2.3 Fallen

A/N: Hey guys! Long century no see! I haven’t updated this ol’ story in a millennium! So if we went by my track record… I’ll finish this blog when I’m in my… 40’s? We’ll see.

I was really into writing for Fading Quickly for a while, so all of my writing and play time was dedicated to that blog. But then the worst thing that I have ever experienced happened. My wife had a miscarriage. It was really hard on the both of us, and I tried to be as loving and supportive as I could, because while we both lost the baby, it was her body that had to go through it. 😦

At that point, I lost all desire to write for anything really. I kinda bowed out of the simming community, sorta hoveringly reading people’s chapters.

That was last October, and in that time we both went through a lot (which included job loss, another miscarriage, and moving from one end of the US to the other).

Anyway! I’m back, and hopefully, I will post more often.

I’m actually really happy with this chapter because it flowed onto the word document exactly as I saw it in my head (as opposed to plopping onto the word document in an adequate fashion, as per usual). I really hope that you enjoy it.

PS. The title comes from Sarah McLaughlin’s song ‘Fallen’, which seemed to fit the theme of this chapter pretty well!

Anyway! Enjoy! As usual, likes and comments are much appreciated!

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With my heart beating in my chest, I opened the door to the student lounge. Inside the room, the party was in full swing. EDM music vibrated through my whole body as I looked around. I hadn’t been to too many unsupervised parties back home due to the tight leash of my parents, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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Most of the other kids were on the very packed dance floor, grinding their butts and crotches against each other, but there did seem to be a ton of other things to do. There was a makeshift bar behind the dance floor, and Jan Sentry (the girl who sits next to me in my English class) was standing behind it, mixing drinks. To the right was a bunch of lounge chairs where a couple of people thought was the perfect place to make out; and to the left was what appeared to be a blank canvas covered with balloons. When my classmates would throw the darts that were in their hands at the balloons, paint would explode out of the balloon. I guess it’s supposed to be art.

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I stood at the entrance like a deer in headlights, not really knowing what to do. I took a couple of steps into the room, when someone shoved me from behind.

“Move, twerp!” Seriously???

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“Nice to see you too, Cameron.” I said dryly. Who thought it was a good idea to invite Cameron to a party like this?

“So now we’re letting any loser in?” Cam asked his buddies. “Well that freakin’ sucks balls.”

“Well you would know plenty about sucking balls, wouldn’t you?” I asked. I was getting tired of his crap. It took all my will to not deck him in the face. I stood there staring at him with my fists clenched so tightly that I could feel my nails digging into my palms.

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“Why you-“ Cameron began to raise his fist as if he was gonna punch me, when a drunk girl ran over and threw herself at him, almost spilling her drink on his shirt.

“C’mon Cammy, dance with me!” Still staring daggers in my direction, Cameron shoved the girl off with a grunt.

“Not now, Bianca.”

"But Cammy-poo." She begged, moving close to his ear. “If you dance with me I’ll…” Her voice got too low for me to hear, but I could imagine what she was saying because Cameron’s face perked up.

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He poked me in the chest as Bianca pulled him to the dance floor. “This isn’t over.”

This isn’t over? What is this, some teen drama? I rolled my eyes, and walked over to the bar.

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“Hey…” Jan said. Did she really forget my name? I could have swore that I talked to her plenty of times. She looked at me trying to remember. I thought about giving her a hand, but screw that. “…Brad?”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Yup. That’s my name.”

“So, Brad. What can I get you?”

“I dunno. I’ve never drank before. What do you suggest?” Before she could answer, some guy bummed into me from behind.

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“Oop! Sorry.” He leaned against me, using my shoulder as support. His breath smelled like straight up alcohol. “Janny, baby! Gimme an Aunt Roberta!” He then seemed to actually notice me, even though he was still using my shoulder as support. “Hey! It’s… gah! Wait! Don’t tell me.”

“It’s Brad.” Jan piped up. She seemed more annoyed than I was. I still didn’t have the heart to correct her.

“So what’s your fancy, Brad-o?” Strange guy asked me. I tapped my fingers against the counter.

“I’m not sure yet. I’ve never drank before.”

“Never? Dude, you’re not living, man! You gotta let loose, go crazy.”

“I don’t know. I should probably take it slow since it’s my first time.” I said.

“Oh my gosh, dude! Screw takin it slow! Ya gotta stop bein’ so uptight.”

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I had never been called uptight before. I almost laughed that he even suggested that I needed to loosen up. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have any friends here. I was taking this school more seriously than anything else in my life. I was surprised at how good my grades were.

Oh my God! Did I turn into my sister? Thinking back on the whole time that I’ve been here, I’ve been a boring nerd. I felt myself cringe at my constant studying and straight up nerdisms.

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“Give me whatever he’s having.” I told Jan. She looked shocked for a second, which ticked me off. I didn’t wanna be the antisocial art school reject, so if this is what’s gonna give me an “in”, then there was no way that I wasn’t gonna do it.

“You sure? It’s strong. Maybe you should start off slow.”

“C’mon, Janny!” The dude said. “The guy wants to let loose! Giv’m the drink!” He put his arm over my shoulder and leaned into me. With a sigh, Jan began to make the drink that I asked for.

When she slid the drink across the counter, I didn’t hesitate. I picked up the glass, and I downed it in one shot.

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When the liquid hit my throat, it felt like I swallowed fire. But I didn’t want to seem like a wimp, so I continued drinking, clenching my fist to prevent myself from reacting.

“Dude!” The weird guy next to me practically yelled when I slammed the glass down on the counter. “You’ve got some hardcore BALLS! Get this guy another one!”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Jan said, reaching for my glass. Before she could grab it, I snatched it away.

“I want another one.” I really didn’t. But I was done with being a social outcast. If this is what it took, then I was doing it. Jan shrugged, pretty much saying that she wasn’t going to try to control me anymore. Good. She wasn’t my mom, so she couldn’t tell me what to do anyway.

Clumsily put the glass down on the counter for her to give me another drink. As she began to pour, this strange feeling came over me. I stared at the weird liquid as it fell into the glass. As soon as it hit the counter, I scooped it up, and started to drink it.

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“Chug! Chug! Chug!” The weird guy beside me chanted. Other voices started joining in. A shudder went up and down my spine when I finished the nasty drink. But I wasn’t about to quit now! “Another!”

I was going to do whatever it took to finally get some friends. What was the worst that could happen?

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——————–

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I woke up the next morning with the worst headache that I’ve ever had. I tried to open my eyes, but the pressure on my eyelids was so overwhelming, that my eyes might have opened only a tiny bit before shutting again. My arms felt like limp noodles, and my feet felt like they were covered in cement that was weighing me down.

I groaned.

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“Good morning.” I heard a familiar voice say. I was about to jump up in shock, but my limbs weren’t doing what I wanted them to. I used all the strength that I thought I had to open my eye so that I could see whoever was talking. All I could see was a blur of black, white, and green, and I realized that I didn’t have my glasses.

“How are you feeling?” The person asked me. I knew that they weren’t speaking loudly. But it felt as if they were screaming in my ear. I covered them with both of my hands and groaned again. “My guess is that you feel about the same as you look.”

“Kait?” I asked. I was finally able to recognize my favorite teacher’s voice. But I wasn’t sure why she was even in my room.

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“You got it.” I could hear the slight creaking of wood, so I guess she was moving in her seat. “Do you remember anything that happened last night?”

I scratched my head, still totally confused about what was even happening. And where the heck were my glasses?

“Last night?”

“Yes, last night.” She said. While I couldn’t see her face, I could tell that she wasn’t happy with me. “I found you this morning passed out in front of my office. Do you want to explain to me what happened?”

It was then that I remembered the party last night. The music; Cameron being… Well, Cameron; sitting at the bar with that weird guy convincing me to drink whatever it was that I drank. Then… I couldn’t remember. I sat up and put my head in my hands.

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“I… I don’t know.” I said. Why couldn’t I remember?

“My guess is that what you’re feeling is a hangover. It sucks, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah. It really does. I am never doing that again.”

“That’s what everyone says.” She chuckled. She moved closer. “Do you want to tell me why you were drinking?”

I was a bit torn. On the one hand, what if last night got really out of control, or someone was seriously hurt? But on the other hand, I didn’t want to be the tattletale. If it got out that I was the one who spilled the beans, then I would forever be known as the party pooper. I gently shook my head.

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“Fine.” She said with a sigh. “I probably should tell Mr. Harvey about what happened.” I felt my stomach drop. “But I won’t this time. I know you’re a good kid, Brian. I’m just going to chalk this up to a stupid teenage mistake, and give you a sick pass for today.”

Her heels clicked against the tile floor as she walked over to her desk. Each noise vibrated in my skull. Hangovers suck! When the noise stopped, I finally noticed what I was wearing.

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“Uhh… where are my clothes?” The sound of heels on tile started up again as Kait walked closer. I felt my face heat up because I knew for a fact that this was not what I was wearing when I went to the party.

“Unfortunately, when I found you on my doorstep, you were completely naked.” All I could feel was dread. Why the heck was I naked? Why didn’t Kait tell me before? I had so many questions, but zero answers. I stood up, but Kait had to catch my as I lost my balance.

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“Will you be okay to get back to your room?” I nodded, even though I wasn’t sure I’d be able to see okay. I knew that I had my stupid contacts back in my room. I just needed to be able to make it to my room.

“I will let your other teachers know that you will be out for the day. If you need anything else, Brian, don’t hesitate to ask. I nodded, and made my way to the door to the hallway.

——————–

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The rest of the day was… weird. I did make it back to my room safely, and I was able to find my contacts okay (mom and dad are gonna kill me when they find out I lost my glasses). But whenever I passed by someone, I would hear them begin to laugh. I wanted to know what they were laughing about, but I was too hungover, and sick to do anything about it. I spent the whole day between the bed, and the bathroom, praying to God that this crap would end. I don’t think I’ve ever hugged a toilet bowl so much.

Luckily by the next day, I felt a heck of a lot better. Though things still felt a little… weird. When I would pass by other kids, they would either start laughing under their breath, or they would stare at me like I did something weird. I tried to shake it off, but the whole day I felt people’s eyes on me.

——————–

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At the end of the following day, my math teacher told me that Headmaster Harvey wanted to see me in his office. When I got there, I knocked on the door and waited until I heard him say that I could come in.

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“Mom? Dad?” I was shocked to see my parents sitting across from Mr. Harvey. My parents looked as confused as I felt, but Harvey pointed to a chair near my mom and told me to sit down.

“Here at LeFromage, we take pride in our school, teachers, and our students. Thus far, your son has been an outstanding individual. His grades have been impeccable, and his attendance extraordinary.” Both my mom and dad looked at me with pride, and my mom grabbed my dad’s hand, squeezing it gently.

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“That’s great to hear.” My dad said. “But is that why you called us here? It seems rather pointless to travel all this way just to hear about how great he was doing.”

Mr. Harvey shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I wish it was that way. But I’ve actually called you here to discuss Brian’s future at LeFromage.”

“What do you mean?” Mom asked him. “I thought you said he was doing great.”

“Perhaps it is better that I show you.” Harvey grabbed the edges of his computer screen, and rotated it so that we could all see.

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All three of our jaws dropped when we saw what was on the screen. It was a picture of me, standing on a table butt naked, some type of bottle in hand. My face began to heat up as I saw the look of horror on my parents’ faces.

“This has been circulating through the student and faculty forums for the past couple of days. It is a clear image of your son violating multiple rules that we have set here.” Hot tears burned in my eyes as he went down the list of rules I’d broken. I knew that both of my parents had to be angry. But especially my dad. I could only imagine the talk that we would have later. All of the previous pride on his face, completely gone. I had wanted him to be proud to call me his son, but I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eyes after this.

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“Unfortunately, due to the list of rules that he violated, I have no other option but to expel him from LeFromage.”

“You what?” My dad asked. His already pale knuckles turned white due to him gripping the chair.

“Here at LeFromage, we value hard work and talent. But there are rules that need to be followed. If proper action is not put into place, then we could lose funding.”

“So because of one stupid mistake, you’re just gonna kick him out?” My dad began to slowly raise his voice. My mom put her hand on his arm, reminding him to reel his temper in.

“I apologize, but my hands are tied. The only thing that I can do for Brian now is help in any way that I can so that he can finish out his junior year somewhere else.”

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My dad stood up. “Get your things, Brian.” He grit his teeth, and extended his hand to the headmaster. “Thank you for giving my son this opportunity.” Then, he walked out.

——————–

When mom and I walked out of the office, my dad was nowhere to be found.

“You’re father is probably waiting in the car.” Mom said. I looked at her, and I could see the disappointment in her eyes.

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“He hates me.” I said.

“He doesn’t hate you Brian. Are we disappointed? Yes. But your dad loves you so much. I think your father is more angry about the fact that even though you were an excellent student, they won’t give you a second chance.”

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She gave me a hug. “Go pack up your stuff, I’ll go help your father cool off.” She kissed me on the forehead, and walked outside.

——————–

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I knocked on the office door, hoping that she hadn’t left for home yet.

“Come in.” Her voice filtered through the cracks of the door. I opened the door to find Kait sitting at her desk. “Oh, Brian. I wasn’t expecting you.”

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“I’m guessing you heard about what happened?” I asked. She nodded, seeming slightly preoccupied. “Well, I just wanted to thank you for not ratting me out. And I wanted to thank you for being an awesome teacher.”

She stood up from her seat, and extended her arms to hug me. “I wish you the best, Brian. I’m sorry that your time here had to end this way.”

“I’ll survive.” I said, even though at this point, I felt like there was no way I’d be able to go anywhere with my music. As I hugged her, I couldn’t help but notice the website she was on. “What’s that?”

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(A/N: Please excuse my crap editing.)

“Oh, this? It’s nothing really. I’m just trying to find my birth family.”

“You’re adopted?”

“Yeah. I was adopted when I was three. I never really thought about finding my birth parents until a couple of months ago, when my husband suggested it. Unfortunately I’m not having any luck finding anything about closed adoptions in Riverview.”

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“Well maybe I can help!” I said. “My family knows some people in Riverview. Also my brother’s best friend is training to be a cop, and my dad has a lot of connections with famous people in Bridgeport. So we could probably help!”

She thought about it for a minute. “Alright. But I would personally need to clear it with your parents. I want to make sure that they are okay with this.” She wrote down a number on a sheet of paper, and handed it to me. “Give this to your dad, and have him call me. I don’t think it would be appropriate for a teenager to be spending alone time with his middle aged teacher.”

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I grabbed the paper and put it in my pocket. I thought about what she meant, and I almost laughed. Sure, my teacher was definitely hot, but there was no way I’d do something like that. Kait held out her hand for me to shake.

“I wish you the best in wherever life takes you. I know you’ll do great with whatever you decide to pursue.”

——————–

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After the bellboy dudes loaded my stuff into our car, I climbed into the front passenger seat. My dad looked less angry, but I knew that he still wasn’t happy with me. But what could I expect? I was the Lee family screw up. I just hoped that I could make it up to them when we got back home.

Home. I was actually very excited to see it again. I couldn’t wait to see my old friends, Vissa, and Skylar. I also couldn’t wait to see Lance again, not that I would tell him that.

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I turned my head to look back at LeFromage. I probably should have felt disappointed that I was booted, but I surprisingly felt okay. Screw the dumb school. The other kids there sucked anyway.

I buckled my seatbelt as we pulled onto the road, and prepared for the worst lecture of my life.

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2.2 Cool Kids

A/N: Heya guys! Longish time no talk! I was pretty into Fading Quickly for a bit, even though I still took forever to post there as well, and I was (as per usual) stuck on a small part of this chapter. Throw in a couple of other reasons like procrastination, and job loss, and you’ve got a good enough reason for why I took forever, right..?

Anyway! I have to admit, that this chapter did not come out the way I had originally planned AT ALL!!! Like, it actually came out the opposite way. But I like this better. I don’t want to spoil too much though, so you’ll have to wait for the explanation (if you’re interested) probably at the end of Brian’s next chapter.

The title of this chapter comes from the song obviously titled Cool Kids by Echosmith. I think it fits the theme of this chapter quite well, lemme know what you think! I wanted to add the video to the post, but it wasn’t working for some reason, so you’ll just have to survive with the link.

Enjoy! 😉

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The first day of class was mostly like a normal day of school. At least until after lunch. That was when the ‘interesting’ classes started.

I walked slowly into my next classroom. On the board in big letters were the words ‘History of Rock & Roll’. Finally! A class that I might be pretty good at. When it comes to any other subject, I suck at it. But even I’ll admit that I’m pretty smart when it comes to music.

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“Move, twerp.” I heard someone say behind me. Before I could do anything, somebody rammed into my shoulder. Hard!

I didn’t even have to look at the person to know who bumped me. As Cameron shoved past me, he looked at me like I was an ant.

Ever since I told him off for calling my mom disgusting, Cameron has made it his life mission to mess with me. I think he’s trying to break me, but I’m not gonna give him the satisfaction.

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“Sorry Cam.” I said, Rubbing my shoulder. “I didn’t know you were fat enough to need to take up this whole doorway.” I forced a smile on my face, even though I really just wanted to have my fist have a very nice talk with his face.

Kill ‘em with kindness and all that.

“Whatever, loser.” He said. His friends started to laugh – at him or me, I didn’t know – until he gave them the same look that he gave me a second ago. ‘Shut up, or I’ll kill you’.

"So you signed up for the easy class?" Cameron asked. "What, not smart enough to go to a class where you need actual talent?"

"Says the guy who is standing in this classroom, holding books with the same title as the name of the class."

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"Nah, man. I’m just here cuz I heard the teacher is mega hot! She’s like, the only bangable teacher at this crap-joint. I also heard that it’s pretty easy to get ‘extra credit’” Cam said with a smile that made my skin crawl, as he started thrusting his crotch forward, holding an imaginary girl in front of him.

“Pig.” One of the girls said as she passed by, and smacked Cameron on the arm.

“The teacher’s coming.” Another one said. I shot one last look at Cameron, and rushed to find an open seat.

As I slid into a seat near the front, I breathed a sigh of relief. If this was the only class that I could get good grades in, then I was going to try my freakin’ hardest to make a good impression. I didn’t want to look like I was wasting my time when the teacher walked in.

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Her heels clicked on the tiles in a weird rhythm. It reminded me of a bass drum, keeping the tempo for the rest of the instruments to play together. I looked down at my lap, fighting the urge to use my pencils as drumsticks; tapping them loudly against my desk. I’d already brought enough attention to myself when I talked back to Cameron, I didn’t want people having a bigger reason to think that I’m crazy.

When the tapping stopped, I looked up.

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Cameron is a lot of things, but he’s not a liar. At least, about the teacher’s… attractiveness.

When the teacher turned around, she gave us a big smile. She was a lot younger than I thought she was going to be. There was no way she was as old as my dad.

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“Good afternoon, class.” She said. “Welcome to ‘History of Rock & Roll’. I know that a lot of you probably only signed up because you thought it’d be an easy grade.

While I can’t say that it’s not true, I want to encourage you to think of this more than that. You can learn so much about the histories of the greatest artists of their time. From Kurt Cobain, to Elvis Presley; Jimi Hendrix to U2, your time in this class can show you – provided that you let it – that these “famous” musicians were just ordinary people like you.”

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“Now, as this is your first day, I want you guys to feel comfortable. My name is Kaitlyn Bates, you can call me Kaitlyn, or Kait. Or, if it’ll make you more comfortable, you could call me Mrs. Bates.” Some of the other kids laughed, probably thinking about that ‘Bates Motel’ show. I heard a desk squeak behind me, like someone was leaning their chair over.

“What about ‘Master’ Bates.” Cameron tried to whisper to one of his friends. He started to laugh, not thinking about how it doesn’t count as a whisper unless you ACTUALLY WHISPER IT!

Kaitlyn started to walk slowly toward his desk, her heels clicking again on the tile. Cameron was focusing so much on how funny (read: gross) his joke was, that he didn’t notice what Kaitlyn was doing until she was standing right in front of him.

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“You seem to know a lot about that, don’t you Mr. Zheng?” Kaitlyn asked him. “Since it doesn’t seem like you’ll be getting any ‘extra credit’ any time soon.” With that, she turned around, and walked confidently to the front of the room. Cameron’s face was frozen with his jaw dropped down to his knees. It was weird that someone besides me got Cam to finally shut up.

Best. Teacher. Ever!

——————–

Starting at LeFromage as a junior instead of as a freshman left me in a weird spot. All of the ‘groups of friends’ had already been set up. While I normally have no problem making friends, it didn’t seem like anyone was waiting with open arms for me to just shove my way in.

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The teachers were cool though, and the ‘normal class’ teachers actually took the time to try to help me understand all of the stupid, complicated stuff.

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I found myself spending a lot of time in the music room, practicing and learning new songs on the different instruments. I also, surprisingly, spent a lot of time in my dorm room studying. Oh lord, I’m turning into my sister. But when your social life is going down the toilet…

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Speaking of my sister, I spent any chance that I could talking over Skype with my family back home. I didn’t tell them anything about my problems, because I didn’t want them worrying. I knew my mom would want to jump to my rescue at the first sign of trouble. I just didn’t want to be the lame kid who had ‘mommy and daddy come to his wittle wescue’.

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“So are you the belle of the ball yet?” Vissa asked me. She’d just gotten home after softball practice, so I bugged her until she finally got on her computer. It was the best time for us to talk, since most of my other classmates were usually out doing something that they never invited me to. So I was able to say whatever I wanted without worrying about being harassed.

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“Oh yeah.” I joked. “I’m like, the most popular guy in school. All of the ladies want me. I’ve actually gotten to the point of needing to create a waiting list for dates!”

Vissa laughed as I kept joking about my ‘popularity’. She started to update me on how everyone was doing at home. How Skylar was already sitting up by himself, and how his eyes had changed from their birth color to the lavender that he got from dad. It was cool to hear about everything that was happening, but it made my heart hurt to be missing out. Especially since my life kinda sucked right now.

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Vissa turned her head as someone called her name. I couldn’t hear what the person was saying, but Vissa nodded and motioned for them to come over.

“Hey Bri!” Sebastian said as his head popped onto the screen. He gave me a big smile and waved. “Taking time out of your lady wooing schedule to talk with us?”

“Sure!” I said with a chuckle. “I told them all to take a number.” With all of the jokes, I was starting to wonder if they actually thought I was some womanizer.

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“You show ‘em who’s boss.” He said with a wink. “So Bri, you mind if I steal your lovely sister from you? I have a very romantic evening that sort of requires her presence.” I guess I’d forgotten to mention that Seb and Vissa got together. He told her a couple of months ago that he liked her a lot, and wanted to take her out on a date. Vissa said that it was very romantic, which brought me to gag city. But if she’s happy, then I’m good.

“Have at it. I’m not going to stop the romance from flowing.” I said with a smile. But inside, I was desperately begging them not to leave.

“Thanks, Bri. I’ll see you in the living room, honey.” He kissed her on the forehead, and then left.

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“So how’s paradise?” I asked her when he was gone.

Vissa sighed happily before responding. “He’s great. He’s so sweet; and thoughtful; and romantic. It’s so weird though. Things haven’t changed too much, but they feel different. It’s hard to explain.”

“Did you have one of those ‘firework’ passionate moments when you guys kissed?”

“Holy crap, our first kiss was the worst!” She said with a laugh. I raised an eyebrow at her, hoping she’d spill the details.

“Neither of us have ever been kissed, so when we tried, we rammed foreheads at first. Then he opened his mouth too big, practically swallowing my face.” I started to laugh so hard that I snorted, which I never do.

“Then when we finally felt like we got it right, I decided that it was a good idea to just jam my tongue in there! He almost gagged!” She covered her face in embarrassment and groaned. “We both eventually got so embarrassed that I started crying. Sebastian had to console me with a bowl of ice cream, and a Jackie Chan movie.”

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“That sounds terrible.” I said as my laughter subsided.

“At the time, it was. But thinking about it now, I’d rather have that than some cliché fireworks and romantic explosions.” When I asked her why, she beamed. “Because then it wouldn’t be us. We did eventually get it right, but it’s the weird, imperfect moments make me love Seb even more.” She looked at me like she just realized something huge.

“You love him?” I asked. She nodded slowly, probably thinking it over.

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“Yeah.” She smiled. “I do.

“Even without the whirlwind romance, or the fireworks?”

“Yeah.” She repeated. “I love Sebastian. Even though it’s only been a few months, it just feels right. Love isn’t always fireworks and explosions. Sometimes love is that moment that your comfortable just being with someone. Watching a movie, or playing a game, or just talking. I mean, look at mom and dad. Dad isn’t rescuing mom from any evil villains, but he’s still her hero.”

I probably looked confused, because she shook her head, and sighed. “I’m probably not explaining it right.”

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“Yeah, you’re kinda making love sound boring.” I said.

“I know.” She said. “But it’s not something that you can ‘get’ unless you’re in love. I’m telling you, you’ll understand when you meet the right person.”

“And in the mean time, I’m going to hope for an exciting whirlwind romance, with fireworks sounding the second our lips touch.”

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“I’m not saying that doesn’t happen.” She said, sounding a little bit frustrated. “I’m just saying that-“

She paused as someone called her name. “Yeah! I’m coming! Just give me a minute!” She looked at me again. “I really have to go. We can talk about it later, okay?”

I nodded, not really wanting her to leave. With a smile, and a wave she logged off. I stared at the screen as a sinking feeling started in my chest.

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I missed my parents, I missed not being there as Skylar grew every single day, I missed my old friends. Heck, I even missed Vissa’s constant jabs and the feeling that I don’t reach Lance’s level on the ‘perfect son’ meter.

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As I leaned back on my chair, my heart felt heavy, and one thought crossed my mind.

I want to go home.

——————–

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I HATE THIS SCHOOL!!! There. I said it! Problem?

Okay, I’m going to correct myself. I don’t hate the school itself. I was actually getting better grades here than I was back at home, and I’ve learned so much stuff about music, and art. Back home, dad tried to see if any of us inherited his artistic talent. None of us seemed to have that ‘niche’ (Take that, Lance. I can use smart people words, too.). But since art is sort of required here, I’ve gotten pretty good with a brush. I couldn’t wait to show dad all that I’d learned.

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Cameron and his sidekicks seem to keep trying to make my life as miserable as possible. But really, that isn’t the thing that’s bothering me. It sucks, but I can handle a couple of idiotic goons. It’s everyone else that is driving me insane.

I’ve always been able to make friends super fast wherever I go. At my old school back in Bridgeport, I always had at least a few friends. If I didn’t have any, I quickly made some.

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I’ve been doing the same thing here, talking to people; finding things in common; buddying up. We’re in a freakin’ art school. I have more in common with the people here than I did with anyone else. But even though they are super friendly to me, and we have long conversations, nobody comes and talks to me. I don’t get invited anywhere. It’s like they forget I exist right after I leave. I hate this feeling of loneliness. It’s driving me crazy!

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It was one of those days that I was feeling really lonely that I found it. As I was coming back from class, I saw a piece of paper laying on my pillow. I picked it up, and squinted my eyes at the scribbled handwriting.

‘Party in student lounge tonight after lights out. Be there. B.Y.O.B.’

I wondered who left this here. It wouldn’t be Cameron, unless it was a trap, and they were planning on embarrassing me. But even if it was, I could handle it. Who knows, maybe this was a legit invite, and someone actually thought I was cool enough to invite to a party. Maybe my luck was turning around.

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I let myself fall on the bed, as a small smile forced its way on my face. Maybe this school wouldn’t be so bad after all.

——————–

A/N: Thanks for reading guys! I’m kinda fighting the urge to explain how it came out so different, and why. But I really don’t wanna spoil anything, (even if it is just a small detail, semi-unimportant detail >.>). If you have any questions, though, feel free to comment and ask, and I’ll answer as best as I can. XD

I’m actually planning on not having he next chapter be a Brian chapter, as we haven’t actually seen what’s happening with Lance and Vissa (and the rest of the family) while Brian has been at school, so I’m thinking of doing a special featuring scenes of their lives without Brian. Whaddya think?

As usual, likes and comments are much appreciated! Thanks for reading!

Sunshine Blogger Award!!! Yay!

So, some of you might be wondering what’s up with me, and why I’ve abandoned Brian.

I haven’t… I’ve just been super into writing for my ‘Against The Clock Challenge’ story titled ‘Fading Quickly’. If you haven’t read it, or checked it out, and are interested in either what Fading Quickly might be about, or maybe even wondering what an Against The Clock challenge is (I made it myself, so I’m pretty proud of it.), then click on the banner below:

Another thing that has happened to me that puts a bit of a damper on my writing is that I was laid off from my job about 2-3 weeks ago… Which sucks, but I didn’t really like that job much anyway… XD However, a lot of time is spent looking for a new job, as well as spending a lot of it twiddling my thumbs… So, yeah! It’s been kinda difficult…

But on to the thing that you are actually here for!!!

I was nominated by the awesome Dandylion240 on her Bring Me Back To Life blog. It’s an Against The Clock challenge as well, and it’s definitely worth the read! I’m not just saying that because it’s my challenge. Dandylion does an amazing job at taking the challenge part of the story, and giving it an awesome spin! CHECK IT OUT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!!! *Flails*

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

Well, it is of course an award for bloggers from other bloggers. It is a beautiful way to share all the amazing things other bloggers do and write about. To recognize their efforts in inspiring others to do what they love.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.

My nominations:

Insanity Doesn’t Compare

Zoxell’s Legacy Forge

New Reflections

I Hope To Be Surrounded By Idiots

Berries of Insanity

The Edith Prescott Mystery Series

Not So Ordinary Life Extras

The Suitor

Until My Color Fades Away

Twisted Color

The Danevbie Legacy

My Questions:

1. Who has been you favorite character to write as/favorite character in general?

2. Do you prefer reading story-driven blogs, or commentary/silly blogs? Why?

3. If you had to live the life of one of your characters, who would it be?

4. What is a skill that you excel at? (It could be anywhere from pogo-sticking to giving advice, to rolling your tongue, to just listening to people. Anything really.)

5. Which of your characters would you least want to live the life of?

6. If you had to do something over in order to make a different decision, what would it be?

7. What made you want to blog for sims specifically?

8. Do your family/close friends know about your blog?

9. If you could make your sim blogging into a career, would you?

10. What’s your favorite genre of music?

11. What type of sim is your favorite to make?

(Jeez! Coming up with questions was hard!)

Answers to Dandylion’s questions:

1. What’s your favorite color?

I actually don’t have a favorite color. For years it was purple, but then one day, I just woke up and was like “Meh, I don’t have a favorite color. I think all colors are beautiful!” Except I will say that there are certain shades of orange that I find ugly.

2. Do you like to travel?

Being in different places, yes. The actual travelling to get there? No! I don’t even like driving! I just do it because I have to.

3. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

England! I’ve always wanted to go there. I’ve actually wanted to go on one of those package vacations where you stay in England for a certain time, and then you go to another place (like Italy) and stay there for a bit, and then you go somewhere else (like Scotland or something). I think that’d be fun!

4. How long  have been playing the sims?

Let’s see… I originally got into sims because my older sister had broken up with her boyfriend, and wanted to throw away everything he’d gotten her, including the sims 2 for Gamecube… I convinced her to give it to me instead. I was about 13-14 at the time. I’m 23 now, so about 9-10 years. Jeez… I never thought about how long I’ve been playing… XD

5. What motivated you to start writing?

I had always written short stories when I was younger. For instance, a requirement in my high school years was that we were supposed to write a 5 page composition, and I’d always write some weird, cheesy story. But it wasn’t until I was halfway through Tech school studying drafting that I realized that I loved writing. I still finished school and got my Associate’s degree, but I still dream of being a published author.

6. If you could meet anyone in from the past, who would it be?

I would want to meet Gideon from the bible. I know that might sound weird for people who don’t believe that the bible actually happened… But I do, and Gideon was always one of my favorite bible heroes, so I’d pick him.

7. What’s your favorite song?

That’s a tricky question, seeing as there are so many good songs to choose from, and I always have a hard time choosing my favorite ANYTHING (ask my wife, she’ll tell ya!)

8. Day or Night?

I is night owl!

9. Do you plan out every detail of the stories you write or do you just let the story take you to unexpected places?

I lean more toward the planning side of things.

10. Do  you like to write first or third person?

I like both. If there is more than one important character in the story that I have to get their perspective, then I prefer 3rd. But I like 1st too.

11. If  you could do anything right now, what would it be?

ANYTHING??? Holy smokes… That’s such a broad question. Uhh… Travel to England; Go to a Newsboys concert; Finish a book and get it published and have it become a best seller; Meet Wayne Thomas Batson (my favorite author). Hmm… So many things… Too many things…

Thanks again for the nomination Dandy! It means a ton!!! 🙂

2.1 Changes

A/N: Hey guys! I know it’s been a while since I posted anything… I’ve just been feeling kinda unmotivated lately, but I had this chapter written for a while, so I just decided to force myself to take all of the pictures. I’m not really happy with how it came out (both writing, and picture-wise), but I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to change it… To no avail. I hope you enjoy regardless. Let me know what you think.

Oh! By the way, I’m going to try (for this generation) to have all of the chapters titled after a song (since Brian is a music buff). It’s harder than I thought… After hours of being frustrated about not finding a song that represented this chapter enough… I finally decided to title it after ‘Changes’ by David Bowie (click the song title to hear the song). It’s not exactly what I would have liked. But it’ll do.

Enjoy! (Hopefully…)

——————–

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I slammed the trunk of the car closed after my dad put the last of my bags in the car. He rubbed his eyes, slightly annoyed because Vissa and I had gotten into an argument. It wasn’t my fault though! She was the one who thought it was okay to pretty much throw my bass case into the back seat. I’m not normally very picky when it comes to taking care of things, but if you aren’t careful when handling instruments, you could be in big trouble.

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She apologized, but didn’t really seem to care, telling me to relax. Miss uptight and perfect, telling ME to relax?

The fight ended when Lance put himself in between the two of us, and told us to stop. I rolled my eyes, and turned away to walk to the car.

“Sure, Golden Boy.”

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——————–

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After what felt like a million hours (but it was only about 5), my family and I finally arrived at LeFromage. My dad and Lance began to take stuff out of the car, and this time I made sure that Lance was careful with my bass.

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Vissa, my mom, and I started to walk toward the front door, all of us staring at how HUGE the place was.

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Before they even got to the front steps, the doors opened, and a random older guy walked confidently over to our car.

“Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Lee to LeFromage Art School.” The way he said the name of the school, it made both Vissa and I chuckle. It was like he switched accents from American to French just so that he could say the word. A stare from our parents and Lance shut us up pretty quick, though.

“I am Headmaster Levi Harvey. We are delighted that you could be here with us today.” Harvey forced a big smile on his face, and you could tell that he didn’t really want to be here right now. I hoped that this wouldn’t be like the movies, where the headmaster was a saint in front of the parents, but once it was only them and the kids, they turn into Ms. Trunchbull.

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“And this must be Brian.” He walked over to me and said. Well duh! I thought. Is there another 15 year old man in this family? I fought the urge to roll my eyes, knowing that I’d end up getting a lecture about how I shouldn’t have a big mouth. Instead, I put my hand out.

“Yep! That’s me. Nice to meet you.” Mr. Harvey nodded happily. I guess kids with good manners isn’t a normal thing.

“It is a delight to meet such a well mannered young man.” He looked at mom and dad, totally trying to be a suck up. I looked at my twin sister, and she stuck her finger in her mouth in disgust. I stuck my tongue out at her. Hey, she isn’t the only one who can get complimented.

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“Now, if you would all follow me, I’ll take you on the official tour.” He did one of those military turns, and started to walk back to the front door. “Don’t worry about your bags. Someone can come get them.” Suddenly, a couple of people that were dressed in what looked like bellboy uniforms came and started unpacking our car. Dad looked a little nervous at so many people going through the stuff in our car, but I thought it was pretty cool!

——————–

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LeFromage was just as amazeballs inside as it was outside! They had whole sections just dedicated to specific kinds of art. Harvey said that they’d recently had an expansion put in, just so that they could finally add in a studio for sculptors. Sure, the dorms weren’t huge, but there was enough room for the kids to be at least a little comfy.

When we got back down to the main lobby area, Mr. Harvey called for mom and dad to meet in his office to fill out some forms. They told Lance, Vissa and I that we could explore the grounds if we wanted to.

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When they left, I looked at my siblings. “So, what do you think?”

“It looks amazing!” Lance said. But his face didn’t really match his words. Vissa looked stuck in between being extremely happy, and really bummed.

“But..?”

“No buts.” Lance said. “We’re just really going to miss you.”

“I’m sure you guys will survive without me.”

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“But it’s two years.” Vissa said sadly. “Who am I going to blame things on?” She playfully punched my chest, and her and Lance laughed while I just rolled my eyes.

“But in all seriousness.” She said when they stopped laughing. “The three of us have never been apart from each other for so long. I know we can still talk, and we’ll see each other on the holidays. It’s just not going to be the same.” She started choking up a little, and I saw some tears in her eyes. I looked over at Lance, and he looked like he was going to start crying too.

I wasn’t expecting that. No, I didn’t think they were going to have a party with me being gone, I just thought they wouldn’t really care either way. That’s when it all hit me. We wouldn’t be able to hang out for a while. They would be at home, and I would be in this strange place. I almost didn’t want to go anymore.

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“You guys… I-“ The door to the headmaster’s office flew open, and my dad ran out. He threw the car keys at Lance, who was able to catch them a second before they hit him in the face.

“Lance, get the car. NOW!” He said. He turned around to run back to the office.

“What’s going on?” Lance asked.

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“Your mother’s in labor.” He shouted. “We need to get to the hospital, now!”

——————–

 

 

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Lance, Vissa and I were sitting in the waiting room of the hospital. Headmaster Harvey had stayed with us a while, but at around 12 am, he decided it was probably a good idea to head back to school. Classes didn’t start for me for a couple of days, so I had some extra time to stay and wait for the birth of my baby sibling. It was now 3 am, and all of us sat in the uncomfortable seats without saying a word.

“Hey Bri.” Lance said after a while. His voice made me jump, because it had been ‘library’ silent before.

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“Yeah?”

“Sorry about getting all emotional before.” He leaned forward in his chair, making it creak louder than an old floorboard. “We are happy that you get to go to a place like LeFromage, we’re just going to miss you. I don’t want you to think that we don’t want you going.”

“How did you know?”

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“Oh please,” Vissa said. “You’re one of the most transparent people I’ve ever met. We could see the second that we talked about how it wasn’t going to be the same that you wanted to jump ship.” She stood up, and walked over to stand behind my chair. She leaned forward and hugged me from behind.

“We are definitely going to miss you, but I refuse to be the reason that you missed out. So whether you’re scared or not, you’re going.”  I really hated it when she bossed me around. I looked at Lance, and begged him with my eyes to help me escape from the hug. He stood up, but instead of getting Vissa off of me, he hugged me from the other side.

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“Just make sure you come back after you graduate.” He said. They were both hugging me tightly, making us this weird sibling sandwich. It was nice, but I really wanted it to end soon because all I can feel are VISSA’S BOOBS ON MY BACK! OH MY GOD I DON’T WANT TO FEEL THAT RIGHT NOW.

Before I could say anything, dad walked out into the lobby. Viss noticed him first, and let me go. I took a deep breath, relieved to not feel her chest up against me. We all stared at him, waiting for him to tell us how mom and the baby were.

“Hey.” He said, like we didn’t just spend hours waiting for mom to push a baby out of her privates. ”Would you guys like to meet your brother?”

HECK yeah!

——————–

 

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Skylar Frederick Lee was the name they chose for my new baby brother. As he slept in my dad’s arms, Vissa asked mom where the name came from.

Well, we just kind of liked the name Skylar,” she chuckled. “But Frederick was actually my dad’s name. He died when you guys were two, and he meant a lot to me. And since Brian is named after your grandmother, we decided to give Skylar my dad’s name.” Wait, what?

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“What do you mean I’m named after my grandma?” I asked. This was the first time I’ve ever heard that.

“We never told you?” Dad asked. “You’re named after my mom. Brianna Kelly. She passed away before any of you kids were born.” Well that was… weird.

“What happened to her?” I asked.

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“It’s uhh…” My dad said nervously. “It’s a long story. There are some things that your mother and I went through that we’ve never told you kids. We felt that it was best for you guys not to know. But I will let you know that I didn’t have the easiest childhood.”

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Way to make a weird moment even weirder. Dad always seemed like he had a pretty boring life. He’s always been a pretty nice, happy guy (except for the huge amount of cheesiness that he usually shares with the world) so I always pictured him growing up in some lame suburban house on a hill. I started to wonder how bad the things were that my mom and dad went through. It couldn’t have been that bad, right?

——————–

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When I got back to the school the sun was rising. Headmaster Harvey had told me that I could take a few days to stay with my family in the hospital before I actually come to go to classes, but I didn’t really feel like staying in a hospital, so I had Lance and Vissa drop me off.

I crashed into the boys’ dorm, and threw myself on an open bunk. But while I closed my eyes to sleep, I heard the other guys start to get up.

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“Did you hear what happened yesterday?” I heard one of the guys ask.

“Yeah, dude!” Another one said. “I heard that some old lady’s water broke in Harvey’s office.” My eyes shot open when it clicked on who they were talking about.

“I heard it was some 60 year old decrepit hag.”

“I heard that her baby juice got everywhere.” Most of the guys groaned when he said that.

“That’s freaking disgusting.” The first guy said. “Old people should keep their disgusting crap in their pants. I would NOT want to be her kid.” I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped out of bed with a loud thud, and faced the guys who were criticizing my mom.

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“Hey!” I shouted. “That’s my mom that you’re talking about. She’s not some decrepit hag, and it’s not like she could control when her water broke. Who freaking cares how old she is? If her and my dad want to have another kid, then they should be able to do whatever they want without some idiot acting like they’re diseased.” I was beyond ticked off.

At this point though, I hadn’t had any sleep except for maybe closing my eyes on a hospital chair, so I know that I was moodier than normal. Should I have called them idiots? Probably not. But I also knew how much it meant to my mom that she could have another kid.

She’d told us when she first got pregnant that she had been in a pretty bad accident after she had us, and it made it almost impossible to have any more kids. Hearing that gave me a whole ton of respect for my mom, so I wasn’t going to let some loser who didn’t know everything just badmouth her like that.

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“What did you call me?” He asked. I balled my fists.

“You heard me.” The guys standing around him looked at me like I was telling them that bananas were purple. The big guy in the middle stared at me, but I was not going to back down. Sure, if he tried he could probably kick my butt. But I didn’t care.

“Whatever, loser.” He said with a shrug. He turned to leave the room, and the other guys followed him out.

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When they were gone, I tossed myself back onto my bed with a groan. What just happened played over in my head, and it finally clicked what I might have done. Was I going to let that moron bother me? No. I had better things to do. But before I drifted off to sleep, I wondered if I had just accidentally put a big target on my own back.

——————–

Thanks for reading! As usual, feedback is appreciated! 🙂

2.0 Prologue: Brian

A/N: So, apparently, I posted the chapter without the ‘very important’ author’s note that I tend to do at the beginning of each chapter. XD But I am seriously excited for the start of this generation. I think it’s mainly because it’s kinda been stretching my writing skills by writing as a very different person from the previous gen. At least I think so. But please let me know if Brian sounds different from Conrad or not. I really push my skills.

Oh, and yes, I know that this isn’t technically a ‘prologue’, but that’s how I’m going to title all of the first chapters from each generation. Also, how do you like the new theme/banner? (As I write this part, I haven’t finished… So we’ll see if I even like it.)

Okay, I’ll quit rambling and let you read. Welcome once again to the start of generation 2!!!

——————–

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I sat on my bed, staring at my stupid homework. I wished that the answers would magically pop onto the page. But no… The dumb problems weren’t cooperating. I stared at my cell phone, wishing that I could play the new Convergence album (it usually helped me focus a little bit better), but I wasn’t the only one doing homework.

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“Having trouble?” My sister Valyssa asked me from across the room. She was sitting on Lance’s bed, her own homework right in front of her. I knew that she was almost done, since she was the smarter one. I grunted in frustration.

“I’m fine. I can do it by myself.” Vissa ignored what I said, and came over.

“Let me see.” She demanded. She looked over the problem that I was stuck on.

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“Oh! This is easy.” As she explained what I’d done wrong, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. If it was ‘so easy’, I would’ve been able to do it myself. Schoolwork was NOT easy. Tuning a bass was easy, singing the higher notes in Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ was easy. Those were things that you didn’t have to spend all your time thinking about. Once you knew how to do it, you just did it!

It’s not like I’d even use things like Algebra or Chemistry after I graduate. I’m not going to have to know any of that nerdy stuff when I drift into a wicked guitar solo. But dad threatened to cancel my music lessons if my grades kept going down, and I was so close to learning how to play Smooth Criminal on the bass. So there was no way I was stopping now.

I hate being the stupid one in this family.

As Vissa walked back to Lance’s bed to finish her homework, the bedroom door opened.

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“Hey guys.” My older brother Lance said from the doorway, panting slightly. “Still working on homework?” He quickly wiped his forehead with the towel that we was holding, before tossing it into the hamper. As he entered the room, the smell of sweat smacked me in the face.

Lance had gone to the gym with Sebastian to meet with Lance’s personal trainer. My brother had finally gotten his big break on some weird high school drama TV show, and the producers wanted him to bulk up. They even hired a personal trainer to help him out, and since Sebastian’s his best friend, and is training to be a cop, he tags along.

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“Hey Bri, hey Viss!” Sebastian’s head poked in from the hall. Sweat covered the front of his shirt, and the front of his hair was stuck to his forehead. The smell of sweat got even stronger, and I wrinkled my nose in disgust.

“H-hey Sebbie!” Vissa said.

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“They don’t have showers at the gym?” I asked. “You guys smell like armpits!”  Vissa gave me a look that pretty much said to shut my mouth before I get in trouble. I rolled my eyes, and turned back to face Sebbie.

“Y-yeah, they do.” Sebastian said, his face turning a dark shade of red.

“Seb and I decided to jog home.” Lance cut in. “So there was no point in showering if we were just going to get sweaty again.” It was silent for a few seconds, as no one knew what to say. I felt a little bit guilty for making Sebastian feel embarrassed, but it was true! I knew that my mom and dad would probably want me to apologize. I was gonna say sorry, but Seb started talking before I could.

“Uh, do you guys mind if I use your shower?” Sebastian asked. When Lance nodded, Seb went off to go find a towel.

“Did you have to be so rude, Brian?” Vissa accused.

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“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to hurt your boyfriend’s feelings.” I knew that would get under Vissa’s skin. Hey, if she wants to dish it out, she’s going to have to be able to take it.

“Shut up!” She said. “I do not like him like that.”

“Oh please. You’re so obvious. I bet that ‘Armpit Stench’ over here could see that even before I said anything.” I pointed at Lance. He looked at me, totally unamused. Oh well, I thought it was funny. He sighed loudly, and shook his head.

“I have to agree with Brian, you’re pretty obvious, Viss.” He shrugged. “It’s not like it’s a bad thing, though.”

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“You… You don’t think he’s too old for me?” Seriously?

“Dude.” I interrupted. “It’s a five year difference. It’s not like he’s dad’s age.”

"It’s really not that bad." Lance said. "It just seems kinda big because he’s already graduated high school, while you’re still a freshman. I mean, you’re probably going to want to wait until you’re older before you say anything, since he’s in the limelight quite a bit because of both his dad, and because of me being his best friend. No reason to make him seem like he’s a pedophile or something."

"You wouldn’t have a problem, though?" She asked him.

"Why would I?" He asked. "If my sister and friend want to date, who am I to stop it." He stood in the doorway for a little bit before finally coming into the room. Sitting on his bed, he took a deep breath.

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"But I actually needed to talk to you guys about something. I need advice." If he didn’t have our attention before, he did now. Since he’s the older, more "perfect" brother, Lance doesn’t usually ask us for advice. Especially not me. No, I’m just the irresponsible one.

"I… um… I’ve actually known about this for years, but I never knew what to do about it." He started to fiddle with his fingers. A habit he always tended to do when he was nervous.

I leaned forward, mentally telling him to spit it out. I must have got through, because the next part of his sentence shot out of his mouth.

"Dad isn’t my real dad." He paused for a second before talking again. "Biologically, I mean. I’ve always seen him as my dad, but I’m not really his kid."

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I looked at Vissa, and I’m guessing that we shared the same look. Our eyes were the size of baseballs, and she looked both surprised, and confused. It did make sense though. I never knew where he got his blonde hair from, or his green eyes. I just thought it came from one of our grandparents.

"How long have you known?" Vissa asked him. He narrowed his eyes, trying to remember.

"Probably since I was about seven."

"Nine years?" I asked him. I was surprised that he kept it in for so long. I know that I probably would have shouted it out a long time ago.

"Actually, it’s eleven years." Vissa interrupted. I was going to argue back that she was wrong, when I realized my mistake. I felt my face begin to heat up, but I tried to shake it off. No way was I going to let them see me looking embarrassed.

"How do you even know this?" I asked.

"Dad said it himself. We were at aunt Deidre’s old house, and he told Renee. But that’s not the point. The point is that he’s had all this time to talk to me about it, but he hasn’t. I want to know why, but I don’t know if I should ask.” He hesitated. “What if he hates me?"

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"He’s not going to hate you!" Vissa interrupted. She moved closer to Lance, and hugged him. "But you do deserve to know the whole story. Just go talk to him."

"Yeah, and if you turn on the waterworks like you usually do, you’ll have him wrapped around your finger all over again." I said. "It’s not like you’re his fa- OW!" I yelled.

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They both knew that I was about to say that Lance is dad’s favorite, which is totally true. I’m the only one who believes that though, so she threw her book at me to shut me up. If someone else had thrown it, it probably would have missed. But I’m lucky enough to be related to the best pitcher on the junior varsity baseball team.

Rubbing the spot that I knew was going to bruise, I saw the hurt look on Lance’s face. Ugh.

"Sorry." I said. "But you probably should talk to dad anyway. I know I’d wanna know why he never told me. Besides, what’s the worst that he could-"

"Hey, thanks for letting me use your shower, guys." Sebastian’s voice spoke right before he walked through the open doorway. He stopped and stared at us; and we stared back at him.

"Did I interrupt something?" He asked. Lance shook his head, and stood up.

"Nope! You’re good." He walked toward Sebastian. "I was just talking with them about some audition stuff. Thanks for your advice guys." Lance and Sebastian walked out of the room, and I sat on my bed. I didn’t move at all as I tried to listen for any sounds.

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I heard the sound of the front door open and close. Then I heard a knock on a door. That’s when I knew that Lance was gonna talk to dad.

"What are you doing?" Vissa asked me when I stood up. I ignored her, and tiptoed out of my room.

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When I got to my parents’ bedroom door, I put my ear against it.

"-long have you known?" My dad’s voice came through the door.

"Ever since you told Renee." Lance answered dad pretty quietly. I almost couldn’t hear him. "When I went to visit, I kinda convinced her to spill the beans. I Googled him afterwards. I can’t believe that I’m the son of a-"

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I jumped three feet in the air as someone grabbed my shoulder.

"What are you doing?" Valyssa asked. She stared at me with her arms crossed. It almost looked like she couldn’t believe what I was doing, though she really shouldn’t be surprised. We are twins after all.

I shushed her, and turned back to put my ear up against the door.

"… I never told you because I never wanted you to feel any different from Bri and Viss. I may not be your biological father, but I’m still, and always will be your dad." Darn it! Lance’s dad was a what? I’d missed something really important all because Vissa just had to distract me.

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"Brian Kelly!" Vissa whispered. she knew that’d get my attention. I hated my middle name, especially when it came out of my sister’s mouth. She thought that saying it how mom and dad did would make her the boss of me, even though she’s only a couple of minutes older.

"Be quiet." I told her. "I’m trying to hear what they are saying." I turned back to face the door, not expecting it to open, and slam into my face.

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"Ow!" I yelled as the door made contact with my nose. I fell backwards onto my butt. As I rubbed my nose, Vissa started to laugh. Great…

Lance poked his head out from behind the door, giving us a confused look.

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"Sorry, Brian." He said, and he offered to help me up. When I was on my feet again, I checked my nose for blood. My already huge nose was definitely going to swell, but luckily there was no blood. I’d just have to deal with looking like Jimmy Durante for a while.

I shook Lance off as he tried to help me more, and gave Vissa a death glare. She stood there trying to hide her laughter by covering her mouth. It wasn’t working.

"Oh, by the way." Lance said. "Mom and dad want to speak with you in their room." My stomach turned when he said that. I couldn’t remember doing anything that would usually get me in trouble; at least recently. I probably looked worried, because my big bro put his hand on my shoulder, and smiled.

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"Cheer up! They didn’t seem upset, just that they wanted to talk. Now, I got to go shower." He patted my shoulder as he passed by. "I’m sure you’ll be fine."

I turned around to look at my sister. She looked confused, but just shrugged at me, and walked back to my room.

So much for twins sticking together…

——————–

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I slowly crept into my mom and dad’s room, and saw them sitting on their bed. I gulped, kinda worried about what they needed me for. That’s when my dad noticed me.

"Hey kiddo! C’mon in." I was surprised; that usually wasn’t the attitude he had in these kinds of situations. I sat between them on the bed, kinda expecting some yelling to start.

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Both of them had really goofy smiles on their faces, my mom ‘glowing’ more than she normally did. Pregnancy seemed to be pretty good to her.

"Relax, son." Dad said. "You’re not in trouble. We just needed to talk about something important." He got really serious after that. He took a deep breath, then started to talk again.

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"I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I wanted you to know that I’m really proud to call you my son." I was a bit shocked. Not because I didn’t think my dad loved me, but because I always felt like the family screw up. I wasn’t smart like Vissa, or a goody-two shoes like Lance; I was constantly butting heads with my family because I do things I shouldn’t; the list goes on. Honestly, the only thing I got going for me is my music, and I’m not even that good. So to hear that my dad was actually proud to be my dad was kinda… nice.

"And one of the things that I always wanted for my kids was for them to be happy, and to follow their dreams. I had that opportunity when my aunts encouraged me to pursue the career that I wanted." I had met dad’s aunts only once or twice, before they passed away a couple of years ago, so I didn’t know them that well. They seemed really chill, yet spunky. Dad was pretty beat up when they died.

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"I want that same opportunity for all of my kids. Now, you already know that Lance is already doing what he loves, and Viss is on the fast track to playing professional sports, plus she already has a bit of an ‘in’ with your uncle Richie. So there isn’t much we can do for them."

"However, there is something that we can do for you." My mom interrupted. She tried to stand up, only to need my dad’s help. She waddled over to her side table, and pulled something out of the drawer.

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"We saw you looking at this two months ago, and we discussed it. We have the money, and we’re okay with it." With the biggest smile I’ve ever seen her have, she tossed something onto the bed in front of me. I picked it up, and noticed that it was a brochure to LeFromage Art School in Twinbrook.

Wait… what?!?

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My jaw dropped. I jumped up from the bed, and looked at my parents. "No… No effin’ way!" I covered my mouth as I caught the unamused look from my dad. "Sorry. But you guys are serious? This is the biggest art school this side of the US." I felt myself begin to get choked up. I couldn’t believe that they’d do something like this for me.

"We know how important music is to you, and we want to give you the chance to learn from the best." My dad said, his eyes misting over. I dropped the brochure on the ground, and ran over to my parents to pull them into a big hug.

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"Thank you! Thank you so much!!!"

1.11 Beginning Anew

A/N: Hey!!! So it is currently 4:30 am, and while I should be in bed, I have decided to finish this post! Think of it as a New Year’s gift from me, to you. I would have finished it earlier, but we had to go to a little New Year’s shindig. Anyway, we finally made it to the last chapter of generation 1! It only took us about 4 years! At this rate, I’ll finish the story in about 36 more years. I’ll be 58 by then! 😀

I’m not the happiest with this chapter, but that’s mainly because it’s only here for time skipping/personality establishing purposes. But I hope you enjoy the final installment to the craziness that is/was Conrad Alabaster Lee’s (yes, I did give him a crappy middle name) story. I’m pretty excited about jumping into Brian’s head.

Anyway, Enjoy! Likes, comments, etc. are always appreciated!

——————–

Life seemed to calm down to a comfortable routine in the upcoming years. With Reuben locked away for life, and all of our secrets out, we stopped worrying about the next ‘life-shattering’ event, and just decided to live in the present. It was definitely weird, though I’m not one to complain.

Granted, we couldn’t exactly say that our lives had become a walk in the park, as raising three children was not easy.

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Both Brian and Vissa were the types of kids who enjoyed making their presence known in one way or another. Between making messes with their food, and somehow managing to get their grubby hands on ‘daddy’s foyo’ (also known as my portfolio) and making everything disorganized, I would sometimes find myself secretly wishing that they were more like Lance, who somehow had managed to be a complete angel during his toddler years. I’d usually scold myself under my breath, reminding myself of how much I loved them. Even when they smeared peanut butter and jelly all over my sketches.

But as time passed, they grew out of their ‘terrible twos’ stage, and entered the stage where they began to develop their own interests and hobbies.

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Vissa remained an active girl, and (unlike anyone else in the family) took a liking to sports. She even tried out for the school softball team. She’d usually rope me into practicing with her in the backyard, stating that Lance was too uncoordinated, and Brian would always whine until she left him alone.

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Brian, however, seemed to really fall in love with music. On his seventh birthday, Odine and I decided to buy him a Walkman, and despite his protests at the fact that it wasn’t even a ‘measly mp3 player’, he really seemed to love the thing. There would hardly be a moment that he didn’t have some CD playing at max volume, ear buds securely in his ears.

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He’d could usually be found in the room that he shared with Lance singing at the top of his lungs. I would constantly catch myself singing along to his voice as I walked passed his room, despite not being able to hear the music myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how my son was able to carry a tune. We offered to pay for singing lessons for him, but he refused. When asked why, he would usually say that he didn’t think that he was that good, and didn’t really want to be a singer anyway. But still, you could hear his voice in random areas of the house.

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Lance continued to act. He hadn’t quite had his ‘big break’ yet, but he’s done a couple of guest spots on popular shows, and small roles in some movies. When he found out that he’d gotten the role as ‘Kid #3’ in a movie with Matt Hamming, he was so excited. We’d gone out to celebrate the beginning of a promising career in acting. It was still a very small role, but we knew that he’d go far. Eventually he began to get better roles, but it made it difficult to get noticed due to the fact that there were some things that Lance just refused to do.

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He could usually be found on his phone talking with his agent, telling her that he wasn’t going to compromise his morals. Despite her protests, he refused to change his mind, even if it lost him a few roles. I was proud of him for sticking up for what he believed in. He’s a good kid. But sometimes, I think he might be a bit TOO good. I know that might not make much sense, but it’s almost like he has to be perfect. Not in an ‘I’m God’s gift to mankind’ kind of way, but more like if he’s not good enough, then people won’t like him anymore. Especially around his mother and I.

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When he would make a mistake, or do something wrong that required correction, he would freak out. Sometimes to the point of tears. It honestly scared me sometimes. I tried thinking back to see if there was ever a time that he’d been pushed into that type of situation, but my mind drew a blank.

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Both Odine and I would constantly remind him that we loved him, and that it would never change. Even if he made a mistake. He would usually calm down, but the next time, it’d be the same situation. I was confused, and no amount of prying would get him to open up.

Despite the occasional moments of panic, he remained a pretty happy kid.

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Especially when his friendship with Belle Hemlock evolved into a relationship. She was a great influence on my son. Always supportive of his decisions concerning his life, and career. His rock when he began to falter in his convictions, and the encouragement he needed when he felt low. I was glad that he’d met a girl who was so sweet.

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Odine somehow manages to surprise me more and more every day. I knew that she was stronger than she thought she was, but she even somehow managed to surprise me with the amount of inner strength she’d developed over the years.

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One thing that made it easier on her was the occasional visit to a therapist. Shortly after we’d seen the Littlers, she mentioned how she felt like she needed someone to talk to. Turns out that having an unbiased third party listen to her inner struggles really helped her out. I was against it at first, feeling as if she felt that she couldn’t talk to me. But I couldn’t be more wrong. Being able to open up to a specialist who could help her sort through her thoughts made it easier for her to open up to me, and Dr. Markus was a caring doctor who really knew his stuff. Without the weight of carrying all of her past experiences with her, she was a lot happier. Which made everyone else in the house a lot happier.

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As for me, my life seemed to shift into a strange sense of normalcy. My career was going well, and I had plenty of regular clients. It never got to the point of being a ‘world renowned’ career, but that was okay. In most stories you read, the main character achieves some type of fame or importance, but I’m just… me, and I’m completely content being me. I was able to make people happy with how they looked, and maybe give the offhand client a confidence boost. Then, I got to return home, where my wife, three kids, and dog would be waiting for me.

——————–

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It was the day of Vissa’s first game on the Bridgeport Middle School softball team, and she had constantly reminded me that morning how important it was that we all be there to support her. So you can imagine that when work ran a bit late, that I made a mad dash back to the house so that I could take a shower.

Ignoring the whining noises coming from my daughter’s throat, and the protests of my wife, I grabbed a spare change of clothes, and crashed into the bathroom.

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As the water ran over my body, I quickly began to rub shampoo over my scalp. I let out a sigh, grateful for the warm water flowing over my muscles… Until I smelled it. Alongside the smell of shampoo, a strangely familiar scent wafted into my nostrils. I froze, and quickly removed my hands from my scalp, only to see through squinting eyes that the suds were… Yellow?

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“AAAHHH!!!”

——————–

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Coming out of the bathroom, I was met with pretty much the same reaction from everyone in my family, except for one.

“Oops.” Came the tiny voice of my eleven year old son as my other two children stared at me in complete shock. I seethed, trying to ignore my wife as she stifled a giggle.

“Let’s go.” I said through gritted teeth.

“But dad!” Vissa complained. “You can’t go out with yellow hair! You’ll embarrass me!” I rolled my eyes, and grabbed the closest hat that I could find, which turned out to be Lance’s bright blue baseball cap. Grumbling under my breath, I shoved the cap onto my head.

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Walking back over to where my family stood, I put my hand on Brian’s shoulder. “We’ll talk about this when we get home.”

——————–

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When we got home, we did talk. Or more so, he tried to explain why he thought it was a good idea to put yellow hair dye in my shampoo. Turns out it was a prank that was meant for Lance, who uses the same exact shampoo that I do. But this wasn’t the first time that Brian had done something to sabotage Lance.

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It started out as really small things; things so insignificant, that I had chalked it up to how siblings would normally treat each other. But as time went on, his pranks seemed to get worse and worse. Stealing Lance’s scripts; ruining his dates with his girlfriend Belle; and apparently now putting hair dye in his shampoo.

Odine and I knew that it was jealousy, we just weren’t sure why. It wasn’t as if we would treat Lance any different. We did have to discipline Brian a bit more than the other children because he would cause trouble so often, but that was no one else’s fault. Odine would usually tell me to go easy on him sometimes, reminding me that in his small mind, constantly getting punished while his siblings roamed free would be seen as favoritism. But it was really hard when his constant antics would try my patience.

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“Give me your mp3 player.” I told him. His face dropped. He didn’t even bother to argue back as he walked over to his dresser, and removed the mp3 player from the top drawer. As the tears formed in his eyes, he placed his prized possession in my hands. Sighing, I sat down on the bed next to him.

“Son, what’s going on?” I asked. “Did Lance do something to you?” He stared at his shoes as a tear began to stream down his face. He slowly shook his head, not looking in my direction.

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“Did I do something?” Another silent shake of his head. “You can be honest with me, Brian, what’s wrong? I can’t help you if you don’t say anything.”

He shrugged his shoulders, the grim expression on his face unchanging. Frustrated, I sighed, and stood up from the bed.

“Well, I guess you can stay in here until you are ready to talk.” When he gave me no response, I pursed my lips, and left the room, closing the door behind me.

——————–

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I had just gotten back from taking Mickey out for a walk. As I removed the leash from Mickey’s collar, I listened for signs of life, but the house was oddly quiet. I knew that the kids wouldn’t be back for a bit, since Lance had an audition, and I’d convinced him to let the twins tag along. Odine and I had planned on surprising the twins when they got home, being that it was their birthday. But while dinner, the decorations, and the cake were set up, my wife was nowhere to be found.

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“Hello?” I called, scratching my newly trimmed hair. After the ‘yellow hair’ fiasco, I’d had to shave off all of my hair. While I did NOT have the right head shape for going bald, I tried my best to make it work. Fortunately for me, my hair grew back fast, and I decided to maintain it in a more ‘adult-appropriate’ style. I was pushing forty after all, and I didn’t want (or need) to look like I was pretending to be ‘regain my youth’.

“Hello… Dee?” I called again.

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I heard the bathroom door close, and my wife walked into the living room. She walked slowly toward me, her eyes wide with shock. My stomach flipped, and I walked quickly over to her, grabbing her shoulders.

“Honey, are you okay? What’s wrong?” She looked like she’d seen a ghost, and as I was about to pull her into a hug to comfort her, two words came out of her mouth.

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“I-I’m pregnant.” I froze.

“What?” I asked, not entirely sure I’d heard right.

“I’m pregnant.” At that admission, she broke out of her shock, and began to laugh. I felt a smile began to spread across my face, as I looked her in the eyes.

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“Are you serious?” I asked. I already knew the answer, I just hadn’t expected to hear those words again. As Odine continued to laugh, tears began to form in her eyes. Her laughter was infectious, and I found myself laughing along.

It was one of relief. We’d thought that we’d given up that dream a long time ago, but apparently, God had other plans. I pulled her into a tight embrace, tears beginning to fog up my glasses.

“I can’t believe it.” I said. “But I’m not even going to question it.”

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“You don’t think we’re too old?” She asked hesitantly.

“Hey!” I protested. “We aren’t that old. You’re only 36. Plenty of people have kids at that age.”

“We have to tell the kids. Do you think they’ll be okay?”

“Honey, stop worrying! The kids will probably be fine with it. We probably shouldn’t even tell them today. I don’t want to take the attention from the twins.” She took a deep breath, and nodded as we heard the front door open.

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“We’re home!” Lance called out. I turned to face the kids, who all stood in front of the door.

“Surprise!” Odine said, as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

“Are you guys okay?” Lance asked, his face twisted in concern.

“Of course!” I said, a little too enthusiastic. “Why do you ask?”

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“Your eyes are red and puffy.” Brian said, not entirely convinced. Odine and I looked at each other, and smiled as we thought of the secret that we were keeping.

“We’re fine!” I said, as Odine giggled. Vissa rolled her eyes at us.

“Old people love.” She muttered under her breath.
“Hey!” I protested. What was it with everyone thinking that I was old? “Watch it young lady, or you’re not getting your present.” At that, both hers and Brian’s faces perked up.

“Now come, and sit down. You’re mother prepared a very special dinner for your birthday.” The twins ran to their mother, and wrapped her in a hug, before finding their seats at the dinner table.

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——————–

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As the twins surrounded the cake, we began to sing Happy Birthday. I looked around the room at my family. A feeling of joy and thankfulness filled me, being surrounded by the people I loved. I’d certainly come a long way from being the scared little boy from Sunset Valley.

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Sure, life definitely had some unfair moments. But I don’t think I would have done anything differently, provided I was given a do-over. Who knows what could have changed. I might not have my kids, and I can’t imagine my life without them. I might not have met Odine, or even moved to Bridgeport. I didn’t even want to think of the possibility of her not being in my life.

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As our off-key rendition of Happy Birthday wrapped up, the twins leaned in, and blew out the candles. They could now be considered teenagers, which felt strange to say. They’d be starting a new chapter in their lives, a feeling that I could sympathize with. It almost felt like a chapter of my own life was ending. But you know what they say about endings.

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Every story has an end. But in life, every end is a new beginning.

——————–

A/N: What? You thought I was actually going to show you what the heir (or his twin sister) looked like as a teenager? Hah! You make me laugh… 😉 I figured it’d be better to just do a shoulder shot, and leave his face as a surprise! Fun, right?

But thanks again you guys, for sticking with me while I was the slowest updater known to man. I can’t (and never will) promise that I’ll get better at posting, but hey! That’s what makes it fun, right? The element of surprise! You never know when I’m gonna post!

No? Really? Oh…

But anyway, Thanks again for reading!

1.10 Lost and Found: Part 6 Closure

A/N: Hey guys! Welcome to the second to last chapter of Conrad’s generation! Holy crap! It’s been 4 years coming, but we’re finally almost at the finish line (of gen 1, talk about lame!). I have Conny’s last chapter written, I just need to take pictures for it, and then we can begin BRIAN’S GENERATION!!! And I can say that because there is obviously no surprise as to who the heir is. I mean, Lance is his son, but not by blood/biologically. So it passes over to Brian, and can I say that his personality has flourished very differently from Conrad’s… But I don’t want to give anything away. Gah! I’m so excited!!! *flails*

As always, likes and comments are much appreciated! Enjoy! 🙂

——————–

Odine’s POV

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Conrad and I sat on my bed in silence. After my breakdown, he had quietly carried me up the stairs so that we could have some privacy.

Just when I had managed to stop crying, another wave hit me, and I began to sob again. This time, I ended up soaking his jacket with my tears as I cried into his shoulder. When my eyes were finally dry, I sat up straight and took a deep breath.

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“I… I’m sorry.” I began. “I’ve been a terrible wife. I’ve let my problems get in the way being a good enough wife and mom. I’ve put you and the kids through so much, and I’m going to try my best to be happier.” He tilted his head in confusion, his eyebrows furrowed.

“But honey.” He said, sounding concerned. “That’s not what I want.”

“But at home you said…”

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“I know what I said.” He sighed. “Do I want you to be happy? Of course. But I don’t want you to force yourself to be something you aren’t.” He pulled me into his arms. “You’ve been through the ringer, honey. With all that you’ve experienced, you’ve earned yourself a ton of hours of crying. I just…I just got scared that I was going to lose you, and I felt so hopeless. I’m… I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you needed to suppress your feelings for me and the kids.”

“Emotions can suck, but we still have to deal with them.” He grabbed my hands, holding them between us. “So if you need to cry, then cry; if screaming at the world will help, I want you to do that, okay? I just want you to be able to feel like you can depend on me when it becomes too much for you to handle. You don’t have to deal with it all by yourself.”

I took a deep breath, and nodded slowly. “I-I know. I don’t want to push you away anymore. I can’t promise that I’m not going to stumble at some point, but if you’ll be patient with me, I want to try to work through this.”

His eyes began to tear up, and he gently caressed my cheek.

“Together.” He said.

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Then he pulled me into a hug.

——————–

Planning the funeral of your father is not an easy thing. I would imagine planning the funeral of the love of your life would be even harder. While mom tried her best to help out, you could see that something had died inside of her. She just wasn’t the same without dad. Malik and I tried our hardest to handle most of the arrangements, but we could only do so much before we would begin to lose it.

Conrad was a tremendous help through it all. He took on more than what was expected of him, and stopped me from pushing myself too far. He was also surprisingly comforting; though I guess he would be one of the few people who could understand how we felt, since he had lost both of his parents. The three of us would be out all day, going from the place to place to make sure that everything was in order; and at night, we’d all be too tired to do anything, and would just head to bed. The days continued like this all the way up until the funeral.

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The funeral itself was a pretty big deal. Throughout his life, my dad had made some sort of positive impact on a lot of people. At first we planned of having the funeral at a small church, but the list of attendees kept growing. Eventually, we had to move it to the graveyard.

“We are gathered here today to bid farewell to Frederick Perry, and commit him into the hands of God.” The entirety of the funeral, tears were shed, and condolences were given.

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I was in a weird place throughout the whole service. I didn’t feel like how I would imagine a grieving person should feel. Yes, I cried. I cried a whole lot. But at the same time, I felt at peace. While my dad probably should have lived longer, I know he had a full life. Wherever he was, I knew that he wasn’t in pain anymore.

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“Honey, it doesn’t look the best when you’re smiling at someone’s funeral..” I looked at Conrad through my tears. I hadn’t realized that I was smiling ever so slightly, so I put my hand in front of my mouth.

“It’s just comforting,” I admitted, “knowing that where he is, he isn’t sick anymore.” Conrad nodded in understanding as my mother walked up to stand next to the gravestone. He gently pulled my forehead to his lips, and placed a kiss on it. I turned my attention back to my mother, as she began to speak.

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“Freddy was one of the most daring people I’ve ever met. He just loved life, and didn’t want to miss out on anything. I remember when we first met; I was a single mother with a newborn baby.” She paused to take a deep breath, and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I had just lost my first husband in the Vietnam War, so there was no way that I was going to let any man even come close. But he didn’t give up. He told me that he didn’t want to miss out on a good thing in life, and he would wait for as long as I needed.

“That’s how he lived his life. He never wanted to let an opportunity pass him by; never wanted to be a man who regretted anything. Even when he was in and out of the hospital, he was still adamant that he wanted to experience everything he could.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s up in heaven right now, challenging an angel to a pole vaulting contest over the pearly gates.” At that, a laugh passed through the crowd. She paused as she tried to regain her composure. She turned to face the tombstone.

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“Fredrick, we’ve had many, many years together; and even though you haven’t been gone for long, I miss you so mu-.“ She placed her hand over her mouth as she began to get choked up again. I let go of my husband and walked over to my mom. I pulled her in, and let her cry.

She held onto me as if letting me go would cause her whole world to fall apart. As her body continued to wrack with sobs, I sent a silent prayer up to God for peace.

I felt a hand touch my back. Turning to face the person who touched me, I looked into the deep brown eyes of Malik. He signified that I should sit mom down, and he would cover for us. I led mom off to the side, and sat her down on a bench nearby. She covered her face with her hands as he began to talk.

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“As my mother was saying, dad was a great man, and we’ll miss him. If I could have one more chance to see him again, I’d make sure that he knew that he was the best father that a guy could ask for.” He rubbed his eyes, and I could tell he was fighting back tears. “If I had just one more minute with him, I’d make sure that he knew that he taught me to live life to the fullest. That every moment is precious, and to appreciate the time we have with the people that we love.”

“But I know that if I did have that chance, he would give me a big hug, and tell me that he loved me. Then, he’d probably smack me on the back of the head, and tell me not to live in the past.” He cleared his throat as the people gathered there laughed. “That we should always look forward, and grab every opportunity by the horns.”

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“That’s how my dad should be remembered. As a great man who never let anything hold him back. Who cared for his family, and loved and accepted you. No matter whom you were, or what you might have done. He loved people, and wanted everyone to live up to their potential.” He looked at my father’s casket. “We’re gonna miss you dad. The world isn’t going to be the same without you.” He then grabbed the shovel that had been lying on top of a mound of dirt. His face said that he didn’t want to do this; didn’t want to be the one to finalize the gravity of my dad’s death, but we both knew that it would be impossible for mom to do it. As the sound of dirt landing on wood filled the air, my mom burst into another set of tears.

——————–

Neither Conrad, nor I had wanted to leave my mother to grieve on her own. But we had to, as Conrad’s vacation time couldn’t last forever, and we had children to take care of back home. I only felt better about leaving after Malik promised to check up on my mom every day, and to keep us updated on how she was doing.

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“It’s nice to finally be home.” Conrad said as he unlocked the front door. I nodded in agreement, knowing exactly what he meant. It was nice to be able to see my family again, but what they say is true; there really is no place like home. Besides, travelling by plane is one of the most uncomfortable things that a person should have to endure.

As Conrad tossed his keys onto the table, I thought about how supportive and encouraging we had been. A man like that is hard to find, and I felt an overwhelming amount of love swell in my heart for him. As he turned to face me, I leaned forward and planted a kiss on his lips.

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As our kiss deepened, it was as if a switch set off inside of me. I wanted, no needed him. I grabbed the collar of his jacket, and pulled him closer to my body. I leaned in towards his ear and whispered.

“We don’t have to pick up the kids for a while.” I heard him moan ever so slightly, grabbing onto the small of my back. As I began to idle my tongue into his mouth, he jumped ever so slightly. He pulled back slightly, and looked into my eyes.

“Are you sure?” He asked me. “Because I don’t want you to feel pressured into anyth-“ I placed my finger over his lips.

“Shh…” I told him. “We haven’t been intimate in far too long, are you really going to refuse sex?” I began to unbuckle his belt. I leaned in one final time. “I want your body so bad.”

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It was enough to push his hormones over the edge, as a look of hunger and desire took over his face. He pulled me into a deep kiss, and I jumped into his embrace. I wrapped my legs around his waist, and let him carry me to the bedroom.

——————–

Conrad’s POV

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As I watched Odine press the doorbell, my stomach began to somersault. She turned her head to face me, a mask of anxiety twisting her features. I knew that she desperately didn’t want to do this; heck, I didn’t want to either. But we had agreed that in order for us to move on with our lives, we had to tie up all loose ends. Besides, it was high time that we talked to the family that lived here. They deserved the closure.

We waited a couple of seconds before we heard someone unlock the door. Evangeline Bryan was attractive, maybe mid 30’s to early 40’s. But most of her beauty was overshadowed by messy hair, baggy clothes, and an air of exhaustion.

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“Can I help you?” She asked. She tried to appear welcoming, and began to smooth out her hair with her hands.

“Mrs. Bryan?” Odine asked. She hesitated for a minute, and then took a deep breath, before continuing to speak. “My name is Odine Lee, and this is my husband Conrad. We were hoping we could speak to you, about Lucas.”

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“Come in.” She said. She stepped back from the door, and began to walk back inside. It seemed as if she carried a thousand pounds on her shoulders, and I felt a guilty for waiting so long to do this. I grabbed Odine’s hand, and gave it a squeeze to show her that I was here for her. Then, we walked inside.

——————–

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As we sat on the couches, Odine shared her story of what happened. It was no cake-walk, and Odine would have to pause periodically as she would relive the events that happened. I tried to notice how Evangeline might have felt during each section of Odine’s version, but her face remained emotionless.

“Without him, my children and I wouldn’t have survived. He died a hero, and I felt it was important that you knew personally what an amazing man he was.” Odine then averted her gaze to her fingers. “I know that his death is my fault. You probably hate me, and I’m sorry that it took so long for me to approach you and your family. His blood is on my hands, and I can’t apologize enough for your loss.”

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Evangeline let out a sigh; she ran her hands through her hair before she spoke. “I don’t hate you. I will admit, at first I hated your guts, and wished terrible things for you and your family. But after a bit, I realized that the person to blame is now paying for it. I know that Lucas wouldn’t want me to hate you. You were as much a victim as he was.

“It’s been very hard without him.” She admitted. “Both physically and emotionally. The girls still occasionally ask about him, forgetting that he’s not coming home. I find myself most mornings still expecting to wake up with his arms around me.” She cleared her throat, and wiped a stray tear from her eye. “But I want to thank you for doing this. It… It makes it easier hearing it from you, as opposed to reading it from some newspaper, or doctor.” She then noticed the time. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick up the girls from school.”

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They stood up, and Evangeline pulled Odine into a hug. “Thank you so much.” She began to cry, tears falling slowly down her face. I put my hand on her shoulder, and gave her a look of sympathy.

“If you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to let us know.” I knew she would probably never call. This wasn’t the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but I was glad that we were able to give her some closure. The Bryan family definitely deserved it.

—————

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“I’d… I’d been trying to work up the courage to come see you.” Renee admitted. “But I just felt so ashamed.”

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We were sitting on the couch in the middle of their living room. Both Odine and I knew that the Littler family felt guilty for Reuben’s actions, and we wanted to reassure them that we didn’t hold anything against any of them. We’d brought our children along, and they sat on the floor playing with some of Bronson and Deidre’s old toys.

“Deidre, would you be able to take the kids outside to play?” Renee asked her daughter. Deidre nodded, and scooped Vissa up.

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“Lance, would you be able to help me with your brother? If you do, there’ll be extra ice cream for you later!”

Lance, given the possibility of a treat, excitedly picked Brian up, and ran across the living room to catch up with Deidre. As he did, a lightbulb went off in Renee’s head, and she stared at Lance’s unique blonde hair. Recognition filled her features, and her eyes grew to the size of saucers. When Lance rounded the corner, she waited a few minutes before speaking.

“Is Lance..?” She asked. She didn’t finish her sentence, afraid that it would be true. Both Odine and I nodded.

“It’s true.” I said with a sigh. “Reuben is Lance’s biological father.

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Renee placed her hand on her chest, shocked by the news. “Have you told him?”

“N-no.” I told her hesitantly. “We felt it was better for him to believe that he was my son. We don’t want him growing up feeling like he’s not as important to me as Brian or Vissa.”

She stood up, and began to pace across the room. “I should have known. There was always something off about Reuben. I just thought it was because of me working so hard. You see, he never did seem very happy when I became more famous than he was. He was always a bit jealous, but I never expected him to do something so… so…” She paused as she tried to find the right word. “Sick!” She exclaimed. She put her hands over her face.

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Odine stood up, and put a hand on her shoulder.

“Renee, it’s not your fault. What Reuben did was his own fault, and he has to pay for the consequences.”

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“I hope he rots in jail.” She said angrily. I’d never really thought about how the situation affected the Littlers, seeing as how Odine was the victim. But it finally hit home how bad the situation was for them. They had to find out that their husband/father was convicted of rape; kidnapping; and murder. It’s a scary thing to find out that someone you loved did something so horrible.

The worst part of it was that you could see that Renee still loved her husband. She was hurt, and betrayed, but being married for over 20 years, the feelings would be hard to shake. Plus, the fact that she even cared about what he’d done, more than a normal person would, proved that she still cared for the man she’d agreed to marry; and you could tell that she hated herself for it.

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Love is a powerful thing, and as I watched my wife comfort her former boss, I felt my heart swell with love and pride. The time spent with her family really helped her to move forward, and while there were days that she would feel depression want to seep back in, she would fight it like there was no tomorrow. I couldn’t be prouder.

She’d told me that her dad had helped her see that she couldn’t live in the past anymore. Sure, we probably wouldn’t be having any more kids, but she realized that she couldn’t waste her time stuck on the ‘what ifs’. Instead she focused on the children that we do have, and cultivating relationships with them, while we still have the time.

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“So what are you guys going to do?” Odine asked. They’d been talking about how their current house held too many memories of the past.

Flopping down onto the sofa, Renee shook her head slowly. “I’m not really sure. I’ve talked with the kids, and we aren’t planning on leaving Bridgeport. It’s our home. Bronson isn’t going to be living at home for much longer, so Deidre and I could probably move to a small apartment in the city.” She shrugged. “It’ll definitely be a big change, but I think it would be good for us.” I couldn’t fight back the smile that began to form on my face. I knew exactly what she meant, as I had endured many hours of Deidre’s complaining when she would visit the salon. Which happened to be very often, as the salon was the halfway point between the high school and the library. Deidre just wanted time with her mother, but Renee had always been too busy. Perhaps this was the wakeup call that Renee needed to build a good relationship with her children.

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“I know that this might be a little bit forward.” Renee said. “But I was hoping that it’d be possible to occasionally have Lance come over to our house. Just to make up for everything that happened.” Warning bells began to go off in my head, but before I could object, Renee continued. “We wouldn’t tell him that he’s related to us; that wouldn’t be fair to you guys, or him. But I know that once Deidre finds out that she has a younger brother, it’ll be impossible to keep her away. I just thought that this arrangement would be easier.” She fidgeted in her seat. “It’d just make me feel better for all that you went through.”

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I looked at Odine, unsure of what to decide. As we stared at each other, it was as if we were able to communicate our thoughts by the smallest of looks. When we came to our decision, we turned back to face Renee.

“We’ll give it a go,” I said, “for Deidre’s sake, not because you owe us anything. We didn’t come here to make you feel like you needed to pay for Reuben’s mistakes. If anything, we came here so that we could start fresh, without feelings of guilt or shame.”

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Renee smiled at me, and thanked us for the opportunity to get to know Lance. But I had a feeling that Renee still didn’t fully understand how we felt. Most people in the city probably wouldn’t be as willing to build a relationship with the family of someone who hurt them, especially if that family was rich and famous. But we weren’t from the city. I was just a lowly boy from Riverview, who’d been lucky enough to have people in his life teach him the value of forgiveness.

——————–

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“Ow!” I yelped as I felt the plastic base of the walker hit me on the top of my head. I’d been lying on my back on the floor, playing airplane with Vissa. Brian had been in the walker, as he was just getting used to being on his feet. As I lowered Vissa back onto my belly, Brian accidentally rammed the walker into my head. Apparently he’d gotten a little excited seeing his sister flying over daddy, and wanted to join in. I shot up in pain, just barely managing to catch Vissa as she began to fall off of my belly. As I placed her on the ground, Brian began to clap excitedly, kicking his legs around. I rubbed my head, knowing full well that I was going to get a bruise.

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As I blinked back tears of pain, I saw an icepack being offered at the corner of my eye. Grabbing the icepack, I followed the outstretched hand to the face of my wife, who looked as if she was desperately attempting to hold back laughter.

“It’s nice to know that you find my pain enjoyable.” I grumbled as I placed the icepack on top of the tender flesh of my scalp.

“Oh honey,” she said, crouching down to give me a hug from behind. “I’m not laughing at your pain. I’m just laughing at your luck.” She gave me a kiss on the side of my neck. “Does that make you feel better?”

“Maybe…” I said playfully.

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“Oh?” She asked, masking her voice in innocence. “Then I think I know what would make it all better.” She began to gently kiss my neck, and placed her hands on my shoulders. She slowly started to move her hands down my chest, over my stomach, passed my belt, until she finally reached my-

I jumped slightly, and looked around the room to make sure that none of the kids had seen what just happened.

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Vissa was facing away from us, trying to shove a square shaped peg block into a circular hole; Lance was completely enamored with whatever show he was watching on the T.V.; and Brian had somehow managed to run into the wall. He would back up about a foot, and try to turn as he ran forward, banging the walker into the wall again. I debated whether or not to go and turn the walker around for him.

He’ll figure it out eventually. I thought to myself.

“Lance!” I called out to my son. “Keep an eye on the twins. You’re mother and I will be right back!” When I received confirmation from Lance, I scooped my wife up, and carried her to the bedroom. Her giggles filled the room until I managed to shut the door to our bedroom.

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Thank God that we have thick walls.

——————–

And that’s it for chapter 10! Hope you guys enjoyed! 🙂

1.9 Lost and Found: Part 5 Healing

A/N: Hey Guys! So I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog, but I finally finished chapter 9! Hooray! *waits for fans to echo hooray back* *Only hears crickets*

This is the second to last post of this whole ’Lost And Found’ arc. So close to the end of Conrad’s MAIN story, and then there may be one or two more posts of ‘in-between-ish’ chapters, and then we get to GENERATION TWO!!! Such excite!

Anyway! Most of this chapter is in Odine’s point-of-view. It was unavoidable, and I figured it was easier to just do it in first person, so the chapter will start out in Conrad’s POV, then it’ll switch over to Odine’s for the rest of the chapter And some of next chapter.

Enjoy!

——————–

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I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. Today was a very important day in my career. A-list celebrity Kirby Wise had called and made an appointment for a makeover for the Emmy’s, and Marcel had directed her over to me. She was going to be here in about a half of an hour, and the pressure was definitely on. It is common knowledge in the world of fashion that if you give a celebrity a good makeover, you would be considered THE stylist to go to. But if you failed to give them a makeover worth raving about, people would avoid you like the plague. Having worked at Barney’s for over five years, I knew I was more than capable, but I also knew that celebrities have a tendency to be exceptionally picky when it comes to how they look.

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“You’ll do fine, Mr. Lee.” My assistant Lala said from behind me. I had been wiping the sweat off of my glasses, completely oblivious to what was going on around me. I turned to face her, and couldn’t help but chuckle. Lala had been my assistant ever since I first started at Barney’s, but despite the many times I told her to call me Conrad, she would always refer to me by my last name.

I felt guilty as I looked at her overly enthusiastic face. She had been working here twice as long as I have, and had been hoping since the beginning to be moved up from an assistant to a regular stylist. Unfortunately, Marcel had told her that she wasn’t qualified enough. He also mentioned to me privately that he didn’t think clients would appreciate Lala’s “eccentric” style. While it was a bit harsh, he did have a point. I had let Lala take the reins a couple of times, and I would have to spend the next couple of hours repairing the damage.

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“Yeah, dad!” My six year old son said from the chair that he was sitting on. Lance had gotten out of school about an hour ago, and he and Sebastian walked the short distance from the school so that they could wait for Stella to come pick them up and take them to an audition. A couple of months back Lance stated he had an interest in acting, and when I was talking to Stella about it, she immediately offered to use her husband’s celebrity connections to get Lance into auditions. Odine and I had agreed, and Lance turned out to be a surprisingly good actor. He began having small roles in the occasional commercial, but as time passed, he slowly became more well-known.

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I laughed at my son’s enthusiasm as I heard the bell above the door ring. My stomach flew up to my throat, until I saw Stella walk in. Breathing a sigh of relief, I gave her a wave.

“I am so sorry that I’m late.” She said as she walked over, and pulled me into a hug. “How are you doing?”

“Not too bad, I guess.” I answered despite the butterflies in my stomach.

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“And how is Odine?” She asked. My stomach flipped even more, and I felt my mood plummet.

“She’s… she’s hanging in there. She has some good days, and some bad.” I answered sheepishly. After she had been released from the hospital, it had taken a bit for her to warm up to me again, which I understood. Learning that your husband had been almost been convicted of murder wasn’t the easiest thing to accept; especially considering the fact that she had just had to endure being a victim of kidnapping, all the while being pregnant.

But after a while, it was almost as if the whole Reuben ordeal never even happened.

Until…

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“Well, you tell her I say hi, and that I hope that she feels better.” Stella said. She then put one of her hands on my shoulder. “You guys will get through this. Odine is a strong young woman, and I know that she’ll come around.”

I thanked her as she turned towards our sons. Lance came over to me and gave me a hug.

“Good luck dad. I know you’ll do great!” I ruffled his hair as I stood up. As they left, I couldn’t help but wonder which version of my wife I would encounter when I arrive home.

——————–

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I entered my house cautiously, hoping to hear the sounds of my children or Odine. All I heard was silence. I quickly checked the nursery, and saw that Bryan and Vissa were sleeping soundly. Being careful to shut the door quietly, I tiptoed over to my bedroom.

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When I entered, I saw my wife lying on the bed, facing towards the wall. On any normal occasion, it would be safe to assume that she was napping. But I knew better.

“Hey.” I said as I approached my side of the bed. She turned around to face me.

“Hey.” Her voice was flat. She looked towards me, but not quite at me. It was evident that she had been crying, and I wanted to pull her into an embrace. But I knew that she probably wouldn’t have accepted it.

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We stared at each other for a bit, neither of us knowing what to say. I began to kick off my shoes so that I can lie on the bed, when she finally spoke.

“Why are you still with me..?” I did a double take at her question.

“What do you mean?” I asked. She sat up, and brought her knees to her chest, hugging them tightly.

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“Why are you still with me?” She asked again. “I’m more trouble than I’m worth. I’ve pushed you away too many times; abandoned you; and done other things that I can’t even describe.” She wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “If I was you, I wouldn’t want to stick around with someone like me.”

“I guess it’s good that you aren’t me then.” I said, putting my hands on my hips. “Because I love you. I don’t care what happens, or what I might have to go through, I’m sticking around. You’re worth it to me.”

She dropped her head until it rested on her knees. She said something, but I couldn’t hear what it was because she spoke softly.

“Baby, I can’t hear you.” I said. I sat on the bed and placed my hand on the back of her head. “What did you say?”

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“You could have died!” She shouted as she jerked her head up. Her reaction surprised me, making me jump slightly. “You could have died, and it would all have been my fault. I-I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to you.”

“It wouldn’t have been your fault.” I countered. “It was my choice to barge in to save you, and I would do it a thousand times over. It was Reuben’s choice to point the gun and pull the trigger, not yours. Even if I were to try to think of the smallest reason to blame you, I wouldn’t be able to because none of it was your fault.” I wanted her to realize that she doesn’t need to blame herself for anything, but I could tell that she had already shut me out.

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I grabbed her hand, and gently kissed the back of it. “But baby, it’s over. He can’t hurt any of us anymore.” While her eyes were looking in my direction, I could tell that she wasn’t looking at me. She began to fiddle with her wedding ring, and I could tell that she was debating whether she shouldn’t say what she was thinking.

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“Then how is he still able to destroy one of the things that matter the most to me? How, Conrad?” She pulled at a loose thread on the bottom of her dress. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so frustrated and angry all of the time. I can’t have one second of peace, and it’s all because of him!”

“Honey,” I said gently.” You keep focusing on the negatives. Think about how blessed we are.” I pulled her into a hug. Her body tensed up at first, but then she relaxed into my arms. “We’ve both gone through so much, but we came out on top. We both stared death in the face, but thank God that we’re alive, and together. Doesn’t that make you happy?” She nodded slowly, her eyes downcast. I wasn’t even sure if what I was saying was even helping anymore. I just wanted my wife to be genuinely happy.

“But it isn’t fair.” She said, her voice laced with fury. I tilted my head, and furrowed my eyebrows, feeling slightly confused as to what she meant. After a bit, I finally understood. I took a deep breath, and let all of the air out in a sigh.

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“Honey, I know it isn’t fair, but there isn’t much we can do about it. Lance, Brian, Valyssa and I. We all need you. Lance has noticed how different you’ve been acting, and even though Brian and Vissa are only just learning to talk, even they can tell that something is wrong. They just need their mom back.” I took one final deep breath. “I need my wife back.” Was it selfish to say? Probably, but I just really missed her. It seemed that every day that would pass, the gap between us would continue to get bigger and bigger.

“I… I don’t know if I can do that.” She admitted. My insides flipped, and I felt bile begin to rise in my throat.

“Wh-Why not?” I risked asking.

“Because it’s not fair!” She yelled. She stood up, and faced me, the torment evident on her face. “I’ve had to deal with that… that… monster for years! He’s finally behind bars; he isn’t even in my life anymore! Yet he still finds a way to ruin it! What did I ever do to anyone to have what I want most in the world to be snatched out from under me?”

“Baby, you’re life isn’t ruined!” I pleaded with her. “We’re together; we have three awesome children; we aren’t doing too badly financially. We may not be rich, but what we have is good enough for me!”

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She hugged herself then, and looked at the ground. “But I don’t know if it’s good enough for me.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, her words so soft that I almost couldn’t make out what she’d said. But I felt like someone had punched me hard in the stomach.

“What are you saying?” I asked. Before she could answer, the sound of Brian’s crying reached my ears. Odine turned toward the door to our bedroom, but before she could take a step, I put my hand up to stop her. “Don’t worry about it. I got it this time.” I then marched out of the room, eyes misting over, feeling completely defeated.

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——————–

ODINE’S POV

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As I watched Conrad leave the room, our conversation began to replay itself in my mind. I couldn’t get his hurt look out of my head. As the tears began to resurface, I started to berate myself.

Why did I have to say that? What the heck is wrong with me? I hadn’t really meant what I said. I was just so caught up in my moment of grief and sadness. I am thankful for the life I have. I just can’t handle the fact that I’m… Broken.

“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Lee.” The doctor had said. As if an apology could fix what was wrong with me; or change the fact that I… I probably won’t be able to have any more children. After those words were said, I stopped listening. His voice faded in and out of my hearing. Something about where I was shot messing with my body, and that the chances of me carrying a baby would be almost impossible.

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I didn’t want to relive that moment in my mind again, so I launched myself onto my bed, and forced myself to think of good things.
I have a loving, supportive husband.
I have a nice house.
I have three beautiful children.
I’m still alive.
I want for nothing.
Except…
I shot back up into a sitting position, and put my hands over my ears in an effort to block all of the depressing thoughts from my mind. I almost didn’t hear my cell phone ring.

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“Hello?” I asked, trying to keep my voice level. I heard sniffling on the other line, as if someone had been crying. After a bit, the person on the other end of the phone spoke.

“Odine?”

“Mom?” I asked back. I was more than a bit surprised. Not that my mother didn’t call me, but the timing of the phone call, and the way she said my name, seemed off. I tried to think of why she would sound so full of grief over the phone, and my mind could only come up with one conclusion. I swallowed. “Is he..?”

“No.” My mom answered. I breathed a sigh of relief. “But the doctors aren’t giving him much time. He’s been asking for you.”

I nodded. “Okay. I’ll… I’ll see what I can do.” After a couple minutes more of talking, I finally got off the phone. I tossed it on the bed just as Conrad came back in.

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“Who was that?” He asked me. I turned to face him.

“That was my mom.” I said. “She said that the doctors aren’t giving my dad much time. He wants to see me before… Before he…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. It was as if every time I tried to say the word, my throat would close up. I wiped the stray tears from my eyes. Conrad walked over to me, and pulled me into a hug.

“I’m so sorry baby.” He said. “We’ll figure something out.” He then let me go, and placed his hands on my shoulders. “I think I have enough money in the bank for two plane tickets. We could talk to Stella about maybe taking care of the kids while we’re gone. We could probably leave next week.”

I picked at a loose thread on my dress. “Thank you… But I-I want to go alone.” He tensed up after I finished speaking. He moved one hand to fiddle with the hair in front of his face, and fiddled with his glasses, his other hand placed on his hip. 

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He sighed. “Look, I’m tired of arguing about this stuff.” He then looked me straight in the eyes. “I know you’re going through a lot, and I’ll back off and give you your space. But please, I’m begging you, don’t shut me out.”

I couldn’t hold his gaze for long. “I know that.” I said as I stared at the floor.

“I’ll order your ticket tomorrow.” He said, sounding defeated. “And Odine? You can always talk to me. I’m here for you. That’s what husbands are supposed to do.”

I didn’t want to break down in tears. So instead of saying anything, I just nodded.

——————–

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As the taxi pulled up outside of the hospital, I swallowed. I struggled to keep the bile from rising in my throat as I grabbed my bags from the trunk. I quickly paid the driver, before I walked towards the entrance.

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“Odie!” I heard my being called the moment I walked through the front doors, and I knew only one person called me by that name.

“Malik!” I pulled my older half-brother into a hug as he came close. Under different circumstances, I would have swatted him, reminding him how much I hated my childhood nickname. However, we both knew that it wasn’t the right moment. As we finally let go of each other, I looked at my brother’s face. His eyes were red and puffy, and his cheeks were still wet from the tears that he had allowed to fall.

“How’s he doing?” I asked. I was a bit surprised that my 26 year old brother had been crying. As long as I had known him, he had hardly ever shed a tear, even when we were children.

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The corners of his mouth pulled down into a frown, and he shook his head slightly. “He’s not doing too well. There are times when he seems to be okay, and then there are other times when he’s delirious.” He took a deep breath, and slowly let it out through his teeth. “We weren’t sure if you were going to make it in time.” He took my bags from me, and jerked his head in the direction of a long hallway, indicating that I should follow.

“I’ll take you to his room.” He said. He turned away from me, and began to walk.

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As I began to follow him, I took a good look at my surroundings. Starlight Shores Regional Hospital looked so much like Sacred Spleen in Bridgeport. I found it hard to fight off the bad memories that my brain had begun to associate with hospitals.

“Odie?” Malik called. He stood in front of a door, the one that I would assume lead to my dad’s room. He had one eyebrow slightly arched in confusion. I then realized that I had stopped walking in the middle of the hall. Tears had begun to form, so I wiped them away, and walked quickly to catch up with him.

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As he cracked open the door, I saw my mother sitting on a chair next to a hospital bed. Her usual curly, vibrant graying hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. As I entered the room, she turned her gaze towards me. For being 56, my mother normally looked pretty good for her age. Now, she just looked tired; the bags under her eyes showing that she hadn’t gotten much sleep. She came over to me, and gave me a big hug.

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“Odine!” She exclaimed. As we separated, she began to fuss over me. She began to smooth over my hair, and look me over; all the while asking me how I’ve been, and how my trip was. Once she was certain that I was okay, she gave me one final hug. “We’ve missed you so much!”

“I’ve missed you guys, too.” I said.

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As I let go of her, I finally noticed the person lying on the bed. Had I not known that it was my father, I would not have recognized him. His normally pudgy cheeks, where I got mine from, were now sunken in. His cocoa colored skin was pale, and he was sweating profusely. The heart monitor beeped in the background, and there was a strange feeling in the air; as if the air itself could sense that death was coming soon. I went to the side of the bed, and reached over to feel his hand. His fingers felt bony within mine, and I almost pulled my hand back in fear.

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“He goes in and out of consciousness.” My mom informed me. “The doctors told us to just let him rest.” I continued to stare at my dad as he slept.

We sat in silence for what felt like a couple of hours, but I’m sure it was only a few minutes. The only sound being the heart monitor that beeped often, indicating that my dad was still alive. Finally, Malik broke the silence.

“Well, I’m going to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Mom, are you coming?” He gave her a look that indicated that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She didn’t get the message.

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“I… I wanted to wait for your father to wake up.” She said, hesitantly. Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Malik spoke again.

“Mom, you haven’t eaten anything since yesterday.” He pointed out in concern. “You need to eat, especially if you want to be awake when dad wakes up! Odine can wait here, and if anything changes, she’ll let us know, right?” I nodded.

“Yeah,” I told them, “If he wakes up, I could give Malik a quick call, and you guys would be here in time.” I tried my hardest to sound as cheerful as possible, but I felt dead inside. “Besides, you look like you could use a walk.” I grabbed my mom’s soft hand in mine, and gave it a slight squeeze, letting her know that everything would be fine. She slowly nodded, and let Malik lead her out of the room.

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Even though no one was talking when my mom and brother were in the room, just their presence seemed to quell my negative thoughts. Being left alone, my brain was free to wander to places that I didn’t want it to go. I covered my ears with my hands, as if blocking them would prevent my brain from thinking them.

“Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.” I began to whisper over and over. I became so engrossed with distracting my mind, that I almost didn’t hear my name being called.

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“O-Odine?” A shaky voice called me. Their voice was barely above a whisper. I shot my head up in the direction of the person who spoke.

“Daddy?” I asked. Sure enough, he was lying in the bed, eyes open ever so slightly, looking right at me. I shot up from my seat. “I have to get mom!” Turning towards the door, I was about to pull out my phone when he called for me to wait.

“Could we just talk for a bit? Just the two of us?” I placed my phone back in my purse, and sat back on the chair. I placed my hands on my lap, and waited.

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“So how have you been?” He asked me casually. I was a bit stunned at how he asked me. As if we were sitting at the table in my childhood home, instead of waiting in the hospital for him to die.

“I’m okay.” I answered. I didn’t feel like delving into the emotional struggles going on in my head. I hoped that he would just let it be, but I knew that I was never really able to lie to my dad.

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“Honey,” he said softly. “I know you well enough to be able to tell when you aren’t okay. Tell me what’s going on? Is Conrad treating you alright?”

“Of course!” I answered, unable to hide the slight defensiveness that found its way into my voice. “He’s a perfect gentleman.” He treats me better than I deserve, anyway. I thought. I wasn’t going to voice my opinion to my dad, though.

“And how are you recovering with everything that… happened?” He asked hesitantly. When I was missing, Conrad had called my parents and told them everything. While he had never met my parents face-to-face, they became close while I was gone. They were his support group, in a sense. Always encouraging him, and telling him not to give up, though I know it was hard on them.

When I was found, and my entire story was displayed in the papers, I knew my parents blamed themselves for everything that I’d had to go through. Even when I repeatedly told them that it wasn’t their fault, I knew that there was still going to be a part that wished that they could have been there to protect me.

“I’m doing fine.” I told him. I forced a smile on my face, but I knew he wasn’t buying it.

“Well then, what is it? We haven’t been able to talk in such a long time.” He then smiled, as if he had thought of the funniest joke. “Grant a dying man his last wish?”

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My jaw dropped, and I felt my stomach rise to my throat. “That’s not funny.” I spat out. I felt close to tears.

“No, I guess it isn’t.” My dad said sadly. We sat there in silence for a bit, neither of us entirely sure what to say. He continued to stare at me, and in a weird way, it almost seemed like he felt sympathetic towards me. I finally decided to break the silence.

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“I don’t want you to go.” I admitted. “It isn’t fair.”

“No it isn’t fair.” He said. “But what are you going to do about it?” I stared back at him, not entirely sure what he meant.

“Sometimes there are things that happen in life that we can’t control; terrible things that may affect us for a long time. But your perspective can change a lot of things. For instance, my time is running out. But am I going to sit here, wallowing in depression and self-pity? Or am I going to spend some of my time with my beautiful daughter? Am I going to become a victim of my situation? Or am I going spend my time with the people who matter most to me?” He sighed, the discomfort evident on his face. “Too many people spend their days living in the past, or stuck under the circumstances. Then they wake up one morning wondering where all of their time went. All of the hours they could have spent actually living were wasted.” He paused for a while, staring in the direction of the window. I still wasn’t able to find my words, and I didn’t want to interrupt his train of thought, so I waited in silence for him to continue.

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“I never wanted to live my life that way.” He smiled at me, a sense of pride in his weathered face. “And I didn’t. I married an amazing woman; helped raise her son, whom I love like my own; had a daughter, who grew up into a beautiful young woman. She married a caring young man, and gave me grandchildren before I died, so I know that she’s loved and taken care of. I don’t have any regrets.”

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“You are immensely blessed, you know that?” He asked. My eyes had begun to well up with tears, but this time, I didn’t feel like trying to hide them, or keep them at bay. As they began to fall down my face, I bit my lip, and nodded. “Don’t let life pass you by. The people around you love you. I could just tell from the conversations over the phone that Conrad adores you. Not everyone is as lucky as we are.”

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At that moment, the door to the room opened, and mom and Malik walked in. I knew at that point that our heart-to-heart was over. But my father had said enough. The rest of that day was spent remembering the good times when we were younger, and appreciating being in each other’s company. I knew that this would be the last time all four of us could be together, so I made sure that I didn’t miss a single moment.

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We knew it was coming, the inevitability of it all. But it still didn’t prepare us for the moment that he passed away later that evening. None of us had expected how painful it would be to hear the nurse record the time of his death, or the ringing of his flat lined heart monitor. Neither Malik nor I expected to see just how much light went out of my mother’s eyes, as if a part of her died with him.

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She collapsed onto the floor, the sobs racking her entire body. Every sob felt like a stab to the heart, and I fought the urge to crawl into a little ball of self-pity on the floor. Instead, I sat next to my mother and pulled her into a hug. I let her cry into my shoulder, telling her that it would be okay and that we’d get through this. But I knew it wouldn’t really be okay. Things probably wouldn’t be okay for my mom for a long while. But I knew that with time, she’d make it. She’d learn to cope with the loss of my dad.

Because even though he was gone, there was still a piece of him left behind in all of us. The part that wouldn’t let circumstances control us; the part that knew that in order to properly remember him, we’d have to keep moving forward and live life to its fullest.

——————–

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As I sat on my old bed, my father’s words replayed over and over in my head. He had no idea of the list of experiences I had lived through; and yet, his words had really struck a chord with me. Malik and I had agreed to help our mother with the funeral preparations. But even though I had my mom and brother around me, I don’t think I had ever felt more alone. Normally, solitude is what I want. But I really didn’t want to be by myself.

I picked up the phone, and punched in the number from memory.

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“Hello?” He answered after the second ring. Just hearing his voice made me feel comforted, and I began to cry. “Baby, Is that you?”

It was a few minutes before I could speak.

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“Hi baby.” I said.

“Odine?” He asked.

“Yeah, it’s me.” I paused for a second as I tried to swallow. “I’m going to be staying here for a week or two. Mom and Malik need my help with the funeral.”

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“So, your dad, he’s…” He hesitated. “He’s gone?” I nodded, forgetting the fact that he couldn’t see me. I simply answered yes, knowing that if I tried to speak too much, I would begin crying again.

“Take all the time you need, okay?” He reassured me. “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

“Actually,” I managed to say. “I-I was h-hoping that you could come down.”

He was silent for a minute, and my stomach began to twist and turn in worry. I felt as if sand was in my mouth, and I had to keep swallowing to relieve the dryness in my throat.

“Let me make a couple of calls, and then I’ll get back to you, okay?” He asked. I agreed, and with a quick goodbye, we hung up.

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I flopped back down on my old bed, and tried to take deep breaths. As I waited, my mind began to go at one thousand miles an hour.

What if he doesn’t want to come? I wouldn’t blame him. All I’ve brought to this marriage was one big headache. I haven’t been the person that he needs, or the mom that the kids need. They’d be better off without me. I shot up from the bed, and walked to my mirror. It was painful to look at my reflection, and I had to force myself not to turn away.

“You are a good person.” I told myself shakily. “You aren’t perfect, but you are trying. You’re a good mother, and a good-.” I had to swallow, as my throat began to tighten. “A good wife. You will get better, and you will be the best wife that you can be.” If Conrad forgives me.

I jumped slightly, as my phone rang. Rushing over to my bed, I saw Conrad’s name in the caller ID. I pressed the green button on the screen, and slowly brought the phone to my ear.

“He-hello?”

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“Hey, hon.” His deep voice filtered through the speaker. “So, I made a couple of calls, and I can be there in less than a week.” My heart leapt in my chest.

“Really?” I asked. I couldn’t help but smile as tears began to form in my eyes once again.

“Yes, really.” He said. “I hadn’t used my vacation days for this quarter, so Marcel gave me time off so I can go; and Stella said she can watch the kids, so I’m all set.” I wiped the tears as they fell down my cheeks.

“Th-thank you. This means… So much to me.” I took a deep breath, and let it out. I knew that the hardest part of this whole thing wasn’t over yet; but just knowing that he’d be here, and hopefully give me a chance to fix everything, was comforting.

“Of course babe.” He said. “I’ll buy a plane ticket as soon as I can.” A small voice piped up through the phone. “Hey hon, Lance wants to talk to you before he has to go to his audition.” As he passed the phone to Lance, I could hear incoherent baby babbling in the background.

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“Hi, mommy!” Lance said excitedly.

We talked for a little bit; mainly him sharing details of what’s been happening while I’ve been gone.

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“There’s a new girl in my class, mommy. Her name is Belle Hemlock. She was a little weird, but Sebbie and I invited her to play with us at recess. She was really nice. She even shared her skittles!” He stated matter of factly. “Daddy told me he was proud of me for being nice to her, and that he was going to take me out for ice cream after my audition!” I laughed at that, and shook my head ever so slightly. Oh, to be a child again.

“That’s great honey!” We continued to talk for a couple minutes more, and then Lance gave the phone back to Conrad.

“Hey, so I have to take Lance out, but I’ll catch the soonest flight to Starlight Shores that I possibly can, okay?”

“Okay. I love you.”

“I love you too. Bye!”

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——————–

It was the day that Conrad was supposed to arrive, and I was pacing back and forth in the entryway in front of the stairs. Malik had been teasing me, saying that I was going to create a ditch in the hardwood floor with all of the pacing I was doing. I ignored him, and kept walking back and forth.

I was trying to figure out the best way to put my feelings into words. I had been stuck inside my own head for so long; too busy pushing others away and I wanted to tell him that I was going to change that. No matter how long it takes. I just wasn’t exactly sure how to word it.

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I was in the middle of making my hundredth round across the carpet, when the doorbell rang. My stomach flipped, as I froze in fear. I glanced at Malik, as he stood up from the couch and made his way to the door.

As Malik let Conrad into the house, I stared at him; my body frozen. He set his bag down on the ground, and stared at me with his piercing lavender eyes. His mouth turned up into a shy smile; one that reached his eyes.

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“Hey.”

With that one word, the dam that held back my tears was broken. Every second of planning what to say was all for nothing, as the only thought that remained in my mind was that I needed to hold my best friend. I threw myself into his arms; and with tears staining my cheeks, I repeated one thing over and over again.

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“I’m so sorry! I’m so, so sorry!”

——————–

Hope you enjoyed chapter 9! I hope to get chapter 10 out soon, because I have it all written out already. But honestly, who really know with me. XD As always, likes; comments; etc. are always welcome! Thanks for reading guys! And for being so awesim!!! 😀

Apologies, Explanations, and New Challenge Advertisement Thing!

First and foremost, let me say that this is NOT me giving up on the Lees… I’m just letting you know that I probably will NEVER rapidfire-post. And I’m trying to be okay with that. I frequently struggle with writers block, and then discouragement, and then wanting to quit writing forever. Granted, I’m never going to actually do that… But I get discouraged easily… I do hope you guys stick around… 😦

Another thing is that I have a SIMBLR, where I occasionally post gameplay pics, and I also have a story over there! It’s Called Fading Quickly (Insert Picture Montage)

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And technically it’s not a normal legacy. I call it an ‘Against The Clock‘ challenge. It’s a whole twist on a legacy challenge where your family is cursed, and each generation has to complete certain goals. It’s pretty fun, but the thing is, because of my posting speed (or lack thereof) I haven’t been able to test it all that much.

That’s where you come in!!!

Would anyone be able to try it out? And give me feedback on certain things? I do have a couple of other people who are trying it out aside from myself, but I figured the more the merrier. Plus it’d be easier to work out any kinks. Any takers?

RULES

 

Two Pointless Notes

Hey guys! So, this is a completely random post about 2 random things that do concern the Lee Legacy.

1. I don’t know if anyone caught onto this in Conrad’s 6th and 7th chapters (which I’m actually surprised that I even got that far), but there was ultimately a reason that Conrad gave his son the name Brian Kelly Lee. In chapter 6, he claims that both the names Brian, and Kelly are very special to him, and if you look at chapter 7, Marshal’s parents are named Archer Weaver, and BRIANNA KELLY, so yeah. Conrad’s mom meant so much to him that he wanted to name one of his children after her. And since this is a patriarchy, I figured why not give the second generation heir the male variation of her name, and I left the middle name as Kelly because I’m a lazy, cruel person.

I just wanted to make a note of it because it was a small (but rather significant (?)) detail that I couldn’t seem to fit anywhere in the chapter.

2. I usually suck really bad at building things. Like… seriously, for someone who studied architectural drafting, it’s pitiful my sim building skills. But even I have to admit that I didn’t do too bad with the courtroom that I used in chapter 8. It’s not a full blown courthouse or anything, but would anyone want me to put it up for download somewhere? It could be pretty good for some scene set up for stories and stuff. And it doesn’t have any CC aside from Ep and Sp things. 

Just let me know. 🙂