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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 3 (A)


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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Five - Part 3 (A)

  1. 1. Welcome back to the Devereaux Legacy! I know, I know, I've been rather quiet on the Sim end lately, and for that I apologize. I'm super behind on comments and I'm very ashamed. I hope to catch up as soon as I post this. I've totally read everyone's stuff and I love everything that I've read. Again, I'm sorry for not commenting sooner. I've also been quiet because I've been working on this super long update and I tend to get distracted by shiny things. Discipline! I need to discipline! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the chapter! ***
  2. 2. “Time marches on; ever flowing, never stopping. A person is born, a person lives, and a person dies. You are on a journey. A journey seeking greatness. But you must remember that life is made up of isolated incidents. Never forget the small things in life, for it is those little things that define you.” “...Line.”
  3. 3. “CUT!” Checo Ramierez exploded. “For the love of God, Jason! Didn't you memorize your lines? Why is it that Jodie can come to the set prepared but you can't?” Jason Larson ground his teeth and glared at the director. “I can't take the kid seriously. I mean, really? A Child Oracle? What the hell does she know about life?”
  4. 4. “She's called the Child Oracle. That means that we have to have someone young! What the hell did you expect? A midget? We tried having a midget on the set in the last movie we made together, Jason. You laughed at them! And pointed too, if I remember correctly! Do you know how much money the studio had to pay to placate the Small Peoples' Actors Union? You're lucky the media didn't catch wind of it, otherwise you'd never work in movies again!”
  5. 5. Jason put on a mock expression of fear. “Oh no! Some midgets are mad at me! What are they going to do? Punch and kick me? I'll make sure to wear some shin guards and a cup. But seriously, Checo, who wrote this shit?”
  6. 6. Lisa Ramierez chimed in from the sidelines. “I did, Jason. And it's not a problem with the script or with Eden. It's you. You are just making up excuses because you were out late last night hobnobbing with starlets, partying until dawn, and you couldn't be bothered to memorize your lines. You also couldn't be bothered to show up on time today, I should add. Eden, at the very least, is showing far more professionalism than you are and she's half your age.”
  7. 7. Jason became livid. “No! It's not me! It's her! She's acting unprofessional and it's making me screw up my lines!” “She's not the one throwing a temper tantrum and holding up production,” Jodie muttered behind him.
  8. 8. Eden had remained silent on the platform during all of this. When there was a pause in Jason's rant, she asked quietly, “Can I come down, please?”
  9. 9. “Oh Jesus, Eden, why didn't you say something sooner? Yes, you can come down.” Checo cupped his hands and called out across the set, “Can someone help her down? And get Makeup in here. The camera was picking up a slight shine on her chin. Everyone take five!”
  10. 10. Lisa and Mary were waiting at the bottom of the ladder as Eden climbed down. Holding out a hand to steady her, Lisa said, “You're doing fine, Eden. I wasn't lying when I said that you are acting far more professional that some people who have been doing this forever.” Mary gave a pleased grin. “Of course she is. I wouldn't expect anything less from her, and she wouldn't expect anything less from herself. You're doing very well, sweetie.”
  11. 11. Eden gave a polite smile. “Thank you. May I have some water, please? I'm very warm.” “For you? Anything you want, angel,” Lisa replied. Eden gave another polite smile. “Water is all I would like, thank you.”
  12. 12. Mary put her arm around Eden and ushered her towards the catered food. Lisa turned and sighed as she listened to Jason, who was still ranting. “And what the hell is this line about the 'little things in life that define us'? What total bullshit is that? It's not the little things, it's the big things! I didn't get where I am today because I woke up one morning and took a crap. I got where I am today because of my movies. My very successful movies. Little isolated incidents my left ass cheek. Now, if I would have written the script, I would have said...” ***
  13. 13. “Grilled cheese here. I have some grilled cheese. I love grilled cheese. I’m gonna eat me some grilled cheese. Nummy, nummy, nummy grilled cheese!” Mortimer continued to talk about and to his grilled cheese sandwich while his children, at the table, ignored him.
  14. 14. Cassandra smiled at her brother. “You know, it’s great that you and Lucy have taken me and Dad in, Alex. But, I’m kind of wondering when we all can move back into our ancestral home. It’s a whole lot more roomy than this two bedroom dump.”
  15. 15. “She is right, dear. Zachary needs his own bedroom.” Lucy lowered her voice so Cassandra couldn’t hear. “And I would like it for you and I to have our own, private space again.” The strain of having her insane father-in-law and angry sister-in-law living with them in such close quarters was evident on Lucy’s face.
  16. 16. “You two are absolutely correct. I have been meaning to contact the caretaker to our home for quite some time, but my political duties have been keeping me busy. However, I think it is time to rectify the situation and inform him that he needs to find a new place for he and his daughter to live. Heck, I might even pay him a few bucks as compensation, just to show our gratitude for taking good care of our home.”
  17. 17. Cassandra looked skeptically at Alexander. “Do you need me to come with? I wouldn’t mind giving this man a piece of my mind. He should have known that was our house, and he should have given it back to us instead of waiting for us to forcefully take it from him. To hell with giving him money. He doesn’t deserve it!”
  18. 18. Alexander smiled at Cassandra’s zealous hatred against most men. Then he shook his head. “No. That will not be necessary. I’ve done a little bit of research on this guy, and I must say that were it not for this unfortunate circumstance, he and I might actually be friends. We have a lot in common. We both can trace our lineage back over multiple generations, we both have the same disdain for those of a lesser station than us, we are both patient when it comes to obtaining what we desire, and neither of us suffer fools gladly. “It will be better if I go alone so I can talk to him, Fortune Sim to Fortune Sim, equal to equal. He will understand the delicate nature of business, and that is exactly what this situation is: just business. In other words, he and I talk the same language. And he might not respond well to veiled threats or outright tongue lashings. Do not worry dear sister, we will be settled back into our own home, once again.” ***
  19. 19. Aviendha stifled a giggle as she gave a thumbs up. “You're lookin' good. What do you call that one?”
  20. 20. “I call it my 'oh yeah, you know I'm hot, resistance is futile' seduction dance. It's a time honored dance that's supposed to woo all the ladies. Is it working?”
  21. 21. Matching his playful attitude, Aviendha did an exaggerated strut over to him. “Why, Ashley! I don't what's come over me! It's as if a strange force is compelling me to kiss you or something!”
  22. 22. 'It's the 'resistance is futile' part of the dance that renders you helpless. You are now putty in my hands!” “That must be it,” Aviendha laughed as they embraced each other.
  23. 23. Life in the Lewis household was fairly routine. The married couples cuddled with each other when not at work...
  24. 24. ...Laurana went to school and brought home good grades...
  25. 25. ...and nearly every night, they threw a party. Parties that Xander made sure to invite Zane to because he was positive that the day Zane didn't show up would be the day that he, Xander, was scheduled to die. Zane, due to the fact that things were slow on the soul collecting end, had so far managed to attend every single party.
  26. 26. Zane couldn't help but feel slightly uncomfortable whenever he showed up at the Lewis house. The setting was all too familiar, almost identical to the house that his dream had taken place.
  27. 27. He sat down on the couch but almost immediately stood up when Malcolm started dancing in front of him. He managed to control himself, however, when he remembered that Malcolm had absolutely no idea who he was.
  28. 28. That relief was short-lived when he spied another familiar face in the crowd. He was torn between leaving before the woman noticed him and just walking up to her and giving her a hug; he was pretty sure that the second option would have made people ask questions that he wasn't quite sure how to answer.
  29. 29. Any thoughts of leaving, however, left as soon as he heard a bunch of voices entering the dining room. Laurana had come home with her friends in tow, and Zane really wanted to see Karen; he wanted to see how she was doing so he could go home and tell Tina.
  30. 30. “Eden, come on. This party is lame. Can't you ask your mother if you can go downtown with me?” Karen asked over the loud music and conversation that was going on around them. “No, I can't,” Eden replied. “It's a school night. The only reason why I'm allowed here is because she's here. Otherwise I'd be at home practicing dance or music or something like that.” Karen rolled her eyes, shook her head, and tried to find something that would entertain her.
  31. 31. Jill looked around at all the well dressed people and smiled. Though she still wasn't completely comfortable with all the rich people, she couldn't help but be happy...
  32. 32. ...particularly when one of those rich people present was Rose Devereaux.
  33. 33. Jill shyly made her way over to Rose. “Hi,” she said. “Hi,” Rose replied back with a smile.
  34. 34. “Laurana, why are you hiding your pretty face behind all that hair? How is anyone going to be able to see what you look like when you seem to insist on hiding yourself?” Mary asked.
  35. 35. Laurana was torn between being rude and just ignoring the question. Finally, she just said, “I like how I wear my hair.”
  36. 36. “Of course! You have very pretty hair! It's just such a shame that it's hiding an equally pretty face. Look at Eden,” Mary gestured to her daughter who tried not to look embarrassed. “Eden also has very pretty hair, but see how it's pulled back from her face? Maybe if--” “Mother, can I talk to Lori? I need to ask her something about a homework assignment,” Eden interrupted. “Oh! Of course. Remember what I said, Laurana.”
  37. 37. Xander spied Zane in the crowd of people. He smiled to himself as he walked over to talk to the Grim Reaper.
  38. 38. “Hi, Xander,” Zane said happily, giving the other man a huge smile. “Thank you for inviting me to your party.” “It's TOTALLY no problem. The more the merrier, right?” Zane continued to grin, but he started twisting his hands, knowing what was going to come next.
  39. 39. Xander didn't say anything at first, though. So, Zane stepped a few feet back, thinking that perhaps the other man would just let the issue drop. He was wrong. “So, Zane, when am I going to die? Come on, you can tell me!” Xander laughed playfully. Zane didn't find humor in the situation. “Zander, I really don't know! I'm serious when I say that I get actual papers from the office that has the names of the people I need to collect the next day. I don't have a crystal ball or anything that tells me these things! And even if I did know, I wouldn't tell you! Nobody should know so far in advance!” “Aww, you're TOTALLY no fun. Well, then I'm just going to keep inviting you to parties until the day you can't make it.” Zane shook his head, resigned. “And I'll try to be here as long as things stay quiet for me.” He almost sighed with relief when Xander walked away to talk to someone else.
  40. 40. “Hey Karen,” Jill started to say. Karen sighed and rolled her eyes. “Oh. Hi, Jill. Look, I really can't talk. I need to talk to that guy over there,” she said, not letting Jill say anything else. Jill shrugged with disappointment. “Oh, okay,” she started to say, but Karen had already walked away from her.
  41. 41. “Oh, thank God you were standing here. I really, really didn't feel like talking to that charity case. You know what I mean? I mean, I'm sure she's nice and all, but really, why is she even here?” Karen said to Zane, who blinked. “Are..are you talking to me?” he asked. “Well yeah! Who else is standing here?”
  42. 42. Zane tried not to look too excited. “So, how are you? Are you having fun? Are you happy? Do you have any boyfriends? What's your favorite book? What's your favorite color? How are you doing in school?” All the questions came tumbling out before he realized just how strange they would sound coming from someone who was supposed to be a stranger. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. “Yeah...okay...I'm just going to go over there now. I'll be back, um, like...yeah. Whatever,” she said.
  43. 43. Before Zane could apologize, or at the very least, come up with a reason as to why he asked those questions, Karen walked away.
  44. 44. He was disappointed at first. But then he smiled. “Well, she seems happy. And at least she knows not to talk to strangers. So that's good.” He couldn't wait to tell Tina when he went back to the Dead Realm. ***
  45. 45. “Goopy and some Grilled Cheese sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G,” Goopy happily sang to himself as he ate his sandwich.
  46. 46. “No, Miles, he hasn't gotten any better. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's singing to his sandwich as we speak.” Kitty laughed as she listened to her son's comment on the other end. “Yeah, I know, Mary could have done so much better. But, your dad and I asked her if she wanted a divorce from him even though Ang asked if we would keep him. And, well, Mary wouldn't hear of it. It's not perky, pretty, or perfect to get a divorce. It's...hard on her but she, well, she's Mary. You know your sister.” Kitty sighed and nodded silently to what Miles was saying. “Yeah, well, I think it's even more rough on Eden.”
  47. 47. Eden checked the cuffs of her uniform for any sort of stain that might be on it. Ever since the success of her latest movie, the paparazzi and her fans have been anxiously looking for any imperfections that she might have so they can take pictures and post them on the internet. Her mother had drilled into her that she was to be camera ready at all times so Eden wouldn't have anything negative posted about her. The only problem was, Eden was a rather sloppy eater and she was always dropping something on her clothes. In fact, she had taken to eating in private so the cameras wouldn't spot out her bad habits.
  48. 48. She sighed with relief when she found no stains. This time. She began brushing off the errant lint and long black hairs that seemed drawn to her like a magnet. As she was doing so, Sebastian walked in. He watched her for a moment before he said, “What are you doing?” “I'm making sure that nobody can take any embarrassing pictures of me. Mother says that it's very necessary. I know I should be neater, but I can't help it.” Sebastian closed his eyes and sighed. “Eden, you look fine. More than fine. You're perfectly lovely and anyone who says otherwise is a complete idiot.” “Really?” “Yes, really.”
  49. 49. Eden heaved another sigh of relief and went to the bookcase to study for school. Kitty got off the phone with Miles and walked into the living room. “What's up?” She asked. “Nothing much. I was just telling our lovely granddaughter that she looks fine and she doesn't have to worry about a cameraman popping out of a Snapdragon or something like that.” Kitty laughed but remained tactfully silent about cameras taking pictures of the minute details of their lives.
  50. 50. Sebastian put his arm around her. “You know what I was also thinking?” “What's that?” “I was just thinking about how great you would look on camera and that you should have been a movie star. But, I'm glad you're not because I don't want to have to share you with the rest of the world.” “Sebby! Are you learning how to smooth talk in your old age?” “It's not smooth talk. It's the truth.” Kitty smiled happily at him.
  51. 51. Eden watched her grandparents with fascination. They acted so different from her own parents and she didn't know what to make of them.
  52. 52. They cuddled with each other. They said nice things to each other. They even shared the same bedroom with each other. It was clear that they actually enjoyed being in the company of the other. They were completely opposite of her own parents.
  53. 53. But, her parents were her parents. She was taught that her parents were supposed to be right. Well, at least her mother was supposed to be right. She was also taught that public displays of affection were inappropriate as it would cause gossip and scandal. But, her grandparents looked so happy. She just didn't know what to make of it.
  54. 54. She was still turning those thoughts over after dinner. She mindlessly walked through the living room and idly picked things up and placed them back down. Her grandparents loved each other. It appeared that her parents didn't. But, was that such a bad thing? If she didn't love anyone and they didn't love her back, then she wouldn't have to worry. She wouldn't have to worry about getting hurt. She wouldn't have to worry about ruining her public face. But, she also needed to produce an heir, so it appeared to Eden that she would have to get married. Or did she?
  55. 55. She slumped down onto the couch as she thought about that idea. Sex was sex and one really didn't have to love the other to do it. How hard would it be to just...not use contraceptives? She'd have an heir and she wouldn't have to worry about someone being in her face all of the time. Love seemed nice, but it also appeared to be very inconvenient if she were to use her own parents as an example. Of course, there would probably be scandal, but she was sure it would eventually blow over. She sighed. The thoughts were rather bleak. “Eden?” Mary's voice shook Eden from her reverie.
  56. 56. “Sweetie, how many times do I have to tell you to sit up straight?” Mary asked as she sat on the couch next to her daughter. Eden immediately straightened up and looked at her mother. She didn't say anything as she waited for Mary to continue. “So, Eden, you're going to be going to college soon. Aren't you excited? Of course, you're going to have to make extra sure that you behave yourself. Naturally, you are a good girl, don't get me wrong. But you know how the newspapers can be. But, just think, you're going to be off at college and you're going to find yourself a nice, young man for you to love with and get married to. And then you're going to have babies! I'm going to have grandbabies! They'll be so lovely! And then maybe your children will want to be famous and the public will love them as much as they are going to love you. I have cleared it with your agent and you don't have to worry about any upcoming roles while you are at school studying hard. But afterwards, the sky is the limit! Oh! And your wedding to the nice young man that you'll find will be absolutely perfect! It'll be so pretty and you will be the envy of everyone in Pleasantview!”
  57. 57. Eden looked at Mary and shrugged hesitantly. “Actually, Mother, I was thinking that, um, well, maybe I won't get married. I mean--” Mary looked away and closed her eyes. “Don't be ridiculous! Of course you're going to get married. You're going to get married to a nice young man who won't be a Romance Sim that would have a nervous breakdown at the altar. Your wedding will be perfect and your children will be pretty and your entire marriage will be perky. It''ll be just like my marriage to your father. I promise!” “But,” Eden ventured to say, “but I don't want a marriage like the one you and Daddy have. I want--”
  58. 58. “And why wouldn't you want a marriage like mine?” Mary snapped. “I have the perfect marriage and I love your father very much and he loves me. You should be so lucky! And I really hope that you will be! I know you will be. Eden, you're young. I know that marriage seems like such an old person thing to do, but trust me, when you find that special young man that makes your heart flutter, you will look back on this conversation and laugh.” She gave a thin laugh, as if to imitate Eden's future laughter. “Trust me, sweetie. I know what's best. You will have a perfect marriage, so I don't want to hear anymore of this 'never get married' nonsense. Okay? You will find the greatest love of your life at college. Just like how I found mine there.” “Um, okay,” Eden said skeptically. Before Mary could comment on Eden's tone though, Goopy came up behind them and spoke. “Hey, lookit me! I'm still a young buck! Where's the party full of hot women? I'm rarin' to get at them!”
  59. 59. Mary sighed impatiently and she approached her husband. “Goopy, go to bed,” she said dismissively. “Heya doll face! You got some grilled cheese under that sweater of yours? Take your top off so I can see!” “That is not the way to talk in front of your daughter, and you know it. Go to bed and stop embarrassing yourself.”
  60. 60. Eden also got up and walked over to Goopy with a smile. “Goodnight, Daddy.” Goopy crossed his arms and looked at her as if he didn't know her. “Daddy? Daughter? I don't have kids! The Goopster doesn't do kids! Nope. I'm a free man who will never be tied down to one woman. Wait. Hey lady,” he said to Mary, “did I knock you up? Sorry 'bout that if I did. I mean, you can claim that this chick is my child all you want, but she looks nothing like me. Nope. I'll never be tied down to one woman or saddled with a kid. It's just me and my grilled cheese. Grilled cheese if the only love for me!” Mary gave him a cool look. “Say goodnight to your only child, Goopy, then go to bed.” For a moment, the foggy look in his eyes cleared as he looked at the two of them. “Mary? Eden? Wait, Eden's not my only--”
  61. 61. As soon as Goopy recognized her though, Eden cut off what he was saying with a kiss. “Goodnight. I love you. I hope you know that, deep down, when...when you go away.” He kissed her back. “You are my kid, aren't you? Yeah, I can see it. I'm going to have to beat the boys off with a bat, aren't I? I--” he cut off and the foggy look reappeared. “Grilled cheese! Why am I kissing you when I could be kissing grilled cheese?” Mary shook her head. “Eden, isn't it time for you to practice on your dancing? Your father needs his rest.”
  62. 62. Eden tried not to look disappointed as she made her way up the stairs. It was made even worse when Mary said over her shoulder, “Just remember what I said, Eden, about finding the perfect man at college. You will have a happy marriage just like I do.”
  63. 63. She changed into her leotard, turned her radio on softly, and began warming up. The song that was playing caught her attention. “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag And smile, smile, smile. Just think of all the happy times you'll have And smile, that's the style. What's the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile. So pack up your troubles in your old kit bag And smile, smile, smile.” Minnutes-Remix of an old WWI rag time song “Pack Up Your Troubles”
  64. 64. It seemed as good advice as any, so she stood tall and began her warm ups, smiling the entire time. She decided that the song would be her own, personal anthem. ***
  65. 65. The next morning, as Mary was getting the newspaper, one of the new neighbors from across the street came on over to introduce herself. “Hi, I'm De Marius,” De said as she shook Mary's hand. “I live right over there,” she continued in a bubbly tone as she gestured vaguely to one of the houses. “How nice of you to finally come over and introduce yourself. I've been meaning to come on by, but--” “Oh, but you've been busy with Eden and her movies and stuff. It's okay,” De cut off with a smile. Mary looked at the other woman and noticed that familiar, all knowing look that her own mother had. She mentally shrugged. “Would you like to come inside for some coffee?” “That would be great!” Was the cheerful response.
  66. 66. The two of them chatted amiably over their coffee, and when they were finished, they went into the game room to continue their conversation. “So tell me more about your daughter, Ceres,” Mary said enthusiastically. De covered up a pleased smile. “Well, she's the first daughter that Cassius and I have ever had so I'm super excited about her. Of course Cassius is betting that she'll grow up to be a Romance Sim.”
  67. 67. De continued on with a laugh. “It's too bad that Ceres is way to young to hang out with Eden. I'd totally bet that between the two of them, if Ceres were to become Romance of course, that between the two of them the boys wouldn't stand a chance.” Mary laughed before she realized what De was saying. “What was that? Wait, are you implying that Eden, my daughter, is a Romance Sim?” “Well, yeah! Actually, I kinda wanted to meet her because, you know, I wanted to see--”
  68. 68. “Eden is not a Romance Sim. She knows better than to choose that Aspiration. And if she were, then she knows that I would disapprove and that I would ask her to change it. Romance Sims are...are vile! They have no idea how to stay faithful! They are tawdry,! Eden will not remain a Romance Sim if she is one. She's going to be a perfect angel, not some two dollar whore. She..she will become a nice Family Sim like me. And she will marry a nice Family Sim! Romance Sims, bah!”
  69. 69. De gave Mary a look of pity. And then thoughts of the Romance Sims that she knew crossed her mind. Cassius, Spencer, Mordred, Vaughn, Rhys...
  70. 70. De's brow furrowed. “Stop! Not all Romance Sims are like that. Not even close to half of the Romance Sims that I know are like that! Do you know nothing about anything? Do some research. Geeze, even you know some Romance Sims who aren't like that. What about Xander? What about Merlin and Savannah? My goodness, what about Ashley? Just because Goopy was like that doesn't mean Eden's going to be! So, I'm sorry Mary, but I don't want to listen to you slam on the Aspiration just because you ended up with a jerk. It's an insult to some of the people that I love best!”
  71. 71. Not wanting to offend her new neighbor more, Mary attempted to placate De. “I apologize if I've offended you. I'm sure that Eden will make the right choice when it comes to picking a spouse. She knows that scandal would be bad. I am confident that she will make sure that everything will turn out perfect.” De wanted to press the issue, not liking how Mary worded her last statement, but she let it go for the time being. “I'm sure she will be very happy and everything will turn out fine,” was all she said.
  72. 72. Then she laughed. “Besides, it's all about who the Matchmaker drops, right? Am I right? She always knows what's best, so who are we to argue?”
  73. 73. A strange look crossed Mary's face. “Matchmaker?” “Well yeah! You know, Matchmaker! You give her a bunch of money and she'll find someone who is just right. Don't tell me you've never heard of the Matchmaker.” “'s never occurred to me to go to one. But maybe...”
  74. 74. Suddenly she realized what she was thinking. “Wait, no, that's silly. I couldn't possibly go to a matchmaker. I'm a married woman and I am very happy with my husband. Yes. Yes I am. I would be foolish to go when she would just tell me that...that...Goopy is my perfect mate.”
  75. 75. “I was talking about Eden, but, yeah, okay,” De said with an unsure shrug. “Because I am happy with my husband,” Mary insisted. “Yeah, of course you are!” “Yes. I am. I don't need to go to a silly matchmaker.” “Yeah, no. Of course you don't,” was the only thing De could say in response.
  76. 76. After a few moments of silence, De said, “Well, I should get going. I promised my nanny that I wouldn't be gone long.” “Oh, of course! I have a ton of things to do today myself,” Mary hastily replied and she gave De a hug.
  77. 77. As she was leaving, De thought about Mary's reaction about the Matchmaker. She stopped dead in her tracks. “Uh oh,” she said out loud, “there's going to be some conniptions I think.” Then with a shrug and a smile, she continued back to her house, bouncing the entire way.
  78. 78. Mary, for her part, tried to keep her concentration on the list of chores she had planned for the day. Unfortunately, her mind kept drifting back to the Matchmaker idea. “Don't be silly,” she said to herself, “of course it's a ridiculous idea! I'm a married woman. Happily married. There is no need to stoop to that level.” She poured more fertilizer onto the dirt.
  79. 79. But no matter how much she tried to push the thought out of her mind, it kept popping back up. You should go to the Matchmaker just to see. “No,” she argued out loud again with herself, “what if someone sees? What if they find out? It's silly. I am happily married.” No you aren't, and you know it. To that, she said nothing, and she managed to squelch the thought down for the rest of the day. ***
  80. 80. A few days later, Mary was sitting at the table writing in her day planner as she made the list of things she needed to do for that day. She tapped her pen idly as she reviewed what she had written. *Call Eden’s agent *Bubble Den-order more bubble stock *Go to grocery store-pick up more cheese *Eden-Voice coaching *Round Table-Order more Twilight books-Ask about possible bulk discount *Eden-Dance Practice *Call Miles *Call Zane *Work on novel
  81. 81. Everything seemed to be in order except for one thing. Mary chewed on the end of her pen as she thought about what she really wanted to add to the list. When she realized what she was doing, she quickly pulled the pen out and she wiped her mouth to make sure that no ink had gotten on her lips.
  82. 82. She sighed, then nodded firmly to herself and squeezed in two lines at the top of her list. *Go to bank *Go to Gypsy Matchmaker
  83. 83. Hands shaking, she slammed her planner shut. “Well, it’s on my list, so of course it needs to be done. One must always abide by a well planned list.”
  84. 84. Squaring her shoulders, she set out to do her planned tasks. ***
  85. 85. Mary looked around and sighed when she saw that no one was watching her. “What am I doing?” She asked herself. “This is so stupid.” But she had to know.
  86. 86. She stood outside of the Gypsy Matchmaker's shop for a moment longer, debating as to whether she should go in or not. After all, it's not like the shop was all that discreet. On the other hand, she couldn't exactly invite the Matchmaker over to her house; not with...him there. Finally, she lifted her head and put on a bright smile. It's not like I'm going to do anything. I'm just asking! She thought to herself and she walked in.
  87. 87. She walked in with a cheerful smile. “Good afternoon. Do I need to make an appointment or do you accept walk-ins?” Madame Fortuna gave an enthusiastic smile and turned to greet her client.
  88. 88. “Ah,” she said, immediately recognizing Mary, “I was wondering when you were going to call upon my services.” “ know who I am?” “But of course I do, Mary Devereaux. And I also know why you are here. You wish to know the name of your one true love, yes?” “ did you know?”
  89. 89. The Matchmaker chuckled. “That's the only reason people seek my services. Well, that or to purchase a love potion, but that's moving ahead of ourselves, yes?”
  90. 90. Mary gave a small laugh. “Well, I'm not looking for a date or anything like that. I was see if who I picked would be the same person you would have recommended.” She nodded to herself. “Yes, I just want to see. And, I must ask this: this will be, er, discreet, right? I mean, I would really like for this to be kept secret...” she trailed off, not knowing what else to say.
  91. 91. “But of course,” Madame Fortuna said. “Naturally my silence will cost you a bit more. Most people are okay with me showing up at their house. But yes, I imagine in your case you would like for this to be on the down low, especially if, er, we have conflicting opinions.” She put out her hand with a smile.
  92. 92. Mary reached into her purse and handed the other woman the money she had withdrawn from the bank. “I hope this is enough. I didn't think about needing to pay for your silence, but it makes complete sense.”
  93. 93. Madame Fortuna took a brief glance at the wad of bills she had in her hand. Her eyebrow raised slightly before she stuffed the money into one of the hidden pockets in her skirt. “Why don't you sit down at the table and we'll see what I can find,” she said.
  94. 94. “So let me tell you how this works. I am the only one who can see through the fog. Based off of your astrological sign and your aspiration, I search to find someone who will best match you. Of course, there are a few other factors that help influence my findings...” she trailed off with a small smile. “Like what I like and dislike in a person?” Mary asked. Madame Fortuna shrugged. “Well, I've found that once you find someone who matches you in the astrological sense, what 'turns you on' is rather fluid. Do you understand what I am saying?” Mary shrugged and nodded.
  95. 95. “Like I mentioned, there are other factors that help influence my findings,” Madame Fortuna said as she gave Mary a pointed look. Mary nodded in understanding. Madame Fortuna waited another moment before saying, “Alright, let's see who I would have picked for you; the name of your one true love.” Mary leaned forward on the table and gave the gypsy an eager and hopeful look. The gypsy began waving her hands over the crystal ball and she peered inside.
  96. 96. “Well, look at what we have here,” Madame Fortuna said after a brief moment. “What a nice looking gentleman!” “What...what does he look like?” “Oh, very nice. Dark hair falling into his eyes. He also has a very amiable smile. Yes, I can see this man being a perfect fit for your family.”
  97. 97. “Oh yes, I see an immediate kindred spirit. I see a conversation in front of flowers.” “What are we saying?” “Oh my dear, I can't hear that. But I do see that you are enjoying each others company very much.”
  98. 98. “What's this? Oh, haha! A First Kiss stolen while you are both outside. It's very romantic and how very lucky you both are!”
  99. 99. “And now I am viewing a wedding. Oh my dear, what a beautiful wedding dress you are wearing by the way.” “What does it look like?” “Surely you know your own wedding dress! It's white with red flowers embroidered on it.” “Oh, I didn't think I would be wearing the same dress...”
  100. 100. “What a beautiful girl-child you two make. Quite stunning. I see a happy family. I see love and affection. Everything you have always wanted.”
  101. 101. “Yes, Mary Devereaux, I see your soul mate. A kindred spirit. Someone that you will grow old with. Someone who would make you happy.”
  102. 102. Trying not to sound too eager, Mary asked in a breathless whisper, “What's his name? Who is he? Please tell me!”
  103. 103. Madame Fortuna opened up one eye and looked at Mary. She thought about how much money she had received before she answered.
  104. 104. “Why Mary Devereaux! Surely you know the name of your own husband!”
  105. 105. Mary sat there stunned for a moment as she thought about what the gypsy revealed to her. “Goopy? Goopy is my soul mate? My one true love? Goopy is the man that I would be happy with as we grow old together?” She asked all of this tonelessly.
  106. 106. “Gooooopy! Notice how his name just rolls off the tongue! Yes, Goopy, your husband, is the man that I saw in the crystal ball. Never have I met someone who you deserved more. How lucky you are to have found him! Why, you didn't need to consult me at all!”
  107. 107. Mary slumped back into her seat and covered her face with her hands. “Goopy is my soul mate,” she said not even bothering to make it into a question. “Yes he is,” Madame Fortuna answered anyway. “The wedding dress, the first kiss outside, the dark hair falling into his eyes, our beautiful daughter. Yes, I suppose--” she cut off with a choked sob. She felt a pain in her heart that she tried very hard to ignore.
  108. 108. “Are you okay? You don't sound very pleased with this information. Many people would pay an arm and a leg to have this information revealed to them. And just think: you had found him without my help!”
  109. 109. Mary sniffled and attempted to smile. “No, no. I'm fine. It's just as you said. Many people have gone through their entire lives without knowing, and here I was...lucky...the entire time. I'm fine. I'm perfect! This is great news! Goopy is my one true love.” Mary stood up to leave.
  110. 110. “Is there anything else I could interest you in? Perhaps a love potion or five?” The Gypsy asked. “No, no. Of course not,” Mary responded, trying to keep her voice steady. “I'm sorry for wasting your time. I really should get going though. Thank you so much.” “Anytime. I'll always be here just in case you do need--” “Oh, no, I won't be needing anything,” Mary interrupted as she tried to hurry out the door.
  111. 111. Mary held her head up high. Before she stepped out onto the sidewalk, she brushed a tear from her eye, and then she left.
  112. 112. Madame Fortuna crossed her arms as she watched Mary's retreating form walk down the road. “Maybe next time you'll understand what I mean when I say 'other things that will influence my answer.' You're lucky you paid just enough for my silence. Humph.” And with a shake of her head, she turned towards her cash register and placed the five thousand simoleons Mary had paid her inside of it. ***
  113. 113. Amelia got out of the car that had dropped her off after work. She had a brief moment of happiness before something started nudging at the back of her mind. Then it hit her: her father was coming over to visit. Now, that in itself, didn't bother her. It was the fact that he still was insisting in prancing around in his underwear in public that mdae her throw her head back and scream. “GAH! Why can't my parents just be NORMAL?!”
  114. 114. Rose sighed as she heard her mother's scream from outside. “Hey, I gotta go. I'll ask if I can go out later. My grandfather is here for dinner so while it's amusing that my mother is just going to keep repeating, 'Put some pants on!' I still have to suffer through it.'” Rose said. She smiled at what the person was saying on the other end. “Yeah, I'm sure it'll be okay. I'll ask my dad after dinner.”
  115. 115. “Dad,” Amelia said at dinner with a world weary sigh, “are you going to be joining us? Or are you just going to sit there and totally stink up my furniture?”
  116. 116. “Hey! I took a shower today!” Keith yelled from the living room. “I'm totally not stinking up your furniture. My underwear is even clean! So there.” “AUGH! Put some pants on! Quit embarrassing me!” Amelia shouted from the dining room. Keith chuckled in response and wiggled his body firmly into place on the sofa.
  117. 117. After dinner, which included much irritated shouts at Keith about his lack of pants, Rose approached Miles. “Hey Dad? Is it okay if I go out with one of my friends tonight? I have my homework done and everything and I promise to be back by curfew.” “I'll put some pants on when your mother lets me Smite someone!” “”AHH! Stop dancing around! It's gross!” Miles smiled. “I don't blame you if you want to get out for a while. I'll give you a call when the coast is clear,” he added. “Thanks Dad, you're the best!” “Yeah, I know,” Miles responded cockily.
  118. 118. Rose sighed with relief as she saw her friend pull up. She was glad that her father didn't question too closely about who she was going out with that night. “PANTS EMBARGO FOREVER!” She heard her grandfather say. Rose sighed again, just glad to be out of the house and away from pantsless Keith.
  119. 119. “Hey,” she said as she got into the car, “glad you could make it out. Dinner and a movie sound okay? It's cheesy for a first date, I know. But, I can't think of anything else.”
  120. 120. Jill kept her eyes on the road as she smiled. Beeping the horn one last time with enthusiasm she said, “Dinner and a movie sounds great.” ***
  121. 121. “Dinner and a movie? I don't know. I already ate and I have a ton of studying to do for those scholarships that I want and--” Laurana got cut off by the person on the other end. “Yeah, I know that I still got time, but--” She sighed. “Okay, fine. I'll ask my parents. But they might not let me go out, just so you know. They're really strict about--” She sighed again. “Okay, fine. I'll meet you there.” She slowly hung up the phone and stood there staring at it for a moment. She really didn't feel like having a night out on the town. In fact, she really didn't feel like hanging out with anyone. She brightened. Maybe her parents would say that she wouldn't be able to go out that night. Then she slumped. It was a Friday and she was pretty sure her parents would encourage her to get out of the house more.
  122. 122. She slowly made her way outside to where her parents were. “Mom, Dad, is it okay if I go out tonight?” She asked unenthusiastically. Ashley, who was in the middle of flirting with Aviendha, threw a smile over his shoulder. “Of course you can! Have fun!” Laurana slowly pulled out the remote to the car alarm. “Are you sure? I mean, I still have a ton of studying to do and--” “Lori, it's a Friday! Go out and have fun!” Aviendha playfully scolded. Laurana nodded glumly and disarmed the car alarm.
  123. 123. “Damn,” she muttered to herself as she climbed into the vehicle. She sat there for a moment longer before driving off to pick up her friends.
  124. 124. Laurana sighed as she and her friends got out of the car. She didn't contribute much to the conversation, which mainly was of Karen teasing one person or the other. At least there won't be much talking when the movie starts, she thought to herself.
  125. 125. Karen sighed at her impatiently as they made their way upstairs. “Why did you bother coming if you're going to have this kind of attitude? Nobody forced you to come you know.” “Actually, yeah, you did. You wouldn't let me say no. I tried. I have a ton of studying--” “Quit being boring, Lori! Studying is for schmucks and it's a Friday. How else are you going to meet boys if you're going to stay inside like some sort of hermit?” Laurana sighed and didn't respond. It was always the same conversation with Karen.
  126. 126. As they settled into their seats, Eden looked around and smiled. “I'm really glad we could get together. I don't get to do this very often.” She gave a sigh of content, then she asked, “Rose? Why are you sitting up there?”
  127. 127. Karen smirked. “Probably mad that her little girlfriend couldn't make it. Or maybe she couldn't afford to come out? Which is it, Rose?”
  128. 128. Rose didn't even glance over her shoulder. “I'm sitting up here because I know that you guys are going to talk all the way through the movie. I actually want to see this one. And yeah, Karen, Jill is working tonight. Not everyone can have everything handed to them like some people.”
  129. 129. Laurana sighed when she heard Rose mention the fact that at least Karen and Eden were going to be chatting throughout the movie. It was a waste of money if they weren't going to pay attention. But, more importantly, she was hoping that she wasn't going to be dragged into the conversation. She pointedly turned her attention to the movie screen and wished that she had chosen a seat away from the other giggling girls.
  130. 130. “Crypt-o-Night Club,” Karen said as soon as they left the theater.
  131. 131. “What about it?” Laurana asked. “That's where we're going next,” Karen replied. “We are? Isn't it getting close to curfew? I mean--” “We still have a while yet, Lori. Come on, quit being such a downer! We'll have fun. Right Eden?”
  132. 132. Eden shrugged hesitantly. “I don't want to stay out too late. My mother would kill me if I broke curfew and she'd never let me out again.” “Your mother sucks,” declared Karen. “We've got tons of time. But, if you want to punk out so you can get your beauty rest, fine. Whatever. We can go home then.” “It's not like that, Karen--”
  133. 133. “Then lets go!” Karen interrupted. “The more we talk about it, the less time we'll have. It'll be fun, I swear! You know to get there, right Lori?” “Yeah, I'm sure I can find it,” Laurana sighed. “Sweet!” Karen bounced happily in her seat.
  134. 134. When they arrived at the club, Karen made a beeline towards the bar and hopped up on one of the stools. “Appletini, light on the 'Tini',” she ordered. Laurana turned to Karen with a surprised look on her face.
  135. 135. Before she could say anything to her though, Eden said, “You know you aren't old enough to drink that.” “Shut up,” Karen whispered over her shoulder. “If we act cool the bartender will think we're old enough.”
  136. 136. “Forget it, kids,” the bartender said. “I know you aren't old enough. Karen, how many times are you going to try to pull one over on me? Please. Either you get juice, or you get nothing.” Irritated, Karen ordered juice along with the other girls.
  137. 137. “This place sucks,” Karen said after they got their drinks. Laurana shrugged slightly. “The juice is good though,” she said. “Whatever. Come on guys, lets go dance.”
  138. 138. Feeling a bit stupid, Laurana followed Karen and Rose out onto the dance floor and attempted to dance along with the loud techno music that was pounding. She was glad that there weren't any other people at the club at the moment; she was glad that there was nobody there to see her dance awkwardly.
  139. 139. Eden was also glad that the club was nearly empty. It meant that she could probably do something embarrassing and it was unlikely that someone would take an embarrassing picture of her. While she wasn't planning on doing something radical, there was something that she really needed to do.
  140. 140. She was absolutely starving and it was nice to be able to eat in peace.
  141. 141. “Well, it looks like at least someone had a good time,” Laurana muttered to Eden as they were getting ready to leave. Eden smiled. “I really did. I'm glad I was able to come out. Didn't you have fun?” Laurana shrugged. “Meh. I suppose. Karen's a bit...I don't know.” “Karen's great!” Eden enthused. Laurana shrugged and said nothing more. ***
  142. 142. Ashley, Aviendha, and Laurana found themselves a few days later talking about Laurana attending college. “So, have you thought about a major yet?” Ashley asked. Laurana shrugged. “I was thinking Econ, actually. But, I haven't fully settled on that idea yet.” Aviendha nodded and then gave her daughter a sympathetic smile. “Just so you know, your grandfather is planning on throwing a party for you to celebrate.” Laurana sighed. “I appreciate it, but could he not? Or is he just saying that it's for me so he has a reason to throw a party?” Ashley and Aviendha laughed, but Laurana wasn't amused.
  143. 143. “Heya, Zane. It's Xander again. So listen, tonight's another party and of course you are TOTALLY invited. The theme for tonight is...what? Of course I TOTALLY need a theme! Anyway, tonight we're celebrating Lori heading off to college soon. So, are you going to be here?” Xander felt himself stop in his tracks and his eyes open wide as he heard Zane's reluctant response. “ can't make it? Paperwork? Yeah, no, I TOTALLY understand. Maybe next time, right?” Xander's heart thudded as he hung up the phone. At that moment, he realized just how much it sucked to know exactly when he was going to die. He could tell by the sound of Zane's voice. Xander sighed.
  144. 144. He walked over to Aviendha and placed his hand on her shoulder. She looked at his serious face with confusion. “What is it?” she asked. “Nothing, Mini-Me. I just want to let you know that I'm TOTALLY proud of you. I always have been, even though I acted like an idiot sometimes.” Aviendha nodded in understanding. “The party isn't going to be for Laurana, is it?” “A party is a party, no matter what the occasion,” he replied with a smile.
  145. 145. He then turned to Ashley and gave him a hug. “I couldn't have chosen a better husband for my daughter. I'm glad you both TOTALLY had the balls to stand up to me.” Ashley laughed. “It probably helped that I was a Science teacher for a while, though.” Xander gave an embarrassed chuckle. “That had nothing to do with it. I TOTALLY want you to know that.” Ashley cleared his throat. “Well, I'm glad I got to prove myself to you anyway.”
  146. 146. The party that night was a small one, restricted only to family and friends.
  147. 147. It was small, but Xander still managed to strut around, pleased with the turn out. Of course, his strut was directed at only one person.
  148. 148. Marsha laughed as he strutted up to her. “Hey, Marsha,” he grinned and waggled his eyebrows at her, “do you see anything up my sleeves?” “Xander, you're not really wearing any sleeves.”
  149. 149. 'Well, then where did this come from?” he asked as he pulled out a rose. Marsha stifled a laugh as she pretended not to notice the fact that the rose had just come out of his pocket. “I don't know, Xander. Must be magic.”
  150. 150. Xander smiled as he gave her the pocket rose. “For my best girl,” he said. “Your only girl.” “Shh! Don't let the ghosts of my parents hear you say that!” he said in mock horror.
  151. 151. They both laughed ans he twirled her around...
  152. 152. ...and dipped her down for one last kiss.
  153. 153. At that moment, Zane, dressed in his Grim Reaper robes, appeared in the room. “I..I wanted to say that I could come to the party, but I thought that coming on a professional level didn't count,” he tried to say in a humorous tone. “No, it TOTALLY doesn't count, but that's okay,” Xander said. Zane appeared to nod in relief. “I came for both of you, but I can only take one at a time, so you won't be separated for very long.”
  154. 154. “He seems to be doing okay,” Jezebel whispered to Ruth who nodded. “I'll admit, I was a little worried, but you're right. I'm glad.” “Me too.”
  155. 155. Zane did appear to be taking the death of the people he knew rather well. Marsha received her Mai Tai and luggage without a hitch.
  156. 156. Though, he did accidentally drop the suitcase on Xander's foot. But, other than that, Xander and Marsha both felt comforted and unafraid.
  157. 157. Before Zane handed Xander his Mai Tai, he ducked his head. “I'm going to miss you pestering me and I want to thank you for including me in all your party plans. I'm really glad that..that you and your wife were able to exit this realm together.”
  158. 158. “It was TOTALLY my pleasure. Besides, how many people can say that they harassed Death on a regular basis and lived to tell about it? Well, you know what I mean. Let's go, Zane. I want to see what all the fuss is about.” And with that, Xander disappeared.
  159. 159. The party celebrating the lives of Xander and Marsha continued on into the night and ended in a Roof Raiser. Xander wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
  160. 160. Unfortunately, Laurana didn't view death as entering the next stage of an adventure. So, while everyone else in the room tried to be upbeat and tell their favorite stories of Xander and Marsha, Laurana was inconsolable. Death, for her, meant losing someone that she was close to and she vowed to herself then and there that she was never going to let that happen to her. ***
  161. 161. To be continued... (I know! What crap is that, right? Don't worry. The next part is already up.)