Familiar Faces - Chapter 31: You Can Call Me Al


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Familiar Faces - Chapter 31: You Can Call Me Al

  1. 1. Welcome Back to Familiar Faces: Chapter Thirty-One -You Can Call Me Al
  2. 2. He should have brought flowers. That would have been the proper thing, wouldn't it? Emma should have reminded him to bring flowers. This was her idea after all. He had thought she was going to come with him. It would have been easier if she had. But instead she'd dropped him off at the gate with a kiss, and gone to explore the shops they'd seen while driving through the little town.
  3. 3. Since he was here he might as well try. Maybe it would help to talk things through, even if there really wasn't anyone listening. Emma believed that coming here would help him put things in perspective, to gain peace of spirit if not peace of mind. But what do you say to someone you never met, never knew. "It's me, Aldric, your son. I would have come before now but I didn't know. I never questioned what I'd been told. Maybe I should have. All my life I thought I was something I wasn't and I never asked why."
  4. 4. "I don't really know what to say. I wish I'd known you. I wish you'd known me." "We did some research and I know the facts. Your name was Nicole Templeton; you were the only child of Rachel and Michael Templeton. I know when you were born, and when you died. I know that you worked in my father's house and that he got you pregnant with me. Most likely that's why you died." "But I don't know why." "I know why he did what he did, or I think I do. I know what he wrote and left for me to find. I found it way too late to ask him any questions. I don't know why you accepted it, surely you knew about his wife. Did you love him? Did you think he loved you?"
  5. 5. "I hope you wanted me, that I wasn't just a mistake you made the best of. I think you would be proud of me . . . at least now. I wasn't always proud of myself, but I think that I'm doing pretty well at the moment."
  6. 6. "I'm married. Emma and me, we've been married a long time. She's the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I love her so much, she's my . . . she's my, everything. She's gorgeous, she'd tell you that she isn't, but she is. More she has vitality and a zest for life that makes her glow."
  7. 7. "Even after all this time when I see her, my heart jumps and my breath hitches. I look at her and wonder what I did to get so lucky. But I know it wasn't me, I didn't do anything. It was always Emma. She saw something in me that I'd never imagined. She believed in me and helped me to believe in myself."
  8. 8. "It sounds like I'm a lovesick fool doesn't it? Don't worry, I know she's not perfect, no one is. That's one of the things I've learned being with her. It's not all sparkle and shine. Recognizing and cherishing the flaws, that's what makes you strong."
  9. 9. "I'm not only married but I'm a father! Twice!" "I guess that makes you a grandmother." "You probably think you're too young to be a grandmother, don't you? Sorry about that."
  10. 10. "In the beginning I was pretty leery about the whole father thing. I didn't really have a shining example to follow. I figured I'd mess it up pretty badly. But, we've survived, you know the boys make it pretty easy. They're good kids for the most part, happy kids."
  11. 11. "Ferdie's the baby, though not much of a baby anymore. He's growing like a weed. Ferdie has a searching mind and an insatiable spirit. He's full of questions and seems to always be trying something new."
  12. 12. "He's a very creative child. It doesn't matter if he's drawing or building with blocks he ends up with something aesthetically pleasing."
  13. 13. "I think he's most likely to do something in the visual arts, but Emma insists that he have a chance to explore other paths. She doesn't want to stifle him and says who knows we might just have another Beethoven on our hands and we'd never know if we didn't encourage him to try." "His piano playing sounds okay I guess, but he's no Beethoven."
  14. 14. "We do know that his future will most likely not be including a career in the culinary arts."
  15. 15. "Ferdie wouldn't like to hear me call him the baby; he gets frustrated by his size and by his age. As one of the youngest he's having a difficult time finding a place among his older cousins. I can sympathize with him; Emma's family takes some adjusting to. She has five brothers and sisters and there are fifteen cousins in all."
  16. 16. "The older kids all get a long well with each other. But, they don't always have the time or the inclination to include the younger ones in their activities."
  17. 17. "And the younger ones tend to come as parts of matched sets." "It's odd for me to see the Langarek and the Capp twins interact together. I grew up believing that I was one of a set of a twins but my brother and I never got along the way those kids seem to. For Almeric and I being 'twins' was a competition. We were forever striving to be different from each other."
  18. 18. "In the Capp household, being a twin is the norm rather than the exception. The children seem to view their twin status as a uniting front rather than as a dividing line. The girls in particular are extremely close, always telling secrets or sharing personal jokes."
  19. 19. "Perhaps the key to the Capp twin unity lies in their differences. While there are similarities in the kids they aren't any where near being clones. They are unique enough to be able to enjoy those similarities."
  20. 20. "That explanation doesn't work as easily for the Langarek twins. They are close enough in appearance and attitude to make me look twice before I know for sure which one I'm talking to. They aren't identical though."
  21. 21. "Ferdie normally gets along with the boys but he doesn't always enjoy playing with Elan. I don't really blame him, Elan is a kicker. Both he and his brother have a tendency to be rambunctious. Elm is a bit less blood thirsty than his twin though and can play nicely when reminded to do so."
  22. 22. "Their father believes that the behavior is rooted in his wife's non existent childhood. When the boys were young, Eva got into the habit of reading them to sleep. Her choice of reading material wasn't always the most appropriate. Ted had suggested that she find a collection of fairy tales. It took a bit before he realized that she was reading the original versions rather than Mother Goose."
  23. 23. "Ted got her straightened out and youngest son Eagle appears to be less homicidal than his brothers. His brothers' boisterous behavior had its effect on the boy. He was quite nervous as a toddler. The twins teased him a lot and he was forever getting startled by noises and movement. Peek-a-boo could set him screaming."
  24. 24. "Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it was time for his birthday. Due to his anxiety there wasn't a large party, but David and Titania did go over to help the family celebrate."
  25. 25. "The evening went fine and Eagle grew up with little difficulty, although Titania did have to remind David to be gentle. 'This one's sensitive dear'. My father in law has very little subtlety to him, and while he wouldn't intentionally upset one of the kids he does take some getting used to. Eagle survived the initial introduction. I was told that he escaped as soon as possible."
  26. 26. "Ferdie was extremely happy to have a new cousin to play with. He and Eagle are very close in age. Ferdie does delight in the fact that he is a wee bit older. The two boys enjoy playing together as long as Ferdie doesn't make any sudden moves or loud noises. They seem destined to be best buddies."
  27. 27. "They'll probably end up being similar in their friendship to that of Frankie and his cousin Elisha. Frankie and 'Lisha have been in each others pockets since they were kids. They don't get to spend as much time together now that they are teens. Elisha is a bit more driven than Frankie and has taken an after school job."
  28. 28. "Frankie's the eldest, and it's hard to believe he's a teenager already. He's a kid that never met a stranger; just friends he doesn't yet know. He'll talk your ear off if you let him. He says he wants to be an actor. I don't know how convincing he'll be but I know he'll never suffer from stage fright." "Everyone says that he looks exactly like me. I suppose he does. He has his mother's disposition though, and it shows when he smiles, which is most of the time."
  29. 29. "However, Frankie has moments when his entire demeanor changes and he seems contemplative. It would be easy to write those times off as fairly normal teenage angst, but I always wonder if it's more than that. Frankie witnessed things as a child that he never should have had to see."
  30. 30. "Emma and I worry over Frankie's reluctance to discuss Almeric's death. When he returned from Three Lakes he was adamant in his belief that my brother was dead. 'I saw him laying there; Squatch told me he was dead.'" "An autopsy was eventually done, and it was determined that Almeric had ingested poison. It's assumed that he took it purposefully, but the big question remains. Why? Frankie doesn't appear to know the answer. I don't think he yet realizes exactly what happened."
  31. 31. "Emma's Aunt Demi, the family's primary physician, says that it's not unusual for children to disassociate from such memories. She has advised us not to push him; he'll talk about it when he's ready or when he's able. Until then we just have to give him time and to let him know that we're willing to listen." "We're more than willing to listen. My worry is that we won't have the answers he'll need when he starts to question."
  32. 32. "How do you conquer the fear of the unknown? How do you reconcile yourself to a life of unanswered questions? We want to protect our children but what are we protecting them from? Do they really need our protection?" "If you were here would you have answers for me or did my father leave you in the dark as well? What did Almeric know? He gave me a trail of clues that became a dead end, for every question that's been answered two more have appeared." _______________________
  33. 33. "Come on Ferd we need to get dressed if we're going to make it to Elysia's in time for lunch, we're running late." "If you hadn't hit your snooze button twenty times we'd be there already." "What can I say? Active points I have none."
  34. 34. Unlike his elder brother Ferdie is in possession of active points and therefore spent the first part of the weekly kid gathering jumping on Elysia Tan's bed. He eventually was driven by hunger to stop and go in search of lunch.
  35. 35. Following lunch Ferdie made the rounds of the kids at the party. While not quite as outgoing as his brother he has very few problems when it come to meeting new people or making friends. The way the generation breaks down however, means that there are fewer 'kids' in Ferdie's age group, than in Frankie's. Within a few kid gatherings Ferdie had meet and was well on his way to making friends with all of his contemporaries.
  36. 36. Frankie tends to spend kid gatherings zeroing in on whoever is not yet on his friends list. While he knows most of the kids his age there are quiet a few so he's not necessarily friends with everyone. On this particular Saturday Frankie's target was Buffy Familiar, daughter of Bob and Sierra. "So if my great grandfather was your first cousin what's that make us? Third cousins? Fourth cousins?" "First cousins three times removed, actually." "How do you know these things?"
  37. 37. "I don't know. I guess with Dad being the guy that everyone goes to when they have questions about the family, it just kinda rubs off. It's not that complicated really. See Elisha there is your first cousin right? She's also your fourth cousin. So is Edgar, the guy macking on her, he's your fourth cousin as well." "Excuse me; I gotta go punch someone in the face." "You don't want to do that. Edgar might be your fourth cousin but he's also my great-great nephew. I wouldn't want to have to mess up your pretty face. Elisha can take care of herself."
  38. 38. "Besides she already has a big brother, she doesn't need another one. Elijah is more than eager to attack anyone that he feels has wronged one of his friends. He'd do the same for his sister, if it came to that. At the moment she doesn't look as if she wants anyone to intervene."
  39. 39. "But she's so . . . so; I don't know sweet and stuff. She talks to the fish, and thinks they can understand her." "As long as she doesn't think they are talking back to her she'll be okay."
  40. 40. Frankie and Buffy continued conversing throughout the afternoon and into the evening. By the time the sun had set they had mutually agreed, if not outright stated, that they were destined to be good friends. "You're different than I thought you would be Frankie. I guess I figured that being legacy heir combined with the Cigam prophecy would make you, I don't know, weird but you seem pretty normal. "
  41. 41. ""What do you mean Cigam prophecy?" "Well you know I heard Dad say that you're the most likely candidate to restore the source of power. He said that your genetic markers are the most pronounced at this point. Of course Ferdie hasn't been to the Valley yet has he? Your blood wasn't tested prior to your first trip there. No one knew anything about the source at that point did they?" "What source?"
  42. 42. "You mean they haven't told you? I woulda thought . . . but then I guess . . . you know with everything . . . maybe they wouldn't." "Tell me." "Well I don't really know, I mean I've just heard and I'm not sure. Maybe you should ask your parents." "Come on tell me, we're friends right?"
  43. 43. So she told him what she knew, though it wasn't really all that much. She explained that when Frankie was missing, and everyone was looking for him, the Cigam retreat had been found. That while exploring the retreat, a book had been found explaining what Cigam had been and how it had been destroyed. The book had indicated that there would come a time when the source could be reopened. Between what was in that book and in a journal found in his Grandfather Davis' safe it was believed that Frankie would be instrumental in re-opening the source.
  44. 44. "What will re-opening the source do? Those Cigam people sound like they were mad scientists. They created things that altered and changed people, who asked them to do that?" "Well I don't know I doubt anyone asked them to do anything, they just did. They wanted to change the world make it better. Over time the things they created just became accepted and mainstream." "Just because something is accepted doesn't make it good. Anyway how do you know about all this? Don't tell me your parents told you?"
  45. 45. "Yeah right, hardly, I eavesdrop. How else are we supposed to learn anything? Dad and Mom are always talking to the UA people. Then there's all the family always dropping by or calling to find out what's going on, it's like we're information central. It's pretty easy to overhear stuff." "So everyone knows about this? Why hasn't anyone told me? If I'm supposed to do something about . . . all this . . . whatever it is . . . they should have told me." "Since when do adults tell us anything?"
  46. 46. "But it's not just the adults is it? You know about this you can't be the only one." "Well . . . the only teen type people I've talked to are Emilia and 'Ras. 'Ras and Egeus got a bunch of grief when you got kidnapped you know and . . ." "I wasn't kidnapped. It wasn't like that, it was my Uncle, and he just took me to a cabin for a few days. He didn't hurt me or hold me for ransom. He just wanted me to get to know him, he was okay." "Was he?"
  47. 47. "Look, I don't want to talk about him. He's dead it doesn't matter." "But it's all connected isn't it? If he hadn't taken you, then none of this would have been known. Dad thinks he knew something; did he talk to you about it?" "No! He didn't tell me anything, he . . . it was . . . he and Squatch talked about stuff but I don't know, I don't remember it all."
  48. 48. But he did, vaguely, he remembered. "Is he the one?" "Is he powerful enough?" "She wants him . . . She's getting stronger, I can't fight her now. "
  49. 49. It wasn't a dream really, more like a memory. Every time he had the dream he remembered a bit more. He knew he was missing something important though. Why couldn't he remember?
  50. 50. "Are you okay Frankie?" "Yeah I'm okay just a dream sorry I woke you up." "That's okay; it's almost time to get up anyway."
  51. 51. "Go back to sleep if you want, I'll save you some cereal. You have that friend coming over after school you won't be able to take a nap." "You gonna be here to meet Tina?" "Nah, I'll meet her next time I'm going to be at Uncle Puck's for a while tonight. I need to talk to Emi and everyone."
  52. 52. "Can I come? Their house is cool. They've got that tire swing and the clubhouse. And they got that funny robot, the one Aunt Dorme always calls granny. It's not really her grandmother is it?" "Not really but well it's complicated. You have your friend coming over remember? Besides it's a teen thing. Sorry squirt."
  53. 53. "So how come I found out about this prophecy thing from Buffy and not from any of you? I would have thought that my best friends, my closest cousins would have told me before I had to hear it from a virtual stranger." Frankie looked around the room at each of his cousins in turn.
  54. 54. "You didn't tell him Elijah? I thought you were going to tell him?" Zeke Capp turned to look at the boy beside him. "Yeah Elijah you were going to talk to him." Ezra confirmed his twins belief that Elijah was to be held responsible.
  55. 55. "No I was supposed to tell 'Lisha. I offered to tell Frankie but Emilia insisted on being the one to tell him. Don't you remember the fit she threw when I said I'd do it? Emi thought it would be best coming from her since she's knowledge and would present it to him in straight factual manner. For some reason she felt I might embellish too much." Elijah managed to look shocked while recounting the accusation. "Of course I wouldn't have done that at all!"
  56. 56. "Of course you wouldn't do any such thing Elijah. When you told me about it you made it sound like Harry Potter in the Temple of Doom. It was quite entertaining but not very believable. You should have heard him Frankie; his Bigfoot growls were very realistic." Elijah's little sister laughed sarcastically. "So why didn't you tell me 'Lisha? You're my best friend, aren't you?" Frankie accused his long time buddy. "'Cause he only told me a few days ago, and after I heard his version I asked Mom." There were a few gasps at 'Lisha's response.
  57. 57. "You talked to Mom about it? Wow." Elijah was impressed despite himself. "You asked your Mom?" asked the Capp twins simultaneously. "Sure, why wouldn't I? She said that since I already knew about it that it would be better to get my facts straight rather than believe whatever nonsense was being passed about. She confirmed the basic facts that Elijah had told me but didn't elaborate. She said it would be better to let Frankie come to come to me once his parents had had a chance to talk to him."
  58. 58. "Wow Aunt Elle's cooler than I thought. I asked Dad about it but he gave me the run around." Euclid Goth recounted his attempt to question his father, Alexander. "At first he just hemmed and hawed, and then he tried to change the subject. When I persisted he said it wasn't anything I needed to worry about, it didn't affect me. Then he pulled out the big guns and told me that Mom had told him not to tell me yet, but that if I really wanted to know I could ask her. As soon as I mentioned Cigam to Mom her lip started to quiver, so I gave up. You can't fight with Mom when her lip quivers."
  59. 59. "So why didn't you tell me Emi? I'm sure you have all the facts straight and it isn't as if we haven't seen each other recently. We see each other at school everyday." "I tried to tell you Frankie, but you didn't want to hear it."
  60. 60. "Right after your teening, when everyone was at your house, I asked you to go upstairs with me so that we could talk. You said sure thing but what did I want to talk about why couldn't we do it there? I said that I didn't think we should talk with everyone around, and that it had to do with Three Lakes and your Uncle. At that point you stuck your fingers in your ears, said you didn't want to talk about him. You've pretty much avoided me ever since."
  61. 61. "Well that was tactless Emi; of course he doesn't want to talk about his Uncle. His Uncle kidnapped him and then died while he was right there; it probably isn't the best memory to dredge up." "Thanks for reminding me Ezra." Frankie said dryly "I can think of three or four better ways that you could have approached it. The best one being I'll tell you when we get upstairs, it's a secret." Zeke pointed out to Emilia Summerdream.
  62. 62. "If Frankie can't handle talking about his Uncle, he's not ready to talk about the rest of it. Everything is intertwined; his Uncle was a part of it. If it hadn't been for Almeric Davis kidnapping Frankie none of the rest of it would have surfaced." "I wasn't kidnapped."
  63. 63. "Frankie we were all there, we know what happened. You were kidnapped." Euclid reminded. Elijah added with a deadpan "Ezra even cried. "I did not." "Did so." smirked his twin.
  64. 64. "So tell me what I don't know about the prophecy, Buffy didn't know much but she thought it referred to me." Frankie asked trying to get away from discussion of his Uncle. "Well it could but then again it might not. All we have to go on is two lines in a book." Emilia recited the lines from memory. She'd memorized almost everything in the book before her father had turned it over to the UA. The purest will mix with the oldest. From that mixture one will emerge, one will lead. With maturity will come knowledge and ability to forge the path. Protect the children. Do not allow them to be corrupted. Corruption leads to corruption. "Between that book and the others found at the retreat it's been deduced that the purest are the Aliens and the Elves. And well, almost all of us are descended from Aliens, and most of us are descended from the Elves as well. Several of us, including you fit both categories."
  65. 65. "So if it could be any of us, why me?" Frankie was confused, as to why was he being singled out. "Three reasons really. The main one is because the journal that was found in your other Grandfather's safe indicated that he believed he was of the old blood. The second one, and Frankie you gotta get over your denial, is that your Uncle must have had a reason to take you. Thirdly the blood tests. There's something in our blood and it's more prominent in yours than in the rest of us." It wasn't quite that simple but Emilia had the general idea correct.
  66. 66. "Don't be getting a big head over it Frank; there are flaws in the theory, big flaws according to Mom. Firstly, the UA is still doing research; they haven't pinpointed what the markers mean just that they are there. Next, you spent more time in Three Lakes than most of us, and you did so at a younger age. Your markers may be more numerous because of that. Your brother hadn't been born when your Uncle nabbed you, if he had been who's to say that Almeric wouldn't have taken Ferdie instead? His markers are almost as high as yours and he's never even been to the Valley. And finally, there's no timetable for this prophecy. Just because it was discovered doesn't mean that it going to be fulfilled anytime soon. " Elisha tried to bring things into perspective.
  67. 67. "I heard Dad and Mom talking about it, and he doesn't think anything is going to happen any time soon. He said that the Space Pirate League figures that if the prophecy was going down anytime soon we'd be experiencing a lot more Alien activity that we are. He was going through the records and on average there's only been one Alien abduction every generation." 'Zeke reported on what he'd overheard his parents, Elliot and Deanna, discussing recently. "Why's that important?" Asked Elijah "See the Aliens are monitoring us waiting for some sign that the prophecy could be fulfilled. Once they see the sign Dad figures we're going to have a huge surge in Alien activity"
  68. 68. "But they took Egeus. They don't take teens very often. So that's something new. When they took Ege, Dad said that they were pre-marking him for a future return. They must have had their sensors on him because he was nabbed almost immediately after he started using the telescope." Euclid wasn't completely convinced that the aliens were friendly. "Well Egeus wouldn't be the type who would normally stargaze for long periods of time." Emilia had been shocked and a bit envious when her brother had been abducted as a teen. "Right they had to take him when they could. But, they must have wanted him specifically. Why?" Euclid asked. "'Cause he's the perfect specimen for probing. Gay, male, family sim; wants kids but won't be able to do it in the normal manner." Elijah ticked off his reasons.
  69. 69. "That might be an issue some places but we've conquered same sex pregnancy here already. Egeus will have kids; he doesn't need to be probed to get them." Emilia wondered if anyone else paid any attention to the news. They probably didn't. "Sure he can have kids but he and his partner will have to go through the procedures, drink the cocktails and keep their fingers crossed that it works. Alien abduction's a sure thing; he can do the dance sphere jig and come back with a bouncing belly." Elijah laughed at his own description.
  70. 70. "Maybe I should give more thought to girls in my future. Neither of those options sounds very appealing." The options given were only adding to Zeke's confusion about his gender preferences. "Has anyone talked to Ege or 'Ras recently? They were supposed to be looking into the campus UA activity and finding out what they could about Almeric." Ezra asked the group as a whole.
  71. 71. Euclid piped up with a report of his older brother's activities on campus. "Well 'Ras says he's forged a relationship with one of the University Zombies. I think he said her name's Christa. He's gotten her talking some about the UA activities."
  72. 72. "Apparently there was a party a few weeks ago and all of the main UA members showed up to liaise with the campus division. They've enlisted the campus group into helping them with the DNA research, getting blood samples from the dormies and such. Weird thing about it was that Christa hinted that the research had turned up some new theories on Zombism."
  73. 73. "She wasn't able to give him any details at the time, but he's going to continue to try to find out what he can. If nothing else he has a good in with the Zombie group, some of them still hold major grudges against the family for past wrongs. 'Ras says he's doing community relations. "Which means he's sleeping with her." said Elijah. He thought about it for a moment. "I don't know if I could do it with a zombie. That would be weird wouldn't it?" "I didn't ask," replied Euclid "I'm really not that interested in who my brother is hooing. But yeah I think it would be weird."
  74. 74. "Before you males get distracted by the thought of undead booty let me tell you what Egeus has been up to." Boys were so predictable, thought Emilia. "Egeus is study partners with one of the Secret Society guys that knew Almeric. It's kind of difficult for him to broach the subject because well the Secret Society is secret and all. He figures once a few more of us are on campus and they start doing inductions again that his friend will be able to drop most of the secrecy,"
  75. 75. "So far Frances is remaining mum on SS activities. Egeus has broached the subject of Almeric with him. He mentioned that he has a cousin Francis, and maybe Frances knew his father and uncle. Francis knew him but not very well, said that Almeric was kinda of strange sometimes and so he tried to avoid him."
  76. 76. "From the way Egeus talked it sounded like he has a bit of a crush on this guy. He's reluctant to use him for information without telling him why he wanted to know. He told me to give him some more time and he's sure that they'll open up to each other a bit more." "Neither Egeus nor 'Ras seems to have gotten very far in their investigations. Once we get on campus this summer we'll be able to find out more. They haven't even touched the lab yet which is a shame because the lab on campus is state of the art."
  77. 77. "They aren't knowledge sims Emi, why would they be interested in locking themselves up in a lab when they could be doing other things?" Elijah could imagine nothing more boring than lab work. "What's wrong with the lab?"
  78. 78. Frankie had been quietly listening to all the discussion going on around him. While he was listening he was thinking. He tried to remember the conversations he'd had with his uncle and with Squatch while he'd been with them at the cabin. "Squatch knows about all this. He and" there was a pause "my uncle talked about it. I'm sure this is what they were talking about. I need to find Squatch he'll tell me now that I'm older I'm sure. Maybe I'll go up there this weekend and try to find him." "You can't do that Frankie, it's a long drive you'd never be able to get there, find him, talk to him, and get back in a day. Your parents would kill you if they found out and they'd find out. There's no way you could be gone that long without that happening." Ezra was the first one to point out what everyone was thinking.
  79. 79. "Moreover it would kill your parents if you went missing again. Frankie you don't know what it was like when you disappeared before. Everyone was in an uproar, I didn't know what was happening but I knew it was bad. Mom cried, Mom never cries." Elisha looked directly at her best friend. "Yeah, she stood in the doorway between our bedrooms watching us pretending to sleep and bawled her eyes out because we were safe. Dad musta tucked me in twenty times that night." Elijah shook his head, he remembered being upset because his parents were upset. "We spent the weekend with Grandma Jules. Our Dad and Mom were over at your house most of the weekend but they kept coming over to make sure we were okay. I remember that Grandpa Robert finally got Vonnie potty trained that weekend and when Mom found out she cried for an hour. It was the only time I have ever seen Grandma be purposely nice to Mom." Juliet Capp hadn't mellowed over the years, but she had tried to temper her tongue around her daughter-in-law.
  80. 80. "Frankie you're going to the Lake with Grandmom and Grandpa this summer. If you want to find Squatch then that's when you should do it. You'll have time to do it then, and they'll be so many kids that they might not even notice if you disappear for a few hours." Euclid tried to give Frankie a possible alternative to insanity. "Once you're in the Valley Squatch will know. That cook, what's her name? Sarrie? She'll tell him that you're looking for him and that you want to talk to him. She said she'd help you right?" Zeke remembered the curious cook with the alien eyes. "Well yeah, but I don't see why I shouldn't go now. You all could cover for me; I'd just say that I was going to spend the night at one of your houses." Frankie looked at everyone. "Wouldn't you?"
  81. 81. "Dude no, you realize that your one of your parents are on the phone with at least one of our parents, at least once a week for one reason or another right? It's not like they don't talk to each other. You think if you told her you were spending the night with one of us she wouldn't check up? She might not catch on immediately but she'd find out eventually." Elijah had been caught by innocent phone calls before; he knew what he was talking about. "So I'll use someone else." Frankie shrugged in response. "It's a small town and your Mom knows practically everyone in it. It wouldn't matter if it was a month later, she'd find out and you'd be dead. Screw that, Aunt Em won't have to find out, you do it and I'll kill you myself. It's stupid Frankie and you aren't stupid. "Fine I won't go. But when we get to Lake, I'm finding Squatch."
  82. 82. It was probably Elijah's threat that had the most effect on Frankie and kept him from following thru with searching for Squatch. Coming from anyone else a threat of violence wouldn't have meant much. It was the type of thing that a cousin would say half in jest but to emphasis that they were serious. Elijah however had recently started gaining a reputation for being a bit of a bully around town.
  83. 83. He always had what he felt was a good excuse. When the girl Euclid had been semi seriously pursuing for several months blatantly began flirting with another boy right in front of Euc, Elijah felt he had to stand up for his cousin. As it turned out, Elijah was much more upset over Evita London's actions than Euclid had been.
  84. 84. Euclid had been trying to figure out how to break up with Evita for a while. He'd finally realized what everyone else in the neighborhood had known for a long time. Evita was mean as a snake. It wasn't just that she spoke her mind and said what she felt without a care of its effect on the recipient; Euclid kinda liked that about her, at least she was honest. It was when her playful punches began to leave bruises that Euclid had second thoughts. He'd always felt he was a pretty tough guy, but dang her love taps hurt!
  85. 85. "You mean you really don't care that she was cheating on you?" "Dude it's a relief, if she's interested in Eros she won't care as much if I start paying attention to someone else. It's not like we were going steady or anything." "So you got someone else in your sights?"
  86. 86. "Oh yeah." Euclid sighed. "Who?" "Emily" "Emily? Okay, I can see that. She's not my type but she cute and all. Hey do you think she's anything like her sister?" "What do you mean anything like her sister?" "Oh come on, Elani was the friendliest girl in town before she left for University. She popped almost as many locks as your brother did."
  87. 87. "Nah Emily's nothing like that, she's a family sim. Anyway I'm thinking about asking her out, but before I do I gotta find out if she and 'Ras ever exchanged spit." "Doubt it, if she's Elani's sister he probably never noticed her. Besides what's it matter? 'Ras exchanged spit with half the girls in town it was never serious and rarely his idea." "'Cause I don't want to be exchanging spit with someone that's exchanged spit with my brother. That would be like exchanging spit with 'Ras and that would be gross"
  88. 88. "Emily? No way would 'Ras ever have touched her. First off ninety percent of the people 'Ras has been involved with pursued him not the other way around. You've got the wrong idea about your brother, he's not a letch. It's hard to explain you have to pay attention to the way people react around him, must be pheromones or something." Egeus Summerdream tried to defend his lifelong best friend to said friend's brother. "So you don't think Emily ever reacted to him?" "If she did, well I don't know about it. But I doubt it cause she's got eyes right? She'd have to have known it was futile." "Why's that? She's pretty enough for him."
  89. 89. "Course she is. Look don't get me wrong, Emily is great and if I was into girls I would have totally gone for her but not 'Ras. You gotta remember, 'Ras has been hung up on Elani since we were in grade school there's no way he'd look twice at her sister. 'Ras pretty much deserves his reputation as a swashbuckler; he's made plenty of conquests. But, when Elani's around she's all he can see." "Then why aren't they together?" "Don't ask me I don't understand, I don't think they do either."
  90. 90. "So when do I get to meet him?" Erasmus Goth asked his buddy "Meet who?" "Whoever it is that has you sighing in your coffee. You go to the library and come back with a doofy ass smile on your face and I know it's not Geometry that's making you grin." "Actually Archimedes' use of infinitesimals makes me giggle like a loon." "Ege, this is me you're talking to."
  91. 91. "Yeah okay, maybe there is someone. I'm not ready for him to meet you. I like him too much. I don't want to get my heart broken yet." "What do you mean by that?" "Uh 'Ras, you have a history of stealing my boyfriends." "Who?"
  92. 92. "Well there was Evan and then there was Ellic and. . ." "Evan is an idiot." "I know that, now. But for a while there I was hoping he'd be my idiot. 'Ras, every guy I've ever been moderately interested in has taken one look at you and forgotten all about me."
  93. 93. "I didn't even know you were interested in Ellic. I wouldn't have made any moves toward him if I'd known." "It doesn't matter, it's not like you have to make moves on anyone. All you do is walk into a room and half the population goes gah-gah."
  94. 94. "I know you don't do it consciously, which is the most annoying part of it. You can't help it that you have some kind of super magnetic pheromone induced aura. Do you have to always take advantage of your effect on people? If you'd just say no sometimes." "I do, sometimes. Most of them don't even want me. Not me specifically; they just want the euphoria that comes from thinking that they might be in love. Being in love makes people feel good, and I like it making people feel good. What does it hurt?"
  95. 95. "Could you maybe make them feel good by telling them they look nice?" "How did this conversation get to being a beat up on 'Ras moment? I thought we were talking about your reluctance to introduce me to your boyfriend." "It's all connected. What if I introduce the two of you and he does the normal and flips for you? When that happens, all the good feelings from being deep in like go away. I can forget about experiencing the euphoric feeling of thinking that I might be in love."
  96. 96. "So is it me you don't trust or is it him?" "It's not a matter of trust." "Sounds like one to me."
  97. 97. Gvaudoin Tricou figured that being placeholder for Familiar Greek over the past generation hadn't been that bad of a gig. Sure there'd been plenty of boring moments, periods of time when she had to wonder if she'd been forgotten. But she'd used her time wisely; she'd almost finished her first book - Placeholding for Dummies. More importantly she had collected a large amount of information that she needed for a series of exposes on campus life.
  98. 98. The first of the generation's primary Greek house residents had moved in with her recently. The arrival of Egeus Summerdream and Erasmus Goth had signaled that her place holding reign would soon be over. She could have moved out when the guys moved in, some place holders did. But Gvaudoin was dug in and didn't fancy moving back into a dorm for her final year. Besides, the guys would need help with recruiting. The newest class of Familiarity college students was slowly trickling its way towards campus. There would be a good number of freshmen seeking Greek House membership
  99. 99. The atmosphere at the Greek House was more stimulating than anyplace else on campus. Gvaudoin was certain that her living arrangements were the envy of most of the girls on campus and a fair number of the guys as well.
  100. 100. She'd heard about 'Ras before he even set foot on Campus. She'd admit to having joined in on the mass swooning that seemed to follow him around. There was just something about Erasmus Goth that made everyone go a little bit gah-gah. She'd talked about him with other girls and no one could quite pinpoint what it was that made him special. "He has a way of making you feel special." Diana McAuley had confided. "Total concentration, you never wonder if he's thinking about someone else while he's with you. Of course as soon as you're off his radar, he's applying that same total concentration towards someone else. 'Ras isn't the kind of guy you can expect to keep to yourself, he has to be shared."
  101. 101. Gvaudoin hadn't needed to live with Erasmus for very long before the shine had worn off. He was such a slob, thank Wright the Greek House had a maid; she would not have been able to handle cleaning up after him. 'Ras's manners left a lot to be desired sometimes. Egeus, on the other hand, was a delight to live with; he cleaned up after himself, never talked with his mouth full and always put the seat down.
  102. 102. Egeus was so much like his great-great-uncle Blade that Gvaudoin was sure she'd made the right decision when she'd accepted his proposal. When Gvaudoin had first started dating Blade Familiar her flair for the dramatic had envisioned the two of them as star-crossed lovers. She was certain that at least one of their father's were going to stomp their feet and demand they end the relationship.
  103. 103. However, both Keirnan and Bob had given their full approval. They had even co-hosted the couple's engagement dinner. It was true that the two men had once despised each other, but generations of shared immortality had brought about if not friendship at least respect.
  104. 104. Unbeknownst to their children or to anyone else outside the UA, Bob and Kiernan had recently begun collaborating on a joint project to try and bring the few remaining 'rogue' un-naturals into the fold of the UA. The uncovered Cigam research had indicated that only those whose blood contained special properties could be affected by the majority of immortal conditions. Only zombism was apparently open to all.
  105. 105. The two men had been hanging around the worst part of the city seeking out those un-naturals who had previously refused to join the UA. They knew a small coven of vampires inhabited the area and they wanted to make contact. It was very possible that these immortals had been around before the breaking. The UA desperately wanted to delve the minds of these creatures to find out what they knew.
  106. 106. They were not having much luck. "Of what value is an organization such as this to me?" Contessa Laci Boyle shook her head contemptuously. "You are so young Robert; you don't yet know the meaning of immortality. You are still trying to live as a mortal; you surround yourself with your mortal family. You've barely lived two lifespans. Come to me in three life times, perhaps then you will have gained enough wisdom to be interesting to me."
  107. 107. "They can't all be like that can they? We'll have to keep searching for the others. There have been sightings of at least four in the area. If we can catch the trail of one of them early enough in the evening perhaps we can follow them and find their hide away." "And what would we do if we found it Kiernan? Approaching a Vampire's lair when you haven't been invited is suicide." "Well it's not like I can die again is it? No I just thought that if we found the lair we could watch it and catch sight of the others. If we can identify them maybe follow them to a public place away from the home." "We'll see what we can do, but it will have to be another night. It'll be light soon."
  108. 108. Was it a crime to hold on to his mortality as long as he could? Did you have to be brooding and tragic in order to really be a vampire? Was it wrong to enjoy life no matter what form or how long that life took? Bob knew the pain of immortality, he'd watch his parents, sisters, and children grow old and be taken by Grim. His Grandchildren were elders and had begun following their parents. All of his Great-Great Grandchildren were older than his son Barnabas.
  109. 109. For Bob, his children had surely been proof of his own immortality. They were also a celebration of just how mortal he still was. Would he eventually be so shattered by the pain of their loss that he could no longer endure the celebration?
  110. 110. "You're brooding again." "Not really, just thinking. Kiernan and I ran into a Contessa last night. She accused me of not having lived long enough as an immortal to know the true meaning of immortality. I was just thinking about her and hoping that she's not a harbinger of the future. Will we become embittered? Or will we just become so desensitized to the fragility of mortality that the pain will no longer affect us? What happened to Laci Boyle what made her give up the joy?" "Immortality becomes unbearable when you have no one to share it with. She obviously didn't have a Bob in her life." _______________________
  111. 111. "Are you ready to leave hon?" Emma knelt down beside her husband. He apparently was in a bit of a trance as he didn't seem to notice that she was there. "Hmm? Oh yeah I guess so, I think I talked myself out awhile ago. I've just been sitting here thinking." Startled out of his daze Aldric looked up at his wife with a smile. "Solved the world's problems yet?" "Nah I think that's too much to hope for, but I made a few decisions. It's time to make some changes in my life" "Oh? Getting rid of me finally?"
  112. 112. "Never, you're stuck with me babe, get used to it." "Good, I've grown used to your pretty face. So what life changing decision did you make anything you want to talk about?" "I was thinking about maybe getting a new job."
  113. 113. " I feel I've been standing on the sidelines. I used to think that reporting events fairly and accurately was enough. But when Frankie was missing I had to stand aside and let your father lead the search. I was glad he was there to do it, but I felt like I should have been on the front lines doing more instead of waiting for word. While others were searching for my son I was following a wild goose chase being my brother's puppet." "Someone had to do it." "Why? All that Cigam stuff we found out didn't help us find Frankie. If anything it diverted attention away from the search. Do you think we're any better off knowing what we know? Things have changed, we're still the same people, but we're not."
  114. 114. Thank you for reading! Chapter 32 should be posted shortly. Until then Happy Simming! __________________________ I'd like to give a general shout out to all of the wonderful creators who help to make my sims and their homes look so good. Thank you for sharing your time and your talent with the community.