1.45: Don’t Waste a Moment

Go ahead and grab your coffee and get comfortable. There’s a lot going on in this chapter. Hope you enjoy! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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“Ok this is too much Jake. Stop. Stop!” She shoved him away from her, not stopping to take in the surprised look on his face as she gathered her bikini top to cover herself, tying it back in place. She jumped out of the pool, Jake following her. “‘You know you want it‘,” she mimicked in a snarly voice. “No. I do NOT want ‘it’. You didn’t ask if I wanted it. I’m going home. Goodbye Jake.”

 

 

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“Goodbye!? Ayala! Please don’t go like this!” Jake frantically grabbed her arm and tried to pull her back even as she struggled to free herself from his grip.

“Fucking let me go. NOW.” For one awful moment, she thought he wasn’t going to release her, but he did.

 

 

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She ran all the way home. Early morning light seeped through clouds heavy with rain when Ayala finally made it back to camp. She hated herself for the tears leaking out of her eyes, hated herself for getting into that situation to begin with. He was going to have sex with me, and he wasn’t giving me the chance to say if I wanted to or not! Some of it had felt good, and she hated herself for that too. Had he known that? Is that why he kept going? Did I make him think I wanted that?

Everyone was still asleep when she curled into her sleeping furs. Carrick still wasn’t home. Tomorrow, she knew, she’d have some hard thinking to do, but right now she just wanted to sleep.

 

 

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The next afternoon, Ayala somberly went through the motions of helping with chores and helping with the quads, until finally there was nothing left to do. At last, she slumped near the fire onto a stump, listening to the rain fall around her. Shane went to sit next to her. Ayala had been out all night, and Shane correctly deduced his eldest daughter’s mood had something to do with her boyfriend Jake. It hurt him to see her so down, over a boy.

“Daughter. I know you don’t want to talk about it.”

She shook her head without raising it from her hands.

“Whatever makes you unhappy, sad, or afraid, is the wrong thing for you, and you should let it go. You deserve happiness. You deserve love. Perhaps The One is still waiting for you.” Shane sat back, looking across the orchard and to the dreary sea beyond. “You’re a beautiful young woman, and strong like your mother. Your mother has made my life a joy. But I am getting old now.”

 

 

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Shane stood up, and leaned over Ayala, lifting her chin so he could see her face. Her eyes swam with tears and she couldn’t bring herself to meet his gaze.

“My point, Ayala, is that you will only have so much time with the person you love. Every moment you spend with someone who makes you unhappy, with someone you do not love, it only takes away from the time you could have with that someone you do love. Don’t waste a moment.”

 

 

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Finally, she raised her eyes to his.

“Thanks Daddy.” She stood,  and kissed him on the cheek.  “I think I’m going to go down to the tidal pool to be alone for a little while. Love you, Dad.”

Shane nodded, watching as she trudged away. She’ll find what’s right for her.

 

 

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I don’t love him. I like him. Liked him, anyway. She considered her relationship with Jake. It had been fun, but it hadn’t been deep. Can I honestly see myself being as in love with him as my parents are with each other? She shook her head. Don’t waste a moment, Dad had said. It’ll only take time away from being with the one you love.

She sighed.

 

 

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She hadn’t been down to this tidal pool since that day a few months ago with Dustin. She thought of him longingly for a few moments, remembered him coaxing flowers from the fire. Magick man, magick hands. It had hurt to realize a grown man wouldn’t be interested in a girl like her, but he had been her friend. She wished she hadn’t pushed him away, but it’d hurt too much to think of him being with some other woman.

With another sigh, she pushed Dustin from her mind.

 

 

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She’d enjoyed spending time with Jake, but after last night, she wasn’t so sure she wanted to be his girlfriend anymore. Maybe if he’d given her more time, or talked to her about it, maybe she would’ve been ready. But he’d been almost forceful last night, almost scaring her. He hadn’t asked about her feelings on the matter at all.

Well, let’s see. She started a mental checklist. I don’t love him. He tried to have sex with me without stopping to make sure I even wanted to. Even if he never acted like that again, I can’t imagine ever wanting to have sex with him after that. And I’m not even sure I want to be his girlfriend anymore.

It amounted to a dead end. I have to end it. Don’t waste a moment.

 

 

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With her decision made, Ayala slowly walked back up to camp. She hadn’t been there for five minutes before Jake rounded the corner. He came to a stop in front of her, holding up a conciliatory hand when he saw the look on her face. He held a bouquet of autumn roses in one hand.

“Before you say anything, please just let me say how sorry I am about how last night ended. You were totally right. I should have asked, instead of assuming. It’ll never happen again until you’re ready, I promise.”

 

 

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“Jake.” She let out a breath. She hadn’t expected to have this talk so soon. “I’m sorry about last night too.” At that, Jake smiled and took a tentative step toward her. She held her hands up. “Just stop. Ok? Stop. You’re right, it’s not going to happen again.”

“I swear it won’t, I’m sorry, I just…I just love you so much.”

Again she held up her hands. “Love? That wasn’t love last night. That was you trying really hard to get laid whether I wanted to or not. I don’t love you. I don’t want to have sex with you. And I don’t want to be your girlfriend anymore.”

 

 

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“You don’t mean that,” Jake sputtered.

Ayala rolled her eyes. “See, this is exactly what I mean. You aren’t listening to what I’m saying. It’s over.”

 

 

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Jake abruptly tossed the flowers onto the ground and grabbed her arms. “Now just a damn minute. I said I was sorry! You can’t break up with me over some stupid misunderstanding.”

Ayala tried to yank away, but he had a hard grip on her arms. “Let go of me!”

 

 

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“Unhand my sister.”

Jake released her, and Ayala rubbed her arms. Carrick took another step toward them. “She said it was over. This is where you turn and walk out of my camp.”

 

 

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“You know what? Fuck it.” Jake turned on his heel and stormed from the camp, stepping on scattered roses as he went.

 

 

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He felt the crackle in the air before he saw her approach. “Bronwyn,” he acknowledged.

She’d come again, late, just as he’d begun blowing out the lamps. Her eyes snapped in the flickering light of the remaining lantern. “I’m hungry,” she said without preamble, lifting her dress over her head and dropping it on the floor.

Joel licked his lips. “Ah, Bronwyn, are you sure we should be doing this? You mother and father might not like us being together.”

 

 

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She came around behind the bar, slithering her arms around his shoulders, one hand grabbing his hair and pulling his mouth to hers. “Today is my birthday, Joel. And you’re going to make it a good one.” His arms slid around her bare back. “I’m a grown woman. Old enough to have my own camp. I was thinking, though,” she trailed her fingers down the side of his face. “That I might like your camp better.”

“My camp?”

 

 

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“Your camp. Your bed. Every night.” She drew him to the pool table and unfastened his pants, then climbed atop him. Her body took every inch of him, and sparks flickered between them as she began to rise and fall against him. “You want me.”

“Yes.” He gripped her by the hips and she moved faster in response. Her mouth grazed his throat. Closing his eyes, the only sound was their bodies moving against each other, their sharp breaths, and the rain pouring down outside. He shuddered, pouring himself into her. After a few moments, he finally caught his breath, and opened his eyes. “Let’s go home, then.”

 

 

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Ayala spent most of her time at home these days. She went out with Nadia occasionally, and sometimes Nala too, but for the most part, she didn’t feel like hanging out with the rest of the teens. She’d bumped into Jake a few times, and it was awkward; she knew that would pass eventually. Instead she threw herself into her studies. And as her sisters grew older, she took some joy in teaching them how to dance.

Maybe Daddy was right, maybe The One was still out there, waiting for her. But Ayala knew He would come along when the time was right. Right now, she focused on herself. After what had happened with Jake, she felt stronger. Maybe she’d learned a little of herself as a woman, and maybe she’d learned a little of what she wanted–and didn’t want–from a man.

 

 

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Rhea jabbed Carrick in the ribs playfully. “Hey you! What’s eating you? You haven’t heard a word I said!”

“Oh, sorry. I was just thinking of Ayala. She’s been kinda lonely lately. Maybe we should go see if she wants to hang out.” Since Ayala had broken up with Jake, she hadn’t had much to do. He knew she sometimes spent time with the younger Riverhaven girls, but she mostly stayed at home. “Or maybe you could go hang out with her by yourself? She could probably use some girl time.”

Rhea snorted. “No thanks. I’d rather be with you. Alone,” she said, suggestively slipping a hand into the waist of his pants. “It’s her own fault anyway. She broke up with Jake. Why should I care how she feels?”

 

 

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“Her own fault? She had a very good reason to break up with him. I about damn near kicked his ass the other day. And why wouldn’t you care? I thought you were her friend.”

“Oh,” Rhea waved her hand. “Friends come and go. I don’t care about her. I’m more concerned with getting in your pants right now,” she purred.

Carrick removed her hand angrily, shocked by her cavalier attitude. “You don’t care about her? Well I do. She’s my sister. Wouldn’t you be pissed if your sister was hurting and lonely?”

“Not my responsibility.” She shrugged. “Why’s it matter so much?”

“Seriously? They’re going to need you when your parents are gone.”

“I’m not their babysitter! They can take care of themselves, for all I care, and Ayala should be doing the same.” She stepped closer and tried to slip her hands under his shirt. “C’mon. Let’s go have some fun.”

 

 

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Carrick just stood there for a moment in shock, then angrily shook her hands off. Everything she’d just said went so completely against his own values of family and being a good person. Rhea’s carelessness about Ayala, especially now when Ayala needed a friend, pissed him off. He understood perfectly the need to have your own life, but how could she be so uncaring about her own family?

He took a step away from her. He couldn’t imagine being with someone so completely self-centered. “You’re not the kind of person I thought you were, Rhea. I can’t be with you.”

 

 

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She rushed to his side, trying to take his face in her hands, but he pushed her away. “Carrick, come on, you don’t mean that,” she implored. “We have so much fun together! We have great sex! We fit together so well.”

“But I do mean that. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t care about my family or even her own. Life isn’t always about fun, and it’s definitely not all about sex. Gods, what if you’d gotten pregnant, is that how you’d care about our kid? We don’t fit together so well after all.”

 

 

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He turned on his heel and walked away.

 

Starts With Goodbye – Carrie Underwood

 

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daniel

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Dustin spent much of his time exploring the outer reaches of the island. Not that he was shy, or even a loner, but he enjoyed being in nature. As a practician of green magick, there was much to learn and discover in the wild.

Today though, he’d come to the faerie ring to ruminate over his father’s passing. Daniel too had been a witch, and had passed his powers on to his second-born son. As a big influence in Dustin’s life, it seemed right to honor him in this place of magick. Daniel had been a rascal in his youth–Dustin himself was living proof of that, but he’d also been a loving father and husband when he married Dustin’s stepmother. That too had had an influence. Dustin hoped he’d one day find the happiness that his father had found.

 

 

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Dustin looked at the flowers surrounding him. Wildflowers always reminded him of Ayala now. He wasn’t one to flaunt his magick, but that night at the bonfire several months ago, he’d sensed Ayala’s discomfort. He’d drawn flowers forth from the flames to–what? Distract her? Cheer her up? …To get her attention?

He thought about the day his brother and sisters had left for Moonlight Falls. He’d confronted Ayala that day, after discovering how much she disliked him–all because, once upon a time, he’d called her a little girl. Ever since then, he’d had a heightened awareness of her. Because, whatever he’d said when he was a kid, it was quite obvious that Ayala was no longer a little girl. She’d grown into a feisty and beautiful young woman, in Dustin’s opinion. When, two years later, they’d become friends, it was even harder not to notice that.

 

 

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He wondered for the umpteenth time why she’d suddenly stopped speaking to him. And for the umpteenth time, he wished Carrick hadn’t interrupted them on the beach that day. Things might’ve turned out differently if he’d kissed her. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s what had freaked her out. He’d been keeping himself out of the way since then, as it seemed she didn’t want anything to do with him. But, he admitted to himself, it was also because he didn’t want to see her with someone else. Perhaps unwisely, Dustin had come to care for Ayala as much more than a friend, and it stung to think of her with someone else. His brother, no less.

Ayala had recently broken up with Jake, he knew, and he idly thought of going to see her. But no, he decided. For whatever reason, she hadn’t wanted his friendship; he should respect that.

 

 

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Not long after Daniel’s passing, Daniela knew she would be following. Her heart was broken, and she had to prepare her daughters. “My girls,” she said, her voice papery thin. “I need you to be strong and brave. I’m not going to be with you much longer. Promise me. Promise me you’ll care for Natasha and your brothers.”

“Yes Mama,” said Nala. Nala’s throat felt like it was closing up, dammed with tears.

“Nadia, you need to send word to your brother and sisters in Moonlight Falls.”

“Yes Mama,” this, from Nadia.

Daniela coughed, weakly, then swiped at tears on her face and took a deep breath. Nala helped her to lay back down. Sitting up had tired her greatly.

 

 

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“Remember.” Daniela’s voice was growing fainter. “Take care. Of my children. You need each other. They need you.” And then her eyes closed, and her chest ceased to rise and fall.

 

 

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“I can’t believe you’re leaving us, Nadia!” Nala sobbed into her hand. She couldn’t look at her sister. “You promised Mom we would take care of them together!”

“Nala, please, please try to understand. Nick wants to marry me. I can’t stay. There’s nothing here for me anymore.”

“Not even me, I guess,” Nala whispered. Nadia clasped her into a quick embrace, then set out resolutely on the path toward Nick’s camp.

 

 

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She was barely 15, how was she going to take care of her four younger siblings by herself? She tried to stifle her sobs for their sakes, as they watched wide-eyed, but she just couldn’t. She’d lost her father, her mother, and now her sister too. But she’d promised Mama, and by the gods, she wasn’t going to abandon them as Nadia had.

“Are you going to leave us too?” Abel asked in a small voice.

Nala knelt down and put her arms around him. “No baby brother, I’m not going to leave you. I’m not.”

“I’m big enough. I can help you, sissy,” Natasha’s voice wavered. “We still have each other.”

 

 

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  I guess it’s gonna have to hurt,
I guess I’m gonna have to cry,
And let go of some things I’ve loved,
To get to the other side,
I guess it’s gonna break me down,
Like falling when you try to fly,
It’s sad, but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life,
Starts with goodbye.

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Well, what did you think? So many goodbyes, and yet so far from the end of the road. I confess, I cried when I was taking the screen shots of Daniela with Nala and Nadia. And I was just in time, she died that same sim-night. They were such a big part of the lives of Shane and Lilith, this legacy’s founders. Funny, they were never meant to become such big characters in the story, but ya’ll just loved Daniel’s wand so much 😛 Truly the end of an era. I liked Cali’s suggestion that Daniel’s wand should be bronzed.

Thanks Sunny for helping me locate those child ballet poses!

Challenge notes: THANK YOU JEBUS, I SURVIVED TODDLER QUADS ON A PERFECT CHILDREN ROLL!! Carrick is done, he’ll be graduating soon. The Runs in the Family roll is complete now too; all children have the Heavy Sleeper trait. Jace just finished his age requirement for PC (after school activity and level 3 fishing), and will become a teen in a couple days. I can’t wait to see how he turns out! He’s been the overlooked kid for the most part, but it’s probably going to fall to him to help finish raising the quads when Shane and Lilith are gone.

Outtakes are up on the Outtakes tab!

 

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