Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 196556 times)

Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 84, 9/23)
« Reply #390 on: September 23, 2014, 02:47:06 PM »
Piper is adorable! Tegan is a [word redacted - Trip]! And Heph just letting her do whatever out on the town with that... that... person!!! (I refuse to call it by name since that gives it credibility)! Trip, please let Tegan wake up and stop being such a bleeding-heart doormat! Either that or let the (unmentionable) person come in contact with a faulty dishwasher and a puddle of water!!!
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Offline Gwendy

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 84, 9/23)
« Reply #391 on: September 23, 2014, 05:09:59 PM »
Quote
“I’ve been interested in the idea of chivalry lately. The world is full of weird hippies, post-modern ideas, playboys, and I can prove them wrong. By holding doors open and paying the dinner bills for m’lady.”

Oh, watcher! Run, Teegan, run, it's just a line! A bad, bad line! God knows he's only not being outwardly terrible to rack up points to use against you someday! (Or maybe he DOES have an ability to just be nice for no selfish reasons at times, but this is Neckbeard Bryant, so I'm going in with many a grain of salt, here. Either way, good job on showing them having good times together, and making it a realistic situation, Trip, and not just have him be a full-blown cartoony moustache-twirling villain.  :) )

But seriously, where's the Everette/Leopold Dream Team Etiquette and Mannerisms Squad when you really need a fool to be schooled?! D:
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Offline Shewolf13

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 84, 9/23)
« Reply #392 on: September 23, 2014, 07:37:46 PM »
My eye is twitching... I need to do violence... horrible violence upon Bryant's person... *tries to take calming breaths, but doesn't work* Trip, you're killing me!  Poor Tegan... she really is too sweet for her own good.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 84, 9/23)
« Reply #393 on: September 24, 2014, 12:47:57 PM »
Piper is so cute. I generally don't like cancer stories/movies but you didn't do so bad, thank God  :P
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 84, 9/23)
« Reply #394 on: September 27, 2014, 10:54:53 AM »
I'm guessing Piper is Jo's mum? And will be married to Phil? Phil is Tegan's right? Looking at Phil's personality and skin tone, unfortunately I think he's Bryant's.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #395 on: September 28, 2014, 02:00:50 PM »
Much agreed  ;D  Piper is too cute for words!

Good thing I got a lot of pictures to describe her instead! What a darling.

Piper is adorable! Tegan is a [word redacted - Trip]! And Heph just letting her do whatever out on the town with that... that... person!!! (I refuse to call it by name since that gives it credibility)! Trip, please let Tegan wake up and stop being such a bleeding-heart doormat! Either that or let the (unmentionable) person come in contact with a faulty dishwasher and a puddle of water!!!

One day she will. Many chapters from now. Maybe during a mid-life crisis. Not everyone can be a strong, independent woman! I needed to save all that strength for a later character or several.

But there will be a break in Tegan's submissive personality soon. I promise. ;)

Oh, watcher! Run, Teegan, run, it's just a line! A bad, bad line! God knows he's only not being outwardly terrible to rack up points to use against you someday! (Or maybe he DOES have an ability to just be nice for no selfish reasons at times, but this is Neckbeard Bryant, so I'm going in with many a grain of salt, here. Either way, good job on showing them having good times together, and making it a realistic situation, Trip, and not just have him be a full-blown cartoony moustache-twirling villain.  :) )

But seriously, where's the Everette/Leopold Dream Team Etiquette and Mannerisms Squad when you really need a fool to be schooled?! D:

I'm so glad my research into the worst of internet neckbeards paid off. ;D

I think he does have the capacity for non-selfish good, such as giving Piper some proper outdoors wear. He might have a redemption arc, might not. I'll see how a later chapter plays out.

My eye is twitching... I need to do violence... horrible violence upon Bryant's person... *tries to take calming breaths, but doesn't work* Trip, you're killing me!  Poor Tegan... she really is too sweet for her own good.

Sorry. D:

Piper is so cute. I generally don't like cancer stories/movies but you didn't do so bad, thank God  :P

I've read and laughed at the truly bad cancer stories of TS2/3, so I wanted to take my stab at something not-so-cringeworthy. Last time I'll do that, I swear. I was kind of angry that Bronson barely made it past 90 in spite of being in incredibly good shape, while some lazy wastes of space almost hit 120.

I'm guessing Piper is Jo's mum? And will be married to Phil? Phil is Tegan's right? Looking at Phil's personality and skin tone, unfortunately I think he's Bryant's.

Piper as Jo's mum: that's the plan, and that would explain her blonde hair. Married to Phil? Well, I'll have quite a story to tell.

He is Tegan's son. No spoilers there. His personality was planned out when I first started. I wanted this family to be a big mix of personalities, and Phil's evil, take-no-crap attitude was meant specifically to play against Tegan's. Regardless of who fathered him.

All that it took for his skintone was for someone lighter than Tegan to father him. And Tegan, when you put her on a normal skintone slider, is a little lighter than Bronson. She's dark and all of Tegan's spousal prospects were lighter than her.

His hair color tells a story, I'll say that. As will a subtle hint I'll drop in Chapter 86. ;)



Chapter 85: My Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Aunt



“Maybe it’s time to pack up and go home.”



She says it over breakfast. Dad doesn’t care much about it, basking in his post-divorce glow and enjoying my girlfriend’s delicious eggs. I wish I had a post-divorce glow. Instead, I got fat for a while, but that’s in the past. Doesn’t mean I don’t hate him, though.

But all he has right now are those eggs, and I’m not offended at his breakfast choices nor at how he keeps his mouth closed while chewing. He didn’t just suggest for me to take a break from solving the greatest mystery I’ve ever encountered. Or solving whatever’s left of it. I’ve learned, right?

“I don’t think you have much left to do here,” Agnes says, after chewing. She keeps her mouth closed while chewing too. What a goddess, but her suggestions are still wrong.

“I wouldn’t say that.” I wipe a smear of runny yolk from the corner of my mouth. “I thought you needed me around anyways.”

“Yeah, back in Sunset Valley. Where my company is, Jo. I do love you, and I can’t leave Roaring Heights without you, but I wasn’t expecting this to take so long, and I didn’t make the right preparations back at home.” She might be stifling back a tear. Her voice sounds the slightest bit like it. “It’s one of the only things that gives me some purpose now. I can’t let the publishing fail.”

“So completing my story doesn’t matter? Even though this will profit?” I ask.

“Not when I’m hemorrhaging simoleons, no.”

I can’t contest that when I’m broke.



The rest of breakfast is awkward.

“I guess I’ll do some more painting today,” Agnes sighs.



I don’t think badly of her, but I do like how the easel can shut her up and give me the silence I need in my life. Dad takes another nap, claiming that his new line of work is nocturnal. I can’t see him ever taking a job in the daytime hours. Evil operates on a different schedule.



I could read Eight Ways, next to the disturbing image of my father sleeping in his undies without having the decency to pull the covers over him. But then again, he did enough of that in Eight Ways too.

I can’t do this.



Alone, so wonderfully alone, I walk to the pool and bask in the sun and chlorine.

Screw it, I’m too happy here. Almost. By comparison? For a vacation riddled with arrest and surprises and confusion, it has been one of the best few weeks in a while, even if I am broke. Even if I am confused by romance again when I shouldn’t be.

I mean, that can be ended. But I ruined enough my life with the consequences of ending.

But I’ve ruined my life with just being in them. Simon and Katherine are still memories.

So I’m screwed. But I’m screwed in an interesting place.

“Alright, two minutes!” Two children splash in an under-developed frontstroke, but they make progress towards the other end of the pool. Their instructor treads water, but judging by her excellent figure, proper swimming is a part of her routine too.

For once, I don’t care about comely swimming instructors. Not the most, anyways.



I probably shouldn’t care about Bridget much either. She’s a child. And me, I look like a creep trying to keep my eye on her, trying to care about a seemingly-unrelated child even though she’s my great-great-great-great-great aunt. What a funny thought, even putting immortality in perspective.

The fact that she looks like one of my own descendants still haunts me. Blond hair, black eyes, blue skin, and they both wear black too. I need to forget that. This isn’t a torture session for Bridget nor does she deserve one. In fact, she can help me. Parents follow their kids. Even the drunk, criminal ones do.



Sure enough, Moira is there. She rubs her neck, groggy after a night of work, or a night of drowning her widowly feelings with distilled juice and a wedge of lime. I’m her best friend now (her words, not mine). She turns towards me and waves. “Fancy seeing you here!” she yells from across the pool.

Her voice lowers to motherly sweetness towards a dripping-wet Bridget, who stands there hoping for a towel to wrap herself in. “Bridget, tell Mrs. Capp that you can stay for a few more minutes. Mummy has some work to do.”

“Work? Am I targeted by the mafia now?” I ask, with a chuckle once she approaches and I’m sure that Mrs. Capp has her head under the water. I might be serious.



“We have more deserving targets. But! I spoke with Jamie a few nights ago about your money situation, and you’re still broke. So hear me out-“

“Wait, how did you?” No, it’s Jamie. He’d do that. “Never mind. Did it cost?”

“I just sit him down to Tank’s piano work in times like these. Man, it’s like a truth serum for him.”

“Is this a hint for me?” I laugh.

“If you need it. And if you take my new offer, he might be of use. Anyways, how would you like to accompany me in my line of nastiness and crime? It pays the bills.”

“I look like a thief now?”

“You look enough like me, right?” She chuckles, but still lacks any sort of awareness of the truth. “Blue-ish and demonic and racially-ambiguous otherwise. It makes the witness reports easier to use, but I hand that work off to Arthur.”

“Thought that he just wiped up your fingerprints.”

“That too. He does a lot of work to make sure that I don’t leave a trace. Not a broken window or a fingerprint left behind. You’ve met him, but I’ll have you meet the boss-lady tomorrow, if you’re up for the job. She signs our checks. And she’s my aunt.” By aunt, she means Maeve. Her mother’s sister. No other sisters were mentioned in the family photo album, and I find it hard to believe that her tan father would have a stake in the criminal world instead.

Also, this job will keep us in Roaring Heights for a while. Forever if they’re that sinister.

I can decline and try to get my bank account back instead.



“You know where I live, right? I’m gonna need a ride there.”

Agnes is home later that day, when it gets too dark to paint anything but darkness.

“I had a good walk,” I said. “But there is a wrench in our plans. I hate siphoning money off you.” I haven’t done much of it, but she smiles.

“…And I decided to get a job here.”



“You wouldn’t,” Agnes groans, head in her hands. “After all I told you?”

I have trouble with the truth. I also have a weakness for beautiful women, and on a purely aesthetic level, Agnes is that. Even if she ended up making me go steady far faster than I wanted.

“I’ll talk to Moira about it tomorrow.”

Nah. I want money too. I can make this work out. Agnes has a way of waking up on the wrong side of the bed anyways. Tomorrow could work better.

“I know it’s been a bad day, and it’s my fault, really,” I say. “Can I make it up to you?”



I have to ready and cheerful for the morning, after all.

The car pulls up against the curb the next morning. Moira drove straight and in the right lane the whole way here, and a small medallion hangs from her rear-view mirror. I look at it while she drives. Just Started is engraved on one side.

Annette had one for a week, long ago, when she started group therapy and had to go to Juice Anonymous, or JA, as a supplement. She fell off the wagon after six days sober. But Moira doesn’t need to know that about herself.

“Just started?” I ask, feigning ignorance.

“It’s because of you, friend,” she says. “You had some problems with me as a drunkard, and you know, you were right about that. I can’t be a mother or a savvy thief that way. Not for long, that is. So I’m gonna get clean, or try my best. For all of you guys.”



She, Maeve the boss-lady, lives up against the beach, in a mansion with a shining bright exterior, white window panes, and lively palms providing relatively little shade to the expansive property. I didn’t ask Moira, but I snooped through her photo albums enough to see little of Maeve and no family mentioned. She lives alone here, in this mansion built for several. At least she’s sharing.

Moira bolts in once she knows that the door is unlocked. “Isn’t that rude?” I ask her.

“She takes a while to get ready,” Moira says. “And it takes her a while to get to the door. Lighten up, I’m her niece. If there’s one person who gets to break into her house, it’s me.”

It’s a slow process for me too, as I stop at the doors and admire the statues through the glass, as well as the tiles on her floor. The whole place is empty, except for Moira, who reclines on a couch at the end of the hall, bare feet on the cushions and making herself at home.



Let’s make this clear: I grew up in a mansion. To change the cliché, I was born with a whole set of silver cutlery in my mouth. I grew up with millions at my disposal and gold at my fingertips, with five credit cards in elementary school, and most importantly, enough money to fall back on so that I could devote my life to writing at a professional level. We Waverlys sweated diamonds and Tiberium, and that mansion was home. I couldn’t make this home. I can barely make this my employer, not even in a time of crisis. I feel so working class right now.



Moira sits up straighter for me. “She has a harsh face,” she says. “But she’s our lovely old hag, and she runs a business like no one else.”

“Moira, please set up some tea for your guest,” someone called from upstairs. It’s probably Maeve. Moira abides and prepares her kettle in another room. I cross my legs and wait until someone’s on the other couch, though he’s too masculine to be a Maeve.

“I swear, the nerve of that kid,” he muttered. I look over my shoulder, through the leaves of the potted palm in the corner. Tank, again. It’s too early in the morning for jazz, and looking at those arms, he would be wasting them by delicately tickling the ivories. It looks like he’s at home.



I twitch in my seat while he slouches and growls at the world. “I trust her judgment,” I say, meekly.

“You would think that she’d get your old criminal dad instead.”

“How do you know my dad?” No one here knows my dad, even if they know Phil. It’s easier to pass him off as my evil twin instead, and for 99% of Roaring Heights, it has worked. Why would Tank make that assumption about him? If he is. Maybe Meg did some wizardry with my papers and made me a Racket instead. I haven’t bothered to take a look.

“Part of my job. Not the part that I’ll ever explain to you, but what I do behind the office door. It won’t even matter if you get the job.”

“Fine. Keep your mouth shut about it.”

I swear that he’s getting up to strangle me, hands open for my bare neck. The sound of heels against the stone tiles, and some third instrument, break his rage. Tank’s muscles relax enough to quell immediate danger, but I won’t trust him for long.



My gaze is averted to the approaching figure as well, with her harsh face and starfruit-yellow skin against a contrasting purple wardrobe, and a youthful, shapely figure that hoists itself up with a cane. This is the woman I can call my great-great-great-great-great-great-great aunt, but not to her face.



She crosses her arms. “You need to save your strength for tonight, Engel,” she says. Her deep voice is as clear and smooth as a fresh cup of Irish breakfast tea.



He rolls his eyes at his boss. “She’s been a bother and you know that,” he grumbles. “I’m not wasting my morning on this.”

“For a bother, she has potential. Do not harm the new recruits. I do not have to keep telling you that.” She stands tense and unassisted, before leaning on her cane again with a wince of pain on her face.

“I’m Maeve McGrail, and I’m sorry, Josephine. Mr. Engel is the foreman and much of the muscle of our business. His personality fits for that, but I won’t let him harm you this morning.” She approaches me and I lend out a hand.



“Ms. McGrail, it’s an honor to finally meet you. Moira’s said some nice things.”

“I hope she has. It is not that good to dishonor family, now is it Moira?” She snaps her fingers and Moira comes with cups and saucers balanced in one hand and a pot full of tea in the other.

“Nah, not for you. I gotta stay in the will somehow,” Moira says.



I’m led to the parlor. Tea is poured, and we all drink in silence. Maeve enjoys it, sip by small, slow sip. I bask in the glow of her fireplace in the meantime, in the aura of her strange décor tastes for this room and the garish green rugs, and even though she’s related to me, 100% aesthetic appreciation of Maeve’s lovely waist and cat-like eyes. I actually never knew I came from such a beautiful family. The old photos of Annette in Twinbrook didn’t do her justice, and the busy, tired, not-so-drunk single mother named Moira sheds a new light on that beauty. Or it’s the vintage fashion.

Tank’s cheekbones are weird. He’s built like a manly man. Eileen could do better than him half the time and being a devoted, cheerful beard to her gay husband the other half of it.

I could say all of these things right now, with the sort of tact that Moira has (or doesn’t), and lose any prospect for a job.

I could stay in this relationship.

I keep my mouth shut and drink another cup of tea.



“The tea’s gone cold now,” Maeve says, hands folded. “So, Josephine, what makes you think that you are ready to join my empire?”

“The recommendation of your niece, I guess,” I say.

“We can’t just trust Moira’s word,” Tank says. “She’s brought some pretty awful people in this business.” He locked bitter eyes with Moira. “You remember Muffin, right?”

“Yeah, you sacked him last month. That’s why I brought Jo here. Arthur doesn’t cut it for being a thief and doing this business solo sucks,” Moira says, crossing her arms.

“I’m a runner,” I say, which is true. Back in Twinbrook, I finished a marathon in my old age of uncountable oldness. I could do half of one today, with some training. 5Ks are still a breeze. “Also, I have some inside knowledge of a few families.” I almost swallow my tongue in embarrassment.

“Really now?” Maeve asks.

“My dad, who’s living with me, knows the Altos very well.” Or at least the patterns on their bedsheets. “And I knew the Rackets back in Twinbrook.” I’m a Racket, for starters. I met Shark once when he was resurrected. My ex-husband was a Racket too, deep down, much like me but a smidge closer to their heavyset, stern-looking kin. Not a lie.



“Amateurs,” Maeve scoffs. “I can assure you that we’re working on a deeper level. Bootlegging, criminal services, information, I run a big business here. Do you have any talents in those?”

“Explain your services.”



Tank delivers this news, doing his best to sound neutral. “A quick list: thievery, private investigation, cover-ups, counterfeiting, smuggling, whatever they ask of us. And I’m the foreman behind a lot of it.”



“Pleasant to know.” I avoid rolling my eyes. It’s a mutual feeling.

“You would be working under Moira, however,” Maeve says. “Any of her recruits are her responsibility.” For once, the thought of working with Annette/not quite Annette eases my mind.

“She’s also a total lesbian,” Moira chimes in. “And looking at how she checks out the chests of everyone she crosses, I bet she could, um, persuade a few of our female witnesses into never speaking about our work again.”

“I’ve heard,” Maeve sighs. “Rumor does have it that you’re a Sapphist,” she tells me.

“Self-described and everything.”

“Do you have a way with people? An observant eye? Good at keeping watch?”

Yes to all of them. Cheating on my ex-husband meant keeping a watch on things, but she doesn’t need to know. Moira doesn’t need to know that her new bestie is a horrible, unfaithful harlot. Tank doesn’t need more ammo against me.

“Worked security to get myself through college,” I say. Ha, I didn’t even go to college. My last name was blacklisted across Simnation, and Twinbrook had no options at home. And paying would be comparable to an average citizen dropping a quarter down the sewer: sad only for a second.

Tank raises a brow. The man must have a polygraph in his head. Maeve lightly slaps his hand and gives him a stern glare.

“Sorry,” he mumbles.

“Security sounds nice. You might be trainable after all. Moira orchestrates the jobs, so she is responsible for telling you when you’re working.”

“Tomorrow night. Be there?” Moira asks. “The newspaper. I’ve done it before, getting into the private archives.” I nod.

“I look forward to having you as my employee, Josephine,” Maeve says. I shake her hand good-bye. I wave at Tank when he isn’t cooperating.

“Can you get home by yourself?” Moira asks. “I’m tired, and I need to not be before I pick Bridget up.”

“Sure thing.” She leaves with haste. I appreciate the architecture and statues while the muffled conversation between Tank and Maeve plays out.

“I am very disappointed in you,” Maeve says. “I don’t care what we know about her. This job will help us.”

“I don’t get your logic, cupcake,” he says.

“You’re going to have to perform very well to make this up to me.”

I walk out the door, or start to.

“Like I wouldn’t?”

I can’t help but take a look in the window afterwards, maybe just for some juicy gossip about the fight between the war machine and a disabled woman who isn’t as scary as I thought. I’m a horrible person.



They give me fuel of a different type. I could tell Eileen.

I could also be putting a bounty on my head.

I’ll ask dad if it eats at me. He knows their ways, and I’m shocked that I got the job instead of him. I don’t know what he’s doing for money, but he comes home with a smile on his face and a few herbs each night to mellow his corrupt mind for time to do a few sudokus (runs in the family, I suppose).

He wakes up and gets dressed not too long after I come home. Agnes is still out, angry over the job offer. My actual new job might throttle her straight into depression. Maybe a breakup will be a better option, but I try to force that out of my head while my dad has a glass of orange juice. How the heck did he afford that? I need to know. He’s finally one-upping me in success.

He’s about to step out the door.

“Where are you off to?” I ask.

“A good place.”

“Yeah, but where?”

“Oh please, you’ll be judgmental over it. You just don’t understand.” He fakes his whining mighty well. He’s also repeating lines I used on him when I went out at night to be a secret Sapphist (still sticking with that title).

“Cut the crap,” I say. “Where you off to? Who is it now?”

“We know them too well.”

“Wait, is this for Arthur?” First, gross. I have to closely work with the same guy my dad may or may not be romantic with. Second, I have an excuse to pay Eileen a visit. I might need her more than ever now.

“I really have to make these things harder to guess,” he says.

“Take me with you.”



Word Count for this chapter: 3,435
Word Count so far: 158,117

Maeve's cane is a CC accessory. I wasn't able to find any mods to make adults use the regular canes in game. Just in case I accidentally got anyone's hopes up.

I'd like to (finally, after a lot of chapters) give a shout-out to our very own NotJustABook, whose poses have helped this story a lot. :D Read her legacies.
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Offline Rowan

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #396 on: September 28, 2014, 08:23:09 PM »
I'm finally caught up! 158,117, not too shabby! I don't like being caught up though, it means more suspense  :( Maeve is gorgeous.
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Offline Brooke.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #397 on: September 29, 2014, 08:00:57 AM »
Maeve is stunning but she scares me. I hope Tank knows what he's doing.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #398 on: September 30, 2014, 10:11:52 AM »
Aaw, thank you for the shout-out - I thought I saw a couple of my own poses in there ^_^ Glad you found them useful!

You write so well as usual. The little details you add to description just really makes your writing sort of pop. Really, for serious jelly of your skills.



Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #399 on: September 30, 2014, 01:14:04 PM »
I'm finally caught up! 158,117, not too shabby! I don't like being caught up though, it means more suspense  :( Maeve is gorgeous.

At least you're in the same, suspense-filled boat with the other readers now. ;)

She's definitely a lovely sim.

Maeve is stunning but she scares me. I hope Tank knows what he's doing.

He does. I think he and Maeve are pretty matched in power: she has authority, but he's athletic and able-bodied.

I'm scared for what she can do to anyone else.

Aaw, thank you for the shout-out - I thought I saw a couple of my own poses in there ^_^ Glad you found them useful!

You write so well as usual. The little details you add to description just really makes your writing sort of pop. Really, for serious jelly of your skills.

I've definitely been finding use for a lot of your poses. Thanks again for them!

Thanks for the compliments too!



So I've hit a bit of a technical snag, because my external hard drive is mostly out of commission until I get a new USB-to-Micro B cable for it. It's too obscure of a cable type for its own good. Thankfully I found one that will ship within a reasonable amount of time, but it means a slight delay in stories because I keep my images on there.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #400 on: September 30, 2014, 06:20:49 PM »
Roaring Heights sims are almost all extremely gorgeous, women especially. Do I detect some townie genetics in Maeve or did you make her yourself? I actually really like the look of Tank too. He has a very expressive face for sure :D

Also, I started out sympathetic to Jo but the way she inner-monologues (and outer-dialogues) about Agnes makes me want to bonk her on the head. So good job creating engaging, flawed characters  ;D

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 85, 9/28)
« Reply #401 on: October 01, 2014, 02:50:20 AM »
Its a shame about your harddrive but I'm sure we all understand and will be waiting patiently... Hope they ship the right stuff!

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 86, 10/5)
« Reply #402 on: October 05, 2014, 07:55:33 PM »
So we reached 25,000 views. :D Thank you so much, guys!

Micro-B cable came in on Thursday, and my external hard drive is working well again. I've been distracted by other things too, so I'm glad to finally get a chapter out.



Roaring Heights sims are almost all extremely gorgeous, women especially. Do I detect some townie genetics in Maeve or did you make her yourself? I actually really like the look of Tank too. He has a very expressive face for sure :D

Also, I started out sympathetic to Jo but the way she inner-monologues (and outer-dialogues) about Agnes makes me want to bonk her on the head. So good job creating engaging, flawed characters  ;D

Maeve doesn't have any townie blood in her. Same goes for Tank. The latter was modeled off one of my co-workers, while Maeve was just reverse-engineered from Eileen/Eileen's mother.

Jo will probably ruffle some, or a lot, of feathers as we delve deeper into her past and mindset. She was never meant to be good, and coming from a father like that, how good could she be?

Its a shame about your harddrive but I'm sure we all understand and will be waiting patiently... Hope they ship the right stuff!

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Looks like they did! It's a much sturdier cable than what I had. :)



Chapter 86: The Waverly Files





As tumultuous as emotions are, I catch dad in one of my calm spots when we walk to their house. Roaring Heights darkens as we stroll along Sunburst Avenue, and a lone urban cricket chirps. Everyone is inside and quiet tonight on this street, except for dad and I. We have talking points beyond me trying to insinuate that he’s a disgusting pervert and him accusing me of being whiny. So instead of stabbing his habits straight in their hearts, I ask him how he’s enjoying this city, at least compared to Bridgeport.

“It’s new,” he says. “I like it. And we do have it to thank for being born, huh?”

I nod. We do, even if the situation is still blurry. I’m never going to get that story out of Roaring Heights. I won’t even understand it without some other context. Roaring Heights is a beautiful place, and Moira, while widowed and with a daughter in tow, isn’t a hopeless case. I’d have to contact Annette, if I could. Because she last rode away on a motorcycle, up into the hills of Twinbrook. That was five years ago. But I know who to thank. I have that.

“So, your new line of work,” I say, trailing off with a judging side-eye.

“Just so you know, I did the same thing to all of my co-workers back in the day.” I know, dad. I had to write about all of your exploits. Mum was not pleased to hear them. “I’m continuing a proud tradition, and catering to my testosterone. Little do you know that we both win in this.”

He gives me a sly, knowing look, with his intense brows. “So what trouble did you get into?”

“Your kind of trouble.”

“Which girl is it now?” he asks.

“The other kind of trouble, dad,” I say. “The family business that I swore up and down to you that I’d never join.”

He draws me in for the tightest hug he’s given me in about a century, right in the middle of the crosswalk. “I’m just so proud of my little jellybean,” he says, with a dramatic sniffle. I weakly hug him back. He’s full of man-cooties and bleeding androgens that I might catch if I linger on for too long.

“I still prefer writing,” I grumble. He takes it with good humor.

“There are some pretty sweet tales you get on the job. I know you’ll do fine.” Good thing we’re alone right now. This sort of encouragement isn’t what twins do, now do they?”

The walk from our flat to their proper house isn't far at all, and I soon knock on Eileen's door and hope that she answers instead of Arthur. I could see things getting awkward if he did. He's awake just for one man. Thankfully, she opens the door, already in her nightie, and without a hint of disgust towards dad. I probably surprised her more.

"Jo! I mean, come in. I'm not gonna be the only third wheel tonight if I can help it," she says.

"We'll just let the men do their thing," she continues, leading me out the back-patio and pool. Even the open night air smells like chlorine. We sit at the table, and Eileen offers to fetch me a lemonade.

"I'm good, plus business isn't exactly something that people talk about over sweet drinks," I say.



"Business? Unlike us, I thought that you learned your lesson."

"Sad I haven't. I thought Arthur already told you."



"Nah, he's been busy all day. Doing laundry, deep cleaning plasma, freshening up for tonight. Your brother, if he really is that, is a stickler for a good cologne and clean sheets."

I'm not even going to defend my fabricated story on that.

"He's pretty clean for a dirty young man," I say. "He's a terror. I don't know where he gets that from, but apparently the promiscuity runs in the family." It's infected us all, but I think that dad's a bad, bad case. He got it from his great-grandfather. "But look Ei, about business, your sister decided that I'm her best henchperson."

"Yeah, not surprised. She likes hiring friends for the job," Eileen says. "I always thought that you were here on vacation, though."

"Plans change. I'm liking it here."



"Well, hey! I'm here for you, then, if that's what you were wondering." I nod right back. "Wonderful! I can't wait for my new paychecks. I'm so thankful, I'll make you some dinner."

"I'm good."

"Well, I need to make it for tomorrow anyways. I like it cold."



Watching Eileen cut cheese into meltable chunks gets old after the first slice, so I wander around, in the direction of her office, which I have no intention of raiding. But my father, in all of his rotten glory, would.



He struts towards the door, and I follow him. He pulls a wrench out of his underwear (gross!), but doesn't have to use it, instead trying combinations of Eileen's birthday, her home address, pi and e to five decimal places, and finally just feeling for the tumblers inside.

"Dad, get out of there," I whisper. "You're a houseguest no matter what you do to Arthur."



"What she doesn't now won't hurt her. I need blackmail material, you know, just in case." He's intent on his focus on the safe, slowly turning the dial until he feels something unlock. After a few minutes of that, he opens the safe and his eyes go wide with delight. He shoves a manilla folder into my hands.

"For my precious jellybean," he smirks. "Crime pays and it pays well."

"Go to hell, daddy," I say, only half-joking. I want to put this folder back, but I instead tuck it under my shirt and slam the safe closed. Eileen doesn't check on me.

Maybe it's time to leave? Agnes probably doesn't like being left out, or being the third wheel, so I should care more. But I don't because I'm Jo, and I'm half of Phil, and my mum wasn't a saint either. I'm awful to the core and staying here.

I meander around the place instead, keeping out locked doors and sometimes ending up in one of four bathrooms. I think that’s overkill. But I can’t form a good critique of Eileen’s wallpaper choices either. Or are they Arthur’s? I shouldn’t think of him in terms of stereotypes, but he is the type of guy who would be at the helm of interior design choices.



One unlocked door opens to an empty room. Which isn’t empty. A staircase cuts into the floor and down into the foundation, down further into a basement. They put furniture down there. Maybe they meant to keep that door locked, but the blame is on them tonight.



It’s an analog hell in Roaring Heights, but Eileen and Arthur are a new, shining exception. A decrepit-looking old computer sits on a desk, and a gaming system from a few generations back is plugged into an outdated television. Modern movie posters adorn the walls. And my curiosity shines brighter than a cathode-ray monitor on its last legs. So I have to try that one out.



I’ve never seen an operating system like it. The interface is stripped down, but even I, Josephine technically from the future, recognize one program linked on the desktop: a generic DOS word processor.

My daughter introduced me to it back when she was in high school. She had DOSBox on her machine, and I asked her what sort of devilry she was doing to the computer. She used it for testing purposes and retro gaming, but she wanted me to join her in retro computing. DOSBox and an executable to a simple DOS word processor were on my laptop by the next morning. I got used to it, and used it exclusively. And I still do, even if the both of us have gone our separate, hostile ways.

I write a sentence and realize that I'm not in the mood for writing (gasp!) when there is gaming to be had on the television instead.



Static hisses when I turn it on, as it gets no signal in analog hell. But once I change the input channel, I get the screen for a skating game that was left in the console. It's old, but it's fun to control the skater and grind down the pipe.

Am I here to have fun, though? I could analyze why they have this stuff when no one else in Roaring Heights does, but the answer is hardly deep: Arthur already told me that he's from Moonlight Falls. He likes it here, I can tell, but even the most settled-in expats get homesick. Maybe one day I'll miss Twinbrook's humidity too.

Agnes might be right. I don't have much else to find out. Unless the corkboard in back of me has a story I've never read. And it won't hurt to check.



Pictures and blurbs hang from the board. The first court record tells me that it's more of Eileen's stuff, and that dad put in extra effort where we really shouldn't have. Eileen's folder is still tucked under my shirt and I haven't looked at it yet. Not even the title.

Eileen is a criminal lawyer, in both senses of the word. Cases pinned include assault of a law enforcement officer, herb-growing, weapons dealing, and various prohibtion-related charges. Only the last one is exclusive to Roaring Heights, of course. The others tell me a lot about Eileen's travel expenses, so thank goodness for her rich aunt and desperate clients. They're also all from this year, but I wasn't expecting young Eileen to have a decade of experience behind her either.

Most of it has no relevance other than confirming the nature of her profession. Then one hand-written note in the corner catches my eye.



Kevin Waverly

Court Date: 1.25.62

Yet another weapons smuggling charge.
I hate his smug face.


I shouldn't repeat other things she wrote about him, other than the written sigh of relief that he paid top-simoleon for her work. What I can and should repeat is that we share last names.

Like being related to my father, the Rackets, and the McGrails wasn't enough.

Now I have to wonder why that surname, of any. Surely Annette wasn't evading suspicion by taking it, not any more than she would have been keeping her name. Plus, she and Eileen are hardly the kind of twins that are polar-opposites. And I know they have some questions about the story my dad and I have for ourselves over here. I don't know what being a twin is like. But that's not the point.

I set her folder down on the coffee table. The title: The Waverly Files. At least dad is on to this mission too. I almost can't even hate the guy now, but I'll remember why we're on bad terms soon, won't I?

First: there are a lot of Waverlys, and they're all men. The X-chromosomes ruled in my own family, but I guess the world needs to balance itself.

Beyond the legal jargon, Eileen offers her own comments, written on notes and behind their backs. I hope.



Who hired Jerry for a smuggling job anyways? I hate having to save his butt all the time. Stupid Waverlys.



I'm not a feminist, but that pig named Jon needs get his hands tied up. No wonder his sons are the way they are.



Pete's gonna serve his time for that arsonry charge and I ain't even sorry for not helping him.



I'm pumped to help Taylor get some settlement over Shaun and it's not even supposed to be my job. Because I'm glad that waste of air is gone.



Rest in pieces, Shaun.



The last picture taped to the back contrasts with her words against Shaun. I still remember his mug from the night at the police station, though this is the first I've heard about him being gone, and about Eileen's honest opinions. Still, the picture in the back says nothing about his being a waste of air.

He can't be a waste. Just another piece of the puzzle that got lost under the couch.



The stairs creak and I scramble to hide the folder, but it's too late. Arthur spots me and takes a seat next to me, giving the folder a quick look.

"Listen," I say, but he quickly cuts me off.

"You apologize too much for these things. I know Ei gave that to you." No, but I'm liking where this is going. "They're not related to you. They're not a threat. You're fine, I'm fine, but I know she had a good reason for it."



"Yep, just needed to be reassured about this. I'm not one of them." Or so I thought, until I got to the last picture. I feel dirty now, beneath a smile as I look at a history I never knew, and still don't. What if Shaun really was a waste of air? Then I share a last name with a waste of air! And that meant that my great-great-great grandmother did the dirty with him, and that this story just got a whole new layer, and that grandpa Bill was ironically the more honest person in their relationship. "Did you know them?"

"Didn't want to. Got a black eye from Jon for being a fruit."

"Probably wouldn't think highly of me either. What sort of guy was Shaun?"

I swear that Arthur's heart has stopped, but just for a second. If he could drain the color from his teal cheeks, he would, but he knows and I know that things work differently when you're the color of wintermint candies.



"Eileen's just blunt. She never has a polite word for anyone! I wouldn't worry about Shaun. He's dead now anyways."

I show him the picture in the back, with Moira hugging him for a ride on his motorcycle. "But it seemed like he knew Moira, didn't he?"

"We all knew Shaun. He got his hands dirty around here."

"Betcha didn't ride on his bike, though."

"He's not even that attractive. I wouldn't. I don't know what Moira saw in him."

I shoot him a sly look after that. I caught you, you sneaky little cleaner. Now tell me more of grandma Annette's story so we can have some awkward work time after this.

"You know we have to work tomorrow night. I better get to bed," Arthur says. "I don't like to talk about Shaun. Ever. You can pester Moira all you like about it. Please leave me out of the conversation."

"Good night, then," I say. He rushes upstairs, and runs into my dad, who was apparently eavesdropping from the top of the stairs. I can't even blame him, half because I sympathize with curiosity, and half because Arthur is right about needing to sleep for tomorrow. I have an unknown kind of day ahead of me.

I might want to do this at our place instead. I walk back upstairs so I can say good-bye to Eileen, and so I can grab dad before he does something stupid with a criminal family. Eileen is nowhere on the first floor. Her stairs are not behind closed doors, so I have free-reign, of course.

She's in her bedroom. I just want to say good-night, hoping that she hasn't noticed the missing folder.

"G'night," I say, hastily, as I walk into her room. I turn away until she had to add something.

"Hey, don't leave yet!"



I shake with fear. She found the folder, she thinks that I'm the one who unearthed it. I'm toast, burned under her law and loopholes and her aunt's cane, and whatever else she can conjure up. It was a good life, Josephine.

"It's late. You can just sleep over," she continues. "We have a guest room two doors down the hall. I mean, if you're working with Arthur tomorrow, why not save part of the commute?"

Well, maybe because I have a romantic partner at home and a shaky relationship that the one small, moral part of me wants to save. And I'm saving maybe two blocks' worth of walking or driving, which isn't much.

But the bed back at the flat hurts a lot.

"That's all?" I ask.

"All I need to say. Tell me if anything's wrong with the bed."



She downs a deep-blue elixir before almost passing out sideways in bed.

As for me, I just have the tender lullaby of the silence of an analog hell, of Eileen's quiet breathing, and of dad extorting Arthur for information by threatening to carpet bomb his washing machines.

I tune him out and drift off.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,791
Word Count so far: 160,908

---

A few notes:

- The bit about a DOS word processor is a nod to author George R.R. Martin, who still uses one of those old things in 2014. DOS, standing for Disk Operating System, is an old way of computing. Emulators like DOSBox keep the tradition alive (it's largely used for gaming, but one of my programming professors had his own compiler that he wrote specifically for DOS). And yes, I have used WordStar, a DOS word processor, just to say I did.

- Phil's method of cracking the safe is a nod to one fun project Richard Feynman had going on during the Manhattan Project. He found a way to crack each locked file cabinet in Los Alamos, and he found out that a lot of people either left the combination at its default setting or used a common number like their birthday or pi. As for the other ways to safecracking (feeling the tumblers), I assume that Phil has had a lot of work with it. :P But Feynman's cracking was pretty cool and definitely worth learning about.

Also, the teacher I named Phil after told me that story about Feynman long ago, so it's a friendly nod to him too.

- I don't place incongruous technology in Roaring Heights for nothing.
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Offline Brooke.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 86, 10/5)
« Reply #403 on: October 07, 2014, 06:09:04 AM »
Shaun is a hunk, don't hate me  ;D I really love Jo's reaction when she thinks she's busted. I really love these little details you include, the Richard Feynman video is really interesting.
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Offline Rowan

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 86, 10/5)
« Reply #404 on: October 07, 2014, 06:05:28 PM »
I'm sure that great-grandfather comment was the clue you mentioned but I don't have the energy to figure it out yet.
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