Friday, November 2, 2012
Overlord Legacy - Chapter Thirty-Two - I Have No Fear Of Drowning
She doesn't even have to wake him up on his first day of school. He gets himself up on time, eats his breakfast, and gives his mother a hug and kiss before heading off to school. Amaranth watches after him out the front window, her eyes welling up with tears. Being a single mom is hard. Being a single mom of two is going to be even harder. But there's definitely a reward to motherhood. Amaranth is proud of her son as he confidently walks towards the bus.
I will survive, she tells herself. I can raise two children, and I can further my family's legacy, and I can be all my parents ever wanted me to be. It's going to be hard...but I can do it.
Amaranth's and Gator's schedules have been so hectic that she hasn't been able to see him right away (and yes, the Sim Deity is being punny there, if the dear reader remembers her woes on the forum). Her belly has already grown substantially, so it's rather difficult to hide. After texting Gator to say she's coming over (and receiving a smiley face in return, indicating he's probably home), Amaranth breathes deeply in and out as she drives to his house. What if...what if Gator reacts the same way Zack did? What if he's not ready to father a baby? Heck, she's not even sure if she's ready to be the mother of another child.
She doesn't even have to knock on the door before Gator comes out to greet her.
Amaranth: "Thanks, Gator. You look pretty dressed up yourself. What's the occasion?"
Gator: "We won a huge game last night, and the trophy ceremony was today. Had to get suited up for it. Don't really like it, though. I feel like I can't move in this thing."
As Gator pulls away, his eyes immediately focus on her belly. Amaranth feels her heart stop. Of course she can't hide it, and there's no use hiding it anyway. Quietly clearing her throat to keep her voice from shaking, Amaranth decides to announce the obvious.
Gator stares at her in shock for a few tortured seconds. Amaranth tries to prepare her heart for total breaking and collapse again. For one frightened second, Amaranth thinks back to when she'd told Zack...then she figured out that he'd been seeing other women, and that she couldn't trust him at all. Surely the same can't be true of Gator...
Then a smile appears on Gator's face. It's slightly forced, but Amaranth wonders how much of that is just the shock.
Amaranth: "I know...I wasn't expecting this at all."
Within seconds, Amaranth's eyes brim with tears. She wants to smack herself in the face - come on, she's a strong woman. She's done this before. She didn't even cry when she and Zack had that spat. Why is she feeling all weepy around Gator?
Amaranth: "...You...you aren't....?"
Gator: "...Aren't what? Mad? Amaranth. Yes, this is a surprise for both of us, but there's no reason for me to get mad at you. We...just have some adjusting to do. But we'll get through this."
Gator: "Amaranth...listen to me. I am not going anywhere. I promised I'd be there for you before we were even together, and that promise isn't going anywhere now that we're going to have a baby. You are a strong woman and you're a wonderful mother, Amaranth. You need to believe that. I don't know how great of a father I'll turn out to be, but...I promise I'll do what I can. I promise I'll try."
And just as quickly as everything started falling apart, Amaranth's heart starts coming together again. She'd had no reason to ever doubt Gator's faithfulness. She had no reason to believe he'd leave her all alone just when she needed him most. He's always been there, and he keeps proving that he always will be there.
Giving a trembling smile, Amaranth wipes the tears away from her eyes. Gator smiles back, repeating, "Everything is going to be alright. I promise."
Much to his surprise, Amaranth grabs him and kisses him.
Amaranth: "Hey, that's why I'm a detective."
Gator: "I didn't see that coming and you didn't even have those magical bushes this time."
Much consoled, Amaranth decides to ask the pressing question on her mind. It's not like she wants him to drop everything and go buy a ring (well, okay, she does, but she wants to be subtle too), but wouldn't it make more sense if they were married? They know they love each other. And Amaranth very well knows that Gator will always be there for her. If they know they're going to be together for life...isn't the next logical step marriage?
Amaranth: "Yeah, your Pappy. He sent me on this wild goose chase that he'd entirely set up, just to watch my character, apparently. And he told me he liked me, that he was glad we were together."
Gator: "...Pappy told you that?"
Amaranth: "Yes! I was so excited. He hasn't told you?"
Gator: "Um...no, he...he hasn't. He...passed away not too long ago."
Gator: "Did...did he last speak to you in a tavern?"
Amaranth: "Yes, that's...that's where I last talked to him."
Gator: "...That's where he was when the Reaper...."
Shock returns to Amaranth's face. She'd just talked to Pappy and he'd seemed spry as ever. And he died after she got done with his case? Her heart breaks as she sees Gator trying to control the pain in his face.
Why must life be so complicated? And so short? So many happy moments, so many painful moments, all mixed together. She almost sees tears in Gator's eyes, but after a moment, they're gone and Gator gives her a small smile.
Gator: "I'm really glad he liked you. I'm really glad he got to meet you before he passed on."
Amaranth: "I'm glad too. Gator...does the rest of your family know about me?"
Gator pauses for a moment, swallowing. Amaranth looks down. She'd rather feared his family might not approve of her. His mother has never seemed to like her.
Gator: "...They don't...they don't know that we're together. They're aware that I talk to you, and they're aware that we're good friends..."
Amaranth: "Do they not like me, Gator?"
Gator: "...It's your name, Amaranth. It's the name of Overlord they don't like. But regardless...they... they wouldn't approve, Am."
Amaranth: "Can't you just talk to them? If they knew how you really felt about me..."
Gator: "How I feel doesn't matter, Amaranth. My family likes the name Overlord as much as they like the name Van Gould. My brother Waylon was and still is in love with Emelie Van Gould, and they disowned him. If they knew I loved you, the same thing would happen to me."
Amaranth: "...Do you need their approval that much? Sometimes you have to sacrifice for what's most important, Gator."
Gator: "Amaranth, please don't preach at me. You're not considering any of what my family's going through right now. It tore us up to kick Waylon out of the family. My parents would be crushed if they had to do the same for me. So they're already hurting from that, and now we're hurting from Pappy's death, and because my father is old, I'm the only real help around the house for my mother. My family is extremely important to me, Am. Heck, even from an employment standpoint, trying to bring this up to them now wouldn't be best. My mom is my boss at work. Not only would I get disowned, I'd get fired."
Amaranth: "...So your family's more important to you than I am?"
Gator: "Amaranth! Why are you bringing it to this? I love you and you know that. But I need to think about my family too."
Slightly frustrated, Amaranth calms down enough to hug Gator goodbye. She doesn't quite understand. Gator loves her. She knows this. And she knows he wants to do what's best. Isn't she more important to him than his family who doesn't even know her? Can't he even attempt to talk to them about it? Why won't he man up and just take the responsibility?
Trying to get her mind off their little tiff, Amaranth heads to the police station to grab another case. Before she walks through the doors, she hears a small growl.
Aggravated, she goes inside to grab her case, which involves some missing jewelry. She goes to the salon, where it was last seen, and asks around to see if anyone could've noticed the perpetrator. Her day gets all the more splendid - Erika Wolff, in her snarly werewolf form, is at the salon.
Instead of completely ignoring her, Amaranth decides to ask her about the case. After all, Gator's family probably won't take the initiative to get to know her, so she might as well prove all their notions about her wrong.
Erika: "I see you got knocked up again. Still no husband, hm?"
It takes every last bit of strength for Amaranth not to spit back in her face, "Why, yes, Mrs. Wolff, I am pregnant again, and your son is the father. And you know why we're not married yet? Because of bigots like you!"
Instead she softly replies, "Yes, I am pregnant, but about the case..."
Erika: "I haven't seen anything. You might actually advance in your career if you stop sleeping around, Detective Overlord."
Amaranth bites her lip and hastily turns and leaves. She can't hide her frustration. She storms off to work on the rest of her case without Gator's snippy mother. Goodness. This day has already had so many ups and downs, with her downs sinking lower and lower as the moment goes on. Can it possibly get any worse?
Then she gets a phone call.
And she never will. Her father had gotten home to find her mother lying on the floor unconscious. He'd taken her to the hospital, but there was no chance of recovery. Midnight had suffered a fatal stroke that afternoon. She hadn't even written a will yet. Jakkson keeps most of her possessions. These three things - her cane, her bicycle, her guitar - have been delivered to Amaranth.
Stupid. So stupid. Why couldn't Amaranth have made time for Soren to see his grandmother before she died?
Eyes blinded by tears, Amaranth almost doesn't see the envelope that is pinned onto the bicycle wheel. Curious, she takes it and opens it. Instantly she recognizes her mother's handwriting.
I am getting older and older, and my health fades even more by the moment. The curse of age. I once felt so strong and so competent. But you are my strength now. The legacy is in your hands. And Amaranth, I am not disappointed that I gave it to you. Are there things I wish you hadn't done? Certainly. I warned you of those in advance and you chose not to heed me. But...everyone makes mistakes.
For fear of running out of time, I wanted to tell you that I am sorry about our encounter the last time we met. I was upset, but I know, though a child is a big distraction, that you are able to keep your focus. I perhaps shouldn't have expressed my disappointment so harshly. I've rather missed you, and I wonder if you have avoided me because of that encounter. I am proud of everything you are working to accomplish. I have faith that you will pull it through. You're an Overlord. That much is always true.
Hopefully this letter will reach you in due time, and we may set up an arrangement for me to see your child. He's probably growing up fast at this point. Phantom informed me you named him Soren. I like the name. I hope to meet him soon.
I love you, Amaranth, and I am proud of you. Always keep our legacy in mind,
Her stomach rumbling, Amaranth decides to go inside. She checks the fridge and notices no leftovers. Drat. She pulls out the ingredients for some salad to make dinner.
Amaranth: "Uh, no. We're having salad."
Soren: "But mom! Elliot's mom lets him eat ice cream for dinner sometimes!"
Amaranth: "Hmm, Elliot...you mean the little pudgy kid you talked to after you got off the bus today?"
Soren: "...I think I see your point."
Amaranth: "You're a bright kid."
Soren: "Does the Sim Deity ever have birthdays?"
Amaranth: "Your uncle Oliver probably knows a little more about that. He reads those books in the Vault of Antiquity. But I believe she does. I think she ages a little differently than we do though."
Soren: "How do we know the Sim Deity's not a he?"
Hmm...clearly I need you provide you with some special revelation, Soren.
Amaranth: "Hmm. Not sure."
Soren: "I want to be an archaeologist!"
Amaranth: "...Soren, there's no real professions regarding archaeology."
Soren: "That's why I want to go into it. There needs to be one! We could have dragon's bones all buried underground and no one knows they're there."
Amaranth: "But...do you have a plan as to how that will help contribute to our legacy?"
Soren: "What do you mean?"
Amaranth: "Our legacy as Overlords is to take over the world someday. Right now we're working on Moonlight Falls. Your great-grandfather established his rule as Emperor of Evil, and your grandmother overthrew the military. Now I'm a detective, peeking into private lives in order to gain the trust of the people, and thus make it easier for us to gain control. Do you know how archaeology will help our legacy?"
Amaranth: "You're an Overlord, Soren. This is our legacy."
Soren: "Well...maybe my little brother or sister can do that. I don't want to."
Amaranth: "...What if it were left to you, Soren?"
Soren: "I'm not doing it! I want to dig up dragon bones!"
Amaranth: "Alright, alright, fine."
Amaranth and Soren quietly clean up their dishes. Amaranth sort of figured Soren wouldn't want to take her path. He's a good, sweet, kindhearted child, and the sound of world domination probably disgusts him. She wonders if this is how her mother felt trying to communicate with her growing up. Only her mom had no other option. Good thing I came around.
Soren goes into Amaranth's bedroom to use the bathroom. After he's done, Amaranth decides to surprise him. She doesn't want to leave the evening on a sour note. She's already had so much difficulty today.
But Gator's not here. So Amaranth proceeds to get ready for work. She's starting to get a very good reputation. People are actually ignoring her last name and trusting her with their cases. She's heard a lot of good reports around town about her. She just wishes Dwayne and Erika Wolff would take notice.
She leaves while morning still dawns, saying goodbye to Soren who's up bright and early, waiting for the school bus.
The first case involves a lover that's gone missing. Amaranth nearly drops the paperwork in surprise when she sees the one who submitted the case - Oliver Portland.
Oliver: "...It's not actually a lover of mine. But I did need to talk to you about a...dysfunctional situation. I believe you as a detective need to look into it. Nobody else is going to report it."
Amaranth: "Oh....by the way, why are you all dressed up? Just another fancy look?"
Oliver: "Ah, no...I recently got back from...an event..."
Amaranth: "An event? Hmm. Sounds like fun. Um...Oliver, I...I just wanted to let you know that, well...I understand how you feel. About how you're in love with your wife and you have to live under separate houses. Gator and I...we're ready to be married. I know we are. But he can't tell his family. And so we're separate, and I fear we'll never get together."
Amaranth: "I know, Oliver. I know you understand....Have you still not found a house for the both of you."
Oliver: "It doesn't matter anymore."
Amaranth: "You've just given up? You mean you're never going to live with your wife?"
Oliver: "...No. Never."
Oliver: "She's gone, Am. The event I had to go to was...was her funeral..."
Amaranth: "Oh, Oliver..."
After a brief period of mourning, Oliver finally discusses the case with Amaranth. Zoe Durwood - Zack's sister and Jakkson's ex-girlfriend - recently moved in with the Ivy's. Rainflower Ivy has, of course, been involved with a lot of bullying and illegal activity around town. Oliver visited at some point after Rainflower invited him over. Rainflower had offered him a drink, which Oliver accepted but never drank, as he couldn't smell the plasma in it. Later he excused himself and trotted off to the Vault of Antiquity, finding some witches and asking if they could determine the red substance in the drink that wasn't plasma. Turns out some heavy drugs were mixed in. Oliver has no idea what Rainflower was planning on doing with him.
Oliver wants Amaranth to investigate for a different reason, however. He also warns her to be very careful. The house is not a comfortable place.
The door opens and a grown-up Peanut greets her. He then (quite obviously) gazes up and down her body and grins.
Amaranth: "My dad is a werewolf and my uncle is a vampire. I wouldn't attempt anything, you freak."
Rainflower is indeed home, and he requests Amaranth to sit down, but she insists on walking around, checking out the place. There's an uneasy feeling just dwelling in the air. Nothing seems to be specifically amiss. She does find Zoe and Peanut flirting up a storm. Amaranth tries not to throw up. Guess that's why Zoe moved in.
Then Amaranth goes upstairs and is struck with horror. She finally finds what Oliver wanted her to see.
Anger immediately flares in Amaranth. This is her half-sister that's lying on the floor, not being properly cared for. This is the baby the courts ruled for Zoe Durwood to have full custody of. Her father Jakkson hasn't even seen her yet. Zoe won't let him.
Knowing she can't just kidnap the baby, Amaranth decides to change Keri's diaper and then find a crib to place her in (not before taking pictures for court, however). She can call the police and social services later, and the baby can be delivered to Jakkson. Even with Jakkson being a single father, Amaranth knows he can take so much better care of Keri.
But before she can take one more step, the pain hits.
Painfully and slowly, Amaranth manages to get to Keri to change her diaper and place her in a crib. But the strains and cramps are ever-more excruciating, and Amaranth knows she has to get herself to a hospital. On the way there, she calls the school to have the principle let Soren know that his baby sibling is being born.
Exhausted, she brings her new baby boy home. Immediately after she gets out of the car, the familiar crying and wailing begins.
Giving him a bottle (which quickly quiets him), Amaranth wanders into the house. Not wanting to do much of anything else, she plops down into a dining room chair. She's glad she made autumn salad last night. She definitely doesn't feel up to cooking anything else.
She turns to get some leftovers out of the fridge...and then screams.
Backing towards the door, Amaranth trembles all over, clutching Severin tightly to her so as not to accidentally let him fall from her shaking hands. Why is there a basket in her dining room? Why is it crying? Why is this happening?!
Amaranth: "Y-yes, Soren...th-this is your brother...his name's Severin..."
Soren: "Aww! I like him! He's kind of pudgy, isn't he?....Wait, what's that other crying coming from?"
Fully instructing her son how to hold a baby, Amaranth sits Soren on the couch and gently, carefully places Severin in his lap and makes absolutely sure Soren's holding him right before walking away to check out the basket. She wants to believe this isn't really happening, like this is all just a dream and she'll wake up and there will be no crying basket.
Girl told me she was using birth control. Clearly she wasn't. She doesn't want him and I don't want him either, so...yeah, he's here and you can take care of him. Sorry.
P.S. His name's Tobie."
Baby Tobie calms down immediately as Amaranth picks him up. Stunned, Amaranth isn't even sure what to think. Does she really have two infants in the house to care for now? But...Tobie's not even hers. He's a product of Zack's idiocy and foolishness. And now she has to take the responsibility for it? No, she doesn't have to. She can go to court. The baby isn't hers!
...But then again, Amaranth doubts going to court will solve anything. Zack routinely makes large donations to campaign fundraisers. He tips off the government well. The government is on his side, not hers. She has the hearts of the "little people," but politicians have much more influence on this decision.
Deep anger and sadness churns inside Amaranth's stomach. If she'd never fallen in love with that wretched excuse for a man, Zack, she wouldn't be in this position. That spineless pig! The world fears the Overlord name, yet it's corrupt fools like Zack that ruin lives and destroy happiness and peace.
And Gator's family doesn't approve of their marriage. And Amaranth's certain Gator won't push the issue. He will stay faithful to his family like a loyal dog. Loyalty and faithfulness is a strong trait of Gator's, and his allegiance apparently stays with his family first.
Tears spilling down her cheeks, Amaranth realizes she's in much, much deeper water, so deep that it's way over her head. But at this point, that's not even what scares her.
I have no fear of drowning.
It's the breathing that's taking all this work.
Author's notes: Ugh. Come thou long expected chapter. Thanks to Patch 1.42 and some picky mod issues, I've had to wait a while to play and write this. Even now I'm still having some issues, but hopefully those will be worked out quickly.
Playing without StoryProgression is just brutal after you're so used to it. Even after downloading MasterController and Overwatch, it still wasn't the same. Of course, making do without those mods is pretty brutal too. I hope I never have to do that again.
Anyway. So much sadness in this chapter - that's just how the game played out. Pappy died, then Midnight died (which broke my little heart), then Serena died (Oliver's wife). Another death occurs in the next chapter, but I won't reveal who it is just yet...
Peanut's reaction to Amaranth showing up on the door is thanks to the new "attraction system" that came with Patch 1.42. I thought it was hilarious. Peanut Ivy is really one of the last Sims I'd ever consider as "attractive" for Amaranth. And yes, I did find Keri (Jakkson's daughter) on the floor. And yes, I did instruct Amaranth to go pick her up and change her diaper and put her in a crib. And yes, Amaranth did go into labor right at that very moment.
Finally, Amaranth will be taking care of two babies at the same time. I'm pretty sure it's going to drive me bonkers, so I hope poor Amaranth will be alright. Special note, though: Tobie came with the Good trait, which means, like Soren, he cannot be the heir. That automatically means Severin is the heir, so you can keep an eye on him. He wasn't born with the Evil trait, but he does have Excitable and Genius, which can both make excellent Overlord traits. I'm pretty excited to have a boy heir finally.
And thus ends my very long chapter. Leave ze comments below - I will reply to them as quickly as possible! :D