From Della To Orlando
I know we have the blessing of technology on our side, but for once I’d like to be old-fashioned. Who can resist the allure of the old paper and pen?
I sit here while you are on location at some film shooting (yes, and I miss you terribly) looking at pictures of the children we made together on a stormy summer night. I know I probably shouldn’t be bringing such an amorous night to your attention, but it’s the end result that counts: our twins. Our little dynamic duo. They would be floored if they knew how much they were loved. (And look at Gus’s adorable little face! Looks just like you. He’s going to break some hearts!)
It takes a special person to do what you do, and I mean that sincerely. Being an actor is an art, an art that you have mastered and will continue to perfect. People will know you for years and years to come. And that is why I want to thank you again for trusting my and Audrey’s insight on the matter of revealing the twins to these people all over the world who admire and adore you. It seems heartless to keep them secret, to play this game of subterfuge with the popular media, but when I flip through magazines and see the miserable faces of celebrity children as their pictures are taken endlessly I never regret the move for an instant. If it means protecting my babies, I’ll do it over and over for multiple reincarnations.
Not to mention, we don’t want to break any hearts, do we? Who knew what would happen if your fans found out their dear Legolas Greenleaf is the father of four-year-old twins (and one on the way)? We’ll ease into it slowly, dear, and someday, we will reveal our little secret. But, until then, it’s ours to keep and cherish.
Take care of yourself. The last thing I want is to have to explain to Aurora and Gus that they lost their dear papa.
Ariel Loves Johnny
December 13. Chelsea, London, England. Penny’s House.
Belle Rose Bloom was a force to be reckoned with, even at the age of two. When she walked in her small tottering steps, she didn’t stop, even if you were in her path. She must have gotten that from her mother, Orlando mused.
Watching her now, he sighed and found himself smiling. Little Belle Rose, whose full name was the brainchild of her supermodel mother, was the newest edition to his beloved family. She had the dark brown hair of her father that tended to curl (as it was, even now, while in pigtails) and the deep blue eyes of her mother and older half-sister. She looked quite tall for two years old, hinting at the tall stature that she inherited from her mother.
“Arabella Rosemarie Aurelia Bloom,” Orlando remarked, idly trying out the name. It had seemed a mouthful at first, but sooner or later everyone got used to it. As if knowing that he was thinking about her, Belle Rose looked up at Orlando and giggled. She had the most heavenly giggle, the prettiest smile. He had fallen headlong in love with her upon first sight.
At that moment, the radio deejay savvily announced the new hit single from the sophomore album of rockstar Aurora Bloom, known to her middle-aged father as the Roaring Bloom. Pride swelled inside of Orlando, and even Belle Rose paused as the opening chords of “Color Me” overtook the sounds of the Road Runner outwitting Wil E. Coyote on the television. Orlando watched Belle Rose for her reaction; a look of bemusement crossed her cherubic features until she recognized the voice coming out of the speakers. She grinned then, and jumped up and down clapping at the sound of Big Sissy on the radio.
To you my body’s not a temple
It’s a blank canvas with room to spare
As if this intricate art is all simple
You throw paint without a care
“Yeah—you hear that, love?” Orlando brought Belle Rose into his lap where she bounced happily. “It’s Sissy on the radio.”
“Sissy!” Belle Rose repeated. She moved along with the music, grooving as much as a two-year-old knew how.
Orlando laughed at her unbridled happiness, filing the memory away to share with Aurora later when they saw each other later on that evening. He didn’t know what they had planned, but he was smart enough to know that they were up to something, and usually when his family was plotting something that had to do with him, Belle Rose’s supermodel mother usually led the pack. It was something he got used to, like the change of the seasons.
And the seasons were subtly changing for him. His eldest daughter currently had the most popular song in the land, and his younger daughter, his Ariel, was nearly done with high school. His son had two blockbusters under his belt and was currently filming a third. If Della had been here with him, she would be so proud of her babies.
Orlando had not seen her since she had forced him to contact Penny, which had been nearly three years ago. They’d had a fight then, and Orlando had felt bad for the things he’d said to her. No matter how many times he had apologized to his bedroom ceiling, she still had not materialized. He had a feeling that she knew that, saw his efforts, but did nothing. For that, Orlando had been irked, but not for very long. It wasn’t like Della to hold a grudge, so why should he? Besides, it was very possible that whatever powers that were made her unable to see him again.
Orlando refolded the note Della had written to him several years before and put in his only copy of As You Like It, as was its usual hiding place. When seventeen-year-old Ariel Bloom entered the room, she saw her little sister in her father’s lap and heard her big sister’s gritty voice laced with guitars and drumbeats filling the room.
The raven-haired seventeen-year-old looked up and smiled at her father. Inside, his heart clutched with pride and grief, but he returned her smile. Ariel’s smile dropped a touch, for she could see some of the sorrow in her father’s eyes.
Ariel sighed unhappily. “Dad…” she began, her tone indicating an admonishment was just round the corner.
“It just hits me hard sometimes, that’s all, love,” Orlando explained. “Sometimes I see you and it’s like looking at a ghost.”
“You still miss her, don’t you?”
Orlando shrugged as Belle Rose squirmed and set the little girl on the floor so she could resume playing with her dolls. “I’ll always miss her, Ariel. That will never change.”
Ariel knelt down to the floor, helping Belle Rose dress her favorite dolly. After a moment, she remarked. “I suppose that’s why you didn’t try to interfere with Aunt Penny’s dating Cameron Byrne because you missed Mom too much.”
Orlando said nothing, for his seventeen-year-old daughter had read him exactly. It was a phenomenon indicative of the time they’d spent together since Aurora and Gus had started their own grown-up lives. Gus, at the moment, was heading in from a movie set in California while Aurora, whose second album was climbing the music charts, was rehearsing for a concert she had that weekend at Killigan’s. Over the past three years or so, Orlando had seen his twin children both a total of six times—quite strange after seeing them everyday.
Penny was now at a doctor’s appointment, an ultrasound for her second child. Penny had discovered that she loved being a mother, and all of the work she had done as a young adult had paved the way for the leisure later on in her life. And she had found a life partner in the attractive and affable Cameron; Orlando, despite his loneliness, could not interfere with what was so clearly meant to be. They shared Belle Rose, and the child was well taken care of. The arrangement suited everyone just fine, and life moved along smoothly. Still, Orlando felt lonesomeness creeping up like a gray cloud in his sunny sky.
“If you want, I can watch Belle,” Ariel said suddenly, jolting him from his thoughts. “You look like you need some rest.”
He almost made a joke about being an old man, but he was too tired. He stood and bent down to kiss her on her dark head. “Thank you, love.”
Della Loves Life
Meanwhile, realms above Orlando’s sleeping form, Adelaide Dakota Henderson found herself called to stand in front of the highest authority in these parts: God.
She had not been expecting a summons from the Great One; for the past three years she had been lying low, peeking in every now and again on the family that in her death she had left behind. She hadn’t popped down to Earth since before Belle Rose’s birth and felt herself missing Orlando more than usual lately. Perhaps the popping down had made things worse, eh?
But she was Della Henderson. She still couldn’t resist, whatever the consequences.
Not to mention, Heaven reminded her very much of Wisteria Lane (without the Melrose-esque drama that went along with it) and it had been making her antsy for seventeen long, arduous years. Who knew suburbia would be boring and grating on the nerves?
Decked out in white (oh yeah, the colors were bland, too), Della sat out in what resembled the waiting area of some swank doctor’s office. Or a day spa where you could get a seaweed wrap or something. A pert blond guy who was too chipper to be straight served as a receptionist. Also in the waiting room with her were a kindly old man that looked as if he had bounced plenty of kids on his knee in his lifetime, a young guy with who looked as if he were better suited down below (way, way down below, if you know what I mean), and a little black girl. The little black girl was coloring in a picture of Penny Proud and idly kicking her feet. Della caught her eye and smiled. When the girl returned the smile, she revealed a missing front tooth. Something in Della’s heart tugged painfully; this had been someone’s child. At least she’d had a chance to live some of her adulthood, and this little girl had not. Della had not been very religious when she had been alive, so the whole concept of God’s “mysterious” ways made no sense to her.
Though, in the back of her mind, she realized this wasn’t exactly the best place to be thinking of this.
“Brice Spencer!” the receptionist called out in his oh-so-jovial voice. “The Lord will see you now.”
Brice Spencer, aka Down Low Guy, rose to his feet, smirking at Della and the little girl with a devil-may-care gleam in his eye. Della raised an eyebrow at his back as he sauntered off.