A Few Hours Later
Downtown San Myshuno | San Myshuno
One thing Salim was really good with was Camilla and making her feel things — good things — especially when her mood was anything but positive. When she was stuck in that cycle of discouragement and self-doubt, he always had the right combination of words to get her back on track, right where she needed to be. Another thing he was just as good with was taking tough discussions and making them feel easy — like casual conversations almost — while somehow still managing to get his point across and them to some kind of understanding. It was because of this special skill set of his, that they were done talking about the responsibility-secret-keeping thing, done making up, done showering, done making up again — and out the house in under two and a half hours.
The drive Downtown though — wasn’t as easy. The roads were flooded with cars and traffic moved at a snail’s pace. It was just as bad at the baby store too. Lines wrapped around the registers, customers, strollers, shopping carts at every single turn — basically your typical last minute holiday shopping chaos.
It was like every San Myshuno resident was out getting gifts for their kids or other people’s kids, probably buying everything they could think of in hopes of giving them the best Winterfest possible. It’s what Salim wanted for the girls too — the best first Winterfest possible and now that gifts were out the way, there was just one more thing he needed to make that happen — he just had to run it by Camilla first …
Salim: So you know how Winterfest falls on our day, right?
Camilla: Yeah- they’re still coming, aren’t they?
Salim: Yeah, of course … but I was wondering though … how do you feel about sharing the day with Aahana?
Their arrangement for the girls was pretty simple. They lived with Aahana during the week and with Salim and Camilla on the weekends. Holidays were different though — something they agreed to discuss as they came up. The first one was spent with Aahana, leaving him free to go to Brindleton Bay with Camilla, but the next one — the biggest one — just happened to fall on his day and even though it was his time, and they had just spent the whole week with their mom, he didn’t want her to miss out on such a huge event in their lives.
Camilla: You mean like half the day with us and the other half with her?
Salim: [shakes head] No, I mean, everybody at our house.
Camilla: … Okay … that’s fine, we can … do that …
But he also didn’t want Camilla to feel uncomfortable in her own house and if her demeanor was any indication of how she was really feeling — she wasn’t okay with it.
Salim, dismissive: You know what- we can just figure something else out- just … forget I brought it up-
Camilla: No, it’s fine, really. It’s their first Winterfest so she should be there … I know she doesn’t want to miss it.
Salim: You sure? Cause I understand if you’re not really up for it.
She wasn’t … really sure how she felt about it. Her relationship, for lack of better words, with Aahana was okay, but that was because they were in separate cities, only communicating briefly about the girls during pick ups and drop offs. Spending an entire day together though — existing in the same space for an unspecified amount of time — was a whole different story and even though they settled their differences that day at the hospital, she still didn’t know what to expect.
Camilla: [smiles] I’m sure. I want her to come. It’s just one more person anyway so it’ll be fine.
Salim: [kisses her forehead] So what can I do for you since you’re doing this for me?
Camilla: [smiles widely] Well, I do have a Winterfest wish-list for Sephora I can send you or would you rather the H&M one? Actually, [points ahead] Bath and Body Works is right over there we can just-
Salim: [laughs] No, see I already got your gift so we’re done shopping for a good while.
Camilla, excited: What did you get me? Is that what you were looking for in the mail today?
Salim: You want to talk about what you got in the mail today or you want to wait for Winterfest to find out?
Camilla: … I’ll … wait for Winterfest.
Salim: [laughs] That’s what I thought.
Later that Evening
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno
One quick call to Aahana and just as Salim predicted — she was on board with the whole Winterfest thing — even offered to bring a dish or drinks or something. What he didn’t see in that prediction though was a call from Nura — not even 30 minutes later — wanting to know why she hadn’t received an invitation to this Winterfest event being hosted by him and the mystery woman whom she still had yet to meet.
Admittedly, he was keeping Nura away — just until he was sure she could behave herself — that she wouldn’t use meeting Camilla as an opportunity to run her off in hopes of pushing him and Aahana back together. So far though, she was doing good. Not one mention of marriage or her idea of family or anything since the girls were born. Maybe she was ready …
Salim: Come here [pulls her over]. I want to ask you something else.
Salim: So … you know what we talked about earlier with Winterfest and Aahana, right?
Camilla, hesitant: … Yeah?
Salim: How do you feel … about … one more guest?
Camilla: … Okay … who?
Salim: My mom.
Camilla: Oh …
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