Generation 4, Chapter 1
Let's go back a moment. Rewind, rewind, rewind...hmm, yep, stop right there....
See that? That was the moment that I totally changed everything else. You see, I was eleven then and like all eleven years old - I was pretty stupid. I made a wish that day as a blew out my candles and everyone knows that a birthday wish is the most powerful of all.
I wished for love - simple enough right? I'd seen how happy my parents were and I wanted that..someday anyway, when I wasn't a stupid eleven year old. It seemed like such a simple wish at the time, I guess I should have been more specific.
Anyway, that's me as a super intelligent teenager...okay maybe not super intelligent but intelligent enough. I had to get glasses just before high school and honestly, I didn't mind them. A couple kids tried to make fun of me but considering I didn't really care, it didn't last long.
My dad is Leader of the Free World and after three generations, our family owns most everything on the island. We didn't need the money or anything but for whatever reason, I wanted to get a part time job for after school. So I went down to the grocery store and filled out an application - as soon as they saw my last name, I was hired.
I love the smell of fresh produce...is that weird? Maybe that's why I'd picked the grocery store that day. I brought home so much fresh produce that there really wasn't room in the fridge. Mom was about to throw it out but Dad, being the frugal guy that he is, suggested planting it - well the seeds anyway. Waste not, want not. I started with just a couple struggling seedlings but in time, I had a lovely little garden growing.
Seeing that my work was paying off, my dad helped me build a couple structures to protect the young plants from the sometimes brutal ocean winds but still let them get plenty of sunlight. We had two little garden plots for me to tend and soon, between the garden and my school work, I quit my job at the grocery store.
River, meanwhile, was bringing in a fair amount of money as well. Although no one else seemed to know how. She stayed up most nights after our parents had gone to bed hacking into various servers. When my dad would wake up before work and see her at the computer, he often raised his eyebrows but never said anything. I wonder if he knew how often his cyber crimes team was chasing River all over the internet?
My parents were getting old - not that they acted old or anything - it was just a fact...they were getting older and with five kids, four of them grown up (because River was turning eighteen) - it's no wonder. At the same time River was about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday; Mom and Dad's birthday came up. Apparently they were born on the same day because they ALWAYS celebrated together.
Dad aged gracefully, I swear, aside from the gray hair instead of his light blond, he didn't look a day over fifty. Mom, on the other hand, was reluctant to age. She still looked great in my opinion but she was pretty sulky about it at first. It took a lot of convincing on my part to get her to cheer up - it was her birthday after all!
River had been anxious to get out of the house on her own; out from under Dad's eye and government influence that could impede her budding hacker career I think. But after she blew out the candles, she had one of those panic moments she was prone to. I wonder if she'll ever settle down and have kids...it doesn't seem to suit her really.
After a week of packing though, she did move out of the house. She moved in with our aunt Leia so at least she wasn't totally alone. Shortly after the grand birthday it was time to go back to school. Byron, as always, was there to greet me at my locker. He'd been one of my best friends since we were kids and I was thrilled to have him. "Wanna come over for a Mario Kart rematch?" he asked that morning.
"Can't, mom is still a little spastic since River moved out - nearly empty nest or something. But you can come over." I suggested.
That afternoon, Byron came over and I swear I saw Mom poking around every corner spying on us. You see, there is apparently some unwritten rule that means I'm supposed to marry a blond...not that I'm even thinking of marriage but sometimes I think Mom made sure to put me in playdates with Byron just so that someday I would marry him and give her blond grandbabies.
"Hey Byron" I said, cutting him off mid-sentence.
"Yeah?" he said, fiddling with the CD player, he glanced at me and I looked away. There was Mom again!
"Close your eyes..." I said. Although I'm not sure who I was talking to; Mom or Byron...
"Inara...what's up?" he asked.
I kissed him then and it was great, it really was. He was perfectly happy to kiss me back and didn't pull away. It was almost as if he'd been waiting and hoping for it as much as my mom had been.
"Well that was....great" he said as a slow pink blush crept up his cheeks. Wasn't I the one who was supposed to be blushing?
I touched his cheek and nodded. "yeah, yeah it was.." I said.
It really was great but I'm not really sure I felt it as strongly as he did. He started yammering about homecoming and prom and the future and it all felt like yada yada yada to me as I looked into his sweet eyes.
I pulled him into a hug and looking over his shoulder, there was Mom, shooting me a thumbs up sign. I gave her a weak smile and went on hugging my best friend, now boyfriend?
Maybe this was the love I'd wished for all those years ago. It didn't really feel like love but I was young and I did like his company - he was my best friend after all. Maybe...
Afterward we settled in for some Mario Kart...only I wasn't really in the mood so I contented myself with watching him play and pondering the possibilities.
When I woke up the next morning, and every morning after that, I felt terrible for kissing him. It just didn't feel right; at least not like I'd imagined it would. I told myself that some people would be lucky to spend so much time with their best friend...to marry their best friend even. But marry Byron?! Besides, I was too young to think about such things.
I took up fishing behind our house. It had two advantages, the fish made excellent fertilizer for my garden and it gave me time to think - away from my mother who I'm pretty sure was smuggling bridal magazines into the house to plan my wedding to Byron. Ya know, I always said River was the insane one but maybe Mom passed it down to her...is insanity genetic?!
A few weeks later, I ran into Scotty Shear at school. And by ran into...I really mean ran into. I was running late for class and took a turn really fast. There were papers and books everywhere. But one of the most popular guys in the school was sprawled on the floor next to me. "You pack quite a punch" he joked as we both stood. My cheeks flamed red and I bent down to pick up my stuff without responding. "You're Inara right? One of the Taffitys?"
What were we? A separate race?! I smiled up and him awkwardly and nodded. "Sorry 'bout that." I said. "Gotta go." I grabbed the last binder and ran the rest of the way to class.
It was until after school that I realized I'd grabbed his History binder instead of my own Math binder. He must have noticed it too because he showed up on my doorstep with it in hand. When he handed it to me, our hands brushed and it felt like electricity shot through me. We both looked at each other in surprise - I guess he felt it too...
"I shouldn't do this..." he said as he touched my arm gently - again there was a pleasing electrical moment between us - it wasn't painful or anything.
"I can't do this..." I said looking away from him. "I'm dating Byron...and you're dating Shana..."
"True, both of those are true statements" he said lamely. There was a long silence between us and then he smiled at me, flashing me a gorgeous smile. "But..."
"But...?" I said. I gnawed on my lower lip for a moment and took the plunge.
Now THAT was the love I'd meant when I'd made that wish on that fateful birthday! Caressing his cheek under the slowly rising moon, I couldn't help but smile - even if I'd just screwed up everything else.
Outtakes that don't fit in Inara's telling ;)
Leia, at the Bistro playing for a random gathering of Townies - there are too many elders..
River, still as insane as ever lol
I told you he looked pretty good for a sim elder :P
Look it's a catfish