The Ainsworth household was not the same once Lucas left. The big house felt colder, somehow. Emptier.
Adjusting to life without their son under their roof was not easy for the Ainsworths — Especially Becca. For the first few weeks, she cried nearly every night. “I miss my baby.” She would weep into Damien’s shoulder. Her husband put on a brave face, of course, but it was easy to see that he missed Lucas just as much as she did.
Things seemed to get easier as time went on, of course. Damien and Becca appeared to grow more and more accustomed to having an “empty nest”, and they kept in close contact with their son. Lucas and Melanie called and visited frequently, keeping the Ainsworths up-to-date with all the goings-on in their and their friends’ lives.
As time went by and their respective careers continued to flourish, Damien and Becca seemed to grow busier and busier. But every evening, the couple always made the effort to spend time together. And their topic of conversation was almost always the same…
“I got a call from Mel this afternoon.” Becca smiled brightly as she sat across from her husband at the dinner table.
“Oh yeah? What’re she and the boy up to these days?” Damien asked with a laugh.
“You’ll never guess what happened! Her boss got caught stealing from the company.”
“No way!” Damien’s eyes widened. “I knew he was a scumbag, but wow…”
Becca nodded. “So he’s fired, obviously. And probably facing some heavy jailtime.”
“Hah! Sounds like that asshole got what was coming to him.”
“I know! And that’s not even the best part…” Becca paused, as though for dramatic effect.
Her husband looked at her expectantly.
“They offered Mel his job! Can you believe it?”
“Do you think it was enough?” Becca asked her husband uncertainly. “I mean, I feel like we could have spared a little more…”
Damien sighed, but smiled. “For the thousandth time, it was fine. You worry way too much, honey.”
“I know, I know, sorry…” Becca paused. “It’s just… this was a really big day for Lucas’ friends and we have the… uh… means to help them out even more than we did…”
“Trust me.” Her husband assured her. “Lucas said they really appreciated it… And you do realize who Camryn’s dad is, don’t you? I’m sure they’ll do just fine.” He chuckled.
Becca said nothing for a few moments, smiling softly to herself. “I wonder when it’ll be our turn to plan a wedding…”
“It’s only been three years… Give ’em a little time.” Damien laughed.
Damien groaned as he sat on the edge of the bed. “I’m getting way too old for this.” He said with a laugh.
“It was a long day.” Becca agreed, smiling. “And it’s been a while since we’ve had to help anyone move…”
“Definitely worth it, though.” Damien added. “They sure picked a beautiful home.”
“Perfect for starting a family…”
“I know, I know…” She rolled her eyes with a laugh. “Give them time…”
“Did I show you the picture Lucas sent me earlier today?” Damien asked as Becca joined him on the couch.
His wife shook her head. “What is it?”
“Here, look.” He reached into his pocket, handing her the cellphone.
Becca gasped. “Is that Elliot? Oh my god, he’s precious! Darcy must be so excited to be a big sister.”
Damien shrugged. “She’s a pretty independent little lady.” He laughed. “We’ll see how she does sharing all the attention…”
She handed the phone back to her husband. “I wonder why he sent you that picture but not me… I’d think he’d be more eager to show off his godson.” It was clear from Becca’s tone that her disappointment was not entirely feigned.
“We both know the answer.” Damien smirked at her. “You aren’t exactly subtle, sweetie.”
“Is it a crime to want a grandkid?” Becca chuckled.
“No… but maybe you shouldn’t bring it up every time he talks about Sam and Laura’s kids.”
Becca smiled to herself as she sunk low into the warm water of the hot tub. “This is so nice… but I’m so sleepy.” She yawned.
“Me too.” Her husband agreed beside her. “And stuffed… I think Lucas and Mel should have us over for dinner more often…” Damien smiled.
“Can’t disagree there.” His wife laughed softly. “But it sounds like they’ve been doing lots of entertaining lately… So I guess we can’t blame them.” She teased.
Damien nodded. “They’re lucky they have such great friends… And that they all live so close!”
“They’re all so busy though, poor things. I’m glad they all managed to get the day off for Lucas’ birthday. I think it meant a lot to him.” She smiled.
“Twenty-six… can you believe it?” Damien shook his head. “Our boy’s more than halfway to fifty…”
“Yeah, and we’re more than halfway to a hundred.” Becca splashed him playfully with the warm water. “Thanks for the reminder.”
“Becca, honey…” Damien rubbed his weary eyes as he stepped into the study. “It’s almost 3am. You’ve gotta get some sleep.”
“I know.” Becca looked over her shoulder, pulling her eyes away from the glowing computer monitor. “But I was just too excited… I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to do some writing…” She gestured toward the nearly empty document on the screen. “But I guess I’m too excited to write too, so…”
Her husband smiled crookedly at her. “Trust me, I understand. I’ve been practically bouncing off the walls ever since they told us.”
“I’m just so happy for them.” Becca said sincerely, turning off the monitor and rising to her feet. “And I can’t help it — I’m already starting to plan…” She admitted with a small laugh.
Damien shook his head in amusement. “They haven’t even set a date yet, Bec.” He laughed. “And don’t forget — this is gonna be their day.”
“True. But we’re paying for it… That’s gotta count for some say in things.” Becca teased.
“Uh-huh… We’ll see.” Damien rolled his eyes playfully as his wife drew closer to him.
“I won’t be a meddling mother-in-law. I promise. I guess I’m just a little over-excited…” She shrugged. “Who wouldn’t be? I mean, look at how over-the-moon they are.” Becca smiled happily. “It’s so sweet.”
“I know… And did you see that rock?” Damien asked as he flicked off the light.
Becca nodded. “The boy’s got great taste… Just like his dad.” She winked, wiggling the sparkling stone on her left ring finger in the pale moonlight.
“Alright.” Becca said seriously. “Five more minutes, and then we’ve gotta go to bed.”
Damien raised an eyebrow at her. “Isn’t that what you said half an hour ago?” He paused. “And about a half hour before that?”
His wife could not contain her giggles. “I know, I know, I’m ridiculous.”
“Just a little.” Damien teased. “But I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
Becca smiled, gazing at him lovingly. “Thanks for putting up with me. I just need to relax so I can get some sleep… But I guess that’s easier said than done tonight.”
“If it’s this bad for us, imagine how the kids must feel right now…” Her husband shook his head, seemingly amazed. “Our son’s getting married tomorrow… God, it feels so weird to say that…”
“I know…” Becca sighed. “When did we get so old?”
Damien simply shrugged. “Beats me.” He laughed. “But I hope Lucas and Mel get to ask each other the same question someday…”
“They will.” His wife assured him. “They have their whole lives ahead of them.” She smiled. “Tomorrow’s just the beginning…”