Generation Two: Percival Thiago
Chapter Three: Unexpected
Percy and Val might not have been on the best terms before Fanchon arrived, but Percy put his worries behind him about Val’s seeming disinterest in the baby. Now that she was here, Valerie wasn’t talking about traveling anymore, so it didn’t appear to be an issue. The two made up, for the sake of their little family.
Grandpa loved his little grandbaby. Fanchon already seemed to be a bit of a Grampy’s girl, in Ian’s opinion at least.
After work one day Percy went out to dinner with his high school friend Jan Mendoza. She’d gotten married a little over a month ago, and he wasn’t able to attend because he was in the hospital with Fanchon, so he bought her dinner to make up for it. While they were out Jan revealed she was pregnant. Percy was very happy for her, and hoped that once their children were old enough, Jan’s baby and Fanchon would be able to have play dates.
Valerie wasn’t doing a very good job attending to her daughter. Judith didn’t mind helping out where she could, but she found that when she was away, it was Ian and not Valerie who took over the role of caretaker. Judith was frustrated, and wished she could be home more, but she had just been elected president. As happy as that made her, the strangeness at home was adding unneeded stress to an already stressful job.
When Percy got home from his dinner with Jan, he found Valerie in tears.
“Honey, come here,” He said soothingly, and pulled her into him. She sobbed into his shoulder for a few minutes before explaining.
“Percy,” She sniffled. “I’m pregnant.”
Percy pulled away a bit to look Val in the eyes. “Really? That’s wonderful!”
Val broke back into sobs. “But… our trip…”
Before long, Fanchon became a toddler. She was a happy little girl, who loved Daddy and Grandpa more than anything. So it seems that Ian was right about her, even from her infancy. As she got older, Valerie got more and more distant from her, and spent most of her time in bed as her pregnancy progressed.
In the middle of the night Valerie’s water broke, 9 weeks before her due date. Percy rushed her to the hospital, where they were unable to delay her labor, and their second baby girl arrived, weighing just three pounds six ounces. Her lungs were under developed, and she needed to learn how to eat, but she did really well and was able to come home after a 36 day NICU stay, which was shorter than her pediatrician had expected.
Tiny little Greer Olivia Thiago came home weighing just under six pounds. Valerie had no say in the name this time, saying she didn’t care. In fact, she hadn’t even picked up her baby since she was taken into the NICU, and appeared to be suffering from severe postpartum depression. She refused to get help, despite Percy’s urging. Percy was so thankful that Ian was retired, because he still needed to work and someone had to take care of the kids, because there mother was so despondent.
When Greer was three months old, Percy decided that he needed to confront Valerie.
“Just hold her,” He pleaded. “She’s your child.”
“Stop it. Stop saying that,” Valerie put up her hand to stall his advancement. “I don’t want this. None of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“This life, two kids and a picket fence. I don’t want it. I wanted to travel, Percy! I wanted to do something more with my life than this!”
“I know, honey, and that can still happen. Just, wait a while.”
“No! I’m not going to play this role any more.”
“I want a divorce,” Val announced.
“Whoa, wait, we can talk about this,” Percy gasped, taken aback.
“Sign the papers. I’m leaving either way.”
“Valerie,” Percy said, at a loss for words.
“I’m done, it’s too late.”
“But Fanchon, and Greer.”
“You’ll have custody, don’t worry about it.”
“They need their mother,” He whispered, losing hope.
And Val got in the car, drove away, and was gone.
Greer, despite not being able to hold up her head yet, seemed to know that something was wrong in the house.
Life had to go on. Percy saw Valerie as they settled with a mediator and their divorce was finalized, but after that she was gone, over seas with no intention of returning. Percy felt strange, as he parented his girls without their mother. It became real when Valerie missed Fanchon’s first steps. Percy emailed her to tell her, but it bounced back.
Meanwhile, President Judith was just trying to get by and do what she could. Most of her time was spent wrestling with congress, trying to get some new environmental protection policies in place, as well as more financial aid for student, but even as she made small progress there, she came home to a stressed out Percy and a stretched thin Ian. Domingo was the only one unaffected.
“It’s not your fault,” Judith told the girls over and over, whenever she got the chance. She didn’t want them to grow up thinking that there was something wrong with them that caused their mother to go. “It’s not your fault.”