A Piratical Legacy Chapter 33 Part 3 - Love & Bureaucrats

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  • 1. Chapter 33 – Love & Bureaucrats Part 3A Piratical LegacyChapter 33: Love and Bureaucrats - Part 3
  • 2. "Okay, so theres ground rules for living in the Greek House, right?" made the rules, and she didnt have any," Liv explained. "Now Im inLiv said excitedly to her new housemate, Erroneus Marius. Liv charge, so I get to make the rules."would be graduating soon and Erroneus had graciously agreed to bethe placeholder/caretaker for the Buccaneer familys Greek house "Well, lets hear them," Erroneus said warily.until the youngest members of generation six, Borusa and Spandrell,were ready to head to college. "Okay," Liv said, taking a deep breath. "Rule one: no dating roommates.""Ground rules?" Erroneus blinked. "Ching Shih didnt say anythingabout ground rules." "I can live with that," Erroneus said. "I have a girlfriend.""Thats cause she was head of the house when she lived her, so she "Ooh, good!" Liv said, clapping her hands. "Is she fun?"
  • 3. "Well, I certainly think so," Erroneus shrugged. "Otherwise she wouldnt be my girlfriend. Shes a simself, like my mom. And she has red hair, likemy mom. ... oh lordy, that sounds really pathetic, doesnt it?""A little," Liv agreed readily. "But thats okay. My moms a simself too, and my brother married someone the exact opposite of mom. Soeveryones different."Erroneus blinked. "O...kay." He felt a little dizzy trying to keep up with Livs mental processes and strove valiantly to get the conversation back ontrack. "I think I can live with the first rule. Any others?""You must have at least three dates per semester," Liv said solemnly. "This is a FUN house. No BORING people allowed.""Gins in town for a few weeks, so I guess thats okay," Erroneus said after a moments consideration.
  • 4. "Cool, that means I get to meet her," Liv said. "I like meeting newpeople. Ive always thought if I wasnt a Pleasure sim Id want to be a "Oh, take any of the ones upstairs," Liv said. "Except the masterPopularity sim." bedroom. Thats reserved for the legacy heir unless somebody doesnt have a bedroom and theres no heir in the house. There are two other"Gee, youre a Pleasure sim?" Erroneus said dryly. "I would never rooms upstairs each with two double beds. You can shove the extrahave guessed." bed into the room you dont use. There should be room for it.""Oh, hush," Liv laughed. "No teasing roommates. Unless its mutual. "Youre in the bedroom next to the front door?"I think Im going to like living with you, Erroneus." "Yeah, I liked that room best. But I totally had to fumigate it after"Yeah, I guess it wont be too bad," Erroneus said. "Um... that Toby moved out. He takes stinky boy to a whole new level."reminds me. Which room is mine?"
  • 5. "Well, I guess that about covers it," Erroneus said. "I should move stuff around and get settled in. See you in the morning, Liv.""Sleep tight!" the legacy girl said cheerfully. "Oh, and dont forget--were hosting a back-to-school toga party next week. Figured I ought to warnyou.""Ah, good. I can get mentally set for losing all my dignity.""Silly Erroneus. Simply by living on Pirate Island you lose all claim to dignity.""Touché."
  • 6. The next morning, Liv decreed it to be "Date Day". She wasnt seeing anyone in particular at the moment, especially since most of her previousboyfriends had gone off and gotten married over the summer, so she called up her old friend the Gypsy Matchmaker."And vat can I do for you, Miss Pseudo?""Same old, same old," Liv shrugged. "Its date day today, Val, so I want to get through at least a couple. Looks dont matter as much as FUN. Idont do well with guys who dont like to have fun.""Vell, you pay me enuff money. I vill gif you good date," the Gypsy shrugged."Thanks, Val," Shih grinned.
  • 7. "This one, he named Robi," Valerie Tse added. "Romance sim, but they usually get on vell vith Pleasure girls such as yourself. I think you likehim.""As long as hes not a stick-in-the-mud," Liv nodded. "Thanks, Val. Stick around... Ill probably want another date around seven or eight, unlessthis one goes exceptionally well."
  • 8. "So, are you fun?" Liv demanded once the introductions were complete."Uh, I guess so," Robi said, flashing a wide mouth full of immaculate teeth at Liv."You seem a little pale.""Err... too much bubble blowing back at the dorm," Robi explained. "See, it was snowing out, and I kind of lost track of time...""Well, not too smart," Liv said critically, though she made sure Robi couldnt hear her. Livs a nice person like that. "But he does seem fun if helikes the bubble blower."And, sure enough, the rest of the date was fun enough to live up to Livs exacting standards. There wasnt really a romantic spark, so the fun waslimited to endless pillow fights, but that was just fine and dandy in Livs opinion.
  • 9. Liv wasnt the only one taking advantage of "Date Day". Erroneus girlfriend Gin (gintasticnecat, Science of a Legacy) was in town and dropped byaround the same time Livs date was getting started."Mmphm!""Yeah, good to see you too," Erroneus grinned.
  • 10. As evening fell, the two of them headed downstairs to play a little pool and hang out. Plus, since Liv liked to hold her dates on the front lawn, itgave them a little privacy."How do you like Greek life so far?" Gin asked. "I see youre not wearing a sheet. And here you promised!""Gin!" Erroneus blushed, slightly scandalized. "Someone might hear you!""Youre not that Squeaky-Clean, Erroneus," Gin smirked."Squeaky Clean enough to not want to scar my roommate," Erroneus said primly."I dont think Liv would be scarred," Gin mused. "I think shed probably laugh."
  • 11. "Good point," Erroneus chuckled. "Well, no toga today. But I think Livs throwing a toga party towards the end of the semester. Come by then andyou can ogle me all you like.""Ooh," Gin grinned."In fact," Erroneus added, taking her hand and leading her over to the couch. "I could give you a preview.""You beast! Not Squeaky Clean at all!"
  • 12. Livs date with Robi ended and while he wandered off to amuse "Ah," Valerie Tse nodded sagely. "That vould explain it. Does zishimself with some of the Greek Houses many toys, Liv called bother you?" she added, turning to Liv.Valerie back over to order another date. This time she upped theprice a little. "Not really," Liv said brightly. "I think vampirisim is one of my turn- ons. As long as he doesnt bite me.""Oooh! You vill like this one!" the gypsy said, sounding impressed."Vonder vhy he didnt show up earlier?" "I never bite without an invitation," the count said smoothly. "Count Randy Fuchs, at your service.""That would be due to my undead condition," the vampire lord saidsmoothly, rising to his feet and shaking his head to clear the effects "Really," Livs eyes widened. Then she burst out laughing.of the gypsys teleportation magic. "What?"
  • 13. "I wonder whats so funny?" Gin asked Erroneus curiously, gazing out the front window. Liv was doubled over laughing, and her voice was loudenough it carried into the house."Never mind that," Erroneus said, catching her by the hand. As soon as he was sure he had Gins full attention he dropped to one knee. "GinScience, weve been dating for a year and a half now and Im pretty sure youre the one for me. Will you marry me?"
  • 14. "Oi, thats a big rock," Gin blinked.
  • 15. Then she slipped it on her finger and leaped into Erroneus arms. "Of course I will!""Mother will be so happy," Erroneus said. "And father. Hes always glad to Meet Someone New.""He already knows me.""Yes, but he doesnt know all your roommates.""Good point."The two lovebirds scampered off to make important phone calls and start planning their wedding, though it wouldnt happen for another few yearswhen Erroneus would finally graduate.
  • 16. "You shouldnt have taken the cake," the greenish spirit said to Robi."But it had buttercream frosting!""The cowplant is going to eat you!""BUTTERCREAM!""Well, if you really think its worth it..."
  • 17. Liv, meanwhile, hadnt even noticed that Robi was making friends with the cowplant. She thought the thing was still safe, since nobody had drunkthe previous victim. And in the meantime, she was having way too much with Count Randy, though she still giggled intermittently.Authors Note: Apparently installing a new expansion pack resets the cowplants. Oops?
  • 18. "Youre an idiot, Liv Pseudo!" the ghost of Trisha McCullogh said just as Liv finished making a particularly witty dirty joke about the countsname."Gah!""What is it?" the count asked, puzzled. Hed felt a brief chill, but he was undead so that was nothing unusual."The ghost just scared me into crushing on you!"
  • 19. "Ghost?" Randy asked."Weve got a resident. Likes to haunt the hot tub.""Ah," the count nodded. "Well, perhaps you can show me that later. In the meantime... care to dance?"And without waiting for a response he pulled Liv into his arms and started twirling her lightly around the lawn while fallen leaves crackled andswirled around their ankles.
  • 20. "Wow... this date has been way fun, and in a way I totally wasnt expecting," Liv said, a trifle breathlessly."For me as well," the count said in a sultry voice. "I was not expecting someone so... appetizing."Livs heart thumped a little faster as she leaned forward.And was promptly impaled by Stabby Death Nose.
  • 21. "Ouch!" she giggled, pulling back and rubbing that part of her face gingerly."My apologies!" Count Randy said hastily."Oh no, its fine," Liv said, smiling shyly.
  • 22. The next thing she knew, Randys arms were around her and she was being kissed more soundly than shed ever been kissed in her life--and shedbeen kissed a lot."Alas, the dawn approaches," the count said when they finally came up for air. "I must flee. But... will I see you again?""I still need one more date this month if Im going to follow my own house rules," Liv said unsteadily."It would be my honour to help you meet that obligation," the count said softly. Leaning in, he dared another kiss. Then, with a flip of his cape, heturned into a bat and flew off into the night.
  • 23. They didnt date again the next night, but when Liv got up in the morning there was a very expensive telescope sitting on the porch, along with anote.Delectable Liv,When I see you again, perhaps we can watch the stars together. Until then, study them with this. I look forward to our next assignation.-- Count R. Fuchs
  • 24. Erroneus and Liv found each other to be agreeable roommates, though whether this was due to their personalities or whether it was due to theiropposite class schedules, neither of them were certain. However, neither of them really enjoyed sharing Arravast House with the ghost of Robi."Aaaah!"
  • 25. "Hehehe," Liv giggled. "Robi getcha again?""Yes!" Erroneus complained. "Aw, man... now I gotta go change. Gin will be over any minute!""Dont forget to clean up your pee puddle!" Liv called after him as Erroneus stalked upstairs to shower."Wouldnt dream of it," Erroneus muttered sourly. "Dude, a haunted house was not what I signed up for."
  • 26. A few days later, Count Randy called again and he and Liv spent the entire evening cuddling under the stars in their winter coats."There are so many stars in the sky," she breathed. "I wonder what life up there is like?""More different than we could ever imagine, I expect," the count said. "Perhaps some day we shall visit them.""Oh, I doubt that," Liv said. "That kind of space exploration is way beyond what theyll achieve in my lifetime.""I could give you eternal life."Liv shivered."The thought distresses you?"
  • 27. "No," Liv said, shaking her head. "Im just a little cold. Its nearly winter, in case you hadnt noticed.""Ah," the count said, smiling slightly. "Well, in that case... allow me to warm you up. I may be undead, but my blood runs hot enough in myveins.""Mm, thats nice," Liv sighed contentedly as Count Randy wrapped his arms around her. "Much better."They lay that way for a considerable time until Randy stirred regretfully. "It will be dawn in an hour," he said. "I must be on my way.""Ill walk you to the sidewalk," Liv said, getting up nimbly.
  • 28. "Ooh! Leaves!" she grinned when they were standing out in front of the mailbox. With a glad cry she dove feet first into the pile. "Woohoo!""That seems... untidy," the count said."Nah," Liv grinned. "Its FUN! Why dont you try it?"
  • 29. "I dont really have the time," the count said regretfully. "Though I would enjoy playing the leaves with you." An edge to his voice made Liv blush."However," he added gallantly, "I can at least pile up a few more for you to have fun with after I leave."
  • 30. As the dawn broke, Liv was still scampering through the fallen leaves."I think Im in love," she whispered to herself.
  • 31. In what felt like no time at all, Livs senior finals were over and it was time for her graduation party.
  • 32. Of course she invited her family and all her closest friends, including Ching Shih."Are you sure its safe for you to travel right now?" she asked worriedly, reaching down to pat Shihs bulging belly. "You could pop anytime!""Doc said it was okay," Shih shrugged. Then she smiled, though there was a sad edge to her smile that had never been there before. "Besides, Iwant to enjoy other peoples happiness whenever I can."
  • 33. They were still chatting outside when darkness fell."Ooh, I guess I should go inside and mingle with everyone else before the partys over!" Liv said reluctantly; shed been enjoying catching up withher cousin and her brother. "It wouldnt be FUN to miss out on all of them, I suppose.""I should think not," Shih chuckled
  • 34. But of course the first person she wandered into inside was her brother Hugo. Who was stuffing his face with cookies."Doesnt Lainey ever feed you?" she chortled."She doesnt let me have much junk food," Hugo said defensively. "She says it will make me fat."
  • 35. Liv just laughed and headed downstairs to bounce on the couch one last time.
  • 36. "Hmm... maybe I have time for one last game of pool," she mused, racking up the balls. But then a familiar tingle hit her, from her toes to her nose.
  • 37. "All right!" she grinned as the confetti flashed. "Im outta here!"***
  • 38. It was very late when Livs plane arrived on Pirate Island. But that didnt stop her from cupping her hands around her mouth and yelling as loud asshe could from the sidewalk."Uncle Nick! Uncle Green! Im here!"A light flicked on in an upstairs window, and a moment later Liv was being swarmed by two elderly old men, one of them green."Liv! At last!""Its been so lonely the past few days since... since Rags died," Green added, his voice going suspiciously hoarse."Well, Im here now," Liv said, giving him and Will fierce hugs in turn. "So no more moping around, okay?"
  • 39. It didnt take Liv very long to get unpacked and dressed in her new everyday outfit. While the pink dress shed transitioned into was cute, it wasntreally her. I think its pretty safe to say this outfit definitely is.
  • 40. "You got a fish tank!" she squealed a few hours later as she went over every inch of her new home. "Hooray!"
  • 41. The puppies, Riches and Nell, were a bit apprehensive about the newcomer in their midst, but they soon accepted her as a member of their pack.And they were both welcome to join Liv in her bedroom any time--she had a double bed, and she was only using half of it!
  • 42. It wasnt long before life in the little cottage settled into a routine. Liv declared herself the feeder-of-uncles and insisted on serving dinner everyevening, since she hadnt managed to find a job in the Gamer career yet.
  • 43. "Are you sure youre ready to settle down into a career already, though?" Nick asked when Liv voiced her annoyance at not finding a job after afew days. "Youre young! Spend some time seeing the world! Nick and I certainly dont need you to bring in any money.""I want to feel like Im contributing to the household," Liv said plaintively. "I dont wanna be a freeloader. Thats not fun.""Youre contributing plenty," Green said warmly, reaching across the table to squeeze his nieces hand. "Youre bringing a lot of happiness to twoold men who had nothing better to do than grump about the weather."
  • 44. "How could I not make things fun wherever I go?" she grinned. "Its just who I am! And of course everyone around me is going to have anabsolutely fabulous time. Obviously!""And thats important enough a contribution," Green insisted. "Dont worry about settling down into a life of responsibility yet. In fact, why dontyou think about doing that quest the freaky bear is so insistent on? Find the Captains Rum!""Oh, I forgot about that!" Liv said, eyes widening even further, if that was possible. "Thatd be wicked fun."
  • 45. "Theres the spirit," Nick said jovially, sitting down to join them. "At least youd get away from this infernal rain weve been having lately. Ifanother tree gets hit by lightning...""Yeah, thats the only un-fun thing about this place," Liv said emphatically. "Forest fires are not cool. Maybe I will go off to look for the rum. In alittle while, anyway. I want to spend some time with my nephew and nieces."
  • 46. "Welcome to the house!""Aaah! Ghost!""Love you, Livy!"
  • 47. The next morning, once she was quite recovered from her grandmothers visit, Liv decided to suit actions to words and invite over the family."Well, the toddlers are being pains in the neck," Orikes laughed, "but your father and I will come by with Orlando if thats okay.""Thatd be fabulous!" Liv grinned. "Oh, this is going to be--""Fun!" her mother finished for her. "See you in an hour or so."
  • 48. Sure enough, Orikes, Will and Orlando were waiting by the mailbox to be greeted within an hours time."Aw, you dont have to stand on ceremony around here," Liv said, giving her hesitant nephew a healthy hug. "Just walk right in! None of us mind!"
  • 49. "Were you waiting for us to visit, Auntie Liv?" Orlando asked, his "Even if," Liv said fondly. "So, Lando, why dont you tell me abouteyes wide. Thus far his exposure to Liv had largely been over the yourself? Youre getting so big so fast, I feel like I hardly know you.phone and during a once-a-year visit, and he was still a little shy Whats your favorite thing to do?"around her. Plus, shed been living in France. That made hersomething beyond the ken of ordinary mortals as far as he was "Play catch with dad," Orlando said automatically. "Or with mom,concerned. but shes usually too busy with the girls." And he wrinkled his nose. "They still have accidents all the time, so they smell.""Of course, Lando!" Liv grinned. "I missed you so much while I wasat college. Im so happy to be back!" "Well, they wear diapers," Liv shrugged. "Thats what diapers are for.""Even if Grandpa insists on smustling on the sidewalk?" "Yeah, but I cant wait til they can play games with me."
  • 50. "Well, until then how about I do that job?" Liv said with a smile. "Have you ever played airplane?""Not since I was little," Orlando said scornfully. "Thats a little kids game.""Not when you play it like this!" Liv whooped. Catching Orlando about the wrists, she startled whirling in circles, faster and faster."Wheeeeeee!"
  • 51. It was a very reluctant Orlando who finally said goodbye several hours later. "Can I come over again soon?" he asked as he gave Liv a fierce hug."Whenever you want," Liv said. "Just make sure you ask your parents or your grandparents first, so that somebody knows where you are. Okay?""Deal!"
  • 52. The next day, Will stayed home with the toddlers so that Hugo and Lainey could come to visit with Liv."Its so good to see you again, sister," Lainey said happily, giving Liv a hug."And you," Liv agreed. "How have you been? My brother still treating you okay?""Better than ever," Lainey said with a sly smile and a wink towards her husband."Good to know," Liv said, making a face."You did ask, did you not?""Yes, I didnt!"
  • 53. "D-does Nellie bite?" Orlando asked apprehensively as the overgrown puppy came over and sniffed him cautiously."Of course not, dear," Lainey responded with a gentle smile. "Shes known you since you were a baby.""Oh yeah," Orlando nodded. He cautiously reached forward and scratched Nell behind the ears. "Shes way bigger than Lila.""Yeah, but shes a lot younger," Lainey cautioned him. "Shes still pretty much a puppy, so dont be too rough with her. You can go out into theback yard and play if you like."
  • 54. "And whats my favorite cousin who is green and has no nose up to placeholder and hes graduating early so he can get married."these days?" Liv asked, pouncing Borusa eagerly. "Erroneus? Getting married? Cool!" Borusa said."As opposed to your favorite cousin who is green and does have anose?" "You know him?""Exactly!" "Yeah, he was a senior when Spandrell and I were freshmen," Borusa shrugged. "We hung around sometimes. Hes a nice guy.""Not much," Borusa shrugged. "I graduate at the end of this schoolyear, and then its off to college." "You could have married him if you wanted," Orikes said loudly."Thats cool!" Liv grinned. "Paris is uber nifty. Im just sad that you "Mom!"wont get to meet Erroneus while youre there. Hes moved in a new
  • 55. "Mother playing matchmaker again?" Hugo teased. "You just havent heard about any of the others.""As long as she doesnt try to set me up," Borusa said emphatically. "Riiight," Liv said. "I know how teenaged boys talk. Shes the only"Im a confirmed bachelor." one whos let you kiss her, right?""Oh really?" Liv asked, a note of teasing disbelief in her voice. "Just the only local," Borusa said defensively. "Im a frequent user of the matchmaking service.""Im a romance sim," Borusa explained. "Settling down with just onewoman is not for me." "Me too!""Oh? Then how come Ive been hearing rumors about you and a "Really?"certain Ms. Traveller all over town?" "Just a hint--Val really likes flowers. Shell go the extra mile for you"Its only settling with one that Im opposed to," Borusa smirked. if you bring her flowers."
  • 56. "Auntie Liv, why does Borusa like girls so much?" Orlando asked as "And why do you want to get married?"he practiced his best hang loose. "So I can have a family and a motorbike and a puppy and a--""Because hes a Romance sim who likes girls," Liv said, shrugging."Its just who he is. But youre a bit too young to be worrying about "Youve got a lot of big dreams," Liv grinned. "Well, stick to em,girls..." she paused for a second. "Or boys." Lando. If you follow your dreams you can do anything.""I just dont understand why he likes lots of them," Orlando said, "Whats your dream, Auntie Liv?"sticking his lip out as he contemplated the idea. "I wanna get marriedsomeday, and they only let you marry one person." Liv was thoughtful. "I dont really know, yet."
  • 57. "You know, youre not really setting a very good example for your nephew."
  • 58. All too soon, the evening of camaraderie and friendship came to an and I would not mind getting away for an evening, and I am certainend. your parents would like a break too.""Come by and see us soon," Orikes said, giving Liv a quick hug. "Of course! Ive got all kinds of mischief I cant wait to teach Orlando and the girls.""Of course I will!" Liv said. "Soon as Shihs baby is born, Imheading out on a quest to find the Rum, so Im going to be spending "That is what I was afraid of," Lainey said, but her smile was wide.as much time with all of you as possible until then." "You busy Friday?""Would that include babysitting?" Lainey asked hopefully. "Hugo ***
  • 59. When Ching Shih woke up, she found herself in a rare good mood. Quickly, she made her bed and then checked her watch. Five in the morning--shed woken exactly on time.
  • 60. "Jim?""Beloved!""Am I still your beloved?" she teased."What do you think, my sweet wife-to-be? I cannot wait until I can see you again. Have you any news on that front?""Not yet, Im afraid," Shih sighed. "But... Im sure well hear something soon. After the baby is born.""I wish I could be there."
  • 61. "So do I," Shih sighed. "But unless Uncle Jacks law-ninjas produce a miracle, that wont be happening. I dont think its going to be very longnow.""Even though I am not there... I am very excited.""Ill call you as soon as anything happens... or tomorrow. Whichever happens first. I love you, Jim.""I will be counting the seconds. I love you both."
  • 62. "Okay, so what do you think? Double date after work today?" Spandrell asked his twin."Ehh... sure," Borusa shrugged. "I havent seen Tina in a few days. You asking out Hades?"
  • 63. "Yeah," Spandrell said excitedly. "I really like him. I just feel kinda awkward having him over where our parents might meet him.""Why? Hes been over before.""Yeah, but he wasnt my boyfriend before. You and Tina will totally gross everyone out with your PDA and then it wont be nearly as awkward."
  • 64. "Thems fightin words!" Borusa said, making a fist and socking his brother on the shoulder."You cant deny the truth!" Spandrell smirked. "You drive mom and dad nuts with worries youll get some girl knocked up. Meanwhile, Im free toconduct my own romances at my own pace... all without being spied on or hovered over by overzealous rents."
  • 65. "Hey, you totally know Id never get some girl knocked up in high school," Borusa scowled. "And so do mom and dad!""Well, yeah, but youre a Romance sim... and it so works out to my advantage.""I thought we were supposed to be the nice kids of this generation.""Nice doesnt mean incapable of deviousness."
  • 66. "Whos devious?" Ching Shih asked, skipping down the stairs. "Hi Andrew!""Nobody," Spandrell and Borusa said in unison, their voices completely innocent."Andrew thinks these two are plotting again," Andrew said, crossing his arms over his chest and attempting to look stern. "The last prank was mostdifficult to clean up after. Please do not repeat it.""I didnt know the fish would die if I put it in the bath tub!" Borusa protested. "I thought the tub was full of water!""Yes, but the tub was not full of fish, and when Andrew went to use the potty he stepped on the dead thing. Dead fish is very hard to get out ofrugs. And feetfur."
  • 67. Pretty soon the boys left for school and Ching Shih settled herself in the dining room with second breakfast. She felt like a hobbit these days, withher rounded belly and her constant need for food. Assuredly, shed be hungry again for elevenses, luncheon, dinner, supper, tea, and whatever othermeal she could think of.Although it was nice being able to eat anything she wanted without worrying about losing her figure. As athletic as she was, she still had a sweettooth and had to work hard to stay in shape most of the time.
  • 68. Both Borusa and Spandrells dates were amenable to coming over after school, and Borusa and Tina provided plenty of PDA to distract watchfulchaperones from embarrassing Spandrell and Hades.
  • 69. "Your brothers got good taste in girls," Hades said, eyeing Tina critically. "If I wasnt dating you, Id totally go for her.""Yeah, thats a nice thing to say when youre out with someone else," Spandrell said, mock-pouting."Yeah, but I am dating you," Hades shrugged. "So its moot, really. Plus, your brothers cool. I wouldnt want to muscle in on his chick.""Every chick is his chick," Spandrell pointed out. "Even the ones who dont know it yet. I dont think hes been shot down since Rakshasi gave himthe cold shoulder.""Didnt think he was into furries."
  • 70. "Gah! You dont have to whip it at me, Tina!""I saw you flirting with Rakshasi at lunch today," Tina Traveller grumbled. "Its a small school. I can see the whole lunch cafeteria!""Shasi and I are just friends," Borusa shrugged. "We were talking about homework. Besides, shes going out with Terry.""And if she wasnt would you be flirting with her?" Tina demanded, flinging the kickybag back at Borusa."What? No! Not when Ive got you," Borusa added, fluttering his eyelashes."Youre a dork," Tina grinned, evidently deciding to believe him. "But youre a cute dork.""Does that mean I get a kiss?"
  • 71. "They sure argue a lot," Hades said."Its Borusa. He likes to make the chicks think everyone wants him.""But they do.""Yeah, but I think hes only going to date one while were in town. Our class is too small--if he pisses off one of them, all of the women on theisland will hate him.""Ah, the drawback of being a Romance sim in a small town.""Yep. Hey, want to come on inside and see my room? I think all the adults are busy watching those two."
  • 72. Hades looked around consideringly."In a minute," he said at last. "First, Im going to kick your butt at Rock Paper Scissors.""Are not!""Am too!"***
  • 73. Ching Shih deserves to be the Piratical heiress. Dont you think?She tub-pirates before and after nearly every shower or bath. Its quite endearing.***
  • 74. The next morning, Ching Shih was up at the crack of dawn so she could talk to her fiancé as usual.
  • 75. Their phone bill was getting a little high, so they decided to chat via IM instead.
  • 76. "I see somebody has finally emerged from the computer room long enough to socialize with the rest of the family," Grace teased."I even showered!""Will wonders never cease!" Gertie chuckled. "Hows Jim doing?""Hes good, or as good as can be," Shih said gaily. "I think were both so excited about the baby that were not letting ourselves be sad ordiscouraged.""Thats good to hear," Grace nodded. "How are you feeling?"
  • 77. "Fantastic," Shih grinned. "If Junior wants to come today, Im more than ready. Ive never felt so good in my life.""First babies are usually late," Grace cautioned. "Just because todays your due date doesnt mean anything.""Oh, I know," Shih said breezily. "I just hope I dont have to wait too much longer. The sooner the baby is born, the sooner I can help Jack morewith the search for a solution."
  • 78. "In fact," Shih added, stretching and beating her arms against her chest, "I think I may go down to the library to research today anyway. I feelhealthy enough to eat an ox.""I dont think that would be a good idea," Grace warned. "If you go into labour there, theyll probably sue you.""So? We have plenty of money! A few thou isnt going to break the bank."
  • 79. "Well, make sure you wear a jacket," Grace said finally. "Its cold out there.""Is there a particular reason youre pumping your fist in the air like that?" Gertie asked."Stretches keep the body limber even in our old age, little sister."Just then, their conversation was interrupted by a loud cry.
  • 80. "Baby coming! BABY COMING!"
  • 81. Some very frantic moments later, it was all over.
  • 82. "Its a BOY!" Grace hooted. "Woohoo! We havent had one of those in the family in ages!""A boy!" Gertie echoed excitedly. "And is that blond hair I see?""And gray eyes like daddy," Shih said fondly, but tiredly. "Oh, mom... Auntie Gertie... Im so happy I could cry! I just wish Jim was here to see hisson.""Ill take a picture and email it to him," Grace said. "Do you have a name picked out?""Yeah," Shih smiled. "It was Jims suggestion. Balthier."
  • 83. Ching Shih talked to Jim for a few minutes on the phone to tell him the good news while Grace emailed a picture of baby Balthier. Then Shihheaded upstairs to collapse on her bed while Grace took over care of her grandson."An extra bottle never hurts," she clucked as she cuddled the little boy. "Though I wish your father was here to give it to you."
  • 84. "So whats this I hear about a grandson?" Lee asked proudly when he got home from work later that day. "Congratulations, love.""Thanks dad," Shih said, smiling beatifically. "Hes so beautiful. Have you seen him?""I was hoping you would show me yourself," Lee said. "I just walked in the door.""Hes sleeping right now," Shih said.
  • 85. "I dont need to hold him just yet," Lee shrugged. "There will be plenty of time for that. Ill be very, very quiet.""Well then, come on," Shih said, smiling and leading her father into the nursery.
  • 86. Of course, when they got there, nearly everyone else was clustered around the little baby. Its pretty safe to say that the entire family was head-over-heels in love with Balthier. If ever there was a wanted baby, it was this one, despite the sad circumstances surrounding his father.
  • 87. Ching Shih spent a lot of time with her son, but she also threw herself into researching a possible way around the restrictions on Jims immigration.For his part, Jim had applied for temporary residency in each of Singapore, Canada, and France. Should they find no other solution, at least theywere working towards one of the more long-term ones. And temporary residency was the first step towards citizenship.While Shih worked, the rest of the family fought over who got to feed Balthier and give him his baths. The diapers, though, they tended to leavefor the babys mother."Youre the fifth baby Ive taken care of now," Gertie said fondly, nuzzling Balthiers nose with her own. "And I think youre the cutest so far! Icant believe Shih went and had a blond baby!"
  • 88. Interestingly enough, it was Borusa who felt the closest bond to Balthier of the two boys. He was the only one who didnt hand Balthier to Shih assoon as a diaper was dirtied, for one. And he was always offering to babysit so Shih could go to the library or Jack Thayers house.
  • 89. "You need to drink up so you can be big and strong for when your father finally gets to meet you," he said, bouncing Balthier in his arms as he fedthe infant a bottle. He eyed the bottle critically. "But I dont blame you if you dont finish this thing. Its the same size you are!"
  • 90. Putting the bottle away, he raised the baby to his nearly non-existant nose and looked him in the eye. "And youre going to be a Romance sim whenyou grow up, arent you? Yes you are! Yes you are!""Borusa!" Spandrell called from the study, where hed been reading."Yes?""Are you trying to subvert our nephew again?""No... why would you think that?"
  • 91. "Because you try to subvert everyone," Spandrell chuckled, puttingdown his magazine and walking into the kitchen. Crouching closer to "Whatever you say, little brother."Balthier, he began playing peek-a-boo with the baby. "Little? You know very well that Im five minutes older than you!""So what if I do?" Borusa said. "You just keep telling yourself that, Spandrell. I know the truth.""I just think hes a little young for that," Spandrell grinned, crossinghis eyes. Balthier laughed delightedly. "See? He likes me best." ***
  • 92. Time passed, and Ching Shih felt herself growing despondent once more. Sometimes it seemed like shed never see Jim again--it had been almostthree years, and she still missed him more every day. He was her other half, and he was missing the formative years of his sons life to boot.Even worse, she was growing old and he wasnt. This bothered Jim more than it bothered her, to be sure.She heard the phone ring and levered herself out of bed with a sigh.
  • 93. "Slow down, Jack! You use so many big words I cant get what youre saying! ... Really? REALLY?!? Ohmygosh, thats excellent! When can youget here? A few more hours? .... Well, its Balthiers birthday party tonight. Why dont you stop by for cake and you can tell me all about it."
  • 94. That night there was a parade of cousins to the Buccaneer family manor. Everyone had made it to see the birthday of the apparent generation sevenheir to the family legacy. Even Toby had flown in from out of town.As for Ching Shih, she was bubbling over with joy. She hated to rush through things, but at the same time she was nearly breathless withanticipation and could hardly wait for the formal events of the night to be over.With a coo and a tickle, she held Balthier close to the cake and blew out the candles. "Happy birthday, sweet one," she sang. Lowering her voice,she whispered in his ear: "I think youre going to get to meet your daddy soon. And thats the best birthday present I can give you."
  • 95. Balthier grew up into possibly one of the most adorable toddlers Ive ever had in my game. If the family hadnt already been enamoured of him,they certainly were now.And he was a scamp right from the get-go! As soon as his mom put him down he was off scooting along the hallway like a flash."Not so fast!" Grace chuckled, trailing after him.
  • 96. Meanwhile, the other guests were enjoying spending some time mingling. Even Jack, who was as eager as Shih to get to the business at hand."This is a most curious amusement, the like of which I have never experienced," he said, pondering the llama with its stack of straws. "Whoeverfirst conceived of the notion to add and extricate drinking tubes to and from the posterior of a Chilean dromedary...""Havin fun, ur doin it rong," Shere Khan pouted. "Analysis--Do. Not. Want.""And yet you are possessed of a remarkably keen and analytical mind yourself, nephew," Jack said. "I would cogitate that you would be interestedin the origins of such an ... odd ... pastime.""Birthday party kitteh is havin fun," Shere Khan corrected gently. "Not thinkin. Bsides, there are caek. Caek is not a lie! I must nom now.""As you wish, my be-furred relation."
  • 97. "Left! LEFT!" Toby shouted, making wild gesticulating motions at the TV screen. "No! Not there... see? You crashed into that tree! If you justlistened to me youd get the high score, but noooo."
  • 98. "Has he always been like this?" Spandrell asked Liv as they waited for the level to reset back to the beginning."Always. Hes a textbook example of a backseat driver.""Back seats arent for driving!" Toby said automatically."Toby!" Liv scolded. "There are children present!""Hey!""I was talking about Balthier.""Oh. Well, I guess thats okay. Ooh good, done loading. Hold on to your socks, Liv, cause Im going to kick. your. a--"
  • 99. Having finally caught up to her scampering son, Ching Shih promptly irradiated him with smart milk."Wha dat?""It will help you learn more quickly," Shih said. "Mommy has things she has to do and she might not be able to help you do this tomorrow... and Idont want anybody else to teach you, unless its your father. Come on, Balthier... time to go potty."
  • 100. Balthier couldnt talk much yet, but I think his face said plenty. He was definitely unsure about the whole glowing green thing, and he felt the sameabout potty-training. Diapers were infinitely easier, from his end of things.
  • 101. The rest of the party guests hadnt really noticed the absence of the birthday boy and his mom. They were too busy mingling and having fun. Andteasing Lainey and Hugo, who had obviously just popped the party up to roof raiser all on their own in the hot tub on the deck.
  • 102. "Mama!" Balthier repeated obediently."Y-you said it!" Shih said, her face breaking into a huge grin. "You said mama!""Mama!""Thats good enough for me," Ching Shih smiled. "Youll pick up plenty more words now. How about we try walking next?"
  • 103. "Hey Will, whats that?""Where?"**SPLOOSH!**Some sims never grow up, matter how many birthdays they have.
  • 104. "Okay," Ching Shih said, settling Borusa on unsteady feet. "I know youve stopped glowing, but the effects should last until you hit teenager. Justhow the stuff works. So you can do this. Just put one foot in front of the other and come to mama."
  • 105. Hesitantly, Balthier tottered the three steps from where he stood into Ching Shihs waiting arms."You did it!" Shih crowed exultantly. She cuddled Balthier fiercely for a moment. "And now its time to sleep, baby. Okay?""No tired.""Yes you are. Come. Ill even sing you a lullaby first."Ching Shih tucked her son in with the song he loved best and then, closing the nursery door behind her, rejoined the rest of the party.
  • 106. Shih was surprised to see that most of the guests had gone and suppressed a momentary pang of guilt."Okay," she said, approaching Jack. "Spill it.""There is no logic to flogging about the thicket: I shall be succinct. I believe I have found a solution to your dilemma. Or, more accurately, thehaunted felted ursine presented an intriguing alternative.""And? What is it?" Shih tapped her foot a trifle impatiently. "Sorry, I didnt mean to snap."
  • 107. "It is quite understandable, given the circumstances," Jack said with a forgiving smile. "In essence, there is an aperture through which you and yourbetrothed should be able to evade that most schismatic ordinance you face. To be frank, I am somewhat redfaced at the necessity of being remindedof the possibility by an undead soft toy."In essence, you and your betrothed must become citizens of a nation that is not forbidden by the edict of immigration."
  • 108. "But... I thought every country on earth was listed in that stupidbook?" "There is, however, a catch," Jack added. "To my reading, it must not be any sailing vessel. It must be one owned by the family, of which"Indeed," Jack affirmed. "However, there is one other location that is you or a duly appointed family member is the lawful captain, so thatgenerally considered a sovereign state of its own for international there can be no charge of evading the law wilfully."purposes in our time." "But that means..." Shih blinked. "I have to find Grampa Jacks ship?"What do you mean?" And then a lightbulb went off. "The sea!" The Pearl?""Indeed: you are possessed of extreme acumen. To elaborate, aboard "Again, your sagacity amazes me. I believe that to be the solution."a sailing vessel." "But its been missing for generations," Shih said. "Where do I even"That sounds easy enough." start looking?"
  • 109. Jack didnt respond in words, which was unusual for him. Instead, he slipped a sheet of paper into Shihs hand. She looked down and read it. Asmile twitched at the corner of her lip."Thanks, Uncle Jack," she said, drawing him into a tight hug. "For everything."Then, excusing herself, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone.
  • 110. "Toshiko? Its Ching Shih. I need a favour..."To Be Continued...-------->
  • 111. "Mama? Where you go?"