Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 84983 times)

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 74, 8/5)
« Reply #350 on: August 05, 2014, 09:12:05 PM »
Tegan is too nice for her own good. The heartbreak she will inevitably feel, though, will only be a harbinger of better things...for who will be there to pick up the pieces but her knight in lilac? :)

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 74, 8/5)
« Reply #351 on: August 07, 2014, 09:41:19 PM »
We're almost at 20,000 views, and we're now the second-most-viewed in-progress immortal dynasty! I'd like to thank you guys for getting me (close to) there. Maybe next chapter we can really celebrate the milestone. ;)

Oh my XD Poor Julian, being accosted by Annette at random intervals.  *sigh* It makes me sad to know that Tegan is going to get her heart broken...  How close did Lily cut it, Trip?

Annette was pretty good with not kissing everyone in sight, but she made an exception for Julian. Lily actually had plenty of time to spare, but I played it up for drama. She was immortalized at 78 days, while most of the other immortals got it done a few days earlier.

1) Lily is an adorable elder.
2) Bryant's face is boring. I'm officially protesting his genetics.

1. She did age pretty dang well.
2. I am too, but my sims don't hear me that well.

Tegan is too nice for her own good. The heartbreak she will inevitably feel, though, will only be a harbinger of better things...for who will be there to pick up the pieces but her knight in lilac? :)

Perhaps one of those nice Whelohff boys (who I swear I'll actually introduce one of these chapters), or underdog Buck Green? (He was a vampire and attended a lot of Tegan's parties) Plus, even though Hephaestus might rescue her from heartbreak, he's old. Our little peapod might need a lot of support through her life...

Chapter 75: Lentils on the Floor

The bag tore. Broom bristles scraped across the floor, collecting the last of a pile of spilled green lentils. Annette needed a new idea for Hephaestus' birthday dinner, considering that a lentil star was on the menu, but maybe he could stand for another mushroom omelet instead.

Lily walked in on the last of the carnage. "Got any other secrets to spill?" She asked. Annette froze.

"What did you find out now?"

"Well, nothing. But the 'spilling the beans' joke couldn't go unnoticed."

"Though that you found out about my secret boy band fanfiction stash." Annette chuckled. "But now that I'm safe, I can order you to wish Heph a happy birthday. You know middle age better than him." She also slipped Lily a business card, done so discreetly that it seemed like she snuck an illegal hen to Lily instead.

Dr. C. Bertone, psychiatrist.
Twinbrook Foundation Hospital, 305B

"But, dad—“

"I have a lot of authority over your old man. Pretending that his step- kiddo is just a little special and perfect without intervention only works when he isn't taking a leak in the neighbor's yard because a demon is haunting our toilet, or when he isn't meditating in the buff due to some inane belief. Keep it hush and hope that Heph takes that bait."

As usual, he woke up, downed a mug of straight black coffee before prepping for a day of ice sculptures. Such a routine was the only thing he got from his grandfather, but it resulted in vast quantities of sculptures that out ranked old Harwood’s by thousands in their worth. Lily felt outright evil for daring to interrupt the prodigy at work, but she stopped the motor of his chainsaw to hand him the business card, with a voucher for $100 to spend on his lavender-scented hippie soap (it ate up his allowance otherwise). He scowled at the word "psychiatrist."

"They're blind is what it is," he said.

"But what if they can help?" Lily asked. "And do you think that you're setting a good example for Tegan by refusing help? She has enough trouble caring for her own well-being, and she looks up to you so much."

He tucked the card info his kilts belt. "I'll consider it. I like the soap, though. You guys won't go back to bar soap after using it!"

"We'll see, kid. Happy birthday."

Hephaestus, aside from dancing on the counter at Lily’s birthday party, was the least party-ready person in the household, and put down his chainsaw to celebrate in solitude as opposed to having Lily’s friends pretend that they knew him like a buddy. He initially shrugged at his new wrinkles, didn't change his wardrobe at all or cut his hair, and still paid little attention to the card that Lily handed him, especially when garlic and mushrooms were sautéing on the stovetop, releasing their delicious scent.

“No crisis?” Annette asked, while plating a mushroom omelet for Hephaestus. He shook his head no.

“Maybe you’ll have an end of life crisis like your dad did, luring some nubile young woman way out of your league and giving her a surprisingly cute nooboo, and then dying.” He didn’t pick up on the hint, or kept a stone-face through it.

“I’ll find a better way to deal with it,” he sighed. He lifted his plate to make sure that no spirit lurked under it, lest he swallow down haunted eggs. “I think Lily has a point.”

“Oh?” Annette asked, faking interest in her own idea.

“Yeah, she…she told me about Dr. Bertone, the psychiatrist. I’m going nuts. Peeing in the Knack’s bushes was a horrible idea.”

“You’re only saying that because the cops busted you on it,” Annette said.

“But there are other things. I guess I’m lacking for friends because of it, and everyone but Tegan and Franco in the house seem a little, repulsed by it? Maybe one of these things needs clearing.”

Annette nodded while scrubbing her pan. She hid a doll under his pillow that night; a sloppy rag doll that she either got from deep family tradition and generations of handing down, or from the shadiest consignment store seller in the state. The note read Use responsibly.

After he agreed to psychiatric care, she trusted the boy with dark magic a little more. How amazing was her persuasion!

Though she used up all of her powers of persuasion on Hephaestus. When Bryant meowed outside of her diner at midnight (after she attended to a rotten mayonnaise emergency; someone needed to tend the walk-in fridge’s temperature better), she grit her teeth and let Tegan either deal with that problem or get some sense into her pretty, ribbon-tied head.

Hephaestus called Tegan the next day, hoping to get some inventing done at the fire station, and to reveal his plans for psychiatric treatment. She was going to be out late, because AP Physics homework would not complete itself without help from a classmate.

“Bryant?” he asked.

“He lives at the end of Poker Flats Drive. You’ll find the house easily.”

After Hephaestus stood at the house at the other end of Poker Flats Drive for thirty minutes, swearing up and down that the spirits of old dynasty founders swirled around the foundation, but not finding a living resident. Then he turned around and got it right, with Bryant greeting him at the door while licking his hand as if it was a cat’s paw in need of cleaning.

“Geez, what a nutcase,” Hephaestus muttered.

Tegan was deep into her last physics problem, pinching her brow as she scribbled countless free-body diagrams on her scratch paper, but never arriving at an answer.

“Looks like I have some competition, babe,” Bryant said, chuckling, “He’s here to pick you up.”

“Get in the car, Tegan. I just want to get to know this guy a little better,” Hephaestus said. After a kiss good-bye from Bryant, she obliged. Maybe the plush seats of the Motive Mobile would give her some extra insight into the last physics problem.

Hephaestus led Bryant outside to the deck, saying that his mind worked better outside, and not within the walls of the house, which swirled with orange, unattached auras…or just more demons and ghosts.

“Just one minute,” Bryant said, leaving Hephaestus alone with a grill and a staircase. Bryant then came out in an alien mask within a minute.

“Why the mask?” Hephaestus asked, “Let’s take this indoors, actually. Don’t need the neighbors snooping.” His heart thumped loudly in his chest as Bryant led him back inside.

“I know you’re gonna judge for my face, because some sad nerd like me doesn’t deserve a pretty girl. But I’d like you to know that I am a nice guy! I hold doors open!” Bryant was pleading at that point, because he saw Hephaestus take a rag doll out from the elastic waistband of his boxers.

“Have you changed at all from when Tegan first met you?” Hephaestus tossed the doll in his hands. “I care about that peapod’s pinky toe more than you care about her.”

“What, are you just counting down to when she’s 18?” Bryant asked. “That’s pretty messed up of you, you know, not very caring. Who’s the big jerk here now? You have that stupid beard going for you in that direction, and your wrinkled, ugly creeperness…”

Hephaestus gripped the rag doll enough to cause one button from it to pop.

“…I think we know who will win this fight, old man.”

“I’ve had enough of you, and we’ve barely known each other for five minutes. Stop running your mouth about me, and how much you care about her more, and stop calling me a creep! I’m her uncle, not a suitor.” He thrust the doll into Bryant’s mask.

“You can’t be using your devil-powers on me!” Bryant attempted to snatch the doll away from Hephaestus, before he tore it from Bryant’s hands again.

“What? Scared that I think you’re the devil of Twinbrook?” he asked slyly, poising the doll near a knitting needle.

“I think you deserve this in a very bad place,” Hephaestus mumbled.

Bryant’s unintelligible screams rang out as Hephaestus jammed the needle into the doll’s coarse, hole-filled, burlap fabric. When Hephaestus stopped, he walked out the door without a word and into a van with a Tegan who was none the wiser.

“You like him yet?” Tegan asked.

“Not in the slightest.”

“Well, he’s a good study buddy,” Tegan said, “And so what if we’re graduating next year? I’ll take it from there afterwards, but I don’t think many guys in town are biting.”

“Why not? You’re such a beautiful young woman,” Hephaestus said, as they drove over the bridge back to the mainland.

“I’m kind of chubby, and I have a wide nose. I was the last one asked to prom—“

“Give it a year,” Hephaestus said. He nearly choked up, and considered adding “and you’re perfect, like a prize-winning life plant vine, and I would kill for a woman half as good as you.” But he bit his tongue and kept driving, before delivering the news of seeking treatment as they pulled up to the curb.

“So, think about what’s good for you,” he said, “Like I’m doing right now.”

Dr. Bertone shoed-in Hephaestus for an appointment at dusk, in his last slot for that day. He walked in gingerly, all the way to the office, to Bertone sitting up pin-straight in his desk chair. His gaze was unengaged, all while Hephaestus listed each hallucination in vivid detail, from smokey ghosts to nymphs breaking the hot tub at the public pool, to the spitting image of Ordog, the Hungarian devil of lore trying to lure him deep into the pit.

“So, how many of these are really what you see?” Bertone asked.

“I don’t even know anymore. I’ve never told anyone this story, but I started…embellishing a while ago, just to make sense of what I see. It started as much a lot of voices, distorted and in languages I don’t know, and once I made myself believe that they had a face and a name, they eventually did.” Hephaestus sighed, reclined back in the psychiatrist’s couch and almost in tears. “It’s all come to a head. I’m friendless and single and…there’s this girl, and I want to present some shred of sanity to her.”

“So you care about people,” Bertone muttered, writing in his notebook.

“I do, especially about her. She’s younger, and maybe there’s something meant to happen. Maybe it’s not, but she’s going for some other psycho in town, who’s a jerk but just less delusional than everyone says I am. He licks himself like a cat a lot.”

Medical ethics forbade Bertone from saying that he saw Bryant twice a week to keep his mind in relative peace. Only one man in Twinbrook groomed himself that way. Bertone nodded along.

“We’re confidential, right?” Hephaestus asked. More nodding.

“Good, because I don’t want to tip the scales here. I’m just despairing, I bet. Thinking that she’s my only chance. I want to get better for her.”

“Tell me more about your symptoms,” Bertone said, “Are you nervous?” Not really.

“Do you feel like someone else, a very distinct person inside of you, is telling you what to do?” Nope. “Do you feel controlled?” Not directly, only through caution against what he saw.

They went back and forth for an hour, with Hephaestus sometimes more interested in falling asleep on the fresh, not-sagging couch cushions. Watery hospital coffee couldn’t keep him awake. Hephaestus lay half in a dozing lull and in a hum of internal brown noise when Bertone got his diagnosis. “Stash Psychosis…varied external hallucinations…25mg.”

“The pharmacy should have this in the next two days,” he finished, “Any questions?”

“Sounded fine.”

The first dose quieted his world down and took the haze away from his line of vision, if adding another layer of haze. Hephaestus nearly fell while standing, often while holding a chainsaw and all alone in the sculpting studio.

Lily had no time to sculpt, after all, or to help her stepbrother as the side effects took a hold on his consciousness. He stumbled and staggered throughout the day, exhausted in a way that coffee couldn’t help.

So while the rest of the household worked, he slept during odd hours, drifting away to the sudden silence that his medicine afforded him.

Lily approached him with the news. “I did it. The Institute finally got their agent out here! I’m recognized!” She finished her last show to overwhelming reviews.

“That’s nice,” Hephaestus said, in a relaxed, drugged voice.

“Is the psychiatrist working out for you?” Lily asked.

“He’s fine.”

“You seem like you’re on a cloud, or in some drugged hell.”


“Liking it?”


He hung up the chainsaw for days at a time, with his focus shifting to alleviating exhaustion that never was alleviated. His focuses fell off him like dead leaves in a breeze, from the ice sculptures to the widgets to cloning to even Doctor Who episodes for when he was bored and when Tegan wasn’t around to gripe about the scourge of television’s influence. Hephaestus instead shut the door to his bedroom and drifted off into a silent world, barely penetrated by his own thoughts.

Food stopped tasting as good, so he ate very little, not needing to keep up his strength against a demonic army. What little was left on Hephaestus’ scrawny frame withered enough for him to lose ten pounds, which was basically all of him. He lay in bed, loopy on the ultimate sedative. And Tegan noticed. She sat at his bedside one afternoon, to her prince weakly smiling.

“You look like hell!” she cried, “Why can’t you just switch meds? Or go off them? I did the research, and Stash is actually pretty harmless. Patients have a very low rate of self-destruction, they’re just not understood.”

“You understood me?”

“Enough to still love you, okay?”

“What about friends and love? I’m…I’m on the track to those now.”

“Not when you’re in your bedroom and wasting away. I’m taking you out somewhere.”


“Wanna play the piano for me again at the lounge? I’ll provide some backup bass, we can jam out again. And I can order some olives and prosciutto for us. I know you like those.”

They took a taxi, as neither of them were in much shape to drive (or in legal standing to; Tegan was still working on that one). Hephaestus stumbled in and slouched over the piano, trying to remember a scale or five, enough for a jam session.

“I don’t care what you do,” Tegan said, “But I thought that you might still like playing piano.”

He played a simple scale, which sent enough energy through him to get his posture straightened out. Hephaestus had his groove back once a double-bass played a groove for him.

Tegan smiled as she repeated the bass line. “I think you still got it, insane or sane.”

He varied his scales enough to make a song, and a sweet piano solo. After both of their fingers ached from the session, they sat down for his promised olives and prosciutto, which he wolfed down, though his eyes still were weighed down and his motions languid.

“It’s not helping, is it?” Tegan asked.

“Depends what you consider help.”

“I can’t control you, but I don’t want to see you suffer. As I said, I understood you enough to care at your most insane. I even believe some of the things you saw.”

“Then why are they all invisible now?” he asked.

“I dunno. Did you stop believing?”

That night, Hephaestus flushed the remainder of his medicine down the toilet, disregarding the withdrawal headache that plagued the two weeks after. He cancelled every appointment with Bertone, lying and saying that he found a better doctor in the rival swampy rust-belt town next to Twinbrook. His vision soon was filled with all of his old friends and enemies from the spiritual world, just the way he liked it. And he had enough energy to keep up with Tegan as she produced heavy boxes of iron widgets and steel floor hygienators.

So while Hephaestus might have disregarded everyone’s advice, the order that was back in the household was cause enough for Lily to cheer, as was her retirement from the performance circuit too. Annette snapped her fingers to wake Lily up one morning, with a silent, knowing stare.

“Ambrosia time?” Lily asked, sleepily.

“Get your nice dress on. I’m not putting mine on just to see you in your jammies.”

“Welcome to my domain,” Annette said, when they were in the basement, casting a look at Lily. “Well, you’re stuff is in the exhibit next to mine. Take all the time you need, until it cuts into my work shift, that is. I’m not trusting those young ones alone in the kitchen for a second.”

“It turned out pretty nice,” Lily said, “Dad, Shark, Julian, everyone. They did so well!”

They went to the last floor to grab their plates of the fishy, foul meal, but then Annette then walked off with her plate. “I’ll leave you kiddos alone. Behave yourselves!”

“Why, mother?” Franco asked.

“I’ll be late to work if I stay down here much longer. As I said, behave. Do as I say, not as I do, because I’m drinking and making bad decisions once work is over.”

Franco sighed. “Never be that way, Lily.”

“Don’t plan on it. It’s not good dynasty behavior. I want to stick to a lot of it. Behaving, having one true love, you know how it is, right?” He didn’t. “Different strokes, then. How is this supposed to taste?”

“It gets worse every year, but I can warm up to not dying,” Franco said.

“I can’t see how this will be worse,” Lily said, flatly, as she took her first bite. Franco dug into the plate at twice the speed. The rainbows of youth surrounded him.

“As I said, it’s easy to love not dying. It’s a horror we’ll never have to face,” Franco said, “I’ll stay down here for you.”

“Well, I like this family enough to live with them. You’re cool, Annette’s cool when she’s sober, and still rather fun when drunk. And I’m down for following some rules.”

“That’s beautiful, flower.”

“I’ll deal with losing my mortals in my own time, though,” Lily said, as she rose from her seat with a rainbow trailing behind her, “I love them all. Bronson, of course, and Julian, and I care about Hephaestus so much.”

“I do too. Heph will make a good son-in-law for you.” Franco wasn’t guarding his mouth. The secret plan slipped out.

“He…what now?”

“Oh, it was just something mum and I were talking about. Lily, don’t get angry over it—“

“You mean that you and Gram were planning for my daughter to marry some guy who will be crusty and dead before she’s through her mid-life crisis, some guy who we all consider to be her uncle?!”

“He’s not blood, and mum and Grandpa Bill had a similar age gap. Don’t hit me, Lily.” A tear rolled down Franco’s cheek. “We’re just thinking about the dynasty with this. And I just want a piece of my soulmate in the family.”

She was poised to sock her father right in the mouth, with enough force to make the front of his smile a toothless void and a dental surgeon’s greatest patient. Her knuckles turned stark white against her magenta flesh, and what little muscle was left in elderhood tightened with her grip. He deserved it. He and that blasted drunk hag deserved hell for encouraging it, from missing teeth to a surprise date with the electrical traps in the Egyptian tombs. But then, she cried and returned to her seat.

“Blast it, how else can this day go wrong?” she cried.

“This can’t be the worst news you’ll hear.”

Indeed, it couldn’t be. Not even for that day.

Word Count for this chapter: 3,349
Word Count so far: 131,620

On a lighter note, have my true favorite screenshot from the timespan of this chapter:

Dustin Knack finally bit the dust! He was, shall I repeat, 118. Argh. I cheered so hard when he gave up the ghost, though in retrospect, his long life allowed him to have kids with Nellie, which helped my dynasty quite a bit.

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Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 75, 8/7)
« Reply #352 on: August 07, 2014, 10:04:14 PM »
Whoa, Franco let the cat out of the bag and Lily reacted about how I thought she would. :P Bronson won't be nearly so restrained though, methinks.

There goes my second favorite mortal. :( Goodbye, Julian.

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 75, 8/7)
« Reply #353 on: August 07, 2014, 11:30:38 PM »
Whoa, Franco let the cat out of the bag and Lily reacted about how I thought she would. :P Bronson won't be nearly so restrained though, methinks.

There goes my second favorite mortal. :( Goodbye, Julian.

Of course not, though I don't think anyone will please him.

I know! It was well-beyond Julian's time (he was 109), but I loved him so much. :(

A fun fact about Julian: he produced the most valuable museum piece. He did Lily's elder sculpture, which had a final value of $99,947. So I'm glad he survived for that, because he almost didn't!

Yo, small announcement.

I'm adding Word Counts to the footnotes of each chapter, and you might see that I've done the first two pages of the thread already.

This is so new readers can have a bit of a progress bar, considering how freakin' long this story is getting, and so old readers can see how invested they've gotten into this doorstopper of a dynasty.

This is also to sate my curiosity. Heh.

Offline Shewolf13

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 75, 8/7)
« Reply #354 on: August 07, 2014, 11:53:01 PM »
Wow!  Not Julian!  Noooo!  *sniffle* That makes me so sad...  And Franco!  Can't you keep your mouth shut?  Or at least ease into that kinda thing?  Oy...

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 75, 8/7)
« Reply #355 on: August 13, 2014, 10:55:37 PM »
Wow!  Not Julian!  Noooo!  *sniffle* That makes me so sad...  And Franco!  Can't you keep your mouth shut?  Or at least ease into that kinda thing?  Oy...

I think the excitement of having a little piece of Hannah in the dynasty got the better of him.

And yeah, Julian. He lived a long life, but I think he had a few more masterpiece sculptures left in him! (This was clearly my top priority)

Wow, about a week has gone by. I'm only replying to let people know that:

a. I'm doing fine. I've been more distracted than anything (work, friends, Tumblr...), though I felt burnt-out on the game/things in general for a few days as well.

b. Look, I had to get through a season of House of Cards instead of writing. If you watch it, you know the struggle. ;)

c. 20,000+ views, people! :D

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 75, 8/7)
« Reply #356 on: August 22, 2014, 07:36:12 AM »
Insert "Trip's been sick and depressed and barely knows how she got this chapter out message" right here.

Chapter 76: Have One on Me

I never listen to my own advice, but the cheapest bottle of juice has its place in the world and in time, a place where its slight tingle in my throat and the condensation forming on the glass surface wash away the worry. But just one drink for tonight, because I’m broke and will probably be dead by the end of this week, and sometimes I’m right about these things, right?

The atmosphere of Tarnished Jazz this basement club, might induce enough of a high to make up for my lack of delicious, bootlegged juice. Scattered orange lamps and candles on the tables fail to deliver the lounge from darkness, and darkness is an intoxicant, in its own way. The patrons talk over the lone jazz pianist, hardly a substitute for a proper singer or rhythm section, but I doubt that the pianist cares. He can keep a 7/4 time signature by himself. He’s good at this. And perhaps I can just regard the background conversation as ambient noise, like the type that makes studying in a coffee shop easier than studying at home.

I’m not here for any of it, though I heard of this club only through the pianist. Tank the pianist, and a man with a threat beneath his angry dark eyes. However serious it was, because we were all drinking that night, after all. Perhaps he is a big marshmallow underneath his frown, and even if he’s a hard cactus instead, I can’t fairly criticize his improvising skills. He plays like a seasoned jazz professional, in spite of looking 35 at most.

Still, it’s hard to disregard Tank’s animosity, piano or no piano, when I have little friendship left from the shady, criminal demons of the city, technicolor or charcoal or tan. Not enough friendship for ammo against what he may know about me. No, Eileen and Arthur and Jamie have used up their patience on me.

But somehow, I ended up at their stomping grounds, the three of them within sight over my right shoulder.

Jamie ordered a drink and gave me a sour glance as the mixologist shook his cocktail, sighing in disgust right after placed the decorative swizzle stick in the beverage. Eileen and Arthur share jokes amongst themselves. I haven’t talked to Eileen ever since she kicked me out of her office, even though I mailed her the check anyways. I nearly burned down Arthur’s business, I could have killed his niece that way. His gregarious smile was absent when I hand-delivered the check to him, with apology in my eyes but not on my tongue.

I wish things could be different, and that I didn’t bungle things so thoroughly with the two of them. I like jokes, and they joke a lot after some bottles of fermented wheat juice, a few salty snacks, and the stress of work (presumably) off their shoulders.

“Tank’s mum is so cold, she’d freeze up Lucky Palms!” Eileen says, roaring into buzzed laughter with her…I don’t even know if Arthur wants me to pretend that he’s her loving husband when I know his true side.

And they’re close enough to joke about Tank’s mother while they’re ten feet behind the war machine of a pianist himself. Maybe I don’t need them. They would back his threats, wouldn’t they? Crap. I hate thinking like this.

Jamie chuckles a bit, and sits down with his golden cocktail, daintily sipping and relaxing into the ambiance of smooth jazz, without even a side-eye towards me. It’s not like Jamie is an untamable beast, but I love to part on bad terms with everyone.

He arrived at my house yesterday, with his stone-like face and hat at a perfect tilt, his shirt artfully tousled and unbuttoned, just like the last time I saw him. He slipped a manila folder out of his jacket and sat down on the couch, straight-backed.

“You found something?” I asked.

“Because you knew where this bug came from, I’m just here to confirm a few things. Was an M. Welker ever involved in the project?” I nodded, still sorry for how far her good heart decayed, or how much Ms. Welker’s wife—my granddaughter—was goading her into this job. But not to burden Jamie with hours of reciting what took up multiple chapters of Eight Ways, I leave it at the nod.

“She arrived in Roaring Heights the day before you found the bug, and she was one of the only repeat passengers from Hidden Springs. I looked into its anatomy, and it’s just a recording device that can’t send any signals back to its owner. Now, the bad thing for you is that M has multiple recorded trips to Roaring Heights, starting around the time you arrived. They already have some phone calls of yours in their hands, if they’re collecting the bugs. Which they are.”

“Well, how do you know that? Or do you know everything?” I ask, hoping to lighten his business-esque demeanor.

“You know how I work, Jo,” he said, “I’m neutral. And let’s say M walked into my headquarters, with simoleons in their hand, and with a question as to where Josephine Waverly was staying. Would I tell them with as little hesitation as I’ll pass this information to you?”

“You would…”

“And I have. She’s not villain-material, though I trust that she works for something very nefarious indeed. Fifty simoleons, flat, for you.”

For the record, I get royalty checks every other week, though I put my mail on hold before leaving for Roaring Heights, confident that I had enough money to sustain me, as long as I didn’t get in trouble. When I left Sunset Valley, it was just after I deposited half of a fresh royalty check into my checking account. Between rent and food and drinks, between fines to the law and fees for those preventing me from facing the law again, all paid in checks, I still had plenty to pay Jamie.

“Once I get home. I’ll just grab my checkbook from the drawer,” I said.

“I can actually take it on debit. I have your number in the system, thanks to that amazing train system we in Simnation have. Is that easier? Because it is for me.”

“Oh, for sure. Thanks.”

He came over at noon today, with his head still in business and his face somber. “It didn’t go through my system. I can’t even buy a pack of gum with your card, which I tried only for testing purposes.”

“Impossible,” I muttered, shaking, “I have thousands in there.”

“You might be frozen. That part is between you and your bank, but I’ll just keep you on the ‘payment pending’ list, though my data tracking and hat upkeep won’t pay themselves,” Jamie said.

I’m broke. Dad’s broke. Agnes isn’t, but she might think we’re engaged if I ask her for money to borrow, and she’s the one clipping coupons every Sunday. Money matters to her.

So no paying Jamie.

No paying the next rent bill.

No more heating or electricity.

Starving when we run out of eggs.

God help me if I need some special services again.

I spent the day curled up on the couch, ready to throw away my checkbook in despair. I didn’t even have my bed, because dad plopped down there early in the morning after a night of herbs and woohoo he’ll brag about tonight. I didn’t have Agnes, not for a few hours, because she found a public easel and the itch to get back into her art. I always tell her to keep the money she makes from it for herself.

I told the story to both of them. Account frozen. I’m screwed. Agnes said that she’ll do her best with sales and coupons, though I should try and pitch in too. Dad took pity on me and gave me enough “herb money” for a drink, saying that I should probably get a job too, even if it is “on the margins,” as he’ll put it after drizzling the grime of his work with honey.

And because we Waverlys have livers of steel (or so Annette told us, probably so we could drink with her and normalize her vice), one bottle isn’t going to cut it. I’m still close to sober, even though my green bottle is bone-dry on the inside.

I could enjoy the music, like Agnes is, and with the same about of gravity. Broken bank accounts do that to her. But I often don’t need her.

I could challenge someone for a game of pool in exchange for a drink if I win, much like dad does, but I won’t win. I’m sad and not good at pool. My hands moisten with sweat and skin oil, so no gripping the cue sticks tonight. Stressful, too many people here. Fine for dad, but not for me and Agnes feels it too. If it weren’t for her pumps, she would bolt out of the club as if it was populated by ravenous bears instead.

Screw it. I need to wash up. Take a leak. Cry alone in a restroom, maybe.

Tarnished Jazz is set up like so: the club itself/the fun parts are in the basement. Upstairs is what the building once was, an eatery by the looks of it, but the whole first floor is even darker than the bar, so I have to find the restroom on literal blind faith.

In between the time of me arriving and now, someone turned on a light. Once I’m done crying at my account’s new, unfortunate state, I notice the small shrine on the dining table. Is everything in this city a secret shrine? Maybe I can worship Baphomet at the police station after all.

But here, I have a dragon-themed, Celtic tapestry and a blindfolded bust to interpret, and I like to think of myself as cultured, but nothing is connecting there. The world is full of funny belief systems, though.

“Look, we need to talk,” says a voice. Deep, stoic, and starting to grow raspy with age, it’s Jamie again.


“So you can’t pay me, but you can get a drink just fine?”

“I had change!” I did, after all.

“Fine. It's not like I need electricity anyways.”

He heads back downstairs, as not to miss too much jazz, or maybe his drink is half-finished and getting lukewarm. I’ve absorbed all I can about the shrine, especially as no one nailed a placard to the wall. My hands are still teeming with grime, or stress-sweat. I need to wash up.

When I get out, I am face-to-face with a buzzed Moira. Her breath reeks of fresh juice.

“Bestie!” she calls out. She stumbles on to me, still giggling like a drunk widow. I have enough pity in my heart to tolerate an unsteady Moira and to prevent a faceplant into the hard carpet, and I nervously laugh along with her. At least it wrings more pity out of me than if old Annette did so.

“I’m so glad you’re here tonight,” Moira says, almost crying at my presence. Well, that’s a change from Twinbrook, now isn’t it?

“Moira, why don’t you rest?” Eileen asks from the distance, “You can be tipsy around us, but you barely know her!”

“Re-lax, Jo’s, like, my best friend. I’d even go sober for her.”

Eileen sighs and approaches. She drags Moira outside, where she crashes against a chair in a hazy slumber.

“I’m sorry, for a lot,” Eileen says, when she comes back inside, “And I’ve been pretty good tonight, so that’s coming from my sober heart.”

“I’m used to it by now,” I say, “I had a…great-aunt like her. Drunk and widowed, though a fair deal older.”

“I wish she saved it for 78 instead of 28. It’s not like I’m in the best place myself, but I know when to stop. If being her friend will get her to sober up, then please, be galpals. Even just bear with her. You seem to have some interest in her, even though she’s straight.”

“I don’t need her love.” I’m also not big on close incest, but that’s my secret. “But there is something I like about her.” Did I like anything about grandma Annette? If I did, then Moira has the likable parts without as much of the insufferableness that time once gave her. No lies here.

“I guess she sees something in you. Maybe a kindred spirit. She claims to have some sort of widow-sense, and it works. She just ends up scaring your average widow off. Did some wife of yours bite the dust?”

“Husband, and glad he did.” I hesitate. “Listen, about that night at your office-“

“I’m going to forget about it. I know you’re weird, but in the end, it doesn’t do a thing to help if I’m being judgmental, does it? I know that I’m an abrasive nightmare, but hell, that’s who I am.”

“No need for an explanation?”

“Only when you have some free time,” Eileen says.

Moira sleeps through it all, though she’s alive and breathing steadily. We have time, plenty of it right now, even if I have to call a taxi home and grab Eight Ways to aid my explanation. Well, I have time. Eileen proves that she doesn’t by the time we step outside for fresh air.

“Babe, they booked Anthony for the next set.” It’s deep, younger than Jamie, and twice and stoic. Unless I drank too much the last time I saw him to remember correctly, it’s Tank.

“I’d say it’s a bummer, but…” Eileen’s voice trails off, as she gives a flirty wink to who is indeed Tank.

Yeah, I’m leaving her and the war machine alone and assuming that Arthur is 100% fine with this.

Still, Moira’s asleep through it all. Still alive and breathing. I bet she’s accepted her sister’s own antics by now as well.

“You’ve been out here for a while,” Agnes says. She’s coming out through the door, “Everything’s okay? We’ve all been feeling sad about the account too.”

“It’s fine, fine,” I say. I look over to Tank and Eileen again, still eating each other’s faces.

“My husband and I used to be like that,” Agnes sighs, “I still like you, but sometimes I can’t stop thinking about him. And about wedding bells, a beautiful proposal on the beach.”

“Are you trying to put ideas in my head?”

“Just dwelling on the past.”

“I want some tasteful cuddling instead,” I say, gesturing towards Eileen and Tank not giving a darn about their public image, “You know what the contrast is.”

Moira sleeps through that too. And as peaceful as she is, Roaring Heights may or may not be a dangerous place. She steals for a living, if I heard her right last time we met. Someone’s out for her, and if her own twin sister is leaving her there just to suck face with her not-husband, then I have to step in and be the good Samaritan.

“Agnes, you good at lifting? She looks pretty light,” I say.

Arthur spends five minutes arguing with us, that she’s probably fine, but he agrees to let us into Moira’s apartment and keep an eye on us once a police car passes by in the distance. It’s not like I plan to use the oven this time.

The two of us plop Moira down on her bed. In spite of being out cold, I have high hopes that she’ll wake up with a headache, but alive and healthy.

I was about to ask Agnes if I can stay the night with Moira, just to make sure that she’s okay in the morning and to build some good karma, but she’s already asleep and answering the question without me asking.

I can appreciate more time to snoop, can’t I? Especially right close to my sleeping beauty and my passed-out great-great-great grandmother. I stopped at the wedding of Moira and Eileen’s parents last time. Every bit of information is chronological. It takes until after the wedding to find birth certificates for the two little girls that the couple produced.

Eileen Joelle Stoneham, 6lbs 3oz
Born at 8:31PM, September 4th, 2033

Moira Annette Stoneham, 6lbs 5oz
Born at 8:57PM, September 4th, 2033

I always thought of Annette as a sick genius, but instead, she just went by her middle name to forge a new life. True master of disguise right there, but maybe disguise wasn’t her intent.

I also didn’t think of her as part-French, but it makes enough sense.

I fall in and out of sleep upon turning to the page of their early family photos, with Eileen and Moira being simply adorable (it’s in our genes). Moira will, understandably, think that I’m a bit of a creep if she wakes up and catches me asleep with her family photos open next to me. I stagger to her bookcase to put the book back. And then fall asleep on the floor.

I wake up with a 100 simoleon note, and a regular note, tucked into my shirt. Moira is not on the couch anymore, and my phone’s clock reads 7:42AM. Getting Bridget to school, probably.

Thanks for bringing me home. Sometimes sleeping in the gutter gets old.
I heard from a friend who heard from a friend that you were low on cash. Hopefully this can cover a couple of things.

-Moira <3

I have the 100 simoleons from Moira. Enough for paying Jamie, plus a few drinks for me and groceries, but perhaps I have some charity in my heart. He’ll mellow out over a delectable French press from the café. He deserves it for taking the time out of his day to confirm my own (true!) worries.

After catching up with him at the old barn where he works out of Roaring Heights, thanks to still not repairing the telephone at home, I get Jamie out of his shed for a cup of coffee at sunset. It turns out that he appreciates overpriced coffee brewing methods too, especially when someone else is paying.

At first, he thanks me for the coffee and drinks without much conversation, except for shortly raving about the Sumatran blend they used in the beverage. Coffee on the house mellowed him after all.

"And raw sugar, wow," Jamie says, after savoring half of his cup.

"I don't know if I approve of what you do or not now, but you have a gift," I say, "So why use it here? Servicing multiple sides just because they pay?"

"Rumor has it that you're a writer." I nod. "I'm certain you love drama, even if just as fiction. Sometimes I think of my job in the same way. I fuel drama by fueling both sides with what I can give. I’m not huge on television anymore, but this breathes some new life into my entertainment.”

“I’m really just a plaything to you?”

“You all are. Playthings and paychecks.”

“Even tabloid writers are saints by comparison,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“Perhaps, perhaps.” He nervously rubs his neck, for the first time I’ve seen him properly emote. He even hesitates. “A blond woman asked me for the bug last night. I gave it to her. She says that she’ll keep a close eye on you regardless,” says Jamie, “I wish I could save you from this. How about I buy you another coffee? Have one on me?”

Word Count for this chapter: 3249
Word Count so far: 134,869

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Offline KRae

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 76, 8/22)
« Reply #357 on: August 22, 2014, 08:44:01 AM »
Sorry about the sick and depressed. This was a very atmospheric chapter. Probably the best thing I've read in awhile.

Offline AkonIsAwesome

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 76, 8/22)
« Reply #358 on: August 22, 2014, 09:25:55 AM »
Oh dear, I hope that you start to feel better soon. Sick and depressed is an awful combination. On the other hand, yay, a new chapter in the story of the Waverly family! As ever, I love your writing style and unique sims!

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 77, 8/27)
« Reply #359 on: August 27, 2014, 01:17:03 AM »
Sorry about the sick and depressed. This was a very atmospheric chapter. Probably the best thing I've read in awhile.

Wow, thank you!

Oh dear, I hope that you start to feel better soon. Sick and depressed is an awful combination. On the other hand, yay, a new chapter in the story of the Waverly family! As ever, I love your writing style and unique sims!

That it is, though I'm having a good day today. Thanks for the compliments!

Chapter 77: Bull Market

Annette kept the fridge stocked with the favorites of everyone in the household, from lowly tofu dogs for Lily to still-lowly mushroom omelettes for Bronson and Hephaestus. Julian was old enough to find out that Annette was hosting the world’s most exclusive dinner party in her basement, like a reverse-Eucharist, but wasn’t bothered by it when a fresh pot of chili con carne was left for him instead. At least he didn’t have to consume an entire tin of mints to get the aftertaste of chili out of his mouth.

He took a few bites. It was probably Annette’s best batch yet. He would even describe it as a killer pot of chili, and enough to entice him for seconds and thirds and whatever else could threaten to kill his slender frame.

He got up from his barstool, initially with the intention to take a leak, but his feet didn’t seem to land on hardwood floors. It was as if someone cut a patch out of the floor, and instead of falling into the foundation and giving himself a heart attack from freaking out over it, he just floated. And as it turned out, his heart failed anyways, after 109 years of excellent service.

Franco intended to turn towards the bathroom to remove his gloves and wash his hands so that they didn’t smell like deathfish, but he instead caught sight of his dying protégé. And surely, Lily would too, even though she was upstairs getting into her pajamas for the awkward, uncomfortable night of coming to terms with what her dad told her.

But she didn’t.

Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper showed up, poised to go over-the-top with his role taking the dead back to his realm, until he saw that the scaredy-cat himself was the next victim. No need to play up anything, then. Julian’s spirit still felt weak in the knees as the black smoke from Grim filled the area. Only the freedom of not needing solid ground kept him upright.

Grim faced Julian, stoic. Franco mourned for the dead man who was once the shaky kid with sangria-red hair who painted half of his portraits. He still hoped that Lily would come downstairs, just to give a last, comforting presence to her lifelong mentor and friend, but as the spectral white noise grew louder and louder, it was apparent that nothing was getting Lily’s attention. Not after Franco dropped the ball.

Julian quivered and Grim floated a bit, waiting for the old man to soil his spiritual boxers. But Julian just shook as if he was a statue of gelatin.

“Fine,” Grim grumbled, “I guess I’ll just have to make this puny mortal beg.”

“Can’t you just have an easier appearance?” Julian begged, “I’ve watched so many people here die, but you! You make it worse, you black monster.”

“That’s the spirit, Julian,” said Grim, “Any regrets?”

He sighed. “Are there wedding arches beyond the veil?” Grim shook his head no.

“Well, Lita would have liked a nice wedding. In another life, I guess.”

Julian left the world regretting parts of his romantic life. Lily did her best to make sure that Bronson would leave with no regrets there, as much as she didn’t want to think of her old husband’s impending mortality. But while Julian passed away and Lily drifted through her post-ambrosia life in a disgusted haze, she found her Bronson-bear for one of his strong hugs.

“Sad after living forever?” he asked, softly.

“It’s…it’s something worse. About my brother.”

“Which one?” Bronson tried to lighten the mood.

“This ain’t funny, hun.” His whole face sulked after that statement.

“Oh yeah, the blond one. Who spilled the beans?”

“Dad, though it sounded like a mistake. Like some secret he was keeping. I could tear right through that fat gut of his and rip out his innards. How could he and the old hag do this to me? It’s their granddaughter too! I really can’t believe that they’re doing this to me, to her, to you, honey!” Lily’s eyes went as pink as her skin. “I love Heph, but I can’t see him as an in-law too. And Tegan, not having a choice in the matter. She already loves that Bryant kid.” Bronson rolled his eyes at that name too.

“I guess no one is good enough for her,” he said, “I’ll never admit it anyways.”

Lily went downstairs for a snack that didn’t taste like a wet gym sock and got the news from her tearful father. She lost her appetite upon seeing the gilded urn on the floor. She could tear out her own innards as punishment for missing the death of one of her best friends, especially because she knew darn well that Julian was beyond old. It just slipped her mind. The vitriol she held for Franco evaporated as she watched him mourn. He knew Julian ever since he was a teenager and Julian was little more than a fetus under Amy’s sundress. Painting alongside him, occasionally offering help with homework, learning first aid for when someone faints, it was a little bit like Franco had a little brother.

That would be Hephaestus one day, and her feelings on him contrasted like chocolate frosting on yellow cake. Her beloved step-brother, with endless intelligence and talent studded with sometimes-lovable insanity…who would eventually marry his step-niece. All of those beautiful ice sculptures that sold for thousands and thousands at galleries, made by someone who felt like blood-family…who, you know, would also marry her daughter. At least Julian didn’t have a shred of legal binding to the family, and Annette never called him her son, so smooching him wasn’t incestuous at all, and if the stars aligned and he and Lily were an item, the creepiness would be minimal. At least minimal in comparison to making Hephaestus do double-duty with family relations.

And how could they burden future Waverlys with documenting that mess when it came to genealogy projects in school?

In all, Lily’s day was bad, perhaps the worst she would ever have. Her face tensed with anger half the day, and she got to the point of tears multiple times.

Bronson tried his very best to brighten Lily’s day, but even the powers of woohoo brought it to a “bad, but maybe I’ll see worse” level of badness.

The night went on in silence, out of respect for Julian. Franco sucked it up for long enough to admit to his mother that he made a horrible mistake in the basement. As much as she could joke about what his mistake could have been; breaking a sculpture, or forgetting that Lily was his own flesh-and-blood and leaning in for a romantic hug, she had the clearest idea of what he goofed up on.

“I’m finding better people to keep secrets with,” she said.

“It’s been a rough day, mum,” said Franco, “I mean, Julian’s dead. He’s gone, mum.”

“I’m going to miss his old butt in a speedo too, but for the love of God, can’t we focus on what you just did? Now you’ll have to wait another generation or two for your little piece of Hannah to dote on. Lily will block that wedding with all of her might, and Bronson introduced her to weight training. She has might. You screwed up, kiddo.”

“It was a mistake. I really want that too, and I just ruined it.”

The awful day resulted in everyone having a quiet time sleeping, which could have been worse. Annette tried to lighten the mood and didn’t mention Hephaestus and Tegan at all. She did suggest a trip to the Summer Festival for everyone, just for the sake of getting their minds off Julian. She needed that and everyone did, which meant no struggles when it came to piling the family into the Motive Mobile around noontime.

While the park wasn’t packed, a few townsfolk milled about, getting food or playing gnubb. Most of them were unremarkable. However, Lily found herself surprised by an old friend. Lilith! Being a little older than Lily, she grew old too, and depended on a cane for support, but her angelic blue eyes and fresh-faced features still remained under minimal wrinkles and a head of thick, silver hair still pulled back into a headband and ponytail.

“It’s like a reunion today,” Lily said, chuckling.

“We can talk later. I have a new friend to speak with first,” said Lilith.

“You do that.” However, Lilith’s new friend wasn’t the old man sitting on the park bench. She approached someone a lot closer to the family.

“Hephaestus, you called?” Lilith asked him, “I dunno what for, but you called.”

“Ah yes, we have a bit of an appointment, don’t we?” Was he finally getting a woman after 20 or so years single? Even if it was a cougar, Lilith had every right to be a cougar, with the allure to turn all of the straight ladies in Twinbrook into a commune of lesbians, and to drive the men into a hormonal frenzy too.

But she wasn’t a predator, not even for the attractive blond man that was adopted by Lily’s family. Lilith and Hephaestus just shook hands, until his glowed with magical energy.

“Christ, you’re one of them, aren’t you?” she cried.

“Your neighbor is a fairy, isn’t she?” asked Hephaestus.

“Not that I like it.”

“Do you feel luckier?”


Hephaestus pulled out a handheld scanner from the extra space in his kilt. “By the power of Marduk, I know it would work! Today’s your lucky day, Ms. Jones-Brown. You’ll be immortal this way.”

“What, like you guys?” she asked.

“Not exactly. This won’t hurt.” He started the scanner.

“That tickles!” Lilith squealed, “What sort of devil magic is this, though?”

“It’s a deep reading. That’s all,” he said, “Hungry yet?”

Hephaestus wouldn’t leave Lilith alone, just to skip away with a vial of a DNA sample. He previously knew Lilith just as a beautiful party guest, but friendship made for a nice thank-you gift, because he got what he wanted from her. For those two beanpoles, gorging themselves on hot dogs was the only way to launch their friendship.

Lilith, perpetually below 20% body fat throughout her life, inhaled each cheap sausage with minimal chewing and finished her plate with half of Hephaestus’ time. But “friendly competition” has the word “friendly” in it. And Hephaestus still beat the third contestant, a young man named Chip.

Chip had a very bad day from that moment on. He vomited out half a plate of hot dogs outside on the grass, and Franco, disgusted by Chip’s lack of control to do it in a trash bin or in a bush, taught him a lesson by leaving a large footprint on his rear.

After the bad ambrosia day with Lily, Franco was not in a good mood. And by that, he was in worse of one than he usually was. No amount of roller-skating, casual soccer practice, or avoiding Lily boosted his mood.

He skated laps upon laps, much like the rest of the family, but they started to drop due to tiredness or just to get a snack. Even Lily petered out after giving a simple skating lesson to Anderson Whelohff.

Franco took a seat next to Lily at the fountain, dejected while she snacked on a grape-flavored snow cone that flew in the face of her healthy, athletic lifestyle.

“I’m very sorry,” he said.

“You know, I know how much you love snow cones, so I’m just going to enjoy this one in front of you while you have none,” said Lily, “Right down to the syrup at the bottom of the cone. I know how much you love that.”

“This isn’t funny, flower. I’m trying to admit a wrongdoing on behalf of myself and your gram, and you’re turning this into a passive-aggressive crapfest. I’ll get my own snow cone.”

The cone maker was down for repairs. Franco stormed back to his seat. “What do I need to do?”

“Let everything happen how it should,” Lily said, “She has a boyfriend, and he’s maturing into a nice lad.”

“I’m not going to tell you that he’s bad news. I’m not going to say that she’ll change your mind, or that you’ll change your mind when they’re at the altar. I’ll accept backing out, but not with peace of mind.”

She handed him the other half of her snow cone. “I hope they repair the machine soon. Enjoy, dad.”

And even with Lily’s saliva coating the ice shavings, Franco had to accept it. It wasn’t a summer outing without a snow cone.

Still, he couldn’t keep that promise without a struggle. It was like watching a son take a vow of celibacy, probably because it was exactly that. That lean, limber body that he kept up through long walks and sensible portions of Annette’ cooking? Wasted on the single life. Though Hephaestus never spoke about being single either, as if it was a non-issue. Was Franco just being a worrywart?

Maybe Hephaestus’ positive attitude and constant amazement with the world would net him some sort of happy ending.

Why couldn’t it net him a happy ending? Plenty of women in Twinbrook would fall on their knees for him and that beautiful smile. Maybe even Tegan would without any prodding, drawn like a firefly to a jar sprayed with pheromones.

They’d see soon. Her young adult birthday crept up on the family, circled in red on the calendar for the next day. The day circled in red might be what the family needed, a stimulus to turn their faltering bear market into a rising bull market. And for Tegan, perhaps she could be that stimulus, amazing the family by making the right choice.

But, let’s remember one thing: Tegan had a few more choices than some of us later immortals had.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,316
Word Count so far: 137,185

For anyone not particularly versed in economics, Bull and Bear Markets are used to describe stock markets and whether they're rising or falling. A market trending upwards is a Bull Market, while a market trending downwards is a Bear Market.

I really just wanted to force the reference because of Julian's surname. :P

Offline Littlesister

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 77, 8/27)
« Reply #360 on: August 27, 2014, 05:50:36 AM »
That was a beautiful chapter, I can't wait to see Lilith's genes get into the family. I hope you're feeling somewhat better!

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 77, 8/27)
« Reply #361 on: August 27, 2014, 08:16:40 AM » sad to see Julian go. At least he is with Lita now, right? Rest in peace, my good man...

Offline Lisa46

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 77, 8/27)
« Reply #362 on: August 30, 2014, 12:18:10 AM »
Awww, poor Julian. He was so handsome, wasn't he?

Also, are your sims on the swap shop? I want Anette and Jo!

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 78, 8/31)
« Reply #363 on: August 31, 2014, 12:07:28 AM »
That was a beautiful chapter, I can't wait to see Lilith's genes get into the family. I hope you're feeling somewhat better!

I'm feeling better right now and I hope it lasts for long enough to get a solid start in school this semester. Thank you! sad to see Julian go. At least he is with Lita now, right? Rest in peace, my good man...

He probably is, and probably happy with her, which is more than I can say for other mortals...

Awww, poor Julian. He was so handsome, wasn't he?

Also, are your sims on the swap shop? I want Anette and Jo!

Ah, he was such a good-looking guy. Like a less-angry version of his father.

Though what's even better than Julian is a female-Julian. I guess you'll see later. ;)

As for the Swap Shop, soon! I have most of the main crew exported, but I need to get some preview pics. I'm still on the fence on whether I want to upload the Roaring Heights crew or not, but I don't see why I couldn't. They're a genetically-interesting bunch.

Chapter 78: The New Blue and White

In the space of two days, the mood of Tegan’s life became a stark contrast.

Two days before her young adult birthday, her uncle Julian passed away, and while she had little of the connection that the others in the household did to the old man, it meant one less chainsaw filling the house with ambient noise. One less man making the world beautiful with his art. He even helped her study for her final exams just a week prior, and she came home with news of the five consecutive A’s she got on her finals, only to be greeted by the urn on the floor. One tear rolled down her spring-green cheek.

“Peapod, don’t let this get you down too much,” Annette said, not even bothering to change out of the stiff fabric of her formalwear and gloves before comforting her great-granddaughter. “It’s your birthday in just a couple of days! And I know that Julian will proud of you no matter where he’s watching from.”

“I’ll try my best,” Tegan said, “That’s awful sweet of you, gram.”

“I know it will be hard for me, not watching him bend over to cheer, in a speedo because we booked it at the pool.” Annette sighed, daydreaming of the perfect redhead who gave her the first kiss she had since Bill’s death, and the last she had for a while. “The world is so cruel.”

Tegan spent the next two days recovering as best she could, which turned out to be a fine recovery, even though it meant spending hours on dating sites seeing who could take grandma Annette off their hands. No biters. Perhaps she really did need an off-guard Julian in her life.

The rest of the time? She poured over job descriptions and applications. Tegan was stuck. Weighing 170 would do her no favors if she auditioned for the women’s football team, and that seemed more like something Lily would do anyways. Her inventions barely sold on the open market, and relying on her creations for income would just mean sponging off of the rest of the family’s hard-earned cash.

Tegan branched out to logical fields. Medicine meant helping others and doing good…with the latest technology and new models of MultiTabs before they went out to the market. Pass. She could follow in the footsteps of Bill and Pansy and carve out a career in law enforcement, enforcing all that is good in the world and using perception and puzzle pieces to stop the bad guys. Yes, Tegan entertained that thought for an hour, until she kicked back with the day’s newspaper.

Willow Creek Police Taze Five Party-Goers Without Warrant-

Pass on that career too, then.

She crossed off career after career, until two job listings remained.

Lab Technician needed for Botany. Will train.

Brave enough? Ghost hunters, paranormal problem solvers wanted. Spots always available!

Perhaps she would see once she grew up and handed in a résumé filled with nothing. See who wanted the résumé of nothing.

Regardless of who would want her, she had positive influences tugging her towards both careers, whether she saw it or not.

As Annette said, she or someone else planned a pool party for Tegan, to which the birthday girl agreed with because she wasn't one to fight or waste a good, barely-used swimsuit. Annette invited any boys from high school that wanted to go, as well as a few girls, though her confidence in her intuition about relationships made it a meaningless motion. Well, except to pad a guest list. The afternoon came and guests took to the pool.

Annette had fun with one of her grandsons, who beat her in a swimming contest. She made sure to remind poor Felix that he was still a single, bitter virgin who was uglier than his mother.

Poor old lady. She couldn't hold her breath for more than a minute, and what was meant to be a graceful swan-dive turned into a belly-flop.

Franco had a little more luck with diving.

And Lily, well, she wasn't alone. She assumed that Tegan ran off with some friends, leaving her and Bronson with some cuddle time. Jets from the tub caressed their backs and steam enveloped the entire area, and best of all, they really were alone. No one else touched the hot tub. Alone, until someone dropped in right beside them, right as Bronson whispered a little something about woohoo into Lily’s ear. Tegan reclined in the hot tub, putting her head back over the edge.

“Peapod, why don’t you just hang with your friends?” Lily asked.

“I was with Mickey and Anderson for a while.” Bronson recoiled at the idea of her hanging out with those boys,  no matter how well the ladies got along with the Whelohff family.

“I think you’re just fine right here,” Bronson said.

“Thanks dad. You and the family made this party happen anyways, so I should spend time with you.”

“You just like the hot tub, don’t you?” Lily asked.

“That too.”

For a while, the little family spoke on nonchalant terms, about the perfect summer sun that afternoon, or Lily and Bronson recalling untold tales about bonfires in college, when the smell of burning wood and herbs wafted over from the bonfire at the property. As the sun set more, and the sky of Twinbrook turned a hazy pink, the time for Tegan to blow out the candles and for everyone to have a slice of one of Annette’s prized cakes drew closer. Bronson had to get the candles because Annette kept nagging him about it, but not without leaving the conversation on a high note. Or trying to.

“So, what about the future?” Bronson asked his daughter, “About jobs, that is.”

“Two routes. I can get into Botany like grandpa Lincoln did. I even read one of his papers! I could be like that.” Tegan beamed at the idea of tending to good, morally-sound (or truly neutral, your pick) plants and studying their intricacies for the betterment of simkind.

“That’s great, peapod. And the other?”

“It might sound a little odd, but the Paranormal Profiteers are looking for a new lackey. Perhaps I could help the dead find some peace, if they’re there,” said Tegan.

“It’s odd that you’d find that.”

“It is, but I feel really fascinated by it. And I just want to see what Hephaestus sees.”

Bronson left the hot tub in a haste, right after giving Lily a mutual, sickened glare. “I better get those candles,” he mumbled.

Lily took a seat behind Tegan, and kicked back while the cake was being prepped and finger foods were cleaned up. Her stomach still churned at the thought of Hephaestus snatching away her porcelain princess, but perhaps it was just a friendly, charitable move on Tegan’s part.

“So, sweetie, once you blow out those candles and get the bow out of your hair, you have a big, wide dating world out there! Regardless of what daddy says,” said Lily. “Deep down, he wants you to be happy too. It’s that military-man protectiveness.”

“He shouldn’t have retired,” Tegan said. “He’s just killing himself with nothing to engineer or defend.”

“That pinched nerve got in the way. I have to hear about him complain about it for an hour before sleeping. But you’re really avoiding what I’m saying. It’s okay if you don’t want to date right now either.”

“Well, I have Bryant,” Tegan said.

“But he’s just a high school fling, isn’t he?” asked Lily.

“Maybe. But I keep making him happy and glow bright white inside. I could do that to someone else too, but I’ll keep at it.”

“No tarnishing your heart?”

“It’s not easy to.”

“Get your fat butt over here before the cake goes stale!” Annette yelled.

“Gram! Do not call her fat,” Lily said, cross.

“I was talking to Franco. Geez. But your fat one can get her butt over there too. It’s her cake.”

Unphased by her great-grandmother’s insulting nature, Tegan dried herself off with a towel and stood in front of the cake the same great-grandmother lovingly baked. Hey, it was worth it to get fat off those. The usual sounds started, cheering and laughter, and the still-teenaged Bryant was among them. How sad it would be to leave him behind for a few months! He was probably aching inside.

So what else could Tegan wish for other than happiness? She didn’t tell anyone until years later, when Bryant’s obituary was a piece of history, but all she wanted was happiness who whoever fell for her and her smiling plump lips, and her long, shapely legs. Happiness for all she touched.

Especially all of those boys and men who attended her party. Lily might ask her about all of them, but that wish even gave her the best answer for that! She wanted everyone her mum wondered about to be happy, from Jonas to Buck, from Mickey to Kisha (she was a lovely girl, after all), and from Bryant to Hephaestus.

It could also work as a way to appeal to Bronson when he wanted to throw a canister of military-grade tear gas at all of them.

Yep, that wish would work just fine.

Lily sobbed as everyone cheered and laughed Tegan on, to encourage birthday magic or just for the chance of getting an extra candy or two in their goody-bags. Her nooboo was growing up so fast.

But she cheered in the end, maybe because she wanted an extra piece of chocolate too.

And, of course, because after Tegan cleaned herself up of any black magic at the dresser, she came out as the loveliest princess in Twinbrook, festooned with bows and blue and white. Her beauty would make any mother proud.

After a rebellion-free childhood, Tegan freed herself of whatever suppressed badness might linger, by building a campfire to purify herself.

Or just to throw a concoction in it. True to Tegan’s morals, it wasn’t poison but rather copper chloride, which made the fire glow blue for a brief moment.

Hephaestus, meanwhile, marched himself upstairs with a plate of cake and a seat next to the mixologist, who realized that tending to a party of teenagers wouldn’t make for a night of bountiful tips. She eyed the lean man with some desire in her eye, as many women did.

“Well handsome, I’m new in town,” she said, “Why don’t we head to the hot tub?”

He looked over at her face, that pretty and unremarkable face. While he appreciated the skimpy dress on her, nothing sparked in his heart.

“I’m sorry, not tonight,” he said, looking nauseated at his half-eaten cake. He noticed Bryant throwing his used plate in the garbage one level below, and eyeing the grown-up Tegan in her bikini too. From those thick thighs to her more-developed bosom. While Tegan just saw a teenage boy still infatuated with her, Hephaestus saw the devil himself, with those horns leaking from his disguise as an unfashionable, chubby teenager.

He grabbed the rag doll from his belt loop. He was no Saint Michael, and this devil still wasn’t slain.

Bryant was washing his hands when Hephaestus approached him, pins in hand and ready to stab the doll in the crotch if needed.

“You thought I was done with you?” Hephaestus shoved the doll in Bryant’s face. But the unfit young man still had the reflexes to snatch the doll from Hephaestus’ grip.

“So you do like her, huh?” he retorted, keeping the doll out of reach. “Now that she’s all legal and curvy?”

“So what if I do? You’re a kid, I’m an adult, and there’s someone in this triangle who isn’t very legal, huh? You’re a devil in disguise, trying to tempt her away from the good parts of life.”

“Yep, tempting her away from someone with half a foot in the grave. How awful of me. I’’m a dang saint compared to you.”

“You are the evil one! I knew it. I’ll be exorcising your house tonight. Maybe you won’t be a problem anymore.” And then, Hephaestus grabbed the doll from Bryant’s hands, ripping a limb by mistake. Bryant collapsed on the spot, quickly taken away by some responsible adult or friend before Tegan knew what happened.

Hephaestus was ready to grab some salt to throw at the Moreno household, or to find a spell to do the same, but he barely spoke to Tegan that day.

And there she still was, ready for a little more fun in the party.

“Heph!” she squealed, “I thought you ran off somewhere.”

“Maybe I was about you. You need something?” he asked.

“Well, maybe we can just have some fun? No one’s using the water slide, finally!”

Yeah, and some woman wanted him to spend the night lazing in a hot tub. Hephaestus held his knees and slid down the wet plastic with a closed-mouth smile.

Tegan slipped and slid down with a nose full of water instead.

“Crap,” she muttered, “I thought I was better at that.”

“Hey, you tried. You know, you cleaned up so well tonight. I never thought I’d see you in a bikini,” he said.

“Eh, there’s only one time in my life where I get to look foxy. I thought I’d live it up.”

“And, hey, I’ve been doing this ‘adult’ thing for a lot longer than you have. If you need me, I’m always here for you. Always.”

She drew Hephaestus in for a soft hug. “Aww, thanks Heph. I’ll be sure to knock on your door at least once a day for it. Mind still working well?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

He spent the night doing exorcism rituals at the Moreno house instead, as he saw the property swirling with dark matter, more black than Tegan’s wavy, thick hair, outlined in pomegranate-red. Black noise and laughter rang throughout the yard. Hephaestus burnt incense to quiet it all down. Threw salt at any demonic hands that tried to grab him. Threw some more salt at the house next door, which had the high-pitched laughter of an old woman, the sound of which rubbed him the wrong way that night.

All throughout the night, he recited every incantation he could, and at sunrise, the bad energy waned enough for him to ignore. Hephaestus then fell asleep on the ground, caressed by soft, lakeside grass that was damp enough to make a big wet spot on his clothes. And then he was kicked awake.

Ready to throw a hit at a raging Moreno, Hephaestus instead woke up to one of Bronson’s shoes. Which was being worn by Bronson, who was there and a little smelly without a shower, and with big circles under his eyes that made him look half-dead.

“We need to talk...again,” Bronson said.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,465
Word Count so far: 139,650

Offline notjustabook

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 78, 8/31)
« Reply #364 on: August 31, 2014, 02:37:00 AM »
It's going to be interesting to see what career Tegan settles on.
And then there's her and Heph... I know her parents might not be too happy about it but I ship it.

Offline Brooke.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 78, 8/31)
« Reply #365 on: September 05, 2014, 08:25:11 AM »

It's taken me a while to read the whole thing and I've loved every bit of it. Congratulations on finishing, I can't wait to meet Phil and Jo, been waiting since they first appeared  ;)

One thing I wanted to ask about, was Pansy dating a wifebeater? I'm sure someone would have put a stop to that relationship ASAP!
Life State Dynasty: The Blackburns In Monte Vista (Complete)
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 78, 8/31)
« Reply #366 on: September 05, 2014, 08:37:33 AM »
It's going to be interesting to see what career Tegan settles on.
And then there's her and Heph... I know her parents might not be too happy about it but I ship it.

And she has a whole life or four to do both!

Who doesn't ship it?


It's taken me a while to read the whole thing and I've loved every bit of it. Congratulations on finishing, I can't wait to meet Phil and Jo, been waiting since they first appeared  ;)

One thing I wanted to ask about, was Pansy dating a wifebeater? I'm sure someone would have put a stop to that relationship ASAP!

I'm only responding now because I don't want to cause much confusion. "Wifebeater" is also a term used for a men's tank top, which Notzo was wearing. I don't know how colloquial it is, but it's a common enough word for them where I am. I might edit that line to be "Notzo's gone sleeveless" or something similar, because I'm not here to confuse/traumatize readers.

Thanks for the other compliments, though! You'll see Phil's true dynasty introduction sooner or later now that his mum is all grown up. That is, if I can get my lazy butt into writing mode.

Offline Brooke.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 78, 8/31)
« Reply #367 on: September 05, 2014, 08:42:11 AM »

I'm only responding now because I don't want to cause much confusion. "Wifebeater" is also a term used for a men's tank top, which Notzo was wearing. I don't know how colloquial it is, but it's a common enough word for them where I am. I might edit that line to be "Notzo's gone sleeveless" or something similar, because I'm not here to confuse/traumatize readers.

Thanks for the other compliments, though! You'll see Phil's true dynasty introduction sooner or later now that his mum is all grown up. That is, if I can get my lazy butt into writing mode.

Oh, I've always called them tank tops, really had no idea of that term. Thanks for clearing it up.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 39, 3/31)
« Reply #368 on: September 05, 2014, 08:50:42 AM »
Don't worry about it. :) I made a quick revision too:

“After everything? Nope. Now if you excuse me, my boyfriend’s gone sleeveless, and that’s just hot.”

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 79, 9/6)
« Reply #369 on: September 06, 2014, 10:24:24 PM »
Chapter 79: Cancer Man

“You’re not going to hurt me, are you?” Hephaestus asked. “I mean, I’m sorry for turning you into a toad. I just wanted to see if that spell worked!”

“I don’t think I can hurt you anymore. What do you drink, anyways?”

Hephaestus eschewed alcohol in favor of water and the occasional herbal tea. When Bronson informed him that he had control over the drinks, Hephaestus chose the diner and a pot of loose-leaf hibiscus tea for them to split over the dire conversation that would likely be Heph’s death sentence.

One cup in, and Bronson tore down any semblance of stoicism, slouching over the table with his head in his hand. Hephaestus had no good move other than to lend an ear to the old man.

“Let’s just make this clear, I still don’t like you,” Bronson said, grumbling.

“Accepted,” Hephaestus said.

“But I guess we’re both adults here, so let’s talk like them. I saw you staring at Tegan’s boobs yesterday, like a dog focused on a plate of steaks.”

“You sure I didn’t see a nymph in her cleavage?”

“Look, I’m a straight man just like you. I love a good rack, you do too, let’s not kid ourselves. I know the things you do, trying to torment that Bryant kid in ways I only wish I could. I had to haul him out to the doctor’s last night. You have your own violent streak too. I’m not going to start this conversation forgiving you for anything. Because you’re a wreck.”

“So I am,” Hephaestus said, “The violent part, a wreck, I guess I’m all of that even at my old age. So are you taking me out for tea, just to drag me through the mud? That’s a pretty awful thing to do to me.”

“I’m just going through a difficult time right now,” Bronson said, “In many ways. Lily wanted me to rescue you and I need to vent at someone, but not my Lilypad.”

“I thought retirement would treat you well, Mr. Curious. Why vent?”

Bronson hung his head down and cried after that. “I didn’t want to retire,” he said, in between sobs. It was the first time he cried since his death scare way back when. “I’m dying, that’s what.”

“I know you’re old, but…it can’t be that, is it?” Hephaestus asked, his eyes growing pink themselves. Bronson nodded.

“Demonic possession of humans is pretty difficult to cure,” Hephaestus said, “At least for me. I’m not a trained exorcist, nor am I blessed.”

“You idiot! You superstitious idiot, I have an untreatable tumor on my neck that will kill me within a month!” Bronson smashed his fists on the table, almost sending their tea set to the ground, “I don’t like one bit of your insane ramblings, but this is serious. I don’t get to go out late and gracefully like your uncle Julian did. I’m barely past 90 and I might see my daughter graduate today, but that’s as far as I’ll go.”

“I’m sorry, I’m very sorry.” Hephaestus sank in his seat. “Does Lily know?”

“I don’t want her to ever know. Not even when I’m rotting in the ground.”

“That’s mean,” Hephaestus said.

“Not when she sees me as this big, strong hero. She always has, and I like being her knight. And I want to die that way to her and not be the Cancer Man instead,” Bronson said. “Funny enough, you’re the sort of guy who can keep a secret the best in the family. Because you’ll be six feet under just like me, and I’ll still kick your bony butt in the afterlife. And I think you agree with dealing with illnesses peacefully, just like me. I have a kindred spirit in you, for the only time ever.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I get checkups, I get things checked.” He raised his voice. “I did. I went to Dr. Bertone last week!”

“Then why is that pill container always empty?” Bronson asked.

“They don’t refill much at all.”

“For a skinny genius, you’re really a big, fat idiot,” Bronson said, grumbling. “You and I both have something to hide. You want to be responsible, even though you’re not. I want to be strong, but that’s because I am. Mostly. Except that I’m dying.”

“I want them to shut up, too. I just want to feel like myself,” said Hephaestus. “The whole house has been plunged into darkness since Julian died, and now no one leaves me alone. They just curl up on my bed and relax in the tub, and get into the jar of mayo in the fridge and eat Annette’s leftover cheesesteaks. I guess…I guess I hide that too.”

“You’re insane and not dying. I get it. Shut up and buy me some foundation at the store to cover these bags. Franco said that the closest tone is Mocha, but they don’t make that goop dark enough for me.”

“Yes sir.”

“And kid,” Bronson said, “I’m weak, and just say it to me.”

“I would propose to Tegan in a heartbeat, sir. I love her in every way, and her body makes my tongue fall out of my mouth.”

“I hate you. Get me back home after you get the makeup, help me get dressed because everything hurts now, and forget what I told you about needing to get your mind checked before laying a hand on my nooboo. She’ll just love having a crazy old manchild as her hubby ‘til you’re rotting in the ground next to me. And then, I’ll kick your bony butt in the afterlife. Because I’ve known you for your whole life, and really can’t believe that I once liked you a little bit.”

Hephaestus drove Bronson home right afterwards to prepare for Tegan’s graduation later that morning, after helping him find and dressed in his good, never-worn trenchcoat at home, and waiting until his tired eyes were disguised. Rain started pouring and Bronson sighed, until Lily gave him a hug, almost crying herself.

“I can’t believe that we’re at this day,” she said in his ear.

“Yeah, I can’t either, Lilypad. I’m glad I’m here for it.”

As it turned out, Bronson indeed did his wife a huge favor, for the moment, by pretending to be healthy, aside from complaining about how he could barely move thanks to the spreading nerve pain that plagued him. He promised to look into it further, gritting his teeth and chalking the lack of results up to the human body being mysterious, and not being choked from the inside. It wasn’t anything new, and Lily gave him a peck on the cheek and some aspirin tablets that she kept in the glove compartment. She walked up the stairs to City Hall without a momentary frown.

The reality of her little nooboo graduating high school hit her near the doors. Lily bit her nails because Julian wasn’t there to do so. Three days in and she still bitterly missed her partner in sculpting.

Heck, even if Bronson’s impending death ate him up from the inside, he still looked calm next to Lily. No need to keep up appearances!

Tegan arrived early to prepare with the rest of the graduating class, making sure that robes were zipped up and caps secured on heads. However, one sneaky babysitter from Willow Creek thought that it would be fun to screw around with that weird, green Twinbrook girl, and convinced Tegan to wear a fuzzy, cat-ear hat instead. In the sweltering, swampy summer no less. She took it in good jest, especially as it fit on her head a little better than the mortarboard anyways. No one but Franco really cared, and even he shut up before taking his seat at the ceremony.

Aside from that, the family was on their best behavior for thirty seconds, until Bryant walked by. He wasn’t graduating, and had to save it for the next session, but he attended for his grown-up high school girlfriend and for the hope of a graduation party invite from someone. Very few people in the family cared about Bryant at that point, except for Hephaestus.

“Yeah guys, I’m so great, I’m a kitty cat,” he said, mocking Bryant by licking his hands like Bryant did in his moments of insanity, “Girls just love me for it.”

“It’s a part of him I’m fine with,” Tegan said, smiling. “You don’t need to be like he is, though! I like your mind the way it is.”

The ceremony, like every graduation ceremony across the world, was a horrible and slow affair for both the attendants stuck in their seats and the graduates under hot stage lights in their robes. Tegan, the humble valedictorian, delivered a speech simply thanking everyone for their presence and support throughout school, with one line thanking her proud, tearful parents in the audience.

She exited and tossed her diploma, for pride filled her good heart for a rare moment upon running her fingers across the thick paper and the golden seal. Her family also behaved for a morning, also rare, with only one moment of Annette checking out a man in the audience, and with Bronson yelling “you suck!” to only one graduate as they walked across the stage. Hephaestus acted oddly medicated, even getting his best jacket on as the dress code prescribed Come to think of it, everyone did regardless of their usual tastes.

The best of all? Her grandmother, the young and beautiful Bunny, attended as shimmering and splendorous as ever. She even found Bryant outside the doors.

“Do good by her, okay?” she asked him.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, dismissively. “It’s like you have a vendetta against me or something.”

“Kiddo, I watch out for my precious grandnooboo almost as much as her violent military dad does. Don’t pull any crap before you find your jugular drained.”

“Come on, gram,” Tegan said, “You can’t threaten him like that.”

“I literally don’t have a heart. Sometimes, I think I gave that all to you instead,” said Bunny.

Bunny had a good, neutral chat full of jokes and reminiscing with her old, old son, and almost forgot about Bryant. Even Tegan did, as she said hello to him before being whisked away by Hephaestus, who drew a white box out from his coat. “Because you didn’t plan a graduation party,” he said.

“What? It’s not like you’re a party animal either,” Tegan said, confused.

“I just need to get my mind off things, you know? Silence the voices so the family believes that I still am.”

“There’s nothing wrong with them.”

“I enjoy silence too. But the gift, that! Unfortunately, I took a cue from Annette for this one. It’s last-minute, and I’m sorry. They’re, well, they’re drink vouchers for Grey Chiffon. And a beautiful, frilly dress to make this a little less pathetic.”

“That’s not pathetic, Heph!” Tegan said, holding her heart with surprise and taking the gift, “I could use a drink too. Just one, perhaps.”

The dress was tailored perfectly for Tegan’s curves. The sleeveless design held onto her breasts without slipping. It covered enough of her legs to be a little less than scandalous. Paired with heels, Tegan’s new outfit fit the dress code for the lounge, and Hephaestus, after much fighting, disregarded a voice that told him to wear his athletic tank and kept his best coat and scarf on for the night.

She almost knew his order: a glass of seltzer water with a lime wedge. However, even the sober Hephaestus needed the crutch of sweet juice when trauma hit, and he ordered a martini to compliment Tegan’s fruit energy mix.

“Found out that you have another child?” she asked, legitimately concerned. “It’s okay. We make mistakes, and you have another cutie-pie too!”

“Nah, not that,” he said. “Just, um, I got a new job! I’m filling in as the pianist for the Simsouri Philharmonic while their regular one is on leave.” He swore that he saw a job listing for it on the bulletin board at the grocery store. He already had oodles of cash in his bank account from sculpting, so a new job with less pay could inject something interesting into his life.

“Oh, that is cool!” she squealed. “They got a new bartender downstairs, and mum says that it’s her cousin Lynn. She wants me to report back on how good he is at the job.”

“Is he one of those vampires?” Hephaestus asked.

“He’s working at this place. I bet he is.”

After a rough history with Lily, Lynn forgave the Waverlys entirely and shook Tegan’s second drink with a fanged smile on his face. The richest family in Twinbrook would surely tip him well, which they did, leaving two hundred simoleons in his jar. Tegan gave him a compliment too, for his skill.

“Well, they do sound good,” Hephaestus said, hesitating. “You make martinis too, right?”

Two drinks was enough to send two lightweights into a night of drunken decisions.

They gambled away all of the money that Tegan made from her graduation gifts.

They made fools of themselves on the counter.

And Tegan made an off-color comment about how firm Hephaestus’ butt looked. “Have you been hitting the squat rack with dad?” she asked, laughing a loose, buzzed laugh. “You’re just in such great shape, unlike me.”

“Nah, I like them soft,” he said. “With thick thighs and a nice round butt that jiggles when they dance.”

“If you were sober, I’d actually think you were flirting with me.”

Hephaestus, with two drinks taking a toll on what little of him there was to get drunk, almost leaned in to Tegan for a messy, public makeout session that would make Annette proud. He almost did that, while caressing her back and having one hand approach that fat butt he admitted to appreciating.

“You want a hug?” Tegan asked. “I just feel so fun right now. Hugs are fun!”

“Yes, yes they are,” Hephaestus muttered.

And for a man growing lovesick, hugs were fun, and comforting, and the best he got that night before vomiting chunks of alcohol and an olive platter in the fountain near the entrance of the venue.

Word Count for this chapter: 2375
Word Count so far: 142,025

While I don't have The Sims 4 right now, nor do I plan to for a bit, I do want to thank that game for having a world that looks like Twinbrook's sunny, oversaturated neighbor. Hence all of the references to Willow Creek now. That's where some weird folks come from. ;)

Oh, and I know that cancer is one of the most ridiculously overdone drama devices in Sims stories and often done badly. Can't say that I improved on it. I just needed a way for Bronson to get a death sentence. Fortunately or unfortunately, you don't get much of it, because Bronson's time is running out...

Offline Deme

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 79, 9/6)
« Reply #370 on: September 06, 2014, 11:01:40 PM »
Eh, I can't say I mind it too much; he's not too maudlin about it, and that's always important. It was a good chapter, anyway!
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Shewolf13

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 79, 9/6)
« Reply #371 on: September 07, 2014, 12:09:29 AM »
Took me a bit to catch up!  Been busy lately, but let me just say, Trip.  Lovin' it!  The conversation between Bronson and Heph made me laugh at the same time it made me sad.  I love how Bronson handles it.

Offline notjustabook

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 79, 9/6)
« Reply #372 on: September 07, 2014, 09:21:43 AM »
You handle the cancer thing much better than a lot of stories - it's not overly melodramatic or weepy. It's done well. As is usual with your stuff - I so envy your writing skills :)

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 79, 9/6)
« Reply #373 on: September 10, 2014, 04:50:15 PM »
Eh, I can't say I mind it too much; he's not too maudlin about it, and that's always important. It was a good chapter, anyway!

True. Thank you!

Took me a bit to catch up!  Been busy lately, but let me just say, Trip.  Lovin' it!  The conversation between Bronson and Heph made me laugh at the same time it made me sad.  I love how Bronson handles it.

Glad to have you back! (I'll bug you about the link to your legacy in a PM, so I can catch up too...)

You handle the cancer thing much better than a lot of stories - it's not overly melodramatic or weepy. It's done well. As is usual with your stuff - I so envy your writing skills :)

Though maybe with a different sim it would be. Thank you!

Chapter 80: Things That Crawl at Night

Little time passed after Tegan’s graduation, though little time was what the family expected her to take in settling on a career. She wasn’t as indecisive as her mother, was she? But she didn’t settle on one in that time, and not for at least a month.

Bryant blew out his birthday candles in that time, which meant that he resumed his romance with the grown-up Tegan and her mature, voluptuous goodness. Once. After an afternoon of one kiss and a chaste water balloon battle, Bryant rejected every date call from Tegan. “Sorry, but Innovative Second-Person Shooter XXI comes out tonight. The bros won’t let me miss that.” “Yeah, I’m still trying to beat this map.” “But there’s a new DLC pack!”

Tegan’s patience was tested. She complained once, lightly, to her father while they shared a plus-sized omelet in the morning. “I thought being in a relationship was all about dating, but he’s just focused on his games.”

“Gag me,” Bronson said.

“I know. I told you that technology is a little evil.”

“Not exactly that, but why don’t you spare your old man’s heart and not date anyone?”

“How about for as long as I can hold out for? I do care about your heart. Will you balk from the afterlife? God forbid you go there soon, of course.”

“I will no matter who you get. Just, um, make a good choice, peapod. Yes.”

“You okay, dad?” Tegan asked.

“Old and tired, that’s what. Ask your mum about it.”

“Are you okay with being left alone?”

“Always,” Bronson said. “More time for writing. It’s not as good as dead-lifting, but I’m glad to get back into it. So leave me alone while I write a compilation of ‘your mum’ jokes throughout the ages.”

“Alright daddy,” she said, giving him a hug before leaving for the fire station on a clear Twinbrook night. The wind shook the hanging branches of the willow trees, and the summer humidity made the smooth inner lining of Tegan’s pencil skirt stick to her chunky thighs. The heat that night, still nearly 90F, was enough to make a dedicated outdoors runner stick with a treadmill, but Tegan took a lazy saunter downtown. Cars whizzed by. Nature’s sounds joined her thoughts. Bronson pinched his nose bridge back at home. There had to be a boy involved, and it choked his heart even more than the tumor that was likely squeezing it or everything else.

Lily gave him a pat on the shoulder. “I know her well, honey. She likes doing her work alone too. That inventing stuff. I’m glad she’s stuck with it, because I love gushing about her new toys and widgets with her. Plus, those smashers would look great on a desk.”

“I can’t get used to her growing up,” he said, sighing. “I’m too old and set in my ways.”

“You’re our old man. I don’t think she hates you for it,” Lily said. “You’re doing darn fine for an old man, though. Can you wait to see her get her first promotion?” He would like it, you know, if he was in decent health. “Graduate from uni?” That would be nice too, if she could finish university in a couple of months and if the plane ride alone wouldn’t kill him.

Instead, Bronson shook his head to all of those questions. He couldn’t wait. He wanted to see those.

“As for dating, be her father, but if someone as nice as Mickey or Buck walked in through the door with Tegan draped over her arm, you wouldn’t hate it as much as…other things.”

“Maybe I hate them the least. Except for Buck, because he’s in bed with my mother half of the week. Those dang bloodsuckers.”

“Still not your father-in-law’s stepson, right?”

“Yeah, at least it wouldn’t be. I’ll kill myself before that happens.” Wouldn’t be long now.

“It’s tough to deal with.”

“But you know me deep down,” Bronson said. “I just don’t want her to get hurt.”

They slept for a few hours until a sudden call from the burn unit at Twinbrook Foundation Hospital roused the both of them. Tegan slipped, and her blowtorch went in a different direction. Instead of in front of her, the flame end of it landed on her butt instead. She was fine and with patches of second-degree burns at worst, thanks to her quick reflexes and being surrounded by fire extinguishers and other emergency measures in a fire station, but checked in to make double-sure that she wasn’t underestimating the damage.

“I’m sorry for worrying you guys,” she said on the ride home, lying face-down in the back seat of the Motive Mobile, as the scattered burns needed a break from bearing her weight.

“Don’t worry, Peapod,” Lily said.

“Well, it caught me off-guard,” said Bronson. “I’m too old to take this too.”

“I’m sorry, dad. I’ll buy a blowtorch with a better grip tomorrow, just for you.”

Bronson woke up tired, sore, and dying, which was the usual routine. He took a shower and was greeted by the best mushroom omelet and home fries that Annette ever made for him. He retired at the computer desk upstairs, intent on getting more work done on his current book. As usual, he didn’t bother getting dressed and relished the draft that strutting around in his boxer shorts gave him. Annette followed, even though she lost interest in Bronson once he got elderly.

“I have a little project for this old dog,” she told him.

“This old dog is far too old for this,” Bronson said, dismissively.

“Nonsense! You’re barely past 90 and spent your life doing bicep curls. My husband lived to 111 by lazing around and watching TV, so I think you have plenty of years left in you. Anyways, I’ve been around for even longer, and I was thinking that now might be the time to start writing my memoirs. But that’s too much work, so I think you should ghost-write them for me instead.”

“How much time will this take?”

“A few years, if you count proof-reading too.”

“We’ll see.” Bronson cracked his knuckles. Somehow, any motivation to compile more “your mum” jokes for a humor book escaped. He stared at the white space in his word processor and shut the laptop. He opened it again, and with the keystroke of control + n, he sought to write something different from his book and Annette’s memoirs.

Dear Whoever You Will Be,

You might hear stories about me. I’m Bronson. I’m your grandfather or something more distant, because this writing business isn’t for my daughter, is it? Or maybe I’m an in-law, which means that I desperately wish that I was around to talk crap behind your back.


You’re probably only reading my books because you like to write, and you need inspiration, and your family keeps my work on hand for the memories. That’s fine with me. So I have two things to say:

Keep writing. It’s a great hobby to have.

If you run out of ideas, you can catch Annette if juice poisoning hasn’t taken her first. She’ll suggest ghost-writing her memoirs, I know it. Write a biography about the whole family instead. They’re weird. The ones I know are weird and the most awful, and amazing people I know. I wish I could, but I’m writing this as a dying old man instead.

Regardless of who you are or what I think of you, I hope I can get your books in the afterlife. I’ll have plenty of time to kill.

Yours Truly,

Grandpa Bronson

Bronson printed out the letter and folded it, stuffing it into the family’s copy of Feyman Smash! #1, his first work. Hopefully someone would still be interested in illustrations and panel-work that needed refining.

It sparked his motivation for the jokes again. He went upstairs to write one more joke, before retiring to bed for the twelve or more hours of sleep that retirement and illness gave him. But he fell on the floor and everything stopped, from his perception of time to his heart. Definitely the latter, though.

Someone called Bronson on his cell phone right then, right as he floated up in his new form. His ringtone was a sound clip of an atom bomb warning siren, and if it ever looped, the family would approach Bronson and demand that he answer his phone or turn that darn thing off. And so the patter of a few of the house’s adults on the staircase sounded on the third loop of the blasted siren. Everyone just thought that Bronson abandoned his phone for the night.

Tegan was busy when she first heard it, right in the middle of ice sculptures with Hephaestus. Lily trusted him with them more than she trusted herself with carving facial features out of delicate ice. But then the ringtone from hell sounded. She jumped, but hoped that her dad would answer the phone like a decent person.

Second loop. Hephestus ignored it and got the perfect pose from her. She couldn’t stand it.

“I’ll be back. If I don’t survive, well, you’re still my best friend,” Tegan said to him.

“It’s just a smartphone…oh,” said Hephaestus. “I know you hate it, but you’re strong.”

She entered the little study upstairs, a place she was familiar with thanks to the inventor’s workbench being the next room over. She expected to find his phone and a hard surface to smash the offending technology against, as she did enough good to make up for it, such as her latest check to Plant a Money Tree’s efforts in the needy areas of Bridgeport. Instead, Tegan found a ghost, and not the fascinating kind that bicycled around France.

The waterworks started as Bronson’s phone stopped.

Lily came upstairs next, gasping at what she found.

“Thanks, ladies,” were his last words to the family. He saved a few more for Grim, who struggled to find a space in the cramped study.

“This is sooner than even I expected,” said Grim. Bronson held his tongue.

“Yeah, surprised me too,” he said. “Got time for some last words?”


“I chose well and regret nothing. And I can whoop the rears of whatever demons you unleash on me. I’ve done well, and I just want to meet some of the family again. See who these Bakers everyone tells me about are.”

“That is very nice, Bronson,” said Grim.

“You know what? Thanks for being a good old reaper,” Bronson said, cordially shaking Grim’s hand, while he usually greeted people with a megaphone or a threat from the military.

He leaped into the afterlife with the grace of a grasshopper, leaving his ladies alone and crying. Annette figured out what was up and tracked down Lily, who escaped.

She found her granddaughter on the see-saw outside, sitting on and weighing down one end of it. She climbed on the other end to even it out and have a talk, or to cheer up Lily with a child’s game.

“I think I’m better for telling you this than your dad is,” Annette said. “You never met your grandpa Bill, but Bronson always reminded me of him, sort of.”

“Did grandpa laugh at birthdays?”

“Without fail.”

Lily chuckled. The family attracted a type, it seemed.

“Hey, I’ve mentioned this before, I swear,” Annette said, “But as long as we finish this stupid dynasty, you can have him back. Young and buff and beautiful again.”

“You have, you have. But how much longer do we have left?”

“More than I’d like.”

“I’ll follow the rules better than anyone, then,” said Lily. “I’d live a perfect life with him again, because it was perfect.”

“I can understand that. It is like me and Bill. ‘The One’ is good at lifting you up.” Annette put all of her weight and force down on the see-saw, sending Lily’s side up. For emphasis.

“And of course you keep wanting that,” Annette continued, talking to a suspended Lily. “But I can see things picking up at points. You’ll be a grandmother one of these days. And if there’s one thing that made me feel the tiniest bit better after Bill passed on, it was meeting you for the first time. As pink as…well, I don’t think anyone in my family was very pink. But that just makes you special.”

“Thanks Gram.” She stepped off the see-saw and hugged her old granny around the neck.

“And you’re welcome! Also, take those dang leggings off. They were barely in style when you were a fit adult and don’t even match now.”

She’d consider it, even more so after Annette delivered her a fresh plate of Baked Angel Food Cake for her sorrows.

Lily went up to the cemetery early in the morning to set his obelisk in place, as the first rays of sunlight greeted Twinbrook’s horizon and shone through the willows’ branches. Even in the warm, humid morning, the cicadas fell silent in honor of the fallen mortal. Lily made sure it was secure in the ground, in anticipation of a bad summer thunderstorm.

She drove around the back hills of Twinbrook, past the old Curious house where Bronson’s mother and sisters still lived and basked in their endless youth, and past the military base. She put on some music to clear the air. Lily and Bronson shared playlists and collections, and with their combined collection on shuffle, one old song popped up first, sort of. She recognized the tune, even though it was done on a keyboard and with a slightly more electric guitar.

The night falls in the forest and the light fades away
The wind cries over the snowy plains as the blackness bleeds from the grey
The circles of thought don't turn
The candles cease to burn

“This old thing,” she said to herself. The band that did the song re-recorded it, according to Bronson.

I'm all alone in the darkness of my stilled heart

So she was, so she was.

The song was from the wrong perspective, at least at that moment. Bronson didn’t mean to die, as far as she knew, unlike some scorned love interest or friend who made the lyricist displeased. But it mattered to her, bringing back the good moments of cuddling with him during a red-eye flight while listening to that song (well, the original recording) through one earbud.

The frost grows on your window at the touch of my icy fingertips
I come to give you a kiss to suck the warmth from your lips
And I just slip away
Before I'm burned by a new day
Leaving you to lie cold and still in your bed

Alone, Lily sung along to the chorus. After so many years, she didn’t forget the words.

Can't remember why I've come to know them all
I have become one of the things that crawl at night

Word Count for this chapter: 2,492
Word Count so far: 144,517

Song credits, again, go to Tarot and their song "Things that Crawl at Night." It really was re-recorded by the band in 2011 (original recording was in 1986; that's older than my parents' marriage!). I prefer the re-recording by a small margin.

Offline Malley

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 80, 9/10)
« Reply #374 on: September 10, 2014, 05:04:05 PM »
This chapter was so bittersweet.  RIP Bronson, you shall be missed  :'(

Also, take those dang leggings off. They were barely in style when you were a fit adult and don’t even match now.”

That was pretty funny though  :)