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The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 26

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The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, ch. 26

  1. 1. Dear reader, welcome to the Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, chapter 26! This is the second half of a double update, so let's get right on with the story, shall we? It was late night, but the Bookacy family Legacy main had been surprisingly active for the past few hours. All the grownups were awake, as was one of the three teenagers, Cyrus, who currently looked somewhat paler than usual. Some phone calls had been made and urgent information had been exchanged. Now the oldest members of the family were holding a gathering together with a long time friend of the family, the gypsy matchmaker Sunny Straight.
  2. 2. "Alright now, Cyrus", said Nicole, who quite naturally became the spokeswoman in situations like this, "I believe we all know the basics, but would you please go through the story once more? The more information Sunny here has, the easier it is for her to suggest a solution."
  3. 3. "Well, like I said, I'd just come from work when it happened", Cyrus started the story he felt he'd already told at least five times. "I didn't see or hear anything out of the ordinary. I felt really tired and was going to go straight to bed, but it was snowing, and I just had to stay and enjoy the scenery for a while. You know how I love watching snowfall", he added to his parents who were looking at him intently, always with the same worried expression. "I can't have stood there longer than a minute, so he must have showed up about the same time I came from work. Anyway, I was just standing there, watching the snow, when suddenly a strange voice spoke to me..."
  4. 4. "... and then you realized that you'd been bitten", finished Marylena Cyrus' story for him. "Now, are we sure that this vampire was Salahuddin Chamcha? Cyrus has never met the man, and neither has George." "It must have been him", Baudolino said with a grim expression, "that makes everything match all too well to be a coincidence."
  5. 5. "I think Baudolino is right", said Adrian, "First of all, he matches the description: tall, pale man with long, black hair and a long leather jacket. Secondly, Cyrus said that he had called him a 'Legacy brat'. Although that doesn't quite fit the language he tends to use, we all know he has reason to hate this family. Finally, from what I spoke with Arthur tonight, it seems they've arrived just in time with Bailey and Sean to prevent him from blackmailing Beth into helping him and drowning Marsha and Salahuddin has barely escaped. That'd make him mad enough to do something like that." "Yes, that sounds plausible", said Sunny, now speaking for the first time. "And that worries me deeply. I know from experience that Salahuddin has the potential to be a very dangerous man, and now it seems he may be starting to live up to that potential", she said gazing into the distance. "Do I understand correctly that he's again used your half-brother as... well, as a minion of a kind?"
  6. 6. "Yes, Sunny, he has", Adrian replied, his face screwed with anger. "Anyway, Arthur said that Aadam had been pretty quiet and left "We've all told Aadam forever that he can't let his Dad treat him soon, said he 'needed to do something'. I'm worried about him, but like that, but for some reason he's always sticked to him." I don't even know where he is", Adrian said, frustrated. "For the very simple reason that he loves his father, Adrian", said "Honey, you cannot help your brother right now. He is a grown Nicole, looking sad. man and has to make his own decisions", said Nicole. "Besides, we have more urgent matters at hand." "I haven't spoken to Aadam tonight, haven't been able to reach him", Adrian went on, "but Arthur said he'd not given away Salahuddin's whereabouts. He suspects that it might not be out of unwillingness anymore – it might be that Salahuddin has used some tricks to ensure that can't be done." Sunny nodded. "Yes, I've heard of that kind of vampire magic existing."
  7. 7. "Yes, the matter of our son", hurried Marylena to say. "Sunny, what do you think we should do now? Is Cyrus in danger?" "And is he a danger to others?" added Baudolino. "What?" Cyrus panicked, "How can I be..." But Sunny interrupted him.
  8. 8. "Now now, I think we should all calm down", she said reassuringly, letting her gaze wander on the faces of all sims present. "Having observed Cyrus' behaviour, it seems to me that he isn't in any immediate danger. Had the vampire bite gone wrong, the consequences could've been lethal, but", Sunny went on ignoring the gasps of the others, "seeing that he's still with us, everything seems to have gone fine in that sense. "Now, there are some obvious dangers in being a vampire. As you probably know, sunlight is lethal to them, and that's why they tend to use coffins in the daytime. Of course, there are distractions in the daily life of a sim, which means even a coffin isn't always a foolproof solution." Nicole nodded. "Yes. If you are awakened during daytime..." "Exactly. Now, that should be the only danger for Cyrus himself. As he's alive and well now, the only way being a vampire could hurt him is if he's exposed to sunlight." "What about others, then?" asked Adrian.
  9. 9. "Well, there is the obvious fact that a vampire can bite sims and turn them into vampires. And as I said, there is a risk involved there. Cyrus", said Sunny, nodding at the eagerly listening teenager, "had some luck. There are precautions that can be taken, potions that can be drunk, to make sure everything goes smoothly. A healthy young person like your son is very likely to manage a vampire bite just fine, but there have been cases where the bite has been lethal to a very young or old sim, or someone who is suffering an illness. The exact reason for why this sometimes happens is unclear." Sunny took a breath. "However, the biting in itself is not a danger for sims around Cyrus. A vampire only bites someone when he or she decides to bite someone. That is, if Cyrus does not want to bite anyone, no one will get bitten." There were relieved breaths all over the room. "The wanting itself", Sunny continued with an apologetic smile, "may be a problem for Cyrus' friends."
  10. 10. "What do you mean by that?" asked Baudolino. "You mean..." started Adrian, but Sunny interrupted again. "What I'm talking about, is control", she said. "When vampires are in question, the matters of control and hierarchy are always important. Whenever a vampire bites a sim, they gain an amount of control over them. The amount depends on many things, such as how powerful the vampire is, the age and condition of the bitten sim, their mental strength, and so on. The Grand Vampire is the most powerful of all vampires, and other vampires can't have control over one. The fact that there exist not one but several Grand Vampires, has led to some vicious battles over power among the vampires along the years. The current situation is calm, but the power hierarchies of vampires remain very complicated. There are not many vampires left in Alphabetia. Some died, some fled the battles." "So", asked Cyrus, "you mean because I got bitten..."
  11. 11. "... Salahuddin Chamcha has control over me? No, I don't want "But... wouldn't that", asked Cyrus, his face screwed with that!" He looked extremely worried, and wasn't the only one. confusion, "in a sense, make it even more dangerous?" "I'm afraid so", said Sunny with a sigh. "I'd say that being as powerful a vampire as he is, he almost certainly has an amount of control over you. You are also young, which may affect the matter. But I think that the fact that you are a great-grandchild of a Grand Vampire can protect you pretty well." "So... If he has control over me, what does it mean? That he can make me do things I don't want to do?" "Oh no, my dear boy! You aren't a puppet of his! And if you were, I think we'd already know. He can only give you very subtle hints, to nudge you towards a direction that appeals to him. He can't make you a mere creature that doesn't think or act on their own. But he can have some control over your thoughts, in a subtle way, if he is in enough control of his own powers."
  12. 12. "In a sense, yes, dear. It could. That's why I'd suggest that you take the cure. The family should already have a bottle of the curing potion, I gave one to your great-grandmother years ago." Nicole sighed. "I am afraid that does not help our situation, Sunny." Sunny turned to look at her. "We have already tried that."
  13. 13. "You have?" "Yes. Well, as soon as George came to wake me up and tell me what had happened, I remembered what Author and Count Curtis told me and Adrian long ago. The family enemy was a vampire, and in case there ever was a vampire incident, the antidote would be there. There it had been for about a generation, alone on a small table in the master bedroom."
  14. 14. "So, when I got to know Cyrus had been bitten, I marched him straight into the bedroom, and gave him the antidote. He drank it. Other than a slight glow as it went down, it had no effect, as you can see."
  15. 15. Sunny sighed and closed her eyes for a moment. "I feared this might be the case." She was silent for a moment, rubbing her temples. "You did the right thing, Nicole. Even though the antidote didn't work, it should still weaken the influence that Salahuddin has on Cyrus. Until he gets an antidote strong enough." "But I thought Mom said that you'd given us an extra strong potion, just in case", said Adrian. "I did", replied Sunny, "But it seems that I underestimated Salahuddin's powers as a vampire back then. He is stronger than I estimated, so the antidote needs to be stronger, too." "It's still possible to cure, isn't it?" asked Cyrus, with slight panic in his voice. "Yes, it can still be cured. Any vampire bite can. But I will have to make a stronger potion. And that may take some time."
  16. 16. "How much time?" asked Marylena. "Well, it depends on the ingredients, really. Ingredients that strong are not freely available on the market, their sale is controlled because they could also be used for sinister purposes. I have the proper permissions to buy them, but the people allowed to sell them aren't many." Marylena looked worried, Baudolino closed his eyes and sighed. Sunny went on: "I'm sorry to say this, but it seems that Cyrus should be prepared to spend some time as a vampire. If Cyrus goes to college, I may be able to create the antidote at some point during his studies, but I can't promise that for sure." There was a long, rather shocked silence. Marylena was the first to speak. "Alright then. I guess it can't be avoided. What can we do to make sure everyone stays safe?"
  17. 17. There was another household in Alphabetia where sims were staying up late. When Beth had promised Bailey she'd look after her best friend, he'd hurried home to see that Chip and Cissy were doing okay. Marsha, however, was feeling terrible. "I c-can't b-b-believe it, Beth! I've... I've b-been s-so s-stupid! H-horribly, h-horribly stupid!" "Hey listen to me, Marsha, okay? It was a mistake anyone could have made. It's not your fault", said Beth, trying to comfort her friend. "B-but h-how could I... h-how could I n-not s-see it? I... I n-never r-realized the... the connection, Beth."
  18. 18. "But how could you have? He never gave you any reason not to trust him." "B-but..." "In fact", Beth interrupted, "if this was anyone's fault, it was mine. It was me who never realized to give you the full details of the situation, of the man who's after my family. If I'd done that, surely you would have understood how things were." "I'm... I'm n-not so s-sure..." "It doesn't matter, Marsha. I didn't realize it, so you had no chance. Actually, the only person who could have given you the full story was Aadam. And from what Sean told me, he realized too late that you didn't know about the connection. And, this may sound ridiculous, but somehow it never occurred to either of us who could have told you that he's actually related to me, my half-uncle."
  19. 19. "H-h-he w-was l-l-like a f-father... f-father t-to m-me, B-Beth. T-the only... only one I-I e-ever h-had. H-how c-could... how could h-he d-do this t-to m-me?" Beth sighed. "I don't know, Marsha. I think at this point no one can understand what's going on in his head anymore. I'm sorry." "H-he... H-he w-w-would h-have... h-ave k-k-killed m-me! K-k-killed m-me, j-just... just l-like t-that!" "I know. It hurts, I know", whispered Beth, feeling helpless.
  20. 20. "I f-feel... f-feel s-so ashamed. I-I've... I-I've g-given h-him i-information, B-Beth, l-lots of it. And... and I-I n-never r-realized... I-I'm s-such a d-disgrace! I-I c-can't b-become a C- Captain H-Hero, I-I'll q-quit. I-I c-can't p-put all... all t-the p-police f-force t-to s-shame." "Marsha, don't be silly! None of this was your fault! No one could possibly blame you."
  21. 21. "Now, listen to me, Marsha. The information thing, that can be fixed. You'll tell Sean everything you told Salahuddin, so the cops will know what he knows. And he won't be using you as an information source anymore. And you know, Marsha, he's going to get someone new for that. I mean, if it hadn't been you, it'd been someone else. He knows how to use others. Look at Aadam. He's the prime example." "I-I k-know. I-I j-just never s-saw that." Marsha was trying hard to calm down. "C-can you get Sean? I think we s-should t-talk to him." Beth even managed to smile a little. "That's my girl. Sean's in the other room, explaining the situation to Carl. I'll see if he's free and ask whether he's heard from Bailey."
  22. 22. Soon all three of them were sitting in the living room. Marsha had managed to calm down, though she didn't feel like herself quite yet. "I got a phonecall from Bailey about a half an hour a go, Marsha", said Sean, "He said that everything's alright there. Cissy is a little bit upset about what's happened, but Bailey is there with her, and he said she'd managed to fall asleep. Chip's taking it a lot calmer, but then again, he's older too. So everything's just fine." "And there's no sight of..." Marsha gulped. "No. It seems he's out of anger for now. No need to panic anymore."
  23. 23. "... and well, I think that's about the most important things I've told him. I swear, I didn't do it on purpose! I never, never realized." "We know", Sean said reassuringly. "He used your good nature, your social character and your willingness to believe good of everyone. And we've seen he knows how to manipulate. No one can blame you, Marsha." "Thanks. I appreciate it, Sean." "That was just the honest truth", Sean said sincerely. "Just let me know if you remember anything else, okay?" "Okay."
  24. 24. "Now, this Captain Hero thing. Beth told me you don't want to be Captain Hero anymore. She said you're thinking of quitting." "Well, I'm not that sure anymore if I'm up for it... I made a stupid mistake and..." "Stop it, Marsha!" Sean said firmly. "Everybody makes mistakes. That's life. Besides, you couldn't possibly have known, it's us who screwed up when we didn't think of telling you the necessary facts. You know what I think?" Marsha remained silent. "I think that what happened should make you want to be Captain Hero more, not less. Why? Because he's bound to try again sooner or later. That's what Legacy villains do. So, if your life's ambition is to be a cop, then now you have more reason to go for it than ever. If you stay in the force, there's one more of us to try and catch him. One more of us to protect the family."
  25. 25. "Definitely, you shouldn't let this get in the way of your ambition", said Beth. "I know you've wanted to be Captain Hero ever since we got to know as teenagers. And from what I hear, you're actually very close to getting that one last promotion. Now what's changed? You've got one more reason to go for it." "I guess... I guess you're right", Marsha said slowly. "Yes, I'm right and you know it. There's no way I'm going to let my best friend give up on her greatest dream of all. And yes", Beth continued, as she saw Marsha had opened her mouth as if to ask something, and was looking uncertain, "you're still my best friend. There's never been any doubt about that."
  26. 26. Marsha looked very relieved. "Thanks", she said with a little smile, the first since she'd gotten up from the pool. "You know what? I think I will go on and try to become a Captain Hero after all. That's what I've always wanted, and also..." Beth and Sean saw the look on Marsha's face toughen, "Nothing, nothing would give me more joy than to be the one to bring Salahuddin Chamcha in front of justice."
  27. 27. The next evening, Salahuddin Chamcha awoke in his coffin. He emerged from his chamber, and called for his son. "Aadam, would you please see me in the living room?" No answer.
  28. 28. "Aadam?"
  29. 29. "Aadam?"
  30. 30. In the kitchen, Salahuddin's eyes stopped on the dining table. It had been used as a writing table lately, Salahuddin was keeping some of his notes there. But the topmost paper seemed somewhat unfamiliar.
  31. 31. It was a letter. Dear Dad,
  32. 32. It's with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you. When you read this, I will be long gone, gone from this house I once imagined would be a home. I trusted you, I loved you. And now you have finally shown me that maybe I should have done neither. Too long I've made excuses for you, explained things to myself. Too long I've lived in uncertainty.
  33. 33. When you used my former girlfriend Rebecca as a means to an end, having my mother back against her will, I forgave you what happened as an accident, something that no one meant to happen. I never gave much thought to what you said, how she needed to be punished for what she did to me. I didn't want to. I wanted to believe you, to believe your actions were justified. Because you were my father, and I loved you. But really. Rebecca never did anything to me. Then there was last night. Once again, you didn't trust me with your plan, just expected me to help with it all the same. You asked me to hurt Marsha, whom I love like a sister, and threatened my fiancee if I didn't. Not to mention myself. Making me harm Marsha by threatening my Joy was too much. That is the part I can't forgive.
  34. 34. Then I finally realized what I'd been doubting for years, but never dared to think for real. Here, in this house, living with you, nothing would ever change. I'd always live in the middle of your plots and schemes, in constant fear of tomorrow, fear of what happens to those I love. I can't go on like this. I wish things could be otherwise.
  35. 35. But they can't.
  36. 36. If you ever should worry about me, not that I after all that's happened could imagine that you would, but all the same, if you ever should worry, don't. There's no reason. Yes, I've gone to Joy.
  37. 37. I am safe. I am happy.
  38. 38. I've got everything I need.
  39. 39. There's only one thing I'd like to ask from you now. Please, do not come looking for us. Nor Marsha. You're my father, and I love you, I still do. But I cannot forgive you, and I will never come back to you. You could say you've changed, that things have changed, but I would never believe you. Not anymore. So, I will just ask you for this one thing. Please don't come looking for me. Because if you do...
  40. 40. ... I will be ready.
  41. 41. Dad, I wish you all the best. I really, really do. I hope you can find a way to be fulfilled at life again, and I regret that if you do, I won't be there to see it. I wish someday you could give up the ghost of my mother, that you could start to live again. I know that it's a futile wish, but this is what I wish nonetheless. Dad, I'm sorry that I have to do this, but I really do. This is my only way to feel at home again. Love, Aadam
  42. 42. "Aadam!" ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
  43. 43. Back in the Bookacy household, the family bought Cyrus a coffin, the fanciest and best coffin on the market of course, seeing that the boy had two parents and a grandparent who insisted that only the most expensive product would be good enough for their baby boy. Also, his sleep schedule turned upside down, and perhaps George was keeping a closer eye on him than usual, but otherwise life went back to normal in no time.
  44. 44. In fact, so normal that soon no one even noticed anything peculiar about his appearance or sleeping habits.
  45. 45. Everything was back to its usual way, despite the recent events, because, like Adrian said, life had to go on. So, Chunni kept discussing worrying topics with the gentle-natured Adrian.
  46. 46. George kept cooking meals that nobody needed...
  47. 47. ... and whenever Creator caught him doing that, she directed him to help with the garden, to make him useful. So far the attempts to make the garden flourish had been pretty fruitless.
  48. 48. The resident old couple kept being affectionate towards each other.
  49. 49. In more ways than one.
  50. 50. The kids kept skilling, hard as they always do under my command.
  51. 51. And Baudolino, for his part, kept working on his fourth level ten business. Success wasn't very far away anymore, and he wasn't getting any younger, so it was about time. And well, the relatives were as eager to help as ever.
  52. 52. Now that the kids were big already, Marylena came to help her husband with the business, so Adrian and Nicole could get some time to rest, to be together and enjoy their grandkids. She wasn't much of a saleswoman in the beginning, but she was quickly learning, and the relaxed business Baudolino had was the perfect place to practice
  53. 53. In fact, at some point we noticed that it wasn't necessary to sell tickets anymore, despite the relatively high price. The customers were buying them among themselves. Not that we minded, of course. We concluded that being the best of the best must have some benefits we had not come across before.
  54. 54. Despite the hard work, there was sometimes a little bit of time for extracurricular activities. "Ta-da, I'm fit honey, see?" "That's nice, dear. Oooh, just looking at that pedaling makes me so hungry!"
  55. 55. The newest happenings in everyone's family were exchanged with friends and extended family. Of course, Adrian's newest happenings were not entirely surprising.
  56. 56. Some guests were of the more playful type. "I feel funny. As if something hit me in the head at regular intervals."
  57. 57. Some guests gave me yet more reason to love them. Thanks, Ramin! "You're welcome, C! But for what?"
  58. 58. Well, for again being the sim who gives Baudolino that long awaited last business star. Hooray! Baudolino, did you hear that? We have four businesses done! "I did, C. And you know, I'm pretty platinum right now." Good. Now get a shirt on and let's go home. Only one more to go.
  59. 59. Back at home it had been snowing pretty hard, and the kids were enjoying the snow in their own ways. Well, except for Cyrus, who spent the daytime tight in his coffin. But Cho spent her snow day doing fun things, like building a snowman.
  60. 60. Charlie, on his part, wanted to do something useful with his extra time. In his pleasure sim conception of useful, it meant that he invited Sunny the matchmaker over, and met some girls.
  61. 61. In dating in the snow there was, of course, a minor downside for the girls.
  62. 62. But well, not that they minded too much. Perhaps it's not much worse than being dropped from the sky in general. Actually, it might be that the snow softens the fall.
  63. 63. Hey, Adrian. What's up? "Well, the usual I guess. Getting older every day and so. But you know what?" Well? "I've learned a new trick. Wanna see?" Sure, bring it on!
  64. 64. "Great, here we go then. Let me just concentrate..."
  65. 65. "Ta-taa!" Oh wow, Adrian! That was such a cool trick! Did you hide sandwiches in your pockets or what? "Well it wouldn't be a very fancy trick if I told you, would it now?"
  66. 66. And then followed another trick: how to swallow a full grilled cheese sandwich in one enormous gulp. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Adrian?
  67. 67. Nicole kept enjoying her old favorite activities, now that she had achieved most financial goals imaginable. She'd always liked playing pool. And tub pirating, but that we won't show because she's always been a little embarrassed about that particular pastime.
  68. 68. Charlie kept on having girls dropped in the snow. Poor things.
  69. 69. On the other hand, some of them seemed to quite like the snow.
  70. 70. In addition to dating, all the kids were working on one goal or another. Most of those had to do with college. In Charlie's case, it was the creativity skill scholarship.
  71. 71. And Cyrus, who had scholarships on the head most of all, continued to go to work despite the dangers of sun, in the hopes of keeping his work performance high and making a good impression.
  72. 72. It wasn't not just the old couple who kept being affectionate towards each other. Also Baudolino and Marylena found the time to to be all sweet and lovey-dovey every once in a while.
  73. 73. Adrian also kept company for Chunni, as long as he could. He'd always been fond of the bird, and he knew his time was getting short.
  74. 74. "It's been a wonderful time, honey. All of it." "I take it that you do not regret giving up your life as a romance sim and deciding to live a cheese filled one with me instead." "I never have, honey. I never have. So you, too, feel that it's close?" "I have known for a while." "Are you afraid?" "No, Adrian, not when I know that soon we will be together again."
  75. 75. Especially with the knowledge that time was no longer on their side, Adrian and Nicole spent time with the family at every opportunity. Baudolino and Marylena had some serious discussions with them, and Nicole took care that they knew all that could possibly be necessary to know. But most of all, they spent time with the kids. No matter how little time there was, there was always time for one last Don't Wake the Llama.
  76. 76. Then, one night after that one last Don't Wake the Llama, it happened. Adrian, Nicole and the kids were just getting off the game table, and Cyrus had just gotten up. like he did every night at sunset. It was Nicole who felt the unnatural chill.
  77. 77. And indeed, it was the Grim Reaper, after a full generation.
  78. 78. "Nicole Bookacy, it is your time."
  79. 79. "I have known it for some time, mr. Reaper. And I am ready, I only regret that I must leave my beloved ones behind." "It is how this life goes. But you will see them once again, and for you, no time at all will have passed. It's time to let go."
  80. 80. "Come, Nicole, forget the worries of the living. The land of endless simoleans, enormous salary bonuses and expensive items awaits you." "You do know how to make this sound like a very kind offer." "Thank you. That is what I do. Now, there's only two things left." "And what would those be?"
  81. 81. "Your suitcase, and your umbrella drink, naturally. Let's go, Nicole."
  82. 82. And so Nicole faded into the nothingness, with one last smile on her face.
  83. 83. The family had been expecting this for a while, but it was devastating nevertheless.
  84. 84. Nicole was missed by the old and the young alike.
  85. 85. But once again the family found comfort in each other. Even though no one felt hungry, Marylena insisted that everyone eat something. Dinner was a quiet occasion that night.
  86. 86. Baudolino had been calm for most of the evening, as the kids needed his comfort, but when the night fell and he was left alone for a moment, he felt the tears coming to his own eyes, too.
  87. 87. Marylena was tired and sad, as she climbed upstairs for the night. She had liked her mother-in-law from the moment they first met, and in the following years they had become good friends. Nicole had given her so many good pieces of advice. But right now, the best advice she could think of was to take care of the remaining family, especially her husband, who was certainly in the need of some caretaking at the moment. So Marylena went upstairs, to curl up next to Baudolino for the night.
  88. 88. In the dead of the night, a familiar feeling, like a cool wind, caught me in the living room. Adrian felt the same through his sleep, and felt inexplicable comfort. Momentarily, Nicole's presence was felt in the house before she left forever.
  89. 89. Rest in peace, Nicole Bookacy, generation A spouse and the cash register girl. You were a mother of two, like a mother to your husband's alien son, and counted yourself as the grandmother of five. You topped two careers with ease, and on top earned one hundred thousand simoleans. You took care of your children, the house, and a business of your own, not to mention helped the rest of the family with several other businesses. You supported the family in more than one way, and helped protect it to the best of your great ability. You were greatly loved by everyone, and will be dearly missed – not least by me. And besides, you were simply a hilarious sim to play.
  90. 90. Despite all the hurt, life went on. For Adrian it was the hardest – he had, after all, known and loved his wife ever since teenage. He had trouble sleeping, but knew time would heal the wounds, and besides, he trusted that the two of them would meet again soon.
  91. 91. George, too, was feeling a little bit restless. He decided to put it into good use and take extra good care of the family's garden.
  92. 92. Cyrus was even more determined on his studying than before. He wanted to keep making his grandmother proud. The same went for the younger siblings. Perhaps a little more serious than before, they put a lot of effort in studying. After all, college wasn't far away, especially for Cyrus.
  93. 93. The family took special care of Adrian, who took it the hardest. It was a little bit difficult at first, but soon enough he managed to break through his shell again. It was George who managed to bring the first smile on his master's face with a friendly hang loose.
  94. 94. The adults took up some serious work to spend their time in a useful way. Marylena had become the new owner of Nicole's, and did some very good work running it on her own. And apparently playing games in outwear was the new black.
  95. 95. Marylena was content. She was learning her sales technique and earning some nice simoleans. Also, a small miracle had happened. Lisa Ramirez, the town bad customer, bought a ticket on her own, came in and started enjoying herself. There is no official record of her awarding the business stars, but there is proof of her admiring Arthur, and Arthur being pleased. Marylena was happy. Creator was wondering whether she should call an ambulance for Lisa.
  96. 96. Adrian took it easy. Besides enjoying his greatest pleasure, the grilled cheese, he took the time to take long baths, read some interesting books and enjoy the company of his grandchildren. Charlie was more than happy to shoot pool with his grandpa.
  97. 97. Cho also joined whenever she could. She, however, was working quite hard, as she aimed for the body point scholarship for college. She had recently gotten very interested in learning new things – in fact, so much that she'd chosen knowledge as her secondary aspiration – and her current topmost subject of curiosity was body skill.
  98. 98. In his spare time, Adrian framed the family portraits, and everyone agreed that they looked even nicer after that.
  99. 99. He also kept spending a lot of time with Chunni. It had become one of his favorite pastimes to discuss and play with the bird. He was, after all, very much a pet person.
  100. 100. George kept dating count Pao, not as frequently as he would have liked, but dating nevertheless. They still had a great time together, even though the night was sometimes a little bit short for their plans.
  101. 101. The count was also a great listener, and George could ease his pain by discussing the loss of Nicole with him. As an immortal, he knew what it felt like to live amongst others who aged and died around one. They both felt these discussions brought them closer together.
  102. 102. Baudolino was eager to work on some business, now that he was closing in on the finish line. So he called the real estate office and they offered him a very nice toy store called Tyke's Tower Toys. He'd never tried a toy business before, so he gladly accepted the offer.
  103. 103. Baudolino asked Marylena to help him, and she joyfully accepted. After all, it was a good opportunity gain badges. And well, some alone time with her husband in the closed store seemed like a nice bonus.
  104. 104. Marylena took up the restocking, while Baudolino, as the experienced businessman, handled most of the selling. Marylena did get some practice on the sales, though.
  105. 105. At least when Baudolino was busy running the cash register, which was, for some reason, probably the most difficult task in running a store. Fortunately, Baudolino mastered the art pretty well already.
  106. 106. Back at home, a lot of sportsy activities were happening. While Cho preferred yoga and swimming, Charlie was happy to try new things every now and then. Like for example dancing, but only if no one was looking.
  107. 107. Adrian was into bowling, and that was the original reason why he and Baudolino agreed to invite some friends over: bowling alone was only half the fun. And besides, the whole family could use some cheering up.
  108. 108. That really did wonders. Cho got his father persuaded into some dancing, and that lasted for many fun moments.
  109. 109. Charlie got to spend some time with his cousin Claire, whom he so far knew mostly from Cho's stories about how much fun the two of them had had this week. Charlie got a happy surprise out of how much common ground the two of them had.
  110. 110. The early dinner was the best part. George cooked some chili, and of course a sandwich for Adrian. Everyone enjoyed the meal and each other's company. Even Beth, who rushed in straight from work, made it, and she was thrilled to see everyone – especially Marsha, of course.
  111. 111. Everyone enjoyed the occasion, and in the end of the day they promised to have another get-together soon.
  112. 112. It was pretty soon after the small family party that Baudolino called over his oldest son. "So Dad, you wanted to see me?" "Yeah, I did. You see, there was something I needed to give you." "Give me? What's that?"
  113. 113. "Yes. Here you go." "Gray Lady of Sim City statues, Dad? Aren't those terribly expensive?" "Well, yes. That is kind of the point in giving them, really. That is the easiest legacy legal way to give money to someone." "Money?" "You didn't think I was asking you to decorate the family Greek House with eight Gray Lady of Sim City statues, did you?" Baudolino asked with a widening grin.
  114. 114. "The Greek House? But I thought... I thought I wasn't going to college. I mean, not yet at least." "You weren't going? Why wouldn't you be going? You are a fortune sim, Cyrus, you can't possibly be serious about skipping college!" "Of course I wouldn't Dad. But... You know it might not be safe. With that Chamcha guy running around, possibly having some kind of control over me..." "We know the dangers, Cyrus. But as me and your mother have said before, we can't possibly protect and fear for you kids for all your lives. Of course you have to be careful in college, but we couldn't lock you here to wait for the possibly distant moment when Sunny manages to make a strong enough antidote for you. We've talked to her, and she promised to watch over you for us – she's going to be visiting often for Charlie, anyway." "Oh. I guess you've got it all planned out, then."
  115. 115. "Yep. There's always a risk, but college is a safe environment with many adults to take care of things if needs be. Besides, part of that money", Baudolino nodded down at the package, "is meant for getting a proper security system for the Greek House. I'll give you the number of the firm my parents used here. The rest of the money you can use to make renovations as you please, and maybe throw a couple of parties, too. You're the oldest, so you'll be in charge." "Wow, thanks Dad. I really appreciate this." Baudolino smiled. "You're welcome. Now, I'd suggest that you start making some preparations, if you want to make it for the next semester. You've been a teenager for, well, a bit unnaturally long, even", he finished, smirking.
  116. 116. "By then, bro. I can't believe you're going already." "Well, I'm actually even slightly late. I'll just say goodbye to Charlie yet, then keep skilling for the rest of the night and call the cab before the sun comes up to fry me. I'll be seeing you on campus then." "Sooner than you think", said Cho, a little bit teary eyed, "I can't wait for all the boys!" Cyrus laughed. "Yeah, for each their own. I'm sure there'll be plenty for you. I'll call you guys tomorrow night after I get up from the coffin."
  117. 117. And soon enough the morning started approaching. "Hello, this is Cyrus Bookacy. I'd like to have a college cab over as soon as you can get one here. I'm all packed and in kind of a hurry, I'd need to get there before sunrise."
  118. 118. Everyone else had said their goodbyes in the evening, but George was up to see Cyrus off. "Goodbye, young mister Bookacy! Have an enjoyable time at college!" "Thanks, George. You take care of the rest of them for me, okay?" "I will, young mister. Take good care of yourself."
  119. 119. And so Cyrus, the firstborn of generation C headed towards college adventures one night right before dawn, pockets full of expensive statues, a bunch of scholarships earned, and two siblings eagerly waiting to follow him. This was the beginning of his new life! This is, also, the end of our current chapter, my dear reader. I hope you have enjoyed this double chapter of The Bookacy Family Alphabet Adventures, and that you will join us again for Cyrus' college adventures. Until then, thanks for reading and happy simming!