Chapter 4.4

Welcome back to another chapter of Random Branches! In the last chapter James and Terena got married and James had been stationed in Midnight Hollow. Terena was better handling the mental fall out from the war than James was and James’ uncle gave him some advice. Someone tied to the Zenteri curse started calling the house with threatening messages and Max told his kids about the curse. At the end of the chapter, James learned that his cousin’s wife had been killed in a car accident. And now on with the story.

James had quickly decided after seeing his cousin that Albus, Kyle, and Kaylee needed to visit for an extended time. Albus was too out of it after his wife Cassie’s death to properly look after either Kyle or Kaylee.

It didn’t take long for that decision to have proven the best course of action. Albus had chosen the bedroom farthest from the nursery and refused the baby monitor. He had on a number of occasions yelled at Kyle when Kyle had done nothing wrong. And he refused to do things together with the rest of the family.

“How many times do I have to say, no, I will not read to you?!” Albus yelled before pushing Kyle out of his room and shutting the door and locking it.

Max heard the yelled statement and felt for Kyle. Albus was not handling his grief well and it was going to hurt Kyle more than the death of his parents already had. He approached Kyle and said, “I’ll read to you.”

Kyle nodded sadly. “Does Albus not want me anymore? Does he even want Kaylee anymore? I haven’t seen him with her since we got here.”

“I’m sure he still wants you and Kaylee. He’s just really sad right now like you are. And he’s not behaving like he should because of that hurt.”

Kyle nodded and let Max read him a story.

A few months went by and things did not improve with Albus. Obi eventually talked with him sternly and got him back on track. He apologized to Kyle for his behavior and took a baby monitor into his bedroom.

James was glad that things had begun to return to normal for Albus. So when he saw a depressed look on Albus’ face again he approached him. “What’s wrong?”

Albus jumped. “You startled me. The adoption agency has said I can’t adopt Kyle.”

“I’m sorry, man. What are you going to do? How are you going to tell him?”

“I don’t know,” Albus said and a moment later said, “I’ve got an idea.”


“Why don’t you and Terena adopt him.”

“If you hadn’t noticed, Terena’s pregnant. I’ll have to ask her. We may not be able to give him the attention he needs.”

“Our parents won’t let him be starved for attention and you and Terena wouldn’t intentionally ignore him.”

“Fair enough, but I’ll still have to discuss it with Terena.”

And James wasted no time bringing the idea up to Terena.

“It’s us or the orphanage for Kyle, Terena. He’s already lost two people he cares about. He’s going to lose a third indirectly. At least with us he’ll still be able to see and visit Albus. That won’t likely be the case if he goes to the orphanage,” James said.

“We’re going to be busy with a baby in about five months, James. We’re going to be barely functional between our jobs and the baby.”

“My parents are fully retired as is my Uncle Obi.”

“We can’t put raising Kyle on them.”

“I think with us is what’s best for Kyle.”

“Is it what’s best for our unborn child?”

“He or she will learn to share from the start. We did talk about having more than one kid. We won’t have to explain to them that they have to share now. And it’s not like Kyle’s a toddler. He’s eight years old.”

“True. Alright. We’ll put in to adopt Kyle.”

And it didn’t take long for the adoption agency to approve their request. And soon Albus and Kaylee had left for their home in Bridgeport. It was hard on Kyle to watch Albus go, but he quickly got used to not having Albus around. He was already comfortable with James and the rest of his family having stayed there for several months already.

Kyle was enrolled in the local school and he quickly showed just how smart he was. His teachers remarking on how good he was in music class, especially.

Four months passed and soon Adama Zenteri* joined the family. He had his grandmother’s hair color and his mothers eyes.

James and Terena took a few weeks off of work to devote to Adama before going back to work. They had slightly reduced hours but they had done this after discussing the day to day care with Max, Leia, and Obi. The two did not want to put the burden of raising Kyle and Adama on them.

The threatening phone calls continued. And they had started receiving threatening letters in the mail as well. Someone had dug up their address. Though that was mostly due to Max and Leia’s celebrity status. While the two weren’t as big as they used to be given they had retired, they were still featured heavily on shows and tabloids when they did manage to get caught by the paparazzi.

Between Adama, the nightmares from the war, and the threatening phone calls and letters, James was barely able to function well enough for his job. James decided he was ready to talk, but he didn’t know who to talk to. After awhile he finally decided to call one of his best friends and fellow war veteran, Isaiah Mathiasen.

It took Isaiah a few days to get there and they spent a few days just catching up. Eventually they ended up in James and Terena’s bedroom discussing the reason James invited Isaiah over.

“Nightmares, huh?” Isaiah said to break the tension.

“Yea. I can’t seem to shake that last battle of the war we fought. The faces of those we lost. The could have beens. Some of them are what if scenarios. What if you had died or Ethan or Terena.”

“It was you or them and you chose the right person to live. And you’re not to blame for their deaths. Casualties happen in war. You didn’t kill innocent civilians. None of us did. We made the nation safer for occults and those sympathetic to occults. And I didn’t die. Ethan didn’t die. Terena didn’t die.”

The two continued to talk over the nightmare specifics. By the end of the conversation, James felt a little better. And the two continued to call or video chat about the nightmares as James wanted. Eventually, the nightmares would die down. If only the threatening phone calls and letters would go away. Then he’d be down to the only cause of loss of sleep that James wanted: his infant son.

And time passed. Soon Adama was a toddler. It became clear at that point that he inherited Terena’s elven ear shape. It was still a bit too early to tell the other facial features.

They quickly set about teaching him the necessary skills of walking and talking and eventually started his potty training.

And it was a few months after Adama turned three, Obi Wan passed away from old age.

Leia took the death of her brother hard. He was the first of her siblings to die of old age. Leia suspected he went first due to the injuries he sustained in the terrorist attack. She took charge of calling the other siblings to let them know Obi died.

James took care of informing Albus and was glad to hear that he would call Minerva. He had his hands full with Kyle and Adama. The former taking the death of Obi harder than he thought he would. James guessed Obi and Kyle had gotten close during the months that Albus pushed him away.

And that’s it for the chapter! Will Kyle continue to be well adjusted even given his past? Will the people threatening the Zenteris ever stop or will they move on to more dangerous ways to get their message across? Find out in chapters to come.

Progress towards Obi’s Goals – Completed:

  • Become Private Investigator – Achieved Chapter 2.19
  • Complete 30 cases – Completed 30 cases – Achieved behind the scenes of Chapter 4.4
  • Snoop 10 locations – Snooped 10 locations – Achieved behind the scenes of Chapter 4.4
  • Write 5 papers on findings – Wrote 5 paper – Achieved behind the scenes of Chapter 4.4
  • Reach level ten of Private Investigator Career – He’s at level 10 – Achieved behind the scenes of Chapter 4.4
  • Go through 5 garbages and 5 mailboxes – Achieved behind the scenes of Chapter 4.4

Progress towards Leia’s Goals – Completed:

  • Master Painting Skill – She’s at level 10 – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 4.4
  • Master Writing Skill – She’s at level 10 – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 3.8
  • Paint 20 paintings – Painted 20 paintings – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 4.4
  • Be friends with parents – Completed Chapter 3.7 behind the scenes.
  • Get 5,000 in royalties (or sell 15,000 from paintings) – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 3.13 at $6,828
  • Paint family pictures (spouse, kids, parents if alive) – Painted Max’s, behind the scenes Chapter 3.14, painted Hermione’s behind the scenes Chapter 3.15
  • Join book club (if applicable) – Joined book club Chapter 3.10 behind the scenes

Progress towards Max’s goals:

  • Join Film career (Plumbob Pictures Backlot, may need to place it) – Achieved behind the scenes Chapter 3.1
  • Max writing – Level 6
  • Max charisma – Level 10 – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 3.8
  • Become level 5 celebrity – 5 stars – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 3.13
  • Have kid – Achieved Chapter 3.10 with the birth of Hermione
  • Reach Level 10 of the Actor branch – Level 10 – Superstar Actor – Completed Chapter 3.13 behind the scenes

Progress towards James’ goals:

  • Join Military Career – Completed Chapter 4.0
  • Level Ten Military Career – Level 6
  • Max Athletic skill – He’s at level 8
  • Max Hardiness skill – He’s at level 5
  • Buy out a business
  • Adopt – Achieved Chapter 4.4 when James and Terena adopted Kyle Williams.

Progress toward’s LTW’s

  • Obi Wan – Perfect Mind, Perfect Body: Level 10 Logic, Level 10 Athletic – Logic is at 10, Athletic is at 10 – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 4.4
  • Leia – Professional Author: Earn $4000 a week in royalties – currently earning $4000+ a week – Completed behind the scenes Chapter 3.8
  • Maximus – Superstar Actor – Superstar Actor – Level 10 – Completed Chapter 3.13 behind the scenes
  • James – Become Astronaut – Level 6


Author’s Note:

Adama is named after Commander Adama from the original Battlestar Galactica show. He is the father of one of the main characters in the show. He connects to James due to James being named after one the main character of the Harry Potter series’ father. Though in this case, the reboot of Battlestar Galactica would have worked as Adama was not one of the characters to get a gender swap. If I do have a Starbuck or a Boomer, however, they will be male, as I prefer the original, the reboot broke my suspension of disbelief with a few plot points.

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