Aria had already left for work, and Jose, hoping to have a shower and head out, got a cold shock. Icy water spurted out of the shower head, then sprayed through the pipe connection, over the shower door to the floor, Jose let out a high-pitched scream as the water hit his bare skin. Drying himself off, and wearing nothing but his kiss me boxers, Jose tackled the shower with a wrench, replacing the rubber washer and tightening up the pipes. With brash confidence Jose decided to tackle the dripping tap, it responded stubbornly as it changed from an annoying drip to a fountain. Jose’s cocky attitude was replaced with frustration as he hit the faucets a few times, stepping back, soaked from the multiple showers; he tried to calm his fraying nerves. It took most of his day to repair and clean up the bathroom leaving him rushing to meet his article deadline. He disappointingly had to use some stock photos, resulting in his manager sent him an e-mail, reprimanding his efforts.
The two bed cottage was perfect until Jose’s job started to change, the amount of clutter encroaching on their living space, particularly the kitchen table. It was permanently covered in photos of upcoming styles, notes on new trends and idea’s for children’s stories. Aria’s growing collection of gym equipment had to be stored outside, not great when the rain came, and they were fighting against the wind to cover it with tarpaulin. They were both sleeping in her mother’s old room at the back of the house, leaving her old bedroom unused. Desperate for more space, Aria cleared out all the furniture, adding photos of her siblings, and their own wedding day. She purchased a treadmill and desk so that they could train and work together, freeing up their living room for all the Major Chord gatherings.
Aria would run for hours, listening to Jose talk about his latest article, or read excerpts from his upcoming book “The Clue of the Invisible Turnip”. He had taken up photography, trying to capture the world around them, his images inspiring him to write children’s books. This latest offering was linked to the vegetable garden Aria had created to the side of their house. There was very little growing in it, the odd neglected leaf sprouting up from the ground did not make for an appetising lunch. Aria joked it was work in progress, and that soon she would be filling their stomachs with homegrown produce and their future offspring would be happy and healthy because of it. Having quit the team Aria thought she would have more time to give to the plants, but being a personal trainer demanded more of her time as she struggled to build her client base.
One of her first victims was her brother Wesley, the catering industry was full of temptation and he had to experiment with the dishes, which meant consuming them as well. His once flat stomach was getting a slightly rounder, so he made the perfect guinea pig for Aria to practice her mentoring and motivational skills. They kick-started his health regime with a gentle mobility warm-up and a short session on the treadmill. Having upped her game on the punch bag, Aria took Wesley through a few rounds, shouting commands, interjecting tuck jumps, burpees and push-ups into the mix. Wesley pictured a big juicy steak, fresh steamed broccoli and carrots and a huge helping of roast potatoes, cooked in duck fat, fluffy crisp, delicious. Aria could see his distraction, pushing out an extra few burpees to make sure he earned his fantasy meal. Wesley moaned over the next few days about the heavy feeling in his arms, walking stiffly around the kitchen prompting weird looks from the other staff. There was no denying he was beginning to feel better, but perhaps Aria could pick on someone her own size next time she needed a client.
In three generations, the Grace family had remained single, marriage never seemed to have been on the cards for any of them until Aria. Their fathers were never a part of their lives and none of them ever knew why, Leonne had not spoken about them, although it was guessed Buffy-Anne’s father had been her real love, but had broken her heart, and Leonne failed to commit to anyone new. For Aria’s siblings, a man that not only wanted to marry their sister but raise a family with her came with amazement and confusion. Until the wedding, the siblings assumed Aria would give her life to just raising children like their mother, grandmother and great grandmother, but the love the young couple had was affecting and changing the whole dynamic. No-one was sure how to deal with someone outside the family, becoming a part of it for more than a brief moment. Wesley was nominated as the spokesperson for the family, pushed forward to discover more about Jose.
Wesley wanted to portray the concerned big brother, arming himself with questions about Jose’s intentions, can he support Aria once the babies start coming? after all, Wesley assumed they would have a large unruly brood. He wondered what Jose’s thoughts were on managing conflict, did they communicate or were they subject to whimsical fantasies that meant they never really dealt with what they were feeling? Regardless of Wesley’s questions Jose showed himself to be a genuine guy, he wasn’t perfect, he loved Aria and wanted to make her happy, they had some differences of opinion when they should do things, in particular starting a family, but everything was open for discussion. Jose pulled the conversation away from his marriage to discover more about Wesley as a person, they debated the use of paprika during cooking, and the delicate texture of the space tacos they were both indulging in. At the end of the meal Jose had Wesley in stitches; the waiters glanced at the men, regarding them with disdain at the disturbance. Still laughing they left the restaurant, Wesley forgot all about his fears for his younger sister believing that she had something good, a love that was making him and Tara envious.