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The Bookacy family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 42

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Dirk enjoys his first year in college, while his younger siblings are still in high school. Sadly, it's also time to say goodbye to the generation B elders.

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The Bookacy family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 42

  1. 1. Dear reader, welcome back to the Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures! This is chapter 42, and as such, the first college chapter of generation D. If you wish to catch up, the quickest way is to read starting from chapter 40, as that is a recap chapter covering the generations from the founding generation to early generation D. Now, shall we get going? ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ So this was it, thought Dirk Bookacy after he came back from buying some new clothes appropriate for a young adult and inspected his whereabouts at the dorm. He was in college.
  2. 2. It was very much a family tradition to go to college; all of the family had always gone ever since the days that Dirk's great grandfather Adrian and his siblings had attended Sim State University. They had even founded a Greek House, and of course Dirk was going to join it, too. He had been hearing stories about how much fun college was ever since he was a child, and now he was thrilled to finally experience it first hand. He did feel a little bit bad about his scholarships – he had so many, but in the end, he had narrowly missed the last one he was aiming at – but in the end this was going to be fun anyway, even if he didn't quite match the achievements of some of the previous heirs. Right? At the very least, Dirk was determined to try. His first order of business was of course getting to know his dormmates. They seemed a cheerful and welcoming bunch, and Dirk felt comfortable at once.
  3. 3. The first day was orientation day, and it all seemed pretty interesting. So many majors to choose from, so many courses to take, so many professors and students around campus. Dirk's father was no longer lecturing at the university, but Eric had of course offered his help and advice if his son was in the need of any. He had been right about one thing at least. The cow mascot, whom Dirk met his first day when he came back from orientation, was kind of weird, but mostly harmless. Emphasis on ”mostly”. He did apparently manage to annoy many of Dirk's dormmates rather quickly.
  4. 4. When evening fell, Dirk was in for a surprise. ”Dirk! You're here!” exclaimed Daniela, Dirk's second cousin, as she found him on the yard chatting to one of his new acquintances. ”Hi Daniela!” Dirk replied, grinning and reaching for a hug. ”Yeah I'm here, just arrived in the morning and had orientation today. So you've probably just arrived, too?” ”Yeah, same thing with me, Devon and David. Well, all of our year really. I was really hyped so thought I'd come and see you, I knew your dorm was somewhere around here.” ”Well you found me”, said Dirk. ”Hey, I don't think you've met. Daniela, this is Reed, Reed, Daniela. Reed lives in my dorm, and Daniela is my cousin.” ”Yeah, second cousin. Anyway, nice to meet you Reed.” ”You too, Daniela. Hey I'll leave you two to catch up, I should be doing my assignment anyway. So I'll talk to you later ok?”
  5. 5. Dirk and Daniela had a nice evening together in the common area of the dorm. It'd been a while since they'd seen each other, and they both had plenty of new experiences to talk about. ”... because I don't really know yet what I'll pick for a major. I think there are pluses and minuses to...” ”... Yeah I think that sounded pretty interesting. We'll see, maybe I'll try that out and then...” It was definitely a nice night.
  6. 6. Dirk's life quickly settled into a routine. He wanted to be a good student and a good heir, so he took his studies seriously. Often he was seen in the common area of the dorm, working on an assignment.
  7. 7. Or on the phone with his family. Especially little Desdemona was eager to hear everything Dirk could possibly tell about college life. She was of course way too young to go herself, but she was determined to follow her brothers as soon as she became big enough. Sometimes she babbled on and on, but Dirk listened patiently. That's what baby sisters are like, he thought to himself.
  8. 8. Thanks to his dorm mates, Dirk also discovered something that was not perhaps made entirely clear by his parents or grandparents about college life. Even the best students didn't always do everything themselves, but rather, they had some... help.
  9. 9. Dirk was hesitant at first, but since it was apparently a tradition and everything... He did wonder a bit whether this was indeed the biggest secret behind the excellent grades of those before him.
  10. 10. Dirk did feel a little odd about influencing others to do his work, but since he used some of the spared time to otherwise improve himself, it wasn't such a bad thing to do, he reasoned.
  11. 11. Of course, as his parents had told him, it was important to enjoy his time and make some new friends. Dirk tried his best, and he did come along quite well with his peers. Soon he found that he was making fast friends with his dorm mate Reed. The two of them really enjoyed just hanging out and spending time together.
  12. 12. On that same note on making new friends, Dirk decided that it was time for him to get in touch with one of the family traditions in college. ”Hello, is this the Bookacy family Greek House Greek House? My name is Dirk Bookacy and I'd like to apply for admission.”
  13. 13. Yet that same afternoon the only current member of the Greek House showed up at his dorm. She said that her name was Robin, and she was the placeholder selected by his mother at the end of her studies. Robin excitedly told Dirk that he had that afternoon and evening to convince her that he would make a good member for the prestigious society.
  14. 14. Dirk was suddenly pretty nervous. What did it take to be prestigious enough for this prestigious society? Surely it'd be an embarassment if he didn't make it in for the Greek House that his Great Grandfather founded all those years ago. ”Well umm... I can be pretty prestigious if needs be! I haven't actually had any exams yet but I think I can make good grades. At least my professor liked my assignment today. And... umm... I think I can also do some useful stuff for the house! I studied some mechanical back at home and...” At this point, Robin couldn't help but burst out laughing. ”Come on, I was just pulling your leg”, she giggled. ”You don't have to do anything fancy. I'm the only member of the society right now, so I get to decide who's in. And I like you already. Come on, let's hang out in the yard.”
  15. 15. Well, Robin's wish was Dirk's command in this instance, so they went to the yard and chatted in the darkening evening. ”Oh, so you know my step-dad”, said Dirk. ”I do think he's mentioned a Robin from college. So that's you, then.” ”Yeah, that's me. Me and Nicholas were classmates, we still keep in touch sometimes. He was originally supposed to be the placeholder for the Greek House, but when it turned out he was going to get married and move to Alphabetia, he asked me to placehold in his stead”, Robin explained. ”And you obviously agreed, since we're sitting here.” ”Yeah”, Robin nodded. ”I decided that I do want to graduate and move to Alphabetia eventually, but I wasn't in a hurry, so placeholding suited me pretty well. Now I have to say I'm pretty excited that the next generation is going to college, that means some pretty interesting times for me.”
  16. 16. As if there was any question, Dirk was accepted as a member of the Bookacy family Greek House Greek House that evening. He was very excited to be part of that tradition, and Robin, for her part, was very excited about the prospect of finally having some company in the large, empty house.
  17. 17. Dirk was quite happy with his life at college so far. School was going well, and he felt that he was making quite a few friends, too. To think of it, perhaps he had never felt so carefree in his life.
  18. 18. It wasn't much longer until Dirk got the results of his first finals. He was happy to find out he'd done very well. His parents and grandparents were also very proud. In the beginning of the next semester he decided that perhaps it was time to leave the dorm behind and join forces with Robin at the Greek House. That way, he and Robin, not to mention the Greek House, would be all ready when it was time for the next future member, his cousin Dani, to leave for college.
  19. 19. Robin was there to welcome him when the taxi pulled over. ”Hey, I'm sorry this place is a bit of a mess right now”, she said as Dirk walked in and inspected his new surroundings. ”Housekeeping in such a big place is kind of overwhelming just for one.” ”It's alright. No one can expect you to garden and clean all day and night. Besides, Nicholas said something about leaving in a hurry back then.” Robin smiled. ”Yeah, that he sure did. I'll tell you what. Let me just get out of these silly clothes – I just wanted you to feel sufficiently Greek when you came in – and I think we can get the place mostly in presentable shape today.” ”Deal”, said Dirk with a grin. He liked the place already.
  20. 20. ”Alright, now I'm all set”, said Robin, emerging from her bedroom. ”Great, what can I help you with?” asked Dirk. ”Hmm, do you have any mechanical skill points? The trash compactor is broken and I'm a bit afraid to touch it myself.” ”Yeah, I can handle that.” ”Great! Meanwhile...”
  21. 21. ”... I'll be in the garden. If I only get rid of the weeds, it's going to look a lot better out there already.”
  22. 22. Both Dirk and Robin worked hard that evening and Robin was right. By the late evening the house was looking much more presentable already. To celebrate, Dirk went out to get some pizza. After all, nothing beats a tasty pizza after some good physical work.
  23. 23. Dirk found that getting settled in the Greek House was rather easy. Thanks to the efforts of the previous generations, the house was nice and comfortable after the initial push to get things back into shape. On top of that, it seemed that word was getting out that there was again life at the Greek House after another generation, so there was most often someone to spend time with, often even a new someone to meet.
  24. 24. And of course, whenever he needed some fun, there were plenty of forms of amusement to choose from. Dirk had already enjoyed bowling as a teenager back at home, so he was delighted to find that the Greek House had a bowling alley.
  25. 25. Studying was also a possibility, and both Dirk and Robin took advantage of it regularly, and not only for school. The house had a rather good library covering many topics.
  26. 26. One of Dirk's new favorites was gardening. They of course had a rather big garden at home, but generally that was George's realm, so Dirk didn't have much experience. But he soon found out that it wasn't very hard and even gained a bronze badge.
  27. 27. Sometimes Dirk was so engaged in all his fun activities that he almost missed his class. Now of course, that wouldn't do, so he rushed off and made it, although panting heavily when he arrived in the lecture hall.
  28. 28. One of the exciting things about living in a Greek House was of course the possibility of throwing toga parties, so of course Dirk had to do that as well. Not least because all of the cousins were begging him to have one – not that he wasn't excited himself. It was definitely one of the rites on the way to adulthood.
  29. 29. When there was a good day with no interfering classes or other duties, Dirk decided that it was time to put the plan into action. He invited his cousins and friends, and after a moment's thinking, Dorian and Dani as well. He could understand that they were eagerly awaiting their own college years and would probably enjoy having a small taste of them already.
  30. 30. The party was a definite success. The cousins, including the young ones, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. ”Think of it Dorian”, said Dani, ”This is where we'll live when we grow up! I totally can't wait!” Dorian shared his cousin's enthusiasm. ”Yeah. I didn't realize how cool this place was. Uncle Cyrus did a great job with it!” Dani smirked. ”Yeah. My Dad is awesome like that.”
  31. 31. Of course, since the party mostly hosted slightly older guests, some of them inevitably had some other activities in mind. When Dirk noticed that his cousins Devon and Camilla snuck off towards the hot tub, he discreetly guided the younger kids inside. ”Hey, I just remembered, you haven't seen the big TV and the game console yet, right?” ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Devon is Daniela's twin brother and thus also Dirk's second cousin. Camilla, in turn, is the oldest daughter of Bobby and Mehrissa Phillips, making her Dirk's second cousin once removed. I think. Yes, there are enough many cousins at this point that I have trouble keeping them straight myself.
  32. 32. Most of the guests were indeed happy to move inside, where there was plenty of entertainment and some pizza as well. Devon and Camilla joined in at some point, with wide smiles on their faces. Dirk was happy to see that Dorian and Dani enjoyed themselves at the Greek House and were eager to come to college. Perhaps to some college students it would have been uncool to admit it, but Dirk was quite looking forward to it himself. All in all, the party was definitely a success.
  33. 33. Rather soon after the party Dirk came to realize that it would be very sensible to pick a major, and to his surprise, he also found that he knew what he wanted. The Psychology classes that he'd been taking had been very interesting, and they also fit together with careers that he could imagine taking up when grown up. He talked to Robin, who was also of the opinion that Psychology would suit him. She was planning on studying Art.
  34. 34. As his studies seemed to be in a rather good order, Dirk found himself in the garden again. It seemed to be rather relaxing to spend time outside and improve the garden.
  35. 35. Robin may have disagreed about the ”relaxing” part, as she accidentally disturbed a swarm of bees one day on a walk. But fortunately, she did get away from them unharmed, when she ran all the way back to the Greek House on her escape.
  36. 36. ”Dirk, can I have a word?” asked Lucy the maid one day as Dirk was planning on playing a hand or two of poker before class. They were on first name terms since Lucy also cleaned at the Bookacy residence back at home and had met Dirk every day for as long as he could remember. ”Sure Lucy, what's on your mind?” Dirk asked. ”Well, you see, I was wondering if it would be ok for me to...” she hesitated, ”not clean at the Greek House anymore. Not because I don't like it, I do!” she quikly added. ”It's just, I have a heavy load of hours recently and I'd like to do some studies, too, since I never got to go to college.” Dirk immediately felt sorry for Lucy. ”Of course! We fully understand. Would you still keep helping my parents out, back in Alphabetia?” ”Yes, yes, absolutely! I do still need some work, and I really like working for your family, only two big houses like this are a little more than I can handle on top of the other customers that I have. Would you like me to recommend someone to come in my stead?” ”That'd be very nice”, Dirk said smiling. ”After all, we could really use the help, even if we can't have you.”
  37. 37. Lucy kindly promised to stay until Dirk found a replacement, so meanwhile, life went on as usual. Robin was of the opinion that the house needed something fun, so one day, she brought home a gaming console. ”I'm sorry Robin, but... you know we already have one”, Dirk said when he found out. ”I know”, said Robin brightly, ”but this is the newest model. We can just sell the old one. I just felt like bringing something nice home.”
  38. 38. That was very nice of her, thought Dirk. He couldn't have asked for a nicer roommate, really. Of course, he still missed his siblings and cousins, who were substantially younger than him. But on that count, there was nothing to be done but to wait.
  39. 39. And since time marched on at the speed that it did, maybe having Dorian and Desdemona in college wasn't that far away. After all, one of those evenings Dirk noticed that he'd just passed his final exam with flying colors, and his freshman year at college was behind him.
  40. 40. Back at home, Dirk's little sister, Desdemona, wasn't really thinking about college a lot. Other than to miss her brother, who was over there and couldn't play with her as much because it was some distance away. But it was okay. Dirk came over as often as he could, and besides, Desdemona may have been a child still, but that wouldn't be long anymore. Her teenage birthday was closing in, and then all kinds of fun would happen. Maybe visiting Dirk over at college, like Dorian had, would be one of those things.
  41. 41. Until then, it'd have to do to amuse herself the best she could. And of course, she did have one big brother living at home still, Dorian.
  42. 42. As for Dorian, he didn't perhaps have college in the head quite as much as Dirk had had before he left. Perhaps because Dirk was such a worrywart, while his younger brother was much more laid back. In any case, Dorian was looking forward to going himself, though it was still some time away. And in the meanwhile, he was looking forward to maybe getting to visit Dirk again. To convince his parents, he eagerly took part in the household chores.
  43. 43. Speaking of Dorian's parents, things were much as they were before for Cho and Nicholas. Nicholas was still busy working on his newest hobby: pottery. He was chasing the gold talent badge, and that was no longer just a distant dream.
  44. 44. As for Cho, her life these days was more relaxed than previously. She still had dreams, things that she would like to do, like reaching the top of the Gamer career, but she was no longer in a hurry. She had already achieved a lot, and she could afford to enjoy life. It was springtime, and the weather was beautiful, so she was often seen outside enjoying it together with her father.
  45. 45. Despite his advanced age, Baudolino was still in rather good shape, and enjoyed excercising in the pool while getting to enjoy the springtime and his daughter's company. The two of them spent some time together otherwise too. With his long experience in business and real estate, Baudolino was able to help his daughter close the sale on the Takemizu Village vacation home that the family had been looking for for a long while. She was also able to get it cheaper than she otherwise would have.
  46. 46. Baudolino appreciated Cho's efforts to spend time with him. He was also in regular contact with his son, Cyrus. All of the family knew that Baudolino and Marylena probably didn't have long left. It was something that usually wasn't spoken about; they all knew it in any case, and perhaps they were instinctively protecting Cho. To be honest, Baudolino was a little bit worried about her. Long ago, when Cho and her siblings were in college, her youngest brother, Charlie, died in a terrible accident. In some way, they had never gotten over that tragedy. Baudolino knew that Marylena still sometimes cried at night, and as for him, as death approached, he found that he was in some way... relieved. He would soon be seeing his son again, after all those years they should have spent together. But even so, Baudolino knew that for Cho it was perhaps the hardest. As the young heiress, she felt responsible, and nothing anyone said or did could have changed that. Of course, Cyrus felt those same feelings, but their characters were different. It was weighing Cho down more. That's why Baudolino was worried about his daughter. But there was nothing that he could do, other than spend time with his children, and hope that the rest of the family could help them when he and Marylena were no longer there.
  47. 47. He had talked about it all with Marylena, of course. She agreed that in the end there was not much that they could do, and Nicholas would always support Cho, as would Cyrus and the whole extended family, including Dirk's father, Eric. She wouldn't be alone. Besides, the youth, Dorian and Desdemona, deserved to be carefree as much as possible. So they agreed that everything would turn out well, and enjoyed the company of the young ones for as long as they could.
  48. 48. Desdemona was perhaps a little young to even realize that her grandparents were indeed already quite old. Dorian was aware of the fact, but he was not the kind to worry about the future very much. Dorian enjoyed his family's company, as well as his newfound freedom as a teenager. He was now allowed to downtown on his own, and he even had the permission to take one of the cars, if he only told his parents where he was going.
  49. 49. Contrary to what he may have thought as a kid, he now also enjoyed the company of girls, quite a lot actually. At the present time, he particularly liked a certain Daisy Fairchild. She was friendly, funny, not to mention really cute. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Daisy Fairchild is a granddaughter to The Other Bill and his long time partner Sandy, and so a third cousin to the main line children.
  50. 50. Just spending time with her was a lot of fun.
  51. 51. Of course, there were a lot of other girls in Alphabetia, too... Well, that was just a good thing, wasn't it?
  52. 52. ”Hi sweetheart”, Cho said and hugged her oldest tightly. ”It's so good to see you. How's everything at school?” ”The usual”, replied Dirk, shrugging. ”Still pretty quiet in the Greek House, with just me and Robin, but it's kinda nice.” Dirk seemed slightly distracted, and Cho couldn't blame him. It wasn't spoken between them, but Dirk wasn't here just to tell his Mother the latest from the Greek House and to eat her spaghetti. She wasn't surprised when he looked around and asked: ”Err, is Grandpa here?” Cho nodded. ”He was playing with Desdemona a while ago. I'll go get him.”
  53. 53. Baudolino and Marylena were of course happy to see their grandson, too. Dirk spent most of the afternoon entertaining Baudolino with the events of the Greek House. ”Oh, I remember that cow mascot. He was just as much trouble in my day!” Baudolino laughed. He knew that Dirk was there spesifically to spend time with him, and he appreciated it.
  54. 54. After Dirk left to say hi to his brother quickly before dinner, Baudolino and Cho found themselves alone in the living room. ”Sweetheart”, Baudolino mumbled and pulled his daughter into an embrace. ”Dad... Do you think... it's time?” Cho simply asked. ”I don't know, but... it must be close. I'm glad Dirk is here today. I don't think I'll be here the next time he comes for a visit.” Cho nodded. She felt funny saying it, but suddenly she had to. ”Dad, if you... if you see Charlie, please tell him...” Her voice cracked. Baudolino hugged him again. ”He knows, I'm positive. But I will.” ”I love you Dad. And thank you.”
  55. 55. Meanwhile, Desdemona played chess upstairs. She could tell something was going on with the grownups downstairs, but couldn't really tell what. They were oddly serious somehow, and especially Grandpa and Grandma seemed a little... sad? Maybe that was it. Normally she would have been all demanding to know what was going on, but something stopped her. At least in the back of her mind she knew that Grandpa and Grandma were both really old, and the others being serious had to do with that. She had a feeling that things were about to change, but there was nothing she could do about it. So she let the grownups be grownups and played chess.
  56. 56. ”Desdemona, come have lunch with us, will you?” called her mother. Desdemona did join the rest of the family for a late lunch when called. She felt pretty quiet, however, just listening to the conversation around the table. Something was different than usual, but she couldn't put a finger on it. It bothered her.
  57. 57. Baudolino knew what it was. He knew that it affected the rest of the family, made them anxious, but there was nothing he could do for them. He had said his goodbyes. He was ready.
  58. 58. Before anyone else noticed anything, Baudolino felt an unnatural chill in the air.
  59. 59. ”Baudolino Bookacy, it is your time.” Baudolino sighed. ”I know. I'm only sad that I have to leave my loved ones behind.” ”That's always how it is. But you get the easy part, as for you it is as if no time at all passes between now and when your wife is reunited with you.” Baudolino nodded. ”What about...” ”He's looking forward to seeing you again.”
  60. 60. ”That's delightful to hear.” ”I aim to please, mr. Bookacy. Now, the drink's on the house, as is the suitcase. If you'd please follow me into the land of endless simoleans, sports cars and private schools.” ”Thank you, mr. Reaper. I'm ready.”
  61. 61. The last that the living family members could see of Baudolino, was his smile as he stepped forward to follow the Grim Reaper and faded into nothingness.
  62. 62. It was a rough time for everyone. The family had known it was coming, but once again they found that it's not really something one can prepare for.
  63. 63. It was likely the hardest for Marylena, who'd been married to Baudolino for decades. She knew that they'd soon be re-united, and that comforted her a little. And she would see her long lost son again.
  64. 64. The natural thing to do, really the only thing to do, was to seek comfort from each other. ”Hey, are you okay?” asked Dorian, seeing how Dirk's hands were shaking slightly. Dirk tried to smile. ”Well I've been better. I knew it was to be expected but...” ”Yeah, I know.” ”C'mere”, said Dirk, reaching to hug his brother. ”Thanks for looking out for me.” ”Anytime.” As they parted, they saw Marylena had dried her eyes and come back to the dinner table, poking her now cold hamburger with a fork. ”Gramma, can we help you with anything?” Dirk asked. ”I'm... I'm okay”, she said and smiled weakly. ”Just thought I should try to eat a little bit, it might... help the headache.” ”We'll keep you company”, Dorian promised right away, took her grandmother's hamburger and put it in the microwave, while Dirk pulled a chair next to her and placed one arm on her shoulders.
  65. 65. ”Mommy, don't cry, Grandpa was happy”, said Desdemona as she found her mother by the kitchen window, tears in her eyes. Cho smiled and wiped her tears with a sleeve. She reached down to hug her daughter. ”I know, sweetheart. It's just... a little sad for the rest of us.” Desdemona nodded. ”I'm sad too.” She was silent for a bit. ”Are you thinking about Uncle Charlie?” What a perceptive daughter we have, Cho thought to herself. Aloud she said, ”Yes, I'm thinking about him too. I miss him.” Desdemona nodded again. ”If it doesn't make you too sad, would you tell me stories about Uncle Charlie? And Grandpa?” Cho smiled. ”That'd be lovely, sweetie. Go find the photo album. I'll put some coffee on and be right with you.”
  66. 66. Late that night, as Cho was getting ready for bed, she stopped in the middle of a motion. Nicholas, who was already in bed but still awake, turned to face her. ”Are you okay, honey?” ”Yes, yes...” she said, looking around her, as if listening to something. ”I just... I just had the oddest sensation, that's all. It's as if...” ”As if what?” asked Nicholas. ”For the shortest of moments, I thought I felt... this is going to sound weird, but I thought I felt Dad's presence. A if for a very short moment, he was somehow still here. I guess it was real, then”, she said more to herself than to Nicholas. ”What was real?” ”What he once said to me. He mentioned feeling something like this after he lost his parents.” Nicholas sat up on the bed. ”Is it a... bad feeling?” he asked, wondering if he should be worried. ”No, not a bad feeling”, said Cho, again mostly to herself. ”It was really more of a... peaceful feeling. A beautiful one.” Nicholas nodded and smiled slightly. ”That's good.” he patted the bed beside him. ”Come to bed, you need some rest.”
  67. 67. Baudolino was of course buried in the family graveyard, next to his parents. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Goodbye, Baudolino Bookacy, generation B heir. A father of three, a grandfather of five, a devoted husband, parent and grandparent. You reached your dream of having five top ranked businesses, and worked in several different careers in your lifetime. Like your parents before you, you took care of and supported your family in all different ways, and protected it in times of danger and sorrow. You loved your family dearly, and they loved you back. You will be missed by them, and by me. May you rest in peace, Baudolino.
  68. 68. While visiting the graveyard to see Baudolino and Charlie, Cho decided that all the gravestones needed a bit of renovation. The gilded markings were coming off of the oldest ones, so after a bit of pondering, she decided on a new style with black marble markings. After the work was finished, it was agreed that it was very tastefully done.
  69. 69. The Bookacies were by no means the only family mourning their loved ones at that time. Many of the siblings and cousins of generation B were about the same age as Baudolino, and thus their time was full. Baudolino's older sister Beth and his slightly younger brother Bill had both passed away in the winter, and not long after Baudolino's death, the family also received word that Beth's best friend Marsha had died of old age. Those were some of the many sad news being passed around in Alphabetia, but the families were comforted by the knowledge that their elders went peacefully in their old age and greeted the Grim Reaper like an old friend.
  70. 70. Even though everyone was still thinking about Baudolino and feeling sad, they tried their best to get back to their usual activities. That seemed to be the best help in the current situation.
  71. 71. Friends and family did their best to help as well. Dirk was definitely over more often than he usually was, to keep his family company. Of course, he needed it every bit as much as the rest of them.
  72. 72. It seemed that Marylena was taking her loss calmly, but the family still felt that it was important to keep her distracted as much as possible. She noticed their efforts and appreciated them. But she found that the youngest of them didn't even have to try to keep her mind occupied, she was a natural at that. ”Grandma, that's such a pretty shell. Did you find it yourself?” Desdemona asked. ”Well, yes. It was that one time when your Grandfather and I were...”
  73. 73. Dorian, being a little older, was maybe not as good as Desdemona was at distracting Marylena, he thought, but he was helpful in other ways. He knew how to cook decent breakfast for instance, so that the adults had a little bit less to do.
  74. 74. ”This is delicious”, commented Cho. ”Thanks again for cooking, it was a tremendous help.” ”No problem, Mom”, replied Dorian, happy for the praise. ”So do you have any plans today after school?” asked Nicholas in between forkfuls of pancakes. ”Oh the usual. A friend from school has been asking to hang out, so maybe I should do that. Is it ok if I bring her here?” ”Of course, sweetie”, replied Cho. ”You know your friends are always welcome. Besides, every parent should know that if a teenager can't bring a sweetheart home, they'll meet them secretly anyway”, she continued with a wink. Dorian coughed slightly. ”Right, thanks Mom.”
  75. 75. Despite the internal mortification caused by his Mother's remark, Dorian did indeed bring his friend over that afternoon. After all, he wasn't a wussy, and besides, he could only imagine what Cho would say in case he didn't bring anyone. ”Hi Dorian”, said Daisy. ”It's awesome to finally be here. Nice of your parents to have me.” Dorian blushed slightly. ”Well... They said my friends are always welcome. Wanna come inside?”
  76. 76. ”... and that's when mrs. Tellerman, you know the Simlish teacher, walked in. I don't think I've ever seen her so speechless”, finished Daisy. Dorian laughed. ”I bet.” He was getting increasingly nervous. All afternoon they'd been talking and joking and sharing high school stories. Daisy seemed to know what it was that he needed right now: a friend to relax with, to joke around with, to simply not worry for the moment. And there was something else in the air. He wondered whether it was just him or if she'd noticed. Dorian got up, stretching his legs. ”Hey Daisy?” he asked. ”Yeah?” Daisy said, preparing to get up too. ”Thanks for hanging out with me. It's really what I needed right now.” ”Of course.” ”Daisy?” he hesitated. ”Can I...”
  77. 77. Daisy nodded with a little smile, and before he knew it, Dorian had kissed her. For a while, he didn't notice or think about anything else in the world.
  78. 78. But someone else had noticed something – Dorian's little sister, who had come into the room to answer the phone. Desdemona was tactful enough to quietly sneak out of the room, but of course, as she too had a guest that afternoon, she couldn't resist sharing. ”... and they were kissing! Can you believe it?” Debbie Mellon shrugged. ”Yeah, I've seen lots of teenagers kissing in the school yard. Dunno why, looks boring. Hey, wanna play cops and robbers?” Desdemona agreed that cops and robbers was a pastime preferable to kissing, so they played in the yard until Cho called everyone for dinner. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ In case anyone is keeping track, Debbie Mellon is the second-oldest of Christa and Holden Mellon, making her a third cousin to the main line kids.
  79. 79. How Desdemona would feel about the subject of kissing in the future remained to be seen, but at least said future was no longer far away; her birthday was actually just around the corner. ”Hey Dani, thanks for coming”, Dorian greeted his cousin at the gate. ”Hey right back at you, and of course I came, for my little cousin's birthday! It's pretty cool that she's about to be a teenager, don't you think?” Dani asked, grinning. ”Well it's a bit weird since you know she's my little sister and all, but sure, it's fun that she gets to hang out with us at school again. I already promised her that we would.” ”Sure, but first we gotta make sure that she acts cool, like us. I can teach her!” Dani said with a wink. ”Great, now I'll have two of you to be embarassed about”, Dorian replied in the same tone. ”Come on, let's go inside.”
  80. 80. There were already a couple of guests around, and Dani joined Daisy at the pool table. The two girls didn't know each other very well, but soon found that they had something in common. ”So then I tried a really creamy cheese, and with a bread like that, it was just perfect”, said Daisy. ”That sounds awesome”, replied Dani and concentrated on her shot. ”You've got to give me the recipe for that.” ”Sure thing, I've got it on the computer at home. What's your email address?”
  81. 81. Meanwhile, Cho took care of the younger girls. ”Eat up, girls. You need a proper meal today, and it's some time before we have the cake ready”, she told Desdemona and Debbie. ”This is so good, mrs. Bookacy”, said Debbie with her mouth full. Cho smiled at her and sat down to have a plateful herself. ”Thank you, Debbie. And please, call me Cho.”
  82. 82. After a long wait, evening rolled around it was time for the birthday cake. Desdemona stood behind her beautiful cake and looked around. It'd be pretty great to be a teenager, and even though her older cousins tried to act nonchalant, she knew that they were pretty excited too.
  83. 83. ”We're all ready for you, just go ahead and blow the candles out”, called her grandmother from the side. All of the family and friends were there to watch. It was time.
  84. 84. Desdemona pondered for a bit about her wish, but chose quickly. There were so many, but maybe one could come true if she told no one. She bent and blew out the candles.
  85. 85. ”Go ahead, darling!” cheered Nicholas. ”You can do it!” At this point, Dani seemed to decide that it was permissible to let her excitement show. ”Go Desdemona!” she called.
  86. 86. Of course, there was nothing new about birthdays at this point, but still, they seemed to be just as exciting for every sim.
  87. 87. Desdemona twirled, and all of the sudden...
  88. 88. … she was a teenager. ”Not bad”, she deemed. ”Go ahead with the cake, I'll be back in just a bit.”
  89. 89. As was traditional, Desdemona joined the crowd when she was done picking an outfit and a hairstyle. Everyone admired the young beauty that the little girl had suddenly become. Desdemona herself wasn't quite accustomed to being a teenager yet, but her head was already occupied with new thoughts and ideas. She felt like she already knew what she wanted from life the most: to be surrounded by friends. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Desdemona rolled Popularity/Family for her aspiration, and her Lifetime Want is to Have 20 simultaneous best friends. Like both her siblings, she randomized straight, and her turn ons are Hats and Athletic, and her turn off is Custom hair colors. Just as a gameplay note, from this generation on I'm planning to roll for secondary aspirations, simply because it feels easier than picking them myself. (I play by the old old rules, which say nothing about secondary aspirations.) So Dirk and Dorian don't have secondaries yet, but I'll roll for them when I get to that.
  90. 90. The party of course continued long into the night, as the new Popularity sim socialized with her guests. Even Marylena seemed to be happy with the smiling, young sims around her. Their joy was contagious. ”I don't know yet what I want to do when I grow up”, explained Debbie, ”but Desdemona said that it's okay, I'll figure it out later.” ”She's quite right about that. Some take a bit longer than others, but you'll find out eventually”, Marylena answered. Debbie nodded. ”I know. Desdemona is nice”, she then went on, following her own train of thought. ”Do you think she'll be my best friend forever? Even when we grow up?” she added, sounding a bit worried. Marylena smiled. ”I'm sure she'd love that.”
  91. 91. Cho and Nicholas had their own celebration upstairs, where it was quieter, at least momentarily. ”How can it be”, wondered Cho, ”that such a young couple has such old children?” Nicholas laughed. ”I've been wondering the same thing. But really, it's not too bad, being older.” ”No it's not. To be honest, I quite prefer this to the drama-filled days in the past.” ”Me too.”
  92. 92. As it was customary, George and Count Pao had their own celebration afterwards, in the form of a date. ”I take it that the party was a success?” Count Pao asked, enjoying George's closeness. ”Very much so”, replied George, who was in the habit of informing the count on the joys and sorrows of his family. ”And I presume that there will be many more in the future, as young mistress Bookacy chose Popularity as her aspiration.” ”From what you have told me, it does seem a fitting choice for her”, said count Pao, nodding his approval. ”Please do pass my congratulations to the young mistress.” ”I will.”
  93. 93. After the party, life returned largely to normal. School and work continued, and Desdemona joined his brother at high school, something that she'd rather looked forward to.
  94. 94. In general, Desdemona was pretty pleased with her new life as a teenager. Life had so many possibilities and interesting directions to explore now. Especially friends and parties. She wasn't maybe thinking about college much yet, after all, she'd only just become a teenager, but seeing how Dorian would go on and on about it, it was occupying her thoughts some. At some point, one that felt yet kind of distant, she would join her brothers at Sim State University and have all the fun that that entailed. But first, there was this thing called teenage.
  95. 95. Even Marylena was again seen indulging in her old hobbies. She was of course greatly missing Baudolino, but it seemed that she'd willed herself to spend her remaining time doing what she most enjoyed. Everyone knew that her time was growing short, and it made them feel sad, but Marylena seemed to be at peace with the thought.
  96. 96. She also occupied herself keeping in touch with friends and relatives. Death was a frequent visitor in Alphabetia those days, and she felt that she needed to make use of the time she had, and the time that her loved ones had.
  97. 97. Around that time, Cho finally got lucky on the job market. She'd been a ballet dancer for a long time and quite enjoyed it, but for a rather long while, she'd felt like maybe she would like to do something else entirely. Now Cho came across a good position in the Gamer career, and enthusiastically took a new step in her career path.
  98. 98. Meanwhile Nicholas was still happy with his chosen career path of Law, and put a rather large amount of time in his pottery. He engaged in it so much that he maximized his hobby enthusiasm, while the gold talent badge remained elusive.
  99. 99. Still, it was a great achievement and Nicholas was proud of it. He received his plaque in due time, and it joined the other plaques in the upstairs lobby, the family's ”hobby hall of fame” as they playfully called it.
  100. 100. Nicholas wasn't the only one enthusing about a hobby. Like Marylena, George had long enjoyed playing the family's various instruments every now and then, especially the piano, which was right there in the living room. He too had gathered a lot of enthusiasm about it and received a plaque to remember it by shortly after Nicholas got his.
  101. 101. Desdemona got a nice start on high school life, and as a sociable character, she made new friends easily. More often than not, she was bringing home a friend from school, or when she wasn't, she was visiting someone else. That's perhaps why she came along so well with Danya Hamilton, who was one of the first friends she brought home, and a very sociable sim much like Desdemona herself. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Danya is the youngest child of Chip and Sunny Hamilton, making her Marsha and Bailey's granddaughter. Through Marsha's line, Danya is a third cousin once removed, and through Bailey's, a third cousin to the main line.
  102. 102. Those two became fast friends, and often the excited talk and giggles of the two lively girls echoed through the family house.
  103. 103. Despite all the other activities going on, the family still took the time to gather around the llama table for a nice relaxed time together. Marylena especially enjoyed this way of spending time together with her grandchildren.
  104. 104. It was in fact after another llama game that Marylena got up one afternoon and seemingly spontaneously hugged her daughter. ”Cho”, she said, ”I think it's time.” Cho had sensed that this was coming, so she just nodded. She bit her lip and fought back tears. ”Don't worry about me, I'm happy”, Marylena said strictly. ”I'm going back to Baudolino, and that's the happiest thing I can think of. Take care of the family. Just because your little ones are already rather big, it doesn't mean that they won't need you in the future. Take care of them for me, and yourself and Nicholas too. Remember that now things may seem quite safe, but with a history like our family's that might not always be the case. Take care of the family. But most of all, Cho, remember that I love you and I'm proud of you” ”Thanks, Mom”, was all that Cho managed to say, and it was enough.
  105. 105. As the unnatural chill filled the room, Marylena was perfectly calm. She'd known this was coming, and she'd missed Baudolino so much. And she'd get to meet her baby, Charlie, again. She was completely ready.
  106. 106. She didn't need to wait long, the Grim Reaper was punctual. ”Marylena Bookacy, it is your time.” ”Yes, mr. Reaper, I've been expecting you.”
  107. 107. ”I know. Your husband and son are waiting for you, too.” ”That's lovely to hear.” ”As are the endless simoleans, sports cars and private schools. Here's your umbrella drink and suitcase, if you'd just follow me.”
  108. 108. And Marylena did, as her loved ones watched her final smile fade into nothingness. She'd gone, and she'd gone happy.
  109. 109. That was perhaps of some consolation to the family. Still, It was tough especially for the young ones, who'd just lost both their grandparents in rather short succession. Cho made sure to call Dirk yet that same evening, and he was hearbroken to find that he hadn't been able to come by to say his goodbyes because of school taking his time.
  110. 110. Only late in the evening, when Cho was getting ready for bed, when she was alone in their bedroom with Nicholas, she had time for her own tears. She had been worrying about her parents going for a long time, and now that it had happened, it was a relief to to cry. As she laid there leaning on Nicholas' chest waiting for sleep, she felt the same sensation as the night Baudolino had died. For a brief moment, she had strong feeling of her mother's presence. With that comfort, she was finally able to fall asleep.
  111. 111. Marylena's grave was placed on the family graveyard next to Baudolino's, and Cho took care to arrange some beautiful flowers for her. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Goodbye, Marylena. You were a lovely legacy spouse. Mother of three and grandmother of five, you always took care of your family. You supported your husband and your children in difficult times, when the youngest of your children suffered a premature death in a terrible accident. It was your merit as much as Baudolino's that the family survived. You worked in several careers, excelling in all of them and fulfilling a lifelong dream of earning 100,000 simoleans for your family in the process. Rest in peace, Marylena Bookacy, née Hamilton. You will be missed.
  112. 112. Despite the sorrow, life's blessing was that it always went on. Everyone tried to continue their daily activities the best they could and take comfort from them. Everyone worked on their sorrow in their own ways. Dorian was perhaps quieter than usual, and he could sometimes be seen shooting pool late at night, when he couldn't sleep.
  113. 113. Desdemona, ever the Popularity sim, seeked comfort in friends. As many other elders in Alphabetia had passed out recently, many of her friends could sympathize.
  114. 114. The adults of the family seemed to look for comfort in change. While Nicholas had previously been happy in his Law position, he now took up looking for interesting openings in his spare time, and when he saw a position open in Journalism, he decided to jump the chance and take up a new career.
  115. 115. In addition to the element of change, a new career had the added benefit of keeping Nicholas occupied with skill points, provided that he wanted to advance. And of course Nicholas wanted to.
  116. 116. Even though Cho had accepted her new Gamer career position already earlier, now she was all the more content to have done so, for many of the same reasons as Nicholas. It had been a new direction for her ambition for a while, but it also provided her with something to concentrate on and occupy her thoughts.
  117. 117. ”Honey”, Cho started one evening as she and Nicholas were sitting at the dinner table and the kids had already gone to play a video game together, ”I think Mom was right.” ”About what?” asked Nicholas between two forkfuls of pork chops. ”The night that she died, she said to me that things may not always be as safe as they are right now. With the family history and all. I'm a little worried that we may have forgotten to be alert, now that Chamcha has been in jail for a while.” Nicholas nodded. ”Yeah, she's probably right. It's nice to be able to live a normal, quiet family life, but we still shouldn't lull ourselves into a false sense of security. Have you heard anything from the police lately?” ”Well, since Sean retired, we haven't had as close a contact there as we did previously, but his replacement has been very kind. It was last week that they called me to report that, basically, there hasn't been anything new. Chamcha is still behaving well and apparently withdrawing from other inmates, and he doesn't have visitors. The police still thinks he probably has an accomplice or several outside, but there are no clues to who and where they might be.” ”Well I suppose in this case, no news is good news. If you're worried, you could call Dirk and ask him to check the alarm system at the Greek House. Speaking of which, I could check ours. It's been a while.” Cho smiled. ”That's a good idea. Better safe than sorry. You know, it's just hard to believe anything could happen since it's been so long...”
  118. 118. Perhaps altogether too long... ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Dear reader, this is where I leave you for this chapter. As you can see, plot is again lifting its head after a rather long break. What can I say, I love plot and it's what drives this legacy forward. I'm looking forward to seeing where things go – and no, I'm not entirely sure of that myself. Again, I apologize for the insanely long breaks between chapters. I'm full time employed these days, and that combined with the plentiful (to say the least) cousins and the plot, makes things rather slow. I also admit that dreading the elder deaths, I avoided playing the neighborhood for a rather long while. I have things in mind that should, at least in the long run, diminish the number of cousins, and thus make playing faster, but for the foreseeable future, I think the slowness will continue. But never fear, we're still here and still going forward. In any case, I hope you've enjoyed the chapter. Welcome back next time for chapter 43, and until then, happy simming!

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