Life Is Never Straightforward…And Ethan’s Life Just Got A Little More Complicated.
Spring, Year 5
Ethan waited nervously for the outcome. He was at the bank, hoping to get an approval for a mortgage. He and Hollie had agreed after Jareth was born that they needed a larger house. Their cottage wasn’t big enough for two children and they’d seen the perfect house in Newcrest, next door to the Stantons. All they needed was the mortgage and they’d be good to go.
“Congratulations, Mr Richmond. You’ve been granted the mortgage you requested.” The bank smiled at Ethan, who was visibly relieved.
“Hollie’s going to be so pleased,” he thought as he thanked the banker and stood up.
Moving house was going to be a bit stressful but it was also quite exciting. Hollie had been surprisingly calm about the entire idea, ever since she’d had Jareth.
Getting cash out, Ethan found himself thinking about Daisy and quickly stopped himself. He hadn’t seen much of her since Christmas and he wasn’t sure whether he’d imagined the attraction between them or not. Then he felt terrible; here is was, having just secured the mortgage for the new house for him and his wife and he was thinking about another woman.
It wasn’t long before they were settled in their new home. Hollie was extremely efficient at getting the house organised and it very quickly started to feel homely.
With a new house, Hollie was determined to get out of her rut. She’d started doing some dance workouts on the television in her spare time. She’d read about them being good for motivation and energy and with two young children and a demanding job, she needed all the energy she could get.
Ethan looked proudly down at his son. In spite of their financial situation and the fact that this baby had arrived at the wrong time for a multitude of reasons, it was still lovely looking down at his baby son and feeling excited for his future; whatever it might be.
It was Easter and little Jenna was very excited. She couldn’t wait to search the garden for Easter Eggs and especially for the visit from the Flower Bunny later!
She didn’t have to wait too long, either. It was still nice and early when the Flower Bunny arrived at the house and Jenna was the first to greet her. She was very excited; she loved flowers and Easter was such a pretty time.
Hollie was pleased too. She’d been hoping to have a decent flower bed, so Flower Bunny’s floral gifts were going to be the perfect start.
Hollie had even made the effort to get some flower arrangements dotted around the house, to make everywhere feel cheerful for the onset of spring. She had a good feeling about the new house. It was bigger, plenty of space for the children and a lovely garden.
Jenna’s Easter was going very well. She and Flower Bunny became close friends and she even got to see her Aunt Daisy, who’d called round to see her family.
Ethan was delighted to see Daisy.
“I didn’t think you’d come today!” Ethan said, surprised as he pulled Daisy into a hug.
“Where’s Hollie?” She asked.
“She’s upstairs with Jareth,” he replied casually. “Don’t worry.”
“Ethan, stop!” Daisy giggled. “Hollie might find out!”
“Argh.” Ethan sighed as he hugged Daisy again. “Don’t. Don’t make me feel guilty.”
“Sorry.” Daisy bit her lip but her thoughts scattered as Ethan kissed her neck.
“Shit!” Ethan hissed suddenly. “It’s Gerald.”
Daisy gulped as they watched Gerald walking past with Cherie. “What’s he doing here?” She whispered.
“Maybe he followed you? Do you think he suspects something?” Ethan asked.
Shrugging, Daisy watched with surprise as Gerald walked straight past the house and down the road. “I don’t think he even saw us,” she said, relief flooding through her.
Ethan touched Daisy lightly on the shoulder and she turned round. To her great surprised, Ethan kissed her passionately.
“Woah.” She murmured. “Ethan, I-”
“I know.” Ethan rested his forehead lightly on Daisy’s. “I know you’re going to ask about Hollie. I don’t know, Daisy. I love you both.” He stroked the side of her face. “I want this to work but I don’t want to hurt Hollie, either.”
“Okay.” Daisy nodded. She could tell Ethan was waiting for more, so she kissed him instead.
A few days passed with Ethan feeling generally nervous in case Hollie suspected anything. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to have done and by the middle of the following week, Ethan began to relax.
Hollie had been wanting to get a cat for ages but with a lack of space in their old house, it just wasn’t practical. In a fit of guilt over his affair with Daisy, Ethan agreed for them to adopt a cat.
“One cat. I know that’s what I said,” Ethan said with surprise. He’d come home from work to spot three kittens running into the hall. “Why are there three cats in this house, Hollie?”
“Oh Ethan, I just couldn’t resist them!” Hollie said. “They have the most adorable faces, look!”
He had to admit, they were all endearing. “Okay,” he replied, laughing. “You know what, why not? We’ve got the space and they’ll be company for each other.”
“There you are!” Andrea said cheerfully as she jogged over to Hollie. She’d invited her friends out to the community centre in the city to browse the market. Hollie had been looking forward to getting out of the house. Everything was unpacked but she still felt incredibly tired and a bit stifled.
“Sorry I’m late! I needed to get Jareth settled before I came out.” Hollie stifled a yawn as she dismounted her bike. “Ethan’s got some work to do from home, so I needed the children settled before I left the house.”
Andrea grinned. “Domestic bliss, eh?”
“You could call it that.” Hollie grimaced. “Come on, let’s go and have a look at this market.”
“Okay, here we are!” Andrea grinned. “Knock yourselves out!”
Hollie glanced around the market. She was pleased to see some of her friends, Emily, Justina and Cristina, had come out too.
“I haven’t been here for over a year,” Cristina remarked. “Hasn’t changed much.”
“It wouldn’t,” Andrea replied. “Most of the people living around here don’t bother voting when the opportunity comes up.”
Justina felt everyone looking at her. “I’m not home that much!” She defended herself. “I have a demanding job!”
“Bodybuilder? Can’t you do that from home?” Cristina asked, eyebrows raised.”
“Demanding hobby then.” Justina laughed. “The Philharmonic takes some time, you know!”
Hollie let their gentle banter wash over her and she strolled around the market. There were some enticing energy drinks at the stalls and she decided to buy some; they could come in handy at home!
Cristina insisted on treating everyone to a meal at the spice festival when they’d finished browsing the market. Hollie decided that spicy food was definitely too hot.
“I haven’t eaten spicy food for a few years,” she confessed as her eyes watered. “Not since mine and Ethan’s first anniversary, actually.”
Cristina smiled. “That’s sweet, he brought you to the festival for your anniversary!”
“Not quite.” Hollie winced. “Actually, he was at work. Jared and Andrea invited me out and Ethan joined us later.”
“Oh.” Cristina wondered if love really was quite what it was cracked up to be. She’d thought Hollie and Ethan were the most adorable couple but lately she’d been sensing something different. Maybe she was right to keep Daniel at arm’s length.
Back at home, Jenna was playing happily with the kittens. She’d come to adore them quite quickly and played with them all the time. She kept insisting to anyone who’d listen that they were her best friends.
The move had come at just the right time. Hollie felt content as she played with the cats one evening, listening to Ethan reading to Jenna. Everything seemed to have slotted neatly into place for her. Her work, her friends, her family. Everything was going to be all right.