When his own children were Jace's age, Farrell did everything he could for them, taught them to walk and talk, and played with them and generally enjoyed their company. He also slept in a sleeping bag in their nursery, afraid that MorcuCorp would come creeping in to steal them away, and even when he was with them physically, his mind was often preoccupied, worried about their mother, about finding her and rescuing her.
That seems like so long ago now, their time here in Drake's Hollow has passed in safety and security, and though he's never held any job at all, Farrell feels well and truly retired, free to spend his time in the simple pursuit of pleasure. His own children are grown now, so it is Jace who becomes the beneficiary of Farrell's second childhood, the two of them forming a close bond during their log afternoons together, playing and chatting.
In pursuit of Jace's best interests, Farell pays a visit to Elliot in his new house.
Claire had returned from their honeymoon pregnant, and Elliot is now the father of twin girls, for the second time in his life, Corrine and Danica.
"You aren't worried about having babies this late?" Farrell asks, "About not being around for them?" Farrell was always one for blunt speech, and these very questions are what stopped him from indulging his own mid life wish to have another child with Aouregan when his own children became adults.
"Of course I worry," Elliot answers, too used to his brother's directness to be taken aback by it, "But Claire is younger than I am. She wanted a family, and I didn't think it was right to deny her that. besides, we're not elders yet, I still have some time left on the clock to raise my girls," he finishes with a light laugh.
They put the girls in their cribs and go down to the kitchen, where Farrell broaches are more delicate subject. "Jace's birthday party is this evening," he says, "You know Jack will be there."
"He wouldn't be if I lived there," Elliot says, his lips pressed in a firm line.
"He's Jace's father," Farrell says, "And you're his grandfather. I want you and Claire to be there, and I want you to not make any trouble."
"I behaved at Shadow's wedding, didn't I?" Elliot says.
"Yes, you did. But that was a public event. This will be in the house. I just wanted to make sure we're clear on this. I can't make you like or accept Jack, but I wish you would try. For Jace's sake."
"And I wish you get that no good criminal out of my grandson's life, instead of letting him free rein of the house," Elliot counters, "But neither of us is getting what we want from that situation, all we can do is make the best of it. I'll be at the birthday party, and I'll smile and won't make a scene."
Farrell did really expect much more than that, but he had to try.
"Hey, baby," Ian greets Delaney, trying to get his arms around her.
"Back the fuck off, you moron," Delaney growls, pushing him away, "I'm here to see Jack."
"Jack ain't here, he's at the gym. It's just you an' me, now baby," Ian says, doing the opposite of backing off.
Delaney shuts him down with a hard slap on the cheek. "There's no 'you and me'. You got that?"
"I seem to remember different," Ian says, undeterred, "And it seems to me that maybe you should be nice to me, if you don't want me to share my sweet memories of you with him."
"Seriously, Ian, extortion for sex?" Delaney rolls her eyes, "You know, you go ahead and share with Jack. Maybe he'll dump me, or maybe he'll forgive me when I beg for it. What he'll definitely do, though, is beat the crap out of you first. Is that want you want? Am I really worth getting your face smashed and your jaw broken?"
Ian has to admit she's got a point. "There are no chicks in this town," he grumbles, "And nothing to fucking do."
"Complain to the boss," Delaney says over her shoulder as she heads out the door, "I'm going to the gym."
Delaney finds Jack at the gym, and joins him in a race up the rock climbing walls.
Jack loses his grip and falls. It's quite the rush.
But it sure does hurt when he stands back up.
"Are you okay?" Delaney asks, stroking him on the cheek, "A back injury like that took my Dad out for good."
"I'm fine," Jack assures her.
"Jace's birthday party is tonight," she says, "I got the boss to let me off for it..."
"But I have to work," Jack sighs heavily.
"It will be near Jace's bedtime by then, anyway," Delaney says, "You can still be there."
"Don't worry, nothing would keep me away," Jack promises. It would be so much easier if they lived together, but she won't sit still long enough to discuss their future with him.
"Great!" Delaney smiles brightly, "Now I gotta get going. Boss only let me have the night off if I put in some work this afternoon."
Most days, their shop is quiet. It would be worrisome if it was their family's main source of income, but the Brannons have the kind of easy wealth that makes it so they only have to work as much as they want, or not at all if they prefer. For Shadow, the quiet days give him the time to research, studying Kvornan's encrypted fables for clues. Kvornan himself still refuses to put it in plain Simlish. Learning to understand is part of the process, he had said, nothing is ever simply given.
Iola spends most of her time in the shop working on her writing. She hasn't the confidence yet to call it her novel, though that is what she hopes it will someday be. For now, she spends hours fretting over the structure of one sentence, or selecting just the right adjective.
Her efforts are only occasionally interrupted by customer actually seeking her psychic advice.
Guests, some invited, others not, start showing up at the Brannon house to celebrate Jace's birthday. Or for the free food.
It's mostly the immediate family who gathers around for the cake.
Jace blows out his candles.
Luckily he gets them blown out before his mother puts him down so she can answer her phone.
"The boss," she mouths silently to Jack.
"Can't leave us alone, can he?" Jack answers, but Delaney has already moved off to take the call in private.
Elliot promised to not make a scene, but that doesn't mean he has to acknowledge Jack in any way, and he avoids even making simple eye contact with his grandson's father.
Jack doesn't let Elliot's obvious disapproval get in the way of enjoying birthday cake with his son. No one had to remind him not to make trouble.
After cake, Jack and Jace play a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors. Jace beats his father easily once he figures out his dad will go for scissors every time.
The time Jace spent with Farrell has made a lasting impression, and the boy has turned into a junior brainiac, already using words to big for his father to get his head around.
Jack has no idea what his kid is talking about. So, hugs!
Delaney interrupts to tell Jack what the boss wanted. Farrell takes the opportunity to wish Jace a happy birthday.
And to give him his gift, a book on basic chemistry, along with an offer to help him learn to use the chemistry set up in the attic.
"You're the best, uncle Farrell!" Jace enthuses.
Technically, he's the boy's great-uncle, but Farrell sees no need to correct him.
In the few minutes they have left before Jack has to meet up with Ian for work, he and Delaney sit out on the porch for some private time.
"Why just you?" Jack asks. The boss' call was an invitation, or an order, depending on how you look at it, for Delaney to go to the city for a few days, and work directly with Cole himself.
"He didn't say," Delaney shrugs, "And you know it's best not to question him. It will just be for a few days."
Farrell spends a few minutes getting to know his new son-in-law, Aurora's husband Jaybird Crane. Aurora couldn't make it to the party herself, being so busy at the hospital. Jay, however, is a self-employed writer, and has plenty of free time for parties.
Jace is not unaware of the tension between between his father and grandfather, but, because the adults are so careful about not mentioning it, Jace keeps quiet about it as well, pretending to be in on whatever secret they have, like it's a game they're all playing.
As the party winds down and guests, full of cake and free food, start to leave, Delaney gives her present to Jace, a new Scary Bears bear. They were her favorite toy when she was his age. "Uncle Farrell gave me one just like it on my birthday," she says.
"Uncle Farrell gave you one of these?" Jace enthuses, more excited by Farrell's approval of the gift than the actual toy, which is a bit to inert and non-interactive for Jace's taste.
Now that he's a child, Jace has outgrown the nursery and gets his own room, decorated in his favorite color.
"You're sure about this?" Jack asks, "Once you're inked, it's permanent. Well, there's some laser removal deal you can do, but I've heard it's painful. More painful than the actual inking."
"Pain is part of the process of becoming a shaman. I have to put my blood into it."
"Okay then," Jack says, having gone as deeply into this subject as he cares to.
Shadow watches without cringing as Jack inks the design he chose on his arm.
"You know, while Delaney is out of town, you can still feel free to come by, and sleep over so you can be with Jace," Shadow comments.
"Thanks, man, I appreciate that. And I will take you up on that."
"I don't understand why you don't just move in with us," Shadow continues.
"I don't get it, myself," Jack sighs, "She keeps holding me at arm's length, you know? I sleep over almost every night, but any talk of making it official, and she's walking away, changing the subject."
Shadow wonders if casting a love charm on Delaney might help, but decides the potential for harm is too great. She already loves Jack, anyway, her problem with the relationship lies elsewhere. Fear of commitment, perhaps? Shadow grows quiet as he mulls over it.
On his first day of school, it becomes very obvious that young Jace is a genius. "This is too easy," he grumbles as he does his homework with Farrell beside him, overseeing.
"We'll have to find more challenging things for you to work on," Farrell suggests.
Shadow holds his first book club meeting at the Happy Sunset cafe.
This group hardly needs a special time to talk about books, any time any of them meet the topic of what they're reading will come up. The 'club' is more an excuse for a family party, for Shadow to spend time with Aurora, Cassidy and Jesse now that they don't all live under the same roof and attend school together, and for Iola to stay close with her parents.
"Notice anything different?" Shadow asks Iola when they're geting ready for bed later.
Different?" she asks, "No...should I?"
"The tattoo?" he points it out.
"Oh," she says, "I guess that is new, now, isn't it."
Shadow chuckles a little, "Nothing is ever new, is it? Not for you. So, how many tattoos do I end up wit, when all is said and done?"
"I'm not telling," she answers with her own laugh.
When the Brannons first moved to this house, they brought five children with them, and these halls were always noisy with their voices and the sounds of their toys and games. Jace has it all to himself now, and plays quietly with his blocks, alone.
"Hey, buddy, it's time for bed," Delaney says, coming up from her workout.
"Okay," Jace says, standing up to go to his room.
"Wait up," Delaney stops home, "You know I'm going on a little trip tomorrow, right? I'll be gone for a few days. But your Dad will be around to take care of you. He'll take you to the Summer Festival."
"Uncle Farrell will be here, too, right?" Jace asks.
"Of course he will."
"You'll be okay, I won't be gone long," Delaney assures him, giving him a hug.
Jace takes the hug, but doesn't need the assurance. He's already planning the fun adventures he'll have with his uncle Farrell.
Shadow has already maxed the alchemy skill and reached level 10 of the career. He's currently working on learning all the recipes, and getting the ingredients to make them. Also, he's got the Renaissance Sim LTW, so he's working on charisma and fishing as the 2nd and 3rd skills.
I don't have him and Iola in the shop everyday. I wish it were more exciting, but most days no one comes in but the cashier. I did set up a desk and laptop for Iola there when she doesn't have anyone to give readings to. She came into the house with LTW to max writing and painting. I usually change that for spouses who don't have the writing career, because having them just practice writing while being unable to actually finish a novel makes me sad. But, eh, this time I'm keeping it. Maybe she'll get an opportunity that will allow her to write a book. Like Rex Enmity from my Enmity legacy, she'll be a frustrated novelist most of her life.
I don't currently have a salon in the town, but I did put a a tattoo chair in the warehouse where Jack and Ian live. Although I could just use MC to get tattoos for Shadow or Delaney, I made them actually get them from Jack. I didn't show Delaney's tattooing in the story, but she got one.
I've been rolling random traits for Jace, he got Lucky and Light Sleeper as a baby, and then picked up genius as a child. And since he really did spend a lot of his toddler time with Farrell, well, it's obvious where he gets it. Farrell has not much else to do, actually. His 'career' as an inventor stalled out ages ago, I only send him to make stuff when he rolls a wish, and that doesn't happen often. He did get a wish to make 5 toys when Jace turned toddler, and he did make those toys, but didn't sell them. They all went to Jace. Farrell had the same LTW as his son, and he maxed Logic, Inventing and Handiness ages ago. So he's really really retired now.