May. 21st, 2008

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The preparations had begun days before. Alison had sent letter after letter and made dozens of phone calls. Half of the calls had gone to her stubborn step-son. Shatterstar was hard to corral. The other half had gone out to other family and friends. Anyone Alison could think to invite, she had contacted. Her invitations were only part of the deal. She had enlisted her mother-in-law to invite the women from the clan. Whoever Longshot was close to. And given her husband's ability to make friends wherever he went, that list would be long.

After the guests were settled, she focused on food. The cake had been a big deal to her... it had to feed dozens of people, and it had to be appealing to her husband. It had taken ages to find a baker who could produce what she wanted. In the end, it had been worth it and she couldn't wait to show it off. For lunch, she had enlisted the help of Longshot's two favorite cooks: Momoko and Maria. The day of the party, the kitchen and dining room were piled high with the best food Italy and Japan had to offer.

The living room was the designated present area. A table had been set up along a mostly unused wall and had begun filling up with brightly wrapped packages of all sizes early that morning. Lisa and Gloria Jean had been assigned inside decoration duty and had roped Rogue into helping. She could fly and get to the high places, they reasoned. Dakota and the boys had pulled outside duty. There were balloons and streamers all over the place. The more the better, as far as Alison was concerned.

John had been stuck with the hardest job of the morning. He had been assigned the task of getting up dreadfully early and taking Longshot out of the castle long enough for them to prepare the party. Since he had been spending so much time at work catching up after his vacation, he used the excuse that he wanted to spend time with his son on his birthday before he had to go to work. And the best early rising activity he could think of was fishing. At a lake. Far away from the castle. He might be tired by the time they returned, but he knew Longshot would perk right back up when he saw the party dedicated to him.

It was early in the day, still, when the party was all set up and they just had to wait for the guest of honor. Alison had showered and changed. The babies were fed, clean, and dressed in new little outfits their Mommy had picked out especially for the occasion. They had picked up on the excitement around them and were giggling and babbling happily to anyone who would listen. Lisa and Glora Jean each had a baby in their lap and were laughing and making faces right back.

Alison shifted impatiently in her seat and tried to will her husband to appear.

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Alison Blaire

September 2013

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