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  1. 1. Dear reader, welcome back to the Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, to its chapter 38! Its againbeen a while, so hopefully you still remember us.Last time, when we left off, Cho and Nicholas had recently come back from their trip to Twikkii Island,where theyd spent a very enjoyable vacation and, to the surprise of exactly no one except maybethemselves, gotten married. Although Cho may have been worried, her ex-fiancé Eric took the newswell, and was in fact very happy for the young couple. Dirk, too, seemed to be adjusting to thechanges quite well, and in general things seemed mostly nice and happy for the family.But lets dive back into our story, shall we?
  2. 2. Life continued to be peaceful for the Bookacies. Now that the big news of Cho marrying Nicholas hadspread all around Alphabetia and sunk in for just about everyone – not least for Cho and Nicholasthemselves – it was time to take care of everyday matters. Nicholas had now gotten used to living inthe Legacy house, and was doing his best in getting to know his in-laws. He felt a little bit uncertainaround Baudolino and Marylena, but soon noticed that it was completely in vain. The old coupleclearly liked him from the start, and were happy to have him as their son-in-law.
  3. 3. Another family member whose thoughts Nicholas may have worried over was Chos son, Dirk, butthat, too, was turning out to be a non-issue. Dirk seemed to find it a natural state of affairs that hehad a Mommy and a Daddy and a kind of an almost-Daddy, who was married to his Mommy. Eric hadmentioned that hed had a chat with Dirk about these matters, and that the boy had seemed mostlycurious about how things were rather than in any way upset.”And really”, Eric had said, shrugging, ”he meets other kids at school, and they have all kinds offamilies as well. Think of the extended family. Clarissa and Glen arent married, Aadam helped hisdaughter and her wife have a biological child together, Claire was adopted by Bill and Ira, and thentheres Carl, Audrey and Veronica as well. Its not really that hes the odd one out or anything. Iwouldnt worry about it.”So Nicholas tried not to, and found that apparently Eric was right. Dirk seemed to pretty muchconsider himself to have two Daddies. In fact, when he had trouble with his homework, Nicholas wasthe one he came to, making him very proud and happy.
  4. 4. It was also time for all kinds of hobbies for the Bookacies. Those had not really changed much.Nicholas continued working on his sewing badges. After all, he was a pretty handy guy, so why not.Besides, gaining badges was always fun.
  5. 5. Marylena, for her part, enjoyed dance. She may not have been young anymore, but she found thatwith practise, it was possible to stay flexible still.
  6. 6. She also worked on painting the family portrait; that was an old tradition worth keeping. Everybodywas of the opinion that it was turning out very nice.
  7. 7. And Baudolino kept on tinkering in the basement, if for no other purpose then to make a couple of toyrobots for his grandkids, and to relax.
  8. 8. George still spent a lot of time in the garden. It was something that was both useful for the family andenjoyable for himself.
  9. 9. As for Cho, one of those days she countered a pleasant surprise: she was pregnant. She hadsuspected since the trip to Twikkii, but now it was for certain. She was happy to be having a secondchild; after all, Dirk was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her. Nicholas, too, wasthrilled.
  10. 10. So for Cho, it was time to relax a bit, and spend some time in peaceful activities. Other familymembers, including George, were happy to keep her company when she played chess.
  11. 11. Marylena concentrated her efforts, and was able to finish the portrait around those times.
  12. 12. It received a lot of praise, Baudolino got it framed, and so it was ready to join the portraits of theprevious generations in the downstairs hallway.
  13. 13. Baudolinos efforts in the basement were beginnig to bear fruit as well, as he gained the long-awaitedrobotics bronze talent badge.
  14. 14. But life wasnt all about fun and games all the time. The family still had to go to work and school, andthat wasnt always fun. Dirk was a reasonably talented boy, and he managed grades that would havebeen just fine by his parents and grandparents, but Dirk himself seemed somewhat disappointed.Cho would ruffle his hair and tell him to be patient a little bit longer; if hed continue to put effort in hisstudies, surely excellent grades would follow sooner or later.
  15. 15. Even though Dirk did take his grades a bit seriously, and had a little bit of trouble with being patientabout them, he seemed to enjoy the other aspects of school, namely the social ones. He wasencouraged to bring his friends home to play, and often he did. Many of his classmates were familiarto the adults already, being children to their friends and relatives. Cho would also take care to inviteher cousins and their children over, so Dirk would have plenty of company of his own age.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Devon GilsCarbo is one of the twins of Chos cousin Carl and one of his two girlfriends, Veronica.
  16. 16. As Dirk himself seemed to somewhat concerned over school, and as many of his friends wereadmitted to the local private school already, the family decided to invite the headmaster for a visit.”Mrs. Bookacy, it has been a while.””It has, it has”, admitted Marylena, shaking the headmasters hand. ”I cant believe its that time again.Would you like to see the house first?””Id love to. Its always a pleasure to see how the house has been modified and what are your newestexpensive items!”
  17. 17. ”Delicious porkchops, mrs. Bookacy”, said the headmaster.”Thank you, sir, Im glad you are enjoying them”, replied Cho.”Is Dirk going to be in our school, Headmaster?””It may well be, Devon”, said mr. Walter. ”Thats what Im here to determine.”Devon smiled. ”I think thatd be fun”, he said.And by the end of the night, Devon got his wish, as Dirk was accepted to mr. Walters school.
  18. 18. ”So, Dirk, are you excited to be going to your new school then?” asked Nicholas after the headmasterhad left.Dirk nodded. ”I think itll be fun. Devon will be there, and Dory and Daniel and...””You look a bit worried, though.””Its a little bit scary, too”, admitted Dirk quietly. ”I already know lots of kids from there, but its still anew school. What if I cant get good enough grades? Will they kick me out?””Youll do fine, kid, dont worry. Its a good school, but that doesnt necessarily mean its that hard.That means that there are really good teachers, and they should be able to help you out witheverything that is hard.””Okay”, said Dirk slowly, not looking entirely convinced.Nicholas ruffled his hair. ”Trust me, itll go fine.”
  19. 19. When his stepson had been properly assured that he would do fine, Nicholas decided to spend therest of the evening at the sewing machine. His efforts were rewarded, as he was able to gain thesewing bronze talent badge.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~If anyone is trying to keep score, Im trying to have Nicholas gain all gold talent badges in his lifetime.So far, hes managed gardening and flower arranging.
  20. 20. ”Mommy?” Dirk asked the next moment over breakfast.”Hmm?””When is the new baby coming?””Itll take a while yet sweetie.” Cho patted on her stomach. ”Im not that big yet, I have to get biggerfirst you know.”Dirk nodded. ”You have to eat enough.””Well thats certainly a good idea”, said Nicholas, who had been listening, ”but however much yourMom eats, we still have to wait.””Thats boring”, said a disappointed Dirk.Nicholas grinned. ”I know.”
  21. 21. Nevertheless, the time passed somehow.
  22. 22. And to Dirks happiness, it really did seem that Cho was getting bigger. Soon he would be a bigbrother.
  23. 23. Cho herself continued to spend time at the chessboard with George, in fact enough to eventuallymaximize her logic skill.
  24. 24. Soon after that, it was a joyous day for Dirk: he finally got his first A+ report card. It was such a reliefto find that what his parents and Nicholas had been telling him all along had been true, and if he justput enough effort in it, hed have excellent grades.
  25. 25. ”Well done, honey! Im so proud of you!” said Cho beaming when he ran to show him. ”I knew youcould do it! Now lets go show Nicholas, alright? I think hes at the sewing machine. And in theevening you can then call Dad, when he gets off work.”
  26. 26. Nicholas was indeed often found at the sewing machine, but there were other things that he neededto take care of. He was still progressing in the Law career, and that required both a fine suit and afine skill in charisma. Often he was practising speeches with a mirror, to make sure that the next casewould end in his favor.
  27. 27. Now that Dirk was big enough to do most things himself, and the new baby had not yet arrived,George found himself with a little bit more free time than he had previously had. He happily spent itwith count Pao, how else. He did want to have numerous dream dates with his dream vampire afterall.
  28. 28. Theyd tend to go Downtown at this time, as the household was rather busy, and they didnt want todisturb Cho, who needed plenty of rest. All in all, the two of them were very happy together.
  29. 29. And if George occasionally got a bit of a scare, well, it was all a sign of affection, and he wouldnthave it any other way.
  30. 30. Baudolino spent a lot of time on the phone those days. Hed made a lot of friends as a businessman,and he wanted to keep up with everyone. Having a large circle of friends was one of lifes greatpleasures.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Baudolinos secondary aspiration is Popularity, and after a long time of working on it, he managed theimpossible want of thirty best friends. However, I do not score a point for this, as I select thesecondary aspirations myself.
  31. 31. Besides, he had to share the excitement with everyone, was that not what friends were for?
  32. 32. ”How are you feeling, Nicholas?” asked Marylena one evening, when she found her son-in-law sittingalone in the living room, exceptionally not doing anything.”Nervous”, he admitted. ”Im thinking about how things will go once the baby arrives. I mean, Dirks agreat kid and we come along brilliantly, and everythings gone swimmingly so far, but... I was aroundwhen Dirk was smaller, but Ive never actually had a baby before.”Marylena nodded. ”I know. And then therell be two instead of one. I know Id be nervous too. Actually,I was a bit nervous about these things when I was younger, I dont think that can be completelyavoided. But try not to worry about it too much.”Nicholas smiled weakly. ”Ill try.””Itll go fine. And besides, theres four of us grownups, and some of us already have some experiencein these matters”, Marylena said smiling, and patted Nicholas on the arm. ”Concentrate on the happyfeelings, okay?”
  33. 33. As the big moment drew nearer and nearer, Cho spent a lot of her time studying. It was pleasant anddidnt require standing up, which was getting a bit difficult. She read about parenting – not that shedidnt have experience already thanks to Dirk, but the book wisdom surely didnt hurt either. Thosedays Marylena was often also found studying, to keep her daughter company, and to keep an eye onher so she could be there if needed.
  34. 34. And indeed, when it was time for Cho to give birth, Marylena was right there with her, in the livingroom reading a book.”Mom?””Yes dear?” Marylena asked, prepared to close her book.
  35. 35. ”I think the baby is... Owww!””Apparently so”, said Marylena calmly and put down her book. ”Stay calm dear, itll be just fine.Remember to breathe.”
  36. 36. ”It huuurrrrtttss!” cried Cho in pain.”Its alright dear”, tried Marylena to calm her daughter, although she was probably just as nervous asshe was. ”George, could you please come over to help?””Certainly, mrs. Bookacy.”
  37. 37. But Georges help was unnecessary. Chos pains were soon over, and she was holding her andNicholas firstborn, a son.
  38. 38. And what a beautiful child he was. Cho and Nicholas had been discussing names, and had decidedthat a boy child would be named Dorian.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Welcome to the family, Dorian Bookacy. You were named after Dorian Gray from The Picture ofDorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Dorian is a young, very handsome man who has his portrait painted.The portrait turns out amazingly alike, and Dorian makes a wish: to remain eternally young andhandsome, like a picture, and have the portrait age and carry the signs of life in his stead. As timepasses, Dorian comes to realize that his wish has in fact come true. He engages in a life of pleasuresand immoral deeds, and never ages a day. In his stead, the portrait bears the signs of his deeds,becoming more terrible to look at by the day, so terrible that Dorian himself cant bear to look at it.
  39. 39. Little Dorian was immediately adored by the whole family. Marylena and George had been there thewhole time, and the noise had alerted Baudolino from the basement. The grandparents were nowgrandparents twice over, and extactic with joy.
  40. 40. Nicholas was at work at the time, but when he got home – with a promotion – that day, the first thinghe did after getting rid of the work suit was to go meet his newborn son. There were no words todescribe his happiness that day.
  41. 41. Speaking of happiness, Nicholas was not the only one overjoyed in the family. Little Dory was thepride and joy of her parents, Claire and Trevor, who had been hoping for a child for a rather longwhile before they had finally managed to concieve. Dory was now an energetic toddler, who loved theattention of her adults, and the family dog, Suzi.
  42. 42. That wasnt all, either. Claire had been correct in her hunch that she might be pregnant again. Aftertaking a long time to conceive Dory, she and Trevor apparently managed to get pregnant the secondtime quite quickly.
  43. 43. Both Bill and Ira were of course thrilled to become grandparents for the second time. For the timebeing, however, they concentrated on doting Dory.
  44. 44. After a wait that was not all that long, the Bookacies received news that Claire and Trevor hadwelcomed a new member in their family, a little baby boy whom they named Douglas.
  45. 45. Dory was a little bit younger than Dirk, but not by terribly much. Soon she was no longer a crawlingtoddler, but a lively child, and the parents could start planning playdates for her and her cousins.
  46. 46. For the moment, little Douglas couldnt join the bigger kids, but he seemed perfectly happy to gurgleon someones shoulder instead.
  47. 47. Otherwise, Claire told Cho, life was pretty much the usual for the Rileys. Everyone went on doing thethings they usually did.
  48. 48. And before too long, little Douglas was big enough to crawl around the Riley household and chew oneverything he could reach.
  49. 49. Dirk also had some playmates in his age group in another side of Alphabetia, in the Cameronhousehold. Daniela, Devon and David were now all children and going to school together with Dirkand Dory.
  50. 50. All of the family were very proud of the kids, who all did well in school, and seemed to be enjoyingthemselves as well.
  51. 51. The Cameron house was often full with the kids from the neighborhood, and even when not, life withthree lively kids was full of events, joy and laughter. Even though the grownups were sometimesoverwhelmed, they enjoyed every moment of it.
  52. 52. And whenever they got the chance, the grownups enjoyed the company of each other. What wasthere not to enjoy?
  53. 53. But what was perhaps the most exciting for the Bookacies was happening in the Jalowitz household:Chris advancing pregnancy. Baudolino and Marylena had perhaps believed that they would not havegrandchildren by their son, but they were delighted to have been wrong in that. They were in regularcontact with both Chris and Cyrus, perhaps even to excess at times.
  54. 54. But the young couple didnt really mind, they understood how excited Baudolino and Marylena were;and well, it was pretty exciting for them too.Otherwise, life was pretty peaceful for the Jalowitzes. Both of them worked on their careers, althoughChris naturally had to take it a little bit easy now. Occasionally a friend would visit them, and perhapsenjoy a game of chess.
  55. 55. It wasnt long after that until it was time for the baby to be born.”The baby is coming! The baby is coming! I read that book about what to do, but I dont remember aword of it!” Cyrus panicked.”CYRUS JALOWITZ STOP RUNNING LIKE A HEADLESS CHICKEN AND DO SOMETHING!” wasChris only reply.
  56. 56. But sim fathers being useless never prevented a baby from being born, and this was no exception.Baudolino and Marylena soon received word that the Jalowitzes had welcomed a little girl namedDani to their family, and everything was all right – the mother and the baby were all fine, and even thefather was recovering, little by little.
  57. 57. Everyone said that little Dani had her fathers eyes, and Cyrus supposed that was true, at least herecognized the color as his own. When it came to coloring otherwise, she resembled Chris more.But all curious relatives and their comments about how she absolutely has so-and-sos ears aside,Cyrus was ecstatic. This little sim girl was his, and Chris, all theirs, and she was amazing.
  58. 58. And truly little Dani had both of their hearts – not to mention everyone elses. She had plenty ofcompany, so much actually, that it was a good thing if she could actually get some sleep every oncein a while, too.
  59. 59. Like all little ones, Dani, too, was growing at an amazing pace. One moment she was just a baby inher mothers arms, the next she was a toddler, eagerly exploring the world. From what the Bookaciesheard from Cyrus, she was on the verge of walking already.
  60. 60. Little Dorian may not have been that much behind, but for now he was definitely not walking yet –which was probably not a bad thing, the adults and elders of the house thought, as there was plentyto do with just one mobile kid, let alone two.
  61. 61. And well, Dorian being yet too little to start moving had an additional benefit for the grownups: nomatter how much affection theyd give him, he was too little to crawl away. Not that he particularlyseemed to want to, either.
  62. 62. As for the slightly older kid in the household, Dirk seemed much more at ease now that hed reallygotten the hang of things at school. Cho and Nicholas had not been sure why it had worried him somuch – they certainly had tried to assure him that it was not a big thing if he was getting straight As atschool or not. But in any case, they were relieved to see him happy.
  63. 63. The adults themselves were still occupied their usual activities, work and hobbies, and Cho was stillactively looking an opening in gaming. And of course, there was the childcare, but gladly thegrandparents and George were of great help there. So occasionally Cho and Nicholas did find sometime just among themselves.
  64. 64. With Dirk in the house, there was rarely a dull moment for anyone, and often one or the other of theneighborhood kids were found visiting in the house.”... and then Daddy was returned home, and then I was born. Thats why Im green”, explained littleDana importantly, while carefully placing a llama stick.Marylena smiled. ”I know, dear. My husband has a brother who is also a half alien.””Really?” asked Dana in wonder. ”There are old green sims?”~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Dana Patch is the result of an alien abduction of Kevin Patch, spouse to generation C second cousinCarla.
  65. 65. And before they knew it, it was the afternoon of little Dorians birthday.”Grandpa?” asked Dirk while they were having a match of SSX3.”Hmm?””Do you think hell then play video games with me?””Who, Dorian?””Yeah.”Baudolino chuckled. ”I think youll be a little disappointed for now. He isnt going to be that muchbigger right now you know. Hes bound to be more interested in peek-a-boo for starters. But if youplay the kinds of games hell able to play now, Im sure hell return the favor later.””Okay”, said Dirk slowly. ”I guess that makes sense.””Now”, said Baudolino, ”one more round before your mother wants us gathered at the cake?”
  66. 66. And in the evening, it was indeed time to gather around the cake, for little Dorian was about tobecome a slightly bigger Dorian. Nicholas got the honor of bringing his firstborn to the cake.
  67. 67. The whole family was in attendance, and little Dorian was eyeing them curiously. Whatever was onhis mind they could only guess, but clealy he was excited. Soon theyd get to know him better, as hedbe able to express himself in one way or another.
  68. 68. ”Alright buddy, lets blow the candles out!”Dorians reply was a happy giggle, so without further ado, they did.
  69. 69. Dorian was tossed into the air a baby...
  70. 70. … and came down a toddler. While the rest of the family had some cake, the birthday boy was takento the potty and the wardrobe.
  71. 71. Dirk was rather excited.”... and I get to play with him, and maybe read stories to him, too!” he explained to George.”That does sound very enjoyable, young mister”, George mused. ”I am sure you will come alongsplendidly.”
  72. 72. Whether George was right, would remain to be seen, since after the most urgent matters had beentaken care of, it was definitely past bedtime for Dorian, and actually, for Dirk as well. But tomorrowwas another day, and probably Georges prediction would turn out to be correct. After all, little Dorianhad already stolen everyones heart, not least his big brothers.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Dorian is an Aries with the personality 6/9/8/3/4.
  73. 73. For George, however, the night was still young.”I am very pleased that you could make it”, he said to Count Pao as they had arrived to one of theirfavorite restaurants, Bernards Botanical Dining.”Of course I could make it, George. I would not miss a pleasant evening with you for anything. I takeit that young mister Bookacy has grown up now?””Oh yes, he has become a very sweet toddler.””Excellent!” beamed Pao, who was always very keen to hear about the family. He was secretly a littlerelieved every time he heard that everything was well, thinking about how things could have turnedout with Salahuddin, and Pao himself offering him help all those years ago.
  74. 74. No one except Count Pao himself seemed to be thinking about those early days very much, and noone definitely resented him over the events in question, but sometimes it bothered him. If he had notagreed to the bite... He of course knew that speculation was useless, and it was as they said: if hehad not agreed, Salahuddin would have found someone else. Maybe with time, he, too, would thinkabout it less. In the meantime, all he could do was try his best to enjoy life and the happiness it hadbrought him. Another wonderful evening with George was definitely a step on that road.
  75. 75. The next day was a Saturday, and as there was no school to interfere, there was no way to keep Dirkout of the nursery after he and Dorian had both woken up. Now he was finally able to get to know hislittle brother properly! Hed been talking to him when he was a baby of course, but babies didnt reallydo much besides eating and sleeping. They were boring like that.”Hi Dorian! Its Dirk, remember? Now that youre bigger, Mom says we can play. Fun, eh?””Gagoo!” replied Dorian and giggled a little.Dirk had no idea what that meant, but Dorian seemed to be smiling, so he took it as somethingpositive.
  76. 76. With a bit of nudging from Nicholas, who happened to pass by on his way to the sewing machine,Dirk tried singing to Dorian a nursery rhyme that hed learned when he was little himself.”Dont be disappointed, you probably wont get that much of a response, but if hes smiling andgiggling like that, you can assume hes quite happy. Just remember hes still very little”, Nicholas hadtold him.And true, the noises his little brother was making couldnt really be called ”singing”, but clearly hedgotten the idea that the point was to make noise, so that was a start, thought Dirk. All in all, the two ofthem had lots of fun that forenoon.
  77. 77. When it was time for Dorians afternoon nap, Dirk got to spend time with his other relatives. Therewas, after all, nothing quite like a relaxing game of Dont Wake the Llama.
  78. 78. Dirk was also a studious little boy, so some of his day off got spent his nose in a book.
  79. 79. As for little Dorian, his life was all about learning. How to use the potty, for instance.
  80. 80. But gladly there was always time for cuddles, be it from family members or the jack-in-the-box.
  81. 81. One evening soon after Dorians birthday, Baudolino went looking for his daughter and found herreading in the living room.”Cho?””Yes, Dad?” she asked, looking up from her book.”Would you think you and Nicholas could manage with the boys for a little while? Something like, four,five days?””Sure, we can arrange things work-wise and in an emergency case we could just hire a nanny. AndDirk has school anyway. Whats on your mind?””Well, your mother has been talking about going to Takemizu for a while now, so we were thinkingmaybe we could actually go one of these times. To relax a bit, see what the environment is like,maybe see if there are any promising vacation homes for sale. In any case, wed be back for Dirksbirthday.””Oh, absolutely”, said Cho warmly. ”You deserve a break. Ill tell Nicholas, you go ahead and book theflights.”
  82. 82. And so it was settled. Baudolino was able to find flights and a nice hotel at a reasonable price, and heand Marylena agreed to take them. So the anticipation began.
  83. 83. ”So you got the flights?” asked Nicholas over coffee.”Oh yes we did”, replied Baudolino. ”Thanks again, Were really glad to be going finally, Marylenaespecially has been talking about it so long.””Dont mention it, its totally not a problem. Were just glad you get the chance to go and spend sometime together, just the two of you.”Baudolino nodded. ”Its nice. Of course, we dont want to stay very long, the boys are only little for solong, but a little bit of change of scenery is good.”
  84. 84. But before any vacations would take place, there were still things to do. Crops to harvest...
  85. 85. … skills to learn...
  86. 86. … and grandchildren to tuck in. Marylena felt a little guilty that she and Baudolino were going bythemselves, leaving Dirk home again, but he didnt seem upset. When Dorian would be bigger, theydgo together, she promised herself.
  87. 87. But of course, the boys would be fine, and perhaps it was good to give Cho and Nicholas some timejust with the kids too. In any case, Marylena enjoyed the idea of spending some time alone withBaudolino.
  88. 88. And soon enough, that idea was about to become reality. The morning of the departure came, andBaudolino and Marylena had their bags packed and everything ready. They said their goodbyes andheaded for the airport shuttle outside, and for a few relaxing days of freedom.
  89. 89. ”Welcome to our hotel, mr. Bookacy, I hope you have a pleasant stay”, said the bellhop politelyseveral hours later.”Thank you. I think we will”, replied Baudolino smiling. This was it, they were in Takemizu Village atlast.
  90. 90. The flight had been rather long, so Baudolino and Marylena decided to take the first day easy. Theyasked advice from a local, and were recommended a good spa nearby the hotel. As a result, theyspent most of the day being pampered. Massages and hot springs were exactly what they neededthen.
  91. 91. They also started taking in everything about their environment. The sights, the customs, the scenery.Things were rather different here, in a pleasant way.
  92. 92. The food was delicious, although it did take a little bit getting used to, the way the locals wereaccustomed to eating.”Very nice, madame, I am impressed”, a cook in a local restaurant commented with a smile. ”You arehandlig the sticks rather nicely. Many just ask for a fork instead.”Marylena smiled back. ”Thank you. Its a but tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it turns out to beeasier than it seems.”
  93. 93. They also went on a few arranged tours, to get a fuller view of the surroundings, and to listen to whatthe tour guides knew about the area and its history. It was all quite fascinating.
  94. 94. It was also a pleasure to simply sleep long in the mornings, without a set schedule for anything, andto enjoy just resting in each others arms.
  95. 95. The next few days continued much the same. Baudolino and Marylena enjoyed the local foods, andthe tea, which was an absolute must to try.
  96. 96. They spent peaceful hours tending the Zen garden, and made a wish at the old lucky shrine.
  97. 97. There was of course also time for some souvenir shopping, as well as trying out a local game namedMahjong.
  98. 98. One day, Baudolino and Marylena took a slightly longer walk in the surroundings. They walked for acouple of hours, and perhaps got slightly lost. Marylena was perhaps getting slightly worried, butBaudolino was still convinced theyd find their way back. Just then, they came to an odd place, almostlike a temple, in the middle of nowhere. There was a Zen garden, and tall stairs up a hill.
  99. 99. On top of the stairs, they found an old man who was concentrated in meditation. Unsure what to do,Marylena glanced at Baudolino, but did not dare to speak, not to disturb the man.Finally she decided, that perhaps it would be the most polite to silently greet him, and if he were torespond, he probably had noticed them and was willing to meet them, if not, he was probably toodeep in meditation and they should leave quietly. So she stepped in front of him, and bowed herhead, as she had seen many locals do.Just as she and Baudolino were about to leave quietly, the man opened his eyes, smiled and stoodup.”Greetings, my children”, he said.
  100. 100. They engaged in polite discussion, and Baudolino and Marylena soon realized that they had foundwhom the locals called the ”Wise Old Man”, a mysterious character said to live in solitude somedistance away from the village, and give wise advice to those in need.The man turned out to be quite interested in the newcomers. After all, he had not seen very manytourists wander into his part of the village. He kindly joined Baudolino and Marylena in a teaceremony, and afterwards, asked them to join him in Tai Chi, at which he was clearly skilled.
  101. 101. He even shared with them an ancient legend, about a girl and a dragon. It was a fascinating story,and Baudolino and Marylena were wholy captured in the moment. They barely even noticed how theweather, which had been rainy so far all day, suddenly brightened around them.As the evening drew closer, they said their goodbyes, and the old man gave them instructions forfinding Takemizu village proper again. They followed his instructions, and found back easily.Curiously, though, as Baudolino turned to look back close to the border of the village, he was nolonger sure from which direction theyd come.
  102. 102. The rest of the vacation was spent relaxing, and practicing Tai Chi, which was an interesting newexperience for both of the old couple. They also visited several sights and learned more about thehistory. They had heard that there were still some real Ninjas in Takemizu, but whether that was trueor not, at least they remained elusive.
  103. 103. On the last evening of the vacation, Marylena surprised her husband by leaping into his arms.Baudolino just barely caught him.”Oh honey, thank you so much”, she whispered into his ear.”What for?” he asked, still surprised.”For making this happen. Its been such a wonderful holiday, and its really meant a lot to me, to beable to come here at last.”Baudolino gently set his wife down again. ”Well in that case, youre welcome. And thank you”, headded, ”Ive had a wonderful time, too.”
  104. 104. All good things must come to an end, and this Baudolino and Marylena also found the next morning,when the airport shuttle was honking outside their hotel. But they werent sorry to be going back, asthey knew that at home Cho, Nicholas and two little boys were waiting for them, the mentioned littleboys probably quite anxiously.
  105. 105. Back at home, things were, for the most part, the same as they were when Baudolino and Marylenahad left. Dirk was still the same studious little boy, who enjoyed quiet activities. Now he was alsoincreasingly looking forward to his birthday.
  106. 106. The biggest changes were likely happening with Dorian, as was to be expected at his age. Nicholasproudly explained that just a day before his grandparents were back, his son had learned to walkfrom plenty of practicing with Daddy. And indeed, from then on the little tyke was toddling around thehouse and exploring it to his hearts content.
  107. 107. He may have been learning quickly, but he was still the same little Dorian he was, enjoying his tickles,cuddles, and chewing on his toy robot.
  108. 108. In addition to all the regular life happenings, Baudolino and Marylena came back to a little surprise.The day before Dirks birthday, the grownups were sitting at the dinner table after Dirk had gone tofinish his homework and Dorian was playing upstairs.Cho started a little uncertainly. ”Honey”, she addressed Nicholas, glancing at her parents, ”rememberwhen we talked about maybe having a third kid at some point?””Yeah?” asked Nicholas, who had been excited for the idea of another child, but wasnt sure whetherhis in-laws were aware of their discussion. Judging by their looks, they werent previously, butdefinitely werent against the idea.Cho smiled a little, looking at his parents and husband in turn. ”Well, I cant know for sure yet, but Ithink... I think that may be coming true.”There was a lot of beaming around the table after that.
  109. 109. The adults decided to wait with telling Dirk and Dorian. After all, Dorian was currently too little tounderstand, and right now, Dirk had other things to be excited about.”Hi Dad, its Dirk.”…”I just wanted to know if you remembered about my birthday party. Its today, at seven.”…”Okay, thats good! I was worried maybe youd forgotten.”Of course, there was absolutely no danger of Eric forgetting his sons birthday. Cho would neverforgive him, and he had certainly been reminded by said son often enough.
  110. 110. And in the evening, it was time to celebrate. Family and friends were in attendance, of course.”Thanks for coming, Chip” said Cho to one of her numerous cousins. ”It means a lot to Dirk to haveyou all here. He absolutely wanted to have Eric here of course, and because of his work, the time is abit late for friends of his own age.””Absolutely”, replied Chip, nodding. ”And its of course always great to see you all. How have youbeen?”
  111. 111. While Cho and Chip were exchanging the most important happenings on the porch, Bill went straightto his old friend, Chunni. Some things just didnt change.
  112. 112. Soon, after the initial greetings and the most important new events had been exchanged, Dirk foundhimself standing behind a delicious-looking cake with candles, with his proud father beside him. Itwas time for him to grow up.
  113. 113. For a moment, he felt slightly nervous, with all those sims watching him.
  114. 114. But then he realized: all of his grownups were there. They were there to support him, and to cheerhim on when he blew those candles out.
  115. 115. And even if he didnt know everyone very well, they were all there for him, because they cared for himand wanted to see him grow up well.
  116. 116. With that thought, Dirk took a deep breath and blew the candles out.
  117. 117. ”Im going to be big!” he shouted excitedly, over all the cheers from his various relatives.
  118. 118. Dirk turned around to face the onlookers, and at once he felt the familiar sensation.
  119. 119. So he twirled around, and in a cloud of colorful sparkles...
  120. 120. … he grew up.”Oh sweetie”, his mother said in between giggles, while the others were still cheering, ”thats a verynice outfit, but we arent Scottish!””Go find something youd like to wear, there should be plenty of choice in the wardrobe”, Nicholasinterjected. ”Ill make sure theres cake left for you when you get back.”
  121. 121. While the birthday boy was at the dresser, his relatives socialized among themselves the best theycould.”Well, now we are the parents of a teenager”, said Eric to Cho. ”That may take some getting used to.””I definitely dont feel old enough to have a teenager”, replied Cho smiling.”Well, if it makes you feel any better, neither do I. And of course, you look as young as ever. It seemsbeing married suits you.””Thank you, I suppose it does. And well, playing with little Dorian always makes me feel younger.””If that works so well, maybe I should try it too”, replied Eric. ”Ive only met him briefly, but he seems asweet kid.””He is”, affirmed Cho proudly. ”He should be upstairs with George, so perhaps you could visit himquickly before bedtime, if theres time after the cake.””Id love to.”
  122. 122. ”Looking good!” Eric said approvingly, when Dirk emerged from his dresser, and Cho had gone tocheck on Dorian.”Thanks Dad”, said Dirk smiling. ”I think this is a better look for me than the kilt.””I think so, although from what Ive heard from Brandon Lillard, some girls dig it”, Eric said with awink. ”Anyway, I bet everyone is going to be bugging you about this tonight, so maybe I should start.Have you decided on an aspiration yet?””Well”, said Dirk slowly, ”Ive thought about it and, I think so, yes. I think Ill go with Family. Thatprobably suits me best.””Oh”, said Eric. ”Well thats a bit of a change”, he commented jokingly.Dirk shrugged and smiled. ”I dont think Id make a very good romancer anyway.””Well, knowing you, I think youve made a good choice. Congratulations!” Eric said, shaking his sonshand.
  123. 123. ”So, what now?” Dirk asked.”I guess lets get on with the party. Theres some cake if youd like”, Eric gestured towards the cakeplatter. ”Actually, I think Id like some. And well, I think you mother promised that I could visit yourbrother quickly before he gets too sleepy.””Okay, cool”, said Dirk taking a plate. ”I guess I could say hi to Dorian too. I look a bit different than Idid in the morning.”And with that, the father and the son sat down to have some cake.
  124. 124. The rest of the evening was spent pleasantly just spending time with the guests, and Eric and Dirkdid get to meet Dorian again before his bedtime. Just one of those evenings among close friends,just like Dirk wanted it.
  125. 125. All in all, Dirk thought as he pulled over the covers that night, not a bad birthday.
  126. 126. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Dirk Bookacy, the generation D heir, is an Aries with the personality 7/9/8/1/4. He chose Family for hisaspiration, and has the Lifetime Want to Graduate 3 Children from College. Very fitting for analphabetacy heir, I might add.So, dear reader, this is where I leave you this time. I hope youve enjoyed the ride, welcome backagain next time. Until then, happy simming!