At last the long hours of research at the chemistry lab table were showing results - things barely exploded anymore, so Félix had finally been able to grow his usually singed locks to a much more formidable length.
He quickly finished up one last potion before rushing downstairs to greet the guests.
After all, Zebulon was among them too!
"Hey sweetie," Evelyn greeted her youngest son. "Back from school? You're just in time for the party. Did you do your homework during detention?"
"Mh-hm." Freddie's eyes were glazed over, staring fixedly at nothing in particular. These past two hours had been the most mind-numbing ones of his life. Detention sucked!
"And what about an after school activity? Did you ask around? Try to figure out which one could interest you?"
"Hrmmm..." Freddie hadn't actually been listening, but Evelyn took this guttural noise as a good sign. He was obviously pondering which one of the many exciting clubs to sign up for!
Francis' age-up was a proud moment for his parents. He had finished high school with the highest honors and was about to move out on his own to start his new career as a script writer.
"So, are you ready to go?" Todd asked once the cake was eaten and most guests had taken their leave.
"Todd, you know I'm grounded until I sign up for an after school activity..." This was just too cruel. Not only did he have to do detention at school - now he wasn't even allowed to go out to the arcade with his friends! And his only way out would be to sign up for one of those lame clubs at school.
"Don't worry man," Todd replied with a conspiratorial grin. "It's all taken care of..."
Following Todd's lead, Fred made his way to the front door where he found Larissa chatting cheerily with his dad.
"Oh, there he is," she exclaimed when she spotted Freddie heading towards them. "Well then, Mr Dutiel, it was nice talking to you, but we've got to get going!"
Much to Freddie's surprise, his father only smiled brightly and waved them goodbye.
"Gardening club! Larissa, you are a genius!"
"You're welcome," she grinned. "To be honest, I can't believe your parents bought it. Studying nightshades? Man, it was almost too easy..."
This evening at the arcade was even more fun than usual!
It was a sad day for all of Simnation when Esteban, the Leader of the Free World, passed away at a ripe old age.
This tragic event reminded Evelyn of the importance of spending time with the siblings she had left, so she took Emily and Eric out to the festival.
I was to be Emily's last hot dog eating contest.
Eric was devastated at the loss of his brother and sister.
But it didn't take long for him to join them. The triplets Eric, Esteban and Emily would rest forever beside each other.
Now that he was free to roam around the city as his leisure again, Freddie's collection of small animals was expanding daily. Since there had been no space to fit another terrarium in his own room, his parents had agreed to let Slinky live in Faye and Fleur's old room. After all, Freddie was such a good boy for finally joining a club and finding a productive way to spend his time! He deserved a little reward...
It had become somewhat of a tradition for Evelyn to throw parties several times a week, and for just about every occasion. Her own birthday was no different - even if she didn't really feel like celebrating.
She busied herself in the kitchen, baking a key lime pie. One cake was never enough to feed all the guests!
Evelyn really needn't have bothered, though, because the guests had decided to show their appreciation of their hostess by bringing food in abundance.
Fleur had made delicious-looking cheese tofu steaks.
Cousin Richie outdid himself by presenting... these things.
But Faye managed to top even that by bringing microwave lasagna and... a baby bump?!
When it was time to blow out the candles, Evelyn hesitated for a moment.
She let her gaze wander over the smiling faces all around her.
Oh, how she missed her siblings! She had always been particularly close to Emily and this loss had cut her deeply. And now she herself was about to become old as well - something that scared her more than she could put into words.
But Emily would not have wanted her little sister to be sad on her birthday! And after all, she was still surrounded by a loving family and wonderful friends.
The love of her life and five beautiful children were still by her side.
She had fulfilled her biggest dream of becoming a famous singer a long time ago.
She lived a cushy life in a luxurious mansion, in one of Simnation's most exciting cities.
What more could she wish for?
"So, who's the father?" Evelyn was surprised she was going to be a grandmother this soon, but her daughter's obvious excitement was infectious.
"You don't know him, but I'm sure you'll love him when you finally get to meet!" Faye's expression was one of pure bliss. "I'm sure you'll get along splendidly - actually, he shares a lot of similar interests with you, daddy!"
"Oh, does 'he?" Rémy was a little more cautious than Evelyn about this. He still could not quite get his head around the fact that his little girls were living on their own - let alone dating!
"Yeah! He's even the exact same age as you!"
Rémy's smile quickly froze into a pained grimace.
"That's... great, sweetie," Evelyn managed.
"Well, as long as she's happy," she whispered to her brooding husband later.
Evelyn had let herself be persuaded to perform one last concert before finally retiring from her busy life as a vocalist.
Her musical style had changed drastically over the years - she had gone from sweet pop ballads like It Hurts Both Ways to a more mature sound with her latest song Hot and Foxy. Still, her adoring fans had remained loyal through all the years and flocked in masses to witness this last concert.
Among the audience she spied her husband talking to Fleur. Later Evelyn would find out that just like her sister, Fleur was now expecting. The twins had always done everything together.
But for now Evelyn was completely absorbed in soaking up the attention of the cheering crowd one last time.
Back at the house, Freddie reached the front door just in time to catch his two best friends walking in. They never bothered knocking or ringing the doorbell anymore - and why would they? They spent more time here than they did at their own homes.
"Hey Fred, we're going to the beach. Wanna come?" The question was purely rhetorical, of course.
"Sorry guys, I can't tonight."
Larissa's head jerked back as her eyes widened in surprise, while Todd scratched his head, confused. Then, Larissa regained her composure and scowled. "What the hell are you wearing?"
"Prom? Seriously?" Todd looked taken aback. "Like, at school? Isn't that like, super lame?"
Freddie shrugged. "Yeah well, Charity really wanted to go, so..."
"Alright then, have fun being her little lap dog," Larissa said, sticking her tongue out and panting in the imitation of one.
Dropping her mocking tone for a more somber one, she continued, "Well, you know where to find us if you change your mind."
"See you later, dude," Todd called over his shoulder as the pair left.
Now it was time to hurry! Fred was already running late!
When he arrived, she was already there, waiting for him.
He stopped in his stride for a moment, taking in this sight. She looked so beautiful - just like a princess from a fairy tale...
When she noticed Freddie watching her, she smiled.
"Hi," she said.
"I- I got you this," he stammered, clumsily reaching for her hand.
When he had finally managed to affix the corsage to her slender wrist, Fred stood still and kept hold of her for a moment.
"Should we go in?" she finally asked with a giggle.
And so they did.
After prom was over and the chaperones had told everyone it was time to leave, Charity had insisted that she didn't want to go home yet. So somehow, they found themselves back at Freddie's house. His parents still hadn't come home from the concert, it seemed.
"Shouldn't I take you home? Or I can call you a cab, if you like... I know your aunt is going to be mad if--"
"Please, not yet," She cut him off. "This evening has been so wonderful, Freddie. I don't want it to end yet."
"I'll have to face them soon enough." She sighed. Fred knew who she was referring to. Both her mother and aunt had only reluctantly allowed her to attend prom. Apparently they would have flipped had they known she was going with a boy! So Freddie had agreed to meet Charity in front of the school instead of picking her up with a limousine, like his own mother had suggested.
"This room... It's so much like you." She looked around, smiling, until her eyes finally rested on Fred. "Let's stay together a little while longer," she whispered.
Her hair smells like cupcakes, Freddie thought as he watched her expression relax into one of contentment. And her skin is really soft.
And one thing led to another...
Also, how did Charity wear that bra under a strapless dress? Full of surprises, that one...
Evelyn, Eric, Emily and Rémy were grouped up when Emily kicked the bucket. She thought it was the worst group outing ever... :,(