Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 204387 times)

Offline Trident

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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

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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!




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Offline Lisa46

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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.

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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. ::)
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Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #500 on: December 15, 2014, 11:21:16 PM »
 :o
I contributed.  Cool.

Yay for France, I hope they have a wonderful time there.  Some fluff will be a wonderful break from all of the drama the family has been dealing with, and the nectar.  The NECTAR.

Offline Hallucination

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #501 on: December 16, 2014, 01:40:42 PM »
Poor Piper. Surrounded by the oblivious.
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Offline Trident

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #502 on: December 16, 2014, 04:17:07 PM »
I feel bad that one even considered that Piper would be attracted to girls. :/

And wow, Jo wrote all this, right? I wonder how she must've felt while writing about Piper.

Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #503 on: December 19, 2014, 02:00:42 AM »
I feel bad that one even considered that Piper would be attracted to girls. :/

And wow, Jo wrote all this, right? I wonder how she must've felt while writing about Piper.
Why do you think no one considered it?  I thought she would be bi, but didn't wanna spoil, since i've seen parts of the extended family tree from way back when it was still on here.  I'm trying really hard to screen my comments and not say anything about what i've seen =/

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #504 on: December 19, 2014, 12:38:53 PM »
:o
I contributed.  Cool.

Yay for France, I hope they have a wonderful time there.  Some fluff will be a wonderful break from all of the drama the family has been dealing with, and the nectar.  The NECTAR.

Annette didn't go with them, so maybe not as much nectar as you think.

Poor Piper. Surrounded by the oblivious.

Or it could be a blessing. Getting to stay over at a pretty girl's house with no suspicion!

I feel bad that one even considered that Piper would be attracted to girls. :/

And wow, Jo wrote all this, right? I wonder how she must've felt while writing about Piper.

To be fair, I dropped a few hints right before she was cloned, with one of her donor's brothers turning out to be a gay man and and Hephaestus taking some samples from her siblings for a little more variety:

He took that out, as well as another, smaller one. The vial full of pink was the unique genetic sequence of Lilith Jones-Brown, who was still alive but nearly 90. The companion vial had a few samples from her immediate family. Clones were nice, but variety was even better, and it made for a clone that was more like a genetic child. As much as Hephaestus would be okay with creating a true copy of the gorgeous Lilith, he could get such a beautiful, unique child with the rest of the family making a contribution.



As to whether she would get Loki’s light eyes, his goofy smile, or his orientation, that was up to chance, as Hephaestus had no clue what he sampled from Lilith’s brothers. He just got something.

So she got Loki's orientation, but in the opposite direction (Note: gayness doesn't work that way and is much more complicated than one "gay gene," but then again, a lot of things don't work like they do in The Sims). She got her black eyes from Lilith's other brother.

As for Jo, I'm just going to say that it's a mixture of solidarity, admiration, and jealousy.

Why do you think no one considered it?  I thought she would be bi, but didn't wanna spoil, since i've seen parts of the extended family tree from way back when it was still on here.  I'm trying really hard to screen my comments and not say anything about what i've seen =/

Bi wouldn't be a bad guess, but yeah, Piper turned out to be 110% gay. It's weird because a majority of my sims in other games always tended to lean towards bisexual, but I hadn't seen that many fully gay sims until this dynasty delivered at least three of them (at least seven if you count out-of-house sims too).



Chapter 109 is taking longer than I'd like it to. :-\ The good news is that finals are over for me! Three of my five grades came in and I did pretty well so far.
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Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 108, 12/15)
« Reply #505 on: December 19, 2014, 05:40:30 PM »
Congrats!  My school just finished too, so I know the feels.
Franco loves the nectar too though, right?  I always thought Annette was more of a juice girl anyways =p

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 109, 12/19)
« Reply #506 on: December 19, 2014, 08:43:22 PM »
Congrats!  My school just finished too, so I know the feels.
Franco loves the nectar too though, right?  I always thought Annette was more of a juice girl anyways =p

He likes nectar, but I think Annette does too. Anything to get her fix.

Franco technically was on their trip, but that's because he's the Visa holder of the family. For all intents and purposes for the story, they went alone.



Chapter 109: Just Two Waverlys in Love



One might think that Tegan and Hephaestus both knew that they were getting married. I knew one of them, and she wasn’t stupid. Tegan knew what the trip was for and why she booked it, but what I was told was that Heph was a traditionalist and that Tegan loved surprises and the illusion of them.

This is best regarded as Hephaestus’ story.

While he wanted to hear the story of Bryant’s defeat, it wouldn’t happen on the plane. An empty, red-eye flight free of loud passengers and fussy nooboos lent itself well to sleep, and Hephaestus fell against the wall near his window seat and dozed off before take-off. Tegan just pushed her seat back without anyone to complain about it. They both had seen France from outside a plane window before anyways.

Towards the end, while his darling Peapod was still asleep, he opened up the overhead compartment and brought down his carry-on bag. It was just regular luggage and mostly spare kilts, but nestled between them was what got him stopped at security.

He shooed Tegan away when they found it, saying that he’d catch up with her. It showed up as a metal ring on the x-ray. What could it be used for? And why did he tuck it away between his clothes as if he had something to hide?

They opened the royal blue, velvet-covered jewelry box that contained it, wished him luck, and sent him on his way. Hephaestus just wanted to make sure that it was still there as they hovered thousands of miles away from home. And he put it back, hiding it from one of the only two women who deserved the ring. It wasn’t a stretch to wonder if Hannah knew about it or not.

He buckled his seatbelt and held Tegan’s hand during the descent.

It had been years, maybe 25, since the two of them had last been to France. In fact, it was the last time anyone in the family had. They spent the day clearing the dust from the cottage they owned, and Hephaestus slipped the jewelry box into a drawer while Tegan was cleaning a window. She didn’t look for it.

“How long do we have here?” he asked Tegan, as the two jetlagged lovebirds tried to fall asleep that night.

“The ticket’s flexible. As long as we want,” she said. “Do you have something to do here, honey?”

“Yeah, yeah I do.”

“And can I ask about it?”

He turned to face her and stroked her cheek. “You’d rather not. You like surprises, right?”

Instead of giddily squealing at midnight, Tegan gave him a kiss on the cheek and fell into a deep slumber. Eventually, Hephaestus did too.

Now, he spent a lot of the trip reciting what he’d say in front of the mirror. He practiced engagement lines and wedding vows, and contemplated life too. I have enough of a novel without documenting the inner dialogue of every character, but I owe one to Hephaestus. He risked being one of those forgotten old men, and I’m not going to be the one to make him that way.



No forgotten old man seemed more forgotten and distorted by time than his own father. Any stories about him came to Hephaestus via second-hand accounts from the elders, and from Hannah when she was still alive. His mother admitted to loving him at one point, but as time marched on, poor old Tay became less of the man she once loved and more of just a means to an end. His death got her sympathy points from her real soulmate, and she got Hephaestus out of it too.

It was so sad. He had some feeling that Tay was a human too, and seemed sickeningly sweet and caring from the one time they met in the cemetery. He never heard that about him, and it was a lost cause to try and squeeze the story from one of the immortals. They liked to talk about his ugliness more, which, well, it was hard to ignore too.

Of course, Hephaestus had much more going for him, being raised with the combined efforts of those first three immortals, raising the next two, wishing he was there for the rest of us. However, his life and Tegan’s were consumed by the case with Bryant, and now that it was over, would he just be a husband as a part of establishing victory? Would he just be remembered as the goal that pushed everyone to banish Bryant from the Waverlys’ paths?

It kept his ring in a drawer for a few more days.



It worked out well for both of them. Tegan focused on her much-ignored inventing skill and a backlog of requests for more floor hygienators. She learned the value of buying her scrap from kindly metal recyclers, and had a safely-sourced pile of materials and a growing pile of finished products.

Hephaestus walked across them to test the motion sensors, and most of them came out without any defects. He also smelled wonderful. Tegan rewarded her mint-scented prince for that work, which put Hephaestus’ mind at ease about the marriage. He did have the most perfect swamp woman he ever met, even with her fingers raw and sore from all of the metalworking, and a fresh new burn from what could have easily been a bad butt-fire.

It took some contemplation to get that ring out of its hiding place. It took a lot of reassurance, such as dates to the café in the center of town, woohoo in the art museum after closing hours, and helping Tegan pick some grapes to grow at home for practice.

Maybe he could just ask her and actually talk to the woman he had an old engagement ring for.

She caught him first with her own question. “Can you work some magic?” she asked.

“Well, I always can,” he said, following it up with a wink.

“You can tonight, but I mean this literally. I had some used sinks delivered this morning, and I need you to break them so I can learn how to unbreak them.”

“Is this some weird request you got from the elders?”

“Someone’s gotta know how to fix these things, you know?”

He gave her a peck on the cheek. “I’ll do my very best with them.”



Tegan worked at getting caught up with her inventing workload while Hephaestus took a deep breath and recited the ice blast spell again. He forgot it due to being too much of an actual nice guy to freeze innocent civilians. However, sinks were fair game, and the magical ice burst the pipes and cracked the faucets. He broke the drain controls by hand to give his wench with a wrench some extra work.

“I think you’ll be out here for a while,” he said, with a playful chuckle. “I’ll still be here when you get tired of it.”



She stayed out past sundown and when the lights on the garden fence weren’t enough to combat the ink-black night, but she patched up five different pipes that day, and worked hard for the next one. Hephaestus welcomed her back to the great indoors with a fresh dinner he fetched to-go from the café, and lots of cuddles afterwards.

He moved the ring to the inside pocket of his suit jacket. It had a loose fit on his scrawny frame, which concealed the shape of the box well.

One evening, maybe two after her repairing frenzy started, Hephaestus and Tegan took a walk to the Celtic Burial Grounds. A vacation of the past repeated itself, except that he was able to walk arm-in-arm with her that time. They brought along a lighter for the fire pit there, just to keep warm. Hephaestus saw no need to bring marshmallows just because they didn’t have a wedding cake. They agreed about a fire’s delectable scent, and that it was a good alternative.

Hephaestus lit the fire and threw some brush on it, admiring his beautiful princess in the orange glow. It brought out the cobalt blue of her dress. Her brown eyes sparkled in the light. He felt the ring move around in its spot. Bathed in one fiery golden light and the darkness of the French night, Tegan climbed up a few notches to him. She wasn’t beautiful, or gorgeous, but more goddess-like. And if he didn’t fumble with his words, he would marry that woman that night.

“It’s a really clear night,” Tegan said, pointing to the stars. “And I have some good news!”

Well, it was either about astronomy, or she had some news in regards to some pre-marital woohoo they had. Either would be welcome for an elated Hephaestus.

“Yes, sweetie?”

“The proposal went through. You know, for the new constellation,” she said. “It’s better seen in the Eastern Hemisphere. Beautiful night to look for it, huh?”

“Oh yes,” he said, taking a seat on the grass. “Especially if you sit down right next to me.”

“Tired from the walk?” Nah, but it was nice to lean back in Tegan’s arms after a long day. “I guess we can still see Oxbow from the ground. In fact, it’s over there!” She pointed to her right, to something in the vague shape of an oxbow.

“Which ones are yours?” Hephaestus asked.

“Just Absu, at the tip there,” she said. “I’d like to say that I named it for the god, but I just named it for my dad. Boy did he love that band.”

“You’re gonna keep at that?”

“Maybe as a hobby. But I’d rather spend my time with you. If I can’t find the time for the stars, so be it. I can’t see anything half the time through the fog anyways.”

“So you love me?” he asked. She leaned over to whisper in his ear.



“The answer is a little long, but here it is: yes,” she whispered.

“I guess I’ve just been feeling worried lately. I guess I just want to feel like a loved mortal. My dad…I don’t doubt that mum loved him, but he’s just remembered as some swamp-born weirdo that she got a nooboo out of. I doubt you’d do that to me, but a man can worry, right?”

“I’ll always tell our children about you. About you as a human who raised me, and even if they don’t remember you, how much you cared and adored them. I never knew that about your dad, but it’s a bad mistake on their part. I’m not gonna repeat it.”

“Perhaps that is love.”

“At least one component of it.”

“So you love me, Peapod?”

“I don’t think I can stop.”

The ring box shook a bit in his suit pocket, just in case he forgot about it. He didn’t.



Hephaestus laughed, getting his emotions mixed up. “And don’t worry, I’ve always loved your laugh too,” Tegan said, with a beaming smile.

“I had a feeling you did. And it’s safe to say that I have a good feeling about something else,” he said. “Why else would I drag you here to the burial grounds again?”

“Oh, you cheeky old man. I had a feeling, but I decided not to get my hopes up.” They both got up and stood after that.



“One second, then,” said Hephaestus. “I have it all here, ready and stuff. We shouldn’t have to wait any longer for this. Just, tell me this, what sort of ring are you expecting?”

“You know, something with lapis lazuli in the center, or a sapphire,” Tegan answered. “It would match with everything I own, anyways.”

“Are you expecting something new?” he asked. She nodded, and clarified. It was something new, or something used but in good condition and polished. It made sense to the both of them. Even Annette got married after she got rich, and to someone who may have landed some sort of inheritance from the parent he didn’t hate.



“So, I have something a little different, but I hope you don’t mind.” Hephaestus got down on one knee and fumbled around for the box. “I did make sure that the box was blue, though. But the ring’s looking a little dingy. It’s older than I am.”

“Well, I want a look. An antique! That sounds so sweet,” said Tegan, reach over to try and see what he had. Hephaestus kept the ring box shut and gave her a quick smirk.

“I’m sure you’ll like it,” he said. “But, how much do you know about ghosts?” It wasn’t serious, considering Tegan’s former profession, but maybe she never got a gift from beyond from them. If she sucked them up with a modified vacuum cleaner before asking questions, of course she came home without any presents from them.

“Well, maybe some things,” she said.

“One decided to summon a gift for me, and you know, I didn’t know they could do that. So, I met one some years ago, and he found a ring hidden somewhere deep in the swamp.”

“Ha, I wish they did that for me,” said Tegan. “I might have even stayed with the job longer if they did.”

“This will have to make do,” said Hephaestus, as he slowly pried the box open.



A piece of aquamarine beryl, scratched and faded with age, still glistened in the moonlight. The tarnished silver of the band did its best to anyways. “More than eighty years ago, my dad spent most of his retirement savings on this ring for my mother. It didn’t get to her, but now, it goes to the one woman who’s better than her. So, Tegan Stoneham Curious, will you marry me?”



“Oh my god, I can’t believe he gave that to you!” she squealed. “God, I mean, this is the best ring anyone could think of.” Tegan jumped up and down before gathering herself for long enough to accept the band on her finger.



“And it fits perfectly. What a dream come true,” Tegan said. “So, exactly how long have you been holding on to that for?”

“It was the same night that Franco was in the hospital,” said Hephaestus.

“Golly, you’ve been a patient man.”

“I think I used it all up. I might have told myself that if I ever got married, I’d get married right here on sacred ground. We can either do this tonight, or freshen up for later.”

“Tonight,” Tegan said. “If we can do it tonight, we’re doing this tonight. I just want to go home and get my gown. Do you need anything?”

“I’m not wearing this suit just because I’m a nutcase. Go get your gown, though.” He expected her to come back with something he had never seen before. She got the heels from Bryant as a birthday present back when she was a young adult, and the dress fit in as one piece to the scam wedding she was glad not to have. In a country of boutiques, high fashion, and with million to their family’s name, Tegan deserved something new.

Two hours later, she came up the hill in her long gloves, the same ruffled, knee-length dress she settled on years ago, and the exact same periwinkle-blue heels with deep blue bows that Bryant bought her decades before.

“I thought you’d get something new for yourself,” he said once she got inside the stone circle.



“I considered it, but if I spent so long associating these things with Bryant, I need to reclaim them for something I won’t regret. I fell in love with this dress and with these shoes, and I promised that I’d wear them for the one I loved the most. I’m not backing out of that one.”



“You know, I’m glad you reconsidered. You look stunning,” he said. One tear rolled down his cheek. “I really am marrying you tonight, aren’t I?”

 “You better believe it, honey.” She slipped him one golden band, and opened her hand to reveal the other. “We’re doing this.”



He pinched the small ring between his fingers, concentrating on getting that step right. “My darling Peapod, I knew you were special from the moment I first saw you in your mother’s arms. I don’t care how much I saw you as ‘my sister’s kid’ back then, because what matters is now, when you’re her kid, and my soulmate. And after this, my wife.” He missed the first time, but still shaking from excitement, he placed the band over her glove.



“Fits better than my gloves,” Tegan muttered. “My turn!”



“I guess it worked out the same way for me. I looked up to you from the moment you first held me as a toddler, and before that too. But I had it in my mind to marry you from the moment I was old enough to see something else in that strong older man,” said Tegan. “This should have happened right after I realized that, though I’m still glad to stand here right now and marry you on this very night. It’s what happened, even if we didn’t like why it happened.”



Hephaestus took both of her hands. “Right now is perfect, don’t worry.”



Unlike most other Waverly couples, the two of them shared their wedding kiss alone, applauded only by the flickering flames of the campfire. They both got what they wanted, and Hephaestus instantly felt like the proper and remembered dynasty husband he was meant to be all along.



Tegan whispered to him after the kiss, while they still held each other. “I have a surprise of my own. Turns out you can hide a lot of stuff under a full dress.”

“How else could someone improve tonight?” he asked. “I mean, I’m really quite curious.”



She reached under her skirt and bended and turned until she retrieved a red firecracker bundle and a light from underneath the fabric. “Really awkward to walk uphill with these, by the way,” she said, as she lit one of the cylinders.

“Aww, that’s lovely, honey,” he said. “I do love fireworks.”



They ran back to watch the show from a safe distance. The wick on the end of the firecracker burned up, and soon reached the end. It shot up in the air.



They woke the neighbors with it. The police prepared an official fine to hand to them once they found the source of the blast. However, for Tegan and Hephaestus, it was a fantastic show as colorful as, well, your average Waverly.



They lit up the whole bundle, one by one, and cheered each blast on, before setting up a tent for the night to sleep together on the cool grass.

“I’ve been talking about a family for a long time, and heck, my other kid is your age and traveling the world now,” said Hephaestus. “It’s hard not to think of what color they’ll be, or who’s eyes they’ll get.”

“I’m thinking pale teal, blond like you, curvy like me, and a girl,” Tegan said. Hephaestus could certainly live with that! “So we can try tonight,” she continued. “I don’t see a reason not to.”

The morning after, Hephaestus woke up to find Tegan already awake and sunbathing in her pajamas and in the warm summer sun. He didn’t have a chance to say anything, and was too groggy to anyways.



She stopped to admire her new rings and her married hand. That sort of excitement from her put Hephaestus’ worries to rest. They had the marriage his parents may have deserved, with the love of the Waverly couples that actually made it.

It was sad that they were the last to have it, whether for one more year or ten. No cheating, no closets to hide in, just two Waverlys in love.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,299
Word Count so far: 228,300

Notes:

- I guess I've skirted around this, but Hephaestus has had the Waverly surname for most of his life because Hannah took it after marrying Franco. It worked out fantastically in my favor because Tegan just so happened to have been born as a Curious. Two Waverlys in love indeed!

Lily kept Bronson's last name throughout her life. I'll be honest, "Lily" and "Waverly" do not mesh together as names. Curious suits her so much better.

The midpoint of this dynasty also marks the shift in dynamics from "normalish dynasty couples" to "fidelity is dead and Trip killed it."

- The bit about Bryant giving Tegan her formal heels was mentioned back in Chapter 81:

Quote
“You better be. Everyone is making fun of me for not making any moves on you, or for you not doing any on me. Come on! We’re an item, and I gave you the best birthday gift.” She could thank him for those pairs of lovely heels trimmed with bows, after all.

- I'm no geology major and I'm not going to bug my dad (who was a geology major) about gemstones for what amounts to a Sims fanfic that got far, far out of hand. So...The Gemological Institute of America told me so.

- That picture of Hannah and Tay has always been my favorite and I needed a way to use it. I mean, I don't think I've used it yet. Have I?

If I have...screw it, have it again because what isn't there to like about that picture?
No respect, no chance, cease and desist when I chant-

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Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 109, 12/19)
« Reply #507 on: December 19, 2014, 09:29:07 PM »
I'm almost positive you have never used that photo, and I've read this story three times now.  I think I would remember the face Tay was making.

Also, isn't killing love kind of required in an Immortal Dynasty?  Unless one of the earlier generations marry gen 7, then there's no marriage for two members, not a lot of remarriages for those who have been single for decades, and no sim can have as many kids as they want.

Offline Trident

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 109, 12/19)
« Reply #508 on: December 20, 2014, 12:22:29 PM »
Those were simultaneously the creepiest and sweetest wedding vows ever. *slow clapping*

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 110, 12/21)
« Reply #509 on: December 21, 2014, 10:21:09 PM »
I'm almost positive you have never used that photo, and I've read this story three times now.  I think I would remember the face Tay was making.

Also, isn't killing love kind of required in an Immortal Dynasty?  Unless one of the earlier generations marry gen 7, then there's no marriage for two members, not a lot of remarriages for those who have been single for decades, and no sim can have as many kids as they want.

"No sim can have as many kids as they want" implies that Franco didn't do that. :P

However, the last few marriages of the dynasty had their issues and little love from the start. Killing love is required, but the last bit refers to the problems/lack of love that the last couples had.

Those were simultaneously the creepiest and sweetest wedding vows ever. *slow clapping*

I can outdo that for Phil's wedding if you'd like me to.



Chapter 110: Tokophobia





For Piper, living without Tegan and Hephaestus while they were on their honeymoon wasn’t much different, but Annette let her drink and she got seconds at dinner with two fewer mouths to feed. She loved all of those strange, colorful adults she lived with, and Hephaestus too, but life was so carefree before their plane landed. She leapt face-first into the water slide and didn’t think about those two lovebirds at all. Life couldn’t change that much.



I was shocked to hear this part when I did. Piper inherited a charitable streak from Tegan. As a teenager, she signed so many checks to Grow a Pair (of Kidneys) and the Toddlers for Oasis Springs drive, and opted to go to medical school locally when she grew up in order to save more money for a donation to a 4D Printing kickstarter. Things went wrong. It went wrong, and I thought I knew the obvious cause. I did, but I started to blame Piper less as I learned how her teenage years ended.

It was a beautiful summer that year. Piper carried home a report card decorated with A’s written in bright red ink. She made the honor roll again. Prom was just around the corner and she settled on her usual formal dress for the night.

At that point, Tegan and Hephaestus had spent a long time away honeymooning and enjoying each other as a couple. Sure, they called the family just to affirm that they weren’t consumed by a vengeful tomb or considering expatriating either, but they were gone. Piper got used to it, and still told herself that life couldn’t change much after they got home. Whether through inexperience or ignorance, she didn’t dare think about what often succeeded a new, heterosexual marriage.

Piper had an unusual fear, for starters.



She loved chemistry, which was an unusual interest for an aspiring doctor. She still wanted that too, but the world at a molecular level was clean and mechanical. She got through cell biology with the same sort of interest, but once the unit got to anatomy, she asked the teacher for an alternative assignment.

“Look, I know I need it,” she said. “But there’s this section on the reproductive system.”

“So, what about it?” the teacher asked. “You have one too and should know the science behind it.”

“It’s kind of gross-“

“Only if you don’t know about it!”

“Fine! I loathe pregnancy. I’m tokophobic. Is that what you need from me?”

The school’s therapist took that case, skeptical of Piper’s claims at first. However, it became clear that Piper nearly fainted at the possibility of being able to grow life inside of her. The ova and zygotes and placentas couldn’t be more disgusting. The human body couldn’t contort itself that way in front of Piper! The whole process filled her with dread, whether it was done to her or someone. The official diagnosis was simple: tokophobia, the fear of pregnancy.

“Would you like some counseling?” the therapist asked. “Surely, you can’t avoid pregnant women forever. You must have some female relatives or friends.”

“I do, but they’re all too old to have kids. I’ll be fine,” said Piper.

“But your job?” She wanted to work in pharmaceuticals and chronic pain research. “What about you? Kids might come into the picture when you least expect it!”

“Believe me, they won’t,” said Piper, before leaving that therapist permanently.

She later wrote down some notes, swearing that she was probably the sanest person in that household at the time and didn’t need a therapist for one consuming fear. I don’t love my family enough to care, so I’m okay with saying this: Piper was right.

Tegan and Hephaestus arrived home on a pleasant summer day, and failed to bring any nectar home for Piper. They brought new floor hygienators, though, and a promise that Tegan would upgrade the house.

Piper could use a less-faulty shower system, once she thought about it.



She, and everyone else too, reconsidered that when Tegan became the only other immortal to get a key to Annette’s kitchen. The hammer was to test the structural integrity of the stove, or so she said. Yes, it was loud. Annette opted for a pizza delivery and a feast of leftovers, rather than brave the noise in the kitchen.



Hephaestus got a cold omelette out of it, so he wasn’t mad at all.

Piper soon decided that she missed Tegan after all, and asked for some girly advice from her.

“So, prom,” said Piper.

“That’s a vague question,” replied Tegan.

“What do I need to do for it? I mean, it’s months away, but I wanna prepare as much as I can.”

“Be yourself, that’s all.” Tegan then remembered that she took Bryant to prom as a pity date, and where that landed her. “Also, go with someone that you actually like. Someone with good intentions, lots of charm, and as sweet as a bag of lollies.” Piper thought for a moment. Turned out that she made the right decision already!

“Sounds doable,” Piper said. “What’s with the sundress, though?” She noticed that Tegan took a liking to a collection of plain, empire-waist, knee-length sundresses, her favorite seeming to be one with light blue tropical flowers printed all over.

“Oh, you know why,” Tegan said, with a wink. Piper was 14 at the time, and probably should have gotten it quickly. The worst thought passed her mind, and then she placated it by thinking that Tegan was embracing summer and just stumbled across a bad tailor.

It was hard to sleep that night, well, probably for both of them. Tegan was running on new marriage adrenaline (most likely) and Piper ran off pure fear. Piper tossed and turned under the covers, and spent most of the night watching television instead, and finishing off one of the pints of Americone Dream in the freezer. It left her irritable the next morning, and as many a morning went for that time, it went loudly with the sound of upgrades.

“Why?” Piper asked Tegan, as she continued the upgrades her dad started long ago on the stereo. “I thought you hated this stuff.”

“It was a knee-jerk reaction to Bryant. I might never get over video games or computers or the TV, but stereos are fine,” said Tegan. “Life without music would stink. Is everything okay, Piper?”

“Yeah, yeah,” she said, wandering off to see if any of the leftovers looked appealing while cold.

Instead of the conventional wisdom of leaving a teenager alone in their moody hours, the Waverlys were not conventional nor really all that wise. Annette cooked up a fresh batch of pancakes on her upgraded stove, which Piper pouted at and refused.

“Well, what’s wrong?” Annette asked. “Not even your uncle Franco was this angsty when he was a teen.”

“Why do you need to know?” retorted Piper.

“Because I’m your matriarch whether your my blood or not. And we all had to sign up as legal guardians in order to keep you. I’m legally obliged to care.”

“Care doesn’t mean knowing. Just had a bad dream last night, okay?”

Out of boredom, she eventually ended up watching Tegan upgrade the stereo system. Piper wanted some high-quality audio like the rest of them. She watched Tegan bend down and all of her movements, hoping to prove her bad thoughts wrong. Unfortunately for Piper, it seemed like Tegan moved as if she was bloated with the after effects of a dinner gone wrong. Or something far, far worse.



Lily came on to the scene as soon as Piper couldn’t take it anymore. Piper roared with anger, trying to stop herself from instead fainting on the floor. Lily and Tegan didn’t quite get it.

“Christ, Piper! What’s wrong?” Lily asked.



“Fine, you wanna know what’s wrong, you old goblins?” Piper yelled. “I have to spend nine months with a pregnant woman in the house, and I have friggin’ psychological proof that I can’t stand that. Okay then, Lily?”



Tegan seemed to not listen to any of that, and gave the small bump under her dress a rub. “I mean, she’s pretty good at guessing this stuff.”

“Oh my god, Tegan,” Lily said, on the verge of tears. “You mean I’m gonna be a grandma now?”

She gave her mum a hug. “I’m way too excited for this.”

Meanwhile, Piper brooded in the shadows, wherever she could avoid Tegan. The other five in the house were abuzz with the news, making preparations and washing the sheets to the crib in the nursery. And she would always reassure them that she didn’t hate Tegan, she just hated pregnancy. Piper still refused to go to the therapist again. She just needed a deal to work with the elders.

“Hey, Lily?” Piper asked one day. “I think I might just stay with a friend more often.”

“Sure thing, kiddo, as long as it isn’t a boy!” Lily laughed a bit.

“Nope, no worries there. It’s one of those Coddle girls, you know, Chris and Lou’s kids?”

“Ah yes, he did have just a bunch of girls,” said Lily. “Keep up your grades and don’t do anything stupid, okay?”

While crashing on the couch at the Coddle home some nights, Piper mostly kept to her social circle and prom planning, and managed to avoid the horrors that awaited her at home.  Later on, she got confirmation that she was the only one suffering, which was actually a relief. Piper still had enough good in her then, enough to overflow and enough for her to reclaim the Goode surname when it felt appropriate (worked well for boasting about charitable work and stuff), and she had more than enough good to want Tegan to be happy. She just didn’t want a part of it until the nooboo was out and cleaned up.



So Tegan spent most of her time with her husband, which made the most sense. While neither of them drank, they enjoyed slow dancing and the amazing pianist that the family hired at the lounge.

The dress may have needed some work.



Indeed, Hephaestus lived up what could always could have been his last day with his little family. He did the kind service of not dying, and between his performances with the orchestra, he went to the grocer’s for some flowers and ended up meeting Tegan wherever she roamed. She relaxed and got massaged and still never expected Hephaestus waiting outside for her with a dozen fresh roses behind his back.



They shared a love that Piper sort of wanted to emulate, albeit without any children. Maybe she would have a lover that would surprise her with violets outside of the hospital, one that would spoon with her after a rough day of backaches, and at least one half of her own relationship was guaranteed to be blond too.

Ah yes, Piper had a good few months generally avoiding the family and choking down Molly Coddle’s truly awful cooking. She turned to Molly the ancient fairy for advising about medical careers, and played Yahtzee with her young great-granddaughters. Piper spent long hours pulling all-nighters mean for conversations and giggles between her and Kylie, her favorite of the girls.



They stuck together at prom, which caught the attention of everyone at the small high school, especially because they both insisted that they were going alone.

Annette, ever the tolerant and progressive (yeah right) old head of the family, was the most important person to contact about the rumors. The town heard about something that shook prom up that year, and it all pointed back to Piper. The rumor was consistent: “someone told me that Piper and Kylie were making out in the bathroom.”

“They dare spread gay rumors about my non-kid?” Annette replied to them. “You shouldn’t say such things about a nice straight girl.” However, she just needed confirmation from Piper’s maker himself.



Hephaestus, as we mentioned a lot this chapter, was distracted by whatever was under Tegan’s dress and trying to figure out what little girls liked. Tegan insisted that it was a girl, after all, and made a pool of names. That “little girl’s” dad just liked to listen to whatever it was doing inside of his wife, which Hephaestus found to be cool and Piper found to be horrifying when it was described to her.

But Annette barged upstairs and asked Hephaestus an important question. “You didn’t make her gay, did you?”

“Lilith was technically straight, so I had no control over whatever happened,” said Hephaestus.

“This might be important, okay? How can Piper marry into the family if she’s one of those homos?”

“Well, we’re expecting a girl, so I think I can see a route. And even my old self knows that the preferred term is lesbian.”

Annette put her foot down. “We’re all spending time as a family today,” she said. Piper was actually home that night, as she and her back missed her own bed. “Even you, Piper.”

“But I’m welcome any time I want at the Coddle house and I’d rather go there again,” Piper said.

“Come on, we’re going to the Summer Festival! I think you need some summer to take your mind off things. You know…things.”

Piper gave her a cross look, but eventually gave in and looked out the window for the entire car ride. She’d either find a way to have fun, or covertly run off to her rumored lover or to anyone else, for that matter.



She settled on roller skating for the whole day, which kept her skinny frame skinny and not filled up with dead weight. Meanwhile, Tegan, Hephaestus, and Lily argued for a bit but agreed to a friendly competition of stuffing themselves with hot dogs. Tegan did love hot dogs, after all, and deserved a heaping pile of them for suffering through carrying spawn.



Tegan shoveled them in, one by one, savoring all of the nitrates and mustard. Victory was on the horizon.

She forgot that the skinny have an advantage in competitive eating.



“Oh happy day!” Hephaestus cheered. “I mean, I’ll throw these up within an hour, but I won, guys!”

“That’s great, honey,” Tegan said. “Let me finish my plate. You know how much I love them.”



Hephaestus had work later that day, again having to perform with the orchestra, but it didn’t stop him from pushing Tegan on the swings until rehearsal started. Lots of things at the Summer Festival were a bad idea for a pregnant woman to partake in; no roller skating, no water balloon battles, no trampoline. Not that it was advice, but it left Tegan with swings, Gnubb, and sno-cones.



Oh, and the wildflowers, couldn’t forget about those. She breathed in their sweet pollen and thanked some higher power that she wasn’t allergic to it.



Tegan did various things to wait while Hephaestus tuned his piano at the theatre. Meanwhile, the elders skated and Annette and Lily attempted a spin together. They fell, but in good fun. Piper whizzed by all of them, lap after lap, though she wasn’t immune to falling.

Night fell too quickly for a summer day, and the four who were there and could skate continued to skate. Annette decided to engage the entire rink in loud gossip.

“Piper, were you and Kylie being lesbians in the bathroom during prom?” Annette yelled out.



She nearly fell in shock. How did that get out to the public? Piper was also ready to attack Annette for having so little tact, but ended up whizzing by her and not answering the question.

The other two elders chided Annette for the statement, though they were likely still curious about the rumor. However, they had some of the tact that Annette didn’t, and refrained from prodding Piper about it more.



For once, Piper found Tegan and Hephaestus a more comforting thought. I don’t blame her, because being outed by Annette is a bad, bad experience. She even cracked a slight smile at their sickening love, viewed glimpse by glimpse with each quick lap around the skating rink.



To end the night, Lily lit some firecrackers for everyone to safely enjoy. Piper stopped skating for them too, because fireworks were indeed great. Annette stood by her to watch them, claiming that they had the best vantage point.

“So, anything you want to tell me?” Annette asked, as they waited for the sky to light up. “Look, I don’t want any false rumors being spread about you, that’s all.”

“I think we’re just a few seconds away,” Piper said.

“Nah, these things are slow-burners. How about we work to put the gossip to rest while we wait.”

“So, you think I’m straight?” Piper asked. The distinctive whistle of a firecracker launching alerted them to watch the sky.



The sparks radiated out like the fluffy ends of dandelion seeds. It was a fine firework. Piper turned to Annette with an intent look in her eyes. “I can put this rumor to rest.”

“Just say the words,” Annette said.

“Okay, okay.” Piper locked eyes with the old woman. “I love Kylie, in a very gay way. And I’m dang proud of it.”



Word Count for this chapter: 2,867
Word Count so far: 231,167

...To be kind-of-sort-of Part Two'd with the next chapter!

Notes:

- Yes it is important that Tegan believes that she's going to have a daughter.

- "How could Annette be a homophobe, Trip?" I wouldn't say she necessarily is, but she's notably insensitive about a lot of things, and also has a strict vision for the dynasty that she doesn't like changing because someone crucial turned out gay. Like many of us, she wants the beautiful Piper to have a child for the dynasty, and her tokophobia plus orientation is in direct opposition to ever reproducing.

Someone's gonna bring up Shark, but Shark wouldn't disturb any plans of Annette's that way (I don't think she expected him to provide for the family beyond his sculpting), and he was bi. He didn't get 12 kids without liking it in some way. :P

Yeah, alternatives can happen for her, but Piper never seemed motherly. Did she know that from experience or not? That's the big question.
No respect, no chance, cease and desist when I chant-

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