The only thing that really changes after Persis' hair turns grey is that she wears shorts and slippers when she gardens. The neighbourhood breathes a collective sigh of relief.
Now that she's officially off of "maternity leave", "John" wastes no time in giving Krista her first assignment. She's to make a set of Newton's Cradles, then put them up for consignment. Nothing more than that. Seeing as there's nothing too sketchy about this demand, Krista feels no moral qualms as she sets about making the things.
Her main problem now is finding out how to turn some hunks of metal into a Newton's cradle...
Marko dotes on his granddaughter. He's the first one to feed her or change her diaper, often in the nursery even when she's not crying. He's happy to have the opportunity to savor this time with her; with Xara, Tulip, and Paolo, he was busy working or powering through his time with them... he wants things to be different with Tula.
Even with Marko's around the clock care, Paolo still gets a chance to be with his daughter.
It all feels so unreal; this little being...is his child. He's a father. It's a simple but terrifying fact.
While Paolo is coming to grips with fatherhood, Krista swears under her breath after she gets the blueprint incorrect for the third time in a row. The kind of precision this task requires is beyond her.
"Shouldn't you be wearing some kind of protection?" Marko asks, glancing nervously at Krista. She's not even wearing gloves!
"What?" her hammer slips and hits her index finger. "Plumbob!" the hammer clatters to the floor as she cradles her throbbing finger.
Ugh, I'm never going to get this, she thinks miserably. She sulks out of the room before Marko or Persis can ask if she's ok.
She snuggles Tula close to her.
I have to get it, she tells herself, For Tula...
She sighs and puts Tula back into her crib.
Back to work.
Paolo shows some moral support by taking up painting while Krista attempts to assemble a Newton's Cradle. Painting is a skill he has no particular aptitude for, just like engineering is completely foreign to Krista. If he can make something decipherable, maybe it'll lift Krista's spirits...
After many fruitless hours, Krista finally manages to build a Newton's Cradle.
She adds some finishing touches...
And now to make nine more!
Krista may have just died inside. Just a little.
Marko is asleep, so Krista is surprised when she goes into the nursery and finds someone already tending to Tula.
"This reminds me of when the twins were babies," Persis sighs tiredly. Unlike Marko, she seems to take a much less sentimental view on her childrens' infancy. At least with Tula there's only one baby to take care of, and four available adults.
Even when it's not something Paolo cooked, he can't help but "kick it up a notch".
Spooky Day sneaks up on the Winterly household. Marko throws a costume party together at the last minute.
"Paolo, come on, at least try," Marko bemoans his son's lack of costume creativity.
He changes into his work uniform. "Better?"
Marko just narrows his eyes.
Xara and Tulip attend, of course. Xara can never stay away from a party.
Paolo returns her warm hug. With everything that's been going on in his life, it feels like it's been ages since he's seen either of his sisters.
He doesn't realize exactly how long it's been until Xara shyly informs him that she recently had a son. He'd just been so occupied with his own problems that he completely missed all the pregnancy photos she sent to their parents.
"I know this is going to sound awful...but who's the dad?" Paolo asks, rubbing the back of his neck.
If Xara is uncomfortable, she doesn't show it, "Bertram Bedlington."
If Paolo were drinking anything, he would have done a spit take. "Like Glenn Bedlington's dad?!"
She glares at him, "Yes."
"I'm sorry, I'm just surprised. How did you even meet him?"
Before she can launch into her story about a crazy party and the amazing effects of too much nectar, Krista cuts in to say hi.
Xara shakes Krista's hand. "So you're the poor girl who's stuck with my brother?"
Krista laughs good-naturedly, "I'd say he's stuck with me!"
Paolo inwardly grimaces. Why is Xara dead set on embarrassing me?
"Wanna hear about the time in scouts where he ran out of the tent screaming because of a spooooooky ghost story?"
"That was you," Paolo 'gently' corrects her.
"He lies. I will tell you the truth."
While Paolo and Xara bicker, Krista looks between the two. Her relationship with her siblings was nothing like this. Pablo was always a bully when the adults weren't around, Ethan wanted nothing to do with her, Keith was always making her feel uncomfortable, and Robbi was too young for her to really connect with. Maybe if she had been closer with any of them, things would be different...
"...why would anyone say I screamed 'like a little girl'? I was a little girl!" Xara tries to refute Paolo's arguments.
He rolls his eyes, "Because kids are so discerning in their insults. Besides, it was Tulip who said that."
"No! Did she really?!"
"Nope, but I just proved that the story was about you!"
Xara smacks Paolo's shoulder. "Pffffft, whatever."
Krista greets Pablo politely, annoyed that he was invited. Tulip seems to share that sentiment.
"How's the inventing going?" he asks congenially.
Krista smiles widely, but Tulip notices the frozen panic in her eyes, "A bit slowly. But I should be able to sell my first batch of Netwon's Cradles soon."
"Well, don't take too long. Customers can be impatient," his smile becomes slightly more feral, "And you wouldn't want that."
It takes all of Tulip's willpower not to butt in. All she has is supposition... but damn, she wishes it were enough.
With a sigh of disgust, Tulip turns to Paolo. He asks her for advice for a training regimen, wanting to get in shape for work.
"Well, I run at least twenty kilometers on the treadmill to start with, and I lift 60 kilo weights to warm up..."
Paolo blanches. He always knew vampires were strong, but damn.
"Be careful with who you share your business details with. All sorts of things could happen," Pablo says with a fake sniff, "Like with my mother, Jazlyn. Lord, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Certain...things were discovered, you understand? Things that weren't good for her health."
He says this all in a very low voice. Unfortunately for Tulip, Vampires are not granted better hearing, so she doesn't hear this thinly veiled threat with her ear-muffling costume on.
Krista, on the other hand, hears it loud and clear. Everyone thought Jazlyn died of old age... could it really have been something else? Something...deliberate?
She doesn't want to think about it.
Persis extends an invitation for a sleep over to Xara.
She gladly accepts. She can get a decent night's sleep without her son to take care of as well...
I kind of feel that a zombie get up in addition to a hot dog costume is cheating. And gross. Do I really want to think of an undead hot dog?
So apparently Xara was dating Benjamin Schmidt before he died of old age. I'm starting to see a pattern...
She dances her heartache away, pointedly ignoring her ex, and her son's father, who's talking to Krista.
"Oh, so you two...know each other?" Krista asks politely when Bertram mentions having met Xara before.
"Yes, unfortunately," Bertram sighs.
"Uhhhh," Krista is beginning to sense some tension.
"You know what Bertram!?" Xara begins to fume. She's so sick of his condescending and patronizing attitude!
"What is it, dear?"
Xara's face twists with disgust.
"You're not even worth the effort."
Krista looks uncomfortably between the two. "Maybe I'll just, uh, give you two some space..." she shuffles away, saying she needs to tend to Tula.
But it seems that Tula is doing just fine by herself...
AN: Yep, Xara had a son with Bertram Bedlington. Then dated Benjamin Schmidt. Seriously.
I'll be sure to show her son (whose name I can't remember); he inherited Xara's hair!