Chapter 8.23 – Fate

Ying had warned Luke that Sandi’s fate was intertwined with his. But he would never have suspected this is what she had meant.
Luke is the last to leave the cemetery after Sandi’s memorial. And it isn’t until after he is alone that he sheds his own tears. Out of respect for her firm religious disbelief, there had been no service for Sandi. But Luke prays for her, regardless.
Two graves have been placed at the Barimen family cemetery at Luke’s request. One is for Sandi. The other is for his child, whom he will never have the privilege of meeting. There is another casualty, as well. With its only tether to the physical world gone, Luke can only assume the entity is either lost or dead. He shakes his head in defeat. All this time… all this work… for nothing.
Police could find no evidence to suspect foul play in Sandi’s death. She had likely slipped and lost balance while taking a bath, struck her head, and drowned while unconscious. Was Jiang Xi wrong?
He wonders if the outcome would have been different had he just kept his mouth shut about the whole entity business. He should have just allowed Sandi discover things on her own. He would have been there, and could have prevented this senseless accident from ever happening.
He finally walks away after his phone rings and he sees that it is his mother, Amber, calling. She and Wendell had decided to spend the winter months in South Sim Beach with Ben and Lisa (who probably have very few winters remaining). Amber has always been a wonderfully nurturing mother hen to him. And now her doting nature brings a smile to his face when he needs it most. She was just calling to see how he is holding up (again), and to offer (again) to come home if he needs her. With a little more emotion than he had intended, he thanks Amber for being so amazing, then assures her that everything is fine.
When he sees Anna respectfully waiting for him at the cemetery entrance, he takes a deep breath. He tells Amber he loves her, and that he has a few last things to put in order. Luke hangs up, pockets his phone, and quickens his pace to greet Anna.
She’s gained a little bit of weight while at rehab. It looks good on her. And there’s something different about the way she carries herself. She looks healthier, happier, and almost glowing with a sense of inner-peace. Anna hugs him and offers her condolences. She had heard about Sandi …and the baby, through Makayla. Luke returns the embrace and wonders about the unusual bulkiness he feels. He puts his arm around her shoulder and tentatively tells her they have something important to discuss.
As they walk, Luke earnestly admits to his affair with Sandi while Anna was away at rehab. His apology is heartfelt and sincere. He should have tried harder to keep his emotions in check, even after learning about the pregnancy. The loss of his bond with the entity, coupled Anna’s absence, and the ongoing stress of being “hunted”; these things all combined forces to eliminate his willpower. It’s no excuse for being unfaithful, just the plain and ugly truth.
Anna nods as she listens, then forgives him quietly after a short time. She’s surprised and hurt about his lack of self-control, and had expected some attempt at restraint on his part. But they’ve come too far together to let a lapse of judgement tear down what they’ve built. It would be a lie to say she doesn’t feel betrayed. But at the same time, she feels much more secure knowing that he had come forward with the truth on his own, rather than attempting to hide it from her. Anna half-smirks, admitting that Makayla had already slipped up and told her that Luke had been staying with Sandi.
After arriving at the estate, she asks what he had meant about the entity dying with Sandi and her baby. Still visibly shaken and upset, Luke describes the first moments after realizing the entity was no longer with him. He had started needing to sleep after Anna became sick. They both remember how emotionally exhausting that week was for both of them, and Luke really hadn’t given the matter much thought. But after Anna was gone, and he was alone again, Luke became aware that something had changed. He did not make the connection that the entity had moved on, until after Sandi told him about the pregnancy. He has no idea whether it died when Sandi drowned, or whether it still lives; trapped in an inter-dimensional limbo. Luke shakes his head, expressing his shame and regret for not simply breaking off his relationship with Sandi, like he was supposed to.
Anna sits with Luke in the reading room as they work out the emotional wrinkles. Her feelings are difficult to pin down. She is hurt by Luke’s indiscretion. But she finds it nearly impossible to hide the excitement regarding her own news. Anna had never really understood what happened that night she and Luke were together the first time. She would have described it as being something almost supernatural in nature; like visiting a place where love was not just an idea, but an actual, tangible substance. And now, after hearing Luke describe his detachment from the entity, Anna realizes that night actually had been supernatural. Anna giggles quietly and rubs her belly as she feels the soft tickle of a child moving inside of her for the first time.
She smiles in response to Luke’s confused expression, and instructs him to remain very quiet, and just listen. The sound is barely audible, but it is there. It is the voices of the entity, singing out into the cosmos for its lost companion. Anna whispers, telling him that the entity still sings out to her every night. And, if you listen very, very closely; sometimes you can hear her singing back to him. Until now, Anna had thought it was Luke somehow doing this for her benefit.
But now she completely understands. Anna smiles and explains to a stunned and speechless Luke, that entity did not die with Sandi and her baby. She knows this because it has been with her own child from the very beginning.
This chapter, more than any, contains allegories pertaining to faith, trust, forgiveness, and redemption; while also dealing with rejection, doubt, and skepticism. While the characters involved may have been confronted with physical life and death situations, I believe Luke’s story has dealt more with spiritual life and death. As for Luke, I’ve tried to express both a sense of strength and competency, while still conveying the same fear of uncertainty that any other character would feel. He was powerful, but far from perfect. In many ways, I think Luke has been even more insecure than most sims regarding his relationships – especially with Sandi.
In the game, he and Anna (Peanut) have been best friends since childhood. Part of me wanted to show how that relationship has evolved over time. But no matter how many different ways I tried to bring her into the story, they all seemed contrived and really didn’t fit with the overall plot. In the end, I feel pretty good about how her role has progressed. I imagine that Luke and Anna often lay in bed together, talking about that first night, while attempting to find ways to verbalize what they had experienced. And since it is truly an impossible task, they usually just resort to reenacting that amazing event.
Luke’s story nears conclusion with Anna’s legal problems looming heavily on the horizon. Their marriage vows are exchanged in a private ceremony on the lawn of the chapel. Only the timing of their small wedding feels rushed. Perhaps they had both known they would ultimately be together going as far back as childhood, when they’d play tag around the military base. And even though it comes with only days to spare before Anna gives birth, their decision was not solely based upon wanting to be married before having babies in the house.
Makayla had been the first to warn them that Anna’s court-martial trial was moving forward at an alarming pace. Anna wanted nothing more than to be married to Luke, but neither of them wanted it to be “because” of anything, other than their desire to become husband and wife. As usual, Makayla was right. As a Barimen, Anna is not immune to prosecution, but she is afforded all of Luke’s resources to help defend her case. Not only that, but Luke would also enjoy some limitations from having to testify against her.
Anna gives birth to twin boys inside the comfort of the estate. Both Luke and Makayla had tried to convince her to go to the hospital. But she refused. Call it instinct or intuition, Anna probably knew that this was not going to be any ordinary birth. Noah is first. He is strong and healthy, and looks a lot like Anna.
And then there is Adam. With thin wisps of silvery hair on his tiny head, and angelic wings that glow with the golden radiance of sunrise; Adam had clearly not been conceived by anything from this world. He looks up at Luke with alert eyes. And rather than crying for his mother’s milk, he smiles. It is almost as if he were showing gratitude for the sacrifices made in helping him to come this far.
Luke laughs out loud with overjoyed elation, while Anna cries tears of joy. And poor Makayla, having no clue what is going on, simply short-circuits from sensory overload and slumps over into Luke’s capable arms.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 8.23 – Fate

  1. >=O TWINS! Ohh, how will this go then? Is it going to be focused on the two boys or just Adam?
    I really like how this was written. In the part where you were describing how you were developing Luke’s character; I think you really accomplished just that. You made him powerful and tough, but still vulnernable and human.
    The story’s been getting really heavy with drama lately, I hope the twin’s child years lighten up a bit 😛


    1. Chapter 9 will be “special”, hehe. It effectively wraps up the legacy.
      And, I’m sorry to say, there is still very much drama ahead, lol.


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