Rolling over in bed, Gator checks his phone sitting on the end table. A text message from his mother - she just bought a piano and she'd like his help moving it this morning. Gator sighs. He knows he's really the only one she can call to help her - his father is now old and his brother Waylon's practically been disowned for getting into a relationship with their vampire enemy Emelie Van Gould.
Gator glances over at Amaranth as he gently gets out of bed so as not to wake her. Before he leaves the room, he gently kisses her.
He wonders how quickly he'd get disowned if his mother knew he'd been in bed with an Overlord.
Before he leaves to assist his mother, however, Gator decides to say goodbye to someone who, judging by the wailing, is most definitely awake.
Gator: "So you gotta treat your mama really nice, 'kay, Soren? Gator has to leave and go help HIS mama, so I expect you to watch over your mama like a big boy while I'm gone."
Soren: "Mama n' Dader mwah!"
Gator grins as Soren plants a sloppy kiss right on his jaw.
Gator: "You think you can surprise-kiss me? Just wait till you get a little older, kid, when I teach you how to wrestle like a wolf."
Soren: "Dader woof!"
Gator briefly holds Soren close to him for a moment. There's so much more he wishes he could do. He can't imagine how much Amaranth must struggle being a single mom. Yet he knows there's only so much he can do to help. His parents don't approve of even his friendship with Amaranth Overlord. He's afraid that if they knew he's now in a secret relationship with her, he'd break their hearts. It's hard enough on them that they lost Waylon.
Gator: "....sigh. No, Soren, I'm not daddy. I....I wish I could be. I'll do all I can for you, Soren."
Soren responds by stuffing a fistful of Gator's hair into his mouth. He quickly discovers that hair doesn't feel that great on the tongue and disgustedly pulls it back out. Grimacing, Gator pats down his hair and tries to wipe the baby spit off.
Knowing he has to get back home, Gator sets Soren down next to his toy dragon. He starts to walk away when Soren screeches, "No!! Dader mwah!!"
With a small smile, Gator bends back down and softly kisses Soren on the head.
There's one last person Amaranth knows is essential to meet Soren, someone whom she hasn't seen in a little while and misses like crazy.
Jakkson: "Well...lots of things in life happening, all pretty unexpectedly. But it's wonderful to see you again."
Amaranth: "Same here. And there's someone I'd like you to meet!"
Jakkson: "Ah, yes. I've heard much about him from Phantom!"
Jakkson: "Hmm. He's pretty observant."
Amaranth: "Well, he...kinda knows where a werewolf looks like anyway."
Jakkson: "Does he?"
Amaranth isn't sure whether to spill it or not. She's certain she's in love with Gator...but it really wasn't too long ago when she was in love with Zack. Will her father think she's childish for moving on to another relationship so fast? But...she's known Gator for a long time, and she definitely set aside the time to think before telling him she loved him.
Jakkson: "...Oh, the one with the really long hair? His name was, like, Alligator or something like that."
Amaranth: "Yeah, Gator. He's a werewolf, and, well, he and I are....well, we're...."
Amaranth: "Yeah, I guess you could say that. We haven't told anyone that it's official yet, but...we're in love. Soren's met him, so he knows a werewolf when he sees one."
Amaranth wonders about how her father will react, but he simply smiles and nods. He doesn't seem too perturbed by it. Amaranth inwardly breathes a sigh of relief. Sometimes her dad can be awkward, but at least he doesn't really freak out about anything she has to tell him.
Meanwhile, Amaranth knows she has some catching up to do with her dad's life too. She knows he and her mother are not together any longer. They still live in the same house, but Midnight is often out with a bunch of other guys. Amaranth had heard her dad found someone else too, but hasn't heard much else. She decides to ask him about it (after Soren starts whining and Amaranth places him down so he can play in the sand).
Amaranth: "Transitions like...?"
Jakkson: "...Honey, you're going to hate me."
Amaranth: "I'm not going to hate you, dad."
Jakkson: "No, seriously, I think you're going to hate me."
Amaranth: "Dad. Oliver married Zack's mom and I don't hate him. Whoever you're seeing, I'm not going to hate you."
Jakkson: "Well, we're...not seeing each other anymore. I...tried to make things work out, but we had another big fight this morning and she left for good."
Amaranth: "Oh....I'm sorry. Who was it, at least?"
Jakkson: "Um...Zoe Durwood."
Jakkson: "I told you you'd hate me."
Amaranth: "But...why? Dad, she's Zack's twin! Isn't she a little young for you?"
Jakkson: "Technically she's not that much younger than me. Werewolves age differently."
And suddenly Amaranth realizes where she gets her hopeless romantic side from. And she realizes how much of a scam the stupid Durwoods are and how much they've wrecked her whole family. First Zack with her, now Zoe with her dad. At least Serena and Oliver get along.
Amaranth: "...Well, that's a bit unexpected. But...you said you had transitions to go through? Have you found someone else?"
Jakkson: "Eh, no...I, um...you're going to have a half-sibling pretty soon."
Jakkson: "Sigh. Yeah, she's pregnant. We used protection too. I don't know..."
Amaranth: "...I'm definitely your daughter."
Jakkson: "And I'm definitely your dad. Looks like we'll be sharing the same boat for a while."
Amaranth: "Are you going to be taking care of the child?"
Jakkson: "Depends on what the court rules. I think Zoe wants complete custody and only wants me to pay child support. Which sucks."
Amaranth: "Well. That's the opposite of Zack."
Jakkson: "Different sorts of selfishness, I guess."
After a bit longer of a chat with her father, Amaranth decides she might as well take advantage of career-raising opportunities and decides to do a little stakeout at the beach.
Amaranth: "...? You're not supposed to be able to see me behind these bushes. They're magic bushes. I catch criminals all the time hiding behind these things."
Jakkson: "Oh....interesting technique."
Jakkson: "Of course. C'mere, little rabbit."
Soren: "Gappa Woof!"
Jakkson: "Yeah, Grandpa Wolf...grandpa...geez, that makes me sound so much older than I actually feel."
Soren: "Dader Woof."
Soren: "Dader n' mama mwah!"
Jakkson: "...I still have no idea what you're saying. But hey, I can play something for you on guitar if you want. I brought it with me."
Amaranth: "That's a pretty...hot print on your guitar, dad."
Jakkson: "It's your mother's. She let me borrow it."
Nothing turns up at the stakeout. Jakkson thoroughly entertains Soren (who happens to be a Virtuoso and thus pays attention pretty well) until Amaranth is over, at which point Jakkson hugs her goodbye and heads back home. Amaranth decides to take advantage of Soren's good mood and start teaching him to walk.
Soren reaches mama, and as soon as Amaranth begins to straighten back up, nausea hits her like a train.
Amaranth whimpers a silent prayer to the Sim Deity. She can barely handle one. What will she ever do with two?
Back at the castle, Amaranth resumes training Soren to walk. The Sim Deity has to stop her in the middle of it. Amaranth closes her eyes and swallows. She knows what she's going to hear.
Amaranth: "....Yes, Sim Deity?"
You are once again the carrier of life. There's another little Overlord in your womb.
I cannot reveal such things to you, Amaranth. I'm sorry.
Amaranth: "No, Soren, we still have walking to do."
Amaranth: "You did it, Soren! You did it!"
Soren: "I walk!"
After calling a babysitter, Amaranth heads out for a case she received. Apparently Pappy Wolff is missing a very important book - in fact, he's convinced someone stole it. Amaranth knows to give him utmost respect. He's one of the founders of the town...not to mention Gator's grandfather.
After looking around for a while, Amaranth finally finds Pappy.
Amaranth: "Um...Mr. Wolff? You know you're not going anywhere, right?"
Pappy: "Meh...'course the engine had to conk today. It's much more fun to pretend it can actually RUN. Phooey."
Slowly Pappy stumbles out of the truck and walks over to the sidewalk, where Amaranth meets him. Swallowing, Amaranth straightens up and tries to give him a good impression. She's never actually met Pappy before.
Pappy: "Mr. Wolff? Who's Mr. Wolff?"
Pappy: "Mr. Wolff's my son, young lady. My name is Pappy."
Amaranth: "I'm sorry, uh...Pappy. So, anyway, about your book--"
Pappy: "Absent-minded little lass, aren't ya? You haven't even introduced yourself."
Amaranth: "Oh, I-I'm sorry, sir."
Pappy: "Sir? Who's Sir?"
Amaranth: "Pappy. I apologize."
Amaranth feels like an utter fool for about three seconds. Then Pappy gives her a smirk and she realizes he's just been playing with her the entire time. Amaranth smiles back, relaxing a little bit.
Amaranth: "I'm Detective Overlord, and I'm here to take your case."
Pappy: "Detective Overlord, eh? Quite a name. Never met you, but I hear from my grandson that you're quite the sweet young lady. Friends with Gator, aren't you?"
Amaranth: "Oh...y-yes. Gator and I have been friends since high school."
Pappy: "Yes, yes. Now then. You gonna find my book or what?"
Amaranth: "Oh, yes, of course. Where do you think you might have set it, or where was it stolen?"
Pappy: "It was taken from me in the gym. Here, young lady, follow me."
Pappy: "...Can't do that as well as I could when I was younger."
Amaranth decides to ask some people around the gym if they might have seen Pappy's book. Nobody seems to know where it could've gone, not even the "Oliver's Day of Rage" woman.
Oliver's Day of Rage woman: "Why, no, darling, I haven't seen it. It does sound perfectly delightful. Although I rather prefer vampires myself! There was a stylist vampire not too long ago who applied my makeup and oh, he just made me radiant. I'd never would've known how to style my makeup without him!"
After getting no clues, Pappy tells her that he's heard someone took it to the library. Perhaps she could snoop around the library and see if she can't find it? So off to the library Amaranth goes, searching every crack for the book. It takes hours of searching before she finally discovers it outside on the ground.
Hastily Amaranth returns the book to Pappy. Pappy smiles at her as he receives the book, but has another demand.
Pappy: "Oh, no, it most certainly is not everything! Someone stole that book and I want you to find them. I want to know who's the rascal who stole my book."
Amaranth: "...Alright. I'll conduct a stakeout at the library and see if anybody returns for it."
Pappy stares at her for a moment, then smiles gently.
Pappy: "Yes, lassie, it was a test."
Amaranth: "A test? You mean...you were trying to test my abilities?"
Pappy: "Not quite....I wanted to see your character. Heck, I know I've been a pain tonight. Gave you no information, badgered you into finding my book which I'd placed at the library myself, then when you thought the case was over, I sent you right back out to look for book thieves which didn't exist. Wanted to see how well you'd respond. You were gracious, young lady, and you did your best. You didn't grumble even at the inconvenience. Quite admirable."
Amaranth: "Oh...thank you. Just doing my job."
Pappy: "...Dwayne and Erika may not suspect it, but I know. I've listened to my grandson and I know how he feels about you."
Pappy: "...I don't like your last name, young lady. Don't know if I like your family's legacy, and I'm an old badger and I'm not afraid to say that right to your face. But...I like you. I just had to be sure that my grandson was picking a good one...and he has."
Amaranth: "....Thank you, Pappy....is there anything else you need?"
Pappy: "Nah, I'm not going to pester you any more tonight. Thank you for passing the test, Detective Overlord. Should call you Amaranth, really. That's what Gator calls you."
Amaranth smiles, says goodnight, and calmly walks away. Secretly, though, fireworks are exploding in her heart. Gator's grandfather approves of her! She can't wait to tell Gator.
Pappy, meanwhile, wanders around the tavern aimlessly, deep in thought. It'd been a tragedy when his grandson Waylon left the family to pursue the Van Gould girl, and Pappy had been frightened that Gator was charging into a similar tragedy. But Amaranth...he'd thought wrong about her. Quite the lovely young lady. He's comfortable with the thought of his grandson being in love with her.
Taking a deep breath, Pappy releases it in a long sigh. He closes his eyes and whispers.
Pappy: "Well, Mr. Reaper...I know you've been waiting for me. I apologize for fighting so hard. I just...had to know. I had to know Gator was making the right choice. I can go to the netherworld in peace now."
Grim Reaper: "You've made good use of the extra time I've given you. It's time to make the passage across the Styx now, Pappy Wolff."
Pappy: "I know...I'm ready. It'll be good to see my wife again..."
Gator doesn't need to be told. He returns from work to find the state of his parents, and he knows. Locking himself in his bedroom, Gator lies down on his bed and thinks about his last conversation with his Pappy. It was just a couple of days ago. Gator had told him about Amaranth and, though he hadn't stated it outright, he'd hinted about his feelings for her.
Gator sighs, letting the tears flow as they finally come. If Pappy had truly met Amaranth, he knows he would've liked her. He just wishes Pappy had the chance before he died.
Amaranth is unaware of the news. She's hurrying back home to barely make it in time for her son's birthday.
Amaranth: "Do you know how much you look like me when I was a child?"
Soren: "Do I?"
Amaranth: "Here, the picture's on the dresser over here."
Amaranth: "Told you."
Soren: "...Hey, mom, what did my dad look like?"
Amaranth freezes. Soren doesn't know anything about his father. With the exception of a few minutes at his birth, he's never met Zack. And Amaranth intends to keep it that way. If Soren wants to find his father, he can do so as a teenager when he's making some decisions for himself.
Amaranth: "...Your father was...rather handsome. But we can't think about that now. It's past your bedtime."
Soren: "But mom!"
Amaranth: "Goodnight, Soren."
Soren: "....Goodnight, mom."
Author's notes: Soren is basically just a clone of Amaranth in male form. I can't BELIEVE how much he looks like her. He basically inherited absolutely no physical characteristics from his father. Which, considering how much of a doofus Zack is, I'm okay with.
Oh, PI career. Just threw that golden story with Pappy right in my lap. I had to do something with it. Really didn't expect him to die right after Amaranth left though. I feel like next chapter is going to be very sad...both Serena (Oliver's wife) and Midnight are basically in their final days. I hate that. I still miss Rufus a ton, and pretty soon I'm going to be missing Midnight too.
And yes, StoryProgression is throwing a hoedown and dragging me into it, causing a bunch of chaos and craziness and "yeehaw, watch this!" I cringed when I saw Jakkson get together with Zoe Durwood. They broke up after approximately two days. Then I get the notice, "They're keeping it hush hush, but Jakkson and Zoe are shopping for baby clothes." WHAT?! Thank you, SP. Just thank you. Taint my Overlord line with Durwoods. That's just dandy.
Finally, a blooper. Amaranth was riding with Soren back home in the taxi, when apparently the homicidal taxi driver hit the "eject" button and sent Soren, well, soarin'.
Thanks to ResetSim, no toddlers were hurt in the making of this screenshot.