Karen and Thaddeus made their way into one of the local nightclubs. Karen was already a bit tipsy as she stumbled up to th...
Jill gave a half smile. “Yeah, it’s me. Gotta pay for college somehow, you know.”

“Whatever. I didn’t ask for your life s...
As she waited for her drink, Karen heard a sigh of disgust coming from next to her. She turned and looked at the person an...
“Someone who is both very drunk and very rude,” the young man replied. Karen glared at him.
Karen was about to retort when she felt a pair of strong arms encircle her waist. “Is this punk giving you problems, sweet...
He gave her a smile and gestured to the empty counter in front of him. “I don't drink,” he said. “I'm just here for the am...
Karen huffed and stomped off. Thaddeus peered intently at the other man before following. As they walked away, Jill let ou...
Karen and Thaddeus spent most of the night making out in the booth right off the dance floor. Most of the other patrons of...
Zane stood in the shadows and glared at his pet reaping counter-part as a feeling of fatherly protectiveness overwhelmed h...
“What?” the man snarled into his phone as Karen climbed into his lap. He flung her back forcibly as he stood up and scream...
Zane stayed in the shadows as Thaddeus stalked past him and out the door. Waiting another moment to make sure that Thaddeu...
Unceremoniously, he plopped the drink down on the table, his lips thin as he saw all the empty bottles.
Without missing a beat, he slid into the booth and sat across from her. “Pardon me, but do you mind if I sit here?” he ask...
“I do,” he blandly replied as his fingers drummed on the table.

Karen blinked and raised her chin before she haughtily re...
“You've got some nerve! Just wait until my boyfriend hears about this! He’s gonna-”
“Oh my God! Thaddeus Wilcox is your boyfriend? Seriously?” Zane asked incredulously. He sunk his head in his hands and clu...
“Wait, what?” Karen leaned forward, but she was unable to catch the last part of what he had said. She shook her head and ...
A look of realization dawned upon her face as she looked him over with an appraising look. “Oh, I get it. You’re jealous. ...
“What I want is for you to get your act together. I want you to do better in school. I want you to stop partying all night...
“Well screw you, buddy! You aren’t my father! You don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life! Piss off!”
A pained expression crossed Zane’s face. “You're right, I'm not your father so I can‘t tell you how to live your life. But...
“I INTENSLY DISLIKE LYING TO YOUR MOTHER BY TELLING HER THAT YOU'RE DOING FINE WHEN YOU CLEARLY ARE NOT!”

He heard a gasp...
He looked over and saw that Johnny Smith had witnessed his sudden transformation.
Zane quickly changed back to his human form and rubbed his forehead in exhaustion. He didn't like that he had to resort to...
She looked up at him, mouth open. “Horse,” she whispered. He peered intently into her eyes and smiled sadly. “No. I can’t ...
Slowly, he approached Johnny. “I'm very sorry you had to see that,” he said. The other man just gave him a terrified look....
Thaddeus stomped up the stairs in Karen's house after he found out that Ruth made a “mistake” and he wasn't behind on his ...
He walked up to Karen's bed and found it empty. “KAREN,” he shouted, “you had better get in here, or else I'm going to--”
...
“You will be doing absolutely nothing,” Zane said, anger evident in his voice.
He deliberately turned his back as Thaddeus stalked over to him. The only sound for a moment was Zane's fingers drumming o...
Thaddeus laughed as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “And tell me, what are you going to do about it? You're a puss, ...
Zane looked at his finger nails with an air of bored non-chalantness. “Thaddeus, tell me something. Taking the spirit of a...
“I'm not entirely sure myself, but if you don't stay away from Karen or if you insist on meddling in my affairs, we're goi...
Thaddeus shuddered. “God, that creeps me out when you Reaper Kids do that black eye thing. It's just not natural,” he said...
Zane shifted his eyes back to their regular gray color as he lifted a shaky hand to rake the hair off of his forehead. He ...
He didn't go directly home though, as he felt it best not to go back to the Dead Realm until he calmed down. Unfortunately...
As he passed by the graveyard, he felt a prickling at the back of his neck, which distracted him from his ire at Thaddeus....
He could sense the bodies of dead Sims in the ground, which was disconcerting enough, and a major reason why he avoided gr...
A branch snapped to his right, which made him pause and look towards where the sound came from. “Hello?” he called out. He...
When he was halfway down the path, there was a sudden scurry of movement as someone, or something, tried to run away from ...
Zane immediately went to help the person up, but the man flailing on the ground fought him. “Oh, God, you're going to touc...
As soon as he saw the other man's face, Zane's mouth dropped open. “Remington!”

Remington moaned louder.

“Remington, it'...
As soon as Remington heard Zane tell him who he was, he stopped flailing and went still. “Of course it's you,” he said in ...
The unexpected mention of his mother made Zane flinch and then he sighed. “Remington, what are you doing here?” he asked a...
It took a great force of will to overcome the creepy, crawly feeling Zane got from Remington's lack of aura, but he manage...
Zane managed to both hide his involuntary revulsion and ignore Remington's flinch as he helped the other man up. “You're a...
Zane slung his arm over the other man's shoulders. “Because that's just the way I am and I don't ever plan on changing tha...
“So what do you do with these women? You just get up out of bed and leave?”

“Sure.”

“Well explain to me how you do it. W...
Vaughn casually leaned on Laurana's seat and whispered, “I can't believe you've never seen 'When Jason Met Sandy'. It's a ...
“You know, I'm so glad I never got involved with you. I just would have ended up being some woman you had to get up out of...
“Why are you getting so upset? This is not about you.”
“Yes it is! You are a human affront to all women, and I am a woman!”

“Hey, I don't feel great about this, but I don't hea...
“Because they...?”

“Yes. Because they...”

“And how do you know that they're really...”

“What are you saying? That they ...
“Why? Most women at one time or another have faked it.”
“Well they haven't faked it with me.”
“How do you know?”

“Because I know.”

“Oh. Right. That's right. I forgot. You're a man.”

“What is that supposed to mean?...
“You don't think I can tell the difference?

“No.”

“Get outta here!”
“Oh. Ooh. Oooh!”
“Are you okay?”
“Oooooh! Oh, God! Oooh. Oh, God! Oh! Oh, God! Oh yeah! Right there! Oh! Oh, God! Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
“Yes! Yes! Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
“Yes! Yes! Oh! Oooh! Oh, God. Oh.”
“I'll have what she's having.”

***




                                 Scene from 'When Harry Met Sally.' I claim no ori...
After the movie, Vaughn and Laurana decided to walk back to campus instead of taking a cab. “That was actually a really go...
“I mean,” she continued, “the movie pretty much said that men and women can't be friends because there will always be an a...
Vaughn stopped walking as he looked away and sighed. Laurana noticed this and said again, “Right?”
He turned to face her. “Yeah. Right. Wouldn't want to ruin the friendship.” Laurana blinked.

“You...you don't really like...
Laurana was quiet as she walked next to him. She also tried very hard to ignore the thrill that went up her arm as the bac...
“Why are you beating the shower like a red headed step child?” Rose asked Laurana later that night. “Did something happen ...
“Well, first of all, he HUGGED me!”

“So? Doesn't he always hug you?”
“No! Tonight was totally different. He meant it to mean something more.”

“How could you tell?”

“I don't know! I just cou...
“No! Because after he hugged me, he..he brushed some of my hair off my shoulder!”

“So what?”
“So what? So what?! Well, after he did that he flirted with me. He said that he thought I was really pretty and he liked s...
“Whether I liked it or not is beside the point. I told him from the beginning that I wasn't interested in dating and that ...
“Rose! The point is not whether I think he's cute. The point is that he..he obviously wants something more.”

“And you don...
“Laurana,” Rose said as they entered the bedroom, “obviously you must like spending time with him, otherwise he would have...
“He kissed me! Right on the lips!”

“Oh my God, he did?” Eden asked in an excited tone.

“Yes. Yes he did.”

“Wow. So he m...
“That is not the point! The point is that he kissed me when I have told him time and again that I am not interested in get...
“You guys are missing the point!”

“Laurana, there are worse guys in the world that you could have kissed. He's nice, he's...
“That's because we're friends and I told him, again, that that was all I wanted.”

“Oh, no. Really? You said that to him a...
“You guys make it sound like I was harsh!”

“Because it was harsh!”

“But...but you even said that it probably didn't mean...
“Quit making me sound like I broke his heart!”

“What did he say?” Rose asked again, insistently.

“He..he kissed my hand ...
“Rose,” Eden gently chided, “name calling isn't necessary.”

“Thank you, Eden,” Laurana said. “You know where I'm coming f...
Laurana looked at her friend silently, not knowing how to respond.

***
A few days later, Vaughn and Laurana agreed to meet for coffee. The two of them sat there silently for a while before Laur...
“To be honest, no, not really,” he said with a sigh.

“I don't do well with people. Either they irritate me, or I feel soc...
“So you do want something more?”

“Yes. Yes I do. I'm curious to see where it would lead us. I'm also attracted to you. Ve...
It was hard, but she managed it.
Karen managed to plead for extensions on her homework and term papers. She buckled down and completed everything that was ...
She only went out occasionally, and that was to buy some espresso so she could stay up later studying. She always went out...
After the graduation ceremony, she didn't know what to do. She had nowhere to go. She sighed and read the mysterious note ...
Reading the note once more for confidence, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed a number. “Hi. It's me, Karen,” she sa...
She was nervous the entire cab trip back to Pleasantview and her nerves grew as it came closer to dinner time. Time flew f...
Almost immediately, she bumped into someone. She opened her mouth to something rude, but as she looked at the person, she ...
She put it out of her mind for the moment as she waited for her dinner date to show up. She was convinced that he wouldn't...
Malcolm gave his daughter a perplexed look. “Sweetheart, why would you think I wouldn't come?”

She shrugged uncomfortably...
He kissed her on her cheek. “When you become a parent, you'll gain the patience of a saint. I didn't believe it when my ow...
“Just waltz right on into my dorm and help yourself to the juice why don't you?” Vaughn said to Laurana with a laugh.

“Do...
Vaughn waited until she was done filling her cup before he filled his own. After taking a small sip, he asked Laurana, “Ar...
Vaughn walked over to the juice keg and drank straight from the tap in an attempt to hide his smile. Laurana laughed as so...
“So what are your plans once you head back to Pleasantview?” Laurana asked.

“Be a burden on society.”

“What?”

Vaughn la...
“What about your parents? Won't they miss you?”

“My mom will miss me, but she wants to see me happy. Dad will miss me, I'...
Conversation moved on to more shallow topics as the day went on. They talked about what they would miss from college and w...
She waited until he filled another cup before quietly asking, “Do you want a hundred lovers?”

He drank from his cup as he...
“Oh, God, now in light of that last statement, this is going to be taken so the wrong way, but you know what I just realiz...
“Well there's something you don't see everyday in a dorm: a double bed,” Laurana said, surprised, when she walked in. Vaug...
“Why not? You can't tell me that the girls haven't been all over you. Look at you! You're adorable! As your friend, I'm of...
Tentatively, she reached up and brushed his cheek with her hand. “You're talking about me.”

“Hey, and I didn't even have ...
He cut her off as he pulled her close and kissed her, roughly at first. The second kiss was a bit more gentle. The third b...
Vaughn's cap and gown came off much faster than Laurana's clothes, but only marginally as they tumbled onto his bed.
***
The next morning, Laurana was still mostly asleep as her brain tried to wake up and tell her that something major had happ...
After she had convinced her waking mind that she was in her own bed and nothing was amiss, she felt the arms that she was ...
With a gasp she sat up, fully awake. She looked down and blushed at her scantily clad form. She blushed even harder when s...
Panic began to set in. “Oh God, what did we do? What did I do?” She scanned the room frantically for her clothes.
“How could I have been so stupid? This was so dumb,” she continued on, oblivious to the fact that Vaughn had gone complete...
“I can't believe I did this. I'm so stupid! What was I thinking?” Laurana could feel tears forming as she gathered her clo...
“Vaughn, please. No. I can't. Please,” she pleaded as she got dressed. She looked away from him and continued in a pained ...
If she would have looked over her shoulder, she would have seen him slump on the bed with his head in his hands.

***
“Welcome home, sweetie,” Mary said as she embraced Eden. “I'm so glad you were able to come here first before heading off ...
Eden gave her a confused look. “When is who going to move in?”

“Stanley Legacy, of course. I came to the conclusion that ...
As she followed her mother into the house, Eden gave a small sigh of her own as she unconsciously smoothed her hair into p...
Mary watched as Eden shoveled the food into her mouth. “Eden, sweetie, how many time must I tell you that you have to sit ...
Eden immediately straightened up and ate in a more careful manner. “There, see?” Mary said, “You look so much more becomin...
“So, anyway,” Mary continued, “why are you not marrying Stanley Legacy? I think he would be just perfect for you and it wo...
“Mother, there will always be gossip because that's what happens when someone is in the public eye. As for marrying Stanle...
“Well, then, what about the other men? Your other, so-called 'friends?' Are any of them the 'marrying type?' Surely you mu...
Eden looked down at her plate and idly stirred the food. “No,” she answered quietly.
Mary gave her daughter a long, cool look. “So you just gave it away, didn't you? You just gave it away for some 'fun' and ...
In an effort to keep herself from crying, Eden began shoveling her food into her mouth again.
After a long silence, Mary finally said, “I'm afraid I have to put my foot down. We have a very specific image that we wan...
“What?” Eden gasped incredulously. “Mother, you can't do that. They are just my friends! I--”
“You heard what I said,” Mary cut off as she got up from the table. “I hate to have to do this, but it is for your own goo...
“Obviously,” Mary continued, “your type will still carry on in private. I don't care anymore. Just make sure that nobody s...
...
“Eden Marie! Pick up your phone right this instant!” Mary tried to say as calmly as she possibly could into Eden's voice m...
At the family's beach house on Twikkii Island, Eden ignored her phone as it rang and she continued to ignore it when it si...
Rhys Fitzhugh eyed the view appreciatively and he smiled slightly. “Eden, are you meditating in your underwear for my bene...
Eden laughed as she unfolded herself and climbed into his arms. “Better?” she asked.

“Much,” he replied as he caressed he...
“But, aren't you the heiress? Can't you just tell your mother to piss up a rope and do what you want?”

“I'm not the heire...
“Rhys,” she interrupted as she wrapped her arms around him, “I have no idea why I felt the need to vent to you, but I real...
“Twist my arm why don't you?” he said as he lowered her down onto the bed and kissed her.

***

And so ends another update...
I want to thank everyone who made these guys available for download and for allowing me to use them (for however brief som...
Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)
Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)
Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)
Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)
Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)
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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)

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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 4(B)

  1. 1. Karen and Thaddeus made their way into one of the local nightclubs. Karen was already a bit tipsy as she stumbled up to the bar. “Hey bartender! How about a round for me and my boyfriend here?” As she looked at the bartender, she realized it was Jill Broke. “Oh, it’s you.” Karen sniffed disdainfully.
  2. 2. Jill gave a half smile. “Yeah, it’s me. Gotta pay for college somehow, you know.” “Whatever. I didn’t ask for your life story, I asked for a round of drinks. Chop, chop,” Karen retorted.
  3. 3. As she waited for her drink, Karen heard a sigh of disgust coming from next to her. She turned and looked at the person and a blond, green man looked back at her with raised eyebrows. “What? What are you looking at?” she snapped.
  4. 4. “Someone who is both very drunk and very rude,” the young man replied. Karen glared at him.
  5. 5. Karen was about to retort when she felt a pair of strong arms encircle her waist. “Is this punk giving you problems, sweet cheeks?” Thaddeus’ voice grumbled in her ear as he nibbled on it. Karen winced a little at the pain, but most of her focus was on the blonde man who was pointedly ignoring the obvious threat Thaddeus was posing. A mean smile spread across her face. “Nah, it’s not a big deal. He’s just some jealous loser is all. Hey, Jilly girl,” Karen knocked on the counter to get Jill’s attention. “Free drinks for everyone except him, got it?” She gestured at the man.
  6. 6. He gave her a smile and gestured to the empty counter in front of him. “I don't drink,” he said. “I'm just here for the ambiance, riveting conversation, and to meet polite people such as yourself.”
  7. 7. Karen huffed and stomped off. Thaddeus peered intently at the other man before following. As they walked away, Jill let out a sigh of relief she hadn’t realized she had been holding. “Some people,” the green man scoffed as he watched Jill place wine glasses on a tray. “Yeah, Karen is just one of those people that makes my job interesting,” Jill replied. She shrugged and continued. “You really shouldn’t provoke her like that, though. She can be quite mean.” “Sounds like you’re speaking from experience,” he replied as his thoughts turned inward. He was silent for a few moments before continuing. “Ah, I’ve dealt with bigger assholes than her back home. Much bigger…” Jill raised an eyebrow. “And where is home for you Mr..?” The man grinned. “Mr. Smith, but you can call me Johnny. I come from Strangetown.”
  8. 8. Karen and Thaddeus spent most of the night making out in the booth right off the dance floor. Most of the other patrons of the club had tactfully decided to ignore the PDA spectacle as Karen giggled loudly at Thaddeus’ advances. Most of them except for one.
  9. 9. Zane stood in the shadows and glared at his pet reaping counter-part as a feeling of fatherly protectiveness overwhelmed him. As the moments passed, Zane idly fantasized about ripping the scoundrel off of Tina’s daughter and literally neutering him right there in the middle of the nightclub. Finally, Thaddeus’ phone rang, forcing the pair to cease in their groping.
  10. 10. “What?” the man snarled into his phone as Karen climbed into his lap. He flung her back forcibly as he stood up and screamed into his phone, “What the hell are you talking about, Ruth? What paperwork?” He paused as he listened to the woman on the other end and he gritted his teeth. “Why am I just finding out about this now? Fine, whatever.” He snapped his phone shut and visibly seethed before turning to Karen. “Sorry sweet cheeks, but I gotta go. I’ll assume you can find your own way home, right?” Karen nodded, bleary eyed, as Thaddeus said, “Good. I'll meet you back at your place when I'm done with this job bullshit.” He chucked Karen under the chin. “I’ll see ya ‘later, babe.”
  11. 11. Zane stayed in the shadows as Thaddeus stalked past him and out the door. Waiting another moment to make sure that Thaddeus had truly taken the bait, he issued a mental thanks to Ruth before asking Jill for a hot cup of coffee. He then squared his shoulders and strode purposefully to Karen’s booth.
  12. 12. Unceremoniously, he plopped the drink down on the table, his lips thin as he saw all the empty bottles.
  13. 13. Without missing a beat, he slid into the booth and sat across from her. “Pardon me, but do you mind if I sit here?” he asked politely. “Hey, wait a minute,” Karen mumbled as she frowned at Zane, “who do you think you are? Don't you know who I am?”
  14. 14. “I do,” he blandly replied as his fingers drummed on the table. Karen blinked and raised her chin before she haughtily responded. “Well, then you know that I have a lot of connections and-” “I know that you were raised to act better than this,” he calmly interrupted.
  15. 15. “You've got some nerve! Just wait until my boyfriend hears about this! He’s gonna-”
  16. 16. “Oh my God! Thaddeus Wilcox is your boyfriend? Seriously?” Zane asked incredulously. He sunk his head in his hands and clutched at his hair. “I did not think that poor character judgment was a genetic trait,” he finished with a mumble.
  17. 17. “Wait, what?” Karen leaned forward, but she was unable to catch the last part of what he had said. She shook her head and continued. “Of course he’s my boyfriend, what’s it to you?”
  18. 18. A look of realization dawned upon her face as she looked him over with an appraising look. “Oh, I get it. You’re jealous. Well, we’re not really exclusive, if you know what I mean.” She slid closer to him. “If, say, a dark, mysterious, handsome stranger were to come around and act all concerned like, I might be willing to see what he was about. I do like meeting new people and you are awfully cute…” Zane raised his head up in alarm as she placed an arm around him. He began to flail and blush. “NO! Oh God, no! No, no, no, no! It’s not like that at all!” “Then what the hell do you want?” Karen screamed, hurt by his rejection, not understanding his obvious panic. She slid away from him. He looked at her wide eyed, making sure that she wasn’t going to make any more uncomfortable advances.
  19. 19. “What I want is for you to get your act together. I want you to do better in school. I want you to stop partying all night long. And most of all, I want you to stay away from Thaddeus Wilcox! He’s bad news!”
  20. 20. “Well screw you, buddy! You aren’t my father! You don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life! Piss off!”
  21. 21. A pained expression crossed Zane’s face. “You're right, I'm not your father so I can‘t tell you how to live your life. But I will tell you this,” he muttered a single word under his breath.
  22. 22. “I INTENSLY DISLIKE LYING TO YOUR MOTHER BY TELLING HER THAT YOU'RE DOING FINE WHEN YOU CLEARLY ARE NOT!” He heard a gasp and the sound of a glass breaking, as if it were dropped on the floor.
  23. 23. He looked over and saw that Johnny Smith had witnessed his sudden transformation.
  24. 24. Zane quickly changed back to his human form and rubbed his forehead in exhaustion. He didn't like that he had to resort to scare tactics and he was even more ashamed that someone had witnessed it. He sighed, reminding himself that his night was far from over and he now had to deal with Johnny Smith on top of it. He returned his gaze to Karen, and he saw that she had a stunned look on her face. “Drink the coffee. I’ll find someone respectable to take you home.” He stood up.
  25. 25. She looked up at him, mouth open. “Horse,” she whispered. He peered intently into her eyes and smiled sadly. “No. I can’t take you on a horse ride again. In fact, I’m counting on the fact that you are too inebriated right now for you to remember much of anything that happened tonight,” he softly replied. Leaning over, he brushed her bangs from her eyes and gently placed a kiss upon her forehead. “Sleep well, pumpkin.”
  26. 26. Slowly, he approached Johnny. “I'm very sorry you had to see that,” he said. The other man just gave him a terrified look. Zane continued. “I've been observing you all night and you seem to be a trustworthy person. I was wondering if you could do me a favor?” “Do..do I have a choice?” Zane smiled wanly. “Of course you do. If you say no, I would completely understand. But it would be a great, personal favor if you said yes.” When Johnny didn't respond, Zane went on. “Karen, who is a very important person of interest to me, cannot go back to her place tonight. I would like it if she could stay at your place. It would only be for the night. I have some...business...that needs to be taken care of and it would be best if she wasn't present for it. I'm also asking you because I have a feeling that you wouldn't take advantage of her in her vulnerable state.” “No! Of course not! I mean, yes. Yes I can make sure that she's safe at my place tonight.” Zane was relieved. “Thank you, Johnny Smith. I, as they say, owe you one.” ***
  27. 27. Thaddeus stomped up the stairs in Karen's house after he found out that Ruth made a “mistake” and he wasn't behind on his paperwork. “One of these days, Ruthie, one of these days,” he had said to her. She seemed unperturbed and a little too confident in the new Thanatos' backing, he thought.
  28. 28. He walked up to Karen's bed and found it empty. “KAREN,” he shouted, “you had better get in here, or else I'm going to--” He was cut off by the click of a light switching on.
  29. 29. “You will be doing absolutely nothing,” Zane said, anger evident in his voice.
  30. 30. He deliberately turned his back as Thaddeus stalked over to him. The only sound for a moment was Zane's fingers drumming on the wall. “What's it to you?” the Pet Reaper asked. “It's not like she's your kid or anything, is she?” Zane's jaw clenched. “For all intents and purposes, yes, she is, and you will stay away from her. Am I understood?”
  31. 31. Thaddeus laughed as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “And tell me, what are you going to do about it? You're a puss, Thanatos. You wouldn't hurt a fly. And say I do stop seeing Karen: what's to stop me from getting involved with any of your other family members, hmm? I know all about them. All of them, if you catch my drift. I know where they are and I know who they are. How do you plan on stopping me? Shake a finger at me and whine, 'Don't do that, Thaddeus! It's hurts my feelings!'” He mimicked Zane in a high pitched voice.
  32. 32. Zane looked at his finger nails with an air of bored non-chalantness. “Thaddeus, tell me something. Taking the spirit of a living thing is essentially taking the energy out of the body of a person or pet, correct?” Thaddeus raised an eyebrow at the random question. “Yes. You know it is. What does that have to do with anything?” “What happens when you try to take the life force, the energy, from a person who is essentially composed of pure, solid energy and nothing else?” “I don't know. What happens?”
  33. 33. “I'm not entirely sure myself, but if you don't stay away from Karen or if you insist on meddling in my affairs, we're going to find out together. AM I UNDERSTOOD?”
  34. 34. Thaddeus shuddered. “God, that creeps me out when you Reaper Kids do that black eye thing. It's just not natural,” he said. When he recovered, he smirked at Zane. “Resorting to threats though, eh? You're not the little squeaky clean, goody-two-shoes soul that you're advertising to be, are you?” He laughed a little. “Okay, Thanatos. I'll play it your way. For now. But, one of these days you're going to sink down to my level, and I'll laugh when it happens.” He turned on his heel and left.
  35. 35. Zane shifted his eyes back to their regular gray color as he lifted a shaky hand to rake the hair off of his forehead. He waited a few moments to make sure that Thaddeus had truly left before he turned the lamp off and left himself.
  36. 36. He didn't go directly home though, as he felt it best not to go back to the Dead Realm until he calmed down. Unfortunately, calming down was taking him a while. He didn't like having to resort to threats and he found that he was even more irritated with himself because he let Thaddeus get to him. He plucked irritably at his shirt as he walked down the deserted, nighttime streets of Pleasantview. He went over his conversation with Thaddeus, trying to find an alternate solution that he would use next time. He was quite certain that there would be a next time.
  37. 37. As he passed by the graveyard, he felt a prickling at the back of his neck, which distracted him from his ire at Thaddeus. Stopping in his tracks, he turned his head towards the entrance, trying to sense what the prickling was and where, exactly, it was coming from. As a general rule, Zane could more or less sense and see the auras of people; it seemed to be part of his Grim Reaper nature. A person who was alive had a vibrant aura, and a person who was scheduled to be collected had a dim, faded aura. What he sensed now was an emptiness: a void surrounding what he supposed was a living being. Curious and, against his better nature, repulsed, he headed into the graveyard to search for the source of the void.
  38. 38. He could sense the bodies of dead Sims in the ground, which was disconcerting enough, and a major reason why he avoided graveyards. But the stomach turning sensation didn't come from them. He stood still and he tried to listen for any sort of movement.
  39. 39. A branch snapped to his right, which made him pause and look towards where the sound came from. “Hello?” he called out. He wasn't afraid exactly as there were few things that could harm him, even when he wasn't wearing his Grim Reaper attire. But the emptiness made him uneasy. “You ought to know that I can sense that you're there,” he called out again. “”Please come out. I promise I won't hurt you.” When he heard no answer, he slowly began walking towards where he last heard a sound.
  40. 40. When he was halfway down the path, there was a sudden scurry of movement as someone, or something, tried to run away from him. “Oh, God please no! Please don't hurt me!” a voice cried before they tripped over their own feet.
  41. 41. Zane immediately went to help the person up, but the man flailing on the ground fought him. “Oh, God, you're going to touch me and kill me! I knew it. I've been able to sense you and I knew it was only a matter of time before you found me, Grim Reaper!” Though the man was flailing and fighting Zane off, he was still sobbing as he spoke.
  42. 42. As soon as he saw the other man's face, Zane's mouth dropped open. “Remington!” Remington moaned louder. “Remington, it's me, Zane. What on earth are you doing here?”
  43. 43. As soon as Remington heard Zane tell him who he was, he stopped flailing and went still. “Of course it's you,” he said in a resigned voice. “Who else would it be? My past regrets coming to haunt and punish me. I'm so sorry about what happened to you, but I couldn't stop her from killing you. I was too weak. And now you're here to get your revenge upon me. Just, please, don't make it hurt. I'm begging you to show mercy.”
  44. 44. The unexpected mention of his mother made Zane flinch and then he sighed. “Remington, what are you doing here?” he asked again. Remington only moaned in response. It took Zane a few moments to realize what had happened. Lillian had magical control over the zombie, but when Zane had placed her on the Punished Realm, it severed that bond. With nowhere to go and probably a lot of shunning from the other creatures of the night, the zombie had taken refuge in the cemetery. It was Zane's fault that Remington was in his current situation, but on the other hand, it was still probably better than being in Lillian's control. Zane, however, still felt guilty.
  45. 45. It took a great force of will to overcome the creepy, crawly feeling Zane got from Remington's lack of aura, but he managed to crouch down in front of the zombie. “Remington,” he said kindly, “I'm not anything like my mother and I certainly don't blame you for what happened to me. What good would that do, anyway? And I most certainly don't plan on killing you; I'm not a mur--” he cut himself off as he remembered his Uncle Sebastian's death. He shook his head and continued. “I'm not going to hurt you. In fact, if you would like, I can help you. Do you want to come home with me?” Remington gave him a sad look. “Is that a euphemism? Are you trying to trick me? Why would you be nice to me?” Zane's lips trembled slightly. “Because I remember that you were actually very nice to me and you were pretty much the only person who played with me. I owe you.” “But coming home with you will kill me, won't it?”
  46. 46. Zane managed to both hide his involuntary revulsion and ignore Remington's flinch as he helped the other man up. “You're already dead, technically, so the Dead Realm won't affect you like it would affect a living person not in my presence. I can give you a token so you can pass freely between my realm and this one if you would like. Either way, it would be better than living here and eating from the garbage cans. I have a functioning bathroom and a kitchen with food, and I believe we even have a spare bedroom that isn't being used.” “We?” “Me, Ruth, Jezebel, and Tina. It's a full house so you won't be lonely. Trust me on that,” he responded with a small laugh. “Why are you being so nice?”
  47. 47. Zane slung his arm over the other man's shoulders. “Because that's just the way I am and I don't ever plan on changing that,” he said cheerfully. “Now, lets get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.” As the two of them started walking out, Zane asked, “What would you like to have me make for dinner? We can pick up whatever you want at the store along the way. Oh, and we can even get cake! You like chocolate, yes? I know of this great bakery that's owned by two very nice gentlemen...” ***
  48. 48. “So what do you do with these women? You just get up out of bed and leave?” “Sure.” “Well explain to me how you do it. What do you say?” “I just say that I have an early meeting, early haircut, or like a squash game.” “You don't play squash.” “They don't know that. They just met me.” “That's disgusting.” “I know, I feel terrible.”
  49. 49. Vaughn casually leaned on Laurana's seat and whispered, “I can't believe you've never seen 'When Jason Met Sandy'. It's a pop culture classic!” “Shh,” Laurana whispered back.
  50. 50. “You know, I'm so glad I never got involved with you. I just would have ended up being some woman you had to get up out of bed at and leave at three o'clock in the morning to go clean your andirons. And you don't even have a fireplace, not that I know this!”
  51. 51. “Why are you getting so upset? This is not about you.”
  52. 52. “Yes it is! You are a human affront to all women, and I am a woman!” “Hey, I don't feel great about this, but I don't hear anyone complaining.” “Of course not! You're out the door too fast!” “I think they have an okay time.” “How do you know?” “What do you mean 'how do I know'? I know.”
  53. 53. “Because they...?” “Yes. Because they...” “And how do you know that they're really...” “What are you saying? That they fake it?” “It's possible.” “Get outta here!”
  54. 54. “Why? Most women at one time or another have faked it.”
  55. 55. “Well they haven't faked it with me.”
  56. 56. “How do you know?” “Because I know.” “Oh. Right. That's right. I forgot. You're a man.” “What is that supposed to mean?” “Nothing. It's just that all men are sure that it never happened to them and most women at one time or another have done it. You do the math.”
  57. 57. “You don't think I can tell the difference? “No.” “Get outta here!”
  58. 58. “Oh. Ooh. Oooh!”
  59. 59. “Are you okay?”
  60. 60. “Oooooh! Oh, God! Oooh. Oh, God! Oh! Oh, God! Oh yeah! Right there! Oh! Oh, God! Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
  61. 61. “Yes! Yes! Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
  62. 62. “Yes! Yes! Oh! Oooh! Oh, God. Oh.”
  63. 63. “I'll have what she's having.” *** Scene from 'When Harry Met Sally.' I claim no originality for it.
  64. 64. After the movie, Vaughn and Laurana decided to walk back to campus instead of taking a cab. “That was actually a really good film,” Laurana said. Vaughn smiled and looked at her. “I told you so. I think it was one of Jason Larson's best roles. Sandy wasn't too bad either.” “They were both really good,” she agreed, “but the ending was rather predictable.” Vaughn raised his eyebrows. “You didn't like the fact that they got together?” She shrugged. “I guess that's not really it. Just the entire thing about how men and women can't be friends. It's wrong. They can be. Look at us. We're friends, right?”
  65. 65. “I mean,” she continued, “the movie pretty much said that men and women can't be friends because there will always be an attraction between the opposite sexes. That's not true! There's no attraction between us, right? And even if there were, we wouldn't do anything about it because it would jeopardize our friendship, right?”
  66. 66. Vaughn stopped walking as he looked away and sighed. Laurana noticed this and said again, “Right?”
  67. 67. He turned to face her. “Yeah. Right. Wouldn't want to ruin the friendship.” Laurana blinked. “You...you don't really like me like that, do you?” she asked. Vaughn shrugged and started to walk again.
  68. 68. Laurana was quiet as she walked next to him. She also tried very hard to ignore the thrill that went up her arm as the back of his hand brushed against hers. ***
  69. 69. “Why are you beating the shower like a red headed step child?” Rose asked Laurana later that night. “Did something happen on your date with Vaughn?” “IT..WASN'T..A..DATE!” Laurana shouted after each bang of the wrench. Rose rolled her eyes. “Oh, yeah. That's right. The guy who has been around nearly everyday, the guy who goes out with you for coffee, dinner, and a movie totally isn't dating you.” “HE'S NOT!” “Sure, okay, fine. Either way, what pissed you off so much tonight that you felt the need to take out your aggression on that poor shower head?” Laurana sighed.
  70. 70. “Well, first of all, he HUGGED me!” “So? Doesn't he always hug you?”
  71. 71. “No! Tonight was totally different. He meant it to mean something more.” “How could you tell?” “I don't know! I just could!” “Well, if he only hugged you, then maybe you're just over reacting.”
  72. 72. “No! Because after he hugged me, he..he brushed some of my hair off my shoulder!” “So what?”
  73. 73. “So what? So what?! Well, after he did that he flirted with me. He said that he thought I was really pretty and he liked spending time with me.” “Laurana, he told you that you were pretty when he met you, and obviously he likes spending time with you, otherwise he wouldn't be over here almost everyday.” “But flirting with me crosses the line!” “Well, did you like it?”
  74. 74. “Whether I liked it or not is beside the point. I told him from the beginning that I wasn't interested in dating and that I just wanted to be friends.” “Do you think he's cute?”
  75. 75. “Rose! The point is not whether I think he's cute. The point is that he..he obviously wants something more.” “And you don't?” “No! I don't!”
  76. 76. “Laurana,” Rose said as they entered the bedroom, “obviously you must like spending time with him, otherwise he would have stopped coming around a long time ago. As for him flirting with you, he's a Romance Sim and that's part of his nature. He's always flirting with you. Heck, he flirts with me and he knows that I'm not into boys. He's even flirted a bit with Eden, right Eden?” she asked as Eden entered the room. “Vaughn? Yeah, he's flirted with me, but not in a real serious way. What are you getting all bent out of shape about? It's harmless, friendly flirting; nothing to get alarmed over.” “I'm not done with my story! He...” Laurana trailed off. “What?” the other girls asked in unison.
  77. 77. “He kissed me! Right on the lips!” “Oh my God, he did?” Eden asked in an excited tone. “Yes. Yes he did.” “Wow. So he must really like you. Did you like it?”
  78. 78. “That is not the point! The point is that he kissed me when I have told him time and again that I am not interested in getting involved with anyone.” “Laurana, it was only one kiss. It's not the end of the world,” Rose said. “Was it only one kiss?” Eden asked.
  79. 79. “You guys are missing the point!” “Laurana, there are worse guys in the world that you could have kissed. He's nice, he's cute, he's smart, he's funny, and you obviously like spending time with him and he with you. Would it be so bad if you actually gave in and let your friendship with Vaughn become something more?” Eden asked patiently. “Eden, I have problems socializing with people. You know this! I have no idea what to do in a relationship. I get all awkward and stuff when I think about it.” “But, you aren't awkward with him.”
  80. 80. “That's because we're friends and I told him, again, that that was all I wanted.” “Oh, no. Really? You said that to him after he put himself out there and actually made a real move on you? You rejected him?”
  81. 81. “You guys make it sound like I was harsh!” “Because it was harsh!” “But...but you even said that it probably didn't mean anything. I mean, he's a Romance Sim. I..I don't think he was all that upset.” “Laurana, there are Romance Sims who play the field, and then there are Romance Sims out there that actually like being in committed relationships. You know that! Look at most of your family members! I honestly think Vaughn falls into the latter category,” Eden said. “What did he say when you rejected him?” Rose asked.
  82. 82. “Quit making me sound like I broke his heart!” “What did he say?” Rose asked again, insistently. “He..he kissed my hand and told me that he understood and then he apologized for making me feel uncomfortable. That was it.” “Laurana, you're my friend and all, but I think you're being really stupid. Really, really stupid,” Rose said.
  83. 83. “Rose,” Eden gently chided, “name calling isn't necessary.” “Thank you, Eden,” Laurana said. “You know where I'm coming from, right? I mean, all of your guy friends are just friends, right?” Eden shrugged. “Yeah, they are. But we all know what we are getting into. I don't mess around with guys who want anything more than a little bit of fun. It's one of the reasons why Vaughn never popped onto my radar. He is the type who would be willing to be in it for the long haul.” She turned and faced Laurana. “However, I also think that for the fact that you seem so very upset over his flirting and such with you, that you seem to remember every single detail rather vividly. I think you're trying too hard to not care about him.”
  84. 84. Laurana looked at her friend silently, not knowing how to respond. ***
  85. 85. A few days later, Vaughn and Laurana agreed to meet for coffee. The two of them sat there silently for a while before Laurana said, “So, are things going to be all weird between us?” “Only as weird as you want it to be,” he responded peacefully as he sipped his drink. “I don't want it to be awkward.” “Then it won't be.” “But, you do know where I'm coming from, right?”
  86. 86. “To be honest, no, not really,” he said with a sigh. “I don't do well with people. Either they irritate me, or I feel socially retarded around them. There is no middle ground. I've managed to gather a handful of friends, you among them, and I don't want to ruin that should things go south,” Laurana explained. “You're automatically assuming that things would go south!” “But we're friends!” Vaughn sighed again. “I promised myself that I wouldn't push the issue, so this is the last that you're going to hear me mention it. But, Laurana, people in relationships are also friends. I mean, it's not just attraction and lust there, at least not in healthy ones. They like each other as well as, well, you know, love each other. But, like I said, this is the last time I'll say anything about it.”
  87. 87. “So you do want something more?” “Yes. Yes I do. I'm curious to see where it would lead us. I'm also attracted to you. Very attracted. And I would love nothing more than for you to say, 'Hey Vaughn, lets be more than just friends!' because then I would...well, I don't know exactly what I would do, but I have vague fantasies of throwing this coffee onto the floor and grabbing you and kissing you and never stopping. But, I wouldn't unless you did give the word. You see, because we are friends, and me showing that lack of control again would ruin our friendship. Curse me and my good manners!” he joked. “I see...” she trailed off. “I shouldn't have said anything. Look, I swear it will never come up again and I won't make any more moves on you. I'd far rather have you in my life as a friend than to not have you around at all.” ***
  88. 88. It was hard, but she managed it.
  89. 89. Karen managed to plead for extensions on her homework and term papers. She buckled down and completed everything that was needed for her to barely pass.
  90. 90. She only went out occasionally, and that was to buy some espresso so she could stay up later studying. She always went out alone, namely because Thaddeus stopped returning her phone calls. In a sense, she was rather relieved about that. She toyed with the idea of calling Johnny Smith, but she found that she was embarrassed about her actions the night that she met him and ended up at his house. She was certain that nothing had happened between the two of them, but the way he looked at her like he was scared of her the next morning left her wondering. She realized that it was probably all for the best, though. Dating someone would have ended up being a distraction and she had been distracted enough all through college. She wanted to graduate. And graduate she did. Granted, her GPA was slightly below average, but she managed to pass either way.
  91. 91. After the graduation ceremony, she didn't know what to do. She had nowhere to go. She sighed and read the mysterious note that had arrived with a bouquet of flowers that morning. Congratulations on graduating. I want you to know that both of us are very proud of you. I know things have been tough and I am very glad that you pulled through. I would also like for you to remember that with every door that is closed, there is a window open somewhere. I hope you find that window and I sincerely hope that the door to Thaddeus is firmly closed. Might I also add that things are never as bad as they seem? I'm positive that there are a pair of fathers who miss you very much. Congratulations again and much love. It wasn't signed and it certainly wasn't in either Frances or Malcolm's handwriting.
  92. 92. Reading the note once more for confidence, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed a number. “Hi. It's me, Karen,” she said. “Do..do you think we can meet up somewhere and talk? We can? Is around dinner time okay? At the pub? Great! I..I guess I'll see you then.” She breathed a sigh of relief as she hung up.
  93. 93. She was nervous the entire cab trip back to Pleasantview and her nerves grew as it came closer to dinner time. Time flew faster than normal and in what seemed like no time at all, Karen was in front of the pub. Heavy with doubt, she took a deep breath and walked inside.
  94. 94. Almost immediately, she bumped into someone. She opened her mouth to something rude, but as she looked at the person, she shut her mouth. He looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place her finger on exactly where she'd seen him before. The man looked at her expectantly, then gave her a small, sad smile. He nodded at her and said, “Good.” Before Karen could ask him what that was supposed to mean, or say anything at all to him, he left the pub.
  95. 95. She put it out of her mind for the moment as she waited for her dinner date to show up. She was convinced that he wouldn't come, though. She wouldn't blame him if he did bail considering her actions in the past. But she still hoped that he might. Promptly at seven o'clock, he walked in, much to Karen's relief. “Hi,” she said timidly, “I'm glad you came. I..I didn't think you would.”
  96. 96. Malcolm gave his daughter a perplexed look. “Sweetheart, why would you think I wouldn't come?” She shrugged uncomfortably. “Because I said that you weren't my real parents. Because I never returned your calls. Because I kinda got into some bad trouble at school.” “Is that all?” Karen blinked. “That's pretty bad, I think.”
  97. 97. He kissed her on her cheek. “When you become a parent, you'll gain the patience of a saint. I didn't believe it when my own parents told me that, but now I see that they were right. You're not bad, you're just young. All is forgiven.” “You mean that I can come home?” “We didn't think you were not going to come home. In fact, I know your father is preparing a special meal to celebrate your graduation. I think he would be terribly offended if we skipped out on that and grabbed something from here, don't you?” “Thank you,” Karen whispered. ***
  98. 98. “Just waltz right on into my dorm and help yourself to the juice why don't you?” Vaughn said to Laurana with a laugh. “Don't mind if I do,” she responded with a smile as she filled her plastic cup.
  99. 99. Vaughn waited until she was done filling her cup before he filled his own. After taking a small sip, he asked Laurana, “Aren't you guys having a graduation party at your place?” “No,” she said, “Rose and Jill are heading off to Takemizu Village, Karen is doing whatever it is that Karen does, and Eden's heading off to Twikkii Island with her new boyfriend,” she rolled her eyes at the last part. “Another one, hey?” Laurana nodded. “Her mother is harassing her about getting married and being like a Family Sim. I think Eden's going off to the beach to put that off as long as possible.” He laughed before responding with, “So you're all by yourself. Why didn't you just go straight home?” Laurana shrugged. “I didn't want to leave without dropping by and seeing you off.”
  100. 100. Vaughn walked over to the juice keg and drank straight from the tap in an attempt to hide his smile. Laurana laughed as some of the juice spilled down his graduation gown. “You're going to get your nice clothes soaked,” she said. “Nope. I'm not wearing much underneath my gown. In a real lack of foresight, I packed away my regular clothes and sent them home. Just my shoes and underwear to last me until I get back to Pleasantview.” “Really?” “Really, really,” was his cheerful response. “You're not real good at drinking from the tap.” “Eh. It's the first time I've ever done that. Not much of a drinker, but, hey, it's graduation. It only happens once per dimension. Why not live a little, know what I mean?”
  101. 101. “So what are your plans once you head back to Pleasantview?” Laurana asked. “Be a burden on society.” “What?” Vaughn laughed at her response. “I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Though, seeing as I have a degree in Art, it's probably not that far off the mark. But, I'll probably get some entry level position at some no-name art gallery in SimCity. However, I was offered a year long fellowship in Veronaville that I was thinking of taking.” “Oh...you're leaving?” She tried to keep her voice nonchalant as she ignored the sinking feeling in her stomach. He lifted a shoulder in a half shrug. “I was thinking about taking it, yeah.”
  102. 102. “What about your parents? Won't they miss you?” “My mom will miss me, but she wants to see me happy. Dad will miss me, I'm sure, but he's got his own thing going on here. What that is, I have no idea and I've learned that it's better not to ask. My mom assures me that it's nothing underhanded, but she won't say much else about it. 'Spoilers' she told me. She feels the need to quote Doctor Who whenever possible, by the way. In case, you know, you ever meet her.” “I'll miss you,” she said softly. “If I go. If. And I wouldn't be gone forever. Who knows? Maybe by the time I come back, you'll be all married with a kid. You'd forget all about me.” “I doubt it,” she replied.
  103. 103. Conversation moved on to more shallow topics as the day went on. They talked about what they would miss from college and what they wouldn't. It didn't turn back to more personal matters until night fell and Vaughn asked, “So, aren't your parents harassing you about getting married?” Laurana pasted on a grin. “Oh, I'm sure my mother is dying to know what I plan on doing about that situation. She's a Family Sim like Eden's mom, but far, far less insane about it. I think she would like to see me happy with whatever I do. What about your parents?” He gave her a funny little smile and another half shrug. “Like I said earlier, my parents, ultimately, would also like to see me happy. But, my life is my own; I've never had to worry about Legacy Family responsibilities. I could settle down and have ten kids, or I could have a string of a hundred lovers. As long as I am happy, my parents will be fine with whatever I do.” “A hundred lovers?” “I was exaggerating. I'm not even one onehundreth close to that number here.”
  104. 104. She waited until he filled another cup before quietly asking, “Do you want a hundred lovers?” He drank from his cup as he thought about his answer. “You know, there was a time where I thought that having a little black book filled with girls names and tons of notches on my bedpost was what I was supposed to do as a Romance Sim. I came to realize that with some, that's not always the case. I was one of those people. I'd prefer one passionate relationship to a hundred shallow ones any day.” Laurana nodded absently as she examined her drink. “Vaughn, we've been drinking this stuff all night and I don't even think I have a slight buzz.” He laughed. “Non-alcoholic. It's literally just juice. That's why nobody else is around drinking it; they're probably waiting for it to sit for a month so it can ferment. Why? Were you planning on getting wasted, lowering your inhibitions, and taking advantage of poor, helpless me?” She blushed furiously. “No!” “Ah. That's a shame,” he teased.
  105. 105. “Oh, God, now in light of that last statement, this is going to be taken so the wrong way, but you know what I just realized?” Laurana asked. “What's that?” “In all the time that I've known you, I don't think I've ever seen the inside of your dorm room.” Vaughn laughed. “Nobody has. It's usually pretty messy which is why I keep the door locked. Well, that and to keep the cheerleaders and mascots from running in and waking me up two hours before an exam. Do..do you want to see it now? It's pretty clean seeing as I shipped most of my stuff home. It should be acceptable to look at to even the neatest person.” “I'm kinda curious, yeah,” she said. He shrugged and unlocked the door, letting her in.
  106. 106. “Well there's something you don't see everyday in a dorm: a double bed,” Laurana said, surprised, when she walked in. Vaughn shrugged. “Yeah, my grandfather, father, and my mother's husband all seemed to take personal offense at the original, single bed that was in here. They chipped in and bought me this one. Though, the money wasn't completely wasted: I get to sprawl out in the middle of the bed every night.” “You've never...um, shared it with anyone else?” Not looking at her, he idly smoothed the covers. “Nope,” he tried to respond casually.
  107. 107. “Why not? You can't tell me that the girls haven't been all over you. Look at you! You're adorable! As your friend, I'm offended that they aren't throwing themselves at you,” she said indignantly. He gave her a curious look. “Well,” he began slowly, “there is this one girl that I'm madly in love with and all the other girls don't hold a candle to her.” “Did you tell her?” “Yeah I did. She just wants to be friends. I've been waiting for her to give me the word that she wants to be more, but she's kinda stubborn and she has it set in her mind that moving forward would ruin what we already have.” “But that's just silly--oh...”
  108. 108. Tentatively, she reached up and brushed his cheek with her hand. “You're talking about me.” “Hey, and I didn't even have to hit you over the head with a brick or anything.” “Still? After all this time of me telling you no?” “Always,” he replied simply. Impulsively, she asked, “Vaughn, you said at the coffee shop that you had vague fantasies of what you would do there if I 'gave you the word.' What..what would you do here?” “Are you giving me the word?” “Yes, I think I am. So what would--”
  109. 109. He cut her off as he pulled her close and kissed her, roughly at first. The second kiss was a bit more gentle. The third became insistent as Laurana started nudging him towards the bed. He broke away long enough to ask, “Are you sure?” She nodded in response.
  110. 110. Vaughn's cap and gown came off much faster than Laurana's clothes, but only marginally as they tumbled onto his bed.
  111. 111. ***
  112. 112. The next morning, Laurana was still mostly asleep as her brain tried to wake up and tell her that something major had happened the night before. She kept pushing it down as she snuggled closer to the person next to her, listening to their heartbeat and even breathing. Don't be silly, she thought to herself, nothing major happened. Everything is normal. In a moment, Eden will get another phone call from her mother asking where she was the night before.
  113. 113. After she had convinced her waking mind that she was in her own bed and nothing was amiss, she felt the arms that she was snuggled in tighten into a hug and a hand stroke her hair. “You know, I don't mind giving up half the bed if the other half contains you. I could get used to this,” Vaughn said. “This was totally worth waiting for. Oh, God, and as for Veronaville, I definitely won't be going now. I really didn't want to anyway, but I figured that you were never going to see me as more than a friend, so what was the point in staying?” Laurana's brow creased. What's Vaughn doing in my bedroom? Oh, God! VAUGHN!
  114. 114. With a gasp she sat up, fully awake. She looked down and blushed at her scantily clad form. She blushed even harder when she remembered how she didn't mind her state of undress the night before.
  115. 115. Panic began to set in. “Oh God, what did we do? What did I do?” She scanned the room frantically for her clothes.
  116. 116. “How could I have been so stupid? This was so dumb,” she continued on, oblivious to the fact that Vaughn had gone completely still and even more oblivious to the look on his face.
  117. 117. “I can't believe I did this. I'm so stupid! What was I thinking?” Laurana could feel tears forming as she gathered her clothes that had been hastily thrown across the room the night before. “You're not dumb, Laurana,” Vaughn said quietly. “Yes I am. I made a vow to myself that I wouldn't let anyone get close to me because then it wouldn't hurt so much when they left me or when they died. But what did I do when my best friend says that he might leave town? I sleep with him so he won't leave. How messed up is that?” “It's not like I was unwilling. Like I said, I've been madly--”
  118. 118. “Vaughn, please. No. I can't. Please,” she pleaded as she got dressed. She looked away from him and continued in a pained voice, “Go to Veronaville. Find someone nice; someone who won't use you in an attempt not to lose you.” “Laurana--” “I have to go. I'm so sorry,” she said as she ran from the room and out of the dorm without looking back.
  119. 119. If she would have looked over her shoulder, she would have seen him slump on the bed with his head in his hands. ***
  120. 120. “Welcome home, sweetie,” Mary said as she embraced Eden. “I'm so glad you were able to come here first before heading off to the beach! And your beach vacation is very well deserved. A 4.0 in Drama, how wonderful!” Eden hugged her mother back. “Thank you, Mother.” Mary let go of Eden. “So, when is he going to move in?” she asked.
  121. 121. Eden gave her a confused look. “When is who going to move in?” “Stanley Legacy, of course. I came to the conclusion that if you are going to be with some one who is...” she trailed off. “Well, anyway, I have it all worked out. It would be positively lovely if you had a Victorian theme going on for yourself. It will give you the illusion that you are a sweet angel and nobody would be the wiser,” she gave Eden a pleased grin. “Mother, I'm not marrying Stanley Legacy. I don't know why you would think that.” Mary's lips thinned as she sighed. “Come inside,” she said. “Dinner is waiting.”
  122. 122. As she followed her mother into the house, Eden gave a small sigh of her own as she unconsciously smoothed her hair into place.
  123. 123. Mary watched as Eden shoveled the food into her mouth. “Eden, sweetie, how many time must I tell you that you have to sit up straight and eat like a lady? You never know when someone is going to take an unseemly picture of you. I know that we are in our own private home, but if you don't practice good habits here, then you might slip up in public and everyone would see! Then what would they think and say about you?”
  124. 124. Eden immediately straightened up and ate in a more careful manner. “There, see?” Mary said, “You look so much more becoming. But you must also make sure that you don't drip any of the salad dressing on your dress. You wouldn't want an oil spot on it because then it would be ruined!” Eden just nodded and began to just pick at her food.
  125. 125. “So, anyway,” Mary continued, “why are you not marrying Stanley Legacy? I think he would be just perfect for you and it would solve a lot of publicity problems. Don't you agree?”
  126. 126. “Mother, there will always be gossip because that's what happens when someone is in the public eye. As for marrying Stanley, there are two reasons why that won't happen. Number one: he didn't ask. Number two: he's not the marrying type. I don't mind the latter and I certainly didn't mind the former. He's my friend. We had fun together. End of story.”
  127. 127. “Well, then, what about the other men? Your other, so-called 'friends?' Are any of them the 'marrying type?' Surely you must understand that as future heiress you are supposed to be looking for someone acceptable to marry into this family; someone who is compatible with both legacy life as well compatible with you. Were any of those 'friends' of yours on your list of potential spouses?”
  128. 128. Eden looked down at her plate and idly stirred the food. “No,” she answered quietly.
  129. 129. Mary gave her daughter a long, cool look. “So you just gave it away, didn't you? You just gave it away for some 'fun' and a few cheap thrills.” She shook her head.
  130. 130. In an effort to keep herself from crying, Eden began shoveling her food into her mouth again.
  131. 131. After a long silence, Mary finally said, “I'm afraid I have to put my foot down. We have a very specific image that we want you to have and that's an image that requires you to look like you're nice, sweet, and innocent. You are nice, Eden, I will give you that. You work well with other people and you don't have that prima donna mentality, thank God. But, you can't continue to run around town with random men and then say that you're 'just friends' afterward. Nobody believes it and you're ruining your reputation. You have a long career ahead of you and I won't have you be the laughing stock of the town. So, with that said, the next man that you are seen in public with, you're going to have to marry, even if I have to find a way to force you.”
  132. 132. “What?” Eden gasped incredulously. “Mother, you can't do that. They are just my friends! I--”
  133. 133. “You heard what I said,” Mary cut off as she got up from the table. “I hate to have to do this, but it is for your own good. Obviously you need a little help in the area of commitment. So, either you choose, or I choose. And I'm sure you're better at picking someone who is compatible for you than I am. Make the next one count.” “You can't be serious.” “I am very serious. I am still the heiress, so I still get to make the decisions and this one is final. I would like to see this family continue to grow and it's quite apparent that it won't if you continue on the way you have been.”
  134. 134. “Obviously,” Mary continued, “your type will still carry on in private. I don't care anymore. Just make sure that nobody sees you. You need to learn to be discreet. Or, you can change your aspiration as that would make everything so much easier. Nothing good ever came out of being a Romance Sim, Eden. I thought you would have realized that by now. But, I won't keep you any longer. I know you have a flight to catch. Have a good time at the beach and think over what I said.” Eden slumped in her chair. ***
  135. 135. ...
  136. 136. “Eden Marie! Pick up your phone right this instant!” Mary tried to say as calmly as she possibly could into Eden's voice mail. She knew that she was failing though. “Absolutely not! I..I know who that man is! What are you thinking? No! Absolutely not!” she repeated. “As soon as you get this message you must call me back. You are to come home as soon as possible. You have gone too far! This behavior will not be tolerated, especially when it's involving...him! He is nothing but trouble! Do you understand me? I will be expecting your call shortly!” Mary slammed down the phone and she glanced back at the computer screen. She shook her head slowly and said softly to herself, “No! Not him. She's doing this on purpose. She has to be!” ***
  137. 137. At the family's beach house on Twikkii Island, Eden ignored her phone as it rang and she continued to ignore it when it signaled that she had a voice mail message waiting. Another one. The tenth one to be exact. Instead, she chose to continue meditating on the bed and she felt her companion shift as he made himself comfortable. “Whoever that is, they are really persistent,” he said. “It's my mother,” she replied without opening her eyes. “I should really just turn off my phone so I can legitimately say that I never heard it ring.” She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
  138. 138. Rhys Fitzhugh eyed the view appreciatively and he smiled slightly. “Eden, are you meditating in your underwear for my benefit?” he asked. Eden kept her eyes closed. “Maybe,” she replied playfully. “Are you almost done?” “Maybe,” she said again, trying not to smile. “Gah! You're killing me here, woman!”
  139. 139. Eden laughed as she unfolded herself and climbed into his arms. “Better?” she asked. “Much,” he replied as he caressed her skin. “So, why are you avoiding phone calls from your mother anyway?” She sighed. “Guaranteed someone spotted us and took pictures and she saw them. She's not stupid so she probably recognized you. So, she's probably freaking out and insisting that I come home so she can lecture me about how she wants me to act, who she wants me to marry, and say things like 'Eden, dear, wouldn't it be so much easier if you were a Family Sim?' She...” she trailed off with another sigh. “She wants me to be someone that I'm not and how I am just isn't good enough. She doesn't approve of me, to be honest. Not that she would say that in those exact words, but I can tell. If she could find a way to stick my head in the ReNuYuSenso Orb without knocking me unconscious and placing it in there herself, she'd do it in a heart beat. It's oppressive, she's oppressive, so I'm putting all of that off for as long as possible.”
  140. 140. “But, aren't you the heiress? Can't you just tell your mother to piss up a rope and do what you want?” “I'm not the heiress until I get married, or have a kid, whichever comes first. And even then, no, I can't really do what I want. I'll have a ton of responsibilities of which I don't mind having if my mother would just let me be who I am. As for telling her to 'piss up a rope,'” she laughed a little, “that wouldn't go over well. You don't know my mother. It would just make things worse. She wouldn't be mean about it, but she would just, I don't know. It's hard to explain. She makes her disapproval known in little ways.” She gestured to her phone on the nightstand. “But--”
  141. 141. “Rhys,” she interrupted as she wrapped her arms around him, “I have no idea why I felt the need to vent to you, but I really don't want to talk about it anymore. I just want to relax and enjoy myself, with you, and I'll deal with it when I absolutely have to. Can we just pretend that the world out there doesn't exist for a little while longer? Please? It'll still be there when we're done.”
  142. 142. “Twist my arm why don't you?” he said as he lowered her down onto the bed and kissed her. *** And so ends another update. It pained me greatly to not have all the girls engaged to their intended spouses before the end of college (which I normally do). If all goes according to plan though, weddings should be happening before the end of the next chapter. Despite the fact that I only showed a few of Eden's lovers, she actually achieved the 20 Simultaneous Lovers/20 WooHoo Romance Sim impossible wants. Not that it made her Perma-Plat or anything, I just did it because I wanted to. All of her other lovers were non-Legacy Sim Imports. Speaking of Legacy Sim Imports...
  143. 143. I want to thank everyone who made these guys available for download and for allowing me to use them (for however brief some of them might have appeared). They are a pleasure to have around! Candi020765: Gage Uglacy (The Uglacy Family) Fireflower314: Vaughn Fitzhugh (The Morgan Legacy) Dicreasy: Stanley Legacy (The Victorian Legacy) Smoothiequeen: Rhys Fitzhugh (The Fitzhugh Legacy/The Villainous Apocalypse) DrSupremeNerd: Archimedes “Archie” Vetinari (The Vetinari Dualegacy) Professor Butters: Achilles Goodytwoshoes (The Squeaky Clean Legacy) Not shown above: Cassius Marius (Blight27-10 Caesars Legacy), SimDe (Fireflower314's Simself), Spencer Fitzhugh (Smoothiequeen-The Fitzhugh Legacy), Cecil Goodytwoshoes (Professor Butters-The Squeaky Clean Legacy), and Doc Nerd (DrSupremeNerd's Simself). Thank you everyone for reading!

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