Generation 5 Chapters

Chapter 6.4

Liam

My Henry Puffer party was literally the worst. But what hurt more was Mom and Dad didn’t even care. It seemed like I was always by myself these days. Mom was pregnant and usually tired, so I was left to deal with Zack half the time, and Dad was always out of town, doing something. Tears dropped on my pants as I made a huge sniffling sound.

“Um…Liam?” My best friend, Kadan Vargas, walked up to me.

I felt kind of embarrassed for crying in front of him. I thought I was alone. So, I acted like I didn’t know he was there. Maybe he’d go away.

But he didn’t get the hint.

He sat down next to me and sighed. “You know it stinks having those creeps at your party.”

I nodded, watching a crab poke its head out of a tiny hole in the sand.

“But if it were me and Henry Puffer actually visited my party, I sure as heck wouldn’t be upset.”

It took a minute for my brain to process what he was saying. “Henry…Puffer?” I asked.

“Yeah. And he told off those assholes for you, too. Me and Carlee filled him in on why you left.”

I drew in my eyebrows, I was so confused. “You’re not playing a trick on me, are you? Henry Puffer. THE Henry Puffer is here.”

“Would I lie to you? Yes. THE Henry Puffer. The actor, Randall Dancliff. He’s here and he wants to meet you.”

I gave him a look. “W-Why…would he come here? To MY party?”

Kadan shrugged. “How the heck would I know? Why don’t you ask him yourself?”

My heart lurched as we both stood up and I spotted a teenager who looked a lot like Henry Puffer. But still. There’s no way it could really be him. I glared, wondering if someone was pranking me.

“Hey, Randall. I found him for you!” Kadan said, beaming like this guy was the real deal.

But then he answered, “Right, mate. Thanks a lot. Hello, there. I’m Randall…er…Henry Puffer. You must be Liam.”

I’d recognize that voice and British accent anywhere. He WAS Henry Puffer!

My heart sped so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I asked, “W-What are you doing here? I thought you lived in England!”

“No, mate, I’m actually living in Del Sol Valley, working on another movie. Your dad asked me to come out and it fit in with my schedule, so…here I am.”

“Oh my gosh…would you do me a HUGE favor? Can I have your autograph? Pretty please with magic wand sprinkles on top?”

“Of course. I happen to have a picture handy just for you.”

Swooning, I almost screamed. This was the BEST day of my life!

I couldn’t believe I was actually in the presence of THE Henry Puffer. THE Randall Dancliff. It was almost too much to take.

As he was signing, he said, “So, you want to head back to the park? I’d love to play Crossing Wands with you.”

Omg. Randall Dancliff just asked me to play Crossing Wands. I thought I was going to be sick.

“Yes, I’d like to do that! And I’ll even let you win!” Henry Puffer could never lose to a goofy kid like me.

Still scribbling, he said, “No…we play fair and square otherwise, it wouldn’t be any fun.”

When he was done, he handed the picture to me.

“Thank you so much!” I held the photo like it was made of glass and could break into a million pieces.

Next we took some pictures together. I’d remember this day forever!

I could tell he was about to head back to the park, but I didn’t want to share him with my friends just yet. I asked, “So, before crossing wands, would you like to play hide n seek?” Oh, what was I saying? Of course he wouldn’t want to do that.

“How did you know it’s my favorite game?”

And before I knew what was happening, I was hiding my eyes as I heard him shuffle off.

He was pretty bad at hiding though.

I spotted him instantly.

And he was super slow, but I had fun anyway.

Thankfully, after I’d had a great time at Crossing Wands (I beat him five times!), I said good bye to all my friends, and Aunty Elara took her monsters inside my house, leaving me alone with Randall.

We sat together and he asked me a whole bunch of questions about myself, really wanting to get to know me. I ended up blabbing about my troubles at home. How my mom and dad don’t seem to care about me. Not enough anyway.

“Look mate, I get it. Having another sibling creates a lot of stress, but I can tell you this. Your parents really love you. Why else would your dad go through the trouble of asking me to visit?”

But I knew the real reason Randall was here. My dad’s famous, and Randall is probably a big fan of my father. Dad was a superstar like a million years ago when Randall was my age. “I bet you’re disappointed my dad isn’t here, aren’t you? I’m sorry about that.”

He shrugged. “Okay, I’ll admit I came as a bit of a favor to your dad. And true, I’m an absolute fan of the Heartthrobs. I actually still have a poster of your father in my closet. When I was your age, I was a true blue Flamer…but…after spending this afternoon with you, I think you’re an amazing kid. In fact, I’d fancy another visit, if you’d wish it.”

Randall Dancliff wanted to visit me again? I thought I was going to cry. But I didn’t. I couldn’t be that lame in front of him.

When it was time for him to go, I couldn’t help it. I jumped up and gave him a hug.

He didn’t seem to mind.

And when I got back to my house, even jerk-face Dusty Murdick couldn’t annoy me.

Because Randall Dancliff, THE Henry Puffer, was my friend.

And no one could take the memory of this day away from me.

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Chapter 6.3

Liam

My friends finally came to my party and the loser Murdicks were playing on the playground at Henry Puffer Park, leaving me alone.

“Do you got any revealing spells, Kadan?” Carlee Langosta asked. Her mom had dropped her off, rolling her eyes at my hat and telling her she’d better not come home with any weird party favors because she didn’t want that crap trashing up her house. Party favors? Oops. I forgot to get any. Well, I had some extra Henry Puffer wands I could give out. But then Aunty Dom would get mad at me. She HATED Henry Puffer worse than Mom.

Brindleton Bay had built this cool Henry Puffer Park three years ago. It was kind of expensive to go, but worth it. Dad bought it out for the day. Too bad he wasn’t here like he’d promised. But most of my friends came. Well, except Destiny Hoff. I totally thought she wanted to come but I bet she was just being nice when I’d asked.

Carlee drew a card and winced.

“Bad news?” I asked, smirking. I’d already gotten enough cards to make a death spell so I was basically winning already.

Fumbling, she pulled out her imperious curse card and flipped it onto Kai Kaluah. Poor Kai. I almost laughed at her brilliance, but Kai was one of my best friends and I wouldn’t do that to him.

“That leaves you with the win, Lee Lee baby!” Mala yelled out making my face heat up one thousand degrees. Why couldn’t she go play with her jerkface brothers and leave me the heck alone?

Kai glared. “Stupid move, Carlee. Now look what you did.”

Mala was right. I produced my death spell cards and obliterated everyone.

“I win, suckers!”

*****

We’d been playing Crossing Wands for a while and it was down to me and Mala for the championship. I’d been preparing for over two months for this. I knew all the spells. Knew what would beat what. The only problem was that Mala was like a genius when it came to the game. She could somehow pull out just the right spell to defeat you. She was sooooo lucky! But I could beat her. I had to or she’d gloat for the rest of the day in her sickening sweet, clingy way.

My heart beat hard in my chest as I bowed, signaling the start of our bout.

Mala bowed as well but she looked like she was going to puke. Maybe I was gonna win after all!!!

My mind spun with all the choices. There were exactly thirty five spells to choose from and depending on what your opponent produced, it seemed like it could go a million different ways.

“Onde, dose…” we counted in our wizard speech. “CONFUSE!” I blurted.

But she said, “MUFFLE!” at the exact same time which totally defeated my spell.

“Way to go, Mala!” Carlee whooped. Girls. They always stuck together.

“Dude…you should never lead with Confuse,” my friend, Todd Monteira said. “It’s like totally cliche. You gotta be creative.”

He was right. God, how stupid could I be. So on the next round, I hollered, “Expell!” as she ranted, “Release” which did nothing to me. So I got her. We were even–one to one.

Last bout and I was sweating. This was for all the marbles.

Raising my hands, I yelled, “Incinerate!” but she countered at the same time with, “Agua!”

How did she know? The fire I cast was totally doused with that water spell.

Damn.

“Really?” Todd said. “You didn’t go for the death spell. Come on, Liam!” Todd hated girls and couldn’t stand getting beat by them. Since I was one of his best friends, he took it personally. (I really believed he liked girls but wouldn’t admit it. I liked them, too, especially Destiny Hoff, but would I ever tell him that? NO THE HELL WAY!)

“Muahahahaaa!” Mala laughed. “I’m the Queen of the Castle. Bow down to me, serfs!”

God. Why did the winner have to be Mala of all people? She was taking the win even worse than I’d expected.

“Geeze, Liam,” my best friend, Kadan, groaned. “Now we’re in for it.”

I face palmed. How stupid could I be? A death spell would have defeated a water spell, but no. I chose wrong. And now we had to kneel at her feet until she tapped on our heads, releasing us. But knowing Mala, I bet she’d make us stay like that forever.

*****

Lucky thing, though, Mala loved cake more than her win, so she tapped us immediately and said, “I’m hungry.”

I was, too. The cake and other food had been delivered. It was my favorite in the whole world–zombie brain cake. When you cut into it, it was like eating real live brains! I know. Wicked cool, right?

But when we got to the picnic table, I couldn’t believe my eyes. “What the hell, Murdicks!” I hollered.

“Heh,” Uriah laughed. “You snooze you lose, Liam.”

Kaden glared at the jerk, but he didn’t care. He was eating the last piece!

There was nothing but crumbs on the cake platter.

Dusty came over, eating probably his third piece. “There’s still some left. You don’t have to cry about it, dorkface.” They both were dressed like the evil minions in the latest Henry Puffer movie. It fit. They were villains in real life.

I sat next to the half eaten piece. They did this on purpose, trying to ruin my party. I’d had enough. I didn’t care if I got in trouble. I wasn’t going to let them get away with it.

Getting up, I hissed, “I’m gonna tell your mom and dad. You’re in trouble.” I knew Aunty Brooke and Uncle Nat didn’t know what they did. Well, they were Aunty Elara and Uncle Lord Bloodmoon today, but still.

Taking another bite of cake, Dusty whined, “Are you gonna cry now, baby? Go ahead and cry. Wah, wah, waaaah!”

I pushed him. “Don’t call me a baby!”

He pushed me back and it was all out war. I punched him then he tried to choke me.

“Boys!” Aunty Elara yelled. “Stop it this instance!”

But I didn’t want to stop. This asshole had it coming. I’d tear that pumpkin mask right off him so I could see him cry.

Finally, she broke us apart and said, “I’m disappointed in you, Liam August Sanderson-Day. I will be on the phone to your mother today. Attacking innocent boys will not be tolerated.”

Innocent? That was it. I pointed at her. “Your DEMONS aren’t innocent. They’ve totally wrecked my party!

“And they’ve been mean to me this whole time. I hate them and wish they’d drown in Brindleton Bay.”

Before she could catch me, I ducked and ran as far away from my party as I could.

I ran and ran until my lungs pinched and my legs burned.

And then my face heated up and I couldn’t help it. I cried like a baby.

Today was supposed to be so much fun. Dad and I’d planned it all out. He was supposed to be here. Not my parents’ friends babysitting me, bringing along those awful triplets.

And why didn’t Mom stay here either? Didn’t she love me? I just wanted to crawl under a rock and make everyone and everything go away.

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All Henry Puffer stuff you see is from the Henry Pufferhead Stuff Pack–a free fanmade pack by MLys. Get it here: Henry Pufferhead Stuff

I’ll be publishing the Crossing Wands Posepack set on my discord channel. You may follow along there as there will be posepacks I’ll be publishing in the future. All posepacks will be released first there. THANK YOU!

Chapter 6.2

Lexie

Oh. My. God. If I could obliterate all the mirrors in this house, I would. How did I get this freaking big? I didn’t remember ever being this huge with the other two. And I was only in my second trimester!!!

Sometimes I’d look in the mirror and wonder how I arrived at this stage in life. I mean, back before I got married, I never thought I’d be a mother of three, unemployed, overseeing two cats and a dog and just aimlessly wandering around wondering who I was half the time.

I had such big dreams of being a 3-D animator. Of one day owning my own studio or becoming a director of a huge cartoon production or directing the CGI parts of movies.

But that didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I adored my kids. And I wouldn’t trade them in for the most glamorous animation job, but sometimes, I wondered. Who was in charge of my life? I felt somehow I got steamrolled by an even bigger personality who made most of my decisions for me. And I was powerless to stop it.

*****

“Hey, sweetie! You’re looking so good! Goodness! You’re practically glowing!” Brooke gushed. Oh how I’d missed my dear friend!

“Yeah, ” I answered, “I guess you glow when you’re the size of the sun.”

“Pshaw!” she tutted then her eyes grew as she wiggled her fingers. “Can I?”

I didn’t understand what it was about the pregnant belly but everyone, including elderly strangers at Simmart, HAD to touch it. It was some kind of law.

“Go ahead,” I said, sticking out the ginormous basketball that used to be my flat stomach.

“Aww…you’re so cute!” Brooke cooed. “It’s a girl, right?”

“Yep. And it’s a good thing, too, because James threatened we were going to try for a fourth if he didn’t get his sweet little girl fix. This baby doll has literally saved our marriage,” I joked.

Brooke threw angry darts at her husband. “See? James wants more children. Why can’t you be more like…”

Nathan broke in and said, “So, Lexie, you won’t have to worry about a thing. We’ll take care of Liam and make sure his party goes off without a hitch.”

I couldn’t say I blamed Nathan. He had three children for the price of one. And from what I saw, all were little hellions. Brooke was in her own little world when it came to them. She never saw any of their flaws.

*****

Liam

Today was the day I was going to die.

For real.

I mean, no one cared about me. If they did, at least ONE of my parents would have stayed home for the biggest event in the life history of Liam A. Sanderson-Day.

But instead, they dropped THREE jerks into my room and left.

One of the jerks, Uriah Murdick, (okay, his last name was Murdock, but Murdick fit him waaaaay better) lifted the side of his mouth and said, “You’re the biggest fucking dweeb on the planet. Like who drapes their walls in Henry Puffer that isn’t three years old?”

“You said it, Uriah. God, how long are we going to be tortured here?” his asshole brother, Dusty added. “The whole weekend?”

“No one’s asking you to stay,” I hissed. “Do me a favor and jump off a cliff.”

His sister, Mala, interjected, “Don’t listen to them, Lee-lee! I LOVE Henry Puffer!”

Mala always called me some weird pet name and it changed every time she talked to me. I didn’t get it. It was like she was TRYING to annoy me. “Just leave me alone!” I yelled at her.

“Stop being nice to the douche-for-brains, Mala,” Uriah said. “Let’s play on his computer and ignore the ignoramus.”

“Sorry if we’re upsetting you, Liam. Put her there.” Dusty offered his hand.

Like an idiot, I automatically took it without thinking.

A painful electric shock tore through my hand and up my arm. “Yiiiiiiii!” I howled.

Laughing, Dusty said, “Oh my God, you’re such a loser! You think I’d really want to be your friend?”

I stared at him thinking about how I wished I was Henry Puffer. I’d turn him into a pile of jello and stomp. “Get out of my room, asshole.”

“And who’s going to make me? You?” The jerk stared me down.

My hands balled into fists. I wanted to punch his face so bad. But I knew I’d get grounded. My dad was strict about no fighting. I once pounded a bully in third grade for hurting a girl and I was the one who got in trouble. Since then, I avoided fighting. But today, it might be worth the punishment.

“Lee lee, honeybee, let’s play Harnocks Houses. Okay?”

“Yes, Lee Lee Honeybee,” Uriah crooned in a sickening high pitched voice, happy that his sister was annoying me.

“You’re just lucky I don’t want to fight,” I spat at Dusty, “otherwise, I’d put you in the hospital, asswipe. Now get out of my way.”

“Lee Lee Sweetpea, come on! Just ignore them.”

“I’d love to see you hit Dusty,” Uriah goaded with an evil gleam. “Go on. I dare you.” For some reason I bet he really did want to see me hit his brother.

These were the worst kids I’d ever met in my entire life. I didn’t understand it. I liked their parents. Aunty Brooke always baked me cookies and Uncle Nat liked to play games with me. And their kids were nice to me up until a few years ago when they turned nasty for some weird reason. It was like an evil switch went off in their brains.

Mala was the best one but she could be mean sometimes, too. I sat down and said, “Look, Mala, I’ll play with you. You just have to cut out calling me weird names.”

Lip quivering, she said, “But I like calling you names. I love you, my Lee Lee doll.”

Uriah snorted behind her.

God. I was counting the minutes until my friends showed up, hoping I wasn’t going to hang myself before they got there.

*****

Lexie

“Oh my goodness! That couldn’t be Zackary, could it?” Uncle Beau shouted when I sat Zack down as we entered my dad’s place. It’d been a long flight and I couldn’t wait to get off my feet.

“It’s me!” Zack answered, jumping up and down. Uncle Beau was so good with kids. My sons adored him.

“But you’re so big. My grandson is a little guy. Are you SURE you’re Zack?”

“I’m Zacky. It’s me! I promise!”

“Oh…okay. In that case, I bet you’d like some mashed mud with a side of bugs to eat.”

Zack laughed. “Ewww…no Grandpa!”

“Sure…that’s your favorite.”

“And don’t forget the worms!” Dad said, making Zack erupt in giggles.

I hugged everyone, so glad to be with my family.

“Hey, sis,” Asher said, wrapping his arms around me. “It’s been too long.”

He’d grown a foot since I last saw him. He looked exactly like Dad except he was a little short like Beau.

I dropped my pregnant self into one of the couch cushions, listening to my teen siblings rant about their lives and what they’d been up to.

But somewhere in the middle of Aria’s story about how her teacher debated her on who should be president, I zoned out.

My mind drifted to when I used to live here in San Myshuno, when I took care of my brother Brayden. The triplets hadn’t even been born yet. Oh my God. I hated kids back then. And now…I was about to have my third. That was so long ago.

“Lady bug, are you okay?” my dad interrupted my thoughts and brought me back to the present.

“Oh my GOD! Lexie’s not listening to every word I’m saying?” Aria joked. “What is this world coming to?”

She reminded me so much of my teen self, it was eerie.

But I was so tired, I wasn’t in the mood for jokes. “I think I’m not feeling well. Maybe I just need some fresh air.”

After a ton of protests from Aria, Dad ushered me out to the back balcony. It was a beautiful clear night. Sometimes my siblings could be overwhelming. I needed calm.

“So…what’s wrong, sweetheart?” Dad poured me a virgin mojito. My favorite.

“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong, Dad. I’m almost six months pregnant and need a bit of fresh air is all.”

He put away the lime juice and stared at me. “Lexie. I know you. There’s something up. Come on. You can tell me. It’ll make you feel better.”

I stared back at him. Did I really want to do this? No. I didn’t. “Drop it, Dad. Let me relax. I just got here and need to settle in.”

Not listening to me, he asked, “Is it James? Are you two doing okay?”

That’s all it took. Just a little prodding from my father. It was like the floodgates opened and I spewed out everything I’d been thinking and more. “And so…it’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore. And I second guess the choices I’d made when I was younger. Like how meeting the Heartthrobs totally threw me off my vector. I mean, look at me, Dad! Would you have guessed I’d be a stay at home mom and pregnant when I’m pushing forty? God…and I hate that I feel like this! I don’t want to. I love my kids. I love my husband. What is wrong with me?”

He listened to every word I spit out until I was reduced to a hormone induced ball of tears. Taking me by the hand, we sat down on the floor like we used to do when I was younger. He stroked my hair and said, “Have you thought about counseling? I think you’re depressed, sweetheart. It’s not good for you or the baby.”

Wiping my eyes, I said, “Yes. James and I have talked about it. But he’s been too busy and so have I. I run Liam and Zack around everywhere that I forget about it until the heaviness hits me.”

“Have you thought about moving? Beau and I could help if you lived closer.”

I sighed. That was a fight James and I had many times over the years. And guess who always won? “That’s not an option.”

I felt stuck. And I couldn’t get myself out of it.

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Chapter 6.1

Ages of characters: Liam–10, Zack (his brother)–3, August & Beau, Briar: 55, Lexie, James: 38, August and Beau’s four children: Brayden: 20, Triplets: Asher, Abby, Aria: 15, Seth: 81, Siobhan: 79 (yes, the great grandparents are still alive!)

Liam

I couldn’t wait. Tomorrow was Henry Puffer’s birthday and I’d been planning a real live birthday party for him. Sure he’s a fictional character from the best fantasy book this century, but I got the idea from a Henry Puffer message board. Thousands of kids all over the world were celebrating his birthday tomorrow. And I bet mine would be the most special of them all. Mom hated Henry Puffer. She said the author sold out when she marketed everything to make a fast buck. Her words. Not mine. She thought authors should be above capitalism. It’s all about the art, not money. Money dirties everything. But the way I see it, authors have to eat too, you know?

04-29-19_11-35-52 PM

I mean, take Dad for instance. HE’S a washed up musician/singer. Okay, he’s sort of famous (well, both my parents are), but no one buys his stuff anymore. They play a lot of his songs from like a hundred years ago before I was born, but he doesn’t even do that for a living now. So where’d his art get him? Huh?

Now, he dresses up as his “sister”, Jenny, and does WooTube videos all the time. People actually take advice from him on how to dress, what makeup to buy and junk like that. I think it’s totally crazy that people still debate whether Jenny is really James Sanderson. Seriously. Do they NOT have eyes? He looks like a guy trying to dress up as a girl. He wears WAY too much makeup which makes him look OLD! Without all that glop on his face, he’d just be a dude in a goofy wig and high heels.

Luckily, today, school was closed because of rain. RAIN! I loved Brindleton Bay. It floods when the clouds even look like they’re going to sprinkle. Heh. And so, I’m rereading all five Henry Puffer books so I can win at Crossing Wands. You gotta know all the best spells if you’re gonna take home the hardware.

Ah…I could see it now. I was going to finally slam all my friends and impress Destiny. I hoped she’d show tomorrow. I gave her an invitation and she said she’d ask her parents.

Yep. Tomorrow was going to be a glorious day in the life of Liam A. Sanderson-Day.

*******

Lexie

“Oh God. That’s NOT what I think it is.” James held out a huge mug of hazelnut cappuccino. A peace offering. Whenever this happened, what he was about to tell me was never good. Add that to the fact he was in Jenny garb and I definitely knew I wasn’t going to like it.

Palming the back of his neck, he winced. “Seems I got my weekends mixed up. The WooTube convention is THIS weekend. I’ve got a flight in one hour. I’m already late.”

Taking the hot mug from him, I arched an eyebrow. “And WHO is going to tell Liam that his Henry Puffer birthday party is cancelled cuz yeah? It’s not gonna be me.”

Wrapping an arm around me, he said, “Babydoll, you’ve got to stay home. Liam’s been looking forward to this for months. I’ve ordered the cake, the party favors…I’ve even arranged for the actors to show up as a surprise! We can’t back out now. You’ll just have to reschedule. Your dad will understand.”

I could feel heat rising in my gut–and it was more than the baby. Fury. That’s what it’s called. Taking a deep breath so my pregnant self wouldn’t explode, I asked, “Okay…who got their schedule mixed up?”

“Uh…me?”

“That’s right. So who’s the one who needs to cancel their schedule? I’m having a hard time following your logic.”

“It’d be WooTube suicide if I backed out now, Lex. Do you know what the fandom would call me if I didn’t show? Social media is a nightmare these days. Worse than when we were the it couple. Seriously, baby, I can’t not go. But August and Beau will understand. Hey, maybe they could come out and visit you instead.”

Shaking my head vigorously, I countered, “No! They can’t. Both of them have jobs. My siblings have school. Come on! You know I’d planned on staying a few weeks. This isn’t fair, James. I’ve already backed out on them three times. And there’s only so much time before I have this baby, too. I want to see my family in San Myshuno. It’s been too long. You’re cancelling. End of story.”

Rubbing my back, he said, “Hey…don’t get so worked up, babydoll. Just get someone to watch over Liam. He’ll be the master of ceremonies at the party anyway so anyone could do it. One of your friends would love to see Liam. Call them.”

I sighed. James always got his way no matter what was going on around him. It was so infuriating sometimes.

He added, “Look…if you don’t want to call one of your friends, I’ll have my assistant hire someone. Okay?”

I shook my head, already caving into him. He had me wrapped around his manicured finger. I hated it when I gave in. “No…I’ll get someone. I don’t want a stranger watching Liam.”

“Okay, baby.” Then he whispered in my ear, “I love you.”

*******

“Lexie!” Dad said when he answered the phone, “we were just talking about you!”

My stomach twisted as my heart pounded. How was I going to get out of this without hurting his feelings? “Hey, Dad! How’s tricks?”

Oh shit. That wasn’t smooth.

“We’re all looking forward to seeing you. When’s your flight coming in tonight?”

I heard one of my sisters yell, “She better not back out or tell her I will personally kill her!”

It was Aria. She would, too. Ugh.

I heard Beau say, “Guest room’s all ready for her. And tell her I’ll keep little Zack with us so she can sleep in. We got out all the old toddler toys. Potty. High chair. Everything!”

Guilt hammered me. How was I going to tell them I couldn’t come? “Um…well, there’s been a change in plans.”

“Oh?” Dad asked, worry peppering his voice. “What happened, ladybug? Did one of the kids get sick?”

“I KNEW it,” my other sister, Abby, hissed. “I told you she wasn’t coming. We’re not famous enough for her.”

“It’s always been like that, sis,” I heard one of my brothers, Brayden, say. “Why are you shocked. I’m not.”

Listening to their disappointment hurt me. I’d been an asshole in not visiting enough. They were right. Damn it. I couldn’t back out. “Dad, tell my ungrateful siblings they’re wrong. I’m coming. Just on a later flight. Okay?”

“Oh good,” Dad said. “Text me the details. Can’t wait to see you!”

“Me, too,” I said, cringing inside. “Bye, Dad. Love you, too.”

Now what was I going to do? My friend, Gabby, was out of the country. Carly just had a baby. Dom HATED Henry Puffer even more than I did. I could just imagine the sarcastic retort I’d get if I’d asked her. Who else did I know who wouldn’t mind…

Just then my stomach sank. Oh God no. No, Lexie, you are not going to ask her. No way. Liam hated their children even more than I did. They’d ruin his party. But what choice did I have? It was either I asked or he didn’t have the party at all. I’d have to fly him out with me for the weekend until James got back.

I dialed the number and listened to it ring. Maybe she wouldn’t answer and it’d be decided for me.

Just then I heard her voice say, “Hello?”

“Hi, Brooke. Long time no talk!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Alexis, dear, but Brooke isn’t here right now. This is Elara Dragonborn. How may I be of service?”

Shit, shit and double shit!

Of course Brooke wasn’t there. It was always my luck. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even spoken to “Brooke”. It was like Elara had swallowed up my sweet friend whole. And now she’d even changed her name. She said her “group” did a ritual that turned her into part dragon or some such stupidity. “Um…hey, Elara. You’re probably too busy to watch Liam this weekend for me, right? So I won’t bother you with…”

“Oh, of course, we’d love to visit with Liam, my darling sweet friend! Tell us when and we’ll be right over!”

I heard Lord Bloodmoon squeal with delight in the background. “Roadtrip!”

Damn. I just hoped my son would be speaking to me sometime this century after I did this to him. I wasn’t going to win Mother of the year anytime soon. “Um…okay, Elara. That’s so…nice of you. Can you be here in the morning? That’s when my flight leaves.”

“Of course, darling. We’ll be there bright and early. Have our specific food ready. You know we’re vegan now.”

“Right. I’ll order food for you right now. Thank you.”

I had no idea why I was going through with it but it was either face Liam’s wrath or my siblings. I figured my kid wouldn’t hate me forever. Would he?

Yay! This story is officially BACK! I’ve missed all these crazy characters. And Liam will add to the craziness. 😉 I will try to update twice a week sporadically (not on set days).

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Epilogue

Owen Betts: Welcome to this edition of Sims Entertainment where we present: “Heartthrob, Where Are They Now?”

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Owen: I’m Owen Betts talking to you live in front of the home of James Sanderson and Lexie Day here in Brindleton Bay. It’s been nearly five years since the boyband sensation, Heartthrob, broke apart and went their separate ways much to the angst of almost every teenaged girl in the country. We all know what happened to James–he went on to produce two platinum albums, he married Lexie Day, a Velvet’s Secret supermodel, and is a parttime judge on the very popular “Sing It” contest show.

But what happened to the rest of the band members? Where are they now?

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Owen: Charlie Tsui, who used to date Lexie Day, was the first band member to leave the music business completely. A classically trained dancer, he now tours with the San Myshuno dance company, doing modern dance shows in every major city.

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We have exclusive footage of Charlie spending time with an otherwise unknown woman in Forgotten Hollow.

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Sims Entertainment received exclusive word that this woman is none other than Lexie Day’s best friend, Domina Langosta, who grew up in Forgotten Hollow.

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Will this self-proclaimed bachelor finally settle down? Time will tell.

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Next, we catch up with the most unusual band member of all: Nathan Murdock. He married the woman who brought LARPing or Live Action Role Playing into the mainstream. Her name is Brooke Marx, whose altar ego is called, Elara Shadowalker, a queen of the night who seeks power, destruction and vengeance.

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They now own several mansions where they hold their exclusive LARP-ing club conventions. Here is one of them in Newcrest.

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As you can see, they are posing for this picture with their triplets, Uriah, Dusty, and Mala. We hear the children love to join in the fun, too.

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Owen: Now, my correspondent, Gabby Steele, will tell you about the rest of the band members while we wait on our team in Selvadorada who will be peeking in on James Sanderson and Lexie Day. Gabby? Are you there?

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Gabby: I’m here, Owen. As you can see behind me, I’m in front of one of the world’s most famous wedding chapels, Blossom Park. It’s famous for its cherry blossom trees, beautiful decorations, and its horse and carriage buggy rides.

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Only a few weeks ago, it was here where former Heartthrob, Maddox Brock, wed none other than movie star and Sims Academy Award winner, Carmella Parris.

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The two have been seen together for the past two months and now, it seems they’ve tied the knot, surprising the whole world. It is purported that Maddox will be coming out with his own album later on next year.

We here at Sims Entertainment wish the happy couple many years of marital bliss!

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Next, we have a cute picture of the last member of the band, Kaluah. He was the first to get married to his longtime sweetheart, Kate Meadows. I’m happy to report the couple is doing extremely well.

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They are organic farmers, living in Aurora Skies. They have one child–a little boy named Kai.

Looks like they’re encouraging creative freedom, doesn’t it, Owen?

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Owen: It sure does, Gabby. Oh wait! I’m getting word that we’ve found James and Lexie at their vacation home in Selvadorada. It looks as if they are playing with their three year old son, Liam. Let’s peek in on how they’re doing.

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James: Shhh…Liam. Don’t show Mommy we have these water guns. Okay? It’ll be a surprise.

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Lexie: Hey…what are my two partners in crime whispering about? Hmm?

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James: Oh…we’re doing nothing. Right, Liam?

Liam: Nuffing, Mommy.

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James: Oh my God! Is that a parrot in that tree over there?

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Lexie: Where? I don’t see anything.

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James: Think fast!

Lexie: So help me God, James, YOU BETTER NOT!

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Owen (laughing): Well, it looks as if Lexie is about to get soaked. As you can see, the family is doing superbly and Lexie is about five months pregnant with another son.

On behalf of Sims Entertainment and the whole country full of their fans, we want to wish them a happy and healthy vacation.

And on that note, we’d like to announce that James and Lexie have a reality tv program coming out called, “Heart & Day”, where we follow them around on their normal day to day activities in the couple’s crazy famous lives. Should be a good time for all.

I’m Owen Betts, signing out and wishing you and yours a Merry Winterfest.

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******

Where Are The Heartthrob’s Friends?

Reese and Copper live in a small apartment in San Myshuno. Reese still works at a marketing firm, rising in the ranks. She’s now a senior level manager. Sadly, she lost her baby and had to have a hysterectomy. Copper had their child, Nina, and the happy couple are expecting another child soon! Copper has her own pet sitting and grooming business.

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Colin broke up with his latest boyfriend and is now dating one of Lexie’s bodyguards. The couple is very much in love. We expect to hear wedding bells any moment.

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Cory has quit his band and is now in production with Dayspring Records. We will find out more about him in Generation 6.

***********

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******

Thank you for reading this silly epilogue. I hope you liked it. Remember my new adventure fantasy, THE WISHCASTER will update on Monday. If you’d like to receive notices about it, just subscribe by hitting the follow button at the bottom (if you have a WordPress site.) If not, here is a discord server I’ve set up: WISHCASTER DISCORD. I will also post a thread on the Sims Message board. And I’ll be updating on Tumblr as well.

 

1apammie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5.50

FOR UNCENSORED VERSION CLICK HERE

Warning: sexual situations

Lexie

Dad and Beau told James and me about visiting Selvadorada when they were our age. James had a lot of time off since he wasn’t set to tour for a while and I just needed a break.

Oh. My. GOD!

First of all, the place was definitely the garden of Eden. Why the hell it took me this long to visit was a crime to my inner peace.

Once we’d arrived, I took a selfie right away (along with about 600 other pictures of everything right down to the fluttering butterflies which were EVERYWHERE!)

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James was so cute. He wanted to plan out everything and surprise me. He’d rented out this gorgeous cabin in the town square (which was super convenient for getting our supplies when we went hiking.)

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A little jetlagged, we chilled in our bedroom for a bit until it was time to eat dinner. I gazed out the window, feeling so happy just to be here with my boyfriend. We’d been hassled so much for the past six months ever since James announced his love for me publicly. Right now, we were the “It” couple and the paps were a thousand times worse than ever before. BUT no one knew who we were in this little country. It was a welcome break.

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James picked at a tear in his jeans. He seemed nervous for some reason.

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Pulling on my arm, he said, “Babydoll, let’s go hiking before the sun sets. I’m getting stir crazy.”

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“Are you kidding me?” I said, pulling him up on the bed and snuggling into him. “Don’t you just want to relax? We’ve got nothing to do. No schedules. No fans to avoid. It’s just you and me and that gorgeous Selvadorada view to keep us company.”

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Yanking me up off the bed, he said, “I know. That’s why I want to hike INTO that view. Come on. You’re going even if I have to drag you.”

I giggled and yelled, “Put me down, you Neanderthal. That’s not how you treat a woman. You can’t just drag me wherever you want to go.”

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Dipping me near the bed, he said, “Oh yeah? Looks like I’m doing a pretty good job. Want to stay and do something else?”

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I arched an eyebrow. “I’m game if you are.”

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“Nope. You’ll have to wait until after our hike.”

Jerking back, trying to get out of his arms, I said, “Nooo…wait! I want to staaaaay!”

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We both collapsed on the bed, laughing. Pulling me into his arms, James said with a serious look on his face, “Listen, Lexie, I’ve heard the falls are really romantic here, and I’d love to take you there. Won’t let me?”

Awww…when he put it that way, how could I refuse?

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*****

He was soooo right. The falls were AMAZING! I felt like I’d just stepped onto the set of Jurrassic Planet. Looking around for dinosaurs rumbling out of the mist, I squealed inside. It was so surreal. Just then, I caught James staring at me. “What?” I asked. “Do I have spinach on my teeth or something?”

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“No…you’re just…beautiful.”

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Then he took my hand and dropped on one knee.

I didn’t hear a word he said because I was freaking out so much. (And the falls were thundering like a herd of elephants behind me.)

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But once he slipped a huge rock on my left finger, it didn’t matter. I was a blubbering, ugly crying mess. All I could do was nod furiously. YES! Yes, I’ll marry the man of my dreams. My best friend, lover, person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life.

OH YES YES YESSSSS!

Rubbing off my tears, he said, “See why I wanted to come here so badly?”

I nodded again. What happened to my words? I usually always blabbed. But he took my breath away. I was so in love.

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“I love you,” he whispered. Then he gave me a sweet soft kiss.

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I had no idea how long we were there, but we just gazed at each other, reveling in what just had happened. I was going to marry James Alessandro Sanderson. I couldn’t wait.

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*****

The wedding came along so quickly, I couldn’t believe it. It’d seemed like yesterday, not a year ago, that James had asked me to marry him. Mom zipped up my wedding dress as nervous jitters buzzed through me.

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James’ mom, Silvia Ventura, said in her thick, Italian accent, “Cosi bella…your granddaughter is beautiful, Nonna Siobhan.”

“She is…just like her mother,” Grandma said.

James’ mother had flown out from Italy for the ceremony. I’d spent a few days with her. She was so sweet, and a famous singer in her own right, which made me kind of nervous. But get her with James’ father, Liam, and the two fought like vipers warring over a mouse. Yeah…James was the mouse. We thought about separating them at the ceremony, but it would be held in a tiny chapel. I opted for a small ceremony–best friends and family only. We also kept paparazzi at bay by promising all of them pictures, otherwise, we’d have helicopters flying over the venue.

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Mom adjusted my veil. “You think this color of lipstick is okay, Mom?” I asked. I wanted to look perfect for James. He was a stickler about his own makeup when he was Jenny. (But he didn’t mind what I wore and always said I looked beautiful even if I didn’t have any makeup on and slummed around in cut offs and a t-shirt.)

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*****

Once everyone was ready, we all piled into a limo, and it ferried us to an exclusive resort. I’d let it slip that I felt our life was a fairytale and our wedding should definitely be one. I didn’t think James would take that so literally! He actually found a fairy chapel in the woods only two hours from San Myshuno!

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Organ music of the song, Babydoll, rang through the chapel.

Our eyes locked and he gave me a smile which always made me swoon.

Pinch me! Was I dreaming or what?

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Every nerve hummed as Dad walked me down the aisle. It was a fairy dream come true (and it helped that I had the Sisterhood wear fairy costumes to complete the fantasy.)

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My eight year old brother, Brayden, winked at me–that kid was always clowning. Even on my most special day! Rylie, Mom and Jack’s daughter, was milling around beside him while the triplets were playing hide and seek. I decided not to worry about it. It was just the family here with all our besties. And besides, they’d start screaming if Uncle Beau said anything to them.

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As Dad brought me to James, he bent down and kissed me, saying, “I love you, sweetheart.”

I noticed Colin and James’ brother, Carter, smiling as James pulled me close to him. I was shaking like a scared kitten!

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Honestly, our vows were a blur. I couldn’t keep from tearing up as I told him how much James meant to me–that he was my best friend, my once-in-a-lifetime, the love of my life. I promised him everything I could give and more. He’d always let me be the crazy person I was and I told him I promised I wouldn’t make him crazy. (I got a lot of laughs on that one.) And I promised I’d always work on us because we were worth every last blood, sweat and tear. “I’ll always love you, baby,” I said at the end.

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James’ vows to me were in a poem which was the most beautiful thing he could give me.

“Alexis Bianca Day,

On this day,

I give you my heart,

My promise,

My vow,

That I will walk with you,

Arm in arm,

Wherever our path takes.

Laughing, loving, learning,

Together

Forever.

You’re my best friend,

My super hero,

My geeky sweetheart,

My babydoll.

I love you.

I always will.”

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Swept up in a cauldron of emotion, we kissed, sealing our love for one another. I was in heaven. Truly.

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And I didn’t even notice the little marauders throwing around the rose petals and screaming like banshees.

Well…almost.

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*****

Once we got home from our honeymoon, James wanted to go shopping. He said all my clothes were rags and he’d like to buy me something special.

Rags. I laughed. I had the best designers on my favorites list in my phone. But he was insistent, soo…how could I say no to my sweet hubby? Let him spoil me!

“Here?” I whined. It was the mall. And yeah, we were wearing our disguises, but I had nightmares about crafty paparazzi sniffing us out. I mean…the mustache James made me wear was kind of laughable.

“Yes, here, Lexie. Don’t worry. No one will recognize us.”

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“But Damien, the clerk, knows us.”

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“He knows me as Jenny. Not you in your disguise. Now come on! No stalling.”

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“But it’s never going to work. Can’t we go to Gratus Couture? They’ll be discreet.”

He kept a grip on my arm. “Lexie…I know what I’m doing. Do you think I want fans to find out?”

He had a point there, so I relented.

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When we got to the shop, James said, “So, Damien, did you get the things I ordered put into the dressing room?”

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“Of course, Jenny, dear. They’re hanging up in dressing room one.”

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“Thanks ever so much,” James said, giving the guy a little wink. I rolled my eyes. He was over-doing it.

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Grabbing my hand, he whispered, “Come on!”

“But won’t he think it’s weird if I come with you?” I hissed.

“He doesn’t care. You’re my HUSBAND!”

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Once inside, I plopped off that itchy, hot wig and mustache and started undressing so I could try on the clothes. I wondered why James flung his pants and underwear off. But those thoughts didn’t last two seconds when he pounced.

“Wha…what are you doing?” I breathed.

“Do you want me to stop?” he said, not stopping. Not stopping at all. I couldn’t think straight.

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Hitting him, I whispered, “Won’t Damien hear us?”

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“He’s busy with other customers, babydoll, but I’ll stop if you want me to.”

Liar. He had no intentions of stopping because he knew I wouldn’t say no. How could I? He knew exactly how to turn me on.

Breathing heavy, I said, “But what if…someone…wants to use the dressing room?”

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He exhaled in my ear, sending shivers down my neck. “Then we’ll be quick. Okay?”

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GOD! I couldn’t believe we were doing it in a dressing room at Ever After Boutique. But oh…it was SOOOO sexy. Not gonna lie.

We were both done in record time, panting and clinging to one another in sweat.

Then I chuckled, rubbing the little patch of stubble on his cheek that he’d missed. “Was this on your bucket list, baby?” Can anyone say I’ve got the cutest, adorable, most sexy husband on the planet?

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“It was…I’d always wanted to do this with you ever since I fell in love with you when I was Jenny. What do you think?”

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“I think I want to have your babies.”

He laughed then kissed me, making me hunger for him all over again. If I’d like to have kids, we’d have to start somewhere.

Oh. My. GOD!

What was I saying????

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******

I want to thank RABOOSKI for creating FAIRYTALE WEDDING just for this episode. I’m proud to say it received a Maxis favorite. It’s amazing! It’ll be featured in my new story, THE WISHCASTER. If you’d like to receive notices about it, just subscribe. The website is already available.

Thank you to Maladi, Trip, Lady Lobster, Aud, Bugsie, CitizenErased, Munterbacon, Cement, SpectresValkyrie, Damaro, nbgangelova, Simslover, Skcaga, Wralai, and SilentWolf for allowing me to abuse, I mean, use your sims for this story. They were the best characters I’ve ever had to work with! So creative! ❤ *Applause*

Sadly, I’m pausing this story for a while as I have other work to get accomplished and this just takes too much of my creative energy to keep up with. I do promise I’ll get back to it once things settle down for me.

I’ll be posting an epilogue to this on Friday then THE WISHCASTER starts the following Monday where I’ll be posting it once a week.

Thank you for being loyal readers. It’s been a joy to follow this journey of these crazy sims with you.

Love,

pammiechick

 

 

1apammie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5.49

Lexie

Can anyone say, weddings, weddings, weddings? Because, yeah, that’s what I was attending for the next three weeks. As I crested my 26th year, it seemed like everyone who wasn’t a rabbit was getting married. (Those who WERE rabbits were getting knocked up. BOTH Reese and Copper were officially preggers! *SCREAM* More toddlers in my future. WAH! They still were going to name their first born James or Jamie. Go figure.)

First, Kate and Kaluah ran off without telling anyone. The paps outed them though.

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I sent a text to Kate with tons of mad, sad, and LIVID emojis, so she sent an apology with this cute pic of them. Awww…I forgave them both and wished them well. They gambled at Lucky Palms for their honeymoon. (I didn’t get gambling, but hey, they had fun.)

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The following week was what we in the Sisterhood dubbed “The Eternal Bond of Shadowmoon”. It was the most bizarre wedding I’d ever attended.

The venue gave me…shivers.

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It looked like a bargain basement motel that a vampire would stay at.

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And once the vows happened, my mouth fell open.

Well, the vows were one sided, really. Lord Bloodmoon promised everything.

Both of them stared at each other for an uncomfortably long time.

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Then Lord Bloodmoon fell to his knees, bowing.

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Elara glared and sighed. “I’m waiting,” she said in a frightening tone.

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Lord Bloodmoon cleared his throat. I felt for the guy. Did he really want to marry…THAT? Brooke, my bff, I could understand, but not…evil Elara.

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“I…uh…” He stopped then coughed. My skin prickled. Was he going to back out? Leave her at the altar? I guessed I couldn’t blame him, but I thought he would have bolted by now. It’d been three years!

Then I saw tears in his eyes. He was so touched by what he was about to do!

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Placing his hand over his heart, he said, “I promise you, Elara Shadowalker, my total and utter devotion. I will love, honor, cherish and obey you for the rest of my days even into the afterlife. I give you my servitude without question or discontent. I am your slave. Forever and ever.”

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Then he lowered his head even further, whispering, “My queen. My adoration. My reason to live.”

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Without a word, Elara took Lord Bloodmoon by the neck and forced her fingers into his mouth, making him gag. “You are MINE! Until either your spirit is cast into the depths of eternal damnation or until I’m tired of you, whichever comes first. And if you so much as look at another woman, so help me, I vow I’ll hunt you down and dismember you, watching you die a slow death as your entrails spill out of your despicable, cheating body. Mark my word. It is so.”

Choking, he managed, “It is so.”

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Then she trailed her tongue all over his chest and neck as he moaned in pain. I wondered if she had some sort of cage around his dick that would hurt him if… Oh. My. GOD!

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“People! Get a room, will you? Not everyone wants to see that!” I yelled at them.

But it was as if that turned them on even more.

James just laughed.

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Thank God Brooke and Nathan had a normal wedding about thirty minutes after that scene at a church down the street. Geeze! I wondered if Elara had permanently damaged him. But then I thought, nah…Elara wanted kids. She’d make sure not to hurt Lord Bloodmoon Jr. too much.

*****

Fast forward to the following weekend and I was in Brindleton Bay for my bff from high school, Gabby Cook’s, wedding. She was marrying Cory’s longtime friend and band partner, Wyatt Roth. She’d asked me to be in her wedding, but I was so busy, I could barely manage to come for the ceremony and a little bit of the reception. My other friends from high school were her bridemaids, Mariana Sala and Carly Hamlin.

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The vows were so sweet, they made me wistful. My mind wandered to how my life would have been so different if we hadn’t moved away from Brindleton Bay. What if I’d dated Cory that whole time? Would I have married him, stayed in this town, and lived a totally different life? A quiet one.

Something inside me ached for what Gabby had. She was a local hair dresser and Wyatt was a firefighter when he wasn’t playing gigs in his band. How totally cute and adorable was that?

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Just then Cory caught my eye and grinned, making me all squishy inside.

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I smiled back. Maybe it wasn’t too late. I didn’t have to keep being a super model, did I?

I looked at who I was–even now I was surrounded by my bodyguards. Paps could sniff out where I was at all times. It was like I had a tracker on or something. I hated that. Maybe Cory had the answers I’d been looking for all along.

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At the reception, I had fun with my girlfriends. I’d missed all of them so much.

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Next, Cory found me and gave me a huge hug. “God, are you real?” he asked. “It’s been too long, Lexie.”

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I wiped a tear. I couldn’t believe I was getting this emotional over my old boyfriend.

“You look so…great, Lex. I’ve been watching your star rise this whole time. Velvet’s Secret supermodel? I’m so proud of you. See? I told you that you were the smartest, most beautiful girl on the planet.”

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My cheeks grew warm. Was it 90 degrees outside or something? “Thanks,” I said, shyly.

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“Oh, hey, I need to thank you,” he said, beaming.

Surprised, I asked, “Why?”

“Because I know it was you who put James Sanderson up to telling his producer to give my band a call. We did a demo for him and was chosen to be the replacements on their boyband label. We’re going to front for the Heartthrob’s last concert! It’s mind-blowing.”

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All of this hit me like a tidal wave. Then “Heartthrob’s last concert” knocked me full on as if someone dumped a whole bucket of ice cold water on me. “What?” I asked.

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“Oh, shit,” Cory said. “Um…I think I was supposed to keep it a secret about the Heartthrobs splitting. I signed a nondisclosure and everything. Man…but I thought at least you’d know.”

Mind reeling, I felt like James kicked me square in the stomach. But I didn’t want Cory to feel badly.

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Putting on the fakest smile, I said, “Oh..yeah…right. I knew! Of course! Because James is my very best friend. He tells me everything.”

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“Then you’ll be there, right?”

I shrugged. “Oh, well…I don’t know…”

“Oh, God, Lex, you’ve got to be there! Listen, I’ll leave you a pass for the VIP section, okay? And I’ll meet up with you afterwards. Please say yes.”

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Aww…he looked so cute, how could I disappoint him? “Sure, Cory. I wouldn’t miss it.”

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Grinning, he said, “It’ll be just like old times.”

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I told him I had to leave to catch my plane and promised I’d see him in two weeks for the concert.

As I turned around, my stomach clenched. The Heartthrobs were splitting up and I’d never heard one word about it.

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By the time I got back to my place, my blood was boiling. What kind of asshole doesn’t tell his very best friend that his band is splitting up? We’d spent nearly every day together and not once did he mention it. Did he not trust me?

What’s more, he helped Cory’s band be their replacement! And he didn’t think this was news I’d like to know?

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Fuming, I pressed his number.

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*****

James

I’d practiced this song so many times, I knew I would nail it at our concert, but I couldn’t help feeling nervous about it. What if she didn’t like it? Just then my phone buzzed.

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“Speak of the devil,” I said, chuckling. “Hey, Lexie! Back from Brindleton Bay? How was the wedding?”

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What I got was an earful. She was yelling at me so much, I had no idea what the hell she was saying. “Whoa. Slow down. What’s going on?”

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She then accused me of not trusting her and that I went behind her back and got Cory’s band and other shit I couldn’t quite understand. “Hold up,” I said, “Did you check your mail? There’s a letter and a VIP pass in there for you that’ll explain everything.”

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Instead of listening to me, she started crying then hung up.

“What the fuck, Lexie?” I yelled at the phone. I couldn’t believe she was mad. “Just read your damn mail!” But she couldn’t hear me.

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I called her over and over again and sent a ton of texts. But she wouldn’t respond.

*****

Lexie

I put James on ignore. That would show him. How dare he produce Cory’s band without telling me? And on top of that, not say a word about the Heartthrobs breaking up. It was like he was throwing me into Cory’s arms. Did I tell him I wanted Cory as my boyfriend? I didn’t remember saying anything like that.

I refused to open the letter he mentioned, too. Instead, I crumpled it up and threw it away.

Then, to spite him, (and because I was curious), I went to the concert anyway but only to see Cory. I’d ignore all things Heartthrob. I was so sick to death of them I could scream.

Cory’s band did amazing. I didn’t realize he could even dance. Their theme was so different from the Heartthrobs, too.

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They had a mix of tribal dance with breakdance moves. The teens ate it up.

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And their sound was indie surf merged with the same kind of “I love you” lyrics all boybands had. A cool blend and unique. Fresh.

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Next the Heartthrobs took the stage. Oh. My. GOD!

I didn’t want to watch them, but how could anyone help it? They were epic. No one could come close to their sound, their moves…they just stole the stage wherever they went.

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I couldn’t help but watch them. Especially James. He’d taken my breath away from the first time I’d seen him. Even more than Charlie. I remembered how I didn’t want to get swept away by his baby blue eyes, but he was so talented.

How could they break up? And why?

But then I got angry about James not telling me, and I sat down, trying not to look at the monitor we had in the VIP section.

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Suddenly, Cory walked in. I popped up, saying, “There’s the next superstar! Cory! You did awesome!”

“You think so?” he asked.

“Oh, God, yes! It was amazing!”

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He gave me a hug, squeezing me tight and whispered, “Thanks, Lex. That means a lot.”

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He put on a shirt then we chatted for a while. Cory told me all about Surf’s UP’s future plans and what a rush all of this was. I encouraged him to always work hard like the Heartthrobs. But even the mention of them to Cory made me choke up. I had to get out of there before I lost it.

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I told Cory I had to go to the bathroom. When I rose, I heard James’ voice echo as the crowd hushed. “What the…?”

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James was all decked out in a butterfly jacket by himself on stage.

“I have an announcment to make. With half our band getting married and wanting to move on, it’s time my bandmates go their separate ways.”

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The teenagers wailed. Oh my God, you would have thought he’d committed hara-kiri right there on stage. But I had to admit, hearing those words come out of his mouth made me want to shake a fist right along with them.

Once they’d quieted down, he went on, “But I’m happy to announce, I’m going solo.”

More screaming, shouting, cheering. This took me aback even more.

“So, I want to perform the title song of my debut album. I’ve written it for my very best friend. You see, she’s mad at me right now because I didn’t tell her about all of this. I’d wanted it to be a surprise, but I guess I screwed up. Lexie, if you’re out there, I’m sorry and I hope you’ll forgive me.”

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“Holy Heartthrob,” I whispered at the monitor, putting my hands on my hips. “What the freak are you up to, James?”

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The introduction was a beautiful, melodic piece–so lovely, I was already captured by it.

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Then he started singing.

“When I first saw you standing there,

You took my breath away…”

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As he sang, the music surrounded him and he stopped playing while stepping on the keyboard.

“You were like a butterfly, flitting in the wind.

I couldn’t capture you, 

No matter how hard I tried.

You had you’re own path to take…

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“But I knew you were all that I needed.”

He raised his hands.

“So what do I have to do?”

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He jumped down and the screen flashed the words, “Babydoll”.

“To get to be with you….

 

Babydoll, babydoll, 
Please say yes to me…

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“I love you…

Babydoll, Babydoll,

I love you…”

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When I heard those words, tears spurted in my eyes as my heart pounded.

I swallowed.

James loved…ME?

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I was thinking about why I’d been so angry and upset that he seemed to not care about me. He didn’t tell me about the band splitting. Didn’t tell me he was going solo. And it also seemed as if he just wanted to shove Cory at me.

But I was so wrong.

He did it all for me. Whether I responded to him or not.

With a heavy heart, I looked at poor Cory’s hopeful eyes.

“Cory?” I said. “I…um…I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.”

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He looked as if he was thinking then gave me a side smile. “Well, what are you waiting for, Lex? The song’s almost over. Go to him!”

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That’s all I needed to hear. I whispered, “Thanks, Cory.” Then I bolted up on stage. (In heels, no less. That was a feat in itself!) And I launched my body right at him.

Plastering a warm kiss on his lips, I wanted to let him know exactly how I felt.

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Then I warned, “You better not ever keep something like this from me again.”

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Instead of whispering sweet promises in my ear, he said, “Whoa…Lexie! You’re too heavy!” And he fell backwards like a cheap lawnchair.

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Rubbing his butt, he whined, “I think you broke my ass.”

“Oh my God, you’re such a baby,” I chided.

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Pulling him up, the crowd started chanting, “JA-MIE! JA-MIE! JA-MIE!”

James slipped his arms around my waist and said, “Hear that, babydoll? We have our very own ship name. They love you.”

I giggled, not believing any of this was happening. “I guess so.” Rubbing his face, I said, “We’ve come a long way, huh?”

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Next the crowd roared another chant, “KISS! KISS! KISS!”

I looked at him, and asked, “What do you think? Should we?”

He pulled my face to his and said, “We can’t disappoint our fans.”

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“But…” I countered. Pressing his lips to mine, he cut off my sentence. I sucked in a breath as he slid his tongue into my mouth, setting every single nerve in me on fire.

Oh, God…I’d forgotten how good he could kiss. My heart exploded into five zillion happy face emojis, and I didn’t even think about the crowd, Cory, Charlie, no one.

It was just me and James.

The one whom I’d loved all this time and didn’t even know it.

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Can anyone say, Happily Ever After?

Yeah, I can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1apammie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5.48

James

Lexie looked so cute as a gnome. I had to try to hide a laugh when I saw her. But I thought she’d arrive in a wig and glasses when I’d told her to show up in a costume. She was still the same silly Lexie–superstardom hadn’t changed her– so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I hadn’t seen her in months, but every time I did, she had a way of stealing my heart with her still naive ways.

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“Now, look, Lexie, pick out a wig and something that will hide your curves. It’s easy. Then some sunglasses. I’ll be right out here waiting on you.”

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Not saying anything (because she couldn’t in that outfit), she dutifully marched into the wardrobe room.

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When she popped out looking like the Queen of Hearts slammed into the Mad Hatter, I wanted to pull my wig off in frustration.

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“What about this outfit, Jen? I look fab, don’t I?” Then she made a little rawr noise.

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I rolled my eyes. “That’s worse than the gnome outfit.”

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Snapping my fingers, I made her try again. Finally, she came out in something that blew me away. It changed her look. No one would recognize her in that. And she looked half way normal.

Cringing, she said, “What do you think?”

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“Nailed it!” I crooned. “Who would have guessed you’d look good as a guy? Put on some sunglasses and even Jenny would go out with you.”

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She rummaged around the store and found some aviators that went perfectly with her jacket. Arching her eyebrows, she said, “So…you wanna go out, babe?”

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I twirled my fingers as she put her arm around me. “Maybe. But just so you know, you keep your hands to yourself  on the first date. I need someone who doesn’t love me just for my boobs.”

“No problem. I’m not a boob guy anyway. I like a tight ass.”

“Well…I do have one of those,” I said, in a sultry tone.

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“But wait, darling,” I said, stopping. “You do realize you’re going to have to pay a lot of money to impress me. I don’t do dutch.”

“I got it covered. Where do you want to go? The Star Club? The Ritz? I’m good for it.”

“How about the coffee shop at the mall?” I asked, hoping she’d realize why I wanted to go there. We went to a coffee place on our first and only date.

Without missing a beat, she said, “Damn, you got high dollar tastes. But I think I’ll be able to buy you a white chocolate mocha.”

“Oh, sweetheart, you remembered that’s my favorite,” I said, smiling.

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I knew we were playing a game, but inside, I’d hoped that maybe she felt something between us, too.

When we arrived at the shop, she grinned at me with so much affection, I couldn’t help thinking about how this “date” might end–in one of our penthouses, wigs flying off along with our clothes.

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But I was getting ahead of myself. Lexie’d friendzoned me hard after her falling out with Charlie. And I was all about giving her space. She didn’t need another Heartthrob in her life with the tabloid craziness. But after things had calmed down, I went on tour and once I got back, I’d decided to ask her out. Unfortunately, that’s when she’d struck it big with Velvet’s Secret and almost overnight, she’d turned into this huge super model. I knew the press wouldn’t give us any privacy if we started dating. She hated the celebrity lens just as much as I did. So I decided friendship was all we had in our future. There’d be no way we could make it work when our fans would be breathing down our necks.

But when I looked into her eyes, all of me wanted to say, fuck it, and go with my heart.

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We talked about random stuff going on–what’s new with her career. Lex was now doing a perfume line and gearing up for that took a lot of work.

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“Oh and don’t get me started about the triplets,” she cried when I asked about her family. “Those little shits make Bray seem like he came straight from heaven. They’re in the tyrannical three stage. Oh. My. GOD! Shitload of trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

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I laughed. I pictured her running around, chasing after them. Or tripping after them. She tried to say she hated the ‘tiny turds” as she called them, but then she went into a lot of detail about all the cute things they did, and I could see straight through her. Even though she’d cuss at me if I said this out loud, she was going to be a great mom one day.

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“So, what about you?” she asked. “Anything new going on with the Heartthrobs?”

As soon as she said it, I knew what I had to do. I either was going to float along in this friendzone forever, or I could change things between us.

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I shrugged, telling her we were in between albums and that I was growing a little stale. I just needed some inspiration. She encouraged me not to give up but if I desired a break, maybe I should take a sabbatical like I’d done when I’d lived with the Sisterhood. Memories flooded of the time she’d begged me to stay at her place, pulling on my leg.

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I got a little choked up at the memory and scooted back from the table, saying I was done with my coffee. Walking over to the counter, Lex followed as I sipped the last drop.

“Oh wow! I didn’t know he was still playing in his band,” Lex said.

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A tiny ad for one of the local bands was placed on the wall of the shop. Often indie bands would play at dive bars all around SM. I never went or even noticed them usually.

Checking out the dudes, I said, “Sur’s Up? Do you know them?”

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“It’s Surf’s Up–that’s an obvious typo and yeah. The lead used to be my boyfriend in high school. Remember I told you about him? Cory?”

Cory. That name struck a fear in me worse than any monster. No one and I mean NO ONE could ever measure up to the guy. Lex had often gone on a huge diatribe about why more men couldn’t be like him when she only knew me as Jenny.

And Cory was here? In San Myshuno?

Shit.

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“Well…do you know if the band is any good?” I was kicking myself for not changing the subject.

“They’re great,” she said. “I downloaded one of their songs a few years ago, but hadn’t heard about them since. It’s sad because they don’t have the producers you do, so know one knows about them.”

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Before I could take it back, I said, “Well…do you want to go see them? I’m down if you are.”

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She whipped around and stared at me. “You’d take me? Really?”

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I chuckled. “Technically, you’d be taking me. You ARE paying for this date, you know. It’s a ten dollar cover. I hope you brought enough cash.”

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She looked like she was about to cry. “James…you’re so…”

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She sighed then took my hand.

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“Nah…” she finally answered. “I’m not in the mood for indie surf music.”

This surprised me. “What are you in the mood for?”

“How about a movie? I heard the classic, When Barry Met Sophie, was on at the Grand Theater down the street. Want to go?”

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I squeezed her hand. “Of course, baby doll. Whatever you want.”

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1apammie

 

 

Chapter 5.47

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August & Beau, Briar: 43, Lexie, Cory, James: 26, Charlie: 28, Brayden: 7, Rylie: 3,  Triplets (born to August and Beau): Asher, Abby, Aria: 3, Darius: 36, Seth: 69 Siobhan: 67

*****

Lexie

I never would have guessed in a million years that one phone call would change my life. I’d never done runway modeling. Didn’t have the body for it. I was too busty and had too many curves (compared to the literal sticks on stick legs who normally cruised the runway). But Velvet’s Secret, the top women’s lingerie producer in the nation, was down a model for their new Love Me Angel line and they were in all kinds of frenzy trying to find an available one last minute.

I was like, whoa…my body just wouldn’t look right. But my agent assured me it would just be for one event. I’d get paid double if I’d help them out.

So, yeah. I did it. Felt stupid with all the feathers fluffing around my face and getting stuck in my lipstick. But I didn’t miss a beat and gave them my trademark “smolder”.

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Who would have known the CEO, Bridgette Paramour, saw me and decided that I would be perfect as the new face of their upscale line.

Fast forward nine months, and I’m not kidding, my literal body was plastered everywhere that advertised the skimpy, lacey undies.

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Billboards that, yeah, Dad wasn’t too happy about…flew up all over San Myshuno.

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And if you went inside one of their shops, it was more than a little embarrassing.

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I thought I’d become “known” when I was dating Charlie. What a joke! That was nothing compared to this. EVERYONE, not just Throbbers, recognized me. And many times, I’d just get tons of wolf whistles and all kinds of people wanting my autograph, pictures, you name it. I even had my own fanclub.

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Consequently, I had to hire three body guards if I went anywhere. So different from just wearing a costume or leaving with one of the Heartthrob’s guards back in the day.

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After Charlie, I didn’t want a serious relationship. Thankfully, I’d met up with Christian Romano (star of The Heffners) at an event last year. We hit it off and discovered that both of us: 1. Didn’t want anything serious. 2. Hated Charlie Tsui. Well, hate was a strong word. I didn’t hate Charlie. But there was a deep seated resentment there. After the blow out that day at his parents’ theme park, he never once tried to contact me. And as the months turned into years, lingering angry feelings sort of snowballed.

Christian had a falling out with Charlie over the woman Charlie was dating now, Carmella Parris, the actress who played Yasmine on the daytime drama, New Beginnings.

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Seemed Carmella cheated with Charlie while Christian was in a serious relationship with her. Charlie claimed he didn’t know, but if he’d cared about his friend, why was he still seeing her?

So, we bonded over our Charlie war stories. Shared love angst made the heart grow fonder. (Yeah, I made that up.)

Christian took me to the newest movie premiere of the epic Super Serafina Salvation movie. He was so sweet to get us tickets, knowing I was still a geek at heart. (He didn’t really get into super hero action stuff, but he’d go for me. Aww…)

But then my eyes widened as we strolled to the bar afterwards. “Damn it. Would be our luck, they’d show up,” I hissed. Why the hell was Charlie and Carmella here? He hated action plots and there was no way Little Miss Perfect Carmella would sully her beaded dress to like comic book action characters.

“Calm down, darling,” Christian’s soothing voice lilted. “This is a popular nightclub, too. They’re probably here for dinner and dancing. Just ignore them.”

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But we couldn’t ignore them because they’d waltzed right up to us.

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Stunned, Charlie sort of warbled out an awkward hello as his face turned a nice shade of pink.

Carmella, on the other hand said, “I told you, Charlie, they’d be here for the premiere. Lexie is known for her freakish tastes in movies.”

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A firestorm ignited inside me and I saw red. Putting my arm around Christian, I said, “Yeah, me and five million other geeks who want to see it. What did the news say about the predictions for opening day? Oh, yeah. It was going to blow out box office records.”

Christian pulled me tight and said, “Good evening to you both. I see, Carmella, that green really doesn’t look pretty on you.”

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Then he hustled me away before I could dig my nails into Carmella’s bitch face.

I didn’t know what happened but that evening was full of raging passions. I figured Christian and I should always bump into Charlie and Carmella whenever we went out.

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*****

A few weeks went by when I saw James’ name flash on my phone. He wanted to meet up. We hadn’t seen each other in almost nine months since he’d gone on tour. That was one thing that’d never changed since I’d left the Heartthrob penthouse. And I was soooo thankful. James would always be my friend no matter what was going on in our lives.

He told me he was tired of running around with my body guards and that I needed to find a costume that would hide my face somehow. So, I thought I’d surprise him with one I found online. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk in it.

James looked me up and down and said, “My God, you’ve got to be kidding me. Lex, how in the hell are we even supposed to get you inside a door?”

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I shrugged, but he couldn’t see it, so I waved my arms in an I-have-no-clue-this-was-your-idea way.

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“What’s wrong? Can’t you even speak?” he asked.

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I shook my head but the costume was too huge for him to notice, so I did a little dance. He laughed. “Very funny.”

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Taking my hand, he added,”But it’s not that funny. Come on. We’ll get you a better outfit.”

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We stopped at a kiddie costume shop down the street. How we were going to find anything that 1. Would hide my face, and 2. Wouldn’t look ridiculous? (Well, I already looked pretty ridiculous, so I guessed it couldn’t get any worse.) I was wishing I hadn’t given my bodyguards the day off.

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1apammie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5.46

Lexie

I jumped on the first flight to San Myshuno. I didn’t think I’d stopped crying that whole time. Even the flight attendants brought me kleenexes and gave me pitiying looks. I looked like a blotchy, red faced, snot filled mess. Yeah. So embarrassing.

A part of me kept saying I needed to stop, talk to Charlie, and make up. I mean…why was I running?

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But then I’d hear him forcing me to ditch whomever he felt jealous about and I just got angry all over again. He wasn’t going to control me. I wouldn’t stand for that. And over the past six months, I realized Charlie was a control freak and a perfectionist.

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That was why he loved ballet dancing, fine dining, and classical music. To him, those represented perfection–nothing out of place. It made him calm when everything hummed in soothing, comforting tones. He was my total opposite. I’d known that from almost the first time I’d met him, but…I just couldn’t help myself. I fell in love. And opposites attract. Right?

I mean, his strength and softer attitude calmed me down. He was good for me. The Ying to my Yang…but…I guessed it was too much for me.

Oh…I ached to see him. It was like a huge cloud hovered over me. Was I making the biggest mistake of my life? I didn’t know. I just needed time away from him to think.

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I heard a tap on my door and my pulse quickened. Was it Charlie? I knew if I saw him, I’d cave. I wasn’t in the right emotional state to do anything rational.

Luckily, it was James.

I didn’t want to see him either. Behind all of it, I kind of blamed him for making Charlie jealous even though I knew that wasn’t right. It wasn’t James’ fault.

“Hello, Lexie.”

I only nodded at him, looking away.

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“I…uh…wanted to tell you that you can stay. I’m getting a place to myself, so…I won’t be in the way anymore.”

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I shook my head. James was so thoughtful. See? Charlie didn’t have anything to worry about. James was just my friend. Ugh. I wanted to shout at him again. But it wouldn’t help. No matter what I did, he’d only view James as a rival. “That’s okay, James, but I’ve got to get out of here. Thanks though.”

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I said goodbye and left, rushing away before I changed my mind. Dad wanted me to stay with him for a while. I needed to go home.

*****

When I saw my dad, all my bravery shattered, and I crumpled into his arms. Dads were the best when you felt the worst.

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I took some time off from work and decided to get a little bonding in with my bro. Too bad the little urchin was such a demon. Always getting into trouble. I had to watch him 24-7.

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Oh. My. GOD! And he was about to eat his slimy, dirty BOOGERS!

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“You better not, Bray,” I yelled, cringing.

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As if to spite me, he plopped that bad boy in his mouth.

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EWWW!!!

I scooped him up. “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

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I felt like all those germs caked on his body went creeping up my hands just touching the toddling bucket of bacteria. I shuddered. So much for bro bonding.

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“I think it’s time to see Daddy.” Dad could deal with him. Not me!

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It didn’t go any better at Mom’s place. So I tried really hard to be a sweet loving sibling to my baby sister, Rylie.

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“Aww…see that, Lexie? She adores you already,” Mom lied.

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But Rylie wasn’t fooling me. We were going to have to really watch this kid when she grew up. The girl was wicked smart. She already knew at this tiny age I was bad with kids. I even tried to kiss her, and she made a face like “Help! Get me away from her!”

You gotta like that sass. I fell in love with her right away.

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Then I gave her back to Mom.

Things settled down a bit and I felt a little better about things. Or so I thought. Dad brought home a few magazines to show me. He thought I should be prepared.

Can anyone say I SOOOOO hate the press? Because I do.

 

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The covers were bad enough. But the articles made me sound like some sinister, gold digging whore whose sole purpose was to win the hearts of as many Heartthrobs as I could and cut them off without reason. (A power play on my part. Something all Throbbers will never forgive me for.) Thank GOD I had an FBI agent as a father. He used undercover agents to ferry me to and from work.

But the worst of it wasn’t over.

Noah came to my desk with a worried face.

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“What’s wrong, Noah? Do you need some help?”

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“Boss wants to see you.”

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Uh oh. There were only two things Cruella DeVil ever summoned people to her office for. She was either going to promote you or fire you. Noah had the guilty look of a person who knew too much. And it certainly wasn’t good.

“Shit,” I whispered, swallowing.

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I’d never been to the woman’s office. Never wanted to make a visit even for a promotion.  If I wasn’t so petrified, I would have said I liked decor and commented about the artwork. I also would have noticed there was an abundance of women crying in the paintings. I should have taken that as a dubious omen. But I was clueless.

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As I entered, my boss acted as if I wasn’t there. I stood awkwardly for at least five excruciating minutes, trying to give her space.

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Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and cleared my throat. “Er…you wanted to see me?”

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She nodded and motioned me to sit. Then she went into a diatribe about how she’s worked so hard to bring Chicken Tooth Animation up where it is today and how she started in the animation biz as nothing but an unpaid intern without a nickel to her name. She blabbed so much about her professional life that I wondered what exactly she wanted to see me for. Then she ended with, “…and so, Alexis, we, as in the board of directors and I, feel it’s in the best interest of everyone at Chicken Tooth Animation to allow you to fly like I did.”

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My brain was having a hard time taking in everything. I was so confused. Was she promoting me or firing me? It could have gone either way with that vague sentence. “Huh?” was all I could muster.

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“In other words, we think it’s best if you left our small potatoes operation and used your talents elsewhere. We have no doubt you’ll do well and we’ll give you a hearty recommendation.”

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She was firing me. Damn. I didn’t even ask for a better explanation because deep in my gut, I knew. All the turmoil of my very public private life had filtered in and now that I was a blight on everyone’s radar, even my little animation studio wanted nothing to do with me.

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I tried to get hired elsewhere, but no one wanted me. I couldn’t blame them. Chicken Tooth Animation had to up their security when those damned rags hit. And to be associated with me meant trouble.

But there was one place where my troubles were actually a bonus. In fact, when I asked my agent for more work, he was almost salivating. Seemed my association as Charlie’s ex gave me “star” power. Even if it was bad press, I was a known quantity.

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And so…as much as I hated it, I took up modeling full time.

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As the weeks turned into months, a sort of resentment I’d fostered toward Charlie turned into something else. I was no longer that timid weak little geek who’d escaped from the tiniest hint of stress.

I was Alexis Bianca Day.

Ready to take on the world (and a mountain of Throbbers if I had to).

Bring it, bitches.

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1apammie