A Piratical Legacy Chapter 17 - The Price


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A Piratical Legacy Chapter 17 - The Price

  1. 1. Chapter 17 – The PriceHello dear readers and welcome back to another edition of A Piratical Legacy. If youre new to the legacy, I suggest you read the previous chaptersfirst or absolutely none of this will make any sense to you whatsoever.Anyway, on with the show!NB: All dates are in "Pirate Island Years" (PIY), with PIY 1 being the date Jack first arrived on the island.
  2. 2. Before we return to the legacy household, there is one much-anticipated event we must attend: Bart and De (fireflower314, Morgan and Piercelegacies) are getting married, so lets get this party started!Despite appearances, the bride has not been gutting the wedding turkey with her bare hands. The dress is pretty, the gloves... er.
  3. 3. Even Barts biological father, Cale, was able to attend. Bart was beyond thrilled. Cale had only been in his life for a very short time, and Bart wasworried Cale would find it awkward to become a father and a father-in-law in such a short period. But Cale was genuinely happy to be there."I guess I have to get old sometime," Cale said, running his hands through his now silvered hair. "But hey, dont feel any pressure to start havingkids, Bart! I dont know if Im ready to be a grandfather!"Both Pao and Cale laughed."Me neither!" Pao agreed.
  4. 4. The wedding feast was beyond scrumptious. The dinner was informal, and was held in Bart and Des new dining room. Apparently the members ofthe bridal party engaged in some pretty risqué conversation! Marina (smoothiequeen87, Fitzhugh Legacy) and De still refuse to tell me what,exactly, Bart and Roche were discussing. Still, the entire group was in stitches throughout the meal.
  5. 5. There were a few tense moments later in the evening when Cale cut in and asked for a dance with Barts mother, Ivy, right in front of Barts step-dad, Pao. Still, Pao and Ivy were both very gracious and a potential landmine was brilliantly sidestepped.While Cale cast a few glances at Ivy from time to time, he didnt act with impropriety. Of course, the fact that my hubby and I were there with ourZotz!ing fingers may have had something to do with his restraint.Trigger-happy? Us? Perish the thought.
  6. 6. In any case, the happy couple partied the night away, though Roche did insist on a dance or two with his new sister-in-law! Dont they look happy?Smile for the camera, kids!
  7. 7. After the guests had left, Bart and De sat down on the couch and decided that there really was no time like the present for starting their family.
  8. 8. September 18th, PIY 125 So whats the point of this blog? I guess to chronicle the good times and the bad as we live our lives together and build a family. Anyway,Dear Diary, Ill write more later. Now I have to get ready for the wedding!My name is Marie Mazza, and Im starting this blog as I move on to a -- Marienew path in my life. Ive been engaged for the past three years andtonight Im getting married to the man of my dreams, Roche Name: Marie MazzaBuccaneer. Hes everything I want in a man, and he spoils me Personality: 7/6/2/9/4terribly. I know were going to be very happy together. Aspiration: Romance LTW: Woohoo 20 Sims
  9. 9. Roche and his family had moved to a new, much grander home a few hours before Marie arrived on Pirate Island. It was built in an older chaletstyle and it had a large yard as well. Ivy and Pao were looking forward to spending their days fishing in the pond out back and cultivating a largegarden once the warmer weather arrived.It took a good deal longer to get around in than their old house, but then, it was big, and they were getting old.
  10. 10. In the basement were two full bathrooms as well as all the skilling items a sim could desire. The only career rewards I have that arent down hereare the obstacle course (in Roches inventory until needed) and the music career reward, which was in place when this picture was taken butremoved shortly thereafter. Its very, very annoying as it advertises fun at a very high level and sims mob towards it.
  11. 11. There is a large front patio with entry into a large central "hall". Two staircases lead upwards to the second floor from this room. On the right (east)is a large dining room complete with bar, reached via an arch. The kitchen is located south of this room via another archway, and has a back dooronto the patio. The left (west) wing of the first floor contains the living room and the library/study. The stairs to the basement are in the livingroom as well.
  12. 12. Upstairs is another large central hall containing some skilling items and the computer. There is another full bathroom here towards the front of thehouse. There are four bedrooms on this level as well. The larger ones are meant for the matriarch/patriarch and current heir/spouse, and the othertwo are intended to be nurseries.
  13. 13. The backyard also contains the very deliberately fenced off cowplant that Roche had grown from a cutting of the one he had in university. It hadmatured during his return trip home and was very voracious - but it could be very cute and affectionate at times. Roche had named it Cutlass, as heand his family are more than a little obsessed with pirates, and Cutlass lived up to his name. He was very dangerous, and only the locked gateprevented unfortunate happenings.
  14. 14. When Bart moved in, the very first thing he did was reacquaint himself with his beloved puppy, Pearl. Pearl was very happy that Bart was home,but was inclined to be suspicious of Marie - they didnt get along very well."All right, Pearl," Bart said as he scrubbed at his puppys fur, "that about does it. Now youre squeaky clean for the wedding too!""Wuf," Pearl said, wagging her tail happily.
  15. 15. September 22, PIY 125Dear Diary,Can you believe Im married? Eeek! And now that Roche and I are back from our honeymoon, I finally have time to blog about the big day.The day of our wedding started off absolutely miserably, with a thunderstorm to end all thunderstorms. Most of the wedding decorations had beenset out the night before, so of course they all got soaked. Worst of all, though, a stray bolt of lightning hit the great evergreen tree next to thewedding arch and set it on fire! The rain was already dying down by that point so we had to call the fire department to put out the stubborn blaze.Fortunately, none of the wedding decorations were damaged, but I was pretty upset by the ordeal anyway, and insisted we get a tent for thewedding itself.
  16. 16. That night, as the stars shone down upon us and our most beloved friends and family looked on, Roche and I were married. We pledged our eternaldevotion to each other and meant every word of it.
  17. 17. I was welcomed to the family by so many aunts, uncles, and cousins that I began to lose track of all of them! But I didnt feel like Id truly joined thefamily until I was "welcomed" by none other than the ghost of family patriarch Jack Buccaneer himself. While I felt strangely honoured to begreeted in such fashion, I was very hopeful I wouldnt undergo the experience ever again!
  18. 18. Our wedding reception was wonderful - the best party Ive ever been to, even if "Grandpa Jack" scared the pee out of some of our guests. I washappy to see Barts friends there, too, especially the ones hed gone to school with in Paris. I dont know a lot of people on the island yet so it wasreassuring to see so many familiar faces
  19. 19. And after everyone left, my beloved and I headed directly on our honeymoon - which was absolutely wonderful! I really, really enjoyed relaxing onthe beach with Roche. Unfortunately, our camera broke so I dont have any pictures... but Ill carry the memories in my heart forever.While we were there we decided to start a family right away. I know that some people say its best to wait a while after getting married beforestarting a family, but honestly I want to get it out of the way while Im still young. I dont think Ill like being pregnant so Im anxious to get startedand finished before Im too old to enjoy life.-- Marie
  20. 20. Right from the beginning of their marriage, Roche and Marie constantly heard from all their friends and family how lucky they were to have such astrong relationship. While divorce was practically unheard of, few couples had such a strong connection as Roche and Marie did. And they workedhard to maintain the strength and intimacy they shared. For instance, it wasnt unusual for Roche to stop by the florist on his way home from workand pick up a dozen roses for Marie, just because. All together now: awwwww!Yes, Roche and Marie were both working. Roche had a job as an artist because he had a fair amount of creative skill and he still didnt know whatkind of career he wanted for himself. Marie was working as a journalist because she had no artistic skill whatsoever but was a decent writer, andthe job was available. Both of them liked their jobs, but neither really loved them.
  21. 21. Bart and De were frequent visitors. Bart was a very serious man, unlike Roche, so he would usually head straight for the chess board in the library.Roche, eager to spend time with his brother, would suffer through game after game even though he only had a slight inkling of how it was played.In any case, he rarely won. But I think Bart was a bit prone to cheating.Pirates. Oy.
  22. 22. While the boys played, the girls did too. Marie and De would often get together for a game of darts and gossip about their husbands. As both wereRomance sims, and fairly friendly, they were soon very close and Marie found herself spilling all her secrets to her sister-in-law.
  23. 23. October 3, PIY 125Dear Diary,Well, I am finally settling in to life as a legacy spouse. Im surprised by how much work goes into it, really. At least I wont have to pop out babyafter baby! Two babies and Im done, and Roche said that I wouldnt have to have more than that.Speaking of my husband, more than once Ive caught him playing what he called tub pirates in the downstairs bathrooms. He showed me how, andyknow... I kind of want to play as well. Theres something so ... refreshing about forgetting adult responsibilities and just being a pirate in the tub.-- Marie
  24. 24. October 30, PIY 125 me dont have the best track record as parents.Dear Diary, Oh, Ive also got horrible morning sickness, I have to pee all the time, and Im sooo tired. I was right before when I thought Id hateIm pregnant! Can you believe it? Me, Marie Mazza-Buccaneer, being pregnant. This sucks!pregnant! The way I figure it, I must have gotten pregnant whileRoche and I were on our honeymoon. ... I think Im going to go take a nap.Im pretty excited at the thought of being a parent, but Im also kind -- Marieof scared. What if I make a bad parent? Romance-minded gals like
  25. 25. Ivy took it upon herself to coddle Marie through her pregnancy, her memory of the experience still fresh in her mind even though Roche wastwenty-eight years old."We remember what it was like," she would often say to Marie with a shudder. "We had to have an heir and a spare ourselves, you know. Wewouldnt wish multiple pregnancies upon anyone we like!"
  26. 26. "Cheesecake is an old family recipe of ours," Ivy continued as she "Wh-what do you mean?" Marie asked nervously.plated the luscious dessert. Maries mouth watered, and she hopedthat she could keep it down. "We thought you knew already," Ivy said slowly. "This recipe for cheesecake was perfected by our mad scientist brother, Eddie. It"It certainly is delicious," Marie agreed, taking a tentative bite and causes twins!"willing her stomach to behave itself. Marie choked. "Twins?!?" she gasped. "Why didnt you say?""It will make sure you dont have to get pregnant again, too!" Ivy saidwith a smile. "We are doing you a favor," said Ivy soothingly. "Trust us."
  27. 27. Pao was also excited about the prospect of being a grandparent, since De was also pregnant. Between that and the fact that he had a huge yard toplay in, he was beyond ecstatic.Old people show their enthusiasm in somewhat unusual ways.
  28. 28. In fact, his new favorite pastime was sitting out on the patio, sipping his coffee and watching the fall leaves swirl to the ground from the many treesthat surrounded the manor.Yes, its a far cry from dancing with excitement, but give the guy a break. Years of service as a minion will do a number on the lower back.
  29. 29. Of course, Maries pregnancy-induced forgetfulness may have had something to do with Paos reticence to spend much time indoors."Marie, honey, you forgot to get dressed again," Roche said between mouthfuls of pancake.Marie looked down at herself with surprise."So I have," she agreed, and patted her rounding belly fondly before heading upstairs to get dressed.
  30. 30. December 3, PIY 125Dear Diary,My husband cannot get over the thought of being a parent. He talks to the babies constantly - and yes, he was very startled at the thought of twins!Still, hes taken to the idea happily now that hes used to it. Hes head-over-heels in love with them already, I can tell.Somehow, I dont think he has any idea of how much work twins can be. But my mother-in-law and father-in-law can always help out, and we canalways hire a nanny! Actually, now that I think of it, thats a great idea... Ill have to research some prices online before the little ones get here.-- Marie
  31. 31. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, but one day Marie finally gave in to the urge - she waited until Pao and Ivy were busy and Roche was atwork, headed downstairs and jumped in the tub. Before she knew it, she was tub-pirating like a pro!"Nice form," Roche laughed. Marie jumped and squeaked - she hadnt heard him come downstairs! "Great-grandpa Jack would approve, I think."
  32. 32. "Arr! That I do, mate!"Pao waltzed into the bathroom carrying a stuffed bear dressed in pirate clothes. Marie was impressed - his mouth wasnt even moving when thebear talked.
  33. 33. Bart and De werent the only visitors to the Legacy manor, either. All of Roches Arravast housemates were frequent visitors. Marie likedsocializing with the other girls, who were also quite pregnant with their first babies. The four of them liked to discuss baby names, and nurserydecorating schemes, and to contemplate how well their husbands would take to diaper-changing.No bonus points for guessing the answer to that last one.
  34. 34. December 20, PYI 125Dear Diary,I want to name one of the babies Susanna, if one is a girl, after my mother. But when I told Pao, he explained to me that the babies would bothhave to be named according to the pirate theme. Pirate theme! I started to cry, dear diary. Ive really been looking forward to using that namesince I found out I was pregnant.Pao is such a sweetie, though - hes the best FIL in the world. He immediately offered to research pirates and find out if there was ever a piratenamed Susanna, or, failing that, a pirate ship with that name. I really hope there is!-- Marie
  35. 35. Bart and De were settling into married life very easily. Bart had gotten a job in the education career, just like hed always dreamed, and was helpingto set up a local community college right on Pirate Island.As for De, she harboured dreams of running her own restaurant and maybe even hosting a cooking show, but those plans were on hold until afterthe baby was born. For now, she was content to be a housewife.
  36. 36. Unfortunately, Des pregnancy was very hard on her. She was very, very tired all the time and one day Bart came home to the sight of her passedout on the living room floor! Fortunately, she and the baby didnt come to any harm.
  37. 37. ... at least, they didnt think Des labor later that night was precipitated by the fall!
  38. 38. Baby girl Morgan was certainly born right on time, one hundred percent healthy and adorable. Right from the beginning it was obvious she tookafter both of her parents, with Barts blue eyes and Des brown hair.
  39. 39. Bart called the legacy house first thing in the morning to let everyone know of Morgans arrival. Ivy was the one who answered that call."We are a grandmother!" she called happily in a voice loud enough to wake the dead. "Everyone, De has had a girl!""What did she name her?" Pao asked. De had talked about lots of names during her frequent visits but she and Bart hadnt let on which name theywere going to use."Her name is Morgan, after famous rum - er, pirate, Henry Morgan," Ivy reported. "We are pleased that our oldest son has carried on the piraticaltradition of the family."
  40. 40. Marie often wondered if Pao had found a piratical reason to use her mothers name for one of the babies. It didnt look like he was searching veryhard, since she often found him snoozing on the couch in the living room.Hey, I said, give the guy a break! Let him enjoy his retirement, after a lifetime of helping his brother-in-law shift contraband military supplies.
  41. 41. Later that very day, Marie went into labour! Roche, unfortunately, wasnt very helpful.
  42. 42. August 3, PYI 126 Susanna."Dear Diary, "Can we name this one Grace?" Roche asked me shyly as he kissed our other daughters forehead. "There was a female pirate named GraceI am exhausted. But my babies are here! It all happened so quickly, too. A OMalley, once. She was Irish, and when she was captured by the English,few intense moments, and it was over. Pao heard me yell when it all started she persuaded Queen Elizabeth to give her enough money to retire fromand came rushing in, but by the time he got there it was done! He had good pirating!"news for me, too. I assured him that I loved the name of Grace as well, and as I gazed upon"I found out that Susanna was the name of a pirate ship! In a pirate named both of our daughters, I felt that our happy little family was perfect.Thomas Tews fleet," Pao said, coming over to stare in awe at hisgrandbabies. Gotta go -- the girls are hungry!"Thats good enough for me," I said. I held my baby girl closer. "Hello -- Marie
  43. 43. While Marie was happy to be a parent, her worst fears were soon realized: she and Roche would have to change the diapers themselves. Ivy andPao were happy to take care of little Susanna and Grace in all other things, but diaper duty was something they excused themselves from, claiminggrandparental prerogative.
  44. 44. "Whos a sweet little princess?" Ivy smiled as she played with Susanna. "Whos grandmas little girl?"Susanna gurgled, then burped."We are appalled at your lack of table manners," Ivy said severely... and then giggled.
  45. 45. "Rest assured this is the best milk money can buy on the island," Pao said as he rocked Grace and fed her with an enormous green bottle. "Mybrother-in-law procures only the best for the family."Grace looked up at him and fluttered her long lashes as she sucked greedily away at the contents of the bottle.
  46. 46. Roche and Marie took advantage of Ivy and Paos babysitting services to go on frequent dream dates. Roche wanted a lot of them, and hed beentoo busy with breaking the curse to date much in university.Ahh... the curse. Obviously, it was well and truly broken, though the final price remained to be seen. Roche never mentioned it, and Ivy and Paonever brought it up either. All they knew was that it had obviously been dealt with, since the twins were here.As for Marie... she had no idea thered even been a curse, and nobody mentioned it to her. After all, it was over and done with... right?
  47. 47. Bart was a frequent visitor as well. Sometimes he and De would hire a babysitter and come for a visit together, and sometimes one or the otherwould come alone."Look at how sweet she is," he cooed as he held a squirming baby Susanna. "Shes only a little bit tinier than Morgan is. I hope the girls grow uptogether, like Roche and I did with our cousins.""We think that would be a great idea," Ivy said, making faces at the baby. "Family is very important. We have always maintained this."
  48. 48. "Do you want to hold her?" Roche asked, scooping Grace expertly from her crib and turning towards De."Sure," De grinned. "You know Im a sucker for kids. Both she and Grace--""This ones Grace," Roche clarified."Is it?" De looked closer at the baby. "How can you tell the two of them apart?""I dunno," Roche shrugged. "I just can. Marie and I have always been able to tell them apart.""Ah, maybe Ill find it easier once theyre a bit older," De shrugged. She held out her arms for the cooing baby, who smiled and gurgled happily.
  49. 49. "Whos daddys little girl?" Bart often played airplane with Morgan while De made dinner. It was his way of relaxing and winding down afterwork."Careful, I just fed her," De called over from the kitchen.Fortunately, Bart was playing close attention to Morgan and was able to avoid the shower of spit-up milk that followed shortly thereafter.
  50. 50. As the first snowflakes of winter fell, the entire family showed up for Morgans first birthday. Bart rushed outside to greet them and ushered theminto the house.
  51. 51. Just as Bart was herding everyone towards the door, Cale impulsively decided to serenade Ivy. While in years past she might have appreciated it...she obviously didnt anymore."Ack! Cale, we must insist that you refrain from such demonstrations," Ivy complained, clapping her hands over her ears. "We think your singingis atrocious!"Cale was very embarrassed and wouldnt look anyone in the eye for the rest of the day.
  52. 52. Nobody really noticed, though, as everybodys gaze was firmly fixed on little Morgan. Now that she was a toddler it was plain to see that shedinherited a lot of features from both parents. Her looks were striking, and she promised to be a beauty when she was older.
  53. 53. Mobility followed soon afterwards, and Bart and De could scarcely keep up with their little girl. She was very rambunctious and energetic, andoften tried to slip out into the yard despite the cool weather.Morgan was a talkative tyke as well, and chattered constantly about the people and objects that passed through her little world. She was especiallyfond of her rabbit head and her blocks, and not so much with her xylophone. And occasionally she would fix her parents with a dead serious lookand pose them such questions!"Why the sky is blue, Daddy? Why your toes have hair on them, Daddy? Why the bunny head rotates without me even touching it, Daddy? Why isthere a man with tiger stripes in the kitchen, Daddy?"Bart and De were hard put not to laugh, but always managed admirably to hold back their giggles until Morgans curiousity had been satisfactorilysated and her attention diverted.
  54. 54. Bart and De wanted another child, but realized that De would have to start her career soon, and maybe put plans for another child on hold for a bit.To that end, they hired a nanny to care for Morgan during the hours when both parents were at work.Bart, at least, didnt particularly like the crotchety old lady who babysat Morgan, but he realized that she was a necessity if his wifes dream was tocome true. He wasnt ready to retire yet himself, so the nanny would have to stay.
  55. 55. Still, Bart was quick to dismiss the old lady as soon as he got home from work, and he looked forward to his evenings with Morgan. In turn, thelittle girl adored her daddy and always woke up from her naps at the sound of him closing the front door. It was amazing - she heard him everytime."Why does nanny smell funny, Daddy?""Er... ask your mother."
  56. 56. August 3, PYI 127Dear Diary,It has been a long time since Ive written - a year, to be exact! But the past year has been so busy, so full of love and happiness, that its notsurprising that Ive not had time to write.My baby girls celebrated their first birthday today. We decided to celebrate privately, at home, at Roches insistance. Im not sure why he didntwant to have a big family party, but I didnt press the matter. In any case, our girls are getting so big!Ive decided to make this blog public, for all that I rarely update it, just so I can show off pictures of my babies. Ive attached them below.
  57. 57. This one is Susanna. Isnt she a dear? She definitely takes after her father a lot in both looks and temperament, for all that shes named after mymother. Roche is convinced that one lock of her hair is a shade lighter than the rest, but I think hes imagining it. While she can be a bit sloppy, shetakes to people nearly instantly, and is always smiling and wanting to play. And she plays hard for a little one! Shes always keeping us on ourtoes.
  58. 58. And this is my other baby, Grace. She and Susanna are nearly twins in the looks department, though she has straight hair and Susannas is curly.Personality-wise, though, they are quite different. Not only is Grace neat, shes also very talkative and playful. On the other hand, shes quite shywith people she doesnt know very well and is a bit prone to biting.Oh well. Im sure shell be broken of that habit eventually.-- Marie
  59. 59. Bedtime became a nightly ritual for the Buccaneer heir, his wife, and their two adorable daughters. Both girls were determined to have their story,and their kisses, from both parents before they would sleep.All in all, Roche and Marie felt as though they had been wonderfully blessed.
  60. 60. So imagine their shock one morning when Marie got up to get the girls and found that Susanna wasnt in her crib!"She must have just let herself out," Marie said at first. But searching the house high and low failed to turn up any sign of the missing tot.Frantically, she ran into the bedroom she shared with Roche.
  61. 61. "Honey, wake up!" Marie cried, her voice breaking.Roche stretched and rolled slowly out of bed."Whats wrong, honey?""Its--its Susanna," Marie gasped. "Shes not in her crib and I cant find her anywhere in the house! Your parents are still sleeping so shes not withthem. Roche -- shes been kidnapped!"With a choked cry, Roche ran from the bedroom.
  62. 62. And as he looked at the family cemetery, the awful truth came crashing down.There was a new grave, and as he squinted across the pond, his eyes could just barely make out "Susanna"...
  63. 63. "Nooooooooooo!!!" Roche cried.
  64. 64. In a furious rush he bolted into the basement and grabbed the GrimPhone."Give me back my daughter!" he screamed into the handset.
  65. 65. In a puff of black light, the Grim Reaper was there."Where is my daughter?" Roche screamed."YOU KNEW THE PRICE," the cowled figure responded in an even voice.
  66. 66. "You gave me no choice!" Roche cried. "Give her back! Ill do anything! If you dont bring her back in the next instant, Ill kill you with my barehands, so help me!"Grim laughed, a hollow, chilling sound. "I CANNOT BE KILLED, ROCHE BUCCANEER. AT LEAST NOT LIKE THAT. YOU WOULDONLY BREAK YOUR THUMBS. AND NOW, IF YOU HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY TO ME, I MUST LEAVE. THERE ARE OTHERSOULS TO HARVEST."
  67. 67. "You... you..." Roche choked down a million obscenities and curses. "Ill go. Take me instead. Take me! Just bring back my daughter...""NO JUMPING THE QUEUE. A DEAL IS A DEAL," the hollow voice intoned. "THE PRICE IS PAID. NO EXCHANGES OR REFUNDS."And with that, he disappeared, and Roche collapsed to the ground, sobbing.
  68. 68. The mood in the house was a somber one. There was a funeral, and both Roche and Marie went through the motions and tried to convinceeveryone that they were fine.Their dearest friends offered sympathy, and shoulders to cry on, and felt helpless.
  69. 69. "Why did he have to take our granddaughter?" Ivy raged at April. She, at least, had no difficulty in letting out her anger and her grief. "Why? Weare old. We would have gone in her place!""Oh, auntie," April said sadly. She squeezed her aunts hand in sympathy, lending her support as Ivy broke down entirely.
  70. 70. "Oh, our little baby," Ivy cried softly. She felt numb, and all cried out. With a deep breath, she straightened her back, and threw back her shoulders."We must be strong. Our family needs us."Resolutely, she went and made dinner, and then made everybody eat it.
  71. 71. "Roche and Marie are sleeping now," Bart said softly as he his brothers dearest friends sat around the dinner table eating the jello that Ivy forcedupon them."Thats probably for the best," Nala mewed softly, her tail swishing in silent agitation."Do--do you think this has anything to do with the curse?" April asked softly."The curse is gone," Benjamin objected. "Roche broke it, remember?""But what price did he pay?" Aprils question hung uncomfortably in the air, until the four of them got up from the table and went to theirrespective homes.
  72. 72. Life at Buccaneer Manor slowly returned to normal as the days passed - if the loss of a young child can ever be called normal. Roche and Mariesfriends and family visited as much as they could, and that helped. And everybody doted on Grace as much as possible. She wasnt old enough tounderstand what was going on, although she asked about Susanna constantly."Where Susu, Unca Bart?""Shes not here anymore, sweetie." Bart sighed. "At least youre young enough to forget." He stroked his nieces hair."Airplane, Unca Bart!" the little girl giggled.
  73. 73. Roche and Marie dealt with their grief in different ways. Marie joined a support group via her blogging site. Roche... turned to less wholesomemethods of dealing with his pain."No narrating. Rum."The rum is gone, Roche."Whys the rum gone?"You drank it all."Then wheres the gin?"
  74. 74. About the only thing that kept the two of them going, though, was the fact that Grace needed them. For a while, they could scarcely bear going intoher room, but the look on her face when she saw them in the morning made it easier to handle, and as time passed, the pain faded to a dull ache.
  75. 75. Still, it was Pao and Ivy who taught Grace most of her toddler skills."Where silver spoon?""What, honey?""Grandma says I was born with silver spoon in my mouth. So it should come out the other side, right?""IVY!"
  76. 76. In between awkward toddler questions, Pao and Ivy worried about Roche and Marie, but upon this count they felt helpless."I just wish the two of them would grieve properly and get it over with," Pao muttered into his cornflakes."We couldnt agree more," Ivy said, walking out of the kitchen and joining him with her own bowl. "But what can we do? We have never lost achild before. We have only lost a husband... or two... and a few other things. But that was long ago. In time, we forgot the pain and rememberedonly the love. We hope they can do the same thing, eventually."
  77. 77. Maries recuperation involved drastic effort. She changed her look to one more in line with her husbands family roots, and she took out her angeron innocent bathtubs that had never done anything to her.
  78. 78. "Aaah!" she screamed, more than once, as the rusted pipes failed to repair themselves. "Fix yourselves, frammit!"The screaming helped, and slowly the pain receded, although the faucet was never the same again.
  79. 79. December 20, PIY 129Dear Diary,Today marks two years since the day that changed my life forever -- the day that I lost my baby girl. Ive been mostly okay for the past little while,but today it all came crashing back down on me. I spent most of it crying, and Roche and I had a big fight.Weve been fighting a lot. Ever since Susanna died, theres been this tension between us. I think if we could just get past that, wed be okay, andboth of us would finally heal. But until that happens... I dont know if were going to make it. I still love him as much as ever, but sometimes I cantstand to look at him.
  80. 80. Hes even started sleeping on the couch instead of in our room. He says its because its farther from the room where Susanna-- where she died. Butwe both know its because we havent said a civil word to each other in weeks.Thing is, dear Diary, Im pretty sure Im pregnant again. I hope we can patch things up before the new baby comes.-- Marie
  81. 81. "Pearlie!" Grace squealed, enveloping the big black poodle in a sticky hug.Pearl wuffed gently, but allowed herself to be manhandled. Grace was Roches pup, and thus was allowed to run roughshod over the hound. Shewas the only one who had that particular privilege, though!Pearl was worried about her Master, in an abstracted puppyish sort of way. She could sense something was wrong, and would be happy when herhuman was himself again. In the meantime she resigned herself to many sticky hugs.
  82. 82. "Higher, Grampa!" Grace squealed. Pao was one of her favorite people in the whole wide world."Upsie daisy!" Pao laughed as he twirled Grace around the room. Hed dealt with Susannas death by focusing his attentions harder on hisremaining grandchildren, Grace and Morgan. They were both enough of a handful that he didnt have much time for anything else.
  83. 83. As for Marie, she very definitely was pregnant. But she concealed the fact from Roche. As shed written in her blog, they hadnt spoken in weeks,pretty much, and she was worried about how hed react to the news. She hoped it would be positive, but he was still so torn by grief that he couldgo either way.
  84. 84. As she knew that her pregnancy would soon be obvious even to the oblivious Roche, Marie grabbed a frozen slice of cheesecake from the freezer.She wanted twins again, though she couldnt say why, exactly, except that it felt right.
  85. 85. February 16, PYI 130Dear Diary,Ive definitely got pregnancy brain again and keep forgetting to wear my clothes. Roche is definitely going to find out before much longer if I dontsay anything - the bump on my belly is getting really obvious. I think Im having twins again, too.I need to tell him... but how?-- Marie
  86. 86. As it happened, Maries problem was soon solved for her. She was having another late-night cheesecake craving and forgot to put on her robe. Shewaltzed into the kitchen...
  87. 87. ... and there was Roche, making himself a drink at the bar."Bit late for that, dont you think?" she said softly."Its just juice," Roche said, and turned around.
  88. 88. His eyes grew wide as they took in his wifes obviously burgeoning by Roches sudden joviality, but decided to play along.belly. "Im sorry for ... for how Ive been acting," Roche said slowly,"Youre pregnant?" he gasped, choking and spluttering on his drink. looking into his wifes eyes. "Ive just felt... so guilty. Like it was my fault.""Obviously," Marie indicated, gesturing towards her stomach. "Oh, Roche," Marie said, her heart breaking as her arms went around"But--but thats wonderful!" Roche managed. He caught his wife up her husband. Now his tears flowed freely, and she held him tightin his arms and twirled her around the room. "Were having another until he stopped.baby!" "Thank you," Roche murmered, his broken heart finally beginning to"Were having another baby," Marie laughed. She was a bit confused mend, just a little.
  89. 89. April 6, PYI 130Dear Diary,Finally, things are back to normal for us. Well both always love and miss Susanna, but now our hearts can begin to heal.Last night, Roche and I went our first date since the tragedy almost two years ago. It felt like a new beginning, especially when he wrapped me inhis arms and laid a big ol kiss on me the way he used to after we got home.Im so happy.-- Marie
  90. 90. Grace was definitely growing quickly, and Roche and Marie marvelled at how she changed almost on a daily basis."Soon you wont be a baby anymore," Marie said mournfully."Not a baby," Grace insisted. "Im a big girl, mommy! Whens my birthday?""Soon, dear one," Marie chuckled, rubbing her sore back gingerly. "Very soon. And then a few weeks afterwards, youll be a big sister!""Yay!" Grace giggled, clapping excitedly. "I get to be a boss!"
  91. 91. "But for now," Marie continued, scooping Grace into her arms, "you still need your naps if you dont want to be too tired to play later.""Aww," Grace complained, but within a few moments of her head hitting the pillow, she was fast asleep.
  92. 92. "Grandpa, I want a lememememonade stand for my birthday," Grace said determinedly as she plunked away at her xylophone."Well, sweetling, well see about that," Pao said noncommittally. "But your birthday is coming up pretty soon, isnt it?""First its Morgans birthday," Grace said seriously. "Then me!"
  93. 93. At the other Buccaneer household, Bart and De were preparing to host a birthday party for Morgan.Well, if you call that preparing.
  94. 94. In preparation, they had the whole house papered and redecorated, now that both Bart and De were making a bit more money in their chosencareers.Marina stopped off early on the day of the party to drop off a present."Sorry I wont be able to make it later," she said apologetically."Thats fine," De said. "I know Morgan will be sad to have missed you, but Ill pass on your wishes."
  95. 95. At the appointed hour, though, everyone else showed up - except for Grace, who had the sniffles.
  96. 96. As Morgan jumped from toddlerhood to childhood, everyone gasped in amazement at her resemblance to her father. Now that she was older, it wasvery clearly pronounced.
  97. 97. "Hey Cale, thanks for stopping by!" Bart grinned. Cale hadnt been toPirate Island very often during Morgans younger years, but he did "Really?" Cales eyes grew wide. "Thats awesome!"make an effort to stop by every time he was in town, and hehappened to be visiting on Morgans birthday. "Keep it on the down-low, though," Bart said in a hushed voice. "We havent announced it to the rest of the family, but I figure you"Hey yourself," Cale chuckled. "Wow, she sure is getting big!" probably wont be in town again until after the official announcement, so I wanted to let you know.""Thats for sure," Bart said proudly. He leaned in closer andwhispered conspiratorily. "Shes going to be a big sister in a few "Im honoured," Cale grinned.months too, we think."
  98. 98. Lets just say that Cale and De have a very open relationship for father-in-law and daughter-in-law and leave it at that. Not always the mostappropriate conversation choices.
  99. 99. Morgan was definitely a little chatterbox. After shed had herbirthday cake, she cornered Ivy and Cale and peppered them with "Well, honey, I work in Paris. Thats where I met your Grandma Ivy,questions, especially Cale. actually.""Grandpa Cale, how come you hardly ever visit?" Morgan "How come you and Grandma arent married, Grandpa Cale?"demanded. Morgan was nothing if not persistent."I dont live on Pirate Island, hon," Cale replied good-naturedly. "Because we are married to Grandpa Pao," Ivy explained, and that was that. Morgan wasnt really satisfied, but she did know when to"Why not?" Morgan asked. quit... eventually.
  100. 100. "Happy birthday, sweetie!" Bart grinned, and handed over a neatly wrapped package to his daughter."For me?" Morgans eyes were very big. "What is it?""We suggest you open it and see," Ivy suggested, having wandered over to observe the proceedings.Morgan tore eagerly at the wrapping paper. "Sweet!" she cried as she lifted a large, plush bear dressed like a pirate out of the box. "A teddy bear!""Thats none other than Commodore Bear," Bart nodded. "Later Ill tell you all about him.""Okay," Morgan grinned, tossing her father a thousand-watt smile.
  101. 101. For the rest of the party, Morgan cornered Grandpa Cale and peppered him with questions about Paris."Have you seen the Eiffel Tower? If you drop a penny off of it and it hits someone on the head, do they die? Are French people really rude? Doyou eat frogs? Whats a baguette taste like? Have you ever seen a mime? Do you have to speak French? Can you teach me to speak French? Whydid Napoleon always have his hand in his coat? Why are there so many Japanese chefs who do French food on TV? And why does the lady on TVon the cooking show die?"Ivy spent most of the exchange stifling her laughter. Morgan was very definitely infinitely curious.
  102. 102. Later that evening, after the guests had gone home, Bart made good on his promise and pulled out the books his great-grandfather, grandmother,and mother had written about the family history and explained just how Commodore Bear fit into that history. It got a bit complicated when he gotto the bits about ninjas, but Morgan was fascinated, to be sure.
  103. 103. "Is it true youre really Great-Great-Grandpa Jack?" she demanded of her new toy once she was upstairs in her room."Aye, lassie! Avast ye!" the bear intoned, making Morgan jump in alarm. However, her inquisitiveness could not be denied."Howd you end up in a bear, then?" she demanded."Arr! Werent ye payin attention when your dad explained the whole thing to ya, love?""I want to hear it from your mouth," Morgan said stubbornly. "Now, talk!""Aye, lass," Commodore Bear said... and grinned. "But me mouth be made of thread."
  104. 104. July 18, PIY 130Dear Diary,The weather on Pirate Island is very strange. It snowed today!-- Marie
  105. 105. "Come on, Grace," Roche grinned, lifting his daughter out of her crib. "Time to get dressed! Its your birthday, and everyone will be here in anhour!""Yay! Presents!" Grace chortled.
  106. 106. "But why I gotta have a bath first?" she asked disgustedly."Because you want to be squeaky clean for your birthday pictures," Roche assured her. "Dont you?""I guess..." Grace sounded doubtful. However, she loved her baths and Roche had to remind her that it was her birthday party before she wouldconsent to stop playing with her toys and would get out of the tub.
  107. 107. "Marie, you look gorgeous today," Roche said, giving his wife a quick kiss. "And its a perfect day for a party!"
  108. 108. And it was a perfect day for a party, despite the fact that there was snow on the ground in August.The entire family was in attendance, with most of the women noticeably pregnant again.
  109. 109. "All right!" Grace cheered, jumping up with glee after she blew out the birthday candles. "Im big now! Next stop, Wall Street!""Way to go, honey!" Roche and Marie laughed in unison... they exchanged glances and laughed again.
  110. 110. "Here you go, sweetie," Pao said, handing a brightly wrapped present to Grace after cake had been eaten."What is it, Grandpa?""What did you ask me for?" Pao chuckled."All right! My own lemonade stand kit!" Grace was ecstatic. "Now I can start saving up to buy a pony!""Err..."
  111. 111. Now that she was bigger, Graces parents realized that she needed glasses too, and Grace put them on gleefully. "They look cool!" she crowed."She looks a bit like great-aunt Celeste," Roche said to Pao in an undertone. "Thank goodness she doesnt speak in rhyme all the time - doh!"Grace got a new outfit for her birthday, too, from Uncle Bart and Aunt De. "Its just like the one Morgan got," De said."Awesome!" Grace said. She raced upstairs to try on her new outfit with her glasses. When she returned downstairs to model for everyone, they allagreed that she looked like a million bucks."You wait and see," Grace declared. "One day I will have a million bucks!""Of course you will, sweetie," Pao said indulgently. "Now, hustle along. Its past your bedtime."
  112. 112. As the party wound down and most of the guests left, Roche laid a hand softly on Maries stomach. "Im glad we dont have to wait long before wehave another baby in the house," he said."Me too," Marie grinned.April chose that moment to say her goodbye as well. Obviously this was a private moment.
  113. 113. Roche and Marie sat down on the couch, cuddling happily. But after a few moments, Roches face was streaked with tears."What is it?" Marie asked.Roche sniffled and wiped at his eyes futilely. "I just wish that Susanna was still here.""Oh, Roche, me too," Marie said slowly. She laid a comforting hand on his arm. "But you know, somewhere shes looking down on us.""I know," Roche said. He turned to look deep into Maries eyes. "Marie, love, theres something I havent told you..."
  114. 114. August 3, PYI 130Dear Diary,Its HIS fault! My husband sold our daughter to the Grim Reaper and thats why shes gone! I cant believe it... its HIS FAULT!I hate him.-- Marie
  115. 115. Sleep, soundly, Grace. Enjoy one last night before you realize the two people you love most... hate each other.Can Marie and Roches marriage survive this blow? What will the new babies be like? Will Grace get along with her cousin? Has Roche really paidthe price in full? Why didnt Anthony appear in this chapter? Why am I letting Morgan write the close to this chapter?All this and less... next time!
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