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Welcome back to the Norrington legacy! For those of you just tuning in, you may want to check out at least last chapter. But if you're feeling brave, tuck in! At the Simself manor, the occupants of the house, otherwise known as the 'Green Monstrosity', were sitting down for a leisurely luncheon. To the right sat Miss Kitty Harris, the younger version of my simself. The pretty young lady in the light pink dress was Miss Hannah Koolio, writer of 'The Victoriacy'. And to the left was Sebastian Devereaux, a young man who had somehow found himself in Victorian Guilford, Surrey, England with no explanation.
"So Sebastian, are you feeling somewhat better, now that you've eaten?" "Oh, yes... thank you uh... Miss...?" "You may call me Hannah. We don't stand on ceremony here." "Hannah then."
Yes, Sebastian was feeling better, but that didn't mean he had remembered his reason for being here. Miss Kitty claimed he arrived unconscious, yet with a letter explaining who he was and where he'd come from. Did this mean he'd been sent away? His family was to seek him out when it was time, but that left so much to explain. He wondered if any of this had to do with his strange dream of his sister Lillian becoming an evil witch and being disowned by their parents. He'd been made heir, something he'd never been prepared for. Lillian swore to get back at them all, perhaps.... No. Sebastian shook the absurd thought from his head. Lillian had been many things growing up, but evil? (for more on the sebby's family, check out "The Devereaux Legacy" by Peasant007 at boolprop.com. see where Sebastian's story began. it rocks!)
"So Kitty, what was it you and Liz decided to do in order to get back at the creator Bo, for putting you both here in Guilford together? You never said, though Liz left here with a huge smile on her face." "Oh, that ." Kitty smirked.
"Apparently there is a family here in Guilford that Bo absolutely detests and she refuses to even acknowledge their existance. Due to her indelicate handling of both Liz and myself, she's been forced to allow that family to host the next chapter of the Norrington legacy." "That's a punishment?" Hannah frowned. "She must hate them tremendously." Kitty chuckled. "You've no idea." "And which family is it? Would I know them?" "I believe they go by the name Oxley. Formally the Ottomas from the village of Pleasantview. Apparently they have an a absurd amount of children." Hannah giggled. "You don't say." (grrr. for those of you out of the loop, I created 2 simselves. liz represents me as I am now; married with children and almost 30. kitty is the me of 10 years ago, when I was single and free of responsibility. I thought they would be pleased to see each other but apparently I was wrong. And being forced to deal with the ottomas is a cruel punishment for such an innocent crime)
"Sebastian, you seem miles away. Are the crepes not to your liking?" "What? Oh, no. The food's fine... thank you." "Such a polite thing you are." Kitty smiled. "I imagine you never bother anyone with your troubles, do you? Simply shoulder the weight and keep it all to yourself." Sebastian shrugged. "Complaining doesn't help." "True, perhaps. But talking with those who are willing to listen and engage in production conversation, can do a world of good."
Sebastian sighed. "You may be right. It's just, I can't wrap my head around all this. Why was I sent here? What am I supposed to do? And what if there's something sinister at hand here?" "Well," Kitty gave a small smile. "You could drive yourself crazy worrying about all the things you can't control. Personally, I'd hate to see you do that to yourself. Since you haven't any idea why you're here or when you'll be called back home, I think you should just enjoy yourself. Think of it as a holiday. Liz says that this really is a nice little town. Quiet, peaceful... the perfect place to get your thoughts in order. I mean, just take a look out the window and tell me that isn't picturesque." Sebastian nodded slightly. "I guess..." "Just... think about it, at least. Your problems will always be waiting for you when you get home. Take advantage of the time away from them."
And think about it Sebastian did. Kitty did have a point. It wouldn't be a great difficulty to spend some leisure time catching up on his reading and such. Both Kitty and Hannah were pleasant enough and they apparently didn't mind his presence. Maybe the reason he was here didn't matter as much as how he spent the time away. Suddenly being stuck here in Victorian Guilford didn't seem like such a tragedy. Sebastian gave his first real smile since waking up in this surreal situation.
When we left off, our heir Asher realized he was in love with his longtime lady Miss Olivia Gordan. Though due to his father's disapproval of both Olivia's lack of name or fortune, he agreed to cast his eyes further afield in his search for a wife. After two difficult years of fitting in and making friends at Sterlington University in Samcambridge, Asher chose the Literary major in hopes it would help in his future goal to be the very best of adventurers. He was also invited to pledge the honorable brotherhood fraternity at Weatherton Hall.
Brother Trace found college to be to his liking. He enjoyed studying and made many friends. Despite his popularity though, he made little progress with the female population. Preferring instead, the company of his own sex. He was of course taken aback when an intimate moment between he and his good friend James Prescott led to a kiss. Trace was suddenly left to ponder this unexpected and uninvited discovery about himself.
Abigail started at Sterlington Ladies College clouded by an air of melancholy. She threw herself into her studies while nursing a disappointed heart over the disappearance of shopboy Amar Akuma. For whom she had a childish affection. Finally at a party thrown by her brothers, she was introduced to Mr. Barrington Finch with whom she had an instant connection. After a brief period of flirtation, Abby realized that he was the one and decided to have he and her parents meet in hopes that the elder Norringtons would approve and give them leave to continue their courtship.
Thus the day arrived and Abby was thoroughly excited to see her mother's carriage approach the ladies dorm. She dashed out with a great smile on her face. "Mama!" "Abby dearest!" The two embraced warmly. "Where is Papa? Didn't he come along?" "I am sorry dear but your father sends you his warmest regards. He claims to have to see to his ailing fish. You know how he is." Evelyn placed a comforting hand on her daughter's cheek. "Between the two of us, I believe he is simply trying to avoid the inevitable." "What would that be?" "The parting of a father from one's first born daughter of course."
They were soon joined by Barrington, who introduced himself to Evelyn with the greatest amount of charm. Afterward, Abby suggested they have tea in the music room while she played for them both. Evelyn, who had always longed for a piano in the house, was most eager to hear her daughter play. And so Barrington began to state his cause with great enthusiasm. Never a more eager man would you see in his appeal for Abby's hand. Abby herself only half listened, having great faith in both Barrington's ability to woo and her mother's gift for understanding.
"...And I have great desires for a family Mrs. Norrington. Both Abigail and I have spoken at length our wishes for several children. Though I am but an only child, she has shared with me her many pleasant memories of growing up in a large family." Evelyn smiled. "A family man... this is quite an affable quality. I wonder perhaps if my daughter hasn't coached you in all the correct words to win me over, Mr. Finch." Barrington chuckled lightly. "If that were so, I would be wise to follow whatever advice she may bestow. For I find Abigail to be of great thoughtfulness and wit." He paused for a moment. "All flattery aside, I adore your daughter Mrs. Norrington. Have from perhaps the moment I clamped eyes on her and nothing would make me happier than looking after her for the rest of her life." "Don't you mean, the rest of your life?" Barrington shook his head. "You heard me right. Even should I part with her prematurely, I'll see to it that Abigail is well looked after."
Abby, who had stepped out for a moment, came back to find both her mother and Barrington looking at her with pleased expressions. "Have you, a pleasant talk?" She asked nervously.
Evelyn met her daughter with a warm embrace and said softly. "You are both happily met. I shall see that your father gets himself up here straight away." "Oh Mama! Thank you!" Abby knew that having her mother's approval would go a long way in convincing her father of Barrington's merit.
After Evelyn had departed, Abby and Barrington found themselves in the music room alone. Cautiously Barrington took her hands. "I think she liked me." Abby smiled. "Who wouldn't? Though you might want to watch that charm of yours. Wouldn't want to make me jealous." "You my dear, have absolutely nothing of which to be jealous."
He reached up to caress but Abby gently rebuffed him. "Please Barrington, not here. Not where all eyes may gaze on us. The girls here are dreadful gossips. We would be subjected to all manner of talk. It's enough that we're alone." Barrington nodded with understanding. "Might I imagine it then?" "If you must." She giggled.
Though she'd never admit to it, Abby was doing a bit of imagining herself.
Back over at the men's college, Asher, Raymond and James were occupying themselves with a spirited game of mahjong. Raymond had heard quite the story of how Miss Montgomery's new shoes suffered at the feet of her clumsy dance partner, James, while at the clubhouse dance. James only blushed and added that he'd already profusely apologized to the irate Miss Montgomery and had made plans to purchase her a new pair of dance slippers. The truth was, that despite Trace's wonderful dancing instruction, James had been far too distracted to watch out for Miss Montgomery's lower limbs. He'd found himself wishing he were still in that cozy corridor dancing with Trace. Speaking of... "Asher, have you seen your brother today? I find he's been rather scarce lately." Asher nodded at James in agreement. "That he has. Claims to be working on his term paper. Don't mind him. Once he passes the semester, he'll lighten up a bit."
Trace had been scarce. More than, actually. He was actively keeping to himself while he tried to sort out his new and quite disturbing feelings. Truth was, he couldn't seem to get James or that kiss out of his mind. Their shared moment went against everything he'd been raised to believe about himself and his future. He was meant to meet a nice girl, settle down and have a family. An unexpected affection for a handsome young man had nothing to do with those plans.
While Trace experienced his very own identity crisis, Stuart finally got around to visiting his little girl at school. Despite his efforts to put it off, Stuart could barely contain himself when he laid eyes on his beautiful daughter. Abby had grown into a lovely woman and it made him even less eager to give her up to the, according to his wife, 'charming and dashing young Mr. Finch'.
"Papa! I was worried you wouldn't come." "My Abby," Stuart whispered brokenly as he held his girl close. "I can't believe how you've blossomed." "Oh please don't cry Papa." Abby consoled sweetly. "No matter how old I get, I'll always be your girl."
They shared a tender moment of understanding before Abby broke away and noticed Barrington arriving. Her face lit up as she went off to greet him. Stuart watched the glow of his daughter in love and realized that he was truly losing her. Of course she would always love him, but he was no longer the man in her life. That role now belonged to this upstart , this charming young man. True, it was the natural course of things; a woman shall leave her father's home and cleave to her husband. Her place by his side, to follow throughout the world. But that didn't mean he had to like it. And it certainly didn't mean he had to make it easy on the boy.
"Nervous?" Abby whispered. "No." Barrington lied and cleared his throat. "He looks a bit... intense." "That's just his serious face. He's really nothing more than a plant loving softy. Just be yourself. Oh, and you might mention that you enjoy fishing. He'll like that." "Fishing?" Abby smirked. "Trust me." While Stuart and Barrington set off for a game of chess, Abby followed along much more slowly. She ran into her dorm mate Andrastia on the way to the great room. "Abigail, I noticed Mr. Finch is entertaining your father. Do I sense a proposal on the horizon?" "You'll get no gossip from me." Abby hedged with a smile. "Your guess is as good as mine."
Barrington sat nervously while Stuart glared at him from across the board. It had been much easier talking to Mrs. Norrington. "So... what do you think of fish?"
Meanwhile Abby tried not to worry and focused on her game with Jarret Starling and Miss Lindsey Cantrell. Yet despite their pleasant (and witty, in the case of flirtatious Mr. Starling) company, Abby's mind was adrift. If her father didn't approve of Barrington, then there would be no future for the two of them. She could never seek out the company of one her father opposed. (handicap alert! any young men wanting to marry my legacy girls, must befriend the father or head of household first. tedious but realistic, i think)
"Let's cut to the point of my visit." Stuart interrupted Barrington's ramblings. "My daughter has taken a fancy to you and I am assuming you feel the same." "Yes, I..." "And you're looking to gain my approval, in the hopes that I'll allow you to marry Abigail." "Well..." "As if I would give you permission to pack up and cart my first born daughter and take her away. What on earth makes you think you're worthy of her?" "Uh... I don't..." "Charm may be all that my wife requires for approval but then again, she did agree to my suit. You'll find that I'm not quite so accommodating." Barrington sighed. He had certainly noticed that .
Things weren't looking good for dear Barrington, but as the day went on, our hero valiantly pressed his suit. Stuart wasn't an easy egg to crack. This was his beloved first born girl up for discussion. Abigail had won her father's heart from the moment he laid eyes on her. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he and Barrington had this in common. And it was enough to make both men put their cards on the table. After hours of heated conversation, where neither gentleman would even break for tea, they reached a point of mutual respect. Stuart didn't have to like Barrington to see that he would be a good match for his precious daughter. The boy was capable and hardworking. And more to the point, he had won the heart of the most important person in the equation.
Finally when things seemed to have quieted down, Abby left her game, approached and glanced between her father and Barrington. "Well?" Stuart looked up from his chair. "Go on," He urged Barrington. "Tell her." That bit of encouragement made the young man smile. "He said yes." Abby gasped. "He did?! Oh Barrington!"
"Oh, don't mind me." Stuart turned his attention elsewhere and tried to ignore the amorous display.
Though he wasn't entirely left out. "Thank you so much Papa!" Abby embraced her father tightly. "You've no idea how much this means to me!" Stuart thought back to the day Evelyn had accepted his less than stellar proposal and smirked. "Oh, I think I might."
After Abby had said her goodbyes to both her father and Barrington, Jarret Starling also decided that it was time to depart. He thanked Abby for her hospitality and expressed his hope that they would again entertain one another's company soon. But if Abigail had known what he was really thinking, she would not have been at all pleased. Naughty, naughty Mr. Starling.
The next day Abby was forced to calm her irate older brother who had apparently heard some unseemly gossip about she and Jarret Starling. "Asher would you please calm yourself! There's absolutely nothing of note between Mr. Starling and myself. I hardly even know him." "You spent the afternoon in his company!" "Playing mahjong ! And in the company of other people, I might add. One of them being our father ! Honestly, don't you know me at all? Instead of accusing me of such acts, you might want to spend your time defending my name!"
"What do you think I've spent my entire morning doing?!" * sigh * "I'm sorry. I simply heard that dreadful Starling talking and I forgot myself. Between this and Trace acting so out of character..." "What about Trace?" Abby asked concerned. "Is he alright?" "I don't know." Asher answered honestly. "He's been out of sorts lately. He's not even playing chess as much as usual." "Oh dear," Abby sighed. "That is serious."
True, Trace had been keeping to his self imposed isolation. So much so that Asher had sought out James for answers to his brother's odd behavior. "Surely he's spoken to you. Before this the two of you were nearly inseparable." James shrugged awkwardly. "He hasn't said a word to me, I swear it. If fact, I was beginning to suspect that perhaps it was my company he's been avoiding." "Whatever for?" Asher shook his head in frustration. "Trace always was the quiet one when he was a boy but I thought school had changed him. He's made friends with such ease. I wonder if it's all been a bit much for him perhaps. I must make more of an effort to draw him out."
And indeed he did. Asher cornered his brother and forced Trace to spend the afternoon in his company on pain of death. "Asher," Trace sighed in exasperation. "I've told you, I'm feeling quite fine. I've just wanted to keep to myself, is all." "Hello fellows." Raymond joined them with a pleasant smile. "Have you heard the news?" "What news?" Trace asked, happy for the interruption. "About James Prescott." "What about him?" Asher asked, not noticing how rigid Trace had become.
"Seems Miss Montgomery's father was concerned about the amount of time she and James were spending together so he hired a private investigator to look into the Prescott family. Apparently James' parents are bankrupt and are in dept up to their ears. Once Miss Prescott realized that James had no money, she accused him, publicly mind you, of trying to marry above his station. She ended their acquaintance right there." "Over money." Asher made a face of disbelief. "How terribly shallow. I had it on good authority that she was in love with James." "So much for love." Raymond chuckled. "I say the poor chap got off easy. Miss Montgomery strikes me as the sort of woman who would turn into a harpy as soon as he slid a ring on her finger." "And how is James taking this sudden change in events?" Asher politely inquired. "Like a gentleman as always." Raymond shook his head in wonder. "He didn't deny her accusations or anything. If I didn't know any better, I would assume he hadn't been at all offended."
"He's a better man than I." Asher offered before lying his pieces down in a row. "I win!" "You are the world's greatest prat." Raymond huffed in annoyance. Neither noticed that Trace was silently staring into space throughout their entire conversation.
At her brother's request, Abigail invited Miss Ormley (and her not so sunny disposition) over to the men's college. Asher was overly pleased to see them both. Abby had always been good with Trace's moods and Sarah was a lovely young woman in her own right. Unfortunately, Trace didn't feel quite the same way. "You two have a nice talk." Asher encouraged as he and Abby went indoors. "Uh... yeah." Trace answered, completely at a loss.
"Is he doing any better?" Asher shrugged. "I can't tell you. He has barely spoken above two words to me all day. Hopefully Miss Ormley will improve his mood." "Perhaps." Abby nodded and then chuckled. "It's a shame Mama didn't force you to learn dancing. From where I'm standing, you seem to have two left feet." "Be nice." Asher mock scolded. "I've tried but the lessons didn't take. Besides, if you continue to make fun, I'll tell everyone that those dreadful rumors spread by Mr. Starling are true." "Pish posh." Abby scowled. "You wouldn't dare. Those rumors would reflect just as badly on you as they would me. Besides, I'm your sister. It's in your nature to look after me." Asher pouted. "True. How do you suppose the two of them are getting along?" "I could always look in on them, if you like."
"So... how do you feel about... music?" Poor Trace. Trying to make polite conversation with Miss Ormley was like having several teeth pulled.
When Abby hadn't returned to the parlor, Asher went in search of his sister. As he passed Basil Roth's room, Mr. Starling's rude comments about Abigail's preference for redheads resurfaced in Asher's mind. He paused and considered continuing on his way. But when he heard a familiar voice, Asher scowled and entered the room without knocking.
To his utter disbelief, there was Abby talking with Mr. Roth and Henry Mallison. How could she be so careless with her reputation?! Especially after having been warned about the recent gossip surrounding she and certain company? Clinging to his temper by a thread, Asher asked his sister to meet him downstairs in a curt voice. Mr. Mallison was smart enough to vacate the room with no such encouragement. Only when Abby had closed the door behind her did Asher unleash his venom on Basil.
"We were simply discussing the view of the quad." Basil argued sensibly. "Henry can certainly vouch for the two of us." "Considering the questionable company he keeps, Mr. Mallison is hardly what I would call a reliable character witness!" "While I understand your concern, I've done nothing to deserve such suspicion, Asher. I am not Mr. Starling! Your sister's company is pleasing and I respect her too much to do anything that would create malicious gossip about her." "And inviting her up to your room to 'view the quad' is acceptable behavior is it?! You stay away from my sister Basil. If I ever discover you and her in the same room together again, I'll take great pleasure in proving just how few nice points I really have."
Asher was so angry that he couldn't bring himself to even speak to his sister. Abby watched him crudely shovel food into his mouth in silence. Finally... "I'm sorry you think so poorly of me Asher, but you are not my father. It isn't your place to curb my behavior."
"Abigail!" Trace's smile faded as his sister walked by him with barely a glance. He could practically smell the fumes of a heated argument and wondered what he'd missed. His talk with Sarah had at least ended a bit better this time around. She seemed to be warming up to him but very slowly.
When Trace found his brother, Asher was desperately in need of a stress reliever. Figuring that he would be more liable to talk after blowing off some steam, Trace ushered his older sibling over to the university gymnasium. The brothers enjoyed a playfully competitive game of marco polo and Asher slowly began to tell small bits of his tale.
By the time they were sweltering in the sauna, Trace was beginning to make some headway. "There's a chance Basil was telling the truth Asher. I have class with him and he appears to be a solid young man. I know for a fact that he's quite the talented artist much like Abby. Perhaps they really were only taking in the view of the quad. And Henry was there with them so they weren't alone..." "She should know better Trace."
"You can't blame Abby for her naivety. Mama and Papa sheltered us something awful. It's no wonder she made such an innocent blunder." "Trace, innocent or not, people are unforgiving when a woman behaves inappropriately. If Barrington were to catch wind of this..." "Barrington is level headed and he loves our sister. He would give her the benefit of the doubt, as should you."
Back at the Ladies college, Lora had finally arrived, her dress trimmed to the nines. She had but one objective and that was to find a suitable husband. He didn't necessarily need to be rich but reasonably wealthy was preferable. And while she was searching, Lora intended on molding herself into the most desirable wife. Her future spouse would want no other once he had her on his arm. (reminder: lora rolled romance. she wants a creative man with facial hair but no werewolves please. 4 sloppy, 4 shy, 4 lazy, 7 playful, 6 nice) Abby, still fuming over she and Asher's disagreement, greeted her sister eagerly. "Oh Lora, it's been absolutely miserable without you here!"
"Miserable? How can you say so?" Lora asked. "What about that young man you've met, Mr. Finch? Mama has told me about him and Papa has already approved him. I'm so envious. Do you think he'll propose soon?" "Slow down, Lora." Abby giggled. "Though we're quite... fond of one another, there has been no understanding. Barrington and I..." "Barrington?" Lora swooned. "Such a name. Is he very handsome? Mama said he has quite a noble brow." "Really? What else does Mama say?"
"Only that she finds him to be very handsome and quite worthy of you.." Abby blushed. "Well, between the two of us, though he hasn't asked me yet... I've reason to believe he will very soon." "Oooooh!" Lora swooned once again. "How wonderful! Only two semesters and you've already made such a match. That's you all sorted out. Now it's my turn. I only hope I'm as fortunate."
Despite her one tracked mind, Lora fit into college life easily enough. Between classes and assignments, she constantly pondered how she would go about finding the perfect match.
Like Trace she was popular and was constantly swarmed by young ladies wishing to bid her compliments. Lora accepted the attention with grace of course... But for the most part she was oblivious to her many admirers. For a romance sim, Lora was quite dedicated to finding Mr. Right.
Against Abby's better judgment, Lora decided to indulge herself by having her fortune told by the old gypsy lady that wandered the campus. Most considered her an old fraud looking to make a penny or two, but it was only a bit of fun. What harm could it do?
Lora was only hoping for a glimpse at her future love. She hadn't expected a prediction about her ideal suitor. Or perhaps not so ideal by the look on her face.
Mr. Sebastian Straight appeared to be a sailor in the royal navy. It seemed he was on leave for a short time but hadn't a clue how to occupy himself. A bad map had him lost on campus and in a distracted state, he walked right into the lamp post where Lora and Gypsy Fairchild happened to be conversing.
Ms. Fairchild inquired about his state of well being and then politely insisted that he allow her dear friend Miss Norrington to look after him. At least until he felt fit to be on his way one more. Still dizzy from his impact, Sebastian was more than pleased with the proposition. Sweet Lora believed it to be fate so she approached him with no qualms. (note: professor byron edwards has sat by the dorm doors watching all of this and waiting for his window of opportunity. keep wishing pal. she's not going for you)
"So you say you're lost? Have you never been to Simcambridge before?" Mr. Straight was well traveled which interested Lora immensely. But one look at his wants told me that he was not an honorable man. Fortunately he felt Lora, for all her beauty, was a bit innocent for his tastes. So perhaps he had a smidgen of honor in there somewhere. Despite Lora's disappointment, I was certainly pleased when he said a polite goodbye without revealing his unseemly intentions.
Later that evening, Lora wondered to herself what might have chased the sailor off. She guessed correctly when she assumed it had something to do with her innocence. It was a bitter pill to swallow but she finally admitted that her woeful knowledge of men (or lack thereof) came only from harlequin romance novels. Lora began to worry that her naivety might keep her from finding the perfect man. She would need to find some way of becoming more informed and perhaps a bit more experienced without spoiling herself.
Back at the men's college, Trace had finally gotten up the nerve to again request Miss Ormley's presence at dinner. Despite having made friends, he didn't seem to be looking forward to their evening out. "Come now Trace, it mustn't be that bad. You said your last talk went quite well. And she did accept your invitation, that's saying something." "I suppose." Trace sighed. "We simply seem to have so little in common. The conversation is always forced. It puts my stomach into knots." "Well did you discuss music like I suggested? It's always a winning subject." "Yes Asher. We discussed music, dancing, politics, travel, the weather... I even made mention of Papa's fish. But honestly, I believe she finds that lamp post outside far more interesting than she does me."
Later that evening, James, after hearing some troubling news, went in search of Trace. Being avoided no longer worked for him. He needed a straight answer to a not so straight question. (giggle) He discovered the object of his affections in the parlor.
"I can not take it anymore." James said melodramatically. "Is what they're saying true... about you and Miss Ormley? Are you seeing her for dinner tonight?" Trace was taken aback. "Yes. Why should this upset you so?" "Seeing you with another? It shouldn't I suppose, but I still can't bear it." "You didn't seem to mind when you were courting Miss Montgomery." Trace said testily. James sighed. "She was pleasant... at times. But she was never anything more than an obligation to be filled. As I'm sure you've heard, I have a duty to my family to marry well." "It's the same for me." "I know, but don't you find it somewhat unfair, all the same?" Trace stared back at him with confused eyes and James huffed. "Who am I kidding? Here I am behaving like a jealous, besotted fool when in truth I must mean absolutely nothing to you."
Trace gentle took James' hands. "Not nothing." Despite the confusion of what they might have between them, James felt a little bit better as Trace left for his evening out.
The date started off on the wrong foot almost immediately. Trace clearly wasn't looking forward to it, his mind and perhaps his heart still back at the dorms. He stumbled over conversation, finding it a great difficulty to stay focused. He finally tried for a joke in hopes of breaking the tension. Sarah too felt awkward and forced herself to laugh so hysterically, Trace questioned whether she were having a fit.
"Must I really do this?" Could a young man look any less eager to have a date?
Dinner was somewhat strained. Though it did seem that Sarah was putting in a bit more effort this time around. She too seemed distracted and her attempts at polite conversation were halfhearted at best. When their meal was over, Trace politely offered Miss Ormley his arm, only to be rebuffed once again. "I'm sorry but I can not do this!" Sarah excused herself in a flurry of frustrated tears.
After a few minutes, Trace went in search of his dinner companion and found her pacing the hall. "Miss Ormley?" "My apologies Mr. Norrington but I can not continue this farce. I trust you've noticed by now that the odds of the two of us making one another content is preposterous. While I do have some... regard for you, I must admit to having absolutely no interest in you what so ever. Or any other man to be honest." She paused. "To put it plainly, I much prefer the company of my own sex." Trace stared for a moment. "I see."
The he smiled. "It looks as though we finally have something in common, Miss Ormley." "Is that so?" She answered him kind. "Shall we part amicably then? I do desire to remain your friend." "It would be a pleasure. Shall I see you home?" "Yes and..." She smiled shyly. "Thank you Trace."
"So," Asher said. "How did it go?" "Oh, we've agreed to remain friends." "Hm." Asher nodded and watched his brother eat his food. "That badly eh?" "Suicidal actually."
James had spent the previous evening in misery, wondering how Trace's dinner had gone. He swore that he wouldn't grovel for answers but he found he was losing his resolve rapidly. "Trace," He cleared his throat awkwardly as he entered the parlor. "Mind if I join you?" Trace stood and greeted him with a smile. "Forget chess. Fancy a dancing lesson?" To say that James was ecstatic would be unnecessary.
Later that day Lora made a surprise visit to the Men's college and greeted her older brother joyously. Trace couldn't believe how grown up his sister had become. Despite their differences, he hoped she hadn't changed too much with age. Fortunately she didn't disappoint him. Lora had come with one goal in mind. To meet a nice young man. She claimed it was Trace's duty to introduce her to one of his dorm mates. After all Asher had found Barrington for Abby. It was only fair they do the same for Lora. Trace agreed with a smile though he wasn't certain who might be a safe bet for his little sister to practice her charms on. He didn't want to cause another scandal for Asher to get up in arms over. Suddenly the perfect guy came to mind.
"Raymond." Trace greeted amicably. "Are you terribly busy? Might I steal you away from your studies? There is someone I'd like you to meet." (from his negative attraction, i'm assuming that trace sees ray as non threatening and therefore safe for his sister)
"Hello Miss Norrington. Raymond McFerren at your service. I must admit myself quite surprised. I never expected your over protective brothers to introduce me to such a lovely creature." "Thank you." Lora smiled. "I must be frank with you Mr. McFerren. I've come in hopes that you might do me a favor." "A favor?"
Meanwhile, Asher's rush initiation into Weatherton Hall was taking place outside. Both Barrington Finch and Roger Davies came to congratulate him on making it into the brotherhood.
"A kiss?!" Raymond sputtered in surprise. "You wish for me to kiss you?" "I know it is rather forward of me." Lora blushed fetchingly. "But I find myself woefully lacking in my knowledge of men. How am I ever to find a suitable match if I remain so pathetically innocent?" "But a kiss?" Raymond repeated. "Do you know what your brothers would do to me? There have already been death threats made towards the last young man to be so forward with one of you girls, and he only imagined it." Lora giggled. "If I am to attach myself to one man for the rest of my life, I should have some idea of what I'm looking for, shouldn't I?" "But..." "Come now, is it really so awful? It is but a kiss. And I trust you're an honorable man who would never risk my humble reputation in favor of gloating about your good fortune. My brothers need never know and I would appreciate your help ever so much."
Well, when she put it that way, Raymond found it too difficult to resist such a tempting offer. The lady was beautiful and promising discretion. What more could a romance sim ask for? If Miss Norrington wanted a kiss, than a kiss she shall have. After a quick glance to ensure they were alone, he swept her into his arms and gave it his all. Opportunities such as this did not present themselves everyday after all.
A few moments later they pulled apart, gazing at one another breathlessly. "Was that what you had in mind Miss Norrington?" "Yes," Lora gasped with stars in her eyes. "Was it to your liking?" "Very much so. Thank you ever so much Mr. McFerren."
Despite her impropriety, Lora couldn't have chosen a better candidate on whom to bestow her charms. Raymond was, after all, Asher's best friend. They both had as much to lose if their shared kiss was ever found out. Fortunately, Raymond's intentions were honorable. He really cared about the Norrington boys and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize the friendships he had made. (only the most loyal of friends would play a congratulatory game of water tag in a lightning storm. boys, yeesh) Aside from Olivia, Raymond was the only one capable of putting up with Asher's unending exuberance.
And if Trace discovered a flowery scented 'thank you' letter addressed to Raymond from his own sister, it was fortunate he kept this fact to himself.
And rightly so since Asher was still fuming over Jarret Starling's rumors about Abby. By now the young man's hatred of redheads was becoming notorious. "Asher, perhaps you should simply let it go."
"I refuse! The honor of our family is on my shoulders, don't you see?" Asher spoke impassioned. "The very thought of my beloved siblings engaging in questionable acts upsets me to the point of violence. I'll do whatever it takes to protect you all from slander. Even if I need to protect you from yourselves." Trace thought of himself and James and cringed. What Asher didn't know wouldn't kill him. And it would certainly keep the potential body count down as well.
Which was just as well since Asher had now set his protective sights on Trace and James' close friendship. He wasn't pleased at how James managed to distract his brother from seeking out a future companion. Seeing how James and Miss Montgomery's courtship had ended, Asher didn't think he was a good example for his younger brother.
"So I was wondering if you had set your eyes on any other young ladies here at school." Asher's attempt at subtlety fell flat. Even clueless Raymond caught the eager tone of Asher's voice. "I'm sorry it didn't work out with Miss Ormley, even more sorry because I introduced you. But it's no reason to quit. "You're a fetching young man, Trace and any girl would be fortunate to have you. You only need to search for the right one. She wont simply throw herself into your arms." Raymond choked snort was ignored as he left the table. "There's a time when you have to lay aside childish past times and take up your adult responsibilities. We all must grow up Trace." Asher finished with an encouraging smile on his face.
"Grow up." Trace nodded. "That we must." Trace knew his brother had his best interests at heart, but his words didn't sit well. Was that how it was with James? Was he using James in order to cling to his boyhood and avoid growing up? Or was it more?
The next morning Trace walked his brother downstairs. Asher was moving into Weatherton Hall to complete his post graduate studies. He gives one last death glare to Basil Roth's door as they pass. "Yes Asher, we get it. You hate the redheads. I agree, they're all sickening. Could we perhaps move on now?"
“ Look after yourself little brother. Perhaps you'll be joining me in a little while." Trace was going to miss living with his brother but was also looking forward to the independence of being alone.
Weatherton hall, home of the brotherhood at Sterlington University.
"Trace," Jarret looked up from his schoolwork. "I heard the strangest rumor about your brother Asher. Something about his wanting to kill all redheads who even look at your sisters. Is this true?" "Don't play innocent Jarret." Trace snapped. "It's because of your ill chosen words that my brother has turned vigilante against all those with copper hair in the first place." "You can't be serious?" The boy scoffed. "I never even touched her! Or the other!" "And you never will if you value your life. If he so much as suspects you of thinking about them, I would advise you change schools, and immediately."
"So your brother has left you all by your lonesome." James smirked as he joined Trace for a game of chess the next morning. "Yes, but I suppose I will cope somehow." Trace joked. "I must admit myself somewhat relieved." James said hesitantly. "I was beginning to suspect he didn't care for me too much." Trace sighed. "He's worried that I'm allowing a childish friendship to impede on the time I should be using to find myself a wife." "Perhaps he is right. Perhaps we are distracting ourselves from the reality of our obligations."
"Do you..." James took a deep breath. "Do you wish to end our friendship?" "No!" Trace snapped. "Whether or not we are engaged in folly, I will not cast you aside for someone I've yet to meet! I need only wave about my inheritance and any number of foolish girls will come running. But a best friend..." Trace gazed at James affectionately. "That is something I treasure." James smiled. "However I've managed it, I count myself fortunate having gained your loyalty." They played quietly for a while before Trace began to fidget and stood. "Oh sod this game." He finally decided to give into his impulses. Life was short and his opportunity for happiness a fleeting thing. "Let's do something else." "Such as?" James took the hand offered.
It was unexpected but James certainly wasn't complaining.
"Uh Trace, were you serious about changing schools if anyone was caught with one of your sisters?" * sigh * “Take it to your grave Raymond.”
As we wrap up this chapter, all is peaceful in the Simself Manor. Tune in next time to find out if Asher will study anger management and whether Barrington will ever propose to Abby. Will Lora stop at her first kiss? And is Trace willing to cast aside his father's lifelong happiness for his own? Thanks for reading! (special thanks to hannahkoolio, writer of "the victoriacy" and peasant007, writer of "the reluctant legacy". both can be found at boolprop.com. also, thanks to all the talented cc makers out there, especially mts2 and all about style. without which, this legacy couldn't be made)