"Hey Buster! How are you, how's Bessie?" Claire asked as Buster gave her a gentle squeeze. "I'm fine, Bessie, well she's, oh you know, same as usual, driving me crazy, I'm sure its her only ambition in life, to argue with me about my gardening boots. I put them by the back door, she puts them in the garage, honestly, you'd think I'd committed a crime" he grumbled, half serious.
"But enough about me, where's my little sugar plum- ah there you are!" "Grandad!" Kaci exclaimed, flinging herself into his open arms. "I've missed you!" she grinned, "Where's Grandma?"
Claire laughed as Buster and Kaci wandered out into the back garden, she could hear them already hatching some sort of plan to get Bessie off of Busters tail. They'd be there for hours now, talking about nothing and everything. It was uncanny, the way they were so close. You'd think she actually was his granddaughter. It warmed Claire's heart, she knew he must have been a wonderful dad to Monroe in the short six years she'd been on the earth. She looked around for Cyran, feeling slightly uncomfortable in the Landgraab's huge mansion. There was a party going on, people were laughing, having fun, yet it felt cold, devoid of any real emotion, even in the middle of summer, there a was a dark chill about it. She didn't like it. Spying Cyran she was about to walk over when she saw that he and Geoffrey were deep in conversation, deciding against it, she wandered outside to find Nancy.
"Oh she's pissed at me because I sent him away to camp for the week, it will do that boy some good to learn what work ethic actually is, he comes home with a B+ and expects me to be happy! I keep telling him, if he want's to be doctor he's going to have to pull his head outta his a-" "Woah! Dude, calm down, I get the picture". Neither of the men spoke for a while. Geoffrey used to be so care-free and calm before Malcolm was born, but all of that had changed since. Cyran had noticed an edge to him, and the older the boy got, the worse the edge became. At first he'd put it down to jealousy, as stupid as it was, it wouldn't have surprised him if Geoffrey was jealous of the attention his son received from Nancy, it had been just the two of them for so long, and Cyran knew he loved that she hung off of his every word, but now Cyran was beginning to think it was more that, and that problem wasn't with Nancy, but with his son instead. It worried him.
"Well, you didn't tell her, you just sent him? C'mon Geoff, you've got to admit, that is a bit harsh"
"What, so he's not my son too? I'm supposed to ask her every time I want to do something that's going to benefit him in the long run?" he exploded. "Woah Geoff, I'm not saying he's not your son -" Geoffrey snorted and rolled his eyes, "Wait" Cyran continued, "Am I missing something, is everything okay Geoff?" he asked, concerned. Geoffrey closed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair, letting out a deep sigh he patted Cyran on the shoulder, "Yea man, I'm just stressed, you know? Work an what not. Everything's fine, c'mon, lets go outside and enjoy this barbecue" He headed for the door before Cyran could push the subject. Cyran stood for a minute, thinking about their conversation. He didn't believe that it was just 'work' bothering Geoff. He didn't believe him at all.
"Babe you should have seen his face, I've never seen him so angry, and then he alluded to the possibility of Malcolm not being his son!" Clair gasped, "He WHAT?!" "I know" Cyran continued, "but he wouldn't elaborate, just brush it off as 'work' and walked outside" he finished. Claire sat open mouthed in disbelief. "He can't seriously believe that, Nancy worshiped the ground he walked on, she would never have done that to him" she protested. "Worshiped? you said worshiped, as in past tense" Cyran raised an eyebrow, "Has something happened?" he asked intrigued.
"Yes but don't say a word to Geoffrey, don't tell him I told you" Claire said, her eyes worried. "I would never" Cyran said in all seriousness. "Nancy thinks Geoffrey is cheating on her", Cyran sat somber faced for a minute and then burst out laughing. Claire grabbed a pillow and hit him, "CY! This is is serious!!" she moaned. "Okay, okay, but seriously, that's what she thinks? He dotes on her, he would never do that" Cyran shook his head.
"Well, he's been staying out until all hours, has a shower as soon as he walks through the door, as in, he won't even stop to kiss her, if he is home, he stays in his office until its really late and then tiptoes into bed. She said he hasn't touched her in months, let alone looked at her that way, and the one time she tried to, you know, spice things up, he just crawled into bed and turned off the light" Claire explained.
"Maybe he's... damn, I don't know, to not want to have sex is one thing, but to completely ignore your partner when they clearly do is something else... but I don't know... I still don't think he would cheat" Cyran said, somewhat hesistant. "Mm, maybe, but she found his bank card receipts, every single night he came home late, there was a payment to the Simmiot Hotel for the presidential suite. Clearly he wasn't staying there because he came home, but someone must have been, I mean why would you pay for a hotel room your not using? A presidential suite at that?" Cyran had no answer for her, he didn't tell Claire, but Geoffrey had done this before, when they were much younger, only Nancy had been the woman he'd been meeting in hotel suites. She'd had no idea he'd been seeing someone and to this day, as far as Cyran knew, she still didn't.
Cyran had honestly believed she'd been the one to change his philandering ways, but maybe what they said was true. A leopard never changes its spots."I don't know Cy, the whole situation, is just, odd" Claire said, shaking her head and rising from the sofa, disturbing him briefly from his thoughts. "I'm going to water the plants" she said, heading through the sliding doors into the garden. Cyran nodded, hardly even hearing her, his mind was on something else already, something as far away from Nancy and Geoffrey Landgraab as it could get.
"Cy, whats wrong?" Claire asked, concern seeping through her voice. He'd been unusually quiet the entire time they were eating, she'd finished her lobster but he'd barely even touched his steak. She reached across the table and squeezed his hand, "Are you okay?" she asked, but he wouldn't meet her eyes. "Yea, I'm fine" he said, pulling his hand away. He felt her flinch, he wasn't even looking at her but he knew her well enough to know she had. He hated this but there was no other way. All week he'd been off with her, but it wasn't her, it was him, it was all him. He didn't know how to act any differently. Taking a deep breath he stood up and walked around to Claire, taking her hand he pulled her up from her chair. "You look so beautiful" he sighed, the knots in his stomach twisted even tighter. He felt physically sick because of what he was about to do.
"Cyran what are you doing?" Claire asked, shocked at his actions. He looked up at her from his knee on the floor, and pulled a black velvet box from his pocket. Claire gasped as the confusion lifted and everything fell into place.
"Claire Ursine" Cyran began, his hands visibly shaking, "Will you do my the honor, of becoming my wife?" he asked, tears in his eyes, but the tears in his eyes had nothing on the ones that were now silently streaming down Claires face. She nodded, unable to speak, but when she did she couldn't stop. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!" she screamed, happiness bubbling up from within, overflowing like a fountain.
"Oh My GOD!" she exclaimed, as Cyran breathing a sigh of relief pulled her into a tight embrace. "I love you Miss Ursine" he whispered in her ear, "And I love you Mr Sword, so much". He turned his head to face hers and their lips locked in a passionate embrace. Not caring who was watching, she pulled him even closer and gave him a kiss he would remember for years to come.
Cyran pulled into the driveway as the garage door slid up and drove in. They sat in the car for a few minutes, Claire staring at her ring while Cyran stared at her. "What are you thinking baby?" Cyran asked.
Claire smiled dreamily, holding her hand up and watching the light glint off of the countless diamonds now encasing her ring finger. "I'm thinking that tonight has been perfect" she looked at him, smiling. "But Cy, why was the restaurant empty? Its a Friday night, its normally impossible to even get a reservation there" she said, confused.
Cyran blushed, "Ah, yes, I uh, I called ahead and rented it for the night. I didn't uh, didn't want any witnesses, in case you uh, you know, said no". Claire burst out laughing, "Oh you idiot, that would never had happened, especially not with this ring" she teased, they were quiet for a moment. "Um, how much was it?" she asked, Cyran shook his head and mimed zipping his lips up, "Tell meee" she whined.
He shook his head again. "1000 simoleons ?" she asked innocently, Cyran looked affronted as his eyes popped out of his head, "A 1000 simoleons Claire? Really? You know those a real diamonds, right?" he asked, raising his eyebrow and cocking his head to one side, Claire wanted to laugh, he looked so cute."What I don't know these things, you know I'm not used to all of this!" she protested. Cyran looked at her for while, "Lets just say, its worth more than you earn in a year" he winked, Claire gasped, now that she was a partner at the Bistro, she earned more than 100,000 simoleons a year.
"Cyran shut up! Are you serious!" Claire's hand shot out in front of her so she could inspect the ring again. "Oh my God CY! You didn't have to spend that much!" she protested. "I know" he shrugged, "But you deserve it, and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together... Mrs Sword" he said, leaning in for kiss. "Hey" she whispered, when they came up for air, "Lets go upstairs and finish this off".
Claire woke early the next morning, as she sat on the edge of the bed stretching, she remembered the ring on her finger and sat mesmerized by it, and all that it symbolized She had been through so much and come so far, she was sure her luck was changing, how could it not be? Looking up at the ceiling and holding her ring she mouthed a silent "Thank you". Whoever was looking out for her was definitely doing a great job. "Hey babe" Cyran whispered as he kissed her neck, Claire jumped slightly, she hadn't heard him wake up.
"Now I know you have to go work, and I need to go into the office for a little while, but there's not enough time for both of us to shower, so I was thinking, maybe we could do it together you know, you wash my back, I'll wash yours" he continued, seductively planting kissed along her shoulders. Claire said nothing as she stood, letting her dressing gown fall to the floor. Turning to face him, she held out her hand, he silently grabbed it and let her lead him forward as the door clicked shut quietly behind them.