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.
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.
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.
And it was after one such date, as Abe walked Sylvie to her door, that the course of their lives changed forever.
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.
Sylvie: Of course I’ll marry you!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Addie: How could you take her side! THEIR side?! You’re my brother, you half-wit, you’re supposed to be on MY side –
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…
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.