Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 85007 times)

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #425 on: October 23, 2014, 10:21:08 AM »
Today is a special day, because it a year has passed since I started playing the Waverlys! Proof (first screenshot I took from the file): http://i.imgur.com/f3i7KIo.png

So I'm obliged to get something out for you guys. :P

Anyways, I started this dynasty with no idea how the story would shape up, and especially with no idea about the response I'd get from readers. I love all of you guys.



Chapter 90: The Hideaway



Winter dragged on. The lake in the center of town froze over, ice hung from the branches of the willow trees, and not a single cicada stayed awake to fill the air with its buzzing song.

The roads were deemed dangerous due to the weather, but that wasn’t enough to stop an addict. Annette brushed the snow off the windshield of Bill’s old police cruiser and pursued not justice nor an excuse to act like a complete, prejudiced jerk hiding under a badge, but the sweet escape of juice.



The Swamp Goblin dance club pulsated with a bass drop from the dubstep track that was playing. Annette felt it in the counter and in her bottle of juice, a familiar feeling. After all, she spent her first night in Twinbrook in the same building, back when it was called The Grind and when she didn’t even own sheets of drywall, let alone having the funds to own all of the clubs in far-away Bridgeport if she pleased.



She knocked over what was left in her drink and didn’t lick the counter to get her money’s worth. Was Annette becoming guilty over a habit that tore her and her liver apart? Judging by her future actions, no, so I’m going to assume that she maybe have had a stolen item to return to its owner instead.



Or it was over Tegan. She ran the length of the town, from the club to the old fire station in the center of town, hoping to find her great-granddaughter there. She said something about spending some time in her sanctuary that still smelled like the sweat of firefighters. And Tegan would have to deal with Annette intruding that.



Annette, being herself, didn’t knock on the door or give Tegan a proper hello. She propped herself up on a nearby barstool.

“Rumor has it that you’re a free woman now,” Annette said. Tegan looked over her shoulder towards her great-grandmother.

“Depends how you define it,” said Tegan.

“No more Bryant and someone a lot better?”

“No and yes.” She started to walk away. Annette had gotten up from her barstool by then.



“Christ, Tegan! This isn’t like you.” Annette hit her face in disappointment. “Don’t cheat and just break up with him first. He can’t hurt a bunch of elderly gym nuts like us, and he certainly won’t get past your drunk granny, now will he?”

“I don’t know what to say to him,” she said. “I guess I never thought it would end up like this. I didn’t put much thought into it.”

“Bake him a cake, um, have me bake him a cake. You frost it and write your message on top, and I’ll put in the laxatives. Or you can write him a letter. Spray paint it on his house. Attach the message to some pictures of you and Heph in bed. You can rub salt in his wounds now. It’s okay.”

“I’m not doing that.” Tegan stamped her foot, hoisted up in a sturdy heel, on the hard ground. “I don’t want to be like you guys. I want to be good.”

“Goodness, even your grandpa had more of a spine than you,” Annette replied. “Okay, how about I talk to you about grandpa Franco? He made a mistake and went past the metaphorical altar with it, even if he fixed it later. I can pull out a ton of speeches of who not to be, because you’re turning into them faster than I’d like.”



Tegan, like she always did when faced with that stress, hung down her head and almost cried. “I really don’t have it in me. He’s a human too.”

“Barely,” Annette muttered. “Listen, Tegan, maybe you do need some time. Think it over, but don’t think that I won’t nag you until I see you be a little studier than a limp noodle. He ain’t worth it, but Hephaestus is. Good choice, by the way.”

“Before we leave, gram?” Tegan asked.

“Yeah?”

“You didn’t tell my mum about it, did you?”

“No, because I have a vested interest in staying alive. She’ll find out on her own.”

They shared a smile, for the first time in a long time.

“Hey, I’m willing to spend a night with you, gram,” Tegan said.

“Wonderful!” Annette’s phone then buzzed. She grumbled the text message out loud. “Emergency…new busboy ate an entire bag of onions. Good god, how?!”

“Take care of that,” said Tegan.

“Will do.”

With Annette gone to replenish her onion supply and pick up a dozen tins of Altoids too, Tegan didn’t have any family member to vent to, even if Annette did her best to instill some resilience inside of her. The other elders were asleep, and Hephaestus understood the struggle, but would he really try to build her up? That wasn’t his job. He loved his spineless Tegan as much as he loved a hypothetical strong one.

She headed off to the edge of town instead, to where they buried Bronson some years back. Goodness, it had been a while, and it was unfair to say that Tegan hadn’t healed when she functioned even though she would give up the dynasty in order to give her father a hug again.

Out of anyone in the family, Tegan expected and accepted the possibility of ghosts there the most. Not even Hephaestus could boast of that, considering that he never got paid for his delusions. Whether it was dad or that Amy she heard about maybe once, Tegan needed a friendly ghost who recognized her colorful skin, and that recognized her spinelessness even more.



She trudged her way through the deep snow, and to an empty cemetery where a non-spectral breeze rustled the branches of the willow trees. The tombstones lay still in the snow.

“I just want you to be out there,” Tegan whispered into the cold, still air, hoping to rouse a tombstone. She visited Bronson’s for the first time in a while. The tulips that she and Bryant planted there lay dormant underground, waiting to sprout again, and Bronson was too. She knew the feel of ghosts well, and the whole park was both lifeless and afterlifeless.

Still, she could mourn for Bronson, even if she had no flowers for him and even if his silvery spirit didn’t come out to confront his daughter in her time of need.

She knelt down at his grave. “I wish I was like you now,” she said to the obelisk. “You had a lot of guts, daddy.” Still, a lot of silence.

“Maybe you were right about things,” she continued. “I don’t agree with everything you stood for, but you know, maybe you did know about something that was the best for me. And you’d fight if you…if you were still around.”



She crouched on the ground sobbing. Tegan, in her 30’s and otherwise past the point of not needing to sob whenever her dead father was mentioned, cried into the layers of snow and half-buried herself in the thick covering of white powder.

“You could fight. All I can do now is hide.”

The rest of the night was a haze, but it ended with Tegan falling asleep in the snow and not dying because of the thick fur lining of her coat. Still, she was cold, and yearned for a hot drink and a day in front of the fireplace to thaw herself out. She bent each freezing, stiff joint, realizing that the trek back home was long and still cold, unless she could hail a taxi.



She made sense of what woke her up. A savior with a warm body played the piano, as her alarm clock.



That same warm body came to greet her, and it was just the warm body she needed: alive and wrapped in lilac.

“Strange place to find you,” Hephaestus said. “I got worried last night and guessed correctly.”

“Have you been here all night?” Tegan asked.

“All night. I fell asleep too, but for a creaky old man, I’m feeling pretty good.”

“Were you…watching me?”

“Only out of concern! You were crouched down crying at Bronson’s grave, of course I was concerned.”

“I don’t blame you. I’m glad you’re here now.” She rested against his torso and nuzzled his chest. Soon, Heph would be all hers, without even the possibility of Bryant peering over in her direction. Granted, she wished the best for him.

“I heard what you said, and it’s okay to hide,” Hephaestus said. “Your dad and I disagreed on a lot, but I wish he was there to help you.”

“Did you see anything?” Tegan asked.

“I wish that too. God, the world has been so quiet lately. But I like it, sort of.”

“I think I’ll just go home now,” Tegan said. “People like to watch over here.”

“That they do.” Hephaestus let her go, confident that she could get home. “I’ll call the taxi, though.”

On a dark Twinbrook morning, the next morning, Lily sat by the large window and waited, watching yet another snowstorm that dragged on into the morning hours. It helped keep her anger in check.

“How are you doing, flower?” Annette asked Lily, as she sat down to some coffee that morning.

“I’m doing. Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re dressed at 7AM. And I heard that you got into a scuffle with Chris a few days ago.”

“Yeah, but apparently I have to forgive him because he’s the country sheriff and I’m just a rich immortal. So I’m trying to let it slide, or I can put on a good face until he croaks. The guy’s getting older.”

“That’s the spirit, eh?”

“He’s coming over today. We can patch some things up in private. Put on some more coffee before he gets here.”

Chris came over on time, dressed in eye-searing hot pink, as usual. He took a deep whiff of the burning, percolated coffee and sighed. “You sure know how to treat an enemy,” he said to Lily.

“I’m just the daughter of a policewoman, not one of you,” she replied. “Punishments are your thing.”

“That they are. Should we say that we’re both sorry?”

“Sure. I’m sorry. Now I want an apology for the red mark I had on my cheek the next day. Not that anyone could notice, though.”

Before Chris was able to respond, Piper crawled next to him, enthralled by someone wearing as much (or more) bright pink as she was. She looked up to him with those big, black eyes.

“Oh my god, it’s a tiny Lilith!” He squealed with delight as he picked up the squirming nooboo. “You never told me about her.”

“She’s Heph’s creation. But I like her. A tiny Lilith indeed.”



“Still crawling, though? I think she can use a lesson. Come on, sweetie!” He set Piper down on the floor and tried to set her upright on her feet. “Let’s make you a biped.”



She learned quickly, toddling towards Chris as fast as her wobbly legs could carry her. Lily thought it was too cute.

“You’re forgiven, Chris.”

After Piper was more confident with walking, Chris spoke with Lily again, which is what he came over for, after all.

“Now, will you take up my suggestion about sending Tegan to uni?” Chris asked. “She can blow up anything that’s hers to her heart’s content without worrying about noise violations, and she’ll get a fine education out of it. I’m certain you guys can afford it.”

“We can. It’s up to her,” Lily said. “I won’t drop hints or anything. I loved uni, but I know very well that Tegan and I are different. And I love her for it.”

“Suit yourself. Can I say good-bye to Piper? She’s just the most darling thing.”



That night, Tegan sent a burn victim back to a more peaceful afterlife, after convincing her that the fire that killed her and her family was not her fault. She shook the spectre’s hand—the first time she ever did—and it felt semi-solid in her grasp. But even if it passed through her hand like air, she still would have gotten the hefty commission pay from her boss.

With a successful night behind her, Tegan set off to Elkhorn Fishing Hole. She still owned the place, even if she learned her lesson about noise. What was left was to clean up and make sure that no one was dumping cans into the pond.



Even with a few soda bottles hidden in the cattails, Tegan’s attention was quickly diverted to the cabin that wasn’t there before. She had no use for one, and while the pond was still good for public use in her eyes, there was no way that someone could build a cabin without her noticing.

It had a sliding door. She slid it open, to a bedroom decorated in her favorite colors. Blue carpets, white walls, and sparse furniture in both of those colors. Among them was a record player, and a few vinyl records stored under a lavish double-bed. Tegan dug one out, deciding that some tunes was what she needed in order to decompress after work.

The place was built for her. She had a right to it.



And it was the perfect place to smustle in peace.



The door slid open again, which wasn’t enough to distract Tegan from her moves until she caught sight of Hephaestus coming in through the blinded that shielded the glass door. The subtle lilac accents in the room made a lot of sense after that. He just got off work too, dressed in sweaty-smelling overalls for a job wiring stage lights.

“Glad you found it, peapod,” he said. Tegan turned off the music.

“It’s a nice place. Thanks, love.”



He smoothed out the sheets and climbed in bed, still in those overalls. “Well, you needed a place to hide. It might not be the best, but it works if you want to stay in Twinbrook. So why don’t we test this out?”

At this hour? I haven’t even washed all the ectoplasm off me.”

“Right at this hour,” he said.

They both undressed and Tegan climbed onto the other side of the bed. “It’s always the right hour with you. What was I thinking?”



“Alright! I’ve been waiting for too long,” Hephaestus said. “For anyone. And for you. Especially for you.”

All Tegan could do was nod. Her hands shook, though the rest of her felt like jelly in his arms, as it should be. Revenge was never on Tegan’s mind, but her respect for Bryant dwindled and she felt it, feeling it even more upon seeing her lilac prince in his underwear, which was a rare and enjoyable occasion.

And so was the morning of Tegan’s first woohoo, and how the good princess became a justified cheater.



They emerged from under the covers, eventually. No one in Twinbrook knew that they were under there, which made Hephaestus’ idea of a cabin a success. However, some people lived in the swamps. Stupid people, but people and people with functioning senses nonetheless.

“You sure we’re safe?” Tegan asked.

“For now. I mean, we can talk this over. Put another record on,” he said.

Hephaestus ended up getting a lot of used jazz records, though few enough to slide under the bed with ease. Tegan picked out the first one on top, admittedly not too versed in the world of jazz. Thankfully, she picked out something smooth. Hephaestus wasn’t in the mood for anything more than a slow dance, and the more Tegan thought about it, she wasn’t either.



So she was taken into his arms again, but for a dance. She trembled upon feeling his hand on her lower back. This could be her life, as long as she broke up with Bryant. And the words to make him leave had yet to land on her tongue.



Of course, it was worth the struggle of finding words to one day have a life pressed up against her Hephaestus, like she was morning. Neither of them were dancers, but moving in motion with him was all Tegan needed.

“Any ideas?” Hephaestus asked. “About getting rid of that toad.”

“It’s hard for me to think of them,” she said. “And it’s been on my mind for days. I want to take this delicately, you know?”



He spun her around so that they faced each other again, and leaned over to say something in her ear. “I had an idea, though. We can go to university. We’ll be miles and miles away from him, and you’ll have semesters to think about what to say.”

“The boss has been pushing it for all of us,” Tegan said. “Most of the other Profiteers are studying from home, and I’ve considered it, but really? The two of us together, far off in New Simland?”

“Us making out under the golden autumn leaves there? I’m all for it.”

“You got yourself a deal, mister,” Tegan said, tightening her embrace. “God, I can hardly wait.”

She wrote two letters: one to the university to get into their Science and Medicine department, and another to Bryant. Only the latter is worth replicating.

Dear Bryant, my fiancée. The man who plans to marry me.

Don’t think of this as a breakup. I’m just leaving for a bit to study. I know that you’ve been studying at home for something…was it web design? You’ve never elaborated. However, I need to get out of Twinbrook for once and see the world.



But I can assure you, that I’m going only to study. I don’t want to hook up with any college boys. There’s only one guy on my heart anyways.


That lie killed her inside, but she licked the envelope and sent it to 19 Poker Flats Drive before her flight left.



All alone, Annette had the time to soak in hot water and relax without a young immortal to control or worry about.



Unfortunately, Tegan wasn’t the only thing for Annette to mull over as her skin pruned up.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,014
Word Count so far: 173,947

Offline Rikki8528

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #426 on: October 23, 2014, 03:07:37 PM »
Amazing as always! Can't wait to read about Tegan's adventures at uni!



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Offline notjustabook

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #427 on: October 24, 2014, 02:38:04 AM »
I feel Tegan on how hard break-ups are... and I've only broken it off with a guy I'd seen for a little over a month. They're engaged and everything. *Gently cheering her on* You can do it, Tegan.



Offline Gwendy

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #428 on: October 24, 2014, 03:06:48 AM »
Aggh! Tegan, you had a perfect opportunity to drop him like it's hot and you completely wasted it! You're gonna be gone for months! You could of just wrote, "Goodbye forever, fedora breath," and hopped the plane and missed the fallout completely! You're killing me, girl! D:<
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Offline Brooke.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #429 on: October 24, 2014, 06:54:39 AM »
I'm with Gwendy, but I'm betting university will be a lot of fun for Teagan and Heph  ;)
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #430 on: October 25, 2014, 12:40:55 AM »
Amazing as always! Can't wait to read about Tegan's adventures at uni!

Thank you!

I feel Tegan on how hard break-ups are... and I've only broken it off with a guy I'd seen for a little over a month. They're engaged and everything. *Gently cheering her on* You can do it, Tegan.

Breakups are tough. I remember that my first took ages for me to try and make happen (though it was because he was too nice-if-boring for me to have the heart to break it to him). So maybe I'm writing my own experiences. I dunno.

Aggh! Tegan, you had a perfect opportunity to drop him like it's hot and you completely wasted it! You're gonna be gone for months! You could of just wrote, "Goodbye forever, fedora breath," and hopped the plane and missed the fallout completely! You're killing me, girl! D:<

She could have! But this was a quirk of my game, where I kind of forgot to break up Tegan and Bryant before she went to university. I wrote it in because I didn't feel like getting breakup screenshots that didn't happen.

Plus, the way the breakup will really happen will leave more room for a worse fallout. Which is what I'm aiming for. ;D

I'm with Gwendy, but I'm betting university will be a lot of fun for Teagan and Heph  ;)

Yes, full of "fun." And some not-so-fun things.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 90, 10/23)
« Reply #431 on: October 25, 2014, 06:25:15 AM »
Good for Tegan. I mean, it's a shame for her that she compromised her own morals, but she made the decision of her own free will so I'm all for it. Besides, who wouldn't rather be off at uni with Heph than home marrying Bryant the toad?
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #432 on: October 26, 2014, 11:09:21 PM »
Good for Tegan. I mean, it's a shame for her that she compromised her own morals, but she made the decision of her own free will so I'm all for it. Besides, who wouldn't rather be off at uni with Heph than home marrying Bryant the toad?

Hephaestus is certainly an interesting guy to go to university with! Or at least I'd think.



Chapter 91: Gutterball



New Simland shared little with Twinbrook. Situated among low mountains and along the northeastern coast of Simnation, New Simland and its most famous university town boasted of timeless architecture, world-class education, conventionally attractive citizens, and a seasonal schedule that went against everywhere else in Simnation. So while Twinbrook sat blanketed in snow, New Simland kept its green, grassy skin. Those uni students needed the motivation.

The elders told Tegan and Hephaestus that, reminding them that the town was still lovely. They gave plenty of recommendations that the two followed: pack well. Enjoy life and drink a lot. Make an impact. Rent the Dedham House, which Annette, Franco, and their mortals rented years and years beforehand. It might pay to study too.



With the advice of her sage elders in mind, Tegan found herself dropped off at the Dedham house, which was still adorned with graffiti from a difficult time in Franco’s life. It added its own charm. She enjoyed the colors of it, still strong on the grass.

With a new world at her fingertips for a few terms, Tegan had a lot to look at. Ivy climbed up the walls. New friends waited to be met. Bad dining hall and worse cooking were only a few hunger pains away. She had a few terms away from Twinbrook to experience it all when other immortals couldn’t, giving her an edge with storytelling.



However, the best thing in her line of vision was a Twinbrook import, who had a wardrobe malfunction on the plane and arrived at university in his boxer shorts.

“So, what do you know about living alone, Heph?” Tegan asked. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know much about it.”

“At least you’re young. I’m too old to not know.” He surveyed the exterior of the house. Two floors. Graffiti visible from the outside. There had to be a double bed somewhere. “You know what, we’re adults. We can do what we want, and we’re halfway across the nation from everything we know.”

“Are you saying that I’m free?”

“You’d be a free woman back home too,” he said. “But yeah, babe, you’re mine here. Or anyone else’s, but I like to be a dreamer.”



Tegan faced him, shyly batting her eyes. “Alright, free woman now. I missed your kisses so much.”

“Though it’s not like Bryant got may, now did he?” Tegan chuckled at her new “boyfriend’s” joke. This really was going to be a dream, under the green leaves and the balmy New Simland summer.



And near the side of the road, they kissed, revealing to the neighbors exactly what sort of neighbors they’d be. Hopefully the walls were thick at the Dedham House.



Hephaestus gave Tegan a flirty wink, staring directly at her chest and her other voluptuous assets. “So, no need to hide, at least not for a while.”

“As long as you’re protecting me,” said Tegan.

“…in bed,” Hephaestus continued.

“Golly, so soon?”



He surveyed her a little more, in spite of being familiar with Tegan already. “Should have done it sooner if you ask me.”



However, the both of them had academic, GPA-dependent scholarships to keep, and their textbooks shipped on time and robbed them of an excuse not to use them. Pillow talk about the Dada movement and plant cell biology ensued.

Hephaestus and his phone kept a decent relationship, even if just for basic purposes. He admittedly didn’t like touchscreen games much (console controllers were a better beast), but he liked text messages, phone calls, and alarms. He set one for the mandatory meet-and-greet at the campus center, because he would forget otherwise. So would Tegan, especially having to choose between the daunting world of new people, and a few more hours in bed with the sexiest man alive.

“I know how much you won’t like me for this,” he said.

“I’ve been dreading it,” Tegan replied.

“You’ll do fine. Much better than you think you will.”

“Will you?”

“Of course! I’ve been feeling like a new man lately. I’ve told you about that a lot, haven’t I? I’m so far away from the psychotic event horizon, that you have no idea. And…and I never knew how nice it felt.”

“That’s all I wanted to hear.” She gave him an extra hug before attempting to find her clothing again. Somehow her skirt ended up in the kitchen. What a wild morning.

“Do I introduce you as my boyfriend?” Tegan asked.

“It’s not untrue,” Hephaestus said. “Technicalities aside, right?”

She could get used to that setup.



Still, arriving at the meet-up made Tegan bite her fingernails with nervousness, a habit that I usually held myself and only by myself. She used to make friends so well back in school! But the guy in the mascot suit made her uncomfortable. What if she said the wrong thing to someone so innocent? She just decided to leave him be.



Hephaestus had no such troubles. Marco the fairy approached him as soon as Hephaestus climbed the stairs to the second floor. “A hippie? We’re looking for someone to join the Personhood for Plants cause. If it could work for the commune to the west of us, it can work for Simnation.”

“Plants? Not exactly my forte,” said Hephaestus. Tegan wandered by, looking for freebies. She heard the two of them talking and hoped that Hephaestus found a new, winged friend, like those she hoped she still had back home. As for plants, they were going to be her forte once she finished her bachelor’s degree.

“…I do know someone who might know more, though,” he continued. “Tegan? Mind listening to this gentleman?”

“I don’t know, honey.”

“He’s fine. You’ve given me a good sense for finding the rotten ones.”

Tegan hesitated. Marco’s wings fluttered, shining in happy yellow. He didn’t smile much, but kept a pleasant, neutral expression regardless. “So, you like plants? Like, really like plants?” Marco asked.

“Yeah. Well, my granddaddy was a botanist.”

“What did he think about personhood for plants?”

“He just studied them.”



“Well, let me tell you about what we do anyways,” Marco said. “Someone as green as you might listen! You see, plants are just in a different kingdom from animals, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a developed response system. Many studies have shown that they do respond to stimuli, and the way we cruelly treat plants is unreal! I’ll step on the grass too, but uproot a tree? Break off leaves? That’s horrible.”

“It is, in a way. Are you in the botany program?” Tegan asked.

“Communications, actually. You interested?”

Tegan hesitated again.



“Well, I’ll see,” she said, with Hephaestus looking on with a longing stare. “At least we can be friends, right?”

“Why not?”

On the drive back home, Hephaestus praised Tegan for coming out of her shell, even if he was confused as to how she got in it in the first place. “You were pretty social in high school. I’ve known you for all your life, and this just isn’t you.”

“I know it isn’t me. And I wish I knew more,” she said.

“At least Marco is nice. I’ll hedge a bet that 99% of the guys and girls here are.” Then it hit Hephaestus, like a badly-thrown juice pong ball to the head (he wanted to try it out later). “How many people did you go to high school with?”

“Not many,” Tegan said.

“Would that make Bryant about 25% of your class? 25% of the students?”

“Now that you bring it up.”

“You just think that 25% of people are like him,” said Hephaestus. “That would do it.”

“I don’t know what to think in the regard,” Tegan said. “I know that everyone is right about him in some way, but I keep getting swayed in the opposite direction. I don’t know. I’m glad I’m here to think.”

“Things will get better. In the meantime, I’ll give you more reasons to stay with a skinny old blond guy instead.” It’s safe to say that they slept well that night.



On weekdays, the happy couple instead had to separate, because the paint from Hephaestus’ Advanced Portraiture II would corrupt the samples from Tegan’s Contemporary Issues in Biology I (Lab Portion). They would longingly stare each other down as they headed down the quad in their separate ways, hoping that the night would be full of closeness, laughter, and woohoo in between study sessions and homework.



Not taking on a Fine Arts major with Hephaestus did mean that Tegan had a way of meeting Corey Arkers, the teacher’s assistant for Intro to Botany, and her cousin too. It was obvious that he never met their grandpa Franco, because Tegan fought hard to hold her tongue against his gut-wrenching, sensibility-killing fashion sense. However, he answered her homework questions with patience, regardless of the misplaced hat on his head.



As the first semester went on, Tegan felt at peace with the campus. She called a few fellow students her friends, or at least kept their contacts in an address book, and got high marks in her classes.



Because no matter how hard she worked, she had a pair of arms to fall into and some thin lips to kiss.

The nights grew a little colder, but Tegan left her coat at home when it came time to study at the library and take a walk around the quad to stave off the freshmen 15. Her meaty hips couldn’t take that.

After the streetlights went on, the quad died down and Tegan usually walked in silence (though the police callboxes were nearby, just in case). One night, however, the soft chords of an acoustic guitar caught her attention. Unlike average college guys attempting to play “Wonderwall” in hopes of scoring, this player went through arpeggios with the virtuosity of a seasoned player, considering that it was a seasoned player.



It was just the virtuoso that Tegan wanted. God, he was good at that.



With an awkward smile, she enjoyed the rest of what Hephaestus had to play for her. “I can live with this for the rest of your life,” she said. “I need to go to one of your performances back home.” In spite of his lowly stagehand position, he tried to get in piano or classical guitar concerts when he could.

“I’ll remember,” he said. “I wish it was clearer tonight. I wanted to pick out some constellations with you tonight.”

“I think we can still see Sirius B and Vega up there,” Tegan said. “Or at least I hope.”

“Then let’s sit down and try.”



They planted themselves down on the cold asphalt of the quad, with Hephaestus’ gloved hand caressing Tegan’s with soft wool. He looked into her eyes with his longing, semi-strained gaze, brought on by both the love in his heart and the Carlton genes in the rest of him. “You know, I remember when I watched you and Bryant watch the stars on the beach for the first time, and I wanted to kill that guy,” he said.

“My mum would probably want to kill you if she saw us here,” Tegan said. “But I know her. She’s only a little violent.”

“Though, she let you go to university, and she knows I’m with you. Has she changed her mind?”

“She’s just been negative about it for so long, and it kept me reserved. Oh god, I really hope she is.”



A glimmer in the sky caught Hephaestus’ eyes. “Alright, one star tonight!”

“I think it’s Vega,” Tegan said. “Shame I don’t have any context for it, but I think Sirius usually burns a little brighter than that.”

“I knew we’d find something. I can’t wait to go back home with you.”

“I dunno. I’m liking it here,” said Tegan.

“But back at home, we can get married. Perhaps…perhaps even start a family before I get too old.”

“You’re getting a little too caught up about your age. You’re only 40 or 50, right?”

“I’ll be 60 soon. See? It gets hard to count at this point. I’m that old. And I know that time would be limited regardless. I’m older, you’re younger, and Annette won’t let me in on her secrets to eternal life. But we’ve hit enough snags, and I don’t want to wait. But we should graduate first.”

“It’s a deal.”

“And can we get married at the Celtic Burial Mounds in Champs Les Sims? I promised myself that I would, back when I was 19. Back when I heard some voices telling me that it was destiny. And I like the silence I hear now, but I still remember that voice. It was a husky contralto, an old woman who I always swore up and down was the ghost of the great mystic and alchemist, Vega Keane. I think I just finished reading about her then. I want to say that it’s untrue, but I still listened to that after all these years, and guess what we see now?” He pointed to the star again. “I’m hoping that it’s Vega we’re seeing, that is.”

“It is for the sake of destiny, how about that?”



“Sounds good. I just want the future now.”



To decompress after a pair of rough exams for each of them, Hephaestus and Tegan went bowling another, later night. She initially refused because of the glowing violet lights, but the allure of knocking down pins won her over. Plus, the alley was rumored to have the best chili fries on the eastern seaboard for refreshments.



It became apparent that they both came from a town without a bowling alley.



“Can you just forget about that gutterball?” Hephaestus asked. “I’m not having five in a row marked on my sheet if I can help it.”

“Sorry, gotta keep it fair,” Tegan replied. “I’ll make sure to beg for extra chili on your fries afterwards, okay?”

He gave Tegan a kiss on the forehead. “I’ll accept it, babe.”



It was her turn to roll. She tried to remember physics lessons about trajectories, hoping that her young age made them more recent in her memory than in Hephaestus’ aging brain. However, Heph’s phone kept ringing, which distracted her.

“Honey, just answer it,” she said. “I’m going to bowl plenty more times while we’re here.” He listened.

“Hey Nettie!” Hephaestus said. “Uh, thanks? I don’t think that was the plan. Yes, I know it’s not your fault, don’t get shouty over it. I need to find a way to tell her. Yes, I got a C in Culinary I. You get to keep your throne. Bye.”

“What was that?” she asked. Tegan was still eyeing a path for her ball.

“Apparently the elders broke up with Bryant for you.”

She dropped the heavy orb, narrowing missing her exposed toes.



“Well, that definitely wasn’t a part of the plan.”



Word Count for this chapter: 2,475
Word Count so far: 176,421

Notes:

- As a reminder, Corey is Franco's grandson because he is the son of Franco and Shannon's son. Or so I thought. The family tree got messed up and I never had confirmation of anything.

- Vega's actually the fourth-brightest star in the sky, so there would be a few they'd see before it.

- Vega Keane, the mystic, is a reference to an old dynasty founder of mine. Longtime readers of mine might have (definitely) picked up on it. Keane was actually her husband's original last name. But she did like her alchemy and working as a fortune teller much later in her life.

Offline Lisa46

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #433 on: October 26, 2014, 11:31:05 PM »
"The elders broke up with Bryant for you." Well, that's one way to find out.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #434 on: October 27, 2014, 09:59:39 AM »
I'd love to see Teagan break up with Bryant herself.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #435 on: October 27, 2014, 11:38:38 AM »
*singing*

Goodbye, Earl
Those black-eyed peas?
They tasted all right to me, Earl
You're feeling weak?
Why don't you lay down and sleep, Earl
Ain't it dark?
Wrapped up in that tarp, Earl


Substituting Bryant for Earl of course!

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #436 on: October 27, 2014, 03:37:24 PM »
Well now that's one way of doing it. It'd be nice for her to do it herself but I'll take whatever I can get.
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By intl_incident                                                      By samoht04

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 91, 10/26)
« Reply #437 on: October 27, 2014, 05:28:50 PM »
“Apparently the elders broke up with Bryant for you.”

Mwahaha this is PERFECT. All this flip-flopping and agonizing and poor decisions and running away and then the older generations just get tired of it and go "oh fine, we'll just do it for her." I can just imagine Bryant's stunned face as they deliver the news, then Franco insults his hair, Annette pours a tray of drinks on him and Lily knees him in the family jewels...

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 92, 10/26)
« Reply #438 on: October 30, 2014, 10:21:08 AM »
So, lemme clarify/spoil a bit.

That last part of the chapter is going to lead to something a little different than you might think.

Tegan will face Bryant. That's what I had planned out and still have planned.

In two chapters, that is.

I'm in a rush, so I'll answer the responses to Chapter 90 a little before 2PM EST. Sorry guys. :(



Chapter 92: The Other Side



”Okay, that is a way of simplifying it-

“Get your head out of that book and get into those slacks I put out.”

Moira has been telling me that for a few minutes now, with me insisting that I have to get through the next chapter. Alas, I’m at a cliffhanger again. Or what I wrote to be a cliffhanger. During then, I logged seven miles on the treadmill, with whether I can run seven more or not both in the air and especially crucial for a job as a legitimate criminal.

“The black ones?” I ask.

“Unless you like orange ones. Then you can wear orange slacks for the rest of your life.”

“So what’s in store for tonight?”

“Home invasion! They’re always a lot of fun, especially when you put mansions into the mix. Which we are tonight. History’s repeating itself, and we’re going to Dandy’s again,” says Moira. “I knew he was up to no good, getting rich that quickly. Not that I care about that, but he might also have some bad dirt on Maeve that we need to get rid of. So, invasion. Get your slacks on.”

While I’m dressing in black for the funeral of the last of my morals, Arthur fetches a pile of black and white clothes from the dryer. I can smell the fresh, linen-y scent from where I am.

“Comfort over camouflage?” I ask him, after he’s dressed (or undressed, depending on how you look at it).



“Works for tonight,” he says, wiping some sweat off his brow. “I’m covert half the time. But we need my other special attribute this time.”

“What he’s trying to say is that he’s profiting off being gay tonight,” Moira says. “And he swore three months ago that he wouldn’t be with older men. How old is Dandy? Don’t you remember?” Well, wait until I tell him about dad. “So he doesn’t have to lift a finger tonight.”

“It’s just for work. Your brother doesn’t mind. I don’t even care.” he tells me. “I’m done with him. He leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

“Glad we’re on the same page,” I say, right after fitting my head through the narrow opening of a black turtleneck sweater. In this summer heat, this mafia is trying to kill me. But I don’t blame Arthur either, since I heard a threat on his property last night, straight from dad’s mouth. I’m going to have to tell them the truth one day, just because calling him “my brother” is the worst lie I’ve told in this life.

Back in Twinbrook, I’ve done worse. Getting to relive it through reading is a perfect reason to fail tonight. But I won’t, because my thirst for money hurts more than fear, which makes it a pain worse than labor and kidney stones (been there, done both). Combined.



A pair of tight black gloves were on top of the pile, and they go on last, putting each of my fingers into a comfortable sheath. I could blend into a bottle of ink now.

“Forgot something?” Moira asks. She finished dressing before I did, with her hair still in that long ponytail. Dark hair probably works better for this job, but I blame nature and my parents, and somehow I didn’t die of chemical poisoning from all of the dye I used as an elder. I can’t risk it now.

“Look down,” she says. “And then look back in my eyes.”



I swear that they forgot to include socks in my pile.

So I look back into her eyes. “Can you spare a pair?” I get a pair of black women’s socks, because finding a match is easy when they’re all black and knitted the same way. I’m also not surprised that Moira employs minimal footwear. Old Annette was a fabulous athlete with just the skin on her feet. It worked for us too. I’m glad I have no work-issued boots or whatever they wear in this city.

“We’re not done,” Moira says. “And there is a point where we are. But your face.”

“Blame my great-grandfather,” I say.

“You’re a pretty petunia. But you’re also kind of minty-colored, aren’t you? I know the feeling.” She grabs a pile of amorphous black fabric from the top of one of the washing machines, with a shiny black box. “The most important step.”

Moira takes a makeup brush and lightly brushes her face with powdered, nearly-white foundation from the box. “I think you could go for something darker and warm,” she says, with her face looking marginally more normal, except for her ears, which hopelessly stick out. “You’re not quite bronze, but I like the warmth of this one. Don’t you?”

The brush tickles against my face. Only now can I wear foundation for a job so dirty. I’m already sweating in this getup.

“Last step,” she says, giving me half of her lump of fabric. It turns out be an eye mask and a ski mask. “Wait, before that, your ears stick out a bit too much.” Yeah, I know. Everyone notices that about me. “You won’t get the mask on too well without some tape.”

I cringe. “Don’t cringe,” Moira says. “I have to use twice as much for mine. At least yours are rounded.”

I will say right now that I found my new least favorite part of this job.



But after all of Moira’s steps, I look like a proper thief. My blond hair is tucked in, when she has enough to justify saying “screw it” and leaving her ponytail out in the open. But, even considering that, chances are I’ll be caught and she won’t.

Tonight might be the last night I live, but I’ll have a good death story.

So Arthur doesn’t look as much like a lazy criminal in his pajamas as he does, he drives the van for us. Though maybe I need to emphasize again that this cleaner, who is a stickler for clean laundry and stylish black-and-white clothes, is going to work in a robe and silk pajama pants. With some rubbing alcohol and soft cleaning rags stuffed inside for the second half of his job, but he’s still in the world’s laziest uniform for an undignified night.

“Kind of a sad job,” I say to Arthur, as we cross over the bridge to the mansions near the edge of town.

“Yeah,” he says, sighing a little bit as he makes a turn on to a blank tract of road.

Moira whispers to me. “Poor guy’s wasted his adult life sandwiched between a fake marriage and lots of sleeping around. I bet he likes this.”

“I heard that. I don’t like Dandy. He’s twice my age and kind of rude. Would be a nice fit for one woman I know,” says Arthur, as he parks at the curb. “Except for the obvious setback."

"I kid," Moira says. "I've had to use the same distraction tactics too," she tells me. "It all depends on who we're stealing from. You'll probably get the job one of these days."



Moira tells me the plan when we're on the property, as if she has done the same heist twice before. Which, first thing she reveals, is that she did indeed do this twice before. The first time, Michael Dandy had one of his parties going on, and she took advantage of the commotion to steal some prized Egyptian jewelry to pawn off or pocket. “My grandma was Egyptian. She’s thank me for reclaiming it if she was alive,” Moira says. “But I’ve gone through these motions.”

“Arthur is just a distraction, though he gets word of what rooms we enter so he can clean up the evidence while Mr. Dandy showers or something. The best part is that this man likes Arthur enough to stay distracted.”



“So he greets him and says something about how this strapping young man we brought has gained weight, because I knew Arthur a year ago. He’s right ‘cause the guy has chubbed up ever since Eileen learned how to cook. But it works for us, right? Mike cleans himself up, and Arthur makes sure that a few doors are left open when he’s not looking.”



“We sneak in through the side, or at least I do because you’re heavy on your feet, but I think you’ll learn. So, ever use a walkie-talkie?” I haven’t because I grew up in a digital sort-of world where we had cell phones.



“Well, leave that to me. He’ll transmit messages while he brushes his teeth. I’ve learned how to decode them by now.”







When we get the message, we get a clear idea of where to go. The mansion has three floors, and there is a bedroom with a blue motif and a secret room. The door is left open for us, and Arthur makes sure to wipe his prints off the pure gold knobs before he finds which of the four or five bedrooms he gets for the night.

But we have to wait until the path is clear and unwatched.



I make sure that my mask is in the right place, while Moira waits for another call from Arthur. We do know that the first floor is clear, so hiding out in the bathroom is the best choice. From what I’ve been relayed, Arthur is making his laps around the house in hopes of tracking down Michael, and just wants this part of the job to get over with so he can clean up our messes.

We’ve been whispering for the whole job, which hurts my throat and makes my regular voice hoarse too, but I have enough of a will to live to keep at it. The crackle of the walkie-talkie is loud, though, which prompts Moira to answer quickly.

“What do you mean?” she asks. She hangs up, or does the rough equivalent on a walkie-talkie.



“Dang it. He’s chosen the blue room. Already had the others cleaned today or something,” she says to me.

“Are we screwed?”

“Nah. It gets loud. He left the secret door rigged so we can open it easily, and all we have to do is listen to that soundtrack for the evening.”

“How long do we have?”

“Probably a while. Just be quiet when you’re going up the stairs. We’ll know when it’s safe.”

I end up trusting Moira, which works in my favor, as it is loud upstairs, and we slide open a door hidden by a tall, filled bookcase. I have to trust Moira with that too, because she was the one doing chin-ups for a warmup. She shoves away her body weight plus more in books, and we enter a room filled with lockers and gold. The door shuts behind us, which still isn’t enough to rouse suspicion. Moira stops whispering.



“You might think we’re here for gold,” she says. “But, as I said, we really need to get into those lockers. He thinks he can blackmail us and put us all behind bars, but without the evidence, he’s just a criminal with a beef against other criminals.”



Moira presses herself up against the locker. “I could just rip this darling off its hinges,” she says. “And Arthur can put it back together. That’s his real job.”

“Ever pick a lock?” I ask her.

“Well, yeah, but I usually have a whole night to do that.”

“Can you crack a safe?”

“With someone else.”

“You gave me a screwdriver. I’ll take care of that.” I can take care of it, because criminal parents are occasionally great things.

“Alright. I’ll pocket the gold, though,” Moira says.



I’m told that what we need is in the second-to-last locker, in a box with ordered folders of gossip and details for blackmailing. McGrail is probably in the middle of it. I survey the locker. Its lock is lower down, set up with a single dial, much like a basic safe. However, lockers are a little flimsier, and I can get Moira to rip the door off its hinges if I fail.

Ah, screw it. I’m just loosening the unit at its weak spots.



“Doing well?” she keeps asking me, as she picks up half her weight in gold coins. For anyone else, I’d wonder if this was a death wish, but Moira is strong and fast. Annette was too, even in her old age. Still, she struggles to find space for all of the coins in her pockets, or stuffed into her sweater. I keep wriggling the lock. It’s easier because of the cracks in the door, and how it isn’t sealed like the average safe, but I’ll admit that this was never my job. Dad gave me a project when I was a bored teenager, and I have a good memory.

Ten minutes pass, and we’re still hidden. The locker room might be soundproofed too, considering that it’s hidden and full of gold. Moira still leaves some coins on the ground. “He won’t miss ‘em,” she says. “Have you gotten that lock off yet?”

“Give me time,” I say. “A lot of it has loosened.”

“Hurry up, though. They can’t last forever.”

Half of it falls a bit. The door is close to opening. The falling lock makes a clanging sound each time I wiggle it now, but Arthur is keeping us in the clear. Plus, he can screw this back together a little easier than he can put a whole door back where it belongs.

Two more minutes and the whole unit falls, with a huge bang on the bottom of the locker. I scrunch up my face at the noise.

“Haven’t gotten a call yet,” Moira says. “We’re still good.”

A box sits on the bottom, below a few silk suits that are hanging up above. Papers overflow from the box. As Moira said, it’s alphabetical and McGrail is likely towards the middle. I eliminate it by chunks, going past names like Granger and Kaufman that I don’t care about and that Moira doesn’t either. I get to McBride, which is close and where Moira says “probably about Tank’s ex. I dunno. Take that too, because I care about dear Clara.” Right under that is indeed, a few incriminating photos of Maeve and her wares. It’s mostly juice, and some weapons almost out of shot but not quite. There’s a bit of plasma on her hands and on the handle of her cane.

Moira takes a look at it. “That’s what we’re looking for. Let’s just be clear that Mr. Dandy does most of the same things.” Her walkie-talkie gets a call right after that.

“Coast is clear. Mike’s getting ready for bed. Arthur’s gonna take a thorough shower or three and do the rest of his work after that.”

“That’s good?”

“It is good. He also wanted me to tell you that your brother still made him feel far, far worse.”

We tip-toe to another bedroom. This man, who lives alone, could consider downsizing, but it’s his life. A large window overlooks the back deck and the pool, the same place where I met Moira. It’s a historic note now.

Even better, the window overlooks all of Roaring Heights, from the skyscrapers to the lighthouse a little beyond Maeve’s mansion. All of the lights are on tonight.



“The city looks lovely tonight,” I say. “I wish I had this view a little more often.”

“You know, I’ve been to a lot of places. Like when Eileen got married in Moonlight Falls, when we went to school in Hidden Springs, when I lived with Shaun in Lucky Palms. I loved them all, but I can’t ever tear myself away from the city lights. I like this the best,” Moira says.

“Would you ever live in a small town?” I ask her. “I mean, I came from Twinbrook. It’s a sleepy place. Hot as all hell and the mosquitos never let up.”

“It’s not like I’d mind living somewhere like that. It’s a good place to raise kids, right?”

“Didn’t seem to harm me.”

“Then I would. I half-considered moving to the suburbs with Bridget, but she likes it here. All her friends are here, and me? I couldn’t live that long without paying a visit here. Even if I lived in Twinbrook, I’d travel.”

You survived pretty well without it.

“You’re not suggesting that I move away, are you?” Moira asks.

“Nah. You’re doing pretty well for yourself here,” I say.

“It’s not the best, but it’s what I was born into. I can’t change that now.”

We’re still stuck in the home we invaded.



“So, how do you plan to escape?” I rub my chin, pretending to think of an alternate plan. Then I realize that she’s going to suggest jumping out the window, which jumpstarts my mind into thinking of an alternate plan.

“We’re going to jump out the window. It’s only two stories,” she says.

Well, crap.

“Will I be okay?”

“Most likely.”



While I land without injury, I also land in a heap on the ground, while Moira gets up and flicks the dust off her sleeves.

“Now scram,” she whispers. In the dark of night, she disappears before I can find her path. I think going down the stairs is a good plan, though. If Mr. Dandy is inside, then he won’t hear me going down the flights and flights (okay, more like two of them) of stairs. And if Arthur’s still inside, he might be worse off then I am.

My legs are a little sore from the run. Yeah, I’m a marathoner. Seven miles did me in. Jumping two stories did that too. But I still do my best to run the length of the deck. As long as I disappear into the dark and outside of his outdoor lighting, I’m golden.

The back door opens. My heart races and hopes that it’s Arthur, who did a quick job of showering and putting a lock back together.



Alas, I think he still has work to do.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,009
Word Count so far: 179,430

Notes:

- Moira/Annette...part-Egyptian? I wish I had some pictures on hand, but if you put her on a regular skintone slider, she had olive skin (a little lighter than Eileen's, but still tan) and ambiguously Middle Eastern/North African features. I chose Egyptian because it works in the context of TS3.

In case you want a breakdown of what I envision her ethnic makeup to be, she's "Irish" (two grandparents from Dragon Valley, and with an Irish surname), Egyptian, English, and French. Obviously, Eileen has the same background.

I've spent too much time thinking about this for some characters.

- I realize that my characters tend to have a lot of woohoo with different partners. I'm not trying to make commentary or have an opinion either way about their actions. It's really just a way I like to play.

And Arthur does it because duty calls. I think he would like nothing else but to settle down with someone he loves, and if he could love Eileen romantically, he would and they would be the sweetest couple ever. Eileen's habits will get a spotlight in the future, though she's more of a serial monogamist (while in a sham-marriage) than anything.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 92, 10/30)
« Reply #439 on: October 30, 2014, 10:42:24 AM »
"The elders broke up with Bryant for you." Well, that's one way to find out.

It's unusual, for sure.

I'd love to see Teagan break up with Bryant herself.

Well now that's one way of doing it. It'd be nice for her to do it herself but I'll take whatever I can get.

You'll be more satisfied with Chapter 94, then. :)

*singing*

Goodbye, Earl
Those black-eyed peas?
They tasted all right to me, Earl
You're feeling weak?
Why don't you lay down and sleep, Earl
Ain't it dark?
Wrapped up in that tarp, Earl


Substituting Bryant for Earl of course!

Perfect! ;D

“Apparently the elders broke up with Bryant for you.”

Mwahaha this is PERFECT. All this flip-flopping and agonizing and poor decisions and running away and then the older generations just get tired of it and go "oh fine, we'll just do it for her." I can just imagine Bryant's stunned face as they deliver the news, then Franco insults his hair, Annette pours a tray of drinks on him and Lily knees him in the family jewels...

You'll see how things went down in a few chapters...

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 92, 10/30)
« Reply #440 on: October 31, 2014, 06:44:14 AM »
Oh you with the cliffhangers! But it's Two Lines, No Waiting, we get two stories for the cost of one. So I'm not complaining. Looking forward to seeing Tegan and Bryant face off.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 92, 10/30)
« Reply #441 on: October 31, 2014, 06:50:38 AM »
Ah, why do you have to leave it there? I demand to know what happens next!  ;)
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 93, 11/11)
« Reply #442 on: November 11, 2014, 03:58:03 PM »
Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy two weeks, and I tend to divert my spare time to...other pursuits now. It truly hurts my goal of getting to Tegan's immortality by January 25th (a.k.a. the one year anniversary of me starting this story). :(



Oh you with the cliffhangers! But it's Two Lines, No Waiting, we get two stories for the cost of one. So I'm not complaining. Looking forward to seeing Tegan and Bryant face off.

Two cliffhangers for the price of one! It's evil, but at least I'll resolve one right now. ;)

Ah, why do you have to leave it there? I demand to know what happens next!  ;)

Oh fine. Have a chapter!



Chapter 93: Gold and Rubies



I’m going to die within the next hour, or even sooner. This isn’t a coward’s job, and this coward froze in place, upon seeing this older gentleman get ready to get rough. His fingers were tense. All of him was tensed up. He pulled my mask off, tearing it and revealing the scared little imp behind it. Worst of all, Moira ran off and disappeared into the bushes and beyond, and Arthur is wherever he is, which if he’s smart, is not here.



He has me on my knees. “I can’t get that other sneaky devil, but at least I have you. What the hell were you doing up there?”

“It’s my first night,” I tell him. “Don’t hurt me.”

“I’ve been in this game for a while. Newcomers are expendable,” he says. “I don’t think they’ll miss you.”

And the worst part is, I think he’s right.

At his words, death reaches a certainty. I want my last memory to be pleasant and out of context. Heck, I’d even take my best karaoke night with Simon as a suitable last memory. But my mind conspires against my heart and pulls out a dreadful tape instead.

There was a time when I had long hair held back by a hair clip, and when both my biology and my birth certificate said I was 27 years old. I remember much of it only because I wrote it down, and because my dad can find embarrassing moments to bring up. It passed by in a dreary eternal haze. A more lucky me would remember her book signings and her first woohoo being that year, but alas, the picture points towards me kneeling on a rustic wooden floor in that wretched old barn my dad owned as his hideaway.

I left that cold night, taking grandpa Franco’s car after he told me that I can’t go around breaking hearts, no matter what my reasons are. He and my grandmother had the best reactions to the news about me having no leeway for those plans. In a shorter sentence, I told the elders that I’m a lesbian.

Annette perked up her big, pointed ears when I admitted it. ”Gonna have to arrange a marriage now. You’re killing me, Jo.”

I hanged my head down, defeated. "But why an arranged marriage? I don't even want one without you guys in the mix."

”Yeah, arranged marriages suck, but we have to do what we have to do,” Annette said, “You’re marrying Simon whether you like it or not. Because, guess what? That’s all the sweet kid wants from you.”

“What about how I feel, though?” I asked them. “It’s bad enough that you dragged me here tonight. I told you, I don’t like men. I don’t like Simon. I want good times to look back on like you guys have!”

“Doesn’t matter when you’re ruining my family,” Annette said. “I’m gonna have a lot of grief wrangling a useless lesbian now.”


Those words stung like walking face-first into a thorn bush. Useless because of who I am. For one night, she kept that phrase within the family. I didn’t have the heart to tell dad, who was at work at the time, that she had the nerve to say that about his daughter. He got enough flack for being sleazy and bi, after all.

The next day, she followed me to the bookstore and ran into an old friend of hers. The friend and Annette gossiped like bad old ladies do, and I ignored them as I negotiated pricing for my newest book with the manager.

“Oh, I found out last night that my Jo is useless to the family now,” Annette said. “She’s just a useless lesbian who won’t listen to me now.”

“What a darn shame,” her friend said. “Not even the right man?”

“We tried.”


Yes, this is the last thing I’ll remember in my life. That Annette couldn’t keep her big mouth shut, especially not about her useless granddaughter who was that dirty l-word. I couldn’t bear to apply that to myself after that afternoon.



“I don’t want to die tonight,” I say, choked. “I don’t deserve to.”



Mike grabs me by the shoulder and heads towards the stairs, down which is where the pool is. “We’ll see what works best, how about that? You know too much.”

“About what, though? I wasn’t getting your information. I was getting my own!”

“You’re with that Arthur kid, and now you know the side I play for.”

It all comes out of me without much thought on my part. “I’m not the one who would snitch,” I tell him, sternly. “That other one would. She did the same to me.”

“What?” Mike asks.

“She outed me.”

He lets go of me. He lets go of himself too, curling up on the ground and ready to sob, as if I told him his death sentence. I may have anyways.



“I can’t let them know,” he says quietly. “It’s that business partner of mine. He’s always told me that he’d dissolve the business before he sides with a gay man. And if he found out about me? I’m done. No protection, nothing.”



While he’s mulling over the ways that this will destroy him, I lean on the fencing on his deck. “Hey, I can try to reason with her. Or get some special help.”

“Do you forgive her for it?”

“I don’t, not at all. It ruined my life, which, well, that’s why I’m here. But I can do my best. If you let me go, I won’t destroy you at all. I’m not stooping that low and betraying my own community.” I smile a little bit. “And if I come back to her safe and sound, what would she have to say against you? Why would she have to say anything? I’ll admit, I disappointed her before she told the world my secrets.”

“So what did you grab anyways?” he asks.

“Stuff about Maeve McGrail and Clara McBride.”

“Well, it was just around for curiosity. There’s not much of a rivalry, just two criminals and a paranoid old bat being one of them,” Mike says.

“I’d believe it.”

“Take care, then.”

“Letting me go so soon?” I chuckle.

“I’ll save my strength for someone who needs it more,” he says.



As I exit the property, Arthur follows, still in his pajamas and ready to lead me to the van. “Thought you were a goner,” he tells me. “Didn’t think he’d pardon anyone. You might have noticed that he’s successful. All that gold…”

“I’m happier this way,” I say.

As we get into the van, he says one of his last things for the night. “You guys are filthy. Moira better pay me well for this.”

“What?”



“I had to clean up a lot while you were being held. Fun stuff. Getting to hear everything.”

“You wouldn’t betray him, would you?” I ask.

“Nah. And I can’t see how Moira would either. She did that to you?” I freeze, considering that she did do it to me, while using a different name and far, far into the future. A future Arthur wouldn’t live to see whether he died at 23 or 93.

“Just to a few at the café,” I say, quickly. “I’m not as angry as I sounded. Don’t bring it up with her.”



He nods and keeps driving into the night.

We pick up Moira, who was hiding a few lots down behind a thick palm tree the entire time. She gives me a hug upon seeing that I made it out alive. She places the folders in my lap.

“We did it. Well, how did you?” she asks, eager to hear my solution.

“Wits,” I say, ignoring how I slandered her in the process. She wasn’t around to hear that. “I’m just glad it’s over.” Arthur nods, looking pained.

“I need some coffee,” he says. “Do either of you mind? It’s just the next town over. In a more modern town.”

Moira perks up. “Well, yeah! It’s been forever since I’ve seen Ruby.” I pretend to know who this Ruby is.

“She’s a mechanic,” Moira explains. I guess I can’t feign knowledge. “Also makes a good cup of coffee in some fancy cappuccino machine. Never tattles. I just love that woman.”

“Sounds like a nice one.”

Arthur drives up a winding dirt road, leaving Roaring Heights behind in the dust and behind the branches of oak trees that dot the landscape. We find some streetlights again, as well as neon signs from bars and a diner, and a couple of houses with night owls for residents. Everything is made of red brick or off-white siding. The buildings are sparse. One sparse road leads to an old factory on one side, and a small petrol station on the other. He pulls into the latter.

“You can just go inside,” he tells me. I look inside the garage instead.



We won’t be alone tonight. I hope the “no tattling” promise is true.

“Jo! Just because she’s single doesn’t mean she’s gay,” Moira says. Whatever. She’s not ugly, but she’s not doing anything for me either. Maybe things would change if I got to know her, but I’ll heed that warning. “Get inside with us. They’re just starting another Twilight Zone episode.”

I forgot that television is a rare treat for these two.



They lead me inside and head straight for the couch, one at either end. I have to climb over a coffee table to get in the middle, which is too awkward to try. I stand near the cash register instead, with the hiss of Ruby’s paint gun breaking through the walls. I’ve had eternity to watch “I Sing the Body Electric” a few times before.



”You can’t run away?”

“I can’t. I won’t!”


It’s a shame how I did, then. That’s how things ended between most of the family and myself. I could even count myself lucky for having my dad return to me again and again with requests for bail.

I won’t tell the story to my new friends, though. This is just a television show, and I’m just a tired newbie to them.

“Looks like we need some coffee,” Arthur says. His voice has gone so quiet tonight. “Hopefully Ruby will be done with her car soon. I won’t trust either of you girls with it.”

“Fair enough. I can’t use that technology well,” Moira says. “Percolators are a different story. I can’t wait to introduce Bridget to them.”

The door opens again, as the credits roll and roll into the next episode. “I know I need some coffee to keep up with you night owls,” the newcomer says.

“Be glad we visited!” Moira says. “I missed you Ruby, and your drinks.”



“I’ll be sure to include two shots,” Ruby says, weary in the early morning hours and yearning for caffeine to rescue her. “And light roast for Arthur, and what does your new friend like?”

“Something strong,” I say.

“And I’m sober,” Moira says. “Now I am, anyways. Give them to Arthur instead, since he saw hell tonight.”

Ruby nodded at the euphemism. “Good on your wife for putting up with that,” she tells Arthur. She gives out the mugs, and asks for my name when I get mine.

“Josephine Waverly.” She hesitates for a second or two.

“Moira didn’t learn her lesson, huh?” Moira herself rolls her eyes at that.

“She’s different, Ruby. Stop talking crap about my in-laws. Isn’t it funny how I never say those things to you about Jamie?”

Ruby turns towards me. “Don’t believe her for a second. He’s the best ex I could ask for.” What an odd web this group is, but then again, who better to trust than the amiable ex of a friend?

I take one sip of what she gave me and nod in approval.

“Well, why don’t you take a seat, Jo?” Ruby asks me. “I’ll get the table out of the way for you.”



Ruby does her best to be a welcoming hostess, but she and Moira are the friendliest together, with biting senses of humor, some stories from Ruby about the gory misadventures of her gravedigging best friend forever, and Moira gossiping about everyone in their shared circle of friends. Apparently Jamie is a fun drunk underneath his technical façade.

I have a feeling that Arthur knows her, but his job tonight silenced him. I just hope that it was because I tracked in far more dirt than I thought, and left fingerprints all over the railings on the stairs.

“So, any weird customers?” Moira asks.



“You guys have to stop dragging in so many rainbow folks. It looks suspicious,” Ruby says. I would have dropped my mug if I didn’t put it on the coffee table beforehand.

“Don’t blame me! I haven’t had a hand in any of it. Doubt even Maeve has,” Moira says.

“Yeah, they didn’t seem to want you, come to think of it. And they looked a little different. Uh…two of them were kind of blue. I felt sorry for one of them because she looked so disturbed.”

I interject. “Hey, uh, when did they come into your shop?”



Ruby counts it out on her fingers. “Gosh, maybe four, five days ago?”

“What’s the matter, Jo?” Moira asks. “Afraid you have family after you?”

Well, yes. I remain tense in my seat.

“I’m off to try and finish this car before Reilly has dig a hole for me,” Ruby says. “There’s some soup in the fridge if you’re feeling hungry.”



Moira is the first to grab a bowl of cold split-pea soup. “She makes the best!” she tells me.

“Nah, I’ll pass. I’ve put on some weight lately, and you can’t have me left behind again, now can you?”

“Whatever works.”

“Is there cell phone reception over here?” I ask. Both Moira and Arthur nod.

“I have something to check on, then.”



For the first time in ages, I turn my phone on, and a few bars show up in the corner. Then it vibrates with notifications, probably because nobody is home to pay my bills now, but I’ll deal with that when I’m running off more than coffee. I scroll through the missed calls and voicemails regardless. Sunset Valley Electric, my ISP, and a reminder from six days ago that I have a week to pay until they shut my cell phone service down too. Good timing, huh?

A few numbers stick out to me. Two are international, in some way belonging to households across the pond. One’s from Starlight Shores. I can tell by the area code, because researching for books has given me this knowledge.

It sickens me when it hits me as to who could have called. Lily lives in Starlight Shores, and I can’t say that we’re best friends. She called me a dynasty-ruining idiot. I should listen to whatever new anger she’s gained for me.

Hi Jo, it’s Lily. I honestly can’t believe you. Apparently there’s a threat on my dad that can be traced back to you? Why don’t you stop being so selfish. You’ve always been. I’ll see what military threats I can still get from Bronson before I threaten you. Thanks for nothing.

I check her latest call too.

Hi Jo, it’s Lily again. Bronson knows some snipers, just in case-

That’s enough of that. What did I do to Franco anyways? I called him…on a bugged phone. Tapped and collected by some old enemies, according to Jamie, who have been getting petrol from this same dealer if Ruby’s remembering the details right.

The two international numbers make more sense now. Franco lives internationally, as does Tegan. I go for the one that looks more unfamiliar. They left a voicemail.

I can’t believe this is happening. You…you put us in danger? I don’t even know what you’re doing to us right now, Jo. But apparently Meg said something to grandpa about it, and…god, I don’t even know what to say to you anymore. You’ve always been so out of control.

I mean, I still love you. I’m still your grandmother. Don’t do this to us.


I’m sorry too, Tegan, for whatever I just did. If Franco was at the end of the other international call, and it wasn’t just a telemarketer reaching abroad, maybe he has an answer.

It’s Franco. I don’t know what rules you’re breaking, but blackmail for it? Why didn’t you think of that?

Just…Christ. I have a family to care for now. But you need to stop for all of us.


That gave me nothing, even if I feel bad for whatever I’m doing. I have always been at odds with parts of the family, but I don’t need to follow their rules. Meg set up rules, but she lives in the mountains, and she’s my granddaughter. I should have the power to come out on top.

The only woman I can turn to now is Ruby, and hopefully she won’t charge as much as her ex does.



Her paint gun is going again, as she has a lot of exterior to cover on the old convertible.

“Any color they like, as long as it’s black?” I ask her.

“It’s easy to cover up with,” she says. “Need some help?”

“Yeah.”

She takes a seat on the car, on the ledge over one of the front wheels. “I’ve done a lot of work on the frame. You can take a seat too.” So I do.



“How well can you keep a secret?” I ask her.

“As well as the best of them. We’ll leave the selling out to Jamie. He’s a greedy scoundrel, but the best greedy scoundrel of them all,” she says.

“I don’t have such nice words for my ex-husband, I’m afraid.”

“We left on good terms. Marriage wasn’t his thing, and you know? I don’t think it’s mine either. He’s my best friend no matter what.”

“I wish I could say the same about all of my family. Which leads me to my real question. What were those ladies there for?” I ask her.

“I didn’t want to say it in front of Moira, but yeah, they asked about a Josephine. One of them had red hair and the greyest eyes ever.” Ruby looks into my own. “Just like yours, but smaller.”

“Um, did they say I was doing something wrong?”

“Just something vague about a punishment. Look, I bet Jamie has a lot more info on them.”

“Nothing I don’t know.”

Ruby draws me into a gentle hug. “I just know that you’re all in a rough industry, and heck, I’m covering for the worst of you a lot of the time. Stay safe.”

“I’ll consider it,” I say.

I spy Arthur climbing into the van, though the glass garage door.

“Looks like my ride is leaving. I just want to get home, though you’re pretty nice, Ruby,” I tell her.

“You’re a nice little newbie,” she says back.

Arthur and I don’t talk for the whole ride. We left Moira behind, because she crashed on the couch and can always find her way home. He knows where I live, but instead turns towards his place. No matter. I can walk home, and change into my regular clothes that I left there.

The whole city shines in a hot pink sunrise as we pull up to his house. I prepare to say good-bye before he grabs me with a question.



“What did you mean by that?” Arthur asked. “I don’t actually think Moira would say that about you. And about me? No way. She’s rude. She no bigot.”

“Okay, I lied, and I think it was a crappy thing for me to assume-“

“Enough of hiding. I’ve spoken with Eileen about you lately. Are you hiding something? Because Moira might be playing dumb about it, but you’re hiding something. Someone named Waverly with fangs like those doesn’t come around without a secret. Whatcha hiding, Jo?”

“I’m not hiding!” I stamp my bare foot down. “Things happen. I’m perplexed by it all too.”

“When were you born?”

“January 24th, 2036.”

“Your real birth date. I can bench at least two of you. Why don’t you stop lying so I don’t put that to use?”

“I’m telling the-“ He grabs my wrist and squeezes, putting me under the real threat of leaving with a snapped wrist.

“When were you born?”

I’m close to tears again for the second time today. Choking up, I tell him the truth.

“January 24th, 2321.” My wrist is freed at those words. We trade tears.



He holds his head and looks away. “I…I don’t know what to think of you anymore. I don’t know why you’re here. And I don’t want to know what you know about Moira. Who is she to you?”

“She’s the devil, and the greatest person I’ve worked with. I wish I could tell you. I really wish I could.”

“And all that you said to Ruby? About who’s chasing you?”

“I’m the only one in danger. Please don’t cry, Arthur. I care about you like you’re family.”

“I bet I am. I’ll keep working with you,” he says. “But get out of my house. Stay out of my laundry. Don’t get near my friends or my family. I’ll see what Eileen has to say. She’s been so confused about you.”

I wave good-bye and make my way home. The sky loses its pink as I turn towards the curb and towards the front door. I look back towards Arthur’s house and watch him from the distance, getting the mail and saying hello to the little newspaper girl after he gets his delivery.



I hope for hyperbole from him, and still expect the worst. But I can draw the shades for a day and try to forget about everything and every side. I will trap the bad memories of Twinbrook in the darkness, and relinquish ownership of my own daughter. My own granddaughter. My granddaughter’s wife too. I’ll kick dad out for the day and forget him as well. I’ll forget that Arthur blew my cover, and work with him if they need me again.

But that’s the funny thing with minds; everything lingers. Threats do when they’re physically impossible, rivalries do when they don’t have the justification. I have my grudges.



I curl up on the bed without changing and stare down Eight Ways. I will have to explain myself one day, probably soon. Even Moira will stop schmoozing and ask why and how. I wrote down the explanation for them and bound it in green.

If nothing else, it’s a safe way to confront everyone coming back from the past. It’s a fenced-in area to practice before someone from the family comes knocking on my door.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,810
Word Count so far: 183,240

Notes:

- January 24th was the actual birthdate of Josephine, albeit in 2014. :P

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 93, 11/11)
« Reply #443 on: November 11, 2014, 06:30:33 PM »
Wow. How awful for Jo. No wonder she's messed up. It's a wonder she's not more so. Poor thing. No one deserves to be told they're useless by their family. Especially not for that. She's not useless! She obviously still had an heir like she was supposed to, and for the rest of the requirements it doesn't matter.  And her granddaughter has a wife and nobody cares? Just because she didn't have to have an heir. The double standard is killing me here.

In the plus side, she didn't die, that's nice. Now who's after her?
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By intl_incident                                                      By samoht04

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 93, 11/11)
« Reply #444 on: November 12, 2014, 04:32:02 AM »
Poor Jo. I didn't think her family would have been so rude about her orientation, but then again we haven't seen Jo's story yet to know.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #445 on: November 12, 2014, 03:27:57 PM »
Wow. How awful for Jo. No wonder she's messed up. It's a wonder she's not more so. Poor thing. No one deserves to be told they're useless by their family. Especially not for that. She's not useless! She obviously still had an heir like she was supposed to, and for the rest of the requirements it doesn't matter.  And her granddaughter has a wife and nobody cares? Just because she didn't have to have an heir. The double standard is killing me here.

In the plus side, she didn't die, that's nice. Now who's after her?

The double standard kind of makes sense as time goes on. Even doing some math, Jo's granddaughter would be generation eight, and the family can't care as much about the preferences of them as they do about a sim who has to bear a child.

Well, that's all I can say without spoilers.

Poor Jo. I didn't think her family would have been so rude about her orientation, but then again we haven't seen Jo's story yet to know.

Yeah, it more relates to her story. As a whole, I never saw the Waverlys as homophobic either. Just close-minded when their plans stray, perhaps...



Chapter 94: Spring Break



“Okay, that is a way of simplifying it,” Hephaestus said. “He came over to them and they told him off. I guess he knows a little more now.”

“Unsalvageable?” Tegan asked.

“Probably. Call them when we get home. I want to finish this string, though.”

She called back home later that night, when Hephaestus crammed to get the last of his sketches done for his weekly quota. Her voice helped keep him awake, if internally melting from desire.

“Hey, Annette?” Tegan asked. “I appreciate you guys doing some of the work for me, but golly, what happened? You breaking up with Bryant for me?”

“It’s the easiest way of putting it. What a night we had last night,” Annette said. “You sitting down right now? I need to tell you a story.”

It was a pleasant spring night the night before, back in Twinbrook, anyways. Most of the frost left for the year, and best of all, dishes were cleaned and Piper was tucked in to bed by 20:00. It left three elders alone in the house, and with a heated debate on whether clubbing, a jog, or video games was going to keep them amused until bedtime.



Everyone was won over by the prospect of games and pajamas, so the three did just that. They weren’t expecting any guests, after all. Not until the doorbell rang.

Annette let her player get defeated. “I’ve beaten you guys before anyways. I’ll get this.”

“But you’re wearing…that,” Franco said.

“Like Twinbrook hasn’t seen me before? I’ve woken up naked in public before. I’m going prudish now!” Bare-legged Annette looked through the window to gauge how rudely she needed to greet that guest.



Bryant attempted to strangle himself on the porch, in a fit of mild psychosis. On that cold night, he wore a t-shirt, swim trunks, and in the greatest insult to beach fashion ever devised, swim flippers. Considering how he usually dressed reasonably around Tegan and took enough medication to stave off delusions, Annette had a feeling that something was amiss.

She opened the front door and made no attempt to hide her legs. “Can we help you, or are you just here to make us miserable?” she asked.

“What are you wearing?” Bryant made an exaggerated gagging noise. “I don’t like loose women, but at least most of them are under 50, ain’t they?”



“You’re just jealous of what some gym time can do.” Annette put her hand on her hip and gestured at him. “Can’t you see that we’re busy? I thought you’d appreciate a few elders enjoying your kids’ games”



“Listen, you disgusting hag, I’m not here for you guys and I really don’t care,” Bryant said, rubbing his finger close to Annette. “I think you guys are trying to get rid of me.”

“Duh,” Annette said. “We set the bar pretty high for spouses over here. You know, when you’re worse than a fat, aging politician, you’re doing bad.”

“Shut it. I know plenty about Bill. That guy wasn’t even close to brave gentlemen like me.”

“I’ll see if you can tell that to Franco and live to say that to me again, kiddo.”



Bryant approached the other two, his swim flippers flopping loudly against the hardwood floors. Both of them groaned, and feared what sort of man Bryant could be if Annette in her nightshirt didn’t scare him off.

“She’s not home yet,” Lily said, mumbling.

“That’s the problem. Was that her way of…breaking up with me?” Bryant asked.

“I don’t know. Why don’t you call her?”

“I do. She doesn’t sound sincere. I think you guys might be trying to break us up, even.”

“We’re just thinking of her,” Lily said. “Bryant, Tegan is my only child. I care about her more than any sim in the world, and I just always feared that this relationship isn’t right for her.”



“It’s just that I don’t see why you don’t like me,” Bryant said. “I’m educated, and I have a lot of money saved up. I like to hold doors open, and I don’t hit on girls at the bar like the scum of the world. I also have the world’s most formal trilby at home, ready for when I need to look classy.”

“Trilbies are not fashionable. Get your head on straight and take your meds again,” Franco said. “And besides how I overheard you insulting my father, you really think that you’re a gentleman?”

“Are you even close? I heard that you have ten illegitimate kids.”

“It’s just nine, and at least I’ve been nice to the women in my life. Lily can vouch for a lot of that. Plus, I have table manners, know when to say please and thank you, and live off a far more civilized diet than Fritos and Mountain Dew.”

“I just want this one thing in my life! No other girl has even remotely shown interest in me. I’m nice, I need someone like Tegan who oozes more of it!”



“Look, Bryant, stop your whining,” Franco said, getting up from his seat. “You know when I finally married the love of my life? I was 70. I was more than twice your age and I had plenty of mopey times before that, but I didn’t once blame anyone else for my problems. You’re not entitled to Tegan, and you’re not entitled to crying about it either when you’re barely 30.”



“You just don’t get the struggle of us nice guys,” Bryant said, rolling his eyes at the old man. “And I bet I could take you down anyways.”

“Maybe you could, but could you take down Lily?” At that cue, Lily got up from her seat and engaged in a pantomimed fist fight with the air.



“I’ve damaged quite a few punching bags with these,” she said.



“You’re almost as delusional as I am. I’m going home,” Bryant said. “I think it’s time to bulk anyways.”

After he left, Franco turned to Lily. “You’re a runner.”

“I’d do my best anyways,” she said.

“So why didn’t you try?” Franco asked. Lily stormed off after that.

“So that’s all I have to say,” Annette said over the phone a night later, to Tegan. “We did our best to scare him off. Now it’s your turn.”

“I have school, though. I know that spring break is coming up, but I need to make up some work so one of my classes counts,” Tegan said. “I need to do this later.”

“Or now. We got him nicely primed for you. Better not wait until it wears off, huh?”

“I don’t know.”

“Sleep on it. I bet you’ll change your mind. And you can just bribe off your professor for the credits anyways!”

Tegan went to bed that night, next to an exhausted Hephaestus. He woke up, sort of, once Tegan was right next to him, keeping him warm in the mild New Simland summer.

“Hey babe,” he said in a sleepy voice. “I guess I overheard some of that.”

“Yeah.”

“Get out the money, get out of makeup work, and do it. I want him gone as much as you do.”

“I can’t bribe my way out of this,” she said. “That’s just not something I do!”

“Find some way to confront him. Because the sooner you do that, the sooner I can, you know, get out that ring I bought last year.” He yawned. “And then we can raise a family, go on vacations…” He faded off into sleep again.

“I guess I can retake the course next term,” Tegan said. She looked for plane tickets the next day.

After a barrage of “welcome home” greetings from the family, Tegan headed upstairs, turned on her phone, and cringed. She hated the way it vibrated, and how sensitive the touchscreen was. She knew why and how touchscreens worked, but the world was better off with telegraphs or those beautiful dial phones that the world forgot about.

She still had Bryant’s number in her phone. Time after time, it went to voicemail, which she didn’t leave him. If he knew her at all, he’d know that Tegan was approaching him with a friendlier breakup than what the elders gave him.



After her failure, Tegan started building a new harvester at her workbench, because her first batch sold well and she couldn’t get rusty with her skill. But even over the clanging metal and ambient hiss of gas from her blowtorch, a mild noise broke through. An organic chirp broke the mechanical mayhem. It sounded like no bird that Tegan knew of, so she looked behind her and into the eyes of a different beast.



A purple dragon, no taller than Tegan’s shin, stood there and watched, occasionally flexing its wings.

“Hey, who are you, little buddy?” she said to the reptile. “I thought we didn’t have any pets.”



The dragon climbed on her arm when she extended it out. It opened up its wings and yawned, which was when Tegan noticed a tag affixed to one of the wings. In nearly microscopic print, Tegan learned why there was a purple dragon in their house.

Hi! My name is Harwood the Second. I don’t bite!
If I’m lost, please return me to Shark Racket
40 Puddlewick Drive, Twinbrook, 67390-09


“Aww, it seems that we’ve forgotten about you for a while!” she said to him, as he perched on her shoulder. “I think you deserve a better name, though. Or just being let free. Could I at least talk to you? I need to get my fiancé over here, and he isn’t answering my calls. I don’t want to wrong him, but we need to talk. If only he would come over.”



At those words, the dragon flew from her shoulder, in a puff of purple smoke.



Circled by runes and a beam of light, Tegan had at least one being that would listen to her. Now if only Bryant would.

“Hey, I’m back for the break,” Tegan said. “I knew you wanted to talk.”



“You lied to me just to cheat on me with that crazy old slimebag!” Bryant sent her back with the point of his finger. “And your elders threatened me. You’re turning them all against me, aren’t you?”



“Well, that’s always been their doing,” she said. “I didn’t know where else to turn to. I needed to find a way out of this somehow. You weren’t even answering my calls.”

“I thought that maybe you’d learn the error of your ways. You don’t deserve me anyways. You deserve getting widowed young, with the way you’re acting. Because that’s what will happen. He doesn’t even take his meds.”

“I’ll take it.”

“What?” Bryant said.



“I’ll take that over you. I want to enjoy my break and get back to uni. Why don’t you go home for tonight?” she said, hand on her left hip.

He spit on her shoes and left. After cleaning them off in the bathroom, Tegan looked in the mirror. She finally did it and confronted the beat herself, and with many beautiful, Bryant-free years of youth and adulthood ahead of her. Even the classes scheduled for the next term (everyone dreaded Organic Chemistry) couldn’t phase the good streak she had going on. Nor could a crying toddler.

She exited the bathroom to run into a crying Piper in the nursery. The elders left that precious little worm alone, and how could that even cross their minds? Tegan’s heart missed Piper so much while studying on the other side of the country.



“Oh, darling,” she said, scooping Piper up and calming her instantly. “I missed you so much.”

“Heph?” she asked.

“No, he’s not here. He had to make up his sketchbook assignments after all. But you like me, right?”

“Yes.”

“And you know what you heard up there? That should be the worst person you’ll ever meet. Because we’re all pretty great in this family, and heck, I’ll have a little one like you one day! Maybe after I finish school. So no more bad guys?”

“No more!”

“Alright! Now, what could this be?” Tegan held out a wiggling, tickle-ready hand to Piper. “Looks like some cute little girl is gonna get tickled!”



Between the promise of no more Bryant and tickles, Piper was the happiest nooboo in Simnation. She slept through the night that night without bothering the elders.

Meanwhile, Tegan stepped outside, with Harwood the Second perched on her shoulder again. Little did she know that Annette was following her.

“Tegan, glad you found him,” Annette said. “I thought you could use a bit of assistance, so I got him out of his cage.”

“It worked. Thanks, gram,” Tegan said. “But I think we need to do him right.” She started to unwind the screw hat kept the tag on his wing. “We ignore him as a pet, and give him such a bizarre name?”

“Look, if you knew the original Harwood, it made a lot of sense-“

“It doesn’t matter. I’m letting him free.”

“Okay. I mean, it has been a while since Shark cared about it anyways.”

“I guess it’s settled then.” Tegan brought a little table scrap to lure the dragon with, and threw it into a nearby tree. He flew up to grab it.

“And we leave him there, because the worst is past us,” Tegan said. She started home, while Annette watched the dragon up in the tree.

“I mean, I hope so,” Annette said, to herself.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,247
Word Count so far: 185,487

Offline ombradellarosa

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #446 on: November 12, 2014, 07:15:54 PM »
Yes, he's finally gone! Perfect. It wasn't as mean as anyone else should be, but it was good for Tegan. I hate that "nice guy" routine. If you're really nice, then you won't feel entitled to women's attention for it. He is so that stereotype and I hate it! Glad he's gone.
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By intl_incident                                                      By samoht04

Offline Hallucination

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #447 on: November 13, 2014, 01:09:05 AM »
Tegan's adorable when she's angry. I'm not sure she could be threatening if she tried.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #448 on: November 13, 2014, 08:30:33 AM »
I love Lily in those shots, I can see just how scared stupid Bryant was of her  ;D
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #449 on: November 14, 2014, 10:32:29 PM »
Trip, I just spent the last two days catching up on about thirty chapters of this dynasty, and I have to ask-are you sure you arn't secretly Rick Riordan? Tamora Pierce? Some other famous author?