A Carth Onasi origins story.
Popular for Mrs. Valara Onasi, certainly. Of course, it had been quite literal the past week with the move from Corellia to Telos, but such was life. She hadn't thought that one single hour would make such a horrible difference, but while it appeared simple enough to acclimate three boys to a new sleep schedule, she had the feeling that it would take longer for her to catch up.
While the lanterns dimmed and extinguished in nearby properties, Val stayed up and claimed the sound of the crickets made it impossible to sleep. It was downright surprising what could be accomplished with one extra hour if a body put their mind to it. A load of laundry, fiddling with the local produce to guarantee that next morning's breakfast wouldn't be a total disaster, patching up the hole in her youngest's trousers that she had dramatically declared, "I do not even want to begin considering what you had to have been up to in order to tear out the entire seat of your pants!"
Given the frantic, wide-eyed stare that garnered from Tam, Val was fairly sure she'd stick to her original statement.
Sometimes, it made her wonder if three girls would have been easier. Girls were supposed to break their father's heart and leave their dear old mother out of that equation. And if the desire to harm arose, girls supposedly would try to cut with words and not a pair of garden shears. Then again, judging from those beastly Durgen sisters a property over, maybe that was just a misconception.
Thankfully, none of her boys were old enough to start dating a Durgen just yet. Val was going to have to keep her fingers crossed for the time being, do her damnedest to raise them right and learn to keep her mouth shut in the instance that one of them did bring a Durgen into her home.
Now the Sobusks, they were nice. And the Reumars seemed like decent folk. Maybe she'd be able to arrange dinner with them sometime. One of her arguments for moving had been to avoid the cramped confines of the big cities in Corellia, but she hadn't anticipated how isolated and lonely Telos could feel. Especially when she was wide awake while everyone else slept.
On the upside, without the hum of engines and businesses open all 25 hours of the day, it was quiet. Quiet enough to hear little footsteps pad downstairs towards the kitchen and to further cement the belief that mother really did have eyes in the back of her head and knew everything you were thinking and planning on doing.
"Carth, what are you doing up at this hour?"
Immediately, the footsteps shuffled to a halt. "Maybe I'm Arod."
Val felt herself smiling. "You know Arod wouldn't bother sneaking around." And Tam would be so loud and clumsy while tip-toeing the boy would have a better chance of going unnoticed by simply walking. "Why are you still awake, Carth?"
"I tried," her son said as he came into the kitchen. "I just couldn't sleep."
She nodded. "You're going to be miserable in the morning, you know."
"Yeah." He took a seat at the table. "I know."
"And you're going to school no matter how tired you'll be," she said.
"I know." He sighed and raked his hands through the tufts of wild brown hair on his head. "When's Dad coming back?"
"Four days." A weekend husband. Weekend father. Never in her life would Val have ever said that was a wise decision, but at the moment letting Eyan commute so they could afford an actual house instead of an efficiency seemed like the best option. In the long run, at least.
At present, her eldest had decided the new family arrangement meant an imminent divorce and would put aside any conversation in favor of icy glares. Little Tam was no better with the way he would come home from school with torn clothes and bruises as he announced that he'd gotten into a fistfight with one of the schoolgirls like it was something to brag about. And then there was Carth.
He'd never been much of a troublemaker. But his grades had skyrocketed since the move. Under normal circumstances, a good thing, but Val was beginning to suspect that all the time Carth had been putting into his schoolwork would've been spent socializing and making friends back on Corellia.
She'd decided she'd give him a month to ease into things before she pulled out the any characteristic overbearing, worrywart mother moves. Unfortunately, that had so far turned into her obsessively marking off days on the calendar. Eighteen more days and Psycho Mom could emerge to nag her son into opening up to her.
"That's a long time," Carth said.
"It's only four more days." In a row. Then they had two days as a family, followed by another five days, repeat as necessary. She had a gut feeling that Arod would be counting precisely how many days of fatherless time he endured so that he could try to use it as a bargaining chip in the future. She was also of the feeling that she just might let Arod have whatever he wanted, so long as he only thought less of her and not his father.
"That's a really long time," Carth murmured.
"Yeah." Val opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of blue milk. "But it'll make the weekends that much more precious."
"I guess." The boy had her eyes. But where she and her eldest had spent their tiny lifetimes perfecting steely gazes, Carth preferred to let his sincerity shine through them. Right now, they just looked sad. "Mom? Will we ever get to go home again?"
She poured a glass of milk and set it in front of him. "Carth, we moved."
"We could always move back." By the way his voice trailed up at the end, she was certain he knew he was reaching.
"We could," she said. "But we're not going to."
"I know." Carth frowned.
"It's going to be tough." Val pulled up a seat beside him. "It's tough for me, too. But you know, you're going to get used to this place soon and then it'll be home and Corellia'll be the weird place."
He looked up at her with those big brown eyes. Her eyes. He was using her eyes against her. It made her want to laugh. The expression on his face told her that he thought she was insane. "Okay."
Maybe he was right; maybe she was crazy. Children would do that to a person. She smiled. Tomorrow she could cross off another day on the calendar and then it would be seventeen days before concerned, nagging Psycho Mom made an appearance. Sixteen if she was feeling really anxious about his behavior. "You need to get to bed. I'm going to wake you up in less than seven hours."
"I need to drink my blue milk, first." His fingers played with the perspiration on the glass.
Val just raised a single eyebrow. That sent Carth gulping at the milk as fast as he could.
When he finished, he set the glass clattering down on the tabletop. She nodded. "Bedtime, sweetness."
"Night, Mom." And under her steady gaze, he trudged away from the table and up to bed.
She wondered if anything took. He hadn't seemed too impressed with their little chat and the one thing a body could never account for in terms of childrearing was a child's personality. She supposed that sometimes the most she could do was be consistent and hope like hell she was a decent enough person to provide an example for her sons.
And for all their quirks, they were really good boys. Whether it was Arod trying to guard his younger brothers from their parents' imaginary divorce or Carth's willingness to put everyone before himself. Or even Tam making his mother a bouquet out of the neighbor's flower garden. Their intentions were always well-meant. That was more than Val could say for some other peoples' children, but then she had to admit that she was biased.
It wasn't like she could help it that her boys were simply better than anyone else's. Val snickered as she flicked off the lights and headed to bed.