Ep was pregnant too, of course, following his previous abduction. Nobody in the family was surprised when he too developed that baby belly.
On the other hand, the family did ask that Ep only use the pool when the rest of them weren't around. It was just kind of ... distracting.
Sorcha didn't have the same problem, of course.
"Now, kids, the nursery is still there, of course, and once the baby arrives it won't be that much different. We'll just convert the nursery over into a bedroom once the baby is old enough. If Sorcha's gone to college by then, her room will be freed up too."
Gee, thanks, Sorcha thought. Glad to know you'll miss me so much. But soon she'd go to college and find someone who'd love her more than anything else. She knew it.
"Ep?" Sebastian asked. For some reason, the kids used "Dad" to refer to different parents: for Sorcha, "Dad" was Ep, and for Sebastian, it was Komei. The other parent got called by his given name. "Ep, what are you doing with the aliens when you come back like this?"
Komei did not help Ep with this awkward moment. "Well, um, you see... the aliens and I..."
"You're kissing, aren't you? Ewwww! Gross!"
"Now see here, Sebastian!"
"I can't believe you're getting all mushy with aliens! Bleagh!"
Finally Komei stepped in. "Sebastian, that's enough. You'll understand more when you're older."
The next day - Saturday - Sebastian brought up the alien question again, while Ep was sleeping in. "Dad? The aliens - they won't come to get me, will they?"
"Of course not, kiddo. They only go after people who look for 'em through telescopes."
"But Epsilon won't let us get rid of our telescope, and..."
"It'll be all right, Sebastian. I'll talk with him again about getting rid of it."
(Note that Sorcha got rid of the blush, and it helped!)
And later that day, Sorcha brought up college to her dads. "Dad, Komei - as you know, I want to go to Fiesta Tech after high school."
"Fiesta Tech?" Ep wondered. "What's wrong with the Academie?" He'd always hoped Sorcha might marry one of Eric Serling's boys - then there'd be a reason for him to get close to Eric without resorting to peeping through the 'scope.
"The Academie has everyone I already know," Sorcha said. "I'm tired of the same old crowd. Maybe if I go to Fiesta Tech, I'll meet some new people, make some new friends."
"Sorcha," Komei said gently, "Don't forget that you have to be friendly yourself."
"I know, Komei," Sorcha said, exasperated. "But I really want to give Fiesta Tech a try. They're used to weird - I mean, unusual kids, like me."
College, Ep thought as everyone else finished eating. My little girl... oh well, as long as she returns to the Outskirts, there's still a chance she'll marry a Serling boy.
College, Sorcha thought. And who knows, maybe I'll find the man of my dreams there, and we'll settle down in a nice place and have six kids. I'd like that.
All too soon it was time for Ep to undergo his own reproductive surgery. By this time, Vicky Serling was too pregnant to help with any deliveries, but she told Komei what to do and had the Respites and recovery booth sent over by courier.
The birth took place in a dim room - Ep had read that bright lights weren't good for newborns' eyes, not that that had bothered him much when Sorcha was born. At any rate, after Ep was all fixed up and ready to go, Komei turned the lights back up, and they finally got a good look at baby girl Maddox.
"Um... Ep." Komei pointed. "The baby is... green."
"I can see that, Komei."
"Green. Alien-green. Not-quite-Troll-green."
"Your point, Komei?"
"I guess this means you got probed by some other alien this time?"
To be continued, and here's a teaser: