It had been a difficult situation, workmen trampled through the house, scaring the cats, waking Milly and leaving muddy boot prints for Vicky to clean. Ziva reassured her the place would be beautiful and perfect, the ideal space to raise their daughter. The opportunity to stay with Emile, from this perspective, was a welcome change; she wished the circumstances were happier. Milly’s birthday passed uncelebrated as the family feared for Eliza’s whereabouts. Rylan dismissed the notion of its affect on Milly since she was a year old; Vicky and Ziva found little comfort, knowing they failed to do something extra special.
The bedroom in pastel hues completed with excellent timing, as another sleepless night next to a wriggling toddler took its toll. Milly exclaimed; her green eye grew large at the spaces her mothers created, toys, a bear chair and the view toward the rural aspect of Brindleton Bay. She crawled to the window, fingered the glass as she stood, pointing at birds. Libby pulled uncomfortable into her arms, the cats front paws ridged against the glass, as her back paws, reaching for the floor, danced as Milly swayed.
Their beautiful daughter smiled, her tongue licking her gums, waiting for her front teeth to come through. Her hair, thick ginger curls, kept short after a knotting incident saw her in tears for hours. It was those eyes that sucker-punched the people in her life; Milly could charm anyone with a look; disciplining her would be difficult. Ziva believed it unimaginable that Milly would ever be naughty, but it took a few minutes for her to get Vicky’s paints and dispense them; the cats watched from a safe distance unimpressed as Fiona rolled in the mess. The girl squealed delighted, followed by dramatic tears as Ziva dealt with the naughty behaviour and wrestling her into the bath.
Milly’s days were full of mini-adventures; her best friend was Libby, the cat had little choice in the matter, but her tolerance for hugs and imitation meant she remained the favourite. Her first meal is some fish and chips Ziva made. She had blocks to build, stairs to climb, places to hide and worry her mummies, and food; she loved eating. Whatever her mummies were having, Milly wanted some; from the moment they introduced her to solids, she wanted to try everything. Fish and Chips was her favourite; the crunchy batter gave way to soft silky cod or haddock if Ziva was home. When contrasted with the salty taste of the chips with their crispy shell and fluffy middle, it was magic. It held her attention, the fun, squeezing textures through fingers, tearing them apart, much of it landed on the floor or her clothes. Vicky grinned, wondering if Ziva had the same fascination when she was small; since no one could remember, she liked the idea, wanting Ziva to feel she had a familiar influence on who Milly would become.
Ziva worked late, missing bedtimes; she would sneak in to watch her daughter, hoping those dreams were peaceful. Milly preferred Vicky’s storytelling, and her closeness to her meant she pouted when Ziva attempted to read. Perched on the bear chair, Ziva listened to her wife make all the animal voices, bringing the story to life. The scene brought heartache, and yet, it swelled with love as she watched the two women, lucky she had everything. A phone call interrupted, Rylan sobbed, his words dripped with anger and frustration as another lead failed to conclude in Eliza’s discovery. She wanted a way to ease her brother’s suffering, her efforts to find Eliza through her computer network were useless since Eliza had remained offline. Ziva had been through their email correspondence, handed it to the police to see if she missed any vital clues, breadcrumbs for them to follow, but nothing transpired.
Sorrow came for Ziva; her long time friend Arian had died. The death appeared sudden, an unnecessary waste of life, he was a few years older, but the news shocked her as he died in his sleep; there were no warnings or signs. His wife requested the funeral be for family, and friends should mourn him another way. Ziva pushed her dumplings, the sauce dripped, pooling on the table, her father died young, a similar age to Arian; neither her brother nor herself had lived the healthiest of lives, what if she were to go, to die leaving Vicky and Milly. She stabbed the dumpling, staring as it broke, falling to the plate; Ziva had lost her appetite, the beautiful meal overshadowed by what had come to pass and what might be. Vicky held her hand, the joy which blessed them, Ziva found herself unable to reconcile with the grief that came; it made her guilty for being so happy.