Hello! And welcome back to The Four Legacies. Last time Henry was declared heir for the Jacobs family, and Ivan, Gemma, Ruby and Gideon arrived at college. Gideon headed immediately off to the Greek House to go visit his high school boyfriend, Bayley. However he arrived just in time to see Bayley on a date with a dormie named Sterling. Bayley walked off, and refused to speak to Bayley for the rest of the semester. Meanwhile, Todd proposed to his girlfriend, SharleneByall. Ruby proceeded to come into her romance aspiration and started trying to seduce all of the students in the dorm. Her sister, on the other hand, was ignoring her romance aspiration and was in a steady relationship with Ivan, rolling no wants for other sims, being sickeningly sweet and even rolling the want to get engaged to him. Now that’s over with, time for this chapter!
“Oh, hi Alice! No, I just got back from my exam – all finished Freshman year now. I’m officially a Sophomore now and ready to move into the Greek House whenever you guys are ready.”
“What? Yeah, Ivan should be in, haven’t seen him all day though. He finished his exams yesterday and I was studying right up until mine started.”
“What? Really? And she won’t talk until me and Ivan get there? Okay, okay. I’ll grab him and we’ll be right there. See you soon, Alice.”
True to his word the moment Todd hung up the phone and upon finding Ivan, the pair set off on the long walk across campus. Neither spoke – Ivan was too happy at not being the only one awake at such a late hour and was actually outside with them – it wasn’t often he headed out now. The world wasn’t really designed for vampires, and by the time he was awake most of the places on campus were shut, bar a few bars. Todd, on the other hand, was just trying to remember the way. Campus looked very different at night, especially as most people were either celebrating the end of their exams or studying for their last ones so no one was about. Then, after half an hour of walking in silence and taking a short cut (that for once were actually short), the pair of them finally arrived at the Greek House. And as they got closer they could hear the bickering of two unfamiliar voices.
“I know that it’s not your usual thing, warlock,” a blonde vampire spat from her spot on the other side of the door. “But do you think you could act professional for once?” “No,” the warlock replied, not even deigning to look at her. She narrowed her eyes. “And why, pray tell, is that?” “Because I deserve to be in there. Unlike you, I didn’t turn someone then leave them to fumble about.” “But one of your little peons did and you did nothing to correct that.” “I knew nothing-” “You should have-”
“Ahem,” Todd interrupted their argument with as polite a cough as he could manage. The pair glanced in his and Ivan’s direction. Todd shivered a little under their gaze. After a moment the warlock nodded. “They finally get here,” he said. “We might actually get home sometime before dawn.” “We better,” the vampire said sharply, before jerking her head towards the door. “Wendy’s inside with the other two. She’s the one that wants to talk to you lot.” Ivan nodded and moved to go inside. At first Todd didn’t move, but a tug on his arm from Ivan got him moving.
Inside Todd and Ivan was greeted warmly and pulled over to the sofas where an elderly woman, a matchmaker, sat. As they approached she looked up, staring each of them in the eye in turn before moving onto the next student. Todd shivered a little as her icey blue eyes landed on him before moving on. There was just something unnatural about the way she looked at you.
“So you are the others,” the old woman, presumably Wendy, said quietly with an almost ethereal quality to her voice. “Come, we must begin immediately. I have much to tell you all, and little time to tell it in.” The old women took a deep breath as they all sat down, Ivan and Charlie on one sofa, Alice and Todd on the other. Once they were settled she spoke again. “Tell me,” she said, her voice almost hushed. “Do you know why I have come?”
“I’d guess it has something to do with what the aliens told Ivan and Todd’s dad,” Charlie said. Ivan looked at her in shock. “The aliens spoke to him?” Ivan looked over at Charlie in shock. “He never said anything to me about that!” “Well you probably didn’t ask, and you probably weren’t too interested in asking either,” Charlie shrugged.
“You are correct, regardless of whether or not you all knew this,” the old woman interrupted their conversation before they could get any further into it. “The aliens and the supernatural have always maintain close ties as both groups are the first and main line of defence for simkind. Whenever there has been a major threat to the world around us we have reacted as best and quickly as we could to save all that could be saved. Regrettably we do not always succeed.” “Well, we know that,” Todd cut in. “Dad told us what the aliens told him. He got that from them. What’s that gotta do with us?”
“How much do you know of the creation of the world – and don’t cite that science mumbo-jumbo at me, either of you knowledge sims. There’s more to the universe than can be explained by a test tube,” she said derisively, looking from Charlie over to Todd. Neither replied, nor did Ivan or Alice. “Very well, I will take that as you four know nothing of it.” The old matchmaker paused again, as if waiting for one of them to object. None of them did, each waiting for her to continue. She finally did. “Every world in the multiverse – that is, a collection of worlds with little in common besides containing sims – is created by, I guess you could call them a Self. They create the worlds sims live in, and they create the very rules which those worlds are run by. In those worlds they place a representation of themselves, a Simself, if you will.”
“The Simselves have many of the powers of the Selves themselves. Some Simselfs are the direct representation of the Self, being a way to communicate important messages to sims with less worry of misinterpretation. Others enjoy a greater degree of autonomy from their Self to the point where they are very much separate beings. No matter which they are, however, they are typically the main protection for the world from meddlers both from inside and out.”
“That still doesn’t explain what it’s got to do with us,” Todd stated with a shrug of his shoulders. “If what you’re saying is true – and that’s something that flies in the face of all scientific fact anyway – then I don’t see the problem. If it gets that serious this simself person will take care of it.”
“That won’t work,” the old woman shook her head. “I said that the Selves create the rules of the world, correct? Well, our world was created with a great deal more autonomy and free will than most, as was the Simself as far as anyone can tell.” “So?” “So it’s one of the rules which our universe is governed. The Simself here cannot – should not – interfere with the free will we have. Should that be broken... Nothing good can come of it.”
“Then prove it,” Alice spoke up for the first time since they had all sat down. “What?” “Prove it,” she repeated. “What you’re saying sounds like a flaming bag of poo to me. I don’t believe a work of it and won’t without proof. So prove that there’s these Selfs, or Simselfs, or that we’re in danger.”
“I cannot provide the proof you are after, not right away,” she replied, the eeriness that had almost vanished earlier in the conversation now returning. “I can only ask yourself to look inside, look at your memories. Something has been altered. Maybe it’s something to do with your friends, or siblings, or parents. Maybe your fiancés or girlfriends. You may have duplicate memories of the same event. It could be anything. The proof lies within.”
“That’s a load of crock, and you know it!” Alice accused as she stood up. “You guys can stick around and listen to all this rubbish, but I’m off. Got a term paper due tomorrow and I need to get started on it.”
“Sorry about Alice,” Charlie said, getting up and going over to Wendy. “She can be a bit obstinate at times.” “It is no problem – though I expected either your or your alien campadre to be the ones to object. Knowledge sims are usually the ones demanding the evidence.” “I’ve been a witch for about eight years now. I’ve learnt to accept that not everything is as simple as meets the eye,” Charlie replied, shrugging a shoulder. “So what else did you want to tell us?”
The old woman shook her head with a sigh and got up from the armchair. “The rest is something that the four of you must hear together,” she said. “I can guarantee the evidence Miss Brown seeks will make itself known to you all. One it does, you have my number. Until then, I must go.” “All right, I suppose we’ll see you then,” Charlie shook the old woman’s hand. “We’ll talk again when Alice comes around, I guess. Goodbye, Mrs Go.” “I told you, dear,” Mrs Go said as she shook Charlie’s hand. “Call me Wendy. Now I shall see the four of you in the future.” And with that she walked out the door and left, the vampire and warlock guards outside trailing behind her.
“Thanks for coming, guys,” Charlie said pulling Ivan into a hug a few minutes after Wendy had left. “Hey, Ivan, when you get back do you think you could tell my idiot brother that he needs to talk to Bayley? Bayley’s been moping for ages now.” “Will do,” Ivan grinned. “I’ll see you around sometime - next toga party?” “You bet?” laughed Charlie. She let Ivan go and looked at Todd. “And you’re moving in now?” “Yeah,” Todd said with a nod of his head. “If you’ve got the space.” Charlie smiled. Oh they had the space. And if they didn’t they had the money to make the space.
The following afternoon Amelia pulled up outside the rec centre, the latest ‘cool hangout for the young and young at heart’, as it liked to boast. Still, despite the cheesiness of the slogan and the ads that had been played countless times on the local radio station, Amelia had only heard good things about the place at school. That was why she’d picked this place in the first place. It seemed like the perfect place to have their group’s final hangout together as teens.
That thought was a sad one. She, Dec, Ed, Henry and James had been meeting on community lots after school several times a week from the moment they’d teened. Sure, sometimes either she or James would miss hanging out because of their jobs, but they had made every single one they could. And now this was going to be the last.
Oh, don’t get her wrong. Amelia had been waiting to go to college for as long as she could remember. She’d pretty much been biding her time until she was old enough to attend ever since she’d understood what a college was. And it wasn’t like she was unprepared either – she was perma plat with all her skills maxed, had every single scholarship possible with the exception of the Orphan Fund and Undead scholarship There was no way she was going to get the Orphan Fund, and the Undead scholarship? Well not having that was not for lack of trying. Before Ivan left for college she had managed to convince him to turn her – only to find that he was unable to. That had been a bit of a blow, although it had only taken a couple of minutes to get over it. Then she and had father had thrown themselves into researching why a vampire could possibly be incapable of turning someone. They hadn’t been able to find anything, which Amelia wasn’t sure if it was a good or a bad thing – it could mean there was her brother wasn’t a normal vampire, or it could just be an ability that vampires only gain with age. Either way it was a mystery, and nothing fascinated a knowledge sim more than a mystery.
No, being unprepared for college wasn’t even remotely the issue. Hanging out at the community lot for the last time... It was the end of an era. Sure, they would have college, but Henry and James wouldn’t be heading off to college until a year after she and the twins did. By that point the three of them would probably have moved out of the dorms and into the Greek House so long as there was space, so it would probably be at least two years before they could properly hang out again.
Still, she thought as she crossed her arms and watched the boys with a smile – they’d obviously been here a while, waiting for her to drop her brother off at his friend’s over in Bluewater, I might as well make the most of the time we have left as teens. No point in dwelling on the future yet.
Once Amelia was inside it took remarkably little time for the five teens to fall into their routine. In a matter of minutes the five of them had located the rec centre’s pool table and commandeered one. It also took them very little time at all for them to fall back on one of their typical games: the twins against two of the others, with the fifth, James in this case, watching on.
And it was not too long after that had was decided that their routine fell back into old habits, from Dec’s constantly posing and deliberately giving bad advice to Ed, to Ed’s growing frustration at his brother and the inevitable bickering that followed.
And of course the other team actually working together and soundly trouncing the twins.
The afternoon gradually wore on, and after the entire group got coffee and after Ed was almost pickpocketed by an odd looking man in a top hat and monocle, there was little left to do with their afternoon but talk.
“I can’t believe you guys are leaving for college so soon,” James said later as the five of them finally sat down. “I mean, it weren’t that long ago we were all running around playing tag at my birthday party.”
“How do you think we feel?” Dec asked from next to him. “I mean, Mum’s already pestering us for kids, right, Ed?” Ed nodded. “You’d think she’d go after Alice first, since she graduates just after we leave, or Bayley and Cole since they’re already there, but no.”
“I know what you mean,” Ed admitted quietly. “Mum’s been saying that since I’m a family sim I should have at least six kids since she always regretted not having a sixth kid.” Ed shook his head. “I only want 3 kids.”
“I gotta say then, that I am very happy Mum and Dad’ll have Galahad around until after we graduate. It might keep her off my case about kids until then. You know, you’d think she’d actually wait until I was old enough to have kids and actually married before bugging me about them.”
Henry and James shared a look across the rough circle they were sitting in. Thankfully neither of their parents’ had started going on about grandchildren, but then neither of their parents’ were family sims. There was certainly an advantage to that so far.
The conversation died down after a moment, and the five teens sat there listening to the sounds of the TV on the wall. Finally Amelia broke the companionable silence. “So has your mum decided on an heir yet?” she asked the twins.
“Not yet,” Edmund shrugged a shoulder. “She says that she’s gonna leave it up to us kids. Whoever wants it can have it.”
“Alice already said she doesn’t want to be heir,” Dec cut in with a grin. “Says she wants to raise her kids her way in her own house without her parents butting in and telling her how to raise them. Bayley’s talking about not accepting for the same reasons.” “Only talking?” “Well he thinks we’ll think he’s copying Alice.” “You two always act like you do, though.” “Only ‘cause it annoys him.” The group all laughed before the subject turned elsewhere.
Meanwhile, elsewhere... “And they didn’t even say why I had to come over here instead of you coming over mine,” Galahad grumbled. “They just said the grown ups need to talk about something!”
“I know, Mum refused to tell me anything either,” Tessa grumbled from opposite him. “Parents are the worst.”
“I can hear you, Tessa,” her mother, Lisa, interrupted from where she was trying to teach Tessa’s completely disinterested younger sister to talk. “I know that,” Tessa called back with a roll of her eyes. “And you always say I shouldn’t be afraid to express my opinions no matter who they annoy.” “And I’m kicking myself for that now,” Lisa muttered under her, then said to the toddler in front, “you’re sister’s already started acting like a moody teenager. But you’re never gonna be like that, are you Carmen? You’re always going to be my sweet little baby, you and Juan. Yes you are! Yes you are!”
“Eugh, baby talk! Slap me if I ever start talking like that, Galahad,” Tessa grimaced. Galahad chuckled and nodded. “Only if you’ll slap me too,” Galahad agreed. “I mean, kids! Blech! Who wants that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind a couple someday,” Tessa shrugged. “But there’s no way I’ll ever talk baby talk to them.” “Seriously, Tess?” “Yeah, why? What’s wrong with that?”
“There’s nothing wrong with it,” Galahad said. “I just can’t believe you’re thinking that far ahead. Kids are like years off – decades off if they ever happen.”
“Kids might be that far away, but aspirations aren’t,” Tessa shifted from her spot on the floor. “Our birthdays are soon, remember? We gotta choose our aspirations then, and I don’t wanna go into it blind. Don’t tell me you haven’t been thinking about it either.” “Well, yeah, but you don’t have to think about kids-” “I do if I wanna rule romance either in or out.”
“I guess,” Galahad shrugged uncomfortably before changing the subject from aspirations. “I can’t believe you grow up so soon.” “Hey, you won’t be far before.” “Yeah, but I won’t have anyone to play with until then.”
“Sure you will,” Tessa laughed. “It won’t be for long and you’ll still have your sister to play with.”
“What, ‘Melia? She’s off to college like the morning after your birthday. And I’ve never exactly played with her, or my brother.” “No, I don’t mean ‘Melia,” Tessa shook her head. “I mean G-” “Who? Who’s Guh?”
“I dunno,” Tessa frowned. She looked a little concerned for a moment, before shaking her head. “Musta got you confused with someone else, thought you had another sister for a bit there. Hey, wanna go have a water balloon fight?”
That night Galahad fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow, the water balloon fight that afternoon having exhausted him. Although he had all but forgotten it now, Tessa’s comment of him having another sister had not truly left. Because of it Galahad’s sleep was far from restful that night, and he spent much of the night tossing and turning as he slept.
Galahad first dreamt of a time so far back that he could hardly remember it himself, back when he was a toddler.
It was weird. There was another toddler next to him half the time. That other child felt so familiar, so right.
And then, abruptly the other toddler wasn’t there anymore.
Time moved on and he aged. So did the girl. Before long he got to events that he himself could remember now, from not long after his last birthday. They would replay twice, once where he was alone, just as he remembered. Then it would fade, white out and then back in again, and the girl was with him. They were inseparable. They did everything together.
They even went fishing together, something he’d only ever done with his family. He hadn’t even gone fishing with Tessa. But still, fishing with this girl felt right. It felt like it had always been that way, like it would always be that way.
When Galahad woke the following morning he felt like he hadn’t slept at all. He was still exhausted and had to use every ounce of strength he had to stay awake during breakfast. But that wasn’t the worst part, that was fine. He’d had a couple of nights where he could hardly sleep already in his short life. He was sort of used to it. No, the worst part was he didn’t feel like himself. He felt weird. He felt... Well, he just felt different.
Although Gideon got Charlie’s message almost right away, it took several days before he finally contacted Bayley. He put it off and put it off, still hurt and not wanting to hear Bayley’s explanation. He was sure it wouldn’t be a good one. But then the point finally arrived where Gideon couldn’t put it off anyone. Bayley was still ringing up every day and his dormmates were getting annoyed at making excuses for him. Finally he accepted he had no real choice in the matter. At last he called Bayley up and arranged to meet him over at The Lounge.
Gideon was not looking forwards to this in any way whatsoever. He was even still contemplating leaving and claiming that Bayley had never showed. That wasn’t a good plan though. There were too many things that could go wrong with it. And besides, Bayley had just walked in through the door.
“Gideon! It’s great to see you!” Bayley greeted him cheerfully. “I’ve been trying to talk to you for months! But whenever I called you were studying anatomy, which is kinda weird because you always hated biology in high school, and Charlie and the others said you’d decided to major in Physics.” Gideon just looked at Bayley. He blinked a few times. He’d forgotten what Bayley was like when he was nervous. “You’re babbling,” he stated simply. “Stop it.”
Bayley took a deep breath and visibly calmed down. “Sorry,” Bayley said. “Sterling says I always ramble when I’m nervous too.” Gideon quirked an eyebrow. “Sterling?”
“My first night at the dorms,” Gideon replied blankly. “I dumped my stuff then went to go see you.” “But you didn’t...” “You were on a date with Sterling,” Gideon said Sterling’s name with a little disdain – he couldn’t help it. It was a stupid name. Still, as he mentioned that night recognition dawned on Bayley’s face. He looked like he was about to interrupt Gideon. Gideon didn’t let him. “Look, I don’t care about that. I knew there was virtually no chance we’d stick together passed high school, especially with you leaving a year before me. I know the statistics, and I know the chances, Bay – I am a knowledge sim, remember? I half expected you to move on anyway. And since finding out I have as well. I just want to know one thing: why?”
“Why?” Bayley looked a little taken aback at the question. “Well, we had three bolts – and we both tried to resist it, but-” “That’s not what I meant.” “Then what-”
“I mean why didn’t you tell me?” Gideon asked. He’d expected he would be feeling different right now, when it came down to this conversation. He’d thought he’d be furious again, or heartbroken, or jealous, or something else. Instead he was just disappointed. “Bay, I spoke to Todd about you and that boyfriend of yours. He said the two of you got together about a week after he arrived at the dorm. That’s around when you stopped talking to me.” “I thought – well, I thought you’d be-” “Hurt?” Gideon supplied. He saw Bayley nod. “You were probably right about that. I would have been hurt. But I would have gotten over it quickly and we might have been back to being best friends by now. But you didn’t. You didn’t tell me. I’d thought – we’d been friends since I was five, Bay. Five! I thought we could tell each other everything, but evidently I was wrong. That’s probably what hurt the most.” And with that, he turned and walked away.
“Gideon... “Don’t,” Gideon stopped in his tracked, but he didn’t look back. “Don’t talk to me right now, Bayley. Don’t call me, and don’t try and stop by the dorm.” “But-” “Just don’t. I know you want things to be how they were, but they won’t be. Not for a long, long time. Give me my space and I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk to you.”
With everything that had happened in the past few weeks, you would be forgiven for thinking that everything would go smoothly in the foreseeable future. After all, what else could possibly happen?
Unfortunately you would be wrong. Never underestimate the trouble college sims can get into – ever. Whether it was slapfests, nearly getting fried by the sun, woohoo in closets, seducing dormies...
... getting into fights with llamas, seducing townies, making use of the matchmaker, getting intimate with your fiancé...
... having toga parties or casting spells on your housemates just for a laugh...
... or even casting spells on cheerleaders to ensure they become the Greek House’s eventual placeholder for the generation. No matter what, they will find trouble.
But no matter the chaos that ensues, life keeps marching on. Whether that means a young girl in Bluewater Village grows up to be a knowledge sim like her mother...
... or the eldest two of their generation finally complete their education and prepare to move out to begin the rest f their lives. “Why do we have to pose like this?” Charlie muttered to Alice. “Oh, don’t be a spoilsport! You know you’re gonna want a copy of this picture too,” Alice said, laughing hard. “Now cheer up! We’ve got a graduation party to throw!” “Rock Paper Scissors for who makes the call?” “You’re on!”
Alice won Rock Paper Scissors, and half an hour later the lot was filled with friends, family and significant others. It was going to be a party to remember, Alice would make sure of that.
“Sadie! You made it!” Charlie all but cheered as the Greek Houses future placeholder, Sadie Bruenig turned up in full cap and gown. “Well of course I did!” Sadie replied. “Parties, like, have to have a cheerleader there! It’s totally a law or rule or something!” Charlied laughed and nodded. “And if it isn’t it should be!” she declared. “Come on! Let’s get you a drink.”
With this many people at a party, it was only a matter of time before the smustling started. “Edmund, is that you?” Quinn asked as she finally realised where she knew the man next to her from. “When you did start college?” “Oh, erm, me, Dec and ‘Melia got here last night,” Ed replied awkwardly. “They’re around here somewhere.”
Indeed they were around somewhere. Declan was stood talking to Ruby, both of them desperately trying to ignore the intense chemistry between them. Amelia, on the other hand, was just getting around to meet everyone she didn’t already know. There would be plenty more parties, after all. She might as well just get to know people better at this one.
With the number of couple at the party, it came as no surprise to anyone when some of them – most of them, in fact – found their way over to the beds and hottub.
It also came as no shock that, with every couple doing their part to raise the party score...
... and even with a fight breaking out in one of the bedrooms...
... that the party hit roof raiser in no time, and stuck there for the rest of the night. And when it was finally over, Alice span into her adult life, and into surprisingly tasteful clothing even if it didn’t quite suit her.
Charlie followed her mere moments later, spinning into her witch’s robes just as she had when she’d first arrived at college. “I’m sensing a theme with these clothes,” she murmured, but headed out and got into the taxi that was waiting to take her back to the desert.
Once the graduation party was over and Alice and Charlie were back into the neighbourhood, the other younger sims all settled into university life. For Amelia this meant focusing on her education – she might only be a freshman, but she was determined to graduate with a 4.0. She was one of the only sims of the generation to bother writing her term papers, or to even think about doing assignments. With any luck it would pay off in the end.
Ed and Dec on the other hand settled into university life in a very different way: by appreciating the fairer sex. The two brothers’ approaches were drastically different from the other’s, however. While Dec approached the whole situation with fun and friendship in mind, Ed took a much more serious approach. He was determined to find himself a serious girlfriend, and find one soon. And although he did find lots of girls attractive, after only a few minutes of talking to them did he realise there was no future with them. And the more girls he realised this about, the further afield Ed lead Dec and Amelia in search of a wife for himself.
One such trip led the three college students back to Quaver Kanyon, and over to old haunts. Ed was quick to realise that there were no women here he was remotely interested in. He and Dec moved onto the next lot. Amelia was a few moments behind, and just as she was about to leave she was stopped by a perky voice. “Hey, that’s a cute hat! Where’d you get it?” Amelia turned around and came face-to-face with a brunette with the brightest green eyes she’d ever seen. “Oh, err,” Amelia stammered. She swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly gone dry. “I think it was from a boutique over at the college campus.” “Oh,” the woman looked slightly disappointed but she perked right up again. “Oh well. It really suits you. So you’re a student? What are you studying? Oh, I’m Ichelle, by the by.”
“Oh, mathematics,” Amelia replied, quickly wetting her lips. “My advisor said it’s one of the tougher degrees, and I fancied a challenge, especially after my lifetime want turned out to be such a dud. Oh yeah, and I’m Amelia, BTW.” “Oh, so you’re going to be a mathematician or something after you graduate?”
“What? No way!” Amelia shook her head vehemently, grimacing in disgust. “This’ll sound completely girly, but I wanna be a ballerina.” “Yeah, it sounds girly,” Ichelle agreed with a nod of her head. “I wanna do the same thing though. It’s pretty tough though, no one wants to know you if you’re not one of the big names already. I’ve had to settle for a job in – ah, inport/export until I get my big break.” “Hey, that’s actually really smart – it builds on some of the same skill sets, doesn’t it?” Amelia asked. Ichelle nodded. The two of them fell into a slightly awkward silence. During it Amelia desperately tried to think up something witty and originally to say but for once in her life she was coming up blank. Well, there was nothing like an old classic. “So, do you come here often?”
“Nah,” Ichelle said with a shake of her head. “A date recommended it – the date didn’t go anywhere, but she did say this place was pretty cool. I thought I’d check it out. How about you.” “I-” “HEY! AMELIA! GET A MOVE ON!” “Ah, sorry,” Amelia shot Ichelle an apologetic look. “That’s my dormmate, Dec. He looks like he’s getting impatient. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you, so could I give you my number? You don’t have to use it or anything, but-” “Relax, sure you can give me your number,” Ichelle chuckled. Amelia quickly grabbed a scrap of paper and a pen from her pocket and jotted it down. “Thanks. You’d better go though, your friend looks about ready to storm over here. I’ll call you tonight.”
Once she gave Ichelle her number Amelia bid her goodbye then hurried after Ed and Dec onto the next lot. She glanced back. Seeing that Ichelle was safely inside the Hangout she pumped her fists in joy. “Yes!”
It wasn’t just college students for whom life was marching on. A very important day in Galahad Merton’s life had arrived. It was his birthday. There wouldn’t be many guests coming – Galahad had told his parents he didn’t want a big party – but the few that would be should be arriving s- DING DONG. - now.
“You made it! And you got big!” Galahad said, hugging Tessa tight after his Dad let her in. “Too right I did,” Tessa said, hugging back. “You aren’t getting rid of my this easily, Merton.”
“I should hope not, not with all the fuss Galahad made over you teening first,” Kaylynn piped up from the sofa next to the pair. “Mu-um!” Galahad blushed. “Wha-at,” Kaylynn mimicked with a laugh. “Forget it, Galahad. You’re Mum’s just trying to embarrass you – it’s what mother’s do,” Tessa’s said with a laugh, then she noticed a couple of people by the door. “Hey, I think that’s your brother and sister.”
Sure enough it was Amelia and Todd at the door. The moment the sun set Ivan appeared as well. Once Ivan was in, Galahad all but ran into the kitchen where his cake was sat waiting on the table. The other’s filed in after him, each eager to see how the youngest Merton would turn out. Galahad stood behind his cake waiting for them, hardly able to keep still. He was finally going to be a big kid! He could hardly wait.
Luckily he didn’t have to wait much longer. Within a couple of minutes Tessa and all his family were gathered in the kitchen and cheering him on. He stepped up to the cake, made a wish, then blew.
It took about a minute for Galahad to take in his new form – he was so much taller now, and he had muscles. He glanced down. Ah. The clothes would have to go.
Galahad ducked out of the kitchen as everyone helped themselves to cake and went to change into the new clothes his mother had bought him that afternoon. He liked them. With his new clothes on Galahad headed into the bathroom as well and changed his hair, slicking it back with some gel. Once that was done he took a good look at himself. He supposed he looked all right though how well he’d do as a romancer would remain to be seen. As for achieving his Lifetime want? Galahad shuddered. What one earth had possessed him to decide on becoming a Professional Party Guest?
Life didn’t just march on for Galahad. Indeed, there were other important things happening the very next day. Charlie walked into the kitchen the morning after Galahad’s birthday so early that the pre-dawn light shone through the windows. It was even so early that she’d caught her father, a naturally early riser, sitting down to breakfast in his pyjamas. It was his morning ritual, Charlie had realised that shortly after she and Amar moved in with him several weeks ago after she graduated. He glanced up as she walking in the kitchen.
“Are you all right, Charlie?” Gil asked as his only daughter sat down in front of him. She gave him a small smile. “I’m fine, I’m just-” Charlie sighed. “I’ve got butterflies about the wedding.”
“You know some breakfast might calm those butterflies of yours,” Gil suggested. He nodded towards the fridge. “We’ve got plenty of cereal and milk in, and lots of eggs and flour if you want omelettes or pancakes.” “I know we do. I do the grocery shopping, remember?” Charlie said, smiling. She shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t think it’s going to help – I couldn’t keep last night’s dinner down because of my nerves, and I’m worse now. I’ll eat after the ceremony. Oh, and Dad? Are you sure you don’t mind me and Amar taking your name?”
“Of course I don’t mind!” Gil grinned at his daughter – he could hardly believe she was getting married today. It seemed like just yesterday he was seeing her for the first time, asleep in her crib with her red hair pulled back in the ponytail. It made him feel nostalgic. “You and your brothers are Jacquets by blood. You three have as much right to the name as I do! In fact, I’m honoured that you want to carry the name on. I was convinced it would die with me.”
“Dad!” “It’s true! I don’t even know why you and Amar are going to take the Jacquet name. You could just as easily be Stantons or Gilscarbos! Easier, even.” “I’ve told you,” she replied. “If would be weird if there were two Stanton families running around, and Amar wants to distance himself from the, ah, unfortunate reputation the Gilscarbo family has.” “Still doesn’t make sense!” “Dad-” Charlie cut herself off as a wave of nausea threatened to overwhelm her. Gil looked at her with concern in his eyes. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard, waiting for it to pass. There might not be any food left in her stomach to throw up but that didn’t mean her body wasn’t going to give it a very good try.
“You okay?” Gil asked as she opened her eyes, the nausea passing after a moment. “I’m fine, Dad.” “You sure? I’m really sure? You don’t think it could be anything more serious, do you?” “Dad! Stop getting like a mother hen!” she huffed. “I’m training as a doctor, don’t you think I’d recognise if it was anything but nerves?” “I suppose you’re right,” Gil relaxed slightly. “I mean, it’s not like you’ve got the flu or you’re pregnant or anything.” “Damn straight.”
The two sat for a few minutes, saying nothing. Gil ate his cereal while Charlie went over everything she needed for the day in her head. Satisfied that everything was in order she picked up the conversation again, this time with something she’d been wondering ever since she was a teenager. “Dad, why did you and Mum break up?”
Gilbert sighed. He stopped eating and looked up at his eldest. “Your mother and I – we just didn’t work out. That’s all.” “But you two were so strong, so solid. You had three bolts! Amar and I only have two. And you stayed together long enough for Mum to get those fifty dream dates. There has to be more to the story than that. Three bolt couples don’t just not work out.”
“If our circumstances were different we would have worked out, Charlie,” Gilbert glanced down at his cereal. “Your mother needed something in a partner that I could provide her with. She realised it once the two of us actually had time to stop and think about things. And since I couldn’t become a townie for her there was no other choice. It was inevitable, really.”
“I know that, I was just hoping it was something more,” Charlie replied sadly. She looked away. “You know, I used to fantasise about the two of you being married like a normal couple when I was a kid. I even had a dream about your wedding when I was like fifteen.” “What was it like?” “Grandma paid for us all to go to Twikkii Island for the ceremony. We were there for like a week, then on the last day you and Mum got married on this gorgeous community lot overlooking the sea.”
“Well you know that couldn’t be real,” Gil said swallowing a spoon of cereal. “Mother was verytightfisted, there’s no way she would have ever paid for that many people to go all the way to Twikkii Island.” “I know. Still, it was a nice thought.”
“So what’s the plan for today?” Gil asked, quickly changing the subject. “Dad, I’ve told you like ten times already!” “Well it’s not my fault if you’ve made it so much more complicated than more weddings. Most people don’t schedule two weddings on the same day!” “Me and Alice aren’t most girls.” “That much is abundantly clear.”
“Fine, but pay attention. This is the last time I’m telling you,” Charlie warned before launch immediately into the day’s itinerary. “Everyone’s getting here around half-eight. Our ceremony’s at 9. Once that’s over we cut the cake. Everyone gets a slice. Once that’s done Alice is going to rush home and get ready for wedding. At about eleven I head upstairs and get ready for Alice’s ceremony. Half twelve we head over to Alice’s. When we’re all settle she and Dominique get married, we all have more cake and the party actually starts. Is that so hard?”
“I really don’t know why you didn’t just arrange the weddings on different days.” Charlie shook her head with a chuckle. “Nevermind. Just do what everyone else is doing and everything’ll be fine, Dad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get that fiancé of mine out of bed and get ready. I’ve only got a couple of hours before everyone starts arriving!”
Several hours later Charlie looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had once thought that girls who took this long to get ready for anything were idiots, but for once she could see that it had been worth it. The dress had gone on smoothly – it was perhaps a little snugger than it had been when she’d had it fitted, but it still looked as beautiful as ever. Her make-up too had been fine. Her hair, on the other hand, had been feeling particularly uncooperative. It had taken a full hour and a half and several cans of hairspray but she had eventually managed to wrangle it into the style she wanted. And she hadn’t even thrown up once during the process! She smiled at her reflection. She’d do. There was little more to be done, and besides. It was time to become Mrs Charlotte Louisa Jacquet.
Several years from now Charlie wouldn’t remember exactly what her vows to Amar were. She wouldn’t remember his either. She wouldn’t remember that nobody paid attention to the ceremony. She wouldn’t remember that her dress was a little tighter than it should have been – though she would certainly remember the reason why – or that there was some lint on Amar’s collar.
She wouldn’t remember how she fed the cake to her new husband, and she wouldn’t remember the traffic jam as everyone else tried to get to the cake once the happy couple had theirs. She wouldn’t remember that she and Amar sat at different tables to eat their cake, or that half the guests didn’t bother to sit down. She would hardly recall the rush to get everyone over to Alice’s in time for her ceremony. No, all she would remember years later was that it was one of the happiest days of her life when she was joined forever to the person she loved the most. That was all that mattered, really.
I’ll leave you guys here with a picture of Charlie realising that maybe she wasn’t just nervous after all. I was going to try and fit in Alice’s wedding, but now seems like a good point to end the chapter. And would you look at that – I even managed to get it done in two weeks! That might be a record for me.
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