[ Felicia ]
Felicia and Don were busy busy busy on the farm. Don decided he should quit his job as a medic. As things were he couldn't do justice to either the farm or his job.
Of course he had absolutely no need to work ever again... the farm was very productive, and Felicia, as the Gardiner heiress, was a very good catch. Nonetheless he had liked her since she was a teenager. She had something special about her.
He had been reading about alchemy. This was new to him and fascinating. He soon discovered he could combine gemstones to make larger ones, and small spacerocks to make larger ones - though in the case of the spacerocks it was costly. The large gemstones were worth a lot more than the small ones. Mineral bars were different again - if he combined all the same metal, he would get a large bar of that metal, but not to the value of what he had put in. However, if he had at least five different types of metal in the batch, the resulting bar was something called Supernovium. Which was a very valuable alloy.
It did actually interest him far more than farming. And Felicia was so GOOD at farming, while he was so slow.
Combining gems sometimes made skul- cut gems, large and very striking gems, which he also enjoyed.
A by-product of his researches was magic gnomes, of which they soon had a thriving little community.
And he was learning, of all things, the Martial Arts! Sim Fu was great fun.
Felicia and Don travelled to France for a short holiday, leaving Diairmaid with a babysitter.
Felicia, meanwhile, was experimenting with her mother's old nectar maker, and had discovered a good recipe for nectar: 5 apple, 5 Renoit grapes - and wanted to try it with perfect fruit, which she was sure she could grow.
She needed another trip to France to buy some books and skill up. "Can we arrange to leave Diarmaid with my mum while we go? He didn't like the last babysitter much and he had a rotten nappy rash for ages afterwards."
Don was thinking he was about ready for another baby - those bedrooms in France were private, and not quite comfortable enough to let one sleep all night - so they would be very good for making babies!
"Do you think we need a live-in butler? There is so much to do! I don't think they will garden but looking after Diarmaid and all the housework takes a lot of time..."
"That's a very good idea. I'll set it up." Butler Sammi was very nice, a tall blonde, and Diarmaid and Felicia took to her straight away.
With their visa levels they could now go for 9 days. But Felicia was not sure she would want to stay that long - it was nearly Diarmaid's birthday.
Don was looking forward to trying some tombs and gathering minerals for his transfigurification, as he called it.
For Felicia it would be a working holiday, gathering books on nectarology and studying hard at the Nectary.
But the travel agent slipped up and they went to China. Because of this error, the flight was cheap, so they decided to stay there and have a late honeymoon instead. "You have been working so hard on the farm, Fliss, you deserve a good rest."
Knowing the farm and her son were being looked after by her family, she relaxed. "All right then. And maybe next time we go to France we can take Diarmaid, he'll be big enough to travel by then."
"Sure," chuckled Don, wondering what the beds in China were like.
China had beautiful countryside and they spent the first day just walking, collecting bugs and metals, and admiring the beauty around them.
"When we retire, I want to come to come and live here," sighed Felicia.
What else does one do on holiday? Clothes shopping, of course. Felicia was very disappointed that she couldn't find a real kimono.
Don caught a red assassin bug and then got bitten by one. Finally he caught the three the merchant wanted - after another bite. Felicia put him some salve on his poor stinging hand and called him a big baby. To prove he wasn't a wuss, Don decided he would spend the next day training at the Martial Arts Academy.
The following day, Felicia decided to explore a tomb. Don wanted to go back to the Academy.
"Oh, while we're here, Mum asked me to get her some pomegranates. Or seeds."
"I think you get those from Egypt..."
"Plums grow here though, I think. And cherries, and Pomelo."
"And Johann asked me to find him some Dragon Fish. So I'm going to be busy."
Don did a lot of jogging. He preferred that to the motor scooters; and he also learned the meditation technique.
He met a Sim called Maya Wang at the Academy, and rather liked her. Do we detect a little slippage here? and oops - Maya became pregnant. She was already married.
On their last day, Don wanted to meditate some more at the Academy and also visit the Terracotta Army.
They didn't get to the Terracotta Army but Don did explore a tomb. Felicia gathered some rocks for his collection, and a few seeds. And suddenly it was time to go home
Don returned to his hobby of Alchemy and combined 8 polished split cut geodes to make one large one, and started hunting for metals for his next project. Unfortunately that was interrupted by the birth of his twin daughters: Felicia had baby girls, who she named Faith and Hope.
A typical evening in the Lothario-Gardiner home. Felicia and Don discussing the night sky, Sammi the butler on her way to change the babies' nappies, Diarmaid watching the fish.
Felicia thought Don was getting a little obsessive about his hobby. But she had the farm and the children to keep her busy and nectar making when she had time, so she didn't think much about it.
"How about that trip to France?" Don asked one evening, after spending another day puzzling over his latest alchemy transfigurification puzzle. To solve it he would need more different types of metals and gems.
"Well, I still need those nectar books. Diarmaid could come with us this time too, he's growing up fast. And Sammi can look after the babies, or they could go to your Mum's?"
"And I think we might try a tomb or two," smiled Don. "Diarmaid would like that. He keeps asking whether there are dragons in there."
"He's been looking at the holiday treasures again," smiled Felicia. "Some of those look like gargoyles. Quite scarey to a little boy."
"So how about next week? Say Monday?" Don was keen to book his trip.
Felicia hugged him. "I'll have to ask Dad to keep an eye on the garden, and I know Mum will be delighted to look after our babies. This time we need to make sure the travel agent gets it right! I'll book."
A week later, Felicia, Don and Diarmaid set off for France.
Their holiday home was comfortable.
Don felt that having Diarmaid with them really cramped his style. By the time they all got to bed, Felicia was far too tired to be interested in playing with him.
The whole family spent a few hair-raising days at the Chateau Landgraab, and finally found the missing documents.
Don and Diarmaid went off to search for minerals, and Don taught Diarmaid to fish - with the result that he brought back 7 frogs for his baby sisters to play with.
By the time they got home, Don and Felicia were not getting on so well. They seemed to be drifting apart, sadly.
Faith and Hope's birthdays came round all too soon, and having just got back from France, Felicia was too busy to organise a birthday party, but planned to make one at the weekend.
After a phone call from China, Don had a short visit to meet his son there, Hua Ke Wang, being raised as Deng Wang's son by his mother Maya. Maya was quite content with the situation but wanted Don to meet Hua Ke Wang.
He explained this to Felicia, as they had long ago agreed to keep no secrets. Felicia was surprised and hurt. Then she told him "There is something I have to tell you too... the last time we went to France..."
She told him of her rather drunken holiday flirtation with a merchant, Jean-Luc Beaumont, at the Nectary. "It was only flirting. And tonight I had to sack Sammi, the butler, for flirting with you."
"I wondered where she went. Oh... that was much more my fault than hers."
"As I thought. But I DO still want to make this work, Don, do you?"
Don was shocked and realised that he did want to stay married to Felicia. He loved her. it wasn't his fault that he loved other people as well. He apologised profusely.
"All I can say is that old habits die hard. We've both been so busy I guess I - reverted to my old style. What can I do to put it right?"
"I'll think about that."
More Generation 2