Friday, February 8, 2013

Chapter 1.31

Chapter 1.31- Never Die

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
William Shakespeare

            Days had passed. Weeks. Cyrus’ age-up day had come and long gone. Life had soldiered on despite it all. The world had not stopped. The seasons still changed and with it life had changed in the little house the Sixkillers called home.

            The house felt emptier. There was more room to move about and an empty chair at every meal and less laundry for Helen to do. Leftovers began to appear in the fridge as Helen forgot to adjust her cooking to fit the shrunken size of her family.
            Phedra struggled more than she could ever tell Buck or Helen.

            She had grown dependent on her brother at school for her social life. Without him there, she was adrift; an island in the bustling noisy school halls.
            Gossip touched her ears during lunches taken with unfamiliar faces. Cyrus had had a girlfriend who had vanished the same day he had. She’d never known. It had always been about her. Never him.

            How could she have been so careless? The longer she looked at it, the more she thought about it, the more she blamed herself.
            Buck’s own distance and misery only confirmed it to her. Helen was still functioning, so obviously she was ok. But she hadn’t sat down with Phedra lately either. Maybe they blamed her too…
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            The twins had likewise felt the despair in the atmosphere at home. The first day Cyrus had gone they had been told by Helen that Cyrus had decided to go somewhere else. They had then watched as she had had a shouting match on the phone with a woman who said Cyrus had a girlfriend. She had left with Cyrus and her mom was really mad.

            They hadn’t seen Buck for two days afterward. During this time, Helen finally sat them down and explained the entire situation to them. When Buck had finally emerged from his bedroom he looked older and there were lines on his face that hadn’t been there before. There was also a new distance between Buck and Helen, a sharpness in how they spoke to the other, cutting words that had never been spoken in the house before. Despite their tender years both kids understood what it meant.

            Eager to escape the depression they watched at home, both twins went outside the house to find some solace. Galen went to the library spending his time on the computers there. Layla turned to nature, discovering that some of the shiny rocks she picked up could be valuable.
            This particular one was a new one for her. It’s blue color appealed to Layla and she hoped she’d find more soon. She had a plan for these valuable rocks, and hoped it would fix something at home. Someone to be more exact. And though she thought she had a nice idea, she was still very unsure of the words to use to explain it.

            The particular Saturday morning she had chosen broke gloomy and dim. There were breaks in the clouds on the horizon, but it was still a little while before the sun would shine again.
            Layla watched as Phedra rose from her bed, slowly, groggily, frowning. Words came so easily to Galen. He could talk to anyone. Maybe she should have talked to him first. But he hadn’t been home and things were only deteriorating. It had to be now. Ready or not.

            Spotting Layla standing stock still staring at her gave pause to Phedra. Literally. She stopped trying to rise from bed, watching Layla in fascination. Layla didn’t approach others very much and neither girl had ever been particularly close to the other.

            Suddenly feeling a little nervous about why she was being stared at, Phedra blinked. The action startled Layla, making her jump and resulting in an even longer stand off.

            Though she was a little afraid of startling her little sister again, she couldn’t stay like this forever.
            “What?” Phedra finally asked.
            Layla’s eyes grew round as coins and she drew in a deep breath.

            Layla’s cheeks burned as she gathered all her courage up to answer.
            “Do you still love me?”
            Phedra let her breath out in a *whoosh* that made her slightly dizzy. Did Layla really think that?
            “Or course,” Phedra frowned. “Why would you even need to ask?”
            “Because Cyrus is gone,” Layla spoke so quietly that though the words were hard to hear this was the first time they didn’t hurt Phedra.
            “But that doesn’t change how I feel about you and Galen.”
            “Then why are you so sad? We’re still here.”

            Phedra sighed again, making herself comfortable on the bed. Layla did the same, still staring at her intently.
            “I’m sad because maybe I was a little mean to Cyrus,” Phedra was finally able to answer Layla frankly. “Maybe I made him go away.”
            “Maybe you didn’t.”

            Phedra looked sharply at Layla as the sun finally started to peek out of the clouds outside.
            “How do you figure that?”
            Layla shrugged.
            “He’d been different for a long time before he left,” Layla said. “He wasn’t the same. And it wasn’t anything in the house. Remember that girl we had the water balloon fight with? I think he’s with her. And I think he was afraid mom wouldn’t like her. That’s why he’s gone.”

            Phedra sighed, looking away again as the sun shone stronger.
            Layla had always been the observant one. The one to see what others missed. And she always seemed to know what everyone else was going to do, or what they thought.
            “And now you’re getting ready to leave for your island and you think that we don’t love you anymore.”
            Phedra actually laughed out loud. A sarcastic nasal “HA!” that brought the first touch of a smile to her lips for weeks.
            “Oh, sweetie,” she said, moving to lean against the wall.

            “But you are,” Layla insisted. “You just want to find a way to get enough money to leave. But mom won’t let you get a job.”
            Phedra peered at Layla. The things that child knew. It was uncanny.
            “You want to travel the world, to explore everything outside of our town that you’ve never seen.”
            “You said it yourself, kid. No dinero.” Phedra rubbed her fingers together to suggest money.
            Layla ducked her head.
            “If I helped you get money would you love me again? Would you stay for a little longer and be my sister?”
            This time Phedra could hardly hold back tears. “Sweetie, I don’t not love you. Ok? And I’m always going to be your sister.”
            “But you don’t act like it.”
            Phedra shook her head, time to change the subject.
            “Where would you get money kid?”

            “I find these rocks all over,” Layla’s face lit up. “They’re all over! And I took some of them to a man downtown in a little shop who buys them from me. He said some of them are valuable and people like them in jewelry and pay him for them when he cuts them.”
            Phedra was a little taken aback. She’d not heard such an excited speech from Layla ever.
            “If I give you the money, will you stay and be my sister?”
            This time, it was Phedra’s turn to break eye contact. Could she really be making money selling rocks to a jeweler? But if it is true, it would enable her to leave town the moment she graduated. She could be off and exploring the world so much sooner.
            “I’ll always be your sister,” Phedra answered at last. “But the help would be wonderful. You know I’d love to travel the world.”
            Layla smiled, nodding vigorously.

            After this, Phedra slowly began to cheer up around the house. She finally managed to make a friend or two at school and spent a lot of her time at home with Layla. They’d sit on their beds and talk about school and friends.

Phedra would even talk about boys sometimes which never failed to make Layla blush. They talked about clothes and exchanged gossip from the school hallways.

Phedra even helped Layla with her homework which she had been doing alone more and more often since Galen went to the library so much. A few times Phedra would accompany Layla to the jewelers to exchange the rocks her little sister had found. They’d return home to count the growing stash of simoleans hidden beneath Phedra’s mattress and plan dream trips for Phedra to one day take.

            As Phedra’s sunshine returned, Galen started reappearing at home more, Helen’s cutting words lessened, and Buck began to smile again. There were even rare moments when the kids would spot the two adults wrapped in an embrace. It had been too long since the kids had witnessed tender gestures from their parents. It had been too long since anyone in the house had laughed, or ribbed someone at the dinner table. But slowly, it was coming back to them; how to be a family that functioned instead of a broken shell.

            “You know,” Phedra was making Layla take a day off from her rock hunting. “You know maybe one day I could visit you on your island that you’re going to live on.”
            Phedra snorted. Her plans had changed in only one way, now she wanted to find Cyrus. But she couldn’t tell her baby sister that she was going to aim for that in her travels and didn’t want to settle anywhere until she had found him.

            “You’ll have to find a lot more rocks, Laydee,” Phedra chuckled. “Besides, I don’t even know what island I’ll find to live on yet.”
            Layla nodded soberly.
            “Though I’ll make sure that I’ve got lots of rocks on it for you to find when I do, ‘Kay?”
            Layla smiled back at Phedra, nodding happily this time.

            “I might as well take advantage of the money I’m making and travel, too. Right?”
            Phedra didn’t respond, she didn’t look in her sister’s direction either. She still wasn’t sure what it was exactly that Layla wanted out of her life, and knew that Layla didn’t know either. Since Layla was just a kid it was ok, but Phedra didn’t want to be tied to anyone, not even her little sister.
            “Laydee,” Phedra’s tone was patronizing. “Why don’t you wait to see what high school brings for you? Maybe you’ll meet a boy and settle down here.”

            Layla contemplated Phedra silently for a while.
            “What if you die and no one is there?”
            Phedra was shocked this was something that had Layla so concerned.
            “I’ll just never die.”

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Life goes on, but recovering from such a loss is never easy. I know we really only saw Phedra and Layla in this, but I needed to set up a few things so things could move a little more quickly for a bit. Also, they didn't heal overnight and they'll still be healing for a while yet.
So! Next time! Birthdays!


  1. It is sad without Cyrus, but I'm glad they are getting over it.

    1. Gotta move on, if not Generation 2 will never get started! lol

  2. :(
    This was so sad! But so sweet that Layla would give Phedra all her money so she could be happy!
    I got a bit worried for a minute that you were going to split Helen and Buck up! Then realised Galen and Layla are still children, and so that would be breaking the rules!

    That last paragraph made me laugh! Layla worrying the Phedra would die alone haha! (Yeah, I realise that when I type it out like that, it seems a bit sick...)

    1. I toyed with splitting them up. Really very seriously toyed with it. Buck was going through his midlife crisis and rolled for it and it was SO tempting. In the end it was just one thing too many and I'm really ready to move forward to generation 2.
      Layla has a few ulterior motives up her sleeve. We'll see them soon.

  3. Oh, Layla is so sweet! I love her *hugs Layla*

    1. She's a sweetie, alright. She needed someone, and even Galen had left her on her own. So she picked out someone who she thought might "need" her.

  4. Your post of ghost Cyrus on the forum nearly gave me a heart attack! Happily you did not kill him off. :)

    Layla is doing an amazing job at becoming the family glue. :)

    1. lol! No. He's just out in Sim Nation somewhere. Actually, I freaked out too when I first discovered him as a ghost! Didn't know that would happen in the haunted house. HA!
      With Buck out of commission grieving someone had to step in. Layla was it! She's a great kid.

  5. "Life had soldiered on" --LOVED that phrase. Poor Fay, feeling like she's to blame, when it couldn't be farther from the truth. It's touching that she's missing Cyrus, though <3

    Yay for birthdays!

    1. Thanks! I think to an extent, she might not have blamed herself as much were she also getting the praise/attention she was used to. It's easy sometimes to think that others are upset AT you or WITH you when they are simply focusing on themselves. But Cyrus really was her glue. She was always bickering with him, but she always sought him out too.
      Yes! Yay for birthdays! I can't wait to show what the twins grew into. Yowza!

  6. Aw what a lovely little chapter. I'm really excited to see what you have set up here. Layla is my favorite.

  7. Aw what a lovely little chapter. I'm really excited to see what you have set up here. Layla is my favorite.

    1. Thanks! Layla is a sweetheart for sure! I think once I get her story really going she'll probably ursurp Buck for my affections. ;)

  8. Okay, so just stop killing me with those Shakespeare quotes, I'm melting already :-P. No, seriously, I loved that, I'm a sucker for Shakespeare, truly. Odd? Yes, I know, but...

    Whatever... what I wanted to say is that I loved seeing Layla and Phedra bonding, they were so cute. I'm glad the family seems to be getting over Cyrus' disappearance. It was very sad, but life goes on...

    1. Lol. But there are so many wonderful ones! And it's not odd. Sometimes how he says what he says is just perfect. It's sad we don't speak that way any longer.

      Aw. Yeah. Life has to go on even when we don't think it will.

    2. I was just kidding, of course ;-). I'm planning on using one of his in a couple of chapters myself. You're right, he had the gift for saying pretty much anything in just the perfect way. :-D

    3. Good! lol. Yay! I can't wait to see it!

  9. Strange. Kinda awkward. I know it was Layla's idea, but she's doing all that and Fay is getting all the benefit.

    1. Hey! I warned you that it sucks for a while. xD It'll get better and reasoning will make more sense once I figure out how to logic. lol

    2. Yeah, I know, but that's what I was thinking. :)