Monday, April 15, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 42 - Custody

On the other side of town, things were hectic at the Woods household, dealing with both a toddler and a newborn baby.  Sondra handled most of the work, cheerfully at first, but as the days went on she began to get frustrated with James's unhelpfulness.  One day, she cornered him in his bedroom, the traditional location of all his unpleasant discussions.
Sondra: "Look, something's going to change around here."
James: "What do you mean?  Things are going fine.  I've got a son, and you're a great help."
He gave her his best winning smile, which quickly faded when he saw the look on her face.
Sondra: "Right, that's exactly it.  I'm the great help.  I do everything while you just laze around and play at being a chef, or stay out all night at some party or other."
James: "I really appreciate it."
Sondra: "Well, you know what I'd appreciate?  You actually stepping up and taking some responsibility.  You're a grown man, with a family!  But you take no interest in any of your children."
James: "That's not true, I was just in the nursery talking to Omicron earlier today."
Sondra: "What about your daughters?"
James: "They're great.  Alpha's always a help, and Epsilon seems to be learning lots of things."
Sondra: "You hardly pay any attention.  Do you even know what Epsilon's first word was?  You also still refuse to take her to see a doctor.  I'm telling you, there's something not right about that girl.  The way her hair is so faded out and brittle can't be healthy."
James: "So she has dry hair, so does half the population of the world.  That's why they sell so many fancy hair products.  She doesn't seem sick, I hear her laughing and stuff."
Sondra: "Half the time.  And the other half she spends falling asleep at random, even if she'd just gotten up from a nap.  Narcolepsy isn't normal, James."
He shrugged in response.
James: "What do you want me to do about it?"
Sondra: "See, this is what drives me crazy!  You just don't care about them, it's like they exist only as a minor distraction to you.  You know, I was at the store the other day.  Know who I ran into?"
James was confused at the non sequitur, but played along anyway by shaking his head.
Sondra: "Rickey.  We ended up talking, and you know what I realized?"
She didn't wait for James to respond before continuing.
Sondra: "I really don't know why I left him in the first place, especially not for you."
James: "I'm smarter than he is."
Sondra scoffed at that, rolling her eyes.
Sondra: "Of course you'd think so.  You know what, James, I'm leaving you.  It's over, we're done.  I just can't deal with you anymore, not with how you treat everybody around you.  There's something just not right here."
James: "Fine, leave then.  I managed without you just fine, and I'll keep on managing when you're gone."
Sondra shook her head again, clearly not believing that.
Sondra: "Oh, really?  Well fine, then, I'm glad we're in agreement.  I already have most of my and Omicron's things packed, we're leaving now though.  I'll send for the rest later."
Who did she think she was?  Omicron wasn't going anywhere.
James: "Uh, no, I think you're misunderstanding something here.  You're leaving, yes, but my son is staying here.  He's mine, and I need an heir."
Sondra: "Like I'd leave him here with you.  I've seen how you handle children."
James: "You won't have any say in the matter.  Statute 687b, look it up.  If I invoke that in court, I will ruin you, and you won't be able to come within fifty yards of him."
The words were cold as he said them, and despite not having much legal knowledge, something about the tone of his voice made Sondra know that he was telling the truth.  There was nothing she could do to fight this.  He had won.

With Sondra gone, Alpha began taking up even more of the slack around the house.  Housework, like laundry and the dishes, took second priority to taking care of her younger half-siblings.
While James occasionally socialized with Omicron - not going so far as to change the dirty diapers, though - he did his best to pretend that Epsilon didn't exist.  It was frustrating, but not surprising, as the young girl's face bore a strong resemblance to that of her mother.  Even if James hadn't talked about it in over a year, Alpha knew that he was still hurt from her sudden departure.
That didn't excuse any of what he was doing, though.  Whatever that woman's issues had been - surely she had a lot of them, like attracts like - they weren't Epsilon's fault.  It just wasn't fair for him to take out his frustration and hurt on the little girl.  At least he seemed determined to involve himself in Omicron's life, so thank goodness for small victories.
Alpha couldn't spend all her free time with Epsilon, as she was still struggling through her own school years.  She had almost no time to herself to meditate or train, so sometimes she had to leave Epsilon alone.  Luckily, she didn't seem to mind.
Epsilon took to Alpha's old peg box, quickly mastering the concepts.  She was a smart girl, and Alpha was determined to help her succeed, even if everything in life seemed to be stacked against her at this moment.

Sondra had sent a strange doll in the mail to Omicron.  James didn't care much for it, but also didn't care much about it - it would stop the baby crying for attention in the middle of the night, at least.
Alpha was glad that Omicron had a toy of his own, as she'd only had her own doll to give to Epsilon.  She'd been worried that the little glowing thing on top of the toy's head would keep the kids up at night, but Epsilon slept like the dead and Omicron didn't seem bothered by it.  It was an eccentric doll, sure, but Sondra had sent it, so it had to be harmless.

~ * ~

Just in case anyone had forgotten, James is in fact a huge jerk.  Still scheming and planning, even though he's made it to the top of his career.  Could his new plans involve his son?

I'm not entirely happy with Sondra's breakup with James, from a story standpoint.  It's really hard for me to write characters who break up for no good reason, and I had to do it three times this generation(well, twice, Epsilon had a pretty good reason).  I think I made it work, but it could have been a lot better.  Single rolls are just hard, story-wise, especially if you have a male heir, so you can't just get him knocked up.  Severin Overlord has the monopoly on butt babies for the next while, I think.  I'd just seem like a lazy copycat

I'm actually really surprised that nobody who commented on the last post seemed to notice either of the two hints I dropped to Anne's identity.  The more obvious one was Epsilon's hair color, which isn't an EA default and was quite different from Anne's(dyed, obviously) hair color and anything from James's family.  The trickier hint was Anne's necklace, which you can see her wearing as Anne here.  As the Seer/Arcadia, it's visible here in chapter 26 and all through chapter 41.


  1. I thought the break up worked well, I think James comes across as the kind of person who would drive a lot of women to break up with him anyway. I am curious as to what statute he was quoting at Sondra (and if it even exists).

    As for Anne's identity, what can I say, I'm unobservant at times, especially when it comes to pictures... *shrugs*

  2. I thought the break up worked too. Made perfect sense, as James does literally nothing for his children. I want to know about the statute too!

    I hadn't noticed Epsilon's hair was different to Anne's when she was Arcadia. Maybe because Arcadia is always shown in dim lighting so far? I dunno. Maybe i'm just not as observant as I think :p

    Bless, Alpha is such a good big sister :)
    Can't wait to see what happens next!

  3. Replies
    1. It's a character from the overlord legacy, linked in my sidebar. Hasn't updated in a while, but I think the author is just very busy with school atm. You caught up quickly!