The Bloomer Legacy: 4.14 The Last Time I Played the Piano (Part 2)

Devlin snuck a tiny pink robot into the house, hoping Cassiel would not notice. Since this toy was significantly smaller than the previous one, she figured she had a better shot at succeeding this time around.

2

Her previous toy, Mr Bubbles, had not been as conspicuous, and saying goodbye to him was very hard for Devlin.

3

Cassiel suddenly appeared out of nowehere like a shadow: “Devlin! What have I told you?! No toys in the house!”

“Fine, you big meanie,” Devlin stomped outside of the house.

4

Cassiel followed her. Of course she was going to play with Rodney.

5

Cassiel: “How many times have we been over this Devlin!? Do NOT go near the cow plant! It’s dangerous, and you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Devlin: “But it wants to play! YOU never play with me…”

6

Devlin also got into Cassiel’s way when she was trying to work.

Cassiel: “Muahahahaha! Finally, I have been able to…”

Devlin: “Cassie! Can I have candy?”

Cassiel: “Do NOT call me that!”

7

Devlin: “I wish we could live in a house made of chocolate, and invite loads of kids to play with… ooh, and have a swing!”

8

It was official. Somehow, Cassiel had ended up with a child in her house, against all odds, and her old age.

The constant chatter and whining and attention seeking was getting on Cassiel’s nerves. She barely had any time alone anymore.

9

Finally, when Devlin disappeared somewhere for a moment, Cassiel would be able to enjoy a nice drink in solitude. Where has that stupid clone gone anyway?

10

Devlin: “Mmm, cake!”

20

“Devlin, no!” Cassiel ran outside as she realised her suspicions had become reality. “Let go of the plumming cake!”

But it was too late.

12

Cassiel: “Rodney, what have you done?”

13

Cassiel was on her own again, with nobody but ghosts of the past to talk to.

Cassiel: “Why is everything crumbling down again Baato? But I can overcome this! Like a phoenix, yet again, only to return bigger and better. I’ll get Chell to make me a new clone, and this time, it will go right! And then we’ll take over the world together!”

14

Cassiel walked outside of her house, into the sun. She’d make a comeback, yet again. But everything was strangely blurry, and her body seemed to be acting slower than her brain. Like a phoenix, she thought.

Suddenly, she spotted a strange shadow in the corner of the garden.

“Baato?” She called out. At that moment, her body betrayed her as she fell to the ground.

15

The shadow was getting closer, although she could barely see it for this strange purple light surrounding her. But what did it matter?

“He’s returned at last,” Cassiel whispered, a single tear sliding down her cheek.

16

But it wasn’t Baato that had come to Cassiel. It was the reaper.

Only those with regrets should fear death.

17

The house was empty now, and it seemed like a bit of a waste to not enjoy it. So the reaper lingered.

Grim: “And that, Yennefer, is the story of the last time I played the piano. I hope you enjoyed it.”

 

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.13 The Last Time I Played the Piano (Part 1)

Cassiel looked around her mansion. So much had been taken away from her over the years, and yet she’d always rise from the ashes, time and time again. The home surrounding her was proof of it.

Now she finally had some peace and quiet. Perhaps a bit too much peace and quiet. But that was about to change soon.

(Note: Cassiel’s home was not created by me, it is one of the Twin Townhouses built by the amazing Deligracy.)

2

For now, she had some company in her thoughts. Not a day would go by without her thinking about Baato. As she grew older, sometimes she’d talk to the ghost of his memory, however faint it was. Some days, she could almost convince herself he had never left. Almost.

3

And she also had a companion in her trusty cow plant Rodney. He had been with her for quite a few years, grown from one of the seeds Baato had left behind.

4

For the most part, though, Cassiel occupied herself with work. She may have had a picture of her daughter that she got from the employee database in her office, but it was not sentimental, she’d tell herself. It was just a reminder.

A reminder of what exactly, though? They did not share a lot of past, and the girl made it clear that she did not wish to share any future with Cassiel either. A reminder that her genes have been carried over to another being?

5

If that was the case, the future held something even more promising for Cassiel. She’d made Chell Bloomer her protégé for foolish emotional reasons, but it proved a good decision nonetheless. Chell became an invaluable employee at the lab, and the first one to create a cloning machine.

6

Chell: “Well, what do you think, Angel?”

Cassiel: “It looks good. But I’ll restrain myself from further comments until we actually try it out.”

Eagerly, Cassiel stepped on the machine.

Chell: “Are you sure we should start with cloning you straight away? Shouldn’t we test it with something smaller first? A crystal, or a plant, perhaps?”

Cassiel: “Nonsense! Don’t make me regret my decision of making you the lab leader and activate the process!”

7

Chell engaged the machine: “This should be a quick and painless process. Let me know if you feel anything unusual and I’ll abort immediately.”

8

“Ack!” Cassiel shreaked as the red light blasted around her, “Is this supposed to happen?”

“I don’t think so,” Chell frowned.

9

But there she was nonetheless. Cassiel’s clone, her mirror image, her ideal companion.

11

Cassiel: “Well, it looks like it worked fine after all! You can go now, Chell.”

Chell: “Are you sure? We should probably run some tests…”

Cassiel: “I think I can take this from here!”

Chell: “Of course!”

Chell left, though she felt something didn’t sit quite right. Then again, she often had that feeling around her boss. It was just another day in the office.

12

Cassiel geared her clone up in a new outfit, she wanted them to be distinguishable by something, to make it clear who the leader is.

13

Still, she was astonished at the similarities they shared.

Cassiel: “Welcome to the world, dear clone. I’m going to call you Devlin. Now, you and I are going to do some astounding feats together…”

14

Devlin: “That sounds awesome! I know, let’s go to the park and play on the playground, maybe meet some kids there! And get ice cream, and maybe donate to a charity!”

15

Cassiel: “What the plum is wrong with you?!?”

Devlin, as a faulty clone, turned out to be good, childish and outgoing.

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.12 Another Adventure

Knowing they all only had limited time left, Peter and Lilah invited Erica and Daniel over for a small family gathering.

2

They all chatted away about the recent weddings; Peter and Lilah gave a detailed summary of their travels and Erica and Daniel gushed about their grandchildren.

Erica: “It’s so great to catch up with you guys! If only Gretchen and Charlotte could be there.”

Peter: “Don’t worry, sis, we’ve both seen that they’re doing well with our own eyes. They’re probably having their own mini gathering just now!”

3

Erica: “Well, I’m going to nip to that fabulous pool of yours!”

Lilah: “Be our guest, Erica!”

Peter: “No, don’t be our guest. Make yourself at home!”

4

Peter joined his sister on the pool side: “Look at us, how far we’ve come!”

“I know,” Erica beamed, “You’ve got a library and several books under your belt and you’ve seen half the world; I’ve painted all I could have possibly imagined and married the love of my life; and most importantly, my babies are living the lives they’ve wanted and so are yours. If I was to die today, I would die happy.”

“Don’t say that, Erica,” Peter frowned.

5

Maybe she had an inkling.

6

Peter was with his sister in her final moments, somewhat unexpectedly joined by Keiko, who was just on her way to bed.

7

What do you say to someone who had just lost their sibling, Keiko wondered. Keiko was not spiritual, and for the most part, she’d always let her body do the talking; deep meaningful conversations had never been her forte.

Still, she liked her father in law, especially after he’d been so nice to her at her wedding, and she wanted to try to cheer him up. She gently placed her hand on his shoulder.

Keiko: “Is there anything I can do for you Peter?”

Peter: “Why don’t we watch the stars together, Keiko?”

8

It was an odd wish, but Keiko obliged.

“You know, I’d like to believe that my sister is up there now, with the stars,” Peter said, half to himself, half to Keiko. “You must think I’m a silly old man…”

“Of course not! She’s probably… right there?” Keiko pointed towards a constellation.

Peter smiled softly. His and Lilah’s worries had been unnecessary. Booker was in good hands.

9

“You’re a nice girl, Keiko,” he said to his daughter-in-law. “And I know there’s more to you than meets the eye. I know my time will come soon, and I will join my sister, but I know my son will still have you when I’m gone. Look after him.”

10

With Erica gone, the Bloomers moved Daniel into the house; since he was not capable of taking care of himself. The first thing he did in his new home was watching Keiko sleep, naturally.

11

Peter made sure to spend a lot of time with Daniel, he couldn’t (and didn’t want to) imagine how losing his spouse must have felt for Daniel.

Peter: “We’re all here for you Dan, I know it must be hard for you…”

12

Daniel looked at Peter and smiled: “Hard? It’s not hard for me at all. I know I’ll be with my wife again soon. And then we’ll ride the rainbow together, like we were always meant to.”

13

He was right. He joined Erica on that very day. He looked peaceful in his death, as if he was dreaming.

I hope you and Erica have a wonderful time on the rainbow, Daniel!

14

The only person that witnessed Daniel’s reaping was Lilah.

15

The experience has shaken her. She knew she would follow the same suite soon, and it terrified her. She had lead such a wonderful life, but she did not quite want to leave it all just yet.

Luckily, Grim Reaper stayed behind for a bit of a chat.

16

Lilah tried to choose her words carefully as they sat down at the table: “It’s not that I have anything against you, per say. I know you’ll come to all of us eventually, and I’ve done all I’ve wanted to do in my life but still… I can’t help it but, well, I’m afraid.”

Grim nodded understandingly. “Don’t worry Lilah. Only those with regrets should fear death. For a sim like you, death is nothing but another adventure.”

17

As Death left the house, Lilah was feeling a whole lot better. She’s done so much in her life, but the explorer in her found something about the thought of one last adventure quite appealing. And so, she feared no more.

18

It appeared that Grim Reaper had one final stop before he left the Bloomer residence. Lured into Yenn’s quarters by the sound of the piano, he sat down and listened to her play for a moment.

19

“You’re a talented musician,” Grim complimented the girl.

Yenn looked up. The presence of death did not shock her, she knew he’d been lurking around the house. But what did he want with her?

“What are you doing here?”

20

“I have a bit of a penchant for the piano myself,” Grim continued without answering Yenn’s question. “I love to play after reapings, or when I frequent lounges; any time I come across a good piano, really.”

Yenn was groing impatient: “Are saying that you’re here because you want to play my piano?”

“No, the time for that will not come for quite some time,” Grim replied matter-of-factly.

21

“The reason why I’m here is because I want to tell you a story,” he continued. “I was thinking you might be interested to hear about the last time I played the piano…”

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.11 Keiko’s Day

Keiko can barely eat any of her breakfast.

Keiko: “It’s my day! MY DAY! I hope you have something sparkly to wear ladies!”

Chell: “Sparkly?! Oh boy…”

2

Keiko: “Isn’t it great that soon we’ll be family? I’ll be a Bloomer just like you guys!”

Peter: “Um, sure, that’s very nice Keiko…”

Peter and Lilah were not sure what to make of their new daughter in law. But as long as Booker was happy, so were they.

3

Since Keiko wanted her wedding to be unique, the wedding took place on the roof top terrace.

4

Keiko: “Welcome everyone! I’m so happy you’re all joining me on my day!”

I can’t help but notice there seems to be far less guests than at Knox and Chell’s wedding…

5

But the, erm, blushing bride does not seem to care one bit. I must admit she scares me a tad right now. Are you sure you don’t want to change your mind, Booker?

6

The does ceremony go ahead, and it’s lovely… for the most part.

7

Keiko: “And now you’re officially mine… forever!”

8

The guests watch the pair’s first kiss as a married couple with mild enthusiasm… To the free bar!

9

Keiko: “Isn’t this a glorious day Lilah?”

Lilah: “Why don’t you pour me some more punch dear…”

10

Well at least someone’s happy…

11

“I love that there’s so few people and so much space… this is my kind of wedding,” Yenn proclaims.

Ethan chuckles: “Oh, are you into weddings now Yenn?”

“Shush you!”

12

“Congratulations little bro,” Yenn turns her attention to Booker, “You should be smiling more! It’s your day too you know, contrary to what Keiko’s been saying!”

13

Over at the bar, the “party” continues. At least Knox is dancing… then again, when is Knox not dancing?

14

Lilah spontaneously hugs her eldest daughter: “Oh Chell, thank plumbob you have such a wonderful husband!”

“Thank mom, but this is so innapropriate,” Chell whispers.

“Pff, when you’re my age you’re allowed to say whatever you want,” Lilah grins conspicuously. “I’ve earned it!”

15

Keiko plays with the chips in her bowl poutily: “Well I still think this has been a nice wedding… even though not as many people showed up.”

Peter looks at his daughter in law. It seems just like yesterday when his very own bride was upset about her wedding day being disturbed by grim reaper’s appearance.

16

He hugs Keiko warmly: “You’re right, it’s been a wonderful day. I’m glad we got to share it with you.”

17

Ethan: “Yenn, I realise you’re pleased that all the guests have gone, but you should probably not be so outward about it.”

Yenn: “Why not? This is the best wedding I’ve experienced so far! Cheers!”

18

The newlyweds retreated to the sauna. Booker was still somewhat torn about it all, but he didn’t want Keiko to be upset today of all days; when she finally got what she wanted.

19

And besides, the part Booker had been looking forward to has just started. The honeymoon!

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.10 What Happens After Happily Ever After?

After Keiko’s outburst at the wedding, Booker approached Keiko the following day.

Booker: “Hey… feeling hungover?”

Keiko: “Just a little.”

Booker: “So…”

Keiko: “So?”

2

Booker: “What happened yesterday?”

Keiko: “I’ve had a bit too much juice, that’s what happened.”

Booker: “Right… and that’s all?”

Keiko: “Maybe… maybe I felt like you don’t take me seriously enough. That other people’s relationships seem to be moving forward and ours is not.”

3

Booker: “Aww, Keiko, is this what this is about? Of course I take you seriously, babe, I mean, we live together and all…”

Keiko: “Ok…”

Booker: “Ok?”

Keiko: “Sure.”

4

If growing up with two sisters taught Booker anything, it was that things were definitely not ok. He knew what Keiko wanted, but he wasn’t quite sure if he was ready for that. He was the legacy heir though, so he knew it would have to come sooner or later…

Who better to ask for love life advice than the newlyweds.

Booker: “So, how is married life treating you guys? What happens after happily ever after? How do you make things work?”

5

Chell: “Well, I think not that much has changed for us really. We spend time together even when each of us is pursuing our own interests and activities…”

6

Knox: “But we don’t forget to share thoughts, laughs…”

7

“… and goofy dances!”

(Author’s Note: Dancing is Knox’s thing. Since he’s pretty self-reliant and is already at level 10 in his career, I let him do whatever he pleases. He’s always dancing.)

Booker liked their answers, but he felt that Chell and Knox were so peculiar he wasn’t sure if this would apply to anyone else. So he turned to his parents; they ought to know a thing or two about relationships…

8

Peter: “Relationships are simple, son. When you find a woman that makes you happy, do everything in your power to make her happy.”

9

Lilah: “Compromise and let go, but never lose yourself. If you do it well, you might even find a whole new you. You might be surprised what you learn!”

10

The way they said it made it sound so simple, but what they were saying seemed far from it. Then again, this was Booker’s parents. He could see their relationship, the stable rock that couldn’t be threatened by anything… They’ve probably never faced any major relationship doubts, Booker concluded.

And so, he went to someone who knew a lot about doubts, to ask them about what happens once you make a commitment to another person…

11

Yenn: “Are you serious? What are you asking ME for?

Booker : “Well, your new relationship seems to be going pretty smoothly…”

12

It was true. Things between Ethan and Yenn were rather rosy. She’d been spending many of her evenings over at Ethan’s little house, happily forgetting about everything else.

13

Ever the romantic, Ethan liked to treat her like a queen, and would often have a whole special evening planned for her. He’d dress up nicely, greet her with a rose, cook a delicious meal…

14

Was this man even real?

15

Yenn felt so comfortable with Ethan she eventually had her first woohoo with him.

16

And while she didn’t have any comparison, she thought it was quite spectacular.

17

She smiled to herself as she prepared some pancakes for breakfast the next morning. For the first time in a long time, she wasn’t feeling tense or antsy or unsure. She was just… happy.

18

He made her happy.

19

Booker: “Earth to Yenn! You haven’t said anything for the past five minutes!”

Yenn: “Err, right…”

Booker: “You’re soo loved up!”

Yenn: “Shush, you want my advice or not?”

Booker: “Go on Yenn, what happens after that fairy tale moment?”

Yenn: “I guess I might be as close as I can ever hope to get to a happily ever after, but I haven’t got the slightest clue what might be next… And neither will you, unless you take a risk.”

20

If the most non-committal person he knew was suggesting that he should take a risk, so be it. Booker took the plunge.

21

Keiko: “Ooh, my beautiful ring! It’s so expensive, and it’s all mine!”

22

Keiko was materialistic, childish and an attention seeker. But in spite of knowing all that, Booker didn’t want their relationship to end. And there he had his answer.

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.9 Happily Ever After

Yenn stood over the tombs of her ancestors with quiet appreciation. These were the remarkable people of generation 1 and 2 who had shaped the legacy in its beginning.

2

It all started with Kirk and Maranda, the founder couple who slept in a hut, built the park, and brought Ruby back to life.

3

To Yenn, Ruby was the one who tied it all together. She changed the generation 2 heir Isaac when he was a child, and then she changed him yet again when he grew up into a young man. She was the one who made him the worthy heir he was.

And of course, Ruby was also related to Yenn twice over; she was her great-grandmother through the Perrin line and her grandmother through the Bloomer line.

4

It was now time for another Bloomer wedding; although not long till Chell will become a Mrs Hankins instead.

Yenn had the old home of generation one and two converted into a wedding venue specifically as a wedding gift to the newlyweds, but her reasoning behind creating the new venue was twofold: Not only was it a place to celebrate the current and future Bloomer unions, it would also become a place to celebrate the Bloomers past, commemorating the deceased family members at the cemetery at the back.

Bringing the family together in more ways than one, Yenn thought. But perhaps that was too morbid of a thought for a day like this.

5

The rest of the Bloomers were here already of course, eager to celebrate.

6

The Agustins start arriving shortly after, and as you can see, they now have offspring! The girl in the pink dress is Alice, Skylar and Audrey’s daughter. She doesn’t seem happy to be here!

7

Liam, Amos and Jenny’s son, on the other hand, is having a great laugh dancing with Keiko. As a childish sim, Keiko is enjoying the company of the kids the most.

8

Finally, I think there’s no need to say whose daughter the girl in the blue dress is, Josephine looks so much like her mommy!

9

But let’s turn our attention to those who today is all about and gather around for the ceremony.

(Note: The combination of the wedding arch with the candle holder from Spa Day was not my idea, I shamelessly stole this from the fabulous Jordan and her version of the Build Newcrest challenge.)

10

Yenn seems genuinely happy for her sister. Keiko, on the other hand…

Keiko: “I’m going to need a drink to get me through this boring ceremony!”

11

As for Peter and Lilah, they couldn’t imagine a better place to be.

12

Introducing Mr and Mrs Hankins! Let’s get this party started!

13

Keiko: “Their love… it’s so infuriating!”

14

By the looks of it Keiko has had just a tiny bit too much to drink. In fact, I haven’t seen her without a glass in her hand all day! As the day progresses, she continues to get angrier and angrier.

15

“Why are you not paying attention to me?” she yells at Booker.

Booker has no idea what’s come over his girlfriend. “Babe, what’s the matter?”

“You are… so lame,” Keiko slurs.

Very mature Keiko, very mature.

16

Keiko refuses to talk to her boyfriend for the remainder of the party. She won’t even look at him, resulting in awkward angry dancing…

17

Elsewhere, Peter and Lilah are oblivious to their son’s relationship drama.

18

And as for the newlyweds, it appears that all of the women at the party are swooning over Knox’s magical proposal story. Yes, you’re right ladies, he’s a catch and Chell knows it!

19

Yenn is not sharing the enthusiasm of the other wedding guests. As much as she’s enjoyed celebrating her sister’s big day, she’s gotten to the point where she can no longer handle being around all those people.

20

She’s joined at her most remote table by Kaylan and Amelia.

Kaylan: “Sorry Yenn, we know you’re trying to hide from all the people, but we need to hide from all the pesky kids!”

Amelia: “Don’t worry guys, it’ll be over soon.”

21

Amelia was right, by sun down, the guests were worn out, and aside from the overjoyed newlyweds, there was almost no one left at the lot.

22

With no people around, Yenn was finally at peace again, able to get lost in her thoughts. She stayed back in the garden even after everyone else had left. Seeing her sister so happy moved something inside of her.

Suddenly, she realised that she had been looking at the same house for the last few minutes. What am I doing, she thought to herself…

23

Her whole body started moving ahead, even before her mind had made the decision. She was running, no, she was flying.

24

Ethan opened the door: “Yenn! What’s going on? Did something happen? Are you alright?”

“Yes… no… I don’t know!”

Puzzled, Ethan wasn’t sure if he should laugh or worry. Before he could decide, Yenn grabbed his hand.

25

Yenn: “Ethan… let’s do this! Let’s give us a try. No labels. No boyfriend and girlfriend, no talk of marriage and kids and the future. Just you and I. Together. What do you say?”

26

Ethan’s response was eloquent.

The Bloomer Wedding venue/cemetery can be downloaded here.

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.8 Midnight Surprise

Chell was feeling accomplished. She had a productive day at the lab, she was finally able to finish building her rocket and to finish off the successful day, she started on a wooden sculpture. She loved her life.

2

She was just about to go to bed as her phone rang.

Knox: “Hi Chell, could you meet me over at the park at midnight?”

Chell: “Knox? Is everything ok?”

Knox: “Everything’s more than ok! I’ll see you soon. Oh, and wear something nice!”

Chell was confused. Knox was not spontaneous. What could be going on? She quickly got changed and headed across the street.

The park seemed empty. Where was he?

3

And then she spotted him.

4

Knox: “A beautiful rose for a beautiful woman. Now you can’t say I don’t do romance!”

Chell laughed. But before she could reply, Knox dropped down to his knee.

5

Knox: “Chell Bloomer, you’ve made this grumpy bearded man happier than I ever thought I could be. I’m not one for big romantic speeches, but I do know I went to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

6

Chell: “Of course I will! This is all so beautiful Knox. And the ring… the crystal is a plumbite! That’s such a rare collectible – I’ve been trying to get hold of one for analysis for ages!”

7

Knox: “I hope you won’t put the ring under a microscope! Actually, scratch that, I hope you do. You wouldn’t be the woman I love if you didn’t.”

Chell: “Actually, there’s something I need to show you!”

8

Chell: “My rocket! It’s finally finished!”

Knox: “Very impressive! Have you taken it for a test run yet?”

9

Chell: “No, but I have an idea…”

10

Even Booker and Keiko can’t beat this!

***

11

Chell!

Sorry if my writing is hard to read, your dad and I are on a boat in Sunlit Tides at the moment. We’re headed for the main port, because…

We’re coming home! Congratulations on your engagement. Knox is a wonderful man, and we know he’ll make you happy.

We wouldn’t miss your wedding for the world!

See you soon!

Mom and Dad

***

12

When Peter and Lilah returned, they made a brief stop at the Agustin house first (made all the more brief by the fact Daniel was insisting on only wearing his underwear).

They’d all gotten so old, but Peter and Lilah didn’t feel old; they felt refreshed and full of new experiences. But the one they were about to embark on was going to be even better; their firstborn getting married!

13

Chell: “Mom, dad, you remember Knox?”

Peter: “Of course, it’s good to see you again Knox!”

Lilah: “And you must be Keiko!”

Keiko: “Nice to meet you Mr and Mrs Bloomer!”

Keiko was nervous. She wanted to make a good impression on Booker’s parents; while Booker had always proclaimed that the legacy is his now, it seemed like there was a shift in the dynamics of the house once Peter and Lilah had returned.

14

Booker: “So mom, how was Sunlit Tides? You didn’t mention much about it in your last postcard.”

Lilah: “It was beautiful of course, though a bit less adventurous than the other locations we’ve visited. So many of the tourists there were such old farts!”

Peter laughed: “Yes darling, nothing like us!”

15

Lilah: “Anyway, none of the places we’ve seen were as wonderful as the sight I’m seeing now. All of my babies all grown up, leading the lives of their design. It’s good to be home!”

16

They spent the rest of the night talking, laughing and sharing. Together as a family, once again. What an epic adventure!

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.7 No Wonder

Booker started his new job as a team mascot soon after his birthday. He did sweat a lot in the llama costume, but the career path of an athlete can’t be expected to be sweat free.

2

Keiko also started working, she became an office assistant for a major firm based nearby. She dreamed of running her own business someday. Her and Yenn usually got home around the same time, and while they were not close, they’d always exchange a few friendly words upon their return.

3

In spite of herself, Yenn actually felt quite grateful for the human contact she got at home, because her colleagues still refused to talk to her at the lab. She quite liked the balance, time to herself to recharge in the office as the projects got more and more interesting, and time to socialise with her family.

4

But one day, as she was analysing a death flower through the miscroscope, she suddenly noticed she had company.

Angel: “Please, no need to stop what you’re doing on my account. Please stop by my office later today when you get a chance.”

Yenn: “Err, who are you?”

Angel: “That’s a good question. I am of course the director of this laboratory, Angel Peril. But I am a whole lot more than that, which is what I’d like to discuss with you.”

Yenn: “Of course ma’am! I apologise… I’ll be right over.”

5

As the girl with the golden hair walked into the room, Cassiel couldn’t take her eyes of her. She’d been watching her through the security cameras ever since the day she had started, but to see her in flesh was a whole new experience… she looked so much like her father.

“Please, sit down,” Cassiel said dryly. She wasn’t quite sure how to continue; it had taken her quite some time to even muster up the courage to invite the girl over to the office to talk. But what was there to say?

They sat in silence for a while, Yenn growing more and more impatient by the minute. Was she in trouble? Did she mess up any of her tests? What was going on?

Cassiel finally spoke: “I guess you’re wondering why you’re here… There’s no easy way to say this. I’m your mother.”

6

Yenn looked at the woman. She looked nothing like her mother, the fair adventure loving gentle woman she grew up with. If anything, she was the polar opposite; dark, closed off and hardened by life.

“I don’t… you… why did you give me up?” She blurted out.

“I’ll give you no excuses,” Cassiel said solemnly. “I hated you. I could not stand the sight of you, your screaming, your demanding eyes. I craved peace and solitude. You were not it. So I sent you somewhere I knew would be better for both of us.”

Yenn’s throat felt dry. The woman’s eyes were cold, and so were her words; but at least she was honest.

“Tell me about my father,” Yenn continued.

7

Cassiel: “Your father came from a culture I have little knowledge of. A tribal place where the women rule and men serve. He had to leave his world due to false accusations, and that’s how I met him. He was a wonderful man, a dedicated man determined to fight the worst in him for loyalty.”

Yenn: “But you both abandoned me… strange loyalty you speak of.”

Cassiel: “Your father never left you Yennefer. In fact, he believed you would become a powerful leader, a creator, as he called it. I’ve never seen him happier than the day he first held you in his arms. I sent you away, and he… he returned to his original home shortly after. He could never forgive me, because he loved you.”

8

“You mean my father wanted me? And you just couldn’t have that?” Yenn tried to collect herself. “Where is he now? Do you know anything about him?”

“I’m afraid not. As I said, all I know is that he returned to the group of people he called his tribe, to do as they say. I don’t know what came of him after. He used to be gardener there, so perhaps he returned to his original duty. Or perhaps he was chosen to provide an heir to their legacy, in which case…” Cassiel’s voice sank.

“In which case what?”

“I believe it is customary in the amazon culture to have the men who procreate with the leader sacrificed.”

“So my father could be dead? Because of what you did? Because you couldn’t love your own child? You’re a monster!”

9

Cassiel trembled with fury: “Don’t you dare speak to me like that! Listen to me, you ungrateful brat! You’d be nothing without me, I spent painful hours giving birth to you, I arranged for you to be brought up in the best environment for children that I knew of, I created you! Whether you like it or not, I am your mother!”

10

“You’re no mother of mine,” Yenn yelled at the woman. “My mother is kind and supportive, and she would never leave me.”

“Oh really,” Cassiel snickered. “And where is she now, your mother? Din’t she abandon you as well? Flew across to the other side of the world to be as far away from you as possible?”

Yenn grew pale with anger. “You’re a despicable woman…”

“Careful now, child,” Cassiel grinned wildly. “I’m the only mother you have left!”

Yenn stood up and headed for the door. As she approached it, she took one last look at Cassiel.

11

“No wonder my father left you. By the way, I quit.”

12

Yenn stomped out of the facility, leaving it behind. She never wanted to see that awful woman again. It was bad enough knowing she was the one who gave her life.

13

She wandered around aimlessly for hours, unsure of where to go. She couldn’t talk to her sister Chell, or anyone in her family, for that matter. Working at Future Sims Labs was the job of Chell’s dreams, she couldn’t possibly ruin that for her by telling her about her biological mother.

No, it had to stay a secret. But for once in her life, Yenn did not want to be alone. There was only one other place she could think of going.

14

Ethan opened the door and stared at her, confused: “Yenn! What a surprise, considering how we… are you ok?”

“No… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here.”

“Don’t be stupid. What happened?”

15

Yenn told him everything. All she’s ever known about the parents, and the awful things she’d learned today.

“I just can’t believe I came from this venomous woman. She’s like the desert she lives in. No wonder there’s so little goodness in me. I have nowhere to get it from…”

16

“And my father… I had always assumed neither of them wanted me, but to know that he thought so highly of me, even as a little baby… And can never get to know him, in spite of all that.”

17

Ethan jumped in: “First off; you’re nothing like your birth mother. You know that. Just the fact you’re getting so worked up about this goes to show there’s more goodness in you then she’ll ever get to experience.

As for your father, somehow he had the foresight of knowing how amazing you’ll grow to be, he must have been an insightful and intuitive man. I’m sure that on some level, he knows what a wonderful woman you’ve become and is proud of you, no matter where he is.

Now, how about I make you some dinner?”

18

Ethan cooked delicious garlic noodles and entertained Yenn for the rest of the evening, telling her light-hearted stories about the trials and tribulations of his football team and the latest happenings around the library.

19

It was a very one-sided conversation, but soon enough, there was a hint of a smile on Yenn’s face.

20

When Yenn was finally ready to head home, she was feeling a lot better, and eternally grateful to Ethan for his kindness.

“Thank you so much Ethan,” she hugged him, “You have no idea how much you’ve helped me!”

“It’s all good. You looked like you needed a friend. Maybe we could give that a go instead, unless friendship is too much of a commitment for you,” he winked.

“Hey!” She nudged him playfully. “No, I think I can handle that.”

 

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.6 Now I Ain’t Saying She a Gold Digger

Keiko has become somewhat of a permanent fixture over at the Bloomer residence. She flirted and schmoozed her way into Booker’s life and used his raging teenage hormones to make sure she never has to leave.

2

In spite of being the youngest of the Bloomer siblings, Booker was the first one to go all the way with a romantic partner, and he was hooked. His life now almost exclusively revolved around finding the next spot for messing around.

3

Luckily for him, it seemed that the Bloomer home was riddled with excellent locations, and lacked a parental presence to oversee them.

4

Maybe Chell would be pleased he expressed an interest in her telescope?

5

And one must not forget about the steamy options in the sauna.

6

Keiko knew she played her cards right. Booker was the king of the castle, and she was his queen. It was only a matter of time till she would rule Newcrest with him.

7

Meanwhile, Chell’s relationship with Knox couldn’t be any more different. Perhaps there wasn’t much of that lust Booker seemed to be experiencing, but Chell felt fulfilled nonetheless.

8

She could have several hour-long discussions with Knox, debate philosophy and star constellations, the universe and the meaning behind it all. With the occasional dorky joke thrown in.

9

Maybe they did not feel the need to constantly throw themselves at each other, but Chell knew what she and Knox had was real.

10

She also never forgot about her other passions; she experimented with the woodworking bench, spent long nights using the telescope the intended way and she even started building her very own rocket.

On the other hand, while Booker had always been athletic and eager to jump into any kind of sporty activity, these days his only physical activities involved Keiko.

11

When her and Booker’s birthday came around, Keiko pulled out all the guns and squeezed into the most flattering dress she owned. Tonight was the big night!

12

Booker: “Babe! You look so hot tonight!”

Side note – Hooray for all the Agustin love going on in the background!

13

Keiko: “Booker, don’t touch my butt in the public! Everyone’s looking! I bet your cake is ready!”

14

Booker sparkled into young adulthood with ease, just the way everything seemed to have come with him so far. Maybe the previous generations had to work hard, but he already had it all going for him; Booker gained the self-assured trait.

15

Next up was Keiko with her very pink cake, joining her boyfriend as another self-assured young adult.

16

Booker: “Babe, I’m now officially the boss around here! I say, why don’t you move in with me? Just imagine all the time we’ll have for woohoo!”

Keiko: “I thought you’d never ask!”

17

Booker: “So yeah, Keiko’s gonna live with us now!”

Chell: “I don’t know Booker, you guys are so young! I think we should really ask mom and dad if they’re ok with that first, it is their house after all…”

Booker: “Mom and dad aren’t here! And I’m the heir, I can do whatever I want!”

18

Chell: “Booker, don’t you think you should at least try to be responsible about this? The legacy is on your shoulders, there are big things to consider…”

Booker: “I can’t hear you!”

Yenn: “Don’t worry, Chell. Things will sort themselves out one way or another. Isn’t that what you always said?”

19

The party was still going strong, but the Bloomer sisters were exhausted, so they bode their goodbyes to the Agustins and went to sleep.

20

As for Booker and Keiko, well, they did what they knew best.

***

21

Dear Booker,

We’re really sorry we couldn’t be there for your birthday, we’ll definitely have a belated celebration when we get back! We already bought you a present here in Shang Simla; it’s a board breaker and a training dummy for martial arts, right up your alley!

Your mom and I also went to see the Terracotta Army, it’s really impressive. Did you know every soldier is different? Tomorrow we’re headed for the Dragon’s maw, there’s some interesting folklore connected to the place. The local legends are fascinating.

We hope you guys are doing well, and are excited to see you enter young adulthood. It feels pretty empowering, doesn’t it?

Lots of love

Mom and Dad

The Bloomer Legacy: 4.5 Butterflies

Yenn ultimately decided to accept the job at Future Sims Labs. Although the reasoning behind the offer remained unclear, it was too tempting to reject a job that would offer her so much mental stimulation every day.

She looked around the vastness surrounding her. It was the first time she had left Newcrest that she remembered, and yet from the only picture she had of her parents, she knew she had been born in the desert, probably not unlike this one. In a sense, it felt like coming home.

2

“Um, I’m Yennefer Bloomer, here for orientation,” she introduced herself nervously.

“I know who you are,” the receptionist said coldly. “You and your sister are the ones who get preferential treatment from the big boss, aren’t you?

Well don’t be fooled, Angel Peril doesn’t like anyone but herself, so she must have something she’ll want from you in return.”

3

All of Yenn’s new colleagues seemed similarly stand-offish, and Chell was caught up in her top secret cow plant mutation research so Yenn didn’t even see her around.

Still, it didn’t matter much to her if the people around din’t want to talk to her, in fact, she welcomed the fact that her only conversations were the ones she held with the Invention Constructor.

4

And even those discussions could put her on edge sometimes!

5

Still, when Ethan called towards the end of her work day, she felt happier to hear the sound of his voice than she’d like to admit.

He asked if she was still up for that cup of coffee, and she nervously agreed. Her heart was pounding as she approached the library café.

6

Ethan: “So, how is being a scientist treating you?”

Yenn: “It’s pretty amazing, actually! Just think, whatever I imagine in my mind, I have the tools to bring to life!”

Ethan: “I would be interested to see a real life demonstration of the things inside your mind! Your brain is a mystery to me!”

7

Yenn: “My brain is no mystery! It just works slightly quicker in certain aspects, and not at all in others! Most people work that way.

You might be a smooth talker, but I bet I’d destroy you when it comes to anything logical, artistic or athletic!”

Ethan: “Please don’t destroy me at anything athletic, I don’t know if my ego could take that! I am trying to make a living as an athlete, after all!

But we could definitely have a paint off, or play a round of chess if you feel like something more conventional!”

8

“Meck Chate!” Yenn gloated.

“Aww man,” Ethan laughed, “My pride has been shattered forever!”

“Told you I was going to win,” Yenn beamed.

9

“Yenn, I know you like honesty, so I’m going to lay the cards on the table,” Ethan said as their date came to a close. “I like you a lot, and I think this could really be something.”

“I… I feel the same way.” Yenn’s head was spinning. There were so many conflicting thoughts floating around in it. But one thought, seemed to prevail above all…

10

She really wanted to kiss him.

11

So this is what the expression butterflies in your stomach is all about, Yenn thought. Electricity. Feelings. Connection.

And then you get married. Have kids. Get old, fat and grey. Get sick of each other. Have regrets. And before you know it, your life’s over.

12

“Ethan…” Yenn cleared her throat. “I think I’m not cut out for this. I am attracted to you, but you and I just aren’t compatible. All those things you want… I can’t ever picture myself doing. I never want to get married, or have kids, or…”

Ethan just stood there, looking amused.

13

“It’s ok, Yenn.” He took her hand gently. “I know we’re different. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We can take things slow, see where it all goes. I don’t want to rush into anything, and I definitely don’t want you to die of a heart attack. Slow down. We have all the time in the world.”

14

Yenn wanted to listen to him, but her whole body felt frozen. She already saw herself in a coffin, with a eulogy that read a loving wife… and nothing else.

“I’m sorry Ethan, I just can’t do this.”

Suddenly she felt her legs again. Blood finally seemed to be pumping into them and she could move. She could run. Far from here.

15

“Yenn, wait! Yenn!”

(Author’s note: I’m not making this up… Ethan really did call Yenn and asked her out when she was at work, and towards the end of their date, they autonomously confessed attraction to one another. She got the whim to kiss him, and as soon as I obliged, she proceeded to fret over commitment. Oh Yenn…)

***

16

Greetings from Al Simhara!

My hair might be going gray, but my bones feel young! We rented out scooters and drove around the pyramids, it was fabulous! I think even your dad enjoyed it.

Although he seems to be the most taken by the old town and its secrets. He insisted on trying to charm a snake out of a basket, who knew he was such a daredevil! I dragged him away, and luckily he settled for buying a hideous vase from the market instead. I have a suspicion that thing might break during our next flight…

Congratulations on your new job Yenn! I hope Chell showed you the ropes, now that she’s a big shot Technological Innovator. I can’t believe Booker already has that post of a Team Mascot lined up for him as soon as he ages up; you have to thank your friend Ethan for putting a good word for him with his coach.

We’re so proud of you all!

Mom and Dad