Nova is rambling, a desperate bid for more time with Mercury. Her parents have secluded themselves to the bedroom, and Solaris and Luna have escorted Elysia home, promising Polaris that they would make sure she rested. Elysia, on the other hand, grabbed a spare notebook and pen before leaving so she could jot down some notes on the car ride home. She’s already constructing a prize-winning article in her mind; she has no time for rest.
“I have many other fine qualities,” Mercury says, “if you can get past my social ineptitude.” He delivers those words with the cadence of a joke, so Nova laughs a forced laugh. Mercury, on the other hand, looks confused. They stand awkwardly for a moment staring at each other before Zenith clears his throat.
“It’s late,” Zenith has decided that sticking to the facts is the best way to make his point.
“Oh. Yeah, I guess it is,” Mercury blinks, “that’s a cue for me to leave, isn’t it?”
“Maybe,” Zenith can’t commit fully to a tough persona. He’d like to get along with everyone, and he knows Mercury has helped his family, but he still doesn’t trust him. Mercury could have gotten his sister killed—in Zenith’s opinion that cancels out his heroics.
“I’ll see you around,” Mercury promises. He looks at her momentarily and hesitates as if he’s thinking of saying something else. Ultimately, he gives an uncomfortable wave and jogs down the front steps and to his truck. Nova watches as he leaves.
“That guy seems like a real douche,” Zenith remarks once Mercury is out of earshot.
“Yeah,” Nova says absently, “what a douche.”
“Commercial produce is contaminated with pesticides and toxins,” she informs her brother as she weeds the garden, “this is a lot healthier.”
“Is that so?” Zenith can’t really be bothered to engage. He has too much homework to do, and it always takes him so long to finish it.
Nova silently yanks at weeds, enjoying the crunching sound as she rips them out of the ground. After a moment, she turns and looks at her brother.
“Do you think I’m pretty?”
Zenith rolls his eyes, “you’re my sister.”
“I know, dummy. But am I pretty?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re cute,” he shrugs.
Mercury hasn’t contacted her since that night--she’s texted him a few times, but he hasn’t replied. No big deal, she tells herself, you have no reason to want to talk to him. She runs her fingers through her hair and purses her lips. If they do ever meet again, she’ll be ready.
When Elysia names him as an “innocent citizen unfairly imprisoned due to prejudice,” Crux is called to city hall by local representatives so he can give his testimony. Upon investigation, an exploratory committee finds rampant over-spending and mismanagement. The Men in Black were overpaid, especially considering they failed to advance any research on supernatural sims. Furthermore, their methods are found to be inhumane and illegal. Bowing to public outcry, Lawrence Parker is fired and the program is shut down. The government begins reevaluating every third-party contract. Some particularly vocal representatives advocate for harsher government regulation and oversight, while others argue in favor of higher ethical codes for private businesses. Crux is proud of his part in advancing the level of discourse Simnation.
Crux looks over briefly. “Very nice, Nova.”
“Dad! It’s more than nice. Look look look!” Nova holds the pose as long as possible. Crux glances over and then back to Zenith.
“It is truly impressive; I promise will observe your antics with more devotion once Zenith has finished his performance.”
“What did you think, Kiki?” Nova asks her furry friend.
Kiki grunts and rolls on her back, attempting her own gymnastics pose. Unfortunately, her chubby little body won’t conform.
Crux stares up at the hoop, wide-eyed, “And how does one play this game?”
“Get ball. Dribble ball. Maneuver ball from hand to hoop. Score!”
“But I think it’s best if we have a dunking competition,” Nova grins. She isn’t interested in teaching her father how to play. She wants to win, to completely obliterate him in a one-on-one competition. It’s nothing personal—she just likes winning.
Crux stares at her.
“We ain’t done, old man.”
“Please, Nova,” Crux begs, “I forgive the ageist remark, but do make sure to employ proper grammar.”
Nova easily dunks each ball. Crux manages to only get one, and he’s met with sarcastic clapping from his daughter when he finally succeeds.
Time passes quickly as life settles down. Crux becomes somewhat famous in the small town, largely due to Elysia’s sympathetic portrayal of him in her articles. Although the citizens of Sunset Valley have come to recognize supernatural sims, they still believe that Crux and his family are simply strangely colored humans. Who knew sims were so stupid. And so the Bees become a normal family, more or less.
“Well,” Crux answers, “I have noticed how much the children adore Kiki—“
“The children? Cruxie, they’ll be graduating soon. They’re not children anymore.”
“We don’t need another dog.”
“Need? No, of course not. But look! I managed to find one of a similar shape and size. I even found a male, so Kiki will have a mate,” Crux smiles as he holds the new dog, “and I have given him an appropriate name: Argus.”
“A mate? I am NOT dealing with puppies.”
“Oh, hush, my dear. You are usually so whimsical. Do not fail me now,” Crux puts Argus down on the floor and whistles, “Kiki! Come!” Polaris tries not to laugh. Everything Crux does is so awkward.
Love is in the air.
So, despite her romantic cynicism, she helps plan a wedding for the happy couple.
“Stand up straight,” she orders the bartender, “and straighten that tie!”
“Yes’m,” the bartender is ashamed that he let a teenage girl school him.
Elysia arrives soon after. Nova’s jaw drops as she watches her sister waddle over.
“Sorry I’m late,” Elysia notices her sister’s shock, “oh, yeah. I’m also super pregnant.” Because of her busy schedule, Elysia has only communicated with her family by phone. She apparently forgot to mention her incoming bundle of joy.
“Since when?” Nova resists the urge to angrily shake her sister. Sisters aren’t supposed to keep secrets.
“Since around the time I was abducted.”
“Who’s the father? Do I know him?”
“Doesn’t really matter,” Elysia shrugs, “we’re off and on. I’m not really interested in anything long term.”
Nova raises an eyebrow. She knows for a fact that their mom explained sex in graphic detail to Elysia. She should have known better. At least Luna is in a committed relationship with Quentin.
“January sends her apologies,” he says, “she’s feeling sick and so she couldn’t make it.” But no one really cares the he left his cougar at home. Once it seems like everyone is present, Nova and Elysia herd the guests towards the ceremony site.
Emotional sniffles emanate from the audience, but Mia—a typical drama queen—howls as she cries. Polaris resists the urge to turn around and smack the lipstick off Mia’s stupid face. She doesn’t even know why she’s there. Brat.
“Stop your blubbering, pussy,” she whispers angrily in his ear. Luke nods with a sniffle. He thought he’d come to terms with this years ago, but old feelings are resurfacing. He tries to push them back down. He has a wife, and with her he has a son. He doesn’t have enough room for old flames.
“You can do it,” Polaris murmurs so the audience can’t hear her, “it’s just like foreplay. You just have to line up the finger and the hole.”
“Hush! You are distracting me,” Crux stifles a laugh, “this is supposed to be a dignified event.”
“Really? Then I think I’m in the wrong place.”
“We have kissed before, Polaris.”
“I mean we should have gotten married years ago. Stop being obtuse!”
“I though it was acute joke,” he grins.
“Cruxie, it’s our wedding night. Everyone knows we’re going to go home and have sex.”
“I understand that, but you need not declare it so loudly,” Crux blushes.
“Naw, I think I do. People find my crass behavior delightful.”
“I believe you are overestimating your charm.”
Polaris winks and chomps a mouthful of cake in response. Crux is indeed quite charmed by her inappropriate behavior, but he won’t admit it.
“So how’s school?” Luna asks.
“Boring. Almost over, thank the maker.”
“…do you have a crush on anyone?”
“Are you sure?”
“So how are your grades?”
“I’m going to go dance,” Nova drops her fork on her plate and saunters over to the impromptu dance floor.
“I’ll join you,” Luna says, oblivious to her younger sister’s desire to escape her awkward line of questioning.
“I will not let you stumble,” he promises.
“Thank—OW. Could you also not step on my feet?!”
“Come join us,” Luna calls over her should. Up yours, Elysia thinks.
“No thank you,” she says sweetly, “I think I’m going to head home.” As Elysia waddles to the exit, she feels droplets of water hit her. She holds her hand out, feeling for rain.
“Since you’re leaving, can I get a ride with you?” Elysia asks Solaris as they make their way out of the venue.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll just have to text January and tell her I’ll be late.”
“The baby’s coming,” she pants, “right now.”
The remaining guests—all Bees at this point—erupt into panic. Nova and Zenith in particular are especially frightened.
“How are we going to cut the umbilical cord?” Nova wonders.
“First, how are we going to get the baby out?” Zenith adds to the confusion.
“Polaris, should we cancel our flight to Champs Les Sims?” Crux is worried about his stepdaughter.
“Solaris,” Polaris’ voice is commanding, “go get your car. Bring it around and take your sister to the hospital.”
“The hospital?” Solaris’ genius temporarily escapes him.
“Yes! Where babies are delivered.”
“I’ve worked in the maternity ward,” he says suddenly, “holy cow, I know how to deliver babies! Let me get my car.”
“Go on, mom,” Elysia tries to pace her breathing, “I’ll soldier on with my dimwitted brother. Get some rest before your flight.”
“Are you sure, Elly?” Polaris cares about her daughter, but she’s been looking forward to the honeymoon more than the wedding.
“Yes,” Elysia tries to smile but grimaces instead, “have fun!” Polaris and Crux bid farewell, wise enough to know that they should obey the orders of a pregnant woman.
There are so many things for them to celebrate: the birth of Polaris’ second grandchild; Solaris’ engagement to January; Luna’s recent announcement that she is pregnant again; Zenith and Nova’s upcoming graduation. Crux’s life. Their marriage.
They begin with the last one.
Author’s Note: And so ends generation one.
I know I glossed over a lot of issues that arose in recent chapters, but I wanted a happy ending for Crux and Polly (even though I am a really cynical person who is skeptical of happy endings). Nova will be taking over as heir and I hope to further develop her character and the haphazard plot.
The title of this chapter comes from one of my favorite poems by John Keats, "Bright Star." I think it's a really beautiful sonnet, and that's saying a lot since I think most poetry is for the birds. You can hear
Luna and Quentin have two children now: Esperanza (who was briefly in one chapter) and a newborn named Johnathon. Luna is also pregnant with her third baby. Solaris and January are married, and January recently had a baby girl named Hollie (who looks A LOT like Elysia, except with black hair and a butt chin). Elysia gave birth to a son named Dustin. Ethan Bunch is the father, and luckily I had fixed his horrible face in CAS before they hooked up so Dustin is actually okay looking. However, I might have to start moving spares out of the neighborhood.