I’ll be the first to finish college in my family in fifty years. Ambrea got her degree almost ninety years ago. Back when the college was new. None of us has made it back to college since, other than the writing classes Alaun occasionally audits under an assumed name to protect her privacy.
Everyone always wants to ask her about demons. And if she’d ever fed an Incubi.
My sister writes books; that doesn’t mean people can invade her privacy, asking those sorts of questions.
I…after my graduation from high school, I enrolled. Made it to my junior year on a part-time schedule while I worked in the laundry department at the resort. Woalds are not afraid to work. And we work hard.
I had to quit after a few years—my job hours conflicted with school, and to be frank, my family needed the money at the time. I quit college and picked up a second job for a while.
Well, for a few decades, actually. I got in the routine of working, of living paycheck to paycheck mostly, while I waited for what my future held. At the time I started working, I assumed like most of us that I would one day find my mate, and then the two of us would evaluate our lives together and what we wanted to do next. After I learned I didn’t have a mate, I just focused on earning a living and trying to forget for a while.
That’s when I turned to my pottery. It helped distract me.
My parents died the day Alleah was born. Everything changed then. Ambrea took guardianship; I started working even longer hours to help out.
Kellis joined the town police force—and got massively laughed at—eventually becoming one of the few females on the force, mostly so that they had someone to deal with human females if the time came. Riv went to work at the library forty years ago. She’s been a clerk ever since. We’re not like humans—there isn’t a lot of job turnover in Dardanos. Jobs—especially for unmated females—can be difficult to find.
We Woald are destined to be servants or clerks or administrative assistants. We work hard, though.
Julea was in her last year of high school when my parents died. She still had five years until she was of age. I took guardianship of her then. Legally. It was mostly just a technicality. She wasn’t going anywhere anyway. But I made sure she knew I wasn’t going anywhere either. I wasn’t going to leave her, no matter what.
We all stick together here. We’ve always been close.
We all agreed she was going to finish high school, no matter what. As soon as she did, she found a job as a clerk in a second-cousin’s grocery store, and helped Ambrea with her seamstress work when it was needed. Julea is very creative with fabric and thread; she’ll go far one day with her creations.
We all pitched in to take care of the babe. Diapers and formula for orphaned babes are extremely expensive. We ended up eventually using cloth.
Alaun and I pitched in and bought the cloth diapers we needed.
We Woalds know how to make things happen.
We made it through. I saved some money over the last eight years, and now here I am.
Hopefully, I won’t screw this up. It’s starting to mean too much for me to do that.