Welcome back to The Devereaux Legacy! In
case you haven't noticed, I have managed to
convert all of my back chapters to SlideShare
format WITH brand new cover pages
reflecting the legacy name change. I know
the Exchange is supposedly working again,
but I no longer trust it, so this is the style I'm
sticking with until the end.
I also want t apologize in advance for the
lengthiness of this chapter (another good
reason for me to stick with SlideShare). I had
intended on being within Exchange limits, but
there were some things that needed to be
wrapped up in this installment because it
wouldn't fit, story flow wise, in the next
installment and finale of Chapter Four. I hope
you like what I have so I can be forgiven.
Anyway, in a brief recap, Generation Four got
married. Aviendha Lewis married Ashley Pitts
instead of a professor that her family tradition
dictated, and so thus is not on speaking terms
with her father. Mary and Goopy got
married, but Goopy had a nervous
breakdown at the wedding. Mary has chosen
to stay with Goopy, though. Alexander Goth
has blackmailed Xander into giving up his
Mayor position, so he can take over as the
new mayor of SimCity.
Nothing is ever pleasant in Pleasantview.
“* gasp * Eduardo? Is that you? No, it can't
be! My eyes are playing tricks on me!”
“No Mary Sue, they are not. For it is I, the
rugged Eduardo, your long lost husband! I
have recovered from the amnesia that I
suffered after I was in that coma for ten years!
I have returned home, my love!”
“But darling! We thought you lost after you
fell off that cliff in the rainforest. We never
found your body!”
“Mary Sue, my sweet. That was merely a
ruse! I was an undercover agent when I had
my other personality, and the evil Devereaux
family was hot on my tail! I needed to make
them think that I was dead.”
“Oh Eduardo! I'm so happy! I was terribly
afraid that I would have to suffer in this poor,
wretched squalor forever, all the while being
forced to marry that evil, Horatio
“Fear not, my love. I have come to save you
from this poverty. Never again will you be
forced to wear those rags. We can live far
away from here in the castle I acquired while
I was in ninja training!”
“I'm afraid I have to ruin this heartwarming
“OH NO! Horatio Devereaux!”
“Damn you , you foul fiend! I should have
killed you in Paris when I was a pastry chef!
You shall not keep me away from my eternal
“Ah, but you will find that I can! For you see,
I have just found out a terrible, dark secret!
Eduardo, you are Mary Sue 's cousin's uncles'
step brother's son's long lost twin! HaHA!”
“We interrupt this program with late breaking
“Here is your news team, Matt and Jess
“Wow, I wonder what's going to happen to
Mary Sue and Eduardo.”
“The world will never know Matt, as they will
never run that episode again. Oh, we're on
“Good evening to our viewers in
Pleasantview. We have just received word
that Mayor Alexander Goth's ordinance on
Population Control has been officially
“Combat Correspondent, Gannet Hearst, is
reporting to us live from the Mayor's office,
where Mayor Goth will be addressing the
public in a press conference. Gannet, what is
the atmosphere like at Mayor Goth's office?”
“Thank you Matt and Jess. I have reported
from many places wrapped in turmoil and
never in my life have I experienced a place as
charged as this room, right now. It's a war
zone down here as everyone is clamoring to
get a seat so they can hear Mayor Alexander
Goth's address to Pleasantview first hand.
“Very little apprehension is evident in this
room though, as many people see Prop 007
as a sign of hope. A sign that someday
Pleasantview will be returned to her former
glory; the glory it once had when Mayor
Goth's family was the high profile and
dominant family of our beautiful
“It is safe to say that Prop 007 is the first step
to that restoration and Mayor Goth is
pleased. We will now all take our seats as
Mayor Goth addresses the public on this
“People of Pleasantview. I cannot begin to
tell you how glad I am to know that each and
every one of you are as concerned about
joblessness and over population as I am. I
know that I, myself, stayed up late at night
contemplating this issue.
“So, when I lobbied for the State of
Emergency Character Population Control Act
as my first official duty as Mayor of our fine
town, I was hesitant at first. But when most
everyone voted 'YES' on Prop 007, I knew
that I did not need to worry any longer.”
“I am aware that not everyone agrees with
the new 'One Child Per Family' rule, but I
hope that the naysayers out there will come
to understand the sacrifice of the few is for
the greater good of the many.
“Xander, how long are you going to let this
go on? I know you miss her.”
“I hope that the naysayers will, in time,
understand the need to ban all high powered
telescopes to prevent unexpected and often
times, unwanted alien pregnancies.”
“I hope that in time, the naysayers will
understand that the banning of all
cheesecake will be beneficial in the long run
as new jobs will open up when our elders
pass on. Those jobs will be open for the
children of tomorrow. And for the children of
tomorrow, we need to act today!”
“I'm sorry there can be only one, Miles. I
know you wanted twenty...”
“Fellow citizens of Pleasantview, now is NOT
the time to listen to those naysayers. It is the
time to think to the future! To think of the
community as a whole. With the Population
Control Act, our nuclear families will be
bound that much tighter.
“With tighter families, the crime rate will
become almost non-existent. I am a firm
believer in 'it takes a village to raise a child.'
And, by voting 'YES' on Prop 007, you have
all spoken. You agree that you WANT closer
“Come on sweetie, it's time for bed.
Grandma's coming over tomorrow.”
“Closer families means more upstanding
morals. Upstanding morals means better
work ethics. Better work ethics means that
our businesses, in the future, will be that
much more successful! When our businesses
become more successful, then all of you,
each and every citizen of Pleasantview, will
“So, good citizens of Pleasantview, I thank
you from the bottom of my heart for
supporting Pleasantview in her time of crisis.
I sincerely hope that someday, those
naysayers out there will appreciate the
selflessness of the rest of her citizens, and will
cease to be selfish in their own desires for
“Thank you and goodnight.”
“Thank you for your report, Gannet. We will
now return our viewers to the riveting
conclusion of 'Days of Our Legacy.'”
Life did not turn out as I had hoped, Tina
thought to herself as she sat in front of her ice
Dropping out of high school wasn't the
beginning of the troubles that she had, but it
was as good a place as any to start.
Her parents had kicked her out of the house,
seeing as she was eighteen. They gave her
little bit of money to find her own place, but
Tina was convinced that they kicked her out
more because they were on their way to
Strangetown to protest against alien
discrimination, not because of her dropping
out of school.
Thankfully, she was allowed to take her
bedroom belongings, though the cheerful
pink items looked odd against the dreary
walls and floors.
No, life had not gone at all like Tina had
hoped. However, where she was living
wasn't even really part of her immediate
Never in her life did she plan on being 'the
other woman.' Never in her life did she plan
on kind of enjoying being 'the other woman.'
She always thought of herself as a 'good girl,'
but the thrill she got every time she met up
with Goopy fulfilled the unexplainable
emptiness she had been experiencing
since...well, she couldn't pinpoint the exact
moment in time, but she knew it was around
the time Alexander Goth started dating Lucy
But, the thrill she got always came with a
price: Goopy treated her like crap. He only
came around because his wife was pregnant.
Whether his wife's bloated body was
unattractive, or the fact that the bloated body
represented a kid in his very near future, so
thus, that was unattractive, Tina was never
She sighed and started eating her ice cream.
Why can't I ever find a nice guy? Why do I
have such bad luck with men? Are there
even any nice ones out there?
The two of them ate in silence. Goopy was
never really one to talk after WooHooing,
preferring to relax, eat some food, and maybe
watch a ball game on her tiny television.
The clinking of the spoons on the dishes was
driving her insane. Finally, Tina blurted out,
“Goopy, I'm pregnant.”
Goopy paused with his spoon partway to his
mouth. Carefully, gently, he placed the
spoon back onto the dish.
“What?” Disbelief was evident on both his
face and voice.
“I'm pregnant,” Tina repeated. “With your
baby,” she added for good measure.
“How...how did this happen? Are you sure
“Really? You are really asking me how it
happened? Isn't that a bit cliché, even for
you? And as for knowing if it's yours, of
course I'm sure. What kind of girl do you
think I...” She stopped. She didn't want to
know what his answer would be to that.
“Well, this kind of changes things, you know,”
Goopy responded, irritated.
“It changes nothing, I promise. I won't show
for a little bit, yet. You won't even know that
I'm...oh GOD!” Tina got up and ran to the
As the morning sickness spasms wracked her
body, Tina thought back to another time
where she had thrown up. And much like the
last time, the man she was involved with
didn't even bother to comfort her.
After she rinsed her out her mouth and
brushed her teeth, she went back into the
living room where Goopy was. Before she
could say anything, though, Goopy angrily
shouted at her, “It's just one problem after
another with you, isn't it Tina?”
“What? Do you think I did this to myself?
Last time I checked, it generally takes two
people to have this happen. Do you think I
want to be an unwed mother?”
“Well sorry babe, but that's what you're going
to be. I'm not going to leave Mary and my
life there to take care of your kid.”
“My kid? I'm pretty certain that it will look
exactly like you.”
“So what? It's not like I can acknowledge it,
what with the population control thing in
effect. So, yeah. Your kid, your problem.”
“No, no, no, NO! You see, it is going to be
your problem. I'm not asking you to be
involved in the baby's life, but you will help
support it when the time comes. I can't
afford this on my own.
“If not, well then I'm going to go to Mary and
tell her. I really don't want to do this, I really
don't. But, I don't want the child to die of
starvation simply because its father refuses to
take any sort of responsibility.”
Goopy paused as he considered her words.
The last thing he needed was for Mary to find
out that he was going to have a child by
another woman, especially since Mary herself
was rather bitter about only being able to
have one kid.
Visibly, Goopy changed his attitude as he
smiled and put his arms around Tina. “Aw,
come on babe. I don't mean it like that. Of
course I'll give you money for the kid.”
Tina relaxed. “You will? You promise?”
Goopy responded by kissing her neck and
running his hands up her bare arms.
The two of them ended up on the couch, as
per usual; the fight and the impending baby
were soon forgotten. For the time being.
Goopy didn't stick around afterwards. Tina
watched as he quickly changed into his
clothes and made his way to the door.
“I'll call you,” he tossed over his shoulder.
“Okay, I'll be here,” Tina responded lamely.
She didn't know what else to say to him.
The false smile she had on her face dropped
as soon as he shut the door. Sighing and idly
picking at her fingers, she thought to herself, I
would give my life to find just one nice guy.
“Laurana, be still!” Aviendha tried to wash the
squirming child's hair while the child in
question tried to escape.
“No, no, no, no, no!” Laurana splashed the
water with her hands each time she spoke the
word. Aviendha managed to not get too
much water on her clothes; she was very
familiar with this particular bath time ritual.
“There you go, Ash,” Aviendha called from
Laurana's bedroom. “Her royal highness is
finally all washed up and dressed for Mom's
Laurana toddled happily over to her father,
glad that the embarrassing ordeal of being
bathed was over for the day.
Ashley smiled down at his daughter. “You
giving Mom a hard time, Lori?” Laurana
smiled and clapped her hands while Ashley
laughed in response and tickled her.
Sunday was usually a major production for
the household. It was the only day Ashley
had off of work and he liked spending the
little time he could with his wife and
daughter. However, Sundays were the only
days that Marsha, Ashley's mother-in-law,
came to visit.
Of course, that was intentional, as Marsha
wanted to get to know him as well as spend
time with her daughter and granddaughter;
but the irritable mood Aviendha had
afterward was usually a strain.
It was always the same. Marsha would show
up with smiles and hugs for Aviendha.
Then she would swoop Laurana up into her
arms and coddle the child.
That didn't bother Ashley, though.
What bothered him was the way Marsha
would observe how he and Aviendha
interacted with each other. Of course, they
kept their physical affections to a minimum
when Marsha was around, but it was still
awkward kissing his own wife when he felt
judging eyes upon him.
Then Aviendha would make lunch. It was
never very extravagant, as they didn't have a
lot of money, and that was something that
Aviendha fretted over. Ashley knew that she
wanted to prove to her mother that they
were doing fine on their own.
But they weren't, and Marsha knew it.
So of course Marsha would try to give them a
little money, under the guise of monetary
'gifts' for Laurana.
But then, Aviendha would inevitably ask if the
gift was from Xander as well. Marsha would
admit that it wasn't.
So Ashley and Aviendha would decline,
especially seeing as Xander had yet to meet
his own grandchild.
Marsha would get irritated, but say nothing
more on the subject, Aviendha would get
huffy, and Ashley always wanted to kick both
of them; Marsha twice so she could pass one
He knew Marsha meant well and he didn't
fault her for trying. Aviendha had a point
though, she didn't want 'under the table' gifts
from her mother if her own father was still
being stubborn and not talking to her.
It was a matter of pride.
So of course, this Sunday was no different.
Ashley checked a sigh of frustration as he
watched Marsha play with Laurana some
more, while Aviendha clanked the lunch
dishes loudly in the sink.
“You okay?” Ashley asked her as she
scrubbed the soup bowls.
“Yeah. I'm fine. Just framming peachy.”
He sighed. “Look. You know that you're
going to have to call him and make amends.
It sucks, I know, but one of you two has to do
“Why can't it be him? I have nothing to
“I didn't say apologize. Just call him up.
Open those lines of communications and
Ashley placed his hand on her shoulder and
turned her around to face him.
“You're the Family Sim here, babe, so I have
to admit that this is totally weird: me telling
YOU to think about our daughter. But, you
really do need to think about that. Your dad
isn't going to be around forever...”
“Mom didn't say that he was sick,” Aviendha
“Not saying he is. But with how things are
looking at this rate, Lori is going to be a
mother of her own before you two decide to
talk to each other. Just...think about it, okay?”
Aviendha sighed and threw out her hands,
resigned. “Fine. I'll think about it.”
Ashley gave her a thumbs up. “That's all I'm
By late afternoon Marsha was ready to leave.
Giving her granddaughter one last kiss and a
tentative hug to Ashley, Aviendha walked her
to the door. Looking over her mother's
shoulder, Aviendha mumbled, “Tell Dad I said
Marsha gave her a half smile. “I'm trying to
talk some sense into him. This is getting
ridiculous.” Aviendha just nodded in
“I'm sure Lori would love it if you guys
showed up for her birthday next week.”
Marsha smiled. “I know that I'll be here.”
Marsha brushed Aviendha's bangs from her
eyes. “I'll talk to your father. I'll drive the
point home that Ashley is a good man, a
great father and a wonderful addition to the
family. I promise.”
Aviendha gave her mother a small smile and
they both said their goodbyes. They both
knew that Xander wouldn't be at Laurana's
birthday party the following week, but it was
nice to hope that they would be wrong.
Goopy tried to slip quietly into bed without
disturbing Mary. So far, his 'I have to work
late' excuse had been working splendidly; he
was quite certain that Mary didn't suspect
He was startled as Mary rolled over and put
her arm around him, pressing her pregnant
belly against his back. She didn't say
anything, though. Goopy let out the sigh of
relief he hadn't realized he had been holding.
The Goopster doesn't do kids, and now I'm
going to have two! He stifled a groan. What
was he going to do about Tina? He'll send
her money, of course, especially since the
Devereaux family had more than enough to
spare. They probably wouldn't even notice if
any went missing.
I'll think about it tomorrow, he thought as he
wiggled irritably to get comfortable. The
baby was kicking him in the back; a distinct
reminder that he had responsibilities he really
didn't want to deal with.
Mary woke up early the next morning, feeling
unrested; the baby had kept her up all night
with its kicking. She had feigned sleep when
her husband came home, though she was not
sure why she did. She wanted to ask him
why his job kept him at work until two or
three in the morning sometimes, but she had
avoided the subject.
Her pregnancy was rough and it was
becoming more and more difficult to be
perky, pretty and perfect when sometimes
she felt anything but. She sighed and rubbed
her hand across her belly.
“Maybe there's two of you in there? That
would be nice to have natural twins. Two
babies are better than one and it would be
legit...” she trailed off, still rubbing her belly.
After finishing her espresso, she awkwardly
waddled her way to the bathroom so she
could get ready to face the day. The baby
would be coming at any time, and she
wanted to be prepared both mentally and
“So, why are we doing this?” Sebastian asked
as he pulled up a weed. “I mean, I don't
mind, but usually Mary gets rather
persnickety when anyone but her tends the
Kitty sighed. “Sebastian. Have you seen our
daughter? She's tired and very pregnant with
our grandchild. Far better that we do this for
her now and risk her ire, than to have her
collapse from exhaustion later.”
He thought about that. “Kit, when is she
going to realize that she can't do everything
“I don't know. I just don't.”
“No Miles, everything is fine. We have
everything under control here. Yes, I'm sure!
No no, you don't need to come over to help
out. The baby's room is already decorated, a
bin of Smart Milk has been ordered, and the
house is spotless. The only thing that's
missing now is the baby itself. It should be
arriving sometime today.
“What? Of course Gil is excited! Why
wouldn't he be? Don't be silly, Miles. No! I
said you don't need to come over. Women
have been doing this since the dawn of time.
Haha! No, I won't threaten to castrate Gil.
Really? Amelia threatened you with that?
Well, maybe some women just aren't that
mentally prepared for the miracle of birth; but
I am. No no, I'm not saying anything about
Amelia, why on earth would I do that? I must
get going, though. Mom and Dad are
tending the garden and I think they are
tramping all over my plants. Give Rose a kiss
from her Aunt Mary. Bye!”
The baby watch lasted all day and well into
the night. Kitty and Sebastian hovered
around Mary like protective mother hens
trying to ease her mind, reassuring her that
indeed, she will not be pregnant forever:
sometimes babies have their own schedule to
Goopy wasn't home at all, so any
reassurances from him were notably absent.
Finally, long after her parents had gone to
bed, but long before Goopy came home
from work, Mary quietly went into labor,
trying to keep her moans of pain down so as
to not wake the rest of the household.
A short while later, Mary held her new
daughter in her arms. Smiling happily, she
took note that her daughter had her hair color
and eyes. Goopy's too, but Mary was
conveniently forgetting about that.
“Well hello there, Eden,” Mary cooed to the
newborn. “We've been waiting for you. I
don't suppose there's a sibling in there with
you, is there?” The baby looked at her
mother and began sucking on her fingers.
Mary was disappointed that she wasn't
carrying twins. The fact that she and Goopy
were able to only have one child felt like a
personal insult. As she cradled the baby in
her arms though, Mary became resolved.
“That's okay. I will give you the love and
attention that's enough for TEN babies. You
are going to be Mommy's pretty and perfect
angel. Yes you are!”
What Eden thought of that was unknown, as
she had fallen asleep against her mother's
The following morning, Kitty went into Eden's
bedroom and picked her up. Looking around
to make sure that nobody could overhear
her, Kitty smiled at her grandchild and said, “I
certainly hope you take after your mother.
Goopy's got some awful, er, awfully strong
genetics. At least you're a girl, so even if you
do look like your father you might be able to
pull it off.”
Eden smiled at her grandmother as spittle
bubbled at her lips.
Sebastian, on the other hand, was a bit more
sentimental when holding his newborn
granddaughter in his arms, cuddling her and
humming a tuneless lullaby into her ear.
In fact, the only person who didn't welcome
the new baby into the home was Goopy.
Between getting promoted at his new job
and all of his 'late' hours, Goopy was barely
This was something that did not go unnoticed
by Mary's parents.
One night, Kitty slid her arms around
Sebastian's waist and gave him a half smile.
“I'm so glad that you never had the urge to
cheat on me.”
Sebastian's eyebrows rose. “Kit, I don't know
if you noticed, but I've never been that
smooth with the ladies. NOT that I ever had
the desire to be smooth with anyone other
than who I was with,” he hastily amended
before Kitty could say anything.
Kitty rested her head on his shoulder. “I think
Goopy is cheating on Mary.” Sebastian
rolled his eyes sarcastically.
“Gee, what gave it away? Either he's cheating
on her, or he's the hardest working S.O.B. in
the Pleasantview workforce, and somehow I
really doubt the latter.”
“One of us should really talk to her about it.”
“She isn't going to listen. She doesn't want to
“Still, I really think one of us should say
something to her. Hint at it, whatever.”
Before Sebastian could respond, Kitty left the
bedroom and sought out Mary.
Kitty found Mary in the game room, playing
sedately on the piano. She listened until
Mary finished the song before addressing her
“So, where's, erm, Gil?” Kitty asked.
“He's at work,” Mary replied, a bit curtly.
“He's at work an awful lot, isn't he?”
Mary shrugged nonchalantly, but didn't say
anything. Kitty sighed.
“Mama, don't say it. Because if you are
wrong, then you'll be embarrassed. He tells
me that he's at work, so I am going to believe
my husband. Okay? Now if you will excuse
me, Eden needs to be fed.” Mary walked out
of the room, head held high, while Kitty could
The next morning found Mary sitting at the
breakfast bar sipping on her ever present
espresso. She hadn't slept well the night
before and Goopy came home so late that he
had to leave immediately for work.
I don't know for sure...she pushed the thought
out of her mind. Finishing her espresso, she
rinsed out her cup and took a couple of deep,
clarifying breaths. Pasting a bright smile on
her face, she came to the conclusion that she
needed to get out of the house.
Making sure that her parents were okay with
watching Eden for a couple of hours, Mary
decided that it was high time for her to make
her rounds as the new owner of the business
she inherited from Sebastian.
Walking briskly to her first stop, The
Devereaux Round Table, the newly renamed
bookstore, Mary began to feel a little bit
Tina hadn't meant to go anywhere near
Goopy's family, most particularly Mary. But
when she heard that Mary was reopening the
bookstore, Tina felt compelled to go and see
Mary up close.
She wasn't going to say anything to her,
though. She had promised Goopy that she
wouldn't, considering that he was following
through with his end of the deal and helping
her pay for all the necessary things her new
Looking at Mary, Tina couldn't help but think
that she looked familiar. Something in the
eyes, nose and mouth reminded her of
someone she once knew but couldn't put a
name to it.
She stared at Mary longer than she had
intended and she realized this when Mary
caught her eye and approached her with a
friendly smile. Abruptly, Tina turned away
and tried to make it look like she was
interested in the books.
“Hi there,” Mary began cheerfully, “is there
something I can help you find?”
Tina turned around and tried to not look
guilty. She had a feeling that she failed
“Um, yeah. Do you carry any Childcare
books? And maybe some children books in
general?” Tina could feel her cheeks flushing
as Mary enthusiastically showed her some of
the best sellers in the area Tina was looking
No matter how hard Tina tried in her life, she
could never manage the poise and grace that
just seemed to come naturally to children of
established families. She felt clumsy and
foolish, topped of with a major sense of guilt
for wronging this woman who had done
nothing to her.
After she had purchased more books than
she could afford, Tina turned to Mary and
said, “Thank you very much. I have a new
little girl at home, and I'm sure she'll love
A strange look passed over Mary's face. “I've
been meaning to ask: what is that lovely
perfume you are wearing?”
Tina blinked in surprise, and then blushed.
“Oh, it's just a regular old cheap body spray,
Cherry Blossom, that I got from the
“It's quite lovely. I'm sure my husband would
love it if I bought some.”
Tina shrugged uncomfortably, not knowing
what to say about that. “Thank you again for
showing me these books.”
Mary nodded. “You are quite welcome. By
the way, what is your new daughter's name?”
“Oh. Um, Karen.”
“Karen. A beautiful name for what I am sure
is a beautiful child.”
Tina nodded and left the store. She had the
distinct feeling that something just went
Mary slammed the door when she arrived
home. Not caring if it startled anyone, she
stomped up the stairs and towards her
Sebastian heard the commotion and went to
the entry way. As he saw Mary heading
towards her bedroom, he called up and
asked, “Mary? Is everything okay?”
“Just fine, Daddy. Everything is perfect,” she
responded without stopping.
Sebastian listened for the bedroom door to
slam, but it didn't happen. Heaving a deep
breath, he went to go find his wife.
Mary didn't look at Goopy, who for once was
home. She was silent as she started getting
ready for bed before she tossed over her
shoulder, “You didn't have to work late
“Nope. You get to have me all to yourself
“Hm. Work must have been hard with your
secretary being off today, huh?”
Goopy grinned. “Yeah, it was a real pain.”
Mary didn't say anything more to him as she
climbed under the covers. Inside, she was
fuming, no matter how much she tried to
push it away.
Goopy didn't have a secretary as he was on
the Athletic career track.
Goopy smiled as he crawled under the covers
and slid up next to Mary. He caressed her
thigh and kissed her neck. “It's been a while
Doll Face. What do you...OOF!” His breath
had been knocked out as Mary's elbow
jammed him in the stomach.
“Get off of me,” was all Mary said as she
made her way to the very edge of her side of
Goopy rolled his eyes and turned over. Must
just be the hormones from having the kid, he
thought as he pulled the blanket over his
shoulder. He drifted off to sleep shortly after.
Mary, however, spent yet another sleepless
night in bed.
Ashley winced as he picked up the stack of
bills representing pretty much the last of their
“Hey Babe? How much do we have left in
the savings account?”
“Enough to cover rent for the month,”
Aviendha replied as she painted a bit of blue
on her canvas.
Ashley sighed. “How are things looking with
the art gallery?”
Aviendha paused and then responded with,
“It's being held up. Goth isn't approving any
new business licenses right now. But Frances
and Malcolm are still paying me for my
paintings. The advance they gave me is the
money that will cover rent.”
“Crap...” Ashley didn't say anything more, but
he knew that they were in deep trouble.
The two of them had decided that Aviendha
would be home for Laurana as they couldn't
afford a nanny, so Aviendha didn't have a job
outside of the home.
Frances and Malcolm were a godsend
because they were willing to pay Aviendha
for her paintings. Unfortunately, Frances was
unable to take any painting lessons from
Aviendha, for the time being, because he and
Malcolm were going through a bunch of red
tape in the attempts to adopt a child.
Those attempts have been for naught as they
weren't married, and couldn't get married.
Neither Ashley nor Aviendha wanted to
impose upon their friends with their money
Ashley felt himself regretting the fact that he
and Aviendha had turned down all offers of
help from her mother. Of course, they
accepted the clothes and toys Laurana
received for her birthday.
The birthday that Xander didn't show up to, of
But now Laurana was a full fledged child,
which meant that she ate more and needed
new clothes to accommodate her growing
She was also a rather shy child, which was
something of a surprise as nobody in the
Lewis family, as far as Aviendha remembered,
was as shy as Laurana.
But, shy or not, Laurana needed clothes,
food, decent books, and ideally a private
school education; the last was something of a
pipe dream though, as they couldn't afford
the tuition fees.
All of this weighed on Ashley's mind as he got
ready for work the next day. He desperately
wanted to get promoted so he didn't have to
work six days a week, thirteen hours a day.
He was all set, skill and connection wise, for
the promotion, so it was just a matter of
getting the paperwork processed.
Ashley grinned cheerfully to himself as he left
for work. “Today is going to be a good day.
I'm gonna get that promotion and that bonus.
I can feel it.”
The overcast sky matched Ashley's demeanor
as he came home from work three hours
He had been excited when his boss had
called him into the office, thinking that the
promotion was finally coming his way.
His boss apologized. Times were tough and
they needed to lay people off and Ashley was
the lowest in seniority. There was also the
issue of taxes. Apparently, Ashley hadn't
been deducted enough and he needed to
pay it back before turning in his uniform.
He couldn't quite cover it, but his boss kindly
accepted what he had and promised to pay
the rest out of his own pocket. Then his boss
apologized again, assuring him that it wasn't
Ashley's work performance. But times, they
Ashley raised a shaking hand to his eyes to
rub away tears of frustration and anger.
“Son of a fracking...” he cut himself off, as he
knew that swearing wasn't going to help
He stood on the sidewalk, unaware of the
people passing by, staring at the strange man
who seemed completely oblivious to the rain
that had started splattering down upon him.
After a few moments, Ashley managed to
gather himself together and he went inside to
tell his wife that they were royally screwed.
“...So that's it. I never thought I would have
someone say to me essentially, 'it isn't you, it's
me.' It kind of sucks to hear, now that I think
about it. I wish I could take back all the times
I said it myself, or at the very least, apologize
for saying it.”
Aviendha listened with a sinking feeling her
her chest. They were completely tapped and
rent was due in two days. They also needed
to go grocery shopping, as all they had left in
the refrigerator was some ice cream and left
“I'll try to find a job tomorrow. I'll take
whatever is available,” she said.
She stepped into Ashley's arms. “We'll be
fine. I'll also call my mother and...” she
sighed. “And ask her for some money.
Hopefully we can scrape by until you and I
find jobs to pay for a nanny. Hopefully...” she
sighed again. “We'll manage. We always
Ashley grinned crookedly. “I hope the
landlord is understanding. We've never been
late with rent before, so we should be in the
clear. If we find jobs...”
The 'hopefully' and 'if' kept Ashley up all night.
'Hopefully' they can get a reprieve on the
rent. 'If' they can both find a job. Ashley was
a very masculine man at heart, and he felt
that not being able to provide for his family
was a threat to that masculinity.
However, he was not about to let his wife
and kid starve or live on the street either. He
got up early and went into Laurana's
bedroom to wake her up before he went into
the bathroom to shower.
Laurana was not a morning person,
something that she inherited from her
parents, so needless to say she was a tad bit
cranky when she finally rolled out of bed.
“Dad,” she said, stifling a yawn, “why are we
up so early?”
Ashley stood before her, fully dressed and
shaved, and only mildly irritated that Laurana
hadn't gotten dressed. He wanted both of
them to make a good impression where he
planned on going.
“Lori, get ready. It's high time that someone
Laurana stuck close by her father's side as
they approached the rich part of
Pleasantview. Taking a timid glance around,
she whispered, “Is there where Grandma
“Yep. Your mom used to live here, too.”
“Really? Wow! Is Grandma here?”
“No she isn't, at least not right now. But your
As if on cue, Xander stepped out onto his
porch to fetch his morning newspaper. He
stopped in his tracks when he saw Ashley and
what he assumed to be his granddaughter.
That realization also made him pause.
Xander walked down the steps and stood in
front of his daughter's husband. “What do
you want?” he asked without preamble.
Ashley sighed. “Mr. Lewis, do you mind if we
come inside? It's a bit cold out here.” Xander
nodded reluctantly and led them into the
Ashley stepped off to the side and made
himself inconspicuous as Laurana began
speaking to Xander.
“So, you're my Grandpa?” she asked quietly,
curiosity overcoming her shyness.
Xander looked down at the little girl, seeing
traces of Aviendha, and thus himself, in her
“Uh, yes, I guess I TOTALLY am.” He
watched the very familiar mannerisms of his
own daughter echoed as Laurana thought
about his answer.
“If you are my grandpa, then why didn't you
get me a birthday present?” Xander was both
hurt and amused; clearly she was not a
He turned to the bookshelf and pulled off a
gift wrapped box. “That's not true. I
TOTALLY did. I just, erm, forgot to give it to
Laurana held the present in her hands as she
listened to him continue. “Sometimes adults
can be TOTALLY stupid and make mistakes. I
hope you like what I got for you...” Xander
cleared his throat.
Laurana beamed up at Xander. “Thank you
Grandpa! I like presents!” She turned to
where her father was standing. “Daddy? Can
I open it?”
Ashley nodded. “Sure Lori, why don't you
open it and then play outside on the jungle
gym. I need to talk to Grandpa.”
With a gleeful laugh, Laurana ran outside with
the present in tow.
“I TOTALLY don't appreciate being
manipulated,” Xander began angrily when
Laurana went outside.
“Tough. I have about had it with both you
and Aviendha in regards to this crap. How
long, huh? How long were you going to go
before you met your granddaughter? To
what ends? How does this grudge benefit
Ashley sighed and rubbed his forehead
before continuing. “Look, I'm sorry. I didn't
mean to come off like that, especially since
I'm here to beg for your help.”
Ashley told Xander about losing his job and
how that he and Aviendha were out of
When he finished, Xander looked Ashley up
and down. “So you are TOTALLY admitting
that you have failed to provide for my
daughter and granddaughter?”
Ashley hung his head, ashamed. “Pretty
much, yeah. I really didn't want to put it like
that, but...yeah, essentially.”
“What would you have me do about the
Ashley sighed. “I want you to let Avi and Lori
move back here. I know you said that you
wouldn't welcome me into your home, but I
came here hoping that you would forgive
Aviendha and let her come home. I would
like for her to be provided for and for Laurana
to have all the best options available to her.
That is something that I can't do right now.”
Xander's voice grew cold. “So you are willing
to abandon your wife because times are
Anger flushed Ashley's cheeks. “No. I am
not abandoning her. I don't regret marrying
her, and I know she doesn't regret marrying
me. When I can get together enough money,
I'm going to want them back. But I would
rather they are comfortable, here, than
suffering while I struggle to make ends meet.
By no means am I intending to abandon
Xander gave Ashley a speculative look, but
Ashley didn't notice as he had turned his gaze
to the floor, utterly humiliated.
“Okay,” Xander said, “I will come by
tomorrow to help my family move back
home. This has TOTALLY gone on long
Ashley let out a small sigh of relief. Turning
way, Ashley quietly said, “That's all I'm asking
for. Thank you, Mr. Lewis.”
Xander nodded silently as Ashley called for
Laurana to get ready to leave.
“Thank you again for the present, Grandpa!”
Laurana reached up and gave Xander a kiss
“You're welcome, sweetheart. I'll see you
As they were leaving, Ashley looked down at
his daughter and noticed her looking at the
surrounding trees and the neighboring park.
“Would you like to live here, Lori?” he asked
“Yeah. It's real pretty.”
Ashley increased his pace so he could pull a
bit ahead of Laurana, unwilling to let her see
his face. “Good, I'm glad you think so. I want
you to be happy.”
The night had not been pleasant. Not one to
keep secrets from his wife, Ashley told
Aviendha exactly where he and Laurana had
been, and what the outcome of the meeting
with her father was.
Aviendha was furious and refused to go along
with the decision. She ranted, she raged, and
she screamed; but Ashley remained adamant.
So she did the only thing left that she could
The couch was about as uncomfortable to
sleep on as Ashley figured it would be, but he
still managed to get up early enough to get
the newspaper before someone stole it. As
he sat there, scanning the job section, he
heard a knock on the door. He nodded
silently to Laurana to have her go answer it.
Xander was surprised when he saw Laurana
greet him with a scowl. “Mom and Dad
fought all night long and now they are mad at
each other. I don't want to live away from
my Dad, and you're mean for making me!”
“Wh..what? Wait, no, I...” Xander was
confused as Laurana turned and ran away
from the door. Uncertain, Xander followed
her into the apartment.
He made it less than ten steps before he was
accosted by his very angry daughter.
“This framming blows, Dad! I don't know
what you did to convince Ashley that he
wasn't good enough for me, after all this time,
but congratulations on finally getting what
“I said I was going to come and...”
“Come and take me and Laurana away. And
you had better believe that I'm just as pissed
off at Ashley about the two of you making
this deal. But I'm just the delicate little
woman who can't make her own decisions,
isn't that right?”
“Whatever, Dad. Let's go.” Aviendha and
Laurana both managed to flounce identically
to the door with a bewildered Xander
Stopping in the doorway, Xander turned
around and looked at Ashley, who was still
sitting on the couch trying to maintain his
“Um, aren't you coming?” Xander asked, still
confused by everyone's anger.
A hopeful smile spread across Ashley's face.
Xander blinked. “Yeah. I TOTALLY said that I
was going to come over and help my family
move back home. You are my daughter's
husband and father to my grandchild. That
makes you family.”
As Ashley got up to follow everyone out,
Xander laughed with a sudden realization as
to why everyone was upset.
Smiling a bit as he saw the delighted smiles
on the other three's faces, he chuckled and
said, “The first thing we need to do is to
TOTALLY learn how to communicate better.
Come on, let's go home. There's a nice, hot
meal waiting for us.”
Everyone had remained tactfully silent about
Goopy not being present for Eden's birthday
party. Everyone except for Amelia's mother,
who claimed to be anything but tactful.
“Where's Goopy? He ought to be here for
his daughter's birthday!”
Someone coughed uncomfortably as
someone else whispered, “Who invited her?”
“I don't know. Not me,” was the whispered
Mary looked cooly over at her rude guest
“Gil is at work, so he is unable to make it for
Mary put on a cheery smile and tickled Eden's
tummy. “But that's okay, isn't it? Yes it is
because we're going to have so much fun
without him, aren't we? Yes we are!”
The baby laughed as Mary blew out the
As soon as she was changed into prettier
clothes, Eden crawled around everyone's feet,
demanding attention and rewarding them
with laughs and smiles. She absolutely loved
the attention that everyone gave her.
Sebastian pretty much made sure that Eden
paid the most attention to him, though. After
Eden had made her rounds amongst all of the
guests, Sebastian swooped her up into his
arms and began playing with her.
Before the birthday cake was even finished,
he had managed to take her off into the living
room to teach her how to talk.
The birthday party was a success, as always,
and the guests went home pleased. A couple
of them saw Goopy arrive home as they were
leaving and they muttered amongst
themselves about his supposed 'late work
Goopy groaned inwardly when he walked
inside and saw Eden resting a tired head on
Mary's shoulder, clearly aged up to a toddler.
Mary gave her husband a cold smile and said,
“Well look who decided to show up, Eden! Is
that, no, it can't possibly be. Why, yes! It is
Goopy scratched his head and affected an
aggrieved air. “Aw come on Mare, it's not
like she's going to remember. She's only a
Mary continued to talk to Eden as if Goopy
couldn't hear her. “Well, we had fun without
Daddy, didn't we? Yes we did! You were
quite the center of attention, weren't you?
Yes you were! It didn't matter if Daddy was
here or not, did it? No it didn't! It doesn't
really matter if Daddy is around at all. No it
doesn't! Especially since Mommy can't have
any more babies. No she can't! It's just you
and me, isn't it Eden? Yes it is!”
Goopy turned to leave the room. “Screw
you, Mary. Come talk to me when you stop
being such a bitch.” He heard her gasp at the
insult and he smirked to himself as he went
Mary managed to put aside her anger,
though, as she took Eden to the potty training
chair. “Now Eden, you're a big girl now. And
big girls don't wear diapers, do they?” Mary's
voice quivered as she talked to her child.
Eden looked up at her mother. “Mommy
Mary blinked and a tear fell from her eye
down to her chin. Brushing it off her face,
Mary replied, “No, Eden. Mommy is not sad.
Mommy is happy and perfect. Yes she is.
Now go potty like a big girl.”
Eden dutifully did as she was told while Mary
made sure that no more of the threatening
tears fell from her eyes.
After Mary put the child down for bed,
Goopy quietly walked into the room. “Hey
Doll Face, I'm sorry for calling you a bitch.”
He reached out to hold Mary's hand.
Mary jerked it away and glared at him.
Vehemently she whispered, “Don't you ever
touch me again. Do you think I'm stupid?
Did you think I wouldn't notice the blonde
hairs on your clothes or the smell of her
“What are you talking about?”
“You bloody well know what I'm talking
about! Go sleep on the couch. Or better
yet, go to your little tramp because I don't
want you anymore. As soon as I find out
how I can get a divorce, I will. We're
She left Eden's bedroom and went into hers,
closing the door. The door opened again as
Mary tossed out a blanket and pillow. The
door closed again, louder than before, and
the distinct click of the lock echoed through
“Crap...” Goopy whispered to himself.
Surprisingly enough, Mary had no problems
falling asleep that night. As she was drifting
off, she discovered that she no longer felt a
heavy feeling in her chest. She couldn't
remember the last time she felt so light.
Eden had blissfully slept through her parents'
argument, her little dream world unaffected
by what was surely going to be a pivotal
point in her life.
She only stirred slightly as another person
entered her cheerful pink bedroom to gaze
down upon her.
Lillian looked down upon Eden with a small
smile on her face.
“Finally. It is mine,” she whispered.
For dramatic effect, Lillian had placed herself
in the front entry before settling down to
meditate. Before she slipped completely into
the zen zone, she exerted some of her
magical powers and allowed herself to float
in between the first and second floors.
She planned on laying her claim as rightful
heiress to the legacy as dramatic and
cinematic as possible. It was those little
touches that made her distinctive.
She didn't have to wait that long before the
usurper and his supposed family woke up
and saw her. Her eyes flitted open slowly
and she smiled when she saw Sebastian
attempting to take a stand against her.
Not listening to what they said, Lillian
gracefully lowered herself back to the ground.
“Why don't you come down here so I can
monologue like a proper villain.” Lillian
waved her hand and Kitty, Mary and
Sebastian found themselves before her.
“Excellent. Now, as I was saying, you all now
have this excellent opportunity to listen to my
grand master plan that was inevitably your
undoing. I realize that you have been most
anxious to know, especially you, Kitty. Or
should I say, Tribebohemian?
Mary and Sebastian gave Kitty a questioning
look. Kitty looked back at them blandly.
“Oh, come now. Do you mean to tell me
that you never told my brother exactly who
and what you are? I realize that with
everyone's implantation to the Pleasantview
dimension, a lot of their awareness had been
erased; but I thought you would be honest
with your loving and adoring husband.”
Lillian gave a small laugh. “I must say,
though, that I truly appreciate all the kind
words you said about me in God World.
Would you like me to repeat them back to
you? What were they? Oh, yes.
“'I wonder what Lillian's next big plan is. She's
such a badass! I actually fear her. Though I
will say, that if she murders me, I'm kicking
her ass!'” Lillian laughed. “You have every
right to fear me, though I will not waste my
time on murdering you. Oh, but the next
quote is my favorite.
“'Lillian is just so evil. I LOVE it! She doesn't
compromise her wickedness for anything.
She's like Voldemort for crying out loud. I bet
she even bleeds black. Now that's a villain!'
“Rest assured, Tribebohemian, I bleed red.
However, I'm quite certain that your good
and loving Sebastian wouldn't appreciate
your love for my evilness, now would he?”
Kitty sighed. “You became self aware. That
wasn't supposed to happen. Only me and
Cecil are self aware, and we both know how
to keep our mouths shut.”
Lillian smiled again. “The author likes to keep
it simple, does she not?”
Confused, Sebastian looked at his wife while
he wrung his hands. “Author? What? You
mean you know what Lillian is talking about?”
Kitty only nodded in response.
A vague memory passed through Sebastian's
mind; a memory of talking to his mother
about authors and character popularity. “But,
wait, you aren't...my...author. Are you?”
Kitty opened and shut her mouth a couple of
times before responding. “I am, kind of,
“WHAT? What do you mean, 'kind of'?”
“Sebastian! This is not the time. I will explain
later...if there is a later...” There was a distinct
tone of command in Kitty's voice, one that
Sebastian had never heard before.
Lillian watched with a small cruel smile. “You
have been around it for so long that you do
not feel it anymore, do you, Sebby? I can
certainly feel it. That distinct, more there
feeling. You have just grown used to it. I
would have to say that is a rather large secret
to be keeping from a husband, especially in
such a loving and trusting marriage.”
Mary had enough. Eden was going to be
waking up soon, and the child needed to be
fed and cared for. She stepped close to
Lillian and said, “Listen here you...miscreant!
I do not know who you think you are, but this
is my house, my family, and my legacy. I will
not tolerate anyone threatening that!”
Lillian raised her eyebrows and laughed
again. She was truly enjoying this little
confrontation. “Well, well. You finally grew a
backbone and learned to stand up to me,
didn't you? I must admit, I find it terribly
amusing that you turned out to be a girl. I
would apologize for that little error; but I am
not particularly sorry, so I will not.”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
Before Lillian could answer, Goopy entered
the foyer yawning and scratching his armpit.
“What the hell is up with all the screaming?
Some people are trying to sleep. On the
couch.” He stopped abruptly when he saw
Lillian and he set his body into his Romance
Strut pose, grinning at her.
“Hey, who is the rockin' hot witchy babe?”
Heck, if Mary wants to divorce me, I can
show her that there are plenty of other fish in
the sea, he thought to himself as he waggled
Lillian was not affected in the way that Goopy
had hoped. Instead of possibly swooning,
she pulled out her magic wand as she
shrieked, “I will not tolerate slime such as you
looking at me in that manner!”
Goopy threw his arms up uselessly as the
black and blue magic enveloped him. It
reached inside his mind, ripped it inside out,
and placed it back into his head.
In a flash, it was over. The only thing that
appeared different on Goopy was that the
lascivious look he had on his face before was
replaced with a rather vacant expression.
Drool dribbled down his chin as he began to
babble about how good a grilled cheese
sandwich would taste at that moment.
“Be thankful that I didn't do to you what I did
to Man Maid,” Lillian taunted.
She turned back to Mary. “Now where was I?
Oh yes, I remember. I was about to inform
you that you may now drop the act of 'not
remembering' for I am not fooled. The
memory wipe should have affected everyone
who knew you, with the sole exception of
you and me.
“Come now, Zane, surely you must
remember my greatest moment of triumph
before this one.”
“How could you possibly forget how you
cried and pleaded for me to stop as the
flames enveloped you? How could you
possibly forget your tortured screams of
agonizing pain as I burned you back down to
the basic Reaper Child components?”
“Surely, as a child of the Grim Reaper, you
would be aware that the basic component
can be easily mixed in with any liquid.”
“Surely, then, you would be aware that
whoever drinks that concoction would then
become pregnant. Of course, I did not plan
on having Sebastian be the one who got
impregnated, but I do find that aspect rather
“Surely, then, you must remember that you
are my son. A boy. Though I will admit that
'Mary' is a rather nice girl's name. A bit plain
for my taste, but very feminine sounding.”
A number of emotions clamored for Mary's
attention. Confusion was at the very top,
“I..I have no idea what you are talking
“You do not remember living with me? You
do not remember having your pitiful little
crush on the girl next door? Surely you must
know that the same little girl is now the
woman that your...” Lillian snickered, “your
husband has been having his little dalliance
with. You do not remember being so very
lonely, wanting to play outside and have
“You do not remember desperately wanting
to move to this very house so you could
swim in the pool? You ought to be thanking
me instead of denying the truth, you know. I
essentially gave you everything you ever
Mary shook her head in negation at every
one of Lillian's questions and for the second
time in less than a day, tears filled Mary's
eyes. “What kind of mother are you?”
Lillian ignored the question as she thought in
a perplexed manner. “That is decidedly odd.
You should have remembered all of those
She shrugged it off with an evil laugh. “Well, I
guess I used too much power upon your
weak form. That would also explain why
your were born a girl instead of a boy.”
“It does not matter, however. You are my
son, you were named heir, and you bore me
a grandchild. By default I am the legacy
heiress, not Sebastian. And now that your
usefulness is complete, I plan to kill you and
anybody else who gets in my way.”
Lillian drew upon her powers deeply and a
mixture of green and black was visible in the
flames that were gathering around Lillian's
Right as the magical buildup was reaching its
peak, a bony hand touched Lillian's arm. A
audible sound of powering down was heard
as the swirling vortex was diminished
The Grim Reaper looked at Lillian as a sense
of anger, underlying with sadness, filled the
“Enough,” Grim said. His tone was quite, but
it rang with authority.
Lillian turned to face him. She could feel that
her powers where being held at bay with only
“You dare to interrupt in the affairs of
“I do when it comes to these mortals...Lillian.”
“Only your touch can stop me. You cannot
hold onto me forever.”
Continuing to hold her arm, Grim replied
with, “I do not intend to.”
Before she could struggle free, Grim turned
to the Devereaux family and said, “She is
wrong. I will return later to explain
And just as suddenly as Grim appeared, both
he and Lillian disappeared.
Sebastian crossed his arms and glared at
Kitty. “Start from the very beginning. What
exactly have you been hiding from me?”
A pained expression crossed Kitty's face.
However, she crossed her arms and stated in
that odd commanding voice, “Not now.
Console Mary. I'll take care of Goopy. Then
Mary was completely oblivious as she
sobbed into her hands. “Not perfect. Not
perfect at all!”
(To be continued...)