Friday, November 4, 2011

Chapter 1.1: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Elijah McKinley stands in the living room of his new house and grins. It is so different than his childhood home back in Anne Arbor, so much more modest.

"What do you think babe?" Scarlett sounds slightly nervous, her voice tinged with uncertainty.

Elijah turns around and pulls her toward him, sweeping her into his arms. "I love it," he tells her. "It's perfect."

"You really like it?" she asks, frowning. "You're not just saying that to make me happy?"

"Scarlett, the house is beautiful," he whispers, leaning in for a kiss. "I don't care where we live, as long as I can be with you."

Scarlett blushes. "How did I get so lucky? You could have had any girl in Anne Arbor, yet you chose me. And I thank you by dragging you out to the middle-of-nowhere." She brushes a strand of hair out of his face. "You didn't have to follow me out here, you know."

"Oh Scar. I wish you would realize just how wonderful you really are. I love you, and I would follow you to the moon if I had to."

Scarlett shakes her head. "I don't deserve you," she whispers.

"No. You deserve better than me," he says, his face growing hard. "After all, I'm just a poor, unemployed criminal."

Scarlett's eyes widen with concern. "Sweetheart, I didn't mean that," Elijah pacifies. "Please don't cry. I'm just frustrated, that's all. I'll find a job. Don't worry."

She nods her head, her tender disposition soothed for now. "We need to go say hi to Aunt Selina and Uncle Jed," Scarlett reminds him. "They sounded very eager to see us."

Scarlett and Elijah arrive at the Boyson household just before sunset. As Jedidiah ushers them into the living room, Selina leaps up from her chair. "Scarlett!" she shrieks excitedly as she pulls her into a hug.

Scarlett grins. She loves how enthusiastic and friendly her Aunt Selina is, so different than her own mother. "It's so good to see you again!" Scarlett tells her. "Where is little Brittany?" she asks.

Selina grins dotingly. "The little monkey is down for her nap, thank God. You can meet her later. How is my sister Sharla these days?"

Scarlett freezes, panic in her eyes. Even with someone as sympathetic and understanding as Aunt Selina, she hates talking about her mother.

Selina doesn't miss a beat. "That bad? Good thing you're two thousand miles away from her then, eh? Come, come. Sit down and tell me about the trip. Did you catch the express train like I suggested?"

Meanwhile, Elijah pulls Jedidiah aside, away from the girls. He clears his throat, not really sure where to begin. "I just, uh, wanted to say thank you for setting me up with that loan Jed. I know the bank wouldn't ordinarily lend money to someone with my background, but with your name on the papers Scarlett and I were able to afford that little house by the river."

"Dude, relax. Your father and I go way back. Besides," he adds, lowering his voice, "Selina doesn't allow video games in the house anymore ever since that unfortunate bladder incident. I expect an open door policy and total access to first player privileges whenever I come over."

Eli laughs. "Bladder incident?"

"Oh, you didn't hear about that? Right. Yes. How was your trip?" he asks, quickly changing the subject.

While the boys chat about God only knows what, Scarlett and Selina catch up. Jedidiah and Selina moved to Appaloosa Plains years ago when Scarlett was still a child after Selina decided to test out an experimental cure for vampirism. The miracle potion made her human, but it cost her the friendship of her family. Scarlett's mother Sharla was particularly furious with Selina's "betrayal" and effectively cut all ties with her.

Scarlett never forgot her "cool Aunt Selina" and secretly managed to keep in contact with her. As the only other human in the Starr family, Selina and Scarlett remained friends despite the distance. So when one day Scarlett mentioned in passing her dream of owning a horse ranch, Selina immediately made arrangements for her to apprentice at a local stables. Scarlett never felt at home in the big city of Anne Arbor, and she leaped at the opportunity to work on a ranch. Within the week, she and Elijah packed their bags and boarded the train to the small Midwestern town of Appaloosa Plains.

Brittany, Jedidiah and Selina's daughter, wakes up a few hours later and Selina brings her out to meet Scarlett. Scarlett absolutely adores children and immediately makes friends with her little cousin.

"I want some," she tells Elijah.

"Some what?" he asks, frowning.

"Kids of course. Actually I want several."

"Scar, isn't it a bit early to be thinking about children? We aren't even married. Hell, I don't even have a job yet."

Scarlett just smiles at him happily. "I'm not worried about it," she replies.

Scarlett wakes up early the next morning and heads to the ranch for her first day on the job. Her boss, Chuck Hobble, used to be quite well-known around the rodeo circuit until he took one too many tumbles off his horse and decided to retire. Now he lives with his good friend Johnny Johnson, an old country music singer. Together they run a small stable operation just outside their home. Scarlett was hired on as their apprentice, and she hopes to learn everything she can about horses.

"Scarlett Starr?" Mr. Hobble greets her with a firm handshake and a large smile. "Good to meet you, my dear. Good to meet you. Welcome to The Country Cowpokes Ranch!" he says, gesturing around him.

"Thank you, Mr. Hobble. I'm thrilled to be here," Scarlett replies shyly.

"Well, we are glad you're with us Scarlett. There's three things you need to know to work here," he tells her, jumping right into her duties. "One: Respect the horses. If you show the horses respect, the horses will show you respect. Two: Respect the job. Be prompt and courteous and don't take advantage of our lax rules. Third, and most important: Respect the boss." He grins, his eyes slowly tracing the curves of her figure. Scarlett fidgets uncomfortably, but Mr. Hobble doesn't seem to notice. "Respect the boss," he repeats. "And the boss will show you just how much he can respect you." He winks and then turns and walks toward the stables, motioning for her to follow.

The rest of the day goes off without a hitch. She meets their three mares Annie (pictured), Shadow, and Freebird.

Her favorite of their horses however is the adopted foal Bella. She belonged to the Fox family that lives down the street, but for whatever reason they had to find her a new home. Bella combines two of Scarlett's favorite things: Babies and horses.

While Scarlett's at work, Elijah gets an unpleasant surprise in the mailbox. Their first mortgage payment is due, and he still hasn't been able to find a job.

Instead of laying around the house worrying about money, Elijah decides to head into town to see if anyone is hiring. After he wanders around historic downtown Appaloosa Plains for a while, Eli stumbles across an old saloon. As he sips on his drink, he can't help but notice the colorful figure sitting silently beside him.

"How do our drinks compare to those in the big city?" the man asks after a minute.

Eli frowns. "They're decent," he replies. "Is it that obvious that I'm not from around here?"

The man laughs. "Yes. Appaloosa is a small town. I know everyone, and everyone knows me. I don't, however, recognize you."

"Elijah McKinley," he says extending his hand. "I just moved here from Anne Arbor."

"Nice to meet you Elijah. I'm Kanoa Parrott. I moved here many years ago from the island of Hawaii. May I ask what brings you to this part of the world?"

"My girlfriend's aunt lives here, Selina Boyson. She found her an apprenticeship at a local ranch."

"And what do you do, my friend?"

"Nothing, yet," Elijah replies crossly.

"I see. Jobs are scarce around here right now," Kanoa tells him.

"Yes. So I've heard."

Kanoa chuckles. "You sound so bitter for such a young man. But perhaps I have some news that may interest you. My company is hiring."

Elijah perks up. "Really? What do you do?"

"I'm employed in one of the oldest industries in town. The pay is good, even at the bottom levels, and the hours are manageable. However," he adds, "society tends to... frown upon people in my line of work."

Elijah glances at him sharply. "I don't understand," he says.

"He's a thief, kid," the bartender shouts down the counter.

Kanoa rolls his eyes. "Thank you, Li. I'm sure everyone in the saloon needed to hear that."

"No problem, boss," she replies with a devilish grin.

"A thief?" Elijah frowns. "No thank you. I'm not a criminal. Not anymore."

Kanoa raises an eyebrow. "Anymore?" he asks curiously.

Eli shakes his head. "I've been on the wrong side of the law before, when I was younger. And I swore I'd never end up there again."

With a quick flick of his wrist, Kanoa passes him a business card. The only writing on it is a phone number. "In case you change your mind, my friend."

Eli picks it up and turns it over before setting it back down on the counter. "No thank you," he repeats, his voice full of grim determination. He tosses Li a few Simoleons before getting up and walking out of the bar.

"I like him," Li says as she watches him walk away. "He's cute. Too bad he won't be joining our gang."

Kanoa smirks. "I wouldn't be so sure about that if I were you."

Elijah gets home late that afternoon, but Scarlett isn't back yet from her first day at the ranch. He decides to surprise her by cooking dinner, but just as he is about to head to the grocery store his phone rings.


"Eli? Is that you?"

"Ryder?" Elijah hasn't called his father "Dad" since he was a little kid. "What's going on? Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, everything is fine. Guess what?! Carmen and Zane and I are flying out to Appaloosa Plains next week to visit you! Isn't that great?!"

Elijah freezes. "Ryder," he begins after a minute. "That's not necessary. Really, I-"

"Of course it's not necessary," he snaps. "But I want to. I mean, we want to. It'll be great!"

Eli hears a door slam and the familiar whine of his stepmother Carmen calling to Ryder.

"I've got to go," Ryder whispers hurriedly. "But I'll see you next week! Don't worry about picking us up or anything. The hotel is going to send a car."

Click. The line goes dead, leaving Elijah to wonder how he's going to break the news to Scarlett.

Challenge Notes:

So, obviously there have been some major changes since I last updated. After I installed the Pets expansion pack, Anne Arbor became virtually unplayable because of lag. I already knew that I wanted to move my family to Appaloosa Plains, but I couldn't quite figure out how to make the story work. I just couldn't imagine Ryder (a famous movie star) and his then girlfriend/now wife Carmen (a famous pop star) moving to a rural country town like AP. So I decided to skip ahead in my legacy and only move my generation 3 heir, Elijah, and his girlfriend, Scarlett Starr. I also decided to play them as a founding family, instead of starting them with boatloads of money and all their skills and everything. Eli will keep his hidden traits though (because I worked hard for the "Immune to Fire" one, lol).

Furthermore, I decided that because my last attempt at a legacy was incomplete (I couldn't/wouldn't finish Ryder's generation) Elijah will be a "true" generation 1, meaning there will (hopefully) be 9 more generations to come. I am lazy and don't want to start another blog, so I just put "Anne Arbor" in front of the old chapters.

So, here is my generation 1 (previously my generation 3) roll:

Generation 1 Information:

Marital Status- Couple
Number of Children- 3
Primary Income- Criminal (Thief)
Secondary Income- Equestrian
Generation Goal- Property Mogul
Miscellaneous Fun- Fashion Diva

I decided to use the expansion gift and change my secondary income from job hopper to equestrian. I know some of y'all don't like horses, so I'll try to keep the horse picture spam to a minimum. However, I must warn you: I will make no attempt to crop out kitten and/or puppy spam. <3

Even though this is completely irrelevant since she never got a real photograph in my actual story, Scarlett was, in fact, born a vampire. There is one picture of her in the Challenge Notes section a few chapters ago that show her as a vampire toddler. I'm not sure that I'm going to have many (if any) vampires in Appaloosa Plains, so I master controller-ed the disease away. And for those of you who care, Selina is actually Scarlett's aunt. She was Scarlett's mother's (Sharla's) younger sister.

(And to Becky and Melissa: I decided to add Jedidiah to AP because of y'all. And because I love him. Thank you for guilting me into it. <3)


  1. Hurray for new update/new generation/new legacy. I like Eli and Scarlett so far, and although I'm not particularly fond of horses... I'm still okay with picture spam of them. ;) Just sayin'.
    I love that you moved Jed over, as he was effin' hilarious.
    I can't wait to see Elijah/Scarlett spawn in the future.

  2. YES. JED <3 And I'm soooo happy Scarlett and Eli ended up together. I had a feeling you'd pair them up but I wasn't sure if I was just reading into nothing too much xD.

    Scarlett and Eli are both gorgeous. Screw bills and work. I WANT BABIES NOW! (... Please?)

    Also: Yay Ryder! <3 I miss 'im and can't wait to see how miss snob reacts to hick town U.S.A.

  3. Awesome chapter, I'm so glad to see you updating again!

  4. Yay, thanks for Jed, Colleen!
    I'm glad you've got your legacy moved safely.I know that's a tough decision to make.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how Elijah's generation goes.

  5. Ooh, I can't wait to see Elijah's interactions with his father & stepmother!

  6. *gets caught up*

    Yay. =) Jed and the promise of more Ryder makes the transition much easier.

    Scarlett is quite pretty (and so is Eli of course).