I stared down at the book in my hands, but my eyes didn’t slide over the words; I was lost in thought. Ever since Loralee had gotten engaged, thoughts of my past had surfaced, though I’d started to wonder about it before then. With my sister and her husband getting married, it probably wouldn’t be long before they started their own family. As an adopted kid, family was a funny subject for me, so, really, was it that surprising that the prospect of being an uncle would bring up my past?
As far as I was concerned, my parents were Camille Thoreau, world-famous for both her prowess playing games and her skill at developing them, and Shirley Hines, a respected surgeon and chief of staff at Newcrest Hospital. But they hadn’t always been my parents. I hadn’t been adopted until I was six; I still had plenty of memories of the group home I’d lived in before being placed here, even one or two foster homes if I tried hard enough to remember. But I didn’t have any memories of my birth parents. I didn’t even know why I was in foster care; if I had known, I’d long since forgotten. Lately, unbidden, I couldn’t stop wondering. Who were my birth parents? Why hadn’t they wanted me?
I closed the book I’d given up on reading and put it on the coffee table. Feely antsy, I got up and paced my room. It had been Loralee’s room when she was little, before I’d come into the picture. Mom and Mama had remodeled it when I was eleven or twelve.
I can still remember Mama laughing about it. “All these ready-made bedrooms and this boy wants to fix this one up.”
A smile crossed my face as I thought of Mama. It had been the hardest to get close to her when I was little – as a six year old kid, her unusual hair style and reserved nature had been a little scary. We hadn’t had a break through until…Oh, until one night she’d sung me to sleep.
What had she sung to me? I shut my eyes, trying to think back. I hadn’t thought of that lullaby in probably ten years. Slowly, the melody came back to me, along with a few broken lines of French. I did know that my parents had been French – my surname before my adoption had been Marchand. So I guessed that was something. I couldn’t help but feel like there were two person-sized holes in my story, though.
A few years ago, Loralee had gone on her own parental exploration. Things hadn’t ended well with her father, but at least she had closure. To put my mind at ease, I needed closure of my own.
I left my room and went down the hall. Mom, I knew, was at the hospital, but Mama was working from home on Witchly IX: Revenge of the Sage. I stepped into the room that always smelled of vanilla and lavender, just like Mama, and went over to the desk. “Hey, Mama, what are you working on?”
She turned and smiled up at me from behind her glasses. She’d had to start wearing glasses whenever she was at her computer a few years ago. “Just some annoying lines of code. It’s working – but it shouldn’t be.” She rolled her eyes and put her glasses down on the desk. “What’s up, honey?”
“I was wondering if I could talk to you for a bit.”
“Sure. I was just about to get something to eat. Are you hungry? I was thinking BLT’s.”
Though I wasn’t sure I wanted to broach this subject while Mama was near any knives, I agreed that that sounded good, and we headed into the kitchen. While Mama got out the cutting board, I hopped up onto a bar stool.
“So how are your classes?” She asked, her knife cutting through the tomatoes. “Is your first round of college courses treating you well?”
I rolled my eyes at her. “I’ve only been in school for a few weeks. And everyone knows the first semester of college is basically just more high school.” I wasn’t even in the actually hard science and technology classes yet.
She chuckled softly. “Oh, well, excuse me. I’ve never been to college.”
I leaned my elbows on the island and worried my lower lip between my teeth for a moment. “Mama, there was actually something I wanted to talk to you about. It’s…about my birth parents.”
Her knife stuttered and went still, then she slowly placed it back on the counter. “Oh?” She said evenly.
“Yeah. I’ve just…I’ve been wondering about them lately. About where I come from.”
She eased onto the bar stool next to me. “Is there something wrong?”
I shook my head. “It’s nothing like that, Mama. I just want to know where I come from, you know? Loralee had to go through it with her father. I feel like I need to learn about my heritage.”
She stayed silent for a long time. It was silent in the kitchen except for the dishwasher that was still running from the maid’s presence earlier. Finally, she let out a quiet sigh. “I’ve known this day would come for a long time. After all, it wasn’t as if we could lie to you and claim you weren’t adopted. What do you remember?”
I shook my head again, wishing I could remember something. “Just the group home in Willow Creek. Bits and pieces from a foster home or two. That’s it.”
“Well,” she said slowly, “your mother died when you were three. I think it was a car accident. I can’t remember where you father was, but I know he signed away his paternal rights after the accident, so you were sent to foster care.” She looked at me apologetically. “I’m afraid that’s all I remember.”
So my mother had died, not given me up. But my father had given me up – he hadn’t wanted me. “You don’t remember their names?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t. I wish that I did; I don’t want you to feel that part of you is missing.”
I sighed and rubbed my face. “Thanks, Mama.”
She returned to making lunch, but, after it was done, I took my sandwich back to my room to eat. I didn’t feel like talking now; I was wrapped up in my own head. As soon as the sandwich was gone, I gravitated to my computer. Maybe, with the few details I had, I could find something on at least my mother.
I opened up the search engine and started typing in searches. Marchand car accident Willow Creek. Marchand toddler orphaned after car accident. Frustration mounted as I kept getting redirected to irrelevant articles. I was just about to give up when there was a knock on my door and Mama stepped inside.
She set a folder down on the desk. “That’s the file the adoption agency gave us on you. It has your parent’s names in it and some other things.”
I smiled and flipped the folder open, looking at the papers inside. There wasn’t much, but it was something. Right there, on the first page –
Father: Jean-Pierre Marchand
Mother: Therese Marchand
I had names. It wasn’t much, but, compared to what I’d had, it was enormous.
“Thank you, Mama. Really, thank you.”
She smiled gently at me. “You’re welcome, Luc,” she said. Idly, I realized, perhaps for the first time, that she was the only one to ever say my name with the French pronunciation. Everyone always pronounced it like “Luke,” but never her. “I hope this leads you somewhere good.”
I looked down at the file. “Me too.”
A couple of days later, I knocked on the door to Alison’s apartment.
“It’s open!” She called over the beat of pop music.
I went inside and found her stirring something at the stove. “Do you always listen to music when you cook?”
She gave me a look. “Do you not?”
I snorted softly and sat down at the island. “I don’t cook, so no.”
“Heathen.” She took the pot off of the stove and poured spaghetti into a dish. “You want some?”
I shook my head. “I don’t like spaghetti.”
She rolled her eyes and made herself a plate. “Oh, that’s right, you have that weird thing about tomatoes.”
“It’s not weird. I just don’t like cooked tomatoes.”
She sat down next to me. “It’s weird. So, what’s up? You sounded all twitchy over the phone.”
I fought back the urge to tell her I was not twitchy. “Okay, so, I told you the other day that Mama gave me my adoption file, right?”
She nodded, sucking spaghetti noodles into her mouth. “Yeah. Did you find out anything good?”
“Not a lot.” How is she so cute with pasta sauce on her chin? No, stop it. She’s with Josh. I gave myself a mental shake and refocused on the matter at hand. “But I called the adoption agency. They couldn’t tell me a lot – or they ‘were not at liberty to reveal any information.’ But they were able to tell me that, at the time of my mother’s death, my father was living in Champs Les Sims.”
She smiled. “Well, that’s something!”
“It is.” I let out a breath and almost bounced in my seat. “That’s why I’ve decided to find him.” It was the first time I’d said it out loud since I’d decided to do it last night. “I’m going to find my birth father.”
Alison didn’t look surprised. She just beamed. “Count me in.”
Wow, so, here we are! I can’t believe we’re 100 chapters deep into this legacy. This story has evolved so much since I wrote Camille’s first chapter. I am constantly awed by how many people are reading my story, and I want to thank all my readers from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me, the Thoreau’s, the Yuen’s, the Harrison’s, and all the rest. You guys – you’re all awesome whether you like, comment, or lurk in the background. I have never stuck with a story for as long as this, and it’s all because of you.
With that in mind, I’d really like to hear your thoughts. What are your impressions with the characters of gen 2? What do you hate? What do you love? I’m already shaping gen 3 in my head, though we’re months away from it, and this is a good time for you to share your opinions with me. Part of Luc’s arc was originally mentioned to me by a reader on the forums, so I’m listening to you! I am always trying to improve the way I write, characterize, and screenshot this story, so your feedback is not lost on me.
Speaking of screenshotting, I also wanted to give a little shout out to CitizenErased14. Her beautiful screenshots in her stories Dust to Dust and Ashes to Ashes constantly inspire me to be careful and creative with my own screenshots. If you’ve noticed a quality change in my pictures, you can credit some of that to her.
Here’s to the next hundred chapters!