I apologize that this is such a short chapter, but I've been ridiculously busy and I thought that a small update was better than none at all! I have plans for the next one, and this is a good place to leave off until I can get to it. Thanks to all who are still reading!
Tamara was determined that the children should be shown as many of the sights that New York had to offer as they could possibly manage. To Severus' dismay, that meant that they would embark on not one, not even two, but three muggle bus tours.
Sevarun enjoyed seeing the Statue of Liberty, but the highlight of Sevina's day was the pizza she got from a vendor in Battery Park. Tam had only ever visited the city herself once before, and she was thrilled to be back.
"I always wondered what it would be like to live here" she commented to Severus, in their seats aboard an open-topped double decker tour bus.
"Rather like London I would think" he said. "Except it seems even noisier, and even more crowded with muggles."
One of the bus tour guides was a chubby older man with a pronounced Brooklyn accent. He spent the entire tour telling embarrassingly corny jokes. Tam and Sevarun were more amused by how much he was annoying Severus than they were by the jokes themselves. When the poor man suddenly and inexplicably lost his voice, Tamara knew right away that it hadn't been a coincidence. She elbowed her husband in the ribs.
"You'd better put him right again when we leave" she whispered.
"I think his passengers would be happier if I didn't" he said, smirking.
In Central Park, Severus surprised Tam when he led them to Strawberry Fields, the memorial area for John Lennon.
"How have we been together for this long and I have never known you had any interest in John Lennon?" she asked him, shaking her head.
He gave her a mysterious little smile. "You don't know all there is to know, my dear. I still have some secrets. Incidentally, I used to listen to Beatles records with Lily when we were children. I have some very good memories associated with them."
"Who was he mum?" Sevarun asked.
Tam's eyes widened as she realized that though she was a music teacher, she had apparently sorely neglected her own children's musical education.
"He was a singer, songwriter, and musician" she explained. "He formed one of the very best rock bands in history."
"He was from New York?"
"No" Severus spoke up. "He was British."
Tam grinned. "He was from Liverpool, along with the others in the band. He moved to New York later on in his life, after the band had broken up. He lived right over there" she pointed towards the Dakota building. "With his wife and his little boy. One night, when he was going home to say goodnight to his son, someone killed him."
"With a killing curse?" Sevarun asked, his big blue eyes like dinner plates.
"No, with a gun. It's a muggle weapon. We can listen to his music when we get to your gran's. I'm sure plenty of my albums are still there. They'd better be, anyway."
Since Severus refused to board another bus, it was decided that they would make the trip to rural Pennsylvania by apparition. They ended up having to make their exit from the bathroom in the bar area of their hotel.
The farmhouse Tamara grew up in was on a hill in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Its location rather reminded Severus of their property back in Peebles, and he suddenly understood why she had been so keen to buy their home in the first place.
"Very nice" he commented. "Looks familiar, really."
Tam laughed. "A bit, I suppose."
A gray haired woman in a red shirt and blue slacks came out into the lawn to greet them. She was a few inches shorter than Tamara, but her smile was the same. Severus knew that this must be his grandmother in law.
"Hello there!" she called, smiling at the children.
"Hi grandma!" Tam said, putting her arms around the little woman. "This is my grandma Susanna" she said, looking happier than Severus had seen her in quite a long time. "Gran, this is Severus, of course, and Sevarun and Sevina."
Severus smiled. It was very rare for him to like people at all, let alone to know he liked them immediately upon meeting them, but in this case he was certain it was true. There was something about this little old lady that had instantly put him at ease. He wasn't sure if it was the big smile that so resembled his wife's, or just the friendly way she was looking at him, but he knew that this was someone he wanted to befriend.
"Hello Susanna" he said, flashing her a genuine smile that caught Tamara by surprise. He almost never looked at anyone that way.
"Did you have a nice trip? Supper's on the table, if you're hungry. There's strawberry pie, if you'd rather have that. Just out of the oven."
"Pie!" screeched Sevina, happily hopping up and down.
"Sure Honey Girl, come on in and we'll get you some!"
Tamara glanced at Severus, waiting for him to say that Sevina couldn't have any pie until she'd eaten her dinner. He said nothing, but simply chuckled and followed them towards the house.
"Dad must really like her" Sevarun commented.
Tam nodded. "He must."
Dinner was enormous. Tam had known it would be, because her grandmother always cooked enough for an army. There were actually two pies, and cinnamon rolls in the oven.
"I was a chubby child" Tam whispered to Severus, as he smirked at the massive spread of food on the dining room table.
"Understandably" he replied, amused.
Tam's brother Vector came in from the living room, followed by a large tan colored pit bull. The dog's tail was wagging furiously, and he immediately darted over to lick the children's faces. Once again, Tam was shocked that Severus didn't protest. The kids giggled, and when the dog bounced out of the room, they chased after him.
"Hey brat!" Tamara greeted her brother, grabbing him for a hug.
"Hey." He nodded to Severus, who nodded back. It was a satisfactory meeting among men.
"Your mother's still at work" Susanna explained, "but she should be here pretty quick."
As it turned out, Tam's mother, Patrice, arrived halfway through dinner. It wasn't a surprise. Tamara had warned Severus that her mother was a bit of a workaholic, and was almost always late.
After dinner, Susanna ushered them all into the living room. Severus settled himself in a cushy armchair, and Tamara plopped into his lap. Sevarun and Sevina were crawling around on the floor with Vector's dog, who they had been told was called Jake.
"It's very nice to finally meet all of you" Severus said.
"Oh, you too dear!" Susanna replied cheerfully. "Tami's written so much about you. It's been hard on us having her so far away for so long. I didn't know if we'd ever get to meet the little ones. I don't much like to set on a broom these days with my arthritis, and I haven't tried to apparate in years. Otherwise, I might have made my way over there to see you. I don't really like to go too far from home though."
Tam blushed. "It's my fault Gran. I should have brought them here long before this."
Her mother shook her head. "Don't worry about that. You're here now, anyway."
That night, tucked into Tam's old bed, Severus said softly "I'm glad we came here. As much as I've complained, I think it was important that we made this trip."
"Does that mean you're going to spend the month without anymore grumbling?" she asked.
"Don't press your luck… Tami."
His cheekiness earned an affectionate punch in the shoulder.