The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, chapter 39

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Chapter 39 of the Bookacy legacy

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The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, chapter 39

  1. 1. Dear reader, welcome back to The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures! It's again been a while, but now we're back, and it's time for chapter 39. Let's get back to where we left off, shall we? ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Time was flying by. It seemed only yesterday that the youngsters of generation D had been born, and suddenly they were so, so big. Cho's oldest, Dirk, had just become a teenager, and even little Dorian was toddling around the house with determination. After all that had been going on, Cho had doubted whether she would even have children at all, let alone ones that would turn out alright, but it seemed to be happening anyway.
  2. 2. Both Eric and Nicholas had told Cho not to worry, on multiple occasions, and now she was perhaps finally beginning to believe them. Dirk was clearly becoming a fine young man, and little Dorian was just as cute and cuddly as you'd expect any boy of his age to be. Cho had worried that perhaps her actions would have some terrible consequence for the children, but they didn't seem to. No, maybe it was as her ex-fiancé and her husband were telling her: everything was fine.
  3. 3. Which was a great relief in itself of course, but Cho felt especially good about it now, since she was again feeling a bit nauseous, especially in the mornings and had her suspicions about the cause. She was actually quite thrilled, but didn't yet want to mention it to anyone in case she was wrong. Though she also suspected that her mother knew somehow, judging by the looks she was giving her.
  4. 4. Life was nice and peaceful for the rest of the family as well, and perhaps unlike Cho, some were able to put any worries aside. Nicholas, for instance, was quite enjoying his role as a Dad as well as a Step-Dad. Clearly, Dirk had adjusted to him being part of the family admirably well, and actually often sought his advice and support. ”I wouldn't worry about the exam too much, Dirk”, Nicholas said over breakfast. ”You're well prepared and for the most part teachers are actually reasonable about the questions you know.” ”I guess so”, said Dirk and poked at his pancakes. ”I know so”, assured Nicholas. ”You should try to eat properly, exams are much less difficult with a full stomach.” Dirk nodded and cut another piece. He knew that, of course. Nicholas concentrated on his breakfast, too. Sweet kid, he thought. A bit of a worrywart occasionally, but really, any parent – or step-parent – would be proud.
  5. 5. And proud indeed they were. It also soon turned out that Cho's suspicion had been right, and she and Nicholas would soon have another young one to be proud of.
  6. 6. And Dirk found out that Nicholas had been right about his exam. There really had been nothing to be worried about, the exam was actually much easier than he had thought.
  7. 7. The family was of course excited to hear Cho's news – Baudolino and Marylena could not be happier to hear that they would be meeting another grandchild – but that was still a little bit away. Meanwhile, there were other things to take care of. Such as the autumn harvest in the garden, which was George's task as it had been for the longest of times. George definitely didn't complain.
  8. 8. Then there was of course doting on little Dorian, who was quickly learning new words. The doting was a pastime shared between all the older members of the family.
  9. 9. While Cho was on maternity leave, Nicholas was still hard at work in his Law career. Being the helpful sim that he was, he insisted on helping a young couple with their luggage stolen while vacationing, but this turned out not to be the best course of action. Nicholas was not pleased to hear that he would have to pay a hefty sum of expenses from his own pocket, but felt more at ease when his father-in- law told him not to worry about it. ”That's what sometimes happens when you try to help, but you should do it anyway”, Baudolino said and added: ”Don't worry about the money, we've got savings for just these occasions. They've happened before, they'll happen again, and they won't hurt our finances on the whole.” Regardless of such occasional mishaps, Nicholas was still doing well, and in fact, he soon earned a promotion, becoming an Entertainment Attorney. His workmates told him they were sure he was getting close to the very top already.
  10. 10. The adults of the house also had to take care of certain fairly serious matters. ”So”, said Cho as they were all comfortably sitting down. ”I'm not sure if you've met”, she said glancing at Nicholas and, on her other side, Sunny Straight. ”Sunny, this is Nicholas, my husband and the Legacy spouse. Nicholas, this is Sunny Straight, our matchmaker who's known everyone in the family ever since my great grandmother, and has kindly helped us so very much with everything having to do with security.” ”Nice to meet you”, said Nicholas, nodding. ”You too”, said Sunny warmly.
  11. 11. ”You may wonder”, started Sunny, addressing Nicholas, ”why it is that the family has used a matchmaker, of all sims, to help them with security.” ”Well, yeah”, admitted Nicholas. ”When Cho told me she had invited over our security specialist, it wasn't exactly a matchmaker that first came to my mind.” Sunny smiled. ”Understandable. And I must admit that when it comes to your electronic surveillance system or the security provided by George, I'm not of much help. But it happens that I am some kind of an expert when it comes to different kinds of magic: not just witch and warlock magic, but for instance, vampire magic. And seeing that the greatest threat to this family is both a vampire and a warlock, I have been able to give some assistance. Not to mention, of course, that we have some rather powerful magic of our own.” ”I was good friends with the foundress, Cho's great grandmother Author”, Sunny continued, ”and have also known Salahuddin Chamcha for a very long time. Seeing the things he has done, the things he's capable of, it felt natural to try and protect the family.”
  12. 12. ”From what Cho told me, you helped Cyrus with his vampirism”, Nicholas said. ”That's correct”, confirmed Sunny. ”Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do it before Charlie's horrible accident”, she said quietly. ”It wasn't your fault.” Cho sounded firm. ”And she has helped us before”, Cho explained to Nicholas.”The protective spell on the family, the one that prevents Salahuddin Chamcha from bringing my great grandmother back as long as we don't bring anyone back, was her doing.”
  13. 13. ”Oh yeah, I remember you mentioning that”, said Nicholas. He was silent for a moment. ”Actually, I was wondering...” ”Yes?” ”Isn't it a bit risky? I mean, for the Legacy. Say, if an accident were to happen to an heir before they had the chance to have children?” Sunny nodded. ”Yes indeed, that's a good question. Fortunately, I was able to cover for that. Each heir – and spouse – has a protective aura that allows them to be brought back without breaking the protection.” ”Ah, I see.” ”Only, the aura cannot be extended to anyone else, and once it lifts from its holder, it can never be given back”, Sunny said, slightly apologetic. ”It was the best I could do.”
  14. 14. ”So the purpose of today”, said Cho, ”in addition to getting you up to speed with the family security matters, is discussing the future.” ”Alright”, said Nicholas. ”I suggested it”, explained Sunny. ”I asked her to get in touch with me once all these other matters”, she gestured around, ”had calmed down enough to allow for this. It hasn't been in a rush seeing the current situation, with Chamcha jailed and all, but I found it important that we should have this talk nevertheless.”
  15. 15. ”What I wanted to talk about”, said Sunny slowly, gazing somewhere a little past Nicholas' shoulder, ”was the future of this family. Not only its immediate future, but also its distant future.” ”I thought so”, said Cho, and Nicholas simply looked at the two women, expectant. ”The immediate future should be relatively safe, for you and your children”, Sunny said. ”Chamcha has been jailed only recently, and with as much attention as his case has been receiving, you are I think mostly covered for. I also believe that Sean and certain other members of the family are still keeping an eye on things from a distance. Granted, they are getting old, but it's not only their power that should be feared, but also the power of those that they have influence over. It would be quite foolish of anyone to try to attack the family right now.” Cho nodded. ”Still...” Sunny went on, but was suddenly interrupted.
  16. 16. ”I'm sorry”, said Nicholas, looking both confused and worried. ”'Anyone'? Isn't Salahuddin Chamcha the only one who wants to hurt the family?” ”Well, technically”, answered Sunny, ”he's the only one we're aware of. No, I don't think there are sims in this neighborhood who secretly plot your downfall independently of Chamcha”, she then hurried to answer to Nicholas' unasked question, ”but we can't be sure that he doesn't have allies who are free to act on his wishes even when he's not. We know that he's worked closely with his son before, and since Aadam wrenched himself free, Chamcha may well have replaced him.” Cho nodded at her husband, her eyes glistening. ”That's why we couldn't bring Charlie back, even if we had the means right now. Even though Chamcha is in jail, breaking the protection would free someone to do his bidding and bring back my great grandmother for him. And when he eventually gets out of jail himself, he'd be sure to try for himself. We'd have to be absolutely certain that no one is out there trying to get the task done right now, and also that we'd be able to replace the protective spell with something at least as good by the time Chamcha walks. And we just can't be sure.”
  17. 17. ”Exactly”, confirmed Sunny, and patted Cho on the arm. ”I'm so sorry, dear.” Cho nodded, swallowing hard. ”I know.” ”Now, what I was going to suggest”, said Sunny when Cho seemed calm again, ”would be not to decrease any basic security measures, even if it currently seems that the family is safe. You have very good electronic security systems both here and at your vacation properties. Use those systems, and teach your children to use them. Make sure that any future property that you may buy also has such a system. I recommend one connected to a fence at least on any property where you intend to sleep. If you notice anything unusual, anything at all, contact both me and Sean. Of course, I don't expect there to be any unusual activity, but just in case.”
  18. 18. ”Fences, fences...”, said Nicholas, pondering on what he had just heard. ”Our kids are going to go to college at some point, in Dirk's case relatively soon even. Is that a problem? I mean, he's going to have to stay in a dorm at first and we can hardly ask them to...” ”The dorm is fine”, assured Sunny. ”It's true they don't have fences, or as good a surveillance system as you do, but we have plenty of sims staying there and actively monitoring the situation. Sneaking up to attack a student in a busy dorm would be a high risk affair, not to mention that finding out the correct dorm would require access to campus files, which are monitored by the college staff.” When Nicholas still looked uncertain, Cho said ”It's fine, honey. I stayed at one of the dorms, too. And look how well that turned out.” Nicholas couldn't but smile at that. True, he had no complaints whatsoever about Cho having lived in the same dorm as him. It would be alright, he thought. Sunny seemed to know what she was talking about, and if she wasn't worried about the dorm, then it made no sense for him to fret over it, either.
  19. 19. ”That sounds reasonable”, mused Cho. ”We've been using the security systems for a long time, and they don't really make our lives difficult in any way. Is there anything else that we should do?” ”Not for the moment I don't think”, replied Sunny. ”But what I want to stress to you, is that this is all for now. As I said, you should report anything unusual to me, and to Sean, or whoever may take the lead in these matters after him. And, perhaps more importantly, you should keep your kids informed.” ”Absolutely, we'll have a chat with Dirk as soon as possible. He's old enough by now”, said Cho, and Nicholas nodded in agreement. ”Good. And whoever the heir ends up being, they should also keep the future generations informed”, said Sunny. ”As the situation is calm right now, our biggest threat is lulling ourselves into a false sense of security. Sean and the others did the best they could by sending Chamcha to jail, but unfortunately, he will eventually get out, and when he does, we need to be ready.”
  20. 20. ”Sunny, I cannot thank you enough for everything you've done and keep on doing for this family. Thank you”, Cho said quietly to the older woman. ”Yes, thank you so much”, said Nicholas, who had only begun to understand the extent of the knowledge and power that Sunny was using to protect them. ”You're welcome dear. I've known Salahuddin Chamcha longer than perhaps anyone alive today, and if things continue to be peaceful, in the future I may be one of the very few who has seen what he's capable of. I don't approve of what he's done to this family, and I believe I should do everything I can to protect you from whatever he may try.”
  21. 21. ”I made a promise to your great-grandmother to protect this family, and it is a matter of honor to keep that promise. Whatever the years and generations will bring, I will do my very best to help.”
  22. 22. Meanwhile, it was time to enjoy the peaceful time, and forward everyday matters. Now that Dirk was a teenager, he was thinking about college quite a lot. Of course, there was no question of whether he was going: as a direct decendent of the main line, of course he was. And from what he had heard from his relatives, it was probably going to be a fun time. For now, though, it was time to prepare, by studying hard and earning scholarship. That, however, didn't mean that it had to be boring. To the contrary, sometimes it was a lot of fun.
  23. 23. Nicholas was also working on his skills, although of a different variety. Often in the evenings, especially after little Dorian had been put to bed, he could be found at the sewing machine working on some project or another. And around those days, he was finally able to get a silver talent badge.
  24. 24. Speaking of Dorian, he too, was busy with his skills. While his Dad and big brother were working on badges and scholarships, little Dorian was learning how to sing a nursery rhyme with Grandma. Both of them greatly enjoyed this new activity.
  25. 25. As for the proud grandparents, besides doting on their grandchildren, Baudolino and Marylena enjoyed their retirement days in many ways. There was always a game to play, a dance to dance, or some excercise – or Tai Chi – to do. Life was good.
  26. 26. That autumn it was also a time for some experiments. Thanks to all George's work in the garden, the family had a hefty stock of different fruit and vegetables. They were aware that some juices had interesting side-effects, but had not previously thought much of it. That autumn Cho discovered the energizing effects of pepper punch, and in her pregnant state, was quite happy about it. It was probably healthier than coffee, too, she thought.
  27. 27. Cho wholeheartedly enjoyed her maternity leave. It gave her a chance to relax and spend time with Dorian (who was often babbling on about babies these days). And while he was taking a nap or being doted on by someone else, she could have time for herself, and for example practise her dancing, which she had come to enjoy quite a lot. Cho of course couldn't do full dance routines right now, but she still liked to warm up, and couldn't resist doing a careful twirl or two every now and then.
  28. 28. There was frequent contact between Dirk and his Dad. Eric would occasionally visit, and often Dirk went over to his place, or they talked on the phone. ”Oh hey Dad”, said Dirk one afternoon, having picked up the phone on the way to his room. … ”Good, good, or not really much. Mom's getting bigger by the day. Dorian is patting the stomach a lot, I'm not sure he really understands it, but he seems to like it anyway.”
  29. 29. ”Me? Not much. Mostly studying, really. School's been some work lately, and well, I want to gain myself some scholarships too. I want to do my best, to be as well-equipped for college as I can.” … ”I'll try not to, Mom and Nicholas said the same thing. But if I don't do this work now, I can't really get the scholarships later, you know.”
  30. 30. ”If it makes you worry less, I did go downtown a couple of days ago. You know, just to hang out. For fun.”
  31. 31. ”Oh, umm, nothing much. Just... well, took some pictures in a photobooth, thought maybe Mom would like to have them, tried on some clothes and... stuff. Anyway, what's going on with you, Dad? Are we still on for that movie on Saturday?”
  32. 32. Little Dorian may not really have understood it, but his time as a toddler was becoming short – he was going to be a big boy soon. He already spoke pretty well (and understood commands when he felt like it), walked and knew how to use the potty, so perhaps it was time. Even if the older relatives felt a little wistful at the thought.
  33. 33. But for a little while longer, he was their little sweetheart.
  34. 34. Time went on, and Dirk was right: Cho really was getting bigger by the day. It wouldn't be long until he and Dorian would have a little sister or brother.
  35. 35. Nicholas spent the waiting time working, although sometimes he had a little difficulty catching the carpool, being so engaged spending time with his wife and kids.
  36. 36. But right now, it was time to gather around for Dorian's birthday. In the end, the grownups didn't terribly miss having Dorian as a toddler: judging by the size Cho was getting, there would be someone very little to look after very soon. And Dorian himself was absolutely thrilled to become a big boy.
  37. 37. As the birthday boy was a rather sociable character and not afraid of big sims, Cho and Nicholas had decided to make it a slightly bigger occasion with lots of relatives in attendance. In addition to, of course, Baudolino, Marylena and Dirk. Little Dorian was beaming, basking in the attention.
  38. 38. ”Well, I better blow the candles for the young mister here, before he either grabs the candles or plunges headfirst into his cake”, Cho grinned at the onlookers.
  39. 39. … and with a rather tremendous amount of cheering...
  40. 40. … Dorian looked up at all his big sims...
  41. 41. … and grew up. ”Mom, I'm big! Can we have some cake now?”
  42. 42. ”Well done honey! And of course we can. Please help yourselves to the cake”, Cho gestured towards the guests. ”Dorian, Dad will help you with the cutting.”
  43. 43. Assisted by Nicholas, Dorian got himself a big chunk of cake and sat down to enjoy it. It was pretty exciting to be big, to be able to sit at a table like the adults, eat the same foods (like cake)... And of course, there were a lot of other exciting things. Like school! From what Dirk had told him, it sounded a lot of fun. He wasn't maybe so sure about sitting still for longish periods of time, but getting to meet lots of other kids sure sounded great.
  44. 44. While the birthday boy was looking for clothes that would suit him, the grownups were busy catching up. ”Thanks for the invitation”, said Ramin to Marylena. ”It's all too rarely that we get the chance to see each other.” ”Oh you're welcome. That's what me and Baudolino thought, so since Dorian isn't worried about plenty of sims around, we thought he might actually enjoy a party. And it'd work as an excuse for us others to spend time together, too.”
  45. 45. ”And how are the kids?” Baudolino asked Veronica. ”Oh, just great”, she replied smiling. ”You'd think three teenagers would be a handful, but I'm proud to say they aren't any trouble at all. Of course, now that I said that aloud...” ”Don't worry, it'll be fine. They usually have some hardships, but things work out, they do. And seeing how Cho was just telling me how she met Devon on her way to work and how he was a perfect young gentleman, I really don't think you have much to worry about.” ”Thank you”, said Veronica. ”I think we've gotten lucky. Although you have to wonder about the imagination the kids have. You wouldn't believe it, one day when me and Audrey were playing chess...”
  46. 46. Soon enough Dorian was done with his new new style and ready to show it off to everyone. And he got plenty of attention, which he quite enjoyed. All in all, not a bad birthday party. Everyone seemed to have a good time.
  47. 47. When everyone had gone to bed that night, George called Count Pao. He felt like a nice relaxing night someplace, and Bernards Botanical Dining felt like just the place. ”So I take it that young master Bookacy has aged well?” the count asked George once they were comfortably inside. ”Yes indeed, and I believe that he quite enjoyed having some company over for it. It is truly amazing how quickly the young ones grow.” Count Pao smiled sadly. ”It is. I occasionally wonder how life would be if I were not a vampire. But, it is all I know these days.” ”I also sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a sim such as the family are. But this is how I am, and how I have always been. And, I have you.” ”You have me”, the count repeated quietly. ”And I have you.”
  48. 48. The rest of the date included less solemn contemplation and more fun and relaxation, which both George and Pao were looking for that night. But still, they were perhaps a little more aware of how lucky they were to have each other.
  49. 49. After Dorian's birthday, it wasn't a long time until the new baby was due. ”Oh, it's any day now, me and Marylena are alert at all times”, Baudolino was heard saying on the phone. ”Nicholas is of course thrilled, and a little irritated that he has to be at work right now. But we'll be there.”
  50. 50. Cho spent the remaining time relaxing. She was so big now that doing anything very physical was pretty much impossible, and it took a toll on her energy too. She was perhaps a little restless, but the rest of the family told her to take it easy, so she did. Those days, she spent a lot of time in the living room, at the game console.
  51. 51. In fact, that was where she was one day when George was doing his usual gardening and heard a sudden sharp scream. Only a moment later, he saw Marylena at the back door. ”George, it's the baby, it's coming!”
  52. 52. And that was indeed the case.
  53. 53. Marylena, Baudolino and George were all there, and even Lucy the maid rushed to the living room when she heard Cho's screams. But there wasn't really anything any of them could do.
  54. 54. It was Cho who had to do all the work.
  55. 55. But thankfully, the pain didn't last for much longer, and soon...
  56. 56. … Cho found herself holding her newborn daughter. Her beautiful daughter, who would be named Desdemona, as discussed between Cho and Nicholas. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Welcome to the family, Desdemona Bookacy. You were named after Desdemona is Shakespeare's Othello: The Moor of Venice. Your namesake is the daughter of a Venetian senator, who falls in love with and marries Othello the moor. Unfortunately for the young couple, Othello's ensign Iago holds a grudge against Othello for promoting a younger man to be his lieutenant rather than him. Iago weaves a plot that will be, as is well known, the destruction of both Othello and Desdemona.
  57. 57. Cho noted that this was a rather amazing feeling. Holding someone brand new in one's arms, and knowing she was her own flesh and blood. Cho may have been a romance sim, but she loved both her sons dearly, and she knew from that first moment that her daughter would be no different.
  58. 58. Overall, Desdemona couldn't have gotten a warmer welcome.
  59. 59. ”She's got my hair”, Marylena commented when the newborn was resting in her mother's arms. ”That she does”, Cho said. ”And Nicholas' eyes, I think.” ”Or maybe yours”, said Baudolino. In any case, little Desdemona was clearly one of the family, that much was agreed on. Time would tell whom she would take after in other respects.
  60. 60. That afternoon, when Nicholas came from work, he had an eager big brother waiting for him. ”Daddy, Daddy, the baby is here! You should come see the baby, it's so tiny and has your eyes and Grandma's hair and...” Dorian babbled as he hugged his Dad. Nicholas laughed. ”Settle down, Dorian, take a breath! I know, Mom called me at work.” ”But isn't it awesome? Can I play with her?” ”Of course it is”, Nicholas beamed. ”Come on now, let's go inside.” Noticing the eager look on his son's face, he added, ”We'll go to the nursery to see the baby. And if she's awake, you can play with her.” At that, Dorian dashed inside. ”If she's awake”, Nicholas stressed to his back, and walked inside after him.
  61. 61. After the initial excitement, life settled down for the Bookacies. Everyone went back to their favorite pastimes.
  62. 62. Even Dorian, who learned that he should not disturb the baby while she was sleeping and decided to enjoy dancing instead.
  63. 63. Of course, those favorite pastimes still included a lot of Desdemona.
  64. 64. Dirk's life consisted of the typical teenager activities, such as hanging out with friends after school. He was encouraged to bring friends over, so that the family got to know them as well. Some teens might have thought hanging out under the parents' watchful eye would have been lame or embarassing, but Dirk didn't really mind, he was close to his family and liked it that way. And not that his parents or grandparents were actually all that watchful, anyway. Besides, he didn't have to befriend the immature type now did he? His friends didn't mind either, they were cool like that. ”Nah, it's okay”, said Damon. ”My parents want to know the kids I hang out with too. Actually, they even said it's okay if I throw a party, as long as I ask them beforehand. I was thinking maybe Saturday, wanna come?” ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Damon Custer is one of the sons of Corinna and Weldon Custer, and a third cousin to the main line.
  65. 65. ”Yeah, that sounds fun”, said Dirk as they proceeded to play red hands. ”Let me ask first. Mom?” he called. ”What?” shouted Cho from the next room where she was studying. ”Can I go to Damon's on Saturday? He's gonna have a party.” ”Of course”, said his mother peeking from the doorway with a book. ”Damon, ask your Mom if Dirk should bring anything over, I'll send it with him.” ”Okay, mrs. Bookacy”, said Damon. ”Cho.” ”Oh yeah. Cho.”
  66. 66. Whenever there was time, and there usually was in the nights, George and Count Pao would spend time together. The Count of course was only available after sunset, and nights suited George well, too: the family was asleep, the chores were done and the security system watched the house. The dates were usually downtown, and casual. It didn't matter what it was that they did...
  67. 67. … as long as they did it together.
  68. 68. Of course, they weren't the only happy couple around. Cho and Nicholas, too, were still as madly in love as ever. If Cho had ever wondered how she would adjust to family life with her romantic ambitions, she had now realized she no longer needed to wonder.
  69. 69. The younger members of the family didn't have romance on the brain, but rather, they had other ways of amusing themselves. For instance, Dorian found out that jumping rope was a lot of fun. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Dorian's One True Hobby turned out to be Fitness.
  70. 70. The adults were busy with hobbies, too. Perhaps inspired by his young master's sportsy activities, George decided to take a dip in the pool one of those days. That turned out not to be the greatest idea, and in fact the family were quite horrified. Baudolino, who knew something about robotics, said that it was a small miracle that George only needed to recharge himself and wasn't seriously injured. He looked into all kinds of user manuals to find if such accidents could be prevented in the future. Meanwhile, he pleaded that George would be more careful around water.
  71. 71. Whenever Cho wasn't needed with little Desdemona, she took the chance to learn more. She'd always had that booky side, and now that life was peaceful, she quite enjoyed those activities.
  72. 72. Nicholas was still working hard on his sewing. He, too, was interested in learning new things, but he was focused on practical aspects of them.
  73. 73. Also, Cho had told him that some juices had beneficial effects, so he experimented with them, hoping to find the optimal mix for badge building.
  74. 74. Baudolino spent a lot of his free time with games, be it pool, Don't Wake the Llama or the console. He was quite enthusiastic with them currently.
  75. 75. Marylena, on her part, felt the same way about dancing. She had recently gotten into it, and even if she wasn't as young as she used to be, she quite enjoyed challenging herself with the ballet barre.
  76. 76. In fact, so much that the Music and Dance club in Alphabetia recognized her efforts and she received a hobby plague. Soon it was hung on the wall together with George's Nature plague and Baudolino's award on Games. All of them could be quite proud of their achievements.
  77. 77. The grownups of course had their other duties – and joys. Little Desdemona was quickly growing up. It wouldn't be long until she'd become a toddler, so the family enjoyed the baby time as long as they could. The little ones were little for such a fleeing moment.
  78. 78. And of course, being not yet a grownup didn't mean you were exempt from any duties. Dorian had recently started school, and much like his older brother, would have wanted to see great results right away. ”Don't worry, honey. Dirk needed a bit of time to get a hang of it, too. It'll be just fine”, Cho said, ruffling her son's hair. ”Are you sure?” Dorian asked her. ”I'm sure”, she said. ”And Grandpa said he can help you with the homework later.” ”Okay!” said Dorian, with a smile already lighting his features, and ran off to jump some rope. Cho smiled to herself. In this respect, the boys were so different. All Dorian needed was a bit of reassurance and he was his cheerful old self again, but Dirk was a different story. He would have worried despite whatever they told him.
  79. 79. But perhaps Dirk too was relaxing a bit as he grew. At least his parents happily noted that he was making friends, and often bringing them home from school. Not all teenagers would have chosen chess as the primary pastime with a friend from school, but for Dirk it seemed to work. ”... yeah, and then there's my little sister, Desdemona, she's only a baby. What about you?” Dirk asked his classmate Dewey. ”I'm the oldest too, I've got a little brother, Donny. I think he's mentioned meeting your brother at school.” ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Dewey and Donny Ruben are the two sons of Calista and Joshua Ruben, and as such, third cousins to the main line.
  80. 80. Dirk didn't exactly appreciate being cheated at chess, but otherwise, the two boys got along quite nicely. And of course, plenty of relatives and classmates had a bit of a deficiency in nice points, so Dirk supposed some cheating every now and then was to be expected.
  81. 81. Before any of them knew it, it was time for little Desdemona to become a toddler. With three lively kids in the house, the family felt like keeping the occasion quiet. They knew the birthday girl didn't mind, and she could get plenty of parties when she was a little older. For now, it was enough to have the immediate family present, and a couple of visitors who had been invited home from work and school.
  82. 82. And besides visitors, Desdemona also had a cake. She couldn't have any yet of course, but she still cooed happily as Cho brought her to it.
  83. 83. As the family and friends cheered on...
  84. 84. … Cho blew the candles out for Desdemona, who watched with keen interest.
  85. 85. And suddenly, Desdemona was no longer a baby, but a beaming toddler. She enjoyed the attention for a moment, and was then taken for a change of clothes by her adoring mother.
  86. 86. Meanwhile, the rest of the family entertained the guests, and there was plenty of cake for everyone. Desdemona got some milk instead.
  87. 87. The little princess quickly yet showed her new look to everyone and got a round of tickles and cuddles while she was at it. She looked a lot like her mother, everyone agreed. Soon however, she started yawning, so the parents decided it was time to put her down in her crib, and the family called it an early night.
  88. 88. The older members of the family didn't quite yet retire to to bed, however. Baudolino had promised to help Dorian with his homework, so he did. ”... and then if you have three more pieces of cake, how many have you eaten then?”
  89. 89. Nicholas did some studying for work, and he also figured it would help him with his badges. Dirk decided to stay up and work on his scholarships. Nicholas and Cho exchanged a bit of a look at that, as Dirk was yet rather young and had been working rather hard recently, but as long as he didn't strain himself they supposed it was only good he was thinking ahead.
  90. 90. After putting Desdemona in her crib and leaving the watching duty to Nicholas, who had the baby monitor in the living room, Cho headed for the sauna. It wasn't very often that anyone used it, but George and the maid kept it nice and clean, and every once in a while it was a nice way to relax. Marylena was the one who had originally wanted to build a sauna, and she was the most frequent user too. Cho didn't go very often, but tonight she felt like a bit of rest and relaxation. It was pretty amazing how fast her kids were growing up. Dirk all thinking about college, Dorian learning to do his homework, and even Desdemona crawling around the house as if she'd always done it. It was pretty amazing.
  91. 91. George spent the rest of the night doing his two favorite things: taking care of the garden and having a date with Count Pao downtown. Needing very little rest did have its perks.
  92. 92. Time marched on. Everyone got to know little Desdemona a little better now that she was able to engage in things more and express herself, even if not with words yet. She turned out to be a cheerful little girl who was all about smiles and giggles and cuddles. Her big brothers adored her. Dorian was looking forward to when she would be able to play with him more, but even now he could often be found in the nursery. And the family-oriented Dirk was of course in awe of her.
  93. 93. She also made her adults busy, now that she was up and about. Cho and Nicholas were hopeful to get rid of diapers soon now, but of course that was a bit of work still.
  94. 94. Nicholas' experiments with the juices were bearing fruit. He'd found out that orangeade was the correct juice to help with his badges. The effect wasn't huge, but every little bit helped. And once Cho tipped him that pepper punch was a great for that extra bit of energy, he felt more refreshed in his evening sewing sessions.
  95. 95. Nicholas also worked hard on his career, and quite soon after Desdemona's birthday, he earned a big promotion and became the Law. Now his lifelong dream of providing for his family was no longer far away at all.
  96. 96. Being fortune sims, Baudolino and Marylena were of course very proud of their son-in-law's achievements. ”Honey I'm so happy that all turned out for the best.” ”Me too. With Cho and Nicholas, I don't think we need to worry at all.”
  97. 97. Also the younger generation had some achievements to make the grandparents proud. ”Mom! Dad! I got an A+!” yelled Dorian when he hopped off the school bus. ”That's great sweetie! Why don't you go show Grandpa, too. I'm sure he'd love to see how his help with the homework got you such nice grades”, said his mother, ruffling the excited young man's hair. ”I think he's at the piano now.”
  98. 98. Dirk still juggled schoolwork and college preparation. Those days he practiced his chess daily, and with that, managed to win a college scholarship for his logic skill.
  99. 99. But the quickest of all to learn new things was of course little Desdemona. Cho had already managed to potty train her, and now she was taking her first steps with help and encouragement from Nicholas. She didn't speak yet, but judging by the amount of enthusiastic babble she managed to produce, her first words weren't far away.
  100. 100. Although George had still plenty of dates to go in order to complete his lifetime want, his overall aspiration had been so high that he became permanent platinum those days. This was, of course, celebrated by having a date with Count Pao.
  101. 101. Life wasn't always only pleasant, however. Chunni, who was already an old bird, passed away. George had been especially attached to her, and he took it rather hard. ”I am so sorry master Bookacy”, he kept saying to Baudolino, ”Maybe if I had taken better care of her...” ”Nonsense, George”, said Baudolino firmly. ”She was an old bird, it was her time. No one could possibly have taken better care of her than you did.” ”Thank you”, said George quietly, as Baudolino patted his shoulder. He knew his master was right, but he couldn't help but feel a burning sadness every time he passed Chunni's empty cage. With George's pain so obviously fresh, no one suggested getting a new bird.
  102. 102. After that, George was even more devoted to little Desdemona than before, if that was possible. He was often seen in the nursery, and Desdemona was always ready for more cuddles from her favorite metallic person. She and Count Pao were his greatest consolations.
  103. 103. The kids had not been as familiar with Chunni, but it was still sad to see her go, and especially to see George so disheartened. They took comfort in their peers. Dirk went, at least when prodded by his parents a bit, downtown occasionally, with his friends from school or alone. On one of his trips, he met Melody Tinker. There was something about her that just made his heart pump a little faster than usual. Dirk didn't have much experience in these matters, but he did admit to himself that she was cute. He got her number, and he even phoned her once or twice, but in the end it turned out she wasn't really seriously interested. Dirk's ideal was a steady girlfriend, so a little disappointed he retreated. He confided in Nicholas – for some reason it was easier to talk to him than either of his parents – who told him not to worry. ”Maybe she wasn't your type in the end. Most kids have to face a few disappointments at one point or another. If she's the one for you, she'll come around at some point. It's a little bit hard growing up, for you, for her, for everyone, but in the end it's worth it, trust me.” Clearly Nicholas knew something about girl trouble. Surely he was right, too.
  104. 104. Dorian was too young to go out by himself, but he didn't mind: his friends could come over, or he could visit them at their homes too. He'd eavesdropped on Dirk's phonecalls and he knew his brother was talking about girls. He didn't really get why, since girls were icky. Well maybe not Desdemona, but she was his sister and different, but most girls. Dane was not a girl, Dane was cool. ”... and he said that he wanted to see her again. I tried to ask him who he was talking to, but he kicked me out and told me to shut up. So it must have been a girl”, Dorian said wisely. ”Eww, your brother is weird”, said Dane, half grossed out, half fascinated. ”I know!” ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Dane Bruenig is one of the twins of Cissy and Eric Bruenig, and a third cousin to the main line.
  105. 105. Outside of playing with his friends, eavesdropping on his brother and doing sportsy activities, Dorian also played the piano occasionally. He may have been a little hard on the keys, but his parents and grandparents were of the opinion that his playing was very beautiful. Even if the piano may have needed tuning a bit more often than was usual.
  106. 106. Even if Dirk was a little bothered by an overly nosy little brother, he soon had other things to think about. One Saturday morning Cho and Nicholas came to him and asked whether he would like to come with them to the family bakery, to see how it worked and to help around. Dirk was interested at once. ”Well, what do you think?” asked Nicholas when they got there, and Dirk was curiously looking at everything. ”I like it!” he exclaimed, beaming. ”It's pretty cool we've had this place in the family so long. And it's still looking pretty good!” ”I'm glad you do”, said Cho. ”Your Grandfather did some renovations on it, so it's not completely outdated yet. And well, it might be that you could spend some time here in the future”, she continued, watching her son's reaction. ”You mean... If I become the heir?” Dirk asked slowly. ”Yes”, Cho nodded. ”How would you feel about that?”
  107. 107. ”Don't worry, that doesn't need to be decided now”, said Cho, as all Dirk could do was to look bewildered. ”But perhaps we should start thinking about it. We both”, she gestured at herself and Nicholas, ”think that you would make a good, responsible heir, and your Father said the same thing. We'll talk to Dorian and Desdemona when they grow a little of course, but we thought to see if you were interested first.” Was he? Dirk wondered as he helped with the baking, instructed by Nicholas. Yes, he was pretty sure he was. The idea of coming back to his family house and continuing the tradition pleased him. He felt perhaps a little uncertain about whether he was up for such a big responsibility, but if all three them believed he was... And of course, he didn't want his younger siblings to be upset, that was the most important thing. As his mother had said, it didn't need a decision now. But Dirk found new thoughts and ideas occupying his mind as he took his cake out of the oven and put it on the counter to cool. Maybe, he thought and smiled a little.
  108. 108. Cho and Nicholas had not just baking in mind for the day, however. They had long discussed making the shop a little more their own as Baudolino had suggested, and now they believed it was time to go forward with the plan. Dirk got to get involved as well, and was excited to find that he was listened to in such important matters. As a result, the bakery got another light makeover, and and Cho and Nicholas decided to further extend the variety of items on sale: in addition to the home made products and kitchenware that they had previously, they took into selling birthday and wedding cakes. When looking at the end product when everything was said and done, all three Bookacies were quite pleased.
  109. 109. Cho, Nicholas and Dirk returned to take care of the business whenever they found the time, and Dirk found his first business experiences quite exciting. He got to try his wings, and at the same time, Cho and Nicholas watched over him and honed their own skills. To their contentment, the new line of products and the new look of the shop were both well received. Business was booming.
  110. 110. Other financial matters were going well, too. A little bit after Dirk's first visit to the family bakery, Nicholas finally achieved his lifetime want: to earn 100 000 simoleans. It was a great moment for Nicholas. Clearly he had done well, despite the difficult times earlier in his life. However, even now, he didn't want to stagnate, so he was already pondering on what it could be that he would still want to accomplish. Perhaps he would take up an entirely new career? ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Nicholas' LTW counts as an impossible want, so it scores me one legacy point. His new LTW is to become a Media Magnate.
  111. 111. Dirk was more and more convinced that Nicholas had been right: Melody just wasn't the girl for him. There were of course girls at school, but none that he got that special vibe from. And of course, many of them were related, too. So one of those evenings he headed out for the wishing well. It was rarely used, but he'd heard that it could actually grant wishes, to some extent at least. ”Don't be too disappointed if it doesn't work out”, his mother had warned, and he'd promised not to. Dirk dug a coin out of his pocket, tossed it in the air and made a wish: ”I wish to meet some new sims.” After all, what was the harm in trying?
  112. 112. To his amazement, it worked. Suddenly he was in the garden with three sims of his age. They seemed slightly disoriented, though. ”I'm sorry”, he said, ”I didn't... didn't realize this would actually work.” ”What would work?” asked one of the two boys, confused, as the other two looked around. ”The wishing well”, said Dirk and pointed at it. ”Oh!” said the only girl of the three. ”So you used a wishing well? I've heard of those.” ”Yeah, I thought it'd be nice to meet someone new, so I figured I might as well try the well out. I'm Dirk, by the way.” His three guests were Cassidy Kearney, Benjamin McArthur and Jihoon Reeves.
  113. 113. Before too long, discussion was flowing, and to his delight, Dirk found he quite liked these new sims who'd just turned up in the garden. They were previously strangers to each other too, but it seemed that they all came along nicely. He liked that too.
  114. 114. But most of all, Dirk liked Cassidy. When the other two were occupied, having a closer look at the wishing well, Dirk couldn't help himself, but he leaned forward and kissed her. Cassidy seemed rather flustered, and as the other two re-joined them, she gave Dirk a small wink and a smile. As the evening went on, however, Dirk couldn't help but notice the looks Benjamin was giving Cassidy. He was clearly very interested. Cassidy seemed slightly confused. She kept glancing at both boys as she spoke, and twisting her hands. Dirk realized he didn't want to go between Cassidy and Benjamin, if there was any interest there. So all he could do was wait and see.
  115. 115. Once again, Dirk in the end had to accept that these girl matters weren't always so simple. Cassidy was very apologetic, but clearly she returned Benjamin's interest. Thankfully, after a little bit Dirk realized that he didn't actually feel terribly heartbroken. He was perhaps a little sad, but he knew now that it would pass. Dirk put his slight growing pains aside, and concentrated on getting ready for college. Besides, it wasn't all bad. He would always fondly remember his first kiss with Cassidy.
  116. 116. Again, Dirk had worked long and hard, and in the end it paid off. ”Sim State University, registry.” ”Hello, this is Dirk Bookacy speaking. I would like to apply for the London Culinary Arts Scholarship.” ”Just a moment... A-ha, Bookacy, Dirk?” ”Yes.” ”Very well, if you can send us the signed certificate from your school that you have the requisite number of cooking skill points, then we'll assign the scholarship to you. Congratulations!”
  117. 117. Meanwhile, Desdemona was of course the baby of the family and adored by everyone. She was also growing and learning things fast.
  118. 118. She had already been walking steadily for a while, but now she was learning her first words, too. Nicholas was proud and pleased to tell everyone that Desdemona was now saying ”Daddy”.
  119. 119. Now that she was starting to communicate, Desdemona also enjoyed singing nursery rhymes with Mommy. It was almost as good as cuddles and tickles.
  120. 120. In fact, Desdemona was growing so fast that it was getting quite close to her birthday. One day at the breakfast table, when Dirk and Nicholas happened to sit together, Dirk addressed his stepfather. ”Hey Nicholas?” ”Yes?” ”I was thinking, are we gonna have a party for Desdemona?” ”Well, not necessarily an actual party”, replied Nicholas, ”but maybe we could invite some sims over. Why, what do you have in mind?” ”Well I was wondering... It's been a while since Dad was over, I was thinking maybe he'd like to come.” Nicholas smiled. ”It's thoughtful of you. You know he's welcome at any time.”
  121. 121. So it was settled then. There was still a little bit to wait, though, and everyone spent that time their own way. Dirk returned to working on his body skill now, to have a chance at winning the scholarship for it. The bowling was still fun, he noted.
  122. 122. Dorian, for his part, was recently very focused on making as many friends as possible. Oftentimes he would have his friends from school over. It was usually easy to get them to come, since the family had plenty of fun activities for them to engage in. One of the more popular ones was Don't Wake the Llama. ”It's not really fair”, pointed out Debra, ”you've had so much practise at this!” ”Well maybe I've played a couple of times”, said Dorian modestly. ”Yeah right”, mumbled Dean, as Callie giggled. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Clockwise from Dorian are Callie Phillips (generation C second cousin), Dean Bruenig (generation D third cousin) and Debra Lillard (generation D third cousin).
  123. 123. And it was really no wonder the kids enjoyed the game. Sometimes the older family members joined in the fun too.
  124. 124. The big day was upon them quite soon. Cho had gone to phone Eric, and Nicholas was to make sure the birthday girl was all ready and good. ”Hi sweetie”, he said as he picked Desdemona out of his crib. ”Did you sleep well? Let's get you some dayclothes on.” Nicholas rummaged in the clean clothes pile and found all the necessary clothes, as Desdemona looked on and tried to throw the clothes around the room. ”Like so!” her Dad said when she was all ready. ”Are you ready to become a big girl?” ”Big girl!” repeated Desdemona and giggled a little.
  125. 125. Meanwhile, downstairs, the others were passing time, waiting for Desdemona to be ready. Dirk and Dorian were playing a video game on the TV set, and Eric was enjoying a game of Don't Wake the Llama with George. Cho was on her way to the kitchen to get the cake, and as she passed by, Eric said to her: ”Thanks for inviting me, Cho.” She just waved her hand slightly. ”Of course. We all want you to be there for family events whenever possible. Besides, it was Dirk's idea anyway.” ”Well, still, thanks. It's nice to see everyone”, Eric replied, glancing at his son and smiling at him. ”And of course, nothing beats a good Llama game.”
  126. 126. Soon enough everything was ready, and everyone gathered into the kitchen. Nicholas got to do the honors for his youngest child. ”Alright, let's blow out the candles then, what do you think?” ”Cake!” exclaimed Desdemona. ”Yes, then we'll have some cake.”
  127. 127. And as everyone else watched, they blew the candles. Then Nicholas set Desdemona on the floor.
  128. 128. At first she just sat there, looking around curiously. Then her mother called: ”Go on sweetie, you can do it!”
  129. 129. Little Desdemona rose to her feet, ready for her big transition.
  130. 130. As her family cheered on, most eagerly of all her big brother, who was about to get a playmate for real...
  131. 131. … Desdemona twirled around and became a big girl. She was quite excited. Now she could finally do all kinds of things on her own, and surely the boys would like to play with her even more. Fun times would surely be ahead.
  132. 132. After having some cake, Desdemona went with Cho to get some nice clothes. She also liked that: being able to choose what to wear herself. Desdemona went for some nice blue. She also liked red, but seeing that Dirk already wore red, she wanted to do something a little different. And not all little girls had to wear red or pink, right? Cho felt proud and happy. All her little ones were now quite big, and that meant they were learning to be more independent. That not only meant some more freedom for her and Nicholas, but also getting to see her children learn about life and become the sims they were, the sims they wanted to be. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Dear reader, with Desdemona's birthday, it's time that I leave you again. I hope you have enjoyed the chapter and wish you welcome to join us again next time. Until then, happy simming!

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