Luca and Liz stood outside their bedroom in the hallway of their small country home.
“Oh Luca! You look so handsome! And ready to embrace middle age! Do you feel as good as you look?”
Liz could tell Luca wasn’t in a good mood, but she couldn’t understand why.
Luca sighed before responding. He’d learned in his time married to Liz that it was better to take a deep breath before responding to one her of ultra-perky ravings. He’d also learned that it was better to sugar coat things with her.
“It’s just been a while since I had this many people en route to the house,” said Luca. “I worry that we don’t have enough seating, and the caterer hasn’t started preparing food, and the DJ is late. I don’t want all your hard work to go waste.”
Luca: Hopefully that sounded believable. Why did I agree to this party? Other than our wedding, I haven’t had more than 4 strangers in my house since the day we moved in.
“Don’t you worry Luca,” said Liz. “It’ll be great. Everyone loves birthday parties, so just relax and enjoy the night, no matter what happens!”
Liz walked off to check on the status of the DJ and caterer. Luca considered his options. He could be his usual surly self that he turned into when his home was invaded. He considered the guest list, half of the Counsel Council would be there, along with Liz’s and Daniella’s families. Luca decided to try and do what he told Laurel he would: try.
He threw on the smile he’d gotten so good at plastering on his face and headed out to meet his guests.
A number of the party’s guests had arrived outside, but no one seemed eager to knock on the door.
“I have not been here since the wedding,” said Bo. “Has anyone?”
Daniella and Laurel were the only ones who had been by. After a bit of back and forth, the group finally voted Daniella to lead the way into the house. They were all pleasantly surprised, though not entirely convinced by Luca’s smile when they entered.
The birthday party guests chatted amicably with each other, catching up on updates about each other’s jobs, children, and hobbies. More than half of them had never been to the house before, and marveled at the effect Liz was having on Luca that this party was even happening.
Daniella took note that Robyn and Baby hadn’t found a quiet corner to sit in and only talk to each other. How Laurel never noticed what was going on with her kids never ceased to amaze her.
Daniella’s observation of Baby and Robyn was correct. They hadn’t separated themselves from the party to chat. In fact, they weren’t speaking at all.
Eventually Robyn sat on the couch right next to where Baby stood, but she continued to ignore him in favor of chatting with her parents. When she made one of her classic corny jokes, he joined in to laugh.
But she still ignored him.
Outside the DJ had finally arrived, and was ready to get the party going.
But there was just one problem. No one was outside.
Liz: I thought having an indoor/outdoor party was a great idea! It worked so well for the wedding. I’ll just ask him to turn up the music, then they’ll come.
At first the only person that joined her was the caterer, which likely meant Luca’s birthday cake wasn’t made yet. Then Luca appeared around the side of the house. He was making a beeline for the caterer, then stopped abruptly when he saw Liz.
“There you are,” he said to his wife, “I was, uh, looking for you. Hey! No one is out here, I’ll go get everyone.” Luca turned and practically ran away back to the house.
The party guests happily followed Luca outside. They were ready to boogie. Some stood around still talking, but many of them danced as well.
Still doing her best to pretend Baby wasn’t there, Robyn spoke loudly to her mother, “I think I’m going to take your advice and start dating. A few nice boys in school have asked me out, and I think I know which one I’m going to say yes to.”
“Oh that’s wonderful news, darling,” said Laurel. “Do I know this boy?”
“No, but if he’s as nice as he seems, I’m sure it won’t be too long before I bring him around to meet you all.”
Quincy was eavesdropping on the conversation between his mother and sister. When he’d heard enough, he went over to talk to Daniella. “Hey doll, guess what I just overheard?”
Not stopping her enjoyment of the DJ, Daniella responded, “what did you hear?”
“Robyn is going on a date next week with some boy from her school. I know you said you were worried about her not spending enough time with people her own age, but now you have nothing to worry about.”
Daniella was happy to hear about Robyn’s upcoming date, and she lowered her phone to text Robyn about it. She saw the time and realized she should probably go make Luca’s birthday cake before the party ended, since it was really clear the caterer wasn’t about to do it.
Daniella: It’s probably for the best that I don’t text Robyn anyway right now. It’s like a cheesy teen movie that news of her date would spread this fast, haha.
Daniella went into the house, Quincy went back to join his sister and mother, and Baby was left in that spot, dancing by himself.
Baby: Is she really going to go on a date? Isn’t that what I asked her to do? So why does the idea bug me so much??
Inside the house, Daniella finished the birthday cake for Luca. She lit the candles and tried not to be irritated that she had to make the cake when Luca had his wife, Elizabeth who hired a caterer!
After the announcement that it was time for Luca to blow out the candles, people began heading back inside. Luca walked up to the cake, and considered if he wanted to make a wish. Quincy walked up to Daniella and kissed her on the cheek, proud of her for always stepping in to take care of her big brother.
Luca blew out his candles and braced himself for what came next.
It hit him all at once, almost literally. Luca Holloway was officially an Adult.
Luca: Well, I’ve done it. I’ve gotten married, I’m wearing a shirt with a collar and a non-leather jacket. And now I’m an Adult. My life may as well be over. At least my wife is hot.
Daniella: I’m so proud of my big brother. He’s like a real adult now, having a party with actual guests at it. Maybe he’ll give my triplets some cousins to play with!
Quincy: Such a nice family I’m going to marry into. I wonder if Luca will agree to help me finally propose to Daniella. As long as life stops giving us twists and turns for one moment, it’s time.
Liz: I can’t believe he didn’t wait for me to cut the cake! Dani didn’t even ask for my help to make it. What is it going to take to feel like an included member of this family??
The party ended and the guests left. Liz wasn’t sure where Luca went, but she headed to her happy place. She stayed out there all night.