Naturally Good - Part 1

Leo Deppisse is 27; Helen Depiesse is 35; Lizzie is 7 months
Andrew Goss is 26.

August 2025
Helen and Leo's previous update

"Helen?  Hey, Helen, are you listening?"

"Huh?"  Helen had a feeling that Leo had been talking to her for some time, although she wasn't entirely sure why she hadn't answered him.

"I said, are you coming to the shop this afternoon?"

She looked up at him.  They'd been going to the new shop almost every day, between the few of Leo's regular gardening clients that he'd kept until the shop was up and running.  The building had been in a bad state of repair when they bought it, and they'd done as much of the cleaning and mending and decorating as they could themselves.  Now, the stock was coming in, Leo was hiring staff, and very soon he'd have the gardening shop he'd always dreamed of.

It wasn't the only dream of his that would come true soon, although he didn't know it yet.  And Helen really wasn't ready to tell him.

"Is it ok if I just stay home today?" she said.  "I mean, I know I didn't go yesterday, either, but I'm tired, and I've got a few things I need to catch up on."
"Sure, it's ok," he said.  "I've got Jay to help me now, and we're almost done anyway."  He kissed her cheek on the way out the door.  "Enjoy your day."

He was barely out the door when Lizzie started to cry.  Enjoy your day.  Sure...

She jiggled the baby around in her arms, the way she'd seen her mother and her cousin Susan do it, trying desperately to figure out what Lizzie wanted.  She was clean, and she couldn't possibly be hungry again so soon.  Or could she?  Or maybe she was ill?  Or -

For once, fortunately, the jiggling seemed to work.  Helen had barely set Lizzie down again, though, when a wave of nausea washed over her, an unpleasent reminder of how it was going to be from now on.  The minute you settle one down, the other one makes it's presence felt...

The other one.  Leo's baby, growing inside her.  She'd only just found out for sure yesterday.

There was a time when she would have believed that she'd be happy to have two babies so close together.  She'd always imagined it would be easy, that she'd be a natural mother.  She remembered all the people who'd said that to Susan, when her son was small.  "You're a natural mother".  She'd imagined people saying it to her someday, too.  She was surrounded by natural mothers - as well as Susan, there was Helen's own mother, who had cared for her three boys alone after being widowed, eventually remarried and taken on three stepsons as well, and had still wanted for another baby, Helen, with her second husband.

Helen wasn't a natural mother.  She was hardly a mother at all.  Oh, sure, she made sure that Lizzie was fed and clean and comfortable, but beyond that... she couldn't even understand what the baby wanted when she cried, and it took forever to make her stop.  Even Roman had a better rapport with their daughter than she did.

She could see the way Lizzie lit up, whenever he was around.  She could see that he wasn't afraid of breaking her.  And Helen knew how breakable a child was.  Not just in the physical sense, there's more than one way of being breakable, and Helen didn't have to look far to see the effects of bad mothering.

She'd spent much of yesterday out at Bluewater Village, at the clinic with Cory, the first time she'd seen him since her wedding reception.  They spent a strangely ordinary afternoon looking at her honeymoon photos, discussing the attractions of Twikki Island, and making every effort to not discuss the far-from-ordinary circumstances of the visit.

She couldn't stop thinking about the reception, though.  It made sense now, his reaction to Samantha, the way he and Rose had avoided looking at each other, when they left early.  And as much as she'd wished she'd known, she was also enormously grateful to all three of them for keeping it all from her and Leo long enough to enable them to have a honeymoon free of worry.  Probably, it was the last chance she'd have to feel truely carefree in a very long time.

She'd returned the favor, in a sense, to Samantha.  Although both Helen and her father had kept in touch, Samantha didn't know what had happened to Cory after she left.  The police had been looking for her when Cory disappeard, in the belief that they might be together, but he'd reappeared before they found her.  So, all Samantha knew from Serdar and Helen, was that Cory and Rose were talking again - the truth, but with a huge part left out.  That had been her father's idea, and she agreed that it was for the best.  There was enough misplaced guilt flying around this whole situation already, and what was there to blame Samantha for, anyway?  Really, all she'd done was stir up the mess of feelings that had been there all already, ever since Helen's father's first wife had screwed up her young son's life, all those years ago.

Helen wished that Samantha were still here.  She'd feel a lot more comfortable talking her about her own fears than she ever would Susan, or to her mother. She doubted they'd even be able to understand how useless she felt at this whole parenting thing, not when her mother had happily raised so many children, and Susan couldn't wait to have another one.

Naturally good mothers.  They wouldn't understand how she felt, any more than she could comprehend how it must be to feel so comfortable with your own child.


Leo sighed and looked at his watch.  He'd planned to just drop in here quickly to collect a book for Andrew, between the gardening jobs and going to his shop, but now...

Only two more people in front of him.  Couldn't be much longer now.  Hopefully.

Kyle recognized him when he finally got to the counter.  "How are things going with the new shop?"
"Well, I was going to go there today," he said, "but now I've run out of time."  Kyle's face fell, and Leo immediately regretted being so blunt.  "What I mean is, don't you think you should hire someone else," he said apologetically.  "This is too busy for one person."

"I've got Georgia," Kyle said, gesturing to the teenage girl at the other counter.
"Well, yeah," said Leo, "but she'll be back at school in a couple of weeks."

"A couple of weeks!!" Kyle looked at Georgia in alarm.  She nodded.  "What happened to the summer?!" Kyle said.  "Why didn't you tell me school started back in a couple of weeks?"

Georgia shrugged.  "I thought you knew.  You kept saying you were going to advertise..."

"Uh... sorry... but - " Leo gestured to the book he was trying to buy.
"What? Oh... right." Kyle turned back to him.

He checked his watch again as he left the bookstore.  Definitely no chance of getting to the garden shop today.  He had to drop the book off to Andrew, and then he wanted to get home early today.  Something had been bothering Helen this morning.  He hadn't pushed her for the details when he had to leave for work, but tonight he was going to find out what was wrong.


 Andrew glanced up from the tv to check the time.  Only 3pm.  How did the days get so long, anyway?  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he wasn't doing a lot with them.

Sleeping in late in the morning...

... watching tv all evening...

... heating the occasional frozen dinner in between.

Ever since he'd been fired from his job at the cafe, he couldn't really be bothered with much more than that.

He let the doorbell ring a couple of times before he got up to answer it.

"I thought you'd be at your shop," he said, surprised to see Leo there.
"Didn't work out today," Leo said.  "I got that book you wanted, and - " He stopped, sniffing as he walked into the apartment.  He screwed up his nose.  "When did you last open a window in here?"
"Come on, we're going outside."
"This place needs some fresh air."  Without asking, he crossed the room to open a couple of windows. Then he turned back to Andrew.  "So do you. Come on."


Didn't take them long, did it? :)

Helen and Leo actually conceived on their honeymoon, although with everything else going on, I left it a bit to make the announcement.  Baby Deppiesse will arrive in March 2026, when Lizzie is 15 months old.  This isn't the other oops pregnancy I've mentioned, that's still to come.  These guys both wanted it, so I took them off birth control.  Now that it's happened, Leo still has a baby want, and Helen has a want and a fear.

I wanted to mention the thing about the police looking for Samantha because I figured that's realistically what would happen, with Cory also leaving when she did.  It would be too complicated across blogs to have them question her, and in-story, I think it works to explain it in this way.


  1. Wow, this was a packed update. A new baby and I flet so sad for her feeling so uncomfortable with her child and wondering about her ability as a mother, then there is Andrew and his leftover feelings for Sam and losing the job-yikes.

  2. Oh, poor Helen. Feeling so overwhelmed with Lizzie, she can't be as happy about this pregnancy as she could be. I can see why she hasn't yet told Leo.

    This is why I think it's so damaging for everyone to pretend you're doing fine when you're not. You don't get the help you need and other people who may be struggling don't get to see that others are having a tough time too and start thinking that they're the only one. :(

  3. I feel for Helen. I can only imagine how afraid she feels and alone with no one to talk to. I hope she talks to Leo about it and she can use him as some sort of support.

  4. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Apple Valley, yes, these guys sure keep the story busy!

    Carla, that's so true, the other mothers Helen compares herself to probably found it just as hard at the time.

    HeredonCove, yes, Helen needs to talk to someone, she's more alone than she needs to be.

  5. Poor Helen. I hope she is able to get some help. At the very least, I hope Leo is able to help her out. Thankfully he was aware of Helen's disposition. Really doesn't help that she's doing the compare and contrast test between herself and other mothers.


Thanks for reading and commenting!