Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chapter 2.5-Safe Questions

          Cyrus almost couldn’t believe how much his baby sister had grown. Though he thought he could find traces of the child he’d left behind all those years ago, he was still impressed by how she’d turned out.

          She’d finally calmed down once she’d realized she was repeatedly pushing the wrong buttons on the coffee machine and he assured her that he had all evening.

          He chucked as she drank deeply from her mug, obviously appreciating the strong brew.

          “You have no idea how weird it is to see you drinking coffee,” he smiled at her. “Or to see you wearing a shirt that doesn’t cover you completely. You grew up.”

          “Well, no matter how much we wished it, time didn’t stop just because you left. It went on.”

          “Uh, and honestly?” Layla kicked herself and tried to put her bitterness aside. This was supposed to be happy. “You have no idea how weird it is that you’re here at all. Did Phedra find you?”

          Cyrus nodded as he brought his mug back down from his lips.

          “Yeah,” he said. “Phedra found me. We finally decided to make it all legal and get married at long last, including changing Liv's name. It seems like Fay was keeping an eye out on all the legal networks to see if we ever changed our paperwork. She called a few weeks ago. Told me where you were and that you were as desperate as she was to see me. So we came out to see where it was you lived.”

          “We?” Layla was surprised he’d bring Olivia with him just to see his sister. “You brought Olivia with you?”

          “No, not this time” he smiled kindly. “Three toddlers are a bit of a handful for a hotel room. I'm sure it would have ended up looking like we'd bombed it in the end.”

          “Three? Geez! Mom is going to be thrilled to know she’s a grandma! Right before I left home she was going on about how she wanted grandbabies! Though I’m surprised Arden-”

          “No,” Cyrus burst out making Layla nearly choke. “No. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Helen has no grandchildren by me. She has no rights to them. None. If you want your children to call her Grandma, that’s your deal. My children are not her grandchildren.”

          At a loss with where to take the conversation from there, Layla sipped her coffee again. She was almost afraid to take a drink for fear of another outburst. She shouldn’t have brought her mother up though. And she should have known that.

          “So will your kids at least get to meet their Aunt?”

          “Hopefully I can bring them all here soon. We'll just have to see.”

          “Triplets? Like mom was one of?”

          “No,” Cyrus’ smile finally returned somewhat. “No. Corrine is oldest. We just happened to get lucky with twins while she was still very young.”

          “I’m guessing Corrine is a girl’s name. Are the twins identical? Girls? Boys? Come on, Daddy! I shouldn’t be fishing this from you.” Leveling her gaze, Layla didn’t flinch as he finally looked up at her questioning.

          “All girls. And the twins aren’t identical, thank plumbBob. Claudia and Candice.”

          “You guys going for the seven ‘C’s then?”

          Cyrus quickly put his mug down, shaking his head at her horrible pun, smiling despite himself.

          “Oh, Layla is that the best you can come up with?”

          “Yeah, sorry.”

          “No,” he said. “No, no more kids. This is enough. We love them to death, don’t get me wrong, but it’s enough trying to handle them. And what am I going to do come prom time when they’re teens? Do you know how much those dresses cost? And what about all the weddings one day? I’m not risking another one. And just so Aunt Layla knows, Corinne will be starting school very soon. So it won't be three toddlers for too much longer. Thank the Maker.”

          “So what do you do for a living now?” Layla had been casting about in her head trying to find safe subjects. Safe questions. She didn’t want to risk him running off again.

          “Well, nothing honestly,” Cyrus smiled at her, letting her know it was okay. “I usually only stay at a job long enough to know the ropes fairly well, then I’d leave. We moved a lot. It was easier to stay hidden. Most times I took jobs for under the table pay. Construction and such. But if I’ve been found, I might as well get a good stable job. There are a few openings at the City Hall here for clerks. I think I could do that”

          “Wait a second,” surprised, Layla frowned, trying to force herself to slow down. “Are-are you saying you’re going to move here?”

          “The kids need somewhere stable to grow up,” Cyrus’s face was very serious. “I need to be able to provide them with a safe, loving place to live. To do that I’d really need a job that isn't going to dry up in a few months. And with Corrine starting school soon, it has to be soon. I don't want her in a million different schools like some of the migrant workers do to their kids. It's not fair to them an they can fall behind really easily.”

          “But why here? Why not a city with a lot more to offer?”

          “Fay made me promise to look here first.”

          “Phedra did what?”

          “Made me promise to look for a stable job and a house here first.”

          “I don’t understand why here, though,” she couldn’t  imagine what her sister’s motives could be when she herself was so far away.

          “I didn’t ask questions,” Cyrus chuckled a little bit. “You know Fay. She’s going to push until she gets her way. It was a lot of fun on the phone with her. She hasn’t changed much.”

          “But she did change. We all did. You’ve changed too.”

          “Oh, yeah,” Cyrus nodded heavily. “But, it was still so easy to talk to her. Like we’d never been apart. She still bullies and threatens me, tries to one up me. Almost every time we’ve talked, it’s been the same.”

          “So you’ve talked to her quite a bit then?”

          “Yeah, she’s called quite a bit. I was really reluctant to come here at first, truth be told. Buck’s family is here and I’d hate for someone to tell Helen where I’m at. But Phedra kept calling from that village she’s in-“

“-But that village doesn’t have a phone.” Layla broke in. “The nearest phone to her village is a long walk away.”

“Well, maybe she’s been staying in the phone village then, because I’ve talked to her a lot. The first conversation was almost an hour long. Don't think you were hard on me little girl. Phedra has you beat by a long shot. Yelled at me for half an hour, then proceeded to cuss me out for 15 minutes once I laughed at her for it. Some guy took the phone away from her at that point. I still don't think she's finished with me yet.”

For a moment, Layla felt absurdly jealous that Phedra would use her money to call Cyrus rather than her. Layla rarely heard from Phedra since she usually used her few calls to call Helen and Buck.

          “Look, you know how Fay is with keeping secrets,” reading her face, Cyrus tried to smooth things over. “It could be that she didn’t call or write because I know she wanted my showing up on your doorstep to be a surprise.”

          “It was a wonderful surprise.” The momentary lump in her throat was easily swallowed away this time.

          “It was for me too, sis.”

          Reaching over, she patted his knee, almost to reassure herself he was really there. And something clicked between the two at last.

          Finally, Cyrus really smiled at her. And then he talked. And Layla talked. And the years melted away along with the wall Layla had errected between them.

          Cyrus told her about the first few months after running away. What he and Olivia did just to survive. How they’d pretended to be older in order to get jobs, money, food, transportation to the next city to hide in.
          They'd run afoul of vampires once in Bridgeport. The only way they managed to get out of that one was Olivia finally pretending to be queen of the zombies. Seems vampires aren't too keen on having their brains eaten and are pretty defenseless when zombies don't have blood.
          He'd made light of the hardships they'd endured. How difficult they'd found it to be to get housing and work. There were allusions made to things Olivia may have had to do that still made Cyrus seethe at himself. But then, it also seemed he had developed quite a reputation as a petty thief which is why they had finally had to leave Sunset Valley in the dead of night shortly before the twins were born.
          Layla could have listened to his rather colorful stories all night if he finally hadn't told her that he was dying to hear the news from her point of view. Phedra wasn't exactly current with what was going on in the same way Layla was.

          And so she told him about Galen’s girlfriend Arden, and how she bossed him around. They were married now, the wedding had been held while she had been travelling so not one of his siblings was there. She told him about the house being broken into and how Helen had fought the burglar in her underwear. She told him what some of his old classmates were doing now. She told him about meeting Trigger and Estella and their kids. And she told him all about her travels before she had moved there.

          Finally, as the sun sank behind the hills, both siblings, turned to each other marveling at seeing the other sitting near. They probably could have talked much longer, but neither was ready to deal with anything weightier than general gossip just yet. Layla still tended to get defensive and touchy when she thought about much she'd lost because of Cyrus.

          “I’ll come by again,” Cyrus told her.

          “You’d better,” she answered.

          “I’ll bring the family.”

          “I’d expect nothing less.”

          The silence that now stretched between the two was strained again. Something broke on his face, and he looked at his lap, frowning.

          “Do you really forgive me?” At last, he’d looked back up, looking like a small child caught doing something wrong, eyes boring into hers, forehead creased.

          The lump had returned to Layla’s throat, but she didn’t dare break eye contact.

          “Cyrus, there is nothing to forgive. So long as you don’t run away again, there will never be anything to forgive.”

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


He’ll be back in the story again. And if he needs to give more details I’ll fish them out then. This was bound to be an awkward meeting between the two. There’s a lot of years between them they can never get back, and far more ground to be covered than an evening spent chatting will allow for. Plus, as he said, he was closest with Phedra. Also, Layla is a little more resentful toward him that she thought she would be. But if he can prove to her a that he really is going to stick around, it should help her reticence with him. 

A final word about Cyrus and Olivia's girls: I have Chann's custom name mod overriding SP's name list. In this mod there are 300 possible names for girls in game to randomly pop up and I have rename newborns enabled. So SP comes up with Corrine for the first girl and I went with it. When the twins were born I admit to having a total brain fart and forgetting Corrine's name. SP came up with the two 'C' initialed names on it's own and I just clicked ok since they weren't awful. It wasn't until I dragged Cyrus and Olivia back into this that I realized that they all had that initial. Whoopsie! This happened with Anthony also. His dad had Anthony, Amie, Andrew, and Adrianna all randomly chosen by SP and the name mod. I figured that there are enough people out there that do that on their own, why can't it happen occasionally here?

And there are Cyrus outtakes now from his growing up to YA on the bloopers tab. Enjoy. ;)


  1. Yay! Cyrus is staying!
    I loved hearing about what he and Olivia did to survive. Especially the queen of the zombies part, lol.
    So, I feel like there's something fishy about what is going on with Phedra. You know, that she has time/money/access to a phone when it comes to Cyrus but not so much for her other family members...
    I hope we get to hear from her again.
    I don't blame Cyrus at all for wanting Helen out of his life. But I feel bad for Buck that he won't know his grandkids.

    Oh, and, whenever I see someone type 'Thank the Maker' or something like that, I hear it in Alistair's voice, lol.

    1. Lol! Alistair! That's the first time I used it and it seemed to fit Cyrus. Now I'll just hear Alistair. Ha!

      And yes, he's not just closing out Helen, but also Buck. Simmering resentment and misplaced blame and all that mumbo jumbo. All Helen's kids blame her in one way or another. Except Galen. In that case Arden would be the one blaming her since he doesn't think without her permission.

      As to Phedra, yup! What is up indeed.

    2. Uh.. Sorry to interrupt....
      Who is Alistair? :|

    3. Meet Alistair:

    4. *giggles. Yup. I'm forever going to hear Cyrus with that accent now. Lol!

  2. Wow, lot of emotion.
    I loled at the queen of zombies thing, too. HAHA!

    Cyrus, you bitch. I would have thought by now that Cyrus could have forgiven Helen. It's sad that he won't even register that she's his mother, because she was a good mother. I know, I'd be hurt too if I found out my dad wasn't my dad, but you'd think he could forgive his own flesh and blood after this long.

    And, Phedra, you bitch. Clearly she's lying about something. Not happy.

    Phew, bitches everywhere!! :p

    I had something else to say, but I've forgotton at the moment. I'll re-read later :)

    1. In his head he's blaming Helen for the hardships he's endured. Really, he blames her for his running away too. It would probably take a lot of mellowing for him to finally see that it was his own doing.

      Ah, Phedra. Phedra hasn't changed that much in the long run. Just remember that.

      Bitches be crazy, yo. And they make life crazy too. So that's why you forgot, all them bitches up in the story. ;)

    2. Ok, sorry that 'later' took 2 days, but here goes:
      On second read, Layla was worrying about Phedra irrationally. Of course Phedra is going to spend more time on the phone to the sibling who ran away all those years ago! Think how much more they have to say to each other!
      Still, I'm pretty sure Layla was worried for a reason, and Phedra will have some dark secret. I mean, it's in the title.

      Still upset with how angry Cyrus gets just at the mention of his mother, but I'll get over it. I hope. It is upsetting that both Cyrus and Olivia are denying their daughters their grandparents, though.
      (Also, loled so hard at the 7 C's joke. Both originally, and during re-reading)

      Anyway, I didn't know you spoke gangster! I wonder how different the UK version is? I can't think of anything to translate into UK-ghetto-talk right now, and I know the US from TV.

    3. Layla is jealous. Phedra had always been attached at the hip to Cyrus (or so she thought) and when he ran away Layla was the sibling she substituted in. In the end Layla rather resents Cyrus' relationship with Phedra, past and present. She saw how Cyrus broke Phedra's heart and she's also a little scared that it might happen again. So there's a lot of emotion behind her motives for being upset with Phedra calling Cyrus instead of her. Lots of pent up... stuff.

      Cyrus has become used to a tougher, and rougher, life. One where his daily safety was in question. He's just got some very thick walls that he didn't used to have. He's not nearly so naïve or trusting any more.

      I told you about the high school I graduated from. No one spoke "Midwestern accent transfers to Nowhere, Mississippi" and it wasn't until I learned the lingo that anyone could even understand me. Actually, several kids had a lot of fun trying to teach me 'hoodspeak. They thought it was hilarious that the incredibly sheltered white girl couldn't drop her 'r's and 'g's they way they could. I bet it's somewhat universal just because of tv and radio. After all, Kanye and Snoop sell albums there as well as here.

    4. Lol, so weird that dropping 'r's and 'g's is classed as 'hoodspeak' over there. This is how I talk:
      "'I'yallritemay? Yerrimok ta, wotya do at t'weeken?"
      Incase you didn't catch that, that was: "Hi, you alright, mate? Yeah, I'm ok, ta(thanks), what did you do at the weekend?"
      And, for the area I live in, that's pretty normal, and not ghetto at all. Weird thing is, nobody in my family had the accent, they all talk how they do on TV, but I somehow sound like I've been dragged up on the streets.
      By the way, *thats* why I don't write in my accent, even though thats how all my sims talk in my head LOL! I don't dare type in another accent, either, because the ones I know best are various English ones, and I don't think Americans (who make up 99% of my readers) will know what's going on. Whereas over here, we can understand most 'accents' when written because they're all over TV. Our TV programs tend to have London English, which is about as close to Queens English as the country gets these days.

      Wow, I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess Layla has effectivly been abandoned by both Cyrus and Phedra (feel sorry for Galen, just realised he's been abandoned by all his siblings!), so I can understand her jealousy.

      And looking forward to getting to know this new rough-tough Cyrus!

    5. Yes, but Galen has Arden so he'll never truly be alone. O_o. *snort. And Layla is still very much an escapist, so no matter how she feels, she abandons everyone when she feels like she needs to get away. Phedra included.

      They drop a lot more than that, but it took me forever to even remember to drop just those two. They also drop a lot of 'T''s and slur their words and don't move their lips and barely open their jaws. When we first moved there my brother and I were fascinated by the radio since we couldn't even understand half the deejay's. For us, it was like we had moved to a different country! We'd never lived without a Target before either. So that didn't help.

      Lol! Nope, I was a bit lost at that. 'Ta' is thanks then? I'll have to remember to use that to my BIL who lives over there. Though it might shock him to death, which wouldn't be so good. Hubs' sister might just kill me for killing him with kindness. Ha!

      Ah, Cyrus. He's got a tough row to hoe coming up. Though he's not the only one.

  3. I'm glad Cyrus is staying and it was nice to hear about his kids. I feel bad for Layla though, it sounded like it hurt her to discover how much contact Phedra had had with Cyrus without telling her, especially since she's not had much contact with Phedra herself.

    1. Layla was really hurt by it. She'd really looked up to Phedra and in a lot of ways parroted and imitated her. Though she shouldn't take it quite so personally as she did. Life happens. ;)

  4. The 7 Cs? ::groan:: That's an interesting history Cyrus has, and it makes you wonder if he's going to have a harder time settling in Appaloosa Plains than he realizes. And what's up with Phedra, talking to him so much, when she only occasionally called her parents?

    I guess personal experience with my own mother makes it not so surprising that Cyrus is so bitter and adamant about not having anything to do with Helen. Helen was a good mother, but she did insist on dictating a lot of her opinions and prejudices when it came to the kids.

    But enough of that, now I want to see more of Ned and the Whistling Stranger!

    1. I had to. I had to! And yes it was awful. But it went with her silly little grin so well.

      What's up with Phedra? That's later on. ;)

      Cyrus really places a lot of the blame for the hardships he's endured on Helen, and it will most likely take a lot of time for that to wear off. And, yeah. I'm a little worried about his stability as well. But we'll just have to see what's coming.

      We'll fiddle with Ned's brain next time. lol.

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one ready to smack that boy upside the head for STILL being pissed off at his mother! Grow up! She was a good mother! And so the flip what that Buck isn't his blood father. Still upset about that one. Cyrus is acting like a baby, a toddler that pitches a fit when he doesn't get his way or figures out that the world isn't perfect. And he did NOT need to jump on Layla's case about her getting excited that Helen had grandbabies. He could've answered that in a better way. He could've said the exact same words, but he did not need to jump down her throat, especially since it's all about crap that is in no way her fault.

    K, so I think Cyrus has joined my sh*t list for now. I get that Layla's happy he's back. I'd be happy if I had a long-lost brother come back, but that doesn't mean he gets to sit and talk crap. He disappeared in a selfish way and DESTROYED the man that raised him as his own. He hurt everyone by doing that. He needs to grow up because his parents, both of them, aren't going to be around forever.

    Good chapter. Don't take any of my ranting personally. :)

    1. Yeah, Cyrus has held onto his grudge with both hands, hasn't he? Though he's always kind of resented Helen, so... It wasn't a new thing. And yeah. He didn't need to get all "Oh no you di-ent!" with Layla, but oh well. Layla won't walk on eggshells with him forever. lol.

      I never do. :) And this generation brought out a lot of raw feelings across the board, I think. lol. Yours wasn't the first rant, and probably won't be the last. The rolls for Generation 3 took this gen on a roller coaster ride and a half. :D