Monthly Archives: October 2015

Chapter Sixty Four : The Path To Happiness

With all the recent drama, Aurora’s first pregnancy passed by practically without notice. But when the time came to deliver, Aurora was bursting at the seams with excitement. She was more than ready to meet her very first baby, and to begin filling her house with children – and with the laughter and the joy (and chaos) they would bring. Aurora knew her duty as an heiress was to produce a girl to carry the legacy into the next generation – but she felt no nervousness over the gender of her baby. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter. With as many children as she planned to have, one of them was bound to be a girl! If this one was a boy, she would have plenty of other opportunities to fulfill her legacy.

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But it turned out that there was no need to worry. Like every Hasslich heiress before her, Aurora’s firstborn was a girl, and an eligible heir to the legacy.

Her name was Coralie – both in honor of Andalie, and as a reminder to Aurora to be a better mother to her children than Andalie had been to her.

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Welcome to the world, Coralie Hasslich!!

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Meanwhile, in a neighborhood across town, Roxas was enjoying his brand new home. He loved his family, of course, and even his sister, regardless of her mean spirit and unkind words. But the distance between them had served as a breath of fresh air, and Roxas was ready for a change.

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He sat in front of his new computer in his new office, and he researched the spa procedures that would create his new look. The spa’s website let him upload a current photo of himself and experiment with different changes, nipping and tucking to his heart’s content.

The new Roxas Hasslich would be classically handsome, well-built, with a strong, masculine jaw. His nose would be smaller – less pointy, but proportionate – and an eye lift would completely transform his down-turned Hasslich eyes. He struggled to choose a new skin-tone, and even added a pricey eye-recolorization into the mix.

In the end, he filled out the form for the highly reputed spa, ticking off the procedures he wanted as he scrolled down the page. He took another look at the computer generation of his “makeover,” cringed as he filled in his payment information (BOING!), chose an appointment time, and hit submit.

By this time tomorrow, Roxas Hasslich would look like this:

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…And have a body that would look like this:

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The next morning, Roxas awoke with a knot in his stomach. He was having second thoughts about the procedures – but he quickly pushed his doubts aside.

This is the path to happiness, he thought. This is the change I need.

And so he put on his shoes and took a long look in the mirror.

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This was the last he would see of the “old” Roxas Hasslich. The last time he would see his mother’s eyes in his own reflection.

He reminded himself that this was a good thing. He tied his shoes, and walked out the door.

When he arrived at the spa, the receptionist instructed him to change into a robe. He laughed darkly, thinking how silly it was to make this surgery seem like “pampering.” As if going under the knife was as simple as a foot massage. His shaking fingers fumbled as he unbuttoned his shirt. For the first time, it occurred to him that this was probably going to hurt – he blanched at the thought.

Straightening his spine, Roxas gathered his courage.

This is a good thing, he repeated to himself. This is the path to happiness.

He walked slowly down the hall. One foot in front of the other.

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This is a good thing.

This is the path to happiness.

This is a good thing.

This is the path to happiness.
This is the path to happiness.
This IS the path to happiness.

A voice spoke beside him.

“What’s the path to happiness?” asked the voice.

Roxas stopped in his tracks, feeling dazed. Had he said that out loud?

“Hello? Are you okay?” The voice was gentle, soothing. Feminine.

Roxas turned and tried to regain his speech.

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He cleared his throat.

Roxas: Oh. Hi. Um – well, I guess you could say I’m here for a makeover. A few cosmetic procedures to, ahem….enhance my appearance.

The girl laughed.

Girl: And that’s the path to happiness?! Sorry, I just don’t get it! Why would cosmetic surgery be the path to happiness?

Roxas: I just – well, I mean, it’s only – and my sister said…. What I mean is, well – I’m ugly, anyone can see that. And I’ve decided to not be ugly anymore.

Roxas cast his eyes downward, avoiding her gaze. There was something about this girl, something that made him feel suddenly embarrassed of his own vanity. He waited for her response, braced himself for whatever would come next.

But she only laughed – a hearty, unbridled belly laugh that Roxas would never have expected from the owner of that sweet, soothing voice. She even slapped her knee once or twice.

UGLY?” she roared, still giggling to herself. “That’s not even a real thing! Not something you can fix with surgery anyway. I mean, how do you fix someone’s personality with surgery?! That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!”

The sound of her laughter was infectious, and soon Roxas found himself laughing right along with her. An involuntary chuckle that quickly snowballed into a full-on laughing fit – Roxas laughed so hard he cried, harder than he’d laughed since his parents died, since… Actually, maybe he’d actually never laughed this hard. What was he even laughing at? He couldn’t remember – and the absurdity of the thing just made him laugh even harder.

Finally getting a hold of himself, Roxas formally introduced himself to the young woman in front of him.

“I’m Bethroot Elstree,” she replied. “You can call me Beth.”

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Beth: Look, I promise you that cosmetic procedures are NOT the path to happiness. Wanna know how I know that? It’s because I’m on the path to happiness! And I sure as plum am not getting any surgical procedures done! – I’m just here for a foot rub!

Roxas couldn’t help but smile.

Roxas: Okay, then, Bethroot – since you’re the expert – what IS the path to happiness?

Beth: It’s all about new experiences, Roxas! Travel! Meeting new people and trying new things! Opening yourself up to the world! It’s why I’m here – to experience all the world has to offer!

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Roxas: Even the ugly things?

Beth: I told you, Roxas. There’s no such thing as ugly. Do you look at me and think I’m ugly?

Roxas looked at her –really looked at her – for the first time, and felt his breath catch in his throat.

Beth was radiant, he realized – beautiful in a way that transcended the physical, the visual – the superficial. She laughed with abandon, and made friends out of strangers. She welcomed the unknown and found joy where Roxas saw problems. Beth forged ahead with unbridled enthusiasm, never stopping to worry what others might think. Carefree and vibrant, the world paled in comparison to Bethroot Elstree.

Roxas was enchanted.

Roxas: You’re…beautiful.

Oblivious to the adoration written on his face, Beth breezed on, never missing a beat.

Beth: Well, beautiful isn’t really thing either, Roxas. But if you mean my soul is beautiful, then I’ll accept that.

Beth reached out and touched his arm, a mischievous glint in her eye.

Beth: How about this – I’ll make you a deal. If you cancel your procedure and come on an adventure with me, I’ll show you the real path to happiness.

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And so it began.

They started simply, right there at the spa. Beth insisted they take a photo first, before their tackling their first joint adventure: yoga.

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Their afternoon adventure soon ran into the evening, and then far into the night. The next morning they met again, and then again the morning after that. Each day they set out on a fresh new adventure, discovering and exploring their world together.

It turned out there were lots of things that Beth had never done before. Their trip to the beach was the first time Beth had ever seen the sea, and the night they went dancing was the first time Beth ever drank juice. She had never seen a farm before, or hiked in the mountains, and she had certainly never seen a waterfall or met a real live hermit! And of course, everywhere they went, Beth made sure to document their escapades as they unfolded.

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When Beth admitted she’d never been fishing, Roxas determined to take her to his favorite fishing hole – a magical, secluded place deep in the forest.

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Roxas: I can’t believe you’ve never been fishing before! I mean, what, did you grow up under a rock or something?

Beth laughed, knowing he was only joking. But what he didn’t know was how close he’d actually come to the truth….

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Beth: Something like that! Let’s just say I lived a sheltered life until now. That’s why I’m here on this adventure with you! When my sister left home, I realized how much of the world I haven’t seen, how many people there were to meet! I just had to know what else was out there, you know?

She pulled out her phone and drew Roxas in for the requisite selfie.

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Beth: Speaking of my sister, I think she’d love to see what we’ve been up to! Not that I know where she actually is….

She sent the photo off, and turned back to Roxas.

Beth: You know, there’s something else I’ve always wanted to do…. Would you take me to a cemetery?

————————————————————————————–

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An hour later, Beth followed Roxas through the ominous wrought iron gates of the Newcrest Cemetery. A little nervous, she hung back and let Roxas lead the way. He did his best to seem brave, but deep down he was feeling a little jittery himself.

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Roxas: So legend has it that this place is haunted by the ghost of Victoria Newcrest. She was the daughter of Newcrest’s founder, Augustus Newcrest, and as a young woman she was jilted at the altar by her lover. No one knows for sure, but they say he was a Lothario – poor Victoria was so devastated by the rejection that she threw herself into the canal –

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Beth: BOOOO!!!!!!

Roxas screamed, shrill and high-pitched, like an infant or a little girl. In any other situation with any other person, Roxas would have been mortified – but the pair immediately devolved into laughter, and it never occurred to Roxas to be embarrassed.

I’m completely myself when I’m with her, he realized.

And in that moment, he knew – Beth was The One. And there was no turning back.

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A few nights later, Roxas called Beth and asked her to meet him at the most romantic place he knew. He gave her directions (of course she had never been there before!) and patted the tiny box in his pocket before heading out the door.

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Roxas: Bethroot Elstree, you are the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. You’ve helped me to become the very best version of myself – and with you, I know that’s more than enough. You were right all along – the path to happiness has nothing to do with looks or appearance. Beth – YOU are my path to happiness. I know you want a life of adventure – and all I want is to go on that adventure with you. Wherever you go, I will go too – as long as you’ll have me.

He looked up at her, hope in his eyes.

Roxas: Beth, will you marry me?

Beth nodded vigorously, unable to choke out the words.

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Beth: If I’m your path to happiness, Roxas – then you are my adventure.

She pulled him in close and whispered in his ear.

Beth: And as long as we’re on an adventure, there’s one more thing I’ve never done that I’m just dying to try….

xxc

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Author’s Notes:

First, a big thank you to Sabreene for sending Beth to Roxas!

For those of you unfamiliar with Bethroot Elstree – Beth is the sister of Merriweather Elstree, founder of the Elstree Prettacy. Beth and Roxas’s story will continue as part of the Elstree legacy (which you can check out here!).

Also…I have used quite a bit of gallery content in this chapter. I will update with lot names and creators as soon as possible!

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Chapter Sixty Three : The Acid Queen

In the wake of Emmeline’s passing, one thing became glaringly obvious – though she was not a Hasslich heir, Emmeline was the Hasslich matriarch, and as such, she was the glue that held their family together. Without Emmeline, the Hasslich clan was lost, disjointed, and without direction.

Aurora, deep into her pregnancy by now, received comfort from her great-grandmother, Grainna.

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Roxas and Addie fumbled through their daily routines, striving for a degree of normalcy, but consumed with the grief of losing not just their mother, but their father too, in just a matter of days. Roxas fell deeper into depression, while Addie’s grades slipped and her mean streak reared its ugly head. And while the siblings stuck ever closer together, Emmeline’s absence caused a sudden rift between her own children and the “heir line” of the family.

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Sylvie mourned in her own way, and while she had every intention of honoring her aunt’s last request, she just couldn’t bring herself to step through the wormhole without Emmeline at her side. She would go – and soon – but she wasn’t ready to face that adventure just yet. So instead, she spent most of her time away from the house, with Abe at her side.

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And it was after one such date, as Abe walked Sylvie to her door, that the course of their lives changed forever.

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Abe: I know this might not be the best time, Sylvie, but I don’t want to wait another day. I love you, I love your dedication to your work and your bond with your family. I love your ambition, your drive, and the way I feel when I hold your hand. Will you marry me?

Sylvie grinned and jumped into his arms, feeling lighthearted and hopeful for the first time since Emmeline died.

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Sylvie: Of course I’ll marry you!

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Sylvie: But, Abe – there’s one thing. I can’t leave my family right now, not like this. I know my family is big and loud and crazy sometimes…. But how would you feel about moving in with me? With us?

Abe smiled indulgently and agreed without hesitation.

Abe: I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The news of Sylvie’s engagement had brought a wave of excitement to the house, but not everyone was thrilled with their union.

Though Addie and Sylvie had never been especially close, their relationship had only deteriorated without Emmeline’s mitigation.

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Addie: How ironic that the so-called main line of this family is still so homely! I mean, isn’t it kind of pathetic that the only man you could snag is basically your cousin? Does Abe even KNOW he’s your cousin?

Sylvie sighed heavily and rolled her eyes.

Sylvie: Abe is YOUR cousin, Addie. On the Lothario side. I know you know that Abe and I are not related. Why are you trying to cause trouble?

Addie: Don’t you ever feel like a second-class citizen around here? You got passed over for heir for your ugly little sister! Isn’t this legacy supposed to be about having pretty kids? Come on! Think about it, Sylvie – why is your sister, with that big honking nose of hers, the heir? Not that it should have been you – obviously I am the rightful heir, considering your lunatic, bed-hopping mother wasn’t fit to be the heir, and MY mother is the only reason this legacy still exists. If we’re being really technical, and maybe we should, since I’m clearly prettier than both of you, then I’m the only one –

Sylvie: Addie, STOP. Aurora is the heir. You were NEVER eligible to BE the heir. And if you say another word about my sister or my mother, I will make you regret it. Stop. Talking. Now.

Sylvie shut her cousin down and walked away, relatively unfazed by the incident,
but Addie was on a roll. She didn’t even want to be the heir, and for a brief moment, she DID regret her words. Sometimes even Addie didn’t know why she did the things she did, why her need for mischief ran so deep. But her nasty streak won out as usual, and Addie had another idea.

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Addie: I’m truly concerned, Abe. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but you’re my cousin and I look out for my family…

Abe: Sylvie’s your cousin, too, Addie, and somehow I don’t think you’re looking out for her right now…

Addie: Look, Abe. I’ve lived with Sylvie all my life and I know things about her. Secrets. Things you should know before marrying her…

Abe rolled his eyes. Addie was mean, but she was also predictable.

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Addie: Sylvie’s a lot more like her mother than she lets on. I’ve caught her talking to herself more times than I can count, and the number of men she’s brought home? It’s shameful! You get a pass on that if you’re the heir, but Sylvie is just desperate for attention. And – I know this will hurt, Abe – but she’s been cheating on you since the beginning. I heard her talking to Aurora yesterday and she said she’s pregnant – by an alien, no less – I know that’s a lot to take in –

Abe shot her a look so cold that it stunned her into silence. And then he turned on her.

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Abe: You are a truly awful person, Addie. How could you say such things about your cousin? Especially when we both know you’re spewing blatant lies! What has Sylvie ever done to you? What has she done to deserve such treatment? Your mother would be rolling over in her grave if she heard this – Emmeline was a good soul – but how she produced a brat like you, I’ll never know!

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Addie was beside herself. Of course she’d lied to Abe and tried to break up his engagement – but she wasn’t really that bad……was she?

Feeling a little out of sorts, Addie sought out the one person she knew would always have her back. The one person she could count on to always be on her side. If there was anyone who would defend her, it was her brother.

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Roxas: You said WHAT to Abe?! You lied to him?! Why would you say those things about Sylvie? Addie, that was a terrible thing to do! You have GOT to fix this.

Addie’s jaw dropped. She’d come to him for brotherly support and reassurance – not for this! She whirled on him.

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Addie: How could you take her side! THEIR side?! You’re my brother, you half-wit, you’re supposed to be on MY side –

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Roxas: I’m not on your side because you’re WRONG, Addie! You just do this for plums and giggles! You’re a young adult now, it’s time to start acting like one!

Addie: What do YOU know about anything anyway? You just mope around here all day because you’re ugly and can’t get a girlfriend! No wonder Mackenzie picked Dayton over you! Look at him, and then look at you! Really, Roxas, you should just go crawl in a hole already….

She stormed off, leaving a stunned Roxas in her wake. Roxas had always known his sister had a mean streak but this was the first time she’d directed her temper at him. Hadn’t he been through enough already? He’d lost the love of his life to his cousin, and his mother and father to the Reaper. Now he was losing his sister too…

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But maybe she was right, he thought. Maybe he really WAS ugly, maybe he really wouldn’t ever find someone to love him.

Roxas’s face crumpled, a stray tear rolling down his cheek. It was all just too much to bear. But as he teetered on the edge of an all-consuming depression, Roxas remembered his cousin Martina. Is this how she had felt before her cosmetic procedure? If beauty could change her life, couldn’t it change his too?

Roxas wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. It was time for a change.

But first, he was moving out.

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Chapter Sixty Two : Little Boy Lost

After a little pep talk from his mother, Roxas was feeling a bit better about the whole Mackenzie situation. Sure, he was still disappointed, but the initial heartbreak had subsided and Roxas felt ready to move on.

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As a romantic, Roxas was not inclined to let the grass grow under his feet for long. He was optimistic that the woman of his dreams was out there just waiting for him – all he had to do was find her!

So he traversed the neighborhood on foot, scouring every park, every winding pathway, every community garden he could find.

First he met Scarlett Panero in the park.

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Unfortunately, Scarlett was in the middle of her yoga routine and was not much in the mood to chat. But Roxas was not deterred, and tried to engage her in some small talk.

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It did not go over well.

On the way home, he ran into Heidi Guy.

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Roxas knew Heidi from high school, and immediately stopped to strike up a conversation. But Heidi barely spared him a glance as she passed by.

Roxas had always believed that falling in love would be easy – after all, falling for Mackenzie had been the easiest thing he’d ever done, up until she’d gone and married his cousin. It turned out that finding love was much harder than he’d thought. He’d been rejected three times in a row now, and with each new rejection, Roxas’ optimism waned and his self-confidence faltered. Things were not looking good for Roxas, and as he trudged home despondently, he wondered what was wrong so with him that he’d been turned down so many times. Was it his blue skin? His droopy eyes? Or maybe it was his pointy nose…..

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His gaze leveled on the spa across the street, and suddenly he remembered his cousin Martina – how one day she’d walked into a spa an ugly duckling and emerged a beautiful swan…..

It was late and the spa was currently closed, but he stopped to check the spa’s hours on the sign outside. Just for good measure, of course.

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Meanwhile, Sylvie had been hard at work building what she could only hope would be a functioning wormhole generator. She’d barely slept since her conversation with Emmeline. Every day she went to work at the lab and used every spare moment for her own personal research. Each night she returned home and worked long into the night, breaking only to use the bathroom or brew another pot of coffee.

Finally, it was done. She stood back and wiped the sweat from her brow. She took a deep breath and pushed the “on” button. Any by some small miracle, the machine whirred to life before her. Sylvie’s eyes flew open in disbelief – it worked! It actually worked!

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She whooped and tore off her lab coat, and promptly shot off to find Emmeline. She darted around the front of the house, nearly mowing Roxas down in her path as he returned home from his “girl search.” Sylvie didn’t stop, couldn’t stop, until she reached Emmeline. She burst through the front door, and skidded into the living room.

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No.

Sylvie rushed to her aunt’s side.

Sylvie: Aunt Emmeline! Aunt Emmeline! Get up! I’ve done it! The wormhole generator works!

But Emmeline didn’t stir.

Sylvie: Don’t worry! I’ll get help! You’ll be okay, Aunt Emmeline!

Sylvie rushed off, crying for help, fumbling with her phone, fingers trembling as she called for an ambulance.

But it was too late.

The family gathered around as death came to claim her. Enrique wailed unabashedly, unable to gather his strength in the face of this unspeakable loss.

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Emmeline stirred briefly, eyes flickering open just in time to catch Sylvie’s gaze.

“Sixam,” she whispered.

And then, in an instant, she was gone.

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Emmeline was buried the next day in the graveyard beside her father, Ron.

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Rest in peace Emmeline Hasslich, beloved Generation 3 Spare.

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Sitting around the kitchen table, the children traded memories of the woman who had raised them all. Life would never be quite the same without Emmeline. They would miss her smile, they agreed, and her laugh. They would remember her generous spirit, and her fierce, unrelenting loyalty.

But for Enrique, there simply was no life without Emmeline. He loved his children but they were grown and had lives of their own now. For years, it had been the anticipation of his wife’s beautiful face and spirited energy that had sparked him into motion each morning.

It turned out that without his wife, Enrique was not long for this world.

So now, as his broken heart gave out, Enrique reached up as if to stroke his wife’s face one final time.

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And as the Reaper greeted him, Enrique’s lips turned up at the corners in the slightest of smiles. The next time he woke up, Emmeline would be by his side once more.

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Rest in Peace, Enrique.

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Chapter Sixty One : Just My Imagination

When Roxas spun into young adulthood a few days later, his very first thoughts were of the beautiful Mackenzie Pancakes. They’d gone back and forth as teenagers, always walking that thin line between friends and lovers.

But now that they were older, Roxas knew that it was time to take their relationship to the next level – to finally put a label on their growing love, to commit to one another, and to move forward together as a couple.

Roxas tied his shoes and walked over the Pancakes residence. When he knocked in the door, Mackenzie answered, but the expression on her face was less than inviting. In fact, she looked worried…nervous even.

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Roxas: Hey Mackenzie!

He went in for a hug, but Mackenzie hung back – the word “recoil” popped into Roxas’ head. She was intentionally averting her gaze, eyes darting side to side in high alert.

Mackenzie: Now really isn’t a great time, Roxas. You should probably go…

Suddenly a familiar figure filled the doorway beside Mackenzie.

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Dayton? What was his cousin doing at Mackenzie’s house?

Dayton’s face lit up as he pulled Roxas in for a bear hug.

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Dayton: Roxas!? Long time no see, cousin! I’m so glad you stopped by – How’s your mom? I hear Aurora is the new heir… How’s she holding up? Come in, buddy, let’s have a drink and catch up!

Dayton ushered Roxas inside as if he owned the place, leaving a shocked Mackenzie behind on the doorstep.

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Dayton: Sorry we didn’t invite you to the wedding, man – we eloped, actually, I mean you know when you know right? Why wait?

Roxas blanched, realization finally dawning on him.

Roxas: The….wedding?

Dayton: Oh yeah, I guess I should have formally introduced you to my wife! That’s Mackenzie you just met… the woman of my dreams, that one!

At that moment a little girl walked into the room, and Roxas felt his head spin. He vaguely heard Dayton introduce the child as his daughter – their daughter – Kierra. Kara? Something like that…

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Roxas: You know, Dayton, I’m suddenly not feeling so well. I should probably go….

Dayton wished him well and said goodbye, enthusiastically suggesting a family reunion in the near future.

Roxas trudged off in a trance.

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He was only halfway down the block when Mackenzie caught up with him.

Mackenzie: Roxas? Roxas!! I’m sorry. Really I am – it just happened so fast, I guess I should have told you…it was a complete whirlwind!

Roxas: Told me? Gee, you think? And all this time I thought it was me and you! I always thought it would be me and you! And here you are playing house with my cousin….!

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He sadly shook his head.

Mackenzie: Come on, Roxas, we were never anything serious. You can’t really expect…

Roxas: I was in love with you, Mackenzie! You led me on, you let me believe! But you never never wanted me… You just liked the attention was all! You used me!

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Roxas turned in his heel and walked away without looking back. There would be no looking back – only forward.

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Meanwhile, Aurora was also looking toward the future – specifically, a red-haired, green-eyed, extremely handsome future.

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His name was Lamont Harden, and Aurora quickly deemed him a genetics goldmine. She wasted no time and luckily, Lamont was ready and willing for a casual woohoo.

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Afterwards, Aurora wanted nothing more than to run off and take a pregnancy test, but Lamont pulled her in close.

Lamont: You’re really something, Aurora. I’ve never had woohoo like that before! I think I’m in love with you!

Aurora shook her head and expertly escaped his embrace.

Aurora: Ummm…I’ll be right back, okay? I need to use the bathroom.

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When Aurora told Lamont the big news, he immediately pulled her in for a long, passionate kiss.

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Lamont: A baby?! This is perfect! You’ll marry me right? We’ll be a family, and we’ll have awesome woohoo for the rest of our lives!

Lamont wasn’t really in love with her, Aurora knew that much, but she was flattered that he was so impressed with her woohoo technique, especially since this was the first time she’d ever woohooed at all! But Aurora wasn’t interested in marriage – she knew she wanted to be a mother – the BEST mother – to as many children as possible. But she didn’t need a husband for that.

Aurora: I’m sorry, Lamont. I hope you’ll take an active role in our child’s life, but I’m not exactly in the market for a husband, or even a boyfriend for that matter. I had a nice time with you tonight, and I’ll keep you posted on the pregnancy.

She showed him the door and he exited shaking his head sadly, muttering something about “amazing woohoo.” Aurora closed the door behind him and smiled, resting her hands on her tummy.

Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter, she thought to herself. I promise to be the best mom I can be, my little one.

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Chapter Sixty : Dark Side Of The Moon

Just because Emmeline was now an elder didn’t mean she had any intention of slowing down. Enrique knew better than to expect his new wife to “settle down” – Emmeline had never been one to stand still for long, and Enrique relished his new role as house-husband. As a neat-freak, he was happy to take over the household chores and give his wife the freedom to explore space as she pleased.

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Emmeline hadn’t been to space since Addie was conceived. The rocket ship sat neglected in the back yard, and while Emmeline yearned to return to the stars, her first act of freedom occurred firmly on solid ground.

She’d been reviewing the rocket user’s manual in the living room when she saw a familiar face through the window. He was only walking down the street, minding his own business, but Emmeline’s temper erupted at the mere sight of him. She darted out the front door and chased him down.

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Emmeline: How dare you show your face around here, you cad! As if Andalie would take you back, even if she was still alive!

Dean bristled.

Dean: Give me a break! I don’t want anything to do with your ugly sister! – wait…. did you just say Andalie died?

It was the first time Dean had ever gotten her name right.

Emmeline: The mother of your child was eaten by a cow plant and you didn’t even know? Show some respect!

Dean recognized the volatile look in her eyes – he braced himself for what was coming.

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Emmeline: That’s for abandoning your son. Milo wouldn’t hurt a fly, but his feisty auntie is a different story. Now get lost!

Confident from her victory over Dean, Emmeline decided that now was as good a time as any to take her trusty rocket ship for a spin.

It turns out that she probably should have spent a little more time with that manual after all….

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But Emmeline emerged from the wreckage unharmed.

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She’d discovered something important out there, something she urgently needed to tell Sylvie. She brushed herself off and jumped into action – but it turned out she wouldn’t have to go looking for Sylvie after all. Emmeline put her hands on her knees and took several calming breaths while she waited for her panicked niece to reach her.

Sylvie: Aunt Emmeline! You’re okay, thank the Watcher, you’re okay! I thought for sure you were dead! But you’re okay!

Emmeline: I’m fine, honey, but there’s something I need to tell you. Let’s go inside…

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Emmeline: I need you to listen carefully, Sylvie! The rocket ship didn’t just crash all on it’s own, do you understand me? There was an outside force…. I was onto something, something someone doesn’t want me to know. A powerful someone. See –

Sylvie laughed doubtfully.

Sylvie: This sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory, Aunt Emmeline…

Emmeline: I know how it sounds, but you know as well as I do that there’s something else out there…. Look – usually when I’m on an expedition I use my radio to communicate with Command. But this time, the person on the other end wasn’t Command. It was a woman, a voice I’ve never heard before. She asked my name, and I told her. She seemed…shocked. She said her name was Elphie. Elphie Hasslich.

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Sylvie: Elphie Hasslich?! Isn’t that our “long lost distant relative” whose legacy vanished without a trace? That’s just a family myth, Aunt Emme! Folklore, you know?

Emmeline: That’s what I thought too, Sylvie – but I just don’t know anymore. She sounded so genuine…. and scared too…she said our legacy is in danger, but then there was another voice, a different language, and that’s when I crashed – !

Sylvie: But if even Elphie Hasslich was real, there’s no way she’d still be alive! Elphie’s legacy happened before Grainna was even born!

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Emmeline: I don’t have an explanation for you, Sylvie. It’s why I’m asking for your help. I’d like you to do some research – you have the science lab at your disposal. I’ve heard rumors about another dimension – they call it Sixam. If the rumors are to believed, you can get there through a portal…. And If you can build one, maybe we can get the answers we need to save the legacy.

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Sylvie was skeptical, but if her experience in the science field had taught her anything, it was that nothing was impossible. If there was a chance the legacy was at risk, she would do anything in her power to prevent disaster.

And so, she set to work…

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Chapter Fifty Nine : Shake It Off

Time passed slowly, and Grainna’s legacy hung in limbo as Aurora inched closer and closer to adulthood. For the first time in Hasslich history, there was a lull in legacy activity…and the family breathed a collective sigh of relief. For a brief moment in time, there were no decisions to be made, no pressure, and no worry for the future.

Addie left childhood behind and became a teenager, complete with the requisite teenage attitude. In addition to being neat, Addie had also become rather mean and resentful of her status as the only non-eligible heir in the household.

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In the wake of the heir announcement, Sylvie had felt a weight lift off her shoulders. As an official Hasslich spare, she was free to pursue her burgeoning scientist career and to explore a real, full-fledged relationship with Abe. Of course, if Abe was even interested, that is. While Sylvie was sure she’d felt an undeniable chemistry between them that night in the hot tub, Abe had yet to make a move.

And so the next time Abe came by the house, Sylvie took matters into her own hands. It wasn’t easy, but she gathered the courage to tell him how she felt.

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Abe seemed surprised at first, but luckily he responded more than positively. The two went on several dates, and before long, they’d made the jump from “just friends” to a committed relationship. They were in love, and Sylvie was happier than she’d ever been.

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Of course, Sylvie wasn’t the only Hasslich cousin with love on the brain. As a romantic, Roxas was also eager to try his hand at romance, and he wasted no time jumping in. When he met Mackenzie Pancakes at school, he was taken by her laid-back demeanor and pile of long dark hair. And so, he invited her to join him for a walk around the neighborhood – and when she agreed, Roxas jumped for joy – his first real date!

Later that night, he waited excitedly at their designated meeting spot, but when Roxas first caught sight of Mackenzie, his heart dropped with discouragement. She certainly didn’t look dressed for a date – had he been too vague about his intentions? Or didn’t she care to dress for the occasion? Maybe Mackenzie didn’t like him that way after all…

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But Mackenzie was friendly and talkative, and Roxas soon became sure that he wasn’t the only one who felt sparks.

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In the end, the night came to a close with a hug and a kiss on the cheek – but Roxas was sure that there was much, much more to come.

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After Andalie’s death, Enrique had moved into the house in order to help Emmeline keep the family afloat. And as the days ticked by, so did their adulthood – and when they spun into elderhood, Enrique and Emmeline did so hand in hand.

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With their golden years before them, Emmeline realized that now was her last chance to marry the man of her dreams. The children were all teenagers and the legacy rested firmly on the shoulders of the next heir – and Emmeline was free, at last, to follow her heart. And as she and Enrique began to make arrangements for their special day, Emmeline was reminded of the story of her own parents’ wedding – of Ron and Sera’s happy ending, of the gift they’d been given in their final years, of love that transcended youth and reason. Emmeline knew then, without a doubt, that she wanted to marry Enrique in the very same church where her mother had married her father so many years ago.

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But of course, all good things must come to an end, and the day soon arrived for Aurora to become an adult and take on her responsibility as the Generation 4 Hasslich Heir!

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Since Aurora’s young adult birthday fell on the same day that Sylvie was to become an adult, the celebration lasted long into the night!

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It was only when Andalie showed up that the party finally died down…

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Andalie: I can’t believe your aunt named you the heir! It was supposed to be your sister!

Aurora: Well, Mom, I guess it’s just too bad you went and got yourself eaten by a cowplant, then isn’t it?

Andalie’s comments stung, but Aurora resolved to shake it off. This was a good day, and she knew she couldn’t take Andalie’s comments seriously…

I’ll show her, she thought to herself. I’ll be a better heir and a better mother, than she ever was!

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Keeping Up With The Hasslich’s Part II

First of all, I really want to thank you for reading my little story here. I’ve had a lot less time recently to update, but still this family and this story has wormed its way into my heart in a way I never anticipated. I so enjoyed the first edition of Keeping Up With The Hasslich’s, and so I’ve been looking forward to sharing what’s been going on with the extended family since then.

Warning, this is a long and picture heavy post!

So, without further ado….

Clarissa’s Line

Last time we saw Clarissa’s daughter Martina, she was dancing up a storm in a silly hat, but she had still not met anyone special. She really wanted to settle down and have a family, but wasn’t having much luck. She had heard about certain reality dating show and decided to try out – but first, she went to the spa and came back with a totally new look, courtesy of a breast lift, nose job, and a couple other procedures that shall not be named.

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The jury’s still out as to whether she won a slot on the show, but I’m still holding out hope for Martina.

Meanwhile, Martina’s twin brother, Bryant, had met and married a sim by the name of Violetta. Bryant and Violetta have both passed, but they had a daughter named Orchid Landgraab. I believe the last picture I posted of her was as a child, so here is Orchid as a teen – she definitely got the classic Hasslich chin, but otherwise she’s pretty cute.

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Orchid eventually aged up to an adult, at which point she met Darrel Chen.

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Orchid and Darrel had a whirlwind love affair, which resulted in an impromptu wedding…

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It was during the wedding that Orchid noticed a tell-tale pink aura surrounding her new husband. It turned out that Darrel was actually an alien! Here he is flirting with Orchid in his true form:

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The surprising discovery didn’t phase Orchid, as she loved Darrel very much and actually thought that aliens were pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that she wanted nothing more than to make lots of alien babies with her alien husband.

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They wound up having two daughters, neither of which is full alien.

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Here is a photo of Bryant with one of his granddaughters:

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This is Rosemary, their oldest, who just became a young adult. She is neat and romantic, but has a pretty nasty mean streak.

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This is Rosemary’s younger sister, Sage. Sage is a teenager now. She is mean like her sister, but is also extremely hot-headed. I’m thinking that Orchid’s hatred of children had a negative effect on both of her daughters!

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Esmeralda’s Line

Last time we checked in with Esmeralda’s line, her son Oliver had married Sharon, who gave birth to the couple’s twins, Betsy and Desmond. We last saw the twins as children.

This is Betsy as an adult. She’s really cute, and luckily looks a lot like Sharon, but the nose is all Esmeralda.

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Betsy was just barely a young adult when she got involved with Rex Rankin.

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It was only a fling, and the relationship predictably didn’t last, but the dalliance left Betsy to raise her young son, Dayton, on her own. Dayton is now a cheerful and romantic young adult himself. He is also active, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him!

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Meanwhile, Betsy’s twin brother Desmond had also grown up. Here he is, first, as an adult. He’s a pretty strange-looking guy, and his odd combo of traits (slob, bro, and loner) seem to fit the bill.

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Desmond spend the majority of his adulthood helping his sister to raise Dayton, and the uncle and nephew now are actually best friends. But his intensive involvement in his nephew’s life left little time for Desmond to have a family of his own. It wasn’t until recently, with Des now in his elderhood, that he found himself facing fatherhood.

Desmond met Reagan Oliva, who is clearly much younger, and who seems to run hot and cold with poor Des. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Reagan is an enemy of of Desmond’s cousin Sylvie – I like to think Sylvie is looking out for him and sees Reagan for the gold-digger she is!

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Regardless, Desmond was blinded by Reagan’s youth and beauty, and Reagan soon moved in. The “couple” is not married (Reagan turned him down), but they are expecting a child any day now!

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Elliot’s Line

We’ve seen a lot of Elliot’s late wife, Isla, since she continues to deliver the Hasslich babies even in her current ghost state! Unfortunately, we haven’t seen as much of Elliot, so here is a photo of him as an elder visiting his favorite sister in their childhood home:

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He also took it upon himself to go swimming during his visit, and I’ll admit I secretly hoped he would die from exhaustion while he was in there, just so I could keep his ghost around for Emmeline, since the two of them always had a super close relationship.

Anyway, you already know that Elliot and Isla had twin boys named William and Dante. William and Dante both grew up to look just like their dad, with the exception of their bright blue eye color, which they inherited from their pretty mom. These two are literally the only set of truly identical twins I’ve ever had born-in-game in TS4.

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While William never settled down, his brother Dante quickly fell head over heels for the beautiful Laurel Harden.

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Much like his dad, Dante jumped in just a little too fast, which initially put Laurel off and set them both up for an embarrassing moment.

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But Dante was persistent, and soon he had won Laurel’s…..”heart”.

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And when Laurel discovered that she was pregnant, she took matters into her own hands.

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Laurel Harden is now Laurel Harden-Goth, and the couple’s daughter, Phoebe, is now a teenager. She is neat and insane, and while she looks a heck of a lot like her dad, she somehow also reminds me a bit of her great-great grandmother, Bella.

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Milo’s Line

Considering Milo just moved out with Juliana, there’s not much to tell about his branch. So far, their baby was just born – they have a daughter named Tabitha, who is currently a child. So far I think she looks a little like Andalie.

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Last but certainly not least…

Ron and Seraphina

Here are a few shots of my favorite couple! Their love surpasses even death, which I think is pretty awesome considering I don’t control them as ghosts AT ALL, and relationships seem to completely reset in the ghost state. Yet Sera and Ron are still going strong, completely of their own free will.

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And of course, Grainna is still always hanging around, watching over her family and her legacy.

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Chapter Fifty Eight : Come Together

The loss of a family member is never easy, but the aftermath of Andalie’s death felt more like a passing rain shower than a monsoon. Her children mourned for their mother, of course, but the distance between them meant that life returned to normal rather quickly.

Emmeline gave birth to her second child, a girl with lavender skin like her father. Her name was Adelaide, and her family called her Addie for short.

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Addie grew fast, as all babies do, and in the blink of an eye, she had grown into a child with her own personality and her own aspirations. Addie’s favorite passtimes were cleaning house and making mischief. Here she is in CAS:

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Meanwhile, Roxas grew into a teenager….

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Having inherited his mother’s eyes, hair color, and nose, Roxas was the spitting image of Emmeline. He was a romantic like his Aunt Andalie, but Roxas was also clumsy, and his romantic pursuits often suffered as a result. Fortunately, Roxas was generally happy and content as long as he was surrounded by nice things, and had big dreams of someday building a mansion of his very own.

Here he is in CAS:

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Milo’s young adult birthday also came and went, and he promptly proposed to Juliana.

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Milo had always envisioned a traditional white wedding, surrounded by friends and family, but Juliana marched to the beat of her own drummer. She wanted to wear pink, and to get married quietly, in the privacy of their new home. Milo agreed, of course – he loved Juliana fiercely, and would do absolutely anything to make her happy.

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One thing they did agree on was that they both wanted to start a family as soon as possible.

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Sylvie’s love life, on the other hand, was on hold while she settled in at her new job at the local science lab.

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The long hours meant she was spending less time with Abe, but Sylvie didn’t mind – they kept in touch over text, and she wasn’t opposed to a little game of hard-to-get. More importantly, the impending heir announcement meant that she didn’t know which direction her relationship with Abe would take – if she was named heir, he’d be relegated to the role of baby daddy. But if her sister was named heir, then who knows what could happen? In the meantime, she just needed to lay low and wait for her aunt to make a decision.

As for Emmeline, choosing between her two nieces was harder than she’d ever thought possible.

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She considered the heirship a great honor, but the years – and her enduring relationship with Enrique – had shown her what an invaluable gift her freedom had truly been. Sylvie was older and perhaps more equipped to bear the burden, but hadn’t Emmeline herself resented being passed over, underestimated, on the premise of her age? Come to think of it, only firstborns had ever been named heir, and that suddenly struck Emmeline as highly unfair and discriminatory. Perhaps it was time to give a younger sister a chance to shine….

Emmeline called her nieces to the Hall of Founders for the inevitable announcement.

Aurora and Sylvie held hands as they descended the steps, preparing for what was to come. The portrait of the new heir hung prominently on the far wall, still concealed by a glimmering white curtain.

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Aurora: Is it weird that I don’t even know what I want?’

Sylvie shrugged.

Sylvie: I don’t really know what I want either. Some days I wake up thinking I really want to be the one to further the legacy. But other days….. Other days I don’t want the responsibility, and I think the whole idea of making “pretty” descendants is warped and so superficial and so, so stupid.

Aurora: I think great-grandma Grainna just wanted a better life for us than she had. It does seem superficial, but the legacy meant so much to her, and so much to Grandma Sera, too. It was even important to mom, when she was younger. I think Mom might have forgotten the true meaning of the legacy, but I don’t think it’s just about pretty descendants, you know? I think it’s about…. family.

They smiled at each other and then turned to face their aunt.

Emmeline: It’s an odd feeling, that I’m the one to make this decision. When your mom was named the heir all those years ago, I thought my world had ended. I was so angry! All I wanted was to be important….I just never thought it would happen like this. I guess what I’m trying to say to you girls is that even though only one of you can be the heir, you’re both essential to the legacy and to each other. The legacy needs you both, in ways you can’t even begin to imagine…..

Emmeline’s voice cracked with emotion, and Sylvie jumped in.

Sylvie: Aunt Emmeline, you’re not going to hurt either of our feelings. Okay? We promise. Aurora and I will both be fine, no matter which of us is the heir. And we’ll be here to support one another no matter what. We’re sisters……family. And as my very wise little sister just told me… that’s the point of this, isn’t it?

Emmeline smiled, clearly relieved. As a young woman she had fantasized about this day, about giving this speech, about making this very decision. But she’d never known how hard it would be. She’d raised her nieces like her own children – and now she held their fates in her hands.

Emmeline looked at the portraits on the walls around her, and suddenly felt suffocated. Her breath quickened, panic overtaking her.

Emmeline: I’m sorry, girls. I think…. It just isn’t right for me to do this here, in the Hall of Founders. As much as I always wanted to be, I’m not the heir. It feels wrong for me to announce the decision here…..

Aurora raised her eyebrow at Sylvie – they both knew Emmeline had more than earned the right to give the announcement in this sacred place – but the sisters respected Emmeline’s wishes, and followed their aunt outside.

Emmeline inhaled deeply.

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Emmeline: I am so very proud of both of you, and either of you would be a wonderful heir. But Sylvie – you’re in love, it’s clear to see, and I want you to be free to explore that.

She paused.

Emmeline: Aurora, you are young, and though some will underestimate you, you should never underestimate yourself. You are the Generation Four heir, and I know you will make us proud!

Aurora’s eyes widened and Sylvie gathered her in a hug, whispering in her ear.

Sylvie: Together, Rory. We do this together.

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