Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 87205 times)

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 119, 2/22)
« Reply #550 on: February 22, 2015, 11:49:32 PM »
Having seen Phil as an adult it comes as no surprise that he's a bit of a terror as a youngster. An adorable, charming little terror. Poor Heph. :P

I'm starting to really like Piper, methinks.

He was way too adorable to turn out like he did.

I loved Piper too, for reasons beyond her being a total babe.

Phil is already starting to show his true colours, oh dear. The King of Kings can only be one person, hopefully I'm thinking of the right person.

The contender for the King of Kings is no sim you know of. I like making expanded stories because I like making new characters (the Roaring Heights subplot is fun largely because of that).

But that's the only hint I'll give. ;) You won't see him for a while.



Chapter 119: Those Monsters





I always knew Phil as an elite athlete. He loved the weight rack and the treadmill on equal terms, and excelled with both of them. It made sense; he grew up into a body suited for both. He got his father’s lean muscle and long, lanky legs. However, like many a person who ended up with such features as an adult, Phil started out as a wobbling, chubby-legged toddler. He needed to walk before he ran.



Thank goodness he had the kind Tegan to aid him in that! In spite of her work schedule, she set aside afternoons to spend with her tot. She set aside a lot of time with him, in fact. Hephaestus might have been home for a lot of the day, but Tegan argued that she needed to have lots of precious moments with her little boy. She wouldn’t be spending an eternity with a young Philip. However, Tegan kept her lips shut about a deep fear of him growing up evil. It was the reason she wanted to be attentive, though. She radiated good. Maybe she wouldn’t admit it out of modesty, but it was true. Sometimes, she felt like the only positive force in the family. But would it be enough for Phil?

He already had a set of arched, evil eyebrows. He bit into his dolls and toys with a vicious grip whenever he played with them. The poor kid was doomed from the start. But no parent wants to hear that.

Perhaps that worry kept her mind of Hephaestus, who was an old man and well-aware of it. Time turned out to be the only big thing against him. He went in for check-ups with Matt the psychiatrist and his mind seemed to be in working order. His latest physical showed him to be in peak physical form...if they used a relative scale. But relative scales or not, peaks were peaks and the family loved to hear about them.



His good health was why Hephaestus got the time to take Phil out to the town. The summer sun still shone, the humidity was above 90%, and the swamps sounded with frogs. And they were far away from that, because he wasn’t going to take his son out to the great unknowns of the bayou. Hephaestus took the legends of swamp monsters and giant snakes there seriously. Perhaps he took them in a literal sense too. It was no place for a nooboo, but the pool was.

He could get an elder immortal to tag along for most excursions, because they built a bar on the roof and everyone had the same vice. Franco wished for a classier venue, but Annette raised him and raised him to be like her in some way. A beautiful female bartender shook cocktails, and maybe he could spend some time with his beloved stepson/grandson-in-law too.



Tegan missed out on those days, which meant missing out on her adorable son. What a shame! But Hephaestus was a good influence.



Franco, grumpy and with a glass of pineapple juice and hard liquor in his hand, might have not been as great of one. But he was one floor above them while partaking in the Waverly's greatest vice.



The family had their fun with Phil. But Tegan counted the years, and too quickly was he scheduled to grow up into a bipedal, talkative child. They had to send him to public school (who would build a posh prep school out in the swamp?), and who knew what could happen there! Keeping her worries a secret wasn't a great option. She brought it up over a breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. Lily sat next to her, due to parental preference and whatnot.

“Mum, how did you raise a child to be a decent person?” Tegan asked.

“It kind of just happened with you,” she said. “I followed my instincts. Hell, even Annette was able to raise a good son.”

Annette looked over the breakfast nook where they were from the kitchen. She had another batch of rolls to make. And she also had a chuckle. “Good? The guy’s a pain in my butt each day.”

“But he’s not a bad person overall,” Tegan said. “I just wonder how you guys do it.”

“I think you’re born that way, come to think of it,” said Annette. “Kid, I’ve been alive for over a century, and I’ve met some huge jerk-buttons. And for some, it was clearly a part of them, and not because their mum didn’t hug them enough. Or single father. I bet Bryant’s father tried a little better than the results turned out.”

“Don’t remind me.” Tegan grunted a bit with that statement. “Sorry, but it still cheeses me off that he got off free.”

“It cheeses off all of us, honey,” Lily said. “But...are you afraid of Phil turning out like some guy he’s never met?”

“Maybe a little, okay? And Annette married a criminal.”

“No, I married a criminal’s brother who got caught up in public indecency and maybe just a few money laundering schemes,” said Annette. “And even if I married Twinbrook’s own Whitey Bulger instead, that makes Phil about a sixteenth of that. You need more for any genetic evil. But, things can happen by chance, and dealing with him for eternity? I’m sure we can handle freakin’ Lucifer at this point.”

“Why the worry, Tegan?” Lily asked.

“Gotta cover all bases, mum.”

“But you’re acting like it’s more than just a chance. As if he’s biten you out of spite or something. You did that to me too, but kids don’t know how to control their fangs when they’re that little.”

“No, no, it’s not that.”

“Did you get that time machine to work and lie to me?” Annette said, anger bubbling like her water for another morning coffee.

“It won’t work for you, okay?” Tegan said. “You need the past and, try as I might, I couldn’t get there. I got to the future, and someone evil was there. I mean, they glowed red, for god’s sake! And it was a man, and he was really thin, and looked just like an old Phil. And darn it, I want to change that. I don’t want to be that woman who bore the Antichrist or Scarface.”

“Poor...I was talking about apologizing to Emily, right? But that’s probably changed by now. Heck, you’ll change it again just by eating another cinnamon roll. Don’t you know all the time travel tropes?”

“I do, I made sure to know,” Tegan said. “You know, worrying is awful. I should do it less.”

“That’s the spirit,” said Annette. “And getting widowed? We’ve all been there. Even twice depending on how you look at it. It’s fine.”

Tegan looked like she was about to cry, because she was indeed about to cry. “Don’t say things like that, Annette, okay? It’s really hurtful.” She then walked away to finish writing another abstract.

“I sometimes wonder how you raised someone at least kind of level-headed,” said Lily. She, of course, referred to the same son who was over 100 years old and still lurking on dating sites. Level was relative.

“I don’t even know if evil is genetic,” said Annette. “I mean, look at grandpa Bill’s family. Two evil parents, three sons, and the most criminal of them was a charismatic family guy. Your uncle Dudley was one of the best cops they had. And you know Shark’s kids, they’re all a bunch of goody-goods.”

“You have worse issues,” said Lily. “Sorry to say. I mean, Christ, is that the best thing to say to Tegan? And you’re saying this probably a century or more after the fact. I’ve been widowed for 25 years, and it still stinks. It’s awful being lonely in this life.”

“You’re the one who seems to look forward to the end more now. It hurts that much?”

“Yes, gram! Yes it does. And what if Tegan is right? We might just be due for a baddy. You want to spend the latter half of the dynasty with someone who could be worse than a Racket? We’ll all bail and not get our happy ending.”

“Then keep an eye on him yourself. Get yourself worried to death over this. You know, that would hurt us a lot worse,” said Annette, as she wiped a dish clean. Lily reached over the breakfast nook, towards where Annette had a heavy ceramic mixing bowl of cinnamon roll batter on the counter.

Crash. She pushed it over, destroying one of the best attempts at cinnamon rolls that Annette had, and her favorite mixing bowl too.

“Keep being you, Lily,” Annette muttered. She immediately bent over to clean it up, without saying another word.

Phil’s birthday happened on an early autumn day. Hephaestus was alive for it. That morning, he enjoyed life and a day off from everything with a hot bath and a mug full of an earl grey and lavender tea blend. Considering that all of the immortals valued hot baths for relieving the aches of old age, it wasn’t a bad sign for him.

Tegan didn’t worry much that day. She forgot about most of them anyways. She just gave her husband a kiss and threw him a towel after his bath. “Also, the pool water’s fine. I’d like to go swimming with you at midnight,” she said. “Not gonna freak out over that again, are you?”

“All the town’s germs plus that pesky water nymph? Sorry, honey,” he said. A few oddities about his mind stuck.

“Can you at least wear your swim trunks?” she asked. “I like it when you do.”

“I’ll see how I’m feeling.”

He chose his usual vest and kilt. Tegan didn’t mind those either, but she dressed in her bikini to fit the location. Just for him.



It turned out to be for Keon too. She missed him whipping out his camera phone, but turned around at the flash.

“Dang it, Keon! Don’t perv on married women,” Tegan said.

“I’m sorry, Tegan. But you look great tonight,” he said.

“Yeah, but it’s for my husband. You should know that.”

“Forgive me, then,” Keon said.

“I think I should, yes. I mean, you are a man, after all.”

“Oh, and I saw Bryant by the gate. I can help break up the party if you want me to,” Keon said.

“Wait, what? He has a restraining order...my mum caused him grave bodily harm, and she’s here,” said Tegan. “Why is he here?”

“Revenge, also perving on you in your bikini, I don’t know.”

“Okay, okay, I think I know how to handle this.” She turned towards Lily, who was waiting for one of the Ball kids to get off the diving board. “Mum, Bryant’s here, remember not to dignify his presence.”

“Crap, really? Don’t worry, I will. Lord knows I hate those prison beds.” Due to her role in the assault, Lily couldn’t approach him either. “Everyone else is sick enough of him to ignore that psycho.”

She found Hephaestus by the cake. “Good,” she said. “We need to get this done quickly.”

“I noticed,” Hephaestus said. “I mean, an old friend trying to get a bikini shot of you?”

“The other thing, love.” He looked towards the stairs down to the pool area. Bryant was muttering angry things to himself. His meds probably ran out before he planned for them to.

“Oh. Oh, that. Will do.” He picked Phil off the ground, interrupting a good nose-picking.



“Okay there kiddo, pay no attention to the bad man near the toilets,” Hephaestus said. Phil was a smiling bundle regardless.



Bryant continued as Hephaestus lowered Phil to the candles. True to the commands given, the family ignored Bryant as he switched his ramblings to either Spanish or Python.



And like a big boy, he blew out his candles and didn’t notice his dad doing most of the work.



Now, most parents think of birthdays like those as bittersweet. Losing a precious larvae and getting an independent rascal in return. I wasn’t one of them. Neither was Tegan, for that matter. “I had a lot of time with him as a crawling cutie-pie,” she told me. “However, I liked just getting that far even better.”

Getting that far, you say? It made sense when I thought about it. She probably expected to be a mother earlier in her life than she was. Some monster put a lot of her life on hold, after all. I’d lose hope sooner than she did.



Second, Phil grew up into a darling child. She questioned his eyeliner at first, but he looked so...so...unique. Yeah, that was it. Otherwise, he had that beautiful smile that Tegan missed from her dad. Curly hair that she also remembered from him. A few bits seemed to be all his own: the light brown hair, his particular shade of teal skin, and a budding like for geometric shapes.



He turned out well. Phil had playfulness, zest, and the energy a child needed. And he behaved himself that night while Tegan bent her knees and leaned over to light a fire. The lighter flickered but didn’t produce a flame. No lighter fluid, how dreadful. She looked over the pool to Hephaestus at the edge, chatting with Piper about work or how awful the chlorine was. Tegan ran over and squeezed him in a hug.

“Yes, I do think we need to get in some more hugs before midnight,” he said.

“It’s been a nice night, right?” she asked him.

“Of course, sweetie.”



As she let go, she whispered one last thing to him before saying good-bye to the invited guests. “I’m just glad that you’re here for it.”

He gave her an extra squeeze after that.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,297
Word Count so far: 252,075

250k! Glad to get there...and we're not even halfway done. O_____O

Sorry for the second delay. I failed a dynasty in the meantime (still kicking myself over that one stupid mistake), and I was also occupied by my other hobby: CC creation! It is a little ironic for a moderator of this particular forum to have such a hobby, but I have a radically different view on CC than others do. I finished one of my more bothersome projects a few days ago, though.
No respect, no chance, cease and desist when I chant-

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Offline Lisa46

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 119, 2/22)
« Reply #551 on: February 23, 2015, 01:44:16 AM »
I'm so sorry your 4x4 failed. :( The story looked really good!

On the other hand, I'm glad it's getting updated again.



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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 119, 2/22)
« Reply #552 on: February 23, 2015, 11:23:22 AM »
Bryant could easily have ruined Phil's birthday and then made another new enemy for life, lol. So Phil started his eyeliner craze as a child, I was expecting it during his teen days. I had also assumed he was the King of Kings, oh well, if it means a new character I'm all for it.
Chant: Life States (TS3) / Immortal Dynasty (TS4)




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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 119, 2/22)
« Reply #553 on: February 27, 2015, 12:02:45 AM »
I'm so sorry your 4x4 failed. :( The story looked really good!

On the other hand, I'm glad it's getting updated again.

But it will be better once I tighten up my narrative! And maybe I get to mix things up because I got a female heiress this time. (I got to two in that last attempt, and they were both guys)

I'm glad to be here! I actually have to thank my girlfriend for me getting interested in updating again; I've been bouncing ideas off her recently. And yes, she's read the beginning of the story and seems to be a fan.

Bryant could easily have ruined Phil's birthday and then made another new enemy for life, lol. So Phil started his eyeliner craze as a child, I was expecting it during his teen days. I had also assumed he was the King of Kings, oh well, if it means a new character I'm all for it.

Ah, I misread your last comment. Of course Phil gets to rule too, in some way, for some time. How else would he have been the Emperor of Evil?

He just has someone powerful to knock down...

I had to get him started young on looking flamboyant. Plus, it's a throwback to his ancestry, because great-grandpa Harwood wore a lot of eyeliner too.



Chapter 120: Two Good-Byes



She should have seen the signs.

Tegan was remarkable in that she was one of the two confirmed only children in the family. Annette might have been, but we assumed that she came from a family of eight frat boy brothers instead. But yes, Tegan did not know the sweet memories of watching a younger sibling grow up. She poured her secrets onto the elders instead. She also adored her parents without a critical word.

For as much time as she spent around her mother, Tegan should have learned about sibling dynamics. Lily stood in stark contrast, at that point with ten or twelve younger siblings she grew up alongside or watched grow up. Unlike most who were the eldest in a large set, Lily had to watch them die. The Reaper tapped the shoulders of most of her 25 or 30 total siblings. She watched few of them, but read the obituaries. At that point? She had long since gotten past grieving Janelle and Selene Kindle.

She and Franco ventured to the swamp one afternoon. The Kindles had lived there for a while, in the old Bayless house. Poor Franco knew that the house had a way of attracting the bereaved. Unfortunately, there weren’t any unrelated attractive bereavers there. That was just a one-time prize. But bereavers there were, and the closest family had to pay their condolences.



“Hey, sorry about everyone in my family calling you an ugly freak,” Lily said to Felix, whose face softened a touch with old age. “But that was never me. And I’m sorry to hear about Nellie too.”

“It’s a lot more peaceful without her,” he said.

“Oh. I mean, she had her nice moments-”

“Lily, don’t try to gloss over this to me. Do it to yourself.”

“Fine, ya toolbag,” she told him. She would have left right there if it wasn’t for Franco insisting on staying.



He and Kraig shared a hug over their losses. Losing a parent was hard too; both was a special level of torture that Franco didn’t want to understand for himself. However, Kraig could take solace in that he’d always have a grandfather and an aunt, for the rest of his days.

So what does this say about us? Maybe it’s about how jaded some of the older ones got. Watching loved ones and family die is part of the territory and I think we all accepted that better than most would. A sense of apathy comes with it as well, the more you see it. That’s my guess, anyways, because I watched only two people die and it got better for a different reason. But after consoling their surviving relatives, Franco and Lily seemed unaffected by Nellie’s death after the initial announcement.

And there lied the problem of the day: they should have cared. Not necessarily because of Nellie, but because it said something about how much time had gone by. She was a lucky woman who lived to a healthy old age, but in comparison to the others in the house, how old was she?

Her death was forgotten amongst the surge of youthful energy that flowed through the main Waverly house.



Phil turned out to be a mischievous boy at first, though not more harmful than that. He loved rigging the showers with dye he picked up from the shops. The elders liked taking him out. His big grey eyes and chubby cheeks got him plenty of attention, and as a rich boy, he got his pick of whatever he wanted to buy. A box of Electric Fuchsia dye didn’t look out of place with the haul of Midnight Black and Nutmeg to keep the elders looking younger.

Annette caught him in the act before someone took a shower, which was going to be her to get the smell of the previous night’s moonshine off her.



“What, you want us with hair more colorful than our skin?” she asked him, seeming like she was full of true, mildly-sober anger.

“Yeah. I think it’s funny,” Phil said. “The look on your face would have rocked.”

“You really think so, kid?”

“Yeah.”

Annette then bent down to pinch his cheek. “Of course it would have been! Your old gram is just messing with you.”

“Can I try what you’re drinking?” Phil asked, with a cheeky grin.

“Wait until you’re a teen. I won’t get shunned for that, at least.”



Aside from trying to cause childish mischief, he decided to be less like he wanted to start the next Gambino crime family and more like a child. His parents bought him a treehouse, which he cooped himself up in a lot.



It was a way for a short kid to feel like a boss. Like he was in control of his tower, until Tegan and Hephaestus had to explain what two adults could possibly be doing up there.



But he had a world of toys and games, of enrichment and a good sphere of influence. Which is why the whole family absorbed some of that and forgot about aging and death.

Hephaestus definitely did. He tutored Phil through his homework each night, and got mistook for his grandfather most times when he picked his son up from school. While Lily spent days carving ice sculptures for the Mayor’s annual gala, Hephaestus took the job of sculpting Phil. In between trying to get his nose right, they played video games. They both laughed together and seemed like the most lively father-son duo in town.

The immortals ended up doing most of the housework out of boredom, but Hephaestus did what he could. He made the beds, or at least his own. He bent over one afternoon to smooth out the blankets after a nap. After that, what could he do? It was a weekend, so Tegan was home. They could mess up those bedsheets again! Or go out for dinner. But he also felt weak in the knees and more weightless than even a scrawny old man should feel.



“Oh god,” he muttered. “Why…not now, okay?”

No, for poor Hephaestus, it had to happen then. They’d spent ages telling him that he was old. It was true, and one mark was passed: he got too old. And Grim hadn’t missed the directions to the Waverly house that time.



“I don’t want her to see this,” he said, thinking that it was just to himself.



That last wish was certainly not going to be honored. Hearing a spectral noise that she was all too familiar with, Tegan bolted into their room, where she swore she heard the source. Her heart pounded in her chest as she kept telling herself “relax, it’s just another job. Everyone’s fine. [/i]It’s a coincidence[/i].”



“Oh dear god, no,” she whispered, holding back a sob. “No, no, it can’t be today!”

Perhaps in a sad attempt to lighten the atmosphere, Grim got his coordinates off by a few feet. They heard him, but that black cloud was nowhere in sight.

Ah yes, he ended up in Lily’s room instead. Unphased, he called out for his newest victim.

“Hephaestus Taylor Carlton Waverly, it is time to join the darkness!” he bellowed, into the empty room. “Come with me to join those who have since passed from this mortal earth.” And at his command, Hephaestus followed him, through the wall, and into Lily’s room to face his final foe.



He knelt down, pleading as many did. “Look, I want this delayed, just for a little bit. I mean, you see me. I have a young wife, and a child, and...and you spared my father-in-law for the same reason! I just can’t cope with this. I finally felt like I was living after being in some twisted hell for so long-”



“I have heard all these complaints before, Mister Waverly,” said Grim. “But life is a twisted hell. Can you not see it in the faces of your own family? How they become empty, drunk shells of themselves more each and every day?”

“Well maybe it could be better one day. But I just had six years with her. You can’t blame me for wanting more,” said Hephaestus.

“I will let them decide that later. But let me take you with your dignity today.”

Tegan was able to listen to it through the walls, while bawling like a two year-old for the whole time. And everyone else stalled in joining her. After it was over, only then did Piper and Phil walk into her bedroom, in response to her.

“Did it happen?” Piper asked.



“I WANT A FEW MORE YEARS TOO!” Tegan sobbed. A tear rolled down Piper’s cheek too.

“Oh god, I’m sorry,” she said to Tegan.



Phil started to cry like his mother did. “Au-Auntie Piper, can you take me out for some ice cream?” Which is what she did.

Tegan, however, managed to get dressed and go downstairs to the rest of her family, who heard the news and already started planning the burial.

“Honey, I’m...I’m beside myself,” said Lily, opening her arms for a hug. Tegan fell into them and Lily’s motherly warmth.

“It was just too short with him.”

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, no...I need to get out,” Tegan said. “Call if I’m not back within the next few days.”

“Well, where you off to?” Lily asked. “Just in case I need to look.”

“Somewhere outside? Honestly, you know what this is like. How about you leave me alone?”

To drown her sorrows n Tegan sought out not whiskey nor hard cider, but a styrofoam cup of hot apple cider. The mulled beverage was a hit at the Fall Festival each year, and she swore that they finished setting up the day before. Alas, not even that simple pleasure helped. The Fall Festival was slated to start the next day. God, how could she forget when the equinox was?



Still, the trees and weeping willows were always beautiful that time of the year. On that peaceful Sunday afternoon, Tegan could people-watch too. An old couple fed the pigeons before heading inside the consignment store, and some young children ran past her. Maybe Phil knew them, and maybe he could use their company. But Tegan didn’t bother to ask, especially when she spotted something far worse out of the corner of her eye.

It couldn’t be, could it?



He kept his blue denim jacket for all those years. Bryant stood there in the park, as if a psychic sense told him that Tegan was a widow as of an hour ago. That vulture, how dare he try to break the terms of his parole like that? She always wished for the day when he would be gone, and his stay outlasted her own first marriage.

That settled it. She learned to have something of a spine on her fake wedding night, and with five years to hone that strength, Tegan had to stretch. She needed Bryant gone. Gone in her time of need, and gone in whatever joy she could find down the road too.

She approached him, walking with a stern, professional stance. “Bryant, you need to leave,” she said. Her feelings needed to be expressed in no uncertain terms. “You know that this makes me uncomfortable, and I haven’t forgiven you for anything you’ve done.”

“Not even a little bit?” he asked. “You seemed to have been doing well.”

“Sure I was, but don’t be a vulture. Now go, if you know what’s legally good for you.”

“Maybe I just want some advice, okay?”

“And you want it from me?”

“Look, this was a coincidence. I saw you here while getting groceries,” he said. “And it’s been five years or so.”

“You wanted to forcibly impregnate me before being arrested,” she said, between clenched teeth. “Need I remind you of everything you did? Multiple counts of assault, harassment, and years worth of those at that-”

“Therapy helps,” he said, cutting her off.

“Five years won’t cut it.”

“It’s helped, though. I mean, I’m looking for programming jobs now, and there’s this other woman too.”

Tegan held back the responses of “How?” and “What did you do to hurt her?” But she couldn’t leave some mystery woman to suffer just so she could have her peace for once. But she wanted her peace, and Bryant needed to prove that there was some in him too.

“What have they gone over with you in therapy?”

“Entitlement, anger, jealousy, mental illness. It’s what I get in return for walking free, ain’t it nice?”

“I dunno. What’s her name?”



“Viv,” he said. His mouth curled into a genuine smile. “Viv Hacker. Funny thing about her last name...she’s a sys-admin from Starlight Shores, still lives there. It’s a long-distance thing.”

“I remember that you hated me being on your level,” Tegan said. “Look, I want to be happy for you, but you’ve never been aware of what I’ve been through. And I’d find Viv’s address before I’d let you touch her. I’m not happy for either of you.”

“Of course you shouldn’t be. I don’t want to lose someone this time! I need your help with this, Tegan.”

“And why should I help you?”

“Because...because she’ll help me get over it. And once I’m off probation, I can move over there. It’s halfway across the country from you, we’ll both be happy. Like, I think this will help the both of us.”

“You want to keep Viv?” Tegan asked. “Look back hard on the last 30 years of your life, and don’t be that man.”

“What are you saying?” Bryant asked.



“That I want you, screw it, everyone to be happy. I might not feel it now, but I’m open to it happening. But you don’t make people happy. So you want advice? Don’t be a sore loser.”

“Like, if she rejects me?”

“It’s unfair, but...life goes on. Even if you lose the most precious thing in your life, there’s a lot ahead of you. Be open, listen to her and to everyone at least once before doing anything more drastic. Um, talk about this to your therapist and listen to them too.”

“See, even you can be civil to me for once,” remarked Bryant.

“Because I want you out of my life, and maybe Viv is the way out.”

“So, why don’t you look at one thing about yourself, since you’ve been so critical.”

“Okay?”

“Don’t let one person ruin your life. From what I’ve seen, you got a lot of it to live. So maybe stop letting me occupy your mind too.”

“What, you think I’m secretly obsessed with you? Bryant, that’s just plain offensive!”

“Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. But you’re half the reason your life has been mostly ruined. You couldn’t just leave me alone.”

Fighting back the urge to deliver Lily-style justice on Bryant, Tegan loosened herself a bit. Her fingers no longer were halfway to curling up into a fist.



“I’m tired of being your enemy. Just don’t mess this up with Viv. If you like her, and she likes you back, then it deserves to work well,” said Tegan. “But I’ll move on with my life if you move on with yours. No party-crashing, no past antics, nothing. I want us both to have a life-”

“Fine.” He cut her off again.

“Because, well, you are right. I have a lot of one left to live.”

I think that statement set the tone for the final days of reaching immortality for Tegan. For it to come from Bryant unsettles me too, but I think it helped her. It would dishonest to say that she didn’t hurt after losing Hephaestus, and downright disrespectful too. They shared a love that I don’t understand, but then again, a lot of the immortals did. But I will say this: Tegan dwelled on the past less than the others before her did. She drank just for the social benefits. Most of her woes dwelled in the present, after the initial grieving period.



Still, going to bed alone was the toughest part for anyone. And leaving the past where it belonged just meant that she needed dirt to fill her hole.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,703
Word Count so far: 254,778
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 120, 2/26)
« Reply #554 on: February 27, 2015, 09:26:35 AM »
I'd love to have see Annette with bright pink hair, pity she caught Phil before he could do anything.  Aw, RIP Heph  :'( I get Tegan no longer wants to have such a bad relationship with Bryant, such a shame it had to be after her husband's death.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 120, 2/26)
« Reply #555 on: February 27, 2015, 05:50:09 PM »
Sigh...even though I knew it was coming...it still sucks. Rest in peace, Heph.

And there goes my favorite non-immortal. :(

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 121, 3/1)
« Reply #556 on: March 01, 2015, 05:52:48 PM »
I'd love to have see Annette with bright pink hair, pity she caught Phil before he could do anything.  Aw, RIP Heph  :'( I get Tegan no longer wants to have such a bad relationship with Bryant, such a shame it had to be after her husband's death.

Plenty of the kids set traps, but I don't have any screencaps of Annette getting caught, if she ever did (I truly forget).

That whole scene was the most random thing. I took her to the park in hopes of getting some screenshots of her moping, but Bryant was there and she turned her head towards him. Before I wrote him as a totally nasty character, it ended with them hugging and coming to a better truce.

Sigh...even though I knew it was coming...it still sucks. Rest in peace, Heph.

And there goes my favorite non-immortal. :(

I know...we all loved Nellie. But she'll forever be in our hearts. <3

:P

Nah, Heph's death was one of the saddest for me too.



Chapter 121: Clean to Eileen



It is not shocking to say that something is bothering me.

I never thought that reading about my family would be a break from that. Because for years, they bothered me more than leaking faucets and stove burners left on bother me. But reading about the end of Tegan’s adulthood isn’t bothersome. She’d hard to hate and easy to pity. It’s hard to have a heart when someone like Phil fathered me, but I have enough of one for Tegan and the other Pollyannas of the world.



So, no, it is not the reading that is bothering me right now. Annette’s attitudes towards Piper are still difficult to swallow, but that is the only reaction I can have to them. No, what bothers me is work.

Arthur gets to play chauffeur for us. He’s a jack of all trades, from what I see. For the tender age of 28, I have to applaud him for that. Still, the beloved chauffeur and cleaner often seems distant. Just two nights ago, he gave me a death glare until Moira got into the car. Now Moira is as cheerful as ever around me. Arthur hasn’t said more than five words to me for the last two jobs. It is a passive kind of animosity; he hasn’t left me for dead. He still cleans up my messes when I’m helping Moira steal incriminating evidence. But it still hurts.



Dad sits down next to me, with a fresh taunt on the tip of his tongue. “Guess who knows something about Moira that you don’t?”

“Typical Phil,” I say, shaking my head. That could be a reason Arthur’s been distant: dad extorted him for information, and he’s just grown more bitter. We all have our quirks, don’t we?

“See? I never thought the day would come.” He laughs it all out. I slouch over in disappointment.

“Well, I’ve been chummy with everyone so much more,” I say. “I bet I can get it myself.” What’s stopping me from doing it later today? Eileen works at home, and unless she’s out on a court case or at jail, I have her answers. No one would know Moira like her twin.

I do it close to sunset. But first, I go upstairs to grab one small thing. Even smaller than a potato wedge, there's my flash drive. 32GB dedicated to a few text files and, of course, the digital manuscript and images of Eight Ways. I tuck it into my waistband.



The walk there is easy. Waiting for someone to answer the door isn’t. The door is unlocked, and I’m not waiting another five minutes for Eileen, wherever in the house she is. She has to be in there, considering that a crime queen’s niece would know better than to leave the door of her posh, urban house unlocked while she’s gone.

No one chases me as I walk down the hall, but some voices grow a little louder, from silence to a muffled conversation about either law or the last baseball game. At the end of the hall is Eileen’s office, and I get more and more sure that she’s in there. It’s a conversation about law. There have to be some confidentiality rules in place, preventing me from opening the door and waiting for her while she navigates and bends the law.

I gingerly open the door. It creaks. They definitely can hear me.



I walk in anyways.

“...And it’s a complicated case, Enrique,” Eileen says. “But if you can excuse me for a second, I don’t think this is the right place to talk about that.” She glares in my direction.

“Listen, Eileen,” I say. She cuts me off.



“Josephine, this is a confidential meeting. Get out of my office.”

“How much longer will this take? I have important things to discuss too.”

She gives Enrique a look, with a glare of apology in her eyes. “I’ll try to make this quick,” she says. She gets up from her office chair, gives me a light push out the door, and closes it in my face.

So this might not be the best time to ask her about her sister’s dark secrets. In fact, maybe I am as evil as my dad about this. He got them through extortion, and to be fair, the only tactic I can think of is to wear Eileen down about it too. But I have the written word on my hands, and in a flash drive as long as my pinky finger. It’s not extortion when it’s bargaining.

That is probably something my dad would say too.

While I wait, I watch the Roaring Heights sunset from her big, wall-length windows. That spectacle has yet to grow old. I also watch Enrique nearly sprint out the door. I don’t know which of us scared him, if it was us, but I wish him well.

Eileen, who wears heels, is easy to hear as she approaches. I finally get a good look at her eyes, which are jolted with frustration, enough so that I wonder how she’s even seeing straight. Tonight is not a good night for this.

“Josephine, I don’t want you here,” she says. “Not even in my parlor.”

“Not even for a simple bargain?” I ask. She snaps, looking like she’s threatening to knock over her coffee table.



“I’ve been suspicious of you for a long time. Like, I was hoping I’d get through to you about that a while ago. Arthur can’t even talk to you anymore. You’re suspicious as hell and I’m not playing nice about it any more.”



“What if I have something for you?” I ask.

“I don’t care if you’re offering me the deed to SimCo Synergy’s building downtown!”

“So why won’t either of you tell me what’s wrong?”

“Because...because...Christ, we’re scared to death of you.”

I’m not stranger to breaking down sobbing on a couch, but I didn’t think of Eileen as the type who would. Alas, she does something close enough, sitting down on her sofa and leaning over trying to rationalize. Rationalize me.



“I thought you were playing some sick joke at first,” she says. “You know, you look like my side of the family, erroneously took the wrong last name, and tried to see how far you’d make it here? I thought I could play along with it. And I did. I bailed you out! But you mentioned something about a Tegan in your family, and kept getting stories from Moira, and it made me wonder and fear for what you are. Look, I’m just scared for my livelihood. Tough thing to understand, huh?”



“What do you know about me?” I ask her.

“That’s the scary part. I don’t know anything at all, and I don’t know how I could defend myself if you’re just here to attack, or harm, or sabotage the business. You’re a mystery.”

“Well, you are too. It’s why I like you,” I say.

“And what’s so great about me to you? Why do I matter when I’m just a young lawyer?”

“It’s a long story.” I get up, fidgeting. I know I prepared to tell her that story, but there's the uncertainty. Will she kill me for it? Out me as someone more sinister?

“You’re from a different time. So, I’ll stay positive about this. I’ll play a guessing game...are you Bridget’s daughter?”

“I never knew about Bridget,” I say. “She was a surprise, but you weren’t as much of one. I remember when I first heard your name, in fact.”

“So they knew me,” Eileen says.

“I guess they did. My great-great-great-grandmother was still around, and she got raging drunk a lot. It was one of those nights.”

“Raging drunk...oh god, Moira’s your gram?”

“I knew her as Annette.”

“You know that’s just her middle name over here, right?” I nod in response. “Well, how much snooping were you doing?”



“I took Moira home one night, that night at the Tarnished Jazz. You were busy with Tank, but someone needed to take her home. I did, and she had a photo album out in the open. Full of pics and birth certificates, and that’s how I found it out.” Eileen stares daggers at me.

“For the love of god, that’s something I stoop to when the times get tough. What the hell is wrong with you? She might screw up a lot, but she’s my sister, and you’d rather take a leak on my privacy and rummage through my family memories? You know my parents are dead, right? You won’t even let them rest in peace with this-”

I cut her off and stare a few daggers back. “Your sister called you a tramp. She called you a tramp when she was old Annette in Twinbrook, and she called you a tramp just a few mornings ago to my face. She thought that you were just some miserable beard that killed herself at 23, or a miserable beard still living now. She didn’t think too kindly of you either.”

“Look, I know this,” says Eileen. “I don’t like what she said, but she’s been through a lot herself. So I am a tramp in a sham marriage, it’s my life. She’s improved a lot in the last few years.”

“I hate to think about what she was like before that.”

“Sibling rivalry is a funny thing. I mean, she’s my twin. We mostly grew up as best friends, but something happened later down the line. It’s like she snapped and suddenly I was hogging the limelight.”

“I’d love to hear your story. I mean, it’s why I’m here,” I say. “If you’re willing to tell it, anyways.”

“Maybe to Moira’s, god, great-great-great-granddaughter,” she says. “How does that even happen?”

“There’s time travel, if you wait for long enough.”

“Believe me, I bet my aunt got that covered a long time ago.” I recall what Maeve told me, what she knows. Which is a lot about that future I’m from. Eileen is right.



“True, but we got it covered after a while. But, you mean it?” I ask.

“Depends what you have for me, since you mentioned that. I would like to own SimCo Synergy.” A small laugh breaks her aura of defeat.

“I’d like to buy it too. I used to be richer. But what I have, is here.” I get the flash drive out of its snug place in my waistband. “I got hopeful when I saw that you have a computer in your basement.”

“Oh, it’s an old machine. I think it has USB, but it’s pretty bare-bones for programs. Hell, if I want to write my reports on it, I’m using WordStar on DOS.”

“I like DOS too. They’ll work with it.”

“How long is it?” she asks.

“It’s the longest book I’ve ever written. There are just a few chapters that apply to you. You can find them…TBK, Outside The Door...Don’t Be Eileen.” I choke a bit, trying to tell her that.

“I guess things didn’t get better for her,” she says. “How long will this take to get on the machine?”

“Provided it will work, probably a while. Do it in your own time, I don’t mind. I just want to come clean to you, to Arthur, to anyone else whom it may concern. Just, let me be the one to reveal this.”

“I’m good about secrets,” she says. “You remember your way down there?”



I get on the machine and do it for her, considering that I know which files I need. “Estimated time, two hours for everything.”

“That long?” she asks.

“It’s images too. Lots of images, photos that the family took of events...I got better with written descriptions over time. I can leave the drive here overnight, pick it up next time I’m here, or you can mail it to me. I don’t mind.”

“That sounds good. We’ll find a good place to talk, maybe with Arthur? Me being angry is just me being angry; that man’s on the edge about you right now. I’ve seen him harm people, not that they didn’t deserve it, but the guy’s strong.”

“I’ve seen. That sounds nice,” I say.

No less than a minute after arriving at home, I get a call. I had the landline phone repaired after I smashed it. It could be bill or rent collection, so I answer it. An ambiguous voice answers to me, sounding muffled and altered.

“Ms. McGrail wants you at the warehouse,” it says. “As soon as you can.”

“Did she give a reason?” But they hang up without a reply.

I mean, it could be for my own execution, but that will probably happen if I don’t heed her order either. If I die tonight, I die at peace with Eileen, which is better than if I died last night, right? I make my way there, by foot. It’s dark by the time I get there on foot, considering that it is through the center of town and down a winding road towards the coast.



When I get to the entrance, it’s locked. No one answers for me, but I swear I hear someone speaking near the docks. Or three people, as I’m able to pick out some distinct voices: one posh, one with a southern twang, and one hoarse with a similar southern twang. I get suspicious. We Waverlys all had accents like that. And I’ve known a couple of posh-sounding folk too.

I tiptoe over to get a better view, to confirm my dreadful suspicions. They’re standing there, all wearing dark clothing that makes them silhouettes until I get as close as I can.



I crane my neck to get the best view possible. A sickening feeling develops in my stomach, only placated by how the worst two have their backs to me.

Making out their conversation is hard from this distance. At first, it seems like they can’t hear me either, or see me. However, it doesn’t take long to lock eyes with one.



She pouts and looks away as soon as she does. My own daughter, following me here and looking like hell while she does. Even if I can’t decipher much of their conversation--just words but not the subjects--I can see her. My Olive is a wreck. It looks like she hasn’t showered in a week. All she has is a torn old shirt and jeans.

I finally can understand something, from Olive. Um, that’s great, but I’m scared of that Maeve. This has to have gotten her on edge.

So the plot thickens. Thanks for that.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,433
Word Count so far: 257,211

I was meaning to get one more main chapter in before this, but one had screenshots and one didn't. :P

Follow-up to come soon! I hope.

Also, finished another revision block. Chapters 21-28 are revised...mostly. I skipped Chapter 26 because I don't like it and I think it's unsalvageable, honestly. But the rest should read better.

Finally, thank you so much for 40,000 views!
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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 121, 3/1)
« Reply #557 on: March 03, 2015, 08:41:32 AM »
What is going on now, and Jo's daughter is dragged into it too - I'm really curious to find out  ;) And congratulations on 40k views!
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 122, 3/4)
« Reply #558 on: March 04, 2015, 10:05:32 PM »
What is going on now, and Jo's daughter is dragged into it too - I'm really curious to find out  ;) And congratulations on 40k views!

Hopefully this chapter will explain it!

I was on Skype with my girlfriend when I noticed it and we both cheered. It sounds like a lot, but something I have to remember that it's actually less than 1/10th of the views that the Dreamweavers have. And still less than some other dynasties too. I'm still just a blip on the radar. :P



Chapter 122: Baroness



Telling Maeve about what I saw last night is a terrible idea. But, she has to have some terrible ideas for me anyways. Without knowing everything about what she knows, I’m going assume that she has the equivalent of Eight Ways as an audiobook.

I don’t blame Eileen for finding someone who knows more scary. I don’t blame anyone for finding Maeve imposing, as I did from from the start. But I’m either going to die ignorant or die defending myself from her schemes. It’s time to face Maeve, one on one.

I go there in the morning. For the sake of dramatic atmosphere, I do wish that the day was darker out. I wish for a cold rain. Alas, I run to Maeve’s manor under the cover of an azure sky and 80 degrees of Roaring Heights warmth and sunshine.

I’ve stopped taking the taxi, at least for the complete route, because I felt bad for the cabbies. Who wants to explain to a higher power about those routes? To the secluded property of a highly suspected crime baroness? So I go half the route in a car, and half the route on my feet. One might say it’s symbolic. I took up running late in my life. Real running, that is, because I took a daily jog away from my problems long before that. I made it into a splendid habit.



Up her walkway I go, and it’s like she is a psychic. Maeve waits for me near the stairs as she leans on her cane. I don’t even trust her claims of disability at this point. She never told me how she got that way.

Still, I’m here to face Maeve. I climb up and greet her, forcing a smile that she sees right through. She lifts a brow out of curiosity as I try to say hello.

“I had a feeling you would need me this morning,” she says.



I try to keep my smile. “Well, ain’t that funny?” I say. “There really is a problem that I’m worried about, and it might involve you.”

“I know that this is about the warehouse, Josephine.”

“I...I might’ve had a feeling. You called me beforehand?” Maeve nods. “And they’re here. For you.” She repeats that action. “So, why? What have I done to you?”

“I always found one thing ironic about you. You are not a Curious, at least by name. That’s for Lily, and what is she doing? Staying in her own zone, sculpting, I keep an eye on her when I feel like it. But you? You do not seem to care at all about staying put. And you get scared at the smallest things. I thought I would scare you out of here.”

“Look, Maeve, I don’t like being scared. And I won’t be,” I tell her, staying tense and firm. “No one ever told me about the family, and now I’m getting what you want. I’m even doing your dirty work. Why would you want me gone? This whole secrecy thing was Annette’s deal, not yours.”

“I quite liked the secrecy,” Maeve says, with an airy calm to her voice. “I think it’s the one thing Annette and I have in common.”

“What are you trying to get at?”

“I did not want to be found. And your Annette had things she wanted to run away from. But those aren’t an issue for her now. I still wish I was an unknown to you, Josephine. But I have to deal with this a different way.”

“I never meant to find you. And I don’t deserve punishment for one little accident. Plus, I mean, you embraced me first. When I first met you, it was you that extended some diplomacy to me. What sort of alternate is that?”

“I don’t care what you know now,” she says. “Because I know how to not let it harm me. But I will say this; Olive, Meg, and that Welker lady? They originally worked to keep distance between me and the rest of you. And now, they’re just here to test you. I admire you not running away, because you might have bought yourself some more time.”

“I...Maeve, I don’t think this warrants...death,” I say, stuttering at a few words. “I-It’s...I don’t want you to hurt me.”



Her calmness is terrifying, and she keeps it. “Do you mind following me inside?” she asks me.

“For what?”

“A story you’ve never heard.”

“How much time have I been bought?” I ask her. “I’m not going into some kill room with you. I’m too smart to do that.”

“For one, I doubt that. And you’ve bought yourself longer than today. I do have a story.”

I shake a bit as she leads me through the door. As much as I fear for my life, I fear to from a woman who then has a pain-wracked face. Almost all her weight is born on that cane, and none on her right leg. Regardless of how she feels, she leads me into a dark study, close to the front door. I try to find a seat in the darkness, until she flicks on a light. Not for that room, but for a small addition. She gestures at me to come over.

“This is a special room to me,” she says. “I get my power from it.”



Idols stand, taking up much of the room. They’re all for goddesses and other female deities, or so I guess. And again, I see that veiled statue: Maire. The same one in Jamie’s hideout.

“I’ve seen that veiled one before,” I say.

“Yes, I know that you have visited Jamie’s office. He put it there for me. Maire is the dark goddess of the exiled. I’ve met her before. Also, I noticed that you were reading that book of yours, but I don’t know how far you are in it.”

“That’s none of your business.” I look away from her, and at one of the rocks in the small room.

“I know everything that is in it, just as well as you do,” she says. “So where are you?”

“When my grandfather died,” I answer.

“Yes, but which one? You documented both, as I recall.”

“Hephaestus.”

“Ah yes. Either way, you are past the first time travel sequence, and I am sure that you remember Albine. He is a god that many meet, and for a good reason, because he mandates time and order. So many people want to break it. He is powerful but he answers a few women. Come, Josephine, let’s sit down in there, in their presence.”



She takes a commanding posture in her seat, sticking her cane out in front of her. I sit about one foot away from the foot of her stick.

“Ah yes, many mortals worship as subordinates,” she says. “I worship in hopes of being one of them. And I make Albine tremble in fear. Do you know how I gather my knowledge? How I have watched every moment of your life? It is because he answers to me. I too exist to create order, even if just for my means, but through my work, I can part time just as he can. I can jump into the past and back again. In the blink of eye, I can go to watching a young Annette from behind the bushes to hovering over your granddaughter’s crib. I never wanted to see you mess up.”

“Then why can we, at least my family, do that now?” I ask her.

“I have one human equal, who put together as good of a case to Albine.”

“Does he answer to everyone here?” At least three female statues stand above us.

“Some of them are just folk heroines or spirits. But Maire is one of the most powerful. I seek exile and hiding as well, but I don’t want to be Maire. I am merely inspired by her, and not by the other things she offers. Comfort and safety are not for everyone. But I have met her, even if just to bypass her. She wants people to go through time for good, and you know me better than that by now.”

“Is this what you wanted to tell me?”

“No, it was a story about Annette, actually. Does it relate? I think it does.”

“Fine, I’m ready,” I tell her.

Before I was born, the family had a lot of time. If Annette wanted to duck out and travel, well, facing the TSA was her problem. But none of them would ask here where she was going either, or what for. She left one day for a short trip, with the only hint being the pair of shorts she packed in her bag. It wasn’t a ski trip up north, but her warm paradise was left to guess.

“How much has Moira told you about her life? Has she told you about Lucky Palms?” Maeve asks.

“I don’t think she has, at least not much,” I say.

“She lived there for a few years, with her first husband. Getting her to visit me there was difficult. There is a lot of baggage back there in the desert, but somehow, she agreed to after a while. I miss that time.”

“What was so great back then?”

“Control over everything, from her and her family to my right hip.”



Back in those days, Maeve looked the same as she does to me, at least in her age. Two lines in her face, around her cheeks, but that was it for markers of her adulthood. She dressed like a modern woman, however, with pants and her hair free from those tight curls. She also walked with a commanding, unassisted gait. And that afternoon, she waited until close to sunset for her guest, at a table overlooking the vast desert.



Annette sat with her back to her, at a different table. Maeve put her legs up on the table and smirked. “It is not like anyone remembers you,” she said to Annette. “Those days are long past you.”

“I’m breaking the law enough by getting here. Airlines keep blacklisting us,” Annette said. “Who knows who’s looking for you now? And if I’m conspiring with you, screw it, this whole mission’s over for me.”

“Fine, we can still talk this way. I have noticed that things have gone stagnant for you five,” she said. “Have you stopped caring?”

“I’ll let Phil decide on his own about things. I mean, they’ve probably figured it out by now. There isn’t anyone to save by finishing this. All of my fake stories are just that. Are...are you sensing a lack of ambition? Jesus, Maeve, let me deal with that.”

“Yes, I am indeed sensing that. Need I remind you why you’re there?”

Annette was about to answer, but her plate came. She got hungry and refused the airline food.

“I’m sorry, I’m starving over here,” she said, then taking her fork.

“I can wait, Annette. Just think about what I asked.”

She took a few bites of her dirty rice, until deciding that Maeve trumped the needs of her stomach.



“Need you remind me? You never gave me a reason, auntie. You preyed on a bad time I was going through and it just turned out to lead me somewhere great.” She huffed with defiance. “I mean, if you have it, tell me. I’m sober ‘cause I ended up on a dry airline and the TSA took my flasks. I’ll listen better now than I ever will.”

“Your drinking is another issue,” said Maeve. “However, you need to keep this in mind: I do jobs all over time. I have more money than you will ever have in Twinbrook, and I have a large account set up for you eight...once you have eight. If you and the others can finish the dynasty, you get twenty million simoleons to split between eight. Probably more by that time.”

“What, really? I thought that was all for you,” Annette said. “To scare people with.”



“I mean, it is for that too,” said Maeve, smirking and leaning back in her chair. “However, I have so much more than that. Setting aside that much money for you is easy for me.”

“And you’re serious?”

“I am serious.”

“So why?”

“I’m buying your silence, for one. And I want to buy Philip out. He knows a lot about these black markets we both deal in,” said Maeve.



“What, you fear him? For all the work he does, the kid’s set to collapse under his own vices without you,” Annette said. “I mean, you can see a lot. You’ve seen what he considers healthy workplace relations. Find one that doesn’t know what his bedsheets look like.”

“I’m not going to count on his demise, however. I feel like you all have forgotten that you are working towards something bigger. So this is my way of keeping you on track. It is easy to keep you under control when you’re focusing on a bigger prize.”

“What the crap, Maeve? Controlling us?”

“I am perfectly capable of operating without you. But I’d prefer you and your family out of my business. At first, I feel that is what this dynasty did for me and you. It gave you the new life you wanted, and enough of a distraction to keep me as just a distant thought while I did my work. And look where it got us, as we are both two wealthy women. But you can be like me if you exert some order and control. Give them a motive to go on, and let me buy their complacency.”

Annette got up from her seat, raging.



“No! I did this to get away from you, and Shaun, and all those people trying to use me.” Annette raised her arms as she went on to a calm, collected Maeve. But she had to give in. The arguing wore the old woman out.

“I am promising you 20 million. Between the eight of you, that is 2 and a half million simoleons each. Maybe I explained control in the wrong way. Are you thinking that I'm going to be an active ruler? I would rather not have to be, if I can control you with a simple goal to work towards.”

“Well, maybe you should have said that sooner,” said Annette.

“Perhaps. And now a question about you: how does that recipe work?” asked Maeve.

“Repairs your telomeres, heals physical injuries, leaves you saggy and old otherwise. Kind of a crap deal, but I’ll live.”

“So, about my offer?”

“I-I’ll think about it tonight.” She left Maeve to leave a tip inside.

Annette left to get drunk, according to Maeve, because she could smell the gin that spilled on her shirt from a mile away. They both stayed near the lake, renting separate houseboats for the weekend. Maeve leaned on a streetlight in a nearby parking lot. Even inebriated, Annette spotted Maeve with clarity.

“I’m too drunk to decide!” she said.

“I could tell,” said Maeve. “Thank goodness you have something to heal your liver.”

“I’d rather be drunk than dead, ya know?”

“I think I can back off for one thing. I would love your recipe, maybe for one of my cooks back home,” said Maeve.

“No!”

“You might be under the influence, but can you please think this through? Wouldn’t you want your old aunt to have a way to heal herself?” Maeve then found herself flung against the lamp post.



“It’s my recipe, mine!” Annette said it after pinning Maeve to the post, even though she let go and let her words keep her aunt in place.



“Don’t you know how many others have it, then?” asked Maeve, in an odd act of desperation. Elderly Annette had a strong hold on her.

“They don’t work like mine,” said Annette. “I do my research when I’m sober. You gotta work to deserve it.”

“I can take your money!” Maeve snarled. “I can destroy your husband’s spirit. I can find a way to resurrect Shaun, for all you care! I can ruin your life, but maybe I won’t if you give me your secret.”

“I’m not afraid of your bluffing, auntie. Y’all just want to scare me, but I’m too old to scare. Ha. I got you there.”

“I know how you are when inebriated. I can get you to agree with this. I want healing alongside my youth, and maybe if we talk-”

“I never expected her to do that,” Maeve says to me. “I can still hear the sound. Me against the pavement, and my right hip cracking. It shattered right at that moment.”

Annette punched Maeve down, hard against the asphalt. Maeve never screamed like that before, but she screamed until she was hoarse. She set off a few car alarms. Her entire right side might as well have been paralyzed, as the pain was too much.



“You don’t screw with me and my recipes, hun,” Annette said, standing over her injured aunt.



“I can’t believe you! You know when your family will see that money? When you’re in the ground, Annette, when you are rotting and buried! Oh, dear Christ.” She inhaled, trying to keep herself calm again until someone, anyone who heard her, called for help. “You broke it, you stupid drunk. And you won’t even heal me.”

“Darn straight. So what? I have millions anyways. I don’t need you. Enjoy your wheelchair, auntie.” Annette walked away before the entire emergency force of Lucky Palms came to Maeve’s aid. “And, just to show you, I won’t fail this. You just watch!”

“And that, Josephine, should explain my cane,” says Maeve. “It was Annette’s own intoxicated strength. But I think this should tell a story, that I do have your interests at heart. I believe that you wouldn’t have even been born without her rage against me carrying the dynasty on. I think she wanted that big empire, but your dad seemed to not care less until given a reason to settle down. I made your family work, and all because of the power I wield.”

“Are you trying to say that I should appreciate what you do?” I ask her.

“Yes, Josephine. Myself and my power is not just a force for evil.”



“But what does this mean for the future? You threatened me.” I still want to cry.

“That will stay a secret,” she says. “I think I have nothing else to say. I wish I could hide you from this industry, and keep you safe and exiled. But all I can do is try to control you. All that is left is to ruin your life with control.”

“I think I’m done here too,” I say, meekly, as I slide out the arch.

So that confirms it. All I can do is work and stay in the best graces I still can. All I can do is get those left to sway on my side. And most importantly, I can get my unfinished business with Moira done. She has a chance for a better life than what she has.



But for me? I don’t doubt the existence of Maire, the Goddess of the Exiled. But I doubt her power, because someone, something rules in her place.



Word Count for this chapter: 3,224
Word Count so far: 260,435
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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 122, 3/4)
« Reply #559 on: March 05, 2015, 08:22:36 AM »
Did not expect Annette to be the one who paralysed Maeve, and I don't believe for a second she'll ever get her hands on the ambrosia recipe. 40k is still a great achievement  ;D
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Offline notjustabook

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 122, 3/4)
« Reply #560 on: March 05, 2015, 11:43:39 AM »
Goodness, I finally managed to get caught up! You writing simply fills me with joy as usual, and I always crack a smile when one of my poses appear.
I do like Tegan so much. The poor darling. But generally all your characters are so well-written. I can't wait for more :)



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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 123, 3/8)
« Reply #561 on: March 08, 2015, 05:42:53 PM »
Did not expect Annette to be the one who paralysed Maeve, and I don't believe for a second she'll ever get her hands on the ambrosia recipe. 40k is still a great achievement  ;D

Obviously she didn't. Maeve would be smarter than to get her magic healing meal and then re-break her hip just to have a story for Jo. :P

It does feel pretty great. Onwards to 50k!

Goodness, I finally managed to get caught up! You writing simply fills me with joy as usual, and I always crack a smile when one of my poses appear.
I do like Tegan so much. The poor darling. But generally all your characters are so well-written. I can't wait for more :)

Yeah, I end up using your poses a lot. I have so many installed, but I always fall back on the same ones. ::)

Aww, thanks!



Chapter 123: The Secret Garden



“Dressing up while mourning is pointless,” said Annette.



Tegan looked back at her, with a pout. Wearing heels and her favorite formal dress? She had a reason to. “I’m going somewhere nice,” she said. “I’m gonna have one drink, play one game of Poker, and just cry the rest of the time.” Hephaestus’ death was still recent, especially in her heart. It had just been a week or two. Some things were better, though. True to his word, Bryant left her alone. She never saw him, except driving to the business tower for that programming job he talked about. If given the choice between eternal loneliness and him, Tegan  would sprint towards the former. Alas, she had a choice. She expected it come years or even a century down the line, from a newcomer with sparkling violet eyes perhaps.

So when she went out to the lounge that night, she wanted just that one drink. The thrill of a gamble would be shared with someone plain and friendly at best.



Her distant cousin of-sorts, Lynn, manned the bar upstairs that night. The whole town read the obituaries. He mixed her a free drink for her troubles. “Sorry to hear about him,” he said. “I think our most expensive drink will help!” Tegan looked at the cocktail, which was an overpriced nectar cooler with a heart-themed swizzle stick in it.

“A romantic drink?” she asked. “Lynn, I don’t need this.”

“They’re usually a break-up drink. I don’t have a widow drink, so I had to make do.”

“Well, I appreciate it. Thanks.”

That was her one time of experimenting with the Waverly way of coping. Wash down grief and hope they pee it out the next morning. Even with the sugar, it slid down her throat with an alcoholic burn. Tegan shook with anticipation for the relief. Instead, she felt less steady when walking down stairs, and wanted to say something honest about the pianist’s skills that night. Life with liquor actually felt like hell. It didn’t hug Tegan at night or soothe her after a nightmare. It didn’t make love to her after a long day in the lab.

She had to have been driven to the Lounge by some force of good, though. The place was more than its drinks. For one, it was also its gambling and the thrill of blowing thousands of simoleons in one sitting.



Tegan had actual millions to blow, but she didn’t because that wouldn’t be nice to the family. Her game of poker was against Miguel Whelohff and...someone blonde. Even in times of joy, Tegan would welcome a game against her beloved Whelohff friends, but she knew Miguel only in passing. He was the uncle of Anderson and Mickey and Grace and the others she went to school with, but her knowledge of him ended there. She would give a lot to cry on their shoulders, but Miguel's? Why burden him with that?

“Sorry about your loss,” said Miguel.

“Thanks,” Tegan said.

“No, I mean about your last move. You just lost four thousand.”

“You know what? Whatever. Uh, did you bring any of your nephews here?” she asked.

“Nah, it’s just me and some siblings. So we can’t help you?” asked Miguel.

“I can’t say I know much about you. I mean, I came here to try a drink, but I think I just need a friend that’s always been there for me. It’s just...hard to think of who it could be.”

“Need another drink, then?”

“Make it a rum and coke, minus the rum.”



A bottle of sweet pop satisfied a primal urge for sugar, but Tegan had to admit that consumption was a horrible way of dealing with grief. Whether she was guzzling coke or having some of Annette’s tiramisu for dessert, sugar wasn’t a person. It didn’t give her a sweet, warm embrace.

The night turned awful fast. It reminded Tegan of crushing loneliness and what all of the immortals had to go through. But they had a portion of their elder years to enjoy marriage and love. Well, all those before her did. She couldn’t turn to them and ask about what it’s like to lose before menopause.

But if only there was someone. She wasn’t counting on it.

When sheer hedonism failed to bring her out of grieving, Tegan turned towards the fire pit in the back of the lounge. She asked for some matches before going upstairs and outside. Lighting the fire, she sat down and hoped to stay warm, if nothing else.



She still wanted help. Tegan would give anything for a hug or kind words that night. She leaned over the fire because it seemed like the closest thing. It was warm and the burning logs smelled nice.

Franco told her the story about how he saved Hannah in her time of need, after her own loss. Perhaps Tegan was holding out for something like that. Maybe she was in the wrong place. She could curl up near the old Bayless house and wait. While it wouldn’t bring her a soulmate, her cousin Rachael lived there and Tegan could lean on her shoulder for a good sob.

Some footsteps off in the distance gave Tegan some hope. She lifted her head to greet that new stranger.

He looked like a stranger in the distance. In the darkness, she couldn’t make out his features or even those bright blue eyes. His haircut wasn’t one she had seen before; in silhouette, much of it looked swooped up and to his right. Build: chunky and strong, but that described a lot of men. Fashion: put together, which described very few men in Twinbrook. Certainly even fewer that she knew. He wore a tucked-in shirt and dress pants, with a belt buckle that shone a bit.



He took a seat next to her, and in the fire’s light, Tegan learned that he was now stranger. Keon got a makeover! He even started growing out a chinstrap and stubble. It made her smile, a little bit, anyways. He looked so much more handsome that way, she had to admit. While she knew that he revoked his fairy state some years before, it was hard for Tegan to get used to the change. She expected a pair of tiny, hot pink wings behind him.

“Hey there,” she said. “You know, I forgot that you and Miguel were siblings. He said he was here with some.”

“Yes he is. He’s a good brother to have,” Keon said. “I wish I knew you were coming here. I’ve been meaning to share my condolences. I loved Hephaestus. I mean, he was one of my math students too.”

“He really was something special. I appreciate it, Keon.”

“You look miserable.”

“I am miserable, you’re right.”

“Well, lemme see what I can do to help that.” He retreated back inside the lounge, only to come out five minutes later with a clenched hand.

He sat down again and opened his hand in front of Tegan, revealing one single marshmallow. “If you lit a fire, it only makes sense,” he said. “Hold that, I’ll get a willow branch for you.” And he did just that, breaking one in half so it was the right length for roasting a marshmallow on.



Keon poked the fire with the provided poker, to keep the flames going while Tegan’s marshmallow turned golden-brown. They talked while she waited for it to cook.

“I can see that you and grandpa met again,” she said.

“They guy knows his fashion, what can I say?” he said. “I like this haircut better. I can see out of it and everything.”

“So, this lounge will just give you a marshmallow if you ask?”

“I think you have to buy a drink first. I had a martini earlier tonight, so all I did was ask. Actually, you get to thank Franco for that. I think he ended up setting up the fire pit back here. Cold nights and stuff. I mean, redoing this place was his whole idea. I remember its grand opening after renovations. It fell right near my 18th.”

“That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?”

“Hard to think about that. I feel weird being older than your mum,” he said. “But in a sense, just your age.”

“We could have had a pretty long friendship together, you know,” said Tegan. “So why did you do it?” He could have told the truth then.

“Some stupid whim. Anyways, my mum was furious. She didn’t want to outlive me.”

“Yeah, losing a child is tough. At least there’s a name for those of us who lose spouses. Like, my grandma’s still around, but I can’t believe how long it’s been since my dad died. I still miss him sometimes. This whole week, I’ve wanted a big hug.”

“Maybe I can help when you’re finished with that marshmallow,” said Keon. “I have some exes. They all said that I give big hugs.”

“Definitely.”



She blew on the marshmallow to cool it down, and devoured its gooey sweet goodness right there. How thoughtful of Keon. Maybe sugar wasn’t a bad thing to cope with after all. But even better was his hug. Keon embraced and squeezed, and Tegan hung on and got a strong whiff of his cologne. Letting go of him felt hard, if she had to be truthful.



“So, I’ve hit a snag and I’m living with mum again,” said Keon. “But I bet she’d love to have you over one night. I’ll call when I have a free one.”

“That sounds great!” said Tegan.

She got the call a week or so later. It was a free night for her too. Phil stayed late at a friend’s house and the other immortals were on call for him. Even though it was getting colder out, she put on her favorite sundress and walked over to the Whelohff mansion. It was just down the road.

Rosy, Keon’s mother, greeted her at the door with a big smile, and dragged Tegan inside.



“We all want to share our condolences,” Rosy said. “I’ve been there, but you eventually find something to make it better.”

“Like a beautiful family?” asked Tegan.

“These guys could get me through anything.” She pointed back towards three of her grandkids chatting in the family room. “And I’ve known your family ever since they came here. They’re almost that good.”

“Yeah, they help.”

“So, you wanna see Keon? He’s out back in the garden,” said Rosy.



Tegan cracked a smile. “Why else would I be here?”

She approached the back door, and the faint sound of violin music grew as she drew closer. For all the time she spent at the Whelohff house with her old school friends, she never noticed their garden. They grew many flowering bushes. She still couldn’t place that violin music, though.



When she opened the doors and exited to the deck, Tegan found the source of the music. She should have remembered that Kisha from freshman year social studies was also a violinist. Kisha carried around her violin case on most days.

“Wouldn’t it be better to practice indoors?” asked Tegan. “It’s so cold out.”

Kisha paused her music. “I have my reasons. Look in front of you!”

Tegan herself paused, in wide-eyed amazement. Sure, she noticed the garden, and the paper lanterns, and the two trees that grew golden in the autumn cold. But there was one detail she missed, which pulled it all together.



“Oh my god!” she cried. “Oh my gawd...it’s beautiful.”



Keon stood there, reaching out for her. While some of that garden had to have been there before, he had to have done a lot of the work. Bribing Kisha to play violin for him. The lights, and the two new fountains near the pathway. It was perfect! And Tegan was won over. She ran towards Keon, reaching out herself to put a hand on his chest.



“I...is this for?” Tegan muddled her way through words. It was clear what he was aiming for.

“I almost don’t like feeling this way about you, but I have for so long,” said Keon.

“You mean, like that?”

“Love?”

“Yeah. You...you love me, Keon?”

“Is it okay to say that to someone who’s young enough to be my granddaughter? But dear god...I do. I have for so long.” She wrapped her arms around him after that.



“It’s too soon for this,” she whispered. “But lord, I need something in life. And, it can be you. Why can’t it be you? You’ve had my back for a while.”

“And you did all this for me? The makeover, the garden?” Keon nodded.

“How can I not like you after that?” She let go of her hold on him. Keon kept his eyes on Tegan, though.



“So, what do you say to it?” he asked. “I’m not gonna rush you, but you deserve something nice for a little longer. I can try to give that to you.”

“Please do,” Tegan said. “I mean, they’re right. It sucks being alone, and I never wanted it to happen so soon. I can’t even survive two weeks like this, at least not yet.”

“Does this mean I get something nice?”

“You mean, like a kiss?”

“Sure, like a kiss.”



It started by grabbing him around the chest, and him touching her upper arms. It felt warm and electric for her, lighting up a lonely patch in her life. And his lips, they felt great against hers. He had to have kept them moisturized, as they were soft to the touch and tasted like cherry-flavored chapstick.



When she pulled herself away, Tegan smiled a closed-mouth smile. “Alright, I think you came in at just the right time. And I’ll go with this.”

“You mean it?”

“I mean it.”



She meant it hard. Tegan didn’t come home until the next morning, stuck there to bathe in the rush of adrenaline and newfound romance. Not that Keon seemed to mind either. He followed Tegan home, with a suitcase by his side.

Lily almost cried upon seeing that. Her little girl could make good decisions after all!



Word Count for this chapter: 2,361
Word Count so far: 262,796

Not much to say about this chapter, other than that I love the makeover I gave Keon for this (during the dynasty, he had about two days to elderhood when he moved in...and I didn't have Island Paradise yet, so he'd need a different hairstyle anyways).

But as I often do, I was chatting with the girlfriend last night. During so, I learned that Eight Ways to Live Forever is longer than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 262,000 words vs. 257,000. DANG.
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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 123, 3/8)
« Reply #562 on: March 09, 2015, 09:26:31 AM »
That garden is beautiful and Keon is looking hot. I love the glum poses you've found to match Tegan's mood.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 123, 3/8)
« Reply #563 on: March 09, 2015, 07:32:27 PM »
Awww...! Keon is such a sweetheart! I knew I liked him for a reason. ;)

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 123, 3/8)
« Reply #564 on: March 15, 2015, 11:45:43 PM »
That garden is beautiful and Keon is looking hot. I love the glum poses you've found to match Tegan's mood.

Keon was a good-looking guy if you never ever looked at him from the side. But I'm glad my makeover went over well. :D

I like the job I did there too. The first screenshot is my favorite because I did nothing to make it happen. Tegan just happened to give Annette that look as she walked out the door, and Annette looked like she was saying something Annette-like. I think she was really talking to her dragon at the time, but I dunno.

Awww...! Keon is such a sweetheart! I knew I liked him for a reason. ;)

He started out as a sweetheart, for sure. Whether you keep liking him is to be determined...



Chapter 124: Sneaking Suspicion



Lily found Tegan after work a few nights later, and offered for a lady’s night together. They got massages at the day spa and took a stroll to the community garden. It rained, like it tended to do in Twinbrook, but they had gotten used to it by then.

They took a bench for themselves, and Lily seemed beaming from more than the massage.

“So what’s getting you so happy?” Tegan asked.



“Seeing you happy, dearest,” Lily answered. “Well, I notice Keon’s been staying around more and more lately. Maybe I shipped you guys.”

“That’s just ridiculous,” said Tegan, in a cheerful tone. “But so true. He’s great.”

“Does Phil like him?”

“Seems so. I haven’t told him anything about the romance yet, but he hasn’t been too mean to Keon.”

“Why not tell him?”

“Look, the kid’s had enough on his plate,” said Tegan. “He can take another change a little later down the road, but I don’t want to uproot his world that much.”

“Christ, you find the perfect man and you find a way to mess it up.” Lily pouted her angry pout.

“But mum, the whole thing’s been tough on him, okay? I’m just trying to get him to remember that I care too. I mean, that’s hard enough.”

“Maybe you’re laying it on too thick, though.”



Tegan didn’t think so. She laid tons of attention on Phil, which put joy in her heart. He asked for a tour of the science lab? She had to! All of the techs and researchers loved the little guy. He faked having trouble on his homework for the added attention? She pretended not to notice and made time right after her shift ended to “help” him. He complained about a lack of fun things to do with his friends? She gave into her family’s demands for her to invest in real estate like they did. That consignment shop downtown needed renovations.

She took note of the empty second floor and turned it into an arcade. At first it was meant just for Phil to have a fun place to take those schoolkids he met. But after far too many meetings with the interior designers, Tegan plopped into bed one night next to Keon.

“Babe, we haven’t had woohoo in, like, half a week.” He was trying so hard, which Tegan liked, no doubt. And she was missing the woohoo too. In fact, she could blame that on Phil. He was becoming a demanding little beast in the face of his father’s death, once she thought about it. She also couldn’t think about what it was like to lose a parent while still in elementary school.

“I know,” she said. “I’ve been bad at this romance thing, haven’t I?”

“No, don’t beat yourself up over it. And I get that it’s hard.”

“It is, that it is.”

“We could have a family night,” he said. “Maybe not with the elders, but you and me and Phil. Just bonding as friends. Because maybe I could take some of this off your hands.”

“He does need a dad,” she said. “I mean, if I had a daughter, I could deal with it, but a son? I don’t know enough about boys. You have to...you had to wrangle us wily students too, for god’s sake! You’re a shoe-in for this.”

“At least in the mornings,” he said. “God, I feel so sorry for anyone else who’s had to cook for Annette.”

“Still keeping that job, really?”

“It’s like I’m a glutton for punishment. But yeah, try having a drunk chef yell in your ear on the daily. They say that drinking is a serious problem in the restaurant biz. I’ll believe it.”

“Be careful with the martinis, and we’ll go somewhere dry on an off-day. I think you need some...some arcade time.”

“You mean skee-ball?” he asked.

“Just for you, Keon.”

Tegan had a loose definition of family, however. It came with the dynasty’s territory. Extended family was family, and honorary family members were too. Because of that, Tegan could invite Piper and Kylie on a family outing without anyone questioning it. After a day of meeting with test subjects and hoping to some god that they could move into the next stage of development, she needed the fun. And most of all, she needed some Kylie!

Phil begged to bring some friends instead, but Tegan drew the line there. He argued that he was friends with the Ball kids, who were Tegan’s third cousins, but she drew the line there. “Maybe for another time, but I want this for family that we actually live with.”

“But Piper is a pretty white girl. How can she be family?” Phil asked.

“Because I raised that pretty white girl the same way I raise my handsome black son.” She resisted the urge to pinch his cheeks. Tegan might have already gotten her first meeting about the possibility of retirement, but she wasn’t ancient either. “And family’s just who you end up loving anyways. Can’t you have fun with her?”

“I guess I can.”

It was a Wednesday afternoon when they did that. Phil did his homework beforehand. He seemed to be in better spirits about spending a few hours at the arcade. Perhaps he remembered that Piper was no elder; she had lived for only a few decades at that point and had youthful interests. She and her girlfriend could play pinball with him too. Maybe Piper would win him a new toy with the claw machine. Maybe she’d duck out and take him out for ice cream again.

He viewed Keon’s presence as odd, however, even raising one eyebrow at him. Sure, Phil already knew Keon. Tegan introduced him as “mummy’s old friend.” He liked to join them at breakfast and wore a lot of pink and green. Around Phil, they acted as friends. They had years’ worth of nostalgia to share, and Keon had some embarrassing stories about Lily and Hephaestus as students. Family gossip went around too. When half the town was Waverlys and the other half Whelohffs, they got almost all the bases covered.

So he believed them, for a bit.



Mere friendship didn’t seem to stop them from playing skeeball together, while Piper and Kylie got all romantic with each other. Phil was left to play pinball alone. He didn’t mind, considering that he racked up enough points to get on the high score list.



Still, he noticed that his mum and Keon seemed into each other’s company. They joked and playfully taunted the other as they played skee ball. They also remained oblivious to loud, passionate things going on behind them.

Phil, as innocent as his young mind seemed to be, took notice. It was loud, between a few moans and the rocking of the whole photo booth. He tried to get his mum’s attention. “Not now, honey,” she said to him. “Keon’s got me by 1,000 points this round. I’m not letting him win again.”

“Keon, what are they doing in there?” Phil asked.

“Not now, son. I gotta keep my winning streak.”

Son? Phil’s memory started at an early date. Sons were connected to fathers and Phil’s father had a slim nose. Long blond hair cascading down his back. But he dismissed it as a bad word choice when he noticed that they had Smack-a-Gnome in the room. How could he leave that game alone? Still, he wanted his mother to watch him, but she remained busy.

After Kylie emerged from the depths of the photobooth, Tegan had a shot at winning her current skee ball game. And she did, by a respectable 2,000 point margin. Keon took it in good spirits, and gave her a quick hug before putting more quarters into the game. “Come on, we can have a rematch,” he said. “Make up for lost time.”

“Oh fine, Mr. Whelohff,” she said, averting her gaze from Phil. She was watching him whack those gnomes beforehand.



While they enjoyed their arcade games and Kylie watched, Piper stood at the photobooth. She heard the whirr of the printer inside and wondered whose photos she would end up with. Surely, she and Kylie didn’t press the button to take some of themselves. No, something malfunctioned, and someone else’s embarrassing photos fell into her hands.



“Get a load of this, Kylie. Someone let the camera roll while they were banging their girlfriend in there!” She chuckled at the thought of it, before focusing on the subject matter.



“No, wait, crap! That’s us!” Mouth agape, she needed to hide the evidence.



“Well, we can forget about this,” Piper muttered. She looked over to Phil, who seemed oblivious about the whole thing. “He should, anyways.”

Tegan turned around, after her last ball went into one of the low-scoring holes. “I can help him forget,” she said. “Phil! Honey, want to go bowling with mum?” He abandoned his game for it.

“Finally,” he said to his mother. “All you’ve been doing is playing with Keon. Like he matters.”

“Well, he does, Phil. He’s one of my best friends. And you are too, so you deserve some bowling.”



Phil got the first turn. Even he had to know that the balls were huge, bigger than his head. Still, he felt confident in getting it to roll. With both hands, he picked up one of the balls.

Tegan looked down, perhaps a little nervous. “So, what would you do if Keon became family too?”

Phil said it in a strained voice as he tried to carry the ball to the line to roll it down. “He can’t be family.”

“And why not?”

“You said it’s who you love. I don’t love Keon.”

“But would you grow to?” She was interrupted by the crash of a bowling ball to the floor.



“I’d drop this on his foot!” Phil said it with zest. “I wouldn’t love him. He’s icky and old.”

“But I am too!”

“You’re my mum. He’s just Keon.”

“Watch your ball, Phil. You need to see how many pins you knocked down so we can write it on the scorecard.”



He watched as it wavered towards the gutter. As dangerous as that move looked, the bowling ball stayed in the lane proper. It kept enough momentum to knock down five pins.

“Good job!” Tegan said, writing down the number on the card. “You get another try too.”



They played their game and enjoyed some mother-son time once Tegan turned away from the subject of Keon. He himself was busy booing the young Carisa Herrera over her mediocre singing. Piper tried to be a little nicer to the teen.

“Come on Tegan, we have to give some nice music to this place,” Keon said, trying to drag her away as soon as she added up their scores. Due to her better form, she got a win in for bowling.

“Keon, I’m no singer,” she said. “In fact, Heph always said that I should never sing along to his piano playing. And he never said things like that about me!”

“But it’ll be fun!”

“I know, Keon, but I’m also here for Phil tonight.”

“We can distract him.” Keon got a handful of quarters out of his pocket. “Phil? How about you try to get something with the claw machine over there. It’s loads of fun, and daddy can help you if you’re having trouble.”

“I’m not your son,” Phil said, extending his hand out for quarters.

“Well, I’m the closest thing to a dad you got.”

“No you aren’t. I still have a dad. He’s just dead.”

“Do you want to play or not?” Phil then snatched the quarters from Keon’s hand.



The claw machine distracted him well while the adults sang. They chose “I Got You Babe,” which roused Phil’s suspicions. Or, it would have if Tegan had better diction.

“Well I don't know if all that's true
'Cause you got me, and baby I got you”




“Guys, guys!” Phil tried to get someone’s attention. But Tegan and Keon were at the chorus, and Piper and Kylie found joy in pinball. “Guys, I almost got this bear!” He did his best with the controls, keeping a hold of the toy’s head and guiding the claw towards the exit hole.

He released, missing by an inch. The stuffed bear flopped over onto the toy pile again.



“Screw you too, buddy!” Usually, Tegan chided him for such language. But she was engrossed in her song, even if it was Keon’s line.



”I got you, I won't let go.”

Hmm, did he?

Phil tried to ignore it. He didn’t want another dad, he wouldn’t have that! He still saw Keon at breakfast on most mornings, though. Tegan had different thoughts, but Phil needed confirmation before he planned harm against Keon. Which he certainly was planning.

After work, Tegan offered to take Phil to one of her guilty pleasure spots. Something about clubbing grew on her. “There’s a lot of fun music,” she said. “And everyone there will just love you.”

“You mean it’s like a party?” he asked.

“Like a public party.” He was in for that.



While the crowd was tame, to say the least, Tegan requested some songs just for Phil. He seemed at his happiest while listening to the local country station. As it turned out, there was a point in musical history when electronic/country hybrids were trendy. Not that Phil was against regular dubstep or house either, but he appreciated the choices. His enthusiastic arm waving told so.



Piper and Kylie made it another date night. Piper still had her scrubs on, but the head of her department ran her ragged all day. Drum machine beats and her precious Kylie undid that stress.

“Looks like we’ll have a clubbing partner!” Kylie said, referring to Phil.

“It’s him or the elders. I’m fine with that,” said Piper.

“You mean you think I’m cool?” Phil asked.

“You’re a great kid,” Piper said. “You know what, you are pretty cool.”

“Do you think I’m cute?” For a kid, he was. “I think you’re pretty cute.”

“Okay, Phil.” Piper went back to her dance moves.

Keon walked into the club, after the prep for the dinner rush was over. Something happened to his apron in the wash, so Annette fetched whatever clothes she had in the back for him. But he could go clubbing in a green kilt and a trendy button-down shirt, right?



He found Tegan and attacked her with a kiss, while Phil watched with a sense of horror.



“Keon, what are you thinking?” Tegan asked, trying to feign surprise.

“That you’re great, Tegan, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he said.

“I had a feeling you’d say that soon,” she said. “Come on, lean in again.”



Phil had the confirmation of his worst fears. The nerve of that Keon! He turned to Piper, hoping for some backup, but she was busy too.



“Let’s vow to make it just the two of us,” said Piper, taking Kylie’s hand. “And to make Phil our beloved third wheel.”

“Done deal,” said Kylie, leaning in for their own kiss.



“Third wheel? You can’t steer a tricycle without one,” he said, cackling and tapping his fingers. “You gals will see.”

“Sure we will Phil, sure we will,” said Piper, rolling her eyes.



Word Count for this chapter 2,573
Word Count so far: 265,369

So...was too busy playing my 4x4 over my spring break. And working a bit too. But while playing my 4x4, I had my first death that mattered and I just needed to take a break after that. Thank goodness I had a chapter half-done!
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Offline Lisa46

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #565 on: March 16, 2015, 01:36:48 AM »
“Get a load of this, Kylie. Someone let the camera roll while they were banging their girlfriend in there!” She chuckled at the thought of it, before focusing on the subject matter. “No, wait, crap! That’s us!” Mouth agape, she needed to hide the evidence.

This is perfect.

Offline notjustabook

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #566 on: March 16, 2015, 02:55:04 PM »
Oh no, Phil... he better not ruin poor Tegan's happiness.



Offline Rikki8528

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #567 on: March 16, 2015, 03:07:06 PM »
Go Phil! I'm completely on his side on this.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #568 on: March 16, 2015, 03:12:06 PM »
Hmm, I wouldn't mind seeing something happening to Keon if it's Phil's doing. I really like the arcade and club.
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Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #569 on: March 16, 2015, 07:43:50 PM »
Somehow I'm not surprised that Phil is already plotting...

Wish I could say more but I now have the song "I Got You Babe" stuck in my head. Gee, thanks. :P

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #570 on: March 16, 2015, 09:20:16 PM »
Go Phil! I'm completely on his side on this.

I am, too. Keon needs to back right the heck off with this "I'm your dad now!" crap. Just . . . dude, no, don't go there. Don't be That Jerk.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #571 on: March 17, 2015, 10:00:41 AM »
I am, too. Keon needs to back right the heck off with this "I'm your dad now!" crap. Just . . . dude, no, don't go there. Don't be That Jerk.

Ugh, I know right? I can sort of understand why Phil turned out the way he did.

Offline KRae

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 124, 3/15)
« Reply #572 on: March 17, 2015, 01:25:07 PM »
And Tegan, having your boyfriend spend the night and have breakfast with the family, probably not a good idea when you have a small son.

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 125, 3/18)
« Reply #573 on: March 18, 2015, 11:06:16 PM »
I probably got more comments on this chapter than I have in a while. It strokes my ego, what can I say? :P

Thank you guys!



“Get a load of this, Kylie. Someone let the camera roll while they were banging their girlfriend in there!” She chuckled at the thought of it, before focusing on the subject matter. “No, wait, crap! That’s us!” Mouth agape, she needed to hide the evidence.

This is perfect.

I am so proud of writing that. :D

Oh no, Phil... he better not ruin poor Tegan's happiness.

Dude's bound to. If not now, then later on.

Go Phil! I'm completely on his side on this.

Siding with Phil is a pretty bold, risky move.

Hmm, I wouldn't mind seeing something happening to Keon if it's Phil's doing. I really like the arcade and club.

I wouldn't either, but not for this. For other things later on? Hmmm...maybe...

Somehow I'm not surprised that Phil is already plotting...

Wish I could say more but I now have the song "I Got You Babe" stuck in my head. Gee, thanks. :P

I did too, after writing that. It was that or trying to imagine something from my own catalogue sang as a loving duet. As if.

That kid was bad to the bone from the start. Of course he's plotting!

I am, too. Keon needs to back right the heck off with this "I'm your dad now!" crap. Just . . . dude, no, don't go there. Don't be That Jerk.

Yeah, the guy layered on a lot of things thickly. As if he was trying to hide some shames by stepping in as Super Stepdad (TM) before Heph's body was cold.

Ugh, I know right? I can sort of understand why Phil turned out the way he did.

Phil could have had the most loving nuclear family and still have turned out as the mega-baddie he grew up into. But this didn't help either.

And Tegan, having your boyfriend spend the night and have breakfast with the family, probably not a good idea when you have a small son.

Probably not, but my rationalization is that she really missed having those with her real, true soulmate and needed to pretend to feel that again. Still a bad idea, though. She's chock full of them!



Chapter 125: What's Yours



“I’m telling you, I have to stay with you guys.”



Phil ended up unloading his grievances onto one of his best friends, one Vernon Ball.

“You’re not getting the top bunk,” Vernon said.

“Aww, why not? I’m your guest.”

“That’s my bunk!”



Phil had a chuckle. “That’s funny, Vernon, thinking that something’s yours. I won’t settle for less!”

“We have another bed.”

“I will take my business elsewhere,” Phil said, turning away in a huff to mount his bicycle and ride home, away from his ungracious classmate.

Poor Phil, he was stuck at home. The disagreement didn’t seem to affect his friendship with Vernon much, though. They still played together during recess. And Phil ended up going to his house for a lot of playdates and supposed study sessions.

That wasn’t his mum’s worry.

Tegan, like many, did not particularly want to grow old. Why, she’d have to retire her favorite clothes for keeping some vague “dignity” into her elder years. It sounded vain, but she loved the dresses she owned as an adult. But it would be unfair to stay young, and not just for the sake of the other immortals’ feelings.

Keon could simplify things and say he was Tegan’s age. However, he crossed that penultimate bridge first, and on a different day. Perhaps embarrassed, he went to the pool to do it. Stole one of Annette’s cakes for the journey. After aging up, that sugar rush dulled the new back pains for a few minutes.



Those subsided better with an aspirin. Keon took himself to the dresser and did the best job a new family member of-sorts could do without Franco’s help. The haircut might have been a worse idea. Keon took a blade, held it an angle, and created new bangs for himself. Shaved the back of his head closer. Considering that none of the Waverlys chided him for it, he accepted his job. Even Tegan approved.

“You should have told me it was your birthday! I could have done something during my lunch break or something like that,” she said to him.

“I think it was nice without you anyways, but maybe that would’ve been better.” They were upstairs, in her bedroom at the time. “The others all wished me well. Four out of five of you approving, it ain’t bad.”

“Phil will come around. I mean, I hope he does. I don’t want him to be all mean and negative. He’s such a great kid otherwise.”

“He is, he is.”

“I just hope the Balls are treating him well right now.”



Erik Ball, meanwhile, ran away from Phil. What a young vampire would have to fear in another fanged kid was anyone’s guess. But at night, they could all play outside and pretend to be normal kids. Phil was starting to like them. In fact, Emma and the other adults in that household reported that Phil didn’t act like much of an evil little snot at all. He had a lot of energy, and loved games of tag. He loved catch and playing outside at all hours, and not just at night. He learned about their restrictions on sunlight after his first playdate there.



So Erik’s running away turned into a game of tag. And Phil gained some strong friends in them.

Not that long later, Tegan had to draft a guest list for her own birthday party. The venue was secured, as owning the lounge meant that the family always had a good place for parties. But guests, finding guests wasn’t as easy. She asked everyone in the family for relevant phone numbers. Even Phil produced one. The Ball household, as she could have guessed.

“Honey, it’s a strict thirteen-plus venue,” she said. “Besides you, but it’s my birthday and all I want is for my son to be there. I had to fight your grandpa for that.”

“Trent and Vernon are thirteen,” Phil said.

“Tell them to get their best suits, then. Okay, darling?”



As it turned out, Tegan didn’t have to worry about two teens adhering to her dress code. They dressed like charming young gentlemen. Phil didn’t complain about having to wear a tux either. Bryant managed to get in, which Tegan understood. She didn’t close down the whole lounge and their drinks were to die for. He could have had the decency to find a blazer. In fact, she would have lent him one.

And as it turned out, it was the last time she ever had to see him. A little angry upon his entrance, Tegan told him off only for him to produce his one-way plane tickets for Starlight Shores. They had the official watermark of Bright Lights & Smog Airlines printed in the corner. “I can’t leave without one last Deathflower Drops, can I?” he said.

“Point taken, Mr. Moreno.”

It turned out that he was a tolerable drunk, certainly better than old Annette. In fact, Bryant would have left the party without Tegan ever mentioning his presence to me if she didn’t have to justify him in her party pictures. This chapter is not about Bryant.



No, this is just the story of a woman growing older.



She blew out her candles, maybe wishing for a placid elderhood. Those young years wore her down; I’m shocked as to how long it took for her to get her first grey hair.



So this is a part I feel for. Tegan needed a turning point away from the turmoil, for however long us younger ones could keep her away from it. It would have been nicer to hit her at a younger age, but the chance for it stood so close to her. But like with many big decisions, Tegan needed some expert advice.



But first, piano. Only after Tegan found a new dress for her old age, though. Only after she brushed her hair back into a proper, dignified bun. But yes, piano. Derrick, the pianist at the time, was a true gift to Twinbrook. He studied under Hephaestus back when he worked at the theatre. Somehow, Derrick surpassed his mentor. Even Phil stopped to appreciate it.

After she unwrapped gifts and said her good-byes to her beloved guests, Tegan took to calling her travel agent. It was a business trip, first off: they drafted plans for a study on the potential of growing plums in Simnation. They weren’t a native crop there. France had plenty. That meant that Tegan needed to dust off her passport and find the best, healthiest plums in France. And by find, she meant grow. Considering that they grew on tall trees, that could take years. She could hide some magic in her suitcase, though.

Tegan walked up to Franco one morning, as he slouched in a dining chair with the newspaper and a cup of coffee. “Grandpa, can you do something nice for me?” Tegan asked, in a sickeningly-sweet voice.

“Sure, Peapod. Finding the right sapphire necklace has been tough,” he said.

“Forget about that, and take me to France instead. Just the two of us.”

“Are you so deprived that you think of business trips as a gift?”

“But we can make it a fun trip. Together. I want some precious memories with you that don’t involve broken noses.”

“True, I’d kill for that as well,” he said. “Let me get the tickets. I have a lot of good karma over there in France, as you know.”



“Ah, for the love of God, I forgot how blinding this French sunlight was.” Franco squinted his eyes and grumbled, as Franco tended to do. “Still, we’re here. For how long?”

“As long as it takes to grow plums,” Tegan said.

“Goodness! We’ll need to fly Annette out here to keep the two of us alive for that long, and I don’t need her being an idiot in France.”

“No, we have some magic!”

“What magic?” he snarled.

“Grandpa, you’ve never worked in the garden. We have our magic over there,” Tegan said. “Let me just get my bag out. It’s in there.”

She took a large, leathery egg out and put it down on the lawn, to the side of the house. Franco raised a brow. “Wait, that’s how dragons are made?”

“Never seen Annette hatch one?” Tegan asked. “I haven’t either. They last for a long time. She said that Shark did the last ones, and I never met him. But yeah, she gave me a dragon egg. Should hatch soon.”

Franco expected her to follow him into the garden to pose for portraits, but Tegan still stood by her egg. “Peapod, what are you doing? It will hatch, just as you said.”



“Hey there, cute little eggy!” Tegan waved at it. “I can’t wait to raise you as my own.”

“Tegan!”

“Come on, have some fun with these things,” she said.



Two days later, Tegan got a hatchling as green as Phil’s favorite shirt. It perched on her arm and looked up with her with the love and eagerness reserved for one’s own parents.

“Franco, how many of your friends like green? I’m trying to think of names for him,” Tegan said.

“That’s how we do it now?” he asked.

“Well, the purple one we have at home is named Harwood 2.0...he dressed in purple, right?”

“Those family photos don’t lie.”

“So, anyone you know?”

“I’m sorry, Peapod.”

“Fine. I don’t know anyone either, other than Phil, but I don’t want to upstage him.”

“Why not Jules? Probably never told you about Jules, but he dated uncle Shark way back when. I don’t even know what color he liked, but I always felt bad for Shark. He outlived Jules by a few years, and yes, I always felt bad about that.”

“Sounds good. Like a fitting tribute,” she said, giving Jules 2.0 a pat on the head.

After getting her plum saplings in the ground, Tegan put Jules 2.0 to work.



“Come on, come on,” she whispered, as Jules took a flight into the air, in a cloud of green smoke. “I need some juicy plums.”



As it turned out, she got rich, nectar-quality grapes too. Some seeds must have fell on the ground and taken root. Her saplings, further away, started to grow into mature trees. She saw how much rougher the bark looked. Her dragon needed to rest, but she repeated the process whenever she could until trees of ripe plums begged for harvest. After that, she needed to get back to Twinbrook as soon as could, before they went bad.

She finished the harvesting on an afternoon, with the next flight to Twinbrook scheduled for the morning after. It left her and Franco with little to do but what Tegan actually set out to do with her grandfather.

“I know you like good nectar, grandpa,” she said.

“And I won’t make a fool of myself on it either. Neither will you,” he said. “I have been hankering for another tasting session at the nectary.”

“Exactly.”



She poured the first few glasses, which were just to loosen them up before their tasting began. Tegan chose a good nectar for their warmup: Lavoie Orchards, 2078. Franco thanked her for her good taste.



“Oh, Belizaire Vineyards, how the mighty have fallen. Gross!” Franco moaned and groaned over his bad glass of nectar to taste. But that was the curator’s fault.

“I know, they were so good back when I got married,” Tegan said. “And that wasn’t long ago at all.”

“Apparently the vineyard changed hands a lot over the last five years. Last real heir ran off, discovered punk music, what a shame. Whoever is running operations needs a piece of my mind.”

They got to try one of the prized bottles from the 2065 batch by Giroux Grapes, which made up for one bad swill of nectar.

After finishing the session, the two sat down and relaxed. Although buzzed, they were as sober as Annette was on her sober days, which meant total lucidity. That was good for Tegan, who wanted an honest conversation.



“So you’re the only one in the family who’s remarried,” she said.

“So I am, so I am,” said Franco.

“And I heard the story. You got divorced. I never met auntie Hannah, but I knew you loved her, I know you did.”

“She’ll always be my love, Tegan.”

“But, would you remarry, if it was possible?”

“Never.”

Tegan sulked in her chair.

“What’s wrong for you, though?” Franco asked. “Plenty of widows remarry.”

“You know I loved Hephaestus. Heck, I still love him so, so much. I miss him every day, and I always wish we had more time. It felt like we did. But now...I shouldn’t be having these feelings. Like, you can’t just fall in love with someone else and feel the same way, can you?”

“This is about Keon, isn’t it?” She nodded. “Then stop overthinking it and marry the man.”

“I just...just...look, mum keeps going on about how after we’re done with this, we get our loved ones back. And what will I say to Heph after that? I’ll have two lovers, and I know what my choice would be, but imagine the hard feelings. With both of them. I’m betraying Heph with this, and I’m offering Keon just some second-rate garbage. I hate that! I want to be loved for a while, you know?”



“Believe me, I know, And I’ll never have to face that,” said Franco. “But Hephaestus, mad at you? Peapod, I’ve known him since before he was born. I adopted that kid. And I know that for years and years and decades, he loved you beyond what I’ve seen anyone else express as love. And because of that, I know he approves of this, right from his seat watching us from the afterlife. I even talked with him about this once. He wanted you to be happy above all else, even if your heart took a sharp turn anywhere else. And you’re simply putting this on hold for someone who’s such a kind man.”



“You...you think he’s kind?” Tegan asked.

“I watched him grow up too. Keon turned out great...he was always that way, but I’m glad you have him in particular,” said Franco. “And you should stay with him, if you’re feeling that in your heart.”

Tegan got up from her seat and grabbed her grandfather in for a hug.

“Oh grandpa! I just needed to hear it from you, that’s all,” she said. “You’re just so wise and sober.”



“Only the former right now,” he muttered. “But I think we need to pack our bags for the flight tomorrow.”

“Alright. Back home.”



And after a pillow fight, her new chapter could begin. Maybe she could think about Phil’s too.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,466
Word Count so far: 267,835

Edited on 3-19-2015. Forgot an image because that tends to happen when you're updating at God-knows-when-O'Clock.

That is really the last you'll see of Bryant. I thought that him at the park was the last, but I was reminded that he ended up crashing Tegan's elder birthday too...and behaved. I probably wouldn't have mentioned him at all if he dressed up for the event. :P
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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 125, 3/18)
« Reply #574 on: March 19, 2015, 07:55:51 AM »
Bryant's appearance certainly was amusing, that outfit xD Tegan looks lovely as an elder, though marrying Keon might not be the best thing from hat you've hinted at  :o
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