Chapter 23 The Death of Lily Bastida-Ray

Beginning of a normal day Life is fleeting. One never knows when the hourglass will empty. One never knows how many days he has to enjoy his family, to watch the sunrise, to listen to good music. You may start your last day on earth just like any other. The dawn will break, and your alarm clock will buzz you out of your world of dreams. You will rub your eyes, and stretch, and reach over to stroke your partner’s chest.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” you will say, as you push back the blankets and rise from your bed, ready for another day. Perhaps you will groan, because it is a Monday morning, and there is a mountain of papers waiting for you at work. You will drink your mug of coffee and nibble some breakfast.

“Hey, after school, can you give me a driving lesson?” Your teenage daughter will ask.

“Sure, after you’ve finished your homework,” you’ll say. “By the way, how are things at school?” Your teen will laugh and tell you about something funny that happened in her biology class the other day.

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So of course, that afternoon, you will try your best to teach her how to drive. Letting your daughter take the wheel will scare the hell out of you, but you will do it anyway, because driving is an important life skill. One day, you know, your daughter will drive her grandchildren to your house for a visit. Just as you will drive to your adult son’
s house to hold your new grandchild. And you will give your son parenting advice, which he will not want to hear, of course. Bas Michael 14 Bas Michael 15

Your other adult children may not call you on your last day. Or maybe they will, just to complain about the aches and pains of her first pregnancy, or to announce that she has adopted a cute little puppy. Or to tell you that she and her boyfriend have decided to get married. You will make plans to visit each one. You will bring a gift for the new puppy. You will offer your pregnant daughter a soothing back rub. You will hug your newly engaged daughter and begin to make wedding plans. Tomorrow. There will be time to do all of this tomorrow.

Bas Endings (9) Bas Endings (10) Bas Endings (6) But what you do not know is that you have run out of tomorrows. As the sun sets, and you are preparing for bed, the darkness comes, and your life is over. There is nothing you can do. Your time has been cut short. Bas Endings (11) Bas Endings (14) Bas Endings (15)

You will plead with Death, but Death will not hear your voice. Death will take you. And for your loved ones who remain behind, grief will inevitably come.

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Chapter 22 Graduation Day

Sofia paints Kai

Sad Sofia paints a brilliant portrait of her ex-lover, Governor Kahale.

“Oh no.” Sofia groaned and stared at the pregnancy test. It couldn’t be true. And yet, it was all too true. “Oh nooo!” Positive. She was carrying Governor Kai Kahale’s baby. This, on top of the breakup, was just too much. Sofia fell into such a deep depression, that she could not even make herself go to work. For the next few weeks, she did nothing but paint. She forced all of her sadness and guilt into creating beautiful works of art.

Her dad was first to notice. When he quietly confronted Sofia, she dissolved into tears and told her father everything. “Everything will turn out okay,” he told her. “Your mom and I will help you through it, I promise.”

They didn’t tell the rest of the family right away, because a very important day had arrived. Violeta and Felicity, who were now brilliant and lovely young women, were both graduating from community college.

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The whole family came to the ceremony, to honor the girls’ accomplishments.

“I think a 2-year degree seems kind of pointless,” said Catalina.”

“Hush,” Lily told her, though she secretly agreed. Bas Grad (14)
“Now what?” Adriano asked his daughters. “What do you plan to do with your lives?”

“I’m going to culinary school, to become a chef,” said Violeta.

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Felicity wasn’t as sure. After the ceremony ended, she drove up the mountainside to spend some time thinking about her future. And at last, the answer came to her – Felicity was going to become a master thief – the kind who stole expensive jewelry and paintings. Of course, she did not share these plans with her family.

Bas Grad (5) Bas Grad (6)  Later that evening, the family threw a large party in their home. Many of the most important people around the island came to celebrate – including Governor Kai Kahale. It was the first time Sofia had seen him since the breakup. She felt like crying. She felt like throwing her drink in his stupid face, and then screaming, “I’m pregnant, you idiot!” She felt like making a huge scene and ruining his career.  Bas Grad (16) Bas Grad (15)

But before she could do something foolish, her dad intervene. “May I have this dance?” He gently pulled Sofia away from Kai Kahale, and the two began to dance until Sofia was relaxed and smiling once again.

Adriano dances with his daughter and cheers her up.

Adriano dances with his daughter and cheers her up.

Chapter 21 Michael & Emmy (and Sofia)

Michael Bastida-Ray was in love, deeply in love with Emmy Estrella. The two of them became inseparable. Every day, in between classes and study sessions and time interning at the local hospital, Michael was by Emmy’s side, kissing her on the beach, holding her hand beneath the stars. The rest of the family thought it was sweet, though perhaps a little sickening, too.

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And after the two of them finally made love, Michael was absolutely convinced that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Emmy Estrella.

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“I want to marry her, Dad,” Michael told his father, after he and Emmy had been together for two years.

“You’re both still so young,” said his Adrian. “You’re only 25 years old. Maybe you should date around for a few years until you are really ready.”

Bas Michael 3 Bas Michael 4Michael was sure that Emmy was the one for him. But he decided that his dad was right about marriage. He and Emmy decided instead to move in together. They were very poor, and could only afford to rent a tiny, poorly decorated house on the other side of the island. But they did the best they could to make it their home.

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Catalina visits her brother and Emmy in their new home.

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Lily visits Michael and Emmy

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Of course, no one else knew it, but Sofia was deeply in love, too. Kai Kahale was the kindest, most wonderful man she could have ever hoped to meet. They both worked hard to keep their affair a secret – especially since exposure could devastate Kai’s career and create a tremendous scandal – even greater than the scandal caused by the Bastida-Ray family’s alien heritage. They found ways to be together on deserted beaches and in the tropical woods. Occasionally, Kai even rented a small cabin for the two of them to use in secret. Bas Michael 9 Bas Michael 10Screenshot-3474 Screenshot-3475

But they were not always careful. And sometimes, people noticed the intense, heated gaze between the two lovers. Before long, whispered rumors and gossip about Governor Kahale and Sofia Bastida-Ray began to circulate around the island. Kai Kahale caught wind of the rumors and decided that it would be best to break things off with Sofia.

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“I love you, Sofia. But we can’t go on like this. You understand, right?”

Sofia was beyond heartbroken. But then, a mysterious illness struck, distracting her from her grief.

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Sofia is stricken with a mysterious illness that won’t go away.

Chapter 20 Sofia the Invisible Finds Her Groove

No one really noticed Sofia. Sure, they knew that she was a talented artist.  Sofia the ArtistThey knew that she was a hard worker, and very kind and sweet. But really, no one noticed her. They noticed her mom, , who was the best cook on the island. They noticed her dad, the superstar doctor who had recently admitted to being half-extraterrestrial.

After revealing the truth about his past, Adriano throwa a party in honor of his brother, Zeru, who travels from a great distance to attend and meet the family.

After revealing the truth about his past, Adriano throwa a party in honor of his brother, Zeru, who travels from a great distance to attend and meet the family.

They noticed the twins, who were young and cute. They noticed outgoing Violeta and charismatic Felicity. And of course they noticed Michael. Perfect, intelligent Michael. Especially now that he was dating that green-skinned freak from the sea.

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Screenshot-3337 After learning about his own alien heritage, Michael falls in love with Emmy Estrella, in spite of her unusual appearance.

Even men didn’t seem to notice Sofia. Of course, it didn’t help that she was somewhat shy and bookish. She met other men, especially in her line of work as an interior designer, but usually their conversations were professional. She did go out to parties, on occasion, but still, men seemed to get bored with her quickly.

Screenshot-3349 She began to second guess herself. Maybe there was something terribly wrong with her. Maybe she was simply ugly. Screenshot-3488 But then one day, Sofia was given the opportunity to design a new family room in the house of the Kai Kahale, the governor of Elysium Island. Right away, Sofia could feel sparks of energy between the two of them, as strong as electricity. The governor never took his dark eyes off of Sofia as she worked around his home, measuring and painting. Whenever she took a break, he was there, asking her about her interests, her hobbies, her thoughts. Bas I4 S2

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Governor Kai Kahale and Sofia begin a passionate secret love affair.

But he’s married, Sofia told herself. This is wrong! Stop thinking about Kai! But she could not. And since no one noticed Sofia, no one noticed wheScreenshot-3386n Sofia and Governor Kai Kahale began to grow intimate.  No one noticed when Sofia and Kai Kahale made love in secret. No one noticed – except for Kai Kahale’s daughter, Isabel. Screenshot-3392

“If you don’t stop seeing my father, I will tell my mother,” Isabel threatened Sofia, her eyes flashing like lightning.. “I will tell everyone!” And so Sofia fled, determined never to see Kai Kahale again. And she could not even tell her family why she was so heartbroken.

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Isabel Kahale catches her father with Sofia and warns Sofia to stay away.

Chapter 19 – People of the Sea, People of the Sky

Well, luckily for Felicity and Violeta, their parents did not find out about the wild party the girls had thrown. They returned from Disneyworld with Catalina and Dawn, all refreshed and happy.  Catalina and Dawn SwimmingAnd for the entire family, life went on as usual. The twins played together. Felicity continued dating her boyfriend, Richard. She secretly thought it was a little strange that he had two lesbian moms instead of a mom and dad, but she didn’t tell him that.

Felicity and her boyfriend Richard

Felicity and her boyfriend Richard

Felicity and Richard

Violeta also began to date – no one special, just a few boys here and there in her high school. She was too busy playing guitar and getting straight A’s to worry much about boys, anyway.

Adriano with Dawn, Violeta with a boy she is dating, just after a local semi-pro soccer game.

Adriano with Dawn, Violeta with a boy she is dating, just after a local semi-pro soccer game.

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Michael and Sofia studying for university and medical school classes

Michael and Sofia were now young adults with extremely busy lives. Bas I4 5 Michael, who was following in his dad’s footsteps, was working very hard in medical school. He studied during nearly every moment of his free time, day and night. In fact, the only thing that stopped him from becoming a total workaholic with no life was meeting Emmy Estrella.

He met Emmy by chance. One night, he was following directions to a study group session with his classmates. However, Michael had the wrong address. He found himself in the living room of the Estrella family, face-to-face with the strangest, and yet, most beautiful girl he had ever met.

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Michael meets Emmy Estrella

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“My name is Emmy,” she told him. She was twenty years old, and studying to become a chef at the local culinary academy. Her skin had a very unusual greenish tint, but she had the loveliest, clearest eyes he had ever seen. Then, to Michael’s surprise, Emmy’s mother walked in the room. She, too, was beautiful, but completely green.

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“We’re not from around here,” Emmy explained. “You see…we come from a long line of…of…people of the sea.” She whispered this last part, not looking at Michael.

“What?” Michael’s mouth dropped open. “Are you trying to tell me that you guys are…mermaids?” He looked back and forth from Emmy to her mother in disbelief. “Impossible!” They must be crazy, he decided, leaving the Estrella house. After all, there was no such thing as mermaids. No mermaids, no witches, no vampires or ghosts — how ridiculous! Still, he could not forget Emmy’s beautiful face.

What Michael still did not know, however, was of his own extra-human heritage. He did not know that his own father was half extraterrestrial, half human. Adriano still had not told his family the truth. But he continued to hear his brother’s words in his mind: You must find the courage to tell your family about your past. And so finally, late one afternoon, he pulled Lily aside. “There is something you should know,” he said. And he told her everything.

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Adriano tells Lily all about his extraterrestrial ethnic heritage

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To his surprise, Lily was not shocked or weirded out in the least. Instead, she embraced him. “Adriano, even if you were the offspring of the devil himself, I would love you more than life.” Adriano was filled with tremendous relief. Lily had not run away screaming. She did not think that he was a monster. She still accepted him. She still loved him. And, of course, he loved her more than ever.

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Chapter 18 – Parties and Police

Michael and Sofia were now grownups, navigating the ups and downs of adult life. Though they still lived at home, they were often busy with college classes and part-time work. The twins, Catalina and Dawn, were now two of the sweetest, brightest little girls Adriano and Lily could hope to raise. They hardly ever fought, got good grades in school, and usually did as they were told. So one weekend, in order to award the little girls for their good behavior and schoolwork, Lily and Adriano decided to take them to Disneyworld for a vacation.

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Catalina (left) and Dawn (right)

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Catalina loves to play EA Sports video games on the computer

“It isn’t fair!” complained Felicity. “We want to go, too!”Bas I2 13 C and D

“You’ve already been to Disneyworld,” Adriano said patiently. “Besides, you need to stay here and care for your horse.”

“It will just be you and Violeta,” said Lily. “Please be good, girls. Don’t burn down the house!”

“We won’t,” the two teens promised.

And so Adriano, Lily, and the two youngest girls were off to Florida for the weekend.

“Yahoooooo!!!!” cried Violeta after they left. She began to play her guitar very noisily. “We’re going to have a paaaarrrtyyyyy!”

Violeta plans a party when their parents are out.

Violeta plans a party when their parents are out.

“Violeta, you’re going to get us in trouble!” said Felicity. But she did not stop her sister from calling everyone in school to invite them to their house that night.

By eight o’clock, the most popular kids in school were dancing in the Bastida-Ray’s family room, gorging themselves on pizza, and making out. Bas I3 party 1Bas I3 party 2 Bas I3 party 5 Bas I3 party 3 To Felicity’s pleasure, Richard Reed, the cutest boy in her grade, not only attended the party, but danced with her the whole night.

“Will you be my girlfriend?” Richard finally asked her a few hours later.

“Of course!” said Felicity. She was so excited, that she turned up the music even louder. “This is the BEST PARTY EVER!” she squealed over the volume.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Everyone froze. Then Felicity went to answer it.

It was the police. One of the neighbors, who knew that the girls were home without parents that weekend, had called the police to check on them when they heard the loud music.

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“Party’s over, kids,” said the officer. The party scattered.

“See you at school, Felicity!” Richard called as he raced out the front door.

“If my parents don’t kill me first,” said Felicity.

Of course, her parents did not kill them. But when Adriano and Lily found out about the party, they grounded Felicity and Violeta for the next two months.