Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Liebster Award

I am thrilled and honored to have been nominated for this award by the very talented and amazing Socallucyfan, author of Once Upon a Legacy. I'm a huge lover of fairytales, so her story is right up my street. You can read this awesome story by clicking here. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and greatly appreciated nomination.

Rules for Acceptance:

–Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the award.
– Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you.
– Nominate people (comment on their blog to let them know).
– Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions

Questions to Answer:

​1. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you like to be?

Definitely New Zealand or Australia (I'd take either one). It's an absolutely beautiful place and the people are so nice and friendly.

2. What has been the craziest moment while playing the Sims?

I'd have to say when I was staging Lenora and Tyrone's wedding. I had SO many Sims I had to stage and work with that it got completely insane. Then to top it off, the full moon hit and I had werewolves wolfing out at every turn. From getting them all dressed and ready to actually posing the wedding party, that thing took me about three days to do!

3. Where does your inspiration come from?

A lot of things! I gather inspiration from music, movies I watch, and books I read. Plus, I'm an avid Old Time Radio enthusiast so there are a lot of shows there that are very useful. 

4. What are you wearing right now (be honest)?

A pair of blue stretchy shorts and blue tube (strapless) top.

5. What do you love most about yourself?

My singing voice. :) I worked many, many years to get it where it is today.

6. Who is your favorite sim that you created?

Definitely Lenora Landgraab (Atherton when she was created). She is my founder for Forever in Time and I simply adore her. I've also got a soft spot for Liam (Lenora's Grandda) and Mathilda. 

7. What is/was your favorite subject in school?

Music, of course. :) I was totally into Band (flute & piccolo) and Chorus.

8. Coffee, tea, or neither?

Definitely coffee - espresso if we're gonna get right down to it. I do like tea though, but I have to be in a certain mood to drink it.

9. Favorite season?

Spring or right at the beginning of Summer. It's not too hot and definitely not too cold.

10. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Hmmm...depends on how much beer and nuts he had beforehand.

11. Can you say Question 10 three times quickly, without messing up?

Yep. :) I just did it to prove I could - and this is after a couple of beers even. Yay me! 

My Nominees:

Questions for the Nominees:

1. What is your favorite Sims game and why?
2. What got you into writing SimLit?
3. Who is your favorite Sim you've ever created and why?
4. What kind of music do you like?
5. What kinds of books do you like to read if you are a reader?
6. Night owl or early bird?
7, Cake or pie?
8. Dogs or cats?
9. What do you do with a drunken sailor?
10. Besides playing Sims or writing SimLit, what other hobbies/interests do you have?
11. How do you react when a much loved Sim dies?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chapter 43, Campout

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

It was a lively and motley crew who piled into the vans and cars to go to the campground. The children were beyond excited, all of them chattering animatedly while the adults counted heads and tried to maintain a semblance of control. White Wolf's siblings, Grey and Black Wolf were also there along with a couple of orphanage workers. Tyrone, Elton and Silvan arranged supplies in each of the vehicles while Lenora, Andrea, and Aurora organized and situated the children and Voxel.

"Let's move it on out," Tyrone called out. "Everyone ready?"

"Ready!" the children chorused.

The campground was a couple hours' drive from the orphanage. Many an upbeat song was sung and numerous games of I Spy were played. By the time they reached the campground, everyone was raring to exit the vehicles and let off some steam.

While the adults pitched the tents and arranged the supplies. the kids happily ran off to collect firewood. By mid-afternoon, everything was set up and a large roaring bonfire was blazing. "Can we roast some marfhmallows, White Wolf?" Tiffany Cox asked.

"I don't see why not," White Wolf smiled.

"And can we tell campfire tales?" little Mae asked.

"Of course," White Wolf replied.

"And I have a lot of tales I can tell," Black Wolf said, his hand automatically gonig to the knife he carried on his belt.

"The kind of tales you tell, my brother, would give everyone nightmares," Grey Wolf said wryly. "Perhaps you should tame down those war stories you're itching to tell."

"Tame it down only for the wimps," Lisa grinned. "Me, I can take it."

Andrea snorted and gave her daughter-to-be a playful nudge. "You are a bloodthirsty savage," she teased.

"Naturally," Lisa said smugly.

"A girl after my own heart," Black Wolf said. "I will look forward to making a warrior out of you."

"Sweet!" Lisa exclaimed.

"Maybe Black Wolf can school Aurora so next time she slugs someone, she won't hurt her hand," Andrea snickered and winked at her sister.

"You're just jealous because I'm the one who got to do the slugging," Aurora fired back.

"Well, there's one good thing. At least it wasn't me in the slammer," Andrea said.

"I'm never going to live that one down," Aurora said dryly.

"Very fitting of a true warrior, being incarcerated for a noble cause," Black Wolf chimed in. "I'll be more than happy to give you a lesson or two."

"Well, I think--" Aurora began.

"Go ahead, sister, dear. You hit like a girl, after all," Andrea grinned.

"I AM a girl," Aurora shot back. However, she sighed, shrugged, and looked over at Black Wolf. She'd been meaning to take some defense classes at some point. After all, it might come in useful in case she needed to stand up to some nut sometime. With Aurora being who she was and having the kind of career she did, it sometimes brought out the crazies.

The large group split up with some going fishing, others swimming in the shallow water, and still others looking for leaves and bugs to collect for extra credit projects for school, Black Wolf took Aurora off for a training session. She'd picked up a little bit of Martial Arts from Landon but she was nowhere near proficient at it. Black Wolf showed her some moves and then had her sparring with him. By the time they were done, Aurora was out of breath and sweating copiously.

"Your form is good and you learn quickly. Your brother has taught you well," Black Wolf said.

Aurora mopped her brow and gave Black Wolf a lopsided grin. "I'll tell Landon ye said so. I thank ye kindly for spending this time with me and helping me learn. I'm viewing this as a rare privilege because of who ye are."

"It is not a problem. As you probably know, my sire has a soft spot for your family and my brother White Woff is very fond of you and your sister. It is nice that I could find a befitting task to undertake while vacationing with my siblings. Now then, are you up for another round?"

"Why not?" Aurora said. She knew she would be terribly sore in the morning but it would be worth it to have Silvan give her a full body massage.

By the time it began o grow dark, everyone was blissfully full from all the hamburgers and hot dogs they ate. Lawn chairs were brought out, the adults sinking gratefully into them while the children sprawled on the ground like the sated wolves many of them were. "Ugh!" Andrea muttered, rubbing her stomach and then producing an almighty belch that made the children seize up in fits of glee. "Better out than in," she said glibly.

"Hmmm. Maybe something happened to Chris because you, my favorite sister, are channeling his spirit," Aurora snorted.

"I'm your only sister. Besides, who needs Emily Post and her ridiculous rules when we're out here in the wilderness? Plus, it's just compliments to the chef." Andrea quipped, turning her head to smile lovingly at Elton.

Aurora rolled her eyes in mock exasperation but was unable to hold back the grin when Elton blushed.

"Campfire tales!" shouted Lisa. That encouraged some of the other children, who also clambered for campfire tales.

Aurora went first, telling the tale of The Golden Arm. As a performer, she knew how to captivate her audience. The children were riveted, staring at her with big, round eyes The adults, too, were caught up in the story. When she ended the tale with the classic scream, it made the others jump, some of the children shrieking while the adults gasped. "And that golden arm was never seen again," she said when everyone quieted.

Next, Silvan told the story of The Tell-Tale Heart, which had been a favorite of the Landgraab quads growing up. Like Aurora, Silvan captured the attention of everyone, completely falling into the character of the insane narrator. When he ended with the last line, "It is the beating of his hideous heart!" chills ran down Aurora's spine. She hugged herself as goosebumps prickled her arms. Silvan sat down next to Aurora and kissed her cheek. "Someone was scared."

"Not a bit. I'll now only jump twenty feet when someone says 'Boo!'"

"Boo," Silvan whispered in her ear.

Aurora faked a shudder and snuggled close. Silvan wrapped his big arms around her, and Aurora sighed in sheer contentment. Could life get any better than this?

After a few more stories, the adults herded the kids to the tents for bed. In true besties fashion, Tara, Bliss, and Lisa wanted to share a tent. The Cox children would be bunking with Lenora and Tyrone.

Aurora and Silvan weren't quite sleepy, so they decided to watch the stars together. Silvan brought out a bottle of 7-Up and grinned sheepishly. "We'll do this again, just ye and me, and I'll bring us some nice wine. With the wee ones here..." He shrugged and handed her a foaming cup.

She just grinned at him and bumped her glass against his. "To having a grand time, albeit a smelly one by the time it's over, and many more grand times ahead," she toasted.

They drank their 7-Up in companionable silence until Silvan pulled her to her feet. "Dance with me, Aurora lass."

She chuckled. "Silvan, there's no music."

"Sure, there is. Just listen. It's all around us," Silvan whispered in her ear.

Aurora listened, paying more attention to her surroundings. The song of the night birds was accompanied by chirping crickets. A chorus of frogs added their countermelody to the mix, and the swooshing sounds of the lake nearby brought everything together in soothing harmony. "Ye are right, my Silvan. There is music here."

Silvan folded her into his arms, kissing her softly. "I've always wanted to kiss ye and dance with ye under the stars," he whispered into her hair.

They danced and kissed, lost in a world that contained only the two of them. Then, Silvan led her to their tent where they made love, Aurora fell asleep, cradled in the arms of her fairy prince, relishing the delicious pleasure of being with such a passionate and loving man.

Aurora awoke to the tantalizing aroma of coffee and wood smoke. The sound of laughing children was close, and Aurora was momentarily confused about where she was. She was lying on the unyielding ground instead of her soft, cushy bed. What in the world? she thought blearily.

She opened her eyes and slightly adjusted her position. "Ow!" she grumbled. Then, she remembered. She was on a camping trip where she'd sparred with Black Wolf the previous day and made wild, passionate love with Silvan the night before. She smirked to herself, feeling sorry for anyone who wasn't her at this very moment.

"Well, someone's in a chipper mood," Silvan purred in her ear.

"Who would have thunk?" she grinned lazily at him. "Know what I want?"


"Ye...and coffee...and I want it in that order," she said, giving him a come hither look.

When they emerged a little while later, the others were having breakfast. "Coffee," Aurora said on a big yawn. "Is there any left?"

"Just a little. More is being made. You nearly missed the first batch. You snooze, you loose, you know," Andrea said.

Aurora and Silvan exchanged a glance but had to look away from each other, lest they burst into giggles. After all, snoozing hadn't exactly been what they were doing.

Aurora composed herself, grabbed some coffee, then sobered instantly when she looked between her mother and father. Tiffany Cox was looking down at her shoes while Lenora was rubbing her back and speaking softly to her. Aurora's empathic senses picked up how embarrassed Tiffany was feeling. The poor kid had obviously had more nightmares.

After breakfast, Tyrone asked if Tiffany wanted to go fishing with him. She nodded silently and got up. When Tyrone reached for her hand to walk her to the lake, she didn't pull it away but didn't hold his hand very firmly. Tyrone could see she'd withdrawn into herself, and his big heart went out to her.

He helped her bait her hook and then showed her how to cast it into the water. They stood like this, poles in water, neither of them speaking for a long time. Tyrone didn't want to push, so he just stood next to her like a silent guardian angel.

As time passed, the fish weren't biting, so Tyrone called for a break. He helped Tiffany set her pole down and handed her an apple. As they ate, Tiffany was still silent and again, Tyrone didn't push. Tiffany would likely open up when she was ready,

When Tiffany finally spoke, it was in a soft, apologetic voice. "I'm sorry I woke you and Miss Lenora last night. I didn't mean to make you mad at me."

"Oh, sweetie, it's all right. We weren't mad, not at all," Tyrone said.


"Really, really. Cross my heart." Tyrone made a crossing motion over his chest with his free hand. "Look, Tiffany, everyone has nightmares. Even grown-ups have them. It happens."

"It happens to me a lot," she mumbled.

"Sometimes it helps to talk about it," Tyrone replied.

Tiffany looked out over the water in silence. Tyrone figured she didn't want to talk about it anymore, so he just let it go. Then when she spoke, it was in such a soft whisper, it took his keen wolfish senses to pick it up. "Do you have nightmares?"

"Sure, I do," Tyrone said. "Like I said, everyone does."

She lapsed into silence again, looking down at the ground. When she lifted her head slightly, her eyes remained downcast. "Mr. Tyrone?" she asked in a hesitant tone.

"What is it, sweetheart?"

"Are...are you afraid of anything?"

"Yes, of course," he said without hesitation. "Everyone's afraid of something."

"What are you afraid of?" she asked, raising her eyes to study him.

The poor kid was probably looking for an answer such as being afraid of the dark. How could he explain to this wounded little girl about the complexities of his biggest fear? He'd try to be as honest with her as he could, yet keep it simple so as not to confuse her. "Well, Tiffany, I guess I'm afraid of something awful happening to someone in my family and them not being able to be here with me anymore."

She blinked at him several times. Then, her eyes widened. "Did...I is...?"

Tyrone heaved a small, sad sigh and gently ruffled Tiffany's hair. "I think what you want to ask is did something happen to someone in my family? The answer is, yes, Tiffany, it did."

"Was that when Miss Lenora was gone?" she asked.

Tyrone raised an eyebrow at her. "You know about that." It was a statement rather than a question.

"Just a little. Aurora and Andrea said Miss Lenora got kidnapped and you all didn't know where she was for a while," Tiffany answered.

Tyrone nodded. "That's right. It was a very sad, terrible time." He didn't elaborate further. He simply said, "We found her in the end though and she was okay."

"My parents can't come back," Tiffany said, eyes downcast again. "They died in a fire and now, it's just Cedric, Layla, and me."

"I know, honey. White Wolf told Miss Lenora and me," Tyrone said, touching the girl's hair.

"I have nightmares about the fire. I try to save them but I can't. I'm trying to run through the flames and I'm screaming for them, but I can't find them. Sometimes when I do find them, I almost reach them, but...but the fire burns them and I hear them screaming. Then, I wake up screaming. Maybe if I woke up sooner, I could have warned them. Maybe if my room was closer to theirs...maybe if..." Her words came out in a desperate rush but broke into racking sobs.

Tyrone wrapped her in a strong, fatherly hug. "Oh, honey, there was nothing you could have done. Terrible things sometimes just happen and there seems to be no rhyme or reason for it. There is absolutely nothing for you to feel guilty about. It wasn't your fault, sweetheart."

Tyrone continued to hold the weeping girl as he spoke further. "You lost your mom and dad that night, and nobody will ever say that isn't awful. But you know what? You still have Cedric and Layla and I bet you're an awesome big sister."

Tiffany nodded against his chest. "White Wolf says we have to remain together. I'm glad because I don't want anyone taking them away." She gulped and sniffled. "People come to the orphanage all the time to adopt kids. A bunch of them wanted Cedric but nobody wants Layla and me. I'm not a stupid little kid anymore. I know what's going on." She lifted her head, jutting out her chin in a defiant manner.

"What do you mean, sweetheart?" Tyrone asked, urging her to continue.

"Everyone wants babies! Me and Layla are too old to get adopted," she said.

"Oh, I see," Tyrone replied. "Do you want someone to adopt you, Tiffany?"

She swiped at her eyes and thanked Tyrone when he handed her some tissues to blow her nose. "Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I'm mixed up mostly. I miss having a mom and dad and I want my parents back. I know they can't come back because dead is dead, so I start thinking about what it might be like to get a new mom and dad. Then I get mad at myself because maybe my Mom and Dad wouldn't want us to have another family."

Tyrone's heart broke. In his mind, he reached for Lenora. //Darling, we need to do something for these kids. I think Tiffany may be open to us taking her and her siblings in, maybe even adopting them. I know we haven't really sat down to talk about it after spending time with them yesterday, but I think...I think they need us.// He and Lenora had been talking off and on about opening their home and hearts to some kids who needed a loving family, but no final plans had been set.

//Ye don't have to convince me, Wolfman. I put two and two together the minute White Wolf asked us to give them some special attention on this trip. We'll speak with White Wolf about a visitation schedule and go from there. FeelTiffany out some more. I think it'll be important for her to feel like she's part of the decision making process,// Lenora communicated back.

//I love you, Lenora. Do you know that?//

//Och, I think I've figured that out. I love ye, too, Wolfman.//

Tyrone returned his full attention back to Tiffany. "I think those are pretty normal feelings to have after what you went through. Want to know what I think?"

"Sure. What?" she asked.

"I think your mom and dad wanted to be around a long, long time to take care of all of you. They didn't want to die, but I think their main concern was that you all got out of the fire without getting hurt, And you know what else? They would want you to be happy. I don't think they'd be mad if you got another mom and dad. They know they can't take care of you now, so they'd be really happy if someone came along and wanted to take care of and love their terrific kids. They'll still always be your first mom and dad and nothing, not even a new family will ever change that Do you see what I mean?"

"Yes...I think so. So, they wouldn't be jealous or anything?"

"Not a chance," Tyrone smiled. "It'll be quite all right to love a new family."

Tiffany shrugged. "I don't have a new family. I'm too old."

"Hogwash," Tyrone said, tweaking her nose gently. Then, he grew serious. "If you knew a new family was interested in you, would you want to stay with them?"

"Depends, I guess. They'd have to be really nice and want all three of us," Tiffany said.

"Well then, how would you all like to come and stay with Miss Lenora and me? We can all get to know each other better here on this trip and then bring you to our house once White Wolf says it's okay. Then, we can see how it goes and see if we like each other. What do you say?" He smiled at her again.

"Gosh! But...shouldn't we ask Miss Lenora first?" Tiffany sad in a bewildered voice.

"Already did," Tyrone said, tapping a finger against his forehead.

Tiffany's eyes widened. "Telepathy? You and Miss Lenora are telepathic? I thought only wolves could do that. I mean, Aurora can, but, I mean..."

Tyrone chuckled and ruffled Tiffany's hair again. "Some witches can do it, too. So, what do you say, kid? Wanna give Miss Lenora and me a try?"

"Okay." Then, she looked at him worriedly. "Can I have a nightlight? Layla, too?"

"No problem," Tyrone smiled. "Now, we'd better catch some fish or we won't have anything for lunch. I think I know a better spot."

Once again, Tyrone helped Tiffany with her pole and then cast his line into the water. As he looked over at Tiffany, he could see that a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. It was probably temporary since he was certain they'd be revisiting this subject and much more over time. It would be an adjustment for all of them, but he and Lenora were ready for the challenge. He only hoped that in time, the kids would feel safe and loved and that they would become stronger emotionally. They'd been through a life-altering trauma, and it would take a lot of time and love on the family's part to help them adjust.
Author's Note: Thank you to Shaffer249 for her generosity in allowing me to use some of her Sims. Pictured are Black Wolf and Tiffany Cox. Mentioned but not pictured are White Wolf, Grey Wolf, and orphanage kids. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chapter 42, Mending Fences

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

Tara's overnight visit was a complete success and soon, the adoption process was in full swing. Tara officially moved in with Aurora and Silvan just before the orphanage camping trip took place. In the meantime, dinner with Aurora's parents was a hit and all three girls got the royal treatment. It didn't take long for Lisa, Bliss, and Tara to hit it off with the Landgraabs and Athertons. Bliss took an instant liking to Landon and Crystal and hated to leave. Lisa, however, had developed a special relationship with Andrea and Elton, and Tara was completely at home with Silvan and Aurora.

As it turned out, Tara wasn't the only one to be adopted into the Landgraab family. Much to Lisa's secret wishes, Andrea and Elton expressed their desire to adopt her. Lisa readily agreed and White Wolf happily gave his blessing. Adding more cause for celebration, Landon and Crystal began making plans to adopt Bliss, who was overjoyed when she found out.

"Gosh! Now, Lisa, Bliss, and I will be besties and cousins," Tara said one night as Silvan and Aurora tucked her into bed. "Life can sure be strange but great."

The evening before the camping trip, Aurora was arranging some last minute supplies when the doorbell rang. "Get that, will ye, love, while I finish making our dinner." Silvan's voice floated to Aurora from the kitchen.

"All right," she called back, grinning. She didn't mind cooking, but Silvan was much better at it. She supposed that a person who'd lived for centuries was probably good at just about everything. The grin froze on her lips as she saw who was on the other side of the door.

"Good evening, Ms. Landgraab. Is Silvan here?"

"Mr. Marketti. I--well--we weren't expecting..." Blushing, she looked down at her feet as she trailed off. "Uh...won't ye come in?" Aurora knew she'd have to face Stafano Marketti sometime since he and Silvan were friends. She just wished for a more neutral setting where she could be more prepared.

"Grazie," Stafano said, stepping in and closing the door behind him. "Silvan asked me to stop over for a few minutes. I have some papers for him to sign, and he wanted to get it done before you all left on your trip. I see I've surprised you with my arrival, so I hope you can forgive the interruption."

Aurora managed to recover herself a little and offer him a tentative smile. "It's fine. It's been a bit chaotic here right now, so Silvan probably didn't get a chance to tell me ye were coming. Would ye like a drink while ye wait? He'll be out in a minute, I'm sure."

"A glass of wine would be nice," Stefano gave Aurora an easy smile.

Aurora handed him the wine, held her own glass, and cleared her throat. Now was as good a time as any to say what she needed to say. "Mr. Marketti, I--"

"It's Stefano. You no longer need a defense attorney, so no need for the formalities. May I call you Aurora?" Stefano said,

"Uh...sure." She took a contemplative sip of her wine. "Stefano, I owe ye an apology for my behavior during our consultation at the jail. I was extremely agitated at the time but was out of line in my treatment of ye. Please forgive me."

Much to Aurora's astonishment, Stefano chuckled. "Let us not mince words. You were extremely pissed and had a right to be bitchy under the circumstances. You weren't the first, nor will you be the last, to get your hackles up. Believe me, your outburst was tame in comparison to some from other clients I've had. Like I said at the jail, I like a lady with spunk. There's no need to apologize. It's all in a day's work."

Aurora felt herself relax as she exhaled a long, slow breath. "Well, thank ye very much. I appreciate your being such a good sport about it. We--uh--needed to get on the right foot for Silvan's sake."

Stefano just shrugged and smiled, then took a drink of his wine. "So, where is that overgrown bug anyway?"

Aurora burst out laughing, seeing the humor in Stefano's expression and hearing it in his voice. "That's no way to talk about your best pal."

"Sure it is." Stefano joined in her laughter. "He calls me a slimy leech, after all."

"Oh, honestly!" Aurora huffed in mock exasperation. "I'll go tell Silvan ye're here. I'd ask ye to stay for dinner but I don't have any vampire friendly food at the moment."

"It's fine. I need to be getting back soon anyway. I'll just get Silvan's signature on these papers and be out of your hair in a few minutes."

As Aurora headed to the kitchen, Tara bounded down the stairs. "Da, this math is giving me a headache. Some help here would be ni--" She stopped in her tracks, eyes widening as she saw the man in the living room. A warm glow began to spread from her middle and worked its way through her entire body. A sharp intake of air passed her slightly parted lips, and Tara was unable to tear her gaze away from Stefano.

"You must be the famous Tara I've heard so much about," Stefano said, his Italian accent distinguishable in his deep, rich voice.

"Y--Yes, Sir. I mean, I'm Tara, b-but I'm not famous," Tara stammered, blushing at how ridiculous she must sound.

"Well, a beautiful young lady like you will be famous one day, I'm sure," Stefano raised his wineglass to her in an elaborate toast. "I'm Stefano Marketti."

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Marketti," Tara whispered. As if in a trance, she closed the distance to come to Stefano's side. Seemingly of their ow accord, Tara's fingers reached out to touch the back of Stefano's hand. "How come your hand is so cold?"

Stefano turned his hand over and gently closed his fingers over hers. "I'm a vampire, and vampires have cold hands. It's because blood doesn't circulate in our bodies."

"Oh," she said, her eyes still glued to his. "I guess I don't know much about vampires except what we see in the movies and stuff."

Laughter rumbled through Stefano's chest. "Most of what's in the movies is completely fake. Tell you what. I'll give you a crash course in Vampires 101 sometime soon. How does that sound?"

"Okay," Tara said. "Right now, though, it's my math I need a crash course in. Ugh, why we have to do stupid fractions, I'll never know."

Stefano chuckled. "Some day, you'll be glad you had to learn those fractions. Maybe I can help you with it. Can I see what you're working on?"

Tara quickly fetched her homework, and when Silvan entered the living room, he was greeted with the sight of the two heads bent over said homework. He blinked in surprise and watched for a long moment. Then ,Stefano lifted his head and grinned sheepishly at his friend. "Homework help," he said, shrugging.

"So I see," Silvan replied. "Tara lass, would ye give you Ma a hand with the packing while I finish my business with Mr. Marketti? Then, ye can finish your homework after dinner."

"Sure, Da. It's all done anyway. Thanks for the help, Mr. Marketti." She gave Stefano a big hug and kissed his cheek.

"You're quite welcome," Stefano said. When Tara was out of earshot, he gave Silvan a thoughtful look. "Not a shy one in her body. Does she always take to people like that? Most people are, shall we say, quite reserved around me at first."

"Tara's a friendly, happy lass, but aye, she seems to have taken quite the shine to ye. I dinnae know why, but she has," Silvan said in a mildly teasing tone, but his expression was equally as thoughtful as his friend's had been.

"I know she's a wolf and wolves have certain abilities." Stefano rubbed his chin. "You and I have always been able to speak plainly to one another, and neither of us fell off the turnip truck yesterday."

Silvan nodded in reply.

"Right, so I'll say it outright. Your little daughter appears to have Indented on me."

"Ma, can I tell you something?" Tara asked as she stood in her bedroom with Aurora.

"Of course, sweetheart," Aurora replied.

"Well, see, it's about Stefano...uh..Mr. Marketti. I know I just met him and all, but...but something happened the second I saw him. I got this strange warm feeling all over me and I..." She shook her head and groaned. "I don't know how to explain it. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before."

"Ye were drawn to him like a magnet." Aurora's response was a statement rather than a question.

"Yeah. It's kinda like..." She frowned, trying to think of the right words to describe it. "It's like I'm stuck to the Earth because of him and it aches inside, right here, if I'm not near him. Strange." Tara pointed to her chest and shrugged. "What does it mean?"

Aurora ran a gentle hand over Tara's hair, contemplating her next words. When she spoke, it was in a soft but deliberate tone. "There is a phenomenon called Indenting or Imprinting, as it's sometimes referred to, that happens to many wolves. It's something very, very special that happens and causes a powerful bond to form between the wolf and the person they've Indented upon. A wolf can Indent upon another wolf but that doesn't always happen. They can Indent upon anything from a witch to a regular human. The wolf tends to be or become what that other person needs. In many cases, the wolf becomes a protector, but always, always, the wolf and the person Indented upon are soulmates. I don't know how this magic figures it all out but it does. It's a precious treasure and a rare and true gift that only the two involved can share."

Tara's jaw dropped and her eyes grew as round as softballs. "Being a wolf sure has its moments."

Aurora chuckled at her daughter's dazed voice and hugged her. "It certainly does. Sometimes people view being a wolf as a curse but I've always believed it was a good thing, really. Sure, the full moon can happen very inconveniently sometimes but I believe the good outweighs the bad. Only wolves can Indent and as I've said, it's a truly special and wonderful thing."

"Does Mr. Marketti know what happened? Does it mean I'm in love with him? I mean, I'm too young for all that, right? I've always wanted Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet but never imagined..." Her words dropped off and she wrapped a piece of hair around her forefinger. "What am I supposed to say to him when I see him next time? And, how do you know about all this?"

Aurora smiled and kissed the top of Tara's head. "So many questions! Let's take it one at a time. First, I know about all this because my father, brother, and sister are wolves, remember?"

"Oh, right," Tara said.

"Now, as I said before, the wolf tends to become what the other person needs. Yes, right now, ye are too young to be thinking about being in love. That will come later when ye are older. Ye see, ye can have a special relationship with someone without being in love with them. Love will come when the time is right." At Tara's nod, Aurora continued. "I reckon Mr. Marketti has at least an inkling of what happened. He's a very intelligent man, after all, and I'm sure he has quite a lot of knowledge about how certain magic works. As to what ye say to him, well, ye just be your lovely self and the rest will take care of itself."

"Strange things do happen, don't they?" Tara asked, scratching her head.

"They do, indeed! But that's what makes life interesting," Aurora grinned.

Tara went quiet and the two enjoyed a companionable silence. When Tara spoke next, Aurora saw she was blushing. "I guess I don't have to look for Prince Charming anymore. Gosh! Since when did Prince Charming become a vampire?

Aurora burst out laughing; she just couldn't help it. She hugged Tara again and ruffled her hair. "Ye are a wonder, Tara!" Resting her cheek atop Tara's head, she pondered her next words. "Meeting Prince Charming and Prince Charming, himself, doesn't usually happen how the imagination lays it out. Also, Prince Charming is different for everyone. Each of us has our own idea of Prince Charming and that is how it should be."

"I guess I never thought of it like that. I guess that's good. Otherwise, every woman would be in constant cat fights with every other woman if there was only one Prince Charming to go around," Tara said.

Aurora grinned, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "Exactly. Now then, let's finish up this packing. We have a big weekend ahead of us.

Author's Note: Thank you to Shafer249 for creating the orphans who appear in my stories, including Tara, Lisa, and Bliss.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chapter 41, Family Blessings

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

Ella's planned celebration was a smashing success. There was much dancing, laughing, and happy chatter as the night wore on. As a special surprise, Carson's brother, Wayne, arrived to share in the festivities.

The Fairy Queen is the absolute ruler of all the Fae. When the Queen summons a fairy to the Fae Kingdom, the fairy is compelled to comply. Ella, being a gracious and wise Queen, doesn't summon a fairy to her side on simply whim alone; there's always a good reason for the summons. In Wayne's case, Ella had summoned him but would have immediately dismissed him had he needed to attend to something important. However, Wayne's schedule was free, so he was enthusiastic to stay for the celebration and spend time with family.

Carson was thrilled to see his big brother, grinning as he and Wayne hugged. With Wayne's concert schedule, Carson didn't get to see his older brother as often as he liked. "Glad you could make it, man! I had no idea Ella asked you to come."

"That's why they call it a surprise," Wayne said, slapping Carson on the back. "So, you got the wings! I'm happy for you."

Carson couldn't stop a grin from spreading. "Thanks, bro. It's all thanks to Ella."

"Betcha Dad's rolling over in his grave," Wayne said.

Carson laughed heartily. "Karma, brother."

"Definitely Karma," Wayne grinned. "I mean, here you were, the lone human out of all of us. You never got the time of day, but look at you now. You're a State's Attorney, you got the Queen of all the Fairies to give you wings, and you're going to marry said Queen. Ain't it a hoot?"

"Go figure, right?" Carson said. Both brothers shared a grin, then doubled over in howls of mirth.

As the brothers' laughter died down, a smiling Aurora, with Silvan in tow, sailed over to them. "Well, if the two of ye can stop yuking it up for a moment, I'd like to hug my cousin."

"Which one?" Carson said, a hint of laughter still in hos voice.

"Och, get on with ye now, Red," Aurora said, giving him a playful slap on the arm. "Wayne first. Then, if you're nice to me, I'll hug ye next."

Wayne pulled Aurora in for a warm hug, then whirled her around, his wings keeping them easily airborn. "So, what's this I hear about a double wedding ceremony?"

"Isn't it wonderful?" Aurora squealed excitedly once she was back on her feet. "I'm so happy I could sing."

"Let it be so, then," Ella said, joining them. "With both you and Wayne here, perhaps the two of you could entertain us."

"Well, our styles and genres are completely different, but maybe we can put something together," Aurora said.

"I'm game," Wayne agreed.

"Wayne, this is my Silvan. Silvan, this is my cousin, Wayne," Aurora said, introducing the two.

"Heard a lot about you." Wayne shook Silvan's hand.

"Och! I assure ye it's not as bad as it appears," Silvan quipped.

Wayne chuckled. "It's all good. Carson and Aurora e-mail me quite often, and she's always saying how crazy she is about you."

"Or maybe just crazy," Carson snickered.

Aurora squeaked in mock indignation. "I'll get ye for that, Red. Just ye wait."

"That'll be the day," Carson teased.

"Children, children!" Ella laughed. "Now behave yourself or no more drinks for the two of you. I'll cut you off."

"Oh, not that! Anything but that," Aurora and Carson said together before dissolving into fits of glee.

"It's too bad Landon and Crystal couldn't be here," Carson said when everyone sobered.

"I know, love. They'll come soon after they return from their vacation. They're sorry to have missed the party tonight, but there will be others. Plus with the wedding and your coronation coming up, everyone will be here for that," Ella replied.

Wayne was about to reply but was brought up short when a vision of loveliness caught his attention. He blinked as a curly blond head turned his way and looked right at him. He held the woman's gaze for several long moments then jumped when he felt a jab to the ribs.

"Fairy World to Wayne. Come in, Wayne." Aurora's voice was laced with laughter.

Wayne scratched his head, blinked again, and returned his gaze to the woman. "Who is she?"

"Angelica Presley," Ella said, a knowing smile curving her lips. "Shall I introduce you?"

"Uh...sure," Wayne said distractedly.

Ella waved the pretty blond fairy over and quickly made the introductions. "Now, I think we'll leave you two alone to get acquainted."

As Carson led Ella onto the dance floor, there was no mistaking the glint he saw in her eyes; Ella's romantic heart and matchmaking abilities were at work. "Wayne and Angelica?" he said, amused, sliding his arms around her.

"Yep," Ella said, smiling serenely.

Carson snorted and looked over at Wayne and Angelica, who were in deep conversation. Returning his eyes to his fiance, he shrugged. "She's a lot of woman for my brother to take on." He'd immediately like Angelica and her sassy, straightforward ways. "Well, you did promise that she'd be your next project."

"Indeed, I did." Ella tossed her head in a carefree, satisfied manner. "I always keep my promises."

All too quickly, the visit to the Fae Kingdom came to an end. Carson needed to return to work and Aurora had concerts to do. Aurora and Silvan spent more than a week there, but only two minutes had passed in Aurora Skies when they returned. The difference in time threw Aurora off for a while. After all, living a week in only two minutes was surreal. It all began to feel like a dream once they arrived at her house.

"Was it real, my Silvan? I don't want to forget any of it," Aurora said after scratching behind Voxel's ears.

"It was real, love, every single second of it. Ye won't forget it, I promise," Silvan smiled. "If ye want proof, just look at your left hand."

Aurora did just that and kissed her engagement ring. "We must do it again soon."

"We can anytime ye wish. Just say the word," Silvan replied.

The next day, Aurora broke the news of her engagement to her parents. Lenora was working diligently in her writing studio, but Tyrone was eager for a visit. Much to Aurora's relief, Tyrone reacted reasonably well to her announcement. He was even thrilled at the news of her adopting Tara. Parents were strange sometimes. Aurora surmised that Tyrone felt she'd make a better mother than Silvan would make as a husband. Hopefully, Tyrone would warm up more to Silvan. At least her mother had a handle on things and made Tyrone promise to behave himself from now on.

Later in the week, Aurora and Silvan called upon White Wolf to talk over their wishes to adopt Tara. White Wolf nodded and smiled as the couple discussed their future plans with him. "So, if you're willing to let her go and she's agreeable, we'd like to get things started as soon as possible," Aurora said.

"I have no reason to object and you certainly have my blessing. I only hope you'll continue to work here. The children love you both and I honestly don't know what I'd do without the two of you," said White Wolf.

"Don't ye worry about that," Silvan said. "We'll stick around for as long as ye care to put up with us."

"That's good to hear, and I'm sure she'll be very agreeable. Tara's such a happy little thing and takes everything in stride. Would you like to ask her now?"

"Yes, we would," Aurora said.

Tara gave White Wolf a big hug on answering the summons to go to his office. "Oh, gosh! Everyone's so excited about the camping trip. Me, I'm not so thrilled about a possible bug fest but I guess I'll deal." She chattered happily for a moment before her eyes widened at seeing Aurora and Silvan. "Hey, isn't it your day off today? We weren't expecting you until tomorrow. You're still coming on the camping trip with us, right?"

"We wouldn't miss it, lass," Silvan said. White Wolf had arranged a camping vacation for the children and invited Aurora, Silvan, Andrea, and Elton to come along as extra chaperons. "We came here today because Aurora and I want to talk with ye about something special."

"Really?" the little wolf asked.

"Really, really," Aurora said, patting the sofa and beckoning the little girl to her side.

Tara was all smiles as she came willingly to Aurora and Silvan. "Is it a surprise? I love surprises."

"It is a surprise and we hope it's one ye'll love." Silvan kissed the top of Tara's head. "How would ye feel about being our daughter? Aurora and I want to adopt ye."

Tara goggled, unable to speak for a time. When she was able to speak again, all she could say was, "Wow!"

"I hope that's a good wow," Aurora said.

"Yeah, it is! I want to" She looked from Aurora and Silvan to White wolf, then back again. "You wouldn't be yanking my chain now, would you?"

"They're very serious, sweetheart," White Wolf smiled.

"Oh, wowwy, wow, wow!" She shot to her feet and did a little tap dance.

"I take it that's a yes," Silvan chuckled.

To confirm it, Tara squealed and lavished Aurora and Silvan with several hugs. Then, she sobered and peered over at White Wolf. "Is it all right if I go? I'll miss you all."

White Wolf encircled Tara in his arms for an affectionate hug and kiss. "I'll miss you, too, little one. Of course it's all right for you to go. You're a lucky little girl and you're going to be part of a huge loving family. Seeing you happy and finding your place is all I ever want for any of you. Besides, I'm sure we'll still see a lot of you. Aurora and Silvan will still be helping out here and you're welcome to come with them any time."

"Can I still go on the camping trip?" Tara asked, settling again next to her perspective parents.

"Of course!" White Wolf said.

Tara looked at Aurora and Silvan. "So...ah...when do I move in and what happens next?"

"Well, how about spending the night soon, and then, we'll go from there?" Aurora didn't want to disrupt the girl's life all at once. "Silvan and I will need to speak with an adoption attorney to see how we should proceed. White Wolf would have to turn over custody of you to us, and then, there's finalizing the adoption. It'll take some time but everything should run pretty smoothly. There will be a lot of paperwork for us to do, but you'll be able to completely move in with us long before all the grown-up stuff is done."

"Can I stay over tonight?" Tara asked.

"Now, Tara, it's not good to get overly excited," White Wolf chided gently.

Aurora and Silvan looked at each other, then back at Tara. "It's fine by us. Tonight's as good a night as any," Aurora said. "Da wants ye to come to Sunday dinner, too, Tara, so you can meet the rest of the family. How does that sound?"

"Can I dress up?" Tara grinned.

"Of course," Aurora replied.

"Eeeee, I can't wait to tell everyone!" Tara repeated her tap dance. "Is it okay if I tell the others?"

"Certainly, sweetheart," White Wolf said.

"There's just one thing," Tara said, turning back to Aurora and Silvan. "I know it's impolite but I want to ask it anyway."

"What is it, lass," Silvan asked.

"Well, it's about Sunday dinner. See, it's going to be kinda tough for Lisa and Bliss to get used to. We've been besties a long time and we do everything together. I know you can't adopt all three of us, but...well...couldn't they come with me to Sunday dinner? Pleeeeease?"

White Wolf gave a resigned sigh. "Tara, you know that's not polite."

"I know...but..." She shrugged.

"I don't see why not. Ma and Da won't mind. It's all for the better if it makes the adjustment for all the girls easier. It won't be a problem," Aurora said.

"All right then," White Wolf agreed. "Tara, dear, why don't you go and tell your friends the good news now? I need to speak with Aurora and Silvan for a while."

"Okay." Tara bestowed more hugs on the adults before skipping gracefully out the door.

"I'm thrilled for you all," White Wolf said, smiling briefly before his expression turned grim. "I hope you don't mind if I take this opportunity to discuss something with you that I'm very concerned about."

"Is it about Tara?" Silvan asked worriedly.

"No. Tara will be fine, of that I have no doubt. It's the Cox children that has me worried. As you are aware of, I'm sure, Tiffany's nightmares are increasing in frequency and length, and Layla is still just as terrified as she was the day she arrived."

"Poor wee things," Aurora said sadly. "When Andrea and I go to put them to bed, they always cling to us and cry. It breaks my heart and Andrea feels the same."

White Wolf sighed heavily. "I know. I've been thinking about the camping trip. Not only do I want it to be educational for the children, I am hoping it can bring about at least some healing for those three. Actually, little Cedrick is too young to remember the fire that took their parents, but Tiffany and Layla are in need of some extra attention and TLC. I was hoping that perhaps Lenora and Tyrone would consent to go on the trip with us and maybe give that extra attention to the Cox children."

"I don't think Ma and Da are busy during that time, and I'm sure they'd love to help. They'd be perfect for it, in fact. Do ye want me to call them and ask?" Aurora replied.

"Would you? It would mean a lot and I believe the children would benefit greatly," White Wolf said.

Aurora took out her phone and quickly explained the situation to Lenora, who didn't hesitate to agree. "They'll even bring some extra food and supplies," Aurora said after the call ended. "Looks like it's going to be a full house...uh...tent."

"We'll manage, I'm sure. My siblings, Black and Grey, are coming along as well, as is Aaron Stone. Now, there's much to do and not a lot of time to do it. I'm certain Tara is ready to go, so let us part for now." White Wolf stood and hugged Aurora affectionately. "I will see all three of you tomorrow."

Author's Note - The download for Wayne can be found here. I gave him a slight makeover and changed his wings so he'd fit with the lore in my story.

Thank you to Shafer249 for use of White Wolf and Tara Banks.

If you want to read more about Tyrone's reaction to Aurora and Silvan's engagement, it can be found in my short story Daddy's Little Girl.