Hello everybody and welcome back to my Victorian Legacy.

As always I recommend that any new readers start at the beginning since a lot has happened since Gabe bought his plot of land in the village. You might also want to read A Very Victorian Bachelor Challenge to find out exactly what Theodore Harrison was up to over the summer break from uni. Right if everyone has got their cup of tea, let's begin.

Theodore Harrison set down his trunk as he walked into the hall of the Legacy Society. It was far quieter than normal. "Stanley, Edward are you chaps about?" He called. He heard movement upstairs followed by a crash and swearing. "Everything alright?" He called up again. "Fine, I have just knocked over a pot plant." Came Edward's reply. "Theo, that you?“ "Yes.“ "Hang on, I am on my way down."

Edward walked into the hall and gave his cousin a hug. "Theo it is good to see you. How was your 'research project?' Since you told me what was really going on I have been dying to hear all about it.“ Theo picked up on the amusement in his cousin's voice. "I bet you have."

Edward playfully tapped Theo on the shoulder, "Come on tell me about it then. I have not got too long now since I have to go out, but you can tell me the most important parts, including whether you are planning on seeing any of your guests now you are back here."

"Well..." Theo scratched his chin, "I certainly made friends with quite a few of my guests, but there is one lady I am going to take out to dinner one evening.“ "Really? Who is that then?“ "Her name is DrSupremeNerd, and she is just...wonderful.“

*** DrSupremeNerd writes the awesome Vetinari Dualegacy. She was the undisputed winner of Theo's BC.

Edward smiled at the dreamy look that had passed over his friend's features when he had mentioned Doc's name. "I am sure she is. Look I have to pop out. I promised Mother and Father that I would check to make sure that the Acadamie had assigned Vicky a nice room in the Halls. What they expect me to do if the room is a dump, I am not sure.“ "Gosh, yes I had forgotten that Vicky, Louisa and Rosemary would be starting finishing school today. I cannot believe our baby sisters will soon be out in the world.“ "I know, it makes me feel old. Look Stan's gone out to get some food, I am sure you must be hungry, and I will see you later.“ "Bye Eddie." Said Theo as Eddie turned and walked out the door.

At the same time over in Regalton, Victoria Legacy was getting ready to leave her childhood home for the Acadamie. "Now are you sure you have packed everything?" Asked Beth. "Yes Mama, and if I have forgotten something it can either wait until I am home, or you can send it to me.“ "I'd really rather we did not have to worry about that sweetpea.“ "Mama, I am sure I have all I need."

Vicky turned to her father. "Goodbye Papa.“ "Goodbye Sweetpea. Have a good journey, and call us when you have settled in.“ "I will Papa.“ "Have fun, study hard, and make lots of friends.“ "I will Papa."

Actually Victoria would already have a lot of friends when she first arrived. As well as her cousins Rosemary, and Louisa, her sister Alexandra was already at the Acadamie, and her beau Patrick Simself was starting at Sim State.

*** Patrick (strangerhood7) writes a Legacy with the Movies.

Victoria pulled back from her father's embrace. "I have to go Papa, I will call as soon as I get to the Acadamie. I love you both." Then with a smile and a wave, she bounded out of the door to the waiting carriage.

William and Beth watched her go, sad smiles on their faces After a moment, Beth turned to her husband. "You do realise that this is the first time in our married lives that we have been the only two people living in this house?" "So it is my dear. Whatever shall we do with ourselves with no children to look after?“ "I can think of a thing or two Mr Legacy." Said Beth taking her husband's hand.

At Sim State Stanley had arrived back at the Legacy Society with provisions and was eager to gloat a little about how much fun and how many parties he and Edward had thrown whilst Theo was away. "So how was your research project then? What were your fellow scientists like? I am betting that your evenings were rather dull, unless you had a plentiful supply of juice."

Theo paused before answering. He had better tell Stanley about his summer. After all it would be awful if he found out from someone else. "Actually Stan old chap, it was quite the eye opener. You see it was all arranged by Grandpapa as a ruse to get me to stay in a house for a week with seven ladies."

Stanley went still for a moment then slowly resumed chewing his pizza as he mulled over what he had just heard.

Finally he turned to his cousin. "You were in a house with seven women for a week? To what purpose? I mean I know what my purpose would have been in there, but you?"

"First of all thanks for the vote of confidence Stanley. It is nice to know that you think I am incapable of any romantic thought whatsoever. Secondly you know what my grandfather can be like. He is all about the Harrison name carrying on and so forth. He set it up because he thought I needed help finding a wife."

Stanley gave this some consideration. "Well yes I can see why he would set it up, but [i]I[/i] would be far better suited to something like that. Why won't anyone set a house up like that for me?"

Theo wanted to say "because all your grandparents are dead and your father thinks your education is more important?" but thought better of it. Instead he said, "Look Stanley it really was not like how you think it was. I spent the week with some very pleasant people and made some good friends." He decided not to mention Doc and how he was taking her to dinner. "Besides, have you ever needed any help when it comes to the ladies?"

"No," replied Stanley, "and I suppose both you and Eddie are a bit backwards on that subject.“ Theo frowned at him. He knew Stanley's reaction wouldn't be as good natured as Edward's but he hadn't expected him to be such a pillock. Stanley finished his slice of pizza. "I am going to head over to the Lounge for a bit. I am part of the Fresher's Committee this year and am helping set up a few things there." With that he got up and left, leaving Theo to watch him go.

Things also weren't that great over at the Prince of Wales Halls of Residence. "Off out Joe?" Asked Anthony Smith that afternoon as his friend crossed the corridor. "Yes, not that it is any of your business.“ "I am only concerned that you are doing the wrong thing by continuing to see Miss Legacy." Explained Anthony for the umpteenth time. "Well I am afraid that you will just have to put up with that fact. I am catching a carriage to Regalton."

"What?" Anthony could only think of one reason that Joe would be making the journey to the village. "I do not believe this. You are going to see Miss Legacy's father are you not?"

"What if I am?" Snarled Joe. Although he knew he should not be doing what he was planning, hearing it from Anthony made him very angry.

"I will tell you what! You DO NOT LOVE THAT WOMAN, yet you continue stringing her along. You will break her heart, and someone will be left to pick up the pieces!"

Again with this argument! You have no idea how I feel....“ "DO YOU LOVE HER?" Anthony roared. "I...I..." Joe stumbled as he tried to answer Anthony.

"You cannot answer can you because the answer is no. Break it off with her, allow her the chance to find someone who loves her as she deserves to be loved!"

"Save it Anthony, my carriage will be here soon, and I am going to Regalton. Good day to you." With that Joe turned on his heel and stormed out of the room.

By the time Joe's carriage had pulled up in front of 1 King's Square though his second thoughts were screaming to be heard, telling him he should not be doing this. His first thoughts shouted them down. Anthony may have been right about his feelings for Alexandra, but he was sure that she was willing to marry him, it is not as if he would be forcing her into anything. A willing and convenient wife was better than nothing, right?

He rang the doorbell and waited nervously. After a short while William answered it. "Ah Mr Grundstrom, my daughter led me to believe that I should be expecting a visit from you at some point. Come into the drawing room.“ "Thank you Mr Legacy." Said Joe.

William ushered Joe into the drawing room and took a seat in the armchair. "Now Mr Grundstrom, I can guess why you are here, but I think I should hear it from you." He smiled encouragingly at Joe.

Joe cleared his throat. "I wish to ask for your daughter's hand in marriage." It came out in a rush. "You do?“ "Yes."

"Very well. What are your prospects?“ "My prospects?" Repeated Joe. "Yes, your prospects. I cannot let just anyone court my daughter you know. I need to know that she will be cherished and cared for and kept in the custom she has become used to. If you can not provide her with a comfortable life style, then I cannot agree."

"Then sir, I think you can say that my prospects are good. My father runs a mildly successful export business and owns a good size house the other side of the city. I already have a job there and will, in the fullness of time inherit the entire business.“ "Sounds impressive, but there is still one thing I need to know. Do you love Alexandra?“ Joe paused. "I, erm, yes, I do."

William had picked up on the time it had taken Joe to respond. "You paused.“ "I er..." Joe floundered for a bit, "the question took me off guard. I was not expecting to have to share my feelings.“ "Really? I would have thought that it is obvious that a father would want to know whether or not his daughter's suitor cared for her."

"I had not expected you to be so blunt sir." Replied Joe, trying to cover his error.

William just regarded him intently. He knew what this boy meant to his daughter, but not for the first time he was getting the impression that those feelings were not returned. He could very well refuse to give his blessing, but that would break his daughter's heart, and cause a rift between them.

"You have to understand," said William slowly, "that I want what is best for my daughter. She is a very stubborn young lady and has long set her heart on being with you. Your pause gives me cause for concern, but by refusing to give you my blessing to court her, I will cause more pain for her. You may have her hand in marriage, but only if you love her. If you do not, it would be best if you walked away now."

Joe stared at William. His second thoughts were telling him that he was being given a way out if he wanted to take it, but his first thoughts once again won out. "I do love her Mr Legacy, and I do want to marry her."

"Hmph, very well then." Said William, even though he still doubted Joe's sincerity. "You may have my daughter's hand in marriage.“ They made some idle small talk for a little longer, until Joe made his excuses and left. As he said goodbye to him, William wasn't sure if he had just made a mistake or not.

More than a week had passed since the start of the new semester and Stanley still had a bee in his bonnet about how Theo had spent his summer. Edward had tired if this and the next time he saw Stanley alone he confronted him. "Look Stan this is getting ridiculous. So Theo got to spend his summer with a bevy of beautiful women, why are you so het up about it?"

"Because I would have liked to spend my summer with a bevy of beautiful women. I mean why has no one offered to set me up in a house like that?"

"Stanley," sighed Edward, "you can go out and get any woman you want. You are already seeing several, and I am sure that you could add to the tally if you so wanted."

"You miss the point...“ "Really? Do I? You are upset because no one has locked you in a house with seven women for a week. Stanley you could fill several houses if you so wished, without anyone's help.“ "But..."

"You have never had any trouble talking women into having a drink with you...“ "Or into bed actually Eddie.“ "Exactly. Theo, well he has always gone around not really taking notice of the opposite gender. Great Uncle Thomas has just opened his eyes. Besides I would have thought that you would be happy that your friend is seeing someone he is besotted with.“ "I am, and you are right. I have been behaving like a dipstick.“ "You have, yes, so stop.“ "I will apologise the next time I see him.“ "Good, I hate my two best friends being at odds with each other."

One conflict that didn't look like it was going to be resolved quickly was still occurring over at the Prince of Wales Halls. "Off out I see." Said Anthony one evening in the middle of winter when he saw Joe in the common room of the Halls. "Yes Anthony I am.“ "With Miss Legacy?"

"What of it?" Demanded Joe. "Joe...“ "Before you say anything more," interrupted Joe, "I think you should know that tonight is the night I am planning on proposing to her."

"What?" Anthony could not believe what he was hearing. "You cannot be serious. It is bad enough that you have been stringing her along for so long now, and now you are planning on doing this?"

"If she is willing to be my wife, why should I not take advantage of that?" Asked Joe.

"FOR CRYING OUT LOUD JOE!" Bellowed Anthony. "This will only end with her being miserable. It will only be a matter of time before the sham of a marriage fails, and when it does she will be trapped in a loveless marriage, utterly miserable. End it now before that happens."

"Thank you for your unwarranted advice, but I will do what I feel is in my best interests.“ "And what of hers?" Demanded Anthony. Joe ignored him. "I am going out, I have dinner reservations."

Anthony watched Joe go, barely able to contain his emotions at what Joe was about to do. As for Joe, he was trying to silence his second thoughts which were saying to him 'He is right and you know it. You will end up miserable, Alexandra will end up miserable. Best to call it all off now.'

Anthony paced the common room for a little while, unsure if he should do anything. In the end he reached for the telephone and asked to be put through to the Victorian Privileged Ladies Society at the Acadamie.

"Hello, the Victorian Privileged Ladies Society, Alexandra Legacy speaking." Said the voice at the other end of the phone. "Miss Legacy it is Anthony Smith."

"Mr Smith, what a pleasant surprise. I regret that I cannot speak to you for long, I have plans for this evening." Said Alexandra, smiling at the sound of his voice.

"Yes, I am aware of that Miss Legacy, and in fact it was about those plans I wished to speak to you..."

At that moment Alexandra looked out of the window. "I apologise Mr Smith, but Joe is coming up the path. I have got to go. I will speak to you soon I hope. Goodbye."

Over at Sim State Anthony found himself listening to silence. deliberately he replaced the receiver.

Alexandra had hung up.

Slowly and

Joe had booked a table for the two of them at Londoste, his thinking being that he may as well do things properly. However once they got there, he started fidgeting and acting very distracted. "Joe, what is wrong?" Asked Alexandra when they sat down. "Nothing.“ "Yes there is.“ "It is just, uh, these prices are slightly more than I was expecting." He improvised. "Oh, well I am not that hungry anyway, I am fine with only an omelette or something." Alexandra. Responded

After they had finished eating, Alexandra turned to Joe. "You are still on edge. If you are worrying about the bill, I have some money I have brought out with me I can....“ "No," he interrupted her, "I can manage the bill." He swallowed nervously. If he was going to do this, now was the time.

"It is just, we have been seeing each other for a number of years now and I was wondering..." he said his heart thumping.

Alexandra could hardly believe her ears. At long last it looked as if Joe was going to ask her to be his wife. "...will you marry me?" Finished Joe.

"Oh, yes, yes, yes, I will. I cannot tell you how long I have waited for you to ask me." Exclaimed Alexandra as she took the proffered box.

"Good." Replied Joe, but he was thinking 'What am I doing? Surely this is a mistake?‘ 'That is what I have been trying to tell you,' cut in his second thoughts, 'but you would not listen. Well you have made your bed, now you must lie in it.'

Alexandra was oblivious to any of the doubts in her fiance's mind as she admired the look of the ring on her finger. She felt as if she was on cloud nine, and wanted to shout her happiness for all to hear.

"Thank you Joe," she said reaching for his hand, "I am so happy. I have so much to start planning, a large wedding does not organise itself. Oh I must tell Mama and Papa, they will be so happy, and...“ Joe smiled tentatively at her as she rambled on. At that moment in time it just seemed best to go with the flow.

Alexandra had insisted they go back to the Prince of Wales Halls so that she could share her good news with her friend Anthony Smith. "Is it not wonderful Mr Smith?" She asked. He fixed his face into a grin. "I am certainly very pleased to see you so happy Miss Legacy.“ "Thank you." She looked at her pocket watch. "I had best be off though Mr Smith: it is getting quite late."

Anthony looked round to find Joe, he had distanced himself from Alexandra as soon as they had come in. "Joe Miss Legacy is leaving now." He called over. "Oh goodnight Alexandra. So as I was saying...“ "Did you not want to walk her home?" He asked, a bite to his voice. Joe ignored him and continued to talk to Abbey. "Joe..."

"Mr Smith it is quite alright. It is not far and I am quite capable of seeing myself home." Said Alexandra. "Miss Legacy I do not like the thought of you walking home by yourself in the dark. I will see you home." She started to object. "No Miss Legacy, I insist. Let me get your coat.“ Knowing that she was beaten, Alexandra replied, "That is very kind of you, thank you."

It didn't take long to get to the Victorian Privileged Ladies society at the Acadamie, but Anthony was very glad that he had insisted on seeing Alexandra home. "Here we are Miss Legacy. Goodnight.“ "Thank you Mr Smith, it was most kind of you to make sure I got home safely. Goodnight."

He watched her go up the steps. "Miss Legacy," he blurted out. "Yes Mr Smith." She said turning to face him. "I...Goodnight Miss Legacy.“ She smiled. "Goodnight to you too Mr Smith."

She entered the house and shut the door. Anthony regarded it intently for a brief moment before turning and heading for home.

Alexandra wasted no time the next day in telling all of her family that she was engaged to be married to Joe Grundstrom. "Alexandra, that is wonderful news. Look it has been too long since I last saw you, can you come round tonight?...You can? Excellent. Why do I not speak to Victoria and see if she, Rosemary and Louisa can pop round as well?...I will see you tonight then.“ He hung up and then proceeded to call his younger sister.

Having organised a family reunion for that evening, Edward was surprised to see Stanley on his way out "Stanley, are you off out? You know I have invited our sisters over.“ "They will not mind if I am not here.“ "It is the first time we will have seen them properly since they started at the Acadamie." Protested Eddie.

"I will see them some other time." Said Stanley. He hadn't been out for a couple of nights because of homework. He wanted female company, and not that of his sister and cousins. "Stanley..." started Edward, but Stanley was out the door before he could finish.

Stanley headed to his favourite spot, the Campus Lounge. One of the reasons he liked it so much was that it was frequented by so many different people. He was guaranteed to find a girl he had not met there at least once a week. As he looked around, he realised that tonight just that had happened. 'Hello,' he thought, 'I do not recognise that brunette at the other end of the bar.'

"Excuse me miss, I cannot help but notice that you are looking rather lonely sitting there. Can I buy you a drink?"

At the other end of the bar the brunette groaned. 'Ah no, he is talking to me. All I wanted was a quiet drink. Sugar, he is coming over, I had better get ready to leave.'

Stanley slid onto the bar stool. "Actually I was just leaving..." She started. "Oh come on, let Stanley Legacy buy you a drink."

Legacy? Now there was a name she hadn't heard for a while. She looked at him. Oh yes, that jaw was certainly familiar. "Well, one will not hurt I suppose." She said.

"Good, good Miss...?“ "Hutchins, Marielle Hutchins.“ "Miss Hutchins." He signalled the bar tender and ordered her a drink. "I have not seen you in here before." He said when it arrived.

"No, I tend to stick to the Acadamie." She answered. "Your surname seems familiar to me. Tell me do you have a sister there?“ "Yes, and several cousins.“ "So," she tried to think how best to phrase her next question, "are you the...head of the family?"

Stanley laughed, "Me? No thank goodness," it was too dark for Stanley to notice, but a flash of disappointment crossed Marielle's features, "that is one of my cousins. I do not want that responsibility, but he handles it well."

"Really? Is he at university too?“ "Oh yes, we live in the Legacy Society house together.“ "You do?" She sipped her drink. "You know Mr Legacy, I think that I would like to see the Legacy Society..."

"You would?" 'Excellent.' "We had better finish our drinks then." He smiled at her.

It was still reasonably early when they arrived at the Society house. "Miss Hutchins, welcome to the Legacy Society. Come into the drawing room and I will get you a drink." Said Stanley after he had taken her coat.

"That would be very nice Mr Legacy. Tell me, are your cousins at home? I think I can hear music.“ "Ah yes, my sister and some other cousins are visiting this evening, but I thought we could have a drink, just the two of us first."

Theo had been walking across the landing when he heard voices in the hall. "Stanley, that you?" He called down the stairs? "Yes Theo.“ "Good I have to ask you something." He started down the stairs.

And stopped embarrassed when he reached the bottom to find that Stanley was not alone. "I...uh I am sorry miss, I did not realise that Stanley had company. I apologise for my lack of attire."

Marielle looked him up and down appreciatively. "Do not be so silly Mr Legacy. You did not expect to find me here." "Uh it is Mr Harrison actually.“ "Really?" She sounded vaguely disappointed. "You are not Mr Legacy's cousin?"

"Oh, yes, I am. My mother is Stanley's father's twin sister." He said smiling.

"You wanted something?" Asked Stanley, eager to get Theo out of the picture as quickly as possible. "Yes, I was wondering if the clean laundry had come back yet.“ "It has why?"

Theo grinned. "I am spending the day with Nerd tomorrow and I want to look my best.“ Despite himself Stanley grinned back at him. "I know what that's like. I put the clean laundry in the front bedroom.“ "Thank you Stan.“ He turned back to Marielle. "Once again I apologise for my dishabille miss." "That is quite alright." She replied.

She watched him go back upstairs, a far away look on her face. He may not be the cousin she thought he was, but she wasn't going to complain about the view.

"So Miss Hutchins, shall we go into the drawing room now?" Asked Stanley, interrupting her thoughts. "I...er...that music really is beautiful.“ "Oh yes, that will be Edward, he is always fiddling away." Responded Stanley.

"He is?“ "Oh yes. If you want to get all psychological about it I suppose you could say that he plays to deal with the stress of being the next head of the family. It is quite the responsibility.“ She smiled. "You know, I would really like to go and listen to him play.“ "You would?" Now it was Stanley's turn to be disappointed. "Yes, and then perhaps we can have a drink after."

They entered the games room where Edward was playing the violin for his sisters and cousins. They stood and watched until Edward finished the piece he was playing. Marielle watched him intently. He was just as good looking as Mr Harrison., she smiled.

"Edward, may I introduce you to Miss Marielle Hutchins?" Said Stanley. "How do you do Mr Legacy." Said Marielle smiling brightly.

"Pleased to meet you Miss Hutchins." Edward smiled at her. He thought her to be incredibly beautiful. He realised that he was staring at her. "Erm, may I introduce you to my sister Miss Alexandra Legacy?"

Alexandra got up and crossed to Marielle. "Pleased to meet you Miss Hutchins.“ "Likewise Miss Legacy. I notice you are engaged to be married." She essayed, trying to make a good impression. "Yes, I became engaged only recently.“ "Well congratulations.“ "Thank you."

Edward turned to the other people in the room. "This is my younger sister Miss Victoria Legacy, my cousin Miss Rosemary Legacy, and another cousin Miss Louisa Harrison.“ Marielle shook hands with everyone.

"So," said Stanley as soon as he could, "shall we go into the drawing room for that drink now?“ Marielle glanced over at Edward. "Actually I would like to listen to Mr Legacy some more, if he was planning on continuing to play that is." "Oh yes, I can certainly play some more if you so wish.“ "Hmph, well I suppose we can listen to Edward some more." Agreed Stanley grudgingly.

For the rest of the night Stanley had to be content with staying in the games room listening to Edward play because Marielle showed no inclination of leaving.

The next day DrSuprmemeNerd arrived at the Legacy Society bright and early to spend the day with Theo. The two of them had been seeing a lot of each other since leaving Riverblossom Hills and were completely besotted.

Lounging on one of the settees Edward closed his eyes and sighed. It seemed like he was the only one of the boys without a romantic interest, but he was the one who had to marry and carry on the family line. The telephone started to ring. "I will get that." He said levering himself up from the settee.

"Good morning Legacy Society Sim State University. Edward Legacy speaking." He answered.

"Miss Hutchins? How pleasant to hear from you..." His face broke into a broad smile. He rather liked Miss Hutchins. "Oh really you think that you left your purse here last night. Where was the last place you remember seeing it?...I will go and look, can you hold?"

He walked into the games room to look for Marielle's purse. She had said she thought she had last had it by the Myshuno! "Have either of you two seen a...?" He started to ask Doc and Theo. "Oh never mind."

"Miss Hutchins, yes I have found your purse. Would you like me to send it to you?...Um yes I will be here for the next couple of hours: I do not have a class until the afternoon...I will see you in about an hour then Miss Hutchins." He smiled at the thought of seeing her again.

Edward walked into the drawing room. He had decided something when he had finished speaking to Miss Hutchins, but he needed to speak to Stanley about it first.

"Stanley, can I have a quick word?" He asked. "Certainly, this chapter I have to read for class is very boring. I could do with a distraction."

"It is about Miss Hutchins, the lady you brought home last night. I would never want to step on your toes, and I know you seemed to like her but...“ "Spit it out Eddie." Said Stanley impatiently. "I would very much like to ask her out for dinner." He finished in a rush.

Stanley paused in the act of turning the page. He had seen how Marielle had looked at Eddie the night before, but he had still had hopes at trying to add her to his list of girlfriends. He wasn't often turned down. "You do not need my permission Edward. There is nothing between us, and besides, there are plenty more fish in the sea, so why would I want her?"

"You know Stanley you can be a right pillock at times." Said Edward as he turned to walk out the room. "I know, my friend, I know." Responded Stanley quietly.

Despite Stanley's reaction though Edward smiled as he walked out into the hall. He was really looking forward to seeing Miss Hutchins again.

Marielle was prompt at arriving at the LS. After Edward handed her back her purse, she said, "Thank you so much Mr Legacy, I panicked slightly when I couldn't find it when I got home last night.“ "I am sorry to hear that Miss Hutchins, but I glad that I was able to find it for you."

"Truth be told it is very pleasant to see you again and I was actually wondering if you would like to dine with me tonight?" Asked Edward nervously, hoping that she would agree.

Marielle smiled. "I would love to Mr Legacy. Where were you thinking we could eat?“ "Oh well I was thinking about taking you to the Palisade in my home village. It is an hour or so away, but the food it good."

"That sounds very nice Mr Legacy. What time will you pick me up?“ "Is half past six agreeable to you?"

"That is very agreeable indeed." She said, a slow smile spreading across her face as she looked down at her nails. Everything was starting to go exactly as she wanted it to.

Edward was completely oblivious to the change in the tone of her voice and the look on her face. "Good, that is settled then, I will see you this evening." He walked over to the front door to open it for her. She had hoped that he would want her to stay for a while, but they were going out to dinner and she couldn't have everything...yet.

At quarter past six that evening a rather nervous Edward was waiting in the hall with Theo for hansom cab to arrive. "Do I look alright Theo?“ "Yes.“ "What if she does not like the Palisade, oh no what if some of the family are there tonight? Just my luck mother and father will be dining out and see us. How can I introduce Miss Hutchins to them on our first meal together?"

Theo laughed. "Edward calm down. I am sure that she will love the Palisade. As for some of the family being there, if they are they are. You will just have to deal with that if it happens, and introduce her to them. I am sure they will be fine “ "Yes you are right. Look that's the cab. I will see you tomorrow.“ "Have a nice time."

"Well, um welcome to my home village, and the Palisade." Said Edward when they reached the restaurant. "I wanted to thank you once again for agreeing to dine with me tonight."

Marielle bit down a groan of frustration. He had already thanked her several times in the cab and it was starting to wear thin. "My pleasure Mr Legacy. I enjoyed meeting you last night and would like to get to know you better.“ "You would? Great.“ At that point the maitre d' approached them. "My Legacy, your table is ready. If you care to follow me." He led them into the dining room.

"This table is fantastic My Legacy." Said Marielle as they sat down. "Perk of being part of my family I suppose. We are well respected and my father is also the head of the Guild of Commerce. Local businesses tend to be very accommodating to us.“ A gleam appeared in Marielle's eye, but Edward was engrossed in looking at the menu and missed it. "Miss Hutchins may I recommend the steak. It is always divine. I was also thinking about ordering some champagne.“ "That sounds good to me Mr Legacy."

When the champagne arrived, Edward proposed a toast. "To new friends.“ "To new friends, and what will hopefully be the start of a beautiful relationship." Added Marielle smiling. Champagne and the finest table in the restaurant, she could get very used to this.

As the night wore on it seemed that Edward's fear of seeing a family member was well-founded, however it was not his parents who had turned up, but rather his Uncle Henry and Aunt Aphrodita. Henry looked through the arch into the dinning room and scowled. "What the blasted hell is she doing here?" He muttered. "Who darling?“ "Hmm what?"

*** Aphrodita writes Scarier than Thou and is one of the driving forces behind the Reclaim Your Game website.

Aphrodita moved closer to him so that she too could see into the dinning room. "You muttered something; I merely want to know who you are talking about." From this position she could see only one occupied table. "Is it the brunette dinning with Edward?“ "That is Edward?" Asked Henry shocked. He had never seen William's son before. "Yes, that is your nephew. Who is the woman?"

Henry turned to face her. "Just...someone from my past I thought I would never see again. She is of no consequence. We came out to dance, so shall we dance?"

He offered his wife his hand, and although she would have liked to discuss the brunette some more, she took it and allowed herself to be led onto the dance floor.

In the dinning room, Edward and Marielle were just finished eating. "I hope that you are enjoying your steak Miss Hutchins.“ "Yes, it really is delicious, thank you for recommending it to me.“ "I was thinking that we could go on to the local pub after we have finished eating." He had thought about them staying here, but that would indicate dancing, and he wasn't sure if they knew each other well enough for dancing yet. Besides the lounge bar at the Bull was a suitable enough place to take a lady.

"That sounds good to me." Said Marielle as she set her knife and fork down. "If you will excuse me for a moment Mr Legacy, I have to powder my nose.“ "Of course, I will pay the bill, and then we can go."

In the dance hall Henry and Aphrodita were still dancing when he saw Marielle walk across the foyer. "Darling will you excuse me a minute?“ "Why?“ "Dita I am an elder, my bladder is the size of a pea, do you really need to ask?“ "Sorry darling, I forget at times." She said giving his rump a playful squeeze. He coughed, "Well yes I know I hardly ever act like an old man." He muttered, slightly embarrassed.

But Henry didn't use the facilities, instead he sat down on the sofa in the corridor near the conveniences to wait. "Marielle." He said when she emerged.

"Henry Legacy." An ugly look twisted her features. "I never thought I would see you again. I can't say it is pleasant."

"Likewise Marielle, likewise." He said getting up off of the sofa. "Although I have to ask you what the bleedin' hell you think you are playing at dining here with my nephew." He snarled.

"I would have thought that was obvious Henry dear." She exclaimed. "You failed. You promised me that you would become head of the family once your brother was out of the way. You promised me a life of luxury if I helped you, which I did, and you failed. So I am doing what I should have done in the first place and going after the rightful heir."

"Yes because you are so innocent are you not Marielle? I seem to remember it was you who sought me out when you found out my name. You were the one who helped with grooming Susie. You were the one who pointed me in the direction of the poison I used, and you were the one who abandoned me when it all went wrong."

"Well of course I abandoned you as you put it." Said Marielle in a reasonable tone of voice, "You are the one who failed. I am not cut out to be a jailbird's wife, so I severed all ties to you. Can you blame me?"

Nearly forty years of anger surged to the fore. "I blame you for not waiting around to take your share of the heat, and that is all! I knew you never loved me, like I know I never loved you. I was using you as much as you were using me Marielle."

This caught her off guard, she had never had a man say he didn't love her before: it was always the other way round. "What do you mean by that?“ "I never loved you, you were convenient.“ "Well I see you are married now. Are you sure she is not a substitute for me?" She said clutching at straws.

"Oh very sure. You are not even a hundredth of the woman Dita is. In fact I thank you for leaving me: if you had not I would never have married her.“ Marielle snarled. "Is she as old as you then old man?" Henry smirked. "No she will stay eternally young like the other simselves. Unlike you of course. If I had succeeded and you had married me, you would be as old as I.“ Marielle stifled a gasp. "There is always elixir." She stumbled.

"Not for a Legacy spouse there is not." Said Henry smugly. Marielle looked down at the floor. "A Legacy spouse," she said slowly, "has plenty of influence and...power. I am sure that I can persuade my future husband to let me drink elixir. After all I am sure he will want me to stay in the best physical shape possible.“ Henry snorted. He knew she was just thinking aloud, but he found her reasoning amusing, and oh so typical of her. "Anyway, you are boring me Henry. I am going back to my date. Goodbye, I hope I never see you again.“ "So do I Marielle, so do I."

Marielle made her way back to Edward and forced a smile onto her face. "I have paid the bill, shall we go?" He asked. "Yes, lets." She responded, anxious to put some distance between herself and Henry. Their meeting had affected her more than she would care to admit.

As for Henry, he waited until he saw the two of them leave the Palisade before deciding to find Aphrodita. He didn't have to look far because she was waiting in the foyer for him. "Henry what is wrong? You have been distracted since we arrived and you saw that woman dining with Edward, and now you have spent ages in the toilet. Tell me what is going on."

Henry looked at her. He wanted to tell her, but didn't know how much to divulge. "I...I just want to go home. Can we do that?“ "Yes, but I expect you to tell me what is going on.“ "Hmm."

Edward and Marielle meanwhile had arrived at the Bull. "I am glad that you enjoyed the meal Miss Hutchins. It is always a worry that there will be one occasion when you have a bad meal somewhere."

"It was a lovely meal Mr Legacy." She bit down her irritation at his words. How many more times was he going to say he was glad she had enjoyed her meal? "Good. This pub is nice too. The lounge bar was recently redecorated and has become very popular.“ "I am sure it is very nice, but I am enjoying your company so much I think that I could be in a spit and sawdust establishment and still have an enjoyable time.“ "Really?“ "Yes." She battered her eyelashes at him and moved slightly closer.

Barely daring to breathe he leant forward and kissed her.

"Oh I am sorry, do forgive me Miss Hutchins. I did not mean to be so familiar." He stammered as he pulled back. He really didn't know what had possessed him to do that: it had just felt right.

"Do not be Mr Legacy." She said smiling sweetly at him. Everything was going exactly to plan. "Oh." As she smiled at him he felt like they were the only two people on the planet.

Unsurprisingly maybe, they didn't make it into the pub.

Edward was surprised to see that his cousins were still up when he got home in the early hours of the morning. He sat down at the card table with them. "So, did you have a good time this evening?" Asked Theo.

"Yes, I did." Said Eddie smiling. "It was very pleasant." He thought back to the kisses they had shared. "I enjoyed it very much."

"Are you planning on seeing Miss Hutchins again?"

Eddie smiled even more broadly. "Yes, I like her a lot. An awful lot actually."

"I think it is good that you two are finally showing some interest in the opposite gender. I just do not know what took you so long." Responded Stanley. "Now, are you in for this hand?"

Just before he got into bed that night Edward leant back against the pillows and smiled. He was feeling very happy, and for once wasn't panicking over the thought that he had to marry and carry on the family line.

A week or so passed and the new semester started. It was still winter, but there was a hint of spring in the air. Henry Legacy approached the Legacy Society. He had not seen the house since he had been arrested all those years ago, and it had taken a surprising amount of courage for him to return to Sim State.

He was about to walk up the steps to ring the doorbell when a tall blonde man whom Henry recognised as Edward come out. "Can I help you sir?" Edward asked approaching his uncle.

"I was looking to speak to Edward Legacy." Started Henry. "I am Edward Legacy. What can I do for you?“ "Edward, you do not know me, but I am your uncle Henry..."

Edward's face twisted with anger, and he suddenly noticed the resemblance this man had to the portrait he had locked away in an unused room as soon as he moved into the house. "I know who you are, and what you tried to do." He snarled. "I want you to leave."

"Yes, yes I was a terrible, horrible person, but that is all in the past and I need to speak to you about something important..."

"No, it is not in the past. You tried to kill my father, and for what? So you could be head of the family? I cannot forget what you did and neither do I want to hear what you have to say."

"Listen you impudent pup," said Henry starting to loose his temper. "I have information you need to know to stop you making a mistake with regards to Marielle Hutchins."

"NO!" Interrupted Edward. "I will not listen to your lies about Miss Hutchins. I will never forget what you tried to do to my family. I want you to leave now, and never try to contact me or any member of my family again, do you hear me?“ "But...“ "I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT!" Edward bellowed.

"Very well." Said Henry stiffly as he turned to leave. "Just you remember that I tried to help you young Edward.“ Edward watched the old man leave, his heart racing. It was very rare he lost his temper like that, but that man had tried to kill his father. He could not trust a word he said and he hoped he would never have dealings with him again.

Henry didn't try to approach his nephew again, and Edward didn't tell his cousins what had happened. As far as he was concerned it was all over and done with. The rest of the semester passed in a flurry of activity, whether it was fixing the sink. "Blasted thing, will you stop it?"

Studying. ‘Well that is clearly incorrect. Who wrote this text anyway?'

Getting re-acquainted with old loves.

Getting to know new loves. "Miss Hutchins, how are you today? Good. Dinner tonight?"

Spending a romantic evening star-gazing with your soul mate.

Taking care of more earthy desires.

Sitting for a portrait. "Surely you have finished by now Louisa?“ "Art takes time Rosemary. At least you are in a comfortable seat."

Planning the perfect wedding. 'Flowers, who can I get to do the flowers? The only florist in the village is Father...Hmm...Oh I know that nice Miss Delarosa in Bluewater.'

Or of course partying. "So how are things going with the wedding plans Alexandra?“ "There is a lot more to be done than I expected actually Eddie.“ "Yes, as the fact that you have all of us back at the Ladies Society making your bridal favours attests." Put in Rosemary. "I do appreciate the help, but if it is a chore to you..." Started Alexandra getting slightly upset and angry. "I did not say that Alexandra, I was merely saying how much work you are having to do." Said Rosemary soothingly.

Victoria was playing Myshuno! With Marielle and some of her cousins. She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something about how Marielle was with her brother that she just didn't like. She sighed. She was probably being silly, after all she didn't like Joe either.

"Where do you think he is going?" Asked Rosemary as Theo left the room suddenly. "I think that a certain someone has probably just walked down the path." Said Eddie chuckling and turning his head to look out the window. "Rosemary?" He asked. "Yes Edward.“ "Who is the blond chap Louisa is speaking to?“ She turned round. "Oh that is our cousin Timothy. He is the same age as us and was at the Board School at the same time.“ "Cousin?" He looked askance at her. "Yes, he is the son of our Uncle Henry." She said quietly. "I see." Looking to change the subject Rosemary asked "have you seen Stanley about?"

“No not for a while. I have not seen Miss Leong either, but I am sure they will be fine." Edward had a pretty good idea as to what they were doing, but though it wise not to discuss it with Stanley's little sister.

As for Theo, well he had indeed seen a certain someone coming up the path, and the two of them were never more than a couple of feet apart for the rest of the night.

After the card game finished Edward followed Timothy into the study when he went to get some pizza. Unsure exactly how to broach the subject, and more than slightly tipsy he dove straight in. "So you are my Uncle Henry's eldest son? I hope that you do not have hopes as to taking over as head of the family."

"Oh please." Groaned Timothy. "I am so sick of people judging me by my father's actions. That is all I have ever heard. I am not my father, I never will be my father and I care not one jot about shouldering the responsibility of being the heir to the main branch of the family."

"Oh." Edward was taken aback. He didn't know what he had expected to hear, but he had not expected the frustration in Timothy's voice. "I apologise Timothy. I did not mean...it is just...what your father did..."

"Yes I know. I cannot tell you how much trouble and grief the thought of what my father is capable has given me." Said Timothy with a sigh. "Look, since you are a Legacy, you get automatic membership of the Society, and we have a few spare bedrooms if you tire of living in halls." It wasn't really much, but Edward wanted Timothy to know that he was trying not to blame him for the sins of his father. "Thank you Edward. Maybe next year I will move in.“ "Well give it some serious thought please."

Before the boys knew it the semester was over, and their final exams done. As they sat eating their post exam pizza Edward turned to his cousins. "Well I must say that this year has been a full one, has it not?"

"Yes, both you and Theo have finally discovered the opposite gender. I cannot tell you how much I was worried about you two chaps." Theo just looked at him.

"Well I am certainly much happier than I was this time last year." Smiled Eddie. "I really think that Miss Hutchins could be the one."

"I know that Nerd is the one for me." Smiled Theo. "Yes we had noticed. It is possibly the fact that the two of you are inseparable when you are together." Answered Stanley. "Stanley you are just as bad, if not worse with all your girlfriends, at least I am true to one.“ "I love all my girlfriends, and I have plenty of loving to go round...“ Edward sat listening to his best friends bickering and smiled. Life was good.

A couple of days later it was time for Alexandra to graduate. She had passed at the top of her class and wanted to throw a party to celebrate. "Mr Smith, how good of you to come." She said as she greeted the last guest to arrive. "Thank you for the invitation Miss Legacy. I would not have missed this for the world.“ "Please come in. Everyone else is in the games room. I think Louisa is trying to organise a game of Myshuno!"

Louisa was indeed trying to start a game of Myshuno! And Alexandra and Anthony soon joined in. Also at the party were Alexandra's parents, her siblings a couple of Aunts and of course her fiancé.

Whilst Anthony was busy socialising with Alexandra Joe was standing by himself in the kitchen worrying. 'What am I doing? The wedding is fast approaching. Should I break it off? But she is willing to marry me, and she will make a fine wife...'

Anthony put his cube down and stood up as the game ended. He had got caught up in Alexandra's enthusiasm for the game and it made him realise how lucky he was to have her as a friend. He had not spoken to Joe since the two of them had become engaged, but Alexandra had invited him to the wedding. He had been thinking of declining, but now he knew he wouldn't. He would have to be there to make sure that she was happy.

The game of Myshuno! over, Alexandra tried to get everyone to smustle to her father's piano playing. Unfortunately for Rosemary she didn't know that steps. "Edward," she muttered, "can you help me please?“ "You do not know how to smustle?“ "No, I never learnt.“ "It is pretty simple." He got up from the table. "I will stand just in front of you, and just follow what I do."

So Rosemary followed Edward's lead, worrying all the time that she was out of step. Since no one was actually in step it didn't matter.

See, Victoria and Louisa might be doing the same step, but their timing is out. I don't think there was ever such a poor smustle danced at the Acadamie before or since.

Alexandra didn't care though. She had a great party and at the end of it was ready to go home and continue with the wedding preparations.

*** Well I think that this is where I will leave you for this chapter. Thank you for reading it, I hope you enjoyed it and that the explanation of who Marielle is makes sense. Thanks also to the creators of all my wonderful CC. The legacy would not be the same without the work of these talented people, in particular Judie at All-About-Style and everyone at MTS2. A big thank you too to the authors whose simselves I have in game. Doc I think you can see how happy SimNerd is at the moment. She and Theo literally spent that party in one long clinch. Join me next time for the boys' final year at university, and Alexandra's wedding. =>

'Theo got to be the last slide by posing at the bar. Maybe I can too.'

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful