Welcome back to another chapter of Random Branches! In the last chapter Atton made two best friends, Pip Goodfellow and Bailey Swain. He also met his first love, Alexandra Alto. He asked her to move in with him and she said yes. However, she’s wanting them to move out of his parents house. And Sinbad screamed due to something unknown. And now on with the story!
When Kreia got outside, she saw her father being pulled up into what looked like some kind of spacecraft. “DAD!” Kreia yelled, thinking this might be the last time she saw him.
“What’s going on out here?” Mira said, yawning and in her pajamas, having been woken up by Sinbad’s screams.
“Aliens just kidnapped Dad! That’s what!” Kreia said.
That woke Mira up. She took out her phone and dialed Matias. If anyone could grant a wish, it was him. “Sorry if I woke you. I know this is going to sound strange, but aliens have kidnapped Sinbad.”
“What do you mean this isn’t the first report of it?”
“So it’s just experimentation and he’ll be returned in a few hours. I’ll call you if he’s not back in a few hours.” Mira hung up the phone and said, “Matias says there have been reports of aliens taking residents and performing experiments on them. If the reports are accurate, he’ll be back in a few hours. You’ve got school in the morning, Kreia. Bed. Now.”
Kreia grumbled but did as her mother said. She didn’t particularly want to be grounded until she graduated. As it was, Carth’s graduation was not too much away. And Atton’s. Due to some financial difficulties, Atton’s graduation ceremony was put off until the next round of graduates were ready.
A few hours passed and Sinbad was returned. He wouldn’t talk about it much beyond saying they did experiments on him before had had passed out from something.
Mira was just glad that Sinbad had been returned safely. She didn’t want to be the catalyst that started an interplanetary war.
“Can you two keep it down? Some of us here need to get our sleep,” Alexandra said.
“Well excuse me miss priss, but did it not occur to you that maybe I have just been returned home from being abducted by aliens!” Sinbad yelled, “I think I have every damn right to discuss that with my wife!”
“Calm down, Sinbad,” Mira said, “Alexandra has an early start to the day being in the military. I’m crawling back into bed for a few hours more sleep. You do whatever it is you do on your nights off, Sinbad. Quietly. So as not to disturb others.”
“Why in the world am I gaining weight?!” Sinbad yelled a couple days later.
“I don’t know, maybe you eat too much,” Alexandra said in passing.
“Your girlfriend gets on my nerves, Atton! She knows damn well I don’t eat enough to be fat.!”
“I’m not his girlfriend and that’s the only explanation for males getting fat. Either eating too much or too little activity! So have you gotten lazy in your old age!”
The next couple days went the same as before, Alexandra and Sinbad having petty arguments while the family tried to keep it from exploding. Well, most of the family. Kreia seemed to want to egg it on.
Carth wasn’t sure Kreia didn’t have the right idea. Every time he heard Alexandra yell that she wasn’t Atton’s girlfriend, he could see that it hurt Atton. Carth had tried talking Atton into having a chat with Alexandra over that again, but Atton was adamant that he was fine waiting for Alexandra to ask him to go to the next stage in the relationship.
There were other small things that Carth suspected, but didn’t have the time to really get investigate. His course load for his final semester wasn’t the easiest and he had a math test the next day.
“Let’s go have some fun,” Alexandra said, motioning towards the bedroom and giving a smile.
“My mother says to not do that until I’m married,” Atton said.
“What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her and that’s such an old fashioned way of thinking.”
“If it will make you happy.”
“Oh, it will.”
Alexandra fumed. She was pregnant. It was only going to pressure Atton to broach the relationship topic again. As much as she liked Atton, she didn’t think she wanted to grow old with him. Not that she always felt that way. She had wanted to when he asked her to move in. But Atton wasn’t normal. But she wasn’t sure she wanted to be a single mother. No she was sure she didn’t want to be a single mother. She’d just have to work on making Atton more normal. So that he could be the high society husband she wanted.
First thing to do was to tell him she was pregnant. “Atton, we need to talk.”
Atton stood up from the couch and saw Alexandra wearing different clothes and wondered why. She usually wore the same thing every day.
“I’m going to be a grandmother? Why wasn’t there a wedding before this?” Mira said.
“Not talking to you, Mira,” Alexandra said.
“”Yes, Mom, you’re going to be a grandmother. Because I felt like making my girlfr… love happy.”
“Uh huh.” Mira gave her son an odd look before walking outside.
“Atton!” Bailey Swain said as she invited herself in, Pip Goodfellow following behind her.
“Bailey!” Atton greeted his best friend with a hug before doing the same to his other best friend, “Pip!”
Pip just laughed and said, “You two are crazy.”
Bailey couldn’t help but notice the lady in a dress scowling in their direction, “Who’s that? Is she a girlfriend of Carth’s?” she asked.
“Oh, that’s Alexandra Alto. We’re… we’re in a relationship,” Atton said, not quite sure what to call his relationship with Alexandra that wouldn’t set her off for the millionth time.
“Is the kid yours?” Pip asked.
“How dare you accuse me of cheating!” Alexandra yelled, “You barge in here like you own the place and then have the nerve to ask if the kid is his?”
Bailey noticed the pained look on Atton’s face. But something told her that comforting him would only add fuel to the fire. “Pip, I think we should just go. Atton, stop being such a stranger.”
Pip nodded and said, “See you at work, Atton. And Bailey’s right. We never just hang out anymore.”
The pair then left the house with more questions than they had when they arrived.
“Atton, now that you have a love interest, it’s time to cut out any female friends,” Alexandra said. She didn’t need someone to come in and steal Atton away from her. Not like what had happened to her mother.
Her mother had let her father keep his circle of female friends only to find out he was cheating on her with several of those friends. It had caused tons of scandal and had ended up with her mother being committed due to severe heart break the psychiatrist had said. She was determined that she wasn’t going to have her heart broken. She had made the mistake of letting Atton in, now she just had to keep him.
“Why?” Atton asked.
“Because in high society it’s frowned upon.”
“I’m not high society.”
“I want to be in high society one day, Atton. I can’t do that if you’re best friends with other ladies. I’m sorry. I’m sure Bailey is a wonderful person. I suppose you can call her. But no hanging out with her. Pip is fine, I suppose.” One fight at a time. I’ll have to ween him off of Pip, I suppose. I can’t forcibly remove him from two apparent best friends, Alexandra thought.
A few days had passed and Atton had told Pip about what Alexandra said. Pip didn’t understand why Atton was just letting her walk all over her. Or at least that’s what Pip had told Atton.
“Hey, let’s hang out at my place this weekend,” Pip called.
“Will Bailey be there?” Atton said.
“Not that again, but no. She said she had plans that she couldn’t get out of.” Pip said.
“Sure then, I’ll see you Saturday at your place.” Atton replied, hanging the phone up.
Pip was at his wits end. Atton was refusing to do anything if Bailey was involved. He knew he saw how hurt Atton was when he couldn’t even find a label for his relationship with Alexandra. It was clear to Pip that Alexandra wasn’t wanting to go further in the relationship, yet Atton was rolling over backwards for her. Throwing away a best friend to maybe become her boyfriend.
It had pained Pip to lie to his friend, but the three of them were going to hang out. Alexandra didn’t have to know.
Atton then walked in. Pip looked his best friend over and could tell that Atton was trying to cover up the hurt that he felt. “Everything ok, man?”
“Yea, everything’s fine.” Atton said, “So, what’s the plan for today?”
“I was thinking football game and then Call of Duty.”
“I’m game for that,” Bailey said, walking in.
“You said she wasn’t going to be here.”
“Her plans must have fallen through,” Pip said, having already told Bailey the plan.
“Yea, my mom got food poisoning so she canceled on me this morning. I knew today was hang out day so I’d figure I’d just crash the hang out.”
“I’m going to go then. I don’t want to ruin your guys’ day and I don’t want to hear it from Alexandra.”
“Then don’t tell her you hung out with Bailey. Just omit the fact that she was here,” Pip said.
“Don’t bother, Pip. You know full well he won’t lie to anyone, much less miss Alexandra,” Bailey said, obviously pissed, “I’ll just go. Pip, we all know it’s been tooth and nails to just get him to be able to hang out. He needs time away from her. Give me a call later, ok?”
Pip could see that Atton was thoroughly confused. The guy didn’t seem to realize what he was doing by just going along with what Alexandra said to do or not do. “Will do, Bailey.”
As soon as Bailey left Pip let into Atton. “Now look what you did! Quirks or no quirks, you’re being mean to Bailey just to have a relationship with a woman who obviously doesn’t love you as much as you love her! This is the only time hang out day will exclude Bailey. You either hang out with both of us or you can go do whatever it is that you do with Alexandra without us.”
“But isn’t love about doing what makes the other happy?” Atton asked.
“And does giving up your best friend make you happy?”
“No,” Atton said almost quiet enough that Pip didn’t hear him.
“Then how can Alexandra say she loves you. If she doesn’t let you have what makes you happy?”
“Let’s just watch football and play Call of Duty,” Atton said, changing the subject.
“Alright, fine. But think about what I said.”
That hang out day was the last one Atton went for a long while. Only when Bailey truly couldn’t attend did Atton actually leave the house to do anything but go to work or go on dates with Alexandra.
“CONTRACTIONS?! THESE AREN’T CONTRACTIONS, MIRA! PREGNANT LADIES HAVE CONTRACTIONS WHEN THEY GO INTO LABOR!”
“I’m just telling you what you I think your having based on what you’ve described, Sinbad,” Mira said, worried.
“We have a graduation ceremony to attend in a few hours and you guys are making labor jokes?” Kreia asked, before seeing her father, “Oh, maybe jokes was the wrong word.”
“You guys just go to the graduation ceremony. I’ll just give birth or whatever here,” Sinbad said, though it was obvious that he wanted to go to the graduation ceremony.
The family nodded and left for the graduation ceremony. Not long after everyone left, the contractions, or whatever they were got really bad.
Thirty minutes later he realized they were contractions as he held his son. If that was even the right word for it. But the kid was sure acting like Sinbad was dad.
He jumped when he heard a pop appear in the room.
“Keep or give to us?” the alien said.
“The baby. You keep and raise or give to use to raise. His name is to be Sion if he comes with us. After dead grandfather as you people call that relation type.”
“Can I have some time to think and talk it over with my wife? The birth didn’t come at the best time.”
“No, decide now.”
“I’ll raise him. And he’ll be named Sion.”
Sinbad could have sworn he sall a smile on the alien’s face as the alien disappeared. “Well, Sion, looks we’re going to have to find a crib for you. Matias said he moved all of our furniture here. Where did the cribs go?” He grabbed a towel from the closet and laid it on the bed and placed Sion down on it, before heading off to unearth the baby supplies.
Fifteen minutes later and he had gotten all of the necessary baby gear together. He had Sion washed, fed, and wrapped and placed into the crib. He sent his wife a text to see if the ceremony had started.
He grabbed his phone when it rang, “Yea?”
“Mom says get here if you can and wants to know if she was right,” Kreia’s voice said.
“She was right. It was contractions. Does she want me to call a babysitter? He’s too young to be brought out among all of the germs.”
Sinbad heard Kriea relay the message to Mira. “She says do what you want.”
Sinbad decided he was going to his sons’ graduation. He called up a babysitter and left as soon as the babysitter arrived.
Sion soon met the rest of the family. Well, most of them. Alexandra upon seeing the green skin said she didn’t want anything to do with the thing as she put it.
Carth personally thought if anyone in the house was a thing, it was Alexandra herself. He had watched with sadness as Atton became more withdrawn. And he knew it was Alexandra’s fault. It just had to be. He was happy before he met her and now he was depressed. He was worried for his brother. He had also noticed that phone calls with Pip had more often than not ended in an argument. He decided he was going to find out what in the world was driving a wedge between Atton and his best friends.
He waited for Atton to go to bed one night before taking his phone and getting Pip’s phone number out of it. He got Bailey’s from it as well while he was at it. The next day he was going to call.
“Answer the phone, Pip. I know the number is unknown, but I need you to pick up the phone,” Carth said.
“Hello?” Pip answered.
“Good you answered the phone. It’s Carth. Atton’s brother.”
“Is Atton ok?”
“If you mean physically, yes. Mentally, he’s not ok and I want to know why. I mean, I know why. It’s his damn not-girlfriend Alexandra. You know she yells at him every time he says he’s her boyfriend or that she’s his girlfriend?”
“What? That’s why he stammered when he first introduced us? Because he knows what they actually are but didn’t want to get yelled at?”
“I’d imagine so. I heard all about that one from both sides. The kid is Atton’s. She had some genetic testing done just in case Atton’s quirks were genetic and things appear to be normal for the kid. Not to mention Sinbad forced her to add a paternity test to it. I think it was just to piss her off. I can’t help but overhear that he’s been arguing with you on the phone lately. Is it something you care to share?”
Pip sighed and then said, “Apparently little miss Alexandra has forbidden Atton from hanging out with any of his female friends. I’m sick and tired of it. It’s killing Bailey that she can’t see her best friend and is wondering if he was truly her best friend or not.”
“Damn, it’s worse than I thought. He’s also more often than not wearing the appropriate outfit for the occasion. I think she’s trying to change him.”
“How bad is he mentally?”
“He’s pretty depressed. I don’t think he’s suicidal, though.”
“Bailey’s just arrived for hang out day. Why don’t you and your sister come over and we can discuss this? Where you don’t have to risk Atton or Alexandra hearing.”
“Good idea. I’ll be over shortly.” Carth then hung up and found Kreia in her room studying.
“Take a break from studying today, Kreia.”
“Mom will have my hide! And my finals are tomorrow!”
“She’ll understand. We’re going to Pip’s house. You can’t have missed how depressed Atton is.”
“So, intervention for our big brother is in the plan?”
“I guess you could call it that.”
“Yea, I think even Mom and Dad have seen it, even though they’ve got their hands full with Sion. And at this rate who knows how bad Atton will be if we just play the wait and see game. He’s more important than some stupid final. Let’s go.”
“Good, you were able to get Kreia to come,” Bailey said, “Finals day is rough. Sorry we’re taking you away from your last day to study, Kreia.”
“If what we discuss here today will help make Atton happy again, it’s worth it. Even if I fail everything. So what’s the plan?”
“My parents won a trip for five to Shang Simla. They gave it to me for my graduation present a few days ago. Said to take four friends and celebrate my graduation. Me, Pip, Atton, and you two would make five. And in a couple days, we could have four graduates on a graduation ceremony trip.”
“Four, what about…” Carth said before smiling, “I keep forgetting you’re much older than the rest of us, Pip.”
“Happens,” Pip said laughing, “How will a trip help Atton though, Bailey?”
“If we can get him away from Alexandra for a while, maybe he’ll start having fun. Being happy. And maybe then we’ll be able to get through to him.”
“He’ll balk at Bailey coming along,” Kreia mentioned.
“We’re going to have to lie about that, then,” Pip said.
“Maybe not,” Carth said, coming up with a plan, “Kreia, would you consider Bailey a friend?”
Kreia thought for a moment and said, “Yea. Why?”
Carth smiled, “We’ll spin the trip as your graduation present from Pip and Bailey. They said you could invite whoever you wanted. You invited me, Pip, Bailey, and Atton. Then when Atton balks, guilt trip his ass. You do that well enough, Kreia. Alexandra already leaves the room when you or Sinbad are around. So wait until she storms from the room before bringing it up.”
“And when it happens, I’ll call Pip and tell him to buy the ticket. That way when Alexandra finds out, Atton won’t be as likely to back out. Because he’s already agreed and ‘cost his friend money’.” Kreia said.
“Good thinking,” Bailey said.
The next morning Carth and Atton found themselves sitting on the couch watching the morning news. “Atton, she’s not good for you,” Carth suddenly said.
“I love her. And loving others is a good for you.”
“Atton, you aren’t happy. I haven’t seen you genuinely smile in a long time. Except when you play with Sion. You know your love thinks he’s just a thing and refuses to do anything with him, right? It hurts to see you so depressed.”
“I’m not depressed, Carth. You’re just jealous that I’ve got a love in my life since you don’t.” Atton got up and went off to his room. Carth sighed. That hadn’t gone how he had planned it.
“Atton? Got a minute?” Kreia said.
“If you’re here to tell me what a bad love Alexandra is, just go away,” Atton said sadly.
“I’m not,” Kreia said, stuffing what she wanted to say so that he stayed open to the idea she was about to say, “Pip found out I really really want to go to Shang Simla. So for my graduation he’s giving me that as a trip. He says I can invite up to four people. Pip’s going. Carth’s going. Bailey’s going. But I really want you to come, too.”
Atton looked at Kreia before saying, “You know what Alexandra says about me and Bailey.”
“So you like Alexandra more than me? Won’t make me happy anymore. It would mean the world to me if you told Alexandra to stuff it about Bailey and went on the trip with us,” Kreia said, really trying to sell it, “I do need your answer now. If we wait any longer the prices are bound to go up and Pip might not be able to afford our tickets.”
Kreia could tell Atton was torn. Making her happy would displease Alexandra, but keeping Alexandra happy would make Kreia sad. “Alright. I’ll go. You only graduate once. I’m not going to tell her to stuff it though.”
“Oh come on! She deserves to be told to stuff it about Bailey. You two are simply best friends. She needs to learn to trust you! How can she love you if she doesn’t trust you? Just think on the answer that one while I call Pip to let him know.” Kreia then called Pip to let him know he should “buy” the tickets before hanging up. “Alright tickets are bought. We leave tomorrow after my graduation ceremony.”
“Yea, got a problem with that?”
“No, but that’s just so soon.”
“Like I said, if Pip waited the prices would have gone up. Last minute tickets are a pricey.”
And that’s where this chapter will end. Will Alexandra wise up and realize her actions are hurting Atton? Will Atton realize that bending over backwards to please Alexandra when she doesn’t please him at all is a bad thing? How will the vacation go? Find out in chapters to come.
Progress towards Atton’s goals:
- Master an instrument – Piano at level 5
- Get married – He has a romantic interest
- Join Music Career – Achieved Chapter 1.8 when Alistair got Atton a job.
- Learn all songs – He knows all his skill level gives him
- Become Hit Movie Composer – He’s level 2 – Roadie
- Know all co-workers – Achieved Chapter 1.8 when Alistair got Atton a job (a mod from Twallan)
- Befriend 1 co-worker – Achieved Chapter 2.0. Pip Goodfellow and Atton are already Best Friends. And they’ve only interacted at work to my knowledge
- Level 5 Logic – He’s got none.
Progress toward’s Mira’s goals:
- Grow a garden with every plant from the store (She’s gotten everything from the store except what requires 7 or higher gardening skill)
- Master gardening skill (Still at level 7.)
- Get married (Accomplished Chapter 1.0 when Mira married Sinbad)
- No woohoo until married (Accomplished Chapter 1.0 as Mira never woohooed before marrying Sinbad)
- Have a boy and a girl (Accomplished Chapter 1.1 as they have 2 boys and 1 girl as of that chapter)
Progress toward’s LTW’s
- Mira – Illustrious Author: Level 2 Painting, Level 6 Writing
- Sinbad – Master Thief: Cat Burglar – Level 9
- Atton – Hit Movie Composer: Roadie – Level 2
Author’s Note: As you could see from the little peak into Alexandra’s head, there is a reason she’s so unwilling to progress the relationship and is not willing to trust Atton with his female friends. Things might have been better if someone had just forced Alexandra to have a nice little chat with them.