Introduction All of Pleasantview had turned up for the Goth wedding. The two were madly in love, anyone could see that.
They soon were blessed with a daughter, Cassandra.
Cassandra was followed by Alexander many years later, and the family was happy.
Then Cassandra started dating Don, who Mortimer didn't like. He told Bella his suspicions that Don was cheating on Cassandra one night, and Bella left to see if Don was a good pick for their daughter.
She never returned, and Mortimer spent many a night looking up in the stars, wondering where Bella had gone.
Darren had a similar, yet very different, story to tell. He'd also had a wife, who he'd loved with all his heart- after all, that was the only way one could love as far as he was concerned.
But Darleen died in a fire, and suddenly Darren found that he, too, was single again.
His artwork struggled; while for some pain made for their best work yet, for Darren the pain had taken away his will. And Darleen had been his muse all these years, and without her Darren felt uninspired.
Daniel was yet another who'd lost his love, and the way he'd lost his was the most abstract of them all. After all, they were still married.
But after the birth of the twins, Angela and Lillith, Mary-Sue was not the same. She became a workaholic and had no time for him, and left him at home to take care of the girls. What had happened to the spontaneous, exciting Mary-Sue Daniel had fallen in love with, he'd never know.
Daniel could see she was playing favorites, too. Angela had gotten a party while Lillith had been grounded for hitting Angela, but Daniel knew that Angela had faked it just so she wouldn't have to share her birthday party.
From then on, the twins were always fighting, and while Lillith started to dress and act more like the rebel Angela had always framed her for being, Angela started to dress and act like the perfect daughter Mary-Sue expected her to be. The whole time, Mary-Sue and Daniel's marriage was crumbling. Mary-Sue knew, or at least thought she knew, that Daniel cheated, and it was taking its toll on their relationship.
At least Lillith has Dirk, Daniel thought. She doesn't have Angela or Mary-Sue, and I can't stand up for her because Mary-Sue would just yell at me, but at least she has Dirk.
Don had been excited when he moved to Pleasantview- all the romantic possibilites. First there was Nina, who he met while jogging.
He had some hot ladies and a hot tub, and that was all he felt he needed in life.
But then he met Bella, who'd sneak over. They'd stargaze and talk, and the thought that she was married depressed him. He'd tried to add her to his list of girls, but she'd turned him down, staying faithful to Mortimer.
Don and Nina's parents hadn't expected twins, but that's what they got.
But they loved their daughters, even if sometimes Dina and Nina's mom was a little too rough. They didn't have a lot of money, but they had just enough.
Dina grew up and decided she wanted an easier life, and so she married Micheal Bachelor, the older brother of Bella. He was rich and old, so he'd die soon, and Dina needed his money to fund her dreams of living a rich life. Nina would've been happier for her sister, but she'd loved Micheal, and Dina got all the guys. That was why she found that she craved male attention, and why she acted a bit like a slut sometimes.
Micheal died of course, and Dina found his fortune dwindling. When they were burglared late at night, she decided enough was enough, she needed to marry again.
And what better choice than Mortimer Goth, the richest man in town?
Looking back, Brandi wished she'd payed more attention to the things she'd been taught. If she'd been smarter she would have used protection and wouldn't have had to drop out of high school, and might have had a decent job and some cash.
But instead of studying Brandi had dated, till she found herself pregnant with Dustin. Before she showed and gossip spread, Skip had proposed to her.
Skip didn't have a penny to his name and they'd had to stay with Brandi's parents for a while, but Brandi had loved him.
By the time Dustin's 5 th birthday rolled around, Brandi was starting to hate her life- the tacky colors, the ratty clothes, the small trailer of a house.
It'd be a lot longer till she'd decide she'd had enough. Dustin would be in high school and Brandi would be pregnant with her third child before Skip drowned.
“ If you really think that, I don't want to ever see you again!” Cassandra yelled. “ I just think we're too young to be getting married,” Don said. “And if you don't want to see me again, fine. I'll leave,” Don huffed. “ Good.” “ Good.”
The first thing Cassandra did after she was left at the alter was call over her best friend, Darren Dreamer. “ Thanks for coming, Darren,” Cassandra sniffled. “ No problem. You sounded really upset,” Darren replied. “ I thought he really loved me, and then he went and said...” Cassandra broke into full-out tears.
Darren brushed the tears off her face. “He doesn't deserve someone as beautiful and smart as you,” he said, his voice almost a whisper.
Darren had been waiting for this moment for a long time, but Don had been in the picture until now. Darren knew he shouldn't be happy about the thing that had caused Cassandra so much pain, but Darren couldn't help but smile at the fact that she was now available.
Cassandra broke away from the kiss. A worried look crossed Darren's face.
“ Darren, I think we should take this slowly.” Cassandra struggled with the feelings she felt. She'd just been dumped, it was too soon to fall in love again. And what if Darren left her too? Darren nodded, relieved that she was giving him a chance. “Of course.” He would've felt the same way if he'd dated this soon after Darleen, his ex-wife's, death, and Cassandra was worth waiting for.
Darren started coming over more often, and Cassandra was happier now. It'd been a while since the start of their relationship, and their chemistry was undeniable.
Cassandra had quickly forgotten the idea of taking it slow. Darren was different- he didn't have a cassanova reputation, and the two had been friends for almost forever. “ I think I'm ready,” Cassandra whispered quietly, scared and nervous. No matter what anyone might think, she'd never done it with Don. “ Are you sure?” Darren knew that Cassandra was a virgin, and thoughhe wanted to so bad, he didn't want to if Cassandra wasn't ready for her first time.
When Cassandra nodded he gently leaned forward, pressing his lips against her. The kiss quickly became passionate.
Soon the clothes started coming off, and Cassandra's heart fluttered, but she knew this was right, that Darren would be her first, and that it'd happen now.
After they were done they got dressed, as in their excitement they'd forgotten Mortimer, Dina, or worse, Alexander could've walked in on them, and they didn't want to scar any minds. Suddenly Darren dropped to one knee. He'd wanted to do this for a long time, and had been waiting for just the right moment. Now seemed like a good one. “ Cassandra, I can't imagine a future without you. Will you marry me?”
“ Yes!” Cassandra jumped into his arms enthusiastically.
Darren laughed happily and carried her up to their bedroom.
“ Now, where did we leave off?...” Darren leaned over and started kissing Cassandra.
Cassandra smiled as she wrapped her arms around a sleeping Darren. This time she really would have her dream wedding, and finally be able to settle down with a family.
. . . “ Hey there, beautiful,” Mortimer pulled Dina in for a kiss.
“ Well, Morty, go on. You said there'd be a surprise.” Dina smiled to herself. What would it be this time? They got bigger all the time- a new house? A car?
Mortimer knelt down on one knee. “Yes, the surprise. Dina, I love you, and...”
“ Will you marry me?” Dina saw the hopeful look in the old man's eyes. He should know that with his money no woman would turn him down, Dina thought.
Besides, look at the size of the ring! Dina grinned. “Of course I will, Morty,” and laughed to herself when the look of relief came over his face. He acted like she was going to be his first wife rather than his second.
. . . The day had finally come. Mortimer, Dina, Darren and Cassandra decided on a double wedding in the Goth backyard with Alexander, Nina, Dirk (who was coming back from college for the occasion), Mary-Sue, and even the butler, though he'd be expected to clean up after the party.
For all four this was the second time they'd gone under an arch. For Cassandra, it was going to be the first time she wouldn't be left alone.
“ My baby's getting married,” Bella whispered to herself. Bella realized suddenly that Cassandra was now Dirk, Darren's son, stepmom, which meant Bella was a stepgrandma, and yet she didn't look a day over 23.
“ Bella? Is that you?” Mortimer couldn't believe his eyes- had his dead wife Bella come back to life?
Daniel felt a feeling of excitement, the rush that came from the risk of cheating. It was even riskier now. Since Mary-Sue and Daniel's twin daughters Angela and Lillith had left for college, Mary-Sue's adoptive parents Herb and Coral Oldie and Daniel's sister Jennifer, her husband John, and their daughter, Lucy, had moved in. Lucy went to school of course, and Jennifer worked, but the others could catch them. And having to fit his new job into his woohoo schedule was a whole other challenge.
“ I'll be back tomorrow to clean up,” Kaylynn winked at Daniel. “ I'll be waiting,” Daniel grinned, kissing her goodbye.
Why did he cheat? Because Mary-Sue didn't have time for him anymore. What had happened to the rebellious girl he'd fell in love with, he'd never know. But with Mary-Sue working late and claiming she was too tired when she did get home she never had time for him anymore. And though Kaylynn could only stay for short periods of time each day, at least she was willing to please him.
Of course, sometimes that's not even enough for some people. So when Daniel saw Nina Caliente walk by the house for her daily jog, he went out to introduce himself. “ Hi, I'm Daniel. I don't think I've seen you around.” “ Hi, I'm Nina,” she eyed his ring. “Is your wife home?” her voice went low and seductive- she made it her business to know who cheated, and she knew Daniel did. “ No, and my bed is awfully empty at the moment...” Daniel leaned in flirtatiously.
Daniel couldn't believe his luck- an easy girl who would have time for him when Mary-Sue and Kaylynn couldn't be there, and could please him in ways the others hadn't ever learned about. Daniel smiled to himself. Maybe three was the charm.
. . . Mary-Sue worried a lot, but it was usually about work. Today, she worried about her marriage. Daniel didn't try as hard as he used to to try and get her in bed. What had changed? Was it her? Maybe it was. Mary-Sue remembered the time when she'd been laidback and always up for a heated session with Daniel- maybe if she acted like that again, he'd love her.
She let her hair down and put on some fresh make-up. Would it work? Maybe she should get some new clothes...
“ Perfect,” Mary-Sue smiled. “He'll definitely fall back in love with me.”
Mary-Sue lounged on the couch waiting for Daniel to come home. Would it work? Doubts nagged her brain over and over, worry clawing at her stomach.
“ Why, hello there, sexy,” Daniel couldn't believe his eyes. Mary-Sue was dressing more like she did when they were younger, and.. well, she looked hot. “We should hurry before my wife catches us...” he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom, kissing her. Mary-Sue was just as happy as Daniel. Her plan had worked, and now Daniel loved her again.
. . . Well, her plan had worked temporarily, but Daniel had left to spend the day with Nina. Mary-Sue cried as she guessed what they were doing. “ Why are you crying?” John asked her. “ It's just... Daniel...' Mary-Sue started sobbing.
John wrapped his arm around Mary-Sue, trying to comfort her. He looked at her. God, she was beautiful. He'd missed her all these years, since she'd left him in high school for Daniel's charm. John couldn't help but be very aware of the fact that since Jennifer was working, Lucy was at school, and the Oldies were visiting with some friends that they were all alone.
“ Mary-Sue, I love you and I always have,” John admitted. “And I've wanted this moment for so long.”
John and Mary-Sue were so wrapped up in each other that they forgot to check the time. Jennifer came home to see he husband and her sister-in-law all over each other. She went in through the back way.
She found Herb there, back from visiting his friends. “ Hi, Herb. Where's Coral?” Jennifer glanced around looking for the old woman as she sat down besides him. The Oldies couple usually did everything together. “ Gardening,” Herb answered. “But it was getting too cold for me.” Jennifer nodded, and turned, thinking of what she would do.” “ Something bugging you?” Herb asked. “ I saw John and Mary-Sue...”
“ Say no more,” Herb said, wrapping his arm around Jennifer to comfort her.
Herb suddenly kissed her. He'd always tried to curb these urges, staying faithful to Coral, but now he gave in.
Jennifer figured if John got to do it, so should she, and she realized this must be how Mary-Sue had felt. Jennifer had always known her brother wasn't a one-woman man, and his marriage had surprised her and the rest of their family.
Unfortunately, sense is often missing from spontaneous actions like this. Coral was in the backyard trimming the bushes, and she saw the whole thing.
She went in the side door after she'd finished and Daniel had finally returned, sitting down besides him. She didn't dare enter the hallway where her husband was. “ Something bothering you?” Daniel asked. He heard the noises from the next room suddenly get louder, and the voices were unmistakenly Herb's and Jennifer's. “Oh.”
Unsure of how else to comfort a woman, he kissed Coral.
Surprisingly, it was only Daniel who thought about how messed up this all was. He was making out with his mother-in-law, and his father-in-law and sister were going at it in the next room. Besides, knowing his sister, John had probably cheated on her for her to be accepting Herb's advances, and knowing John he'd probably cheated with Mary-Sue, even though they were brother- and sister-in-law.
Mary-Sue had gone with John somewhere more private, and now she was going to sneak back in and act like she'd been visiting Cassandra Goth, and John had been visiting friends, too. But when she saw Daniel and Coral, she turned right back, and John followed her. Mary-Sue had always known about Daniel's affairs, but until she now she'd had no proof. It'd take a couple of beers at the local bar and woohoo with John to forget what she'd seen.
Everyone was surprised when Nina moved in with Don. He had a reputation for being a player, and everyone wondered why he was becoming more serious with Nina. He had only done it because Nina was jobless and didn't have much money to spare, but he let people wonder. Don was glad that it was Nina out of all his girlfriends- who else wouldn't have minded that he'd had Kaylynn stay a bit after her work was done?
Who else wouldn't blink knowing he was sleeping with their sister?
After all, Nina had a couple flings of her own- Herb Oldie, for one.
Still, at the end of they day Nina was still Don's favorite girl, and Don was still Nina's main squeeze.
So of course it was fitting that when his lifestyle finally caught up to him, it was Nina carrying his child.
“ You're really pregnant?” Don rubbed her belly, then his eyes widened. “I felt a kick!” “ You're not mad, are you?” Nina bit her lip. “ No, it'll just take some getting used to, I guess. I never thought I'd be a father.”
Suddenly Don dropped to one knee. “But if I have to have a child, it's not going to be out of wedlock. Nina, will you marry me?”
“ Will it be an open marriage?” “ Of course.” “ Then I'm in! When do we get married?” “ I was thinking right here, right now. Our circle of friends doesn't really include anyone one of us hasn't dated, and it'd be kind of awkward.” “ Good idea.”
“ I, Don Lothario, take you, Nina Caliente, to be lawfully wedded wife.”
“ And I, Nina Caliente, take you, Don Lothario, to be lawfully wedded husband.' “ Well, I guess we're married now.” “ Shouldn't you kiss the bride first?” Don grinned. “Oh, I'll do more than just kiss you...” As Don carried Nina to the bedroom (“Instead of carrying you across the threshold, of course”) he breathed a sigh of relief that Nina hadn't questioned that he'd had a set of rings in his pocket.
. . . For the next few months Nina was a mess of hormones, hunger personofied, and Sleeping Beauty all rolled in one.
Don took good care of her, making sure she and the baby were safe at every moment of every day. Nina would've been more frustrated with him if it hadn't been for the fact that most of those moments she was sleeping.
For the months that Nina was pregnant the couple became more and more monogamous. They kept the lines of communication open with their other lovers, and fully intended to see them as much as possible after the baby was born, but Nina didn't want them to wonder if they were the father, and Don wanted to watch over Nina and keep her safe.
The due date was getting closer, and Nina's belly was getting bigger.
Don was doing well in his work, having collected quite a bit of money to support the baby with.
Most of it went to an addition to the house for the nursery, where Don had been very involved in the choices. He'd started to like the idea of having a daughter (the ultrasound had shown it was a girl), and was excited for the birth of his first child.
“ Hi there, Adriana,” Don stooped down to talk to Nina's belly. Nina laughed. “Who said we're naming her Adriana?” “ I did. I want her named after my mother.” “ Adriana?” “ Yep.” “ Okay, we'll na-” “ What's wrong?” Don looked worringly at Nina.
“ Good night, Adriana,” Don smiled as Adriana cooed back. She actually did kind of remind him of his dead mother, though Nina insisted she looked exactly like him. Either way, he loved this new baby, and he knew Nina did, too.
. . . “ Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Adriana, happy birthday to you!” Nina sang.
“ You still look like your father,” Nina smiled. “He's very sorry he had to work and miss this.”
Adriana turned around to grab at the confetti Nina had sprayed.
Nina set Adriana down to play with one of her toys, and sat down to admire how much her little girl had grown in so little time, and how cute the little angel was.. Nina just knew Adriana would be a heartbreaker.
Brandi couldn't believe she was engaged to such an amazing money- er, man. She loved money, er, him, and now the house they were living in was bigger, and she was the mother of five little money-makers- er, children.
Of course, only three were actually hers, and she had no claim over the other two as even as a step-mom till Antonio and her finally got married.
And out of the three that were hers, only two were left after Dustin had gone to college. And Beau was only a kid, too young to work.
And Betty was a still a baby. Brandi thought about the Betty's father. The man she'd loved, and who had died in a mysterious accident. Coincidently, the mysterious accident had been just in time for Brandi to get all his money as his wife and get three kids out of him, but didn't happen too late that it wasn't too late for Brandi to be attractive enough would think to marry her and it hadn't been too late that a rich man couldn't pay off the Broke family's debts.
Yep, Brandi was living the life now. If only the sounds of Skip's screams as she'd drowned him didn't haunt her at night.
. . . Antonio was lucky. Lucky that he had been smart enough to leave Veronaville. Lucky that no Monty had noticed yet. He knew his late wife, Hero, had been killed by the Capp/Monty feud. Wether by a Capp bent on revenge or a Monty who wanted Antonio to hate the Capps as much as they did, he didn't know and he didn't care.
He hadn't let his guard down, though. Every time someone walked by, he hid, along with his twin children. He'd pulled them out of public school and started homeschooling them and Beau just to make sure no Monty or Capp would find him and his family.
“ Daddy, why are we homeschooled, and why do we have to hide?” Beatrice interrupted one of Antonio's reading sessions. Antonio looked up. The twins were only nine, but they deserved to know. “ Beatrice,” Antonio started. “Do you remember the things Grandma and Grandpa Monty talked to you about?”
Beatrice nodded. “They were always saying we should hate the Capps. But when we went to school Benedick and me were in the same class as Hal and Desdemona and they weren't that bad.” “ Exactly. Grandma and Grandpa are caught up in a feud that started a long time ago between the Capps and the Montys. I don't want to be involved, so we moved here, to Pleasantview. But they might try to hurt us or get us involved, so we have to make sure they don't find us.”
“ Now, let's get back to this story, shall we?” Antonio was reading her favorite story, Much Ado About Nothing , but he could tell Beatrice was still contemplating what she'd heard. He sneaked a glance at Benedick, also deep in thought. Benedick refused to stay and listen to the story, but he always snuck back to listen, though he'd leave if he thought he was noticed.
. . . Brandi glanced up. The old lady in their front lawn was still there. Brandi got up and went up to her. “Hi, I'm Brandi Broke. And I wanted to ask why the heck you've been on our front lawn for five hours.” The woman stared at Brandi, her eyes boring into Brandi's brain. “My name,” she finally said. “Is Olive Specter. And you are going to be my apprentice.”
“ Wait, what? Apprentice? What's your job anyway?” “ Serial killer.” “ Woah. You want to teach me how to kill people? Isn't that, you know, bad and illegal?” “ I know you've murdered before. You can do it again, Brandi, with the right motivation. You have such potential.”
“ I'm sorry but I don't want to be a murderer.” “ Why did you kill Skip?” Olive Specter continued on relentlessly. Brandi froze. She'd thought it a million times to herself, but to hear what she'd done said out loud... It was too late for Brandi to not be a murderer.
“ Let me guess... Money? It's why most of us do what we do.” Brandi recovered enough to say, “Well, Dina marries rich people who die soon after. Why don't you get her to be your apprentice?” “ She's too soft. She'll marry a rich guy she knows is old and will die soon, but she won't speed up the process. You on the other hand...”
“ I don't want to be your apprentice. Sorry, but no.” “ You think that now. But soon, you'll wear down. You'll let me teach you,” Olive said eerily as she turned to leave. “Mark my words.” Brandi shuddered, and went back inside. That woman had to be the creepiest lady she'd ever met. And how had Olive found out the truth behind Skip's death?
Time passed by and Brandi soon forgot all about her encounter with Olive Specter. Besides, it was time for some much awaited birthdays, starting with Betty.
They decided they wanted fairly different things. Beatrice wanted to earn enough money to turn their comfortable lifestyle into a truly rich one. Though Brandi often claimed all she wanted was family, she really wasn't all that different from Beatrice.
Benedick, on the other hand, took after his father; he wanted to understand the world around him, and learn as much as he can.
Betty became a child, and Brandi couldn't help but notice how much she looked like Skip.
Then, while Antonio was at work, Brandi received a phone call. “ Hello, who is this?” “ You will have begun to tire of your life by now, I presume. Antonio has access to the Monty fortune, but limited access, especially now that he's in hiding. You're still wearing the same ratty clothes, and your house lacks something. Are you ready to become my apprentice?” “ No!” Brandi screamed than hung up the phone, shaking.
But Olive was relentless, and she called again and again. Finally Brandi decided to let the old woman speak, tired of having to hang up again and again. “ I am right, am I not? You want an even richer man now.” “ Fine, so maybe I'd like a bit more money. But I'm not going to become a murderer!” “ But you already are, my dear.”
“ Well I don't want to become a murderer again! Do you know how horrible it is, hearing Skip's screams every night? I haven't had a decent night's sleep in years, and it's not because of the kids like I tell everybody.” “ That is how I felt when I first murdered. But it's easy to remedy. It just takes time, more murders, and a colder heart. I can help you gain all of those things.”
“ Come by my house tommorow. I will teach you all I know. And Brandi?” “ Yes?”
“ If you're still looking for a rich man, Consort Capp has a bit of money up his sleeves. Frame the murder on a Monty, and watch what happens.”