The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 32


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The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 32

  1. 1. Dear reader, welcome back to The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, this is chapter 32!Now what I did last time was a little bit of a nasty trick, wasnt it? *innocent smile* Sorryabout that. Its just that last chapter started a chain of events that Ive known for a while willhappen. Some of this upcoming plot has been in my head for a rather long time, and Imeager to finally play it out.So, without further ado, lets get back to our story, first with a quick reminder of whathappened last time. And then, the ball is rolling...
  2. 2. Previously on The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures...
  3. 3. ”Charlie? CHARLIE!”
  4. 4. Meanwhile, outside, professor Eric Dallas was delivering a beautiful bouquet of roses forCho, as a thank you for their amazing date last night. He stopped to briefly remember thenight and cherish the memory.
  5. 5. ”What was that?”It was as if someone had screamed inside.Again. There was something wrong.
  6. 6. Eric quickly entered through the unlocked door – had he had time to think, he would havefound even the gate being open odd, normally it was always locked – and rushed in thedirection of the noise.
  7. 7. In the small side bedroom, he first saw the two oldest Bookacy siblings, horrified, utteringincomprehensible screams.
  8. 8. And to his horror, at their feet layed a motionless Charlie, and he realized this could onlymean one thing.He had to do what he could.
  9. 9. Professor Eric put on the strictest face he managed, and barked his instructions.”Cyrus, get back in your coffin! Now!”When Cyrus didnt move, he yelled: ”You cannot help him! Back in the coffin! Ill force you inif I have to. Cho, help me!”And together, they could finally force the fiercely smoking Cyrus back into the coffin.
  10. 10. But for Charlie, it was already too late.
  11. 11. It was early evening, the sun had just set. Sunny Straight rushed for the gate, fear in herheart. She had gotten the phone call she had dreaded for years. Something had happened.And of all nights tonight, when she finally had the cure she had been preparing for so long...
  12. 12. Inside, she found a devastated couple. Marylena was crying uncontrollably, and Baudolinowas trying to comfort him, tears streaming down his own cheeks. Professor Eric Dallas wasstanding by and looking helpless.”My baby... M-my p-poor little baby...” was all Sunny could recognize from Marylenas sobs.She couldnt bring herself to ask the question, so she simply looked at Baudolino.”Charlie”, he croaked. ”Hes dead.””Dead?” Sunnys voice was just a whisper.”In the bedroom”, Baudolino pointed with his hand somewhere in general, then kept onholding onto his wife.”What... what happened?”It was professor Eric who spoke. ”I believe Cyrus... accidentally scared him to death.”
  13. 13. ”From what I could get out of Cho after I made the call, she heard a scream and found thecoffin open and Cyrus madly reaching for Charlie. Charlie tried his own pulse, and...collapsed. Cyrus has been like that since he got out of the coffin”, Eric explained quietly,pointing towards Cyrus, who laid curled up on the floor and trembled from head to foot. Chowas kneeling beside her brother, stroking his hair.”Cho”, said the matchmaker gently, ”let me.”
  14. 14. Cho stepped aside, and Sunny knelt down next to Cyrus in turn.”Cyrus. I know you are hurting. We all are”, she said quietly, reaching for his arm. ”Whathappened here today was terrible. But we need you, Cyrus. You have to be strong. I havehere something that helps. It doesnt take away the pain, but it makes it a little easier. And Ihave your cure.”At this, Cyrus moved for the first time. He raised his head a little and asked: ”You have it?””I have it”, said Sunny. ”But take this first.” She put a pill in Cyrus open hand. ”Itll help youfeel stronger and gets you through tonight, gets done what needs to be done.” She turned tolook at Eric. ”Professor, could you get a glass of water please?”
  15. 15. In the living room, Carl was trying to hold Claire together, and Ryker couldnt but feelhelpless.”I d-dont g-g-get it. Ho-how c-can so-something like this h-ha-happen?””I dont know, Claire. I dont think anyone knows at the moment. Thats what uncle Baudolinoand aunt Marylena came here to find out.” He was fighting back the tears himself.”Is there anything I can do?” asked Ryker. He felt that he needed to find something, anythinghe could do, instead of just standing there.Carl looked up. ”Can you look after Claire for a while? I think I should call my parents. Andyours too if you dont feel up for it”, he added to Claire.Ryker nodded. ”Of course.”
  16. 16. In the kitchen, Cyrus was back on his feet. Whatever it was that Sunny had given him, washelping enough to put him in action.”Are you ready?” asked Sunny. Cyrus just nodded.”Very well, then. This should be strong enough for the bite”, Sunny said and put a small,purple bottle in his hand. ”Drink all of it.”
  17. 17. Cyrus lifted the bottle to his lips and drank, without thinking. Hed been a vampire for a longtime and grown accustomed to it, and under different circumstances he may not haveminded staying one. But right now, there was nothing he hated as much as being a vampire.He emptied the bottle to the last drop.
  18. 18. There was an unpleasant sensation, the potion felt like burning, and Cyrus squirmed. Hisfamily gasped in fear, but Sunny didnt even blink. Shed known this was coming.
  19. 19. Moments later, the transformation was complete and Cyrus stood in front of his family in hisfully human form. The silence was filled with shock. No one had seen him as himself sincehis teenage, and it felt as if there was a stranger standing in front of them.
  20. 20. The illusion broke soon. Cyrus turned to face Sunny. He couldnt manage a smile, but said:”Thank you, Sunny.” He glanced at his hands. ”I think Im back to my old self again.”Sunny nodded. ”Yes, this time the potion seems to have been strong enough.” She turned toface the others. ”Now, shall we sit down?”
  21. 21. And they did. Marylena forced herself to calm down, but her occasional sniffing was stillaudible. Otherwise the company was entirely silent.Finally, Sunny spoke up.”I know we are all hurting. What happened today was horrible and completely unexpected.Were all exhausted, sad and scared.” She turned to address Cyrus. ”But I believe we allneed and deserve to know what happened.”
  22. 22. Cyrus stared at the dining table. Horror and guilt were at war inside him.”I cant explain what happened”, he said quietly. ”But I think... I think it was me who killedCharlie.”That was met with silence. Cyrus swallowed and moved on. ”I dont know what happened, Ionly know what I saw.””Then tell us what you saw”, encouraged Sunny.Cyrus nodded. ”I was sleeping”, he started. ”I think I was having a dream. And then...”
  23. 23. ”What kind of a dream?” Sunny interrupted.Surprised by the question, Cyrus looked up from the table. ”Does it matter?””I think it might be of relevance”, said Sunny, with a concentrated look on her face.”Well, I cant remember clearly but... I was in some kind of a house. I remember it had darkcolours... And I was sure someone lived there, but I didnt see anyone. I walked from oneroom to another. One was clearly a little girls room, but I think it hadnt been used for a longtime. And then there was a... maybe a laboratorium of some kind”, Cyrus explained, trying toremember more.”A laboratorium?””Yeah. There was weird looking equipment, some of it looked scientific, some... I dont know,there was something that looked like a cauldron to me.””Witchcraft”, muttered Sunny. ”Did you happen to see... a coffin anywhere?”
  24. 24. ”A coffin?” asked Marylena, eyes widening with fear. ”You dont think...””I have a serious suspicion”, replied Sunny. ”Cyrus, do you remember a coffin?””Yes, yes Im pretty sure there was a coffin... I think I got out of it in the beginning...” Cyruseyes showed dawning understanding. This seemed to confirm Sunnys suspicion.”What else do you remember from the dream? Where were you when it ended?””I think... I think I was in the laboratorium or whatever it was. I dont know why, but I waswalking in circles, and I think I felt frustrated about something. Then there was a loud noise,a kind of a clank... And the next thing I remember is waking up to Cho screaming”, Cyrusfinished.”Very well, then”, said Sunny. ”Cho, you saw what happened, didnt you?”
  25. 25. ”Not all of it, no”, said Cho, shaking her head sadly. ”I was here in the kitchen, writing myassignment, when I first heard a loud clank, and then Charlie screamed. I ran into thebedroom, and the coffin was open, and”, she looked apologetically at Cyrus, ”Cyrus wasgrowling, reaching for Charlie from the coffin. His eyes were open but he looked like hedidnt see or recognize anyone.””What happened then?””I think... I think I yelled at Cyrus to stop it. He... somehow he did. It was quiet again and Iasked Charlie if he was okay... He didnt say anything, he tried his own pulse and then... th-then h-he col-collapsed”, finished Cho, struggling to keep her voice steady.
  26. 26. ”And that was where I came in”, said Eric without being asked. ”I happened to be outside,delivering a rose bouquet for Cho, when I heard noise from inside. I think it must have beenCho screaming. I rushed in and found Cho and Cyrus standing by the coffin, screaming.Then I saw the other boy, Charlie, curled up at their feet. I dont know how but... Butsomehow I think I knew...””Knew what?” asked Sunny.”That it was too late for Charlie. That he was... already beyond help. At that moment, Isuddenly realized that Cyrus was out in the daylight and...”Cho shrieked.
  27. 27. ”What is it?” asked Sunny quickly.Cho looked horror-struck. ”Pleading! I should have pleaded! I just stood there and...” hervoice trailed off. Tears were silently streaming down her face.Professor Eric spoke up again, his voice pained.
  28. 28. ”Its not your fault, Cho. If its anyones then its mine. I was the one who thought your brothercouldnt be helped, I was the one who gave you instructions. I never came to think ofpleading. Im so sorry...”
  29. 29. ”No”, said Baudolino firmly. ”Its not your fault, professor. In fact, its apparently thanks to youthat Marylena and I didnt lose two sons today. Thank you, for Cyrus.”Marylena couldnt find her voice, but she showed her thorough agreement with her husbandby nodding vigorously.
  30. 30. ”Indeed”, confirmed Sunny, ”its very very dangerous for a vampire to be outside their coffinat daytime, even inside. What you did, professor, probably saved Cyrus life.”Eric did not seem convinced, and Cho looked like she was going to say something, butSunny ignored them. ”As for Charlie, I am afraid that when vampire magic this strong isinvolved, any chance of succeeding at pleading would have been strongly diminished in anycase.””It doesnt matter, I still should have...” Cho started, but Cyrus interrupted her.
  31. 31. ”Vampire magic? But... I didnt think I had any particular magic. Was it with magic that... thatI killed my brother?”Sunny sighed. ”First of all, Cyrus, I am quite sure that you did not kill your brother.””But...”Sunny ignored him. ”Technically, yes, it was because you awoke in the coffin and reached forhim that he apparently died of fright. But neither of you intended anything like this to happen,it was an accident. There were powers involved that neither of you could possibly control.””What do you mean?””You were not in control of yourself when Charlie came to open your coffin, and if I amcorrect, neither was Charlie.”
  32. 32. ”So you think it was him? Salahuddin Chamcha?” asked Baudolino, unable to stop himself.Professor Dallas looked confused but didnt say anything. He didnt want to inerrupt orintrude.”Yes and no”, said Sunny contemplatively. ”Based on what Cyrus and Cho told me tonight, Ibelieve that Salahuddin Chamcha was involved. First of all, Cyrus would never, ever doneanything to hurt his brother if he was in control of the situation. Second of all, Charlie, justlike everyone in this room, knew better than to disturb a sleeping vampire.”Baudolino nodded. That was all true.”Also”, continued Sunny, ”the dream that Cyrus had has raised my suspicions. He saw acoffin. There are some vampires in Alphabetia, but the number is quite limited these days.He saw some kind of a laboratory. From Aadams descriptions we know Salahuddin has one.And he saw a little girls room. We also know that Salahuddin has indeed had a little girlliving in his house at a time.””Marsha”, said Marylena quietly.
  33. 33. ”So... youre saying that the house I saw was... Salahuddin Chamchas house?” askedCyrus. ”And his actual house, not, you know, a dream house?””Yes, Im actually fairly certain of that”, Sunny replied. ”I believe if you told all this to Aadam,he could probably confirm my suspicions.””So, he... he was somehow in control of me? Or my mind?” Cyrus asked, anguished.”As I said, yes and no. Based on your story, I believe that there was a connection betweenyour mind and Salahuddins, and that it has everything to do with how Charlie died. However,I do not believe that Salahuddin did this on purpose.”This was met by stunned silence.”Why not?” asked Baudolino finally. ”We know hes after the family, weve known all along.”
  34. 34. ”That is true”, replied Sunny, nodding. ”If he believes that hurting the family would advancehis own goals – bringing Author back – then he has a motive. But here, I believe he lackedthe chance. I would find it very unlikely that a vampire as young as Salahuddin Chamchawould be in control of his powers to a level that would allow him to take conscious power of amind to this degree. Even vampires who have been vampires for centuries and centurieswould generally need a long time to consciously practice such a skill.””But he was strong enough to give me a strong case of vampirism even though Im a GrandVampires grandson”, said Cyrus.”That is also true.” Sunny nodded. ”Salahuddin Chamcha has already proven himself to be avery powerful vampire and a very dangerous man. But still, I find it extremely unlikely that hewould possess such strong powers and be in control of them. No vampire alive today hasbeen reported to have such abilities, and that includes the Grand Vampires. It is much morelikely that this was simply an accident.””And even if it wasnt, how could we ever prove it?” asked Marylena.
  35. 35. ”Yes, that would also be nigh impossible, unless we had a confession”, admitted Sunny.”But if we cant prove it was him”, said Cyrus, panic in his voice, ”doesnt it mean that... that itwas me? That Ill be found a murderer?””No”, replied Sunny gently. ”We all know you and trust you, and are willing to testify for yourgood nature in front of the jury if it went to that. Also, I could not be set aside as an expertwitness, I would be able to tell them that this kind of magic exists. Besides, there have beenthese kind of accidents before, and they have always been judged as just that: accidents.The blame has never been set on the vampire, as it is known that they cannot preventthemselves from behaving the way vampires behave. There will I believe be some kind of aninvestigation, Sean and Marsha will alert the police or possibly already have, but you donthave to worry about going to jail.”When Cyrus didnt look as relieved as Sunny had hoped, she said: ”Cyrus, you are innocent.I know its hard for you to believe, but really, you are.””Thats true, Cyrus”, said Cho, who had been quietly sitting in her chair for a long time. ”Itsnot you who should be blamed. Its me.”
  36. 36. ”I should have pleaded”, said Cho, despair in her voice. ”I dont know why I didnt think of it, ifId just...””Cho”, said Sunny firmly, ”stop that. We already went through this. Its not your fault. Youcant start blaming this on yourself.””Thats true”, said professor Eric from his corner. ”I was there too. And I didnt realize toplead either. If its your fault, then its mine just as much.””And mine”, said Sunny sadly. ”If I had been able to make the cure sooner, Cyrus would nothave been a vampire and none of this would have happened. We can all go on blamingourselves forever, but its not going to help anyone. It was an accident, Cho.””But Im the heiress! Im in charge! I should have been the responsible one, and I failed!””This has nothing to do with being a good heiress, honey”, said Baudolino. ”Even if yourethe heiress, you cant change everything for the better. Its impossible.”
  37. 37. ”But this is not, right?” said Cho with sudden enthusiasm. ”This can be fixed!””Fixed?” asked Sunny, confused.”Yes! It can all be fixed, we can bring Charlie back!”When nobody seemed to get the brilliance and the simplicity of the realization, Cho grewirritated. ”Come on, we all know it can be done! Thats what Salahuddin wants too, right?Resurrect my great-grandmother? He wouldnt be after it if it was impossible. And its beendone, I know great-uncle Abraham brought his brothers girlfriend back! Ill just have to findout how and then I can fix this and bring Charlie back!”
  38. 38. Suddenly all the others looked worried. ”... did not manage to successfully resurrect Rebecca. She came back as a zombie. Would you want to risk your brother coming”What? Its a great idea!” back as a zombie?””Honey...” started Marylena, unsure. ”I know you loved your ”No, but...”brother, we all did. And I understand youd want to have him back.But... its not that simple.” ”Even if Abraham was still alive and could tell you what he knew, even he didnt know how to perfectly resurrect someone. TheCho was going to interrupt, but Sunny silenced her with her hand. device he had was faulty, and he only managed to bring Rebecca”Your mother is right, Cho. Its not that simple.” back as a zombie. The resurrection process is highly dangerous. Some believe that if you are an expert in the paranormal, that is”Why not?!” enough to be able to construct the needed device, but that is not true. It takes thorough expertise in both paranormal phenomena”Well, first of all, resurrection is a complex process, and few have and science, and still, nothing is guaranteed. And, there is anotherever mastered it. It always carries a risk.” reason why Charlie should not be brought back”, Sunny finished in a quiet voice.”But great-uncle Abraham...” ”Whats that?”
  39. 39. Sunny closed her eyes and sighed. ”Long ago, when your great- ”This house is the home of the Bookacy Family Alphabet Legacy.grandmother Author was an old woman and knew death was only Under this spell shall it be, for its generations to come. No outsidera question of time for her, she contacted me. She knew that shall disturb the peace of the dead of this house, not until this spellSalahuddin was obsessed about winning her love, and even her is broken from inside the family. Is one not given the protectivedeath would not stop him. She and I both knew that if he got his Aura of Heir or Spouse, when one leaves, one leaves, and leaveswish and successfully brought her back, that would severely for good. There is no coming back, not in ones full form. After aviolate the deepest laws of Legacy magic, and that would put all of Heir or Spouse has been named, the Aura can never return to itsAlphabetia in danger. She was a Legacy foundress, and there is previous holder. In this house, decisions are final.”deep magic tied into that. No one knows what might happen if herrest was disturbed. So Author, aware of this, asked for protection.””What kind of protection?””Gypsy magic protection. She asked me to cast a spell on thefamily, and seeing no other way to secure her peaceful rest andthe future of the family, I did.” Sunny kept a short break. Frommemory, she repeated what she had said all those years ago:
  40. 40. ”So... This means... For as long as the family members do not bring anyone back from thedead, Salahuddin cant do it either, and so my grandmothers final rest is secured? And heirsand their spouses... what was that about?” asked Baudolino.”Yes, the spell ensures that if the family does not bring anyone back, Salahuddins way toAuthor stays blocked, and the threat to Alphabetia stays at bay”, Sunny explained. ”If afamily member resurrects someone fully, then the spell is broken and Salahuddin is able toget what he wants, which would shake the foundations of the Legacy. Heirs and theirspouses are placed under a special, protective aura, which ensures that if there is anaccident or if Salahuddin Chamcha decides that the shortest way to Author goes via hurtingthe family, the continuation of the Legacy can be saved by attempting a resurrection withoutbreaking the protective spell. Of course, this still leaves the problem that resurrection is ahighly dangerous process.””And because Charlie was a spare, he cannot be resurrected, or otherwise all of the city maybe in danger”, finished Baudolino in a pained voice.”Yes.”
  41. 41. ”Well then lets make Charlie the heir and bring him back!” said Cho, desperate. ”I dont haveto be the heiress, if it means I cant have my brother back I dont even want to!””Cho...” started Marylena gently, but she didnt know what to say.”I am sorry Cho”, said Sunny, ”Im sure Charlie would appreciate your offer for giving up theheirship for him, he knew how much it meant to you to be heiress. But Im afraid it wouldnthelp him. The aura that is placed on heirs and spouses is protective as in it protects themagainst the effects of the spell while they are still alive and at the moment of their death. Theprotective Aura cannot be received after the fact. Not only that, there is also the problem thatsince you currently have the protection, and if it was now given to someone else, then itcould never be given back. And Im sorry to say this, but unfortunately, as a heiress, be itcurrent or former, you are an extremely desirable target for anyone who may want to harmthe family. Giving away the protection would make you extremely vulnerable, and Im surenone of us want this danger to fall on you.”
  42. 42. ”So, essentially”, asked Baudolino, with his mouth dry, ”there is absolutely nothing we cando, but... bury our son?””Yes, Im afraid so”, said Sunny quietly. ”I am so sorry.”A silence set around the table. There was nothing left to say.
  43. 43. Meanwhile, in Salahuddin Chamchas residence.”Thank you for coming on such a short notice, mr. Tellerman. I truly appreciate it.”Salahuddin had headed for the phone as soon as it was safe to get out of his coffin.”You sounded like it was pretty urgent. Is something wrong?” asked Komei Tellerman.”I have... experienced a shock today”, Salahuddin admitted. ”It has to do with a curiousdream I had when I had my daily sleep in my coffin. You see, I have been having the samedream for some time now, and it has been bothering me, but never did I assume that it wouldbe more than a dream...”Salahuddin seemed lost in his thoughts.”A dream?” asked mr. Tellerman carefully.”Yes. I kept seeing a house that I could not recognize. I always found myself in the sameroom...”
  44. 44. ”So... You think someone is dead? I mean, dead dead and not just dream dead?” askedKomei after Salahuddin had finished his story.”Yes, I believe so”, replied Salahuddin and nodded. ”And I believe it is one of the Legacyoffspring. When I saw the heiress coming to the room, I realized I must have been visitingthe Legacy Greek House. I have never been there in actuality, but according to my sources itis the current residence of the Bookacy youngsters. Also, I know that there are threechildren, one girl and two boys. The heiress I have seen in photographs, and one of the sonsis a vampire; I turned him myself. The dead one must have been the other son.””So at least the dream does fit the description”, Komei agreed. ”But you dont know if hesreally actually dead?””I do not. That is what I would need your help for. I need you to find out if the youngest son isdead, and if so, how it happened. All the information you can get.”
  45. 45. ”Alright”, said mr. Tellerman. ”I will be able to find that out for you.” Komei fell silent for amoment. ”Assuming that its true... You dont seem very upset. I mean... It may have been anaccident, but someone is dead.”To his surprise, Salahuddin smiled a little. ”You are right, mr. Tellerman. I am not very upset.”When Komei looked surprised, he went on: ”In fact, I was rather shocked when thishappened. Someone seemed to have died, and apparently it had very much to do with me. Icould not sleep any longer, but it was not safe to exit the coffin either. So, I had time to think.And I realized two things. First, this was an accident. Even if there was a connection toreality and my dream, I did not mean to harm the boy.””And what was the other thing?”
  46. 46. ”Second of all”, continued Salahuddin, ”he was one of the Legacy children, and it has nowbeen several hours since he died. Surely the family is by now searching for means toproduce a resurrection device and the boy is on his way to be resurrected – that is, if he isntalready alive. Surely the Legacy family does not have any issues with bringing a loved oneback to life?” he finished bitterly.For once, mr. Tellerman was utterly speechless.
  47. 47. It was the morning after the accident. It had been a long night, and Cho was very tired, butshed only been able to sleep for a few hours. She had been awake since before sunrise,and was trying to keep quiet so the others could get whatever sleep they could.She felt the burning need to do something, but still she was too shocked and numb to doanything. Several times she tried to get up from the couch, but somehow didnt manage to.Suddenly she heard the door open with force.
  48. 48. Cho turned around in her seat and saw Nicholas bursting through the door. He lookedanguished, searching the room wildly with his eyes.
  49. 49. ”Cho! Are you... are you okay?” he asked when he saw her. ”I met Professor Eric outside, hetold me what happened.”At this point, he didnt seem to know what more to say. ”Im so sorry, Cho, Im so sorry”, hefinally said in a whisper. Cho was unable to speak, so she just nodded. Nicholas approachedher, and without another word, just wrapped his arms around her.
  50. 50. ”Im sorry I havent been around much”, said Nicholas when Cho was sitting on his lap on thecouch, squeezing him like her life depended on it. ”Its complicated... But Ill try to be here foryou as much as I can from now on, okay?”There was no answer, but for the moment, Nicholas didnt need one. They didnt move for along time.
  51. 51. During the next few days, Cho spent a lot of time gardening. She needed something to do,to keep her away from her own thoughts. Despite all attempts to assure her otherwise, Chofelt responsible for what happened to Charlie. She was the heiress and she should havedone something, anything, instead of just standing there and letting him die.She spent many hours alone in the garden, and wouldnt let even Claire help her. She didntwant anyones help, she needed to settle this herself.
  52. 52. But whether she admitted it or not, it was as Sunny had said: there was nothing she coulddo. At moments when she felt the hopelessness of it all, Cho locked herself in the emptybathroom and cried.
  53. 53. Charlies funeral was held a few days later, as soon as Baudolino estimated Marylena wouldbe able to handle it. Without his support, she would have no doubt collapsed.It was a small funeral, with only the immediate family present. For the time being, Charliewas buried on the Greek House grounds, where he had liked it so much. Possibly he couldbe moved to the family cemetery later, to rest together with the previous generations, but atthe moment no one had the energy to arrange for it.
  54. 54. But time went on, and each of the family members had to find ways to cope with their loss. Inthis, friends and significant others proved to be an invaluable help.For Cyrus, Chris provided company, someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. She waseven able to make him smile on occasion.
  55. 55. As for Claire, she found comfort in Trevors arms.In general, Trevor, Veronica, Audrey, Chris, Chloe, Nicholas and Professor Eric were seen inthe house quite often those days.
  56. 56. One day, Cyrus found Cho sitting idly on the livingroom couch, ”Well, I mean... First, after Charlie died, I did the exact same thing.apparently lost in her thoughts, thoughts that clearly were not I didnt feel like getting out of bed, and if I did, it was only to takepleasant. Out of a whim, he sat down beside her. care of the absolute minimum of things. You know, eating, using the bathroom, so on.” Cyrus started. ”And that went on for a while.”Hey sis. Whats up?” I just didnt care enough to do much anything. But the problem was, it didnt get any better. Id go to bed, wake up, and still feel as”Nothing much.” Cho shrugged. ”Just... sitting here, doing miserable as the day before. And that only made me feel worse.”nothing.” ”I know the feeling. So, whats the moral of the story, big brother?””I see. Youve been doing that a lot lately”, Cyrus said. asked Cho, and Cyrus could swear she almost smiled for a moment.”Well... Yeah. Havent felt like doing much if you know what Imean.” ”Well, with me, Chris came to my rescue. She realized what I was doing, and she dragged me out of bed, got me doing something”I do, trust me, I do. Ive been feeling the same way, too”, said again. You know, not big things necessarily, but just doingCyrus quietly. ”But you know, just sitting around, doing nothing, its something. She played chess with me, a game of cards, watchednot going to help any. I know it didnt help me.” movies... All those things I used to enjoy. And I realized, I still enjoyed those things. They didnt necessarily make me feel good,”What do you mean?” asked Cho. but well, less bad anyway.”
  57. 57. ”So, youre saying...””Im saying that maybe you should try the same approach. Try getting back to the things youused to enjoy, whatever those may be. Its okay to be sad for our little brother, I am, we allare. And getting back to the swing of things isnt going to make it all better immediately,heck, it might never be all better again, not entirely. But it might make it a little bit better, andI think thats already worth something.””Doing things that I used to enjoy...” said Cho, in deep thoughts. ”Thats a very nice thoughtand all. Im just... just not sure if itd actually work in practice.””I know it can be hard to get yourself on the move again, I still have days when Chris literallycomes to kick me out of bed, but...””Its not just that”, interrupted Cho.”Then what?”
  58. 58. ”Its the things I used to enjoy. Im not sure if I want to do any of them again.””Why?””Well you know, I used to be all about dating and guys and stuff. The main thing about iswas... well, mostly having fun. Without worrying too much about the future or anything. Itwas the ultimate way to seize the moment.”Cyrus nodded. ”I think Charlie lived by essentially the same philosophy.””Yeah, well... Since he died, I havent really been sure whether that is the way Im supposedto live. If its in any way justified. You know, something like that could easily happen to me. Icould die today, and then what is it that I would have accomplished in life? Yeah I went ondates with guys, spent countless evenings in restaurants, fell in love with many of them,woohooed some. Is that all there is to it? Is that in any way meaningful?”
  59. 59. ”Cho, thats something only you can tell. I think it can be very meaningful, but only if you findit meaningful. We all have different goals in life, and someone else wont be able to justifyyour goals, and they dont have to. I happen to have a lifelong dream of becoming asuccessful athlete, and maybe you or someone else wont find it a sensible thing to bedreaming of. But that doesnt matter, the only thing that matters is that I find it a worthwhilegoal.””Thats just the thing, Im not sure that I do anymore. I mean, Im the heiress, I should beplanning on getting married, having kids, probably being successful in a well-chosen career.I should be responsible”, said Cho.”Look. Im not going to say that you dont need to do any of those things if you dont want to,as its true that youre the heiress and you probably have to have some kids at some point tokeep the bloodline going. But who says that a heiress necessarily has to get married? Whosays you have to work in some pre-destined career? If you dont feel like getting married, orgetting married right at this moment, then you shouldnt. Likewise, if you want to work in acertain career, or rather be self-employed, or a stay-at-home mom, then you should do justthat. Being heiress or being responsible doesnt mean that you cant do things your way. Iknow you used to know that, so why would things be any different now?”
  60. 60. Cho sighed. ”Its just that... My current lifestyle doesnt seem very responsible to me rightnow. I should be doing something that benefits the family in the long run, not something thatjust happens to feel good to me, right now.””Trust me, you can be a good, responsible heiress, and still do the things you want to do.And I dont think theres anything wrong with living in the moment. Charlie did, and I know fora fact that it made him happy. In fact, I think that more sims should live the way he did. Notthat they should necessarily date all the time, or go bowling or whatever, just that they shoulddo the things they want to do.””So you think... I should go back to dating?””Only if thats what you want to do and you still enjoy it. Right now it seems that you dontreally know what it is that you want, so you have to find out. If I were you, Id give dating atry. After all, you used to like it a lot. If you still like it, then great, youve found your answer. Ifnot, well, then you just have to find something else you want to do.””But...””Charlie wouldnt want you to give up the things you liked because of him”, Cyrus said firmly.
  61. 61. Cho was quiet for a while. ”Okay. Point taken. I think Ill give it a try”, she said finally.”Great”, said Cyrus, smiling. ”Im glad you took my advice.””Now speaking of advice”, said Cho, ”I heard from Claire that you arent going to throw agraduation party. What is this kind of talk?””Well, I didnt really think that itd be appropriate, this soon after the funeral, and thoughtnone of us would be in a party mood anyway, so...””Cyrus”, interrupted Cho, ”Think of this for a while. And the advice you just gave me. Charliewouldnt have wanted you to stop doing the things you like the most.”Cyrus looked dumbstruck. Then he smiled a little and said: ”Point taken. Thanks, Cho.””Dont mention it”, said Cho, patting him on the shoulder. ”Now we have a deal. Im going tosettle a date for myself, and you are going to call Mom and Dad and everyone, and decide adate for the party.”
  62. 62. True to her word, Cho arranged herself a date for the next day, with Zeeshan Byall. Heseemed a nice guy, and the restaurant had a pleasant atmosphere. Cho herself felt a littlerusty, though.”So... What is it that you do for a living, Zeeshan?” she asked, not being able to find anythingmore interesting to say.”Oh, I work in the Law Enforcement career, Ive always wanted to be a Captain Hero. A fewmore promotions to go, though”, replied Zeeshan. ”So, youre still in college, right?””Yeah, for a little longer.”
  63. 63. Silence set around them. This wasnt the way things usually went for Cho, not at all. Shenever had silence problems. It wasnt that she felt shy, she didnt have a shy bone in herbody, but somehow she didnt feel like doing small-talk, not with all the unsuitable topicsspinning around in her head.She was starting to feel a little bit worried. What if this wouldnt work anymore? If it justwasnt fun?
  64. 64. The food arrived, and not knowing what else to say, Cho started eating in silence. She feltmore and more awkward. But then Zeeshan spoke up.”Cho.”She looked up.”I just wanted to say, I heard about your brother, and Im terribly sorry for what happened tohim”, Zeeshan said. He sounded sincere. ”I mean, everybody knows youre the Legacyheiress, and word gets around fast”, he explained. Cho didnt know what to say, so she justnodded.”I totally understand if you dont feel like yourself right now, or dont feel much like chatting oranything. Its perfectly okay. Let me guess, you wanted to go on a date to get your mind offthings for a little bit?””Yeah, well... My brother suggested it, getting back to what I usually do...” Cho fell quiet,feeling terribly inpolite. ”I mean, not that I didnt want to go on a date with you”, she tried toexplain.
  65. 65. ”Cho, come on, dont worry about it. I understand perfectly what you mean. Its okay”,assured Zeeshan. ”You know what? Maybe we should do it so that Ill try to take the lead andshow you a good time, just for a change. Not necessarily the raving, partying kind of goodtime, just the relaxed, rather quiet kind of good time.”Cho smiled a little bit. ”I think Id like that.”So the evening went on, with great food and friendly conversation, mostly with Zeeshandoing the talking, telling funny stories about things hed seen at work, interesting storiesthings and people hed come across while traveling, and his favorite recipes of making pizza.
  66. 66. For Cho, this was a rather new experience. Usually she was the one to do the most of thetalking, taking the responsibility of the evening. It felt surprisingly good to just sit there andlisten, not having to say anything really. Just smiling and nodding occasionally were enough.For one evening, it felt relieving to be a spectator.
  67. 67. After the dinner, Cho pulled Zeeshan in for a hug.”Thank you, for putting up with me being the way I am right now, and for showing me afantastic time anyway. I really am having a nice time tonight, even though it may not seemthat way.””Youre welcome”, said Zeeshan, squeezing Cho a little tighter, ”Its okay to be feeling badright now, anyone would in your place. And Im glad if I can help you feel a little better. Now, Ithink they have a darts board here, just out back. Would you like to try it out?”
  68. 68. And Cho did. It was a nice couple of rounds, with Zeeshan still doing most of the talking.Afterwards, they went on the back yard to chill out a little bit.Cho was feeling the most relaxed in days, and to her surprise, she even felt some of thefamiliar feelings she hadnt experienced for a while. Out of a whim, she wrapped her armsaround Zeeshan and kissed him.It didnt suddenly fix everything, or erase the bad memories, but it made it easier to forgetthem, if only for a little while.
  69. 69. For that little while, Cho felt almost happy.
  70. 70. Cyrus kept his part of deal as well. He called the closest friends and relatives and told themthat hed have a graduation party after all. It wouldnt be a big party, just a small occasion forthem all to get together and to enjoy good food and conversation.
  71. 71. Baudolino and Marylena were naturally present for their sons big day.”Honey, Im so proud of you!” whispered Marylena while hugging Cyrus.”Congratulations”, said Baudolino. ”Its really nice that you decided to have a party after all.Even though we might not be in a hugely celebratory mood, I think a happy occasions likethis do us a world of good right now.””Thanks”, Cyrus said to them both and turned to hug his father in turn. ”I wasnt sure aboutthis myself, but we talked with Cho and I decided that I should. We only live once, after all.”
  72. 72. ”So youre going to go right back to Alphabetia?” asked Chirs when she and Cyrus weredancing together in the livingroom.”Yeah, right after the party is over Ill call a cab and be gone. Im all done with packing, so Ithought I could just as well get going.””Okay, great. I only need to pack a few more things myself. Call me when youre thereokay?””I will”, said Cyrus smiling.
  73. 73. It was mostly a rather quiet party, but the kids livened it up by some dancing, and after awhile also the other guests, including Baudolino and Marylena, joined in. The weather wasnice, the buffet was nice, and seeing each other was the nicest. All in all, Cyrus decision ofthrowing a party had been a good one.
  74. 74. ”So, I think were about done here”, said Cyrus, squeezing Chris hands.”All ready to grow up then?” asked Chris.”I think so. Are you ready to come live with me?” Cyrus teased.”I dont think Ive never been readier for anything.””Alright then. Ill see you on the other side.”With that, Cyrus quickly pecked Chris on the cheek, and headed upstairs to get his things.
  75. 75. And indeed it was time for Cyrus to grow up. He did so in one of the bedrooms where hedpacked his belongings, then said his goodbyes and headed for the cab. It was time to start anew life.
  76. 76. Time went on surprisingly quickly after that. It wasnt long until it was time for the youngerGreek House kids to rush for their final finals, and to pass with flying colors.
  77. 77. Around that time, the Bookacy Greek House Greek House also finally gained a wishing well.Cho hadnt been very enthusiastic about the garden club inspections anymore, even thoughshe did spend time gardening, trying to forget her feelings via physical work. It was in theend Claire who decided that after all the hard work, they really, really deserved their reward,and called the Garden Club one more time.And so, after several unsuccessful attempts, about ten minutes before our heiress cameback from her final exam after graduating with a 4.0 GPA, Tiffany Zarubin finally admittedthat the garden was indeed impressive and rewarded Claire with a wishing well. It wasplaced in the back of the yard, next to the pond.
  78. 78. Where Claire took care of practical matters, Carl spent his remaining time in college gettingto know new someones, new distractions to keep his mind occupied when he didnt want it towander. He may have been fairly settled most of the time, but every now and then a newdistraction was simply necessary. Especially in the recent times.
  79. 79. Cho, for her part, had decided that no matter how sad and depressed she was feeling, Cyruswas right.Sitting at home and moping wasnt going to do any good to anyone, so shed betterfind something to occupy herself with. She still wasnt sure if her lifetime goals were welljustified for a heiress, but as she was already rather close to achieving them, itd be stupid toquit now. The sooner thatd be over with, the sooner she could do other, more responsiblethings as a heiress.With that decided, she set to her dating with new determination. Next in line was TroyWilson.
  80. 80. ”... yeah, I usually like to go for the dinner. Its a nice way to get to know the other person,and on the side, you get a meal too, a good one if youre lucky.””Well I suppose that makes sense”, said Troy. ”This one is quite nice, by the way.” He tookanother bite of his chicken.”Yeah”, replied Cho, ”I dont think this place has ever failed me with their chicken. The porkchops arent always so good here but the chicken is nice.”
  81. 81. After eating Cho and Troy went to see the upstairs, which had some leisulerly activitiesavailable, such as karaoke machines, which were unfortunately all taken.”Well, not that I can sing that well anyway”, grinned Troy. ”I prefer to paint and play theguitar. So what do you wanna do now?”
  82. 82. Fortunately, Cho had an easy answer ready for that.
  83. 83. Between the chatting, flirting and joking, the date was quite successful. Cho and Troy evengot a quick turn at the one of the karaoke machines before it was taken over by a crowd ofeager townies.
  84. 84. And that wasnt the end of it, either. The photobooth also proved to be a leisure location of itsown.
  85. 85. Unfortunately, this particular leisure had some side effects.
  86. 86. This, however, didnt kill the mood for the two, nor did it discourage others from taking up thesame pursuits. All in all, a pretty good date.
  87. 87. Even though Cho hadnt had much interest in the wishing well lately, she was gratefult thatClaire had taken care of actually getting it. She decided that it was time to try if it was anygood, and made a wish for friends.For friends, as shed heard stories of unfortunate occurences when wishing for lovers. Andfriends could always be made into lovers if there was interest.
  88. 88. Apparently the wishing well was as good as it had been said to be, thought Cho. It really didbring instant friends. And in this case, two of the three were of her preferred gender, too.Well, that made things that much easier, then.
  89. 89. Claire, on the other hand, was content that her cousin had found use for the wishing well, butin the end, she didnt have much interest in it herself. After all, she had found that she wassimply happy spending her remaining time in college with Trevor. Maybe she was aromancer, but she was beginning to realize there were different kinds of romancers, andperhaps she and her cousin were not the same type after all.
  90. 90. ”Well, that was fun”, said Armando Cox, coming out of the photobooth in BertrandsBotanical Dining.
  91. 91. ”Yeah, taking goofy pictures is always a good time”, said Cho, coming right after her dateand picking up the photos as the booth spat them out. ”Hey look, that face youre making inthis one is pretty hilarious!””Well, thats my basic expression, see?”said Armando, replicating the goofy look.Cho just giggled. ”I bet you have to work hard to hide it. Hey, wanna go for the dinner now?”
  92. 92. And so they went and got seated in a very nice table. After the meal had been ordered, itwas time for some light chatter, but that didnt last long.After a moment a silence, Armando asked: ”Hey, you seem a little quiet for such a talkativeand generally bubbling character. Is everything alright?”Cho couldnt but smile. ”Oh, well, yeah, sorry about that. It kind of happens to me a lot thesedays. Ill try not to be too gloomy on our date okay?””No no, its alright. You dont have to play cheerful if you dont really feel like that”, saidArmando. ”We can take it easy, just talk, enjoy the meal and so. Do you think you want totalk about it?”Cho smiled again, but this time the smile was rather sad. ”Well... If you want to listen, I couldtell you the story. You might already know some of it, I suppose the word gets around. Yousee, my older brother is a vampire. How he became one is a story of its own, but...”Cho went on, and Armando listened intently. What neither of them noticed, was that hewasnt the only one.
  93. 93. My my my, look who we have here. If Im not all wrong, thats little miss Legacy heiress overthere, opening her heart to her newest boyfriend. Coming here tonight might turn beneficialafter all.
  94. 94. ”... and I didnt know what to do, I just panicked. Then suddenly Eric was there, and he toldme to help him get Cyrus in the coffin, and I did, he was smoking pretty bad already, but wemanaged to get him in and he was okay.” Cho swallowed. ”But my other brother, Charlie,he... he died.””Oh”, said Armando. ”Thats horrible. Really, really horrible. Im so sorry, Cho”, he said, andlooked like he really was.”Thanks. I appreciate it”, said Cho wiping her cheeks with her napkin. ”You know, the mosthorrible thing was that I just panicked, and didnt know what to do... I should have pleadedfor his life, but... somehow I didnt even think of it.”Armando looked horrified. ”Oh, yeah, pleading. You know, I wouldnt have come to think ofthat myself. You were worried about your other brother, and he needed to be helped. Itsounds like you and this professor guy probably saved his life. Its not your fault.””Thats what my parents say, too. Im just not so sure myself...” Cho said, examining herfingers.
  95. 95. ”I completely understand that youre feeling that way. I imagine if it happened to me, then Iwould too. But really, its not your fault.””Thanks, Armando. I know.””You know...” started Armando hesitantly, ”Im not sure if youve heard what Ive heard but...Isnt it possible to bring someone back from the death? I think Ive heard this story about thislady, I think she somehow died accidentally and then her boyfriend...””Ah, yeah. Thatd be my great-aunt Rebecca. Her boyfriend and his brother, both my great-uncles, tried to bring her back, and that sort of worked. Shes actually still alive, shes azombie.””Oh.””But even if there wasnt the zombie problem, the same thing wouldnt apply to my brother”,said Cho sadly.Now this is about to get really interesting.
  96. 96. ”Why not?”Cho smiled a sad little smile. ”Well, as you know, were a Legacy family. And well, due tounfortunate circumstances, theres this guy thats out to get us”, she explained. ”His goal isto bring back my great-grandmother, who was the foundress. Long story short, theres amagical protection on the family. As long as the family members let their dead stay dead,also my great-grandmother stays dead. If we brought my brother back, itd break theprotection.””Oh. So he... he has no way of coming back, then?””No.””Im so sorry to hear that, Cho.”
  97. 97. But Im certainly not. ”Mr. Smith” will be pretty happy with me tonight.
  98. 98. ”Thanks for listening, Armando. I really appreciate that you want to be with me when Im likethis”, said Cho.Armando grabbed her hand on the table and squeezed it. ”Anytime, Cho. You have everyreason to be like this, and if I can do anything to make you feel better, Im happy to.”
  99. 99. Looks like my work here is done. Better go make the phonecall and tell him Ive got somethings to report.
  100. 100. Completely unaware that they may have been overheard, Cho and Armando went on withtheir date. It was time for the after dinner fun and games.
  101. 101. And for a moment, Cho was able to forget her gloomy mood and concentrate on theessential.
  102. 102. In the end, she was quite happy that she did.
  103. 103. Meanwhile, in the Chamcha residence.”You said that you had information for me”, said Salahuddin Chamcha after inviting his guestin.”Yeah, I have. I came directly from Bertrands Botanical Dining, where I heard something thatwill no doubt interest you. It might not be terribly good news, but...””Very well. That was to be expected, and in this situation any information is valuable. What isit that you have found out?”
  104. 104. ”... and then she said that they cant bring the dead brother back, because thatd break themagical protection, and the guy that is after the family would be able to bring her great-grandmother back. Thats when they stopped talking about the matter, and thats when I leftto call you”, finished mr. Tellerman.Salahuddin was quiet for a moment.”Very well. Did anyone see you?””Plenty of people, it was a restaurant and I wasnt trying to hide. But I dont think anyone paidany attention to me.””Excellent.” Salahuddin fell into silence once more.”So...?” started mr. Tellerman hesitantly.
  105. 105. ”Well, I believe this does simplify matters somewhat”, Salahuddin replied slowly.”Simplify?” asked mr. Tellerman, confused.”Yes. I have had my suspicions about this matter, and in fact it seems that those suspicionswere for the most part correct. The Legacy family has placed a protective spell onthemselves, which prevents me from bringing back their ancestor. This is not a surprise tome, I was certain that there must be some kind of protection, and it would rather likely bemagical.””Makes sense, I guess.””Yes, very much so. Now what I did not entirely expect, was the fact that someone frominside the family would have to break the protection for me to be able to bring Author back. Itis slightly surprising to me that they should ensure their protection in this way. They musthave thought that it would be quite an efficient way to keep the protection in place”, saidSalahuddin, perhaps more to himself than to mr. Tellerman.
  106. 106. ”But... It is a pretty effective way to do it, right?” asked mr. Tellerman.”Oh yes, in fact, yes it is”, admitted Salahuddin. ”That is true, with one assumption.”Mr. Tellerman stayed quiet, waiting for the solution Salahuddin would no doubt soon reveal.”This plan keeps me from bringing Author back on one condition, and one condition only. Icannot bring her back as long as the Legacy family needs not bring a family member back tolife.”Suddenly mr. Tellerman felt a chill move down his spine.”And as you have no doubt already understood from what we have observed, the family willnot break the protection for the sake of any family member.” Salahuddin continued in acasual tone. ”Thus, there is only one conclusion left for me to make. The family may havethought themselves clever to place this protection, but they should have realized that this willleave me with only one option.”
  107. 107. ”The only way left for me to bring back my Author is to ensure that the family breaks theprotection from the inside. In turn, the only way for me to do that, is to...””Kill a heir?””Kill a heir.”~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  108. 108. ”Hey, Nicholas. Thanks for coming.””No problem, anytime. Is everything alright?””Oh. Yeah, yeah, everythings fine. Dont worry, its nothing bad. I just needed to talk to youabout something.””Alright”, said Nicholas, pondering what this might be about.”Well, I was thinking... Since Ive already graduated, and its soon time to start my adult life,Id need to ask you something.””Yeah?” Nicholas was suddenly very conscious of his own heartbeat.
  109. 109. ”Nicholas, would you placehold for me?””I... uh... umm... placehold?””Yeah. Well, you know, Id need someone to do the job, and youre a trustable guy, someoneI like a lot. So I thought that maybe youd want to. And that way, you could grow up after thenext generation goes to college, get a real life of your own.””I... umm... I... Yeah, well, yeah, sure Ill placehold, if youd like”, said Nicholas, quickly tryingto get his voice sound natural.”Great!”
  110. 110. ”Now, heres some stuff that I thought you might need. Just some basic things, like some ofour leftover Greek House pizza, an energizer from my inventory, you know, the miscellany ofa Greek House.””Uh... Thanks”, said Nicholas and took the package. ”Seems youve been planning this awhile then.””Yeah, its been on my mind. Well, anyway, thanks for doing this, Nicholas. I really appreciateit.”
  111. 111. The next morning at the breakfast table.”So I hear you asked Nicholas to placehold”, started Claire.”Yeah, I did. He should be bringing his stuff over today I think”, replied Cho, taking anotherbite of her pancake.”You know, Im a little surprised that you did.””What? I thought you liked him.””I do. In fact, I had the impression that you liked him too”, Claire said dryly.
  112. 112. ”What?” Cho was growing more and more confused. ”Of course I like him, hes great! Iwouldnt have asked him if I didnt think he was, would I?””You really have no clue, do you?” asked Claire, frustrated. ”Nevermind”, she muttered, lefther empty cereal bowl on the table, and left the room without another word.Cho sat in her chair, staring at her half-finished pancakes. What the heck was that about?
  113. 113. In the next few days, Cho spent some time wondering what had caused Claire to burst outthe way she had. It really wasnt like her at all. Now she acted almost in her usual way, jokingaround and generally being friendly, but somehow Cho had the feeling that her cousin wassomehow mad at her, but she wasnt sure why. Clearly it had something to do with Nicholas,but thats the furthest she got.In the meanwhile, she couldnt stop there, when there were dates to be had. So she hadthose whenever she could.
  114. 114. After all, she was going to be an adult soon, and there was no time to waste.
  115. 115. Back at home, everyone did different things with their remaining time. It was harvest time inthe greenhouse, and Carl promised to help with the harvest. He found it rather relaxing,actually.
  116. 116. Claire spent some of her time freed up by Carls help in the garden by guitar practice. It wasfun and she was getting quite good at playing. Itd probably be pretty helpful when going forthe Professional Party Guest title shed always wanted, too.
  117. 117. She and Trevor also took the time to celebrate their success in the finals, and the adult lifethat was soon to begin.Chos blindness to the obvious was bugging Claire, but she decided she couldnt do muchabout it, not without risking making things substantially worse, at least. So she tried toconcentrate on making happy those that she could.
  118. 118. Cho didnt really have much free time, or time that she considered ”free” anyway. She wasnow rather determined to get to that goal shed set for herself as a teenager. And the soonerthe better.Somewhere in the back of her mind she was perhaps worried that ”the sooner the better”didnt exactly sound right when it came to something shed wanted to do for a long time,something she actually used to enjoy more than anything, but she pushed those thoughtsback where they came from, and concentrated on the goal.
  119. 119. Not that she didnt enjoy dating, on the contrary. She couldnt remember a single date in herlife that wouldnt have been at least somewhat fun.
  120. 120. But no matter how hard she tried – and she tried hard – it just wasnt quite the same as itused to be.
  121. 121. But however she felt, things progressed, and shortly before her departure for Alphabetia, shehad managed to gather sixteen simultaneous lovers.
  122. 122. The evening before the grand graduation party.”Thanks for inviting me, Cho”, said Eric, while the two of them were sitting on the backyardof the Greek House.”Sure”, replied Cho, ”Anytime. I felt like itd been kinda long since I last saw you.””Its nice seeing you too”, said Eric, smiling. ”How have you been?” he asked, growingserious.”Well, I guess just about as youd expect”, she said. ”I havent really been feeling too good,but I dont think anyone would.””Youre right, they wouldnt.”
  123. 123. ”But you know what worries me?” asked Cho.”No, what?””Well, right now Im one night away from having to grow up and go back home, take over thefamily heiress responsibility. And I used to think that Id be an awesome heiress, that Id doeverything right, and the responsibility would just fit like a glove. Now that its about tohappen, Im not so sure I should be heiress at all.””Now let me guess: you think that if you hadnt been chosen heiress, Charlie could havebeen heir, and the protection would have allowed to bring him back?” Eric asked, and withoutwaiting for an answer, continued: ”Cho, you know as well as I do that had you not beenheiress, the more likely choice for heir would have been Cyrus, not Charlie. He, as youvesaid yourself, showed interest for the job, whereas Charlie never did. Also, had Charlie beenheir, it might have gone differently altogether. Maybe it wouldve been you the rest of uswould be mourning now, because it happened to you and you didnt have the protectiveaura.”
  124. 124. ”I know”, said Cho. ”And its not that really.””Then what?””Well, you know, here I am, almost an adult, soon to be head of the family, and how have Ispent my life? Having parties, eating in restaurants, meeting guys... I suppose those are allwell and fine as such, but have I really done anything? I should be able to provide for thefamily, but have I spent time figuring out what it is that I could be doing for that? No. I shouldsoon be taking over the family business from Dad, but do I know anything about running abusiness? No. I should be bringing in the next generation, but do I have a fincé, or even asteady boyfriend? No. I should be responsible not only for my own actions, but for the safetyand well-being of the whole family, and was I able to think clear and help my brother whenhe most needed it? No.”
  125. 125. ”Listen, Cho. Youre being much too hard on yourself there. First of all, when it comes to yourbrother, its a situation where anyone would have panicked. Heck, it would perhaps worry meif you didnt panic in a situation like that. Second of all, not everyone has to live the sameway, legacy heir or not. Not everyone has their career plans all laid out at your age, nor doeseveryone have a long-time relationship plan either, or a plan on the kids. Its okay.””But Im the heiress. Its my duty to have a plan on the kids. If I dont wind up having any,then the whole Legacy will die!””Well perhaps you are in a special position due to the heirship somewhat, but it doesntmean youd need to get married and start popping out kids the minute you graduate. To myknowledge its not even necessary for you to get married at all, if you so prefer. And if you dowant to get married some day, Im sure youll find the right guy. Okay?””I guess so.”
  126. 126. Find the right guy... The guy with just the right properties. Everything that is needed from aLegacy spouse.Perhaps its easier than I thought.
  127. 127. ”Thanks to listening to my whining, Eric. I really appreciate it”, said Cho, wrapping her armsaround him.”Anytime, really. Im only glad if I can support you in some way, especially now that youreobviously in the need of some support. Hang in there, alright? Youll have better timesahead.”
  128. 128. The next forenoon, it was time for the kids to get ready for the graduation party.”Oh la la, someones looking radiant today!” said Ryker teasingly, grabbing Chos hand andgently pecking it. ”Roof raiser graduation party ahead, I assume?”Cho smiled. ”Well I sure hope so. At least its great to see everyone again.””Hey Cho”, put in Claire, ”better start getting ready now, if we want to throw that party sometime this decade. And quit flirting with our placeholder, you know you arent supposed to dothat.””Im not flirting with him, hes...””... hes flirting with you. Yeah, thats what you always say”, Claire said, amused.
  129. 129. ”Now thats enough, Cho, go get changed, Ryker, stop being such a player”, Clairecommanded, but couldnt help but smile a little.”Hey, whats a little friedndly flirt between good buddies?” asked Ryker, patted Claire on thearm and headed to help Cyrus in putting away the books.
  130. 130. Some fifteen minutes later.”Okay, so are we ready? One, two, three, call!”
  131. 131. And so it was graduation party time for the generation C first cousins. We were all reallyproud of our heiress Cho, for her excellent grades and the large circle of friends (widelydefined) that she had managed to collect over tthe years.Perhaps even Cho herself was able to forget about the unanswered questions and herinsecurities about her lifestyle for one day.
  132. 132. She, naturally, threw the party together with Claire, with whom she was perhaps the closest.The two of them had been friends ever since childhood, and today was their big day ofstepping into the adulthood, together.
  133. 133. The guests arrived and the party was on.”Hey, Chip, really good to see you! Thanks for coming”, said Cho warmly.”Now would I miss my favorite cousins graduation party?””No, because you wouldnt want her upset, because when your cousin is upset, then no oneis having any more fun.””Exactly. Now I suppose youre having a buffet table here somewhere, maybe lets go fetchsome food and catch up? Im starving.”
  134. 134. Inside, Carl was enjoying his last hours as a young adult with Veronica. Later, hed lureAudrey away from the poker table for some one-on-one time with her too.Today marked the end of an era for Carl, but that meant that tomorrow would be thebeginning of a new one. Some of his friends and relatives were perhaps a little confused oreven worried about what hed end up doing with his life, but Carl wasnt. He knew thingstended to work out, and really, he had had some thoughts forming in his head for a while. Itdall be just fine.
  135. 135. Ryker found Chloe from the crowd almost immediately, and guided her to the hot tub forsome alone-time.Ryker, like Carl, wasnt worried. He may have found Cho an attractive and very likeableyoung woman – and indeed they did like each other a lot – but ever since hed gotten toknow Chloe, hed known where his heart truly lied.
  136. 136. All in all, everything went smoothly and everyone had a good time. There was a lot ofcatching up between the various cousins, and of course there was some dancing. Even thegrown-up members of the family joined in, and it was all in good fun.
  137. 137. But all parties come to an end, and at the end of this party, it was time for the Greek Houseinhabitants, except for Nicholas of course, to grow up.And grow up they did, in various degrees of inappropriateness in clothing and hairstyles. Andwith that, they all in turn marched towards the cab and a new life.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  138. 138. Ryker dialed the security code and entered the gate. Itd been a while since hed been to theGreek House. Hed visited Nicholas a couple of times, and gotten a few forgotten items, butfor a while hed been busy with work. Itd be good to see his old buddy again, and see if hedfound the book hed lost in the move.
  139. 139. ”Hey, buddy!” Ryker called when he pushed the door open. ”Nicholas, are you home?”No answer. Perhaps he was outside, or upstairs, and couldnt hear him. Or he could be inclass too, Ryker hadnt called and checked if hed be home. Yeah, maybe he was in class.It only took a second or two before Ryker started feeling like something was off.”Nicholas?”
  140. 140. ”Nicholas? What the heck are you doing there? You scared me you know, you couldawarned that you were there before I shut the door.”…”Nicholas, what is it?”
  141. 141. ”Nothing”, said Nicholas quietly. He was sitting on the floor, leaning on the wall, lookingutterly miserable. Ryker thought his eyes glistened a little more than they should have.”Come on, man, dont play games with me. Whats the matter?”
  142. 142. Ryker sighed. ”Look, were both too old for this stuff, right. You sit here all alone, looking likesomeone just died, wont talk and your eyes are wet. It sure as hell aint nothing.”
  143. 143. Ryker noticed a cell phone on the floor.”Hey, is that your phone? Did you get a phone call, is that what this is about?”
  144. 144. ”Yeah.”Ryker was surprised to actually get an answer to that one.”You got a phonecall? Okay. So what was that about?” Ryker knelt down to better be able totalk to Nicholas.”Yeah I got a phonecall alright”, Nicholas said with sudden anger in his voice. He took thecell phone and pushed it away. It slid under the pinball machine and Ryker heard it hit thewall with force.”I got the phonecall I knew that would come and now I hate myself for even dreaming that itwouldnt. Why was I ever so foolish as to...” Nicholas continued his monologue, but Rykerquickly interrupted him.”Nicholas, what was it about?”
  145. 145. ”It was about her, wasnt it?” The truth finally started dawning on Ryker. ”Is she okay?” hehastily added, worried that something may have happened, but knowing it wasnt that.”Oh shes perfectly fine”, said Nicholas quietly. ”Its me whos all messed up.”
  146. 146. ”I just heard that... the woman I love is engaged to someone else.”~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~And this, dear reader, is where I leave you this time. Thanks for joining us for anotherepisode of The BookacyFamily Alphabet Adventures, and welcome on board again nexttime. Until then, happy simming to all!