Welcome Back to Familiar Faces! Chapter Thirty-Five, part two.
We will be continuing heir Frankie Familiar's journey through young adult hood, shortly but first we need
to check in on those still in the main hood.
“I'm glad you all could join us tonight, it's so rare we get to see each other without the families. There
always seems to be something going on with the grandchildren that requires our attention.”
“Well, if you and Dave hadn't insisted on having so many grandchildren you might get a few more nights
“Your six keep you busy as well, I'm sure.”
“Of course, but ours can all sit around the same dinner table.”
“The table looks a bit empty, you should have brought a date Dwight.”
“I was going to but I didn't think you'd approve of my date choice.”
“Don't tell me you're still dating college girls? What's wrong with the women your own age?”
“Nothing's wrong with women our age. The woman I'm seeing currently is a grandmother.”
“Then why wouldn't I approve? You're not poaching are you Dwight?”
“I don't disapprove, I'm just a bit uncomfortable with the idea. You and Chris were always close.”
“Would it be better if I had been his bitter enemy? While he was alive I never thought of Sadie as anything more
than a good friend, she was his wife. After he died we had dinner a few times, reminisced about old times. I began
seeing Sadie as her own self, separate from her husband. We have a lot of things in common beyond our memories of
Chris. Sadie's a vibrant and beautiful woman who still has a lot of life in her.”
“And you don't believe Chris would mind?”
“No, Chris loved Sadie. He'd want her to continue to live and to be happy. Wouldn't you?”
David shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “That's a trick question Dwight. Of course I'd want my wife to be happy.
However my ego is such that I would never admit to the possibility that she could be happy with someone besides
myself. It's not really something I've thought too much about.”
“It's not something I want to think about either.” Titania said, “but for the record Dave if the roles were reversed I
would expect you to get on with your life. Just make sure that if you do, it's with someone I'd approve.”
“So the maid's out?”
“I'll leave you a list, dear.”
After Titania's comment, the dinner conversation became much lighter. Morbid thoughts were set aside. David
changed places at the table, declaring that 'Dwight's stinky' and to be closer to his wife. Discussion revolved around
the family. The past was reminisced about.
“Do you remember what Grandma used to always tell us?” One of them asked.
“Always keep your cucumbers in the crisper so that you don't wake up to a limp pickle?” Replied Demi.
Her twin laughed and said, “She always told me that anything worth doing was worth doing slowly.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of 'remember to keep the knowledge of the past, savor the value of today, and
pass the love on into the future.” Said Dave, “I wonder what our grand kids are going to remember us for?”
“If we're lucky it won't be anything we wish they'd forget,” laughed Chay “Seems that's the way it normally works.”
The current happenings among children and grandchildren were passed along. Who among their children had gotten
promoted or had switched careers in a search for mid-life fulfillment.
The future was touched upon as engagements among various grandchildren were announced and others were
As the evening wound down everyone agreed that they really wished they could get together more often. In
everyone's thoughts however, was the realization that this very well may have been the last time they would all be
Be nice to your siblings.
They're your best link to your past,
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
The realization that their time was running short spurred on additional encounters with family and friends.
During their time remaining David and Titania took the time to visit with each of their children. To remind them
all, that they were loved, too tell them how proud they were of each and every one of them.
They did the same with each of the grandchildren. The ones that were too young to remember them, and the
ones whom would forever cherish their memory.
Though they had been looking forward to exploring Twikki over semester break, the college students came
home instead. Twikki would be there in the future.
Some of the conversations that were held towards the end were mundane. The typical day to day encounters of a
family, don't seem all that important when they happen. But it are those moments that are best remembered when
they are gone.
“The trick with that recipe is in the marinade. It best if you can use eggplants straight from the garden, but frozen
works as well. You don't want to use canned eggplant for this soup, the canning will make them mushy and they
won't hold up for roasting.”
“I can use the canned eggplant for pasta though right?”
Other conversations were more memorable, part of the continual exchange of ideals and wisdom between
“There are many different forms of love, Frankie. Not every couple starts out with a flash. I love your Grandmother
deeply; but it's a love that's grown over time, through shared heartache and happiness. If you can start with
friendship, respect and mutual attraction you'll have a good start. Love will follow.”
When you meet that certain someone, you've been searching hard to find.
It's a new love full of passion that can sometimes make you blind.
But reality and romance are sometimes far apart.
So what I really need to know is,
Can I cast my cares upon you?
Can you stand a heavy load?
Can I count on you to walk me,
Down that long and winding road?
In the time we've spent together, I have learned to trust in you.
So many things you've given, Before I even asked you to.
~ Travis Tritt, Can I Trust You With My Heart?
David and Titania Familiar, Generation five heir and spouse, died in early winter. They left behind a
total of six children, seventeen grandchildren, and dozens and dozens of wonderful memories.
Following the deaths of their parents, the children of David and Titania gathered in the heart of the home, the
kitchen. There they shared stories and anecdotes, tears and laughter. As time passes the tears will be fewer, the
stories, laughter and anecdotes, will remain with them.
Be nice to your siblings.
They're your best link to your past,
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
“Why'd you do that Elan?” Eagle knew it was a stupid question, but he had to ask anyway. He always did, and Elan
always answered with a laugh and a 'cause you're there, or 'cause I was bored.
This time however Elan replied. “'Cause you made Mom get mad at me.”
“Mom?” Eva rarely got mad at the boys, she left that to Ted.
However, following Eagle's transition, there had been a long discussion between the parents as to why their youngest
had chosen an entirely inappropriate aspiration. It hadn't taken much to deduce who was behind the decision.
Upon confronting their eldest sons, neither Elan nor Elm had denied their part in their brother's choice. They
considered the prank as having been thoroughly awesome. Perhaps the best one they'd every come up with. Neither
boy felt they should be held responsible for the eventual outcome, it wasn't their fault that Eagle had blown it.
And for once, rather than talk himself blue in the face; Ted Langarek had thrown his hands in the air, looked at his
wife and said “you deal with it”. The older boys obviously didn't listen to their father, maybe Eva would have better
While Eva Langarek was rather known to have a temper, none of her sons had ever had it directed at them. Always
before she had laughed along with the twins when they pulled a rather good prank. Their brother's future, however,
was not a laughing matter. While she may not have understood her youngest son, she loved all three of them.
Following a lambasting that he wouldn't soon forget, Elan Langarek had found himself grounded for the first time in
“Heh, you know Mom, it's not like she'll be able to keep us grounded for more than a week. I don't think she really
understands what grounding means. All she knows is that it's a big scary word that parents are supposed to throw
around.” Elm had been subjected to a verbal assault similar to the one received by his twin. Unlike Elan, Elm felt a
bit guilty over Eagle's current state, he should have known that the goob was gonna mess it up. “Elan's just pissed
'cause he wanted to sneak out with Eugene. With Mom never sleeping, he'll actually have to work at getting past
her for once. I kept telling him that it's not sneaking out when your Mom tells you to have a nice time on your way
out the door. I got him covered though, unlike my twin, I have planned for every contingency. You never know when
a robot might backfire and try to corner you.”
“We don't have a robot.”
“Slight detail. If we did have one and it did run amok, we would be ready for it. This house is now equipped with
emergency exits in each of the upper bedrooms.”
“Guessing that has something to do with the grappling hook I found under my bed?”
“You didn't throw it out did you? The grappling hook is essential, it's more easily replaceable than the remote re-
tractor for the rappelling line. Oh and on the remote, don't press the blue button.”
“What does the blue button do?”
“Activates the perimeter defense.”
“Why do we need a perimeter defense?”
“For the robots, D'oh! Jake's barely able to scare the rabbits out of the garden, do you think he could take on a fifty
foot giant robot?”
“Probably not, sorry Jake.” agreed Eagle scratching the dog behind the ears by way of an apology
The pup in question, having had his protective abilities disparaged, jumped off the bed and went to torture the bird.
“Now about your aspiration, as I see it you've got two choices. You can hide until your midpoint in college and then
change aspirations or you can start eating more cheese.”
“Or he could just learn to live with it. I don't get why everyone just assumes he'll fail as a romancer. He's a
Langerak, even if he doesn't act like one, he can handle it.” Despite Elan's propensity for angry outbursts he rarely
held a grudge for very long. And he hated to be excluded from any conversation.
“If he can't handle being in the same room with PDA, how the hell do you propose he handle the
participation part?” Elm asked his twin
“Not all romancers have to be obvious about it. Take me for example,” Elan replied.
“Not all romancers have to be successful at it. Take you for example,” shot Elm.
“Elm has more girlfriends than you do doesn't he Elan?” Asked Eagle innocently.
“I'll have you know that my apparent lack of success romantically is merely a subterfuge. I don't intend
to spend my teen years in perpetual state of frustration with no recursive action. Been there, not fun.”
“But, getting there is. Besides, why do you think Wright invented Playsim?” was Elm's reply.
“Look doof. My point, before my twin so rudely interrupted me, was that you should at least give it a try.
If Uncle Dwight could handle being romance anyone can. Even you. But if you'd rather eat cheese for the
next seventy years, do what you want.”
“I don't think cheese is an option, lactose intolerance, don't you remember?”
“How are we supposed to remember everything you have issues with? It's easier to remember the few
things you can eat than the mile long list of things you're allergic to. Or just plain scared of, though
really you gotta get over that fear of Chinese food.”
“You sat on me and forced me to watch the scene in Lost Boys over and over till I puked.”
“All in good fun bro. At least for me.”
While the Langarek twins languished in the boredom that comes from being grounded, other teens were
spending long winter afternoons at the community teen center. Evette and Evonne Capp claimed the pool
table with the hope of gaining scholarships. While playing, they kept an eye on the various boys that
were roaming around.
“Just cause he spent ten minutes sucking face with you when we got here doesn't mean you're an item.”
Evonne Capp said snidely to her twin.
“Did I say we were?”
“He's just using you.”
“Maybe I'm using him, ever thought of that? Or are you the only one that's allowed to use guys? I don't
want to spend the rest of high school dateless.”
“You could do so much better than Rett. And I don't use guys.”
“Then why haven't you gone over to Enrique yet?”
“Cause he's talking to Bram and that could be awkward.”
“Afraid your boyfriend will find out about your fling? And you say you don't use guys.” Evette shook her
head, “I don't know why Riq puts up with you.”
“For someone who thinks she's so smart you can be really dumb sometimes.” Evonne replied with a
smirk. Seeing the confused look on her sister's face Evonne sighed, “ Riq likes me the way I am, he
doesn't want to change me. He's smart enough to know that if he tried, he'd be history”
When the twins had finished their game of pool, Evonne looked at her sister. “This place is dead, I'll see
you at home later.” As she walked thru the main room of the teen center and passed Enrique she paused
briefly. “I'm bored, lets go to your house.” Without waiting for him to answer she continued out the doors,
she didn't need to look over her shoulder to know that he was following.
Evonne knew that Enrique would follow her anywhere, and do so gladly. If she crooked her finger he'd
come running. But she didn't use him, no more than he used her. Maybe someday she'd explain to her
sister exactly why Enrique put up with her. That would be a shock wouldn't it?
Vetty could be such a goody two shoes about some things. She actually believed that crap about respect
and love. Boys didn't respect a girl that said no, they just found one that would say yes instead. Not that
Evonne said yes to all of them, she wasn't looking to be labeled easy. Easy was something Evonne had
never been and never would be. But if a boy put forth enough of an effort, then she was willing to reward
Enrique always put forth an effort to please Evonne. She saw every movie that played at the theater,
went to every football game and never wondered if she'd have a date for a dance. When Evonne was
stuck on babysitting duty, Enrique kept her company. She occasionally had to listen to Riq drone on
about cars or comic books, but that seemed to be something all guys did. She knew how to shut him up
when he got too boring.
Enrique might have been the perfect boyfriend. If Evonne had been inclined to believe in having a single
However, Evonne wasn't going to limit herself to just one guy. Sticking to one guy was a trap, she'd seen
what came of that. No way was she going to end up like her mother, a stay at home mom with six kids.
The fact that her mother seemed happy with her existence was mind boggling to Evonne. How could
anyone be happy being a baby factory?
Not that the kids weren't cute, but they were always there. Ever since her younger siblings had become
mobile Evonne hadn't had a moment of peace. No matter what she was doing one of them was underfoot
jabbering at her, wanting attention.
They were persistent little buggers. Evonne could only ignore them for so long before the pestering got to
be too much. It was easier to give in than to ignore the demands of “Read! Hungry! Sleepy! Play!”. When
Evonne complained to her parents they'd just sigh and tell her that she should be patient with the
toddlers. The twins loved her, she should see it as a compliment that they wanted her attention.
It wasn't a compliment, they were equal opportunity pests.
Evette was trapped by them just as often as Evonne. Evette seemed to have more patience with the
twins. Evette could sing that stupid song they loved over and over again. She never seemed to get tired
of it, not like Evonne did. When Evonne heard the nursery rhyme start she'd turn up the radio and try to
drown it out.
When the older boys brought their girlfriends in from college they'd often be roped in as well. Zeke found
that giving into Ethan's requests to be tossed could be detrimental to his clothing. The fact that he took it
relatively well had oddly impressed Corey, so maybe it was worth it to him. That anyone could go gah
gah over a guy covered in baby puke was screwy, but Corey seemed to. After their mom had taken the
baby away to be cleaned, Corey had lead 'Zeke off to help him clean up as well. They'd stayed in the
bathroom much longer than necessary to rinse out his shirt.
Later that evening, after saying goodbye to their parents and siblings, the eldest of the Capp children
returned to their University. As they and their dates walked towards the car, their parents watched them
from the porch.
“Ezra told me he bought a ring,” Deanna confided in her husband. “What do you think, is Zeke going to
be following suit?”
“He never liked his little brother doing anything before he did it, from walking to driving, Zeke had to be
first. He'll have to settle for being second, but I'm guessing he be very far behind. Zeke doesn't know it
yet, but he's in love.”
Deanna looked sideways at Elliot. “You think? How do you know?”
“I could see it,” replied her husband, “whenever he looked at Encore. He had that stupid grin on his face,
when he wasn't looking petrified, that is. He's not exactly sure if what he's feeling is a good thing or a
bad thing. It scares him but not so much that he wants to run away.”
“You're being pretty observant, Dad” Deanna said with a smile.
“I remember what it was like, the sweaty palms and the butterflies. Falling in love is scary business.”
“Was it worth it?”
“Do you have to ask?”
Emilia took a look around the kitchen of the Greek House. Why did they all have to be such slobs? It's
not as if there wasn't a dishwasher or a sink, both of which were less than five steps from the table. Was
it such a hassle to pick up a few plates? Or for that matter to make a bed or wipe down the shower?
Apparently it was.
“If it really bothers you Em, just toss em in the dishwasher. But if you don't the maid will do it, that's her
“Yes, but the maid leaves at noon, that means that lunch dishes sit until nine the next morning. That's
twenty one hours of festering and flies. Do you really enjoy the smell of day old salad permeating your
“Who's up that early?”
More and more often she found herself retreating to the science lab. She'd found that frustration and a
limited amount of anger could do wonders for her productivity. She believed that she had found the key
she needed to unlock the genetic puzzle left by CIGAM. She thought she knew what the markers
represented, if she was correct, no better not to think about it. No sense in worrying, worry was
unproductive. The question was no longer what? It had been replaced by why? And more puzzling how?
There was so much more she needed to learn, the information was out there she just had to find it.
Emilia was getting closer to the knowledge she sought. Her application for study at the Takemizu
Institute of Science and Technology had been accepted. Intense research, access to the best labs and the
best brains in science. And if she did well? Her pick of assignments within the scientific community.
With a recommendation from TIST doors would open for her everywhere.
“When do you leave?” Frankie asked Emilia as they were all gathered around the breakfast table, the
“As soon as finals are done.”
“Wow, that soon? They're not giving you much time to prepare. Are you going to be back before we
graduate?” Erasmus asked.
“Probably not, the course over there runs a little longer than it does here.”
“But you'll be back for the wedding won't you?” Emilia's brother asked
“Wild horses couldn't keep me away. I double checked the time differences, I'll take an overnight flight
and get in that morning.”
“If you're going to be gone for a semester then our overcrowding issue will be cleared up. Frankie and
Lisha can move in over break. By the time you get back, Ras and Ege will be moved out.” Commented
“Takes care of it for a year, the twins are going to have to stay in the dorms a bit longer than normal.”
Was his twins reply
“That will go over well. I volunteer Elisha to break the news to them, she'll smile so much when she tells
them that they can't get mad.”
“Thanks, Euclid, just what I want four fuming Freshmen.”
“Frankie can do it, he's the heir, it's his job to take responsibility.”
“Thanks, for the reminder Elijah. It's not as if my Mom doesn't poke me every time she calls. Your Mom
too for that matter.”
“Mom called you? She never calls me.” Elisha, looked at her brother, “Does she call you?”
“It's probably cause you call her all the time. She doesn't have to check up on you.” Elijah said nodding.
“She was calling in her official capacity of Legacy Lawyer, not my Aunt. She found some stuff in
Grandpa's papers that I needed to know about.”
“What did she find?” Asked Elisha.
“Uncle Almeric's will, Squatch sent it to him.”
“To Grandpa? Doesn't that seem odd? Squatch would never speak to Grandpa, but he'd send him
something that important.”
“Aunt Elle thinks it's because Dad never appeared interested. Grandpa definitely was, but he never
passed along the information. Maybe that's one of the reasons he was so determined to speak to Squatch
himself. He wanted to confirm what was in the will, and when it was written. Aunt Elle's not sure it's
“What was in the will Frankie? Does it have anything to do with CIGAM?” Questioned Emilia.
“Not directly, but maybe it could. Uncle Almeric left me everything, including the house. However,
there's apparently a clause in the properties entailment. It can only be inherited by someone that lived in
the home prior to adulthood.”
“You never lived there, so you can't inherit right?” Zeke state.
“Depends, if I can claim residency there for any period of time prior to becoming an adult then I could
inherit. Residency terms vary, but Aunt Elle found a previous case which claimed and won residency
based on five days. So if I spend a semester break there”
“Live in that house for a week! No way Frank, you can't do it.” Elisha exclaimed.
“I can't believe Mom even suggested you do that.” Elisha continued.
“As his lawyer she was doing her job.” Reminded Erasmus.
“As his Aunt she should have known better. That house is haunted, and the ghosts are deadly.”
“I'm protected, they can't hurt me.” Was Frankie's response.
“Do you want to test that theory. What if that necklace isn't enough?”
“Just because the ghost can't touch you doesn't mean it can't harm you Frankie.” Interjected Emilia, “let
me think about it. There are ways to protect yourself from angry spirits. I'll need to do some research.”
“You shouldn't be encouraging him Emilia.”
“I'm not encouraging him. Frankie doesn't need to be encouraged into doing something risky. If he's
going to do it anyway, it's better that he be as prepared as possible.”
“Well he can't do it this year, we're going to Twikki aren't we guys?” Elijah said pointedly.
To which Egeus said, “You're going to Twikki, the week before my wedding. You better not end up in jail.”
“Correction we're going to Twikki the week before your wedding. It's our last chance to hang together,
Ege you gotta go. Bachelor party on Twikki!”
“I'm just trying to watch out for you, Lish. I'm your big brother, that's my job.”
“I can watch out for myself, Lijah. I'm not five years old anymore. I don't need you to hold my hand when
I cross the street, I don't need you to lie about why the fish changed colors. I don't need you to scare the
monsters out of my closet, and I definitely do not need you to beat off guys that might be interested in
“I'm just trying to help you out.”
“If you want to help me, I have a better idea.”
“I need help with getting the new store up and running. I tapped my resources from the flower shop as
much as I can doing the renovations and initial stocking. I'm going to have to make it self sufficient, but
it's a big undertaking, I can't do it all on my own. I really need a few volunteer employees.”
“You want me to work at a bridal shop?”
“It's not just a bridal shop, we're doing travel reservations, and we have travel accessories and jewelry for
sale as well.” Elisha smiled, “There's also an intimate apparel department.”
“Yep and you know what that means. Male shoppers, some of which might glance in my direction.”
“So you need a bouncer huh?”
“Definitely not, the point of a store is to sell things, not run off customers. Frank's helping me out with
the cash register. At least I guess it could be called helping, he's getting better I suppose. What I really
need is someone to help with sales.”
“Does sales include fashion arbitrating? You want make sure that the women who purchase intimate
apparel get something that looks good on them. They really should try everything on and model it.”
Soon after Elijah found himself attempting to sell honeymoons to romancers, cakes to dieters and
engagement rings to commitment phobes. It turned out that he was a fairly good salesmen once he got
over his need to be overbearing.
Having a few mostly competent employees was a relief to Elisha. While she had an eye for locations and
a nose for finding niche markets, she much preferred to leave customer contact to others.
Sometimes though when you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Such as handling
reporters and ensuring that the store received an optimal review. With all of the engagements going on
around campus, Brides To Be was a very busy and very successful enterprise.
When Frankie wasn't helping his cousin at her new shop, he was attempting to do what was expected of
He was doing his best to find a 'proper' girl to direct the focus of his attention towards. Any thoughts he
may have previously harbored towards Annie Stephens had been pushed aside when she severed contact.
Frankie would have liked to have answered her accusations, he felt he could justify his behavior, if only
given a chance. But when several emails attempting to do just that were returned unread he set himself
towards moving forwards with his life.
Frankie's friends and cousins were doing what they could to assist him in his search. Egeus's fiance
Frances Worthington had invited several of his friends along to the Greek House to meet Frankie.
Jasmine Rai and Zoe Zimmerman spent an afternoon getting to know the legacy heir and originally he
had felt that either one would be worth pursuing.
By the end of the day however It had become apparent to Frankie that neither would reciprocate his
“I guess I should have emphasized the fact that the girls should be interested in guys.” Thought Frankie
as he bid a hasty retreat back inside.
Other introductions to potential love interests were just as confusing, but in other ways.
“Come on I want you to meet Patty.”
“She's great, she's fun and smart and hey, she's legacy legal.”
But wasn't she also Elijah's girl? Or maybe not his girl, but definitely the girl he wanted to be his?
Anytime Elijah talked about Patrica Wan, he gave obvious signs of being gob-smacked. Maybe he just
hadn't realized it?
“Frankie this is Patrica Wan. Patty? Frankie's the legacy heir.”
“Hi, it's nice to meet you.”
“Yeah, you too.” Patricia responded.
“So I hear you work for Uncle Bob?” Asked Frankie. “Hunting vamps? That sounds kinda cool.”
“We aren't really hunting them. We're just trying to locate them and see if there's any type of pattern to
activities.” Why had Elijah specifically wanted her to meet this cousin? He seemed nice enough, if young.
“So uh legacy heir? How's that working for you?”
“It's not too bad, except that everyone seems to think I have to pick a wife right this instant. I don't see
“Yeah, I can see how that might be difficult. I need to talk to Elijah, in the other room.”
“What was that all about?”
“I just thought you might like to meet Frankie. Didn't you like him? He's pretty cool once you get to
“He seems like a nice kid. Why are you trying to set me up with your cousin? Did I completely
misunderstand your interest in me, were you just playing wingman for him?”
“No, well not really. It's just he needs to meet women like you. So I thought, maybe. If you don't like him
though, great! I wasn't really looking forward to being jealous of Frankie.”
“Would you have been? Jealous that is?”
“Well sure, I mean I like Frankie and all. But if he ended up with the sexy detective instead of me. That
would suck. Big time.”
“He's the heir, most girls think it's a big deal. You would have met him at some point. I don't know.”
“So it was a test? Wanting to see if I'm really interested in you or if I'd jump the first chance I got?”
“It sounds bad when you say it that way. If you had been interested in him, then maybe that's the way
it's supposed to be. It would have sucked, but that's life. Better if it happened now, when I'm just crazy
about you than later on, when I'm competently wacko in love. I'd still have to beat him up, but maybe I
wouldn't have to kill him.”
“Killing your cousin would probably be a bad thing.”
“I don't think it would go over very well. My Mom's a great lawyer, but I don't think defending son on
murder charges is an item on the life plan. She gets kinda intense when things mess with the life plan.”
“So do you have a life plan?”
“Not really, I'm more of a short term goal kind of guy. Right now there's only one thing on the to do list.”
“Is this a military training program?” Stella asked Emilia. “It is very similar to a program which our
planetary explorers utilize.”
“It's just a game. I guess it could be used for training as it requires a good degree of eye-hand
coordination and concentration. The fake blood and screams would probably detract from the realism
needed for actual training though.”
“That would depend upon the target objective. The Altairians of the Aquila star system blood is a shade of
purple similar to that which is displayed here. The screams however, are closer to the mating call of an
“There goes my last life, just in time for my final. Guys can you keep Stella company while I'm gone?”
There were several grunts of assent from various corners of the living room.
Emilia had been inviting Stella to visit the house for awhile, but this was the first time she'd consented.
It wasn't that Stella wasn't interested in 'hanging out' with her friend, she wasn't exactly sure what
hanging out required. Customs were very different here than at home. Where she was from when one
was invited to the living space of another it was a formal occasion. Alliances were formed while partaking
of delicacies from around the galaxy. Blood bonds were expected to follow, for only through a bond would
one know that the alliance was true.
“There's pizza in the kitchen, want some? I'd really like to hear more about those Xyrilians and their
mating calls,” The one called Erasmus offered.
Glancing at the male lounging on the sofa in his athletic wear, Stella was reassured that customs were
indeed different here. No blood bonds would be expected, she would be safe from revealing all she knew.
The pizza had been interesting, nothing like the consumables available from the cafeteria in Stella's
residence hall. For a large part the edibles on this planet left much to be desired, the were very bland.
This pizza though was something Stella might enjoy consuming. She did not believe that she would wish
to stay on this planet for long without the comforts of home. However, even in it's primitive state, there
were things to recommend it. Like the hot springs that seemed to be in every domicile. Stella was rarely
able to partake of a good soak at her hall, often the hottubs were otherwise occupied. She had been
pleased that one was available here. When she had asked if she was allowed to take advantage of its
therapeutic qualities, the one called Erasmus had smiled a particularly charming smile and said, “Sure
you can, I'd be happy to show you better uses for a hot tub if you are interested.” While Stella was
contemplating whether she should accept, the one called Euclid had chastised his sibling. It seemed that
Erasmus' offer had contained a vulgar undertone.
“Do you mind if I join you?” a voice asked, moments before she felt the splash of the new arrival.
Glancing at the other occupant Stella became worried that she had made yet another faux pas.
“Sorry does it bother you? I can put on my trunks. You're Stella right? Emilia's told me about you, are
you really from the CIGAM refuge planet? Oh, by the way I'm Frankie, could I ask you something? I'm
really curious about CIGAM's exodus from the retreat, do you know anything about it?”
Stella blinked, which question should she answer first? She supposed that she needed to reply quickly, it
looked as if he had only paused shortly to take a breath. “If you are referring to your nudity, it does not
bother me. Where I am from the unclothed body is not such the shocking thing as it seems to be here.
Prior to my,” Stella paused considering her words. “Prior to my departure, from my home, I often assisted
my parent with medical procedures. I am well versed in anatomy.”
“Medical procedures? Did you ever work on the people that get abducted? Did you know that abductions
have increased recently? Prior to my birth, there were ten confirmed abductions in my home town. Since
I was born, there have been four. Five if you count the fact that my Grandfather was abducted the same
night I was born.”
Stella gazed at the young man, he was the one whom she had been informed. She would need to be
particularly careful about interactions with this one. If she were to make an error in his handling,
everything that her people had worked for since their exodus could be compromised. That would not be
acceptable, she has been sent here in order to correct a previous error. If she were to make another, there
would be no return.
“You are the one they call the Legacy Heir? What does that refer to, legacy? It is not a term I am familiar
“Well yeah some people call me that, I'm just Frankie though. Uhm a legacy is a passing down of
traditions and property within a single direct bloodline. It's kinda ambiguous these days, it used to be
that there were all kinds of guidelines that had to be followed in order to call a family a legacy. My Aunt
sent me this book that had pages and pages of dos and do nots. It made my head hurt. Now days it
seems to just refer to the bloodline and the house. They call me the heir cause I was first born of the
“Are you the only heir?”
“There's only one heir per generation. Since I'm the oldest I'm the heir, that's just the way it works, even
though I have a brother. I don't know why that is, I tried to find it in that book of laws, but the book is
way too confusing for me. Even if it isn't a law it's a tradition and my folks are always stressing the
importance of traditions. Like, when I was a kid, my cousin's cat had kittens and I wanted one. I couldn't
have one cause traditionally we always have dogs. Why couldn't we have both?” Frankie shrugged, “then
I got my dog and well she's great so, I guess I didn't really need a kitten. I miss my dog, I wish we could
have them here on campus. Tradition again, sometimes it sucks. So, you never did tell me if you know
anything about the CIGAM exodus? I'm really curious about what occurred there.”
“I only have minimal information regarding that time, those things that are taught as basic history
lessons. I have not gained the proper classifications to view the complete records. There are some
portions that are classified for the eyes of only the highest councils. It is unlikely that I will ever obtain
“Why? Is it because you're being punished? Emilia said that you could have died when they sent you
here. What did you do? Was it really that terrible?
“From the viewpoint of my superiors it was most grievous. If I had not been sent here, my punishment on
my world would have been most severe. By offering my participation in testing the transference process
my parent was being kind. There are worst things than a severing of the life force.”
“But what,” as Frankie began asking yet another question that Stella would not be able to fully answer
she was saved by the bell. Literally. The hourly ringing of the bells coming from Campus Main indicated
it was time for Stella to go to class.
“I am sorry but the peal of the bells indicate that it is time for me to depart. Please confer my
appreciation to those that share your domicile for your hosting of me.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Egeus asked his sister for the hundredth time. “It's an awful long
way to go and a long time to be gone.”
“I'm sure.” Emilia smiled, “it's scary. I've never been away from home by myself. But I think I'll be
“Call me, let me know how things are going okay.”
“I will, you'll probably get sick of my calling.”
Ezra Capp woke up slowly, there was something needling his brain, something that he needed to
remember. And then he remembered and suddenly he was wide awake. He'd actually done it, he'd asked
Elsie to marry him.
He hadn't meant to do it, not the way he had. He'd planned on taking her out someplace special, buying
her a nice dinner, maybe going dancing. He was going to get down on one knee and tell her how much he
loved her and how he couldn't live without her. Ezra had been planning that speech for weeks, he almost
had it right. And then he'd gone and blown it.
They hadn't been at a nice restaurant, they hadn't been anywhere special at all. They'd just been sitting
on the patio at the coffee shop waiting for some friends to join them. They were going to a movie at the
Student Union. They were sitting there and talking. It was just a silly conversation, his Aunt Diana was
pregnant and they were thinking of silly baby names. Names like Sassafras and Ebenezer, things you
would never name a kid.
“So what would you name a kid?” He'd asked, “Seriously.”
“I don't know. I kinda like Cayden for a boy, or maybe Callie, for a girl.”
Ezra had thought about them. “I like those,” he'd said with a smile and then it had just slipped out. “I
think we'd better take your name then, Callie Capp would sound a bit too cutesy don't you think?”
Of course as soon as he'd said that he'd started babbling stupidly.
Elsie had just smiled and said, “so you've thought about it too?”
“Every time I look at you, every time I think about you. Since you're all I can think about, I think about it
a bunch. I bought a ring, I've been carrying it around for a month. I had this whole speech planned out
but right now I can't remember any of it besides the part where I say I love you will you marry me.
“Yes, I'll marry you. I love you too.”
He'd put the ring on her finger, and they sat there smiling at each other for the longest time.
Remembering it he smiled again, maybe it hadn't been the way he'd planned but it had been perfect.
Not everything in Elijah's life was going as well as his relationship with Patricia Wan.
First, there was Amin Tricou, one of Elijah's best buddies since grade school. Elijah had kinda taken
Amin under his wing following Amin's adoption. Elijah's mom had helped her friends, DJ and Kiernan,
with the adoption. When Amin had arrived in town, Elle had taken her kids aside and extracted promises
that they'd be friends with him.
“Adopted children need help adjusting, and with DJ and Kiernan being different, Amin's going to need
even more help than most. I know, I can count on the two of you to be his friends and to help him out.
The first few times the kids had gotten together Elijah had teased the new boy a bit, sort of an initiation.
Amin had been such a good sport the teasing hadn't lasted. You had to like a kid that could take a slur
and turn it into a joke. Amin had quickly developed a stock set of jokes about zombies and brains. For a
defensive method, it had worked well. Pretty soon Amin was one of the most popular kids at school. No
one really thought much about who his parents were, they were just parents.
“Dude, you are the king, I can't believe you got the cow to actually do that! Yeah he flirts with everyone
but Coach Jerkins?”
“I know right? Then coach flirted back, it was udderly brain blowing.”
“Did they really leave the party together?”
“Eddie said he saw them in the back row at the movies last night. We're going to have a party this
weekend, see if they show up together. That's why I'm here.”
“Dude party! You don't even have to ask, you know I'll be there.”
“I know you will. Actually though I was looking for Elisha.”
“I'm going to ask her to the party, see if she'll be my date. Is she here?”
“Dude, she's my sister.”
“Yeah, I know. The two of you kinda look alike, she's prettier though.” Seeing the look on his friend's face
Amin frowned. “You're not going to threaten me like you do everyone else are you? I'm not some dormie
you don't know.”
“She's my sister, you're not dating her.”
“I didn't ask your permission. You're my friend, and I value that friendship, but you have a blind spot
when it comes to your sister. She's not a delicate flower that has to be protected from the big bad world.
Yeah, she's a sweetheart, I like that about her. But she's also a successful business woman. She didn't do
that by being a pushover. Do you think running those stores is easy?” Amin asked, “it takes intelligence
and the ability to make good decisions. So far she's made a lot of good ones. I think she can decide for
herself if she wants to go out with me. Now excuse me while I go ask her.”
“Hurt her and I'll kill you.”
“If I hurt her I'd expect you to. Since I don't plan to hurt her, I figure I'm pretty safe.”
“There's a party at the dorms following finals. I was wondering if you'd like to come? To the party, as my
“Sounds like fun and I like parties,” Elisha smiled. “I'd like to go, but you know how Elijah is. If you and
I went out he'd go ballistic. I don't want to cause problems between the two of you.”
“No problems, he knows.”
Elisha frowned, “you asked him first? I don't like that Elijah believes he's my keeper, but I can
appreciate his concern. He's my brother, he loves me. However, I definitely don't want anyone else
thinking he's my guardian. He doesn't run my life, I don't want anyone asking his permission regarding
“It wasn't like that Lish.” Amin smiled, and wondered how Elijah ever got the impression that Elisha was
a doormat. “I was talking to him, I told him about the party, and I told him I was going to ask you. I
didn't ask him if it was okay.”
“And there are no visible bruises?”
“We came to an understanding. If in the future you should be upset over anything that I have done; think
hard before complaining to your brother about me. Because, if you ever forgive me, you may find
yourself dating a zombie.
“He threatened to kill you? Typical.”
“But hey, at least I'd finally look like my parents.”
And then a few mornings later, when he was leaving for class with Zeke, he heard the door to the
bedroom Zeke had just left open and a familiar voice say, “Zeke, I can't find my earring, will you ask the
maid to watch for it? It's probably somewhere in the sheets, or maybe between the mattress and the
Zeke closed his eyes and replied, “sure, I'll tell her. I'll look for it after class, okay?”
As he did so Elijah stopped walking.
“Corey?” hissed Elijah. Whatever anger he had felt regarding Amin, boiled over onto his favorite cousins.
Elijah whipped around and looked back and forth between Zeke and Corey. Narrowing his eyes at Zeke
he asked harshly, “what is she doing here? What the hell is she doing coming out of your bedroom?”
“Well, ah she umm and I . . . please don't hurt me.”
Elijah's hands clenched into fists. “I trusted you man. How could you? With Corey!?”
From out of nowhere a hand popped him in the ear. “Elijah Aaron Familiar! Don't you dare hit Zeke!”
Corey looked at him in disgust. “I slept over at my boyfriends place. It wasn't the first time and it won't
be the last time so get used to it. I'm not Elisha, I won't tolerate your macho bull, so don't even start.”
“But . . . ”
“No buts, and no fighting! I'm sick of your attitude and asshattery. Get over yourself! ” Corey raised her
hand again, Elijah flinched but Corey just patted his cheek. “I love you Elijah, stop being an idiot.”
Smirking at Elijah, Corey then gave Zeke a smacking kiss. “I'm running late, I'll see you tonight, okay?”
Stunned, Elijah watched Corey storm off down the stairs.
“We should go too, right?” Stammered Zeke.
Before he could take a step he was slammed against the wall. “Don't think this is over Zeke. I'm going to
be watching you, one wrong move.”
Twisting his shoulders and trying to breath Zeke choked out, “she's my who.”
“Do you think I want to know your disgusting pet names?”
Struggling out of Elijah's grasp Zeke said decisively “You told me to find my who and I did. I love her.”
Emilia Summerdream stood outside the Takemizu Institute of Science and Technology and took a deep
breath. This was why she had traveled thousands of miles and multiple time zones away from everything
and everyone she had ever known or loved. Just looking at the structure she was intimidated. There was
so much knowledge and so many challenges waiting for her, just up the stairs. So many ways for her to
show her ignorance, and so many opportunities for failure, just up the stairs.
She'd arrived in Takemizu less than forty-eight hours before. After going through the nightmare of
customs, the cultures she'd so carefully packed had been sniffed, poked and possibly even tasted. She'd
tried to explain to the guards what they contained, but apparently her crash course in the local language
hadn't been sufficient. Nor had it been sufficient when speaking to the taxi driver, but Emilia believed
that was due to his desire for a larger fair. Arriving at the small home provided for her by the program
she'd breathed a sigh of relief, texted her parents to let them know she'd arrived and fallen into bed for
nearly twelve hours.
Once she'd awoken, Emilia had unpacked her collection of personal possessions, experiencing momentary
pangs of homesickness while doing so. She hadn't expected to miss them all so much. When she'd woken
up in the empty house it had so quiet, there was no music playing too loudly, no yelling back and forth
between the boys. She almost missed the sound of the flies.
Shaking off the homesickness, she'd reminded herself of why she was in Takemizu. After a quick shower,
she'd put on her new clothing and set off to explore the village.
The village itself was lovely, nestled as it was in a valley between mountains. There was a peaceful air to
the public places, despite the bustle of the villagers and tourists. Stopping at the Zen garden Emilia had
participated in her first tea ceremony and then spent some time raking a serenity garden.
On her way back to the house she'd stopped at the local market and purchased foodstuffs to stock her
kitchen. She'd stick with prepared meals initially, the fresh foods she'd found weren't anything like she'd
previously cooked with. Noticing the trinkets near the cash register she'd picked up a few souvenir items
to brighten up her new house or to send home for her friends.
After the relaxing day, everything had seemed brighter, she'd make the most of her time in Takemizu.
She vowed to see all the sights, to learn all the customs and to meet all the people.
But standing before the Institute, that resolve had momentarily crumbled. Everything else depending on
what she accomplished in there. If she didn't prove herself at the Institute nothing else would matter.
Emilia Summerdream stood in front of the Takemizu Institute of Science and Technology and took a deep
breath. Stepping onto the first step she smiled. The only way to prove to herself that she could do it ,was
“You're home early, I thought you had a date with 'Ras.” Encore commented as she slide into a chair at
the table across from Elani.
“I did, we took advantage of the Indian Summer weather and went to the park. I think it was supposed to
be symbolic of our childhood relationship.”
“Yeah the park, we fished.”
“That would have been a sight to see.”
“I think we were on our asses as much as we were on our feet. But, it kept our hands occupied.”
“And we laid on the grass and we talked about everything, we talked about the big stuff and the about
stupid stuff and about crazy things and important things. We talked about what we wanted to do and
who we wanted to be and why we wanted what we did. We talked about who we liked and who we hated
and why we did both.”
“Sounds like a great day”
“It was the most. . .
“Frustrating day of my existence.”
“You know that buzz you have when you're with a guy you're attracted to? It's like you're super aware of
everything about him and you're just waiting for something to happen?”
“Sensory overdrive,” Encore nodded
“Yeah, but then nothing happened.”
“Ouch, nothing? We are talking about Erasmus Goth aren't we?”
“Exactly! He brought me home, kissed me on the forehead and said he'd see me tomorrow.”
“You know,” Elani continued “at first, I thought his declaration of friendship was rather sweet. I figured
we'd spend a few days talking, set a few boundaries. But, I'm starting to get the feeling that he means it.
This is the third time we've been out where he's kept his hands to himself. It's like he's making some
kind of power play, and he's waiting for me to call it off.”
“So why don't you?”
“And let him win? If he can do it so can I. Erasmus Goth isn't the only man alive.”
“How much do they cost?”
“Zeke, you don't ask that when choosing an engagement ring. Can you put a price tag on your future?
Can you put a price tag on the joy Corey will feel when you give her the perfect ring?”
“Ezra never asked about price. Would you want to get Corey a lesser ring than your brother got Elsie?
They're going to compare the rings. Do you want to be found lacking next to him?”
“So which one did Ezra buy?”
“He bought this one, but you don't want to give Corey the same ring that he gave Elsie.”
“I don't, I want one that's better.”
“What you want is the ring that will fit Corey best. Now Elsie's ring is a sweetheart design with a
princess cut diamond set in gold. It suits her perfectly, but it wouldn't be the right setting for Corey.
Corey's a marquise cut kind of woman, she also prefers white gold, so you want one like this.” Elisha
pointed out the ring that Encore had chosen earlier.
“This one?” Zeke asked as he picked up the box. “It seems a bit plain, what about that one? She looks
good in red.”
“Rubies are great stones, but you want a diamond for your engagement. You can get her a Ruby for an
anniversary gift later on. Trust me on this Zeke,” Elisha nodded significantly.
“Okay, but what if it doesn't fit? Maybe I should bring her in so we can pick out the right one together.”
“We can re-size it later on.” Elisha said and when Zeke looked at her she added, “we re-size engagement
rings for free.”
“Is Uncle Puck going to be mad at us for being in here?” asked Eagle looking around the clubhouse.
“Why would he be? He had it built for all of us, not just his kids,” replied Evonne
“Yeah, but it's on his property, I don't want him calling the police about trespassers.”
“Oh, where's your sense of adventure Elan? It wouldn't be the first time we've escaped the cops,”
prodded his twin.
“Guys, it's cool I stopped at the house and got the okay for us to be up here.”
“Haven't we taught you anything Ferd? Never ask permission.” Said Elm shaking his head.
Evonne looked at Elan, “Are you sure he's related to us?”
“Mom says so, but then she says the same about Eagle.” Poking his little brother with his foot, “we think
“Hey!” Responded the teen in question. “Don't do that!”
“Don't do that!” Elan mimicked
“What are you Elan? Five?” asked Evette.
“Hate to break it to you bro, but Dad has video tapes of Eagle's birth. It's documented.” Elm said looking
at his twin.
“He could have been switched.” Was the reply.
“Maybe I was, maybe one of these days my real brothers will show up to claim me. I'll be sure to point
you out so that they can beat the crap out of you.” Eagle smiled, “It's the dream that gets me through
“I thought the dream was about Erin.” Elm egged him.
“That's the one that wakes him up,” snickered Elan.
Ferdie looked down at Eagle and mouthed “ERIN?” to which Eagle just blushed.
“Are you really that oblivious Ferd?” Questioned Evonne, “You just got to look at Eagle when she's
around, all he does is blush and stammer.”
“To be fair, that's Eagle's normal appearance.” Stated Elm while Eagle blushed on queue.
“Can we stop with the pick on Eagle portion of the program?” Asked the subject of the said picking on. “If
that's all you're going to do, we could have stayed at home.”
“Sure Eagle, come on guys leave him alone for once.” Said Evette, “Why don't you tell them why we're
here anyway Vonny?”
“I just wanted to get some plans set for once we're at Uni. I just found out that even though the four of us
are going to be on campus during semester break, we won't be going to Twikki with everyone else.”
“We're going to be in orientation, even if they wanted to take us the school would never excuse us from
that.” Said her twin.
“When did we ever care what a school allowed?” Asked Elan, “that's not the point. We're going to be
stuck in the dorms for two years, we're going to miss a ton of parties and probably some other trips
because of that. We just want to make sure that once we are in the Greek House that it's as awesome as
it's supposed to be.”
“So why did you want us here?” Asked Eagle.
“Cause by the time we're in the Greek House you two will be on Campus as well. The way I see it we're
not going to get Frankie and Lisha to go along with any plans we have. Well Frankie might, but not
without 'Lisha and she's so busy with the stores that getting her attention will be difficult. So that leaves
you two.” Replied Elm.
“And you want us why?” Asked Ferdie, “I mean it's not like the four of you have ever tried to include us
in anything before. Don't blame us for being skeptical”
Elan looked at the younger boys, “D'oh we're gonna need your money.”
“And your house,” added Elm.
“I don't have a house, and you aren't getting my money Elm.” Stated Ferdie.
“The Lake House Ferd, you have to convince your parents to open it up for you while you're at Uni.”
“They'd never do that,” said Ferdie shaking his head. “The Twikki house we have the run of, if you all
want to go to Twikki that will be great. The beach sounds like fun, and once Frankie and them get back
they'll be able to tell us all the fun stuff to do.”
“Why would we want to do the same boring things that they do?” Asked Evonne, “We're unique.”
“But we've all been to the Lake, that's not unique either.”
“We haven't been as adults. And we haven't been since we learned everything about CIGAM and Three
Lakes. We need to explore the retreat.” Said Evette.
“No.” Said Eagle.
“Elm's figured out how to 'acquire' a helicopter from the tour company.”
“No.” Repeated Eagle
Ferdie had been sitting quietly considering the suggestion. Ever since he'd heard about the wards on the
mountain he'd wanted to see them. He dreamed about unlocking them about discovering the secrets held
captive. “We should do it. I'll figure out a way to get the house.”
“I SAID NO!” Yelled Eagle uncharacteristically as he stood up. “You aren't going to drag Ferdie into this,
it could kill him. I won't let you do that! Don't listen to them Ferd, please!” Eagle stepped over his
stunned brother and began climbing down the ladder.
“What's with him?” Evonne asked, after Eagle had stormed off.
“Obviously the spaz, spazzed.” Replied Elan, “this is why I didn't want to include him. He's gonna blow
every thing, just like always.”
“I'll go after him,” said Ferdie “I'll talk to him. Make him understand. Don't worry I'll get the house. You
can count on me.
Zeke Capp was a man in love, he was also a frugal soul. As such spending a day at the park with Encore
satisfied him in multiple ways. They could have a great time watching kids play and playing themselves,
while not spending much money. Add a picnic from the deli across the street, and they had everything
they needed. Almost.
The park held additional significance for the couple. The first time Zeke had declared that he thought, he
was, maybe possibly, quite likely, in love with Encore had been at the park. That she had amazingly, at
least to Zeke, nodded and said 'me too', made it doubly significant. When he'd told her, he'd feared that
since he really didn't have all that much experience with love that he'd been reading things wrong.
Encore, who'd previously been in several, extended and heartbreaking, relationships had assured him
that he was doing fine.
So when Zeke decided that it was time to pull out the ring he'd purchased, the park seemed like a great
place to do it. Encore agreed with him.
Evette stood in the doorway of her younger siblings bedroom and tried to remember what it had been like
to be their age.
Just a few days earlier they'd been toddlers, trying to insist that they could blow out their own candles.
In the end they had, like everyone else, needed the assistance of their parents for the monumental task
but not before they'd sputtered over the cakes so much that no one else had wanted to eat any of it.
They hadn't changed all that much with their growing up. They were still fairly insistent in their desire
to have attention paid to them. Zeke and Ezra had been by earlier in the day to help their sisters' pack
everything up that needed to be hauled to college. Between the games of red-hands, the tickle fests, the
watch me do this and the spin me arounds; Evette and Evonne had done most of the work themselves.
There were times, like now, when they really didn't seem to need anyone but each other. When they were
perfectly content in their almost silent play, as long they were together. Their parents had suggested that
they have separate bedrooms, one of them could take Vonny and hers. The younger twins had rejected
that idea immediately, much to the relief of their sisters who really didn't want their room changed as
drastically as Zeke and Ezra's had been. Evette could remember when she had been that close to her
twin, when Vonny had been her best friend as well as her sister.
At some point along the way that had changed. These days it seemed they argued as much as anything
else. They no longer schemed together, no longer shared secrets like they once had. Vonny shared those
secrets with Enrique now Evette assumed.
Evette had been spending time with Elm, they'd collaborated on several robotics projects and taken first
prize in the science fair. On the side they'd put together a series of listening devices, with vague plans to
use them to keep abreast of everything that was going on at home while they were away.
Her twin seemed to be using most of her energy on being mad at the world. Vonny got into fights almost
every day, generally over some small and usually imagined slight. Evette wished that she knew exactly
what it was that had set her twin off. Maybe she just liked to fight?
That quite of few of the fights had been spurred on by Vonny being right about Rhett's jerkitude didn't
help. Evette had tried to tell her twin that it didn't matter, Rhett hadn't been that important to her.
Vonny had been pleased to be proven 'right' and to finally have the excuse to show him how she really
Evette hoped that once they got to Uni she and her sister could regain that closeness that they used to
share. She missed it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this portion of Familiar Faces! The third and final portion of
chapter 35 should be published shortly. I always say that don't I? Hopefully this time I won't be lying!