Shira Pelletier is a professor in Addergoole, whose youngest daughter Megan (a 1st Cohort student, and thus no longer in school in Year Five, when the story starts) is a constant disappointment and frustration to her. Chandra and Carrig are Megan’s children.
For more on these characters during Year Five, see Motherhood
Addergoole, Year 21
Shira had had one year of quiet, true quiet, in her house.
Megan came and went, flitting back and forth to her mother’s house when the latest job or boyfriend or get-rich-quick scheme failed, when her father got sick of her, or when she just wanted to hide and cry. Her children stayed with Shira, growing up into, she hoped, decent human beings despite their mother’s choice in fathers for them.
Chandra was seventeen when she “left” for Addergoole, moving out of her grandmother’s house and into the school next door; when her brother left two years later, he was sixteen. Shira’s granddaughter, who had learned to be responsible very early, struggling against Megan’s flightiness, managed to stay childless for those two years, and Shira, for the first time, had spent some private time getting to know her quiet, introverted grandson.
As much as she’d enjoyed that, she’d reveled in the quiet. Megan had moved into her house like a whirlwind after school, her two young children and all her trains of drama in tow; for sixteen years, Shira had worked her life around the stranger she’d given birth two and her children. She couldn’t help but celebrate the peace and quiet.
She held parties. She invited over new lovers and old, including a couple former students who, now in their thirties, were reasonably safe lovers for her (she wasn’t VanderLinden, to sleep with children. She’d never stoop to that. Thirty, thirty-three, that was a different matter, never mind when they were younger than her daughter). She’d managed to get pregnant, again, something she’d been fairly certain she’d never do.
She was staring at the stick (try technology first, then ask Caitrin. No need to alarm the nice Doctor if it was nothing but a mood swing out of nowhere) when her youngest daughter pounded on the door, a tiny son in her arms.
She was balancing her latest grandchild – he had a lovely head of curly black hair and, although Megan was staying mum on the topic of fathers, his name at least wasn’t Shad or Chad or anything like that. Marco she could live with – and talking quietly with Dr. Caitrin when Chandra came home early for their Sunday dinner. She had that pale green-tinged look that Shira recognized from the mirror.
Seven months later, juggling a daughter, a grandson, and a great-granddaughter, Shira decided that peace was overrated. For the first time in her life, she also decided to hire a nanny.
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