It was a special day for myself and my Eternal … It was our anniversary, and, every morning when I wake up, I am thankful that he’s there. I try, so much and so often, to say how much love he and I have for each other, how much in sharing that love with our family, with the ones we love, and more, matters. The day we met is the moment in my life that I remember more than any other and so clearly that it feels like it happened just moments ago. There’s a certainty that I have in me, one that never leaves me, one that just … is … Always.
The morning rays of the sun warmed the bedroom as she slept under the covers, the tip of her red tail just poking out, seeking out the sunlight so it might keep warm, as well. Off in the distance, echoing through the house, there were sounds of someone in the kitchen doing something. The sounds were muted by efforts not to wake her, but, of course, while she didn’t hear everything, she knew who was in the house with her, knew with certainty, and she dozed on.
In the kitchen, he was stirring a bowl of batter, working towards his goal, and humming an idle tune as he did so. He kept checking a cookbook that had been given to Baker for safekeeping, in which one particular recipe had been marked by a folded-over page as the right one to make on that day.
Finding that the batter—Devil’s Food Cake, of course—was about ready, he turned away to look for a cupcake baking sheet. Looking at the cupboard, he puzzled over where she would have put such a thing; baking was, after all, more her thing than his. Nonetheless, after a bit of rummaging around, he found what he was looking for and turned back to the counter …
… to find a certain blue tailed daughter poking her finger into the mixing bowl.
“Rianna, what are you doing?”
She pulled her finger out of the batter and stuck it in her mouth, mumbling around it: “Testin’.”
Amused, he set the baking sheet on the counter and crossed his arms over his chest: “Really? I hope you don’t expect to be licking the spoon as well.”
Rianna shook her head and then nodded towards the fridge, where a certain silver-tailed daughter was poking around inside: “Nah. That’s her job.”
Branwyn looked out for a moment: “And I get the leftover frosting, too … if I can find it. How do you find anything with all of this Redi-Whip in here?”
He chuckled: “Hours of practice in searching, and there’s a reason why there’s so much whipped cream in there.”
The fridge door closed with a thump as Branwyn waved a small tin of frosting in the air: “Found it!”
He shook his head and looked for a ladle: “No tasting the frosting—or the batter—for either of you. Not until I’m done.”
His daughters set themselves on the other side of the kitchen island where he was working, and, as he did so, they started talking …
“Ya’ know Dad, what’s so special about those cupcakes, anyway? Either you, or Mom, makes them, and you make them only once a year.”
“That’s right! They don’t show up on any holidays, or when people visit, or anything. What’s the deal?”
He was rubbing some butter into the baking sheet, a slightly far-off look in his eyes as he did so, before replying: “Today is a special day for us. It isn’t a Realm holiday, it isn’t something that everyone is supposed to celebrate. It is an ‘us’ holiday. Today marks our wedding anniversary in the human world.”
Rianna and Branwyn looked at each other for a long moment, then Rianna asked: “Okay, but what’s so special about that? Isn’t the day you became Mom’s Eternal more important?”
He put the baking sheet down, and, after dragging the mixing bowl away from Rianna, he started stirring again: “It’s just as important … probably a bit more so.”
Branwyn’s tail swisched behind her: “Okay, Sis is being a little stupid, ‘cause we know that it’s important. But why keep it a secret so much? Everyone celebrates the King and Queen’s vows here. So why not your human ones, too?”
He dipped the ladle into the batter, smoothing out the batter with a knife, and then poured the first bit of batter into the cupcake sheet: “It all goes back to how we married in the human world.”
Branwyn looked at Rianna: “This sounds like a three-Kleenex moment, Sis.”
Rianna nodded and dragged the box that had been sitting on her side of the counter between them both: “Prolly.”
Tapping the ladle, he smiled: “I’ll keep it short so you don’t wake up your mother.”
As he continued to fill the baking sheet, he explained …
“Where I came from, I couldn’t give her a royal wedding. I couldn’t go and pay for a huge ceremony, have all of my family there, and have her be alone. But there was no way to have your mother’s parents there, there was no way that anyone from the Realm could be there. At the time it was still a secret that we were going to marry, that I was going to be her Eternal. I understood that she couldn’t have something flashy and wonderful.”
He considered the portions and then started to put a bit more into each: “Still, I needed to make her happy. She insisted, as we all know, that she didn’t need anything fancy, that she was just fine with whatever came, even if it was just to trade vows in front of an Elvis impersonator.”
Rianna interrupted: “That would have been weird, Dad.”
“I think your mom would have loved it. Not to mention running up and down the Vegas strip laughing in the aftermath. But no, we didn’t do that.”
Both of his daughters were resting their elbows on the counter and staring at him, their tails up over their shoulders in a very familiar way. He chuckled as he looked for some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top: “I know that look; your mom is better at it. What’s the question?”
Rianna was first: “Couldn’t mom have just paid for everything?”
He tossed a few chips into the batter: “Could have. But I didn’t want her to–not because of pride, but because all of that flash couldn’t match her smile and how much I love her.”
Branwyn then asked: “Yeah, but she would have anyway, ‘cause she woulda’, ‘cause that’s what you expect from someone that’s the Queen.”
He balled up the now-empty bag of chips and tossed it off towards the wastebasket, missing by a mile, and sighed, “You’d think I would know by now that basketball isn’t my thing. As for what I expected from her: well, the only thing that I wanted was to make her happy. That came back to my being happy, and we went around in circles.”
His daughters looked at each other as he picked up the baking sheet and put it in the oven. They didn’t say anything as he returned and continued his preparations, this time putting a squirt tube of red frosting beside the chocolate frosting that Branwyn had brought over. He was in the midst of breaking in half a small pile of thin, red candy slivers as Rianna became inpatient and wondered: “Okay. So, what happened? Can’t leave us hanging, Dad.”
“The rings were simple. They were my grandparent’s. Oh, they had to be resized a little, but that wasn’t a big problem. We did the paperwork at City Hall, and it amazed me that your mother could come up with the paperwork they needed by looking in her purse for it. I’m amazed she can find anything in there when she’s carrying one.”
Rianna and Branwyn just looked at each other knowingly. That was a special skill that they had been taught and were not supposed to share. After all, it was important that, as two of the Succubi, they always had access to Redi-Whip … among other things.
He stared off into space again for a moment, smiling at the memories, then continued: “So, we had the paperwork, the rings … but, as for the ceremony, well, that was something special.”
There was a soft ‘ding’ and he removed the now-baked cupcakes, popping them out of the pan and then waiting for them to cool. He looked at the cupcakes and continued to explain … “I found a bakery nearby and, in the window, I saw a tray of cupcakes; chocolate ones, which I knew your mom liked. But they were a little bit different and it was that difference that made them something that she’d remember.”
He nodded towards the cookbook he had been using: “I went inside and asked the baker there for one, to my surprise he gave it to me for free. He also gave me that cookbook, said that it was meant to go with me. Of course I couldn’t accept that, and so I paid for it, and the cupcake, with the last of my change that I had with me. Keep in mind that we were intending to leave the human world for the Realm shortly afterwards, so, after that moment, there wasn’t anything left.”
Rianna nodded, Branwyn considered the cupcakes, a thoughtful look in her eyes.
“I met your mom in the town’s park, and I put her ring on her finger, and she put mine on me.” He spread the frosting over the cupcakes, then drew a pattern down the middle with the red frosting before sticking two pieces of red candy on either side. He then held up the cupcake to his daughters: “And our first meal together was … this.”
The cupcake was chocolate, deep and dark, almost the same colour as Tera’s hair. The red frosting in the middle made a tail that looked quite similar to Tera’s as well. The two pieces of candy made a pair of horns that completed the look. It was a cupcake that looked, in a way, a bit devilish.
Both Rianna and Branwyn giggled as they realized that what their father had made. Rianna touched the cupcake that Keith held: “Yeah. I can see how mom would love this.” Branwyn laughed and touched it as well: “I can imagine the giggling fit mom had, too.”
“Oh I giggled. But I also smooched him … and hugged him.”
They all turned to see Tera standing in the hallway, watching them all, a warm smile on her lips.
Keith chuckled: “How long?”
Tera crossed the kitchen and tapped Rianna and Branwyn on their noses: “Long enough to know that these two were being silly.”
Rianna blushed: “Um … we’ll clean up, Mom.”
Tera hugged them both tightly: “Thank you, sweetheart. Your father and I have … things to do.”
Keith’s smile was as warm as Tera’s: “Important things.”
Branwyn shoved the almost empty tin of frosting at Rianna to keep her busy before she got them into doing more chores, like cleaning the house.
“Yeah, well, you two have fun!”
Rianna and Branwyn snuck one cupcake each for themselves and then bampfed away to leave their parents to their fun.
After they had left, Keith walked over to Tera and gave her the cupcake he had made.
“Happy Anniversary, Love. Thank you for …”
Tera kissed him, stopping his words, and then, when they broke for air, she purred: “Happy Anniversary, Love … and I know. I always know.”
It was the one thing that they both knew with certainty. They always knew … always.