Fortune’s Fancy- Chapter 1 part 5 A Legacy by Nicbemused andBrenda andBryan are not Simself Nicki Bemused, withimpressed with possible commentary bytheir outfits. other characters.
With Bryan and Brenda gone, Bastien wasn’t quite surewhat to do with himself. He spent some time hanging outat the diner, but it wasn’t as fun without his siblings.
All their friends still came over, even if he couldonly serve them spaghetti, and not Brenda’s fancymeals, and that helped some with Bastien’sloneliness.
The end of the summer party couldn’t comesoon enough for Bastien. Everyone was there,including Chloe, to mourn or celebrate the lastweekend of summer.
Toward the end of the party, Bastien noticed thatChloe had wandered off alone and was sitting byherself and staring at the water. He couldn’t resistgoing over to talk with her.
“Hey.”“You don’t have to feel sorry for me, you know. I’m not chained to your brother’s memoryor anything. I’m over him.”“I don’t, I mean, I just thought maybe you wanted to talk?” Bastien wasn’t sure how toreact to her defensiveness.“No, you felt sorry for me. Well don’t. I’m over him.”“OK.” He still wasn’t sure what to say. He didn’t want to talk about his brother with her.
“I’ll prove it.” She grabbed his hand anddragged him over to the photobooth.
Bastien wasn’t sure what had happened, and Chloe hadhad to leave immediately, so he couldn’t ask her, but hethought it was good?
Bastien hung out at the beach for a while longer with acouple of other teens who’d stuck around and, in the end,he was late enough that he had to sneak back into thehouse.
He knew that Brenda was probably still up, though, so he called herto tell her about the party and ask her what she thought happened.“And then she pulled me over to the photobooth and we, um, youknow. But she had to go, after.”
“Bastien, you didn’t.” Her brother was an idiot.“But she wanted to. That’s good, right?”“Oh, Bastien, it was a party where everyone was feeling sorry for her. Who better to get with toprove she was over it? If you want her for real, you should have said no.”“You’re wrong. She wanted me, not to prove something to everyone else. I’m sure she was justembarrassed.”“OK, but just in case…” Brenda went on to lay out the strategy Bastien could use to win Chloe over,despite their stumbles.
Bastien was disappointed when Chloe didn’t get off the bus at the corner the next dayafter school. Maybe she’d missed it? But then she didn’t the next day, or the next. So hecalled her, but she never picked up or returned his calls.Finally, late in the fall, he saw her walking by the house after school. He hurried out togreet her, but she avoided him and kept walking. He had to conclude that Brenda hadbeen right.
Bastien persisted and eventually Chloe stopped.“Don’t you get it? I don’t want to talk to you? We can’t be friends!”“Chloe, we were friends before everything happened. I miss talking to you. I promise,I’m not asking for anything.”“Bastien, I can’t.” Chloe kept walking, but she looked back over her shoulder as she went.
Bastien took that brief glimpse back as a good sign and he kept going out togreet her every day after school. Some days she seemed sad and didn’t wantto talk, but sometimes she was willing to stop for a few minutes ofconversation before she continued her walk home and, as the yearprogressed, there were fewer sad days.
Eventually, Bastien noticed that they were finally back tohaving long, casual conversations, talking about books, andmovies, and laughing back and forth with eachother.
He took a chance and invited her in.“I don’t know. I just. I don’t think I’m ready yet.” She was very serious.“Well, will you think about it? It’s kinda cold standing out here in thewinter, and you don’t even have a coat.”
The next day, though, she seemed to be in an even better mood, andmore relaxed than before. She told him about her day and laughed at hisjokes. And this time when he asked her in, she agreed .“Just for a few minutes. I don’t want my parents to worry.”
In the late winter, Chloe surprised Bastien. When he greeted her, shehugged him spontaneously and told him he was her best friend. Bastienwasn’t sure what to do. It felt so good to hold her, but he didn’t want tomess things up again, so he hugged her gently back, told her she was hisbest friend too, and let her go.
Bastien didn’t want to go too fast, but he still wanted to be with her, so he asked heron outings, but tried to keep it casual.They spent some time hanging out down at the part with their friends and Bastientook it as a good sign that she started to get shy when their friends left and it wasjust the two of them there in the dark.
Sometimes they met at the diner and hung out andplayed video games and danced.
Sometimes they goofed around in the photobooth. Hewas encouraged when she sat on his lap and kissed himon the cheek while they were messing around, but heremembered what Brenda had said and didn’t push.
And finally, one night, they were hanging out in the backyard, avoiding his extremely embarrassing and romantic parents andlistening to the music that was flowing out of the kitchen windows, when she asked him to dance. Instead of their usually fastboogie, Chloe pulled him in close and then rested her head on Bastien’s chest.“Um, Chloe?” This was it, time to take a chance.“Hummm?” She sounded sleepy, content, as they swayed to the slow strains of the music.“I don’t want to mess up our friendship. But I think you should know that I really like you. Umm, romantically.”Chloe pulled her head back to look at him. “Oh. Lady. Bastien. I like you too. What are we going to do?”“We could date maybe?”“You don’t mind that Bryan and I. I mean. I um. I thought you might mind?”“Could we maybe not talk about my brother?”
They’d practically been dating before, but now it was for real. When they went to the diner it wasunderstood that they were there together, and the park was the same. Chloe was always at thehouse now. And, just before the spring formal, Bastien took Chloe out on a real, formal, date. He’dbeen saving up and they went downtown to dinner at a fancy restaurant, gone to the movies, hitone of the under 21 clubs, and come back to Enhearten for dessert. The old fashioned ice creamparlor was above the old town square and Bastien couldn’t think of a more romantic way to end adate than slow dancing there, above the city lights.
His parents were gone when they got back and he invited Chloe up to his room. Theyfooled around some, but Bastien could tell she wasn’t ready, so eventually theystopped and just cuddled for a while. It was painful for him, but he couldn’t standthe thought of her running from him again. It was nearing the end of the year and hefelt like he was running out of time.
Bastien wished they could have spent spring break together, butunfortunately the public and private schools had different breaks.However, when Chloe asked, shyly, if he wanted to spend the day at herschool with her, he jumped at the chance. Any time spent with her wasgood time, even if it was in school.
Bastien hadn’t counted on the amount of gossip they’d generate. It wasn’t likethey’d been keeping their relationship a secret or anything, so they shouldhave been old news. But he found that they weren’t. In fact, he heard oneguy asking Emily if she thought that Chloe compared him and Bryan in bed.
Bastien discovered that the gossip really bothered him, almost as much asthe idea that Chloe might really compare him with Bryan when they did goto bed. After all, Bryan had way more experience than he did. Chloe toldhim not to listen to them.
“Bastien, don’t let them bother you. He’s always saying stuff about people. Lady, they say that girls are badgossips.” She took his hand and squeezed it.“But.” He stopped. He didn’t want to actually say that he was kind of embarrassed that they hadn’t woohoo’d againor that he was worried about how he might measure up.“No. I mean. We haven’t again, but I want to, and I’m not going to compare. I love you.”“But.” He stopped again.She looked him in the eye. “What we do or don’t do has nothing to do with Bryan. You are a sweetheart and he’s atotal dick. OK?”“OK.” He wasn’t sure he wanted her to think of him as a sweetheart, but that was better than a total dick.
When they finally did get together after the Prom, Bastien was careful to take as muchtime with her as he could. He’d read a lot of books over the winter. Honestly he felt kindof weird that Brenda was sending him books like that, but when he mentioned that shetold him “Nonsense. Woohoo is part of the natural process and nothing to be ashamed of.You’ll thank me later.” And, when Chloe collapsed back into his bed, seemingly unable tomove and told him that she’d never felt anything like that before, he did send a mentalthanks out to his sister for the books. He’d never felt anything like this before either. Hewas pretty sure it was For Real Love.
The near graduates spent most of the end of the year on the beach, doingtheir best to stretch out the last carefree days of high school before theywould go their separate ways to college or the work force. There wasn’t anysitting on the sand staring moodily into the waves for Chloe this year. She andBastien talked and danced on the sand.
They goofed around and played together in the sun.
And when night fell and the other teens left, they played together in thephotobooth. They were both careful not to talk too much about thefuture, but they were each worrying privately about it. And wonderingabout the future of their relationship.
Chloe and Bastien weren’t the only ones worried about their relationship. Leif had, with some trepidation, beenwatching them grow closer over the last year. He wasn’t sure what to make of Chloe moving from his older son to hisyounger, or Bastien moving in on his brother’s ex. Alex had told them to quit worrying and let them work it out, buthe couldn’t. Finally he had asked the girl what she was doing.“Mr. Destin. Like. I know it seems weird, but I really do love Bastien.” She stopped and blushed. “Um. That thingwith Bryan, I don’t know what it was, but I know that it’s really real with Bastien. Like. He’s really real and Bryan. Imean, I know you love all your kids, but Bryan isn’t really real.”Leif listened to her carefully. She seemed sincere and sincerely in love. “All right, Chloe, I am hopeful that yourrelationship might be successful, but it would sadden me greatly were Bastien to be hurt.”“Yes, sir.” Chloe had the grace to finish the game before she ran away.
While Bastien was hard at work creating his relationship, Alex and Leif were intenton rebuilding and maintaining theirs.Bastien’s friends told him they thought it was sweet that the old people still kissedand stuff, but Bastien was mostly embarrassed and tried to avoid their more overtdisplays of affection.
In fact, Alex and Leif’s relationship was stronger than it had ever been.They made sure to take time to be physically affectionate.
And they always made sure to meet for lunch at leasttwice a week and to keep their communication open andhonest.
One day when they met for lunch, Alex told Leif she had something to tell him.“So, you know how we figured that all the kids would be out of the house soon and we’d be empty-nesters?”“Yes, I am most anxious to have woohoo upon the sofa again without also having concern about thepossible presence of the children.”“Well, I think we were a bit hasty in our anticipation. It seems we are going to have another baby.”Leif was thrilled. A bit concerned about their advancing age, but thrilled just the same.
And so, as the winter snow came and went and Bastien and Chloe’srelationship developed, Alex’s baby bump grew larger and larger. By hercalculations, she would be due right around the time Bastien was ready tograduate and move to college. As one child left, another would arrive. Shedidn’t tell Leif, but she was a bit worried about the coming year as well.
Chloe was as worried about the future as Alex was, though for different reasons. She’sassured Mr. Destin that she was serious about Bastien and that their relationship was real,but she’d felt pretty sure about Bryan as well and that had turned out to be nothing. She’dnever tell Bastien, but she did compare the two sometimes, she couldn’t help it. Bastiendid come out better in almost every way, but they were brothers and she worried abouttheir similarities even as she reveled in Bastien’s difference from his brother.
As his graduation drew closer, Bastien had pesteredBrenda so much with his dithering that she told him thathe should go and look inside himself for the answer andthen refused to take his calls any more. He finallydecided to follow her example and go hiking.
The woods were gorgeous in the spring time and the airwas fresh and clean, but he still had difficulty getting hishead straight. Finally he sat down on a log by a streamand just stared at the water.
After several hours, and with night approaching swiftly, Bastienfinally figured out what he needed to do. He was a bit anxious,he wasn’t used to asking for things and he wasn’t sure hisinformation was good, but he knew he had to try.
The next-time SimNicki was visiting, he cornered her.“Ms. Bemused, I have to say that you are looking lovely this evening. You rival even theGreek statues in the Museum of Faux Arts. “ Honestly, he went on for a while with themost incredible Eddie Haskel act. It was kind of horrifying and fascinating at the sametime. It was tempting to let him go on, but I have more respect than that.
“Really, Bastien? Really? I’m not a violin, you can’t play me.” Enough wasenough.“Um, I don’t know what you are talking about. Um. I just really admire you.”Bastien was a bit awkward when caught out.“Spit it out. You aren’t going to butter me up by insulting my intelligence.”
After a bit more hemming and hawing, he spit it out. “Iheardyousometimesgivescholarships. PleasegiveChloeone.”“Why?” OK, so I was a bit cruel, I already knew what my plans were.“I love her a lot and you’re a good person and we’ll be totally grateful forever!”“Have you even asked her if she wants to go to college?”“I’m sure she does! But she gets upset when I talk about it, so I’m afraid to ask her.”“You know you’re in a Legacy contract, right? Is she willing to abide by the terms of the contract if you are chosenas heir?”He looked at me defiantly. “I don’t care. I’d rather have her than the heirship.”He hadn’t really surprised me, but I was glad he was that invested and saw himself that clearly. “I’ll talk with her.”
So I had Emily invite Chloe over and turn the discussion toward the futureand what Chloe wants to do. Did she want to stay in downtown, or did shewant to do something else with her life. I stayed in the background andlistened as unobtrusively as I could. When Chloe shyly put forth that she’dlike to have a chance to attend Simstate, she’d given me the answer Ineeded.
I eventually invited her back to my office and asked her what she wanted for herfuture. She fidgeted a lot and seemed uncomfortable on the sofa and I could tellthat she wasn’t sure why I was asking. At first she spent some time telling me abouthow they were all grateful for the new development in the area and the chance fornew jobs and expanded life choices but I kept turning the conversation back to whatshe wanted in life.
“Why are you asking me?!” Chloe seemed upset, but I knew she’d getover it.“I want to know. I have a bit of a proposition for you.”“What kind of proposition? What do you want from me?”
“How would you like to see more of the world than just Enhearten and Downtown?”“What do you mean? I’m stuck here, I can’t even afford University.”“Chloe, Enhearten will need good, educated people as it expands and I’ve beenkeeping an eye on students at the public schools to see who might be able tocontribute to the community if they are given a chance. You are one of thosestudents.“
“What do you mean?”“You remember the scholarship that Chris got last year? Would you like one for this year?”“Oh! My! Lady! Are you offering to pay for me to go to Uni!?”“Yep, on the condition that you contribute to the community once you graduate. Do youaccept?”“YES! YES I ACCEPT! This is like magic!”
While their parents and siblings were experiencing life changes at home, Brendaand Bryan were settling into dorm life at school. After a mix-up during registration,they were eventually assigned to the Renaissance Dorm, one of the best dorms oncampus. The head of campus housing had said, “Of course, we can’t have ouryoung legacy heirs in just any dorm.” Brenda had laughed that off while Bryan hadbeen flattered by the attention. He hadn’t realized that being part of a Contractfamily was that special.
Unfortunately it had taken some time to get settled and during the processtheir luggage had gone missing. While campus security was trying to track itdown, they were forced to wear some old clothes that had been left behindthe year before and cleaned by the dorm staff. The could see why the clotheshad been left, what they didn’t understand was why the students had boughtthem in the first place.
Eventually their suitcases were found and they were both able to change into theirown clothes before they settled down to wait for their new housing assignment tocome through. Brenda had even decided it was time for a change of hairstyle. Thedreads had been good for helping her get in touch with her more earthy side, butshe felt confident she could keep in touch with it on her own now. They eachagreed that the change of clothes suited their twin much better.
Chris was settling into his dorm as well, and he called Brenda upas soon as he had gotten everything moved in. She was thrilled tohear from him and agreed that they should explore the campustogether.
As soon as they hung up, Brenda left to go meet him, they wouldhave more than enough time to do a quick tour before dark. Whocared that it was raining? It was just another aspect of nature afterall.
Once it was dark, Brenda returned to what would become a very familiar sight:The cheerleader and the Cow Mascot having a knock-down drag-out in theupstairs common room. Lady only knew what it was about this time, but Brendasuspected it had something to do with the Cow insulting the Cheerleader’sappearance in her swimsuit. At least, that’s what she got out of the Cheerleader’syelling, “We’ll JUST SEE WHO’S OUT OF SHAPE HERE!”
When the dorms got too loud, Brenda retreated to the Skill Up lounge. Itwas quieter, though not quite peaceful enough to allow her to practice hermeditation. She did find that she loved working out on the ballet bar, it was,in some ways, almost like doing yoga.
And so college life soon fell into a routine. Brenda would goto class, grab some lunch, work out, and then meet up withChris for coffee and conversation. Or Whatever. Maybe theyweren’t going out, but they still had needs after all.
One day late in the semester, Brenda and Chris had just finished up their coffee when Chris toldher he had someone he wanted her to meet. She looked over her shoulder and standing behindher was a girl who had classes with Bryan.“I want you to meet my girlfriend.”Brenda wasn’t sure what she should do, so she shook the other girl’s hand. “Well, um. Nice tomeet you. I guess I should let you guys go on to dinner then.” She waved awkwardly at Chris andleft quickly.
“It’s not like I need Chris for benefits.” Brenda thought. “There are plenty of boyswilling to give me that. I can just be friends with Chris from now on. It won’t be anydifferent.” But it seemed like the calls to Chris never happened. He always seemedto be busy with his new girlfriend and the boys were there, available, easy. Nobodycared, nobody got hurt, nobody had to think all that hard or work all that hard.
There wasn’t even any jealousy if she chose to flit.
From one to the next. To the next. To the next. Theydidn’t mean anything to eachother.
It was all a game. A casual bonk from time to time. Whoreally cared. College was supposed to be fun, right?
There was this one boy, though. There was something…. Brendadidn’t know. He paid her attention other than in a photobooth orhot tub. He seemed to want to get to know her. But what if hedid? Did she want a friend to go with her benefits. Another one?Who might end up with some other girl who took all his time?
But he was charming. And he seemed nice. And she wasalways glad to see him around the dorm. Not that sheminded watching him walk away either. Brenda just didn’tknow.
Unfortunately, Brenda had been so distracted by her social life that she’dlet her grades slip and one day, when she was returning to the dorms afterworking out, she ran into her advisor. “Brenda Destin? I need to speakwith you! Did you know that you’re nearly flunking out of your classes?You need to get a move on if you intend to return to here again next year,young lady!”
Brenda was devastated. She knew she’d gotten a little distracted and she’d asked foran extension or two on a couple of papers, but she hadn’t realized that she was so farbehind that she was in danger of flunking out! There was no way she could face herparents or brother after something like that! Especially since it seemed like Bryan wasdoing just fine. She vowed to do better. She’d go in and work on those papers rightnow.
And she did. For the next several weeks, she only left the computer to eat,sleep, and shower. No matter how tempting the boys were, how alluringlythey tried to distract her, Brenda stayed focused. She finished paper afterpaper and assignment after assignment and eventually she was not onlycaught up, she was ahead of her school work.
The next time she ran into her advisor, the conversation was very different.“Ah. Ms. Destin. I want to congratulate you. I was sure you were going toend up on academic probation, but your professors tell me that you are nowgetting As in all your classes. Good work!” She went away from this meetingsmiling.
Brenda had been right. Bryan was doing just fine. The first thing he’ddone once they got settled in the new dorm was to get his term papersand assignments out of the way. That way he’d have time to playwithout worrying about anything.
Unfortunately, he forgot to worry about the one thing he had left to worryabout. And so he got caught playing.“I can’t believe you! I’m never hot-tubbing with you again!”Bryan shrugged, what did he care, no need to get stressed.
But on the way to Bastien’s graduation, Bryan’s outlook changed. Death appeared on his doorstep.Nobody else seemed to really see the problem. In fact, one of his sister’s “friends” even snickered.“Eh, what’d she expect. She was in your room all night long, didn’t sleep, and then she had to run offto class without eating for like the third day in a row. Hoo addict.” But she was young, a dormie!Bryan vowed then and there that Death was never going to come for him!Brenda tugged on his sleeve. “Come on, Bryan, it’s sad, but we hardly knew her and we’re going to belate to Bastien’s party.” But Bryan couldn’t leave it there. He brooded on Death the whole way backto their parents’.
Bastien, on the other hand, had more pressing worries than Death in the farfuture. He was worried about his brother and his girlfriend being in thesame room together. He couldn’t decide if it would be worse if they foughtor worse if they got along and so he worried, worried, worried.
After a lengthy drive, Brenda and Bryan finally arrived. “Wow, mom,you’re really really pregnant!”Alex laughed, “Yeah, I’ll be lucky if I make it through the party withoutgoing into labor.
Her impending due date didn’t stop Alex and Leif from getting down at Bastien’sparty. They weren’t sure what was wrong with Bryan, he kept staring off intospace, but Brenda made sure to congratulate Bastien for both of them. “We can’twait for you to be with us in the dorm! You should see the place!”
Chloe arrived about half way through the party. Bastien was happy to see her, butalso wanted Bryan to understand that they were together now. Brenda justwanted things to be relatively peaceful. “Remember, you promised to apologize.”“Ugh. Do I have to? I can’t imagine what I every saw in her.”“You promised. We all have to live together next year and I’d rather it wasn’t a slapfest. Violence disturbs my chi.”
“Listen, Chloe. I’m glad you’re over what happened and all. We probably couldhave handled things better, but we’ve both moved on, so it was for the best.”Chloe appeared to be speechless.Worst. Apology. Ever.
Since Bryan appeared to be done, Bastien retrieved his girlfriend, hedidn’t want her to get too comfortable around Bryan again. Brendalooked on with approval. She hadn’t been sure that Bryan would even dothat much, but things seemed like they would work out.
And shortly thereafter, Alex went into labor with her final baby. Atleast the party was almost over?
Everyone was thrilled with the arrival of baby Blake,though his timing might have been better.
His parents were especially happy. One last child, born in thematurity and sureness of their love. Even though he was somuch younger than his siblings, they intended to savor hisgrowing up period.
Alex insisted that everyone stay around for a few more hours and get some more dancing in. Shedidn’t want the party to be over just because little Blake had arrived. Unfortunately, this had givenChloe time to thing about Bryan’s Nonpology. “I can’t believe that load of crap. You could have reallytaken responsibility, but no, you didn’t. I can’t believe the size of your ego!”“Well, whatever I did, at least I didn’t go on to screw your sister!”“Framm you! Don’t you dare get self righteous with me! I know about Emily and your brother istwice the man you are!”Bryan just laughed at her. He knew that he brother was weak and dependent, taking his leftovers.
Honestly, enough was enough. The family was pretending nothing had happened, butBryan kept trying to go after Chloe. I had to step in. “Bryan, stop it.”“Who, me? How is this my fault? She started yelling at me.”“And enough is enough. She’s stopped, you need to stop too.”“All right, fine.Thankfully, he shut up and let Chloe get herself back together in peace.
All too soon for Alex and Leif it was time for the end of the party and time forBrenda and Bryan to head back to the University. Bastien would be goingwith them and Chloe would be joining them the next day, after she’d had achance to say goodbye to her family and get her things together. Bastiencouldn’t way to get there and he couldn’t wait for Chloe to join him.
And so ends chapter 1 part 5!With everything going just as it should, how couldanything go wrong now?Will they ever stop dancing outside the icecreamparlor for pretty pictiures? (nope)Will the yummy bartender join the legacy someday? (probably)