The Morgan Family VII: Determination by fireflower314 The kids get older, plots get (slightly) more involved and the heir competition heats up.
Welcome back to the Morgan legacy! This is a short installment, I know, but I've suffered another lack of computer time and I thought I should get as much out as I have. Next chapter should be longer, don't worry. ^_^ But of course we've got to start out with a little side story. Now that ChristheS's simself is up, I put him in the neighborhood and moved Sarah in straight off. ^_^
A few sim hours later they got married with everyone there that I had at that point. (Sorry Aaroc, I think it was like another week before I put in your simself. ^^;; And no, Ben, I didn't put that tux on you on purpose.) So anyway, Sarah, now you two are married and neighbors with my simself and PB and Flavius. ^_^
And just because Candi stuck her hand through Rhys's arm a few times doesn't mean that he's too injured to stop messing with my legacy. On the contrary, he'll make a reappearance soon enough... And now, on with the show!
Shortly after Danielle's death, Veronica moved the family into a recently built home just down the street. They'd outgrown their house, anyway, and she thought it would be easier for them all to live somewhere where memories of the woman they'd all loved so much didn't lurk around every corner.
Now that they had more space, they could buy more things, too. The kids especially loved the grand piano that was set up in the living room.
Cory loved the house most of all. There was lots of room for him to run around in, not to mention the huge backyard, pool and tree swing. And he and Henry, who'd quickly become his dog after Danielle's death, had plenty of space to play in.
"Thank you for buying it!" he told Veronica when he found her in Gordon's room on moving day. She grinned. "So you like it, little man?" she asked, holding her hands out to him. He grinned back and stepped onto her feet so that they could dance. "Yeah! It's the best house ever." "I think so, too."
Faye, on the other hand, wasn't quite so enthusiastic. "Don't you think it was all a little... fast?" she asked later that day. "I mean, Mom just-" "I know," Veronica replied with a sigh. "But I really think this is the best thing, for all of us. Just moving in has already taken the kids' minds off her death, and Dad-" "But do we want them to really just forget?" Veronica shook her head. "No, we don't. Not ever. But life's so short, Faye. Mom wouldn't want them to spend even one day thinking about nothing but how much they missed her."
"What do you think?" Faye asked her daughter just before Roxy got up from the table. "About the house?" Roxy replied. "It's great. Aunt V chose a really good one." "I guess so, but I meant-" "Oh, Aunt V herself?" Roxy gazed down at her empty plate. "She's just trying to help us, Mom. She's really upset but she'll be okay, too." She abruptly looked up at her mother. "You two aren't going to get old any time soon, are you?" Faye smiled wryly. "Thankfully, not for a little while yet. I don't want to get wrinkly any sooner than I have to."
As for Gordon, he'd spent most of the day alone, trying to get used to the new house. He barely even remembered his life before marrying Danielle, and the little house they'd built together had been his home for so long now. This was a big change, but he knew how important it was to his daughter that he support her decision, so he had. He'd thought about buying a single bed for his remaining days alive, but had finally decided not to. Even though the bed had too much room in it for his liking, he couldn't just give it away. As if Henry could tell what he was thinking, the dog followed him to bed and curled up on the covers beside him. Gordon smiled faintly and drifted off to sleep, dreaming, as he'd known he would, of his wife.
Soon even Faye had to admit that there were some great things about moving. Now she could do her makeovers in the living room rather than in the kids' room- not to mention that she could actually keep her chair in the same place rather than only getting it out whenever she had to.
And the hot tub in the backyard made a great place for her evenings with whichever guy she wanted to see at the moment. Phil was still her most frequent visitor.
"You have a kitten, then? Great, our address is-" Veronica stopped short. Wait, what? Two cats was already more than enough for her, especially since they hated each other. Throwing a third into the mix sounded insane.
As soon as Gordon hung up the phone, she asked, "Dad, what's going on? There's already-" He turned and smiled slightly. "I'm sorry, V. I should've discussed it with the family first. It's just that I've really been wanting another kitten for awhile now, and I know the kids always enjoy getting a new pet. Moving has helped them a lot, but I thought that if we got another pet-" Veronica wanted to kick herself. She should have known that it related to her mother's death. And how could she refuse her father anything after a loss like that. "I'm sorry, Dad," she said quietly. "You don't have to ask any of us about it if you want another pet. I shouldn't have made you feel like you do." Forcing a smile, she asked, "So, is it a boy or a girl?"
Blake joined the family a few hours later. Faye jumped at the chance to be the one to greet him, and almost immediately fell head over heels in love with the little white fluffball, just as she had with every other pet the family had adopted. "Did Granddad buy you because it's Cory's birthday today?" she asked him thoughtfully. "I wonder if he even thought of that..."
There was one person who remembered the birthday all too well. "Mom, look, I have to work!" he called over his shoulder as he headed out the door. "I'll buy him a present or something, geez. It's not that big a deal." "It is a big deal!" his mother yelled, storming over to the door. "He's always supported you and looked up to you, Stephen, and today's the day that he grows up and decides his aspiration, and you can't be here for that?" Stephen ignored her, rushing out to the carpool. I've got better things to do, he thought angrily.
Cory sat very still in the living room, biting his lip to keep from crying. Since the living room was connected to the hallway, he'd heard every word of his mother and brother's argument. And he knew that Stephen was going to miss his birthday. He won't give me a present, he thought sadly, looking down at his toy. He doesn't even care. To him I'm just a stupid little kid in his way. No matter how many times Veronica tried to reassure him that Stephen did love him and didn't mean to be so unkind, Cory knew better.
The rest of his family pulled together to give him a great birthday party, and even invited his aunt Angelina over for the party. They all cheered him on as he blew out the candles.
Cory had been thinking and thinking about what to wish for. After the events of the last few days, he knew for sure. I want to be a good heir to the legacy, just like Mom wants me to be. And I want to fall in love and get married...
... and live happily ever after. As soon as he became a teen, he completed that thought with a grin. But first I have to find the right girl to marry, and who knows how many I'll have to meet first... Cory, like his mother and aunt before him, had rolled Romance. Gordon noticed the glint in his grandson's eye and groaned teasingly. "Not another Romance sim? Don't we have enough around here?" "Hey!" Faye and Veronica chorused indignantly.
After they'd all enjoyed their cake, Angelina approached Gordon. All three girls were close to their daddy, of course, but she was the one who hadn't been around much since Danielle's death. "How are you doing?" she asked quietly.
Gordon knew what she was asking, and had been expecting it for the past few hours. It hadn't been hard for him to spot her worried glances. "I miss your mother," he said simply. "I won't lie to you. I love her so much, and it's hard without her here. But everyone's doing what they can to help me through it, which makes it easier." "I'm sorry I haven't been here," she said in a rush. "I should have been, but it's so hard to-" He hugged her. "I know, sweetheart. It's okay. I'm just glad you're here now."
Faye jumped at the chance to give Cory a new look for his new age. "You're going to look fabulous," she promised as she cut and styled his hair. "The girls will be all over you, kiddo." Cory sneezed. "You think so?"
She pulled out a mirror and held it up, grinning when she saw the thrilled look on his face. "Trust me." "Thanks, Aunt Faye!" he said happily. "Any time. Don't forget to leave a tip."
Veronica went out back and settled on the porch swing. Watching her son transition and knowing that now both of her boys were teenagers made her feel so old. Soon Stephen would be out on his own, and she'd be gray-haired and alone, except for her family. At times like this, she missed Lucien and her mother more than she could say.
She wasn't sure how long it took before she dozed off, but as soon as she did she dreamed of Danielle. Or, to be more specific, of Danielle's ghost. In her dream, the apparition appeared in the front yard, floating around curiously as if to study the house her daughter had chosen. Veronica mentally held her breath, hoping Danielle would approve.
Instead Danielle stomped her foot. All the homes and all the things won't make up for what's wrong! Veronica could hear the words echoing furiously in her mind.
Veronica jolted awake, but knew that the dream wouldn't leave her for a long time. Mom would like it here, wouldn't she? she thought with a frown. She'd always assured herself that Danielle would've approved of the move, but now it was harder to feel quite so confident. The dream wasn't some sign.... was it?
Stephen crept back in after his late shift at the hospital was over and went to the computer, typing in the address to the local scholarship site. "I have to get out of here," he muttered. There was no way he was sticking around now that he and Cory were the same age and his half-brother could upstage him even more.
Cory had no idea about his brother's plans. In fact, turning into a teenager had made him more optimistic about their relationship than before. Now we can be friends, he thought as his fingers glided over the piano keys. We can go hang out downtown, and throw parties together, and pick up girls. He laughed quietly at the thought. It will work out. It has to. We're brothers! He can't hate me forever. Henry watched his master curiously as he walked through the room, and kept on going. No point in stopping to listen to a concert when he could play with one of the cats, after all.
The playtime was ruined a few hours later, when Gordon carted him off to the bathtub. After he was finally through, he stroked Henry's head, and the dog quickly forgave him. "Thanks for keeping an eye out for Cory," Gordon told him. "You're a good dog, Henry. Danielle would be proud of you." Henry barked softly in response and gave him what looked eerily like a smile. Gordon had to smile back.
"So I was looking at scholarship listings," Stephen said when the teens were all watching TV together after school. "I think I can get enough to afford to go to the Academie. What about you, Roxy?" Cory froze. "College?"
Stephen snorted. "Yeah, college. You didn't think we were just going to sit around and wait for you to kick us out when you become heir, did you?" "No- I mean- I knew you were going to go, but... this soon?" Cory hadn't even thought about them leaving. His heart quickly sank. So much for us being friends now.
"Don't worry, kiddo," Roxy said reassuringly. "It's not like we're leaving forever or anything. We'll be back to visit, and you can always visit us." "He'll visit you, maybe," Stephen retorted. "I don't especially want him around." "Ignore him," Roxy said, rolling her eyes. "You'll be more than welcome."
"Thanks," Cory finally replied. He didn't know what else to say, since they'd made it more than clear that they wanted to leave. If he asked them to change their minds, Stephen would just laugh at him. So I'll just have to keep growing up so that I can join them in college, he realized. Maybe then Stephen and I can finally get along.
Cory wasn't the only person in the neighborhood having a birthday. Before too long Vaughn Fitzhugh, son of Rhys and De, was ready to join them all in teenhood, and his party was one that Stephen did attend.
Before they knew it, they had another romance teen on their hands. "Like father, like son," De snorted. Vaughn just grinned at her. "Like grandfather, too." De sighed. "Men."
Rhys had noticed two things at his son's birthday party- Stephen's bad mood and the presence of a red-haired girl he didn't recognize. He let Stephen spend time with his best friend and decided to focus on the second problem first. "Hello," he greeted her, summoning up his most charming smile. "I'm Rhys, Vaughn's dad. Do you know Morgan or Mordred?" His niece and nephew had recently joined the family, after De and Marina had both given him a few lectures on how he had to behave towards them in this neighborhood. As if they thought he'd ruin things here by plotting anything too involved. In light of what he got up to elsewhere in Simland, his plans for Stephen were barely a plot at all.
"I'm Kay," she told him, smiling shyly. "I came home from school with Morgan today, since we're working on something for class together. She asked if I wanted to stay for the birthday party, and I didn't have other plans... I hope it's okay." "Of course it is," he assured her. Her smile widened, and he continued. "Morgan and Mordred are both such great kids. I'm glad that Vaughn has them here- and that he has Stephen, of course." Kay's cheeks reddened, confirming his suspicions. It hadn't been hard for him to notice how frequently the girl glanced at Stephen. "Are you friends with him, too?" "No," she said with a sigh. "Well, sort of. We know each other, but we're not really close or anything."
"That's too bad. He could really use all the friends he could get right now." Kay's eyes widened. "What do you mean? I noticed he was quiet. Do you know why? What's wrong? Is it his family?" Rhys raised his eyebrows. Judging from the rapid-fire pace of her questions, this girl cared very much indeed. "Don't tell him I told you this," he said, lowering his voice and glancing around to make sure that no one was close enough to overhear. "He's from a legacy family, and he recently told me that he's sure he won't be heir. It's disappointing for him, of course, since he's the oldest and it's all he's wanted since childhood. I've tried to tell him that he shouldn't just give up, but-" Kay's eyes flashed. "He can't just give up! He has to be heir. He's meant for it, not like that-" She trailed off, taking a deep, angry breath. "I wish I could do something to help!"
Rhys inwardly grinned. Perfect. "I know you've said that you aren't too close to him, but why don't you let him know how you feel? I don't think he's getting enough support from his family, and if he knows that there are people who believe in him-" Kay nodded rapidly, smiling. "That's a great idea! Thanks. I'll go talk to him right now!" She rushed off, and Rhys finally let himself grin.
"Hey, sis." Morgan nearly jumped when Mordred snuck up on her, but maintained her composure. "What are you doing? This is a party- you should be having fun!" Morgan shook her head. "Rhys is up to something." "No way," Mordred said after a moment, but his voice was uncertain. "Mom and Aunt Marina have both warned him about it. He wouldn't-" "Trust me, he's up to something," she said quietly. "And somehow Kay's involved."
"What should we do about it?" he asked worriedly. "If it's something bad, like with the Fitzhughs, and we don't warn anyone-" "But now there's Vaughn," Morgan reminded him. "We can't take any chances. If Rhys's plot isn't that important and he still gets in trouble with Mom, it will hurt Vaughn. I'm not going to be responsible for that." Mordred nodded. "So what do you want to do?" "Let's just keep an eye on things for now," she said slowly. "Then we'll see."
Blissfully unaware of everyone else's schemes, Kay found Stephen in the living room. "Hi, Stephen," she said nervously. It was one thing to be protective and vow that he would be heir; it was quite another to actually talk to him. Stephen smiled absently. "Oh, hi Kay." He'd been waiting for Vaughn to join him so that they could play video games, but then his best friend had gotten roped into bottle-feeding his youngest half-sibling, Juliana. He still didn't understand why Vaughn actually liked having siblings. "What's up?" "Um, not much. How's Roxy, and everybody else in your family?"
His family was the last thing he wanted to talk about. "They're okay. We moved into a new house, so everybody's excited about that. And Cory's excited about being heir." Kay blinked. "Wait, Cory can actually be the heir?" "Of course. You've seen how Mom treats us." He laughed mirthlessly. "You didn't really think she'd choose me, did you?"
Kay frowned. "Yeah, but-" "Oh well. I never should've thought I had a shot at it, anyway." "Don't say that!" Shyness was forgotten in the face of her beloved's misery. "You're the oldest, you look like an actual person, you're smart, you're nice, and you're wonderful. You deserve to be their heir, Stephen! You can't just let Cory take it away!"
This was the last thing he'd expected to hear tonight. It wasn't the first time someone had tried to assure him that his family situation wasn't so bad, that he wasn't as inferior as he thought, that his mother did love him, that he could be heir... but it was the first time that a pretty girl did. He began to wonder why he hadn't noticed Kay before. "You really think so?" he asked hopefully. She grinned. "I know so. You'll make a great heir. Just don't give up and your mom will see it, too. Don't give up, okay?" "Okay." "Promise?" Stephen finally smiled. "I promise."
Filled with determination, Stephen confronted his mother that very night. "I'm going to college," he told her shortly, as soon as she joined him in the study. "Tomorrow."
Veronica blinked. "College? Already? But you haven't been a teenager very long, and-" "I don't want to be a teenager anymore," he said firmly. "I'm ready to grow up. I want to go to college, get my degree, and finally prove to you that I'll be a better heir than Cory." "A better heir?" Veronica asked in astonishment. "But Stephen, he-" "I know, Mom," he snapped. "I know you stopped thinking about letting me be the heir as soon as you found out you were going to have another kid. I know you love Cory more, and you'd rather spend time with him, and that you're shocked that I still actually think I have a chance. But I deserve it. Me, not Cory. And you'll figure that out soon, too."
Veronica's eyes widened, but before she could respond he'd pushed past her, leaving her frozen in place. Did Stephen really think that she loved Cory so much more than him? She'd never picked up on her once easygoing son's feelings, but now that he'd made them so clear she couldn't help being hit with a huge feeling of guilt. Nobody should have to feel like they're second place, she thought sadly. And if he has, because of me... If the whole reason that he's so cruel to Cory is because of me.... I need to do something about it.
Stephen was about to call the Academie when Gordon walked through the door. "What's wrong?" he asked his grandson immediately.
"I need to get out of here," Stephen informed him. "I can't prove anything if I just sit around here, and I need to get away from Mom and Cory. I need to go to school and do really well, and then Mom will figure out who the heir should really be." Gordon smiled faintly. "I understand how you feel, Stephen. I always have. But even if she does still choose your brother, you'll support him, won't you?" Stephen frowned. "No. No, I won't. He doesn't deserve it." "But he's your brother." He rested a hand on his grandson's shoulder. He'd never felt so tired. Why hadn't he been more careful to keep the boy's resentment from growing so much. "I know that you're angry and hurt, but you're still his brother. You can't do anything about that, Stephen, and I don't want you to throw that away and regret it." "Trust me, I'm not going to regret anything."
Gordon could only watch helplessly as his grandson left. Faye waved and promised to call and send gifts, winning a sincere smile from her nephew. How could I let this happen? Gordon thought miserably. I'm so sorry, Danielle.
Cory watched as his brother left for school. He'd heard some of Stephen and Gordon's conversation, and it kept him from calling out so that he could really say good-bye. Cory had always tried to pretend like his brother didn't really hate him, but now the truth was impossible to ignore. It's not even my fault! he thought miserably, biting back tears.
He wandered back into the house after Stephen's departure and settled in at the computer, running his fingers across the keys. It was clear to him now that as long as he was the heir, he and Stephen would never really get along. Stephen would always be angry and jealous. But as much as having his brother's love and respect mattered to him, so did being the heir. And he wasn't sure if he could give that up, even for his brother.
Stephen wasn't the only person thinking of college. Kay was already there, prowling the dorm halls and waiting for Stephen to join her. She'd found out from Rhys which dorm the boy would be staying in, so she'd made sure to move there, too. "I can't wait to see him," she murmured, smiling. "And I can't wait until he finally gets to be heir, like he deserves."
And that's it for now! The action'll pick back up at college- as soon as I get used to this new, stupid mouse. *grumbles* I'm sorry if I messed up in writing Morgan, Mordred and Rhys, too. I did my best, and I can always go back and edit after I discuss things with Marina. In the meantime, two fun pictures for y'all... Vaughn and college!Morgan. Aren't they just gorgeous? ----->
And everybody's favorite villain. ^_^ I just love my pretty, pretty pixelpeople...