The Ryman Legacy Chapter 13B A Royal Wedding Or From now on, let’s consider this normal. By Mzyra
Rodney wondered why he had even dared to imagine he might get some peaceful alone time before Liv’s wedding. “Do you genuinely not have anything better to do than annoy me?” “I just heard that my sister and ex-wife are dead,” Seth ignored him thoughtfully. “And? I thought you didn’t care about them anymore. You were fine with blackmailing them out of their positions and they certainly hated you.”
Seth frowned a little at this before shaking his head, “It’s not really that – they’re dead of old age. But Sara was only a little older than me and Noelle was my age. I should at least almost be dead too.” “But you’re not. Congratulations, now go away.” “Yeah, but I’m still aging. Pretty soon I’m going to actually get old. And then die.” “And we’ll all be happier,” Rodney muttered under his breath. “Everyone ages and dies, Seth: man up and get used to it.”
“…Yeah, I guess you’re right; everyone ages and dies,” Seth agreed casually after a prolonged pause while Rodney moved to the mirror. “Except, you know, Juan Harris won’t since he’s a zombie and everything. He’s probably going to be around forever. Long after we’re dead.” Rodney froze. Harris knew practically everything. He would only have to wait until Rodney died before he could reveal everything and destroy his name. And it was a bitter enough thought even without that.
He sighed and turned around to face Seth, who was now smirking victoriously. “Alright, I’m listening, what do you propose?” “Well there’s the reason I’m still relatively young now-“ “No,” Rodney interjected. “No cowplants. You’ve killed enough people as it is, and you know Harris will be looking out for anything like that to bring us – me – down.”
Seth sighed, “Fine. Vampires also seem to live forever-“ “I can’t be a vampire. Not going out during the day? That might be fine for you, but some of us choose to see daylight. And it’s creepy anyway.” “And then there are zombies-“ Rodney silenced him with a look. “Now you’re just trying to piss me off.”
Seth shrugged, “Those three are the only ways I’ve heard. So unless you’re okay with Harris beating you at something or you make sure he dies first somehow, you’ll have to pick one.” Rodney stared into the middle distance for a few moments. “I’ll think about it. There must be another way...”
“Anyway,” he said, snapping out of his trance, “some of us actually have things to do. Find a way to make yourself useful for once, I’m going to see my daughter.” ~~~~~~~~~~
Juan didn’t want to have to do this. He didn’t know what he was going to say, but he was seriously running out of time in which to say it. He sighed and reluctantly knocked on the door. “Liv? Can I talk to you?”
“Sure, come in!” “Oh. Wow. You look- you look wonderful,” he said, taken aback a little. “Thanks,” she smiled happily. “I get the impression the dress was very expensive, but you know my Dad…!”
“Yeah. I do.” He leant against the chest of drawers and continued to think how on earth he was going to say this. “Juan…? What is it?” Liv asked lightly after a few minutes’ silence. He hesitated before starting, “Look… You’re clearly very excited and happy about all this, but this is just a wedding. And a wedding’s just one day, generally followed by decades of marriage. I just… Are you sure about this?”
Liv’s face betrayed no reaction, completely neutral, but she looked a little tense. “What do you mean?” “Well, I’ll admit I don’t know Winston myself and he may be a good guy and suited to you and everything, but it kind of seems to me like...” he hesitated and watched her carefully as he slowly finished: “you’re only with him because your father wants you to be.” The sign was small, she looked down and swallowed a little, but it was there. “Oh.”
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make people happy Liv, but there are some things where you have to put yourself first. This is the rest of your life we could be talking about; the person you’ll be living with, possibly the father of your children: they’ll be a huge part of your life. I’m not sure if I believe in soul-mates and all those kinds of things, but at the very least you should like them – preferably love them – and want to be with them forever, at least at the beginning even if it goes wrong later. Nobody else should make that decision for you.” Liv still said nothing.
“And if Winston is all those things to you then that’s fine – that’s great! But if he’s not… You should have the best you can get. And… your father has a life of his own; he doesn’t need you to orient yours around him too.” He struggled not to sound bitter. Liv’s silence continued.
“I’m sorry, but… I had to say it. Just in case. Anyway, I’d better get back to your mother…” he said awkwardly and went to leave. “Juan?” she finally said. “Yes?” She gave him a small, sad smile. “Thank you.” “Any time.”
Rodney watched Harris walking away thoughtfully, anger burning beneath the surface at the interfering conversation he’d just overheard. Just you wait, Harris. Just you wait.
He irritably headed into Liv’s room himself. “You almost ready, Liv?” “Yeah,” she beamed. “How do I look?” “Great,” he said distractedly. “Oh…. Do you think there’s anything I need to change?” she asked half-hopefully. “No, you’ll be fine.” “Oh. Okay...” ~~~~~~~~~~
“You okay man?” Tommy asked his best friend hesitantly. “Fantastic,” Briney responded dryly. “It’s not too late to leave-” “I can’t.” “But why are you even here? It’s only going to hurt.” “I’m here to look – and try to be – happy for her,” he said grimly.
“So you’re not going to try anything then?” Tommy asked suspiciously. “Like what?” “I don’t know.” I don’t want to give you any ideas. “She knows how I feel and if she’s fallen in love with somebody else…” Briney sighed miserably. Tommy shook his head. He had a bad feeling about this. ~~~~~~~~~~
“Er Rodney – I thought you said the whole of Simfield was coming…?” “Yes.” “This can’t possibly be…!” Rodney sighed. “…There’s been some emigration.” “…’Some’?” “A considerable amount.”
Seth laughed gleefully, “Are you telling me that you’ve messed up Simfieldso badly that everyone’s just leaving?” “No… And we didn’t want them anyway,” Rodney said shortly. “What are you going to do when you’re Mayor of a town where you’re the only inhabitant?” “As if you’d let me get that kind of peace and quiet,” Rodney glared. “Anyway, we’ll get new people. Better people.” “Who?!”
“People who want to live somewhere like this and will benefit us. Or who don’t have a choice and can be easily manipulated. It’s a good thing.” “Suuure…” Seth smirked. “Anyway, where am I going, what am I doing?” “Up the front – you’re the Best Man. Though that’s only because if we had to sit you with the rest of your family you’d probably get lynched.” “Ahh, you’re so caring,” he laughed and walked away.
Seth walked happily past the other guests still finding their seats, up to the arch where the Maid of Honour was waiting-
“Oh. It’s you. Hi.” Mia just stared at him in shock and apprehension.
“…Nice weather we have today, huh?” She continued to stare. “Right, well, uh, this is extremely awkward – I’m going to go over there.”
Oh my god, I can’t believe this is actually happening, Mia thought as he walked away from her. How can this be right? ~~~~~~~~~~
And then the wedding really started.
As Rodney walked Liv – remarkably slowly – up the aisle to where her fiancé and future were waiting.
“Ah, wow…” “Aunty Liv looks really pretty! Did you look like that Mum?” “No way – my dress was nowhere near that amazing.” “Don’t listen to your mother, Elliot; she was just as gorgeous.”
“Oh my god…!” “Wow, huh?” “Yeah…”
“Are you okay? Ready for this?” Rodney murmured, struggling to keep the edge out of his voice. Liv just smiled at him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a beautiful wedding on a beautiful day, to witness the love and commitment of Winston Jayapalan and Liv Ryman, and its certification in marriage. With love, good fortune, and the help of the friends and family in attendance today, may it last for many decades to come. “Well,” Ivan continued nervously. “We may as well jump right in, right?”
“Winston Seth Jayapalan, will you take Liv to be your lawfully wedded wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” Winston casually reflected on this for a moment. “I will.”
“Liv Mia Ryman, will you take Winston to be your lawfully wedded husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honour and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?”
The tension in select areas of the audience was suffocating.
Juan sighed and suppressed a groan, while Rodney’s whole world lit up, most visible of all on his own face.
Briney’s groan, however, was audible. “Oh god…” “I tried to warn you…!” Tommy sighed. “Yeah, yeah…”
“Now for the vows and rings,” Ivan recalled cautiously. “I, Winston Jayapalan, take thee Liv Ryman, to be my wife. To have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, and I promise to care for you forevermore.”
“I, Liv Ryman, take thee Winston Jayapalan, to be my husband. To have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, and I promise to care for you forevermore.”
“Then I now pronounce you man and wife: Mr Winston – and Mrs Liv – Jalowitz. Winston, you may kiss your bride!”
It was amazingly short for something that had caused so much stress. But it wasn’t really the focus for some people…
“I win,” Rodney wasn’t even looking at Juan, but it was obvious he was talking to him.
Juan stared at him in disgust. “Is that what this is about to you?! You’re pathetic. And you’d better hope this marriage works because if it doesn’t I am blaming all of it on you.” Rodney’s smile just became a larger smirk.
Tommy saw his friend suddenly move out of the corner of his eye and start swaying slightly. “…Did you just freeze time so you could get drunk?!” “…No.” “Are you planning on talking to Liv at all before we leave?” he sighed. “I guess so.” “You think she’s not going to notice and care that you’re completely off your face?!” Briney groaned. “Hang on.”
He blurred a bit again and stopped swaying though he looked very grumpy. “I’ve drunk like five cups of coffee and have a pounding headache – I hope you’re happy.” “Happier,” Tommy sighed and rolled his eyes. ~~~~~~~~~~
With the ceremony done, it was time for food and champagne (which may have been half the reason some of the guests were even there), but also for various conversations…
“We just can’t stand for this, Jane – we’ve been friends with Rymans for generations; we must be able to marry in somewhere!” …
… “No, no Nolan, we’re just suggesting that maybe-” “If you get either one of us pregnant again you will swiftly lose the ability to father children at all.” “Janice!” “You have to be firm with guys, Tess’!” …
… “Oh, come on, I dare someone to do it!” “Wouldn’t that be interfering?” “Noooo, Jess is obviously okay with it, and you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it after all this – it’s not exactly shoving him in a crocodile pit!” “I still prefer that plan, myself.” …
… “So, are you single?” “That depends on who’s asking.” “Oh, ignore my brother, he chats up everyone.” “Oh yeah and you don’t, Ivan?” “I just think she’d be more interested in a mature man-” “Well that counts you out!” …
… “I wonder how the babysitter’s getting along with Brawly…” “Oh, I’m sure she’s fine. You did tell her about that tin foil trick to send him to sleep, didn’t you?” “Yes, but I’m not sure she really got the hang of it…” “Fly or die situation for her then, I guess.” …
… “So I’m Robin and these are my half-sisters Sally and Rose – they’re half alien, you know.” “I’m Stone and this is my identical twin Ned.” “Jerry, and this is my cousin Amy – our mums are twins too, but they’re not identical.” “Er, I’m Elliot… And, uh, my grandad’s a zombie?” …
… “So how have things been since Sara… you know?” “Well, kinda lonely, obviously, but the house is packed full, so I’m not really alone. And hey: I’m a grandpa now, aren’t I? I’m sure coming to meet little Huey will make me feel better.” “Oh yeah, he has your hair and everything, you’ll love him.” …
… “Urrrrrgh…” “Come on man; if you slump over the table like this she’ll notice!” “Urrrrrrgh….” “Hey, you can behave or you can leave mate, but don’t ruin the day.” …
… “Oh come on Laura, if we can raise the dead just by concentrating, we must have the ability to kill people with a look!” “I just don’t think that he deserves-” “He’s done worse to other people!” “Then we’d be stooping to his level!” “Can we please at least try?” …
.. “They’re glaring at you again.” “I choose to take it as a sign of love.” “It’s not.” “Shhh.” …
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we have just a couple of short speeches to make before the cutting of the cake-”
“Speeches? We’re making speeches?” “No, I don’t really do public speaking-” “But I’m the Best Man-” “And I forbid you from making a speech, Dad.” “… You’re no fun.”
“Hello, welcome, thank you for coming. I am, as I hope you all know, Mayor Rodney Jalowitz, father of Liv, our beautiful bride. And it is wonderful to be able to share such a special occasion with so many people. I can’t honestly say I ever made the conscious decision to bring Liv into my life, but she really has made me proud today, and I never could have imagined what I’d be missing and how different and much better my life is, than if I didn’t have her. She’s an amazing girl with a kind heart and she deserves the best.”
“Which brings us to the groom. Now if anyone had ever proposed to me that my daughter marry the son of Seth Jayapalan, I would have thought they were insane or trying to insult me. However, having met and gotten to know Winston, I can happily report that he is almost nothing like his father, and I’m glad to be able to welcome him into the family and trust him with Liv for the years to come.”
“Er, I would do additional ‘thank you’s at this point, but this was nearly all my own work, so uh, Liv, I believe you had something you wanted to say?” “Isn’t the Best Man supposed to make a speech first?” Liv asked. “Why yes, yes he is!” Seth interjected before anyone could stop him. “Thank you for reminding us, Liv – isn’t she wonderful?” Winston and Rodney did not look thrilled.
“Now, as the best man, I am lead to believe it is my duty to rag on the groom, embarrassing stories, etc, etc, but those of you who know Winston will know that’s very hard to do; he’s a hard-working, upstanding member of the community – I’ve never known someone to be quite so successful in not becoming their father – yes, believe it or not, Rodney was telling the truth, may wonders never cease. So congratulations for that Winston, and for managing to somehow get such a wonderful bride. Try not to screw it up, you probably won’t get so lucky again.”
“So I may not be able to do the normal best man thing, but I did have some alterations to make to our earlier ceremony. We were told that we were all gathered here today to celebrate Liv and Winston’s marriage, but a lot of us know that’s not true: I’m sure everyone here loves a good wedding, or at least a good party, but we know there are people here who won’t even really know the couple.”
No, we are gathered here today because ‘Mayor Rodney Jalowitz’, our dear father-of-the-bride, cannot pass up the opportunity to show off how obscenely rich and powerful he is to as many people as possible – and we’re sure he’s not compensating for something at all. So a toast to him for giving us this – because everybody loves a party they don’t have to pay for.”
“And additional toasts to Mia and Juan Ryman, without whom Liv would not be the woman she is today, and my recently deceased ex-wife who did a lot more for Winston than I ever did. But mostly I’d toast to Liv, and my eternal hope that maybe she might be able to turn these poor, socially inept fortune sims into something verging on normal human beings.”
“Er, thank you Mr Jayapalan,” Liv smiled shyly. “I don’t think brides usually make speeches, but, well, everyone knows I like to talk! And I have to thank everybody – my mum, and Juan, my big brothers, my friends, my cousins, my sisters-in-law, my aunts, my uncles – even my niece and nephews: hi Elliot! You look adorable! And then there’s obviously Winston’s family too; I can’t wait to get to know you all better and can hopefully make Winston happy all the while. Thank you for all coming and supporting me through the years; my life would be a little less bright without any single one of you.”
“But most of all I’d like to thank my Dad, who organised and paid for all of this. I know it can’t be easy to bond with a daughter whose mother you’re no longer with, and who you don’t live with and see necessarily all that often, but even if you weren’t behind all this, I’d still want you to be the one walking me up the aisle and sat next to me today, because you’re my Dad and I love you.” Rodney just stared down, stunned speechless. “Now, who wants some cake?” ~~~~~~~~~~
And then there was dancing, for those who had a partner and could do so without treading on their partner’s feet.
And it wasn’t long after that the kids (predominantly the girls) decided they had to dance too and were established into pairs of their own.
Elliot wound up dancing with Robin. Not that he was complaining; girls were soft and pretty, if a bit bossy. They should definitely together dance more often.
Some people couldn’t help but feel left out though. Or cripplingly depressed.
“Why hello there, Mayor Jalowitz.” Rodney avoided looking at the owner of the approaching sultry voice. That was the last thing he’d need. “I’m busy, Jessica.” “Too busy for one little dance?” “Yes.”
“You’re always busy,” she said, faux-dejectedly. “I am the Mayor.” “Seth will dance with me…” “Seth would dance with a sheep if it asked. Would probably sleep with it, too.”
“It’s okay if you’re scared-” “I’m not scared-!” he said angrily, turning to face her, but she was already walking away. Bloody women.
Something told him he probably didn’t have any right to be angry about Seth dancing with Jesspret, but it really didn’t stop him feeling it anyway. The idiots deserved each other. ~~~~~~~~~~
Mia had barely spoken to Rodney since the bachelorette challenge when Liv was just a toddler, but she felt it was about time she changed that, especially since he’d paid for and run the entire wedding.
“Hello Rodney.” He looked at her blankly. “Thank you for all this – it’s beautiful and you’ve done a really great job. Liv seems to be really happy too.”
And then he walked off without a word. “Er, okay…?” Well that was disappointing. She sighed and went to find Juan again instead. ~~~~~~~~~~
Once the first couple of dances were over, Liv and Winston broke apart to talk to people. Naturally Liv’s family got to her first. “Oh Liv, you look absolutely wonderful!” “Thanks Mum.” “I can’t believe my little girl is married…” “I know Mum, I know.”
“Congratulations sis, everything’s great.” “No grilled cheese at the buffet table?!” Lyle teased. “No Lyle; we thought turkey might be better.” “Charlatans!”
“Congratulations Liv.” “Thanks Juan,” Liv said quietly, not quite meeting Juan’s eye. “I hope you’ll be happy.” “I will.” ~~~~~~~~~~
Seth waited until Liv’s family was done and gone before approaching her himself. “Hey, congrats Liv. It went really well. Great speech, too.” “Thank you,” she beamed. “And of course you look absolutely gorgeous like that.”
“Really? You think so?” “Well yeah, why wouldn’t I?” “Well it’s just my Dad…” Seth sighed, “What’s he done now?” “When I asked him how I looked before the ceremonyhe said ‘great’, but he sounded like he was just saying that, and then when I asked him if there was anything I should change he said ‘you’ll be fine’…”
Seth stared at her for a couple of seconds before bursting out laughing. “Oh god, he is priceless – I’m going to have to start writing these down! No, trust me Liv: your Dad’s an idiot, and you look beautiful. No worries.” “Thanks Mr Jayapalan,” she smiled happily. “Oh please – call me Seth.” ~~~~~~~~~~
“Ow! What was that for?!” Rodney demanded as Seth hit him as he passed. “’You’ll be fine’?!” Seth laughed incredulously. “God, you are completely hopeless with women, aren’t you? You’d probably be better off with men…” Rodney opened his mouth to reply angrily but Seth was already headed off to the karaoke machine.
“What?!” he demanded testily of one of his staff staring at him from nearby. “Oh, nothing, it’s just… you two make an adorable couple,” she smiled before walking away quite quickly.
Rodney stared after her before getting really angry. Where the hell was Winston?! ~~~~~~~~~~
“Everybodyyy…. Rock your bodyyy…. Everybodyyy… Rock your body right… Backstreet’s back, alright! -”
“All those in favour of killing him right now?” Gina asked angrily. “Wouldn’t think twice,” Brendan muttered. “Any opposed?” “I think a quick death might let him off too easily,” Haley reasoned. “Agreed,” Gina said grimly. “Motion postponed, in favour of a slow and painful death. Give me a chance to gather my equipment and I’ll meet you behind the wedding arch for a discussion on how to circumvent the laws against torture.” ~~~~~~~~~~
“Oh my God we're back agaaain, Brothers, sisters, everybody siiing! We're gonna bring the flavour, show you hooow! I've gotta question for ya, Better answer noow-!”
Juan watched Seth unabashedly singing his heart out on the karaoke machine in fascination. If the man ever got around to dying, scientists would have to dissect his brain in order to figure out what the heck was wrong with him.
“Dad?” Lyle interjected into his thoughts. “Mmm?” “The man on the karaoke machine – we don’t like him, do we?” Juan looked at his son with deep concern. “No. We don’t. Do you not know who he is?”
“Isn’t he some celebrity?” Jose asked. “He’s called Seth Jayapalan,” Juan said slowly, waiting for one of the boys to suddenly remember. “Yeah, that’s his name,” Jose agreed. “Do we even know him though?” “I think Roxanne’s friends with his daughters or something,” Lyle shrugged. “Seriously? Nobody’s ever told any of you kids?” Juan stared between them. “I assumed somebody would have said something or even that you might remember, Lyle…”
They both looked at each other and shrugged apologetically. Juan sighed. “Okay, you know how you all have different fathers? Do you remember why that was?” “Oh yeah, one of Mum’s cousins went psycho and killed you and Jose’s Dad,” Lyle recalled. Juan waited for them to put two and two together before giving up and gesturing towards Seth. Their mouths dropped.
“No way,” Jose said slowly. “That can’t be…” “Are you trying to tell me that my Dad’s murderer is singing karaoke at my sister’s wedding?!” Lyle exclaimed under his breath. “That is exactly what I am telling you.” “What’s he doing out here?! Why isn’t he in jail?! Can’t you arrest him now?” Lyle couldn’t stop gaping.
“Hang on,” Jose said slowly, “is this all to do with that thing you told me? About your boss and the corruption and everything?” “It’s very linked to that, yes,” Juan said bitterly. “Wait, I wasn’t there for that conversation – what?” Lyle asked eagerly. “Juan’s boss is really corrupt and horrible and he’s made it so that the police can’t really do their job unless it suits him,” Jose summed up. “Hey,” he suddenly thought, “is your boss here today too?” Juan hesitated, “…Yes, he is.”
“Who?” The boys asked together, eyes alight. Juan looked between them reluctantly before nodding his head in Rodney’s direction. “Liv’s Dad?!” Lyle whispered again. “That’s why I’ve never said anything before,” Juan explained. “Remember when Liv became a teenager and he wasn’t there? He’s always been a criminal and I finally caught him, but then he and Seth Jayapalan broke out of jail together and were on the run-” “They were the escaped prisoners?!”
“Yeah, that’s why that was never resolved. Rodney used Seth’s past to blackmail the former Mayor – Seth’s sister – into quitting and took over in her place, then excused Seth of everything. I can’t do anything about either of them. And their… friendship or whatever is how Liv and Seth’s son met and are now married, which I’m led to believe was her father’s idea. Hooray.”
“Liv doesn’t know, does she?” Lyle asked. Juan sighed, “Not in the slightest – nor does your mother, by the way – I probably should have told Liv, but… I don’t want to hurt her and I’m not sure how much she listens anyway where her father’s concerned. And, of course, he’s blackmailing me too…” “What? What with?” “Oh, you know, losing my job-“ “That’s not much,” Lyle reasoned angrily. “I say take him down.”
Juan was amused by his normally gentle son’s anger, but shook his head tiredly. “There’s other stuff too. Stuff that I can’t ignore or risk.” Both boys looked frustrated. “He’s so not invited to our house anymore,” Jose frowned, making Juan laugh. “If you ever change your mind Dad, we’ll help you out. Won’t we Jos?” Lyle said determinedly while Jose nodded his agreement. Juan looked at his son seriously. “Thanks, but I really doubt that I will.” ~~~~~~~~~~
“Am I original? Yeeeeeah! Am I the oooonlyoooone? Yeeeeeah! Am I sex-u-al? Yeeeeeah! Am I everything you need? You better rock you body now-!”
Winston stared at his father with increasing pain as Rodney came up to him. “Was the karaoke machine really necessary?” “It was the only thing he asked for that we weren’t already going to have, and he promised not to cause any drama. In retrospect Ishould have added that he wouldn’t annoy me.” “I know a lot of people complain about having the most embarrassing parents ever, but I swear I have a genuine claim to that.” “There aren’t many parents who manage to combine the embarrassment of karaoke with the name-destruction of numerous counts of various degrees of murder,” Rodney agreed.
“If I weren’t already an adult and just married to your daughter I would now beg you to adopt me instead.” “And I really wouldn’t blame you. But you still kind of like him, don’t you?” Rodney asked significantly. “He’s my father,” Winston shrugged. “So it would bother you if something… unfortunate were to happen to him?” “I guess so, why?” “If you don’t get him out of my house pretty much immediately, I will be forced to kill him.”
Winston considered this. “I suppose we could use an extra pair of hands when we have kids.” “Exactly. Thank you.” “I ask only one thing in return.” “Oh? What?” “Get him off that karaoke machine right now.” ~~~~~~~~~~
Hmm, now what am I supposed to do? Seth wondered to himself after Rodney finally forced him away from the karaoke machine. Which was a stupid plan; if all else failed he would simply wind up annoying Rodney until he was allowed back on the karaoke machine again “Excuse me, mister?” A child’s voice interrupted his ponderings.
He turned to see two cute kids looking up at him. “We were just wondering whether you’d seen our Mums? It’s hard to see from down here,” the little boy explained. “Er, okay, who are they?” Seth asked. “Karen and Laura, they have black hair and-“ “Karen and Laura Jayapalan?” Seth interrupted him suddenly. “My Mum Laura’s a Vijayakar, but I guess she used to be,” the girl replied.
Seth stared down at them, speechless. ZOMG grandchildren. Small, adorable, perfect grandchildren. “There you two are!” a familiar voice came from behind Seth. “I thought we told you to stay with the other children, Jerry.”
“Sorry Mum, me and Amy were just looking for you and Aunty Laura,” Jerry explained, gesturing towards Seth, who was now staring at his daughters instead. “Oh. It’s you.” Karen said distastefully at him. Laura turned to the kids before Karen could continue, “You two go play with the other children and we’ll come find you in a minute, okay?” “’Kay Aunty Laura,” Jerry said before the kids disappeared off in another direction.
“What are you doing talking to them?” Karen seethed. “They started talking to me,” he pointed out. “I didn’t even know for certain that I had grandchildren.” “Well you might as well consider yourself not to. You’re not having anything to do with my son.” “Oh come on Karen, give me a chance!” “Oh, sure, remind me how many people you killed and how many chances you had to stop before?!”
“Are you even sorry?” Laura joined in sadly. Seth hesitated, “If I hadn’t done any of it you two wouldn’t exist, so not entirely, no!” “Yeah, great Dad. And all we have to do is go through life knowing that we only exist through somebody else’s death – murder – and all their family’s grief and suffering. Fantastic,” if reaper children really did have the power to kill people through looks alone, Karen would have killed Seth a million times over by then. “I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t take that back now,” he said honestly.
“And what about the people you killed who didn’t lead to us?” Karen asked coldly. “I- Look, I know I’ve done a lot of things, but that was a long time ago. I’ve changed – that’s why I’m free now. And even back then, you have to know that I never would have intentionally done anything to hurt you two, and the exact same goes for your kids – just give me a chance, I won’t let you down,” he promised, half-pleading. Karen and Laura glanced at each other before contemplating him in silence for a few moments.
Karen broke the silence. “I’m sorry Dad, but all I hear when I listen to you is lies,” she said coldly. “Come on Laura.” Laura at least gave him a sympathetic look before following her twin, but said nothing to challenge what she’d said. “Damn it,” he sighed to himself. ~~~~~~~~~~
Rodney was sat resting for a bit and trying to ignore the compulsion to go and talk to Jesspret again when Seth fell into the chair next to him. “I’m kicking you and out and you’re going to live with Winston and Liv,” he informed him. “Great,” Seth said despondently. “What’s wrong?” Not that I particularly care.
“I have grandchildren – cute, perfect, intelligent, adorable grandchildren – but my daughters won’t let me talk to them.” “Oh. Well I’m sure Winston and Liv will give us a few to make up for it.” “Meh; their kids won’t be cute,” Seth dismissed.
“Wow, you really are shallow. Some parent and grandparent you are.” “This coming from the guy who would only accept his daughter after she’s proved her loyalty by doing exactly what she’s told, and marrying a man she barely knows and doesn’t love just to make you happy.” “… Yeah, well, we all have our issues.” “And I plan to drown mine in alcohol. Why don’t you actually go and talk to the daughter you now accept?” ~~~~~~~~~~
Here goes, Briney thought as he approached her. “Hey Liv. Congratulations.” “Oh, Briney – hi! I wasn’t certain if you’d come!” “Why wouldn’t I?” he asked with a nervous laugh. “Of course I wanted to see one of my best friends get married; wouldn’t miss it for the world.” “Oh good, I’m glad. I didn’t want things to be awkward or anything…” “Not at all; if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
“How’s university, you must be graduating soon, right?” “Oh yeah, just a couple more semesters to go.” “Girlfriend?” she asked hopefully. “Ah, no, not just yet – focusing on my studies, you know, but I’m sure soon…” “Yeah, me too.”
“Well, uh, I’ll let you get back to things-” “Oh, hey: did- did you ever figure out how to do that age freezing thing for other people?” “Uh, yeah. Yeah, I did in the end,” he said wistfully. “Oh, well I’m sure you’ll find somebody special to share it with soon,” she smiled kindly. ~~~~~~~~~
Rodney managed to locate Liv across the lot – it shouldn’t have been that hard with the huge white dress and all – where she was talking to some guest, and headed over towards her.
But then the guest disappeared. Completely into thin air.
“Liv…?” “Oh hi Daddy, what’s wrong?” “I- I could have sworn there was someone stood just here…” “Oh! Oh, that’s just Briney. He tries not to get caught doing it, but he can freeze time and move around.”
“Oh. Okay…?” What kind of people was his daughter friends with?! But Liv was happy to have hit on something to talk about. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool – he can freeze his own aging, and apparently now other people’s too!” “… He can stop people aging?” “Yeah! I’m not sure how he does it, but he said that he could.” “That’s… interesting.”
Then Briney reappeared. “Oh Liv, I forgot to mention – you look beau-” “Briney, is it?” Rodney interjected.
“Oh, uh, Mr Jalowitz, right?” Briney swallowed nervously. “Sorry if I interrupted, I didn’t-“ “No, no, it’s fine. Actually, I’d quite like to have a word with you about something, if you don’t mind…” ~~~~~~~~~~
“Sooo, how did talking Liv out of the marriage go?” “You enjoy annoying people, don’t you?” “Absolutely.”
Juan sighed. “I spoke to her, she listened. But she knew what she was doing, and she made her choice.” “And now we get to share grandchildren,” Seth laughed. “I don’t suppose you’d do us all a favour and die already? Maybe take Jalowitz with you?” “Hmm… no, I don’t think so.”
They sat in silence for a few moments. “You like Liv – as a person – don’t you?” “Yeah, she’s nice. Little on the thick-as-a-plank side, especially with her Dad, but nice.” “Given that you’re partly to blame for all this, you’d better help make sure she’s happy.” Seth gave him a sidelong smirk. “I’ll see if I can find the time.” ~~~~~~~~~~
And as the wedding party finally ended, Rodney approached his daughter. “Well done Liv, that went really well. I’m proud of you.”
“So you didn’t just say that for the speech then?” she said with a small smile. “No. No, I mean it.” “Then I am very, very happy.”
“Good. And now we can finally go home and relax.” “Yeah. I suppose you’ll have a lot of work to do now, though?” “Well, maybe, but I’m never too busy for my daughter. And you can call me anytime anyway.” “Thanks Dad.” ~~~~~End of Chapter 13B~~~~~