The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Four - Part 2


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The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Four - Part 2

  1. 1. Welcome back to the Devereaux Legacy! As of this time, I'm back to yucky looking cover pages. I swear, someday I will learn how to use Photoshop myself so I don't need to bother my husband. Anyway, last chapter, Sebastian and Kitty had two children, Mary and Miles. However, Mary came out in a rather unconventional manner; but due to the rule that the first born inherits the legacy, she is the fourth generation heiress. After the death of her grandmother, Ansley, Mary has vowed that she will have the perfect life. She wished for Eternal Happiness from the genie, so she is convinced that her wish will come true. If absolutely none of this sounds familiar then feel free to click on the Devereaux Legacy link in my Live Journal. That will take you to the main chapter listings on For everyone else, enjoy the chapter!
  2. 2. Chapter One Hunter laid in his empty bed. He could feel himself becoming an ornery old man, but he couldn't help it. He missed Ansley. It wasn't like he wallowed in grief the entire time; it was more that he could feel the patience he had over the years wearing thin. Inherently, he wasn't a very nice person; he wasn't the meanest person he knew, he just didn't tolerate foolish people. Unfortunately for Hunter though, every one seemed foolish to him these days.
  3. 3. He avoided most of the public at all costs, preferring to stay at home and watch the kids while Sebastian and Kitty went to work and learned new skills. Often times over that winter, he would find solace in building evil looking snowmen because they suited his ill humor. However, he would stop himself from knocking them over; he wasn't that mean.
  4. 4. He was even disgruntled when he would sit in the hot tub naked; something that he had been dying to do ever since he got married to Ansley, but she had been too horrified at the very thought. The thing he hated the most though, was that he felt useless. He had retired from his job at the SCIA a long time before, when Mary and Miles had been born. Now that he was past retiring age, nobody wanted to hire him for a “real” job, and he was not about to work in a retail job with some kid more than half his age bossing him around. Hunter sighed as he thought about all of this. He hated to admit it, but he felt like he was just on a death watch, waiting until it was time for him to move on from this plane of existence.
  5. 5. Hunter wasn't the only one who missed Ansley. Mary was keenly aware of her grandmother's absence, especially since the contractors came to redecorate her bedroom; something that Ansley had ordered to be done before she died. Mary looked around at the very grownup looking bedroom and the realization came to her that when she grew up, she was going to be the head of the family. That thought was very unsettling. It wasn't that she thought that she couldn't handle it; it was more that the thought of being a grownup and getting married seemed so far away. Mary sighed and plucked at her nightgown as she wriggled her toes in the new green carpet. Then she took a deep breath, put on a cheerful smile, and opened her bedroom door, ready to face the day as brightly, cheerfully, and perfectly as she could.
  6. 6. “Who were you on the phone with?” Mary asked Miles as she put away their breakfast dishes. “Amelia and Aviendha. Dad said that we can have them over to play today, remember?” “Oh! That's right! We're gonna have so much fun!” “Maybe,” Miles responded hesitantly, “Amelia said that she's bringing over a friend but she wouldn't say who.” “Well Miles, you ought to know that we are to be pleasant to any guests that enter our home, even if they are unexpected or we don't like them.” Miles rolled his eyes at Mary but said nothing. Inside, he sincerely hoped that whoever Amelia brought with her wasn't going to be a complete downer.
  7. 7. “See? Now THIS is the type of house we should be living in!” Keith said enthusiastically as he and Amelia approached the Devereaux residence. Amelia was mortified. It was hard enough trying to keep her friendship with the Devereaux family on the down low; her mother acted really strange whenever Amelia talked about her friends. However, today, her mother was still asleep from the night job she had and Amelia thought she would be able to slip away without any harassment. Her father noticed though, and insisted on coming with. Amelia knew her dad was bored, but his claiming to be her chaperone was embarrassing, especially since Amelia knew that Miles' grandfather was going to be at home. “Daddy,” Amelia said, embarrassed, “you can go home now. I made it here safe.” “No, no. I should stay here and make sure you crazy kids don't get yourselves into trouble.” Amelia cringed inwardly as their hosts let them into the house.
  8. 8. Keith, of course, had other reasons to want to visit the Devereaux house. The main one being the hot tub. “How often do I get access to a hot tub?” He asked himself as he jumped in. “I like bubbles!” For most of the kids day visit, he remained content in the hot water, despite the fact that it was in the middle of the winter.
  9. 9. “Miles! Miles! Hey Miles! Look, Aviendha is here, we can all play now!” Mary said very enthusiastically. Miles felt his eyelid twitch. Ever since their grandmother died, Mary had taken it upon herself to be sickeningly cheerful, despite how she might actually feel inside. Quite frankly, it was getting on his nerves and it had only been a week. He had heard of nice, but Mary was going way too far, in his opinion. He let it go, though. Far better for her to act cheerful than for her to be a serious downer; something that she was turning into before Ansley died. That is what he thought, anyway.
  10. 10. The kids had a grand time playing. None of them went outside because of the cold, much to Miles' disappointment. But they had fun playing with the karaoke machine; though Amelia stammered and blushed when she noticed that Miles was watching her.
  11. 11. They also had fun Smustling throughout the house. Even Keith joined in for that. “Hey Daddy? Isn't Mom going to be upset with you when she finds out that you are here?” Amelia asked, silently hoping that her father would get the hint and leave. “Nah. What she doesn't know won't hurt her,” Keith replied with a grin. He knew for a fact that Amelia didn't want him there, but he took great pleasure in playing stupid.
  12. 12. Eventually, the four of them split off into different rooms of the house to chit chat. Mary found Amelia sitting at the sewing machine, looking at all of the portraits of the family hanging on the wall. “So, these pictures,” Amelia began when she saw Mary, “these are your relatives?” Mary shrugged and nodded. “Some of them. Aviendha's family isn't here though; just my and Miles' direct line.” Amelia contemplated this for a moment. “So, when you are older, your picture will be painted and hung up here, too?” Mary thought about that for a moment before she nodded again. “And whoever I marry, I think.” “Weird. Are you gonna get married?” “I think I have to.” “What about Miles?” Mary shrugged. She didn't know all the rules to a legacy, but she knew that she was going to 'get' the family while her brother wasn't. It seemed unfair, but Miles didn't seem to mind.
  13. 13. Actually, being grown up and running a household was the last thing on Miles' mind at the moment; he and Aviendha were having a blast coming up with new naughty words to use. More importantly, they were both excitedly talking about when spring came and all of the fun outdoors stuff they would be able to do together; like finding insects. Miles particularly looked forward to finding insects and hiding them in Mary's bedroom; she HATED bugs and considered them 'icky.'
  14. 14. All too soon, Amelia and Aviendha had to go home. The get together had been a blast and all four of them vowed to repeat the experience often. When it came time for bed, Mary hugged her father tighter than normal. “So you had fun to day, I take it?” Sebastian asked his daughter. “Yes Daddy, I had LOTS of fun! It was a perfect time. Thank you. Daddy?” Mary began, a question forming. “Yes?” Sebastian responded when Mary hesitated. Mary opened her mouth and then closed it. She shook her head and said with a smile, “Nevermind. Good night. I love you.” She kissed Sebastian's cheek and left the room.
  15. 15. Chapter Two “Framgoozlefribbits! I'm TOTALLY the Mayor of Sim City and I'm STILL having to clean my own toilets!” Xander muttered to himself as he flicked the last bit of water off the toilet brush into the bowl. He suddenly paused and asked loudly, “Why does it feel like some parts of my life are running jokes?” He sighed as he heard Marsha's dulcet tones lecturing; the lecture wasn't directed at him.
  16. 16. “Why must you be such a willful child all of the time, Aviendha?” Marsha asked her daughter in an exasperated manner. Aviendha glowered as her mother lectured her, not replying. She hated being yelled at, even though it was her own fault. Her mother caught Aviendha talking to herself, testing out some of the new naughty words she made up. Again. Aviendha stifled a sigh and tuned her mother's lecture out.
  17. 17. Marsha looked down at her daughter and scowled. She could tell that Aviendha wasn't paying attention. “Aviendha! Are you listening to me?” “Yes Mom, I am.” Aviendha replied. “Then what did I just say?” “You said that I should watch my language otherwise I'm going to be grounded,” Aviendha said mechanically. Marsha looked at her some more. Aviendha was correct in her reply, but Marsha had the feeling that was only because the lecture was the same over and over again; so her daughter was most likely parroting from memory. Marsha sighed. “Well, I hope you are paying attention, because if I catch you again or your teachers catch you again, being grounded will also include not having a birthday party. Capiche?”
  18. 18. Aviendha looked up at her mother and tried to keep her face neutral. She could feel that she was failing miserably at that attempt, but her mother hadn't commented on it. “Yeah Mom, I understand,” was all she said. Marsha pursed her lips at her daughter's expression. She was going to say more, but she heard the school bus pull up. “Alright, get ready for school. And remember what I said!” Marsha called over her shoulder as she left her daughter's bedroom.
  19. 19. As Aviendha hurriedly dressed in her school uniform, the same thought kept running through her head: She couldn't wait until she was an adult; then she could say and do whatever she wanted.
  20. 20. Aside from the constant lectures, the Lewis household remained the same. Marsha was working for the local school, along with Merlin, and Xander had managed to finally become the Mayor of Sim City. Not that being the Mayor was all that it was cracked up to be. The political tensions were rising drastically, ever since Alexander Goth entered into the political field and began surreptitiously hinting that Xander was unqualified for the job. Of course, no matter how secretive Alexander thought he was being, word still traveled fast back to Xander, who found his hands tied on the issue. What could he do? Technically Alexander had done nothing wrong, other than make a few hints. Plus politics always has been, and always will be, filled with nay sayers and unscrupulous people. Xander felt that he was one of the only honest people left in the political realm; and that thought made him sad.
  21. 21. Of course, Xander did his very best to make sure that all of his troubles that he had at the office remained at the office. That task became harder and harder though, as Alexander had started the ball rolling on a Devereaux smear campaign. Xander managed to nip that nasty bit in the bud; however the seeds had already been planted. Xander was coming to the realization that he was never going to be able to retire; not if he wanted his extended family to have a somewhat peaceful existence. Marsha, understood his predicament and supported his decision. Xander tried very hard not to think about what was going to happen when he passed on. Thankfully, that was an eventuality that he wouldn't have to worry about for for a bit yet.
  22. 22. His father was growing more eccentric as time passed. This was not to say that Merlin was insane, or even close to senile; it's just that he took great pleasure in telling dramatic stories, whether or not they were true, or whether or not other people wanted to listen. “Uh, Xander my boy, er, did I ever tell you, uh, about how, er, I found this, uh, ancient Tiki Idol?”
  23. 23. “Er, it was a dark and stormy night. Uh, and, the sea was, er trying to, uh, capsize the boat I was, er sailing on...” “Pop, you have never been on a boat and the Tiki Idol came with the house; along with most of the other knick knacks on the shelf. I know that you were TOTALLY a drama professor but, seriously.” “Uh, have you, er, heard about the, uh time, er, I saved all those, er, orphans from the, er, burning church?” “Actually, yes, I have. And you didn't do that either.” Merlin sighed in disgust. “I realize that, my boy,” Merlin snapped, not stammering for once. “But sometimes the absurd puts joy into our lives. You need to lighten up. You used to be such a fun child,” Merlin said sadly as he walked upstairs to his bedroom. Xander rubbed his head, trying to push away the headache that was forming. He didn't mean to be snappish, but keeping work troubles at work was becoming more difficult by the day. And unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about it.
  24. 24. Aviendha was oblivious to all the boring political problems her father dealt with. Her small world really only contained school and home. Of course, school wasn't that great. A lot of the kids avoided her and her cousins; and her teachers were always tattling on her to her mother. Aviendha didn't care too much about the other kids, though. She had Amelia, Mary, and Miles to talk to; they were her best friends. As for the teachers, well, Aviendha had managed to clean up her language a little bit, and she survived the rest of her childhood age without being grounded. And most importantly, not being grounded meant that she was able to have her birthday party. Naturally, Amelia, Miles, and Mary were invited, along with most of her other relatives. “Oh, it's so cool that you're going to be a teenager!” Amelia squealed as she threw her arms around her friend. “I know! It's going to be a blast!” Aviendha said with a grin, her high school plans already forming in her head.
  25. 25. Everyone gathered around Aviendha as she approached the lit candles on her birthday cake. “Don't forget to make a wish!” Someone from the crowd shouted. “Wish for a good professor to marry!” Xander called. Marsha and Merlin laughed. Aviendha paused at that, then disregarded it. “I already know what my wish is going to be,” she replied as she tapped her head. “It's already up here.” And before anybody could make more suggestions, Aviendha blew out her birthday candles.
  26. 26. Aviendha cheered along with everyone else, but the comment about marrying a professor bothered her. As much as her dad referred to her as “Mini- Me” she was her own person. And as her own person, she chose what she aspired most for in life.
  27. 27. “Yes,” she repeated again for the tenth time, “I'm a Family Sim.” Her announcement made both her father's and grandfather's mouth drop open. Merlin started blaming Xander, partly in a joking manner, about Xander's 'bad influence' on her. Aviendha was pleased. If she couldn't shock people with her language, then she was going to shock them with her aspiration. Of course, she didn't tell anyone about what she wished for; she was saving that for college. Besides, telling people what you wished for always made the wish not come true.
  28. 28. Sebastian was one of the only people who took her announcement in stride. “A Family Sim, eh? Well, I don't see why not. Your father always acted more like one of those than a Romance Sim, even back when we were in college. He found and started dating your mother around the same time I started first wife.” “Did you hear my dad? 'Wish for a good professor to marry,'” Aviendha mimicked her father. Sebastian shrugged. “Apparently it's your family tradition. It's a bit odd, but the professors at the university are among the most intelligent people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing,” he responded happily, the Knowledge Sim part of him shining through brightly. “Hmmm,” Aviendha responded, noncommittally.
  29. 29. “So, uh, what did you wish for?” Merlin asked after he and Xander called off their mock argument. “Aw, come on Gra'pa, you know I can't say. It won't come true otherwise!” Aviendha replied, playfully punching Merlin on his shoulder. “I can give you a hint though.” Merlin arched his eyebrow. “Uh, what is that?” Aviendha grinned gleefully. “Well, while it is true that I want to eventually settle down and get married, I do want to have as much romance in my life as possible before that happens. And that's all I'm saying.” Merlin cheered. “Uh, she's a Romance secondary! Er, she isn't broken!” He announced to the room. Everyone laughed except for Aviendha, who looked hurt at the 'broken' comment. She let it go, though. Her father and grandfather's feelings were at stake, so she didn't even think the choice words she wanted to say; a first for her.
  30. 30. Chapter Three Time moved on at the Lewis household. Aviendha spent much of her time working towards scholarships, which meant that she was working at her part time job among other things. Xander was pleased that his daughter was growing up in a respectable manner. Her intent to use bad language was almost nonexistent, as she had learned early on that talking to her bosses like that usually got her fired. She was hard working, appeared friendly, and smart. All Xander could think was, 'Like father...
  31. 31. daughter.' While it was true that Aviendha resembled her father a great deal in her personality, she didn't have the same goals that he had in mind. That bothered her; not the different goals part, more rather, the expectation that she was to follow in his footsteps without question.
  32. 32. “Gra'pa?” Aviendha asked Merlin, “Do I have to marry a professor that I meet in college? What if I don't find one that I like?” Merlin looked at his granddaughter and shrugged. “Er, I don't know.” “What if don't want to marry a professor at all?” She asked persistently, “What if I found a completely regular person to marry and my life promised to be a happy one in spite of it? Is there any written rule that I have to marry a college professor?” “Er, Aviendha, uh, you are perhaps, er, asking the wrong person. Uh, your grandmother and I had, er, no intention on marrying, uh, way back when. Er, it was a command, uh, that came from on high. Uh, not that I regret, er, it, I must, er, hasten to add. Uh, perhaps you should, er, ask your father these, uh, questions. He came up with, er, the 'rule'.” Aviendha sighed. She knew it was going to come down to that, but she had secretly harbored the hope that her grandfather would give her a better answer. Squaring her shoulders, she went downstairs to talk to her father.
  33. 33. “Dad, I have decided that I am going to marry for love,” Aviendha began. Xander looked over at her, unsure of where she was going with the topic. “Well...of course you are. I would TOTALLY hate to see you miserable.” “Right. And I think I would be miserable if I were forced to marry a professor that I meet in college. Just because you and Gra'ma got married to professors doesn't mean that I should be expected to marry one.” Xander felt the irritation rising up in his chest. “Aviendha, many families have traditions that they carry out through the generations. I chose the tradition to marry professors, in honor of my parents. I am TOTALLY happy with my decision, and you will be too when the time comes.” “But, what if I don't find one that I like? What if I fall in love with someone who isn't a professor?” “Well, make sure that doesn't happen, and it won't be an issue.” “But...” “No 'buts' about it. You will find a nice professor to marry, trust me on this.”
  34. 34. Aviendha went to her bedroom feeling frustrated. Her father refused to see her point on the matter, and that was irritating. What it came down to was, instead of looking around at all potential prospects and perhaps falling in love with a professor, she was forced to look at only professors and find a husband from that select group. That did not sound appealing at all; it sounded too forced and rigid. She wanted to find the best possible candidate for a spouse and her father, she could tell, was going to remain adamant on the 'professor' issue. Still sad, Aviendha crawled into her bed. Sleep was long in coming that night for her.
  35. 35. Early the next morning, Merlin talked to Xander. He had overheard the conversation the night before and he felt that Xander was being rather close minded on the entire issue. “Er, Xander, uh, you shouldn't be so strict about this,” Merlin began cautiously. “Er, if your mother and I, uh, we so strict about, uh, how you were to live your life, er, you wouldn't be married at all.” “Pop, look, I know you mean well and all, but tradition is tradition.” “Er, it's only tradition, uh, if it goes on for more than, uh, one generation,” Merlin responded wryly. Xander made a dismissive gesture at that. “There is TOTALLY nothing wrong with wanting a very educated spouse for my daughter. Aviendha is only saying that she doesn't want to marry a professor to shock and irritate us. Much like her swearing phase, this too will TOTALLY pass.” Merlin saw the firm look in Xander's eye and decided to not press the issue any further, despite the fact that his son was wrong; this did not look like a 'phase' that Aviendha was going through.
  36. 36. Merlin thought about traditions and how they started as he sat on the couch with Hunter a few days later. Apparently, another tradition was set when Savannah died. But attending his own wake before he died was rather morbid, so he was mostly silent at his party as everyone else socialized. Hunter voiced Merlin's thoughts when he said, “This is kind of depressing, isn't it?” Merlin chuckled a bit in response. “Uh, kind of. Savannah, er, didn't plan on, er, passing on at a party; but now, er, it seems that she set a new, er, standard. What, uh, can we do about it?” “Why did you agree to it then, if you find it depressing?” Hunter asked. Merlin shrugged. “Uh, well, Xander's work life is spinning out of his, uh, control. The best I can figure is, er, he wants to feel that he has some say in his life. Aviendha. This...” he trailed off for a moment before he continued. “He'll figure it out eventually, and, er, I love my son too much to disappoint him. Not, er, over something rather, er, minor like, uh, this.”
  37. 37. “Well, if that isn't the dumbest thing I have ever heard, I don't know what is!” Hunter exclaimed. Merlin looked over at him. “Er, what is? Giving my son, uh, the illusion of, er, control?” “Yes. Downright stupid, I say.” Merlin passively shrugged. “Er, life is too short to get upset, uh, about the minor, er, things.” Hunter scoffed. He made his point on the issue clear. Merlin was silent again as he watched his family 'mourn' over him. He chuckled when he saw Aviendha telling his story about how he 'found the Tiki Idol'. Suddenly, he felt glad that he let Xander have this party. He clapped Hunter on the shoulder as the expected visitor arrived. “Er, you'll understand when your time comes Uh, but it's time for me to go now. It was nice knowing you.” Merlin stood up and greeted the Grim Reaper.
  38. 38. Merlin could tell right away that this Grim Reaper was different from the one who came for Savannah. Instead of the regular chill and sonorous voice, Grim 'felt' almost cheerful and his voice was pleasant. “I apologize for interrupting your party,” Grim said politely. Merlin smiled. “Er, the plan was to have a party for me when you came. Uh, you aren't interrupting anything.” “Ah, I see. Well then good, I'm glad that everyone is prepared for your passing. I hope it doesn't cause too much heartache; you lived a good life, so there is nothing to be mournful about. I also have a message from your wife. She said to 'stop being such a Family Sim'.” Grim shrugged at the message as Merlin smiled again. “Er, well then, I mustn't, uh, keep her waiting.”
  39. 39. Grim handed Merlin a suitcase, which Merlin fumbled. As it clattered to the floor, it popped open and revealed that there was nothing inside. “I am so sorry,” Grim said in an embarrassed tone. Merlin's mouth dropped open. “Er, I always, uh wondered what was in there.” “I don't even know why I must give you a suitcase. Apparently it's a tradition to symbolize your great journey ahead. I wasn't given any real clear answer when I asked. 'It's just how it is done,' was all I was told.” “Er, I am very, uh, familiar with 'tradition talk'. I guess traditions just happen, don't they?” “I guess so. So, are you ready?” “I am, er, Mr. Reaper.” “Please, call me...” Grim started to say as they both faded out, leaving a cheerful feeling behind. The cheerful feeling made Merlin's wake party a Roof Raiser.
  40. 40. The party continued on around Merlin's Platinum urn. Most of the stories that were told were filled with laughter, love and fondness for the stammering, Romance Sim drama professor.
  41. 41. As the party was wrapping up, Merlin appeared to say his final farewells. “Goodbye everyone. Er, it's been fun. Xander, I hope, uh, someday you will learn that traditions can't be forced; uh, and even if we abide by them, er, breaking them can also be a good thing.” “Let's GO Family Sim!” Savannah's voice said faintly from another realm. “Er, your mother says 'Hi' and sends her love.” And with that, Merlin disappeared, happy to rejoin his wife.
  42. 42. Chapter Four As spring broke out over Pleasantview once again, Sebastian found himself admiring the new Koi pond the family had installed in the family's cemetery. It was so similar to the one they used to have back in London Bridge that Sebastian felt the same kind of peace and satisfaction that he did with the old one. His thoughts were vastly different, however. He smiled to himself as he remembered the thoughts he used to brood over when he was a teenager, destined to be the 'useless' spare. He looked around at the graveyard and the house beyond and he was proud. “Even after everything, I wouldn't change it for the world,” he said to the fish as they greedily ate the food he had tossed to them.
  43. 43. “Finally!” Kitty exclaimed happily. “I finally got the stupid Gold Talent badge. Now we don't have to worry about taking care of our stupid needs anymore!” Kitty hummed happily to herself as she made a few more Snapdragon bouquets that would be strategically placed around the house.
  44. 44. The first ones she made, of course, were for the bedroom she and Sebastian shared. As she was arranging the flowers on the nightstands, she felt herself swept onto the bed and her face was showered with kisses. Giggling, she looked up into Sebastian's smiling face. “What was that for?” she asked. “No reason. Just because,” he replied. He looked over at the Snapdragons. “Hey, I remember these. Did you make them?” Kitty nodded in response. “Yeah,” he continued, “they make it where you only feel tired, nothing else. It's such a shame...” he trailed off. Her brow furrowing slightly, Kitty asked, “What is?” He grinned even wider. “I'm not really that tired.” Kitty smiled and slid her arms around his neck. “Oh, I'm sure we can fix that...”
  45. 45. While his son and daughter-in-law were canoodling upstairs, Hunter was having an encounter with his own wife. “Hunter,” he imagined her saying, “when are you going to join me?” “As soon as I can. Just a little while longer,” he said out loud to Ansley's apparition.
  46. 46. He sighed as Ansley's ghost floated through the house. He went into the living room to check up on Mary and Miles, who were studying for scholarships early. “Just a little while longer. I want to make sure they grow up well,” Hunter said as he sat down on one of the chairs. “What was that Grandpa?” Mary asked, looking up from her book. “Nothing dear. Just an old man rambling.” Mary and Miles giggled to each other, but stopped when they saw Hunter throwing a mock scowl at them.
  47. 47. 'Just a little while longer' were words that stayed with Mary. She didn't like how it sounded like her grandfather was just waiting for she and Miles to grow up before he died. She knew he was going to die eventually, and that thought hurt, but he sounded like he had nothing else to look forward to. Mary thought about this as she made her bed. She was determined that when she got older, she would never let anything make her sad and she was going to make sure that she always had something to look forward to. Beginning today, as it was Miles' and her birthday. She patted the perfectly made bed with satisfaction, placed a happy and cheerful smile on her face, and left her bedroom to help with the preparations for the birthday party.
  48. 48. As everyone gathered around the birthday cakes that night, Mary contemplated what her wish would be. Everyone stood around, expectantly, as she did this. Finally, after some thought, Mary sighed happily. “My wish has already come true,” she said sweetly, “I am already surrounded by my family and friends. What more could I want?”
  49. 49. “Awww” everyone responded as she leaned over her birthday cake. “She's such a good girl,” Kitty exclaimed to the crowd in general. After Mary transitioned, she looked down at her outfit in horror. “Oh dear, this is not the perfect look I want to achieve. I simply must change after your birthday Miles!”
  50. 50. “Kiss ass,” Miles muttered quietly to himself as he moved towards his own cake. He wasn't all that bitter, as he was the next nicest person in the household, after Mary that is, but he couldn't top her sweet attitude. His eye caught Amelia, who was also a new teenager, and he smiled. He knew what he wanted for his birthday.
  51. 51. “At least I match,” Miles said as he looked down at his bigger self. The crowd laughed. “Is that what you wished for?” the family's new friend, Keith, said. “I wouldn't waste my wish on something so stupid!” Miles responded jovially. Again the crowd laugh, and didn't notice Mary as she quietly left the room, blushing. Her outfit didn't match, and she was mortified.
  52. 52. “So, what did you wish for?” Amelia asked as people started taking pieces of the birthday cakes. Miles grinned his father's smile as he looked at her. “I don't know if I should say. I'm afraid it might not come true. But, maybe you can help me get it...” Amelia blushed furiously. She thought she knew what he meant, but she wasn't sure. He had only shown a passing interest in her growing up; mainly by teasing her and pulling her pigtails. Her mother told her that boys will tease a girl they like, but her mother was wrong an awful lot. Looking at Miles' smile, though, she thought her mother might have been right about that one thing. “Sure Miles,” she said, still blushing. “How can I help?” “Well, it's my birthday. Can I get a birthday kiss?”
  53. 53. Amelia nodded and Miles leaned in. It was a first kiss for both of them. Amelia squeed a little inside, but she kept her composure when Miles pulled away. “So, are you like, my girlfriend now?” Miles asked. “Totally,” Amelia replied with a smile. “Awesome!”
  54. 54. Mary was absent from the rest of the party. After the guests had left, and Miles himself changed his outfit, Mary emerged from her bedroom and went downstairs to showcase her new look. Miles looked her up and down before commenting. “You changed your hair.” Mary nodded and flicked the casual curl from her face. “It took me almost an hour to get my hair perfect. I think it suits me more.” Miles eyed the rest of her outfit. It was very cheerful and pretty, something of which Miles was certain that Mary was aware of. He shrugged. “You look nice,” he said to her.
  55. 55. “Do I look perfect?” she asked him anxiously. Miles shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so...” Mary gave him a thumbs up. “Good, that's what I am going for. Perky, pretty, and perfect. The three 'P's' in life.” Miles' mouth dropped open. “What?” Mary didn't respond, however. She turned from the room, head held high as if she were balancing books on her head, and went back to her bedroom to get her 'beauty sleep'.
  56. 56. Chapter Five A few days after the birthday party, Sebastian approached Kitty in the living room. “Kit, I've been thinking,” he began. “What about?” “Well, I've already done the City Planner thing, which was useless since the Pleasantview building committee has determined that my building plans were too expensive. I've also done the College Dean thing, which I've enjoyed. But...” he sighed. “But you want to open up your own business now, right?” Sebastian smiled at his wife, who always seemed to know what he was thinking. “Yeah, I kinda do. I was hoping it would be okay with you if I quit my job and concentrate on that.” “Will that make you happy?” Kitty asked, knowing the answer. Sebastian nodded. “Then go for it. It'll be fun.” Sebastian leaned over and gave her a kiss. “I have the best wife in the whole wide world.”
  57. 57. Sebastian wasted no time picking out the location for his first business. It was an absolutely tiny little place, run down, but it had character.
  58. 58. It was absolutely perfect for a bookstore, which was simply named “The Devereaux Bookstore.” He wasn't sure how well the family name on the sign would go over with the other Pleasantview citizens; but even if the name would have been different, it would have soon become obvious who was running the place, so he let the name remain.
  59. 59. The other business was not nearly as low key. “The Bubble Den” was bright and gaudy; so much so that even the Pleasantview Conditioning Squad stayed away from it.
  60. 60. It was tacky. It was gaudy. It was bright. It was expensive.
  61. 61. It was also fun and successful. It was also far easier to maintain than the bookstore.
  62. 62. Both businesses were successful, actually. With the help of Kitty's Snapdragons and the Energizer, Sebastian was able to make both businesses more successful than any other in Pleasantview in under a week. His crowning achievement was when he received “The Best of the Best” Award for both places. That brought customers in from all over, appealing to Sebastian's Popularity aspect of his personality. He did find it strange, though, when one of his customers sought him out and congratulated him personally for being a hit. “Your approval fills me with shame,” Sebastian said to the woman. “What?” she said back, appalled. Sebastian pointed at her shirt. “I was reading your shirt.” “Oh! Right,” the woman said back. It took Sebastian a moment to remember who she was. She was the 'drunk' woman at the bar who told him that Kitty liked him. Before he could thank her for that, though, the woman walked out of the store, not purchasing anything. Sebastian just shrugged and went back to the only thing he needed to practice...
  63. 63. ...the cash register. “Dude, you TOTALLY need to hurry up,” Xander said to his cousin, who was poking away at the machine. “I mean, uh, thanks for the discount on the books, you TOTALLY rock.” Sebastian just smiled at Xander's 'slip.' Indeed, Sebastian was quite content working for himself.
  64. 64. Because Mary was to inherit the businesses, Sebastian took it upon himself to pass along all of the perks that he had learned. Mary was quite insistent on learning everything as fast as she possibly could. Even though Sebastian wearing the thinking cap wouldn't help her learn faster, he humored her request; even though it was a complete waste of a charge.
  65. 65. Mary fretted over every thing that didn't turn out perfect on the first try. She absolutely hated erase marks on her homework, and she would often rewrite an assignment over and over until it looked perfect.
  66. 66. She also had a part time job assisting her teachers after school. She excelled at it so much that she was often trusted to substitute the tutoring classes after school; this led to her teachers writing a recommendation to the scholarship society, and Mary was able to collect the money for yet another scholarship.
  67. 67. In fact, Mary spent much of her time studying for scholarships, despite the fact that she wanted to find a boyfriend. She figured that when she won all possible scholarships, she would be able to enjoy the dating life, much like her brother was with Amelia.
  68. 68. “Miles,” she asked one day over the rare game of chess, for he usually disliked sitting still for so long, “why aren't you studying as hard as I am? You know that we both ought to win as much money as possible to have more fun in college.” “My mind is a steel trap Mare,” he replied as he tapped his finger to his temple, “besides, I think I have you beat on scholarships. There are ones that involve fun activities, like the Tsang Footwork one.” Mary added to her mental to-do list to also win the Tsang scholarship. She sighed inwardly, thinking that there wasn't enough time in the day to do all the things she felt she must to be the perfect heiress. However, she smiled cheerfully at her brother and was about to reply when her father entered the game room. “Hey guys, your grandfather wants to see you in the living room.” Mary's smile tried to falter, but she firmly kept it in place as he heart thudded in her chest. She had a feeling she knew why her grandfather had summoned them.
  69. 69. “So, I just wanted to say that I love you guys, I'll miss you, and I'm proud of you,” Hunter said to his family. “Um, thank you Grandpa,” Miles said. “Why are you telling us this now?” Mary looked over at Miles like he was stupid, but said nothing. Sebastian was the one who answered. “Because, well, he wanted to say goodbye. He has an appointment that he has to keep.” “An appointment with who?” Miles asked, still confused. “Grandpa is dying today Miles,” Mary said quietly, trying to maintain her composure. “He just didn't want to throw a party like Aviendha's family does.” “Oh...”Miles trailed off looking at his watch. “Doesn't he usually come at six?” Hunter looked at the clock and saw that Grim was more than an hour late. Hunter shrugged. “Yes, he is running late, isn't he?” The family sat there until the hour grew late, all keeping Hunter company. Eventually they had to retire for the night. They all kissed Hunter goodnight, convinced that they would see him the next morning.
  70. 70. Hunter himself was about to turn in for the night, thinking that he had his timing wrong, when the familiar figure of Grim appeared in his living room. “I apologize for my tardiness, um, Hunter. It shouldn't have happened.” “Then why are you late?” Hunter demanded, angrily. Grim hung his head. “To be honest, the thought of collecting you made me sad. My companions here insisted that I had a job to do, and they reminded me that I was the one who wanted to be assigned to this dimension; more specifically, this family. They are right, of course, but it still saddens me.” “ had yourself assigned to us? Why?” Grim shook his head. “I cannot tell you now. When you are fully processed, then I can reveal everything. Rest assured though, I did it with the best intentions.”
  71. 71. Hunter tried to peer into Grim's cowl, but he wasn't able to see anything but blackness. “You had better not have any intentions of harming this family,” Hunter said authoritatively. Hunter got the feeling that Grim was surprised by the implication. “Good heavens, no. That is not my intent at all. At least, not directly. My job is to collect dead people; I don't actually kill them. I want to make that clear.” Hunter took the drink from Grim's hand and took a sip. “You had better not harm a single hair, otherwise I will break every single one of your bones. They look awfully fragile!” Grim squirmed like a small child under Hunter's glare. “I promise, upon my own soul, that I will not harm this family. Please, sir, I will be able to tell you more when you are processed.” “Because the dead don't tell secrets, right?” Grim nodded. One of the Hula Girls let out a small sigh, letting Grim know that he was taking too long. Grim held out his hand to Hunter, who took it, and they both disappeared.
  72. 72. The moment that Hunter died and Grim disappeared, Mary was jerked out of her sound sleep. Scrambling out of bed she looked about frantically. She recognized the feeling. Indeed, though she didn't mention it to anyone back then, she felt the same feeling when Ansley had died. Mary was able to sense Death. Not in the same way that a person dying would; closer and more intimate than that. She felt almost a kinship to the Grim Reaper, and that scared her.
  73. 73. After her brief moment of panic wore off, the implication hit her: Her grandfather had died. He had died, all alone, and probably scared. Mary sunk her head in her hands and cried. “My life is supposed to be perfect,” she wept, “this is not perfection. Not at all!” She cried in her bedroom for the rest of the night.
  74. 74. The next morning, as the household was beginning to wake up, Miles met Mary outside of her bedroom. She was smiling, and looked cheerful, but he could see the puffiness around her eyes. Gently placing his hand on her arm, he asked her, “Are you okay?” Mary nodded and sniffled. “Grandpa is dead. He died after we all went to sleep.” “How do you know?” “I heard it happen,” she lied, lamely. Miles hugged her and they both went downstairs to mourn with their parents, who had already found Hunter's urn.
  75. 75. Chapter Six That summer, Sebastian and Kitty found a spare moment to themselves. Between Kitty's job, activities with the kids, and the stores, finding spare time was difficult. But, today was a day of rest and relaxation; it was Sebastian's birthday and the whole family, as well as a few friends, were going to be at the house to celebrate it. Sebastian placed his arm around Kitty's waist and ran his hand along her face and hair. “So, will you still love me when I'm all old?” he asked her, just a bit apprehensive. Kitty gave him a teasing smile. “Nope. In fact, first thing, you're going into a home. It's hard to keep my harem of young studs when I have your old, senile butt around here. What would Raul think?” She slid her arms around his waist as a sign that she was teasing him. Sebastian held her close to him as he gave a little laugh. “One of these days, I'm gonna catch that Raul character and strangle him. Not because he's carrying on with you, but to prove that I can still kick ass and take names when I'm old. You might want to warn him.” Kitty smiled into her husband's chest, enjoying their inside joke.
  76. 76. That night, the crowd consisted of of usual suspects, as well as one other new face. Mary noticed him dancing while she was showing off her new moves, the moves that had won her the Tsang Footwork scholarship. Before she was able to talk to him, though, everyone was summoned into the party room for Sebastian's birthday.
  77. 77. Mary was able to look at the stranger from where she stood. His clothes were appalling, but that could be changed. He had...potential. Her thoughts turned away from the stranger as Sebastian began joking around in front of the lit birthday cake. “I know exactly what I'm going to wish for!” Sebastian stated. “I'm going to wish for matching clothes when I transition!” And he leaned in to blow out his candles.
  78. 78. Everyone was laughing before the confetti hit the floor. Closing his eyes, Sebastian hung his head, and said in a mock sorrowful voice, “I have bad clothes don't I? I knew I shouldn't have said my wish out loud!” “I don't see anything wrong with your clothes,” the strange man said to Sebastian, which just made everyone else in the room laugh even more.
  79. 79. Sebastian quickly changed back into his old clothes, thankful that his body hadn't changed all that much. Entering back into the party room, he pulled Kitty gently away from Miles and gave her a kiss. “I'll bet that Raul character doesn't kiss like that, does he?” he asked with a grin. “Only on days that end with a 'Y'” Kitty responded, laughing. “Hmmm, how is he on the karaoke machine then?” Kitty was forced to admit that Sebastian had “Raul” beat in that area.
  80. 80. “I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad Carry you around when your arthritis is bad Oh all I wanna do, is grow old with you. I'll get you medicine when your tummy aches Build you a fire if the furnace breaks Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you. I'll miss you, kiss you Give you my coat when you are cold Need you, feed you Even let you hold the remote control So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink. Oh I could be the man who grows old with you. I'll miss you, kiss you Take your shoes off and rub your feet Need you, feed you And when we chess, I'll let you cheat So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink. Oh I could be the one who grows old with you.” --- “Grow Old with You” from “The Wedding Singer”
  81. 81. While her parents were singing their sappy song, Mary was able to approach the stranger. Putting on her most cheerful smile, she approached him. “Hi, I'm Mary Devereaux. What is your name?”
  82. 82. The man looked at her contemplatively. It was very rare that people didn't know who he was. He tapped his lips as he looked at the teenaged girl. She was a little young for his taste, but she would get older. Heck, she was downright cute, and it had been a while since he had hooked up with anyone.
  83. 83. Puffing out his chest, he announced to her, “My name is Goopy GilsCarbo. I am sure that you are pleased to meet my acquaintance.” “Goopy? Is that short for anything?” Mary asked. “Um, no. No it isn't.” “Oh. Can I call you Gil for short?” Goopy blinked. Then shrugged nonchalantly. “Sure, whatever floats your boat, kid.”
  84. 84. Mary clapped her hands excitedly. He was perfect. Oh, sure, he needed new clothes and a new hairstyle, but Mary wasn't afraid of a little hard work. He had outstanding potential. Right then and there, Mary knew who she was going to marry when she graduated college.
  85. 85. Chapter Seven “You TOTALLY need to knock it off, Aviendha!” Xander commanded his daughter in an impatient tone. “You know what is expected of you. Our family gets married to professors. Professors are highly educated people, and we want to have the best of the best!”
  86. 86. “But, if I found a student at the University, and they graduated, they would also be educated, Dad. They might not be a professor, but I might think that person is the 'best of the best.' Ultimately, I want to be happy and not be forced to look in only a small group of people.” Xander closed his eyes with impatience. “We are TOTALLY done with this conversation. Your constant need shock people is wearing thin, kiddo. It's downright exhausting,” Xander sadly stated before he left the room.
  87. 87. Aviendha ground her teeth at her father's obvious dismissal of her feelings. As she went into the kitchen to prepare dinner for the family, she found herself slamming around and chopping the vegetables with a mood of violence that surprised her. “Marriage should be a happy arrangement, not a forced one,” she muttered angrily as some of the green peppers flew to the floor. She was silent for a while as she glared at the food. Then a thought occurred to her: Maybe if she found someone before she went to college, her father would recant his decision and she wouldn't be forced into a marriage of her father's choice. That thought made her happy, and she whistled while she finished the dinner preparations.
  88. 88. Dinner was a silent affair, but Aviendha didn't notice or care. She ate in a hurried manner and placed a phone call, silently thankful that it wasn't her night to do the dishes. The gypsy promised that she would be at the house within the hour. Aviendha sat on the front steps impatiently waiting for the old woman. When the gypsy, Madame Fortuna, who claimed to be as lovely as the day is long, showed up, Aviendha pulled out $5000 and handed it to the woman. “Please find me someone that will make me so incredibly happy, my father won't force me to look at my college professors. Please.”
  89. 89. “Well with that kind of donation to the cause, I will do my very best,” Madame Fortuna said as she began looking into her crystal ball. Aviendha looked into it with her. “Ahh, yes, I see the perfect beau for you.” “You do? I can't see! What does he look like?” The old woman swept her hand over the crystal ball, and suddenly Aviendha's perfect beau was standing before them. “Thank you again for your generous contribution. I must get going now,” the old woman said before she scurried off, assuring that Aviendha wouldn't be able to voice a complaint.
  90. 90. His face looked like he fell from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. He was also kind of stupid and neither of them had anything in common. Aviendha didn't care, though. This guy might not be the perfect guy, but she felt a certain amount of freedom in what promised to be a new dating habit.
  91. 91. Her new plans for finding the 'perfect non- professor guy' was solidified when the red haired dude (she didn't remember the guy's name) sent her a 'Thank You' card the next day. Of course, “Thank You” was misspelled, but that was besides the point. It was totally worth it and she grinned happily as she placed it on her nightstand in her bedroom.
  92. 92. Naturally, her mother found the card, so Aviendha was forced to listen to yet another lecture from her parents. “I didn't even kiss the guy, I don't see what the big deal is,” she whined as her parents looked at her sternly. “The point, dear daughter of mine, is that you are willfully trying to go against what your father and I feel is a reasonable request. You know that we don't want you dating...” “You never said I couldn't though,” Aviendha interrupted. “You are TOTALLY missing the point, Mini- Me. Why are you wasting money to find a boyfriend that you know you will have to TOTALLY dump when you get to college?” Xander asked.
  93. 93. Aviendha stood up angrily. “Oh my effing GOD Dad! You are a ROMANCE Sim who is against dating! Are you serious?” “I am TOTALLY not against dating. I am TOTALLY against your blatant attempts to piss us off!” Xander shouted back.
  94. 94. Aviendha tried to storm away, but her mother grabbed her. Aviendha finally had enough. She plugged her ears and began to scream at the top of her lungs. “I DON'T WANT TO MARRY A PROFESSOR! I AM SO AGAINST THE IDEA THAT I WISHED TO WOOHOO WITH TWENTY SIMS AS MY BIRTHDAY WISH! HOW IS THAT FOR A BLATANT ATTEMPT TO PISS YOU OFF?!” Before her parents could say anything else, she let out another wordless scream, and stormed out of the house.
  95. 95. It took her quite some time to cool off, and by the time she did she realized the huge error that she made. She had announced, out loud, what her birthday wish was; thus assuring that it would not come true. “Oh, God, what did I do?” she mumbled miserably. Of course, the superstition was just that, but Aviendha had a feeling, deep down inside, that her wish was not going to come true. It was almost as if a higher being had just assured her that it absolutely wouldn't, so she shouldn't fight against it. She idly kicked her foot against the pole running through the middle of the play fort, contemplating what she should do next.
  96. 96. Eventually, Aviendha felt both resigned and chagrined. She had blown her stack at her parents and ruined her chance at having a little fun at college. She sighed as she slid down the pole. She had made her decision.
  97. 97. She didn't bother telling her parents for a few days though. She was pretty much given the silent treatment; only the minimal amount of words were spoken to her as her parents got over their anger at her audacious announcement. Eventually things cooled down enough for everyone to speak civilly to each other. Aviendha finger gunned her mother as she walked into the kitchen to grab some breakfast. “So, Mom, Dad, I've been thinking...” Marsha looked up from the book she was reading, inwardly cringing, waiting for some bombastic announcement. “What about?”
  98. 98. Aviendha waited until she grabbed some leftovers for breakfast before she continued. Smiling sweetly up at her parents she said, “I've been thinking that you were right and I was wrong. I will find a nice professor to marry. In fact, I'm planning on getting started on my college career right after you guys have your birthday.” This was met with sighs of relief from Xander and Marsha; they felt that her announcement was the most mature thing she had ever said.
  99. 99. Chapter Eight “So, you already found a place for all of us to live?” Mary asked her cousin. Aviendha gave a satisfied nod. “It could comfortably hold six people, so the four of us will be able to live there just fine. With all of our scholarship money pooled together, we can easily afford it. I'm leaving tonight so I can get all the paperwork done tomorrow. That way, everything will be taken care of by the time you, Miles, and Amelia graduate high school.” Mary bounced around a little bit. “It's going to be so much fun, I can wait!” “Yeah, neither can I,” Aviendha muttered, attempting to keep any trace of bitterness out. Before anything else could be said, it was time for Xander to blow out his candles.
  100. 100. Everyone laughed as the confetti flew, revealing an elder aged Xander. Xander looked down at his clothes. “Hey, this is TOTALLY not that bad, why are you guys laughing?” Nobody would answer him as he glowered at all of them. “Seriously dudes, it could be so much worse. I have half a mind to TOTALLY keep this outfit.” He reached up to run his fingers through his hair. His hand stopped when he felt the bare skin on top of his head. “MY HAIR! OH MY GOD, THIS IS TOTALLY NOT COOL!”
  101. 101. “No way am I going to be bald,” he said as he made his way to his bedroom to change. “I am TOTALLY going to Shatner it from now on.”
  102. 102. Thankfully, his parents had stored away a gray toupee; though WHY they had one is a question Xander never wanted answered, ever, in this life or the next. He was a tad bit regretful about changing out of his smoking jacket, but he had the feeling that the outfit would always be associated with his sudden baldness, so he had to pass.
  103. 103. Marsha aged in a much more graceful and dignified manner, much to everyone's disappointment. However, she felt that her outfit was meant for someone much younger than she was, so she, too, opted to change.
  104. 104. Xander caressed Marsha's face when she got done changing. “I'm old,” Marsha whispered plaintively. “You are TOTALLY not old, and you are as beautiful as the day I met you to boot,” Xander said adoringly. Marsha leaned into his caress and smiled at him. “Are you upset about your hair?” “What are you talking about? This is TOTALLY my natural hair!” Xander exclaimed loud enough for the room to hear. Everyone laughed. “No dudes, seriously, I am TOTALLY going to keep saying that until everyone believes it. It's like, 'The Secret' or some crap like that. I'm putting those words out there, then they will come true.”
  105. 105. Eventually the party ended and it was a rousing success; something that the Lewis family had come to expect in their parties. Aviendha watched her father as he said goodbye to the guests, feeling a little sad. For a lot of her life she kept hoping and wishing to grow up faster, and now that time had come. The cab had been called, and her things had been packed. She was ready to leave for school.
  106. 106. Xander saw his daughter watching him with a small smile. He heard the cab beeping outside and he realized his little girl was all grown up. Feeling a little choked up, he grabbed her into a bear hug. “You'll have so much fun at school, I know you will, Mini-Me.” “I know, too Daddy. I'll make you guys proud by getting good grades and stuff, honest. I'll also try not to swear at my professors too much.” Xander chuckled a bit at that and let her go.
  107. 107. Both of her parents walked her outside and said their goodbyes as she walked to the waiting cab. “Be good at school. And remember to get good grades before you meet the professor of your dreams. You don't want people claiming that you are getting your good grades because of your relationship!” Marsha called to her daughter's retreating form. “Okay Mom, I will.” “Remember to have lots of toga parties! And don't forget to TOTALLY give your old 'rents a call once in a while, college girl!” “Okay Dad, I'll remember.” “Have fun!” Both her parents said in unison. “I'll try. Bye! I love you!” And her cab drove away.
  108. 108. Xander and Marsha kept waving at the cab until even the taillights couldn't be seen in the distance. “Do you think she'll be okay?” Marsha asked. “TOTALLY! She's our daughter, how can she not be okay? Academie Le Tour is TOTALLY going to be taken by storm!”
  109. 109. Chapter Nine Sebastian stared at Tristen's urn for quite some time the morning of Kitty's birthday. He tried to remember what it was like being married to her way back in the day. But every time he came up with a solid memory, he realized that it was actually of Kitty instead. He realized, with a sudden clarity, that he had long since been over Tristen.
  110. 110. He gazed at her portrait, remembering snips, bits, and impressions of their brief marriage, trying to get a solid memory. Then he laughed out loud as he remembered one. He remembered how he asked her to marry him before he knew her name. Smiling at the memory, he realized what he needed to do; it was something he should have done a long time ago.
  111. 111. As he had her urn sent away to the city graveyard, Tristen's ghost appeared for the last time. She smiled and waved at him, and he tipped an invisible hat back at her. And then, she was gone for good. As Sebastian reached up to take Tristen's portrait down, it had long since been replaced in the game room by Kitty's own portrait, he heard Kitty come up behind him.
  112. 112. “You didn't need to do that, Sebby,” Kitty said softly as he turned to face her. “Yeah, I did. I should have done it a long time ago.” “Why today?” “Well, I couldn't think of any better present for you. Things are things, but this,” he gestured vaguely to where Tristen's urn had occupied on the shelf, “this is something that only I could give you. I wanted to have proof for the remaining generations of this family that you are my wife, and you are the one who will be buried beside me. Having her float around, well, I don't want anyone to mistake her for you. You know what I mean?” Kitty did, more than Sebastian would ever realize. She knew, from a SimSelf perspective, that his family tree will never register Tristen on it. It hadn't in a while; but with her ghost gone, Tristen might as well have been erased from existence. Touched, Kitty gave her husband a gentle kiss on his lips. “Thank you. It is the best gift you have ever given me. Well, other than you, yourself.”
  113. 113. As touching as Sebastian's gift was, Kitty still had a hard time facing the fact that she was about to turn into an elder. Only rarely did SimSelves age, and she kind of wished that she got to be one of them. On the other hand, she didn't want to live forever if Sebastian was going to die on her. She just had to make herself content with the thought that in her home dimension, both of them have the distinct possibility of living for all eternity. Once that mess gets cleaned up, of course.* She sighed with a smile as her family gathered around yet another birthday cake, waiting for her to blow out her candles. --- *I have been real lax in mentioning this, but “Kitty” is a version of Tribebohemian's SimSelf, and she writes “The Victorian's: A Legacy.” Unfortunately, it's undergoing a rebuild at the moment, hence 'the mess' statement.
  114. 114. As everyone gathered around, Kitty did the traditional 'contemplating what her wish would be' face. Everyone groaned as she hemmed and hawed theatrically. “I know! I wish to be immortal!” “Ahhh! Don't say it out loud! It won't come true!” someone from the crowed shouted. “Too late!” She replied, and she blew out her candles.
  115. 115. Xander and Sebastian peered at Kitty. She looked like she hadn't aged a single bit. Xander was a bit scandalized, as well as a little jealous; she didn't lose any of her hair. Not even her hair color! “Are you TOTALLY sure that you aged there Kitty?” He asked. Kitty flexed her hands, which had started to hurt a little bit. “Yeah, I'm pretty sure I did, Xander.” “Well, you certainly carry it well then,” the toupeed man responded, enviously.
  116. 116. Sebastian grinned at his wife and gave her a wolf whistle. “How on earth did I get so lucky?” Kitty blushed and shrugged, appreciative of Sebastian adoration. Sebastian then turned serious. “Did you really want to be immortal?”
  117. 117. Kitty reached over and caressed his wrinkled cheek. “Not really. That's why I said the wish out loud, because I knew it wouldn't come true.” Sebastian gave her his lopsided grin, the grin she had fallen in love with, and gave her yet another birthday kiss.
  118. 118. While Xander and her father were commenting on how young Kitty still looked, Mary had the opportunity to have a one on one conversation with Amelia's father. “Mr. Uh, hey, I don't know your last name,” Mary began with an embarrassed smile. Keith looked at her and made up a last name on the spot, as SimSelf would have been too hard to explain. “Bond. Keith Bond.” “Mr Bond, can I ask you a question?” “Shoot.” “Well, when you met Amelia's mother, did you know that you were going to marry her right away?” Keith thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, pretty much. She had a boyfriend at the time, so that was inconvenient, but she dumped him a few months after I met her and we got together. I proposed to her three months into our relationship. It pretty much was love at first sight for me, and she eventually came around. Why?”
  119. 119. Mary was embarrassed as she realized that this type of conversation was something she should be having with her own father; but something about Keith Bond made her want to talk to him. It was almost as if he knew her as well as her own family knew her. “Well, I kind of met this guy, and he has a lot of potential. I am a bit too young to fall in love with him, but I was kind of hoping that when I go off to college that some feelings will come about.” “Well, start off by being his friend. That always worked out for me. What do you like about him?” Mary shrugged. “His potential. His clothes need to change, and maybe his hair, but he might turn out to be someone perfect for me to marry.” “Are you talking about Goopy?!” “Please. I refer to him as Gil.” “Ooookay Well, if that's who you want, then start out by being his friend. Don't force the issue and everything will turn out okay.” Mary grinned happily. “Thank you Mr. Bond for your sage advice.” Keith snerked back a laugh and muttered, “Goopy GilsCarbo,” under his breath.
  120. 120. As the party was dying down, Mary found Goopy in the living room talking with her Great Aunt Aylee's robot, Zeke. “Gil, I'm leaving for college tomorrow.” “That's nice,” Goopy replied. Mary took a deep breath. “I was hoping that you would call on me while I am there. Maybe go out and have coffee and such.” Goopy shrugged with a confident air. “Sure, I don't see why not.” Mary smiled and wrote the phone number to the house she would be staying at down on a piece of paper. As he took it, Mary hugged him. “I look forward to hearing from you. Sooner than later, I hope.” Goopy amiably hugged her back. Aww yeah, the Goopster's still got it, he thought as he watched Mary leave the room.
  121. 121. The next morning saw Mary and Miles saying goodbye to their parents. Each child hugged their parents tightly with whispered words of promises to call, study hard, and have fun. “You guys grew up so fast,” Sebastian said as he hugged Mary one last time. “Time flies when you're having fun!” Miles responded as Kitty hugged him again. As their children walked out the door to meet the waiting cab, Sebastian and Kitty put their arms around one another and waved through the window. “Our babies,” Kitty said, choked up. “Yeah...”Sebastian replied, at a loss for words.
  122. 122. Waving to her parents one last time, Mary put on a cheerful smile and entered the cab. College was promising to be the most perfect experience, at least until her wedding day, and she was determined that absolutely nothing will get in her way of a perfect, happy life. She couldn't wait.
  123. 123. Epilogue After watching Mary's cab leave for college, I was forced to come out of my observational place on the sidelines because I saw Keith approaching the Devereaux house. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me. “What on earth do you think you are doing?” I asked in a tone that demanded an answer. “And why in the hell are you wearing a Mayor's outfit?”
  124. 124. Keith didn't even have the shame to look embarrassed. “I was going to visit Sebastian and Kitty. They asked me to come over because Amelia is such good friends with Miles and Mary. As for the Mayor's outfit...well, I'm married to a SimSelf; I think I should look important.” “Nobody is supposed to know what SimSelves are here, number one. Number two, you, of all people, should know how I feel about consorting with this family. We aren't supposed to socialize with them; that way we don't have to answer any uncomfortable questions about why we aren't aging or dying when they are. I've managed to make them practically forget that they are being controlled by me, and I can't have you ruining that because you are bored at home!” Keith squared his jaw and was about to reply when I beat him to the punch. “Just get home and change out of that ridiculous outfit. Amelia is about to go off to college herself and we ought to say goodbye to her...among other things.” Keith cricked his neck and walked away in the direction towards home; he didn't even look at me as he passed.
  125. 125. I sighed as I looked at my legacy family's house. Thankfully, none of the residents noticed me out there. With Ansley, Savannah and Merlin all dead now, Kitty was the only one in the family who knew exactly who and what I was; but she isn't immortal here, and I can trust her to keep the secret. Of course, the Pre-Made population of Pleasantview knew too, but none of them really talked to the family. I made sure of that. And now Keith and my daughter were on the path to destroying the anonymity that I had painstakingly created. With one last look at the house, admiring my awesome building skills I must admit, I myself headed home. Amelia needed a talking to.
  126. 126. “Amelia,” I began, “I cannot even begin to tell you how proud your father and I are of you. You're all grown up and ready to leave for college. And then, when you're done with college, you can come back here and help me with my project. Help your dad too, I suppose.” Amelia gave me a strange look. “What project is that?” “Well,” I said, trying to find the best way to answer, “I want you to be an observer with me.” “An observer? What?” I sighed. “An observer of the Devereaux family, their extended family, as well as Pleasantview, though they are secondary and minor this time around. You get to be immortal and make decisions on how they live their lives. It can be hard, and even sad sometimes; but in the end, looking back on a ten generation challenge, all documented, will be rewarding. That is my hope anyway.”
  127. 127. Amelia gave me a suspicious look. “That sounds awfully appealing, I guess. But what is the catch?” My shoulders slumped. This was going to be the hard part. I leaned in and whispered the answer in her ear. “The catch is, you can no longer talk with them. It's one thing to be attached to something you created and you have to see die; it's another thing to have it happen right in front of you, forcing you to live the entire experience personally.” I took a deep breath and dropped the bomb on her. “That means, no more Miles.”
  128. 128. She jerked away from me. “What?! No! Then I don't want it. I don't want to help you with your stupid project. I don't have the same 'God Complex' you apparently have!” “Baby,” my voice was frantic, “you can't be with him. You should never have been exposed to any of them! It was a freak accident that you met Aviendha! I knew I should have home schooled you!” “No mom, it wasn't an accident! It was fate for me to be with Miles. I'm going to marry him after college and you can't stop me!” “Yes I can!” I shouted back. “You aren't going to talk to them anymore! You can't!” “Ang! That's enough!”Keith shouted.
  129. 129. Furious, I looked down at him. “What did you say?” I asked him, my teeth clenched. “That's enough. I'm putting my foot down here and now. You may be able to dictate how everyone else lives their lives, but we are your family, simulated or not. I will not let you force our daughter into doing something that she obviously does not want to do.” “MUTINY!” I cried. Keith nodded in response. “That may be the case, but I think we should let Amelia make her own decisions.” “I won't watch her die! I refuse!” Keith held up his hand. “How about we let her live her own life? Let her talk to her friends, like she always has. Then, when she graduates, she can make her decision. This is not a request.” He stood up and hugged our daughter. “Have fun at school, princess. But I want you to think about what your mother has said, okay?” Amelia nodded, walked out the door, entered the waiting cab, and left for college. ********************************************** Thank you all for reading! And as always, thank you for all your awesome comments!