Byron’s time as a toddler went by fast and his parents were proud of how much he had learned so far, though they wished they had spent more time at home. Dina had entered the Mixology branch of her career, completing her aspiration to be a Master Mixologist, and Adam had, of course, chosen the Chef branch. Everything was going well career-wise for the two of them and they wanted to focus more of their attention on their son.
Byron was sad when he learned that Jaxton had been offered another job far away and would no longer be able to babysit him, but he soon made new friends when he started school. His best friends were Gage and Cullen, even though Byron disliked Cullen at first. He thought he had somehow copied his hairstyle. It didn’t take long for them to become friends, bonding over the very thing that Byron disliked about him.
Byron spent a majority of his time playing on the pirate ship and the monkey bars with his friends. Being active just like his mum, it was his favourite thing to do. Dina was proud that her son had inherited that trait from her. Byron would often boast that his dad was the Mayor of Newcrest and that, one day, he would run the town. He wasted no time taking the lead and his friends were happy to follow. They looked up to Byron and wanted to be just like him.
Byron knew his grades were important and worked hard on his homework each night. His parents encouraged him to do it when he returned home from school so that he would have the rest of the day to play before it was time for dinner. At first he resisted, but soon realised that his parents weren’t going to give up. “You’re schoolwork is important, honey,” they would say. “If you want to be Mayor, you need to be smart.” Byron did like the idea of being the leader of a whole town, so he gave in.
He liked that it left the rest of the afternoon to catch up with his friends. “I bet I can make it across quicker than you!” Byron boasted. “Yeah right,” his friend Nile bit back. “You may be the Mayor’s son, but you’re not better than me!” Byron laughed hysterically. “Looks like I touched a nerve Vile! Why don’t you cry like a girl somewhere else?” Okay, so maybe Byron wasn’t the nicest kid in Newcrest, but perhaps he would grow out of it… eventually.
Whenever Byron was out playing with his friends, Adam and Dina would enjoy their time alone. They would often sit at the bar and have a drink that Dina had made for them. “Byron is growing up so fast.” Adam smiled. “The council sent another letter this morning.”
Dina was beginning to get annoyed with the council hounding them. They knew what their responsibilities were, but Byron had only just become a child. He was too young to take on such a huge task. “What did they say this time?” She laughed. “Oh, just wishing Byron a happy birthday and requesting that he let them know as soon as possible what his plans are for the future of Newcrest.” Dina rolled her eyes. “He’s barely capable of running an entire town yet.” Picking up their empty glasses, she kissed her husband on the cheek and made her way to the sink.
In addition to homework, Byron was encouraged to spend some time practising his typing. He used it to his advantage and entered competitions on Keyboard Commander. Byron was the running champion, keeping the high score on the leader board for over a week. He was excited to brag about it to his friends at school. He loved being the best at things like that.
In the kitchen, tragedy had struck. Dina answered her phone to a hysterical Nina on the other end. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “No. That can’t be true. Why didn’t anyone tell me?!” She began yelling into the phone as the tears streamed down her cheeks. It turned out her mother had been ill for weeks now and had spend the past couple of days in hospital. She had just passed away and Dina had no idea she was sick.
Adam tried his best to console his wife, but it was no use. She wasn’t just grieving, she felt betrayed by her own sister. How could she have kept that from her? After she had hung up the phone, she began to remember the last conversation she had with her mother. They had exchanged angry words and her mother had stormed out. Sure, she had seen her since then. Her mother attended her son’s birthday, but they didn’t speak to each other. Now, Dina was dressed in black, about to go to her home town for her mother’s funeral. And what was worse, her husband couldn’t go with her. The council had made it clear that Adam’s focus must be on Newcrest and that he would never be able to travel to the crime-ridden towns that surrounded it. She was angry at them for that. She needed her husband with her.