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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 3

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Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 3

  1. 1. Welcome back to the Devereaux Legacy! To recap whats going on so far:Lillian and Thaddeus have teamed up to do...well whatever it is they are planning on doing. Lillian cast a mysterious spell on Emily during the kidsnighttime adventure and she also got a hold of Quinn when she disguised herself as a kindly old lady who likes to tell him stories.Eden finally told Mary to shove it. Not in those exact words, of course, but the sentiment was still there. In a completely unrelated incident, Marydied the next day leaving behind a sad, sad, plain tombstone.The media vultures called Quinn awkward on television which, as you can imagine, damaged his self-esteem a bit. But, Rhys taught him how tostyle his hair in an awesome fauxhawk, so its all good. Or is it?Please tell me this makes sense to you. If it doesnt, you might want to go back a few chapters to catch up because you wandered into the middleof the story. For everyone else, enjoy the show!***
  2. 2. The next eight years passed by rapidly, as time tends to do. After Mary had passed on, the rest of her generation followed her onto the SpiritRealm in rapid succession. Unlike Mary, however, they were ushered by Zane with happiness, Hula Girls, Mai Tais, and Hawaiian music.
  3. 3. Having to say goodbye to many of his friends was rough on Zane and he dreaded the days when he got their paperwork. However, he didnt fall topieces like he had thought when he first got assigned to his job.
  4. 4. Having Tina welcome him back after every trip probably helped matters.
  5. 5. Back on the Mortal Realm, the final installment of "Dusk" had been filmed and released to its adoring fans. It won multiple Sim TV movie awards,including Best Actress, Best Kiss, and Best Film.Unfortunately it didnt get any nods from the SimOscar Academy on the grounds that it was considered trite and shallow. The rabid fans gnashedtheir teeth over that, proclaiming that it was the best love story of all time and it was far better than any movie about a boy with a scar and thewizard school he attended. The debate about which series was better waged on for many years.
  6. 6. Eden began to feel old, especially once she started finding hints of gray in her long hair (which she began to grow out once her mother had died).She began to refuse roles that cast her as the sexpot love interest on the grounds that it would be ridiculous for a mother of two teenaged childrento play those types of roles.
  7. 7. However, she didnt mind it when Rhys treated her like she was still in her early twenties.
  8. 8. Quinn and Erin had managed to successfully exit their childhood without getting into too much trouble and they were, in fact, rather responsibleteenagers. For the most part.
  9. 9. Eden and Rhys were both very proud of the twins and they gave themselves a lot of credit for being good parents. So, as good parents would do,they decided to educate their teenaged children about certain...things. All so that their children would be very well informed and not ashamed ofthings that were completely natural.
  10. 10. What Rhys and Eden didnt realize was that Erin and Quinn had a general knowledge of those things ever since they were children. The parentswerent nearly as subtle as they had thought they were being.However, they didnt have the heart to tell their parents, so they endured the frank conversations and moved on with their lives.
  11. 11. Erins life was a busy one. She was one of those people who made friends easily and was a natural leader. She was the president of the StudentCouncil, Head Cheerleader, Homecoming and Prom Queen, as well as an honor roll student. The only downside was that her boyfriend, MatthewGrunt, was a couple of years older than her and was already in college. Having a long distance relationship was hard, but much like everythingelse, she took it in stride.
  12. 12. Quinns life was just as busy as his sisters. Instead of being involved with extracurricular activities at school though, he instead spent a lot of timewith Rhys as he learned how to manage the family businesses.
  13. 13. Unfortunately, any good feelings of success that Quinn felt while helping at the stores went away whenever he went to help the kindly, old MissLily at her store. He could never remember exactly what he did to help her, but he would remember the stories about Sir Quinn and his nemesisThe Man in Black Robes. Sir Quinn was handsome. Sir Quinn was loved by everyone. Sir Quinn was considered important. Sir Quinn was neverin the shadow of anyone else.
  14. 14. Quinn usually left those visits feeling disconnected, discontent, and inadequate when he compared himself with the fictional character. He felt iteven more keenly when he compared himself to his sister. Erin was bubbly. Erin always had an interesting story about school. Erin alwaysbantered with Rhys and was usually able to make Eden laugh.His vague, jealous feelings that he usually pushed to the side were always intensified after visiting his elderly friend.
  15. 15. The only person he ever uttered any of those feelings to was his friend Emily Smith. Because she was going through a rough time with her parentsconstantly fighting and her father leaving town often, she was able to relate to his want to be noticed. She was his friend.His very good friend.***
  16. 16. "So, do you know what day it is?" Emily asked as she watched Quinn tie his shoe."Um, its Friday," he responded."Correction. Its Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday, if that earwig has anything to say about it. Everybodys looking forward to the weekend,dontcha know.""Thanks. Now that stupid song is going to be in my head for the rest of the day.""Well then my job here is done. So what are your plans for the weekend?"
  17. 17. Quinn stood up and leaned against the lockers. "Well, I know I was planning on becoming the schools star Quarterback. I figured that eventhough Ive never been on the football team that my fantastic good looks would instantly win me a spot anyway. What are your plans for theweekend?"Emily rolled her eyes. "Well, I don’t know if you know this, but Erin is letting me take her place as Head Cheerleader because of my sheerawesomeness, so my weekend is kinda booked. But if you become Quarterback, let me know. Then we could be the quintessential high schoolcouple and wed rule the school." She scowled slightly when he laughed."Well, just in case those very solid plans fall through, were going to continue our Doctor Who marathon, right?" he asked. She nodded and lookeddown the hall."Dont look now, but Erin, Ceres, and the other twits they surround themselves with are coming."
  18. 18. "I swear to God, my mother is trying to get me into trouble," Ceres said angrily. "She keeps texting me in the middle of class and you know whatMrs. Crumplebottom said. She said that Id get detention for a week. Augh!""Whats the latest text?" Erin asked with a grin."Im not gonna say. But let me tell you, Ive learned far more about your father than I ever needed to know.""Have you met my parents? I know far more about my father than I ever needed to know!""Why dont you just turn off your phone?" Ginger Newson asked."You havent met my mother, have you?"
  19. 19. "Heya, Quinn," Erin said cheerfully as she approached her brother. "I have, like, the coolest thing to tell you at lunch.""Why dont you just tell me now?" he asked."Because I cant, okay? Lunch. Its awesome, I swear."
  20. 20. Before he could respond, Meadow stepped forward and gave him a huge smile. "Hi, Quinn," she said in a breathy voice.
  21. 21. "Uhh, hi Meadow," he said, unsure of what to make of her."Hi!" she said again."Goodbye Meadow," Emily said through her teeth."Okay, byeee!" the blond said with a giggle."Yeah. So that was kind of weird," Quinn said."Uh huh," was all Emily could say in return.
  22. 22. Quinns shoulders sagged. "Man, what new and cool thing is Erin going to be doing now? Shes way better at this heir thing than I am.""Youre better than her, Quinn. Way better. Shes nice and all, but youre still better," Emily said in a strangely intense voice.
  23. 23. Part of Quinn wanted to agree with her. A bigger part of him wanted to believe her. But as he watched his sister walk cheerfully down the hallshouting out to her friends, an overwhelming feeling of guilt washed over him.
  24. 24. "Its not a competition," he said, more to himself than Emily. "Neither one of us is more important than the other. Were both heirs and Imimportant, too. I know all the store stuff because thats what Im going to do as my job. Im just as important. Erin and I are equal.""You dont have to convince me of that. I know you are. I think youre spectacular."Quinn just shrugged and gathered his books off the floor as the bell rang.***
  25. 25. "I swear she just doesn’t stop!" Ceres said as she scrolled through the text messages on her phone during lunch."What is it this time?" Zachary asked."Links to fan fiction for shows that I dont watch nor do I even want to watch! Rory and Eleven? What? Oh, and listen to this one: OMG, BB! Uhave 2 read SMAX! What the hell is a SMAX and why should I read about it? Why would I even want to read it? Ugh! Jeebus! And heres onefrom my dad! Its another Magic Box link, most likely about Rhyden and him calling Rhys an attention whore. My parents: theyre trying to killme!"
  26. 26. "I overheard my dad telling her that he can find his own reading entertainment and he didnt need her help," Anna said. "Anyway, you couldthreaten to block her like he said he was going to do if she didnt stop."
  27. 27. "Yeah, I tried saying that. She got upset and started flailing and claimed that I couldnt possibly be her daughter and she threatened to disown me.So now I just tell her that I have a lot of homework to do and Ill read the stuff when I get the chance.""Ah, and so thats why youve been getting top marks in class," Zachary said. Everyone at the table laughed.
  28. 28. "Whats so funny?" Erin asked as she attempted to mess Quinns hair."Ere, Im pretty sure Dad will let me kill you if you destroy my fauxhawk.""And Im pretty sure you both take your hair way too seriously. Besides, Im certain Mom messes up his hair all the time, if you know what I mean.So what are you laughing at?""First of all: gross. Second: De is trying to traumatize Ceres, and Ceres is trying to bring us all down with her.""Pfft. We are untramatizeable.""I know, right? Anyway, whats the important thing you want to tell me? Are you thinking of joining yet another club?"
  29. 29. "No, silly," she replied. "Well, actually yeah, I might, but I dont know if Ill have the time to help on the newspaper as in conflicts with StudentCouncil and--""What did you want to tell me?" Quinn interrupted."What? Oh yeah! I know someone who liiiiiikes yoooouuuuu.""Yeah, okay, whatever.""No, Im serious! Why do you always do that? Anyway Meadow has been crushing on you for a while now. She told me in gym class thismorning."
  30. 30. He leaned forward to look where Meadow was sitting. She began giggling when she saw him looking at her.Erin smiled. "See? Totally crushing on you. Totally. You should ask her out."
  31. 31. Quinn grinned back at Meadow. "Shes very...giggly," he said to his sister."Yeah so? Meadows a giggly type of person. Thats her thing. Nobodys asking you to marry her or anything. You know, just ask her out. Smoochher a little. Show her some of that Fitzhugh Charisma Dads always saying we inherited from him. Youll never get that first kiss if you remain inyour comfort zone and hang out with Emily all of the time. No offense, Em. But seriously, both of you need to get out an meet new people if youknow what I mean."
  32. 32. Emily ground her teeth as Erin babbled on about Meadows merits. Finally, when she couldnt take any more, she said, "Hey, Erin, have you heardfrom Matt lately?""Not in the last couple of days. Why?""Huh. How weird. Seeing youre his girlfriend I thought hed talk to you more often. Maybe you should be more worried about whats going onthere instead of trying to fix other peoples love lives."
  33. 33. Erins mouth dropped open. "Whatre trying to say, huh?"
  34. 34. Emily shrugged. "Oh, Im not saying anything other than maybe hes not calling you because hes found someone else. He is a Romance Sim, right?A Romance Sim away at college for the first time. Lots of girls at college. College girls. So maybe you arent the best person to take love advicefrom."
  35. 35. Erin was silent for a moment. She didnt want to give Emily the satisfaction of knowing that she had scored a point. Then she realized that shewasnt planning on marrying Matt anyway so it didnt really matter. She smirked and flipped the other girl off. "Hes a Pleasure Seeker, actually. Butyou want to know what else? Youre a bitch. So piss up a rope, Em." She spun on her heel and walked out of the lunchroom.
  36. 36. "What the hell was that?" Quinn asked after everyone else began talking again."I..I dont know. I just..I really dont know. Its like something came over me. I dont know what.""Jeebus, Em!""Im sorry," she whispered."Dont apologize to me, apologize to her," he responded with a shake of his head.***
  37. 37. "Good morning!" Erin sang cheerfully as she skipped into the dining room."Stop the presses, Ede! I believe our daughter is actually up and about voluntarily!""Wow! Its truly a Saturday morning miracle! We didnt have to yank the blankets off of her or anything!" Eden replied, playing along with Rhys.
  38. 38. Erin crossed her arms and rolled her eyes at her parents sarcasm. "Ha ha, guys. You think youre so funny.""We dont think were funny; we know were funny," Rhys retorted.She was about to say a comment to the contrary but then thought better of it as she gave them a smile.
  39. 39. "Daddy?" she asked in a sweet voice as she wrapped her arms around Rhys."And here we go. Not only is she awake and dressed before the crack of noon, but now shes busting out the Daddy schtick. Clearly she wantssomething.""Huh. I wonder where she gets that from," Eden said.
  40. 40. "I am offended!" Erin protested. "You make it sound like Im manipulative or something!""Uh, huh. Well, Ere, you only call me Daddy when youre in trouble or you want something. So, its either, What did you do? or, What do youwant?""Can I please borrow the car? I want to take Princess for a ride. Shes been rather neglected lately.""You want to drive to Veronaville? In my car?""Well, I dont have my own. Unless...Daddy? Can I get my own car?""Oh my God, Erin. Yes, you can borrow my car. No, you cant get your own. Not until you graduate college. Thats the deal and you know it.Jeebus, when did you get old enough to drive anyway? Werent you just born, like, a year ago or something?"
  41. 41. "Poor old Dad," she said as she kissed her father on his temple."Im not old!""You have gray hairs.""Excuse me! They arent gray, theyre white. And I pull those bastards out as soon as I see them, so I have no idea what youre talking about. Keepcalling me old and you cant borrow my car. Then Princess will get fat and shell get sent to the glue factory and then youll be sorry.""Thank you, Dad. I love you, Dad.""Mmmhmm. Get.""And drive safe," Eden chimed in.
  42. 42. "I will, Mom. I love you, too," Erin said as she skipped out of the room. Eden stifled a giggle and shook her head."What?" Rhys asked. "You think her calling me old is funny, dont you?""Watching you two is like watching a sitcom sometimes. Shes definitely your daughter.""Hmph. I never get my way like she does.""Oh? You dont?" she replied with a smile."Mmm. Well, maybe sometimes. Maybe."
  43. 43. "Morning, Quinn," Erin waved cheerfully."Hey," he said quietly."Whats the matter?""Ere, Im really sorry about what Emily said at lunch yesterday. She--"
  44. 44. "Dont worry about it! She called me last night and she apologized for being bitchy and I apologized to her for telling her to piss up a rope. Wereall good and everything."Quinn breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, good. Because--"
  45. 45. "Wait, wait, no. Theres something else you need to know. See, I thought you guys were just friends and thats why I told you about Meadow andstuff which is the reason why Em got all bitchy to begin with. I didnt know that she liked you liked you. So you need to shit or get off the pot.""What are you talking about? Emily likes me like that?"
  46. 46. "Oh, Quinn," she said in a theatrically dramatic voice, "its an insult to the entire Romance Aspiration if you dont assume that every single thing thatmoves is attracted to you! You need to get with the program because its embarrassing and Im only a Romance Secondary! Theyre gonna pullyour card you know!"He rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay, I get it. I didnt know, all right?"
  47. 47. "Good," she said as she gave him a hug. "You need to get out there. Most of the girls in the school wonder why you, of all people, arent walkingaround with five women on your arms at all times.""Oh stop exaggerating. Most of the girls in the school dont even know who I am.""Whatever. They totally do. Why do you keep thinking otherwise? Anyway, I should get going. Veronaville is an hour away and I want to be homein time for my date with Matt. Remember what I said about Emily!""What about having five women on my arms at all times?""Whatever! Just do something and quit being so doubtful about yourself and stuff!"Quinn just sighed and shook his head.***
  48. 48. "I know, I was planning on riding you for longer, too," Erin said to her horse. "I didnt know it was going to start raining though." She sighed. Shehad been looking forward to the free feeling of riding her horse fast and just forgetting about everything for a while. She cast another glance at thethreatening storm clouds, sighed again, and hurried into the stable.
  49. 49. "I promise that I will come again as soon as I can, okay?" she said to Princess after she had put the horse back into its stall and brushed her down.She stroked the horses nose. "I know Im busy and I dont get to come out as often anymore and I miss you, I really do. Sometimes I wish myfamily lived here so I could ride you all the time but I doubt thats gonna happen anytime soon. Were stuck in stupid Pleasantview for the rest ofour lives." She kissed the horse on its head and fed it a carrot before sighing again.
  50. 50. She was about to turn and leave when she heard a low voice say, "Youre such an attention hog." Erins mouth dropped open as she looked in thedirection the voice came from.
  51. 51. She looked in the next stall and saw Puck Summerdream sitting on the ground. "You also eat like a horse, if you dont mind my saying," the redhaired elven teen said without looking at her."Excuse me! I do not eat like a horse!" Erin said to him.
  52. 52. Pucks eyes widened and he scrambled to his feet. "Oh my goodness, Erin, I wasnt talking to you, honest!" he said, embarrassed. "I was talking toBinky."
  53. 53. A quick glance in the stall showed that it was empty except for a box of pizza and a couple bottles of wine.
  54. 54. Erin crossed her arms and leaned on the rail. "Maybe you want to tell me a more believable lie? I mean, the horse thing is a pretty big one. Imassuming you panicked or something.""Oh, gosh," Pucks voice cracked, "this looks so bad, I know it does.""Just a bit."
  55. 55. He gave her a tentative smile. "If you come in here, Ill show you that Im not lying. Please? I..I dont want you to think that I was insulting you oranything like that."
  56. 56. Erin entered the stall and gave him a speculating look. Puck was one of her friends, she supposed, but not one that she talked to constantly. In factthe only time she ever really talked to him was when she came to Veronaville and seeing as hadnt been riding in a while she hadnt seen him in forquite some time. But there was something about him that seemed a bit different from most people she knew and she couldnt quite put her fingeron it. He was cute though, even if he was a little bit strange."There still isnt a horse in here, Puck.""I can make it where you can see him," he replied."Oh really?""Yeah."
  57. 57. He reached over and gently took her hand. Erin was startled for a moment, but what she saw in front of her surprised her even more.
  58. 58. As soon as his hand touched hers, a white horse eating from the pizza box appeared before her eyes. As she looked at it, the horse looked up andshe could have sworn that it smiled at her.
  59. 59. "Oh..oh my God," she said, "how did you do that? Its like..is it magic or something?""Yeah...kind of," he said quietly.
  60. 60. "Well thats something you dont see everyday," she said as she nonchalantly dropped his hand. As she did so, the white horse disappeared. "Thatwas kind of neat." She noticed out of the corner of her eye that he was looking at something over her head. "What are you looking at?" she asked.Puck dropped his head shyly and looked away. "Nothing," he whispered. He cleared his throat and said, "Nothing. Im not looking at anything."
  61. 61. "Anyway," Puck said as he took a few steps away from her, "the horse is named Binky and hes the Grim Reapers horse. Most people cant see himbecause most people are unable to see things from the Dead Realm.""Thats Zanes horse? Cool.""You..you know the Grim Reaper?""Yep yep. Hes actually a relative or something like that. My grandmothers cousin I think.""Hes actually related..what? I didnt think that..." he shook his head but didnt complete the sentence."How come you can see the horse but I cant? Are you a Grim Reaper, too?" she teased.
  62. 62. "Binky wants to know if you want to go for a ride," he said, avoiding her question. "He says hes bored just sitting in the stable and were way moreinteresting to watch." He shrugged."You can talk to him?" Puck nodded. Erin raised her eyebrows as she thought about it. "Well," she said slowly, "I cant be gone for too long. I havea date tonight.""Oh. You..you have a boyfriend. Of course you do. Well, I mean, its just a horse ride...""Puck, I said that I would go. But, um, how do I mount an invisible horse?"He grinned. "Oh, thats easy. I can help you."
  63. 63. As soon as he touched her she was able to see the horse again which made it easier for her to mount. Puck kept his hand on her leg as he climbedup behind her and gently wrapped his arm around her waist. "Are you okay?" he asked her.She shifted slightly. "Ive never ridden bareback on a horse before," she replied."Hell make sure you dont fall off. Besides, he doesnt move like a regular horse does."
  64. 64. Erin rested her back slightly against him. "Puck, its raining outside. Wont we--?""No. Like I said, Binky isnt like other horses. Hes, well, magic. Riding him is different."Erin was very conscious of his face close to hers as she said, "So how do we ride him?""Easy. Just close your eyes." And she did.
  65. 65. A second later she felt him slide off the horse. "You can open your eyes now," he said. "Were here." She opened her eyes and allowed him to helpher off the horse. She looked around and noticed that they were in a clearing in some woods nowhere near Veronaville."Um, where are we?" she asked.
  66. 66. He walked a few steps around the small pond and flopped down on his stomach. She followed him. "Binky says that I should tell you that were insome distant galaxy in some past time and that were the only two people left in the world." He blushed slightly. "He, ah, says other things too, buthes being silly."Erin crossed her arms. "Binky says that. But where are we really?"He smiled and lightly dabbled his fingers in the water. "Were in Belladonna Cove. See? Nowhere near as exotic or even that cool sounding.Youre closer to home than you were before.""Yeah, but we still have to go back. My Dad will kill me if I leave his car in Veronaville. I wont be able to go out on my date tonight, or any othernight, for a very long time.""I know. I was just saying that so, you know, you wont be scared or anything. Strange woods. Strange boy. All that."
  67. 67. "Im not scared," she said as she sat down next to him. Strangely enough, she wasnt. "It just that, well, I do have a boyfriend and hes in college andI want to make sure that Im home on time to see him.""Whats his name?" Puck asked casually."Matt. Matthew Grunt.""Oh. Im sorry. Thats a rather, um, well, not a very, I dont know, romantic sounding last name," he said with a grin.Erin raised an eyebrow and looked at him. "Says the guy whose name is Puck."He laughed. "Well, it not like Puck is my actual name. Its a nickname that my parents gave me.""Oh? So then whats your real name?"
  68. 68. The grin slid from his face and he looked away. "Well, my parents really like Shakespeare and on top of that theyre kind of...strange. So my sister,who they call Bottom, well her actual name is Nichole.""Uh huh. And whats yours?""Its worse than Puck.""What is it?"He was silent for a moment before he mumbled his answer, "Robin."
  69. 69. "Robins not so bad! The way you were acting I thought it was like Ubert or something.""Ubert? What kind of name is that?" Puck asked with a laugh."I dunno. But its way worse than Robin, right? Besides, I kind of like the name Robin."
  70. 70. His smile returned. "You do?""Yeah! Its cute!""Oh. Well Im glad the first person I ever told thinks that its cute then."
  71. 71. The two of them fell into an easy conversation as they talked about horses, school, books, and movies. Erin also talked a bit about her family andthe role she and her brother were expected to play in it when they got older."I dont know about Quinn," she said, "but while I dont mind having most of my life planned out for me, I still like a bit of uncertainty. It makes lifekind of an adventure, you know? Yeah, I know I have a ton of things to do all of the time and when I open my calender I can say, This is what Ihave to do today. And thats fine and very tidy, and I like tidy, I really do. But, yeah, things like getting married or if Im going to get married, I dontthink about those type of things. I have a couple of friends who know that theyre going to get married to each other right after college and Im like,But wheres the excitement? Wheres the adventure? Do you know what Im talking about?"
  72. 72. Puck looked away. "Yeah, I know what you mean about having your entire life planned out. Its.. .weird. Sometimes really weird. You..you donteven know.""Do your parents have high expectations for you, too?""You dont know the half of it," he whispered."Whatd you say?"
  73. 73. "Nothing," he said as he sat up. "We should get going.""Aw, really? We havent been here for that long, have we?""You gotta get back home for your date, remember?""Oh yeah, thats right. Well, this was a lot of fun.""You dont have to say that. Really, you dont.""But I mean it--" she was unable to finish her sentence because Puck had hurried toward where she assumed Binky was.
  74. 74. A few seconds later they were back in Veronaville. Before Erin could say anything, Puck was climbing out of the stall, not even bothering to use thegate. "Did I say something wrong?" she asked."No, no. Its just..I have to get going. Thanks for riding Binky with me. Ill see you around."
  75. 75. She leaned on the fence as she watched him walk away from her. "Doors the other way," she pointed out.He winced. "Yeah, I know.""Okay. Well, I want to thank you for one of the most interesting times Ive ever had. I really mean that. A cute guy, a magical, invisible horse. Itwas fun.""Really?""Yeah. Why would I lie about something like that? How many people can say that theyve done what I got to do today?"
  76. 76. He abruptly turned around and kissed her. "Good, Im glad," he said before he ran out the door.
  77. 77. Erin was stunned momentarily as she touched her lips lightly. She hadnt been expecting the kiss and she didnt even get the chance to kiss himback. She placed her hands on her hips and called after him. "My mouth was open so that doesnt count as a kiss, just so you know." Then, almostas an afterthought, she added, "And I have a boyfriend!"It didnt help that she could almost hear what sounded like a horse laughing behind her.***
  78. 78. A few days later, Erin was in her parents room talking with Eden. "Mom?" she asked as she idly kicked her legs on the bed. "Did you know rightaway if Dad liked you?"Eden was silent for a moment before she answered. When she did, it was with a fond chuckle. "Yeah, I did. On the other hand, your father wasnt,and still isnt, the epitome of subtlety when it comes to certain things." She chuckled some more."Did he kiss you the first time you were alone together?""Yes he did," Eden replied honestly. "And it was wonderful and exciting and it felt... right. Why do you ask?"Erin sighed. "Im just trying to figure out if a boy likes me or not."
  79. 79. Eden spoke to her daughters reflection as she checked her makeup. "This isnt about Matt, is it?""No, its not. Is that bad?""Of course not! Youre young and youre going to have lots of boyfriends and I will never ever judge you for that. But can I ask what happenedbetween you two? Just out of curiosity."
  80. 80. Erin flopped onto her back with a dramatic sigh. "Matthew is in college, Mom, and Im realistic. Hes nice enough, and hes a great kisser, but hereally likes the thought of sowing his wild oats with as many girls as he possibly can. Hes surrounded by college women and he goes to all theseparties and Im just a dumb high school girl who he cant even get past second base with." She screwed her eyes shut as she continued her tirade."And do you know why he wont? Its because the last time he picked me up for a date Dad told him, and I quote, I will break your legs, all three ofthem, if you dont bring my daughter home, intact, by her curfew. And thats so hypocritical of him because I heard him telling Quinn the other dayto make sure he has a condom at all times just in case. Its not fair!"
  81. 81. She gave a startled gasp when she heard Rhys voice next to her head. "Its because I know what goes through every mans mind seeing as I amone. And Im going to let you in on a little secret: were all deviant perverts. Sick bastards, if you will. As for being a hypocrite, well, thats just oneof the many perks of being a parent, which is something neither one of my teenaged children will experience so long as I can help it.""Its sexist, Dad. I am a modern woman. I can also carry condoms with me. Or I can go on the pill. Or both!""Not while youre living under this roof.""What if I told you I was pregnant right now?" Erin teased."Well then there would be another funeral we would have to attend," he replied cheerfully. "Not that anyone would find the boys body. Anyway,enough. Scram. You have to get ready for ole Mortys funeral."
  82. 82. Erin rolled over and sat up with another dramatic sigh. "I am ready for the funeral," she said with a grin.Both parents looked at her. "You arent wearing that!" Rhys said bluntly."But Dad! Zachary will think its funny!"
  83. 83. "Somehow I really doubt that. But either way, we arent concerned about what Zachary thinks. We are forcing ourselves to be concerned aboutwhat that douchebag--""Rhys!" Eden admonished."Sorry, sorry, my bad. What that douche nozzle Alexander Goth thinks. Because Plumbbob knows the world will come to a complete standstill ifthat stroke thinks poorly of us. And let me tell you--"
  84. 84. "Erin, could you please change into something more appropriate?" Eden interrupted. "You look very nice, but fishnet stockings and stompy bootsisnt exactly something that shows proper respect." She raised an eyebrow. "And you and I both know that.""Oh alright.""Thank you very much."
  85. 85. Rhys shook his head as their daughter left the room. "She always has something to say about everything!"Eden managed to stifle a laugh as she rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I know. Its rather uncanny."
  86. 86. He acted like he didnt understand what Eden meant as he flopped himself down onto the bed. "Eeeeeeeeeede!" he complained. "I dont wannago to this stupid funeral! Seriously, I can think of four words that describes what I would rather be doing.""Oh?""Yep. Foxtrot. Uniform. Charlie. Kilo. Well, you know, with an -ing at the end.""Naturally.""So what do you say? I get naked. And then you get naked. And then we rub said naked bodies together. You know, insert Tab A into Slot B orany other terrible fanfic reference to woohooing."
  87. 87. Eden laughed as she sat down next to him. "Have I ever told you that you have a one track mind sometimes?""I vaguely recall you saying it once or twice. Maybe three times. Possibly.""Only three times?""Possibly three."
  88. 88. She smiled and laid down next to him. "Rhys, believe it or not I really dont want to go to this either.""They why are we going?""Because Alexander is more than just a douchebag, hes a threat. I want us to be there personally to keep him in check. He can only say so muchwith us sitting there." She shrugged. "Besides, its the right thing to do.""Pffft. You know how I oh so love doing the right thing," he said sarcastically."Rhys...""Yeah, yeah, I know. Blah, blah, blah, social obligation, blah, blah, blah."
  89. 89. He rolled on top of her and grinned. "But then, when we get home, well make up for all the inconvenient boringness this funeral has caused,right?""If youre good," she teased.He quirked an eyebrow. "Oh, but I am good. Very good. And you, my dear, know it."She laughed and patted his cheek. "This is very true. Now let me up. We have to finish getting ready."***
  90. 90. "...And so it is a good thing that my father was blissfully unaware of his surroundings. All he wanted from life was to know the unknown and to besurrounded by his family members. He wanted to retire peacefully in his ancestral home."
  91. 91. "But," Alexander continued, "he did not get what he wanted. He did not die with the knowledge of the world at his fingertips. He was booted fromhis beloved home. And that breaks my heart, my sisters heart, as well as the hearts of my wife and son. And Father didnt want us to live withbroken hearts, for he knew what it was like for those long years after our dear mother had disappeared. He wanted us to be happy."
  92. 92. "And so, in my fathers memory, I will do everything within my power to regain what he lost. My father wanted a future for his family, and I vow toregain that future. That future for my own son and the future of my grandchildren."
  93. 93. "And I dare anyone to stand in my way. Because--"
  94. 94. Alexander stopped in mid sentence as someone entered the church. The look of surprise on his face caused everyone else to look at who had justentered.
  95. 95. "Whoa. Who is that?" Quinn asked as he leaned over to get a better look.Erin looked up from her cellphone. "Whosawhatnow?" she said. "Whats going on?"
  96. 96. "I swear to Plumbbob, Erin, that if you dont put your effing phone away right now, it will be taken away from you and you will be taken off thefamily plan. Put. It. Away!" Eden whispered angrily."Dad, who is that?" Quinn asked again.
  97. 97. Rhys pressed his lips together and his eyes narrowed slightly.
  98. 98. "That," he said, "would be Bella Goth."***
  99. 99. "And thats it," Quinn said. "She says that she only came to the church because someone had told her to go there. She doesnt remember whereshes been for all these years and she doesnt even remember being married to Mortimer. But someone must have been giving her elixir orsomething because she looks really young. Like, only a couple of years older than us."
  100. 100. "So is she as pretty as everyone always said she was?" Emily asked quietly.
  101. 101. Quinn was about to say that she was but he caught the tone in Emilys voice. He looked over at her and remembered what his sister had told him.He shrugged. "She was okay, I guess," he said nonchalantly. She just nodded and walked away from the train table.
  102. 102. "Em?" he asked. "Are you..?" He sighed. "Do you..gah! Okay, are you being all weird because..?" Finally he threw his hands in the air. "Whatswrong?"
  103. 103. "Oh my God, Quinn! Newsflash: Ive been madly in love with you ever since that time we tried to get to my dads apartment in the middle of thenight! Ive done everything possible to get you to notice me like that. I think youre smart and cute and awesome but then your sister tries settingyou up with one of her dimwitted friends, or you talk about fucking Bella Goth! What the hell do I have to do to get you to notice me as more thana friend?"
  104. 104. He stepped forward and brushed her cheek. "I didnt know, I really didnt.""Well now you do and I want you to kiss me, ravage me, marry me, have babies with me and well grow old together and well be happy and..and.."His eyes grew wider as she went on and he really wished that he was as confident with girls as his father was with his mother. "Um, okay," he said."How about we take this one step at a time. Like kissing comes way before growing old and dying."She nodded eagerly. "Kiss me. I really want you to kiss me right now."
  105. 105. "Quinn?" Eden asked in a thin, tight voice. "What..whats going on?"
  106. 106. He was confused by his mothers reaction. "Im..well, Im kissing Emily. Im sorry, I didnt think youd be all weird about it, you know, what with youand Dad being the way you are and stuff. I mean, we werent doing anything more than that. But, yeah, shes, um.." he turned to Emily and asked,"Wait, are you, like, my girlfriend now?""Um, yeah," she said. Quinn smiled and turned back to Eden."I was kissing my girlfriend. Oh my God, I have a girlfriend!"
  107. 107. Eden sighed heavily. "Emily, you should probably go home now."
  108. 108. "Its okay, Quinn," Emily said before kissing him on his cheek. "I have some homework that I need to do anyway. Call me later.""I totally will," he said happily.She gave Eden a cheerful wave. "Bye, Ms. Devereaux. Oh, and Im supposed to tell you that my mom says Hi."Edens shoulders sagged. "Thank you. Tell your mom that I also said Hi.""Alright, Ill see you all later." She blew a kiss to Quinn and walked out the door.
  109. 109. "Did I do something wrong?" Quinn asked."No, sweetheart, no. Not at all. Im the one who did something wrong.""You dont like Emily, do you?""No, its not that. She seems like a very nice girl."
  110. 110. "Then what, Mom? Is it because she has green skin? I didnt think--""Of course not!""That what? Why are you upset? Is it because you dont think Im good enough for her? Is it--"Eden held up her hand to stop his words. "That is no it at all, Quinn. Its just..." She took a deep breath. "Quinn, you cant date Emily.""Why not?!"
  111. 111. She looked at him sadly. "Because shes your cousin.""Oh, God, whatever. Yeah, yeah, everyone is related to me. You and Dad always say that as a joke. But not everyone is. Ceres isnt. Matt andSadie arent. Zachary isnt. And neither is Emily.""She is. Shes your first cousin.""How?"She swallowed and bit her lip. "Because her mother is my half-sister. My father, your grandpa, had an affair when your grandmother was pregnantwith me. Karen is your aunt. Im so sorry, honey. I didnt think..well I dont know what I was thinking. I should have told you sooner, but its just...ithurts to think about it. Im so sorry."
  112. 112. "So Im a freak then? I was kissing my first cousin. The only girl who has been attracted to me is my cousin. Oh my God."
  113. 113. "Quinn, no, not at all. You didnt know. Its my fault, I should have been more clear. And it was only a kiss." She reached out to him, but he jerkedaway."No! Dont touch me! It is your fault. Why didnt you say something before? Oh my God, my cousin. Im a freak!" He pushed past her and ranout of the house.
  114. 114. Eden sunk her head into her hands and tried not to cry.***
  115. 115. Later that afternoon, Rhys found Eden laying on their bed. With a grin, he playfully crawled toward her. "Early evening hoo is one of my favoritetimes to do it. Of course I cant really think of any bad times. Seriously, you could wake me up from a dead sleep and Id be good to go with ahappy smile." Her small sniffle was not the amorous response he had expected.
  116. 116. "You okay, babe?"There was an audible click as Eden swallowed. "My dad had an affair," she whispered sadly. Rhys nodded silently; Goopys affair was old news."He had a child by another woman," she continued. He nodded again not knowing how to respond to her factual statements.
  117. 117. She heaved a heavy sigh. "You know," she said in a cracked voice, "I lived in the same house with him for almost forty years and I dont think heeven knew my name. And then he just...died. There was no moment of clarity. No sudden revelations. No explanations. He just died. All I everwanted from him was to know my name and you want to know something? Before he became the way he was, he didnt even want me. Hescrewed around on my mom because he didnt want us. Do you know how that feels?"Rhys was thoughtful for a moment before he cleared his throat. "I can imagine.""And then there was my mother. All I wanted from her was to be accepted for who I am. I did nearly everything else that she wanted me to. Theonly thing I did against her wishes was stay with you. But I wanted to have something that was mine; something that was my choice. And in theend, she died thinking that I was a major disappointment. And thats what I am: a disappointment."
  118. 118. He uncomfortably stroked her hair when she started crying. In all the years that they had been married, Rhys could count on one hand how oftenEden lost her cool and that was one of the major things he appreciated about her. Wild emotions usually led to certain words being said, andthose words were best left as only assumed. A given. But never spoken."Ede," he said, "you arent a disappointment. Im not disappointed in you and that should be what matters.""But now Quinn is upset."He raised an eyebrow. "Why?"And so Eden told him about Quinn and Emily.
  119. 119. While she spoke, he gently stroked her side and back. It was clear to him that Eden had been deeply affected by her parents actions in the pasteven though she always seemed to shrug it off. He sighed. He had a few choice words to say about them, but he had enough sense to realize thatit would cause more harm than good. So instead he focused on the Quinn aspect."Its not that bad," he said. "Like you said, it was only a kiss. Yeah, hes overreacting a bit, but on the other hand, hes a teenager. Thats what theydo. And its not like theyre long-lost brother and sister who have been married for twenty years with children. It was a kiss between cousins. Ahundred years ago that would have been acceptable. So its not that bad." He struggled internally for a moment and decided to go for a joke tolighten the mood. Anything to get Eden away from saying those unspoken words. "You know what occurs to me? For once, this sort of messwasnt caused by my family tree. And that comes as a complete shock.""Oh, God," Eden said with a small laugh. He grinned."Yeah, its all messed up. Not even a dirty hippie would want to hug our family trees, huh?" He grinned even wider when she laughed again.
  120. 120. Abruptly, she rolled on top of him. "Thank you for trying to make me feel better," she said.He placed his hand on her hip. "No problem." She gave him a long look which started to make him feel uncomfortable. "What?" he asked."Rhys...""Ede...dont. Okay?"He saw her brow crease slightly, but she only nodded and kissed his nose before rolling off of the bed. He waited until she left the room beforebreathing a regretful sigh of relief.***
  121. 121. "And so now I have nothing. The only girl that really liked me and that I actually liked in return is my cousin. Everyone is going to find out about itand Ill be the laughing stock of the school," Quinn said sadly.
  122. 122. Lillian was barely paying attention to what the boy was saying. She had counted on this happening so hearing about it was like watching a rerun ontelevision. A boring rerun.
  123. 123. "Miss Lily? Has anything like this happened to Sir Quinn?"
  124. 124. Lillian barely suppressed a groan. The boy was worse than her son at times. So very needy in her opinion. But, she checked herself and gaveQuinn a level look. "No, I am afraid that something like this would never have happened to that brave, strong knight.""Yeah, I thought so," he said.
  125. 125. "But, do not fear. There is a way for you to redeem yourself. You can do what Sir Quinn has done. You can save the princess. Once you do that, Iam sure that you will feel so much better. And that is why I brought you to this place."
  126. 126. Quinn stood up and took a close look at his surroundings. It appeared to be a condemned apartment. "I was wondering why you brought mehere," he said."Yes. I brought you here so you can save the princess and return her here where she belongs."
  127. 127. "But, wait, if shes a real princess, why would I bring here here? Wouldnt she go to a castle, or a nice house at the very least? Why this gross place?It doesnt look like a place for a princess."
  128. 128. Lillian sighed and did what she always did whenever he questioned her: she cast a compulsion spell on him, a spell that made him highlysusceptible to suggestion."You wish to be like Sir Quinn, yes?""Yes...""Good. Are you wearing that lucky charm I gave you all those years ago?""I wear it everyday like you told me to. Its hidden under my shirt."
  129. 129. "Excellent. Do you remember the picture of the house I told you to memorize?""The green house with white trim in the middle of an orange land.""Yes. That very house. Well, to be like Sir Quinn and save the princess, this is what you need to do..."***
  130. 130. "See what we mean, Remington?" Jezebel asked. "We can stand here all day and Zane will continue to pretend that he cant hear us.""I dunno, Jez," Ruth chimed in. "Maybe he really cant hear us. He seems to be very involved."
  131. 131. "Hmm, maybe youre right. It does look like a very intense makeout session there. I sometimes wonder if we should leave him alone instead ofcritiquing his technique. By the way, you need a bit more tongue there, Zane," Jezebel teased."Oh, God, why are you dragging me into this?" Remington asked."Because its fun," Ruth said cheerfully. "Of course, we could always go to the Mortal Realm and leave the two lovebirds alone. But wheres the funin that?"
  132. 132. Zane reluctantly broke from his embrace with Tina and stood up. "For your information, I can hear you guys. And maybe you could possibly leaveus alone once in a while?"
  133. 133. "Well, if you take that into the bedroom, we promise to give you an hour before knocking on the door," Ruth said."An hour? Make it two.""Zane, I really want you to know that I didnt--" Remington started to say, but Jezebel cut him off."Two hours? Wow! Either youre really good at it...or youre really bad at it. Which one is it you manly stud you?"
  134. 134. "My ears are burning!" a voice said before the figure of Spider Jerusalem began to fade in. "I heard you say the word stud so clearly youre talkingabout me!"Zane covered his face with a hand. "You know, sometimes I really regret having an Open Door policy.""Nonsense! You love it and you know it!""Cant a man have a little bit of private time with his wife without constantly being interrupted?""Sex later. Party now," Spider said.
  135. 135. "Thats right, you heard me. Its party time and everyone is invited. Whats the theme of the party? I hear you ask. Well its whatever your heartdesires."Jezebel gave him an appraising look. "So if I were to say orgy youd make that happen? You, Max, Remington, and Zane all included?""Addendum: whatever your heart desires within reason. You know how Max and Zane get squeamish about those sort of things.""Um, me too," Remington said."Rem, buddy, you know you got some freak in you. You shouldnt hide it from everyone.""I dont. I really, really dont.""It sounds like fun," Ruth said.
  136. 136. "So whaddaya say, Zane? Party times now and sexy times later?"Zane held Tinas hands. "We can say no--""No you cant. You have to get the cake. There must be cake," Spider interrupted.Zane continued on as if he hadnt heard his friend. "In fact, if they all go wed have the place to ourselves.""Well," Tina began."Imma let you in on a little secret, Zane. If you dont come, well hold the party here. Not nearly as entertaining what with your house being a solidentity and all, but Im sure we can figure something out."
  137. 137. Zane rolled his eyes and pulled Tina into his arms. "Sexy times later I guess.""Thats okay. Itll be nice to get out of the house and Spiders garden is always a fun place to go to.""Great. Its all settled then," Spider said. "Ruth, Jez, Remington, Tina: you guys come with me and well find a good theme for the party. Zane, ifyou dont mind going to the bakery?""Ill come with Zane," Tina said to him. "I want to freshen up a bit. Im not like you guys where you just do it for fun." She gave Zane a kiss."Ill be back as soon as possible," he said before he kissed her again. "I love you, you know," he whispered in her ear."I love you too."A moment later, everyone was gone, leaving Tina alone in the house.
  138. 138. ***
  139. 139. "...And so after the entire mess with the original place being sold out from underneath us, we managed to buy this little spot and set up an outdoorcafe of sorts. Its not ideal, but the taxes are a lot lower," Gilbert said."The upside is that the extra money that we save can be put towards personal things like adopting a child," Cassidy said brightly.
  140. 140. Zane smiled wistfully. "You guys are planning on adopting? Thats great news!""Well, were going to have to go outside of Pleasantview to do so, but, yeah, were thinking about it. We dont know what kind of parents well be,though."
  141. 141. "You guys will be good ones. I know you will be," Zane said firmly."But first," Gilbert said as he sniffed the air, "we need enough money to support another person. Do you think everything smells good enough? Itis an attractive smell, right? Itll make people stop here on their way to and from work, yes?""Yes. Absolutely."
  142. 142. "Yeah," Thaddeus voice growled, "everything here smells delicious. Now I know why Zane shops here all of the time."Gilbert glared at the other mans lit cigarette. "I would really appreciate it if you put that out," he said. "Seeing as everything is open, I dont wantthat getting on the cakes."
  143. 143. Thaddeus ignored Gilbert and smirked at Zane. "So, your friends are thinking about adopting, eh? Its so nice to know that there are people in theworld who are willing to take in a stray child. What kind and thoughtful people. Doesnt it just make your heart grow?"Zane glared at the Pet Reaper. "I believe Mister Jacquet requested that you get rid of that cigarette. And I suggest that you leave. Unless you planon buying something. But I would not recommend you causing trouble."The Pet Reaper chuckled slightly. "Oh, Im not causing any trouble. No trouble from me."
  144. 144. He tuned to leave. "You know what?" he said over his shoulder, "It looks like I left my wallet at home. Its such a long way to get there, too. Youknow what Im talking about. You live in the same area. Its a shame you dont visit more often. But I understand, what with you being married andall. A married man has a much harder time juggling his job and family, doesnt he? Im sure youll figure out a way to manage, though."
  145. 145. Zane was about to apologize to Gilbert and Cassidy when his phone signaled that he had a new message. "Excuse me," he said to the other twomen, "this will only take a moment."He pulled out the phone and read:NAME: ERROR. UNKNOWNADDRESS: PEASANT WAY APT 007TIME OF DEATH: ERROR. UNKNOWNCAUSE OF DEATH: ERROR. UNKNOWNHe raised his eyebrows at the multiple errors, then sighed.
  146. 146. "Im sorry," he said as he put away his phone. "Sorry for that mans attitude and sorry that I need to leave. That was..work calling. Theressomething wrong and I need to attend to it." He looked down at the bag that was holding the cake he had purchased. "Um, do you mind holdingonto this for a little bit? I really cant bring it on the job. My hands are usually full there.""For our best and favorite customer? Of course well hold onto it for you!" Gilbert said cheerfully."Thank you so much. For everything. I dont think I can say that enough.""Its only a cake, Zane. Its not an actual child or anything, though I do treat every dessert that comes through here like one. But believe it or not, Ido know the difference."Zane smiled and handed Gilbert the bag.
  147. 147. "Bye, Zane. See you soon," Cassidy said."Is everything okay, Zane?" Gilbert asked.Zane ran his hand through his hair. The errors in the message bothered him and he couldnt shake the feeling that the address he was given wasfamiliar. He obviously couldnt say anything about it to the men who were his adoptive fathers in another verse, so he only said, "Yes. Everything isfine. Thank you again. Ill be back as soon as possible.""And well be here," Cassidy said."I know you will be. And that makes me happy," Zane whispered to himself.
  148. 148. Zanes apprehensive feeling intensified when he arrived at the address given. The building was condemned, but it was the same building that Tinahad been living in when she had ended her life. His heart pounded in his chest when the apartment number was the exact one that Tina had beenliving in.When he entered, he took a quick glance around. There was no body in the living room. Other than the bathroom, the bedroom was the onlyother room in the apartment. He slowly opened the door and entered.
  149. 149. What he saw made his hands go numb and his legs almost collapsed beneath him. His clipboard and scythe fell to the floor as he yanked back hishood, not wanting to believe what was before him.
  150. 150. Tinas body was laying there. Her head was propped on a pillow and there was a lit candle and a bouquet of flowers next to her. She was arrangedin a manner that made her look like she was sleeping.But her chest didnt rise and fall like a sleeping persons would. The room was completely silent.
  151. 151. Zane fell to the floor and gathered her into his arms. "Oh my God, Tina!" he sobbed as he kissed her face. "Oh my God, no! No! Wake up mylove. Please wake up! Oh my God, Tina! No!" Her head lolled in his arms. Her eyes remained closed. Zane would never see them open again.
  152. 152. In spite of everything that had happened in his life, he had, for the most part, managed to keep it together.It was only when he cradled his dead wifes body in his arms that Zane Devereaux finally broke.***
  153. 153. A very special thanks goes to:Marina/Smoothiequeen: For the loan of Rhys Fitzhugh (Fitzhugh Legacy/Villainous Apocalypse).Doc/DrSupremeNerd: For Spider Jerusalem and Cassidy Vetinari (Vetinari Dualegacy)Di/Dicreasy: For making me the TOTALLY AWESOME Reaper outfit. It will be put to such good use!Lark/Lady Larkrune: For, once again, listening to me babble on and on and on about my story and for being my sounding board.Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting! I appreciate it so much!Until next time, Happy Simming!

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