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The Morgan Legacy, Chapter VI: Misguided Notions

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The sixth chapter of the Morgan Legacy.

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The Morgan Legacy, Chapter VI: Misguided Notions

  1. 1. The Morgan Legacy VI: Misguided Notions by fireflower314 Stephen, Roxanne and Cory grow, and the family worries as V continues to favor Cory.
  2. 2. Welcome back to the Morgan legacy! A friend of mine pointed out that I should probably be providing recaps at the start of these, so here goes... Danielle was chosen to found a legacy. In college she met Gordon Tellerman, a scifi geek, and they were married shortly after she graduated. They have three daughters- heiress Veronica, Angelina, and Faye, who also lives at home. Veronica and Faye are both unwed romance sims. Veronica followed in her father's scifi loving footsteps and decided she wanted to lead a cult that would be able to meet with the aliens. In college she did meet and fall for an alien, Lucien, who mysteriously disappeared. Faye, meanwhile, is working her way up in the military and has an assortment of boyfriends. Veronica's first son, Stephen, was with family friend Sabastian Gast. When Stephen was a toddler, Veronica was kidnapped by aliens and reunited with Lucien. Three days afterwards she had his son, Cory. Faye, meanwhile, had Roxanne the day after Stephen was born.
  3. 3. Danielle hadn't been sure what to think when Veronica had told them all about Lucien. The thought of having an alien grandson was still a bit daunting, but when Veronica handed him to her Danielle immediately adored him. As for Veronica herself, it was clear that she wasn't going to be distant from this child. Her eyes were full of love and pride for her little boy.
  4. 4. The whole family doted on Cory and willingly chipped in to help Veronica raise him. While this was a good thing for the baby, Stephen found himself left out in the cold. "Aunt Faye! Aunt Faye! Look at my report card!" he cried excitedly. He'd been so wound up since getting it that he'd barely survived the schoolday. He couldn't wait to see his mother's reaction- she was sure to be so proud of him. "Sssh, Stephen," Faye said with a smile. "I'm trying to get Cory to go back to sleep." His excitement began to fade, but not entirely. "But I got straight A's! Isn't that great?" "That's wonderful," she said, smiling at him over her shoulder. "Let me get the baby settled and I'll look at it, okay?" Stephen suddenly wasn't so excited about his report card anymore. "Never mind," he muttered. "I'm going to go get a snack."
  5. 5. "Now that Cory's born all people want to do is hold him and feed him and cuddle him," Stephen said dejectedly to his best friend, Vaughn Fitzhugh. "I hate it." Vaughn frowned. "If you want you can come to my house tomorrow," he offered. "Let's go ask your mom." "She won't care," Stephen said glumly. "She's too busy taking care of stupid Cory." Vaughn wanted to argue. After all, he wasn't his mom's only child but De still made lots of time for him. But from what he'd seen during his visits, he had a bad feeling that Cory was right.
  6. 6. So the next day Stephen followed Vaughn off the bus and through the front door of a small, light blue house. "Mom, I'm here!" Vaughn yelled, dropping his homework on the floor. Then he grinned. "Dad!" He rushed over to the couch, leaving Stephen to watch nervously. "Where's Mom?" The redheaded man on the couch looked away from the tv and smiled at his son. "Your mom's lying down for awhile. You can always go find Marina." "Okay!" Vaughn looked over at Stephen. "I'm going to go talk to my nanny, 'kay? Just wait here. I'll be back in a sec."
  7. 7. Stephen watched his best friend run up the stairs, then eyed the couch. There was a lot of room, but he still wasn't sure if he felt comfortable enough to sit down. After all, he'd never met Vaughn's dad. "I won't bite," the man remarked with a laugh. "You can sit down." Now Stephen would have felt just plain awkward if he didn't, so he edged over to the left side of the sofa and slowly sat down. He hoped that Vaughn would come back soon. "I'm Rhys, Vaughn's dad," the man told him. "I'm Stephen," he muttered, looking away.
  8. 8. "I know. Vaughn talks about you a lot. He says you're the best friend he's ever had." Stephen looked up at him warily. "Really?" Vaughn had never said anything like that to him, but then again Stephen felt the same way and hadn't admitted it to him, either. It just wasn't something boys did. Rhys nodded. "He's always telling stories about you. So you can come over any time, okay?" Stephen couldn't help smiling. It was so nice to be appreciated, for once. Even his adoring grandparents were too busy with Cory to pay much attention to him lately. "Thanks."
  9. 9. Once Vaughn and Stephen had gone upstairs to play, Marina could talk to the redhead. "You and Stephen seem to get along well," she began slowly. "He's a good kid," Rhys said with a shrug. "Plus he's Vaughn's best friend. Why wouldn't we?" "Because you're you," she said flatly. "You never do anything that won't benefit you somehow. So what are you up to now?" "Me?" he said innocently. "I don't know what you're talking about." Marina groaned. "You promised De that you would behave here," she reminded him. "You wreak lots of havoc everywhere else. Isn't that enough? Be a good example for Vaughn and don't mess with De's legacy family. Please."
  10. 10. Rhys smiled at her. "Marina, won't you ever trust me?" he asked in a mock-hurt tone. "I'm not going to try to destroy her legacy. Why would I want to do that? I'm just trying to get to know one of Vaughn's friends." She wanted to believe that. After all, so far Rhys had been well behaved here. But she knew him far too well to just blindly trust him. "All right," she finally said. "But I'll be keeping an eye on you, so don't change your mind." "I won't," he said in his best innocent tone.
  11. 11. Just before going to bed, Stephen joined his mom in the kitchen to eat leftovers from dinner. Cory or no Cory, he wasn't ready to give up his fight for her attention completely. Vaughn had suggested talking to her about something she was interested in, and he knew exactly what it should be. "What was it like when you met aliens?" Stephen asked his mother. "Were they nice? Why did you decide to have a baby with them?"
  12. 12. Veronia was not ready for any of those questions. "Aliens are aliens," she said awkwardly. "Speaking of babies, what do you think about getting another pet to keep Catherine company?" Stephen had been hoping and hoping for more pets. Catherine was great, but he wanted a house full. "Another kitten?" he asked excitedly, the aliens forgotten. She nodded. "I'm going to call and get one tomorrow." "Yay!"
  13. 13. What Veronica didn't know was that at that very moment Faye was outside, picking up the newest addition to the family. Roxanne's endless pleadings for a puppy had finally worn her down. "Hi, Henry," Faye cooed to the white bundle of fur. "Aww, aren't you just the sweetest thing? Roxy's just going to love you, yes she is."
  14. 14. By the time Veronica did find out about Henry, it was too late. The pound dropped Fitzroy, a male kitten, off the next day. "This is it," she said firmly, snuggling the kitten. "No more pets for awhile, no matter what the kids say."
  15. 15. Danielle still missed Moonshine, and couldn't help feeling distant from the kittens. While they were indeed cute, they weren't the cat that Gordon had given her on their wedding day, and paying attention to them made her feel guilty. She couldn't help adoring Henry, though. The little puppy was just so friendly and easy to cuddle. Soon she'd become his favorite member of the family, and he took to following her around whenever he could.
  16. 16. Rhys stopped in front of the Morgan household during his daily walk, and eyed it thoughtfully. He'd watched as it had grown from a one room shack to the modest sized structure it was now, and each day he'd become more determined to be part of it. Now that he'd befriended Stephen, he had his chance. All he had to do was make sure that the redheaded boy would be heir instead of his alien half-brother...
  17. 17. "Mom, you're home!" Stephen hugged Veronica happily. "Today at school-" "Hi, sweetheart," she said in a vague tone, kissing the top of his head. "Do you know if the cake arrived yet?" "The cake?" he echoed. "For Cory's birthday party, remember?" He thought wistfully about his story, then shoved it to the side, knowing it would have to wait. "I dunno." "It better have," Veronica muttered, striding into the house. Stephen sighed, then followed her. I'll just tell her later, he assured himself, trying to ignore the feeling that he'd never get a chance.
  18. 18. Veronica had wanted to give her little boy a big party, but the only people that had been able to make it were Angelina, De, Veronica's lover Sabastian, and her former boyfriend, Korey, who had since gone to college and now made frequent visits to see Faye instead. Veronica was determined to make the best of it, though.
  19. 19. Stephen watched it all from a corner of the room, observing as they cheered on his baby brother. Will anybody ever be that excited about me? he wondered sadly.
  20. 20. After a quick makeover, Cory was an adorable toddler who took after both his parents. Gordon took a great deal of pride in his half-alien grandson and soon became the one in charge of teaching him all of life's important skills. "You're a very special little boy, you know that?" Gordon told his grandson, who just grinned and clutched his hair. Gordon sighed, rubbing his back. He was the only one other than Veronica who knew the full truth- including the fact that Cory was basically royalty- and hiding it from Danielle was already taking its toll on him. But she was already so worried about the little boy just because he was part alien. He didn't want to burden her any more.
  21. 21. De watched worriedly as Veronica got a bottle of SmartMilk for Cory. Vaughn had told her plenty about how miserable Stephen was, and the thought of that little boy feeling left out in his own home was hard for her to endure. She wasn't sure why Danielle and Gordon hadn't done much about it, but she knew someone had to. "Veronica," she called. Veronica barely glanced over. "Oh hi, De. Can this wait? I'm busy with Cory." "Actually-" "Good." She smiled. "Call tomorrow, okay? Thanks!" She was gone before De could protest. De groaned. "This is going to be harder than I thought."
  22. 22. After the party Danielle tucked her grandson in. "Did you like the cake?" she asked softly. "Chocolate's your favorite, so I ordered it because I knew you'd like it." Stephen smiled sleepily. "Thanks, Nana," he said, his eyes already closing. "I love you." "I love you too, sweetheart," she whispered. She watched as he dropped off to sleep, then leaned down and kissed the top of his head. Danielle had become more and more worried about him ever since Cory's birth. She'd seen how Veronica ignored her older son in favor of the younger. Danielle had lived through a similar situation when she was younger, as her parents favored their only son and left their daughter starved for attention. She was the only person who knew how Stephen felt, and she had tried to make up for Veronica's behavior because of it. I'll take care of him, she thought determinedly. And I'll do my best to make Veronica see reason before it's too late.
  23. 23. Cory wasn't the only one getting bigger. Catherine and Henry soon grew up as well. Having a giant dog and an adult cat around the house was going to be quite a change, but the family was looking forward to it.
  24. 24. Danielle stroked Henry's belly, laughing as she saw how content he looked. "You're such a good boy," she told him. "Nobody has a better dog than you." He barked as if in agreement, making her laugh again. While she still missed Moonshine, the pain had dulled now that she had Henry.
  25. 25. Gordon was not looking forward to going into the house. "You're getting on in years, Gordon. You have grandchildren now. Don't you want to be there for them? It'll be better for you to leave the job of Captain Hero in the hands of someone... with less to lose." "Someone younger, they mean," he muttered. He didn't know how to tell his family that he'd been fired. Then he paused. There was definitely a bright side to it all. Now he could spend more time with his family, and maybe he could help Stephen feel like less of an outsider. "Either way, I can't change it," he told himself. "Time to move on."
  26. 26. "You're right," Veronica said when Gordon told them what had happened. "I was thinking about quitting my job to stay at home with Cory, but if you do-" "Cory's not the only one that needs me," Gordon interrupted her pointedly. "Stephen and Roxy do, too." "Stephen?" Veronica echoed, raising her eyebrows. "He's fine. And Roxy's such an independent kid. They'll be fine."
  27. 27. Faye and Gordon just stared at her in surprise. "You're right about Roxy," Faye finally said. "She's always been a bit of a loner. But haven't you ever talked to Stephen? I had lots of talks with Roxy about my job, and I still make sure to make time for her even though she's told me not to worry about it. It's important." Veronica shook her head. "That's different. Little girls need their mothers. Boys feel ashamed to have theirs around. Trust me, Stephen will be fine." By the time Gordon had recovered from his surprise enough to argue, Veronica had already gotten up and was heading to take care of Cory. All he could do was sigh and look at Faye, who shrugged helplessly.
  28. 28. "So you can come?" Stephen asked excitedly. "Sure," Vaughn said. "What do you want for your birthday?" The redhead laughed. "I don't really need anything. Mom's buying me a cake and letting me invite you. It's going to be great!"
  29. 29. "I've got a surprise for you," Stephen told his brother afterwards, grinning wickedly at him. Cory just giggled, completely oblivious. "Wha? Wha?"
  30. 30. He held out the toy boat that he'd played with as a toddler and knew Cory loved. "Want it? Want it?" After watching Cory beam and reach for it for a few seconds, he pulled it back behind him and laughed. "Too bad! You can't have it!" He ignored the slight guilt he felt at Cory's wail of indignation. After all, Cory had taken plenty of things from him since he was born. A little teasing wouldn't kill him.
  31. 31. Though Cory couldn't get along with his brother, he did get along with all the animals. Catherine squirmed in his grasp but put up with the toddler's affection.
  32. 32. Henry, on the other hand, went straight up to him and demanded it.
  33. 33. Cory was especially fascinated with Fitzroy, the youngest of the pets. Seeing a baby cat was awe-inspiring for the toddler, and he loved cuddling him.
  34. 34. His fascination didn't get to last long, though. Soon the kitten was a kitten no longer. Fitzroy joined the ranks of the adult pets and had soon taken over the house, despite the fact that Henry and Catherine were the best of friends.
  35. 35. Vaughn wasn't the only kid who accompanied Roxy and Stephen home after school the next day. Two of the Caesars kids joined them, too, and all the kids played video games together for a few hours- even Roxy, who usually just played with the animals or went and read in their room. Vaughn was the only one who could stay for the real party, but Stephen still really enjoyed having the other two over for a few hours.
  36. 36. Then it was finally time for cake. Stephen's father was there, and his mother was standing nearby, cheering him on. It felt almost like Cory had never existed, and Stephen was thrilled at the attention.
  37. 37. Just before blowing out the candles, he pondered what to wish for. I wish I could be heir, he finally decided, then added, and that Cory would go away.
  38. 38. Before he knew it, he was finally a teenager. He grinned, checking out the jacket he'd been handed. I'm going to be heir, he thought determinedly. I'll make lots of money, and soon this house will be huge. And then I'll get married, and we'll be as happy together as Nana and Granddad. He turned to get a piece of cake, then paused as he heard his mom's voice. "Don't go anywhere," she called. "Stephen's not the only birthday boy." No wonder Mom let me have a party, he thought miserably. It was all for stupid Cory.
  39. 39. Stephen stared resentfully as Veronica came back with Cory and beamed down at the little boy. Now Cory had even taken over his birthday! Stephen was sick of it. I wish I didn't have a brother, he thought darkly.
  40. 40. Once Cory's sparkles had vanished, the little boy smiled happily at everyone. It's so great to be big, he thought. He turned but Stephen had already left. The little boy sighed. Maybe now that I'm bigger, I can get him to like me, too.
  41. 41. "I'm so proud of both boys," Gordon told Danielle the next morning as they relaxed on their bed. "They've grown up so well, and today Roxy will, too. It'll be interesting to see what she chooses." He grinned. "Maybe she'll be Knowledge, like me." "Stephen's Fortune," Danielle mused. She'd noticed his behavior during the party, and was more worried about him than ever. "I hope Veronica will finally start to pay attention to him now." "I doubt it," he said with a sigh.
  42. 42. Roxanne's birthday hit the next day. Having listened to Stephen's dreams of wealth and fortune for hours, she knew exactly what her goal in life was. "I want to make lots of money, too," she told her aunt, who watched her age proudly. Veronica sighed heavily. "Two fortune sims in one house? I don't know how we can bear it." Roxy stuck her tongue out at her. "Beats having two romance sims." "Disrespectful scamp." Veronica tried not to laugh.
  43. 43. "Ta-da!" As soon as the pink cloud dispersed, Faye held her mirror up proudly. "What do you think, sweets?" Roxanne beamed at her reflection. While she was hardly going to morph into a super feminine girl any time soon, that didn't mean that she didn't appreciate looking good. "Thanks!" she told her mom happily. "I look really pretty!" "That's because you are really pretty," Faye reminded her, kissing the top of her head.
  44. 44. Now that the kids were all older, Veronica did start paying more attention to them, but in ironic twist it was Roxanne that she bonded with more, not Stephen. Stephen himself withdrew from her, trying to ignore his remaining hope that somehow she would stop adoring Cory so much and love him instead.
  45. 45. Roxanne was a teenager, but her fascination with the family pets hadn't changed. She was still the one who took the most care of the cats, and she had plenty of affection to give Henry when Danielle was at work. Otherwise it was hard to spend time with him, since Danielle had long since become his master and he was so devoted to her.
  46. 46. In one of the Morgan household's rare quiet moments, Danielle found herself standing in front of the painting she had created so long ago, during her freshman year at Academie Le Tour. It was odd to think of how much her life had changed since she was a lonely teenaged girl so distanced from her family. Now she had her own children and grandchildren, not to mention a loyal dog, and while it wasn't perfect she was still the happiest she'd ever been. I hope things will work out this well for Stephen, she thought sadly.
  47. 47. Her sympathy for Stephen didn't mean that she ignored her younger grandson. Cory was an outgoing, loveable little boy, and it was hard not to lavish affection on him. He was also the youngest, since Angelina had already told her that she and Jake didn't want children, so Danielle treasured every moment she could spend with the little boy, knowing that soon he'd be too old to do things like dance with her and let her tickle him. She'd long since learned that children grew up too fast for any parent or grandparent's liking.
  48. 48. Sabastian had found that out the hard way. Even though he'd tried to visit, he still didn't know his son well at all. Now that Stephen was such an independent boy, it was harder than ever for Sabastian to talk to him. He was eating some dinner when Roxy joined him. He had never talked to the girl much, but he'd always thought well of her. "How have you been?" he asked, forcing a smile. "I've been fine, thanks," she said, smiling back. "I got a job." "You did? In what?" She laughed. "I'm a gas station attendant. I know, it's stupid, but I get paid really well... I really wanted to get a job at the pet store in town, but- "
  49. 49. " You like animals?" he asked, vaguely remembering how he usually saw her playing with the cats, even back in her toddler days. She beamed. "I love animals. I'd really like to work with them somehow- like run a pet store or be an animal trainer or something."
  50. 50. "I think you'd be good at it," he told her impulsively. "I mean, I don't know you very well, but I do know that you're great with the pets you have." He smiled. "And I can tell how much you love animals just from the look in your eyes when you talk about them. Anyone who cares that much about their job will definitely do well." She blushed lightly. "Thanks, Sabastian. How could-" Then she trailed off, biting her tongue. "How could what?" he asked. "Nothing." Me and my big mouth, she thought angrily. Bringing up the way Aunt V barely pays attention to him would have been so stupid. "So, um, thanks for talking to me about it." He smiled. "We should talk more often." Her blush darkened. "Okay. I... I'd like that."
  51. 51. Sabastian was never far from Roxanne's thoughts after that, but there were plenty of other things to occupy them. Life took another interesting turn when she had to do a school project with classmate Kay Ying. The girl accompanied her home from school that day to start planning it, but when they actually got to the Morgan house Kay's mind seemed to be on anything but school. "So when will Stephen get here?" Kay asked hopefully. "He won't be staying after school long, will he?" "I think he has work afterwards," Roxanne said. "So probably not until tonight." The redheaded girl sighed. "Oh, okay. I was hoping..." "What?"
  52. 52. Kay sighed again. "Oh, it's too hard to keep a secret," she said in a rush. "I'm in love with him." "With who? Stephen?" Roxy blinked in surprise. "He's a great guy, but-" "He is!" Kay agreed excitedly. "He's cute, and smart, and funny, and..." She sighed dreamily. "He's so wonderful. He's single, right? I'd give anything to go out with him."
  53. 53. "Well, um, good luck," Roxanne said after a moment. She wasn't exactly sure how to handle this. It wasn't like she could really comment on her own cousin's romantic qualities, after all. "I didn't know you were interested in him. Is anyone else?" Kay's eyes flashed angrily. "They'd better not be! He's mine." "Er, right," Roxy muttered. "So, about that project..." "Actually, is your mom here?" Kay interrupted, still looking determined- and not quite mentally balanced. "I need her help with something."
  54. 54. Faye pulled out the mirror with a flourish. "There you go," she said proudly, letting the girl see her reflection. "I hope I've lived up to your expectations." Kay beamed. "You have, you have! The other girls are going to be so jealous when they hear that you gave me a makeover." "Well I don't know about that," Faye said modestly. "I do! You should open your own beauty parlor. Everybody would go." Faye had actually thought about it before. She did love helping people look their best, and seeing their resulting happiness. "Maybe I will," she said thoughtfully.
  55. 55. Kay hopped off the stool, leaving Faye deep in thought. Not that it mattered to Kay. What mattered now was that she looked so gorgeous. Stephen was sure to notice her and ask her out. If he ever gets here, she thought bitterly. As if in response, she saw headlights in the window in front of her. Her heart leaped. That had to be Stephen, returning from work!
  56. 56. By the time Stephen arrived in the living room after his hospital shift and plopped down to watch TV, Kay was already on the couch, as casual as could be. "Hey," she said, not quite looking at him. "Oh, hi." Stephen was barely paying attention to the girl next to him, but she didn't realize that. Instead she was just thrilled that he would even speak to her. He flipped the channels before settling on his favorite Bachelor Challenge. He and Kay watched in silence for a few minutes, and then Cory and Veronica walked into the room. "What are you watching?" Cory asked curiously. Veronica, on the other hand, groaned. "Stephen, why do you have to watch this garbage? You know it's not appropriate for Cory ."
  57. 57. " Who cares?" Stephen snapped. "I was here first." "I can leave-" Cory attempted. "You don't have to go anywhere," Veronica told him. "Shut up, brat," Stephen said at the same time, glaring at his younger brother. "You always have to ruin everything, don't you?"
  58. 58. Cory's eyes filled with tears. "I'm sorry," he whispered, hurrying outside. "Don't talk to your brother like that!" Veronica said in frustration. "He looks up to you, and it-" "What does he care about me?" Stephen said with a snort. "He has you to spoil him rotten." "Don't talk to me like that." Veronica could feel a headache forming. Stephen had been such a sweet kid, but ever since he'd become a teenager he'd been so sullen. At first she'd hoped they could get past it and had tried to get along with him, but he was so terrible to Cory now that she had to determinedly protect her younger son instead. After all, she'd been the oldest sibling and her sisters had been her best friends. She'd always felt responsible for looking out for them, and it disappointed her that Stephen wasn't living up to that .
  59. 59. " Go to your room, Stephen," she finally said, not even looking at him. "But-" "Go!" Kay watched as the boy stormed out of the room. She hated Veronica and Cory for making him so angry.
  60. 60. Danielle had heard the argument from in her room and quickly went to Stephen. "Dear-" she began. "I hate them," he said miserably. "Why did Mom have to have Cory? She probably wouldn't even care if I was gone."
  61. 61. "Sweetheart, that's not true," Danielle promised, stricken. "We all love you, especially your mother. I just..." She sighed. "Please just give your mother time. She loves you. She just doesn't know how to show it, that's all. And it does hurt her that you bully Cory." He hung his head. "I know. I feel so mean sometimes, but whenever I see how Mom fawns all over him..." Danielle gave her oldest grandson a tight hug. "I know, dear," she said softly. "Just please don't punish him for it." "I'm glad someone in this house actually cares about me," he muttered, clutching her tightly. "If it wasn't for you-" "Don't even think about it," she told him. "I'm here, and I'm certainly not the only one who cares about you. You'll see."
  62. 62. "I don't know what to do," Danielle told Gordon later. "I know just how Stephen feels. I went through that. But Veronica does love him, and she's not a bad person- not like my parents. She's just..." She sighed. "I don't know what to do."
  63. 63. Gordon frowned. He wasn't sure what to tell his wife without giving too much away. He knew he was the only one who understood exactly why Veronica favored Cory as much as she did, but he hated to lie to his wife. "I'll keep talking to her," he promised. "She's a good girl. I'm sure things will be better." Danielle sighed. "Promise?" "I promise." "Good." She gazed out the dark window, remembering her childhood all too clearly. "I just hope it won't be too late..."
  64. 64. Danielle was still thinking about it the next day, when she invited her loved ones over for a small gathering. The first to arrive was Angelina. The young woman hadn't been to the house for awhile, thanks to her workaholic tendencies and her own homelife- no children, but a loving husband and a rambunctious dog- so Danielle was happier to see her than ever. "Hi Mom!" Angelina said happily, giving her a hug. Danielle smiled. "Hi, honey. How've you been?"
  65. 65. Angelina sighed, but she still couldn't help grinning. "Busy, busy, busy. Rufus is a little slow on the uptake with his training, so Jake and I still spend way too much time filling in holes in the yard, but we wouldn't trade him for a better dog." Danielle laughed. "I know how it feels now. Rufus and Henry should meet sometime." "Yeah, that would be great. Maybe we could take them for a walk together soon." Danielle hesitated, then nodded quickly. "That would be fun."
  66. 66. Next to arrive was Stella. Danielle hugged her best friend tightly. "I'm so glad you came. I know I haven't called you in-" "Don't worry about it," Stella said reassuringly. "I know it can't be easy being a mom, a grandma and an artist." The dark haired girl paused. "Well, I don't know that personally, but I can guess." "You'll find out someday," Danielle said firmly. "There's no way this family can last ten generations without producing at least one person smart enough to fall for you."
  67. 67. Stella laughed. "If you say so." "I do say so," she insisted. "You're an amazing person, Stella, not to mention the best friend I could've ever asked for. If I hadn't met you-" "Stop that," Stella said with a smile. "I'm gonna get all mushy."
  68. 68. Danielle finally stopped in front of the simself who had started it all. "Thanks for coming," she said. De smiled. "Thanks for inviting me. The house looks great." "Thanks. I know it's not a huge mansion or-" "Pffft, the big ones are overrated. Just think of how laggy they can be." De pretended to shudder. "Your house is perfect, trust me." "Thanks." Danielle glanced back at it, smiling. "I am proud of it. And I owe you so much, for it and... If it werent' for you-"
  69. 69. "Nonsense," De said firmly. "All I did was help you pay for college. If we hadn't met, you still would've been just fine." "You think so?" "Danielle Morgan," De said with a long-suffering sigh, "you graduated from Acadafreakingmie le Tour, snagged a great guy, raised three wonderful daughters without losing your mind, took in four animals- three at once- and helped raise three grandchildren, not to mention becoming more and more well-known in the art world. You got this family off to a better start than I ever imagined. Trust me- even without a college degree your life would have been just fine."
  70. 70. Gordon was the only one who really understood why Danielle had invited these people over. And he'd been dreading it. He pulled his wife in for a slow dance as soon as he could. He knew that she'd needed time with everyone else, but it had been hard for him to let her have it. She smield quickly at him, automatically shifting into the dance's rhythm. "Having a good time?" "I've had better," he admitted, holding her close. "Let's not talk about it, okay? Let's just dance." "Okay," she whispered, kissing him on the cheek.
  71. 71. After one last kiss, Danielle stepped back. "I love you, Gordon," she said. "Danielle-"
  72. 72. But it was too late. Gordon had promised himself that he'd stay strong for everyone and wait until he was alone to cry, but seeing Grim waiting to take his wife from him was more than he could bear. "Daddy?" he heard Veronica whisper.
  73. 73. Danielle smiled, already less aware of her family and friends who watched in horror. "Time to go?" she asked, gazing at the drink Grim offered. "Time to go." She sighed, thinking back yet again to all the years she'd lived through. "I wouldn't trade any of it," she finally said before reaching for the drink.
  74. 74. At the same time, an unsuspecting Stephen followed Roxanne out of their carpool. Roxanne looked towards the house, frowning. "Something feels weird," she said. Stephen just laughed. "You're way too imaginative," he said, reaching for the toy car's remote control. "Just listening to my women's intuition," she said loftily. "Then your women's intuition is way too imaginative," he returned.
  75. 75. He was proved wrong when the teenagers reached the kitchen doorway and stopped short in horror, taking in the sight of the crying family members and the urn on the floor. "Mom?" Stephen whispered. She looked back at him, absently wiping the mascara trails from her cheeks. "Oh, honey-" Roxanne was glancing around the kitchen. "Aunt V..." She couldn't steady her voice. "Where's Nana?" One look at Veronica's stricken face was more than enough to confirm their worst fears. Despite the fact that she reached out to her oldest son, Stephen stepped back. "I have to go get changed," he said roughly, leaving the room as fast as he could.
  76. 76. It wasn't until after his bath that he finally let himself break down. His grandmother was the only one who could've helped convince Veronica that he should be heir. Not only that, she was the only member of his family who really, completely cared about him. He couldn't even imagine what life was going to be like now that there was no one else who didn't think Cory's birth was the greatest thing that had ever happened to their family. What am I going to do now?
  77. 77. The family wasn't the only one suffering from Danielle's loss. Henry spent hours curled up at the foot of her bed, either howling or lapsing into an unnerving silence. After awhile Cory went in and sat with him, which seemed to cheer Henry up a bit. "Don't worry, I'm here," Cory said soothingly, rubbing his belly. "I'll take care of you now that Nana's gone, I promise."
  78. 78. Once all the children were in bed, Veronica pulled Faye into the kitchen. "We have to do something," she said firmly. "There's no way Dad can take living here for long. Honestly, I don't think I can either. There's too much of Mom here, and..." She trailed off, shaking her head slightly. "I spoke to De just before she left," Faye told her. "She said there's a house that would be perfect for us, and we can afford it. So if you want..." Veronica did a double-take. "Really? That's almost too good to be true." "Stranger things have happened," Faye said wryly. Veronica had to smile. "True... You'll come with us, right?" "You couldn't get rid of me if you tried," Faye promised, hugging her tightly .
  79. 79. The heiress hugged her sister back, feeling happier than ever that she'd asked Faye to live with them. She had a feeling that the household was going to need each other more than ever in the days ahead.
  80. 80. "Yes, Vaughn, I just love being your mother's nanny! Taking care of kids that aren't mine and not having a love life and having to do lots of chores... it's just wonderful." Awww, Marina- hey, wait a minute... Anyway, thus ends chapter six! This generation has at least one more chapter to go, maybe two- well, definitely two if you count college. I hope you like the legacy so far. See you next time!