Finch, Border of Twinbrook
I hate it when I don't know what's going on. I'm almost never completely confused, but when it happens I freeze up and start to panic. I've learned that the best way to get out of a bad panic is to breathe deeply and think happy thoughts. TV or a good logic puzzle works well too.
When Raven made her sudden departure from Annie's house, crying, I didn't have time to think about how panicked I was. I just started after her, thankful that I was a fast runner.
If it had been Jay, or even Oriole, I may have stopped and called Mom and Dad. But this was Raven. I could still remember her reading me to sleep at night. We laughed and joked together. We were the outcasts in our powerful family, the two Bird children who couldn't heal, the two who were most withdrawn. We both tended to worry a lot, and sometimes the only comfort was sharing our fears together. I couldn't just let Mom and Dad deal with it.
As I chased after Raven' retreating back, I tried to piece together what had happened. Raven had been talking to Mrs. Jones-Brown about something they both knew, something that I was in the dark about. Mrs. Jones-Brown had implied that she'd been with Dad when they were younger, that he was Kasey's father, too.
I couldn't analyze that idea too much, at least not at the moment. I couldn't be angry at Dad, not when I had to chase after Raven. I hadn't known she was such a fast runner- my guess was that Raven was fueled by pure emotion. Did she even know where she was going?
We flew past trees, ran so far that I suddenly realized we may have left Twinbrook behind. It was both a frightening and exciting idea. Mom had been incredibly overprotective, never letting us leave Twinbrook, not even when Jay begged to go on a trip with some friends to Bridgeport. She claimed we were only safe in Twinbrook. It had always made Jay groan with exasperation, but I simply wondered what Mom was so afraid of. I knew she hadn't been born in Twinbrook, and I sensed that she'd had a hard childhood, though all of my grandparents are dead, so I'd never know how hard it was for her.
I followed Raven into a shady park, glad I would at last have a chance to confront her and hopefully cheer her up. How long had we been running for? I was so worried I had not bothered to check my watch before leaving. It was a shock. I never forgot to look at my watch, not when every minute of my day was timed out to eliminate unfortunate surprises.
Raven sank onto a bench and put her hands on her head as if she had a headache or was going through a bad panic attack. I didn't want to disturb her, but I needed to tell her I was there. Would Raven be angry I'd followed her this far? Had she heard my footsteps behind her?
I was just about to walk up to her when I saw a strange woman approaching her. The woman looked young, as if she'd just become a young adult, and had black hair. Something about her looked familiar, but also unnerving. Irrationally, I wanted to grab Raven and run away from the woman and her disturbing smile. Raven, however, heard the woman behind her and stood up, slightly alarmed.
Instead, I backed behind a nearby tree to watch the situation unfold. The woman looked as though she had a purpose in talking to Raven. I needed to hear what she had to say. If things got too strange or the woman looked dangerous, I could step in and help Raven. Even as I thought that, I felt like laughing. What could I do to help, anyway? I didn't work out like Jay. I couldn't fight for the life of me, nor did I have any special powers, in spite of my hair color. Raven would be better off with anyone else in the family, anyone but me, here to protect her.
"Hello, Raven Bird," the woman said. Raven recoiled from her, and I jumped in my hiding spot as well. It was a simple greeting, yet somehow menacing.
"Who are you?" Raven asked, voicing my question. Her voice was more hostile than usual, as if she could also sense that this was not a nice woman. "How do you know my name?"
"What, you don't recognize your own grandmother?" the woman laughed, and it was a cruel, empty sound. "I suppose Bluvia told you I was dead, of course. Didn't want her precious little kiddies to meet grandma dearest. She should have known she couldn't keep you from me forever. I've been dying to meet my oldest grandchild."
"Mom's name isn't Bluvia," Raven said to the woman's smirking face. It surprised me that was what she chose to focus on, out of it all. "It's Blue. And you're too young to be anyone's grandma. You're only a few years older than me."
Raven was right, of course. There was no way this woman, younger than Mom, could be my grandma. Why would she say it then? Nothing made any sense, and my heart was beating so fast I thought it would fly clean out of my chest. Irrationally, I was sure she could see me, even though I was covered by ample leaves.
The woman wore a condescending smile. No, I couldn't call it a smile. It was too awful for that, too unnatural. She placed a hand over her heart, mocking Raven's pain.
"You want her name to be Blue, you don't want to admit I'm her mother, that I'm not dead like she said. You don't want to know you've been lied to again. Sorry, Raven dearie. Mommy had lots of secrets you never knew about. You thought it was bad that Goodwin isn't your daddy after all? Don't throw the pity party yet. That's nothing compared to the family curse."
I was reeling. Goodwin not her dad? Was this why Raven had freaked out so badly at Annie's house? But how could she have known? Mrs. Jones-Brown never said anything about that.
I pictured Raven's face, the one moment of sheer pain. It was as if she'd seen it in her mind. But that made no sense. Maybe there was something in the conversation I'd missed.
"What do you mean?" Raven asked. "What curse?"
"As I thought," the woman said, showing glinting white teeth. "Your mother was very disobedient, and she ran away from our home, the kingdom of Brendale, when I was only trying to teach her about her own magic. But she didn't want to admit she had magic. She was afraid of her own power, the foolish woman."
The not liking her own magic thing sounded like Mom, but I reserved my judgement. I didn't trust this woman who seemed to delight in making Raven upset. And I didn't think Mom was a fool. I nearly jumped out and gave her a piece of my mind, but I reminded myself that Raven could be in danger. I had to wait and observe before I acted.
"I couldn't let an untrained power run wild. Your mother could have been a force of destruction. So to my great sadness, I placed a curse on her, ensuring that her and her descendants would face great peril until they chose to return to my side and at last embrace their true birthright as heirs of the Brendale throne."
Raven stared at the woman in shock. Then she seemed to come to her senses, looking at her with a challenge written on her face. "Wait just a minute," she began, her voice getting progressively louder. "Let's assume I believe all this you've been telling me, and ignore the throne stuff for the moment. Well, I may not have magic of my own, but even I know you have to have an unnatural hair color to have magic. Your hair is just plain old black."
The woman laughed again. "You say you have to have strange hair to have magic? That is not true. I could prove it to you right now by giving a display, but I think I know of a more effective way to show you the truth. How is it, if you have normal red hair, that you have visions? You can see visions of the past, present, and future. Do not deny it. That is how you discovered that Goodwin is not your father. You saw your true father in visions, did you not? You are a seer, Raven."
Raven looked down, seemingly unable to speak. I watched the interaction, transfixed.
"I am not a seer like you, merely resourceful. I have obtained my gift from those like your mother who are too scared, too pathetic to use it properly. I can teach you to do the same, Raven. I can teach you how to control the visions and tame your own magic. And if you join me, the curse on your family will end, right now. All it takes is one person. You will join me and be heiress to the throne of Brendale, and you will rule after me."
"Oh, really?" I couldn't listen quietly any longer. I stepped out of the bushes and walked over to look straight at the woman. I tried not to shake, remembering that I owed it to Raven to be brave. "But why should anyone need to rule after you, if you have learned how to remain young?"
That was a guess, but it seemed a likely one, in my eyes. How else could she appear so youthful if she was our grandmother as she claimed? Unfortunately, I thought that part was true. I'd long ago learned that liars use bits of truth when they can. Jay told as much truth as he could every time he wanted to go out somewhere our parents wouldn't approve of, after all.
"And you would be Finch, no doubt," the woman, my grandmother said. I spared little thought as to how she knew my name. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raven back away, no doubt wanting to get far away from our grandmother as possible. "I wondered when you would join us." She looked straight through me, and I knew she had known I was there the whole time. "I can see that you are a clever young man. You raise an excellent question. I have in fact found a way to remain at a young age, but I only intend to use it until I have an heir again. At that point, I will allow myself to age normally and pass on the throne."
"I think you're lying," I said, pointing straight at her. She looked too power-hungry to give anything up once she'd grasped her claws into it. "And I think Raven and I should head straight home and talk to Mom. She'll tell us if you're really our grandmother, and if you're right about this supposed curse."
The woman turned to Raven again. "Go, if you wish. I would never hurt you. But I would not listen too closely to what my daughter says. She is a born liar, and she has told you so many lies that even she cannot separate fiction and fact any longer. I see now she was never a fit heiress to Brendale, it was your generation that was meant to follow me as royalty."
Raven avoided eye contact, purposefully looking up. I sensed that her emotions were tied together with a thin string that could break at any moment.
She fixed her glance on me and I felt like I was one of the slides in bio lab, scrutinized under a microscope, all of me clear as day to her. It was not unlike when Russ Twinbrook's old mother Farla looked at me. Except this woman was ten million times more intimidating, and she somehow stank of evil. I have always been a good judge of character, and I did not like my grandmother at all. No wonder Mom never talked about when she was younger.
She grimaced, almost as if she could hear my private thoughts and knew of my distaste for her. Yet she continued on in an oily voice, touching my arm like she was a normal grandmother. What a joke!
"Finch, you wonder why your hair is blue but you have no magical strength. I could help you, I could give you your own power and others besides. Without me, you will never be able to heal, as I know you want to. I could teach you to fight. You'd be stronger and more popular than Jay. Turn away from me, and you will always be in his shadow, always the puny little brother. Is that what you really want?"
For a minute, I'll admit, I was tempted. Looking into her eyes, I saw real resolve. It didn't seem to be an empty promise on her part. Whether there were lies mixed in, as I suspected, it didn't matter. She had magic without the hair. She would be able to give me power too.
Why would she bother though? What was in it for her? There was a trick somewhere in this. I needed to talk to Mom.
"No thanks," I said smoothly. "I'm fine just as I am. Raven here is too."
Raven nodded. I sensed that if she tried to talk she might cry. It had been a hard day for her, I realized. She'd had a lot of illusions shattered. As shaken as I was, it was nothing compared to suddenly learning Dad wasn't my real father.
"Come on, Rav," I said calmly, ignoring my grandmother's glare.
We walked away to the chilling sound of that awful woman shouting. "You'll be back!" she called out angrily. "You'll see I'm right."
I had never hated someone before, and so far I didn't much like the feeling.
The sun was going to set soon. I hoped we would be able to remember the way back to Twinbrook. Mom and Dad were going to be worried.
Where was Raven? Ori told us grumpily that Raven and Finch had left to go to Annie's house and hadn't taken her. I expected Raven to come right back after, but it was getting dark and Raven was nowhere to be found. I was angry and worried. Well, mostly worried.
"It's okay, honey," Goodwin said, trying to calm me down. "Let's call her cell before we start panicking."
He was right, of course, but I still had a cold feeling deep in my gut. We tried her cell phone, only to hear it ringing from her room. Then I thought to call Annie's home number.
"Hello," I began. "This is Blue Bird. Are my children, Raven and Finch, by any chance at your house?"
There was long pause on the line. "They were," a woman's voice said, finally. "I had a conversation with Raven. She was a little... upset. She left and Finch ran after her."
"Upset?" I asked, frantic at this point. "Please, who am I speaking to right now? What did you say to her?"
"It's Jenni Jones-Brown," she said. I almost dropped the phone in shock. "And can I talk to Goodwin, please."
I handed the phone over reluctantly, sinking into a chair as Goodwin listened. His normally smiling face was incredibly downcast.
"That can't be," he said. "We were careful." A pause. "Why didn't you tell me before? I would've helped. You can't just keep something like this from me." Another pause. "I want to meet her. I will meet her." Another awful, longer pause. "If Raven is somehow hurt because of anything you said to her, you will not be happy. That I promise!"
Goodwin clicked the phone shut and then came over, pulling me into his arms.
"Blue," he whispered next to my ear. "I have something to tell you. Just please, let me explain it all before you do anything."
"What is it?" I pulled away, immediately jumping to the worst possible conclusion. "Do you miss Jenni? Do you want to be with her instead of me?" I sounded like an insecure teenager, I knew it, but between my children going missing and the phone conversation, I felt lost.
"No!" Goodwin cried. "No, no, never." Though we were standing, I was reminded of sitting on that couch at Goodwin's old house, all those years before, when I had to tell him everything that had happened with me and Justin. Except this time it was Goodwin doing the explaining.
"Blue," he looked at me, his eyes bright with emotion. "I have another child. A child with Jenni."
"But, I thought you guys weren't together for very long." It couldn't be true, it couldn't.
"We weren't," Goodwin continued. "It seems something went wrong with the, uh, birth control. Jenni had already moved away when she realized she was pregnant, and she didn't tell me. She didn't contact me when she moved back to town either. I didn't know, Blue. I never knew about Kasey, I promise you. I would have told you if I had. Please, trust me. I am so, so sorry, Blue."
"I do trust you," I said, settling myself. This had happened years ago, I reminded myself. I couldn't be mad at him now for something that had happened so long ago, when we weren't even dating yet. "But I need to think about this. After we find the kids, we'll talk again, okay?"
Goodwin nodded eagerly. He seemed to be happy that I wasn't throwing things or shouting at him. Then something sank in.
"Wait, Kasey? That couldn't be the Kasey who used to bully Raven, could it?"
Goodwin's face wrinkled angrily at the thought. "I hope not. Because I always promised I would have serious words with that kid, and that's probably not the best way to start a relationship with your newfound daughter."
Suddenly, I started to laugh. It was all too ludicrous not to. Goodwin looked at me and then he started too.
The laughter was only broken when I heard the Guardian in my head. It is time.
I walked outside, ignoring a curious Goodwin. I suspected I would want to be alone for this. It was now completely dark. I sat at the outdoor table, illuminated by candlelight.
'What do you mean?' I asked in my head, though I suspected I knew the answer.
It is time to choose an heir or heiress, to take on the curse and to receive my advice.
'And then- I won't hear you anymore.' It was a strange thought. I could hardly remember what it had been like not to hear the Guardian, sarcastic or sweet, comforting or entirely too serious.
Yes, the Guardian said. Did its voice sound sad? I will not be present in your mind anymore. We will be unable to communicate.
'When do I have to choose?' I asked. 'How long do I have?'
You have to choose now. Go with your gut impulse, the child that your heart tells you will carry the burden best. I could have given you more time, but you would have fretted over the decision. For you, this is the best way.
'Wait,' I said. 'First, can you just tell me that they're okay. Raven and Finch, I mean.'
Your kids are safe and will be home soon. Then you'll have to talk to them. They deserve to know everything, especially Raven. I suggest you leave nothing out, lest it come back to haunt you.
Thank goodness. Knowing my kids would be back, I was free to decide on an heir. Who out of my kids was most able to face my grandmother? Immediately, my thoughts went to Finch. He wasn't outgoing like Jay and Oriole, but he had a good head on his shoulders. He reasoned his way out of problems. I also knew that even if his powers came to him, he would never abuse them. He was strong-willed and had enough distrust that he would never fall prey to my mother's wiles.
"Finch," I said out loud. I stood up and moved away from the lit up table. "I pick Finch."
Good choice, the Guardian said. Goodbye, Blue Bird.
I felt the Guardian's absence. My head was somehow lighter, emptier. I choked back tears. No, now was not the time to cry. I had to compose myself for Raven and Finch. I walked to the front lawn, waiting for a glimpse of their figures on the horizon.
Wow, this took longer than I expected. I'm sorry for making everyone wait for Finch's first chapter! I hope you enjoyed. Remember to comment here or on the sims 3 website thread: http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/219442.page
Thank you to all of my amazing readers, new and old! You guys always make my day :)