stood there a moment, remembering the horror of that day, that day his mind had mercifully blocked all these years. Finally he felt he could speak.
“What do you want?” he asked, his voice hoarse with regret–and fear.
The Reporter took his time. He liked making Lover sweat, even if he wasn’t the primary target. He was the primary weapon and that was good enough for the moment.
“Like I said, I just wanted to stop by now that I’m back in town. I thought I’d say ‘hello’, see Angel, the kids, you know. Talk about old times.”
At the mention of the children Lover came back to himself. It took everything he had to not attack and really hurt that man.
“You don’t mention my children. You do not do that.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not here about those adorable little ones. Right now my business is only with you.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means I’ve heard a story that I want to tell you. It’s about a little boy called ‘Peanut Butter’ and a pervert named Snake.”
Lover felt sick. So long ago and here it was. And in the hands of a man ruthless enough to do anything with it he chose. Lover sat down at the desk.
As soon as he did, the office door opened and the kids came in, ready to play and see the stranger who’d come to see Papa.
He called the Nanny, who took the children away. They were confused, and sad.
Tomorrow in “Children” – Lover tells Angel the story of Snake