A quiet air of solemness settles over the Barimen household in the days following Bebe’s passing.
Bebe’s remains are placed next to Julian’s at the family cemetery below the house. David had a small mausoleum built on the site where he and future generations can come to reflect. David spends much of his time at the cemetery over the next few days. The loss has been difficult for everybody. But the way in which Bebe prepared each of them by planting tiny seeds from her own wisdom, leads David to believe that his mother knew her time was near.
Ciara, in particular, received much of her attention and guidance. Both Bebe and Ciara relied heavily on their faith in times of difficulty. But whereas Bebe seemed to always navigate through her problems unscathed, Ciara has difficulty with it. It runs in her family, it seems. Both her parents died at a young age to different household accidents. Her youngest sister died in an inferno ignited from her own birthday cake. That left Ciara’s oldest sister, Fiona, to take care of her.
No matter how hard she tries to do well and succeed, even at the simple things, she always manages to somehow foul it up. It’s not to say she is unskilled. On the contrary, Ciara has worked hard to master many of her personal goals. But there just seems to be a collusion working against her any time she shows any glimmer of ambition. But she has grown used to abject failure. Appearances would suggest that her rotten luck and inability to succeed no longer bother her. But appearances can be deceptive.
Ciara is an excellent mother, but there is no question that Bebe helped her through the difficult spots. And now, with Bebe gone, she is secretly terrified that failure will follow her into motherhood. David is the only person who has ever understood these things. His continued understanding and ever-present shoulder keep her from melting down completely.
The sadness that accompanied Bebe’s passing is finally lifted when baby Jacob is born. His arrival immediately gives the Barimen family an event to rally around. Mark had been such a grumpy baby that Ciara never really had the chance to bond with him the way she had with the girls. And Jacob immediately shows that he is a much happier baby than his older brother had been.
Deirdre and Claire celebrate their birthday together soon after Jacob is born. It is evident immediately that Deirdre is the “little momma” of the group. She has become spirited and confident, a lot like her grandmother. Claire is also like Bebe, but much more quiet and reflective than her sister. Each possesses an amazing intellect of her own, and when the two of them put their minds together it is an amazing thing to witness. Mark jokes that instead of twins, they are two halves of the same person.
Mark had spent so much time with his siblings, that they were already best friends when the girls grew up. Now that they are all at the same level, they have become inseparable. Poor Mark just goes along with whatever his two genius sisters cook up for fun. He tries, at times, to interject his own ideas. But he just doesn’t have the acuity to be able to deliberate at their level. Mark really doesn’t mind though, as they usually end up doing stuff that is way-cooler than anything he could have thought up.
For Charlotte Langerak, it is almost like gaining two new best friends. The others at school all talk about how different the Barimen kids are from one another. But to Charlotte, they are all more alike than different. Not one of them had ever said a disparaging word to her about her looks. Mark had even managed to get himself into trouble defending her from creeps at school.
Ali Zalne is one such creep who has a mean streak wider than main street. He and Mark have been at each other’s throats since their fight a few days ago. It is fairly common knowledge that Mark’s grandfather, Julian, was a master criminal. And Ali takes great pleasure in accusing Mark and his family of using their “sparkling do-gooder” image to cover up something more sinister. Unfortunately for Mark, his temper often gets the best of him, giving Ali more ammunition. And one day after school, Mark and Ali get into brawl on the way home.
When Deirdre and Claire try and stop the fight, Ali’s friends are ready for them. They begin to shove and taunt the terrified girls while Mark and Ali continue to fight. Seeing this sends Mark’s temper over the boiling point. Charlotte runs away to find David and Ciara. And after what seems like forever, she reaches the Barimen home. Frantically, she tells them that she is afraid Mark will really hurt somebody, seeing how he went ballistic just as she ran for help. Instantly sick with worry, David takes Charlotte with him to find Mark, Deirdre, and Claire.
As they pull away from the house, David clenches his jaw as he prays that his girls are okay, and wonders how he is going to reign Mark in.