Fortune’s Fancy- Chapter 2 part 1 A Legacy by Nicbemused and simself Nicki Bemused with possible commentary by Other Characters
A quick recap of the last part: Flushed with happiness from Bastien’s wedding, Alex and Liefreturn home to find their youngest child has been kidnapped. To get him back and punish theperpetrator, they (and Brenda, Bastien, and Chloe) make a deal with wicked witch Deirdre thatrequires the completion of a lengthy and generations consuming quest. Bryan opts out, creatinga rift between he and his mother. Brenda has Camden, Bastien and Chloe have twins Cleopatra(know as Tara) and Colette (know as Lettie). Brenda graduates and returns home and discoversherself pregnant again and has Conrad. Bastien and Chloe graduate and they and their girlsreturn. Bryan gets his master’s, graduates, and returns. Brenda is heir.
Once back in Enhearten, Bastien and Chloe bought the best house theycould qualify for a loan for. Brenda had suggested they ask for her parent’shelp, but Bastien had categorically refused. He wanted to do it himself, hesaid.
It wasn’t a great house, though it looked OK from the outside. It was small to begin with, and then ithad been a foreclosure that the former owners had basically trashed before leaving. Almost all thewallboard had been smashed and had to be taken out, the carpets were soiled with stains and neededto be removed as well. The cabinets had been broken and they had taken the stove and most of theother appliances with them. Bastien and Chloe had baby stuff from Alex and Leif, of course, but untiltheir bed was delivered they had to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor. It was going to be a longproject to make the house was truly livable.
Bryan was back in his hometown as well, but he deliberately chose to move into acinderblock bunker. The spying tools he was learning about in the SCIA training programcould see and hear a sim from a neighborhood away and with the stuff he wanted toexperiment with, he wasn’t going to take any chances unless he could afford his ownCOMPOUND!
Elsewhere another child was moving on with his life. Dierdre looked down at her son.“Boyo, you are growing up far too fast. Nearly human speed. A child so weak in ourgenetics will not be useful to me in and of himself. You had best hope you carry thenecessary genetic markers.”“Gwow Up FAST!”“Yes, Corsair, you do. Unfortunately.”
However, everyone ages and Brenda was planning a party for her parents. She invitedBastien and Chloe and their family and the guy she was currently seeing, Pete, and afew of her parents’ friends. She was tempted to invite Bryan, but she didn’t want todisturb her mother. Alex had called to say that she was going to be late, but they allhoped she’d make it before the party was over, so Leif stood up by himself.
“This is a great many candles. It is best that I have changed the fire alarmbattery.” Leif joked as he blew out the candles and his children cheered himon. “It is good your mother has not returned yet, she is afraid of such a largeflame.”
As Leif finished blowing the candles out, they heard Alex’s car pull up.“Best I hurry so that your mother can have her turn.”
And with that, Leif finished his aging portion of thebirthday party.
“Hurry Children.” He told them. “We must hurry so that your mother does not sneak aboutand have her birthday by herself.”Listening to her father, Brenda realized that unless things changed, there would be no one toshare her birthday as her parents shared theirs. Did she want to be alone when she becameold? Did she want to shoulder all the responsibilities for the family alone when the timecame?
Alex shook her head to clear it and they all ran out tothe street to follow her father’s instructions.
They were just in time too. Alex had already started to hold her birthdaywithout them. She didn’t get away with it though. They were all there tocheer her on.“Go mama! Go!” Blake was a bit overexcited from all the birthdays.
And, with all her family there, Alex finally agreedthat it was time for her birthday.
Brenda didn’t know what her mother had beenworried about. As always, she was a beautifulwoman, no matter what her age.
That night Brenda asked Pete to stay over. They’d been going out for a whileand she thought she loved him. Maybe. Anyway it was the longestmonogamous relationship she’d been in, she must love him, right? Time to takethings to the next level and see.
With all the big people in the family busy, Camden tooka nap on Artemis.
With Blake grown up and going to school, she was his favorite playmate.She always had time for him, even when mommy was tired and Grandpaand Grandma were busy.
She even let him see when she had her puppy. Itwas kind of icky, but then there was a puppy!
Soon, though, it was time for Camden’s birthday. He was very excited that he would soonbe big enough to go to school and that mommy would be the person helping him get big,even though she’d been very tired lately. He didn’t even mind sharing with Stinky Conniebecause he got his very own cake that he would get to eat and Conrad would only get abottle and no cake at all.
And, with a quick puff at his candles, Camden decided that itwas time to be a big boy. And he was right, he even got cake togo with his new maturity.
Then it was Conrad’s turn. Camden wasn’t really interested, he was moreinto talking with Blake’s friends, but Brenda couldn’t wait to see her babybecome a toddler.
He was turning into such a cute little boy, it was time tostart teaching him to walk and talk and use the potty.
For now though, he was a very tired little boy and Alex was going to takehim into the nursery to put him down for the night before rejoining themfor cake
That night Brenda celebrated the Birthdays of her two sons in her ownway. She’d been too tired recently to go out much, but Pete seemedfine with staying in and he got on well with her family. She wonderedif he really was the one, but how would she know?
Later that week, Brenda received what she chose to think of as a sign, ignoringthe fact that she hadn’t been regular with her pills and Pete didn’t like condomsall that much and often “forgot” especially late at night or if they’d been out andhad some drinks. Surely the universe was telling her he was the right one, right?
Brenda wasn’t sure how to ask him, he’d never said anything about marriage,but she figured that now was the time. She scouted out a few locations anddecided she liked the new place down on the beach. If she listened to hernerves and chickened out, it would still be a romantic date.
Then she called to see if he was available. He was free that night, so sheasked him to come down and meet her.First they went for a walk on the beach.
Then they danced to the live band up on the restaurant’s open deckuntil dusk.
Finally they took the photo booth for a spin. Brenda came out giggling.“That was a kick! I haven’t done that since Uni!” she laughed with him.He agreed. “Brends, you are the best date.”OK, that proved they were compatible, right? Another good sign. It was time. “Letsgo down to the beach again.”
“Sure, give me a sec, I’ll follow you.” Pete headed in the directions of therestrooms.Brenda was actually kind of relieved, it gave her a chance to get ready. She didn’tsee him stop, say something to a laughing waitress, and pass her a piece of paper.
When he got there, Brenda couldn’t take her nerves any more, she had to askhim right away. “Pete, I’m in love with you and I’d like to spend my life withyou, laughing like we did tonight and maybe raising a couple of kids. Will youmarry me?”
He seemed surprised and for a minute she was afraid he was going to say no.After a long pause, he finally answered her, “Sure. I love you too, so why not.”It wasn’t the most romantic answer, but a yes was a yes. No need to benervous. Really.
And despite the not-terribly-romantic answer, he felt right in her arms.
Alex and Leif appeared thrilled for Brenda and it seemed like she hardly hadany time to think before the wedding was planned and she was waitingunder the arch for Pete. Waiting. And Waiting.
When he arrived, Pete apologized handsomely for having been delayed. Hestood solidly through the ceremony and seemed fine when she placed hisring on his finger.
He only faltered a bit when saying his vows before putting her ring on herfinger. Maybe he was nervous too.
But the kiss at the end? The kiss was excellent.
It was so excellent that at first Brenda didn’t mind when Pete left her side to“get some air.” But she did notice when it started raining and he didn’tcome back in.
And she kind of minded when he collapsed on the grasswith a moan. Was he sick maybe?
Then he started muttering to himself about marriage and she did really mindthat. But he pulled himself together and then apologized. “Sorry, baby, I neverexpected to get married. I panicked for a minute.”And Brenda forgave him.
There were no problems for the rest of the party.They cut the cake and Brenda gently fed a bite to Pete. She was stillfeeling… unsettled.
It wasn’t until they were all sitting around the table together that shetruly felt all was well. Everyone together in the kitchen, around the table,this was how it was supposed to be. This was right.
She smiled when she caught her parents sneaking off together to share adance alone in the moonlight. That. That was what she wanted.
When she heard Pete’s voice calling Brenda turned away from the windowand hurried out to the limo out front. Alex and Leif were going to watchthe kids while she and Peter were on their honeymoon. Alex had said itwould be no trouble at all.
It was a very short two weeks before they got back, but that last morning Brenda hadn’t been able tofit into her regular clothes any more. She didn’t think Pete had noticed with all the travel rush, butwhen the got out of the limo aback at the house, Pete turned to her. “I guess you weren’t kiddingabout having a kid after we got married. I wonder why you didn’t say something.”Brenda wasn’t sure how to respond. She should have said something, but he hadn’t objected whenshe talked about having his baby and neither of them had been careful, it was just going to happensooner than he thought maybe. “Surprise?”
This pregnancy passed much as the last one had. Brenda took care of thehousehold needs.
Though this time she added pet training to her round of household choresand of course she went to her culinary classes. She was glad she was almostthrough with those.
Brenda also tried to make sure she spent plenty of time playing with Conrad, asshe had with Camden, so that he wouldn’t feel deserted with the new baby on theway. She wished Pete would spend some time with her boys, but he didn’t seemall that interested. Maybe with the new baby?
Brenda and Pete did manage to spend time together as a couple, Peteespecially seemed to love it when she listened to him play and told him howgood he was.
Sometimes, though, especially if the house where noisy he’d shout and stompoff to the observation platform to “Be alone Lady-take-you-all. Why isn’t itever quiet?”
On those nights Brenda would work on her Final Project for culinary schooluntil he came in. Pete complained she was spending too much time on thecomputer if she worked on her cook book when he was around.
The night she finally finished her book, her Final Culinary Project, Brenda wentinto labor. She’d been in labor for most of the afternoon, she figured out later,but only got up when she started having really strong contractions. She tried tobe quiet so Pete wouldn’t hear.
Pete was still asleep when his son appeared. Little Cyr was a redhead like hismama and grand-daddy, pale as both his parents, and cute as his button nose.Exhausted, Brenda thought maybe he’d be her last.
She wasn’t able to stay home with Cyr for too long because the job she wanted finally opened up.There was a tough, creative, chef at one of the local restaurants and she’d been dying to work in hiskitchen. There weren’t very many openings, his team had very low turnover, so she had to grab thechance while she could. Brenda was nervous about leaving Cyr alone for the first time, but Alexreassured her, reminding her that Leif would be home all day and she’d be home for a lot of it too andshe was sure that Pete would do fine with the baby as well. Brenda finally stopped fretting and hurriedto work just before she’d risk being late.
As if the house weren’t busy enough, Artemis chose that time to have two morepuppies. With the new baby, the people in the household hadn’t paid enoughattention to the dogs and nobody had noticed that Artemis was pregnant whenshe sneaked off to den up on a pile of leaves behind the pond.
“I can’t believe you snuck off and had more babies like that. Not that I don’t like puppies,but there are enough human puppies in the house right now and Mom and Papa are gettingtoo old to take care of so many dogs, and Pete isn’t fond of dogs at all, so you know all this isgoing to be on me.”“Wuff.”“Yeah, I know, not your problem.”
Fortunately Brenda did really like dogs, even if everything going on kept herrunning, and she was proud and happy with Artemis finally trusted her withtheir newest addition and no longer growled when she petted him.
And Pete did try to help out. He and Blake seemed to get along well, heoften helped Blake with his music or his homework, and he did make dinnermost nights.
Some night, though. Some nights he disappeared after they all went tobed. Brenda would wake up in the middle of the night and the sheetsnext to her would be cold.
She didn’t know where he went on those nights.
She didn’t know what he was doing or who he was doingit with.
And she didn’t know what to say when he snuggled down into bedwith her after he came back. So she didn’t say anything, she justworried silently.
One Saturday morning, after he’d been out the night before, they were laying in bed talking.“So. Cyr’s starting to get pretty big, and Conrad’s nearly a child.”Brenda was surprised, she didn’t realize he’d noticed. “Uh huh. Soon it will be toddler training all over again.”“It’s funny, looking at the two of them, Conrad looks more mine than Cyr does.” He paused. “How is Garrickthese days, anyway?”“Hmm? Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t spoken with him since Con was born. I’m sure he’s fine.” Brenda wasn’tworried about Garrick, he’d been out of her life for years.“Oh. Well. If you’re sure.” Pete paused again. “I think we should have a baby. Another one, I mean. Thekids are getting older, and Blake is almost a teenager and could help out.”“Are you sure? I’d need a lot of help if we had another, I can hardly keep up with what I have to do now.”“I’d help out more this time.” Brenda looked at him for a long time and promised to think about it.
Brenda did think about it. She noticed that Blake and Cam were very good friends,that Blake acted a lot like he was Camden’s older brother, helping him with schoolwork and making sure he had friends and including him in all Blake’s activities. Andsometimes giving him a hard time, but not TOO often.
She thought that Con learned everything so quickly and he was almost oldenough to go to school and that Cyr was a very good baby and hardly evercried. And in the end, she told Pete that maybe they should simply quittaking care to not get pregnant and they’d see what happened.
It was not long before Brenda was spending her mornings analyzing thecleanliness of the plumbing fixtures. In fact, it was just before Con’sbirthday, again. She was afraid he was going to get a complex.
As usual, they had a family party, with Alex inviting Lettie and Tara over, as well astheir parents. They didn’t’ get to spend nearly enough time together lately, everyonewas so busy with their own lives. Blake said he was too old for a kidparty, but hismother looked him in the eye and told him not yet he wasn’t, so he quieted down andenjoyed himself more than he’d expected.
Unfortunately it started to snow, so Alex called everyone in for cake and hotCocoa and brought Con in to blow out his candles. Brenda had stayed up latethe night before to make his cake, since she wasn’t able to make the party dueto work.
Everyone else had come to watch Con get older, though, including Bryan. Alexstill wasn’t talking to him, but she put up with his presence anyway. Shewanted to forgive him, but he’d never apologized and she wouldn’t forgiveuntil he did.
Con wasn’t sure what to think about this getting older bit. The cake seemedgood, and it was cool that he was old enough to play with Blake and Camdenand the cousins, but he felt awkward with his longer arms and legs and wasn’tsure about school at all.
Two days after the party, Leif was doing his yoga on the back deck and thinking. He liked doing hisYoga outside, but the cold was starting to get to him in his old age. The children were getting oldertoo, even Blake. He was almost a teen. Lady, the child he’d had after his oldest had already left thenest was almost a teenager. He really was getting old, and Alex too. Even Brenda was getting moretired. He hoped this was her last pregnancy, she had too much responsibility and more than enoughkids to carry on the family name and she seemed worn out.
Perhaps he and Alex should give Brenda and Pete a break and take all the older kids on vacation,Lettie and Tara as well. It would be fun, the kids could become better acquainted before Blake gottoo old, and it would give Alex and Pete a chance for some alone time before the baby came. Thiswas a good idea, he would speak with Alex. Leif looked out over the barren winter landscape. Andit would be warm. He would tell Alex to find them someplace warm.
Alex thought Leif’s idea was the best one she’d heard in a while and researched eagerly. Itwould give her and Leif time to bond more with all the older children and Brenda coulddefinitely use a break. The pregnancy was wearing her down and she and Pete neededsome time as a couple. There was some problem there and maybe with everyone but thebaby out of their hair they’d have time to work it out.
In the end, she decided that Twikki would be the best place to go and, onceshe’d gotten approval from all the parents involved, she booked the tickets.
So, very late Thursday evening (the kids were having a 4 day weekend) Chloe brought thegirls over, kissed them goodbye, and they all headed for the airport for their tropicalvacation. Alex grinned when she saw that Camden was so excited he was out the doortwenty steps before everyone else.“Hey! Wait for us!” Blake wasn’t used to having to catch up.
Everyone slept on the plane and they got in, refreshed, very early Friday morning.Since it was their first trip to Twikki and she and Leif were still paying off their homeimprovement loan, Alex had picked a decent, but not top end, hotel. It met all theirneeds, had a pool, and was only a short walk to the beach. Alex nodded to herself, “Itwill do nicely.”
While Alex checked them all in…“Boy, you’ve got a big party there, Mrs. Destin. Taking the grandkids on vacation?”“Something like that.” She nodded vaguely.
Leif took the kids out to the pool. They didn’t seem to know what to dofirst, but he had his heart set on a swim and then some time in the sun,maybe he’d get Alex into the hot-tub after the kids were asleep. No winterhere!
Having had some fun, settled in, and gotten a good night’s sleep (spentsome time in the hot-tub), the next day they set off to explore the island.
Leif and Alex had let the kids choose their destination, so the Pirate ship wastheir first stop. Due to the rain, Leif, Alex, and even Blake opted to stayunder shelter, but the rest of the kids didn’t mind the wet.
And, just before they went home, even young Contaking a turn at defense.
While Camden played the commanding role ofPirate Captain.
“ARRR me hardies! Crank that sail! Tote that line!”“You crank the sail your own self! I’m going to climb thecrow’s nest!”
“Hah! He can’t boss me up here!”“ARRRRRR, me hardy! Finds us some land!”“Bother.”
Lettie couldn’t hear her cousin any more as she looked out over there ocean and thenturned toward the shore. There, near the volcano, there was almost a shimmer, it lookedlike a face. No, she couldn’t see it, there was nothing. Disappointed, she climbed down.“ARRRRR! Did you find us some land?”“Nope, all ocean.”“Then ye must WALK the PLANK!”
And so she did what none of the others dared to do. She walked out on theplank and, when she could see them all watching, pretended to loose herbalance.
“Lettie?” Cam sounded anxious, “Lettie, I didn’t mean to really walk the plank. Come back! Don’tfall!”Unfortunately Grandma saw it all and called for them to get back to shore so they could go home.Lettie smiled to herself and looked over the edge a last time before walking back onto the shipdeck.She wouldn’t lose her balance, she never did.
The next day, when they went to the ruins, Lettie still felt like there wassomething out there, but she didn’t see anything when she looked around.
The big waterfall was pretty cool though. Lettie sat on the edge listening toCon tell Grandma about having an new baby sister or brother. She wishedthey’d be quiet, there was something here that she thought deserved morerespect.
Finally they went to find Leif and the others and Lettie could give thewaterfall the attention she thought it deserved. She looked deeply into it.Deeply. Deeply.
And the waterfall looked back at her. She didn’t know how long it was before Leif called to her. “Whatis it that you are still doing here?”It seemed silly to tell him the waterfall was looking at her so she shrugged. “I like the water.”“Water is good, but lunch is better. Come and we shall have lunch.”She gave a quick shudder and turned away, looking back only once as she followed her grandfatherback to the food stand.
After dreaming of the waterfall all night, Lettie asked if they could stay at the hotel and play in the poolon their last morning rather than hunt up a new adventure. Leif and Alex agreed, so the kids spent apleasant morning playing in the pool while the adults lounged in the sun. Lettie’s eyes were drawntoward the mountains over and over, however, until Con asked if she was OK. He said they felt weirdto him and she should come play instead of staring. She smiled at her younger cousin and did as heasked.
Then it was time to go and they all piled back into the taxi for the airport.“Hurry up, Blake, you’re going to make us late!”“Coming!” Blake looked over at the mountains too. They were weird, heliked the beach better.
When they got back to the house late that night, Blake was happy to be home.The vacation had been fun, but he thought there might be bad stuff there too.Mom and Papa were getting old and he liked Pete, but Pete didn’t seem to likethe little ones and Brends was only one person. He was glad he’d be old enoughto help protect the little ones soon, even if Lettie didn’t want protecting.
Author’s Note:What is going on with Brenda’s marriage?How will the kids interact as teens?Will they ever have friends outside the family?Find out next time!Lordy, that took a long time. Buying a house andpainting, and putting in new floors didn’t help, either. Idon’t think the next section will take 6 months to putout, half the kids are teens in play and I have a lot of thescenes shot already.Thanks for reading!