A Victorian Legacy - Chapter 23.1 End of an Era
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  • 1. Hello, and welcome once again to my Victorian Legacy. It’s been a few months since we were in Regalton, but, never fear the place is actually never far from my mind, even when I’m slaying darkspawn. So, what happened last time? Well, I do recommend reading the previous chapters, but as a very quick recap, there were lots of birthdays as generation five grew up, Carmen gave birth to a daughter called Emina and started to take on her new duties as the wife of the head of the family, Henry died and Alexandra and Anthony decided to adopt a little boy. I think that’s all the important points. Shall we proceed?
  • 2. The early spring sun shone brightly through the bay window of the Smith family’s Simdon townhouse, warming the air within. Ever her efficient self, Alexandra had insisted that her five children be up, washed, dressed and looking smart in plenty of time to greet their new arrival. Now she fussed around them, straightening ties and lace collars, while trying to keep a squirming toddler under control. Satisfied at last, she took her position next to her eldest daughter and settled down to wait.
  • 3. Of course, not everyone was as patient as Alexandra. No sooner had Alexandra taken up her position, when Sarah-Jane started speaking. “This is so boring Mama. Do we have to stand here waiting? Can I not go and play and meet the new boy later?”
  • 4. Alexandra frowned before addressing her youngest daughter. “No you cannot Sarah-Jane. The matron of the orphanage will be here soon, and you will all be here to greet Zane.” She looked again down the line of her children. “I expect you all to treat him as you do your other siblings. He may be a bit shy and unsure at first, and I want to make sure he feels as welcome as possible. That means no hitting or teasing, even if you mean it in jest Christopher, Sarah-Jane. Do I make myself clear?” Her children nodded, Christopher rather sullenly. “Good. Now we will not have much longer to wait, I am sure.” Said Alexandra, her smile going back into place.
  • 5. Alexandra was correct, and barely five minutes later, the door bell rang. While Alexandra was chivvying her children to make sure they stood up straight for the last time, Anthony got up off of the small settee and opened the door. “Good morning Mr Smith.” Said the matron as the door opened. “Good morning Matron, and good morning Zane.” Said Anthony, smiling kindly at the little black haired boy who was rubbing his neck nervously behind the matron.
  • 6. “Come along Zane.” Said the matron, putting her hand behind his back and pushing him into the hall of the town house. He stumbled as he tripped over his feet, and intent on making sure he didn’t fall and create a bad impression, he missed the glare both Alexandra and Anthony gave the matron. Anthony replaced the frown with a smile and addressed Zane. “Welcome to our home Zane, to your new home. I trust you remember both myself and my wife from our visit to the orphanage?” Zane smiled and nodded earnestly. He remembered Mr and Mrs Smith well. They had seemed nice when they had asked him if he wanted to go and live with them. He hoped now that he was in their house, they would like him and not send him back to the orphanage. It wasn’t that the orphanage was horrible per se, after all his clothes had always been clean, and the food was edible, but he had always felt that all the orphans were in the way there, as if the matron thought the place would run better without them. He didn’t want to feel as if he was being a bother to anyone.
  • 7. “Welcome Zane.” Said Alexandra, handing Mickey to Bethany. “Let me introduce you to mine and Anthony’s children. This is our eldest daughter Bethany, and her twin Christopher, our middle son, David and youngest daughter Sarah-Jane. Our youngest son is Michael, but we all call him Mickey. “Children, this is Zane, who will now be living with us.” The various Smith children murmured greetings and smiled at Zane, who smiled back at them. “David, perhaps you would be good enough to show Zane to his bedroom.”
  • 8. David smiled. “Of course Mama.” He approached Zane. “Where are your possessions? I will help you take them up to your bedroom, and give you the tour of the house at the same time.” “I do not have anything. Is that bad?” Asked Zane, twisting his fingers together as he spoke. David grinned. “Not at all. In fact it means we do not have to find any space in which to keep your things. Besides, we have plenty here you can have anyway. Come on, I will show you around.”
  • 9. As David walked out of the hall, Zane trotting at his heels, Anthony turned to speak to the matron. “Thank you Matron.” “A pleasure, Mr Smith. Zane rarely is any trouble, he is very quiet. You have chosen a good orphan, you will have it easy with him.” Anthony looked at her, a frosty look in his eye, but she didn’t seem to notice. He realised that she had dozens of orphans to look after, but the reason he and Alexandra had decided to give Zane a home, was because it was obvious to them that Zane needed a good home, not because they thought he would be an easy child to rear. Besides, if there was one thing their five other children had taught them, it was that being a parent was never easy.
  • 10. David had given Zane a running commentary as he had led the way to the top floor, (“Mama’s morning room. If she has a spare moment during the day, you can find her in here”) but Zane had struggled to take in what he was saying. He had contemplated asked David to repeat a few things, but he didn’t want to interrupt his flow and so had merely smiled and tried to keep up with him. Finally, David showed him to their bedroom. “Here we are, your bedroom. I am afraid that you are sharing with me. For a house so large, there is a surprising lack of bedrooms, and with six children living here, well some of us have to share. “I hope you do not mind, but the iron bed is mine. I’ve slept there since I was a child you see. The wooden one, used to be Christopher’s before he moved in to the room next door. I do not think that he has broken it, but you never know. If he has, Mama and Papa get it repaired or replaced.”
  • 11. Zane smiled up at David. “I don’t mind at all.” He said truthfully. “Good. As long as you don’t snore, we will get on just fine. Christopher snored, but do not tell him that. He shouted at me last time I tried to point it out.” David’s smile faded as he realised Zane’s face had clouded at his words. “Of course, if you do snore, I’m sure we can work round it.” Continued David, trying to make Zane feel better. Zane tried to give a small smile, but he was worried. He had no idea if he did snore, and if he did, would that mean that David wouldn’t like him? And would he tell everyone else, so they wouldn't like him either? “Well, come on Zane, let me show you the nursery. Do not take much notice of the name, most of the toys in there are suitable for you and Sarah-Jane, not just Mickey.” With Zane smiling once again, the two boys walked out the bedroom, heading to the nursery at the front of the house.
  • 12. A couple of hours later, Alexandra and Anthony were to be found sitting, reading in the morning room. Alexandra had not long before taken Mickey up to his room for his nap, and had been gratified to hear the sounds of Zane playing a board game with David coming from the nursery next door. “David is certainly doing his best to make Zane feel at home.” She said as she scanned the page of her book. “Yes he is. I am certain the rest of the children will do their bit too, but given how over enthusiastic Sarah-Jane and Christopher can be, I am glad it is David who has taken him under his wing for the time being.” Replied her husband.
  • 13. Alexandra was about to reply, when one of the doors to the morning room opened, and in came Zane. On seeing the two of them sitting on the settee, Zane stopped, and started wringing his hands. He seemed to be making up his mind to say something when the door shut behind him, making him jump.
  • 14. Alexandra smiled at him, and shut her book. “Zane, Mr Smith and I were just wondering how you were settling in.” She reached forward to put her book on the coffee table in front of the settee before patting the seat next to her. “Come, sit here and speak to us for a moment.” Zane hesitated for a moment, before plastering a smile on his face and doing as she requested.
  • 15. He sat looking at her expectantly for a few moments, before Alexandra realised that he was waiting for her to start the conversation. “I heard you playing with David earlier. You sounded like you were having fun.” Zane smiled even more broadly. “I was. He is nice.”
  • 16. Alexandra returned his smile. “Good, I am very glad to hear you like him.” She paused. “I had hoped that you would be able to have some of David and Christopher’s old clothes until I could arrange a visit to the tailor, but I do not think either of theirs will fit you. You are a good deal taller than Christopher and not as broad as David. I will have to see if the tailor can see us tomorrow I think.”
  • 17. “I don’t want to be a bother, I don’t need new clothes.” Said Zane quickly, his brow furrowing. “It is no bother at all Zane. I cannot bear to think of think of a child going round in ill fitting, clothes, that have holes in them. We will call round tomorrow and get some new clothes ordered for you.”
  • 18. Before he could protest again, Alexandra smoothly changed the subject. “I know that you have had a lot to take in today, and lots of people to meet, but my parents are dining with us tonight. They are both eager to meet you.” Zane’s smile grew wider. Really? They wanted to meet him. His smile faltered. What if they didn’t like him? He realised that Alexandra was still speaking to him. “...nice if cook made your favourite meal. Perhaps you can go down and tell her what that is.”
  • 19. “Whatever cook wants to make is fine with me.” He stammered, trying to maintain his smile.
  • 20. “I am sure that cook will be more than accommodating if you want to tell her what your favourite food is.” Replied Alexandra encouragingly. “Our larder is well stocked and she is used to dealing with the demands of our family.”
  • 21. “Please, I.I don’t want to be a bother.” Said Zane quietly. Alexandra looked at him. There was that phrase again, “I don’t want to be a bother.” He’d said it twice in one short conversation, and she found it interesting. Her other children were not shy about saying what they wanted, and in fact she often had to remind them that the needs of others were just as important as their own.
  • 22. Well, she wasn’t going to push him to make a decision about dinner, not if he was so reticent about it. Instead she smiled at him and said “then I am sure you will enjoy the pork chops I was thinking about asking cook to make. I do happen to know that she has been baking though. If you ask nicely, I am certain she will let you have a fairy cake, or a biscuit.” Zane smiled the first genuine and unforced smile since he had entered the room. He’d only had cake once before, at a dinner held at the orphanage in honour of the major benefactor, but he’d liked it a lot. “Really?” “Yes, just go and ask her.”
  • 23. Anthony and Alexandra watched Zane walk out of the room, before he sidled up to her and put his arms around her shoulders. “I think that little boy is in need of a stable, loving home.” Alexandra said as she leant into her husband’s embrace. “He about ran from the room when I asked him what he would like to eat tonight.” Anthony smiled sadly. “Yes, I noticed that. However, if there is any woman on this earth who can give him that love he needs, and be a mother to him, it’s you.” Alexandra kissed her husband’s cheek. “Only because I have the support of such a a wonderful man my dear.”
  • 24. That evening, when Beth and William arrived, Zane was waiting in the hall to greet them with the rest of the family. “Hello Zane. I am Mrs Legacy, this is my husband, we are Mrs Smith’s parents. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
  • 25. Zane smiled. He didn’t think anyone had ever told him it was a pleasure to meet him before. “Thank you.” He said. “It is nice to meet you too.” Beth smiled down at him. “Alexandra has informed me that she is sitting you with Mr Legacy and I for dinner. Won’t that be nice?” Zane nodded, and grinned. “It will, I think.”
  • 26. Now that the children were older, and able to join her and Anthony, Alexandra normally insisted that the family dressed to eat their evening meal, but in deference of the fact that Zane had no other clothes than the ones he had arrived in, she had decided that that night they would wear casual attire. As the family chatted, Zane looked around the table, his eyes wide. He’d never had a meal like this before. In the orphanage, they had been grateful for what little food they had, and ate it as quickly and as quietly as possible. As for eating with Momma, well when he had eaten with her and not with the man maid, he’d been a good boy and eaten his meals as inconspicuously as he could. Letting the talk of the rest of the table wash over him, Zane decided that this, this was wonderful.
  • 27. The rest of the evening passed pleasantly and as William and Beth were taking their leave, Alexandra asked her mother what she thought of Zane. “He seems a very sweet little boy, and I sure, that given time, he will relax and find his spot within your family.” Replied Beth. She nearly added “I wish your father and I could have more time to get to know him better,” but refrained. “I hope so Mama.”
  • 28. “If anyone can make him feel welcome and at home, it is you my dear.” Said Beth hugging her eldest daughter. “Now, we will see you and the children tomorrow, yes?” “Of course Mama.” “Good. Until then, goodbye princess.” With one final hug, William and Beth took their leave. ***
  • 29. The next morning, the Legacy family had convened for breakfast when William turned to his son and said “I was thinking about taking a tour of the shops today Eddie. It is some time since I last visited them all, and I would like to do so.”
  • 30. Eddie smiled “You are certainly welcome to join me while I visit them. I was only planning on going to the three here in the village, but we can certainly make the journey to Books and Boutique.” Eddie thought for a moment. “In fact, since it is a Saturday, perhaps you would like to come too Bertie? And your brother?” Bertie chewed his mouthful thoughtfully. “Yes Papa, I believe I would like that. I have not been to the shops since I was small, and even then, it was only briefly to visit Grandpapa at work. I would like to start to know a bit more about them.” William smiled broadly at this. He intended for the shops to be is legacy to the family and was gratified to see that his grandson was taking an interest in them.
  • 31. Beth smiled too. “I would like to accompany you if I can. It is far too long since I too was last in the shops.” She paused and looked at Carmen. “This will mean that I might be unable to help you with the household chores today I am afraid. If you would rather I stayed to assist you, I will.”
  • 32. Carmen smiled at her mother-in-law. “Okasan, please do that which you wish. I certainly would not want to detain you here, if you would rather go with Otosan, Eddie, Bertie and Stuart to the businesses.” Beth smiled back at her. “Thank you Carmen. It is so nice to have a daughter-in-law who is so understanding.” She looked away quickly, so that Carmen wouldn’t see the tears glinting in her eyes.
  • 33. The four Legacy men and Beth started off at Beth’s Bric-a-Brac. Although the shop had nearly ruined both him and his family due to his ill-informed decision to get involved with Russ Bear and his associates, it was still the shop William was most proud of. Watching his wife and son attend to the customers with consummate ease, while his grandsons started to learn the basics of serving in the shop, only intensified that feeling. He had wanted to unite his family when he had bought the original building that had stood on this site, and he had done just that.
  • 34. On leaving Bric-a-Brac, they popped briefly into Beth’s Bouquets and Allyn’s Toybox, before travelling to Simdon and Beth’s Boutique and then onto Simford and Beth’s Books. *** (Seen here, shopping are Professor Butters, writer of the Squeaky Clean Legacy, DrSupremeNerd, author of the Vetinari Dualegacy and wife of Theo Harrison, here in Regalton, RoseFyre, writer of a Buffyverse Apocalypse, and PenguinGirl0384, author of the Penguino Legacy).
  • 35. William was thoroughly enjoying himself as he toured the businesses, and would have liked to stay at the final shop longer, but his wife was ready for that and cornered him after they had been there for about an hour. “Are you certain we cannot stay for another hour or so my love?” “I am sorry William, but time draws on, and I did want to spend a few moments with Carmen before Alexandra and Vicky arrive this afternoon.” “Hmm.” William looked at his pocket watch. “You are correct of course, we really should go.” He sighed. “I am going to miss this Beth.” Beth smiled sadly. “There are many things I am going to miss William, including spending time with you in the shops, but come, we still have a bit of time left. Let us spend it with our family.” “A most excellent idea my love.” He replied.
  • 36. The family arrived back at the house in the mid-afternoon, and Beth immediately made her way to the garden. There, she was surprised to see that Carmen was still toiling in the greenhouse. As the older woman slipped into the glass house, Carmen looked up from her weeding. “Okasan, I did not expect you to join me today, not that I am complaining.” Beth smiled as she started work. “I admit, I did not expect to see you still at work here.” “Our beloved Emmi has been fussing all day.” Explained Carmen. “I have not long succeeded in settling her for her nap and I am later than I anticipated in starting work in the garden.” “Then I think I need to give Emmi extra hugs.” Said Beth, tossing a weed into the nearby trug.
  • 37. “After all. it is always a pleasure to join you my dear. I always enjoy our time spent together tending to the garden.” She straightened up and looked out of the grimy greenhouse window. “I think this is one of the things I am going to miss the most.” She said it so quietly, Carmen didn’t hear her.
  • 38. Beth and Carmen both had just enough time to wash their hands before Alexandra, her family and Vicky arrived at just gone four. Soon everyone gathered in the drawing room, scene of many birthdays and joyous occasions over the years. Sad as it was, Beth and William both knew it was time to say goodbye.
  • 39. Beth started with her eldest child. “Oh Alexandra. I know you did not have the easiest of times finding love, but the happiness you have found with Anthony and your children, is beyond anything I could have wished for you. You are a wonderful mother and you have made me so proud princess, so, so proud.” “Oh Mama.” Alexandra was choked as she hugged her mother tightly. There was so much she wanted to say to her mother, but she felt that if she started to speak, the tears would not be far behind, and Alexandra was determined to retain her dignity that evening.
  • 40. William, meanwhile, had found some time to speak to Bertie, to try to pass on some bon mots to the future head of the family. “Bertie, I know very well that the position of heir is not an easy one. It is testing in ways others do not realise, and the responsibility is great. Yet, I have faith that you will make a fine head of the family. You need to share that faith my grandson.”
  • 41. Bertie tried to smile. The thought of being the head of the family scared him greatly, because he was sure that he would somehow mess it up. He wanted to share his grandfather’s faith in him, he really did, but he couldn’t. Rather than confessing this to William though, he nodded and said “if that is what you want, then I will endeavour to do my best Grandpapa.” William sighed inwardly. He wanted Bertie to believe because he wanted to, not because he thought it was expected of him by others. However he knew that now was not the time to argue with him.
  • 42. Beth was now talking to Carmen. “There is not adequate time to say everything I want to, to you Carmen, but the most important thing is, thank you.” “Okasan, I am not sure I understand.” Protested Carmen. “Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter-in-law. I am only sad that we cannot spend more time together” Said Beth smiling. Carmen looked down, blinking away tears. “It, it has been an honour Okasan.” “Likewise my dear.”
  • 43. After hugging Carmen tightly, Beth moved onto her youngest child. “Vicky, I am surprised that Patrick is not here with you.” “He, he is busy Mama. Besides, it is perhaps best that I came by myself.” Beth looked at her, concerned. “Sweetpea, please tell me, are you happy?” “Mama, not at the moment.” Replied Vicky, grimacing. “I did not mean at this moment in time my dear.” “I know.” There was a moment of silence between the two of them before Beth broke it. “Well?”
  • 44. Vicky looked down, refusing to meet her mother’s eyes. “I.I am happy in my work.” She said at last. “But not in your home life?” Asked Beth quietly. “Oh Mama, it is so complicated. Patrick wishes me to have children, and refuses to support me as I run the enquiry agency. I...I am not even sure I love him anymore and I wish I knew what to do about it.” Beth held her close. “I wish you had told me this before sweetpea.” “I did not wish to burden you.” “My children and their problems are never burdens. If you will take my advice one last time, no one can tell you what to do. You are a very astute young lady, and you will know what you need to do. Your father and I, would just want you to be happy.” “I know Mama.” Whispered Vicky, as she hugged her back.
  • 45. While Beth was talking to Vicky, William was speaking to Eddie. “I do not think I could have asked for a better son, and heir. I know you will continue to lead the family with the same wisdom you have shown thus far.”
  • 46. Eddie essayed a sad smile. “I do not know about how wise I have been with some of my decisions, but I had a very good mentor to guide me.” “Ah, I fear I could have been better in some respects.” Replied William. “No Father, you could not.” Replied Eddie, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.
  • 47. More goodbyes were said, all far too short for everyone’s liking, as the clock ticked round towards six o’clock.
  • 48. Finally, with the clock only a few minutes away from the hour, Beth and William turned their attention to each other. William gently caressed her cheek. “My darling Beth, from the very first moment I saw you, I could imagine no one else by my side. My love for you has only grown as the years have passed.” Beth took his hand. “William, I cannot imagine loving anyone as much as I love you. Our marriage may not have always been easy, but I have always loved you. Although our time apart may be mere moments, to me it will feel like an eternity.”
  • 49. Beth let go of her husband’s hand as a whooshing sound filled the air and the temperature dropped. She slowly turned her head. “Hello. I have been expecting you.” She said to the robed figure now standing in her drawing room.
  • 50. BETH LEGACY, IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE THIS PLANE OF EXISTANCE. “I realise that. I am going to miss my family, but I suppose one cannot stop the inevitable.” Replied Beth sadly. NO, THAT IS ONE THING NO MORTAL CAN DO, ALTHOUGH MANY HAVE TRIED. Beth looked around the room at the faces of her family. “I am going to miss everyone so much.” I AM SORRY, BUT THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT THAT. ALL I CAN DO NOW IS OFFER YOU A DRINK AND ESCORT YOU TO YOUR DESTINATION.
  • 51. Beth took the offered drink as Death continued to talk. YOUR HUSBAND WILL NOT BE FAR BEHIND YOU. Beth smiled as her form started to fade. “That gladdens my heart immeasurably.” And with those words, she was gone.
  • 52. Death now turned his attention to William who was staring at the empty space where his wife had been. WILLIAM STEVEN LEGACY, THIRD GENERATION HEIR OF THE LEGACYS OF REGALTON, YOUR TIME HERE IS OVER. William nodded sadly. “I understand.” There was not much else he could say. He had just witnessed his wife pass on, and the sadness was crippling him. He just hoped that he would be going to the same place as her.
  • 53. Death handed him a drink and placed a bony hand on his shoulder. COME NOW, LET’S GET YOU RE-UNITED WITH YOUR WIFE. “I am going to the same place as Beth?” Asked William, a smile forming on his face. OF COURSE. THE TWO OF YOU WILL BE TOGETHER FOR ALL ETERNITY. “Then let us be off.” Replied William as he started to fade.
  • 54. William and Beth were gone, and their deaths affected all of their family and friends deeply. As the night drew on, and the news spread the grief of the residents of Regalton, was palpable. Some tried to focus on keeping busy, but others let all of their emotion out.
  • 55. Breakfast the next morning was a quiet affair. None of the family had slept particularly well, but it was Bertie who had the darkest circles under his eyes. He’d been too scared that he would have a nightmare about his grandparents’ passing to want to try to get to sleep, and when he finally couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer, his fears had been realised. He didn’t have a full blown night terror of the kind he used to suffer from as a child, but his dreams had been unpleasant enough for him to wake with a start, his heart hammering so hard it felt like it was trying to break out of his ribcage. Consequently, he had no appetite that morning and pushed his breakfast around his plate listlessly.
  • 56. Once breakfast had ended, the family went their separate ways. Carmen wanted to make sure the breakfast things were washed up before bathing Emmi and dressing her for the day. Eddie had melodies playing in his head he wanted to transcribe, and Stuart wanted to spend some time at the train set. The sight of it may had reduced him to tears the nigth before, but he had woken with his head full of ideas on how to improve it. He was on the upstairs landing when Bertie caught up with him. “Stuart?” “Yes Bertie.” “Where are you going?” Stuart looked at him. “To Grandpapa’s hobby room. I want to work on the train set. Why?”
  • 57. “Oh.” Bertie hesitated. “I was wondering if you wanted to play football with me, but if you are busy...” Bertie trailed off.
  • 58. Stuart glanced at the door to his grandparents’ bedroom. He had been planning on spending some time on his own, gathering his own thoughts about his grandparents’ deaths, but...his brother needed him, and Stuart would always be there for his older brother. He turned back to Bertie and nodded. “Very well.” Bertie smiled. “Thank you Stuart. Perhaps later you can show me what you want to do with the train set.” Stuart smiled and said nothing as he followed Bertie downstairs and out into the garden.
  • 59. Having bathed and dressed Emmi, Carmen went downstairs to speak to Lucy and give her instructions for the day. After that, she set about filling in the household accounts and attending to a few pieces to correspondence, including informing acquaintances about the deaths of the elder Mr and Mrs Legacy. Then, knowing she would not be expected to receive visitors that day, only cards, and therefore would have more time to carry out some of her other duties that afternoon, she made her way with her daughter to the music room. Eddie looked up from the sheet music he was annotating and gave a small smile as she entered. “Dearest Eddie,” started Carmen, “Emina and I were curious as to what you are working on. Perhaps you would consent to play us a few bars.”
  • 60. “Of course.” He picked up his violin and waited for his wife to make herself comfortable before starting to play. It was a beautiful melody, strong, soaring, happy and sad at the same time. Carmen listened with tears pricking at her eyes. Her husband had managed to capture the essence of his parents within those notes.
  • 61. He finished and looked at Carmen expectantly. “I realise it is not finished, but I am rather pleased with it.” “It is beautiful dearest Eddie. It speaks to me of Okasan and Otosan. I believe it to be a fitting tribute to two who were loved by so many.”
  • 62. Eddie gave a sad smile. “Thank you. I was considering sharing some of my compositions with the orchestra.” Said Eddie, referring to the fact that he had been accepted into the Simdon Symphony Orchestra not long before their marriage and had recently been promoted to first violin. “Perhaps I will share this one, once it is finished.”
  • 63. “I believe that to be a wonderful idea. Emmi agrees, do you not?” Carmen held the baby up, who gurgled delightedly at her father. “If you both approve, then it must be a good idea.” Said Eddie smiling. “It is dearest Eddie.” Replied Carmen, leaning in to kiss him on the cheek.
  • 64. Carmen had left Eddie to put Emmi down for her nap. He had been the only parent his boys had known, and was more than happy to look after his daughter too. She had then supervised Lucy cleaning the drawing room, before making a note of the letters of condolence they had already received. Now she made her way to the greenhouse. A wave of sadness engulfed her as she entered. Beth had been with her every day she had tended the garden thus far, even if it had been for only a quarter of an hour. They had had some wonderful chats in the greenhouse, each woman confiding in the other and they had become extremely close. Carmen suddenly realised how utterly bereft she felt at the loss of her okasan.
  • 65. Drying her tears, she bent down to start plucking the weeds from around the roots of the tomato plants. She decided there and then to keep the garden immaculate for as long as it was in her care, as a tribute to Beth.
  • 66. Thirty yards away from Carmen in the greenhouse, Stuart and Bertie were still playing football. Stuart had hoped to be outside with Bertie for maybe half an hour, but that had quickly turned into an hour, and then into an hour and a half.
  • 67. At last Bertie said he wanted to go in, but by that time, Stuart was feeling slightly disgruntled and in need of a good wash.
  • 68. Stuart had taken his time with his ablutions, but he wasn’t really surprised to find his brother waiting for him, when he exited the bathroom. “Stuart, thank you for spending so much time with me in the garden.” Said Bertie. “It has done me the world of good being with you. If you would now like to work on the model train set, my offer of help still stands.” Stuart paused. Although the two of them had enjoyed playing with the model as children, he knew now they were older, Bertie wasn’t as interested in it as he was, in fact on one occasion he had even declared it dull. Stuart mulled it over for a bit before deciding it would be nice to share one of his hobbies with his brother and he supposed he would be less likely to burst into tears again if Bertie was with him. He nodded. “I think I would enjoy you helping me.”
  • 69. The two brothers were very careful not to look at the hat box on the top of the wardrobe, or the red tie laying on the dressing table as they walked through the room that had belonged to their grandparents. Both knew that if they did, they would start to cry. As they entered William’s hobby room, Stuart steeled himself for the wave of sadness that had struck him yesterday, but it didn’t come. Instead the room felt more warm and welcoming. A small smile played around Stuart’s lips. It looked like Bertie being with him was working after all.
  • 70. The two boys took their places at the model train and Stuart started to talk Bertie through the improvements he wanted to make. When he got to talking about how he wanted to replace the bridge with a suspension design based in part on the Simton Suspension Bridge, Bertie stopped him. “That sounds like an awful lot of work to go through for a child’s model. You are talking about working through the calculations as if it were a real structure.”
  • 71. Stuart scratched his chin. “That is because I want to treat as if it is real.” He replied. “I have told you before about my interest in engineering, and my wish to one day enter the field. I plan on using the bridge as a learning experience, to see if I can do the calculations and construct a scale model.” Bertie sniffed. “It still sounds like a lot of work.” He said, as he started to poke at the existing bridge. Stuart merely shrugged and started to jot down notes in his note book.
  • 72. Bertie stayed with Stuart for another half an hour, before his boredom became too much. Even though he wanted to stay with Stuart, he couldn’t do it, the model was just so dull. As for Stuart, in some ways he was glad when his brother decided to leave. Much as he loved and enjoyed spending time with him, the way Bertie was fiddling with the model trees and sighing had been driving him to distraction. Now he was finally alone and could get on more quickly with what he wanted to do.
  • 73. Despite the sadness that was gripping the house, there was room for a little joy as well. It was also Emina’s birthday, and although the usual large gathering of family and friends, was out of the question, the four members of the immediate family gathered in the drawing room to witness her aging. “I wish Alexandra and her family at least could be here.” Said Eddie as he watched his wife holding their daughter. “As do I dearest Eddie. I think Okasan and Otosan would want that too, but society dictates our actions at this time.” Eddie nodded and looked at his wife speculatively. He had grown up in Simland, and for the most part accepted the social mores of the country without question. The way Carmen had finished that sentence had made him remember that her formative years had been spent in another country. He wondered what the etiquette was in Takemizu and made a mental note to speak to Carmen about it.
  • 74. “I do not think that you mind it being just myself, your papa and your brother’s though, do you my beloved?” Asked Carmen, tickling her daughter. In answer, Emina giggled and grabbed at her mother’s finger, oblivious to the fact that she was about to become a toddler.
  • 75. A very cute toddler at that. Everyone agreed, that although the two boys were almost identical to their father, little Emmi had a mixture of features from both her parents. *** Emmi is a Sagittarius with a personality of 9,1,9,10,1, ***
  • 76. As the days wore on, Carmen began to settle into the routine of carrying out her duties without Beth to aid her.
  • 77. Of course, as well as attending to her duties, Carmen also made sure to spend time with her daughter. Keeping Emmi occupied, wasn’t always easy. On this particular day, the rabbit head had been dismissed and the wooden blocks for the sorting toy had been scattered across the floor as Emmi had decided that no, she did not want to play with either of them. She was currently sat behind the glockenspiel, frowning as Carmen tried to get her to strike the colourful metal plates with the mallet, and not the floor. “Beloved Emmi, like this.” She tapped a plate with her nail, causing a ringing sound.
  • 78. Emmi’s eyes widened at the sound, and she struck the same plate with the mallet. Carmen clapped and praised her, as Emmi sat, her head cocked slightly as she listened to the note fade away.
  • 79. She struck it again, before hitting the next note. She frowned and tried another, then another.
  • 80. Fifteen minutes later, Eddie made his way up the stairs. He paused and listened to the sound coming from the nursery. He smiled, as through the din, he recognised the notes of the lullaby he had heard Carmen singing to their daughter many a time. She was obviously with Emmi, showing her how to play it on the glockenspiel.
  • 81. He walked over to the nursery and opened the door to find that Carmen was not helping their daughter at all. Instead she was sitting back, while Emmi enthusiastically hit the plates with her mallet. At the sight of her father, she stopped briefly and smiled, before starting to play the tune from the beginning.
  • 82. “I believed you were helping her play.” Said Eddie, sitting down next to his daughter. “I did not expect to see that it was Emmi playing by herself.”
  • 83. Carmen smiled happily before replying. “No my dearest Eddie. It appears our daughter has inherited your musical talent.”
  • 84. Eddie listened for a little bit and watched as their daughter played the instrument. “Actually my dear, I think she is more talented than I am. I doubt I could have memorised a tune at her age.” “She worked out large portions herself.” “Then in that case, she is definitely more talented than I. That is certainly not a skill I had at her age.” Oblivious to her father’s comment, Emina continued to strike the notes of the instrument. ***
  • 85. In Simdon, the Harrison children were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. It was the first time the three of them had ventured out following the death of their grandfather, Frederick, and Celestia was rather enjoying flitting into the shops with her brothers, even if it did mean she had to put up with their constant comments. “Celly, do you really need another hat?” Asked Andrew, exasperated. By his reckoning, she already had at least three, and she didn’t wear those that often. “No, but I would like one.” She replied as she pointed to the one she wanted to try on.
  • 86. Andrew sighed heavily and turned to mutter something to his brother. Celestia’s head snapped round, her dark eyes flashing as she got ready with a retort for her older brothers. The words died on her lips as she spotted someone walking past the shop, on the other side of the road. “Is that...?” she murmured before bolting out of the milliners, her new hat forgotten.
  • 87. The twins exchanged looks before dashing out after their sister.
  • 88. “Celly, wait!” Cried Peter “Where are you going?” Added Andrew. “I thought I saw...” She stopped and smiled. “I did.” She set off again, before doing something extremely ill-bred and unladylike. “Derri!” She shouted at a retreating blond figure.
  • 89. A little way in front of the Harrison children, Derial Whedonberry and his brother stopped and looked in the direction the shout had come from. “Who is that green haired beauty dashing towards us?” Asked Dean, trying to make his hair look slightly tidier. “I have no idea.” Replied Derri truthfully. “She seems to know you.” Replied Dean, straightening his collar.
  • 90. “I know.” Derri glanced over at Dean to see he was now brushing lint off of his waistcoat. “What are you doing?” “Smartening myself up. I want to make a good impression.” Replied Dean with a grin. “It’s me she seems to know, not you.” Pointed out Derri. “So? Have you seen how pretty she is, even from this distance?” Derri rolled his eyes at his brother. “You’re incorrigible.” “Yes.” Agreed Dean as Celly reached them.
  • 91. “Derri, it is you! I thought it was. Hello Dean, it is good to see you too!” She exclaimed, her face breaking into a brilliant smile. Derri looked at her nonplussed for a split second, before he recognised her big brown eyes and smiling face. “Celestia?” He asked hesitantly. “Yes. You remember my brothers, Andrew and Peter.” She said, waving a hand at them. “Of course.” Replied Dean.
  • 92. While Dean and the Harrison boys exchanged greetings, Derri continued to look at Celly. It was a good six or seven years since he had last seen her, and in that time she had matured from the feisty friend he had known, into a beautiful young lady. “...how have you been?” He tuned back in as he realised Celly was talking to him.
  • 93. “Oh, very well thank you Miss Harrison.” He replied, missing the flash of hurt in her eyes at his formality. “And yourself?” “Well, thank you Master Whedonberry.” Celestia’s voice was clipped when she replied.
  • 94. While Celly and Derri carried out a very strained conversation (poor Derri was finding, that contrary to her initial warmth, Celestia was now answering his questions in short, cold sentences), Dean, Andrew and Peter were animatedly chatting away. “I’m planning on going back to the cemetery in a couple of weeks. Just because I didn’t find a ghost last time, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.” Said Dean, his eyes sparkling. “Hmm, your sojourn certainly sounded intriguing. Would you mind awfully if I asked to accompany you?” Asked Andrew tapping his chin.
  • 95. “Of course not. You can come too Peter, if you want.” Replied Dean. Peter looked down at his companions before shrugging. “Why not? Besides I think the two of you might need someone who doesn’t get caught up in your ghost-hunting madness.” Dean nodded. “It’s settled then. We’ll get together at some point to arrange the details.” “You and Derri are welcome to come to ours one evening.” Said Peter as Andrew nodded his agreement.
  • 96. “Thanks,” said Dean looking round to see that Celestia was glaring icily at his brother. “Although, are you sure your sister will like that?” Peter and Andrew followed his gaze. “You didn’t see her when she first saw you. She was really pleased to see Derri.” Said Peter.
  • 97. “So, my brother has done something to upset her then.” Said Dean turning back to the twins. “Looks like it. Don’t worry about it. As long as Derri apologises, she will probably soon forget.” Explained Andrew. Dean nodded. “I’ll have a word with him on the way home then, find out what he did.” The twins nodded before Andrew said “actually, we should be going, otherwise we’ll miss our train.” He scribbled their address down and handed it to Dean. “See you soon.”
  • 98. Andrew approached Celly. “Celly, we have to go so we do not miss the train.” She nodded at him, before turning back to Derri. “Good evening Master Whedonberry. Perhaps we will meet again one day.” With a final frosty look, Celly turned and started walking away. Her brothers looked at each other, and Andrew mouthed “ouch” to Peter, before they too made their farewells and left.
  • 99. “I think you upset her.” Said Dean mildly, but Derri watching Celly’s retreating back didn’t hear him. He didn’t know what it was that had caused her abrupt change in mood, but he wished it had never happened. ***
  • 100. That evening found John Legacy styling his hair in the hall mirror and wishing for the umpteenth time that he could grow a decent moustache, when his younger brother arrived home from a late lecture. Alfie paused before going over to him and speaking. “Out again brother? Another one of your excursions I presume. I hope you realise that the smell that pervades from your clothes on your return from them is really quite distressing.”
  • 101. John turned from the mirror to face Alfie. “My excursions, as you call them, are none of your business,” he said, a patronising smile on his face, “but, for your information, tonight I am dining in Simdon with Miss Cox.”
  • 102. Long experience had taught Alfie, exactly how to counter his brother, so he merely returned his smile and said “how pleasant for you. In that case, I will not go to the bother of opening all the windows in preparation of the odour from your clothes on your return.”
  • 103. John’s smile became more forced, but he quickly saw a way to gain the upper hand. “Oh, by the way, a courier delivered a package for you. I took the liberty of placing it in your room and could not help but notice that it is from Messrs Hopkirk and Swindon. If I remember correctly they are property agents operating out of Simdon.”
  • 104. Alfie paused and mentally cursed his brother. “Indeed they are. I have engaged them to look for a suitable property for me in the city.” John raised his eyebrows. “Really? I am surprised. I was not aware you could afford such an undertaking. Our inheritance from father is not enough to stretch to a large property and I would be surprised if you were able to secure capital from another source.” Alfie’s smile became more forced. “I assure you brother, I am not looking for large. Besides, I have also been studying hard and have secured several large scholarships the bulk of which I have put towards my endeavours. Rest assured brother, I know what I am doing.” He looked towards the door. “I think I just heard the coach pull up. Have a pleasant evening, and give my regards to Miss Cox.”
  • 105. With a curt nod, John headed to the front door, while Alfie watched him go. The fact that John had intercepted the package from Messrs Hopkirk and Swindon was annoying, but not necessarily fatal to his plans.
  • 106. Once John had left, Alfie headed to his room, and opened the packet. He read the contents carefully, before spreading them out on the bed in front of him. He smiled as he regarded them again. Mr Hopkirk’s associate, Mr Colling, had done a fine job and there were several properties he would want to tour. Henry Legacy had ended his letters to his sons with the three simple words “make me proud” and that was exactly what Alfie intended to do.
  • 107. As Alfie read the descriptions of the properties for the fifth time, making notes of questions he wanted to ask, John and Miss Cox were enjoying a meal at Londoste in Simdon. “This is so pleasant Mr Legacy.” She said, reaching out to touch his hand. “I do wish we would dine together more often.” John smiled. “Yes it is pleasant, but what exactly do you mean, dine together more often?”
  • 108. Although his tone had been equitable enough, there was something about the way in which he had phrased the question, that made Abbey feel uncomfortable, so she tried to think of the nicest way to phrase what she was about to say. “You are always so busy John. I realise that you are in the very final stages of your PhD, and therefore are busy with your thesis, but even the nights you are not in library or writing, you are unavailable due to other commitments. I wish there were more nights we could see each other, that is all. I enjoy your company immensely.”
  • 109. John thought about where he had been spending his free evenings. Alfie was right, he was not visiting the most salubrious of places on his nights out, but it was to secure his future, his and Abbey’s future.
  • 110. He waited until after dessert before he decided now was the correct time to ask Abbey a question he had planned on asking for years. “Miss Cox, I...care very deeply for you, and I am hoping, if the feeling is mutual, that you will consent to be my wife. I would like nothing more, than to have you by my side for the rest of my days.”
  • 111. Abbey’s eyes widened as he pushed the velvet box across the table, towards her. She had considered that one day he might propose, but it still felt like it was out of the blue. With shaking hands, she pulled the ring box towards her.
  • 112. John looked on nervously as Abbey inspected the ring. He actually hadn't expected to feel nervous, but here he was, his palms sweating and his mouth dry as he waited for her answer.
  • 113. “I would be delighted to be your wife.” Replied Abbey at last, as she slipped the ring onto her finger and admired it in the light from the lamps on the table. John let out a sigh of relief. “Truly?”
  • 114. Abbey placed her hand on his. “Truly.” ***
  • 115. Stuart looked around at the school yard, as he exited the board school. It was the luncheon break, but his class had been detained after arithmetic due to the behaviour of one of his classmates. Now he was looking for his brother and cousins so he could spend the remainder of the time with them.
  • 116. He spotted them sitting on the wall, a little way off, and smiling, made his way over to them. His smile froze on his lips as he took in their body language. Hoping that they hadn’t received any bad news, he hurried over to the three of them.
  • 117. “What on earth is wrong?” Asked Stuart as he got to them. “The three of you look as if someone has died.”
  • 118. Andrew shuffled forward and perched on the edge of the wall. “Nothing so dramatic as that, rather your brother is being a stubborn, block-headed idiot.” Stuart raised his eyebrows at this. Andrew didn’t suffer fools gladly, but it was highly unusual for him to criticise one of his friends in such a manner. “Oh?” “Have you seen the notices the masters have put up on the boards in regards to allowing each form to create a football team?” Stuart nodded. “Of course. I know it has caused a great sensation amongst my class mates. Practically everyone has given their name to our form master.” “Well, we are trying to get Bertie to participate in the try-outs, but he refuses.” Stuart looked at his brother. “What? Why?”
  • 119. Bertie turned his head, refusing to look at Stuart. “I am not good enough Stuart. I will never be put on the team, so I see no point in participating in the tryouts and making a fool out of myself.”
  • 120. Stuart looked at his brother amazed. “Not good enough? Bertie, you are by far the best player out of the four of us here In fact you are better than anyone we know and have played with. You are regularly on the winning team for any sport we play, be it Association football, or Rugby football, or tennis or hockey. And before you say that you are not the one responsible for winning, you are. You play your socks off and have a natural talent that inspires the rest of the team. There is no way the masters will not give you a spot on the team.”
  • 121. “Thank you Stuart. That is exactly what we have been trying to tell him. Andrew and I are trying out and might not be good enough, but Bertie is a shoo-in.” Peter nudged the boy in question. “You hear that Bertie, you are a shoo-in. You have to give Ol’ Snood your name.”
  • 122. “I really do not think...” Started Bertie. “Stuart, you regularly beat me.” “I do not.” Exclaimed his younger brother. “I only beat you if you let me, and do not think I do not realise when you are letting me.” Bertie looked up at Stuart. “You, you really think that I am good enough?” “Yes!”
  • 123. Bertie was silent for a moment, mulling over what his brother had said. Eventually he asked. “Are you going to submit your name?”
  • 124. Stuart opened and closed his mouth a couple of times as he thought how to answer. “I was not planning on doing so no.” Bertie’s face fell as he spoke, and unable to bear seeing his older brother look so crestfallen, Stuart continued, “but I can.” He forced a smile onto his face. “It will be fun.”
  • 125. “See Bertie, we are all going to put our names forward, so you will not be alone.” Said Andrew. For the first time since his doubts had surfaced on reading the notice, Bertie smiled. It would be nice to see if he was good enough to play for the team, and he would be doing so with two of his best friends and his brother. Suddenly he couldn’t wait to give his name to his form master. ***
  • 126. Later that day, the Whedonberry brothers visited the Harrison house so that Dean, Andrew and Peter could discuss their plans to go ghost hunting in Simdon. The three boys were having a great time.
  • 127. Downstairs, things were not going quite so well. After cordially exchanging greetings, Celestia and Derri had been sitting in near silence for the best part of ten minutes. Every time Derri tried to start a conversation, Celestia coldly responded to his first sentence, and then lapsed back into silence.
  • 128. Finally tiring of this, Derri turned to Celestia and said. “What’s wrong?” “I do not know what you mean.” She replied sniffily. “Yes, you do.” He countered. “You have been treating me with disdain almost since we first met in Simdon. Celly, if I did something to offend you, please tell me.”
  • 129. “Oh, so you can use my first name then?” Snapped Celly.
  • 130. “I...yes. Is that what the matter is? I’ve been calling you Miss Harrison and you don’t like it?” She said nothing. “Celly, I apologise I was only...”
  • 131. “I did not expect it from you.” She said interrupting him. “We shared so much and I thought we were friends. You never called me anything but Celly or Celestia before, so to have you treating me as if I were a stranger, hurt.”
  • 132. “We are still friends I hope, but it is seven years since we last saw each other. We’re no longer children, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to start calling you Celly straight away. I was trying to be polite, and I’m sorry you took it the wrong way.” Explained Derri. “I would never knowingly hurt you for the world.”
  • 133. Celestia guiltily digested this information, before saying “I’ve been behaving like a complete and utter brat have I not?” Rather than being glad to see you, I’ve been throwing my weight around, and been completely stroppy with you for no good reason. Can you accept my apology?” “Of course.” As Derri replied, he had the vague thought that he would forgive her anything, if she looked at him with her eyes wide, as she was at that moment. Celly bit her lip, accentuating the effect of her eyes. “Do you think we could start again?”
  • 134. Derri smiled at her. “I’d like that. Hello Celly.”
  • 135. Celly smiled back at him. “Hello Derri.” ***
  • 136. While the Whedonberrys were visiting the Harrisons, Vicky was next door visiting Rosie and her newborn daughter. “Leonora is beautiful Rosie.” She said, holding the baby close. “You must be so proud of her.” Rosie gave a wan smile. To say that she had had a difficult pregnancy and labour, was an understatement. Although her father had never come right out and said it, she knew that Robert had been fearful that all his years of medical experience would not be enough to make sure his daughter survived her confinement. “I am Vicky. I finally understand why Louisa waxes lyrical about Harry and Gregory every chance she gets.” She said, referring to their cousin and her twin boys.
  • 137. As Leonora started to fuss, Cecelia came in from the dining room. “Rosie dear, would you like me to take Leonora, while you visit with Victoria?” She asked. Rosie nodded gratefully. “Please Mother, if you would.” Smiling, Cecelia took her granddaughter from Vicky, and making cooing noises took her out of the room.
  • 138. Vicky sat down next to Rosie and took in her pallor and the dark circles under her eyes. “How are you my dear?” She asked gently. Rosie closed her eyes. “Vicky, I...I am exhausted, and I still feel so ill.” She opened her eyes and looked at her friend. “I think Father is amazed I am still alive.” Vicky reached out and touched her hand. Rosie placed her own on top of it before saying “I do not really want to talk about it, if you do not mind. I would rather speak about something else. Tell me what is happening with the agency.”
  • 139. “Rosie are you certain you want to talk about the agency?” Asked Vicky. “Yes. The agency is as much my concern as it is yours. Tell me how things are going with it. I recall you saying you had to let Miss Bruty go, before I became too ill to see you.” Vicky nodded. “Yes, I did not want to, but she unfortunately did not show the initiative and incisive intelligence we hoped for when we employed her. She...took too many people at face value, especially those she believed were her betters. She did not question them, rather letting them throw their weight around, and giving into them. She was becoming a liability and she had to go. I have employed a relative of Miss Di’s in her stead, Mr Connor Vetinari.”
  • 140. Rosie nodded. “I trust he is working out better than Miss Bruty did.” “He is.” Agreed Vicky. “We are currently investigating three cases, and he is proving himself very capable.”
  • 141. Rosie listened as Vicky described the cases and how Connor’s insights were proving invaluable to her. Vicky was not the only partner in the enquiry agency to have a sharp mind Rosie was extremely good at seeing to the heart of the matter, and as her friend continued talking about Mr Vetinari, she was starting to feel uneasy.
  • 142. “Do you like him?” She asked as Vicky paused for breath. Vicky looked shocked at her question. “I...yes, I suppose I do. He is a very capable man, with many good points.” She replied. “That is not exactly what I am asking. Do you like him Vicky?” Repeated Rosie gently.
  • 143. Vicky’s smile faltered, and she suddenly slumped in her chair. “Vicky?” Asked Rosie gently, placing her hand on her friends shoulder, but Vicky didn’t hear her.
  • 144. She was remembering the investigation her and Connor had been on the night before. They had been following a man through the streets of Simdon, when the man had paused and looked round as if aware he was being followed. Connor had pulled Vicky into an alcove between two buildings, and held her against him as he had tried to make the two of them blend into the shadows. .
  • 145. Vicky wasn’t thinking about blending into the shadows. Instead she was acutely aware of how her pulse had quickened when she had felt his strong arms go round her, and of how his breath on the back of her neck was sending delicious shivers down her spine. She didn’t want him to let go, and when he had released her as their quarry moved ahead, seemingly satisfied he was not being followed, she had been immensely disappointed.
  • 146. Vicky shot up and started to pace. Her head was full of thoughts she did not want to acknowledge to herself, let alone her cousin, and yet they wouldn’t leave her.
  • 147. Eventually she turned to Rosie. “He challenges me like no man ever has.” She blurted out. “He’s infuriating! So many of our conversations end in arguments, and yet I cannot help but go back and speak to him again. He respects my intelligence and intuition, even if he does ask me to justify it to him on occasion and...he treats me like an equal. No man has ever done that before. I feel he sees me as me, not an extension of someone else.” Rosie could see that Vicky seemed to be debating saying something else, so she prompted. “And?”
  • 148. Vicky smiled ruefully. “And he drives me crazy.” Rosie looked on distressed as her friend continued. “I want him Rosie. If, if he wanted to bed me, I would not hesitate. I do not even feel like that about my own husband.” Vicky trailed off Rosie paused, thinking about what her friend had just said. “Vicky,” she said at last, “how much has happened between the two of you?”
  • 149. Vicky shook her head, remembering the night before. “Some might say further than is strictly respectable given the fact he had to hold me close during the course of an investigation and I am a married woman, but in truth nothing untoward has occurred. It is more that...I would like it to.”
  • 150. Rosie nodded. “Then think about what you are saying. I know you are unhappy in your marriage at the moment but you sound as if you are seriously contemplating committing adultery if the opportunity arises. You have seen what happened to Eddie and his first wife. The slurs against the both of them and the scandal that still follows them. Do you really want that ignominy for yourself and Patrick? “What you are feeling at the moment, may pass, and you would be foolish to ruin your good reputation and end your marriage on a whim.”
  • 151. Vicky’s face crumbled and she started to sob. “Oh Rosie, I have not had feelings for Patrick for a long time. I feel trapped by him, and I am tired of fighting with him in order to be able to do what I want. He wants me to be someone I am not prepared to be, and I cannot take it anymore.”
  • 152. Rosie struggled up off of the settee and went over to her friend. “Connor is different. He is exciting. He seems to understand why the agency is important to me...He sees me as I am. “I want him when I know I should not. I want to feel the touch of his skin against my own, to feel his heart beating with mine, to taste his kisses... “Oh God Rosie, I do not want to feel like this. Tell me how I can stop!” But Rosie couldn’t. All she could do was hold her friend as she sobbed. ***
  • 153. Oh dear poor Vicky. Curse you plot bunnies, curse you! Anyway, this hasn’t been the happiest of chapters in many ways, because we also said goodbye to Frederick and to these two above. I’ll do the stats pages next, but suffice to say, I loved these two and wish I could have justified the two of them living forever. As always, thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it, sad bits and all. Huge thanks to the makers of my cc, and bigger thanks to those of you who have let me borrow sims off of you. Zane is originally from Peasant007’s Devereaux Legacy, the Whedonberry boys appear courtesy of Stacielee and her story, Whendonberry, Connor Vetinari is my simself’s grandson from DrSupremeNerd’s Vetinari Dualegacy. All are excellent reads and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Chapter 23.2 is already sorted and I will be starting work on it post haste, so hopefully there will be more happiness soon. =>
  • 154. William Steven Legacy. Spouse: Beth Trimble. Children: Alexandra, Edward, Victoria. Grandchildren: Christopher, Bethany, Albert, David, Stuart, Sarah-Jane, Zane, Michael, Emina. LTW: Become Criminal Mastermind – achieved. Impossible wants: open 5 top level businesses. Master points: capitalist. Inheritance: left money to nineteen sims. Oh William, yes there are more stats I could list, but that would be doing you a grave injustice. I played you for nearly three years and in that time, you became one of my all time favourite sims, and are definitely half of my all time favourite couple. I loved your bumbling nature, and how you always believed the best in people. You adored your family and never, ever thought about another sim from the moment you met Beth. I miss you so much, and I catch myself looking for you in the house still. =>
  • 155. Beth Legacy nee Trimble. Spouse: William Legacy Children: Alexandra, Edward, Victoria. Grandchildren: Christopher, Bethany, Albert, David, Stuart, Sarah-Jane, Zane, Michael, Emina. LTW: Become Mad Scientist – not achieved. Impossible wants: earn §100,000, max seven skills. Beth, where to begin with summing up my feelings for you? You were one of my favourite dormies from before I even started the legacy, and although the fact you had three natural bolts with William took me by surprise at first, I’ve never regretted the decision to marry the two of you. I really can’t begin to say how much I loved playing you, or how sad it made me you had to be treated so appallingly by your first daughter-in-law. I really miss you too. =>