Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 2.1- Cold Judgment

It was her very first morning waking up in her own tiny house. She had arrived so late the night before she hadn’t even had time to look around. Simply pulling some night clothes out of the mess inside her luggage and falling into bed travel weary after her journey. Right now, she wouldn’t even be up if the sun hadn’t begun to stream through the uncurtained windows.

          Employing a few choice words she’d learned as she had travelled Layla stretched, trying to work the kinks out of her sore muscles. The mattress was going to need some breaking in.

          Turning, fully intent on giving the early morning sun a sound cussing out Layla finally saw what was out her windows and paused.  She had island hopped for nearly a month, only staying on one of them long enough to make her almost regret her decision to take her Uncle Triggers’ offer of help.  But looking out on the mountains blushing in the sunrise her heart lifted a little and she remembered why she had returned in the first place. It was time for her to live on her own a little while, to try her own path. And Ouroboros had provided her with a good basic education for just this.

          She found the kitchen bright and open. And though it was a little outdated by modern standards, Layla was cheered by it. Those who wanted to eat on Ouroboros had to cook over fires while having a refrigerator was completely out of the question. You found a good cold spring or dug a cellar if your food needed to be kept cold to be kept fresh.
          Though by the smell this fridge gave off, Layla was wondered if it kept anything cold or fresh. She’d have to give it a scrub later though as her stomach reminded her that she’d only had a small meal just before disembarking from the ship hours and hours ago. Thinking quickly, Layla decided to attempt some waffles as her first cooked meal by herself.

          Staring the stove down she took a few deep breaths trying to calm her nerves. Kaila and Lilith did this every day, all the time and made it look so easy. Her own mother had made cooking look easy. So why was Layla terrified of using the oven this first time?
She was scared she’d get burnt. That’s why. It was one area she knew nothing about: basic first aid. And fires. Out of control fires due to her poor cooking. They could happen. And there was nothing she could do about them it if it should happen. Well, if she really wanted, she could run out the front door and act as a speed bump for anyone trying to get in to put the fire out. That's what her dad would do at least.

          She had no timer and so tried to keep track of the cook time for the waffles in her head. Kaila nor Lilith hadn’t needed a timer. Open fires meant you could always see what you were cooking and could tell if it was undercooked or on its way to well done.
          Open fires also provided an awesome atmosphere to cozy up to someone special. And Layla drifted off in her thoughts back to moments with Joel.

          Joel had big strong arms that could make her feel so secure, unlike this cooking business that just had her confused. Joel’s kisses could take her a million miles from reality leaving her breathless and wanting more. She was sure she’d be sick of waffles by the time she actually learned to cook too much else.
          Lilith taught her to prepare fresh fish though. She could do that, provided she had a camp fire. Fishing with Joel by her side after Shane and Carrick’s lessons before sitting around a fire eating the oceans bounty moments after it had been caught made it a lesson forever locked in her mind. Joel feeding her bits with his fingers, his eyes burning into hers…

          Jumping a bit, she came back to reality as she discovered she’d lost track of how long the waffles had been in the oven. Yanking the oven door open Layla reached in and burnt her finger as she grabbed the pan bare handed in her haste. Thankfully, she hadn’t burnt her breakfast, just herself. 

          Giving herself a mental shake to remind herself that she was here now, and not on Ouroboros Layla reached to close the oven.
          It wouldn’t do for her to live in the past too much, not in the least. Now she'd been burned with no one to blame but the old stove. Stupid stove. She'd have to replace it with something newer, something that didn't burn her soon.

          Taking her breakfast to the table she tried to review all she had learned on the island. From Shane and Lilith with their sweet growing family, even to the rascally Daniel with the only woman in the world who could keep him steady Daniela, to Kaila and Maru, they’d all come together to give her some great lessons. In fact, it was thanks to them that she was cooking for herself at all. Originally, she’d intended to eat frozen foods or take out only thinking cooking would be too much of a hassle.

          But the fresh foods had tasted so much better to her than the stuff she’d had on board the ships she’d taken on her journey that she’d finally decided it had to be the chemicals put into the food for preservation. So she’d changed her mind and had decided instead to learn to cook. And after Shane’s instructions on gardening, she would start a garden too.
          Peeking through the windows into her backyard she could already envision the bounty she’d bring in with her own two hands and the sweat of her brow.

          Digging in to stop her grumbling stomach Layla thought out her day. That evening, she was supposed to go and eat dinner with her Uncle and his family at the Sixkiller farm, the farm her father grew up on. But she had all morning and afternoon to do whatever she wanted to do. Excitement at being somewhere new once more finally creeping into her brain she decided to find the consignment store and get acquainted with the shop keeper. She had a lot of seeds she’d picked up on her travels and had already sorted what she wanted to sell from what she planned to use. After that she wanted to explore a little bit, see what she could find and what was out there in the little town she was now calling home.

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          The moment Layla entered the shop she felt slightly suffocated. It was cluttered and unorganized. Kitchen gadgets lay against toys that sat amongst tools with posters and knick knacks galore.
          “Matthew, I know you think you work too hard, but would it be a crime for you to dust once in a while? This place is filthy!”
          A heavily pregnant sim entered through an archway, completely ignoring a wide eyed Layla.
          “And sweep? Really? Can you not sweep?

          Finally, she turned and stared at Layla, who tentatively offered her hand along with her stare.
          “And it looks like you’ve got a live one,” the woman’s face was as hard as her tone. “Though I can’t imagine why anyone would want to come in here to shop in this mess.”

          Sensing cold judgment, Layla drew her hand back hastily pretending to brush invisible lint off of her jacket front dropping her gaze as she did so.
          “She must not be from around here. She’s got on a jacket like it’s still winter. Maybe you’ll get a sale for once Matthew.”

          At long last, the woman quit staring at Layla and waddled off to criticize how over-stuffed a particular corner was.
          Shaking her head, Layla tentatively took a few steps forward happily spotting a register with a man standing behind it rolling his eyes.

          Nearly tripping on almost everything, including her own feet, Layla could hardly keep from looking all about her.

          It seemed that every time she turned her head there was something else she’d never seen before, something interesting to catch her gaze.
          Luckily, the man behind the register seemed amused by her behavior and smiled kindly at her gawking.

          “It’s a pretty interestin’ little place isn’t it?”
          Layla jerked back to reality and blushed at being caught in her child-like wonder.
          She smiled back and nodded.
          “The consignment shop in the town I’m from is nothing like this, it’s darker and more open and has a lot less-” realizing the man might take offense if she kept going, she stuttered to a halt, smiling nervously at him.

          “Most people’d just call it like it is. It’s junk honey, and Matthew knows it. He’s the one who buys all this crap that never sells and just sits here collecting dust.” The pregnant woman had come around the corner again headed who knows where with her sharp tongue.
          The man behind the counter rolled his eyes at Layla smiling broadly as he did so.
          “Thanks, Melly.”

          “What can I help you with today?” The man finally asked once the muttering Melly was out of hearing range again.
          Layla explained why she was there, handing over a few seeds and with a promise that he’d take any gems she brought in provided she had them cut first.
          She would have loved to have stayed to talk a bit further, but Melly was headed in their direction again, so Layla made a hasty exit out the nearest door intent to go explore her new town.

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          Thankfully the taxi driver said he had a great place for her to start, dropping her off near the base of a steep hill. Halfway along the road to the top she’d found a path her curiosity forced her to go off and explore instead. Happily, she meandered along picking up bits and pieces she found as she went along.
          Thanks to Shane she could now identify many of the seeds she found by sight. This seed would make a lovely grape vine. She’d love to have some grapes in her new garden, and so pocketed it, turning to the large rocks that looked to be metallic.

          Coming through the trees, Layla’s attention was caught by a very large house just beyond the metal on the ground.

          Wondering who lived in such a house, Layla walked past the two rocks she’d previously been intending to pick up stopping only to gawk at the house that stood out amidst the hills. It was obviously a newer build, but the style was as different from any other house in town as a sixth finger on an otherwise normal hand.
          Layla was so wrapped up in her thoughts she didn’t realize how close she’d gotten to the property.

          “Did you not see the signs? We prosecute trespassers.”
          Jumping a little, Layla blinked, finally seeing the young man standing on the other side of the hedge.
          “I’m sorry?” She hadn’t heard his words, only his voice.
          “Come around to the front gate. We can wait for the police to pick you up there.”

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          Sorry to leave it there, but this is long enough. Lol. A note or two, I’m not a very good builder. I’m just not. I don’t have enough imagination to come up with anything other than boxes or boxes with other boxes attached. So the house Layla is living in I stole from Sunset Valley (It’s so cute for a starter home, though totally useless for more than 2 sims.) The house she was gawping at is meant to stick out in Appaloosa Plains like sore thumb. I got it at Mod the Sims-Here! It’s so gorgeous and perfect for this. Love it. I’ve loved playing with it, too. But Layla can’t afford a place like that for a while still. Gen 1 was awfully poor with idle careers and a part-timer to boot. So it’s up to Layla to make up the family fortunes if she wants to live somewhere nicer. Lol

          And, as I'm sure my regular readers have noticed, the blog look has drastically changed! Other things have changed as well, such as beginning with this chapter there are now titles in the archives on the right. Also, the background page has come down to be replaced with a chapter by chapter summary of what has happened so far excluding this one. I'll get the summary paragraph of this one up there soon. Also, the bloopers tab will take you to a new page dedicated to bloopers from the Sixkillers. Right now, it's the generation 1 bloopers that were taken down from here are over there. I'll post them now on that blog page and notify readers of a new blooper in my authors notes.
          Finally, the Generational Goal tab has been updated. I'm going to leave up the previous generation goals, posting the newer ones below those that came before.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Sixkiller Interlude

Hi! I know it's been a few days since Layla left home to go on a journey that will eventually lead to a new life for her, and she's been rather busy and is having a great time visiting islands.

Take a peek here: SimsL3gacies- A Sixkiller Interlude to see just what she's been up to. If you like that, you may also enjoy the rest of the Meadowstones story in the Ouroboros Legacy here: SimsL3gacies Chapter 1.0-Lilith Meadows, Generation 1 Founder

Also, Hi to all the new readers! I truly hope you are enjoying the story. If you have any questions about what is going on, feel free to drop me a line. I love comments and to know if you like something, or don't. ;)

For all the old hands, I'm going to be retiring the current round of bloopers on Friday along with the blog look. So if you want to take a peek at the funnies the Sixkillers get up to in their spare time be sure to take a look soon!

If anyone would like this particular blog look let me know and I'll gladly post the background somewhere along with instructions on the color scheme. And don't worry, I hope to be able to use it again at a later time and have everything saved safe and secure to bring it out when the time is right for it again. But for Layla's generation, I think the look may need to be a little more... Mmmm... fiery. ;) See you all on Friday for the start of Generation 2 of the Sixkillers!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chapter 1.46

Chapter 1.46- There Is No Forever

            Two phone calls that morning left Layla with a stomach nervous enough that she had turned down breakfast. One ensured her future was ready and waiting for her. The other would force her to cut the final link to her past.
            Watching the students pilot the boat on the day Phedra had aged up and left herself had left an impression on Layla. And while she wished she had actually listened to her sister, she thought it might be the right place to talk to Anthony.

            Unfortunately, the boat isn’t out today. Instead she stares at where the river bends, winding between the hills beyond. Her berth on the same ship that sailed away with Phedra will take her away too that night.
            “It’s nice out here,” Anthony’s stomach must be as nervous as Layla’s, he keeps rubbing it. “Why didn’t we ever come here before?”
            “It’s one of the last places I saw Phedra,” said Layla. “I still miss her terribly. And being here makes it worse.”

            “Maybe you just need to make some happy memories here,” said Anthony. “Then it wouldn’t be so bad for you.”
            “It’s never going to erase my time here with Phedra,” Layla shot back, annoyed slightly. “I was stupid that day and didn’t listen very well to what she had to tell me. I’d give anything to go back and hear her.”

            “I take it that’s your hint to me to listen to you? Or is how you’re telling me that there won’t be any happy memories made here?”
            ‘Damn him,’ Layla hadn’t wanted to start this out with any hostility. She didn’t want it to end with hostility either.
            “It’s my hint to you to please actually listen to what I have to say.”
            “I’d listen to you forever if you’d only give me the chance.”

            “Anthony there is no forever,” sighed Layla. “I’m leaving tonight.”
            In a reversal, this time Anthony was the one to nod. Though since Layla had her back to him she couldn’t see it.
            “When we first made our agreement, that was really what I wanted. Just someone to get Galen off my back. And really, I should never have said I’d do that. Phedra had already warned me that doing something like that meant someone would get hurt.”

            “And for a really long while I had every intention of breaking the whole thing off. I wish you could know just how angry I was with you when you kissed me. And I should have known just how deep this would all get then.
            “I’m so sorry Anthony. I’m so sorry that I might have led you on for my own purpose. I’m sorry that I might have given you false hope. I’m so, so sorry that I can’t feel for you what you feel for me.”

            “Can’t?” Anthony burst out. “Why is it 'can’t?' Have you tried? Have you even thought about trying? Considered it? Actually done it? How many times have you told me what a great guy I am? Were you just saying it to say it? What about all those conversations? The long walks? The time and effort I put in with you by my side? Were you even really there?”
            And as she opened her mouth to give an angry retort he dropped to his knees beside her.

“What'll you do when you get lonely
 And nobody's waiting by your side?
 You've been running and hiding much too long.
 You know it's just your foolish pride.

Layla, you've got me on my knees.
 Layla, I'm begging you darling please.
 Layla, darling won't you please ease my worried mind.”

            Horrified, Layla covered her ears. What the hell?!?

“Let's make the best of the situation
 Before I finally go insane.
 Please don't say we'll never find a way
 And tell me all my love's in vain.

Layla, you've got me on my knees.
 Layla, I'm begging you darling please.
 Layla, darling won't you please ease my worried mind.”

            “Oh my PlumbBob, Anthony. I’m begging you please cut that out!”

            “Only if you’ll stay here and marry me. Or let me go with you. Just say you’ll be mine and I’ll stop.”

            “Have you listened to me at all?”
            Her outburst startled Anthony, who settled back on his heels. He’d never witnessed her get angry before.
            “Anthony you are a great guy. A Great guy! But you’re not the guy for me. And honestly, your pushing on this tells me I’m not the one for you either. This isn’t what I want! I don’t want here. I don’t want to live with high school for my entire life! I want to see who else might be out there for me! And before that I want a chance to live! To live as myself and on my own.”

            Turning to Anthony, Layla sighed. Judging by the look on his face he still didn’t hear her.
            “Anthony,” her voice more controlled this time. “Anthony, do you even know my thoughts on kids? On careers? On what makes a home?”
            Unanswering, unflinching, Anthony sat still as a stone.
            “Ok, I’ll start with my thoughts on 9 to 5’s. Hate ‘em. I think they’re stupid. Neither of my parents worked regular jobs and I loved that. They were home more with us. And it made us a closer family. On kids. Maybe I’ll have a baby or two one day, but I’m in no rush. And even then I’m not sure kids are in my cards, ever. And this is all just a taster. I’m sorry Anthony. Really, really sorry. But it really isn’t me you want.”

            “Please don’t leave me! Please, please don’t leave me!”
            Anthony had nearly thrown her off balance as he grabbed onto her wrist pulling her closer.
            Pity welling up, she stroked his hair, trying to calm him a little.
            “I’m so, so sorry, Anthony.”

            Tugging her hand out of his grasp, Layla turned from him walking off.
            Not having the will to fight her any longer, Anthony’s shoulders slumped, knees wet from the moist grass beneath him.
            Knowing more than seeing his dejection, every step Layla took was fresh torture for her. Until she finally realized she hadn’t said what needed to be said most.

            Turning to see him still kneeling, eyes closed made her hate herself further. Steeling herself for the possibility a new onslaught of tender declarations from him she hesitantly walked back.

            He made no response to his softly spoken name.
            “Anthony,” she sighed. “Anthony please you’ve got to understand that it was never me you fell for. It was only the idea of a girl like me. You’re such an amazing sim. And maybe, maybe one day you’ll wake up and you’ll find you’ve moved on. And there is another sim much more wonderful than I am standing in front of you waiting. Maybe she’s been waiting for me to make way for her all along. You’re going to find someone so much better than I am one day. I can only hope that when that sim shows up you’ll look past your memory of me.”

            Pausing for a moment to take a breath, Layla carefully thought through everything she could to make sure she said the right words to east his grieving.
            “I’ll always regret that I couldn’t be the person you needed me to be, but it’s time for you to forget me. It’s time for you to start your life without me by your side. And I’ll even bet that you’ll be spectacular at it.”
            Feeling his shoulders begin to shake beneath her hands, Layla stopped speaking.

            Tears finally slipped beneath Anthony’s closed lids as she turned to walk away.
            One step farther away from him.
            The next step her resolve strengthened.
            Another step for Cyrus, whom she was determined to find.
            And each step she took was heavier, harder and more freeing.
            One day, she hoped to wake up and find her own regret dissolved and forgotten. One day…

End Generation 1.

Bonobo- Stay the Same Feat. Andreya Triana

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            All hail the conquering Heeero!!!!! DA daduduDa duduDA! I finished the first generation! Finally! I got WAY too into the story. Teehee.
            Alrighty, some wonderful wrap up notes:
            Anthony was begging Layla with the lyrics to “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. (here) Written, of course, by Eric Clapton to his (then) unrequited love Pattie Boyd. If you look at a history of the song, it was heavily influenced by the tale “Layla and Majnun” a story of Persian origin recounting the story of Layla, a Moon Princess, and Majnun, who was in love with her. However, Layla’s father gave her in marriage to another man and Majnun eventually went insane pining over her. So I believe there's plenty of justification for breaking into song with her name. lol.

            However, Layla was not originally named for this song, and her story as a teen was not intended as a parallel. Also, originally I intended to spell her name more traditionally, Leila. But I changed it in order to use the lyrics later on a little more literally. But most importantly here, Layla’s name had very particular meaning compared to her siblings and Helen’s name. Specifically, the definition is opposite the definition of Helen, Cyrus, Phedra, and even Galen. Their names all have meanings related to “light,” Layla (i.e. Leila) means “Dark as Night.” 
            Curious over Generation 2 yet?

            MwuaHahahahaha! Stay tuned. ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chapter 1.45

Chapter 1.45- Advice

Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There- my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all- to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
William Shakespeare- Hamlet

            Galen’s birthday party still went on, sims dancing, singing, laughter ringing above the persistent drive of a booming bass as Layla slipped away to the relative peace of her room. It was still noisy of course, but at least Layla felt like she could move, like she could breathe in the sanctuary that was her room.
            Having a party at all unnerved Helen a little as well. Watching the mess accumulating, having strange sims in her house put her on a knives edge, and she sympathized with her daughter. After all, it was her birthday too.
            So Helen followed Layla wanting to make sure she was alright. And with a few other questions that needed airing for a mother’s peace of mind.
            “Have you finally made up your mind where you’re going to go?”

            For weeks Layla had been on a seesaw driving Helen, Buck, and Phedra crazy with decisions that lasted only 5 minutes before she’d rush back to one of them declaring that she couldn’t do what she had first proposed and now had another destination in mind, another path to attempt.
            Some days she wanted to go island hopping, other days she wanted to visit and see the jungles and archipelagoes of the southern wilds. When Phedra had heard of her indecision she had invited Layla to visit her in the Bush and Layla threw it into the mix with everywhere else she wanted to see along with the frigid plains and tundra of the far North.

            Finally, the day before, Layla had went out for a very long time intending to do some thinking. She had left very shortly after breakfast and hadn’t been home when the family had finally retired for the night. No one had worried much though. Layla was more at home outside than in.
            “I think I did finally come to a decision,” Layla told Helen, confidence making her voice strong. “While I was thinking I realized that a lot of my indecision isn’t really a want to see it all. It’s more of a I just don’t know where to go. I don’t think I really want to travel the way Phedra wants to travel, I just don’t want to be here.”
            Helen nodded in surprise. She hadn’t known that Layla felt so strongly against the town, her birthplace. She just assumed that she had felt the pull of the outside world, as Phedra had.

            “And being outside really helped me come to realize what I want most,” continued Layla. “What I want most is another outside to explore, but with a home to go to.”
            Helen smiled as she thought she could see where this was heading.
            “So I’m going to take up Uncle Trigger’s offer to move to their town.”
            “Have you told Daddy yet?”
        “Not yet,” Layla shook her head. “I figured I’d call Uncle Trigger to tell him of my plans myself with Daddy on the line at the same time. That way I can actually talk to him a little of what I think I’ll need for my house.”
            Tenderly, Helen smiled at her baby girl. “I think that’s a wise idea.”

            “But now I’ve heard your plans a little more clearly I have a few things to say to you,” Helen added soberly. “Don’t go too wild when you’re finally on your own. People can judge awfully hard on young ladies living on their own in a new town.”
            “Mom?” said Layla. “Mom do you really think I’m going to be throwing wild parties?”
            “I’m not just talking about parties. I’m talking about men. I’m talking about shopping. I’m talking about my daughter acting responsibly. You’ve never had to pay the bills. You’ve never kept up with a car. That’s all on you when you’re out there.”

            “Even what you eat when you first get there,” Helen continued. “People are going to be watching. And you’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but you’ve always eaten at home. I don’t want you to start eating because you’re lonely. Or because it’s all more than you can handle and you’re stressed. There are healthier ways of dealing with that than with food. I’m always just a phone call away. So is your dad.”
            “I really don’t think I’m going to turn to food-

            “-You never know.”

            “Don’t forget to be generous to strangers. You never know when you’ll need something in return.”
            “Have I ever been stingy? Geez, where is this coming from?”
            “And being generous is not just a tangible thing. You’ve got to talk to people Laydee. Be a Lady. Don’t close yourself off. You’re just depriving the world of a chance to get to know you. And in turn you close yourself off from meeting some very interesting people.”

            “Don’t forget to check the locks on your doors and windows every night before you go to bed, and each time before you leave the house. We want you to be safe.”
            “Mom, this is nice and all, but-“
            “And check around the outside of your house at least once a day to make sure there’s nothing suspicious going on.”

            “When you move in and the neighbors come over to visit, be sure to write their names down. Then you can run a background check later.”
            “Do you do that?”
            “Don’t put all your information online either. There are people in there that are out to get you.”
            “The internet isn’t something you go “in” Mom. We’ve been over this before. It’s not a real place.”
            “And above all sweetheart, don’t forget to be sweet. I’d hate for city living to turn you all sour.”

            “Ok,” Layla was astounded by some of the ‘advice’ she was getting. “Ok, I get that I should stay far away from the nacho bar when I’m having a bad day but I got a little lost somewhere between ‘sleep with one eye open’ and ‘love thy neighbor.’”
            “Just be you. The best you you can be.”
            “That should be pretty easy,” sighed Layla. “I have no plans on being anyone else, that’s for sure.”

            “Perfect! I’m glad you know that,” Helen beamed. “But don’t forget that sometimes people will want to talk to you and ask your opinion. When they do you should always ask yourself how would you like to take your own advice.”
            “Oh, this again.”
            “Judging others is easy, and you should remember that others will judge you just the same.”

            “I feel like I’m forgetting to tell you something…”
            “Maybe you need to tell me how the clothes don’t make the man?” Layla was being completely sarcastic.
            “Yes! I believe that was one of the things I wanted to tell you. I don’t care how expensive someone’s clothes are, or how nice they look it’s not a reflection of how they are inside. Get to know them before you decide if they’re really as nice as they dress.”

            “And finally, my love,” Helen bent down to better be on her daughters eye level. “Don’t ever give simply to expect something in return. The same goes in reverse. If someone gives you something, you should expect to return it.”
            “That makes absolutely no sense.”
            “Yes, it does,” Helen blinked. “It’s that old saying ‘Neither borrower nor lender be.’”
            “But you said- what you said was-“ spluttered Layla. “Never mind. You’re right.”

            “Of course, I am,” Helen was smiling again. “And then for a few final words for me darling daughter before she ages up and leaves me behind.”
            “I’m not leaving you behind.”
            But Helen simply raised her eyebrows and plowed on. “I want grandbabies from you.”
            “Whoa, now!”
            “You need to let someone in. And you need to know what love is really like.”

            “If it wasn’t for your dad I would never have known love myself. And it changed me Laydee, really changed me. And I’m not saying it will change you but your life will be so much richer for it.”
            Frowning, Layla thinks of Anthony for a moment. Anthony would love for her to love him.
            “It’s a many splendored thing for sure. And I want you to know it. But I also want you to know what it really is. There’s a lot of imitators out there that will leave you cold and dark. Don’t confuse those with the real thing. You’ll know when it’s love.”

            “And speaking of your dad,” Helen’s face was more solemn, her tone less light. “Baby we’re getting old as I’m quite sure you’re aware.”
            Layla nodded as her curiosity was again roused.  
            “You are going to be moving half a world away from us to start a new life for yourself. And we’re so excited that you are doing what makes you happy.”

            “That being said there is going to come a time when your dad, or myself, will become sick, or will get hurt, or something else altogether and you will hear it from Galen.”
            Heart sinking, Layla wasn’t sure she wanted to hear this. Anytime she’d thought about her parents dying without her there she’d nearly brought herself to tears.
            “When you do get the news do your Daddy and I a favor and don’t rush back here. Please.”

            “When that time comes there is no need to rush. There will be no need for anyone’s intervention. It’ll just make it harder on everyone involved. Do you understand?”
            Slowly, heavily, Layla nodded, frowning.  She hated to think that this would be one of the last times she might see her mother. But she also understood. And then she understood why her mother thought she had to rush to give her all this unneeded advice. She was trying to make sure Layla had it. Layla was a terrible socialite and with her activities she might never call, and simply forget to ever actually answer when her parents called. You just never knew when it would be the last time you’d see someone.
            “Alright then,” Helen nodded.
            “SHE SAID YES!!!!!” Galen’s voice rang through the room over the noise of the crowd in the living room, interrupting the serious moment.
            “Hmmm, seems he went ahead and proposed tonight then.” Helen chucked.
            Layla just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

            “Laydee bug, we’re so proud of you, your Dad and I,” Helen went on as though her son got engaged every day. As though this conversation with Layla was more important. “So very proud that you’re doing what makes you happy. I’m just sorry I didn’t know sooner that you were uncomfortable in this town. Maybe there would have been other opportunities we could have given you a long time ago to go elsewhere.
            “But this is now. And right now I’m so excited to see you try your wings like Phedra did. And different from Phedra, too. Be happy Laydee, and you can never let us down.”
            Blushing a little Layla looked down, just as a familiar feeling started in her stomach.

            Seeing the sparkles start to envelop her daughter, Helen stood aside to give Layla more growing room.

            She’s taller! Her hair is pulled off of her face. She’s about to leave her old life behind.

            Layla Sixkiller is ready to take on the world.

            “Very lovely, dear,” Helen says quietly. “I’m going to go and check on Galen now. Happy Birthday, darling.”
            Turning away, Helen left the room, gently closing the door behind her as she entered the swirling party beyond.

            With only one more loose end to tie up Layla finds herself a little sad about leaving her home. Not the town, no, just the small house she grew up in.
            And since she had finally been allowed to redecorate the room to her liking it had become even more endearing.
            Hopefully, wherever she ends up, she can find a place to make a new home. After all, isn’t that where her heart is supposed to be?

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            I totally should have given Layla freckles. If this looks wierd, I'm sorry. I hit publish while I was still revising and editing html by hand and just decided to leave it up as it's almost time to take my son to Speech and Physical Therapy sessions. So, please, be kind if there are any horrible typos and tell me immediately so I can erradicate them!
            There is a better pic of Layla without the awful full moon lighting under the Generational Goals tab up top. The only reason Galen and his party didn’t look that bad was the moon hadn’t risen yet and so the lighting was nice and normal.
            At every high school I attended, inevitably, someone would want to do a production of Hamlet. I was cast as Polonius every time I auditioned. And so though I know most people just dismiss him as a bumbling fool I kinda love him. Obviously, Helen’s advice to Layla was heavily patterned on Polonius’ most famous speech from Act I. Buck probably would have fit the speaker better, but he was really enjoying the party so I had Helen do it instead.
            Also! Bloopers from the party are up. There are two.