1 Chapter One

The leaves fell from the large tree in the backyard, as the winds blew gently on this warm May afternoon. The air crisp, the smell of the sea lingered through the large grassy acres of my home, taking a sip of the ice-cold tea that sat on the small lounge table. The tea satisfied my thirsty taste buds and had the same impact going down; I closed my eyes, taking in the peaceful surroundings. I thought of my latest experiment, putting together a child's swing set, fighting extensive regions of monsters. Believe it or not, is easier for me than putting together a small child's swing. I chuckled to myself as I heard small footsteps, footsteps belonging to the energetic, sweet four-year-old Kourtney. I opened my eyes as the sliding glass door came open with a silent click, letting me know the doors were closed, "Daddy, Mommy said dinner is ready. Come and eat daddy, we're having spaghetti and garlic bread." The child bouncing, "Momma, made the meatballs I like. And Aria is here with uncle Nicolae."

I looked at her standing to my feet collecting my glass from the table, "Your swing set is coming along," I pointed towards the halfway swing set that sat under the tree, "You should be able to play on it later."

"Thanks, daddy, I can't wait to play on it with Aria, and Kyra." The child looked at the swing set with bright eyes and big smiles. "Thanks for the teddy bear, daddy. Can we play dolls after dinner," she looked at me with bright hopeful eyes.

I looked at her with a smile, "I don't see why not."

The child's smile grew wider if that was even possible, but somehow she always lit up dark rooms. My followers love when she comes to visit us during the day, none dared to ask where she got her carefree attitude. Compared to me she is a light shining in the darkness, while I am the one who brings the darkness. "Daddy?"

I snapped back to reality, "Yes."

"Uncle Nicolae braided Aria's hair again, my hair looks boring, will you braid my hair, too?" she looked at me, "Do you know how to braid hair daddy?"

"Sorry, Kourtney. I don't."

She looked at me, but her smile never faded, "It's okay daddy, you're still a great daddy. Maybe uncle Nicolae can braid my hair." She looked at the swing set running to it as I walked behind her. By the time I got to her, she had already made it to the terrors of warriors, swing sets. I sighed, taking a drink of tea, looking away from the contraption. Taking another sip of tea, "You're trying, daddy." She got in front of me with a smile, "Not every daddy can be good at everything."

I looked at her, "Not every daddy is good at everything, this is true, but this daddy is hungry. And that food is reaching outside. Come on, let's go eat."

She looked at me, grabbing my wrist, leading me towards the home. She looked at me,

"Daddy, guess what?"

I looked at her, "There is a new pop song you want on your phone."

"Yes, but that's not what I'm excited about."

"You got a new jump rope?"

"No, I'm still playing the one that you got me a couple of weeks ago." She looked at me, "The theme park is back in the city, Uncle Nicolae invited me and Kyra to go with him and Aria this weekend. Can we go daddy? Can we please? I'll do my chores."

"I don't see why not, have you brushed your teeth this morning?" she stopped and smiled, showing her white teeth.

"I did daddy, I did. I used my mouthwash you bought me, can you please get me some more, I like the bubblegum flavor you got me and the toothpaste tastes good too, I love my toothbrush."

I looked at her, "Are you almost out of mouthwash already?"

"Yep." She giggled.

"How many times do you brush your teeth, I just got that last week?" I hid my laughter from the child in front of me.

"A lot daddy, when I get up, after I eat, and before bed." She looked at me with a smile, "I love to brush my teeth, are you, mad daddy?"

I finally laughed, "No, I'm not mad. Your teeth are probably whiter than mine."

"No daddy, your teeth are white too."

We got to the kitchen I saw Nicolae setting at the table, with Aria and Kyra playing in the floor, Kourtney left my side to join the two laughing girls. Graceona looked at me, kissing me as I entered the room, "Leonard, you're sweaty. Is it that hot outside?"

I looked at her, "A little."

She walked back to the stove, "Dinner is almost ready, why don't you go take a shower and get some comfortable pajama's on, I had told Nicolae that the girls can go to his house for a while, he and Aria are going to the zoo later and Kourtney and Kyra both wanted to go too."

I looked at Nicolae who was looking at the children's play, "Sounds good, Nicolae, can you handle the women while I'm away?" I chuckled.

Nicolae looked at me with a chuckle, "It'll give me some practice for later this evening, you go take a shower brother. Did the swing set give that much of a fight?"

"Yeah, Yeah." I walked past him, going to take a shower.

Ten minutes later

I walked down the stairs taking my place at the long dark oak table, a plate of Spaghetti and meatballs with two pieces of garlic bread set beside Graceona who sat between Nicolae and Kyra. Everyone happily ate their meal. I sat beside Graceona, looking at her, holding her hand, kissing her. "So Nicolae, how are you and that girl you're seeing, Charmaine, is it?"

"Yeah, Charmaine, we're getting along very well. I think I'm in love with her."

"Then why are you just dating, instead of married."

I took a bite of my garlic bread, washing it down with red wine, "She doesn't seem like she's interested in marriage."

"that is not the case, Nicolae. Charmaine has clarified that she wants a family with you and Aria. You're the only thing that poor girl talks about, you have smitten her and I don't think she wants anything else." Graceona smiled looking at me, then back at Nicolae, "I can't think of the last conversation I've had with that girl that she doesn't have something to say about you."

I watched as my brother looked at his plate, "Why not, brother. She's a nice girl, she can cook, and clean. She's the total package; she's a lot better than most of your exes."

He looked at me.

"We'll discuss this later, brother. Right now why don't you eat your dinner, you're going to need a full stomach and the energy to make it through that zoo trip."

"Yeah." That was his only reply.

I laughed to myself, shaking my head, only Nicolae.