The Pseudo Legacy - Chapter Four, Part 14


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Chapter Four, Part Fourteen of the Pseudo Legacy, a Sims2 story by Orikes.

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The Pseudo Legacy - Chapter Four, Part 14

  1. 1. Welcome to Chapter Four, Part Fourteen of the Pseudo Legacy. Much happened in our last update. Persephone caught Ian visiting Hugh and confirmed her belief that her lost son was indeed still alive. Well, alive in a manner of speaking. That same night, Robi chose to abdicate both his immortality and his leadership of the local vampires, leaving his second in command, Mary Smith, holding the reigns. On the night of Oz’s birthday, Louise shared her first kiss with George McCarthy, much to the dismay of at least one person. The party was abruptly ended when Persephone was overcome by her normally dormant second sight and forced to give an ominous prophecy to, of all people, Star. (It has been quite some time since the last update, for which I apologize. Despite how long it has been since 4.13, this story picks up right where that one left off. If you are confused by what is going on, I highly recommend going back and re-reading the last couple of updates.)
  2. 2. The party abruptly changed in tone after Persephone’s prophetic moment with Star. Understandably, the older generations were very concerned once they heard of it. Casual friends and acquaintances were given apologies and a rain check on the rest of the party while a serious family meeting was quickly called to order for everyone else. Well, at least for the adults in the family. “This isn’t fair!” Josephine Legacina growled angrily for what must have been the tenth time in as many minutes. “Unfair! They treat us like.. like..” She struggled for a moment to try and find the right words to express her ire, “Like second class postage citizens ‘cause we’re littlest.” Stamping her feet, she glared up the stairs towards the main floor of the house, “THIS SUCKS!”
  3. 3. “It’s not that bad, Jojo.” Ash Whedonberry smiled brightly as he rolled the yellow sports car over the carpet, “Even if the ‘dults got all serious and turned off the music and sent us kids outta the room, we still get to hang out and play together.” Ava echoed her twin brother as she pointed towards the toy box that Jo was sitting on, “And all the toys are down here anyway.” “I don’t care,” The dark haired girl grumbled. “They didn’t kick Lou and Star out. We get dumped on ‘cause we’re littlest.”
  4. 4. “Actually, we’re not the littlest.” Ash picked up the car and examined the underside for a moment before he looked back up at Jo and smiled brightly, “Zephyr and Sam are littlest. They’re so littlest they couldn’t even come to the party at all.” Squaring his shoulders he stated proudly, “We got to have cake.” Almost under her breath, Jo muttered, “Babies don’t count.” Curiosity got the better of her as she asked, “Where are they anyway?” “Mama asked the Numbni Sociation to babysit Sammy.” Brow furrowing for a moment he added, “And I think Star said somethin’ ‘bout the pack watchin’ Zephyr.”
  5. 5. Following on her brother’s words, Ava added helpfully, “Lou and Star didn’t get to stay either. They was there at first ‘cause Star heard what Gramma said, but Granpa and Aunt Shelby told them to let the ‘dults talk ‘bout it first.” Jo narrowed her eyes, “How do you know that.” Ava beamed a bright smile, “I had to use the potty, so I used the one right next to the dining room, so I heard what they were saying.”
  6. 6. Jo got up off the toy box with an exasperated roll of her eyes, “Why didn’t I think of that!?” Putting her hands on her hips, she glared at the wall on the other side of the room, “I could have hid in the bathroom and listened in and heard what they were talking about.” As Ava nodded sympathetically, Ash looked up and eyed Jo, “Then you’da missed out on playing. Are you gonna play with us or what?” “Fine.” Jo plopped down, “But I get the rocket ship.” *~*~*~*~*~*
  7. 7. While the youngest kids were in the basement with the toys, the new and almost teens had convened on the second floor. The house was designed with an open floor plan that allowed one to be on the top floor and see straight down into the basement. For most of the middle children, this was an awesome thing. For one, though, it caused quite a bit of distress. “C.come on, guys. What if you fall b.backwards, Chas.” Oz Legacina cringed as he wrung his hands, watching Chastity Thompson perch on the railing while Moon Walton and Hugh Trottier balanced on their hands and leaned forward as far as they could to get a look downstairs into the dining room. “Don’t that Hugh. It’s dangerous and you could fall a long way down if you slip.”
  8. 8. “Stop being such a worrywart, Oz.” Hugh purposefully lifted himself up and over just a little bit further, “We do this all the time on the jungle gym outside.” “That isn’t t.two floors up. Falling from that’s bad enough, but this c.could really hurt.” Oz gave a resigned sigh. Hugh flashed him a grin before looking back down, “We’re trying to hear what they’re talking about. Whatever it is, it’s gotta be interesting the way they all got serious.” He looked up and over at Moon, “Can you hear what they’re saying?”
  9. 9. In response, Moon just smiled and gave an odd little shrug. Hugh’s brows furrowed together as he tried to interpret that. Sometimes they could figure out what Moon was trying to say just from the look on her expressive face. This was not one of those times. “Do you know what they’re talking about?” The white haired little girl’s smile grew even wider as she nodded her head enthusiastically. “What are they saying!?” Hugh blurted out before he realized exactly what he was asking. Groaning at Moon’s silent laughter, he stuck his tongue out at the mute girl.
  10. 10. Despite the worry etched on his features, Oz said, “I’m sure they’ll let us know what’s g.going on when they’re ready.” His parents had looked too serious for this to be anything trivial, though. Already thinking of something else, Hugh eyed the little bit of the basement he could see down through the stairs, “Hey Moon, think we could peg Jo with a pillow from up here?” Her purple eyes widened for a moment before she grinned and nodded enthusiastically. Oz sighed and felt the burden of being one of the older kids for the first time, “Guys..”
  11. 11. “It’s gonna be okay, Oz.” Chastity tilted her head as she gave him a fond look, “We won’t fall and whatever has got your folks upset will work out just fine.” “I know, I just..” He trailed off before looking down at his feet, “I’m w.worried.” She gave him a gently encouraging smile, “It’s alright to be worried. Just don’t let it eat you up. Hey, aren’t we supposed to be celebrating your birthday and having fun? I didn’t even get to see what you got for a present.” “Oh.” Oz’s cheeks colored as he smiled shyly, “Lou and Jo got me some books that I’d wanted. Mom and Dad redid my room for me with all new stuff.” His smile turned upwards with a flicker of excitement in his eyes, “And Grandma and Grandpa got me a guitar.”
  12. 12. Chastity’s face lit up as she hopped off the railing with a delighted squeal, “A guitar? Really?!? That’s freaking awesome!” Oz blushed, “You really think so?” Before he could say anything more, an amused Hugh interrupted with an impish grin, “Won’t be awesome ‘til he learns how to play. It’ll sound like a strangled cat in a blender until he does.” “Shut it, Shorty.” Chastity shot back. “Hey, I won’t be short for much longer. My birthday is next.” Hugh’s reply was indignant.
  13. 13. “Seriously, Oz, I mean it.” Chastity stepped closer and said quietly as Hugh went back to theorizing how best to chuck a pillow down the stairs to hit the kids in the basement. Oz’s cheeks burned hot as he stammered, “I.I.I started taking lessons in school a.and I liked it a lot. They said it’s just a beginner guitar, but it’ll let me practice at home. Someday if I get good and want to keep going with it, they’ll help me buy a really nice one.” “I just know you’re going to be amazing, Oz. Can I see it?” “You want to see it?” Oz peeked at her through his fingers that he’d unconsciously raised to hide his face. “Of course I do!”
  14. 14. “You know my dad is a musician. Well, used to be. He’s kinda retired now.” Chastity explained as she led Oz off towards his room to see his present, “He still gets together with his old band mates for reunion tours and stuff. There’s a gold record on his wall and he’s got a really awesome guitar that some fancy schmancy guitar maker made just for him.” “R.really? I’d to see that.” Oz smiled shyly. “Come home with me after school this week. Dad won’t mind.” “Hey, where are you guys going?” Hugh called after them as he noticed them heading off. They didn’t seem to hear him as they disappeared into Oz’s room. Brow furrowing, he rolled his eyes, “Teenagers.” He sighed, “I can’t wait until I’m one too.”
  15. 15. Moon got down from the railing and gave Hugh a sympathetic look. “When we’re finally teenagers, they won’t be able to forget about us anymore, will they?” She smiled and nodded before mouthing the word ‘soon’. Even Hugh could get that. Grinning, he said, “Come on, let’s go find some pillows. It’ll be awesome to nail Jo with her own pillow!” *~*~*~*~*~*
  16. 16. The last of the ‘children’ were on the main floor in the living room. As the oldest teens, Louise had assumed she and Star would get to take part in the discussion. She was extremely disappointed to find out she was wrong. Of course, this did nothing to deter her from trying to find out what was going on. Glancing over her shoulder to make sure they were alone, Louise leaned over to Star and asked in a conspiratorial whisper, “So what did Grandma say to you?” Though she was trying to hide it, Star was slightly flustered. Frowning, she shrugged, “I don’t know. Aunt Persey said some weird stuff and then everyone freaked out. You know as much as I do, Lou.” Louise grinned with irrepressible curiosity, “What did you do to make Grandma go all weird? That hasn’t happened since I was really small.” Star’s eyes widened as she grew indignant, “I didn’t do anything.”
  17. 17. “It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. What’d you do?” “I didn’t DO anything!” Star’s voice rose with a hint of indignation, “Aunt Persey said some really strange things about celestial unseen guardians and prodigal heirs. It was crazy shit. I don’t know what it means. I just know her eyes were totally freaky.” With a roll of her eyes, Louise grinned. “Fine, don’t tell me.” “Lou! I did just tell you!” Raising a finger to her lips, Louise said, “It’s okay. You’ll tell me what you did later, I know. I’m gonna sneak over there and listen in on what they’re talking about.”
  18. 18. Louise carefully slipped around the corner and began moving stealthily towards the dining room. Star followed behind and hissed loudly, “But I didn’t do ANYTHING!” “Shhh!”
  19. 19. “Fine.” Star glowered after Louise. Leaning sullenly up against the banister of the stairs, she grumbled, “First I get some crazy old aunt telling me I’m some unseen guardian, like I’ve ever been unseen a day in my life, and now my best friend thinks I’m lying. Seriously, Lou. If I’d done something funky, I’d be bragging about it to you like always.” Ignoring Star’s muttered grumblings, Louise continued towards the dining room where the murmur of adult voices could be heard in serious discussion. Carefully, she moved up to the edge of the corner. Just a little further and she would be able to see as well as hear. She edged up to the corner and…
  20. 20. “Oh.” Louise stopped as she came face to face with a chest full of hair, “Hi Steve.” In the background, Star smirked. The bigfoot raised an eyebrow that was significantly hairier than the rest of him. “I.. uh.. left my cake in the dining room and figured I’d grab it.” She offered him a wide-eyed, innocent, and hopeful look, “I’ll just grab it and be right out of your way. What are you guys talking about anyway?”
  21. 21. Steve simply raised the other eyebrow to give her a knowing look, “Steve may be big and hairy, but me not born yesterday. Go play, Little Lou. You daddy will tell you what you need to know later.” With a frustrated sigh, Louise looked past Steve into the dining room, “Come on, Steve. Star and I are almost ready to go to college. We should be part of whatever they’re talking about, right? Star totally agrees with me!” “Hey! Leave me out of this!”
  22. 22. Inside the dining room, Elijah looked towards the door, “Louise, stop giving Steve a hard time. Your mother and I will talk with you about it later.” The conversation amongst the adults paused as they all glanced towards the door. Shelby struggled to keep a grin from tugging up the corners of her mouth. She knew exactly where her daughter got that stubborn streak from. “But Dad...” “Lou, listen to your father.” Shelby spoke up and gave her daughter a pointed look, instantly blocking the argument in the way only a mother can.
  23. 23. Defeated, Louise sighed and turned to leave, “Not fair, Steve.” “Steve’s mama never fair either, Little Lou, but Steve and his brother grew up just fine. Go play with Star.” The Bigfoot gave her a reassuring pat on her shoulder that nearly catapulted her into the next room. Parker Parker chuckled softly as he turned back to the room, “Persephone, are you sure you want me to stay? This seems like a family gathering and I don’t want to intrude.”
  24. 24. “Parker, you stay right where you are.” Persephone insisted gently, “You’ve been a friend of this family for as long as I can remember and you’re involved in..” Abruptly, she stopped herself and took a quick breath before she altered what she was saying. “You’re the only one here who knew my grandfather well. Your insight would be appreciated.” Matthew watched her with a hawkeyed gaze of concern, “Persey, you look exhausted. We can talk about this tomorrow after you’ve gotten some rest. I’m going to send everyone home.”
  25. 25. Persephone pursed her lips and closed her eyes for a moment, “Matthew Hourvitz Legacina, if you do not stop hovering over me, I am going to send you out of the room.” Looking up at those starting to push back their chairs she spoke authoritatively, “Stop that, this instant. Sit down. Everyone is going to stay here until we’re done talking.” He blinked and then frowned further before saying in a quieter voice just for her, “I’m worried about you. This can wait.” “No. It can’t.” She reached out her hand to lightly touch his, offering reassurance as she spoke softly to him, “This won’t take long and it’s important.” Persephone’s mouth turned up in a fond, if tired, smile, “Now behave before I scold you again.”
  26. 26. Off to one side, Dean arched an eyebrow as he watched the exchange between his in-laws. Leaning over towards his wife, he whispered a question, “They make me miss my folks. Think we’ll be like that when we’re a pair of silver foxes?” Miranda grinned widely as she looked from her parents to him, “No way, Jelly-Dean. I’ve got you traininated to not bossify me around.” With an impish twinkle in her eye, she poked him in the side. “Hey!” Dean squeaked before he grinned, “I’ll get you back for that later.” “Hush, Momasan is talking.”
  27. 27. “I want to thank you all for staying and I’m sorry for giving anyone a scare, especially Star.” Persephone’s tired expression grew grave as she began to speak. Aeric spoke up, “Star seemed more annoyed than scared, Aunt Persey.” He paused and added with a resigned sigh, “I think things that would terrify most people just annoy Star.” That earned a tiny smile, “Regardless, I am sorry.” She took a deep breath and explained, “I had a vision. Probably one of the strongest ones I’ve ever had. I felt something like this when…” She paused as a painful look crossed her features, “When we were attacked, but this time it was different. It was,” Another pause as she said, “There’s no other way to describe it but to say it was a Vision. A Prophecy.”
  28. 28. “Well, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?” Micah asked with a characteristic touch of optimism and confusion, “Prophecy means you know the future and knowing what happens is good, isn’t it?” His wife, Genesis, gave a little shake of her head as she explained in a gentle, patient way that spoke volumes about their relationship, “Prophecies are rarely clear on exactly what they mean, dear. They are often interpreted in different ways.” She paused and looked back to Persephone, her expression worried, “And they also rarely indicate good things for the future.” “Oh.” Micah deflated slightly as he looked at his younger sister, “Sorry. Go on, Persey.”
  29. 29. “There was so much more to what I Saw than the words I gave to Star. I saw flashes of possibilities and crossroads that I have no way to put into words. But the words I gave to her were very important and had to be spoken exactly as they came out.” Persephone closed her eyes and began to recite what she had said to Star earlier in the evening: “All will be lost if the celestials fail. Darkness will reign as the veil is torn asunder until all is gone as it was in the days that were and were not. Remember these things. If the shining heart of night does not find the way to open the gate, the many truths that have been seen and cannot be unseen will be destroyed. When the prodigal heir shatters, all rests on the strength of the unseen guardian who must forsake her very heart for the life of all others that ever have been or will be.” She opened her eyes and met the confused gazes of everyone looking at her, “No, I don’t know what it all means, but I could see that Star was the Unseen Guardian.” She shifted her gaze to Elijah and Shelby and finished, “And Louise is the Prodigal Heir.”
  30. 30. Everyone started talking at once. “Star? Unseen? Are you sure you mean our granddaughter?” “But what does it mean by the celestials?” “When is all this supposed to happen?” “Are you sure that it’s them?” “What about the other children?” One voice was suddenly heard above all the others with an adamant denial, “NO. Absolutely not.”
  31. 31. Everyone turned to look at Elijah who was shaking his head defiantly, “They’re too young, Mom. You must be interpreting what you saw wrong.” “Elijah,” she began gently. His voice rose, laced with just a hint of panic obvious only to those who knew him best, “It has to mean something else. Honestly, mom? Did you even listen to what you said? ‘The prodigal heir shatters’? I won’t put any of my kids through that. Not Louise, not Oz, not Jo. None of them. I won’t have it. You were wrong.”
  32. 32. “Enough!” Persephone’s grew firm, “Louise is the exact same age you were when I named you as my heir.” “But Mom, this..” “You do not have the right to ‘But mom’ me right now. This is too serious and you are too old for these shenanigans.” She pointed a finger at him as she continued, “Those children are growing up faster than you want to acknowledge. Star and Louise will be headed to University before the summer is over and the others won’t be long to follow. You’ve raised them well and I’m as proud of you as I could be, but you need to trust them. No matter how much you want to, you cannot be there for them every moment of their lives.” She finished with gentle words that did not hide the unexpected steel in her voice, “I speak from experience that you can only protect your children so far, Elijah.”
  33. 33. “Wow. Remind me not to get on her bad side.” Dean raised his eyebrows as he quietly listened to the conversation. “Don’t worry, Jelly-Dean. If you ever piss my Momasan off, it probabsolutely means you irritationated me first.” Miranda watched her mother with pride, “So she’ll have to get in line.” Ignoring that with a hidden smile, he asked softly, “Also, is she really asking us to trust the Double Dares? These are same girls who turned the last homecoming parade into a food fight on Main Street.” She muffled a snort of laughter and elbowed him in the side again.
  34. 34. Heather cleared her voice and spoke before the argument between mother and son could continue, “Persephone, did anything you see tell you what some of these things in the prophecy might mean? You say the unseen guardian is Star, but that she’ll have to sacrifice her heart?” Her expression was worried as she looked back towards her husband and the two people she had raised as if they were her own children. They all looked worried. Brody reached out and took his wife’s cool hand, but his expression went from perplexed to angry. There was a low growl in his voice, “I don’t like the way sacrifice sounds, Persey. There’s no way you can put a positive spin on that.”
  35. 35. Persephone responded sadly, “I don’t know what it means either. Yes, it could mean that she sacrifices her life to save Louise.” Brody began to growl louder. Matthew reached out and put a protective hand on Persephone’s shoulder, but she was unaffected by her eldest brother’s anger, “It’s something none of us want to contemplate, but we all know how close the girls are. It is possible.”
  36. 36. Elijah couldn’t keep quiet any longer, “The heir shatters and her best friend sacrifices herself? There is only one way that can be interpreted and I refuse to make my children go through that. We need to stop this, whatever it is!” Shelby stepped forward and put a calming hand on his shoulder, “Love, I don’t think it can work like that. I’ve done a little research on this since the night..” She paused and looked at Persephone and Matthew before she went ahead and said it gently, “Since the night Ian died. There is no manual on dealing with mystical stuff like this, but one thing is clear. Fighting it will only make it worse.” He looked up at her and frowned. Giving his shoulder a squeeze, she murmured with a quiet smile, “Remember how it felt when you were given your instructions to fix the seasons? Could you have fought that?”
  37. 37. “Elijah, she’s right.” Persephone said softly, “I said it was possible, but that doesn’t mean it is written in stone. There are dozens of ways these words can be interpreted and some of them may barely make any sense after all is said and done. Assuming the worst is going to happen is not going to help anyone, least of all the children.” “Mom,” His voice ached with worry, “You’re talking about our children. You’re talking about my daughter. My baby girl. How can I just let her face something like this?”
  38. 38. “It’s not just your daughter we’re talking about. Our daughter is as much a part of this as yours. Do you think we’re ignoring what these words could mean for her?” Aeric frowned down the table towards Elijah. “I didn’t say that..” Venus’ black eyes flashed angrily as she raised her voice, interrupting Elijah, “Enough. I’ve heard about as much of this whining as I can take. I may never win Mom-of-the-Year, but I know my kids. There is no way any of them would let anyone push them down without a fight. Not Star, not Zephyr, not even Moon. They’re strong and they’re capable of fighting for what they want.” She leaned back and crossed her arms, “And there’s sure as hell no way Star would put up with Louise if she wasn’t just as capable. Like I said, I know my kids. So let’s stop all this doomsday talk and figure out how we need to prepare them without crippling them with fear.”
  39. 39. “Thank you, Venus.” Persephone looked out at everyone and said, “Star already knows the prophecy and she’ll tell Louise when she’s ready. Until then, let’s talk about what we tell the children.” *~*~*~*~*~*
  40. 40. The house was finally quiet. The discussion had lasted until well after midnight and while no one was happy, they had at least talked through the worst of the panic. Once all the guests were gone, Matthew ushered an exhausted Persephone off to bed. The fact that she gave no protest and allowed him to coddle her spoke to how tired she truly was. Jo, along with Ash and Ava, had fallen asleep in the family room. She only gave a token protest when Elijah carried her up to bed. Oz seemed to be preoccupied with his own thoughts, so he simply nodded and kissed his mother before going to bed. Louise was the only one ready to fight tooth and nail to find out what was going on. It finally took stern words and a solemn promise from Shelby to get her into bed. Though he was also exhausted, Elijah stepped out onto the balcony off the bedroom rather than climbing into bed.
  41. 41. Though winter was officially over, the air was still chilly with a dusting of snow clinging desperately to the ground. Though he was only clad in pajama bottoms, Elijah didn’t seem to notice the cold. Staring out at the horizon, he sighed as his thoughts churned restlessly. There was so much to consider and digest. Through all of it, he realized that for the first time in his life he felt.. old.
  42. 42. Behind him, the door opened and Shelby stepped out onto the chilly balcony, “You know I enjoy the taste of you, but I’d rather not have you turn into a popsicle, Elijah.” Lost in his dark thoughts, Elijah ignored the innuendo laden opening her comment offered. Instead he murmured, “Sorry, I was thinking.” Shelby snorted softly as she let the door close behind her, “I would argue about the effectiveness of your thinking considering that you’re standing outside in the snow almost naked. Then again, I’m standing out here with you.” More seriously, she said softly, “Talk to me, love.” “I’m just..” He trailed off before saying, “I’m not ready for this.” Turning away from her he looked out over the snow touched landscape, “Tonight I realized how old my parents are. Did you get a good look at my mom, Shelb? I would have never called her frail, but tonight she looked positively fragile. And only spit and fire was keeping Dad on his feet.”
  43. 43. “And then there are the kids. One part of me looks at them and I can’t deny how fast they’re growing up, but the other part of me wants to shelter and protect them because they’re my babies.” On a roll, his emotions came out as the floodgates opened, “Sure, Lou is the same age I was when mom made me heir, but I didn’t watch my house burn to the ground after a lunatic killed one of my uncles. And I sure as hell didn’t have some insane prophecy hanging over my head telling me I was destined to shatter while my best friend sacrifices herself.” Stepping up behind him, Shelby slid her hands around his sides and across his middle while she rested her chin on his shoulder, “No you didn’t. You only had to rescue your baby sister from some homicidal maniacs and then fix the broken seasons after an ancient stone god decided you were the man for the job.” Deflating slightly, he turned his head to listen.
  44. 44. “Your mother didn’t have it easy either, love. She had to assume the heirship after that woman drugged and tried to kill Brody. Oh, and there was the minor inconvenience of never-ending winter.” Nuzzling the side of his neck, she said, “It hasn’t been easy for any of you, but you’ve raised them well, Elijah. You’re a good father.” “Am I?” His shoulders slumped as he raised a hand to rest over hers on his stomach, “Oz came to me tonight and apologized for not being the son he thought I wanted him to be.” “I know. I overheard.” Shelby pulled herself tighter against him as she said, “He’s a teenager, love. Oz is struggling to find out who he is. It’s a little harder for him because he’s quieter and shyer than the rest of us. You told him exactly what he needed to hear.”
  45. 45. In one fluid motion, Elijah turned and scooped his wife up into his arms and planted her on the railing in front of him. Sliding his hands over the thin fabric of her nightie, he gave her a half-smile, “What would I do without you, Shelby?” Barely keeping from yelping, Shelby laughed and wrapped her arms around his shoulders as she pulled him closer, “You’d probably have ended up with that island hussy trying to marry you for your money.” Feeling the tension ease out of his shoulders, Elijah tilted his head and kissed her lips softly before speaking again, “Maybe. I just know I couldn’t do this without you.” “Pfft. You’d cope. I’m sure you and your hand would have a much closer relationship.”
  46. 46. “That’s not what I mean, and you know it.” Wrapping her legs around his middle, Shelby grinned impishly, “I’m here to keep you humble, Cassanova.” Hands beginning to explore the hem of her nightie, Elijah found himself giving her an honest smile, “Shelby Trottier Legacina, I love you and I wouldn’t want to live my life without you. Thank you for being there to poke pins in my ego and my angst when I need it.” “When I said for better or for worse, I meant it, Elijah.” Leaning down, she kissed him solidly and passionately. After what seemed like an eternity later, she broke off the kiss to say, “If you plan on putting your hand any further up my nightie, you better take me inside, Mister.”
  47. 47. Giving a husky laugh, Elijah scooped her off the railing and into his arms, “Feeling a little too exposed?” “Feeling a little too cold. I think my ass was about to get frostbite.” “Oh, I can give it a bite.” She laughed and nibbled his neck, “Get me in the house, Elijah. Then you can get me out of my clothes.” “I’ll take that as a promise.” Hefting her up, he headed over to the door, pushing it open with his foot. Teasing aside, he said fondly, “Love you.”
  48. 48. “Love you too.” Wrapping her arms around his neck, Shelby sighed contentedly. The same worries that plagued Elijah were also bothering her, but she knew that tonight, this is what they both needed. Tomorrow they could face the uncertainty of the future. *~*~*~*~*~*
  49. 49. “Outta my way, geek boy!” Star bellowed as she barreled down the hallway towards the library. Most of her classmates knew to get out of her way, but there were still the occasional near misses. The weekend of Oz’s birthday had passed and despite the worries the unusual events had caused, life had returned to a semblance of normality. Or as normal as it got for the Legacinas. Star, though, was anxious to hear what Louise had learned from her parents. Not to mention, she’d thought up an awesome prank to play at the upcoming Spring Formal that she had been preemptively banned from attending. “Lou, sorry I’m late. The Waddle held me after class. Total bi..”
  50. 50. Star skidded to a stop just inside the library door, her excuse halted by what she saw in front of her. Louise was already there, but she wasn’t alone and obviously wasn’t waiting for her. George McCarthy had her complete and full attention. Standing there staring, Star slowly caught her breath as a conflicted and vaguely hurt look settled into her expression. “It’s got to suck to watch what you want land in someone else’s hands.”
  51. 51. Anger surged as Star spun and faced the source of the amused words. Crossing her arms and glaring, she hissed, “What did you say?” Raleigh Thompson’s amusement grew as she smiled and slid a book back onto the shelf, “I was just commenting that it always sucks when you want someone that obviously doesn’t want you.” Star barked a humorless laugh, “Right. You don’t know anything about me or my friends. You should mind your own business, Thompson.”
  52. 52. “Oh, I know enough.” Raleigh was undaunted as she turned and smirked at Star, “I know we’re second or third cousins or something like that. I know she’s the heir to the Legacina name and you follow her around like some sort of rabid puppy.” “Hey!” “Come on, Walton. It’s obvious to anyone who pays attention to these things that you’d love to trade places with George McHottie over there. I mean, you should have seen your expression when you came barreling in here and saw the two of them practically humping each other on the couch over there. They’re lucky the librarian needed a smoke break.” Star’s eyes flared with anger as she growled, “You say one more thing about me or my friend and I’ll..”
  53. 53. Leaning forward flirtatiously, Raleigh just grinned more as she said in a seductive tone, “Oh, and you’ll do what? Hit me? Mm, I just might like that. Can we roll around on the ground and tug at each other’s clothes? I’d make a date out behind the school for that.” Like being hit with a bucket of cold water, Star just stopped and blinked, large eyes growing larger, “Uh.. what?” With a throaty laugh, Raleigh straightened, “Y’know, you can be hotness personified in green, Walton, but you’re not very bright.” Reaching out and trailing a finger down Star’s lapel, she said, “When you decide to stop mooning over your very straight best friend, give me a call.” Leaving a stunned Star behind, she sashayed out of the library.
  54. 54. Star stood there for a long moment, absorbing what Raleigh had said while very carefully not looking over towards Louise and George. “Hrmph. What does she know anyway?” Mumbling to herself, she turned and stalked out of the library without going over to Louise, “Me and Louise. That’s a joke. Like either of us have ever thought about going there. Stupid bitch.” After a moment, she turned and stalked out of the library, leaving Louise and George alone.
  55. 55. Over in the corner, Louise slid off of George’s lap and leaned into the crook of his arm as she grinned, “We should come to the library more often, George.” With a breathless and somewhat embarrassed chuckle, George said, “I don’t think this is what they had in mind for how the library should be used, Lou.” Glancing towards the door, he raised his eyebrows as he thought he saw a flash of green heading out the door, “Hey, didn’t you say Star was going to meet you here?” Looking up, Louise turned excitedly towards the door, “Is she here?” “I don’t see her.”
  56. 56. “Huh. She promised me she’d meet me here.” Louise looked towards the door as a vague frown flickered over her face for a moment, “We haven’t had a chance to talk since Oz’s party and I wanted to find out if her parents told her the same stuff mine told me.” “Do you want to talk about it?” George asked as he slid his arm comfortably around her shoulder, “You mentioned some major stuff went down after I left.” She thought about it for a moment, then smiled and shook her head, “Nah. I want to talk about it with Star first.” “You want to go look for her?”
  57. 57. Turning in his arms and sliding closer again, Louise smiled, “Nah. She probably forgot we were going to meet. I can talk to her about it later. I think I’d rather kiss you while we’ve still got an adult-free library.” “Mmm, twist my arm, twist my arm.” *~*~*~*~*~*
  58. 58. Later that same afternoon, Oz made good on Chastity’s invitation and came home with her after school. Despite her assurances, he was still nervous as they went up the steps to her house. “Are you s.sure this is okay, Chas?”
  59. 59. “Huh?” Chastity stopped and blinked at him, “Why wouldn’t it be?” “Usually we hang out at my, so I wasn’t s.sure if your uncles and aunt and would mind.” Oz hesitated as he nervously explained his uncertainty. After all, Chastity’s home was a bit unconventional with her father sharing a house with his siblings and their families. “Hey, I live here too. They’ve never had a problem with me having friends over. We’ve hung out here too.” Grinning, she spread her hands out, “You were here too, or did you forget?” “I d.didn’t forget. I w.was just..” He trailed off and then grinned sheepishly. This was the first time it was just the two of them. Her grin brightened, “So do you wanna see my dad’s guitar or not?” “Definitely!”
  60. 60. Leading him through the sprawling house at a run, Chastity skidded into her father’s rooms in the basement, “Ta-dah!” With a theatrical gesture, she presented the sleek, black guitar. Oz’s eyes widened as he stared, “” “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. This one was made especially for my dad by the guy who designed this brand of guitars. Paul Les or something like that. I don’t know all that music nerd stuff like my dad does.” Putting her hands on her hips, she grinned and explained, “He’s technically retired now, but occasionally he does a reunion show and he always brings this one with him. He pretends he’s gonna smash it, but never does.”
  61. 61. Oz just stared, enraptured by the gorgeous instrument. After a moment, he spoke, “That’s cool, Chas. I mean, I d.don’t know much about guitars yet, but I.I’d wanted one for a while before Grandma and Grandpa got me mine and I d.did research. That’s a r.really nice guitar. I mean, REALLY nice.” Beaming proudly as if it were hers, she asked, “Do you want to play it?” His eyes widened and he gaped, “C.can I?”
  62. 62. “YO! DAD!” Chastity turned and looked up at the ceiling as she shouted, “CAN OZ PLAY YOUR GUITAR!?” To emphasize the point, she jumped up to ineffectually knock on the ceiling. From upstairs came a thumping sound that may have been assent, or may just have been a ‘stop making noise’ thump. Regardless, Chastity turned to Oz and grinned, “He says yes. Go ahead and try it.”
  63. 63. Uncertain that the yes was really a yes, but unwilling to pass up this opportunity, Oz moved tentatively over the guitar. Treating it as if it were a fragile, delicate thing, he picked it up. Voice hushed with awe, he said, “It’s l.lighter than it looks.” “You gonna play it or just hold it like it’s a lover?” Chastity grinned as that earned a blush, “Come on. I know you’re better than you think you are. Play it.” “I..I..” Oz faltered and then gave a sheepish, lopsided grin, “I want to play it.”
  64. 64. Closing his eyes, Oz took a deep breath. The fingers of one hand felt along the fret until they were in the right position while the other hand paused expectantly over the strings with pick ready. For a long moment it seemed as if he wasn’t actually going to do anything, but then he began to play. It wasn’t perfect. The chords he played were the basic, easy ones most beginners pick up first, but there was a sense of deeper talent hiding in the way he pulled the melody together.
  65. 65. As he played, eyes closed and oblivious to anything but the music, Chastity watched and smiled. It was moments like this when someone who knew him well could see the potential that existed within Oz. Moments where he forgot to be worried, forgot to be shy, and he simply was. The longer he played, the warmer her smile grew.
  66. 66. Finally, Oz stopped and opened his eyes. Blushing, he quickly and carefully put the guitar back down, “S.sorry.” “What are you sorry for? I’m not. That was amazing, Oz.” Chastity closed the distance between them and impulsively grabbed his hand as he moved away from the guitar. Blinking, his cheeks colored even deeper, “I.. I didn’t think it was that g.good. I messed up the third chord and the end d.didn’t come out the way I w.wanted.” Warmth seemed to fill him from where her hand held his.
  67. 67. “No, it was good. I think if you wanted to, you could be an even bigger rock star than my dad ever was.” Chastity smiled and stepped a little closer to him. “Don’t tell him I said that, though. He’s kinda vain about that.” “ think That I c.could be a r.rock star, not about telling your” Oz nervously licked his lips as he realized she was looking at him differently. “I do. Totally.” Still holding his hands, she smiled coyly, “C’mere. I wanna show you something.” “You Wh.what?” “Just c’mere.”
  68. 68. What Chastity had to show him was something he hadn’t been expecting, but he couldn’t say he didn’t enjoy it. In fact, he was pretty sure it was the next best birthday present he’d gotten, right next to the guitar. *~*~*~*~*~*
  69. 69. Ian Legacina stood outside a bedroom door and tapped his foot in irritation. It took all he was to not start pacing. Grumbling under his breath, he waited another interminable moment and then said loudly, “You know, just because the living dead have all the time in the world doesn’t mean they should take all night to get ready.”
  70. 70. Behind the closed bedroom door, Contessa Mary Smith gave the faintest hint of a smile, “Simply because one is living an altered lifestyle does not change the need to make one’s self presentable, Ian. Whether or not her heart is beating does not change the fact that a woman needs time to prepare.” The living woman in the room with her hesitated a moment and then asked, “How shall I do your hair this evening, ma’am?” Voice gentler, Mary considered for a moment then said, “I believe I shall wear it in my usual style, Elizabeth. You always do that so well for me.” “Yes ma’am.”
  71. 71. “Hrmph.” Ian looked down at his watch with another surge of impatience, “I’d argue that a modern woman knows how to get ready in a modern time frame, but I remember having to wait for my sister or my mother to finish in the bathroom when they were getting ready for special occasions.” From inside the room, Mary called, “Some things shall always remain universal, Ian dear.” He grunted and frowned at the door, “This is really important to me, Mary. I don’t want to be late.”
  72. 72. Mary shifted on the vanity bench as her servant, Elizabeth, began combing and styling her hair. Reassuringly, she said, “I do understand and we will not be late, but I am now the leader of the clan and my appearance is of crucial importance. For all the civilized airs we put on, we are much like a pack of wolves. Any sign of weakness, including a disheveled appearance, can be cause for a challenge.” “Mary, you could wear a burlap sack and still look regal.” Ian’s irritation was still obvious in his voice, but there was also a touch of admiration there. Hesitating, Mary’s placid expression cracked with a hint of anxiety. For the first time, she was glad that her expression was not reflected back to her by the mirror. She was silent for a long moment and called out, “Have you decided when you would like to be made back into a human, Ian?”
  73. 73. Ian crossed his arms and leaned against the wall as he narrowed his eyes at the door, “Why do you keep bringing it up, Mary?” “Do you not wish to rejoin your family?” His expression twisted though she couldn’t see it, “You know how I feel about my family, but I thought you also knew how I felt about you.” Sighing, he gave a little shake of his head, “Besides that, it would be wrong of me to leave while your power base is still in flux. I may be a gosling as Melissa calls me, but I’m smart enough to know you need all the help you can get until you’re accepted unequivocally as the leader.” There was another pause from inside the room and then she said, “That is your choice then. Thank you.” Raising his eyebrows, Ian said teasingly, “You know, you would be able to get ready quicker if you’d stop dressing as if you were three hundred years old.”
  74. 74. “I am over three hundred years old, Ian.” Mary called with amusement as her servant stepped back. Softer, she said, “Thank you Elizabeth, it is lovely as always.” “Shall I get your gown, ma’am?” “Not this evening.” Rising fluidly from the padded bench, Mary was uncaring of her nakedness as she moved over to the wardrobe. “I believe tonight warrants a change.”
  75. 75. “Come on, Mary. If you take much longer, we really are going to be late.” Ian was looking at his watch again and nearly missed the door opening and Mary stepping out. “It’s about..” He stopped mid-sentence and just stared. With a pleased smile on her face, Mary paused just outside the door and put her hands on her hips, obviously posing, “So.”
  76. 76. Ian crossed his arms as he faced her, a smile growing over his lips. In response, he said, “So.” Archly, she asked, “Does this dress also make me look as if I were all of my three hundred and some years?” “Did I say your old dress made you look three hundred and some years old?” Mary raised both eyebrows, “I seem to recall a few moments ago hearing a comment disparaging of my couture and how it was the look of a woman obviously several hundred years old. Do you deny those words?”
  77. 77. With a soft laugh, Ian stepped forward to close the distance between them. Raising a hand, he caressed it over her unnaturally pale and cool cheek, “I may have said those words, but I’ll also say these words. You are the most beautiful several century old woman I have ever laid my eyes on.” Leaning into the caress, Mary smiled fondly, “I am the only several century old woman you have ever laid your eyes upon.” “Even if I’d seen a thousand, you’d still be the one I’d want in my life, Mary.”
  78. 78. She closed the distance and wrapped her arms around him. With her lips close to his, she murmured, “You are going to muss my hair and my makeup.” “Mmm, that would be a crime, wouldn’t it?” Ian smirked ever so slightly as he ran his hands teasingly over the ties at the back of her corset. “Weren’t you worried moments ago we were going to be late?” Mary’s eyebrows rose teasingly as she leaned in to practically brush the words over his lips. Ian closed his eyes and groaned, “Being of the living dead should also mean I also don’t get this frustrated when I can’t have what I want.” Mary gave an impish grin as she opened her mouth to say something else, but before she could, a yell came from downstairs. “YO! QUEEN MARY, YOUSE GOTS COMPANY!”
  79. 79. Reluctantly, they parted, meeting one another’s eyes. Almost simultaneously, they both gave a sigh and said, “Melissa’s here.” Ian gave a weak laugh at their words, “Jinx. We really do have to leave soon. Can you make her come back later?” With a little shake of her head, Mary spoke with resignation, “As you said, my power base is in flux and Melissa is the most dangerous member of our clan. I cannot afford to have her become an enemy.” Ian grunted, “Isn’t it enough she’s an annoyance?” “YO! SHOULD I GET THE TEA AND CRUMPETS ON!? HEY, CAN I USE THIS VASE AS A JELLO MOLD?”
  80. 80. “No, you may not use that vase as a gelatin mold. First of all, it is priceless and older than all of us in this room, including myself. Second of all, you do not eat ‘Jello’.” They came down the stairs, with Mary pausing almost regally halfway down. With a polite nod, she said, “Hello Melissa, Hello Stephen.”
  81. 81. “Hi Mary! Hi Ian!” Stephen Tsang was as cheerful as always as he stood at the bottom of the stairs with his thumbs hooked in his jean belt loops as if he were a cowboy, “Did you see my new outfit!? Melissa helped me pick it out.” His blond companion smirked and arched an eyebrow as she looked up the stairs, “Well, well. It looks like you’re not the only one with a wardrobe change, Stevie buddy.”
  82. 82. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Mary gave a nod, acknowledging the other woman’s comment, “I felt was time for a change, what with the shift in our leadership.” “Still a bit monochrome, though. And jeeze, did you have to stick with a corset? Aren’t you uptight enough as it is?” Melissa grinned from where she sat, “Or is that to hold the stick in place?” Ian frowned, “You were never this obnoxious to Robi.” “Oooh, the gosling speaks!” With a lopsided grin, Stephen said, “I like the dress, Mary.”
  83. 83. Melissa hopped off the table, causing it and the priceless vase upon it to wobble dangerously, “I think the baby fang is thinking I’m not showing our new Queen enough respect, eh?” With obnoxiously exaggerated movements, she gave a ridiculous mockery of a bow. Stephen stood back and scratched his head through his bandana, “Uh, Mary, are we supposed to bow to you now?”
  84. 84. “No Stephen, I do not require that you bow because I am not technically royalty. Melissa is just challenging my authority in her typical sarcastic fashion.” Mary narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin, “Melissa, do we have to do this now? Ian and I have an appointment to attend to.” “Oooh, so spending some quality time with the gosling?” Melissa narrowed her eyes and smirked as she came up out of the bow. “Where we are going is none of your business, Melissa. You are not welcome to join us.”
  85. 85. Melissa gave a bark of a laugh and looked from Mary to Ian, “Oh my. So the Frosty Virgin Queen of the Undead and the baby fang. I always wondered if she’d ever let anyone thaw her out, but I never expected it would be one of her precious charges. Or..” She trailed off suggestively before tilting her head and giving Mary a sideways, sly look, “Do you screw all baby fangs you train, or did you make a special exception for this one because he’s hot?” Anger flared in Mary’s eyes as she hissed, “You go too far.” Ian stepped up and put a calming hand on Mary’s arm, “Let me deal with this.” Melissa’s eyes widened, “Ooh this is gonna be good.”
  86. 86. Stepping forward and getting into Melissa’s space, Ian was gratified to see her step back instinctively. “Have you always been this stupid or have you sucked down the blood of too many junkies?” “What!?” “Honestly. I’m beginning to wonder if this whole ignorant smart ass act is really just an act. Can you possibly be this dumb?” Behind him, Mary’s eyes widened ever so slightly, but she stood back and watched. This was his fight now.
  87. 87. “Oh, what could you possibly know?” Melissa was angry as she waved a dismissive hand, “You’ve been a vampire for what, a year? You don’t know anything.” “I’ve been a vampire for just over a decade now. No, that’s nothing compared to how long you have been around, but I’m not stupid. I’ve seen how things work and you’re playing with fire right now.” Ian’s voice was derisive as he talked. He wasn’t yelling, but it was obvious he was no stranger to arguments. “What the hell are you talking about, gosling?”
  88. 88. “I’m talking about the fact that you challenging Mary’s authority now is one of the worst things you can do.” Ian glared as he continued, “Yeah, yeah, the pecking order needs to be established now that Robi’s gone and things have reshuffled, but all you’re doing is undermining her and making a bad situation even worse.” “Oh and why’s that?” Melissa crossed her arms and glared right back, “How are we supposed to trust her to run things for the clan if she can’t handle a little sass?” “Is that what you think you’re doing? Just sassing a little?” Ian rolled his eyes, “You’re challenging her to put you in your place and you know it.” “Okay, so what if I am?”
  89. 89. Throwing his hands into the air, Ian said, “Are you really this dense?” Melissa growled, “Humor me. Tell me what you’re getting at.” “So you challenge Mary. Mary either puts you in your place or lets you get away with it. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for the clan. If she lets you get away with it, word will spread that she’s a pushover. If she punishes you for insubordination, you grow resentful. Either way, it’s a crack that anyone can exploit. You’ve been at this for far longer than I have, Melissa, and from what I’ve heard, you know what it’s like in other clans. You might not have it as good under another Master.” For a moment, everyone was quiet with tension in the air as Ian and Melissa glared at one another.
  90. 90. Abruptly, Melissa began laughing. It was a full throated belly laugh that nearly doubled her over, “Oh Mary, I like this one. I like this one a lot.” It was Ian’s turn to take a step back as he looked at Melissa as if she had gone insane. He spared a quick glance over his shoulder at Mary who simply shrugged. Grinning from ear to ear as Stephen continued to scratch his head behind her, Melissa laughed at Ian, “Yeah, you’re right. I do know better. But ya gotta un’erstand, gosling. If Mary can’t keep me in line, how’s she going to handle challenges to her authority from outside the clan.” “So you were just testing her.”
  91. 91. Melissa shrugged as she continued to giggle, “Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, I never ‘xpected you to be her secret weapon. You’re not half bad, baby fang.” Reaching out, she gave him a hearty pat on the shoulder. If he wasn’t preternaturally strong, it would have sent him into the next room. Turning to look at Mary, Melissa asked, “Meeting next week?” Rolling her eyes and giving a patient sigh, Mary nodded, “Meeting next week. You are welcome to stay here, of course, but Ian and I do have somewhere we need to be. If you’ll both excuse us?” Without further ado they left Stephen and Melissa behind as the former continued to giggle, “I tell ya Stevie-boy, I love that little gosling, I do!” *~*~*~*~*~*
  92. 92. Meanwhile, across town, a party was already in progress. The Trottier house was smaller than many of the other homes amongst the family, but Lisa still went out of her way to make sure she could entertain most of Hugh’s relatives at once. It made for a full house, but no one ever complained or spoke ill of the accommodations. This particular evening was a momentous birthday celebration for one little boy.
  93. 93. Of course, that was one little boy who didn’t seem remotely interested in his cake. Hugh stood at the door, staring out the window as he watched the front walk and chewed nervously on his lower lip. Under his breath he murmured, “He said he wouldn’t be late.” “Hugh sweetie, don’t you want to blow out your candles?” Lisa smiled, “Your cousin Jo has been eyeing the frosting and I don’t think it’ll last much longer if you don’t blow out the candles and serve it up.” “Not yet, Mom.”
  94. 94. With a fond but confused look, Lisa said, “Why ever not, Hugh? This is all you’ve been talking about for the last week.” Giving a little shake of her head, she smiled, “I thought you wanted to be a teenager more than anything else in the world?” He turned and looked up at her with a conflicted expression, “Well, I do mom, but..” Trailing off, he looked back out the door. “But what, sweetie?”
  95. 95. “Please mom, can we wait just a little bit longer?” Hugh clasped his hands together to beg. He also turned on the puppy eyes. Those were a powerful tool he knew almost always worked on his mom. “You still haven’t told me why, Hugh.” “Because not everyone is here, Mom. I wanted to wait until all the guests were here. Can we please wait just a little longer? I promise, promise, promise that we can do it soon!” Blinking, Lisa furrowed her brow and looked back out at the living room, “But Hugh, everyone is here. Who else could we possibly be waiting for?”
  96. 96. “Lisa?” Persephone came up behind her and smiled, “It won’t hurt to wait a little while longer, will it?” Hugh continued to beg quietly and earnestly with as puppy an expression as he could manage, “Please please please please please please.” Confused, Lisa turned to face Persephone, “No, of course it won’t hurt anything. I’m just confused.” She gave a wry little smile, “I sent out the invitations and everyone is here that I sent an invitation to.” Clearing her throat slightly, Persephone gave a sheepish smile, “Well, Hugh and I added a couple of names to the list and didn’t tell you. Will you forgive us?” “But who did you invite?”
  97. 97. At exactly that moment, there was a knock on the door. The last guests had arrived.
  98. 98. Lisa turned to the door expectantly, curious to see who her son and his grandmother had invited. The moment her eyes registered who she was seeing, she froze. Her mouth gaped open and the color drained from her skin. Breath caught in her throat she whispered, “Impossible.”
  99. 99. While Lisa stood frozen, Persephone reached over and opened the door. She gave a small smile to her middle child, “You’re a little late.” Ian didn’t really need to breathe, but he still took a deep breath as he stepped inside. Offering his mother the faintest hint of a smile, he said, “Sorry. We were held up leaving the house.” Behind him, Mary spoke up, “It was my fault, Mrs. Legacina. My apologies for delaying our arrival. Hopefully we are not too late.”
  100. 100. “YAY!” Unmindful of his mother’s shock or the silence that had fallen over the rest of the room, Hugh clapped and hopped from foot to foot, “You’re here, you’re here! And it’s not too late! I totally waited on the cake for you Dad. Is this your girlfriend, Dad? She’s pretty. What’s her name? Did you guys fly here? You never did tell me if you could turn into a bat. Did you bring me a present?” As his son continued rattling off questions, Ian hid a lopsided grin. Looking up, he gave Lisa a quiet look loaded with many mixed emotions. Finally he said, “You’re looking good, Lisa. I.. I wanted to say thank you for doing such a good job raising Hugh. He’s wonderful.” As she tried to recover enough to say something, anything, he turned to face the rest of the room.
  101. 101. At some point, someone had turned off the stereo, emphasizing the shocked silence that hung over the room. It seemed to linger interminably before hushed words of confusion began to slip through the cracks. “Wait, what?” “Isn’t that your dead uncle?” “But… but HOW?” “Holy shit.” “I don’t understand.”
  102. 102. “Oh god he’s going to kill me. I shagged his wife. Wait, they didn’t actually get married, did they?” “That is a vampire. That is totally and completely a vampire. Actually, that is totally and completely two vampires.” Matthew sighed. He’d argued against this decision as the way to reintroduce Ian to the family, but he had quite obviously lost that argument.
  103. 103. Miranda was probably the most succinct, loading a single word with more emotion than most people could put inside an entire novel, “Ian.”
  104. 104. Robi and Ophelia sat in the background, staying out of the way. She gave an amused sigh as she watched. Under her breath, she said to her husband, “I think we’re the only ones not surprised.” “That is a bit of an understatement, my love.” While Ophelia was amused but concerned, Robi was mostly curious. Things were not normally done this way for vampires, but it was no longer something under his control.
  105. 105. Ian took a step forward, facing down all the shocked faces looking at him. “Uhm. I would say the rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated, but they, uhm, weren’t?” He finished on a questioning note as he offered a weak smile. Elijah took a step forward and opened and closed his mouth several times before he asked in an almost anguished tone, “But.. how? Ian? Is.. it really you?” “Yeah, it’s really me.” Ian took another tentative step forward as he looked at his older brother, “It’s a .. long story. I don’t even know if I can adequately explain it, but it is really me.” “But you were dead. Dead, Ian. We buried you. We mourned you. And now you’re back? I don’t understand.” “I..” “Hey!” An impatient, young voice interrupted from behind Ian.
  106. 106. Everyone turned to look at Hugh who was still grinning from ear to ear, “Okay so, like, I know lots of people need to talk to my dad ‘cause he’s awesome and stuff, but he’s here for my birthday and I’ve been waiting a really REALLY long time to become a teenager. I think it’s longer than anyone has ever waited before. So if you guys don’t mind, can I blow out my candles now?” He was met by a stunned silence.
  107. 107. Grinning even brighter, Hugh said, “I’m gonna take that as a yes. You guys do want cake, right?”
  108. 108. With the tension broken by a child determined to be a teenager, the party resumed as best it could. Everyone was still staring at Ian in shock, but it was a bit difficult to treat it as too strange when Hugh was acting as if everything were completely normal. Lisa and Ian both followed Hugh over to the cake. Nervously, she looked at him and asked, “Are you..” “I am. If you’re asking what I think you’re asking.” Lowering his voice for just Lisa, he said, “I’m sorry, Lisa.” “You’re sorry?”
  109. 109. Ian nodded, “For a lot of things. Neither of us handled things very well, but I am sorry for not being here for you to help raise Hugh. I meant it when I said you’ve done a wonderful job with him.” She hesitated and then asked, “You’ve been seeing him, haven’t you?” Lisa paused and then added softly, “I always wondered why he didn’t ask more questions about you.” Grimacing a touch, Ian nodded, “Since he was a toddler. It’s another long story.”
  110. 110. Lisa nodded to this, but then said, “I’m sorry too, Ian. For everything. If.. I hadn’t.. well, you wouldn’t be.. and.. Hugh.. I mean.” She faltered and glanced away. Slowly grinning, Ian shook his head, “Don’t worry about might-have-beens, Lisa. Nothing is how we wanted it, but I’m not sure what I could change without losing something else at this point.” He paused and then asked earnestly, “Do you think we could be friends? Or at least something pseudo friendly for Hugh’s sake?” She looked back up and then smiled back, “I think I’d like that.”
  111. 111. “Hey!” That same impatient voice interrupted once more. Ian grinned, “Sorry Hugh. I’ll be quiet now.” Moving off to one side, he gestured, “Go ahead and blow the candles out.” Hugh puffed up his shoulders and tried to look as serious as possible, “About time, Dad.” Then he grinned.
  112. 112. Not waiting one more moment, Hugh quickly leaned forward and blew out the candles. Someone, maybe Star, shouted, “Hey, you didn’t even have time to make a wish.” Stepping back from the cake as he started to feel the first tingles of the transition, Hugh grinned, “I think my wish already came true. My dad’s here, isn’t he?” And with that he spun into a teenager.
  113. 113. “THIS IS AWESOME!” Hugh couldn’t help but grin as he took stock of himself now that he was officially a teenager, “I gotta go tell Moon. She’s next and she’s going to love this!” “Hugh Trottier, you stop right there, this instant.” Persephone barked the command as only a grandmother can, but she still smiled, “You need to slice the cake first. Then you can go tell Moon.” “Oh! Right Gram!”
  114. 114. Stepping back out of the way, Persephone just smiled. As far as she was concerned, the evening was perfect. *~*~*~*~*~*
  115. 115. After cake had been served, the three Legacinas of the fourth generation found themselves alone together in the kitchen. It wasn’t exactly coordinated, but by unspoken agreement, Miranda and Elijah sought out a quiet moment to talk to Ian as soon as they could. Miranda spoke first, asking in uncharacteristic clarity and hesitancy, “Ian? Are you..? I mean..” A she trailed off, Elijah finished for her, “We don’t understand. How are you here?” For a moment, Ian just took in both of their faces. After a moment, he gave a lopsided smile, “God I missed you guys so much. I’m sorry you found out like this, but we weren’t sure how to really bring it up.” Elijah’s brow furrowed, “But what happened? What.. are you? You’re not a zombie like Aunt Heather, are you?”
  116. 116. Shaking his head, Ian began to explain, “No, I’m not a zombie. I am technically dead, but I’m something else.” His lips twisted into a wry, almost embarrassed smile, “I’m a vampire.” Elijah and Miranda’s eyes widened as Miranda gasped, “But Dean’s hunted vampires.” “Uh, hopefully only the bad ones?” Ian offered with a lame touch of humor. Realizing it didn’t go over as well as he hoped, he explained, “It’s a long story. Kirstial did kill me, but Mary and the other vampires were able to bring me back. I don’t understand it all, but it was a compromise that had to be made to get me back.” “But why have you stayed away for so long?” “It’s part of the .. learning process.” Ian gestured uncertainly, “It’s not the time or the place to explain, but I came back as soon as I could.”
  117. 117. Miranda glanced at Elijah and then looked at Ian as she considered her question. Finally she asked, “How can we be sure you’re actually our brother? What if you’ve changed?” “Manda Bear, it’s been over ten years. If I haven’t changed, I’ve been doing something wrong. Hell, if you haven’t changed, you’ve been doing something wrong.” Ian suddenly grinned and waggled his finger at her as he teased, “And how do I know you’re not an imposter. I haven’t heard you use a single made-up word all evening. For all I know, you’re a pod person.” Elijah blinked and looked between the two of them, confused.
  118. 118. Suddenly Miranda laughed. It was a sound of released tension and relief as she gestured excitedly, “There’s my Gloomian! You lookinated like you, but Jelly-Dean’s seen some strange things, so I guess a vampirate could be a podplacement person.” Ian’s grin grew lopsided, “And there’s my annoying baby sister, making up words that only she understands.” He looked from her to Elijah and repeated himself, “God I’ve missed you guys.”
  119. 119. Without another word, he stepped forward and pulled the two of them into a fierce hug. Without hesitation, Miranda hugged him back, crying happy tears through her babble as she began to telling him everything he had missed since the night he disappeared. Elijah couldn’t help but laugh and wrap his arms around both of them.
  120. 120. “Ian seems very happy.” Robi stepped up behind Mary as she watched the siblings reunite in the kitchen. “He is.” She responded in a quiet, subdued voice, “He wanted this so desperately. I do not recall missing my family in quite the same way that he has missed his.” “Hmm. Our creator was much stricter and would never have allowed us to see them, even if we had wanted to.” Robi spared a glance for Mary’s face before he commented again, “Did you not tell me that he has chosen to stay with you? I would have thought that would make you happy, Mary, but it is obvious you are hiding a great deal of sadness.”
  121. 121. Turning her head slightly, Mary let the sadness show on her face as she spoke, “I am all too aware that when the years pass and he is still here while all those he loves have turned to dust, his affection for me will surely turn to hate.” Robi gave her a sympathetic look and gave a slight shake of his head, “You will either be right or you will learn, Mary.” With those enigmatic words, he turned and left her to her thoughts. *~*~*~*~*~*
  122. 122. Elsewhere in the house, Hugh slipped into the bathroom only to have Oz follow closely on his heels before he could shut the door. Spinning around, he spread his hands, “Dude. I have to pee. Why are you following me?” “I.I.I.” Oz stuttered severely for a moment before he took a breath and slowed himself down, “I w.wanted to to you, but alone.” “So you followed me in to the bathroom? Dude!?” Hugh was enjoying the use of the word ‘dude’. It seemed to him it was a very appropriate word for a teenager. Realizing that Oz really was upset about something, he relented and asked, “What’s wrong?”
  123. 123. “Wh.why d.didn’t you t.tell me your was still alive!?” Oz blurted it out with a touch of hurt in his curiosity, “G.grandma s.said you’ve known since you were a t.toddler. You’ve known all these years and n.never t.told me he was alive?” “But he’s not alive.” Hugh gave Oz a flustered look. “ know what I m.mean!” “It was a secret, Oz.” Hugh shrugged, “It was my DAD, dude. I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone ever and I kept my promise.” He paused and said, “You got to have your dad all the time, Oz. I only got to see mine when he could sneak here. I didn’t want to chance losing him.”
  124. 124. Oz listened and finally nodded, though he was uncertain, “I j.just, I thought we were friends. You c.could have t.told me. I w.wouldn’t have t.told anyone.” “You ARE my best friend, Oz. I’m sorry I never told you.” Hugh considered for a moment then said, “I know you would have never told anyone on me. From now on, no more secrets between us, ‘kay?” Oz slowly grinned and nodded, “No m.more secrets. I’m g.glad you’ve had your dad, Hugh.” The two stood there for a moment grinning before impulsively they reached out and hugged one another.
  125. 125. “So are we good?” Hugh patted Oz on the back before breaking the hug. Oz grinned and nodded, “G.good.” “Awesome, dude. Now get out of the bathroom so I can pee. ALONE!” *~*~*~*~*~*
  126. 126. “I wondered where you had gotten off to.” Matthew stepped out onto the porch after having spied Persephone sitting on the porch swing outside. Glancing up at him, Persephone smiled fondly, “It’s a beautiful night.” Tilting her head, she patted the seat beside her, “Join me?” “Every day of my life, lovely lady.” Matthew smiled and gingerly sat down beside her, pulling her close. “I think the party is winding down. Jo and the twins are starting to get tired, but too wound up to admit it.” “Mmm. I remember those days. You always ended up having to carry Miranda up to bed.”
  127. 127. “Now it’s her turn to carry one of the twins off to bed.” Matthew chuckled and turned his head to watch his wife’s profile, “You’re happy.” Persephone gave a contented nod, “I am. My family is together. For the first time in a long time, all my children are here.” Resting her head on his shoulder she sighed with a smile, “Of course I’m happy.” He was silent for a moment before he asked gently, “Even with what the future might hold for our grandchildren?”
  128. 128. Persephone considered that for a long moment before she nodded, “Even with what the future might hold for our grandchildren. It’s going to be hard for them, but I have a feeling they have the strength to get through it, love.” Persephone looked out over the darkened landscape and up to the starry night, “We’re not going to be here to help them, Matthew, so I want to enjoy all the good times while we still can.” *~*~*~*~*~* And here we end Chapter Four, Part Fourteen of the Pseudo Legacy. What exactly does the future hold for the next generation of Legacinas? How will the prophecy affect them? Will their author ever actually get them to college? How long will it take for another update? —>
  129. 129. “Hey! Wha ‘bout me! Where me!?” *~*~*~*~*~* Don’t worry, Sam! We’ll get to you soon. I wanted to apologize for how long it has taken me to get this update out. There are a lot of reasons why it took so long – burn out, real life things, procrastination, etc. I know many people were convinced I’d abandoned the story, but I want you to know I have no intentions of doing that. While it’s taking longer and longer to tell the story, the ideas and inspiration are still there. I just needed a bit of a break. What I’m sorry for is that the break was over ten months long. This update is about half of what I had originally intended. When I realized I already had over 200 slides, I decided to split it in half. This means that most of the next update is already shot. I simply need to finish some scenes and then write it. So, hopefully the next update will not take nearly as long to get out. Thank you for sticking with me, and until next time, happy simming everyone!