Ryman Legacy Chapter 12E

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Slide 1: 

The Ryman Legacy Chapter 12E By Mzyra Matchmaking

Slide 2: 

Jose looked at his mother hesitantly, worried that rehearing everything might have reminded her how angry she probably should have been with him. “I’m really, really sorry Mum. I didn’t really realise or think…” Mia just gave him a tired smile, “I know. The important thing is that you’re safe and that you never, ever, ever do it again.”

Slide 3: 

“I won’t,” he promised as Mia pulled him into a tight hug. “Good. We all missed you a lot.” “But at least you know now that you’re not the cause of all the drama around here,” Lyle said with a wry smile.

Slide 4: 

“Yeah,” Jose said, re-remembering everything he’d just been told. “You seriously punched Ivan in the middle of a family party?!” Lyle gave an anxious laugh, “Yeeeah…” “Pretty much everyone seems to think he deserved it though,” Liv added. “Well yeah, if he knew Lyle and Roxanne are together – and he must have done, everyone knows.” Lyle just gave a half-shrug; it was clearly still bothering him.

Slide 5: 

“And what about you?” Jose asked, turning to Liv. “Your Dad’s the Mayor?” “Awesome, huh?” Liv said brightly. “I had no idea he was planning that, but that must have been why he was so busy. And he bought me this whole outfit.” “Nice,” he said, though he frowned thoughtfully. “My Dad is married to the previous Mayor, he never said anything before about her planning to retire…” “Well it’s not like you’ve been around much to tell,” Lyle pointed out. “True…”

Slide 6: 

“Hey Liv, you didn’t tell me about Briney,” Jose suddenly remembered. “Hm? Oh, well, it’s not really my thing to tell. And we don’t really understand it either – he has weird time-manipulation powers that he probably got from whoever his biological parents were.” Jose’s mouth dropped open and he wanted to protest that that was impossible, but then he remembered that he’d seen Briney appear out of thin air. And that both his Dad and Step-Dad were zombies. And his best friend was a vampire. Frankly he wasn’t certain that anything was impossible anymore. “Oh. Okay. Sure.”

Slide 7: 

“It’s getting late Lyle,” Mia said. “If you’re going to grow up tonight you’d better get started.” “Yeah,” Lyle agreed, smiling nervously. “I can’t believe we’re all old enough for Lyle to be an adult,” Jose said. “This is really, really weird. I swear we were kids just the other day.” “I already had to convince you about Mum,” Liv sighed, “don’t make me go through that all over again!” “Come on, let’s go inside and get this over with…” Lyle said shakily.

Slide 8: 

So finally the Rymans and their many extended relatives gathered around in the lounge to see Lyle become an adult, though a number of them spent a good amount of time looking at Jose instead. He tried to ignore it, and the guilt it was making him feel. There wasn’t much he could do about it now anyway.

Slide 9: 

As for Lyle, he didn’t mind people being a bit distracted, he was just happy to have his little brother back and the family all together again for his birthday. And then, of course, there were all the things he had to look forward to as an adult…

Slide 10: 

Like embarrassing clothes. “Why would anybody even bother to make a shirt this short?” he wondered aloud. “It’s a clothes manufacturer’s conspiracy,” Juan theorised with a smile, “they create terrible outfits that people can grow into so they have to go out and buy something else that they’ll be willing to be seen in public in.” “…If that were true it would be ingenious. And working – I’m going to find something else to wear. Be right back!”

Slide 11: 

A few moments later Lyle was back with a whole new outfit. There wasn’t as much green as he would have liked before, but he guessed that could just signify his being an adult now. And speaking of which, there was just one person he wanted to see now…

Slide 12: 

“I guess this is better than the last party we went to, huh?” “Pretty hard for it not to be,” Roxanne said with a small smile. “I promise that won’t happen again. Well, unless you want or need your honour defending. I can do that.” Roxanne just shook her head at him, but was smiling still. “I don’t suppose you feel like spending the night, do you? I can cook breakfast for us in the morning.” “I guess I do have yet to sample your cooking skills…” “I wonder what to cook…?” Lyle asked with a wide smile.

Slide 13: 

“I really should have seen this coming, shouldn’t I?” Roxanne laughed the next morning. “Would you have preferred something else?” Lyle asked, half-seriously. Roxanne sighed, “You know I wouldn’t, but my mothers always insisted that grilled cheese sandwiches were not a breakfast meal.” “Hey, we’re adults, we can eat what we like. And what we like is grilled cheese, so tuck in!”

Slide 14: 

“You didn’t have to do all this though. I mean, it was your birthday…” “And if my present is the opportunity to make you happy, I’ll happily take it,” he said seriously, looking her straight in the eyes. She blushed and smiled, “You’re lovely – you know that, don’t you?” “Only if you say so.”

Slide 15: 

They sat in shy silence for a few minutes as they started eating before Lyle brought back the conversation. “So, what are your plans now then? Generally?” Roxanne looked thoughtful, “Well, given that Simfield doesn’t have much of a news media outside of what I do, I’m pretty much at the top of my career. In fact, I’m a little bit at a loss of things to do at the minute,” she admitted. “Oh. That can’t be much fun.” “Not really.” “I can think of one thing you could do though…” “What’s that?”

Slide 16: 

“Marry me?” Lyle asked, putting the velvet box on the table nervously. “Oh my god!” she squealed slightly. “I know I only just grew up and it’s been a while, but…”

Slide 17: 

“Lyle,” she said sternly, then picked up the box and took a look at the ring inside, which sparkled in the light, while Lyle looked on, trying not to shake with the nerves. “There is nothing I would like more than to marry you.” “G-great! Amazing! Fantastic!” he struggled for another word in his vocabulary to express his feelings. “…Yay!” Roxanne laughed at his adorably nervous excitement.

Slide 18: 

She slipped the ring onto her finger and watched it continue to sparkle as she caressed the back of his hand. “I think you’ll make a great husband, Lyle Ryman.” “And you an amazing wife,” he agreed. They sat quietly and happily for a few minutes, just holding hands, even while their sandwiches got cold. “We should probably finish up here,” Lyle finally thought out loud with a laugh. “I expect my family is eavesdropping outside the door and the suspense is killing them.”

Slide 19: 

And so later that day (because who needs months of planning when the whole family lives within an hour of each other?) the wedding was all set up. They’d been very lucky with the weather too, as Roxanne basked in the Sun while they waited for all the guests to arrive. “You look beautiful, Rox,” Lyle smiled at his soon-to-be-wife. “I hope so, because there’s not much we can do about it now!” she replied nervously.

Slide 20: 

They had a large audience with both of their families too. Roxanne’s family wasn’t that big since she only had one sibling and one aunt and uncle, where Lyle had two siblings and four sets of aunts and uncles and many more cousins, but it was still a sizeable crowd and subsequently one of the biggest weddings Simfield had ever seen. Luckily the Rymans lived on a lot far bigger than they had ever needed and could cater for them all. And so the ceremony started…

Slide 21: 

Lying here with you, Listening to the rain,Smiling just to see, The smile upon your face,These are the moments, I thank God that I'm alive,These are the moments, I'll remember all my life,I found all I've waited for, And I could not ask for more.

Slide 22: 

Looking in your eyes,Seeing all I need,Everything you are, Is everything to me,These are the moments, I know heaven must exist,These are the moments, I know all I need is this,I have all I've waited for,And I could not ask for more.

Slide 23: 

I could not ask for more than this time together,I could not ask for more than this time with you,Every prayer has been answered,Every dream I have's come true,Yeah right here in this moment, Is right where I'm meant to be,Here with you, Here with me. . .

Slide 24: 

These are the moments, I thank God that I'm alive,These are the moments, I'll remember all my life,I've got all I've waited for,And I could not ask for more. . .

Slide 25: 

I could not ask for more than this time together,I could not ask for more than this time with you,Every prayer has been answered,Every dream I have's come true,And right here in this moment, Is right where I'm meant to be,Here with you, Here with me. . .

Slide 26: 

I could not ask for more than the love you give me,Cause it's all I've waited for . . .And I could not ask for more,I could not ask for more. I Could Not Ask For More – Edwin McCain And so Lyle Ryman and Roxanne Raymond, rather than becoming Raymonds or Rymans, became Lyle and Roxanne Harris, after Lyle’s father.

Slide 27: 

This being the union of two grilled cheese sims, there were a few special provisions for the guests. Most stuck with cake, but the others were happy to finish the table off.

Slide 28: 

There was socialising to be done, as well as eating though. “Ah, Lyle, I’ve been meaning to talk to you!” “What can I do for you Mrs Raymond?” Lyle was still a little nervous around his new mothers-in-law. “Well Brandi and I were wondering where you and Roxanne were planning to live now that you’re married? Your parents obviously have a nice house, but it’s not that big and with your two younger siblings still at home, if you want to start a family you may need more space…”

Slide 29: 

“We probably would need to move out, yes,” Lyle said thoughtfully. He hadn’t planned very far ahead; he’d been too excited about growing up and getting married. “Well Billy has moved in with his wife’s family, which means that Brandi and I would have quite a large house all to ourselves and not much to do with it if Roxanne leaves… Whereas if you live with us we can help with the childcare if and when you get to that. There’s plenty of space for a family if you want it,” May said hopefully.

Slide 30: 

“Wow, that could be a good idea, if you’re really okay with it.” “Oh, we definitely are,” May said eagerly. She may have been far from a family sim, but everybody loved grandbabies. “I should talk to my parents first, but they should be fine with it and I expect Roxy would love to stay at home.” “Fantastic! Let us know,” May smiled brightly.

Slide 31: 

Regrettably the wedding had to end eventually and so the many guests trailed off the lot in a large group, and left the slightly expanded family to it.

Slide 32: 

“Congratulations Lyle,” Liv said emotionally after the guests were gone. “I’m so happy for you!” “Thanks sis. I’m sure you’ll get all this, if you want it, one day too,” he said happily. “It’s so weird that my big brother is married!” “You tease me when I say stuff like that,” Jose pointed out as he approached. “That’s because you’re silly,” Liv sniffed as she and Lyle broke apart.

Slide 33: 

“Congratulations Lyle,” Jose agreed anyway, giving his brother more of a ‘guy-ish’ hug. “I also find it extremely weird that you’re married already, but we’ve already established how weird I find everything now,” he sighed. “You should have stayed at home and enjoyed our youth while you could, bro. From the sounds of it, I’m not going to be at home much longer anyway.” “You’re moving out already?” “Probably. But don’t worry Jose – it’ll be your turn to get married next!” Lyle laughed as Jose choked in surprise.

Slide 34: 

“Congratulations Lyle, it was a great wedding. And I should know; I’ve had several…” “Er, thanks Mum. Um, anyway, I was talking to Roxanne’s Mum and she was saying that, er, maybe me and Roxanne should go move in with them? ‘Cause they’ve got loads of space and not much else to do…” “Is that what you want, Lyle?” “Er, well, obviously I’ll miss all you guys if I move out, but the house isn’t that big and I was thinking that maybe me and Roxanne might start having kids quickly-”

Slide 35: 

Mia laughed, “Lyle, obviously I’m going to miss having you around the house and it’s hard for nearly every mother when their babies start to leave home, but you won’t be far away and we can visit each other: it’ll be fine,” she smiled. “And obviously, whatever is getting me grandchildren is going to make me happy.” “Really? Thanks Mum.” Lyle said, relieved. “Yeah, just wait until your father gets back from work before you go anywhere, he’ll want to say goodbye and everything.”

Slide 36: 

Meanwhile Jose and Liv got to know their new sister-in-law a little better. “So if you’re here, getting married, what if there’s an urgent news report? Who covers for you?” Jose asked her curiously. “Oh, there’s always somebody more junior around to cover if they have to. Reading the news isn’t that hard, it’s just difficult to do really well and takes a lot of experience.” “What if you get pregnant? Will they let you keep doing it?” Liv asked seemingly innocently. “Er, um, well, if- if I’m willing and able I’m sure they’d let me continue…” she stammered.

Slide 37: 

Luckily Lyle rescued her from further questions down that path. “You know, I’ve practically been ordered by both of our mothers to start giving them grandchildren straight away?” Lyle asked with a shy smile. “It wouldn’t really be you giving them the grandchildren; I believe I’d be the one who’d be carrying them around for some time,” she pointed out. “Oh. Would that be a problem?” Lyle asked, concerned. “Weeeell… Maybe I would take all that for you,” she said, smile widening. They had a very productive few hours.

Slide 38: 

“Dad! You’re home!” Lyle said, half-running out of the house to greet his father. “It’s just occurred to me that I completely missed out on you running to greet me as a child,” Juan said frowning. “That’s actually kind of depressing.” “Never mind about that,” Lyle said excitedly, before trying to calm himself down to be serious. “Er, I was talking to Roxanne’s Mum at the party after you left and she- she suggested that maybe me and Roxanne should move in with them? ‘Cause their other child left and they’d like to help with the grandkids and you and Mum still have Jose and Liv…” he hesitated as he saw Juan’s expression glaze over slightly.

Slide 39: 

“Right, well that sounds good. Why are you asking my permission?” “Well… you’re my Dad… And… I don’t know,” Lyle said uncertainly. “It matters to me what you think. And… I didn’t want what I do to bother you or anything…” “Lyle,” Juan said seriously, “there is no amount of time that is ever going to make up for me missing your entire childhood and there’s nothing either of us can do about it. If you’re going to be happy living somewhere else and I still get to see you a lot, I’m fine with whatever you want to do.”

Slide 40: 

Lyle gave him a small, sad smile before pulling him into a hug. “Thanks Dad, you’re the best.” “Well I wouldn’t go that far, but I try.” “Are you going to tell me to start giving you grandchildren right away too?” Lyle laughed. “Erm, I would have thought that would be down to Roxanne, but grandchildren will be very happily received, yes,” Juan smiled.

Slide 41: 

And so it was that Lyle and Roxanne moved out to live with her parents instead. Mia found it harder than she thought. “My baaaabbbbyyyy….” she sniffed. “Yeah, calm down Mum,” Lyle said nervously. “But it was surely just the other day when you were playing with that little firetruck…!” “More like almost twenty years, Mum. Who knows how you’re ever going to let Liv go…” “No. Liv is staying at home forever,” Mia said determinedly, but she let go of Lyle. “You’re going to have to visit a lot, mister. Your dear old mother won’t be able to take it.” “Don’t worry, I will.”

Slide 42: 

And then Lyle took his new wife by the hand, got in the cab and drove away. Mia was the only one that cried, but they were happy tears too. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 43: 

Life without Lyle had to continue as normal for the Rymans though. Jose and Liv still had school to go to, even if the breaks were more significant than the lessons most of the time...

Slide 44: 

“With all this drama and excitement, you haven’t told me much about what you got up to when you ran away, Jos,” Liv pointed out at lunchtime. “It wasn’t as much as you guys apparently got up to,” Jose shrugged. “It distracted you enough to forget Mum’s birthday,” Liv said, raising an eyebrow. “I don’t know, it was mostly just hanging out and having a lot of fun.” “Who with then? Was there a whole group of you, or…?” “Oh, no, it was just me and Tina. I stayed at her house, sometimes we hung out around downtown though.”

Slide 45: 

“Tina, huh? Is she the vampire woman I’ve heard so much about?” “’The vampire woman’?” Jose asked incredulously. “She’s not just some vampire – you should hear all the stuff she’s done and seen!” “Like what?” “She used to be part of this all-female-vampire crime-fighting group and they used to go around protecting helpless women and children before the police were set up – she’s still got a teddy bear that a child gave her as a thank-you present!” “Wow, that sounds pretty cool.”

Slide 46: 

“Doesn’t it?!” he said animatedly. “And that was just one story – she told me more, but she probably had more beyond even those, but she would spend so much time telling me to go to school or to go back to you guys… I mean, in retrospect, she was really, really right, but I don’t regret spending all that time with her or anything. She’s amazing.” “Uh-huh… So she lives alone in her house then?” Liv asked casually. “Yeah, it’s a small Georgian-ish place on the edge of downtown. It does have two bedrooms, but she lives alone; she said she wanted a family one day and had been planning ahead, but it hadn’t happened. She let me sleep in there after a while; she made me sleep on the sofa at first.”

Slide 47: 

“Well you did just kinda show up on her doorstep, didn’t you?” “Yeah, but she was really nice about that too. I expect anyone else would have just told me to get lost or dragged me back home to get killed by Mum, but she always wanted me to go back of my own free will so I didn’t resent everyone and everything. And I don’t, so she was probably right about that too.” “Right about a lot of things then, huh?” “Oh, yeah,” he agreed happily. “Did anybody tell you about the time she saved my life?” “As a matter of fact they didn’t,” Liv said, failing to suppress a smile.

Slide 48: 

“Well it was after she turned me back to human and so I-” Jose stopped when he saw the look on his sister’s face. “What are you smiling about so much?” “Nothing…” Liv said innocently, but grinned wider. “Liv. What is it?” “Weeell… You’re just reminding me a lot of Lyle, that’s all.” Her eyes were twinkling mischievously behind her fringe. “How? Why?” he asked suspiciously. “The way you keep talking about ‘Tina’ reminds me of how Lyle always used to talk about Roxanne all the time.”

Slide 49: 

Jose’s mouth dropped and he spluttered to respond, “What, I- No I- I don’t-” “And I vaguely recall them getting married yesterday…?” Jose continued to try, and fail, to respond. “You really like her, don’t you?” Liv’s eyes were still twinkling away happily. “Liv! She’s a- She’s a three hundred year old vampire!” “Wow, and we thought Lyle and Roxanne had an age gap!” she laughed. “She’s just a friend!” Jose insisted.

Slide 50: 

“Ohhh really?” Liv asked, quirking an eyebrow. “Yes, really.” “You run away from home for over a month and forget to come back to important events for a friend?” “…Yes?” She laughed, “Don’t worry Jose, I don’t think you’re lying.” But before he could acknowledge this, she continued and laughed “I just think you’re being a bit stupid and are in denial.” “I’m not!”

Slide 51: 

“Okay then, let’s test your feelings. Close your eyes.” “I don’t think I-” Jose started hesitantly. “Jose Ryman, you’ll either admit that you like her or you’ll close your eyes!” Liv ordered in an impressive imitation of their mother when she was angry with him. Jose sighed and acquiesced. “Right. Now picture this Tina vampire woman-” “Liv, what-?” “Do it! Got her? Good. Now picture her being with some hot Lestat-type guy.”

Slide 52: 

Jose flinched. “Ow.” “Hahaha! You like her a lot, don’t you?!” Liv said gleefully. “Does it matter that I don’t know anything about Lestat or what he’s meant to look like?” he asked, trying to ignore this. “Not really. Why, what did you picture?” “Well I didn’t really get that far-” “Jose, if the idea of her being with any man who’s not you is painful, then you clearly like her a lot more than as just a friend!”

Slide 53: 

“But- but-” he floundered, “She’s-” he tried to calm down and think straight. “Okay, maybe I have a bit of a crush on her-” Liv gave a laugh suggesting how much of an understatement she thought this was but he ignored her, “but like I said: three hundred year old vampire. What would she ever really want with me? It could only ever be a crush. And even if it weren’t for all of that, she’d still be way out of my league… We’re just friends.” “Oh Jose…” Liv sighed and shook her head.

Slide 54: 

“Maybe you’re right. I haven’t met her. Hint-hint, by the way!” she said with a smile, “But you talk about your age gap – she’s three hundred years old. Unless she comes across another vampire her age who she likes, she’s going to have a huge age gap with everybody. I expect to her the difference between somebody who’s twenty and somebody who’s forty means nothing. So unless, like I say, she meets somebody else who’s been alive for hundreds of years who she likes, or she wants to be alone forever, she’s going to have to settle for somebody a lot younger. And why not you? She certainly didn’t kick you out of her house…!” Jose looked down thoughtfully. “I guess…”

Slide 55: 

“Anyway,” he continued with a smile, deciding to turn the tables, “enough about me and my romantic interests: what about your love life, little sister?” Liv blinked and gave an innocent shrug. “I have a love life?” “No guys I have to threaten off?” “You think you could manage to threaten off any of the guys here?” she teased back. “Hey, I’m in my final year, I could scare off somebody your age!” “If you say so,” she grinned.

Slide 56: 

“There must be plenty of boys interested in you around, though,” Jose stated confidently. “Well… There’s always a bit of flirting going around. Randy London hit on me the other day, but none of it’s ever serious, it’s just teenagers being teenagers,” she shrugged. “The most serious ones tend to be the shiest in my experience,” he pointed out. “Maybe, but it’s annoying. What’s the worst that can happen by being honest?” “Getting shot down by a girl you really like in front of a load of other people who then tease you for months afterwards while you’re heartbroken?” he suggested. “Hm. See, you’ve got it easy; the girl you like is way out of high school.”

Slide 57: 

Jose smiled wryly at that. “What about you? No guys – or girls, I guess – you like?” “Guys,” she affirmed. “Um, I don’t know. I mean, I know I like guys over girls, but there’s no one particular guy who’s really caught my eye or made me feel the way everybody always says they feel. I have a lot of friends who are boys and I’ve tried picturing them with other girls but I never feel jealous, just happy for them that they’ve found somebody nice.” She sighed, “That’s why I want them to tell me – I can’t make the decision for myself and if a nice guy likes me, I can go along with that; I might feel the same way eventually.” “That’s not a very romantic view Liv,” Jose said concernedly, looking at his sister in a whole new light. She simply shrugged half-heartedly.

Slide 58: 

“Hey guys!” Briney said, appearing in front of Liv, but nodding to Jose too. “Why are you just sat over here? We’ve got a good water balloon fight going on over there, come join us!” “We were just catching up,” Liv explained. “And did you really need to freeze time just to walk over here?” “Well, maybe not, but it means I miss less of the fight. And get to spend more time with you,” he said, smiling brightly. “Come on, join in! Both of you,” he added.

Slide 59: 

Jose glanced at the mud being churned up on the field with a frown. “Er, you can if you want, Liv, I’m okay sat on the sidelines.” “No – thanks for the offer Briney – but I’m just gonna hang out with my big brother for today, before he goes and gets married and leaves me too,” she said, grinning at Jose as he panicked again. “Oh. Okay,” Briney said, trying not to look disappointed. “But hey, we were thinking about going out to grab a meal and stuff downtown later in the week. Want to come to that?” “Sure,” Liv said brightly and Briney disappeared happily back to the water balloon fight. “Now, where were we?” ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 60: 

Jose knew talking to his little sister about anything was a bad idea. He’d already invited Tina over, but, now he knew how he felt about her, he felt a million times more nervous. All of a sudden he was far more obsessive about his appearance for one thing, though that didn’t even make sense; Tina had personally picked this outfit and hairstyle – she must like it, surely? But he was still such a teenager – what if she would never see him in that way? What if she didn’t even want to see him in that way? Just assume it won’t work, he told himself. If it does: yay, and if it doesn’t, then at least you were prepared for it.

Slide 61: 

At least she showed up though. “Jose! How are you?” she asked, pulling him into a close hug that dried his throat out before he could even say anything. “I, uh, um, good,” he struggled. “You?”

Slide 62: 

“You know me, I never change. It’s a well-known tendency for anyone who’s been around as long as I have.” “Uh, okay.” Jose was struggling to keep any of his thoughts in his head for long enough to say them. They weren’t aware they were being watched…

Slide 63: 

“Aw, look at them hugging! He totally likes her. And she is even more vampiric than I would have thought! Pretty though,” Liv observed thoughtfully. “You said Jose said she was three hundred years old?” Mia checked with her. “Apparently so! I wouldn’t have guessed, except for that dress she’s wearing.” “I really don’t think we should be spying on them,” Juan said flatly. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Liv pointed out. “It just seems like an invasion of privacy to me…” “As his mother, it is definitely my business,” Mia stated. “And as his younger sister it is my very mission in life to observe and tease him!”

Slide 64: 

“I’m glad to see you haven’t been grounded forever,” Tina smiled. “How did your family take your return in the end?” “Um, not too badly, considering. I think by the time I came back my Mum was just so desperate to have me back at all that she mostly stopped being angry. Especially because, uh, I kinda forgot about and missed her birthday…” “What?! You didn’t tell me about that! I never would have let you miss that!” Tina gaped. Jose shrugged sheepishly, “I only remembered when my sister told me when I went back to school…”

Slide 65: 

“Oh Jose,” she said, shaking her head. “What are you like?” “At least I made it back for my brother’s birthday – he got married yesterday. I probably could have invited you, but, you know, daylight and all…” “Mmm. I daresay I’m not your family’s favourite person at the moment either,” she brooded, glancing up at the house. “That’s why I’m not coming inside, by the way.” Jose considered what Liv had said about wanting to meet Tina. Then he remembered how much she teased him about her – meeting his family could definitely wait. “I’m sure they’ll get over it eventually,” he smiled innocently.

Slide 66: 

“And what about school?” she said, raising a stern eyebrow, but with a small smile. “Erm, well I have tried to catch up and everything, but, uh, I did miss a lot, so… I might manage a B in the end and that’s pretty good considering, right? And it’s not like you ever went to school, right?” “That’s true,” she said reluctantly, “but that probably meant I wouldn’t have known enough to get an A+ nowadays until I was about seventy or eighty.” “Ah. So… if I become a vampire I can leave any resits for sixty years?” he joked hopefully.

Slide 67: 

She shook her head, but laughed all the same. “I guess if you’re happy it doesn’t really matter about your grades, it just makes life easier.” “You’re avoiding my becoming a vampire statement,” he pointed out. She laughed again and rolled her eyes, “Are you really still interested in that?” “Well… you’re one.” “I wasn’t given much of a choice. But I’ll tell you what; when I think you’re an adult enough to be a vampire, I’ll offer you the choice then.” “You better had.” Jose continued to smile and laugh like it was all a joke, but his mind had become deadly serious.

Slide 68: 

“Look at how much they’re laughing and joking together! They’re getting on really well…” “I wish we could see Jose’s face from here…” Mia said, biting her lip. “Ah, we don’t need to see that,” Liv said, rolling her eyes. “I saw him talking about her earlier and he’s probably looking just like that. He’s totally head-over-heels for her.” “But she’s a vampire and so much older than him…” “Mother, have you never read any vampire romance novels?” Liv said frustratedly. “That never matters in the end. It’s just all so cuuuuuute!”

Slide 69: 

“Ugh,” Juan said with disdain. “I’ve had enough of this, I’m going in the kitchen.” “Oh, tell us if there’s a better view out of the window in there!” Mia called after him. “And can I have a sandwich while you’re in there please?” Liv asked, putting on her sweetest voice. Juan sighed and rolled his eyes, but knew he wouldn’t refuse. “What do you want?” “Strawberry jam pleeease! Oh no, look – it’s starting to rain!” “I wonder how well that dress can deal with rain if it’s so old?” Mia wondered.

Slide 70: 

Tina groaned “This wasn’t in the weather forecast earlier!” “Is rain that bad?” Jose asked. “It’s not like sunlight…” “No, it’s not that bad really, but this outfit doesn’t hold up too well in the rain and it makes flying in bat form a lot harder too…” “Becoming a bat must be weird…” Jose considered. “You get used to it if you have to use it,” Tina shrugged.

Slide 71: 

“Anyway, I’d better get going before it gets any worse,” she sighed before hugging him again. “If you must,” he said with a small smile. “I’ll have to see you again soon though. It’s not long until my birthday anyway.” “Ah, can’t miss that then. Oh, but don’t assume that I’m going to give you the option of being a vampire just because you’re physically an adult. It takes more than that.” “Of course,” he agreed quietly.

Slide 72: 

Jose stood and watched her as she walked away. “when I think you’re an adult enough to be a vampire, I’ll offer you the choice then.” She saw him as a child – or a teenager, whatever – still. That wasn’t really surprising. And he was certain that he didn’t stand a chance until she actually saw him as an adult. But if she would offer him the opportunity to be a vampire as soon as she did see him like that, he would know when that possibility was. He just had to make that happen. To prove himself. Now he just had to figure out how on earth to make that happen. He watched her out of sight and then finally turned around to go back inside with a sigh.

Slide 73: 

Where he was then accosted in the lounge by Liv. “Soooo…” she started slowly with a sweet smile, before going into hyper-drive. “Did you tell her you love her? Are you engaged? Are you gonna get married? Are you gonna have cute little vampire babies that I can spoil with blood-flavoured sweets? Are they going to have to wear clothes from like the 15th century? Are you going to start saving for them to go to college now-?”

Slide 74: 

“Do the words ‘no’ and ‘slow down’ mean anything to you?” he asked tiredly. “They can…” she said with a look of thoughtful innocence, before dropping the teasing. “But really, did you tell her how you feel?” “No. I don’t plan to.” “What? But-!” “I mean, I don’t plan to yet, at least. I’m still a teenager for now, it would be weird. But when I’m an actual adult…” An actual actual adult… “You better had.”

Slide 75: 

“We’ll see,” Jose sighed and walked away to watch some TV. “She seemed nice from what we could see.” “Thanks. She is. Maybe I’ll introduce you next time.” “Oh, and Jose…?” Liv added cautiously. “What?” “…If you have a big wedding can I be a bridesmaid?” ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 76: 

“-and so Cormier – the education minister – has been fighting with him over the size of each of their budgets because they know there’s at least a few thousand left floating around, but I’m tempted to give money to whoever can give me the most for least and then push it more so there’s some cash left over. There’s no such thing as having too much money-” Rodney stopped talking abruptly as they walked into the dining hall. “Seth… Is that…?” Rodney asked cautiously. Seth zoned back in from the half-deaf trance he went into whenever Rodney started talking politics. “Hm? Oh. Yeah, that’s Winston. He said he might come by.”

Slide 77: 

“Surprised he’s talking with your daughter though. He tends not to be very sociable.” Seth observed. “Doesn’t look like he’s doing much of the talking and Liv would probably talk to the chairs themselves if she was sat alone, so that doesn’t mean much…” After a few seconds of thoughtful silence watching them, Seth interjected “Are we going to sit down or what?” “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Rodney asked, ignoring Seth’s question. “If it’s not about getting some turkey and sitting down, then no.” “Come on, I think I’ve had a brainwave.”

Slide 78: 

“Don’t you think a ‘brainwave’ sounds like some kind of stroke in your brain?” Seth wondered aloud out in the corridor. “No,” Rodney replied impatiently. “Fine, what’s your amazing idea all of a sudden then?” “Winston is single, yes?” Seth rolled his eyes derisively. “He couldn’t get a steady girlfriend if his life depended on it. He’s entirely focused on his career instead. Figures that the only member of my family who’ll talk to me anymore is the useless one…” “Yeah, that probably says something about you…” Rodney muttered under his breath.

Slide 79: 

“But he wouldn’t be averse to having a relationship?” Rodney asked, louder. “Probably not if it were easily gained and maintained,” Seth shrugged. “And the reason that he, unlike the rest of your family, will talk to you is because he pretty much hero worships you, yes? He’ll go with whatever you say?” Seth laughed, “Yeeeah. Kids are weird, huh?” “Then I see no reason why it wouldn’t work…” Rodney considered. “You can’t be suggesting what I think you’re suggesting,” Seth said sceptically. “Why not?”

Slide 80: 

“I can understand setting Winston up with somebody – it doesn’t look like he’s ever going to get a life on his own – but you say Liv is sociable, nice and the Mayor’s daughter; she’s bound to get somebody on her own.” “Oh yes? Like who?” Rodney asked irritably. Seth shrugged, “I don’t know, how should I know? Some guy at school?” “Exactly. Liv has no judgment; she’s too nice, she’ll go for whatever idiot gets to her first.” “Well, her judgment does lead her to trust the things you say, so I guess I see what you mean,” Seth smirked. “Still seems a bit over the top to me though.”

Slide 81: 

“Well that’s not even the worst case scenario,” Rodney continued, crossing his arms defensively. “If I’m not influencing her choice it doesn’t mean nobody else will.” Seth blinked at him, “Who?” “Juan f-ing Harris,” he muttered. Seth bit his knuckle, struggling very hard not to burst out laughing. “What?” asked Rodney dangerously. “Sorry, but I find how much the two of you hate each other very entertaining.” “He hates you too.”

Slide 82: 

“Yeah…” Seth sighed. “Anyway, I don’t think Harris would manipulate Liv like that. I mean, he hasn’t even told his family any of the stuff he knows about you and I’m sure it’s not to save your feelings.” “Thinking he won’t isn’t good enough. If Liv marries somebody who hates me too – whether Harris organises it or not – then between him and Harris they’ll turn her against me.” “Um, from the point of view of somebody who’s been disowned by practically their whole family: big deal?” “Seth. I am not losing my only child to Juan. F-ing. Harris.” Seth suppressed the laugh again. “Now are you in on this or not?”

Slide 83: 

Seth gave a happy half-shrug, “Sure, why not? Doesn’t look like I’ll get grandkids out of Winston otherwise, so I’m not complaining. And if Winston doesn’t hate me he probably won’t hate you either anyway.” Seth struggled to stop himself laughing again while Rodney glared at him. “Sorry, but you are hilarious when you’re insecure.” Rodney’s glare turned even colder. “F--- you. Now come on, we have work to do.”

Slide 84: 

“Sorry I’m late Liv – so much work to be done,” Rodney said as the two men sat down. “s’okay,” she managed to mumble through a mouthful of salad. Rodney managed to steal a sideways glance at Seth’s son as he pulled his chair in. It was hardly a fantastic prospect – especially in comparison to what he’d seen of Seth’s daughters – but if there was one thing Rodney prized above all else, it was loyalty. And, if Winston was loyal to Seth and Rodney himself had Seth under control, then Winston would be better than anyone else.

Slide 85: 

“Have you met my colleague, Seth Jayapalan?” Rodney asked, as Seth gave him a slightly panicked glance. But Liv just shook her head earnestly and swallowed before talking to him. “Hi, I’m Liv Ryman. You work with my Dad?” “Er, yeah,” he said slightly awkwardly. “This is my son you’ve been talking to, by the way. Winston’s an oceanographer,” he said, frowning a little. “That sounds interesting,” Liv said politely. Winston looked up from his turkey and gave a half-shrug, “It’s interesting and pays well.”

Slide 86: 

There were a few moments of silence after that. Winston was clearly a bit of a conversation killer. “Have you been thinking at all about what you’re going to do after you leave school, Liv?” Rodney managed to revive. “Erm, not really,” she admitted. “You’ll need money from somewhere in order to live well,” he said pointedly. “Maybe I could get a job here?” she asked. Rodney and Seth glanced at each other, panicking again. “I don’t really think politics would be your kind of thing, Liv. It can be pretty brutal sometimes.”

Slide 87: 

“If it doesn’t matter to you about what career you have, you should try oceanography,” Winston threw in casually. “I’m not even at the top yet and I’m earning more money than I know what to do with. I could buy a bigger house, but there’s not much point.” “You could use a bigger house for parties, or family,” Seth said, trying to mask his irritation. “I guess,” Winston said. “I always thought throwing parties and things were for the wife though. The husband earns the money and heads the household, the wife spends the money and does the necessary socialising.”

Slide 88: 

“Then why don’t you buy a bigger house and find a wife?” Seth asked tersely. Winston shrugged yet again. “I’m young. And I haven’t met anyone yet. I have plenty of time.” “Yeah, ‘cause you’re such a catch,” Seth muttered under his breath, but Winston didn’t hear. “It’s harder to find the right person than you would think,” Liv agreed. “There are lots of boys at school, but still…”

Slide 89: 

“That’s probably because teenage boys are so immature, Liv,” Rodney said, trying to regain control of the conversation and steer it somewhere useful. “It’ll probably take a young man a few years of hard work and adulthood before he’ll be mature enough for you. And by that point he’d probably have a good amount of money and a house too, and then you’ll be set for life and do as much socialising as you like.” He wondered how much more obvious he could be before it was too much. Although, based on what he knew of Liv and Winston, he would probably be safe even if he put up a sign saying ‘YOU SHOULD BE TOGETHER’ in flashing lights.

Slide 90: 

“You’re more on the social front, huh?” Seth asked her, though he already knew the answer. “Oh, there’s not much better to do than talking to friends and family, or even strangers who then become friends-” “Networking, essentially,” Rodney said contentedly. “Some people are better at it than others. Of course you could get a job that involves that, Liv, but then you might have to manipulate your acquaintances and I know you’d hate that. Whereas if you found a rich man, you could just network for him. It would be easy for you.” “’Finding a rich man’ is easier said than done, Dad,” Liv said shyly.

Slide 91: 

“I’m sure you’ll manage it,” Rodney said confidently before standing up. “Anyway, we have to get back to work.” “But you haven’t eaten anything, Dad.” Seth was giving him a mutinous look, apparently thinking the same thing. “We ate earlier, but I knew you were coming by, so we took some time out. And now we have to get back to work,” he said, giving Seth a stern look, who then rolled his eyes and got up grumpily. “Nice to meet you Winston. I expect we’ll meet again another time.”

Slide 92: 

“So what subjects are you studying?” they heard Winston ask Liv as they left, and she started what sounded like a very long and detailed answer. Rodney was ecstatic at just how easy that had been. Barring outside interference, that may have been enough to win Liv over forever. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 93: 

“It’s good to see you, Lyle, but… I wasn’t expecting to see you back quite so soon,” Juan said with a slightly puzzled look. “Why, have you turned my room into a games room or something?” “No, just surprised you’re able to tear yourself away from Roxanne already.” “Oh, well I wasn’t given much of a choice. I’d do some more work, but I’m a primary school teacher and it’s the weekend, so… And as for being at home: Roxanne is pregnant.”

Slide 94: 

“…I want to say congratulations…?” Juan said cautiously. “Well you can,” Lyle shrugged, “I am really happy about it, but as the only guy it’s like I’m being kicked out of the house because the women have to do their pregnancy thing.” “Ah. Well, I’ve never lived with a woman who I’ve been aware was pregnant, but I’m told that you probably shouldn’t argue with them. Hormones and things, you know. And mothers-in-law are meant to be pretty fearsome too, but I’ve never dealt with one of those either, never mind two.”

Slide 95: 

“Well I wouldn’t mind, except it doesn’t even make any sense; Brandi and Roxanne adopted their children, neither of them have been pregnant or had younger siblings – at least I can remember when Mum was pregnant with Liv! Not that I helped much since I was only a kid, but it’s something, isn’t it?” “Hmm. You could still be around, but I wouldn’t rain on their parade; they’re probably just living through her. We parents have a tendency to do that with our children.” “You need to learn to stop then,” Lyle teased. “No, you’ll have fun doing it one day too,” he smiled. “Anyway, come in – Liv’s gone out for the day, so you’ll be spared quite so much child-talk for today.”

Slide 96: 

In fact, somebody wanted to consult Lyle on something else entirely. “Lyle? How come Roxanne agreed to go out with you?” “Gee thanks, Jose. Maybe you should have told her you thought she could have done better before we got married,” Lyle laughed incredulously. “I don’t mean that she shouldn’t have done, but… you were quite a bit younger than her, but… how come it didn’t bother her?” “Jose? What’s this about? Ah, is this that woman you ran off to before?” Jose looked away. “I really like her, but I don’t see how I’m ever going to get her to see me as anything other than some stupid kid. What did you do?”

Slide 97: 

“Um… I’m not really sure, to be honest. I’m not certain Roxy sees me as a proper adult even now, but probably only because she doesn’t really see herself that way either. All I did was go up to her and ask her out,” he shrugged. “But she said yes.” “Yeah, but even then I think it was mostly out of pity really. Her friends – and mine – all seemed to think I was too young, but I think she respected the fact that I had been brave enough to ask and she already knew I was a nice guy generally. Then we had the date and discovered we had loads in common. It can’t really hurt to ask, I think.”

Slide 98: 

“But what if you get that far and then you discover that you don’t have loads in common?” “Then aren’t you glad you found out before you got too attached?” Lyle suggested. “Besides, you’ve spent loads of time with her already, you’re unlikely to discover anything new and substantial, aren’t you?” “But what if I ask and… she laughs? Or gives me one of those really pitying looks because she thinks I’m just a kid?” “Yeah, those things could have happened to me. But they didn’t.” “But then you were only a few years apart. Me and Tina are a few hundred years apart…”

Slide 99: 

“Well I don’t know anybody who can give you advice on that, but I can give you more general advice if you want it,” Lyle sighed thoughtfully. “I think the temptation is to change yourself, Jos, but you should only change what you’re willing to change permanently. If it doesn’t make a difference then it wasn’t worth doing in the first place, and if it does make a difference then you can’t afford not to do it all the time and if it’s not natural then perhaps it’s not worth the hassle because it’s all not meant to be.” “So your advice is just to be myself?” Jose sighed at the anticlimax. “Yeah, pretty much. Sorry. I’m told women love confidence though, so being happy in who you are probably will help,” he consoled. “Love yourself – within reason – and other people will love you too. Or something.”

Slide 100: 

“Who would have thought all those cheesy bits of advice might actually be worth something?” Jose asked wryly. “Well, if they do work, tell me, because then if I become a secondary school teacher I can totally give advice to all the teenagers there too,” he said brightly. “Just be glad you’ll never have to teach cousin Wally,” Jose smirked. “I don’t know; he’s not as tough as he acts. Especially now he’s married, but if he has children… Speaking of which, I struggle to believe I have a pregnant wife, but I do, so I’d better go buy the weird stuff she was craving. Good luck with… Tina?” Jose sighed as he watched Lyle leave. ‘Be yourself.’ Great. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 101: 

“I thought you said everybody was coming for this meal and everything?” Liv asked suspiciously. “Oh, yeah, they were going to, but, you know, with uni and everything… Everyone’s just really busy right now,” Briney said innocently.

Slide 102: 

“That explains Clark, Josh and Daisy,” Liv said, unimpressed, “but not Tommy or Isabel.” “Do you really want Isabel here?” Briney asked sceptically. “Um… she can be a little… forceful,” Liv acknowledged, “but Tommy’s okay, where’s he?” “Oh, you know, really busy. He’s getting ready to go to university too, it takes a lot of preparation.”

Slide 103: 

“But you’re going at the same time as him,” Liv pointed out. “Er yeah, but you know me: all the time in the world. I’ll probably just freeze time when the taxi arrives and pack then,” he said with a laugh. “So yeah, it’s just us, so we might as well enjoy it, right?” “Everyone’s going to university but me…” she sighed sadly. “And Isabel and your brother.” “Yay.”

Slide 104: 

“I’m surprised you didn’t get your Dad to get you in now he’s Mayor. He’s bound to be able to pull some strings, right? You could probably go at the same time as Tommy and me, actually-” “I’m not really that bothered by university itself,” Liv explained, “but all of my friends are leaving me…” “We wouldn’t if we had a choice!”

Slide 105: 

“I know you guys wouldn’t, but you’re going to start living exciting lives with loads of other young people and forget about me-” “No way!” Briney interjected quickly. “We wouldn’t just forget about you. We couldn’t.” “Well no,” Liv laughed, “you won’t be able to while you can’t get me off the phone to you all.” “I’ll never get tired of your phone calls,” he said with a smile.

Slide 106: 

“Anyway,” she said for a change of subject. “How are things for you with your powers and everything.” “Not made much progress so far,” he said thoughtfully. “Stuck at the same level I was before – can stop my own aging, can stop time. Can’t stop other people aging, can’t freeze time with other people unfrozen too. I keep trying it with Tommy, but I can’t figure it out.”

Slide 107: 

“You’re going to keep trying though?” “Oh yeah, I’m not giving up at all, but I’m wondering whether I’m going to have to wait until university and do some kind of science major so I can use their equipment to mess with my DNA or whatever and figure it out.” “Don’t do anything dangerous though, Bri, it wouldn’t be worth it.” “Mmm,” he said non-committally. It’ll be worth it if it works. “What about you?”

Slide 108: 

“Errm, things are okay, but… I don’t know, I was at my Dad’s work and he started talking about all this future stuff about jobs and relationships and family and life and stuff. It’s just all so much and so scary when you think about it.” “Scary?” he asked curiously. “Well yeah! You only get one life and you have to choose the right person and do the right things ‘cause you can’t do them again- and some of us don’t have forever in which to do it,” she added.

Slide 109: 

“Well, you know,” Briney said, trying to sound calm, “if I can figure out this aging thing, I can stop you aging too. And then you can have all the time in the world too. And you can do whatever you want for as long as you want. Or… we can do whatever we want. For as long as we want.” He swallowed. “Together.”

Slide 110: 

She looked at him sadly, “Oh Briney…” “Or, you know, not together-” he said quickly. “Briney-” “Just forget I said anything,” he said, turning very red and struggling not to freeze time and run away right then. Why couldn’t he reverse time and shut himself up?!

Slide 111: 

“Look,” she insisted. “I like you – I like you as a person.” Briney winced. “It’s not that there’s anybody else, but… this whole time thing you have-” “It bothers you?” he asked, shocked out of his embarrassment. “Not in itself, I do think it’s pretty cool and has all that potential and everything, but I couldn’t live like that. Never aging while everybody else does? Watching my family members age and die while I stay young? And if I’m finding it hard watching all my friends go to university without me, how am I going to feel when they all start dying? You can’t freeze everyone’s aging Briney.”

Slide 112: 

“I might be able to,” he insisted, “I don’t know how much I could do until I try-!” “But Briney, even if you could freeze everyone, it doesn’t mean that you should. Okay, so you start out with me and you, but I couldn’t bear to lose my family or our friends. But then there’s their family and their family’s friends… Everyone’s interlinked, you can’t draw a line. And besides, I fully expect to age and, one day, die, too. I don’t need to put that off forever.” She sighed, “So basically, if I put it like this: it’s me – and aging and dying – or living forever. Which would you choose?”

Slide 113: 

They were silent for a while after that. “You know, if you change your mind-” he started. “I’ll let you know,” she sighed. “But don’t feel you have to wait. But if you’re going to change your mind, I’d make it quick; I literally can’t wait around forever. And I won’t.” There was some more silence. “This is a pretty lame way to spend my last night before I leave for university,” Briney said with false enthusiasm. “Let’s find something fun to do!”

Slide 114: 

So, rather than trying to talk anymore – since they knew that neither was going to change their mind right then – they went down onto the dance floor and danced instead.

Slide 115: 

It probably looked quite odd, the two of them slow dancing while the music thumped in the background, but they didn’t care. Briney twirled her and tried to ignore how much pain he was in. She was so, so beautiful, but she wasn’t his. He would have given almost anything for her – but not his life; he was too young. Way too young. He was in awe of the fact that aging didn’t scare her, but he couldn’t dispel his own fears, so he’d have to let her go. And pray to god that she would change her mind.

Slide 116: 

And the kiss they parted with was very bittersweet, but Briney wouldn’t have taken it back for the world. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 117: 

“This Summer: Seth Jayapalan stars as agent 009 Jack Band, alongside Lauren Brown and Jessica Despret in: You Only Die Twice.”

Slide 118: 

Mia gaped at the television in shock. “Oh my god… JUAN! Juan, come here!”

Slide 119: 

“What’s wrong?” Juan asked as he came in. “You won’t believe it – I’ve just seen Seth on TV! He’s in some film or something! How could this have happened?!” Juan frowned a little. “He’s in a film that’s been released already?” God, that was fast… What was wrong with Simmywood?

Slide 120: 

“What do you mean ‘already’? The last I heard he was in jail, for – possibly – forever! Did you know he’d been let out?” she demanded. “Well… yes. It was a little while ago now.” “AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME?! Why didn’t you tell me? Is he still in Simfield?!” “Yes…” Juan sighed. “So you mean I could have been shopping in town and come face-to-face with him with no prior warning? The man who tried to destroy my whole life?! Who killed my parents?! And you DIDN’T TELL ME?!”

Slide 121: 

“What did you expect me to say, Mia? I couldn’t stop him being released and I can’t put him back unless he does anything else; he’s been let off by somebody with more authority. All telling you about it would have done is panic you when there’s nothing either of us can do about it,” he stated flatly. “But- But he could do something-!” “Do you really think I’m not paying particularly close attention to the man who murdered me? I know what he’s doing – I have to see him most days anyway. So I’m sorry for keeping things from you, but there was no need to cause you all that unnecessary stress if you couldn’t help,” he continued, gentler.

Slide 122: 

All of Mia’s anger left her, but she had plenty of anxiety remaining. “I can’t believe they let him out of jail! What if he tries to kill you again? Or me? Or the kids! Lyle’s not even living with us – we should warn him, we don’t know what Seth’s going to do or is capable of!” “He’s been out for a while now and, like I say, I’ve seen him a lot; he doesn’t seem to want to kill me, nor anyone else. Nothing’s going to happen to us, or Lyle.” If he so much as tries, I swear to god I’ll destroy both him and Jalowitz. Jalowitz especially. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it all under control.”

Slide 123: 

“I guess you’re right,” Mia sighed, falling into his arms. “And it’s not like they’d really let him out of jail at all if he hadn’t completely changed. Nobody would be that irresponsible, right?” “Right.” I wish. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 124: 

It was past midnight when Jose finally gave up trying to sleep and decided to go downstairs and watch TV. After all, he was almost an adult – physically, at least – and then he’d be able to stay up as long as he wanted, and if he wasn’t going to be asleep anyway… He was pretty certain his mother would argue against all that pretty strongly if she came downstairs, but she was two floors up; if he kept the noise down, she need never know.

Slide 125: 

Unless there was somebody staking out the lounge. But seeing Juan sat on the sofa in the dark, in his full Captain Hero outfit – and with a beer…? – he really didn’t seem to be there in order to catch Jose misbehaving. “Juan…?” he asked tentatively. “What time is it?” was the only response Jose got, and in a very lifeless voice. “Er, quarter to one in the morning?” he estimated. “Oh. What do you want?” Jose hesitated. There was clearly something wrong here and, though he liked Juan, he was only his step-son. Maybe he ought to tell Lyle and get him to talk to Juan instead…

Slide 126: 

But Lyle had an increasing family of his own to worry about – it was about time Jose did something for himself. So he switched on the lights and drew up some courage. “I couldn’t sleep, so I was going to watch some TV for a while.” “Your mother probably wouldn’t approve.” “I know. What are you doing sat down here in the dark anyway?” Jose inquired. Juan’s eyebrow raised ever so slightly before he responded morosely again. “Thinking.” “With beer?” “I haven’t actually had any. You can have it if you want.” Okay, Jose thought, there’s definitely something wrong if I’m being allowed alcohol.

Slide 127: 

“You know, you’ve seemed kind of stressed or down ever since I came back home…” Juan shook his head slightly. “It’s nothing to do with that or you.” “Then what is it to do with?” Jose insisted. Juan sighed. “It’s just… work.” Jose eyed Juan’s uniform. “Do you have work tonight?” Juan gave a wry smile, “That’s a matter of opinion.” “O…kay…?” How was that even possible?

Slide 128: 

“But I don’t get it,” he continued. “I thought you loved your job.” “I did.” Juan said bitterly. “Then what changed? I know you got promoted, but if you like helping people and stopping crime, surely a higher position is even better?” “I have a new boss. I’m technically head of the police, but he sets the agenda.” “But… stopping crime is stopping crime, right? Surely it doesn’t matter who’s in charge?” Juan gave Jose a long and contemplative look that made him feel a little uncomfortable, before responding.

Slide 129: 

“At 1am,”Juan started, staring off into the distance, “there’s an illegal shipment coming into the harbour. Drugs, stolen goods and the like.” “And you’re going to go and stop it?” “Nope,” Juan said hollowly as Jose stared. “My wonderful new boss has an ‘invested interest’ in the whole thing. Nobody’s allowed to stop it or intervene.” “But-! But that’s-!” “Massively corrupt? Yes, I noticed. Hardly anyone else has though. Welcome to Simfield.” “But,” Jose said, thinking quickly, “I mean, if it’s just this one thing, this one time, then your job is still mostly-”

Slide 130: 

“It happens all the time; my job is worthless,” Juan said angrily. “That’s the whole reason I’m the one who has the job in the first place – I hate my boss and my boss hates me. Anybody could do this, but he knows damn well how much it gets to me, so it’s me who knows everything and suffers for it. The other day I got to rescue a cat from a tree while a gang of thugs were intimidating some influential senior citizens into an unfair agreement. Being any part of Simfield’s Law Enforcement is completely pointless with him in charge.” Jose just stared at him, speechless, for a few minutes. “Oh my god…” “Yeah.”

Slide 131: 

“Can’t you tell somebody?” “I just did; congratulations, you’re the first person I’ve told. Keep it to yourself, you don’t need the trouble,” he said with a sigh. “I’m not certain who I could tell who could do anything about it, and even if there were somebody… I can’t.” “But there must be… And if you hate it that much, can’t you quit?” “Nope. And even if I could, I couldn’t; ignorance isn’t bliss if you’re aware of the fact that you’re ignorant. I know all this is going on, so I might as well know the specifics.” “You’re going to try and stop it?” “I would, but I don’t see how…” he said thoughtfully.

Slide 132: 

Everything he’d just heard was… rather scary, it had to be said, but Jose was determined to be optimistic. Things just couldn’t be that bad in real life. “If this boss of yours is that bad, people are going to realise and he won’t be around long. He’s a new boss, right? He’ll be an old boss soon if he’s as bad as you say, and then you can get him for all the corruption and everything. Right?” “You would hope so,” Juan said, but without much hope in his voice.

Slide 133: 

“Oh, hey – I just had a thought!” Jose said as inspiration hit him – it was so obvious! “What?” Juan asked sceptically. “I know who you can tell – Liv’s dad! He’s the Mayor, right? He must be able to do something!” he said excitedly. Juan gave him an even longer look than he had before. “What? Why not?” he asked, confused. Juan just stood up with a deep breath. “I’m going to bed. Don’t stay up too late.” Jose watched him go, perplexed. What was wrong with his suggestion? ~~~~~End of Chapter 12E~~~~~

Slide 134: 

The first immediate cousin of generation 4 has now been born – Roxanne gave birth to a little boy, with skin tone three, dark blue eyes and red hair*, called Elliot Harris. Everyone in the entire family is naturally ecstatic. *[Eeeeee! Recessive genetics FTW!]

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