Milly hit the teenage year with a “Wow”. Her long ginger curls and slender frame reminded Vicky of her youth. The main difference being, by this time, her hair had turned white. Her green eyes and dark complexion showed no signs obvious signs of being Ziva’s relative. It pained Vicky; she hoped Rylan’s genes were strong enough that his twin would shine. They shared a love of Art. Milly had already decided she should dedicate her life to the brilliance of colour. Vicky grimaced at the thought. The refreshed bedroom, suit a growing teen. It might not withstand the flourishes of Milly’s creative flair.
Vicky remained cautious; Milly wanted to stretch her teenage wings, join her cousins. They spent weekends at the lounge in Whiskermans Wharf. Yahir rallied behind her, eager to persuade Vicky she would be safe with them. The two had remained close despite him being a few years older. Yahir grinned, determined to teach Milly all the mischievous antics he had done. It worried Vicky; she wanted Milly to be a little girl forever. Yahir teased, promising to cause trouble. Milly was the youngest and, in her eyes, needed protection. Eliza felt Vicky’s mothering was too involved; Milly was likely to rebel against her. It was with reluctance Eliza decided to volunteer and go with the teens.
Milly’s initial freedom took a downward turn. She felt detached from her cousins; they spent so much time together. She watched them pretend to drink alcohol. As regulars, the bartender humoured their desire to be adults by mixing mocktails. Yahir laughed as whipped cream was added to cola, imitating beer. She took herself to the pool, swinging her legs through the water. A guilt had begun to set in, leaving Vicky alone for too long; she worried about her. They had already lost Uncle Simon, Vicky’s brother, Rylan, Ziva and Emilie. Every moment with her remaining mother was precious. After a couple of hours Milly tugged her clothes back on, hovering near Eliza, hoping she would take the hint. Her cousins booed as Milly and Eliza left; the eldest cousin slung her arm around, hugging her tight. Eliza understood even if the rest couldn’t.
As her initial weeks at Bayside High came to a close, Milly proved herself an academic achiever. Vicky bubbled with pride. This was what she had been looking for; a sign that Ziva, her influence, was buried deep inside their daughter. A flurry of excellent grades were a promise for Milly and her potential future. Vicky wanted to push her daughter to consider other avenues. Find a career she could embody for herself and not because of her artistic influence. Milly teased how her mother feared the competition she would bring to the gallery. She jumped and giggled as Vicky threatened to douse her in the water used for refreshing the brushes.