Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 84936 times)

Offline ombradellarosa

  • You can call me Rosa :)
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3696
  • Follow Brooke on The Mole!
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 102, 12/2)
« Reply #475 on: December 03, 2014, 04:49:27 AM »
My guess is that Tegan and Heph will run out of time to have a child. I really think Phil takes after Shamus but it could be my imagination. I just thought that as soon as I saw him. But if that's the case, do Heph's beautiful genes never make it into the family? I hope I'm wrong for that reason!
Please read and follow the Forum Rules.

   
By intl_incident                                                      By samoht04

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 102, 12/2)
« Reply #476 on: December 03, 2014, 12:35:30 PM »
Finally caught up with this, I've been reading it on and off for a while but always way behind, I'm enjoying the mystery of Annette/Moira, and Tegan's romantic problems, and I see as I'm typing this you posted another chapter, guess I didn't quite catch up after all.

EDIT: Okay now I'm caught up, all I can say is in 20 chapters time when Keon's role is finally revealed I hope to god Franco gives him a haircut  :P

Welcome!

He does get a haircut. I considered giving him one for this chapter, but it would make later ones look inconsistent (who would go back to that awful haircut?).

I am firmly in the Annette=Moira=Annette camp. *starts decorating* Moira is Annette, knows who Jo is and all of it.

I remember Keon being on the family tree, so he's either Phil's step-dad or bio dad. At least we now have a basic idea of how Tegan could wind up with the Emperor of Evil as a son.

It's not exactly contested by the story that Moira is Annette, just Annette in the past. The one that Jo knew is doing different things.

I don't consider these spoilers, so:

Moira really doesn't know who Jo is. She chalks up her shared last name to it being common, and remember, Waverly was her married name. She doesn't see Jo as family because of that, and there's no connection to the other side either. Other details that blow Jo's cover are known to others in the circle, but not to Moira.

However, I do think that Moira is also being willfully dense because she values Jo's companionship and doesn't want to alienate her (NOTE: while Annette definitely alienates a lot of people, 1) I don't think she entirely means to, and 2) Annette was doing far better for herself in Twinbrook and didn't have to care. Note how she was marginally nicer and more careful in earlier chapters. It was a deliberate choice in my writing and I'll elaborate on this more if anyone wants it). Without that, she'd be suspicious like Eileen and Arthur are. Either way, the ruse can't be held up forever. I know how it will end but I'm sparing you those details. ;)

As for Keon, I forgot that I put up the old family tree some time ago. :P After that ending sentence, it's one or the other.

My guess is that Tegan and Heph will run out of time to have a child. I really think Phil takes after Shamus but it could be my imagination. I just thought that as soon as I saw him. But if that's the case, do Heph's beautiful genes never make it into the family? I hope I'm wrong for that reason!

You're more observant than I am for seeing anything but a slim, male Tegan in Phil.

I almost always have a way for missed genes to get into the family, and I make backup plans for if they fall through. Hephaestus had a son in France, DNA samples of himself, and I could have always had him father generation eight from beyond the grave. However, he couldn't father children in Twinbrook because the pool of eligible women was slim (he had a lot of cousins). But I had complete control over the situation, and whoever I thought would make a better father for Phil would be his father because of my watcher powers. Tegan was actually quite indecisive during the game, from what I remember, so I got to make the decision for her.

But it's ambiguity like this that will make Chapter...108 even better when it happens. ;)



Semester is winding down and things are busy. I might get the next chapter out soon. I might not.



Registered members do not see ads on this Forum. Register here.

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 102, 12/2)
« Reply #477 on: December 03, 2014, 03:07:39 PM »
No, you know what? Forget this Hephestus vs Keon jazz. I'm shipping Keon and Piper and you can't stop me. *sticks fingers in ears* La la la la it's not creepy at all.

Offline CeresIn

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
  • Sims 3 addict. Yanina
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 102, 12/2)
« Reply #478 on: December 03, 2014, 03:23:26 PM »
Just finished reading chapter 23. 79 more to go  :o

I know this is a comment a little late but I have to review, the chapter was beautiful and sad, the way you described Annette loneliness after Bill's death was exceptional.

You have a way to convey your words that is marvelous. You are a great writer.

Offline dontmindme

  • Immortal
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 102, 12/2)
« Reply #479 on: December 03, 2014, 03:50:27 PM »
Don't worry, Trip, I don't remember too much from that tree beyond 'wait, this person is duplicated how many times here?!?' It's actually kind of cool that Phil resembles both guys enough (for me) to make it plausible that either could have fathered him. Still rooting for Heph though.

I get the feeling that Piper was supposed to be Phil's wife/mother of Gen 6 but things didn't/won't work out (Phil was an elder in the nooboo!Jo shot and Piper would already be almost three sim weeks older than Phil if Tegan was currently pregnant) so yes, Keon/Piper all the way. Or Piper/Heph's son if Heph doesn't manage to father Phil. We have to keep that kind of beauty around somehow.

Ah, indecisive sims. It makes life much easier when you can direct them to your chosen spouse without feeling guilty over it.

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 103, 12/3)
« Reply #480 on: December 03, 2014, 11:04:49 PM »
No, you know what? Forget this Hephestus vs Keon jazz. I'm shipping Keon and Piper and you can't stop me. *sticks fingers in ears* La la la la it's not creepy at all.

I ship Piper with whoever ended up being her romantic partner. ;)

Just finished reading chapter 23. 79 more to go  :o

I know this is a comment a little late but I have to review, the chapter was beautiful and sad, the way you described Annette loneliness after Bill's death was exceptional.

You have a way to convey your words that is marvelous. You are a great writer.

Good luck! The chapters get longer from there.

I always liked that chapter, but mostly for Shark coming to terms with his uncle's death. It was at that point that I started seeing Shark as a deeper character than "promiscuous sculptor guy."

Don't worry, Trip, I don't remember too much from that tree beyond 'wait, this person is duplicated how many times here?!?' It's actually kind of cool that Phil resembles both guys enough (for me) to make it plausible that either could have fathered him. Still rooting for Heph though.

I get the feeling that Piper was supposed to be Phil's wife/mother of Gen 6 but things didn't/won't work out (Phil was an elder in the nooboo!Jo shot and Piper would already be almost three sim weeks older than Phil if Tegan was currently pregnant) so yes, Keon/Piper all the way. Or Piper/Heph's son if Heph doesn't manage to father Phil. We have to keep that kind of beauty around somehow.

Ah, indecisive sims. It makes life much easier when you can direct them to your chosen spouse without feeling guilty over it.

Ah yes, my circular family tree. All of the cousin marriage and Franco really having a thing for sets of sisters/in-laws, etc. made things interesting and unreadable.

You observant one, you! ;) Yes, Piper is a lot older than Phil and Phil was an old dad. You might have spoiled one thing, but I guarantee that the real story is a lot stranger.



Chapter 103: Like an Onion



Before years passed, and before anyone could call Keon an in-law, the investigation against Bryant began. Because of the bureaucracy and red tape that surrounded the official investigation, a vigilante rose to try and pick up the slack. And by vigilante, I mean that someone taught old Annette how to use the TOR Browser.

They all hated Bryant, but Annette was the only elder rogue enough to stoop to his realms and the dark spaces of the Deep Web he administrated in order to do him in. She pushed her usual hobbies of forum trolling and insulting people’s woohoo abilities and mothers over multiplayer games to learn about a different kind of onion.

Bryant hid deep inside encryption, much like an apple core or the last inner layers on an onion. Or, that is what the analogy behind “onion routing” was. Each packet had multiple layers of encryption, like an onion. Also like an onion, these layers hid secret information as integral to the internet as onions were to any savory dish. And both were full of awful things that made good people cry. Even Annette cringed at some of the things distributed over the Deep Web, but browsing wasn’t a crime and she browsed, seeing what seemed particularly Bryant-esque.



Actually, that is just what she set out to do. She instead sat in a library, laptop screen open to the public, and looked through a site selling customized fake I.D.s.

“Man, I wish I knew about these back in the day,” Annette said. Bunny was in the background, pretending to be loving family to Annette.

“You would be the one to have needed one as a teen,” she said. Annette paused.

“Oh, you bet,” she said, after a pause. She never clarified that statement for me, which I never expected her to anyways. Of all of the mysteries of her past, I don’t think her being an underage drinker was one. We just expected that of her.

After getting bored with illegal goods she may or may not have needed, Annette took to the Deep Web Wiki and looked through more URLs. Herb farmers after herb farmers, rogue doctor with pills after rogue former doctor with pills, counterfeiter after counterfeiter, all of them operated in the onion’s layers and all of them had bad, bad coding on their websites. Even Annette could tell that their CSS work was below amateur.

One counterfeiter eventually had a nice site, full of clean sections and no text marquees that went out of style before Annette’s grandparents were even a twinkle in her great-grandparents’ eyes. Due to the nice design, they credited their coder and part-time webmaster, “Penny Dreadful.”

Annette’s hunt was on for a Penny Dreadful. She found a guy based in Lucky Palms instead, but also found a blog associated with his. Pelicans Rise, run by a writer of the same name. In the beginning, she gave it a look because of the title alone. Maybe the writer had a sense of humor, and Annette needed a laugh in the search for Bryant.

Pelicans Rise: An Internet Free Spirit. The guy really liked his image boards, striking against bloggers he had a grudge with, web design and webmaster jobs, his web design degree, video games, chivalry, whining about an anonymous woman. Annette said “wait a minute” out loud once the realization hit her. There had to have been multiple Bryants in the world, but it was worth checking.

A look at the IP behind the server traced it back to Twinbrook. She submitted the tip to the police and got a small reward that immediately went towards more nectar for her stash.

Perhaps catching on to the plans of the elders, Bryant pulled himself into the next gear when it came to asserting his eventual victory. The house got a letter soon after Annette submitted the tip. She read it first, judging by the magenta stain on it from spilling the last of a glass of nectar on it.

Dear Waverly Family,

You are invited to a bachelor party for Bryant Moreno!
On the 19th of April
19 Poker Flats Drive

Please do well in sending him off before he marries the woman of his dreams!


“Hey Tegan, you’re hearing this crap, right?” Annette said, as she read the letter out loud to Franco and Lily. She shrugged. “It is kind of sad that he’s still doing this.”

“So, who’s man enough for this? I am. He’ll probably have drinks there,” Annette said. Franco backed out as soon as he heard the part about it being for Bryant. Lily did too, saying that she had a dinner planned with Tristan that day (…he was dead years before that). Hephaestus walked in a little later, after an emergency meeting with the orchestra. How could they live when they were down one viola? Though frazzled with work, Annette still pulled him in to read the letter too. At least he’d agree with how pathetic it sounded.

“He won’t quit, now will he?” Hephaestus asked. “But maybe I can kick his butt there.”

“Am I hearing you right? You’re psychotic if you’re thinking that’s the next logical step,” said Annette.

“I am psychotic, and I’d also rather die than see this go on for any longer. It’s causing us a lot of grief, and Tegan doesn’t deserve another moment of this.”

“Let’s make one thing clear, kiddo, I can’t save the dying,” Annette said. “And believe me, lots of people think I can. But I’m not the one working the magic here. It’s…someone else.” She slurred a bit. The nectar said those things, not her. “So if he kills you for this, well, tough luck. But you can go for the drinks like I will. A six pack of Sim Adams, just for me.”

Annette passed out on the sofa. Hephaestus still decided to go when the date came. Bryant was strong enough to beat up the oldest man in Twinbrook, but Hephaestus was still a witch. He often forgot that he was special, and not just in the pejorative way that people described his mind. He rarely practiced his magic and it had been years since he even conjured an apple, let alone turned anyone into a toad or worse. Perhaps his powers were dead. Perhaps he would be too.

He brushed up on his fire blasts until the elders got too annoyed with someone burning away their lawn. He helped lay the new sod. Regardless of the damage he caused at home, his powers still worked.

Meanwhile, Annette merged her two favorite hobbies, perhaps three of them if you count how she often cooked herself a meal before doing the other two. But with the most likely candidate for Bryant’s blog located, she needed to snoop. And she needed to troll.



Signing up for an ambiguous blogging account was the easy part. “Crow’s Feet” was someone who commented, not blogged. Comments were open on the most recent post. The others agreed with him. Oh well, she was a rogue after all.

I doubt you’ve seen a woman outside of your computer screen, in response to him finally getting engaged in spite of how much of a shrew his lady and her family could be. Also, your mum, lol.

It took only a few minutes for it to get a reply from Pelicans Rise himself.

Wow. I doubt you even know me…but then I looked at your IP and you definitely do. Come at me bro.

While Annette transcribed the entire conversation, much of it is unpublishable. The internet allows for some terrifying things. The two young men at The Red Rendezvous that afternoon took notice of her heated typing. One of them recognized the layout.

“Hey lady, you like Pelicans Rise too?” the black-haired one asked.

“It’s trash and I’m trolling him until he deletes,” she said. “You’re probably better than reading that tripe.”



“Come on, that’s not cool. He has a right to free speech,” he said. “I disagree with the blog a lot too, but I think he has a right to exist!”



“Please, the guy’s the worst this town has to offer. And I once married the worst this town has to offer,” she jeered. “So go back to your mum’s basement and whine about free speech for wastes of air like that.”



“I think you’re just being harsh,” he said, before joining the fuseball game. As for Annette, she hoped that maybe the attention would bring Bryant to the justice system faster. Alas, poor Annette. In spite of the online quarrel, she still got a call from Bryant to make sure that she still planned on coming to his bachelor party. He promised juice.

“Heinesim?” he asked. “I have a few six-packs of it.”

“That will have to do,” said Annette.

On the afternoon of the party, Annette tried to coax Hephaestus out of it. In spite of being a fun drunk, Annette spoke proudly of her juiced strength. He still was going. She got the keys and gave in.

“You’re a braver man than I am,” Annette said. “And also stupider just for this.”

“I’ll take it,” Hephaestus sighed. “I want him to rot.”

“One day, darlin’.”



They walked into a quiet house, with the promised juice and bonus cookies out for them. They followed the faint soundtrack of car crashes and virtual debauchery that came from the living room, and walked into the lamest bachelor party ever.



Bryant and the guy from The Red Rendezvous enjoyed their games, and barely noticed their two old guests. The latter one did first, kindly introduced himself as Quintin, and jumped back into the game. Bryant pretended to not notice them.



Hephaestus took a seat on the loveseat next to them. Still, no response from either.

“Bryant, we need to settle this like men,” Hephaestus said. “Simply put, I’m tired of your antics.”

“Yeah, yeah, like I haven’t guessed,” Bryant said. “That’s the point, grandpa. Were you born before that was a thing?”

“For a self-proclaimed chivalrous gentlesir, you definitely don’t like your elders, huh? Leave Tegan alone. If I’m going to be gone in a few years like you keep saying, you’ll have a ton of time with her afterwards. Well, if she actually liked you.”

“Dude, get out of my bachelor party,” Bryant said. “I didn’t even invite you.”

“Well, I’m here. Why don’t you pause and take a seat?” For once, Bryant listened. Poor Quintin looked uncomfortable and confused.



“Gawd, that invitation was a mistake. I didn’t want you here,” Bryant said, whining and sulking in his seat. Annette looked ready to drunkenly fight, considering how she sucked down two bottles in the few minutes she was there.

“Why do you do this?” Hephaestus asked. “It must get awful boring for you.”

Bryant got off the couch and crouched down next to him. He even bared his teeth and snarled like a rabid dog.



“You know what, old man, because unlike you, I never stood a chance with anyone else. I got straight A’s and acted like a gentleman and I. Deserve. Tegan. You don’t deserve jack when you’ve got millions of dollars and any woman you like, and those genes to make you thin, and everything that was just handed to you. You were able to make money on music, for Christ’s sake!”

“I’m very tired of these arguments, Bry. You don’t deserve her, and I barely believe I do. But I know who Tegan chooses.”

“Would you fight for this?” Bryant asked.

“I would fight to the death.”

He got up and walked towards the kitchen, cell phone in hand. Hephaestus sensed a hitman on his trail and started to make an exit out the window. Quintin waved good-bye to him and said that it was nice meeting the two of them. Even outdoors, he could vaguely hear Bryant on the phone.



“Yes, emergency services? There’s a psychotic man in my area. He has long blonde hair and was wearing a lilac sweater. I think he needs help.”

“The nerve of that kid,” Annette muttered.

“What the hell is all of this?” Quintin asked.

“An old feud. Um, I think you’ll need a few Heinesims after this. Right?” Quintin nodded in response.



Bottles in hand, Annette and Quintin made small talk. “So, you’re from Willow Creek, huh?” she asked him. “Weird place. Looks like Twinbrook in Technicolor.”

“Yep. You like what you saw?”

“I don’t remember much. Passed out drunk on the paddleboat, though. It was pretty fun.”



While Annette made small talk, Hephaestus found himself hiding on the other side of the street, at 1 Poker Flats Drive. According to myth and lore, his grandfather lived there before meeting Annette. The place remained empty for a while and was then too, but the porch lights were motion-activated and Hephaestus found himself under the glow.

Out of curiosity, he wanted to see if the art studio’s sliding door was unlocked. Although stuck, it was. Hephaesus opened the door and decided to pass the time as the investigation wore on and hopefully accused Bryant of lying. He was managed! Managed so well that he saw the world like everyone else did.



He started drawing, but soon after that, blue and red lights flashed outside and noticed the lights that were on in the studio. Last he remembered, someone jabbed a sedative into his leg and he drifted off.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,242
Word Count so far: 209,778

Notes:

- Onion Routing is an interesting thing and I encourage anyone interested to read up on it. While it is used to covertly do a lot of illegal stuff on the Deep Web, it's not illegal to use onion routing just to access it, so Annette was safe or close enough because at least she didn't buy anything.

- I might have said I was busy, but this was a much easier chapter to write and shoot than I planned. It's 105 that's gonna mess me up. :( Shooting in Roaring Heights SUCKS now. It takes forever to enter build/buy and it's only that file that has that problem.

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 103, 12/3)
« Reply #481 on: December 04, 2014, 06:55:18 PM »
Ack. Bad luck with the file.  :(

Also-there should be a party when Bryant is dead. Because he is a terrible, terrible pixelated little per-sim.



Registered members do not see ads on this Forum. Register here.

Offline sone

  • Townie
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 103, 12/3)
« Reply #482 on: December 04, 2014, 08:40:52 PM »
I absolutely LOVE Annette.  Mention free booze and that she might get into a fight and she's game!
Also good to see that Heph's both got a pair and still knows how to be rational when trying to talk to the enemy.

P.S  thanks for the PM responses, I promise not to ask questions like that on this page, due to potential spoilers. =)

Offline smartburn

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 321
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 103, 12/3)
« Reply #483 on: December 05, 2014, 02:34:35 AM »
Ahhh, with the last couple of updates/posts, so many Theories of Things (capital "T" yo) are either completely out the window or are teetering on the window sill save for one. Okay, maybe 2 or 3 are still indoors, but those are irrelevant at the moment. It's cool though, just makes it all that much more juicy and that's an awesome thing.  Regardless of how Things really play out, I think Heph is the shizzle, and Annette asking him if he was psychotic along with his response to the question has to be one of my favorite moments in your story so far (and there are many). Thanks for the good yarn. :)

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 104, 12/6)
« Reply #484 on: December 06, 2014, 02:56:42 PM »
Ack. Bad luck with the file.  :(

Also-there should be a party when Bryant is dead. Because he is a terrible, terrible pixelated little per-sim.

The file is a little better than I thought. The build/buy lag seems to happen only when I'm working with Maeve's mansion, which still doesn't make sense because it's actually not that big and mostly an unfurnished shell. I'm trying to limit my filming there, but I had no choice with Chapter 105.

Unfortunately, no party. I never actually saw him as an elder; I got his death notice around the time when Tegan would have been 90-ish and didn't really care.

I absolutely LOVE Annette.  Mention free booze and that she might get into a fight and she's game!
Also good to see that Heph's both got a pair and still knows how to be rational when trying to talk to the enemy.

P.S  thanks for the PM responses, I promise not to ask questions like that on this page, due to potential spoilers. =)

You're welcome! And I think Heph is too old for this crap.

Ahhh, with the last couple of updates/posts, so many Theories of Things (capital "T" yo) are either completely out the window or are teetering on the window sill save for one. Okay, maybe 2 or 3 are still indoors, but those are irrelevant at the moment. It's cool though, just makes it all that much more juicy and that's an awesome thing.  Regardless of how Things really play out, I think Heph is the shizzle, and Annette asking him if he was psychotic along with his response to the question has to be one of my favorite moments in your story so far (and there are many). Thanks for the good yarn. :)

Thanks!



Chapter 104: Still Sane



The sedative was mild enough to leave Hephaestus somewhat aware. He was stuck in a stretcher with a four-point restraint. The paramedics spoke in rushed confusion. How could a described psychotic seem to have been peacefully drawing in an abandoned house? Calls were made to the hospital. His records showed a history of Stash Psychosis, but no history of treatment…or noticeable incidences within the last 20 years.

He would react, but the sedative worked and made him loose and woozy. He eventually fell asleep on the stretcher and could only assume that he was going to the ER for safekeeping. Nothing woke him up. No one seemed to prod him, prep an IV line, or even touch him beyond what was needed to transfer him to a bed. That, or the sedative worked that well.

Asleep maybe was the wrong term, because he later described that night as being full of white noise and the faint soundtrack of re-hearing his medical records and all of the medical bureaucracy that his stay was wrapped in. Then it would be nice to wake up and explain himself. Bryant just wanted to dig up some old shames! Old shames that could land Hephaestus in the mental ward if he didn’t behave for whoever had the displeasure of evaluating him that night. However, Bryant also made him an even wearier old man who was more tired of the world than crazy. Yes, maybe he was safe now.



Hephaestus truly woke up to the lovely Dr. Villalobos chatting with a man in a garish suit. “We’re sure he’s fine, but I think he needs someone to talk with when he wakes up.”

“Sounds like an odd case of Stash. Patients don’t usually recover without help,” the man said. “Heck, that’s almost worth getting dragged out of bed for.”

“Do your best, Matt.”

Hephaestus rubbed his eyes and tried to say hello to the two of them, but he was still slurring as the sedative wore off. They both waited until he was lucid. “I’ll mention Pete to the manager. We left sedating these patients behind a long time ago,” Dr. Villalobos said. “Guy needs to chill himself with those.”

The man took a seat in the corner while Hephaestus woke up.

“Any reason for the coat?” Hephaestus said.

“It’s my favorite. I think it’s fun,” the man said. “Are you awake enough to remember my name if I say it?”

“Sure.”



“Call me Matt. I’m currently resident psychologist of the emergency department. I have seen some awful things,” Matt said.

“Clearly, I can’t be the worst,” Hephaestus said.

“It wasn’t a suicide attempt, so no, you’re one of the better ones. The reports said you were psychotic, and there is a history of Stash Psychosis in your records. I’ll admit, you just don’t fit the profile, though.”

“I did recover on my own. I can’t say how I did it, because it really just happened one day. I think I had just turned 50, and I used to see all of these ghosts and demons and other ghouls, but after that? Twinbrook seemed so quiet. I had one relapse when I went to university, and that was it.”



“That’s what confuses me. You absolutely shouldn’t have relapsed because it’s impossible! My only conclusion is that you were seeing actual ghosts and everyone thought you were insane,” said Matt. “I mean, they’re out there. My uncle’s on the Paranormal Profiteers and he sees them all the time. I believe him.”



“Oh yes. My girlfriend leads the team now. She’s seen a lot of weird stuff on the job,” Hephaestus said, his face furrowed in thought. “And she started that job...when I was close to 50.”

“Uncle Jack talks about her a lot. Tegan Curious, right?” Matt asked. “Only girl on the team, from what I hear.”

“That’s her.”

“She does a majority of the work. Apparently the ‘Brook would be a lot more haunted without her. Are you saying that you’re cured because your girlfriend hunted what haunted you.”



“I mean, that’s great if that’s the case! It’s the only one that makes sense. She didn’t do her work in New Simland, and hell, they burned witches over there. I felt like I was seeing the spirits of my old kind. Ghost witches,” said Hephaestus, perked up at getting an answer.

“Into the craft?” asked Matt.

“Born into it, I guess. Mum said I was special. I don’t do much with it now.”

“I hear that ghosts like magical types. At least you’re making a lot of sense to me. I’d almost say that you’re close to normal.”

“I’m…I’m not ill?”

“Eccentric at worst, and it ain’t an illness. The world needs a few eccentric minds.”



“Then why am I here?” Hephaestus asked. “Can you discharge me?”

“I’ll work with it.” Matt made a good case and after two hours of paperwork and confirmation that Hephaestus was a fine, sane old man, he walked out of the hospital and greeted Tegan at home, at her workbench, with a bear-hug. He nearly knocked the miner she was building over with the force of the hug.

“I was wondering where you went,” Tegan said.

“Worried that Bryant kidnapped me?” he asked, with a chuckle.

“Well, maybe.”

“Um, honey, are you going to stay at your job?” Hephaestus had a sad glimmer in his eyes.

“Until I get my degree finished. So, hopefully not for long.” Tegan said it while welding another part. “I know you’d like me to have a job with better hours. I hate being nocturnal too.”

“Actually, I was wondering if you could keep at it,” said Hephaestus. “Apparently I’m not insane. Just haunted and you’re the one helping.”

“Golly,” Tegan said. “You’re serious about this?”

“I don’t fit the profile of Stash anymore, and it makes the most sense. I started feeling better after you picked up the job, and maybe I was just seeing what you hadn’t caught yet. And at uni, no one bothered to clean up the demons. I’m not crazy, just haunted!”

“I’m glad to hear that it’s not genetic. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, especially not our kids.”

“So, Peapod, will you stay with the job?”

She really wanted to quit, but Hephaestus looked at her a puppy dog’s sad stare. His big, indigo eyes glimmered with tears and yearning.

“For you,” she said.

I said that it took years, and it did, but just a few. Time passed after that night when Hephaestus learned that he was normal. It was enough time to push Tegan up to adulthood and make Hephaestus a little more of an old man. The former still hunted ghosts for the sake of her beloved, and the latter still performed with the orchestra and sculpted in his spare time, all thanks to the work of his beautiful demon cleaner.

The case with Bryant trudged on thanks to a change in administration.



Chris, the noble Sheriff Greenwood, died a kind-of divorcé (Lou thankfully came to her senses and broke off the engagement, and not a marriage) but thankfully was able to squeeze in more woohoo with Chelle before the Reaper found that he was staying in her house instead of his own. So the county got a new sheriff and the police station got new hires and ousted old ones. One of the new ones always answered the phone for the Waverlys when they called. “Cybercrime is not our priority, ma’am,” he told Tegan.

“Okay, okay,” she always answered, sheepishly. It was awful. The fear of Bryant put her whole life at a standstill full of secret trysts and trudging through work. She made her schedule for the time after Bryant was gone: get married, quit ghost-hunting, start a family, go back to college, spend the rest of her eternal life studying peas like Gregor Mendel and caring for the garden at home (Annette would like the help).

Alas, most things didn’t change. For those few things that did, Tegan would hit middle age and have to make a choice between wrinkles or Botox, and Piper was also turning into a lovely teenager. Lily shed one tear at the thought of her only child becoming a mature adult. God, her dad must have felt the same way too when it happened to her.



Even worse, Julian’s oldest children started to age their way into getting senior discounts at movies. It was a couple years before Tegan’s adult birthday when Lily caught old Horace Coddle milling about town. He liked his long walks, and recently got divorced too. Out of pity, Lily gave him a voucher for 10 simoleons off a makeover. Franco told her something about Paul the stylist getting a little better at his job after all.



It seemed to have worked in the sense of making him a lot more stylish, but Emma Ball was skeptical at first. She picked on this kid in school back when they were young ones, and now he wanted to be friends with her? Surely a slap would set him straight. Emma then got a bouquet of red roses at her door the next day. It was weird enough of a story to tell to her cousins after it happened.

It did end with “well, I humored him and took him up on that. I had to feel bad for the old divorcé, ya know?”



Tegan was neutral to the idea, especially since she was exhausted after a night of ghost hunting, but then smiled a bit after both getting the best view of Andromeda that she ever got, and realizing that maybe Horace and Emma would have children one day. Heck, if the police station got themselves into gear with the investigation, she could marry Hephaestus in safety and have that daughter she anticipated sooner rather than later. And if the other couple got lucky enough, they’d have a playmate or several for Tegan’s child.

Who knows? Maybe that daughter of Tegan’s could marry a son of theirs.

(There are lots of ways to look at the truth)

As much as Tegan would have loved to daydream about the future while her enemy was in investigation limbo, the elders bugged her. Typical elders! It was about her birthday party. Annette needed to know the cake flavor she wanted and the drinks menu. Tegan could actually use a cocktail to wash away her middle-aged, existential sorrows, and some legal sparkling water for Piper.

Franco ended up concerning himself with the venue. “Maybe a place with a bar,” he said. “Gotta fish for my next date somehow!”

“Trying to rescue Lou from heartbreak didn’t go too well?” Tegan asked.

“She’s Julian’s daughter! It was a good try, but I feel like I’m seducing my own niece that way.” He then remembered Hephaestus. “Well, it’s not always bad, Peapod. Just not my type of thing.”

“Will the chapel work?” It became their nickname for the fishing hole where everyone got married. In spite of the wedding arch, it also made for a good place for birthdays. The views were great and a good choice in a mixologist could really make the party a blast.

“I’m not looking to get married again, but it will do,” said Franco. “I’ll help you with the invitations, okay?”

Lily just gave Tegan some words of support and a hug. She then punched a wall because Keon couldn’t make it. Tegan wasn’t pleased either, but she would certainly call Keon and ask if he wanted some leftover cake.

“He definitely has his reasons,” Tegan said. “Plus, he’ll still be my friend even if he doesn’t make it to one of my birthdays.”

“I know, honey, it’s just that he’s a really nice guy.”

“I won’t be able to convince you that I already have one?”

“It’s...it’s tough for me sweetheart, okay? I mean, I raised that kid as my brother!”

“Do you think he was grooming me, mum?” Tegan asked. “Seriously, it didn’t work out that way between Heph and I. We’ve been best friends for my whole life. Things happen.”

“It’s gross,” Lily said.

“I love you mum, and you can say that, but-“

“How about you stop with the buts and listen to your mother? It’s gross, and predatory, and I don’t like it. And even after Bryant is arrested I will not let you marry a creep just because he’s cute and charming and…RAISED YOU.”

Tegan froze at her mum’s anger. Sweat broke out on Lily’s forehead, and her fingers tensed up.

“Tell gram I’m feeling more like chocolate cake for next week,” Tegan said, coldly. She turned around and didn’t speak to Lily for a while. Even dinner time was full of icy glares and awkward anger and tension from the seats to the pot full of pasta. It continued on past her birthday.



In spite of the tension, Tegan arrived at her birthday party on time, and after an hour of socializing and catching up with friends and family, the cakes were set up and the two birthday girls awaited getting older and the delicious.

“You excited?” Tegan asked Piper, as she waited for someone to dig out the candles and a lighter.

“Yep! My crush just had a birthday too,” said Piper.

“Crush, huh? Is he cute?”

Piper hesitated. “Oh yeah, totally handsome.”



Candles were lit and the guests cheered the girls on. Piper sheepishly looked away from her left, which confused Tegan considering that the only guests to the left were family, friends, women, or Mickey, who was Tegan’s age. Her crush couldn’t be there.

Tegan took a better inventory of the guests as she waited for Piper to get her share of birthday attention. Lots of family, lots of Whelohffs that weren’t Keon, lots of Greenwood/Coddle daughters, and…Christ, not another party crasher.



She had long gotten used to laughing party guests and her dear Annette leading them, but between laughs and cheers, there was Bryant, also cheering. Clearly, the investigation needed to pick up some speed.



Obviously, she told this to others long after it happened, but she wasted her wish that night on one for Bryant to get taken care of. Even the good ran out of patience with him.

While Tegan waited for some birthday magic to age her up, she ignored Bryant and looked over her shoulder to her left and to party guests who were much better people.



Ah yes, Mickey the anarchist was still looking good. Cousin Rachael also grew up into a gorgeous young adult, and goaded her grandpa into giving her one of Hannah’s old shirts.



Along with Kylie Coddle and her own grandpa Franco, Tegan pretended that she had a good collection of party guests and waited for someone to play “bouncer” and kick Bryant to the curb.

Still, the birthday magic that Tegan got felt stale and unpleasant, a little like the feeling of pins and needles on a sleepy limb. It smelled like bad perfume and the interior of a new sports car. And Bryant, being a little younger, wouldn’t get it for a bit after that, which was clearly the worst part.



For Piper, it was joyous and full of smiles.



Tegan grit her teeth and hoped that someone snuck a few nice, new dresses into the dresser in the bathroom.

She pulled the bow from her hair and let it fall down in messy waves. They were tamed by a brush and looked far better pulled in front to one side. Tegan, perhaps, needed to feel like a true adult in those trying times. Though her reason recounted to me was that she wanted a fresh look for her adult portrait. That’s what they all say.

“Okay, what do we have in store,” she said to herself, wriggling the middle drawer to the dresser. It was stuck by a piece of gum, thanks to some meddling fishermen (most likely). She gave it a strong pull, which sent the drawer open and her rear end to the ground.



“Blast it, not again,” she muttered.



As he did for many a birthday person, Franco left her some new dresses to choose from. A ruffled, semi-short dress caught her eye. Middle age did a number on her face, but her thighs survived well and floral prints were for everyone at any age.

She spent a few minutes digging for a new formal, non-wedding dress, and Piper tapped her on the shoulder just as she found a suitable blue-and-floral one.

“I’m a disaster. Did Franco leave something for me?” Piper asked.

“I definitely saw some pink in there,” said Tegan. “Wow, you really are pretty.”

“You think?” Piper’s face flushed. “I always thought that about you, too.”

“Yeah, let’s stop talking about me, you’re the birthday girl too. Let’s see what we have for you.”



Piper was gorgeous. She was the prettiest swamp-nooboo Twinbrook ever produced. She probably changed everyone’s orientations just to include her dark-eyed, feminine beauty. Even the straight Tegan’s jaw dropped upon seeing Piper and her beautiful, willowy frame dressed in the hot pink she adored.

“I’ll check if that toad is still here,” Piper said. Apparently, Tegan’s wish started to come true as the party collectively kicked Bryant out for being gross and trying to hit on Rachael. No one deserved Bryant, and Tegan’s own family deserved him even less.



After buying a drink for Rachael to dull the horrors that she saw that night, Tegan took to the dance floor with Anderson and enjoyed the rest of her birthday. Yeah, time was running out and her job was boring, but it was all for the hope of a happy life.



She later heard about Horace and his darling little nooboo, Vernon, and how he found happiness even as Emma’s younger brother died in the foyer. Things could look up for her.

Vernon helped ruin my life, not hers.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,986
Word Count so far: 212,764

"But wait, Trip!" a concerned reader says, "Why waste the household space on Horace when you got basically the same genetic material out of Chris and the Coddle girls making nooboos?" This makes sense as a complaint, seeing how Horace, Lou, and Chelle were all siblings, and how Chris and Emma were half-siblings (both Shark-spawn, for anyone who forgot).

Chris made four daughters. I wanted the intersection of Shark and Julian's genes to provide a husband for generation six, whose story made the most sense if it was a female immortal experiencing it. So Horace came in to hopefully spread his y-chromosomes around. I wish that Chris had better luck with making sons because I loathed those Ball genes, but Horace did his job well.

Offline Lisa46

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1307
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 104, 12/6)
« Reply #485 on: December 06, 2014, 03:58:58 PM »
Oh my god.

Please post Piper so I can download her.

And more than that... Please tell me she was in the family tree somewhere!

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 104, 12/6)
« Reply #486 on: December 06, 2014, 08:26:32 PM »
So when I saw the adult Tegan in her new hairstyle, I said, "Wow, she's pretty," out loud. My brother wanted to know what I was talking about. Upon seeing Tegan, he made a  ??? face and said, "She looks like Fiona from Shrek."

Offline Lisa46

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1307
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 104, 12/6)
« Reply #487 on: December 06, 2014, 09:21:26 PM »
So when I saw the adult Tegan in her new hairstyle, I said, "Wow, she's pretty," out loud. My brother wanted to know what I was talking about. Upon seeing Tegan, he made a  ??? face and said, "She looks like Fiona from Shrek."

She does! She actually does! It's the big lips and the eyes I think.

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 104, 12/6)
« Reply #488 on: December 08, 2014, 10:15:32 PM »
So I was rereading and I found this.....

Quote
“Alright kiddo. You don’t know much about my early life and you don’t need to. But I had a friend named Eileen. Charismatic, funny, drop-dead gorgeous, richer than you or I will ever be. She had her pick of any man in the nation, really. But she married this culinary prodigy. Not too bad-looking, really could cook. Better than I ever will. Rich too, a good singer, nice to everyone he met. He was great. Anyways, he liked men. And the two of them got it in their mind that his family would have his head if he didn’t marry a woman and make some heirs. Neither of them were all that happy with the arrangement, but they kept saying that it was for the best, it was for the best, it’s the only thing that their families will accept. And they kept telling themselves that. And their relationship was tense. Someone in her family sensed it, they sent him away somewhere. The next day, we all got news that he drowned trying to escape them.”

Uh oh.

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 105, 12/9)
« Reply #489 on: December 09, 2014, 01:33:05 PM »
Oh my god.

Please post Piper so I can download her.

And more than that... Please tell me she was in the family tree somewhere!

I do have her on the Exchange, and she'll be part of my next batch of Swap Shop uploads. I just need the time to do them. ::)

She's already in the family tree in a way because her donor was related to one of Hephaestus' cousins, and Heph is in the family tree that way too because he's cousins with Franco and Carmen's children. Getting in the other way? We'll see...

So when I saw the adult Tegan in her new hairstyle, I said, "Wow, she's pretty," out loud. My brother wanted to know what I was talking about. Upon seeing Tegan, he made a  ??? face and said, "She looks like Fiona from Shrek."

She does! She actually does! It's the big lips and the eyes I think.

I take that as a compliment. I actually recreated Tegan in TS4 back when I got the CAS demo, and the resemblance between her and Fiona was uncanny.

If you want the author's opinion, I think she looks like a mixture of Princess Fiona and actress Uzo Aduba.

So I was rereading and I found this.....

["Don't be Eileen" monologue snipped]

Uh oh.

Hard to believe that was almost 80 chapters ago!

Uh oh for what initially happened. Obviously, I like giving those two a life to live after the dynasty instead. :P But the story behind that is saved for close to the end, and judging by my tendency to stretch things out, I'll probably be done with my undergrad before that's written.



Chapter 105: Icarus



I am Josephine Fairhaven Waverly, and I am the all-purpose henchwoman of Moira Annette Stoneham Waverly. I also am very bad at this job.



So, instead of filling all-purposes, I stand off to the back and make it look like our client has twice the feminine bodyguard power she would with just Moira. Funny enough, Donia Spinelli usually works against the McGrails, but in the bodyguard business, all clients are walking paychecks to Moira and she can shrug off the grudge easily when a paycheck can come from it.

Walter the unfortunate witness skirts around Donia’s questions while we stand around looking tough. “I didn’t see a bit!” turned into “Just saw a few minutes, that’s all, ma’am. I don’t even have much to say about those.”

“Nonsense,” she says. Moira cracks her knuckles. I look at the ground.

“So maybe I was a witness. I’ll shut up about it, Ms. Spinelli! No harm done,” Walter cries.

“I wish that was the case, but you told Officer Nest when he asked about it, didn’t you?”

“No way, ma’am.”



Donia is an old woman, but she gives Walt a kick with her shark heels. We try to step in, but she blocks us. “I’m not going to get help for this pathetic little witness.” So we hope for payment, or I am worrying about that, anyways. Moira says that we’ll probably get compensated. Because Walter turned out to be scared enough by Donia, we vanish from the scene for drinks. And by drinks, for the newly-sober Moira and me who doesn’t care what we’re getting, I mean that we are buying a pot of tea to share at the diner.

From what I hear, you can get juice here, but serving yourself and on a discrete basis. That’s too much work at this hour. A pot of hot tea comes out soon after we order it, and we wait a few minutes for the leaves to steep.



With hot beverages on the horizon, I need to talk to Moira. The situation set up itself this way. It’s simple; you joke over cold drinks and discuss over hot ones, though I think it’s that Moira has a limited knowledge of drinks beyond juice.

Eight Ways was an interesting book to write. Of course I knew the truth behind 95% of the events that happened. I bribed a few mortals that didn’t hate me with the promise of dinner so that I could fact-check with them. I referred to newspapers and journals, and all I had to fill in was some plausible dialogue and mystery surrounding what I didn’t know about. Annette gave me little, and yet, her naïve doppelganger sits across the table from me. I didn’t go to Roaring Heights expecting Moira. I’m wasting a resource if we just talk about beaches.

“…And that’s how Donia screwed up our shipping plans for two whole weeks. She has to be going senile if she’s hiring me now,” Moira said.

“That’s nice,” I muttered. “Did Eileen ever live in Moonlight Falls?”

“She hasn’t told you?” I shake my head. “Well, she lived there for eight years, on and off, anyways. Arthur had a lot of matters to care to at home, it’s not a bad place to study law, you get the gist. And boy, did she shake up that town.” Her mouth curls into a devious grin. I raise a brow in response.

“I can imagine. Criminal in their midst, a bit of an attitude, lots of money.”

“She had everything. Hell, she loves Moonlight Falls. I bet it broke her heart to move back here after law school. You know, she and Arthur are perfect for each other. He gets to gay it up ‘behind her back’ and, just between you and me, Eileen’s a tramp.”

I heard the stories of Eileen, who slept around in Moonlight Falls. Except it was Ciara. Or maybe Helen? Annette changed the name to that story as often as she had to change out her dull knives, but stuck with the plotline for centuries. It’s also a mean-spirited story to tell about your own twin, who died young beforehand. I’m not sure if calling her a tramp is worse or not.

“That’s rude,” I say.

“Yeah, yeah, I know it’s rude. But she’s not just a tramp, she’s a judgmental tramp! Hating her in-laws—my husband!—for being womanizing scum while she’s just…manizing. And a loose woman.”

Granted, I only knew of one other relationship like hers, which was mine, and my husband was a dense romantic who thought it was a real deal. So he didn’t have any side-conquests, but looking back on it, I wish he did just to get out of my hair. What makes Eileen so bad? Tank might be a jerk, but he’s a strong jerk and straight women are into that, I guess. No judgment.



“It sucks being married to a gay spouse. I don’t blame her,” I say, but Moira has left the table. She leans over the rail and looks at the ocean.

“Screw it, she’s my twin. I should be closer with her,” she says.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea,” I respond.



“I wish we were kids again, boating with dad and grandma.” Her voice has drifted into an airy, daydreaming voice. Entranced by the ocean, she can give me at least get another untold Moira story while hypnotized by the waves.

“Boating sounds fun,” I say. “I never went boating as a kid.”



“Boy, you missed out. I mean, the two of us were in boarding school at the time, but we’d come home for the summers and dad got a boat one year! He’d call up his mum and the four of us would speed around the bay in the morning.” I count who was there. If she was boating with Eileen, it was the two of them, dad, grandma, but Moira was likely born from a womb. Disregarding that snideness, I know darn well that she had a mother who looked lovely in photos.

“Four?” I ask her. She even lists off the names, just four of them: herself, Eileen, daddy Joseph, and grandma Aziza.

“Thought you had a mum,” I say. She gives me a brief thousand-yard stare, and I feel silly for not considering that prospect. I try to apologize.

“Nah, it’s cool,” Moira says. “She died when I was five, but it’s way in the past. I don’t blame myself for it as much now, and my dad’s with her now…it’s fine.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” I really am, because losing my mum at 20 ruined me. I couldn’t even empathize with my daughter losing her dad at eight. Moira beat us all in early orphaning that way. She and her liver must be wrecked from it.



“As I said, it’s fine. I had Ei, and dad, and grandma lived for a few more years too. She always played with us on the boardwalk and bought us ice cream after a long, hot day. Dad did the same even for a bunch of wily teenagers! We then got older and brought friends along. Dad and Arthur were good friends after a while.” She sighs. “I just wish I still had that. She barely feels like my twin. At least she’s not dead. I dunno what I’d do with myself then.”

I know that answer.

“You can always warn her about Tank. I…I saw him kissing Maeve, after my interview. You think she’d be concerned about that?”

“They’re gonna break up in a month anyways. As I said, tramp.” Saying it as if she forgot that she lamented not feeling sisterly anymore. It’s a truly Moira thing to do. “But he is? Never thought of him as a cougar-chaser, but auntie has her ways.”

“Yeah, maybe it was a fling.”



It is an awkward subject. We sit on the rail and joke around instead, which breaks a lot of awkward vibes. Moira tells stories of streakers and flashers on the beach and the worst spring break ever with Arthur and his unhinged first boyfriend. None of them have much substance to me, but screw it, I never felt this friendly around Annette.

She starts one anecdote at the wrong time. “Alright, alright,” Moira says, trying to stifle some laughter after a funny story about Jamie’s wrong fling after his divorce (waking up next to his old journalism rival made for an interesting morning). “So then there was the Tank and the honeypot. Guy can be a little pathetic on dates, come to think of it.” I doubt it, but it’s odd to think about him even buying roses for someone other than himself.



As I said, she did this at the wrong time. Tank needed a date with the self-serve bar instead of a honeypot. I heard that he had some negotiations to do for Maeve while she was busy with different negotiations, or physical therapy. I don’t blame him for being jaded enough for some juice under the counter. I go quiet upon noticing him.

“Oops,” Moira says. He’s already glaring at us, while digging around under the counter for an unlabeled bottle and a blender.



However, the promise of a drink puts a rare smile on his face. They’re all bad about this juice thing. He pours four glasses, which I thought was just enough to fuel that war machine, but apparently half of that was for him. He motioned to us for the other two.

“Nah,” Moira says.

“I didn’t poison them this time,” he replies. “Jo?”

“Well, if they’re not poisonous, whatever.” I walk over to the bar to grab myself a glass. I take a sniff and ask what’s in it, if not poison.

“We’re in public. It’s water,” he says. Winking is a little too unmanly for him.



It has a burn, but a non-descript one. Perhaps it would be better blended with that tea we forgot to drink, but I’ll drink them separately for now.

Something’s at the bottom of this cup, and it thankfully isn’t sludge from settling drink contents, but I don’t like slips of paper in my cup either. This one is laminated too. I drink the last of it and fish out the slip, expecting something bad and getting that.

I think you should leave now.

I look up at Tank. He raises an eyebrow and points towards the exit of the boardwalk. Not a chance, dude. I flip him a rude gesture and pour myself a cup of tea.

“What was all that about?” Moira asks, once Tank goes inside to order himself breakfast.

“Guy has a grudge. Why? Beats me,” I say. “Can I complain about him?”

“I think Maeve’s at home today. Sure you can, but I don’t think you need to. He’s a tool, but he’s our tool.”

“Sounds like a plan.” I call Maeve from a payphone a little later that morning. She says that any time is good, and that she’ll be waiting in her garden. She has a garden? Apparently it’s in the back and looks out towards the bay.

Later, at about noon, I get a taxi over to the lonely beach where Maeve lives in a lonely way. Palm trees wave in the light ocean breeze, and the area smells like grass and low tide. Following two tall palms in the back of the mansion leads me to a gated off, green garden. The gate is unlocked, and I look for a bench because I wouldn’t want poor Maeve to keep herself hoisted up on a bad leg just to wait for me.



In one corner, I find my bench, and Maeve lying with her legs over one of the arms. Her cane’s on the ground. I know she’s pretty, but incest isn’t one of my turn-ons. She motions to me in an attempt to seem seductive.



“I thought I would treat you to something,” she says, waggling her finger. “It is a shame that work is not going so well.”

“No thanks, I’m fine,” I say, instead of a direct “I don’t bang relatives.”

“I thought you were into this,” she says, feigning defeat. Her exaggerated pout gives it away.

“You’re lovely, but you…remind me of my aunt.” I don’t even have an aunt; my mum was an only child, dad’s half-brother wouldn’t appreciate being called an auntie, and his step-siblings don’t quite count. “Yeah, it’s just not doing it for me, Ms. McGrail.”

“You are not doing it for me either. You look too much like us,” she says. “But, you had a complaint about work?” I take a seat to answer her, after helping her get up. Assuming that position knocked her bad knee to a worse place.



“It’s Tank. The guy keeps wanting me gone.” I scowl, and a little more when it looks like Maeve is checking her manicure instead. “And it’s like no one else cares. They just see him as this lovable bad boy, which maybe he is, but not to me. He’s not even hot.”



She bends that bad knee again as I try to sit in a neutral position. Her physical therapist must be ready to fire her, but she assures me that putting weight on it is the real bad part. Regardless of how she’s ruining herself, Maeve is ready to defend Tank, probably because he’s good in bed or whatever. “Maybe you should look at things from his side too. I think he is being heavy-handed, but there are some things about you that concern all of us, aside from those gullible young adults you hang around.”

“What do you know about me, Ms. McGrail?” I ask. “What isn’t a secret?”

“How old do you think I am?” she asks me. I say that she looks fantastic for 50 and disabled.

“That is nice. I think I look fantastic for being older than Annette. She aged so poorly,” Maeve says. My jaw would drop if I was inclined to follow that cliché. However, I give her a frightened stare. I even forget to blink. Her eyebrows lower into a devilish furrow.

“You know,” I say. “I should have guessed. What do you know about me?”

“You are an awful lover, attracted to every woman, but you make a line at close relatives. I just wanted to see what you knew about me. I am your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-aunt and you know that too, which is why you are not attracted to me.”

I’m close to tears right now. “When was I born?” I strain out.

“January 24th, 2321. Your father is that man you pass off as your brother, and your mother makes a fine living off her music. They divorced recently, on March 30th, 2062.” I didn’t even know that much. But, there have to be papers that say that, right? Surely our original records are kept somewhere, even if just for the memories. Some details are only on my papers, however.

“You know I write,” I say. “Where did I get my penname from?”

“D. Clay? That is who you are. That last name was taken from your great-great-grandfather, Harwood Clay, because he had the plainest surname you could find in your lineage. The first initial comes from your cousin, Diana Curious, who was also a lesbian and a source of inspiration and support for you when you were younger.” She’s right on all details. The woman’s a psychic or a sneaky, fast reader.

“So you know. And I know a lot about these people who work under you, if not all I want to know. And we’re leaving this at that.”



“Sure thing, Ms. Waverly. We can keep this between us, and Philip too.” She still looks devilish. “Please remember that the consequences are on you, however.”



“Okay,” I say, ready to bolt. I notice a cellar door leading into her foundation and, presumably, a cellar. I approach it, hoping that she’ll answer a silent question as to what it is.

“The door leads to my cellar, and hopefully you will never have to go in there,” Maeve says.

“Torture dungeons?” I ask, half-sarcastically.

“You know me better than I thought you did. What a liability you are.”

In spite of me being a liability, Moira demands that I run with her in order to get in better shape for the job. The weather will cool down in the afternoon, and she knows that I still love the scenery of the city after all these weeks.

“And as long as you’re not running in hot pants, I don’t think anyone cares,” she ends with. And I brought some long yoga pants and a shirt with sleeves, so yes, no one will need to care.



We run around sunset, basking in endorphins and the pink light of the city. Moira opts for something more modest than a camisole this time. We approach the warehouse—Maeve’s warehouse—which sits on the water. The workers there usually have the sense to stay indoors until it gets dark, but one figure stands by the barbed wire fence, waiting for us.



“Tank, you mean old scumbag!” Moira yell to him from a distance. He’s not even old, probably about 30 compared to 28.

“Why don’t you just come to me, you drunkard?” he asks. We come to him. Moira gives him a hug and he doesn’t give me a death glare.

“I need to talk with Jo, one on one,” he tells her. “Just a matter with work.”

“Just make sure she gets back on the trail in one piece after this. We’ve only covered five miles,” Moira says. And, against my wishes, I’m left alone at a seedy warehouse with Tank.

“Let’s not get off your exercise schedule too much, Jo. Let’s take a walk.”



We intend to do a lap around the warehouse, walking at a leisurely gait and maybe even cleaning up the bad blood at work. I tell him that I’m okay with listening to his side of the story for the sake of patching this up.

“My side is this. You’re a curious worker and that’s not good because we run a delicate operation here. I think you know too much about us,” he says.

“I don’t know much about you at all,” I say.

“But about one of us? You know things we don’t, and you just want to absorb this back story like a sponge, and I won’t stand for that. I want you to leave Roaring Heights.”

“I just paid for another month of rent, so I doubt it,” I say. “I want your business to thrive.”

We make it to the entrance of the building before he has a response. “I guess I’m not tough enough yet,” he mumbles.

“You don’t need to do this,” I say.



“Maybe I do. You’re too stubborn to listen and I need you to listen for once. Leave Roaring Heights and stay out of our lives. And that’s an order from the boss.” He rubs his finger in my face.



“You know what? No, I’m staying here, and I don’t even care what Maeve has to say about it,” I retort. I find myself plummeting to the ground with 200 or more pounds of musclebound Tank on top of me. His massive hands are around my neck.



“Leave. This. City,” he says, growling. “I don’t care about your story, but I care about my business, and you’re just itching to out us. Ruin my life. And you know what, you’ll ruin yours this way. You're Icarus, and I think you've flown too close to the sun to turn back now.” He gets up and lets go. I hyperventilate now that I can.



“And I won’t stop,” he says, trailing off as he enters the warehouse. I lay there exhausted from the attack and some running cramps.



I run away crying. I want this story more than I thought. And I can run and cry all I want, but I know that I won’t leave. I won’t leave on a cliffhanger, and I won’t leave only half-riling a criminal family. It’s get on all of their good graces, or say good-bye to this lovely immortal life.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,378
Word Count so far: 216,142

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 106, 12/12)
« Reply #490 on: December 12, 2014, 09:16:48 PM »
I bring a chapter, and Swap Shop goodies!

Julian, Hephaestus, Bronson, Lily, Piper, and Philip are all available for download. Warning for spoilers in the bios of some of them.



Chapter 106: Bronson's Game



I had problems with my family, but some sort of love from my sweet grandmother radiated throughout the worst of those times. Tegan was probably the best grandmother I could have gotten, considering that dad had some choice words about my other one. Regardless of love and some twisted form of support I got from her, I never understood my grandma. How could she feel restless after 40? Shouldn’t she be glad that she wasn’t tied down by marriage? Then I remembered that I have biases. Tegan planned a wedding earlier, and at 40, she wasn’t getting it. The police likely exhausted their supply of red tape trying to get warrants.



It left her doing the same things. Because of that, Tegan wanted to do the opposite of most in their mid-life crisis and get further into domestic hell because, heck, it was a change for the better after all! I empathized with her other complaint better. Tegan hunted ghosts and was at the end of her tether with that itch to finish school and be a botanist.

It got worse one night.

Tegan had few equals in her profession, perhaps none at all, but the closest was an older man named Jack. An ex-powerlifter and farm hand (and the uncle to Matt the therapist), he had the strength and stamina to hunt ghosts all night too, but he turned to the profession in his later years while Tegan could hardly believe that she had two decades of ghost hunting under her belt. Still, she regarded Jack as a peer career-wise and he got loads of accolades from Paranormal Investigators of Simnation. Tegan did too, but she preferred to ignore them.

“You know, I keep speaking on behalf of us here in Twinbrook,” said Jack one night. “And I can’t take credit for everything we do.”

“But you can take credit for a lot of it. After the boss retired, you’re the best boss for our team!” Tegan said, giving Jack a pat on the back.

“Well, I know you’ve been sending all of your awards to the rest of the team instead, so you might not have heard. You’re considered the best in the region and have been for the last five years.”

“Oh. Then what do I have to live for with this job, then?”

“Tegan, come on. I thought you loved putting spirits to rest,” Jack said.

“It was my passion at one point, and I really wanted to reach the top, I guess,” she replied. “But now? I keep thinking about the future I could have with plants. I just wanna spend the rest of my life with them.”

“Is this something about your boyfriend?”

“Rumor’s been going around?” Jack nodded, and then revealed that dear nephew Matt was a nice guy but a horrible therapist when it came to confidentiality.

“No, don’t apologize about it,” Tegan said. “But, yeah, I do this for him. He quite enjoys being sane now.”

“Is it worth the trade off, miss?”

She nodded. “If you think about it, it’s like mitigation versus eradication. You can’t stop ghosts from coming here, and I think that’s pretty darn cruel to anyways. We just can stem the problem. It sucks, but that’s what I’ve noticed.”

“No one else is gonna do it,” Jack said. “But you think I’m good hands to leave this team in if you ever quit?”

“For sure! But I can’t quit now. For Hephaestus.”





Hephaestus, her aging and not-quite-crazy stud, was enough to keep Tegan smiling during her work, even with having to forcibly suck up unruly ghosts (it hurt her, okay?), but even that turned out to be at a stalemate too, unless she strived for a national level of recognition. She asked grandma Annette about it, if she needed to get to a national level in order to eat ambrosia by her rules. “Regional counts, really,” Annette said. “Honestly, I don’t want you to have to be at that job anymore if you want to do something else. How about you try and find a loophole?”

Maybe she could talk to a ghost and see if they could leave Twinbrook in peace. Or that seemed like the logic that lead her to the family cemetery that night. It was also a nice place to walk around, so who knows? But some sort of reasoning led her up the hill towards the old ampitheatre on a warm spring night.

Something always rustled in the willows at the ampitheatre, though it was a squirrel most of the time. The rose bushes swayed in the spring breeze. Maybe she came too early. However, the warm breeze and chirping crickets kept here there, so she took some laps around the ampitheatre, noting how the eight obelisks that stood there back then stood so still.

Perhaps grandma Pansy would come out. Lily often had nice things to say about her.

Tegan walked along the right side of the park on another lap when she heard some dissonant, amateur piano music. The cemetery attracted visitors, so at first, it definitely could have been a visitor. She approached whoever it was, just to rule out any supernatural interference.



The pianist (using that term loosely) instead shimmered in spectral grey. Their form was clear; a blocky frame and shaggy hair. Maybe it was someone Tegan never met; she asked about everyone who lived in the house, and shaggy hair wasn’t uncommon. It took the texture of their cable-knit sweater for Tegan to remember who owned such a sweater.



Bronson? It was him, and in a sweater she remembered. She couldn’t believe that after twenty years, he finally returned for a one night only performance, though she wanted him to stop that awful clanging.

“Daddy! Dad?” She cried out. “Stop abusing the piano. I’m here!” He turned around in the bench.

“Peapod! I knew you’d come,” he said. He floated over to her for a hug.



“Oh my god, I thought I’d be meeting someone new tonight,” said Tegan, reaching her arms out to him. “This is so much better, though.”



Bronson gave her the strongest hug a non-physical being could. She was used to the touch of ghosts, but most of them felt cold, unlike her dad, who still had all of the warm love of a father radiating throughout the ectoplasm.

“I came out tonight hoping that one of you would be around,” he said. “I’m so glad that it’s my precious little girl.” Of course, he’d act a lot meaner if it was anyone but that.

“How’s the afterlife?”

“It could be worse. How’s your job? I heard you got to the top of the region.”

“I guess you would know about it, considering I’ve been sending everyone back there. It’s been fun, but I keep telling myself that I should leave. I read grandpa’s old journals, and all that stuff about botany is so much better than this! I just want to quit.”

“Is this about Hephaestus?” Bronson asked.

“That’s what everyone’s asking me. But, yeah, it is. I don’t know how much of it is in his head, and how much of it was what he really saw, but I helped, and I’m still helping for as long as he lives. I won’t do anything else.”

“You know I’m not a nice guy,” said Bronson, “But I have a little bit of good in my heart and I feel bad for making the situation worse. How much have you heard about the afterlife, Peapod?”

“Bits and pieces. I just try to get the job done now,” answered Tegan.

“Well, we all need to find something to do in eternity. It’s never wars, so they made me some sort of bouncer instead. I determine who goes in and out.”

“Please don’t tell me that this was your doing,” Tegan said.



“I did it for you, okay? You said that you were interested in the job and then joined it, so the pieces fell into place and I slacked off. For you,” Bronson said. “The world’s always been haunted. I just helped make it a little better for the job.”

“Yeah, but it’s not like things would change with you doing your job, would they? There would still be ghosts, there always have been.”

“I could do better. I could redirect them elsewhere, I could be big mean Bronson to them. Hell, I already am off the job. Look, I’ll do everything to keep Twinbrook clear. I hated that kid while I was on earth, but you know, I’ll be nice until I really do get to give him a piece of my mind in the afterlife.”

“You really would, dad?”

“It’s just a few more years, isn’t it? I’ve already slacked off enough, considering that he didn’t listen to me.”

Tegan looked her dad in the eyes, into a two glowing white voids. “I love him, dad. And I don’t know how much you’ve been keeping an eye on events here, but I just need to clear up some things and he’ll be my husband. I don’t want you to get in the way of that.”

“I won’t. I don’t think I can anyways. But I’ll have my opinions and keep them to myself. Maybe Heph isn’t so bad deep down, but I’ll determine that in my realm. For now, he won,” said Bronson.

“That works too.”

“Well, I’m here for a few more hours. I’d love to spend them with you. It’s a nice night to take a walk. I’ll…do my best with that.” Tegan took a hold of her father’s arm.



“I want a walk,” she said. “But I want you to lead me, like I’m five again. I missed stuff like that too.”

“Peapod, whatever you want. At five or forty-five. And god, you did not age as well as your mum did.”

Ah, typical Bronson. He wanted to see the center of town again, which was thankfully as dead that night as he was. The rest of the night was full of giggles, reminiscence, and things not interesting to narratives. However, seeing Bronson again was just a harbinger for a streak of good luck on Tegan’s behalf.

They announced an award ceremony for her efforts with the Paranormal Profiteers after she announced her resignation. After a lot of goading, she made plans to attend the ceremony on one (hopefully) sunny spring morning, two Saturdays from then.

The next good happening was a few days later. Tegan, out of work and filling out applications to resume college while basking on the balcony, felt a vibration in her pocket from her phone. She threw it into the hot tub. How rude it was to ruin her beautiful spring day like that! It took fifteen minutes for Annette to bound up the stairs and out the door to the balcony. She glowed with pure glee.

“Tegan, they’ve been trying to call you all morning,” Annette said.

“Who’s they?” she asked.

“The police. I’m dumfounded! They got the warrant.”

Irrefutable evidence and lots of digging from Keon linked him to some substantial work with Poppyseed, the biggest online platform for selling the most unsavory things on the Deep Web. Other sites used the work of “Princess Leia,” a web designer and site admin who turned out to have a horrible way of disguising his name. Pelicans Rise was just an anagram of Princess Leia, or the other way around. Regardless, it worked to seal his fate. With the best of luck, Bryant would be locked up by the end of the week. While the elders could have stayed out and let the police do their thing, Annette looked at her bank account statements. Her “Bribe Money” account was full and healthy. The police agreed when she showed them the statement and promised them a slice if they could make Bryant’s arrest truly the worst, at the cost of prolonging his freedom.

“And I told them, ‘you know what, I’ll let Tegan think of this’ so you have to think of a way to embarrass him. You’re the one who matters the most here,” Annette told her. Of course, the good Tegan drew a blank for what sweet revenge of her choice could be enacted. She never had to think about revenge.

“Make it simple if you need to,” said Annette. “You just have to make this even more worth it. Got it? I’m not wasting my bribe money for nothing.”

“Got it, gram,” Tegan said. A lot of it depended on him being in the right place at the right time, and she cut contact with him for obvious reasons. She couldn’t just call and ask where he was. However, it was usually home and home arrests were easy but boring. What could get him out, even if just for a moment?

Perhaps she needed to see him again to gauge what could drag him out into public.

It was a terrifying wait for him to pick up the phone. Tegan even took the extra precautions; calling from a throwaway line, calling from the edge of town where she otherwise never visited, and knowing exactly what body of water she’d throw the phone into after the call. Still, Bryant was Bryant and his nastiness knew no bounds. Her heart raced as she waited for him to pick up the phone and set his punishment into action.

“Hey, who the hell is this?” he asked.

“It’s Tegan. I got a new phone,” she said. “I want to apologize and take you to the Spring Festival downtown tomorrow.”

“That’s bizarre,” he said.

“Look. Maybe I want to be your wife after all.” She could feel the hot, glowing approval from the phone’s speaker. “So what better day to do that than Love Day?”

“Sure thing, wifey!” Tegan immediately recruited Franco and Piper as her backup. Lily declined, claiming that she was behind on a sculpting commission. Or observing her wallpaper, one or the other. The two of them felt their conflicting feelings about Hephaestus, and Tegan let her mother enjoy herself that day. Just because Lily was angry with her didn’t mean that Tegan had to reciprocate.



The weather was balmy and love was in the air. Or so Piper told them, alluding to a little crush she had in high school. All Tegan and Franco knew about were the girls in high school, so they poked fun at Piper, trying to get the identity about her mystery boy out of her.

“Yeah, mystery boy. He totally rocks,” Piper said, dismissively. She then ran off to get a coffee and chase a pack of butterflies that congregated in the park, while keeping an eye on the events.



The other two waited for Bryant and danced along to springtime pop music and the sound of chirping birds and new life and love. Of course Franco was still fishing for his next date.



However, he met up with his son, Benjamin, and had a laugh. It was just as good as a date, minus him not getting the sweet release of woohoo.

Two distracted family members left Tegan alone for the afternoon. So much for bringing them along, because it meant that she needed an idea better than calling the police to the festival. That could work too. However, Bryant was the only person she knew that deserved some real embarrassment. This outing? She arranged it to gauge what could be even worse.

Let’s make things clear: it would be a slip-up of mine if Tegan was a fictional character doing a 180 against her morals and personality. But the blame is on her for this, and I have no blame to assign to her. Bryant sounded awful.

She drew a blank with ideas. Nothing, and she saw that messy, jet-black hair in the distance.



He approached her and rubbed his neck, yawning. “Is this some sort of ruse?” he asked.

“Nah. How about some horseshoes to smooth things over? I’ve been a pretty bad fiancée to you, haven’t I?” Tegan garnished her lie with a flirtatious giggle.



She contemplated ideas while pretending to find the best trajectory for her piece. It came to her so suddenly, right as the metal clanged against the post for a perfect hit. There was one event that everybody would attend, and even Bryant couldn’t refuse.

“Well, what’s getting you so happy?” Bryant asked.

“Nothing you need to know about. Well, why don’t you take your turn? It’s the least I can do.”



He went through the same motions, getting a horseshoe around the post in the process. Tegan cheered for him and congratulated his genius in charting the path.

“Really, m’lady, what’s gotten into you?” he asked. “I like your enthusiasm, but it’s like you’re planning something. Also, you go again when you get it around the post. Duh.” He picked up another horseshoe.

“So just tell me,” he continued.

“I was thinking that we can get married on Friday.”



Word Count for this chapter: 2,832
Word Count so far: 218,974

Offline SimOakley

  • Nooboo
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 106, 12/12)
« Reply #491 on: December 13, 2014, 08:34:07 AM »
After reading this whole thing through in a evening, I have to say well done on the story and dynasty so far! The end of this chapter had me like, what?? What about Hephaetus and Tegan, but then what about Bryant and Tegan (even though he beat up and old man and is a sick human being). I'm guessing it's a trap or a "double wedding" or.... so many possibilities and theories  ;D

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #492 on: December 13, 2014, 05:54:59 PM »
After reading this whole thing through in a evening, I have to say well done on the story and dynasty so far! The end of this chapter had me like, what?? What about Hephaetus and Tegan, but then what about Bryant and Tegan (even though he beat up and old man and is a sick human being). I'm guessing it's a trap or a "double wedding" or.... so many possibilities and theories  ;D

Welcome to the club! And yes, it is meant to be a trap for Bryant, as you'll see this chapter.



Chapter 107: Friday the 13th



“This Friday?” Bryant asked. “Like, you wanna get married on May 13th?”

“Well, I was thinking that it’s unfair that I’ve held off on this for so long, especially for a chivalrous gentlesir such as you.” Yep, that sounded like something he’d say. “I know it sounds like it’s too soon, but my family can-“

“Oh, I can’t wait! I’ll talk to your grandpa about getting a tux. Hopefully you’ll have enough time to get your dress tailored. You look like you’ve put on some weight.” He threw another horseshoe, missing the post. “So your family can get a whole wedding party planned in less than a week? I want a beautiful ceremony for such a momentous occasion.”

“They’re pretty good at that,” Tegan said. “I’ll talk venues with them as soon as I get home.”

She gathered the elders around the dinner table that night, after brushing her teeth three times because Bryant forced a good-bye kiss on her. Over large servings of Annette’s porcini risotto, they discussed the situation in hushed tones, as if Bryant was watching from the window.

“It’s a scam wedding,” Tegan said. “This sounds so unlike me, but I want him to believe that he won before he loses. It’s the only fitting punishment. And I need you all to help me, because we’re putting this on Friday.” All three of the elders nodded. Whatever it took to put a end to that monster.

“Alright, alright, time to think,” Tegan said, fidgeting with the food on her plate. “And screw what Bryant says about my weight. I’ll take more of this.” She scooped out even more risotto for herself.

“Before we say anything, I have to make a call,” said Annette. She dialed for Twinbrook’s emergency services and put her phone on speaker.

“Twinbrook emergency services, this call is being recorded,” said the operator.

“I need to talk with Officer Weld, in regards to the ‘Princess Leia’ case. Tell him it’s Annette and that my whole family is on the other end.”

“Ma’am, this is an emergency line. We’re not here for personal requests, and our tip line is at-“

“I’ve been at the helm of this case.” Well, ignoring Keon, Mr. Weld, and actual investigative services, perhaps Annette was fifth-in-command. “And I know this will lead to an arrest. Get him on the phone.”

“Fine. I’ll transfer your call.” After two minutes of classical interlude music, Officer Weld picked up his phone.

“Ms. Waverly, it’s 8PM. You should have made this call earlier,” he said.

“Forget about that. We have a plan for his arrest, all thanks to our wonderful Tegan.” She blushed at the compliment. “She’ll tell you what the plan is.”

“Okay, Ms. Curious, you’re up,” said the officer.

“Alright, this guy has been pestering to marry me for about my whole adulthood. So my plan was to pretend to throw a wedding at the Chapel near the military base. We’ll worry about the details, and all you need to do is hide somewhere and arrest Bryant at the wedding arch right before we say our vows,” said Tegan. “And for the whole time, he’ll think he won.”

“Sounds pretty evil of you,” Officer Weld said.

“Believe me, this is the only time I want to do this. I got tired of him over thirty years ago.”

“You paid us enough to do it. Have a time?”

“Be there at 5, on Friday the 13th. Gram will make sure you and your team are fed.”

“Sounds like a plan. May luck be in our favor.”

They ended the call. Three elders and middle-aged, weary Tegan stared at each other wondering where to go from there to keep up the ruse for another five days.

“As you said, food.” Annette gestured to her risotto. “I’m not making this for a crowd, lest we make all of Twinbrook as fat as we are. Does salmon sound good? It will go great with a nice white grape nectar, or anything to get us buzzed.”

“As long as it’s normal wedding fare,” said Tegan. “Gramps? I promised Bryant that you’d get him fitted for a tux. Be nice to him through it, okay? He needs to think that this is the real deal.”

“I’ll do my best, Peapod,” Franco said.

“And mum? Well, I think we got everything covered. I don’t know much about travel, but I want to go to France after this, just to unwind.”

“I think France sounds lovely, Tegan,” Lily said.

“Yep. And I think it would be nice to get married there. Hephaestus loves France, doesn’t he?”

Lily hesitated and gave the wall a death glare, away from Tegan. She then left her seat and headed towards the sculpting studio to carve away her grudges.

“I don’t want to hate you,” Tegan said to her mother.

“Honey, I don’t either.”

“So can we let this go?”

“One day, but not today.”

“By Friday?”

“Probably not then either,” Lily answered. “You know what? The tickets are your responsibility if it’s just to spite me like that.”

“Fine, mum,” Tegan said. “Excuse me for bringing it up.”

Five days went by fast as the family scrambled to make a convincing wedding happen in that time. Booking the venue was easy, considering that the family owned it. Annette went shopping for salmon steaks, clean herbs (no use getting the guests high), and a shiny new Bain-Marie to keep them warm in. The package store one town over was nearly sold out by Annette buying cases of juice and nectar. She also called all of the relatives and whatever friends she last remembered as still living. Most of them didn’t want to attend a scam-wedding, but a few complied.

Franco called up Bryant for a tux-fitting on Tuesday. He left his grumpiness and annoyances at home and put on a sickening smile for Bryant as he measured his inseam. He even remembered to call him handsome and a nice gentleman, hoping that the lie went undetected. Bryant acted with enthusiasm for the whole day, so it seemed to. Everyone made sure to act graciously towards him for their own safety, save for Hephaestus, who was a little out of the loop. But Hephaestus was just a jaded ex in Bryant’s eyes, wasn’t he? No one seemed too betray the plan.

Lily assumed that her only obligation that day was to look nice. Her best dress showed off her arms, shoulders, and what was left of her saggy cleavage. And all of those were covered in aging, bare, magenta flesh. So she went to Franco’s old stomping grounds on Wednesday the 11th, with Franco himself at her side to fix that.

She led him into the basement after a talk with the tattoo artist. “Please don’t tell me that you’re doing what I think you’re doing,” Franco grumbled to her.

“Unlike you men, I’m expected to show some skin. So I’m making the most of it,” she said.

“That’s not how it works at all.”

“Well, I’m old. I can get a tattoo if I want to. And by that, I mean two sleeves and a chest piece.”

“Oh god, we’re gonna be here all day.”



Lily and the balding tattooist settled down in his lair. She took off her clothes, down to the swimsuit she wore under them that day, and went under the tattoo gun while her father watched in horror.

“Instead of this, you could be doing something productive, Flower,” Franco said. “Like not being such a nag towards your only daughter.”

“I’m doing just fine,” Lily said, wincing as the tattooist started on her chest piece. She lowered her swimsuit’s neckline a touch and Franco cringed.

“Yep, you’re willing to get a lotus tattooed on your chest, which I know hurts, but you won’t accept the man your daughter loves.”

“Exactly.”

“And you won’t change your mind?”

“I guess not. I’m a very stubborn woman, and I’m proud of that. I’m also proud of not condoning uncle/niece relationships, something I thought you’d be on my side for.”

“I believe in love,” Franco said.

“Is that why you’re okay with this? Because you just want to see a bit of your blasted wife in my grandchild? That’s some awful love you have.” Lily was about to jump out of her chair to attack him, but the tattooist kept her down.

“You’re gonna ruin the piece that way,” he told Lily.

“Fine, fine,” she muttered. She fell asleep, pierced by a tattooing needle, until it was over. She woke up to a whole collection of upper-body tattoos.

“Lovely. Thank you Glenn, and dad? Your thoughts?” she asked.



He whipped out the moodlet manager. “I’m just gonna forget that I had to watch this,” he said.

Two more days went by, and Tegan sucked her tummy in as she squeezed into her wedding dress, on the afternoon of Friday the 13th. Maybe he was right about the weight gain, but then again, she had a big lunch of freshly cooked salmon. It wasn’t the same out of a Bain-Marie.

They arrived, with Officer Weld on their tail at about 5PM. Setup was done, guests were informed of the rules and placated with food and nectar, and Tegan kept her eye out for Bryant. She waited inside, sitting at the bar and with eyes locked outside through a big window.

“Does the bride need anything?” the mixologist asked. She took a look at the menu that Annette set up for drinks. A list of fine nectar was as long as Tegan’s gloves.



“One glass of Belizaire Vineyards, 2093,” she told him.

Bryant was told that the ceremony was planned for 6:30, so Tegan settled down to some music and her nectar while watching for him. She mingled with guests and waited. 6:30, and no sign of anyone new, though Officer Weld was still ready to pounce. 6:30 turned into 7, and he still failed to surface.

“I’ll give him time,” Tegan said, when Weld wondered where he was. “Thanks for your work, Officer Weld.”

“Thanks. And you can call me Tom.”

Tom, as he was known from then on, enlisted a guest to stay on lookout. 7 turned into 8, and 8 turned into 9, and most of the guests were gone and the wedding party looked pathetic. The salmon was gone, and even the near-endless drinks had a significant dent in them.



Tegan took to helping Piper with her weekend homework, bored with her failing plot. 9 was turning into 9:30 by the time that Piper had the first page of her reading questions done. Lily came inside, out of guests to talk to.

“Can we talk?” she asked Tegan.

“Sure, mum.”



They took a seat at the couch that overlooked the big windows. Lily lit the black candles as the night grew darker. “It was a good plan, Peapod,” she said. “But I think Bryant’s outsmarted us this time. We might need another plan. Can I talk to the elders about a backup?”

“Sounds good,” Tegan said.



They gathered at the picnic table with the last of the food, a shrimp cocktail platter, with Tom keeping watch just in case things took another twist. He also needed to make sure that they were considering legal plans too.

“We could go vigilante on him,” said Annette. Tom shook his head no.

“Come on, it’s worked for me in the past,” she said. “Also, I married a Racket. I’m a bad girl. Cut me some slack.”

“I can’t see why we can’t just do a house arrest,” Franco said. “This has been going for far too long.”

“I want Tegan to have the last laugh,” Lily said. “And that’s what she wants. We can find a quick solution that lets her win.” She got up from her seat to discuss a plan with Tom. It turned out to be legal, non-violent, and he’d be taken care of by the end of the night.



Lily knelt in front of Tegan to discuss plans. “Okay Peapod, we got a deal here. We’re going to his house. He has to be there, right?”

“Chances are,” she said. “And we?”

“You need some backup, so that’s why I’m coming along, and Piper can be a witness in case anything else happens. Officer Weld can wait outside until we’re ready. We’re ready after you break up with him. Make it loud.”

“I’ll go for anything at this point,” said Tegan. “I’ll fetch Piper.”



They made the drive to 19 Poker Flats Drive, with all three women somber and serious throughout the journey. Tegan led the way up the steps, and knocked on the door. She knocked again, after no response. The third time, she learned that the door was unlocked. Scared of what lay beyond, she slid open the door and tiptoed into the house she abhorred.

“Bryant?” she asked, believing the house to be empty. He couldn’t have left town. She talked with him that morning about the ceremony. She made her way further into the dark house, into the lone light that shone near the kitchen and breakfast nook. She motioned for Lily and Piper to follow her.



They came across him at his computer, playing a game. “Look, Bryant, take a break, we need to talk,” said Tegan.

“Aww, you missed me, didn’t you?” he said, eyes still locked on the screen. “You sound so desperate for me for someone who set up a scam wedding.”

“How did you know?” Tegan asked.

“You don’t act all sweet to me for no reason. It’s because you hate nice guys.”

“Bryant, enough of this crap. We’re going to talk this out like adults now.”

He got up from his seat and noticed that Tegan wasn’t alone. He was focused on Piper, who was sort-of grown up, entirely beautiful, and in a short pink dress to boot.



“Well hey there, little lady,” he said to Piper. “I bet you think that Tegan is being a disobedient maiden. M’lady is quite a difficult woman.”



“How about no.” Piper leaned back, hoping that Bryant’s slimy hands wouldn’t get close to her. “Stop being a coward and talk this over with her.”

“Are you just here to rat on me?” he asked.

“If I must,” said Piper. “And I just want to see you embarrassed. I think Tegan will do that just fine tonight.”



Tegan tried. “You’re sick, Bryant, and I know what you did on the Deep Web, and on your blog. You think that’s a turn-on for me? I’m sick of you, and if I have to get you locked up in order to do that, so be it. But no matter what, I don’t want you. I don’t even respect your status as a human.”



“You don’t need to respect me. But let me have my way tonight before the cops get me tonight, how about that?” he taunted. “Make this my lucky Friday the 13th. And marriages are still valid behind bars.”

“I won’t let you,” Tegan said. “And that’s sick.” Bryant then tackled her, grabbing a handful of her hair and forcing her down on her knees.



“I have one more night, darling,” he snarled, pointing his finger at her. “And you know what I hate. I hate disobedience, and I hate not getting what’s rightfully mine. And you are all of that. I have one more night here before I’m taken away, don’t you know that, babe? We can take this to the bedroom. It’s still my child even if I’m behind bars.”



“Just…why do you do this? I mean, 30 years?” Tegan choked back tears as she tried to answer him, but it seemed like he won that night. “I just want my life back!” He started to drag her towards the bedroom on the first floor. Tegan sobbed, wondering where anyone was. Last she saw, Lily and Piper stood off to the side, and Officer Weld was still outside, waiting for the call to begin the formal arrest. For all she knew, he really did win that night.

Something let go of her. She fell to the floor, but unrestrained. Tegan looked over to see that Lily tore Bryant off of her with her bare hands. Her elbow was forced into his jaw.



“It takes a sick man to do this,” Lily growled, trying to block Bryant’s attacks. “Keep your hands off her.”

“Funny how it took you this long to show up, you hag,” he said, trying to remove himself from her blows. “And I thought you were on my side. She marries me instead of that crusty old step-brother of yours, huh? Isn’t that what you were going for? I thought you liked me, hag.”

She tackled him to the ground, pinning him down with one arm and raising the other, clenched into a fist.



Tegan, spread out on the ground and still in shock, watched the fight in awe, especially after the last line. Lily was unrestrained, hitting Bryant and keeping him flat on the floor.



“What is all this about? You changed your mind about Heph? I never thought you would,” Bryant said. “Did you just forget that he’s your step-brother? That he raised your daughter? That she wants to marry him anyways?”



Lily took deep, exasperated breaths as she was about to attack his face with the strength of a gym regular and an angry momma. “Yes,” she said, still in a demonic growl. “Anyone but a sick man like you.”

“As if Heph’s not sick?” Bryant asked, reaching for anything that would draw her fists back in.

“You know what? He’s not sick. He’s the man my daughter loves.”



Word Count for this chapter: 2,950
Word Count so far: 221,924

Notes:

- The black candles are a deliberate choice. They are said to clear out negative feelings, which is what Lily and Tegan started to do as they both found their common ground in wanting Bryant gone. This also ties into Chapter 11 (I think), when Bill confesses his cheating to Annette in the same setting, with black candles to clear the air.

- "Belizaire Vineyards" is a shout-out to one of my close friends. Belizaire is the last name of one of her sims (who I'm still considering using for a minor role). If she sees this...yes, it's that story I keep talking about in Skype! I know it's long and I'm sorry.

Offline sone

  • Townie
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #493 on: December 13, 2014, 08:32:42 PM »
Thank you for letting me see Lily kick his butt, that was everything I wanted.
Also, where IS Heph?  Not a glimpse of him lately, though I can certainly see why with the focus on Lily/Tegan/Bryant, but he's the only known member of the household I haven't seen even in the background for a few chapters now.
I also really like the moment with ghost Bronson, bouncer of the dead, trying to promote his daughter's career from the beyond
"Oh, what's your dad do?"
"He decides which of the dead get to visit the world of the living."

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #494 on: December 13, 2014, 08:50:18 PM »
Thank you for letting me see Lily kick his a-- butt, that was everything I wanted.
Also, where IS Heph?  Not a glimpse of him lately, though I can certainly see why with the focus on Lily/Tegan/Bryant, but he's the only known member of the household I haven't seen even in the background for a few chapters now.
I also really like the moment with ghost Bronson, bouncer of the dead, trying to promote his daughter's career from the beyond
"Oh, what's your dad do?"
"He decides which of the dead get to visit the world of the living."

Heph was busy being the least interesting housemate ever. I think the in-story justification is that he wanted to distance himself from the situation as much as possible (lots of tension between him and Bryant, and also between him and Lily). The real reason was that someone needed to get a masterpiece ice sculpture of Tegan. :P All of his spare time was dedicated to his job and a mad scramble to complete his LTW. Descendant of da Vinci is not for the light of heart.

I can't see Bronson doing anything else, to be honest. He always seemed to love Tegan from the bottom of his misanthropic, twisted heart.

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #495 on: December 14, 2014, 08:03:28 AM »
Well. It is about freaking time.

Offline dontmindme

  • Immortal
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #496 on: December 15, 2014, 10:53:01 AM »
Yay! Finally!



Offline Lisa46

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1307
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 107, 12/13)
« Reply #498 on: December 15, 2014, 09:52:33 PM »
Trying not to be a frivolous poster, but I think "yay" is appropriate here.

And I agree with your author's note about Tegan's features.

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3983
  • The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #499 on: December 15, 2014, 11:00:41 PM »
Well. It is about freaking time.

Yay! Finally!



I go away for one short week, and all this happens. Love it!

Trying not to be a frivolous poster, but I think "yay" is appropriate here.

And I agree with your author's note about Tegan's features.

Because all of these comments are pretty similar, I just want to say thanks! I'm happy to be at the end of this storyline too. :)



Chapter 108: A Strange Love



Lily was not one to give up on a fight.

She might have given Bryant a black eye and a few other bruises, but she got a nasty bruise on her cheek in return. She wouldn’t give up. As it turned out, Bryant wouldn’t either.



“Look, please, stop this,” Bryant pleaded, attempting to back away from Lily as she extended another fist out, ready to give him another bruise. “I didn’t even get the woman I deserve and now this happens?”

“So says the man who sent my father to the hospital,” Lily said. “You don’t deserve anything but this. In fact, I’m being too nice!” She successfully delivered another blow to Bryant, almost knocking him out. Unfortunately, he returned with a kick to her shin, which Lily reciprocated with an attempt to knee him in the crotch. She missed and got his thigh.



“Holy crap, Tegan, this is great,” Piper said, as she cheered Lily on through the fight. “Ain’t it? This is exactly what that scummy scumbag needed.”

“The guy could hurt mum, though,” Tegan said. “I know she’s strong, but we need some help now. She’s made her point.”

“So you’re not enjoying this?”

“Sad to say that I am, though. Still, we need to do something tonight. I’m getting help.”

“Help” being the code word for “tell Officer Weld that it’s time to deliver justice.” However, he did have the sticky situation of two fighting sims on top of the arrest, and didn’t Lily start the fight? She couldn’t do that to her mother, getting her arrested for a twisted act of defense. But then again, Tegan was here just for the arrest. Something had to happen for justice, even if it punished Lily too.

Tegan made a promise to help Lily with any legal issues that her actions made, and walked towards the glass door. Bryant, stuck and squirming in a headlock, didn’t seem to notice her absence. He also didn’t seem to notice Officer Weld hiding poorly on the porch.



She pressed herself up against the glass, with the door open a crack so Tom could hear the message. “Psst, it’s a special situation,” she whispered.

“Oh. Your mum’s the violent one, isn’t she?” Tom asked.

“Yeah. Just, we gotta do something, officer. I’m not letting him get away again.”

“Do we need backup?”

Tegan thought about her mother. She went to the gym in her spare time ever since she was a teenager. Lily didn’t give up on that habit either. She spotted Bronson while he lifted weights, back when he was alive. She once tried to lift Franco on a bet, which made her lose 100 simoleons, but she could pick up Annette with ease and carry an adult Tegan across the room. Also, due to the original plan being a formal wedding party, Lily wore a pair of low, sharp heels.

“For sure, but try to calm the situation while we wait,” said Tegan.

Tom and Tegan tip-toed back inside. The fight still dragged on, with Lily out for blood and Bryant being too stubborn to give up. Piper stopped cheering and watched it like it was a car crash. With no resolution in sight between those two, Tom tried to jump into the scene.

“Police, hands up!” It fell on two sets of deaf ears. He repeated it just once, until the pent-up anger between Lily and Bryant proved itself to be the worst situation that week.

“I’m going in,” he whispered to Tegan. At that moment, Lily had the top spot, with punch after punch successfully hitting Bryant. It was what got Officer Weld to grab her away, tearing her from her worst victim.

“Get off me, you pig!” Lily yelled, trying to twist herself away from the officer’s hold.

“Ma’am, this is an arrest, not your fighting ring,” said the officer. “Step away from the scene.”

“Over my dead body. Jail isn’t enough for this toad.” Officer Weld forgot to restrain Lily’s legs. She dug her heels into the ground to gain traction, and pushed the officer away when he tried to get a hold on her again. Bryant, who stood off to the side, was still in reach of Lily’s legs. She pushed against Officer Weld and extended her leg.



“You hear that Bryant? You can’t even get this pig to stop me.” Lily gave him a light kick in the gut, while the officer struggled to get a hold again.

“This…this is a twist,” Tegan said. “She always was okay with the police.”

“I just don’t know what to say to this, except that it’s still pretty cool,” said Piper. “So what are you gonna do after this?”

“I mean, the plan was to run away with Hephaestus, but I haven’t seen him in a week. Have you?” Piper shook her head no.

“What if he lost patience? Or…oh god, I really hope that he’s still out there and safe.” Tegan held back tears of worry as she watched the three-person struggle drag further on. “I hope mum’s okay after this too.”

“Lily Amherst Curious, I’m going to have to use restraint,” Officer Weld said. “On you.”

“Not before he’s on the ground.”

“No, now.” In the right moment, he grabbed hold of both of Lily’s arms and kept one foot weighed down on one of hers. He pulled the violent old woman close and out of reach of Bryant. She still reached out, hoping to get a last blow.



“What got into you, Mrs. Curious?” Officer Weld asked.

“That man’s been antagonizing my daughter for years, that’s what. I’ve spent thirty or more years holding this all in, hoping that he’d change or leave us alone.” She spoke in a choked voice, hoarse from all of the yelling. “And he wouldn’t. He’s threatened all of us, put all of our lives on hold, and every last one of us would be better without him. I want him gone, officer, I want this sick man gone and away from my daughter. No one stepped in before this, and you know what, I doubt you will now. I don’t care if I’m jailed for assault charges now. I don’t care if he’s innocent because of me. I just want him to know that he has to leave. I want him to leave town, officer, I want him to leave.”

“I won’t surrender, just because of some nasty old goblin and her nasty old family,” said Bryant. “And certainly not for her fat, ungrateful daughter.”

“Let go of me,” Lily said. “This is what I’ve been talking about. Thirty years of this crap.”

“Mrs. Curious, I cannot let you beat our suspects,” said Officer Weld.

“And you know? I don’t give a darn.” With the arm closer to his body, she gave Officer Weld a swift hit to the stomach, freeing that arm. The other one wriggled loose after spinning around once. In an instant, she tackled a weakened Bryant to the ground again. She stayed standing, keeping his head under a foot lifted by a sharp stiletto heel.



“You know what, fine,” she said. “I’ll let the law deal with you after this, but I want my nooboo to have the last words.”

Tegan looked at the bruised villain, defeated and under her mother’s shoe. She crouched down on the ground, waiting for some last words.



“Look, Tegan, there’s still time to change. And you can’t support what just happened, right? Your mum, being so violent this way? Can’t you forgive me? We can make this work again. It was just a bad night, Tegan. Just a bad one.”



She looked him square in the eyes, squinting with disappointment. For anyone else, she would take pity on a bruised face and defeated body, but all she saw was Bryant’s black heart and green eyes greener with thirty years of envy.

“I can’t even take pity on you Bryant. That says something about this, doesn’t it?”

“I thought we had a chance, honey,” he said.

“We might have. But I’m glad we don’t now.” She looked up at her mum, and over her shoulder at Officer Weld.

“Your rights are as follows,” the officer started.

Tegan got up from the floor and brushed her wedding gown off, wondering if she would be better off getting a new one to start anew with. Officer Weld, after reading off Bryant’s rights, grabbed him by the hair and waited for backup to come inside. Lily, with all of the violence squeezed and rung out of her, had some nice words for her daughter.



“Peapod, I’m sorry you had to see all of that,” Lily said.

“I’m fine with that. Did you mean what you said about Heph, though?” Tegan asked.



“I like to think I did,” said Lily, with her hands at her heart and the painful new tattoo on her chest. “I don’t want to face the age gap or the family dynamics, but I really don’t want to face you missing out on any more time with someone you love. And I thought about all of the years you two knew each other, from the day you were born to today, and it is a strange love, a dirty love, but it’s probably one of the purest, strongest loves I’ve seen. That’s all I want for you.”



“Oh, mum,” Tegan said. “That’s beautiful. I don’t want matters of love to have to tear us apart.”

“Neither do I. You’re the only daughter, the only child I have. I can’t lose you like that, especially because you’re the only love in my life now.”

“We need each other,” said Tegan.

“So much, my darling nooboo,” said Lily. “So much.”

“Thanks for being here tonight. You’re a great mum.” Lily extended her arms out for a hug, which Tegan fell into. Happy tears fell on Lily’s collarbone.



“Now dear, let’s start a good life,” said Lily. “I think you deserve it the most.” She turned her head towards where Bryant was, only to see him outside and being pushed into a police cruiser by the backup forces. Officer Weld still stood in the house, keeping an eye on Lily.

“Hands up, Mrs. Curious,” he said, after she let go of Tegan.

“Sure thing, officer,” she said. “I know my rights.” She let the handcuffs fall on her wrists and snap shut.



Tegan watched Officer Weld start to lead her mother away. He locked eyes with Tegan. “You were very brave tonight,” he told her.

“Thank my mum for this when she gets to the booking room. And I want one call with her so I can gauge a good wedding date,” said Tegan. “I know she wants to be there.”

Lily gave her daughter one last look. “Get married as soon as you can, and don’t worry about me being there. You only have so much time.”

“You sure, mum?”

“It’s the least I can do.”

After Lily peacefully made her way into the other cruiser, Piper and Tegan were left alone in the dark house. Tegan never wanted to return, and Piper agreed with the idea too. They hung out on the porch, under a hazy, starless sky.

“My friend lives the next house over. Can I just sleep over with her?” Piper asked.

“Best time to,” said Tegan. “Make sure that there aren’t any boys, okay?” Tegan chuckled while Piper did the same, but much more awkwardly.

“Well, she just has sisters anyways. I don’t think you need to worry.”

Armed with the best late night news and gossip, Piper made her way over to the Coddle household, where all of the late Chris Greenwood’s daughters lived. Tegan had a long walk home ahead of her, considering that Officer Weld drove them over in the cruiser. All victory took after that was a walk home, and one hurdle in front of the finish line.

Hephaestus was missing. It wasn’t touring season for the orchestra, and Lily seemed to be all alone in the sculpting studio that past week. At best, he ducked out, hiding backstage at the theatre until a resolution with Bryant was reached. At worst, he was floating in someone’s pool or in the bog as a bloated corpse.

She called emergency services. “Has the hospital seen a Hephaestus Waverly in the past week?” Records said no, for all departments. “Have there been any arrests made for a Hephaestus Waverly?” No records of that either. She gulped before the last question. “Has the coroner’s office gotten a man like this? Long, blond hair, a full beard. Elder. Six feet tall, thin, last seen wearing a lilac tartan vest?”

Nope. He stayed clear of emergency services ever since his last visit after the bachelor’s party.

“Why do you ask?” the operator said.

“He’s been missing for a week, in the midst of a hopeless situation. I’m worried about him, that’s what,” said Tegan.

“We’ll put out a notice for him.”

The walk home became even longer. Even the hundred feet to the bridge back to the mainland seemed like a mile. She made it streetlight past streetlight, ever so slowly, hoping that her struggle wasn’t in vain and that Hephaestus was safe and sound, thinking and reading among the ambient noise in the laundromat. Maybe he took up living in the gym, where she was sure Bryant never went.

But she had thirty years of bad luck. Who wasn’t to say that eternity was next?

She checked in the gym once she reached the building. All floors, she turned on the lights and called out his name in each room. No Hephaestus there. The laundromat yielded a similar result. She tried all of the stores on the way across town, asking if they had recently seen a blond, eccentric-looking old man. The spa said no, the grocery store said no.

The clerk at the bookstore lit up. “Two weeks ago, someone like that bought a whole mess of inventing manuals.”

“Yes, but in the last week?” asked Tegan.

“Yeah, nothing.”

After a morning of walking across town without any sleep, Tegan needed to sit her butt down and stop the search, even if just for a short nap. She remembered that she had an award ceremony at City Hall that morning, so maybe she could regain some energy in the park before heading over as a frazzled, exhausted, not-really-a-bride.



The sun started to rise, and Tegan took a seat at the fountain in the town center. Summer was approaching, and most of the Spring Festival was taken down. All she had was a park, and a few fighting Balls in the distance.

She told herself to stop worrying. That had to be left for people with real problems, or true neurotics, and not someone who mostly won her war and just had an uncertain last step. Hephaestus was rugged beneath his oddities, he had to have survived in his disappearance and would swoop her up in his arms again once he heard the news.

Or he was dead. But the real issue was who was sitting next to her. Someone else took a seat on the fountain and opened up a book. Tegan instinctively looked over, expecting it to be some early bird she never met.

Instead, she started crying when she saw the reader.



Hephaestus took the seat next to her. He pretended to read from an inventing manual.

“Heph?” she asked, through the tears. “Oh my god, Heph!”

“Aww, hi there,” he said. “I won’t be quite as good as you at this inventing stuff, but it’s worth getting as good as I can, right?”

“Enough joking, Heph. We won.” He attacked her with a warm, passionate hug after hearing that.



“Tegan, you mean it?” he asked. She nodded while crying onto his vest.

“I was so worried about you,” she whispered. “You’ve been gone.”

“I lost some hope and couldn’t bear to look at the case anymore. So I ended up hanging around the theatre, staying with relatives, you know. But if we won, then…we’re safe. It’s time for us now.”

“It is,” she said. “It is. You want to hear the story?”



He made a flirty face at Tegan. “We have a lot of time for that now. I’ll hear all about it later, but for now, what can I do about the beautiful woman in front of me, huh?”

“Whatever you want. I was thinking France,” she said. “Well, I bought the tickets for a flight tonight. We have to make a move, but we can make something happen there.”



“That sounds lovely, Peapod.” He took her hand. “And I want this to be the last time we let someone else get in the way of us. You promise?”

“I want it at least as much as you do, honey,” she said. A crowd gathered in front of City Hall. “Start packing for us. I just have one more thing to do.”

“Just as long as there’s no Bryant in it.”

“None at all.”



They shared a quick kiss, their first one in so long, before Tegan sprinted over to City Hall, where Mayor Myers waited with a gift box in her hands.



“We gather here today to celebrate Tegan Stoneham Curious, and her efforts to keep Twinbrook unhaunted and peaceful, in spite of her resignation,” said the mayor. “In thanks, I offer her this key to our office. It is my and our honor to have such a brave woman in our town.”



“I was honored to have the job and serve this town for twenty years,” said Tegan. “The time has come for things to change for me, but I look back on this with pride.” Her phone started ringing as the small crowd of her cousins and aunties cheered. She ignored it out of respect for them.

It rang again. Tegan was shaking hands with Tucker Ball at the time, and wouldn’t stop just for a phone. The third time, she was unwrapping her gift and finding a good place to put the key until she got home.

The fourth time, Tegan was annoyed enough and needed to quiet the other end.

“Tegan, honey, it’s Annette. Where the hell are you and the others?”



“Gram! Piper’s at a friend’s house, Lily’s with the police, and I’m at City Hall. Things are fine,” Tegan said. “We’re safe now.”

“We are? What happened?”

“He lost. I…I finally won, gram.”



Word Count for this chapter: 3,077
Word Count so far: 225,001

Well, there you have it! Bryant's gone and Tegan gets a few chapters of bliss and fluff in her life after this. :D

Notes:

- Lily's official sentence is that she's able to bargain her way down to lots of community service. I'll probably make this mentioned in the story, but this is just to remind me.

- Heph's "disappearance" was inspired by sone's comment, so thanks for the inspiration! I should probably thank everyone else who's inspired bits and pieces of this story one of these days. ::)

 

anything