Chapter 10: How to Make an Entrance

It was late in the Galactus household.  Han was still at work.  Ulrike was painting away downstairs and Ripley was asleep.  The newlyweds were relaxing in the hot tub on the deck.

“This is a lovely night,” Jaimie murmured as she leaned against Marcus.

“Sure is, though not as lovely as you.”

She giggled.  “I may be old, but I’m not blind.  I know what I look like.”

“That’s my wife yer talkin’ about,” he scolded her, kissing her gently, his grip around her waist tightening.

She smiled at him.  “Thanks.”

He leaned close and murmured in her ear, “You are a fine, fine woman, Jaimie Flex.  Don’t you forget that.”

Jaimie giggled again.  The two were too involved with one another to realize that a certain little girl had woken up in the middle of the night to go get a glass of orange juice.  She was half asleep as she wondered into the sunroom.  She liked to sit in there.  And doing it at night, when everyone was asleep added another element to it; it was a little scary, but really cool at the same time.  But as she sat, she heard the murmur of voices behind her.

She turned and saw that Uncle Marcus and Aunt Jaimie were in the hot tub.  She turned around in her seat, her head tilted as she watched them.

They were kissing!

Ripley was puzzled.  Her parents kissed all the time.  She always came upon them with the same kind of looks in their eyes.  She heard a bit of splashing and her attention refocused on the hot tub as she saw the two of them disappear under the water!

Feeling intrusive, Ripley scuttled out of the sunroom, put her glass in the sink and then went back down to her room.  Her mother must have gone up to bed because she wasn’t in the family room painting anymore.  Ripley made a note to herself to ask her mother what Jaimie and Marcus were doing in the morning.


Han got home just as dawn was breaking up over the horizon.  He hit the treadmill first, then decided it was time for breakfast.  Marcus and Jaimie were already at the table, looking like two cats that had just eaten the canary.  He arched a brow and sat down.  “You guys are in your swimsuits,” he observed.

Jaimie giggled and looked at Marcus, winking.  “We were just- uh, enjoying a soak in the hot tub, right Marcus?”

Marcus nodded, his eyes twinkling.  “Mhm.”  He cleared his throat.  “Look, Han, ol’ buddy… were you serious when you said that I could uh- quit my job whenever I wanted?”

Han looked puzzled, then he nodded.  “Of course.  You don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do.  Right Watcher?”

Of course.  You are all free Sims.

 Marcus looked at Jaimie.  “I’m glad to hear it.  Because I’m done.  I’ve got seven young uns now.  Some young buck can take over.”  His hand came up and he put it over Jaimie’s.  “Han, Jaimie and I got married last night.  We want to spend what’s left of our lives together.”

Han blinked for a moment as he processed the information.  “You- married?”  Then a huge grin split his face.  “Congratulations!  Sincerely!”  He winked at Jaimie.  “Gonna keep him in line?”

Jaimie laughed.  “You can call it that, yeah.”

Marcus laughed, a big booming sound.  Han stood.  “C’mere, big guy!”  The older man stood up and the two shared a back slapping hug.

“Congratulations, really.  I’m really happy for you guys.”

“Thanks man, truly.  She- makes me happy.  In a way I’d never thought of bein’.”

Han stepped back and then pointed at Jaimie.  “C’mon you!  Your turn!”

Jaimie gladly stepped toward him and was treated to a bear hug.

“You make sure he takes good care of you and you take good care of him, huh?  I want you guys to enjoy yourselves.”

Jaimie sighed.  “Thanks Han.  That means a lot.  Without you… Marcus and I would never have met.  So, thank you.”


While Han congratulated his two friends, Ulrike sat at the chess table in the family room with her daughter.  “Hey Mom?”

“Yeah sweetie?”

“I uh, I saw Uncle Marcus and Aunt Jaimie in the hot tub last night.”

“Mhm,” Ulrike said, moving a piece.  It wasn’t that unusual.  After gardening especially, Jaimie liked using the hot tub to soak her sore muscles.

“Well, they were- doing stuff.”

“Stuff?” Ulrike turned her full attention on her daughter.

“Well, there was kissing and then they went under the water and there was a LOT of splashing.”

Ulrike almost choked on her laughter.  “Oh-oh my, is that so?”

“Mhm, I wanted to get a drink and I was sittin’ in the sun room and I saw them out the window.”

“I-I see.  Well, don’t you worry about anything, baby.  They were- just having a good time, is all.”

“Oh, ok!  Can I have a good time, too Mom?”


Ulrike looked down at the bowl she was mixing things in, deep in thought.  Her daughter was off to school; luckily, the bus had come right around the time that Ripley was asking her why she couldn’t have fun like Marcus and Jaimie.  Ulrike was pulled in two directions.  She saw nothing wrong with those kinds of activities.  After all, didn’t she and her husband enjoy it?  Enjoy their relationship? But this was her little girl!  She was a child yet she would be a teen soon enough and that meant rampaging hormones.

“Afternoon beautiful.”  Han walked in, kissed his wife on the cheek and then sat down at the island.

“Hey, babe.”  She looked over her shoulder at him, batting her lashes.

“So, did you hear about Marcus and Jaimie?  They got married!”

Ulrike snorted out a laugh.  “I heard- something, as it were.”  Knowing that her husband might not take it so well about his daughter asking about ‘fun’, Ulrike decided to wait to tell him.  “I’m happy for them.  They both deserve it.  There’s always been- something there.  It’s nice they have one another.”

Han nodded.  “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

“Hey Han?  Ripley texted me on her lunch break.  She’s bringing a friend over after school.  One of Marcus’s brood, actually.”

“Oh yeah?  That’s nice!”


“Thanks for having me over, Ripley!”

“You’re welcome, Landon!”  Ripley giggled.  She and Landon- Marcus’s only son- were seated in the sun room, talking and laughing about their school day.

Han was on the treadmill, using the excuse to work out, though in reality, he just wanted to watch them.  He’d been a bit shocked to see that his daughter’s little friend had been a boy.  The two kids stood up and though Han grinned, the thoughts in his head were not quite so pleasant.

“I should get back home.  Again, thanks Ripley!  And thanks for the help with the homework!”  The two children hugged and Landon left.

Ripley smiled up at her father.  “Landon’s great, Papa!  It’s ok for him to come over this weekend?”

“Um, sure, baby.  Of course.”

Ripley beamed up at him.  Han had to hold in the sigh.


You look a little- tense.  Everything ok?

 Han was running on the treadmill, looking very intense.

“I’m fine.  Just- thinking.  Thinking about Ripley.  My little girl’s gonna be a teenager soon.”

Yes, she will.  Tis the way of life, Han.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.  Go on, I’m fine.  Just wanted to get in a workout.”

Hmm…  Hey Ulrike, think your husband could use some time with his wife.

 “You got it, Watcher.  Thanks.”

As Han emerged a little while later, Ulrike was there to greet him with a tight hug and a knowing look on her face.  Han let out a sigh and let himself sink a little.

“I love you, Ulrike.”

“I love you too, Han.  C’mon.  Let’s just go relax a while, huh?”

“Yeah, that sounds like a plan.”


 

Chapter 9: I’m Just Crewman #6

“Hey Mom?” Ripley was studying the chess board in front of her intently.

“Yes baby?”

“I know that Aunt Jaimie does the gardening and you paint and cook.  Dad’s working on all his requirements, right?  So- what does Uncle Marcus do?”

Ulrike cringed a little.  It wasn’t that she had a problem with explaining things to her daughter, but she knew her husband wouldn’t be happy about it.  “Well, baby.  Marcus has a very important job, you see.  But it’s one I’ll explain to you a little later, ok?”

Ripley’s brow furrowed, but then she nodded slowly.  “Ok, Mom.  I was just hoping you could tell me why he has several kids running around.”

Ulrike’s eyes widened.  “O-oh… well-“  She hurriedly looked for something to keep her daughter’s mind off that.  “I believe that’s check, Rip!”

Ripley looked at the board intently again, her brow furrowing.  Then her head popped up.  “Mom?  What’s that over there?”

“What?  What do you mean, baby?”  Ulrike looked in the direction her daughter pointed.  “I don’t see anything, sweetie.”

Ripley had to hold in the giggle as she quickly switched a couple pieces.  “Oh no?  Sorry, Mom.  Must be losing it.”

Ulrike turned back and looked at the board then at Ripley.  She arched a brow.  “I wasn’t born yesterday, long lady,” she said with a laugh.

Ripley giggled.  “No, guess not, Mom.”  The little girl smiled sweetly.

“Oh, go get ready for school!” Ulrike told her with a laugh.

Still giggling, Ripley went upstairs to grab some breakfast.

You’re a tricky one, aren’t you?

 “Who me, Watcher?  Never.”

Hmph, you don’t fool me, child.  –chuckles—It serves your father right, though.  It’s about time he got a taste of his own medicine.

Ripley giggled again.

Better get to school, darling.

 “Oh, you’re right!  Bye, Watcher!’

Bye, dear.  Have fun!


Marcus sat in the room he shared with Jaimie, deep in thought.

“Hey, Marcus.  Simolean for yer thoughts?” Jaimie asked as she came in.

He smiled at her.  “Hey there, girl.  Not sure they’re worth that much.”  He managed a little chuckle as Jaimie sat on the edge of his bed with him.

“C’mon now, that isn’t like you, hun.  What’s wrong?”

Marcus shrugged.  “I-I’m just- I guess I’m tired of ‘the life’, now.  I’m old and while I still got it-“ He gave her a grin, “I just- I don’t want to break anymore hearts.  The girls are pretty good natured and all- they get this is a Dynasty and all that, but still.  And my kids- I wish they could live here, with us.”

Jaimie took one of his hands in hers.  “I know, honey.  I know.  It’s ok, though.  You know Han said that anytime you wanted to stop, you could.  What brought this on?”

Marcus flushed a little.  “While-“ he swallowed.  “To be honest, there-there’s someone that I want to be with.  Th-that I want to spend my last days with.  I-I just don’t know if she’ll have me or not.”

“O-oh.  I see.”  Jaimie masked the frisson of hurt in her eyes with a smile.  “Who’s the lucky girl?”

“It’s you, sugar,” Marcus said softly.

Jaimie’s face went from hurt, to surprised, to shocked.  Then she began to grin widely.  “Me?”

“Yes you.  We’ve been friends from the beginning.  I could always tell you anythin’, Jaimie.  Anything at all.  I always wanted to help Han.  And I have.  But I realized that I want to spend my last days enjoying life and I can only do that with you.”

“O-oh, Marcus,” she breathed, a single tear tracking down her cheek.  She shut her eyes and leaned against him.  He slid his arm around her and she did the same.  They just sat there for a long moment, enjoying each other’s company.

Marcus leaned back to grin at her, then something cracked in his back and he winced.  “Man, this gettin’ old stuff’s fer the birds!”

“That it is.  Here, let me help ya with that.”  With a smile, Jaimie began to massage his back and shoulder.  Marcus groaned in appreciation.

He stood up after a moment and looked at Jaimie seriously.  “Jaimie, I know you gotta think me crazy, but-“  He had to clear his throat.  “I love you, Jaimie.  We aren’t young anymore, you an’ I, but I know what I feel for you.  I love you, Jaimie Wilburn.”  He got down on one knee and looked up into her eyes.  “Will you spend the rest of our days together, as my wife?”  He pulled the ring from his pocket.

Jaimie’s eyes had grown impossibly wide as she looked at the ring, then at him.  “O-oh!” she managed.  “Yes, Marcus, yes!”  She slid the ring on her finger, admiring it for a moment before she kissed him softly.

With a whoop, Marcus swooped her up into his arms, grinning foolishly at her.  “Marcus!  Put me down!  You’ll hurt yourself!” Jaimie scolded, trying not to laugh as she grabbed onto his neck for dear life.

“Now now, I ain’t so old that I can’t lift my girl into my arms.  Yer light as a father, baby.”

Jaimie laughed and kissed him, not so softly this time.

Marcus set her down gently.  “We’ll have a wedding no one will forget!  I promise you.”

Jaimie looked up at him.  Then she shook her head.  “No, Marcus.  A nice, quiet ceremony, just you and I.  We should do it now.  Why wait?”

“Y-you don’t want a big ceremony?”

“No!  Not at all!  Leave that for the young ‘uns!” she said, cackling a little.

“Oh, thank the Watcher!” Marcus breathed out a sigh, then laughed.  “I figured you’d want a big one and was gonna give ya one.  Well, then, if you don’t, then yer right.  Let’s do it now.  Just you, me, and the beautiful sky out there.  I’ll go change into something appropriate.”

“Me too.  I’ll meet you out at the arch.”


And so, Marcus and Jaimie changed into something more suitable, though to be honest, neither one cared about that.  Then they met outside at the wedding arch where Han and Ulrike had exchanged their vows.  With Han at work, Ripley at school, and Ulrike busy with painting and cooking up a storm, Marcus and Jaimie spoke their vows beneath a clear blue sky, just the two of them.

“Jaimie Wilburn, I promise that from this day forward and until the day that Grim comes for me, I will honor you, cherish you, and support you in all you do.”

“Marcus Flex, I promise that from today onward and even after Grim takes me, I will honor you, cherish you, support you in all you do.  And I promise that I will be the kind of step mother to your children that won’t be seen as a wicked witch!”

That brought a laugh out of Marcus as she kissed his cheek.

The two kissed after their vows, holding each other close.

Congratulations you two.

 Marcus smiled.  “Thanks, Watcher.  You aren’t mad?”

Not at all.  You’ve done wonderfully.  You deserve to be happy now.  Congratulations, Jaimie.

 “Thanks, Watcher.”

Once they spoke their vows, the two went their separate ways for a little while to change and to get back to work.  Jaimie came back outside, intending to work in the garden.  “Jaimie!”  Marcus smiled at her.  “Hello wife.”

“Hello, husband,” she greeted with a grin.

“We should probably tell Han, huh?” Marcus said with a grin.

“Yes, though let’s give it a little time.  He’ll be home soon.  We’ll tell him tomorrow, at breakfast.”

Marcus took her hand in his.  “My wife is a smart woman.”

Jaimie winked.  “Don’t you know it!”


 

1.03: Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Chroma

The two crept quietly into the house.  While everyone else would be asleep, Azura wanted to make sure they didn’t disturb anyone either.  She led him into the family room and they sat down on the couch.  Rogelio pulled her close to his side, nuzzling his cheek against hers.

“I never thought to have this,” Azura murmured after a moment.  “It seemed like a fairy tale.”  She swallowed.  She so rarely talked of her early life, of her parents.  It was just too painful for her.  She could talk with Bella about it because Bella had been there for much of it.  But Rog…  She felt she could tell him anything.  So as they sat there, just holding one another, Azura told him about the day the colors faded for her.  She had already explained to him a bit about the research she and the Goths were doing, but this was the first time that she’d been able to tell him what had prompted it all.

He didn’t say anything for a long moment, the hand on her back just gentle rubbing in small circles.  When he did, his gaze was tender on hers.  “We’ll bring the colors back for you, my love.  I’ll do whatever I have to in order to make sure that will happen.”  Then he kissed her as if sealing that promise.

She closed her eyes and just savored the moment.  Azura hadn’t let herself hope in a long time.  Her obsession with the old manuscript, even approaching Bella and Mortimer hadn’t put this feeling in her chest.  A feeling of lightness, of blossoming hope that was fragile, but nevertheless, it was a start.  She let out a sigh, then lay her head on Rogelio’s shoulder and let sleep take her, for the first time in a long time, her dreams held a bit of color.


Azura had been a little afraid adding someone else to the household might disrupt things a bit, but in truth, Rogelio was proving invaluable, and not just to herself.  He was quite handy and after one of the toilets downstairs sprung a leak for the fourth time that month, he was in there fixing it himself instead of having to call a plumber.

Even Alex and Cassie quite liked him.  Azura often found him chatting with Alex in the morning before school.  He’d have Alex rolling quite a bit with some stories from his youth.

“Nu uh!” Alex exclaimed.  “Did you really?”

Rogelio chuckled lightly.  “I’m afraid so.  My uh… teachers weren’t overly pleased with me, of course.”

Alex giggled then he saw Azura.  “’Zura, Uncle Rog let a bunch of frogs out in the halls in school!”

Azura arched a brow at him.  “He did, did he?”  She grinned.  “And why, pray tell, did he do such a thing?”

Rogelio grinned at her, the look in his eyes making Azura’s cheeks flush.

“Why, to impress a young lady, of course,” he told Alex, turning back to him, winking at Azura.  “Watcher only knows that we poor menfolk are powerless to resist when a girl bats her eyelashes at us and talks about the plight of the poor little creatures in the science room.”

Azura almost choked on her coffee as Alex let out a gagging noise.  “Girls are icky!” he exclaimed.  “And weird!”

“Am I weird?” Azura asked him.

He blinked.  “Oh no, Aunt ‘Zura!  I didn’t mean that you were weird!”

“What about your mom and sister?  Are they weird?”

Alex seemed to think about that for a moment.  “Well, Cassie can be a bit weird at times, but no, I guess not.”  Still thinking, the young boy got up to go get ready for school.

Azura turned to her boyfriend.  “Can we not try to corrupt the poor thing?” she asked with a laugh.  “Alex’s a good boy.”

Rogelio inclined his head, grinning unrepentantly.  “That he is.  And he’ll learn all too well.  Not much longer before he’ll be a hormonal mess as well.  It happens to us all.”

Azura giggled.  “I suppose you have a point there.  Don’t mention that to his mother yet, though.  She’s not ready for him to grow up quite yet.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Rogelio promised.  He watched Azura walk out, needing to get ready to leave for work.

After giving Azura a hug and a steamy kiss before she went out the door, Rogelio wondered out to the dining room table.  Bella and Mortimer had emerged and were eating some breakfast.  Rogelio sat down with the book he’d selected and gave them a smile as he sat down.  “Morning, folks,” he greeted them.

“Morning, Rogelio,” Bella greeted with a smile.  She looked over at Mortimer, a little blush coloring her cheeks while Mortimer gave her a look much as Rogelio had given Azura that morning.

As Rogelio and Mortimer began an animated conversation, Bella got up and excused herself so she could go work in the garden.  She felt a little pang.  Mortimer and Rogelio were of an age, both several years older than her and Azura.  Mortimer had swept her off her feet, much as Rogelio had done to Azura.  But seeing the little hint of gray in their hair, hearing how the two talked of things that neither she nor Azura could understand was a constant reminder of the age difference.  Not that it had stopped any of them, obviously.  But Bella couldn’t help think on it every now and again.  She couldn’t help smiling though when she heard the subject of fishing come up.  Knowing they would be at that discussion for a while, she tuned it out and went out the back door to her garden.


Rogelio stretched and got out of bed.  After their discussion, he and Mortimer had gone fishing together.  Two old guys at the river bank.  It had felt good, though he was feeling his age a bit and they’d both headed to their rooms for a quick nap.  He looked over at the bedside clock and his eyes widened.  Azura was going to be home any moment now!  He ran to his dresser and reached into the back and pulled out the little jewelers’ box.  He had thought about taking her for another date and doing this properly.  But he thought doing it here, at the house would be more intimate.  The Goths were her family and doing it here would have more meaning, he thought.

He heard the door open and slid the box into his pocket then strode out of their room.  He found the love of his life in the kitchen.  It was true what they say: the kitchen is really the heart of the home.  It certainly was in their house.  She looked lost in thought, but when she heard the footsteps and saw him, her face lit up and then she was in his arms, greeting him with a kiss.

“Hi,” she said breathlessly after he held her at arm’s length.

“Hi yourself,” he murmured.  He seemed to be drinking her in with his eyes, his gaze sweeping over her from head to toe.  He was nervous.  He didn’t think he would be.  It felt so right.  He’d never been one to really do things on impulse.  He’d been planning this for a while now, since before she’d asked him to move in.  But now that it was time, he found himself nervous.  But looking at her, feeling that punch in the gut that always seemed to accompany that first glimpse of her each time, he could only smile.  He reached into his pocket even as he knelt down on one knee in front of her.

Azura could only stare at him, not quite computing what she was seeing or hearing.  “Azura Lynn Chroma,” Rogelio began, “I knew from the moment I set eyes on you that you were the one.  It was like a punch straight to my heart.  I never really believed in fairy tales, until I set eyes on you.  You have become my very own fairy tale, my Princess.  Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?  Of sharing the rest of our lives together, however long that may be?”

Nothing came out.  Azura just stood there, unable to speak past the lump that had lodged itself in her throat.  Tears pricked her eyes, making Rogelio’s upturned face blurry.  Her hand had gone to her chest to make sure she still had a heartbeat.  She was fairly certain that her heart had stopped for a moment there.

After what seemed like an eternity for her, but was in reality only a few moments, Azura choked out, “Yes.  Yes, I’ll marry you.”  He slid the ring on her finger, his own eyes shimmering with just a hint of tears as well.

He stood up and they kissed tenderly, Azura letting out a little sob of noise as she tried not to cry in sheer happiness.

With a sudden wild whoop of delight, Azura leapt into Rogelio’s arms!  He looked startled, but he managed to catch her at least.  Older he may have been, but he was still in very good shape.

Cassie, who had been creeping at the edge of the kitchen, not wanting to interrupt the beautiful moment, ran in, cheering for them.  Rogelio grinned, unable to tear his gaze away from Azura’s.  She was going to be his wife.  It still seemed a little unreal to him.  To both of them, he thought, judging by the look in her eyes as well.

He set her down and once again, they were wrapped up in one another’s arms.  Cassie let out a sappy sigh at the table.  “That’s so sweet,” she murmured.


“Maybe we should just elope,” Azura sighed one night a few weeks later.  Between work and the wedding planning, she was a bit overwrought.

“Nonsense,” Bella said briskly.  “You’re almost there.  I wish you would relax a bit more and let us handle things,” she said.  “I promise, it will be beautiful.”

“Oh, I know that,” Azura assured her.  “I do.  I just… I would feel awful leaving it all to you.”

“Azura,” Bella said, putting her hand over her friend’s.  “It’s ok, really.  You’ve been working non-stop lately.  You’re stressed out.  Your wedding is your day.  I want it to be special for you.  So, let me take care of things for a while, alright?”

“Mom’s right, Aunt ‘Zura,” Alex piped up.  He was doing his homework.  “Mom’s good at this kinda stuff, aren’t ya, Mom?”

Bella grinned at her son.  “Yes, yes I am.”

Azura stared between them bemusedly for a moment, then she threw up her hands, laughing.  “Alright, alright.  I’ll leave it in your capable hands, Bella.”

“Excellent!” Bella exclaimed.  “I promise, you won’t regret it.”


The next month or so passed in a whirlwind.  True to her word, Bella took over the wedding plans.  Azura hardly had to lift a finger unless it was just to make a choice between two colors, or two kinds of stem-ware.  It was suspiciously easy.  And before she knew it, the day of her wedding was upon them.

As Bella had promised, things were perfect.  She’d had a wedding arch set up in their backyard, even ordering a beautiful fountain and arrangement of flowers.  It was beautiful.  Azura stood under the arch with Rogelio, their guests looking on.  Azura really left like a Princess, decked out in her light blue gown.  Rogelio looked dashing in a white fedora.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered.  “You take my breath away, Azura.”

“Oh Rog,” she murmured.  Tears threatened to spill over.  “I-I’m so happy.  Y-you make me so happy.”

As everyone found their seats, Azura and her husband-to-be could only look at one another and both count their lucky stars.

When everyone was seated, the music started.  Swallowing, Azura took Rogelio’s hand in hers and then slid the ring onto his finger.  “With this ring, I thee wed,” she murmured, never taking her eyes off of him.  “I promise to love you, to cherish you, to be your friend and confidante for as long as we both shall live.  I will be there to lift you up and to support you all of our days together.”

Rogelio held her hand and slid the ring onto her finger.  His voice was a bit gruff as he recited his vows.  “With this ring, I thee wed.  I promise to love you, to cherish you, to be your rock and your support.  I swear to you that I will help you paint your world with color once more.  I will be there to lift you up and to support you all of our days together.”

And with a kiss to act as a final seal on their promises to one another, they became Mr. and Mrs. Chroma (Rogelio was only too happy to take Azura’s name as his own).

After the ceremony was the reception.  They started with the cake-cutting.  And then of course there was the feeding each other cake.  Azura’s eyes twinkled.  “Be nice,” she warned her new husband.

“You too,” he said, giving her a wink.  She laughed and the two gently fed each other, both being on their best behavior, if for no other reason than they knew the other would get even.

They made the rounds afterward, sitting and chatting with as many of their guests as possible.  Nancy, Geoff, and their son had come as well as a few people that Azura had met through work.

Shortly after that, Rog and ‘Zura made their escape with the help of Bella who took care of shooing any of the guests out of there.  She told Azura that she and the kids would take care of clean-up.  “It’s your wedding night.  Enjoy it!” Bella said with a wink.

Azura laughed.  “Oh we will!”  Taking her husband’s hand, she led him upstairs.  Once in their room, the two just stood there for a moment, looking at each other.  Then Azura leaned forward.  “Well Mr. Chroma?” she asked.

“Thought you’d never ask, Mrs. Chroma,” Rogelio answered, grinning devilishly.

They changed out of their wedding attire and hopped into bed, giggling like children.

Later on, as Azura lay in her new husband’s arms, she felt his mouth curl into a grin as he whispered in her ear.  “Good night, Mrs. Chroma.”

She grinned back.  “Good night, Mr. Chroma.  Sweet dreams.”

“I’ll be dreaming of you, so of course they will be.”  Flushing, her heart going pitter-pat in her chest, Azura closed her eyes, happier than she could remember being in a long time.  Her dreams held a beautiful sunrise, bringing with it a light wash of color.


1.05: Say Hello to Mr. and Mrs. Rampart

Author’s Note: Apologies for the delay in a reply guys.  NaNoWriMo has started with vengeance, though I surprised myself today by writing a whopping 6400 words for the first day, so I’m super psyched.  I definitely plan on updating this story from time to time, but honestly, it probably will only be once a week or so, unless I really need a break from my novel.  I hope you guys enjoy and if anyone has any questions about Nano, don’t hesitate to ask!

Camron had a plate of food in front of him as he sat in the nice armchair that Mulan had gotten as a reward from her job.  “Hey love?” he asked, looking over toward her.  “Where do you think we should get married?”

 

Before Mulan could voice her opinion, there was a decided interruption.

Wolf: Don’t you guys worry about that.  I’ll take care of that.

“Hey!” Mulan objected, “don’t we get a say in where we get married?”

Wolf: What better place than getting married at the park where the love of your life proposed to you, hm?

“Oh… well, then.  Yes, I guess that works,” Mulan muttered sheepishly, grinning over at Camron.

He returned it, then looked at his watch.  “You have to leave for work soon, don’t ya babe?”

Mulan sighed.  “Yeah, I do.”

Wolf: Good, Camron and I will have a surprise for you when you get home, dear.  So enjoy work.

Mulan froze; she had been going to stand up.  Now she was halfway out of the desk chair, halfway not.  “I… should I be scared by this?”

Wolf: *laughs evilly* I don’t know, should you be?

Camron rolled his eyes.  “C’mon Wolf.”  He went to his fiancé.  “Don’t worry, it’s a good surprise, ok.  Just enjoy your day at work.”  Mulan gave him a tender kiss, then leaned close to whisper something into his ear.  He laughed.  “Hm, I’ll hold you to that.  Go on now, I’ll make sure Wolf behave herself.”

Wolf: Hey!  I behave myself… really… I do… Ok, ok.  Don’t worry, you’ll like it, I promise.

Mulan left, leaving Camron alone with Wolf.  “Ok, so I’ll just go over here, ok?  It won’t take long, right?”

Wolf: Not so you’d notice, she muttered.

The next thing Camron knew, the lot had been transformed a bit.  His eyes widened.  “Whoa!  That was fast!”  He and Mulan finally had a house… of sorts.

 

Camron frowned a little.  “No paint, or windows?”

Wolf: How many times do we have to go over this?  Your prices here are ridiculous!  So now, there’s no paint, no windows.  And I don’t want to hear anything about the fact that the house looks like a construction zone.  As you guys make more money, we’ll decorate more, alright?

Camron held up his hand.  “Ok, ok.  Yeesh.  Sorry I said anything.”  He put his hand on the doorknob tentatively and opened it up.  He was actually pleasantly surprised.  There was an actual kitchen at the back of the house, complete with fridge, stove, the counters that he’d gotten from work.  Even the coffee pot he’d won at a raffle there sat on one of the counters.  Mulan’s desk and computer sat to the right of the door and just as they entered, there was an actual couch with a coffee table and TV.  Camron explored the two doors, one on each side.  One was their bedroom with just the bed there, the other was their bathroom which now had a sink, which was nice.

 

Camron settled down in front of the TV.  He hadn’t gotten to see a game in a while.  “Not bad at all,” he murmured.


 

 

By the time Mulan came home from work, she was exhausted.  It had been a very trying day.  When she got home, she froze, afraid she had come to the wrong place at first.  She looked around, bleary-eyed and confused.

 

“Uh, Wolf?” she called tentatively.

Wolf: Yes, this is the surprise.  You have a house now.  I know, it needs paint and windows, but this is what ya got for now, until we get a bit more money.  But first, take a shower, then go to bed.  You looked wrecked.

Mulan just nodded dumbly.  She couldn’t quite appreciate their new house just yet.  She had barely gotten out of the shower when she passed out on the way to bed!

 

Camron froze on the couch.  “I-is she ok?”

Wolf: Yeah, give her a moment.  Yup, there she goes.  Huh… I’m pretty sure she’s sleep walking at this point.  Let her get a bit of sleep, she’ll be fine.  It’s time for you to head to work anyway, Camron.  Don’t worry, I’ll look after Mulan.

He left, albeit reluctantly.  He wasn’t sure about leaving his future wife with just Wolf, but he didn’t think the Watcher had any ill intentions for Mulan.  She WAS the founder, after all.  That got him to thinking.  He was only the founder’s spouse.  Did that mean…

Wolf: Oh stop!  I get too attached to you guys to really hurt you.  Don’t worry, you and Mulan are completely safe, I promise.  Now, get a move on!


 

 

The next few days went fairly well.  It was certainly a relief to Mulan and Camron to have walls around them and a roof over their head.  Camron practiced his cooking skills…

 

He’d bring Mulan some of his pancakes.  They were quite good and they both seemed to love them.

 

When they weren’t at work or working on skills for work, they enjoyed spending some quality time together watching a little TV.  Mulan wasn’t much for sports, but she enjoyed watching Camron’s reactions during the games.  He wasn’t a very volatile man… until it came to sports that is.  Then he spent a lot of time with his head in his hands.

 

But something about this side of Camron brought out Mulan’s competitive nature and she liked to root for the team that was planning against Camron’s.  It made for some interesting nights.

 

They were both doing fairly well in their chosen careers as well.  Mulan received a few nice pieces to decorate their walls with and Camron was given a very nice island set, plus a sink.

 

Mulan was also becoming quite the handy-woman around the house as well.  Because Camron tended to work such late shifts, when something broke, Mulan fixed it.  Things like the computer and the stove were difficult, but she managed to do it without getting shocked.

 

When household chores weren’t being done, they did what a couple waiting for their wedding often did… made out at every opportunity.

 

They spent every moment that they possibly could together in fact.  Whether eating, or just enjoying what time they had together.


 

 

Finally, it was time for their big day.  One of the reasons the house hadn’t been decorated inside yet was because Camron wanted to give Mulan a real wedding.  It was true that she wouldn’t mind eloping.  But he wanted more than that for her.  She deserved a real wedding and he was bound and determined to give it her.  So on a balmy Wednesday evening, with both of them having that night and the next off, they dressed in their finery and went to the park.  Wolf had been as good as her word about making sure everything was in readiness for the big day.  There was a wedding arch complete with a full complement of chairs, a bar and kitchen area for a caterer and mixologist to use, and of course, there was just the gorgeous scenery of the park itself.

They stood under the arch next to the little pond.  Camron held Mulan’s hands within his own as he looked into her eyes.  There they exchanged their vows.

 

Camron went first.  “I swear that for the rest of my life, I will do everything in my power to make you happy, Mulan Rampart.  I will raise our children with you, grow old with you, be your best friend until Grim sees fit to take me away.”

Mulan had to wipe away a couple tears as she spoke her vows.  “I swear that for the rest of my life, I will be your best friend, I will share all the hurts, and all the good things in life, raise our children, and grow old with you until Grim or high water.”

Then it was time for them to share their first kiss as man and wife.

 

As Mulan moved off to get their slice of wedding cake to share, she turned and blew her new husband a kiss.  He caught it, a perfectly sappy expression on his face.

 

They shared their first piece of cake together and then they packaged it up to freeze for later.

 

Then it was time for home.  Here is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Rampart discussing something very important to a legacy.  The readers will most likely be able to tell what it is.  But that’s for next time!

 

Congratulations Mulan and Camron!

Chapter 38: The Meaning of Family

We ate breakfast at the dining room table.  Conversation was light.  Roark sat there next to me, his voice quiet when he was asked a question, but otherwise he was silent.  Cyn sat there, looking all around her, sometimes in fascination, sometimes with an almost calculating look.  It was hard to know sometimes just what she was thinking.  My family was welcoming, smiling and joking like normal.  Once everyone had eaten (Cyn had finished her tube of plasma juice; Roark was nursing his, deep in thought), the dishes were cleared.  Nan stood up.  “Roark, Cyn,” she murmured.  “Welcome to our home, both of you.  We have something to show you both.  When Luna told us you were both coming, we had some work done.”

She looked at Roark and smiled.  “I know you worry about your sister, but you want her to have her privacy.  We think this will work nicely.”  She led the way to the garage.  “We had a small room constructed up there ages ago and just hadn’t really thought of what to do with it.  I think we found something.”  She ushered them up first.  I followed them.  I couldn’t believe it.  They’d turn it into a small efficiency apartment, decorated in bright yellows.  It had a mini fridge to house all the plasma juice she’d need, a double bed, a small bathroom, a large TV, and a sink.

Cyn went crazy.  She ran and jumped on the bed, and ran around the little space.  Roark just looked on, tears in his eyes.  “T-thank you,” he murmured gruffly, his arm around my waist.  He looked at my family.  “Thank you, all of you.  This-this-“  He let out a shuddering breath.  “What you’ve done here… I can’t ever repay you but-“

“Hush on this talk of repayment,” Nan scolded, hand on her hip.  “We’re family here, Roark.  Cyn’s family now, so we’re happy to do what we can.”  She smiled as she watched Cyn dive onto her bed face first again.  Pop, his stance much like Roark’s, with his arm snaked around my grandmother’s waist, nodded, grinning from ear to ear.

“Sophia’s right,” he announced.  “Family does what it needs to do to see to their own.  You’re our own now.”  He laughed at Cyn’s antics.  “Let’s let her enjoy herself.  We can all go have a cup of coffee… tea for you, Eclipse.”  I gave him a pout.  I missed coffee…

We all trooped back into the house, leaving Cyn to enjoy her new space.  We all ended up back at the dining room table.  We were too numerous for the island or even the living room now.  Mom, Dad, Nan, and Pop took a seat.  Roark was holding my hand.  After they were seated, he cleared his throat.  He looked at me, holding both of my hands in his.  Then he addressed my family- no, OUR family.  “I want to say something to all of you.  I want to thank you all.  I know you say I don’t have to.  But I want to.  I don’t have experience with a family like yours.  My own… you know who my mother is.  And that, in and of itself, is a miracle.  I made mistakes when it came to your daughter.  Mistakes I regret with all my heart.  I made those mistakes because I made assumptions.  You have welcomed me, the son of someone who has caused you all so much pain…”  I could see the tears in his eyes.  My own watered.

He cleared his throat.  “I didn’t believe Luna when she said you’d welcome me.  I’m sorry for that, baby.  I really am.”  He looked at them all now.  “I love her with all my heart.  I know she told you what happened.  No matter what went on between us, I want us to move on, to look to our future.  Our future together, our child.”  Now I was really crying.

“I just want you all to know that I am humbled by what I have been shown here by you all.  So thank you.”

Pop stood up.  He had a serious look on his face.  “The measure of a person is their actions.  What they do because- or despite- their blood, their environment says a lot about them.  Son, you’ve had a hard life, a lot harder than most.  What you’ve done is just short of miraculous.  You’ve looked after your sister and have done a heck of a job with her.  She’s happy and healthy.  I know her condition can be difficult to deal with.  But you’ve embraced it.  And I see the way you look at our Eclipse, like she’s your whole world.  I can’t ask more than that.”  The serious face fell away and his eyes twinkled as he winked.  “Especially not with this family.  Our women are a bit of a handful, after all.  We try to look after them, but-“  Nan reached up and smacked her husband on the shoulder.

“You better watch it, or you’ll need to be looked after,” she growled.  “Sit down, Draco.”  Her eyes twinkled with mirth… and something else as she looked at Roark.  She nodded.  Even my mother gave him a nod.

I was oblivious to what was going on.  Roark pulled me to him, hugging me tightly.  “I love you, Luna,” he whispered.

With what I’d calling a steeling breath, he got down on one knee.  My eyes must have been the size of saucers.  He pulled a box out of his pocket and opened it.  “Luna Eris Wyvern,” he murmured, “You are the light of my night, that which illuminates my life.  I love you with all my heart.  Please, you would make me the happiest man in the world if you’d agree to become my wife.  I don’t want to go another day with regrets where you’re concerned, baby.”  His voice cracked.  “Luna, marry me.”

He slid the ring on my finger; I couldn’t speak.  I had clapped a hand to my mouth to keep the squeak I knew was coming at bay.  As I looked at that ring twinkling on my finger, I took my hand off my mouth and just looked at him.  Even before, we’d never actually defined our relationship.  We’d never actually been a couple.  Things had just… tumbled into place after our first meeting.  And then things had gone so very wrong.  I’d betrayed Roark, plain and simple.  And because of that, because I’d allowed my own pride interfere, we’d both been manipulated and someone had died.  And yet… there he was, asking me to become his wife.

All of these whirled through my mind at warp speed, but I’d been silent for long enough that I could hear the uncertainty in his voice when he asked, “Luna?  Baby?”

I threw myself at him, a very pregnant woman, my arms twining around his neck.  “Yes,” I sobbed, unable to hold the dam back.  “Yes, Roark.  I’ll marry you.”

He held me tightly, though very conscious of my condition, I knew.  As my family cheered around us, he put me at arms’ length.  When he did, he said, “Luna, I hope you or your family doesn’t object, but… I’d like to take your name.  I want to be a Wyvern.  I-is that ok?”

In answer, I just stared at him.  “Of course you can!” I exclaimed.  Then, I looked at him, an urgency egging me on. “Let’s do it now, Roark.  I don’t want to wait.  I-I want to be your wife.  I-I want a fresh start for you and I.  Can we do that?”

“Now?  I… I don’t mind, Luna, but… don’t you want your brother here?”

“I would love it if Alduin could come back for this.  I really would.” There were tears in my eyes again.  “He’ll understand.  And I’ll make it up to him when he comes home to visit again.  I just… I want this fresh start, Roark.”

He kissed me gently.  “Alright.  We’ll do it now.  Any objects here?”

My family shook their heads.  If any of them were shocked, they didn’t show it.  They just smiled at the both of us.  Mom and Pop got up and went to me.  “Don’t you want a dress baby?” Mom asked me.

“No, Mama.  I wouldn’t be able to fit into one right now anyway,” I told her wryly.  “Y-you understand, don’t you?”

“Of course I do baby.  I do.  It’s alright.  You should at least get dressed though.  It’s cold out there, baby.”

“I’ll be ok, Mama.”  I know I was being ridiculous.  I was still in my nighty for crying out loud!  But… I just wanted to marry Roark.  Maybe it was the hormones talking after all, but I wanted it so badly.  Roark was talking to my grandmother about something, though I couldn’t hear what she said.

Pop seemed to know not to say anything.  He just leaned down a bit and gave me a hug.  There were no words needed.

After a few minutes, Roark went to me and grabbed my hand.  “Your grandmother says we might as well go use the wedding arch in the backyard.  I’m not going to argue with her.  Are you sure you don’t want a coat, baby?”

“I’ll be ok, Roark.  Really.”

And so, we trekked through the several inches of snow to the wedding arch at the back of the property.  Roark and I stood under the arch.  It was cold, but to be honest, I barely felt the wind.  Standing there, just looking at him, knowing that soon enough, we’d be husband and wife, that part of me that was still bleeding, still scarred from the mistakes I had, was finally healing.  Oh we had a long way to go, I knew.  Maybe we’d never fully be at peace over what happened, but we had each other.  And soon enough, we’d have a child to love as well.

Apparently, what my grandmother had been talking to Roark about was rings.  She’d given him the set she and my grandfather had used almost 40 years ago.  So, with my grandparents’ rings, Roark and I exchanged vows with our family looking on.  As he slid the ring on, he murmured, “With this ring, I pledge my life to yours, to unite two lives, and two hearts.  I vow that I will love you, and cherish you with my last breath.”

Tears slid down my cheeks when it was my turn.  I slid the ring on his finger and gave my own vow, “With this ring, I pledge my life to yours, to never give up on you, to treat you as my partner, my friend, and above all, my heart of hearts.  I vow that I will love you, and cherish you until the end of my days.”

We clasped hands.  We were both trembling with emotion.

“Kiss already!” Nan called out after a moment.  It brought out a chuckle from the gathered family.  Roark laughed and he pulled me close, his lips soft and tender against mine.  I didn’t want soft and tender.  My arms went around him and I gave him a real kiss.

When we finally came up for air, Roark took my hand and led me back inside.  I didn’t even notice that my teeth were chattering.


 

Aurora leaned against her husband, ignoring the cold snow against her bare legs.  “Well… this has certainly been interesting.”

Jeff sighed.  “Yeah, you could say that.”  The wedding was over.  Roark had led Luna back inside already and Draco and Sophia had followed.  “I think they’ll be ok, though.”

“I hope so,” Aurora murmured.  “I think they have a long way to go yet, but I think they’ll get there.  They’ve both been through so much pain, it’s almost cloying for me, Jeff.”

“I’m sorry, Rora.  I wish there was something I could do for you, and for them.”

“Sometimes there’s nothing we can do.  Just give them time.  It’s a beautiful night.  Though… I’m cold now.  Let’s go inside and get some cocoa, ok?”

He laughed and took her hand, pulling her up beside him.  Then they walked inside.


 

The house was quiet.  Most everyone had gone to bed already, though it wasn’t too late.  I was having trouble sleeping anyway.  I knew I had to do something.  I’d put it off long enough.  Of all the calls I had made, this one was the toughest for me.  I pulled out my phone and looked at it for a long moment, then hit #3 on the speed dial.  As soon as the familiar voice answered with a tremulous “Luna?”, I had to swallow.

“Hey little brother,” I whispered.  “I uh… I have a lot of explaining to do, I know.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry, Alduin.  I-I can’t imagine how worried you’ve been.”


 

Alduin couldn’t quite believe it.  His sister was ok.  He’d feared the worst and had had to argue out of leaving Uni to go and search for her.  Any of the feelers he’d put out online had gone strangely without answer.  But here she was.  He looked at his watch.  He should still have time to meet Cali.  “Yeah, you could say I’ve been worried.  Luna, what happened?”


 

“I-it’s a long story, little brother.”  Tears stood in my eyes.  I had to fight to keep my voice from cracking.  “If you’ve got a minute, I’ll tell ya about it.  I messed up, Alduin.  Really bad.”  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep my voice steady as I told him all of it, much as I had my mother.  Yet this was harder, somehow.  Admitting to my baby brother how badly I had messed up, how badly I’d handled everything was painful.


 

Alduin rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.  “Luna… Oh Luna.  I’m so sorry.  Is-is there anything I can do?  Are you ok?  Wait, don’t answer that.  Stupid question, sorry.  Are you and the baby ok?”


 

That brought a smile to my face, briefly.  “Yeah, we’re fine.  You’re niece or nephew is worse than I am, though when it comes to being a night owl.  Won’t give me a moment’s peace, and yet doesn’t seem to want to come out and greet the world.”

He chuckled.  “Definitely your kid, sis.  Ok, spill it.  What’s wrong?”

“Alduin, Roark and I got married today.  I-I’m sorry I didn’t wait.  I know you’d want to be here for it.  I-I just-“  My voice cracked and I had to choke back the sobs.  “I needed to do it.  I needed to make as clean a slate as we could.  I-I didn’t want to wait.  Can you forgive me?”

He was silent for a moment.  “Luna, you shouldn’t have to ask that.  Of course I forgive you.  There’s nothing to forgive.  Though, I think you owe me some cake when I come home, at the least.”

I laughed, the horrible weight I’d been carrying evaporating.  “You got it, little brother.  By the time you get here, you’ll have a niece or nephew to help spoil.”

“Oh you bet I’ll spoil them, I’ll-“  The mirth died from his voice as I heard a noise coming from that end of the conversation.  I was suddenly bombarded with a cacophony of noise.  It was panic.  Sheer panic.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, except something was wrong and it involved someone he greatly cared about.  ‘Cali’ flashed through my mind.  It was a litany that he was repeating in his mind again and again.

I didn’t question it, just told him, “Go.  Go to her.”  Then I hung up.  I stood there for a moment, hoping my brother didn’t do something stupid.  I hoped his lady friend was ok.  A shiver ran down my spine.  “Be careful, Alduin.”


 

The last couple days have been another roller coaster of the worst kind.  Aunt Faye called.  She had two pieces of news for us.  We lost Uncle Falkor last night.  He and Aunt Faye had gone to bed at their normal time.  When she awoke… Uncle Falkor was gone.  He’d had a heart attack during the night and had slipped away quietly in his sleep.  He was buried today in the family crypt with his mom and dad.  Pop’s been pretty quiet, but he has Nan to be there for him.  It’s weird, considering Falkor was a few years younger than Pop.

If that isn’t bad enough, the other news she gave us was about Alduin.  Apparently, she had helped him set up the device he’d rigged himself.  He’d been concerned about his friend Calysta and had made an app that he’d installed on her phone.  It notified not only himself, but the University police, and my Aunt Faye.  She’d waited a day to tell us because she’d wanted to get as much information as she could.  Alduin’s friend had been attacked.  One of the fraternity boys had lured her to a party.  But he’d been the only one there.  This same guy is also being questioned in a rape/murder on their campus.  I had a bad feeling about that one.  I think I know why Alduin had been so afraid for his friend.

He had been going to meet her there when I had called him.  I haven’t quite been able to process that.  The guilt is already mingling with what I have so that I can’t tell the difference right now.  After she’d put up the distress signal, he’d gone there.  He found her, beaten and bloody.  According to Faye, not only had he fought off her attacker, but he’d given him a hell of a beating.  I can’t say I wasn’t happy to hear that, though I knew my brother was pretty sensitive.  He’d feel the guilt of that for a while.  He hasn’t called us yet.  I hope he’s ok.  And I sincerely hope his friend is ok.  Faye couldn’t give us a lot of details about how she was.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m as big as a house right now.  I can barely walk.  Even a trip to the fridge can be laborious.

I’m trying so hard not to concentrate on all the negative.  Maybe that’s why my child hasn’t made an appearance yet.  Their afraid because their mother is always so upset.  I’m really trying.  Though it’s hard.  I’m so uncomfortable.  Dad says another three-four weeks and then the C-section.  I hope it doesn’t come to that.  But it’s all up to the little one, I guess.  Hopefully, they’ll decide to make their appearance sooner rather than later.


 Author’s Note: Special shoutout to Ivane’s Chronicles of Clarke.  The link is in the right hand corner.  Calysta and Alduin’s adventures can be seen there if you haven’t checked it out yet!  Go, check it out!

Chapter 10: The Passage of Time

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.  Though there are five of us, caring for a toddler is still very busy, especially with Draco and Falkor still attending school.  They’re doing well.  Even as attentive as he is with Aurora, Draco’s grades have remained steady and he’s managed to hold onto his academic standing.  We’re very proud of him, of course.  Oh yes, so I was describing how busy it’s been.

While I have come to love our canine companions, Glena is a bit aggressive and doesn’t seem to feel any loyalty to anyone but Gage.  I was working on doing some cleaning up while it was quiet in the house when the quiet was shattered by Glena carrying on.  This wasn’t so unusual; she seemed to bark and growl at anyone or anything… and being that we were still plagued by paparazzi on a regular basis, we had almost gotten used to the noise she could produce.  Except this didn’t stop… and it had a different quality to it.

As I stepped out into the hallway, I gasped even as the sparkles engulfed her.  When they cleared, there was a tiny fluffy little shape there.

Draco named the little guy and has decided to call him Hercules.  So welcome little Hercules Wyvern.  We’ve decided he will be Aurora’s since they will be growing up together.

Now that we have a puppy and a toddler in the house, it’s quite a bit more lively, even more than it was with three teenagers in the house, though one of them is now a Young Adult.  As if that weren’t enough, David celebrated his elder birthday, by himself, in the kitchen.  It’s just been so crazy lately that none of us really thought about it.  Though time has begun its ravages, he is still one of the most handsome man I’ve ever met (aside from our sons, of course).

That night, everyone else had gone to bed and David and I took the time to sit together and enjoy each other’s company over some leftover spaghetti.  “So, my Queen,” he rumbled.  “Do you regret losing your immortality now?”

I could only stare at him askance.  Even after all this time, Sim humor often left me a bit confused.  “What are you talking about?  What brought this on?”  I’m afraid I was rather distressed.

David just laughed and reached for hand.  “I’m sorry, love.  I shouldn’t tease you.”  He brought my hand up to his lips and brushed them over my knuckles.  “I hope that I’ve given you a fraction of the happiness you’ve given to me.”

“Oh David.  I never knew what I was missing,” I murmured.  “This is all just so much… more than I ever thought it could be.  I love you so much, only more so now.”

“Even now that I’m old and wrinkled?” he asked, squeezing my hand and winking.

At least now I was fairly sure he was kidding.  “Yes, even now,” I responded, rolling my eyes.  A sigh of contentment escaped.  “I look at our children and at our grandchild… It’s almost overwhelming, in a good way, though,” I hastened to add.

He nodded.  “Yes, yes it is.”

It hasn’t been ALL craziness.  Falkor is quite taken with his little niece and I often find him sneaking into Aurora’s room.  As soon as she stirs, he has her out of the crib and playing with her.  It’s very sweet, though he seems just a little reluctant to admit how much he enjoys being Uncle Falkor.

It seems that our little Northern Light is carrying on the tradition, and is indeed an heir of the Dragons.  She’s already exhibiting powers.  She seems to be more prepared than even her father was; I would say she almost takes it for granted, in a way, as if this is perfectly normal.

I have been in the Sim Realm for over two years.  In the life of a Sim, that is a very long time.  Yet, in my old life, it would have been nothing.  And yet, in that time, so much has happened.  I met David and fell in love.  We created two beautiful children and watched them both grow into children, then into teenagers.  And while it hasn’t been without some grief and some stress, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Even as I celebrate the last birthday I will experience, I can only look back on my mortal life and feel very blessed.

Though it is probably a silly thing to worry about, I found that gray hair clashes horribly with my skin tone.  I have never been vain, but found that I missed my normal hair color so Sophia helped me color it, though I didn’t mind a hint of the gray showing through.  I thought it is a kind of badge of honor.

David and I have changed; our bodies are old now.  I can’t help but be aware of time as it passes.  It’s in my nature.  Yet, when David grabs me and holds me close, it’s as electrifying as the first day we met and he held me.  After over two years of marriage, we still are as passionately in love as we were in the beginning.  And yet, somehow, there is… MORE than there was.

We are enjoying our time with our granddaughter.  There’s something to be said for being grandparents and getting to spend your ‘declining’ years spoiling them.

Though we never really had ‘jobs’, such as they were, David and I are determined to enjoy the rest of our days with one another and with our family.  Today, Draco is no longer a teenager.  David baked the cake and we all stood around, waiting as my oldest child stood there, thinking upon his future, trying to decide what he wanted to wish for.

After the sparkles hit, he took himself to the mirror and dresser.  My son, Draco Maxim Wyvern, the heir of the family.  He is certainly handsome, like his father.

Aurora is still very much a daddy’s girl.  She just loves Draco so very much.  She waddled up to him and begged to be picked up as soon as he finished dressing.

After he’d given his daughter sufficient attention, he asked to speak with his father and I.  Sophia and Falkor both gave us privacy.  David and I sat on the couch while Draco perched on the coffee table, looking at us.  “Mom, Dad.”  Draco let out a short puff of breath.  “I know I always talked about going to University before getting a job.  But… I have a family to think about now.  I… I’ve decided that I’m just going to join the Force.”

I could only stare at him a moment.  “But Draco… you always wanted to go to University!  You and Sophia wanted to go so badly…  You know we’d look after Aurora!”

“Oh I know that Mom!  I do.  And it’s not that I don’t trust her with you.  You’re the only ones I would.  But… I just can’t leave her for that long.  Even doing it a term at a time… I don’t want to miss her growing up.”  He smiled at us.  “A degree just isn’t as important as she is.  I’ll just have to start at the bottom, work my up, that’s all.  And really… I think the more practical experience is important in law enforcement.”

What he said made sense, but I couldn’t help but feel he was sacrificing something for his family.  I sighed and leaned forward, putting my hands on his knees.  “If this is what you want, then you know we’ll support you.”

He hugged us both and then immediately left to go fill out an application at the precinct.

Once he returned, he and I discussed the wedding.  Neither or Sophia wanted a big one.  It just wasn’t important to them.  We set up an arch in the backyard.  Sophia did insist they both wear formal attire.  Her mother had given her the gown she had married her father in.  So David took Draco and had him fitted for a tux.

They were married in a private ceremony as the sun set.  There was a light rain, but David said that it was good luck.



It was simple and yet so very beautiful for the simplicity.   Look at that… my son is married, with a child of his own.  Time moves on.  But I don’t fear it as I did when I first arrived.  In fact, I look to the future, not to my own future, not really.  I look to my children and in turn, their children.  This might be my last entry.  It’s Draco’s turn now.  For those of my descendants who may someday read this, I wish you all the happiness life can bring.  Enjoy it.  Cherish it.


 

Chapter 1: Coming out of her Shell

Hm, now where was I… Oh yes, just as my sister predicted, I spent several days, desperately searching through tome after tome, testing potion after potion.  But nothing reversed my current state, again, just as Lyall had intended.  But I refused to give up, refused to believe I would remain this way.  Yet all I was doing was working myself into a state of utter insanity.  So I decided to step away for a little while.  I had yet to explore the place she had sent me.  Monte Vista… While I was still angry, I did understand why she did not send me to Dragon Valley.  The ravages my children had caused were only just being cleaned up.

Deciding it would be beneficial to take a breather, to just clear my head, I began to walk around the town.  Diego, after being such a good helper deserved a break too, so the two of us went together.  I can admit this now, but at the time, I viewed it as more of a chore, but I found myself enjoying it, the brisk pace, the wind through my hair… Watching Diego bark and yip happily, just enjoying being with me and going for a walk; it was the first smile I was conscious of since I had awoken in the empty lot.

We stopped at the Consignment Shop, mostly just so I could check things out, see if there were any other spell components I may have missed or hadn’t been able to find yet.  While there, I met a man named Hayden James.  As I met his eyes… I felt a flutter in my belly.  It was the oddest sensation and one I was entirely unfamiliar with.  However, I suspected I knew what it was; my sister embraced the mortal form she chose to wear while I never had.  She used to regale me with stories of her conquests.  Part of those stories were detailed accounts of what kind of feelings an attractive Sim would elicit in her.  I could only assume that Hayden James was attractive.  I had to admit that he was indeed, though I was uncomfortable enough that I didn’t stay long.

Despite that, and despite my intentions, Diego and I developed a routine, after tending the small garden I’d planted with various plants that I used in my spells and potions and after a few hours of studying and testing, we would go for a walk.

I have to admit that Diego was my salvation during those first frantic days.  He gave me companionship.  A kind of bond that asked for nothing in return, that just was.  It was… nice.  It was something that I had never really known before and I found myself not only enjoying it, but coming to depend upon it, upon Diego.

During one of our walks, we found ourselves in a rather lovely park.  There, I met the Mayor of Monte Vista.  His name is Constanzo Rossi.  Again, I felt those flutters in my belly, but I was relieved to find out that he was happily married.  I even met his wife briefly, but she had to go shortly after our introduction.

I was finding this attraction business to be a harrowing experience, frankly.  This mortal body contained so many sensations… it was quite overwhelming.  At least Constanzo put me at ease.  I suppose as a Sim politician, it was a part of his job.  Still, I was rather happy to get out of there, but I got a call from him later on that night, just checking in on me to make sure I was alright.  It was… nice.  Rather than the flutters, there was simple gratitude.  I had a real friend it seemed.

With that realization, I wandered around town more often.  I met a few other people, the Mancini brothers.  Both nice, though a bit up-tight I thought.

With a couple new friends, I returned to my little hovel.  It was still a bit depressing there, but it was mine.  I hadn’t stopped my studies, though there wasn’t quite the urgency that there had been before.  I had decided to keep bees since their wax and honey were key ingredients to several potions I made that I sold to the Elixir Shop here in Monte Vista.  Unfortunately, I was not used to dealing with the little creatures…

I’m ashamed to say that I panicked and ran away.  I had run quite far and had gotten turned around.  At first, I didn’t recognize the house.  But then I realized that I was at Hayden’s home.  I debated whether to just turn and walk away.  After all, Hayden was quite handsome and I just wasn’t adept at this mortal body or the feelings and sensations I experienced.  But before I could make my escape, the door opened and Hayden hailed me.  I reluctantly entered.  Relief swept through me.  Though I could appreciate his form, I was not overwhelmed like I had been before and I could even smile and laugh with him for a moment.  Then his roommate came home.

There were no butterflies this time… no, it was an explosion in my head, in my stomach… and in my heart.  I couldn’t say anything; I didn’t have the words to articulate—well, anything, really.  And he seemed just as flabbergasted for a moment.  I used that to run out, trembling and unsure of what had just happened.  Later, I would read a few tales of what the mortals called ‘True Love’ and ‘Love at First Sight’.  Was that what it was?  Perhaps.  All I knew at the time, though, was that I had to get away.  I got back to my home and curled up in the sleeping bag I’d been using since my arrival.  I was tired… that was it.

But later that night, I got a surprise.  David Haynes, the very same man I had run away from, showed up on my doorstep.  We talked for a moment, actually introduced ourselves, then stood there in silence, both of us looking and feeling awkward.  Then the next thing I knew, he had grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me to him, his lips on mine!

He pulled away, but after that first taste, I wanted more so I pulled him back!  When we finally came up for air, we both were a little stunned, but grinning.  “What does this mean?” I asked him quietly.

“I’m not sure what this is, or what this all means,” he said slowly, “but, I’d like to find out.  What about you?”

I hesitated, but only for a moment.  I didn’t understand it, not then, but I wanted to find out as well.  I could try to blame it on an innate curiosity, but that was only part of it.  A major part was that I was curious about some of the stories.  David was more than handsome and I found his personality endearing.  So we agreed to see where this would take us.

We become what the mortals call a ‘couple’ or boyfriend/girlfriend and he moved in with me in the tiny little hovel.  Though at least I had made enough to expand just enough to have an actual bathroom and a bed!

David had a job, but one that he wasn’t particularly thrilled with.  He confided to me that he’d always wanted to paint.  I wasn’t worried as much about money at that point, so I told him to do what his heart desired.  He began to paint; surprisingly enough, he was able to sell them for a fairly large amount so not only was he doing something he loved, but it proved to be a lucrative enterprise as well.

I hadn’t given up in my quest, not entirely, but it took a back-burner to making potions to sell.

Between David’s paintings, my potions and the fact that Diego kept bringing us some interesting items to sell, we were able to expand our little home.  We could have a table and chairs, something the mortals call a TV (I don’t understand the fascination with them, but David seems to enjoy it), Diego got his own little space and we were able to put a small basement in so that I could keep my alchemy station down there and work without worrying about the weather or disturbing David too much with some of the sights and smells that were inherent in combining sorcery and science.

Our relationship has been… intense.  Just when I am starting to feel comfortable and start to relax, something will happen: a look, a touch and then something seems to grip me by the throat, and there’s a tightness in my chest.  It’s not an unpleasant sensation, however.  In fact, I’m beginning to really enjoy it.

It happened gradually enough that I didn’t notice… or maybe it is more accurate to say that I didn’t realize just what was going on.  But one day, it hit me.  I loved David.  Even my efforts to find a way out of my situation have gone by the wayside.  I seemed to find excuses NOT to do it.  This is what finally made me realize that I was actually… happy.  I could no longer see my future without David in it.  Even knowing that this mortal body would eventually decay and die, I couldn’t be upset about that, not with David by my side.

I was content with that, or so I thought.  I knew I had David’s love.  But there was something missing.  One day, after working for quite a bit making potions, I found myself feeling ill.  I dashed to the bathroom to purge myself.

I didn’t think about it at the time, figuring that I had been inhaling the fumes too much lately.  But after another couple bouts with the horrible nausea, I began to wonder.  Sure enough, after casting a spell on myself, I found that I was pregnant!  I had a life growing within me.

I didn’t tell David, not right away.  I was too busy marveling at this miracle.  The dragons, my ‘children’, had been created through my essence, given life through magic.  They were mine, but not like the life growing inside me.  It was such a marvel, and brought me close to tears.  Before I could tell David of our tremendous fortune, he called to me.  I walked tentatively to him.  In his hand, there was something, a little box…

I didn’t know to make of it at first.  He just smiled at me.  “My Dragon Queen,” he murmured.  I had long ago confessed who I was to him.  I had expected derision or at the very least disbelief.  But instead, he had grinned just like that and pulled me close.  He seemed to accept it at face value.  From then on, he’d often call me his Dragon Queen, or simply his Queen.  He used that nickname now, his voice so tender it had tears coming to my eyes.  “You have been the light of my life.  I’ve never felt for someone else what I feel for you.  Though I probably don’t deserve it, or you, it would be the greatest honor if you would agree to become my wife.  Will you marry me, Celestia?”

I was speechless for a long moment, unable to speak.  I burst into tears as I threw myself at him, wrapping my arms around his neck.  “Yes, yes, of course,” I sobbed.

He held onto me for a long moment, rubbing his hands up and down my back.  “I love you, my Queen,” he murmured.

It jolted me out of my stupor and I stepped back.  “D-david.  I-I have something to tell you.”  Swallowing, I slowly and haltingly told him that I carried a child inside of me, our child.  We had never talked of such things and I had no idea how he would react.

I braced myself for the shock and even possible ire.  Instead, I found myself crushed to his chest as he rained kisses over my face.  “Let’s not wait,” he murmured.  “Let’s do it now.  We don’t need a big wedding.  We’re already married, in our hearts.  It’s really only a formality, right?”

I nodded, not quite sure what he was talking about.  I knew of marriage, of course, but it wasn’t something I had ever spent any time in contemplating.  So it was that we were married in our little hallway, just the two of us.  Even later, after I knew what a full wedding meant, I found the moment magical.

So it was, that night, David and I went to bed as man and wife.  As I lay next to him and felt the life within me, I could only smile.  Perhaps rather than be mad at Lyall, I owed her a debt… not that I would ever tell her that, though… at least not right away.