Ill Be There For You Part One


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Ill Be There For You Part One

  1. 2. Welcome back to Familiar Faces! Chapter Thirty-Four: I'll Be There For You, Part One Due to problems with the exchange this episode is being hosted on Slideshare. As this is the first time that I've attempted to utilize this method I hope that you will forgive any oddities in the format. I'm learning as I go. I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that is reading this, if this is your first time with us I would recommend reading the previous chapters so that you'll have a better understanding of what's going on. Even if it isn't your first time reading you may find the number of sims involved in the extended Familiar family to be confusing. In order to help with any potential confusion I want to direct you a few reference items. There is a guide to the current First Circle available on my Livejournal, these are the 'important' folks. And as always there is a full family tree available at Tribal Pages. There are a lot of names on the family tree at this point and many of them will never be seen in the story.
  2. 3. "Who calls forth the genie of the lamp? Who claims mastery of the wish?" "Whoa, you're purple!" The genie looked around trying to see who had spoken, who his new master was.
  3. 4. "Where are you Master?" "I'm here" said a voice below him. The genie looked down and blinked. "A child? This is the most unusual set of circumstances I have encountered since my release from the Cave of Wonders." The genie scratched his head, before shrugging and said to himself,"Go with the flow I guess. That's what my teacher always told me."
  4. 5. "Hello, young Master I am The Genie of the Lamp, how may I serve you?" Ferdie Familiar gazed at the creature with a mixture of awe and fear on his face, "What are you?" "I am The Genie of the Lamp" the Genie repeated, "You can call me Genie." Ferdie shook his head, "Grandma says we gotta show proper respect, Mr. Lamp."
  5. 6. This wasn't going to be like his normal assignments. However the first rule of Genie behavior was never argue with your master. "Very well, how may I serve you Master?" "Dinner is gonna be soon and I better not spoil my appetite. If I don't clean my plate, I don't get desert." "Of course Master." The Genie reconsidered his approach. "Is there anything I can help you with?" "I have to finish putting away my toys. You can help if you want but you don't have to. I have to do things for myself. Just cause we have a maid doesn't mean I should be a slob."
  6. 7. The genie waved his arms and the toys and costumes were immediately returned to the chest in an orderly fashion. Once they were in place the lid to the chest snapped down. "How'd you do that?" asked Ferdie. "It's Magic." said the Genie. Ferdie frowned and shook his head. "Magic doesn't work here, we're cut off." "Cut off?" "That's what Frankie says, we're cut off and no one can use magic. But he's supposed to fix it, or maybe he won't. Maybe I will, maybe no one. We just don't know."
  7. 8. "Ahh yes I had heard that the mortal magic wielders had destroyed their source of power through their own folly. I am surprised to learn that they have not yet found a new source. I would not have thought it difficult to replicate, but alas they were merely mortals. But that is of no account; the magic of a Genie is beyond the crude power that the mortals wielded." "It is?" "Of course it is young Master; a Genie's power is of the most ancient kind. As long as there are sims, Genies will have a source of power. For a Genie's magic is based on the hopes, fears and dreams of simkind. We deal in wishes, and wishes are the most powerful magic of all."
  8. 9. "Wishes? Like when you blow out the candles on your transition cake? That kind of wish?" "Almost exactly but better, a transition cake only has one wish to offer. A Genie can grant three." "Three wishes?" "Three wishes per Master, but only three, so they must be chosen wisely. Would you like to make a wish now?" "Me?"
  9. 10. "The one who rubs the lamp gets the wishes. That means you young Master." "Any three wishes?" "There are limitations, the wishes must come from within, you can only wish for something that you want for yourself. Is there anything that you especially want?" "A Puppy!" The genie laughed, "A puppy?"
  10. 11. "Uh-huh, we used to have three dogs, but Eddie and Effie were old and Grim wanted them to live with him. So he came and took them home with him. I don't think Grandpa should have let him take em, they were our dogs not his," Ferdie frowned. "Grandpa says that when Grim wants something he gets it, and there's nothing you can do to stop em. That wiley old fox is the ultimate Criminal Mastermind, and we have to respect his wishes."
  11. 12. "Now we've only got Rowan but she's mostly Frankie's dog, she listens to him best and sleeps on his bed." "And you want a dog of your own?" "Uh huh Mom says every kid should have a dog. I was going to ask to get one for my transition present but that's not till next week." The way Ferdie said it was if a week would be forever. "And if you gave me one now, I could ask for a new bike instead."
  12. 13. "And a puppy is what you want most of all?" "Well maybe, but you said I had to wish for me right? I can't wish for something for someone else huh? Even if I really want them to have it?" The Genie shook his head, "They would have to wish for it for themselves." "Okay, then I want a puppy," declared Ferdie while he planned how to give the lamp away. "And what else would you like?"
  13. 14. Ferdie shrugged, "Nothing really, do I have to choose now?" The Genie nodded sagely "The power of the Lamp is fleeting, while I have the ability to grant each petitioner up to three wishes, I can only appear to each individual a single time." "What do people usually wish for?" "Each person's desires are individual but they generally fall upon standard themes. Sims are simple creatures with basic desires: love, fame, fortune, happiness. Occasionally there will be an unusual wish, the ability to cheat death for a time or very rarely the desire to return a loved one to life. I don't like messing with immortality though; very rarely does that type of wish have the effect that one desires."
  14. 15. Ferdie was lost in thought. Love, fame, fortune or happiness? Considering the options he guessed he knew what to wish for. "Daddy always says that the most important thing in life is to be happy. Nothing else matters, if you're not happy. Money is nice too." Ferdie nodded while parroting what he'd repeatedly been told. "'It can't buy you happiness, but it is better to have too much than too little'. That's what Grandma says, she also says that all the money in the world does you no good if it's just handed to you. Money only means something if you've earned it yourself. That's why I gotta do chores for my allowance. It teaches me responsibility. So I guess I want to earn a lot of money and be happy."
  15. 16. "Lifelong happiness and financial adeptness?" "And a puppy!" Ferdie reminded him. "And of course a puppy. You are a very astute young man. I have served many masters and most of them think only of their current situations. Things that they want immediately and they show no concern about the future. Their wishes are easy to fulfill it is a simple matter to create a pile of coin or to turn the attention of another towards them. But to direct a destiny is another matter. I shall have to consider this."
  16. 17. Waving his hands the Genie temporarily stopped the passage of time. Ferdie was frozen before him his mouth formed surely to ask a question. Children were always asking questions. Inside the house everything became quiet, those affected by the spell would have no idea what had occurred; at most when the spell was reverted they would blink, perhaps take an additional step. Once everything was silent, the Genie pondered the boy's request. He looked deeply into the child's mind and consciousness. He viewed Ferdie's past, his present and visualized a variety of futures. As he watched he saw certain themes return time and again, until finally the Genie felt he knew the best path. Nodding to himself he set time moving once again.
  17. 18. "Very well young Master," the Genie said to Ferdie. "I believe that I now know the key to your future happiness. I have set things in motion so that you shall be able to find it. Once you find the key though, it will be up to you to ensure that it is not lost. You seem to be an intelligent being, so I am certain that you will make the right choices. As for your financial future, you will be very secure. One word to remember however, Plastics.'
  18. 19. 'And then there is the matter of a puppy." Pointing at the ground beside where the child stood the Genie waved his hand. Ferdie heard a yip, looked down and clapping his hands he laughed.
  19. 20. "What's its name? Is it a boy or a girl?" Ferdie asked as he picked up the pup, "Is it really mine?" "It is a male dog. I believe it is customary for the one that owns a dog to name it. If you would like a suggestion the name Laddie comes to mind. And now young Master it is time for us to part. I believe that your grandmother will soon be calling you inside for dinner and it would not do for her to see me. For remember that a wish will only come true if you keep it a secret."
  20. 21. Ferdie sat the puppy on the ground, "Are you a secret too?" "I do not have to be. However, I feel that if you tried to tell anyone about me that they would not believe you. Perhaps it would be best not to mention our encounter." Before Ferdie could ask him anything else the Genie waved and returned to his lamp. Just as the Genie had predicted Ferdie's Grandmother was soon calling to him to change his clothes and get ready for dinner.
  21. 22. "Okay, Laddie you gotta stay in here with Rowan and be good." Ferdie said as he sat the new puppy down in utility room. Giving him one last pet he looked at the older dog that was already sniffing the new arrival. "Can you watch him for me Rowan? I need to get that lamp and wash for dinner." Rowan looked at the puppy and then up at Ferdie and wiggled in a manner that Ferdie took as agreement. Running back outside Ferdie stood beneath the tree and turned in circles. The lamp was no longer there, it had disappeared along with its inhabitant.
  22. 23. While Ferdie bemoaned the loss of the lamp and the plans he had made for its use, Rowan and Laddie got to know each other. Rowan had been missing the company of other dogs and was ready for a new companion. Laddie reveled in Rowan's attention and a tentative new friendship was formed. _____________________________
  23. 24. Dinner that evening was as normal as they come. Titania, Emma and Aldric discussed their work day. Frankie and Ferdie discussed their days with their individual friends. Frankie made an attempt to get permission to attend a party that evening at the Pleasants but his parents weren't yet ready to let him off his punishment.
  24. 25. "You're going to have to let me off sometime Mom, it's not like you can keep me grounded while I'm at Uni." "I'm pretty sure we could pull in a favor from the Dean if we wanted you kept under house arrest there as well." While she was teasing, Emma was tired of the continual confrontations. "Frank, we've already told you that we'll review your situation after the trip to the Lake next weekend. The more you try to push it, the less likely that we're going to be lenient before then," added Aldric.
  25. 26. "Just wait till next week Ferd; once you become a teen they quit spoiling you, and start spoiling your plans instead." Frankie mumbled but not so softly that his parents didn't hear. "Frankie, that's enough." said his grandmother. "I know that a few weeks punishment seems like a lifetime now. But you'll think differently in the future." Throughout dinner Emma had though she was hearing something coming from the garage. Hearing it again she decided to check it out rather than futilely talk at a teenage boy. These days it seemed that the more she talked at Frankie the less he seemed to listen.
  26. 27. Out in the garage Emma discovered the newest member of the family. "Well, well, where did you come from little one?" Emma asked as she lofted the pup up to look at it. Knowing her family well, Emma jumped to the obvious conclusion. Setting down the pup she yelled, "Ferdinand Abraham Familiar, get in here now!"
  27. 28. She'd used his full name, that was never good, Ferdie thought as he answered his mother's summons. "Yeah, Mom?" Emma pointed towards the floor at the puppy that was currently chewing on her pants leg. "What do you know about this little guy?" "He's mine, his name's Laddie," said Ferdie as he scooped up the puppy. "Where'd he come from Ferd? Puppies don't just materialize out of thin air."
  28. 29. Ferdie gulped, this puppy had materialized out of thin air. He was remembering the final warning from the genie "If you were to tell anyone about me they would not believe you." He didn't want to lie, but maybe he could get away with hedging a bit. "Mr. Lamp gave him to me." "Who's Mr. Lamp? Where did you meet him?" "He was in the backyard and I told him how I was gonna ask for a puppy for my transition. How I wanted a dog more than anything else in the world." "And he just happened to have one with him?" "Uh-huh I guess so. He was really nice."
  29. 30. "What did this Mr. Lamp look like?" "I dunno he was big, he had a beard, he was wearing funny clothes, and he had this thing on his head like a hat." Emma considered what Ferdie was telling her, the gardeners had been there that afternoon. Maybe this Mr. Lamp was one of the yard crew. "Was he a gardener?" "I don't know, maybe? He said that I probably wouldn't ever see him again he was just here special. You gotta let me keep Laddie Mom, he's really smart and Rowan likes him, and I don't think we could give him back. " "Your father and I will talk about it. Why don't you head on up to bed and we'll discuss it again later."
  30. 31. "We were gonna get him one for his transition anyway, if he likes this one we might as well keep it and get him something else." "I'm more concerned about the guy that gave him the dog, than about the dog itself. The pups cute enough, I just have a funny feeling about this Mr. Lamp. Who is he and why did he just happen to have a puppy to give Ferdie?" "We can call the yard service check him out, but Ferdie said the guy wouldn't be back. If he's just seasonal help the yard service might not know anything. Tell Ferd that if he sees the guy again to get one of us, so we can talk to him. Dave still has guys patrolling, if they'd seen anything odd they would have let us know." "You're right, it's probably just some guy with a litter of pups that was happy to find a kid that wanted one. Probably end up being some kind of mongrel." _____________________________
  31. 32. "No way I can make it this weekend. I'm still grounded :( "Harsh!" "Completely! I can't believe they're being so strict. No one else even got grounded and I'm stuck in this house all the time! Man, I'm so ready to escape this place. I can not wait for college." "I know what you mean, Moms totally doesn't get that I'm almost an adult. Sometimes it's like she still thinks I'm five. What about next weekend, think they'll relent by then?"
  32. 33. "Maybe, but it's a no go; Ferd's transition is Friday and then we're going to the Lake on Saturday. Long weekend, family togetherness, bonding time, blah blah blah. Guy I know up there needs to talk to Dad and we're finally gonna go see him. Maybe get some answers about my Uncle." "The one that died?" "Yeah, I don't know why Dad didn't go see Squatch before now. He should have, Uncle Almeric was his brother. Sometimes I wonder if he even cares what happened. Maybe he's just scared of finding out."
  33. 34. "When we came back from summer vacation and I told Dad that Squatch wanted to see him, he got all weirded out. Wanted to know why now? Grandpa had been trying to talk to him for years but Squatch didn't want to talk. Now he wants to talk but not to Grandpa, it has to be Dad. I figured we'd head up there immediately and talk to Squatch but he said no, Squatch's invitation was for the whole family, we'd go as a family.. Dad said it was bad enough that I'd been exposed to all that crap when I was a kid, that he wasn't about to drag my brother into yet. We'd wait till he was a teen and could handle it better then we'd all go."
  34. 35. "I'll tell ya, Grandpa was not happy with that decision. He and Dad got into it, which was kinda weird ya know? I always thought they got along pretty well." "Sometimes people that mostly get along still disagree sometimes." "Yeah I know, it was just weird, Dad normally just goes along with whatever Grandpa wants. Most people do. But this time he stood up to him, said that he knew what was best for us kids. That he wanted Ferdie to have a chance to grow up so he could understand what was going on. He kept saying just give him time."
  35. 36. "Grandpa blew up at that. Said something like 'Time isn't a commodity I have much of anymore.' He said he needed to know everything he could in order to protect the family while he still could. I didn't hear much after that, Dad started talking real soft. Dunno what they said but they ended up agreeing that we'd leave as soon as Ferdie had his transition. I think Grandpa's worried about what will happen when he dies." "How old is he?" "Old." "Bummer." "Yeah."
  36. 37. “ So did you get your schedule yet? When do you have to report on campus?" "Semester starts in two weeks but I have to be there for cheer camp on Friday. What about you?" "No cheer camp, our semester starts same time as yours. I really want to see you again, Annie." "Same here maybe I can work something out. Are you allowed visitors in prison?" "Not hardly." ____________________________________
  37. 38. Mornings at Familiar Academy seemed to follow a standard routine. There was very little variance. Once off the bus the group of teens tended to settle themselves into their own little cliques. Some gathered on the front lawn, others swarmed the library or the gym. The groups that most regularly conveyed near the southwest corner were primarily the younger teens. There were a few among the set that were soon to graduate.
  38. 39. Ewan London was one senior that was occasionally found mixing with them. Evette Capp was certain that he joined them because of her, or at least she hoped so. Evette had been trying to get Ewan's attention for months and finally it almost seemed as if she had been successful. Almost . . .
  39. 40. He talked to her before school and sometimes in the hall. He always smiled when he saw her. But then again, Ewan was just about the nicest guy Evette had ever met so he smiled at everyone.
  40. 41. Sometimes he'd join her for lunch in the cafe, after biology lab. When he did join her, it was usually to talk about what they'd done in lab. And yeah it was generally because she'd asked him a question. Ewan was so smart! He might even be smarter than she, nah probably not
  41. 42. In short he treated her like a friend. Evette wished she had the nerve to just ask him out, but at the same time she didn't want to lose him as a friend. If she asked him out and he said no then that would make things weird. She'd tried to be subtle; she'd asked him if he was going out with anyone. When he'd said no he'd blushed, and Evette figured that he had someone in mind that he wanted to go out with but hadn't gotten up the nerve to ask. She hoped it was her.
  42. 43. Her sister said that if Ewan was interested in her, she'd know by now. Vonny didn't think boys were capable of keeping their attraction hidden. Why Vetty was still mooning over Ewan was beyond her twin. Vonny kept telling her to move on find someone else. Easy for Evonne to say, Vonny had Enrique. She hadn't spent a single Saturday night home alone since they'd become teens. Not that Vonny and Rique were going steady or anything, not Vonny. The whole I'm a romancer and I won't limit myself to one guy. Evette wished she had the option to limit herself to one guy or not.
  43. 44. Of course just because Evonne wasn't willing to go steady with Enrique didn't give Edith any right to try and steal him away. Good for the gander wasn't a possibility that Evonne was willing to explore.
  44. 45. Not that Evonne was at all worried about Enrique's loyalty. He had nothing to complain about. Evonne let Enrique get away with things that most teenaged boys only fantasized about. Rique was the only one that allowed that degree of freedom and he knew it. He had no intention of losing his privileges by messing things up with Evonne.
  45. 46. It was the principle that mattered. Enrique was hers, everyone knew it. No one was going to get away with trying to change facts. It was all about control. Evonne was big on control.
  46. 47. There were some things that you just couldn't control, however. Like when your parents went and decided that four kids just weren't enough. They didn't ask you if you thought it was a good idea to have more kids, or if you even wanted a squalling infant around. It was bad enough that they'd gone and gotten knocked up at their ages, but to expect you to be excited about it was a bit much. Embarrassed maybe, but not excited.
  47. 48. Of course considering their previous track record no one could really claim to be surprised when there were two babies added to the household. One would have been bad enough but two? The very narrow bright side of things was that Evonne was no longer the youngest of the Capp brood. She had now been relegated to the status of middle child. Surely she could get some mileage out of that.
  48. 49. She was sure to get some mileage out of the baby care duties that the births of Ethan and Ethel Capp had brought about. Built in baby sitters, that's what Evonne and Evette had been relegated to. ___________________
  49. 50. Eagle Langarek lived in a state of nervousness. Noises that no one else noticed made him jump, the creak of a door, a car backfiring down the street. And laughter, laughter was the worst. When someone laughed he never knew if it was a good sign or a bad sign. His brother's laughed all the time.
  50. 51. Eagle's father had sat him down numerous times and tried to explain that he shouldn't worry about the twins, yes they were rowdy, and they were loud. But they weren't dangerous; at least Ted didn't think they were. Eagle wasn't to believe everything that his brother's told him. If he was concerned about something they said Eagle should talk to his Mom or Dad about it. But that was the same as tattling wasn't it? Whenever he asked his Dad a question about something Elan or Elm told him, Dad would straighten him out. When they were done talking it out though, most times one of the twins would get a lecture. They weren't to torment their brother, they were to stop telling him stories that they knew would scare him. Ted could talk till he was blue in the face and the older boys would nod seriously and make promises to behave.
  51. 52. And the next day they'd take turns tickling Eagle until he cried. He couldn't complain about being tickled could he? As Grandpa would say, 'Toughen up kid."
  52. 53. It wasn't that either Elan or Elm disliked their little brother; he was okay as far as little brothers go. He was just so gullible, and it was way too easy. The look of awe combined with dread, which crossed Eagle's face when they told him about a monster that lived in the guest bathroom. It was priceless and well worth the lecture.
  53. 54. Long after the fact, the twins would never agree on whose idea it had originally been. Elan claimed that it had to have been Elm; Elm was the planner after all, the one that thought things through. But Elm would never admit to that level of deviousness, only Elan would have thought of it. Why then would have Elm gone along with it? Why not? It wasn't as if Eagle was going to be hurt, they were just going to help him make the same decision that he'd make all on his own. If they got a few laughs out of it so much the better right? ________________________________________
  54. 55. I can't believe you all are taking off this weekend; you're going to miss a ton of parties." Graduation was looming and the current senior class was in full celebration mode. For the next week there would be house parties everywhere. In addition to the private parties the school was sponsoring a picnic at the Lake for the senior class and their guests. But that wasn't until the middle of the week right before close of term. Frankie would be back in time for the picnic. "Not like Mom and Dad would let me go to them anyway."
  55. 56. "You're being too hard on them. It's not like they're keeping you under lock and key. You've been to all the senior stuff, and you've only missed a couple of parties." "Five, do you understand what it's like for a popularity sim to be forced to miss a party?" "They were mostly boring." "The cops showed up at Ernest's." "That doesn't mean anything and you know it. The music wasn't even all that loud. The most excitement there's been lately is Vonny getting into fights."
  56. 57. "What about you smooching on Elvis?" "What about it?" "You don't consider that exciting?" Elisha blushed. "Well sure, for me. I didn't know you were voyeuristic though. Want me to call him over here so we can put on a show for you?" Frankie laughed. "Probably be the closest I'd get to smooching anytime soon. Thank but no thanks."
  57. 58. "So that's what your problem is, it has nothing to do with the parties or your friends it has to do with her. Get over it Frank, you're putting way too much weight on a summer fling that you knew wasn't going to go anywhere when you started it." "It might have, but they won't let me go see her so I'll never know will I?" "No it wouldn't have. Even if you weren't grounded your parents wouldn't let you go running off to the city to see some girl. You might as well forget about her Frankie, there's no future there. Your future is at FSU, and it's going to be here sooner than you think. ____________________________
  58. 59. "You promise?" "I promise, I'll be home Tuesday, we'll go to the park." Tina shook her head and stood up. "No we won't, you'll forget." As Ferdie stood up to protest, Tina said "Happy Transitionday Ferd, maybe I'll see ya sometime." As Tina ran home she heard Ferdie calling her name from behind her, but she didn't stop or look back at him. It was like pulling off a bandage, better to do it fast and get the pain over with.
  59. 60. "Ferdie your guests are here, why don't you come down and say hello." "Tell them to go home I've decided not to grow up." "It's not something you can decide to do or not do. It will happen whether you have a party or not. But if you come down for your party you'll get cake."
  60. 61. "Do you want to tell me what happened? I thought you were pretty excited about becoming a teen, what changed your mind?" "Tina doesn't think that we'll still be friends once I'm a teenager. I promised we would, we even pinky-sweared. But she says I'll forget. She says everyone always forgets. I don't want to forget, a promise is a promise." "I don't think you'll forget, but Ferdie sometimes even when you have the best intentions things don't work out the way you planned. Tina understands that you're going to be changing, and that when you are a teenager your interests are going shift. You'll still be friends with Tina but you and your other friends will do things that she can't join in on and she knows it."
  61. 62. "It's not fair." "Maybe not but it's the way things are. Are you ready for some cake?” “ I guess so.” “ Do you know what you're going to wish for?” “ Wishes don't come true.” He'd wished for happiness hadn't he? If wishes came true he wouldn't be miserable.
  62. 63. “ You have to believe if you want the wish to have a chance. Not all wishes can come true, but you never know unless you make the wish.” “ I wish,” “ Don't tell me! If you tell it really won't come true.”
  63. 64. Ferdinand "Ferdie" Familiar Taurus 4/7/5/8/4 Fortune/Knowledge LTW - City Planner Ferdie is the son of Aldric and Emma Familiar _________________________
  64. 65. “ How'd it go with Ezra last night? Good right? I knew you two would hit it off. Are you going out again?” Elani Familiar accosted her step cousin Elsie Pleasant first thing Saturday morning. She'd set Elsie up with Ezra Capp and was dieing to hear the details of what had surely been an awesome date. “ Worst first date ever, I don't think we'll be going out again.” Elsie replied, she looked like she'd had a rough night. “ What'd he do?” Elani asked.
  65. 66. About the same time on the other side of campus Euclid Goth was asking Ezra the same questions. “ I thought everything was going pretty good but then I dunno what happened. I don't think she likes me.” “ Elsie likes everyone, what'd you do?” “ I wish I knew.”
  66. 67. “ We went to the diner for dinner” “ Wait, you ate in front of her? Ez, you're a slob, don't eat in front of a girl until the third or fourth date. You got to wait till the girls got some investment in the relationship before you let her in on your bad habits.” “ She was hungry, what was I supposed to do? Let her starve? 'Sides I've known Elsie forever, she knows I'm a slob.” “ There is knowing, and then there is knowing. First dates like that are kinda like a team try out. She's already seen your game tapes, so it's time to BS your way past the weak spots in order to get a call back. You gotta dazzle her enough to get her interested, but not raise the expectations so high that your future performance is seen as lacking.”
  67. 68. “ When did you ever have a first date Euc? You and Emily have been dating since you were in diapers. You aren't really the person to give advice.” “ My brother has been on more first dates than the combined total population of a small town. 'Ras loves passing on tidbits of knowledge regarding the shark pool that is the dating scene. Why do you think I've stuck with Emily all this time?” “ Because you love her and she's the only girl you want?” “ There's that, but there's also the good old fashioned fear of sharks.“
  68. 69. “ Yeah well, I ate in front of her and we survived. I don't think that was the issue, cause she didn't run off in the middle of the main course and she let me take her to the pub after we were done eating.” “ Well, that sounds encouraging.” “ I thought so, we played some darts. Got some drinks and were just hanging out having a good time talking. Then we weren't, I don't remember what we were talking about it was just chatter. I wish I knew what happened.”
  69. 70. “ It wasn't him, it was me. I blew it.” “ Oh come on, it's not like Ezra is all that refined. You'd have to do something really bad to blow it with him. I can't see how you'd be able to mess it up with him. Unless you raved about another guy, wait, you didn't talk about Blade did you? I thought you were over him. “ “ No, I didn't talk about Blade. Blade's ancient history, I'm so past that we're in different time zones. It was worse.”
  70. 71. “ We were at the pub having a drink and just talking. It was nice, he's a nice guy. He was telling me about his family and raving about the twins his Mom just had. He felt bad that he hadn't seen them yet. He's such a family sim, but it suits him, he's sweet. So we talked about family and he was telling me a story about how he when he was a kid he wanted to be bird. It was hilarious.” “ And?” “ And so I told him a joke.” “ What?”
  71. 72. “ Yeah I know, bad move.” “ Elsie sweetie, we've talked about this. You know I adore you, but your jokes. They just aren't funny.“ “ I know, I know the family joke is that Elsie can't tell a joke. The worst thing was that he laughed, not in the haha that was funny way, but in the haha I have no clue what I'm supposed to say now way. I was so embarrassed. I didn't know what to do.”
  72. 73. “ So, I went to the bar and ordered another drink.”
  73. 74. “ And after I'd slammed that one down I got another one.” “ Oh oh.” “ Yeah. It was stupid. I thought, well maybe if I just relaxed a bit everything would be okay. If I had enough to drink, maybe I could be funny and interesting and maybe everything would work out.”
  74. 75. “ She seemed to be having a good time. I wondered if she was drinking a bit too fast, but I don't know what she's used to or what she can handle, so I wasn't really worried. For all I knew she could drink me under the table and still be raring to go.” “ Sure, and you had no ulterior thoughts on the matter at all.” “ Okay, so maybe I thought that if she had a few drinks she'd be more amiable later on. But, really I didn't think there was an issue. We kept talking and she seemed to be loosing up a bit.”
  75. 76. “ Apparently she's a pretty easy drunk. When she struck up a conversation with the person on the other side of her I got worried.” “ So she was being friendly, that's not a bad thing.” “ There wasn't anyone there. She was talking to the wall.” “ Oh.”
  76. 77. “ Yeah, I decided maybe it was time we got out of there. I had an image of her getting up to do karaoke with her imaginary friend. Got her out on the porch into the fresh air, thought that might help. Going down to the phone she was hanging all over me. Kept telling me how pretty I am. For a little while I was anticipating a pleasant turn of events.” “ No pun intended.” “ Of course not.”
  77. 78. “ Then I puked on his shoes.” “ Aw hon.” “ I think he could have forgiven me everything up till then. But how can you forget the horror of an evening when you have the lingering odor as evidence to remind you?” “ Shoes are washable.” “ Memories aren't, a guy isn't gonna forget it if you toss your cookies on him.”
  78. 79. “ He's such a sweetheart though. Even after all that he still brought me home, got me to my room and tucked me into bed.” “ Well that's promising. He cared enough not to just dump you on the sidewalk.” “ It's not promising, it's embarrassing. It only goes to prove what an idiot I am.” “ You're not an idiot; you just had a momentary lapse of judgment. Lapses of judgment are forgivable.” ___________________
  79. 80. "Don't worry I'm going to feed you." Sarrie told her visitor. "Not fish?" "No, not fish. You know if you'd come to town more often you wouldn't be reliant on eating what you catch. Any time you want a meal you can come to the range and I'll feed you." "Flapjacks, thank you no. Fish is more palatable than browned glue covered with sugar." "Well, if you don't like my cooking."
  80. 81. "No you are a wonderful chef; your talents are wasted, cooking for tourists." If Squatch was hoping for a meal it would do to compliment the chef. "Of course they are, each of us is over qualified for what we do here. If the menial tasks were difficult they would take away from our true purpose. We're here to observe and to report back. To assist when the time comes, if it ever does; though what type of assistance we can offer, I don't know. As far as I can see, there should be no assistance necessary. The one will come, they will see, they will know. "
  81. 82. "You are still skeptical?" "Of course I'm skeptical, that's part of my duties. Generations have passed; the collective would do better to look elsewhere. While it seems we are on the right track we've been disappointed in the past. Years of work, momentary windows of opportunity that must be utilized precisely. Only to find that the specimen was flawed from the beginning and that we had chosen incorrectly."
  82. 83. "You behave as if you were speaking of samples in a petri dish. You speak of sentient beings not laboratory rats. They must be allowed to have some say in their lives. You have lived among them for years and yet you still do not understand them." "I understand them too well. If they were asked they would agree, who would turn down the ability to change the world? Power is seductive, but power corrupts, and that is why it is not offered." "They need to know what they face. They must have the choice to refuse."
  83. 84. "I know you feel responsible for the family Squatch, but you should not interfere. You can't tell them about the collective. Whatever you do tell them, will only burden them." "I will not break our agreement. But I owe them an explanation, if this time the collective is on the right path, they will need protection." "Not from the collective, we will not harm them." "Do you not believe that using them will harm them? However, it is not the collective that worries me." _________________
  84. 85. "This place never seems to change; it's almost as if we step back in time when we come here. Nothing changes. It's been years since I first came here but it's exactly the same. The people change but the place remains the same." "Do you remember the first time we were here together?"
  85. 86. "I remember that we couldn't keep our hands off each other." "Nothing changes." _____________
  86. 87. "Is your phone working?" Ferdie asked his brother. "I haven't checked it why?" "I got a text message from Tina right before we hit the mountain, I've been trying to answer ever since but I can't get a signal. I was wondering if it was just my phone." "Probably not, communication up here is pretty spotty. Between the mountains and the clouds, you'll be lucky to get an hour a day. Send her an email, it will route out eventually. "
  87. 88. "That sucks." "Yeah, last time we were up here I kept trying to get in touch with people but never could. I wouldn't worry about it, it's probably not important." "She sounded upset." "Yeah well, it's probably just a test. She wants to see if you'll still jump when she calls."
  88. 89. "So what if it's a test? I would have thought you of all people would understand how it is with friends, Frankie." "She's just a townie kid, it's not like she's someone important." "She's important to me." "Hey look, don't get all defensive, it'll take you awhile to wean her off dependency."
  89. 90. What did Frankie know about dependency? He had so many friends; one more of less wouldn't matter. If he lost one, there would always be another one. Who did Ferdie have? He had Eagle of course, and Eustace. They were his buds. Then there was Erin, she'd stand by him no matter what. But Tina was special, and unlike the others she didn't have the assurance that he'd always be around. The rest of the crew was moving on, they'd be in high school soon. In a way he had been surprised to even get a message from her, the way she'd run off he'd expected that he'd need to make the first move. But there was the message on his phone. 'WTF is going on? What did you do Ferd!?!? Call me!!!!!111!!11!" He didn't know what he'd done, but he'd been summoned. If it was a test then so be it, he meant to pass the test.
  90. 91. Frankie knew plenty about dependency. Sometimes he felt that if he turned on his computer and there wasn't a message from Annie he'd die. He knew it was crazy, but that's the way he felt. Frankie had other friends, plenty of friends, but none of them were like Annie. She was special. And she was just a friend. Sure he'd kissed her but it was just a kiss right? During his 'incarceration' Annie had been his lifeline to the 'real world'. Maybe not to the world that he was accustomed to but it was real. She told him about everything; school, work, her Mom. In a way it was like his friendship with Lisha, but there was something different. 'Lisha already knew everything about Frankie, and over the past few weeks he hadn't felt as if he was contributing much to their conversations. He listened to the gossip and passed on what little he'd garnered at school and family gatherings, but mostly she already knew what he knew.
  91. 92. With Annie, Frankie felt as if he had found a new and rapt audience. Nothing they talked about was past history. He didn't feel as if he was burdening Annie when he recounted events in his childhood. When he tried to talk to 'Lisha about Cigam and everything, she had a tendency to blank out. It wasn't that Elisha didn't care; it was just that there were only so many times that they could turn over the same pieces of information. With Annie everything was new, she thought it was extremely fascinating and exciting. He had to admit that she had some good ideas as well. He had some new questions to ask when the family found Squatch again. If the lines of communication were down he'd have to get by with email and hope that his message would eventually get sent.
  92. 93. Frankie had been concentrating so much on the email he was composing that he hadn't heard his father walk up. It wasn't until Aldric had sat down and started talking that Frankie had become aware of his presence. "What's up with the laptop Frank? We're in the middle of the great outdoors; can't you set it aside for a few days?" "Why? You always talk about the wonders of the modern world, how technology is changing things every time you turn around. How we should keep up with what's going on so that we don't start to slack behind."
  93. 94. "A day or two isn't going to matter, no matter how quickly technology advances; you'll be able to take a weekend away from it." "I was just sending an email. Is that okay or am I restricted from email privileges now as well?" "Frank, I understand that being grounded hasn't been fun, but I don't think your Mother and I have been unreasonable in our restrictions. You have all day at school to catch up with your friends. We let you visit with the family, and don't try to tell me that while you're at Elisha's that no one else is there. Elle has an open door policy and we both know it. If there's anyone you want to see, I'm sure you could arrange it. You act like you're in prison and that's just not true."
  94. 95. "Dad, it's just, it's your fault!" "What's my fault, Frankie? Is it my fault you snuck out in the middle of the night, put yourself and your cousins at risk? That you couldn't be bothered to tell your Grandparents of your plans? You know better than that." "You're the one that told me I couldn't date anyone back home."
  95. 96. "You gave me this whole big spiel about not kissing any cousins. How I should find someone that wasn't connected to the family in any way. So I did what you told me to do. And now I'll never see her again because you won't let me. I screwed up; we shouldn't have done what we did. I said I was sorry. What more do you want?" "So who's the girl?" "Her name's Annie."
  96. 97. Communication between teenagers and their parents is often sporadic at best. Parents often feel shut out from their children's lives. Kids seem to go from wanting to share everything to being secretive and withholding crucial information. Getting information from a teenager can be like pulling teeth, but an intuitive parent will listen when the teen finally decides to give up even a few dribbles. So when Frankie began talking about Annie, his father listened. __________________
  97. 98. Evette couldn't believe what she had just heard. All this time she'd been pining for Ewan, and he'd been mooning over her sister, her sister. Not just her sister, her twin! What was wrong with him, why couldn't he see what was right in front of his face?
  98. 99. It wasn't as if he wasn't aware that Vonny and Enique were an item, everyone knew they were. But when Evette had asked Ewan if he was going with anyone to the senior picnic, he'd blushed and said he was hoping Evonne would go with him. "Evonne? But what about Enrique?" "He's not a senior; you can only go to the picnic if you're a senior or with a senior. They aren't going steady. The way I heard it, he asked and she refused. She wants to keep her options open, I'm an option."
  99. 100. "It's just, Ewan do you really think she's your type?" "Well sure she is, why not?" Evette wanted to shake him. She wanted to say that even if Evonne did go with him, it would only be because she wanted to go to the picnic. Not because she was interested in him. Ewan was way too clean cut for Vonny; Evonne liked guys with an edge to them. But how could she do that? You can't just tell a guy that he's not cool. Any way that she put it would sound like an insult. Ewan was fine the way he was, he was awesome, and truth was he was too good for her sister. Evette couldn't say that either, sisterly loyalty held her back. She wasn't any better than her sister, why did she think she was good enough for him if Vonny wasn't? __________________
  100. 101. Ferdie couldn't believe it. There was a bigfoot sitting at the table next to him eating a hot dog. A bigfoot! Even having heard the stories about Squatch, Ferdie hadn't really believed he was real. It was all like some kind of big joke and eventually, he'd been sure, someone was going to let him in on the punch line. They'd been getting ready to eat lunch when someone knocked on the door. When his mother had answered she'd let out a small squawk but that was the only indication of surprise that anyone had given. They were all treating it as if everything was perfectly normal and that there wasn't anything strange going on.
  101. 102. His Mom had even apologized that all they had was hot dogs. She shouldn't have to apologize, the guy hadn't even been invited, and he'd just shown up. Squatch had protested the hot dogs were fine, he'd already had his meal but he'd join them for a snack. How much did this guy normally eat if he considered three hot dogs to be a snack?
  102. 103. Frankie wasn't hiding his excitement over Squatch being there. He was treating this guy like a long lost relative, a favorite Uncle. During the entire meal Frankie and Squatch had kept up their dialog, with Frankie telling him everything that had been going on in his life since they'd last seen each other. The oddest thing though was the Squatch was listening intently and interjecting questions about their cousins. 'How was Miss Vetty doing?' apparently he'd liked her spunk. Elm's curiosity was commented on as well as Elan's audacity and Evonne's poise of all things. Imagine Vonny appearing poised, she must have been terrified by the guy in order to have given that type of impression.
  103. 104. "Frankie, why don't you clean up in here and give Squatch and me a chance to talk a bit. Maybe you can rustle up some fish for dinner. We'd like to serve something a little more substantial than the salad we were planning if we're going to have a guest." Aldric's back was turned so he didn't see Squath wince at the mention of fish. Frankie looked at Squatch; he wanted to hear what they were going to talk about. He wanted Squatch to insist that he be included in the conversation. But Squatch just nodded. "We will have plenty of time to talk later Frankie; I look forward to our conversations, but for now your father and I must talk."
  104. 105. Aldric and Squatch had moved into the living room, and when Aldric saw him staring at the chess board he'd offered to play a game. Squatch eagerly agreed. It was rare that he found himself in the type of surroundings that the Familiar's vacation home offered. It wasn't luxurious, but it was comfortable with all the amenities that are taken for granted when money isn't a concern. It was not a place that Squatch could be comfortable in for very long but occasionally amenities were nice.
  105. 106. "I wish to apologize for dropping in on your family the way that I did. I have been expecting your visit and when I heard that you were here I thought that it would be easier if I came to you. I realize that approaching in this way has put you ill at ease. It is just that I feel I know you very well and yet in reality we have never met." "Emma and I have heard a lot about you as well. There's very little you could do to upset us. I don't want to consider what might have happened to our son if it wasn't for you. We owe you for his life. You are always welcome in our home. We were planning to come to you this afternoon. It's a long drive and we wanted a chance to unwind before starting the hike."
  106. 107. "It's probably better that you went ahead and came here. It's unfortunate but we don't have much time to spend in Three Lakes at the moment. The boys have school on Monday, and since the semester is coming to an end it's important that they be there. Not that there's ever a convenient time to take a vacation. Not when you are trying to juggle a family's schedule." "You sound as if you do not wish to be here. I should have realized when you did not attempt to see me yourself after, after your brother's death." "I don't know what I wish. It's upsetting to realize that I know nothing about myself. Everything that I once thought I was is no longer relevant. And knowing that a stranger knows more about me than I know about myself is even worse."
  107. 108. Squatch shook his head. "Who you are has not changed. What I can offer you is pieces of history. I had hoped that I could provide you with answers, I do not wish to upset you." "I think it's unavoidable. I have to know, how can I help my sons to understand if I don't understand myself? I'm not really sure what to ask you, I'm not sure of your place in the puzzle. If you only want to tell me about my brother then why did you want my kids here as well? I have to believe that there's more to it than that. David seems to believe that everything and everyone on this mountain is connected in some manner. But he sees conspiracies in everything."
  108. 109. "He is mostly correct, but there is no conspiracy involved. It is just that those that belong here gravitate here. Many, like your wife's family, never know why they are attracted to the area. They find it peaceful and relaxing, and so they return time and again seeking that peace. Others, like your father, know that they belong here. Many of those get frustrated that they can't effect the changes necessary, their frustration drives them away, but they always return." "Always?" "Always. Once one of your kind finds this place they have difficulty staying away. I'm sure you've felt it. Your brother, once he understood, told me it was like a suggestion had been planted. When he was under stress he would feel that a trip to the mountain was in order. He should have listened to that suggestion more often."
  109. 110. "Do you mean that if he had listened to the suggestion that he wouldn't, he wouldn't have been the way he was?" Aldric didn't want to come right out and call his brother crazy. "That is difficult to judge, Almeric fought a difficult battle most of his life." Squatch looked Aldric in the eye, "His mother." Aldric nodded, "Tell me about her, and about my brother. It's hard to admit, but I realize that you knew the man I thought was my twin better than I do." And so Squatch started talking. ________________________________
  110. 111. "Aren't you ever going to put that thing down? It's not like any messages you write will get sent on this pile of rocks. You aren't getting a signal are you?" Ferdie still hadn't been able to reach Tina and he was getting more and more anxious. "Nah, but if I send it now then it will be in holding till a connection opens. The smallest window of time will let the email through. I'm more likely to get the message out this way than by constantly pounding the buttons on a cell phone." Frankie smirked, "want to borrow it?"
  111. 112. "Nah, that's okay. If I knew what she was upset about I would, but I have no clue what I've done." "Did you take her baby doll?" "You know, even though she's just a kid Tina's way more mature than you are."
  112. 113. "Well lookie there, my baby brother's lecturing me about maturity. Don't get your panties in a bunch Ferd; I'm just trying to help you face facts. You let a townie kid grab hold of you and when you're fifty you'll still be expected at tea parties in the park." "So what?" "So nothing, you'll figure it out yourself. Hopefully sooner than later, just remember that Tina understands the way things are. You're only hurting yourself staying attached at this point."
  113. 114. "Who were you emailing frantically? We're only gonna be here two days, what's so important to you that it can't wait." "Dad said I could go to the city on Thursday to see Annie, I was just letting her know." "But Thursday's the senior picnic; you're a senior you gotta be there." "No I don't, it's optional. It's not like I won't see everyone on campus next semester anyway. Annie's going to Sim State, so it's my only chance to see her, maybe forever." ____________________________
  114. 115. "Remember Zeke, tux fittings on Tuesday. We can all go in my car but you gotta be ready by three, the place closes at five. You, Ezra and Elijah all need to be fitted." Eureka Familiar told his soon to be nephew by marriage. "We gotta wear monkey suits?" "Of course! I want my groomsmen looking spiffy. 'Sides your Grandma insisted, Juliet and Robert are going all out on this thing. Nothing too good for their baby. Isn't that right baby?" Eureka said as he winked at his fiancé.
  115. 116. Zeke's Aunt Diana* swallowed, "It's gonna be crazy, I don't even want to think about the number guests she keeps adding to the list. The place is gonna be packed, I'm afraid I'll get stage fright." *Diana McAuley is the only child of Juliet Capp and her husband Robert. She is the stepsister of Elliot Capp and therefore an Aunt to the six Capp children. Diana was not born until Elliot was in University and is much younger than her brother. She's more a contemporary to her nephews than to their father.
  116. 117. "We'll be fine; everyone says that once you're under the arch you forget about everyone else but each other. The guests are only important for the presents they bring." "It's our wedding; you'd think that it would be about us. I told Mom I wanted to be married in the backyard and she threw a conniption. She says once was enough, 'I didn't get to have any say in Elliot's wedding, that girl wouldn't listen to a word of advice, but I'm not going to be cheated out of seeing at least one of my children do it properly'. Sorry 'Zeke but you know how Mom is when she's on a tear." "Grandma never has anything good to say about Mom."
  117. 118. "Now that's not true, she always says that at least Deanna makes pretty babies." "I think she failed to provide in my case." "Aww don't say that, you were a very pretty baby Zeke. I remember." Diana didn't add that she also remembered changing his diapers. The boys always seemed to be embarrassed about that fact.
  118. 119. "And remember if you're going to bring a date, you need to let Mom know before the first. That's our closing date with the caterer." "A date? I didn't know I was expected to bring a date." A date? "You don't have to but you can. There will be plenty of girls to dance with, but if you want to bring someone special you can." "More bridesmaids than groomsmen at this point, even a few that aren't related to you," added Eureka. "Then again those that aren't related to you are related to me, and I'll be forced to ask your intentions towards them." ______________
  119. 120. Stupid cell phones not working when they should. Ferdie guessed he could walk down the road and try the pay phone. He wasn't sure how much that would cost, and he didn't have any change anyway. How did the people that lived up here all the time communicate with each other? Did they only talk on land lines? That was so antiquated. Come on, come on. Hey it's connecting, well what do you know about that?
  120. 121. "Hi Mrs. Traveller can I talk Tina please? This is Ferdie." "Ferd you idiot this is Tina, it's about time you called me, I thought maybe you were hiding from me." "No, nah Tina it's this place, cell connections are horrible up here sometimes. This was the first time I could get a signal. Connection must still be bad. You sound weird; I thought you were your Mom. What's up with the hate mail Tina? What did I supposedly do?"
  121. 122. "You know what you did, I want to know how you managed it? It's not supposed to happen Ferd, townie kids don't grow up. It's a fact of life. Everyone's looking at me like I'm some freak now." "Wait, wait, it worked? Well that's awesome! That's great; I didn't think it would work." "What worked Ferdie? What did you do? Why didn't you at least give me some warning?" "I made a wish, on my cake. I couldn't tell you before hand cause if you tell what you're wishing for it won't come true. Besides it wasn't supposed to work, everyone said that there was no way."
  122. 123. "It isn't supposed to work Ferdie; don't you think it hasn't been tried before? If it was that easy there'd be townie kids growing up regularly. It takes more than a simple wish." "Does it really matter how it happened? Aren't you happy about growing up? I thought it's what you wanted." "I did, but I never thought it would happen. I don't know how I feel yet, is it better to be an eternal teen rather than an eternal child?"
  123. 124. Ferdie hadn't thought about that. "I don't know. Maybe it'll work again. We'll figure it out. Let me think about it I'll be home tomorrow can we talk then?" "Sure okay." ___________________ Continued in Part Two Shortly