Elmire’s father may have been trying to monopolize his daughter’s time and affection, but the toddler had another parent who cared for her, her mother. Neither parent thought to tempt fate by asking their daughter, “Who do you like better?” They weren’t competing—but neither would have objected if Elmire “somehow” came to express a slight preference in their favor.
Honestly, Elmire didn’t have a preference. She liked her parents equally, even if her father sometimes made her angry. Regardless, it was Adelise’s turn to watch Elmire and even though Adelise wasn’t as heavy-handed as Asher when it came to Elmire’s education, she was just as devoted to making sure her daughter had every advantage she could think to give her.
Adelise lightly tossed Elmire into the air after a bath because Elmire wanted Adelise to help her fly. They also read a book together because Elmire wanted to hear a story.
But the blocks! Elmire was particular about her blocks, and wanted to stack them alone by herself with no help! The toddler was puzzled as to why no one but her seemed to understand how to arrange them properly by sound since everyone knew how to arrange them by color and number, and they’d taught Elmire to do the same. Sound was just as important and the sounds of the blocks touching one another needed to match.
As a perfectionist, Adelise was disappointed that she failed her daughter’s sound test, but not taking this particular failure to heart, Adelise wondered if Elmire would always be so fiery about certain things or if that fire would simmer out. Elmire’s older siblings had largely relaxed as they aged. Thinking of which…
Adelise sighed. Her children aging while she didn’t wasn’t something she wanted to think about, but Cora and Chelsea had lived well… And Dawn had grown from an Elmire-sized toddler into a woman who would marry someone she loved. That was wonderful and better than what Adelise had managed.
Adelise hadn’t loved her husband on their wedding day. She wasn’t sure if she’d even liked him then. The period of their engagement had been rocky because of Asher’s braindead scandalous behavior but not to the extent that either had wanted to cancel their engagement. Later, as in several lifetimes later, if Adelise were feeling courageous, she might ask him if he regretted his decision to keep his promise to her, but now she didn’t want to know. Asher had really been an idiot with an EQ of 0 or .0000019 if she were being generous—she had honestly been cheerful, easy to get along with, and just as ambitious as him, but he had still managed to piss her off, so to others, even people he “liked”, he must have been… Anyway, despite the drama leading up to it, the day of her actual wedding had been a good one. Adelise had felt so relieved (and happy).
Now, she and Asher were friends who enjoyed each other’s company, but still were not necessarily in love, especially not passionate romantic love. But Dawn had that and stability for which Adelise was glad.
After a romp outside and hours of not seeing a certain someone who was always around, Elmire let herself into Asher’s office to talk with him about her day. He was glad to see his smallest “genius” and didn’t mind when she left her dirty bowl on his desk. He or one of his employees would clean it up later.