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A Specter Legacy Ch 11
 

A Specter Legacy Ch 11

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    A Specter Legacy Ch 11 A Specter Legacy Ch 11 Presentation Transcript

    • Ch11 Soundtrack: Trip To Your Heart by Britney Spears; First Train Home by Imogen Heap; A Praise Chorus by Jimmy Eat World; Levels by Avicii; This Love by The Veronicas
    • Welcome back to A Specter Legacy! Since it‘s been a bit of a while, a little recap.Asher, the current heir, decided to ignore his father‘s rules and the legacy alltogether and moved out on his own with his wife Melanie and their four children.The eldest, Rose, is a teenager who thinks she‘s found her first crush. Sydney andSpencer, twins, are busy doing kid stuff, like making friends, trying to best oldersisters, and hanging out with dad. The youngest, Paige, can almost always befound with her nose in a book, trying to absorb all the world‘s knowledge.
    • As for the spares, Zeph and Liz are still working things out. Liz made Zephpromise to give up the bubbles and seek some help for his nightmares while Aerithroamed downtown looking for the Contessa and some answers for her vampirism.What she found instead was a mysterious fellow named Wes who turned out to bea vampire and offered to show her how to handle her new powers/undeadness.Finally, Taz, Aerith‘s ex, has been trying to get over his first love and is starting tothink maybe he can, with the help of a neighbor named Dagmar. Got all that? Thenhere we go.
    • ―It‘s nice to see you finally got your place together. It‘s only been what—monthssince you moved in?‖ Dagmar teased.―Yeah, well,‖ Taz didn‘t realize that no one could see him and shrugged. ―Betterlate than never, right?‖―I‘ll say. And you‘re making me dinner, too! I didn‘t even know you could cook.‖
    • ―I wanted to do something for you for a change,‖ Taz said as he walked over withthe salad. ―I know it‘s not much, but… I just wanted to say thank you.‖ He pausedas he placed the plates on the table. ―For all the times you‘ve cooked for me andjust, well, were there.‖
    • ―You‘ve made the past couple of months a heck of a lot easier.‖Dagmar flashed a big smile. ―That‘s what I do. Brighten up people‘s lives. I‘m aregular old ray of sunshine.‖Taz laughed. ―Yeah, definitely. Sunshine definitely describes you.‖―Hey…‖ Dagmar began to pout as Taz‘s laughter went on a bit too long.
    • ―Don‘t be so sure, you know. Sunshine can be very dangerous.‖―Of course,‖ Taz grinned again before taking another bite of his salad.
    • The conversation lulled for a bit and Taz found himself gazing outside the window.He wasn‘t worried about the silence, though. It wasn‘t awkward or unsettling but—comfortable, he thought, surprising himself. Almost like—―Something on your mind?‖Taz shook his head a bit to clear his mind. ―It‘s just funny. A few months ago Inever thought I‘d be here. Everything‘s changed. And so fast.‖
    • ―Well…‖ Dagmar leaned in a bit. ―Not all changes are bad, right?‖ She said softlyas she trickled her fingers over his wrist and up his arm.Taz gulped as he felt the familiar butterflies take over his stomach. ―Yeah.‖
    • ―Some changes… Some changes aren‘t that bad.‖*****
    • Asher smiled as he cuddled up in bed beside his wife. He lived for moments likethese. When the kids were young, he and Melanie didn‘t have a lot of time tothemselves, for just them. But now, as they grew older, he was enjoyingreconnecting with his wife. He sighed contentedly.
    • ―What are you thinking about?‖―Oh, nothing too serious,‖ Asher admitted. ―Just thinking about how things havechanged. About how fast the kids are growing up.‖―Mmm.‖―Pretty soon the kids will all be teens and Rose will be headed off to college.‖
    • ―I know. The twins‘ birthday is only a few days away. It‘d be nice to have somequality family time before Rose goes away. Right now we‘re all so busy—I‘m soclose to a promotion at work and you have the business and the kids are allwrapped up in school…‖―Well, mostly.‖―Huh?‖
    • ―I think our eldest is starting to show some interest in some new things.‖―You mean boys?‖―Should I be worried?‖―You always worry,‖ Melanie smiled up at Asher as she snuggled closer. ―But no. Ithink our girl can handle herself.‖*****
    • Rose laughed as she and her friend Arcadia shared a joke. A bit nervous, Rosehad been putting off the real reason she‘d invited Arcadia over after school – to getinfo on her super secret crush.―So what‘d you wanna know, anyway?‖―Huh? What?‖ Rose started a bit. Was Arcadia psychic or something?―Well, you told me on the bus that you wanted to ask me something. Remember?‖
    • ―Oh. Right. Um.‖ Just ask, Rose tried to convince herself. It was weird; shenormally didn‘t think of herself as shy. ―Well, ok. You know everyone, right? I washoping maybe you could tell me more about this guy-‖―Oh, my Plumbbob, you have a crush on someone?!‖―Shh! Keep it down! I don‘t want the whole world to know.‖
    • ―Okay, okay, what‘s he look like?‖―Well, he‘s got black hair and he wears this baggy green t-shirt with a llama on itand I think he was wearing black pants-‖―You mean Heath?‖ Arcadia sounded surprised.―Heath? Wow,‖ Rose sighed. ―Even his name sounds hot.‖―Hot? Um, are we talking about the same guy? Busted nose, beady eyes-‖
    • ―Hey! Don‘t talk about him that way! I think he‘s cute. That nose gives himcharacter.‖―Whatever.‖ Arcadia cocked her head. ―What do you want from me?‖―Help me set up an outing together.‖―Uh, you do know he works at your dad‘s store, right?‖―Just help me!‖
    • Soon, a bunch of phone calls were made and everything was set. Later that week,Rose would have a brand new opportunity to introduce herself to her crush. Shecould hardly contain her excitement.
    • She put her feelings into song, practicing her parts for choir…
    • And even writing some tunes of her own. In fact, if Rose wasn‘t banging away onan instrument, she could usually be found writing lyrics in her diary.
    • ―Dad says it‘s time for me to go to bed,‖ Sydney announced as she burst throughthe bedroom door.―Okay.‖―Hey, what‘cha doing?‖
    • ―Oh, just writing some lyrics. I‘m almost done. Why don‘t you hop in the bath first?‖Sydney pouted, not sure which part of that sentence made her more upset. Shedecided to go with the most immediate concern. ―How come I gotta get ready first?‖―Because you‘re littlest and my bedtime‘s later,‖ Rose teased.
    • ―Hmph.‖ Sydney tapped her foot. ―Well how long have you been writing lyrics?‖―I don‘t know. Maybe since I was your age?‖―My age!‖ Sydney exclaimed. Holy crap, Sydney thought. I gotta a lot of catchingup to do.
    • As soon as Rose left for the shower, Sydney started practicing. If she was going tobe a bigger star than her sister, she‘d have to practice a lot more. Maybe shedidn‘t have her own songs yet, but she could practice her dancing in themeantime.*****
    • ―Hey, squirt, what are you still doing up?‖ Rose asked on her way to thedownstairs bathroom. Sydney had broken the toilet.―Though normative behavior between siblings often posits name calling can be asign of endearment, I still do not wish to be called squirt, sister.‖―Okay,‖ Rose laughed. ―I get it. Now answer my question.‖
    • ―I cannot sleep and was going to procure a nice tome for light bedside reading.‖―Oh? Hey, I know, why don‘t I read you a story? I haven‘t done that in a while.‖―You‘re going to read me Plato‘s Republic? I‘m reading classical philosophy thisweek.‖―Uh, no. How ‗bout a nice fairytale?‖
    • ―Are you sure we have to read that one?‖ Paige asked as Rose cracked openWitches, Kings, and Fearsome Things. ―What about Herodotus?‖―Hero-what-tis?‖―Herodotus. The Greek Historian. He has a few tales that—‖―Ugh, no, Paige, geez. Just lighten up for once and read something fun.‖
    • ―Greek mythology is fun,‖ Paige muttered to herself as Rose skimmed the table ofcontents.―Ooo, here‘s a good one. First Fangs—it‘s probably about a vampire.‖―No, no way!‖―Aw, come on Paige. What you scared?‖
    • ―No!‖―Uh-huh.‖―Really. I just fail to see the value in reading something that has no literary orfactual value.‖Rose blinked at her little sister, not sure how to counter that statement. ―Well, firstoff, it‘s just fun…‖
    • ―And second, vampires are real, so—‖Rose was cut off by the sound of Paige laughing. ―Nice try, but I‘m too smart forthat!‖―Uh, no really, Paige. Vampires are real.‖―Vampires are nothing but a myth that perpetuates irrational deductions andxenophobia.‖―No they‘re not. I‘m mean, what about Aunt Aerith?‖
    • ―Aunt who?‖―Aunt Aerith.‖ Rose scrunched up her face. ―I guess you haven‘t seen her seen hersince you were very, very little.‖―Uh-huh. And next you‘ll try to tell me I have an uncle who‘s a werewolf.‖―Uh, no. But seriously, Paige—‖―Oh,‖ Paige suddenly turned towards the window. ―I think Mom‘s home!‖
    • ―Mommy, mommy!‖ Paige was so eager to greet her mother, she forgot to maintainher usual bit of decorum. No matter how serious the young girl acted, she was stilla little girl who loved to greet her parents with a hug whenever they came home.
    • ―Hi, sweetie.‖ Melanie wrapped her youngest in a hug. ―What are you still doingup?‖―Rose was reading me a bedtime story. Well, trying to anyway. I kept interrupting.‖―Oh? That sounds nice.‖ Melanie ruffed Paige‘s hair. ―Anything good?‖―Nah, just fanciful tales.‖*****
    • Fairytales were soon forgotten by the time the kids came home from school thenext day.―Dear Mr. and Mrs. Specter,‖ Paige read her report card aloud. ―Paige is anexceptionally bright child and although she has made remarkable advances inevery subject, it would be best if she did not voice her objections about the classreading list and point out logical inconsistencies during story time.‖
    • ―No matter,‖ Paige shrugged. ―I still got all As.‖ She ran off to show her father herreport card.*****
    • Sydney, meanwhile, had brought home a friend and was busy playing in the yard.―Alright partner, it‘s the end of the road. Give it up!‖―Never!‖Houston tried to draw his weapons but Sydney was too quick for him.
    • ―You-You got me,‖ Houston moaned.―That‘s right, Red.‖ Sydney blew the smoke from her gun. ―Nobody takes onSherriff Syd and lives.‖ Sydney holstered her handgun. ―Okay, playtime‘s over.‖Giving up her playtime accent, she straightened up.―Wha? Why? I didn‘t even get to die and swear revenge on you and all your kin!‖―We had a deal, Red-‖―Houston.‖
    • ―We agreed on five minutes of cops and robbers then band practice. Five minutesis up.‖―Aw, come on. How about we play on the jungle gym instead?‖―How about…‖―Yeah?‖―You be quiet and we go with my idea?‖Sigh. ―Yeah okay.‖
    • *****And so Sydney spent the rest of the afternoon practicing for her band. In fact, a lotof her spare time was spent practicing. She took the whole thing very seriously.She was going to be a star some day—but more importantly, she‘d out shine herbig sister. So every chance she got she was practicing her moves, perfecting herposes, and recruiting backup dancers.*****
    • Rose was doing some practicing of her own the next evening. Determined, shetook one last look in the mirror. ―Okay, I‘m ready.‖ She smiled and told herself notto be nervous. ―Just chill. There‘ll be plenty of other people there.‖She was going out to the bowling alley that night with a bunch of friends fromschool. Arcadia assured her that Heath would be there and Rose was lookingforward to actually speaking to her crush.
    • *****―Hey, you made it!‖―Yeah.‖ Rose spotted Arcadia the second she walked in the door.―Rose, ― Arcadia said, ―You know Abhijeet and this is Heath.‖Heath nodded and gave Rose a ―Hey, what‘s up?‖ over his shoulder as he headedoff toward the pool table.
    • ―Oh, no, he barely noticed me! What do I do?‖Arcadia rolled her eyes. ―How about you go talk to him?‖ She gave Rose a nudgein Heath‘s direction and walked off to the bowling lanes.
    • ―H-Hey,‖ Rose picked up a pool stick. ―Heath, right?‖―Yeah. And you‘re Rose Specter.‖Squee! He knows my name, Rose thought.―Your dad talks about you all the time.‖―My dad?‖―Asher Specter, right? I‘m one of the managers down at Little N‘ Local.‖
    • ―Oh, yeah, right. Arcadia mentioned that. I can‘t believe we‘ve never met before.‖―Crazy, right? I feel like I already know you though—your dad talks about you allthe time. Even your grandfather told stories about you.‖Rose opened, then closed her mouth. She didn‘t quite know how she felt aboutthat. ―Really? Just what kind of stories, exactly?‖
    • ―Oh, nothing major. You know how people love to brag about their kids andgrandkids. Toddler stories mostly—you loved to dance and sing and sampled dogfood a time or two.‖Rose blushed. ―My curiosity got the better of me.‖Heath shrugged. ―I used to play in the toilet and my mom lets everyone know it. Ican relate.‖
    • Rose grinned. ―I‘m proud to say my bathroom adventures were more of thebathtub variety. So how‘d you get involved in the store?‖―Well, it was just luck, really. I happened to be cheap unemployed labor whenthings were just getting started.‖ Heath laughed. ―Now I have more badges than Iknow what to do with.‖―Cool. My dad‘s been always after me to come down and learn about the familybusiness,‖ Rose improvised. ―Maybe you could show me a few things?‖
    • ―Sure,‖ Heath gave her a quick smile. ―As long as you give me some pointers onpool. You‘re kicking my behind.‖Rose laughed. ―Any time.‖*****
    • The rest of the outing went well. Rose managed to grab a seat next to Healthwhen they sat down to eat and they talked easily, trading stories and interestedglances. There was only one thing left to do, if Arcadia‘s eyebrows were anyindication.
    • ―Oh, hey Heath, wait up.‖―Yeah?‖―You, um, you had a good time tonight, right?‖―Yeah…‖―Well, um… I was wondering…‖
    • ―Maybe you‘d like to go on a date with me?‖ Rose blurted.Heath cocked his head and looked thoughtful. After a moment he smiled. ―Surewhy not? Next weekend?‖Rose couldn‘t help but grin as a surge of elation bubbled up within her. ―Definitely.I can‘t wait.‖*****
    • ―No fair,‖ Paige exclaimed as her dad moved his hand before she could slap it.Though the primitive hand game was hardly an appropriate activity for youngscholars in training, Paige enjoyed playing red hands with her father.―You snooze you lose,‖ Asher chuckled softly. ―So Rose tells me you got upsetwhen she suggested reading some fairytales,‖ he said causally as they began thenext round.Ah, an ulterior motive, Paige thought. ―Father, you do not have to set up elaboratedistractions merely to converse with me.‖
    • ―Elaborate distractions? What are you talking about? I love playing games with mybaby girl. Especially when I win,‖ Asher grinned as Paige missed again.―I am hardly a baby, father,‖ Paige pouted.―Oh, but you‘ll always be my baby girl to me. So come on, spill. It‘s okay to beafraid of vampires. Vampires are scary.‖―Vampires and other such supernatural beings are neither scary nor entertainingbut fictitious and unimportant.‖
    • ―How do you know?‖―Huh?‖―How do you know they are fictitious?‖―Every respectable book says so. No self respecting scientist would even considerbelieving such tales.‖
    • Asher paused. ―You know, Paige, Rose wasn‘t lying. Your aunt really is a vampire.‖―What?‖ Paige was taken aback. She searched her father‘s face for a sign that hewas teasing her.―Sometimes,‖ Asher said slowly, ―it‘s okay to believe in tales. To believe in thingsothers can‘t hear or see. Sometimes,‖ he admitted, ―the tales are true.‖
    • Later that night, Paige stood in front of the telescope, thinking on her father‘swords. She wondered if, since vampires existed, there were aliens out there too.
    • ―Oh, who am I kidding? No self-respecting scientist believes in vampires or aliens.‖
    • There’s nothing in this universe that science can’t explain.*****
    • ―So I‘m thinking of starting a band,‖ Sydney said to her brother one afternoon.Spencer rolled his eyes. ―Let me guess. You want me to be your back up.‖―Would I do that to my one and only brother? My twin no less?‖―Yes. Yes, you would.‖―Not-uh, you‘d be my partner. You do the music, I sing.‖
    • ―No thanks. I‘m going to be very busy after we grow up tonight.‖―Oh?‖―Yeah. Isaiah said that Tina said that Nicole has a crush on me.‖―Oh, brother.‖
    • ―And I got four valentines on Valentine‘s Day. After we grow up the girls won‘t beable to keep their hands off me.‖―Yeah, okay.‖―You‘ll see tonight.‖*****
    • ―Okay everybody, attention! I‘m about to blow out the candles! This is big stuffhere, people—you don‘t want to miss it. Everyone got their cameras ready?‖
    • ―Sydney, will you just shut up and blow out the candles?‖ I knew I shoulda wentfirst, Spencer thought, but Syd’s the oldest.
    • ―Well, okay… Oh, wait—I didn‘t make a wish!‖―Aw, geez,‖ Spencer put his face in his hands.Hmm, Sydney thought to herself. I wish… That I grow up prettier than Rose, that Ipick a better aspiration than Rose, and that I get a boyfriend before Rose.
    • Oh, and that I beat Rose in the high school’s Battle of the Bands and be morefamous than Rose, too!―Come on, Sydney,‖ Paige yelled. ―Don‘t take all night!‖―Okay, okay,‖ Sydney leaned over the cake.
    • Finally, it was Spencer‘s turn. I wish to be cool like my dad, Spencer thoughtquickly, then blew out the candles.
    • And just like that, the twins were all grown up. A quick change of clothes and…
    • They were back in the living room showing off.*****Sydney: Family/Popularity; LTW is to have six grandchildren; Pisces 4/8/10/3/10Spencer: Romance/Wealth; LTW is to become Prestidigitator (top entertainmentcareer); Virgo 10/7/7/5/6
    • *****Spencer wasn‘t kidding when he told Sydney there were girls lined up to date him.As soon as he transitioned, he started hanging out downtown, looking for newpeople to meet.
    • And he was always greeting passerby at home…
    • And chatting online.
    • Pretty soon he started dating.
    • Charming and funny, the girls seemed to love him.
    • He had a new date every other night.
    • And didn‘t show any signs of settling down.*****
    • ―Okay, Rose, I think it‘s about time to start teaching you about the familybusiness,‖ Asher said one afternoon. He had brought Rose with him to help checkon the family business.―Cool. So, uh, is Heath here?‖ Rose asked casually looking around.―Yes, he‘s here,‖ Asher gave a soft smile. ―He‘s skilling in the back. You two willhave plenty of time for your date later this evening, I promise.‖
    • ―How‘d you know?‖ Rose raised her brows.Asher shrugged. ―I could tell you it‘s a dad thing, but honestly, you‘re just not thathard to read, Rose.‖ He paused. ―And you‘ve been squealing on the phone withArcadia all week. Your mother and I are okay with you dating—Heath‘s a good kid.Just try not to move too fast, okay?‖―Deal. So what do I need to know about the business?‖
    • ―Well, this place is very easy to run, actually, since Little N‘ Local is a club of sorts.It only requires the occasionally clean up and selling tickets. I‘ll leave you incharge—‖―What? But I don‘t know a thing about selling anything!‖―You‘ll learn fast. Most sims are suckers. We‘ll keep the ticket price low while youlearn, too. If you run into any real problems, Heath and I are just inside.‖
    • ―Are you sure about this?‖―Relax, you‘ll be fine. Good luck.‖―Okay…‖
    • To her surprise, Rose found she loved selling. It came naturally to her, and with thebusiness‘ reputation, most sims considered the cheap price a good deal.―Come on, Marylena, you know you want to buy a ticket.‖―Hmm, I don‘t know…‖―Alright, well you put your finger up your nose while you think about it.‖
    • In a few short hours, she earned herself a gold selling badge and was soon able tosell pretty much anything to anybody.―So you see sir, this place has everything you could want. A guaranteed good time.Five hundred simoleans is really a steal.‖―It sure is! I can‘t believe I‘m getting in at this low, low price! I must be born lucky!‖―You sure are.‖
    • Of course, Rose made sure to get to know her staff better too.―So, uh, Heath, would you mind showing me the ropes a bit, since you‘re soexperienced and all?‖―Sure, I can give you a few tips.‖The business was so easy to run, Rose doubted if anyone would even notice shewas gone.
    • ―Hmm, I wonder if I should buy a ticket?‖
    • ―And, uh, maybe you could give me a tour of the break room, or something?‖ Roseadded hopefully.―I love to, as long as you‘re not busy.‖―Sweet. I‘m not busy at all!‖
    • ―Hello?‖ The woman scratched her head. ―Isn‘t anyone going to sell me a ticket?‖
    • Rose did eventually get back to selling and, for the most part, the day wentsmoothly.
    • The business made a nice profit and Rose had a lot of fun—though earning vastsums of money in a short period of time might have had something to do with that.
    • ―So how‘d I do, dad?‖―You did great. You think you might want to come back and help me out from timeto time?‖―Are you kidding? I had a blast—no matter what price I suggested, everyone justwent with it. I made thousands of dollars today! Thousands! I can‘t imagine whyanyone goes to college.‖
    • ―Why do I get the feeling I‘ve opened up a can of worms? Oh well,‖ Asher threw uphis hands, ―I‘m glad you had fun. Now, about your date—‖―Dad…‖ Rose moaned.―Just…‖ Asher shook his head. I can’t believe my baby girl is dating. ―Just don‘tstay out too late.‖―Okay!‖ Rose skipped off to meet Heath.
    • ―So, I was thinking… Maybe we could get a bite to eat? Maybe go bowling?‖ Crap,Rose mentally kicked herself as soon as the words left her mouth. Didn’t we dothat last time? He probably doesn’t want to—―Sounds good to me. I‘m starving.‖―Great,‖ Rose smiled, relieved. ―Here we go then.‖*****
    • A few minutes later Rose was outside SimBowl Lanes feeling nervous.Okay, she prepped herself, you can do this. It’s just bowling. And dinner. You knowhow to eat, right?
    • ―So… How about we eat first?‖ Heath suggested.―Yeah, I was just about to—yeah. Let‘s just get seats.‖―Are you okay?‖―Yeah—Yes. I‘m just a little nervous,‖ Rose smiled.
    • ―Me too,‖ Heath admitted. They both laughed. ―Let‘s just have fun, okay?‖―Got it.‖
    • The two sat down to eat and from then on the conversation flowed a bit moreeasily. The chatted about school and work and hopes and dreams and everythingin between.―You like to sing, right?‖―Right. And you like to build stuff. I saw some of your stuff back at the club. It‘sreally good…‖
    • They ordered and tasted all the desserts on the menu while they lingered at thetable, having fun by just talking and getting to know each other.
    • They danced a little, bowled a little, and before Rose knew it, the date was comingto an end.
    • ―I…I had a really nice time,‖ Rose said softly.―Me too.‖ Heath seemed to hesitate, then, ―We should do this again.‖Rose flashed him a big smile. ―Definitely.‖―Well, good night.‖―Yeah—well, just one more thing.‖
    • *****
    • Oh and Rose totally kicked his butt at bowling.*****
    • Sydney held the last note and finished up her song.―So what do you think?‖ She asked Houston. ―It‘s good right?‖―Ye—‖―I definitely think we should use it for the Battle.‖
    • ―Which ever song you choose, it‘ll be good. You‘ve got a great voice.‖ Houstonsmiled at Sydney.―I know, right? Much better than Rose‘s! So, okay, the music‘s all set and I‘mworking on the dancers, but I think it‘s time for phase two.‖―Phase two?‖―Don‘t tell me you forgot,‖ Sydney exclaimed. ―Were you even listening?‖
    • ―I listen. You just say a lot of things.‖Sydney rolled her eyes. ―Whatever. Phase two is Operation Boyfriend, remember?I need a hot date if I‘m going to win Dancing Queen at the Winter Festival.‖―Right. Well, that‘s easy then.‖―Yup. I already found him. His name‘s Cooper.‖
    • ―Woah, wait. Who‘s—‖―Oh, come on, Red! Keep up!‖―Houston. And keep up with what? You never said—‖
    • ―Remember yesterday how I told you I met this kid from school and invited himover to my house?‖―Vaguely…‖―Well, that‘s him. A little dim, maybe, but easy on the eyes, a makeover‘s a musttoo—‖―Wait.‖
    • ―I—I thought I was going to be your boyfriend.‖Sydney snorted. ―Why?‖―Well… You remember. When we first met. You said that I could be your boyfriendif I was your lackey…‖―Oh… Oh, that. Please. We were kids, Red. You can‘t possibly expect…‖
    • Sydney trailed off as she saw the look on Houston‘s face. ―Oh. You did.‖―Look, Syd, I‘ve had a crush on you for a really long time—‖―But—‖―No buts. I‘m talking now. I like you. And I want to be your boyfriend. ThisCooper, he doesn‘t know you. He doesn‘t care about you. I do.‖
    • ―Yes, but—‖Houston shut Sydney up with a kiss.―Oh, um…,‖ Sydney flustered a bit when Houston finally let go. ―I guess…‖―I‘m right. I know I am.‖ Sydney nodded weakly.
    • ―And stop calling me Red,‖ Houston demanded as he pulled Sydney in.She sighed. ―Okay, fine. It was a stupid nickname anyway. But just because you‘remy boyfriend doesn‘t mean—‖Houston just kissed Sydney again.*****
    • ―Hey, Spence, we need to talk.‖―Why do I get the feeling that this isn‘t going to be anything good?‖―Relax. Here, let‘s go a few rounds.‖
    • ―Okay, dad, what‘s up?‖ It had been almost a few minutes and Asher was stillpretty silent.―Alright, look. Now, I know you and your sisters are getting older. And as a resultyou all are going through certain changes—‖―DAD!‖
    • ―Well, it‘s not like all this dating is secret,‖ Asher shrugged. ―Sydney and Rose areone thing, but well… Your mother and I are concerned about you.‖―Definitely not good,‖ Spencer muttered.―Look, there are a lot of girls out there—‖ Spencer groaned but Asher continued.―And I‘m not saying you have to settle down. I understand that you want to playthe field a little. You‘re young.‖―Dad, come on. Do we really have to talk about this?‖
    • ―Well, normally, I wouldn‘t say anything,‖ Asher met his son‘s eyes. ―I wouldn‘tthink I needed to.‖
    • ―But when strange girls start visiting in the middle of the night…
    • And leaving expensive TVs and statues on our doorstep, I kind of have to.‖
    • Spencer thought back to last weekend. ―What can I say?‖ He told his dad. ―I‘m agood date.‖
    • He‘d even managed to get another girl‘s number for this weekend.
    • ―Look, I‘m all for you having a good time and enjoying yourself, but… Well, justdon‘t enjoy yourself, too much. And try not to break any hearts or start lying.Melanie and I raised you better than that. We clear?‖―Crystal,‖ Spence nodded and then the pair went back to training on the punchingbag.*****
    • ―I just don‘t get it, mother,‖ Paige sighed. ―It seems like everyone‘s lost their heads.All Sydney, Rose, and Spencer can talk about is dating. Bleh.‖Melanie smiled. ―You‘ll understand yourself one day, hopefully.‖―I don‘t think so,‖ Paige declared with conviction. ―Everyone knows that emotionshave no place in science.‖
    • ―Is that so?‖―Yes. Romance is the ultimate distraction from serious research.‖―I wonder where you get all these ideas,‖ Melanie pondered softly as sheconsidered the board.―Well, look at Mortimer Goth for one. A brilliant mind distracted by grief andheartache.‖
    • ―It‘s obvious that love only gets in the way and it‘s the cause of an infinite numberof problems, misunderstandings, feuds, and overall generally stupid behavior—atleast in literature.‖―Hmm. Well, you may change your mind when your older.‖*****
    • Paige didn‘t really think she would, though. She was just a girl, but already shewas remarkably serious with a long list of goals. She knew exactly what aspirationshe would choose and couldn‘t wait to grow up, collect her skilling scholarshipsand head off to the Académie where she would start her brilliant career as ascientist. Luckily for her, she didn‘t have much longer to wait. Her birthday was thevery next day.*****
    • Paige woke bright and early the morning of her birthday.―Good morning, ants.‖ Paige greeted the tiny creatures like she did every morning.―And how are we doing this morning?‖The stage is set, the time is now – listen up, kiddies, it’s my turn now? Nah, that’sstupid.
    • ―Woah.‖ Paige tapped the glass. She could have sworn she just heard the antssay something. But that would be silly. Ants didn‘t talk. Still, she had thought…
    • ―Oh, who am I kidding?‖ Paige laughed. She‘d probably heard the radio from herparents‘ room. She smiled again. There was always a rational explanation foreverything.
    • As she settled down at her desk and began her extra credit work, she soon forgotall about the strange voice. The homework soothed her; she couldn‘t wait to growup that afternoon and begin real high school work. She planned to spend the restof the weekend reviewing her siblings‘ textbooks so she could get ahead—shedidn‘t want to be behind on her first day of high school!
    • In fact, Paige had to be dragged away from her books to blow out the candles onthe birthday cake. The party was small with little fuss, just as Paige liked it.
    • In a few short moments, Paige had grown up, finally a teen like the rest of hersiblings.―Come on, Paige!‖―Yeah, let‘s see!‖―Okay, okay,‖ Paige sighed as her siblings pounded on the bathroom door,demanding to see her in her new clothes.
    • ―Ta da!‖―Aw, honey—let‘s take a picture,‖ her mother squealed while her dad went to fetchthe camera. Finally, all the Specters were grown up.*****Paige: Knowledge; LTW top journalism career; Virgo 10/3/9/2/7*****
    • Across town, Zeph and Liz were having some of their own quality time.―So, what do you want to do tonight, Doctor?‖Liz grinned. ―You have no idea how much I earned that title. And this night off. Butas to your question—I don‘t know and I don‘t care.‖ She smiled again. ―I‘m justhappy to spend some time with you for once.‖
    • Zeph smiled softly. ―I‘m happy just to be with you too.‖Things were quieter around his side of the neighborhood, too. He and Liz hadbeen spending a lot more time together. Since he was in between jobs, he wouldmeet Liz for lunch during the day or stay in for dinner and a movie when she gothome. Zephyr was definitely making more of an effort to get to know Liz again.Seeing her happy and smiling lifted a part of him.
    • ―Same thing we do every night, then?‖ Liz teased.―Definitely. Come here.‖
    • Zephyr pulled Liz into his arms as she wrapped her arms around him.―It‘s good to see you happy,‖ she said softly, stroking his shoulder.
    • ―You make me happy,‖ he told her, then kissed her.
    • The two never did go anywhere that night, but that was just fine with them.*****
    • Andy smiled to himself, almost content as he drank his tea. He would‘ve loved tohave his family there around him, but he had decided to just be content with goingsomewhere new and seeing exotic sights.
    • He had gotten some advice—he should travel, see the world and enjoy the rest ofhis life. He shouldn‘t worry so much about what was to come. So he did—thetraveling at least. He was in the Far East this month, learning about the localculture and customs.
    • He chatted with the locals…
    • Made new friends over games in the park…
    • Learned ancient secrets…
    • And listened to old legends.
    • And when it came time to end his trip, to put a coin in the fountain for luck, heknew just what he would wish for, who he‘d give his luck to.
    • He still worried for all of them, his children and the new generation, thegrandchildren he‘d never seen. But he had made his peace. He had done what hecould. Passed on what he was told. But just to be sure, he‘d write it all down forthem. So they‘d know. So they‘d learn. That was all he could do. His time wascoming to an end. A new generation was here now.The End.*****
    • Whew. That took a while. Sorry for the long wait and thanks to everyone whoreads and looks out for this story. There should be lots more Specters thissummer, though, don‘t worry. As always, comments are appreciated, and you canleave ‗em at the new boolprop--http://boolprop.prophpbb.com. Later simmers andhappy reading.