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Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story - Desdemona Doran Part Three


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Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story - Desdemona Doran Part Three

  1. 1. Desdemona fell asleep on the couch as she talked to Shadow. Once again, she’d been concerned that her old nightmare would return, but it didn’t. Instead, she dreamed of something much more comforting.
  2. 2. “Mom.” “Hello, Desdemona.” “What…why are you here?” “You need to stop being so hard on yourself. What happened to Lily wasn’t your fault. I told you that all those years ago.”
  3. 3. Desdemona burst into tears, and her mother came over to wrap her arm around her daughter. “But…if I hadn’t…Lily…” “What happened to Lily was horrible, yes. But I was able to bring her back, and she’s moved forward. She’s married, and she’s got a family, both of which are things she wanted. She’s happy now, Desdemona.” “But…” “No more ‘buts.’ Desdemona Doran, look at me.”
  4. 4. Desdemona straightened herself, and looked her mother in the eyes. “I’m only going to say this once, so listen carefully. You’ve punished yourself enough for what happened. You need to stop. You have a right to be happy too, even if you don’t believe that yet.” “But…” “No more ‘buts,’ Desdemona. You can’t keep pushing people away. That’s never been who you were. There are good people out there who you can trust, and I think you know who I’m talking about. Don’t let them keep winning. Every time you push someone away, that’s what happens.” “It’s hard, Mom. I don’t want to be this way, but I’ve forgotten how to be anyone else.” “I know. It will take time. But remember, Desdemona. You deserve happiness. Choose happiness. It’s what we all want for you, Lily included.”
  5. 5. Desdemona awoke with a start. Thankfully, Shadow had moved, probably to sprawl across the unoccupied bed, otherwise she probably would have knocked him off the couch. It was still early, but the sun was beginning to come up over the horizon. She went over to the window to watch it climb in the sky. With a determination that she’d not known for a while, she got ready to head out. “I might be a while, Shadow,” she said to the kitty who was busy looking for his breakfast. “But don’t worry about me. I have a few things I need to do.” Shadow looked at her as if to say, “go get ‘em!” before turning his attention to his food dish.
  6. 6. She stopped at the coffee shop on the corner and got two large cups, one with cream and sugar and one black, and some pastries. She then turned and headed in the direction of Jimmy’s cabin. It took her a while to find it, as she’d not really been paying attention to where she was going the first time she went, but eventually she stumbled across the clearing. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door. “It’s open,” a scratchy voice called.
  7. 7. When she got inside, she saw Jimmy on the floor, looking haggard and exhausted. “Cream and sugar or black?” “Black. Please.” She handed him the cup, which Jimmy accepted and began to drink from greedily. “I brought some pastries too. I thought you might be hungry.” He smiled tentatively at her. “Plates are in the cabinet next to the sink.”
  8. 8. After setting the food out, she sat down at the counter and sipped her coffee. A few moments later, Jimmy joined her, and ate both of the pastries she had brought greedily. He looked at her. “You changed your mind. Why?” She took a deep breath. “I realized that I can’t keep living my life based on one bad decision I made when I was in high school.” He nodded. “Want to talk about it?” “I do.”
  9. 9. For the first time, Desdemona told someone her story. She talked about growing up with her absentee vampire father. She talked about how she hated her parents for splitting up, and how much she blamed the vampire council for driving them apart. She told him about her so-called friends, how they’d used her to lure her, Grey, Lily, and Nata out that fateful afternoon, and how they then turned on them because of something her mother had done to help a ghost. She cried when she retold of finding out they’d killed her little sister, and sobbed harder when she recounted going home to tell her mother. She’d paused to collect herself, and Jimmy didn’t push her to continue. After a moment, she shared how her mother had become a vampire to talk to Death and cut a deal to bring Lily back, and how that had brought the wrath of the vampire council down on their heads. She talked about the trial, the sentences handed down to her parents, and how she and her siblings were banished. Then she filled in the past few years of her travels with her siblings, her brief stint in college, her time in Kingston and why she left, her time in Riverbrook and why she left, and how she had settled in Fairport, and everything that had happened to her since her arrival.
  10. 10. “Wow,” Jimmy said. “That’s a lot for anyone to take. It’s no wonder you don’t trust people after what those bastards did to you.” She smiled weakly, and he patted her hand. “There is one thing that I don’t quite understand. You and your brother and sisters didn’t have anything to do with ‘perverting vampirism,’ so why did you get banished?” “Yeah, about that. I don’t know if I ever told you my last name. It’s Doran. Does that mean anything to you?” Jimmy looked thoughtful. “I remember hearing something once about…elves?” “Elves have something to do with it, yeah. But that’s only part of the story.”
  11. 11. After recounting what her mother had told her, Jimmy leaned back on his stool. “I’m not sure what to say.” “I understand if you don’t want anything to do with me. It’s a lot of baggage.” Jimmy took her hands. “I’m amazed that you came through everything. A weaker person would have given up long ago. Yet you survived, and kept going. That takes guts.” She shook her head. “I was really hard on myself, and I blamed myself for Lily dying. Still do. After all, she wouldn’t have gone that day if I hadn’t convinced her.” “Did it ever occur to you that if it hadn’t been Lily, it would have been Grey or Nata or even you? Or that if it hadn’t been that day, it would have been another, at a different place? It sounds to me like those Tricou people were out to get you, and they weren’t going to let anything stop them.”
  12. 12. “I…I hadn’t really thought about that. I guess you’re right; it didn’t matter to them who they killed that day, so long as it was one of Mom’s kids. They wanted to send the message to her, after all.” “I’m sorry you had to go through all that. You were lucky that your mom was willing to make such a sacrifice. Do you talk to her much?” Desdemona shook her head. “My siblings every now and then, but I’m scared that the vampire council will do something to her if the realize we’re still in contact.” “You must miss her.” “I do. Actually, she’s the reason I’m here. I had a dream about her last night, and she told me I deserved to be happy. I’m not quite sure I believe that, but I owe it to her and my brother and sisters to try.”
  13. 13. “I’m glad. When I first saw you, with that vampire accosting you, I was drawn to you, but with my condition I couldn’t let myself get close to you. Then I saw you at city hall, and you showed up here, and I couldn’t help but think that fate was trying to push you towards me.” “You were my knight in shining armor that night. I really wish you’d stuck around long enough for me to thank you, but I guess I know why you didn’t now.” “Yeah. I barely made it back here in time for the transformation that night.” “Are you dangerous when you’re transformed?” “I honestly don’t know. There are times when it feels like I’m still myself, but there are others when I feel like the wolf just takes over completely. And it’s not like I can ask someone to help me test it out. If something went wrong, I would end up biting them and probably pass on the lycanthropy, or worse.”
  14. 14. Desdemona nodded. “Is there, well, is it permanent like vampirism?” Jimmy slumped a little in his chair. “If there is a cure, I haven’t been able to find it. And believe me, I’ve looked.” “So this is you.” “This is me. What do you think about that?” “It’s a little scary; I’m not going to lie. But I don’t know if I’m scared because you’re a werewolf or because I’m actually opening up to someone.” “Afraid the nightmares will come back?” “Terrified.”
  15. 15. “How do you normally cope with the nightmares?” She smiled wryly. “Usually, I move. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cure them; it just staves them off for a while. Shadow might comfort me, but as I’ve not really had the nightmare since coming to Fairport, I can’t say for sure.” “I’d feel really bad if I were to be one of the causes of them coming back.” “Hey, it’s not your fault. Would it be nice to have a shoulder to cry on? Sure, but I also know that just talking about all this, at last, is really comforting me.” “Good.”
  16. 16. “So where does this leave us?” “Huh?” Desdemona rolled her eyes. “You were drawn to me. I think you’re cute. In the normal world, we’d start dating. But I know this isn’t anything close to normal, so I figured I should ask.” “I don’t know. I’d like to date you, get to know you better, but it wouldn’t be, as you put it, a normal relationship. I haven’t been out past moonrise since I was bitten, since I’m such a grouch, and I know it wouldn’t be safe for you to spend time with me while I’m transformed.” “Who says we have to do the traditional date night? There’s a lot of daylight hours where we could do stuff. We could try doing stuff in the evenings that don’t require us to be around people so you don’t have to worry about being grouchy.”
  17. 17. “Are you saying you want to give this a shot?” “I am, even though I’m ridiculously out of practice. I haven’t really dated since high school.” “It’s been a while for me too. I guess we can relearn together?” “That sounds like a really good idea.”
  18. 18. Desdemona and Jimmy started dating that day, by taking a picnic lunch into the woods so that Jimmy could show her one of the places where he liked to go to think. Before it got dark, she went home with the promise that Jimmy would come over the next day so he could meet Shadow and she could show him some of her favorite places in town.
  19. 19. Shadow wasn’t exactly impressed when he first met Jimmy, but after Desdemona sat down next to the bed and explained to him that Jimmy was important to her, the cat had crawled out and allowed the werewolf to pet him. He’d then given Desdemona a look that clearly spoke his thoughts before retreating back under the bed. “Don’t worry about it. Like I said, cats aren’t exactly fond of people like me.” “It’s just…he was the first living thing I’ve gotten close to in a really long time, you’re the second, and I’m not going to pick between the two of you.” “You won’t have to. Shadow’s just being protective of you. Hopefully, when he realizes that I’m not going to hurt you he’ll warm up to me.” “I hope so. Okay, Shadow. We’re going out, but I’ll be home before dark.”
  20. 20. Over the next few months, Desdemona and Jimmy saw a lot of each other. The week of the full moon meant that their dates were restricted to daylight hours, owing to Jimmy’s irritability leading up to the transformations and then his exhaustion in the days following. During the other three weeks, however, they spent nearly every free hour in each other’s company, and even that didn’t seem like enough time. They didn’t talk much more about Jimmy being a werewolf, but that fact was never too far from Desdemona’s thoughts. She was certain that Jimmy didn’t present a danger to her when he was transformed; after all, he’d not run after her the night she’d inadvertently stumbled across the cabin, but Jimmy was not open to debate on the issue. One time, when she’d decided to press him on the issue, she’d ended up abandoned at the art exhibit they’d gone to see, as Jimmy had stormed out in a huff. Even with the occasional spat, their relationship grew stronger. Shadow begrudgingly accepted Jimmy’s presence in his mistress’ life, though the cat would often sit and eye the man as if to say “I’m watching you.” Jimmy found it hilarious, though it embarrassed Desdemona.
  21. 21. Their relationship grew stronger, but the physical aspect moved at what Desdemona felt was a snail’s pace. Jimmy insisted that it was because he was afraid of hurting her, as being a werewolf increased his strength, and he insisted that it was as hard for him as it was for her to stop things when they started getting heavy. A month after she’d decided she was ready to woohoo, Desdemona decided to take things into her own hands. She went to a lingerie store that one of her coworkers recommended, picked out a few things that she thought Jimmy would appreciate, and she invited him over on the night of the new moon under the guise of going to see a movie. When he arrived, she greeted him at the door wearing one of the ensembles and a smile.
  22. 22. Needless to say, her plan was successful.
  23. 23. After, as they snuggled in bed, Desdemona couldn’t help but gloat a little. “I told you that you wouldn’t hurt me.” “Yeah, I guess I should have trusted your judgment. I’m still going home when it gets close to dark, though.” She repressed the urge to roll her eyes. “We have some time before then.” Jimmy smirked. “Any ideas on what we could do to pass the time?” Desdemona smirked right back. “I’m sure I could think of a few things.”
  24. 24. Now that they’d taken their relationship to the next level, Desdemona was finding it harder and harder to let Jimmy go home as it got close to dark. She broached the subject of him staying over one night, but Jimmy had shut her down immediately. “It’s too close to the full moon. I’m not taking the chance of hurting you physically, or with a snide remark I say because I can’t hold my temper. Besides, you need your evenings to do your schoolwork, if you plan on graduating at the end of the year.”
  25. 25. Jimmy was right about the school piece at least. Desdemona only had three classes left before she was done with school, and her boss at city hall had promised her a promotion when she had her degree. As much as Desdemona liked her job, she was very excited about the possibility of doing actual political work instead of just answering the phone and directing visitors to the appropriate department. Plus, the promotion would mean a pay raise, which she was also very excited about. She channeled the anger and frustration she felt about Jimmy’s unwillingness to budge on the issue into her assignments. She also ranted to Shadow. Though the feline seemed to realize that Jimmy wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, his first loyalty was still with Desdemona.
  26. 26. “I don’t know why he’s being so stubborn, Shadow,” she said one night as she got ready for bed. “He won’t even entertain discussion on the issue. How are we supposed to find out if he’ll hurt me or not if he’s not willing to talk about it?” Shadow purred his agreement as he settled onto the other side of the bed. “He can’t keep avoiding the issue. I’ll be done with school at the end of the week, so that excuse is out the window.”
  27. 27. As she’d predicted, Desdemona finished up her degree at the end of the week. Her grades weren’t perfect, but Jimmy insisted on taking her out for an early dinner to celebrate anyway. So they got all dressed up and went to a nice Italian place, though the entire wait staff seemed confused as to why. “They’re probably out back gossiping about how you’re cheap, taking me out for an early bird special instead of dinner,” Desdemona teased. “How do you know that?” “Oh, please. I waited tables in Kingston, and that’s what I would have done. You have to admit that it’s a bit out of the ordinary.” “I would love to be able to take you for dinner at a more normal time, but…” “I know. It’s okay. This is really great, and we didn’t even have to wait for a table. There are some benefits to the situation.”
  28. 28. As they strolled down the street, going nowhere in particular, Desdemona decided to bring up the topic of them spending the night together again. After all, Jimmy was in a really great mood, and it was always better to ask for something when the person you were asking was in a good mood.
  29. 29. “Absolutely not.” “Seriously? You’re not even going to entertain discussion on the subject?” “There’s nothing to discuss. It’s not safe.” “You say that, and yet you didn’t come after me that night I found you. I think you’re being overly cautious. How will you know whether or not it’s safe if you refuse to even try?”
  30. 30. Jimmy halted and turned to face Desdemona. “Don’t’ you understand that the only reason that I didn’t go after you is that I had barricaded myself in the cabin, and I was too out of it to remember where I hid the key? Do you have any idea what you’re asking of me? I’m amazed that you trust me so much, but I don’t trust myself that much. Not with your safety, anyway.” “But…” “No! Don’t you get it?!? If I were to hurt you…I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. You’re too precious to me to take that chance!”
  31. 31. Desdemona put her hand on her hip. “I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m a big girl and I can take care of myself.” “Desdemona…” “No! You’ve said your piece; now it’s time for me to say mine. This is important to me, Jimmy. I know there’s risk, but it’s one I’m willing to take. What bothers me the most is that you won’t budge on this, not even an inch. I care about you, a lot. I think you might be it for me, but what kind of future do we have if we can’t even compromise? Okay, maybe asking to be there when you’re transformed is too much. How about the night before a transformation?” “What part of ‘no’ do you not understand? I’m stronger than an average person, I have a very short temper, and I could say or do something that I couldn’t take back!” “Again, I ask you how you know that if you won’t even try? What if I promised to leave if it got to be too much?”
  32. 32. “I know you too well, Desdemona. You don’t give up so easily.” “You won’t give on this at all? Now what?” Jimmy’s shoulders slumped. “I was always afraid this would turn out to be too good be true. Someone like me doesn’t get happily ever afters.” He turned sadly and started to walk away.
  33. 33. “So that’s it?” Desdemona shouted to his retreating back. “You’re just giving up?” He stopped and turned to face her. “This is a non-negotiable, Desdemona. I will not hurt you. I couldn’t live with myself if I did.” Desdemona couldn’t stop the tear that escaped her eye at that moment. “Too late. You already have.”
  34. 34. She walked around town for a while, until the high heeled shoes she’d worn made her feet scream in pain. The entire time, the fight replayed in her head. How could he have done that, to discard her opinion so quickly? “I’m a grown woman, for fuck’s sake,” she said as she slammed back into her apartment. “I can make my own decisions.”
  35. 35. She went to the bathroom and filled up the tub, deciding that a bubble bath would be just the thing to help ease her aching feet. Shadow seemed to sense that something was up, and followed her into the bathroom where he kept vigil. “You knew he was trouble from the beginning, didn’t you? I should have listened to you. It would have saved me a whole lot of trouble.”
  36. 36. After the bath, she opened up a bottle of wine. Realizing that it probably wasn’t the best idea to drink on an empty stomach, she also whipped up a batch of mac and cheese. She put the large bowl and equally large glass of wine down on the kitchen table, and began to indulge in both. While she ate and drank, she ranted to Shadow about how stupid she thought Jimmy was being. After finishing her dinner, she refilled her glass and moved to the couch. The more she drank, the more she ranted.
  37. 37. “I mean, really? ‘This is non-negotiable?’ What kind of shit is that?” Shadow stopped licking his paw and moved his head in what Desdemona interpreted as a nod. “I have never met someone so pigheaded in my life!” It might have been all the wine, but Desdemona swore that Shadow raised his little kitty eyebrow at her. “I know I’m stubborn, but I’m not that bad.”
  38. 38. The next morning, Desdemona work up to a nasty headache and a bowl of spoiled mac and cheese on the counter. Grumbling, she got something for the headache and moved about the apartment as quietly as she could as she cleaned up. “I’m never drinking again,” she moaned as she leaned over the counter. Shadow rubbed up against her legs. “I feel terrible. Guess there are better ways of dealing with stupid boyfriends, huh?” Shadow meowed, and Desdemona chuckled. “You just want your breakfast, don’t you? Okay, buddy. Give me a second.”
  39. 39. A few hours later, Desdemona was feeling slightly more normal, and she decided to check her phone. The little voicemail icon was lit up, and she could feel her heart start to race a little. “Hi, Desdemona, it’s Louise from the office. I was wondering…” Disgusted, she hung up the phone before she finished listening to the message. “Nothing. What a jerk.” She flopped down on the sofa where Shadow promptly joined her, and she absentmindedly stroked his fur.
  40. 40. “I was at least expecting an “I’m sorry for being such an ass,’ but I guess I don’t even get that.” Shadow looked at her oddly. “Don’t look at me like that! I know it takes two to fight, but he started it! He never listens when I bring up the subject of spending the night at his place.” Shadow began to lick his paw, as if to say he was disinterested in what Desdemona was saying. “Don’t tell me you’re siding with him!” Shadow just looked at her again.
  41. 41. “I don’t believe this! My own cat, who is supposed to hate werewolves by the way, is siding with one. What kind of loyalty is that?” Shadow, seemingly offended, hopped off the sofa and flicked his tail as he stalked towards the bedroom. “Go on, run away, just like he did! Don’t even bother to listen to my side of things.” Shadow turned and gave her one last glace before vanishing inside. Desdemona picked up one of his toys and threw it in the direction of the bedroom door. The cat toy hit the doorframe and came bouncing back towards her. “What am I going to do now?” she asked to the empty room.
  42. 42. What she did was get up and go to work like she always did on Monday morning. As promised, with her shiny new degree in hand, Desdemona was promoted to work in the mayor’s office. Her primary responsibility was to research the proposed ordinances and budgets to find out their impact on the city, and she knew right away that she would love it. In addition to the book and online research, she would be able to go out into the community and ask people about what they thought of the proposals. Her first thought as she walked out of the mayor’s office with a stack of assignments was that Jimmy would be so excited to hear about her promotion. She actually had her cell phone out and had started to scroll to his number before she remembered that she was mad at him. Desdemona made a face, and then slammed her phone onto her new desk before she began pounding away at the keyboard with a little more force than necessary as she looked up information on the cost of a new fire truck.
  43. 43. The rest of the week progressed in much the same way as Monday had. Desdemona got up, went to work, did her job, and went home to her apartment. Several times each day, she’d see or think something that made her want to call or text Jimmy, and then she’d remember that she was mad at him and stop. She’d expected that by Wednesday she’d hear from him, but Friday came around, and there had been no phone calls, no email, and no texts. Miffed, she decided to go out for drinks with some of her coworkers, but she couldn’t stop checking her phone.
  44. 44. “Yo, Desdemona! We not good enough for you anymore?” Naomi asked. “Or are you having an affair with that phone of yours?” Desdemona blushed, and slipped her phone into her pocket. “Sorry. I’m hoping that someone will call.” “What’s his name?” Carrie asked. “How did you know it’s a guy?” Carrie rolled her eyes. “Please. You’re looking at the phone like it’s a piece of red meat. It had to be a guy, since I know you’re not into girls that way.”
  45. 45. Desdemona chuckled. “No, I’m not. It is a guy, and we were dating but we had a big fight and I don’t know what’s going on right now. I haven’t talked to him in almost a week. I kept thinking that he’d call…” “Oh, honey, that’s not how men work. Even if they’re wrong they won’t admit it. What was the fight about?” It took Desdemona a moment to come up with a plausible story. “I thought that it was time to talk about moving in together, and he wasn’t willing to discuss it.” The two other ladies shook their heads. “Men,” Carrie sighed. “So you’ve been ignoring him for the past week? Trying to make him realize what he’s missing?” “Something like that,” Desdemona replied, thinking to herself that it was also the fact that it was the night of the full moon that had kept her from storming over to his house and demanding an explanation.
  46. 46. “What you need to do is march yourself over to his place and make him listen to you. And then you need to listen to him.” “Exactly,” Carrie chimed in. “And if this is a deal-breaker for him, you need to move on.” “Easier said than done,” Desdemona muttered. “Oh, my gosh! You should go over there now and talk to him!” “Yes!” Naomi seconded, causing Desdemona to blanch.
  47. 47. “I don’t think that’s the best idea,” she hesitated. “Why not? You should do it before you lose your nerve,” Naomi insisted. How exactly do I tell them that I can’t talk to my boyfriend right now because he’s a werewolf? Desdemona thought. Aloud she said, “I’m not going to lose my nerve. It’s Friday, and he’s always extra cranky at the end of the week from work. Second, I think I’ve had one too many of these,” she waved her hand over her drink at this, “to be able to think as clearly as I’d like to. I’ll go over his place first thing in the morning and hash it out with him.” Carrie nodded. “We’ll be expecting a full report on Monday.” “Of course. Thanks for the fun, but if I’m going to have a big talk tomorrow I think I should be heading out.” Desdemona reached into her purse and pulled out a few bills which she tossed down on the bar. “See you ladies on Monday.”
  48. 48. Back at her apartment, Desdemona quickly shed her work clothes and put on her pajamas before sitting down on the sofa and flipping on the TV. Shadow soon joined her, and she reached over to scratch behind his ears. “I’m going to go talk to Jimmy tomorrow,” she told the cat, who purred in approval. “I don’t know if anything will come of it, but we can’t leave things the way we did. I just hope that whatever happens, it doesn’t bring the nightmares back. I like it here too much to pick up and start over again someplace else.”
  49. 49. Desdemona thought that she’d have trouble sleeping that night, but Shadow seemed to take it upon himself to snuggle up next to her and purr all night to soothe her. Subsequently, she got a very good night’s sleep, and awoke on Saturday refreshed and determined. She dressed, said goodbye to Shadow, and went to the coffee house to pick up provisions before setting out on foot to Jimmy’s cabin. As she walked, she carefully planned out what she was going to say and tried to prepare herself in case he still wasn’t willing to budge on the issue.
  50. 50. When she arrived at the cabin, she knocked on the door as she entered. Jimmy was sprawled across the floor, and the room was a mess. “Rough night?” she asked as she handed him his coffee. “Rough couple of nights,” he replied as he accepted.
  51. 51. Desdemona righted a stool and sat down. She sighed, and then spoke. “I have no idea how to start this, so I’m just going to jump right in. What you did, just walking away like that, hurt me, Jimmy. I get that you’re afraid of hurting me. I’d feel the same way if the situation were reversed. But you need to see things from my side too. If this is going to be a relationship, there needs to be compromise. From both of us. If that’s not something you can do, I just don’t see how this can work.” Jimmy took a long sip of his coffee before replying. “I figured that out about three seconds after I walked away from you, but I was too stubborn to turn around and chase after you.” “I wish you would have,” she said wryly. “It would have saved both of us a lot of heartache.”
  52. 52. “No shit,” he said with a quiet chuckle. “Then I thought about calling you, but it was leading up to the full moon, and I didn’t think I could hold my temper, so the whole week went by. It’s a crap excuse, I know. I just didn’t want to make things worse by saying something else that I’d regret.” Desdemona wanted to say something about texting or email or sending flowers, but she didn’t. “So you’re willing to talk about this like adults?” He nodded. “The couch’s more comfortable than that chair, and this might take a while.”
  53. 53. Desdemona joined him on the couch and looked around the chaos that was the cabin’s great room. “I can see why you might not want me around when you’re transformed.” “Yeah. I guess when I’m pissed it makes the wolf angrier.” “So same room is out. What about…how about if I spend the next full moon outside the cabin in a tent?” Jimmy raised his eyebrow at her. “You, in a tent? Excuse me for saying it, but you don’t strike me as the camping type, Desi.”
  54. 54. Desdemona’s eyes teared up, and Jimmy immediately started backpedaling. “I didn’t mean it like that! You just don’t seem like the kind of girl who goes camping willingly.” She shook her head. “It’s not the camping comment. No one’s ever called me ‘Desi’ except my family. It’s just been a really, really long time.” “I won’t do it again if it bothers you.” “No, I kind of like it. It felt…nice. Like coming home.”
  55. 55. “Okay then, Desi, so you want to try camping out.” She blushed, and nodded. “It’s a first step? Like maybe if that works, we can figure out the next step?” “You really want to live with me? I’m a crab and a jerk when I don’t get my way, I can’t make a decent cup of coffee, and I forget and leave the toilet seat up.” “And I’m a neat freak who has a ton of baggage and a cat that doesn’t really like you. So what if the odds aren’t exactly in our favor. I want this to work. I think you want this to work…” “I do.” “So let’s figure this out.”
  56. 56. As the morning wore on, they discussed their plan. They would return to Desi’s apartment and retrieve the tent that she’d kept in the trunk of her car when she was on the road. She’d also get an overnight bag, and make sure that Shadow was set for her to be away for the night. Then, they’d return to the cabin, get things set up, and wait for moonrise. As it started to get dark, Jimmy pressed the cabin key into Desi’s hand. “Under no circumstances do you unlock the door before the sun rises. Do you understand?” “I do. See you in the morning.”
  57. 57. When the moon rose and Jimmy transformed, Desi was huddled inside her tent. She knew that the cabin was reinforced enough to keep him safely inside, but she didn’t want to see him like that again. The occasional howl broke through the night and kept her from getting a solid night’s sleep. When dawn broke, Desi stretched and got out of the tent. The cabin was quiet, but she still peaked in the window to confirm that Jimmy had returned to his human form. Seeing that he had, she unlocked the door and let herself in.
  58. 58. “Come on,” she said softly as she helped him get up from the floor. “Let’s get you to bed so you can get some real sleep for a few.” “M’kay,” he muttered.
  59. 59. She got Jimmy settled in bed, and was going to go root around for some breakfast, but the bed looked so very comfortable that she decided it would be a good idea to lie down for just a minute. She pulled back the covers on the other side of the bed, and crawled in next to Jimmy. “Just a few minutes,” she said quietly.
  60. 60. Desdemona awoke with a sleepy smile on her face, and then she looked at the clock. “Shit,” she swore softly, as Jimmy was still sleeping. She pried herself away from him and padded into the kitchen, and began to poke around in the refrigerator for something to make for breakfast.
  61. 61. She was just putting the omelets on a plate when Jimmy emerged from the bedroom, yawing. “Something smells good,” he said, making Desdemona smile. “Another one of the things I picked up on while living in Riverbrook – Tammy made me appreciate a home-cooked meal, so I ended up teaching myself how to cook.” “Lucky me,” Jimmy smiled as he sat down and dug in.
  62. 62. Jimmy insisted on doing dishes while Desdemona showered and got ready for the day. When she reemerged into the great room, she saw that Jimmy was outside, relaxing in the sunshine. She went outside to join him. As they snuggled on the warm ground, they talked about the night before. “Well?” Desdemona prompted. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Jimmy admitted. “I still don’t think I could stand you being in the room with me – the wolf wouldn’t like that at all – but knowing that you were near somehow helped me stay saner, if that makes any sense.” “Kind of. You didn’t lose yourself in the wolf the way you normally would, because there was something to ground you to your human self.” “Exactly!”
  63. 63. “So, now what?” “Well, the tent will work when it’s warm, of course, but when winter comes I don’t know how practical an option that is.” “Not very, I think.” Jimmy nodded. “There is another option. The cabin has a basement, which with a little work and reinforcement would be suitable place for me to pass the transformations while you stayed upstairs.” Desdemona sat up a little. “You’d be okay with that?”
  64. 64. Jimmy hesitated. “I’m still not completely thrilled with the idea, but as you said, we need to compromise if this is going to work. If I’m in the basement and can’t get to you, I can live with that. Can you?” Desdemona nodded. “So when do I move in?” Jimmy grinned. “How fast can you pack?”
  65. 65. Over the next week, Jimmy took care of making sure the basement and the door leading to it were reinforced while Desdemona began packing up her apartment. Shadow was certainly happy to see that his mistress had returned to her usual happy self, but he made it very clear that he was not thrilled about the idea of moving in with a werewolf.
  66. 66. “He’ll get used to it,” Jimmy said as he stacked boxes while Desi packed them. “Besides, he’ll have the woods to explore, so he doesn’t even need to be near me if he doesn’t want to.” “I’m sure he’ll love that. What he won’t love is the fact that he won’t be able to snuggle with me at night anymore.” “He’ll still get you three nights a month. I’ll spring for a fancy pet bed for him for the other nights.” “What do you think about that, Shadow?” Shadow just flicked his tail and left the room, causing both Desi and Jimmy to laugh.
  67. 67. Now that Desi was going to be living several miles away from the center of town, she realized that she would need a car again. Wistfully, she thought of the little car that she’d spent so much time repairing and refurbishing. She tentatively brought up the idea of trying to repurchase it to Jimmy, and he’d smiled sadly. “I hate to be the one to tell you this, Desi, but that car is probably long gone. Look at it this way; now you can afford a good car that you won’t have to worry about fixing all the time.” “But fixing that old rust bucket was what made it mine,” she pouted. “Tell you what. We’ll go to the dealership today and get you a brand new car. How’s that?”
  68. 68. A few days later, Desi and Jimmy were loading the last of the boxes containing her stuff into the back of her new car. “Are you sure that’s everything? Two car loads doesn’t seem like it’s enough,” Jimmy said as he shut the back of the car. Desi shrugged. “I spent a lot of time moving around, so everything I owned had to fit into my car. The furniture came with the apartment, which is fine because I never really liked it anyway. I just need to come back tomorrow after work for a quick last look around and to turn the keys back in.” Jimmy nodded. “Not going to change your mind?” “Nope, you’re stuck with me. Now let’s go home and see how much damage Shadow’s done to our place.” “’Our place,’” Jimmy said with a smile. “I like the sound of that.”
  69. 69. The first few months of their cohabitation passed quickly. Desi still went to work, while Jimmy stayed home and worked on completing the various upgrades to the cabin that he and Desi had discussed. Over those months, the once stark cabin took on a homey feel. The walls were painted, the kitchen remodeled, and they even picked out new furniture together. Shadow was clearly not completely thrilled about the new arrangement, but he tolerated Jimmy and had stopped hissing at him. Three nights every month, Desi kissed Jimmy goodnight before locking him in the basement. It got easier as time passed, though those nights Desi never got much sleep. Shadow was very on edge, and spent the entire night sleeping against the door to the basement as if his presence would keep the werewolf downstairs. Desi thought it was cute, though she would have liked to have her kitty to snuggle with as she tried to sleep.
  70. 70. Things were going so well that before long six months had passed. Desi learned to anticipate the mood swings that went along with the lunar cycle, and she did her best to not make them worse. Jimmy did his best not to lose his temper, and he got better at not lashing out when he was frustrated. He credited Desi with the change. “You almost forget how to me human when there’s no one else around to compare yourself to,” he said. “I think you being here has been really good for me.” “So you’ll admit that you were wrong?” she teased. “Only about that,” he teased back, making Desi laugh.
  71. 71. Normally, Desi would come home from work and she and Jimmy would cook dinner together. On the nights of Jimmy’s transformation, however, Desi would usually bring takeout of some sort home with her since she didn’t like cooking for herself. She decided that Chinese food would suit her this month, so she picked up a few different things. When she brought it into the cabin, Jimmy raised an eyebrow. “Hungry much?” “Oh, stop it. The full moon is over a weekend, and I don’t know if I’ll feel like going out. This way I won’t have to. You ready to go downstairs?”
  72. 72. After locking Jimmy in the basement, Desi went upstairs and divvied up the food into enough for three meals. She sat down in front of the TV, flipping it on. A movie about a werewolf came on, and she laughed. “Jimmy would get quite the kick out of dissecting everything that’s wrong with this,” she said to Shadow who was trying to steal bites of her chicken. “Should we show it to him sometime?”
  73. 73. The weekend seemed to fly by, and soon it was Monday morning. Desi got out of bed not feeling great, but she never felt great after not sleeping well for three nights straight so she didn’t really think anything of it. She went out to the basement door and unlocked it, then her stomach suddenly lurched. She dropped the key and went running to the bathroom.
  74. 74. She retched into the toilet for an unknown amount of time. When she was done, she only had the energy to collapse onto the floor of the bathroom. “Desi?” Jimmy’s voice called. “Don’t come in here!” she rasped.
  75. 75. Jimmy didn’t listen, and came into the bathroom anyway. “What’s wrong?” “I don’t know. I got up and unlocked the door, and then…” She hurried into a position where she could throw up again, and Jimmy hurried to her side so he could rub her back gently.
  76. 76. Desi made a pitiful noise. “I feel like crap.” Jimmy helped her to her feet slowly and handed her a toothbrush. “Thanks,” she said. Once her mouth felt somewhat cleaner, she sat down on the floor again. “I can help you to bed,” Jimmy suggested gently, but Desi shook her head. “My stomach is still doing somersaults, so this is good for now. Can you get me my phone so I can call out?” “In a minute, I will,” he replied, sitting down next to her. “I think I’ll stay her for a minute to make sure you’re okay.”
  77. 77. They sat quietly in between Desi retching into the toilet. After the third bout, Jimmy handed her a damp cloth to wipe her face. “Desi, I don’t know how to say this, but…aw, crap, I’ll just say it. Do you think this could be morning sickness because you’re pregnant?” Desi froze. “I don’t…I mean, I guess it could be, but…oh boy.” She felt a little dizzy, so she put her head between her knees for a moment. When she looked up, she saw Jimmy staring back at her with an unreadable expression on his face. “Would it be bad if I were?” “I…I don’t know,” he said honestly. “I never thought I’d have anyone to have a family with. I’m open to the idea; how’s that?” “I’m kind of on the same page. I’m not against the idea, but I don’t know that I’m for it either, you know?”
  78. 78. Jimmy nodded, and they fell into silence. After about half an hour with no sign of a relapse, he got up. “I’m going to go see if we have any ginger ale. You need to try to keep some fluids down. Do you think you can do that?” She nodded weakly. “Maybe it will make the room stop spinning.”
  79. 79. While Desi sat on the floor waiting for Jimmy to come back, she thought about the idea that she might be pregnant. She’d been honest when she said she wasn’t sure where she stood on the issue. After what had happened in Sim City and the lasting effect it had had on her, she’d been certain that she’d spend the rest of her life alone. But now, she had Jimmy. Suddenly, she was hit with the image of Jimmy playing with a small child . It nearly made her gasp. Her hand somehow found its way to her stomach. If she were pregnant, she knew somehow that it would be okay.
  80. 80. “Desi?” Jimmy said as he came back into the room with a glass of ginger ale. “What did you have for dinner last night?” “I made myself bacon and eggs, but then I was awake at like one and got hungry again so I had the last of the leftover Chinese. Why?” Jimmy made a face. “I think that your puking is a case of food poisoning and not morning sickness. The container that held the Chinese food smelled rancid.” “Huh,” Desi said after taking a small sip of the soda. “It smelled fine to me, but then again I don’t have super werewolf senses either.”
  81. 81. After getting a good portion of the glass of soda into her without it making a reappearance, Jimmy decided that Desi needed to get some sleep. He carried her into the bedroom and tucked her into bed despite her protests. “What about you?” she said with a yawn. “I’m going to go get rid of the trash before it makes me gag, then I’m going to clean up a little bit. You get some sleep, okay?”
  82. 82. Desi spent most of the day sleeping, in between nibbling on crackers and sipping ginger ale. By dinner time she was up to some tea and toast, and then she and Jimmy had called it a night. The next morning she woke up not feeling nauseous at all, but she was still a little weak and shaky. She decided it would be a good idea to stay home from work again, and since she’d never taken sick time before her boss didn’t bat an eye when she called out again. She spent the rest of the day relaxing, watching the stupid werewolf movie with Jimmy which they both laughed at, and enjoying the soup that Jimmy had made to help her feel better.
  83. 83. By the end of the week, Desi had returned to work and determined that her sudden illness had indeed been brought on by bad Chinese food and not being pregnant. As she and Jimmy ate that night, he gently brought up the subject. “Are you sure you’re okay with this?” She nodded. “Yes. The timing wouldn’t have been right. It’s not that I’m opposed to it in the future, but I think I’d like it to be planned, you know?” Jimmy nodded, and the finished their dinner.
  84. 84. After dinner, they sat on the sofa in front of the fire. Desi leaned against Jimmy, and spoke. “Thinking that I might be pregnant, it made me realize something.” “What’s that?” She took a deep breath before speaking. “If I’m going to have a baby, I want to be married first.” She waited for a reaction from Jimmy, but getting none she continued. “My parents weren’t married, and my dad wasn’t there to support my mom. Granted, he was a vampire and she lived with a ghost so he couldn’t live with her, but that doesn’t change the fact that he just wasn’t there. If circumstances had been different, it might have been, but something in my gut tells me that it wouldn’t have been. Mom raised us all on her own, and it took a toll on her. I’m not saying that couples can’t break up if they are married, but I’d want that extra layer of commitment before starting a family with someone.”
  85. 85. Jimmy didn’t say anything, which made Desi nervous. “I’ve freaked you out, haven’t I?” “No, not at all. You want something more than what your parents had, because you wouldn’t want your kids to suffer in the same ways you did. That’s totally understandable.” “Yes, but what do you think about that? Is getting married something you can see yourself doing?” Jimmy shifted so he could face her. “Desi, before I met you there wasn’t a lot I could see myself doing. But now, I feel like anything is possible. I was actually wondering how to broach this subject with you, but you just gave me about as perfect a segue as I’ll ever get.”
  86. 86. Forever can never be long enough for me To feel like I've had long enough with you Forget the world now, we won't let them see But there's one thing left to do Now that the weight has lifted Love has surely shifted my way
  87. 87. Marry me Today and every day Marry me If I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe Say you will Mm-hmm Say you will Mm-hmm
  88. 88. Together can never be close enough for me To feel like I am close enough to you You wear white and I'll wear out the words "I love you" And you're beautiful Now that the wait is over And love has finally shown her my way
  89. 89. Marry me Today and every day Marry me If I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe Say you will Mm-hmm Say you will Mm-hmm
  90. 90. Promise me You'll always be Happy by my side I promise to Sing to you When all the music dies And marry me Today and everyday Marry me If I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe Say you will Mm-hmm Say you will Mm-hmm ("Marry Me,” Train)
  91. 91. As they snuggled after, Desi suddenly frowned. “What’s wrong? Change your mind already?” Desi shook her head. “No, it isn’t that. I just realized…my mom won’t be able to see me get married.” She blinked back tears. “Stupid vampire council. They’re ruining something else.” “They’re only going to ruin it if you let them. “We can take lots of pictures, or maybe even make a video of the wedding that you can send to her.” Desi kissed him. “I knew I was marrying you for a reason.” “Now, do you want to track Grey, Lily, and Nata down and invite them?”
  92. 92. It took some effort, but with Lily’s help Jimmy and Desi were able to locate Grey and Nata. She invited them to the wedding, which they’d decided to hold at the small park in the center of town followed by a brief reception. She also invited her friends from work, but the wedding was still attended by just a handful of people. At Desi’s insistence, Grey walked her down the aisle. “After all,” she said to him as she looped her arm through his, “You were more of a father to us than Dad ever was.”
  93. 93. “This is one hell of a way to spend our first wedding anniversary,” Jimmy grumbled. Desi gave her husband a look. “Silly me for thinking that worrying about when the full moon was on the day of our wedding was more important than figuring out how it might interfere with future celebrations.” Jimmy had the good sense to look rebuked. “You know that’s not what I meant. It’s the full moon, and you’re due to give birth to our firstborn at any moment. It seems our timing sucks.” “Well, considering I feel like I’m the size of a whale and not up to going out to celebrating, I think things could be worse.”
  94. 94. “I still feel bad about leaving you alone tonight. What if the baby comes?” “So the baby comes. My mom had four kids, and my dad was only there for two of their births. We turned out just fine. Well, mostly.” “I just don’t like the idea of not being there to support you.” “That’s sweet. But you’re still going downstairs. Now actually; it’s getting close to sunset.”
  95. 95. Desi kissed Jimmy before shutting and locking the door to the basement. She then waddled her way over to the sofa, where she plopped down and put her swollen feet and ankles up. So much had changed in the past year, since the wedding. She smiled as she let her thoughts wander into the past.
  96. 96. The first few months had been amazing, and had only come to a screeching halt when she began greeting the day by throwing up. Jimmy had been amazing again, holding her hair back as she puked and making sure that they never ran out of saltine crackers or ginger ale.
  97. 97. When she’d popped into her second trimester, the morning sickness had stopped but Desi’s energy tanked. Not missing a beat, Jimmy took over much of the household work, cooking all of Desi’s favorite foods and making sure the cabin stayed in decent order. He even watched a video online to learn how to give “proper pregnancy backrubs,” which Desi took full advantage of frequently. Jimmy had also taken to talking to the baby, who he dubbed “Bun.” “As in ‘bun in the oven?’ How original,” Desi quipped. “Hey, since you won’t find out what we’re having, and calling the baby ‘it’ just seems impersonal, I have to call Bun something.” “Well, how about you tell Bun to stop kicking my bladder? At this rate, he’ll be a soccer player.” Jimmy grinned. “You think it’s a boy?” “I think it’s going to be an excellent midfielder at this rate. Now help me up. I have to pee again.”
  98. 98. Desi felt a twinge of pain, and she hefted herself up from the sofa. As she got to her feet, a wave of pain caused her to double over, but she bit her tongue so she wouldn’t cry out. “Oh, dear lord,” she hissed, hoping it she was being quiet enough for Jimmy not to hear. “Let it be over with fast.”
  99. 99. Moments later, Desi was gazing into the eyes of her daughter. “Hey there, little one,” she cooed as she cradled the baby in her arms. “Aren’t you just the sweetest little thing? You got your hair from your daddy, but those big green eyes of yours I don’t recognize. Are they from your daddy, too?”
  100. 100. Desi went to the fridge to prepare a bottle for the baby. The opening of the fridge door caused Shadow to come looking for his dinner, making Desi laugh softly. “Nope, pretty kitty, not time for your feeding. This little lady here needs to be taken care of first.” Shadow hoped up on the counter to get a closer look at the latest addition to the family, which made Desi smile. “What do you think?” Shadow meowed softly, and then hoped back down onto the floor.
  101. 101. After feeding the baby, Desi lifted her to her shoulder for a burping. She then headed into the room they’d decorated as a nursery and placed the infant into the crib. “Sweet dreams, little one,” she said as she caressed the soft down on her head.
  102. 102. By this time, the sun had started to come up over the horizon. Desi yawned, and then headed towards the door to the basement to unlock it. She opened it, but Jimmy didn’t come up. This was nothing new; ever since the stairs became too much for her to navigate, he had taken to napping down there on an old mattress until he’d recovered enough to get himself back up. Instead of heading into the bedroom, she went back into the nursery and settled into the recliner so that she could watch her daughter sleep. “When your daddy gets up,” she said with another big yawn, “we’ll settle on your name, little one. I’m going to close my eyes for just a minute. I want to see his face when he meets you for the first time.”
  103. 103. The sound of Jimmy’s voice talking softly made Desi stir. She open her eyes just a crack to see Jimmy holding the baby on his shoulder, whispering in her ear. The sight was so adorable that she decided to feign sleep for a few more minutes in order to enjoy it. “Your mommy is being silly, baby girl. She forgets that my super hearing makes it impossible for her to pretend.”
  104. 104. Desi smirked as she extracted herself from the chair. “I was enjoying the show, if you must know. You are adorable with her. Fatherhood looks good on you.” “Thanks. So, did you decide on a name? Baby girl seems very impersonal.”
  105. 105. Desi gently took the baby from him. “Do you still like Esperanza?” “I do. Esperanza Conall.” Desi raised her eyebrow at her husband. “Esperanza Doran-Conall.” “Of course. My mistake. Welcome to the world, Esperanza Doran-Conall.” “What do you think of your name, little one?” Esperanza made a noise that Desi took as agreement, causing her to smile.
  106. 106. “Desi, honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Jimmy asked as he wrapped his arm around her. “Am I? I didn’t realize it. I don’t think anything’s wrong. It feels like…it feels like something’s finally right. I’m…I’m happy.” “Is that all?” Jimmy said with a bit of a laugh. “Don’t laugh,” she said. “After everything that I’ve been through, I never thought I’d be able to say that.”
  107. 107. The arm that was around Desi’s shoulder tightened, and Jimmy kissed her temple. “Look at us. One big happy family.” Desi leaned into Jimmy’s embrace, and snuggled Esperanza to her. “That we are. And we all lived happily ever after. Which is totally the ending that we deserve.”
  108. 108. When I look into your eyes It's like watching the night sky Or a beautiful sunrise Well, there's so much they hold And just like them old stars I see that you've come so far To be right where you are How old is your soul?
  109. 109. Well, I won't give up on us Even if the skies get rough I'm giving you all my love I'm still looking up
  110. 110. And when you're needing your space To do some navigating I'll be here patiently waiting To see what you find
  111. 111. 'Cause even the stars they burn Some even fall to the earth We've got a lot to learn God knows we're worth it No, I won't give up
  112. 112. I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am
  113. 113. I won't give up on us Even if the skies get rough I'm giving you all my love I'm still looking up, still looking up.
  114. 114. Well, I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up) God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved) We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved) God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)
  115. 115. I won't give up on us Even if the skies get rough I'm giving you all my love I'm still looking up ("I Won't Give Up,” Jason Mraz)
  116. 116. * * * * * This concludes the spare story for Desdemona Doran. I hope you enjoyed my take on her story. I had a great time playing with her and Jimmy and letting them have a happily ever after.
  117. 117. * * * * * For those who are curious about Desi and Jimmy’s daughters, here are their stats. Esperanza Doran-Conall Aquarius – 3/6/7/6/6 Popularity/Romance – Become General Gender Preference: Straight Laima Doran-Conall Aries – 5/8/7/6/6 Pleasure/Romance – Become Celebrity Chef Gender Preference: Gay
  118. 118. * * * * * A big thank you goes out to everyone else who has taken part in the Boolprop Round Robin Legacy. It was great to take part in such a fun project. A special thanks to RoseFyre, as her take on what happened in Generation 9 game me a great deal of inspiration. I also borrowed some of her pictures from that generation for flashbacks, and she kindly uploaded all the generation 9-ers along with Roxanna so I could film a few scenes. I plan on posting a behind-the-scenes with picspam, outtakes, and my thoughts on developing and implementing the story, so keep your eyes open for that. Thank you for reading!