Welcome back to another chapter of Random Paths. In the last chapter, Brett learned of his wife’s death and Wolfgang tried to get on with his life. At the end of the chapter, Wolfgang got a call from Zachariah. And now, on with the story.
“Dad, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to ask,” a seventeen year old Sean Rand asked.
“Oh?” Wolfgang said.
“Why don’t Miranda and Eva live with their father, your uncle?” Sean said.
“Yea, why don’t they? Why do they have to live here and make it tight living quarters when your own children come over,” Caiden, Sean’s twin, said, “Is he that selfish that he’s letting himself not move on to the point he can raise his own kids?”
“Enough, Caiden,” Wolfgang said sternly, “I imagine Brie has the same question so why don’t you go fetch your sister, Sean.”
While Sean fetched Brie, Wolfgang fetched Miranda and Eva.
Eva was finally old enough and Miranda hadn’t vocalized her curiosity as to why Wolfgang raised her and her sister. “Alright, the question of the century has been asked. Why am I raising my cousins Miranda and Eva,” Wolfgang started once everyone was in the family room, “Well, thirteen years ago my aunt, their mother, went after a notorious criminal named Darius.”
“But the only Rands in the history books are you and Great-Grandpa Sinbad,” Caiden interrupted.
“That’s because one, Kreia was a Wallis, two she’s not in the history books by her real name. She took on an alias to protect her family. Her alias was Revan.”
“Mom… Mom was a criminal?” Miranda asked.
“Yes. She was only a criminal as to best deal with Darius, though. She had plans to quit being Revan after Darius was dealt with. She knew her marriage wouldn’t be able to survive if she was a career criminal, but she had to see the reason she became a criminal through to the end. And her husband, Brett, understood that to some degree. And well, you all know what happened to Revan at that battle. She lost her life. Brett truly and deeply loved Kreia and losing her that suddenly broke him. He had feared her death at that battle and it got realized.”
Wolfgang took a few minutes to collect himself. “I had hoped that Brett would be able to pull himself together enough to raise Miranda and Eva, but I left instructions with a friend to let me know if that wasn’t the case. I got the call three months later. I go to their house and see that Brett’s only taking care of the absolutely necessary tasks and is very much very depressed. So I get him checked into an institution and take custody of Miranda and Eva. I lived in a two bedroom apartment at the time. And I made due in that apartment for three years, moving Eva into my bedroom when Miranda hit school age so that she could get a full night’s sleep if Eva wasn’t feeling like going to sleep at bed time.”
“Three years after I took them in, Brett got released from the institution. He came by, spent a few days here. And we talked. Brett said he still felt her loss, especially at home and he was having to start his farm over, three years of neglect had required a complete start over. A few months after that, Brett called and said he had had a bit of a relapse and the therapist suggested a new house. Since he had said his depression was worst at home. So he moved, but there wasn’t anything really open and in his price range that could accommodate three residents. Not to mention, all he could find were apartments so he had to have his farm inside and he said he hired on to help another farmer on top of his own farm.”
“Two years later, he came over to visit again at my request. My apartment was getting cramped with me and an eight year old and a five year old. And Kelsey and I had begun to discuss visitation since it was clear I wasn’t going to be doing anymore risky missions. And I couldn’t do that in my apartment and needed to know what size place I needed to look for. Brett said the housing situation in Storybrook County was very bad. Everyone wanted in so there weren’t many houses and Brett wanted to stay in Storybrook County. He had made some friends and had even begun to date again, though we both knew he wouldn’t likely marry again. So I agreed to keep raising the girls as long as he sends me monetary support.”
“So you let him walk all over you?” Caiden said.
“No. If I had forced Brett to take his kids, he would have had to move away from Storybrook County. And as a farmer, he would have had to start all over again. Not to mention unless he moved to Sim City, it would mean that Miranda and Eva got uprooted from their school. And I had them in the best school I could find. And I still do.”
“Didn’t you promise Mom that you would be there for her family if you could?” Miranda asked.
“I did and that promise is what drives my decisions when it comes to you and your sister.”
“So why don’t we live in a house big enough for all of us to have our own room?” Caiden asked.
“Because I’m not made of money and can’t afford a bigger house. And Mom told me you’re grounded for pranking the school. Your punishment does continue here. The rest of us are going out for ice cream. I expect you to be working on your homework when we get back. And I will be asking to see it. I know you’ve not doing your homework and that that’s another reason why you’ve been grounded.”
The weekend went by smoothly without much problem beyond there being five teenagers in a house best suited for just two. Wolfgang frowned as he saw Kelsey’s minivan pull up. When she stepped out, he could tell something was bothering her. He slipped outside before she could ring the bell. “Is everything ok, Kelsey?”
Kelsey shook her head, “No, but I’ll be fine.”
“Sean says you’re seeing someone who isn’t too impressed with our ‘baggage’.”
“I… I dumped him yesterday. He told me that if we were to continue seeing each other, I would have to give custody to you and never have them visit.”
Wolfgang pulled his ex into a hug and said, “He must not have realized that you base your decisions on what’s best for the kids. And not who you love. And it’s his loss. Just as it was mine.”
“You… you don’t resent me for divorcing you?” Kelsey said, breaking the hug.
“I don’t. If Kreia hadn’t died during the fight, there would not have been a reason for me to not go on dangerous missions. Because I wouldn’t have been the only able guardian of them. If I died or got captured, they’d be bounced around family or put in foster care. With you, I could count on you being there for them should I have died or gotten captured. And you were trying to shield the kids from wondering when Dad will be home. To make it easier for them should I die because they would have already lived without me there at all. Speaking of the kids, they behaved. Even Caiden. I think he realized if he misbehaved too much, I could tell you I don’t want him coming over as punishment. I’ll call the kids out.”
Wolfgang had started dating a year or so after arriving in Sim City. He had met a girl named Lindy. She wasn’t rushing to get married and was understanding of Wolfgang’s situation. However, shortly after Wolfgang told his kids about why he was raising Miranda and Eva, Wolfgang and Lindy soon realized that they were going to have a baby. They decided to get married shortly after the discovery. They did forego the ceremony since they didn’t feel that that was necessary. Shortly after that they heard word that Atton, Wolfgang’s father and Eva’s uncle, had passed away, followed shortly thereafter by their Uncle Carth. Nine months later and Gerard Avilla-Rand was born. And Wolfgang and Lindy had recently given birth to their second child, a girl they named Dayna. Miranda had already grown up and gone off to college shortly after Gerard was born. She planned to go into education. Elementary school education if she could pull it off. She loved little kids.
But today was the day Eva herself went off to college. Journalism degree from the University of Bridgeport. “Thanks, Wolfgang, for everything,” Eva said giving Wolfgang a hug after he and Sean helped her move her stuff into her dorm room.
“No need to thank me, I was only fulfilling a promise to your mother,” Wolfgang said. “Keep in touch. I need to head out and attend that critical meeting they sprung on us last night. Sean keep an eye out on Eva.”
“Will do, Dad,” Sean said, “Come on, Eva, let’s head to the Rand Student Center. It was renamed in Dad’s honor after Darius was dealt with. Bridgeport’s way of thanking Dad. The welcome party should be starting up shortly.”
Eva settled into college life wonderfully. She quickly made friends with Sean’s friends, she also met some wonderful people in her dorm as well as in her classes and out and about on campus. She was spending some time at the coffee shop on campus when a guy sat down.
“I hope you don’t mind if I join you,” the guy said, “I’m Owen Maguire.”
“Considering you’ve already joined me, I suppose not,” Eva said, putting her book down, “Eva Wallis.” The pair hit it off and became great friends.
It was a couple of semesters later when Owen approached Eva, “Eva, you busy tonight?”
“Nope, not busy. Why?”
“I’m attending a Sims United Alliance meeting tonight and I’ve been given permission to ask you to join. It’s a closed group that needs invites.”
“Sure, can’t hurt to go to one meeting, even if it isn’t a group I’ll be interested in joining. What is the group’s main focus?”
Owen looked at the ground before saying, “I’d love to tell you, but I’ve got to run. I happened to see you on my way to class.”
Eva thought that was a bit odd but shrugged it off.
Eva stepped into the meeting location with Owen and immediately got a bad feeling. She saw numerous anti-occult posters hung up on the walls and Owen’s lack of willingness to elaborate on the kind of alliance this was just made her anxious that this wasn’t the type of group for her and that it was a secret society type thing. She got introduced to people and eventually sat down. Owen wasn’t next to her as he was a speaker tonight.
“Thank you all for coming to our meeting tonight. We are joined by a new member, Eva Wallis,” Owen said.
Eva got angry at Owen for calling her a member. She never said she was joining the group, just attending a meeting.
“Occults are a scourge on this planet. An out of control werewolf in Sim City attacked and killed a five year old girl who had just wanted to pet the doggie witnesses had said. And we all remember Darius Myst and the feud he had with the Mathiasen clan. How many innocents were killed because of Darius and Alistair? And Alistair is allowed to walk free even though he has committed numerous crimes and freely admits to at least killing Darius’s wife and kids! Our government isn’t going to do anything about the occults. It’s time we citizens step up and do something!”
Eva fumed. How dare Owen paint Alistair with the same brush as Darius. From there, Eva didn’t really pay attention to what Owen was saying. And Eva could no longer consider Owen a friend.
When the meeting was over Owen approached her along with the leader of the group Quinton Tammany. “I’m glad you decided to join us, Eva,” Quinton said.
“I never said I was going to join. I just said I would attend a meeting to see if this was something I’d be interested in. And I’m not,” Eva responded.
“Attending makes you a member. And there is no voluntary withdrawal and there is no getting out of this association alive. Too dangerous. So do you want to rethink your withdrawal?”
“I was not told this and had I been told, I would not have come. I didn’t hear anything criminal being mentioned so there is no risk to being let go.”
“But you know our names and you’ve seen our faces. That’s dangerous. If you don’t accept your membership we will have to do something drastic,” Quinton said.
“Come on, Eva. You said your mother was murdered by Darius Myst and that her death sent your father into a severe depression for several years. You of all people should understand our cause,” Owen said.
“No. I blame Darius. I don’t blame vampires. I don’t blame occults. Now if you’ll excuse me I have things to do before I head for bed.” Eva turned to leave and was suddenly face to face with a body guard, bouncer type guy. Muscles galore and he was taller than Eva. Eva gulped and attempted to run through the seats. And Eva was glad tonight was the night that she and Sean had chats since he was off interning at a company that semester. If things went south, she would quickly be missed. She screamed in pain as the guy grabbed her arm and threw her down.
And that’s it for this chapter! Will Eva survive? Find out in chapters to come!
Time jump since Miranda and Eva had a relatively uneventful childhood, if an unorthodox one. And for Random Branches’ sake I needed to get the plot moving here.
The boy with the blue jacket on is Sean Rand. The boy in all black and piercings is Caiden Rand. They are Wolfgang’s twins that he mentions in conversations with the criminals in earlier chapters. The girl in the green shirt next to Caiden is Brie Rand. She’s the child that Kelsey was pregnant with when she divorced Wolfgang. The boy with Wolfgang’s hair color in the blue jacket is Gerard Avilla-Rand, Wolfgang and Lindy’s eldest. Dayna is an infant at this point and is therefore not shown.
Lindy is aware of Wolfgang’s feelings for Kelsey and knows she will never be his true love. He does love Lindy, he does not keep anything from Lindy. He doesn’t want what happened to his parents to happen to him and whomever he’s with. Wolfgang is also not Lindy’s true love, so in a way the two are settling with each other because they do love each other and at least this way neither of their feelings get hurt when they make references to their true love.