The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Four - Part 4


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The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Four - Part 4

  1. 1. Two Weddings and a Courthouse The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Four – Part 4
  2. 2. Some day, when I'm awfully low, When the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you... And the way you look tonight. Yes you're lovely, with your smile so warm And your cheeks so soft, There is nothing for me but to love you, And the way you look tonight. With each word your tenderness grows, Tearing my fear apart... And that laugh that wrinkles your nose, It touches my foolish heart. Lovely ... Never, ever change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it ? 'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight. Mm, Mm, Mm, Mm, Just the way you look to-night. --- Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight
  3. 3. Aviendha & Ashley Aviendha tried not to wince as she signed the lease agreement for the apartment. The first month's rent was almost half of the money both she and Ashley had saved up, and they still needed to get furniture and food. “Rent is due on the first of the month. If you are more than five days late, you will also have to pay a late fee as a penalization. If you are late for more than three months in a row, you will be evicted. Is there anything else you needed to know?” The landlady looked impatiently at her new tenant. Aviendha shook her head. “No, I think that about covers it.” The other woman looked at her. “Also, we don't tolerate loud music. If you receive more than three complaints about noise disturbance, you will be evicted. Understood?” “Yes ma'am.” The woman took the lease papers and walked away. Aviendha sighed and wished that all the apartments in Pleasantview weren't so expensive; especially considering how run down they all were.
  4. 4. She jumped a bit when she felt a pair of arms slide around her waist and a kiss on her neck. Then she smiled and turned around in Ashley's arms. “We all squared away?” he asked her. “Yeah. Want to see it?” Ashley nodded and she led him by the hand into their new home.
  5. 5. The two of them looked at the place with disappointment. Finally Ashley asked, “This is what took half of our money? This is supposed to be the nicest apartment complex in Pleasantview?” Aviendha sighed a little. “I know what you mean. Hard to framming believe, isn't it?”
  6. 6. It was tiny. It was dim. It was depressing. But it was the only place in town that didn't reek of urine or have piles of garbage in the hallways. That alone made it worth the price. “Maybe it'll look a bit more cheerful when we get some furniture in here,” Aviendha said optimistically. “Maybe...” Ashley responded, doubt evident in his voice.
  7. 7. Poking around a bit, they were delighted to discover that the apartment came with a Murphy bed; that meant they didn't have to drop any money on one of their own. Ashley winced as he watched Aviendha struggle to pull it down. “Do you need any help?” “No,” Aviendha grunted, “I got it.”
  8. 8. When Aviendha got the bed settled, thankfully without thumping it too loudly, she and Ashley laid on it and cuddled for a while. “You know,” began Ashley, “this isn't so bad. I'm sure once we pick up some furniture and add some curtains the place will look, um, cozy.” Aviendha snuggled against him. “You know what's also nice? This. Being here with you in this huge double bed...” Ashley grinned and began kissing her.
  9. 9. Afterwards, Aviendha smiled at him and held his hand. “I love you, you know. I'm sorry that we aren't at my parents' house surrounded by nice things.” “You're pretty nice.” She laughed. “You know what I mean. Is it bad for me to say that I wouldn't change it for the world? I think I could survive living in any dump, as long as you were there with me.”
  10. 10. Ashley smiled back at her. “About that. I was wondering when you were going to make an honest man out of me. It's positively indecent the way you've been carrying on, you know. What would people think?” Aviendha stifled a loud guffaw. “The way I've been carrying on?” She then turned serious. “Well, I doubt my parents are going to pay for any sort of wedding. How about we take a little nap, then go down to the courthouse and register for a marriage license? Then we can go get some furniture and wait for the license to go through.” “Sounds like a plan, Stan.” Ashley leaned over to give her a kiss, then wrapped his arm around her waist and started dozing off.
  11. 11. As she snuggled against him, Aviendha tried very hard to ignore her sadness over her father's disapproval. As she listened to Ashley's even breathing, she knew that she was right and her father was wrong. It still hurt though.
  12. 12. A few days later, Ashley and Aviendha dressed in their nice clothes and went to the Pleasantview Courthouse. Their marriage license had no problems being processed (though they both laughed at the question on the application asking if they were related) and they made an appointment with a judge.
  13. 13. The receptionist told them where room the judge that was marrying them in was, and the pair started making their way up the stairs. On the landing, Ashley stopped and turned to Aviendha.
  14. 14. “Are you sure you want to do this without at least telling your parents?” “What difference would it make? They probably wouldn't answer the phone anyway,” she responded.
  15. 15. Ashley sighed. “Babe, look, I can tell that this entire situation bothers you. I told you in the beginning that I don't want to be the cause of any problems.” “Are you saying that you don't want to get married?” “Not at all. I'm just saying that maybe if we gave your dad some time, he might come around, that's all.” “Ash, look, I know my dad. He won't 'come around' and that's what irritates me. I don't want to be old and gray before I get married and have kids, okay?” “But forcing his hand?” “There's no force about it. He's made his decision. Whether he chooses to talk to me again is his choice. I plan on living my life; I don't intend on waiting for him to 'come around.' I want to be happy. You make me happy. I want you. Nothing else matters.” Ashley smiled and shrugged. “Okay, let's go get married then.”
  16. 16. It took a while to find the room. They had to backtrack a few times before they found the right hall to go down. Aviendha and Ashley saw that the judge was standing there, tapping his foot impatiently. “I'm sorry we're a little late, Your Honor,” Aviendha apologized. “We have an appointment to get married with you. The receptionist told us to meet you in here, but it took forever to find”
  17. 17. Alexander Goth smiled coolly at her. “Ah, Ms. Lewis and Mr. Pitts I presume? I do not appreciate tardiness, but I am very well aware that the halls in this courthouse have a tendency to be rather maze like to someone unfamiliar with them. Please, do come in. I have other appointments I must keep, so I regret to inform you that we must be a bit hasty.” Aviendha looked chagrined. “We didn't bring any witnesses.” Alexander smiled slightly again. “How very fortunate for you then. We have two people present who will be more than willing to be your witnesses.”
  18. 18. “Why do you insist on torturing yourself, us, by attending this type of thing Frances?” Malcolm asked. “I most certainly am not torturing myself, Mal. I am just curious to see what a courthouse ceremony looks like, that is all,” Frances said with a trace of bitterness. Before Malcolm could respond, Alexander cleared his throat. “When you two finish talking, we can proceed.” “Sorry.” “My apologies.” the two men responded.
  19. 19. The ceremony was rather straight forward, if one could call it a ceremony. Rather, Alexander said a few words about marriage being a binding legal contract, took one last look at the marriage license, and then had them sign the marriage certificate, along with Frances and Malcolm as the witnesses. Aviendha was surprised that Ashley opted to take her last name. “Really? I thought I would take yours.” “Hi. Have you met me? My last name is Pitts. As in Mr. Depressing. Or even better, Ashley Armpits. I think I'll take this opportunity to get rid of those fond, childhood nicknames.”
  20. 20. It was simple, but it was theirs.
  21. 21. Afterwards, Ashley shook Alexander's hand. “Thank you very much. We really appreciate you marrying us.” “Think nothing of it, I was merely doing my job as a judge Mr. Lewis. I must say, I expected the daughter of our Mayor to have a more elaborate wedding.” Ashley shrugged. “Um, Mayor Lewis is not, ah, on speaking terms with his daughter at the moment.” This perked Alexander's interest. “Oh really? He seems to be a rather reasonable person, so please, do tell me why. My appointments can wait.” Ashley briefly gave Alexander a run down, flattered that Alexander cared. Ashley was a bit giddy from his wedding to notice the look of speculation Alexander had the entire time.
  22. 22. While he was chatting with Alexander, Aviendha was approached by Frances. “Excuse me miss, but you look very familiar. You wouldn't happen to be the new tenants that just moved into the Tsang Complex, would you?” Aviendha smiled at Frances. “Yeah, we are. Hey? You guys are the ones who live in the penthouse on the top floor, right?” Frances scoffed at Aviendha's use of the word penthouse, but answered her amiably. “Indeed, we are. I'm Frances and this is Malcolm, my...” he cleared his throat. “Your boyfriend?” Frances colored. “Ah, yes. He and I are together.” “That's cool.” He raised an eyebrow. “Cool? I suppose. Most people would find it uncomfortable.” “You're talking to a girl who just got married to her forbidden lover in a courthouse because her father doesn't approve. Who am I to judge?” Frances beamed at her glibness.
  23. 23. “Mal and I couldn't help but notice that you had an easel moved into your apartment. Are you a painter?” Aviendha shrugged. “Yeah. I mean, I was thinking, when I was in college, about opening up an art gallery and maybe teaching some art classes on the side. But now, well...” “Ah, I see. You don't have the financial backing because your father held all of your money in a trust fund and you and he are not on speaking terms.” “How did you know?” Frances smiled wryly. “I am familiar with the story. But, what a stroke of luck! I have been desperately looking for someone to tutor me in painting. I have the zeal, but not the talent as of yet. I also had the desire to open an art gallery. Perhaps you and I could be of assistance to each other?”
  24. 24. As Aviendha and Frances were making preliminary plans, Malcolm approached Ashley and shook his hand. “Congratulations on your marriage. Also, a belated welcome to the complex. Frances and I would be poor neighbors if we didn't send you some sort of gift. I already placed the call, so it should be there when you get home.” “Thank you Mr. Landgraab.” “Please, seeing as we're going to be neighbors,” he looked fondly over at Frances and Aviendha talking animatedly, “and most likely friends, call me Malcolm.”
  25. 25. The two of them enjoyed a private and inexpensive dinner at a restaurant in Pleasantview. When they got home, Ashley insisted on carrying Aviendha over the threshold, giggling and laughing the entire time.
  26. 26. When they stepped fully into the apartment, they noticed the bottle of champagne sitting on their makeshift coffee table. A very expensive bottle of champagne. Ashley and Aviendha looked at the bottle, stunned. Finally, Ashley let out a low whistle. “That bottle must be worth at least a thousand bucks.” He reached over and read the small card that was attached “ ' To the newly weds: Congratulations on your special day. May you age together well and may you never experience bitterness. Regards, Malcolm and Frances.' “ Ashley picked up the bottle, aware that he could sell it for some desperately needed cash. Then he shrugged and popped the cork and poured the liquid into the two glasses that were beside it.
  27. 27. Handing Aviendha a glass, Ashley raised his own. “To my lovely wife, Mrs. Aviendha Lewis.” Aviendha raised her own glass. “To my husband, Mr. Ashley Lewis.” They clinked their glasses together. “To us,” they said in unison, and they savored the flavor as the champagne slid down their throats.
  28. 28. Miles & Amelia Amelia held Miles' hand as she looked at their new house. “This is absolutely perfect! It has enough room for us to grow, as well as room for a nice stereo, television, and maybe we can put a bubble blower on the side over there?” Before Miles could answer, Amelia heard my voice from behind.
  29. 29. “I knew you wanted that kind of stuff, so that's why I picked this house out for you. The best part is, it's right across the street from Miles' old house, so you guys can visit there anytime you want.” Amelia hugged me. “You thought of everything. Thank you.”
  30. 30. “Speaking of which, you did manage to get Saint Bella's for me, right?” I laughed. “Yes, Amelia, everything is set for your wedding tomorrow.” Amelia clutched her hands together in giddiness and she turned around to Miles. “Isn't this great?” Miles looked at his soon to be mother-in-law and noticed my raised eyebrow. He gave me a smarmy smile and answered his fiancee. “It's going to be awesome.”
  31. 31. Amelia gazed at her reflection the following morning, trying to calm her excitement. Her hair was a bit more stiff than she would have liked, and she could feel the fifty-two bobby pins it took to hold her hair in place. But, it still looked exactly the way she wanted. She smiled a little as she thought about her mother's reaction to Miles. Something obviously passed between those two, but neither of them would tell her what. She had a feeling that whatever it was, it had something to do with her rejecting immortality to be with Miles. Not that she would ever tell Miles that. She realized that it was supposed to be a secret.
  32. 32. It wasn't that hard of a choice for her. It wasn't as if she had lived for a long time already and she was giving it up. Her mother saw it differently, but it appeared that her father intervened on her own behalf. They've taken to not talking about it in front of her though. She figured that it had something to do with now being involved in the time stream, and any knowledge she might have would affect Miles' family. Oh well. Amelia shrugged it off and went downstairs to the limo that was waiting to take her to Saint Bella's.
  33. 33. Saint Bella's. It was a lovely church that the Goth family had built in memory of Mortimer's missing wife. It had a giant statue of Bella Goth along side of it as well. Many people whispered and snickered about the ironic name the church was given, considering Bella Goth was anything but a saint. However, those snickers would diminish within Alexander's hearing. Of course, when Alexander would leave, the whispers would start up again, but instead it would be about Alexander's apparent 'mommy' issues. Nevertheless, it was an upscale establishment, and they had an open congregation membership. Nearly all of the residents of Pleasantview attended mass at Saint Bella's.
  34. 34. Keith and I were sitting on one side of the church, trying very hard to ignore Miles' family. This was not done out of rudeness; it was more to avoid any uncomfortable questions that I knew Sebastian was beginning to form in his mind. I saw they way he looked over at us, wondering why we seemed to be the same age as Amelia, while he and Kitty were far older. I could see him turning it over in his mind, obsessing over it. I felt like standing up and screaming at him, 'Don't pay attention to me! Pay attention to the wedding. Quit obsessing over it!' Of course, I didn't.
  35. 35. Sebastian looked over at Amelia's parents and then turned to Kitty. “I never realized that Amelia's mother was that drunk lady we ran into at the bar way back when.” Kitty smiled and nodded, inwardly wincing, hoping Sebastian wouldn't make any sort of connection. Sebastian looked over at Amelia's parents again. “It's weird.” “What is?” “That all this time, Miles has been dating her daughter and I never got a chance to thank her for telling me that you liked me.” “She told you that?” “Yeah, she did. I really ought to do that.” He reached over and held Kitty's hand, smiling at her fondly.
  36. 36. Miles stood in front of the wedding arch, his heart beating nervously. Don't lock your knees, don't lock your knees, don't lock your knees, he kept repeating to himself. The wedding march started and everyone stood up and turned to see the bride enter.
  37. 37. Miles' face lit up when he saw Amelia. Amelia smiled at him from down the aisle, and they kept their eyes on each other as she made her way to the wedding arch.
  38. 38. They stood under the arch, the daylight shining through the stained glass windows over them. “You look beautiful,” Miles whispered.
  39. 39. The wedding was very ceremonial, the age old wedding vows being repeated between the bride and groom. Miles remembered to not lock he knees, and Amelia was shaking at the enormity of it all.
  40. 40. The crowd applauded as Miles and Amelia shared their first kiss as husband and wife. “Are you happy?” Miles whispered to her. “Very,” she replied back. “Good, I'm glad. I plan on making you happy for the rest of our lives.”
  41. 41. Keith gave Amelia a congratulatory hug. “My little girl is all grown up.” “I know, Daddy,” Amelia whispered softly into her father's shoulder. “Your as beautiful as your mother was on our wedding day.” Amelia smiled. “Thank you.” “Your mother and I are going to have beautiful grandbabies.” Amelia giggled at that.
  42. 42. Then it was my turn to congratulate her. “Remember, there is no divorce, only murder. His murder, of course.” “Ah Mom, you've always had such a way with words on special occasions like this.” “I'm serious, Amelia. If he gives you any sort of trouble, I can arrange things. My baby will not be unhappy.” Amelia smiled fondly. “Thank you anyway.”
  43. 43. Keith and Miles watched the exchange between mother and daughter, but they couldn't hear what was being said. Finally, Keith turned to his new son-in-law. “Hurt my baby, and I break your legs.” “Oh my God! Do I look that frail and feeble that I'm just an easy target for threats?” Miles said in a exasperated voice. Keith just looked back at him, blandly. Miles felt his eyelid twitch as he reminded himself that he married Amelia, not her parents.
  44. 44. Miles' family was far more generous with their congratulations and wishes of happiness for the newlywed couple.
  45. 45. It was an added bonus that Amelia was welcome into the family with open arms. No threat of broken bones and bodily harm was issued towards her. Of course, that's because my family has better manners than her family, Miles thought as he hugged his father. Who do they think they are? The lord rulers of the universe? Yeesh!
  46. 46. While everyone was congratulating the newlyweds, Ashley looked at Aviendha. She had been rather wistful during the entire ceremony and he felt kind of bad about it. “Hey,” he said to her, lightly touching her hand, “maybe once everything has settled down between you and your dad, we can renew our vows and have a nice wedding like this.” Aviendha smiled at him. “Nah. I'll be okay. I would like to have a pretty dress and stuff, but it would be kinda pointless to blow all that money on something that's already taken place.” “Still, I want to do this for you.” “Maybe. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Okay. I'm done being depressing. Let's go congratulate my cousin now.” She smiled brightly at him, took his hand, and walked over to Miles and Amelia.
  47. 47. Mary, for her part, was very happy for her brother and new sister-in-law. However, all she could keep thinking about was her own wedding and how beautiful and perfect it was going to be.
  48. 48. As everyone was getting ready to leave for the reception, which was being held at Miles and Amelia's house, Miles grabbed Amelia by the waist and spun her into an impromptu dance. Holding her close, he smiled and said, “I love you Mrs. Amelia Devereaux.” Amelia laughed. “Ah, you just love the babies I'm going to give you Mr. Family Man.” “Hey now, just because that may be true doesn't mean I love you any less. After all, you are going to be the mother of my children. All ten of them.” “TEN?!” “Not enough? Okay, twist my arm. Twenty kids.” He laughed at the look of horror on his wife's face. “Oh alright. Three. But I want them to go to college. And I want to start tonight after everyone leaves.” Amelia blushed. “You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Devereaux, but I accept your proposal.” “Music to my ears, my love,” Miles gave her a rakish grin, spun her around, and dipped her down for a kiss.
  49. 49. To specifically contrast the pomp and circumstance of the church wedding, Miles and Amelia decided to have their reception be more of a lawn party. Miles grilled the chicken and steak and everyone else brought different side dishes for everyone to sample.
  50. 50. Unfortunately, the sunny skies that they had for the ceremony didn't last, and a terrible thunderstorm began, forcing everyone to go inside to continue the celebration. Miles looked at me and glared. “Oh come on, I can't be held responsible for the weather. Besides, does it look like Amelia is upset?” “I didn't say anything,” I responded as innocently as I could. I had to admit, I was rather enjoying myself; both with the reception and making Miles uncomfortable. But on this, the day of my daughter's wedding, I decided to cut Miles some slack. “Everything is very lovely, Miles.” I grinned my biggest grin at him, inwardly giggling at the thought of me being the Godfather, er, Godmother of this 'verse.
  51. 51. Miles could feel my eyes on him as he began to pour the champagne. I had to admit, the boy worked well under pressure. Everyone gathered around to toast the bride and groom, including all of the people who were sitting in the hot tub in various stages of undress. Miles winced as he saw his father grinning, wearing only his swim trunks.
  52. 52. Multiple toasts done, dinner eaten, and cake cut, the entire party decided to pay homage to Michael Jackson by dancing the Smustle in unison. Well, except for me, but I have always had problems being coordinated.
  53. 53. As everyone was leaving, satisfied with the successful party, Aviendha spoke privately to her cousin. “Awesome wedding, Miles. I'm happy for you.” Miles grinned at her and noticed Aviendha's wedding ring. “You got married? When?” “Yesterday at the courthouse.” “...Does your dad know?” Aviendha shrugged. “I don't know. Don't care, either.” “I wish you would have said something. Mary and I would have liked to have been there.” Aviendha smirked. “Miss Priss? I doubt she would have been all that approving of a marriage without permission.” “Aw, come on...” “Sorry. I didn't mean to be insulting. Ashley and I wanted it to be private, that's all. But maybe you guys can come over sometime and we can all have dinner together.” “Sounds like a plan.” Miles hugged her.
  54. 54. Finally, everyone left. Miles and Amelia sat down and ate some of the leftover food, chit chatting and gossiping. Miles pulled out the rest of the champagne and gave a glass to Amelia. “To the twenty kids we're gonna have.” “Three.” “That's what I said. To the three kids we're gonna have.” Amelia joined in with a toast of her own. “To the hundred thousand simoleons we're gonna make.” “Ooo, nice one. How about this: to my lovely wife Amelia...who is gonna give me ten kids.” “To my loving husband Miles, who will be castrated if we have more than three kids.” “To us, and the totally fun life we're gonna have together. May we always find humor in any situation that arises.” They clinked their glasses together and smiled.
  55. 55. Mary & Goopy, er, Gil Mary gave Goopy a perfunctory hug the day he moved into the house. “Gil, I'm so glad you made it here on time. We have so much to do to prepare for our wedding tomorrow!” Goopy hugged her back. “Uh, yeah, it's gonna be great.” Mary looked at him and relented. “I'm sorry. How inconsiderate of me. You probably want to get yourself situated. Why don't you go do that and I'll take care of the wedding stuff.” Goopy gave her a grateful smile. “So, which room is yours?” “Oh dear. Well, tonight, you aren't going to sleep in my room. You'll have to sleep in Miles' old bedroom. It's the blue one, next to mine. Tomorrow though, you can move into mine, or rather, ours. So don't unpack too much. Just your tux.” Goopy shrugged and went inside.
  56. 56. Mary looked over the grounds and was incredibly disappointed that the gardener, who had just left, didn't trim the overgrown hedges. Sighing, she retrieved garden shears from the garage and began trimming them herself. “It looks so sloppy,” she muttered, blowing her hair from her eyes, “and I don't want sloppiness on my wedding day. It must be the most perfect and beautiful wedding Pleasantview has ever seen!” It was a couple hours of hard work before she was satisfied.
  57. 57. Goopy, on the other hand, enjoyed himself immensely while Mary did all of the hard work. He was a bit creeped out by her family staring at him from the wall, but he managed to get over it. He might not be too fond of the thought of getting married, but he certainly liked the idea of living in the lap of luxury. Besides, chicks like money, and what Mary doesn't know won't hurt her, he thought to himself as he the ten ball into the side pocket. Yeah, I could get used to legacy living. He smiled, pleased with his new lot in life.
  58. 58. Kitty knew Goopy, even if her daughter didn't. She managed to give him the stink eye behind his back, keeping an eye on him, under the pretense of working on her pottery skill. “If her cheats on her, I'll break his legs.” She pounded the clay. “If he makes her cry, I'll break his legs.” She slapped the clay.
  59. 59. Goopy watched Kitty as she aggressively molded the clay. “I'm sorry, did you say something to me?” Kitty slowly turned at looked at him. “No. Nothing at all.” Goopy looked at her a moment longer, then shrugged and looked back at the chess board. What she doesn't know won't hurt her, either, he thought.
  60. 60. Finally, Mary completed all the wedding preparations. She would have liked it if the caterers and such were a bit more helpful, but they had thrown their arms up in frustration and walked out. They were upset because Mary was hovering over them, correcting every little thing, and there was not enough money in the world that would allow them to put up with her constant nit picking. So, Mary did everything by herself. It was late when she finished, but she noticed that Goopy was still up. She walked over to him and gave him a quick kiss, pulling out of his arms before he got too grabby. “You should get some sleep. We both want to look fresh and perfect tomorrow for the photographer.” Before Goopy could respond, she blew him a kiss and went upstairs to bed.
  61. 61. Goopy went upstairs himself, a bit resentful that Mary still insisted on not WooHooing until marriage. What difference does a day make? Besides, it would calm my nerves, he thought as he walked into Miles' old bedroom. He stopped suddenly, as he noticed the childrens' play table. The realization of what he was doing hit him like a blow to the stomach. What the hell am I thinking, getting married? She's gonna want to have kids! The Goopster doesn't do kids!
  62. 62. He managed to get partial control of himself, though, and he got ready for bed. You can do this, Goopster. It's only a wedding. She's smokin' hot and she's gonna want to WooHoo all the time to have kids. Free WooHoo! You can do this dude. Besides, you know where to go if things get too pressured here. The last thought made him smile, and he managed to fall asleep.
  63. 63. Mary, for her part, had absolutely no worries. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she was asleep. She was utterly and completely confident that everything would go well the following day. She slept the sleep usually reserved for children, the innocent, and the dead...only occasionally letting out a delicate snore.
  64. 64. Sebastian walked into Mary's bedroom the next morning and was surprised to see that she was already dressed and ready to go. “What time did you get up this morning?” Mary smiled. “Four. I wanted to make sure that I ate beforehand so I don't spill anything on my dress. And then I had to do my hair and make sure the tiara was connected just right to mom's veil. And then...” she stopped as Sebastian held up his hand to stop her from going into all the little details. “I'm glad I'm male,” he laughed. “We just have to make sure that we show up on time with our hair combed. Heck, we're lucky to be invited to the wedding at all, considering it's usually about the bride anyway.”
  65. 65. He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Big day for you, huh? This is the day you fully take the reins as head of the family.” Mary nodded. “I have been preparing for this day all of my life. Besides, getting married and having babies is also very important to someone like me.” Sebastian smiled a bit as a brief thought of another Family Sim he knew was echoed through his daughter's mouth. “Mary, I want you to know that this job won't always be easy. Often times, it's so rough, you'll wonder if you have the will and strength to carry on. I know that I, myself, wondered that. I am eternally grateful that I found your mother and I had my parents' support through my rough patch. “Ultimately, I want you to know that whatever happens, your mother and I will always be here to support you. But I also hope that you and your husband will be able to lean on each other as well.” Mary quickly wiped a tear from her eye, taking care not to ruin her makeup. “Thank you, Daddy.” Sebastian kissed her forehead. “Well, the guests are arriving. It's time to start the show.”
  66. 66. Mary gracefully made her way down the stairs and headed for the chapel. Excited butterflies were fluttering in her stomach as she overheard the guests milling about, talking, as they were waiting for the ceremony to begin.
  67. 67. “Mrs. Lewis, I'm really sorry that you and Mr. Lewis don't approve of me and your daughter being together, but for the sake of Avi's happiness, can't you at least talk to her? This silent treatment is killing her.” Ashley tried to be stern with Marsha, but the note of desperation was threaded throughout his pleading. Marsha looked at the young man in front of her. Her eyes widened slightly at the wedding ring that he didn't bother to hide. Marsha sighed. “Ashley, I will admit that I was irritated at first. I thought this was just another stunt that Aviendha was pulling for shock value. I can see now that you two are very serious. But, it's not me you should be talking to. It's my husband.” Ashley looked over at Xander. “I don't think that's going to be as easy as you think...”
  68. 68. Aviendha approached her father hesitantly. Reaching up, she went to place her hand on his arm. “Dad, I...” Xander turned and walked away from her. Aviendha, stunned, stupidly left her hand hanging in the air, speechless at her father's rebuff.
  69. 69. People slowly made their way to their seats as Mary entered the room. With a smile on her face, she went up to the wedding arch and scanned the room. “This is so exciting!” she whispered to Goopy. She looked over at him when he didn't respond. He stood there, like a statue, clearly distracted. Finally, the last guest sat down, and the ceremony began.
  70. 70. Mary began reciting the written vows that she wrote for the two of them. As she was doing so, she couldn't help but notice that Goopy was starting to breathe a little fast and heavy, completely missing his cues. She continued on, feeding him his lines, which he recited back, mechanically.
  71. 71. When it came time to exchange the rings, Mary hissed at him, “Hold out your hand so I can put this on your finger.” Goopy complied, and he managed to remember that he was supposed to do the same for her. Mary flushed as she heard some of the people start whispering amongst themselves.
  72. 72. Finally, the ceremony was over and Mary and Goopy kissed each other. Goopy felt the ring on his finger. He could feel it weighing him down while simultaneously burning his hand. Unaware of the applause from the audience, Goopy stepped off to the side and had the panic attack that had been threatening him since the night before.
  73. 73. Mary rushed over to him. “Gil? GIL?! What's wrong? Gil? Oh my God! What's happening?”
  74. 74. Kitty and Sebastian looked at each other, stunned. “We should have seen that coming,” Sebastian said. “Is he having a nervous breakdown at my feet?! Sebby, I'm going to kick him!”
  75. 75. “Mama? Daddy? What's wrong with him? Why won't he answer me? Gil? Get up! People are looking! What's wrong?” Mary was frantic as she desperately tried to snap Goopy out of it.
  76. 76. “I just wanted to WooHoo her. That's all. What was I thinking? How could I tie myself down like this? I just wanted the WooHoo. And then there's gonna be kids. And then grandkids. The Goopster doesn't do marriage. What was I thinking? I just wanted the WooHoo.” He muttered this over and over, oblivious to the fact that the room had fallen silent and everyone, including his new wife, could hear him.
  77. 77. Half an hour later, the house chapel was empty except for Kitty and Mary. Miles and Sebastian had managed to pick Goopy up and carry him to the bathroom to splash water on his face. The rest of the guests were unsure about what to do. Should they celebrate? Should they eat the food? They milled about, talking quietly as they tried not to notice new 'happy' bride crying, being consoled by her mother.
  78. 78. Kitty rubbed Mary's shoulder. “Honey, maybe he didn't mean it. I'm sure he loves you. It's just that, well, not all Romance Sims are like Xander and his father.” “Ruined! My wedding is ruined! All of that planning for the perfect wedding, and he ruined it by having his breakdown in front of everyone!” Kitty was stunned. Did this mean, surely not. Kitty had to ask to make sure. “You mean, you aren't upset about what he said?” Mary wiped her eyes with a handkerchief, and she sniffled. “Of course I'm upset about that, Mama.” She began wailing again. “I just thought I could change his mind. This is not perfect! Not perfect at all!” Kitty was at a loss for words, so she continued to soothe her daughter.
  79. 79. Sebastian entered the chapel and made a great show of looking at the flower arrangements. When Mary's sobs died down a bit, he stroked his chin and said in a bland and serious tone, “I can murder him for you, if you would like.” Abruptly, Mary stopped crying. “What?” “If you want, I can murder him for you. Will that make you happy?” She wiped her tears. “Daddy, don't be ridiculous.” “Well, then I should point out that you're being ridiculous in thinking that you can change him. What's done is done. You can either dissolve the marriage, or move on together with him. This entire notion you have of everything needing to be perfect will just cause you heartbreak.” He turned at looked at her. “What do you want to do?” “I want to be married and have babies.” Sebastian nodded, a bit sadly. “Alright then. You have guests who want to celebrate, and your husband has recovered enough to be functional. Remember that this was your choice.”
  80. 80. Goopy walked through the living room and gave Miles and Aviendha a finger gun. “Hey hey guys, what's up?” Aviendha sighed disgustedly and turned her back on him. Miles clenched his jaw, but didn't respond. Goopy shrugged and went to go find Mary. He was pretty certain that she was going to read him the riot act, so he just wanted to get it over with so he could have a few drinks. A lot of alcohol sounded good right about then.
  81. 81. Miles glared at Goopy's retreating form. “Creep,” he muttered to himself, loud enough for Aviendha to hear. “Tell me about it,” Aviendha agreed.
  82. 82. Goopy crossed his his arms as he braced himself for Mary's tirade about how 'not perfect' things are. He was surprised when he saw Mary giving him a huge grin. “Oh there you are, Gil. Come, we have to cut the cake and then have the toast and dinner and stuff. This is our wedding after all.” Goopy blinked. “You mean, you aren't upset?” Mary forced a laugh and grinned even wider. “Oh, of course not. This is what I wanted and now I have it. Besides, later we can WooHoo, which is exactly what you want! We can make this work, I'm positive.”
  83. 83. Goopy, relieved that she apparently wasn't angry, wrapped his arms tightly around her and planted a kiss on her lips. Mary tightly kissed him back.
  84. 84. Everyone had enough manners to act happy for the couple. They even chuckled a bit as Goopy hesitantly ate the cake, quite sure that Mary was going to stuff it in his face.
  85. 85. They even tapped their silverware to their glasses as Sebastian made his toast to the new bride and groom. Goopy looked over at Mary, unobserved, and saw the tight look that was on both her and Sebastian's face. He suddenly knew that he wasn't forgiven for his little 'episode.' He had a feeling that his father-in-law didn't approve, but Mary was calling the shots now. Goopy sighed inwardly and then mentally shrugged. He knew Mary well enough to know that she was willing to fake it until she convinced herself that everything was perfect. So he was in the clear.
  86. 86. After the guests all left, Sebastian sighed as he sat down in the kitchen. He had been blessed with a happy marriage, despite the road he had to travel to get there. Now, all he could see for his daughter was sadness and heartbreak until she finally cracked...and there really wasn't anything he could realistically do about it. He mentally prayed to whatever being would listen; he prayed that he would be wrong.
  87. 87. Upstairs, Goopy got settled into his and Mary's shared bedroom. Mary sat on the bed, waiting patiently for him. With a grin, he leaped onto the bed and pushed her back. “Finally!” he said covering her face and neck with kisses. Mary pulled back. “Gil, be careful of the dress. Don't wreck it.” “Are you planning on ever wearing it again?” “No, but...”
  88. 88. He cut her answer off with a greedy kiss. There was nothing Mary could do but lay back and contemplate the joys of motherhood. She chose this, and she was determined that it was going to be perfect, no matter what.
  89. 89. Epilogue As Xander was leaving for work, he stopped abruptly on his front porch when he noticed a most unwelcome visitor standing in front of his house. He sighed. “Is there something you need Alexander?”
  90. 90. Alexander examined his fingernails for a moment, taking great pleasure in Xander's apparent impatience while he did so. Finally he responded. “I don't know if you are aware, but I married a rather eager young couple the other day. Perhaps you know them? I believe their names are Aviendha and Ashley Lewis. I found it such a shame that bride's own father wasn't there to help celebrate in his daughter's happiness.”
  91. 91. Xander slammed the door shut behind him and stomped down the stairs towards Alexander. “I TOTALLY don't know where you are going with this, but it's going to stop right here and now.” “Ah, so you are aware that she got married?” “Of course I am. Something that major happening in my family doesn't go unnoticed. But I TOTALLY don't see how my relationship with my daughter is any of your concern.” “Oh, it's not. Not really. But I'm sure the media would have a field day with the utter scandal the situation could cause.”
  92. 92. He continued. “Just think of the headlines. 'Mayor's daughter in forbidden love nest!' Or how about this? 'Father disapproves! The sad tale of love and loss between Mayor Lewis and his estranged daughter. Details on page three.' Oh, I also rather like this one: 'Scandal! Nude pictures of Aviendha Lewis with her forbidden husband. Mayor Lewis heartbroken!' However, the one I like the best is this: 'Mayor Lewis' daughter is spiraling out of control! How can Mayor Lewis run SimCity if he is unable to control his own daughter?' “They are a bit crude and wordy, but you get my meaning. I have a copy of their marriage certificate and it is easy enough to hire some photographers to get the needed pictures.”
  93. 93. “You wouldn't DARE!” “I would, and you know it. I don't mind getting my hands a bit dirty to achieve what I want. And what I want is for you to retire and nominate me for your position. It is nothing personal. I just think I am far more qualified to run the city. It is my heritage, after all. “My family has always been the backbone of Pleasantview until you and yours arrived. I just want what is rightfully mine. You, sir, are standing in my way of said heritage.”
  94. 94. “You just want the title and position so you can abuse your power and make my extended family's life miserable. You and I both TOTALLY know it, Alexander!”
  95. 95. Alexander yawned theatrically, indicating how bored he was with Xander's accusations.
  96. 96. “Oh, excuse me. I have learned that having the personal vendetta against the Devereaux family is far beneath me, now. However, if you want, I can make sure that I will never mention any of your family's names in any sort of campaign I run. “But really, Xander, don't you think it's worth it to retire? Your daughter's reputation, as well as your own, is at stake, after all. I can make this either very easy for you, or very hard. It is your choice on how you want to do this. But I will be the new Mayor of SimCity.”
  97. 97. A feeling of defeat washed over Xander as he glared at Alexander. Yes, he was angry at Aviendha for going against his wishes; but he didn't want her to suffer from the scandal that could very well ruin her, as well as the rest of the family. He didn't like Alexander, nor did he trust him to keep his word, but he came to a decision. “Fine. I will retire and nominate you as my successor. Let me wrap up a few loose ends and I will make the arrangements. Just, please, leave Aviendha out of this.”
  98. 98. “I knew you could be persuaded to see reason. I am aware that it will take time, but please make sure it doesn't take too long. I expect you to retire within the year. After all, we wouldn't want to cause a scandal about you abruptly leaving office, now would we?” “...No, we wouldn't.” Alexander smiled and turned to walk away. “Excellent. I'll see you at the office then, Xander. Give my regards to your family.” *** I want to take the time to mention that I did not build the Courthouse, Saint Bella's, or Miles and Amelia's house. I downloaded them from MTS2 because I don't have the patience to build real intricate buildings. Anyway, thank you all for reading and thanks to Tribebohemian for donating Kitty to me. She writes “The Victorians: A Legacy.” See you next time, and until then, Happy Simming!