Chapter 2 4


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Chapter 2 4

  1. 1. And welcome back to The Four Legacies! Sorry it’s been a while – just after the last chapter I had to rebuild, then I got really busy.<br />Anywho, if you can’t remember what happened then I recommend that you go reread the earlier chapters. If you can remember what happened but not who everyone is then I’ve now made a Who’s Who type thing all the way over here.<br />
  2. 2. Dec sat back on the sofa, a slight smile on his face as he stared at the boxes on the table. This was it. There were the final set of boxes and then they were completely moved into their new home. Finally. It had been a year since this whole fiasco began, but they were, at last, moved in. And what a year it had been.<br />
  3. 3. The smile left Dec’s face as he thought back. The last few months had been hell. Barely a week had passed since the death of Ross Merton, the canyon still mourning the death of their last founder when it all began. The central government had decided, due to reasons still unknown to them all, to reroute a major river through an unpopulated area of the country. Due to some massive cock up they’d picked the canyon.<br />
  4. 4. Dec closed his eyes and took a few deep calming breaths as he remembered. As soon as everyone in Quaver Kanyon had found out there had been outrage from everyone. He himself had headed up the campaign to preserve the canyon and their little town just the way it was.<br />They hadn’t stood a chance.<br />There were less than a hundred playables in the canyon, and while they were mostly all well off as residents of legacy towns tend to be they were going up against six international corporations that made multi-billion simoleon profits each year that stood to gain considerably from redirecting the river.<br />
  5. 5. A month after Ross’s death Dec had already tried every single trick he’d learned in his political career. He’d tried all the honest ones, the not-so-honest ones, and had considered venturing for the first time into the illegal and quite frankly slimy tactics he knew some of his contemporaries undertook.<br />They’d battled on for another month before their goal had changed. Still reeling from the loss of Ross and disheartened by their complete lack of progress, all of Quaver Kanyon had believed they would fail. And in hindsight that was exactly when they did.<br />After that second month they had switched their goal from stopping their canyon from being flooded all together to delaying it for as long as possible.<br />
  6. 6. Another three months drifted by and everyone was well and truly at their fed up. Everyone in their canyon and everyone involved in the case in the central government were at their wit’s end. But, perhaps more importantly the companies that stood to make the most profit had had enough.<br />Sure, the people of Quaver Kanyon could have kept pushing on the issue. The corporations could have kept fighting too, but it was costly of their end and that was something that their shareholders hadn’t been too pleased with.<br />At the end of that final month a deal had a been struck – Dec didn’t like to think how it had been done, but then he’d been that rarest of rare things: an honest politician. The central government would pay to relocate the town and it’s inhabitants to somewhere out of the way of the river, and the corporations would each made a large donation. The fact it equalled the cost of relocating the town was purely coincidental. Apparently.<br />
  7. 7. “I just got off the phone with the coach!” Knut said, interrupting Dec’s thoughts as he bounded into the sitting room. “He says that even though we missed last season completely we’re ready to start practicing for the up and coming season! And that if we do well enough he’ll retire and I can take his position as coach!”<br />Putting those depressing thoughts behind him, Dec had to chuckle at his husband’s enthusiasm.<br />“That’s great,” he said with a laugh. “When does practice start?”<br />“Wednesday morning – I can’t wait to get back out there. I’ve been waiting for this for so long!” Knut replied happily, bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. “So had the next election date been set yet? Will you need to start campaigning soon?”<br />
  8. 8. Dec shrugged a shoulder. “The election’s being held a month of Thursday.”<br />“Whoa, that’s close. We better start campaigning soon!”<br />
  9. 9. “Knut…” Dec sighed. He stood and faced his husband, biting his bottom lip for a moment. “I don’t want to run. I’m just sick to death of politics.”<br />“But, being Mayor was your dream.”<br />“I know,” Dec admitted. He shook his head. “It was great too, for most of my first term. Then the whole debacle over the river started up and it just soured politics for me forever.”<br />
  10. 10. “I understand,” Knut said. He reached up and brushed his hand against Dec’s cheek tenderly. Dec leaned into the touch – the last year had been so stressful that they’d forgone these little moments of intimacy. Dec had missed this. “What do you plan to do now?”<br />“I’ve been thinking, and I want to open my own business, and maybe some more further down the line,” Dec said. “I want to create something that we can pass on down the line through all our heirs.”<br />
  11. 11. “That sounds wonderful. Do you have anything in mind?”<br />“Well… There this little place down the hill, it’s in the middle of all the of the community shops. It would be perfect for selling playground equipment – the slides, the swings, monkey bars. All that sort of thing. It’s big and open and airy and I think I could pull it off.”<br />
  12. 12. “I’m sure you could,” Knut said, nodding his head. He gave Dec a crooked grin, jerking his head toward the door. “So now we’re all unpacked, what do you say about christening the bed?”<br />
  13. 13. That week the other three legacy families had finished unpacking as well and it was decided by their parents that due to the age gap between some of the older and younger children the children would probably need to spend more time together to actually become friends. Whether or not they were right remains to be seen, however it was because of that decision that Friday night started the tradition of sleepovers among the younger residents.<br />The Jacobs volunteered to host the first boys’ sleepover. The furniture of their living room was pushed against the walls, the sleeping bags were strewn haphazardly across the floor and even a tent was set up in the corner. That tent was the topic of much discussion.<br />
  14. 14. “This is so cool!” Gavin told Ambrose Jacobs once they were all changed into their PJs. “I can’t believe your parents let you put up a tent in here!”<br />Ambrose shrugged his shoulders. “Dad thought it would we’d like it – and we’d be less likely to turn the house into a pillow fort if we had a tent.”<br />
  15. 15. As Gavin gushed over how cool an indoors tent was, Luke leaned over to Harry and whispered, “Why’s your brother so happy about that tent?”<br />“Dunno,” Harry said, shrugging his shoulders. “Eliza said she was sleeping in a tent tonight with some of the girls. I think he just likes tents. They are kinda cool.”<br />“Sure they are,” Luke replied sarcastically with a roll of his eyes. Gavin was still extolling the virtues of tents. At this rate they were going to be stuck here all night! “Hey, Ambrose! Can we do something fun?”<br />
  16. 16. “Um, sorry,” Ambrose slid off the table and turned towards the other things. “There’s the swings and stuff outside, but Mum says she doesn’t want us out there playing in the dark – and you can see the garden from their room,” he added when Luke opened his mouth to suggest they go out anyway. He might not have known the other, older boys long, but he knew Luke well enough to know what he was going to suggest.<br />
  17. 17. “There’s gotta be something we can do,” Harry said as he and Luke got up.<br />“Yeah,” Gav added. “As much as I like the tent it’s getting boring.”<br />“You just said there’s stuff outside-”<br />“We’re not going outside,” Ambrose stopped Luke before he could get any further. He frowned – what could they do? After a moment an idea came to him, and he gestured towards front of the room. “We could play some video games – Dad got the Simulator set up this morning.”<br />
  18. 18. Although they didn’t all agree (Luke still thought playing out in the dark would be more fun), the four boys soon pulled out the games console and began playing.<br />“You’re going down, Gavin,” Luke said as he settled down on Ambrose’s sleeping bag.<br />“In your dreams, Stanton!”<br />
  19. 19. Luke and Gavin played on for some time, both putting their all into the game. Behind them Harry cheered Gavin on – he had to support his brother, after all – while Ambrose cheered for Luke. None of the four boys noticed as their cheers and yells got progressively louder throughout the game until Erin walked into the room holding Ambrose’s little brother Noah.<br />“Can you boys keep it down?” she asked them, placing Noah on the floor. “Your Dad’s got work in the morning, and you woke your brother up.”<br />
  20. 20. “Oops, err, sorry,” Ambrose said, grimacing as he turned away from the game and the others became noticeably quieter. He bent down to his little brother and started playing. “Did we wake you up, Noah?”<br />“You loud, Amby!”<br />“Don’t call me Amby!” Ambrose frowned, then grinned as he started tickling Noah. “It’s Ambrose – you can say it!”<br />“No!” Noah laughed gleefully. “You Amby!”<br />
  21. 21. Ambrose tickled Noah for a moment longer before turning and hugging his mother.<br />“Sorry we woke you,” he said, glancing over his shoulder at the other boys – they were still playing but were a lot quieter than they had been.<br />“Just try to keep it down,” Erin sighed, then winced as Ambrose hugged her tightly. “And don’t squash the bump – you do want another brother or sister, right?”<br />
  22. 22. “Sorry!” he said, letting go in an instant. He looked up at Erin, grinning. “Luke and Harry and Gavin said sisters aren’t any fun, so I’d like another brother, please!”<br />“Oh would you?” Erin chuckled, stifling a yawn. “It doesn’t quite work like that. I’ll see you boys in the morning. Right now I’m going to try and get Noah back to sleep.”<br />“Okay! Night Mum!”<br />And with that Ambrose had turned back to the game, all his attention back on it. Erin shook her head as she picked up Noah and headed towards the stairs. She would never understand the appeal of video games, she just hoped the boys kept their word and didn’t make too much noise.<br />
  23. 23. The boys’ sleepover wasn’t the only one that night. Just around the corner at the Mertons were hosting two sleepovers for the girls. It had taken much pleading from all four Merton daughters (and promises from Lydie to behave herself) before their mothers had relented and allowed the group to split: half of them in the living room and half in the garden.<br />Lydie and Ivy had quickly nabbed the garden, dragging Nev and Eliza out back with them. The other girls quite happily took the living room. None of them really wanted to go camping, even if it was in their back garden.<br />
  24. 24. Inside Alana, Rosa, Felicity and Lorelai gathered in the living room, talking to one another in hushed voices. It was late, and they didn't want to disturb the adults. If they did they might have to go to bed of all things!<br />"I can't believe your Dad is starting his own business - that's so cool!" Rosa enthused, only to be shushed by the other girls when her voice got too loud. She continued, quieter now, "He's going to be the first one to open up his own business here! You've got to be so excited, Flic!"<br />
  25. 25. "Not really," Felicity replied leaning back on her hands.. "He's only going to make up work there after our birthdays. Why do you think the Dad's got us all to have our sleepovers this weekend? He's setting the stupid thing up.“<br />"It's still exciting! You're going to-“<br />"Oh, Rosie! Stop going on about it already! This is our first sleepover, I want to have fun!"<br />
  26. 26. "Me too," Lorelai piped up from one of the camp beds. It was the first time she'd spent any time with some of the bigger girls, and she intended to make the most of it. "Businesses are boring.“<br />"They're n-“<br />"Hey, have you lot worked out what you're doing for your birthday party yet?" Flic took action before they carried on any longer. Honestly, Rosa was almost as bad as Gavin! No wonder they were friends. "Isn't your Transition Day next weekend?“<br />At this both Merton girls wore identical scowls on their face.<br />"The Mums and Grandma said we can't have it how we want it," Alana grumbled.<br />
  27. 27. "We can't have all the decorations we want!“<br />"And we can't invite all the boys we want!“<br />"And we can't have the colours we want!“<br />"They said we have to include Lydie and Ivy in the planning, but it's not like either of them care.“<br />"Yeah, Lydie would just make us all wear ugly clothes, no dresses or skirts or anything!“<br />"And Ivy said we should plant a tree or adopt a donkey. Or something. I wasn't really listening.“<br />"I'm sure it'll be amazing whatever you guys do," Lorelai said, stopping them before they could get any further. "What about you, Flic? Your transition day is a couple of days later, right?"<br />
  28. 28. "Yeah, but we've got the same problem, only worse - the Dads told us we've gotta all agree and Eliza's hopeless and my brothers - they're boys and even worse than Eliza. You know what brothers are like.“<br />Lorelai nodded, pressing her lips together in a thin line. She certain knew what brothers were like.<br />"The only thing we know so far is we're inviting the four main lines - both my Dads said we need to.“<br />"Same with the Mums," said Alana. She looked to Flic, a gleam in her eye. "Ooh! I bet Harry's going to grow up so cute! Purple's such a cute colour and he's covered in it!“<br />"Ew, Alana, just ew."<br />"What?"<br />
  29. 29. "He's my brother!" Flic said. She shook her head and turned to Lorelai. "So, Lore, you looking forwards to your transition day?”<br />"Oh, it's not for a couple of years yet," Lorelai said, looking down at her hands. "It's going to suck. You'll all be busy being teens and I'll be stuck with my stupid brother.”<br />"He can't be that bad," Flic replied, while Alana and Rosa hung back. Brothers were a topic they just couldn't relate to. "I mean, Gav and Harry and pretty bad but they're not awful.”<br />"Luke is," Lorelai muttered. "He's messy and piggish and he thinks chocolate's a food!”<br />"Uh, it is?”<br />
  30. 30. "It's a colour too! And he hogs the TV when all my favourite shows are on just so he can play his stupid video games."<br /> <br />"Ooh, hey, speaking of TV," Alana said before Lorelai could continue her tirade. "Grandma said we're fine to watch it so long as we keep the volume down under 20 'cos then we won't disturb anyone. We just got the new series of My Small Horse on DVD too!"<br /> <br />"Ooh, I love that show!"<br /> <br />Problems with brothers and birthday parties forgotten for now, the four girls moved one of the camp beds out of the way as one and settled in to watch several hours of bright, colourful cartoons. The following morning Amelia would find the four of them curled up together in front of the TV which was back to the title screen.<br />
  31. 31. Out in the back Nev leaned back on her hands. She looked briefly at Ivy then grinned at Lydie. “Thanks for getting Amelia to talk to Galahad,” Nev said. “That house is hell right now. Galahad won’t stop nagging me about my grades!”<br />“But you get C’s!” Lydie exclaimed, shaking her head – what kind of romance sim thought C’s were a problem? Her uncle was weird. “That’s the same as me!”<br />“I know,” Nev said, then rolled her eyes and continued sarcastically. “But we’re twins so we have to be exactly the same and he was a straight A student so why can’t I be? I was before I died!” Nev scrunched up her nose and shook her head. “Like all twins are exactly the same. What does he expect, anyway? I missed like 20 years of – everything! It ain’t exactly easy to get used to being alive again.”<br />
  32. 32. The other three exchanged glances. They could definitely attest that not all multiples were alike. The three of them all had near identical siblings, but they didn’t think they could be less alike in any other way. Lydie and Ivy weren’t exactly alike either – while Ivy got mostly A’s and B’s in school, Lydie was lucky if she scrapped C’s half the time.<br />“Then why don’t you just avoid Uncle Galahad?” Lydie suggested. It was what she did. “Just go bug Uncle Ripp or Aunt Natasha?”<br />
  33. 33. Nev snorted. “Yeah, that’s a great idea,” she said. At their blank looks, she added, “Tasha’s having a baby.”<br />“So?”<br />“So she keeps crying and putting stuff like fish fingers and custard in the grilled cheese,” Nev shuddered dramatically. Lydie and Ivy both grimaced – they’d been there that particular day. “Going to her is worse than Galahad’s nagging.”<br />
  34. 34. “So go to Uncle Ripp,” Ivy said, shrugging her shoulder. Really, she thought Nev was making a big deal out of nothing. Her youngest aunt did that a lot. “He’s cool.”<br />“Are you kidding? He’s worse than Tasha! Ripp’s been freaking out since Tasha told him and Gal she was pregnant because the kid might be his,” Nev replied. She shook her head. “He’s weird – more freaked out the kid might be his even though he’s said he’s going to stick around no matter what.”<br />
  35. 35. “At least we all have out birthdays soon,” Eliza said, changing the topic. Her eyes flicked to Nev. “You’ll be able to get away easier then.”<br />“Tell me about it,” Nev replied, the annoyance now completely gone from her voice. She looked over at Lydie. “You know, when we’re finally teens we should go out one night – I’ll even buy you a drink!”<br />
  36. 36. “Yeeah,” Lydie was sceptical about that. “There’s no way a bar isn’t going to ID you when we’re teens.”<br />“You’re a doofus sometimes, Lydie.”<br />“Hey!”<br />“I won’t need to worry about getting carded. As soon as I teen I’ll have a legit ID saying I’m 25.”<br />
  37. 37. Eliza snorted. “Like anywhere will serve you.”<br />“Shows what you know, Brown!”<br />“Whatever,” Eliza said, rolling her eyes. Not wanting to put up with Nev anymore she looked over at Lydie and Ivy. “Didn’t you two nab the garden so we could play out here? Come on, let’s get playing!”<br />
  38. 38. After a little work Dec managed to buy up the lot in the town he hand his eye on. In very little time he’d filled it with a variety of playground equipment and hired three townies and within a week of acquiring the deed to the lot Brown’s Swings ‘n’ Things was open for business.<br />
  39. 39. Dec took to business like a duck to water. He was in his element, meeting new people and convincing them all that they needed what he was selling. Initially he was worried at how many of his various siblings and their spouses visited – were they checking up on him? They all denied it, and Dec was forced to conclude that the reason so many of them dropped by was just because there were so many of them.<br />
  40. 40. Over the following week a couple of important events happened. Now technically the youngest of her generation, Nev finally reached her teenage years a couple of hours after Natasha gave birth (she had twins – a blond haired, brown eyed boy named Jace and a red haired, dark blue eyed girl named Jess). She quickly changed out of her transition clothes – a pink dress? Who thought that was a good idea? – into jeans and a tank top, nabbing one of Ripp’s ties to complete her look. She wandered back into the living room, a smirk playing on her lips.<br />“What do you think, bro? Do I look hot or what?” she asked. “Ooh, I’m going to borrow the car keys now – there’s this cool bar downtown I want to check out. See ya!”<br />She didn’t get far before Natasha caught her. A shouting match ensued.<br />
  41. 41. The other major event of the week took place on the Friday. It was time for what was (hopefully) the very last pregnancy for a long time to end. Bored and restless, Erin wandered into the exercise room. She was tired and fed up with being pregnant – why couldn’t she just give birth now?<br />Oh. She was.<br />
  42. 42. Erin let out a yelp of pain that caused both Henry and Ambrose to come running as she went into labour for the third time. Over the next few minutes Ambrose got a very good education of where babies come from. Those agonising minutes seemed to drag on for hours, then –<br />“It’s a boy!” Erin gasped as she held a grey eyed, black haired infant.<br />
  43. 43. As Henry cooed over their new son, Erin frowned. Something wasn’t right.<br />“Take him,” she said, gasping.<br />“What?”<br />“We’re having –”<br />
  44. 44. “ – twins!”<br />Minutes later Erin held the second twin, another boy with black hair and grey eyes. A few minutes passed by as the twins were put in their cribs and the parents debated over what to call them. Eventually they settled on Alexander for the first twin, and Caleb for the second.<br />
  45. 45. The following day was Saturday and a very important Saturday it was: it was finally the Merton girls transition day. That evening, when almost everyone had already arrived and the girls were all starting to get impatient to get to their cakes, Kaylynn felt a little hand tug at her arm.<br />“What is it, dear?” she asked the tugger, Felicity.<br />“Um, I just saw Alana’s uncles walking up with her aunt. Does that mean we get cake soon?”<br />Kaylynn nodded, smiling – finally, she’d get to see how her youngest was turning out. “Yes, dear. I’ll go let them in and we can get right to the cakes.”<br />
  46. 46. "Sorry we're late," Galahad said stepping inside followed by Ripp and Nev, looking as stressed out as Kaylynn felt. "Natasha refused to leave the babies with the nanny.“<br />"Oh, that's-“<br />"Sensible, if you ask me," Nev cut Kaylynn off and rolled her eyes at the reproachful looks she got from the three adults. "Everyone knows the nannies burn the house down and get your kids taken away by the social worker.“<br />"Now that's not quite tr-“<br />"Whatever, Mum. Where's Lydie? I got this cool tattoo I want to show her!“<br />"What - tattoo? Nev!"<br />
  47. 47. "Oh leave off, Mum! Galahad's already had a go at me about it, Natasha and Ripp too.“<br />"But - you just had your transition day two days ago!“<br />"So? I know a guy," Nev shrugged like that was the only thing stopping someone from getting a tattoo so young. "Whatever, I'll go find Lydie myself. She'll think it's cool.“<br />Kaylynn watched Nev go with open mouthed while Galahad and Ripp shared looks. Her gaze snapped to the two men.<br />"Why didn't someone stop her?“<br />"We didn't know," Galahad said.<br />
  48. 48. "She said she was meeting someone down the park, the next thing we know she came home with a tattoo," Ripp added, shaking his head with a sigh. "If it weren't for a monumental stupidity and risk of wherever would tattoo someone so young I'd be impressed by her sneakiness. It's something I would have done as a teen, only about a million times dumber.“<br />"We had it checked out, luckily she's avoided infection so far.“<br />Kaylynn nodded, frowning. "I suppose that is something," she said. "Come on through. The girls will be relieved you're finally here.“<br />
  49. 49. Now the final guests had arrived everything quickly gathered in the kitchen. Four cakes were set up on the kitchen table, one for each of the girls. The four of them stood by the cakes, each of them grinning broadly. Their teenage years were finally here, and they could not wait.<br />
  50. 50. The cheering started, and the noise makers came out. The four of them shared a look. As one the four of them took a deep breath, made their wishes, leaned over the cakes and blew.<br />
  51. 51. As soon as the sparkles vanished and they settled on their aspirations the four new teens took in what they were wearing, and grimaced.<br />"I'll be right back!" Alana said, dashing out the kitchen.<br />"I can't be seen in these!" Rosa yelped, running after Alana.<br />Lydia and Ivy both shrugged and followed their sisters out of the room. Their clothes weren't great, that much was true, but they weren't completely awful either.<br />
  52. 52. Ten minutes later Alana had changed her clothes but was busy fussing with her hair in her bedroom mirror. She couldn't get it just right, and she didn't want to go back downstairs until she looked perfect. Alana was so focussed on her hair that she hardly noticed when her door was pushed open and Rosa stood leaning on the frame, watching her.<br />"Are you finished yet?" Rosa asked. "Lydie and Ivy are already back downstairs.”<br />"Not quite - my hair," Alana let loose a growl of frustration as her hair once again refused to do as she wanted, and grabbed butterfly clip from her dressing table, pulling some of her hair back and leaving the rest free. She blinked - oh, that looked nice. "Okay," she added brightly. "That's done!”<br />Rosa shook her hair, her curls bouncing against her face. Sure, she'd taken her time, but she'd needed nowhere near as much as Alana. Of course, things had always been like that, of course.<br />
  53. 53. "So what aspiration did you choose?" Rosa asked as Alana smoothed out her skirt and top one last time before turning to her.<br />"Oh, family," Alana replied as she checked herself over in the mirror. "I want to be Minister of Education some day, like Granddad was. What about you?”<br />"Fortune.”<br />"Of course," Alana laughed. "Are you planning a business empire already?”<br />"Naturally," Rosa answered with a grin. "I intend to my first business soon if I can. Back to the party?”<br />"You bet."<br />
  54. 54. Most of the party downstairs was still in the kitchen, but as Lydie had reached the ground floor Nev had grabbed her arm and pulled her into one of the rooms they didn't have a use for yet.<br />"Hey! I want cake!" Lydie protested.<br />"Whatever," Nev said, rolling her eyes. "Come on, this parties lame -"<br />"It's my party!"<br />"- and go have some real fun," Nev continued as though she hadn't heard Lydie. "I know this great bar downtown that doesn't even ID so you can-"<br />"What? No! Nev, this is a party!"<br />
  55. 55. "So?"<br />"So I rolled popularity? I'm not going to abandon my own party! That's just madness!"<br />"But-“<br />"We can go out next weekend if you still want to - and hey! Eliza can join us then! Speaking of, I gotta go talk to her. I've hardly seen her all week. Come on, let's go get us some cake."<br />
  56. 56.
  57. 57. The party continued on for several hours. It was the first true party the neighbourhood had seen since they had arrived, the first true party they'd had since the Brown children had their last birthday. At around eleven, knowing that the police would be along any moment to break up the party, the last guests left.<br />Kaylynnyawned, stumbling slightly as the front door finally clicked shut. She looked around at the aftermath of the party before shaking her head. That could wait until morning.<br />“I’m off to bed,” she told an equally tired Ichelle and Amelia. “I’ll see you in the morning.”<br />
  58. 58. “I’m heading up too,” Amelia told Ichelle. “I’m absolutely shattered. What about you?”<br />“I’ll head up in a few minutes,” Ichella assured her. “I just want to check on Ivy. I haven’t seen her since the cakes.”<br />“Me neither, come to think of it,” Amelia said, then shook her head. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”<br />
  59. 59. Immediately after Ivy got changed and fixed her she’d headed straight back downstairs but she did not re-join the party. Instead she went and lay down on the sofa in the living room, relaxing. Putting her feet up against the bookcase, she stayed that way for the next few hours, lost in thought and listening to the sounds of the party in the next room.<br />“Ivy, you in here?”<br />The sound of her mother’s voice jolted Ivy from her thoughts. “Yeah,” she called back, rolling down and sitting back on the sofa properly. “I’m here.”<br />
  60. 60. “Are you okay, sweetie?” Ichelle asked. “You missed most of the party.”<br />“I’m fine,” Ivy replied. “I’ve just been thinking.”<br />“What about, darling? Your aspiration?”<br />“Hmm? What? No! I’m a definite knowledge sim,” Ivy shook her head. “I haven’t been thinking about anything, really. Just stuff, y’know?”<br />“I do know,” Ichelle nodded, smiling. “I just wanted to check you were all right.” Ichelle turned, pausing at the door and looking back at Ivy. “Don’t stay up too late. We’ve got the Browns party tomorrow.”<br />“I won’t.”<br />
  61. 61. The following day would be remembered for the ridiculous number of birthdays that fell on it. First little Noah Jacobs grew up to look as little like his big brother as it was possible to be.<br />
  62. 62. Due to the time of day they were born (only a matter of minutes before 6pm), immediately after Noah grew up it was time for Alexander and Caleb. Despite growing into identical outfits the boys couldn’t look any less like one another. Alexander with his curly hair looked a great deal like Ambrose did, from Erin’s lips to Henry’s nose. Caleb, on the other hand, looked almost exactly like Noah at that age, with Erin’s nose and Henry’s lips.<br />Their personalities couldn’t be much more different either. While both twins were playful, they had little else in common. One was messy, the other neat. One was shy, the other outgoing. One was mean, the other nice. <br />
  63. 63. No sooner than the Jacobs celebrated those three birthdays that is was time for everyone to head over the Brown household. Already Dec and Knut had set up the balloons, tables and cakes outside. Everything was ready to go.<br />
  64. 64. Very quickly everyone moved outside to the cakes. It was late, and the parents of all the children didn't want them staying up too late - it was a school night, after all. Each of the four birthday kids stood behind their cake, waiting for the crowd to gather around. The noisemakers came out. The cheering began. Each of the four children shot their siblings one last look, then they blew out the candles.<br />And up they grew.<br />
  65. 65. By the time everyone had their slice of cake, and each of the birthday boys and girls had changed out of their transition clothes and styled their hair how they liked it, it was already past all of the children's bedtimes. They and the parents were bid a fond farewell by the teens, who then immediately rushed to the nursery where Knut, who thankfully had actually thought ahead, had set up a couple of sofas for them to hang out on.<br />Harry was the last to head in. Rosa and Gavin were sat on one of the sofa, chatting happily. On the floor between them Ivy lay listening in. Eliza, Nev and Lydie had managed to squeeze on the other sofa, while Alana and Flic giggled together. Alana paused momentarily as she caught sight of him. She whispered something to Flic, the pair giggling again. Harry glared at them.<br />
  66. 66. For a while Harry tried to ignore them, but Flic and Alana’s giggling got too much after only a couple of minutes. He stood beside them, frowning as they turned to look at him.<br />“Just what is so funny?” he asked.<br />“None of your business,” Flic replied, crossing her arms. Harry started to reply, but Alana cut him off.<br />“Oh, quit being mean to him, Flic,” she said, then turned up Harry with a smile. “Harry, I think you’re cute.”<br />
  67. 67. “Oh.” Harry gulped hard, his cheeks turning a darker shade of purple as he blushed furiously. He bit his lip as he looked at her. “Well, do you, err, want to, um, go out after school tomorrow?”<br />She grinned back. “Of course. I can’t wait.”<br />Not knowing what to say next, Harry looked anywhere but at Alana. Moments passed, and then – <br />“Urgh, you two disgust me,” Flic said. “I’m gonna go see what Eliza and the others are talking about. And bro – stop being so freaking shy around Alana. It’s annoying and you have five outgoing points. Use them.”<br />Harry turned an even darker shade of purple at Flic’s words. Flic rolled her eyes at him and slid onto the arm of the sofa where Eliza, Nev and Lydie all sat. He turned back to Alana.<br />“So, um, where do you want to go tomorrow?”<br />
  68. 68. Meanwhile, on the sofa…<br />“So, Lydie, can we please go out partying now? Look, Eliza’s all grown up and everything so she can come too!”<br />“Ooh, can I come?” Flic asked as she slid into the arm of the sofa. “I hear there’s all sorts of cool places downtown.”<br />“Oh there is,” Nev replied around Lydie and Eliza. “There’s so many clubs out there, and most of them have cute guys.”<br />“Ooh, so what are we waiting for?”<br />
  69. 69. “You’re kidding, right?” Eliza said, cutting Flic and Nev off before they could head out the door together. She looked at Flic, pleading silently with her twin. “We start High School tomorrow, and you know both Dads would kill us if we went out.”<br />“They would not – they’re popularity sims!”<br />“And we’d be missing the chance to make new friends. What do you think popularity sims would think of that?”<br />Flic thought it over for a minute, grimacing as she imagined their fathers’ reactions. “I guess you’re right,” she told Eliza, then looked at Nev with a shrug. “Sorry. We can all go out Friday though, celebrate us all being teens and everything.”<br />
  70. 70. “Whatever,” Flic said. She turned to Lydie, eyebrow raised as she started to get up. “You coming with?”<br />“Nah,” Lydie replied, shaking her head. At Nev’s hurt look, she added, “I’m a popularity sim, I could make loads of friends tomorrow! Plus my mothers would kill me if I missed school. Knowledge sims remember?”<br />“Right, whatever,” Nev shoved herself off the sofa and turned to face them. She crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow. “You losers be lame if you want, but I’m off to party.”<br />Nev headed out the room. She paused at the door, but when the others waved goodbye to her she turned with a growl and stormed out.<br />
  71. 71. Flic looked at confusion at Lydie and Eliza as they shifted along to make space for her. “What was that all about?” she asked and she slid of the arm of the sofa.<br />
  72. 72. On the other sofa Gavin sat with Rosa, discussing business. Or, rather, he was trying to discuss business. It’s rather hard to do when the person you’re talking to refuses to look at you. After several minutes of being ignored and getting no response other than the occasional ‘uh-huh’ whenever he stopped, Gavin frowned at her.<br />“And then I plan to invade the alien’s home world to spread the join of llamas and jam to all the known universe.”<br />“Uh-huh.”<br />
  73. 73. “Rosa! Did you hear a word I just said?” he snapped, his short temper finally reaching its end.<br />“Of course!” Rosa snapped her eyes to his for the first time since he joined her on the sofa, blushing as she looked at him. “You said something about… jam? You’re opening a bakery!”<br />“No,” Gavin replied, pressing his lips into a thin line. “You’ve just been ignoring me this whole time.”<br />“I haven’t!” Rosa shook her head hard. “I just – you’re just –”<br />
  74. 74. “Don’t bother,” Gavin growled. “I’m gonna go talk to my Dad. I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”<br />Rosa bit her bottom lip as he left. She swallowed hard and looked down at her hands. Had she really been paying so little attention? Why?<br />
  75. 75. “You like him.”<br />Rosa jumped, startled at the sudden soft spoken voice of her sister. Ivy still lay on her stomach, but she looked up at Rosa with wide, eerie green eyes.<br />“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rosa replied.<br />“Of course not,” Ivy said, a twinkle in her eye. “I’m sure you just had other things on your mind.”<br />
  76. 76. “Exactly.”<br />“Like Gavin.”<br />“Exact – hey!” <br />
  77. 77. The following day was the first day of high school for the Brown and Merton children. Eagerly they went off, ready to learn new things, or meet new people, or… you get the picture. They all clambered onto the school buses that morning, ready to face the day.<br />Once they arrived outside the school Lydie lingered as everyone headed inside. Nev hadn’t been on the bus. She peered down the road each way anxiously. As the bell rang, Lydie bit her lip and headed inside the school. Has something happened to Nev last night after she left the Browns?<br />
  78. 78. As the day progressed Lydie tried to put Nev out of her mind. She was probably fine, she’d probably just overslept. Right now Lydie needed to focus. High school was much harder than grade school had been, but with Eliza’s help she slowly began to understand it all. Still, her head was starting to ache by the time the lunch bell rang, so it was with great joy that Lydie threw her books in her bag and all but ran from the room. She found her locker in record time and threw her things in just as Eliza reached her in the deserted hallway. Not too far away the sound of laughter and chatter could be heard in the cafeteria.<br />“I hate biology,” Lydie groaned as she slammed her locker shut.<br />Eliza smiled at her, shaking her head. “It wasn’t that bad,” she said. “It was just a recap on all the things we should have learnt already.”<br />“Nuh-uh,” Lydie shook her head. “I’ve never heard of any of that stuff before – what’s a tibula anyway?”<br />
  79. 79. “An ancient town in Greece,” Eliza replied, a smile tugging at her lips. “Your tibia is your shinbone.”<br />“Oh shut up,” Lydie grumbled. She pushed herself away from the lockers and, remembering that she still hadn’t seen Nev, looked down the hall.<br />“I don’t think she’s gonna show today,” Eliza said. “She’s-”<br />“Right there!”<br />
  80. 80. Sure enough, at that exact moment Nev turned a corner down the hall. She looked significantly worse for wear. Uniform dishevelled and wearing a pair of dark shades, she walked down the hall paying no heed to the many students she bumped into along the way. She finally stopped by the two of them and, taking one look at Eliza and raising an eyebrow behind her shades, she turned to Lydie.<br />
  81. 81. “Why do they make schools so bright and early?” she moaned, rubbing her head.<br />“I dunno, because teachers hate us?” Lydie shrugged, trying not to laugh at Nev’s delicate state. Eliza wasn’t quite so amused.<br />“Don’t tell me you actually went out last night?” Eliza asked incredulously. Nev winced. “And your brother let you get away with it?”<br />“Don’t be so loud,” Nev clutched her head and moaned. She looked up at Eliza and replied through gritted teeth, “He didn’t let me get away with it – I’ve been grounded since I got my tattoo. He’s just no good at grounding me.”<br />“Maybe you should-”<br />
  82. 82. “What’s he going to be like when Jess and Jace grow up?” Lydie cut Eliza off before the pair of them could get started.<br />“I don’t know,” Nev shook her head before stopping quickly with a grimace. “Probably leave it to Natasha or Ripp. So what’s for lunch?”<br />
  83. 83. Just a couple of corridors over in the grade school Luke, Ambrose and Noah stood outside. Noah looked around with wide eyes, still in awe of finally going to school with the big kids.<br />“So this is where you come every day?” Noah asked Ambrose.<br />“Yeah,” Ambrose shrugged. “It’s kinda sucky but the other kids are cool.<br />“It’d be better if the teachers let us play video games,” Luke added.<br />“Oh that would be cool,” Ambrose said, eyes lighting up. “Think we could get Miss Carroway-”<br />“Nah,” Luke shook his head sadly. “I already thought of that. She didn’t like the idea too much. Remember when I had detention last week?”<br />
  84. 84. “Oh yeah…” Ambrose sighed, and then focussed on something down the hallway. “Hey, isn’t that your sister with those girls?”<br />“Huh? Oh yeah, that’s her.”<br />Luke’s tone of disgust said it all. Down the hall Lorelai and her group of friends had emerged from Miss Smythe’s classroom. They were chatting to one another and laughing, until Lorelai caught sight of Luke. She frowned at him, before walking over quickly.<br />
  85. 85. “Why didn’t you comb your hair this morning?” she hissed, looking around in case someone had seen him.<br />“I did,” Luke replied, rolling his eyes. “You wouldn’t let me leave my room until I did, remember? We almost missed the bus!”<br />“Well you obviously haven’t combed it since!”<br />“Why would I do that? It’s just hair!”<br />“You – urgh! You know nothing!”<br />
  86. 86. Lorelai spun on her heel and walked away, her heels clicking on the floor. Bemused, Luke looked to the other two boys.<br />“Sisters are weird,” he told them, him the voice of experience. They nodded solemnly. “I just don’t get her. Why can’t she be more like me?”<br />
  87. 87. Just down the hall, Lorelai rejoined her friends.<br />“Brothers are weird,” she informed them. They nodded. “I don’t understand him. Why can’t he be more like me?”<br />
  88. 88. And this is where I leave you guys. Next chapter will be out some time, but I don’t know when as NaNoWriMo is coming up far too quickly.<br />Okay, so this generation I’ve decided to hold heir polls for each of the families since I can’t decide who to make my heirs. I’ll be running them when every kids from a family is a teen or older, so that means it’s time for the Browns and the Mertons heir polls now. Whoever gets chosen for each family will affect my plot somewhat, so please vote!<br />So here they are. First, the Mertons.<br />
  89. 89. Alana Merton<br />Libra – 5/10/6/4/10<br />Family – Become Education Minister<br />Alana’s a sweet family sim who’s been made about boys since she learnt what they were. She likes butterflies and all things pink and purple and cute. Luckily she knows just the boy who fits two of those categories.<br />
  90. 90. Ivy Merton<br />Pisces – 5/1/7/4/8<br />Knowledge – Become Chief of Staff<br />Ivy takes after her grandfather in a lot of ways. She inherited his nose, his lust for knowledge and his desire to change the world for the better. She’s a bit of a hippy at heart, and she’s trying to find a cause that grips her.<br />
  91. 91. Lydia “Lydie” Merton<br />Scorpio – 10/3/9/3/1<br />Popularity – Become Cult Leader<br />Lydie does not do dresses, she despites skirts and if you think she’ll ever let her hair grow out an inch longer you’ve got another think coming. Lydie’s a tomboy at heart, and very much a daredevil. She always means well, but she can be a little brash at times.<br />
  92. 92. Rosa Merton<br />Capricorn – 10/3/3/8/1<br />Fortune – Own 5 Top-level businesses<br />Rosa’s always been ambitious and entrepreneurial. As soon as she can persuade her mothers it’s a good idea she’ll start her first business. She’s not worried – not about that. She’s more bothered by her budding crush on her best friend.<br />And now onto the Browns<br />
  93. 93. Eliza Brown<br />Gemini – 2/7/10/2/7<br />Knowledge – Become Space Pirate<br />Eliza’s a quiet one. She’s always been content to bury her nose in a book instead of getting out and experiencing life. Luckily her best friend’s a popularity sim, so she doesn’t get much choice about doing things anymore.<br />
  94. 94. Felicity “Flic” Brown<br />Leo – 7/10/4/4/3<br />Romance – Have 20 Simultaneous Lovers.<br />Flic and her best friend have been boy mad since they were little kids – it’s why they became friends in the first place! But while her best friend became a family sim who’s all about commitment, Flic doesn’t get it. Why go out with a guy if you can make out instead?<br />
  95. 95. Gavin Brown<br />Aries – 10/10/5/5/3<br />Fortune – Become Space Pirate<br />Gavin’s plan in life is to end up with as much money as possible. He’s already talked with his Dad about working at the developing family business so he can start work on that. But as far ahead as he is in some areas of life, other parts of it are a complete mystery to him like why Rosa keeps blushing when she looks at him – is that a girl thing?<br />
  96. 96. Harry Brown<br />Taurus – 4/8/4/8/3<br />Family – Become Education Minister<br />Yes, he’s purple. What of it? His purple skin came as a surprise to everyone – his fathers, his grandmother, his aunt, me. He’s always been protective of his family, even as a little kid. Now he’s older he can do something about it – if he could stop his sister’s friend from flirting with him.<br />You’ll find the polls linked back on the boolprop thread. <br />Oh, and for anyone curious about Nev…<br />
  97. 97. Guinevere “Nev” Merton<br />Cancer – 6/3/6/4/6<br />Pleasure – 50 Dream Dates<br />