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The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 33
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  • 1. Dear reader, welcome back to the Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures! This is chapter 33,so if you havent read the previous chapters, the following will likely make little sense to you.Just a warning.So, as for those of us who know whats going on, I believe there was a little bit of a shockbecause of some news in the family last time. So lets dive right in, shall we?~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~”Engaged? Cho?” asked Ryker, dumbstruck. Hed managed to persuade Nicholas to get upfrom the floor and sit on the couch instead. ”To whom?” was the only thing Ryker was able toask.
  • 2. ”That Professor guy shes being seeing, Eric”, replied Nicholas, sounding hopeless.”That blonde dude whod sometimes hang out here at the Greek House? That guy whosaved Cyrus life?””Yeah. Him.””Well, from what I know hes a really nice guy and everything”, said Ryker, hesitating. ”Imean, hes been really helpful for the family, and been around a lot, especially sinceCharlie...” At that point he realized that the professors kindness and support of Cho wasperhaps not the best possible topic of conversation at the moment, and fell silent.”Yeah, hes a great guy. Ive got absolutely nothing against him”, said Nicholas with adeternined look on his face.”Yeah”, said Ryker. ”Hes great. But... Somehow...” he was lost for words. ”I mean...Engaged?”
  • 3. ”A little bit unexpected, huh?” asked Nicholas. He seemed to have forgotten to be upset for amoment, and was simply stupefied. ”I mean”, he started and shrugged, ”as she is theLegacy heiress, I expected that she might at least consider settling down at some point,because its kind of customary. But engaged, in, like what, a month after graduation?””Exactly”, Ryker agreed. ”That doesnt sound like Cho at all. But... how did you find out? Shedidnt call you did she?””No, not her. It was Chris. She heard from Cyrus and thought... thought to inform me. Sheknows how I feel about Cho, so she thought maybe itd be better if...””... if she delivered the news gently, rather than you heard it from someone else in asubordinate clause somewhere?””Yeah”, Nicholas nodded. ”Shes nice like that.”
  • 4. ”Yeah”, Ryker agreed. ”Still, its really weird. I wasnt expecting this at all. We havent reallybeen in touch a whole lot lately, Ive been busy with work and stuff. Do you... like... knowanything more about it? Like... How did it happen?””No, not really”, said Nicholas and sighed. ”Ive been in touch with Cho, sure, but I... well, Ihavent really asked about her love life”, said Nicholas, managing even a small lopsidedsmile. ”Ive mostly been making sure shes okay. You know, after what happened to Charlie.””Is she?””I guess so”, Nicholas shrugged. ”I mean, she seems surprisingly well, considering how shewas just a short time ago, while she was still back in college.”Ryker looked thoughtful and nodded.”So apart from that, I dont really know much. Chris did say that she got permaplat sometime ago.”
  • 5. ”Oh, yeah”, said Ryker, ”I heard about that. She called me when that had happened, actually.Must have been... a couple of weeks ago or something.”
  • 6. ”Well, thats not very surprising”, commented Nicholas. ”I think she was almost there whenshe graduated. Right?””Yeah”, confirmed Ryker, ”With myself included, I think she had seventeen loves when sheleft college. Which leaves three to go. So afterwards, if she...”
  • 7. ”Wait, you were one, too?” asked Nicholas, in a somewhat sharp tone. Ryker jumped a bit,and Nicholas felt embarassed. ”Im sorry. I didnt mean to...” He pinched the bridge of hisnose. ”I have no right to... Im sorry.””Its alright”, Ryker assured. ”And to answer your question, yeah, I was one. I didnt reallymean that to happen, but well, Ive kind of always had a thing for her – and who hasnt. Chois very important for me, and I love her, as a friend. Chloe is the love of my life, no matterwhat.”Nicholas nodded. He understood perfectly well, and to think of it, wasnt even really jealous.
  • 8. ”Were you... going to say something?””Well, just that, if she dated regularly, it was probably fairly easy for her to make it in thistime. And apparently she did. But you dont probably want to know the specifics.””No, not particularly. Thanks”, said Nicholas.”Soo...” Ryker hesitated. He wasnt really sure if he should even ask. ”What are you going todo?”
  • 9. ”Do?” asked Nicholas, and gave a small, bitter laugh. ”What is there for me to do? Thewoman I love doesnt love me back, and is apparently now happily engaged to someoneelse. Shes the heiress, and Im the placeholder. The only thing I can do at this point, withoutmaking things worse and myself look like an idiot, is to pick up the pieces and keep mymouth shut.”~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  • 10. Indeed, it was true that Cho was back in her childhood home, and also permanent platinum.Ryker was right, at the time of graduation, she had in total 17 simultaneous lovers, which leftonly three for her to find in her adult life. In her current situation, Cho was perhaps moredetermined than enthusiastic, but she wasted no time getting to that either way.
  • 11. First in line was a rather sweet guy named Peter Sims, whom Cho had met some time ago,most likely while on a date or waiting for a cab. It was so hard to keep track.All in all, the date was a successful one, despite one of Chos other loves, Vasyl Hamilton,trying to stalk Cho and cause havoc. Apparently, even Vasyl approved.
  • 12. Second, it was time to date the infamous Goopy GilsCarbo. Cho was of the opinion thathaving met him, she could not possibly complete her lifetime want without going on a datewith Goopy, so a date it then was. This, too, turned out to be a successful date with thedesired result. This was despite the attempts of a certain Agnes Crumplebotton to causeproblems. Agnes did not very much approve of the other use of the photobooth.
  • 13. Chos twentieth and final lover was Jerry Almassizadeh. He was a nice young fellow whomCho had met in college. As it was a special occasion, Cho and Jerry celebrated by havingsome lobster, which turned out to be delicious. They ate in peace and enjoyed the food andthe discussion.
  • 14. The evening ended the expected way, and finally Cho had reached the dream she had hadsince she was a teenager. She didnt know if she could actually feel happy in thesecircumstances, but at least for the moment she was content, and that was alreadysomething.
  • 15. It was also true that Cho was engaged to Professor Eric. He was a frequent guest in theBookacy family house, spending a lot of time with Cho, and one evening, he got down onone knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
  • 16. Truth to be told, this turn of events wasnt a surprise only for Nicholas and Ryker. AlsoBaudolino, Marylena and Cyrus were rather at a loss how to react to the news. After all, theywere all still mourning the loss of Charlie, who had only recently died in a vampire accident inthe family Greek House. Marylena especially was having a difficult time.Baudolino was the first to recover from his shock of the new change taking place andcongratulate his daughter. The rest of the family followed his example.Otherwise life was relatively calm for the moment. Both Baudolino and Marylena were ratherimmersed in music, which provided great comfort to them both.
  • 17. But for the moment, some matters were even more pressing than even Chos suddenengagement.”Honey”, Baudolino asked his wife, ”how would you feel about asking some friends andrelatives over for our birthday? Its only around the corner now, and I thought it would be niceto see everyone, have a nice time together, maybe have some dinner... But only if you feelup for it.”Marylena smiled a little. ”Thats a very nice idea. Ive been pretty tired lately, but maybe asmall gettogether would do me some good.””Alright then”, said Baudolino, ”Nothing too big, but a small gettogether with a few closestfriends. Thank you, darling”, he said, pecked his wife on the cheek and went on to make thenecessary phonecalls.
  • 18. And so the birthday party date arrived.”Hi honey. Its so good to see you”, said Marylena, squeezing her son extra hard.”Hi Mom, you too”, Cyrus replied warmly. ”How have you been?””Oh, alright. Just the usual, you know, like old people in general. Nothing much up with us”,said Marylena with a smile. ”Too bad you cant meet your sister too, she had to work andshell only be coming home pretty late.””Yeah, thats a pity. Oh well, it only means I need to come over soon again. Or maybe you allcould visit our place for a change.””Thatd be nice, darling.”
  • 19. ”Hi there, buddy”, said Bill, stroking Chunni. ”How are you doing?””How are you doing? How are you doing?”He laughed. ”Good girl.””Good girl!””Hey Dad. Playing with the bird again?” asked Claire, amused.”Had to visit an old friend while I was here. What do you think, should we have one ofthese?” asked Bill, eyes glistening.”Dont you think we have enough with Suzi? Shes a handful you know.””Aww, youre no fun!”
  • 20. Behind them, a friendly game of Dont Wake the Llama was taking place.”Hey, Aunt Beth”, said Cyrus suddenly, ”Arent you supposed to be Dads older sister? Howcome its his birthday and youre still young?”Beth chuckled. ”Well, technically I am the big sister, but the ways of the elixir aremysterious.” She winked.”Oh. Didnt realize that.””Well, actually, its not that much the elixir but rather that we all three”, Beth pointed atherself, Baudolino and Bill, ”went to college more or less together. And Marsha of course.That tends to even out age differences. But worry you not, Im not far behind. In fact, I thinkme and Sean should start planning our birthday party as well. Consider yourselves invited.”
  • 21. And outside, Marylena and Bonnie were refreshing old vacation memories, while Aadam waslistening intently.”... and then, I hear screaming, and when I open my eyes, I see Baudolino dancing on thesand with a crab pinching his finger. You should have seen his face!”
  • 22. Before too long, it was time to blow out the candles.”Ready?””As ready as Ill ever be. Should I go first or will you?”
  • 23. In the end, Baudolino went first.
  • 24. But not without an appropriate amount of cheering, of course.
  • 25. In a burst of confetti, Baudolino became an old man.
  • 26. Marylena followed only moments later.
  • 27. She, too, looked mostly like herself, only gone slightly gray.
  • 28. The birthday was a pleasant occasion and made everyone feel a little more cheerful.
  • 29. Marylena was already on her way to bed when Cho finally came from work.”Hi Mom”, she said, giving Marylena a hug. ”And happy birthday. Im sorry I missed theparty.””Thats alright dear, I understand you cant risk your new job. Theres some leftover cake ifyoure feeling hungry. I need to have some rest, see you in the morning. Tell your father notto play for too long, and if you can, get Chunni back in her cage, someone left the door openagain.””I will, Mom. Good night.”
  • 30. Chos dating activities had made some sims quite happy. Indeed so happy that the way tothe basement was occasionally blocked with pinball machines and widescreen televisions.
  • 31. Also as a side product of Chos dating activities, some others were not quite as happy. Itbecame a frequent duty for George to pick up the trash can, and the Bookacies rarely got toread the newspaper.
  • 32. This was why, in order to make his own duties easier, George set to studying robotics in hisfree moments.
  • 33. Those free moments were, however, frequently interrupted by someone less than pleasedwith Cho.
  • 34. Baudolino and Marylena both needed a little bit of tidying up to reflect the dignity of their age,and they took care of that at the first opportunity.
  • 35. Nothing much changed from what they used to look like, but both decided to get a littlesomething new.
  • 36. Around that time, it happened that George invited his love, count Pao Howe over for theevening.”Thank you for inviting me, George”, said count Pao with a smile, ”I had feared that perhapsyou had forgotten me, since it has been some time since we last met, and I have not beenable to reach you.”George nodded. ”I apologize for that. I have been slightly... preoccupied as of late.”Something in Georges voice caught the counts attention, and he asked: ”George, iseverything in order? Has something happened?”
  • 37. George sighed. ”Well, I cannot really say that things have been very well recently. Some timeago, not very long yet, there has been an incident in the family Greek House.””An incident?” asked count Pao, worried.”Yes. A very unfortunate incident indeed. I believe you were aware that my young master,Cyrus, became a vampire in his teenage years?””Yes, I believe you have mentioned that.””This is what I thought”, George nodded. ”Well, this vampirism has caused my family somegrief as of late. You see, young master Cyrus did not volunteer to be a vampire. Ever sincemy original mistress, Author Bookacy, was the head of this family, there has been a man whohas attempted to harm the Legacy family, and he...”
  • 38. ”... but by the time young miss Bookacy and the professor had managed to save youngmister Cyrus life by forcing him back in his coffin, it was already too late for young misterCharlie. He... died of the fright caused by awakening the vampire”, George finished, staringblankly in front of him.”I am so sorry to hear that”, said count Pao sympaethically. ”You must have been close toyoung mister Bookacy?””Yes, yes I was. In fact, we all were. He was such a likeable young man, and so very...young. I am afraid the family will never be the same. The parents, they attempt to be brave,but it has been a terrible loss for them. And the siblings... They both feel responsible, eventhough they should not, for they were not to blame...””No, they were not”, confirmed count Pao.”It was a terrible accident, and if blame is to beplaced on anyone, it should be the man who aims to harm the family.””Yes. If it was not for Salahuddin Chamcha...” George started, but stopped in mid-sentence.”What is it, Pao?”
  • 39. Count Paos whole demeanor had changed. He was, if possible, even paler than usual, andhis full attention was directed towards George. He looked horrified. When he spoke, hisvoice was barely audible. ”Pardon me, George, but... What did you say his name was?”George was confused. ”Salahuddin Chamcha.” He saw the counts expression sink. ”Why?What is it, Pao? Do you know him?”At this, the count closed his eyes for a moment and then nodded slowly. ”Yes, I am afraidthat I do.”
  • 40. ”You do?” asked George, stupefied.”Yes”, said count Pao and sighed. ”It has been a long time since I have heard that name,and I had already hoped that I would not hear it again.”George didnt know what to say to that, so he stayed quiet.”It all begun years and years ago, when I was, although not young, much younger and muchmore foolish than I could imagine being today. Perhaps I was also more idealistic. In anycase... I am sorry to say this, dear George, but I believe that to an extent, I am to blame forthe current misfortune of your family.””Whatever do you mean?” asked George, increasingly confused.The count sighed again. ”I mean that... All those years ago, it... it was me who madeSalahuddin Chamcha a vampire.”
  • 41. George had fallen into a shocked silence, so count Pao used his opportunity to tell his story.”There is no excuse for what I have done.” He sighed. ”I was a relatively young vampire inthat time, I had only recently been made the highest Grand Vampire, after who I now realizemust have been your old master, count Curtis Barthelet, had stepped down in order to havea family. I was in fact rather inexperienced, and not all of the other vampires were obeyingme. I was in deep difficulties, to tell you the truth.”Count Pao drew breath. For so long, he hadnt spoken to anyone about this. It was a relief.”I was angry, even frustrated. I had heard of playable families, especially Legacy families,and how they supposedly had everything better than the rest of us. How everything fell intotheir laps, how they had everything they wanted, and how some of them treated us towniesand service sims as if we did not exist, or as if our only purpose was to serve them, fulfilltheir needs and aspirations. That was the ground into which Salahuddin Chamchas seed ofmutiny fell.”
  • 42. ”He told me his story, he told me how he was always regarded inferior by the local Legacyfamily, and how he could never have what he most wanted, the woman he loved. And allbecause of the family. How he had been used and then left aside when he was no longerconvienient. How all that affected me! How it all affirmed my own thoughts and gave me thefeeling of righteous anger!”Count Pao shook his head and said: ”I was a fool, naturally. Only much later did I realize thatthe story mr. Chamcha had told me was only his side of it, and a strongly colored version atbest. He, for instance, never mentioned to me that he was in fact a playable sim himself.”As George still remained silent, clearly unable to find anything reasonable to say, count Paodecided that he should simply go on and tell everything. He sighed.”George, I am sorry to tell you this, but I must. I have, in fact, unknowingly but all the same,helped Salahuddin Chamcha in his attempts to harm your family.”
  • 43. To that, George finally reacted.”But had you not made him a vampire, he would still be immortal”, he tried to assure countPao, perhaps even himself. ”A man with his intelligence and influence would surely havefound it possible to gain a sufficient amount of elixir of life at regular intervals.”Count Pao couldnt but smile a little. ”And had he desired to become a vampire, surely hewould have been able to do so without my help. Also, had he desired to harm your youngmaster, he could have done so, whether he was a vampire or not.” He grew serious. ”But youdo realize that I have, albeit indirectly, helped a dangerous enemy of your family in hispursuits, and more specifically, indirectly caused the death of your young master?” Withoutwaiting for a reply, he went on: ”And that is not all, either. I have not only helped SalahuddinChamcha become a vampire, I have also given him advice that, I later learned, caused directharm for your family.””What do you mean?”
  • 44. ”It was originally my idea that mr. Chamcha should attempt to bite his loves husband andgain control of him – I did not know that she was married to another Grand Vampire – and asthat failed, it was also my suggestion that he should take a hostage and demand his love forthe safe return of said hostage.” Count Pao closed his eyes. ”I did not foresee how far hewould take this suggestion. Later, I found that this suggestion had caused the death of hishostage.””Rebecca”, said George, remembering the old story.”Yes”, count Pao nodded. ”Rebecca Custer was her name, as I later learned. Her loved onessuffered terribly, in fact so much that they attempted to bring her back from the dead, whichlead to another unfortunate occurence. It was when I heard what had happened due to myangered, selfish behavior, that I made some excuses and disappeared from the life ofSalahuddin Chamcha. It was the cowards way out, but there was nothing that I could havedone to undo what had happened, and I had no better choice than to withdraw and learn tolive with my guilt.”
  • 45. This was the end of Count Paos story. He didnt know what else to say, so he stayed quiet.George, too, was too overwhelmed to say anything. Finally, the count felt that he had tobreak the silence.”George, there is no justification for my actions, and with my foolishness I have caused agreat amount of pain for your family. I would have told you earlier, had I known myself thatthere is a connection between the sorrows of your family and the man I once helped. Thereis no justification, not even an excuse, but I am sorry. If after hearing all this you do not wishto hear from me anymore...”
  • 46. ”Pao, please do not”, interrupted George. He had made his decision. ”It is true that I amshocked to find out that you have played a role in the past misfortunes of my family, I cannotdeny that. But would I not want to hear from you? Would I like to continue my life as if I hadnever met you? Pretend that what has happened has not, in fact happened? No.””But...””The past cannot be changed, Pao. But I do not wish to spend my future in misery. And thatis how I would feel if you disappeared from my life. Please do not. I love you, Pao.””I love you too”, said count Pao without hesitation. ”But would you not think that your masterswill be upset when they find out about this? I would not desire for you to keep things fromyour masters for me.”
  • 47. ”They will understand, I am sure”, assured George. ”They will go through an initial shock, butthey will understand. In fact...”George seemed to suddenly come to think of something. He fell silent and looked into thedistance. ”Did you say that you were the one to end your contact with SalahuddinChamcha?””Yes. Or more precisely, I made excuses that I believe had to do with issues with the vampirepopulation and my responsibility for them, and simply let the contact quietly fade.””Would you think that in theory, you could still contact him?””I... I suppose so, yes. But...”George looked determined. He glanced at the clock on the wall. ”I do not think that it is toolate yet. Master Bookacy will still be awake at this hour. Come, Pao.”~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  • 48. Whatever was said that night around the kitchen table in the Bookacy residence, it stayed inthat kitchen. There were a few late night visitors, but they too were strictly instructed to staysilent on the matters spoken about.The next morning life went on as usual, even if the Bookacies did sleep a little longer thanusual. Autumn was arriving, and it was harvest time. Marylena, who enjoyed spending timeoutdoors, took a basket with her and went to pick the delicious red apples hanging from thetree. Whatever would come, would come, and in the meantime, there were things thatneeded doing.
  • 49. Cho was concentrating hard on her career. Whenever she wasnt on a date with herprofessor, she was studying to keep up with her work in the dance career. She only seemedto be idle when she slept.
  • 50. Her hard work also paid off. Soon Cho found herself a Flamenco Master, with only one stepto go for the ultimate goal in her career. She didnt stop or question. It was just another thingto get done, and it was going to get done.
  • 51. Also Georges hard work was bearing fruit. He gained the silver badge in robotics, whichmeant that he would be able to construct hovering robots, such as the badly neededsentrybot.
  • 52. Said sentrybot was promptly crafted and placed on the front yard. Granted, it would not helpagainst intruders of Salahuddin Chamchas level, but with any luck, it would give the familysome domestic peace.
  • 53. It was soon found out that the new sentrybot did work as advertised. However, George stilloccasionally had to pick up the garbage can, since the angry former dates sometimesmanaged to get their revenge on this poor innocent victim before the bot could get to them.But at least the word was spreading that carbage cans would no longer be kicked overwithout punisment.
  • 54. Marylena kept tending the garden, and gave the family excellent quality fruits andvegetables. This all had a soothing effect to her, as did her other dear hobby, music.Baudolino was still occasionally worried about his wife, but she seemed to have foundmethods to cope, and that was, in the end, what mattered.
  • 55. Speaking of Baudolino, his methods of coping resembled Chos in some respects, althoughin others he was quite different. He, too, was immeresed in work, and it gave him somepleasure to find out that he had successfully become a Space Pirate. Hed again showedwhat he was capable of, even though he was an elder now.
  • 56. But Baudolinos daughter wasnt to be left behind in ambition and success. Cho became aWorld Class Ballet Dancer seemingly with ease, and she kept working hard to stay on top.Still, with some worry Baudolino observed that all her success didnt perhaps bring Cho asmuch pleasure as itd initially seem.
  • 57. Meanwhile, on another side of Alphabetia.”Hi honey”, said Chris, having found Cyrus in the kitchen, admiring the shiny new kitchen countersthat, granted, had been there for a while, but were still nice and shiny. ”How was work?””Oh, just the usual. Its kind of sweaty being an athlete, hence the shower”, Cyrus replied, pointingdown at his freshly changed clothes. ”The boss says Im doing really well, there might be anotherpromotion coming up soon if I keep up the good work.””Thats great. I think I need to do a bit of studying to advance on my part, but otherwise its all goinggreat.”
  • 58. ”Umm... Actually...” started Chris after a moment of amicable silence, ”were you hungry orsomething?””No, Im fine, I ate a pretty sturdy luch at work. How so?””Well... there was kind of something I was going to talk to you about.”
  • 59. ”There was?” asked Cyrus, surprised. ”Sure, what was on your mind?”Chris gave a small, nervous smile. ”Lets sit down.”
  • 60. ”So... umm... Yeah. Ive been thinking lately... Weve been together ever since college. And now wevebeen roomies after college for a while, too, and everything has been going nicely, we have aheadstart on both of our careers. And we can afford this house, just barely, but we can, which isnice.”
  • 61. ”Uh huh”, said Cyrus with an encouraging smile. ”Everything agreed so far.” He didnt know what wascoming, but clearly it was something important.
  • 62. ”So... What Ive been thinking is... Since we are so close and... everything is going so well and...”Chris was swallowing hard.”Yes? Come on, Chris, youre starting to look like you think I might bite you or something.”Despite her nerves, Chris laughed a little. ”Well, I was thinking... Why is this so hard? I mean, I wasthinking, we dont have to if you dont want to, but... Maybe we could get married.” she finished. ”Or...something.”
  • 63. ”Wait...” Cyrus was quiet for a while. ”Is this a proposal?””It... could be, I mean, if… if you want it to be”, said Chris uncertainly.
  • 64. Cyrus was silent for a moment..”Let me guess”, he started, his voice growing soft, ”youve of course been thinking and worryingabout this for ages?”Chris just blushed and bit her lip.
  • 65. Cyrus quickly squeezed her hand. Then he, to Chris huge surprise, burst out with a heartfeltlaughter.”Of course Ill marry you, silly! Was there ever really a question about that?”Chris started to look relieved, although not yet fully convinced.”Poor baby. You really thought Id say no?” Cyrus teased. As clueless as he was about some things,the humorous side of this was clearly not lost to him.He was quiet for a while, and as Chris still didnt find the words to say, he went on: ”You really shouldspell these things out you know. I thought that maybe something was wrong the way youve beenacting the past few weeks, but its this youve been worrying about, right?”Chris nodded.”Of course, it now all makes perfect sense, but I simply didnt realize you might want to get married. Itjust didnt cross my mind. But really, had you asked sooner, I would have said yes sooner.”
  • 66. A relieved, happy smile started forming on Chris face. ”Youre... youre saying yes?””I am.””Its not just because I want to, is it?” she worried. ”I mean... Are you sure you want to do this?”
  • 67. ”Chris. I may be a little different, but I really do love you. And what does getting married mean?”Cyrus shrugged. ”To me it means that I share my life with someone very important – which, in mymind, we already do anyway. So yes, I want to do this.”With this, Chris was happy.”So thats it then. Lets make it official soon. What do you say, we go looking at rings tomorrow?””Well, actually...”
  • 68. ”... theres no need to look really”, said Chris and placed a small, black box on the table in front ofCyrus. ”I hope you dont mind”, she added, ”its a family heirloom of sorts, my mother gave it to mewhen I became a proper adult and...”Cyrus didnt say anything. He stared at the box for a moment, then picked it up and opened it.
  • 69. ”Am I... Im being too hasty with it, am I not?” asked Chris in a small voice while Cyrus was staring atthe engagement ring in its box.Usually, in their relationship it was Cyrus who was slightly clueless, but right then it was Chris whoutterly failed to notice how her boyfriend was beaming at her and the small black box in his hand.
  • 70. ”Hasty?” Cyrus looked up from the ring. ”Chris, honey, how do I make you stop worrying?” he askedher, completely endeared.Chris didnt say anything, just smiled a little and looked apologetic.
  • 71. Cyrus laughed. ”Maybe itd help if I put it on, right? Lets see if it fits...”
  • 72. ”It fits perfectly. Its a very nice ring, Chris.” Cyrus suddenly stopped admiring the ring and looked ather. ”How do I suddenly have a vibe that this was supposed to go the other way around?”
  • 73. This earned a giggle from Chris who was starting to recover from her shock.”I suppose thats the usual way”, she answered. ”But we arent usual ourselves anyway, are we?”
  • 74. ”I suppose were not”, said Cyrus, smiling. ”But now it seems were engaged, then”, he said, reachingfor her hand.She nodded. ”Yeah. Wow.””So now”, he went on in a slightly devious tone, ”you can start planning a big party, and call all yourfriends. Isnt that what youd want?”Cyrus almost regretted that statement moments later, when he nearly fell from his chair as Chrissuddenly climbed on his lap and just about squeezed him to death. Almost.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  • 75. Back in the Legacy household life was rather exciting. The word quickly caught up that also Cyruswas now engaged. This news, too, was a bit of a surprise for Baudolino and Marylena, as theydthought that Cyrus and Chris were happy as they were, especially Cyrus, and that their son wouldprobably never come to proposing.Of course, as Baudolino said to Chunni, they ”shouldve known that if he wont understand topropose, she will”.
  • 76. There was also a new change around the house, namely now that there was a wedding in plans, itwas high time that Chos fiancé, professor Eric, moved in. Although still not quite adjusted to thethought of their daughter actually planning to get married, and to do it soon, Baudolino and Marylenadid their best to get to know their soon-to-be-inlaw.”Delicious pancakes, mrs. Bookacy.””Thank you, my boy. You can call me Marylena, by the way, no need to be all formal.””Thank you”, replied the professor, ”And Im Eric.”Marylena smiled and nodded.”Honey”, said Cho, ”about the wedding. Would you think itd be better if we put the flowers...”It was all about the wedding these days.
  • 77. Or, to be precise, not quite all about the wedding. Cho found herself feeling nauseous ratherfrequently, especially in the mornings. It didnt take her long to sum up one plus two, and soonenough she told her fiancé and parents that she was pregnant with her and Erics firstborn.
  • 78. When Eric had properly settled in his new home, it was time for him to get a makeover. Nothing toodifferent from his old style, but a little something new was in order. Eric was quite pleased with theresult.
  • 79. Eric started taking part in everything that was going on in the house, and he also wanted to advancein his career, so he took up some studying in the evenings. He particularly enjoyed excercises increativity, and soon his piano playing had improved so much that the other family members oftengathered around to listen to him.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Prof. Eric Dallas is a Libra romance sim with the Lifetime Want to Become a Professional PartyGuest. His personality is 7/4/8/1/5, and he likes swimwear and full face makeup, but isnt too keen onhats.
  • 80. Meanwhile, Chos pregnancy had started to show. She was otherwise healthy, but complained aboutfeeling somewhat swollen. Marylena adviced her daughter to wear something more comfortableduring the pregnancy, and after that Cho was apparently feeling better.
  • 81. Cho had also informed her parents that she wanted to have the wedding as soon as possible. Thedate was settled for late autumn, and the preparations started. Baudolino and Marylena were feelingcontradicted. On the one hand, they were happy with the prospect of having a new relative – or infact, two – but on the other hand, they were worried.”... dont get me wrong, I like Eric, hes a really nice guy, but dont you... dont you think its a bit soon?And... our daughter?” asked Baudolino one day when Cho was taking a nap and Eric was at work. Hedidnt really expect an answer, but he had to say it, once again. Theyd had the same conversationseveral times over the past few weeks.”I know”, replied Marylena. ”Im not convinced of this either. Id have absolutely no problem withhaving Eric as my son-in-law, but... Im not really sure if Chos heart is in this.”
  • 82. ”Exactly. I dont really understand how our daughter suddenly feels the urge to get married, when forall of her college life she clearly enjoyed her freedom and not being tied down”, Baudolino said,spreading his arms in frustration. ”I dont understand it.”Marylena sighed. ”I think I might. Im afraid she may be doing this out of responsibility.””But how on Earth does this have to do with responsibility?” asked Baudolino, not for the first time.”I dont really understand it either, but I think she has the idea that in order to be a good heiress, shehas to get married, and it has to be a service sim. And she has to produce three children minimum,just like everyone has done”, explained Marylena.”So its better just get on with it, then?””Thats what Im suspecting. I think it all fits. Eric is a professor, after all. And look, shes gottenherself pregnant in record time, too. She wouldnt admit to it if we asked, but I think that her secretimage of the good heiress includes being properly married before the baby comes. Hence the hurry.”
  • 83. ”So, youre saying that in a way were a lot more modern than our romance sim daughter?” askedBaudolino, bewildered.”I guess you could say so. Although, to be fair, Cho doesnt expect others to live according to thestandards in her head, just herself.””But where does that even come from?””A lot of things I suppose. First, shes always wanted to be heiress, and after she settled on anaspiration, shes always felt a conflict there. Second, its true that in our family its been a sort of atradition that the heir or heiress marries a service sim, if you look back at the past generations. Itsnot an enforced rule of course, but I think she to some extent sees it as such. And I think afterCharlie...” Marylena still couldnt finish the sentence.Baudolino hurried to help. ”... its only gotten worse.””Yes.”
  • 84. ”I wish there was something we could do”, said Marylena, looking in front of her but not seeinganything.Baudolino nodded. ”Im afraid there isnt much. We can try to talk to her, of course, but really, Cho isan adult, and its really her decision. Even if it makes her unhappy later.””I know. Im not sure if I should even talk about it, but at the same time, I cant not do it”, Marylenasaid.”She probably wont listen to you, not if shes as determined as you think.””I know. But I have to try.”
  • 85. Marylena got her chance a few days later. She was outside, just coming from the garden, when shefound her daughter on the yard alone. Instead of heading back inside as she had planned, Marylenaapproached her instead.
  • 86. ”Cho darling?””Yes, Mom?” Cho was just setting the decorations on the wedding arch, and only turned to quicklyglance at her mother and then looked back at her work.”Would you... need help with the decorations, honey? You shouldnt work too hard with that belly”,Marylena said fondly.”Thanks Mom, but Im almost ready”, Cho replied with a smile, and went on settling a stubborn flowerwhere she wanted it. ”And Im not tired at all.””Thats good to hear”, Marylena said, pretending to inspect the other side of the arch, trying to buytime.
  • 87. Then she sighed, dropped all pretence, and took Cho by the shoulders. ”Honey, listen.”Cho looked at her, slightly confused but smiling.”Theres perhaps no good way to say this but... as a mother, I have to all the same. Eric is a very niceguy, your father and I both like him very much. And were of course beyond excited to have our firstgrandchild. But...”Cho looked at her mother, expectantly.”Its just... This whole marriage thing, its so sudden, and somehow, so unexpected. Youve alwaysenjoyed your freedom, your dating, all that, and now all of the sudden, when youre fresh out ofcollege, youre getting married. Even though youre the heiress, it doesnt mean that you have to do itin a certain way. Honestly, I have absolutely nothing against any of this. I just want to make sure thisis really what you want”, Marylena finished.
  • 88. ”Oh”, Cho said, stopped and smiled a little. ”Yes, yes it is, Mom. That thing in college, the dating andstuff, was... college. Im an adult now, and its time for me to take up an adult life. Take up theresponsibilities of an adult, have a family of my own. Its time for me to really become the heiress,and to act like one. This is what I really want.”Marylena was going to reply, but they were interrupted by a loud clank.
  • 89. ”Ouch. Why do these things have to be so heavy? Theyre clearly not made to be carried around”,panted Baudolino, rubbing his wrists. Hed been carrying garden furniture outside for the wedding allafternoon, and was clearly getting tired.
  • 90. ”Dad! You shouldnt tire yourself like that. Wait, let me help you with that!” Cho exclaimed and startedheading towards her father, to help with the garden bench.”Absolutely not, Cho!” said Marylena horrified. ”The old man cant lift the bench so the pregnant ladyruns for help? You should be resting in any case. Ill ask George to arrange the rest of the benches,and Eric can surely help when he comes from work.”
  • 91. After convincing Cho that she didnt need to personally take care of every detail of the wedding,Baudolino and Marylena were left alone on the back yard.”Did you talk to her?””I did.””And?”Marylena sighed. ”Im still not convinced, but it seems that at least she knows what shes doing. Imight have hoped a different rationale for the decision, but she assured me that this is really whatshe wants.”Baudolino nodded. ”Its pretty much as I expected”, he said, resigned. ”I suppose theres nothing wecan except hope that our daughter will be happy.”
  • 92. The next days gave Baudolino and Marylena some relief. It seemed that the young couple were bothlooking forward to the wedding and excited about the baby.
  • 93. And as the wedding drew nearer, Cho grew bigger by the day.
  • 94. Whenever there was a free moment, Baudolino would practice his piano playing, as he and his wifeboth found it very relaxing, and all that practice also brought about results. These days, free time wasscarce, though, as the big wedding was quickly approaching.
  • 95. Shortly before the wedding, Marylena decided that it was time for her to retire. She wanted to behome when her first grandchild would arrive.
  • 96. And then, suddenly, it was the evening before the wedding.”So, tomorrow at this time well already be married”, said Eric, giving Cho a quick peck. ”Are youready?”Cho smiled. ”Im looking forward to it. Hey, would it be okay if I laid down for a bit? The baby is tiringme out.””Of course, Cho honey. You get all the rest you need. The baby needs it, and tomorrow is a big day.Ill see if I can gain one more charisma point for my next promotion meanwhile. Do you needanything?””No, Ill be fine. Thanks, Eric”, Cho said with a smile and headed for her old bedroom.
  • 97. So this was it, thought Cho, while laying on one of the beds in her childhood room. From tomorrowon, shed be a married woman. No more foolish behavior, she was an adult now. A responsible adult,and the heiress of a respected Legacy family. Tomorrow was the real beginning of her adult life. Fromtomorrow on, a married woman, and soon after that, a mother. For the rest of her life.
  • 98. The day of the wedding arrived, bright and clear. There had been some concern of the weather, as solate in the autumn it could be quite unpredictable, but as before noon there wasnt a cloud in sight,everyone gave a sigh of relief.Everything was nearly ready, the guests were arriving, and there was only the bride to get ready.”Wait, Cho, there seems to be something right there...” said Marylena, carefully examining the bridaldress. ”No, its just some play of light. Now, let me just see that there are no wrinkles anywhere...”
  • 99. ”Now, there. I think youre all set, then.””Great, Mom. How do I look?”
  • 100. ”You look absolutely gorgeous, darling!” Marylena couldnt help but smile widely when looking at herdaughter, besides her worries.
  • 101. ”Thanks, Mom”, Cho said, looking happy. ”Mom?””Yes?””I love you.””I love you too, sweetie. I really hope you will be happy.”Cho just smiled. After a moment of pleasant silence, Marylena spoke again.”Now are you ready?””I am”, Cho nodded.”Then lets get you that veil yet. The guests are waiting.”
  • 102. And in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed, everything was ready. The bride had the veil, the groomhad the rings, the parents had taken their front row seats, and the guests were anxiously awaiting theyoung couple to appear. It was finally time.
  • 103. In the far corner of the family property, one more guest appeared. He didnt join the crowd, but stayedoutside the fence, out of sight for very likely everyone. Hed never planned to join the guests, and infact, he hadnt planned to come at all, despite the warm invitation from Cho. But then hed realizedthat he simply had to see this for himself. All Nicholas wanted was to watch from afar.It was time.
  • 104. Im not strong enough to stay awayCant run from youId just run back to you
  • 105. Like a moth Im drawn into your flameYou say my namebut its not the same
  • 106. You look in my eyesIm stripped of my pride
  • 107. and my soul surrenders
  • 108. and you bring my heart to its knees
  • 109. And its killing me when youre awayAnd I wanna leave and I wanna stayIm so confusedso hard to choose between the pleasure and the pain
  • 110. And I know its wrong and I know its rightEven if I tried to win the fightMy heart would overrule my mindAnd Im not strong enough to stay away
  • 111. Im not strong enough to stay awayWhat can I doI would die without you
  • 112. In your presence my heart knows no shameIm not to blamecause you bring my heart to its knees
  • 113. And its killing me when youre awayAnd I wanna leave and I wanna stayIm so confusedso hard to choose between the pleasure and the pain
  • 114. And I know its wrong and I know its rightEven if I tried to win the fightMy heart would overrule my mindAnd Im not strong enough to stay away
  • 115. Theres nothing I can doMy heart is chained to youand I cant get freeLook what this loves done to me”I think Ive seen enough.”
  • 116. And its killing me when youre awayAnd I wanna leave and I wanna stayIm so confusedso hard to choose between the pleasure and the pain
  • 117. And I know its wrong and I know its rightEven if I tried to win the fightMy heart would overrule my mindAnd Im not strong enough to stay away
  • 118. Not strong enough, strong enough
  • 119. Not strong enough, strong enough
  • 120. to stay away
  • 121. Not strong enough, strong enoughNot strong enough, strong enough”Im so sorry, Cho. I cant do this. I cant.”
  • 122. Im not strong enough to stay away~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~(Not Strong Enough, Apocalyptica featuring Brent Smith)Dear reader, this is the end of our current chapter – yes, I am cruel like that. So this is where I leaveyou this time. I hope you have enjoyed the ride, and welcome along for chapter 34 next time! Untilthen, happy simming!