There Are Some Big Changes Coming To The De-Luca/Houston Household. What Will This Mean For The Future?

Winter, Year 3
There was a hiss in the workshop. Jared was working away at some computer parts and for several days, the project just hadn’t gone the way he’d wanted it to go. Finally, it was beginning to take shape. Another couple of hours and the project would be in a fit state to be left overnight.

Even in the desert, the evenings were getting very cool. Jared shivered slightly as he walked along the road from the labs. His parents weren’t far and he hadn’t visited for quite a while. His train back to the city wasn’t for another hour, so he had time to drop in quickly and visit the family.

“Jared! It’s been far too long!” Magnus exclaimed as his eldest son walked through to the living room. “Where have you been, boy!”
“Around.” Jared laughed as his father enveloped in a bear hug. “I’ve been working late most nights at the labs. There was a project there that really hasn’t been going right.”
“You look tired. Take a break! I never thought that career suited you, Jared.” Magnus shook his head in mock disbelief. “I don’t know what to do with you, sometimes.”
Grinning, Jared sat down. He’d been wanting to chat to his father lately and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

Jared returned home to an empty flat. Andrea was working late too this week and they’d both been exhausted. Jared sat down and began to think. Maybe Magnus was right. Maybe the job really wasn’t suitable. It was getting stressful and with the hours he’d been working lately, he felt like he’d hardly seen Andrea at all.

Andrea arrived through the door and slumped onto the sofa. Jared wrapped his arms round her.
“Listen, I’ve been thinking. I’m toying with the idea of quitting my job.”
Andrea blinked in surprise. “Quitting? Why?”
Jared sighed and rubbed his face. “It doesn’t feel right any more. You know how excited I was when we graduated and I got the job?”
Nodding, Andrea squeezed his hand. “Yes, I do.”
“Well, it’s not what I thought it’d be. Not at all.” He sighed again and stared straight ahead. “I’m not enjoying it any more.”
Andrea snuggled up. “Any thoughts on what you’d like to do instead?”
He shook his head. “Not yet.”

Jared’s phone rang and it was Marie. She was somewhat put out because she hadn’t seen too much of Jared when he’d visited that afternoon. Jared invited her to have dinner with them at the flat.
“Was the bag really necessary, Madre?” Jared asked, laughing as he let his mother into the flat.
“You live in the city, Jared! It is necessary!” Marie tutted, through the paper bag.
Andrea wondered how her boyfriend’s mother was actually going to eat dinner…

The following day, they both had a day off and went out to enjoy the crisp, winter air in the city. Jared had an important question, something he’d talked to his father about the day before.
“Andrea, when I realised you were living in the apartment across the hall from me, I realised how incredible you were. You’ve always been so happy; so supportive and you’re there whenever I need you. You don’t bat an eyelid when I want to do something really different and you’ve met my whole family without flinching. You make me laugh on my worst days and brighten up my best. Andrea Emily Houston, will you marry me?”

Andrea gasped and nodded. She flung her arms around Jared.

Andrea couldn’t wait to let her friends know about her engagement to Jared. Cristina was very excited; she’d been rooting for them both as a couple for a long time.
To celebrate, they went out to the spice festival to set the city ablaze. Jared proposed a toast.
“To us and our future!” He exclaimed, raising his glass.
“To us!” Andrea sipped hers and grinned. They were going to be just fine. She could feel it.

While they were at the festival, Andrea bumped into Daniel.
“Andrea, hello!” Daniel sounded pleased so see her.
Andrea laughed. “I’m amazed you can see anything through that!”
Shrugging, Daniel shook his head. “I heard that bag wearing was all the rage right now.”
“Only around here. It seems pretty silly to me.” Andrea commented.
“Agreed.” Daniel shook his head. “Hey, Jack told me you’d got engaged, was that right?”
Andrea beamed. “Yes, I did. Jared proposed this afternoon.”
Daniel hugged her tight. “That’s fantastic news!”
“Thank you! Now, about this bag wearing. If I can gather enough signatures, we can overturn this nonsense. Interested?”
Nodding eagerly, Daniel took the clipboard and pencil from Andrea and scribbled his signature.

When they got home, Jared and Andrea decided to continue the celebration of their engagement in private…

The following day played host to a large gathering in the district. It was Ellie, with a World United protest. Grinning, Andrea threw some clothes on and joined her friend and Cristina, with the fundraiser. Andrea was a big supported of the idea of a united world, with no prejudice. They just needed to keep fighting.

Jared wanted to take her out for a quiet dinner, so they could talk.
“So, any thoughts on a date?” Jared asked.
“I was thinking of a summer wedding. Not this year, but maybe next year? It would give us time to get settled with your career and everything.” Andrea took a sip of her drink. “What were your thoughts on an engagement party?”
“Oh that would be fun. It would be nice to get everybody together, wouldn’t it?”
“Exactly! And I’d really like our families to meet, properly.”

They were almost ready to leave when they spotted Erica and Alexander sitting at a table on the other side of the restaurant. “Mum?” Andrea called in astonishment. “Dad? What are you two doing here?”
Erica’s laugh tinkled in the air. “Andrea darling, what a lovely coincidence! How lovely to see you both tonight!”
“We were delighted to hear your news, you two.” Alexander said warmly. “Very delighted!”
Andrea smiled. It meant a lot to her that Jared got along so well with both her parents.

Andrea really wanted to do her bit within her little community. Ellie’s dedication to her cause inspired Andrea all the time, so she made a point of heading over to the new community centre to cast her vote on it’s next use. It was all very exciting to really feel a part of the community!

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