“Grandpa, what was it like to be admiral? Grandma told me that’s what you did on Galactica. And she told me she was the president and that she was in charge of everyone, including you,” River says thoughtfully from her place on the opposite side of the table from her grandpa.
“Oh, is that what grandma told you? Well, she certainly likes to think that she was in charge of me. But she wasn’t,” Bill says, and then looks sharply at Laura as he receives a kick on the leg.
“No, she was definitely in charge of you, Dad. Even when you put her in the brig she still managed to get out and cause a ruckus, though I shouldn’t be talking because I helped her to do that. But then once you were able to, you followed her down to Kobol. She was most definitely in charge of you.”
“Well, when you say it like that, I suppose she was,” Bill admits and then turns towards River. “I was the one who was in charge of the military. The military was the whole group of people who protected everyone while we were fighting the cylons. They are the ones who did the fighting. In fact, your daddy was one of the ones who fought the cylons, and your Aunt Kara too. I was in the military as well but I wasn’t one of the people that had to directly fight the cylons. I had a really tough job though because I had to decide how we had to fight and where we had to go when we needed to fly away from the cylons. I also had a tough job because I had to watch a lot of people that I considered family die. It was hard to fight the cylons and a lot of people died while we were doing that. It was hard to get up every morning when you knew that someone you were in charge of had a possibility of dying during the day. And that’s what my job was. I gave all the orders to the people who were in the military, including your daddy most of the time.”
“Really, Daddy? That sounds so cool!” River says, turning to look at her dad.
“Yes, that’s true; he was in charge of me most of the time. But there was a time when your grandma was in charge of me. I left the military for a little while and went to help where your grandma worked.” After Lee says this, he smiles sadly at Laura because he will never forget what he did to her when he changed sides.
“Why did you do that?” River wonders with a thoughtful look on her face. Swinging her legs, she waits for an answer. In this way, she is exactly like her grandma.
“Well, Sweetie, it’s hard to explain. The short answer is that I did it because I was mad at your grandpa. But eventually I realized that I actually liked working with your grandma. The job was different than what I had been doing and it was a nice change.”
“Oh, okay. But, Grandpa, did you kill any cylons with daddy?”
“Not with your daddy, no, but I did a long time ago. Before I was in charge, I did the exact same thing that your daddy did. When I was younger, I flew a smaller plane like your daddy and actually was one that did some of the fighting.”
“Okay, that’s what I thought. What was your age when you got in the military?”
“I was 18 and your daddy was the same age when he got in the military. His mom did not like that very much.”
“Really? But, Grandma, you would never think that!” River says and looks astonished at her grandma, shocked that she would think that.
“Actually, River, your grandma is not my mom,” Lee says gently, not sure how she will react.
“Oh, really? Where’s your mom?” River asks curiously.
“She died when the cylons started fighting with us. But my mom and your grandpa weren’t together by then. They weren’t married anymore.”
“Oh. I’m happy that I have the grandma that I do,” River states and then turns to look at her grandma who is sitting on the other side of her. “Grandma, you’re the best!”
“Well, thank you. I try my best. Now, why don’t we clean up and then go over to the couch so we can sit in a place more comfortable. How does that sound?” Laura says, beginning to pick up the dishes.
“That sounds great!” Layne says as she stands up to help Laura pick up.
Once everything is put away, they all sit down on the couch and River climbs up next to her grandpa. After everyone else starts talking, she leans up next to her grandpa and says quietly, “Grandma and me were talking earlier and she said that she moved over to Galactica so you could take care of her. Why?”
Bill knows that he shouldn’t tell her everything, a lot of it is going to have to wait until she is much older, but he also knows that he can’t really get out of answering a 3-year-old’s questions. They will just keep asking and asking until they get an answer that suits them. After a moment, he decides on an answer that will satisfy her but not tell too much. “Your grandma was very sick and she was trying to get better, but the medicine that she was using to get better also kind of made her feel worse. You know when you’re sick and your mom stays with you all the time to take care of you because you don’t want to do anything?”
“Yeah, she does that when I’m sick. Why?”
“Because that’s what I was doing for your grandma. I was taking care of her when she didn’t feel like doing anything.” As he finishes answering River’s question, he looks up over the top of her head and sees Laura smiling at him. She obviously heard his answer. Smiling back at her, he then turns his attention back to his granddaughter.
“Oh, okay! So, did you always live in space?”
“No, when I was your age and until I turned 18 I lived on another planet far, far away from here. And even when I was in the military I sometimes got breaks where I could go back to the planet. It’s much prettier here though. Your grandma would certainly agree with me on that!”
“What would I certainly agree with your grandpa on?” Laura interjects with a smirk, having been listening to their conversation while also talking with Lee and Layne.
“Do you think it’s much prettier here, Grandma?” River asks.
“Yes, I definitely do!” Laura exclaims. “And the kids here are cuter too!” she says as she wraps an arm around her granddaughter and drags her closer, peppering her with lots of light kisses against her face and neck.
“Grandma!” River giggles as she is being kissed. “You’re silly!”
“Only for you,” Laura replies as she sits River on her lap. Looking back at Layne, she continues their conversation. “Are you two planning to build a cabin around here? I know you’re just living in a tent right now down in the main camp. Or are you planning to go some place else?”
“We’re actually considering building a place not far from you guys. We really like this location and then River can see you guys as much as she wants. She’s already always asking to come up here. Aren’t you, River?”
“Mmm hmm,” River hums as she nods her head.
“That’ll be great if this is where you end up staying! We’ll definitely enjoy having neighbors! You guys are welcome to stay here while you’re building and you can count on us to help you.”
“Are you sure? It’ll take awhile to build and we wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“Nonsense! Layne, you three are always welcome here. You should know that by now!”
“Well, thank you. If we end up deciding to build up here, we’ll probably take you up on that offer then. It’s much nicer staying here than in our tent. I’ve been wondering, did you always want to live in a cabin?”
“Yes, actually I did. Back on Caprica, I had the money and I could have, but I never allowed myself the time to do it. It was always something that was a dream of mine though. Living in the city, you weren’t afforded much privacy, but living in a cabin you wouldn’t typically be around many people. Privacy wasn’t something that I had a lot of on Caprica and definitely not on Galactica. Plus, I always liked the idea of cabins and romance,” Laura says and then finishes the last part with a smirk and a cocked eyebrow.
Layne snorts in laughter and says, “You’re naughty, Laura!”
Laura grins at her reaction and then replies, “Well, I have my moments. You know, in all of those months that you were taking care of me, I never asked anything about you and I’m sorry about that. If I may ask now, what was your family like?”
“Don’t be sorry about that, Laura. You were the patient; you were the one being taken care of. I honestly didn’t expect you to ask me anything. But of course you can ask me things! My family all died when the cylons nuked the colonies. My mother was a medical doctor and she worked in the labor and delivery unit in one of the hospitals on Caprica, and my father was a surgeon and he worked in the O.R. in the same hospital. I had two older brothers and one of them was a firefighter and the other was a police officer. I was the only one of my siblings that went into the medical field. I had no idea that choosing that would save my life one day, though I’m quite happy that it did.”
“Wow, I can definitely see where you got all of your medical training from! I’m surprised though that your brothers went into two of the most dangerous jobs considering your parents’ jobs. I’m sure they were worried that your brothers might be on your father’s table at some point. I know I would be!”
“Yeah, I remember them mentioning their worry once or twice,” Layne says and then chuckles. She then looks down at Laura’s lap and sees River yawning. “Do you think it’s time for a nap, Sweetie?”
“Only if grandma puts me to bed,” River murmurs around a yawn.
“I suppose I can do that,” Laura says with a smile and then stands up with River in her arms. “Alright, let’s take you back to the room.”
As they walk into the bedroom, Laura places River in the middle of the bed and then lays a light blanket on top of her. Just before Laura is about to walk back towards the door, River says, “Grandma, will you stay in here until I fall asleep?”
“Of course, Sweetie.” Lying down next to River, she softly strokes her hand until she falls asleep. “Goodnight, River,” she whispers into the silent room and presses a light kiss on River’s forehead before slipping out of the bedroom.
The Beauty of Love by Kaitlynnlovescats96