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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 2


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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 2

  1. 1. I know, I know! I cant believe it either! I cant believe that I used such a huge cliché as a title myself! Im so very ashamed but..but it FIT! BLAH!ANYWAY, last chapter showed all of Generation Six rapidly growing up into children which is the perfect age where, ideally, they wont wet theirpants anymore. More importantly, they can talk without me having to resort to typing baby babble which always makes me feel dumb. Of coursethis is actually code for "Now Ang can use some pose boxes on them," if you truly must know.Also, in the last chapter, Alexander Goth has closed down the dimensional borders. That means that there will be no more foreign legacy Simsentering Pleasantview. Karen and Johnny Smith also decided to separate, much to their daughter Emilys sadness. And then the chapter endedwith Eden needing to leave for a few months to film another "Dusk" movie, but unfortunately because the kids are in school now, she went to ThreeLakes alone, leaving Erin, Quinn, and Rhys behind to dwell in the house with Edens mother, Mary. Neither Edens husband, nor mother, were veryhappy with that.On with the show!***
  2. 2. True to her word, Eden called as often as her schedule allowed over the next three months. She also called as often as she could at night so sheand Rhys could have some "private" conversations.Not that he would have ever admitted it, but being able to have those conversations at night with her was one of the things that kept him sanewhile dealing with his mother-in-law, Mary.
  3. 3. Rhys worked hard. On the advice of his father, Spencer, he did everything he possibly could to avoid being alone with Mary. When theHeadmaster came to visit, he made sure he was the one who greeted him and interacted with him. He also arranged to be at the stores duringschool hours.Occasionally he would go out with Cassius, Vaughn, and Spencer, usually when the wives arranged a playdate with all of the children.
  4. 4. He also hosted his fair share of playdates as well. For one, he knew that his children having those friendships would be beneficial when they gotolder. Another reason that he held them, the main reason, was that it irritated Mary to no end. More often than not, the Devereaux house wasteeming with at least a dozen children.The kids were generally unaware of the tension between Rhys and Mary. They knew that they didnt talk to each other much and when they didspeak it was generally in clipped tones. The children were more focused on the amount of fun they were having with their friends.***
  5. 5. "I cant look!" Anna Fitzhugh shrieked as she covered her eyes. "Is it really, really a ghost?"Erins eyes were wide as she looked at the slightly put upon ghost in front of her. She held her breath and said in a calm voice, "Yeah it really is! Itsmy Great-Great-Great Grandpa Joshua. Thats the one that I wanted to talk to!""Youre going to talk to him?!" the other girl squeaked."Well, yeah, of course. Why else would I want to go ghost hunting?"
  6. 6. Anna, unfortunately, was not one to relish in supernatural occurrences. When she heard Erins response, she turned tail and ran out of the smallgraveyard and headed back to the house. "Ghost hunting isnt fun when you actually come across ghosts!" the girl called over her shoulder as sheran.
  7. 7. Erin really wasnt all that thrilled with ghosts herself, but she firmly stood her ground as she addressed the founder of the family. "Stop. Just stop,"she said. "Im sorry for being so rude especially since you are, like, way way my elder and stuff. But you need to stop coming into our house andscaring us! Dad says that if you jump out of his food one more time hell come and kick your tombstone and make you rue the day or somethinglike that. I dont know why you need to be so mean anyway. Your bed is still here. Its in my mom and dads bedroom and they jump on it all thetime! So unless you actually want to kill us, and Mom doesnt think you do, can you please let us eat and sleep in peace? I promise Ill make surethat the flowers on your grave will continue to look pretty. Is that a deal?"Josh, of course, was unable to answer.
  8. 8. Erin took his silence as an assent, however, and she firmly nodded to herself before running out of the graveyard.
  9. 9. "It wasnt that bad," she said when she entered the house. "Does anyone want to go back out with me?""No!" came the answer from Aravis and Anna."Why not?"
  10. 10. "Because theyre chicken," Ceres said cheerfully from on top of the pool table which the girls had converted into a makeshift fort."We arent chicken," Anna protested as she stuck her head out from between the blankets. "Its just that its cold and wet outside, and ghosts likemaking you wet your pants. Thatll make you even more cold!"
  11. 11. "And also, if you arent careful, the ghosts can kill you," Emily chimed in quietly. "They can scare you to death."
  12. 12. Anna and Aravis crawled out from under the table, completely sobered by that fact. It had been fun sneaking out to the graveyard and thenrunning back into the house. Scary, yes, but still exciting. But suddenly the entire game just didnt seem fun anymore."Maybe we shouldnt play anymore," Anna said. "I dont want to die. My brother said he was going to make pancakes for us tomorrow and I reallywanted to try them because they are supposed to be really good."
  13. 13. Erin rolled her eyes. Thanks for the super fun fact there, Emily, she thought to herself. Her irritation was brief, however, and she said, "Okay, whatdo we want to do now? Is anybody tired? Cause Im not yet."
  14. 14. At that, Ceres jumped down from her perch and whispered in Erins ear. "Well, I just so happened to notice that Quinn has been spying on us.""Oh really?" Erin replied. Ceres nodded and began to smile. Erin grinned and gathered the other girls around her. They talked in whispers andgiggles about what they were going to do to Erins twin brother...
  15. 15. "Makeover!" Anna gleefully shouted when the girls caught Quinn.
  16. 16. "Yeah, Quinn, thats the penalty for spying on us," Erin said over the giggles of the other girls. "Eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, and even mascara!"Quinn covered his eyes. "No!""Yes! When you had all the boys over last week, I didnt spy on you.""Yeah you did! You played monster and then told ghost stories with us!""...Oh yeah. Thats right. That was a lot of fun. Wanna do that again?" she asked good-naturedly.Before her brother could answer, the lights snapped on and their grandmother spoke from behind them.
  17. 17. "Why are you screaming and running around like wild animals?" Mary asked.
  18. 18. Erin shifted uncomfortably. She and her brother both had a feeling their grandmother didnt like them all that much, so they knew that no answerwas really the right one. "We were just playing, Grandma," Erin said simply. "Were sorry we were so loud."
  19. 19. "You are setting a bad example, young lady," Mary scolded. "I know I cant expect too much considering the parenting you received and the badhabits you invariably inherited, but while you are under this roof, you are to behave like--""Whats with all the noise down here?" Rhys said behind Mary. It was obvious he wasnt addressing the children.
  20. 20. She whirled around and began shouting at him. "It is two oclock in the morning and Edens children are still up and running wild! And what areyou going to do about it? Nothing. If they were my children, I would make sure that they were more well behaved! Eden would never havedreamed of running around without a thought or care of the other people in the household! Its such a shame that..that.."Rhys didnt fight back. Instead he stood there with a smirk on his face that got bigger and bigger as Mary ranted. It was his new fighting tactic thatshe didnt appreciate.
  21. 21. She knew it was completely useless to continue ranting at him because she knew he was just going to continue standing there, smirking. So shesighed an angry sigh and stomped away. She could feel his smug look burning into the back of her head as she did so.
  22. 22. After she left the room, Rhys let his smirk drop and he turned to face the children with an arched eyebrow. "You guys, seriously, it is, like, two in themorning. You need to keep it down. Now Im going to go back to bed. When I get up and make breakfast for you, I wont be waking anyone up.Anyone who chooses to miss out on my awesome pancakes because they overslept..well, thats their problem. Are we clear?"
  23. 23. "Okay, Dad," the twins said in unison."Oh, and Erin, no putting makeup on your brother against his will.""Awww. Okaaayyy...""Thank you, Dad," Quinn said happily."Alright. Now good night," Rhys said, stressing the last part.
  24. 24. An hour later, most of the girls were asleep except for Erin, Emily, and Quinn who Erin allowed to stay."Em," Erin said, "Whats wrong? Youve been all, like, blah all night long."
  25. 25. Emily sighed. "Its my parents. Its like, theyre going to some counseling sessions or something. But my dad still lives somewhere else and theyargue on the phone all the time. The worst part about it is I cant see him whenever I want. I get to see him tomorrow, but I dont get to see himnext week. He has to go to Strangetown a lot. So I dont get to see him and I miss him and Im scared that hes never going to come back home."
  26. 26. Erin and Quinn listened to their friend sympathetically. They understood what it was like to miss a parent as they both missed Eden terribly. But thedifference between their situation and Emilys was that Eden would be home in a couple weeks time. On top of that, their parents didnt arguewhen they were on the phone together. In fact, a lot of times their dad seemed very smiley and happy after a conversation with their mother,especially after the phone calls she made later at night.Their parents loved each other, and that made all the difference.
  27. 27. After a moment of thought, Erins face brightened. "He, Em, I have the bestest idea in the entire world. Do you think youll be able to sleepovernext weekend?"***
  28. 28. "My brother. Hes a genius," Erin said the following week.Quinn shrugged. "I looked at how far your dads place was from here and it was only five miles away. Remember when we ran the mile in gymclass? Well even the slowest people, like Erin, could do a mile in fifteen minutes.""Hey!" Erin protested. "I did it in twelve and I didnt even run!""Anyway," he continued, "five miles is easy peasy. Itll take an hour or so tops. We have the directions and everything. So well go and take you toyour dads tonight, drop you off, and be home before anyone knows were gone."
  29. 29. "You mean I get to see my dad tonight then?" Emily asked excitedly. "That..thats so great! You guys are so totally the best!"
  30. 30. Erin and Quinn shuffled shrugged modestly. "Aw, its not a big deal," Quinn said."Yeah. Youre, like, our friend and stuff and we dont like seeing our friends upset especially when its really easy to help them," Erin added."When are we going to do this?" Emily asked."Well, after dinner and stuff. Our dad said that he has paperwork and things to do for the stores and everything, so well have to be quiet so wedont bother him," Erin replied.
  31. 31. Plans for their adventure in place, the kids ate their dinner and went upstairs to play quietly in the bedroom.
  32. 32. After checking in on them, Rhys gathered his laptop and books and settled down at the dining room table to work.The children waited a little while and then put away the toys. They quietly opened up the bedroom window, climbed out, and made their waydown the ladder that Quinn had placed there earlier in the day. They managed to stifle their excitement until they reached the end of the block.
  33. 33. Two hours later, they were still walking down the dark nighttime streets of Pleasantview."I thought you said it would take an hour, tops," Emily said to Quinn as she tried to warm her hands in the late autumn air."We should be almost there, right Erin?" Quinn asked his sister, who was cheerfully skipping ahead of them.
  34. 34. Erin stopped abruptly and turned to face the other two. "Um, I dont know. Youre the one with the map, Quinn. I was just following where yousaid we should go.""Uhh, I was following you," Quinn replied."Why would you do that? I don’t have the map.""Were lost, arent we?" Emily asked quietly."No..we arent lost," Erin said confidently. "We just have to recombobbolate or something."
  35. 35. The three of them moved toward the light of an old bus stop to get a better look at their written map. "What street are we on?" Quinn asked."I thought we were on Middle Lane," Erin said."No, remember? We left Middle Lane and turned on Wright Way."They children were so engrossed in reading their directions that they didnt hear the footsteps approach them.
  36. 36. "Well what do we have here? It looks like a couple of very naughty children who are out past their bedtime," a mans voice drawled in what almostsounded like a growl.
  37. 37. Trying not to show any fear, Erin gave the man a level look. "Quinn, you and Emily run. Ill be right behind you.""Erin..""Go, Quinn."
  38. 38. The man chuckled as Erin stood her ground. "So you think youre pretty brave, huh little girl? Arent you scared?"Erin tried her best to imitate her fathers stance when he dealt with her grandmother. "No. Should I be?""Oh, yes, you should be. You really, really should be. And I think the first thing I will teach you is some manners. You should know not to speak toadults in such a smart tone.""My mom and dad taught me manners," Erin replied. "And you wanna know what else my dad taught me?"The man laughed. "What?"
  39. 39. Erins fist jabbed forward in a flash and she landed a solid punch in the mans groin. "He taught me that it hurts when a boy is hit there!" she saidbefore she took off running.
  40. 40. "Go! Go! Run!" she shouted at the other two."Oh my God, you punched him! You punched him!" Emily screamed."Yeah, I did! Go, go, go!"
  41. 41. "Ow," Emily said as she pushed herself up from the ground. "You guys, wait up! I tripped!"
  42. 42. The other two ran back to her and knelt down on the ground. "Are you okay?" Quinn asked.Emily looked at him with glassy eyes and smiled widely. "Yeah, I am now. I really, really am," she said. She continued to grin happily as she lookedat him.Erin looked over to where the strange man had been and saw that he was gone. She breathed a sigh of relief. "I dont know where he went, buthes not there anymore," she informed the other two. "But we should get out of here real fast anyway, just in case he comes back. And then wecan look at the map again and figure out where we are.""Sounds good," Quinn replied. Emily just kept smiling at the red headed boy.
  43. 43. Thaddeus hobbled around the corner to where Lillian was standing, massaging the area where Erin had punched him. "It took you long enough,"he grumbled. "And your aim isnt what you claimed it to be. You missed that little red-headed bitch."Lillian smiled. "No, I did not miss. I hit my intended target.""I thought you were going to destroy them.""Patience is a virtue. And in that, I am very virtuous."***
  44. 44. After they had reoriented themselves, the three children found themselves safe at Johnnys apartment complex. Emilys eyes had lost their glassylook and she focused on her two friends. "This is it. Were here," she said to them.Erin and Quinn looked around. They couldnt imagine their friends dad living in a place like this. It was run down and rather depressing. "Are..areyou sure?" Erin asked. Emily nodded."Yeah. My dad took me here once so I would know where it was in case I got lost for some reason. Besides it matches the address he gave me.His apartment is upstairs. Come on!"
  45. 45. They walked up the stairs and started looking at the numbers. When they found the right one, Emily smiled and walked up to the doorbell, ready toring it. "My dad is going to be so surprised to see me," she said happily. "What are you guys going to do? Maybe my dad will give you a ridehome.""Nah," Quinn said. "Now we know where we are so we can find our way back home no problem.""And then well go to sleep. Im tired," Erin said."Youre so brave," Emily said. "Thank you so much for bringing me here." She reached up and rang the bell.
  46. 46. The door flung open and Johnny gathered his daughter into his arms. "Oh my God, Emily," he said. "Oh, thank God!"
  47. 47. Ten minutes later, Rhys and Karen were also at Johnnys apartment.
  48. 48. And based of their parents reactions, the kids realized that perhaps their nighttime adventure wasnt such a good idea after all.
  49. 49. Karen took a deep breath and said, "Okay, now explain to me again: what on earth possessed you to go traipsing around town in the middle of thenight? What were you thinking?"
  50. 50. Emily looked down and shuffled her feet. "I wanted to see Dad," she mumbled. "I wanted to spend time with him--"
  51. 51. Karen interrupted as she turned on her estranged husband. "You put her up to this, didnt you?" she yelled at him.He tossed his hands in the air. "Oh, yeah, thats right, Karen. I totally encouraged my ten year old daughter to go running around the streets in themiddle of the night. However did you know?" he said sarcastically."Oh whatever! Maybe if you spent more time with her this never would have happened!""I spend all the time that youll allow me to spend with her! My God! How is it going to be when I move back to Strangetown, huh?""Youre moving back to Strangetown?" Emily cried out.
  52. 52. "Nice, Johnny. Real fucking nice," Karen said over the sound of her daughter crying."Shut up, Karen," he responded as he knelt down and hugged Emily. To his daughter he said, "Honey, its only for a little while, okay? Its only formy job. I wont be gone forever. After Im done, Ill come back home. I promise.""No you wont!" Emily sobbed. "You wont come back home to live with me. Youll come back here and I wont get to see you when I want to!""Its only for a little while," was all he could say again.
  53. 53. While Karen and Johnny continued to both argue with each other and console Emily, Rhys stepped forward and spoke the first words since hearrived."What. The. Hell." He vaguely gestured with one hand towards the outside.
  54. 54. Quinn looked away from his dads angry expression as Erin said, "Dad, all we were going to do was--"
  55. 55. "No!" Rhys interrupted. "No talking. I dont want to hear it. Get in the car. Now!"
  56. 56. Startled by their fathers tone and angry expression, the twins murmured their goodbyes to their crying friend and quickly made their way out thedoor.
  57. 57. When they got to the car, Erin turned around and said, "Were in big trouble, arent we?"
  58. 58. "Gee, Erin. You think?" Rhys responded sarcastically.
  59. 59. "But Dad, we were trying to help Emily--"
  60. 60. "What the hell possessed you to do such a stupid thing, huh? Did you think it would help to sneak out in the middle of the night? Did you think itwould help to give me a heart attack when I saw you two were gone? What if something would have happened to you?""But Dad, nothing did and we werent scared--""YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN!" Rhys yelled, his barely controlled calm finally breaking. "Why do you think your mother and I tell you not to gobeyond our neighborhood? Why do you think you two are sent to private school? Why do you think we want to know who all your friends are?There are people out there that would want to hurt you just because they can! There are BAD people in the world! I SHOULD KNOW!"
  61. 61. "Im sorry, Dad," Quinn said quietly."Daddy, please dont be mad!" Erin began to wail. "We didnt mean to--"
  62. 62. "Oh, I am quite positive that Im beyond mad, Erin.""But—""NO! NO BUTS! You guys are grounded forever! Do you understand? FOREVER! Now get in the car and I dont want to hear a single peep fromeither of you. Do you hear me?"The children nodded and Erin sniffled one last time as they all got into the car.
  63. 63. The car ride home was completely silent, which was very alarming for the kids as their father always had something to say about everything.As for Rhys, he had spent the car ride struggling between wanting to scream, curse, and yell or just wanting to say, Oh thank God! over and over.He had spent the last two and a half hours in a highly alarmed state of pure terror and he hated being in such a vulnerable mindset. He still hadntfigured out what to do by the time they had reached home. All three of them were silent as they walked into the house.After had Rhys quietly shut the door behind them, he leaned against it and said, "Go to your room. We will talk about this in the morning."
  64. 64. "And so thats it?" Mary said from behind him. "Edens children go running off in the middle of the night and all you say to them is Go to yourroom? Oh, but of course youre going to let them off that easily. This is small potatoes to what youve seen and done, isnt it? If they were mychildren--"
  65. 65. Rhys clenched his jaw to bite back all the vile things he wanted to say to his mother-in-law. Even though Eden wasnt home, he had spent the lastthree months with a self-imposed Eden Filter which usually meant that he at least tried to pretend she was still there when he was dealing withMary. It was hard enough to do on a regular day, but on this night, at this time, it was near impossible."They arent your kids," he said. "They are Edens and mine. And I will deal with this in the morning. Erin, Quinn, I told you to go to your room."
  66. 66. Mary scoffed at Rhys and then began yelling at her grandchildren. "How could you be so stupid? Especially you, Erin! You are the heiress to thisfamily. And you, Quinn, you are supposed to take your sisters place if anything should happen to her! But no! Both of you decided to have a littlenighttime fun without a single care of what happens to this family. What if you would have been killed? What then? Dont you know that yourmother almost died when she was pregnant with you? Did you know that the doctors told her she cant have anymore children even if she wereallowed to? You two are it!"Rhys was momentarily startled by Marys blunt, and true, statement. He snapped out of it as his children began crying.
  67. 67. "What is the matter with you? You dont lay a guilt trip like that on a couple of ten year olds! And you especially dont get to talk like that to mychildren!""Daddy, were sorry! We didnt know! We didnt mean it!" Erin cried from behind him.
  68. 68. He whirled around on them and continued yelling. "I told you to GO TO YOUR ROOM!"
  69. 69. As his children ran as fast as they could while still sobbing, Rhys turned back to his mother-in-law and threw away his Eden Filter. "You are theworst human being in the entire Multi-Verse," he hissed at her. "You have absolutely no redeeming qualities. None. And believe me when I saythat nobody will be sad when you finally kick the bucket. I cant wait, because our lives will be so much happier without you in it."Mary took a step back. "Oh..." she said. She then turned and left the room.
  70. 70. Rhys ran both his hands through his hair before clutching at the back of his head. He had exaggerated greatly, of course, and he knew that. But ithad felt so good to say those words. He tried to ignore the memory of Marys face because he didnt want to feel bad for saying it. He wanted tofeel justified and right.It didnt help when he heard Erins crying voice travel down the stairs with, "Daddy hates us.""Gah!" he said. There was no force behind it. He sighed heavily and he suddenly felt exhausted. He turned off the lights and went to bed.
  71. 71. He had only meant to lay down for a moment before changing into his pajama bottoms, but the adrenaline and tension that came from fear, anger,and worry had exhausted him. He ended up sleeping the whole night through wearing all of his clothes, including his shoes.As the morning sun began to shine the windows, he reached over for Eden. His half-asleep mind was startled to find it empty. Thats right. Twomore weeks. Two more weeks before shes—he shoved that thought down as his mind woke up more. He also became aware of a strange weighton his leg.
  72. 72. He looked down and saw that Quinn and Erin had decided to come in and sleep with him. He smiled slightly as he watched them, another surgeof relief that they were safe washed over him. Then he sighed and shook his leg gently. "Alright guys, time to get up."
  73. 73. "Dad, were sorry. We didnt mean to be bad," Quinn said as they sat up."And we didnt mean to have Mom almost die when we were in her belly," Erin added.
  74. 74. Rhys sat up with a sigh. "I know you didnt mean to be bad," he said to Quinn. He thought about what to say to Erin. He finally settled with, "Yourmothers mother was exaggerating. You mom had the best medical attention money could buy; she was in good hands. You didnt make heralmost die." He didnt add the part about how they were actually worried about the twins survival. He shook his head at the memory. "But yourmom didnt die, so its all okay. However that was then, this is now. And you two are in big trouble.""Are you still mad at us?" Erin asked."Oh yeah, I am. Big time. But you will be happy to know that you two wont be grounded forever like I had said last night."
  75. 75. "We arent?" Quinn asked as Rhys stood up."No. You will be grounded until you mother gets home. Thats two weeks. And I mean a full on grounding. No television, no computer games, notalking on the phone, no playing outside. You will come straight home from school, do your homework and study your skills. You two will alsoaccompany me to the stores and help out there. The floors need to be swept up, the shelves need to be dusted, and--"
  76. 76. "And the toilets need to be scrubbed?" Quinn interrupted excitedly as he and his sister grinned happily.
  77. 77. Rhys had successfully managed to choke back his laugh, but he couldnt hide his grin. "If anyone ever had any doubt that you two are my kids, thatquestion right there will prove them otherwise." He shook his head and gestured over his shoulder. "Okay you guys, go get dressed. Well havebreakfast and then head out to the bookstore. Big day of cleaning and, yes, there are toilets that need scrubbing."
  78. 78. As they headed towards the door, Rhys knelt down and gathered his kids into his arms and hugged them. He fought the urge to clutch them andnever let go."You dont hate us, do you, Daddy?" Erin asked quietly."No, no. Of course not," he said. Relief and love washed over him. "Never," he added.***
  79. 79. Eden breathed a deep breath and stretched her muscles as her cab drove away. It had been a grueling three months, but it was over and she wasfinally home.
  80. 80. Before she had the chance to pick up her suitcases, the front door burst open and her children came running out. "Moms home, Dad!" Erinshouted over her shoulder."I know," Rhys said as he followed slowly behind them, allowing them to reach her first.Eden held out her arms and hugged them. "Ive missed you guys!" she said."Did you really?" Quinn asked."Of course I did. I thought about you constantly and I hope next time youll be able to come with.""Can we? Can we can we can we? I wanna see the vampires and werewolves!""Alright you guys, quit hogging your mother," Rhys said. "I want to say hi to her, too."
  81. 81. Edens heart skipped a beat, as it normally did when she looked at him. Her grin matched his as he walked up and kissed her."Welcome home," he said when they parted. "Were still on for tonight, right?"She raised her eyebrows and smiled widely. "Of course we are.""Outstanding," he said with an equally huge grin and he went to go pick up her suitcases.
  82. 82. "Guess what, Mom?" Quinn asked as they began to walk inside, "In gym class I ran the mile in under ten minutes!""Wow, really?""Yeah! I was one of the fastest in the class!""Good for you!""Mom, I want to show you some of the dance moves I learned in Junior Poms the other day!" Erin said. "Some of them were really hard, but I havethem all memorized and Im really good at it!""Well I cant wait to see it!"
  83. 83. Edens calming and serene presence eased the tension that had been hanging in the air. Rhys had cooked her favorite dinner in celebration of herreturn. The children were ecstatic to have their mother back and they competed with each other for her attention. Even Goopy came out of hishaze enough to recognize the celebratory mood and showed her one of his beloved grilled cheese sandwiches. Through it all, Rhys stayed nearher and she caught him smiling whenever she looked at him.The only dark spot was Mary who watched everything impassively. The only thing she said to Eden was, "Welcome home," and she left it at that.Eden chose not to let it ruin her happy mood.
  84. 84. As soon as the twins were tucked in their beds, Rhys pulled Eden into a passionate kiss."Bedroom?" he asked when he was done. Eden smiled."Actually, I would like to take a real quick bath to wash the travel grime off me. I feel kinda gross.""Hrm. Well, I am very good at scrubbing backs, if you would like."She raised her eyebrows and smiled again. "Hmm, tempting but Im just going to freshen up. Itll be real quick, I promise."
  85. 85. "Okay," he said cheerfully. "Im gonna go prep the bedroom then. Ive got to light the candles, turn on the radio, bust out the massage oil, breakout the costumes and get the handcuffs. The handcuffs! Theres so much to do! So much lost time to make up for! So little time to do it!"Eden was outright laughing when he turned away from her and ran to the bedroom.
  86. 86. A short time later, she walked in wearing only a towel and caught Rhys in the middle of dancing to the music on the radio. He stopped in mid-stepand looked at her. "What?" he asked, completely unembarrassed."Youre dancing."He cleared his throat. "This, my dear, is my Im gonna get laid dance, if you must know. You should feel special; not many people have witnessedit." He danced some more as he sang, "Im gonna get lay-aid. Im gonna get lay-aid."
  87. 87. She laughed and wrapped her arms around him. "Oh, Rhys, I know its hard--""Yeah it is," he said with a lascivious grin, which made her laugh again."Youre incorrigible!""Yeah, I am. Is this the first time youve met me?""Im trying to be serious."He attempted to compose his face. "Okay."
  88. 88. She traced her fingers on his collarbone and said, "I know these last couple of months have been hard. Youve been dealing with the stores, takingcare of the kids, and youve been pretty much stranded at home. I cant imagine its been pleasant considering how..unappreciative my mother canbe." She looked up at him. "But I appreciate you and I think youre wonderful."He nodded in agreement. "I am pretty awesome," he said arrogantly. "And telling me I am is the best kind of foreplay. Im always up for a goodego stroke!""Ego, huh? Is that what theyre calling it these days?"He grinned wickedly and raised his eyebrows in invitation. She laughed."Ive missed you," she said.He rubbed her back slowly. "The bed felt very empty without you in it."
  89. 89. She tilted her head as he leaned to kiss her neck. "I cant help but notice the bed is very empty right now," she murmured."And I cant help but notice that Im incredibly overdressed for the occasion. I think we can kill two birds with one stone, though..."
  90. 90. A few minutes later, they were interrupted by Mary knocking on their bedroom door. "Eden?" Mary called. "Are you in there? There a few things Iwant to discuss."
  91. 91. Rhys looked up. "You have got to be—she cant possibly expect us to answer. I mean, Im not wearing any pants," he said incredulously. Edengiggled and they went back to kissing.Marys knocking became more insistent."Oh, for the love of—go away! Im not wearing pants!" he shouted at the door.
  92. 92. Eden sighed and sat up. "I should probably see what she wants.""Mood Kill Mary wants everyone to be as miserable as she is, thats what she wants!" he said tightly. He let out a shaky breath."Rhys...""Just answer the frickin door, Ede. She wont leave us alone until you do." Another knock from Mary punctuated his statement. Eden felt an eyelidtwitch.
  93. 93. Hastily clad in a robe, she opened the door just as Rhys covered himself with the towel she had been wearing earlier. "What do you want, Mother?Did you not hear the music playing? Didnt we have this discussion about if the music is playing that Rhys and I want to be left alone?" Eden askedwith controlled patience.
  94. 94. "Oh, Im sorry, are you actually in there with your husband?" Mary asked.
  95. 95. Eden closed her eyes and counted to five. "Yes, Mother. Who else would I be in here with?"Mary shrugged. "I told you that I did not wish to know the details of what you choose to do behind closed doors and who you choose to do itwith. I--"
  96. 96. "Hey, Babe," Rhys interrupted sarcastically, "are you almost done? The twenty guys you have stuffed in your closet and I would really like to get thisgang bang started. Were getting a little antsy here."
  97. 97. Eden wasnt exactly sure what he had hoped to accomplish by saying that, but the effect was rather obvious. She didnt have to look over hershoulder too see the smirk he had on his face. She just knew it was there.Mary looked appalled. " dont really--"Eden rubbed her forehead. "Gang bang, Rhys?" she muttered irritably. "No, Mother, I dont have twenty guys in my bedroom. Just the fact thatyou have to ask that..just the fact that you have to constantly ask who I am with and just the fact that you have to constantly interrupt me and myhusband is getting--"
  98. 98. Mary pushed Eden to the side and stormed over to Rhys. "How dare you make jokes of that nature!" she yelled at him."Oh yeah?" he yelled back. "Youre the one who is always insinuating that your daughter is some kind of whore!""I will not tolerate such--""I could give a flying fuck about what you will and will not tolerate! When will you learn that your opinion doesnt matter to me?"
  99. 99. It was always the same fight and Eden finally had enough."Stop it, stop it, STOP IT!" she shouted.
  100. 100. "Im am through with this! I will not put up with it anymore, do you guys hear me? NO MORE!"
  101. 101. "Mother, get OUT of our room! There is NO reason for you to be in here, especially at night, and especially when Im in here with my husband!""How dare--""NO! OUT!"
  102. 102. As Mary left the room in a huff, Eden turned to her husband. "Rhys..." she said."What?" he asked shortly. "Let me guess, youre gonna take her side—""Just. Stop." She sighed and looked down. "Please?" she added."Yeah, whatever, Eden. Youre the boss."She gave him a reproachful look before shaking her head and leaving the room, slamming the door behind her.
  103. 103. "You need to deal with it," she said to her mother. "You need to deal with the fact that I am married to him and that I am a Romance Sim. I wontput up with your insinuations anymore especially since they are completely untrue! I have been nothing but faithful to him, and he to me, in theentire time weve been married. Quit trying to drive a wedge between me and Rhys because its not gonna happen! Dont you understand that?"
  104. 104. "And its an attitude like this that makes me believe that he has been nothing but bad news!" Mary argued back."Oh my God, how can you possibly be so blind? Are you doing it on purpose?""Well what about all the women hes been with in the past? The dead wife? That evil woman from Rome? For Gods sake, Eden, one of his loverslives right across the street! And youre friends with her!""Because its in his past! I am his present! Here, I am the only woman in his life! Thats what matters!""If it were my decision, I wouldnt--""ITS NOT YOUR DECISION! It never has been! Its mine!"
  105. 105. "I love him, Mother, plain and simple. I love him because he makes me happy. I love him because he makes me smile and laugh. I love himbecause he makes me feel like part of a family, his family, and thats something I really havent experienced before. When I met him, there was aninstant connection that I had never felt with any other person. And do you know what else? I realized that he had this wonderful potential to be agreat man once someone gave him that chance. And I was right.He is a wonderful man. A man who has been biting his tongue much harder than he should ever have to and he does it for my sake. He is anadoring husband, a caring father, and he has done nothing but good for this family. And he does it because he cares about this family and wants tosee it do well. This is his family. He is my family. Ironically we, as Romance Sims, are better at this entire family business than you are, quitefrankly."
  106. 106. Mary gasped at Edens last sentence, but Eden held her finger up and continued. "And so I am putting my foot down. I dont care if you dont likethe path Ive chosen in life. Im an adult and I happen to be very happy with my choices and I feel that they are the best choices I could have evermade. I am happy, and I find it surprising that you dont like seeing me that way. And so Ive made another decision."Mary crossed her arms and arched her eyebrow. "Oh? You have? And what wise choice are you making now?"
  107. 107. Eden looked over at her bedroom door as she tried to figure out the best way to put things. She thought about Rhys, their children, and sherealized that it didnt matter where they were so long as they were together.
  108. 108. "We will leave," she finally said. "This entire legacy business goes through me and my children. We dont need the house. We can rebuildsomewhere fresh and leave you alone to rattle about this place if so choose. I am tired of playing peacekeeper between my husband and mymother and, quite frankly, I really dont feel that I should have to.I know you love me, Mother. But I also know you really dont like me because I represent everything bad thats happened in your life. I look likeDaddy, I am a Romance Sim, I married a quote unquote notorious romancer. And Im sorry that things went badly for you, I really am. But I amnot you. I am not Daddy. I am me, and I actually like who I am. Rhys does, too. And I really resent you acting like I should be ashamed of myself.I am not expecting you to accept it because otherwise you would have by now. But I am expecting you to deal with it, quietly, because I dontwant to put up with the stress anymore. Im done. you want me, your grandchildren, and the father of your grandchildren to stay? Or doyou find the entire situation so intolerable that you want us to leave? Bottom line: its all of us, or none of us. You decide."
  109. 109. Mary looked down and was silent for a moment before she sighed. "No," she said quietly. "There is no reason for you to leave. I promise that forthe rest of my life you wont hear me say one more word about it. I will keep my peace. There is no reason for you to uproot the children and havethem live on the lawn somewhere else." She shook her head and said one last thing before walking away. "I am so very disappointed."
  110. 110. Eden remained in the hall as she blinked back her tears. She took a few deep breaths and willed herself not to cry. She hated doing that.
  111. 111. She braced herself for another argument when she heard her bedroom door quietly open and saw Rhys come out of it. She darted a quick glanceat his face and noticed that he had a very peculiar expression on it. She sighed. "You heard everything, didnt you?""Yeah...""Rhys, Im sorry--"
  112. 112. "I always kind of wondered," he interrupted quietly."What--?"
  113. 113. He cut her off again with a kiss. He then picked her up and carried her into their room, kicking the door behind him.It turned out he wasnt anywhere near as mad as she had thought.***
  114. 114. True to her word, Mary kept her peace the following day. In fact, she even went as far as avoiding everyone in the house.It was probably for the best.
  115. 115. Zane showed up fifteen minutes earlier than she had expected. "Youre early," she said."There are some things we need to talk about. I wanted to have the time to do so.""You arent even wearing your regular robes.""I figured you would be more comfortable seeing me in my normal state.""So, no Hula Girls, no Mai Thais, no celebration whatsoever. How appropriate as I am not really in the mood for celebrating."
  116. 116. "Mary, where is your family? Why arent you surrounded by your loved ones?" he asked gently.
  117. 117. "My family, my so-called loved ones, have made it abundantly clear that they dont wish to be around me any longer."
  118. 118. "Mary, Im sure thats not the case. Maybe--"
  119. 119. "Isnt it my death? Cant I choose how I want to go? I dont want to watch my family forcing themselves to mourn. I think my life has beendisappointing enough and I really dont want to be kicked while Im down. Its a very simple request, Zane. I want to go in peace."
  120. 120. A strange look passed over Zanes face as she said that. "I understand," he said.
  121. 121. Mary wiped a tear from her eye. "Good, Im glad," she said. "If I could go back and change things, I would. There are so many things that I wouldhave done differently. But its far too late, now. I only want a peaceful afterlife. Maybe there I can mend things. One can hope, right?"
  122. 122. Zane clutched her in a tight hug. "Yes," he said vehemently. "Things will be better in the afterlife."
  123. 123. "Thank you," she whispered. "What is it that you needed to to talk me about?""Nothing," he replied. "Nothing other than Im so very sorry that youre so sad and I hope you will find happiness in the afterlife.""Itll be nice to see my parents again.""Yeah, it will be. Tell them I said Hi, okay?""I will, Zane, I will."
  124. 124. Zane ran his hand through his hair and heaved a heavy sigh. The real reason behind why he showed up early was because Mary, as a ReaperClone Child, was actually slated to reside on the Dead Realm as one of its protectors. That was the fate of most Reaper Children.Because Mary had been so close to death, she had started taking on the abilities of a Reaper Child, namely the ability to project her strongemotions. She just didnt realize she was doing it, but Zane had felt it as soon as he entered the room. Depression. Sadness. Hopelessness. Hedidnt have the heart to subject her to more of it.He began going over in his mind the different ways he could hide her trail in the paperwork so she could go to the Spirit Realm where all her deadrelatives were. It was the least he could do for her. Rhys voice behind him interrupted his thoughts."So she died like she lived: selfishly and miserably."
  125. 125. The biting tone startled Zane. "I..I beg your pardon?"
  126. 126. "I didnt stutter. You heard what I said. She was selfish and miserable right to the end."
  127. 127. Zane gave Rhys an incredulous look as he approached him. "Are..are you gloating?" When Rhys didnt respond Zane got angry. "This is anotherhuman being whose life just ended. You ought to show a little bit more respect! She was your wifes mother. She was your childrensgrandmother. She was an important member of this family. How dare you treat this very sad situation so callously! This should be a time ofmourning!"
  128. 128. Rhys crossed his arms and gave Zane a level look. "I am so very disappointed. Those were Marys last words to her daughter. She made Edenmiserable and paranoid for most of her life. And whats more, Eden is going to feel even worse because she didnt even have a chance to saygoodbye to her mother. As for my kids? Pfft. Mary barely paid attention to them, so you have no leg to stand on there. Did you know that sheand Eden had a huge fight last night? The last words the two of them said to each other were in anger. And whats worse is that Mary knew shewas dying today, and yet she still fought with Eden and said horrible things. But you know what? When Im the one who has to go and tell Edenher mother is dead, Ill make sure Im as comforting as possible for my wifes sake. However, as far as Im concerned, today is a good day."Zane took a deep breath and said, "HOW DARE--"
  129. 129. "No," Rhys said, cutting him off. "You dont get to do that. Either you want us to like you for you, or you want us to be scared of you because yourethe Grim Reaper. You dont get to have it both ways, Zane. Besides, I refuse to be intimidated by someone whose diapers Ive changed in anotherdimension."
  130. 130. Zane felt himself deflate and he willed himself not to blush. "Okay, fair enough," he said. "However, Mary was under the impression that nobodywould mourn her passing. And I think that is terribly sad."
  131. 131. ***
  132. 132. Eden and Rhys watched their children with amusement. "Relax, you two," Eden said. "Its not like you guys havent been on television or in thenewspapers before.""Yeah, I seem to recall a certain someone named Quinn having a rather stinky diaper as I carried him on my shoulders," Rhys teased.
  133. 133. "Not a big deal? Not a big deal? We were only babies then! This time they actually talked to us and we get to actually see ourselves on television!"Erin cheered, barely containing her excitement.Quinn clapped, just slightly less subdued than his sister. "And all of our friends said they were going to watch!""Shhhh, Quinn! Its on! Its on!"
  134. 134. "Hi everybody! Im Dina Caliente and its time for another Sim Celebrity Spotlight!"
  135. 135. "Eden Devereaux and her hottie husband, Rhys Fitzhugh, made their first public appearance since Edens mother, Mary Devereaux, passed on.Thats four months without Rhyden. But have no fear, the dry spell is over!"
  136. 136. "Because not only is Rhyden back, but they brought their children with them! Erin and Quinn Devereaux havent made any public appearancessince they were toddlers and everyone has been very curious about them."
  137. 137. "Eden, look over here!" "Eden, can we get a picture?" "Eden, how are you coping with your mothers death?" "Eden, will you finally tell us what itslike being married to Rhys Fitzhugh?""I am doing well, thank you. As for your other question: how many times do I have to say normal before you will believe me?"
  138. 138. "We love, love, love the fact that Eden seems to be so much more relaxed as she banters with the paparazzi. Dont worry, Eden, well get a straightanswer from you yet! How can it possibly be normal when you bagged a Fitzhugh? Oh, and a quick shout out to my sister, Nina, who also gotherself some of that Fitzhugh action!"
  139. 139. "Erin, can we get a picture?" "Erin, over here!" "Erin, look this way! "Erin, can we get a smile over here?" "Erin, are you having fun?""Hi everybody! Yeah, Im having TONS of fun. Its like super exciting to get all dressed up in pretty clothes. My mom even let me put on somecolored lip gloss for this!"
  140. 140. "Its very obvious that Erin, the presumed heiress of the Devereaux fortune, is a product of her parents. Number one, shes lovely. Number two,shes outgoing, bubbly, and vivacious. Okay thats more like two, three and four, but still! We are all looking forward to seeing what kind of prettyyoung lady she will turn out to be!"
  141. 141. "Quinn, look over here!" "Quinn, can you please look at the camera?" "Quinn, over here!" "Quinn, whats it like having a movie star for a mother?""Um, okay. I guess..."
  142. 142. "Unfortunately, not only is Quinn rather awkward looking, but he also was very overwhelmed by the cameras and the questions that were thrownat him. Grace in front of the cameras can come with time, but hopefully Quinn will grow into his looks. Its very clear that didnt get much from hisfather in that area and it takes more than matching tuxedos to look like Rhys Fitzhugh. Am I right or what?"
  143. 143. Rhys and Eden kept their expressions neutral as they looked at each other. Eden knew that if either one of them showed any anger over what wassaid, it would make the situation even worse. Maybe Quinn didnt understand what she meant, she thought desperately.
  144. 144. "Wooo!" Erin cheered. "Did you see, Quinn? She said I was pretty!""Yeah," he said quietly.
  145. 145. With a huge grin on her face, she turned to her parents and asked, "Mom? Dad? Can I call my friends? I want to know if they watched. Can Iplease, please, please, please, please?
  146. 146. "Not right now, sweetheart. I have to make a very important phone call," Eden said with a sigh. "One thats probably long overdue.""Okay," Erin replied, unperturbed. "Can I go play on the karaoke machine then?" Her parents were acting weird, but they always acted weird, andusually their weirdness ended with them playing music in their bedroom. She could sense, though, that it was not the time to point out that themusic they played didnt quite cover up the strange sounds and giggles they made when they were in there. So when her mother nodded, she justshrugged and skipped into the next room to look over the song list.
  147. 147. Quinn idly played with one of his toy cars as he thought about what the woman on the television had said. He wasnt entirely sure what the word"awkward" meant, but he was able to figure it out in the context in which it was used. Erin was called "lovely" while he was referred to as "ratherawkward looking" and "hopefully hell grow into his looks."He had a feeling that "awkward" meant "ugly." And it was said on television. And all of his friends might have been watching. "Humiliated" wasnt inQuinns vocabulary yet, but thats how he felt. "Hurt" was also on that list.
  148. 148. He swallowed the lump in his throat and blinked back his tears as he heard the bedroom door open. The last thing he wanted was for people thinkthat he was a cry baby on top of everything else. He heard his dad clear his throat."So whatcha doin?" Rhys asked.Quinn shrugged and spun the wheels on his car, barely managing a smile. "Nothing. Just playing with my car," he said. The two of them weresilent while he continued to mindlessly spin the wheels.
  149. 149. Eventually he got tired of it though and he went to put his toy back in its box. He could sense that his dad was still there, watching him. Quinnwanted nothing more than to run and throw his arms around his dad and cry, but he didnt want his dad to think that he was a big baby. So instead,he kept his back turned and he sighed."Come on, Quinn, talk to me," Rhys said. "I cant fix it for you if I dont know what youre thinking about."
  150. 150. Quinn just shrugged and went to sit on his bed. After a moment he said something that had been on his mind for a while. "Dad? Do you andMom love Erin more than me?"
  151. 151. He felt Rhys sit down on the bed next to him. "Of course not. Why would you think that?" Rhys asked.Quinn shrugged again. "Because shes the heir and Im only a spare," he said. And shes prettier than me, was the unspoken thought. "When shegrows up, she gets to come back and live here with you and Mom and I dont.""Quinn... if you want to come back here, you can. Theres nothing in the rules that says you cant.""But Erin is more important than me, right? Spares arent as..." he searched for the right word, but couldnt find it, "cool," he finished lamely.He was a bit hurt when he heard his dad chuckle. "Actually, Mister Quinn Devereaux, I beg to differ. Spares are very cool. In fact, I was a spare."
  152. 152. Quinn looked over at him with surprise. He hadnt known that. He knew his dad came from somewhere else, but it never really came up inconversation. "You were?""Yep. And I happen to think that Im very cool. And you know what? You are, too. You and Erin both are going to grow up and be spectacular;you wont be able to help it. Simselves will be banging down the door begging you to come and visit their verses. You know why? Because youreQuinn, and youre awesome. It wont matter if youre the heir or the spare.""Really? How do you know?""Yes, really. Because I said so.""Even if Im awkward looking?" Quinn blurted.
  153. 153. Rhys pulled him close. "We need to straighten a couple of things out. Number one: Dina Caliente is a nasty, mean, and jealous woman who hasno idea whats shes talking about. Id have a few more choice words to say about her, but your mother doesnt like me using that kind of languagearound you and your sister. Number two: You arent even close to awkward looking. You look just like your mother, and shes one of the mostbeautiful women in the world. Everyone says so. More importantly, I say so."Quinn brightened and felt relieved. He smiled happily as he snuggled against his father. "Really? I look like Mom?""Yes, you do. So you see, its genetically impossible for you to look and be anything less than a stud when you grow up."
  154. 154. He pulled away and looked at Rhys. "But she said that I dont look anything like you.""Actually you do. You have the two most important things--""Red hair and your nose," Quinn interrupted, already knowing what his dad was going to say. "But why are they so important?""Because the nose...well, its The Nose. Everyone wants The Nose. Its your heritage! And red hair is just frickin awesome. Thats why theyre soimportant."Quinn thought about that and said, "But I really want to look like you, too."Rhys grinned. "You know what? There is one more thing thats missing on you. Come on, Ill show you what you need to do."
  155. 155. Eden tried to keep her voice patient as she talked to her publicist on the phone. "Thats normal you say? Youre saying that the news and tabloidsand everyone who catches the slightest glimpse of me and my family, they get to say whatever they want with absolutely no regard to how it mighthurt someones feelings?" She ground her teeth, ignoring the now familiar pain in her jaw, as she listened to the answer. "Oh yeah? Well, I saybullshit. My children are not to be targets for petty comments. In fact, they should not be commented on at all. They are not the ones who arepublic figures, not yet. Its not their fault who their parents are. They are little kids and no little kid should have to be ridiculed in a public forumwhen theyve done nothing more than accompany me and my husband to social functions like you wanted them to!"
  156. 156. "Part of my image as a maternal figure? Yeah? And what kind of mother would I be if I didnt say anything about the mean spirited comments?Dont you understand? My son watched the program where they made fun of him. And worse yet, he understood what was being said about him.That is unacceptable. I dont care if my children are standing in the middle of town, selling lemonade naked! There are to be no more commentsabout them, positive or negative, until they are old enough to defend themselves. Am I understood? I dont care if its not your job. You find outwhose job it is and tell them that. I will not have my kids grow up being terrified of their every action, afraid to even eat in public for fear of whatmight be said about them."
  157. 157. "Yeah? Well my mother is dead and let me tell you, she did a pretty piss poor job defending her daughter and making sure that she had a healthyself image. Im just glad that I have a fairly strong sense of self to know that I am better than that. I am not my mother and I am in charge. If youdont like it, I will find a publicist who can work with me and understand that my children and husband are my world and Ill be goddamned if Imgoing to let those vultures the world passes off as reporters ruin any of that. Is that maternal enough for you?"
  158. 158. She pressed the end button on the phone and slammed it into the receiver. She then picked it up and slammed it down a few more times. Shetook a deep breath and turned around as she heard someone coming down the stairs.
  159. 159. "Its just not as satisfying hitting end. It doesnt feel nearly as dramatic when you want to hang up on a person."
  160. 160. "Oh, I totally agree," Rhys said through a grin. "God, youre hot when youre pissed," he added."Rhys—""Im serious!""How is Quinn?"
  161. 161. "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom!" Quinn shouted excitedly as he ran down the stairs."Why dont you ask him yourself?" Rhys said."Mom! Look at what Dad did to my hair! Its so cool and now I look just like him! And its real easy to do, but he said that it was a secret so I canttell you how he did it. But dont you like it? Isnt it so neat?"
  162. 162. "Its a secret?" she asked, trying not to smile. She was familiar with how her husband styled his hair as she had seen him do it plenty of times."Yeah it is! And Dad said that if I do it long enough that itll become magical! And then when I grow up and I have a boy I have teach him how todo it this way because its an ancient family secret. And it has to be true because look at Vaughn!""Exactly," Rhys said gravely. "What do you think, Ede? You think Quinn is old enough to bear such a heavy responsibility?""Absolutely," she said. "I think he is the perfect man for the job. And might I add that he looks very dashing?""Yeah!" Quinn cheered. "I dont look awkward at all! Dad said it was impossible before, but now with my hair like this, itll be like doubleimpossible. And when I grow up, Im going to be just like Dad."Eden smiled. "I cant think of anyone better for you to be like." She looked at Rhys. "Your dad is a good man and a great father.""Yeah he is! Im gonna go show Erin!"
  163. 163. He took two steps before he stopped to hug Rhys. He wrapped his arms tightly around his fathers neck and whispered, "Thanks, Dad."Rhys smiled and patted Quinns back. "No problem, kiddo. Now go and show Erin, and try not to make her too jealous, okay?"As Quinn ran out of the room, Rhys sighed."So, the magical fauxhawk has saved another day," Eden said with amusement.
  164. 164. Rhys turned to her and said, "He thinks we dont love him as much as we love Erin because hes only a spare."Eden raised her eyebrows. "Who would honestly think that? Parents dont play favorites. What kid would--" she stopped short as she saw the lookon his face. "You cant possibly still believe—you know what? Never mind. You told him otherwise, right? You told him that he was being silly,right?""Of course I did, Ede. Im a bastard but, come on, give me some credit. I know what to say when my kid is upset. Im telling you now in case itbecomes a problem in the future."
  165. 165. "Thats just it. It shouldnt be a problem. In fact, we should make sure that it isnt. Both Erin and Quinn should be heirs. Theyre twins forPlumbbobs sake. One shouldnt feel less important than the other, no matter how unfounded that fear is. So, yeah. Dual heirship. I think fromhere on out, in the instance of twins, both children should be considered heirs."
  166. 166. "And so thats it? You get to say both children shall be heir and it just happens? Does it really work that way?" Eden noticed a very faint hint ofenvy in his voice."Well, dont you think its a good idea?""Youre..youre asking me?""Of course I am. Its a major decision and youre my husband. It affects you, too.""Well..yeah, I think it would stop any problems before they start. I just..." he shrugged. "I didnt think you could change the rules that simply."
  167. 167. "We," she corrected him gently as she stepped into his arms. "We changed the rules. And, yes, it was that simple. Im the current heiress andyoure my husband. My partner. And whatever we say in regards to this family goes." She managed to hide her amusement as she saw him ratherspeechless, which was rare for him."Huh," he finally said. "Good to be king."She tsked and shook her head with a smile. "Sweetie, you of all people know that I am lacking in some essential body parts to be called king.""Of which I am very grateful for," he replied. He then grinned widely and said, "Of course I may have to do a very thorough inspection. You know.Just to be sure and all."She raised her eyebrows with a smile. "Im all yours."***
  168. 168. "Im glad that you get to be heir with me," Erin said as she skipped down the sidewalk the following afternoon. "That means you get to do all thestinky boy stuff that Dad does with the stores and everything while I get to be a pretty movie star like Mom. Except I want to be a ballerina. Itstoo bad that we wont be on television and stuff again until were older though. I liked talking to those people with their microphones and gettingto wear pretty dresses and stuff. Didnt you?"Quinn shrugged. "It was okay, I guess," he said, not wanting to upset his sister. "But I wont mind working at the stores like Dad because I want tobe like him when I grow up.""Yeah, I know. And now you have hair like him, too. Its not fair. I wish you would tell me how to do it like that.""Dad said it was a secret. And I think you would have to cut some of your hair off.""Ew. Never mind then. You can keep your stinky hairstyle."
  169. 169. Something in the window of one of the stores caught Quinns eye and he headed toward it. Erin, without missing a beat, continued skipping alongas she followed him.
  170. 170. "Come on, Quinn," she said impatiently after a few moments, "were supposed to meet our friends at the park and were going to be late!""Just hang on a sec," he murmured in a distracted tone, "I thought I saw something.""What? What did you see?""I dont know. Lets go inside.""But Quinn, we cant just walk inside. How do we even know its open?""It is," he replied as he vaguely gestured toward the Open sign, which was under the store name, Trustworthy Trinkets. He walked toward thedoor and opened it, not even looking over his shoulder to see if his sister was following him. Erin sighed and walked into the store as well.
  171. 171. Quinn was unable to find the item that had caught his attention, but he became distracted by the other odds and ends that the knickknack storehad to offer. "Check out this globe, Erin. I wonder if Dad will show me where hes been on it. He told me he was everywhere. Well, actually hesaid a bad word in front of it, but it couldnt have been too bad because mom laughed when he said it."
  172. 172. Erin, for her part, wasnt impressed with the place. "What I want to know is why there is this huge picture of Mom hanging up here," she said."Because I am a very big fan of your mother," a voice answered, which caused the twins to jump.
  173. 173. As they turned to face the speaker, and apparent owner of the store, they had two very different reactions.
  174. 174. Quinn felt warmth and kindness from the little old lady who stood in front of him. As he looked at her, he couldnt help but think that she wouldhave been the perfect grandmother to have.
  175. 175. Erin, on the other hand, who had always made it a point to not show any fear, couldnt help herself as she saw a woman in black looking down ather with a sinister smirk. A feeling of wrongness washed over and she let out a soft moan which rapidly became a high pitched wail.
  176. 176. With a scream, Erin bolted out the door. With and embarrassed look for his sisters behavior, Quinn said to the woman, "Im sorry. She shouldnthave been so rude. I should get going though. It was very nice to meet you Ms...""Miss Lily," the lady replied.
  177. 177. "And I would not worry about your sister. She will only remember that she needed to get where she was going and you were going to help out akind old lady like the good boy you are.""Yeah..." Quinn replied in a dreamy whisper.
  178. 178. "Now, you see this necklace that I am wearing?""Yeah...""You would like to have one, would you not?""Yeah I would."
  179. 179. "Excellent," the woman said as she slipped a replica of her necklace around his neck. "You will wear it at all times but you must not show it toanyone. It is to be our secret.""What does it do?""It will help you when the time comes. Would you like to listen to a story?""Yes, I would.""Very good. Follow me."
  180. 180. She led Quinn into a secret room that was behind the bookcase. When the door had shut, she pulled a book off the shelf and sat down on thechair. She gestured to the floor, indicating where Quinn should sit. After a moment, she opened the book with a smile and began reading."Well let us see. Oh, I think this would be the perfect story. It is about a very brave and handsome knight. The knights name was Quinn."
  181. 181. "Hey!" Quinn grinned happily, "Thats my name!"
  182. 182. "Oh really? How very..."
  183. 183. "...coincidental..."
  184. 184. "Let us continue. Brave and handsome Sir Quinn was loved by everyone in town--""Because he was brave and handsome?""Yes. He was the bravest and the most handsome out of all the knights in the kingdom. Do not interrupt me anymore.""Okay. Im sorry.""You are forgiven. Now brave Sir Quinn had an arch enemy, an evil man who wore all black and lived in a dead realm. And the evil man in blackhad a beautiful blond princess held captive. So, Sir Quinn made a vow to save the beautiful princess..."***
  185. 185. (Dont worry, Rhys waited until Eden and the kids werent home.) Thank you everyone for reading! A very special thanks go to the following:Marina/Smoothiequeen: Rhys and Spencer Fitzhugh (Fitzhugh Legacy/Villainous Apocalypse). There will never be enough "thank yous" for lettingme use your characters and for all the help you give me when writing for them!De/Fireflower: Vaughn Fitzhugh (Morgan Legacy). I wish he and Laurana had more to say at the moment :( Also thank you very much for thepicture of Eden that you made for me!Ben/Blight 27: Cassius Marius (Ten Caesars Legacy)Lark/Ladylarkrune: For the endless hours of letting me ramble on about my story and for reminding me to not get too bogged down by every tinydetail!Thanks again for reading and commenting! Until next time, Happy Simming!